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Title: Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 159, 1920-11-03
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, 1920-11-03" ***

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VOL. 159.

November 3rd, 1920.


"After all," asks a writer, "why shouldn't Ireland have a Parliament,
like England?" Quite frankly we do not like this idea of retaliation
while more humane methods are still unexplored.

* * *

"The miners' strike," says a music-hall journal, "has given one
song-writer the idea for a ragtime song." It is only fair to say that
Mr. SMILLIE had no idea that his innocent little manoeuvre would
lead to this.

* * *

The Admiralty does not propose to publish an official account of the
Battle of Jutland. Indeed the impression is gaining ground that this
battle will have to be cancelled.

* * *

We are asked to deny that, following upon the publication of _Mirrors
of Downing Street_, by "A Gentleman with a Duster," Lord KENYON is
about to dedicate to Sir CLAUDE CHAMPION DE CRESPIGNY a book entitled
_A Peer with a Knuckle-Duster_.

* * *

"Mr. Lloyd George seems to have had his hair 'bobbed' recently," says
a gossip-writer in a Sunday paper. Mr. HODGES still sticks to the
impression that it was really two-bobbed.

* * *

"Cigars discovered in the possession of Edward Fischer, in New York,"
says a news item, "were found to contain only tobacco." Very rarely do
we come across a case like that in England.

* * *

"Water," says a member of the L.C.C., "is being sold at a loss." But
not in our whisky, we regret to say.

* * *

What is claimed to be the largest shell ever made has been turned out
by the Hecla Works, Sheffield. It may shortly be measured for a war to
fit it.

* * *

A taxi-driver who knocked a man down in Gracechurch Street has
summoned him for using abusive language. It seems a pity that
pedestrians cannot be knocked down without showing their temper like

* * *

After months of experiment at Thames Ditton the question of an
artificial limb of light metal has been solved. It is said to be just
the thing for Tube-travellers to carry as a spare.

* * *

In connection with Mr. PRINGLE'S recent visit to Ireland we are asked
to say that he was not sent there as a reprisal.

* * *

Mr. GEORGE LANSBURY recently told a Poplar audience why he went to
Australia many years ago. No explanation was offered of his return.

* * *

A coal-porter summoned for income-tax at West Ham Police Court said
that his wages averaged eight hundred pounds a year. We think it only
fair to say that there must be labouring men here and there who earn
even less than that.

* * *

"The thief," says a weekly paper report, "entered the house by way of
the front-door." We can only suppose that the burglars' entrance was
locked at the time.

* * *

A small boy, born in a Turkish harem, is said to have forty-eight
step-mothers living. Our office-boy, however, is still undefeated in
the matter of recently defunct grandmothers.

* * *

The number of accidental deaths in France is attaining alarming
proportions. It is certainly time that a stop was put to the quaint
custom of duelling.

* * *

A rat that looks like a kangaroo and barks like a prairie dog is
reported in Texas, says _The Columbia Record_. We can only say that,
when we last heard that one, it was an elephant with white trunk and
pink eyes.

* * *

"Why do leaders of the Bar wear such ill-fitting clothes?" asks a
contemporary. A sly dig, we presume, at their brief bags.

* * *

A reduction in prices is what every housewife in the land is looking
for, says _The Daily Express_. It is not known how our contemporary
got hold of this idea.

* * *

There is no truth in the report that _The Daily Mail_ has offered a
prize of a hundred pounds to the first person who can prove that it
has been talking through its prize hat.

* * *

"What should _The Daily Mail_ hat be worn with?" asks an enthusiast.
"Characteristic modesty" is the right answer.

* * *

Emigrants to Canada, it is stated, now include an increasingly large
proportion of skilled workers. Fortunately, thanks to the high wages
they earn at home, we are not losing the services of our skilled

* * *

A burglar who was recently sentenced in the Glasgow Police Court was
captured while in the act of lowering a chest of drawers out of a
window with a rope. The old method of taking the house home and
extracting the furniture at leisure is still considered the safest by
conservative house-breakers.

* * *

Found under a bed in a strange house at Grimsby, a man told the police
who arrested him that he was looking for work. It was pointed out to
him that the usual place for men looking for work is in bed, not under

* * *

In a recent case a Hull bargee gave his name as ALFAINA SWASH.
Nevertheless the Court did not decide to hear the rest of his evidence
_in camera_.

* * *

A cyclist who stopped to watch a stag-hunt near Tivington Cross, in
Somerset, was tossed into the hedge by the stag. On behalf of the
beast it is claimed that the cyclist was off-side.

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *

    "The Czecho-Slovaks will shortly be able to see the successful
    play, 'The Right to Stroke.'"--_Evening Paper._

Good news for the local pussies.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The first annual dinner of the ---- Club was held in the Club
    Rooms on Saturday evening, a large number sitting down to an
    excellent coal collation."--_Local Paper._

Surely a little extravagant in these times.


  "Prisoners to a foe inhuman, Oh, but our hearts rebel;
  Defenceless victims ye are, in claws of spite a prey.
         *       *       *       *       *
  Nor trouble we just Heaven that quick revenge be done
  On Satan's chamberlains highseated in Berlin;
  Their reek floats round the world on all lands neath the sun:
  Tho' in craven Germany was no man found, not one
  With spirit enough to cry Shame!--Nay but on such sin
  Follows Perdition eternal ... and it has begun."

_The POET LAUREATE, in "The Times," November 4th, 1918._

    "The letter [of reconciliation from Oxford Professors, etc., 'to
    their fellows in Germany'] is written ... with the recognition
    that we have both of us been provoked to 'animosities' which we
    desire to put aside ... The commonest objection was that the
    action was 'premature'--my own feeling being that of shame
    for having vainly waited so long in deference to political
    complications, and that shame was intolerably increasing ... It
    is undiscerning not to see that at a critical moment of extreme
    tension they [the German Professors] allowed their passion to get
    the better of them."

    _The POET LAUREATE, in "The Times," October 27th, 1920_.

    [The author of the following lines fears that he has failed to
    do full justice to the metrical purity of the Master's

  Such people as lacked the leisure to peruse
    My scripture, one-and-a-quarter columns long
    In _The Times_, may like me, as having the gift of song,
  To prosodise succinctly my private views.

  Did I cry Shame! in November, 1918,
    On those who never cried Shame! on the lords of hell?
  Rather the shame is mine who delayed to clean
    My soul of a wrong that grew intolerable.
  What if our German colleagues, our brothers-in-lore,
    Preached and approved for years the vilest of deeds?
    Yet is there every excuse when the hot blood speeds;
  We too were vexed and wanted our fellows' gore,
  Saying rude things in a moment of extreme tension
  Which in our calmer hours we should never mention.

  Dons in their academic ignorance blind,
    With passions like to our own as pea to pea,
  Shall we await in them a change of mind?
    Shall we require a repentant apology?
  Or in a generous spasm anticipate
    The regrets unspoken that, under the heavy stress
    Of labour involved in planning new frightfulness,
  They have been too busy, poor dears, to formulate?

  Once I remarked that on German crimes would follow
    "Perdition eternal"; Heaven would make this its care,
    Nor need to be hustled, with plenty of time to spare.
  Those words of mine I have a desire to swallow,
  Finding, on further thought, which admits my offence,
    That a few brief years of Coventry, of denied
    Communion with Culture--used in the Oxford sense--
  Are ample for getting our difference rectified.

  What is a Laureate paid for, I ask _The Times_,
  If not to recant in prose his patriot rhymes?
  I stamp my foot on my wrath's last smouldering ember,
  And for my motto I take "_Lest we remember_."    O. S.

       *       *       *       *       *


I let myself into my flat to find a young woman sitting on one of
those comfortless chairs designed by upholsterers for persons of
second quality who are bidden to wait in the hall.

"You want to see me?" I inquired. "Yes; what is it?"

"I have called, Madam, to ask if you are satisfied with your laundry."

"Far from it," I said. "It is kind of you to ask, but why?"

