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Title: Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 152, February 14, 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, February 14, 1917" ***

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PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.

VOL. 152.



February 14th, 1917.



CHARIVARIA.

"We will hold up wheat, we will hold up meat, we will hold up
munitions of war and we will hold up the world's commerce," says Herr
BALLIN. Meanwhile his countrymen on the Western front are content to
hold up their hands.

       ***

It is reported from German Headquarters that the KAISER intends to
confer on Count BERNSTORFF the Iron Cross with white ribbon. This has,
we understand, caused consternation in official circles, where it is
felt that after all the Count has done his best for Germany.

       ***

"We are at war," says the _Berliner Tageblatt_, a statement which only
goes to prove that there is nothing hidden from the great minds of
Germany.

       ***

The report that Mr. HENRY FORD has offered to place his works at the
disposal of the American authorities seems to indicate that he is
determined to get America on his side, one way or the other.

       ***

Mr. S.F. EDGE, the famous motorist, now on the FOOD CONTROLLER'S
staff, has given it as his opinion that a simple outdoor life is best
for pigs. We are ashamed to say that our own preference for excluding
them from our drawing-room has hitherto been dictated by purely
selfish motives.

       ***

America is making every preparation for a possible war, and Mexico,
not to be outdone, has decided to hold a Presidential election.

       ***

It is true that Mr. GEORGE BERNARD SHAW has visited the Front, but too
little has, we think, been made of the fact that he wore khaki--just
like an ordinary person, in fact.

       ***

A sensational story reaches us to the effect that a new journalistic
enterprise in Berlin is being devoted to the "reliable reporting of
news." We have always maintained that to be successful in business you
must strike out on original lines.

       ***

An exhibition of Zeppelin wreckage has been opened in the Middle
Temple Gardens. The authorities are said to be considering an offer
confidentially communicated to them by the German Government to add
Count ZEPPELIN as an exhibit to the rest of the wreckage.

       ***

Members of the Honor Oak Golf Club are starting a piggery on their
course, and an elderly golfer who practises on a common near London is
about to write to _The Spectator_ to state that on Saturday he started
a rabbit.

       ***

The American Association for the Advance of Science decided at a
recent convocation that the ape had descended from man. This statement
has evoked a very strong protest in monkey circles.

       ***

The tuck-shops of Harrow have been loyally placed out of bounds by
the boys themselves, though of course these establishments, like the
playing fields of Eton, had their part in the winning of Waterloo.

       ***

One of our large restaurants is printing on its menus the actual
weight of meat used in each dish. In others, fish is being put on the
table accompanied by its own scales.

       ***

We are requested to carry home our own purchases, and one of the
firms for whom we feel sorry is Messrs. FURNESS, WITHY & COMPANY, of
Liverpool, who have just purchased Passage Docks, Cork.

       ***

Australia by organising her Commonwealth Loan Group, once again lives
up to her motto, "Advance, Australia."

       ***

The Coroner of East Essex having set the example of keeping pigs in
his rose garden, it is rumoured that _The Daily Mail_ contemplates
offering a huge prize for a Standard Rose-Scented Pig.

       ***

To be in line with many of our contemporaries we are able to state
definitely that the War is bound to come to an end, though we have not
yet fixed on the exact date.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: FOOD DEVELOPMENT IN THE PARKS.

A FORECAST OF NEXT VALENTINE'S DAY.

_Spinster_ (_reads_). "Dearest, meet me by the scarecrow in Hyde
Park."]

       *       *       *       *       *

AIR-CASTLES.

  When I grow up to be a man and wear whate'er I please,
  Black-cloth and serge and Harris-tweed--I will have none of these;
  For shaggy men wear Harris-tweed, so Harris-tweed won't do,
  And fat commercial travellers are dressed in dingy blue;
  Lack-lustre black to lawyers leave and sad souls in the City,
  But I'll wear Linsey-Woolsey because it sounds so pretty.
    I don't know what it looks like,
      I don't know how it feels,
    But Linsey-Woolsey to my fancy
      Prettily appeals.

  And when I find a lovely maid to settle all my cash on,
  She will be much too beautiful to need the gauds of fashion.
  No tinted tulle or taffeta, no silk or crêpe-de-chine
  Will the maiden of my fancy wear--no chiffon, no sateen,
  No muslin, no embroidery, no lace of costly price,
  But she'll be clad in Dimity because it sounds so nice.
    I don't know what it looks like,
      I do not know its feel,
    But a dimpled maid in Dimity
      Was ever my ideal.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE LAST MENU CARD.

    "To-day is one of the great moments of history. Germany's last
    card is on the table. It is war to the knife. Either she starves
    Great Britain or Great Britain starves her."

    _Mr. Curtin in "The Times."_

Mr. CURTIN has lost a great chance for talking of "War to the
knife-and-fork." Possibly he was away in Germany at the time when this
_jeu d'esprit_ was invented.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The Canadian papers are unanimous that the German peace proposals
    are premature, and will be refused saskatoon."

    _Examiner_ (_Launceston, Tasmania_).

We had not heard before that Germany had asked for Saskatoon, but
anyway we are glad she is not going to get it.

       *       *       *       *       *

From a schoolgirl's essay:--

    "The Reconnaissance was the time when people began to wake up ...
    Friar Jelicoe was a very great painter; he painted angles."

Probably an ancestor of the gallant gentleman who recently had a brush
with the enemy.

       *       *       *       *       *

TACTLESS TACTICS.

  Were I a burglar in the dock
    With every chance of doing time,
  With Justice sitting like a rock
    To hear a record black with crime;
  If my conviction seemed a cert,
    Yet, by a show of late repentance,
  I thought I might, with luck, avert
    A simply crushing sentence;--

  I should adopt, by use of art,
    A pensive air of new-born grace,
  In hope to melt the Bench's heart
    And mollify its awful face;
  I should not go and run amok,
    Nor in a fit of senseless fury
  Punch the judicial nose or chuck
    An inkpot at the jury.

  So with the Hun: you might assume
    He would exert his homely wits
  To mitigate the heavy doom
    That else would break him all to bits;
  Yet he behaves as one possessed,
    Rampaging like a bull of Bashan,
  Which, as I think, is not the best
    Means of conciliation.

  For when the wild beast, held and bound,
    Ceases to plunge and rave and snort,
  The Bench, I hope, will pass some sound
    Remarks on this contempt of court;
  The plea for mercy, urged too late,
    Should prove a negligible cipher,
  And when the sentence seals his fate
    He'll get at least a lifer.

O.S.

       *       *       *       *       *

HEART-TO-HEART TALKS.

(_The KAISER and Count BERNSTORFF._)

_The Kaiser_ (_concluding a tirade_). And so, in spite of my
superhuman forbearance, this is what it has come to. Germany is
smacked in the face in view of the whole world--yes, I repeat it, is
smacked in the face, and by a nation which is not a nation at all, but
a sweeping together of the worst elements in all the other nations,
a country whose navy is ludicrous and whose army does not exist; and
you, Count, have the audacity to come here into my presence and tell
me that, with the careful instructions given to you by my Government
and by myself, you were not able to prevent such an end to the
negotiations? It is a thing that cannot be calmly contemplated. Even
I, who have learnt perhaps more thoroughly than other men to govern my
temper--even I feel strangely moved, for I know how deplorable will be
the effect of this on our Allies and on the other neutral Powers.
Our enemies, too, will be exalted by it and thus the War will be
prolonged. No, Count, at such a moment one does not appear before
one's Emperor with a smiling face.

