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Title: Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 159, 1920-11-17
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, 1920-11-17" ***

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VOL. 159.

November 17th, 1920.


It is rumoured that a gentleman who purchased a miniature two-seater
car at the Motor Show last week arrived home one night to find the cat
playing with it on the mat.

       * * *

It appears that nothing definite has yet been decided as to whether
_The Daily Mail_ will publish a Continental edition of the Sandringham

       * * *

The matter having passed out of the hands of D.O.R.A., the Westminster
City Council recommend the abolition of the practice of whistling for
cabs at night. Nothing is said about the custom of making a noise like
a five-shilling tip.

       * * *

We shall not be surprised if Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN becomes the
Viceroy of India, says a gossip-writer. We warn our contemporary
against being elated, for it is almost certain that another Chancellor
of the Exchequer would be appointed in his place.

       * * *

During the Lord Mayor's Show last week we understand that the LORD
MAYOR'S coachman was accompanied by the LORD MAYOR.

       * * *

The licensee of a West Ham public-house has just purchased a parrot
which is trained to imitate the bagpipes. The bird's life will of
course be insured.

       * * *

Ireland will have to be careful or she will be made safe for
democracy, like the other countries.

       * * *

Upon hearing that Mr. WILLIAM BRACE had accepted a Government
appointment several members of the Labour Party said that this only
confirmed their contention that his moustache would get him into
trouble one day.

       * * *

Mrs. STACKPOOL O'DELL warns girls against marrying a man whose head
is flat at the back. The best course is to get one with a round head;
after marriage it can be flattened to taste.

       * * *

A man who persistently refused to give any information about himself
was remanded at the Guildhall last week. He is thought to be a British
taxpayer going about _incognito_.

       * * *

The cackle of a hen when she lays an egg, says a scientist, is akin to
laughter. And with some of the eggs we have met we can easily guess
what the hen was laughing at.

       * * *

The National Collection of Microbes at the Lister Institute now
contains eight hundred different specimens. Visitors are requested not
to tease the germs or go too near their cages.

       * * *

A large spot on the sun has been seen by the meteorological experts
at Greenwich Observatory. We understand that it will be allowed to

       * * *

Mr. RAYMOND FORSDIK, of Chicago, states that twelve times more murders
are committed in Chicago than in London. But, under Prohibition, Satan
is bound to find mischief for idle hands.

       * * *

Canon F. J. Meyrick, of Norwich, is reported to have caught a pike
weighing twenty-five pounds. In view of the angler's profession we
suppose we must believe this one.

       * * *

A curate of Bedford Park has had his bicycle stolen from the church,
and as there were a number of people in the congregation it is
difficult to know whom to blame.

       * * *

"Shall Onkie Live?" asks a _Daily Mail_ headline. We don't know who he
is, but he certainly has our permission. We cannot, however, answer

       * * *

With reference to the complaint that a City man made about his
telephone, we are pleased to say that a great improvement is reported.
The instrument was taken away the other day.

       * * *

Discussing the remuneration of Cabinet Ministers a contemporary doubts
whether they get what they deserve. This only goes to prove that we
are a humane race.

       * * *

Hatters say that the price of rabbit skins is likely to ruin the
trade. Meanwhile the mere act of getting the skins is apt to ruin the

       * * *

"Mine," says General TOWNSHEND, "was a mission which NAPOLEON would
have refused." We doubt, however, if Lord NORTHCLIFFE is to be drawn
like that.

       * * *

Dr. E. HALFORD ROSS, of Piccadilly, is of the opinion that coal
contains remarkable healing powers. Quite a number of people
contemplate buying some of the stuff.

       * * *

"What does milk usually contain?" asks a weekly paper. We can only say
it wouldn't be fair for us to reply, as we know the answer.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Small Boy at Tailor's (to father, who seems to be
impressed with "Jazz" tweed_). "I SAY, DAD, GO SLOW. REMEMBER WHO'S

       *       *       *       *       *

=An Indomitable Spirit.=

    "Mr. ----'s tank held only ---- Spirit during the whole climb and
    not satisfied with climbing _up_ Snowdon Mr. ---- then drove down
    again." _Motoring Paper_.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "WHY I DIDN'T GO TO THE BAR. By Horatio Bottomley." "_John Bull_"

Perhaps it was after hours.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "This upset Mr. Chesterton, a patriotic, beer-eating
    Englishman."--_Sunday Paper_.

We deplore the modern tendency to pry into the details of an author's

       *       *       *       *       *

    "What the word 'Democracy' was intended to mean was that every
    man should have to betrTcOshrdluesthafaodfabadofgarfaf." _Local

We have long suspected this.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "MILWAUKEE.--Fourteen cases of whiskey, a large quantity of
    brandies, gin and wines were found stored in a bathhouse. It will
    be presented to the federal grand jury for action." _Canadian

Not the obvious form of "direct action," we trust.

       *       *       *       *       *


_A hint of what might be done by following the example of the Press_.

    ["More than one actor-manager during the past few months has been
    searching round frantically in his efforts to find a new play."
    _The Times_.]

  Oh, have you marked upon the breeze
  The wail of hunger which occurs
  When starved theatrical lessees
  Commune with hollow managers?
  "Where is Dramatic Art?" they say;
  "Can no one, _no one_, write a play?"

  I cannot think why this should be,
  This bitter plaint of sudden dearth;
  To write a play would seem to me
  Almost the easiest thing on earth.
  Sometimes I feel that even I
  Could do it if I chose to try.

  What! can this Art be in its grave
  Whose form was lately so rotund,
  Whose strength was as a bull's and gave
  No sign of being moribund?
  I'm sure my facts are right, or how
  Do you account for _Chu Chin Chow_?

  As for the gods, their judgment shows
  No loss of _flair_ for grace or wit;
  We see the comic's ruby nose
  Reduce to pulp the nightly pit,
  Whose patrons, sound in head and heart,
  Still love the loftiest type of Art.

  Nor should the playwright fail for lack
  Of matter, if with curious eyes
  He follows in our Pressmen's track,
  Who find the source of their supplies
  In Life, that ever-flowing font,
  And "give the public what they want."

  If authors, moving with the times,
  Would only feed us, like the Press,
  On squalid "mysteries," ugly crimes,
  Scandals and all that carrion mess,
  I see no solid reason why
  Dramatic Art should ever die.

O. S.

       *       *       *       *       *



If it be urged that a few trifling inaccuracies have crept into the
sketch which is here given of a great statesman's personality I can
only say, "_Humanum est errare_," and "_Homo sum: humani nihil alienum
a me puto_." These two Latin sentences, I find, invariably soothe all
angry passions; you have only to try their effect the next time you
stamp on the foot of a stout man when alighting from an Underground

Of all the present-day politicians, and indeed there are not a few,
upon whose mantelpieces the bust of NAPOLEON BONAPARTE is displayed,
Mr. WINSTON CHURCHILL is probably the most assiduous worshipper at the
great Corsican's shrine. How often has he not entered his sanctum at
the War Office, peering forward with that purposeful dominating look
on his face, and discovered a few specks of dust upon his favourite
effigy. With a quick characteristic motion of the thumb resembling a
stab he rings the bell. A flunkey instantly appears. "Bust that dust,"
says the WAR MINISTER. And then, correcting himself instantly, with a
genial smile, "I should say, Dust that bust."

But NAPOLEON'S is not the only head that adorns Mr. WINSTON
CHURCHILL'S room. On a bookshelf opposite is a model of his own head,
such as one may sometimes see in the shop windows of hatters, and
close beside is a small private hat-making plant, together with an
adequate supply of the hair of the rabbit, the beaver, the vicuna and
similar rodents, and a quantity of shellac. Few days pass in which the
WAR MINISTER does not spend an hour or two at his charming hobby, for,
contrary to the general opinion, he is far from satisfied with the
headgear by which he is so well known, or even with the Sandringham
hat of _The Daily Mail_, and lives always in hopes of modelling the
ideal hat which is destined to immortalise him and be worn by others
for centuries to come. The work of a great statesman lives frequently
in the mindful brain of posterity, less frequently upon it.

Other mementos which adorn this remarkable room at the War Office are
a porcelain pot containing a preserve of Blenheim oranges, a framed
photograph of the Free Trade Hall at Manchester, a map of Mesopotamia
with the outpost lines and sentry groups of the original Garden of
Eden, marked by paper flags, and a number of lion-skin rugs of which
the original occupants were stalked and killed by their owner on his
famous African tour. In his more playful moments the WAR MINISTER has
been known to clothe himself completely in one of these skins and
growl ferociously from behind a palm at an unwelcome intruder.

