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Title: Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 150, May 10, 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, May 10, 1916" ***

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VOL. 150, MAY 10, 1916***


PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI

VOL. 150

MAY 10, 1916



CHARIVARIA.

Many graphic tales have been told of the immense loads of plunder
carried off during the fighting in Dublin; but there has been looting on
a large scale elsewhere, if one may believe the headline of a
contemporary:--"Man arrested with Colt in his pocket at Bloomsbury."

       ***

Says a writer in The _Daily Chronicle_: "In one neighbourhood within the
Zeppelin zone there are hundreds of partridges who defy the Defence of
the Realm Act. Two or three hours before anyone else is aware that the
baby-killers are approaching these bold birds go chuckle, chuckle,
chuckle, as if there were an army of the more human sort of poachers
about." Personally we have always felt that the section of the Defence
of the Realm Act which forbids one to go chuckle, chuckle, chuckle, when
the Zeppelins are approaching is superfluous as well as in inferior
taste.

       ***

Dr. WALFORD DAVIS, in a lecture on "Songs for Home Singing," recently
told his hearers how Major Tom Bridges saved a couple of battalions at
the Front with two penny whistles. We feel bound to point out however
that any attempt to save the nation with the same exiguous weapons would
be too hazardous to be encouraged.

       ***

Owing to a lack of the necessary dyes there will soon be no more red
tape available for the War Office and elsewhere. It is to be hoped,
however, that the familiar and picturesque salutation with which staff
officers are in the habit of taking leave of one another, "So long, Old
Tape!" will not be allowed to become obsolete.

       ***

Attention has recently been drawn to the number of strapping boys who
are idling their time away in cinema houses in the absence of their
fathers at the Front. Their strapping fathers, of course.

       ***

According to the President of the Baptist Union, "you must hit a
Londoner at least six times before he smarts." We do not presume to
dispute this statement, but what we want to know is, how was the
Londoner occupied while the President of the Baptist Union was
conducting his extremely interesting experiment?

       ***

Owing to the scarcity of tonnage, Denmark shipowners have put into
commission two 18th-century sailing vessels. Meanwhile in the
neighbourhood of Mount Ararat there is, we learn, some talk of
organising an expedition for the recovery of the Ark with a view to her
utilisation in the cattle-carrying trade.

       ***

The Recorder of Pontefract states that in a recent walk he followed for
three miles three men who were smoking, and counted sixty-two matches
struck by them. It is reported that the gentlemen concerned have since
called upon the Recorder to explain that it was in a spirit of war
economy that they had dispensed with the services of the torch-bearer
who had hitherto attended their movements.

       ***

There will be no Bakers' Exhibition this year, it is announced. Many
_chic_ models however, both in _gáteaux_ and the new open-work
_confiserie_, will be privately exhibited.

       ***

A contributor to _The Observer_ draws our attention to the phenomenally
early return of the swifts. But after all there must be something
particularly soothing about England these days to a neurotic fowl like a
swift.

       ***

It is rumoured that Mr. BIRRELL has lately thrown off one of his _obiter
dicta_--to the effect that Mr. Asquith and his colleagues have expressed
an ambition to go down in the pages of history as the "Ministry of All
the Buried Talents."

       ***

It was a confirmed dyspeptic of our acquaintance who, on reading that in
Paris they are serving a half-mourning salad consisting mainly of sliced
potatoes, artichokes and pickled walnuts, expressed surprise at their
failure to add a few radishes to the dish, so that they might be
thoroughly miserable while they were about it.

       ***

According to a contemporary, Mr. H. B. IRVING'S _Cassius_ "came very
near to Shakespeare." A delightful change from the innumerable Cassii
that are modelled, for instance, on Mr. W. W. JACOBS.

       ***

Sir THOMAS LIPTON'S yacht, the _Erin_, has been sunk in the
Mediterranean, and no doubt the Germans think they have done something
to go bragh about.

       ***

Italians are being invited by means of circulars dropped from balloons
to desert to the Austrians, the sum of 5s. 8d. being offered to each
deserter. This is no doubt what is technically known as a _ballon
d'essai_.

       ***

The House of Commons is giving serious consideration to the Daylight
Saving Scheme. But certain occupants of the Treasury Bench (we are
careful not to "refer to" them as members of the Cabinet) are said to be
withholding their support till they know what it is that the surplus
daylight is to be let into.

       *       *       *       *       *

PAY PARADE.

[Illustration: _Officer._ "Have you made an allotment?"

_Recruit._ "Oh, no, Sir! I give up me fowls and cabbages the day afore I
joined the army."]

       *       *       *       *       *

    "London, April 6.--A Zeppelin airship attacked the north-east
    coast of England on Wednesday afternoon, but was driven off by
    our anti-Haircraft defences."

    _Daily Chronicle (Jamaica)._

This subtle allusion to the former occupation of the Zeppelin crew has,
we believe, caused much anxiety among the ex-barbers in the German
Service, who fear that the A.A.C. will go for them bald-headed.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "April 23rd was ... the 300th anniversary of the birth of
    Shakespeare and of the death of Shakespeare."--_Daily Paper._

And to think of all he accomplished in less than twenty-four hours!

       *       *       *       *       *

At a Red Cross sale:--

    "The exors. of the late Robert Dawson's calf made £6."--_Eastern
    Daily Press._

We wonder if this generous gift came out of the pockets of the
next-of-kine.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "For whoever was responsible for that blunder, which in most
    countries would certainly have evoked a cry of betrayal, the
    mainsheet of Nelson's Victory would be all too inadequate as a
    penitential white sheet and far too illustrious as a shroud."

    _The Leader (British East Africa)._

We agree, but it would make a splendid halter.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE WAY OF THOMAS.

Theory and Practice.

Scene._--Sand on the ---- Frontier of ---. A Cavalry outpost recently
arrived is sitting in a hollow in a vile temper, morosely gouging hunks
of tepid bully beef out of red tins. Several thousand mosquitos are
assiduously eating the outpost. There is nothing to do except to kill
the beasts and watch the antics of the scavenger beetle, who extracts a
precarious livelihood from the sand by rolling all refuse into little
balls and burying them. It is very hot._

_1st Trooper._ Shoot the devils, I would. I can't understand their
letting 'em go the way they do. The first one I meets I shoots. Killing
our wounded the way they do.

_2nd Trooper._ Ay, and killing's not the worst they do, neither. You
should ha' seen them, two poor fellows of ours wot was found. You
wouldn't be taking no prisoners after that.

_1st Trooper._ If I 'ad my way I wouldn't take no prisoners. 'Tain't
safe, for one thing. That was 'ow pore old Bill got done in; went to
take a white-headed old devil prisoner as might have been his
grandfather, and he up and strafed him in the stomach with a shot-gun.
Don't care 'oo it is. They say the women's as bad as the men.

_Corporal (darkly)._ Ah, shooting's too good for 'em, I say, after wot
they done.

_1st Trooper._ They do say they're starving now. Living on grass, 'alf
of 'em; specially after that lot of camels wot was captured.

_Corporal (darkly)._ Ah, let 'em starve, I say. Starving's too good for
'em after wot they done.

_2nd Trooper._ That's just it. They won't let 'em starve. As soon as
they've finished killing our wounded they comes into our camp with all
their families, and we feeds 'em up with dates and biscuits and probably
lets 'em go again.

_1st Trooper._ We're too soft-'earted, that's wot we are. Them Germans
wouldn't carry on like that; they'd shoot 'em quick and no more said.

