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Title: Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 150, February 2, 1916
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, Volume 150, February 2, 1916" ***

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VOL. 150

February 2, 1916.


According to the Correspondent of _The Daily Mail_ who described the
festivities at Nish, the King of BULGARIA "has a curious duck-like
waddle." This is believed to be the result of his effort to do the
Goose-Step while avoiding the Turkey-Trot.


Owing to the extraction of benzol and toluol from gas for the purpose of
making high-explosives it is stated that consumers may have to put up
with some decrease in illuminating power. It is expected, in view of the
good object involved, that the announcement will be received in a spirit
of toluoleration.


We cannot agree with the actor who complains that his manager forbids
him to wear his armlet on the stage. The sympathies of the audience
might be entirely deranged by the discovery that the elderly villain was
an attested patriot while the young and beautiful hero was either
ineligible or a slacker.


Describing the depressed condition of the laundry trade a witness at the
Clerkenwell County Court said, "We are eight million double collars
short every week." It is shrewdly conjectured that they are in the
neighbourhood of the Front.


Nothing in the course of his Balkan pilgrimage is reported to have
pleased the KAISER so much as a steamer-trip on the Danube. It was
looking so sympathetically blue.


The Government is going to close Museums and Picture-galleries to the
public. No one shall accuse us of being Apostles of Culture.


It is said that the Australian and New Zealand soldiers now in London
are very fond of visiting the British Museum, and take a particular
interest in the Egyptian antiquities. But it is not true that they now
refer to England as "The Mummy Country."


Austrians and Hungarians are said to be quarrelling as to whether the
occupied Serbian territory should eventually belong to the Monarchy or
the Kingdom, and the jurists on either side are ransacking the history
of the past for arguments to support their respective cases. Here we
have another instance of the fondness of learned men for disputing about
purely academic questions. Serbia will belong to the Serbians.


An American gentleman, who started out to visit his wife when she was
staying with her mother and failed to find her after three days' search,
excuses himself on the ground that he had forgotten her maiden name. He
puts it down to absence of mind; and his mother-in-law is inclined to
agree with him.


Soap is the latest article to be placed on the list of absolute
contraband; and it is now more certain than ever that the Germans will
not come out of the War with clean hands.


In view of the impending paper-famine a widely-circulated journal
announces its readiness to receive back from the public any parcels of
old copies marked "waste paper." In the opinion of its trade-rivals the
inscription is superfluous.


A suggestion has been made by a Registrar in Bankruptcy that the
Tercentenary of SHAKSPEARE'S death should be celebrated by the
performance in every large town of one of the Bard's plays; and some
regret has been expressed that anybody should take advantage of a
national celebration to boom his own business.


"'How many of us realise that, were it not for America, the War to-day
in Europe, as fought, could not even exist?'" is the question put,
according to a New York correspondent, "by Mr. Gutzon Borglum, the great
American sculptor." Still the War has its compensations. But for its
existence we might never have heard of Mr. GUTZON BORGLUM, the great
American sculptor.


A correspondent, describing the recent food riots in Berlin, says that
they were chiefly due to "women who were fed up with the difficulty of
providing meals for their families."


The following notice was found affixed to a building somewhere near the
Front: "SIR OFFICERS,--Ask the bathroom's key to the office. The
bathroom shall be wash by the servant after bath. Sir Officer without
servant shall not have the key." It sounds rather abrupt.


Owing to the Government demand that nothing in the way of unnecessary
expenditure should be allowed, it is expected that all paid lecturers on
War Economy and National Thrift will be given a week's notice.


Opposing a suggestion of the Wandsworth Borough Council to discontinue
the issue of fiction from the free libraries, a member of the Women's
Freedom League said that a novel was to a woman what a pipe was to a
man. Well, not quite, perhaps. We never saw a man begin a pipe at the
wrong end.

       *       *       *       *       *



       *       *       *       *       *

From an article by Mr. AUSTIN HARRISON in _The Sunday Pictorial_:--

    "A few strange gentlemen attitudinise in Westminster on
    principle, but these men would cut capers of principle in any
    case, like Mr. Snodgrass when he went skating."

Or _Mr. Winkle_ when he wrote verses.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "In the Continental boat-trains the warning, '_Licht
    linauslehnen_,' has not been removed from the windows....
    Occasionally you see that '_Nicht linauslehnen_' has been
    indignantly pasted over."--_Provincial Paper._

The latter is certainly a little more German than the other.

       *       *       *       *       *

After a description of the new lighting order:--

    "The regulations will impose a great deal of work on the police,
    and it is the duty of the public to make it as light as
    possible."--_Hampshire Observer._

_Lux_, in fact, _a non lucendo_.

       *       *       *       *       *


    "Nothing but margarine has entered my door since the War
    began."--_Dr. C. W. SALEEBY in "Daily Chronicle."_

       *       *       *       *       *



MY DEAR CHARLES,--We're having a great time with our new arrival, one of
those confounded civilians, who are only let into the business because
the business, in these modern and highly complicated days, cannot be
carried on without them. He's a jolly old Lieutenant of about fifty
years; he has a concentrated experience of the world but doesn't
remember having been mixed up in a big European war before. At first I
kept on telling him that business is one thing and war is another, but
he wouldn't see it and persisted in doing and saying and thinking things
which were bound to land us in a national disaster. He had no respect
whatever for the Pass Memo., his central and sole idea being to push
along with the elimination of the Bosch. When he wanted something done,
he just went to the Top-man of the department, called him "I say," and
went straight to the point. The Top-man had never been asked to do
business this way before.

He put up with it a dozen times or so, but finally he had to take steps.
So he wrote a little note on a Buff slip and addressed it, very rightly
of course, to the Top-man but one; and the Top-man but one read it and
passed it very carefully to the Top-man but two; and so, with that
inevitability which is the hall-mark of the system, it was passed and
passed and passed until it came (in less than a week) to the office of
the ancient Lieutenant on the opposite side of the street. And it ran:
"Lieutenant So-and-So should be notified that it is neither necessary
nor desirable that he should call personally at this office to transact
his business. Matters should be put forward by him through the usual
course of correspondence." The ancient Lieutenant, who wouldn't hurt
anybody's feelings for the world, felt that it was up to him to put the
matter right. So he stepped across to the Top-man's office, and when the
Top-man asked him, somewhat pointedly, if he had received his note, the
Ancient very genially replied, "Yes, thank you," and explained that he
had just looked in personally to acknowledge receipt of same.

It sounds as if a dreadful quarrel would be raging between the Ancient
on one side and on the other the Top-man, the whole series of
under-Top-men and all persons in any way representing the military
system. You'd expect to hear that the Ancient's conversation at mess is
insubordinate, rebellious, or at least bitterly sarcastic. No such
thing; the old gentleman becomes a more ardent militarist every day;
wants to see once for all an end of all lawyer-politicians, and all
so-called "business-men." "We have made a poor show of being civilians,"
is his point; "let's try being soldiers for a generation or two."

On the whole he thinks we should find it easier to carry on as a British
Empire in uniform than as a German province in mufti. He says that
what's wrong with Prussian Militarism is that it is Prussian; to
succeed, the thing has to be run by gentlemen.

