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Title: Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 152, January 24, 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, January 24, 1917" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.


VOL. 152.

January 24th, 1917.


"They know nothing about the War in Greenland," said M. DANGAARD IENSEN to
a contemporary, and now the Intelligence Department is wondering whether it
didn't perhaps choose the wrong colour after all for its tabs.


The Governor of Greenland, giving evidence in the Prize Court last week,
was greatly interested to learn that there was a well-known hymn, entitled
"From Greenland's Icy Mountains." He was, however, inclined to think that
the unfortunate reference to the rigorous nature of the climate would be
resented by the local Publicity Committee, to whose notice he would feel it
his duty to bring the matter when they were next thawed out.


Lord DEVONPORT has established his own Press Bureau, and it is rumoured
that the Press Bureau is about to appoint its own Food Controller.


The American Line has advanced its First-Class fares by three pounds. It is
hoped that this will effectually discourage Mr. HENRY FORD from visiting
Europe for some time to come.


_The Times Literary Supplement_ has received 335 books of original verse in
1916. And still the authorities pretend that juvenile crime is confined to
the East End.


A telegram despatched from London on January 22nd, 1906, which contained a
polling result of the General Election then in progress, has just been
received by a Witham resident, who told the messenger there was no reply.


"If agriculture is to flourish," says _The Daily Mail_, "it must be so
conducted as to pay." It is just this sordid commercialism that distorts
the Carmelite point of view.


The German Union for the Development of the German Language have sent a
petition to the CHANCELLOR, asking that in any future Peace negotiations
the German language should be used. Will German frightfulness never cease?


"Anybody in the Carmarthen district," says the local medical officer, "can
keep a pig in the parlour if they keep it clean." The necessity of keeping
the parlour clean for the sake of its guest will be easily understood by
those who appreciate the fastidious taste of the pig.


A Hungarian paper complains that the Government treats the War as if it
were merely a family affair. This contrasts unfavourably with the more
broadly hospitable attitude of the Allies, who have made it abundantly
clear that so far as they are concerned anyone is welcome to join in and
help their side.


The other day a Farnham bellringer, after cycling seventy miles, rang a
peal of 5,940 changes. It is not known why.


"War diet," says Professor ROSIN in the _Lokal Anzeiger_, "improves the
action of the heart." But what the Germans really want to know is, what
improves a war diet?


Among the goods stolen from a Crouch Hill provision merchant's the other
day were eight cheeses and ten hams. As the place was much littered it is
thought that the cheeses put up a plucky fight.


It is pointed out by experienced agriculturists that it is useless to plant
potatoes unless steps are taken to destroy the insect pests. A Peterborough
farmer has written a poem in _The Daily Express_ against those pests, but
we fancy that if a permanent improvement is to be effected it will be
necessary to adopt much sterner measures than this.


The recent vagaries of the Weather Controller are said to be due to one of
the new railway regulations, by which you are required to "Show all
seasons, please."


Even Nature seems upset by the War. According to _The Evening Standard_
primroses are blooming in a Harrow garden, while only the other day a pair
of white spats were to be seen in the Strand.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Anxious Mother._ "NEVER MIND ABOUT YOUR BROTHER, MAUD. 'OLD

       *       *       *       *       *

Another Glimpse of the Obvious.

From the "Standing Orders" of a Military Hospital:--

    "Officers confined to their beds will have their meals in their rooms."

       *       *       *       *       *

    "A gale of great fury raged at Sheffield early on Tuesday morning. Much
    damage was done in the city and outlying districts, a number of beings
    being unroofed."--_Yorkshire Paper._

Several others have been noticed to have a tile loose.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The welcome, amounting to an oration, which heralded the Prime
    Minister, was the most remarkable feature of a very remarkable
    occasion." _Daily Dispatch._

Is this quite kind to the subsequent speakers?

       *       *       *       *       *

    "By his colleagues at Bar he has been regarded as a sound lawyer, well
    worthy of the high position which he had filled for little over two
    hundred years."--_Englishman_ (_Calcutta_).

Lord HALSBURY must look to his laurels.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Mr. Clement Wragge has prepared a special weather forecast for the
    year 9117. His opinion is that the year will prove distinctly good."
    _New Zealand Times._

We infer that, in Mr. WRAGGE's opinion, the War will be over by then.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Minimum.

Extract from a letter just received from H.Q. in France:--

    "C.O.'s will take care that all ranks know that they must never parade
    before an Officer--Brigade, Regimental or Company--unless properly
    dressed, wearing at least a belt."

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The few women on the platform were dressed quietly, as befitted the
    occasion, the smartest person present being Mr. McKenna."--_Illustrated
    Sunday Herald._

Our contemporary might have told us what he wore.

       *       *       *       *       *


  Among the shocks that laid us flat
    When WILLIAM loosed his wanton hordes
  There fell no bloodier blow than that
    Which turned our niblicks into swords;
  And O how bitter England's cup,
    In what despair the order sunk her
  That called her Cincinnati up
    When busy ploughing in the bunker!

  Even with those who stuck it out,
    Bravely defying public shame,
  Visions of trenches knocked about
    Would often spoil their usual game;
  Rumours of victory dearly bought,
    Or else of bad strategic hitches,
  Disturbed their concentrated thought
    And put them off their mashie pitches.

  Now comes a menace yet more rude
    That puts us even further off;
  It says the nation's need of food
    Must come before the claims of golf;
  We hear of parties going round,
    Aided by local War-Committees,
  To violate our sacred ground
    By planting veg. along our "pretties."

  If there be truth in that report,
    Then have we reached the limit, viz.:--
  The ruin of that manly sport
    Which made our country what it is;
  The ravages we soon restore
    By conies wrought or hoofs of mutton,
  But centuries must pass before
    A turnip-patch is fit to putt on.

  What! Shall we sacrifice the scenes
    On which our higher natures thrive
  Just to provide the vulgar means
    To keep our lower selves alive?
  Better to starve (or, better still,
    Up hands and kiss the Hun peace-makers)
  Than suffer PROTHERO to till
    The British golfer's holy acres.


       *       *       *       *       *


(_With acknowledgments to some of our chatty contemporaries_.)

HAPPY C.-IN-C.--I saw the Commander-in-Chief to-day passing through the
little village of X in an open car. He was very quietly dressed in khaki,
with touches of scarlet on the hat and by the collar. I waved my hand to
him and he returned the salute. It is small acts like this which endear him
to all. I noticed that the Field-Marshal was not carrying his baton.
Doubtless he did not wish to spoil its pristine freshness with the mud of
the roads.

       *       *       *       *       *

OF COURSE.--A friend in the Guards tells me that the new food restrictions
do not affect the men in the trenches very seriously. Our brave soldiers
are so inured to hardships by now that they willingly forgo seven-course

       *       *       *       *       *

NOT STARVING.--While on the subject of food, the picture published on page
6 of to-day's issue refutes the idea that the Hun is starving. It
represents the KAISER looking at some pigs. The KAISER can be distinguished
by a x.

       *       *       *       *       *

FASHIONS FOR MEN.--Now that mid-winter is with us it is quite a common
event to meet fur-clad denizens of the firing line. Some of the new
season's coats are the last word in chic, one which I noticed yesterday
made of black goat, having pockets of seal coney with collar and cuffs of
civet. The wearer's feet were encased in the latest style of gum boots,
reaching to the thigh and fastening with a buckle. These are being worn
loose round the ankle. A green steel helmet, draped in sandbag material,
completed the costume. The field service cap was not being worn inside the

       *       *       *       *       *

NUMBER NINE.--The Army doctors, so it seems, do not fully understand the
delicate constitution of a friend of mine in the Blues, and sent him back
to duty after dosing him with medicine, though he is suffering from pain in
the foot. The medicine generally takes the form of a "Number Nine," the
pill that cures all ills; but last time he went on sick parade they were
out of stock, and he was given two "Number Fours" and a "Number One"
instead. Rough-and-ready pharmacy. What?

