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Title: Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 159, 1920-10-06
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. 159, 1920-10-06" ***

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

VOL. 159, OCTOBER 6, 1920***


VOL. 159

OCTOBER 6, 1920.


"Motorists," says a London magistrate, "cannot go about knocking people
down and killing them every day." We agree. Once should be enough for
the most grasping pedestrian.

       * * *

"A Kensington lady," we read, "has just engaged a parlourmaid who is
only three feet seven inches in height." The shortage of servants is
becoming most marked.

       * * *

A play called _The Man Who Went to Work_ is shortly to be produced in
the West End. It sounds like a farce.

       * * *

A police-sergeant of Ealing is reported to have summoned six hundred
motorists since March. There is some talk of his being presented with
the illuminated addresses of another three hundred.

       * * *

All the recent photographs of Sir ERIC GEDDES show him with a very broad
smile. "And I know who he's laughing at," writes a railway traveller.

       * * *

With reference to the Press controversy between Mr. H.G. WELLS and Mr.
HENRY ARTHUR JONES, we understand that they have decided to shake hands
and be enemies.

       * * *

"In New Zealand," says a weekly paper, "there is a daisy which is often
mistaken for a sheep by the shepherds." This is the sort of statement
that the Prohibitionist likes to make a note of.

       * * *

A statistician informs us that a man's body contains enough lime to
whitewash a small room. It should be pointed out however that it is
illegal for a wife to break up her husband for decorative purposes.

       * * *

The Manchester Communist Party have decided to have nothing whatever to
do with Parliament. We understand that the PREMIER has now decided to
sell his St. Bernard dog.

       * * *

"There are no very rich people in England," says a gossip-writer. We can
only say we know a club porter who recently stated that he had a cousin
who knew a miner who ... but we fear it was only gossip.

       * * *

"It is possible for people to do quite well without a stomach," says a
Parisian doctor. Judged by the high prices, we know a grocer who seems
to think along the same lines.

       * * *

Special aeroplanes to carry fish from Holland to this country are to run
in the winter. The idea of keeping the fish long enough to enable them
to cross under their own power has been abandoned.

       * * *

An Ashford gardener has grown a cabbage which measures twelve feet
across. It is said to be uninhabited.

       * * *

The Rules of Golf Committee now suggest a standard ball for England and
America. The question of a standard long-distance expletive for foozlers
is held over.

       * * *

A youth charged at a police-court in the South of London with stealing
five hundred cigars, valued at threepence each, admitted that he had
smoked twenty-six of them. We are glad to learn that no further
punishment was ordered.

       * * *

_The Waste Trade World_ states that there is a great demand for rubbish.
Editors, however, don't seem to be moving with the times.

       * * *

Off Folkestone, a few days ago, a trawler captured a blue-nosed shark.
Complaints about the temperature of the sea have been very common among
bathers this year.

       * * *

"No one has yet been successful in filming an actual murder," states a
Picture-goers' Journal. It certainly does seem a pity that our murderers
are so terribly self-conscious in the presence of a cinematograph man.

       * * *

_The Daily Express_ states that Mrs. BAMBERGER has decided not to appeal
against her sentence. If that be so, this high-handed decision will be
bitterly resented by certain of the audience who were in court during
the trial and eagerly looked forward to the next edition.

       * * *

A _Daily Mail_ reader writes to our contemporary to say that he found
forty-two toads in his garden last week. We can only suppose that they
were there in ignorance of the fact that he took in _The Daily Mail_.

       * * *

A pike weighing twenty-six pounds, upon being hooked by a Cheshire
fisherman, pulled him into the canal. His escape was much regretted by
the fish, who had decided to have him stuffed.

       * * *

It is possible that Mr. TOM MANN, the secretary of the A.S.E., will
shortly retire under the age limit. It is rumoured that members have
started to collect for a souvenir strike as a parting tribute.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Bus Conductor_ (_after passenger's torrents of invective
on the subject of increased fare_). "RIGHT-O, MA. I'LL TELL 'EM

       *       *       *       *       *



_Heading in "Church Family Newspaper."_

       *       *       *       *       *

     "The output in the first quarter this year was at the rate of
     248,000,000 million tons a year. It fell in the second quarter
     to 232,000,000. Between and beyond these lines there is an
     ample margin for bargaining."

      _Evening Paper._

Abundantly ample.

       *       *       *       *       *



       "If this belief from heaven be sent,
          If such be Nature's holy plan,
        Have I not reason to lament
          What man has made of man?"

  Symbol of innocence, to Tories dear,
    Whom I detect beside the silvan path
  Doing your second time on earth this year
    That I may cull a generous aftermath,
        Let me divine your reason
  For thus repullulating out of season.

  Associated with the vernal prime
    And widely known as "rathe," why bloom so late?
  Was it the lure of so-called "Summer-time,"
    Extended well beyond the usual date?
        Our thanks for which reprieve
  Are SMILLIE'S, though they didn't ask his leave.

  Rather I think you have some lofty plan,
    Such as your old friend WORDSWORTH loved to sing;
  That for a fair ensample set to Man
    You duplicate your output of the Spring;
        That in your heart there lodges
  Dimly the hope of shaming Mr. HODGES.

  Ah! gentle primrose by the river's brim!
    Like _Peter Bell_ (unversed in woodland lore),
  He'll miss your meaning; you will be to him
    A yellow primrose--that and nothing more;
        He'll read in you no sign
  Of Nature's views about the datum-line.


       *       *       *       *       *


About a week ago, when they took Titterby away to the large red-brick
establishment which he now adorns, certain papers which were left lying
in his study passed into my hands, for I was almost his only friend. It
had long been Titterby's belief that a great future lay before the
librettist who should produce topical light operas on the GILBERT and
SULLIVAN model, dealing with our present-day economic crises. The thing
became an _idée fixe_, as the French say, or, as we lamely put it in
English, a fixed idea. There can be no doubt that he was engaged in the
terrible task of fitting the current coal dispute to fantastic verse
when a brain-cell unhappily buckled, and he was found destroying the
works of his grand piano with a coal-scoop.

Most of the MS. in my possession is blurred and undecipherable, full of
erasures, random stage-directions and marginal notes, amongst which
occasional passages such as the following "emerge" (as Mr. SMILLIE would

  "_Secretary._ The fellow is standing his ground,
                He's as stubborn and stiff as a war-mule.

  _Minister._                                 A
                     Means will be found
                     If we look all around
                To arrive at a suitable formula.

  _Chorus._     Yes, you've got to arrive at a formula."

Difficult though my task may be I feel it the duty of friendship to
attempt to give the public some faint outline of this fascinating and
curious work. Scenarios, _dramatis personæ_ and choruses had evidently
caused the author inordinate trouble, for at the top of one sheet I


_Interior of a coal-mine. Groups of colliers with lanterns and picks (?
tongs). Enter Chorus of female consumers._"

Then follows this note:--

     "_MEM. Can one dance in coal-mine? Look up COAL
       in 'Ency. Brit.' Also CELLAR FLAP_;"

and later on, at the end of a passage which evidently described the
dresses of the principal female characters introduced, we have the

    "_BRITANNIA. ? jumper, bobbed hair.
      ANARCHY. ? red tights_."

Nothing in this Act survives in a legible form, but in Act II. we are
slightly more fortunate:--

    "SCENE.--_Downing Street_ (it begins). _Enter mixed Chorus of
    private secretaries, female shorthand writers and
    representatives of the Press, followed by Sir ROBERT HORNE, Mr.

