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Title: Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 152, April 18, 1917
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 152, April 18, 1917" ***

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PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.

VOL. 152.



April 18th, 1917.



CHARIVARIA.

The growing disposition to declare war against her is causing genuine
concern in Germany, where it is feared that there may not be enough
interned German vessels to go round.

       ***

An Austrian General is reported to have been overwhelmed by an avalanche of
snow, and at Easter-time a number of patriotic English people were
offering, in view of the usefulness of the stuff for military purposes, to
forgo their own ration.

       ***

The question of Parliamentary reform has been under discussion in the House
of Commons. That the Legislature should attempt to deal with reforms of any
kind which have not been previously demanded by the Daily Press is regarded
in certain quarters as a most dangerous precedent.

       ***

Immediately north of the Siegfried line, the experts explain, is a new
German position, which they have christened the Wotan line. It will not be
long before we hear of fresh German activities in the Götterdämmerung line.

       ***

Thousands of men at the docks are boycotting public-houses as a protest
against increased prices. A deputation of licensed victuallers will shortly
wait upon the Government to inform them that their action in restricting
the brewers' output is likely to have the deplorable effect of making
drinking unpopular.

       ***

There has been some slight activity on the Dublin front, but beyond a few
skirmishes there is little to report.

       ***

One of the most recent additions to the Entente Alliance proves that the
art of war as practised by Germany is such a horrible travesty that even
the Cubists condemn it.

       ***

Goat-skin coats are mentioned by a lady writer as quite a novelty. She is
in error. Goats have worn them for years.

       ***

A wedding at Huntingdon, the other day, was interrupted by the barking of
dog within the vicinity of the church. It is a peculiar thing, but dogs
have never looked upon marriage as the serious thing it really is.

       ***

We are sorry to contradict a contemporary, but the assertion that men are
losing their chivalry cannot be lightly passed over. Only the other night
in the tube a man was distinctly heard to say to a lady who was standing,
"Pray accept my seat, Madam. I am getting out here."

       ***

[Illustration: _Small Invalid_ (_to visitor_). "I'VE HAD A LOT OF DISEASES
IN MY TIME -- MEASLES -- WHOOPING-COUGH -- INFLUENZA -- TONSILITIS -- BUT
(_modestly_) I HAVEN'T HAD DROPSY YET."]

       ***

Mr. DUKE has just stated that there is work for all in Ireland. This is not
the way to make the Government popular in the distressed isle.

       ***

The Vienna _Zeit_ says the worst enemy of the people is their appetite.
Several local humourists have been severely dealt with for pointing out
that eating is the best way of getting rid of this pest.

       ***

A Stepney market porter attempted last week to evade military service by
hiding in a cupboard, but the police captured him despite the fact that he
attempted to throw them off the scent by making a noise like a piece of
cheese--a very old device.

       ***

On one day of Eastertide there was an inch of snow in Liverpool, followed
by hailstones, lightning, thunder and a gale of wind. Summer has certainly
arrived very early this year.

       ***

The _Berliner Tageblatt _makes much of the fact that a recent submarine
expedition was carried out by means of German Naval officers on board a
trawler "disguised as ordinary men." A clever piece of masquerading.

       ***

"Members of the Honor Oak Golf Club," says a contemporary, "are arranging
to play their rounds to the music of grunting pigs, cackling fowls and
bleating lambs." With a little practice these intelligent animals should
soon be able to convey their appreciation of the more elementary strokes.

       ***

WOLF'S comet is approaching the earth at the rate of 1,250,000 miles a day,
and our special constables have been warned.

       ***

England, said Lord LEICESTER recently, is neglecting her trees during the
War. But with our Great Tree (Sir BEERBOHM) it is the other way about.

       ***

The overseer of one of the workhouses in the vicinity of London is to
receive an additional four pounds a year in place of beer. It is hoped that
this sum will buy him a nice glass of stout for his next Christmas dinner.

       ***

In justice to the thieves who removed 1-1/2 cwt. of sugar from a grocer's
shop in Kentish Town it should be stated that had it not been for an
untimely alarm it was their intention to have taken a sufficient quantity
of other articles to justify their appropriation of that amount of sugar.

       ***

    "Only the older generation recalls the glass of sherry and slice of
    Madeira that used to be the invariable refreshment offered in the
    farmhouses of the Southwest."--_Daily Telegraph._

Our own recollection is that it was sometimes a glass of Madeira and a hunk
of sherry.

       *       *       *       *       *

A SCHOOL FOR STATESMEN.

    [The _Hamburger Fremdenblatt_, in an article on our Ambassador at
    Petrograd, ascribes his success as a diplomat to his passion for golf--
    "if one can speak of passion in connection with this cold game of
    meadow billiards." "The conditions," it goes on to say, "in which this
    rather tiresome game is played do really produce the qualities
    necessary for any statesmanlike or diplomatic work.... Silent, tough,
    resigned, unbroken ... the good golfer walks round his field, keeps his
    eye on the ball and steers for his goal.... Sir George Buchanan walked
    round the whole golf field of Europe for years until at last he was
    able in Petrograd to hurl the ball into the goal."]

  Oft have I wondered as my weapon's edge
    Disintegrated solid chunks of greenery,
  Or as my pillule flew the bounding hedge
    Into outlying sections of the scenery,
      What moral value might accrue
      From billiards played beneath the blue.

  Little I fancied when I topped the sphere
    And on its candour left a coarse impression,
  Or in the bed of some revolting mere
    Mislaid three virgin globes in swift succession,
      That I was learning how to grip
      The rudiments of statesmanship.

  Yet so it was. I schooled myself to gaze
    Upon the object with a firmly glued eye,
  And, though I moved by strange and devious ways,
    To keep in view the goal, or _finis ludi_,
      And ever let my language be
      The language of diplomacy.

  Thus BALFOUR learned the politician's game,
    And thus LLOYD GEORGE was trained to be a Premier;
  Thence many a leader who has leapt to fame
    Got self-control, grew harder, tougher, phlegmier,
      Reared in the virtues which prevail
      At Walton Heath and Sunningdale.

  Golf being then the source of so much good,
    I own my conscience suffers certain wrenches
  Recalling how the links of Chorley Wood
    Have seen me on the Sabbath carving trenches,
      Where Tommies might be taught to pitch
      The deadly bomb from ditch to ditch.

  For I reflect that my intruding spade,
    That blocked the foursome and debarred the single,
  May well have cheeked some statesman yet unmade,
    Some budding HOGGE, some mute inglorious PRINGLE;
      And that is why my shovel shrinks
      From excavating other links.

O.S.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "In reply to your valued inquiry, we enclose illustration of Dining
    Tables of Oak seating fourteen people with round legs and twelve people
    with square legs, with prices attached. Hoping to have your order."--
    _The Huntly Express._

Mr. Punch is now engaged upon an exhaustive examination of the extremities
of his staff before deciding whether to replace his existing Round Table.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "BRITISH PRESS BACK HUN REARGUARDS."--_Newspaper headline._

Happily it is only a small section of the British Press that adopts this
unpatriotic attitude.

       *       *       *       *       *

SHAKSPEARE on the FOOD CONTROLLER:--

          "No man's pie is free'd
  From his ambitious finger."--_Henry VIII., Act I. Scene I._

       *       *       *       *       *

HEART-TO-HEART TALKS.

_(The GERMAN CROWN PRINCE and Marshal HINDENBURG)._

_Hindenburg._ So your Royal Highness proposes to leave us again?

