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Title: Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 158, 1920-04-07
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, 1920-04-07" ***

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

VOL. 158, APRIL 7, 1920***


PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI

VOL. 158

APRIL 7, 1920



CHARIVARIA.

"Do the British people," asks Mr. BLATCHFORD, "understand the nature of the
monster modern military science has created?" We hope to hear later what
name Mr. WINSTON CHURCHILL has found for Mr. BLATCHFORD.

       * * *

Agitation for a Federal Divorce Law is being revived in the United States.
It appears that there are still some backward States where the expenses of
a divorce suit mount up to something like ten dollars and the parties often
have to wait as long as three weeks before the knot is untied.

       * * *

"It has now been decided definitely," says _The Daily Express_, "that Sir
AUCKLAND GEDDES will leave England on April 10th." This disposes finally of
the rumour that he intended taking it with him.

       * * *

The natives of the Andaman Islands average about seventy pounds each in
weight. They are so short in stature that their feet only just reach the
ground in time.

       * * *

M. LOUCHEUR suggests that France should build houses similar to those which
are not being built in England.

       * * *

"Sergeant R. Pernotte," says a student of human endeavour, "last week
punched a ball for fifty hours without a break." It is presumed that the
ball must have done something to annoy him.

       * * *

Thirty thousand years ago, says a weekly journal, the seas around England
were at a higher level than at present. It is difficult to know what can be
done about it, but it is just as well that the matter should be mentioned.

       * * *

According to Mr. M. T. SIMM, M.P., there are many wayside inns of a
passable nature. The trouble, of course, is that so many people have a
difficulty in passing them.

       * * *

We understand that Mr. Justice ----'s question, "Who is Mr. LLOYD GEORGE?"
has been postponed to a date to be fixed later.

       * * *

A trade journal advertises a new calculating machine which will total up
stupendous figures without any human help at all. A correspondent writes to
say that in his house he has the identical gas meter which gave the
inventor his idea.

       * * *

The contemporary which refers to the discovery of a gold ring inside a
cod-fish as extraordinary evidently cannot be aware that many profiteers
who go in for fishing are nowadays using such articles as bait.

       * * *

A purse containing nearly a hundred pounds in treasury notes, picked up by
a policeman in South Wales, has not yet been claimed. It is now thought
probable that a local miner may have dropped his week's wages whilst
entering his car and that his secretary has not yet called his attention to
the deficit.

       * * *

"The way some newsboys dodge in and out of the moving traffic is most
dangerous and a serious accident is sure to result before very long,"
complains a writer in an evening paper. For ourselves we cannot but admire
this attempt on the boys' part to make history while in the act of selling
it.

       * * *

We learn from an evening paper that a large woollen warehouse in London was
completely destroyed by fire the other day. We cannot understand why some
people use such inflammable material for building purposes.

       * * *

An old pleasure-boat proprietor at Yarmouth has stated in an interview
that, although all his skiffs and dinghies are ten to fifteen years old,
they are much more trustworthy than those being built at the present time.
We await, fearfully, the comments of Lord FISHER.

       * * *

Dutch wasps, says a news item, are very much like British. Only the
finished expert can tell the difference on being stung.

       * * *

It is said that the Dutch are the most religious race of to-day. Of course
it is well known that the Chinese pray more than the Dutch, but then nobody
understands what they are saying.

       * * *

The Ascot Fire Brigade went on strike last week and several important fires
had to be postponed at the last moment.

       * * *

The Bolsheviks, it appears, may not, after all, be as black as they are
painted. It is reported that TROTSKY has caused one of his Chinese guards
to be executed for calling another an Irishman.

       * * *

Senator BORAH recently informed the American Press that the Presidential
election campaign was becoming a Saturnalia of public corruption. In one
flagrant case it appears that a man who was given the money to buy ten
dollars' worth of Irish Republic went and bought a box of cigars instead.

       * * *

"To keep cats off the seed beds," says _Home Chat_, "bury a small bottle up
to the neck and fill it with liquid ammonia." The old practice of burying
the cat up to the neck in the seed bedding and keeping the ammonia for
subsequent use is considered obsolete.

       * * *

During the past year in London 2,886 persons were knocked down by horsed
vehicles, as compared with 8,388 who were knocked down by motor vehicles.
The popularity of the latter, it seems, is still unchallenged.

       * * *

A weekly paper has an article on "Bad Manners Among Fish." We have
ourselves noticed a tendency to ignore the old adage that fish, like little
children, should be seen and not heard.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: UNLIKELY SCENE AT THE LABOUR EXCHANGE: OUT-OF-WORK POET
PASSING THE INSPIRATION TEST BEFORE A SUPERVISING OFFICIAL OF THE BOARD OF
TRADE.]

       *       *       *       *       *

     "Young lady requires daily work as Cook-general; work not objected
     to."

     _Provincial Paper._

Very obliging of her.

       *       *       *       *       *

POSSESSION.

The dear old home has been let to strangers. An interloper occupies the
messuage. A foreign master controls the demesne.

To-day especially, when as I write the air is balmy and the skies are blue,
it is agonising to feel that our own spring rhubarb is growing crimson only
to be toyed with by alien lips, and that the thrush on our pear-tree
bough----But no, I am wrong; the pear-tree bough is in the garden of No. 9;
it is only the trunk that stands in the garden of No. 10. That, by the way,
is an accident that frequently occurs to estate-owners. Consider critically
for a moment those well-known lines in which BROWNING says--

  "Hark where my blossom'd pear-tree in the hedge
  Leans to the field,"

and then goes on to speak of "the wise thrush" on "the bent spray's edge"
as "singing his song twice over." It is pretty obvious that the reason the
poet assigns to this action on the bird's part is not the correct one.
Evidently the part of the tree on which it was sitting was on the other
side of the hedge in the next-door fellow's garden, and it was
conscientiously trying to allot one performance to each of the two rival
householders. But I seem to have wandered a little from the ancient home.

Come with me in imagination, reader, and let us have a look at it together.
The fourth house to the left in this winding road that fringes the common,
you see it standing there gazing a little wistfully, yet with a quiet air
of semi-detachment, out over the wide expanse of green. Half right and half
left are two monstrous blocks of red brick flats overlooking it with a
thousand envious eyes. The middle distance is dotted pleasantly with
hawthorn bushes and the pretty pieces of sandwich-paper that are always the
harbingers of London's Spring. Beyond these things, and far away to the
front, you may detect on clear days a white church-tower nestling like
Swiss milk amongst immemorial trees. And this view is mine--mine, like the
old home. If we linger for a moment in the road we shall probably see the
scornful face of the proud usurper at one of the windows calmly enjoying
this view of mine, all unconscious that I, the rightful owner, am standing
beneath. Does it not remind you of the films?--

"_Charles Carruthers_, an outcast from his ancestral halls, eyes mournfully
the scene of merry junketing within. _Charles Carruthers_--_blick!
blick!_"--and you see him eyeing mournfully outside--"_blick! blick!_"--and
you see the junketers eating his junket within.

On looking back in a calmer mood on the lines which I have just written, I
feel it possible that I may have let my emotions run away with me and
conveyed a slightly false impression. I may have suggested that the old
home has belonged to my family since Domesday Book or dear-knows-when or
some other historic date in our island story. That would not be strictly
true. As a matter of fact I have never lived in the house, nor have any of
my relations either. It has belonged to me, to be quite accurate, since
March 25th, 1920, and the interloper was interloping on a short lease when
I bought the long lease over his head. It is also true that by an awkward
and absurd convention I have to restore the old home to the ground landlord
in 1941. But who cares about what is going to happen in 1941? The Coalition
may have come to an end by that time, and the first Labour Government,
under Lord NORTHCLIFFE or Mr. JACK JONES, may be in power. Some bricklayer,
in a mood of artistic frenzy, may have designed the plan of a new brick and
had it passed by the Ministry of Housing. DEMPSEY may have met CARPENTIER.

No, the trouble is about the interloper. It appears that, having the
remainder of a lease to run, he can go on anteloping (you know what I mean)
for two years more if he likes. To do him justice he admits that the place
is mine and wants to leave it. He has no real love for the priceless old
spot. All that he asks is somewhere better to go to. So I am gladly doing
my best to help him. I send him notices of forty-roomed Tudor mansions,
which seem to abound in the market, mansions with timbered parks,
ornamental waters, Grecian temples, ha-has, gazebos, herds of graceful
bounding gazebos, and immediate possession. I do more than this. I send him
extravagant eulogies of lands across the seas, where the grapes grow
larger, the pear-trees blossom all the year round and separate thrushes
laid on to each estate never cease to sing. I suggest the advantages of the
mercantile marine and a life on the rolling main, of big game shooting,
polar exploration, and the residential attractions of Constantinople,
Berlin, Dublin and Vladivostok.

