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Title: Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 150, May 3, 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 3, 1916" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

VOL. 150, MAY 3, 1916***


VOL. 150

MAY 3, 1916


SIR ROGER CASEMENT, it appears, landed in Ireland from a collapsible
boat. And by a strange coincidence his arrival synchronised with the
outbreak of a collapsible rebellion.


Hard soap can now be obtained in Germany only by those who purchase
bread tickets. The soft variety cannot be obtained at all, the whole
supply, it seems, having been commandeered by the Imperial Government
for export to the United States.


£175 worth of radium was lost last week in Dundee. The ease with which
bar radium can be melted down and remoulded in the form of cheap
jewellery affords, according to the local police, a clear indication
that this was the work of thieves.


A conscientious objector has stated that he had even given up fishing on
humanitarian grounds. We fear that his fish stories may have caused some
fatal attacks of apoplexy among his audiences.


According to Sir THOMAS BARLOW "the importation of bananas has had a
far-reaching effect on the digestion of our children." Only last Monday
week the importation of six bananas had just that kind of effect on the
digestion of our own dear little Percy.


Portugal has decided to expel German sympathisers of whatever
nationality. Other clubs please copy.


From the Eastern Counties comes news that in last week's Zeppelin raid
twenty turnips were "completely destroyed." And so the grim work of
starving England into submission goes relentlessly on.


"That boy there," said the LORD MAYOR at the Mansion House, in
addressing some children from an orphanage, "can easily become a Lord
Mayor." Cases of this sort are really not hard to diagnose when you are
familiar with the symptoms, and the LORD MAYOR had, of course, noticed
the hearty manner in which the lad was attacking his food.


The latest Shakspearean discovery announced by Sir SIDNEY LEE is that
the Bard was a successful man of business; but the really nice people
who have lately taken him up have resolved not to let the fact prejudice
them against him after all these years.


"Absence of the Polecat from Ireland" is the title of a vigorous article
in the current number of _The Field_. While agreeing in substance with
the writer, we cannot refrain from commenting on this unexpected
departure of a peculiarly moderate organ from its customary restraint in
dealing with the political questions of the day.


The Editor of _The Angler's News_ makes public the request that
fishermen will provide him with the particulars of any exceptionally big
fish which they may catch. Strangely enough he does not suggest that the
data should be accompanied, for purposes of verification, by the fish
themselves. It is refreshing to know that there is a man left here and
there who is not trying to make something out of the War.


One of the Zeppelins that recently visited England dropped one hundred
bombs without causing a single casualty, and a movement is on foot to
present the Commander with a pair of white gloves.


"What I wish to show Mr. Norman," says Mr. G. K. CHESTERTON in _The New
Witness_, "is that the fantastic pursuit of the _idée fixe_ ... leads to
a _reductio ad absurdum_." One has often had occasion to notice the
rapidity with which a young _idée fixe_ will dart down a convenient
_reductio ad absurdum_ when closely pursued.


A writer in the current number of _The Fortnightly Review_ has
elaborated the theory that the War can be won without difficulty by
breaking through the German line in the West. It is the ability to grasp
these simple but fundamental truths that distinguishes the military
genius from the War Office hack.


The majority of the larger railways have now announced their intention
of serving no more meals on trains. While the reason has not been
officially stated the authorities are said to be of the opinion that
Zeppelins have on several occasions been able to reach important termini
by following the smell of cookery.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Perils of the Tyne.

    "A ship's apprentice who attempted the rescue of a man in
    shark-infested waters to-day, at Newcastle, received the
    Shipping Federation's diploma and medal."

    _Morning Paper._

       *       *       *       *       *

The Infallible Experts.

    "In general (continued Count Andrassy), the battle has ceased to
    be of the nature of a siege, as it was intended to be at the
    beginning. It is a long-drawn-out and deadly combat between the
    French and German armies, and the victory of one will
    undoubtedly be the defeat of the other."--_Yorkshire Post._

    "It is a reasonable conclusion from these facts that ... the
    principal attack, supposing that it should actually have taken
    place, has already been made."

    _Col. FEYLER in "The Sunday Times."_

       *       *       *       *       *

Delphinium Hybrids.

    "What looks much handsomer than a sow of Delphiniums in the
    borders of your garden, and once planted they are always
    there."--_Garden Work for Amateurs._

The only drawback is that it is apt to make such a litter.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Before we are through with it, we may be obliged to have a war
    outright with Mexico, because the Defacto Government is none too
    friendly to us."--_Bournemouth Guardian._

It is not perhaps generally known that President Defacto is a direct
descendant of that well-known ruler, Señor A. Priori.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Outside Dublin the county is tranquil. Mr. Asquith, and three
    minor cases of disturbance are reported."--_Evening News._

We deprecate this attempt to import political prejudice into the

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Two ladies obliged to remain in furnished house, Bournemouth,
    till let, offer free weekly accommodation to middle-aged healthy
    lady and dog in difficulties through war."

    _The Common Cause._

Even the pets are feeling the pinch of the Common Cause.

       *       *       *       *       *


[Illustration: Reporter studying a Member's expression as he leaves the
house after a Secret Session.]

       *       *       *       *       *


[To Lord SPENCER on seeing his portrait by Mr. ORPEN at the Royal

  Here, at the Press View, ere the opening day
  Admits the public on receipt of pay
    And all the gallery like a murmurous shell hums,
  I stand before your picture, awed and mute,
  In reverent worship and an old, old suit
      Of baggy ante-bellums.

  For, when Britannia first in wrath arose,
  I took a vow:--So long as these poor clo's
    Together, though reduced to just a mesh, hold,
  Never will I, till Victory's trump rings clear
  (Save when I purchase military gear),
      Cross any tailor's threshold.

  Yet, gazing on the garb you figure in,
  Shining and perfect as a new-born pin--
    The frock-coat built to dazzle gods and men, Sir,
  The virgin tie, the collar passing tall,
  The flawless crease of trousers which recall
      The prime of BOBBY SPENCER--

  I hesitate to blame your lack of thrift;
  I would not have your sacred feelings biffed
    By harsh reflections from a patriot's war-pen;
  Those rich externals which arrest the view
  Were but adopted as essential to
      The scheme of Mr. ORPEN.

  Such was the sacrifice you made to Art!
  And there are other portraits, very smart--
    Sitters who must have borne the same hard trial;
  Who waived their loyal taste for cheap attire
  And went, superbly tailored, through the fire
      Of noble self-denial.

O. S.

       *       *       *       *       *



(_From General VON FALKENHAYN._)

ALMIGHTIEST WAR-LORD,--See how the Fates make sport with us! We began in
February to make our great attack upon the fortified position at Verdun.
In ten days, so we thought, our massed artillery, firing a ceaseless
torrent of projectiles, would have shattered beyond recovery the lines
of the enemy, and our irresistible infantry, breaking through like a
flood, would have swept away all opposition, and would without doubt
have taken the fortress and cleared our way to Paris and to decisive
victory. So we believed, having, as it appeared, every reason for our
belief, and having taken into account in our careful planning all the
chances and vicissitudes to which men and battles are exposed. And now
May is come with her buds and blooms, May, when, as your Majesty knows,
the heart of every good honest German turns to thoughts of beer-gardens
and draughts of foaming liquid, and so far as the capture of Verdun and
the opening of the road to Paris are concerned we have done nothing that
has any value except for our foes, who have had the satisfaction of
seeing us beat ourselves to fragments against the steel wall of their
defence. It must be confessed that German blood and German courage have
been miserably wasted, and not even our resources, great as they are,
can much longer stand the strain which has been imposed upon them.