A Top-man honoured our mess the other night. Under the mellowing
influence of our Curried Bully he unbent somewhat and encouraged the
Ancient on his pet subject. Under the influence of the latter's theories
he unbent still further. He discoursed upon the true inwardness of the
military method of running an office, pausing at last for the Ancient to
say a few words. "Oh," said he, "I don't allow myself to be put off by a
trifle like that. There's many a kind heart behind a Buff slip, and we
all have our little weaknesses." The idea of having a little weakness
was so novel to the Top-man that it caused him to choke and to be led
from the mess, eventually, in a state of nervous exhaustion.

The latest information from the trenches goes to support the maxim that
all one requires to wage war is a bold face and a gas helmet. A very
distinguished O.C. went up the other day to inspect the trenches of his
command and to express such views of their faults and the faults of
their inmates as might occur to him from time to time. He had progressed
some way up the communication trench, when it struck him that, whereas
his recent order had been particularly menacing to everyone of whatever
rank who was discovered there or thereabouts without a gas helmet,
nevertheless he himself was at that moment innocent of such furniture.
Fortunately there came from the opposite direction an odds-and-end
private, with nothing in his favour except the wearing of the well-known
satchel so much in vogue in Flanders society for the carrying of gas
helmets. That was enough for the Commander; this was essentially one of
those privates to be called "My man," and treated as such. Politely but
firmly he was requested to part with his satchel as a temporary loan to
his General. Firmly, if respectfully, he refused to comply. Them was his
orders. The Commander congratulated him on his very proper attitude,
explained to him the nature of the higher commands and demanded the
satchel. The man looked like being stony about it, but the Commander
became irresistibly commanding and got the satchel at last. He buckled
it on, and the party proceeded, characterising the reluctance of the
private to part with his treasure as almost an exaggerated sense of
obedience to printed orders.

Gas helmets always exercise a peculiar fascination for people who
inspect trenches, and the matter was now especially prominent in the
mind of the Commander as he marched along, outwardly appearing to be at
his happiest here, inwardly thanking goodness that his home was
elsewhere. Conceive his delight to discover a subaltern, fresh from
ablutions, with no satchel upon him! The subaltern, distinctly aware of
this amongst his many failings, was all for being passed by as
insignificant; the Commander was all for a scene. Everybody halted, and
the air became pregnant with possibilities.... It was a nicely
calculated speech, leading up gradually to the pointed contrast between
(_a_) overworked Commander, weighed down with responsibilities, absorbed
day and night in momentous matters of large principle, nevertheless
infallible on smallest detail and now in possession of gas helmet, one,
and (_b_) very junior subaltern, free to enjoy the open-air
irresponsible life of the trenches, yet neglecting even the few small
matters entrusted to him, without same.

"And what's more, Sir," he concluded, "I doubt very much whether, if
someone gave you a helmet now, you'd know what to do with it. Here, take
mine." (The attendant Brass-hats liked the "mine," but very discreetly
kept their emotions to themselves.)

It was not a peculiarly clean or remarkably well-packed satchel which
the trembling hand of the disgraced subaltern took from the Commander,
and the latter did not intend to let attention dwell too long upon the
grimy details of its exterior. Fixing the steel eye of conscious
rectitude on his victim, he leant slightly towards him and very
unmistakably shouted at him the one dread word, "GAS!".... Unfortunately
for the Commander the subaltern not only knew what to do next, but also
had just the physical strength remaining in his fingers to start doing
it. With the eyes of all upon him (and by this time there had gathered
round quite a nice little crowd, thoroughly conversant with the event in
progress), the subaltern opened the satchel alleged to belong to the
Commander and took from it--no, Charles, not a gas helmet, but a pair of
socks--and _such_ socks too!

Yours ever, HENRY.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: SINKING.]

       *       *       *       *       *



When I entered the third smoker there was, as there now always is, a
soldier in one corner.

Just as we were starting, another soldier got in and sat in the opposite
corner. The freemasonry of Khaki immediately setting to work, within two
minutes they knew all about each other's camp, destination and regiment,
and had exchanged cigarettes.

The first soldier had not yet left England and was stolid; the newcomer
had been in the trenches, had been wounded in the leg, had recovered,
was shortly going back, and was animated. His leg was all right, except
that in wet weather it ached. In fact he could even tell by it when we
were going to have rain. His "blooming barometer" he called it. Here he
laughed--a hearty laugh, for he was a genial blade and liked to hear
himself talk.

The first soldier did not laugh, but was interested. He thought it a
convenient thing to have a leg that foretold the weather.

"Which one is it?" he asked.

"The left."

The first soldier was disproportionately impressed.

"The left, is it?" he said heavily, as though he would have understood
the phenomenon in the right easily enough. "The left."

Completely unconscious of the danger-signals, the second soldier now
began to unload his repertory of stories, and he started off with that
excellent one, very popular in the early days of the War, about the
wealthy private.

For the sake of verisimilitude he laid the scene in his own barracks. "A
funny thing happened at our place the other day," he began. He had
evidently had great success with this story. His expression indicated
approaching triumph.

But no anticipatory gleam lit the face of his new friend. It was in fact
one of those faces into which words sink as into a sandbank--a white,
puffy, long face, with a moustache of obsolete bushiness.

"I thought I should have died of laughing," the other resumed, utterly
unsuspicious, wholly undeterred.

In the far corner I kept my eye on my book but my ears open. I could see
that he was rushing to his doom.

"We were being paid," he went on, "and the quartermaster asked one of
the men if he did not wish sixpence to be deducted to go to his wife.
The man said, 'No.' 'Why not?' the quartermaster asked. The man said he
didn't think his wife would need it or miss it. 'You'd better be
generous about it,' the quartermaster said; 'every little helps, you

He paused. "What do you think the man said to that?" he asked his new
friend. "He said," he hurried on, "'I don't think I'll send it. You see,
I allow her four thousand a year as it is.'"

The _raconteur_ laughed loudly and leaned back with the satisfaction--or
at least some of it--of one who has told a funny story and told it well.

But the other did not laugh at all. His face remained the dull thing it

"You see," said the story-teller, explaining the point, "there are all
sorts in the Army now, and this man was a toff. He was so rich that he
could afford to allow his wife four thousand pounds a year. Four
thousand pounds! Do you see?"

"Oh, yes, I see that. He must have been very rich. Why was he just a

"I don't know."

"Funny being a private with all that money. I wonder you didn't ask

"I didn't, anyway. But you see the point now. No end of a joke for the
quartermaster to try and get a man who allowed his wife four thousand a
year to deduct sixpence a week to send to her! I thought I should have
died of laughing."

The first soldier remained impassive. "And what happened?" he asked at

"What happened?"

"Yes, what was done about it? The sixpence, I mean. Did he agree to send

The second soldier pulled himself together. "Oh, I don't know," he said
shortly. "That's not the point."

"After all," the other continued, "the regulations say that married men
have to deduct sixpence for their wives, don't they?"

"Yes, of course," the other replied. "But this man, I tell you, already
gave her four thousand a year."

"That doesn't really touch it," said the first soldier. "The principle's
the same. Now----"

But I could stand the humiliation of the other honest fellow, so
brimming with anecdote and cheerfulness, no longer; and I came to his
rescue with my cigarette case. For I have had misfires myself too often.

