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Title: Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 150, March 15, 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, March 15, 1916" ***

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VOL. 150, MARCH 15, 1916***


PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI

VOL. 150

MARCH 15, 1916.



CHARIVARIA.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Zeppelin which was "winged" while flying over Kent last week has not
yet been found, and is believed to be still in hiding in the densely
wooded country between Maidstone and Ashford. Confirmation of this
report is supplied by a local farmer, who states that on three
successive nights the cat's supper has been stolen from his scullery
steps. This strange circumstance, considered in the light of the
Germans' inordinate passion for cats' meat, has gone far to satisfy the
authorities that the capture of the crippled monster is only a question
of time.

       ***

Mr. WILLIAM AIRD, in a lecture upon "Health, Disease and Economical
Living," insisted that we should all be much healthier if we lived on
"rabbit food." Possibly; but the vital question is--would not this diet
induce in us a tendency to become conscientious objectors?

       ***

"It is most necessary," stated a Manchester economics expert last week,
"that the Government should release more beef for civilian needs." Yet a
cursory view of the work done by the military tribunals seems to
indicate that they are releasing altogether too much.

       ***

A Chertsey pig-breeder has been granted total exemption. The pen, it
seems, is still mightier than the sword.

       ***

Some slight irritation has been caused by the announcement of Sir ALFRED
KEOGH that Naval men engaged on the home service cannot be supplied with
false teeth at the expense of the Government. Nevertheless we may rest
assured that, come what may, these gallant fellows will uphold the
traditions of the Navy and stick to their gums.

       ***

For many days past the condition of our streets has been really
lamentable owing to the fact that so many of our crossing-sweepers are
serving with the colours; and a painful report is going about that the
Government's object in recognizing the V. T. C. is at last becoming
apparent.

       ***

A prehistoric elephant has recently been discovered at Chatham and is
now mounted in the British Museum. In palæontological circles the report
that the monster's death was occasioned by the consumption of too much
seed-cake is regarded as going far to prove that our neolithic ancestors
were not without their sentimental side.

       ***

[Illustration: _Mistress._ "Well, Jones, I hope we shall get more out of
the garden this year. We had next to nothing last year."

Jones. "Ay--'twere they plaguey pheasants 'ad most on it last year."

_Mistress._ "If you ask me, I should say it was _two-legged_
pheasants!"]

       ***

From a Parliamentary report: "In his reply Mr. Asquith stated that the
'Peace Book' which was being prepared to meet problems which would arise
after the War corresponded with the 'War Book' which was compiled years
ago in anticipation of the War." This ought to put heart into the enemy.

       ***

The Court of Appeal has decided that infants are liable to pay income
tax. It is reported that Sir JOHN SIMON is preparing a stinging
remonstrance.

       ***

The Turkish New Year has been officially postponed so as to begin on
March 14th, instead of on March 1st, as before. This simple but
satisfactory method of prolonging the existence of a moribund empire has
proved so successful that ENVER PASHA and a number of other Young Turks
have indefinitely postponed their next birthdays.

       ***

Up to the moment of writing there has been no confirmation of the report
that Turkey has given her consent to the making of a separate peace by
Germany on account of the economic exhaustion of the latter country.

       *       *       *       *       *

Extract from letter to _The Westminster Gazette_:--

    "'M.D.' cannot have studied dietetics, or he would know that far
    greater strength and endurance are produced by a fruit and herb
    diet than by what is termed a 'mixed diet,' e.g., the elephant,
    the horse and the gorilla."

In the circumstances it is fortunate that the scarcity of gorillas puts
them out of the reach of all but millionaire _gourmets_.

       *       *       *       *       *

ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS.

"HORSE MARINE."--You say you are intrigued about _The Evening News_
poster, which announced

    "ASQUITH ON A MORATORIUM,"

and you are curious to know more about this animal. We have pleasure in
informing you that it is distantly related to the megatherium, and,
since the extinction of the latter, has been very generally used for
hack purposes. The PREMIER may be seen any morning in the Park taking a
canter on one of these superb mammals.

"WINSTONIAN."--The rumour that Colonel the late First Lord of the
Admiralty has offered himself the command of a mine-sweeper or,
alternatively, of a platoon in the 1/100 battalion of the Chilterns,
lacks confirmation.

"PEER OF THE REALM."--We agree with you in regretting that Lord FISHER
was unable to accept Lord BERESFORD'S invitation to come and hear him
speak in your House about the Downing Street sandwichmen and other
collateral subjects arising out of the Air Service debate. You will be
glad however to know that Lord FISHER'S absence was not due to
indisposition, but to a previous engagement to take tea on the Terrace
with Mr. BALFOUR.

"A LOVER OF THE ANTIQUE."--Your idea of making a collection of
antebellum fetishes is a happy one. Examples of the Little Navy and
Voluntary System fetishes are now rather rare, but you should have no
difficulty in securing a well-preserved specimen of the Free Trade
fetish at the old emporium of antiquities kept by the firm of John Simon
and Co.

"A SINGLE MAN."--When you say that you are forty years old, that you
have practically built up a business which will be ruined if you leave
it, that you are the sole support of a stepmother and a family of young
half-brothers and sisters, but that you have felt it your duty to attest
without appealing for exemption, we applaud your patriotism. But, when
you go on to complain that your neighbour, aged twenty-two, living in
idleness on an allowance, and married to a chorus-girl still in her
teens and childless, should be free to decline service if he chooses (as
he does), we cannot but disapprove of your irreverent and almost immoral
attitude towards the holy condition of matrimony. If the tie of wedlock
is not to take precedence of every other tie, including that of country,
where are we?

"A CRY FROM MACEDONIA."--In answer to your question as to when we think
it likely that the KAISER will take advantage of his recently-conferred
commission in the Bulgarian Army and lead his regiment against Salonika,
we are unable to fix a date for this movement. Our private information
is that he is detained elsewhere by a previous engagement which is
taking up more time than was anticipated.

"BULGAR."--We sympathise with you in your natural desire to have your
TSAR FERDINAND home again, and we share your sanguine belief that the
tonic air of Sofia (never more bracing than at the present moment) ought
speedily to cure him of his malignant catarrh. His Austrian physicians
however advise him to remain away, and he himself holds the view,
coloured a little by superstition, that his return should be at least
postponed till after the Ides of March, a day that was fatal to the
health of an earlier Cæsar.

"YOUNG TURK."--Your anxiety about ENVER PASHA is groundless. The news
that he has been recently seen at the PROPHET'S Tomb at Medina conveyed
no indication that the object of his visit was to select a neighbouring
site for his own burial. Indeed, our information is that since his
recent assassination (as reported from Athens) he has been going on
quite as well as could be expected.

O. S.

       *       *       *       *       *

BUILDING WITHOUT TEARS.

The enthralling correspondence in the columns of our contemporary, _The
Spectator_, on the subject of cheap cottages and how to build them, has
evoked a vast amount of correspondence addressed directly to us. We
select a few specimens which are recommended by their practical and
businesslike character:--

The Merits of "Posh."

DEAR SIR,--The question of Land Settlement after the War resolves itself
in the last resort into the employment of cheaper methods of cottage
building. Will you allow me to put in a word for the revival, in the
neighbourhood of the sea, of the old Suffolk plan of building with what
is locally known as "posh," after the name of the original inventor, who
was an ancestor of FITZGERALD'S friend. "Posh" is a mixture of old
boots--of which a practically unlimited supply can be found on the
beaches of seaside resorts--and seaweed, boiled into a jelly, allowed to
solidify, and then frozen hard in cold storage. "Posh" is not only (1)
impenetrable but also (2) hygienic, the iodine in the seaweed lending it
a peculiarly antiseptic quality, and (3) picturesque, the colour of the
compound being a dark purple, which is exceedingly pleasing to the eye.
Lastly, the cost of production is slight, as the raw material can be
obtained for nothing, and the compound can be sawn into blocks or bricks
to suit the taste of the tenant. I am convinced that cottages of "posh"
could be built for less than a hundred pounds a-piece; and at that
figure cheap housing becomes a practical proposition.

