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Title: Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 150, March 29, 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 29, 1916" ***

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VOL. 150.

March 29, 1916

_Fond Mother._ "Anything in the paper, dear?"
_Wage-earner (not unkindly)._ "No, Ma--nothing you could understand."]


"His seventy-one years sit lightly on Mr. GIBSON BOWLES," says the
Special Correspondent of _The Evening News_. No doubt Mr. BOWLES has
some good reason for permitting this familiarity, for he is not a man to
be lightly sat upon.


"In particular," says a report on the resources of German East Africa,
"the President of the Silk Association has just directed attention to
the wild silk of the anaphe worm." The animal the great two-horned
silkworm discovered by Sir HARRY JOHNSTON, before whose furious charges,
according to the report of natives, even the elephant will give way.


A telegram from Rome states that it is generally believed that Admiral
TIRPITZ resigned because he could not take the German Fleet out. Others
again maintain that it was because he could no longer take the German
people in.


It was recently stated in a Parliamentary Report that verminous uniforms
had been purchased by the Government for the sum of £2,650 and
immediately resold for £400. The difference is accounted for by the fact
that they were sold as going concerns.


A white rook has been observed at Boston Road, Brentford, and a local
ornithologist writes to say that the bird is probably an accidental
straggler from King's Bishop's Fourth.


"To-day in many English homes," says a patriotic contemporary, "alien
birds are carolling all unconscious of their countries' doom." One had
independently noticed how the modulated of the Turkey buzzard had taken
on a mournful tone.


"It is not unusual for horses to go to sleep as they walk along," said a
sagacious coroner last week. How often in the old four-wheeler days,
when we were going _ventre a terre_ from Buckingham Palace to the
National Liberal Club, conversation was rendered impossible by the
snores of the flying steed.


The price of admission to Kew for perambulators is 3d. on ordinary days,
1s. on student days. The extra charge has been found necessary because
of the fact that large numbers of horticulturists, in order to escape
military service, have taken to travelling in these vehicles.


According to the author of _In a College Garden_ "it is not advisable to
encourage any but educated ladies to become gardeners." It is always
pleasant to note the extent to which a simple thing like a potato will
recognise and respond to gentility in those who associate with it.


    "The Italian Ambassador opened the exhibition of the Royal
    Society of Brush Artists at the society's premises in

    _Evening Paper._

Mr. Punch welcomes the implicit admission that there are others.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "What is needed is that we should have on each of the main lines
    of our overseas communications at least one ship that is faster
    than anything else afloat."--_Manchester Guardian_.

Is it not extraordinary that the Admiralty should never have thought of
this simple device?

       *       *       *       *       *

From a theatre programme:--

    "All the Male Members of the above Company are either attested
    under Lord Derby's Scheme, or are otherwise Ineligible for

The erroneous impression that to be attested is the short road to
ineligibility has evidently spread from the platform to the stage.

       *       *       *       *       *


    [The fine example of patriotism shown by the Universities of
    Oxford and Cambridge throws into painful relief the action of
    some of the obscure remnant, including College Fellows, who have
    excused themselves from service or adopted an attitude of
    superior detachment in relation to the War.]

  You Intellectuals of Cam and Isis,
    Pale phantoms in the dawn of Freedom's light,
  And you that in this hour of England's crisis
    Haven't the conscience (or the heart) to fight;

  You cosmopolitans without a country,
    Who go aloof on philosophic quests,
  Sucking the fruit of knowledge from the Hun-tree
    And spiritual milk from alien breasts;

  False to that Brotherhood, who for the splendour
    Of a great cause, with gallant hearts and gay,
  Of youth and youth's high promise made surrender,
    Because their courage knew the nobler way;

  I envy not your chance on their returning;
    When, scarred with war, they come from overseas,
  There should be trouble in those Seats of Learning
    Where you sat tight and took your pedants' ease.

  Short shrift you'll get for your convenient scruples;
    Conducted thither where the wet stream winds
  You shall receive as elementary pupils
    An object-lesson good for little minds.

  Somewhere about the Guts of Cam and Isis,
    May I be well in front to see you then
  Taught by immersion what the local price is
    To pay for being prigs instead of men.

O. S.

       *       *       *       *       *


(_A Socratic Fragment_.)

"... It is plain, therefore," said Socrates, "that the man whose soul is
afflicted with illness will desire above all things to have it cured as
quickly as possible, and for this purpose he will submit himself to one
who understands the curing of souls. So far, I think, we are agreed, are
we not?"

"Yes, indeed," said Agathon, "that would appear to be the wisest

"Then why," said Socrates, "do we find that men who are generally eager
to be cured of an ague are indisposed to take care of their soul when it
is manifestly suffering? You yourself have declared that your soul is
sick within you, yet you consult nobody and take no steps."

"Nay, nay, Socrates, I cannot allow you to catch me like this. Perhaps I
spoke thoughtlessly when I mentioned my soul just now. Certainly I had
not intended that you should tie me up with your questions and draw
conclusions which it was impossible for me to foresee."

"Then I suppose the fault must be mine, for in truth I had not designed
to catch anyone, least of all yourself, my dear Agathon. But we will
defer the consideration of the matter to a more favourable time, for I
see Philogamus approaching and, if we may judge by the outward signs, he
seems to be, as one might say, in a terrible state."

Hereupon we turned to observe Philogamus, to whom indeed something
painful and calamitous must have happened, for his garments were
disarrayed and his hair was unkempt, and anger was seated upon his
frowning brow, and he was muttering to himself and calling the gods to
witness that he was unjustly treated and that no such misfortune had
ever before happened to any other man; and he was beating his hands
wildly together and was forgetting to salute his friends. Seeing him
thus distraught Socrates plucked him by the sleeve as he passed and
addressed him.

"Hail, Philogamus," he said, "what great misfortune do you announce to
us? Have the Barbarians at last seized upon the Piræus, and are they
even now marching irresistibly on the Acropolis? Are you sent out to
summon us to arms? Here are a few of us who will join with you, laying
aside even their most pressing private business, and will help to defend
the State and themselves to the last gasp. Only do you deliver your
message and let us know."

"This," said Philogamus, "is no moment for laughing, though in laughter,
O Socrates, you are always easily first, as they say, and the rest
nowhere. But have you not heard what has happened?"

"No," said Socrates, "and we much desire to know. I can speak
confidently for myself, and Agathon here is, I am sure, in a fever of

"Listen, then, and, by the gods, you shall be made aware of an injustice
that calls for immediate redress. They are even now on the point of
calling up the married men to go to the War."

"That is very interesting; and what do the married men say to it?"

"What do they say?" shouted Philogamus. "They say they will not go
unless, according to the promises of Darbius and Ascuthius, all the
unmarried men are taken first;" and he began once more beating his
breast and glaring with his eyes like a dog who has been for long
without water.

"Softly, my good friend," said Socrates, "softly. As to the promise, I
know it is being rigidly kept. All the willing single men are gone or
going, and the unwilling are being compelled to join as quickly as is
possible. What more can be done?"

"Something ought to be done."