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *

    "Mrs. Ruth Roberts, of Folkestone, celebrates the completion of
    her 103rd year to-day. She is one of a family of twenty-two, and
    her father fought with two of her sons at Waterloo."--_Irish

She seems to have been very young for a mother when these family
dissensions occurred.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Will you allow me to give a warning to Ford owners who, like
    myself, jack up to obtain an easy start. A few days ago I was
    doing so as usual with only one scotch. The car jumped the jack,
    went over the scotch, knocked me down, ran over me, tore my
    clothes to rags, bruised me all over, tore my flesh and broke my
    collar-bone, and I think I got off very lightly. Of course that
    will not happen to me again."--_The Motor._

He will either drink the Scotch first or not have one at all.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Customer._ "I SAY, THIS CHICKEN'S A BIT TOUGH. WHERE DID



       *       *       *       *       *


Chief among the fauna of the Front is, of course, the Bosch, a
subterranean animal of unpleasant habits, which is now classed as
vermin. He has been so thoroughly dealt with elsewhere that I shall
leave him on one side, and confine my few observations to smaller and
pleasanter creatures. The remaining fauna of the Front are (1) mice; (2)
rats; with a few interesting extras, furred and feathered, which deserve
more serious treatment than I can give them.

At home the mouse is regarded with contemptuous annoyance as a petty but
persevering thief; while the rat commits his grosser depredations in an
atmosphere tinged with horror. Out here it is different, for we are
perforce neighbours. Indeed, we bipeds are in a sense trespassers upon
the domain of the subterranean peoples. At home one seldom sees a rat or
mouse save from above, and to look down upon anything is invariably to
misjudge it. But here we share the hospitality of the underground and
meet its freehold tenants on a level.

From the earth walls of the sanctuary where this small tribute is
written mice look down upon our table with its newspaper cover,
diffidently waiting for us to finish our meal and permit them to dine.
We regard them as shy visitors--though are we not billeted on them?--not
as sneaking thieves, and by the light of our candles perceive how sleek,
bright-eyed, neat-handed and agile they are. In one dug-out I know a
certain mouse who will drop on your shoulder and sit there a while in
the friendliest manner, trying in his tiny modest way to play the host.
Up above, in the open air, they are to be seen in swarms sharing our
watchfulness. This gun-shaken valley is honeycombed with their little
round funk-holes, into which they flash at any sudden noise. It is
merely going downstairs where we are all at home.

The social instincts of the rat are less highly developed. His visible
visits to the mess are rarer, but we overhear his conversation in his
tunnels that open on our shelves, the patter of his pink feet across the
canvas overhead, and the muscular squirming of his body in some tight
place about the sandbag wainscot. Like a friendly dog he trots about
your dug-out by night, bumping with trustful carelessness against the
fragile legs of your rustic bed. You hear him crooning to himself or a
pal, in his content--a placid, complacent little sound very different
from the grating squeak or squeal of the unhappy Ishmaels you used to
know. Certainly he will help himself to a little cake, if such a thing
is to be had, for he feels at home, as he doubtless wishes you to do. If
you do not care to share your dainties, you can hang them from the roof.

In the trenches themselves the rat is almost a domestic animal. Town
rats are lean, persecuted and vicious; nobody loves them. But those who
hobnob with us here are fed, like our Army, on Army rations, together
with more than their share of private luxuries, and consequently are
stout and contented-looking, and display none of the ill-bred and
disconcerting haste of the hereditary fugitive of our drains and
cellars. If you happen to stand still and silent for a few moments, you
will hear some cheery old rascal come sniffing and grunting along the
parapet, not so much in search of food as to enjoy the air--or so his
manner would indicate.

Between the Army and these other dwellers in earths and burrows there
must henceforth be a bond of true sympathy.

       *       *       *       *       *

_La Grèce Antique_: Hellas. _La Grèce Moderne: Hélas!_

       *       *       *       *       *

To be added to our collection "Glimpses of the Obvious":--

    "We feel more than ever that the Past is all behind us and the
    Future all in front."--_Reading Standard._

       *       *       *       *       *

From a trade circular:--

    "We are installing 15 of our largest size Patent Fool-proof
    Steam Kettles at Woolwich Arsenal."

Zeppelin crews please note.

       *       *       *       *       *


  Once more sits Mahomet by Helles' marges
    And smokes at ease among his cypress-trees,
  Nor snipes from scrubberies at British targes
    Nor views them wallowing in sacred seas,
  But cleans his side-arms and is pleased to prattle
    Of that great morning when he woke and heard
  That in his slumbers he had fought a battle,
    A bloody battle, and a little bird
  Piped (in the German) at his side, and said,
  "The something infidels have been and fled."

  Cautious he crept from out his mountain-ditches,
    Down the long gully, past the Water Towers;
  By Backhouse Point he nosed among the niches,
    But they were hushed, and innocent of Giaours;
  Still fearful found the earthy homes we haunted,
    Those thirsty stretches where the rest-camps were,
  Then to the sea slunk on, a trifle daunted
    By wreathéd wires and every sort of snare,
  And came at last, incredulous, to find
  The very beach all blasphemously mined.

  Now on each hand he eyes our impious labels,
    BOND STREET and REGENT STREET, those weary ways;
  Here stands the PINK FARM, with the broken gables,
    Here OXFORD CIRCUS marks a winding maze;
  But most, I ween, in scarred grave-ridden regions
    O'er many a battle-scene he loves to brood,
  How Allah here was gracious to his legions,
    How here, again, he was not quite so good,
  Here by the BROWN HOUSE, when the bombs began,
  And they--don't mention it--they turned and ran.

  And we no more shall see the great ships gather,
    Nor hear their thundering on days of state,
  Nor toil from trenches in an honest lather
    To magic swimmings in the perfect Strait;
  Nor sip Greek wine and see the slow sun dropping
    On gorgeous evenings over Imbros' Isle,
  While up the hill that maxim will keep popping,
    And the men sing, and camp-fires wink awhile,
  And in the scrub the glow-worms glow like stars,
  But (hopeless creatures) will not light cigars;

  Nor daylong linger in our delvéd lodges,
    And fight for food with fifty thousand flies,
  Too sick and sore to be afraid of "proj's,"
   Too dazed with dust to see the turquoise skies;
  Nor walk at even by the busy beaches,
    Or quiet cliff-paths where the Indians pray,
  And see the sweepers in the sky-blue reaches
    Of Troy's own water, where the Greek ships lay,
  And touch the boat-hulks, where they float forlorn,
  The wounded boats of that first April morn;

  Nor wake unhappily to see the sun come
    And stand to arms in some Cimmerian grot--
  But I, in town, well rid of all that bunkum,
    I like to think that Mahomet is not;
  He must sit on, now sweltering, now frozen,
    By many a draughty cliff and mountain holt,
  And, when rude fears afflict the Prophet's chosen,
    Gird on his arms and madly work his bolt,
  While round the heights the awful whispers run,
  "_The bard of PUNCH is landing with his gun._"

       *       *       *       *       *


    "THROUGH STRESS OF WAR Baronet's Niece will ORDER a Gentleman's
    HOUSEHOLD."--_The Times._

       *       *       *       *       *



(_From the Frau Professor TINTENKLECKS._)

ALL-MIGHTIEST KAISER,--With the humblest assurance of my everlasting
respect I desire to lay bare to you, since you are without doubt the
Father of your People, my inmost thoughts as to this terrible War in
which we have now for eighteen months been engaged. I have some right, I
think, for my husband is that same Professor Tintenklecks whose
_opusculum_ on "International Law in Relation to World Power" was
received with special favour by your Majesty, who summoned the beloved
writer to your Palace, and with your own gracious right hand were
pleased to beat him with some force on his back, saying that "this
Tintenklecks is a tremendous fellow, and there should be more such in the
world." How well I remember that evening--it was a year before the War--and
how in honour of the Professor we had a Poetry supper, at which each guest
recited some verses of praise, and at the end little Amalie Siegeltisch,
the daughter of our colleague, placed on the brows of the Professor
a laurel-wreath which, however, pricked his with-much-hair-unadorned
head, and had therefore, after a great deal of pleasant witticisms,
to be taken off.

