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Title: Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 150, June 7, 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, June 7, 1916" ***

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VOL. 150, JUNE 7, 1916***


PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI

VOL. 150

JUNE 7, 1916



CHARIVARIA.

A correspondent writes to tell us of a painful experience which he has
had in consequence of his efforts to practise war-time economy in the
matter of dress. The other evening, after going to bed at dusk in order
to save artificial light, he was rung up by the police at 1 A.M. and
charged with showing a light. It appears that he had gone to bed with
his blind up, after throwing his well-worn trousers over the back of a
chair, and that the rays of a street lamp had caught the glossy sheen of
this garment and been reflected into the eagle eye of the constable.

       ***

According to a Reuter's message the Greeks are "much preoccupied" at the
seizure of strategic positions on Greek territory by Bulgarian troops.
The preoccupation, it is thought, should have been done by the Allies.

       ***

While he was on his way to make a Memorial Day speech at Kansas City,
Mo., an open knife was thrown at Ex-President ROOSEVELT. Some of his
bitterest friends in the journalistic world allege that it was just a
paper knife.

       ***

Last week a number of professional fortune-tellers were fined at
Southend for having predicted Zeppelins. The fraudulent nature of their
pretensions was sufficiently manifest, since even the authorities had
been unable to foresee the coming of the Zeppelins until some time after
they had arrived.

       ***

The export of sardines in oil from Sweden is prohibited. Some resentment
is felt at the order by the Germans, who with their customary ingenuity
have for some time been importing india-rubber sardines in petrol
without detection.

       ***

A soldier at Salonika has sent a live tortoise home to his relatives at
Streatham. The tortoise, it is understood, was too fidgety to bear up
against its surroundings and was sent home for a little excitement.

       ***

If, on the other hand, the tortoise was just sent as a souvenir we
should discourage the practice. The tendency on the part of our soldiers
in India and Egypt to send home elephants and camels as mementos of the
localities in which they are serving is already putting something of a
strain upon the postal authorities.

       ***

From "The World of Letters" in _The Observer_: "Some day there will be a
cheap edition of Captain Ian Hay's war book, _The First Four Hundred_,
and the sale will be immense.... The Blackwoods are old-fashioned modest
people, who do not parade figures...." In the present case, however, we
do not think they would have objected to the reviewer parading a further
99,600 in the title of IAN HAY'S book.

       ***

"The question of alien waiters in London hotels rests with those who
patronise the hotels," says a contemporary. In other words, the
pernicious practice which had grown up before the War of ordering German
waiters with one's dinner must be abandoned before the hotel managers
will remove them permanently from their menus.

       ***

Sir FREDERICK BRIDGE has come out with a strong denunciation of
"devilry" in German music. How little we suspected, before the War
opened our deluded eyes, that it was no mere lack of skill but the
fierce promptings of a demoniac hate that marred our evenings on the
esplanade.

       ***

From The _Northern Whig's_ account of a visit to the Cruiser Fleet:--"It
was a proud moment when from the deck of a fast-moving destroyer the
long lines of the mighty Armada, with here and there the neat little
pinnacles darting in and out, were surveyed." Obviously a misprint for
binnacles.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: Vivian Vavasour, the melodrama actor, delights in the
comparative peace of the trenches.]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE AMUSED AND THE AMUSERS.

All the windows of the V.A.D. hospital were brilliantly lighted up, and
through them floated the strains of a piano and occasional bursts of
laughter. Number One Ward, however, was quite empty except for my
friend, Private McPhee, stalking majestically up and down as if on
sentry go, wearing a "fit of the blues" several sizes too large for him
and an expression which would, I believe, be described by kailyard
novelists as "dour."

"Bong jaw, Mademawselle," he exclaimed, bringing his stick smartly to
the salute, "or rather bong saw, tae be correct."

McPhee has affected the Gallic tongue since his sojourn in France.

"Why, what are you doing all by yourself, McPhee?" I asked. "Are you on
duty?"

"Na, na," he said, "ah'm pleasin' masel just."

He paused and emitted a fierce chuckle.

"Ah'm gettin' even," he announced; "they wantit me to gang oot wi' a
wumman."

"But whatever made them want you to do that, McPhee?"

"One o' thae nurses," continued the patient smoulderingly. "Ah fought at
Mons, an' Ah fought at New Chapelle, an' Ah fought at Wipers, that's
what ignorant pairsons ca' Eepers; and they wantit me to gang oot wi' a
wumman. Why for did they no send me oot to fight the Jairmans in a
peerambulator?"

"Oh," I said, at last enlightened. "But surely, McPhee, the nurses are
very nice. And think how hurt they will be if you won't go out with
them."

"Ah'm no denyin' some o' them are a' recht," said McPhee grudgingly,
"but it's a maitter o' preenciple. An' I'm gettin' even wi' them the
noo!"

He chuckled again.

"But how are you getting even?"

"Ah'm no dressin' up for them," said the vengeful one; "ye ken thae
nurses are havin' a kin' of a bairthday pairty or the like, an' a' the
men's dressed up to please them. An' if Ah canna gang oot to please
masel, Ah canna dress oop like a monkeyback to please them.

"They wantit me to dress up for CHAIRLIE CHAPLIN. Man, the nurse was
argle-barglin' a clock hour tryin' to persuade me to put thae claes on.
'Oh, do' (he squeaked), 'to please me, McPhee.' ... But Ah wouldna. Ah
turnit ma face to the wa' an' wouldna speak a wurrd.

"Ye ken, the ward that gets the maist votes gets a prize, an' thae
nurses is awfu' set on their ward winnin' it. Ah could ha' won it for
Number One. Fine cud I. Ah can turn masel oot so's my ain brither
couldna tell me from HARRY LAUDER. But Ah wouldna. If I canna gang
oot----"

At this point the door opened and a dejected apparition in a ruff and
petticoats, like a rumpled remnant of a pre-war pageant, drifted in and
sat down on a bed.

"Ah weel, Queen Elizabeth, hae they dune wi' ye yet?" inquired McPhee
sardonically.

Gloriana shook his head. "They're playin' musical chairs," he said
gloomily, "so I thought as I wouldn't be missed for a bit. This thing
round my neck does tickle, but my nurse'd be awful 'urt if I took it
off."

McPhee emitted an ejaculation--Gaelic, I believe--usually expressed in
writing "Mphm."

"Sma' things," he said, "please sma' minds.... Wha won the prize?"

"Number Two Ward," said Queen Elizabeth indifferently, "sweets. They're
eatin' 'em. They'll have stummick-aches to-morrer.... But there--it's
the least as we can do to let the nurses 'ave their bit o' fun."

Nurse Robinson hurried up to me on my way out. I thought her looking a
trifle anxious.

"I'm feeling rather worried about one of my men," she began, "Private
McPhee. I wonder if you saw him just now?"

"Oh, yes," I said, "we had quite a long chat."

"Oh, I'm so glad," she exclaimed, "I was really quite afraid he was
wrong in his head. Do you know, he simply refused to dress up for the
party ... and you know how they love dressing up! Such a good dress,
too--CHARLIE CHAPLIN.... And I couldn't get a word out of him! Wasn't it
strange?"

"Very," I said; "convalescents get all kinds of fancies, don't they? And
was the party a success?"

"Splendid!" she said, brightening up. "Of course it's meant a lot of
work. We've been toiling early and late at the costumes. But I'm sure
it's worth it. It does please the poor fellows. Draws them out of
themselves, don't you know."