What happens after this I can only roughly surmise, but most probably
Mr. SMILLIE proves false to Britannia and flirts for some time with
Anarchy, egged on by Mr. WILLIAMS and urged by Sir ROBERT HORNE to
return to his earlier flame. At any rate, after a little, the
handwriting grows clearer, and I read:--

  "_Mr. SMILLIE (striking the pavement with his pick)_.
                We mean to strike.

  _Chorus._  He means to strike, he means to strike,
             Rash man! Did ever you hear the like
               Of what he has just asserted?
             Living is dear enough now, on my soul,
             What will it be when we can't get coal?

  _PRIME MINISTER (entering suddenly)._
             This strike must be averted."

There seems to have been some doubt as to how the PRIME MINISTER'S
entrance should be effected, for at this point we get the marginal note:
"_? From door of No. 10. ? On wings. ? Trap door. ? Riding St. Bernard

But the difficulty was evidently settled, and the Chorus begins again:--

            "Oh, here is the wizard from Wales,
             The wonderful wizard from Wales,
               The British Prime Minister,

  _MR. WILLIAMS._ Subtle and sinister.

  _Chorus._ Oh, no! That is only your fancy.
              Disputes he can manage and check;
              All parties respond to his beck.

  _MR. WILLIAMS._ He talks through the back of his neck!

  _Chorus._   When he talks through the back of his neck
            We call it his neck-romancy."

Of the arguments used by Mr. LLOYD GEORGE after this spirited
encouragement no record remains but the following passage:--

          "My dear Mr. SMILLIE,
          We value you highly
            Howe'er so ferociously raven you.
          We must find a way out,
          And we shall do, no doubt,
            If we only explore every avenue.

  _Chorus._ Yes, please, do explore every avenue.

    [_Exeunt Mr. LLOYD GEORGE and Mr. SMILLIE arm-in-arm, R. (?
    followed by St. Bernard) and return C. Exeunt L. and return C.
    again, and so on._

  _Chorus._ Oh, have you explored every avenue?"

Apparently they have, for later on we get--

  "_PRIME MINISTER._ Then why should you want to strike
            When the Government saves your faces?
          You can get more pay when you like
            On the larger output basis."

And the Chorus of course chimes in:--

          "They can get more pay when they like
             On the larger output basis."

And there is a note at the side: "_Chorus to wave arms upwards and
outwards, indicating increased production of coal._"

It seems to have been at some time after this, and probably in Act III.,
that Titterby went, if I may put it so vulgarly, off the hooks. I think
he must have got on to the conference between the mineowners and the
representatives of the miners, and struggled until the gas became too
thick for him. At any rate, after several unreadable pages, the
following unhappy fragment stands out clear:--

    "_Mr. SMILLIE still stands irresolute, running his fingers
    through his hair._

  _Chorus of Mineowners_ (_pointing at him_).

           Ruffled hair requires, I ween,
           Something in the brilliantine
             Or else in the pomatum line.
           How shall we devise a balm
           Mr. SMILLIE'S locks to calm?
             Hullo! here comes the Datum-Line!

    _Enter_ Datum-Line. (_? can Datum-Line be personified? ? comic.
    ? check trousers. ? red whiskers._)"

Nothing more has been written, and it must have been at this point, I
suppose, that Titterby got up and assaulted his piano. It all seems very


       *       *       *       *       *



[It is rumoured that the Ministry of Transport is to have a limited

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Lady._ "NO COD LEFT, MR. BROWN?"

_Fishmonger_ (_confidentially_). "WELL, MRS. SNIPPS, I'LL OBLIGE YOU. I

       *       *       *       *       *


  You may be very ugly and freckledy and small
  And have a little stubby nose that's not a nose at all;
  You may be bad at spelling and you may be worse at sums,
  You may have stupid fingers that your Nanna says are thumbs,
  And lots of things you look for you may never, never find,
  But if you love the fairies--you don't mind.

  You may be rather frightened when you read of wolves and bears
  Or when you pass the cupboard-place beneath the attic stairs;
  You may not always like it when thunder makes a noise
  That seems so much, much bigger than little girls and boys;
  You may feel rather lonely when you waken in the night,
  But if the fairies love you--_it's all right_.


       *       *       *       *       *

     "I trust it may be sufficient to convince readers that Mr.

     _Sunday Paper._

At last the ever-recurring problem of where to put the rest of Mr.
CHESTERTON has been solved.

       *       *       *       *       *


(_and how much it is_).

I have been reading a lot about Polynesia lately, and the conclusion has
been forced upon me that dining out in that neighbourhood might be
rather confusing to a stranger.

Imagine yourself at one of these Antipodean functions. Your host is
seated at the head of the table with a large fowl before him. Looking
pleasantly in your direction he says:--

"Will you have a little moa?"

Not being well up in the subject of exotic fauna you will be tempted to
make one of the following replies:--

(1) (With _Alice in Wonderland_ in your mind) "How can I possibly have
more when I haven't had anything at all yet?"

(2) "Yes, please, a lot more, or just a little more," as capacity and
appetite dictate.

(3) "No, thank you."

The objection to reply No. 1 is that it may cause unpleasantness, or
your host may retort, "I didn't ask you if you would have a little more
moa," and thus increase your embarrassment.

No. 2 is a more suitable rejoinder, but probably No. 3 is the safest
reply, as some of these big birds require a lot of mastication.

In the event of your firing off No. 3, your host glances towards the
hostess and says--

"Oo, then" (pronounced "oh-oh").

To your startled senses comes the immediate suggestion, "Is the giver of
the feast demented, or is he merely rude?"

Just as you are meditating an excuse for leaving the table and the
house, your hostess saves the situation by saying sweetly, "Do let me
give you a little oo," playfully tapping with a carvingknife the
breastbone of a winged creature recumbent on a dish in front of her.

It gradually dawns upon you that you are among strange birds quite
outside the pale of the English Game Laws, and that you will have to
take a sporting chance.

While you are still in the act of wavering the son of the house says,
"Try a little huia."

If you like the look of this specimen of Polynesian poultry you signify
your acceptance in the customary manner; otherwise, in parliamentary
phraseology, "The Oos have it."

For my own part I fancy that, unless or until some of these unusual
fowls are extinct, I shall not visit Polynesia, but rest content with
Purley. Our dinner-parties may be dull, but at least one knows one's way
about among the dishes.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Fed-up Owner_ (_to holiday Artist_). "CHARMING, MY DEAR

       *       *       *       *       *


  The gentle zephyr lightly blows
    Across the dewy lawn,
  And sleepily the rooster crows,
    "Beloved, it is dawn."

  The little worms in bed below
    Can hear their father wince,
  While, up above, a feathered foe
    Is busy making mince.

  In vain they seize his slippery tail
    And try to pull him back;
  It makes their little cheeks turn pale
    To hear his waistband crack.

  They draw him down and crowd around;
    Their tears bespeak their love;
  For part of him is underground
    And part has gone above.

  But not for long does sorrow seize
    The subterranean mind,
  For father grows another piece
    In front or else behind.

  And now he's up before the dawn,
    Long ere the world has stirred,
  And eats his breakfast on the lawn
    Before the early bird.