_The Prince._Yes, Marshal, I'm going to leave you for a short time. I have
made arrangements which will render my absence from the Front as little
disadvantageous as may be possible. My orders have been carefully drawn up
so as to provide for every contingency, and I trust that nothing the enemy
can do will find my stout fellows unprepared, while I am devising fresh
triumphs for them in my temporary retirement.

_Hindenburg._ We shall all regret the absence of your Royal Highness from
those fields in which you have planted new proofs both of German courage
and of German intellectual superiority; but no doubt your Highness will be
all the better for a short rest. May I, perhaps, ask the immediate cause of
your Highness's departure from the Front?

_The Prince._ No, Marshal, you mustn't, for if you do I shall not answer
you fully. _(Hums) Souvent femme varie; fol qui s'y fie_--do you know what
that means, you rogue?

_Hindenburg._ I know your Highness spoke in French, which is not what I
should have expected from one who stands so near to the throne.

_The Prince._ Now, you mustn't be angry; only dull people ever get angry.

_Hindenburg._ Your Royal Highness means to say--?

_The Prince._ I mean to say that you're not dull--not _really_ dull, you
know, and that therefore you can't be allowed to get angry about a mere
trifle. Besides, our predecessor, the GREAT FREDERICK, always spoke in
French and wrote his poetry in French--very poor stuff it was too--and had
a violent contempt for the German language, which he considered a barbarous
jargon.

_Hindenburg._ I care not what the GREAT FREDERICK may have thought as to
this matter--there are other points in which it might be well to imitate
him first rather than to remember what he thought and said about our noble
German language--but for me it is enough to know that the Emperor and King
whom I serve holds no such ideas.

_The Prince. _Of course he doesn't; he holds no ideas at all of any kind.

_Hindenburg._ At least he would be angry to hear such--

_The Prince. _Of course he would; he's dull enough in all conscience for
that or anything else.

_Hindenburg (after a pause)._ Your Royal Highness will, perhaps, forgive me
if I draw your gracious attention to the fact that I have much work to do
and but little time to do it in.

_The Prince. _Of course, my dear Marshal, of course. They're making things
warm for you, aren't they, in the direction of Arras? I was saying to
myself only this morning, "How annoying for that poor old HINDENBURG to
have his masterly retreat interrupted by those atrocious English, and to
lose thirteen thousand prisoners and one hundred-and-sixty guns, and I
don't know how many killed and wounded. Where's his wall of steel now, poor
old fellow, and his patent plan for luring the enemy on?" That's what I
said to myself, and now that we have met I feel that I must offer you my
condolences. I know what it is, though of course it wasn't _my_ fault that
we failed to bring it off against the French at Verdun. Heigho! I'm really
beginning to believe that I shall never see Paris.

_Hindenburg._ !!!   !!!   !!!

_The Prince._ You needn't look so stuffy, dear old thing. I'm going. But
remember _I_ shall be your Emperor some day; and then what shall I do with
you? I know; I shall have you taught French.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: DYNASTIC AMENITIES.

LITTLE WILLIE (_of Prussia_). "AS ONE CROWN PRINCE TO ANOTHER, ISN'T YOUR
HINDENBURG LINE GETTING A BIT SHAKY?"

RUPPRECHT (_of Bavaria_). "WELL, AS ONE CROWN PRINCE TO ANOTHER, WHAT ABOUT
YOUR HOHENZOLLERN LINE?"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Sergeant._ "PUT YOUR THUMBS DOWN BEHIND THE SEAMS OF YOUR
TROUSERS, NUMBER SIX! WHAT THE HELL DO YOU THINK THE SEAMS OF YOUR TROUSERS
ARE PUT THERE FOR?"]

       *       *       *       *       *

CAUTIONARY TALES FOR THE ARMY.

I.

    _Sergt.-Instructor George Bellairs, who imagined himself to be a master
    of strong language._

  Sergt.-Instructor George Bellairs
  Prided himself on dreadful swears,
  And half the night and all the day
  He thought of frightful things to say.
  On his recruits in serried squad
  He'd work them off; he said, "You clod!"
  "You put!" "You closhy put!" (a curse he
  Got from _The Everlasting Mercy_,
  Which shows one can't take care enough,
  Not knowing who may read one's stuff).
  With joy he saw his victims quiver,
  With wicked joy beheld them shiver.
  Six stretchers in attendance waited
  To carry off the men he slated.

  But early in the War there came
  A squad of men of rowing fame.
  With them, his choicest oaths he found
  Fell upon bored and barren ground.
  He lavished all his hoard, full tale;
  They did not blench, they did not quail.
  His plethora of plums he spilt;
  They did not wince, they did not wilt.
  Poor fellow! As they left him there,
  He heard one beardless boy declare,
  "Jove! what a milk-and-water chap!
  I thought non-coms. had oaths on tap."
  Another said, "We'd soon be fit
  If we were only cursed a bit!"

  Sergt.-Instructor George Bellairs,
  He stands and stares, and stares _and stares_;
  Then (he who late so freely cursed)
  Tried to express himself and--burst!

       *       *       *       *       *

SPRING FASHIONS FOR MEN.

    "Lord ----, who managed to be present, wore a festive air with a
    button-hole of lilies of the valley."--_Ramsey Courier._

       *       *       *       *       *

    "LOST, between Huddersfield and Saddleworth, on the 7th inst, Two Swing
    Doors."--_Provincial Paper._

What became of the rest of the storey?

       *       *       *       *       *

The SULTAN has presented the GERMAN KAISER with a sword of honour--"Same I
massacred the Armenians," as _Rawdon Crawley_ would have said.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The launching of the first great Allied offensive of this year has
    fallen at such a time in the week that it is unfortunately impossible
    to deal with it at all thoroughly in the present number."--_Land and
    Water._

Sir DOUGLAS HAIG ought to be more considerate.

       *       *       *       *       *

A RATIONAL QUESTION.

Dear Mr. Punch,--Seeing from your cartoon that you have views of your own
on Food Control, may I put a puzzling case to you? The other evening, after
the theatre, I wished to give some supper to a hungry young soldier friend
who any day now may be summoned to France. It was a quarter past eleven and
I led him to a restaurant near Piccadilly Circus which was still open and
busy. But the door-keeper refused to admit him. I might go in--oh, yes--but
not a soldier. Now I am an elderly civilian, doing very little for my
country except carrying on my own business and paying my way and my taxes;
but this boy is a fighter, prepared to die for England if need be. Yet it
is I who am allowed to eat at night, and not he, however much in need of
food he may be! Surely there is some want of logic here?

  I am,     Yours faithfully,
      PERPLEXED CIVILIAN.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "April came in yesterday with none of the mildness
    eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelllllll xfifl vbg emf shr tao hr which is proverbially
    associated with that month."--_Glasgow Evening Times._

We can almost hear the printer's teeth chattering.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Mother._ "SO YOU'RE THE BOTTOM BOY OF YOUR CLASS. AREN'T
YOU ASHAMED OF YOURSELF?"

_Peter._ "BUT, MOTHER, IT'S NOT MY FAULT. THE BOY WHO'S ALWAYS BOTTOM IS
AWAY ILL."]

       *       *       *       *       *

FIRST LINES.

