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Title: Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 158, 1920-01-14
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. 158, 1920-01-14" ***

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

VOL. 158, JANUARY 14, 1920***


VOL. 158

JANUARY 14TH, 1920


The Premier, says a contemporary, has become greatly attached to a white
terrier puppy that he brought with him from Colwyn Bay. The report that it
has been taught to run after its own tail by Mr. LLOYD GEORGE himself is
probably the work of malice.

* * *

Our heart goes out to the tenant of an experimental wooden house who is
advertising for the assistance of the man who successfully held up a
post-office in London about a fortnight ago.

* * *

A London carman is said to have summoned his neighbour for calling him an
O.B.E. We are sure he could not have meant it.

* * *

"The most hygienic dress for all boys is the Scots kilt," says a
correspondent of _The Daily Mail_. "My own boys wear nothing else." We are
glad to see that the obsolete Highland Practice of muffling the ears in a
cairngorm has been definitely discarded.

* * *

According to a contemporary a new form of road surface material, which is
Company. The utilisation of some of the deeper cavities in our highways for
the purpose of food production has long been a favourite theme of ours.

* * *

"Having a tooth drawn," says a writer in _Health Hints_, "has its
advantages." It certainly tends to keep one's mind off the Coalition.

* * *

Two men have been charged at Sutton with selling water for whisky. People
are now asking the exact date when this was first made an offence.

* * *

At the present time a missionary costs twice as much as before the War,
says the Rev. W.J. FULLERTON. Many a cassowary has been complaining
bitterly of the high cost of this comestible.

* * *

A new tango will be danced for the first time on January 15th, says _The
Daily Express_. For ourselves we shall try to go about our business just as
if nothing really serious had happened.

* * *

Asked by the magistrate if her husband had threatened her, a Stratford
woman replied, "No; he only said he would kill me." Almost any little thing
seems to irritate some people.

* * *

It appears that, after reading various references about his trial in the
London papers, the ex-Kaiser was heard to say that if we were not very
careful he would wash his hands of the whole business.

* * *

There is a lot of wishy-washy talk about the Bolshevists, says a Labour
paper. Wishy, perhaps, but from what we see of their pictures in the
papers, not washy.

* * *

"Supplies of string for letter mail-bags," says _The Post Office Circular_,
"will in future be 19 inches in length, instead of 18 inches." It is the
ability to think out things like this that has made us the nation we are

* * *

Offers are invited in a contemporary for a large quantity of tiger skins.
People should first make sure that the rest of the tiger has been properly
removed before purchasing.

* * *

The composer of an American ragtime song is to have a statue erected to him
in New York. It is hoped that this warning will have the desired effect on
any composers in this country who may be tempted to commit a similar error.

* * *

We understand that, after several weeks of careful investigation into
details, the special Committee appointed by the Government to deal with
Germany's refusal to pay for her sunken fleet at Scapa have now recommended
that no receipt should be given until the money is handed over.

* * *

"You will soon be able to get work," said the Kingston magistrate to a man
summoned for income-tax. This is the sort of thoughtless remark that tends
to embitter the unemployed.

* * *

According to an evening paper, Granny LAMBERT, of Edmonton, proposed to the
reporter who visited her on her one-hundred-and-sixth birthday. As,
however, she is experiencing some difficulty in obtaining the consent of
her parents the affair may possibly fall through.

* * *

Much sympathy is felt for the scrum-half who will be unable to assist his
team this month on account of being severely crocked whilst helping his
wife at the Winter sales.

* * *

The London policeman who went across to Ireland for his Christmas holiday
is still under strict observation by mental experts.

* * *

We hear that the Congo Government have now decided that all Brontosauri
must in future carry a red front light and a green rear light when
travelling at night-time.

* * *

The War Office is said to be making preparations to abolish the Tank Corps.
It appears that the Major-General who recently drove from Whitehall to
Tothill Street in one of these vehicles has reported unfavourably upon
them, saying that he never got a wink of sleep the whole time.

* * *

A remarkable echo of Armageddon is reported from the Wimbledon district. A
subscriber was rung up the other day by "Trunks" and asked if he still
wished to say good-bye to himself before leaving for the Somme.

* * *

Thistles do more damage to agriculture than rats, declared the
Montgomeryshire Agricultural Executive Committee. Stung by this
uncalled-for attack on his national vegetable a Scotchman writes to say
that within his knowledge more arable land has been laid waste by leeks
than by any other noxious weed.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Professor's Wife._ "SEPTIMUS, THE THAW HAS BURST THE


       *       *       *       *       *


    ["Who will help the Disposal Board by starting some new fashion that
    would enable it to get rid of a great consignment of kilts as worn by
    the London Scottish, the Royal Scots and the Highland Light Infantry?"
    --_Mrs. KELLAWAY on the Disposal Board's "Curiosity Shop."_]

  There are who hanker for a touch of colour,
    So to relieve their sombre air;
  For me, I like my clothes to be much duller
    Than what the nigger minstrels wear;
  I hold by sable, drab and grey;
  I do not wish to be a popinjay.

  In vain my poor imagination grapples
    With these new lines in fancy shades,
  These purple evening coats with yellow lapels,
    These vests composed in flowered brocades;
  Nor can I think that noisy checks
  Would help me to attract the other sex.

  With gaudy schemes that rouse my solemn dander
    I leave our frivolous youth to flirt;
  A riband round my straw--for choice, Leander;
    A subtle nuance in my shirt;
  For tie, the colours of my school--
  These are the limits of my austere rule.

  But, when they'd have me swathe the clamorous tartan
    In lieu of trousers round my waist,
  Then they evoke the spirit of the Spartan
    Inherent in my simple taste;
  Inexorably I decline
  To drape the kilt on any hips of mine.

  It may be they will count me over-modest,
    Deem me Victorian, dub me prude;
  I may have early views, the very oddest,
    On what is chaste and what is rude;
  Yet am I certain that my leg
  Would not look right beneath a filibeg.

  I love the Scot as being truly British;
    Golf (and the Union) makes us one;
  Yet to my nature, which is far from skittish
    And lacks his local sense of fun,
  There is a something almost foreign
  About his strange attachment to the sporran.

  So, when a bargain-sale is held of chattels
    Surviving from the recent War--
  Textiles and woollens, built for use in battles--
    And Scotland's there inquiring for
  The kilt department, I shall not
  Be found competing. She can have the lot.


       *       *       *       *       *


"Well, I've been to see three of them now," she said. "The first is at
Shepherd's Bush--"

"What pipes!" I ejaculated. "What music! What wild ecstasy!"

"--four hundred yards from the Central Tube, to be exact; and there's a
large roller skating-rink next door. You never rolled, did you? Three
sessions daily, the advertisement says."

"I'm afraid I sat oftener than that when I rolled," I confessed. "'Another
transport split,' as the evening papers say. I wonder whether Sir ERIC
GEDDES is the rink-controller. But tell me a little about the house. I
suppose there's a high premium and a deep basement?"

"There are."

"Next, please."

"The next is at Chiswick; very damp and miles and miles to catch your bus.
And there's a basement again."

"You might grow mushrooms in the basement," I said hopefully, "while I
hunted my Pimlico on the shore. What about the third?"

"The third is at Hampstead, very high up and very salubrious. The agent
says we should be able to overlook the whole of London."

"Impossible," I protested; "you can't ignore a thing like London."

"I don't think he meant that exactly," she explained. "He said that from
the top bedroom window on bright days one could catch a glimpse of the dome
of St. Paul's."

"That will be rather fine," I agreed. "We can have afternoon receptions in
the top bedroom, and print 'To meet the Dean and Chapter' on the card.
People love meeting Chapters in real life. What is the rental of this

She told me. It was as high as the site; and, again, there was a dug-out

"You haven't tried Ponder's End?" I said at last. "I've often seen those
words on a bus, and a lot of sad-looking people on the top, pondering, I
suppose, the inevitable end."