Concurrently with this I try hard to cultivate in him a certain distaste
for the dear old home. I walk up and down the road in front of it with a
pair of field-glasses, and, if I see that a little chip has fallen off
anywhere or the paint on the gate has been scratched, I call on him at
once.

"I happened to be passing the demesne," I say, "when I noticed a rather
serious item of dilapidation," or "A word with you about the messuage; it
looks a trifle off colour to-day. Have you had it blistered lately?" And
this worries him a good deal, because he is responsible for all repairs.

I do not fail to point out to my friends, either, that this is my
well-known family seat, and I persuade them from time to time to go and ask
for me at the door. "What, isn't he living here _yet_?" I get them to say,
with a well-feigned surprise. "It is his house, isn't it?" I frequently
have letters addressed to myself sent there, and every morning and
afternoon the nurse takes the children past it for a walk. The children are
well drilled.

"Look, Priscilla, that's our garden," says Richard in a high penetrating
treble; and

"There's a darlin' little buttercup. I want to go in," Priscilla replies.

All this quiet steady pressure is bound to have its due effect in time.
Gradually I think he will begin to feel that a shadow haunts the ancestral
halls (the front one, you know, and the back passage), that a footstep not
his own treads behind him on the stair, that the dear old home will never
be happy until it is occupied by its rightful lord.

I shall send him a marked copy of this article.

EVOE.

       *       *       *       *       *

_VERS TRÈS LIBRE._

(_Arabesque on a field of blue_).

  These are the things, or gorgeous or delicate,
  Imposing, intime, dazzling or repellent,
  That sing--better than music's self,
  Better than rhyme--
  The praise and liberty of blue:
  The turquoise and the peacock's neck,
  The blood of kings, the deeps
  Of Southern lakes, the sky
  That bends over the Azores,
  The language of the links, the eyes
  Of fair-haired angels, the
  Policeman's helmet and the backs
  Of books issued by the Government,
  Also the Bird of Happiness (MAETERLINCK)
  And many other things such as
  The Varsity colours, various kinds
  Of pottery and limelight,
  Some things by SWINBURNE, BURNS and EZRA POUND,
  The speedwell in the glade, and, oh!
  The little cubes they put in wash-tubs.

  REFRAIN.

  These are the things, or gorgeous or delicate,
  And so on down to "liberty of blue."

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "OLIVER 'ASKS' FOR MORE."

MINER. "YOU'LL BE SORRY ONE OF THESE DAYS THAT YOU DIDN'T GIVE ME
NATIONALIZATION."

PREMIER. "IF YOU KEEP ON LIKE THIS THERE WON'T BE ANY NATION LEFT TO
NATIONALIZE YOU."]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Owner._ "SMART LITTLE THING ISN'T SHE?"

_Friend._ "PITY SHE'S SO UGLY BELOW THE WATER-LINE."

_Owner._ "OH, WELL, NOBODY WILL SEE THAT."

_Friend._ "WHAT ABOUT WHEN SHE CAPSIZES?"]

       *       *       *       *       *

TOOLS OF TRADE.

I am sorry for the man who took his typewriter on the Underground and was
made to buy a bicycle-ticket for it. But I have no doubt he deserved it. I
am sure that he did it in spiritual pride. He was trying to make himself
equal to the manual labourer who carries large bags of tools on the Tube
and sighs heavily as he lays them on your foot. I am sure that he was tired
of being scornfully regarded by manual labourers, and was determined to
make it quite clear that he too had done, or was about to do, a day's
labour, and manual labour at that. It was a sinful motive and it deserved
to be punished; but it was natural. Nowadays we all feel like that. We
caught it from the War, when the great thing was to show that you were
doing more work than anybody else.

I take from a recent copy of _Hansard_[1] the following brisk and delicate
piece of dialogue:--

"Mr. MACQUISTEN: You Labour men have forgotten what sweat is.

Mr. W. THORNE: I have never seen many lawyers sweat, anyhow.

Mr. SPEAKER: This discussion is becoming intemperate.

AN HON. MEMBER: The Hon. Member for Springburn never sweated in his life.

Mr. MACQUISTEN: Yes, I have laboured in the docks."

That is it, you see. Sweating is the great criterion of usefulness to-day.
If you cannot show that you have sweated in the past, you must at least
show that you are sweating now, or have every intention of sweating in a
moment or two. Personally, as a private secretary, I find it very
difficult, though I do my best. As a private secretary I labour in a rich
house in the notoriously idle neighbourhood of South Kensington, where
nobody would believe that anybody laboured, much less perspired over it. So
when I pass, on the way to my rich house, a builder's labourer or a milkman
or a dustman, I have to exhibit as clearly as I can all the signs of a
harsh employment and industrial fatigue. I take great pains about this; I
walk much faster; I frown heavily and I look as pale as possible. In the
Tube I close my eyes. I hope all this is effective, but as far as I can see
the milkman never looks at me, and the builder is always saying to another
builder, "'E says to me, 'Wot abaht it?' 'e says, and I says to 'im, 'Yus,
wot abaht it?' I says." But it is worth the effort.

Well, that is why that poor man was carrying a typewriter. I wonder why
everybody else in the Tube carries an "attaché-case." It has been
calculated that if all the attaché-cases which get on to the train at
Hammersmith at 9 A.M. were left on the platform, six men or twelve women or
three horses could take their place in every car. That means about ninety
more men or one-hundred-and-eighty more women or forty-five more horses
could leave Hammersmith between 9 A.M. and 9.30. So that if attaché-cases
were forbidden the traffic problem would be practically solved.

Why shouldn't they be forbidden? It depends, of course, on what is inside
the cases; and nobody knows that for certain. But one can guess. I have
been guessing for a long time. At first I thought they were full of very
confidential papers. In the old days the attaché-case was the peculiar
trademark of private secretaries and diplomats and high-up people like
that. Even attachés carried them sometimes. The very lowest a man with an
attaché-case could be was a First-Class Civil Servant; and one was
justified in imagining confidential papers inside, or, at any rate,
home-work of the first importance. But nowadays there are too many of them
for that. The attaché-case has been degraded; it is universal. This might
be because there is practically no male person alive just now who has not
been an adjutant at one time or another, and pinched at least one
attaché-case from the orderly-room. But most of the cases in the Tube are
carried by females, so that theory is no good.

Well, then, I imagined sandwiches or knitting or powder-puffs or tea; but
those also are rotten hypotheses. I have too much faith in the good sense
of my fellow-countrywomen to believe that they would cart a horrible thing
like a cheap attaché-case about simply in order to convey a sandwich or a
powder-puff from one end of London to the other. So I had to fall back on
my own experience.

I know, at any rate, what is inside mine. There are some rather grubby
envelopes which I borrowed from the House of Commons, and some very grubby
blotting-paper from the same source, and either a ream of foolscap or a
quire of foolscap, whichever is which; some pipe-cleaners and a few pieces
of milk-chocolate; and a letter from the Amalgamated Association of
Fish-Friers which ought to have been answered a long time ago; and a
memorandum on Hog-Importing which I am always going to read while waiting
at the station; and a nice piece of thick string with which I have tied a
bowline on a bight; and two broken pencils and some more envelopes; and a
Parliamentary Whip of last year and a stationery bill of the year before;
and several bills of my employer, not to mention a cheque for ninety-seven
pounds which I suppose he would like me to send to the bank; and a great
deal of fluff and a pipe or two and four or five stamped letters which it
is now too late to post. That is all there is in my case.

But I carry it backwards and forwards, in and out, to and fro, day after
day; and the only time it is ever opened at either end of the journey is
when, in addition to the articles previously mentioned, it contains
bottles. But I do not carry it for the sake of bottles; far from it. I am
one of those men who do not mind going about with a comparatively naked
bottle. I carry it simply because it is the tool of my trade, and because,
if you don't carry a tool of some kind on the Underground, at any moment
you may be taken for an idle rich, if not actually a parasite, who never
sweated in his life.

And that, I am persuaded, is why everybody else carries theirs.

But this is a very serious conclusion. It will be a terrible thing if
everyone is going to carry the tools of his trade about with him to show
that he has a trade; the barrister his briefs, the doctor his stethoscope
or his shiny black bag; the butcher his chopper; the dentist--but no, we
cannot have that. There must be other ways. We might wear badges, as we did
in the War, only they would be office badges and trade badges, instead of
regimental badges or discharged badges. Then we should have again the dear
old war-game of trying to read what was on them without being rude. That is
what one really misses in public places in these days of Peace--that and
the uniforms.

