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Title: Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 158, 1920-01-28
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, 1920-01-28" ***

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VOL. 158.

January 28th, 1920.


Now that petrol is being increased by eightpence a gallon, pedestrians will
shortly have to be content to be knocked down by horsed vehicles or hand

* * *

Moleskins, says a news item, are now worth eighteen-pence each. It is only
fair to add that the moles do not admit the accuracy of these figures.

* * *

Three hundred pounds is the price asked by an advertiser in _The Times_ for
a motor-coat lined with Persian lamb. It is still possible to get a
waistcoat lined with English lamb (or even good capon) for a mere fraction
of that sum.

* * *

Charged with impersonation at a municipal election a defendant told the
Carlisle Bench that it was only a frolic. The Bench, entering into the
spirit of the thing, told the man to go and have a good frisk in the second

* * *

"Steamers carrying coal from Dover to Calais," says a news item, "are
bringing back champagne." It is characteristic of the period that we should
thus exchange the luxuries of life for its necessities.

* * *

Charged at Willesden with travelling without a ticket a Walworth girl was
stated to have a mania for travelling on the Tube. The Court missionary
thought that a position could probably be obtained for her as scrum-half at
a West End bargain-counter.

* * *

A correspondent writes to a London paper to say that he heard a lark in
full song on Sunday. We can only suppose that the misguided bird did not
know it was Sunday.

* * *

A medical man refers to the case of a woman who has no sense of time,
proportion or numbers. There should be a great chance for her as a
telephone operator.

* * *

"Owing to its weed-choked condition," says _The Evening News_, "the Thames
is going to ruin." Unless something is done at once it is feared that this
famous river may have to be abolished.

* * *

As the supply of foodstuffs will probably be normal in August next, the
Food Ministry will cease to exist, its business being finished. This seems
a pretty poor excuse for a Government Department to give for closing down.

* * *

"Music is not heard by the ear alone," says M. JACQUES DALCROZE. Experience
proves that when the piano is going next door it is heard by the whole of
the neighbour at once.

* * *

A weekly paper points out that there are at least thirty thousand
unemployed persons in this country. This of course is very serious. After
all you cannot have strikes unless the people are in work.

* * *

It appears that the dog (since destroyed) which was found wandering outside
No. 10, Downing Street, had never tasted Prime Minister.

* * *

It is reported that when Sir DAVID BURNETT put up Drury Lane Theatre for
sale under the hammer the other day one gentleman offered to buy it on
condition that the vendor papered the principal room and put a bath in.

* * *

A Bolton labourer who picked up twenty-five one-pound Treasury notes and
restored them to the proper owner was rewarded with a shilling. It is only
fair to say that the lady also said, "Thank you."

* * *

Asked what he would give towards a testimonial fund for a local hero one
hardy Scot is reported to have said that he would give three cheers.

* * *

We learn on good authority that should a General Election take place during
one of Mr. LLOYD GEORGE'S visits to Paris _The Daily Mail_ will undertake
to keep him informed regarding the results by means of its Continental

* * *

A sad story reaches us from South-West London. It appears that a girl of
twenty attempted suicide because she realised she was too old to write
either a popular novel or a book of poems.

* * *

The Guards, it is stated, are to revert to the pre-war scarlet tunic and
busby. Pre-war head-pieces, it may be added, are now worn exclusively at
the War Office.

* * *

At the Independent Labour Party's Victory dance it was stipulated that
"evening dress and shirt sleeves are barred." This challenge to the upper
classes (with whom shirt-sleeves are of course _de rigueur_) is not without
its significance.

* * *

As much alarm was caused by the announcement in these columns last week
that the collapse of a wooden house was caused by a sparrow stepping on it,
we feel we ought to mention that, owing to a sudden gust of wind, the bird
in question leaned to one side, and it was simply this movement which
caused the house to overbalance.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE WAVE OF CRIME.



       *       *       *       *       *

    "The eternal combustion engine has become recognised the world over as
    a factor in modern civilisation."--_Provincial Paper._

But surely it is many years since Lord WESTBURY in the GORHAM case was said
to have "dismissed h---- with costs?"

       *       *       *       *       *


    [The revival, in certain quarters, of commercial relations with Germany
    has already begun to blunt the memory of the War. And now the proposal
    to open up trade with the Co-operative Societies in Russia, to the
    obvious benefit of the Bolshevists, who practically control the whole
    country, looks like an attempt to bring about indirectly a peace which
    we cannot in decency negotiate through the ordinary channels of

  They are coming, the carpet-baggers, their voices are heard in the land,
  Guttural Teuton organs, but very polite and bland;
  And our arms are stretched for their welcome; we've buried the past like
      a dud;
  For blood may be thicker than water, but Trade is thicker than blood.

  The Winter of war is over, and lo! with the dawn of Spring
  They come, and we greet them coming, like swallows that homeward swing,
  Fair as the violet's waking, swift as the snows in flood,
  For blood may be thicker than water, but Trade is thicker than blood.

  Likewise with Soviet Russia--we've done with the need to fight;
  There are gentler methods (and cheaper) of putting the whole thing right;
  The palms of the dealers are plying the soap's invisible sud,
  For blood may be thicker than water, but Trade is thicker than blood.

  Of Peace there can be no parley with LENIN'S _régime_, as such,
  But Business can easily tackle what Honour declines to touch,
  Making the sewage to blossom, sampling the septic mud,
  For blood may be thicker than water, but Trade is thicker than blood.

  Thus may our merchant princes modestly play their part,
  Speeding the silent process of soldering heart to heart,
  Just as the forces of Nature silently swell the bud,
  For blood may be thicker than water, but Trade is thicker than blood.

  So in the hands of the Bolshie our hands shall at last be laid;
  Deep unto deep is calling to lift the long blockade;
  "No truck," we had sworn, "with murder;" but God will forget that oath,
  For blood is thicker than water, but Trade is thicker than both.


       *       *       *       *       *



Many years ago, in the reign of good QUEEN VICTORIA, a little ship sailed
out of Grimsby Docks in all the proud bravery of new paint and snow-white
decks, and passed the Newsand bound for the Dogger Bank. They had
christened her the _King George_, and, though her feminine susceptibilities
were perhaps a trifle piqued at this affront to her sex, it was a right
royal name, and her brand-new boilers swelled with loyal fervour. She was a
steam trawler--at that time one of the smartest steam trawlers afloat, and
she knew it; she held her headlights very high indeed, you may be sure.

Time passed, and the winds and waters of the North Sea dealt all too rudely
with the fair freshness of her exterior; she grew worn and weather-stained,
and it was apparent even to the casual eye of a landsman that she had left
her girlhood behind her out on the Nor'-East Rough. Some of the younger
trawlers would jeeringly refer to her behind her back as "Auntie," and
affected to regard her as an antediluvian old dowager, which of course was
mainly due to jealousy. But she still pegged away at her work, bringing in
from the Dogger week by week her cargoes of fish, regardless alike of the
ravages of time and the jibes of her upstart rivals. As long as her owners
were satisfied she was happy, for she cherished first and last a sense of
duty, as all good ships do.

And then suddenly came the War, infesting the seas with unaccustomed and
nerve-racking dangers. I must apologise for mentioning this, as everybody
knows that we ought now to forget about the War as quickly as possible and
get on with more important matters, but at the time it had a certain effect
upon us all, not excluding the _King George_. Scorning the menaces that
lurked about her path she carried on the pursuit of the cod and haddock in
her old undemonstrative fashion, for she was a British ship from stem to
stern and conscious of the tradition behind her.

Then one day they hauled her up in dock, gave her a six-pounder astern,
fitted her with wireless and sent her out to take care of her unarmed
sisters on the fishing-grounds. She flew the White Ensign.

These were the proudest days of her life: she was helping to keep the seas.
It is true the big ships of the Fleet might laugh at her in a good-natured
way and pass uncomplimentary remarks about her personal appearance, but
they had to acknowledge her seamanship and her pluck. She could buffet her
way through weather that no destroyer dare face, and mines had no terrors
for her, for even if she were to bump a tin-fish it only meant one old
trawler the less, and the Navy could afford it.