"Well, which of them are we going to choose? It's the servant problem
that's the real trouble, you know. They simply won't cope with a basement

"I think you overestimate the help crisis," I said. "There are two things
that they really want. The first is to have employers absolutely dependent
on them, and the second is a gay life. To take the first. I remember that
when I was in digs--"

"Do you mind if I knit?" she asked.

--"when I was in digs it was my landlady's fondest delusion that I could do
nothing to help myself. And, of course, I was bound to foster the idea.
Every night I used to hide my pipe behind the coal-scuttle or my latchkey
in the aspidistra, just for her to find. There was rather a terrible moment
once when she came in unexpectedly and caught me losing half-a-crown
underneath the hearth-rug; but I pretended to be finding it, and saved the
situation. It will be just the same with you. You will go down into the
basement and pretend to mistake the flour for the salt, and the cook will
love you for ever. It's all done by kindness and incompetence."

"I suppose it is," she said doubtfully.

"And then there's amusements," I went on. "We will have Charles in once or
twice a week. No servant who has ever heard Charles trying to sing would
prefer a night out at the cinema or the skating-rink. If she does, we'll
get a gramophone."

"Not for worlds," she gasped.

"Oh, _you_ wouldn't have to listen to it. It would live in the basement,
and HARRY LAUDER would help the girl to clean the knives and break the
cups, and GEORGE ROBEY would make washing the dishes one grand sweet song.
The basement would be a fairyland."

"All this doesn't seem to get us much further," she complained, "in
deciding which of those houses we're going to take."

"Oh, doesn't it?" I said, and, sitting down, I wrote a few lines rapidly
and handed her the draft for approval. She approved.

And that is why, if you look at _The Times'_ "Domestic Situations" column
to-morrow, you may see the following announcement:--

HOUSE-PARLOURMAID WANTED, helpless couple, where gramophone kept; state
whether Hampstead, Chiswick or Shepherd's Bush preferred.


       *       *       *       *       *


TURKEY (_anxious to save the Peace Conference from embarrassment_).

       *       *       *       *       *



       *       *       *       *       *



When the innermost recesses of the Admiralty archives yield their secrets
to the historian there will be some strange and stirring events to relate.
But however diligently the chroniclers may search amongst the accumulated
records at Whitehall there will still remain one outstanding performance,
one shining example of courage and endurance of which no trace can there be
found; for it was never officially known how Reginald McTaggart upheld the
honour of the White Ensign in the Gulf of Lyons.

Reginald does not in the ordinary way suffer from excess of modesty; indeed
he has been known to hint that on more than one occasion it was primarily
due to his efforts that the world was eventually made safe for democracy;
but of this his greatest exploit he will never speak without pressure, and
even then but diffidently.

When WILLIAM HOHENZOLLERN first cried "Havoc" and let slip the Prussian
Guard, Reginald was among the most unsophisticated of landsmen. He had
never in his life so much as heard a bo'sun's pipe and could scarcely
distinguish a battleship from a bathing-machine. But the blood of a
maritime ancestry ran hot in his veins, and, being too highly educated to
get on in the Army, he placed himself at the disposal of the Senior
Service, which embraced him gladly. Henceforth his career was one of
unbroken triumph.

Having taken a First in Mechanical Sciences at Cambridge, Reginald was at
once detailed off for deck-swabbing on a Portsmouth depôt ship; but one day
an enterprising Rear-Admiral of the younger school, noting his scientific
manner of manipulating a squeegee, had him sent before the Flag Captain,
who, on learning his antecedents, recommended the blushing Reginald for the
post of batman to the Senior Wireless Officer. Here his talents showed to
such advantage that in a little over a year he received a commission as
technical officer, and was placed in charge of an experimental Torpedo
School, well away from the storms and tempests that vexed his less gifted

It were tedious to relate Reginald's adventures during the next two
years--how time and again he baffled the cunning devices of the German
naval scientists--how he invented a pivotal billiard-table for use on
drifters in rough weather and perfected an electro-magnetic contrivance by
means of which enemy submarines were inveigled into torpedoing themselves
without warning. All this and much else is accessible to the formal
historian; besides, Reginald tells people himself. We will hurry on to the
grand exploit.

It occurred shortly after he was appointed to a post on the British Naval
Mission at Athens. He had left England little more than a month when the
Sea Lords became uneasy. Trouble broke out among the torpedoes and there
was no one to set matters right. Paragraphs began to appear in the Press.
The result was an urgent wireless message to Athens recalling Reginald at
once. There was to be no delay.

"Are you prepared to start immediately?" asked the Vice-Admiral, when he
had briefly outlined the situation.

Reginald saluted briskly.

"I don't quite know how you'll go," continued the Vice-Admiral. "We haven't
an armed ship sailing West for a week. There's a little Greek trading
steamer leaving for Marseilles to-morrow morning, but I'm afraid you would
find her very incommodious. Would you care to risk it?"

"I start in the morning, Sir," said Reginald tersely.

The Vice-Admiral seized his hand and wrung it warmly.

When Reginald came down to the harbour and saw the craft on which he had
undertaken to embark he was seized with a sudden faintness. Even the
toughest seafarer would have thought twice before venturing beyond the
breakwater in such an unsavoury derelict; and Reginald, be it remembered,
had only once in his life made a sea voyage, and that in the peaceful
security of an ironclad. His heart quailed beneath his Commander's uniform.

However, setting his teeth and consoling himself with the thought that she
would undoubtedly fall to pieces before they could leave the harbour
behind, he went aboard.

The master, an unprepossessing but exceedingly polite child of the Ægean,
was overwhelmed at the prospect of carrying a British Naval Commander as
passenger. He saluted wildly; he gesticulated; it was too much honour.
Would his Excellency the Commander accept the use of his poor state-room--
yes? Would he undertake the navigation of this so dangerous voyage--no? Ah,
but he would seek his so expert advice in the sudden perilous moment--good.
Reginald bowed nervously.

At first all went well. Except for the atmosphere of the state-room, which
was richly tinged with a mixed odour of mildewed figs and rotten
pomegranates, and the uncomfortable feeling that, unless he trod
delicately, the decks would crumble away and deposit him in the bosom of
the Mediterranean, Reginald was fairly happy. A ready wit and a dignified
bearing combined to cloak his lack of seamanship and kept the skipper in a
fit state of humility and awe.

But in the Gulf of Lyons a breeze sprang up. It was quite a gentle breeze
at first, and Reginald found it rather stimulating. Towards evening,
however, it freshened, and the ship began to stagger. Reginald became
conscious of those disquieting symptoms common to landsmen in such case.
Fearful for his reputation he crept below to suffer in solitude.

By midnight it was blowing a gale, and Reginald had lost interest in life.
He was thinking mournfully of the vanity of all human desires when a
message was brought from the captain. They were about to perish. Would his
Excellency the Commander come up to the bridge and save them, please?

It was a painful predicament, and Reginald was justly horrified. Could he
venture out and display the weakness of the British Navy in the face of a
crew of unwashed Greek matelots? On the other hand, could he skulk in his
cabin and allow the Master to doubt his courage and resource? He rose and
lurched unsteadily on deck.

The Captain was distinctly excited. Destruction was imminent. He had
appealed to the Saints without avail. Would the British Commander come to
their assistance? What did his Excellency think of it?

Reginald thought it was perfectly horrible. He had never thought such a
ghastly scene possible. The ship appeared on the point of turning turtle
and he was soaked to the skin already. Then, realizing that he could not
remain on the bridge another minute without internal disaster, he made a
supreme effort.