Your Majesty asks me what under these circumstances it is best to do.
Shall we break off our attacks at Verdun and direct our hammer-blows at
some other part of the front? Theoretically there is much to be said
from the purely military standpoint for such a course; but can your
Majesty foresee what the moral effect would be upon our troops in the
field and upon the Germans still left behind us in Germany? We might, of
course, announce that we had now gained everything we had set out to
gain, that the French had lost immense numbers of killed and wounded,
that we had taken in unwounded prisoners the equivalent of an army
corps, that our booty was incalculable, and that, in fact, the victory
was definitely ours. But would Germany believe this statement--
REVENTLOW, of course, would believe it, but then he would believe
anything--and above all would the French believe it? I can promise your
Majesty that they would believe nothing of the sort, and that they would
give some excellent reasons for their disbelief. And the result would be
that we should be held not only to have acknowledged our failure, but
also to have made ourselves ridiculous in the sight of the whole world.
That, I am certain, would be intolerable for your Majesty and for the
German people, who have been fed upon a diet of victory, and would be
beyond measure disquieted by such an admission of failure as I have
mentioned. No, the only thing to do, now that we have been so deeply
involved, is to persist in the struggle and hope that we may in the end
wear out enemies who have hitherto shown no signs of fatigue.

Fortunately it cannot be said that your Majesty is involved in this lack
of the success we all hoped for. Though you are nominally the chief
Commander of our Armies it is known that in the actual operations your
Majesty has played the modest part of an onlooker rather than a
director. Formerly, that is before the breaking out of the War, you were
a great planner of plans, and it was understood that, in case of war,
you would lead your armies in the field and prove that a Hohenzollern
can do anything. But now you have recognised your limitations, and no
Emperor can well do more than that. You do not now thrust your advice
upon your generals, whatever you may have done at the outset of the War,
and, though you may once have dreamed of leading your hosts in a
thundering charge upon the foe, you have long since abandoned such
visions and have begun to realise that an Emperor is but a man and
cannot know everything. This, at least, is my conviction, and I testify
it to your Majesty with all the bluntness that befits a soldier who has
been honoured by his Sovereign with a high command.

Most dutifully yours, VON FALKENHAYN.

       *       *       *       *       *

Good Hunting.

    "The jungle sale held in Warrenpoint in aid of the Warrenpoint
    District Nursing Association realised the sum of £40. 3s."

    _Northern Whig._

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Young couple furnishing wishes to buy contents of 3 rooms,
    including piano, or part of same."--_Edinburgh Evening News._

Their future neighbours are hoping that they will get one without a

       *       *       *       *       *

    "There is scarcely a family who have not someone near and dear
    to them in the fighting line, and by substituting the task of
    knitting for that of sewing, the well-known lines of Ibid are
    particularly appropriate:--

      'My tears must stop, for every drop
      Hinders needle and thread.'"

    _York Herald._

_Ibid_, who is a close connection of that other voluminous author,
_Anon_, seems on this occasion to have plagiarized from HOOD.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: Court Official. "I VENTURE TO REMIND THE ALL-HIGHEST THAT


       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _First Traveller._ "This 'ere's a terrible war, Bill."

Second ditto. "Yus. What's the price o' beer now?"]

       *       *       *       *       *


Jimmy's bloodhound, Faithful, had his fortune told the other
day--really, I mean; not what the man next door says when Faithful keeps
on singing to his cat at night from the bottom of an apple-tree.

Jimmy says the man next door often has gloomy thoughts as to what will
happen to Faithful, and he gets up from his warm bed to tell them to

Jimmy says Faithful was not expecting to have his fortune told; he was
just sitting quietly on the wall near the road, watching the day go by.

Everything was very nice and quiet and peaceful; there was a cat up each
of three trees close by, and a hen up another, all being comfortable and
quite all right where they were, thank you, because Faithful had

The man next door was being busy amongst his flowers; he was replanting
some that had been planted right on the top of a place where Faithful
had laid down some bones to mature.

Things were so quiet that Jimmy was just thinking about taking his
bloodhound on the spy trail, when a woman came along with a little
hand-organ slung round her neck and a cage containing two small green
parrots for telling your fortune.

Bloodhounds are very fond of music, Jimmy says; they sing to it, at
least Faithful does. Jimmy says Faithful lifted up his stomach and threw
back his head; but he found it a little difficult to keep time at first,
because, you see, the notes that were missing in the organ were not the
same ones that were missing in Faithful's voice. Jimmy says it is just
the same when two people singing a duet both have hiccoughs; unless they
hiccough together you always notice something wrong.

The parrots were very clever; they would come out of the cage and perch
on the end of a stick the woman held, and then pick a small blue
envelope out of a box. Jimmy says that he doesn't think the parrots had
ever seen a prize bloodhound like Faithful before, not even in their
native haunts, for when Faithful tried to make a fuss of them and love
them they kept flying about the cage and moulting their feathers at him.

Faithful picked up one of the feathers, and when one of the parrots came
out of the cage to tell fortunes he tried to put the feather back again.
But the parrot avoided him and went away.

Faithful did his best to catch it again; he has a very good nose for
game, Jimmy says, and he soon tracked the parrot to its lair: it had
joined the hen, and the hen was being surprised--you could hear it doing
it, Jimmy says.

Jimmy says Faithful sat at the bottom of the tree and tried to look like
a birdcage; but his presence seemed to disturb the woman so much that
Jimmy had to put the chain on him and lead him away.

Jimmy says Faithful kept yearning to go back and help; he is a good
yearner, Jimmy says, and he does it by pushing his head through the
collar as far as he can stretch it, and then choking. Jimmy says the
butcher is a good yearner too, but he does it by going red in the face
and trying to burst his collar with his neck. He did it at Faithful this
time. You see Faithful was quietly passing his shop and doing nothing at
all to anyone--Jimmy had only just let him loose on the trail--when he
caught sight of the butcher's sandy cat lying curled up in the window
and going up and down at him with her side. Jimmy says cats are always
doing something like that at his bloodhound, and then what can you
expect if you will do it?

There was a fly-paper on the counter, and after old Faithful had driven
the cat into a corner Jimmy saw him suddenly swing his tail at the
fly-paper and get firm hold of it; then he squatted down on the counter
and wagged the fly-paper at the cat like anything to try and mesmerise
it. Jimmy says that when the butcher came into the shop, and Faithful
stopped to turn round and see where things were, the butcher yearned at
him like anything, and it only made him worse when old Faithful
semaphored at him with the fly-paper.

There was only a bluebottle on the fly-paper besides Faithful, Jimmy
says, so that it wasn't very crowded; but by the buzz the bluebottle
kept on making you would think it owned the fly-paper. Jimmy says his
bloodhound had never shared a fly-paper with a bluebottle before, and he
kept stopping to answer the bluebottle back instead of keeping to the
spy trail.