It was during these days, too, that she became known, though not by name,
to readers of _Punch_, for her adventures and those of her crew were often
chronicled in his tales of the "Auxiliary Patrol." And when she had seen
the War through she said Good-bye to his pages and made ready to return
again to the ways of peace. She was quite satisfied; she never thought of
giving up her job, though she was now a very old ship, and it would have
been no shame to her. She just took a fresh coat of paint and steamed away
to the Dogger Bank once more.

       *       *       *       *       *

The other day a small paragraph appeared in some of the newspapers that
were not too busy discussing the possibilities of another railway strike:
"The Grimsby trawler _King George_," it said, "is reported long over-due
from the fishing-grounds, and the owners say that there is no hope of her
return." No one would notice this, because the first round of the English
Cup was to be played that week, and besides it was not as though it were a
battleship or a big liner that had gone down. It was just the old _King

And that, I suppose, is the end of her, except that she may continue to be
remembered by one or two who served aboard her in the days of the Auxiliary
Patrol--remembered as a gallant little ship that served her country in its
hour of need, and did not hold that hour the limit of her service. Well
played, _King George_!

       *       *       *       *       *

    "THE DRINKWATER TRAGEDY."--_Heading in "New York Times."_

This comes from dry America, but it is not the wail of a "Wet"; merely the
heading of an article on _Abraham Lincoln_.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Wales has its Ulster just as Ireland had, and it was a question
    whether Wales was going to be conquered by the industrial area of
    Cardiff and the district, or whether the industrial area was going to
    conquer Wales."--_Western Mail._

We shall put our money on "the industrial area."

       *       *       *       *       *


MR. ASQUITH (_the Veteran Scots Impersonator_) _sings_:--


       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Officer._ "WELL, PETERS, HOW DID YOU GET ON?"

_Steward_ (_who has asked for special leave_). "NOTHIN' DOIN', SIR. THE
ON,' 'E SEZ."]

       *       *       *       *       *


(_With the British Army in France._)

The day on which that fine old crusted warrior, Major Slingswivel, quits
the hospitable confines of Nullepart Camp will be the signal that the
British Army in France has completed its work, even to the labelling and
despatching of the last bundle of assorted howitzers. A British army in
France without Major Slingswivel would be unthinkable. It is confidently
asserted that Nullepart Camp was built round him when he landed in '14, and
that he has only emerged from it on annual visits to his tailor for the
purpose of affixing an additional chevron and having another inch let into
his tunic. Latest reports state that he is still going strong, and
indenting for ice-cream freezers in anticipation of a hot summer.

But for an unforgivable error of tact I might have stood by the old
brontosaurus to the bitter end. One evening he and I were listening to a
concert given by the "Fluffy Furbelows" in the camp Nissen Coliseum, and a
Miss Gwennie Gwillis was expressing an ardent desire to get back to Alabama
and dear ole Mammy and Dad, not to speak of the rooster and the lil
melon-patch way down by the swamp. The prospect as painted by her was so
alluring that by the end of the first verse all the troops were infected
with trans-Atlantic yearnings and voiced them in a manner that would have
made an emigration agent rub his hands and start chartering transport right
away. She had an enticing twinkle which lighted on the Major a few times,
so that I wasn't surprised when the second chorus found him roaring out
that he too was going to take a long lease of a shack down Alabama way.

"Gad--she's immense! We must invite her to tea to-morrow," he said to me in
a whisper that shook the Nissen hut to its foundations. Slingswivel was no
vocal lightweight. Those people in Thanet and Kent who used to write to the
papers saying they could hear the guns in the Vimy Ridge and Messines
offensives were wrong. What they really heard was Major Slingswivel at
Nullepart expostulating with his partner for declaring clubs on a no-trump

"Very well," I answered sulkily. It wasn't the first time the Major had
been captivated by ladies with Southern syncopated tastes, and I knew I
should be expected to complete the party with the other lady member of the
troupe, Miss Dulcie Demiton, and listen to the old boy making very small
talk in a very large voice. I could see myself balancing a teacup and
trying to get in a word here and there through the barrage.

Still, there was no getting out of it, and next afternoon found our
quartette nibbling _petits gâteaux_ in the only _pâtisserie_ in the
village. The Major was in fine fettle as the war-worn old veteran, and
Gwennie and Dulcie spurred him on with open and undisguised admiration.

"Now I'm in France," gushed Gwennie, "I want to see _everything_--where the
trenches were and where you fought your terrible battles."

"Delighted to show you," said Slingswivel, bursting with pride at being
taken for a combatant officer. "How about to-morrow?"

"Just lovely," cooed Gwennie. "We're showing at Petiteville in the evening,
but we shan't be starting before lunch."

"That gives us all morning," said the Major enthusiastically. "Miss
Gwennie, Miss Dulcie, Spenlow, we will parade to-morrow at 9.30."

I couldn't understand it. Naturally Gwennie, with her mind constantly set
on Alabama, couldn't be expected to be up in war geography, but the Major
knew jolly well that all the battles within reasonable distance of
Nullepart had been fought out with chits and indents. I put it to him that
it wasn't likely country for war thrills.

"Leave it to me," he said confidently.

So I left it, and when we paraded next morning where do you think the wily
old bird led us? Why, to the old training ground on the edge of the camp,
where the R.E.'s used to lay out beautifully revetted geometrical trenches
as models of what we were supposed to imitate in the front line between
hates. Having been neglected since the Armistice they had caved in a bit
and sagged round the corners till they were a very passable imitation of
the crump-battered thing.

Old Slingswivel so arranged the itinerary that the girls didn't perceive
that the sector was bounded on one side by Père Popeau's turnip field and
on the other by a duck-pond, and he showed a tactical knowledge of the
value of cover in getting us into a trench out of view of certain stakes
and pickets that were obviously used by Mère Popeau as a drying-ground. To
divert attention he gave a vivid demonstration of bombing along a C.T. with
clods of earth, with myself as bayonet-man nipping round traverses and
mortally puncturing sand-bags with a walking-stick. It must have been a
pretty nervy business for the Major, for any minute we might have come
across a notice-board about the hours of working parties knocking off for
dinner that would have given the whole show away. But he displayed fine
qualities of leadership and presence of mind at critical moments, notably
when Gwennie showed a disposition to explore a particular dug-out.

"I shouldn't advise you to go in there, Miss Gwennie," he said gravely.

"Why?" asked Gwennie apprehensively.

"Not a pleasant sight for a lady," said the Major gruffly. "It upset _me_
one day when I looked in."

This was probable enough, for the Mess steward used it as a store for empty

Gwennie shuddered and passed on.

The Major mopped his forehead with relief and set the ladies souveniring
among old water-tin stoppers, which he alleged to be the plugs of

Taking it all round, it was a successful morning's show, which did credit
to the producer, and it was only spoiled when, so to speak, the curtain
rolled down amidst thunders of applause.

"We don't realize what we owe to gallant soldiers like you," said Gwennie

The Major waved a fat deprecating hand.

"And Captain Spenlow has just been telling me," continued Gwennie, "that
you occupied this sector all through the War and that you hung on right to
the very last, _notwithstanding incredible efforts to dislodge you_."

At this crude statement of the naked facts Slingswivel's face went a deeper
shade of purple, and you can appreciate why I put in an urgent application
for immediate release, on compassionate grounds, and why the Major gladly
endorsed it.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _The New Minister._ "BOY, DO YE NO KEN IT'S THE SAWBATH?"


_Minister._ "AN' HOO IS THAT?"


       *       *       *       *       *



We suspect Mr. KEYNES' hand in these headlines.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Information wanted as to whereabouts of Mrs. J.O. Plonk (Blonk) wife
    of J.O. Plonk (Clonk)."--_Advt. in Chinese Paper._

This should go very well with a banjo accompaniment.

       *       *       *       *       *


"I won't stand it any longer," said Janet intensely, meeting me in the
hall. "Take off your umbrella and listen to me."

"It's off," I replied faintly, perceiving that something was all my fault.
"Can't you hear it singing 'Niagara' in the porch?"