It was easy to make conversation in a restaurant in the old days, when
people kept on coming in in curious uniforms, and the ladies wondered what
they were and the men pretended they knew all about them. But all that is
dead now, and I think these sweat-badges would supply a serious want.

But what will the author wear? And who will believe that he ever breaks
into beads of perspiration at his labour?

A. P. H.

[Footnote 1: February 24th, col. 1638.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Butler_ (_in service of the Earl of Kyloes_), "IS THAT YOU,
MY LORD?"

_Burglar_ (_full of guile_). "YUS, MATEY."]

       *       *       *       *       *

     "CAN EUROPE BE SAVED?

     By LOVAT FRASER."

     _Daily Mail._

We don't know; but there can be no harm in his trying.

       *       *       *       *       *

Commercial Candour.

     "Your Soil needs a tonic. Send 2s. 6d. for 40 lb. Ground Lime in a
     Government twill bag, worth half the money."--_Local Paper._

     "Antique Copper Fire-irons and Dogs, almost new."--_Local Paper._

       *       *       *       *       *

THE PACKET RAT.

  "When I leave this Western Ocean, to the South'ard I will steer,
  In a tall Colonial clipper far an' far enough from here,
  Down the Channel on a bowline, through the Tropics runnin' free,
  When I'm done with this 'ere ocean ... an' when it's done with me.

  "An' I'll run my ship in Sydney, an' then I'll work my way
  To them smilin' South Seas Islands where there's sunshine all the day,
  An' I'll sell my chest an' gear there as soon's I hit the shore,
  An' sling my last discharge away, an' go to sea no more.

  "It's a pleasant time they have there--they've easy quiet lives;
  They wear no clothes to speak on; they've a bunch of browny wives;
  They're bathin' all the day long or baskin' on the sand,
  With the jolly brown Kanakas as naked as your hand.

  "An' I'll lay there in the palm-shade, an' take my ease all day,
  An' look across the harbour at the shippin' in the bay,
  An' watch the workin' sailormen--the bloomin' same as me
  In the workin' Western Ocean afore I left the sea.

  "I'll hear them at the capstan, a-heavin' good an' hard;
  I'll hear them tallyin' on the fall or sweatin' up the yard;
  Hear them lift a halliard shanty, hear the bosun swear and shout,
  An' the thrashin' o' the headsheets as the vessel goes about.

  "An', if the fancy takes me, as it's like enough it may,
  For to smell the old ship-smells again an' taste the salt an' spray,
  I can take a spell o' pearlin' or a tradin' cruise or two
  Where there's none but golden weather an' a sky that's always blue.

  "But I'll do no sailorisin' jobs--I'll walk or lay at ease,
  Like a blessed packet-captain, just as lordly as you please,
  With a steward for my table an' a boy to bring my beer,
  An' a score or so Kanakas for to reef an' haul an' steer.

  "An' when I'm tired o' cruisin', up an' down an' here an' there,
  There'll be kind Kanaka women wi' the red flowers in their hair
  All a-waiting for to meet me there a-comin' in from sea,
  When I'm through with this here ocean ... an' that'll never be!

  "For I'd hear the parrots screamin' an' the palm-trees' drowsy tune,
  But I'd want the Banks in winter an' the smell of ice in June,
  An' the hard-case mates a-bawlin', an' the strikin' o' the bell ...
  God! I've cursed it oft an' cruel ... but I'd miss it all like Hell.

  "Yes, I'd miss the Western Ocean where the packets come an' go,
  An' the grey gulls wheelin', callin', an' the grey sky hangin' low,
  An' the blessed lights o' Liverpool a-winkin' through the rain
  To welcome us poor packet-rats come back to port again.

  "An' if I took an' died out there my soul'd never stay
  In them sunny Southern latitudes to wait the Judgment Day,
  For acrost the seas from England, oh, I'd hear the old life call,
  An' the bloomin' Western Ocean it'd get me after all.

  "I'd go flyin' like a seagull, as they say old shellbacks do,
  For to see the ships I sailed in an' the shipmates that I knew,
  An' the tough old North Atlantic where the roarin' gales do blow,
  An' the Western Ocean packets all a-plyin' to an' fro.

  "An' I'd leave the trades behind me an' I'd leave the Southern Cross,
  An' the mollymawks an' flyin'-fish an' stately albatross,
  An' I'd come through wind an' weather an' the fogs as white as wool,
  Till I sighted old Point Lynas an' the Port o' Liverpool.

  "An' I'd fly to some flash packet when the hands was bendin' sail,
  An' I'd set up on the main-truck doin' out my wings an' tail,
  An' I'd see the tug alongside an' the Peter flyin' free,
  An' the pilot come aboard her for to take her out to sea.

  "An' I'd follow down to Fastnet light, an' then I'd hang around
  There to watch 'em out to westward an' to meet the homeward bound,
  For I know it's easy talkin', an' I know when all is said
  It's the bloomin' Western Ocean what'll get me when I'm dead!"

C. F. S.

       *       *       *       *       *

ETIQUETTE FOR FIRES.

It seems that Mr. A. R. DYER, the Chief Officer of the London Fire Brigade,
has issued a booklet giving hints on fire protection and also how to call
the Fire Brigade. We have pleasure in giving a few points which we are sure
are not included in this interesting and useful publication.

       *       *       *       *       *

Before sending for the Fire Brigade it is advisable to make quite sure that
you have a fire in the house to offer them. But do not adopt the old plan
of waiting until it reaches the second-floor. This is rather apt to
discolour the wall-paper.

       *       *       *       *       *

Above all the householder who intends to have a fire in his house must keep
calm. Immediately the maid rushes into the room to say that the kitchen is
on fire, place the book you are reading on the table, remove your slippers
and put on a thick pair of heavy boots and a Harris tweed shooting coat.
Your next duty is to call the Fire Brigade, and not to meddle with the fire
yourself, for very often an amateur completely spoils a fire before the
Brigade arrives.

       *       *       *       *       *

When you see the Brigade engine dashing along the road don't stop it and
offer to show the driver a short cut. And when they start work do not worry
the firemen by telling them how to do it better. After all, while it may be
your house, it is their fire.

       *       *       *       *       *

     "TO SEVERAL INTERESTED.--Our editor, Mr. ---- is not an Englishman his
     name is a pseudonime.--English ortograhist. Our setters do not yet
     speak English at all, be assured that we will do sur best to escape
     the errata in the nearest future."

     _The World's Trade (Budapest)._

We take their word for it but are not sanguine.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: MANNERS AND MODES.

A MODERN PORTRAIT-PAINTER AND HIS "PATRONS."]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: MR. ----, THE GREAT CINEMA ACTOR, WHILE STAYING IN THE
COUNTRY INCOGNITO, IS ASKED BY THE MANAGER OF THE PUMPLEFIELD FILM COMPANY
TO HELP MAKE A CROWD.]

       *       *       *       *       *

PARTY TACTICS.

It began with my reading an article on "How to be a Success at an Evening
Party." I was rather surprised to know that, for one thing, some knowledge
of Spiritualism is necessary to enable one to be a popular entertainer
nowadays. It has never struck me before that spiritualists were such a
genial class, full of _bonhomie_ and great joy; but then, although I read
the Sunday papers, I'm afraid I don't know enough about the subject.

Even if we haven't got the rollicking boisterous temperament of the born
spiritualist, however, there are, it seems, other ways of winning a mild
popularity. "If you confess to only a slight knowledge of palmistry," the
article continued, "it is often enough to make you the centre of interest
at once."

This appealed to me strongly. I like to be the centre of interest. So I
bought a handbook on palmistry and, having absorbed it, set out for my next
party full of confidence.

Surely enough, the first thing I saw on arrival was a dank-looking man
holding forth on Spiritualism, and enjoying what I should call a chastened
vogue with most of the company gathered about him.

I took up my position on the fringe of the group. "Talking of psychics, the
occult and all that sort of thing," I remarked carelessly, "isn't
cheiromancy an interesting study?"

"Nasty sort of study, I should call it," murmured one of the company,
evidently under a vague impression that it had something to do with feet.
My hostess looked up sharply. "Cheiromancy," she repeated; "can you read
the hand?"

"Only a little," I confessed modestly. "Just enough to----"

I don't quite know how it happened. There was a sort of flank and rear
movement and the entire company, excepting, of course, the dank
spiritualist, precipitated itself on me. Voices clamoured for me to
foretell destinies. Hands were thrust before me. They eddied, surged and
swirled about me. I never saw such a massed quantity of hands. It was like
leaving a Swiss hotel in the height of the season.