Jimmy says Faithful had just sent an ultimatum to the bluebottle when
there came the sounds of the hand-organ from a house close by.

Jimmy says as soon as Faithful heard the music he seemed to stiffen all
at once and become rigid. He looked splendid like that, Jimmy says. One
paw up, his tail as straight as he could get it, and the fly-paper at
half-mast--everything pointing to sudden death.

Jimmy followed Faithful as hard as he could, and was in time to see him
stalking quietly hand over fist across a lawn while the woman was
getting one of the green parrots on the end of the stick.

Jimmy knew the man who lived at the house, and who was having his
fortune told. He had come there to live a tired life, Jimmy says, and
when the War broke out he had put up a big flag-pole with a Union Jack
on it as his share.

Jimmy says the parrot had just got the man's fortune in its beak, when
Faithful took a standing jump from behind the woman at it. It was awful,
Jimmy says. The woman gave a scream and grabbed at the parrot, the man
grabbed at Faithful, and Faithful--well, Jimmy says he never knew quite
what Faithful did or how he did it, but he emerged with the man's
fortune sticking to the fly-paper.

Jimmy says bloodhounds are very sensitive and avoid a commotion; but the
man and the woman were not used to his side action in running and they
fell over one another.

Jimmy says it was a very funny fortune; it was in a special red envelope
and he couldn't understand it at first. You see it only contained the
names of some towns and villages, and Jimmy was just wishing that
Faithful would leave music and parrots and fly-papers and fortunes
alone, and catch German spies instead, when it all came to him because a
friend of his mother's lived at one of the villages and some Zeppelin
bombs had been dropped there.

The woman had given the man the names of the places where Zeppelin bombs
had fallen, and old Faithful had been tracking them down all the time.

Jimmy's head just buzzed with thoughts as he ran to the police-station.
They caught the man and the woman, and one of the policemen discovered
the flag-pole on the man's lawn, and it turned out to be part of a
wireless apparatus to send messages to Germany.

Jimmy says that, when the spies were nicely locked up and settled for
the night, one of the policemen got the parrot to tell Faithful's
fortune, and when they opened the envelope it said,

"Your face is your fortune."

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Subaltern._ "Well, what do you want?"

_Tommy_ (_formerly a cobbler_). "The Cap'n's 'orse wants soleing and
'eeling, Sir."]

       *       *       *       *       *


  Randolph the rash in cruel phrase defames
  The "mediocrities with double names;"
  But nowadays we find whole-hearted pleaders
  Urging the claims of hyphenated leaders.

  For what were Pemberton without the thrilling
  Corollary and supplement of Billing?
  While Billing by itself, pronounced _tout court_
  And shorn of Pemberton, sounds bald and poor.

  Without emotion you and I may any day
  Light on a Jones unwedded to a Kennedy;
  Likewise a Kennedy unlinked with Jones
  Will fail to stir the marrow in our bones.

  Mark you, moreover, how the order tends
  To foster and promote euphonic ends;
  For Billing Pemberton sounds flat and dull,
  And Jones prefixed to Kennedy is null.

  But Pemberton by Billing followed up,
  And Kennedy with Jones to fill the cup,
  Electrify the nation's tympanum
  And strike the voice of sober Season dumb.

       *       *       *       *       *

A quotation from BROWNING as rendered by _The Daily Chronicle_:--

  "No! let me taste the whole of it, fare like my peers,
  The horrors of old."

We regret to see our respected contemporary has not yet abandoned its
prejudice against the Upper House.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "A report was read from the Sanitary Inspector who has now
    joined the 3rd/4th Wilts Regt. This showed that 18 parishes had
    been infected under the Housing and Town Planning Act, leaving
    eight parishes still to be dealt with."--_Wiltshire Advertiser._

In the interests of the uninfected parishes we trust that the Sanitary
Inspector will deal faithfully with the Germs.

       *       *       *       *       *


A young lady typist was overheard remarking in a City teashop the other
day that she liked SILAS HOCKING better than JOSEPH, because the latter
was "rather deep." The remark was significant of the new atmosphere of
literary enthusiasm which the feminine invaders of business London have
brought with them into the luncheon-hour. We are instituting a causerie
for the special benefit of this large class of readers, i.e. those who
get out of their depth in the transition from SILAS to JOSEPH.

I want to introduce you to-day to a writer whose subtle genius defies
analysis but demands reverent appreciation. Ruby L. Binns came into my
own intellectual life at a rather critical stage in my reading. Like
most young men of the early nineteen-noughts, I had fallen under the
spell of Guy Beverley, whose _Only a Mill Hand_ and _Squire Darrell's
Heir_ appeared to us the consummation of the novelettist's art. In those
days every other young man you met was mouthing the great renunciation
scene from the _Mill Hand_. Small marvel too! As I recall it even now
something of the old glamour revives.

    "Go!" cried Mary Ellen. "Though you are the Export Manager and I
    but a poor humble mill-girl, I would sooner beg my bread from
    door to door than seek it at _your_ hand." She eyed him with
    pitiless scorn. Jasper Dare went out into the night.

Fine? Ay, and more than fine. But we young men of the nineteen-noughts
made one big mistake. We thought Guy Beverley had scaled the summit of
art; but art has no summit. We thought he had plumbed the depths of
psychology; but psychology defies the plumber. I date a new epoch in my
life from that day in 19-- when I picked up my _Daily Reflector_ and
read the opening chapter of a new serial, _Her Soldier Sweetheart_, by
Ruby L. Binns. That was on a Monday. By Wednesday of that week this
unknown writer had revealed to me a New Idea and a New Style. The idea
is familiar to most of you now, but in those days the daring conception
that a common soldier might turn out to be the missing heir of a baronet
rang like a challenge in the ears of the older romanticism. It is her
style, however, that is Ruby Binns's most enduring gift to English prose
literature. Lean, restrained, economical, it holds (for me) the very
spirit of the English race and tongue. Listen:--

    She went to the door, thinking she heard something. There was
    nobody there, so she went back to her work, thinking sadly of
    her soldier boy. "Cheer up," said Clarice; "perhaps he'll come
    back soon." "Perhaps," answered Yvonne wanly, "but it does not
    seem very likely, does it, dear?" The next moment the door
    opened and a tall soldierly figure entered the room.

English? It is like a May morning on Tooting Common. Beverley would have
handled that situation well, no doubt. But could he--could anyone--have
achieved the poignancy of that unaffected phrase, "It does not seem very
likely"? I said that the depths of Art were unplumbable. True, but Ruby
Binns has at least got lower than most.

Next week I want to speak of a new man and a new book, Stott Mackenzie
and his _Only a Trailer-Car Conductress_.

       *       *       *       *       *


You see ugly things in London now-a-days. Oh, yes, but you see beautiful
things as well. I saw one yesterday--one of the beautiful things.

It was a cold wet evening, not actually raining but very, very nearly. I
stood at the place in Piccadilly where the 'buses stop. There was quite
a little crowd waiting, as there always is at this time of day--women
with parcels, work-girls going home, a few men. All of them looked
tired, and many of them looked cross.