       *       *       *       *       *

SPIRITED.--Met my old chum, Sir William ----, just back from the trenches.
Dear old Billy, what cigars he used to smoke in the good old days! He tells
me that when on a carrying fatigue the other night one of his men dropped
the earthenware receptacle which contains Tommy's greatest consolation in
this terrible war, and every drop of the precious liquid was spilt. Five
minutes later a Jack Johnson landed beside him and put things right. _It
gave him a rum jar_. Good, eh?

       *       *       *       *       *

WHERE TO LUNCH.--I am just off to lunch with my old pal, the Hon. Adolphus
Lawrie-Carr, of the Motor Transport Section of the A.S.C. I have never seen
him look better than he does now, in hunting stock and field boots, crop
and spurs. He always gives one a first-class meal.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE NEXT PUSH.--I had a most interesting conversation the other day with
Alphonse, late of the Saveloy. He is on the G.H.Q. Staff in a position of
high trust--something to do with the culinary arrangements, I believe--and
is, of course, in the know. From what he told me confidentially I can
assure all my countless readers that there will be fighting on the Western
Front during 1917, and, in the words of Mr. Hilary Bullox, "If it is not
prolonged until next year, the present year will certainly see the end of
the War." More I cannot divulge.

       *       *       *       *       *

Our Cautious Contemporaries.

    "What can be said with truth is that business in the New Loan for the
    first two days is easily AZ per cent. better for new money than for the
    same period on the occasion of the last loan."--_Evening Standard_.

       *       *       *       *       *


    State President Fee has requisitioned a large supply of stationery; he
    announces that he will at once begin an active canvas of the State to
    revive old divisions and organize new ones."--_Texas Newspaper_.

Just as if he were at home in dear old Ireland.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Athens, Wednesday.

    The ex-Premiers who were consulted yesterday by the iKng, were
    unanimously of opinion that the Entente Note was not yesterday by the
    King were unanimously as its acceptance would imply that Greece
    contemplated an attack on General Sarrail's rear."--_Continental Daily

Yet there are some people who complain that the situation in Greece is not
entirely clear.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE APPLE OF DISCORD.





       *       *       *       *       *


"Hullo, old thing!" said Herbert gloomily; "lots of Congrats. Lucky devil,
you," and he sighed unobtrusively.

I had forgotten that once upon a time Adela had refused to walk out with
Herbert because of his puttees, which she said were so original that they
distracted her attention from the way he proposed.

Remembering this now, I offered my cousin a sympathetic cigarette, which
he, shaking himself free from care, accepted; after which he began to
borrow ten pounds--an achievement which, I am proud to say, cost him nearly
twenty minutes' hard labour.

Not so very long afterwards Adela and I had a honeymoon, followed by a
picture-postcard from Herbert. He said he was sorry he hadn't been there to
throw boots at us, but he was convalescing on the Cornish Riviera, the
exact spot being marked with a cross; also one could not send money by
postcard, but I was not to think he was forgetting about that fiver he had

The first part of this document caused Adela to wonder vaguely if wounded
officers ought to convalesce in chimney-pots, but the last words gave me
some twinges of a more sincere alarm. Was Herbert's delusion a permanency,
or merely a slip of the pen?

"Adela," I decided, "let's ask Herbert to dinner as soon as ever he leaves
the roofs of the British Riviera."

Then one day, when I was writing letters in the Mess, he strolled in.
"Hullo!" he said, "where's the C.O.? What?... Oh, thanks awfully, and ...
Oh, I say, good Lord! I owe you three quid, don't I?" and he drifted out

"Three!" I echoed dizzily, as the door banged. I staggered home for the

I found Adela having an excited conversation with the telephone in the

"Ooo!" she said, hanging up the receiver, "Herbert's a hero. He's just been
telling me. And he's coming to dinner to-night."

"I also," I responded with emotion, "have a tale to unfold," and I unfolded

When at last Herbert, moving modestly under the burden of a newly acquired
D.S.O., arrived at the flat, hospitality and an unaccustomed awe withheld
me from referring to so sordid a matter as the inconsiderable decrease in
my lately-invested capital. Herbert, however, deprecated heroics, and, as
he was saying good-night, came of his own accord to the subject of debts.
He was always a conscientious fellow.

"You know, old chap," he said with charming candour, as I saw him off from
the doorstep, "you _must_ remind me to pay up that two quid some time. I
keep forgetting, and when I do remember, like now, I haven't any money to
do it with. Cheero!" The door clicked and I swooned.

It was very difficult; I could not even make up my mind whether my best
policy was to stalk Herbert with vigilance or to avoid him as persistently
as discipline allowed. On the one hand he wasn't the cheque-book kind of
man and he wouldn't pay me unless he saw me. Contrariwise, he wouldn't even
if he did, and whenever he saw me my original loan of ten gold sovereigns
might continue its rapid decline. Finally I decided to abstain from his

Shortly after this momentous decision the War Office sent him off to some
remote part of the country, and for many months our financial relations
remained unaltered--at any rate in my own estimation. He was still far away
when Adela II arrived, so we did our best to hush her up; we thought that
if we could smuggle her to, say, the age of ten and send her to school
Herbert couldn't possibly come and congratulate us about her. That only
shows how much we didn't know; for Herbert procured some leave three weeks
later and was excitedly mounting our stairs within a few hours.

"P'r'aps," whispered Adela bravely as he was being announced, "he'll forget
about money--p'r'aps he'll even put it up a bit."

I smiled cynically, and was justified ten minutes later, when Herbert's
conscience, troubled and apologetic, reminded him about that guinea he owed

At the christening it fell to half-a-quid, and, according to Herbert's
latest allegation, it is only his rotten memory for postal-orders that
prevents him from sending me that dollar at once.

And so, precariously, the matter rested till to-day, when the final blow
fell from the War Office. Herbert and I are to proceed to France together
next Monday. On that day, if I am ingenious and agile enough not to meet
him before, we ought to be about all square; after that, as far as I can
see, there will be an inevitable moment when Herbert will turn to me with,
"I say, old fellow, you can't let me have that ten bob you touched me for
the other day, can you? Hate to ask you, but I haven't got a sou ..." But I
won't--no, I won't. I will let my imaginary debt mount up, I will let it
increase even at the rate at which Herbert's has decreased, but I will not
pay it. Herbert, of course, will always be kind to me about it, for he is a
generous creature; and every time we go into action he will probably wring
my hand and beg me not to worry about it any more.

"Old man," he will be saying on the twenty-ninth occasion, "if I got done
in, promise you won't bother about that thousand pounds you owe
me--remember you're to think of it as paid."

I shall remember all right.

       *       *       *       *       *


Private (ex-professor of languages) learns later that he was expected to
fetch a bucket of coke from the stores.]

       *       *       *       *       *

    "In a corn and meal merchant's shop, where two or three cats are kept
    for business purposes, the cats may be seen feeding at will from the
    open sacks."--_Spectator_.

This lapse on pussy's part goes rather against the grain.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Barber_. "MUCH OFF, SIR?"

_War Economist_. "DURATION OF WAR."]

       *       *       *       *       *



There is unfortunately no truth in the rumour that, in order to provide
billets for 5,000 new typists, and incidentally to win the War, the
Government has commandeered the Houses of Parliament.

       *       *       *       *       *

The problem of the housing of the traveller-classes when all the hotels of
London have been taken over by the Government is now occupying both the
waking and sleeping hours (such as they are) of the War Cabinet, and a
special department of the Intelligence Department has been created to deal
with it on the roof of No. 10 Downing Street. It has not yet been decided
whether all visitors to London should be sent back as soon as they arrive,
or whether Sir JOSEPH LYONS should reap the sole benefit of their sojourn.

       *       *       *       *       *

Although the proprietors of the Hotel des Ambassadeurs, Ealing, and the
Grand Hotel Riche, Mile End, have offered the Government their premises, on
the most advantageous terms to themselves, no arrangement has yet been

       *       *       *       *       *

A deputation of officials recently visited the Zoo and made a number of
measurements, but no decision has yet been reached as to whether or no it
will be taken over for Government work.