"One at a time, please," I said limply.

I seized a palm, followed it up, and found that it belonged to a pinched
sour-looking female. Her character was stamped on her face as well as on
her hand. If, however, I had said to her, "Yours is a flaccid repressed
disposition you have a lack of imagination and a total absence of humour;
your life is too narrow and self-centred to be of the least interest to
anyone," she might not have liked it. You see, with even a slight knowledge
of palmistry you soon find out when reading hands that it's no use telling
people the truth. They want a version which I can only describe as
"garbled."

Accordingly I bent over the repressed female's hand with an air of
profundity and said, "There being a total absence of the mounts of Mercury
and the Sun, a calm and even nature is indicated." (You're nearly always
safe in saying this.) "Your sense of order and of the fitness of things
would not allow you to see any fun in the joke of, say, pulling away a
chair from anyone about to sit down. In fact you would not see a joke in
anything--like that," I added hastily, and gave her hand back, feeling I
had made the best of a bad job.

But she still lingered.

"Does it show if I shall----?" She paused in embarrassment.

"Get married?" I asked, knowing human nature better than palmistry.

She looked so fiercely eager, with such a vivid light of hope in her eye,
that I decided to award her a husband on the spot.

"The Hepatica line, being allied to the line of Fate," I said impressively
"signifies that you will marry--late in life."

The press around me at once grew terrific. All the girls said, "Tell me if
I'm going to get married;" and all the men remarked, "Of course it's utter
rubbish," and were more eager about it than the girls. I became reckless. I
worked my way steadily through the crowd, doling out husbands with an
unsparing hand. And it was just when I was beginning to feel a little tired
of the game that my enemy was delivered into my hands.

We were not on visiting or even speaking terms; we were indeed the most
implacable foes. But that did not prevent the woman from shamelessly
thrusting herself before me and saying gushingly, "Do tell me what you see
in my hand."

I looked at her, and before my searching glance even her brazen face fell.
Six months previously that creature had stolen Wilkins, the best cook I
ever had. Mere man may not understand the enormity of this offence; but
every woman knows there is no crime more heinous, more despicable, more
unforgivable. She might find it in her heart to condone larceny, think
lightly of arson, or even excuse murder; but there is not one who would
extend even a deathbed pardon to the person who had robbed her of a
treasured servant.

And Wilkins had been a treasure indeed. It brought the tears to my eyes
when I thought of her exquisite _omelettes aux rognons_, her salads, her
_poularde à la gelée_, her wide diversity of knowledge regarding _entrées_
and savouries. With a hard and bitter smile I settled down to interpret the
hand of the woman before me.

The company gathered closer round us and I noticed that Mrs. B., the
particular friend of my enemy, bent affectionately over her with truly
feminine expectation of "revelations." And from under the scarf which my
enemy wore about her arms and shoulders she seemed, I thought, to project
her hand rather timidly. Perhaps she realised too late what was in store
for her.

I was quite dignified about it; I want you to understand that. Many
another, seeing that creature so plump and well-fed and knowing the reason,
would have broken out into vituperation. But my tactics were more subtle.
My manner, as I studied her palm, was at first nonchalant, even urbane.
Then I gave a start and faltered, "I--I suppose you wish me to tell you the
truth?"

A frightened look came into her eyes which, I noted with satisfaction, were
beginning to show tinges of yellow (Wilkins' only fault is that in some of
her dishes she is over-liberal with the salad oil and high seasonings). "Of
course I want to know the truth," said my victim faintly.

With an apparent air of diffidence I began my recital. I did not spare her
in the smallest degree. I ascribed to her all those sinister
characteristics I had read about in the handbook; and, when I suddenly
remembered a delicious _vol-au-vent_ upon which I had doted, I added a few
of my own.

It was a terrible indictment. When I had finished an awed silence fell upon
the gathering. Everybody waited breathlessly for the victim to speak.

"That was most interesting," she said with a sinister laugh. "But perhaps
you will read _my_ palm now. You see, it was Mrs. B.'s that you have just
read. She slipped her hand through under my scarf."

There was a burst of laughter from everybody. Idiotic kind of joke, I call
it.

I can assure the writer of the Sunday articles that a knowledge of
palmistry does not necessarily make one popular.

I am now wondering where you can buy hand-books on spiritualism.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Philosopher_ (_who has been mistaken for the football_).
"THANK 'EVING THE CRICKET SEASON'LL SOON BE 'ERE!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

     "It is proposed that the family man shall be dealt with on a flat
     rate. Every wife will confer exemption on £100 of
     income."--_Spectator._

Surely our revered contemporary does not imply that the new Income Tax
proposals will encourage polygamy.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE SPIRIT OF THE AGE.

_Polite Passenger._ "DO YOU MIND SMOKING, MADAM?"

_Old Lady._ "NOT AT ALL. I'LL SMOKE WITH PLEASURE IF THEY'RE GYPPIES. CAN'T
_STAND_ GASPERS."]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS UNION.

AN APPEAL TO ALL MEN OF GOOD WILL.

The League of Nations Union is engaged in a campaign for the purpose of
making the objects of the League of Nations better understood in the
country at large. The chief danger that threatens the League is to be found
in the apathy or unconsidered scepticism of the public; almost the sole
active opposition comes from those who would substitute for it a
proletarian Internationale devoted to the interests of one class only in
the world, and from certain reactionaries who favour a return to the system
of imperialism which was the cause of the War. In the words of HIS MAJESTY
THE KING, "We fought to gain a lasting Peace and it is our supreme duty to
take every measure to secure it. For that nothing is more essential than a
strong and enduring League of Nations. The Covenant of Paris is a good
foundation, well and truly laid. But it is and can be no more than a
foundation. The nature and strength of the structure to be built upon it
must depend on the earnestness and sincerity of popular support."

To those, if any, who contend that the Government should be left to carry
out its own propaganda for the League of Nations the obvious answer is that
it is necessary for this work to be done by an independent body which can
bring public pressure to bear upon the Government of the day and urge such
amendments in the machinery and constitution of the League as time and
experience may show to be desirable. The Union, in fact, bears to the
League of Nations the same relation that the Navy League bears to the
Senior Service; it is an independent body organised to educate opinion in
the needs of a national cause.

Since its inception in January of this year the activities of the League
have covered a wide range, which embraces organisation for the
administering of territory under its trusteeship, and for the consideration
of international questions relating to transit, finance, labour and health.
America's repudiation (only temporary, it may be hoped) of the pledges of
her own President, the original and chief advocate of the League of
Nations, has meanwhile thrown upon Great Britain the main burden of
responsibility in the Councils of the League, a fact that constitutes an
overwhelming claim upon the patriotism of British citizens. The duty of
bringing this claim home to the public has been taken up by the League of
Nations Union, under the Presidency of Lord GREY OF FALLODON. It has
already established a headquarters and a staff of experts; organised
hundreds of meetings throughout the country, and inaugurated nearly two
hundred branches. It publishes two periodicals and many pamphlets and is
preparing educational text-books; it is taking part in an international
conference with similar voluntary societies in other countries.

Clearly such work cannot be carried on without generous support. The sum
for which the League of Nations Union appeals--a million pounds--may sound
large, but it represents only the cost of four hours of the War, and is not
much to ask as an insurance against another and yet more terrible war.

Mr. Punch very earnestly begs his readers to send contributions in aid of
this great and necessary work to the Hon. Treasurer of the Fund (Sir BRIEN
COKAYNE, late Governor of the Bank of England), addressed to THE LEAGUE OF
NATIONS UNION, 22, Buckingham Gate, S.W.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE HOPE OF THE WORLD.

PEACE. "THIS IS MY TEMPLE AND YOU ARE ITS PRIESTESS. GUARD WELL THE SACRED
FLAME."

(The objects and needs of the League of Nations Union are set out on the
opposite page.)]

       *       *       *       *       *

ESSENCE OF PARLIAMENT.

_Monday, March 29th._--During a brief sitting the Lords got through a good
deal of business. The Silver Coinage Bill awakened Lord CHAPLIN'S
reminiscences of his bimetallic days, when he was accused by Sir WILLIAM
HARCOURT of trying to stir up mutiny in India. Undeterred by this warning,
however, the Peers gave a Second Reading to the measure and also to the
Coal Mines Emergency Bill, which is less up-to-date than it sounds, and
deals not with the present emergency but with the last emergency but one.
They also passed the Importation of Plumage Bill, at the instance of Lord
ABERDEEN, who pleaded that beautiful birds, "the result of myriads of years
of evolution," should not be exterminated to make a British matron's
picture-hat.