"That is very true," said Socrates; "something ought always to be
getting itself done, and the something at this moment is that the
Barbarians ought to be beaten. But tell me, with regard to the married
men, are they not concerned in the safety and welfare of the State?"

"That, indeed, they are," said Philogamus; "none more so."

"In that case why do they hang back and complain when the State declares
that its safety and welfare demand that they should be ready to go?
Because one here and there has concealed himself, is it for you, a
married man, to retire when by going you might help to thrust back the
Barbarians? Are you one of those that are called the attested ones?"

"Yes, that I am," said Philogamus, proudly displaying his brown armlet
with the red crown.

"Then it is you, as it appears to me, who have given a pledge and made a
promise, and that promise, I am sure, you will fulfil to the best of
your ability. When the time comes it is for you to go at once and not to
weary the market-place with empty noise and murmurs of complaint. For
remember this: the man who has taken a wife and has brought up children
under the State's protection owes more, if it be possible...."

(_Here the fragment ends._)

       *       *       *       *       *

From a description of the German Crown Prince:--

    "Before the war he liked to imitate the English, and posed as a
    German megalomaniac."

    _Daily News_.

Yes, we believe there were some English like that--before the War.

       *       *       *       *       *


[Illustration: _Imperial Beggar_. "PITY A POOR WAR-LORD WHO HAS LOST

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Voice through telephone (to officer dragged up from the
first sleep he's had for two days)_. "Thought I'd better report,
Sir.--we've just got the consignment of footballs up."]

       *       *       *       *       *


Now that Sir J. M. BARRIE has shown us the Transatlantic kinema man's
idea of the perfect _Macbeth_, it is up to the purveyor of American
films to retaliate by presenting one of his plots for ordinary stage
performance in the Kirriemuir manner. Here and there an inadvertent
touch of Western colour may be anticipated.

Scene.--_Kensington Gardens. The_ Heroine--_oh, the little love!--is
taking a dander round the "Keep off the Grass" boards. Her feet are
bare, and this is probably the reason why from time to time she dances
among the trees. In the background the Hero, wearing a divided kilt,
rides about on a horse. Having thus given the audience time to settle,
the play starts._

_Heroine_ (_perceiving_ Hero). Gee! there's that rube I met up North.
Sic a bonny lad too! (_sighing sadly_). But he hasna much siller, I'm
sair misdootin'. Guess there's no twelve-pound look about him.

_Hero_ (_dashing up and dismounting_). Wal, I wanter know. Say, ain't
you the peach I useter see from my window in Thrums?

_Heroine_ (_coyly_). Havers!

_Hero_ (_not to be outdone_), Dagont!

[_She strolls away with her chin in the air, her shoes and stockings in
her hands, and the famous red light in her eye. She goes behind a tree,
and the_ Hero, _thinking she has retired there to greet sadly, follows
to console her. However, he discovers that she is merely resuming her
footgear, and he retreats modestly._]

_Hero_ (_rolling his eyes wildly to denote love_). A snod bit lassie,
that. I mean to say--I--ay! Juist so! Ay, ou ay!

_Heroine_ (_returning with her shoes on_). For the love of Mike--I mean
Losh keep's!--are you still here?

_Hero._ That's so. I wanter put you wise about me. I ain't no boob, as
you seemter think. You can bet your rubbers on that. Maybe you're
thinkin' that I'm but a puir laddie. Wal, let _me_ tell _you_ you're
guessin' wrong. I'm an author--I do writin' stunts. And if I don't swell
around in new pants all afternoon it's only because I have to keep all
my cheques among the crumbs in my tobacco pouch. I _have_ to do it. All
the best Scots writers do it. We call it Arcadian Mixture.

_Heroine._ Guess that rollers out the course of true love some. But let
_me_ tell _you_ there's another feller after me--a puir feckless body of
a villain. And, Losh preserve us, here he comes!

[_The_ Villain _enters. He looks rather like a revue-producer who has
seen better nights. The_ Hero, _overcome by bashfulness at being
discovered in conversation with a female, conceals himself behind his

_Villain._ See here, gal, you just gotter marry me.

_Heroine._ Shucks! I should say, Dinna blether, ma mannie.

[_The_ Hero _creeps cautiously out of ambush._]

_Villain_ (_caressingly_). I have always loved my little Mary.

_Hero_ (_subtly ironic_). Imphm! Imphm! Ou ay, imphm!

_Villain_ (_surprised but finding a way_). Oh, the dears! oh, the

_Hero_ (_bewildered_). What's all that blatherskite, any old way?

_Villain_ (_privily drawing bludgeon_). It was Sneeky Hobart who never
went to kirk again after they substituted tin plates for the usual cloth

_Hero_ (_perplexed and off his guard_). Guess you've gone bughouse,
sonny. I mean, I'm no quick in the uptak'----

_Villain._ Are ye no? (_brandishing bludgeon_). Well, I am! (_He fells
the_ Hero _senseless to the ground._) And noo, lassie, I can sorter
concentrate on you.

_Heroine_ (_in the most ladylike way_). Help! oh, help!

_Villain._ Say, you don't seemter freeze on to me, somehow. But you must
and shall be mine! Come awa', lassie.

[_He seizes her and she resists. Meanwhile the_ Hero, _who fell on to a
clump of genuine thistles, makes a superbly-rapid recovery from his

_Villain_ (_pausing to mop his brow_). Say, you'll got my goat for sure
if you kick up like this, lassie.

_Heroine._ Gee! That's a great idea. If only Peter Pan's goat----

[_The_ Hero, _inspired, crawls away unnoticed._]

_Villain_ (_preparing to renew the struggle_). Lassie, I'm quite sweered
o' you. There's an awesome look in your eye. And can ye no be more
ladylike in your fechting? Remember whose heroine you are.

[_He again strives to bear her off. The_ Hero, _having broken off a
couple of branches and affixed them to his head--a little trick he
learned from the Admirable Crichton--now returns disguised as a goat. He
rushes at Villain, who flees and scales the park railings. But his
overcoat collar catches in the spikes, and he hangs suspended and
helpless. In that position he slowly starves, and dies inconspicuously
as the_ Hero _and_ Heroine _finish the play._]

_Hero_ (_extending his arms_). Say, is it a deal? I mean, will ye ha'e
us, lassie?

_Heroine_ (_with little wells of gladness in her eyes_). It's a cinch.
Guess you're Mr. Smart from Smartville. Ay, I'm thinkin' I'll tak' you.
But you men are fickle callants--that's what every woman knows. Come
awa' and let's find a little meenister at once.

_Hero._ Oh, joy! oh, rapture! oh, rosy rapture! [_They embrace and

_The Audience_. Hoots!


       *       *       *       *       *




_"Sunday Herald" Poster._

       *       *       *       *       *


A now version has recently been discovered of the old Pickwickian

     B I L S T
       U M
     P S H I
      S. M.
      A R K

It runs as follows:--

    H I S M A
      R K S
      T U M
       P S
      B I L

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _The Vicar._ "These Salonikans, Mrs. Stubbs, are of
course the Thessalonians to whom St. Paul wrote his celebrated letters."