"Because I wish to solicit your custom for the laundry I represent."

"What faults do you specialise in?" I inquired.

"I beg your pardon, Madam?"

"Will you send home my husband's collars with an edge like a
dissipated saw?"

The young woman's face brightened with comprehension.

"Oh, no, Madam," she replied. "We exercise the greatest care with
gentlemen's stand-up collars."

"Will you shrink my combinations to the size of a doll's?"

An expression of horror invaded her countenance. "The utmost
precaution," she asserted, "is taken to prevent the shrinkage of

"Is it your custom to send back towels reduced to two hems connected
by a few stray rags in the middle?"

The young woman was aghast. "All towels are handled as gently as
possible to avoid tearing," she replied.

"How about handkerchiefs?" I asked. "I dislike to find myself grasping
my bare nose through a hole in the centre."

The suggestion made my visitor laugh.

"Are you in the habit of sewing nasty bits of red thread, impossible
to extricate, into conspicuous parts of one's clothing?"

"Oh, no, Madam," she asseverated; "no linen is allowed to leave our
establishment with any disfiguring marks."

"You never, I suppose, return clothing dirtier than when it reached
you?" I proceeded.

Suppressed scorn that I could believe in such a possibility flashed
momentarily from her eyes before she uttered an emphatic denial.

"Nor do you ever perhaps send home garments belonging to other people
while one's own are missing?"

"Never, I can assure you, Madam."

"Does the man who delivers the washing habitually turn the basket
upside down so that the heavy things below crush all the delicate
frilly things that ought to be on top?"

She seemed incapable of conceiving that such perverted creatures could

"Do they never whistle in an objectionable manner while waiting for
the soiled clothes?"

"Whistling on duty is strictly forbidden, Madam."

"Well, all these things I have mentioned my laundry does to me, and
even more, and when I write to complain they disregard my letters."

"We rarely have complaints, Madam, and all such receive prompt
attention. I can give references in this street--in this block of
flats even."

"Well," said I, "if you like to give me a card I am willing to let you
have a trial."

The young woman opened her bag with alacrity and handed me a card.

"The Superfection Laundry," I read with amazement. "Surely there must
be some mistake?"

"Are you not Mrs. Fulton?" asked the young woman.

"No, you have come a floor too high. Mrs. Fulton lives in the flat
below me."

"I must apologise for my call, then; I was sent to see Mrs. Fulton.
But all the same may we not add you to the list of our customers?"

"Impossible," I said.

"May I ask your reasons, Madam?"

"Because the laundry I employ at present is the Superfection."

       *       *       *       *       *

=The Church Militant in the Near East.=

    "Resht was bombed by Red aeroplanes on September 28 and 30; one of
    the machines was forced to descend on the latter date some 6 miles
    to the north of the town. The pilot and observer were taken by the
    Cassocks."--_Evening Paper._

[Illustration: OUR VILLAGE SIGN.]


_The Guest (exasperated with waiting)._ "I'VE A GOOD MIND TO DRIVE


       *       *       *       *       *


This kind of thing had been going on morning after morning until I was
quite tired.

_They._ You ought to get hold of a good dog.

It is extraordinary how many things one ought to get hold of in the
country. Sometimes it is a wood-chopper and sometimes a couple of
hundred cabbages, and sometimes a cartload of manure, and sometimes a
few good hens. I find this very exhausting to the grip.

_I._ What for?

_They._ To watch your house.

_I._ I do not wish to inflict pain on a good dog. What kind of a dog
ought it to be?

_They._ Well, a mastiff.

_I._ Isn't that rather a smooth kind of dog? If I have to get hold of
a dog, I should like one with rather a rougher surface.

_They._ Try an Irish terrier.

_I._ I have. They fight.

_They._ Not unless they're provoked.

_I._ Nobody fights unless he is provoked. But more things provoke an
Irish terrier than one might imagine. The postman provoked my old one
so much that it bit the letters out of his hand and ate them.

_They._ Well, you didn't get any bills, then.

_I._ Yes, I did. Bills always came when the dog was away for the
week-end. He was a great week-ender, and he always came back from
week-ends with more and more pieces out of his ears until at last they
were all gone, and he couldn't hear us when we called him.

_They._ Well, there are plenty of other sorts. You might have a Chow
or an Airedale or a boar-hound.

_I._ Thank you, I do not hunt boars. Besides, all the dogs you mention
are very expensive nowadays. In the War it was quite different. You
could collect dogs for practically nothing then. My company used to
have more than a dozen dogs parading with it every day. They had never
seen so many men so willing to go for so many long walks before. They
thought the Millennium had come. A proposal was made that they should
be taught to form fours and march in the rear. But, like all great
strategical plans, it was stifled by red tape. After that--

_They._ You are getting away from the point. If you really want a good
cheap dog--

_I._ Ah, I thought you were coming to that. You know of a good cheap

_They._ The gardener of my sister-in-law's aunt has an extremely good
cheap dog.

_I._ And would it watch my house?

_They._ Most intently.

That is how Trotsky came to us. Nobody but a reckless propagandist
would say that he is either a mastiff or a boar-hound, though he once
stopped when we came to a pig. I do not mind that. What I do mind is
their saying, now that they have palmed him off on me, "I saw you out
with your what-ever-it-is yesterday," or "I did not know you had taken
to sheep-breeding," or "What is that thing you have tied up to the
kennel at the back?" There seems to be something about the animal's
tail that does not go with its back, or about its legs that does not
go with its nose, or about its eyes that does not go with its fur. If
it is fur, that is to say. And the eyes are a different colour and
seem to squint a little. They say that one of them is a wall-eye. I
think that is the one he watches the house with. Personally I consider
that they are very handsome eyes in their own different lines, and my
opinion is that he is a Mull-terrier; or possibly a Rum. Anyhow he is
a good dog to get hold of, for he is very curly.

The village policeman came round to the house the other day. I think
he really came to talk to the cook, but I fell into conversation with

"You ought to be getting a licence for that dog of yours," he said.

"What dog?" I asked.

"Why, you've got a dog tied up at the back there, haven't you?" he

"Have I?" said I.

And we went out and looked at it together. Trotsky looked at me with
one eye and at the policeman with the other, and he wagged his tail.
At least I am not sure that he wagged it; "shook" would be a better

"Where did you get it?" he inquired.

"Oh, I just got hold of it," I said airily. "It's rather good, don't
you think?"

He stood for some time in doubt.

"It's a dog," he said at last.

I shook him warmly by the hand.

"You have taken a great load off my mind," I told him. "I will get a
licence at once."

This will score off them pretty badly.

After all you can't go behind a Government certificate, can you? EVOE.

       *       *       *       *       *


  _Caller._ "IS MRS. JONES AT HOME?"

       *       *       *       *       *


[The "Diarist" of _The Westminster Gazette_, in the issue of October
25th, utters a poignant _cri de coeur_ over what he regards as one
of the great tragedies of the time--the crowding-out of the
"genuine craftsmen" of journalism and letters by Cabinet Ministers,
notoriety-mongers and, above all, by sloppy infant prodigies.]

  Oh, bitter are the insults
    And bitter is the shame
  Heaped on deserving authors
    Of high and strenuous aim,
  When all the best booksellers
    Their shelves and windows cram
  With novels from the nursery
    And poems from the pram.

  In recent Autumn seasons
    Writers of age mature
  (From eighteen up to thirty)
    Of sympathy were sure;
  _Now_ publishers their portals
    On everybody slam
  Save novelists from the nursery
    And poets from the pram.

    Invades the Sunday sheets;
  Unfairly MRS. ASQUITH
    With serious scribes competes;
  But these are minor evils--
    What makes me cuss and damn
  Are novels from the nursery
    And poems from the pram.

  When on the concert platform
    The prodigy appears
  I do not grudge his welcome,
    The clappings and the cheers;
  But I can't forgive the people
    Who down our throats would cram
  The novelists from the nursery,
    The poets from the pram.