Of the man himself perhaps the most distinguishing characteristic is
dynamic energy. Whether other people's energy is ever dynamic I do not
know, but undoubtedly Mr. WINSTON CHURCHILL'S is; he dominates, he
quells. He is like one of those people in the papers with zig-zags
sticking out all over them because they have been careful to wear an
electric belt. He exudes force. Sometimes one can almost hear him

As a politician it is true he has not yet tried every office; he
has not, for instance, been Chancellor of the Exchequer, though his
unbounded success in the Duchy of Lancaster amply shows what his
capabilities as a Chancellor are. But as a soldier, a pig-sticker and
a polo-player he is rapidly gaining pre-eminence, and as an author and
journalist his voice is already like a swan's amongst screech-owls.
(I admit that that last bit ought to have been in Latin, but I cannot
remember what the Latin for a screech-owl is. I have an idea that it
increases in the genitive, but quite possibly I may be thinking of

Anyhow, to return to Mr. CHURCHILL'S room: whilst the floor is
littered with volumes that have been sent to him for review, his
desk is equally littered with proofs of essays, sermons, leaders and
leaderettes for the secular and Sunday Press. As a novelist he has
scarcely fulfilled his early promise, but it is on record that he
was once introduced to a stranger from the backwoods, who asked
ignorantly, "Am I speaking to the statesman or the author?"

"Not _or_, but _and_," replied the SECRETARY OF STATE FOR WAR, with a
simple dignity like that of ST. AUGUSTINE.

To poetry he is not greatly attached, preferring to leave this field
of letters to his staff. When asked for his favourite passage of
English verse he has indeed been known to cite a single line from Mr.
HILAIRE BELLOC'S _Modern Traveller_--

  "That marsh, that admirable marsh!"

which is far from being Mr. BELLOC'S most mellifluous effort.

We feel bound to ask what is most likely to be the next outlet for
Mr. CHURCHILL'S ebullient activity. Remembering that bust upon his
mantelpiece it is hard to say. There are some who consider that,
prevented by the sluggishness of our times from the chance of
commanding an army in the field, he may turn his strategic mind at
last to the position of Postmaster-General. If he does there can be no
man better fitted than he to make our telephones hum.


       *       *       *       *       *

    "A.--Comme vous voudrai.--P."

    _Agony Column in Daily Paper_.

Taking advantage of "P.'s" kindness we may say that we prefer

       *       *       *       *       *


    Lady ---- is surprising everyone with her skill as an angler and a
    shot. Last Friday, I am told, she caught two trout weighing 2-3/4
    lb. and 3-1/4 lb. And on the same afternoon she got a right and a
    left hit at a roebuck with a small four-bore gun!"--_Daily Paper_.

Not caring to believe that she mistook a roebuck for an elephant,
we are glad to note that the epithet "true" is only applied to the
"fishing" part of the story.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: =THE ABYSMALISTS.=





       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _French Visitor_ (_inspecting artificial silk
stockings_). "SOIE?"

_Shopman_ (_formerly of the B.E.F., resourcefully_). "WELL, SCARCELY,

       *       *       *       *       *



    [The following folk-song is believed to be a local (and adult)
    version of the ballad which, according to _The Times_, is now
    being sung by Communist children in the Glasgow Proletarian
    Schools, with the refrain:--

      "Class-conscious we are singing,
        Class-conscious all are we,
      For Labour now is digging
        The grave of the Boorzh-waw-ze."

The metre is a bit jumpy, and so are the ideas, but you know what
folk-songs are.]

  Look, we are digging a large round hole,
    _With a Hey and a Ho and a Hee-haw-hee!_
  To put the abominable tyrant in--
  The Minister, the Master, the Mandarin;
  And never a bloom above shall blow
  But scarlet-runners in a row to show
    _That this is the grave of the Boorzh-waw-ze,
      With a Hi-ti-tiddle-i! ... Honk, honk!_

  Who do we put in the large round hole,
    _With a Hey and a Ho and a Hee-haw-hee?_
  The blackcoat, the parasite, the keeper of the laws,
  Who works with his head instead of with his paws;
  The doctor, the parson, the pressman, the mayor,
  The poet and the barrister, they'll all be there,
    _Snug in the grave of the Boorzh-waw-ze,
      With a Hi-ti-tiddle-i! ... Honk, honk!_

  Dig, dig, dig, it will have to be big,
    _With a Hey and a Ho and a Hee-haw-hee!_
  One great cavity, and then one more
  For the bones of the SECRET'RY OF STATE FOR WAR;
  The editor, the clerk and, of course, old THOMAS,
  We wring their necks and we fling them from us
    _Into the grave of the Boorzh-waw-ze,
      With a Hi-ti-tiddle-i! ... Honk, honk!_

  Peace and Brotherhood, that's our line,
    _With a Hey and a Ho and a Hee-haw-hee!_
  But nobody, of course, can co-exist
  In the same small planet with a Communist;
  Man is a brotherhood, that we know,
  And the whole damn family has got to go
    _Plomp in the grave of the Boorzh-waw-ze,
      With a Hi-ti-tiddle-i! ... Honk, honk!_

  Too many people are alive to-day,
    _With a Hey and a Ho and a Hee-haw-hee!_
  Red already is the Red, Red Sea
  With the blood of the brutal Boorzh-waw-ze,
  And that's what the rest of the globe will be--
        _Believe me!_
  We'll stand at last with the Red Flag furled*
  In a perfectly void vermilion world
  With the citizens (if any) who have _not_ been hurled
  _Into the grave of the Boorzh-waw-ze,
    With a Hi-ti-tiddle-i ... Honk, honk!_

A. P. H.

    [* NOTE.--In the Somerset version the word is
    "_un_furled," which makes better sense but scans even worse
    than the rest of the song. I have therefore followed the
    Gloucestershire tradition.]

       *       *       *       *       *


"It will have to be a great deal funnier than that before it's funny,"
said George.

This represented the general opinion, though Edna, who has a good
heart, professed to find it diverting already. Unfortunately she has
no sense of humour.

Jerry, the writer, claimed exemption on the ground of being the
writer, though he did not see why his article should not remove
gravity (as they say in _The Wallet of Kai Lung_) from other people
quite as effectually as the silly tosh of A. and B. and C., naming
some brilliant and successful humorists.

The company then resolved itself into a Voluntary Aid Detachment.

When they met again at tea Edna made the suggestion of a sprinkling of

"We've got rather beyond that, I think," said the victim with dignity.

"I'm not so sure," said George cruelly, "that you can afford to
neglect any means. Some people laugh at them even now, in this
twentieth century, in this beautiful England of ours."

"And I can tell you why," broke in Raymond eagerly. He took from his
pocket a well-known Manual of Psychology and whirled over the pages.

"Meanwhile," said George learnedly, "BERGSON may be of some assistance
to you. He knows all about laughter. He analysed it."

"Why couldn't he leave it alone?" said Allegra uneasily.

"He defines laughter," said George, "as 'a kind of social gesture.'"

"It isn't," said Allegra rashly. "At least," she added, "that sort of
thing isn't going to help Jerry. Do give it up."

"Well, then, here's something more practical," said George. "Listen.
'A situation is always comical when it belongs at one and the same
time to two series of absolutely independent events, and can at the
same time be interpreted in two different ways.'"

"I should think," said Edna brightly, "that might be very amusing."

She remarked later that it made it all seem very clear, but even she
showed signs of relief when Raymond interrupted, having found his

"Here we are!" he exclaimed. "The book says that the reason a pun
amuses you----"

"It doesn't amuse me," said most of the company.

"But it does--it must amuse you. It's all down here in black and
white. Listen. The reason a pun amuses you is as follows: 'It impels
the mind to identify objects quite disconnected. This obstructs the
flow of thought; but this is too transient to give rise to pain, and
the relief which comes with insight into the true state of the case
may be a source of keen pleasure. Mental activity suddenly obstructed
and so heightened is at once set free, and is so much greater than the
occasion demands that----'"

"And is that why we laugh at things?" said Allegra sadly.