After having spent an hour or so with WORDSWORTH'S sonnets I found my head
so full of his sonorous adjuratory music that when in the middle of the
night I woke as usual--from three to four is the worst time--my wooing of
reluctant sleep took on a new fashion, and instead of repeating verses I
made them. But I only once proceeded farther than the first line. Anybody
who finds pleasure in poetic pains may add the other thirteen; to me such a
task would savour of bad luck. Here, however, are some of my brave
Rydalesque beginnings, with titles:--

_To the ASSISTANT CONTROLLER of FOOD, wishing him success._

JONES, who wouldst keep potatoes for the poor--

_To the Ex-PREMIER, now in very active retirement._

ASQUITH, till recently our honoured head--

_To a prominent K.C. who has become First Lord of the Admiralty._

CARSON, who latterly hast taken salt--

_To an Ex-Minister for Foreign Affairs, on a bed of sickness._

GREY, who wouldst Represent Proportionally--

_To a Second-in-Command._

BONAR, who speakest for the absent GEORGE--

_To the PRIME MINISTER, on a notable innovation._

GEORGE, who receivest Yankee journalists--

_To the KAISER._

WILHELM, who dost thy damnedst every day--

_To the CROWN PRINCE._

Namesake of mine, but O how different!

_To an Ex-Colonel._

WINSTON, whose fighting days, alas! seem o'er--

_To an assiduous Watcher of the literary skies._

SHORTER, who tellest readers what to think--

I then essayed two lines:--

          _To an Incorrigible Wag._

  SHAW, who, in khaki, with that gingery beard,
  Joyous and independent scann'dst the Front--

With this effort I fell asleep.

       *       *       *       *       *

DAWN OF HUMOUR IN SCOTLAND.

    "Summer time begins at 2 a.m. on Sunday morning. Clocks should be put
    back an hour on Saturday night."--_Ross-shire Journal._

       *       *       *       *       *

THE SECRET OF LONGEVITY.

    "The death occurred on Friday of Mr. ----, at the age of 94. Deceased
    had liver through the reigns of George IV., William IV., Victoria,
    Edward VII."--_Provincial Paper._

       *       *       *       *       *

From a picture-dealer's advertisement:--

    "Corot got originally 500 francs for his painting of 'The Angelus,'
    which ultimately brought 800,000 francs."--_The British Magazine_
    (_Buenos Aires_).

Poor MILLET, it appears, got nothing.

       *       *       *       *       *

WEIGHED IN THE BALANCE.

PART I.

Angelo Armstrong was a man of thirty. He had no capital, but by dint of
honest and meritorious toil he found himself eventually earning a moderate
salary as clerk in a London Insurance Office. He had been rejected for the
Army on account of a defective knee-cap. Outside his work his tastes lay in
the direction of botany and bibliomancy, which latter, according to the
dictionary, is "Divination performed by selecting passages of Scripture at
hazard." He also indulged in good works and was President of the Society
for the Preservation of the Spiritual Welfare of the Deputy Harbour Masters
at our English Seaports. Thus he was worthy of the name of Angelo by which
his mother had insisted that he should be christened, after seeing a
picture of the famous historical incident of "_Non Angli sed Angeli_."

Strangely enough he had never yet come under the influence of love. The
three diversions given above had filled his spare hours, and woman was to
him a sealed book. One morning he found a letter on his breakfast-table
from an old family friend; it read as follows:--

  "_Ton Répos," Woking_,
  _December 11th, 1916_.

"DEAR MR. ARMSTRONG,--Do tear yourself away from grimy London and come and
spend the Christmas holidays with us. Only a small party and one of
War-workers. We are all workers nowadays, aren't we? You _must_ come!

  Sincerely yours,
  AUGUSTA POGSON-DELABERE.

N.B.--Our house is a long way from the Crematorium!

This settled it; he decided to go.

PART II.

The Pogson-Delaberes' party at "Ton Répos" consisted of four guests: Col.
Maxton, from Aldershot, commanding the 106th Battalion of the Drumlie
Highlanders; Miss Agatha Simson, a middle-aged munition-worker; our hero,
and, oh! the lovely Miss Sylvia Taunton, another War-worker, aged 22. The
result may be easily guessed. For two days the young people were left,
naturally, very much together. They quickly fell into an easy intimacy, and
on the third and last day of the holiday Angelo was profoundly in love.
Gone were the botanizers, gone the bibliomants, gone the Deputy Harbour
Masters. There was but one thought in his evacuated brain, to make the fair
Sylvia his own.

His opportunity came after dinner that night when the rest of the party had
gone out to look at some condemned pheasants which were to be shot at dawn.
She was at the piano playing that deservedly popular song, "I've chipped my
chip for England," by Nathaniel Dayer, when he suddenly leant over her.
"Miss Taunton--Sylvia," he ejaculated, "you will be surprised at this
suddenness, I know, but I cannot keep it in any longer; I love you
enormously. Is there any chance for me?"

She had just reached that passage in Nathaniel's song where a triumphant
ascending scale in G rings out. She faltered and played D-flat instead of
D-natural, the first dissonance that night--would it had been the last!
Quickly she turned on the music-stool and on him, and spoke with averted
head.

"Mr. Armstrong, I will own frankly that I like you more than a little.
Though we only met three days ago I am more drawn to you than I have ever
been to any other man."

"Aha," he cried exultingly.

"But," she said, "I must say something about myself. While I am a
War-worker, I have never told you yet what I am doing. I am a clerk in
Marr's Bank, in Cheapside."

"There is nothing dishonourable in that," he almost shouted.

"There is not," she answered, haughtily drawing herself up.

"I keep my account there," he said.

"I know," she replied; "I am in the Pass-book department."

He stood quite still, but the lapels of his dinner-jacket shook slightly.

"My duties," she went on quietly, "are to report each evening to my chief,
Mr. Hassets, on our clients' balances. Yours has never been higher than £24
7_s._ 9_d._ during the eighteen months that I have been there. I am very
sorry, but I cannot marry you."

He looked straight into her inscrutable eyes and the right repartee froze
on his lips.

On the morrow he left at dawn, just as the birds were beginning to drop;
and before the day was over he had transferred his account from Marr's Bank
to Parr's.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "CHAPLAIN ---- ASKS GUIDANCE FOR THE AUTHORITIES.

    Prays that recent events may be prevented."--_Baltimore News._

Surely this is asking too much.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "British troops in Macedonia are now in possession of Deltawah and
    Sindiyah, some thirty-five miles north of Bagdad, and of Falluyah on
    the Euphrates, thirty-six miles west of Bagdad."--_Sunday Paper._

We know on _Fluellen's_ authority that Macedon and Monmouth are very much
alike; and so, it seems, is Mesopotamia.

       *       *       *       *       *

BACK TO THE LAND.

  The wintry days are with us still;
    The roads are deep in liquid dirt;
  The rain is wet, the wind is chill,
    And both are coming through my shirt;
  And yet my heart is light and gay;
    I shout aloud, I hum a snatch;
  Why am I full of mirth? To-day
    I'm planting my potato patch.

  The KAISER sits and bites his nails
    In Pots- (or some adjoining) dam;
  He wonders why his peace talk fails
    And how to cope with Uncle Sam;
  The General Staff has got the hump;
    In vain each wicked scheme they hatch;
  I've handed them the final thump
    By planting my potato patch.

  The U-boat creeps beneath the sea
    And puts the unarmed freighters down;
  It fills the German heart with glee
    To see the helpless sailors drown;
  But now and then a ship lets fly
    To show that Fritz has met his match!
  She's done her bit, and so have I
    Who dig in my potato patch.

  And later, when the War is won
    And each man murmurs, "Well, that's that,"
  And reckons up what he has done
    To put the Germans on the mat,
  I'll say, "It took ten myriad guns
    And fighting vessels by the batch;
  But we too served, we ancient ones,
    Who dug in our potato patch."

ALGOL.

