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Title: Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 158, 1920-02-04
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, 1920-02-04" ***

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VOL. 158.

February 4th, 1920.


A rumour is going about that martial law may be declared in Ireland at any
moment. By which of the armies of occupation does not seem clear.

* * *

To make money, says a London magistrate, one must work hard. This is a
great improvement on the present method of entering a post-office and
helping yourself.

* * *

Cat skins are advertised for in Essex. A suburban resident writes to say he
has a few brace on his garden wall each night, if the advertiser is
prepared to entice the cats from inside them.

* * *

Much alarm has been caused in foreign countries by the report that British
scientists are experimenting with a machine that makes a noise like Lord

* * *

According to a witness at a police court in London nearly two hundred
people stood and watched a fight between dockers in City Road last week.
The way some people take advantage of Mr. COCHRAN'S absence in America
seems most unsportsmanlike.

* * *

Horse-radish from Germany is being sold in Manchester at six shillings a
bundle. Even during the War, thanks to the efforts of the local Press, the
Mancunian has never wanted for his little bit of German hot stuff.

* * *

Asked how old he was by the magistrate a railway-worker is said to have
replied, "Thirty-nine last strike."

* * *

The House of Representatives at Washington have offered one hundred
thousand pounds to fight the influenza germ. It is said that, if they will
make it two hundred thousand, DEMPSEY'S manager will consider it.

* * *

An American millionaire, says a gossip, has decided to stay at one London
hotel for three months. There was no need to tell us he was a millionaire.

* * *

A way is said to have been found for washing linen by electricity. In
future patrons will have to tear the button-holes themselves.

* * *

It is all very well asking Germany to hand over her war criminals, but the
trouble is to find enough innocent men to round them up.

* * *

The rumour current in France, to the effect that our PREMIER has been seen
in London, is believed by Parisians to have been spread by political

* * *

The Bolshevists recently deported from America were welcomed on the Finnish
frontier by the Red Army and eleven brass bands playing "The
International." That ought to teach them to get deported again.

* * *

A Thames bargee has summoned a colleague for throwing a huge piece of coal
at him. Quite right too. The coal might have fallen into the river.

* * *

One Scottish M.P., says a weekly paper, has not made a speech in the House
of Commons for twenty years. This is probably due to the fact that a
Scotsman rarely butts in when a fellow-countryman is speaking.

* * *

The so-called "pneumonia" blouse is conducive to health, declares the
Medical Research Committee. On the other hand the sunstroke cravat
continues to prove fatal in a great number of cases.

* * *

A Swansea man who went to his allotment to dig up some parsnips and ended
by taking three cabbages from a neighbour's plot has been fined ten pounds.
We approve of the sentence. A man who deliberately associates with parsnips
should be shown no mercy.

* * *

A news message states that passports enabling Mr. RAMSAY MACDONALD to
proceed to Russia have been refused. As a result we understand that the
well-known Socialist has threatened to remain in this country.

* * *

Greenwich Council has refused a war trophy, consisting of a hundred
bayonets. It appears that in those parts they still adhere to the fantastic
theory that the chronometer won the War.

* * *

A novel idea is reported from a small town in Norfolk. It appears that at
the annual fancy-dress ball all the inhabitants clubbed together and went
as a Brontosaurus.

* * *

The Hotel Métropole has now been vacated by the Government, and it is
thought that, as soon as the extra sleeping accommodation has been cleared
away, it will be used as an hotel once again.

* * *

We understand there is no truth in the rumour that Mr. ALBERT DE COURVILLE
has offered the ex-Kaiser a leading part in his revue, _Come Over Here_.

* * *

A correspondent points out in _The Daily Express_ that there are five
Sundays in the present month. We understand however that Mr. WINSTON
CHURCHILL is not to blame this time.

       *       *       *       *       *


    "It is stated that the management of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Co.
    intend to change the name of the newly-acquired steamer Onward to
    something more in keeping with the traditions of the Company."--_Ramsey

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Serious complaint is being made at another recurrence of the failure
    of the electric light in ----. It is no light matter."--_Local Paper_.

It wouldn't be.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Benevolent deck-hand_ (_to solitary small boy_). "'ULLO,


       *       *       *       *       *


["COALITION DOOMED."--_Poster of "Evening News."_

"COALITION DEATH SENTENCE."--_"Times'" Headline on Mr. ASQUITH at Paisley._

"BLOW TO THE COALITION."--_"Times'" Headline on Mr. BARNES'S resignation_.]

  Have you heard of the coming of Nemesis,
    How she glides through the ambient gloom
  That envelops the Downing-Street premises
    Where GEORGE is awaiting his doom?
  For the hour of his utter discredit
    Has struck and the blighter must go
  If the Carmelite organs have said it
          It's bound to be so.

  The Cabinet's daily imbroglio
    Amounts to a permanent brawl;
  Mr. BARNES has resigned a portfolio
    Which never existed at all;
  It is true he was, anyhow, going,
    Yet it serves (in _The Times_) for a sign
  Of the symptoms, perceptibly growing,
          Of GEORGE'S decline.

  Mr. ASQUITH (of Paisley) endorses
    The sentence of violent death,
  Though he leaves him alternative courses
    For yielding his ultimate breath;
  He allows him an optional charter--
    To swing by his neck from a tree,
  Or to perish a piteous martyr
           To _felo-de-se_.

  And what of poor Damocles under
    This horror that hangs by a thread?
  Does he wilt in a palsy and wonder
    How soon it will sever his head?
  Are his lips and his cheeks of a blank hue?
    Does he toy with his victuals and drink?
  Not at all; on the contrary, thankyou,
          His health's in the pink.

  He'll be bashed to the semblance of suet,
    So say the familiars of Fate;
  But they don't tell us who is to do it
    Or mention the actual date;
  Though the lords of the Circus assure us
    His voice will be presently mute,
  Yet the victim, pronounced _moriturus_,
          Declines to salute.

  All colours, from purple to yellow,
    The oracles kill him in print,
  But he turns not a hair, for the fellow
    Is hopeless at taking a hint;
  Apparently free from suspicion
    And mindless of what it all means,
  He careers on the road to perdition,
          Ebullient with beans.


       *       *       *       *       *


In the article which appeared under the above title in the issue of _Punch_
for January 14th, the setting of the nautical episode, in which the subject
of the story conducted himself with so much aplomb and resourcefulness, was
derived from a personal experience related to the author; but Mr. Punch has
his assurance that _Reginald McTaggart_ was not intended even remotely to
represent any actual individual.

       *       *       *       *       *



"About this boy of ours, my dear," said Gerald.

"Well, what about it?" said Margaret. "He weighed fourteen pounds and an
eighth this morning, and he's only four months and ten days old, you know."

"Is he? I mean, does he? Splendid. But what I was going to say was this: in
view of the present social and economic disturbances and the price of coal
and butter--"

"He doesn't need either of those yet, dear."

"--and the price of coal and butter, it behoves us, don't you think, to
very seriously consider (yes, I meant to split it)--to very seriously
consider Nat's future?"

"Oh, I've been doing that for ever so long, Gerald. Probably in a year or
two we shan't be able to get even a general or a char, so I'm going to
teach him all sorts of household jobs--as a great treat, of course. Washing
up the plates and dishes and laying fires--oh, and darning as well. He must
certainly mend his own socks, and yours too."