So when the War at last broke out my husband and I were amongst the
loudest Hosannah-shouters and singers of true German patriotic songs,
for we believed then that the War would be a short one, and that after a
few great victories we should make a brilliant peace on our own terms,
having utterly smashed all our enemies and having taken England's
war-ships and her colonies for our own. "Long he cannot last," said my
Professor, speaking of the War. "The French are a degenerate race, and
we shall be in Paris in a month. The English are given up to games, and
their mercenary army--I have it on the highest authority--cannot for a
moment stand against our German heroes. The Russians are slow and
disorganised and useless for war. For me you need not be afraid, my
dear. In this war a man of my age will not be required." So he spoke;
and now where is he and what has become of him? He has lost a leg, his
right hand has been shot through, and he is in a hospital in Poland.
Shall I ever see him again, I wonder.

Well, we have had victories in plenty, according to the Generals. Every
time we move from one place to another we gain, it seems, an
overwhelming triumph and cause to fly every one who is opposed to us.
Twice already your Majesty has announced that before the leaves fell
from the trees there would be peace, and our brave soldiers would return
safely to their homes; but, alas, it has not so happened, and the
dreadful fighting still goes on, and many thousands of our women lose
their fathers, their husbands, and their sons. With every victory (as
they call it) peace, which should be nearer at hand, seems to retire
further and further away, and only sorrow and wretchedness come close to
us. And that is not all. Our food, like everything else we have to buy,
is so dear that we women find it above all things difficult to provide
ourselves with what we need for our daily life, and the worst of it,
they say, has not yet come. I could understand that if we had been
defeated; but we have been ever victorious and yet we are in want. It is
useless for Pastor Hassmann to tell us on Sundays that we must endure to
the end. We are prepared to do what we can, but we think, too, that
since we have been so magnificently victorious we should have peace
quickly, so that we may all once more try to have some happiness in this

  I remain, in the deepest devotion,


       *       *       *       *       *





[Illustration: "HULLO, DADDY! I'SE COME TO SEE 'OO."]




       *       *       *       *       *



       *       *       *       *       *



We called her Lucy because she came from the country and "dwelt on a
wide moor." We never knew her real name.

She came like a ray of sunlight into our dull sordid town once a week
with immaculate white apron, wearing a cap of an older, honester world,
carrying a basket of delicious country butter made up in appetising
rolls. On the clean napkin which covered the top of the basket always
reposed a huge door-key, "to keep," she said, "the butter from turning."
And the white hair of her and those wonderful blue eyes which looked you
through and through! No wonder my wife was in love with her and refused
from that time to eat the dull town-grocer's wares.

My wife often muses as to the real cause of the general superiority of
dwellers in the country over the apologies for humanity who live in
towns. She says it is moral fibre. She comes from the country herself
and is quite unbiassed. For me I think it must be living so much amongst
sheep and lambs and woolly things.

I shouldn't have said myself that our town butter was without fibre, but
this is a matter of taste.

My wife would often close her eyes when eating Lucy and conjure up
pictures of her own simple girlhood days, of the country rectory, of the
rooks singing matins and vespers in the trees. Country people often get
like this over an egg at breakfast. I didn't eat Lucy myself, as my
taste is ruined by my vicious town breeding; besides, Lucy was a luxury
in war-time, and Dossett's Genuine Creamery has for me a meatier savour.

Cecilia always gave Lucy more than the market value for her butter and a
cup of tea besides, while they chatted occasionally over things dear to
rural hearts, accidents by flood and field, turnips and parochial
vestries. My wife used to marvel at the superior firmness of Lucy's
butter, which was ever the same, Lucy's explanation being that she had a
wonderfully cool hand.

Our local inspector, a man of the latest and most scientific knowledge,
confirmed this statement. In introducing Lucy to our resident magistrate
he said she was the coolest hand he had ever known. It was a bad case.
It had ten per cent. too much of this, and fifteen per cent. too much of
that, and the rest was the cheapest margarine and stirring. There wasn't
a cow within five miles of her place and he didn't believe she had ever
seen one.

We haven't met Lucy since. My wife says that WORDSWORTH was often taken
in, just like that. And she has heard, anyhow, that Lucy was born in
Bradford. So that it proves nothing.

       *       *       *       *       *

Hymn for Volunteer Corps digging trenches for the defence of London:--

    "O Parados! O Parados! 'tis weary working here!"

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The baby should go out every day, except when it is
    storming."--_New York Sunday Herald._

In that case try a wind-pill.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "To-day's Russian communiqué says:--

    In Persia, on the road to Kermanshah, we have occupied the town
    of Kangavar.

    Note.--Kangavar is a town of 15-3/4-3/4 inhabitants in the
    Province of Ardilan."--_Aberdeen Evening Express._

This is carrying accuracy to an extreme, even for Scotland.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE CHALLENGE.


["What I would say to Neutrals is this: Do they admit our right to apply
the principles which were applied by the American Government in the War
between North and South--to apply those principles to modern conditions
and to do our best to prevent trade with the enemy through neutral
countries? If the answer is that we are not entitled to do that, then I
must say definitely that it is a departure from neutrality."--_Sir

       *       *       *       *       *



_House of Commons, Monday, January 24th._--At Question time House
crowded in response to urgent Whip issued in anticipation of division on
Third Reading of Military Service Bill. Members ready to vote;
disinclined to remain to hear speeches, delivered on Second Reading and
Committee stages, reiterated by small minority on Report. Thus it came
to pass that when on stroke of half-past nine this milestone passed,
Benches were almost empty.

Filled up when Third Reading moved, and debate lamely set on foot again.
WALTER LONG, who has greatly helped BONAR LAW in his successful
management of Bill, set good example by moving Third Reading without
additional word of comment or argument. Example thrown away. More last
words spoken under embarrassing accompaniment of private conversation
and other signs of impatience.

Shortly after eleven o'clock division taken, revealing existence of
solid minority of three dozen. Oddly enough, whilst rattling majority on
Second Reading was hailed with enthusiastic cheering, that on Third
Reading was heard in silence, Members hurrying off in search of taxis.

_Business done._--By majority of 347, in House of 419 Members, Military
Service Bill read a third time and passed on to Lords.