       *       *       *       *       *

There is absolutely no truth in the statement, circulated by some wholly
frivolous or malicious person, that any of the theatres or music-halls are
to be closed during the War in order to make space for workers.

       *       *       *       *       *

It is rumoured that Mr. EDWARD MARSH may very shortly take up his duties as
Minister of Poetry and the Fine Arts. Mr. MARSH has not yet decided whether
he will appoint Mr. ASQUITH or Mr. WINSTON CHURCHILL as his private

       *       *       *       *       *

Meanwhile a full list of the private secretaries of the new private
secretaries of the members of the new Government may at any moment be
disclosed to a long-suffering public.

       *       *       *       *       *

The latest Captain of Commerce to be diverted from his own business for the
benefit of his country is the head of the great curl industry. He will have
one on his sleeve, being given commissioned rank in the Navy, and his
special duty will be the control of the waves of the Channel.

       *       *       *       *       *

At the invitation of the PREMIER, whose summons came to him just as he was
entering his car bound for Pall Mall, Mr. HARVEY TATE has agreed to accept
the portfolio of the Ministry of Road Traffic. Mr. TATE'S long experience
as a motorist and familiarity with all the difficulties of motoring qualify
him peculiarly for this post. One of his first tasks will be to inquire
fully into the charges against the taxi varlet.

       *       *       *       *       *

In spite of all rumours to the contrary, Lord NORTHCLIFFE will remain
outside the new Government, but his interest in it is, at present,
friendly. It is very well understood, however, that everyone must behave;
for his Lordship, in one of his rare intervals of expansion, has been heard
to remark that there are as good fish in the sea as ever came out of it.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The Bishop of Winchester proposes to cultivate the park round big
    Palace at Fulham."--_Bristol Times and Mirror_.

The Bishop of LONDON will, no doubt, return the compliment at Farnham.

       *       *       *       *       *


(_As recorded in the Press of the period._)


_From "Tempora" (Rome)._

Admittedly, the peril is extreme. Crustumerium has fallen, and also Ostia.
However, Janiculum, the key to the whole outer system of the City's
defences, still stands, and there is accordingly no immediate cause for
dismay. But we are strongly of the opinion--so rapid has been LARS
PORSENA'S advance hitherto--that the bridge over the Tiber should be at
once destroyed as a precautionary measure while there is yet time. We have
every confidence in the continued capacity for resistance of the strong
garrison at Janiculum, but it is necessary to be prepared for every
eventuality; and if the fortress _should_ fall without the bridge being
demolished the latter would inevitably be seized by the enemy, and the
Tiber, our last line of defence, would be lost to us.

For the rest, the spirit of the people is excellent. It has become almost a
truism to say that nowadays none is for a party, but all are for the State.
Rich and poor have learned to help and respect each other. Indeed, in these
brave days Romans, in Rome's quarrel, have poured out blood and treasure
unsparingly for the common cause. We are like a nation of brothers.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Placard of "Hesperus" (Special Phosphorus Edition)_:--




       *       *       *       *       *

_From "Hesperus" (Noon Edition)._





       *       *       *       *       *

_The Secretary to the Senate announces_:

"The War Council met at the River Gate immediately on receipt of the news
of the fall of Janiculum. It was decided to accept the offer of
Port-Captain HORATIUS (S.P.Q.R.'s Own), SPURIUS LARTIUS (Ramnian Regt.),
and HERMINIUS ("Titian Toughs"), who gallantly volunteered to hold the
bridge-head in order to give time for the bridge itself to be destroyed.
All hope of saving the town should not therefore be abandoned."

       *       *       *       *       *

_From our Special Correspondent._

I have just returned from the River Gate, where I was, I believe, the first
to applaud one of the Patres Conscripti (commanding the Axe-and-Crowbar
Volunteers), who set a fine example by actually starting on the demolition
of the bridge himself. Already you could see the Tuscan hordes in the
swarthy dust that shrouded the Western horizon. I was myself in a position
to pick out ASTUR, who was girt with the brand which (I am informed by a
high authority) none but he can wield. There is no need to describe to you
the firmament-rending yell that rose when the presence of the false and
shameful SEXTUS was officially notified. One saw women who hissed and even
expectorated in his direction, and more than one child, I noticed, shook
its small fist at him with splendid spirit....

I am told that HORATIUS spoke out pretty plainly to the Senate, expressing
the opinion that three men could easily hold the bridge-head. The gallant
officer, interviewed while he was in the act of tightening his harness,
declined to say much, merely expressing the opinion that everyone has got
to die some time and that there was, after all, some satisfaction in being
killed in a fight against odds. I confess I was favourably impressed by the
very nonchalance of his attitude.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Stop Press News._


       *       *       *       *       *

_From "Hesperus" (Fourth Edition)._




       *       *       *       *       *

_The Secretary to the Senate announces_:

"Latest advices show that HORATIUS has despatched ASTUR, and, though
slightly wounded in this encounter, has been able to keep his place in the
line. The bridge head is still being held and there is now a pause in the
fighting. The total enemy casualties up to the present are estimated at:
_Killed_, 7; _Wounded_, 0; _Missing_, 0. Our own casualties are: _Killed_,
0; _Wounded_, 1; _Missing_, 0. A regrettable incident took place during the
demolition of the bridge, a Lictor having sliced himself with one of his
own axes and being compelled to relinquish his valuable labours."

       *       *       *       *       *

(_Stop-Press News_.)


The bridge has been successfully destroyed shortly after the skilful
withdrawal of LARTIUS and HERMINIUS in the face of the enemy. We greatly
regret to add that HORATIUS is missing, I having failed to make good his
retreat with his comrades, and must be regarded as lost.--(_Official_.)

       *       *       *       *       *

_From "Hesperus" (Special Home Edition)._



(_By our Special Correspondent._)

HORATIUS, the only one of the "dauntless three" (as they have been already
named) about whose safety doubts were entertained, has swum the river and
is safe. I saw him, when the bridge fell, standing alone, but obviously
with all his wits about him, despite the ninety thousand foes before and
the broad flood behind. When he turned round he might have seen, I believe,
from where he was standing (just where, on other occasions, I have stood
myself) the white porch of his home. His lips parted as if in prayer. The
next moment, pausing only to sheathe his ensanguined sword, he took a
graceful dive into the river.

Some moments of terrible tension ensued. When at last his head appeared
above the surges, a cry of indescribable rapture went up, and I am happy to
place on record the fact that I distinctly detected a note of generous
cheering from the Tuscan ranks.

But all was not yet over. The current ran fiercely, swollen high by months
of rain. Often I thought him sinking--and indeed nearly sent in a message
to that effect--but still again he rose. Never, I think, did any swimmer in
like circumstances perform such a remarkable feat of natation. But at
length he felt the bottom, was helped ashore by myself and the Senate, and
was carried shoulder-high through the River Gate. I understand that some
special recognition is to be made of his splendid feat.

       *       *       *       *       *

_From "Rome Chat."_

Our frontispiece this week is a family group of brave Captain HORATIUS,
together with the tender mother who (formerly) dandled him to rest, and his
wife, who, it will be noticed, is nursing his youngest baby. We are glad to
hear that, in conformity with the principle of settling our gallant
soldiers on the land, a goodly tract is to be given to this popular hero.
The story of how he held the bridge-head will certainly afford a stirring
tale for the home-circle for a long time to come.

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *


Bob Winter is our local carrier. His old grey mare Molly--or a predecessor
very like her, driven by Bob's father before him--has jogged into town on
market days as long as anyone in the village can remember. The
weather-beaten, oft-patched tilt of Bob's cart must have heard in its day
generations of village gossip, and a mere inspection of the cargo on the
flap which lets down at the back will provide quite an amount of
interesting information, such as "whose new housemaid's tin trunk be
a-goin' to station already, lookee, and who be a-getten a new tyre to ees

Now, however, there is a likelihood that Bob may be called up; and the fate
of the carrying business hangs in the balance.