  I met a (once) best seller,
    And I took him by the hand,
  And asked, "How's OPAL WHITELEY
    And how does DAISY stand?"
  He answered, "I can only
    See sloppiness and sham
  In novels from the nursery
    And poems from the pram."

  If I were only despot,
    To end this painful feud
  I'd banish straight to Mespot
    The scribbling infant brood,
  And bar the importation,
    By that hustler, Uncle Sam,
  Of novels from the nursery
    And poems from the pram.

       *       *       *       *       *

From an account of Sir J. FORBES-ROBERTSON'S _début_:--

    "It was interesting to remember that in the audience on that
    occasion were Dante, Gabriel, Rossetti and Algernon Charles
    Swinburne."--_Provincial Paper._

The archangel was a great catch.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "When the Royal Cream horses were dispersed from the royal
    stables, one or two golf clubs made an endeavour to get one of
    these fine animals, and Ranelagh and Sandy Lodge were fortunate to
    secure them. The horses look fine on the course behind the mower."
    _Evening Paper._

Shoving, we suppose, for all they are worth.

       *       *       *       *       *


If it was not for the paper-shortage I should at once re-write EUCLID,
or those parts of him which I understand. The trouble about old EUCLID
was that he had no soul, and few of his books have that emotional
appeal for which we look in these days. My aim would be to bring home
his discoveries to the young by clothing them with human interest;
and I should at the same time demonstrate to the adult how often they
might be made practically useful in everyday life. When one thinks
of the times one draws a straight line at right angles to another
straight line, and how seldom one does it EUCLID'S way ... every time
one writes a T....

Well, let us take, for example--


PROBLEM.--_To find the centre of a given circle_.

Let ABC be that horrible round bed where you had the geraniums
last year. This year, I gather, the idea is to have it nothing but
rose-trees, with a great big fellow in the middle. The question is,
where is the middle? I mean, if you plant it in a hurry on your own
judgment, everyone who comes near the house will point out that the
bed is all cock-eye. Besides, you can see it from the dining-room and
it will annoy you at breakfast.


CONSTRUCTION.--Well, this is how we go about it. First, you draw any
chord AB in the given bed ABC. You can do that with one of those long
strings the gardener keeps in his shed, with pegs at the end.

Bisect AB at D.

Now don't look so stupid. We've done that already in Book I., Prop.
10, you remember, when we bisected the stick of nougat. That's right.

Now from D draw DC at right angles to AB, and meeting the lawn at C.
You can do that with a hoe.

Produce CD to meet the lawn again at E.

Now we do some more of that bisecting; this time we bisect EC at F.

Then F shall be the middle of the bed; and that's where your rose-tree
is going.

PROOF???--Well, I mean, if F be _not_ the centre let some point
G, outside the line CE, be the centre and put the confounded tree
_there_. And, what's more, you can jolly well join GA, GD and GB, and
see what that looks like.

Just cast your eye over the two triangles GDA and GDB.

Don't you see that DA is equal to DB (unless, of course, you've
bisected that chord all wrong), and DG is common, and GA is equal to
GB--at least according to your absurd theory about G it is, since they
must be both _radii_. _Radii_ indeed! _Look_ at them. Ha, ha!

Therefore, you fool, the angle GDA is equal to the angle GDB.

Therefore they are both right angles.

Therefore the angle GDA is a right angle. (I know you think I'm
repeating myself, but you'll see what I'm getting at in a minute.)

_Therefore_--and this is the cream of the joke--therefore--really, I
can't help laughing--therefore _the angle CDA is equal to the angle
GDA!_ That is, the part is equal to the whole--which is ridiculous.

I mean, it's too _laughable_.

So, you see, your rose-tree is not in the middle at all.

In the same way you can go on planting the old tree all over the
bed--anywhere you like. In every case you'll get those right angles in
the same ridiculous position--why, it makes me laugh _now_ to think of
it--and you'll be brought back to dear old CE.

And, of course, any point in CE _except_ F would divide CE unequally,
which I notice now is just what you've done yourself; so F is wrong

But you see the idea?

What a mess you've made of the bed!


THEOREM.--_Any two sides of a triangle are together greater than the
third side_.

Let ABC be a triangle.


CONSTRUCTION.--You know the eleventh hole? Well, let B be the tee,
and let C be the green, and let BC be my drive. Yes, _mine_. Is it
dead? Yes.

Now let BA be _your_ drive. I'm afraid you've pulled it a bit and gone
into the road by the farm.

You can't get on to the green by the direct route AC because you're
under the wall. You'll have to play further up the road till you get
opposite that gap at D. It's a pity, because you'll have to play about
the same distance, only in the wrong direction.

Take your niblick, then, and play your second, making AD equal to AC.
Now join CD.

I mean, put your third on the green. You can do that, _surely_? Good.

PROOF.--There, I'm down in two. But we won't rub it in. Do you notice
anything odd about these triangles? No? Well, the fact is that AD is
equal to AC, and the result of that is that the angle ACD is equal to
the angle ADC. That's Prop. 5. Anyhow, it's obvious, isn't it?

But steady on. The angle BCD is greater than its part, the angle
ACD--you must admit that? (Look out, there's a fellow going to drive.)

And therefore the angle BCD--Oh, well, I can't go into it all now or
it will mean we shall have to let these people through; but if you
carry on on those lines you'll find that BD is greater than BC.

I mean you've only got to go back to where you played your third and
you'll see that it _must_ be so, won't you? Very well, then, don't

But BD is equal to BA and AC, for AD is equal to AC; it _had_ to be,
you remember.

Therefore--now follow this closely--the two sides BA and AC are
together greater than the third side BC.

That means, you see, that by pulling your drive out to the left there
you gave yourself a lot of extra distance to cover.

You'd never have guessed that, would you? But old EUCLID did.

Come along, then; they're putting. You must be more careful at this

I think it's that right shoulder of yours ...

A. P. H.

       *       *       *       *       *

=Our Candid Candidates.=

From an election address:--

    "Should I get returned as your representative you will have no
    cause for regret when my term of office expires."--_Provincial

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The strike of the mechanical staff of the 'Karachi Daily Gazette'
    has ended."

    _Evening Paper_.

We wondered why everybody looked so pleased in London that day.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Since her treatment with the monkey gland Miss Ediss has received
    enough complimentary nuts to stock a market garden. An ornate
    basket of monkey nuts fills a prominent place in her room, and
    two cocoanuts tied up with coloured ribbon strike the eye of the
    visitor."--_Sunday Paper._

In that case we shall postpone our intended visit until Miss EDISS is
herself again.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: =MANNERS AND MODES.=


       *       *       *       *       *


'_Erb_ (_a cinema habitué_). "SEE WOT 'E'S SAYING, EM'LY? '_E'S STILL

       *       *       *       *       *



MY DEAR CHARLES,--I was talking to the Editor the other day about this
correspondence of ours which we are conducting in the public Press,
thus saving the twopenny stamps and avoiding the increased cost of
living which is hitting everyone else so hard.

"This ought to be put a stop to," said he.

"That is just what I have been saying since 1918," I replied; "but the
question is what to do about it? When you get down to it, the word
'Bolshevist' is but the Russian for 'advanced Socialist,' and there is
nothing to prevent Socialists, whether they be advanced or retarded.
How then are you going to put a stop to Bolshevism?"

"I was thinking of the correspondence," the Editor replied.

So I stopped talking to him and sat down to write my last letter to
you on the subject.

To resume: In the summer of 1918 the German War Lords began to have
their doubts of a Pax Germanica and saw signs rather of a Wash-out
Germanicum. Things looked ill with them, so they consulted their
doctor, a certain person who called himself "Dr. Help-us" by way of a
jest. He proved more successful as a business man, however, than he
was as a humourist. He advised that the "War of World Conquest" was
not likely to produce a dividend, because its name was against it.
Cut out "Imperialism"; substitute another word, with just as many
syllables and no less an imposing sound, "Proletariat"; call the thing
"Class Warfare"; advertise it thoroughly and attract to it all the
political egoists of disappointed ambition in the various countries of
the enemy, and the German War Lords would find it no longer necessary
to crush all existing nations, since all existing nations would then
set about to crush themselves.

