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Title: Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 152, June 13, 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, June 13, 1917" ***

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VOL. 152.

June 13, 1917.


Count TISZA has declared his intention of going to the Front for the
duration of the War. He denies, however, that he caught the idea from


The Germans announced that Chérisy was impregnable. In view of the
fact that the place has since been captured by the British it is felt
that Sir DOUGLAS HAIG could not have read the German announcement.


Owners of babies are asked to hang out flags from their houses during
the forthcoming Baby Week at Croydon. Parents who have only a little
Bunting should hang that out instead.


A parrot owned by a lady at Ipswich is said to make "poll scratchers"
for herself out of small pieces of soft wood. In justice to the bird
it must be stated that she has frequently expressed a desire to be
allowed to do war-work, but has been discouraged.


A Battersea fitter has been committed for trial for breaking into a
Kingston jeweller's and stealing goods worth £2,350. There is really
no excuse for this sort of thing, as the public have been repeatedly
asked by the Government not to go in for expensive jewellery.


An Eastbourne coal merchant told the tribunal that a substitute sent
to him was "too dirty to cart coals." The department has apologised
for the mistake and explained that it was thought the man was required
to deliver milk.


According to the _Berliner Tageblatt_, twenty-nine houses in Oberreuth
have been burned down and a villager aged ninety-seven years has been
arrested. The veteran, it appears, puts down his sudden crime to the
baneful influence of the cinema.


One of the latest Army Orders permits the wearing of leather buttons
in place of brass. Our readers should not be too ready to assume that
this will have any effect on the existing meat-pie shortage.


Recently published statistics of the Zoological Gardens show a marked
decrease of mortality among the inmates since they were placed on
rations. A nasty rumour is also laid to rest by the declaration that
the notices which deal with "Enquiries for Lost Children" and are
prominently displayed in the Gardens were actually in vogue before the
rationing system was introduced.


Paper is one of the principal foods of "Chips," the pet goat of
Summer-down Camp. In view of the increasing value of this commodity
an attempt is to be made to encourage the animal to accept caviare


"Quite good results in the sterilisation of polluted drinking water,"
says _The British Medical Journal_, "have been obtained by the use
of sulphondichloraminobenzoic." It appears that you just mention this
name to the germs (stopping for lunch in the middle) and the little
beggars are scared to death.


In a recent message to General LUDENDORFF, the KAISER refers to the
German defence as being "mainly in your hands." And only last April
they were professing to find it in HINDENBURG'S feet.


It is not yet compulsory under the new Order, but as a precaution
it is advisable for the owner of a cheese to have his full name and
address written on the collar.


The gentleman who advertised last week in a contemporary the loss
of two pet dogs will be greatly interested in a little book just
published, entitled _How to Keep Dogs_.


"It is the most extraordinary case I ever heard of," said the Chairman
of the Middlesex Appeal Tribunal, in the case of a one-eyed man passed
for general service. The case is not unique, however, for a one-eyed
man named NELSON is recorded as having seen some general service in
the early part of the nineteenth century.


Brazil has entered the War and Germany is now able to shoot in almost
any direction without any appreciable risk of hitting a friend.


A five-months-old boy having been called up at Hull, the mother took
the baby to the recruiting office, where we are told the military were
satisfied that a mistake had been made.


The author of an article in _The Daily Mail_ stated recently that nine
readers of that paper had sent him poems. This of course is only to be
expected of a newspaper which advocates reprisals.


According to the _Vossische Zeitung_ washing soap is unobtainable
in Berlin. Even eating soap, it is rumoured, can be obtained only at
prohibitive prices.


Before the Law Society Tribunal, Mr. JACOB EPSTEIN, the sculptor,
was stated to have passed the medical test. On the other hand Mr.
EPSTEIN'S Venus is still regarded as medically unfit.


A Devon lady who has just celebrated her one hundredth birthday
declares that to drink plenty of water daily is the secret of good
health. This is a great triumph for the milk trade.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Curate_ (_to old parishioner troubled with insomnia_).


       *       *       *       *       *


  The best game the fairies play,
  The best game of all,
  Is sliding down steeples--
  You know they're very tall.
  You fly to the weathercock
  And when you hear it crow
  You fold your wings and clutch your things,
  And then you let go!