_2nd Trooper._ Ay, you're right there, and when we gets home the first
thing we shall find is a relief fund to provide food for 'em.

_Corporal._ Well, they'd better not come near _this_ post; they won't
get no dates 'ere.

_Sentry._ Corporal, I can see 'alf-a-dozen of them blighters coming
along about a mile away. Shall I give 'em one?

_Corporal._ No, you idiot. Let's 'ave a look at 'em first.

_[Enter a middle-aged Arab, dressed in the most indescribable rags and
in the last stage of exhaustion. He is followed at long intervals by his
family to two generations, who watch his reception anxiously from
afar.]_

_Arab (falling flat on his face at sight of the Corporal). Bimbashi,
bimbashi, mongeries, mongeries._

_Corporal._ Yes, I'll bash yer all right. Grey-'eaded old reprobate, you
ought to know better.

_Arab (in an anguished voice). Mongeries, mongeries._

_1st Trooper._ Lord, he do look thin, por beggar. _Mongeries_--that
means food, don't it? 'E looks as if 'e hadn't eaten nothing for weeks.
'Ere, 'ave a biscuit, old sport.

_[Arab makes a spasmodic wriggle towards him.]_

_2nd Trooper._ Look out, Bill, 'e's going to bite your leg.

_1st Trooper (with dignity)._ No, 'e ain't; 'e's a-going to kiss my
boots. Gorblimy, 'e's a rum old devil!

_Corporal (suddenly remembering his duty)._ 'Ere you, take your clothes
off. Efta aygry. Strip.

_[The Arab undoes his rags, which slip to the ground.]_

_2nd Trooper._ Blimy, Alf, look at 'em. I never see such a thing in my
life. Look at that big one on his neck.

_1st Trooper (suddenly)._ I say, old chap, don't you never 'ave a bath?

_2nd Trooper._ Lord, though, ain't he thin? 'E's a fair skeleton.

_[The Arab puts on his clothes again and falls exhausted with the
effort.]_

_Corporal._ Pore old feller, 'e's fair done; give 'im a biscuit, Alf.

_1st Trooper._ Try 'im with some bully; they say they won't eat that,
though.

_2nd Trooper._ Won't 'e! I never seen the stuff go so quick. 'Ere, old
feller, don't eat the tin.

_Corporal._ Don't give 'im any more or 'e'll kill 'isself. Let's see if
his family can do the disappearing trick as quick as 'e can. Poor
devils, they've been through something. 'Ere, you family, _mongeries_.
_Tala henna._

_[The family are brought up and fed on the day's rations.]_

_2nd Trooper._ Lord, Alf, look at this kid; 'is legs ain't as thick as
my finger; cries just like they do at 'ome too. 'Ere, 'ave a bit o' jam.

_Corporal._ Take 'em back to camp now and 'and 'em over. Come on, old
boy; you're all right. Lord, ain't they pretty near done. Lucky they
found us when they did.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Better Half.

    "Thames Ditton.--Attested man called up willing to let half
    house, or take another lady in similar position."--_Daily
    Telegraph._

       *       *       *       *       *

"WE GIVE OUR SONS."

  Such our proud cry--a vain and empty boast;
    Love did not ask so great a sacrifice;
  The first _réveillé_ found you at your post;
    You knew the cost; clear-eyed you paid the price;
  Some far clear call we were too dull to hear
        Had caught your ear.

  Not ours to urge you, or to know the voice;
    No stern decree you followed or obeyed;
  Nothing compelled your swift unerring choice,
    Except the stuff of which your dreams were made;
  To that high instinct passionately true,
        Your way you knew.

  We did not give you--all unasked you went,
    Sons of a greater motherhood than ours;
  To our proud hearts your young brief lives were lent,
    Then swept beyond us by resistless powers.
  Only we hear, when we have lost our all,
         That far clear call.

       *       *       *       *       *

A Non-Stop Service.

The following announcement was recently made at a Liverpool church:--

    "The service to-night will be at six o'clock, and will be
    continued until further notice."

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Mr. Butcher expressed his thanks to Mr. Wood for his kind
    words, and said it was a great satisfaction to know that his
    efforts had been appreciated, and very gratifying to be thanked
    by one of the staff. He might reply in the words of Betsy
    Twigge, 'Changing the name, the same to you.'"

    _Ashbourne Telegraph._

We note, but do not approve, the change.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Washington, Friday.

    Sir Cecil Spring Rice has been instructed to apologise for the
    action of the British Governor at Trinidad in failing to return
    the call of the Secretary to the Treasury, Mr. McAdoo, on the
    latter's visit on board the American cruiser _Tennessee_."

    _Exchange Telegraph._

Much McAdoo about nothing.

       *       *       *       *       *

The _Evening News_ publishes an account of a conversation between
"Prince Henry of Prussia (the Kaiser's brother) and Admiral Issimo, of
Germany." The Issimos are a most distinguished fighting family (of
Italian origin), and whenever they have adopted either a military or
naval career have invariably come to the very top.

       *       *       *       *       *

WAKE UP, ENGLAND!

[Illustration: The Sun (_to Householder_). "NOW, THEN, WHY WASTE YOUR
DAYLIGHT? SAVE IT AND GIVE IT TO THE COUNTRY."

(If only for the sake of economy in artificial light during War-time,
the Daylight-saving scheme should have the support of all patriots.)]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE WATCH DOGS.

XXXIX.

MY DEAR CHARLES,--There comes a time in the life of the military motor
when, owing to one thing or another (but mostly another), it becomes a
casualty and retires, on the ground of ill-health, to the Base. As such
it is towed into the nearest workshops; but, before it departs to the
Base there arrive, from all corners of the Army area, drivers of other
similar motors, coming, as you might say, "for a purpose." These are the
vultures who have got to hear of the affair, are sorry indeed that such
mishaps should occur, but, stifling their sorrow, see their way to
snaffle some little benefit for themselves.

One vulture will come to exchange old lamps for new, another to do a
deal in magnetos, and a third, may be, to better himself in the matter
of wheels. There will be some squabbling, and, when the work is done,
the last state of that casualty will be worse than the first, and it
will proceed to the Base a melancholy collection of all the most
dilapidated parts in the area, for which even the most optimistic
authority at the back of beyond will see no useful future.

Yesterday the following interview took place at my little office, which
is also my little home and is very handsomely and elaborately furnished
with a system of boxes, some to sit on, some to write on and some to go
to sleep in.

"An officer to see you, Sir," said the orderly, and in there came a
representative from Signals who was pleased to meet me. I put aside my
work in order to deal with him politely, firmly and once and for all.

"If," I said haughtily, "you are the gentleman who rings me up on the
telephone every morning at 7 A.M., goes on ringing me up till I creep to
the instrument and murmur 'Hello!' and then tells me that is all and
will I please ring off, then I too am glad we have met at last."

He denied the suggestion so hotly that I unbent a little. I asked him to
be seated, and offered him a part of my bed for the purpose.

"It's like this," he began.

"Is it?" said I. "Then no doubt you want me to sign an Army Form and
take all the responsibility?"

"For what?" he asked.

"I'm sure I don't know," I answered; "and it doesn't much matter, for I
shall only pass it on to someone else, please."

For once it wasn't an Army Form. Was I not, he ventured to ask, the
proprietor of a small car?

"What was once a small car before it met what was once a large telegraph
pole," I said thoughtlessly.