I am, Sir, yours faithfully,

Decimus Dexter.


"Stooting" and "Marmash."

DEAR SIR,--The choice of material matters little so long as it is
properly treated. Any sort of earth will do, or, failing earth, a
mixture of ashes with a little mustard and marmalade, the waste of which
in most households is prodigious. But it must be properly pounded and
allowed to set in a frame. For the former process there is no better
implement than the old Gloucestershire stoot, or stooting-mallot, or in
the alternative a disused niblick. The earth, or the "marmash" mixture,
as I have christened it, should be poured into a bantle-frame--which can
be made by any village carpenter--and vigorously pounded for about three
hours. Then another bantle-frame is placed on the first, and the process
is repeated. No foundation is required for walls erected by the plan of
stooting, but a damp-course of mulpin is advisable, and it is always
best to pingle the door-jambs, and binge up the rafters with a
crumping-block.

I am, Sir, yours obediently,

Mungo Stallibrass.


The Beauty of "Bap."

DEAR SIR,--When I was an under-graduate at Balliol more years ago than I
care to remember, I not only took part in the road-making experiment
carried out under RUSKIN's supervision, but assisted in the erection of
a model cottage, the walls of which were made of "bap," a compound which
is still used in parts of Worcestershire. The receipt is very simple.
You mix clinkers, wampum and spelf in equal quantities and condense the
compound by hydraulic pressure. I have a well-trained hydraulic ram who
is capable of condensing enough "bap" in twenty-four hours to provide
the materials for building six four-roomed cottages. I am sorry to say
that the "bap" cottage at Hinksey was washed away by a flood a few years
ago, and the spot where it stood is no longer identifiable. But the
facts are as I have stated them.

Truly yours, Roland Phibson.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE JUNIOR PARTNERS.

[Illustration: Ferdie. "THINGS SEEM TO BE AT A STANDSTILL IN MY
DEPARTMENT."

Sultan. "I ONLY WISH I COULD SAY THE SAME OF MINE."]

       *       *       *       *       *

AT THE FRONT.

I wonder if the chap who first thought out this shell business realized
the extraordinary inconvenience it would cause to gentlemen at rest
during what the Photographic Press alludes to as "a lull in the
fighting."

Once upon a time billets were billets. You came into such, and
thereafter for a spell of days forgot about the War unless you got an
odd shell into the kitchen. But now--well, about noon on the first day's
rest, seventy odd batteries of our 12, 16, and 24 inch guns set about
their daily task of touching up a selected target, say a sap-head or
something new from Unter den Linden in spring barbed-wirings which has
been puzzling a patrol. This is all right in its way; but the Hun still
owns one or two guns opposite us. And by 12.5 all is unquiet on the
Western Front. This is all right in its way; but about 3 P.M. the Hun is
roused to the depths of his savage nature, and one wakes up to find
Hildebrand and Hoffelbuster, the two guns told off to attend to our
liberty area, scattering missiles far and wide, but mostly wide, and a
covey of aeroplanes bombing the local cabbageries. This again is all
right in its way, but in the meantime the mutual noise further up the
line has become so loud that Someone very far back and high up catches
the echo of it, and a bare hour later we receive the order to stand-to
at once, ready to move off twenty minutes ago.

Within three minutes of our first stand-to I was up with the company,
hastily but adequately mobilized with my servant's rifle, five smoke
helmets, (I took all I could see; this is _camaraderie_), a biscuit, the
Indispensable Military Pocket Book (8 in. by 10 in.), a revolver
(disqualified for military uses owing to absence of ammunition), Russian
Picture Tales, and a tooth-brush. I find a general opinion prevalent in
the company that "if Fritz knew _we_ was standing-to 'e'd pack in." Word
must have come through to Fritz somehow, for he shortly packs in--say
about 1 A.M.--and we follow suit after the news has spent a couple or
hours or so flashing round the wires in search of us. And we go to sleep
until to-morrow midday, when the day's play begins again.

When we had been thus "rested" for some days we went and took over a
nice new line, with lots of funny bits in it. The front line had three
bits.

_Left sector_--Mine (exploded; possibly held by Bosch on far side).

_Central sector_--Mine? (unexploded; not held by Bosch anywhere).

_Right sector_--Mine (exploded; possibly held by Bosch on far side).

Our position seemed a little problematical. The left and right we
satisfied ourselves about at once, but the centre was in a class by
itself. We demanded an investigator, somebody with wide mine-sweeping
experience preferred.

About 2 A.M. on our first day in, a figure loomed up through a
snow-storm from the back of the central trench and asked forlornly if
there might be any mines hereabouts. We admitted there might be, or
again there might not. He questioned us precisely where it was
suspected, and we told him "underneath." He scratched his head and
announced that he was sent to look for it. His qualifications consisted
apparently in his having coal-mined. But he seemed confident of
detecting the quicker combustion sort, until he asked for necessary
impedimenta. It seems that no good collier can detect an H.E. or any
sort of mine without a pail of water, and a hole about 2,000 feet deep,
and a pulley, and a rope ladder and a bratting-slat.

It's true we had some good holes in parts of the trench, where you
probably go down 2,000 feet if you step off the footboards, and the rest
of the stuff we might have contrived to improvise. But for the moment we
had somehow run clean out of bratting-slats.

So we had to return the poor fellow with a request that all experts
should be completed with bratting-slats before being sent to the front
line. This request only produced the senseless interrogation, "What _is_
a bratting-slat?" to which we have not yet bothered to reply. In the
meantime if we are really sitting on a mine it seems quite a tame one.
It hasn't as much as barked yet.

Just in our bit we aren't very well off for dug-outs; it isn't really
what you'd call a representative sector from any point of view. But
during a blizzard the other night a messenger who had mislaid himself
took us for a serious trench. He made his way along, looking to right
and left for some seat of authority until he came to a hole in the
parados, two feet by one, where some fortunate fellow had ejected an
ammunition box and was attempting to boil water on a night-light. The
messenger bent low and asked huskily--

"Is this 'ere comp'ny edquarters?"

The water-boiler looked up. "No," he replied, "it ain't. It's G.H.Q.,
but DUGGIE 'AIG ain't at 'ome to no one this evenin'."

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _First Tommy_. "The C.O.'s recommended you for a V.C"

_Second Tommy_ (_half asleep and thinking of C.B._). "Oh lumme! What
'ave I done now?"]

       *       *       *       *       *

    "GERMANS' TERRIBLE LOSSES.

    WHOLE CORPS WIPED OUT.

    BY LORD NORTHCLIFFE."

    _Belfast News Letter._

Yet, with commendable modesty, his lordship said nothing about this in
his recent despatch.

       *       *       *       *       *

_The Daily News_ reports the case of a conscientious objector at York
who said he could not take life--he "would not even eat an egg." We
ourselves have conscientious objections to that sort of egg.

       *       *       *       *       *

OFFICERS' INSTRUCTION CLASS.

[Illustration: _First Boy_. "I say, your dad seems to be getting it
pretty hot."

_Second Boy_. "Well, you see, this is his first war."]

       *       *       *       *       *

TO THE KING OF SPAIN.

YOUR MAJESTY, There is a little village in England nestling among wooded
hills. It has sent forth its bravest and best from cottage and farm and
manor-house to fight for truth and liberty and justice. The news of
grievous wounds and still more grievous deaths, of men missing and
captured, comes often to that quiet hamlet, and the roll of honour in
the little grey stone church grows longer and longer. In the big house
on the hill, at sunrise and at sunset, the young Lady of the Manor
stands at the bedside of her little son, and hears him lisp his simple
prayers to God, and they always end like this:--

    "And God bless Father and Mother and Nurse, and send Father back
    soon from his howwid prison in Germany. And God bless 'specially
    the dear King of SPAIN, who found out about Father. Amen."