_Count B._ God knows, your Majesty, that it is not I who have a
smiling face. At such a moment there could be no reason for it. But
your Majesty will remember, in justice to myself, that I have not
ceased to warn your Majesty from the very beginning that unless
something actual and definite was conceded to the feeling of the
United States trouble would surely come. First there was the treatment
of Belgium--

_The Kaiser_. Bah! Don't talk to me of Belgium and the Belgians. No
more ungrateful race has ever infested the earth. Besides, did I not
say that my heart bled for Louvain?

_Count B._ The Americans, your Majesty, had the bad taste not to
believe you. It was in vain that I spread those gracious words of
yours broadcast throughout the land. They only laughed at your
Majesty.

_The Kaiser_. Yes, I know they did, curse them.

_Count B._ Then there came the deplorable sinking of the _Lusitania_.

_The Kaiser_. Oh, don't speak to me of the _Lusitania_. I'm sick to
death of the very name. Besides, how do you dare to call her sinking
deplorable? I authorised it; that ought to be enough for you and for
everybody else.

_Count B._ I beg your Majesty's pardon. When I said "deplorable" I was
alluding not so much to the act itself as to its effect on opinion in
the United States. From that moment the Americans stiffened in their
attitude towards us and became definitely and strongly unfavourable.
I warned your Majesty of this over and over again, but your Majesty
preferred to disregard what I said.

_The Kaiser_. And have you any complaint to make? Is your opinion of
yourself so high that one may not without sacrilege disregard your
opinion?

_Count B._ Your Majesty is pleased to jest. I am not infallible, not
being an Emperor, but I happen in this case to have been right. And
then on the top of all the other things comes the Note announcing the
new under-sea policy, and the ridiculous offer to allow the Americans
to be safe in one ship a week, provided she is painted in a certain
way. No, really, with a proud nation--

_The Kaiser_. Proud! A race of huckstering money-grubbers.

_Count B._ With a proud nation--I must repeat it, your Majesty--such
a course must lead straight to war. But perhaps that was what your
advisers wanted, though I cannot see why they should want it. But for
myself I must ask your Majesty to remember that I foretold what has
come to pass. There is perhaps yet time to undo the mischief.

_The Kaiser_. No, it is too late.

       *       *       *       *       *

AS OTHERS SEE US.

The General Officer Commanding, as he appears to:

(1) _His Chief of Staff_.--The one insuperable obstacle to tactical
triumphs such as CÆSAR and NAPOLEON never knew.

(2) _His youngest A.D.C._--A perpetual fountain of unsterilized
language.

(3) _Certain Subalterns_.--The greatest man on earth.

(4) _Tommy Atkins_.--A benevolent old buffer in scarlet and gold who
periodically takes an inexplicable interest in Tommy's belt and brass
buttons. An excuse for his sergeant's making him present arms.

(5) _The British Public_.--A name in the newspapers.

(6) _Himself_.--(_a_) Before dinner: An unfortunate, overworked and
ill-used old man. (_b_) After dinner: England's hope and Sir WILLIAM
ROBERTSON'S right hand.

(7) _His Wife_.--A very lovable, but helpless, baby.

       *       *       *       *       *

From an Indian teacher's report on the progress of his school:--

    "A sad experience. Spirits for a time were very high. Our menials
    talked of exploits and masters of glory in store. But soon the
    famines set in. The treachery of the elements ravished the hopes
    of agriculturists, the major portion of the supporters of the ----
    school. The puffs of misery bleached white the flush of early and
    latter times; dinner-hours grew few and far between; and with the
    Sun of Loaf sank all wakefulness to light and culture."

This last feature sounds a little like Berlin.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: RATIONAL SERVICE.

JOHN BULL. "SACRIFICE INDEED! WHY, I'M FEELING FITTER EVERY MINUTE,
AND I'VE STILL PLENTY OF WEIGHT TO SPARE."]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "HOW THIS EGG GOT PAST THE FOOD CONTROLLER I CAN'T
IMAGINE."]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE THREE DICTATORS.

(_Being a tragedy of the moment and incidentally a guide to the art of
handing out correspondence to the typist._)

I.

There are, of course, as many styles of dictating letters as there
are of writing them; but three stand out. One is the Indignant
Confidential; one the Hesitant Tactful; and one the No-Nonsense
Efficient. Bitter experience in three orderly London houses only a day
or so ago chances to have led to such complete examples of each of
these styles that the reader has the felicity of acquiring at the same
time a valuable insight into business methods and a glimpse of what
Nature in the person of Jack Frost can do with even the best regulated
of cities.

We will take first the Hesitant Tactful, where the typist is not
merely considered as a human being but invited to become an ally. The
dictator is Mr. Vernon Crombie.

"Oh, Miss Carruthers, there's a letter I want to dictate and get off
by hand at once, because my house isn't fit to live in through burst
pipes. The plumbers promised to send yesterday, but didn't, and to-day
they can't come, it seems, and really it's most serious. Ceilings
being ruined, you know. The bore is that there aren't any other
plumbers that I know of, and one is so at the mercy of these people
that we must go very delicately. You understand. We mustn't say a word
to set their backs up any higher than they already are. Anger's no
good in this case. Here we must be tactful, and I want you to help me.
I knew you would.

Now we'll begin. _To Messrs. Morrow & Hope. Dear Sirs,--I hate_--no,
that's a little too strong, perhaps--_I much dislike_--that's
better--_I much dislike to bother you at a time when I know you must
be overworked in every direction_--you see the idea, don't you? What
we've got to do is to get on their soft side. It's no use bullyragging
them; understanding their difficulties is much better. You see that,
don't you? Of course; I knew you would. Now then. Where was I?
Oh yes--_overworked in every direction; but if, as you promised
yesterday, but unfortunately were unable_--I think that's good, don't
you? Much better than saying that they had broken their promise--_to
manage, you could spare a man to attend to our pipes without further
delay_--I think you might underline _without further delay_. Would
that be safe, I wonder? Yes, I think so--_I should be more than
grateful._ And now there's a problem. What I have been pondering is if
it would be wise to offer to pay an increased charge. I'd do anything
to get the pipes mended, but, on the other hand, it's not a sound
precedent. A state of society in which everyone bid against everyone
else for the first services of the plumber would be unbearable. Only
the rich would ever be plumbed, and very soon the plumbers would be
the millionaires. Perhaps we had better let the letter go as it is?
You think so and I think so. Very well then, just _Believe me, yours
faithfully_, and I'll sign it."

And now the Indignant and Confidential. Mr. Horace Bristowe is
dictative: "Ah, here you are, Miss Tappit. Now I've got trouble with
the plumbers, and I want to give the blighters--well, I can't say it
to you, but you know what I mean. There's my house dripping at every
pore, or rather pouring at every drip--I say, that's rather good; I
must remember that to tell them this evening. Just put that down on a
separate piece of paper, will you. Well, here's the place all soaked
and not a man can I get. They promised to send on Tuesday, they
promised to send yesterday, and this morning comes a note saying that
they can't now send till to-morrow. What do you think of that? And
they have worked for me for years. Years I've been employing them.