The heavy silence which followed was broken by the voice of Mrs.
Purkis, the charlady, who "comes in to oblige," and was now taking
a short cut to the front gate, under Cook's escort, by way of the
parsley bed. This brought her within earshot of the party, who were
taking tea on the lawn.

When Mrs. Purkis could contain her mirth so as to make herself
understood, her words were these: "I dunno why, but when I see
'im stand like that, staring like a stuck pig, I thought I'd died
a-larf'n. I dunno why, but it made me _larf_----"

She passed, like _Pippa_.

"Listen to her," said Allegra in bitter envy. "_She doesn't know

And Allegra burst into tears.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _The Fisherman._ "I SUPPOSE THIS RAIN WILL DO A LOT OF


       *       *       *       *       *

What's in a Name?

    "'A Recital' will be given by Miss H. E. Stutter (the well-known

    _Local Paper._

       *       *       *       *       *


The last time I was at Olympia--as everybody says at the door--it was
a Horse Show. But this time it is much the same. There they stand in
their stalls, the dear, magnificent, patient creatures, with their
glossy coats and their beautiful curves, their sensitive radiators
sniffing for something over the velvet ropes. Panting, I know they
are, to be out in the open again; and yet I fancy they enjoy it all
in a way. It would be ungrateful if they did not; for, after all, the
whole thing has been arranged for them. The whole idea of the Show is
to let the motors inspect the bloaters--and not what you think. (You
don't know what bloaters are? Well, I can't explain without being

All the year round they can study _ad nauseam_ their own individual
bloaters; but this is the only occasion on which they have the whole
world of bloaters paraded in front of them for inspection. Now only
can they compare notes and exchange grievances.

And how closely they study the parade! Here is a pretty limousine, a
blonde; see how she watches the two huge exhibits in front of her.
They are very new bloaters, and one of them--oh, horror!--one of them
is going to buy. He has never bought before; she knows his sort. He
will drive her to death; he may even drive her himself; he will stroke
her lovely coat in a familiar, proprietary fashion; he will show her
off unceasingly to other bloaters till she is hot all over and the
water boils in her radiator. He will hold forth with a horrible
intimacy and a yet more horrible ignorance on the most private secrets
of her inner life. Not one throb of her young cylinders will be
sacred, yet never will he understand her as she would like to be
understood. He will mess her with his muddy boots; he will scratch her
paint; he will drop tobacco-ash all over her cushions--not from pipes;
cigars only....

There--he has bought her. It is a tragedy. Let us move on.

Here is a little _coupé_--a smart young creature with a nice blue
coat, fond of town, I should say, but quite at home in the country.
She also is inspecting two bloaters. But these two are very shy. In
fact they are not really bloaters at all; they are rather a pair of
nice-mannered fresh herrings, not long mated. The male had something
to do with that war, I should think; the _coupé_ would help him a good
deal. The lady likes her because she is dark-blue. The other one likes
her because of something to do with her works; but he is very reverent
and tactful about it. He seems to know that he is being scrutinised,
for he is nervous, and scarcely dares to speak about her to the groom
in the top-hat. He will drive her himself; he will look after her
himself; he will know all about her, all about her moods and fancies
and secret failings; he will humour and coax her, and she will serve
him very nobly.

Already, you see, they have given her a name--"Jane," I think they
said; they will creep off into the country with her when the summer
comes, all by themselves; they will plunge into the middle of thick
forests and sit down happily in the shade at midday and look at her;
and she will love them.

But the question is----Ah, they are shaking their heads; they are
edging away. She is too much. They look back sadly as they go. Another

Now I am going to be a bloater myself. Here is a jolly one, though her
stable-name is much too long. She is a Saloon-de-Luxe, and she
only costs £2,125 (why 5, I wonder--why not 6?) I can run to that,
_surely_. At any rate I can climb up and sit down on her cushions;
none of the grooms is looking. Dark-blue, I see, like Jane. That is
the sort of car I love. I am like the lady herring; I don't approve
of all this talk about the _insides_ of things; it seems to me to be
rather indecent--unless, of course, you do it very nicely, like that
young herring. When you go and look at a horse you don't ask how its
sweetbread is arranged, or what is the principle of its liver. Then
why should you...?

Well, here we are, and very comfortable too. But why does none of
these cars have any means of communication between the owner and
the man next to the chauffeur? There is always a telephone to the
chauffeur, but none to the overflow guest on the box. So that when the
host sees an old manor-house which he thinks the guest hasn't noticed
he has to hammer on the glass and do semaphore; and the guest thinks
he is being asked if he is warm enough.

Otherwise, though, this is a nice car. It is very cosy in here. Dark
and quiet and warm. I could go to sleep in here.

       *       *       *       *       *

What? What's that? No, I don't really want to buy it, thank you. I
just wanted to see if it was a good sleeping-car. As a matter of fact
I think it is. But I don't like the colour. And what I really want is
a _cabriolet_. Good afternoon. Thank you....

A pleasant gentleman, that. I wish I could have bought the Saloon. She
would have liked me. So would he, I expect.

Well, we had better go home. I shan't buy any more cars to-day. And
we won't go up to the gallery; there is nothing but oleo-plugs and
graphite-grease up there. That sort of thing spoils the romance.

Ah, here is dear Jane again! What a pity it was---- Hallo, they have
come back--the two nice herrings. They are bargaining--they are
beating him down. No, he is beating them up. Go on--go on. Yes, you
can run to that--_of course_ you can. Sell those oil shares. Look at
her--_look_ at her! You can't leave her here for one of the bloaters.
He wavers; he consults. "Such a lovely colour." Ah, that's done it! He
has decided. He has bought. She has bought. They have bought. Hurrah!

A. P. H.

       *       *       *       *       *


Some time ago the PREMIER beheld the sunrise upon the mountains, and
now he has plunged his thermometer into the lava to discover that the
stream is cooling--indicating comfort, let us hope, to any who may be
buried beneath it. Only by an oversight, we understand, did he omit to
mention in his speech at the Guildhall that the chamois is once more
browsing happily among the blooming edelweiss.

But in continuing his lofty metaphors Mr. LLOYD GEORGE will find
himself confronted by no small difficulty when dealing with the
glacier. What can he say that the glacier is doing? It must do
something. A glacier is of no rhetorical value if it merely stays
where it is. One may take in hand the ice-axe of resolution and the
alpenstock of enterprise and pull over one's boots the socks of
Coalition, but the glacier remains practically unchanged by these
preparations. It would be of little use to declare that its uneven
surface is being levelled by the steam-roller of progress and its
crevasses filled in by the cement of human kindness, because
the Opposition Press would soon get scientists, engineers and
statisticians to establish the absurdity of such a claim. And to
announce that the glacier is getting warmer would create no end of
a panic among the homesteads in the valley. Unless he is very, very
careful Mr. LLOYD GEORGE may make a grave slip in negotiating the

Then the "awful avalanche" has not yet been dealt with. A few helpful
words on the direction this is likely to take and the safest rock to
make for when it begins to move might be welcomed by the PREMIER'S
followers. He may argue that it is folly to meet trouble half-way,
but on the other hand, if he does not speak on this subject soon, the
opportunity may disappear. Let him avoid the glacier if he chooses; he
cannot (so we are informed) escape the avalanche.

       *       *       *       *       *



"WE MUST HAVE ONE." [entering SHIRT MAKER'S Establishment]






       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Magistrate._ "BUT, MR. GOLDSTEIN, WHY DO YOU HAVE YOUR

_Mr. Goldstein._ "WELL, YOU SEE, I'M NOT A BEESNESS MAN."]

       *       *       *       *       *


The man who sets out to expose popular fallacies or to confound
time-honoured legends is bound to make enemies.

The latest legend I have been privileged to explore is not the product
of superstition and slow time, but a deliberately manufactured growth
of comparatively recent origin. It is concerned with Barbara, not the
impersonal lady who figures in the old logic-book doggerel, but an
extremely live and highly illogical person to whom for half a decade I
have had the honour to be father. It is also concerned with Barbara's
Aunt Julia and, in a lesser degree, with Barbara's mother.

From the time (just over three years ago) when Barbara first attempted
articulate speech I have been bombarded with reports of the wonderful
things my daughter has said. In the earlier years these diverting
stories, for which Julia was nearly always cited as authority, reached
me through the medium of the Field Post-Office, and, being still
fairly new to fatherhood, I used proudly to retail them in Mess, until
an addition was made to the rule relating to offences punishable by a
round of drinks.