The kings of the earth have many priceless possessions; they are able to
confer upon each other various glittering orders of merit and
distinction; but we doubt if any one of them has a dearer possession or
a more genuine order of merit than this simple prayer of faith and
gratitude offered at sunrise and at sunset on behalf of Your Majesty by
the bedside of a little English child.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE OLD SOLDIER.

By a "Temporary" Sub.

  There are some men--and such is Jones--
    Who love to vent their antique spleens
  On any subaltern that owns
  He's not a soldier in his bones
      (_I'_m not, by any means);
  Who fiercely watch us drill our men
  And tell us things were different when
  (In, I imagine, 1810)
      They joined the Blue Marines.

  I like them not, yet I affect
    That air of awed humility
  Which I should certainly expect,
  If I were old and medal-deck'd,
      From young men under me;
  But when they hint their wondrous wit
  Is what has made them feel so fit
  To do their military bit,
      I simply can't agree.

  I said to Jones--or should have said
    But feared the Articles of War--
  "You must not think you have a head
  Because you know from A to Z
      This military lore,
  By years of study slowly gat
  (And somewhat out-of-date at that),
  When lo, I had the whole thing pat
      In six small months--not more."

  Maybe the mystic art appals
    Unlearned souls of low degrees,
  But men to whom the high Muse calls,
  Men who are good enough for Smalls,
      Imbibe it all with ease;
  While where would Jones, I wonder, be
  If someone took the man for me
  And asked him for some _jeu d'esprit_,
      A few bright lines (like these)?

  Possibly Jones will one day tire
    Of fours and fights and iron shards,
  Will seize his pencil and aspire
  To court the Muse and match the fire
      Of us poetic cards;
  Then I shall mock his meagre strain
  And gaily make the moral plain,
  How barren is the soldier's brain
      Compared with any bard's.

       *       *       *       *       *

A QUESTION OF THE NUDE.

They scrambled into the carriage in a tremendous hurry, all talking at
once at the tops of their voices, all very excited and very dirty. They
had mud on their boots which had evidently come from France, and their
overcoats had that rumpled appearance which distinguishes overcoats from
the Front from those merely in training.

There seemed to be about ten of them as they got into the train, but
when they had deposited various objects on the rack, such as rifles,
haversacks, and kit-bags like partially deflated airships, the number
resolved itself into three.

The compartment already contained--besides myself--a naval warrant
officer, reading _Freckles_ with a sentimental expression, and a large
leading seaman with hands like small hams and a peaceful smile like a
jade Buddha. It said "H.M.S. Hedgehog" round his cap, but when I
ventured to remark that I once in peace-time saw and visited that vessel
he observed with indifference that "cap-ribbons was nothin' to go by
these days; point o' fact, he never see that there ship in his puff."
Otherwise they maintained that deep and significant silence which we
have learned to associate with our Navy.

The Tommies, however, were in very talkative vein. "Now," I thought, "I
shall doubtless hear some real soldiers' stories of the War, even as the
newspaper men hear them and reproduce them in the daily prints: the
crash of the artillery, the wild excitement of battle--in short, the
Real Thing...."

A momentous question had evidently been under discussion when they
entered the train, and as soon as they were settled in their seats they
resumed it.

"Wot I want to know is," said the largest of the three, a big man with a
very square face and blue eyes,--"wot I want to know is--is that there
feller to go walkin' about naked?" The last word was pronounced as a
monosyllable.

He set his fists squarely on his knees and glared around him with a
challenging expression.

"No, it's agin the law," said a small man with a very hoarse voice.

"Course it is," rejoined the other. "Well, wot's the feller to do?
That's wot I ast you. If 'e walks about naked, well, 'e gets took up for
bein' naked; if 'e doesn't, why, 'e gets 'ad for not returnin' 'is
uniform."

He looked round again and decided to take the rest of us into
consultation.

"This 'ere's 'ow it stands--see? 'Ere's a feller got the mitten along o'
not bein' able to march, through gettin' shot in the leg. 'E goes 'ome
pendin' 'is _dis_charge, an' o' course e' walks about in 'is uniform.
Then 'e gets 'is _dis_charge, an' they tells 'im to return 'is kar-kee
_an'_ small kit----"

"An' small kit?" burst out the third member of the party indignantly--a
sprightly youth with a very short tunic and a pert expression. "Do they
want you to return your small kit when you get the mitten? Watch me
returnin' mine, that's all!"

"You'll 'ave to," said the voice of Discipline.

"'Ave to, I don't think!" said the rebel ironically; "I couldn't if I'd
lorst it."

"I ain't got no small kit, any 'ow," said the small and husky one; "I
put my 'aversack down when we was diggin' one of our chaps out of a Jack
Johnson 'ole, and some bloomin' blighter pinched it! Now that's a thing
as I don't 'old with. Rotten, I call it. I wouldn't say nothing about
it, mind you, if I was dead; I like to 'ave something as belonged to a
comrade, myself, an' I know as 'e'd feel the same, seein' as 'e couldn't
want it 'imself. But, if you take a feller's things w'en 'e's alive,
why, you don't know 'ow bad 'e might want 'em some day."

"Corporal 'e ses to me, las' kit inspection," broke in the fresh-faced
youth, disregarding this nice point of ethics, "'W'ere's your
tooth-brush?' 'e ses. 'Where you won't find it,' I ses. ''Oo're you
talkin' to?' 'e ses. 'Dunno,' I ses; 'the ticket's fell off!... Wot
d'yer call yourself, any'ow,' I ses, 'you an' yer stripe?' I ses. 'Funny
bundle,' I ses, 'that's what I call you!'"

"Well, I don't see wot a feller's got to do," said the propounder of the
problem, returning to the charge. "Granted as 'e can't walk about naked;
granted as 'e 'asn't got a suit o' civvies of 'is own--wot _is_ 'e to
do?"

"'Ang on to 'is kar-kee" said the hoarse-voiced man. The setter-down of
corporals retired within himself, probably to compose some humorous
repartee.

The warrant officer came out of _Freckles_ and suggested writing a
letter.

"'E 'as done. 'E's wrote an' told 'em 'as 'e can't send 'is kar-kee back
until 'e gets a suit o' Martin 'Enry's or thirty bob in loo of same. An'
all as they done was to write again an' demand 'is uniform at once."

The warrant officer sighed and opined that orders were orders.

"Yes, but 'e 'd 'ave to carry 'em to the Post Office naked, wouldn't 'e?
An' 'ow about goin' to buy new ones? That's if 'e 'd drawed 'is pay,
which 'e 'asn't. Unreasonable, that's wot I calls it."

"'Asn't 'e got no civvies at all?" said the small man, beginning to look
sceptical. "'Asn't 'e got no one as 'd lend 'im a soot? Anyways, 'e
could get some one to post 'em for 'im, an' then stop in bed till 'is
others come."

"'E's a very lonely feller," said the champion of the unclad; "'e lives
in lodgin's, an 'e 'asn't got no friends. If 'e 'adn't got no clothes
for to fetch 'is pay in, wot then?"

A gloomy silence, a silence fraught with the inevitability of destiny,
settled on the party.

The warrant officer, who had been pretending to resume _Freckles_,
presently looked up and suggested that he could go in his uniform to a
tailor, explain the position and obtain clothes on credit.

The originator of the problem thought hard for a minute.

"'E isn't a man as I'd care to trust myself," he said rather
unexpectedly, "an' I don't think no one else would neither."