I dropped the shopping on the floor and sat down to watch Janet walking up
and down the room.

"I want," she continued in the tone of one who has had nobody to be
indignant with all day, "a divorce."

"Who for?" I inquired. "Really, darling, we can't afford any more presents

"Me," she interrupted, frowning.

"Couldn't you have it for your birthday?" I suggested. "I may have some
more money by then. Besides, I gave you--"

"No, I could not," replied Janet in a voice like the end of the world; "I
want it now. I will not wear myself out trying to live up to an impossible
ideal, and lose all my friends because they can't help comparing me with
it. And it isn't even as if it were my own ideal. I never know what I've
got to be like from one week to another. And what do I get for my
struggles? Not even recognition, much less gratitude."

"Janet," I said kindly, "I don't know _what_ you're talking about. Who are
these people who keep idealising you? I will not have you annoyed in this
way. Send them to me and I'll put a little solid realism into their heads.
I'll tell them what you really are, and that'll settle their unfortunate
illusions. Dear old girl, don't worry so.... I'll soon put it right."

Janet looked at me piercingly.

"It's this," she said; "I keep having people to call on me."

"I know," I answered, shuddering; "but I can't help it, can I? You
shouldn't be so attractive."

"Dear Willyum," she replied, "that's just the point; you _can_ help it."

"Stop calling me names and I'll see what can be done."

"But it's part of my 'whimsical wit' to call you Willyum," she said grimly.
"I understand that I am like that. People realise this when they read your
articles, and immediately call to see if I'm true. I've read through nearly
all your stories to-day, in between the visitors, and--and--"

I gripped her hand in silence.

"I'm losing all my friends," she mourned, touched by my sympathy, "even
those who used to like me long ago. Girls who knew me at school say to
themselves, 'Fancy poor old Janet being like that all the time, and we
never knew!' and they rush down to see me again. They sit hopefully round
me as long as they can bear it; then, after the breakdown, they go away
indignant and never think kindly of me again."

She gloomed.

"And all the cousins and nice young men who used to think I was quite jolly
have suddenly noticed how much jollier I might be if only I could say the
things they say you say I say...."

"Hush, hush," I whispered; "have an aspirin."

"But it's quite _true_," she cried hopelessly. "And She's just what I ought
to be. She says everything just in the right place. When I compare myself
with Her, I know I'm not a bit the kind of person you admire, and--and it's
no good pretending any longer. I'm not jealous, only--sort of misrubble."

She rose with a pale smile and, hushing my protestations, arrived at her

"We must part," she said, throwing her cigarette into the fire and walking
to the window; "I can't help it. I suppose I'm not good enough for you. You
must be free to marry Her when we find Her. I too," she sighed, "must be

"I now call upon myself to speak," I remarked, rising hurriedly. "Janet," I
continued, arriving at her side, "keep perfectly still and do not attempt
to breathe, because you will not be able to, and look as pleasant as you
can while I tell you truthfully what I think you are really like."

(I have been compelled to delete this passage on the ground that even if
people believed me it would only attract more callers.)

"All right," she continued, unruffling her hair; "but if I do you must
promise to leave off writing stories about me. Will you?"

"But, darling," I objected, "consider the bread-and-jam."

She was silent.

"Well, then," she said at last, "you must only write careful ones that I
can live up to."

"I'll try," I agreed remorsefully; "I'll go and do one now--all about this.
And you can censor it." I left the room jauntily.

Janet's voice, suddenly repentant, followed me.

"No," she called, "that won't do either. Because if it's a true one you
won't sell it."

"But if it isn't," I called back, "and I do, we can put the money in the
Divorce Fund."

       *       *       *       *       *


    [Bradford wool-spinners are stated to be unable to escape from the
    deluge of wealth that pours upon them or avoid making profits of three
    thousand two hundred per cent.]

  And so you thought we simply steered
    Great motor-cars to champagne dinners
  And bought tiaras and were cheered
    By hopes of breeding Epsom winners;
  Eh, lad, you little knew the weird
    Dreed by the Yorkshire spinners.

  How hollow are those marble halls,
    The place I built and deemed a show-thing,
  Its terraces, its waterfalls--
    Once more I hear that sound of loathing,
  The bell rings and a stranger calls
    To speak of underclothing.

  They've bashed my offices to wrecks,
    They've broke their way beyond the warders,
  And now my country seat they vex,
    They trample my herbaceous borders;
  They chase me up and down with cheques,
    They flummox me with orders.

  They bolt me to the billiard-room,
    Where chaps are playing five-bob snooker;
  They see me dodging from the doom,
    They heed no threats and no rebuker;
  "We've got thee now," they say, "ba goom!"
    And pelt me with their lucre.

  Vainly I put the prices up
    To stem that flowing tide of riches;
  The horror haunts me as I sup;
    The unknown guest arrives and pitches
  His ultimatum in my cup:--
    "The people must have breeches."

  I shall not see the skylark soar
    Nor hear the cuckoo nor the linnet,
  When Springtime comes, above the roar
    Of folk a-hollering each minute
  For yarn at thirty-two times more
    Than what I spent to spin it.

  Eh me, I cannot help but pine
    For days departed now and olden,
  When I could drink of common wine,
    To powdered flunkeys unbeholden;
  Do peas taste better when we dine
    Because the knife is golden?

  Often I wish I might repair
    To haunts that once I used to enter,
  Like "The Old Fleece" up yonder there,
    Of which I was a great frequenter,
  Not yet a brass-bound millionaire,
    But just a cent-per-center.


       *       *       *       *       *

    "Over 30,000 people paid £2,019 to see the cup tie at Valley Parade."--
    _Provincial Paper._

The new rich!

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: MANNERS AND MODES.


       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Female_ (_to ignorant party_). "'E'S DRESSED AS ONE O' THEM

       *       *       *       *       *


Aunt Angela coughed. "By the way, Etta was here this afternoon."

Edward's eye met mine. The result of Etta's last call was that Edward spent
a vivid afternoon got up as Father Christmas in a red dressing-gown and
cotton-wool whiskers, which caught fire and singed his home-grown articles,
small boys at the same time pinching his legs to see if he was real, while
I put in some sultry hours under a hearthrug playing the benevolent
polar-bear to a crowd of small girls who hunted me with fire-irons.

"What is it this time?" I asked.

"A jumble sale," said Aunt Angela.

"What's that?"

"A scheme by which the bucolic English exchange garbage," Edward explained.

"Oh, well, that has nothing to do with us, thank goodness."

He returned to his book, a romance entitled _Gertie, or Should She Have
Done It?_ Edward, I should explain, is a philosopher by trade, but he
beguiles his hours of ease with works of fiction borrowed from the cook.

Aunt Angela was of a different opinion. "Oh, yes, it has: both of you are
gradually filling the house up with accumulated rubbish. If you don't
surrender most of it for Etta's sale there'll be a raid."

My eye met Edward's. We walked out into the hall.

"We'll have to give Angela something or she'll tidy us," he groaned.

"These orderly people are a curse," I protested. "They have no
consideration for others. Look at me; I am naturally disorderly, but I
don't run round and untidy people's houses for them."

Edward nodded. "I know; I know it's all wrong, of course; we should make a
stand. Still, if we can buy Angela off, I think ... you understand?..." And
he ambled off to his muck-room.

If anybody in this neighbourhood has anything that is both an eyesore and
an encumbrance they bestow it on Edward for his muck-room, where he stores
it against an impossible contingency. I trotted upstairs to my bedroom and
routed about among my _Lares et Penates_. I have many articles which,
though of no intrinsic value, are bound to me by strong ties of sentiment;
little old bits of things--you know how it is. After twenty minutes'
heart-and-drawer-searching I decided to sacrifice a policeman's helmet and
a sock, the upper of which had outlasted the toe and heel. I bore these
downstairs and laid them at Aunt Angela's feet.

"What's this?" said she, stirring the helmet disdainfully with her toe.

"Relic of the Great War. The Crown Prince used to wear it in wet weather to
keep the crown dry."

Aunt Angela sniffed and picked up the sock with the fire-tongs. "And this?"