On my brief visits home I would wait expectantly for the brilliant
flashes of humour or of uncanny intelligence to issue from Barbara's
lips, and her failure during these periods to sustain her reputation
I was content to explain on the assumption that I came within the
category of casual visitors. But I have now lived in my own home for
over a year, and Barbara and I have become very well acquainted. She
talks to me without restraint, and at times most engagingly, but
seldom, if ever, does she give utterance in my hearing to a _jeu
d'esprit_ that I feel called upon to repeat to others. Nevertheless
until a few days ago I was still constantly being informed--chiefly
by Barbara's aunt and less frequently by her mother--of the "killing"
things that child had been saying. I grew privately sceptical, but had
no proof, and it was only by accident that I was at last enabled to
prick the bubble.

Julia (who besides being Barbara's aunt is Suzanne's sister) had come
to tea and was chatting in the drawing-room with Suzanne (who besides
being Julia's sister is Barbara's mother and my wife) and Barbara
(whose relationship all round has been sufficiently indicated).
The drawing-room door was open, and so was that of my study on the
opposite side of the passage, where I was coquetting with a trifle
of work. The conversation, which I could not help overhearing, was
confined for the most part to Julia and Barbara, and ran more or less
on the following lines:--

_Julia._ Where's Father, Babs?

_Barbara._ In the libery.

_Julia._ Working hard, I suppose?

_Barbara._ Yes.

_Julia._ Or do you think he's sleeping? (_No answer._) Don't you think
father's probably asleep half the time he's supposed to be working?

_Barbara._ Probly. What you got in that bag?

_Julia._ I expect that big armchair he sits in is just a weeny bit too
comfy for real work.

_Barbara._ I've eated up all those choc'lates you did bring me.

_Julia._ Perhaps we'll find some more presently. Do you think Father
writes in his sleep?

_Barbara._ Yes, I fink he does.

_Julia._ Listen to her, Suzie. I expect really he only dreams he's
working. Don't you, Babs?

At this point I thought it advisable, for the sake of preserving
the remnants of my parental authority, to come in to tea. Julia was
handing Barbara a packet of chocolate, and greeted me with an arch
inquiry as to whether I had been busy writing. I replied with a hearty

"You ought to hear what your daughter has been saying about you," said

"Oh, and what does Barbara say?" I asked.

"She says that when Father sits in that stuffy little room of his he
usually writes in his sleep. She really does take the most amazing
notice of things, and the way she expresses herself is quite weird."

"So Barbara says I write in my sleep?"

"Yes, you heard her, didn't you, Suzie? Oh, and did I tell you that
the other day, during that heavy thunderstorm, she said that the
angels and the devils must be having a big battle and that she
supposed the angels would soon be going over the top?"

"Come here, Barbara," I said.

Barbara, who at her too fond aunt's request had been granted the
privilege of taking tea in the drawing-room, stuffed the better half
of a jam sandwich into her mouth and came.

"Do you see those rich-looking pink cakes?" I asked her. "You shall
have one as soon as we've had a little talk."

"The biggest and pinkiest one?" demanded Barbara.

"Yes. Now tell me--don't you think that people ought always to speak
the truth, and to be especially careful not to distort the remarks of

"Yes. Can I have the one with the greeny thing on it?"

"Certainly, in a minute. And don't you think that women are much more
careless of the truth than men?"

"Yes. Can I----"

"Do you love your Aunt Julia?"



"Cos she always has got choc'lates in her bag."

"But don't you think it's much more important to have the truth in
your heart than chocolates in your bag?"

"Yes. Now can I have my pink cake?"

I released and rewarded her, and Julia prepared to speak her mind.
Fortunately, however, just at that moment my brother Tom, who is
Barbara's godfather, came in.

"Why, what a big girl we're getting!" he observed to Barbara in his
best godfatherly manner. "I suppose we shall soon be going to school?"

"Oh, no, not yet awhile," I interposed. "The fact is she's already
far too forward, and we think it a good thing to keep her back a bit.
You'd never believe the amazing remarks she makes. Just now, for
instance, we happened to be discussing the comparative love of truth
inherent in men and women, and Barbara chipped in and told me she
thought women were far more careless of the truth than men."

"Good heavens!" said Tom, who is a bachelor by conviction. "She
certainly hit the nail on the head there."

"Yes, and she added that she herself prized truth above chocolates."

"It sounds almost incredible," gasped Tom.

"Doesn't it? But ask Julia; she heard it all. And Julia will also tell
you what Barbara remarked about my work."

But Julia, who was already gathering her furs about her, followed up
an unusual silence by a sudden departure.

From what Suzanne has since refrained from saying I am confident that
I've broken the back of one more legend, and saved Barbara from the
fate of having to pass the rest of her childhood living up (or down)
to a spurious halo of precocity.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: =AN INCENTIVE TO VIRTUE.=

_Small Boy_ (_much impressed_). "THE TICKET-COLLECTOR SAID 'GOOD


       *       *       *       *       *

Another Impending Apology.


    _Channel Islands Paper._

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Indeed, it is simple to understand why the Canadian portion of
    the audience almost rise from their seats when Fergus Wimbus, the
    'Man,' says, 'Canada is the land of big things, big thoughts, bing
    hopes."--_Provincial Paper._

Not forgetting the "Byng Boys" either.

       *       *       *       *       *


    ["A LADY is willing to give a thoroughly-good HOME to a GRAND
    PIANO (German make preferred), also a COTTAGE, for anyone going
    abroad."--_Morning Paper._]

A GRAMOPHONE of small to medium age can be received as p.g. in select
RESIDENTIAL HOTEL. Young, bright, musical society. Separate tables.

       *       *       *       *       *

WILL any LADY or GENTLEMAN offer hospitality on the Cornish Riviera
for the winter months to an EX-SERVICE CORNET suffering from chronic
asthma (slight)?

       *       *       *       *       *

BAG-PIPES (sisters) in reduced circumstances owing to the War, seek
sit. as COMPANIONS or MOTHER'S HELPS, town or country.

       *       *       *       *       *

From a list of forthcoming productions:--

    "THEATRE ROYAL, ----. Boo Early."

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Old Lady._ "AND HOW IS YOUR DEAR MOTHER, TO-DAY?"

_Child of the Period._ "OH, SHE'S ROTTEN."]

       *       *       *       *       *


  When the docks are all deserted and the derricks all are still,
  And the wind across the anchorage comes singing sad and shrill,
  And the lighted lanthorns gleaming where the ships at anchor ride
  Cast their quivering long reflections down the ripple of the tide,

  Then the ships they start a-yarning, just the same as sailors do
  In a hundred docks and harbours from Port Talbot to Chefoo,
  Just the same as deep-sea sailormen a-meeting up and down
  In the bars and boarding-houses and the streets of Sailor-town.

  Just the same old sort of ship-talk sailors always like to hear--
  Just the same old harbour gossip gathered in from far and near,
  In the same salt-water lingo sailors use the wide world round,
  From the shores of London river to the wharves of Puget Sound,

  With a gruff and knowing chuckle at a spicy yarn or so,
  And a sigh for some old shipmate gone the way that all men go,
  And there's little need to wonder at a grumble now and then,
  For the ships must have their growl out, just the same as sailormen.

  And they yarn along together just as jolly as you please,
  Lordly liner, dingy freighter rusty-red from all the seas,
  Of their cargoes and their charters and their harbours East and West,
  And the coal-hulk at her moorings, she is yarning with the best,

  Telling all the same tales over many and many a time she's told,
  In a voice that's something creaky now because she's got so old,
  Like some old broken sailorman when drink has loosed his tongue
  And his ancient heart keeps turning to the days when he was young.

  Is it but the chuckling mutter of the tide along the buoys,
  But the creak of straining cables, but the night wind's mournful noise,
  Sighing with a rising murmur in among the ropes and spars,
  Setting every shroud and backstay singing shanties to the stars?

  No, the ships they all are yarning, just the same as sailors do,
  Just the same as deep-sea sailors from Port Talbot to Chefoo,
  Yarning through the hours of darkness till the daylight comes again,
  But oh! the things they speak of no one knows but sailormen.

  C. F. S.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: =WORTH A TRIAL.=




       *       *       *       *       *


_Monday, November 8th._--To allay the apprehensions of Sir JOHN REES
the PRIME MINISTER informed him that the League of Nations can do
nothing except by a unanimous decision of the Council. As the League
already includes thirty-seven nations, it is not expected that its
decisions will be hastily reached. Now, perhaps, the United States
may think better of its refusal to join a body which has secured the
allegiance of Liberia and of all the American Republics save Mexico.