       *       *       *       *       *

"IT."

PHASE I.

The doctor says, perfectly cheerfully and as though it were really not a
matter of vital importance, that there is no doubt that I have got IT. He
remarks that IT is all over the place, and that he has a couple of hundred
other cases at the present time.

I resent his attitude as far as I have strength to do anything at all. I
did not give permission for him to be called in just to have my sufferings
brushed aside like this. He only stays about three minutes altogether,
during which time he relates two funny stories (at least I suppose they are
funny, because my nurse laughs; I can't see any point in them myself), and
makes several futile remarks about the War. As though the War were a matter
of importance by comparison! Then he goes, talking breezily all the way
down the stairs.

Well, I think darkly, they will be sorry presently. I have no intention or
expectation of getting better, and when they see me a fair young corpse
then they'll know.

Already I loathe the Two Hundred. Not that I believe for a minute the story
of my own disease being the same as their miserable little complaints. In
recurring periods of conscious thought I go through the list of things I
know for a fact I have got--rheumatic fever, sciatica, lumbago, toothache,
neuritis, bronchitis, laryngitis, tonsilitis, neuralgia, gastritis, catarrh
of several kinds, heart disease and inflammation (or possibly congestion)
of the lungs. I shall think of some more presently, if my nurse will let me
alone and not keep on worrying me with her "Just drink this." Bother the
woman! Why doesn't she get off the earth? What's the use of my swallowing
that man's filthy medicine when he doesn't know what's the matter with me?

I hate everybody and everything, especially the eider-down quilt, which
rises in slow billows in front of my eyes and threatens to engulf me. When
in a paroxysm of fury I suddenly cast it on the floor, it lies there still
billowing, and seems to leer at me. There is something fat and sinister and
German about that eiderdown. I never noticed it before. _Two Hundred German
eider-downs!_

The firelight flickers weirdly about the room and I try to count the
shadows. But before I begin I know the answer--TWO HUNDRED.

I drift into a nightmare of Two Hundred elusive cabbages which I am
endeavouring to plant in my new allotment, where a harsh fate forces me to
dig and _dig_ and DIG, and, as a natural consequence, also to ache and
_ache_ and ACHE.

PHASE II.

I can stand up with assistance from the bed-post and totter feebly to an
arm-chair by the fire, where I sit in a dressing-gown and weep. What for? I
couldn't say, except that it seems a fit and proper thing to do.

I am still of opinion that I am not long for this world, and my favourite
occupation at present is counting up the number of wreaths that I might
justifiably expect to have sent to my funeral. I don't tell my nurse, who
would immediately try to "cheer me up" by talking to me or giving me a
magazine to look at. And I would _much_ rather count wreaths. The Smiths
probably would not be able to afford one....

My thoughts are distracted by the sudden apparition of a little meal. I
begin to take an interest in these little meals, which are of such frequent
occurrence that I am reduced to tears again, this time at the thought of
the extra expense I am causing. And all for nothing. Why don't they save
the money for wreaths?

The doctor comes while I am swallowing my egg, miserably yet with a certain
gusto, and I dry my eyes hastily as I hear him bounding up the stairs.

"Hullo," he calls out before he is well through the door, "how are we
to-day, eh? Beginning to sit up and take notice? I think we'll change your
medicine."

"_I_ think," I remark resignedly, "that it will be best for someone to dig
a hole and bury me."

"Jolly good idea," he agrees heartily. "In fact why not do it to all of us?
Please the Germans so too. But it can't be done, you know--there's a
shortage of grave-diggers."

Heartless brute!

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Regimental Sergeant-Major_ (_to lady driver of motor
ambulance_). "I SEE YOU'VE GOT STRIPES. HAVE YOU GOT A SERGEANT-MAJOR?"

_Corporal Maud Evans._ "HAVE WE GOT A SERGEANT-MAJOR? I SHOULD THINK WE
HAVE--THE CAT!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

    "By fixing five potatoless days hope is entertained that supplies,
    which are scent, will be left to poor people who most require them."--
    _Daily Chronicle._

This explains the remark of the Irishman who protested that it was weeks
since he had tasted even "the smell of a potato."

       *       *       *       *       *

    "It will take years to cleanse the Ægean stables."--_Civil and Military
    Gazette._

Still, M. VENEZELOS has made a good beginning with Samos, Lemnos and
several other 'osses.

       *       *       *       *       *

From the report of a prohibition meeting at Peebles:--

    "A pleasant and most enjoyable addendum was a series of lantern slides
    depicting the havoc wrought by the Huns in Belgium."--_Peebleshire
    Advertiser._

It is still "Peebles for pleasure" at any cost.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: TRIALS OF A HEAVYWEIGHT.

"I HOPE YOU WON'T MIND, UNCLE, BUT I'VE LENT YOU TO MRS. ROBINSON FOR
HALF-AN-HOUR AFTER LUNCH. SHE'S GOT AN AWFULLY STIFF BIT OF GROUND TO GET
THROUGH."]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE HINDENBURG LINE.

In our earnest endeavour to discover exactly where this impregnable barrier
is likely to be encountered we have collected the following references to
it in the German Press of the next few months:--

... Our troops, according to plan, are now operating to the east of the
Vimy Ridge where the fighting is taking the direction intended by us. We
have succeeded in restoring a condition of voluntary elasticity,
preparatory to the occupation of the famous Hindenburg Line, which covers
Douai, St. Quentin and La Fère.

... Our rearguard actions to the east of St. Quentin are developing in
accordance with our wildest dreams, our troops, after their brief respite
in the so-called Wotan Line, displaying their ability in a war of rapid
movement. The hesitating British are disconcerted by the recrudescence of
fluidity on the front. We learn with satisfaction that our Northern
divisions are now safely established in the Hindenburg Line--to the east of
Douai.

... We learn to-day with the very keenest emotion of the complete and
brilliant evacuation of the Siegfried Line, to the east of Douai, and the
re-establishment of a new measure of liquidity. British aeroplanes (of
which 133 have been brought down according to plan) have been making long
flights over our territory with a view to observation of the Hindenburg
Line--on the left bank of the Meuse. It is said that two of our machines
are missing, but a recount has been ordered. There must be some mistake.

... A shrewd blow has been dealt to the British by our abandonment, in
agreement with the prospectus, of the Beckmesser Line. All has gone
according to our hopes, our longings and our prayers. We have crossed the
Meuse.

... The secret is out at last. The Hindenburg Line, about which there has
been so much speculation, is now known to run through Liége, Luxemburg and
Metz. According to schedule we are now approaching this position, which has
only been attained by an amazing display of spontaneous volatility on our
part. The fighting of the last few weeks, in the neighbourhood of the
Pogner, Sieglinda, Kurvenal and Lohengrin Lines, fell out as had been
prognosticated by us.

... The importance of Cologne, as the main bastion of the impregnable
Hindenburg Line, cannot be over-rated. Our strategical, voluntary and
gratuitous crossing of the Rhine was carried out according to _agenda_....

       *       *       *       *       *

THE IMPERFECT ECONOMIST.

  "I wear my very oldest suits,
  I go about in shocking boots,
  And (bar potatoes) feed on roots
  And various cereal substitutes
  For wheat, and non-imported fruits.
  No meat my table now pollutes,
  But, though I spare warm-blooded brutes,
  I sometimes sup on frogs and newts.

  I often spend laborious days
  Supported by a little maize;
  And rice prepared in divers ways
  My appetite at luncheon stays.
  From sugar I avert my gaze;
  Unsweetened tea my thirst allays;
  I never go to any plays
  Or smoke expensive Henry Clays."