It was at this point that the man from H.M.S. _Hedgehog_ (or, to be
precise, H.M.S. _Something Else_) fell into the conversation suddenly,
like a bomb.

"'E wouldn't be naked," he said earnestly; "'e'd 'ave 'is shirt."

This was a staggerer. One of those great simple truths sometimes
overlooked by more abstruse thinkers. But the owner of the problem made
one more stand.

"'Oo'd walk about in a shirt?" he said scornfully.

"Me," said the large seaman, "time I was torpedoed...."

He didn't say another word; but the problem was irretrievably lost.
There had been something magnificently daring about the idea of a man
walking about like a lost cherub; partly clothed, nobody cared very much
what became of him.

Besides, we all wanted to hear Admiralty secrets. We sat there in
respectful silence while the train rattled on its way; but the large
seaman only went on smiling peacefully to himself, as if he were
ruminating in immense satisfaction upon unprecedented bags of
submarines.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The architect for the new building left nothing out that would
    at all hamper the comfort of those who make this hotel their
    stopping place."--_New Zealand Paper._

We know that architect.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The _Severn_ was moored in a position 1,000 miles closer to the
    enemy than on July 6, which made her fire much more effective."
    _Natal Mercury._

We can well believe this.

       *       *       *       *       *

ANOTHER INDISPENSABLE.

[Illustration: _Chief of Village Fire Brigade._ "We're all ready. Is
steam up?"

_Engineer (temporary)._ "If you want steam in this engine you'll have to
get Thompson 'ome from France to show me 'ow to light the bloomin'
fire."]

       *       *       *       *       *

TO MY COLD.

  Lord of the rheumy eyes and blowing nose,
  On whom no fostering sun has ever shone,
  What mak'st thou here? Didst thou in sooth believe
  Thy presence would be welcome? Hast thou come
  Thinking to please me--me who, not at all
  Wanting to catch, have caught thee full and fair,
  And, loth to get, have got thee none the less?
  Why couldst thou not in thine own realms have stayed?
  Thou mightst have found--I can't go on like this;
  These second persons singular of verbs
  Are far too tricky; once involved in these,
  For instance, "lovedst" and "spreadst" and "stillst" and "gapest,"
  And thousands more--once, as I say, involved
  In these too clinging tendrils one is done;
  And so I find I cannot write an ode,
  Not even a ten-syllabic blank-verse ode,
  In second persons singular of verbs,
  In "snifflest" and in "wheezest" and the rest,
  For I am sure to trip and spoil the thing,
  And bring grammatic censure on my head.
  Be, therefore, plural--"you" instead of "thou"--
  Which makes things simpler. Now we can get on.
  O fain-avoided and most loathsome Cold,
  You with the sneezing, teasing, wheezing airs,
  What make you here at such a time as this,
  Melting my snowy store of handkerchiefs,
  Rasping my throat and bringing aches to range
  At large within the measure of my head?
  Platoon-Commanders of the Volunteers,
  Who now are recognised (three cheers!) at last,
  And of whose number I who write am one,
  Should be immune from colds; they sound absurd
  When bidding men to "boove to th' right id Fours,"
  Or "order arbs" (or slope) or "stad at ease,"
  Or "od the left" (or right) to "forb platood."
  Even the most submissive men begin
  To lose respect when such commands ring out.
  Wherefore, my cold--_atchoo_, _atchoo_--be off,
  Lest I report you and your deeds aright
  To Mr. TENNANT at the War Office.

       *       *       *       *       *

In the cast of The Real Thing at Last:--

    "Nearly murdered ... Mr. Godfrey Tearle (by permission of the
    Adelphi Theatre Co.)."--_Daily Telegraph._

A sorry return for Mr. TEARLE'S excellent work.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "THE FLOODS IN HOLLAND.

    General Goethals states that he cannot predict a date for
    reopening the Panama Canal on account of the uncertainty of the
    movement of the slides."--_North China Daily News._

It looks like an infringement of the Monroe doctrine.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Artistic Lady (who has just had her drawing-room
redecorated)._ "Well, cook, what do you think of it?"

_Cook._ "It's a bit bare-like, isn't it, Mum? I dessay I'm
old-fashioned, but I never reely feel an 'ome's an 'ome without a
Haspidisterer."]

       *       *       *       *       *

RECIPROCITY IN FICTION.

Forthcoming Masterpieces.

"It is not often," says a writer of what is called "Literary
Intelligence," "that a novelist adopts a living fellow-worker as the
central figure of his story. This is, however, the case with _My Lady of
the Moor_, which Messrs. LONGMANS will shortly publish for Mr. JOHN
OXENHAM. While wandering on Dartmoor he stumbled into a living actual
romance, of which Miss BEATRICE CHASE, author of several popular books
about Dartmoor, was the centre. This book tells the tale, which is named
after Miss CHASE, _My Lady of the Moor_, and it has of course been
written with her full consent and approval."

But the "Literary Intelligencer" did not know that Mr. OXENHAM is not
the dazzling innovator that he might be thought. Why, even at the moment
that Mr. OXENHAM was serving up Miss CHASE on toast, but always, of
course, with perfect taste, Miss CHASE was performing the same culinary
business for him. For her next novel, to be entitled with great charm
_My Gentleman of the Cheek_, will present a faithful picture of the
gifted JOHN and the figure he cut on Dartymoor all among the thikkies
and down-alongs and tors.

Mr. HALL CAINE, having just been pleading in public for more War realism
from literary artists, has in preparation a fascinating new romance
entitled _Marie of Stratford_, which depicts, with all this master's
restraint, power and genius, various phases in the life of a
sister-novelist of whose existence he has recently heard. Nothing at
once so charming and so arresting has been published for days.

It is announced that Miss MARIE CORELLI, who for too long has vouchsafed
nothing fresh to her countless admirers, has just completed the (Isle
of) Manuscript of a story which, like all her works, is epoch-making.
Connoisseurs of literature, always eager for a new _frisson_, will be
fascinated to learn that this novel has for its subject a
fellow-novelist of whose retired existence she has but lately become
aware. It takes the form of a saga and is entitled _Hall of the Three
Legs_. Editions of a size commensurate with the scarcity of paper are
being prepared.

Meanwhile we are informed that Mr. TASKER JEVONS is at work upon a
trilogy of vast dimensions and meticulous detail, of which the heroine
is Miss MAY SINCLAIR.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The General Manager, in reply, said: Seeing that the privilege
    of addressing you in annual meeting comes to me once only in
    every forty-four years of service, and having regard to the vast
    interests included in this vote of thanks, there might be found
    some excuse for elaboration of acknowledgment were it not that
    discursiveness is entirely at variance with the habits of the
    staff."

    _Pall Mall Gazette._

After another forty-four years' silence we hope he will really let
himself go.

       *       *       *       *       *

An Exchange of Ivories.

    "Wanted, piano; dentist willing to make artificial teeth for
    same, or part."

    _Edinburgh Evening Despatch._

       *       *       *       *       *

A Hint to the Censor.

    "To cool hot journals apply a dressing made of 11 lb. blacklead,
    23 lb. Epsom salts, 9 lb. sulphur, 2 lb. lampblack and 5 lb.
    oxalic acid, mixed and ground together."--_Ironmonger._

       *       *       *       *       *

HIS BARK IS ON THE SEA.

[Illustration: Mr. Punch. "AND WHAT DID YOU THINK OF COLONEL CHURCHILL'S
SPEECH, SIR?"

Admiral Jellicoe. "I'M AFRAID I DON'T UNDERSTAND THESE THINGS. I'M NOT A
POLITICIAN."

Mr. Punch. "THANK GOD FOR THAT, SIR!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

ESSENCE OF PARLIAMENT.