The daily demand for an impartial inquiry into Irish "reprisals" met
with its daily refusal. The PRIME MINISTER referred to "unfortunate
incidents that always happen in war"--the first time that he has used
this word to describe the situation in Ireland--and was confident that
the sufferers were, with few exceptions (Mr. DEVLIN, who complained
that his office had been raided, being one of them), "men engaged in a
murderous conspiracy." He declined to hamper the authorities who were
putting it down. Taking his cue from his chief, Sir HAMAR GREENWOOD
excused his lack of information about recent occurrences with the
remark that "an officer cannot draw up reports while he is chasing
assassins." Tragedy gave way to comedy when Lieutenant-Commander
KENWORTHY observed that the proceedings were "just like the German
Reichstag during the War." "Were you there?" smartly interjected
General CROFT.



The Government of Ireland Bill having been recommitted, Sir
WORTHINGTON EVANS explained the Government's expedient for providing
the new Irish Parliaments with Second Chambers. Frankly admitting that
the Cabinet had been unable to evolve a workable scheme--an elected
Senate would fail to protect the minority and a nominated Senate would
be "undemocratic"--he proposed that the Council of Ireland should be
entrusted with the task.

Having regard to the probable composition of the Council--half Sinn
Feiners and half Orangemen--Colonel GUINNESS feared there was no
chance of its agreeing unless most of them were laid up with broken
heads or some other malady. Sir EDWARD CARSON, however, in an
unusually optimistic vein, expressed the hope that once the North was
assured of not being put under the South and the South was relieved of
British dictation they would "shake hands for the good of Ireland."
The clause was carried by 175 to 31.

[Illustration: "TWO BY TWO."


On another new clause, providing for the administration of Southern
Ireland in the event of a Parliament not being set up, Mr. ASQUITH
declared that "this musty remainder biscuit" had reduced him to
"rhetorical poverty." Perhaps that was why he could get no more than
ten Members to follow him into the Lobby against it.

[Illustration: THE OLD SHEEP-DOG.


_Tuesday, November 9th._--In supporting Lord PARMOOR'S protest against
the arrest, at Holyhead, of an English lady by order of the Irish
Executive, Lord BUCKMASTER regretted that there was no one in the
House of Lords responsible for the Irish Office, and consequently
"they were always compelled to accept official answers." A strictly
official answer was all he got from Lord CRAWFORD, who declared that
the arrest had been made under the authority of D.O.R.A., and gave
their Lordships the surely otiose reminder that "conditions were not
quite simple or normal in Ireland just now."

Mr. SHORTT has formed his style on the model of one of his
predecessors in office, who used to be described as the Quite-at-Home
Secretary, and he declined to share Colonel BURN'S alarm at the
prevalence of revolutionary speeches. Hyde Park, he reminded him, had
always been regarded as a safety-valve for discontented people. Even
Mr. L'ESTRANGE MALONE'S recent reference to Ministers and lamp-posts
did not at that moment disturb him.

The new Ministry of Health Bill had a rather rough passage, and, if
the voting had been in accordance with the speeches, it would hardly
have secured a second reading. Particular objection was raised to the
proposal to put the hospitals on the rates. Mr. MYERS, however, was
sarcastic at the expense of people who thought that "rates and taxes
must be saved though the people perished," and declared that there was
plenty of war wealth to be drawn upon.

Lieut.-Colonel HURST objected to the term "working-class" in the Bill.
It would encourage the Socialistic fallacy that the people of England
were divided into two classes--the leisured class and the working
class; whereas everybody knew that most of the "leisured class" had no
leisure and many of the "working-class" did no work.

_Wednesday, November 10th._--The Peers welcomed Lord BUXTON on his
advancement to an earldom, and then proceeded to discuss the rights
of the inhabitants of Heligoland. Having been handed over to Germany
against their will in 1890, they hoped that the Treaty of Versailles
would restore them to British nationality. On the contrary the Treaty
has resulted in the island being swamped by German workmen employed in
destroying the fortifications. Lord CRAWFORD considered that the new
electoral law requiring three years' residence would safeguard the
islanders from being politically submerged, and wisely did not enter
into the question of how long the island itself would remain after the
fortifications had disappeared.

In the Commons the INDIAN SECRETARY underwent his usual Wednesday
cross-examination. He did not display quite his customary urbanity.
When an hon. Member, whose long and distinguished Indian service began
in the year in which Mr. MONTAGU was born, ventured to suggest that
he should check Mr. GANDHI'S appeals to ignorance and fanaticism,
he tartly replied that ignorance and fanaticism were very dangerous
things, "whether in India or on the benches of this House."

Mr. STEWART expressed anxiety lest under the new arrangements
with Egypt the Sudan water-supply should be subjected to Egyptian
interference. Mr. HARMSWORTH was of opinion that for geographical
reasons the Sudan would always be able to look after its own
water-supply; _vide_ the leading case of _Wolf_ v. _Lamb_.

_Thursday, November 11th._--The PRIME MINISTER was in a more
aggressive mood than usual. Mr. DEVLIN, who was noisily incredulous as
to the existence of a Sinn Fein conspiracy with Germany in 1918, was
advised to wait for the documents about to be published. To make
things even, an ultra-Conservative Member, who urged the suspension
of Mr. FISHER'S new Act, was informed that the PRIME MINISTER could
conceive nothing more serious than that the nation should decide that
it could not afford to give children a good education.

Any doubts as to the suitability of Armistice Day for the Third
Reading of the Government of Ireland Bill were removed by the tone of
the debate. The possibility that the "Unknown Warrior" might have been
an Irishman softened the feeling on both sides, and though Mr. ADAMSON
feared that the Bill would bring Ireland not peace but a sword, and
Mr. ASQUITH appealed to the Government to substitute a measure more
generous to Irish aspirations, there was no sting in either of their
speeches. The PRIME MINISTER, while defending his scheme as the best
that could be granted in the present temper of Southern Ireland, did
not bang the door against further negotiations; and Sir EDWARD CARSON
said that Ulstermen were beginning to realize that the Parliament
thrust upon them might be a blessing in disguise, and expressed the
hope that in working it they would set an example of tolerance and
justice to all classes. Barely a third of the House took part in the
division, and no Irish Member voted for the Third Reading, which was
carried by 183 votes to 52; but, having regard to the influence of the
unexpected in Irish affairs, this apparent apathy may be a good sign.
After thirty-five years of acute strife, Home Rule for Ireland is, at
any rate, no longer a party question.

       *       *       *       *       *



       *       *       *       *       *

Jones minor wants to know if the letter "T," used to designate the new
super-bus, stands for "TARQUINIUS."

       *       *       *       *       *


Perkins has got hold of a brilliant idea. He explained it to me in the
Tube yesterday.

"Our little world," he said, "is turned topsy-turvy."

"Knocked absolutely sideways," I replied.

"Those who were rich in the old days," said Perkins, "haven't two
sixpences to rub together, and the world's workers are rolling in
Royces and having iced méringues with every meal. What follows?"

"Indigestion," I said promptly.

"Everybody," he said, ignoring my _jeu d'esprit_, "feels like a fish
out of water, and discontent is rife. The newly-poor man wishes he had
in him the stuff of which millionaires are made, and the profiteer
sighs for a few pints of the true ultramarine Norman blood, as it
would be so helpful when dealing with valets, gamekeepers and the
other haughty vassals of his new entourage. And that is where my
scheme comes in. There are oceans of blue blood surging about in the
veins and arteries of dukes and other persons who have absolutely no
further use for such a commodity, and I'm sure lots of it could be had
at almost less than the present price of milk. So what is to prevent
the successful hosier from having the real stuff coursing through the
auricles and ventricles of his palpitating heart, since transfusion is
such a simple stunt nowadays?"

"And I suppose," I said, "that you would bleed him first so as to make
room for the new blood?"

"There you touch the real beauty of my idea," said Perkins. "The
plebeian sighs for aristocratic blood to enable him to hold his own in
his novel surroundings; the aristocrat could do with a little bright
red fluid to help him to turn an honest penny. So it is merely a case
of cross-transfusion; no waste, no suffering, no weakness from loss of
blood on either side."