"Well, perhaps, if he has time. But I have a much better proposal to make
than that. My idea is that we should bring him up to be a miner."

"I thought children under twenty-one always were."

"Not minor, silly--miner."

"Well, what's the difference? Saying it twice doesn't help. And neither
does shouting," she added.

Gerald wrote it down.

"Oh, I _see_. But why?"

"Because then he can earn enough money to keep us all comfortably--us in
idle dependence at Chelsea, him in idle independence at Merthyr-Tydfil or
wherever one mines."

"He might send us diamonds now and then too. Or perhaps it isn't allowed."

"No, no. He'll be a coal-miner, naturally."

Margaret pondered this for some minutes.

"No, I don't think much of your idea," she said finally. "Very likely coal
will have gone out of fashion by then and we shall all be warming ourselves
with Cape gooseberries or pine-kernels or something. I think he ought to be
taught _all_ kinds of mining--diamond-mining, salt-mining, gold-mining and
undermining at Lloyd's. Then be could take up whatever was most profitable
at the moment."

"He has a busy youth ahead of him, I see. Have you thought of anything

"Not at present. Don't you think, though, that this little talk of ours has
been rather instructive, Gerald? Shall we open a correspondence in _The
Literary Supplement_ on 'The Boy: What Will He Become'?"

"Not quite the sort of thing for their readers, I should say."

"But surely some of them must be quite human. It isn't as if I'd said
_Notes and Queries_. One can't imagine the readers of that ever--"

"Listen!" said Gerald. "I think I hear--"

But Margaret had vanished. Nat's already pessimistic views on his future
were being published for the benefit of the Man in the Street.


The President and Committee of the British Lepidopterists' Association
request the pleasure of your company on January the 15th, at 5 P.M., when
Mr. Nathaniel Prendergast will give an illustrated address on The Haunts
and Habits of the minor Copperwing, together with a few Notes on Gnats.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Linen collars at 3s. 6d. each sounds incredible."--_Daily News._

A bit stiff, no doubt.

       *       *       *       *       *



       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Disgusted Parent._ "NAH THEN, 'ORACE, SET ABAHT 'IM! ANYONE

       *       *       *       *       *


(_With the British Army in France._)

"I noticed the old sapper instinct asserting itself in Mac when he tried to
tunnel out of that bunker at the seventh," said Denny after tea in the golf
club-house. "He'd have found some opportunities on a really sporting course
like ours at Villers-Vereux. Remember Villers, Ponting?"

"It wasn't a golf links as I remember it," said Ponting grimly.

"Bless you, I'm not speaking of those far-away days. I'm talking of a month
or two back, when I was there with a Chinese Salvage Company trying to
clear up the mess you made. Beastly quiet it was, too. The only excitement
was a playful habit the Chink had contracted of picking up a rusty rifle
and a salvaged clip of cartridges, pointing the gun anywhere and pulling
the trigger to make it say _Bang!_ I often found myself doin' the old
B.E.F. tummy-wriggle when the _Chinois_ was really happy.

"One Sunday--a non-working day--when all was drab and dreary and existence
seemed a double-blank, my orderly mentioned that he had discovered some old
'golfing bats' in one of the hutments. Evidently they were the remains of
the spoils of a lightning foray on the Base. A further search revealed a
couple of elliptical balls, quite good in places. So I tipped my cub,
Laxey, out of his bunk and we proceeded to resurrect our pre-war form.
By-and-by we got adventurous, and Laxey challenged me to play him a match
after lunch for ten francs a side. The details required some arranging, as
there were no greens or holes, but eventually we decided on a cross-country
stroke competition, starting from the hut-door and finishing at a crump
hole, map ref.: B 26c, 08,35.

"We tossed for clubs, and as I won I picked a driver and a hockey stick,
leaving Laxey a brassie and a putter head tied to a whangee cane that gave
it plenty of whip. Laxey was spot, and broke with a ten-yard drive. Then I
teed up and drove with a good follow-through action that carried me round
several circles before I could stop.

"I did better the next time, and made my ball rather sorry that it had been
making fun of me. Laxey had a bad lie and, though he lofted his ball with
the putter (as I said, the whangee _did_ give it 'whip'), he didn't clear
the hutments. After he had cannoned off the roof of a 'Nissen' into the
cook-house I took my turn, and to my disgust pulled into a trench that
formed part of our old support line.

"'Our ways lie apart now, old melon,' I said, 'and I should advise you to
follow my example and get your batman to keep the count. Otherwise your
play will be affected by arithmetical troubles.'

"Accompanied by my faithful Wilkins I found my ball and reviewed the
situation. The driver and hockey stick were hopeless for mashie shots, but
Wilkins reported a practicable C.T. a few yards to the right, leading to
the front line, and some gently sloping revetting from thence to the level.
Luckily the C.T. had plenty of length to each traverse, and when I emerged
in the open with my sixty-seventh Laxey was only just getting clear of the
huts, having been badly bunkered in the coal dump. He made good progress
from there, but I got into the rough--a regular Gruyère of shell-holes.
While I was attempting to hack my way through I heard a delighted gurgle of
laughter and turned round to see half-a-dozen of the Chinks sitting on
their hams and watching me with undisguised jubilation.

"'Send them away, Wilkins,' I said irritably. 'Can't you see they're
putting me off my game?'

"Wilkins shoved them off, and I took the old German line with a rush. While
I was so to speak consolidating, a runner arrived from Laxey asking for the
loan of a pair of wire-cutters.

"''E's 'ung up on the wire, Sir,' said the runner, 'an' cursing the
artillery somethink awful from force of 'abit.'

"I sent a pair of nail-scissors with my compliments, and would Mr. Laxey
kindly inform me what was his score to date? Laxey returned the scissors,
saying that he found he could manage better with a tie-clip, and his score
at 15.30 hours was 346, please. Cheered by the knowledge that I was a
matter of twenty to the good, I executed a brilliant dribble along a ditch,
neatly tricked a couple of saplings and finished with a long spinning-jenny
into a camouflaged strong point. By this time Wilkins was in such a maze of
mathematics that he hadn't time to scare off the coolies, who were tumbling
up in large numbers and giving a generous meed of applause.

"Towards the 400 Laxey, who also had a good gallery of Chinks, was losing
touch, and I advised him by runner to change direction. He thanked me, but
said that, in view of the difficult nature of the terrain, he had decided
to work round from a flank. Feeling that I was nearing the objective I
organised a series of approach-shots with the driver, and sent to ask Laxey
if he would care to accept fifty start. However, having foozled into a
ruined pillbox, I reduced the offer by half, and later on, confident--not
to say insulting--reports from Laxey induced me to withdraw the concession

"At 16.30 hours precisely, amid intense excitement on the part of the
Celestial audience, we arrived at the deciding crump-hole simultaneously.
When I say we arrived, I mean that Laxey had an eight-yard putt from a good
lie--an easy proposition with the whangee putter--and I was ten yards away
in as wicked a little crevice as you could wish to find.

"'If it doesn't shake your nerve, skipper,' said Laxey, 'I might mention
that my score is 543.'

"'You'd better give me the game, then,' I answered. 'I'm but a modest 520.'

"'Not jolly likely. You'll take at least twenty to get out of that burrow.
Besides, I know Wilkins is rotten at figures, and I claim a recount.'