"Never mind, Bob," I said (I had overtaken him and old Molly sauntering up
the steep hill above the village); "if it comes to that, you know, the
women-folk will have to take turns at the carrying while you are away. I
believe I should make rather a good carrier."

Bob shook his head and looked evasive.

"No, Miss," he said, "'twuddn' do, 'twuddn' do at all."

"Come," I said, "you don't mean to say Molly would be too much for me?"

"No, Miss, 'tain't Molly, but--well, 'tain't no job for a lady, ain't the
carryin'; leastways, not to my way o' thinkin'."

"Oh, but I should get the people at the shops to help me with the heavy

Bob cleared his throat loudly and looked more uncomfortable still. Then at
last he decided to take the plunge.

"'Tain't the liftin' that do be troublin' I, Miss," he said confidentially,
"'tis the 'ead-work. I don't believe there be a wumman livin' could do it.
There be a tur'ble lot of 'ead-work in the carryin' business. Why, I do
think--think--think mornen till night, till what wi' one thing an' what wi'
another thing I'm sure there's times when I don't know if I be on my 'ead
or my 'eels. Why, I've seen the time when I've a-comed in and I've a-set
down and I've a-said to Missis, 'No, Missis, I don't want no tea; I don't
want nothen only to set quiet, for I be just about tired out with that
there thinkin'.'

"There be such a sight o' things you do have to remember, lookee. What wi'
the grocer, an' what wi' the draper, an' folks's parcels to leave an'
folks's parcels to call for, an' picken up here an' setten down
there--well, a woman's brain ain't strong enough for it, leastways not to
my way o' thinkin'....

"Well, now, if I ain't a-gone an' forgot to call at old Mrs. Pettigrew's
for her subscription for to get made up at the chemist's! There, now, Miss,
don't that just show how you do 'ave to kip on thinkin' all the time, else
you be just about sure to forget somethin' or another? Oh yes, there be a
smartish lot of 'ead-work in the carryin' business, an' no mistake!"

       *       *       *       *       *

An Enviable Post.

From a list of the new Government:--

    "Chancellor of the Ducky of Lancaster: Sir Frederick Cawley."--_Star_

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Man, to drive horse and make himself generally useful in nursery."--
    _Provincial Press_.

No doubt a rocking-horse.

       *       *       *       *       *

From a New Zealand diocesan magazine:--

    "Owing to the continued illness of the Vicar, which we trust is
    reaching its last stage, the services of the Church have been conducted
    by the following," etc.

The Vicar, we understand, thinks this might have been more tactfully

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Long-suffering Wife_ (_to amateur politician_). "OH, ALL

       *       *       *       *       *


[Writing in _Die Woche_ a well-known Baroness, a leader of Berlin society,
discusses the transformation and purification of Berlin conviviality by the
War. Social functions accompanied by eating have altogether ceased and
given way to more refined gatherings--æsthetic afternoon teas and elegant
evening parties--at which the conversation reaches heights of brilliancy
unheard of in the old carnivorous days. Unhappily snobbery still prevails,
"every class pretending to be richer and better than they are--small
officials, officers, landowners, all pretending to be millionaires, and
doing their pretension shabbily."]

  One of the leading Prussian social stars
    Opines that War, although it makes for leanness,
  Not only banishes discordant jars
    And purifies Berlin of all uncleanness,
  But places her, beatified by Mars,
    Upon a pinnacle of mental keenness,
  Changing the cult of trencher and of bowl
  To feasts of reason and o'erflows of soul.

  The gross carnivorous orgies of the past
    Have gone, and in their place is something finer;
  Emotions of a transcendental cast
    Preoccupy the luncher and the diner;
  The Hun, in short, by being forced to fast,
    Has grown ethereal, more alert, diviner;
  And, purged of all incentive to frivolity,
  His speech has almost lost its guttural quality.

  His talk, of old to stodginess inclined,
    Now sparkles with consistent coruscation,
  Attaining heights of mirth and wit combined
    Unknown to any previous generation,
  But always exquisitely pure, refined
    And spiritual, as befits the nation
  In which the nicer touch was never missing
  Down from great FREDERICK to blameless BISSING.

  'Tis easy, though the writer does not tell,
    To guess the themes which prompt the brightest sallies;
  Louvain; the _Lusitania_; Nurse CAVELL--
    With these Hun wit most delicately dallies;
  The wreck of Reims; the Prussic acid shell;
    The desolation of Armenia's valleys;
  The toll of Belgian infants slain ere birth--
  All these excite Berlin's ecstatic mirth.

  And yet a slight _amari aliquid_
    Is mingled with this lady's honeyed phrases;
  Berlin society is not yet rid
    Of one of its less admirable phases;
  There is, in other words, one fly amid
    The precious ointment of the writer's praises;
  In every class are those who ape the airs
  Of the superior nobs and millionaires.

  But still, when all reserves are duly made
    For negligible faults in tact or breeding,
  The picture by this noble scribe displayed
    Of high-browed Hundom makes impressive reading;
  For homage to convivial needs is paid
    Without the faintest risk of over-feeding,
  And, braced by frugal fare, the Prussian brain
  Soars to a perfectly celestial plane.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "I AM THE MAN."

["What is wanted is a moral deed, to free the world ... from the pressure
which weighs upon all. For such a deed it is necessary to find a ruler who
has a conscience.... I have the courage."--_Extract of letter from the
GERMAN KAISER to his Chancellor, dated October 31st, 1916, and recently
published in "The North German Gazette."_]]

       *       *       *       *       *


_Drawing Mistress_ (_to member of class that has been told to draw some
object of natural history_). "NOW, JAMES, THAT IS NAUGHTY. WHY HAVEN'T YOU


       *       *       *       *       *


Private Albert Snape, A.S.C. (M.T.), stepped off the footboard of X.33, a
mediæval Vanguard, and splashed his way round to the driver. "I'm fair sick
o' this 'ere Flanders, I am," he complained, expectorating dolorously into
the sea of mud; "'spose it 'ull be up to the blinkin' axles before
February?" He stirred the mixture with a cautious foot.

"Not 'arf, ole sport," replied the driver, carefully unsticking a cigarette
from his underlip. "But yer ought to 'ave bin out larst winter, then yer
did 'ave to sit above yerself to keep yer tootsies dry."

"Wot--wuss than this?" exclaimed the disconsolate one.

"Wuss!" was the withering retort. "Wy, when I tells yer that some o' them
Naval 'Umming-birds, t'other side o' Popinjay, fitted out an ole Blue
'Ammersmith with a pair o' propellers ... Wuss!" He exhaled scornfully and
gave a turn to the lubricator.

"Any chance o' getting down Vermelly way? They say it ain't 'arf bad
there." Albert brightened up at the thought.

"'Tain't likely," was the sharp and unsympathetic reply. "'Oo do yer
think's goin' ter do this little job if they takes our lot away? Wy, this
'ere road is just like 'Igh 'Olborn to me; I knows all the 'umps and
'ollows blindfold."

Albert returned to the stern sheets and considered the most feasible method
of desertion.

Half-an-hour later, when the daylight had gone, X.33, generously
over-flowing with a detachment of the 20th Mudlarkers, was, in company with
many other vehicles, making her inharmonious way along the "Wipers" road.
Judging from the plunginess of her progress and the fluent language of the
man of oil, it was evident that some of the "'umps and 'ollows" had passed
from the driver's memory. Not that such a slight matter could damp the
spirits of the passengers. Rather it served to entertain them.

"We '_ave_ gone an' fallen out of the dress-circle this time," a voice
exclaimed after an extra steep dive into a badly-filled shell crater.

Albert, wet and unsociable, hung gloomily on to the back rail.

"Carn't see wot they got to be so blinkin' 'appy abart," he muttered
savagely; "I don't believe it's 'arf bad in them trenches." He ruminated
bitterly on the thought that his job was probably the worst one on the
whole front, and made a resolve to put the matter right.