       *       *       *       *       *


    "Lady Nurse or Nursery Governess (young) wanted for post near
    Ventnor, I.W., for boy 2½ years. Experience, similar age, and
    happy disposition essential."--_Weekly Paper._

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Oxford, Tuesday.

    The Royal Commission on Oxford and Cambridge Universities began
    its Oxford session this afternoon in the Extermination Schools."

                                                        _Daily Paper._

_Absit omen!_

       *       *       *       *       *



MY DEAR CHARLES,--The Third International is not a Rugby football match.
It is a corporation of thrusters whose prospectus announces that it will
very shortly have your blood, having first acquired exclusive rights in
your money. Have you two acres and a cow? Have you seven pounds three
and threepence in the Post-Office Savings Bank? Have you any blood? Very
well, then; THIS CONCERNS YOU.

There was a meeting of shareholders in Moscow as recently as July last.
The Chairman said: "Gentlemen--I beg your pardon, Comrades,--I am happy
to be able to report promising developments. Our main enterprise in
Russia, for technical reasons with which I will not now trouble you, is
not for the moment profit-producing; but we have been able to promote
some successful ventures abroad. In all parts of the civilised
world--and Ireland--we may anticipate a distribution of assets in the
near future." And among those assets to be parcelled out are, I may say,
your acres, your cow, your savings and yourself.

There followed a meeting of the Executive Committee (I wish they would
avoid that tactless word "executive," don't you?). Simple and brisk
instructions were drafted for foreign agents, bidding them get on with
it and not spare themselves, or in any case not spare anyone else. These
were inscribed on linen, which was folded over, with the writing inside,
and neatly hemmed. Shortly afterwards a number of earnest young men
wearing tall collars and an air of exaggerated innocence sought to cross
various frontiers and were surprised and offended when rough and rude
officials stole their collars and set about taking them to pieces.

I hate to speak slightingly of anyone, but these world-revolutionaries
have no business to be so young. According to my view a professor of
anarchy and assassination ought to be a man of middle-age with stiff
stubble on his chin. He has no business to be a pale and perspiring
youth, tending to long back hair and apt to be startled by the slightest
sound when he is alone. And what a lot of them write poetry, and such
poetry too! That is the manner of the man who is going to seize your
house and usurp your cow, while you will be lucky if you are allowed a
place on a perch in your own fowl-house.

We had an opportunity of seeing them in procession when a consignment of
these world-revolutionaries drove off in state from Berne about the time
of the Armistice. I told you, last week, that we had a Legation of them,
very kindly lent by the Moscow management, and I also told you that our
Italian juggler had let us into the secret of their midnight lucubrations,
of which we had duly informed the officials interested in such matters.
We had front places when the motor lorry called for them and the
military escort arrived to assist all the passengers to take, and keep,
their seats. Into the lorry were packed the Minister Plenipotentiary and
Envoy Extraordinary, the Chargé d'Affaires, the First Secretary, the
Second Secretary, the Third Secretary, the Legal and Spiritual Advisers
and the Lady Typist. Their features were not easy to distinguish; when
the Bolshevists assume dominion over us they will not nationalize our
soap. One or two fell out, but were carefully replaced by willing hands
and bayonets; and so home.

Now that is a sight you don't often see: a Diplomatique Corps being
returned to store in a motor lorry. The disappointing thing about them
was that, for all their fiery propaganda and for all their drastic
resolutions, never a one of them produced so much as a squib-cracker.
The only people to derive any excitement from the affair were the small
children, who took it for a circus.

The best they could do for us was a general strike. What all this had to
do with trades or unions nobody seemed to know, least of all the
workers. But there was an attractive sound about the then novel phrase,
"Direct Action," and it gave a sense of useful business to that
otherwise over-portly word, "Proletariat." And the local politicians,
promised good jobs in LENIN'S millennium, made great use of the phrase,
"Dictatorship of the Proletariat." Thus many an honest workman joined in
under the belief that it meant an extra hour's holiday on Saturdays, an
extra hour in bed on Mondays and an extra bob or two of wages.

While it lasts, even a bloodless revolution can be very tiresome; almost
as disquieting as a general election. Everybody who isn't revoluting is
mobilised to keep the revolution from being molested. There are no
trams, because the drivers are demonstrating; no shops, because the
shopmen are mobilised; no anything, because everyone is out watching the
fun. So you go into the square to watch also. You see little groups of
revolutionaries looking sullen and laboriously class-hating. You see a
lot of soldiers looking very ordinary but trying not to. The riff-raff
scowl at the soldiers, who are ordered out to shoot at them. The
soldiers scowl at the riff-raff at whom they are ordered not to shoot.
And, for some reason which the experts have not yet fathomed, it always
pours with rain.

When we had succeeded in persuading the soldier who was posted to guard
our hotel that we were not the proletariat and might safely be let pass,
we found a gathering of inside-knowledge people discussing the
situation. The Government ought to have known all about it long
before--how the Bolshevists were stirring up trouble. "They did," said
we; "we told them." There was a silence at this, but a smile on the face
of the audience which we at first mistook for incredulity. We referred
darkly to our private information, derived, as I told you in my last,
from the Italian juggler. "Did he do juggling tricks with _your_
ink-pots too?" asked the French element. "How much money did _you_ give
him?" asked all the other elements. "And I suppose he also told you,"
said the Italian officer, "that he had no confidence in his own people
and that the British alone enjoyed his respect?"

At this moment the Americans came in and asked us to quit arguing and
attend while they told us how they had unearthed the great plot.... When
together we reckoned up the Italian juggler's net takings we realised
that it is an ill revolution which brings no one any good.

  Yours ever,

(_To be continued._)

       *       *       *       *       *


    [Suggested by a recently reported incident in the Midlands,
     when a pack divided, one part getting out of hand and running
     among standing crops.]

  Gin a body meet a body
    Cubbin' thro' the rye,
  Gin a body tell a body,
    "Seed 'em in full cry,"
  Useless then to blame the puppies,
    Useless too to lie;
  Whippers-in can't _always_ stop 'em,
    Even when they try.

  Gin a body meet a body
    Cubbin' thro' the rye,
  What a body calls a body
    Dare I say?--not I;
  Farmers get distinctly stuffy,
    Neither are they shy,
  And Masters, when they're really rattled,
    Sometimes make reply.

       *       *       *       *       *


     "A good many Church-people at home have been pressing
    teetotalism, and are now pressing Prohibition, and it is
    possible that they may succeed about the time when the moon
    grows cold."--_Weekly Paper._

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE MAN YOU GIVE A GAME TO.]

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *


(_Leaves from a holiday diary._)


An outrage has occurred in the hotel. Late on Monday night ten innocent
visitors discovered themselves the possessors of apple-pie beds. The
beds were not of the offensive hair-brush variety, but they were very
cleverly constructed, the under-sheet being pulled up in the good old
way and turned over at the top as if it were the top-sheet.

I had one myself. The lights go out at eleven and I got into bed in the
dark. When one is very old and has not been to school for a long time or
had an apple-pie bed for longer still, there is something very uncanny
in the sensation, especially if it is dark. I did not like it at all. My
young brother-in-law, Denys, laughed immoderately in the other bed at my
flounderings and imprecations. He did not have one. I suspect him....