       *       *       *       *       *

From a Company notice-board at the Front:--

    "Men must again be warned about matter they are putting in their
    letters. No places where we are or where we are going to are not
    to be divulged. Those having done so in their letters have been
    obliterated."

We had no notion that the Military Censorship was so drastic as that.

       *       *       *       *       *

A FANTASY.

  If you were a white rose Columbine
      And I were a Harlequin,
  I'd leap and sway on my spangled hips
  And blow you a kiss with my finger tips
  To woo a smile to your petal lips
      At every glittering spin.

  If I were a pig-tailed Buccaneer
      And you were a Bristol Girl,
  A-rolling home from over the sea
  I'd give you a hug on the landing quay,
  A hook-nosed parrot that swore like me,
      And a brooch of mother-o'-pearl.

  If you were a Donna of old Castile
      And a Troubadour were I,
  I'd sing at night beneath your room
  And weave you dreams in a minstrel's loom
  With rainbow tears and the roses' bloom
      And star-shine out of the sky.

  If I were a powdered Exquisite
      And you were a fair Bellairs,
  I'd press your hand in the gay pavane;
  And whisper under your painted fan
  As I bowed you into your blue sedan
      At the old Assembly stairs.

  If you were a WATTEAU Shepherdess
      And I were a gipsy lad,
  I'd teach you tunes that the blackbird trills
  And show you the dance of the daffodils,
  The white moon rising over the hills,
      And Night in her jewels clad.

  If you were the Queen of Make-believe
      And I were a Prince o' Dream,
  We'd dress the world in a rich romance
  With Pans a-piping and Queens that dance,
  With plume and mantle and rapier glance
     And Beauty's eyes a-gleam.

  If I were a Poet, sweet, my own,
      And you were my Lady true,
  I'd hymn your praise by night and morn
  With golden notes through a silver horn
  That unborn men in an age unborn
      Might glow with a dream of you!

       *       *       *       *       *

Not Founder's Kin.

    "The Archbishop of Perth has received news that he has been
    appointed an honorary Fellow of Cain's College, Cambridge."

    _Church Standard_ (_Sydney, N.S.W._)

       *       *       *       *       *

According to _The Somerset and Wilts Journal_ the songs sung by the boys
and girls of the Radstock National Schools on Empire Day included "Raise
the Flagon High." We cannot but think this Bacchic theme a little
unsuitable for our youthful songsters.

       *       *       *       *       *

A WORKING HOLIDAY.

[Illustration: Coker-Nut. "WHIT-MONDAY AND NOTHING DOING!"

Roundabout Horse. "WELL, WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT WITH A WAR ON? THEY'VE ALL
GOT SOMETHING BETTER TO DO."]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE WATCH DOGS.

XLI.

MY DEAR CHARLES,--They say we fight for money, do they? Well, so we do,
and it's a long hard fight, and it's a good soldier who wins against
that firmly entrenched enemy, the Command Paymaster.

When this War is over I shall take all my money out of the Bank of
England and, putting it in a paper bag and not troubling to tie it up, I
shall just hand it to the C.P.M. and say, "Hang on to this, will you,
till I come back?" Mark my words: if I'm away for fifty years or so,
every penny of it will be there when I return. It isn't his habit to
part with other people's money entrusted to his keeping.

I have a sergeant, an honest upright man with no complications in his
past, except that he is a Scot by birth and, happening to be there at
the outbreak, enlisted in Canada. By reason of his uncertain movements
he is unable to draw his food in the usual way, and yet insists,
tiresomely, on being fed. So I said he'd better feed himself, and I
claimed an authority for him to draw ration money in lieu of rations.
Having weathered all the storms of an administrative correspondence, we
eventually came by the authority itself. This was a great and happy day
in the lives of myself and the forty-nine other officers who had by this
time become involved in the affair. "Sgt. Blank is authorised to draw
ration money in lieu of rations as from March 1st, 1916," I read to him,
and sighed with relief. But it was a premature sigh. The trouble was
only just beginning.

"One-and-eightpence a day, no less, you get, Sergeant," I said.

He was by now an old hand. "One-and-eightpence a day I am authorized to
get, Sir," he corrected me.

A man not easily depressed, he took a cheerful view of the preliminary
condition that he was paid monthly, in arrear. He proposed to spend his
meal-times, during the rationless and moneyless days of March, reading
the correspondence; quite enough to engage a man's whole attention
during at least that period.

April 1st, 1916, duly arrived, and with it the renewal of the Sergeant's
food question, "What, again?" I asked, irritably.

But the Field Cashier, who was first approached on April 3rd, wasn't in
the least irritated. The subject interested him from the start.
Moreover, argumentative by nature though he undoubtedly was, he was all
anxiety to pay. First, however, there were one or two trifling
formalities to be observed. "You see," he explained, "I can only pay out
upon an authority."

With some confidence and no little pride we opened our despatch-case and
produced our correspondence. He read every word of it; his pay corporal
did the same, and very kindly explained it to us all as he went along.
"This," they agreed, "is your authority to get the money. What I want is
an authority to pay it." With expressions of mutual esteem we parted for
the day, agreeing to give the matter our most earnest consideration
during the week which must elapse before his return for the next
pay-day.

We spent a busy week interviewing the forty-nine officers and anyone
else we could get to listen. Only from the Camp Commandant did we get
anything approaching enthusiasm. Camp Commandants are men of a patient
disposition and a never-failing sympathy; what is better still, they
invariably possess a Sergeant-Major of unscrupulous if altruistic
cunning. We presented ourselves at the pay-office, on April 10th, armed
with every possible form of literature, over the Camp Commandant's
signature, which any reasonable Field Cashier could possibly want to
read.

The Field Cashier was very pleased to see us; we were very pleased to
see him. It was a most happy reunion. Only the Command Paymaster's
presence was wanted to make the thing a success. The Field Cashier gave
his address, dispensed with the Sergeant's presence at all future
meetings, and postponed all further proceedings in the matter till April
17th.

If there was any lack of graciousness in the correspondence with the
C.P.M., this was, I must at once say, on my side. He wanted to oblige,
but, being human, he must have his authority.

I sent him the authority to get and the authority to pay. His reply was
to the effect that both were perfectly delightful and in the very best
taste, but what was wanted before he could authorize payment was an
authority to have the account in England credited with the necessary
fund.

For the first time in my life I positively loathed England.

Bit by bit, however, the C.P.M. softened; but he hadn't softened quite
enough to satisfy our Field Cashier by April 24th. It was not till May
1st that he gave in altogether, and went so far as to send a chit to the
Camp Commandant, authorising him to receive for me the Sergeant's money.
Meanwhile we had discovered the private residence or funk-hole of our
F.C., and conversations became daily.

The defect on May 2nd was that the Camp Commandant hadn't signed the
right receipt.

The defect on May 3rd was that I hadn't got the right receipt to sign.

The defect on May 4th was--yes, hunger had got the better of the
Sergeant. Though he had got the right receipt and signed it, he had
signed it in the wrong place.

On May 5th I procured a light lorry, packed into it the Camp Commandant,
the Sergeant, myself, as many of the forty-nine officers as I could
lure, pens, ink and paper, and, by mere weight of numbers, I overcame
the Field Cashier. He scribbled his initials everywhere, inquired in
notes of what value we would take the money, and undertook, on his
personal honour, that upon his very next visit to our headquarters
(where the payment should properly be made) the notes should be ours. I
asked the Sergeant triumphantly what more he could want. He saluted
emphatically at the prospect of receiving, on May 8th, the money
wherewith to buy his food for the period March 1st to April 3rd
(inclusive).