"A sock, of course," I explained. "An emergency sock of my own invention.
It has three exits, you will observe, very handy in case of fire."

"Hump!" said Aunt Angela.

Edward returned bearing his offerings, a gent's rimless boater, a doorknob,
six inches of lead-piping and half a bottle of cod-liver oil.

"Hump!" said Aunt Angela.

No more was said of it that night. Aunt Angela resumed her sewing, Edward
his _Gertie_, I my slumb--, my meditations. Nor indeed was the jumble sale
again mentioned, a fact which in itself should have aroused my suspicions;
but I am like that, innocent as a sucking-dove. I had put the matter out of
my mind altogether until yesterday evening, when, hearing the sound of
laboured breathing and the frantic clanking of a bicycle pump proceeding
from the shed, I went thither to investigate, and was nearly capsized by
Edward charging out.

"It's gone," he cried--"gone!" and pawed wildly for his stirrup.

"What has?" I inquired.

"'The Limit,'" he wailed. "She's picked ... lock ... muck-room with a
hairpin, sent ... Limit ... jumble sale!"

He sprang aboard his cycle and disappeared down the high road to St.
Gwithian, pedalling like a squirrel on a treadmill, the tails of his new
mackintosh spread like wings on the breeze. So Aunt Angela with serpentine
guile had deferred her raid until the last moment and then bagged "The
Limit," the pride of the muck-room.

"The Limit," I should tell you, is (or was) a waterproof. It is a faithful
record of Edward's artistic activities during the last thirty years, being
decorated all down the front with smears of red, white and green paint.
Here and there it has been repaired with puncture patches and strips of
surgical plaster, but more often it has not. As Edward is incapable of
replacing a button and Aunt Angela refuses to touch the "Limit," he knots
himself into it with odds and ends of string and has to be liberated by his
ally, the cook, with a kitchen knife. Edward calls it his "garden coat,"
and swears he only wears it on dirty jobs, to save his new mackintosh, but
nevertheless he is sincerely attached to the rag, and once attempted to
travel to London to a Royal Society beano in it, and was only frustrated in
the nick of time.

So the oft-threatened "Limit" had been reached at last. I laughed heartily
for a moment, then a sudden cold dread gripped me, and I raced upstairs and
tore open my wardrobe. Gregory, the glory of Gopherville, had gone too!

A word as to Gregory. If you look at a map of Montana and follow a line due
North through from Fort Custer you will not find Gopherville, because a
cyclone removed it some eight years ago. Nine years ago, however, Gregory
and I first met in the "Bon Ton Parisian Clothing Store," in the main (and
only) street of Gopherville, and I secured him for ten dollars cash. He is
a mauve satin waistcoat, embroidered with a chaste design of anchors and
forget-me-nots, subtly suggesting perennial fidelity. The combination of
Gregory and me proved irresistible at all Gopherville's social events.

Wishing to create a favourable atmosphere, I wore Gregory at my first party
in England. I learn that Aunt Angela disclaimed all knowledge of me during
that evening.

Subsequently she made several determined attempts to present Gregory to the
gardener, the butcher's boy and to an itinerant musician as an overcoat for
his simian colleague. Had I foiled her in all of these to be beaten in the
end? No, not without a struggle. I scampered downstairs again and, wresting
Harriet's bicycle from its owner's hands (Harriet is the housemaid and it
was her night out), was soon pedalling furiously after Edward.

The jumble sale was being held in the schools and all St. Gwithian was
there, fighting tooth and nail over the bargains. A jumble sale is to _rus_
what remnant sales are to _urbs_. I battled my way round to each table in
turn, but nowhere could I find my poor dear old Gregory. Then I saw Etta,
the presiding genius, and butted my way towards her.

"Look here," I gasped--"have you by any chance seen--?" I gave her a full
description of the lost one.

Etta nodded. "Sort of illuminated horse-blanket? Oh, yes, I should say I

"Tell me," I panted--"tell me, is it sold yet? Who bought it? Where is--?"

"It's not sold _yet_," said Etta calmly. "There was such rivalry over it
that it's going to be raffled. Tickets half-a-crown each. Like one?"

"But it's _mine_!" I protested.

"On the contrary, it's _mine_; Angela gave it to me. If you care to buy all
the tickets--?"

"How much?" I growled.

"Four pounds."

"But--but that's twice as much as I paid for it originally!"

"I know," said Etta sweetly, "but prices have risen terribly owing to the

       *       *       *       *       *

I found Edward outside leaning on his jaded velocipede. He was wearing the

"Hello," said he, "got what you wanted?"

"Yes," said I, "and so, I observe, did you. How much did _you_ have to

"Nothing," said he triumphantly; "Etta took my new mackintosh in exchange,"
he chuckled. "I think we rather scored off Angela this time, don't you?"

"Yes," said I--"ye-es."


       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *

From an invitation to a subscription-ball:--

    "Hoping that you will endeavour to make this, our first dance, a
    bumping success...."

As the Latin gentleman might have said, _Nemo repente fuit Terpsichore_.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "_Two pigs off their feet had hard work to get to food trough, but
    K---- Pig Powders soon put them right._"--_Local Paper._

Set them on their feet again, we conclude.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Respectable reserved lady (25), of ability, wishes to meet respectable
    keen Business Gentleman, honourable and reserved."--_Advt. in Irish

Obviously reserved for one another.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "A big re-union of all returned men and their dependents is to be held
    at the Board of Trade building on New Year's day.... A year ago the
    affair was a hug success and the ladies hope for an even better record
    this year."--_Manitoba Free Press._

Manitoba is so embracing.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Small Boy_ (_indicating highly-powdered lady_). "MUMMY, MAY

       *       *       *       *       *


(_On hearing that the stuff is shortly to be decontrolled_).

  Thou whom, when Saturday's expiring sun
  Informs me that another day is done
  And summons fire from the reflecting pane
  Of Griggs and Sons, where groceries obtain,
  I seek, not lightly nor in careless haste
  As men buy bloaters or anchovy paste,
  Who fling the cash down with abstracted air,
  Crying, "Two tins, please," or "I'll take the pair,"
  But reverently and with concentred gaze
  Lest Griggs's varlet (drat his casual ways!),
  Intrigued with passing friend or canine strife,
  Leave half of thee adhering to the knife--
  My butter ration! If symbolic breath
  Can be presumed in one so close to death,
  It is decreed that thou, my heart's desire,
  Who scarcely art, must finally expire;
  Yea, they who hold thy fortunes in their hands,
  Base-truckling to the profiteer's commands,
  No more to my slim revenues will temper
  The cost of thee, but with a harsh "_Sic semper_
  _Pauperibus_" fling thee, heedless of my prayers,
  Into the fatted laps of war-time millionaires.

  No more when Phoebus bids the day be born
  And savoury odours greet the Sabbath morn,
  Calling to Jane to bring the bacon in,
  Shall I bespread thee, marvellously thin,
  But ah! how toothsome! while my offspring barge
  Into the cheap but uninspiring marge,
  While James, our youngest (spoilt), proceeds to cram
  His ample crop with plum and rhubarb jam.
  No more when twilight fades from tower and tree
  Shall I conceal what still remains of thee
  Lest that the housemaid or, perchance, the cat
  Should mischief thee, imponderable pat.
  Ah, mine no more! for lo! 'tis noised around
  How thou wilt soon cost seven bob a pound.
  As well demand thy weight in radium
  As probe my 'poverished poke for such a sum.
  Wherefore, farewell! No more, alas! thou'lt oil
  These joints that creak with unrewarded toil;
  No more thy heartsick votary's midmost riff
  Wilt lubricate, and, oh! (as WORDSWORTH says) the diff!


       *       *       *       *       *


Mr. Punch begs to inform the Public that he has prepared for their
entertainment twelve sets of Lantern Slides reproducing his most famous
Cartoons and Pictures (five of the sets deal with the Great War), and that
they may be hired, along with explanatory Lectures, and, if desired, a
Lantern and Operator, on application to Messrs. E.G. WOOD, 2, Queen Street,
Cheapside, E.C., to whom all inquiries as to terms should be addressed.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "When he endeavoured to put the man out the Alderman was chucked under
    the paw. He drove straight to the barracks, informed the police of what
    had occurred, and having met his assailant on the road near by, he was
    placed under arrest."--_Irish Paper._

The Alderman seems to have had a rough time all through.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: ROUGE GAGNE--


       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Newly-crowned Cotton King_ (_with the plovers' eggs_).