Naturally the hotel is very much excited. It is the most thrilling event
since the mixed foursomes. Nothing else has been discussed since
breakfast. Ten people had beds and about ten people are suspected. The
really extraordinary thing is that numbers of people seem to suspect
_me_! That is the worst of being a professional humourist; everything is
put down to you. When I was accompanying Mrs. F. to-day she suddenly
stopped fiddling and said hotly that someone had been tampering with her
violin. I know she suspected me. Fortunately, however, I have a very
good answer to this apple-pie bed charge. Eric says that his bed must
have been done after dinner, and I was to be seen at the dance in the
lounge all the evening. I have an alibi.

Besides I had a bed myself; surely they don't believe that even a
professional humourist could be so bursting with humour as to make
himself an apple-pie bed and not make one for his brother-in-law in the
same room! It would be too much like overtime.

But they say that only shows my cleverness....


Then there is the question of the Barkers. Most of the victims were
young people, who could not possibly mind. But the Barkers had two, and
the Barkers are a respected middle-aged couple, and nobody could
possibly make them apple-pie beds who did not know them very well. That
shows you it can't have been me--I--me--that shows you I couldn't have
done it. I have only spoken to them once.

They say Mr. Barker was rather annoyed. He has rheumatism and went to
bed early. Mrs. Barker discovered about her bed before she got in, but
she didn't let on. She put out the candle and allowed her lord to get
into his apple-pie in the dark. I think I shall like her.

They couldn't find the matches. I believe he was quite angry....


I suspect Denys and Joan. They are engaged, and people in that state are
capable of anything. Neither of them had one, and they were seen
slipping upstairs during the dance. They say they went out on the
balcony--a pretty story....


I suspect the Barkers. You know, that story about Mrs. B. letting Mr. B.
get into his without warning him was pretty thin. Can you imagine an
English wife doing a thing of that kind? If you can it ought to be a
ground for divorce under the new Bill. But you can't.

Then all that stuff about the rheumatism--clever but unconvincing. Mr.
Barker stayed in his room all the next morning _when the awkward
questions were being asked_. Not well; oh, no! But he was down for lunch
and conducting for a glee-party in the drawing-room afterwards, as perky
and active as a professional. Besides, the really unanswerable problem
is, who could have _dared_ to make the Barkers' apple-pie beds? And the
answer is, nobody--except the Barkers.

And there must have been a lady in it, it was so neatly done. Everybody
says no _man_ could have done it. So that shows you it couldn't have
been me--I--myself....


I suspect Mr. Winthrop. Mr. Winthrop is fifty-three. He has been in the
hotel since this time last year, and he makes accurate forecasts of the
weather. My experience is that a man who makes accurate forecasts of the
weather may get up to any devilry. And he protests too much. He keeps
coming up to me and making long speeches to prove that he didn't do it.
But I never said he did. Somebody else started that rumour, but of
course he thinks that I did. That comes of being a professional

But I do believe he did it. You see he is fifty-three and doesn't dance,
so he had the whole evening to do it in.

To-night we are going to have a Court of Inquiry....


We have had the inquiry. I was judge. I started with Denys and Joan in
the dock, as I thought we must have somebody there and it would look
better if it was somebody in the family. The first witness was Mrs.
Barker. Her evidence was so unsatisfactory that I had to have her put in
the dock too. So was Mr. Barker's. I was sorry to put him in the dock,
as he still had rheumatics. But he had to go.

So did Mr. Winthrop. I had no qualms about him. For a man of his age to
do a thing like that seems to me really deplorable. And the barefaced
evasiveness of his evidence! He simply could not account for his
movements during the evening at all. When I asked him what he had been
doing at 9.21, and where, he actually said he _didn't know_.

Rather curious--very few people _can_ account for their movements, or
anyone else's. In most criminal trials the witnesses remember to a
minute, years after the event, exactly what time they went upstairs and
when they passed the prisoner in the lounge, but nobody seems to
remember anything in this affair. No doubt it will come in time.

The trial was very realistic. I was able to make one or two excellent
judicial jokes. Right at the beginning I said to the prosecuting
counsel, "What _is_ an apple-pie bed?" and when he had explained I said
with a meaning look, "You mean that the bed was not in _apple-pie
order_?" Ha, ha! Everybody laughed heartily....


In my address to the jury of matrons I was able to show pretty clearly
that the crime was the work of a gang. I proved that Denys and Joan must
have done the bulk of the dirty work, under the tactical direction of
the Barkers, who did the rest; while in the background was the sinister
figure of Mr. Winthrop, the strategical genius, the lurking Macchiavelli
of the gang.

The jury were not long in considering their verdict. They said: "We
find, your Lordship, that you did it yourself, with some lady or ladies

That comes of being a professional humourist....


I ignored the verdict. I addressed the prisoners very severely and
sentenced them to do the Chasm hole from 6.0 A.M. to 6.0 P.M. every day
for a week, to take out cards and play out every stroke. "You,
Winthrop," I said, "with your gentlemanly cunning, your subtle
pretensions of righteousness--" But there is no space for that....


As a matter of fact the jury were quite right. In company with a lady
who shall be nameless I did do it. At least, at one time I thought I
did. Only we have proved so often that somebody else did it, we have
shown so conclusively that we can't have done it, that we find ourselves
wondering if we really did.

Perhaps we didn't.

If we did we apologise to all concerned--except, of course, to Mr.
Winthrop. I suspect him.


       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE END OF THE SEASON.


       *       *       *       *       *


(_By a Student of Psychology._)

  When the glass is high and steady
  For domestic broils be ready.
  When the glass is low and jerky
  Then look out for squalls in Turkey.
  When the air is dull and damp
  Keep your eye on Mr. CRAMP.
  When the air is clear and dry
  On BOB WILLIAMS keep your eye.
  When it's fine and growing finer
  Keep your eye upon the miner.
  When it's wet and growing wetter
  'Twill be worse before it's better.
  When the tide is at its ebb
  Fix your gaze on SIDNEY WEBB.
  When the tide is at high level
  Modernists discuss the Devil.
  Floods upon the Thames or Kennet
  Stimulate the brain of BENNETT;
  While a waterspout foretells
  Fresh activities in WELLS.
  When it's calm in the Atlantic
  Gooseberries become gigantic.
  When it's rough in the Pacific
  Laying hens are less prolific.
  When the clouds are moving _largo_
  There is no restraining MARGOT.
  When their movement is _con brio_
  When the sun is bright but spotty
  Diarists become more dotty.
  When the sun is dim and hazy
  Diarists become more crazy.
  When the nights are calm and still
  Faster travels GARVIN'S quill.
  When the blizzard's blast is hissing
  REPINGTON is reminiscing.

  If you ponder well these lines
  You can read the weather signs
  In accordance with the rule
  Binding both on sage and fool:--
  _Anything in mortal ken
  May befall us anywhen._

       *       *       *       *       *


     "Services! Dozens other cars available, £1,500 to £50. Call and
    insult us."

     _Motor Journal._

       *       *       *       *       *


     "The roads are peculiarly situated, and are dangerous not only
    because they are main cross roads, but also on account of the
    hidden view they afford of each other."--_Local Paper._

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Teacher._ "AND WHAT DOES _ff_ MEAN?"

_Pupil_ (_after mature deliberation_). "_Fump-Fump._"]

       *       *       *       *       *


     ["Loiterers will be treated as trespassers."--_Notice on Tube

  No longer laud, my Jane, the ancient wooer
    Who for the favours of his ladye fayre
  Would sally forth to strafe the evil-doer
    Or beard the dragon in his inmost lair;
  Find it no more, dear heart, a ground for stray tiffs
    Because, forsooth, you can't detect in me
  A tendency to go out whopping caitiffs
    Daily from ten till three.