The idea was voted excellent, and the trial run in Russia gave
complete satisfaction.

But not all countries were so immediately susceptible to the idea of
a World Revolution. Victory hath its charms and does not predispose a
people to complain; so where the Masses (invested with a capital "M"
to flatter their vanity and secure their goodwill) were victorious and
content they were to be made to believe by advertisement that with
a little trouble they could become even more victorious and more
content. The KAISER and Imperialism had been disposed of; it only
remained to get rid of Capitalism and Charles. The subterranean
campaign was developed, and that is what our conspirators have since
been so brisk and busy about.

That was the programme; but it is a programme which required money.
And so at last to the Chinese Bonds.

Oh, those Chinese Bonds! How some people abroad have learned to curse
the very mention of them these last many months! I don't know where
that tiresome man, LITVINOFF, first got them from, but my poor
friends, whose business all this is, were running after them at least
ten months ago. Sometimes they were in Russia, sometimes they showed
up in Denmark, sometimes they got scent of them in Germany, and I am
told it is the merest fluke that the Bonds did not come to Switzerland
for the winter sports. And wherever they turned up they were always
just on their way to England; either they had a poor sense of
direction or, being bad sailors, were afraid of the crossing. There
was never any knowing in what corner of the earth they would next be
appearing; in fact the only country which those Chinese Bonds seemed
to have successfully avoided was China.

The first time we heard of them, I will admit that we were thrilled.
They gave a touch of reality to an otherwise over-hairy and
unconvincing narrative of conspiracy. The second time we were told of
them we were pleasurably moved. So it was true, after all, about those
Chinese Bonds?

The third time we heard of them we were satisfied; the fourth time we
heard of them we were indifferent; the fifth time bored, the sixth
time irritated, the seventh time infuriated, and the eighth time
we said to our informant, "Now look you here. We appreciate the
excitement of your mysterious presence and the soothing effects of
your hushed voice, and as long as you care to go on revealing your
secrets we will listen. You may speak of finance and you may even
touch upon British bank-notes forged by the Soviets; you may go so far
as to divulge some new forms of script involved, getting as near as
even, say, Japanese Debentures; but if you so much as mention China or
its Bonds to us again we will wrap you up in a parcel and post you
to Moscow with a personal note of warning to LENIN as to your inner
knowledge and the dangerous publicity you are giving it."

For ourselves we wrote many a learned treatise on the subject and sent
many a thousand memos home to those authorities near to whose hearts
the welfare of those Bonds should be. And after many months of this
correspondence someone in the what-d'you-call-it office suddenly
sat up and took notice and wrote to us as follows: "His Majesty's
Principal Secretary of State for Thingummy has the honour to inform
you that rumours have reached his ears concerning the existence of
certain bonds, alleged to be Chinese, in the hands of Bolshevist
agitators coming or intending to come to this country. You are
requested to ascertain and report what, if anything, is known of these
Chinese Bonds."

I could have made a story for you of the uses to which the Bonds were
put in other countries and newspapers as well as your own. But that
painfully honest journal, _The Daily Herald_, has anticipated me.
And anything more you want to know about the conspiracies or the
conspirators you may now, as I judge from reading your Press,
experience for yourself. So upon that these letters may end. I would
like to have concluded by a protestation that, in making these frank
statements as to the working of, and against, the Conspirators, I
personally draw no pecuniary benefit of any sort, not a sovereign,
not a bob, not a half-penny stamp. It is perhaps better, however, to
anticipate discovery by owning up to the fact that my frankness is
being paid for at so many pence per line.

  Yours ever, HENRY.


       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Nervous Party_. "ARE YOU SURE THAT LOBSTER'S ALL

_Fishmonger_ (_on his dignity_). "QUITE RIGHT, SIR. IF IT ISN'T WE

_Nervous Party_. "YES--BUT SHALL _I_ BE HERE TO-MORROW?"]

       *       *       *       *       *


"_Nihil tetigit quod non ornavit_."

       *       *       *       *       *


He stood in the packed building, a small lonely figure, pathetic in
the isolation that shut him off from the warm humanity of the watching

He felt weak, ill, but he struggled to bear himself bravely. He could
not move his eyes from the stern white face that seemed to fill all
the space in front of him. About that cold minatory figure, which was
speaking to him in such passionless even tones, clung an atmosphere of
awe; the traditional robes of office lent it a majesty that crushed
his will.

He knew he was being addressed, and he strove to listen. His brain was
a torrent of thoughts. And so his life had come to this. It was indeed
the final catastrophe. That was surely what the voice meant--that
voice which went on and on in an even stream of sound without meaning.
Why had he come to this--in the flower of his life to lose its
chiefest gift, Liberty?

Up and down the spaces of his brain thought sped like fire. The people
behind--did they care? A few perhaps pitied him. The others were
indifferent. To them it was merely a spectacle.

Suddenly into his mind crept the consciousness of a vast silence. The
voice had stopped. The abrupt cessation of sound whipped his quivering
nerves. It was like the holding of a great breath.

He gathered his forces. He knew that the huge concourse waited. A
question had been put to him. It seemed as if the world stood still to

He moistened his lips. He knew what he had meant to say, but his
tongue was a traitor to his desire. What use now to plead? The
soundlessness grew intolerable. He thought he should cry aloud.

And then--

"I will," he said, and, looking sideways, caught the swift shy glance
of his bride.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _The Master Plumber_. "I'VE NEVER SEED A BLOKE TAKE SO

       *       *       *       *       *



  The sponge is not, as you suppose,
  A funny kind of weed;
  He lives below the deep blue sea,
  An animal, like you and me,
  Though not so good a breed.

  And when the sponges go to sleep
  The fearless diver dives;
  He prongs them with a cruel prong,
  And, what I think is rather wrong,
  He also prongs their wives.

  For I expect they love their wives
  And sing them little songs,
  And though, of course, they have no heart
  It hurts them when they're forced to part--
  Especially with prongs.

  I know you'd rather not believe
  Such dreadful things are done;
  Alas, alas, it is the case;
  And every time you wash your face
  You use a skeleton.

  And that round hole in which you put
  Your finger and your thumb,
  And tear the nice new sponge in two,
  As I have told you _not_ to do,
  Was once his _osculum_.

  So that is why I seldom wash,
  However black I am,
  But use my flannel if I must,
  Though even that, to be quite just,
  Was once a little lamb.       A. P. H.

       *       *       *       *       *


We understand that an expedition will shortly leave the United States
for Central Asia in search of the Missing Link. "Aeroplanes, motor
cars, camels, mules and all means of locomotion found suitable will
be used by the anthropologists, archæologists and other scientists"
taking part.

We predict that an enterprise so opposed to all the traditions of
exploration is doomed to failure. We cannot doubt that the Missing
Link possesses a sense of smell keen enough to detect a camel or a
Ford car while yet afar off. His regrettable elusiveness is more
likely to be established than overcome when he beholds mules and
anthropologists, attended by aeroplanes and motor-cars, and possibly
whippet-tanks, motor-scooters and phrenologists. Even if there are
only nine or ten of each variety it will be enough to ensure that the
adventurers miss the Link after all.

Another aspect of the expedition should be borne in mind. The progress
through the jungle of such vehicles and personnel would cause
something like consternation among the larger fauna, whose limited
intelligence might reasonably fail to distinguish the procession from
a travelling menagerie. In these days of unrest is it right, is
it expedient, thus to stir up species hatred? It would be indeed
deplorable if the present quest were to be followed by a search party
got up to trace the missing Missing Link expedition.