       *       *       *       *       *


I was getting so tired of the syncopated life of town (and it didn't fit in
with my present literary work) that I bribed my old pal Hobson to exchange
residences with me for six months, with option; so now he has my flat in
town, complete with Underground Railway and street noises (to say nothing
of jazz music wherever he goes), and I have his country cottage, old-
fashioned and clean, and a perfectly heavenly silence to listen to. Still,
there _are_ noises, and their comparative infrequency makes them the more
noticeable. There is, for instance, a cow that bothers me more than a
little. It has chosen, or there has been chosen, for its day nursery a
field adjoining my (really Hobson's) garden. It has selected a spot by the
hedge, almost under the study window, as a fit and proper place for its
daily round of mooing.

Possibly this was at Hobson's request. Perhaps he likes the sound of
mooing, or, conceivably, the cow doesn't like Hobson, and moos to annoy
him. But surely it cannot mistake me for him. We are not at all alike. He
is short and dark; I am tall and fair. This has given rise to a question in
my mind: Can cows distinguish between human beings?

Anyway the cow worries me with its continual fog-horn, and I thought I
would write to the owner (a small local dairy-farmer) to see if he could
manage to find another field in which to batten this cow, where it could
moo till it broke its silly tonsils for all I should care; so I indited
this to him:--

MY DEAR SIR,--You have in your entourage a cow that is causing me some
annoyance. It is one of those red-and-white cows (an Angora or Pomeranian
perhaps; I don't know the names of the different breeds, being a town
mouse), and it has horns of which one is worn at an angle of fifteen or
twenty degrees higher than the other. This may help you to identify it. It
possesses, moreover, a moo which is a blend between a ship's siren and a
taxicab's honk syringe. If you haven't heard either of these instruments
you may take my word for them. Further, I think it may really assist you if
I describe its tail. The last two feet of it have become unravelled, and
the upper part is red, with a white patch where the tail is fastened on to
the body.

It is only the moo part of the cow that is annoying me; I like the rest of
it. I am engaged in writing a book on the Dynamic Force of Modern Art, and
a solo on the Moo does not blend well with such labour as mine.

There are hens here at Hillcroft. This remark may seem irrelevant, but not
if you read on. Every time one of these hens brings five-pence-halfpenny
worth of egg into the world it makes a noise commensurate with this feat.
But I contend that even if your cow laid an egg every time it moos (which
it doesn't, so far as my survey reveals) its idiotic bellowing would still
be out of all proportion to the achievement. Even milk at a shilling a
quart scarcely justifies such assertiveness.

My friend Mr. Hobson may, of course, have offended the animal in question,
but even so I cannot see why I should have to put up with its horrible
revenge; which brings me to the real and ultimate reason for troubling you,
and that is, to ask you if you will be so good as to tell the cow to
desist, and, in case of its refusal, to remove it to other quarters. If the
annoyance continues I cannot answer for the consequences.

  Thanking you in anticipation,
      I am,   Yours faithfully,

The reply ran:--

DEER SIR,--i am not a scollard and can't understand more'n 'alf your letter
if you don't lik my cow why not go back were you cum from i dunno what you
mean by consequences but if you lay 'ands on my cow i'll 'ave the lor of

Yours obedient HENRY GIBBS.

I felt that I hadn't got off very well with Henry, and thought I would try
again, so wrote:--

DEAR MR. GIBBS,--Thank you so much for your too delightful letter. I am
afraid you somewhat misapprehended the purport of mine. I freely admit your
right to turn all manner of beasts into your demesne; equally do I concede
to them the right to play upon such instruments as Nature has handed out to
them; but I also claim the right to be allowed to carry on my work
undisturbed. The consequences would be to me, not to the cow, unless
laryngitis supervenes. I love cows, and I greatly admire this particular
cow, but not its moo; that is all.

Is it, do you suppose, uttering some Jeremiad or prophecy? Can it, for
example, be foretelling the doom of the middle classes? Or is it possible
that our noisy friend is uttering a protest against some injurious
treatment received from its master?

I have discovered that our daily supply of milk is supplied by your herd,
and on inquiry I find that our cook is not at all confident that a quart of
the same as delivered to us would satisfy the requirements of the Imperial
standard of measurement.

If the animal's fog-horn continues I shall take it as an indignant protest
against a slight that has been cast on its fertility, and shall seriously
think of calling in the Food-Inspector to examine you in the table of
liquid measure.

Delightful weather we have been experiencing, have we not?

  Believe me as ever, dear Mr. Gibbs,
         Yours most sincerely,
             ARTHUR K. WILKINSON.

I do not know how much my correspondent understood of this letter, but, as
the moo-cow was shortly afterwards relegated to fresh pastures, and as we
are getting decidedly better measure for our milk money, I gather that he
had enough intelligence for my purposes.

The threat which I thus put at a venture may be recommended to anyone
suffering from the moo nuisance.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: USES OF A TUBE NUISANCE.]

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The serious loss to D'Annunzio recently of 300,000 lire, through the
    disappearance of his cashier, has had a happy sequel. The airman-poet
    has received a like amount from a rich Milanese lady. The donor remains
    incognito."--_Evening Standard._

It was very clever of the lady to disguise herself as an unknown man.

       *       *       *       *       *


(_By a middle-class Martyr._)

      EUCLID is gone, dethroned,
      By dominies disowned,
  And modern physicists, Judæo-Teuton,
      Finding strange kinks in space,
      Swerves in light's arrowy race,
  Make havoc of the theories of NEWTON.

      Yet, mid this general wreck,
      These blows dealt in the neck
  Of authors of established reputation,
      Four methods unassailed
      Endured and never failed
  To guide our arithmetic calculations.

      But now at last new rules
      Are used in "Council Schools"
  In consequence of Governmental action;
      And newspapers abound
      In praise of the profound
  Importance of the so-called "New Subtraction."

      New, maybe, but too well
      I know its influence fell;
  The "new subtraction" (which _I_ suffer under)
      From what I earn or save
      By toiling like a slave
  Is just a euphemistic name for plunder.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "At Richmond a discharged soldier was charged with stealing a pillow,
    valued at 7/6, the property of the Government.... The prisoner, who had
    a clean sheet, was fined 40/-."--_Local Paper._

We can understand his wanting a fresh pillow to go with his clean sheet.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Golf Enthusiast_ (_urging the merits of the game_). "--AND,

_Unbeliever._ "SO IS COD-LIVER OIL."]

       *       *       *       *       *


The London University Correspondent of _The Observer_ has been deploring
the fact that a number of professors and lecturers have lately resigned
their poorly-paid academic positions in order to take up commercial and
industrial posts at much higher salaries. Among the instances he cites is
that of a Professor of Chemistry at King's College, who has been appointed
Director of Research to the British Cotton Industry Research Association.

The movement, which the writer denounces as bearing "too obvious an analogy
to the killing of the golden goose," is not however confined to London
University. From the great seats of learning all over the country the same
complaint is heard. We learn, for instance, that Mr. Angus McToddie, until
recently Professor of Physics at the John Walker University, N.B., has
vacated that post on his appointment as Experimental Adviser to the British
Constitutional Whisky Manufacturers' Association.

Past and present _alumni_ of Tonypandy will learn with regret that the
University is to lose the services of its Professor of Live Languages, Mr.
O. Evans, who is about to assume the responsible and highly-remunerated
position of Director of Research to the Billingsgate Fishporters' Self-Help

The Egregius Professor of Ancient History at Giggleswick University will
shortly take up his duties as Editor of _Chestnuts_, the new comic weekly.

Professor Ernest Grubb, who for many years has adorned the Chair of
Entomology at Durdleham, is about to enter the dramatic sphere as
stage-manager to a well-known troupe of performing insects.