It was indeed an achievement. Not only were all authorities in existence
and duly authorised, but the authorities who had authorised the
authorities were themselves authorised in writing to do so--and that
authoritatively. However, it was satisfactorily established in formal
proof that all persons concerned, including the Camp Commandant, myself
and the Sergeant, were in fact the persons we were represented to be.
Indeed the last lingering doubt was removed from the mind of the Field
Cashier as to his own identity, and (hats off, gentlemen!) England had
done her Bit. It was a reluctant bit, but somehow or other it had been
done. The money was there. The Command Paymaster could authorise its
payment; the Field Cashier could pay it; the Camp Commandant could
receive it; I could obtain it; and the Sergeant could get it. May the
8th was fast approaching but----

If a man (especially when he's right away in Canada) will be in such a
hurry to enlist that he cannot spare the time to think out things
carefully, what can he expect? Shortly after midnight of May 7th to 8th
a telegram arrived: "Reference my A.B.C. 3535; your X.Y.Z. 97S; their
decimal nine recurring. Please cancel all payment of rtn. allce. to
Sergeant Blank, Akk. Akk. Akk. This N.C.O. belonging to a Canadian unit
should apply direct to Paymaster, Overseas Contingent, Akk."

The Sergeant said nothing, except to ask me how long I thought the War
was likely to last?

Yours ever, Henry.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Subaltern._ "And about this saluting--I want you
recruits to be very particular about that. Of course, you know, you
don't salute _me_--you salute the uniform."]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "Why don't yer see Doctor Smiff abaht it?"

"Is 'e a qualified doctor?"

"I dunno. But I 'ear 'e's done wonders wiv animals."]

       *       *       *       *       *

What our V.T.C.'s have to put up with:--

    "Horsham was reached by tea time, the Company having marched
    upwards of sixteen miles, apart from its droll work."

    _Sussex Daily News._

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The Forestry Department of the township of Berlin reports that
    in the Grunewald, the public park between Berlin and Potsdam,
    1,600 trees had been planted, thus changing about 400 acres of
    barren land into a forest."

    _The Times._

The statement, like the forest, seems a little thin.

       *       *       *       *       *

NURSERY RHYMES OF LONDON TOWN.

XVII.--Blackfriars.

  Seven Black Friars sitting back to back
  Fished from the bridge for a pike or a jack.
  The first caught a tiddler, the second caught a crab,
  The third caught a winkle, the fourth caught a dab,
  The fifth caught a tadpole, the sixth caught an eel,
  And the seventh one caught an old cart-wheel.

XVIII.--The Stock Exchange.

  There's a Bull and a Bear, and what do you think?
  They live in a Garden of white Stocks and pink.
  "I'll give you a pink Stock for one of your white,"
  Says the Bear to the Bull; and the Bull says, "All right!"
  They never make answer if anyone knocks,
  They are always so busy exchanging their Stocks.

       *       *       *       *       *

A PARTIAL PAT ON THE BACK.

    (_Another Little Lecture on the War, after the style of "The
    Spectator" (abbreviated)._)

It is no time to waste words in praise of anybody. We want to give and
mean to give--we may perhaps even say that we hope to give--the Cabinet
our countenance and some measure of our approval, but neither adulation
nor encomium. The Editor of this journal is quite ready to allot the
laurels when they have been earned; he will be found at his post handing
them out when the time arrives. But not now.

It will be said, no doubt ... (Deletion of what will no doubt be said).

You may ask a man to put his whole strength into drawing a cork, but
unless you are a fool you do not, while the operation is going forward,
keep nagging at him because the cork is too firmly jammed, nor do you
jeer at him for his lack of prescience in not having selected a bottle
with a wider neck. You do not ask him strings of useless questions as to
why he doesn't grip the bottle between his feet or get a purchase on it
with his teeth. Above all you do not keep handing him tools, such as a
pair of scissors or a button-hook or a crowbar. No. You concentrate
earnestly upon the provision of an _efficient corkscrew_, if you ever
hope to taste the imprisoned liquor. And meanwhile, "Don't trip him up"
should be the order of the day; "Don't catch his eye" should be your
watchword; "Don't get into the bowler's arm" should be your motto.

We shall be told, of course ... (Deletion of what we shall of course be
told).

But to discountenance nagging is not to encourage laudation, adulation,
or encomium, or even praise. These can wait. The cow, to change the
metaphor, will generally give her milk all the better if she is not in
the act of being stroked or patted or wreathed with buttercups.

We shall perhaps evoke the retort ... (Deletion of the retort, which
will perhaps be evoked).

So much for the exact attitude which the Public ought to maintain toward
the Government during the War. Unfortunately the Public, or rather a
section of them, have done nothing of the sort. And that is the reason
why, in spite of good intentions about adulation and all that, it has
become absolutely necessary for us to step forward and present the
Ministry with this unsolicited testimonial. The Government is not what
it appears to be to cross-grained critics seeking for a Rotation of
suitable scapegoats. Ministers are full of glaring faults. Most of them
before the War were wickedly engaged in doing all sorts of damage to the
country, appalling to contemplate. But since the War began they are
doing what they can to retrieve a lurid past, and we believe that
History (our intimate colleague who waits to endorse at a later stage
the views expressed in these columns) will pronounce that they have
displayed great qualities.

But stay! We are in danger of adulation after all. Let us freely admit
that they are a sorry lot. We have never been blind to the fact. All the
same, they have shown the greatest of all qualities in a
crisis--dispassion almost amounting to torpor. There has never been
about them the slightest trace of hustle or helter-skelter. They have
steered with the greatest deliberation a course which they thought was
the right one for the ship of state to take. To change the metaphor,
having fixed the route of the national 'bus they have refrained from
diving down side-streets. (But there we go again, running off into
laudation. This will not do at all.)

To speak frankly, all the political tenets of the majority of the
Cabinet are such as can never receive anything but bitter hostility from
this publication. We can't help it. There is a gulf fixed, that is how
it comes about. But on the other hand we must not let this view prevent
us--even though, after all, we are guilty of eulogy--from recognising
their sterling worth. They are indispensable to the navigation of the
ship of state. To change the metaphor, we must be content to let the
train be driven by the engine-driver and not insist upon interference by
the dining-car attendant.

We are well aware that we lay ourselves open to the charge ... (Deletion
of the charge to which we lay ourselves open).

Let us then trust the Government, even blindly. Let our motto be the
immortal words in the "Hunting of the Snark": "_They had often, the
Bellman said, saved them from wreck: though none of the sailors knew
how._"

       *       *       *       *       *

THE HAPPY ERROR.

As a rule I am not one to peer over shoulders and read other people's
letters or papers. But when one is in a queue waiting for one's passport
to be _viséd_, and when one has been there for an hour and still seems
no nearer to the promised land, and when it is the second time in the
day that one has been in a queue for the same purpose--once in France
and once in England--why, some little deflection from the narrow path of
perfect propriety may be forgiven.

Moreover in other ways I behaved better than many of my
fellow-travellers, for I stood loyally behind the man in front of me in
my due place, and did not, as others did, insinuate myself from the side
into positions to which, by all the laws of precedence and decency, they
were disentitled. Indeed I even caught myself wondering whether, had I
any preferential opportunities of getting through first, as some Red
Cross and otherwise influential people had, I should make use of them.
To take any advantage of this weary waiting line of suspects, of which I
was one, would have been almost monstrous.

So, standing there all patiently and dejected, moving forward a foot or
so every four or five minutes, no wonder that I found myself reading the
embarkation paper which the gentleman in front of me had filled up and
was holding so legibly before him.