[Illustration: _Mr. MACPHERSON._ "WITH ALL THESE CHERUBS GOING FOR MY KITE
FULL BLAST IT LOOKS AS IF I MIGHT KEEP THE THING FLYING."

LORD ROBERT CECIL. CAPTAIN REDMOND.

MESSRS. CLYNES AND ASQUITH.]

A few noble lords tore themselves away from these entrancing topics to
attend the opening of the debate in the Commons on the Government of
Ireland Bill. They were ill-rewarded for their pains, for never has a Home
Rule debate produced fewer interesting moments. The CHIEF SECRETARY was so
studiously restrained in explaining the merits of the Bill that the
"yawning chasm" which, according to its opponents, the measure is going to
create between Southern and Northern Ireland was to be observed in advance
on the countenances of many of his listeners. Years ago Mr. BALFOUR told
the Irish Nationalists that Great Britain was not to be bored into
acceptance of Home Rule; but I am beginning to doubt now whether he was
right. If the Government get the Bill through it will be due more to John
Bull's weariness of the eternal Irish Question than to any enthusiastic
belief in the merits of this particular scheme. Hardly anyone off the
Treasury Bench had a good word to say for it, but fortunately for its
chances their criticisms were often mutually destructive.

Mr. CLYNES moved its rejection. From his remark that Irish respect for the
law was destroyed in 1913, and that the present Administration was regarded
as "the most abominable form of government that had ever ruled in Ireland,"
I should gather that he has only recently begun his researches into Irish
history and Irish character, and is working backwards. His prescription was
to cease governing Ireland by force and leave her to frame her own
constitution.

Lord ROBERT CECIL agreed with Mr. CLYNES in regarding it as a very bad
Bill, but there parted company with him. In his view the deterioration of
Ireland began in 1906, when the era of "firm government" came to an end.
Drop coercion by all means, but "let the murderers begin." As for forcing
self-government on a country that rejected it, that was nonsense.

As "a citizen of the world," and not merely an Irishman, Mr. T. P. O'CONNOR
denounced the Bill _urbi et orbi_. Nobody in Ireland wanted it unless it
was the place-hunters of the Bar and the Press, for whom it would provide
rich pickings.

The House was brought back from rhetoric to plain fact by the CHANCELLOR OF
THE EXCHEQUER'S reminder that if the Bill were not passed the Home Rule Act
of 1914 would come into force. He hoped that Southern Ireland would recover
its sanity, accept the Bill and set itself to persuade Ulster into an
All-Ireland Parliament _viâ_ the golden bridge of the Irish Council.

Captain CRAIG could not imagine that happening in his lifetime. To his mind
the only merit of the Bill was that it safeguarded Ulster against Dublin
domination.

_Tuesday, March 30th._--Someone--I suspect a midshipman--has been telling
Mr. BROMFIELD that five British Admirals have been sent to Vienna to
supervise the breaking up of the Austrian Fleet, and that the said Fleet
now consists of three motor-boats. He was much relieved to hear from Mr.
HARMSWORTH that only one Admiral had been sent, and that the disposal of a
Dreadnought, several pre-Dreadnoughts and sundry smaller craft will give
him plenty to do.

There appears to be a shortage of ice in Hull. It is supposed that the
Member for the Central Division (Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY) has not cut so
much as he expected.

The debate on the Home Rule Bill was resumed in a much higher temperature
than that of yesterday. Mr. ASQUITH, as he thundered in carefully-polished
phrases against the "cumbrous, costly, unworkable scheme," earned many
cheers from his followers, and the even greater tribute of interruptions
from his opponents. For a moment he was pulled up, when to his rhetorical
question, "What has Home Rule meant to us?" some graceless Coalitionist
promptly answered, "Votes!" but he soon got going again. Ireland, he
declared, was a unit. The Bill gave her dualism "with a shadowy background
of remote and potential unity." The vaunted Council was "a fleshless and
bloodless skeleton." He remarked upon "the sombre acquiescence of the
Ulstermen," and wondered why they had accepted the Bill at all. "Because we
don't trust _you_," came the swift reply from Sir EDWARD CARSON.

Mr. ASQUITH'S own remedy for Irish unrest was to take the Act of 1914 and
transform it into something like Dominion Home Rule. Any county--Ulster or
Sinn Fein--that voted against coming under the Dublin Parliament should be
left under the present administration.

Mr. BONAR LAW did not fail to point out the inconsistency of condemning the
Government scheme for its complexity and then immediately proposing another
which would involve not one but a dozen partitions and make the political
map of Ireland look like a crazy quilt. He advised the House to reject Mr.
ASQUITH'S advice and pass the Bill, even though it should have the
paradoxical result, for the moment, of leaving Nationalist Ireland under
British administration while providing Unionist Ulster with a Home Rule
Parliament for which it has never asked.

I suppose Mr. DEVLIN is not like the Sinn Feiners, who, according to "T.
P.," are so contemptuous of the Bill that they have never read a line of
it. Parts of his speech, and particularly his peroration, seemed far more
suitable to a Coercion Bill than to a measure which is designed, however
imperfectly, to grant Home Rule to Ireland. The Nationalist leader may be
forgiven a great deal, however, for his inimitable description of Lord
ROBERT CECIL as "painfully struggling into the light with one foot in the
Middle Ages."

_Wednesday, March 31st._--The third and last Act of the Home Rule drama was
the best. Nothing in the previous two days' debate--not even Mr. BONAR
LAW'S ruthless analysis of the Paisley policy for Ireland--gripped the
audience so intensely as Sir EDWARD CARSON'S explanation of the Ulster
attitude. He declared that the Union had not failed in Ulster, and would
not have failed anywhere if British politicians could have refrained from
bidding for Irish votes. There was no alternative to it but complete
separation, and that was what Home Rule would lead to. Ulster did not want
the Bill, and would not vote for it; but, as the only alternative was the
Act of 1914, she was prepared to accept it as a _pis aller_, and to work
her new Parliament for all it was worth. At least it would enable her to
find schools for the thirty thousand Belfast children now debarred from
education. More than that, he was prepared to co-operate with any men from
Southern Ireland who were willing to work _their_ Parliament in a similar
spirit; and he paid a personal tribute to Mr. DEVLIN, whose courage he
admired though he detested his politics.

Thus there were gleams of hope even in his otherwise gloomy outlook, as the
PRIME MINISTER gladly acknowledged in winding up the debate; and they
probably had some influence in swelling the majority for the Bill, the
figures being 348 for the Second Reading, 94 against.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "PLEASE, MISTER, CAN I HAVE A PENNORTH OF CAMEL?"]

       *       *       *       *       *

_POISSON D'AVRIL._

For the tragedy of which I am about to tell I consider that Brenda Scott is
entirely to blame. You shall judge.

There is a vacancy in my domestic staff, and the rush to fill it has been
less enthusiastic than I could wish. My housewifely heart leapt, therefore,
when, last Thursday morning, I espied coming up the drive one whom I
classed at once as an applicant for the post of housemaid. Nor was I
deceived. She gave the name of Eliza Smudge, and said she came from my
friend, Mrs. Copplestone.

My suspicions were first aroused by her extraordinary solicitude for my
comfort. "Outings" were entirely according to my convenience. And when she
added that she liked to have plenty to do, and that she always rose by 6
A.M., I began to look at her closely.

She wore a thick veil, and her eyes were further obscured by large
spectacles, but I could discern a wisp of rather artificial-looking hair
drawn across her forehead. And she was smiling.

Now why was she smiling? I could certainly see nothing to smile at in
rising at six o'clock every morning.

"I shall be free on 5th of April, ma'am," she was saying. "Let me see,
to-day is the 1st of April----"

The 1st of April! It came to me then in a flash--in one of those moments of
intuition of which even the mind of the harassed housewife occasionally is
capable. It was Brenda Scott masquerading as a housemaid!

Our conversation of a fortnight earlier came back to me--Brenda's desire to
disguise herself and apply to Lady Lupin for the post of kitchenmaid, her
confidence in her ability to carry it off successfully, my ridicule of the
possibility that she could pass unrecognised. So now, on the 1st of April,
she was for proving me wrong.

The disguise was certainly masterly. Had it not been for that unaccountable
smile, and the hair----

I did not lose my head. I continued to carry on the conversation on
orthodox lines. Then I said, "Do you know Miss Brenda Scott, who lives near
Mrs. Copplestone?"

"Oh, yes, I've known her since she was a little girl," was the answer.
"Sweet young lady she is."