_Mrs. Stubbs._ "Well, I 'ope 'e'd better luck with 'is than I 'ave. I
sent my boy out there three letters and two parcels, and I ain't got no
answer to 'em yet."]

       *       *       *       *       *


The subtlety of the Military mind beats and will beat me to the end.
Yesterday we lived in a row of earthen dwellings in a depression in the
ground, which anyone might be excused for referring to, if not as
trenches, at least as dugouts. These alone of all the marvels of
military engineering I have observed during the War admitted of being
shelled with equal exactitude from due in front and due in rear; and
water seemed to have been laid on throughout. Taking all these things
into consideration some Authority labelled them, once for all,

Last night we moved into a commodious cellar of a house which still
leans against the next. It is only five minutes from town, and tramlines
pass the door. Nay more, they stop abruptly at the door--such are the
improvements effected by R.E. Inside the cellar are three bits of
chairs, a table-top on boxes, and an inimitable ancestral smell that no
deodorizer known to modern warfare can cope with. And all this is called
"Trenches!" Our servants do their best to support the official illusion
by neglecting to clean our boots and regarding with surprise and some
little sadness any tendency on our part to wash.

But you must not imagine that life here is all honey. Even here we do a
bit for our eight-and-sixpence. Every evening there comes down from the
front line a report that our men there want more food. A stricter or
less beneficent C.O. than ours might at once institute a court of
inquiry into what has happened to all the food we gave them last night.
But not so with us. "The boys want food," he says to the Adjutant, "and,
by Heaven, the boys shall have it."

No sooner said than handed on to someone else to do. The Adjutant works
off a little bit of his strong personal dislike for me in a note,
couched, if you please, in the most friendly terms, intimating that he
has raised heaven and earth to get me off, but the C.O. insists that I
(as the only competent officer for the task) shall supervise the conduct
of our rations to the front, middle and back lines to-night. He adds
that the Intelligence Corps report that information received from
deserters leads us to suppose that Fritz intends to strafe all roads and
communication trenches in our sector to-night.

The carrying party is supplied by a sister battalion, and makes the
night thoroughly well acquainted with its views about a unit that can't
supply blanks to carry their blanked rations for their blanked selves.
Sometimes a second or a third trip may be necessary, and then the
carriers' patriotic fervour expresses itself in terms almost potent
enough to do the carrying for them. For some reason or other the R.E.,
who design material for our porterage, consider its end and not its
portability. Their special line of ready-made wire entanglements would
entangle a hippopotamus; and when it comes to carrying one a
mile-and-a-half you find it has no wheels, no handles, and simply won't
fold up into the pocket. The usual procedure is for a man or two to roll
on one of these barbed-wire death-traps until they are well stuck on
them and then crawl to the point of delivery.

Sometimes, of course, we have accidents. Last night, for instance, two
men were proceeding (by the way the great point about being a soldier is
that you never walk, run or otherwise ambulate--you proceed, or proceed
at the double, which of course is much nicer for you)--yes, were
proceeding, one at each end of an entanglement, along the top of a
slope, when the leader missed his footing altogether and rolled down to
the morass below. The second, after a brief struggle, followed with the
entanglement. This movement involved not only the man behind, who was
bearing a footboard, but also the remainder of the section. The entire
avalanche was precipitated on to the leaders, and remained there
struggling like the population of a fly-paper until a squad arrived with
wire-cutters. When the R.E. heard of it they wanted the episode
published in Corps Orders as a testimonial. But what the men wanted done
about the R.E. I dare not tell you.

       *       *       *       *       *


A DISTINGUISHED neutral observer, who has just returned from a visit to
Cinemaland, has furnished our representative with the following
interesting account of his experiences and conclusions.

One of the first things (he says) that impressed me was that in the
great cities of Cinemaland there is, outwardly at least, little or no
sign of scarcity. On the contrary, at the various hotels and
restaurants, as well as several private entertainments that came under
my observation, a note of almost wanton luxury appeared to be aimed at.
Evening dress is worn whenever possible, and the costumes of the ladies
are invariably the last word in ultra-fashionable extravagance. Food is
as yet obviously plentiful; what is not consumed being frequently flung
about, especially by the humorous elements of the population, and wasted
with reckless prodigality.

In spite however of this ostentation signs are not wanting that the true
condition of the country is increasingly precarious. Crime of all sorts
is rampant. Judging even by what I myself witnessed within a short
period, the detectives of Cinemaland must all be working overtime. Quite
recently a gang, under the leadership of a ruffian who elected to be
known as The Clutching Hand, made large sums of money by working upon
the terrors of its victims.

Another significant symptom is that respect for law and authority as
such appears to be almost non-existent. The police force of Cinemaland
is a body of men who are most of them of conspicuously full habit. I can
vouch for it that the appearance of these officials is almost invariably
greeted with derision; and should they (as frequently happens) incur
physical maltreatment or other misfortune in the exercise of their
duties popular sympathy is almost always on the side of their opponents.

A notable exception to this feeling is found in the attitude of the
populace towards their chosen ruler, the Emperor, or Film-Lord,
Charlemagne-Chaplin. It is only fair to record that recent spectacular
(and carefully stage-managed) appearances of the monarch have been
greeted with every demonstration of unswerving loyalty and affection.

More significant perhaps to an outside spectator is the undeniable fact
that the Wild Western portions of Cinemaland are to-day in a state of
turbulence bordering upon anarchy. The Cowboys, who are its chief
denizens, would seem, so far as my experience goes, to spend their
entire time in exploits of murderous violence; though here (as elsewhere
among this remarkable people) the influence of sentiment is often
unexpectedly potent. It can hardly be doubted that a populace so
emotional and ill-balanced as that of Cinemaland will have little power
to withstand the strain of disaster.

Despite my apparent freedom from restraint I am persuaded that I was
kept under the observation of a number of uniformed officials during the
whole course of my stay in Cinemaland; and I am bound to confess that my
departure, which was made under cover of darkness, was not unattended
with a sense of personal relief.

       *       *       *       *       *


Once upon a time there was a Father who was devoted to his child. He fed
it and nursed it and watched it grow and gave it toys to play with--both
soldiers and boats. Also he made it promises that some day he would
extend their house and garden until no house and garden were bigger.
Every year he took it to the top of a high precipice and showed it
beautiful lands and water which should some day be theirs.

The child had heard this promise so often that it used to ask, "When?
when?" And always the answer was, "Some day, some day."

And then at last the day came, and the Father took the child to the high
precipice yet once more, but behold it chanced that they both fell over
and were smashed, the Father hopelessly and the child very, very badly,
so that it would for long years or perhaps for evermore be a cripple.