When a 'bus drew up at the curb all those people made a simultaneous
plunge for it. Before it had finally stopped they were clinging like a
swarm of bees to the steps and rails. It is an arduous game this
'bus-catching, though for those who are young and strong it should
perhaps have a certain attraction, combining as it does the allurement
of a lottery gamble with the charm of a football scrimmage.

There were only three vacant places, and these, after a desperate
struggle, were secured by two athletic-looking girls and a red-haired
schoolboy. The conductor waved back the disappointed boarders and they
dropped off sulkily. I watched them a moment and then my eyes toward two
soldiers, who were crossing the street. Fine, well-set-up men they were,
and they carried themselves with the indescribable air of those who have
crossed swords with Death and left their opponent, for the time at
least, defeated. One of them had a green shade over his left eye. The
other carried a stick and walked with a slight limp.

They took up their position a little to the side of the expectant crowd
that was already beginning to sway and jostle at the sight of a fresh
'bus, which had just rounded the corner. Small chance for the
new-comers, however slightly wounded, in such a _mêlée_, thought I.

The 'bus came rocking along, reeled to the left, staggered to the right,
and came uncertainly to a shuddering rest beside the pavement.

And then it was that I saw the Beautiful Thing.

For of that little crowd, some twenty people in all, not a soul moved.
Not a man, woman or child took so much as a step forward. They looked at
the half-filled 'bus, they looked at the two soldiers, and waited,

Those two had pressed forward briskly enough, but as they mounted the
steps, the man with the green shade giving a helping hand to his
companion, the attitude of the crowd seemed suddenly to strike them. The
lame man glanced over his shoulder, smiled and murmured something to his
friend. His friend turned likewise and stared. He pushed his comrade
through the doorway, turned again, and very solemnly raised his hand to
his cap in salute. A second later he too vanished within the interior of
the 'bus.

And then the rush began.

       *       *       *       *       *


_"Gold lace has a charm for the fair."_

  When William first became a Lieut.
    R.N.V.R., in blue and gold,
  Belinda smiled upon his suit
    (Which formerly had found her cold);
  His manly form and honest face,
    She really liked them, I believe;
  But, most of all, she loved the lace
    Upon his sleeve.

  Yet soon a rival courtier came--
    A dashing dapper Lieut. R.N.;
  And, as this paragon pressed his claim,
    Oh, what could William hope for then?
  How could a wobbly-braided swain
    Vie with the actual Royal Navy,
  Whose stripes were half as broad again
    And straight, not wavy?

  Then William swore (ah, Envy, ah!)
    "Belinda _shall_ be mine, she SHALL!"
  And wrote a note to his papa,
    Who'd just been made an Admiral:--
  "Father, now that you'll fly at sea
    A two-balled flag in place of pennant,
  What do you say to taking me
    As flag-lieutenant?"

  When William next waylaid his fair,
    He had his glittering "aiglets" on;
  Rope upon rope of gold was there,
    And now his rival's look was wan;
  He tried a bitter sneer, to greet
    This "peacock preening in the sun";
  But Miss Belinda thought them "sweet"....
    And William won.

       *       *       *       *       *



[Illustration: Jemima Ann, entering her 200 h.p. car, is handed a
missive. Something suspicious in the appearance of the bearer determines
her to take it to her friend, Professor Macpherson, the distinguished

[Illustration: In the meantime news has been brought to the members of
the Scarlet Skull Gang that Macpherson has invented the most deadly
silent pistol ever constructed. Determined to get the secret of this
weapon, they proceed surreptitiously to his residence, taking with them
an adjustable periscope.]

[Illustration: Jemima Ann shows Macpherson the missive. While he is
explaining to her the construction of the new pistol she detects the
periscope. Macpherson continues his explanation, but makes a vital
change in the arrangement of the various parts of the weapon.]

[Illustration: The Scarlet Skull Gang, in their secret armoury,
construct a pistol from the information clandestinely obtained through
the periscope.]

[Illustration: Macpherson has advised Jemima Ann to keep the appointment
requested in the missive. He accompanies her to the corner, and then
bids her to proceed alone without fear.]

[Illustration: End of 159th episode. 160th episode to-morrow.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Disgusted Tommy_ (_to prisoner_). "You can't 'elp bein'
a bloomin' Bosch, but yer might blow aht yer chest, or 'old yer 'ead up,
or somethink! Lumme! I'm ashamed to be seen walkin' with yer!"]

       *       *       *       *       *


[Mr. J. H. WILLIS, a Norwich scientist, writing in _The Morning Post_,
condemns the daylight-saving movement on the ground that too much
sunshine is enervating and that life is more virile in Northern

  Though the daylight-saving measure, which ingenious WILLETT planned
  To illume the work and leisure of the toilers of the land,
  Has not yet convinced the nation, or unto the mass appealed,
  Still without exaggeration it can claim to hold the field.

  But of late a man of science--Mr. WILLIS is his name--
  In a mood of flat defiance bans the daylight-saving game;
  And, relentlessly pooh-poohing the delights of sunny days,
  Recommends the prompt tabooing of the cult of solar rays.

  All the hardy Northern races are efficient, in his view,
  Just because they live in places where the sunlit hours are few,
  And, conversely, peoples broiling in the horrid torrid zones
  Have no grit or zest for toiling and no marrow in their bones.

  There was once a commentator, if I rightly recollect,
  Who, discussing the Equator, treated it with disrespect;
  But his temperate impeachment, though it showed a mental twist,
  Pales before the drastic preachment of the Norwich scientist.

  Metaphorically speaking, it's a symptom of the Hun
  To be always bent on seeking after places in the sun;
  But I'd rather choose to follow what my deadliest foes applaud
  Than to ostracise Apollo as an enervating fraud.

  No, you don't convince me, WILLIS, with your scientific chat,
  And my slangy daughter, Phyllis, says you're talking through your hat;
  For, while many drug-concoctors merit death _by sus. per coll._,
  I believe the best of doctors is our old friend Doctor Sol.

  Hours recorded on the dial, "hours serene," assuage more ills
  Than the lancet or the phial or a wilderness of pills;
  And if cranks of anti-solar leanings long for gloom, they should
  Emigrate to circumpolar regions and remain for good.

       *       *       *       *       *

Punch's Roll of Honour.

We record with sincere grief the death of Lieutenant ALEC LEITH
JOHNSTON, who was killed in action on April 22nd during the fight in
which the gallant Shropshires recaptured a trench on the
Ypres-Langemarck Road. Early in the War Mr. JOHNSTON joined the Artists'
Corps and saw service at the Front. Later he received a commission in
the K.S.L.I., and a few months ago was in the list of wounded. He has
for a long time been associated with _Punch_, and during the War has
contributed many articles under the titles "At the Back of the Front"
and "At the Front." His loss will be very keenly felt.

       *       *       *       *       *


[Illustration: _St. Augustine Birrell._ "I'M AFRAID I'M NOT SO SMART AS

       *       *       *       *       *


_Tuesday, April 25th._--The Government, which has sometimes been accused
of not having sufficient confidence in the House of Commons, has made
ample amends. Information about the Army, too grave to be imparted to
the people who provide the men and the means for maintaining it, is to
be freely given to four or five hundred Members of Parliament (not to
mention a similar number of Peers).