"Ye--es," I said. "A little too fond of practical jokes, perhaps."

The eyebrows went up almost to the artificial-looking hair, which I had now
decided was horse-hair.

"Indeed," she said.

"Yes, my dear Brenda, it is your besetting sin. You should pray against
it," I said bluntly.

She stood up with an opposing air of surprise and alarm. But I was not to
be deceived.

"Your assumed name, Eliza Smudge," I said, "gave you away at the start. And
that hair--it is the tail of your nephew's rocking-horse, isn't it?
And----"

But she had fled from the room and was scudding down the drive, heedless of
my cries of "Brenda, you idiot, come back!"

       *       *       *       *       *

As I watched from the front-door I saw that "Eliza Smudge" had met another
woman in the lane and had engaged her in conversation.

Then they parted, and the other woman came in at the gate and up the drive.

"My dear Elfrida," said a well-known voice, "what have you been up to? You
seem to have thoroughly upset that nice woman who was with the Copplestones
so long. She told me you were a very strange lady; in fact she thought you
must be suffering from a nervous breakdown."

I leaned for support against the door-post, feeling a little faint.

"Brenda? You?" I gasped. "I thought----"

"Such a splendid maid she is," Brenda went on. "You'll never find her equal
if you try for ten years."

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Mistress._ "TOO MANY WEEDS, WILLIAM."

_William._ "LET 'EM BIDE, MUM. NOTHING LIKE WEEDS TO SHOW YOUNG PLANTS 'OW
TO GROW."]

       *       *       *       *       *

Eccentric Behaviour of a Cuckoo.

     "The summer-like weather which set in during the week-end has been
     marked by the arrival of the cuckoo, which was heard at Shanklin on
     Saturday and on Sunday morning at Staplers, bursting into full flower
     of plum and pear trees, and general activity in the gardens and
     fields."--_Local Paper._

       *       *       *       *       *

     "He (Mr. Asquith) could only say 'O Sanctas Simplicitas.' (Laughter.)"

     _Irish Paper._

     "I can only say: 'O sanctus simplicitus!'"

     _Yorkshire Paper._

Neither version seems to us quite worthy of an ex-Craven Scholar.

       *       *       *       *       *

AT THE PLAY.

"UNCLE NED."

As the final curtain fell on the Fourth Act there was talk of celebrating
the conversion of the villain in a bottle of the best (1906). But this did
not mean that the good wine of the play had been kept to the end. Indeed it
had been practically exhausted about the middle of the Third Act, and the
rest was barley-water, sweet but relatively insipid. So long as Mr. HENRY
AINLEY was just allowed to sparkle, with beaded bubbles winking all round
the brim of him, everything went well and more than well; the trouble began
when the author, Mr. DOUGLAS MURRAY, remembered that no British audience
would be contented with mere irresponsible badinage, however fresh and
delicate; that somehow he must provide an ending where virtue prevailed and
sentiment was satisfied.

So, when _Uncle Ned's_ humour had failed to move the brutal egoism of his
brother, beating upon it like the lightest of sea-foam on a rock of basalt,
he was made to fall back upon the alternative of heavy denunciation. And it
was significant that this commonplace tirade drew more applause than all
the pretty wit that had gone before it. Seldom have I been so profoundly
impressed with the difficulties of an art which depends for its success
(financial, that is to say) on the satisfaction of tastes that have nothing
in common beyond the crudest elements of human nature.

Mr. AINLEY had things all his own way. Between him, the romancer of the
light heart and the free fancy, and his brother, the millionaire tradesman
of the tough hide, there was the clash of temperaments but never the clash
of intellects. ("Nobody with a sense of humour," says _Uncle Ned_, "ever
made a million pounds.") That the man with the iron will should be beaten
at the last with his own weapons, and brought to see the lifelong error of
his ways by a violent philippic that must have surprised the speaker hardly
less than his audience, was the most incredible thing in the play. Indeed
the author was reduced to showing us the results of the bad man's change of
heart and leaving us to imagine the processes, these being worked out in
the interval between two Acts by means of a fortnight's physical collapse,
from which he emerges unrecognisably reformed.

I cannot praise too warmly the delightfully fantastic and inconsequent
humour of the first half of the play. Often it was the things that Mr.
AINLEY was given to say; but even more often, I think, it was the
incomparable way he said them, with those astonishingly swift and
unforeseen turns of gesture and glance and movement which are his peculiar
gift. Now and then, to remind us of his versatility, he may turn to
sentiment or even tragedy, but light comedy remains his natural _métier_.

If I have a complaint to make it is that _Uncle Ned's_ studied refusal to
understand from an intimate woman-friend why it was that his elder niece,
who had been privily married, "could no longer hide her secret" (the
reticence of his friend was the sort of silly thing that you get in books
and plays, but never in life) was perhaps a little wanton and caused
needless embarrassment both to the young wife and to us. And one need not
be very squeamish to feel that it was a pity to put into the lips of a mere
child, a younger sister, the rather precocious comment that she makes on
the inconvenience of a secret marriage. The humour of the play was too good
to need assistance from this sort of titillation.

[Illustration: _Sir Robert Graham_ (_Mr. RANDLE AYRTON_). "MAKE YOURSELF AT
HOME. DON'T MIND ME."

_Edward Graham_ (_Mr. HENRY AINLEY_). "I DON'T."]

Mr. RANDLE AYRTON, as the plutocratic pachyderm, kept up his thankless end
with a fine imperviousness; and Miss IRENE ROOKE, in the part of his
secretary, played, as always, with a very gracious serenity, though I wish
this charming actress would pronounce her words with not quite so nice a
precision. Miss EDNA BEST was an admirable flapper, with just the right
note of _gaucherie_.

As _Mears_, Mr. CLAUDE RAINS was not to be hampered by the methods dear to
the detective of convention; he looked like an apache and behaved, rather
effectively, like nothing in particular.

The _Dawkins_ of Mr. G. W. ANSON knew well the first duty of a
stage-butler, to keep coming on whenever a stop-gap is wanted; but he had
also great personal qualities, to say nothing of his astounding record of
forty years' service in a house where strong liquor was only permitted for
"medicinal" purposes.

O. S.


"THE YOUNG PERSON IN PINK."

What the chair-man said about _The Young Person in Pink_ who had been
hanging about the Park every morning for a week was that nowadays you
couldn't really tell. He thought on the whole she was all right. The
balloon-woman was certain that with boots like that she must be a 'ussy;
but then she had refused to buy a balloon. As a matter of fact she
couldn't, being broke to the world. And worse. For she had arrived at
Victoria Station unable to remember who she was or where she came from,
ticketless, a few shillings in her purse. She had murmured "Season" at the
barrier and had taken rooms at the Carlton because she had a queer feeling
she had been there before. Her things had a coronet on them. The rest was a
blank.

Of course nobody believed her; the women were scornful, the men not quite
nice, till very young _Lord Stevenage_, the one that was engaged to a
notorious baby-snatcher, _Lady Tonbridge_--in a high fever he'd
unfortunately said "Yes"--meets her, and you guess the rest. No, you don't.
You couldn't possibly guess _Mrs. Badger_, relict of an undertaker and now
in the old-clothes line, who has social ambitions. (I must here say in
parenthesis that _Mrs. Badger_ is a double stroke of genius on the part
both of Miss JENNINGS the author and of Miss SYDNEY FAIRBROTHER. You don't
know which to admire most, the things she says [Miss J.] or the way she
says them [Miss S. B.]. Honours divided and high honours at that.)

_Lady Tonbridge_ had advertised for a clergyman's widow to render some
secretarial service, and the ambitious _Mrs. Badger_ had applied, duly
weeded. Meanwhile the elderly _Lady T._ had seen her _fiancé_ and with the
young person in pink, and it was a brilliant and base afterthought to bribe
the clergyman's widow to claim the girl as her long-missing daughter
(invented). Both the young Lord and the young person, too much in love
perhaps to be critical, accept the situation; but you haven't quite got
_Mrs. Badger_ if you think she's the sort of person one would precisely
jump at for a mother-in-law.

At the supreme moment when _Mrs. B._, after an interview with the whisky
bottle, forgets her part and, lapsing into the mere widow of the
undertaker, gives it to the intriguing _Lady Tonbridge_ in the neck with a
wealth of imagery, a command of slightly slurred invective and a range of
facial expression beyond adequate description, she is perhaps less
attractive in the capacity of mother-by-marriage than ever, even if the
interlude prove the goodness of her heart. But it is just at that moment
that the young person is recognised by her maid. The daughter of the
_Duchess of Hampshire_, no less! So all is well.