He was tall and solid and calm and French, with a better cut coat than
most Frenchmen, even the aristocrats, trouble about. He was
broad-shouldered and erect, and I was piqued to find him, for all his
iron-grey hair, five years younger than myself. His name was--never
mind; but I know it. His profession was given as publicist--as though he
were Mr. ARNOLD WHITE or Sir HENRY NORMAN, although, for all I know, Sir
HENRY NORMAN may by now be a Brigadier-General. His reasons for visiting
England, given in English, were in connection with his profession. But
after that his English broke down; for when it came to the question what
was his sex, how do you think he had answered it? I consider that his
solution of the difficulty was an ample reward to me--and to you, if you
too have any taste in terminological exactitude--for my fracture of a
social convention. The word he had wanted was either "male" or
"masculine"; but they had evaded him. He had then cast about for English
terminology associated with men, and had thought vaguely of master and
mister. The result was that the line ran thus:--"Sex: Masterly."

And, looking at the publicist's _soigné_ moustache and firm jaw and
broad hands, I could believe it. But what an inspiration! And, dear me!
what will the Panks, if there are any left, say?

       *       *       *       *       *

    "To Teachers and Business Ladies. Heathful Holiday in North
    Wales; brainy air."

    _Provincial Paper._

Think what it has done for Mr. LLOYD
GEORGE.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _The Judge_. "Three years."

_Optimistic Prisoner_: "Couldn't you make it 'three years or the
duration of the War,' me lud?"]

       *       *       *       *       *

IDENTIFICATION.

How often the kind of thing occurs that I am about to describe!

Four or five summers ago, before the world went mad, I was on one of
DAVID MACBRAYNE'S steamers on the way to a Scotch island. Among the few
passengers was an interesting man, with whom I fell into conversation.
He was a vigorous, bulky, very tall man, with a pointed grey beard and a
mass of grey hair under a panama, and he was bound, he told me, for a
well-known fishing-lodge, whither he went every August. He had been a
great traveller and knew Persia well; he had also been in Parliament,
and one of his sons was in the siege of Mafeking. So much I remember of
his affairs; but his name I did not learn. We talked much about books,
and I put him on to DOUGHTY'S _Arabia Deserta_.

I have often thought of him since and wondered who he was, and whenever
I have met fishermen or others likely to be acquainted with this
attractive and outstanding personality I have asked about him; but never
with success. And then last week I seemed really to be on the track, for
I found that my new neighbour in the country has also had the annual
custom of spending a fortnight or so in the same Scotch island, and he
claims to know everyone who ever visits that retired spot.

So this is what happened.

"If you're so old an islander as that," I said, "you're the very person
to solve the problem that I have carried about for four or five years.
There's a man who fishes regularly up there"--and then I described my
fellow-passenger. "Tell me," I said, "who he is."

He considered, knitting his brows.

"You're sure you're right in saying he is unusually tall?" he inquired
at last.

"Absolutely," I replied.

"That's a pity," he said, "because otherwise it might be Sir GERALD
ORPINGTON. Only he's short. Still, he was in Parliament right enough.
But, of course, if it was a tall man it's not Orpington."

He considered again.

"You say," he remarked, "that he had been in Persia? Now old Jack
Beresford is tall enough and has plenty of hair, but I swear he's never
been to Persia, and of course he hasn't a son at all. It's very odd.
Describe him again."

I described my man again, and he followed every point on his fingers.

"Well," he said, "I could have sworn I knew every man who ever fished at
Blank, but this fellow---- Oh, wait a minute! You say he is tall and
bulky and had travelled, and his son was in the Boer War, and he has
been in Parliament? Why, it must be old Carstairs. And yet it can't be.
Carstairs was never married and was never in Parliament."

He pondered again.

Then he said, "You're sure it wasn't a clean-shaven bald man with a
single eyeglass?"

"Quite," I said.

"Because," he went on, "if he had been it would have been old Peterson
to the life."

"He wasn't bald or clean-shaven," I said.

"You're sure he said Blank?" he inquired after another interval of
profound thought.

"Absolutely," I replied.

"Tell me again what he was like. Tell me exactly. I know every one up
there; I must know him."

"He was a vigorous, bulky, very tall man," I said, "with a pointed beard
and a mass of grey hair under a panama; and he went to Blank every
August. He had been a great traveller and knew Persia; he had been in
Parliament, and one of his sons was in the siege of Mafeking."

"I don't know him," he said.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Foreign gentleman desires English lady to correct him, during
    one hour every morning, from 9 to 10."--_Bournemouth Daily
    Echo._

There is one foreigner whom innumerable English ladies would be
delighted to correct; but he is no gentleman.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Hostess (alluding to latest photograph of herself)._
"Well, dear, do you think it's like me?"

_Polite little Girl._ "Well, I don't think it has made you look
quite--quite--grown up enough."]

       *       *       *       *       *

"BIOLOGY AT THE FRONT."

_To the Editor of "The Times."_

SIR,--I am encouraged by reading the very interesting letter which
appeared in your issue of May 29th under the heading, "Biology at the
Front," and dealt with the habit acquired by French poultry of imitating
the sound of flying shells, to relate an experience which recently
befell me. I was seated at breakfast "Somewhere in France," and had
ordered, as is my custom, a boiled egg. When it was brought to me I
proceeded to open it by giving it a smart tap. The egg immediately
exploded with a loud report, and the contents were scattered in all
directions. Those at table with me at once threw themselves prostrate on
the ground, and one, whose olfactory nerves were excessively developed,
exhibited every symptom of being gassed. On questioning the innkeeper we
learnt that the egg had been laid some weeks before by a hen in the
neighbourhood of the Front. I had previously noticed that it was
elongated in shape, the small end being pointed and the base end nearly
flat, while the whole was cased in a shell.

The continuance of this imitative habit would be a strange perpetual
memorial of the Great War--particularly for Pacificist politicians.

Yours, &c., Darwinian.

_The Ashpit, Egham._

       *       *       *       *       *

WAR'S SURPRISES.

The Poet.

  My gifted nephew Eric
    Till just before the War
  Was steeped in esoteric
    And antinomian lore,
  Now verging on the mystic,
  Now darkly symbolistic,
  Now frankly Futuristic,
    And modern to the core.

  Versed in the weird grivoiserie
    Affected by VERLAINE,
  And charmed by the chinoiserie
    Of MARINETTI'S strain,
  In all its multiplicity
  He worshipped eccentricity,
  And found his chief felicity
    In aping the insane.

  And yet this freak ink-slinger,
    When England called for men,
  Straight ceased to be a singer
    And threw away his pen,
  Until, with twelve months' training
  And six months' hard campaigning,
  The lure of paper-staining
    Has vanished from his ken.

  For now his former crazes
    He utterly eschews;
  The world on which he gazes
    Has lost its hectic hues;
  No more a bard crepuscular
  Who writes in script minuscular,
  He only woos the muscular
    And military Muse.

  Transformed by contact hourly
    With heroes simple-souled,
  He looks no longer sourly
    On men of normal mould,
  But, purged of mental vanity
  And erudite inanity,
  The clay of his humanity
    Is turning fast to gold.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "THE ROAD TO RAGDAD."

    _Provincial Paper._

Not even LITTLE WILLIE could think of a better way.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "SECOND-HAND HEARSE Wanted; body must be up to date and
    reasonable."

    _Bristol Times and Mirror._

And not insist on a brand-new outfit.

       *       *       *       *       *

WITHOUT PREJUDICE.