I gasped at the magnitude of the idea.

"I'm drawing up plans," Perkins continued, "for a journal devoted
to the matter, in which the interested parties can advertise their
blood-stock for disposal, a sort of 'Blood Exchange and Mart.' The
advertisements alone would pay, I expect, for the cost of production.
See," he said, handing me a slip of paper, "these are the sort of ads.
we should get."

This is what I read:--

"Peer, ruined by the War, would sell one-third of arterial contents
for cash, or would exchange blood-outfits with successful woollen
manufacturer.--5016 Kensington Gore, W.

"To War Profiteers. Several quarts of the real cerulean for disposal.
Been in same family for generations. Pedigree can be inspected at
office of advertiser's solicitor. Cross-transfusion not objected to.
Address in first instance, BART., 204, Bleeding Heart Yard, E.C.

"Public School and University Man of Plantagenet extraction would like
to correspond with healthy Coal Miner with view to cross-transfusion.
Would sell soul for two shillings.--A. VANE-BLUDYER, 135, Down (and
Out) Street, West Kensington, W."

"Makes your blood run cold," I said, handing back the paper.

"Not it," he said, detaching himself from the strap as the train drew
into King's Cross; "not if the operation's properly performed."

       *       *       *       *       *



  Percy is a partridge bold
  Who in Autumn, so I'm told,
  Dwells among the turnip roots
  And assists at frequent shoots,
  Really I have seldom heard
  Of a more precocious bird;
  Possibly his landlord's not
  What you'd call a first-rate shot,
  And his pals, though jolly chaps,
  Are not quite so good perhaps;
  Still, he thinks their aim so trashy
  That, I fear, he's getting rash. He
  Even perches on the end
  Of the gun my poor old friend
  Bill employs for killing game.
  True he's very blind and lame,
  And he's well beyond the span
  Meted out to mortal man,
  And his gout is getting worse
  (Meaning Bill, of course, not Perce);
  Still, if he won't mend his ways,
  One of these fine Autumn days
  I'm afraid there's bound to be
  Quite an awful tragedy.
  He'll be shot--I'm sure he will
  (Meaning Percy now, not Bill).


  Weep, ye lowering rain-swept skies!
  In the dust our hero lies.
  Weeping-willow, bow thy head!
  Our precocious fowl is dead.
  Sigh, thou bitter North Wind, for
  Perce the Partridge is no more!

  Now, as long as he was ready
  Just to sit, sedate and steady,
  On the barrel of the gun
  Little mischief could be done;
  But on that sad morn a whim
  Suddenly seized hold of him;
  'Twas the lunatic desire
  To observe how shot-guns fire;
  So he boldly took his stand
  Where the barrel ended, and,
  All agog to solve the puzzle,
  Poked his napper up the muzzle.

  Well, the weapon at the minute
  Chanced to have a cartridge in it,
  And it happened that my friend
  Bill was at the other end,
  Who with calm unflurried aim
  Failed (at last) to miss the game.

  With the tragic tale of Percy's
  Death I meant to close these verses,
  But we see quite clearly there, too,
  Other ills that Bird is heir to.
  He has also lost, you see,
  Perce the Partridge, named and known,
  With an ego all his own,
  Disappears; and in his place
  There remains but "half-a-brace."

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _New Landlord._ "GEORGE, BILLIARDS WILL BE


_New Landlord._ "WHAT DID THEY PAY?"


       *       *       *       *       *

=Situations to Suit all Ages.=

    "Lady-Typist (aged 1920) required for invoicing department of West
    End wholesale firm."--_Daily Paper._

    "Wanted, capable Person, about 3 years of age, to undertake all
    household duties, country residence."--_Scottish Paper._

       *       *       *       *       *


    And, last of all, here is Dick WPhittington, otherwise known as
    Alderman Roll, Lord Mayor of London."--_Evening Paper._

But for the headline we should never have recognised him.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _The Beginner._ "I HOPE TO HEAVEN I'VE GOT THE LABELS

       *       *       *       *       *


"Well, Uncle Tom," I said, leaning over the gate, "and what did you
think of London?"

On Monday morning Uncle Tom Brimacombe had driven off in his trap with
his wife to the nearest station, five miles away, and had gone up to
London for the first time in his life, "to see about a legacy."

"Lunnon! mai laife. It's a vaine plaace. Ai used 'think Awkeyampton
was a big town, but ai'm barmed if Lunnon dawn't beat un.

"As you knaw, Zur, us 'ad to get up and gaw off 'bout three in th'
morn'n, and us got upalong Lunnon 'bout tain. Well, the waife knew 'er
waay 'bout, laike; 'er 's bin to Plymouth 'fore now. Zo when us gets
out of the traain us gaws inzaide a sort er caage what taakes us down
a 'awl in the ground. Ai was fraightened out 'me laife. 'Yer,' ai sez,
'wur be us gwaine then?'

"'Dawn'ee axno questions, me dyur,' sez the waife, 'or ai'll vorget
ahl what the guard in the traain tawld us.'

"Well, baimbai the caage stops gwaine down and us gets out, and ai'm
blawed if us wadn't in a staation ahl below the ground! Then a traain
comes out of anither 'awl, and befwer us 'ad zat down proper inzaide
un, 'er was off agaain, 'thout waitin' vur watter nor noth'n'. Well,
we zat us down and thur was tu little maids a-vaacin' us what 'adn'
mwer'n lef' school a yer'tu, and naw zinner do they zet eyes on me
than one of 'n whispers zimmat to tither and they bawth starts gazin'
at my 'at and laaf'n'.

"Well, ai stid it vur some taime and at laast ai cuden' a-bear it naw
longer, so ai says to the waife, 'Fur whai they'm laaf'n' then? What's
wrong wi' my 'at?'

"'Dawn'ee taake naw nawtice of they,' 'er says. 'The little 'uzzies
ought to be at 'awm look'n' aafter the chicken, 'staid of gallivantin'
about ahl bai thursalves. Yure 'at's all raight.'

"Ai was wear'n' me awld squeer brown bawlerat what ai wears to Laanson
market on Zat'dys.

"Well, zune us gets out, though ai caan't tall'ee whur tu 'twas, and
ai caan't tall'ee what us did nither, vur me 'aid was gwaine round an'
round and aachin' vit to burst. But us vound the plaace us was aafter
and saigned ahl the paapers wur the man tawld us tu. Then, when us
gets outsaide, the waife, 'er says, 'Look'ee, me dyur, thur's a bit
of graass and some trees; us'll gawn zit down awver there and eat our

"Maighty pwer graass 'twas tu, but thur was seats, so us ait our
paasties thur, and us bawth started crai'in when us bit into un. They
zort 'er taasted of 'awm, laike.

"Then ahl't once the waife, 'er says, 'Pon mai word, thur's a man
taak'n our vottygraff.' And thur 'e was, tu, with a black tarpaulin
awver 'is 'aid! 'Come away, me dyur,' says she; 'ai'm not gwaine to
paay vur naw vottygraffs. Ai 'ad one done at Laanson 'oss shaw when
ai was a gal, and it faaded clean away insaide a twelve-month.' Zo us
gaws back along the staation agaan and comes 'awm just in taime to get
the cows in.

"Well, next evenin' ai went down along 'The Duke' to tall 'em ahl
'bout Lunnon, but when ai gets insaide they ahl starts shout'n' and
bangin' thur mugs and waav'n the paaper at me. 'What's come awver yu?'
ai axes un; 'yume ahl gone silly then?'

"'Theym bin and put yure vottygraff in the paaper, Uncle,' says John
Tonkin, and 'awlds un out vur me to look. And thur, sure 'nuff, 'twas,
with the waife in tu! So ai gets un to let me cut'n out and keep'n.
Yur 'tis if 'eed laike to see un."

Uncle Tom fumbled in his pocket, drew out a cutting and handed it to
me. There surely enough was a photo of him and "the waife," sitting on
a public garden-seat eating pasties and underneath the legend--


  An old couple snapped in Hyde Park.
  The gentleman, smart though elderly,
  is seen wearing a brown model of _The
  Daily Mail_ hat."

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: =AFTER THE BALL.=

"_The Spirit of Jazz._" "TAXI!"