  They have a million other games;
  Cloud-catching's one;
  And mud-mixing after rain
  Is heaps and heaps of fun;
  But when you go and stay with them
  Never mind the rest;
  Take my advice--they're very nice,
  But steeple-sliding's best!

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Home wanted for tabby Persian Cat, 3 years old
    (neutral)."--_Scotch Paper_.

Why doesn't it join the Allies?

       *       *       *       *       *


"A short way with submarines?" said Bill; "oh, yes, we've _got_ one
all right; but," he added regretfully, "I don't know as I'm at liberty
to tell you. Wot I'm thinkin' about is this 'ere Defence o' the Realm
Act--see? Why, there was a feller I knew got ten days' cells for just
tellin' a young woman where 'er sweet'eart's ship was."

It was the last day of Bill's "leaf," of which he had spent the
greater part warding off the attacks of old acquaintances bent upon
finding out something interesting about the Navy. Of course during
his absence Bill had written home regularly, but his letters had been
models of discretion and confined to matters of the strictest personal
interest. Since his return quite a number of temporary coldnesses
had arisen as a result of his obstinate reticence, and the retired
station-master, after several attacks both in front and flank had
ignominiously failed, flew into a rage and said he didn't believe
there was any Navy left to tell about, the Germans having sunk it all
at the Battle of Jutland.

Bill said they might 'ave done, he really didn't know, not to be

But now, with his bundle handkerchief beside him, just having another
drink on his way to the station, Bill really seemed to be relenting
a little. The customers of the "Malt House" all leaned forward
attentively to listen.

"It's all among friends, Bill," said the landlord encouragingly, "it
won't go no further, you can rest easy about that."

"I've 'eard tell as it's this 'ere Mr. Macaroni," began the baker,
who took in a twopenny paper every day, and gave himself well-informed
airs in consequence.

"If you'd ever been properly eddicated," said Bill, wiping his mouth
on the back of his hand, "you'd know as the best discoveries 'ave been
made by haccident, same as when the feller invented the steam-engine
along of an apple tumblin' on 'is 'ead. That's 'ow it is with this
'ere submarine business, an' no macaroni about it an' no cheese

"Sailormen gets a deal o' presents sent 'em nowadays, rangin' from
wrist-watches an' cottage-pianners to woolly 'ug-me-tights in double
sennit. But the best present we ever 'ad--well, I'll tell you.

"An old lady as was aunt or godmother or something o' the sort to
our Navigatin' Lootenant sent him a present of an extra large tin of
peppermint 'umbugs. Real 'ot uns, they was, and big--well, I believe
you! I've 'ad a deal o' peppermints in my time, but this 'ere
consignment from the Navigator's great-aunt fairly put the lid on.
You'd ha' thought all 'ands was requirin' dental treatment the day
the Navigator shared 'em out, an' when the steersman come off duty,
'e give the course to the feller relievin' the wheel as if 'e'd got an
'ot potato in 'is mouth.

"Well, the peppermints was in full blast an' the ship smellin' like a
bloomin' sweet factory when the look-out reported a submarine on our
port bow. O' course we was all cleared for haction, an' beginnin' to
feel our Iron Crosses burnin' 'oles in our jumpers, when we begun to
see as there was something funny about 'er.

"Naturally we was lookin' for 'er to submerge--but not she! There she
sat, waitin' for us, an' all 'er crew was pushin' an' fightin' to get
their 'eads out of 'er conning tower. We was right on top of 'er in
two twos, and all as we 'ad to do was to pick up the officers and crew
as if they was a lot o' wasps as 'ad been drinkin' beer, an' tow the
submarine--which was in fust-rate goin' order, not a month out o' Kiel
dockyard--'ome to a port as I'm not at liberty to mention."

"But 'ow?" began the baker.

"I thought as I'd made it middlin' plain," said Bill severely, "but
seein' as some folks wants winders lettin' into their 'eads I suppose
I'd better make it plainer. I daresay you've 'eard as they're very
short o' sweet-stuff in Germany."

"I 'ave," said the baker triumphantly, "I read it in my paper."