  _Our excellent Economist_
    _His pet extravagance forgets,_
  _Which rather spoils his little list--_
    _His fifty daily cigarettes._

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "SWOOPING FROM THE WEST."

[It is the intention of our new Ally to assist us in the patrolling of the
Atlantic.]]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: ON AN OUTLYING FORT.

_Orderly Officer._ "ANYTHING SERIOUS TO REPORT, SERGEANT?"

_Sergeant._ "GUNNER JONES FEELS 'OMESICK, SIR, AND MAY HE SEND FOR 'IS
PARROT?"]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE GENERAL.

  Last night, as I was washing up,
  And just had rinsed the final cup,
  All of a sudden, 'midst the steam,
  I fell asleep and dreamt a dream.
  I saw myself an old, old man,
  Nearing the end of mortal span,
  Bent, bald and toothless, lean and spare,
  Hunched in an ancient beehive chair.
  Before me stood a little lad
  Alive with questions. "Please, Granddad,
  Did Daddy fight, and Uncle Joe,
  In the Great War of long ago?"
  I nodded as I made reply:
  "Your Dad was in the H.L.I.,
  And Uncle Joseph sailed the sea,
  Commander of a T.B.D.,
  And Uncle Jack was Major too----"
  "And what," he asked me, "what were you?"
  I stroked the little golden head;
  "I was a General," I said.
  "Come, and I'll tell you something more
  Of what I did in the Great War."
  At once the wonder-waiting eyes
  Were opened in a mild surmise;
  Smiling, I helped the little man
  To mount my knee, and so began:
  "When first the War broke out, you see,
  Grandma became a V.A.D.;
  Your Aunties spent laborious days
  In working at Y.M.C.A.'s;
  The servants vanished. Cook was found
  Doing the conscript baker's round;
  The housemaid, Jane, in shortened skirt
  (She always was a brazen flirt),
  Forsook her dusters, brooms and pails
  To carry on with endless mails.
  The parlourmaid became a vet.,
  The tweeny a conductorette,
  And both the others found their missions
  In manufacturing munitions.
  I was a City man. I knew
  No useful trade. What could I do?
  Your Granddad, boy, was not the sort
  To yield to fate; he was a sport.
  I set to work; I rose at six,
  Summer and winter; chopped the sticks,
  Kindled the fire, made early tea
  For Aunties and the V.A.D.
  I cooked the porridge, eggs and ham,
  Set out the marmalade and jam,
  And packed the workers off, well fed,
  Well warmed, well brushed, well valeted.
  I spent the morning in a rush
  With dustpan, pail and scrubbing-brush;
  Then with a string-bag sallied out
  To net the cabbage or the sprout,
  Or in the neighbouring butcher's shop
  Select the juiciest steak or chop.
  So when the sun had sought the West,
  And brought my toilers home to rest,
  Savours more sweet than scent of roses
  Greeted their eager-sniffing noses--
  Savours of dishes most divine
  Prepared and cooked by skill of mine.
  I was a General. Now you know
  How Generals helped to down the foe."
  The little chap slipped off my knee
  And gazed in solemn awe at me,
  Stood at attention, stiff and mute,
  And gave his very best salute.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Prescriptions (C.P.--197/30).--The replies to your queries are as
    follows:--(a) Refuse; (b) refuse; (c) refuse; (d) refuse; (e) No."--
    _Pharmaceutical Journal._

We have often felt like that about prescriptions ourselves, but have never
ventured to say so.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE RECRUIT'S FAREWELL TO HIS BOWLER.]

       *       *       *       *       *

JOLLYMOUSE.

In what I will particularise as the ---- area of the War zone, there is a
small village-by-a-stream where Generals stride about the narrow streets or
whirl through them in gigantic cars, and guards at every corner clank and
turn out umpty times a day. Down in the hollow the stream by the village
laughs placidly along, mocking at the Great War, but I doubt if the
Generals have much time to listen to it, for the village-by-the-stream is a
Corps Headquarters.

However the Doctor led us (which includes the War Babe and James the Acting
Adjutant) to the village-by-the-stream, where, just across the stone
bridge, he indicated on the wall of a house the legend:

RESTAURANT FOR OFFICERS.

TEA, COFFEE, CHAMPAGNE AND ALL SUCH ARTICLE IS SELL HERE.

"Tea," he said feelingly, "and there will be china cups and thin bread-and-
butter, and real milk and come along in."

It was rather a composite restaurant. There was a glassed-in balcony with
tables and chairs; and all around there were puttees, handkerchiefs,
paper-weights, inkstands, wrist-watches and electric torches. There were
loose-leaved pocket diaries of abominable ingenuity (irresistible to
Adjutants); collars and ties to clothe the neck of man, and soap to wash it
withal. Hair lotions, safety-razors, _pâté de foie gras_, sponges and
writing-pads jostled each other on the shelves. Walking-sticks and bottles
of champagne lay in profusion on the floor. It was less of a restaurant
than an emporium, but the Doctor sat down contentedly and rang the bell;
and the War Babe threw out battle patrols to reconnoitre the position.

He passed unscathed through the barrage of sticks and diaries; evaded
skilfully the indirect fire of electric torches; reached his first
objective among the soap-boxes, and there met his fate.

"Doctor," he demanded suddenly, "what's 'savon jollymouse'?"

"Savon," the doctor began didactically, "is a preparation of fatty acids
saponified with alkali. It is principally manufactured from coker-nut oil,
although other similar, if less offensive, substances are sometimes
employed. In the English tongue it is known as 'soap,' and----"

"You idiot," said the War Babe amiably, "I know what 'savon' is. But what's
a 'jollymouse'?"

"A rodent," replied the Doctor--"a small rodent in a state of mental
exhilaration or merriment."

"Rats."

"Yes, the same definition would also apply to rats. _Jolly_ rats, that is
to say."

"You're very bright to-day, Doctor," said the War Babe, "but it doesn't
happen to be that kind of mouse at all. It's j-o-l-i, jolly; m-o-u-s-s-e
----"

"Why didn't you say that before? That's quite different. It's pronounced
moose--zholimoose."

The War Babe sniffed.

"I don't believe you know what it means any more than I do."

"Son of Mars," the Doctor answered gravely, "you are measuring my ignorance
by your own--a great mistake. As a matter of fact that word is put on the
packet simply to deceive unwary Babes. It has nothing whatever to do with
soap."

"Well, since you know so much," said the War Babe, closing with his
opponent, "what _is_ a jollymouse or whatever you call it?"

"A zholimoose, my dear," the Doctor began, "is very hard to describe and
has to be seen to be believed. A War Babe would probably not recognise one
if he saw it. To give you a rough idea, however, it is an airy Will-o'-the-
wispish----"

The bell had done its work at last, and there suddenly entered by an inner
door a fair-haired, fair-skinned French girl almost too pretty to be real.
The Doctor paused with his eyes on her and then his face lit up with
triumph.

"Gentlemen," he said, in a low vibrating tone, "behold the zholimoose.
Hush. It will probably come closer if you don't frighten it."

"Have you got the landing-net?" whispered James hoarsely.

"Yes. And the killing bottle. It's this War Babe I'm afraid of. He's sure
to scare it. Don't glare at her like that, War Babe. Pretend you're a
soap-box."

She hovered on the threshold. It seemed touch and go... and then the War
Babe broke the ice in his choicest French.

"Mademoiselle!"

"Messieurs!" She came daintily forward and looked inquiries at us all.