He was glad to hear this, as he too was the owner of a small car. We
shook hands on that, though we knew all the time that H.M. Government
was the owner of both. H.M. Government not being present, however, to
insist on its rights, we were able to do a quiet swank. In the course of
it he mentioned, quite by the way, the matter of shock-absorbers. He had
reason to believe that my car could spare his car a couple of these.

I saw the need for hedging. "That telegraph pole I mentioned just now
wasn't really very large," I explained, "and it came away quietly,
offering no resistance."

He smiled knowingly at that.

"Were _you_," I continued, fixing a cold and relentless eye upon
him--"were you equally lucky with your--your--?"

"Small lorry," he said, with a faint blush. "A tiny lorry, in fact."

"Not more than a dozen tons or so?" I suggested. "No doubt it passed
quite gradually over you, frightening more than hurting you, and you
were able to walk home with remainder of small motor in pocket of
greatcoat?"

He didn't go into that subject. "By the way," he said, "I happened to be
round at the workshops just now----"

"Did you, indeed?" I took him up. "Then let me tell you at once that the
wreckage in the workshop's yard was not my small car, so you may abandon
any hopes you had built upon that."

He appeared to be surprised at the attitude I adopted.

"No," he said slowly--"no, I knew that wasn't _your_ car."

I thought rapidly. "It was _yours_," I hazarded, "and your idea was to
re-equip that battered wreck at the expense of my very slightly injured
property?"

He smiled shamelessly.

"You are a most unscrupulous officer," I said, "and I'm beginning to
think you _are_ the voice which gets me out of bed--I mean, interrupts
my work--every morning at dawn."

"No, really," he replied, glad to have something to be honest about. "At
that hour I am always in--at work myself."

We shook hands again on that and I offered him a cigarette.

"Have one of mine," said he.

"No, no," I pressed; "you have one of mine."

Again, if the truth had been admitted, H.M. Government was the rightful
owner of both.

"Of course," he explained, "you saw my little 'bus from quite its worst
aspect in that yard."

I was for getting to business. "I want," said I, "a back axle-shaft, a
head-light, a wind-screen and some mud-guards. What's yours?"

"I could do with a spare wheel-holder, a horn, a couple of yards of
foot-board," he said. "Two shock-absorbers and at least one wheel I must
have."

A little discussion proved that between us we could put up a very decent
car. The only difficulty arose from a doubt as to what was to happen
when we went out in it. It would still be a two-seater, and neither of
our chauffeurs was small enough to be carried in the tool-box. Who was
going to drive, who was going to sit by and, when occasion demanded,
step out and do the dirty work? Neither of us seeing his way to give in
on these points, we had to think of some other solution.

"You mentioned the workshops just now," I said. "Were you going on to
say that the officer in charge told you of another small car which was
in trouble?"

"He did," said Signals.

"Same here," said I. "Did he then recommend you to get what you wanted
off that other car?"

"He did," said Signals.

"Same here," said I. "And did you also ascertain that this officer in
charge possesses a small car of his own rich in standard parts?"

"I did," said Signals.

"Same here," said I. "Let us go out and look for that----"

"Officer in charge," said Signals.

"No," said I, "his car." I felt that we were justified, in the
circumstances, in dividing it between us.

But there is no limit to these officers in charge of workshops. We had
the greatest difficulty in finding his car at all, and, when we did, it
had the appearance of being deliberately concealed. Worse still; when we
found the car we found also a sentry standing over it, with rifle and
fixed bayonet. Though we took this to be a direct insult to ourselves,
we were too proud to go and expostulate with the officer himself about
it.

Yours ever, Henry.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: Unfortunate position of once popular Berlin naval battle
artist, whose occupation has vanished through his having rashly sunk the
entire British Fleet at an early stage of the war.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: The conscientious special.]

[Illustration: the ingenious bank manager.]

[Illustration: and the cautious burglar.]

[Illustration: who lacked staying power.]

       *       *       *       *       *

A LETTER.

(From Captain Claude Seaforth to a novelist friend.)

MY DEAR MAN,--You asked me to tell you if anything very remarkable came
my way. I think I have a story for you at last. If I could only write I
would make something of it myself, but not being of Kitchener's Army I
can't.

The other day, while I was clearing up papers and accounts and all over
ink, as I always get, the Sergeant came to me, looking very rum. "Two
young fellows want to see you," he said.

Of course I said I was too busy and that he must deal with them.

"I think you'd rather see them yourself," he said, with another odd
look.

"What do they want?" I asked.

"They want to enlist," he said; "but they don't want to see the doctor."

We've had some of these before--consumptives of the bull-dog breed, you
know. Full of pluck but no mortal use; "done in" on the first route
march.

"Why don't you tell them that they must see the doctor and have done
with it?" I asked the Sergeant.

Again he smiled queerly. "I made sure you'd rather do it yourself," he
said. "Shall I send them in?"

So I wished them further and said "Yes;" and in they came.

They were the prettiest boys you ever saw in your life--too pretty. One
had red hair and the other black, and they were dressed like navvies.
They held their caps in their hands.

"What's this rubbish about not seeing a doctor?" I asked. You know my
brutal way.

"We thought perhaps it could be dispensed with," Red Hair said, drawing
nearer to Black Hair.

"Of course it can't," I told them. "What's the use to the Army of
weaklings who can't stand the strain? They're just clogs in the
machinery. Don't you see that?"

"We're very strong," Red Hair said, "only----"

"Only what?"

"Only----" Here they looked at each other, and Red Hair said, "Shall
we?" and Black Hair said, "Yes;" and they both came closer to me.

"Will you promise," said Red Hair, "that you will treat as confidential
anything we say to you?"

"So long as it is nothing dangerous to the State," I said, rather proud
of myself for thinking of it.

"We want to fight for our country," Red Hair began.

"No one wants to fight more," Black Hair put in.

"And we're very strong," Red Hair continued.

"I won a cup for lawn-tennis at Devonshire Park," Black Hair added.

"But," said Red Hair.

"Yes?" I replied.

"Don't you believe in some women being as strong as men?"

"Certainly," I said.

"Well then," said Red Hair, "that's like us. We are as strong as lots of
men and much keener, and we want you to be kind to us and let us
enlist."

"We'll never do anything to give ourselves away," said Black Hair; but,
bless her innocent heart, she was giving herself away all the time.
Every moment was feminine.

"My dear young ladies," I said at last, "I think you are splendid and an
example to the world; but what you ask is impossible. Have you thought
for a moment what it would be like to find yourselves in barracks with
the ordinary British soldier? He is a brave man and, when you meet him
alone, he is nearly always a nice man; but collectively he might not do
as company for you."

"But look at this," said Red Hair, showing me a newspaper-cutting about
a group of Russian girls known as "The Twelve Friends," who have been
through the campaign and were treated with the utmost respect by the
soldiers.

"And there's a woman buried at Brighton," said Black Hair, "who fought
as a man for years and lived to be a hundred."

"And think of JOAN OF ARC," said Red Hair.

"And BOADICEA," said Black Hair.

"Well," I said, "leaving JOAN OF ARC and BOADICEA aside, possibly those
Russians and that Brighton woman looked like men, which it is certain
you don't. But any way we must be serious. What would your people say?"

"We left word," said Red Hair, "that we were going off to do something
for our country. They won't worry. Oh, please be kind and help us!"

Here all four of their beautiful eyes grow moist.

I could have hugged both of them, but I kept an iron hand on myself.