Another recruit to Stage enterprise is Professor Seymour Legge, who has
been appointed Chief Investigator to the Beauty Chorus Providers'
Corporation. Mr. Legge was formerly Professor of Comparative Anatomy at

       *       *       *       *       *


  Now has the soljer handed in his pack,
    And "Peace on earth, goodwill to all" been sung;
  I've got a pension and my ole job back--
    Me, with my right leg gawn and half a lung;
  But, Lord! I'd give my bit o' buckshee pay
    And my gratuity in honest Brads
  To go down to the field nex' Saturday
    And have a game o' football with the lads.

  It's Saturdays as does it. In the week
    It's not too bad; there's cinemas and things;
  But I gets up against it, so to speak,
    When half-day-off comes round again and brings
  The smell o' mud an' grass an' sweating men
    Back to my mind--there's no denying it;
  There ain't much comfort tellin' myself then,
    "Thank Gawd, I went _toot sweet_ an' did my bit!"

  Oh, yes, I knows I'm lucky, more or less;
    There's some pore blokes back there who played the game
  Until they heard the whistle go, I guess,
    For Time an' Time eternal. All the same
  It makes me proper down at heart and sick
    To see the lads go laughing off to play;
  I'd sell my bloomin' soul to have a kick--
    But what's the good of talkin', anyway?

       *       *       *       *       *

    "If we were suddenly to be deprived of the fast underground train, and
    presented with a sparse service of steam trains in sulphurous tunnels,
    the result on our tempers and the rate of our travelling would be--
    well, electric!"--_Pall Mall Gazette._

We have tried to think of a less appropriate word than "electric," but have
failed miserably.

       *       *       *       *       *


Phillida arrived up to time with her suit-case, a riding-crop and a large
copy of D'AULNOY'S _Fairy Tales_. She was not very communicative as we
drove out, and I sought to draw her. You never, by the way, talk down to
Phillida. Personally, I don't believe in talking down to any child; but to
employ this method with Phillida is to court disaster.

"Pleasant journey?" I inquired casually, flicking Rex's ear.

"'M," responded Phillida in the manner of a child sucking sweets. Phillida
was not sucking sweets, and I accepted my snub. We drove on for a bit in
silence. Phillida removed her hat, and her bobbed hair went all round her
head like a brown busby. I looked round and was embarrassed to find the
straight grey eyes fixed on my face, the expression in them almost

"Jolly country, isn't it?" I essayed hurriedly, with a comprehensive wave
of my whip.

The preoccupied "'M" was repeated with even less emphasis.

Another protracted silence. I decided not to interfere with the course of
nature as manifested in one small grey-eyed maiden of eight. Presently
there burst from her ecstatically, "Uncle Dick, is this the one I'm going
to ride?" So that was it. From that moment we got on splendidly. We
discussed, agreed and disagreed over breeds, paces, sizes. I told her the
horse she would ride would be twice the size of Rex, and she nearly fell
out of the trap when I said we might go together that very afternoon.

"I've not learned to gallop," she remarked with some reluctance; "but of
course you could teach me."

I had only heard the vaguest rumours of her riding experience, and she was
very mysterious about it herself. However, when she came downstairs at the
appointed time, in her brown velvet jockey-cap, top-boots, breeches and
gloves complete, she looked so determined and efficient I felt reassured.

I had to make holes in the stirrup leathers eleven inches higher than the
top one of all before she could touch the irons; but she settled into the
saddle with great firmness and we were off without any fuss. Once on a
horse, she had no difficulty in maintaining a perfect continuity of speech,
and I soon felt relieved of all anxiety about her safety. If she was not an
old and practised hand, she had nerve and balance, and I did not think fit
to produce the leading rein which I had smuggled into my pocket.

We trotted a perfect three miles, and she had an eye to the country and a
word to say about all she saw. When we turned to come back, I felt
Brimstone make his usual spurt forward, but I was not prepared for
Treacle's sudden break away. He was off like a rocket. That small child's
cap was flung across my eyes in a sudden gust. I had retrieved it in a
second, but it was time lost, and, by Jove! she was out of sight round a
bend. I followed after, might and main, but the racket of Brimstone's hoofs
only sent Treacle flying faster. I caught sight of the small figure leaning
back, the bright hair flying. Then they were gone again. My heart beat very
fast. "She had never learned to gallop!" At every bend I hardly dared to
look for what I might find. I knew Treacle, once started, would dash for
home. If the child could only stick it, all might be well. I pounded along,
and after a two-mile run I came on them. She had pulled him in and was
walking him, waiting for me, a little turned in the saddle, one minute hand
resting lightly on his broad back. She was prettily flushed, her hair
blown, but she hadn't even lost her crop.

"Did you stop to get my cap?" she said as we came up. "Thanks awfully."

I wanted to hug the little thing, but her dignity forbade any such

The only other reference to the afternoon's experience was on a postcard I
happened to see written the same night, addressed to her mother.

"DARLING BEE" (it ran in very large baby characters),--"I had the most
adorable ride to-day I ever had. I learned to galup all by myself. I thaut
at first the horse was running away with me, but Uncle Dick soon caut me
up. He had my cap.

  Your loving

I only hope that Isabel will think it was all just as deliberate as that.

       *       *       *       *       *



       *       *       *       *       *

    "The Ashton-under-Lyne fight is beginning, and _The Daily News_ comes
    forward to-day with the suggestion that the Liberal candidate should

    The practical effect of the candidature of a Liebral may be only to
    reduce the Labour majority....

    In such circumstances we think it matter for great regret that there
    should be any Libtral candilature....

    Upon this the comment at the Liberal headquarters to-day was, 'Well, it
    is a little difficult to know just where we are, isn't it?'"--_Evening

Yes, or _what_ we are, for that matter.

       *       *       *       *       *


    Friday, 'Trial by July.'"--_Provincial Paper._

It seems a long remand.

       *       *       *       *       *


    "The whole of this preliminary business is nauseating, and in _real_
    sporting circles it is taboo as a topic of conversation. No wonder _The
    Times_ devoted a leading article to the matter the other day."--_Daily

How these NORTHCLIFFE journals love one another!

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _P.C._ (_referring to notes_). "I TOLD 'ER SHE WOULD BE

       *       *       *       *       *


The sporting public is so intrigued by the prospect of a DEMPSEY-CARPENTIER
match that other impending championship events are in danger of being

The present position in the challenge for the World's Halma Championship is
this. Mr. George P. Henrun is patriotically endeavouring to secure the
contest for Britain, and to that end has put up a purse of half-a-guinea.
The Société Halma de Bordeaux has cut in with a firm offer of twenty-two
francs, and the matter now remains in abeyance while financial advisers
calculate the rate of exchange in order to ascertain which proposal is the
more advantageous. The challenger, of course, is Tommy Jupes, aged twelve,
of Ashby-de-la-Zouche. His opponent, the champion, has an advantage of
three years in age and two inches in reach, but the strategy of Master
Jupes is said to be irresistible. Only last week he overwhelmed his mother,
herself a scratch player, when conceding her four men and the liberty to
cheat twice.

The public will be thrilled to hear that a match has now been arranged
between the two lady aspirants for the World's Patience Championship,
_viz._, Miss Tabitha Templeman, of Bath, and Miss Priscilla J. Jarndyce, of
Washington. To meet the territorial prejudices of both ladies the contest
will take place in mid-Atlantic, on a liner. There will be no seconds, but
Miss Templeman will be accompanied by the pet Persian, which she always
holds in her lap while playing, and Miss Jarndyce will bring with her the
celebrated foot-warmer which is associated with her greatest triumphs. The
vexed question of the allocation of cinema royalties has been settled
through the tact of Mr. Manketlow Spefforth, author of _Patience for the
Impatient_. One lady wanted the royalties to be devoted to a Home for Stray
Cats, and the other expressed a desire to benefit the Society for the
Preservation of Wild Bird Life. Mr. Spefforth's happy compromise is that
the money shall be assigned to the Fund in aid of Distressed Spinsters.