"Tay avec--er bread-and-butter, si-vooplay," the Doctor ground out in his
execrable lingo. "And--er--I never can remember the French for milk."

"Lait?" I suggested.

"That's it. Now, Mademoiselle-lay. But not canned stuff. Vray lay."

Her eyes grew wider and wider at this strange jargon.

"Comment, M'sieur?"

"Vray lay."

"I suppose you mean lait an naturel," growled James.

"Du lait frais," I hazarded.

"Ah. Comprends. C'est triste. Pas de lait frais. Les hôpitaux prennent
tout."

"No milk?" wailed the Doctor. He looked fixedly at the table and one saw
from the movement of his lips that he was mustering his forces for another
plunge into the language. Meanwhile the War Babe, whose eyes had not left
the girl's face, ventured again on the thin ice of speech.

"Mademoiselle," he began hesitatingly.

"Oui, M'sieur." She turned to him, the picture of rapt attention.

"Où est la jollymouse--moose, I mean?"

She looked from one to another of us in perplexity.

"Qu'est ce qu'il veut dire?" she asked.

"Il veut voir la jolimousse," we explained, and the War Babe held out the
soap-box, pointing with expressive pantomime to the words on it. Her eyes
twinkled appreciatively.

"Nous--nous supposerons que--vous êtes--la jolimouse," said the War Babe
slowly, choosing his words with care.

"Bien sûr," James added affirmatively.

"Moi?" She rippled with laughter. "Oh non. Attendez, Messieurs. Ouait one
mineet." She flitted through the door like some beautiful butterfly, and in
a moment returned with the smallest, softest, warmest lump of blue-grey fur
nestling against her. It was a tiny blue Persian kitten.

"Voilà!" she said, caressing it tenderly, "la jolimousse." She handed it
gravely to the War Babe, who received it with almost reverend care.

It seems perhaps a little worldly to return to the subject of tea, but
doctors are worldly creatures. However, at this point the doom of the gods
descended, for there was no tea to be obtained, only coffee; no bread-and-
butter, only little hard biscuits; and the cups, though certainly china,
were but little larger than liqueur-glasses. But one of us at least was
impervious to disappointments. The War Babe sat silently, with the kitten
in his lap, like a seer of visions, until, just as we were about to leave,
an impulse suddenly galvanized him. "I'll pay," he said, and marched into
the inner room....

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Victim._ "CONFOUND YOUR DOG, MADAM! IT'S NEARLY BITTEN A
PIECE OUT OF MY LEG."

_Owner_ (_distressed_). "I AM TRULY SORRY, SIR. NAUGHTY LITTLE DAPHNE!
AFTER ALL MY EFFORTS TO MAKE WEDNESDAY YOUR MEATLESS DAY."]

       *       *       *       *       *

DOMESTIC STRATEGY.

_Mr. Meanly._ My dear, I see that _The People's Adviser_ is inviting its
readers to send details of their individual food reforms for publication.
_Pour encourager les autres._ Just tell me what our rules are.

_Mrs. Meanly._ Certainly, dear. We have meat only on two days a week;
potatoes only on two days a week (_and so on_).

_Mr. Meanly._ Good. I will write a letter. And then the day after it
appears in print you might send out invitations to dinner. There are a lot
of arrears to make up and we'll clear them off now. Say a series of three
parties.

_Mrs. Meanly._ But, dear, ought we to do it in war-time?

_Mr. Meanly._ After the publication of our system of meals, it will be
quite safe to send the invitations, my love.

       *       *       *       *       *

A CURRENT EVENT.

Years ago Mr. Punch, in a moment of inspiration (I wrote the article
myself), suggested that some benevolent American millionaire might alter
the course of the Gulf Stream so that it flowed right round these islands.
In the eye of imagination he saw date palms bordering the Strand, costers
sitting under their own banana trees, and stately cavalcades of camels
bearing wearied City men to Balham or Putney. (Unhappily he could not look
so far into the future as to forecast the allotment holders returning home
laden with sugar-canes).

Now a writer in _The Times_ suggests that the chill of the present season
is due to the effect of the Panama Canal on the Gulf Stream. This is an
insidious attempt to make bad blood between ourselves and our new allies.
We could only feel the bitterest hostility towards anyone in any way
responsible for the present season. Why, this spring has spread such
devastation through the land that writers of nature notes have been unable
to pay their plumbers' bills.

But while we repudiate the implication of American responsibility we think
it well to be absolutely on the safe side; so we suggest that it would be a
friendly act, and consonant with the new spirit of alliance, if she would
kindly keep the Panama Canal plugged for the next few weeks. One would like
to make sure of hearing the cuckoo in Victory Year.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Only ninety-two pigs came to Vienna's Easter market, of which ninety-
    four were allotted to hospitals."--_Daily Mail._

The two extra ones, it is understood, came from HINDENBURG'S "strategic
reserve."

       *       *       *       *       *

    "It is expected that an official announcement will shortly be made of a
    scheme which will put practically the whole of the topmaking industry
    of Bradford at the disposal of the Government."--_Daily Telegraph._

That ought to make things hum.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Napoleon was desolated were he left in the same room with a cat ...
    but he was not in the least afraid of being alone in the same room with
    Anne of Austria, whose claws were of a far more formidable capacity."--
    _West Australian._

NAPOLEON'S intrepidity may have been due to his knowledge that ANNE of
Austria died about a century before he was born.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "MY POOR REGINALD IS IN 'ORSPITAL WITH RHEUMATICS IN HIS
LEGS. THE SCOTCH COSTUME, YOU KNOW."]

       *       *       *       *       *

AT THE PLAY.

"THE OLD LADY SHOWS HER MEDALS."

_Mrs. Dowey_ (actually a virgin spinster), felt herself out of it because
she had no son at the Front to talk about. I gathered that it was not so
much a case of unsatisfied yearning for motherhood, as that she wanted to
hold her own with the other charwomen who were represented in the trenches.
So she assumed the relationship of an anonymous _marraine_ towards a
certain unknown namesake in the Black Watch, and made boastful pretence of
having received letters from her son.

Suddenly she is confronted with this _Private Dowey_, home on leave--a
lonely soldier with no family ties. The joy that she had taken in her
imagined sense of proprietorship is dashed by fear of exposure and of
possible resentment on his part. At first he treats her intrusion almost
brutally, but is soon mollified by the offer of food and other hospitality;
and by the time his leave is up he has developed an almost filial regard
for her. Their parting is as the parting of a tender-hearted mother and a
rather unemotional son. The pathos of this scene, though designed and
interpreted with a very sensitive restraint, was comparatively obvious--a
commonplace, indeed, of these heart-rending days. There was a far more
subtle and original note of pathos in the contrast between the brusque
humour of the man's casual acceptance of the situation and the timorous,
adoring, dog-like devotion of the woman. Here tears and laughter were never
far apart.

I could wish that the impression left by this picture had not been a little
spoiled by the final scene, in which she lingers lovingly over the medals
and uniform of the dead soldier. No good purpose, dramatic or other, was
served by this gratuitous appendage to a finished work of art.

Miss JEAN CADELL was simply wonderful; and Mr. MULCASTER, as _Private
Dowey_, typically Scottish in his cautious reservations, was admirable. Mr.
EDGAR WOOD played capably as one of our many eligible but non-combatant
clergymen; and the chorus of aggressively humorous charwomen, though
perhaps they had rather too much to say, said it very well.

[Illustration: "SEVEN WOMEN" AND ONE SAILOR.

_Leonora_ ... Miss IRENE VANBRUGH.