"My dear skipper," he howled at the top of his voice, "you surely don't
call this a storm? The merest breeze, I assure you. I really can't be
disturbed for such a trifle. If it begins to blow at all during the night
let me know and I'll come up and take the matter in hand;" and without
waiting for a reply he scrambled down from the bridge and made a dash for
the seclusion of the state-room.

Next morning they were rolling in the swell off Marseilles, with the
prestige of the British Navy, if possible, higher than ever.

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *

    "The Lord Mayor of Dublin has placed a room in the City Hall at the
    disposal of the Labour party for the reception of reputations."--_Irish

A kindly thought. Reputations are so easily lost in Ireland.

       *       *       *       *       *


(_With apologies to LEWIS CARROLL._)

  'Twas grillig, and the Jazzlewags
    Did glomp and scrimble o'er the board;
  All gladsome were their dazzlerags,
      And the loud Nigs uproared.

  "Beware the Tickle Trot, my son,
    The feet that twink, the hands that clug;
  Beware the Shimmy Shake and shun
      The thrustful Bunny Hug."

  He put his pumpsious shoon on foot,
    He bent his knees to slithe and sprawl,
  Till, fagged and flausted by disdoot,
      He brooded by the wall.

  And, as in broody ease he lay,
    The Jazzerwock, with shoulders bare,
  Came swhiffling through the juggly fray
      And grapped him by the hair.

  One, two! One, two! And through and through
    The prancing maze they reeled and pressed,
  Till both his feet ignored the beat
      And woggled with the best.

  "And hast thou learnt at last to jazz?
    Come take my arm, my clomplish boy;"
  O hectic day! Cheero! Cheeray!
      He chwinckled in his joy.

  'Twas grillig, and the Jazzlewags
    Did glomp and scrimble o'er the board;
  All gladsome were their dazzlerags,
      And the loud Nigs uproared.

       *       *       *       *       *


I do not love dentists. In this antipathy I am not unique, I fancy. One
never sees photographs of family dentists standing on mantelpieces heavily
framed in silver; and, though _The Forceps_ presents a coloured supplement
depicting a prominent ivory-hunter with every Christmas number, there is, I
am told, no violent demand for it outside the Profession.

This is not to be wondered at. A man who spends his life climbing into
people's mouths and playing "The Anvil Chorus" on their molars with a
monkey-wrench, who says, "Now this won't hurt you in the least," and then
deals one a smart rap on a nerve with a pickaxe--such a man cannot expect
to be popular. He must console himself with his fees.

I do not love dentists, I repeat, but I am also not infatuated with
toothache. It is not that I am a coward. Far from it. Arterial sclerosis,
glycosuria, follicular tonsillitis and, above all, sleeping sickness I can
bear with fortitude--that is, I feel sure I could--but toothache, no! I am
not ashamed of it. Every brave man has at least one weakness. Lord
ROBERTS'S was cats. Achilles' was tendons. Mine is toothache (Biographers,
please note). When my jaw annoys me I try to propitiate it with libations
of whisky, brandy, iodine, horse-blister and patent panaceas I buy from
sombreroed magicians in the Strand. If these fail I totter round to the
dentist, ring the bell and run away. If the maid catches me before I can
escape and turns me into the waiting-room I examine the stuffed birds and
photographs of Brighton Pier until she has departed, then slither quietly
down the banisters, open the street door and gallop. If I am pushed
directly into the _abattoir_ I shake the dentist warmly by the hand, ask
after his wife and children, his grandfather and great-aunt, and tell him I
have only dropped in to tune the piano. If that is no good I try to make an
appointment for an afternoon this year, next year, some time, never. If
that too is useless and he insists on putting me through it there and then,
I take every anodyne he's got--cocaine, morphia, chloroform, ether, gas,
also a couple of anæsthetists to hold my hand when I go off and kiss me
when I come round again.

One of my chief objections to dentists is that they will never listen to
reason; explanations are quite thrown away on them. They only let you talk
at all in order to get your face open, and then into it they plunge their
powerful antiseptic-tasting hands and you lose something. I never go near a
dentist without paying the extreme penalty. (None of those cunning little
gold-tipped caps or reinforced concrete suspension-bridges for me. Out it
comes. Blood and iron every time). I admit they frequently appease my
anguish. Almost invariably among the teeth of which they relieve me at each
sitting is included the offending one. But still I maintain my right to
have a say in my own afflictions. The doctors let one. I've got a physician
who lets me have any disease I fancy (except German measles and Asiatic
cholera; for patriotic reasons he won't hear a good word spoken for either
of them; says we've got just as good diseases of our own. Damned

If I send for this doctor he comes along, sits quietly beside my bed,
eating my grapes, while I tell him where the pain isn't. The recital over
he hands me a selection of ailments to pick from. I choose one. He tells me
what the symptoms are, drinks my invalid port, creeps downstairs and breaks
the news to the hushed and awe-stricken family. A chap like that makes
suffering a pleasure and is a great comfort in a home like mine, where a
sick bed is the only sort you are allowed to lie in after 10 A.M. Without
the fellow's ready sympathy I doubt if I should secure any sleep at all.
One gets no assistance of that kind from dentists, although they give you
more pain in ten seconds than a doctor does in ten years.

No dentist ever sees me home after the slaughter, orders me a diet of
chicken breast, _pêche Melba_ and champagne, or warns my family that I am
on no account to be disturbed until lunch. No, they jerk your jaw off its
hinges and dump your remains on the doorstep for the L.C.C. rubbish cart to

Another thing: dentists should not be allowed out loose about the streets.
They exercise a blighting influence. You are strolling along in the
sunshine, head high, chest expanded, telling some wide-eyed young thing
what you and HAIG did to LUDENDORFF, when suddenly you meet the dentist.
You look at him, he looks at you, and his eyes seem to say, "What ho, my
hero! Last week you went to ground under my sofa and couldn't be dislodged
until I put the page-boy in to ferret you."

"And what happened then," inquires the wide-eyed young thing, "after you
had caught the Hun tank by the tail and ripped it up with a tin-opener?"

"After that," says the eye of the dentist, "you wept, you prayed, you lay
on the floor and kicked, you--"

"And did you kill all the crew yourself?" bleats the maiden, "single-handed
--every one of them?"

"Oh, I--er," you stutter--"what I mean to say--that is--Oh, dash it, let's
go and get tea somewhere, what?"


       *       *       *       *       *

From the _dramatis personæ_ in a Malta opera-programme:--

    "Singers, Old Beans, and Abbés."

The "old beans" no doubt were drawn from the local garrison.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The old wooden streets which survived in the more ancient parts of the
    capital [Petrograd] have, on account of the lack of fuel since the
    Bolshevists became all-powerful, been torn down and demobilished."--
    _Daily Paper_.

The last word in destructiveness.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The standing joint committee of the Industrial Women's Organisations
    have passed a resolution unanimously endorsing the action of the
    Consumers' Council in opposing the decontrol of meat."--_Daily

The "standing joint" committee would seem to be the very one for the job.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: MANNERS AND MODES.


       *       *       *       *       *



    "This season balls and dances, both private and public, are being given
    in greater numbers than ever."--_Local Paper._

       *       *       *       *       *

    "A couple of ciphers, followed by a string of noughts, represents
    Germany's debt to France. And it looks as if the noughts are all France
    will get in the present generation."--_Evening Paper._

But it is possible that under pressure Germany might throw in the ciphers
as well.

       *       *       *       *       *



    "Will the party who took the wrong Umbrella from the Ante-Room, Music
    Hall, kindly return same in exchange for his own to ----, Music Hall?"
    --_Scotch Paper._

An odd address for the LORD ADVOCATE.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Wells' 'History of the Universe' describes the slow disappearance of
    certain species, taking hundreds of thousands of years to do it."--
    _Daily Paper_.