  He proved himself in his especial fashion,
    Daring the worst to earn a lover's boon,
  But I, no less than he a prey to passion,
    Faced risks as great this very afternoon,
  When at the Tube a long half-hour I waited
    (In fond obedience to your written beck)
  Where loiterers, it practically stated,
    Would get it in the neck.

  The liftmen who from time to time ascended
    To spill their loads (in which you had no part)
  Regarded me with eagle eyes intended
    To lay the touch of terror on my heart;
  But through a wait thus perilously dreary
    My spirits drooped not nor my courage flinched;
  "She cometh not," I merely sighed, "I'm weary
    And likely to be pinched."

  You came at last, long last, to end my fretting,
    And now you know how your devoted bard
  Faced for your sake the risk of fine or getting
    An unaccustomed dose of labour (hard);
  Harbour no more that idiotic notion
    That love to-day is unromantic, flat;
  Gave _Lancelot_ such a proof of his devotion,
    Did _Galahad_ do that?

       *       *       *       *       *



Pamela's _father, in one armchair, is making a praiseworthy effort to
absorb an article in a review on "The Future of British Finance." In
another armchair_ Pamela's _mother is doing some sort of mending._
Pamela _herself, stretched upon the hearthrug, is reading aloud
interesting extracts from a picture-book._

_Pamela_ (_in a cheerful sing-song_). A for Donkey; B for Dicky.

_Her Father._ What sort of dicky?

_Pamela_ (_examining the illustration more closely_). All ugly black,
bissect for his blue mouf.

_Her Mother_ (_instructively_). Not blue; yellow. And it's a beak, not a

_Pamela._ I calls it a mouf. He's eating wiv it. (_With increasing
disfavour_) A poor little worm he's eating. Don't like him; he's crool.
(_She turns the page hurriedly and continues_) C for Pussy; D for Mick.

    [_This is the name of the family mongrel. That the picture
    represents an absolutely thoroughbred collie matters nothing to_
    Pamela. _She spends some time in admiring_ Mick, _then rapidly
    sweeps over certain illustrations that fail to attract._

_Pamela_ (_stopping at the sight of a web-footed fowl, triumphantly_). G
for Quack-quack.

_Her Father._ Oh, come, Pamela, that's not a quack-quack; that's a
goose. It makes quite a different noise.

    [_Anticipating an immediate demand for a goose's noise he clears
    his throat nervously._

_Pamela_ (_with authority_). This one isn't making any noise. It's jus'
thinking. (_Her father accepts the correction and swallows again._) H
for Gee-gee. Stupid gee-gee.

_Her Father._ Why stupid?

_Pamela._ 'Acos its tail looks silly.

_Her Father_ (_glancing at the tail, which bears some resemblance to an
osprey's feather_). You're right; it does.

_Her Mother._ I wonder whether it's wrong to let children get accustomed
to bad drawings?

_Her Father._ Pamela doesn't get accustomed--she criticises. If it
weren't for a silly tail here, a stupid face there, her critical faculty
might lie for ever dormant.

_Pamela_ (_having turned over four or five pages with one grasp of the
hand, as if determined to suppress the unsatisfactory horse_). R for

_Her Mother._ No, dear, Rabbit. R for _R_abbit. B for _B_unny.

_Pamela_ (_gently_). No; B is for Dicky. The ugly dicky wiv the blue

_Her Father_ (_rashly_). The blackbird.

_Pamela_ (_conscious of superior knowledge_). That isn't its name.
That's what it looks like, all black; but its name is Dicky. B for

_Her Father._ Well, have it your own way. What does S stand for?

_Pamela_ (_turning to the likeness of an elderly quadruped, with great
assurance_). Baa-lamb!

_Her Father._ Sometimes we call baa-lambs sheep.

_Pamela._ I don't.

_Her Father._ You will when you grow older.

_Pamela._ I won't be any older, not for ever so long. Not till next
birfday. (_Pushing her book away and assuming an air of extreme
infancy_) Tired of reading. Want a piggy-back, _please_!

_Her Father_ (_firmly taking up his review again_). Not just now. I'm
busy with a picture-book.

    [_A reproachful silence falls upon the room._

_Pamela_ (_presently, in a mournful chant_). A for Don-key. B for

_The Scene closes._

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE PRINCE COMES HOME.]

       *       *       *       *       *




_Sailor._ "NO, SIR."


       *       *       *       *       *



  Have you noticed that the splendid dreams, the best dreams that there are,
  Come always in the darkest nights without a single star?
  When the moonless nights are blackest the best dreams are about;
  I'll tell you why that should be so and how I found it out.

  There's a bird who comes at night-time, and underneath his wings,
  All warm and soft and feathery, lie tiny fairy things;
  He spreads his wings out widely (you see them, not the dark)
  And you hear the fairies whispering, "Hush! hush!" "I'll tell you!" "Hark!"

  The bird is black and feathery, but his feet are made of gold;
  He chiefly comes in summer-time, for fairies hate the cold;
  And if the nights are velvet-dark and full of summer airs
  He lingers till the sun creeps up and finds him unawares.

  And so you'll see in summer-time, when all the dew is wet,
  The footprints of his golden claws maybe will linger yet;
  The little golden flower-buds will gleam like golden grain,
  And if you pick and cherish them perhaps you'll dream again.

       *       *       *       *       *



       *       *       *       *       *



Not very long ago the following advertisements appeared in the same
column of _The Southshire Daily Gazette_:

    "Lost, a pure black Pekinese dog, wearing a silver badge marked
    'Cherub.' Handsome reward offered. F.B., Grand Hotel,

    "Found, a black Pekinese, wearing a silver badge marked
    'Cherub.' No reward required. The Limes, Cheviot Road,


On the same morning the paper was opened and scanned almost
simultaneously by Mrs. Frederick Bathurst in the sitting-room which she
and her husband occupied at the Grand Hotel, and by Mr. Hartley Friend
in the morning-room at "The Limes."

"Oh, Fred," exclaimed Mrs. Bathurst, "Cherub has been found. He's all
safe at a house called 'The Limes,' in Cheviot Road. Isn't that

"Very good news," said her husband. "I told you not to worry."

"It's a direct answer to prayer," said Mrs. Bathurst. "But--"

"But what?" her husband inquired.

"But I do wish you had taken my advice not to offer any reward. You
might so easily have left it open. People aren't so mercenary as all
that. It stands to reason that anyone staying at an hotel like this and
bringing a dog with them--always an expensive thing to do--and valuing
it enough to advertise its loss, would behave properly when the time

"I don't know," Mr. Bathurst replied. "Does anything stand to reason?
The ordinary dog-thief, holding up an animal to ransom, might be
deterred from returning it if no mention of money was made. You remember
we decided on that."

"Oh, no, I don't think so. You merely had your way again, that was all.
I was always against offering a reward. And the word 'handsome' too. In
any case I never agreed to that. You put that in later. Another thing,"
Mrs. Bathurst continued, "I knew it in some curious way--in my bones, as
they say--that the fineness of Cherub's nature, its innocence, its
radiant friendliness, would overcome any sordidness in the person who
found him, poor darling, all lost and unhappy. No one who has been much
with that simple sweet character could fail to be the better for it."