_Captain Rattray, R.N_ ... MR. GORDON ASH.]

Sir JAMES BARRIE'S other one-Act play, _Seven Women_ (all rolled into one),
suffered, as might be expected, from compression. _Leonora_ had to be a
clinging motherly creature, a desperate flirt, a gifted humourist, a woman
without humour, a murderess (out of an old play by the same author), and
two other types which escape me. In the course of about a quarter of an
hour she had to give a succinct _précis_ of the different moods which her
versatile personality might in actual life conceivably have assumed if she
had had a month to do it in. Miss IRENE VANBRUGH, with her swift humour and
her skill as a quick-change artist, naturally revelled in this _tour de
force_, and, thanks to her, the author came very near to being justified of
his caprice.

Between these two plays was sandwiched Mr. A.A. MILNE'S

"WURZEL-FLUMMERY."

There was never any doubt about the freshness and spontaneity of Mr.
MILNE'S humour. The only question was whether an author so fastidiously
unstagey, who never underlines his intentions, would be able to accommodate
himself to the conditions of a medium that discourages the elliptical
method. Well, he did it, and very artfully. He began by making concessions
to the habits of his new audience. He wouldn't try them too high at first.
In the person of _Robert Crawshaw, M.P._ (Mr. NIGEL PLAYFAIR), he
introduced them to a more or less conventional type--exposed, it is true,
to a very unusual test of character but dealing with it as such a type was
bound to deal. Then, having inspired confidence, he created a rarer
atmosphere, and in _Denis Clifton_, a blend of solicitor and play-wright,
he produced a figure of fantasy whose delightfully irresponsible humour
might have found his audience a little shy at an earlier stage. There was a
real note of distinction, extraordinarily well maintained, in _Clifton's_
dialogue with _Crawshaw_ and the boy-clerk, and Mr. MILNE was particularly
fortunate to have the part interpreted by Mr. DION BOUCICAULT, who
developed qualities undreamed of in my previous estimation of his gifts.

When that inveterate cynic, _Anthony Clifton_, made a will (it is not Mr.
MILNE'S fault that, since he wrote his play before going out to the Front,
we have had two others turning on eccentric bequests) leaving £50,000 each
to two perfect strangers on the condition that they adopted the
preposterous name of Wurzel-Flummery, he hoped to have the grim
satisfaction of witnessing, from the grave, an exhibition of human
weakness. Of the two legatees--politicians on opposite sides of the
House--_Crawshaw_, whose whiskers gave him the air of a successful grocer
of the mid-Victorian period, found reasons sufficiently convincing to
himself for accepting the testator's terms; while _Richard Meriton_, who
had little besides his salary as an M.P., took the high line of proper
pride and declared his determination to refuse. Mr. MILNE, by the way, did
not specify the respective politics of these two, but I judge, from my
knowledge of his own, that _Crawshaw_ was meant to be a Tory and _Meriton_
a Liberal.

The latter eventually succumbed to pressure on the part of _Crawshaw's_
daughter, who cared nothing for names so long as she could marry the man of
her choice--a prospect denied to her by her father, who thought little of
poor men. Meanwhile _Meriton's_ lofty attitude of general contempt for
money, and particular contempt for it when offered on degrading terms, gave
scope for a little serious relief.

[Illustration: THE POLITICIAN AT HOME.

_Robert Crawshaw, M.P_ ... MR. NIGEL PLAYFAIR.

_Mrs. Crawshaw_ ... MISS HELEN HAYE.]

There are, of course, more ways of viewing the question than could be
compressed into so short a play. Myself, I confess to a sneaking sympathy
with the standpoint of _Crawshaw_. Money for him did not mean mere
self-indulgence; it meant outward show--a house in a better neighbourhood,
a more expensive car, a higher status in the opinion of his world--all the
things that somehow help in what is called a career. By accepting the fifty
thousand pounds he would gain something in the public eye; by assuming the
name of Wurzel-Flummery he would lose something. He weighed the two against
one another, and concluded that he would gain more than he would lose. This
argument furnished a good enough motive according to his lights.

_Meriton_, on the other hand, after professing to prefer a clean heart to
filthy lucre, is persuaded by _Violet Crawshaw_, who argues that he would
surely make any sacrifice to save her from starving, and she was starving
for love. So he yields, saying, in effect, to Honour, "I love thee, dear; I
love thee much; but I love _Violet_ more." Incidentally he takes care to
overlook the fact that he was not nobly suffering an indignity for the sake
of a great cause--such, let us say, as the founding of a hospital--but that
he himself stood to gain at least as much as the girl. I am almost afraid
that _Meriton_ was a bit of a hypocrite. Certainly, in view of his exalted
standards, he came out of the business worse than _Crawshaw_ did. Perhaps,
after all, Mr. MILNE meant him to be a Tory.

But I must not exploit the pleasant field of casuistry opened up by the
author's theme, but content myself with complimenting him very heartily on
his share of this triple bill, in which, at the first attempt, he held his
own in the company of so experienced an artist as Sir JAMES BARRIE. I ought
to add that he had an excellent cast, very quick to appreciate and
reproduce the iridescent gaiety of his humour.

O.S.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "MOTORS & CYCLES.

    Wanted to purchase a few good 1916 laying Pullets."--_South Bucks Free
    Press._

Having regard to the second item in the heading a correspondent suggests
that "Pullets" is a misprint for "Pushits."

       *       *       *       *       *

From a feuilleton:--

    She had not wanted to come at all, for she avoided everyone now. But
    Olive had begged her, with ears in her eyes."--_Daily Paper._

If _Olive_ was, as we are inclined to suppose, a flapper, she was
remarkably well equipped.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _The Padre._ OWING TO A COLD, PRIVATE STAYER WILL NOT BE
ABLE TO SING 'FROM SATURDAY NIGHT TILL MONDAY MORNING' AS INTENDED, BUT
SERGEANT STICKETT HAS KINDLY CONSENTED TO PLAY 'FOR ALL ETERNITY,' AND AS
IT WILL THEM BE GETTING! RATHER LATE WE WILL CONCLUDE WITH THE NATIONAL
ANTHEM."]

       *       *       *       *       *

OUR BOOKING-OFFICE.

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

_The Life of Algernon Charles Swinburne_ (MACMILLAN) is a book that may be
regarded as filling, at least partially, what has long been an aching void
in our biographical shelves. I say partially, because the time has not
perhaps fully come for an unreserved appreciation of a character whose
handling must present exceptional difficulties. One cannot but notice how
many obstacles Mr. EDMUND GOSSE has had to overcome, or avoid, in the
present volume. The result inevitably is a certain sense of over-discretion
that makes the whole study so detached as to be at times lacking in
vitality. Even, however, with these reservations the figure of the poet
stands out, bewildering as it must have been in life, with its strange
blend of frailty and genius. Stories abound also (sometimes one suspects
Mr. GOSSE of having fallen back upon anecdote with an air of relief); they
range from the early days of brilliant "failures" at Eton and Balliol to
those when in the watchful security of Putney the lamp was guarded by hands
so zealous that its flame was ultimately extinguished. Two of the tales
remain pleasantly in my memory, one of them describing how young ALGERNON,
lately sent down from Oxford and a pupil at the rectory of the future
Bishop STUBBS, scared away his host's rustic congregation by leaning upon
the garden-gate one Sunday morning, looking, with his red-gold hair and
scarlet dressing-gown, like some "flaming apparition." The other, less
picturesque but more credible, has also a bishop in it, and concerns an
untimely recitation of _Les Noyades_. I will leave you to find this for
yourself in a book that forms at least an interesting, if not altogether
final, study of a fascinating subject.