In an age of hustle it is gratifying to find one eminent author approaching
his work with due deliberation.

       *       *       *       *       *


    "The Hymns to be sung will be: (1) 'All people that on earth do
    well.'..."--_Rangoon Times._

       *       *       *       *       *

From _Surplus_, the official organ of the Disposal Board:--


    "16 oz. tins (15 ozs. Beans and Sauce, 1 oz. Pork); 21 oz. tins (20 ozs.
    Beans and Sauce, 1 oz. Pork)."

So the question which vexed many billets on the Western Front is now
answered. There _was_ pork in it.

       *       *       *       *       *



       *       *       *       *       *


"Seventy-five per cent. of the world's accidents arise from gross
carelessness!" I thundered at Suzanne, who for the fifteenth time in five
years of matrimony had left her umbrella in the 'bus. Being on a month's
leave, and afraid of losing by neglect the orderly-room touch, I thought
fit to practise on her the arts of admonition. Admonishing, I wagged at her
the match with which I was in the act of lighting my pipe. Wagging the
match, I did not notice the live head drop off on to the khaki slacks which
I had donned that afternoon to grace a visit to the War Office. Only when I
traced Suzanne's petrified stare to its target did I discover that a
ventilation hole had been created in a vital part of His Majesty's uniform.

With great presence of mind I put out the conflagration before venturing on
an encounter with Suzanne's eye.

"You were discussing accidents," she observed sweetly. "What percentage of
them did you say was due to gross carelessness?"

I did not bandy words. There was no escaping the fact that they were, as
Suzanne reminded me, my sole surviving pair of khaki slacks, and that I
should certainly have to get a new pair before returning to the Depôt; for
these were obviously beyond wear or repair.

"Well, anyhow I've three weeks to get them in," I said as lightly as I
could. "My leave isn't up till the end of the month."

"Men's clothes are terribly dear just now," remarked Suzanne pensively.
"And I _was_ going to ask you to give me a new hat. But now I suppose--"

This roused my pride and self-respect.

"Suzanne," I said, "the world is not coming to an end because I have to buy
a pair of slacks. You shall have your new hat to-morrow."

She clapped her hands in triumph, and a moment's reflection showed me that
I had been caught. If it hadn't been for the conflagration she would never
have dared to ask for a new hat. Now I came to remember, I had taken her
out and bought her one on the first day of my leave.

However, the damage was done (twice over, in fact), and I sat gently
brooding over it in silence. Suddenly an inspiring thought struck me.
Eagerly I made my way to the writing-table and drew out a long and bulky
envelope from the bottom drawer. For some time I sat there carefully
mastering its contents.

"What's that funny-looking thing you're reading?" asked my wife at last.

"Oh, nothing important," I answered as casually as I could. "Er--by the
way, do you know we're insured?"

"Considering that I've paid the premiums regularly while you were away, I
should think I ought to know."

"Of course I shall put in a claim for the slacks," I murmured.

"But how can you?" she asked, and wondering looked at me. "I read the
policy once, and as far as I remember there's nothing whatever about khaki
slacks in it."

"Do you know what this policy is?" I exclaimed, brandishing the document
impressively. "It's a Comprehensive Householder's policy. I don't know what
a Comprehensive Householder is, but I think I must be one."

"But I'm _sure_ it says nothing about slacks," she objected.

"Comprehensive!" I shouted. "That means all-embracing. This policy embraces
my slacks."

"That sounds almost indelicate."

"Listen. 'Whereas the undermentioned, hereinafter called the Accused--the
Assured, I mean--has paid blank pounds, shillings and pence Premium or
Consideration ... to insure him/her from loss or damage by Lightning,
Explosion, Earthquake, Thunderbolts ...'"

"Oo-er," said Suzanne with a shiver.

"'... Aeroplanes, Airships, and/or other Aerial Craft, Storm, Tempest,
Subterranean Fire ...'"

"Monsoon, Typhoon, Volcano, Avalanche," put in Suzanne impatiently. "Cut
the cataclysms and come to the slacks."

"I'm just coming to them. '... Burglary, Housebreaking, Theft and/or
Larceny'--now hold your breath, for we're getting there--'Conflagration
and/or Fire....'" I paused to let it sink in. "The fact is," I continued
weightily, "we've had a Fire."

"Have we? But I wasn't dressed for it. I should have worn a mauve
_peignoir_, and been carried down to safety by a blond fireman. To have a
fire without a fire-engine is like being married at a registry-office. Next

"Nevertheless, we've had a Fire, within the meaning of the policy. Now I'm
going to write a letter to the Insurance Company."

And I did so to the following effect:--

  "77, _The Supermansions_,

"DEAR SIRS,--I regret to inform you that a fire took place at/in the above
demesne and/or flat after tea to-day and damaged one (1) pair of khaki
slacks/trousers so as to render them unfit for further use. I shall
therefore be glad to receive from you the sum of two guineas, the original
cost price of the damaged article of apparel.

"Yours, etc."

Next day I took Suzanne out to buy the new hat. This done, we went on to my
tailor's to replace the ill-starred slacks. A casual inquiry as to price
elicited the statement that it would be four guineas. I cut short a
rambling discourse, in which the tailor sought to saddle various remote
agencies with the responsibility for the increase, and stamped out of the
establishment with the blasphemous vow that I'd get a pair ready-made at
the Stores.

That evening I received a reply from the Insurance people:--

"In all communications please quote Ref. No. 73856/SP/QR.

"SIR,--We note your claim for garments injured by an outbreak of fire at
your residence. We await the reports of the Fire Brigade and Salvage Corps,
on receipt of which we will again communicate with you. Meanwhile, will you
kindly inform us what other damage was done?

"We are, yours, etc."

I at once wrote back to remove their misapprehension:--

"DEAR SIRS,--My fire was not what you would call an outbreak. It was
essentially a quiet affair, attended by neither Fire Brigade nor Salvage
Corps, but just the family (like being married at a registry-office, don't
you think?). My khaki slacks were the only articles injured. As I am now
going about without them, you will realise that no time should be lost in
settling the claim.

"Yours, etc.

"P.S. I nearly forgot--73856/RS/VP. There!"

A day or two later I received a request, pitched in an almost slanderously
sceptical tone, for more detailed information. I humoured them, and there
ensued a ding-dong correspondence, in which that wretched Ref. No. was
bandied backwards and forwards with nauseating reiteration, and of which
the following are the salient points:--

_They._ Kindly state what you estimate the total value of the contents of
your residence to be.

_Myself_ (_after a searching inquiry into present prices_). £1,500.

_They_ (_promptly_). We beg to point out that you are only insured for a
total sum of £750. In accordance with the terms of your policy you are only
entitled to recover such proportion of the value of the loss or damage as
the total insured bears towards the total value of the contents--_i.e._,

_Myself._ Two guineas is exactly one-half of four guineas, the present cost
of slacks. Please see attached affidavit from tailor. (By a masterly stroke
I had actually induced the rascal to set out his iniquity in black and

At last, twenty days after the fire, when I had finally screwed myself up
to the point of going out to buy a pair of reach-me-downs, I was rewarded
by receiving a cheque for two guineas from the Insurance Company, "in full

By the same post I received a letter from the Adjutant of my Depôt
informing me that I was not to return at the expiration of my leave, but by
War Office instructions (I will spare you the Ref. No.) was to proceed
instead to the Crystal Palace for immediate demobilization. (That, by the
way, is part of the game of being a volunteer for the Army of Occupation.)
It was Suzanne who brought the two letters into their proper correlation.

"You won't have to get a new pair of slacks now," she said.

"Bless my soul, no!" I exclaimed. "Then what ought I to do with this
cheque? Send it back?"

"Certainly not," cried Suzanne as she snatched it from my wavering hand.
"I've been wanting a new hat for some time."