The PRIME MINISTER opened the Secret Session in one of his briefest
speeches. "Mr. Speaker," he said, "I beg, Sir, to call your attention to
the fact that strangers are present." The historic form of this
advertisement, "I spy strangers;" is briefer still, but inadmissible in
these ticklish times. One does not want to see, in the enemy Press,
"British Prime Minister confesses to spying."

Then the Press Gallery was cleared, and the Great Inquest of the Nation
became a Vehmgericht. The wretched scribe who should attempt to peer
behind the veil that shrouds its proceedings has been warned in advance
of the unnamed pains and penalties that await him if he should venture
to describe or even "refer to" the proceedings of the Secret Session. I
am unable to say, therefore, whether it is true that the occupants of
the Treasury Bench forthwith donned helmets and gas-masks to protect
themselves from the fiery darts and mephitic vapours launched at them
from above and below the Gangway.

On these picturesque details the official report, compiled by Mr.
SPEAKER, who is understood to have seized the opportunity offered by his
recent stay at Bath to learn Pitman's shorthand, is unfortunately

All we learn from its severely restrained pages is that the PRIME
MINISTER made a long statement about recruiting. From this we gather
that if fifty thousand of the unattested married men do not enlist
before the end of May they will be compelled to do so; and that
altogether the Government will insist on getting 200,000 men from this
source. The German General Staff will be surprised to learn that our
requirements are so modest, and will wonder, as we do, what all the
pother is about.

Perhaps Mr. LOWTHER did not take notes of the other speeches that were
delivered. At any rate he gives us no indication of their drift. All we
know is that in the course of some seven hours no fewer than sixteen
Members addressed the House. From this it may be inferred that the
absence of reporters has at least the negative advantage of conducing to
brevity of utterance. May we also infer that the speaking was as plain
as it was brief, and that for the time being the Palace of Westminster
has become the Palace of Truth?

[Illustration: Unique sketch by _Punch_ artist (concealed in clock
opposite), showing how the last reporter was detected in the Press
Gallery by the aid of a giant periscope.]

_Wednesday, April 26th._--So far as we are permitted to know what took
place--for the House of Commons had another Secret Session--in both
Houses it was Ireland, Ireland all the way. The Commons began by
granting a return relating to Irish Lunacy accounts, and then by an easy
transition passed to the report of the Sinn Fein rebellion in Dublin.

Colonel SHARMAN-CRAWFORD, who bears a name that all Ireland has solid
reason to respect, desiring to return to his native country, asked Mr.
BIRRELL what routes, if any, were open. Mr. BIRRELL did not know, but
intimated genially that he might be able to take absence of over the
gallant Colonel under his own protecting wing. The House appeared to
find humour in the idea of the CHIEF SECRETARY returning to his post,
and an Hon. Member inquired why he had ever left it.

The PRIME MINISTER gave a brief and, so far as it went, rosy-coloured
report of the situation in Dublin. Some Nationalist Volunteers were
helping the Government. The forces of the Crown were to be further
strengthened by a party of American journalists, armed to the teeth with
quick-firing pencils, who were going over to deal with "this most recent
German campaign."

This may have reminded Mr. ASQUITH that there were British journalists
in the Press Gallery. The DEPUTY SPEAKER'S attention having been called
to this fact, the House voted for their expulsion, and again passed into
Secret Session.

The Lords were again in Open Session, to the regret, perhaps, of the
Government representatives, who heard some very plain speaking from Lord
MIDDLETON. According to his information the rebels were still in
possession of important parts of Dublin. The Government had been warned
on Sunday last that an outbreak was imminent, but had nevertheless
allowed many officers to go on leave, while others were permitted to
assist at the races on Monday.

_Thursday, April 21th._--Mr. GINNELL does not believe in the supineness
of the Irish Executive. His information is that quite a long time ago it
had resolved to place Dublin in a state of siege, to imprison Archbishop
WALSH and the LORD MAYOR in their respective official residences, and to
arrest the leaders of sundry Nationalist associations. Mr. T. W.
RUSSELL, as spokesman for the ruthless Mr. BIRRELL, denied emphatically
that these drastic steps had been contemplated.

The PRIME MINISTER subsequently announced that the situation still had
"serious features." This mild phrase covers the continued possession by
the rebels of important parts of Dublin, the prevalence of street
fighting, and the spread of the insurrection to the wild West. Martial
law had been proclaimed all over the country; Sir JOHN MAXWELL had been
sent over in supreme command, and the Irish Government had been placed
under his orders--the last part of this announcement being greeted with
especially loud cheers.

Sir EDWARD CARSON and Mr. JOHN REDMOND joined in expressing horror of
this rebellion and hoped that the Press would not make it an excuse for
reviving political dissension on Irish matters--a sufficient rebuke to
_The Westminster Gazette_ and _The Star_, both of which by a curious
coincidence had found the moment auspicious for preaching from the text
of the old tag, "There but for the grace of God," etc.

Sir H. DALZIEL attempted to secure an immediate debate upon the Irish
trouble. But the eminent Privy Councillor found little support in the
House, and was first knocked down by the DEPUTY-SPEAKER and then
trampled upon by Mr. ASQUITH.

If the Secret Sessions were intended to make smooth the way of the
Military Service Bill they failed miserably in their object. Mr. LONG,
to whom was entrusted the task of introducing it, felt his position
acutely. Only when explaining that one of the principal objects of the
Bill was to extend the service of time-expired soldiers for the duration
of the War did he wax at all eloquent, and then it was in lauding the
chivalry of these men and in expressing his extreme distaste for the
task of coercing them. The whole speech justified the poet's remark that
"long petitions spoil the cause they plead."

Not a voice was heard in favour of the measure. Sir EDWARD CARSON damned
it for not going far enough, and Mr. LEIF JONES because it went too far;
and Mr. STEPHEN WALSH, as representative of the miners, who have given
so much of their blood to the country's cause, bluntly demanded that the
House should reject this Bill "and insist on the straight thing."

Mr. ASQUITH, recalled to the House by his agitated colleague, recognised
that his old Parliamentary hand had got into a hornet's nest, and
promptly withdrew it. To the best of my recollection this is the first
time on record that a Government measure has perished before its first
reading. Conceived in secrecy and delivered in pain, its epitaph will be
that of another unhappy infant:--

  "If I was to be so soon done for
  I wonder what I was began for."

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Ingenuous Maiden (on being told she is expected to milk
the cow_). "Oh, Mum, I dursn't without a soldier held her head."]

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The Austrians thrice attempted to rush the Italian positions on
    the Upper Isonzo, but were repulsed with heavy lasses."

    _Times of Ceylon._

Stout girls, these _contadine_.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Recently I have seen several German planes so high as to be
    mere specks, and of the many I have seen none has been lower, I
    should say, than ,000 ft."--_Morning Paper._

A cautious statement, and probably true.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "We are glad to learn that the daughter of our popular banker
    was married on the 10th instant, over 1000 persons were invited
    and sumpfedtuously."--_Indian Paper._

We infer that the compositor was among them.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "In his defence Mr. ---- said he had endeavoured to fake the
    point that the onus of proving he was under the Military Service
    Act was upon the prosecution."

    _Bayswater Chronicle._

If not a conscientious he seems to have been at least a candid objector.