"You nice absurd creatures," I said, "do be reasonable. To begin with,
passing the doctor is an absolute necessity. That shuts you out. But
even if you got through how do you think you would be helping your
country? All the men would be falling in love with you; and that's bad
enough as it is after working hours; it would be the ruin of discipline.
And you could not bear the fatigue. No, go back and learn to be nurses
and let your lovely hair grow again."

They were very obstinate and very unwilling to entertain the thought of
drudgery such as nursing after all their dreams of excitement; but at
last they came to reason, and I sent for a cab and packed them off in it
(I simply could not bear the idea of other people seeing them in that
masquerade), and told them that the sooner they changed the better.

After they had gone the Sergeant came in about something.

I said nothing, and he said nothing, each of us waiting for the other.

He moved about absolutely silently, and I dared not meet his glance
because I knew I should give myself away. The rascal has not been
running his eye over young women all these years without being able to
spot them in a moment, even in navvy's clothes.

At last I could stand it no longer. "Damn it," I said, "what are you
doing? Why don't you go? I didn't send for you." But still I didn't dare
look up.

"I thought perhaps you had something to say to me, Sir," he said.

"No, I haven't," I replied. "Why should I? What about?"

"Only about those two young men, Sir," he replied.

"Get out," I said; but before he could go I had burst into laughter.

"Better not mention it," I managed to say.

He promised.

There--won't you find that useful?

Yours, C. S.

       *       *       *       *       *

A VERY RARE BIRD.

Brown lives next door but one to me. His speciality is birds, and he
must be a frightful nuisance to them. I shouldn't care to be a bird if
Brown knew where my nest was. It isn't that he takes their eggs. If he
would merely rob them and go away it wouldn't matter so much. They could
always begin again after a decent interval. But a naturalist of the
modern school doesn't want a bird's eggs; he wants to watch her sitting
on them. Now sitting is a business that demands concentration, a strong
effort of the will and an undistracted mind. How on earth is a bird to
concentrate when she knows perfectly well that Brown, disguised as a
tree or a sheep or a haycock, is watching her day after day for hours at
a stretch and snap-shotting her every five minutes or so for some
confounded magazine? In nine cases out of ten she lets her thoughts
wander and ends half unconsciously by posing, with the result that most
of her eggs don't hatch out.

Brown has a highly-trained sense of hearing. You and I, of course,
possess pretty good ears for ordinary purposes. We can catch as soon as
anyone else that muffled midnight hum, as of a distant threshing-machine
beneath a blanket, which advertises the approach of the roaming Zepp.
From constant practice, too, we have learnt, sitting in our drawing room
or study, to distinguish the crash of the overturned nursery table
upstairs from the duller, less resonant thud of baby's head as it
strikes the floor. But can we positively state from the note of the
blackbird at the bottom of the garden whether it has three, four or five
eggs in its nest, or indeed if it is a house-holder at all? No, we
cannot; but Brown can.

Even specialists, however, occasionally make mistakes. A day or two ago,
just as dusk was falling, Brown entered my house in a state of
considerable excitement and informed me that a pair of reed-warblers
were building in my orchard.

"Are you sure?" I asked.

"Quite," he replied. "I have not actually seen the birds yet, but I have
heard them from my own garden, and of course the note of the nesting
reed-warbler is unmistakable."

"Of course," I agreed.

"It is a most extraordinary occurrence," he continued, "most
extraordinary."

"You mean because there are no reeds there?"

"Exactly."

I was quite certain in my own mind that there were no reed-warblers
either, but I felt it would be impertinent for a layman like myself to
argue with Brown.

"There!" he exclaimed, darting to the open window. "Can't you hear it?"

I listened. "Oh, that," I said; "that's----"

"The mating song of the male reed-warbler," interrupted Brown
ecstatically. "Now, whatever happens, don't let them be disturbed. Don't
even try to find the nest, or you may alarm them. Leave it all to me. I
shan't have a free morning till Saturday, but there's no hurry. I'll
bring my camera round then, and when I've located the spot they're
building in I'll rig up a hiding-place and take some photos. Don't let
anybody go near them; the great thing is to make them feel quite at
home." He was gone before I could explain.

It is rather an awkward situation, because, when Brown comes on Saturday
morning, I am afraid that if he secures any really successful photos
they will prove a disappointment to him. They will represent my
gardener, Williams, trundling a barrow, the wheel of which is badly in
need of oil.

       *       *       *       *       *

Tercentenarians.

    "It is one of the most marvellous of doubles that William
    Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes died on the very same day of
    the same year--on the 23rd day of April, 1916."

    _The Leader (B.E. Africa)._

       *       *       *       *       *

ROYAL ACADEMY-FIRST DEPRESSIONS.

[Illustration: Gerald Kelly. _The Bird_. "Lucky thing I'm stuffed or I'd
have fallen off this perch long ago!"]

[Illustration: Nurah Cundell. Women Workers on the land playing with
their week's wages. Note the Physical Development Produced by the
open-air life.]

[Illustration: Robert Burns. The lady spy, having finished her
performance of the hymn of hate, sets the signal lights and awaits
confidently the arrival of the German fleet.]

[Illustration: Sir E. J. Poynter, Bt., P.R.A. The shell-worker's mid-day
rest.]

[Illustration: W. Orpen, A.R.A. and A. S. Cope, R.A. _Lord Spencer._
"Not bad, but I fancy I take _The Tailor and Cutter's_ prize."]

[Illustration: This is not in the Academy, but represents the Spirit of
Allegory luring ambitious artists to their doom.]

       *       *       *       *       *

"WHEN THE BOYS COME HOME."

[Illustration: Many women who are taking over men's work may not feel
inclined to return to their former occupations after the War. Their work
in that case will have to be done by men.

Ex-soldiers Waiting in the Consulting-boom of Their Panel Doctor To Be
Treated for "housemaid's Knee."]

[Illustration: Male nurse receiving the glad eye from a military
man-killer.]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE SOLDIER'S SPRING.

      On stormy days I get quite warlike;
        I find it easy to be fierce
      In winter, when the land is more like
        The Arctic Pole, with winds that pierce;
  With James for foe and all the meadows mired
    I feel in concord with the wildest plan,
  And grudge no effort that may be required
          To enfilade the man.

      But now how hard, when Spring is active,
        To utter anything but purrs;
      With all the hillside so attractive
        How can one concentrate on "spurs"?
  And oh, I sympathise with that young scout
    Whom anxious folk sent forth to spy the foe,
  But he came back and cried, "_The lilac's out_!
          And that is all I know."

      They ask me things about my picket,
        And whether I'm in touch with whom;
      I want to lie in yonder thicket,
        I only wish to touch the bloom;
  And when men agitate about their flanks
    And say their left is sadly in the air,
  I hear the missel-thrush and murmur, "Thanks,
          I wish that I was there."

      When we extend and crawl in grim rows,
        I want to go and wander free;
      I deviate to pluck a primrose,
        I stay behind to watch a bee;
  Nor have the heart to keep the men in line,
    When some have lingered where the squirrels leap,
  And some are busy by the eglantine,
          And some are sound asleep.

      And always I am filled with presage
        That, some fair noon of balmy airs,
      I shall indite a rude Field Message
        If Colonels pry in my affairs;
  Shall tell them simply, "It is early May,
    And here the daffodils are almost old;
  About that sentry-group I cannot say----
          In fact it leaves me cold."