_House of Lords, Tuesday._--Military Service Bill turned up for Second
Reading. Full attendance and a gathering of Commoners in their pen above
Bar seemed to indicate important debate. Turned out to be only less dull
than that which slumbered round closing stage in the Commons. LANSDOWNE
pluckily endeavoured to give note of novelty to topic by saying "not
what the Bill was but what it was not." Even this ingenious device did
not succeed in investing proceedings with anything approaching

The WEARY WEARDALE, who through long public life has tried in succession
both branches of the Legislature and found them equally withered, was
doubtful whether the measure would appreciably affect its avowed purpose
of increasing number of men with the Colours. With instinct of good
Liberal--in his time PHILIP STANHOPE was known in the Commons as an
almost dangerous Radical--he turned and rent "certain leaders who have
surrendered a precious principle and in so doing are undermining the
authority and existence of the whole Liberal Party." Still, though
prospect was gloomy, he would not despair.

"The Liberal Party," he said, "will rise again" (HALSBURY shook his head
doubtfully) "and will shed the leaders who have deserted it."

Having thus delivered his soul WEARY ONE did not challenge a division.

_Business done._--Military Service Bill read second time without

_House of Commons, Wednesday._--Once more, the last time in history of
session of unparalleled length and importance, House crowded. Peers'
Gallery full. From Diplomatic Gallery the United States, Norway, Sweden,
Denmark and Holland, represented by their Ministers, looked on, eagerly

Resolution, moved by SHIRLEY BENN, urged Government to enforce against
enemy a blockade as effective as possible. In one of his comprehensive,
quietly delivered and powerful speeches EDWARD GREY showed that
situation is not so easily managed as amateur diplomatists below the
Gangway believe, or as fractious newspapers, bent on damaging the
Government even if the Empire falls, assert. Explained in detail steps
taken by Foreign Office to deal with it. House listened critically but
approvingly. Took note of fact that FIRST LORD OF ADMIRALTY emphatically
cheered denial of one of the malicious rumours current--that in the task
of preventing supplies reaching the enemy the Foreign Office spoils the
work of the Navy.

Sharp, almost angry burst of cheering greeted passage towards close of
speech in which FOREIGN SECRETARY declared that maximum effort in this
country, whether military, naval or financial, is at the disposal of our
Allies in carrying on the War against Prussian militarism.

"With them," he confidently but still quietly said, "we will see it
through to the end."

Speeches following expressed general satisfaction with this statement,
supplemented by one addressed to neutrals. Courteously assured them of
desire not to make things unnecessarily irksome. But pointed out that in
the matter of preventing supplies reaching the enemy by circuitous
routes Great Britain has her own work to do and means to do it

_Business done._--Resolution advocating effective blockade talked out.

THURSDAY.--Parliament prorogued. Reversing CHARLES LAMB'S conscientious
habit at the India Office, where, having arrived late, he made up for it
by going away early, Parliament, having toiled through exceptionally
long Session, treats itself to briefest possible recess. Reassembles
15th February.

       *       *       *       *       *



       *       *       *       *       *


    "MANAGERESS (35), thorough business woman, accustomed to control
    stag."--_Women's Employment._

       *       *       *       *       *

From an account of the reception of British soldiers in Rome:--

    "As the hour for departure approached the band played
    alternately the 'Marcia Reale' and 'Rule, Britannia,' while our
    men sang 'Tipperary.'"--_The Times._

We fear the proceedings were not so harmonious as we had been led to

       *       *       *       *       *

    "GENTLEMAN'S SHOOTING ESTATE for Sale, 240 acres, or would Let
    on Lease; near London Bridge."--_Advt. in "The Standard."_

Shooting the arches is splendid sport.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "2.45 A.M.--When Grossmith lit a cigarette someone said, 'This
    is all right. We bring a civilian here, and he lights up within
    hailing distance of the Germans.'

    2.46 P.M.--Grossmith put out his cigarette."--_Daily Mirror._

Now that tobacco is going up again it would be a boon to smokers if Mr.
GROSSMITH would tell us how he keeps a cigarette going for twelve hours.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The fire which broke out at Bergen on Saturday was mastered by
    three o'clock on Sunday morning. About 400 buildings, mostly
    very valuable property, were destroyed. The value of the houses
    which were burnt down is about £1,111,111, and the total damage
    is estimated at £5,555,555."--_Edinburgh Evening News._

The exactitude of these figures would convince even an insurance

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _First Lady._ "THAT'S ONE OF THEM AUSTRALIAN SOLDIERS."

_Second Lady._ "HOW DO YOU KNOW?"


       *       *       *       *       *


Most of the petitions from natives which find their way into print for
the removal of the white man's gravity hail from our Indian Empire. But
the Babu's monopoly can be assailed. The following recent and genuine
example is from West Africa:--

    _"To Sir ---- ----, Commander of the New Work Shops._

    "Sir, read to the end!

    gratitude to put this pen before you, saying since I came down
    from my native land I had been trie for a house, even by
    rentable, but none for me in that village, where I lieve still.
    But a certain friend of mine do advice me to stay with him,
    during the last December up to now. And yet that young man's
    wife has come from his native land, with these there is no room
    before me at all. Therefore I wish with my lowly voice to beg
    your honour to find me even a half house of your kitchen at any
    place where you like, or either the same place where I am. By
    your own desire. Please Sir if not! try and get me a boards such
    as a glass packing cases and a few planks for poles. But Sir I
    know myself very well, that it will be very difficulty before
    you, simple because you have none of carpenters. Therefore do
    try by your own authority to supply me those boards and planks,
    and I shall find myself a joiner as a day contract to build it
    for me! because my elder brother also shall help. Therefore dear
    Lord I hope you shall give ear for my lowly speak and then have
    mercy on your meekly servant with good reply. I have the most
    honour to be Sir

    "Your humble Clerk."

       *       *       *       *       *


    "WANTED, Bricklayers for pointing 12 houses at Belvedere;
    peacework."--_Provincial Paper._

       *       *       *       *       *


      "M. JACOB & CO.,
      Pastry of sorts."

              _Madras Mail._

       *       *       *       *       *


Sir THOMAS WHITTAKER, M.P., as reported by _The Yorkshire Evening Post_:

    "Objection to compulsion on principle was all nonsense.
    Compulsion was the only safe-guard we had against anarchy,
    barbarism, law, order, justice, and freedom."

       *       *       *       *       *


    "On Friday last a centenarian passed away at Whithall, Galway,
    in the person of Mrs. Catherine Hynes, who had attained the
    remarkable age of 102. The old lady had a remarkably retentive
    memory, recalling with ease incidents which occurred three
    generations ago. Her recollection of Cromwell's campaign was
    particularly clear."--_Connacht Tribune._

    "The other alien peer is the twelfth Viscount Taaffe, of the
    Irish peerage, an Austrian subject, as his predecessors have
    been since their estates were confiscated by Cromwell after the
    Battle of the Boyne."--_Sunday Times._

The late Mrs. HYNES was perhaps the authority for this statement.

       *       *       *       *       *

    GALLIPOLI."--_Express and Echo (Exeter)._

This is rather hard on the enemy, who thought the Allies had taken their
hook long ago.