Surely the old methods of the explorer are still the best. Simply
equipped with an elephant-rifle and a pith helmet, let him plunge into
the bush and be lost to sight for a few years. Whereas the Missing
Link may be relied on to remain resolutely beneath his rock at the
sight of a sort of a Lord Mayor's Show wandering among the vegetation,
the spectacle of a simple-looking traveller in the midst of the lonely
forest would rather encourage the creature to emerge from its place of

Then nothing would remain but for the explorer to advance with
out-stretched hand (preferably the left), and exclaim, "The Missing
Link, I presume?"

       *       *       *       *       *





       *       *       *       *       *


_Monday, October 25th_.--Sir PHILIP LLOYD-GREAME, the newest recruit
on the Treasury Bench, already answers Questions with all the
assurance of the other LLOYD G. His readiness in referring the
inquisitive to other Departments and in declining to go beyond
his brief--witness his modest refusal to discuss in reply to a
Supplementary Question the possibility of imposing a tariff in this
country--suggests that somewhere behind the SPEAKER'S chair there must
be a school for Under-Secretaries where the callow back-bencher is
instructed in the arts and crafts required in the seats of the mighty.

For this purpose I can imagine no better instructor than the
ATTORNEY-GENERAL, who combines scrupulous politeness with an icy
precision of language. Take, for example, his treatment of Mr.
PEMBERTON BILLING'S defiant inquiry if it would now be "compatible
with the dignity of the Government" to say that there had never been
any intention to bring the War-criminals to trial. "No," replied Sir
GORDON HEWART in his most pedagogic manner, "it cannot be compatible
with anyone's dignity to make a statement which is manifestly untrue."



_Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade._]

This week was to have been devoted, _de die in diem_, to getting on
with the Government of Ireland Bill. But the malignant sprite that has
hitherto foiled every effort to pacify Ireland again intervened, and
the House found itself called upon to discuss the Emergency Powers
Bill. The measure is a peace-time successor to D.O.R.A. (who in the
opinion of the Government is getting a little _passée_) and, perhaps
naturally, met with little approval. Mr. ASQUITH, while admitting
that something of the kind might be required, took exception to the
vagueness of its drafting. "What is 'substantial'?" he inquired.
"Ask them another!" Mr. WILL THORNE joyfully interjected. "What is
'substantial'?" repeated the EX-PREMIER; whereupon the Coalition with
one voice replied, "WILL THORNE."


With consummate skill the PRIME MINISTER managed to get the House out
of its hostile mood and to satisfy the majority, at any rate, that
the measure was neither provocative nor inopportune, but a necessary
precaution against the possibility that "direct action" on the part
of extra-Parliamentary bodies might confront the country with the
alternatives of starvation or surrender.

_Tuesday, October 26th_.--In these troublous times the House gladly
seizes the smallest occasion for merriment. There was great laughter
when Colonel YATE, the politest of men, inadvertently referred to Sir
ARCHIBALD WILLIAMSON as "the right honourable gent," and it broke
forth again when, in his anxiety to make no further slip, he addressed
him _tout court_ as "the right honourable."

There are some fifty thousand British soldiers in Ireland, costing
over a million pounds a month. But Mr. CHURCHILL took the cheery view
that after all they had to be somewhere, and would cost nearly as much
even in Great Britain.

They would cost a good deal more in Mesopotamia, where we have a
hundred thousand troops (British and Indian), and the cost is two
and a half millions a month. Sir WILLIAM JOYNSON-HICKS could not
understand why we should spend all this money "merely to hand the
country back to the rebels." Mr. CHURCHILL said he had heard nothing
about handing the country back to the rebels; from which it may be
inferred either that he is not admitted into all the secrets of the
Cabinet or that he draws a distinction between "rebels" and "persons
who object to British rule."

The Press campaign in favour of a nickel three-halfpenny coin has not
succeeded. In Mr. CHAMBERLAIN'S opinion it would not be a coin of
vantage. Among his objections to it may be the extreme probability
that the present Administration would promptly be nicknamed (I will
not say nickel-named) "the Three-half-penny Government."

Owing to a number of concessions announced by the HOME SECRETARY the
Emergency Powers Bill had a fairly smooth passage through Committee.
Objections were still raised to making an Emergency Act permanent--it
_does_ sound rather like a contradiction in terms--but the
ATTORNEY-GENERAL skilfully countered them by pointing out that it was
only the framework of the machinery, not the regulations, that would
be permanent. One can imagine the bold bad baron who set up a gallows
to overawe his villeins comforting objectors with the remark that
after all it was merely a framework--quite useless without a rope.

[Illustration: THE BOLD BAD BARON.


_Wednesday, October 27th_.--Much pother in the Lords because the FIRST
COMMISSIONER OF WORKS had set up a Committee to advise him with regard
to the preservation of ancient monuments, including cathedrals and
churches, without first consulting the ecclesiastical authorities.
Lord PARMOOR moved a condemnatory resolution, and His Grace of
CANTERBURY, after renouncing Sir ALFRED MOND and all his works,
declared that, so far as religious edifices were concerned, the
proposed Committee was a superfluity of naughtiness with which he
personally would have nothing to do. Lord LYTTON, with that delightful
free-and-easiness which characterises the attitude of our present
Ministers towards their colleagues, observed that he could have
sympathised with the objectors if it were really intended to place
cathedrals under Sir ALFRED'S care; but it wasn't;--so why all this
fuss? Lord CRAWFORD, while sharing the Opposition's dislike of
restorers, from VIOLLET-LE-DUC to the late Lord GRIMTHORPE, could
not admit that in this matter the Office of Works had been guilty of
anything worse than a want of tact. Lord PARMOOR insisted on going
to a division, and carried his motion by 27 to 17. Despite this
shattering blow the Government is said to be going on as well as can
be expected.

[Illustration: A PILLAR OF THE CHURCH.]

What happened at Jutland? After four years' cogitation the Admiralty
does not appear to have emerged from the state of uncertainty into
which it was plunged by the first news of the battle. In February
last Mr. LONG announced that the official report would be published
"shortly," but then the German sailors began to publish _their_
stories, and these not very unnaturally differed from the British
accounts. So now My Lords have decided to leave Sir JULIAN CORBETT'S
_Naval History of the War_ to unravel the tangle and inform Lords
JELLICOE and BEATTY (who, according to Sir JAMES CRAIG, are quite
agreeable to the proposal) exactly what they and their gallant seamen
really did on that famous occasion.

_Thursday, October 28th_.--There being no Labour Party in the House
of Lords the Emergency Powers Bill passed through all its stages in
a single sitting. Even Lord CREWE did not challenge its necessity in
these troublous times, but Lord ASKWITH was a little alarmed at the
possibility that "an unreasoning Home Secretary"--as if there could
ever be such a monster!--might be over-hasty to issue Orders in
Council, and so exacerbate an industrial dispute.

A long list of "reprisal" Questions--mercifully curtailed by the
time-limit--was chiefly remarkable for Sir HAMAR GREENWOOD'S emphatic
declaration that he was not going to accept the statements even of
English newspaper correspondents against the reports of officials "for
whom I am responsible and in whom I have confidence."

Assuming that the House of Commons is, as it ought to be, a microcosm
of the population, it will be some time before this country goes
"dry." Members of all parties pressed upon the PRIME MINISTER the
necessity of relaxing the regulations of the Liquor Control Board.
His suggestion that an informal Committee should be set up to make
recommendations to the Government was received with cheers, and there
was much amusement when Mr. BOTTOMLEY and Lady ASTOR, who do not,
I gather, quite see eye to eye on this subject, promptly nominated
themselves for membership.

As the PRIME MINISTER is popularly supposed to be not averse from
appearing in the limelight, especially when there is good news to
impart, it is pleasant to record that he left to Sir ROBERT HORNE the
congenial task of announcing that an agreement had been reached with
the Miners' Federation, and that the coal-strike was on the high road
to settlement. The terms, as stated, seemed to be satisfactory to
all parties, and the only mystery is why the negotiators should have
required the stimulus of a strike before they could arrive at them.