"Let's begin, anyway. _To Messrs. Tarry & Knott. Dear Sirs_--No, I'm
hanged if I'll call them dear. Ridiculous convention! They're not
dear--except in their charges. I say, that's not bad. No, just put
_Gentlemen_. But that's absurd too. They're not gentlemen, the swine!
They're anything but gentlemen, they're blackguards, swindlers, liars.
Seriously, Miss Tappit, I ask you, isn't it monstrous? Here am I, an
old customer, with burst pipes doing endless damage, and they can't
send anyone till to-morrow. Really, you know, it's the limit. I know
about the War and all that. I make every allowance. But I still say
it's the limit. Well, we must put the thing in the third person, I
suppose, if I'm not to call them either 'dear' or 'gentlemen.' _Mr.
Horace Bristowe presents his comp_--Good Heavens! he does nothing of
the kind--_Mr. Horace Bristowe begs to_--Begs! Of course I don't beg.
This really is becoming idiotic. Can't one write a letter like an
honest man, instead of all this flunkey business? Begin again: _To
Messrs. Tarry & Nott. Mr. Horace Bristowe considers that he has been
treated with a lack of consideration_--no, we can't have 'considers'
and 'consideration' so near together. What's another word for
'consideration'?--_treated with a lack of--a lack of_--Well, we'll
keep 'consideration' and alter 'considers.' Begin again: _Mr. Horace
Bristowe thinks_--no, that's not strong enough--_believes_--no. Ah,
I've got it--_Mr. Horace Bristowe holds that he has been treated by
you with a lack of consideration which_--I wonder if 'which' is better
than 'that'--_a lack of consideration that, considering his long_--no,
we can't have 'considering' just after 'consideration'--_that_--no,
_which--which--in view of his long record as_--What I want to say is
that it's an infernal shame that after all these years, in which I've
put business in their way and paid them scores of pounds, they should
treat me in this scurvy fashion, that's what I mean. The swine! I tell
you, Miss Tappit, it's infamous. I--(and so on).

The No-Nonsense Efficient businessman, so clear-headed and capable
that it is his continual surprise that he is not in the Cabinet
without the preliminary of an election, handles his correspondence
very differently. He presses a button for Miss Pether. She is really
Miss Carmichael, but it is a rule in this model office that the typist
takes a dynastic name, and Pether now goes with the typewriter, just
as all office-boys are William. Miss Pether arrives with her pad and
pencil and glides swiftly and noiselessly to her seat and looks up
with a face in which mingle eagerness, intelligence, loyalty and
knowledge of her attainments.

"_To Messrs. Promises & Brake_, says the business man,--_Gentlemen
comma the pipes at my house were not properly mended by your man
yesterday comma and there is still a leakage comma which is causing
both damage and inconvenience full stop Please let me have comma in
reply to this comma an assurance that someone shall be sent round at
once dash in a taxi comma if necessary full stop. If such an assurance
cannot be given comma I shall call in another firm and refuse to
pay your account full stop. Since the new trouble is due to your
employee's own negligence comma I look to you to give this job
priority over all others full stop. My messenger waits full stop. I am
comma yours faithfully comma._ Let me have it at once and tell the boy
to get a taxi."

II.

None of the plumbers sent any men.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE BROTHERS TINGO, WHO ARE EXEMPTED FROM MILITARY
SERVICE, DO THEIR BIT BY HELPING TO TRAIN LADIES WHO ARE GOING ON THE
LAND.]

       *       *       *       *       *

    "In some courts the carrying of matches has been regarded as a
    light offence, but this will not be the case in future."--_Irish
    Times._

We note the implied rebuke to the jester on the Bench.

       *       *       *       *       *

SONGS OF FOOD-PRODUCTION.

II.

  Mustard-and-Cress in Mayfair,
    Belgravia's Winter Greens;
  None so nicely as _they_ fare
    Save Cox's Kidney Beans;
  Mustard-and-Cress in boxes,
    Greens in the jardinière,
  And a trellis of Beans at Cox's,
    Facing Trafalgar Square.

  Lady Biffington's daughters
    Are mulching the Greens with Clay;
  Lady Smiffington waters
    The Mustard-and-Cress all day;
  And Cox's cashiers (those oners!)
    Are feeling extremely rash,
  For they're pinching the tips of the Runners
    As they never would pinch your cash.

  Mighty is Mayfair's Mustard,
    The Cress is hardy and hale;
  Belgravia's housemaids dust hard
    To keep the dust from the Kale;
  But Cox's cashiers look solemn,
    For their Beans (which sell by the sack)
  Would cover the Nelson Column
    If they didn't keep pinching them back.

       *       *       *       *       *

"WEATHER AT HEALTH RESORTS.

                            Temp.
             Sunshine.   Max.  Min.     Weather.
Felixstowe      0.0       22    29     Some snow."

_Morning Paper._

And some thermometer.

       *       *       *       *       *

PETHERTON'S DONKEY;

OR, PATRIOTISM AND PUBLICITY.

I hadn't had a letter-writing bout with Petherton for some time, and,
feeling in need of a little relaxation, I seized the opportunity
afforded by Petherton's installing a very noisy donkey in his paddock
adjoining my garden, and wrote to him as follows:--

DEAR MR. PETHERTON,--I do not like making complaints against a
neighbour, as you know, but the new tenant of your field does not seem
to argue a good selection on your part, unless his braying has a more
soothing effect on you than it has on me.

  Yours sincerely,
  HARRY J. FORDYCE.

I was evidently in luck, as I drew Petherton's literary fire at once.

SIR (he wrote),--I should have thought that you would have been the
last person in the world to object to this particular noise. Allow
me to inform you that I purchased the donkey for several family and
personal reasons which cannot possibly concern you.

  Faithfully yours,
  FREDERICK PETHERTON.

I translated this letter rather freely for my own ends, and replied:--

DEAR PETHERTON,--I apologise. I had no idea that the animal was in any
way connected with your family. If it is a poor relation I must say
you are fortunate in being able to fob him (or should it be her?)
off so easily, as he (or she) appears to live a life of comparative
luxury, at little cost, I should imagine, to yourself. I shall be glad
to know whether the animal, in exercising its extraordinary vocal
powers, is calling for his (or her) mate, or merely showing off for
the amusement of your fascinating poultry who share its pleasaunce.

Can't you possibly fit the brute with a silencer, as the noise it
makes is disturbing, especially to me, my study window being very
close to the hedge?

  Yours sincerely,
  HARRY FORDYCE.

P.S.--I am thinking of laying down a bed of poisoned carrots for early
use. Perhaps with your chemical knowledge you can suggest an effective
top-dressing for them.

Petherton rose to the bait and wrote--the same night--as follows:--

SIR,--In your unfortunate correspondence with me you have always shown
yourself better at rudeness than repartee. Did you not learn at school
the weakness of the _tu quoque_ line of argument? You speak of your
study window being near my field. The name "study" suggests literary
efforts. Is it in your case merely a room devoted to the penning of
senseless and impertinent letters to unoffending neighbours, who have
something better to do than waste their time reading and answering
them? I hope this letter will be the last one I shall find it
necessary to write to you.

_Re_ your postscript. Try prussic acid, but pray do not confine it to
the toilets of your carrots. A few drops on the tongue would, I am
sure, make you take a less distorted view of things, and you would
cease to worry over such trifles as the braying of a harmless animal.

  Faithfully yours,
  FREDERICK PETHERTON.

Of course I simply had to reply to this, but made no reference to
the _tu quoque_ question. He had evidently failed to grasp, or had
ignored, the rather obvious suggestion in the last few words of my
first letter on the subject. I wrote:--

MY DEAR CHAP,--Thanks so much for your prompt reply and valuable
information about prussic acid. There was, however, one omission in
the prescription. You didn't say on whose tongue the acid should be
placed. If you meant on the donkey's it seems an excellent idea. I'll
try it, so excuse more now, as the chemist's will be closed in a few
minutes.

  Yours in haste,
  HARRY F.

Petherton was getting angry, and his reply was terse and venomous:--

SIR,--Yes, I did mean the donkey's. It will cure both his stupid
braying and his habit of writing absurd and childish letters.

But if you poison _my_ donkey it will cost you a good deal more than
you will care to pay, especially in war-time.

It is a pity you're too old for the army; you might have been shot by
now.

  Faithfully yours,
  FREDERICK PETHERTON.