When the final stopping-place had been reached and the 20th Mudlarkers,
after the usual indescribable mêlée, had been put upon the path that would
ultimately lead them (if they were fortunate enough to avoid all guides,
philosophers and friends) to their trench, the man of oil was profanely
grieved to discover that Albert Snape had abandoned X33 for the unknown.

As a matter of fact Albert had slipped away and followed the Mudlarkers,
with a hazy idea that a rifle would fortuitously present itself. That an
extra unit could possibly be noticed never occurred to him. He had a vague
intention of joining a cavalry regiment. Very soon he lost the Mudlarkers,
and then, by an easy sequence of events, himself.

"Wha goes there?" whispered a hoarse voice almost in his ear. It gave him
quite an unpleasant start, but, suppressing his first inspiration, which
was to say the Life Guards, he answered, "I'm a Mudlarker!"

"This iss the Seaforths in supporrt," remarked the sentry; "ye'll be in the
firrst line, na doot. Ye'll hae to go back, an' it's the firrst turnin' tae
the left, an' keep as strecht as ye can." The Highlander stepped back into
the deeper shadows and the self-recruited Mudlarker continued his career.

He traversed what seemed to him an interminable number of trenches without
encountering anyone. There was a reason for this lack of companionship, but
it did not at first appeal to his imagination. Suddenly he was startled by
the vicious "phut, phut, phut" of unpleasantly close shooting, and bullets
began to splash and grease along the bottom of the trench, accompanied by
the stutter of a machine gun.

Miraculously untouched, he slid over the parados and lay, sweating with
fright, in the watery furrow of a turnip field.

The trench was one that was seldom used, being thoroughly exposed to
enfilading fire. At stated periods through the night a machine gun was
turned on, a proceeding which, beyond gratifying the Huns, had no sort of
effect. Albert, in blissful ignorance of all such customs, floundered about
amongst the turnips until he came across a Jack Johnson crater. From this
he emerged even wetter than before. A little later he became mixed up with
some barbed wire. The more be tried to get away the more inextricably he
became involved with it. A star shell burst overhead, and a German sniper,
seizing the chance of a lifetime, put in four rounds rapid fire.

Albert lost the lobe of an ear and had his breeches shot through, but he
managed to escape from the wire and find another furrow. Mere dampness no
longer inconvenienced him, there were so many other things to think about.
He crawled stealthily on his hands and knees and found the barbed wire
again. At length he heard the welcome sound of voices. He crawled faster
until he became aware that the voices were not speaking English, This
discovery turned him to stone. For an hour--perhaps two hours--he remained
as still as a hare in its form.

Suddenly, blurred and crouching figures appeared out of the night. They
moved quickly and silently. One of them nearly trod upon his hand, but he
was too dazed to think of committing himself to either speech or action.

"Give it 'em!" cried a voice a few seconds later, and the roar of the
exploding bombs signified that it had been given.

Instantly pandemonium broke loose. Machine gun and rapid rifle fire burst
forth from the German front trenches, and streams of bullets swept over the
intervening ground like a gigantic hail-storm; then some field batteries
began to burst H.E. shrapnel above the disturbed area, while star shells
and magnesium flares threw an uneven light over the whole scene.

A breathless body cast itself down beside the now completely mesmerised
Albert: "We ain't 'arf upset the blinkin' beehive. Lumme! it's--"

The prone figure suddenly became silent, gave a convulsive kick or two and
rolled over towards the man who still lived.

It was sufficient. Something seemed to draw very tense in Albert's brain
and his body reeled into action.

Blindly and without coherent thought he ran shouting across the field,
stumbling and falling over the slippery and uneven surface, but always
picking himself up and flinging his body onward into the unknown.

A subaltern, who was examining a luminous watch, received him at the charge
as he fell into an English first-line trench. They struggled wildly
together in the mud to the accompaniment of startling language on the part
of the subaltern.

Then Albert, having reached his limit of endurance, had the supreme tact to

A little later, in a well-found dug-out, the patient was refreshing himself
with copious draughts of brandy.

"Who are you, and what the devil are you doing here?" asked the still
indignant officer.

Albert did not hesitate longer than it takes to swallow.

"Lorst me way, I 'ave, Sir. I'm with X 33, attached to Mechanical
Transport, an' if I ain't back pretty quick my mate 'ull fair 'ave a
bloomin' fit."

       *       *       *       *       *

As was predicted by the sagacious man of oil, the mud upon the ---- road is
slowly climbing towards the axles, but in spite of this and sundry other
drawbacks it would be hard to find a more contented spirit than that of
Private Albert Snape, A.S.C. (M.T.).

       *       *       *       *       *



The Colonel rustles his newspaper, smites it into shape with a mighty fist,
rips it across in a futile endeavour to fold it accurately, and, casting it
furiously aside in a crumpled mass, says, after the manner of all true War
Lords, "Umph." Whereupon the Ante-Room as one man takes cover.

The Colonel then turns cumbrously in his chair, permitting his eye to rove
round the room in search of the unwary prey. He smiles cynically at the
intense concentration of the Auction parties; winces at the renewed and
unnatural efforts of those who make music; glares unamiably at the feverish
book-worms, and suddenly breaks into little chuckles of satisfaction. The
Ante-Room peers cautiously round to discover the identity of the
unfortunate victim, and chuckles in its turn. The Adjutant, checked in his
stealthy retreat, hastens back, arranges the table and chess-board, pokes
the fire with unnecessary energy, and sits down. At once the Ante-Room
abandons its cover.

The Colonel begins by grasping the box, turning it upside down, and
spilling the contents over the sides of the table. The Adjutant immediately
apologises for his clumsiness. The Colonel then liberally spreads out the
pieces, selects two pawns, and offers the Adjutant the choice of two fists.
The Adjutant chooses. Each fist opens to disclose a white pawn. The
Colonel's expansive smile over his little joke quickly turns to a frown at
the Adjutant's exaggerated laughter. He suspects the Adjutant. He seizes
two more pieces, offers his opponent another choice, but, to the latter's
huge delight and his own discomfiture, eventually discovers that both are
black. He accordingly makes use of his casting vote and selects white.

The Colonel plays a smashing game. When it is his turn to move he never
pauses to make up his mind. His mind is already made up. All he has to do,
immediately the Adjutant has finished touching up his position, is to move
the piece his eye has been piercing throughout the long period of his
opponent's cautious deliberation. When the Colonel moves a piece he may be
said to get there. All obstructions are ruthlessly swept aside with a
callous indifference to Hague Conventions. Should a knight haply descend
from the clouds and settle on the correct square it arrives more by luck
than judgment. Tradition alleges that whenever the Colonel is called upon
to move his king in the earlier stages of the game all lights are turned
off from the neighbouring town in accordance with the Defence of the Realm
Regulations. However true this may be--the responsibility rests on the
Padre's capable shoulders--when his king is moved in the later stages the
Colonel pushes it along by half-squares in a haphazard and preoccupied
manner. He invariably fills his pipe when the end is in sight, but leaves
it unlighted so that he may cover his ultimate defeat by a general
demolition of matches.

On this occasion the Adjutant skilfully snipes the Colonel's queen in the
sixth move. The Colonel immediately retrieves the piece from the box, asks
where it was before, examines it with the essence of loathing and revolt,
removes it out of his sight, and refuses to take it back, although he had
mistaken it for another piece. In retaliation he proceeds to concentrate
all his effectives on his opponent's queen, and, after sacrificing the
flower of his forces, drives the attack home and gains his objective with
the greatest enthusiasm. He remarks that the capture was costly, but that
honour is satisfied, and would the waiter kindly approach within ear-shot?