       *       *       *       *       *


A little difference of opinion on the moral aspect of strikes which
has been ventilated in _The Daily News_ has caused one correspondent
to write: "Let us suppose that Mr. SILAS HOCKING regards the serial
rights of one of his novels as worth £250. Suppose I offer him £100.
What does he do? He withholds his labour; and quite right too!"

But does this analogy go far enough? It would be a simple matter, for
which we might easily console ourselves, if the author in question
merely withheld his own labour. But if he followed modern strike
tactics he would do more.

Calling in aid the services of his brother JOSEPH, he would endeavour
by peaceful persuasion to induce Mrs. ASQUITH, Mr. ARNOLD BENNETT,
Mrs. ELINOR GLYN, Mr. COMPTON MACKENZIE and others to withhold their
labour also. Picketing would follow, and London would be stirred to
its depths by the news that Sir HALL CAINE was on duty outside the
establishment of _The Sunday Pictorial_, and that Miss ETHEL M. DELL
was in charge of the squad on the doorstep of the Amalgamated Press.

Sympathetic strikes would develope. The newspaper-vendors would rise
and demand that _The Daily Mirror_ feuilleton be suppressed, thus
plunging the country into an agony of suspense, and railwaymen would
cease work at the sight of any passenger immersed in the most recent
instalment of the _Home Bits_ serial story.

Mr. W. W. JACOBS would address mass meetings at the Docks, and Mr.
HILAIRE BELLOC would embark on a resolute thirst-strike. At the same
time daily newspapers would compete in offering solutions of the
problem. One would say, "For goodness' sake give him the extra paltry
one hundred and fifty pounds and let the country get on with its
work;" and another would suggest a compromise at one hundred-and-fifty
guineas, conditional upon the author's output.

Far from the simple withholding of his labour by a single novelist,
such a turmoil would ensue as would not only shake our intellectual
life to its foundations, but would keep the PRIME MINISTER engaged in
the exploration of interminable vistas of avenue.

       *       *       *       *       *

=Mixed Education.=

    "Formerly a student at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, her husband is
    a Fellow of Balliol College."--_Local Paper._

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Prospective Sitter_ (_with unconventional past_). "I


       *       *       *       *       *


[Sweets are replacing alcohol.--_Vide Papers passim_.]

  As more and more the god of wine
    Grows faint from want of tippling,
  Nor round his path the roses shine,
    Nor purple streams are rippling;
      As usquebaugh and malt and hops
        No longer much entice us,
      We crown anew with lollipops,
      With peppermints, with acid drops,
        The nobler Dionysus.

  Bright coloured as his orient car,
    Piled high with autumn splendours,
  The pageants of the sweetstuffs are
    At all the pastry-vendors;
      From earliest flush of dawn till eight
        The Mænad nymphs in masses,
      With lions' help upbear the freight
      Of marzipan and chocolate
        And stickjaw and molasses.

  The poet from whose lips of flame
    Wine drew the songs, the full sighs,
  Performs the business just the same
    When masticating bull's-eyes;
      The knight who bids a fond "Farewell,
        Love's large, but honour's larger!"
      Shares with the Lady Amabel
      One last delicious caramel
        And leaps upon his charger.

  The rake inured to card-room traps,
    Yet making fearful faces
  Because his foes, perfidious chaps,
    Have always all the aces--
      "Ruined! the old place mortgaged! faugh!"
        (The guttering candles quiver)--
      Instead of draining brandy raw
      Clenches a jujube in his jaw
        And strolls towards the river.

  O happier time that soothes the brain
    And rids us of our glum fits
  (Eliminating dry champagne)
    With candy and with comfits!
      The oak reflects the firelight's beam,
        In song the moments fly by,
      Till the old squire, his face agleam,
      Sucking the last assorted cream,
        Toddles away to bye-bye.


       *       *       *       *       *

From a P.S.A. notice:--

    "Subject: 'A RENEWED WORLD--No Sorrow. No Pain. No Death.' No
    Collection."--_Local Paper._

The last item sounds almost too good to be true.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The proposed changes were discussed with the captain of the
    England side and one or two prominent crickets who had visited
    Australia."--_Expensive Daily Paper._

Hitherto it had been supposed that these cheerful little creatures
only sought the kind of "ashes" that you get on the domestic hearth.

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *


The fairies were holding a meeting.

"They grumble when we send the rain," said a Rain-fairy, "and they
grumble when we don't."

"And we get no thanks," sighed a Flower-fairy. "The time we spend
getting the flowers ready and washing their faces and folding them up
every night!"

"As for the stars," said a Star-fairy, "we might just as well leave
them unlit for all the gratitude we get, and it's such a rush
sometimes to get all over the sky in time. They don't even believe in
us. We wouldn't mind _anything_ if they believed in us."

"No," agreed a Rainbow-fairy, "that's true. I take such a lot of
trouble to get just the right colours, and it has to be done so
quickly. But I wouldn't mind if they believed in us."

"I wonder what _they_'d do," said the Queen, "if no one believed in

"They'd go on strike," said the Brown Owl (he was head of the Ministry
of Wisdom). "They always go on strike if they don't like anything."

"Then we'll go on strike," said the Queen with great determination.

They all cheered, except the Flower-fairies.

"But the flowers," they said, "they'll get so dusty with no one to
wash them, and so tired with no one to fold them up at nights."

"I hadn't thought of that," said the Queen. "When _they_ go on
strike," she said to the Brown Owl, "how do things get done?"

The Brown Owl considered for a moment and everyone waited in silence.

"Of course there are sometimes blacklegs," he began.

"I don't know what blacklegs are," said the Queen cheerfully, "but
we'll appoint some." And she did.

"Is that all?" said the Queen.

"Someone ought to have a sympathetic strike with us," said the Brown
Owl. "_They_ always do that."

So a fairy was sent off to the Court of the Birds to request a
sympathetic strike.

"Is _that_ all?" said the Queen.

"You ought to _talk_ more," said the Brown Owl. "_They_ talk ever so

"Yes, but they can't help it, can they?" said the Queen kindly.

And so the strike began that evening.

None of the birds sang except one little blackleg Robin, who sang so
hard in his efforts to make up for the rest that he was as hoarse as a
crow the next morning. The blackleg fairies had a hard time too. They
hadn't a minute to gossip with the flowers, as they usually did when
they flew round with their acorn-cups of dew and thistledown sponges
and washed their faces and folded up their petals and kissed them

"But what's the matter?" said the flowers sleepily.

"We're on strike," said one of the other fairies importantly "not for
ourselves, but for posterity."

The Brown Owl had heard _them_ say that.

Meanwhile the rest of the fairies sat silent and rather mournful,
awaiting developments.

Then a Thought-fairy flew in. Thought-fairies can see into your heart
and know just what you think. They get terrible shocks sometimes.

"I've been all over the world," she said breathlessly, "and it's much
better than you think. _All_ little girls believe in us and--" She
paused dramatically.

"Yes?" they said eagerly.

"All fathers of little girls believe in us."

The Queen shook her head.

"They only pretend," she said.

"No, that's just it," said the Thought-fairy. "They _pretend_ to
pretend. They never tell anyone, but they really believe."

"Then we'll end the strike," said the Queen.

Here the Brown Owl bustled in, carrying a little note-book.

"I've found out lots more," he said excitedly. "We must have an
executive and delegates and a ballot and a union and a Sankey
Commission report and a scale of the cost of living and a datum line

"But the strike's over," said the Queen. "It was a misunderstanding."

"Of course," he said huffily. "All strikes are that, but it's correct
to carry them on as long as possible."

"And the blacklegs are to have a special reward."

"That's illogical," muttered the Brown Owl.

He was right, of course, but things _are_ illogical in Fairyland.
That's the nicest part of it.