I had now got on to my fourth speed, and dashed off this reply:--

DEAR FREDDY,--I like you in all your moods, but positively adore you
when you are angry. As a matter of fact I am very fond of what are so
absurdly known as dumb animals, and am glad now that the chemist's was
closed last night before I decided whether to go there or not. BALAAM
himself would have been proud to own your animal. It roused me from
my bed this morning with what was unmistakably a very fine asinine
rendering of the first few bars of "The Yeoman's Wedding," but
unfortunately it lost the swing of it before the end of the first
verse.

  Yours as ever,
  HARRY.

Petherton gave up the contest; but I let him have a final tweak after
seeing the announcement of his splendid and public-spirited action to
help on the War Food scheme.

DEAR OLD BOY (I wrote),--How stupid you must have thought me all this
time! Only when I learnt from the paragraph in this morning's _Surbury
Examiner_ that, in response to the suggestion of the Rural District
Council, you have lent your field to the poor people of the
neighbourhood for growing War Food did I realise the meaning of the
dulcet-toned donkey's presence in your field.

The growing of more food at the present time is an absolute necessity,
but it was left to you to discover this novel method of proclaiming to
Surbury that here in its midst was land waiting to be put to really
useful purpose.

I do not know which to admire the more, your patriotism or the
ingenuity displayed in your selection of so admirable a mouthpiece
from among your circle of friends.

  Yrs.,
  H.

Petherton has left it at that.

       *       *       *       *       *

NURSERY RHYMES OF LONDON TOWN.

(SECOND SERIES.)

XVIII.

BAYSWATER.

  The Bays came down to water--
    Neigh! Neigh! Neigh!
  And there they found the Brindled Mules--
    Bray! Bray! Bray!
  "How dare you muddy the Bays' water
    That was as clear as glass?
  How dare you drink of the Bays' water,
    You children of an Ass?"

  "Why shouldn't we muddy your water?
    Neigh! Neigh! Neigh!
  Why shouldn't we drink of your water,
    Pray, pray, pray?
  If our Sire was a Coster's Donkey
    Our Dam was a Golden Bay,
  And the Mules shall drink of the Bays' water
    Every other day!"

XIX.

KENTISH TOWN.

  As I jogged by a Kentish Town
    Delighting in the crops,
  I met a Gipsy hazel-brown
    With a basketful of hops.

  "You Sailor from the Dover Coast
    With your blue eyes full of ships,
  Carry my basket to the oast
    And I'll kiss you on the lips."

  Once she kissed me with a jest,
    Once with a tear--
  O where's the heart was in my breast
    And the ring was in my ear?

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Head of Government Department_ (_in his private room
in recently-commandeered hotel_). "BOY! BRING SOME MORE COAL!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

    WAR'S ROMANCES. [Now that fiction is occupying itself so much with
    military matters, it is necessary to warn the lady novelist--as
    it used to be necessary in other days to warn her in relation to
    sport--to cultivate accuracy. There is a constant danger that the
    popular story will include such passages as follow.]

"Corporal Cuthbert Crewdson," said the Colonel in a kindly voice,
"your work has been very satisfactory--so much so that I have decided
to promote you. From to-day you will no longer be Corporal, but
Lance-Corporal." With a grateful smile our hero saluted and retired to
draw his lance at the Adjutant's stores.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Darling," cried the handsome young private, "I told the Colonel of
our engagement, and he said at once I might bring you to tea at our
Mess any Sunday afternoon."

       *       *       *       *       *

One night, as Private Jones and the Sergeant-major were strolling
arm-in-arm through the High Street...

       *       *       *       *       *

"Remember," said the old Major, eyeing his eighteen-year-old subaltern
son with a shrewd affectionate glance, "a little well-placed courtesy
goes a long way. For instance, if a Sergeant should call you 'Sir,'
never forget to say 'Sir' to him."

       *       *       *       *       *

Osbert, his cane dangling from his left hand and with Mabel at his
side, sailed proudly down Oxford Street. Suddenly a Tommy hove in
sight. At once Osbert passed his stick to his other hand, leaving
the left one free. The next moment the man was saluting, and Osbert,
bringing up his left hand in acknowledgment, passed on.

"It is always well to be scrupulously correct in these little
details," he explained.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mildred, her heart beating rapidly, stood shyly behind the muslin
curtain as George, looking very gallant in khaki, strode past the
window with his frog hopping along at his side.

       *       *       *       *       *

Sidney Bellairs, apparently so stern and unbending on parade, was
adored by his men. Often he had been known, when acting as "orderly
officer" (as the officer is called who has to keep order), to carry
round with him a light camp-stool, which, with his unfailing charm
of manner, he would offer to some weary sentry. "There, my boy, sit
down," he would say, without a trace of condescension.

       *       *       *       *       *

Lord Debenham succeeded because even in small things he could look
ahead. "Ethelred," he would say to his batman, "there is to be a
field-day to-morrow, so see that my haversack, water-bottle and slacks
are put ready for me in the morning."

"Very good, my lord," the orderly would answer.

       *       *       *       *       *

Marmaduke sprang forward. The Hun's bomb, its pin withdrawn, was about
to explode. Coolly removing his costly gold-and-diamond tie-pin,
he thrust this substitute into the appointed place in the terrible
sizzling bomb, and stood back with a little smile. The next moment
his General stepped towards him and pinned to his breast the Victoria
Cross.

       *       *       *       *       *

Colonel Blood belonged to the old school--irascible, even explosive,
but at bottom a heart of gold. Often after thrashing a subaltern with
his cane for some neglect of duty he would smile suddenly and invite
the offender to dine with him at the Regimental Mess as if nothing had
happened.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Lady_ (_asking for the third time_). "HAVE WE REACHED
NO. 234 YET?"

_Conductor._ "YES, MUM. HERE YOU ARE." [_Stops bus._]

_Lady._ "OH, I DIDN'T WANT TO GET OUT. I ONLY WANTED TO SHOW MY LITTLE
FIDO WHERE HE WAS BORN."]

       *       *       *       *       *

A NEW DANGER.

"I don't know if you realise," said Ernest, "that since Army
signalling became fashionable a new danger confronts us."

"If you mean that an enthusiast might start semaphoring unexpectedly
in a confined space and get his neighbour in the eye, I may say that
I have thought of it," I answered. "But it isn't worth worrying very
much about. He wouldn't do it more than once."

"It isn't that," said Ernest. "It's something much more subtle and
insidious. It is the growing tendency in ordinary conversation to use
'Ack' for A, 'Beer' for B, 'Emma' for M, 'Esses' for S, 'Toe' for T,
etc. When you told me you were going to see your Aunt at 3 P.M., for
instance, you said '3 Pip Emma.' And it isn't as if you were at all
good at Semaphore or Morse either.

"Imagine," he continued, "the effect upon a congregation of the
announcement from the pulpit that the Reverend John Smith, Beer
Ack, will preach next Sunday. Or upon a meeting when told that Mr.
Carrington Ponk, J. Pip, will now speak. Think of Aunt Jane and all
her Societies," he went on gloomily. "Imagine her saying that she's
going to an Esses Pip G. meeting to-morrow. It's a dreadful thought.
It will extend to people's initials, too. The great T.P. will be Toe
Pip O'CONNOR. Something will have to be done about it."

"There's only one thing to be done," I said. "You must get into
Parliament and bring in a Bill about it. All might yet be well if you
were an Emma Pip."

       *       *       *       *       *

THE HUNGRY HUNS.

    "The _Berliner Tageblatt's_ correspondent states that the ground
    at St. Pierre Vaast has been converted into a marsh in which
    half-frozen soldiers, wet to the skin and knee-deep in mud, absorb
    the shells."

    _New Zealand Paper._

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The dispute, he claimed, was not started by the employees, but by
    the employer making sweeping reductions in the ages of the men."