_Tuesday, March 7th._--The House of Commons to-day devoted itself to the
process curiously known as "getting the SPEAKER out of the Chair." The
phrase suggests reluctance on the part of the occupant to leave his
seat; though I cannot recall any occasion when the employment of force
has been necessary to persuade Mr. LOWTHER to resign to the Chairman of
Committees the duty of listening to dull speeches. But this afternoon I
can imagine that the SPEAKER would have been well content to remain. For
there was fun brewing. Mr. BALFOUR was to introduce the Naval Estimates,
and his dear friend and ex-colleague, Colonel WINSTON CHURCHILL, was
announced to follow him. The conjunction of these highly-electrified
bodies is always apt to produce sparks. The House was well filled, and
over the clock could be seen Lord FISHER, like "a sweet little cherub
that sits up aloft to keep watch for the life of poor Jacky." The last
time Mr. CHURCHILL spoke of Naval affairs in the House he was not quite
nice to Lord FISHER. Would he be nicer this time?

[Illustration: WINSTON ON LEAVE.

_Bluejacket_. "A party coming aboard, Sir, to see if the Fleet's all
right."

_Admiral Balfour_. "What sort of party?"

_Bluejacket_. "Well, Sir, he's got spurs on."]

I think Mr. BALFOUR must be something of a thought-reader. Intermingled
with his narration of the varied and wonderful achievements of the
Fleet, past and present, his description of the constant efforts to
increase it both in ships and men, and his quietly confident prophecy
that with this sure shield we might face the future in cheerful
serenity, there were little sidethrusts at an imaginary critic. Some
people had been silly enough to suggest that the new Board of Admiralty
was so content with what had been done by "my right hon. and learned--I
beg his pardon--gallant friend" that it had adopted a policy of "rest
and be thankful". But there was no justification for "a certain kind of
sub-acid pessimism that sometimes reaches my ears", and he must be a
poor-spirited creature who, having been happy about the Navy in August,
1914, could be depressed about in March, 1916.

Then Colonel CHURCHILL proceeded to put the cap on. He has been studying
the problems of sea-power in the trenches of Flanders, and the process
has led him to gloomy conclusions. Suppose the Germans have been
building more ships than we have: suppose they have put into them bigger
guns than we wot of; suppose they were to come out at their selected
moment and found us at our average moment.... The House was beginning to
be a little weary of these depressing hypotheses when it was suddenly
brought up all standing by the discovery that the orator was delivering
a eulogy on Lord Fisher. He was the man who got things done in a hurry.
He was the man who had the driving power. They had "parted brass-rags"
over Gallipoli, it was true; but by-gones were by-gones. Having been
away for some months, his mind was now clear (irreverent laughter), and
he had come to recognise that his former foe was the only possible First
Sea Lord.

It must have been a little embarrassing for Lord FISHER to sit still and
hear his praises thus chanted. But it is difficult to escape from the
seat over the Clock without treading upon other people's toes, and this
Lord FISHER is notoriously averse from doing. The moment, however, that
Colonel CHURCHILL had finished he left the Gallery; but before he could
wholly emerge he had to suffer the further shock of being cheered by
some over-enthusiastic admirers behind him. It was a pity he left so
soon, for later Sir HEDWORTH MEUX, fresh from Portsmouth, had some
things to say which would not have compelled his blushes.

_Wednesday, March 8th._--Members wondered yesterday why no reply to
Colonel CHURCHILL was forthcoming from the Treasury Bench. Mr. BALFOUR
made ample amends to-day for the omission. There is something in the
personality of his critic--memories of Lord RANDOLPH, perhaps--that
seems to put on extra polish on Mr. BALFOUR'S rapier when he deals with
him. Who that heard it will ever forget his inimitable description of
the then HOME SECRETARY superintending--"with a photographer"--the
historic Siege of Sidney Street? This afternoon his sword-play was
equally brilliant; and there was even more force behind the thrusts. If
there had been delay in the progress of the new Dreadnoughts why was it?
Because his right hon. predecessor had diverted the guns and
gun-mountings intended for them into his new-fangled monitors. He had
boasted of his own rapid shipbuilding. It had indeed been rapid--so much
so that some of the vessels thus hastily constructed had now been
remodelled. Coming to the proposed "remedy"--the recall of Lord FISHER
to the Board of Admiralty--Mr. BALFOUR assumed a sterner tone. He
reminded the house that Lord FISHER had been accused by his present
champion of not having given him clear guidance or firm support over the
Gallipoli Expedition. Colonel CHURCHILL'S present opinion of Lord FISHER
was totally inconsistent with that which he had expressed a few months
ago: possibly they were both remote from the truth. But it was an
amazing proposition that the Government should be asked to dismiss Sir
HENRY JACKSON, an officer who was everything that Lord FISHER according
to Colonel CHURCHILL was not. He himself would not yield an inch to such
a demand.

Spontaneous debate has never been the Colonel's strong point. His
oratorical engines are driven by midnight oil. Wisely, therefore, he did
not attempt an elaborate _réplique_ to Mr. BALFOUR'S "sword-play," but
contented himself with a brief restatement of his case.

_Thursday, March 9th._--Prophets swarm in both Houses of Parliament, but
the House of Lords is unique in possessing one who confines himself to
subjects which he has at his fingers' ends and whose prophecies have a
habit of coming true. What Lord MONTAGU OF BEAULIEU does not know of the
petrol engine, and its use on land or sea or in the air, is not worth
knowing. Seven years ago he warned his countrymen of the bomb-dropping
possibilities of the new German air-ships. A little later he pointed out
that it was very doubtful if dirigible balloons could be successfully
attacked by gunfire from the ground, and that the only effective way of
opposing them was to meet like with like. Again in 1913 he dwelt upon
the inadequacy of our aerial defences.

His object to-day was not to extol his own merits as a prophet, but to
get the Government to act on the motto "One Element One Service" and
establish a single Ministry of the Air. Lord HALDANE thought we ought to
do some "violent thinking" before adopting the proposal, but quite
agreed (with a reminiscent glance at the Woolsack) that we had not made
sufficient use of lighter-than-air machines. That was Lord BERESFORD'S
view, too; we must oppose Zeps to Zeps. Then, having evidently done some
violent thinking over the recent debate in the Commons he launched out
into a wholly irrelevant attack upon Colonel CHURCHILL for trying to
create anxiety about the Fleet, and appealed to Lord FISHER (who was not
present though Lord BERESFORD had particularly invited him) to repudiate
the agitation conducted by the honourable Member for DUNDEE, a few
newspapers and twenty sandwichmen. Lord LANSDOWNE subsequently noted
that this most irregular digression appeared to be "not wholly
distasteful" to the peers assembled. Turning to Lord MONTAGU'S proposal
he pointed out that the Government had gone some way to meet it by
setting up Lord DERBY'S Committee. But, though prepared to see the
Cabinet increased to a round couple of dozen, he was not convinced that
the only way to remove imperfections was to appoint a new Minister to
deal with them.

It seems probable therefore that there is no truth in the report that
Colonel CHURCHILL has been asked to join the Government as Minister of
Admonitions.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Tommy (who is learning every minute about barbed-wire
defences)._ "When I gets home, no more perishin' cats shall ever get
into my back garden."]

       *       *       *       *       *

Painful Accident to a Clergyman.

    "While the Rev. Mr. Stulting was camping out one of his calves
    was attacked and stung to death by a passing swarm of bees."

    _Cape Argus._

       *       *       *       *       *

Sir THOMAS MACKENZIE, as reported by _The East Anglian Daily Times_:--

    "I now think it is time you intermingled with your affairs a
    little of the wisdom of the sergent instead of the dove-like
    kindness which you have showed to the Germans in the past."

There is a strong feeling among our N.C.O.'s that this is sound advice.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Lord Strachie asked in the House of Lords yesterday whether the
    Government proposed to restrict the importation of hope."