[Illustration: Ferdie. "I HOPE I DON'T INTRUDE?"

Tino. "OH, NO! MAKE YOURSELF AT HOME. THIS IS LIBERTY HALL."]

       *       *       *       *       *

ESSENCE OF PARLIAMENT.

_Monday, May 29th._--When Mr. ANDERSON alleged that a certain firm,
desirous of getting its employés exempted, had "hospitably entertained"
the members of the local tribunal at its works, we felt that we were on
the fringe of a grave scandal. A picture of the tribunal replete with
salmon and champagne rose before the mind's eye. But when we learned
from the Ministerial reply that the refreshment alluded to consisted of
"tea and bread-and-butter" the vision faded away. Those innocent viands
could not connote corruption.

_À propos_ of tribunals, the House learned with delight that the
military representative at Middlesbrough is Mr. HUSTLER HUSTLER.
Obviously the Government have at last discovered "the man of push and
go" for whom they were looking a year ago.

Mr. MCKENNA was a little short-tempered this afternoon. He first
descended heavily upon Mr. SAMUEL SAMUEL, who had suggested that it was
time to issue another War Loan, instead of borrowing so heavily upon
Treasury Bills. The hon. member, he declared, had no right to speak for
that mysterious entity, "the City." When Sir F. BANBURY, who indubitably
has that right, endorsed Mr. SAMUEL'S appeal, Mr. MCKENNA took refuge
under a point of order--rather an exiguous form of shelter for a
Minister of the Crown.

[Illustration: Has Lord Kitchener, in his passionate desire to encourage
the Volunteers, ever thought of the untapped resources of the Tower of
London?]

_Tuesday, May 30th._--The uncertainty of the Volunteers as to whether
they are regarded by the War Office as a very present help in time of
trouble or as a confounded nuisance will hardly be removed by Lord
KITCHENER'S speech. True he said many nice things about them, and
particularly about the behaviour of the Dublin corps during the
insurrection, but when it came to a tangible recognition of their
usefulness he had very little to offer. All the money available was
required for the Army. The Volunteers must be content with such
part-worn equipment and old-fashioned weapons as he could find them.

On the Consolidated Fund Bill Mr. FELL and other Members for East Anglia
represented very poignantly the woes inflicted upon their constituencies
by the air and sea raids. Fishermen and lodging-house keepers were alike
deprived of their livelihood. Could not the Government do something for
them, either by billeting soldiers or by direct grants-in-aid?

Mr. HAYES FISHER in reply exuded sympathy at every pore. The previous
speakers had, as he said, painted "a deplorable picture of gloom," and
he laid on the colours from an even more opulent palette. But on the
question of actual relief he was painfully indefinite. Billeting--that
was a question for the War Office; grants--they were a matter for the
Treasury. The East Anglers who thought their fish safely hooked had to
go away empty.

_Wednesday, May 31st._--Not content with having laid sacrilegious hands
on the clock, the Government have now deranged the calendar and kicked
Whit-Monday into August. But it is all in the good cause of piling up
shells against the Bosches, so the House cheerfully approved the PRIME
MINISTER'S announcement.

For some days there have been rumours of an impending attack upon Lord
KITCHENER, to be led by Colonel CHURCHILL. Perhaps that was why Mr.
TENNANT, who moved the Vote for the War Office, decided to get his blow
in first. His short speech began with a jibe at his critic's strategical
omniscience, though it is not true that he referred to him as "the right
hon. and recently gallant gentleman"; proceeded with a denial of most of
his assumptions, and ended with a high tribute to LORD KITCHENER'S
prevision in raising a great army to cope with a long war.

Colonel CHURCHILL did not pick up the gage thus ostentatiously thrown
down, but some of his friends were less discreet, and developed a
close-range assault upon LORD KITCHENER. The PRIME MINISTER is never
seen to greater advantage than when he is defending a colleague, and he
declared that the WAR SECRETARY was personally entitled to the credit
for the amazing expansion of the army.

Unofficial tributes were not wanting. Sir MARK SYKES asserted that in
Germany the WAR SECRETARY was feared as a great organiser, while in the
East his name was one to conjure with; and Sir GEORGE REID declared that
his chief fault was that he was "not clever at circulating the cheap
coin of calculated civilities which enable inferior men to rise to
positions to which they are not entitled."

_Thursday, June 1st_.--In moving that the House should at its rising
adjourn until June 20th, the PRIME MINISTER felt it necessary to remove
any impression that the Government, while asking everybody else to
sacrifice their Whitsun holiday, were themselves going junketing.

Like Old TOM MORRIS, who rebuked a would-be Sunday golfer by saying "if
you don't want your Sabbath rest the links do," he pointed out that the
continuous sittings of the House threw a double burden not only upon
Ministers--one of whom, Mr. RUNCIMAN, has unhappily broken down--but
also upon the permanent officials. Even Members of Parliament, he slily
added, might be under a misapprehension in supposing that constant
attendance at the House was the best way in which they could discharge
their duty to their country in time of war.

The Nationalist Members are doing their best to "give LLOYD GEORGE a
chance." True, they ask an inordinate number of questions arising out of
the hot Easter week in Dublin--when, according to the local wit, it was
"'98 in the shade"--but otherwise they have sternly repressed any
tendency to factiousness. Yesterday, when a freelance sought to move the
adjournment of the House in order to denounce the continuance of martial
law in Ireland, not a single other Member rose to support him; and
to-day, though Mr. DILLON could not resist the temptation to make a
speech on the same subject, he showed a refreshing restraint.

Only once--when he declared that "if you can reach the hearts of the
Irish people you can do anything with them; but they will not be driven,
and you cannot crush them"--did his voice approach that painfully high
pitch which irreverent critics have been known to describe as "Sister
Mary Jane's top-note."

Mr. ASQUITH in reply was sympathetic but firm. The Government were not
deaf to the plea for leniency which had been addressed to them by all
Irish representatives, by Sir EDWARD CARSON as well as by Mr. REDMOND.
But they could not give an undertaking that there should be an end of
the courts-martial. As for the persons deported from Ireland, for whom
Mr. DILLON had specially appealed, it would be more humane in their own
interests not to bring them to trial at once, for that would mean a crop
of convictions and sentences which would increase instead of allaying
the alleged irritation in Ireland.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Doctor_ (_examining recruit_). "And do you always
stutter like that?"

_Recruit_. "N-n-no, Sir. Only w-w-w-when I t-t-talk."]

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. JOHN O'CONNOR developed a really ingenious argument. To show that
martial law ought now to be dropped he mentioned that if he attempted to
hold a recruiting meeting in his constituency his life would not be
worth half-an-hour's purchase. Members who were thinking of spending the
recess in Ireland were greatly impressed.

       *       *       *       *       *

AT THE PLAY.

"Fishpingle."

_Sir Geoffrey Pomfret_, "that almighty man, the county god," claimed to
exercise the same divine right over the souls of his village that he
exercised, in the matter of breeding, over the bodies of his cattle and
pigs. Nothing, I think, has brought the present War more closely home to
my bosom than the humours of this feudal relic--taken in all seriousness
by everyone, including the author. It seems almost inconceivable that
Mr. VACHELL's play deals with conditions that still survived only a few
years ago. Yet the Squire's devotion to the science of eugenics
establishes its date as quite recent. It was his sole taint of
modernity; and indeed where his own son's marriage was concerned he
omitted to apply his scientific principles, and made a choice for him in
which no regard was paid to eugenics, but only to established social
traditions.