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: ANOTHER COMBINE.

_Bystander._ "'OW YER GOIN', MATE?"


       *       *       *       *       *


    "The guardians want more money also. What the Treasury finan-local
    taxations are _only the be_-lical taxations are _only the beginning_ of
    the demand upon the citizen's pocket."--_Evening Paper._

       *       *       *       *       *


    "The reference to a young woman living at Esher, Surrey, who has
    knitted 50 jumpers since August 20, which her friends claim to be a
    world's record for an amateur, has resulted in a challenge.

    "'Jumper,' who lives at Margate, writes: 'I find it quite easy to knit
    in the dark and to read while knitting.'"--_Daily Paper_.

The Margate candidate will get our vote.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE SERVANTS' BALL.

_Groom_ (_somewhat heated_). "CARE FOR A BREATHER, MY LADY?"]

       *       *       *       *       *


7.0 to 8.30. Rise, breakfast, and make out shopping-list. I put down:--

  Waterproof for Henry.
  School-frock and boots for the Kid.
  Replenish household linen.

9.0. Arrive at large emporium just as the doors open. Ask to be directed to
gentleman's mackintoshes. Pause on the way to look at evening wraps marked
down from five guineas to 98/11. It seems a sweeping reduction, but I do
not require an evening wrap.

9.10 to 10.15. Try on evening wraps. Select a perfectly sweet _Rose du
Barri_ duvetyn lined _gris foncé_.

10.15. Continuing to head for mackintoshes. The course runs past a job-line
in silk hosiery. Remember I ought to get stockings to go with the evening

10.15 to 11.5. Match stockings.

11.15. Arrive at gentlemen's mackintoshes. Find they are not being reduced
in the sale. Observe however that some handsome silk shirts with broad
stripes are marked half-price; get three for Henry, also a fancy waistcoat
at 6/11-3/4 (was 25/-), only slightly soiled down front.

11.40. Ask for Children's Department. Take wrong turning and arrive at

11.40 to 1.10. Try on hats. Decide on a ducky little toque and a
fascinating river hat (for next summer).

1.10 to 1.30. Still asking for Children's Department. When it is finally
given to me I am told that useful school-frocks have all been sold.

1.30 to 6.30. Drift to Shoe Department; secure a pair of pink satin
slippers--rather tight, but amazingly cheap. Swept by crowd into "Fancy
Goods"; make several purchases. Get taken in a crush to "Evening
Accessories"; am persuaded to buy.

6.35. Leave emporium. It is raining heavily.

7.15. Arrive home wet and exhausted. Have an argument, conducted affably on
my side, with Henry, who flatly refuses to wear the half-price striped
shirts or pay for the only-slightly-soiled waistcoat. He makes pointed
remarks about the bad weather, with cynical reference to mackintoshes. Am
struck afresh by the selfishness of men.

7.45. Remember that I have forgotten household linen and Kid's boots, but
determine not to let this spoil my good temper.

8.0. Dine alone with Henry. Do my best to show a forgiving spirit in face
of his egoism. So to bed, conscious of a day well spent.

       *       *       *       *       *


    ["The great demand of the moment is something fresh to do on Sunday."]
    --_Evening Paper._

  At the ample shrine of pleasure
    You have worshipped well and long
  On this day of so-called leisure,
    Yet you feel there's something wrong.

  _Blasé_ is your air and jaded;
    Sabbath hours have lost their zest;
  Utter ennui has invaded
    Every corner of your chest.

  Sport is shorn of all its glamour;
    Motoring proves no more a lure;
  So you come to me and clamour
    For a speedy psychic cure.

  Well, my friend, if fresh sensation
    Is the object of your search,
  And you want a consultation,
    My advice is, Go to church.

       *       *       *       *       *


    "Whitley Councils are the latest development in Government offices in
    Whitehall. What is aimed at is a system of promotion free and
    uninterrupted from top to bottom."

       *       *       *       *       *




       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Soulful Party._ "AH, YES, THE WORLD IS ALWAYS SO--WE NEVER

       *       *       *       *       *


(_Suggested by the perusal of "The Economic Consequences of the Peace."_)

  There was a superior young person named KEYNES
  Who possessed an extensive equipment of brains,
  And, being elected a Fellow of King's,
  He taught Economics and similar things.

  On the outbreak of war he at once made his mark
  As a "tempy," but Principal, Treasury Clerk,
  And the Permanent Staff and the CHANCELLOR too
  Pronounced him a flier and well worth his screw.

  So he went to the Conference, not as a mute,
  To act as the CHANCELLOR'S chief substitute,
  And in this extremely responsible post
  He mingled with those who were ruling the roast.

  The Big and redoubtable Three, 'tis confessed,
  By his talent and zeal were immensely impressed;
  But, conversely, the fact, which is painful, remains
  That they failed to impress the redoubtable KEYNES.

  So, after five months of progressive disgust,
  He shook from his feet the Parisian dust,
  Determined to give the chief Delegates beans
  And let the plain person behind the Peace scenes.

  Though his title is stodgy, yet all must admit
  That his pages are seasoned with plenty of wit;
  He's alert as a cat-fish; he can't be ignored;
  And throughout his recital we never are bored.

  For he's not a mere slinger of partisan ink,
  But a thinker who gives us profoundly to think;
  And his arguments cannot be lightly dismissed
  With cries of "Pro-Hun" or of "Pacificist."

  And yet there are faults to be found all the same;
  For example, I doubt if it's playing the game
  For one who is hardly unmuzzled to guy
  Representative statesmen who cannot reply.

  And while we're amused by his caustic dispraise
  Of President WILSON'S Chadbandian ways,
  Of the cynical TIGER, laconic and grim,
  And our versatile PREMIER, so supple and slim--

  Still we feel, as he zealously damns the Allies
  For grudging the Germans the means to arise,
  That possibly some of the Ultimate Things
  May even be hidden from Fellows of King's.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The ---- Male Voice Choir and St. ----'s Brass Band discorded Xmas
    music."--_Local Paper._

We shouldn't wonder.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Another element in the industrial activity of Japan, which is brought
    forcibly home to the Westerner, is the obvious pleasure that the
    Japanese people take in doing the work which is allotted to them. It is
    no uncommon sight to see men laughing merrily as they drag along their
    heavy merchandise, or singing as they swing their anvils in a manner
    almost reminiscent of the historic village blacksmith."--_Provincial

And "children coming home from school" know better than to "look in at the
open door."

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *


On Monday morning Hereward Vale left home in an unsettled state of mind.
That was putting it mildly. He was thoroughly unhappy. Something was up--he
couldn't tell what--or whether it was his own fault or Mary's. Anyhow, it
didn't seem to matter whose fault it was. The thing had happened. That was
the one overwhelming idea that concerned him. The first shadow had fallen;
their record of complete and perfect happiness was broken.

The road to the station was a long and particularly beautiful one. Hereward
had always appreciated every inch of it. But to-day he hated it. He hated
the way the yew-trees drooped, the leafless branches of the hazels, the
faded, crumpled blackberry, the scattered decaying leaves. It was really a
remarkable day for November--clear and frosty, with a bright blue sky and
scudding white clouds. A strong north-east wind tested one's vitality.
Hereward's was low. He buttoned his collar and hurried on.

Mary had never treated him quite like this before. She had always been
tender, sympathetic and understanding with his moods. True, he was trying;
but she had known that before she married him. He was an artist, and an
artist's work, he argued, depended largely on the state of his emotions. He
earned the family bread by the labour of his hands and his hand was the
servant of his mind, and his mind a tempest of moods. Mary had applied
herself to her task with creditable skill. She could always turn his
sullenness to a sort of creative melancholy of which he was rather proud;
his restlessness to energy and his discontent to something like
constructive thinking. How she achieved the miracle he did not know, nor
did he inquire. But he was guided by her as a child by its mother, still
constantly rebelling.