       *       *       *       *       *


Somewhere in France--no, let me be bold and say in Paris--there is a
young French soldier named Charles. Less than two years ago he was a
plumber and whole; to-day he has but one arm, his left; the other and a
piece of his shoulder with it having gone in saving his country from the

Charles is shy and very modest, and no bigger than so many French
youths--he is only twenty-two--with dark-brown hair and blue eyes with
very black centres, and a moustache that never succeeds in looking more
than three weeks old. Being, however, brave, he does not let his maimed
condition unduly trouble him, but runs his errands (all that he can now
do) and whistles as he runs, and is glad to be alive at all, instead of
dead, as so many of his comrades are and as his Colonel is, as I shall

At the Front Charles's duties were these. A despatch--a _pli_, as they
call it--would be given him either back of the lines to deliver in the
trenches, or in the trenches to deliver back of the lines, and in order
to get there, if fighting was in progress, it was necessary for him to
crawl for perhaps one or two kilometres on his stomach. On a certain day
of intense activity, Charles in his trench was handed one of these
critical missives for the commanding officer, who was a kilometre or so
behind, and this he placed in his satchel and then began the hazardous

No one ever knows when the supreme moment of his life is coming; nor did
Charles, but it was then.

This being a terrific day--as a matter of fact it was during the famous
battle for the Maison du Passeur, when the French and Germans were
losing and retaking trenches for hours--he had to crawl all the way,
only to come suddenly upon the body of the commanding officer himself
stretched dead in a carrot field.

To Charles's mind there was then but one thing to do, and that was, as
he had been unable to deliver the message, to take it back to the
sender. He therefore started on the return journey, and was only a few
yards from his trench, and still un-hit, when he found a wounded officer
on the ground. Here was a new problem, but necessarily having to stand
up and throw aside all precautions, Charles got him as well as he could
on his back and, still un-hit, half carried, half supported, him to the
trench, and was at once away again with his despatch. It was at this
moment that an exploding shell hurled the satchel from big hands and
flung it on the open ground between the French trenches and the enemy's,
which were here separated only by a few yards. At any cost the despatch
must not fall into German hands, and Charles, who miraculously had not
been injured by the explosion, began instantly to climb out of the
trench to recover it, and this in spite of a sergeant, who called to him
to keep under cover. But Charles, having one idea and one only, and that
was to save from the foe the despatch that had been entrusted to him,
succeeded in reaching it and securing it; and then came another shell
that shattered his arm.

That is all he remembers; but he must have rolled back to the bottom of
the trench, where he was found, two days later, still clutching the
satchel. And after that, although he remembers the coffee he was given
to drink, all is a haze until he came fully to himself in hospital and
found that no longer had he a right arm.

Such is the story of Charles's effort for his country.

Now I do not claim for Charles that he is any braver or has a finer
sense of duty than many another French soldier; but this I know, that
when he recovered he was summoned to the Invalides to receive not only
the _Croix de Guerre_ but the _Médaille Militaire_ with the palm, which
corresponds to our Victoria Cross, and that now, although, having left
the Army, he no longer wears uniform but merely such poor civilian
clothes as he can afford as a messenger, when he walks along the
Boulevards--which he does as seldom as he can, so shy is he--there is
not an officer, seeing the ribbons on his coat, who does not salute this
little plumber with as much punctilio as though he were General JOFFRE
himself; and, blushing crimson, Charles returns the salute.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Patriotic Scots Lady_ (_patrolling Victoria main-line
station to assist any of her stranded countrymen arriving from the
Front_). "Can I help you in any way?"

_Perplexed Scot._ "Thank you, Mam. Is the toon far frae the station?"]

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Mrs. Humphry Ward seems to have gone for inspiration to
    contemporary characters, and now in 'Tasker Jevons' it is
    difficult not to find the lineaments of a well-known writer."

    _Evening Standard._

Quite so: and Miss MAY SINCLAIR made _A Great Success_ of it.

       *       *       *       *       *


II.--King's Cross.

  King's Cross!
    What shall we do?
  His purple robe
    Is rent in two!
  Out of his crown
    He's torn the gems!
  He's thrown his sceptre
    Into the Thames!
  The Court is shaking
    In every shoe--
  King's Cross!
    _What_ shall we do?
  _Leave him alone
    For a minute or two._


  Bishopsgate Without,
    Bishopsgate Within!
  What a clamour at the gate,
    O what a din!
  Inside and outside
  The Bishops bang and shout,
  Outside crying, "Let me in!"
  Inside, "Let me out."

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "Look here, confound you! What do you mean by your
'disclosures'? There's nothing here that wasn't in the morning papers."

"I'm sorry you're disappointed, Sir. At the same time I must point out
to you that my connection with the paper gives me abserlootly no
influence with the editorial department."]

       *       *       *       *       *


  In that great Room which military error
    Has miscalled Orderly (for it is not,
  But full of tumult and debate and terror,
    And worried writers growing rather hot,
      For ever floundering in seas of chits
      And forms and counterfoils and wrathful writs),
      Alone unfevered mid the storm he sits
    And tells them all exactly what is what.

  Who so alert to solve the frequent riddle,
    To judge if Jones should have his train-fare free,
  Whether the band requires another fiddle,
    And which is senior, Robinson or me?
      Who shall indite such circulars as his
      To Officers Commanding Companies
      About their musketry, or why it is
    So many men take sugar in their tea?

  And when at times he shuns the sacred table
    And like some eagle swoops upon parade,
  Men mark his coming and there bursts a babel
    As with new zeal the subalterns upbraid,
      Lecture and illustrate, and on the right
      Form sullen squads, and hope they're being bright--
      Save those white-livered ones who at the sight
    Hide their commands in some convenient glade.

  For he is terrible; and few folk relish
    The words of doom which shake his diaphragm;
  Yet is the heart of him not wholly hellish,
    But in his playing-hours he's like a lamb;
      And who'd have said that one so skilled to strafe
      And, when I err, too truculent by half,
      Could own so rich, so rollicking a laugh,
    Would see so well how humorous I am?

  Yet if with leave unasked I quit the barrack,
    Ever behind I dread that he will call,
  Speed up the street in some avenging Darracq
    Or on the Underground retrieve his thrall;
      Nor in my home can quite escape the spell
      But freeze with horror at the front-door bell,
      For fear the parlour-maid may speak my knell,
    May knock and say that _he_ is in the hall.

  And, sleeping, still I have to brook his blusters;
    A monstrous Adjutant is always nigh
  At dream-reviews and endless dreamy musters,
    Laden with lists and schemes and syllabi;
      And, though he find no failing anywhere,
      But all are present and correct and fair,
      _I_ never fail to make the fellow swear,
    _I_ always seem to catch his horrid eye.

       *       *       *       *       *


[Illustration: VERDUN, FEBRUARY-MARCH, 1916.]

       *       *       *       *       *



Designed for protection against raids by our air-experts.]

_Tuesday, March 21st._--Returning from Westminster this afternoon I
stumbled in Whitehall upon a Member whom I had not seen in his place
this Session. "Going down to the House?" I asked. "What, is it sitting?"
he replied; and then it appeared that he was just home on short leave
after working hard "somewhere on the Continent," and had no present
interest in political controversy. As I reflected on a speech I had just
listened to, it occurred to me that the attitude of some of the
stay-at-home Members towards the War is much the same as that of my hon.
friend towards the House. "What, is it still going on?"