At first the play opened up prospects of a pleasant gaiety. A love
scene, conducted in a rich Western brogue, between the _Squire_'s
footman and his still-room maid, and the embarrassment caused by her
eagerness to learn the philosophy of "eujanics," were full of promise.
It was confirmed by the appearance of Mr. AINLEY, whose manner reminded
us of his many triumphs in the art of eccentric detachment. His
part--the title-rôle--was that of _Sir Geoffrey's_ faithful butler, on
such familiar, though respectful, terms with his master that the two
sipped port together in the former's room in broad daylight while
discussing family matters. They took an unconscionable time about it,
but, as I said, it promised well. However, Mr. VACHELL had other designs
than our mere amusement. We were not to have our comedy without paying
for it with our heart's blood. Very soon the shadow of melodramatic
pathos and mystery crept over the sunny scene. _Fishpingle_ takes a box
from a cupboard and glances at a miniature and a bundle of letters.
There is illegitimacy in the air, and a lady near me in the stalls
confides to her neighbour that "he's the _Squire's_ half-brother." I
can't think where she got her information, for the rest of us never
learned the facts of the mystery till the very end of the evening, and
even then the details of _Fishpingle's_ origin only transpired (as they
say) under extreme pressure arising out of his dismissal by his master
on the strength of a violent disagreement about fundamentals.

_Sir Geoffrey's_ father, it seems, had before his marriage run away with
a girl not of his own rank, who had generously refused to spoil the
family tree by marrying him; and _Fishpingle_ was the result. You might
judge from the peculiarity of his surname that the matter was taken
lightly by his parents. But you would be wrong. His mother died when he
was born, and his first name (for I cannot call it a Christian name) was
_Benoni_, which, being interpreted, means "the child of sorrow." _Sir
Geoffrey's_ grandmother, who had discouraged the legal adjustment of the
relationship between the lovers, had tried to repair matters by
educating _Fishpingle_ above the obscurity of his irregular birth; hence
his comparative erudition, rare in a butler.

[Illustration: THE BREED OF THE POMFRETS.

_Fishpingle_ (_to himself_). "How anybody can fail to see the
extraordinary family likeness between us I cannot imagine."

_Fishpingle_.... Mr. Henry Ainley.

_Sir Geoffrey Pomfret_. Mr. Allan Aynesworth.]

Now the opening of the play had put me into a mood which was not the
right one for the reception of this extract from a deplorable past. Some
comedies would be all the better for a little tragic relief; but this
was too much. Mr. VACHELL had no business to give his play a title like
_Fishpingle_. He should have called it "Nature's Nobleman, or The
Tragical Romance of a Faithful Butler's Birth," and then I might have
known what to expect. As it was I felt aggrieved. It was not, of course,
a question of asking for my money back at the doors (critics, to be just
to them, never do this in the case of a complimentary seat), but I felt
I had a right to protest against this attempt to harrow my
heart-strings, attuned as they were to the key of comedy, with a painful
drama dating back to more than half a century before the rise of the
curtain, and with its chief actors all dead. And the irritating mystery
in which it was wrapped only made things worse. Further, I suffered a
considerable strain on both my head and my heart in consequence of
obscure hints (vaguely involving a photograph on his mantelpiece) as to
the reason why _Fishpingle_ remained a bachelor to the bitter end.

But I am ashamed to appear flippant, for Mr. AINLEY played with
exquisite feeling and a fine sincerity. And I have to thank Mr. VACHELL
for giving us some excellent studies of character--not character
developed before our eyes by circumstance (except perhaps a little at
the last), but admirably observed as a kind of fixture to be taken with
the house.

And if the play is not quite on the high level of Mr. GALSWORTHY'S _The
Eldest Son_, which it faintly recalls, it is much more worthy of Mr.
VACHELL'S gifts than the poor thing, _Penn_, which died so young. Also
he is very much more fortunate this time in his cast. Miss MARION TERRY,
as _Lady Pomfret_, was a pattern of sweet graciousness; and Mr. ALLAN
AYNESWORTH was at his happiest as _Sir Geoffrey_. And the two pairs of
lovers, Mr. CYRIL RAYMOND and Miss MAUD BELL above stairs, and Mr.
REGINALD BACH and Miss DORIS LYTTON below (they were really all of them
on the ground floor, the butler's room being the common trysting-place),
served as delightful examples of natural selection--both on their own
part and that of the management--and were as fresh and healthy as the
most eugenical could desire.

O. S.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Daddy Long-Legs."

_Daddy Long-Legs_ is a pleasant American sentimental comedy made by JEAN
WEBSTER out of her very jolly book, and not so sticky as some of our
importations of the same general type. The four Acts are phases in the
development of _Judy_ (or _Jerusha_) _Abbott_, orphan; and, as normally
happens in book-plays, development is extremely abrupt. Act I. shows us
_Judy_ as the drudge of the orphanage breaking into flame of rebellion
on the day of the visit of the trustees. Naturally the trustees are all
trustees _pour rire_, except one real good rich man, _Jervis Pendleton_,
who admires the orphan's spirit, and decides that she is to have her
chance at his charges; but is on no account to know her benefactor.

In Act II., a year later, _Judy_ is not merely the most popular but the
best dressed girl in her college. She still dreams about her unknown
benefactor, whom she calls _Daddy Long-Legs_, and assumes to be a hoary
old man. _Pendleton_ comes to Commem., or its equivalent, to have a peep
at his ward, and loses his heart. In the Third Act, three years later,
our heroine is a famous author, and _Pendleton_, coming (still incog.)
to propose, is refused by a _Judy_ who has taken to worrying unduly (and
not altogether convincingly, if you ask me) about her lack of family.
And, of course, in Act IV., wedding bells.

Miss RENÉE KELLY has a charming personality, and a smile which alone is
worth going to see. She trounced the matron and the incredible trustees
with a fierce fury, and seemed to have easy command of the changes of
mood and tense which her fast-moving circumstances required. A pretty
twinkling star. Mr. CHARLES WALDRON is a skilful actor. If he, perhaps,
grimaced a little too much by way of not letting us miss the obvious
points of the little mystery, he made as admirable a proposal of
marriage as I have ever heard on the stage (or off it for that matter,
with perhaps one exception); but to suppose that so accomplished a lover
would accept a mere mournful shake of the head as a final refusal is
simply too absurd. Miss FAY DAVIS made quite a little triumph of gentle
gracious kindliness out of one of those potentially tiresome explanatory
parts without which no mystifications can be contrived. Miss KATE JEPSON
is a comédienne of rich grain, and gave a very amusing study of the
hero's old nurse. Miss JEAN GADELL, that clever specialist in dour
unpleasant stage women, made a properly repulsive thing out of the
matron of the orphanage. Mr. HYLTON ALLEN scored his points as a comic
lover with droll effect. If the distinctly clever children of the home
(_Judy_ excepted) had been effectively put on the contraband list I
should not have worried. They were unduly noisy (for art, not for life
perhaps), and they overdid their parts, being not only rowdy in the
absence, and abject in the presence, of authority, but different kinds
of children--not merely the same children in two moods.

Altogether a pleasant play pleasantly and competently performed.

T.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "CABINET LEEKAGE."--Daily Paper.

Now why, we wonder, do they spell it that way?

       *       *       *       *       *

Alleged Cannibalism in the German Navy.

    "The prisoners got the same food as the submarine crew. Here is
    the bill of fare: Breakfast consisted of coffee, black bread,
    submarine commander and he pilot."