But to-day the machinery had broken down. Mary had been cool, pleasant and
crisply unemotional at breakfast-time. He had woken up cross and with a
headache. He had a muddled feeling and wanted sorting out. But Mary seemed
quite unaware of it. She had a preoccupied manner; she went about just too
cheerfully, chatting just too pleasantly about trivial things. It was
mechanical, Hereward decided, and, anyway, it wasn't at all what he wanted.
His monosyllabic responses were accepted as perfectly right and natural,
when they were nothing of the sort. She did not get up and pass her hand
lovingly and soothingly over his hair and say things appropriate to his
state of mind. She went on with her breakfast and looked after him kindly
enough, but without solicitude.

For instance, she made no comment on the fact that he had hardly touched
his bacon; she merely removed his plate and gave him marmalade and toast as
if he had left no bacon at all. She didn't even notice the lines of
suffering on his face, the dark circles under his eyes. He cast a glance in
the mirror when her back was turned to see if they were obvious. They were.
Why wasn't Mary catching his hump? She always did.

When finally he left the house, a little bent, with no spring in his step,
Mary didn't accompany him to the door. She didn't exchange with him one of
those rapid looks of complete understanding that he had grown so accustomed
to and found so sustaining and helpful. She kissed him firmly and coolly,
almost casually. Just so she might kiss an aunt.

The train journey was cold and lonely. Nobody he knew was travelling up to
town. He bought a daily paper, but the headlines put him off. They were
nearly all about divorce cases. There was one about a man who had lived for
three years in the same house with his wife without speaking to her. Such
things were possible! He gazed out of the window. The wonderful day had no
charm for him. The feeling of autumn only further increased his sense of
the loss of youth, of the decay of romance. He nursed and nourished his
grievance. He desired that Mary should know what a wreck she had made of
his day, possibly of his life.

He was in no mood for work. He went up to his studio in Fitzroy Square and
muddled about with pens and ink. He had what he called a good tidy up, and
firmly and consistently threw away every relic of sentiment he had
foolishly preserved. At one o'clock, through habit and not because he was
hungry, he went out and had a lonely lunch at a small restaurant, sitting
at a marble-topped table which imparted to him something of its chill.
After that he loafed about looking at things till dusk. Dusk was quite
unbearable. He fled back to the studio, made up a stupendous fire, lit a
pipe and mused.

He decided not to go home that night. He felt hurt and ill-used. He would
stay in town and have a thoroughly good time. As the idea struck him he
looked round the studio. The corners were dismal and shadowy. Everything
not in the immediate circle of the fire looked grey and cheerless. His
easel, with a bit of drapery thrown across it, was like a spectre with
outstretched arms. It suggested despair. He could think of no one whom he
wanted to see. There wasn't a soul he knew whom he would not in this crisis
deliberately have avoided.

So he went to the Russian Ballet and was bored. He had been excited about
_Cleopatra_ the first time he had seen it; he now decided that it was a
great mistake to try to repeat emotional experiences.

He left hurriedly before the programme was half over. His feet took him
mechanically to Waterloo Station. He looked up a train. The 9.30 was due
out; he sprinted and caught it. The carriage he managed to get into was
empty and warm. He slept; he slept all the way, and it did him good.

When he arrived at the other end the night was calm and the sky
star-spangled. The walk out exhilarated him; his exasperation was over.
He ran lightly down the leaf-strewn steps of the old garden and looked in
at the window. Mary was seated at the fire. She looked pensive, pretty
and a little sad. He whistled and she smiled up. "Hooray!" she said, "I'd
nearly given you up." She slipped round and had the door open before he
could get out his key and drew him in. She helped him off with his coat
and scanned his face with even more than her usual intentness and
interest. But she didn't ask him why he was late and he didn't tell her.
He thought that could wait.

Their extemporised supper was a great success, and they sat before the wood
fire far into the night.

"What was up this morning?" he finally asked. "You weren't quite yourself,
were you?"

"This morning?" she questioned, puzzled. "Oh, I remember. I woke with a
splitting headache. Did you notice it? You nice old thing!"

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Musician_ (_having bumped lady with 'cello_). "OH, I _AM_


       *       *       *       *       *



  "The year's at the spring
  And day's at the morn...
  God's in His heaven--
  All's right with the world!"

When _Pippa_ "passed," singing songs like that and preoccupied with the
splendid fact of her one day's holiday, she unconsciously brought about a
change for the better in the heart or conscience of all who overheard her.
It was not so with the passing of _Mr. Pim_. Prior to his intrusion, there
had been nothing to disturb the well-ordered existence of _Geo. Marden,
Esq., J.P.,_ and his wife (late Mrs. Tellworthy), except that they did not
see eye to eye on the small question of his niece's early engagement to a
young artist and on the still smaller question of futuristic curtains. Then
came _Mr. Garraway Pim_, a doddering old gentleman, with a thin falsetto
voice and a loosish memory, but otherwise harmless. He arrives with an
introduction from Australia and casually lets fall a tale of a
fellow-passenger with the unusual name of Tellworthy, from which--and
other incidental evidence--_Mrs. Marden_ gathers that her first husband
(an ex-convict) is still alive. Having dropped this thunderbolt he drifts
off, leaving tragedy in his wake. End of Act I.

_Marden_, highly conscientious, takes the orthodox view that his lawless
marriage must be nullified. His wife, though horrified at the resurrection
of her impossible first husband, permits herself to recognise the
humorously ironic side of things. _Mr. Pim_, fortunately located in the
immediate neighbourhood, is sent for that he may throw further light on the
painful subject of Tellworthy's revival. He now reports--what he had
vaguely imagined himself to have mentioned in the first instance--that
Tellworthy had met his death at Marseilles through swallowing a
herring-bone. The Second Act closes with a burst of jubilant hysterics on
the part of _Mrs. Marden_.

But the situation is only partially relieved. True, the old husband is dead
all right, but the _Mardens'_ marriage is still bigamous; they have been
living all this time in what would be regarded in the eyes of Heaven (and,
still worse, the county of Bucks) as sin. However, a trifling formality at
a registry-office can rectify this and nobody need be any the wiser. This
at least is _Marden's_ attitude, always free from any suspicion of
complexity. But his wife (if that is the word for her), being of a more
subtle nature, determines to make profit out of the situation. She points
out to him that she is at present the widow Tellworthy and that she must be
wooed all over again, and can only be won on her own terms. These include a
recognition of the niece's engagement (has not the young artist an equal
right with _Marden_ to a speedy marriage with the woman of his choice?) and
a concession to her taste in futuristic curtains.



_Mrs Marden._ Miss IRENE VANBRUGH.]

At this juncture _Mr. Pim_ drifts in again to correct an error of memory.
The name of the gentleman who succumbed to the herring-bone was not
Tellworthy (he must have got that name into his head through hearing it
mentioned as that of _Mrs. Marden's_ first husband). It was really
Polwhistle--either Henry or Ernest Polwhistle; he was not quite sure which.
Everything is thus restored to the _status quo ante_, except that _Marden_,
in a spasm of generous reaction, feels himself morally bound to abide by
the new conditions that his wife had laid down.

_Mr. Pim_ only passes by once more to announce his settled conviction that
_Polwhistle's_ Christian name was Ernest and not Henry.

It will be seen that the play is original in design; but it is also a true
play of character revealed by circumstance. Further--and this is very
rare--it owes nothing to the adventitious aid of the costumier. For the
author's observation of the unities is extended to include the matter of
dress; he allows his people one costume each and no more.

Miss IRENE VANBRUGH played as if every one of her words had been made
expressly for her, as, no doubt, they were. I have never seen her so
perfect in detail, in the poise of her head, in her least gesture and
intonation, in her swift changes of mood; never so quietly mistress of the
_finesse_ of her art.