    _Daily Paper._

If he wants to do this sort of thing with impunity he should employ
women.

       *       *       *       *       *

A FOOD PROBLEM.

DEAR MR. PUNCH,--Please _do_ tell me. Must I count sausages under
the meat or the bread allowance? I do so want to help my country
_faithfully_.

  Yours,
  WORRIED HOUSEWIFE.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "REWARD 2s. 6d. Lost, a small Silver Toothpick, value
    sentimental."

    _Nottingham Evening Post._

The latest thing in love-tokens.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "After a debate lasting three days, the Senate rejected the motion
    approving Mr. Wilson's Nose."--_The Bulletin (Lahore)._

The Senate has since shown its impartiality by registering its
profound disapproval of the KAISER'S Cheek.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "A special constable has received the Silver Medal of the Society
    for Protection of Life from fire for his gallantry in mounting
    a ladder at a local fire last May and rescuing a cook."--_Daily
    Paper._

It is understood that members of the regular "force" consider that he
showed some presumption in not leaving this particular task to them.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: BLIGHTED PROSPECTS.

BERNSTORFF (_bitterly_). "PRETTY MESS YOU'VE MADE OF IT WITH YOUR NEW
FRIGHTFULNESS. I'VE LOST MY JOB!"

HINDENBURG (_also bitterly_). "WELL, YOU'RE WELCOME TO MINE."]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Dug-out_ (_who has been put off on the last three
greens by his caddie sneezing, and has now foozled his putt again_).
"CONFOUND YOU! WHY DIDN'T YOU SNEEZE? I WAS COUNTING ON IT."]

       *       *       *       *       *

ESSENCE OF PARLIAMENT.

_Wednesday, February 7th._--HIS MAJESTY opened Parliament to-day for
what we all hope will be the Victory Session. But it will not be
victory without effort. That was the burden of nearly all the speeches
made to-day, from the KING'S downwards. HIS MAJESTY, who had left his
crown and robes behind, wore the workmanlike uniform of an Admiral
of the Fleet; and the Peers had forgone their scarlet and ermine in
favour of khaki and sable. When Lord STANHOPE, who moved the Address,
ventured, in the course of an oration otherwise sufficiently sedate,
to remark that "the great crisis of the War had passed," Lord CURZON
was swift to rebuke this deviation into cheerfulness. On the contrary,
he declared, we were now approaching "the supreme and terrible climax
of the War." He permitted himself, however, to impart one or two
comforting items of information with regard to the arming of existing
merchant-ships, the construction of new tonnage and the development of
inventions for the discovery and deletion of submarines. For excellent
reasons, no doubt, it was all a little vague, but in one respect his
statement left nothing to be desired in the way of precision. "The
present Government, in its seven weeks of office, had taken but two
large and one small hotels," and is, I gather, marvelling at its own
moderation.

I was a little disappointed with the speeches of the Mover and
Seconder of the Address in the Commons, for of recent years there has
been a great improvement in this difficult branch of oratory. Sir
HEDWORTH MEUX must, I think, have been dazzled by the effulgence of
his epaulettes, which were certainly more highly polished than his
periods. When in mufti he is much briefer and brighter. As Mr. ASQUITH
however found both speeches "admirable," no more need be said.

The LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION, as one must for convenience style
him--though in truth there is no Opposition, in the strict sense of
the word--just said what he ought to have said. For one brief moment
he seemed to be straying on to dangerous ground, when he put some
questions regarding the scope of the coming Imperial Conference; but
the rest of his speech was wholly in keeping with the peroration, in
which he pleaded that in the prosecution of the Nation's aim there
should be "no jarring voices, no party cross-currents, no personal or
sectional distractions."

Unfortunately there is a section of the Commons over which he
exercises no control. When Mr. BONAR LAW, as Leader of the House, rose
to reply, the "jarring voices" of Mr. SNOWDEN and others of his kidney
were heard in chorus, calling for the PRIME MINISTER. Mr. LAW paid no
attention to the interruption. He cordially thanked Mr. ASQUITH
for his speech, "the best possible testimony to the unity of this
country," and assured him that the Imperial Conference would be
primarily concerned with the successful prosecution of the War. The
GERMAN EMPEROR had proved himself a great Empire-builder, but it was
not his own empire that he was building.

Later on Mr. PRINGLE reverted to the absence of the PRIME MINISTER,
which he, as a person of taste, interpreted as "studied disrespect of
the House of Commons." In this view he was supported by Mr. KING. Mr.
LLOYD GEORGE must really be careful.

Strange to say, no public notice was taken of another distinguished
absentee--the Member for East Herts. A few days ago, after a violent
collision with Mr. JUSTICE DARLING, MR. PEMBERTON-BILLING announced
his intention of resigning his seat and submitting himself for
re-election. But since then we have been given to understand that a
vote of confidence proposed by PEMBERTON, seconded by BILLING, and
carried unanimously by the hyphen, had convinced him that, as in the
leading case of Mr. CECIL RHODES, "resignation can wait."

_Thursday, February 8th._--When we read day by day long lists of
merchant vessels sunk by the enemy submarines two questions occur
to most of us. How does the amount of tonnage lost compare with the
amount of new tonnage put afloat, and what is the number of submarines
that the Navy has accounted for in recent months? Mr. FLAVIN put the
first question to-day, but found Sir LEO CHIOZZA MONEY, who usually
exudes statistics at every pore, singularly reticent on the subject.
All he would say was that a large programme of new construction was in
hand.

Private Members blew off a great volume of steam to-day on the
proposal of the Government to take the whole time of the House.
Scotsmen, Irishmen and an Englishman or two joined in the plea that at
least they should be allowed to introduce their various little Bills,
even if they did not get any further. Perhaps if a Welshman had joined
the band they might have been listened to. As it was, only one of them
received any comfort. This was Mr. SWIFT MACNEILL, who was informed
that the Bill to deprive the enemy dukes of their British titles,
for which he has been clamouring these two years, would shortly be
introduced. But for the rest Mr. BONAR LAW was not inclined at this
crisis in our fate to encourage the raising of questions, most of them
acutely controversial, which would distract attention from the War.

On an amendment to the Address Mr. LESLIE SCOTT took up his brief for
the British farmer, who, deprived of his skilled men and faced with
higher prices for fertilizers and feeding-stuffs, was expected to
grow more food without having any certainty that he would be able to
dispose of it at a remunerative price. Farming is always a bit of a
gamble, but in present conditions it beats the Stock Exchange hollow.
Some of the proposals which Mr. SCOTT outlined to improve the
situation would have been denounced as revolutionary three years ago,
and were a little too drastic even now for Mr. PROTHERO. Squeezed
between the WAR MINISTER and the FOOD CONTROLLER, the MINISTER OF
AGRICULTURE rather resembles the _Dormouse_ in _Alice in Wonderland_;
but he is really quite all right, thank you. Mr. GEORGE LAMBERT thinks
that the author of "The Psalms in Human Life" is too saintly to tackle
Lords DERBY and DEVONPORT, but, if my memory serves me, DAVID--no
allusion to the PREMIER--had a rather pretty gift of invective.

Let no one say that England is not at last awake. Mr. CHARLES BATHURST
to-night made the terrific announcement that in some parts of the
country Masters of Hounds are--shooting foxes.

"This brings the War home," said FERDINAND THE FEARFUL when he heard
the news.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Jones_ (_to cloak-room attendant_). "HOW MUCH?"

_Cloak-room Attendant._ "THERE IS NO VERBAL CHARGE, SIR."]

       *       *       *       *       *

    "It was agreed to express satisfaction with the announcement that
    the price fixed for the potato crop of 1917 was not a miximum
    price."--_Scots Paper._

This must be the happy mean of which we hear so much.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE RECENT TRUCE.