      But, strange, I do not think the enemy
        In Spring-tide on the Chersonnese
      Was any whit less vile or venomy
        When all the heavens whispered Peace;
  Though wild birds babbled in the cypress dim,
    And through thick fern the drowsy lizards stole,
  It never had the least effect on him--
          He can't have had a soul.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Mr. Lloyd George is taking over all the distilleries with
    patent stills for munition work. Bonded whisky is sufficient for
    two years' conviction."--_Times of Ceylon._

Provided that you take enough of it.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "It was a delight to hear the voices of the children ring through
    the class-rooms in songs like 'Orpheus with his Lute' and 'Where
    is Sylvia?'"--_Daily News._

We note an error in the latter title. It should, of course, have been,
"Has anybody here seen Sylvia?"

       *       *       *       *       *

THE NEW DAMOCLES.

[Illustration: John Bull. "I WON'T HAVE THIS THING HANGING OVER MY HEAD
ANY LONGER. I'LL HAVE IT IN MY HAND."]

       *       *       *       *       *

ESSENCE OF PARLIAMENT.

_Tuesday, May 2nd._--The House of Commons was unusually well attended
this afternoon. Members filled the benches and overflowed into the
galleries, and many Peers looked down upon the scene, among them Lord
GRENFELL, formerly Commander-in-Chief in Ireland, and Lord MACDONNELL,
once Under-Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant. All were curious to learn
what the PRIME MINISTER would have to say about the painful events of
the past week. Would he announce that the Government, conscious of
failure, had decided to resign _en bloc_? Or would it be merely pruned
and strengthened by the lopping of a few of the obviously weaker
branches?

Nothing of the sort. Mr. ASQUITH made the barest allusion to the
surrender of Kut--an incident which was "not one of serious military
significance." As for the insurrection in Dublin, there would be a
debate upon it as soon as the Government had completed its enquiries.
The main purpose of his speech was to announce that the Government had
decided to introduce a Bill for general compulsion, and to get rid of
the piece-meal treatment of recruiting to which the House had objected.
Members were, I think, hardly prepared for the vigour with which the
PRIME MINISTER turned upon his critics, reminding them that just the
same denunciation of "vacillating statesmen" was current in the days of
PITT. No doubt there had been blunders both in policy and strategy, but
nevertheless the contribution of this Kingdom and this Empire to the
common cause was growing steadily, and the military situation of the
Allies was never so good as it was to-day. If the Government no longer
had the confidence of the people, he thundered out, "let the House say
so."

While the immediate answer to this challenge was a volley of cheers,
most of the speakers in the subsequent debate disguised their confidence
in the Government so successfully that it almost appeared to be
non-existent. From Sir EDWARD CARSON, who acidly remarked that it was
unnecessary for him to praise the Government, as "they always do that
for themselves," down to Sir JOHN SIMON, who declared that compulsion
was being introduced from considerations of political expediency rather
than military necessity, no one seemed to be convinced that the
Government even now quite knew its own mind.

The House of Lords, after listening to a moving tribute to the memory of
Lord ST. ALDWYN from his old colleague, Lord LANSDOWNE, settled down to
a debate on the new Order in Council prohibiting references to Cabinet
secrets. It met with equal condemnation from Lord PARMOOR as a
constitutional lawyer and from Lord BURNHAM as a practical journalist.
The Ministers who "blabbed" were the real criminals. Lord BURNHAM
recommended to them the example of the gentleman in the French
Revolution, who always wore a gag in order to retain his self-control.

Lord BUCKMASTER, that "most susceptible Chancellor," made a very
ingenuous defence of his colleagues. They were the unconscious victims
of adroit interviewers, who obtained information from them by a process
of extraction so painless that they did not know the value of what they
were giving away.

It is time that these innocents were protected against themselves. A gag
must in future be issued to every Minister with his Windsor uniform. The
discarded G.R. armlets of the V.T.C. might very well serve the purpose.

_Wednesday, May 3rd_.--When, some nine years ago, Mr. AUGUSTINE BIRRELL
was appointed Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant a friend who had
some knowledge of Irish affairs wrote to him: "I do not know whether to
congratulate you or condole with you, but I think it is the latter."

It was an easy guess, but its confirmation took an unusually long time.
Indeed, at one moment it looked as if Mr. BIRRELL would escape the
almost invariable fate of Irish Secretaries, and leave Dublin with his
political reputation enhanced. When he had placed the National
University Act on the Statute-book, thus solving a problem that had
baffled his predecessors since the Union, he might have sung his _Nunc
Dimittis_ in a halo.

Perhaps he was not sufficiently ambitious to demand release; perhaps
none of his colleagues was anxious to take his job; perhaps the
Nationalist leader insisted on keeping him in the silken fetters of
office as a hostage for Home Rule. Anyhow, the opportunity was missed;
and thenceforward Nemesis dogged his track.

Two years ago it seemed that Ulster would be his stumbling-block. The
War saved him from that, but only to bring him down through more
sinister instruments. In his pathetic apology this afternoon he
confessed that he had failed to estimate accurately the strength of the
Sinn Fein movement. He might have been wrong in not suppressing it
before, but his omission to do so was due to a consuming desire to keep
Ireland's front united in face of the common foe.

This frank admission of error would in any case have disarmed hostile
criticism; but its effect was strengthened by the unseemly interjections
with which Mr. GINNELL accompanied it. If the Member for Westmeath is a
sample of the sort of persons with whom the CHIEF SECRETARY had to deal,
no wonder that he failed to understand the lengths to which they would
go.

Mr. REDMOND, obviously disgusted by the pranks of his nominal supporter,
chivalrously shouldered part of the blame that Mr. BIRRELL had taken
upon himself; and even Sir EDWARD CARSON, though a life-long and bitter
opponent of his policy, was ready to admit that he had been
well-intentioned and had done his best.

Later on, when the PRIME MINISTER had introduced the new Military
Service Bill, establishing compulsion for all men married or single,
Colonel CRAIG made a vain appeal to Mr. REDMOND to get the measure
extended to Ireland. Nothing would do more to show the world that the
recent rebellion was only the work of an insignificant section of the
Irish people.

[Illustration: HIS MASTER'S VOICE.

(With acknowledgments to the well-known poster.)

Mr. Lloyd George to Mr. Holt, who moved the rejection of the Bill.]

_Thursday, May 4th_.--Although Mr. GINNELL was one of the Members to
whom the Government were ready a week ago to impart secrets of State
with which the Press was not deemed fit to be trusted, I gather that he
has other sources of information which he considers much more
trustworthy. Among various tit-bits with which he regaled the House this
afternoon was a suggested reason why British aircraft have not yet
bombarded Essen. He has his suspicions that it is because members of the
British Cabinet have shares in some of FRAU KRUPP'S subsidiary
companies.

Most people know that all leave from the Front was stopped just before
Easter, and have hitherto assumed that the stoppage was due to the
exigencies of the military situation. To Mr. PETO, an earnest seeker
after truth, as befits his name, Mr. TENNANT admitted that there was
another reason. Last year, it seems, some returning warriors got so much
mixed up in the congested Easter traffic that they never reached home at
all, so this year the authorities resolved to keep them out of the
danger-zone.

The Government welcomes any suggestion that may help to win the War. Mr.
EUGENE WASON'S latest idea is that if the War Office and the Admiralty
were to put their heads together they might make it easier for outdoor
artists in Cornwall to obtain permits to pursue their studies, at
present restricted, in military areas; and Mr. TENNANT assured him that
this important matter was still "under consideration."