    _Evening Paper._

We understand that the answer was in the negative, as, owing to the
activity of pessimists, there is still some shortage in the home-grown
supplies.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE RECONCILIATION.

[It is thought that the following story may have been intended for the
"Organ of Organs" (R.A.M.C.)].

Charles, the young Army Medical, went down on one patella. His heart (a
hollow muscular pump) was driving blood from its ventricles as it had
never yet driven it in all its twenty-five years of incessant labour.
Further, by flattening the arch of his diaphragm and elevating his ribs
and sternum, Charles was increasing the cavity of his thorax and taking
in air. Immediately the diaphragm and the sternum and costal cartilages
relaxed again the air escaped. The lungs of Charles were doing their
work. Fast and yet faster became his breathing.

"Mabel," he murmured, "Mabel!"

The girl made no movement. Her respiration continued, but no impulse to
action reached her nerve-centres. Yet, without an effort on her part,
her tissues in one minute produced enough heat to boil one twenty-fourth
of a pint of water.

"Wonderful!" he whispered hoarsely, probably thinking of this, "you are
wonderful."

You will not marvel that his voice was gruff when I tell you that the
membrane of the larynx was inflamed. Greater men than Charles have
become hoarse in such circumstances.

Immediately the blood rushed to the capillaries of Mabel's cheeks and
her colour deepened. She trembled slightly.

"There, that's it!" he cried, gazing rapturously.

"What?" she gasped, startled by his passion.

"Again that artery below your ear is throbbing, throbbing, and"--his
voice rose in despair--"I can never remember the name! Can you?"

"Alas," she moaned, "I do not know it! Oh, Charles, there is something I
must tell you at once."

"What is it?" he cried with sudden fear. "What is it?"

"Why, I--I----Oh, I do not know how to say it. Charles, you will never
forgive me!"

"What is it, dearest? Tell me--you can trust me. The medical
profession----"

"Well, then, I tried to bandage little Johnny's foot yesterday,
and--and----"

"Calm yourself, dear. And----?"

"I tied a 'granny' knot. Oh, Charles, _don't_ be angry. I _know_ it
ought to have been a 'reef'!"

He looked about him dully, like a man stunned.

"Charles," she moaned, "listen! After all, I put it on the wrong foot."

He started violently.

"Mabel," he cried, "you are sure? Then I will not let you go. Had you
tied that 'granny' knot on the right foot, I--we--as an R.A.M.C. man,
I----"

She clung to him sobbingly.

"Charles, oh Charles," she panted, "you have proved it to me. You love
me! (Is my heart throbbing now?) You love me and it will break for joy!"

The phalanges and the metacarpal bones of her left hand clicked together
as if in sympathy as she flung it to her side.

Again her cerebrum flashed its joyful message, so that she repeated, "My
heart!"

At the word Charles, the R.A.M.C. man, rose from his patella and placed
his hands firmly on his femur bones.

His whole bearing had changed.

"This," he said slowly and ringingly, "is the end. When I entered this
room I loved you--I admit it. But--you have deceived me! Look at that
hand! It is covering--what? The floating costae! Your heart is not where
you would have me believe. It is fully three inches higher and more to
the right. That is not a small matter, or one with which you should
trifle as you do. But you have deceived me in a greater than that."

"Oh, what is it? What have I done?" sobbed Mabel hysterically.

"The greater matter," continued Charles in trumpet tones, "is that _the
heart is not the seat of the emotions at all_. I can only conclude that
your agitation was feigned. I wish you good-day, Madam."

He had reached the door when she cried aloud.

"Charles!"

An urgent message from Charles's cerebellum, delivered to certain motor
nerves by way of the spinal cord, disposed him to turn on his heel.

He waited in silence.

"Charles dearest, if it was the wrong place, and I didn't cover my heart
after all, why, Charles, remember Johnny's foot and be logical!"

She was there before him, glorious, and Charles stood dazzled.

"You are right!" he cried. "Mabel! If you _had_ covered your heart!!"

"Charles!!!"

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Householder (with the Zeppelin obsession)._

"Ah, I Like the Snow. It Reduces The Menace From Above."]

[Illustration: !!!!!!]

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Yesterday between Forges and Bethincourt, west of the Meuse,
    the enemy made use of suffocating gas, but did not attack with
    infancy."--_Timaru Herald (N.Z.)._

We are glad to have this evidence that the Huns have given up using
children to screen their advances.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Plagues of rates have appeared at Pinsk, and in the British
    trenches."

    _Buenos Ayres Herald._

Even at home we have not entirely escaped the epidemic.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Floating Baby Found Unarmed."

    _Provincial Paper._

Had the Huns known of its defenceless condition they would never have
allowed it to escape.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "'Like a poet, a geographer is born, not mad,' once wrote Sir
    Clements Markham."

    _Times of India._

Some poets will be greatly relieved by this doctrine.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Oldest Inhabitant (finally)._ "I tell 'ee I bain't goin'
outside the door. Why, what'd folks think of me with no badge, nor
harmlet, nor nothin'?"]

       *       *       *       *       *

LINES TO AN OLD FRIEND.

[Dr. GEORGE PERNET, in a recent treatise on "The Health of the Skin,"
discusses the continued decline in the popularity of the tall hat.]

  O emblem of British decorum,
    Whose vogue, for a century back,
  In the Mart, in the House or the Forum
    Few dared to impugn or attack;
  'Tis sad, though the best of our bankers
    Refuse to allow such a lapse,
  That our youth irrepressibly hankers
        For straws and for caps.

  _Mr. Seagram_, in _Masterman Ready_,
    Is pictured in many a hole,
  And in postures however unsteady,
    With his chimney-pot hat on his poll;
  And our highly respected grand-paters,
    When wielding their golf-clubs or bats,
  Or proving their prowess as skaters,
        Wore cylinder hats.

  Worn straight by the priggish or surly
    Thou didst not enthuse or beguile;
  But tilted a little and curly
    Of brim--how seductive thy style!
  And never was pride that is proper
    Sartorially better expressed
  Than when an immaculate topper
        Sat light on one's crest.

  The cult of the bicycle, tending
    To foster a laxer array,
  And the motor, its influence lending,
    Both seriously threatened thy sway;
  But the War, most unfairly combining
    The motives of comfort and thrift,
  Thy glory, so sleek and so shining,
        Has finally biffed.

  Yet I cannot observe thy dethroning
    Or watch thy effulgence depart
  Without unaffectedly owning
    A pang of regret in my heart.
  I know thou wast stuffy, non-porous,
    Unstable, top-heavy and hot;
  But O! thou wast grimly decorous;
        The bowler is not.

       *       *       *       *       *

Agreed.

    "Original and inspiring as are Mr. Chesterton's writings, the
    man is very much bigger than his works."--_Everyman._

       *       *       *       *       *

    "TOWN PLUNGED IN DARKNESS.

    Population Warned by Syrens and buzzards."

    _Evening Paper._

"_Our_ little town," writes the correspondent who sends us the above
cutting, "was warned by dryads and wombats." And of course there is the
well-known case of the Roman geese and the Capitol.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Organist (willing to help train choir) wanted for country
    parish. Might suit clergyman's daughter."--_Church Times._

He might, no doubt; but it is not safe to count on these affinities.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The Manchester City Council on Wednesday decided to accept the
    free use of Professor W. B. Bottomley's patients for the
    conversion of raw peat by means of bacteria."

    _Provincial Paper._

If we were the patients we should make a small charge for the loan of
the germs.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "There has been a naval skirmish in the Baltic, where the
    elusive Goeben has been engaged by the Russians with the usual
    result--the escape of the fugitive battle-cruiser behind the
    mined defences of the Bosphorus."