       *       *       *       *       *


Home again! The base softened its heart on the very morning on which I
had practically decided to attend a parade next day if I were called in
time, and released me with an enormous command to conduct to the War. I
told the senior N.C.O. at the station of entrainment that I would regard
him as personally responsible if he dropped any of the men on the line
or under the engine on the way up, and was just off to look for food
when the R.T.O. told me the train was due out in two minutes. After
making quite sure that he wasn't a Major I reminded him that for that
matter the War had been due to be over last September; also that I had
used some of his trains before and that he couldn't teach me
two-pennyworth about them I hadn't known from childhood. This I said
courteously but firmly, and thereafter felt better and bought eight
boiled eggs, a ham sandwich made so hastily that the ham came to be
altogether omitted, three oranges, and a large mineral-water. The train
was in the station for three-quarters-of-an-hour after I returned. I
passed the time pleasantly by walking up and down in front of the R.T.O.

And now I am here. Glory apart, I could think for a long time without
hitting on anywhere beastlier to be except perhaps just the other side
of a breastwork thirty yards off where the Bosch has been dropping heavy
crumps in threes with monotonous regularity since an indecent hour this
morning. I have been partly asleep, partly waiting for one to drop
thirty yards short. There is no one to talk to except a chaffinch, who
thinks of nothing but his appearance. If I thought of mine I should go
mad. I am wet under and through and over everything--wet, not with rain,
but with mud. You have heard that there is mud in Flanders?

But the worst part really is the number of hours in a day; we have as
many as ten nowadays in which movement is simply not done. Where dawn
finds you, dusk releases you. That is here; I believe we have some real
trenches somewhere behind. But we of the ten hours' stretch run out of
employment early in the morning and remain there the rest of the day. Of
course you can eat--if your rations really came up last night--but not,
I think, continuously for ten hours. A very inferior officer--not I--has
invented a recipe for the ten-hour day which may appeal to some
similarly loose-ended officer. You take an air-pillow and lie with your
gum-booted feet on it till the position becomes intolerable; then you
remove the pillow, sit up and pick the mud off it. When it's clean you
do the same thing again. One tour of this duty will take an hour if you
are conscientious. Its inventor claims that it makes the sun fairly
bustle down the sky.

There are advantages in solitary feeding. Haven't you ever wanted, when
confronted with a lunch tongue, to hack out all the nice tonguey bits
for yourself and leave the bully beef parts to be used for soup or some
other domestic economy? Well, I hack out the tonguey bits every day.
True, I usually have to eat the bully beef parts next meal, but--_à la
guerre comme à la guerre_--I always might have been casualtied between
meals, and then think what a fool I'd feel over my failure to make the
most of the first.

I've come to the conclusion that this Army isn't really fair. Some
regiments I've met always seem to be doing three weeks' rest down
Boulogne or Nice or somewhere like that. Thrice and four times have I
come and come back to this battalion, and every blessed time they've
been either in trenches when I arrived, or situated directly behind the
trenches and going up, it might be, to make some more.

Sometimes we go up to dig, sometimes to carry, sometimes both. On the
night of my re-arrival I went up with the digging party, and have the
honour to report the following conversation between a certain one of our
diggers and a friend who loomed up carrying about four engineer
dug-outs, two coils of barbed wire, and a maul. You could just make out
the man under it all as he stumbled erratically along a mud-ridden

"'Ello, Steve," says the digger, "wot's yer game to-night?"

Steve stopped for a second to look at his interrogator and then observed
genially as he moved on,

"Oh, just killin' time, you know."

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Officer._ "WHY DO YOU THINK HE WOULDN'T MAKE A GOOD

_Sergeant (indicating sentry)._ "_'IM_ A CORPORAL! LOR LUMME! WHY, 'IS

       *       *       *       *       *


The letters that follow are only a small selection from those that have
been inadvertently forwarded to us in response to the appeal of _The
Westminster Gazette_ for suggestions as to the most appropriate method
of celebrating SHAKSPEARE'S tercentenary:--


The name of the new capital of the Australian Commonwealth is not
irrevocably fixed, and it seems to me that a splendid opportunity is now
offered our brethren overseas to commemorate the genius of the foremost
British man of letters by linking his name with the new Antipodean
metropolis. I should not venture to dictate the exact form which it
should take, but "Willshake" seems to me to meet the requirements of the
case very happily, though the claims of "Avonbard" also deserve

                                            PHILLIBERT HARKER.


As SHAKSPEARE overtopped all other men, so should his memorial tower
over all other monuments. I cannot help thinking that the re-erection of
the Wembley Tower in the form of a gigantic swan soaring into the
empyrean to the height of say two or three thousand feet would prove a
satisfactory solution of the problem. Whether it should be black or
white is a question which might be referred to a small committee of
experts, such as Sir SIDNEY LEE, Sir HERBERT TREE and Miss MARIE

                                            MILE END.

P.S.--A good alternative method of celebrating the tercentenary of
SHAKSPEARE would be the execution on Shakspeare Cliff, at Dover, of a
colossal portrait of the immortal dramatist, somewhat on the scale of
the famous "White Horse." Once the outline had been marked out by a
competent artist the rest of the work could be easily completed
_gratis_ by the Volunteers, and the total cost would be negligible.


I venture to think that no better way of paying homage to the genius of
SHAKSPEARE could be devised than for all the newspapers throughout the
country to devote their best pages on the day to suitable extracts from
his works. This arrangement has the extra inducement of being economical
as well as appropriate.

                                            REGINALD JOBSON,
                                            _Registrar in Bankruptcy_.


What we want is to convert SHAKSPEARE into a genuine educational
instrument, and that is impossible so long as he is only available in
his present archaic form. A new edition of the Plays, purged of their
classicism and romanticism and expressed in language of scientific
accuracy, is peremptorily demanded in the interests of national

                                            X. RAY, F.R.S.


You ask me, "What are my own personal plans in connection with the
anniversary?" It is on record that a very distinguished divine stayed in
bed on the day following the announcement of the death of Lord
BEACONSFIELD, so as to avoid the horrid temptation of reading what was
said about him in the newspaper, which was the divine's pet aversion. I
propose to follow this excellent example on Shakspeare Day.

                                            T. H.


  From across the stormy ocean,
  Prompted by a deep emotion,
    I despatch my salutation on a card;
  For although I cannot meet thee
  In the flesh, I still can greet thee,
    WILLIAM SHAKSPEARE, as a worthy brother bard.

  In these times of stress and passion,
  When the sword is all the fashion,
    Only minstrelsy can keep the world in tune;
  For the poet is a healer,
  And both WILL and ELLA WHEELER
    Are a blessing and a comfort and a boon.


No memorial to SHAKSPEARE can be adequate which does not express in some
concrete shape the universality of his appeal. This end might be
attained by erecting a cenotaph in his honour in every churchyard and
cemetery in England. I admit that such a scheme would cost money and so
might be contrary to the spirit of economy which ought to animate
everyone at this hour. But a beginning might be made even now, and I
have composed a Funeral March in _Hamlet_ the proceeds of which I would
gladly devote to the purpose,

                                            ALGERNON BROOKWOOD.

       *       *       *       *       *




       *       *       *       *       *


    "To-morrow the Central Methodist Mission will celebrate the
    anniversary of its rescue and social work. The Sisters of the
    people are to take part in the morning service, and in the
    afternoon Mr. ---- is killed for an address on 'The Social
    Outlook.'"--_Sydney Daily Telegraph._

       *       *       *       *       *


    "I have begged your Majesty to accept the dignity of Prussian
    Field-Marshal, and I am with my Amy happy that you, by accepting
    it also in this sense, have become one of us."--_Irish Paper._

GERMAN EMPRESS, to her husband: "And who is Amy?"