The Second Reading of the Military Service Bill brought forth some
rather trite arguments from Mr. HOLT and other opponents of compulsion,
and a lively defence from Mr. LLOYD GEORGE, who thoroughly enjoyed the
opportunity, after a long silence, of being able to speak his mind
without fear of complications with his colleagues. With examples drawn
from France and the American Civil War he argued that compulsory service
was an essential incident of true democracy. But an even more effective
backing for the Bill came from Mr. ARTHUR HENDERSON. Hitherto, according
to his own description, "the heaviest drag-weight of the Cabinet," he
now lent it increased momentum, and carried with him into the Lobby all
but nine of his colleagues of the Labour Party. Altogether, Sir JOHN
SIMON and his friends mustered just three dozen, and the Second Reading
was carried against them by a majority of 292.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Dear Old Silly._ "And where do you two come from?"

_Wounded Australian._ "We're Anzacs, Madam."

_Dear Old Silly._ "Really? How delightful! And do you both belong to
this same tribe?"]

       *       *       *       *       *

Another Impending Apology.

    "Pigs.--Live Stock Mem of Mark. No. 10.--Alderman ----."

    _Live Stock Journal._

       *       *       *       *       *

    "God be with Lord Hardinge wherever he may be, whatever may be
    his sphere of service, for we fear we shall not look upon his
    like again."

    "It is in this atmosphere of hope and confidence that Lord
    Chelmsford takes up the mantle of the Viceroyalty."--_Times of
    India._

Not for the first time the attempt to welcome the coming and speed the
parting guest in the same breath has failed to turn out quite happily.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Evidence was given that the pig, which was introduced in a
    revue at the Metropolitan Music Hall, was kept at the back of
    the stage in a crate in which it could not turn or stretch
    itself ... Mr. Paul Taylor said he was glad the case had been
    ventilated."

    _The Times._

So, no doubt, was the pig.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Instructor._ "Gunnery, gentlemen, is an exact mechanical
science. Everything is done by rule----"

_Ex-Actor._ "Then where does my personality come in, Sir?"]

       *       *       *       *       *

FASHION-PLATE PATRIOTS.

  Since our ranks, Mr. _Punch_, you've seen fit to upbraid
    (These lines are to show that you're hard on us),
  When you hear the defence of the fashion-plate maid
    I'm perfectly certain you'll pardon us;
  Though our heels and our hose and our frills and our frocks,
    Regardless of taste and expense,
  Your notion of war-time economy shocks;
    We're doing our bit, in a sense.

  Now take, for example, Irene and me;
    She's thin and I'm rather--voluminous;
  Our skirts, full and frilly, just cover the knee,
    And our hose-play discourages gloominess;
  We've a bent for a boot with a soul-stirring spat,
    Gilt-buttoned and stubbily toed,
  And a top-gallant plume on a tip-tilted hat
    When we're ripe for the Park and the road.

  The public each week, Mr. _Punch_, you impress
    With your cool-headed wit and ability,
  So I wonder you've not had the gumption to guess
    There's method in our imbecility;
  Read on, and your premature chiding deplore,
    For our merciful mission, in brief,
  Is to brighten the tragical drama of war
    By providing the comic relief.

       *       *       *       *       *

  If I were like a man I know and _Billing_ were my name,
  I wouldn't waste my precious time in striving after fame;
  I'd let it come to me unsought, unstruggled for, and then
  I'd just go on existing as a perfect specimen.

  No care would line my marble brow; I'd take no thought of pelf;
  I'd lie the long day through at ease a-thinking of myself;
  For when a man's mere presence lends to any scene delight
  He needn't worry what he does--whate'er he does is right.

  If I could bloom as blooms the rose, and BILLING were a bee,
  With all my pink and petalled force I'd coax him unto me;
  I'd open out my honeyed store, and he might linger on,
  Or cut and cut and come again until the whole were gone.

  Such heaps of charm our BILLING has, such tons of _savoir faire_,
  It irks me much to see him spend his treasures on the air;
  And, still to hint a further fault, he cultivates the pose
  Of knowing all of everything, and lets you know he knows.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Reproductions of Mr. Punch's picture "Haven" are to be sold for
    the benefit of the Star and Garter Building Fund, and may be
    obtained from the Secretary of the Fund, at 21, Old Bond Street,
    W. They are to be had in two sizes, at _2s. 6d._ and _1s._, or,
    with Postage and Packing, _2s. 10d._ and _1s. 2d._

       *       *       *       *       *

THE LUCKIEST MAN.

We were talking, the other night, about lucky people. Barmer declared
that he knew the man (of whom we had all of us heard) who was left a
large fortune by an eccentric old gentleman whose hat he had picked up
on a windy day at Brighton. A better and more original contribution to
the discussion was that of Bastable, a retired Anglo-Indian. I give it
as nearly as I can in his own words. "The luckiest man I ever met," he
said, "is my groom-gardener, Andrews. I don't mean to say in respect of
prosperity or health, for he is a delicate man, and I can only afford to
give him a modest wage. But he has a charmed life, as you will admit
when you hear of his three escapes.

"Number 1 was when he was employed in repairing the roof of one of the
big London stations. He was slung up in a cradle when he lost his
balance and fell to the ground--a distance of about 80 feet. The odds
were about a million to one that he would be killed, but he managed to
light on precisely the one spot in the whole station area which secured
him a soft fall--a barrel of butter which was standing on the platform,
and from which, for some reason or other, the lid had been removed. The
butter was ruined, but Andrews escaped with a bad shaking. I believe the
butter-merchant brought an action against the Company, but I forget what
happened.

"Number 2 grew out of Andrews's weakness for parrots. He had bought a
parrot from a sailor, who told him that the best way to teach it to
speak was to hang the cage in a well and repeat the words or phrases to
it at 3 A.M. in the morning, so as to secure the greatest freedom from
disturbance. Andrews was then employed in a brewery at Watford, and
lived in a cottage with a strip of garden at the back. There was also a
well, so that he could carry out the sailor's instructions on the spot.
The cage, which was a large one and nearly filled the well, was made
fast to the bucket apparatus, and the first two lessons passed off
without any incident. But on the third night, when Andrews was hard at
work, he was hailed by a policeman, who came along the lane at the side
of the garden--it was an end house--and asked him what he was doing.
When Andrews said that he was teaching his parrot to talk, the
policeman, naturally suspecting that he was there for some felonious
purpose, climbed over the wall and made a grab at him. It was a dark
night, and, in trying to dodge the policeman, Andrews stepped into the
well, which, according to his account, was ninety feet deep. But, as
good luck would have it, he got jammed between the cage and the side of
the well, and remained hung up until the policeman hauled him out with
the aid of the bucket rope. He was badly bruised, but got all right in a
few days.

"Andrews's third and last escape was in the War. He was a reservist,
went out early, saw a lot of fighting and came through without a scratch
till last November, when his trench was rushed and he was taken
prisoner. The front trenches at that point were only about forty yards
apart, and before he was removed to the rear a British shell lit close
to him and blew him back into his own lines. He was badly hurt and,
after some months in hospital, was invalided out of the Army, but
manages to do the light work I want all right."

We all subscribed to Bastable's view of Andrews's luck--all at least
except Barmer, who was a little nettled at having his story eclipsed. "I
can believe the yarn about the shell," he said, "but the butter story is
a bit thick, and all tales about parrots are suspect."

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Bus Conductor._ "Blimy! We _do_ want an Air Minister,
and no mistake, with things like you floatin' abaht in the sky."]