       *       *       *       *       *


Among the passengers on the boat was a tall dark man with a black
moustache and well-cut clothes who spent most of his time walking the
deck or reading alone in his chair. Every ship has such recluses, who
often, however, are on the fringe of several sets, although members
of none. But this man remained apart and, being so determined and
solitary, he was naturally the subject of comment and inquiry, even
more of conjecture. His name was easy to discover from the plan of the
table, but we knew no more until little Mrs. King, who is the best
scout in the world, brought the tidings.

"I can't tell you much," she began breathlessly; "but there's
something frightfully interesting. Colonel Swift knows all about him.
He met him once in Poona and they have mutual friends. And how do you
think he described him? He says he's the worst liver in India."

There is no need to describe the sensation created by this piece of
information. If the man had set us guessing before, he now excited
a frenzy of curiosity. The glad news traversed the ship like wind,
brightening every eye; at any rate every female eye. For, though the
good may have their reward elsewhere, it is beyond doubt that, if
public interest is any guerdon, the bad get it on earth.

Show me a really bad man--dark-complexioned, with well-cut clothes
and a black moustache--and I will show you a hero; a hero a little
distorted, it is true, but not much the less heroic for that. Show me
a notorious breaker of male hearts and laws and--so long as she
is still in business--I will show you a heroine; again a little
distorted, but with more than the magnetism of the virtuous variety.

For the rest of the voyage the lonely passenger was lonely only
because he preferred to be, or was unaware of the agitation which
he caused. People walked for hours longer than they liked or even
intended in order to have a chance of passing him in his chair and
scrutinising again the features that masked such depravity. For that
they masked it cannot be denied. A physiognomist looking at him would
have conceded a certain gloom, a trend towards introspection, possibly
a hypertrophied love of self, but no more. Physiognomists, however,
can retire from the case, for they are as often wrong as hand-writing
experts. And if any Lavater had been on board and had advanced such
a theory he would have been as unpopular as JONAH, for the man's
wickedness was not only a joy to us but a support. Without it the
voyage would have been interminable.

What, we all wondered, had he done? Had he murdered as well as
destroyed so many happy homes? Was he crooked at cards? Our minds
became acutely active, but we could discover no more because the old
Colonel, the source of knowledge, had fallen ill and was invisible.

Meanwhile the screw revolved, sweepstakes were lost and won, deck
sports flourished, fancy-dress dances were held, concerts were
endured, a Colonial Bishop addressed us on Sunday mornings and the
tall dark man with the black moustache and different suits of well-cut
clothes sat in his chair and passed serenely from one OPPENHEIM to
another as though no living person were within leagues.

It was not until we were actually in port that the Colonel recovered
and I came into touch with him. Standing by the rail we took advantage
of the liberty to speak together, which on a ship such propinquity
sanctions. After we had exchanged a few remarks about the clumsiness
of the disembarking arrangements I referred to the man of mystery and
turpitude, and asked for particulars of some of his milder offences.

"Why do you suppose him such a blackguard?" he asked.

"But surely----" I began, a little disconcerted.

"He's a man," the Colonel continued, "that everyone should be sorry
for. He's a wreck, and he's going home now probably to receive his
death sentence."

This was a promising phrase and I cheered up a little, but only for a

"That poor devil," said the Colonel, "as I told Mrs. King earlier in
the voyage, has the worst liver in India."

E. V. L.


(_A Warning against dealing with Disreputable Companies._)

  When the Man of Insurance made his rounds
  I "covered" my house for a thousand pounds;
  Then someone started a fire in the grounds
    At the end of a wild carouse.
  The building was burnt; I made my claim
  And the Man of Insurance duly came.
            Said he, "Always
            Our Company pays
    Without any fuss or grouse;
  But your home was rotted from drains to flues;
  I therefore offer you as your dues
  Seven hundred pounds or, if you choose,
    A better and brighter house."

  I took the money; I need not say
  What abuse I hurled at his head that day;
  But, when he began in his artful way
    To talk of Insurance (Life),
  And asked me to take out a policy for
  My conjugal partner, my _cordium cor_,
            "No, no," said I,
            "If my spouse should die
    We should enter again into strife;
  You would come and say at the funeral, 'Sir,
  Your wife was peevish and plain; for her
  I offer six hundred or, if you prefer,
    A better and brighter wife.'"

       *       *       *       *       *


(_Extracts from a Synthetic Diary à la mode._)

_November 11th._--Now is the time to plant salsify, or the vegetable
oyster, as it has been aptly named from its crustacean flavour so
dear to herbaceous boarders. This may be still further accentuated
by planting it in soil containing lime, chalk or other calcareous or
sebaceous deposits.

Hedgehogs are now in prime condition for baking, but it is desirable
to remove the quills before entrusting the animal to the oven. But the
hedgehog cannot be cooked until he is caught, and his capture should
not be attempted without strong gloves. Those recently invented by
Lord THANET are far the best for the purpose. It is a moot point among
culinary artists whether the hedgehog should be served _en casserole_
or in _coquilles_; but these are negligible details when you are
steeped in the glamour of pale gold from a warm November sun, and
mild air currents lag over the level leagues where the water is but
slightly crimped and the alighting heron is lost among the neutral
tints that envelop him....

Though the sun's rays are not now so fervent as they were in the
dog-days, gardening without any headgear is dangerous, especially in
view of the constant stooping. For the protection of the _medulla_
nothing is better than the admirable hat recently placed on the market
by the benevolent enterprise of a great newspaper. But an effective
substitute can be improvised out of a square yard of linoleum lined
with cabbage-leaves and fastened with a couple of safety-pins.

As the late Sir ANDREW CLARK remarked in a luminous phrase, Nature
forgives but she never forgets. The complete gardener should always
aim (unlike the successful journalist) at keeping his head cool and
his feet warm; and here again the noble enterprise of a newspaper
has provided the exact _desideratum_ in its happily-named Corkolio
detachable soles, which are absolutely invaluable when roads are dark
and ways are foul, when the reeds are sere, when all the flowers have
gone and the carrion-crow from the vantage of a pollard utters harsh
notes of warning to all the corvine company round about....

Shod with Corkolio the happy gardener can defy these sinister
visitants and ply the task of "heeling over" broccoli towards the
north with perfect impunity.

The ravages of stag-beetles, a notable feature of late seasons, and
probably one of the indirect but none the less disastrous results of
the Land Valuation policy of the PRIME MINISTER, can be kept down by
leaving bowls of caviare mixed with molasses in the places which they
most frequent. This compound reduces them speedily to a comatose
condition, in which they can be safely exterminated with the aid of
the patent hot-air pistolette (price five guineas) recently invented
by a director of one of the journals already alluded to.

But _tout lasse, tout casse, tout passe_; and while the kingfisher
turns his sapphire back in the sun against the lemon-yellow of the
willow leaves, and the smouldering russet of the oak-crowns succeeds
to the crimson of the beeches and the gold of the elms, we shall do
well to emulate the serene magnanimity of Nature and console ourselves
with the reflection that the rural philosopher, if only assured of
a sympathetic hearing in an enlightened Press and provided with a
suitable equipment by the ingenuity of its directors, may contemplate
the vagaries of tyrannical misgovernment with fortitude and even

       *       *       *       *       *


    ["To be fashionable one must have the waist so narrow that there
    is a strain upon the second button when the jacket is fastened."

    _Note on Men's Dress._]

  Garbed in the very height and pink of fashion,
   To-day I sallied forth to greet my fair,
  Nursing within my ardent heart a passion
    I long had had a craving to declare;
  Being convinced that never would there fall so
    Goodly a chance again, I mused how she
  Was good and kind and beautiful, and also
        Expecting me to tea.

  And after tea I stood before her, feeling
    Now was the moment when the maid would melt,
  My buttoned jacket helpfully revealing
    The graces of a figure trimly svelte,
  But, all unworthy to adorn a poet
    Who'd bought it for a fabulous amount,
  Just as I knelt to put the question, lo, it
        Popped on its own account.

  The button, dodging my attempts to hide it,
    Rolled to her very feet and rested there,
  And when I laid my loving heart beside it
    She only smiled at that incongruous pair--
  Smiled, then in contrite pity for the gloomy
    Air that I wore of one whose chance is gone,
  Promised that she would be a sister to me
        And sew the button on.

       *       *       *       *       *

A Test of Endurance.

    "The dancing will commence at 9 p.m. and conclude at 2 p.m. Anyone
    still wanting tickets may procure same at the Victoria."

    _East African Paper._

For ourselves, after seventeen hours' continuous dancing, we shall not
want any more tickets.