While the Adjutant is working up his offensive on the Colonel's right
flank, the Colonel himself is making independent sallies on the left,
unless, of course, he is compelled to march his king out of a congested
district into more open country. On the rare occasions when he is at a loss
for a moment what to do he makes it a practice to move a pawn one square in
order to gain time. By this method, unexpectedly but none the less
jubilantly, he recovers his queen--only to see it laid low again by
enfilading fire from a perfectly obvious redoubt.

After twenty minutes of battle the Colonel's area becomes positively
draughty, and the sole survivors of his dashing but sanguinary
counter-attack, the king and two pawns, have assumed the bored and callous
air of a remnant that has fought too long and is called upon to fight
again. The Colonel has just unceremoniously pushed his sovereign to the
rear with a flick of his nervous irritated little finger. His opponent can
obviously bring him to his knees in two moves. Instead of which the
Adjutant brazenly commences with massed bands and colours flying to execute
a masterly tactical advance with the whole of his command--cavalry,
infantry, church and tanks, in order to achieve the destruction of the two
bantam bodyguards.

This is not playing the game, and the Colonel fumes inwardly and frets
outwardly. In the intervals of pressing down the unlit tobacco in his pipe
with an oscillating thumb, he alternately pokes his king out of the corner
and pulls it back again; while his transparent impulse is to scrap the
board, wreck the ante-room and run amok. The Adjutant continues his
innocent amusement until at last the pleasure wanes. The two heroic pawns
are carried decently off, and he apologetically whispers his suspicions of
a checkmate to his commanding officer.

The Colonel brushes aside the Mess President's tinder-lighter, shatters the
mute triumph of the serried black ranks of the hostile forces with one
superb elevation of the eyebrows, smashes three matches in quick
succession, and proves that all the time his mind has been preoccupied with
weightier matters by saying after the manner of all true War Lords, "Umph."

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Tube Conductor_. "PASS FURTHER DOWN THE CAR, PLEASE! PASS

       *       *       *       *       *

Sweetness and Light.

  O MATTHEW ARNOLD! you were right:
  We need  more  Sweetness  and more Light;
  For till we break the brutal foe
  Our sugar's short, our lights are low.

       *       *       *       *       *


It was my task to collect from their relatives particulars as to the
whereabouts of the wounded of our neighbourhood, for the purposes of our
local report. It wanted five minutes to twelve, the sacred dinner-hour of
the British artisan, and one name remained upon my list, against which was
a pencilled note, "Reported returning home." Did that mean that he was
disabled? And should I manage to gather the necessary information before
the clock struck?

I knocked at the door, which was opened by a woman wearing a canvas apron
with a very tight string, her head surmounted by hair-curlers and a cloth

"Yes, thanking you kindly," she replied in answer to my question, "me son
'_as_ been wounded. 'Eard of it from the War Office. This war's a shocking

I expressed my sympathy and asked for particulars.

"Yer see, he was at Gallipoli."

"At Gallipoli? Then it must have been some time ago? I understood--"

"It was this way. Me son, 'e ses to me, 'Mother,' 'e says, 'don't you
worry, but I've had a toe took off.' 'E never was one to put up a great
shout 'bout hisself, nor nothink of that. They took 'im down to their base
'ospital. Leeharver's the name. Perhaps you know it?"

I cast my mind over the Ægean Islands, from which Mudros sprang up very
large, and everything else sank into oblivion. "I'm afraid I don't," I
owned apologetically.

"Thought perhaps you might. L-E first word, H-A-V-R-E second--Leeharver."

"Oh-h, to be sure, Le Havre. I mean--yes, now you mention it, I think I
have heard of it. And is your son still there?"

Me son, 'e ses the vermin there was something shocking, and they spent all
their spare time 'unting theirselves."

"What? _not_ in the hospital? Oh, I see; you mean in the trenches."

"And 'im," she continued, not noticing my remark, 'and 'im that partic'lar
'bout 'is linen; couldn't use a 'andkerchief not unless it was spotless;
must 'av a clean one every Sunday as reg'lar as the week come round. It do
seem 'ard, don't it? They've pinched his sweater too. S'pose I shall 'av to
get 'im another, s'pose I shall; but it's a job to know how to get along
these times. And now margarine's up this week, that's the latest."

"But your son," I ventured tentatively--"is his foot still bad?"

"Oh, 'is _foot's_ right enough. It's 'is teeth that's the worry. 'E ses to
me, 'Mother,' he ses, 'afore I can do any good I must 'ave me teeth seen
to.' Oh, this fighting's cruel work!"

Could he have been wounded in the jaw? The thought was horrible, but I
remarked with affected cheerfulness, "Well, come, anyhow he is able to

"Oh, 'e can _write_ right enough--got the prize at school for 'rithmatic,
'e did."

"Yes, but I mean if he is able to write he can't be so very bad."

"Oh, 'e didn't _write_ that. That was August come a twelvemonth. The very
first thing they done to him was to take out pretty near 'alf 'is teeth.
The military authorities do pull you about something shocking."

"And where did he go after Hav--after Leehar--I mean after the hospital?" I
was getting rather bewildered.

"Oh, 'e went to the War right enough; but 'is digestion's that bad. They
said 'e'd feel a lot better once 'is teeth was was out, but 'e ses,
'Mother,' 'e ses, 'you want a mouth full of teeth to eat this bullet beef
what they give us.' Next thing was they set him to drive them machines."

"What machines would those be?" I asked, groping for a little light.

"Why, them motors as they use out there. 'E got meddling with one of 'em,
and it was the nearest thing 'e didn't 'ave 'is 'and in a jelly; the
machine didn't act proper, or somethink o' that."

"And do you mean that his hand was injured?"

"Not as I've 'eard on," came the prompt reply.

"Well, but I thought you said your son _had_ been wounded."

"Ah, yes, that was 'is toe, yer see; sent 'im down to the base 'ospital,

"Yes, you told me that; but I heard he might be coming home. I was afraid
perhaps he was disabled."

"That's right. 'E's coming 'ome right enough. Ought to be 'ere in 'bout
five minutes. 'Ope 'is dinner 'asn't spiled time I've stood 'ere talking to

"Well, what _is_ the matter with him then?" I asked desperately.

"Dunno there's anything partic'lar wrong with 'im. 'E's going to get
married to-morrer, if that's what you mean. 'Ope it won't be the beginning
of fresh troubles for 'im. But you never know what's coming next."

I agreed that you never did.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "ELLO, WOT'S THE MATTER WITH 'IM?"


       *       *       *       *       *



Jerry, my lad,--We have lost a dear friend, and with him, alas, the piping
days of peace. No, he is not dead, or even moribund, but his friendship for
us lives no longer. His name is Feodor, and he is a Bulgar comitadjus, or
whatever is the singular of "comitadji," and he lived until lately in No. 2
Dugout, Hyde Park, just over the way.

It is a moot point which delighted us the more, Feodor's charming manner or
his exquisite trousers. These two characteristics were the more pleasing
because of their perfect contrast; for whereas his manner was refined and
retiring, his trousers were distinctly aggressive in their flaunting
shameless redness.

Feodor's appearances were at first spasmodic. This was only natural, seeing
that he had not yet instilled into us his own attractive habit of _laisser
aller_ and _laisser faire_, and that his red trousers offered such a
beautiful mark.

He would appear suddenly, smile seraphically towards us, and then disappear
before our snipers could get on to him. At first of course we tried to pot
him, but gradually our ferocity gave way to amazement and then to
tolerance. At last came a day when Feodor climbed on to his parapet and
made us a pretty little speech. We cheered him loudly, although we didn't
understand much of it. Next day we brought down an interpreter and asked
Feodor for an encore. His second performance was even more spirited than
the first, and after a graceful vote of thanks to our benefactor we asked
the interpreter to oblige.

It appeared that from his boyhood Feodor had been apprenticed to an
assistant piano-tuner in Varna. Rosy days of rapid promotion followed, and
the boy, completely wrapped up in his profession, soon became a deputy
assistant piano-tuner. Then followed the old, old story of vaulting

The youth, his head turned by material success, sought to consolidate his
social position by a marriage above his station, and dared to aspire to the
hand of a full piano-tuner's daughter.