As _Marden_, Mr. BEN WEBSTER was a little restless in a part for which he
was not constitutionally suited, but played with the greatest courage and
sincerity. Mr. DION BOUCICAULT'S study of _Mr. Pim_ was extraordinarily
effective; and the way in which he made the attenuated pipings of this
futile old gentleman carry like the notes of a bell was in itself a
remarkable feat.

These three were given great chances, full of colour. But in the part of
_Brian Strange_, the boy-lover, by its nature relatively colourless, Mr.
LESLIE HOWARD was hardly less good. He never made anything like a mistake
of manner. I wish I could say the same of his flapper. But Miss COHAN
asserted her good spirits a little too boisterously for the picture.

I hope I shall not be suspected of partiality towards one of Mr. Punch's
young men if I say that this is the best of the good things that Mr. MILNE
has given us. As in his unacted play, _The Lucky One_, he gives evidence of
a desire, not unfrequent in humourists, to be taken seriously. But he knows
by now that brilliant dialogue is what is expected of him, and he thinks,
too modestly, that he cannot afford to dispense with it for long at a time.
The result is that, after stringing us up to face a tragic situation, he is
tempted to let us down with light-hearted cynicisms. He would hate me to
suggest that Mr. BERNARD SHAW has infected him, but perhaps he wouldn't
mind my hinting at the influence of Sir JAMES BARRIE. Certainly his
_Mardens_ remind me of the _Darlings_ in _Peter Pan_. Just as there we were
invited alternately to weep for the bereaved mother's sorrow and roar over
the bereaved father's buffooneries, so here, though not so disastrously,
our hearts are torn between sympathy for the husband's real troubles and
amusement at the wife's flippant attitude towards the common tragedy.

I will not deny the sneaking pleasure which this flippancy gave me at the
time, but in the light of calmer reflection I feel that Mr. MILNE would
really have pleased himself better if he could have found the courage to
keep the play on a serious note all through the interval between _Mr.
Pim's_ first and second revelations. Apart from the higher question of
sincerity he would have gained something, in an artistic sense, by getting
a stronger contrast out of the change of situation that followed the
announcement of Tellworthy's demise.

In the First Act we seemed to have a little too much of the young couple,
but this insistence was perhaps justified by the important part which their
affairs subsequently played (along with the _leit-motif_ of the futuristic
curtains) in the readjustment of the relations between husband and wife.

If I have any flaw to find in a really charming play, I think it was a
mistake for _Mrs. Marden_ to let _Mr. Pim_ into the secret of her past. As
with the sweet influences of _Pippa_, so with the devastating havoc wrought
by the inexactitudes of _Mr. Pim_, I think he should have been left
unconscious of the effect of his passing.

For the rest,

  Mr. MILNE'S at his best--
  All's right with the play!


       *       *       *       *       *



       *       *       *       *       *


(_A successful chamber concert has been given by three players, styling
themselves "The Modern Trio," and named as under._)

  You may search through all Europe from Nenagh to Nish
  For such a delightfully-named coalish
  As that of MANNUCCI and MELZAK and KRISH.

  In MELZAK we note the Slavonic ambish;
  MANNUCCI suggests an Italian dish,
  And there's an exotic allurement in KRISH.

  Their combined _cantilena's_ as soothing as squish;
  'Twould have banished the madness of SAUL, son of KISH,
  Had he listened to MELZAK, MANNUCCI and KRISH.

  Their music, I gather, is wholly delish,
  But their names are the thing that I specially wish
  To applaud in MANNUCCI and MELZAK and KRISH.

       *       *       *       *       *


    "FOR SALE.--Entire household, $200 cash."--_American Paper_.

       *       *       *       *       *


Whether it is due to war-weariness or not the fact remains that the British
public view with apparent apathy the new crises which arise day by day to
threaten their happiness and maybe to change the whole course of their

Only a few mornings ago we read in _The Daily Chronicle_ the following
momentous statement made by that newspaper's golf correspondent: "I'm told
that the thirty-one pennyweight ball is doomed." Doomed! Yet, so far as
could be observed in the demeanour of the pleasure-seekers in the Strand on
the afternoon of that same day, things might have been exactly as they were
the day before.

We learn that the sub-committee investigating this matter of the thirty-one
pennyweight ball have consulted both the manufacturers and the
professionals. A ray of hope is given by the statement, made on good
authority, that "the manufacturers have adopted a very reasonable
attitude." The country should be grateful for this. But, on the other hand,
"the professionals want full freedom in the selection of balls."

To foster a false optimism at this juncture would be criminal, and it may
as well be admitted at once that negotiations are proceeding with
difficulty. As we go to press we learn that a protracted meeting, lasting
from 2 P.M. until after midnight, has been held. The leader of the
manufacturers, on emerging from the conference hall, was seen to look pale
and exhausted. Pushing his way through the pressmen and photographers he
said, "Boys, for the moment we are bunkered; we must employ the niblick.
No, that is all I can tell you;" and he walked quickly away with his hand
to his brow and muttering words seldom heard off the course.

Equally grave, the organising secretary of the professionals was even less
communicative, for he spoke in his native tongue, and the Scotsman among
the reporters who undertook to translate his remarks was unfortunately
unable to make himself understood.

The PRIME MINISTER'S Private Secretary has issued to the Press a statement
that Mr. LLOYD GEORGE is keeping in close touch with Walton Heath and the
progress of events, but that at present no useful purpose would be served
by Government interference.

_The Daily Chronicle_ correspondent also announces that representatives of
American golf are to visit St. Andrews in the Spring to discuss the
question. We trust their visit may not be too late. If the problem is one
that can be solved by dollars no doubt they will come well-equipped for
enforcing American opinion on the British public. We can only hope that
international relationships will not be strained by their deliberations;
let there be a spirit of toleration and a recognition of the rights of
small nations, and all may yet be well.

       *       *       *       *       *


  In noisy towns, where traffic roars and rushes
    And where the grimy streets are dark and narrow,
  You never see the robins and the thrushes,
    Nor hear their songs. Only the City sparrow
  Chirps bravely and as cheerily as they,
  Although his home is very far away.

  He chirps of lanes, of far-off country places
    (This is the sparrows' story that I'm telling);
  Long, long ago they lived in sweet wide spaces;
    Their homes were in the hedges, gay, green-smelling;
  The people, though, came citywards to dwell;
  "Then we," the sparrows said, "must go as well.

  "Yes, we're the birds to go, for all our brothers
    Would lose their songs in cities dark and crowdy;
  Their hearts would break; but we're not like the others,
    We cannot sing, our coats are drab and dowdy;
  But we can chirp and chirp and chirp again;
  The people shan't forget a country lane."

  And so they came, and in all city-weathers
    They chirped a note of cheer to exiles weary;
  And _still_ the sparrows chirp, for their brown feathers
    Hide now, as then, brave kindly hearts and cheery,
  Of lanes they've never seen nor lived among,
  Of country lanes they sing, the same old song.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "SIR ALBERT'S ELEVATION.--'Up, Stanley, up!'--_Shakespeare_ (amended)."
    --_Sunday Pictorial._


       *       *       *       *       *

    "Very attractive was the interior of the ---- Hall, when the Misses
    ---- entertained a large number of their friends at an enjoyable dance.
    Everything was 'conteur de pose.'"--_Australian Paper._

It is very clear they weren't jazzing.