Students of geography know that Ballybun is divided from the back
gardens of Kilterash by the pellucid waters of that noble stream, the
Bun, which hurls itself over a barrier of old tin-cans in a frantic
effort to find the sea. But they do not know that this physical
division, long ago bridged, is nothing to the moral and political
division which will keep the two for ever asunder.

Several of our younger citizens have written to me from the trenches
to ask how the War is progressing. I have usually in reply quoted the
remark of one of their number on leaving us for the Front after a
short holiday, that he was now looking forward to a little peace and
rest. I wish here to add a postscript to this concerning a recent
unexpected truce.

Political geography is not written as it should be, so that there may
be people who have not even heard of the Great War between Ballybun
and Kilterash. No one knows for certain when it started, or why. A
local antiquary, after prolonged study of chronicles, memorials, rolls
and records, to say nothing of local churchyards, refers it with some
confidence to the reign of HENRY II. (LOUIS VII. being King of France,
in the pontificate of ADRIAN IV. and so on), and to the forcible
abduction of a pig (called the White Pearl) by the then ruling monarch
of Kilterash. The Editor of _The Kilterash Curfew_, in one of his
recent "Readings for the Day of Rest," remarked that Christian charity
compelled him to hurl this foul aspersion back in the teeth of this
so-called antiquary; the whole world knew that the pig had been born
in the parish of Kilterash, but had "strayed" across the Bun, as
things too often had the habit of straying.

I am the "so-called antiquary." My little pamphlet proves in less
than three hundred pages the truth of my allegation concerning the
abduction of the White Pearl, giving the original texts on which I
rely and the genealogies of all concerned in a sordid story.

Since 1157, as far as history records, we have been afflicted with
only two periods of truce. One was when, on hearing of the foul wrong
done by the German Brute in Belgium, we united in enlisting recruits
for our local regiment. This truce was broken by my worthy friend, the
Editor of _The Curfew_, who pointed out, more in anger than in sorrow,
that Ballybun had sent six men fewer than Kilterash. The second
truce--again broken by the enemy--concerned myself. Wishing to add, if
possible, to the evidence from monuments contained in my pamphlet, I
was copying an inscription I had only just discovered in the disused
churchyard of Killyburnbrae, when one of these light Atlantic showers
sprang up and soaked me to the backbone. The result was influenza and
a high temperature, which rose while I was reading _The Curfew_ upon
my brochure, "_The White Pearl of Ballybun_, an Impartial Examination
with the Original Documents herein set out and now for the first time
deciphered by a Member of the Society of Antiquarians. Dedicated to
All Lovers of the Truth. Printed by the Ballybun Binnacle Press."

_The Curfew_ said of this fair statement of the evidence (with the
original documents, mind you) that it smacked of German scholarship
and their graveyard style of doing things. My blood boiled at this,
and to keep me cool my niece, who lives with me, pulled down all the
blinds, as the sun was strong.

An old fish-woman passing by saw this and said, "Well, well, the poor
old fellow's gone at last! A decent man in his time, with no taste in
fish! We must all come to it." From her the news spread forty miles
on either side of her and reached the Editor of _The Curfew_ in the
middle of a philippic. Next morning I was astounded to read in his
editorial columns: "Our distinguished neighbour and friend--if he will
allow us to call him so--is now no more; in other words is gone ... as
VIRGIL remarks ... famous antiquarian ... scrupulous and methodical,
and, as we remarked in our last issue, reminiscent of the palmy days
of the best German monumental scholarship ... our slight differences
never affected the esteem in which we held him as a patriot, citizen,
ratepayer and Man...."

Now this was kindly and fair. I have written to my worthy friend and
have proposed to dedicate to him my forthcoming work (non-partisan) on
the "Slant Observable in Some Church-Spires, Part I." When he had to
unbury me, war had to be resumed--it was his side that insisted upon
it--but as far as the two chieftains are concerned it is a war without
bitterness. He now introduces his attacks with "Our honoured and able
antiquarian friend"; while my answers breathe such sentiments as "The
genial editor of that well-conducted organ."

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: FOOD VALUES IN OUR RESTAURANTS.

_Customer._ "WHAT DO YOU SUGGEST FOR TO-DAY, MISS?"

_Waitress_ (_late of Girton_). "WELL, SIR, ROAST MUTTON, TWO
VEGETABLES AND SWEETS WILL GIVE YOU THE NECESSARY PROTEIN, CALORIES
AND CARBO-HYDRATES."]

       *       *       *       *       *

AS YOU WERE.

    "Blow to Narkets. Rise of nearly 400 points. Cotton jump.
    Germany's note breaks the market."

    _Liverpool Echo, Feb. 1._

    "Blow to Markets. Fall of nearly 400 points. Cotton slump."

    _Same Paper, Later Edition._

In spite of this sensational transformation of a jump into a slump
we are glad to see that typographically at any rate the markets had
recovered a little from their early derangement.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Supposing a man has porridge and bacon for breakfast and a cut
    from the point or a shop or steak for luncheon he may find that he
    has consumed his meat allowance for the day."

    _Daily Mail_ (_Manchester Edition_).

Is not the food problem sufficiently difficult already without these
additional complications? The man who wants a whole shop for his
luncheon will get no sympathy from us.

       *       *       *       *       *

From a list of Canon MASTERMAN'S lectures on "The War and the Smaller
Nations of Europe":--

    "April 2nd (possibly), 'The Reconstruction of Europe.'"--_Western
    Morning News._

We commend the lecturer's caution, but hope it will prove to have been
superfluous.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THIS IS NOT A SCENE FROM A REVUE--IT IS HARDLY DULL
ENOUGH FOR THAT--BUT AN EVERYDAY PERFORMANCE ON THE PLATFORM OF ANY
RAILWAY STATION DURING THE RECENT COLD SPELL.]

       *       *       *       *       *

A FORWARD MINX.

The garden wall was high, yet not so high but that any young lady bent
on attracting the notice of her neighbours could look over it. Miss
Dot indeed regarded an outside flight of steps which led to an upper
storey as an appointed amelioration to the hours which she was
expected to spend in the garden, for it was an easy scramble from the
stairs to the top of the wall, whence she could survey the world. To
be sure the wall was narrow as well as high, but a timorous gait shows
off a pretty figure, and slight nervousness adds a pathetic expression
to a pretty face; to both of which advantages Dot was not, it is to be
believed, altogether indifferent when khaki coats dwelt the other side
of that wall.

On this particular day she was trying to attract notice in so
unrestrained a manner that her mother remarked it from an upper
window. But mothers, we are told in these latter days, are not always
the wisest guardians of their "flapper" daughters. This mother had a
decided _penchant_ for a khaki coat herself; only she demanded braid
on the cuff and a smartly cut collar, and these she would greet in the
street with a tender act of homage which rarely failed to win admiring
attention. But for a daughter who would dash down the road after a
Tommy she had contempt rather than disapproval. So she watched with
interest, but, alas! with no idea of interference.

At first there were only "civvies" about, and though the admiration
of any youthful male was dear to Dot's heart, and though chaff and
blandishments were not wanting, still the wall _was_ high, and she
lacked the resolve to descend. But presently two khaki coats appeared
and the matter grew more serious. It was evident that it was not
principle or modesty that held her back, but just timidity, for she
responded eagerly to the advances of her admirers, but could not quite
pluck up courage for that long jump down. Affairs grew shameless, for
the khaki coats fetched a ladder to assist the elopement; but Dot made
it clear that there were difficulties in that method of flight, though
she wished there were not. At last she was enticed to a lower portion
of the wall, and there, half screened by shrubs, she was lifted off by
the shoulders, deliciously reluctant, and received into the cordial
embrace of an enthusiastic soldiery.