Bert Hawkins, of Whitechapel, has expressed his willingness, on suitable
terms, to meet T'gumbu, the powerful Matabele, in a twenty-ball contest for
the World's Cokernut-Shying Championship. There is however a deadlock over
details. T'gumbu's manager is adamant that the match shall take place in
his nominee's native village of Mpm, but Mr. Hawkins objects, seeing little
chance of escaping alive after the victory of which he is so confident. He
says he would "feel more safer like on 'Ampstead 'Eaf." Another difficulty
is that Mr. Hawkins insists on wearing his _fiancée's_ headgear while
competing, and this is regarded by T'gumbu as savouring of witchcraft. Mr.
Hawkins generously offers his opponent permission to wear any article of
his wives' clothing; but the coloured candidate quite reasonably retorts
that this concession is practically valueless. On one point fortunately
there is unaniminity: both parties are firm that all bad nuts must be

       *       *       *       *       *


"OLD AND RARE PAINTINGS. Exquisite works of old Indian art. Mytholo-Roast
Beef or Pork: Bindaloo Sausages gical, Historical, Mediæval."--_Englishman_

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Two capable young gentlemen desire Posts in good families as
    Companions, ladies or children; mending, hairdressing, decorations;
    willing to travel; in or near London."--_Daily Paper._

What did _they_ do in the Great War?

       *       *       *       *       *

    "One of the exquisite features was the presence of the Deacon's wives.
    We had 83 upon our Roll of Honour, and of these 36 turned up."--_Parish

The other forty-seven being presumably engaged in looking after the Deacon.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "In addition to the fine work done by the Irish regiments he assured
    them that many a warm Irish heart beat under a Scottish kilt."--_Local

Surely Irishmen enlisted in Scottish regiments are not so down-hearted as
all that!

       *       *       *       *       *


    ["Why do so many people sing in the bathroom?... The note is struck for
    them by the running water. While the voice sounds resonantly in the
    bath-room it is not half so fine and inspiring when the song is
    continued in the dressing-room. The reason is that the furniture of the
    dressing-room tends to deaden the reverberations."--_Prof. W.H. BRAGG
    on "The World of Sound."_]

  When to my morning tub I go,
    With towel, dressing-gown and soap,
  Then most, the while I puff and blow,
  My soul with song doth overflow
    (Not unmelodiously, I hope).

  The plashing of the H. and C.
    Castalian stimulus affords;
  I reach with ease an upper G
  And, like the wild swan, carol free
    The gamut of my vocal chords.

  And when, my pure ablutions o'er,
    The larynx fairly gets to work,
  Amid the unplugged water's roar
  I caper, trolling round the floor,
    In tones as rich as THOMAS BURKE.

  But in my dressing-room's retreat
    My native wood-notes wilt and sag;
  Not there those raptures I repeat;
  My bellow now becomes a bleat
    (For reasons, ask Professor BRAGG).

  So, Ruth, if song may find a path
    Still through thy heart, be listening by
  The bathroom while I take my bath;
  But leave before the aftermath,
    Nor while I'm dressing linger nigh.

  On the acoustic side, I fear,
    My chest of drawers is quite a "dud;"
  The chairs would silence Chanticleer,
  Nor would I have you overhear
    When I have lost my collar-stud.

       *       *       *       *       *


The proposal to revive the old "yellow back" cover for novels, partly in
the interest of economy in production, partly to attract the purchaser by
the lure of colour, has caused no little stir in the literary world. In
order to clarify opinion on the subject Mr. Punch has been at pains to
secure the following expressions of their views from some of the leading
authors of both sexes:--

Mr. J.M. KEYNES, C.B., the author of the most sensational book of the hour,
contributed some interesting observations on the economics of the dye
industry and their bearing on the question. These we are reluctantly
obliged to omit. We may note however his general conclusion that the impact
on the public mind of a book often varies in an inverse ratio with the
attractiveness of its appearance or its title. At the same time he admits
that if he had called his momentous work _The Terrible Treaty_, and if it
had been bound in a rainbow cover with a Cubist design, its circulation
might have been even greater than it actually is. But then, as he candidly
owns, "as a Cambridge man, I may be inclined to attach an undue importance
to 'Backs.'"

Mr. FREDERIC HARRISON writes: "MATT. ARNOLD once chaffed me for keeping a
guillotine in my back-garden. But my real colour was never sea-green in
politics any more than it is yellow in literature or journalism. Yet I have
a great tenderness for the old yellow-backs of fifty years ago. Yellow
Books are another story. The yellow-backs may have sometimes affronted the
eye, but for the most part they were dove-like in their outlook. Now 'red
ruin and the breaking-up of laws' flaunt themselves in the soberest livery.
I do not often drop into verse, but this inversion of the old order has
suggested these lines, which you may care to print:--

  "'In an age mid-Victorian and mellow,
    Ere the current of life ran askew,
  The backs of our novels were yellow,
    Their hearts were of Quaker-like hue;
  But now, when extravagant lovers
    Their hectic emotions parade,
  In sober or colourless covers
    We find them arrayed.'"

Mr. CHARLES GARVICE points out that the choice of colour in bindings calls
for especial care and caution at the present time, owing to the powerful
influence of association. Yellow might lend impetus to the Yellow Peril.
Red is especially to be avoided owing to its unfortunate appropriation by
Revolutionary propagandists. Blue, though affected by statisticians and
Government publishers, has a traditional connection with the expression of
sentiments of an antinomian and heterodox character. At all costs the
sobriety and dignity of fiction should be maintained, and sparing use
should be made of the brighter hues of the spectrum. He had forgotten a
good deal of his Latin, but there still lingered in his memory the old
warning: "_O formose puer, nimium ne crede colori_."

Miss DAISY ASHFORD, another of our "best sellers," demurs to the view that
a gaudy or garish exterior is needed to catch the public eye. The
enlightened child-author scorned such devices. Books, like men and
women--especially women--ought not to be judged by their backs, but by
their hearts. She confessed, however, to a weakness for "jackets" as a form
of attire peculiarly consecrated to youth.

Madame MONTESSORI cables from Rome as follows:--"The colour of book-covers
is of vital importance in education. I wish to express my strong conviction
that, where books for the young are concerned, no action should be taken by
publishers without holding an unfettered plébiscite of all children under
twelve. Also that the polychromatic series of Fairy Stories edited by the
late Mr. ANDREW LANG should be at once withdrawn from circulation, not only
because of the reckless and unscientific colour scheme adopted, but to
check the wholesale dissemination of futile fables concocted and invented
by irresponsible adults of all ages and countries."

       *       *       *       *       *


          III.--THE GUEST.

  I have a friend; his name is John;
  He's nothing much to dote upon,
    But, on the whole, a pleasant soul
  And, like myself, no paragon.

  I have a house, and, then again,
  An extra room to take a guest;
    And in my house I have a spouse.
  It's good for me; I don't protest.

  By her is every virtue taught;
  Man does as he is told, and ought;
    He has to eat his own conceit,
  So, "Just the place for John!" I thought.

  The unsuspecting guest arrives;
  But (note the worthlessness of wives)
    Does he endure the kill-or-cure
  Refining process? No, he thrives.

  He's led to think that he has got
  The very virtues I have not;
    Her every phrase is subtle praise
  And oh! how he absorbs the lot.

  She finds his wisdom full of wit
  And listens to no end of it;
    And if he dash tobacco-ash
  On carpets doesn't mind a bit.

  All that the human frame requires,
  From flattery to bedroom fires,
    Is his; and I must self-deny
  To satisfy his least desires.

  I have a friend; his name is John;
  I tell him he is "getting on"
    And "growing fat," and things like that....
  He pays no heed. He's too far gone.


       *       *       *       *       *

    "PUPILS wanted for Pianoforte and Theory.--J.G. Peat, Dyer and
    Cleaner."--_New Zealand Herald._

"That strain again! It had a dying fall."--_Twelfth Night_, Act I., Sc. 1,

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The lowest grade of porter is the grade from which railway employees
    in the traffic departments gravitate to higher positions."--_Daily

The EINSTEIN theory is beginning to capture our journalists.

       *       *       *       *       *

  There was a Society Sinner
  Who no longer was asked out to dinner;
        This proof of his guilt
        So caused him to wilt
  That he's now emigrated to Pinner.