       *       *       *       *       *


In consequence of the new tax on imported films the Cinema industry in
England has received a new fillip, and a wave of enterprise is passing
over the studios. In place of the familiar--almost too familiar--
American dramas we are to have English. No more of those square-jawed
stern American business men at their desks, with the telephone ever in
their hands and instantaneous replies to every call. No more police
officers, also at their desks, giving orders like lightning and having
them understood and acted upon as quickly. No more crooks clambering
over the roofs of an express train. No more motor-car pursuits. No more
Indians, no more cowboys, no more heroines in top boots.

And what is there to be instead? Not--I hear you cry appealingly--not
panoramas of Zurich or Cape Town? No, not those devastating views of
scenery, but home-made films "featuring" English performers, with an eye
not only to entertainment but instruction. That is the new movie note.
And for a start a wonderful picture has just been completed, under the
title "The Birth of a Fluence," taking the Cinema-goers (as they are
called) behind the scenes of a London daily paper.

Not a real paper, of course, for that would be telling too much, but an
absolutely imaginary paper, yet like enough in many respects to a real
paper to afford to the imaginative spectator an idea of how such
marvellous sheets are put together.

No expense has been spared to get an air of verisimilitude into these
pictures, at a private view of which we were permitted to be present.

Let us give a rough sketch of the film, which is some mile and a half
long, or as far, say, as from the House of Lords to Printing House
Square. But first we must remark that the unseen force which agitates
all the documents and blinds of the various rooms shown is not due, as
it usually is, to the circumstance that the pictures were taken in the
open air, during a gale, but it symbolises the power of the Proprietor
of the paper, who can by a breath make or unmake Governments.

The first picture shows the arrival of the Editor, a man of desperate
mien, dark as a thunder cloud, ready to be affrighted by nothing, with
instant disapproval of whatever he disapproves breaking through his
alert, intellectual features. To him, stern patriot as he is, it is
nothing that men do well. He is there, vigilant and implacable, to
pounce swiftly and mercilessly on derelictions of duty. No one knows so
well as he what is possible to a Minister and his Department and what
not. They themselves, the Minister and his Department, are totally
uninstructed in the matter. Truly a remarkable man.

The Editor opens his letters; touches bells, speaks through telephones,
and generally proves himself to be more than a man, a Force. Imaginary
as is the whole affair, no one seeing this film can ever open a morning
paper again without a thrill, a foreboding.

Next we are shown the Proprietor leaving his private house by aeroplane
to visit the office. We see him first alighting on the roof and then
entering his private room by a secret door, from a secret staircase.
Having removed his slouch hat and cloak and laid aside his dark lantern,
he is revealed as a man of destiny indeed.

We see the mottoes on the walls of the room, such as "Always change
horses in midstream"; "Always wash dirty linen in public"; "Any stick is
good enough to beat a dog with"; "If you throw enough mud some will
stick"; "Damn the consequences"; "Disunion is strength"; "After me the
Deluge," and so forth.

Then the Proprietor begins to get busy. He too touches bells, and
various assistants rush to his presence. The first is the Editor, and we
watch the progress of a fateful interview, which is made the more
understandable by legends shown on the screen. Thus, after a long course
of lip-moving and chin-wagging on the part of the Proprietor, we read
the helpful words:--

    "The Twenty-three must go."

Then the Editor's lips move and his chin rides up and down and we read
the words:--

    "But suppose the old man is too clever?"

And so the epoch-making talk goes on and others are summoned to take
part in it.

Next, as a guide to the paper's enterprise we are admitted to a meeting
of the Cabinet, and are assisted, at last to unravel the mystery as to
which Minister it is who gives away the secrets of that assembly, for we
watch him in his various disguises on his way to the dark cellar where
he meets the political representative of the paper, makes his report and
receives the promise of his future reward. It is, we feel confident,
this particular section of the film which will secure for it an amazing
popularity, though all reference in the Press to Cabinet proceedings has
now been made illegal for the duration of the War.

"The Birth of a Fluence," it will be seen, does not confine its energies
to the office of the paper. So thorough is the scheme that various
pictures have been taken--always, of course, at the usual enormous
expense--at even distant places, where its activities, or the result of
them, can be studied. For example, we are shown a section of the Front
and the delight of the English soldier as he unfolds the paper and
discovers that his country is still being goaded towards that healthy
disintegration which must necessarily accelerate our victory. And we are
even shown one of the paper's defeated candidates seeking the
railway-station after the election; for it is notorious that, vast as
are the paper's other influences, it is often unable to persuade an
electorate to follow it.

The last picture, which also should be of particular interest to the
public as proving how sacred the Fourth Estate holds the duty of
providing it with accurate reports, shows the whole of the building
draped with the habiliments of woe and the staff in deep mourning on
learning that the secrecy of the secret session is to be callously and
rigorously enforced by the Government. And in this state of prostration
the _personnel_ is left. So ends one of the most enthralling films that
this country has yet invented.

"The Birth of a Fluence" would, of course, be more instructive still
were there any paper that at all corresponded to the fantastic and
incredible organ here illustrated. But of course a sheet that during the
progress of an anxious war so consistently belittled its country and
aspersed its rulers would be impossible. Still, enough verisimilitude
remains to make an amusing half-hour.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: Conscientious married M.P. (WHO UNFORTUNATELY TALKS IN

       *       *       *       *       *


IX.--The Poultry and the Borough.

  The Fox ran to London
    Starving for his dinner;
  There he met the Weasel
    Looking even thinner.

  The Weasel said to Reynard,
    "What shall be our pickin's?"
  Said Reynard to the Weasel,
    "Rabbits and Spring Chickens."

  Then they went a-hunting,
    And they did it very thorough,
  The Fox in the Poultry
    And the Weasel in the Borough.

X.--Wormwood Scrubbs.

  Wormwood scrubs, Wormwood scrubs
    Windows, walls, and floors,
  Pots and pans and pickle-tubs,
    Tables, chairs and doors;
  Wormwood scrubs the public seats
    And the City Halls;
  Wormwood scrubs the London streets,
    Wormwood scrubs Saint Paul's;
  Wormwood scrubs on her hands and knees,
    But oh, it's plainly seen,
  Though she use a ton of elbow-grease
    She'll _never_ get it clean!

       *       *       *       *       *


[Illustration: _Shaun._ "'Tis a German!"

_Mike._ "Glory be! How can ye tell that?"

_Shaun._ "I cannot tell ut. 'Tis a guess."]

       *       *       *       *       *


It was past ten o'clock and the maid was, or should have been, asleep,
so when there came a knock at the front-door Bertha got up to answer it

"Whoever can it be at this time of night?" I said.

"It's Evelyn come to borrow again," said Bertha. "I know her knock."

"Don't always look on the dark side of things," I counselled; "be an
optimist like me. Now I have a feeling that she has come to pay back
what they borrowed last week."

A minute later Bertha returned. "I knew it," she said; "it is as I
feared. Jack has sent her over to borrow three more."

"Three more!" I gasped; "but it's preposterous. They borrowed five only
last Monday and they'll never pay them back, of course. What did you say
to her?"

"I said I couldn't manage it myself, but I would ask you."

"I suppose we shall have to do it," I said, crossing over to the bureau
and unlocking it.

"Haven't you got any on you?" asked Bertha.