"Well," said Bill, "there was a wind settin' good and strong from us
towards the submarine, an' when one of 'em as 'appened to be takin'
the air at the time got a sniff of us 'e just couldn't leave off
sniffin'. Then 'e passed the word down to the others, an' the hodour
of the peppermints was that powerful it knocked 'em all of a 'eap, the
same as food on an empty stummnick. See? That's the real reason o' the
sugar shortage. There's 'arf-a-dozen factories workin' night an' day
on Admiralty contracts, turnin' out nothin' at all only peppermint

"Simple, ain't it?" Bill concluded, as he paid for his beer and
reached for his bundle. "Anyway, it does as well as anything else to
tell a lot o' folks as can't let a decent sailorman spend 'is bit o'
leaf in peace an' quietness without tryin' to get to know what 'e's
got no business to tell 'em nor them to find out."

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Concrete holds its own in the construction of our houses, our
    public buildings, our brides...."--_New Zealand Paper_.

This ought to cement the affections.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: COMMON IDEALS.


[The Berlin _Vossische Zeitung_ states that about four thousand cases
of profiteering are dealt with monthly in Germany.]]

       *       *       *       *       *


"Never let your husband have a grievance," said Madame Marcot,
stirring the lump of sugar that she had brought with her to put into
her cup of tea. "It destroys the happiness of the most admirable
households. Have you heard of the distressing case of the de
Blanchets--Victor de Blanchet and his wife?"

We had not.

"Very dear friends of mine," said Madame Marcot vivaciously, delighted
at the chance of an uninterrupted innings, "and belonging to a family
of the most distinguished. They were a truly devoted couple, and had
never been apart during the whole of their married life. As for
him, he was an excellent fellow. If he had a fault, it was only that
perhaps he was a little near; but still, a good fault, is it not? When
he was called to the Front his wife was desolated, simply desolated.
And then, poor M. de Blanchet--_not_ the figure for a soldier--of a
rotundity, Mesdames!" And Madame Marcot lifted her eyes heavenwards,
struck speechless for a moment at the thought of M. de Blanchet's
outline. "However, like all good Frenchmen, he made no fuss, but went
off to do his duty. He wrote to his wife every day, and she wrote to

"All at once his letters ceased, and then, after a long delay, came
the official notice, 'Missing.' Imagine the suspense, the anxiety! For
weeks she continued to hope against hope, but at last she heard that
his body had been found. It had been recognised by the clothes, the
identity disc (or whatever you call it), and the stoutness, for, alas,
the unfortunate gentleman's head had been nearly blown away by a shell
and was quite unrecognisable. Poor Madame de Blanchet's grief was
terrible to witness when they brought her his sad clothing, with the
embroidered initials upon it worked by her own hand. One thing she
insisted on, and that was that his body should be buried at A----, in
the family vault of the de Blanchets, who, as I have said before, are
very distinguished people. "This meant endless red tape, as you may
imagine, and endless correspondence with the authorities, and delays
and vexations, but finally she got her wish, and the funeral was the
most magnificent ever witnessed in that part of the world. You should
have seen the '_faire part_,'" said Madame Marcot, alluding to the
black-bordered mourning intimations sent out in France, inscribed with
the names of every individual member of the family concerned, from the
greatest down to the most insignificant and obscure. "Several pages, I
assure you; and everybody came. The cortège was a mile long. M. l'Abbé
Colaix officiated; there was a full choral mass; and she got her
second cousin once removed, M. Aristide Gérant, who, as you know,
is Director of the College of Music at A----, to compose a requiem
specially for the occasion; and he did not do it for nothing, you may
believe me. In fine, a first-class funeral. But, as she said, when
some of her near relations, including her stepmother, who is not of
the most generous, remonstrated with her on the score of the expense,
'I would wish to honour my dear husband in death as I honoured him in

"After it was all over she had a magnificent marble monument erected
over the tomb, recording all his virtues, and with a bas-relief of
herself (a very inaccurate representation, I am told, as it gave her
a Madonna-like appearance to which she can lay no claim in real life)
shedding tears upon his sarcophagus."

Madame Marcot paused for breath, and, thinking the story finished, we
drifted in with appropriate comments. But we were soon cut short.

"Ten months afterwards," continued the lady dramatically, "as Madame
de Blanchet, dressed of course in the deepest mourning, was making
strawberry jam in the kitchen and weeping over her sorrows, who should
walk in but Monsieur?"

"What--her husband?" cried everybody.

"The same," answered Madame Marcot. "He was a spectacle. He had lost
an arm; his clothing was in tatters, and he was as thin as a skeleton.
But it was Monsieur de Blanchet all the same."

"What had happened?" we shrieked in chorus.

"What has happened more than once in the course of this War. He had
been taken prisoner, had been unable to communicate and at last, after
many marvellous adventures, had succeeded in escaping."