       *       *       *       *       *



The date at which _Emily_ needed so much assistance was clearly _ante
bellum_, for there is no mention of hostilities, no gun-fire is heard
from the direction of Westende, and Belgium is still bathing. But it
must have been only just before the War, for the emancipation which the
female sex here enjoys is marked by an extreme modernity. A decade or
two ago we might have been shocked at the spectacle of a young lady
turning up at a bachelor's flat at 9 A.M. on a Sunday in a ball-frock,
after a night out at a dancing-club. Lately we have learnt to bear such
escapades without flinching. But it was not so with _Emily's_ guardian,
_Sir Samuel Lethbridge_, very Victorian in his stuffy prejudice in
favour of the decencies; and it was necessary to put him off with a tale
of her sudden departure to Brussels to render first aid to an aunt
stricken with mumps. In order to give colour to this fabrication _Emily_
urges _Dick Trotter_, the bachelor of the flat (as soon as he returns
from his own night out), to conduct her to the alleged invalid. He
consents, but not without protest, for he is a _roué_ of the old school
and cannot approve of these platonic adventures; besides, he is about to
_se ranger_ by marriage with somebody else and (a matter of detail, but
most inconvenient) is under contract to take her to Brighton for the

A fairly preposterous start, you will say; yet the delightful
naturalness which Miss GLADYS COOPER and Mr. CHARLES HAWTREY bring to
the situation gives it almost an air of possibility. But, once we are at
Ostend, and have been introduced to _Trotter's_ incredibly inappropriate
fiancée (she is a niece of the same aunt and has followed under
protection of a tame escort), we are prepared to launch freely and
fearlessly into the rough and tumble of farce.

It is in vain that Miss GLADYS COOPER, over her _petit déjeuner_,
preserves a natural demeanour, even to the point of talking with her
mouth full; the light humour of the First Act declines to the verge of
buffoonery. The devastating confusions which ensue in the matter of
identity and relationship (in our author's Ostend you assume, till
corrected, that all couples are married); the intervention of the local
gendarmerie, headed by a British detective; the arrest of half the party
(including the aunt, arrived in perfect health and ignorance _en route_
for England) on a nameless charge in connection with _Emily's_ suspected
abduction--all this is in the best Criterion manner.


  _Richard Trotter_  Mr. CHARLES HAWTREY.
  _Emily Delmar_     Miss GLADYS COOPER.]

In the Third Act, though we never recover the rapture of the First, the
humour touches a higher level; but what it gains in _finesse_ it loses
in spontaneity. Here we meet _Emily's_ father, returned from lecturing
in the States on social ethics. The scandal of his daughter's conduct
leaves him indifferent, for a long and varied experience of the morals
of many lands, in the course of which he has married as many as eighteen
wives, having made a point of adopting for the time being the
system--polygamous or other--of the country in which he happens to find
himself, has taught him that nothing is right or wrong except as local
opinion makes it so. We are allowed to gather that heredity may have had
some influence in the moulding of _Emily's_ character; and if we may
hope for its continuance into the next generation there seems every
prospect that the children she may bear to _Trotter_ (now released from
_Julia_ and free to marry the right woman) will not have their
development hampered by excess of prudery.

Mr. CHARLES HAWTREY as _Trotter_ played with his old easy skill and
seemed to take a more than usual interest in the play. He was supported
(as they say) by a particularly brilliant cast, including Miss LOTTIE
VENNE as the aunt, Mr. ERIC LEWIS as _Emily's_ father, Mr. FREDERICK
KERR as _Sir Samuel_, Miss HELEN HAYE in the thankless part of _Julia_,
and Mr. NIGEL PLAYFAIR as a self-effacing phantom of a lover. All were
in great form; but, next to Miss GLADYS COOPER, whose natural charm and
ingenuous _espièglerie_ were a perpetual delight, I offer my profoundest
compliments to the short but extraordinarily clever performance of Mr.
H. R. HIGNETT as _Trotter's_ man _Francis_. This is the day of stage
valets, but he was an exceptional treasure. To a quiet taste for
philosophy he added an infinite tact; and by the lies which he poured
into the telephone to cover his master's breach of engagement to _Julia_
he moved _Emily_, herself a gifted artist, to admiration.

The author, Mr. H. M. HARWOOD, must be congratulated on a farce that at
its best was really excellent fun. And he may take it for flattery, if
he likes, when I say that a good deal of his dialogue might be adapted
into the French without offending our gallant Allies on the ground of a
too insular squeamishness. O. S.

       *       *       *       *       *


  Think not, dear love, because my cheek
    With grief grows neither grey nor hollow,
  Because no pharmacist I seek
    In quest of arsenic to swallow,
  Because I do not wince and weep
    By day and night for cardiac pains,
  That my fond passion falls on sleep,
    Or, secondly, my worship wanes.

  For these are strenuous days of strife
    That steel the soul of every Briton;
  Sterner and stronger grows our life
    Till simple bards become hard-bitten;
  So when, each Thursday, I propose
    (As usual) to wed my fair,
  I frankly find her changeless "No's"
    Not half so poignant as they were.

       *       *       *       *       *

From an almanack of appropriate quotations:--

          "JANUARY 27.
    _German Emperor born_, 1859.

  O welcome, pure-ey'd Faith, white-handed Hope,
  Thou hovering angel, girt with golden wings.--_Milton._"

       *       *       *       *       *

    "If men well up in years would cultivate a habit of breathing
    properly and always holding themselves erect when walking and
    sitting, we would find fewer elderly people bent double when we
    do."--_Daily Express._

Our gay contemporary has been caught bending on this occasion.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "He asked the Government not to muzzle the ox that laid golden
    eggs."--_The Daily Argosy (Demerara)._

It wasn't really an ox; it was a bull.

       *       *       *       *       *

From a country retail chemist's appeal to the Local Tribunal for his
son's exemption from Military Service:

"I cannot dispense with him"--or, presumably, without him.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: ONCE BIT, TWICE SHY.



       *       *       *       *       *


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

When _Hargrave Ladd_, who was a solicitor in a very fair way of
business, with an agreeable but unemotional wife, happened to be getting
into an omnibus at the moment when _Stella Rayne_ fell off the top of
it, he unconsciously put himself in the way of a lot of bother.
Naturally, as a gentleman and the male protagonist of a novel--_Let Be_
(METHUEN)--he could do no less than pick the girl out of the mud and see
her home in a cab. Whether, quite strictly speaking, he need have called
next day to see how she was getting over the accident is another matter.
Certainly his interfering aunt, _Mrs. Dering_, was of the opinion that
_Hargrave_, as a married man, was displaying an excess of courtesy
towards the pretty tumbler. As for Miss SYBIL CAMPBELL LETHBRIDGE, who
has written the tale, she gives no indication of her views one way or
the other. Indeed this attitude of humorous tolerance for humanity is
Miss LETHBRIDGE'S most striking characteristic. It is at once a source
of strength and weakness to the book, making, on the one hand, for the
reality of the characters, and, on the other, for a certain
non-conductiveness of atmosphere that robs their emotions of warmth.
Anyhow, the inevitable happens, and _Hargrave_ falls in love with
_Stella_, who in turn reciprocates his passion up to almost the last
page in the book, when, having come to the edge of the precipice and
made every preparation for her leap into the gulf of elopement, she does
a mental quick-change and walks away as the contented betrothed of
Another. So _Hargrave_, making the best of a good job, rejoins _Mrs.
H._; and one may suppose that, if any more distressed damsels fall off
omnibuses in his presence, he will prudently "let be." You may think
with me that this abrupt finish lessens the effect of an otherwise
well-written and entertaining story.