"An audit and scrutiny showed that we were both 537, and although Laxey
held a distinct advantage in position I decided on a strenuous effort to
halve the game. I took a firm stance and the hockey stick and let drive for
the hole with a tremendous pickaxe stroke. Instantly there was a blinding
flash and an explosion, and, when we had finished picking sand out of our
ears and eyes and allayed the excitement of the Chinks, we discovered my
ball comfortably nestling in the crump-hole.

"'If assistance with derelict Mills bombs is allowed,' said Laxey, 'we've

"'On the contrary,' I replied, 'as your ball is apparently missing I've

"And, if you believe me, we couldn't find Laxey's ball anywhere, though we
had seen it but a minute or two before. So I claimed the ten francs; but I
didn't mention to Laxey that the following morning I was passing a group of
the coolies and saw them with an object that looked suspiciously like
Laxey's ball, hammering it with a stick and trying to make it say _Bang_!"

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Constable_ (_to dreamy little foreigner_). "I DON'T KNOW

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Wanted, Second Housemaid of three, Scotchwoman preferred; willing to
    wait on table if required; comfortable situation."--_Daily Paper._

Possibly; but we always prefer our servants to do their waiting on the

       *       *       *       *       *



  Back in the years of youth, a thoughtless thruster,
    I did adventure to the East and spurn
  My native land, and foolishly entrust her
    To other guardians pending my return;
  And now time bears me to the second lustre,
    And I am old and weary and I burn
  To freshen memories waxing somewhat vague;
  But men say, "Shun old England like the plague."

  Lord knoweth Hind is not a place of pleasure
    Nor such a land as men forsake with tears;
  Lord knoweth how we venerate and treasure
    The English memory down the Indian years;
  Yet now the mail pours forth in flowing measure
    England's un-Englishness, and in our ears
  Echo the words of men returned from leave,
  Describing Englands one can scarce believe.

  Englands abandoned to the fleeting passions,
    Feckless as Fez, hysterical as Gaul,
  All nigger-music and fantastic fashions
    (And not a house from Leith to London Wall);
  Where food and coal are dealt you out in rations
    And you can hardly raise a drink at all,
  And tailors charge you twenty pounds a touch.
  Is that a place for Nabobs? No, not much.

  Better were Hind where troubles more or less stick
    To one set style and do not drive you mad
  With changes; where a roof and a domestic,
    Petrol and usquebagh can still be had;
  And one can trust the Taj and the Majestic
    (Bombay hotels be these and none too bad)
  To stand for culture in the hour of need
  And stop one running utterly to seed.

  Hind be it; as for Home--_festina lente_;
    Hind be it and a station in the sun,
  Wherein if peace abideth not nor plenty
    At least you are not ruined and undone.
  I am not coming home in 1920,
    And maybe not in 1921;
  If all the English England's dead and gone,
  One can remember; one can carry on.


       *       *       *       *       *



George was a plumber by trade and a striker by occupation. He did his
plumbing in his holidays, when he was not busy. He liked plumbing, as it
gave his throat a rest. He was really the Champion Long Distance Plumber of
the World and had gained the R.S.V.P.'s gold medal for doing the back-in-a-
minute-to-get-your-tools in more than two hours. And his heart was as
tender as his feet. If he heard a clock strike he longed to strike in
sympathy, so that hard-hearted employers who knew George's weakness always
kept their time-pieces muffled.

The bursting of our water-pipe was the means of bringing me into touch with
George. He joined our bathing-party in the front hall, and said simply, "I
am the plumber." Just like that. He then said that he would swim home for
his tools, as he had forgotten the can-opener. When he got back Auntie was

He did not stay long, as he had to go on sympathetic strike with the
graziers. He was not really a grazier as well as a plumber, but his heart
was so tender that he couldn't keep on plumbing so as to give satisfaction,
he said, as long as the graziers were not grazing, so to speak. It didn't
really matter. Nothing matters nowadays. I just went out and sold the house
as it stood for an enormous sum and emigrated on the proceeds to Tooting

But this tract deals with George and his conversion, and has been written
specially to be put into the hands of young plumbers. Let us see then how
George gave up his sinful ways and how his heart was changed.

It began with his tooth--an old, old tooth. It had done some work in its
time, but it decided to strike. And strike it did. George gave it
beer--Government beer--and it hit George back, good and hard. George then
began to talk to it. He asked if it knew what it was doing of. He
threatened it with more Government beer if it didn't get on with its work
more quiet-like. The tooth sat up then and bit George.

"All right, young fellow my lad," said George; "you come out along o' me,
and come quiet. You're going to the dentist's, you are, and he'll
Bolshevise you proper, he will."

The tooth stopped aching at once; it was a wisdom tooth. But George knew it
was only just lying low, to break out into sympathetic strike on Monday
morning. So out he rushed with it and took it to the dentist. I was the

I led George gently by the hand to my nice little chair and told him what
beautiful weather we were having for the time of the year. I said, "Open,
please," and George opened. I then took my nice little steel whangee,
beautifully polished, and tickled the delinquent. A gentle tickle and no
more. I didn't really go far--not farther than his back collar-stud--but
George said things as if I were a capitalist.

I then said coldly, "It doesn't hurt!" I am what is known in the profession
as a painless dentist and rarely feel much pain.

I capped his repartee by remarking, "Keep open, please." That always shuts
'em up. George kept open. I then spilt some cotton-wool in his tooth and
put up some scaffolding in the entrance of his mouth, and said nonchalantly
(I always charge extra for this), "I have forgotten my niblick; keep open.
I shall be back anon." I then went out and had lunch.

When I came back George was still keeping open, but he looked at me very
wicked with his blue eyes and asked me from under the cotton-wool if I ever
intended to finish my ruddy little job.

I said, "Dear brother and oppressed fellow-striker, I regret that I cannot.
I see by _The Dentists' Daily_ that our Union has declared a sympathetic
strike with the Amalgamated Excavators and Theological Students. You have
my sympathy. I can no more."

George tried to persuade me as we went downstairs together, bumping our
heads on each step in turn, but it was of no avail.

I do not however regret my pious invention, as I hear that George is a
changed man. Being intelligent, he thought things over for himself, instead
of letting a man in a red tie do it for him, and after six weeks came to
the conclusion that a strike is a game that more than one can play at. He
strikes now only in his holidays. He never now forgets his tools or leaves
taps running. He does a good day's plumb for a good day's pay. And he sings
while he works. Strange to say that little tooth of his has given up
striking too.

But yet it is not strange, for, as I told you, it was a wisdom tooth.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "£3 10s. HUSBANDS.


But isn't this rather trigamous?

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: MANNERS AND MODES.


       *       *       *       *       *




       *       *       *       *       *


I found Andy Devenish, of Castle Devenish, Co. Cork, in Piccadilly. He was
wearing an old frieze overcoat, the bottom of which had suffered from a
puppy's teeth, and a bowler hat with a guard-ring dangling from its flat
brim. His freckled nose was squashed against Fore's window as he gazed
wistfully at the sporting prints within. I led him gently westwards, pushed
him into the club's best arm-chair, placed the wine of our mutual country
at his elbow and spoke to him severely.