       *       *       *       *       *


_Inquiring Visitor_. "WELL--ER--NOT MUCH. YOU SEE, I LIVE IN A

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Fears are entertained that the chalice, which is of silver-gilt,
    may have been broken up and investments profaned."--_Daily

We should have thought that our Communistic contemporary was the last
paper that would have considered investments sacred.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "K. T. B---- and T. W. H----, both of Liverpool, who were in
    company with Mr. L---- in the car, agreed that the speed was about
    fifty-one miles an hour. On the gradient and at the turn it was
    not safe to travel faster."--_Provincial Paper._

One of those examples of "Safety First" which we are always pleased to

       *       *       *       *       *


  The rain-sodden grass in the ditches is dying;
    The berries are red to the crest of the thorn;
  Coronet-deep where the beech-leaves are lying
    The hunters stand tense to the twang of the horn;
  Where rides are refilled with the green of the mosses,
    All foam-flecked and fretful their long line is strung;
  You can see the white gleam as a starred forehead tosses,
    You can hear the low chink as a bit-bar is flung.

  The world's full of music. Hounds rustle the rover
    Through brushwood and fern to a glad "Gone away!"
  With a "Come along, Pilot!"--one spur-touch and over--
    The huntsman is clear on his galloping grey;
  Before him the pack's running straight on the stubble--
    "_Toot-toot-too-too-too-oot!_" "_Tow-row-ow-ow-ow!_"
  The leaders are clambering up through the double
    And glittering away on the brown of the plough.

  The front rank, hands down, have the big fence's measure;
    The faint-hearts are craning to left and to right;
  The Master goes through with a crash on "The Treasure;"
    The grey takes the lot like a gull in his flight;
  There's a brown crumpled up, lying still as a dead one;
    There's a roan mare refusing, as stubborn as sin;
  While the breaker flogs up on a green underbred one
    And smashes the far-away rail with a grin.

  The chase carries on over hilltop and hollow,
    The life of Old England, the pluck and the fun;
  And who would ask more than a stiff line to follow
    With hounds running hard in the Opening Run?

  W. H. O.

       *       *       *       *       *


  The pelicans in St. James's Park
  On every day from dawn to dark
  Pursue, inscrutable of mien,
  A fixed unvarying routine.
  Whatever be the wind or weather
  They spend their time in peace together,
  And plainly nothing can upset
  The harmony of their quartet.

  Most punctually by the clock
  They roost upon or quit their rock,
  Or swim ashore and hold their levée,
  Lords of the mixed lacustrine bevy;
  Or with their slow unwieldy gait
  Their green domain perambulate,
  Or with prodigious flaps and prances
  Indulge in their peculiar dances,
  Returning to their feeding-ground
  What time the keeper goes his round
  With fish and scraps for their nutrition
  After laborious deglutition.

  Calm, self-sufficing, self-possessed,
  They never mingle with the rest,
  Watching with not unfriendly eye
  The antics of the lesser fry,
  Save when bold sparrows draw too near
  Their mighty beaks--and disappear.

  Outlandish birds, at times grotesque,
  And yet superbly picturesque,
  Although resignedly we mourn
  A Park dismantled and forlorn,
  Long may it be ere you forsake
  Your quarters on the minished Lake;
  For there, with splendid plumes and hues
  And ways that startle and amuse,
  You constantly refresh the eye
  And cheer the heart of passers-by,
  Untouched by years of shock and strain,
  Undeviatingly urbane,
  And lending London's commonplace
  A touch of true heraldic grace.

       *       *       *       *       *


There is a shabby-looking man who (I read it in _The Times_) rings the
bell of London hospitals, asks to see the secretary, presumes (as is
always a safe thing to do) that the establishment is grievously in
need of funds, and without any further parley hands to the startled
but gratified official bank-notes to the tune of five hundred pounds.
He then vanishes without giving name or address. This unknown
benefactor is dressed in top-boots, riding breeches of honourable
antiquity, a black coat green with age and a "Cup Final" cap. At the
same time (this too on _The Times'_ authority) there is an oddly and
obsolescently attired lady going about who also makes London hospitals
her hobby. She begins by asking the secretary if she may take off her
boots, and, receiving permission, takes them off, places her feet on
an adjacent chair and hands him two thousand pounds.

The result of the activities of these angelic visitants is that all
the other hospital porters have had instructions from their eager
and hopeful secretaries to be careful to be polite to any and every
person, even though he or she should be in rags, who expresses the
faintest desire to enter on business; more than polite--solicitous,
welcoming, cordial; while all the secretaries are at this moment
polishing up their smiles and practising an easy manner with ladies in
last century costumes who put sudden and unexpected requests.

_The Times_, in limiting the effect of these curious occurrences
entirely to hospital servants, seems to me to lose a great
opportunity. Surely the consequences will be more wide-reaching than
that? To my mind we may even go so far as to hail the dawn of the
golden age for old clothes; for in the fear that shabbiness may
be merely a whimsical disguise or the mark of a millionaire's
eccentricity the whole world (which is very imitative and very hard
up) will begin to fawn upon it, and then at last many of us will enter
the earthly paradise.

But the gentleman who puts ease before elegance and the lady who
prefers comfort to convention have got to work a little harder yet.
They must not fold their hands at the moment under the impression that
their labours are done. The support of hospitals is humane and only
too necessary, and all honour to them for their generosity; but other
spheres of action await exploration.

I had hoped that the War was going to reform ideas on dress and make
things more simple for those whose trouser-knees go baggy so soon and
remain thus for so long; but, like too many of the expectations which
we used to foster, this also has failed. It is therefore the benign
couple who must carry on the good work. Let them, if they really love
their fellow-creatures, go to a wedding or two (having previously
given a present of sufficient value to ensure respect) and display
their careless garb among the guests, and then in a little while old
garments would at these exacting functions become as fashionable as
new and we should all be happier.

I was asked to a wedding last week, and should have accepted but for
the great Smart Clothes tradition. If _The Times'_ hero and heroine
were to become imaginatively busy as I suggest, I could go to all the
weddings in the world. (Heaven forbid!) Receptions, formal lunches,
the laying of stones, the unveiling of monuments, private views--these
ceremonies, now so full of terrors for any but the dressy, could be
made endurable if only the gentleman in the black coat green with age
and the lady with the elastic sides would show themselves prominently
and receive conspicuous attentions.

And then, if any more statues were needed for the police to keep
their waterproofs on, one of them should be that of an unknown
philanthropical gentleman who wears venerable top-boots, and another
that of a philanthropical lady who would rather be without any boots
at all, and the inscription on the pedestals would state that their
glorious achievement was this: They made old clothes the thing.

E. V. L.

       *       *       *       *       *


(_Many old English flagons are adorned inside with grotesque figures
of animals_.)

  Within my foaming flagon
    There crawls on countless legs
  A lazy grinning dragon
    That wallows in the dregs;
  Of old I saw him nightly
    Look up with friendly leer,
  As if to hint politely,
    "I share your taste in beer!"

  Through merry nights unnumbered
    (From Boxing Day to Yule)
  He'd greet me, ere I slumbered,
    From out his amber pool;
  But now he is beginning
    To look a trifle strange;
  His smile, once wide and winning,
    Has undergone a change.

  No more, as pints diminish
    (I wish the price grew less)
  He hails me at the finish
  With wonted cheeriness;
  For, as I drain my mellow
    Allowances of ale,
  He seems to sigh, "Old fellow,
  _Will_ PUSSYFOOT prevail?"

       *       *       *       *       *

=Commercial Candour.=

    "Cleaning and pressing suites, $3. Dyeing and pressing suits, $6.
    Clothes returned looking like now."

    _Advt. in_ "_Standard_" (_Buenos Aires_).

       *       *       *       *       *

From an election address:--

    "As a woman and a ratepayer, I realise the importance
    of eliminating all unavoidable expenditure in Municipal

    _Local Paper._

We trust she will be elected and show how it's done.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "After an interval of seven years, the 'Beasts' Ball, a pre-war
    popular annual event in aid of the Royal Society for Prevention of
    Cruelty to Animals, is to be held at the Guildhall, on Wednesday,
    November 10. Tickets can be obtained from Mrs. Bushe-Fox and from
    Mrs. Wolf."--_Cambridge Review._

It sounds just like _Uncle Remus_.