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *


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

_The Romance of Madame Tussaud's_ (ODHAMS) strikes one, in these days of
universal reminiscence, almost as a _libre à faire_, certainly as a volume
that finds its welcome waiting for it. I suppose there are few unhappy
beings for whom the very name of that gifted lady does not revive something
of the nursery magic that is never quite forgotten. All of which means that
Mr. JOHN T. TUSSAUD, who has written, vivaciously and with obvious
pleasure, this history of the famous show, is (I hope) assured beforehand
of his sales. It is a fat record, taking the story from the earliest wax
profiles made by Dr. CURTIUS for the Parisian aristocracy in the days
before the Revolution; through the Terror, when his niece (afterwards
Madame TUSSAUD) was employed to model notable heads from the basket of the
guillotine, which was itself subsequently to figure amongst the attractions
of her collection, and finally bringing the enterprising artist and her
models to England and Baker Street, whence a comparatively recent move
established them (the foundress in effigy only) in their present palace. I
was especially interested to trace the evidence of close attention paid to
the show by Mr. Punch, and in particular to learn that the title Chamber of
Horrors was first invented by that observer; though the author falls into
an obvious chronological inexactitude in ascribing to these pages a cartoon
by CRUIKSHANK published "in November of Waterloo year." I have no space for
the many queer stories, chiefly of encounters between the quick and the
wax, with which the book abounds, nor for more than mention of its
admirable photographs, of which I should have liked many more. Altogether
it gives an unusual sidelight on the history of two Capitals; and
incidentally, if the reading of it puts others in the same resolve as
myself, an extra turn-stile will be needed in the Marylebone Road.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. HARRY TIGHE is something of a problem to me. With the best will in the
world to appreciate what looked like unusual promise I can only regard him
at present as one who is neglecting the good gifts of heaven in the pursuit
apparently of some Jack-o'-lanthorn idea of popularity. No doubt you recall
his first novel, _The Sheep Path_, a sincere and well-observed study of
feminine temperament. This was followed by one that (though it had its
friends) marked, to my thinking, a lamentable fall from grace. He has now
published a third, _Day Dawn_ (WESTALL). Here, though popularity of a kind
may be its reward, the work is still woefully beneath what should be Mr.
TIGHE'S level. Certainly not one of the demands of the circulating
libraries is unfulfilled. We have a fair-haired heroine (victim to
cocaine), a dark and villainous foreigner, a dashing hero, a middle-aged
woman who adores him despite the presence of her husband, himself called
throughout _Baron Brinthall_, a style surely more common in pantomimic
circles than in the drawing-rooms of Mayfair; and the incidents embrace
both murder and suicide. Moreover there is "plenty of conversation," and
the intrigue moves sufficiently quickly (if jerkily) to keep one curious
about the next page. But having very willingly admitted so much I return to
my contention, that for Mr. TIGHE to neglect his sensitive and delicate art
for the antics of these tawdry dolls is to betray both himself and the
craft of which he may still become a distinguished exponent.

       *       *       *       *       *

From the official who is interested in officialdom to the Infantry officer
who is interested in tactics, from the mechanical expert who can appreciate
the technical details of diagrams to the child who revels in faultless
photographs of hair-raising monsters ("I may read it, mother, mayn't I,
when I've unstickied my fingers?" was the way I heard it put), everybody, I
think, will find plenty to attract him in Sir ALBERT STERN'S finely
illustrated _Tanks 1914-1918_ (HODDER AND STOUGHTON). Tanks were born at
Lincoln, and rightly so, for did not OLIVER CROMWELL'S Ironsides mostly
come from this region?--and the main theme of this book is to show how much
more formidable an obstacle they found in the files and registries of
Whitehall than in the trenches and wire-entanglements of Flanders and
France. Parents they had and sponsors innumerable. Practical soldiers and
engineers were enthusiastic about them, and the Bosch quaked in his
trenches or ran; but even so late as the autumn of 1917, after General FOCH
(as he was then) had said, "You must make quantities and quantities; we
must fight mechanically," one stout little company of obscurantists bravely
defied the creed of Juggernaut until the irresistible logic of its
successes in the field crushed them remorselessly under the "creeping
grip." And that company, of course, according to Sir ALBERT STERN, was the
British War Office.

       *       *       *       *       *

Let me commend to you _The Mask_ (METHUEN) as a craftsmanlike essay in
imaginative realism; ruthlessly candid and self-revealing, but free from
that tiresome obsession of the ultra-realists that everything that has ever
happened is equally important in retrospect. The narrator, _Vanya
Gombarov_, a Russian Jew, discourses reflectively and detachedly, as it
were from behind a mask, to an English artist friend about his early
childhood in his own land and the dismal adventures of the _Gombarov_
family in that underworld of exploited and miserable aliens which is one of
the root social problems of America. Very poignantly Mr. JOHN COURNOS makes
you understand the import of the phrase so constantly on the lips of such
victims of their own credulous hopes of El Dorado--"Woe to COLUMBUS!" The
portrait of _Vanya's_ stepfather, brilliant, magnanimous, pursued by an
Æschylean malignity of destiny, fills much of the foreground and is a quite
masterly piece of work. One cannot be wrong in assuming this to be
essential autobiography; there is a passionate conviction as of things
intimately seen and dreadfully suffered. Such material might well have
tempted to a mere piling of squalor upon squalor. A fine discretion has
given a noble dignity to a record through which shines the unquenchable
human spirit. One passage, full of affectionate discernment about London,
will cause a flicker of just pride in everyone who is authentic Cockney,
whether by birth or adoption. A big book of its kind, I dare assert.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Star of India_ (CASSELL) is what Mrs. ALICE PERRIN calls her latest novel,
a title so good that I can only wonder why (or perhaps whether) it has not
been used before. Inside also I found excellent entertainment. One supposes
the author to have been confronted with two main problems with regard to
her plot--how to make sufficiently plausible the marriage between a flapper
(if you will forgive the odious word) of seventeen and a middle-ageing
Anglo-Indian; and, secondly, how to impart any touch of novelty to the
inevitable catastrophe that must attend this union. The first she has
managed by a very cunning suggestion of the mingled jealousy, curiosity and
boredom that drove _Stella_ into the arms of her elderly suitor; the second
by a variety of devices, to indicate which would be to give away the whole
intrigue--one, I may say, whose climax is not nearly so visible from afar
as that of most triangle tales. One point only I will reveal: Mrs. PERRIN
has had the courage, while vindicating her own common-sense judgment upon
such folk, to introduce a second girl, daughter and pupil of one of the
spoon-fed idealists who would govern India with the platitudes of
ignorance, and not only to make her sympathetic, but to convince me of her
attractions, which (especially just now) was not easy work. Decidedly a
first-rate yarn.

       *       *       *       *       *

We may, I think, take it that the love-story in _The Gunroom_ (BLACK) is
fiction pure and naively simple, but that the experiences of _John
Lynwood_, the hero, in the Navy are given as the actual experiences of Mr.
C.L. MORGAN, the author. Let me then at once say that his revelations of
the bullying of junior by senior midshipmen go back to a period before the
War. These "shakings," we are asked to believe, were due partly to custom
and partly to boredom caused by lack of leave. If Mr. MORGAN is correct
both in his facts and surmises it is satisfactory to think that the War
must have obliterated the boredom which provoked such excesses, and one
need not be a fanatical opponent of physical punishment to hope that such
forms of tyranny will never again be tolerated as a matter of custom. I am
obliged to conclude that these incidents in _Lynwood's_ career are
absolutely true, for certainly nothing less than absolute truth could
excuse their appearance in print; but at the same time I must confess that
any attack upon our Navy is apt with me to act as an irritant. The more
reason that I should honestly admit Mr. MORGAN'S merits and say that he
writes with a nice sense of style, and that his book does not derive its
only interest from its revelations.

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *



    "A stout ox led the field into Bilton village."--_Provincial Paper._

       *       *       *       *       *


    "A company, numbering over 80, sat down to dinner, the host and hostess
    (Mr. and Mrs. ----) proving, as usual, a first-class menu."--_Local

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