       *       *       *       *       *

From a parish magazine:--

    "A nation will not remain virulent which destroys the barriers
    which protect the Sunday."

We are all for protecting the Sunday, but we don't want to remain
virulent. It is a terrible dilemma.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: SITUATION: _Burglar caught red-handed._


       *       *       *       *       *


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

In looking at the title-page of _John Seneschal's Margaret_ (HODDER
AND STOUGHTON) no lover of good stories but will be saddened by the
reflection that the superscription, "by AGNES and EGERTON CASTLE," is
there seen for the last time. The double signature, herald of how much
pleasure in the past, is here attached to a cheerfully improbable
but well-told tale of the after-war about a returned soldier who was
mistaken for his dead fellow-prisoner and hailed as son, heir and
_fiancé_ by the different members of the welcoming group in the home
that wasn't his. The descriptions of this home, by the way--a house
whose identification will be easy enough for those who know the
beautiful North-Dorset country--are as good as any part of the book.
If you protest that the resulting situation is not only wildly
improbable but becoming a stock-in-trade of our novelists, I must
admit the first charge, but point out that the authors here secure
originality by making the deception an unintended one. _John Tempest_,
who in the hardships of his escape has lost memory of his own
identity, never ceases to protest that he is at least not the other
_John_ for whom the members of the _Seneschal_ family persist in
taking him--a twist that makes for piquancy if hardly for added
probability. However, the inevitable solution of the problem provides
a story entertaining enough, though not, I think, one that will
obliterate your memory of others, incomparable, from hands to which we
all owe a debt of long enjoyment.

I read _Inisheeny_ (METHUEN), as I believe I have read every story by
the same hand, at one sitting. Whose was the hand I will ask you to
guess. Characters: one Church of Ireland parson, drily humorous, as
narrator; one lively heroine with archæological father, hunting for
relics; one schoolboy; one young and over-zealous R.I.C. officer on
the look-out for concealed arms; poachers, innkeepers, peasants, etc.
Action, mostly amphibious, passes between the mainland of Western
Ireland and a small islet off the coast. Will the gentleman who said
"GEORGE A. BIRMINGHAM" kindly consider himself entitled to ten nuts?
I suppose it was the mention of an islet that finally gave away my
simple secret. Mr. "BIRMINGHAM" is one of the too few authors who
understand what emotion an island of the proper size and right
distance from the coast can raise in the human breast. _Inisheeny_
delightfully fulfilled every condition in this respect; not to mention
sheltering an illicit still and being the home of Keltic treasure.
Precisely in fact the right kind of place, and the sort of story that
hardly anyone can put down unfinished. I am bound to add that, perhaps
a hundred pages from the actual end, the humour of the affair seems to
lose spontaneity and become forced. But till the real climax of the
tale, the triumphant return of the various hunters from _Inisheeny_, I
can promise that you will find never a dull page.

       *       *       *       *       *

There were moments in _The Headland_ (HEINEMANN) when, with _Roma
Lennox_, the "companion" and heroine, I "shivered, feeling that
London, compared with the old house on the Headland and the family
inhabiting it, was a clean place with a clear atmosphere and inhabited
by robust, sane, straightforward persons. You felt homesick." Cornwall
is notoriously inhabited by queer people, and the _Pendragon_ family
was not merely queer but hereditarily rotten and decadent: the old
father, who burns a valuable old book of his own to appease his
violent temper; the granddaughter a kleptomaniac; the son of forty
addicted to hideous cruelties. Unpleasant but well drawn, all of them.
Mrs. C. A. DAWSON SCOTT has powerfully suggested the atmosphere of
the strange and tragic household, mourning its dead mistress; and she
understands the peculiar quality of the Cornish people and the Cornish
seas. I have not read her other novels, but, if she will promise to
wrestle with one or two rather irritating mannerisms, I will promise
to look out for her next one. I have no prejudice against the Wellsian
triplet of dots, but really Mrs. Scott does overdo it. And a good deal
of her quite penetrating psycho-thingummy was spoiled for me by her
trick of conveying nearly every impression and reflection of her
characters through an impersonal "you" or "one." This means an economy
of words and for a short time a certain vividness, but it soon becomes
tedious. One knows what a tangle you get into if one starts using
"one's" and "you's" in your letters; and you find that the author
has been caught once or twice. However, the story is good enough to
survive that.

       *       *       *       *       *

The title of _The Lady of The Lawn_ (JENKINS) has "the ornament of
alliteration," but beyond that there doesn't seem to be any particular
reason why Mr. W. RILEY should have chosen it. Certainly in his story
there is an old lady who spends more of the winter on a lawn than any
old lady of my acquaintance could be induced to, even with rugs and a
summer-house to make up for the comforts of the fireside; but _Miss
Barbara_ and her site really have not so much to do with the tale as
its title seems to imply. The love affairs of a young officer who,
while blind from wounds, fell in love with his nurse to the extent of
becoming engaged to her and didn't recognise her when they met again,
are Mr. RILEY'S real concern. _Eric_, who is quite as priggish as
his name suggests, falls in love with his sweetheart, as a lady of
leisure, all over again, and goes through agonies of remorse on
account of his own faithlessness to her as a nurse. _Marion_ or
_Constance_, for she uses two names to help the confusion, lets him
suffer a while for the good of his soul, but the happy ending, the
promise of which is breathed from every line of the book, is duly
brought about. His publisher asserts that "there is no living author
who writes about Yorkshire as does Mr. RILEY." I daresay he is quite
right, but at least as far as the present book is concerned I don't
think that I should have bothered to mention it.

       *       *       *       *       *

Those--and I suspect they are many--whose first real enthusiasm for
ABRAHAM LINCOLN was kindled by Mr. JOHN DRINKWATER'S romantic morality
play can profitably take up Mr. IRVING BACHELLER'S _A Man for the
Ages_ (CONSTABLE) for an engaging account of the early days of the
great Democrat. They will forgive a certain flamboyance about the
author's preliminaries. Hero-worship, if the hero be worthy, is a very
pardonable weakness, and they should certainly admire the skill and
humour with which he has patched together, or invented where seemly,
the story of lanky ABE, with his axeman's skill, his immense physical
strength, his poor head for shopkeeping, his passion for books, his
lean purse and "shrinking pants," his wit, courage and resource. A
romance of reasonable interest and plausibility is woven round young
Lincoln's story. Perhaps Mr. BACHELLER makes his hero speak a little
too sententiously at times, and certainly some of his other folk say
queer things, such as, "What so vile as a cheap aristocracy, growing
up in idleness, too noble to be restrained, with every brutal passion
broad-blown as flush as May?" What indeed! The picture of pioneering
America in the thirties is a fresh and interesting one.

       *       *       *       *       *

To few of those who visit Switzerland, with its incomparable
mountains, can it have occurred that, once a man is kept there against
his will, it can be a prison as damnable as any other; possibly even
more damnable by reason of those same inevitable mountains. British
prisoners of war interned there knew that. Mr. R. O. PROWSE, in _A
Gift of the Dusk_ (COLLINS), speaks with subtle penetration for those
other prisoners, interned victims of the dreadful malady. Of necessity
he writes sadly; but yet he writes as a very genial philosopher,
permitting himself candidly "just that little cynicism which helps
to keep one tolerant." He is of the old and entertaining school of
sentimental travellers, but he is far from being old-fashioned. The
story running through his observations and modern instances is so
frail and delicate a thing that I hesitate to touch it and to risk
disturbing its bloom. All readers, save the very young and the very
old, will do well to travel with him, from Charing Cross ("I have a
childlike fondness for trains. I like to be in them, I like to see
them go by") to the peaceful, almost happy end, at the mountain refuge
by the valley of the Rhone. They will not regret an inch of the way;
and they will derive some very positive enjoyment from the picture of
that most melancholy hotel where the story is set.

       *       *       *       *       *


_Mounted Gentleman_ (_who has come to grief in a morass_). "IF I

       *       *       *       *       *

A New Safety Model.

    "Lady's strong cycle, 23-in. frame, 28 wheels."--_Cycling._

       *       *       *       *       *

From an account of the M.C.C. team's match at Colombo:

    "When the unlucky thirteen was reached, Hobbs, who was sleeping
    finely, fell to a great catch at mid-on by Gunasekera."--_Ceylon

Happily HOBBS appears to have waked up when he got to Australia.

       *       *       *       *       *

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