If the Germans were in occupation of the Black Country, if Oxford were
being daily shelled, as Rheims is, and if with a favouring breeze London
could hear the dull rumble of the bombardment, as Paris can, I wonder if
Members would still be encumbering the Order-paper with the sort of
trivialities that now find place there.

An exception may be made in favour of Mr. JOE KING. He has discovered a
little late in the day that a war is going on in Europe, and that it
affects a little country called Belgium, whose neutrality was guaranteed
by the Powers. He was anxious to know whether Belgium had formally
renounced her neutrality, and was no doubt greatly surprised to learn
from Sir EDWARD GREY that, owing to one of the guaranteeing Powers
having invaded her, Belgium had become a belligerent.

I do not know whether Mr. PRINGLE was in the House when this
announcement was made. But if so it evidently created no impression on
his mind. In the debate on the Army Estimates he followed Captain TRYON,
who had delivered an urgent appeal to the Government from the text, "A
strong Army and a shorter War." Mr. PRINGLE'S ideal is just the reverse.
In his view the Army is too big already, and is taking too great a toll
from our industrial and commercial population. The great men who won the
Napoleonic War--after twenty-three years--had not a big army; and the
consequence was that, while it was going on, British trade expanded by
leaps and bounds. To-day, owing to our disastrous military policy the
demands upon our tonnage were so heavy that people had to go short of
sugar and tobacco. Let us conserve our resources and be ready to dictate
terms when Germany has been financially ruined. When Mr. PRINGLE at last
sat down after three-quarters of an hour of this sort of thing I longed
for ten minutes of Mr. BALFOUR at his best. But he was not present, and
Mr. LONG was so much occupied in defending the Government against the
charge of having broken faith with the married men that Mr. PRINGLE
never got the trouncing he deserved.

_Wednesday, March 22nd._--One of the most cherished beliefs of the House
of Commons is that upon the Second Reading of the Consolidated Fund Bill
anything under the sun may be discussed. Colonel YATE was justly
surprised, therefore, when the SPEAKER ruled that he was out of order in
criticising the Indian Government for its conduct of the Mesopotamian
Expedition, and advised him to reserve his remarks for the Indian Budget
discussion--equivalent in these times to the Greek Kalends.

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN was surprised too, but, regardless of the ruling,
proceeded to make a carefully-prepared reply to the speech which the
Hon. and gallant Member had not been allowed to deliver. He frankly
admitted that there had been a lamentable breakdown of the hospital
arrangements, but steps had been taken to improve them, and a telegram
from General LAKE showed that the treatment of the men wounded in the
recent engagement was satisfactory.

Mr. PEMBERTON-BILLING essayed another and a longer flight to-day, but
had a good deal of engine trouble. His Parliamentary friends ought to
have warned him that the House does not care to listen to a man reading
extracts from his own leading articles, however prophetic they may have
been; that the constant reiteration of a phrase such as "I would like to
suggest, Mr. SPEAKER," soon becomes tiresome, and that to call somebody
else "the De Rougemont of the air" is to invite the _tu quoque_. Members
became more and more impatient as the orator became more and more
dogmatic; and when he rhetorically demanded the name of "one man to whom
we could turn to solve the problem" they derisively chorused, "BILLING!"
Mr. TENNANT, recognising the feeling of the House, did not spend much
time in refuting Mr. BILLING's wild assertions, but devoted most of his
speech to replying to Mr. JOYNSON-HICKS, who had pleaded that the
East-Coast towns should be more promptly warned of approaching
air-raids. He had personally investigated the arrangements and was
positively "staggered" at "the wonderful network that had been set up,"
and he invited Mr. JOYNSON-HICKS to come with him privately and share
his amazement. Mr. ELLIS GRIFFITH was not convinced. He thought that
there were still too many strands of red tape in the network, and
reiterated the hope that the DERBY Committee would soon develop into a
Ministry of the Air.

_Thursday, March 23rd._--A distressing report in the papers this
morning, that the _Galloper_ had been blown up by the Germans, made the
friends of Sir FREDERICK SMITH anxious. Had he, on one of his periodical
visits to the trenches to see Friend WINSTON, stumbled across an enemy
mine? Happily the report was grossly exaggerated. The _Galloper_ was
only a light-ship, and had not been destroyed by the enemy but merely
withdrawn by the Trinity House; and on the Treasury Bench this afternoon
there was the ATTORNEY-GENERAL very much alive.

Mr. TREVELYAN had a motion on the paper condemning the administration of
the Defence of the Realm Act, and in support of it produced a sheaf of
cases, in which he said the Government had abused its powers. Among
other acts of vile oppression they had ravished from her home, on
September 1st, while her father was away shooting partridges, and had
subsequently interned without trial, a young lady against whom no charge
had been formulated. It sounded very dreadful, and someone called out,
"Is this a Russian case?"

Then arose Sir F. E. SMITH, and with a few forensic gestures demolished
the house of cards that Mr. TREVELYAN had so laboriously erected. Most
of his cases were out of court because they had already been in court,
the decisions he impugned being those of the magistrates. As for the
daughter of the partridge-slayer she was an associate of a notorious
German spy, and had come back from Switzerland with a message for one of
his agents. As her case had been fully considered by the late HOME
SECRETARY he suggested that Mr. TREVELYAN should talk to him about it.

This was the most pungent speech of the afternoon. The most amusing was
that of Mr. GINNELL, who kept the House in fits of laughter for ten
minutes while in his most rasping tones he jerked out epigrams against
"this thing calling itself a Government." The Coalition was described as
"two poisons blended, which could not make a wholesome drink." Never
before has he had such a success. I only hope it will not turn his head
and encourage him to attempt conscious humour.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Veteran_ (_instructing "Bantam" in his duties as
sentry_). "You look over there--there's the Germans. Don't you worry
about them--_they_ won't 'urt you. But you watch those blinking rats.
_They'll_ get you by the back of the leg and pull you off the bloomin'
fire-step in no time!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The World at War at ---- Theatre Only."

    _Advt. in Evening Paper._

We are relieved to find that the area of conflict has been so much

       *       *       *       *       *


We have just returned from another of those little expeditions which are
becoming almost a habit with the ---- Frontier Force when in search of
an enemy whose discretion is only rivalled by that of the German High
Seas Fleet. We moved out four days ago with all the pomp of war--horse,
foot and guns, ambulances and long trains of transport waggons, the
fierce vivid fighting of the desert before us. We rode seventeen miles
that day and camped at some wells. As we rolled ourselves in our
blankets round the camp-fires to rest for the glorious contest of the
morrow our hearts should have been filled with dreams of undying fame.
But we were really wondering when the squadron transport would arrive
with our porridge and sausages for breakfast.

Next morning we were in the saddle by 3 A.M., and after some ten or
twelve hours of unbroken and undisputed progress we captured two Arab
shepherds in charge of as many as eight sheep. This _succès fou_ was the
cause of justifiable satisfaction.