    _The Dominion (Wellington, N.Z.)_

It must have been a fine sight to see this elusive vessel jump right
across Russia and back again.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The _Cologne Gazette_, referring to the simplicity of character
    displayed by King Ferdinand of Bulgaria, says that frequently
    when walking about the streets of Sofia he purchases a sausage
    from a stall and eats it with his fingers as he passes along.
    Latest advices say he is slowly recovering from his illness."

    _Daily Express._

It might have been much worse if he had eaten the sausage with his
mouth.

       *       *       *       *       *

A FLAT OVERTURE.

I.

_3, Fotheringay Court Mansions, S.W. March 1st._

Mrs. Sleight-Spender presents her compliments to Mrs. Crichton and would
be obliged if she would prevent what is evidently a schoolroom piano
being practised late at night, as it is most disturbing when one has
friends.


II.

_7, Fotheringay Court Mansions, S.W. March 1st._

Mrs. Crichton presents her compliments to Mrs. Sleight-Spender and would
willingly oblige her, but having neither a schoolroom nor a piano in her
flat she finds a difficulty in doing so. Possibly if Mrs.
Sleight-Spender addressed her remonstrance to No. 12, she would discover
the cause of her complaint and might thereby earn the thanks of her
neighbours by inducing Mr. Bogloffsksy to practise less for his
concerts.


III.

_3, Fotheringay Court Mansions, S.W. March 2nd._

Dear Mr. BOGLOFFSKY,--Please forgive me for writing on the impulse of
the moment in this unconventional way, but I have only just discovered
that we are neighbours, for the Directory confirms what the unmistakable
tones of a certain piano had long led me to suspect.

Will you very kindly waive all ceremony and join us at a friendly little
dinner on the 10th, at 7.30?

Yours sincerely,

Editha Sleight-Spender.


IV.

_12, Fotheringay Court Mansions, S.W. March 2nd._

Dear MRS. SLEIGHT-SPENDER,--Your amiable letter leaves me nothing but
pleasure. My poor company shall be agreeable to join your hospitable
family.

With respect, I am, Yours sincere,

Serge Bogloffsky.


V.

_From Miss Isolt Sleight-Spender to Miss Marjorie Browne._

(Extract.)

... Oh, my dear, don't reproach me for not having run round. We are
simply off our heads. Bogloffsky--_the_ Bogloffsky--is coming to dinner
on Friday next, and the Mudder and I have been simply _tearing_. Even
the Sticklers have accepted, and we hope to get Sir Henry Say, as the
Dudder met him once at a City dinner. Of course _I_ shall have to play
something first. Pity me!....


VI.

_From Mrs. Sleight-Spender to Messrs. Rosewood and Sons. March. 3rd._

Mrs. Sleight-Spender requires the use of a _very_ good piano on the
10th. It must be a _grand_, as it is for Mr. Bogloffsky. Under the
circumstances Mrs. Sleight-Spender supposes there will be only a nominal
charge, if any.


VII.

_From Sir Henry Say to Cuthbert Haddington. March 11th._

My dear Bertie,--Last night I skimmed some of the cream of life, and
incidentally got an idea for a _lever de rideau_, of which I make you a
present.

Far be it from me to glean from the crop of trouble of a man whose salt
I have eaten, but the situation was a gift from the gods, which I will
not spoil on a sheet of notepaper. When have you a free evening?

Always, Harry.


VIII.

_From Miss Isolt Sleight-Spender to Miss Marjorie Browne._

(Extract.)

... The Mudder is quite ill. It is all through that woman at No. 7. It
must be because we didn't call on her. But what an evening ruined!
Bogloffsky behaved like a perfect _pig_ and wouldn't play a note after
all the trouble he put us to; and when we got up from the table they say
he sniffed at his coffee and pulled some out of his pocket and rubbed it
in his hands to make the others smell the difference. Did you ever hear
of such a thing?....


IX.

_From Serge Bogloffsky to Stepan Bogloffsky, Moscow._

(Translation.)

_March_ 11th,

My Brother,--The Mazurka has been found beneath the lid of thy
pianoforte and is already despatched to thee--that pianoforte, alas!
which must now remain silent until thy longed-for return. Greet the
worthy Moschki and request him urgently to send the samples of tea, as I
have now an opportunity with a wealthy family which may make great
business.

That thy affairs prosper is my prayer. All the family embrace thee.

Serge.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The gunlayer's eye followed it through the air, saw it splash
    into the sea three hundred yards short of the target, and swore
    softly."--_Answers._

The gunlayer would seem to have an eloquent eye.

       *       *       *       *       *

A SOLDIER POLITICIAN.

A Biographical Note.

Considerable promise was shown in the speech delivered before the House
of Commons last week by Colonel CHURCHILL. His utterance had the effect
of instantly lifting that gallant gentleman from the obscurity of life
"somewhere in France" to something approaching notoriety. Surely few
soldiers have discovered such a gift of dialectical skill; and the Army
must feel proud to learn that it possesses an officer who shows himself
to be as able in the realm of politics as in the profession of arms.

Colonel CHURCHILL'S sensational _tour de force_ has aroused a natural
interest in his personality. He is still a young man, being only just on
the wrong side of forty. In choosing a military career he responded to
hereditary impulse, for he is a direct descendant of that great military
genius, the Duke of MARLBOROUGH. He entered the army in 1895, when
little more than a boy. After seeing service in Cuba and India he fought
in the Egyptian Campaign of 1898, and in a journalistic capacity took
part in the South African War, the news of his capture being received in
this country with much feeling. To his skill as a soldier Colonel
CHURCHILL adds no small ability as a writer, and has published more than
one book that has attracted favourable notice.

Following upon his remarkable speech of the other night, there has been
some discussion as to whether Colonel CHURCHILL will definitely take up
a political career, or return to the trenches. We have it on good
authority that an old friend, Sir HEDWORTH MEUX, strongly advises him
not to sacrifice his military prospects. On the other hand, his
colleagues at the Front feel that in the national interest they are
prepared to do their best without him, in view of the benefit likely to
accrue from his remaining at home. In any case it is confidently
asserted by those who know him that Colonel CHURCHILL has gone far
towards making a name for himself, and that he is likely to go further
still if the opportunity is given to him. His future is certain to be
watched with interest.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Delay Before Verdun.

Bosch (quoting "_unser_ Shakspeare"):

    "If it Verdun ven 'tis done, then 't vere vell it Verdun
    quickly."--_Macbeth, Act_ I. 7.

       *       *       *       *       *

Music for Conscientious Objectors.

    "St. George's Cathedral.--Anthem, 'I was slack when they said
    unto me' (Elvey)."

    _Cape Times._

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Sergeant._ "Keep yer dressin' by the left there! Blimey!
you don't want N.C.O.'s--what you want is a bloomin' sheep-dog!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

OUR BOOKING-OFFICE.

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

I never open a book by Mr. ROBERT HALIFAX without a feeling of pleasant
anticipation, nor close one without a sense of quickened sympathy for my
fellow-mortals, especially those of them who dwell in Camden Town. His
latest story, _The Right to Love_ (METHUEN), finds him again on familiar
ground; but the inhabitants of Widdiford Street have all the freshness
of real human beings. Perhaps more than its predecessors _The Right to
Love_ is a story with a purpose and a moral; in it Mr. HALIFAX has
illustrated by two groups of characters the vexed question of marriage
failures and the hard lot of the unwanted woman. But do not suppose that
these characters are merely "cases." On the contrary, it is because they
are realized as understandable creations of flesh and blood that the
disasters of _Norah_ and _Tom Spain_ and the tragedy of _Letty
Summerbee's_ enforced spinsterhood move one to so personal a concern.
From the moment when _Norah_ and _Tom_ enter their little house after
the short honeymoon to that in which the tormented young wife finally
leaves her worthless husband for the protection (word rightly used) of
his long-suffering friend one is made to feel that exactly thus and thus
the affair happened, and is happening to like persons every day. As for
_Letty_, with her restraint, her practical helpfulness and her
occasional outbursts of emotion thwarted and suppressed, she is a type
only too convincing. Perhaps one might object that Mr. HALIFAX brings an
indictment against society without suggesting any practical remedy. Also
that--as I have noticed before--his humorous characters have a tendency
to edge away from the rest into the regions of farce. But for all that
_The Right to Love_ remains a simple, sincere and very moving study.