       *       *       *       *       *

Toujours la Politesse.

    "The officer and a man ran in and respectfully shot with a
    revolver and bayoneted two other men each."--_Englishman
    (Calcutta)._

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Washington, Monday.

    A representative from Mr. Gerard on his visit to the Kaiser at
    Headquarters has been received at the State Department, and is
    now being decoded."--_Manchester Daily Dispatch._

We cannot believe that any American diplomatist could be a mere cipher.

       *       *       *       *       *

MEDICALLY UNFIT.

    For weight of years some men must stay
      And some must pause for lack,
    And some there are would be away
      But duty holds them back,
  Driving the jobs at home that must be done
        To smash the Hun.

    And others, whether old or young,
      Refuse to wait behind;
    And some with scarcely half a lung
      Have found the doctors kind;
  Yet never once did any listen to my tick
        But barred me quick.

    And some whose place should be the van
      Are doing nothing much;
    By all the blood that beats in Man
      I would that any such
  Could loan me, while he plays the skulker's part,
        His coward heart.

       *       *       *       *       *

A JUST MAN.

There were four on each side. At the last moment a short round man came
running up and got in. Hurry had not improved his mood, and one glance
of his eye was enough to make me move along two inches to give him room.
He stood arranging his luggage on the rack, pulled his coat straight,
and sat down--on the other side. The suddenness of his assault was
terrific. I quickly recovered my two inches, and the journey to the next
station was quite pleasant, so far as I was concerned.

He and I were then left alone.

"I am much obliged to you for moving to make room for me, Sir," he said
politely. "But when I get into a compartment with four a side I make it
a practice to sit down on the side on which nobody has moved--on
principle, Sir, on principle."

       *       *       *       *       *

Very Still Life.

From a notice of Mr. BRANGWYN'S Academy picture, "The Poulterer's
Shop":--

    "Everything lies in its place as if it had been there for
    centuries."--_Morning Post._

       *       *       *       *       *

A Sinecure.

    "GENERAL; £20; fam 2; every Sunday and wk-day off."--_Daily
    Paper._

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The rebels barricaded St. Stephen's Green with motor-cars and
    tramcars, as in the French Revolution."--_Northampton
    Chronicle._

The 1789 models of motor-cars and tramcars are of course out of date by
now.

       *       *       *       *       *

AT THE PLAY.

"Pen."

During one of the intervals which served so well to eke out the brief
two hours of Mr. VACHELL's new "comedy," and were quite as good as many
things in the play, I allowed my mind--an absolute blank--to dwell upon
certain arresting features in the stage curtain of the St. James's
Theatre. In the centre, imposed upon a design whose significance I do
not pretend to penetrate, is a gigantic wreath encircling a monogram of
the magic initials, G. A., which are surmounted by something which I
took to be an heraldic top-hat. This headpiece is in turn surmounted by
an heraldic eagle--the ordinary arrangement by which the helmet appears
above the coat-of-arms being thus reversed. The central design is
flanked on each side by two other wreaths, massive but subordinate.
Within the sinister wreath is enshrined in Greek capitals the letters
ALEX, and within the dexter wreath the letters ANDROS. "Reading from
left to right" we have here the historic name of the Macedonian monarch.

I cannot account for the Greek form of the name on the ground that the
St. James's Theatre is the home of the Classical Drama, for the themes
of its plays seldom go back beyond the later decades of the 19th century
A.D., and I can only conclude that it is meant to indicate that the
conquests of Sir GEORGE ALEXANDER'S company resemble those of the famous
phalanx of his namesake, the Great.

Most theatres have an atmosphere of their own, and it would be hard to
recall any play at the St. James's that has been less in keeping with
the local climate than this comedy, so described, of Mr. VACHELL'S. On
the score of impropriety and improbability it might in the old days have
appealed to the Criterion management; but its lack of broad humour must
have negatived these advantages. In any case Sir GEORGE ALEXANDER'S
house was no place for a farce so out of harmony with Macedonian
methods.

Almost its solitary interest lay in the doubt, maintained to the last
moment, as to which of its many fatuous males would turn out to be the
hero--meaning by hero the chosen husband of the heroine, for none of
them had any personal claim to the title. Indeed, the choice ultimately
fell upon the one that had the least distinctive personality of all, his
disguise being kept up by a kind of protective colourlessness.

But for Miss ELLIS JEFFREYS, who played the aunt of the preposterous
_Lady Pen_ with a courage worthy of a better cause, and extracted from
the play such humour as it held for her, matters would have gone badly
for those of us who have been accustomed to look to Mr. VACHELL for
entertainment. Mr. ALLAN AYNESWORTH, as the heroine's guardian, had no
difficulty in transmitting pleasantly enough his mild share of the fun.
Miss MARIE HEMINGWAY needed all her prettiness to make up for the
futility of her part. And I was really sorry that so sound an actor as
Mr. DAWSON MILWARD should have had such ineffective stuff put into his
mouth.

Far the funniest thing about the play was the fact that so clever and
experienced a writer should have made it. Perhaps the compliments I have
paid to my friend Mr. VACHELL in these columns have given me the right
to beg him not to take advantage of his many recent successes and palm
off on the public just any kind of banality, For these are days when
pens (with or without a big P) must be pretty good if they are to
compete with the sword.

With this appeal (and with a silent prayer that the play may not come by
a natural death in time for my homily to serve as a funeral
appreciation) I hasten to conclude, hoping that it will find, him in the
pink (as they say) of a blushful remorse; and, anyhow, I remain,

His sincerely, O. S.

       *       *       *       *       *

NURSERY RHYMES OF LONDON TOWN.

XI.--Saint John's Wood.

  Saint John walked in a Wood
    Where elm-trees spread their branches
  And Squirrels climbed and Pigeons cooed.
    And Hares sat on their haunches.
  He built him willow huts
    Wherever he might settle;
  His meat was chiefly hazel-nuts,
    His drink the honey-nettle.
  His Wood that grew so green
    Is now as grey as stone;
  His Wood may any day be seen,
    But where's the good Saint John?

       *       *       *       *       *

    "On all faces was the defiant scowl of hatred as we looked at
    them."--_Daily Chronicle._

What had our genial contemporary done to deserve this?

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Turkish newspapers received in Copenhagen contain long lists of
    names of prominent Arabs who have been hanged for treason or for
    absenting themselves from military service. Overleaf is another
    list of well-known Arabs living in Great Britain and the British
    Colonies, who are cordially invited to return without
    delay."--_Morning Paper._

Dilly ducks, dilly ducks, come and be killed.

       *       *       *       *       *

JUSTIFICATION.

[Illustration: _Wife._ "Two bottles of ginger-beer, dear?"

_He._ "Why, yes. Have you forgotten that this is the anniversary of our
wedding-day?"]

       *       *       *       *       *

OUR BOOKING-OFFICE.