"Tell me," said I, "how is it I find you thus, got up in the height of
fashion, loitering with intent to lady-kill in this colossal rabbit-warren
which knows no hound but the sleuth, no horse but the towel? How is it,
man, when there's a Peace on and the month is February and there's no frost
south of the Liffey? Why aren't you dressed in a coat that is pink in spots
and a cap that is velvet in places, flipping over your stone-faced banks on
a rampageous four-year-old that you bought for ten pounds down, ten pounds
some time, a sack of seed oats and an old saddle, and will eventually palm
off on an Englishman at Ballsbridge for two hundred cash? What about the
hounds? The Ballinknock Versatiles? What are they doing without their
master? Going for improving country walks with Patsey Mike, two and two
like young ladies from a seminary, or sitting up on their benches, a tear
in every eye, wailing, 'Oh, where is our wandering boy tonight?'

"And what about the Ballinknock foxes, eh? Aren't they entitled to some
consideration? Didn't they carry on patiently for four dull years while you
were in France, learning to walk in the cavalry, on the understanding that
you'd make up for it when you got back by hunting them every day of the
week? Have you no love or sympathy for dumb animals? Why are you here? What
are you flying from? Tell me your dread secret. Is it debt, arson,
murder--or is some woman threatening to marry you?"

Andy growled into his whiskey-and-soda, then suddenly pointed out of the
window. "See the advertisement on that bus?"

"'MIND THE WIDOW'," I read, "'shrieking comedy by Cosmo--'"

"No, not that one," Andy grumbled; "t'other."

It was a picture of a smiling gentleman with a head that gleamed like
patent leather. The gentleman attributed his happiness to the fact that he
mixed "Florazora" cream with his scalp. "Florazora Cream," I read, "fixes
the hair. Subtly perfumed with honey and flowers. Imparts a lustre and--"
The bus resumed its journey.

I studied Andy's head. Normally it looks as though he had been mopping out
a rusty drain with it. It was quite normal, every hair on end and pointing
in a different direction.

"Well, what of Florazora?" I asked. "It's evident she has never entered
into your life, at any rate."

"That's all you know about it," said Andy. "They're sitting up for me with
blunderbusses and brickbats at home, and 'Florazora' is the cause."

"But how?" I asked.

"Ye'll discover if ye'll let me speak for a half a minute. I may admit to
you I was very sweet on a little girl that was staying with the MacManuses
a while back, so I bought a bottle of that stuff to keep my hair down while
I was pitching her the yarn. I cornered the lass alone in the MacManus'
drawing-room, went down on my knees and threw off a dandy proposal I had
learnt by heart out of a book. The girl curled about all over the sofa with
emotion, and for a bit I thought my eloquence was doing it. Then I
perceived she was near shaken to pieces with laughter. Couldn't think why
till I happened to catch sight of myself in a mirror and saw that my darned
old hair had come unstuck again and was bobbing up all over my head, not
singly as it is now, but a cockatoo tuft at a time, thanks to 'Florazora.'
I rose up off the MacManus carpet and ran all the way home."

"Still I don't see--" I began.

"Ye never will if ye don't give me a chance to tell ye," said Andy.

"Do ye remember that greasy divil Peter Flynn that owns a draper's shop in
Ballinknock main street? A fat man he is with the flowing locks of a stump
orator, given to fancy waistcoats and a frock-coat--very dressy. Ye'd see
him standing at the shop-door on fair-days, bobbing to the women and
how-dy-doin' the country boys the way he'd tout a vote or two, he being the
leading Sinn Fein organiser down our way now. Anyhow he and his raparees
got after me and the hunt, on account of me evicting a tenant that hadn't
paid a penny of rent for seven years and didn't ever intend to. They hinted
to the decent poor farmers round about that there'd be ricks fired and cows
ripped if they allowed me to hunt their lands, so I got stopped everywhere.
I had land enough of my own to carry on with, so I hunted there till the
foxes and hares gave out, which they precious soon did, seeing that half
the neighbourhood was out shooting, trapping, poisoning and lurching them.

"I bought a stag from a feller in Limerick and chased that for a bit; then
on a 'tween day, when I was away and the deer out grazing in the demesne,
somebody slipped a brace of Mauser bullets into it, and that form of
diversion was likewise at an end. As far as I could see an animal wouldn't
stand a ten minutes' chance in my country unless it were an armadillo.

"I wrote to the War Office, asking them could they kindly oblige me with
the loan of a lively little tank for pursuing purposes, but got no answer.
I guess WINSTON had a liver on him that morning. So there was nothing for
it but to give up the hounds. I went and broke the sad news to Patsey Mike,
who was mixing stirabout at the time. 'Oh, God save us, don't be doing
that, Sor,' says he. 'Hoult hard a day or so and I'll be afther findin'
some little object to hunt, that them dirthy blagyards won't shoot at all.'

"Two mornings later he turned up, dragging something in an oat-sack.

"I have it here that'll course out before the houn's like a shootin'-star,'
says he.

"'What is it?' says I.

"The rogue put his hand in the sack and drew out a yellow mongrel dog.

"'Where did ye get that?' says I.

"'Shure didn't I borry it?' says he.

"'And who did ye borrow it from?' says I.

"'From Misther Flynn, no less,' says he. ''Tis his little foxey pet dog.'

"'Does Mr. Flynn know you borrowed it from him?' says I.

"'Begob that he does not,' says he. 'Mr. Flynn is beyond in Youghal and I
borryed it in the dark dead of night over the yard wall. Faith, he'll run
home like a flick of lightning, he's that scared, the same dog.'

"'Ye did well,' said I; 'but will the hounds chase him?'

"'That they will, Sor. What with foxes one day, stags the next and hares
the next, there's sorra a born thing they wouldn't hunt given there's smell
enough in it,' says the lad. 'Have ye the laste little trace of aniseed in
the house that you could drench the crature with the way the houn's would
folly him?'

"Divil a drop of aniseed or anything else had I on the place, and I stood
there scratching my ear with my crop wondering what to do, when suddenly I
remembered that relic of my courting days, 'Florazora.' 'I have it,' I
said; 'I've got something that'll fix _that_ hare all right.'

"I fetched the bottle and rubbed a handful or so of the stuff well into Mr.
Flynn's pet dog and let him go with a flip of my whip lash to help him on
his way. He lit out for home as though the devil had kicked him, yelling
blue murder and laying a trail of flowers and honey across the country so
thick you could pretty nigh eat it. I gave him a fair start, then laid the
hounds on and we had a five-mile point, going like a steeplechase all the
way. Flynn lives in a lonely house about half a mile out of Ballinknock,
and the 'bag-man' got home to it and through the wee dog-hole into the yard
with just six inches to spare.

"Patsey went over the wall and borrowed the dog three times after that. It
was no trouble at all. Flynn was still away in Youghal, and his housekeeper
was that deaf Gabriel would have to announce the Crack of Doom to her on
his fingers. But it was too good to last. On the fourth day we were nearing
Flynn's house, the dog leading the pack by not fifty yards, when I saw him
cut across a field to the left, while the hounds tumbled into a little
boreen that runs up from the railway-station and went streaking down it
singing out as if they were on a breast-high scent and in view.

"'Begob,' says I to Patsey, 'they've changed; they're running a hare, I

"'Tis a hare in a frock-coat then, Sor,' says he, pointing with his whip.

"Sure enough it was a man they were after. I saw him then galloping down
the boreen for dear life, coat-tails flying, hair streaming, terror in his
big white face. Flynn! I did my damdest, but I had no hope of stopping
them, not in that little lane. When I came out on the high-road I found
what was left of the politician half-way up a telegraph post, like a treed
cat, screeching and scrambling and calling on the Saints, with old Actress
swinging by her teeth to the tails of his shirt, Cruiskeen ripping the
trousers off him a leg at a time, and the rest of the pack leaping under
him like the surf of the sea.