And her mother retired to the sofa!

Shortly afterwards musketry instruction was proceeding in a public
place; and behind the little group of learners sat Dot, in the seventh
heaven of joy, drinking it all in with eager attention. And the
instructing officer did not seem to mind.

"How sad and mad and bad it was," a theme for the moralist, the
conscientious objector, the Army reformer, the social reformer, the
statistician. Yet perhaps even their solemn faces might relax to-day
at the sight of a long-legged Airedale puppy marching at the head of
the battalion to which she has appointed herself mascot.

       *       *       *       *       *

QUIS CUSTODIET?

    "Engineer desires position as Manager of Works Manager."--_The
    Aeroplane_.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "---- and Sons will sell by Auction four Shorthand and Jersey
    Cows."

    _Morning Paper_.

As the FOOD CONTROLLER'S Department is said to be still short of
clerks, he may like to bid for these accomplished creatures.

       *       *       *       *       *

AT THE PLAY.

"FELIX GETS A MONTH."

This "whimsical comedy," made by Mr. LEON M. LION out of a novel by
the late TOM GALLON, began in a distinctly intriguing mood. _Felix_
had an uncle, a sport, on whom he had once played a scurvy practical
joke. This highly tolerant victim eventually cut up for a round
million, which he left to nephew _Felix_ on condition that he should
enter Umberminster as naked as the day he was born and earn his living
therein for a full calendar month--a palpable posthumous hit to the
old man. _Felix_ accordingly, equipped as laid down in the will, is
left by the family solicitor in a wood, and, after a night and a day
in hiding, appears shivering at the Mayor's parlour window, abstracts
a rug for temporary relief, and prevails upon the maid, a romantic
little orphan (who had been reading about river-gods and mistakes
_Felix_ for one), to borrow a suit of the Mayor's clothes--into which
he gets in time to interview that worthy when he returns with his grim
lady. "You'll get a month," says she with damnable iteration; and the
resourceful _Felix_, with an eye to the whimsical will, whimsically
suggests that justice would be better fulfilled by his putting in the
month at the Mayor's house as odd-job man than by his being conveyed
to the county jail. And the Mayor whimsically agrees.

After that, I regret to say, honest whimsicality took wing, and the
show became merely--shall we say?--eupeptic. And certainly a much more
elaborate meal than my lord DEVONPORT allowed me would be required to
induce a mood sufficiently tolerant to face without impatience the
welter which followed. The three incredible people--mercenary virgin,
heavy father and aimless smiling villain--that walked straight out of
the Elephant and Castle into the Second Act were not, I suspect, any
elaborate (and quite irrelevant) joke of the actor-author's at the
expense of the transpontine method, but just queer puppets brought on
to disentangle the complications, though I confess I half thought that
the villain, Mr. LAWRENCE LEYTON, was pulling our legs with a quite
deliberate burlesque. On the whole I am afraid this play is but
another wreck on that old snag of the dramatised novel.

But there were plenty of isolated good things, such as Mr. O.B.
CLARENCE'S really excellent Mayor, puzzled, pompous, eagle-pecked.
Miss FLORENCE IVOR, the eagle in question, gave a shrewd and shrewish
portrait of a wife gey ill to live with. Mr. REGINALD BACH'S very
entertaining imaginary portrait of a faithful boy scout was a stroke
of genius, his "call of the wild" being by far the best whim of the
evening. Miss EVA LEONARD-BOYNE as _Ninetta_, the orphan, did her
little job tenderly and prettily, but I couldn't believe in _Ninetta_
in that galley, and I doubt if she did. Mr. GORDON ASH was the
debonair hero. I do most solemnly entreat him to consider the example
of some of the elders in his profession who have adopted a laugh as
their principal bit of business. It may turn into a millstone. Was he
not laughing the same laugh on this very stage in a very different
part three days ago? He was. If he got a month, laugh-barred, he would
profit by the sentence. For he has jolly good stuff in him.

T.

[Illustration: BORROWED PLUMES IN A MAYOR'S NEST.

_Alderman Twentyman_ . Mr. O.B. CLARENCE.

_Felix Delany_ . . . . Mr. GORDON ASH.]

       *       *       *       *       *

MORE COMMANDEERING.

From a report of the PRIME MINISTER'S speech at Carnarvon:--

    "There are eight million houses in this country. Let us have
    VICTORY GUM FACTORY, Nelson, Lancs."--_Daily Dispatch._

But surely he does not want to be known as "The Stickit Minister."

       *       *       *       *       *

    "A grocer in a London suburb complains that on Saturday he and his
    staff were 'run o ffthei rlegs by the extraordinary demands of
    customers.'"--_Westminster Gazette._

We congratulate the printer on his gallant effort to depict the
situation.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Wanted, Cook Generals, House Parlourmaids; fiends might
    suit."--_Irish Paper._

Discussion of the eternal servant problem is apt to be one-sided; it
was quite time that we heard from the _advocatus diaboli_.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO STEPHEN LEACOCK

    (_Professor of Political Economy at McGill University, Montreal,
    and author of "Further Foolishness" and other notable works of
    humour_).

  The life that is flagrantly double,
    Conflicting in conduct and aim,
  Is seldom untainted by trouble
    And commonly closes in shame;
  But no such anxieties pester
    Your dual existence, which links
  The functions of don and of jester--
        High thought and high jinks.

  Your earliest venture perhaps is
    Unique in the rapture intense
  Displayed in these riotous Lapses
    From all that could savour of sense,
  Recalling the "goaks" and the gladness
    Of one whom we elders adored--
  The methodical midsummer madness
        Of ARTEMUS WARD.

  With you, O enchanting Canadian,
    We laughed till you gave us a stitch
  In our sides at the wondrous Arcadian
    Exploits of the indolent rich;
  We loved your satirical sniping,
    And followed, far over "the pond,"
  The lure of your whimsical piping
        Behind the Beyond.

  In place of the squalor that stretches
    Unchanged o'er the realist's page,
  The sunshine that glows in your Sketches
    Is potent our griefs to assuage;
  And when, on your mettlesome charger,
    Full tilt against reason you go,
  Your Lunacy's finer and Larger
        Than any I know.

  The faults of ephemeral fiction,
    Exotic, erotic or smart,
  The vice of delirious diction,
    The latest excesses of Art--
  You flay in felicitous fashion,
    With dexterous choice of your tools,
  A scourge for unsavoury passion,
        A hammer for fools.

  And yet, though so freakish and dashing,
    You are not the slave of your fun,
  For there's nobody better at lashing
    The crimes and the cant of the Hun;
  Anyhow, I'd be proud as a peacock
    To have it inscribed on my tomb:
  "He followed the footsteps of LEACOCK
        In banishing gloom."

       *       *       *       *       *

From an Indian clerk's letter to his employer:--

    "I am glad that the War is progressing very favourably for the
    Allies. We long for the day when, according to Lord Curzon's
    saying, 'The Bengal Lancers will petrol the streets of Berlin.'"

Quite the right spirit.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Awe-struck Tommy (from the trenches)._
"LOOK, BILL--SOLDIERS!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

OUR BOOKING-OFFICE.