In the first place we scented liver and bacon for breakfast. In the
second place it seemed to promise a settlement of the long-standing
dispute between me and the General. The General has a preposterous
theory about the existence and hostility of a vast number of mythical
Arabs in our immediate neighbourhood. Now this is obviously absurd. With
the exception of three palm-trees, which belong to us, there is nothing
but sand for about two hundred miles in all directions, and even an Arab
cannot subsist entirely on sand. Of course, if there were any Arabs near
us, they would be so enraged at finding themselves at a spot two hundred
miles from anything except sand that they would be violently hostile to
anyone, especially to the people who had engaged the only three
palm-trees in the neighbourhood. But it is their existence that I
dispute with the General. It is true he took a most unfair dialectical
advantage, about a fortnight ago, by having a large battle. But my
contention is that the enemy on this occasion were merely orange-sellers
from the nearest town, hired by the General for the purpose of argument.

These two shepherds, however, did seem to support his theory of the
existence of Arabs, but as to their hostility there was still room for
doubt. They were both extraordinarily old and unbelievably dirty. Also
they were, as was very natural, extremely frightened. Seeing that they
knew themselves to be the only living people for quite a number of miles
round, it must have appeared to them that the entire ---- Frontier Force
had come out solely for the purpose of capturing them, and that, as it
had ridden some forty miles to do it, it would not be in a good temper.
It was therefore rather hard to judge of their hostility, because as
soon as they were confronted with the General and the interpreter they
gave one yell of "Allah!" and fell flat, face downwards, in the sand,
from which position they refused to move. They would not even budge when
the interpreter took all their clothes off with a view to searching
them. They probably thought this was merely a preliminary to skinning
them. When they were finally induced to speak, I believe they were
understood to say that we were the first men they'd seen for eight
years. I don't wonder they were frightened. If you have lived all your
life all alone in the middle of a howling desert with Grandfather it's a
very frightening thing when a complete Frontier Force marches forty
miles for the sole purpose of capturing you.

But the day's excitement was not over yet. Towards evening I took my
troop off at a gallop in person and captured a camel. It was a very
young camel, hardly bigger than a sheep on stilts, and it cried like a
child at the sight of me. This, I hope, was not so much due to my
frightful appearance in my red moustaches as to the fact that it had
probably never seen a man at all (not being eight years old), let alone
an army.

The curious aversion which it conceived for my moustache threatened to
hold up the entire Frontier Force for the rest of the day, for it would
neither be led nor driven. Fortunately, however, we had a very black
Soudanese camel-driver with us as guide, and he came and spat at it,
which soothed it considerably, and it followed him like a lamb. We got
it back to camp next day and it is tied up near my tent. It has
apparently made up its mind to waive the moustache question, and we now
spit at one another in the friendliest fashion whenever I pass. I hope
in time to train it to bring up my bath water in the morning from the
three palm-trees.

_Later._--The camel was the last episode of the campaign, and we
returned to ---- yesterday. The total bag of a four days' expedition
was--sheep, 8; shepherds, 2; camel, 1. The human section was
subsequently released on the grounds that their political views were

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: A well-known octopus family, having heard of the undersea
photography, decides to pose.]

       *       *       *       *       *


    ["Women _can_ bake bread if they will. It is much easier than
    trimming hats."--_"Housewife," in "The Daily News."_]

  Aminta, be not led away
  By words that sanguine women say;
  Though simpler be the baking bread
  Than trimming gear for your fair head,
  Let your concern remain, I ask,
  The sterner and the nobler task.

  The nobler task: I'll tell you why.
  Shall Bloggs, our baker, wilt and die
  For loss of trade, his brood of eight
  Left destitute and desolate?
  And must _I_ perish 'neath the stress
  Of culinary frightfulness?

  No, dear. The millinery art
  Is where I'd have you play your part;
  For, though your hats may work intense
  Despite on my aesthetic sense,
  Whatever pain their crudeness brings
  At least I needn't eat the things.

       *       *       *       *       *


    "You never know your luck when you get our FRUIT."--_Advt. in
   Irish Paper._

       *       *       *       *       *

    "_Mr. Hayes._ Certainty is defined in Webster as the maximum of
    our expectations. (Loud laughter.)

    _The Judge_ (_laughing_). Let us get on. This is more like
    _Punch_ than anything else. (Laughter.)"--_Pall Mall Gazette._

It will now have to be called the Supreme Court of Punch and Judicature.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Dear Old Lady._ "It must be a great strain for the man
up the periscope."

_Nephew._ "Yes, he has a thin time."]

       *       *       *       *       *


(_A Hint to Reviewers._)

A WRITER in a recent issue of _The Daily Chronicle_ prefaces a column of
novel notices with the following remarks: "The smaller papers consequent
upon the famine in 'pulp' have made the reviewing of the new novels
rather a job, but at least it is possible to give news of them."

But the writer tackles his job in a half-hearted manner, using such
ponderous polysyllables as "international" and "acquisition." Now Mr.
Punch, always ready to lend a hand in a good cause, has instructed one
of his young men to rewrite two of _The Chronicle_ reviews in words of
one syllable, and presents them to his contemporary as models for
imitation in the future.

I.--Mrs. Ward.

A GREAT HIT. By Mrs. Hump. Ward. Lond., Smith, Eld., _3s. 6d._ net.

For the most part Mrs. WARD writes long yarns, and those who read her
books look to her for more than five score thou. words. Here she gives
us a short tale in which the three chief _rôles_ are filled by a man who
earns lots of dibs by his pen, his wife, and their, or his, friend--a
peer's wife, who takes him up for her own ends. She tries in her hard
bright way to shape his course as she views it, which means a place in
the sun for _her_. The wife, who has brains as well as a warm heart,
will not be robbed of her man like this, puts up a good fight, and in
the end has the best of the bout with the pale witch with dark eyes who
had waved her wand o'er the knight of the pen. It is not poss. to deal
with all the points of Mrs. HUMP. WARD's book in words of one syll., but
we can at least say here is a good tale to speed the flight of the hours
of eve.

II.-The Bills.

THE SHOP GIRL. By C. N. and A. M. Sons o' Bill. Lond., Meth., _6s._

_Miss Child_ is a nice sweet girl with lots of sense who goes to the
land of the Yanks and makes things hum a bit in a nice sweet way. She
meets her fate on board the big ship on the way out; but a long and
bright yarn has to be read ere she makes the Port of Joy. We see a Yank
store in full swing, learn much of the way it is worked, and the folk
who run it are well drawn. To be frank one could scarce think that so
_chic_ a tale could be made out of the prose of New York. But to the
Bills--if I may so call them--all the world is a stage, and they see
through the heart of the New Eve with a gaze that is quite weird. In
fine this is a tale in which the Bills, while they take new ground,
write with all their old _flair_ and charm.

       *       *       *       *       *


When M. RAEMAEKERS went to Paris the other day to receive his decoration
and be fêted for his fine pro-Ally spirit, it was M. FORAIN, as the head
of living French cartoonists, who received him in the name of France and
conferred the Order. M. FORAIN'S public appearances are nowadays few and
far between, but he still wields--and none more searchingly--a pencil
keen and swift as a sword, and he never takes it in hand but to create
something memorable. A selection of his recent work is now on view in
London at 22, Montagu Square, the residence of Mr. CAMPBELL DODGSON, the
Keeper of the Prints at the British Museum, the proceeds of the entrance
fees being intended for a hospital for French wounded soldiers at
Arc-en-Barrois. The little exhibition, which should be seen by all who
love great draughtsmanship and France, remains open until April 1.