The old man tried gentle dissuasion at first, but the obstinate pertinacity
of the stripling made him gradually lose patience. He was a hale and hearty
veteran, and when the situation came to a climax his method of dealing with
it was stern and thorough.

Seizing the hapless Feodor during an evening call he interned him in the
vitals of a tuneless Baby Grand, and for three hours played on him CHOPIN'S
polonaise in A flat major, with the loud pedal down. On his release Feodor
had lost his reason and rushed to the nearest police-station to ask to be
sent to the Front immediately. His object, he explained, was to end the
War. The Bulgar authorities thought the plan worth trying and sent him off
as a comitadjus; and to these circumstances we were indebted for his

Every day we saw more and more of Feodor, and we grew to love him. As to
sniping him now--the idea never entered our beads. Accordingly, while a
deafening strafe proceeded daily on both sides of us, we remained in a
state of idyllic peace and hatelessness.

Then arrived the cruel day when the Brass Hats came round, and a large and
important General asked us--

"But are you being offensive enough to the enemy in front?"

"Offensive to Feodor, Sir? Impossible!"

"You _must_ be offensive," he rejoined. "I don't think there is sufficient
hate in this part of the line."

It was this unfortunate moment that Feodor chose to step on to his parapet
and call out cheerfully to the Great Man--

"Good morning, John_ee_!"

For one tense moment I thought the General would burst. By an effort he
pulled himself together, however, and shouted to my troops in a voice of

"At That Person in front--fifteen rounds rapid. Fire!"

We had to do it, of course, and, although I think most of our sights were a
little high, accidents _will_ happen. Feodor emitted one unearthly shriek,
and his time back towards home would, if it had been taken, make a world's
championship record.

I don't think he was physically hurt; but his poor trousers were badly

Our friend, Jerry, may not be lost, but he is certainly gone behind.

  Yours always,

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Lady_ (_who has been photographed for passport_). "THIS


       *       *       *       *       *

    "From the Pentland Firth to Norway, the eyes of the British Fleet are
    those of Nunquam."--_Yorkshire Post_.

We suppose old _Dormio_ is asleep as usual.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The clergy will be pleased to hear of parishioners who are
    sick.".--_Parish Magazine_.

No doubt they mean it kindly, but it sounds rather callous.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Holders of 15s. 6d. War Savings Certificates and scrip vouchers of the
    War Loan are acceptable over the Post Office counter at their face
    value."--_Daily News_.

"'My face is my fortune, Sir,' she said."

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Will anyone give 15/- and a kind home to a nice little brown miniature
    poodle dog, 3 years, ideal pet and companion?"--_The Bazaar_.

Sixpence more and the little pet could buy a War Savings Certificate.

       *       *       *       *       *


No. I.

_From Arthur Vivian, Bury Street, St. James's, to Mrs. Morton, Dockington
Hall, Bucks._

DEAR MRS. MORTON,--Just a line to thank you very sincerely for my
delightful visit. It was like old times to see you "all gathered together
in hospitable Dockington and to find that the War, terrible as it is, has
not altogether abolished pleasant human intercourse in England, in spite of
what the Dean said. But then Deans are privileged persons.

I am sorry to say, by the way, that in the hurry of departure this morning
I took away the wrong umbrella and left my own. I am sending back the
changeling with all proper apologies. Would you mind sending me mine? It
has a crook handle (cane) and a plain silver band with my initials engraved
on it. Please give my love to Harry and the children.

  Yours always sincerely,

No. II.

_From the Dean of Marchester to Mrs. Morton._

DEAR MRS. MORTON,--I desire to thank you for three most agreeable days
spent in congenial company. You have indeed mastered the secret of making
your guests feel at home, and Dockington even in war-time is still
Dockington. Pray give my warm regards to Mr. Morton and remember me
suitably to the dear children. I wish they wouldn't keep on growing up as
they do; childhood is so delightful.

I find to my great regret that by some inexplicable mistake I took away
with me an umbrella that is not mine. I am sending it back to you, and
shall be deeply beholden to you if you will pack up and send to me the one
I left. It is an old one, recognisable by its cane handle (crook) and an
indiarubber ring round the shaft. Pray accept my apologies for the trouble
I am giving you.

  Yours very sincerely,

No. III.

_From Brigadier-General Barton to his Sister, Mrs. Morton._

DEAR MARY,--You gave me a capital time. There's a slight difference between
Dockington and the trenches. I'm not as a rule a great performer with
clergymen, but I liked your Dean. By the way, when I dashed off your man
put somebody else's umbrella in with me, instead of my own, which is a
natty specimen. The one I've got is an old gamp with a stout indiarubber
ring to it. I haven't time to send it back. Every moment is taken up, as I
cross to France to-night. Besides, how can you pack such a thing as an
umbrella? It's much too long. Keep mine till we meet again. Best love to
Harry and the kids.

  Ever yours,

No. IV.

_From Arthur Vivian to Mrs. Morton._

DEAR MRS. MORTON,--I wired you this morning asking you to do nothing about
my umbrella. The fact is I have found it at my rooms, and I am forced to
the conclusion that I never took it with me to Dockington at all. I am
awfully sorry to have given you all this trouble. It shall be a lesson to
me never to take my umbrella anywhere, or rather never to think I've taken
it, when, as a matter of fact, I haven't.

  Yours always sincerely,

No. V.

_Telegram from Mrs. Morton to Arthur Vivian._

 Too late. Sent off somebody's umbrella to you yesterday.
Please return it to me.

No. VI.

_From Mrs. Morton to her Sister, Lady Compton._

 ... We had a few friends at Dockington last week, not a real party, but
just a few old shoes--Tom, Arthur Vivian and the Dean of Marchester and
Mrs. Dean. Since they went away I've had the most awful time with their
umbrellas. They all took away with them the wrong ones, and then wrote to
me to send them their right ones. Arthur Vivian never brought one, and
whose he took away I can't say. In fact I've been exposed to an avalanche
of returning umbrellas, and Parkins has spent all his time in doing up the
absurd things and posting them. He has just celebrated his seventieth
birthday, and these umbrellas have ruined what's left of his temper.
Umbrellas still keep pouring in, and nobody ever seems by any chance to get
the right one. It's the most discouraging thing I've ever been involved in.
As far as I can make out the Dean's umbrella is now in the trenches with
Tom. If ever I have a party at Dockington again I shall write, "No
umbrellas by request," on the invitations.

       *       *       *       *       *



  Roving along the King's highway
    I met wi' a Romany black.
  "Good day," says I; says he, "Good day,
    And what may you have in your pack?"
  "Why, a shirt," says I, "and a song or two
    To make the road go faster."
  He laughed: "Ye'll find or the day be through
    There's more nor that, young master.
      Oh, roving's good and youth is sweet
        And love is its own reward;
      But there's that shall stay your careless feet
        When ye come to the Sign o' the Sword."

  "Riddle me, riddlemaree," quoth I,
    "Is a game that's ill to win,
  And the day is o'er fair such tasks to try"--
    Said he, "Ye shall know at the inn."
  With that he suited his path to mine
    And we   travelled merrily,
  Till I was ware of the promised sign
    And the door of an hostelry.
      And the Romany sang, "To the very life
        Ye shall pay for bed and board;
      Will ye turn aside to the House of Strife?
        Will ye lodge at the Inn o' the Sword?"

  Then I looked at the inn 'twixt joy and fear,
    And the Romany looked at me.
  Said I, "We ha' come to a parting here
    And I know not who you be."
  But he only laughed as I smote on the door:
    "Go, take ye the fighting chance;
  Mayhap I once was a troubadour
    In the knightly days of France.
      Oh, the feast is set for those who dare
        And the reddest o' wine outpoured;
      And some sleep sound after peril and care
        At the Hostelry of the Sword."