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

It may be as well for me to confess at once the humiliating fact
that I am not, and never have been, an Etonian. If that be a serious
disqualification for life in general, how much more serious must it
be for the particular task of reviewing a book which is of Eton all
compact, a book, for example, like _Memories of Eton Sixty Years Ago_,
by A.C. AINGER, with contributions from N.G. LYTTELTON and JOHN MURRAY
(MURRAY). For I have never been "up to" anybody; I have never been
present at "absence"; I have no real understanding of the difference
between a "tutor" and a "dame"; I call a "_p[oe]na_" by the plebeian
name of "imposition"; and, until I had read Mr. AINGERS'S book, I had
never heard of the verb "to brosier" or the noun substantive "bever."
Altogether my condition is most deplorable. Yet there are some
alleviations in my lot, and one of them has been the reading of this
delightful book. I found it most interesting, and can easily imagine
how Etonians will be absorbed in it, for it will revive for them
many an old and joyful memory of the days that are gone. Mr. AINGER
discourses, with a _mitis sapientia_ that is very attractive, on the
fashions and manners of the past and the gradual process of their
development into the Eton of the present. He is proud, as every good
Etonian must be, of Eton as it exists, but now and again he hints that
the Eton of an older time was in some respects a simpler and a better
place. The mood, however, never lasts long, and no one can quarrel
with the way in which it is expressed. General LYTTELTON, too, in one
of his contributions, relates how on his return from a long stay in
India he visited Eton, expecting to be modestly welcomed by shy and
ingenuous youths, and how, instead, he was received and patronised by
young but sophisticated men of the world. The GENERAL, I gather,
was somewhat chilled by his experience. Altogether this book is
emphatically one without which no Etonian's library can be considered
complete.

       *       *       *       *       *

Perhaps of all our War correspondents Mr. PHILIP GIBBS contrives
to give in his despatches the liveliest sense of the movement, the
pageantry and the abominable horror of war. Pageantry there is, for
all the evil boredom and weariness of this pit-and-ditch business,
and Mr. GIBBS sees finely and has an honest pen that avoids the easy
_cliché_. You might truthfully describe his book, _The Battles of the
Somme_ (HEINEMANN), as an epic of the New Armies. He never seems to
lose his wonder at their courage and their spirit, and always with an
undercurrent of sincerely modest apology for his own presence there
with his notebook, a mere chronicler of others' gallantry. This
chronicle begins at the glorious 1st of July and ends just before
Beaumont-Hamel, which the author miserably missed, being sent home on
sick leave. It is a book that may well be one of those preserved and
read a generation hence by men who want to know what the great War
was really like. God knows it ought to help them to do something to
prevent another. Yet there is nothing morbid in it. As the sergeant
thigh-deep in a flooded trench said, "You know, Sir, it doesn't do
to take this war seriously." The armies of a nation that takes its
pleasures sadly take their bitter pains with a grin; and that grin
is what has made them such an unexpectedly tough proposition to the
All-Seriousest.

       *       *       *       *       *

An old adage warns us never to buy a "pig in a poke." Equally good
advice for the heroines of fiction or drama would be never under any
circumstances to marry a bridegroom in a mask. In more cases than I
can recall, neglect of this simple precaution has led to a peck of
trouble. I am thinking now of _Yvonne_, leading lady in _The Mark of
Vraye_ (HUTCHINSON). I admit that poor _Yvonne_ had more excuse than
most. Hers was what you might call a hard case. On the one hand there
was the villain _Philippe_, a most naughty man, swearing that she was
in his power, and calling for instant marriage at the hands of _Father
Simon_, who happened to be present. On the other hand, the gentleman
in the mask revealed a pair of eyes that poor _Yvonne_ rashly supposed
to belong to someone for whom she had more than a partiality. So when
he suggested that the proposed ceremony should take place during
_Philippe's_ temporary absence from the stage, with himself as
substitute, _Yvonne_ (astonished perhaps at her own luck so early in
the plot) simply jumped at the idea. Then, of course, the deed being
done, off comes the mask, and behold the triumphant countenance of
her bitterest foe, _Charles de Montbrison_, whom she herself had
disfigured as the (supposed) murderer of her brother. Act drop and ten
minutes' interval. Need I detail for you the subsequent course of this
marriage of inconvenience? The courage and magnanimity of one side,
the feminine cruelty melting at last to love, and finally the
inevitable duologue of reconciliation, through which I can never help
hearing the rustle of opera-cloaks and the distant cab-whistles.
Charming, charming. Mr. H.B. SOMERVILLE has furnished a pleasant
entertainment, and one that (like all good readers or spectators) you
will enjoy none the less because of its entire familiarity.

       *       *       *       *       *

_The Flight of Mariette_ (CHAPMAN AND HALL) is a slender volume, whose
simplicity gives it a poignancy both incongruous and grim. Much of it
you might compare to the diary of a butterfly before and whilst being
broken on the wheel. _Mariette_, the jolly little maid of Antwerp, was
so tender and harmless a butterfly; and the machine that broke her
life and drove her to the martyrdom of exile was so huge and cruel a
thing. How cruel in its effects it is well for us just now to be again
reminded, lest, in these days of hurrying horrors, remembrance should
be weakened. To that extent therefore Miss GERTRUDE E.M. VAUGHAN has
done good service in compiling this human document of accusation. In
a preface Mr. JOHN GALSWORTHY pleads the cause of our refugee guests,
not so much for charity as for comprehension. Certainly, _The Flight
of Mariette_ will do much to further such understanding. I think I
need only add that half the proceeds of its sale will go to feed the
seven million Belgians still in Belgium (prey to the twin wolves
of Prussia and starvation) for you to see that three shillings and
sixpence could hardly be better used than in the purchase of a copy.

       *       *       *       *       *

I was beginning to wonder whether Mr. EDEN PHILLPOTTS was suffering
from writer's cramp, so much longer than usual does it seem since I
heard from him. Now, however, my anxiety is relieved by _My Devon
Year_ (SCOTT), a delightful book which could have come from no other
pen than his. It is a marvel how many fragrant things he still finds
to say, and with what inexhaustible freshness, about his beloved
county. I hesitate to give these sketches an indiscriminate
recommendation, because to those who walk through the country with
closed eyes they will have little or no meaning; but if you are in
love with beauty and can appreciate its translation into exquisite
language you will draw from them a real and lasting joy. Let me
confess now that I once asked Mr. PHILLPOTTS to give Devonshire a
rest, and that I accept _My Devon Year_ as a convincing proof that
this request was ill-considered.

       *       *       *       *       *

I wish Mr. DOUGLAS SLADEN would not throw so many bouquets at
his characters. _Roger Wynyard_, the hero of _Grace Lorraine_
(HUTCHINSON), was really just a very ordinary youth, but when I
discovered that he was "the fine flower of our Public-School system,"
"as chivalrous as a Bayard," and so forth, I began--unfairly, perhaps,
but quite irresistibly--to entertain a considerable prejudice against
him. Let me hasten, however, to add that Mr. SLADEN has packed his
novel with the kind of incident which appeals to the popular mind,
though his conclusion may cause a shock to those who think that our
divorce-laws are in need of reform. In the matter of style Mr. SLADEN
is content with something short of perfection. "It was easier for her
to forgive a man, with his happy-go-lucky nature, for getting
into trouble, than to forgive his getting out again by not being
sufficiently careful not to add to the other person's misfortune."
For myself, I do not find it so easy to forgive these happy-go-lucky
methods in a writer who ought to know better by now.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Sentry_. "WHO GOES THERE?"

_Tommy_. "FRIEND."

_Sentry_ (_on recognising voice_). "FRIEND! I DON'T THINK. WHY, YOU'RE
THE CHAP WHO BAGGED MY MESS-TIN BEFORE THE LAST KIT-INSPECTION."]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE WAR LOAN; A LAST APPEAL.

  Now, by the memory of our gallant dead,
    And by our hopes of peace through victory won,
  Lend of your substance; let it not be said
          You left your part undone.

  Lend all and gladly. If this bitter strife
    May so by one brief hour be sooner stayed,
  Then is your offering, spent to ransom life,
          A thousand times repaid.

       *       *       *       *       *





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