       *       *       *       *       *


"The Barton Mystery."

One of the most difficult feats of juggling is, I understand, the deft
tossing up and catching of a heavy weight (say a dumb-bell), a very
light weight, such as a champagne cork, together with any old thing of
irregular shape, a bedroom candlestick, for instance. Mr. WALTER
HACKETT'S _The Barton Mystery_ is a most ingenious turn of this sort.

The _fiancé_ of the sister of the wife of _Richard Standish, M.P._, is
under sentence of death for the murder of _Mr. Barton_. He happens to be
innocent, though he admits at the trial that he quarrelled violently
with and even threatened _Barton_ on the night of the murder, and his
revolver has been found by the dead man's side. That vindictive relict,
_Mrs. Barton_, is holding back some material evidence which could save
the condemned man, or so _Standish_ thinks, and she is adamant. Now
_Barton_ was unquestionably a bad egg, but the widow doesn't want the
whole world to know it--at least not till she finds the woman. Some
woman, who had incidentally written some, shall we say, very impetuous
love letters, is being shielded. Who is she? Is it _Standish's_ wife,
for instance? Ah!... This is the dumb-bell.

A _Lady Marshall_, the wife of a _Sir Everard Marshall_, a comic
scientist in perpetual flight from his overwhelming spouse, is one of
the sort that finds a new religion every few months and is now in the
first fast furious throes of her latest, which is some form of
psychomania, whereof the high priest is one _Beverley_, a plausible
ringletted charlatan of alcoholic tendencies (_Sludge the Medium_,
without his cringe and snarl), who ekes out his spasmodic visitations of
genuine psychic illumination with the most shameless spoof. This is the

The candlestick is the dream _motif_, always a ticklish business to
handle, and in this particular case--well, no, I won't be such a
spoil-sport as to go into that, for the chief pleasure of this kind of
an entertainment is the succession of pleasant unexpected shocks which
are deftly administered to the audience by the author.

There were times indeed when the latter nearly dropped his
dumb-bell--times when it was in imminent peril of barging into the cork;
and most certainly the candlestick very nearly slipped out of his hand.
But it just didn't, so you will see that it was really a most
exceptional piece of jugglery. Of course I will admit you have to
swallow the robust assumption that into a household over which the
shadow of death in its ugliest form hovers so threateningly two fatuous
people, to wit the scientist and his wife, can come and babble about
their own trivial domestic troubles or their latest philosophy of life.
But then mystery plays always are like that, and this is a jolly good
one of its kind--a kind which it pains me, as a superior person, to
confess that I liked enormously.


_Beverley_ ... Mr. H. B. Irving.

_Sir Everard Marshall_ ... Mr. Holman Clark.]

Mr. H. B. IRVING as the preposterous _Beverley_ was in his very best
form. _Beverley_ is really a creation. How much the author's and how
much the player's it would be an impertinence to inquire. This
imperturbable trickster with his thin streak of genuine sensitiveness to
psychic influence; his grotesquely florid style--the man certainly has
style; his frank reliance on apt alcohol's artful aid; his cadging
epicureanism; his keen eye for supplementary data for his inductions and
prophecies; his cynical candour when detected, is presented to us with
Mr. IRVING'S rich-flavoured and most whimsical sense of comedy, with all
his exuberant abundance of gracious or fantastic gesture and resourceful
business. In the trances, sometimes real, sometimes simulated, he gives
you a plausible sketch of how a modicum of psychic power (whatever that
may be), laced with whisky neat, might colour a séance. Mr. _Hackett_,
by way of showing that he has not ignored the literature of his subject,
has adapted from the admirable, but, I regret to say, entirely
untrustworthy, because incurably original, MAETERLINCK an entirely new
definition of psychometry. But we certainly will not go into that.

Mr. HOLMAN CLARK as the sceptical _Sir Everard_, completely spoofed by
_Beverley_ in the end, with an elaborate make-up ruthlessly reminding us
of our simian ancestry, potters cleverly about the stage with that
admirable and amiable craft which he has at such easy command. Miss
MARIE ILLINGTON as _Lady Marshall_, the seeker after light, kept the
burlesquerie of her part skilfully within bounds--indeed this matter of
key was extraordinarily well handled by the three players entrusted with
what I have ventured to call the cork _motif_.

As to the more serious business, Mr. H. V. ESMOND seemed to behave very
much as one would imagine a decent M.P. behaving in such embarrassing
circumstances. He suspected his wife with all the ardour which public
men on the stage always exhibit. His little turn of desperate tragedy
carried conviction--almost too much conviction, as you will find--but I
won't explain.

Miss JESSIE WINTER, as his wife, very adroitly contrived an ambiguous
effect of likely guilt but possible innocence. She more than fulfils the
promise of her last performance in this theatre, but she must (may I
tell her?) arrest the development of "the Fatal Cæsura," that
exasperating histrionic device whereby every salient phrase is broken up
for no conceivable reason into two halves. In the secondary stages there
is but slender hope of a cure; in the tertiary there is none.

Miss DARRAGH was, as required, the vindictive widow to the life (this
kind of life, you understand), and Miss HILDA BAYLEY played very
charmingly the little wilful _fiancée_ who--but no, I must keep my

With much less evidence than the applause and generally keyed-up
attitude of the Savoy audience afforded me, I could risk a psychic
communication in the authentic manner of a Beverley séance. "All is
dark.... It is getting light.... I see a man.... He leans eagerly to a
telephone.... He thrusts something into envelopes. He goes on thrusting
things into envelopes. The telephone keeps ringing.... It is.... Can it
be? Yes, it _is_ a Box Office." An institution which at the Savoy should
be busy for many months to come.


       *       *       *       *       *


    "In memory of the name of the late Dr. F. C. Batchelor it is
    proposed that the name of the Forth Street Maternity Hospital
    (Dunedin) be altered to that of the Batchelor
    Hospital."--_Southland Times_ (_N.Z._)

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration] _Mother._ "Did you remember to pray for everybody, dear?"

_Daughter._ "Well, Mummy, I prayed for you, but Jack prayed for Daddy.
He's looking after him just now."]

       *       *       *       *       *


The Converted Collector.

(_An Order in Council prohibits the importation of all musical

  In ancient, peaceful _ante-bellum_ days--
  Now far remote as HANNIBAL'S or HANNO'S--
  I had a weakness, possibly a craze,
  For buying Hun pianos.

  I let no patriotic sentiment
  My honest inclination curb or fetter;
  On foreign articles my cash I spent,
  Because I liked them better.

  Nor would I now proscribe Germanic Art,
  Their one surviving claim to lasting glory,
  STRAUSS is another story.

  But while our enemy unshattered stands
  In any single theatre or sector,
  I take no interest in German "grands,"
  As player or collector.