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

It is pleasant to find that even in these days the revival of interest
in volumes of short stories still continues. But of course the stories
must have a certain quality. I am glad to think that _Traveller's
Samples_ (MILLS AND BOON) will help forward the movement. Mrs. HENRY
DUDENEY has a quite excellent touch for this sort of thing; her tales
are both atmospheric and, for their length, astonishingly full of
character. Also she has an engaging habit of avoiding the expected. Take
one of the best in this present book, called "_John_," for instance. It
is the slightest possible thing, just a picture of a schoolboy's
hopeless love for a shallow cruel-brained girl eight years older than
himself, who is in process of getting engaged to an eligible bachelor.
But every figure in the little group lives. And the second part, which
tells the return of the boy-lover twelve years later, shows you what I
mean about Mrs. DUDENEY'S refreshing originality. I doubt if there are
many writers who would have finished off the story in her very
satisfactory way. There is one quality characteristic of most of the
tales--a feeling for middle-age in men and women; many of them seem to
be variations upon the same theme of a love that comes by waiting. Mrs.
DUDENEY can handle this situation with unfailing charm. Her confessed
comedies are by far the weakest things in the book; there is one of them
indeed that seemed to me amazingly pointless. But with this exception I
can commend her volume whole-heartedly, and only hope that the author
will continue to send out goods of such excellent workmanship, "as per"
(whatever that means) these attractive samples.

Those who search for minor compensations have affected to find one in
the idea that the actual happening of the World War has removed from us
the old fictional scares, novels of German super-spies, and unsuspecting
islanders taken unprepared. But to think this is to reckon without the
ingenuity of such writers as Mr. RIDGWELL CULLUM. He, for example, has
but to postulate that worst nightmare of all, an inconclusive peace, and
we are back in the former terrors, blacker than ever. Suppose the Polish
inventor of German undersea craft to have been so stricken with remorse
at the frightful results thereof that he determines to hand all his
secrets to the English Government, in the person of a young gentleman
who combines the positions of Cabinet Minister, son and heir to a great
shipbuilder, and hero of the story; suppose, moreover, that the said
inventor was blessed with an only daughter, of radiant beauty and the
rather conspicuous name of _Vita Vladimir_; suppose the inevitable
romance, a secret submarine expedition to the island where Germany is
maturing her felonious little plans, the destruction of the latest
frightfulness, retaliation by Prussian myrmidons, abductions, murders,
and I don't know what besides--and you will have some faint idea of the
tumultuous episodes of _The Men Who Wrought_ (CHAPMAN AND HALL). To say
that the story moves is vastly to understate its headlong rapidity of
action. And, while I hardly fancy that the characters themselves will
carry overwhelming conviction, there remains, in the theory of the
submersible liner and application to political facts, enough genuine
wisdom to lift the tale out of the company of six-shilling shockers. To
this extent at least _The Men Who Wrought_ combines instruction with
entertainment.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Inter-Arma_ (HEINEMANN) is the title that Mr. EDMUND GOSSE has given to
his latest volume of essays, reprinted from _The Edinburgh Review_. No
one who loves clarity of style will need assurance about the quality of
these studies, which, with one exception, are concerned with some or
other aspect of the world-struggle. In "War and Literature," a paper
dated during the black days of October, 1914, the author attempts to
realise what will be the probable literary effect of the catastrophe by
recounting the various ways in which French writers suffered from that
of 1870. An interesting prediction, too, as recalling what many of us
believed at the beginning of the war, is this about the future of
English letters: "What we must really face is the fact that this harvest
of volumes [the autumn publishings of 1914] will mark the end of what is
called 'current literature' for the remaining duration of the war. There
can be no aftermath, we can aspire to no revival. The book which does
not deal directly and crudely with the complexities of warfare and the
various branches of strategy will, from Christmas onwards, not be
published at all." As they stand, these words might well serve as a mild
tonic for "current pessimism"; not even the paper famine has brought
them to fulfilment. Elsewhere in the volume is an instructive paper on
"The Neutrality of Sweden" (valuable but vexatious, as are all the
indictments of our insular apathy in the matter of influencing foreign
opinion), and two or three interesting studies of French life and
letters under the conditions of war. In fine, a book full of scholarly
grace, such as may well achieve the writer's hope, expressed in his
preface, of renewing the friendship he has already made with those
readers "whose minds have become attuned to his," though they are now
"separated from him by leagues of sea and occupied in noble and
unprecedented service."

       *       *       *       *       *

The author of _The Dop Doctor_, with her expansive style, always seems
cramped in any story of under a couple of hundred thousand words or so.
Perhaps the best things in her new book of short stories, _Earth to
Earth_ (HEINEMANN), concern _The Macwaugh_, a shocking bad artist with
an immense thirst and the heftiest of Scotch accents. I don't think that
there ever was or could be anybody like _Macwaugh_, or indeed that
people talk or act like the majority of the characters in this book; but
that's where, perhaps, "RICHARD DEHAN" scores a point or two off those
realists who mistake accuracy of detail for art. This amiable drunkard,
though absurd, lives and moves. The author is evidently attached to him,
and that helps. She has, indeed, something of the Dickensian exuberance
which carries off absurdities and crudities that would otherwise be
intolerably tiresome. She even seems to get some fun out of this kind of
thing:--"'Write,' commanded the Zanouka with a double-barrelled flash of
her great eyes;" or, again, "It's all poppycock and bumblepuppy,"
meaning, just, it isn't true.

       *       *       *       *       *

If you are writing or intending to write a book about boys let me beg
you not to follow the prevailing fashion and call your hero David.
Within the last few weeks I have read DAVID PENSTEPHEN, DAVID BLAISE,
and now it is Miss ELEANOR PORTER'S _Just David_ (CONSTABLE) and I am
beginning to want a rest from the name. _David III._, if he may be
called so, has saved me from utter confusion of mind by being an
American product and having a charm that is peculiarly his own. Cynics
indeed may find his perfection a little cloying, and may say with some
justification that no human child ever radiated so much joy and
happiness. All the same, this simple tale of childhood will appeal
irresistibly to those who do not draw too fine a distinction between
sentiment and sentimentality. On the whole Miss PORTER, although
hovering near the border, does not pass into the swamps of sloppiness,
and as an antidote to War fiction I can recommend _Just David_ without
any further qualification.

       *       *       *       *       *

RICHARD HARDING DAVIS will, alas, entertain us no more with his
easy-flowing pen. These short stories, _Somewhere in France_
(DUCKWORTH), must be his farewell to us. And it is good to feel that his
sympathies are so whole-heartedly on the right side. The first of the
stories (the only one that has anything to do with the War) is a
spirited yarn of the turning of the tables on a German secret service
agent, with plenty of atmosphere and hurrying action. The rest are light
studies of American life, of which I chiefly commend an extravaganza set
in Hayti with a resourceful Yankee electrician, as hero, in conflict
with the President in the matter of overdue wages; and the final item of
a tussle between a stern and upright District Attorney and the might of
Tammany, in which the author seems to have a rather whimsical mistrust
of both sides. I always like to think of Tammany when our croakers are
holding up everything in this poor little island to obloquy.

       *       *       *       *       *

The God in the Car.

    "Rumania asked permission for the passage through Bulgaria of
    several wagons of grain bought from Greece. Bulgaria agreed on
    condition that Rumania should release over 200 wagons of
    Bulgarian gods detained in Rumania."

       *       *       *       *       *

    "An extract of squills, which has been used by the French
    Government in the trenches for two or three months, is to be
    used in a Berwickshire County Council experiment to exterminate
    rates."

    _Provincial Paper._

We should like to hear of something equally deadly to taxes.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Miss Ruby Miller is in gorgeous green, to match her gorgeous
    red hair."--_Sunday Pictorial._

It is perhaps just as well that some people, notably engine-drivers, do
not see things in this way.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Chauffeur (ex-coachman, to master, who has been
influenced by economy posters)._ "A run or two now and again, Sir, would
be good for the car. You see, if I might so express it, she's just
eating her bonnet off."]





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