"I nearly rolled off my mare with laughter, though well I knew the
screeching scarecrow up the pole would have me drawn and quartered for that
day's work. I whipped the hounds off in the end, took 'em by road to Fermoy
that same evening and boxed 'em to my brother-in-law in Carlow. 'Twas
fortunate I did, for my kennels were burnt to the ground that night."

Andy sighed, drained his glass and gazed regretfully at the bottom.

"H-m, ye-es, but there's still a point I would like cleared up," said I.
"What made the pack change and chase Flynn?"

"Appears he was strongly addicted to 'Florazora' too," said Andy.


       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Odd Job Man_ (_to Gardener, discussing dinner which has
been sent them from the house_). "NASTY BIT O' MUTTON THIS, AIN'T IT?"

_Gardener._ "'TAIN'T MUTTON--IT'S PORK."


       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Rosamund_ (_who has had a restless night_). "NOW I THINK OF

       *       *       *       *       *


From the account of a farewell meeting in honour of a retiring Minister:--

    "It was altogether a notable gathering, and perhaps the congregational
    repetition of the General Thanksgiving at the opening of the meeting
    gave the keynote to the whole proceedings."--_Christian World._

       *       *       *       *       *

    "An immediate advance of 10s. a week for adult workers and 5s. for
    juniors is being made to employers by the National Transport Workers'
    Federation."--_Evening Paper._

We have always contended that the motto "For others" is the guiding
principle of Labour.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "There are Germans still in the Baltic Provinces--which is full of
    uuuuuuuuuuuuuu eaoi aoa."--_Daily Paper._

Very suspicious.

       *       *       *       *       *


(_Mr. ASQUITH and the Paisley Mill-hand_).



       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: SCENE.--_Local Hall._ DRAMA, "_The Alaskan Tiger Cat_."

_Hero_ (_after unsuccessful proposal_). "THEN, MARGARET, AM I TO TAKE IT

       *       *       *       *       *



  You have stood at some time, I suppose, with a sense of disaster
    And gazed at a picture resembling an egg on a mat,
  Or a sideslip of squares in the mode of a Pimlico master?--
    Well, Binks's "Rebellion" and "Afternoon Tea in my Flat"
              Were extremely like that.

  He was nuts upon Beauty was Binks, and from boyhood acquainted
    With Art, and so bound to her side with such delicate links
  That I doubt if the soul of her, much as we've written and painted,
    Had ever been fathomed (for is she not strange as the Sphinx?)
              Till she got to know Binks.

  He had hundreds of phases, and all of them highly sensational,
    A Cubist unbending, a Vorticist equally stout;
  Scorned one thing, he said, and one only, the Representational,
    Meaning, I take it, a school where there isn't much doubt
              What the whole thing's about.

  And at times he would say, as I stared at his riotous scrimmages
    And asked what on earth was the meaning, "You must have regard
  To the mind of the artist, for Art is a matter of images,"
    And it seemed that he thought all these things when he gazed very hard
              At a tub in a yard.

  But at times he would tell me that Art was a mere interweaving
    Of hues and designs; he had done what he could to expel
  All thoughts and all visual objects, for these were deceiving,
    And I told him, so far as an ignorant layman could tell,
              He had done that quite well.

  But I think that of all of his phases the last was most funny;
    He was vestured in white when I met him by chance in the town;
  He had shaved off his beard, his beard, like Apollo's, of honey;
    His hair was quite short, he had lost his habitual frown,
              He was looking quite brown.

  He told me he never exhibited now in a gallery;
    Commissions were filling his time and engaging his heart;
  What was more, he observed, he was making a regular salary,
    So I asked him to tell me the worst and explain from the start
              What had happened to Art.

  "I have banished Design," he informed me, "and thoughts are all duller
    Than Beauty, and Beauty is Art; but no critic can grouse
  At the notion of Absolute Pure Indivisible Colour
    As calm as Eternity, smooth as omnipotent _nous_--
              I am painting a house."


       *       *       *       *       *



       *       *       *       *       *


"The New Poor?" said Holder, like myself, one of them. "Nonsense. There are
none. There are people who will not use their imaginations, of course. They
are poor, but not newly so. This so-called new poverty doesn't touch me.
True, the money I make will not go so far as it used to, but my imagination
goes very much farther. I have trained it, encouraged it, my wife's and
boy's too. We have cast off the absurd restraints imposed by the law of
probability. In the old days, when I used to think, say, of motors, I was
invariably badgered by the spectre of improbability. I used to think of a
four-hundred-pound car, or perhaps, in a daring moment, my thoughts would
creep timidly, like mice out into a still kitchen, on to the six-hundred-
pound plane, only to scurry back to the lower plane almost instantly. _Now_
I've thrown all that overboard. Rubbish! When I think of motors I think in
terms of Rolls-Royces. Why think cheaply? It's a poor imagination that
won't run to a six-cylinder car at least. Strictly, I shall never own a
real motor scooter. What of it? In my mind I use Rolls-Royces. We've rather
worked the thing up at home. Come and dine with us and see for yourself."

We had sausages and mashed potatoes, with water. And I may say that never
have I enjoyed a meal more. You see, Holder kept on telling us all the time
about the famous dinner which now, owing to the War, we should never really
eat, but which we were at perfect liberty to imagine we were eating. I am
sorry you were not there. The _hors d'oeuvres_! Holder describes _hors
d'oeuvres_ better than any man I know. Oh, masterly, the colour ... RUSKIN,
perhaps. Anyhow, he carried us quite away.

His wife chose oysters. His description of oysters, instantly furnished,
was a little gem--a pearl, silver-grey, so much so that I too chose
oysters. His little boy, Dickie, chose caviare; but he really did not care
for it. He bit on a piece of button in his sausage, poor child. That was
why he did not appreciate the caviare. But Holder distracted his mind with
some very remarkable mushroom soup--_potage de champignons_--a brilliant
word-sketch. We all chose it.

For fish there was saus--pardon me, sole. The little lad, Dickie, chose
salmon; but Holder reminded him that he had had salmon the previous
evening; it was out of season in any case, and he described how the sole
tasted that probably Dickie will never touch. The boy appeared to enjoy it

I think it was the game, simple roast partridges, exquisitely cooked, which
Mrs. Holder enjoyed most. Her eyes were frankly shining as she pensively
chewed the third quarter of her sausage, and she thrilled to the juices of
the partridge of the dinner she could no longer hope really to eat, but
which Holder, thank God, would often describe, at any rate until a tax is
put on conversation. Even then something might be done--deaf and dumb
language, possibly--an evasion, I admit, but even the New Poor must eat

We all enjoyed the game course most, with the exception of Dickie. The lad
had finished his sausage, and mashed potato alone is not inspiring. But
that great man, Holder, noticed it in time, and he satisfied the child with
a word-painting of the brown crisp skin of cooked goose. Then we drank some
magnificent wine. Holder ransacked the English language for it. A vivifying

But enough of food, or you will think we were gourmands. None of us cared
for any sweets after such a meal. And that is what I like about the
Holders: with them enough is as good as the feast they will never have.