       *       *       *       *       *

I like the remark that General JOFFRE made, not to the horse-marines,
but to the remnants of the six thousand _Fusiliers Marins_ who made up
the Naval Brigade at Dixmude in November, 1914. "You are my best
infantrymen," he told them; and, if you want to know why, all you have
to do is read _Dixmude_ (HEINEMANN), by CHARLES LE GOFFIC. For four
weeks, shrapnel to right of them, "saucepans" to left of them, volleyed
and thundered, and for four weeks the six thousand stood in the valley
of death at Dixmude and held up six times as many Boches, who came on,
as one of them said, like bugs. Forty thousand was the estimate of the
number of these marines formed by a German major who was one of their
prisoners; when he learnt that they were only six he wept with rage and
muttered, "Ah, if we had only known!" Dixmude was not quite such a big
affair as Verdun, but the men who held the town, "the young ladies with
the red pompoms" on their caps, were first cousins to our own Jack Tars.
Bretons or Britons, there is nothing to choose between them. Sailors
all, they are the salt of the sea; and this fascinating and
circumstantial epic of the French marines is not at all an exaggerated
picture of the cheery courage and endurance of the Breton fisherman.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Sussex Gorse_ (NISBET) is a story about the fight between man and
nature. It is told by Miss SHEILA KAYE-SMITH with considerable power and
a quickening touch of symbolism that lifts it into romance. The ambition
of _Reuben Backfield_ was to enlarge the Sussex farm that he had
inherited from his easy-going father till its bounds should include a
certain coveted moor. The book shows how his entire life was spent in
the achievement of this end; how for it he sacrificed his own ease, and
the happiness of his brother, his two wives and his many children, and
how finally he triumphed, and in his lonely old age, seeing the desired
acres all his own, was content. It is a grim book, with only now and
then a touch of suggested poetry to save it from being uniformly sordid
and depressing. As it is, the long unsparing struggle takes somehow the
dignity of an epic. Only one of _Reuben's_ many sons makes any success
out of life--_Richard_, who becomes a barrister, and treats his father
to occasional visits of curiosity and amused patronage. There is a
chapter of cynical humour in which the intolerant contemptuous old
rustic is confronted by the art-loving triflers who gather in his son's
drawing-room. Otherwise he is alone. "There's no one gone from here as
has ever come back!" But I was glad that Miss KAYE-SMITH had the courage
to play fair by her hero, and to give him at last his share of the hard
bargain. This is only one of many qualities that make _Sussex Gorse_ a
novel to be remembered.

       *       *       *       *       *

I can't quite make out what made Mr. WILLIAM HEWLETT persist in
_Introducing William Allison_ (SECKER). Probably a nice general
conviction (rather infectious; I caught it) of his own cleverness. If
his work wants a good deal of pulling together separate bits of it are
confoundedly well done. The schoolboy conversations (_William_ is a
Winchester man, thrown into a lawyer's clerkship straight from the
sixth) and the picture of the superbly groomed associates of his
friend's brother, _Marmaduke Fenton_, are cases in point, though I don't
think Winchester would have been so absurdly abashed by the glories of
bachelordom in Half-Moon Street. So too is the lecture of _Parbury_, the
neo-decadent, on the cultivation of "that sacred and imperishable
flower, the white unsullied bloom of an Intensely Useless Life," even if
it be only a belated cutting from _The Green Carnation_. _William's_
first boyish passion for a quite cold shop-minx, with its agonies of
self-abasement and rarefied desire, is uncannily clever; and the
thoroughly unpleasant episode of our _William_, minx-free, only to be
caught in the toils of that insatiable sensualist, Mrs. _Daintree_, is
presented with discreet vigour. There is possibly a moral in the
fascinating _Marmaduke's_ desperate half-hour in Dr. _Ferox's_
consulting-room. But Mr. HEWLETT never wrote this flippant tale to point
a moral. Rather, as I suggest, he seems to have said, "These are samples
of several _genres_ in which I can succeed on my head. Some day I will
really finish something. Meanwhile pray be amused."

       *       *       *       *       *

Of Miss ETHEL DELL'S popularity there seems to be no possible doubt, and
her publishers, Messrs. HUTCHINSON, assure me that her latest, _The Bars
of Iron_, is the best novel she has written. While accepting their
unprejudiced judgment I retain the liberty of remaining unimpressed.
Miss DELL has an eye for a plot and she can make things move; but her
methods are too feverish for my taste. A man-fight in the prologue is
followed by a dog-fight in the first chapter, and through the early part
of the book the _Rev. S. Lorimer_ beats his numerous family again and
again. It is true that, between her explosions, she introduces certain
lovable characters, but they fail to correct the general atmosphere of
violence. Neither the beauty of _Piers Evesham_ (his naked shoulders
looked "like a piece of faultless statuary, god-like, superbly strong"),
nor his sympathy with children, offers adequate compensation for his
volcanic temperament. If Miss DELL, who seems to have a penchant for
tempestuous heroes, would devote some of her superfluous energy to a
study of men, so as to get to understand them as well as she understands
her own sex, it would be a good thing for the quality both of her work
and of her public.

       *       *       *       *       *

In her latest little volume of verse, modestly entitled _Simple Rhymes
for Stirring Times_ (PEARSON), Miss JESSIE POPE shows that she has not
only the right spirit, but a sense of form beyond the common. She does
not pretend to heroics and she seldom allows herself to touch a note of
pathos; her mission is just to inspire other hearts with the infectious
gay courage of her own. It finds a natural expression in the easy lilt
of her measures. She is fluent rather than polished and never overlays
her designs with excess of embroidery. Long practice has made her
familiar with a craft which is not so easy as it looks; and in
particular she has learnt the art of the final line. Miss POPE may
possibly run the risk of over-writing herself; but so long as she brings
a discriminating eye to the choice of what is worth preserving--and she
has been _quite_ reasonably self-critical in her present selection--the
matter that she jettisons is no affair of mine. Judging only by what I
see here, I recognise that, in whatever other way she may be helping the
cause, through her gift of light-heart verse she is doing--and none more
bravely--her share of woman's work.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Touring Stage Manager (rehearsing super)._ "And when you
hear the cue, 'Ah, here comes the Kaiser!' you stride slowly on to the
stage looking like the guilty Monarch."]

       *       *       *       *       *

Journalistic Colour.

    "On all hands their preparations for their ultimate victory are
    being pressed forward with unflagging zest, and nowhere has the
    white heat of their resolve grown pale"--_Daily Graphic._

       *       *       *       *       *

Extract from Scottish Command Orders:--

    "When marriage has actually taken place, the N.C.O. or man
    should inform O.C. at once, so as to ensure the necessary
    documents for separation allowance for the wife being made out,
    and this casualty should in addition be inserted in Part II.
    Orders."

    _Scotsman._

This appears to confirm the belief that a Scottish marriage is a sort of
accident that might happen to anyone.

       *       *       *       *       *

It is easy to understand why the Zeppelins have a partiality for
almshouses. They think it's another name for munition works.

       *       *       *       *       *

From the report of a music-hall action:--

    "In reply to Mr. Justice Darling, he sang comic songs and
    appeared alone on the stage."--_Morning Paper._

After all the Bench cannot always monopolise the "star turns," even in
Mr. JUSTICE DARLING'S court.





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