Mr. Bathurst coughed.

"That is so?" his wife persisted.

"Well," said Mr. Bathurst, after helping himself to another egg, "let us
hope so, at any rate."

"It's gone beyond mere hope," said his wife triumphantly. "Listen to
this;" and she read out the sentence from the second advertisement, "'No
reward required.' There," she added, "isn't that proof? I'll go round to
Cheviot Road directly after breakfast and say how grateful we are, and
bring the darling back."


Meanwhile at "The Limes" Mr. Hartley Friend was pacing the room with
impatient steps.

"I do wish you would try to be less impulsive," he was saying to his
wife. "Anything in the nature of business you would be so much wiser to
leave to me."

"What is it now?" Mrs. Friend asked with perfect placidity.

"This dog," said her husband, "that fastened itself on you in this
deplorable way--whatever possessed you to rush into print about it?"

"Of course I rushed, as you say. Think of the feelings of the poor
woman who has lost her pet. It was the only kind thing to do."

"'Poor woman' indeed! I assure you she's nothing of the sort. One would
think you were a millionaire to be ladling out benefactions like this.
'No reward required.' Fancy not even asking for the price of the
advertisement to be refunded!"

"But that would have been so squalid."

"'Squalid!' I've no patience with you. Justice isn't squalor. It's--it's
justice. As for your 'poor woman,' listen to this." And he read out the
Bathurst advertisement with terrible emphasis on the words "Handsome
reward offered." "Do you hear that--'handsome'?"

"Yes, I hear," said his wife amiably; "but that isn't my idea of making

"I hope you don't suppose it's mine," said her husband. "But there is
such a thing as common sense. Why on earth the accident of this little
brute following us home should run us into the expense of an
advertisement and a certain amount of food and drink I'm hanged if I can

"Well, dear," said his wife with the same amiability, "if you can't see
it I can't make you."


A few minutes later the arrival of "a lady who's come for the Peek" was

"No," said Mr. Friend as his wife rose, "leave it to me. I'll deal with
it. The situation is very delicate."

"How can I thank you enough," began Mrs. Bathurst, "for being so kind
and generous about our little angel? My husband and I agreed that
nothing more charmingly considerate can ever have been done."

At this point Mrs. Friend followed her husband into the room, and Mrs.
Bathurst renewed her expressions of gratitude.

"But at any rate," she added to her, "you will permit me to defray the
cost of the advertisement? I could not allow you to be at that expense."

Before Mrs. Friend could speak her husband intervened. "No, madam," he
said, "I couldn't think of it. Please don't let the mention of money
vulgarize a little friendly act like this. We are only too glad to have
been the means of reuniting you and your pet."


       *       *       *       *       *

    "Rufford Abbey is, of course, a wonderful old place, and all
    the front, from gable to gable, is genuine tenth-century, built
    in 1139."

     _Sunday Times._

It looks as if the ca' canny idea was not so new as we thought it.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Lady with Pram_ (_who has been pointing out to newcomer
the beauties of the neighbourhood, where a strike is threatened_).

       *       *       *       *       *



When _Dahlia_ refused the hand of a wealthy middle-aged nut, with
faultless knickerbockers and a gift for lucubrated epigrams, preferring
to throw in her lot (platonically) with a young and penniless social
reformer, we took no notice of those who feared a scandal ("scandals are
not what they were," as she said), nor of the girl's assertion that she
had no use for the alleged romance of marriage. We were confident that
the little god whose image, with bow and arrow, stood in the garden of
_Dahlia's_ ancestral home, would put things right for us in the end. Yet
we were not greatly annoyed when he made a mess of his business and
married her to the wrong man; for in the meantime such strange things
had been allowed to occur and the right man had proved such a
disappointment that we didn't much care what happened to anybody.

It was the rejected lover, _Mortimer Jerrold_, who conceived two bright
ideas for conquering her independence of mind, apparently for the
benefit of his rival. First he contrived to get _Harold Glaive_, the
young socialist, selected as a candidate for Parliament, hoping (if I
read the gentleman's motive rightly) that his probable failure would
touch the place where her heart should have been. This scheme did not go
very well, for he was chosen to contest the seat held by _Dahlia's_ own
father (which caused a lot of trouble), and in the result beat him.

Meanwhile _Jerrold_ had had an alternative brain-wave. He thought that
if he pinched the latchkey of _Dahlia's_ Bloomsbury flat, broke in at
night, and made a show of assaulting her modesty he could prove to her
that she was only a poor weak woman after all. Nothing, you would say,
could well have been more stupid. Yet, according to Mr. HASTINGS
TURNER'S showing (and who were we to challenge his authority?) it came
off. We were, in fact, asked to believe that a girl who had protested
her freedom from all sense of sex was suddenly made conscious of it by
the violence of a man whose advances, when decently conducted, had left
her cold; and from that moment developed an inclination to marry him. An
assault by a tramp or an apache would apparently have served almost as
well for the purpose. If this is "Every Woman's Privilege" it is
fortunate that so few of them get the chance of exercising it.

Miss MARIE LÖHR herself came very well out of a play that can hardly add
to the author's reputation. Her personality lent itself to a part which
demanded a blend of feminine charm with a boyish contempt for romance.
And she had a few good things to say. It was not Mr. HALLARD'S fault if
he failed to win our perfect sympathy for a hero whom the heroine
addressed as "Spats." As for Mr. BASIL RATHBONE, who played the part of
_Harold Glaive_, I cannot imagine why he took it on. Apart from his
timorous declaration of love, conveyed on a typewriter, there was no
colour in it, and nothing whatever to show why his passion petered out.
I think that the author, in his surprise at the success of _Harold's_
rival, must have forgotten all about it. Mr. HERBERT ROSS was excellent
as _Dahlia's_ father, a pleasantly futile baronet under the thumb of a
sour-tongued managing female, an old-fashioned part in which Miss HELEN
ROUS has nothing to learn. Miss VANE FEATHERSTON, as the lady who
finally absorbed the baronet, did her little gratuitous piece all right.

I cannot get myself to believe that all these intelligent actors are
under any illusion as to the merits of the comedy. With the best wishes
in the world for the success of Miss MARIE LÖHR'S enterprises, I am
bound to regard it as yet another instance of a play where the
attractions of the leading part have a little deranged the judgment of
the actor-manager.


       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Richard Petafor_ (Mr. HUBERT HARBEN), the apostle of
Materialism and Physical Exercise, trying to convert _Antony Grimshaw_
(Mr. HERBERT MARSHALL), the believer in Mysticism and Armchairs.]

       *       *       *       *       *


CALTHROP) present to us in _The Crossing_ a certain _Mr. Anthony
Grimshaw_, a princely egotist of the poetic-idealist type who gets up on
the hearth-rug and says to his family, "I am a humanitarian before
everything," and things like that, and then wonders why his wife is
estranged from him. He has a daughter, _Nixie_, who is not old enough to
know how bad all this is, and together they hear the wind singing glees
without words (or in Volapuk, but anyway not intelligible to us poor
normals), a thing Mr. ALGERNON BLACKWOOD has been doing or pretending to
do for years without once taking me in.