Not that Miss JENNINGS' plot matters. She freely accepts the absurdities
which her bizarre outline demands, but doesn't shirk the pains to make her
situations possible within the pleasantly impossible frame. What is
all-important is that she does shake the house with genuinely explosive
humour.

If they were Miss JENNINGS' bombs, Miss FAIRBROTHER threw the most and the
best of them with a perfect aim. The rest of the platoon helped in varying
degrees. I hope I don't irretrievably damage Miss JOYCE CAREY'S reputation
as a modern when I say that she looked so pretty and innocent that I don't
believe even sour old spinsters would have doubted her. A charming and
capable performance. Mr. DONALD CALTHROP made love quite admirably on the
lighter note; a little awkwardly, perhaps, on the more serious. Miss SYBIL
CARLISLE handled an unpromising part with great skill. Miss ELLIS JEFFREYS
as the ineffable _Lady Tonbridge_ was as competent as ever, and had a coat
and skirt in the Third Act which filled the female breast with envy. Looks
like a long run.

T.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: DRESSING THE PART.

_Stout Tramp_ (_who has been successful at the last house_). "THIS IS A
NICE 'AT SHE'S GIVEN ME."

_Partner._ "YUS, IT _IS_ A NICE 'AT; BUT, MIND YOU, IT AIN'T GOT THE
BREAD-WINNIN' QUALITIES OF THE OLD 'UN."]

       *       *       *       *       *

     "Art in Washing--with economy.--Ladies desiring personal attention are
     invited to apply to ---- Laundry."--_Daily Paper._

No "imperfect ablutioner" (_vide_ "The
Mikado") should miss this opportunity.

       *       *       *       *       *

     "Fun undiluted and rippling is the main feature of _The Little
     Visiters_, and not a single feature of the author's book is lost in
     the process of dramatisation."--_Weekly Paper._

Except, apparently, the title.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Boat-Race.

ADVANTAGES ENJOYED BY CAMBRIDGE.

In complimenting the Light Blues we cannot help calling attention to two
curious facts which may have contributed to their victory, and seem to have
escaped the notice of the Oxford crew. According to _The Weekly Dispatch_
Mr. SWANN rowed "No. 9 in the Cambridge boat"; and a photograph in _The
Illustrated Sunday Herald_ ("the camera cannot lie") distinctly shows the
Cambridge crew rowing with as many as eight oars on the stroke side. How
many they were using on the bow side is not revealed.

       *       *       *       *       *

     "WANTED IMMEDIATELY!

     MEDICAL DOCTOR

     for Joe Batt's Arm and vicinity. Salary two thousand dollars
     guaranteed. All specials additional. Address communication to

     ALEX. COFFIN,
     Sec. Doctor's Committee."

     _Newfoundland Paper._

Even the serious condition of Joe Batt's Arm hardly interests us so much as
the challenge to the world's humourists implied in the Committee's
selection of their secretary.

       *       *       *       *       *

MY ONE ADMIRER.

Of course my wife had made me go to the bazaar. All men go to bazaars
either because their wives send them, or in search of possible wives. The
men who are never at bazaars are those with humane wives, or the true
bachelors.

I did not mind the young lady who grabbed my walking-stick and presented me
with a shilling cloakroom ticket, or the other who placed a buttonhole in
my coat (two-and-sixpence), or the third who sprayed me with scent (one
shilling, but had I known of the threatened attack I would have paid two
shillings for immunity), or the fourth, who snatched my rather elderly silk
hat and renovated it, not before its time, with some mysterious fluid
(one-and-ninepence). These are the things one expects.

But when I faced the stalls I must admit that I trembled. In pre-war days
it was occasionally hinted that bazaar prices were a trifle high. What
would they be now? How could I face the Bazaar profiteer? Sums, reminding
me of schooldays, ran in my head, "If milk be a shilling a quart what will
be the price of a sofa-cushion?"

As I stood in the centre of the hall I could see that the eyes of the
stall-holders were upon me--cold, horrid, calculating eyes. I could read in
them, "How much has this man got?" I felt that it would be a proper
punishment for war-profiteers if they were sentenced to purchase all their
requirements at bazaars for six months.

Glancing round the hall in search of a place of refuge I saw a sign,
"Autograph Exhibition--Admission one shilling." A shilling! Why, such a
comfortable hiding-place would have been cheap at half-a-crown. I bolted
for the Autograph Exhibition before a piratical lady, bearing down on me
with velvet smoking caps, could reduce me to pulp.

A smiling elderly gentleman was in charge. "Hah, you would like to see my
little collection? Certainly, certainly."

I am not interested in autographs. Most bygone celebrities wrote
undecipherable hands. I have been equally puzzled in trying to read the
handwriting of GUY FAWKES and Mr. GLADSTONE. But this collection was
different. It had letters from nearly every one distinguished in the world
to-day--good, lengthy, interesting, readable letters.

"How did you contrive to get all these?" I asked the exhibitor.

"Tact, foresight and flattery, my dear Sir. It would be no use writing to
these people to-day. You'd get ignored, or at best two lines type-written
by a secretary. Now look at that long letter from LLOYD GEORGE about Welsh
nationality and that other from HILAIRE BELLOC concerning the adulteration
of modern beer. You couldn't get them now. My idea is to catch your
celebrity young. When a man produces his first play or novel or book of
poems I write him an admiring letter. You can't lay it on too thick. Ask
him some question on a topic that interests him. It always draws. They are
unused to praise and you catch them before the public has spoilt them. I
card-index all the replies I get. Of course nine out of ten of the people
turn out of no account, but some are sure to come off. You just throw out
the failures and put the successes in your collection."

At this point I heard our Archdeacon afar off. Our Archdeacon booms--not
like trade, but like the bittern. I heard him booming outside, "My dear
lady, I cannot miss the chance of seeing dear Mr. Fletterby's collection."

Fletterby! The name was familiar. Long years ago I published
something--don't inquire into the details of my crime--and the sole
response I had from an unappreciative world was a highly eulogistic letter
from one Samuel Fletterby. I remembered the time I had spent in writing him
a lengthy and courteous reply. I remembered that often in my darker days I
had drawn out the letter of Fletterby to encourage me.

And now! I looked at the collection. It was arranged alphabetically. As I
turned to the initial of my name I framed a dramatic revelation for my
friend Fletterby: "That writing is familiar to me. In fact, Mr. Fletterby,
I am its unworthy writer."

But my letter was not included in the collection.

"Throw out the failures," Mr. Fletterby had said.

I threw myself out instantly from the Autograph Exhibition. Better, far
better buy things I didn't want at prices I couldn't afford than stay in
the company of that faithless one, my sole erstwhile (as the papers say)
admirer.

       *       *       *       *       *

  There was a great athlete named RUDD
  Who was born with a Blue in his blood;
        Stout-hearted, spring-heeled,
        He achieved on the field
  What his Varsity lost on the flood.

  But when he had breasted the tape
  A cynic emitted this jape:
        "Pray notice, old son,
        'Tisn't Oxford that's won,
  But Utah, Bowdoin and the Cape."

       *       *       *       *       *

EASTER IN WILD WALES.

The recent discovery (duly noted in _The Daily Graphic_ of the 30th ult.)
of "seven pearls of excellent quality" by an Aberavon labourer in a mussel
stranded by the tide has led to an extraordinary influx of visitors to that
quiet seaside resort. Costers have been arriving at the rate of several
hundreds a day, attracted by the prospect of finding the raw materials for
the indispensable decoration of their costumes, and the local authorities
are at their wits' end to provide adequate accommodation. Amongst the
latest arrivals is the great architect, Sir MARTIN CONWAY, who has been
consulted with regard to the erection of a number of bungalow skyscrapers,
and an urgent message has been despatched to Sir EDWIN LUTYENS at Delhi,
begging him to supply designs of a suitable character. Meanwhile
pearl-diving goes on day and night on the sea-front, with the assistance of
a flock of oyster-catchers, whose brilliant plumage adds greatly to the
picturesqueness of the scene.

Though the special good fortune of Aberavon has excited a certain amount of
natural jealousy in the breasts of hotel and boarding-house proprietors at
other Welsh seaside resorts, they have no serious reason to complain. The
usual attractions of Barmouth have been powerfully reinforced by the
presence in the neighbouring hills of a full-sized gorilla which recently
escaped from a travelling menagerie. When last seen the animal was making
in the direction of Harlech, which is at present the head-quarters of the
Easter Vacation School of the Cambrian section of the Yugo-Slav Doukhobors.
It is understood that the local police have the matter well in hand, and
arrangements have been made, in case of emergency, for withdrawing all the
population within the precincts of the castle.