    _Provincial Paper._

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Jimmy Wilde, the fly-weight champion, took part in two contests
    at Woolwich on Saturday, winning them both with great ease.
    Darkey Saunders, Camberwell, was beaten in three
    months."--_Burton Daily Mail._

The reporter also seems to have been knocked out of time.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "If the area of the garden cannot be increased, the quantity and
    quality of the crops should be improved by the extra hour of
    daylight."--_The Times._

For this discovery our contemporary is hereby recommended for the famous
Chinese Order of the Excellent Crop.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "A letter sent on Friday saying, 'We are starting a central mess
    for 1,200 men on Monday,' and asking: 'Can you send cooks?'
    brings as a reply 24 trained women cooks, who roll up their
    sleeves and cook breakfast for the number stated inside 12
    hours!"

    _The Times._

What was breakfast to some must have been supper to others.

       *       *       *       *       *

MUSINGS ON MILK-CANS.

  When I travel up to London by an early morning train
  Or return into the country when the day is on the wane,
      At the smallest railway station
      There's a dreadful demonstration
  Which causes me unmitigated pain.

  I'm aware that milk is needed for our infant girls and boys;
  That it aids adult dyspeptics to regain "digestive poise";
      But I've never comprehended
      Why its transport is attended
  By the maximum of diabolic noise.

  I admit the railway porter who can deftly twirl a can
  In each hand along the platform is no ordinary man;
      But what kills me is the banging
      And the clashing and the clanging
  As he hurls them in or hauls them from the van.

  Now if some new material for these vessels could be found--
  Non-metallic and in consequence a silencer of sound--
      There would be within our borders
      Fewer nerve and brain disorders
  And more of moral uplift to go round.

  I know a dashing journalist, a credit to his trade,
  Who's always in the thick of it whenever there's a raid.
      Bombs of various sorts and sizes
      He describes and analyses,
  But he can't endure a long milk-cannonade.

  I've written to our Member, Dr. Philadelphus Snell,
  To ask a question in the House--I think he'd do it well--
      If our cows' nerves should be mangled
      By the way their milk is jangled;
  And, if he doesn't play, I'll try GINNELL.

       *       *       *       *       *

HEART-TO-HEART TALKS.

(_The German Emperor and the Crown Prince._)

_The German Emperor._ Sit down, won't you?

_The Crown Prince._ Oh, thanks, I rather prefer standing. One's legs get
so cramped in a motor-car.

_The G. E._ Sit down!

_The C. P._ Really, I----

_The G. E._ SIT DOWN!!

_The C. P._ Oh, if you're going to take it like that, I'll--yes, yes,
there I am. Are you happy now?

_The G. E._ I don't know why I tolerate this impertinence from a
whipper-snapper like you. If I did my duty----

_The C. P._ I know what you're going to say: if you did your duty you'd
have me arrested and packed off to prison. Isn't that it? Yes, I thought
so. You want to be like old FREDERICK WILLIAM. He had FREDERICK THE
GREAT sentenced to death, and, by Jove, he all but had the sentence
carried out too. It was a deuced near thing. FREDERICK WILLIAM was mad,
you know--as mad as a hatter, and----

_The G. E._ Stop it. I will not have you add to your other misdeeds the
crime of irreverence against one of the greatest and worthiest members
of our royal House.

_The C. P._ Well, it's my House as well as yours. I dare say you regret
that, but there it is, and you won't alter it by glaring at me and
threatening me with your moustache. I'm glare-proof and moustache-proof
by this time.

_The G. E._ What have I done to deserve such a son?

_The C. P._ If it comes to that there's another way of putting it. What
have _I_ done to deserve such a father?--that's what I might ask; but
I'm too respectful, too careful of your feelings. And what's my reward?
You're always nag-nag-nagging at me, morning, noon and night. Why can't
you give it a rest?

_The G. E._ This is beyond endurance. But it has always been the same
from the time you cut your teeth until now--no filial piety, no
consideration for your mother and me; only a cross-grained selfishness
and bad temper. What happened in India?

_The C. P._ Oh, if you're going over that old story again, I'm off.

_The G. E._ _Donnerwetter noch einmal!_ Sit still, I tell you. I say
again, what happened in India? You never thought of ingratiating
yourself with the native chiefs. You couldn't even keep your engagements
or be punctual. All you thought of was running after some girl whose
face happened to take your fancy. I might as well have kept you at home
or sent you to London. What a creature to be a Crown Prince!

_The C. P. (wearily)._ There you go again. But I protest against such
treatment. I'd far rather be back before Verdun with old VON HÄSELER
grandmothering me all over the place.

_The G. E._ I wonder you dare to mention the word Verdun in my presence.

_The C. P._ Why shouldn't I? I didn't appoint myself Commander of the
Verdun armies. You did that, and I've done my best to obey your orders
and those of the High Command. If the French fight well, and if we lose
thousands upon thousands of men, how am I responsible? Do be reasonable,
my respected father. It was you who wanted Verdun. You won't be happy
till you get it, and if you do get it now it won't be as useful as an
old shoe without a sole. Anyhow, I'm bearing the burden, and if we
succeed in breaking through it's you that will have the credit of it. If
Verdun falls you'll be there in double quick time to take the salute in
your shining----

_The G. E._ Silence, jackanapes!

_The C. P._ And if we don't get through poor old VON HÄSELER will have
to retire. You'll send him your photograph in a gold frame to console
him, just as you consoled BISMARCK. Pity there's no BISMARCK now.
However, we can't have everything, can we?

(_Left quarrelling._)

       *       *       *       *       *

    "A damaged Zeppelin was observed to descend in the Thames
    Estuary, and it surrendered on the approach of patrol goat."

    _The Journal (Calcutta)._

This incident is believed to be unique, but German submarines have no
doubt before now been accounted for by our naval rams.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "We give these things long words. We talk of the 'triumph of
    organisation.' Is it not simpler to say--that when a man knows
    exactly what he wants done, exactly how every part of it should
    be done, and can pick a man for each task, and apportion his
    requirements to what is possible; and then, by far the most
    important thing of all, can so deal with the many under his
    command that each is most furiously anxious to do what the
    leader wants--why then, things go right."--_Westminster
    Gazette._

The answer is in the negative.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "There is much matter for thinking over in the observations of
    this 'Student' who was at Sandhurst twelve years ago, and at
    Oxford later on, and seems to have got the best out of both
    forms of training--the unhasting and unresting labour of 'the
    Shop,' which aims only at making competent gunners and sappers,
    and the easy-going round of University life which enlarges one's
    sympathy and stimulates the imagination."--_Morning Paper._

Judging by his description of Sandhurst we think that the writer of the
above extract must also have been at Oxford, where the imagination gets
stimulated.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Farmer (who has got a lady-help in the dairy)._ "Ullo,
Missy, what in the would be ye doin'?"

_Lady._ "Well, you told me to water the cows and I'm doing it. They
don't seem to like it much."]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE GREAT NEUTRAL.

I am the Neutral Journalist who wanders round Europe. I am absolutely
impartial. I am absolutely trustworthy. My perfect integrity is vouched
for at the head of all my articles. Pleasant it is to come over to
London, sell one set of articles to the Boom Press and another to the
Gloom Press, and then sit down with smiling face and begin an article
for Germany: "I sit in a hovel amongst the ruins of Fleet Street, with
the wreck of the armoured fort of St. Paul's in view. I hear a stir
outside. A wild mob of conscientious objectors is beating a recruiting
officer to death. Such things happen hourly in defeated Albion." My
series of London, Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham--all in
ashes--has proved so successful that I propose to cover all the large
towns and construct a Baedeker of ruins.