"Only one; I never carry more than that in case I might get my pockets
picked. It's a bit thick," I continued, "we economise and deny ourselves
in all kinds of ways and then that spend-thrift comes--or, rather, sends
his wife--and borrows all our hard-earned savings."

From a secret drawer in the bureau I drew forth a small box that I
opened with fingers that trembled like _Gaspard's_.

Bertha joined me and, side by side, we stood gazing at the contents in a
hush that was akin to worship.

"Well," said I, at last breaking the silence, "here you are, and for
goodness' sake tell her not to waste them!" and into my wife's
outstretched hand I carefully counted out--three matches.

       *       *       *       *       *


"The Mayor of Troy."

The admirable "Q" has shot his arrow into the gold so often and carried
off so mountainous a load of trophies that he can see with equanimity
his last shot signalled an outer--even a miss. The signaller must needs
be more dismayed than he. "Q" is also too honest and perceptive a critic
not to see the weak points of _The Mayor of Troy_ as a stage play,
though he may fairly plume himself on the pleasant (and unpleasant) folk
of his creation who partly came to life on the opening night at the
Haymarket. He will have found out and noted for an appendix to those
lively and instructive discourses of his _On the Art of Writing_ that it
is a jolly difficult thing to write a play; that an act is not a chapter
of a novel, still less a _compôte_ of bits of many chapters; that, while
to be charmingly discursive is a paramount quality of the higher type of
novelist, the same attribute in a play, whose very breath of life is
essential brevity, makes it appear to go on crutches, like his own
discomfited hero. It bemuses an audience and gravels the players--as the
queer uncertainty of touch of so skilful, so conscientious an actor as
Mr. AINLEY sufficiently betrayed. But to the story.


_The Mayor of Troy (Mr. Henry Ainley) before and after prison diet._]

Portly and pompous _Major Solomon Hymen Toogood_ (Mr. AINLEY), wealthy
citizen of Troy Town, and, in the perilous year of grace 1804, for the
seventh time its Mayor; Justice of the Peace, in command of the battery
of _Diehards_ which himself had raised, spoilt by the worship of the
women and the tractability (with reservations) of the men, has reason to
be mightily pleased with himself; and very distinctly is. On this
pleasant day on which the play opens he has written a proposal of
marriage to a lady whose heart, unhappily, is already given to his
Deputy in civic office and Second in Command of the battery, Dr.
_Dillworthy_ (Mr. LEON QUARTERMAINE). Meanwhile a little smuggling
expedition, which he had planned under cover of his military authority
(Sir ARTHUR does not quite put it like that), turns into a genuine
fight, and our Mayor is carried off prisoner to France.

At the peace of 1814 he returns thin and lame to find that the lady of
his choice has long married the man of hers (and why not?), and that the
two, with their children, are installed in his house; _Dillworthy_ no
longer Deputy but reigning Mayor. Nobody recognises the famous
_Toogood_, which is entirely "Q's" fault, not theirs; and nobody, except
a pretty maid who is to marry his nephew (his own money has made the
match possible), seems to worry overmuch (_absit omen_!) about returned
prisoners of war. He reveals himself to nobody but his villain brother
_William_ (Mr. AYRTON). That fatuous revenue officer, _Lomax_ (Mr.
MALLESON), has written a fulsomely flattering life of him at which his
gorge rises. Everybody, apart from opening a hospital in his memory (in
a bed of which he eventually finds himself), seems to be going about his
or her business much as usual (yet what else could they do?). He
extracts a character of himself from his faithful old servant and finds
it not so flattering as he would have liked. Seems, in fact, determined
to have his grievance. Well, then, he will buy a dog. And he will take
the road with his pal the comic sailor and shake the dust of fickle Troy
from off his feet.

But I protest that this is all very unfair to the Trojans. As soon as he
gave them their chance they took it decently enough, so much so that all
ended happily in what must have been a most uncomfortable dance on the
sharp fragments of the _Toogood_ bust which the disgruntled original had
smashed with his crutch.

Of course poor _William_ very naturally resented this extraordinarily
inconsiderate return from the dead of a long and well-lost brother,
several thousand of whose pounds he had misappropriated. As for _Lomax_,
could he by any stretch of the imagination within the frame of this
picture have tried to bribe the Mayor to go away just to save his
infernal biography from being wasted? You simply can't have a convincing
colloquy on these lines between the tragic figure of the disillusioned
and embittered hero and this farcical jackanapes.

And I think it was just this sort of lack of conviction that flattened
the actors. Mr. HENRY AINLEY had his moments, but he's not a man of
moments. He's about our best _whole-hogger_. Mr. LEON QUARTERMAINE'S
easy skill was, as it always is, a very pleasant thing to watch. Mr. DE
LANGE gave an animated little sketch of a droll French spy. Mr. MILES
MALLESON shouldn't let his sense of character and his undoubted talent
for business lead him into that capital sin of taking more than his
share of the stage. Mr. HENDRIE as the sailor, _Ben Chope_, gave us
another of those amusing grotesques of his; and Miss CLAIRE GREET put in
a clever paragraph as _Mrs. Chope_. Mr. FREDERICK GROVES was an
excellent gruff servant; Miss PEGGY RUSH a pretty bride; Mr. GERALD
MCCARTHY a plausible lover; Miss BRUCE-POTTER a becomingly subdued and
adoring Georgian doctor's wife. Mr. LYALL SWETE played competently a
poisonous ass of a vicar, and was responsible for the production, which
was admirable.


       *       *       *       *       *

A Ranker.

Extract from Battalion Orders:--

    "The horse and cab of the Headquarters attached to the ----
    Regt., A. Coy., for forage and accommodation."

       *       *       *       *       *

    "In the Ascot Double Handicap Hurdle Race, after an objection to
    Early Berry for jumping, the race was awarded to Marita."

    _Sporting Paper._

Marita, presumably, crawled under the hurdles like a little lady.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "In spite of all traditions about the British love of a tub, we
    rarely are acquainted with the proper use of soap and water....
    And thus we lay ourselves under Browning's reproach of 'You very
    imperfect ablutionist!'"

    _British Weekly._

Browning may have written this; but we prefer GILBERT'S version:--

    "You very imperfect ablutioner."

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Macpherson (who, having lost half-a-crown in the Strand
and reported the loss overnight at Scotland Yard, on returning next day
to resume his search finds the road up)._ "Losh me--thae Londoners are
awfu' thorough!"]

       *       *       *       *       *


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

I would heartily commend to all good English women and men _The Book of
Italy_ (UNWIN), first because it will help the families of those
Italians who have left England to join their ships and regiments and
will make possible the works of mercy of the Italian Red Cross, and
secondly because it is in itself an admirable book--the most
distinguished, I think, of any of its kind published here during the
War. It tells us something of the great Italian creators and liberators,
perhaps of MAZZINI, than whom no movement for liberty ever had a nobler
or a saner prophet. Of the good things, besides the contributions of
distinguished Italians (a particularly interesting note on the Italian
Red Cross by Signor GALANTE claims a Neapolitan, FERDINANDO PALASCIANO,
as the pioneer, in 1848, of the Red Cross idea), let me specially
commend the spirited introduction of Lord BRYCE, the eloquent letter of
SABATIER, the memories of FREDERIC HARRISON, the quiet wisdom of
CLUTTON-BROCK, the learning (decently veiled for normal eyes) of FRAZER,
of _The Golden Bough_; the inspired prejudices, fringed with epigram, of
G. K. C. A mere catalogue of a few of the well-known writers
BELL, CAYLEY ROBINSON, makes its best testimonial. England has never
been other than the friend of modern Italy, for the Triple Alliance was
merely a freak of desperate diplomacy and was broken by the popular will
when Germany (be it remembered) was giving fair promise of ultimate
victory. We don't need conversion to the cause of Italy, but everything
that helps to foster and develop the comradeship of the now
_Risorgimento_ of the Allied Nations is welcome. And _The Book of Italy_
will serve this purpose excellently well.