       *       *       *       *       *


_Post-War Sportsman._"WOT'S THE MATTER?"



       *       *       *       *       *


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

In the war-after-the-war, the bombardment of books that is now so violently
raging upon all fronts, any contribution by a writer as eminent as Lord
HALDANE naturally commands the respect due to weapons of the heaviest
calibre. Unfortunately "heavy" is here an epithet unkindly apt, since it
has to be admitted that the noble lord wields a pen rather philosophic than
popular, with the result that _Before the War_ (CASSELL) tells a story of
the highest interest in a manner that can only be called ponderous. Our
ex-War Minister is, at least chiefly, responding to the literary offensives
of BETHMANN-HOLLWEG and TIRPITZ, in connection with whose books his should
be read, if the many references are properly to be understood. As every
reader will know, however, Lord HALDANE could hardly have delivered his
apologia before the accuser without the gates and not at the same time had
an eye on the critic within. Fortunately it is here no part of a reviewer's
task to obtrude his own political theories. With regard to the chief
indictment, of having permitted the country to be taken unawares, the
author betrays his legal training by a defence which is in effect (1) that
circumstances compelled our being so taken, and that (2) we weren't. On
this and other matter, however, the individual reader, having paid his
money (7_s_. 6_d_. net), remains at liberty to take his choice. One
revelation at least emerges clearly enough from Lord HALDANE'S pages--the
danger of playing diplomat to a democracy. "Extremists, whether Chauvinist
or Pacifist, are not helpful in avoiding wars" is one of many conclusions,
double-edged perhaps, to which he is led by retrospect of his own trials.
His book, while making no concessions to the modern demand for vivacity, is
one that no student of the War and its first causes can neglect.

       *       *       *       *       *

It is not Mr. L. COPE CORNFORD'S fault that his initials are identical with
those of the London County Council, nor do I consider it to be mine that
his rather pontifical attitude towards men and matters reminds me of that
august body. Anyone ignorant of recent inventions might be excused for
thinking that _The Paravane Adventure_ (HODDER AND STOUGHTON) is the title
of a stirring piece of sensational fiction. But fiction it is not, though
in some of its disclosures it may be considered sensational enough. In this
history of the invention of the Paravane Mr. CORNFORD hurls a lot of
well-directed bricks at Officialdom, and concludes his book by giving us
his frank opinion of the way in which the Navy ought to be run. It is
impossible, even if one does not subscribe to all his ideas, to refrain
from commending the enthusiasm with which he writes of those who, in spite
of great difficulties, set to work to invent and perfect the Paravane. If
you don't know what a Paravane is I have neither the space nor the ability
to tell you; but Mr. CORNFORD has, and it's all in the book.

       *       *       *       *       *

A stray paragraph in a contemporary, to the effect that the portrait of the
heroine and the story of her life in Baroness VON HUTTEN'S _Happy House_
(HUTCHINSON) is a transcript of actual fact, saves me from the indiscretion
of declaring that I found _Mrs. Walbridge_ and her egregious husband and
the general situation at Happy House frankly incredible. Pleasantly
incredible, I should have added; and I rather liked the young man,
_Oliver_, from Fleet Street, whom the Great Man had recently made Editor of
_Sparks_ and who realised that he was destined to be a titled millionaire,
for is not that the authentic procedure? Hence his fanatical obstinacy in
wooing his, if you ask me, none too desirable bride. I hope I am not doing
the author a disservice in describing this as a thoroughly wholesome book,
well on the side of the angels. It has the air of flowing easily from a
practised pen. But nothing will induce me to believe that _Mrs. Walbridge_,
putting off her Victorian airs, did win the prize competition with a novel
in the modern manner.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. ALEXANDER MACFARLAN'S new story, _The Inscrutable Lovers_ (HEINEMANN),
is not the first to have what one may call Revolutionary Ireland for its
background, but it is by all odds the most readable, possibly because it is
not in any sense a political novel. It is in characters rather than events
that the author interests himself. A highly refined, well-to-do and
extremely picturesque Irish revolutionary, whom the author not very happily
christens _Count Kettle_, has a daughter who secretly abhors romance and
the high-falutin sentimentality that he and his circle mistake for
patriotism. To her father's disgust she marries an apparently staid and
practical young Scotch ship-owner, who at heart is a confirmed romantic.
The circumstances which lead to their marriage and the subsequent events
which reveal to each the other's true temperament provide the "plot" of
_The Inscrutable Lovers_. Though slender it is original and might lend
itself either to farce or tragedy. Mr. MACFARLAN'S attitude is pleasantly
analytical. It is indeed his delightful air of remote criticism, his
restrained and epigrammatic style queerly suggestive of ROMAIN ROLAND in
_The Market Place_, and his extremely clever portraiture, rather than any
breadth or depth appertaining to the story itself, that entitle the author
to a high place among the young novelists of to-day. Mr. MACFARLAN--is he
by any chance the Rev. ALEXANDER MACFARLAN?--may and doubtless will produce
more formidable works of fiction in due course; he will scarcely write
anything smoother, more sparing of the superfluous word or that offers a
more perfect blend of sympathy and analysis.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Susie_ (DUCKWORTH) is the story of a minx or an exposition of the eternal
feminine according to the reader's own convictions. I am not sure--and I
suppose that places me among those who regard her heroine as the mere
minx--that the Hon. Mrs. DOWDALL has done well in expending so much
cleverness in telling _Susie's_ story. Certainly those who think of
marriage as a high calling, for which the vocation is love, will be as much
annoyed with her as was her cousin _Lucy_, the idealist, at once the most
amusing and most pathetic figure in the book. I am quite sure that Susies
and Lucys both abound, and that Mrs. DOWDALL knows all about them; but I am
not equally sure that the Susies deserve the encouragement of such a
brilliant dissection. Yet the men whose happiness she played with believed
in _Susie's_ representation of herself as quite well-meaning, and other
women who saw through her liked her in spite of their annoyance; and--after
all the other things I have said--I am bound, in sincerity, to admit that I
liked her too.

       *       *       *       *       *

You could scarcely have given a novelist a harder case than to prove the
likeableness of _Cherry Mart_, as her actions show her in _September_
(METHUEN), and I wonder how a Victorian writer would have dealt with the
terrible chit. But FRANK SWINNERTON, of course, is able to hold these
astonishing briefs with ease. Here is a girl who first turns the head of
_Marian Forster's_ middle-aged husband in a pure fit of experimentalism,
and then sets her cap with defiant malice at the young man who seems likely
to bring real love into the elder woman's life. And yet _Marian_ grows
always fonder of her, and she, in the manner of a wayward and naughty
child, of _Marian_. Insolence and _gaucherie_ are on the one hand, coolness
and finished grace on the other, and, although there are several moments of
hatred between the two, their affection is the proper theme of the book. As
for _Nigel_, he is impetuous and handsome, and falls in love with _Marian_
because she is sympathetic, and with _Cherry_ because she is _Cherry_, and
also perhaps a little because the War has begun and the day of youth
triumphant has arrived. But he does not make a very deep impression upon
me, and as for _Marian's_ husband, who is big and rather stupid, and always
has been, I gather, a bit of a dog, he scarcely counts at all. _Marian_,
however, is an extremely clever and intricate study, and for _Cherry_--I
don't really know whether I like _Cherry_ or not. But I have certainly met

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. Punch has pleasure in calling attention to two small volumes, lately
issued, which reproduce matter that has appeared in his pages and therefore
does not need any further token of his approbation: to wit, _A Little Loot_
(ALLEN AND UNWIN), by Captain E.V. KNOX ("EVOE"); and _Staff Tales_
(CONSTABLE), by Captain W.P. LIPSCOMB, M.C. ("L."), with illustrations, now
first published, by Mr. H.M. BATEMAN. Also to _A Zoovenir_ (Dublin: The
Royal Zoological Society of Ireland), by Mr. CYRIL BRETHERTON ("ALGOL"), a
book of verses which have appeared elsewhere and are being sold for the
benefit of the Dublin Zoo.

       *       *       *       *       *




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