After dinner we smoked a very fine cigar in the imaginary conservatory
which Holder has just run up, and I have rarely, if ever, heard a better
description of men smoking cigars in a conservatory. Next, Holder played me
a fast game of billiards. He allowed me to choose my own table, and I
picked the most expensive in the catalogue. Dickie marked for us. Then he
went to bed. I heard his father whisper a most convincing description of
eiderdowns and real wool blankets when he kissed him. He is only a very
little boy--big blue eyes, you know, like a girl's; they watered a little.

It was a clear moonlit night with a touch of frost in the air, so Mrs.
Holder rang for the visionary footman, a good-looking, most willing,
sensible man, according to Holder's quick portrait of him, who piled up
some great logs on a bank of coals of a positively fantastic size, and we
gathered round to enjoy a run in the brand-new, latest model Rolls-Royce
which is one of the special things which Holder will never possess in this
world. Ah, but she was a queen of cars, and the best of cars always
run better at night. I wonder why. So smoothly silky, so dreamily
sweet-running, a pouring of cream! I wish I could convey to you the satin
sound of her transmission, the low golden purr of her gears, the fanning
of her velvet wings--wheels, that is. I would sooner ride in that verbal
car of Holder's than walk round the real backyard that is my own, unless
I fall behind with the rent, as I begin to fear I shall....

Down the dreamy moon-drenched highways, across the magic silver-flecked
moors, we climbed on the wings of the peregrine to the keen, cold uplands,
soared awhile, then dropped to the warm and sheltered valley and so home
again. We felt the radiator, Holder and I, and it was quite cool. _She_
will never boil on a stiff hill. Mrs. Holder was glowing from her ride; for
an instant she looked pink and pretty; she had lost that wistful pinched

I went inside for a phrase or so of Holder's admirable idea of what cherry
brandy should be. We chatted for a little about the estate that he will
never purchase, and then I left, having promised to go round there
to-morrow for a little shooting. It will be hot work among the pheasants if
Holder has not lost his voice.

He and his wife came down the drive to the entrance-gates with me.

"Good-night," they said; "we're glad you've enjoyed yourself."

Holder was a little hoarse, for he is a generous host. I think too the
motor run had tired them both, for their faces were again a little haggard;
and the wind had brought tears to the eyes of Mrs. Holder.

So I said good-bye to them--and to Jack, their elder boy, whom they will
never see again. He lies in France. But, you understand, it was as if he
had been with us all again for a little while that evening.

       *       *       *       *       *



       *       *       *       *       *


  Full many a year has waxed and waned
    And sunk into its shroud
  Since that first day that I obtained
    A diary and vowed
  To keep (as I informed my wife)
  "The Records of a Simple Life."

  Within it I resolved to state,
    Like Mr. PEPYS of yore,
  The things that I, for instance, ate
    And she, my Mary, wore,
  Facts that would have a curious worth
  When I was famed and--under earth.

  And generations yet unborn
    Would feel a thrill to note
  How I upon an April morn
    Left off my overcoat,
  Or showed a pardonable spleen
  At having missed the 9.16.

  Nine volumes I've commenced at least
    To write with eager pen;
  The first, I note, abruptly ceased
    On January 10,
  While yesteryear the break occurred,
  I think, upon the 23rd.

  But this year, I am proud to see,
    Stands not as others stood;
  The prospects of posterity
    Are really rather good,
  Now that my zeal (not on the ebb)
  Has borne me safely into Feb.

       *       *       *       *       *


The connection of occultism with music was recently discussed by Mr. CYRIL
SCOTT in his interesting volume on Modernism in Music. It is satisfactory
to know that the subject is not to be allowed to drop. Grave discontent is
rife in orchestral circles at the monopoly enjoyed at spiritualist
_séances_ by the tambourine, and it is reported that Mr. ERNEST NEWMAN, the
distinguished and outspoken musical critic, will shortly deliver a public
lecture on behalf of the admission of other instruments to these mysteries,
and in particular the tuba. The claim of the tuba, Mr. NEWMAN holds, is not
only based on the profundity of its tones, but upon long literary
tradition. Nothing could be more conclusive than the reference in the old
Latin hymn:--

  "Tuba mirum spargens sonum
  Per sepulcra regionum."

It is anticipated that the discussion will be attended by Signor MARCONI,
Lord DUNSANY, Mr. YEATS and Lieutenant JONES, the author of _The Road to

       *       *       *       *       *

Meanwhile the conflicting current of musical materialism is running strong.
_The Daily Mail_, always in the van of artistic progress, has espoused the
cause of the insurgent Georgians with intrepid zeal. Mr. JULIUS HARRISON is
extolled in a leading article for finding a theme for an orchestral work,
not in any of the misty or metaphysical abstractions which appealed to the
effete Victorian composers, but in plums. And, mind you, not Carlsbad, but
honest Worcestershire plums, without any Teutonic taint. Mr. JULIUS
HARRISON'S patriotic example is not likely to be lost on his brother
composers. Indeed it is asserted on credible authority that Mr. GRANVILLE
BANTOCK, who has completely forsworn all Oriental and exotic subjects, is
engaged on a gigantic symphony, with choral interludes, entitled "Yorkshire
Pudding;" and that Mr. JOSEF HOLBROOKE is collaborating with Lord HOWARD DE
WALDEN in a romantic historical opera in fifteen Acts called "From Woad to

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. BERNARD SHAW, who, it may be necessary to remind youthful readers, was
a musical critic on _The Star_ and _The World_ before he achieved fame as a
dramatist, has been causing his friends and admirers serious misgivings by
his article on Sir EDWARD ELGAR in a new musical journal, _Music and
Letters_. Sir EDWARD ELGAR has a great following; he has written oratorios;
he is an O.M.; yet Mr. SHAW salutes him as the greatest English composer,
the true lineal descendant of BEETHOVEN, one of the Immortals and the only
candidate for Westminster Abbey! To find Mr. SHAW taking a majority view is
bad enough; it is a case of proving false to the tradition of a lifetime--a
moral suicide. But why drag in BEETHOVEN? So left-handed a compliment
prompts the suspicion that, after all, what appears to be eulogy is in
reality nothing more than an essay in adroitly dissembled obloquy. _Mutatis
mutandis_, Mr. SHAW would not thank Sir EDWARD ELGAR for calling him, for
example, the Voltaire _de nos jours_. What he does enjoy is the frank
disparagement of Mr. WILFRID BLUNT, who describes him in the second volume
of _My Diary_, just published, as "an ugly fellow, his face a pasty-white,
with a red nose and a rusty red beard, and little slaty-blue eyes."

       *       *       *       *       *

An interesting but, we regret to say, decidedly hostile estimate of
Mr. LLOYD GEORGE as a musician appears in the columns of a leading
anti-Coalition daily. The critic discusses the PREMIER both as vocalist and
instrumentalist, and in both capacities finds him sadly wanting. The volume
of his voice is small, the timbre is unpleasant, the production faulty and
the intonation far from pure. Admitting that Mr. LLOYD GEORGE has a certain
flexibility and facility common to all Welsh singers, the critic condemns
his habit of resorting to an emotional tremolo which frequently degenerates
into a mere "wobble." The PREMIER, he continues, shows agility and spirit
in florid passages, but his declamation lacks dignity and his articulation
is often indistinct. As a pianist he is equally unsatisfactory; his
repertory is extremely limited and he is quite unable to interpret the
complex harmonies of the Russian School.