_Anthony_ is run over and (as we say) dies. After an extraordinarily
tiresome conversation in the morning-room with his friend and his son
and his mother (who are also what people call dead) it dawns upon him
that something odd has happened to himself also. His wife and two
children, after his (so-called) death, become blissfully happy and set
to work to finish his book, that being, as they think, his wish. Well, I
wonder. At any rate in death (as we say) he was not divided--from his

One knows well enough, alas, how the temptation to spiritual drug-taking
has grown as the result of the accumulated sorrows of these past years,
but it is not well that such a treatment of the eternal question should
be taken seriously. Is this sort of thing really better than the
harp-and-cloud theory? It is not. One looked in vain for any trace of
real vision, any true sense of the height and depth of the problem.

Mr. MARSHALL struggled quite manfully with the part of _Anthony_, and of
course he had his moments. I hope so good a player is not developing the
"actor's pause," of which I detected signs. Miss IRENE ROOKE had nothing
in particular to do and did it very well. Mr. HUBERT HARBEN as the
impenitent profiteer from Lancashire, _Anthony's_ brother-in-law, was
better suited than I have seen him for some time, and provided the very
necessary relief. The precocious children infuriated me, but that is
purely temperamental. The actors who played the parts of those who had
"crossed" were wrapped in such an atmosphere of gloom, to the strains of
such meretricious music that (on the evidence) I can only advise people
to defer their crossing as long as possible; a thing they will doubtless
do, even if they have a friendlier feeling to the new religion than I
can command.... I am afraid I proved a bad sailor.


       *       *       *       *       *


(_With grateful acknowledgments to "The Times" and "The Morning


We had quite a hectic time at the Philharmonic--I nearly wrote the
Phillemonade--concert last night, what with two Czechs, Dabçik and
Ploffskin, slabs of WAGNER, and Carl Walbrook's Humorous Variations,
"The Quangle Wangle," conducted by Carl himself. If the honest truth be
told, we sat down to the Variations with no more pleasurable
anticipation than one sits down with in the dentist's chair, preparatory
to the application of gags, electric drills and other instruments of
odontological torture. (Strange, by the way, that no modernist has
translated the horrors of the modern Tusculum into terms of sound and
fury!) But we were most agreeably surprised to find ourselves following
every one of the forty-nine Variations with breathless interest. Mr.
Walbrook is indeed a case of the deformed transformed. We found hardly a
trace of the poluphloisboisterous pomposity with which he used to
camouflage his dearth of ideas. His main theme is shapely and sinuous,
and its treatment in most of the Variations titillated us voluptuously.
But, since it is the function of the critic to criticise, let us justify
our _rôle_ by noting that the scoring throughout tends to glutinousness,
like that of the pre-war Carlsbad plum; further, that a solo on the
muted viola against an accompaniment of sixteen sarrusophones is only
effective if the sarrusophones are prepared to roar like sucking-doves,
which, as LEAR would have said, "they seldom if ever do." Still, on the
whole the Variations arrided us vastly.

It was a curious but exhilarating experience to hear the Bohemians, the
playboys of Central Europe, interpreted in the roast-beef-and-plum-pudding
style of the Philharmonic at its beefiest and plummiest. Dabçik survived
the treatment fairly well, but poor Ploffskin was simply stodged under.
But they were in the same boat with RICHARD the Elder, whose Venusberg
music was given with all the orgiastic exuberance of a Temperance Band
at a Sunday-School Treat, recalling the sarcastic jape of old HANS
RICHTER during the rehearsal of the same work: "You play it like
teetotalers--which you are not." Yet the orchestra were lavish of
violent sonority where it was not required; the well-meaning but
unfortunate Mr. Orlo Jimson, who essayed the "Smithy Songs" from
_Siegfried_, being submerged in a very Niagara of noise. WAGNER'S
scoring no doubt is "a bit thick," but then he devised a special
"spelunk" (as BACON says) for his orchestra to lurk in, and there is no
cavernous accommodation at the Queen's Hall.


Though fashion considers September as an unpropitious time for the
production of novelties, the scheme arranged for the patrons of the
Philharmonic Concert last night, under the direction of Sir Henry
Peacham, was successful in bringing together an audience of eminently
respectable dimensions. The occasion served for the launching under
favourable circumstances of what constituted the chief landmark of the
programme--a set of orchestral variations with the quaint title of "The
Quangle Wangle," from the prolific pen of Mr. Carl Walbrook. It is
satisfactory to be able to record the gratifying fact that this work met
with cordial acceptance. In the interests of serious art, the borrowing
of a title from one of the works of a writer so addicted to levity as
EDWARD LEAR may perhaps be deprecated, but there can be no doubt of the
ingenuity and sprightliness with which Mr. Walbrook has addressed
himself to, and accomplished, his task. If we cannot discover in his
composition the manifestation of any pronounced individuality or high
artistic uplift, it none the less commands the respect due to the
exhibition of a vigorous mentality combined with a notable mastery of
orchestral resource and mellifluous modulation. At the conclusion of the
performance Mr. Walbrook was constrained to make the transit from the
artistes' room to the platform no fewer than three times before the
applausive zeal of the audience could be allayed.

The remainder of the scheme was copious and well-contrived. Pleasurable
evidence of the friendly interest shown in the fortunes of the
Czecho-Slovakian Republic was forthcoming in the performance of two
works by composers of that interesting race--Messrs. Dabçik and
Ploffskin--of which it may suffice to say that the temperamental
peculiarities of the Bohemian genius were elicited with conspicuous
brilliancy under the inspiring direction of Sir Henry Peacham. In a
vocal item from _Siegfried_, Mr. Orlo Jimson evinced a sympathetic
appreciation of the emotional needs of the situation which augurs
favourably for his further progress, and the powerful support furnished
him by the orchestra was an important factor in the enjoyment of his
praiseworthy efforts. An almost too vivacious rendering of the Venusberg
music brought the scheme to a strepitous conclusion. It may, however, be
submitted that so realistic an interpretation of the Pagan revelries
depicted by the composer is hardly in accordance with the best
traditions of the British musical public.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE DREAM OF BLISS.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Fussy Old Party_ (_who likes to make sure_). "ARE YOU

_Driver_ (_to Conductor_). "'ERE, BILL, WE _ARE_ CARELESS. SOMEONE MUST

       *       *       *       *       *

    "There is no such thing as infallibility in rerum
    naturæ."--_Provincial Paper._

Nor, apparently, in journalistic Latin.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Reward.--Bedroom taken Tuesday, 27th, between Holborn and
    Woburn-place. A basket and umbrella left."--_Daily Paper._

We compliment the victim of this theft on his courtesy in calling the
thieves' attention to their oversight.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Exhausted War Profiteer._ "DEER FORESTS FOR THE 'IDLE

       *       *       *       *       *


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

The long-promised _Herbert Beerbohm Tree_ (HUTCHINSON), than which I
have expected no book with more impatience, turns out to be a volume
full of lively interest, though rather an experiment in snap-shot
portraiture from various angles than a full-dress biography. Mr. MAX
BEERBOHM has arranged the book, himself contributing a short memoir of
his brother, which, together with what Lady TREE aptly calls her
_Reverie_, fills some two-thirds of it with the more intimate view of
the subject, the rest being supplied by the outside appreciations of
friends and colleagues. If I were to sum up my impression of the
resulting picture it would be in the word "happiness." Not without
reason did the TREES name a daughter FELICITY. Here was a life spent in
precisely the kind of success that held most delight for the
victor--honour, love, obedience, troops of friends; all that _Macbeth_
missed his exponent enjoyed in flowing measure. Perhaps TREE was never a
great actor, because he found existence too "full of a number of
things"; if so he was something considerably jollier, the enthusiastic,
often inspired amateur, approaching each new part with the zest of a
brief but brilliant enthusiasm. I suppose no popular favourite ever had
his name associated with more good stories and wit, original and
vicarious. Despite some entertaining extracts from his commonplace book
I doubt if this side of him is quite worthily represented; at least
nothing here quoted beats Lady TREE'S own _mot_ for a mendacious
newspaper poster--_Canard à la Press_. Possibly we are still to look for
a more official volume of reference; meantime the present memoir gives a
vastly readable sketch of one whose passing left a void perhaps
unexpectedly hard to fill.