  I will not have them broken up or burned,
  Although they cease to give me delectation,
  That mean to keep them suitably interned
  Throughout the War's duration.

  But now the Board of Trade, those lynx-eyed gents,
  Our economic needs severely scanning,
  The importation of all instruments
  Have just resolved on banning.

  No matter; I possess a set of pipes
  Made in the land whose emblem is the Thistle;
  Three Indian tom-toms of peculiar types
  And a Bolivian whistle.

  I've a Peruvian nose-flute, made of bone,
  A war-conch brought me from the South Pacific,
  Which, by a leather-lunged performer blown,
  Is really quite horrific.

  I have some balalaikas, few though fit,
  Whose strings I have acquired some skill in tweaking;
  And several pifferi, whose tubes emit
  A most unearthly squeaking.

  I am, alas! too old and weak to fight,
  But on these non-Teutonic pipes and tabors
  I hope a martial spirit to incite
  In "conscientious" neighbours.

  And when my time, as soon it must, shall come,
  My epitaph perhaps might thus begin well:
  "He 'did his bit' upon the Indian drum;
  He played the mandolin well.

  Others who stayed at home to criticize
  More vocal proved; he, on a falling rental,
  In furthering the cause of the Allies
  Was always instrumental."

       *       *       *       *       *

In an account of a BURNS' celebration given by the _North Battleford
News_ (Saskatchewan), it is remarked that "the absence of any kind of
spirituous liquors around the festive board and the fact that the ladies
were present" were unique features of the entertainment. But, according
to the same report, there was yet another: "'The Immoral Memory' was
given by Rev. D. Munro."

       *       *       *       *       *


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

It is a tragic coincidence that, just as RUPERT BROOKE'S now famous
sonnets were published in volume form after his own death, the
appearance of his _Letters from America_ (SIDGWICK AND JACKSON) follows
immediately upon the death of Mr. HENRY JAMES, who had written the
preface to them. Thus in one book we have the last work of two writers,
widely separated in age and circumstance, but united by a very real bond
of artistic and personal sympathy. How generous was the elder man's
appreciation of the younger may be seen in this preface; it is at its
best and simplest in dealing with that charm of personality by which all
who knew RUPERT BROOKE will most vividly remember him. Elsewhere it must
be confessed that the preface is by no means easy reading, so that one
emerges at last a little breathless upon the transparent and sunlit
stream of the _Letters_ themselves. Many who recall these from their
publication in _The Westminster Gazette_ will be glad to meet them
again. Those who knew the writer only as the poet of 1914 will perhaps
wonder to find him the whimsical and smiling young adventurer who moves
with such boyish enjoyment through these pages. There is holiday humour
in them, even in the occasional statistics--holiday tasks, these latter;
and everywhere the freshness of an unclouded vision. "Only just in
time," one thinks, sharing the happiness that his _Letters_ reflect, and
grateful for it as for a beautiful thing snatched so narrowly from fate.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mrs. BELLOC LOWNDES has written a story of the War that has at least the
distinction of being absolutely fair. She has indeed got so far away
from the perhaps excusable error of painting Germans uniformly black
that her Huns in _The Red Cross Barge_ (SMITH, ELDER) are made upon the
average quite as attractive as their enemies. This by way of warning, so
that if you are in no mood to look for pearls amid swine you may avoid
some impatience and a feeling that impartiality can be carried too far.
Not by any means that _The Red Cross Barge_ is a pro-German book....
There is an attractive sense of atmosphere about Mrs. LOWNDES' picture
of the little French town in which a group of Germans are left during
what appears to them the triumphal march to Paris. Here _Herr Doktor Max
Keller_ meets and falls in love with a French girl who is looking after
certain wounded of both nations. The peaceful and picturesque air of the
little place during this quiet occupation is well contrasted with the
horrors that befall it when the draggled and drink-sodden soldiery come
surging back in their retreat from the Marne. Eventually, just as the
Germans are leaving, _Keller_ is fatally wounded, and dies holding the
hand of the enemy who has become so dear to him. One can hardly call the
tale anything but sentimental, but it is sentiment of a fragrant and
wholesome kind. In the years to come such stories will no doubt multiply
indefinitely, but there will be few more gracefully and gently told.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Corporal (alluding to knock-kneed man)._ "It's no good;
'e never looks smart. Look at 'im now--the top 'alf of 'is legs standing
to attention and the bottom 'alf standing at ease!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. RICHARD PRYCE, true to the fashion of describing the childhood of
heroes at great length, has in _David Penstephen_ (METHUEN)
out-COMPTONED MACKENZIE. _David_ in fact dallied so persistently in the
nursery that I began to wonder if he would ever emerge; but, when he
does get a move on, his story is strangely appealing. His father and
mother, having ideas of their own, had excused themselves from the
formalities of wedlock, and before _Mrs. Penstephen_ broke down under
the strain of this omission _David_ and his sister, _Georgiana_, were
born. Subsequently the parents were married, and had another son. But
before this legitimate addition to the family a boating accident had
deprived the world of two cousins of _Penstephen père_, and in
consequence he inherited a baronetcy. This change of fortune affected
his views, and as time passed by he became as orthodox a baronet as any
you could wish to find in _Burke_. All of which was galling to _David's_
mother, who loved and was jealous for those children who were born to
suffer for their parents' original morals. The situation required very
delicate handling, and Mr. PRYCE is to be congratulated warmly upon the
manner in which he has developed it. Perhaps a little more humour would
have added salt to the tale, but however that may be we have a careful
study of a boy and an exquisitely sympathetic portrait of a mother. The
latter part of the book is admirable both in what it tells and in what
it merely suggests. More is the pity that Mr. PRYCE has weighed down
_David's_ childish back with too heavy a load of detail. My advice to
you is to skip some of the earlier pages, and so husband your strength
for the better enjoyment of the remainder.

       *       *       *       *       *

_The Duel_ (ALLEN AND UNWIN) is a study in the GORKY tradition, by
ALEXANDER KUPRIN, of life in an obscure Russian regiment and an
out-of-the-way provincial town before the great awakening that followed
Mukden and Port Arthur purged away much dross and prepared the way for
these latter days of sacrifice and heroism. It is a mournful document, a
piece of devil's advocacy, a Russian counterpart of Lieutenant BILSE'S
_Life in a Garrison Town_, identical in temper and astonishingly similar
in some of its detail. It is clear that the author, who was for seven
years an infantry lieutenant and probably little fitted for the military
life even at its best, endured much unhappiness, for the marks of
suffering have burnt themselves into the book so savagely that the
English translation, though characterized by a crudity which might
reasonably be expected to accomplish much in the way of eliminating the
personality of the author, cannot quite rob his work of its impression
of power and intimate tragedy. Those who are not in search of light
refreshment and who will remember that this last decade of Russian
national regeneration and reorganisation has rooted up the incompetence,
the false standards, the irregular discipline and the inhuman barriers
between officers and men here commented upon, may read these bitter
chapters with profit. As for the translator, he might do well to study
one of the GARNETT TURGENIEFFS, and see how this kind of thing should be

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 150, March 29, 1916" ***

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