       *       *       *       *       *

A painful example of Mr. LLOYD GEORGE'S ignorance is forthcoming in the
astounding fact that he is, or was, under the impression that Karsavina was
the name of a town, and that the only musician of the name of Corelli was
the author of _The Sorrows of Satan_. The critic concludes with a masterly
analysis of the results of these short-comings on the vitality of the
Coalition Cabinet, already weakened by the withdrawal of Mr. BALFOUR, a
very sound and accomplished musician of the old school.

       *       *       *       *       *


  Now I return to my own land and people,
    Old familiar things so to recover,
    Hedgerows and little lanes and meadows,
  The friendliness of my own land and people.

  I have seen a world-frieze of glowing orange,
    Palms painted black on a satin horizon;
    Palm-trees in the dusk and the silence standing
  Straight and still against a background of orange;

  A gorgeous magical pomp of light and colour,
    A dream-world, a sparkling gem in the sunlight,
    The minarets and domes of an Eastern city;
  And, in the midst of all the pomp of colour,

  My heart cried out for my own land and people,
    My heart cried out for the lush meadows of England,
    The hedgerows and the little lanes of England,
  And for the faces of my own people.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The Viceroy, fishing in the Kabini river yesterday, caught a mahseer
    weighing 77 pounds. This is the best fish so far caught in one day."--
    _Weekly Rangoon Times._

We gather that the giant would not have allowed any less august angler to
land it except by instalments.

       *       *       *       *       *



[Illustration: "SPLENDIDLY WRITTEN."


[Illustration: "BY JOVE, IT'S EXCITING!"



"YES, I'VE--"]

[Illustration: "--THE HERO--"

"--READ IT."]

[Illustration: "--BUT I MUST READ IT TO YOU."


[Illustration: "I KNOW YOU'LL--"


[Illustration: "--ENJOY IT."


       *       *       *       *       *


It was with ill-concealed trepidation that I approached the Pontifical
Personage who presides over Messrs. Barkrod and Tomridge's Zoological
Department. The recollection of my previous and only encounter with him
still burned in my memory. I had gone thither with a young nephew on whom
in a rash moment I had urged the satisfaction to be derived from the study
of natural history and he had countered with a birthday and a demand that I
should convert precept to practice by providing him with a pet.

The P.P. greeted us with benignant expectancy. His white apron merely
accentuated the obvious fact that he had come in a limousine. I have since
decided that he mistook me for an eccentric peer. It seems that eccentric
peers and struggling journalists are apt to provide the same air of
sartorial abandon to the eye of the uninitiated.

It was the young nephew, however, who made the running. The entire
menagerie whistled, barked, sat up on its hind legs, performed acrobatic
feats and said, "Scratch poor Polly," at his discriminating behest. Finally
he reached a point where he simply could not decide between a Goliath
cockatoo at £22 10_s_. and a white-faced Douroucouli at twenty-seven

At this juncture I insinuated myself into the discussion, and by the
exercise of subtle pressure got him to compromise on a pair of white rats
at half-a-crown. Never shall I forget the look of majestic contempt with
which the Personage withered me as he extracted two torpid rodents from a
congeries of their kith and, holding them by their pink tails, dropped them
into a paper bag with the air of a Marchese depositing alms in the palm of
a lazzarone.

Not lightly indeed did I again enter into the Presence. But on this
occasion duty called. The troubadour with lady's glove in helm never showed
a bolder front than the journalist in search of copy. And boldness, it
seemed, was to be rewarded. As I approached the Pontifical Personage it
appeared certain that he did not remember me. And why, I asked myself,
should he? Had I been the Duke of BEDFORD or the President of the Ladies'
Kennel Club I might have expected a place in his august memory. But an
insignificant uncle buying white rats--it was absurd, of course, to fear

I plunged straightway _in medias res_. "I have here," I said, "a journal of
unimpeachable veracity which declares that the Pasteur Institute in Paris
is suffering from a guinea-pig shortage. Please oblige me with your expert
opinion on this momentous matter."

The P.P. smiled slightly, cleared his throat and, waving me to the further
end of the menagerie, proceeded to answer my question. "The common or
Sicilian guinea-pig," he began, "the _Porculus Auriferus Excubitor_ of
BUFFON, is still fairly common, though I may say that it is many a day
since they could be purchased for a guinea. An allied species, the Chinese
or edible guinea-pig, the Sing Fat Soo of the Cantonese restaurateur, is
indeed quite plentiful, but for some reason or other has never found favour
with the leading English fanciers. The fact is that since the War our
customers have become more discerning, and the common guinea-pig, being no
longer called for, is not bred and has therefore ceased to be available for
scientific purposes. A few of the art shades, notably _tête-nègre_ and
_beige_ pigs, are still in request by the furriers; but the public demand
is for something more select.

"Now here"--and reaching into an adjoining cage the Pontifical Personage
extracted between finger and thumb a pinch of twitching fluff--"is the most
highly-prized of the race, the blue Himalayan pig. Only five specimens have
so far reached this country. The first pair were presented to the Duchess
of Snoblands by the Maharajah of Khidmutgar about three years ago, but the
sow met with an unfortunate accident in her ladyship's absence, being
dipped into a box of face-powder by a thoughtless maidservant. The third
specimen, a fine boar, was brought from China as the mascot of H.M.S.
_Colossus_, but just after reaching harbour was accidentally devoured by
the ship's cat. The remaining two I have here. They are expensive, of
course, a hundred-and-five guineas the pair, but quite unique.

"Of greater zoological interest perhaps is this little fellow, _Porculus
Auriferus Decaudatus_, an arboreal species from the Solomon Islands; or the
striated guinea-pig of Central Nicaragua, which I am happily able to show

He placed Nicaragua's most valuable product in my hand, and it promptly bit
me. That I did not drop it into a cageful of terrier-pups was wholly due to
the native vigour with which _Striatus_ hung on.

"The price of that is forty-five guineas," continued the Pontifical Person
smoothly, as he restored it to its cage. I shivered.

"Now here," he went on, "is a pig of real historic interest. I have a fair
number of them just in from my collectors in the Persian Gulf and can do
them at eighteen pounds the pair." He motioned me towards a larger cage
wherein a bevy of dun-coloured piglets were holding a soviet. "The Sumerian
or Desert Pig," he explained, "of the _Oxyrhynchus Papyri_, erroneously
identified by GRENFELL and HUNT with the Southern form of the Tree Hyrax."

It was at this point that my intelligence forsook me. I had been getting on
too well. It was the old story of over-confidence.

"Honestly now, old chap," I said, "and strictly between ourselves, do you
ever sell any of the little beasts?"

His face lit up in a brilliant smile. "No, Sir," he replied, drawing
himself up majestically and looking me squarely in the eye, "we keep these
to show to inquisitive customers. _We only sell_ WHITE RATS!"

I fled. As I crossed the interminable length of floor that separated me
from the door I could feel that contemptuous smile rowelling my shrinking
vertebræ. Halfway across, the Blue Himalyan guinea-pig could have given me
three drachms and whipped me by sheer brute strength. As I sped towards the
door an attendant opened it. It was unnecessary. I could easily have crept
underneath it.


       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Magistrate._ "DO YOU WANT A LAWYER TO DEFEND YOU?"