       *       *       *       *       *

More than once before now I have commented upon that almost unique gift
that Mr. JACK LONDON has of transferring physical energy to fiction. His
characters must always be about some sinew-straining business that makes
the reader ache in sympathy. However in _The Little Lady of the Big
House_ (MILLS AND BOON) the author seems to have allowed himself and his
creations an unwonted holiday. Here is no fierce struggle for existence,
but the fruits of it upon a millionaire ranche in California. _Dick
Forrest_ was the millionaire, by heritage and his own success; a great
farmer and a breeder of shires. He had a wife, the _Little Lady_ of the
title, and a Big House that was one of the most eligible dwellings in
fiction. A plain recital of the arrangements ("tweaks" we should have
called them at school) in _Dick's_ open-air bedroom makes the ordinary
home look like ten cents. Mr. LONDON certainly knows how to luxuriate
when he gives his mind to it. Moreover there was a wonderful
swimming-bath, with a concealed submarine chamber in which the _Little
Lady_ used to hide for the terror of uninstructed guests (she was rather
that kind of person), and a great music-room for her to play
RACHMANINOFF in and flirt with the Other Man. This is all the tale.
Eventually the flirtation becomes serious and the _Little Lady_ is
driven to suicide, with a death scene of rather unconvincing sentiment.
The fact is, I am afraid, that Capuan ease does not altogether suit the
super-strenuous beings whom Mr. JACK LONDON designs. They are too
energetic for it, and, lacking an outlet, tend to become melodramatic. I
hope that next time he will take us back to the muscle-grinding.

       *       *       *       *       *

When the War broke out Mr. F. W. WILE, an American gentleman, was living
in Berlin as the correspondent of _The Daily Mail_. Having read his
book, _The Assault_ (HEINEMANN), I may say that I judge him to be
singularly alert and wide-awake and admirably fitted for the position he
occupied. He has no scintilla of hatred or animosity for the German
people as individuals, but he wishes to see Germany beaten. "I wish her
beaten," he says, "for the Allies' sake and for my own country's sake. A
victorious Germany would be a menace to international liberty and become
automatically a threat to the happiness and freedom of the United
States." He saw the furious transports of patriotism and hatred to which
the Berlin mob gave way; he witnessed the brutal attack on the British
Embassy, and he was himself denounced as an English spy, was arrested
and was lodged in jail, whence he was rescued only by the direct
interposition of the American Ambassador. All these incidents he relates
in a very vivid way and with a certain dry humour that adds to the
effect. His description of the manner in which, on his way to prison in
a taxi with two German policemen, he managed to destroy a telegraph code
which was in his breast pocket, is positively thrilling. Had it been
discovered on him, nothing, he thinks, would have availed to save him,
so delirious were his captors with rage and suspicion. Certainly a
delightful people. Finally he was allowed to leave Berlin and travel to
England as a member of Sir EDWARD GOSCHEN'S party. In the later portion
of this book Mr. WILE castigates us, not too unkindly, but, perhaps, a
little too insistently, for not being ready, for not realising what war
means and for being self-complacent. Since his criticisms are based on
affection for us we can make an effort to kiss the rod, especially as he
discerns signs of improvement in us. Incidentally I may add that he is,
perhaps, not altogether fair to Lord HALDANE, but, _per contra_, he
gives Lord NORTHCLIFFE a high testimonial to character and behaviour.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Cordelia_ (MELROSE) is a story as agreeable as its name, or as the
pretty, if rather chocolate-box-school, picture on its wrapper. One
small defect I find in the dissipation of its interest. Beginning with
one hero, it goes on with another; and the result is some confusion for
the reader who has backed the wrong horse. But Mr. E. M. SMITH-DAMPIER
might very justly retort that this is but fidelity to life. When in the
early chapters we see the first hero turned from home by an
unsympathetic parent, and faring forth to seek romance in a new world,
it was surely reasonable to suppose that he would eventually be rewarded
by the pretty lady of the wrapper, especially as _Savile Brand_ (though
his name inevitably suggests tobacco) is a character drawn with
understanding and skill. But Mr. SMITH-DAMPIER is good at lovers. He has
another, even better, up his sleeve. This is _Peter_, the forty-year-old
American cousin, who cherishes a tender regard for _Mistress Cordelia_.
I should explain that all this happened in the time of powder, lace
coats, and witches. This last is important. Those were the days when
_Cherchez la sorcière_ was the unfailing remedy in New England for every
ill, material or emotional. It is from this, coupled with the mistaken
jealousy of her sister, that _Cordelia's_ troubles come, and so nearly
turn her story to tragedy. The main motive may remind you a little of
that grim play of witchcraft that we saw at the St. James's Theatre some
years ago. But fortunately the end is more comfortable. _Cordelia_, in
short, is a nicely-flavoured romance of old America, with at least three
unusually well-drawn characters to give it substance. I have no doubt at
all of its success.

       *       *       *       *       *


[Illustration: _Customer._ "I've called about the cough mixture I
bought. The first dose cured me."

_Chemist._ "The instantaneous effect of that preparation, Sir, has been
remarked by everybody."

_Customer._ "it's amazing; and, as there's only one dose gone, I thought
perhaps you'd change what was left for some photographic plates."]

       *       *       *       *       *

LADY POORE'S _Recollections of an Admiral's Wife_ (SMITH, ELDER) is as
excellent a book of its kind as readers of _Punch_ are likely to find
reviewed in a month of Wednesdays. Scrapbooks of reminiscences are so
often dumped upon a surfeited world that it is at once a pleasure and a
duty to draw attention to a volume of real worth and significance.
Wherever LADY POORE was living--whether in Australia before the War or
in Chatham after August, 1915--her main object was to arrive at a
sympathetic understanding of the people with whom she had to deal, and,
without a hint of patronage, to be of service to them. It is impossible
to read of the work she did and helped to do during the last dozen years
or so without recognising how possible it is to be official and still
remain very human. In spite of little outbursts of opinion which refuse
to be suppressed, Lady POORE is as discreet as the most censorious of
censors could desire. One of her anecdotes--for the most part well told
and fresh--is as funny a tale as I have I ever encountered; but I will
leave you to find it for yourself. Altogether a book to thank the gods

       *       *       *       *       *

    "On the way to Berea, Mr. Lloyd George met the Rector of the
    parish, and both cordially shook hands."--_Scotsman._

Are we to infer that as a rule, when these two gentlemen meet, only one
of them shakes hands?

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 150, May 3, 1916" ***

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