       *       *       *       *       *

For our "National Lent"--the War Loan.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Pet of the Platoon_. "I DIDN'T HALF TELL OFF OUR SERGEANT

_Ecstatic Chorus_. "AND WHAT DID HE SAY?"

_Bill_ (_after a pause_). "WELL, AS A MATTER OF FAC', I DON'T THINK HE

       *       *       *       *       *


(_By Mr. Punch's Staff of Learned Clerks_.)

When the eminent in other branches of art take to literature, criticism
must naturally be tempered with respect. This is much how I feel after
Probably, however, I should have enjoyed it more had not the publishers
indulged in a wrapper-paragraph of such unbounded eulogy. If anybody is to
call this novel "a work of great artistic achievement," and praise its
"philosophy, psychology, delightful sense of humour, subtle analysis" and
all the rest, I should prefer it to be someone less interested in the wares
thus pushed. For my part I should be content to call _The Silver Chain_ by
no means an uninteresting story, the work of a distinguished man, obviously
an amateur in the craft of letters, who nevertheless has pleased himself
(and will give pleasure to others) by working into it many pen-pictures of
scenes in Egypt and Rome and Sicily, full of the glowing colour that we
should expect from their artist-author. But the tale itself, the unrewarded
love of the middle-aged "Philosopher" for the not specially attractive
heroine _Mary_, and the subordinate very Byronic romance of _Herbert_ and
_Annunziata_, quite frankly recalls those early manuscripts that most
novelists must have burnt before they were quit of boyhood, or preserved to
smile over. Still, in these winter days, when only Prime Ministers go to
Rome (and then not to bask) and Luxor is equidistant with the moon, you may
well find respite in a book so full of sunshine and memories of happy
places; but I am bound to repeat my warning that your fellow-travellers
will perhaps not be quite such stimulating society as the publishers would
have you expect.

       *       *       *       *       *

Sir THEODORE COOK has already done sound work in dealing with German
methods, and in _The Mark of the Beast_ (MURRAY) he pursues his labours a
step further. So careful is he to give incontestable proofs for the charges
he brings against the Huns that even the most anæmic neutrals must find a
difficulty in reading this volume without recognising the truth. Especially
he emphasizes the dangers of peace-making with an enemy whose whole policy
and programme have been based on lies. And if he insists many times and
again upon this point he has his excuse in the fact that some of us are so
extraordinarily forgetful and forgiving that we cannot be reminded too
often of what the future has in store for us if we do not now remember the
past. With such an absolutely flawless case in his hands I find myself
wishing sometimes that Sir THEODORE had been less prodigal of the
denunciatory language which he hurls at Teutonic heads. Not for a moment
would I suggest that the Hun does not deserve vituperation, but I am
inclined to think that a less violent manner of attack is more effective.
In his own way, however, Sir THEODORE is inimitable, and I can pay no
higher praise to his book than to say that I know of no War-literature so
admirably calculated to make BETHMANN-HOLLWEG ("more double than his name")
really sorry for himself.

The War has not been lacking in fine memorials of the dead. To what extent
the Germans have commemorated the fallen I have no notion; but in France
and Italy the papers constantly print tender and eloquent tributes, usually
to the young. And in England we have the same thing too, touchingly,
proudly and generously done. For the most part such tributes are mere
records, but now and then they reconstruct; and the most remarkable example
of such reconstruction--to the world at large, absolute creation--is the
memoir of _Charles Lister_ (UNWIN), which his father, Lord RIBBLESDALE, and
some devoted friends have, with perfect biographical tact, prepared. But
for CHARLES LISTER'S untimely death, leading his men against the Turks in
July, 1915, most of the letters in this book would never have been printed
at all; for whatever his career might have become--and he was a man apart
and bound for distinction--and however great a record were his, the early
years could not be thus liberally illumined. But since death decreed that
these early years--he was not quite twenty-eight when he was wounded for
the third time and succumbed--should constitute all his career, we have
this notable and beautiful book. If one had to put but a single epithet to
it I should choose "radiant." At Eton, at Balliol, at the Embassies in Rome
and Constantinople, and in the Army, CHARLES LISTER shed radiance. All his
many friends testify to this. As for his letters, they are clear and gay
and human; and they have also a sagacity that many older and more
determined observers of life might envy; while that one to Lady DESBOROUGH
upon the death of his great friend, JULIAN GRENFELL, is literature. Every
page is interesting, but some are far more than that; and at the end one
has almost too moving a concept of an ardent idealistic English gentleman
met too late.

       *       *       *       *       *

At first sight, perhaps, _Nothing Matters_ (CASSELL) may sound to you a
somewhat, shall I say, transatlantic title for a book published in these
days, when we are all learning how enormously everything matters. But this
emotion will only last till you have read Sir HERBERT BEERBOHM TREE'S
disarming little preface. Personally, it left me regretting only one thing
in the volume (or, to be more accurate, outside it), which was the design
of its very unornamental wrapper--a lapse, surely, from taste, for which it
would probably be quite unfair to blame the writer of what lies within.
This is almost all of it excellent fooling, and includes a brace of longish
short-stories (rather in the fantastic style of brother MAX); some fugitive
pieces that you may recall as they flitted through the fields of
journalism; with, for stiffening, a reprint of the author's admirable
lecture upon "The Importance of Humour in Tragedy." This is a title that
you may well take as a motto for the whole book. It will have, I think, a
warm welcome from Sir HERBERT'S many friends and admirers, even should it
turn out to be the case that some of his plots have been (in his own
quaintly attractive phrase) "prophetically plagiarised" by other writers.
Certainly this welcome will not be lessened by the knowledge that all
profits from the sale of the volume are to go to support a cause that, to
all who love the Stage, will be far indeed from not mattering--the fund to
supplement the incomes of the wives and families of actors at the Front.
You may regard it therefore as the lightest of comedies played, like so
many others, in the cause of charity, and put down your money with an
approving conscience.

       *       *       *       *       *

Let no one whose heart has been touched beyond mere vicarious pride in the
achievement of our brothers-in-arms at the gate of Paris allow himself to
miss the detailed narrative of HENRI DUGARD in _The Battle of Verdun_
(HUTCHINSON). A good translation by F. APPLEBY HOLT, rather exceptional in
these days of hurried conveyancing, does not detract from the vigour and
movement of the story. We, who only saw the long agony through the medium
of the always inadequate and discreet technicalities of the _communiqués_,
could form no real impression of the kind of fighting or of the results of
each phase of it. The author has collected the accounts or reports, so that
the strokes and counter-strokes (for there was nothing passive in this
siege) of the epic combats round Douamont, Fort Vaux, the Woevre,
Malancourt, Avocourt and the Mort Homme are intelligibly reconstructed.
Comment in the form of personal anecdotes of individual heroism is added.
Perhaps the most illuminating touch is in the letter of poor Feldwebel KARL
GARTNER, which was to have been despatched to his mother by a friend going
on leave, so as to escape the Censor's eye. It began in a mood of
robustious confidence and ended (or rather was interrupted by GARTNER'S
capture) on the most despairing note. And this was seven months before the
most brilliant counter-attack in the history of the War slammed the door
once for all in the face of the enemy.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Theatrical Manager_. "THIS WON'T DO, YOU KNOW. IT'S NOT A


       *       *       *       *       *

    "The scheme of utilising vacant spaces in London is being taken up
    enthusiastically in the provinces."--_Evening Standard_.

At the same time the scheme of utilising vacant spaces in the provinces is
being welcomed with similar enthusiasm in London.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Vigorous complaints against the proposal to establish an overhead
    electric system of tramways in Edinburgh were made this afternoon.

    Lord Strathclyde declared that the overhead wires proposal had
    electrified the citizens."--_Scottish Paper_.

There must be something seriously wrong with the insulation.

       *       *       *       *       *

--> NOTICE.--Rejected Communications or Contributions, whether MS., Printed
Matter, Drawings, or Pictures of any description, will in no case be
returned, not even when accompanied by a Stamped and Addressed Envelope,
Cover, or Wrapper. To this rule there will be no exception.

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