Great disappointment prevails at Llandudno owing to the refusal of Mr. EVAN
ROBERTS, the famous revivalist, to localise the materialisation of the
Millennium, which he has recently prophesied, at Llandudno during the
Easter holidays. By way of a set-off an effort was made to induce Sir
AUCKLAND GEDDES to give a vocal recital before his departure for America.
As his recent performance at a meeting of the London Scots Club proved, Sir
AUCKLAND is a singist of remarkable power, infinite humour and soul-shaking
pathos. Unfortunately his repertory is confined to Scottish songs, and on
this ground he has been obliged to decline the invitation, though the fee
offered was unprecedented in the economic annals of the variety stage.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: MORE ADVENTURES OF A POST-WAR SPORTSMAN.

_P.-W.S. at a Hunt Meeting_ (_concluding a passage-at-arms with a member of
the ring_). "I'M NOT ONE OF THOSE TOFFS THAT YOU THINK YOU CAN IMPOSE UPON.
I'M A SELF-MADE MAN, I AM."

_Bookmaker._ "WELL, I WOULDN'T TALK SO LOUD ABOUT IT. IT'S A NASTY BIT O'
WORK."]

       *       *       *       *       *

OUR BOOKING-OFFICE.

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

Mr. FORREST REID is a writer upon whose progress I have for some time kept
an appreciative eye. His latest story, bearing the attractive title of
_Pirates of the Spring_ (UNWIN), proves, I think, that progress to be well
sustained. As you may have guessed from the name, this is a tale of
adolescence; it shows Mr. REID'S North-Ireland lads differing slightly from
the more familiar home-product, though less in essentials than in tricks of
speech, and (since these are day-school boys, exposed to the influence of
their several homes) an echo of religious conflict happily rare in the
experience of English youth. Mr. REID is amongst the few novelists who can
be sympathetic to boyhood without sentimentalising over it; he has
admirably caught its strange mingling of pride and curiosity, of reticence
and romance and jealous loyalty. The tale has no particular plot; it is a
record of seeming trifles, friendships made and broken and renewed,
sporadic adventures and deep-laid intrigues that lead nowhere. But you will
catch in it a real air of youth, a spring-time wind blowing from the
half-forgotten world in which all of us once were chartered privateers.
There are, of course, worthy folk who would be simply bored by all
this--which is why I do not venture to call _Pirates of the Spring_
everyone's reading; others, however, more fortunate, will find it a true
and delicately observed study of an engaging theme.

       *       *       *       *       *

I must really warn the flippant. It would be appalling if admirers of
_Literary_ (and other) _Lapses_ were to send blithely to the libraries for
Mr. LEACOCK'S latest and find themselves landed with _The Unsolved Riddle
of Social Justice_ (LANE). And yet I don't know. Here is a subject which
even the flippant cannot long ignore. And a man of the world with a clear
head and a mastery of clearer idiom than a professor of political economy
usually commands has here said something desperately serious without a
trace of dulness. I should like Professor LEACOCK'S short book to be
divided into three. The first part, a trenchant analysis of some of the
evils of our social and industrial system, I would send to the
impossibilists and obstructives; the second, a critical examination of some
of the nostrums of the progressives, should go to the hasty optimists who
think that a sudden change of system will as suddenly change men, for it
contains much that they will do well (and now resolutely refuse) to ponder.
The third part I would return to the author for revision, for it contains
no more, when analysed, than an _ipse dixit_, and quite fails to show that
the evils denounced as intolerable in the first part can be remedied
without some substantial portion at least of the heroic reforms denounced
in his second. Also I would remind him, or rather perhaps the more
ingenuous of his readers, that there have been later contributions to the
theory and practice of new-world building than Mr. BELLAMY'S _Looking
Backward_.

       *       *       *       *       *

_The Great Desire_ (HODDER AND STOUGHTON) is a novel full of shrewd
philosophy and excellent talk. Mr. ALEXANDER BLACK sets out to prove
nothing, to justify no political or social attitude, but just to draw his
fellow-Americans as he sees them going about their war-time business, the
"great desire" being simply the thing that is uppermost in the mind of each
one. As a composite picture of what New York thought about the business of
getting into the War the result could hardly be bettered. One never feels
that latent antagonism which readers, even though they may agree with him,
unconsciously experience towards an author who seems to be arguing a point.
Mr. BLACK gives the extreme views of the blatant patriot, and of the
anarchist and socialist who cannot see the distinction between arguing
against war on paper and arguing against this War on the street corner. He
makes us realise the people who think only how to make the War an adjunct
of themselves and those who desire only to make themselves a useful adjunct
of the War. He draws his types cleverly and states the case of each one
fairly, but with a humorous restraint and from a standpoint of absolute
detachment. _The Great Desire_ has plenty of charm regarded merely as a
story, but I recommend it especially to those who are apt to judge the
Americans by their politicians or to assess New York on the basis of the
HEARST newspapers.

       *       *       *       *       *

If it were only for his complete fearlessness in following well-worn
convention and his apparent reliance on his readers' ignorance or want of
memory, Mr. J. MURRAY GIBBON'S _Drums Afar_ (LANE) would be rather a
remarkable book in these psycho-analytical days. His hero actually has the
audacity to have blue eyes and fair hair, to start his career in the House,
and to end it, so far as the novel is concerned, lying wounded in a
hospital, where his _fiancée_, a famous singer, happened to be a nurse in
the same ward. Nor does the young man disdain the threadbare conversational
_cliché_. "Don't you think there is something elemental in most of us which
no veneer of civilisation or artificial living can ever deaden?" he says in
one place (rather as if veneer were a kind of rat poison). Still bolder, on
leaving America, where he has become engaged to a wealthy Chicagan's
daughter, he quotes--

  "I could not love thee, dear, so much
        Loved I not honour more."

And, although the girl is annoyed, it is not on account of the citation.
Much of the story, however, deals with Chicago, and since my previous
knowledge of that city could have easily been contained in a tin of pressed
beef I can pardon Mr. GIBBON for being as informative about it as he is
about Oxford colleges. (He seems, by the way, to have a rooted contempt for
Balliol, which I had always supposed was a quite well-meaning place.) On
the whole, either in spite or because of its rather Baedeker-like
qualities, _Drums Afar_ will be found quite a restful and readable book.

       *       *       *       *       *

Somewhere in the course of the tale that gives its title to _The Blower of
Bubbles_ (CHAMBERS) the character who is supposed to relate it denies that
he is a sentimentalist. I may as well say at once that, if this denial is
intended to apply also to Mr. ARTHUR BEVERLEY BAXTER, who wrote the five
stories that make up the volume, a more comprehensive misstatement was
never embodied in print. Because, from the picture on the wrapper,
representing a starry-eyed infant conducting an imaginary orchestra, to the
final page, the book is one riot of sentiment--plots, characters and
treatment alike. Not that, save by the fastidious, it must be considered
any the worse for this; even had not Mr. BAXTER'S hearty little preface
explained the conditions of active service under which it was composed,
themselves enough to excuse any quantity of over-sweetening. I will not
give you the five long-shorts in detail. The first, about a German child
and a young man with heart trouble, shows Mr. BAXTER at his worst, with the
sob-stuff all but overwhelming a sufficiently nimble wit. My own favourite
is the fifth tale, a spirited and generous tribute to England's war effort.
(I should explain that the book, and I suppose the author also, is by
origin Canadian.) This last story, told partly in the form of letters to
his editor in New York by an American officer and journalist, has all the
interest that comes of seeing ourselves as others see us; though I could
not but think that the narrator erred in making the haughty _Lady Dorothy_,
daughter of his noble hosts, exclaim, on the entrance of a footman with a
letter, "Pardon me, it's the mail." So there you are. If you have a taste
for stories that make no pretence of being other than fiction pure and
simple, limpidly pure and transparently simple (yet witty too in places),
try these; otherwise pass.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Pedestrian._ "DROPPED ANYTHING, MISTER?"

_Motorist._ "YES."

_Pedestrian._ "WHAT IS IT?"

_Motorist._ "MY GIRL."]

       *       *       *       *       *

     "UTOPIA.

     Miss Ruby ---- Sundayed under the parental."--_Canadian Paper._

We congratulate Utopia on its ideal language.


+------------------------------------------------------------------+
| Transcriber's note:                                              |
|                                                                  |
| Typographical errors corrected: "Ted" for "Ned" and              |
| "reelly" for "really" on page 262.                               |
+------------------------------------------------------------------+





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