Yet I pride myself more on my work for England's Press. My German
articles have all to be in the same vein. Only the Boom Press exists in
Germany. But in England one can vary one's view and do artistic work.
You must have read my story of the struggle for the last sausage in a
Frankfort butcher's shop--how the troops intervened and the crowd
attacked them, and how ultimately 1,400 civilians were mown down with
machine guns--and the sausage was eaten by the General Officer
commanding the Army Corps that suppressed the rising. You must also have
seen my description of the KAISER--his white hair, bent shoulders,
deathlike look as he passed, protected by his Guards from the wild fury
of the Berlin mob. Of course I have another KAISER, the bright smiling
man whose youth seems to have been renewed by the War, who waves his
hand to the madly enthusiastic crowds waiting round the Palace for a
glimpse of their divinity.

You must have read my secret interviews with distinguished Germans, who
whispered to me that HINDENBURG had thrown down his sword and declared
that if the useless slaughter did not cease he would march on Berlin. I
have told you their promises of bloody revolutions and fierce risings.
Also I have given you interviews with other distinguished Germans, who
confided to me that now Germany could turn out one submarine and one
Zeppelin every week-day and two on Sundays, and I have thrilled you with
the details of the great trade war which will come directly peace is
declared, when Germany will win back all her wealth by selling
everything fifty per cent. below cost.

How my dinners vary in that strange Teutonic land! I pay twenty marks
for two tiny slices of fish, a thin piece of indigestible potato bread,
and a section of rancid sausage. At other times I spend two marks and
get a delightful meal which could not be procured in a London restaurant
for five shillings. I walk through Berlin and see scarcely a cripple or
a wounded man. I let you know that ninety-five per cent. of German
wounded, owing to the skill of German doctors, go back to the Front in a
week. To other English readers I confide that all the maimed, wounded
and blind are sent into the very centre of Germany. There are huge
districts without a whole man in them.

Did you ask for the actual facts? I will give you one--and it is this:
the only persons in Germany whose waist-measurements have increased in
the War are the neutral journalists.

       *       *       *       *       *

OUR BOOKING-OFFICE.

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

In _Hearts of Alsace_ (SMITH, ELDER) your interest will be held less by
the actual story than by the profoundly moving and poignant picture that
Miss BETHAM-EDWARDS has drawn of life in the Reichsland under the
increasing burden of Prussian tyranny. It is a picture that one feels to
be absolutely true. The author writes of what she knows. This Alsatian
family--old _Jean Barthélemy_, the city father, crushed and embittered
by the fate of his loved Mulhouse; his two daughters and the circle of
their friends within the town--all live and move and look longingly
towards the West, as so many others must have done these forty and odd
years past. The plot, what there is of it, concerns the clandestine love
of _Claire_, the petted younger daughter of the Gley house, for an
officer in the conqueror's host, whom she had met during a visit to
Strasburg. _Claire_ marries her _Kurt_, a shady worthless knave, and, as
the book ends with the outbreak of war, is left to an unknown fate. Very
stirring are the chapters that tell of the tumult of emotion that broke
loose when the French guns were heard in Mulhouse; though here--as in
all those war stories whose only satisfactory end is the final confusion
of Kaiserdom--one feels that there is a chapter yet to be added. Miss
BETHAM-EDWARDS writes with all the vigour (I might add all the
garrulity) of intense personal feeling. Her book, as a race study, is a
real contribution to the literature of the War.

       *       *       *       *       *

These are days in which some measure of sacrifice is rightly considered
the common duty of everyone, so long as it is sacrifice with an object.
Perhaps this consideration gives me less patience with the preposterous
kind, which, as a motive in fiction, usually consists in the hero
inviting all and sundry to trample upon his prospects and reputation.
This is what the chief character in _Proud Peter_ (HUTCHINSON) did. He
began by allowing it to be supposed that he was the father of his
brother's illegitimate child, the bright peculiar fatuousness of which
pretence was that thereby the said brother was enabled to marry, and
break the heart of, the heroine, whom, of course, Peter himself adored.
Also, many years after, when the child, now an objectionable young man,
nay more, an actor, was pursuing another heroine with his unwelcome
attentions, he very nearly spiked _Peter's_ guns, on being threatened,
by exclaiming, "I am thy son"--or words to that effect. Fortunately,
however, there existed, as I had somehow known would be the case, a
signed photograph that put all that right. Why, I wonder, is Mr. W. E.
NORRIS always so sharp with the dramatic profession? Was it not in one
of his earlier stories that somebody quite seriously questions whether a
good actor can also be a good man? On the whole, as you may have
gathered, while I should call Proud Peter a comfortable tale of the
eupeptic type, I enjoyed it rather less than other stories from the same
facile pen.

       *       *       *       *       *

ARTHUR GREEN'S _The Story of a Prisoner of War_ (CHATTO AND WINDUS) can
be recommended to all who can still digest the uncooked facts. "I can
swear," he says, "that all that is written is Gospel truth," but without
any such assurance it would be impossible for even the most sceptical to
doubt the writer's honesty. Wounded and taken prisoner in August, 1914,
he suffered severely at the hands of the Germans, and his account of the
camp at Wittenburg does nothing to decrease one's loathing for that
pestilential spot. For many reasons it gives that a civilized race can
sink to such depths of cruelty and cowardice. Perhaps the only people to
whom it will give any comfort are those who have sent food and clothing
to our prisoners. But I am glad that this book came my way, because I
would choose to read facts of the War baldly written by a soldier rather
than any war fiction composed by imaginative civilians. "Of course I'm
not an author," he writes, and as far as grammar and spelling go it is
not for me to contradict him, but he has seen and suffered, and in these
days no one who has handled a bayonet need apologise for taking a turn
with a pen.

       *       *       *       *       *

Encouraged, no doubt, by the reception accorded to that cheery little
volume, _Minor Horrors of War_, its author, Dr. A. E. SHIPLEY, has now
followed it with an equally entertaining sequel in More Minor Horrors
(SMITH, ELDER). This deals more especially with the pests attached to
the Senior Service, and familiar to those who go down to the sea in
ships--the Cockroach, the Mosquito, the Rat, the Biscuit-Weevil and
others. Of each Dr. SHIPLEY has some pleasant word of instruction or
comment to say, in his own highly entertaining manner. I like, for
example, his remark about the mosquito (whose infinite variety is
recognised in no fewer than five chapters), that, if he could talk, the
burden of his song would be that of the guests at the dinner-party in
_David Copperfield_--"Give us blood!" And I found good omen in the
cockroach world on learning that _Periplaneta Orientalis_, or the common
English sort, has _P. Germanica_ thoroughly beat in the matter of
empire-building. In short, Dr. SHIPLEY'S second volume, like his first,
combines instruction with amusement, and is well worth its modest
eighteen-pence to those on land who may wish to learn about the intimate
associates of their dear ones who are defending them upon the sea.

       *       *       *       *       *

"In the Midst of Life----"

    "Good Greengrocer and Mixed Business, sure living; death cause
    of leaving."--_Provincial Paper._

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _The Author (dictating)._ "'The room was filled with
dynamite, gun-cotton, nitro-glycerine, cans of petrol and other high
explosives. A train of powder had been laid and was swiftly burning its
way to the heap of combustibles. Clarence, tied to a post, listened to
the retreating footsteps of the Huns, a smile of contempt curling his
sensitive nostrils.' Clarence is in a tight place, Miss Brown, and I
don't know yet how we'll get him out of it. Can you suggest anything?"

_Amanuensis (brightly)._ "Why not have peace proclaimed?"]





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