       *       *       *       *       *

Miss MURIEL HINE in _The Individual_ (LANE), essaying a problem novel,
does not disdain the old-fashioned way of the woven plot and the
dramatic incident. Her hero, _Orde Taverner_, surgeon by trade and
eugenist by profession, falls in love with _Elizma_, a Cornish beauty
and rare fiddler. His inquiries as to her eugenical fitness having been
answered satisfactorily but inaccurately, he marries, to find that
_Elizma's_ mother really died insane. His principles conquer his desire
for children, and his decision is communicated to the fiery _Elizma_,
who, fierce maternalist that she is and coming of a wild stock that
never stuck at anything, undertakes a desperate flirtation by way of
solving the difficulty in her own heroic way--at least you will
certainly make this kind of a guess, but on investigation you may find
that you've been wrong! Happily in the end a deathbed confession proves
the second version of her birth as inaccurate as the first. She really
comes of quite untainted stock, so the eugenist is satisfied and husband
and wife reconciled. That is to say the author runs away from her
problem, which was perhaps, all things considered, the wisest thing to
do. She has some eye for character and has made a good thing of her
_Elizma_, but has let herself scatter her energies over a team too large
to be driven with a sure hand. And why, oh why did she drag in the War?
Or call her butler _Puffles_? But she keeps the interest of her story
going, and you mustn't skip or you may be set off on a hopelessly wrong

       *       *       *       *       *

So great is my admiration for the humorous gifts of Mr. WILLIAM CAINE
and so strong my gratitude to him for such books as _Boom_ and _Old
Enough to Know Better_, that I have decided to erase from my memory with
all possible speed his latest effort, _Bildad the Quill-Driver_ (LANE.)
A man with so many bull's-eyes to his credit may be forgiven an
occasional miss; and, to be candid, _Bildad the Quill-Driver_ seems to
me to come nowhere near the target. Most of Mr. CAINE'S work would be
the better for a certain amount of condensation, but this is the only
occasion on which he has really lost control of his pen. He has had the
unfortunate idea of writing a comic _Arabian Nights_ in close imitation
of the style of the original translation, even to the insertion of short
poems at every possible opportunity. Now, this is one of those ideas
which at first blush would seem to contain all the elements of
delightful humour; but it has the deadly flaw that it involves a
monotony which becomes after a few pages more than irritating. For a
while the novelty is entertaining, and then the reader becomes crushed
by the realisation that he has got to rely for his amusement on the same
sort of joke repeated over and over again for more than three hundred
pages. And, once that happens, the doom of the book is sealed, for the
adventures of _Bildad_ are not in themselves diverting--his love-affair
with the giantess is as unfunny a thing as ever I yawned over--and if
you cease to chuckle at the burlesque pomposity of the style there is
nothing left. There are some things which do not lend themselves to
sustained parody, and the manner of the _Arabian Nights_ is one of them.
But, as I say, I am not going to allow this book to shake my opinion
that Mr. CAINE is one of our most engaging humorists.

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *

I recommend, absolutely without reserve, a war book entitled _Day by Day
with the Russian Army_ (CONSTABLE). It is written by Professor BERNARD
PARES, the Official British Observer with the Russian Armies in the
Field, and is the real thing. Although incidentally it is to be praised
as a modest and lucid piece of writing, well in keeping with the
character of an author whose habit of viewing an action from the most
dangerous, because the most interesting, point can be discovered only by
reading between the lines, primarily it is to be prescribed as a
sovereign tonic against German-made depression. The writer, after being
present at the conquest of Galicia and the triumphant advance to the top
of the Carpathians, after witnessing much of the historical Russian
retreat under pressure of overwhelming artillery superiority, and after
conversing freely with his friends of all ranks on different sectors of
the Front whilst offering greetings in the name of their English
comrades in arms, announces finally, in a wholly satisfactory fashion,
his unalterable conviction as to the unqualified supremacy of our Allies
when on anything like equal terms with their opponents as regards
munitions of war. And that is a matter which, though never in doubt, it
is pleasant to hear again in tones of authority at a time when we
believe the Russian lack of supplies is at last being made good. The
evidence is the more complete because not only do we learn of the
interrogation of many prisoners, but because a long extract from the
diary of one of them, an Austrian officer, is included, to point the
difference in spirit between the two armies. The demoralisation of the
Austrian forces, even when advancing, is so strikingly presented that
one cannot doubt their dependence on German domination and German
batteries to hold them together at all. Although Professor PARES
attaches several excellent maps, he is not really much concerned with
questions of strategy, but has devoted himself to just two
points--_moral_ and munitions.

       *       *       *       *       *

I am afraid that Mrs. HODGSON BURNETT is in a little danger of overdoing
it. She knows (who better?) the briskness of the popular demand for
long-lost heirs; and she may well have argued that the longer he has
been lost, the more squalid his present environment, and the more
brilliant his heritage, the more assured would be the heir's welcome.
Perhaps indeed this may be so in America; but for this side, as I say, I
have my doubts. I daresay your own intuition will tell you that the hero
of _The Lost Prince_ (HODDER AND STOUGHTON) is a prince who has been
lost. In fact so effectually had the branch of the regal house to which
_Prince Ivor_ belonged been mislaid that the story opens upon him
dwelling in a London slum with no companions but a mysterious father and
a crippled playfellow (called _The Rat_). All sorts of mysterious things
are constantly happening just out of sight; and presently the dynastic
intrigues of Mrs. BURNETT launch the two boys upon a secret journey
through Europe, to convey to a number of pleasantly melodramatic
conspirators the message that "The Lamp is Lighted!" As their object is
expressly stated to be protection for a small principality, the fact
that the interviews include one with Emperor of AUSTRIA has in these
days a quaintly anachronistic effect, and at least serves to emphasise
the neutral origin of the story. However, they are of course successful;
and in the last chapter _Prince Ivor_ manages to be enormously
astonished at finding that the mysterious monarch of Samavia, for whom
he has been working, is none other than his own father--an obvious fact
that, with truly royal tactfulness, he had contrived to ignore
throughout the story. My advice to the author is to write up her
villains (at present they haven't a chance) and make the whole thing
into a film play. The wanderings of the two boys offer a fine
opportunity for scenic variety; while the sentiment is of precisely the
nature to be stimulated by a pianoforte accompaniment. As a three-reel
exclusive, in short, I can fancy _The Lost Prince_ entering triumphantly
into his appropriate kingdom.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "UNFURNISHED ROOM to Let in Clyde Road; quiet house; convenience
    for washing once a week if necessary; rent 3s."--_Hastings and
    St. Leonards Observer._

It sounds dirt-cheap.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 150, February 2, 1916" ***

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