       *       *       *       *       *

For an old hand BENJAMIN SWIFT shows a poor discretion in crowding too many
characters into his pages to allow of anything like adequate
characterisation, and indeed, in _What Lies Beneath_ (CHAPMAN AND HALL), he
is too much concerned with his main purpose of tract-making to be
sufficiently interested in the subsidiary business of good story-telling. A
_Mr. Ravendale_, an unpleasant, hoary-bearded patriarch and opulent seller
of Bibles, who has buried three wives and lives in a fat Bloomsbury house
with the collected offspring of his three marriages, and one or two
step-children thrown in, is haunted by a doubt as to whether the beautiful
_Ruby Delmore_, daughter of the widow _Delmore_, his second wife, is also
the daughter of the late _Mr. Delmore_ or of himself, whose attitude
towards _Mrs. Delmore_ had not been as correct as that of a seller of
Bibles is reasonably expected to be, especially by people like the author
who don't believe in Bibles. At any rate _Sebastian_, son by the first
marriage, is desperately in love with _Ruby_--so, you see, the old man had
something to worry about. However, it all turns out to be, in fact, mere
illusion, developing into a fatal monomania, and the family business is
left to be carried on by such of the next generation as have not been
convinced by the formidable array of evidence, anti-Theistic and anti-
Christian, of two of the characters (who, it is clear, have sedulously read
the same books). _Sebastian_ loses his faith apparently because he has been
distressed by the sight of a wounded horse in the great War, as if it were
necessary to wait for the great War for this kind of a difficulty! A
certain rough earnestness lies beneath this rather crude presentment of a
world-old problem. But I wonder how much of the honest patriotism which
fills the book would survive a rationalism as perverse and shallow as Mr.
SWIFT applies to traditional faiths. Does he imagine they have no better
defences than those which he puts into the weak mouth of silly _Mr.
Teanby_, the parson?

       *       *       *       *       *

The arrangement of Lady POORE'S new volume of recollections, _An Admiral's
Wife in the Making_ (SMITH, ELDER), reminded me quaintly of certain
romances familiar to my boyhood, in which the fortunes of the hero were
traced from cadetship in aspiring sequence. Because, of course, this is
exactly what happens to the hero of the present book; the chief difference
being that he himself makes only a brief personal appearance therein
(though the chapters in question, formed from letters and diaries of
Commander POORE during the Nile Expedition of '85, are by no means the
least interesting part of the volume). For the rest, one might perhaps call
it a draught of Naval small beer, but a very sparkling beverage and served
with a highly attractive head upon it. To drop metaphor, Lady POORE has
brought together a most entertaining collection of breezy reminiscences of
life ashore and on the ocean wave. There is matter to suit all tastes, from
her recollections of economies in a furnished villa at Paramé, where
chickens were to be bought for thirty-two sous, to more exalted anecdotes
connected with the time when her hero had been advanced as far as the post
of Commander of the Royal Yacht _Victoria and Albert_. It is all kindly
gossip, not ill suited to the best-tempered service in the world.
Especially did I like Lady POORE'S gently maternal attitude towards the
many junior officers who figure very attractively in her pages (_e.g._ the
jovial pic-nic party in the Blue Mountains, who slaked their thirst from
the Government rain-gauge, and thereby disorganised the meteorological
records of Jamaica). Certainly the book could not have appeared in times
more apt to give it a hearty welcome.

       *       *       *       *       *

_The Stars in their Courses_ (UNWIN) is not, as you might possibly suppose,
a work of theatrical history, but just the latest volume in that admirable
series, the First Novel Library. While I am not claiming for it any
startling pre-eminence, it is at least a story of more than ordinary
promise, and one that easily contrived to hold my interest. This is,
perhaps, the more odd, since Miss HILDA M. SHARP has apparently of
deliberate intent called in every one of the three conventions that all
good young novelists are bidden to avoid--the long-nourished revenge, the
missing will, and the super-quixotic self-sacrifice. Naturally the last is
the worst. Thus when old _Mr. Yardley_ (who had, I fancy, more than a touch
of the melodramatic habits of the late _Mr. Dombey_) planned to revenge
himself upon a faithless wife by bringing up his and her son with
extravagant tastes, and leaving him penniless, I winced but endured. When,
repenting of such inhuman intentions, he revoked them by a will, carefully
placed, for subsequent discovery, between the pages of a put-away book, I
still held an undaunted course. But, when _Patrick_, the disinherited
spendthrift, took upon himself, for the thinnest reason, all the blame of
his supplanter's evil doing and kept up this idiotic fraud till the girl of
his heart, and indeed everyone who cared for him, turned their backs in
disdain, then I confess to having felt that Miss SHARP was trying my
forbearance too high. But even so the fact that I could not throw the book
down unfinished seems to show that whoever selects Mr. UNWIN'S _débutantes_
has spotted another winner. If, in short, Miss SHARP will forget all the
novels she may ever have read, and choose for her next story something a
little nearer to life, I believe the result may be remarkable.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Nursing Adventures_, with its sub-title, _A F.A.N.Y. in France_, is a
notable addition to the series of War-literature which is bringing grist to
Messrs. HEINEMANN'S windmill. F.A.N.Y., in case it has you puzzled, means
First Aid Nursing Yeomanry. Starting from one woman this corps now has over
fifty members working in the zone of the armies, and I shall believe that
no one can read of their efficiency and courage without genuine admiration.
This is not an official account of the F.A.N.Y. Corps--that is to come when
the Hun is beaten--but the author has told enough to convince us of the
sound work that has been and is being done by these brave and gentle-
hearted women. Fortunately she has the gift of selection, in spite of a
rather breathless style, which however goes excellently well with a
narrative full of excitement and danger. Here too once more a fine tribute
is paid to the incorrigible courage of the Allies in face of an enemy that
has forgotten the elementary rules of humanity.

       *       *       *       *       *

Those who have sampled any reasonable selection of the eighty or so
published works of "KATHARINE TYNAN" will know what pleasant fare to expect
in _Kit_ (SMITH, ELDER). _Kit_ is a pretty, red-haired, peasant girl
approved for her gentle ways and honest breeding by Madam of the big house,
and sent, on the advice of one of Mrs. HINKSON'S nice, human, friendly
priests, to a convent for the higher education. She stirs the sentimental
soul of one of the English quality, _Captain Guy Dering_; is plunged into,
and rather chilled by, high-life in the modern English manner, and
eventually goes back to her own people and her girlhood's friend, _Donal
Sheehy_, who returns from America a made man. 'Tis not a chronicle to set
the Liffey afire, but it is wholesome, escapes being mawkish, and may be
confidently recommended for an anxious old person to give to sensitive
young persons--if there be still any such. Mrs. HINKSON, though she loves
her own, is no blind partisan and does not spare her criticism. So that you
get a plausible picture of a kindly decent native Irish folk of all sorts,
not a little helpful in these days of stress and promise.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: A MODEL FOR THE HUNS IN BELGIUM.

HENGIST AND HORSA KINDLY CONSENT TO TAKE PART IN A THREE-LEGGED RACE AT THE
SPORTS IN AID OF THE WIDOWS AND ORPHANS OF THE BRITONS.]

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The bride was attended by her sister and Miss ---- as bridesmaids, all
    being very strongly under the influence of drink.

    Very choice--Brothers' Coffee."--_Provincial Paper._

The last line is reassuring. We were afraid for the moment that it was
something stronger.





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