       *       *       *       *       *

In the prefatory chapter of _Our Women_ (CASSELL) Mr. ARNOLD BENNETT
coyly disclaims any intention of tackling his theme on strictly
scientific principles. The warning is perhaps hardly necessary, since,
apart from the duty which the author owes to his public as a novelist
rather than a philosopher, the title alone should be a sufficient guide.
One would hardly expect a serious zoologist, for instance, in attempting
to deal with the domesticated fauna, to entitle his work _Our Dumb
Friends_. The book is divided in the main between adjuration and
prophecy. As a result of their emancipation from economic slavery, Mr.
BENNETT expects women--women, that is to say, of the "top class," as he
calls it--to adopt more and more the _rôle_ of professional
wage-earners; but at the same time he insists that they do not as yet
take themselves seriously enough as professional housekeepers. How the
two functions are to be combined it is a little difficult to see, but
apparently women are to retain a profession as a stand-by in case they
fail to marry or to remain married. At the same time Mr. BENNETT takes
it for granted that woman will never relinquish her position as a
charmer of man, or even the use of cosmetics and expensive lingerie.
Speaking neither as a novelist nor as a philosopher, I cannot help
feeling that Mr. BENNETT is too apt to consider the things he
particularly likes about women to be eternal, and those that he does not
like so much to be susceptible of alteration and improvement. Anyhow, it
looks as if Our Men were going to have rather a thin time.

       *       *       *       *       *

Miss BEATRICE HARRADEN calls her latest story _Spring Shall Plant_
(HODDER AND STOUGHTON). She might equally well have called it _The
Successes of a Naughty Child_. Certainly it is chiefly concerned with
the many triumphant insubordinations of _Patuffa_ (whom I suspect of
having been encouraged by her too challenging name) both at home and at
the various schools from which she either ran away or was returned with
thanks. This is all mildly attractive if only from the vivacity of its
telling; but I confess to having felt a mild wonder whether a child's
book had not got on to my table by error--when the grown-ups suddenly
began to carry on in a way that placed all such doubts at rest. There
was, for example, a Russian lady, godmother of _Patuffa_, who escaped
from somewhere and established herself, with others of her kind, in an
attic in Coptic Street. My welcome for this interesting fugitive was to
some extent shaken by a realisation that she was (so to speak) a refugee
from the other side and, in a sense, a spiritual ancestress of
Bolshevism. Miss HARRADEN would however object, and justly, that the
clean-purposed conspirators of the earlier revolution had little in
common with the unsavoury individuals who at present obscure the Russian
dawn. Soon after this, _Patuffa's_ papa begins to go quite dreadfully
off the rails, even to the extent of wishing to elope with her governess
and eventually losing all his money and shooting himself. There was also
a famous violinist--well, you can see already that _Patuffa's_ vernal
experiences were on generous lines. It is to the credit of all concerned
that she and her story retain an appreciable charm under adverse

       *       *       *       *       *

Nothing, one would imagine, could promise much more restful reading than
a book that concerns itself with such things as christening robes for
caterpillars, the dyeing blue of white chickens and searches among
Californian lilies and pine-trees for the soul of a hog unseasonably
defunct. But, since this most uncharitable age refuses to believe
anything just because it is told it should, the peaceful pages of _The
Diary of Opal Whiteley_ (PUTNAM) are unfortunately fussed over with a
controversy that no one who reads them can quite escape. Miss WHITELEY'S
diary is presented with every circumstance of solemn asseveration as the
unaided work of a child of seven, only now pieced together by the writer
after quite a number of years. If you care to throw yourself into the
argument you will certainly find heaps of reasons for thinking unkind
thinks, as the writer would say, of the truth of this claim,
particularly in the completeness with which every incident is carried
through various stages to its literary finish; but, if you will be ruled
by me, you will try to forget anything but the book itself, with its
quite charming pictures of many animals and one little girl, their
understanding friend. The quaint idiom in which the diary is supposed to
have been written (or, of course, was written) adds to the delight of a
rather uncommon feeling for nature at its simplest, while the scrapes
for which the small heroine receives (or, you may say, is alleged to
receive) well-deserved punishment preserve the book from ever dropping
into mere mawkishness. A great pity, I think, that it was not published
rather as based on childish memories than as the actual printed script
of a prodigy.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Moon Mountains_ (HURST AND BLACKETT) is a story which with the best
will in the world I found it impossible to regard wholly seriously. The
greater part of the scene is laid in Darkest Africa, where the father of
the hero, _Peter_ (my hope that the _Peter_ habit had blown over appears
to have been premature), disappears at an early stage. The subsequent
course of events reminds me of the words of the musical-comedy poet,
popular in my youth, who wrote, "It were better for you rather not to
try and find your father, than to find him"--well, certainly better than
to find him as _Peter_ found his. Perhaps it would not be unfair to
suppose that Miss MARGARET PETERSON had at this point her eye already
firmly fixed upon her big situation. Certainly the course of _Peter_ is
rather impatiently and spasmodically sketched till the moment when
matters are sufficiently advanced to ship him also to Africa, in company
with an elderly hunter of butterflies named _Mellis_. Their adventures
form the bulk of the tale (filled out with some chat about elephants,
and a sufficiency of love-making on the part of _Peter_), and I suppose
I need hardly tell you how one of them, poor _Mellis_, is immediately
captured and brought before the terrible white king of the hidden lands,
nor how this same monarch, a really dreadfully unpleasant person, turns
out to be--Precisely. So there the tale is; little more incredible than,
I dare say, most of its kind; and if you have no rooted objection to
characters all of whom behave like persons who know they are in a book
there is no reason why you should not find it at least passably

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. F. BRETT YOUNG'S manner of presenting _The Tragic Bride_ (SECKER) is
not free from affectation, and this is the more irritating because his
literary style is in itself admirably unpretentious. But having recorded
this complaint I gladly go on to declare that his tale of _Gabrielle
Hewish_ has both charm and distinction. I protest my belief in
_Gabrielle_ both in her Irish and English homes, but my protest would
have been superfluous if Mr. BRETT YOUNG had not almost super-taxed my
powers of belief. So also with _Arthur Payne_; he is a fascinating lad,
and the battle between his mother and _Gabrielle_ for possession of him
was a royal struggle, fought without gloves yet very fairly. All the
same I caught myself doubting once or twice whether any boy could at the
same time be so human and so inhuman. It is to Mr. BRETT YOUNG'S credit
that these doubts do not interfere with one's enjoyment of his book, and
the reason is that he is first and last and all the time an artist.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _New Clerk._ "BEG PARDON, SIR, BUT THERE'S A GENTLEMAN


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