       *       *       *       *       *

    "VACUUM for Sale, good condition. After 6 o'clock."--_Provincial

Our own is generally at its best about an hour and a-half later.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Mistress_ (_returned from shopping_). "HAS ANYONE CALLED,

_Laura_ (_newly from the country and eager to display her progress in urban

       *       *       *       *       *


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

"A tough hide and some facility of expression"--to quote the author's
modest estimate of his qualifications--have enabled Rear-Admiral Sir
DOUGLAS BROWNRIGG to make his _Indiscretions of the Naval Censor_ (CASSELL)
the liveliest book of the War that has come my way. Thanks to the first
element in his make-up he managed to retain his difficult and delicate post
throughout the War, and only once came into serious collision with any of
his official superiors. As these included First Lords of such diverse
temperament as Mr. CHURCHILL and Lord FISHER, and First Sea Lords with such
diametrically opposite views regarding publicity as Lord FISHER and Sir
HENRY JACKSON, this was no small achievement. Thanks to the second element
he has written a book which scarcely contains a dull page. Whether he is
giving us a pen-picture of Mr. CHURCHILL conducting Admiralty business from
a sick-bed, with his head swathed in flannel and an immense cigar
protruding from the bandage; or explaining how the legend of Lord
KITCHENER'S survival arose from a trivial error that caused the news of the
_Hampshire_ disaster to reach Berlin a few minutes before it was published
in London, he always writes with directness and _verve_. Admiral BROWNRIGG
tells a good deal about the censorship, and illustrates his theme with some
excellent reproductions of naval photographs before and after the Censor
had "re-touched" them. He tells us even more about his work in a less
familiar _rôle_, that of Publicity Agent to the Silent Service. It was he
who arranged visits to the Fleet by more or less distinguished personages--
"BROWNRIGG'S circus parties," as they were dubbed in the gun-room--and who
engaged authors like Mr. KIPLING and artists like Sir JOHN LAVERY to
describe and portray the doings of the Fleet and its auxiliaries. It pains
me to learn, however, that "Passed by Censor" was only a guarantee for the
harmlessness and not for the veracity of the stories narrated; and in
particular that the famous "Q"-boat ruse of the demented female with the
explosive baby was a pure work of imagination.

       *       *       *       *       *

Without any special heralding, Mr. ERIC LEADBITTER seems to have stepped
into the front rank, perhaps even to the leadership, of those active
novelists whose theme is English rural life. I emphasize the word "active,"
with of course a thought for the master of them all, the wizard of
Dorchester, at whose feet it would probably be fair to suppose Mr.
LEADBITTER to have learnt some at least of his craft. His new story,
_Shepherd's Warning_ (ALLEN AND UNWIN), is a quiet tale of life in a not
specially attractive village--a tale that conquers by its direct humanity
and by an art so delicate and so deftly concealed that the book has a
deceptive appearance of having written itself without effort on the part of
its author. It concerns a group of peasants, agricultural labourers,
inhabitants of Fidding, a village gradually yielding to the encroachments
by tram and villa of the neighbouring town. The simple annals of these
folk, and especially of one family, old _Bob Garrett_ and his grandsons,
provide the matter of a tale gentle as the passage of time itself, never
dull, instinct with quality in every line of it. Mr. LEADBITTER has a
method of concentration so pronounced that, once let his characters, even
his heroine, step outside the beam that he has focussed upon Fidding, and
they vanish utterly, till the working (apparently) of fate brings them back
again. Even the murder in his early chapters is so lightly touched upon as
to produce hardly any effect of violence. His sympathy with the life of the
soil, and the human lives that are so near to it, is clearly absorbing; the
result is that, to all save the confirmed sensationalist (piqued possibly
by the waste of good homicide), _Shepherd's Warning_ will also, I think,
prove Reader's Delight.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. H. COLLINSON OWEN, formerly Editor of the soldiers' paper, _The Balkan
News_, would just love to trap you into an argument on the value of our
Macedonian campaign as compared with certain other war efforts. His book,
_Salonika and After_ (HODDER AND STOUGHTON), shows him thirsting to accept
battle for the cause he champions; and in the sub-title, _The Side-Show
that Ended the War_, he fairly throws down the gauntlet. But take my advice
and don't be drawn. He has a foreword from General MILNE to support him,
and an extract from LUDENDORFF'S _Memoirs_, and a quotation from _The
Times_. He has a very lively and convincing way of putting things too, and
once he gets his enthusiasm fairly in hand becomes an uncommonly powerful
advocate. Not that this volume is by any means just a piece of special
pleading; only the author is honourably concerned to show both the
importance and the severity of the war against the Bulgars, which he thinks
people at home were a little inclined to disparage. I certainly cannot
remember doing so, but, putting controversy aside, this book remains an
adequate first-hand account of an adventure so great as to demand an heroic
literature all its own, where it can be seen in true perspective. Mr. OWEN
deals delightfully with nights in Salonika clubland or the vagaries of King
"TINO", or with the more warlike matters culminating in the terrific
actions that held the enemy's left wing tight while our allies smashed his
centre. An excellent book, with illustrations above the average and a good
map handily placed.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mrs. HENRY DUDENEY'S _Spade Work_ (HURST AND BLACKETT) is a queer story
queerly told. A musician and an art-and-crafty girl, both poor and both
dull, are engaged. The musician, visiting his _fiancée_, now well off and
installed in a comfortable village farm-house, lets the strong air of the
place get into his head and falls deep in love with a yeoman's daughter,
who in turn, stimulated by this experience, straightway succumbs (at her
first dance in real society, into which the great lady of the village, her
patron, has introduced her) to the suggestion that she shall spend an
unchaperoned night on a young blood's yacht, with results usual in
distressful fiction. However, after many tribulations she and her musician,
now duller than ever, are united, while the jilted craftswoman is left
"full of ideas, sumptious (_sic_), a little feverish" for village
industries which from my impression of her mentality I should judge would
be of a devastating order. Lovers of that charming little West-country
village in which the author sets her scene will not easily forgive her for
naming it and baldly cataloguing its houses and sundry points of its
environment, leaving out most that is the essential of its charm. It's
simply not done by authentic writers of fiction--barring house-agents.

       *       *       *       *       *

Those who experienced the rapture of discovery in an exhibition last May of
caricatures by EDMUND X. KAPP may now rejoice (supposing them to command
the needful guinea) that they can recapture this pleasure through a volume
of twenty-four representative drawings collected under the apt title of
_Personalities_ (SECKER). Not for me to attempt detailed consideration,
even if it were not the duty of every amateur to fall a victim at first
hand to Mr. KAPP'S amazing art. But one can hardly pass without tribute
such things as the head of the Japanese poet on page 1 ("Seer of Visions"),
a really wonderful example of much meaning in few lines, or the WYNDHAM
LEWIS, the only drawing in the book in which a suggestion of cruelty tinges
the satire. Perhaps the most directly laughter-moving pages are those
devoted to the brilliant series of musical conductors; is this because we
have all stared our two hours into expert familiarity with these
variously-tailored backs? But indeed here is a volume of twenty-four
joys, or rather twenty-five, the last being anticipation of Mr. KAPP'S
further activities, which I for one shall await with very genuine

       *       *       *       *       *



       *       *       *       *       *

    "Miss ----, the well-known lady golfer, was married yesterday. Several
    well-known golfers formed a guard of honour, and made an arch of golf
    clubs for the bridal couple to pass under. The bride and bridegroom
    were pelted with wooden golf balls."--_Provincial Paper._

Rubber-cores might have been less painful, but were perhaps too expensive.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 158, 1920-02-04" ***

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