       *       *       *       *       *



       *       *       *       *       *


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

"Two households, both alike in dignity...." I ask you, could the
novel, of which this quotation is the text, have been written by
anyone but Mr. JOHN GALSWORTHY? Actually indeed the disputants belong
to two branches of the same family, that grim tribe of _Forsytes_,
whom you remember in _The Man of Property_, and of whose collective
history the present book is a further instalment (not, I fancy, the
last). I should certainly advise anyone not already familiar with the
former work to get up his _Forsytes_ therein before attacking this;
otherwise he may risk some discouragement from the plunge into so
numerous a clan, known for the most part only by Christian names, with
their complex relationships and the mass of bygone happenings that
unites or separates them. This stage of the tribal history is called
_In Chancery_ (HEINEMANN), chiefly from the state of suspended
animation experienced by the now middle-aged _Soames_ ("Man of
Property") with regard to his never-divorced runaway wife _Irene_.
Following the ruling _Forsyte_ instinct, _Soames_ wants a son who
will keep together and even increase his great possessions, while
continuing his personality. The expiring generation, represented by
_James_, is urgent upon this duty to the family. You may imagine what
Mr. GALSWORTHY makes of it all. These possessive persons, with their
wealth, their hatred and affections and their various strongholds in
the more eminently desirable parts of residential London, affect one
like portions of some monstrous stone-fronted edifice, impressive but
repellent. I have some curiosity to see, with Mr. GALSWORTHY'S help,
how the _Forsyte_ castle stands the disintegration of 1914-18.

       *       *       *       *       *

What with the scientists who explain things on the assumption that we
know nearly as much as they do and those who explain things on the
assumption that we know nothing, it is very difficult for you and me
to persevere in our original determination to learn _something_. But I
have always felt that Sir RAY LANKESTER is one of the very few who do
understand us, and I feel it still more strongly now that I have read
his _Secrets of Earth and Sea_ (METHUEN). He is instructive but human;
he does not take it for granted that we know what miscegenation means,
but he does credit us with a little intelligence. And he realises how
many arguments we have had about questions like "Why does the sea look
blue?" Personally I rushed at that chapter, though I must say that
I was a little disappointed to find that the gist of his answer was
"Because water _is_ blue." You see, if you had a tooth-glass fifteen
feet high and filled it with water--But you must find out for
yourself. Then I went on to the chapter on Coal, and discovered that
"it is fairly certain that the blacker coal which we find in strata of
great geological age was so produced by the action of special kinds of
bacteria upon peat-like masses of vegetable refuse." I wonder if Mr.
SMILLIE knows that. It might help him to a sense of proportion. The
author is constantly setting up a surprising but stimulating relation
between the naturalist's researches and the problems of human life, as
when he observes that "the 'colour bar' is not merely the invention of
human prejudice, but already exists in wild plants and animals," and
in his remarks on mongrels and the regrettable subjection of the males
of many species. There are chapters on Wheel Animalcules, Vesuvius,
Prehistoric Art--everything--and all are admirably illustrated. A
fascinating book.

       *       *       *       *       *

_The Diary of a Journalist_ (MURRAY) is a volume of which the title is
its own sufficient description, save that it leaves unsuggested the
interest that such briskly written and comprehensive comments as these
of our old friend, Sir HENRY LUCY, must command. His book differs from
most of those in the flood of recollections that has lately broken
upon us in being a selection from "impressions of the moment written
without knowledge of the ultimate result." In these stray moments
between the years 1885 and 1917 I find at least two examples in which
this ignorance of the final event adds much to the interest of the
immediate record--the startling forecast of the EX-KAISER'S destiny,
entered in the Diary under November '98; and the mention, long before
the actual illness of KING EDWARD declared itself, of the growing
belief in certain circles that his coronation would never take place.
It is at once obvious that not even "TOBY'S" three previous volumes
have by any means exhausted his fund of good stories, the scenes of
which range from Westminster to Bouverie Street, and round half the
stately (or, at least, interesting) homes of England. Of them all--not
forgetting DISRAELI and the peacocks and a new W. S. GILBERT--my
personal choice would be for the mystery of the Unknown Guest, who not
only took a place, but was persuaded to speak, at a private dinner
given by Sir JOHN HARE at the Garrick Club, without anyone ever
knowing who he was or how he came there. A genial lucky-bag book,
which (despite unusually full chapter headings) would be improved by
an index to its many prizes.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. JAMES HILTON is very young and very clever. If, as he grows older,
he learns to be clever about more interesting things he ought to write
some very good novels. _Catherine Herself_ (UNWIN) has red hair, but
then she has a rather more red-haired disposition than most red-haired
heroines have to justify it, so this is not my real objection to
the book. My quarrel is that, though I cannot call it an ugly story
without giving a false impression, it is certainly a quite unbeautiful
one, and at the end of its three hundred and more pages it has
achieved nothing but a full-length portrait of an utterly selfish
woman. Mr. HILTON has dissected her most brilliantly; but I don't
think she is worth it. Catherines, whether they marry or are given in
marriage, or do anything else, are really stationary; and, since the
persons of a story, if it is to be worth telling, must move in some
direction, Mr. HILTON will be well advised in future to choose a
different type of heroine. I want to say too that I don't believe that
it is either so easy or so profitable to become a well-known pianist
"not in the front rank" as he seems to imagine it is. I wish I could
think that no one else would believe him.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Knight_ (_to his henchman_). "EVERYTHING ALL RIGHT,



       *       *       *       *       *

It seems rather a bright idea of C. NINA BOYLE to dedicate "to THEA
and IRENE, whose lives have lain in sheltered ways," a seven-shilling
shocker about ways that are anything but sheltered. Perhaps the
sheltered in general, and Thea and Irene in particular, will take it
from me that the villainies of _Out of the Frying Pan_ are much
larger than life or, at any rate, much more concentrated, and that
pseudo-orphans like _Maisie_ usually have a better chance of getting
out of frying-pans into something cool than the author allows her
heroine. I also submit that there was nothing in _Maisie's_ equipment
to suggest that she would have been quite so slow in separating goats
from sheep. But let me say that THEA and IRENE have had dedicated to
them an exciting and amusing _fritto misto_ of crooks, demi-mondaines,
blackmailers, gamblers, roués, murderers, receivers and decent
congenital idiots of all sorts. The characterisation is adroitly done
and the workmanship avoids that slovenliness which makes nineteen out
of twenty books of this kind a weariness of spirit to the perceptive.
I wonder if _Maisie_ with such a father and mother would have been
such a darling. Perhaps Professor KARL PEARSON will explain.

       *       *       *       *       *

The _Hon. William Toppys_ (pronounced "Tops"), brother of _Lord
Topsham_, left Devonshire and retired to an island in the Torres
Straits. There he married a Melanesian woman and became the father of
a frizzy-haired and coffee-coloured son. It is a little strange to
me, who think of Mr. BENNET COPPLESTONE as Devonian to the tip of his
pen-finger, that the _Hon. William_ is not rebuked for so shamelessly
deserting his native county. Instead he is almost applauded for his
wisdom, and this despite the fact that he quite spoilt the look of the
family tree with his exotic graft. For in the course of time his
son, insularly known as _Willatopy_, inherited the title and became
twenty-eighth (no less) _Baron of Topsham_. Mr. COPPLESTONE does not
realise the vast difference between light comedy and broad farce, but
apart from this substantial reservation I can vouch that his yarn of
_Madame Gilbert's Cannibal_ (MURRAY) is deftly spun. Should you decide
to follow the famous _Madame Gilbert_ when she visits the island where
the twenty-eighth baron lived you will witness a lively and unusual

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's Note:

Page 355: "Ruined! the old place mortgaged! faugh!" [double quote
added]. Page 356: "_They_ always do that." [double quote inserted].

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