"But the other?" we cried.

"Ah, now we come to the really desolating part of the affair," said
Madame Marcot. "The corpse in M. de Blanchets clothing, what was he
but a villainous Boche--stout, as is the way of these messieurs--who
had appropriated the clothes of the unfortunate prisoner, uniform,
badges, disc and all, in order, no doubt, to get into our lines and
play the spy. Happily a shell put an end to his activities; but by the
grossest piece of ill-luck it made him completely unrecognisable, so
that Madame de Blanchet, as well as the officers who identified him,
were naturally led into the mistake of thinking him a good Frenchman,
fallen in the exercise of his duty."

"What happiness to see him back!" I remarked.

"I believe you," said Madame Marcot, "and touching was the joy of M.
de Blanchet too, until he observed her mourning. He was then inclined
to be slightly hurt at her taking his death so readily for granted.
However, she soon explained the case; but, when he heard that a
nameless member of the unspeakable race was occupying the place in the
family vault that he had been reserving for himself for years past at
considerable cost, he became exceedingly annoyed; and when, through
the medium of his relations, he learned of the first-class funeral,
and of the oak coffin studded with silver, and the expensive full
choral mass, and the requiem specially written for the occasion, and
the marble monument, his wrath was such that in pre-war days,
and before he had undergone the reducing influence of the German
hunger-diet, he would certainly have had an apoplectic seizure. To a
man of his economical turn of mind it was naturally enraging. But the
thing that put the climax on his exasperation was the bas-relief of
his wife, 'ridiculously svelte' as he remarked, shedding tears over
the ashes of a wretched Boche.

"The situation for him and for the family generally," concluded
Madame Marcot, "is, as you will readily conceive, one of extreme
unpleasantness and delicacy. The cost of exhuming the Hun, after the
really outrageous expense of his interment, is one that a thrifty man
like M. de Blanchet must naturally shrink from; indeed he assures me
that his pocket simply does not permit of it.

"In the meantime he can never go to lay a wreath upon the tombs of his
sainted father and mother, or pass through the cemetery on his way to
mass (he is a good Catholic), without being reminded of the miserable
interloper and all the circumstances of his magnificent first-class
funeral. Hence he is a man with a grievance--an undying grievance,
I may say--for he is practically certain to have a ghost hereafter
haunting the spot that ought to be its resting-place but isn't. Still,
it is _chic_ to have a ghost in the family. The de Blanchets will be
more distinguished than ever."

       *       *       *       *       *



"OH, COME----"




       *       *       *       *       *


Our Canadian contemporary, _Jack Canuck_, publishes a protest against
the invasion of Canada by British temperance reformers, whom it
describes as "uplifters." Immediately below this protest it produces a
picture from _Punch_, lifted without any acknowledgment of its origin.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "On Sunday one British pilot, flying at 1,000 ft., saw four
    hostile craft at about 5,000 ft., and dived more than a mile
    directly at them. As he whirled past the nearest machine he
    opened fire, and saw the observer crumple up in the fusselage
    as the pilot put the machine into a steep live."--_Dally

    While confessing ignorance as to the exact nature of a "live,"
    we are sure it is not as steep as the rest of the story.

       *       *       *       *       *


    "Vicar, Compton Dando, Bristol, would Let two Fields, or few
    Yearlings could run with him."--_Bristol Times and Mirror_.

       *       *       *       *       *


_Time 1940._


       *       *       *       *       *




I noted in last week's issue the persistence of the strange story that
Mr. GLADSTONE, in his wrath at his reduced majority in Midlothian,
broke chairs when the news arrived. I was careful to add that, as the
result of searching investigation, I was in a position to state that
Mr. GLADSTONE never did any such thing. Still I cannot altogether
regret having alluded to the story in view of the interesting letters
on the subject which have reached me from a number of esteemed


As an eminent Dundonian divine, who wishes to remain anonymous,
remarks, it is a melancholy fact that men of genius have often been
prone to violent ebullitions of temper. He recalls the sad case of
MILTON, who, while he was dictating his _Areopagitica_, threw
an ink-horn at his daughter, "to the complete denigration of her
habiliments," as he himself described it. Yet MILTON was a man of
high character and replete with moral uplift. I remember that my old
master, Professor Cawker of Aberdeen, once told me that as a child
he was liable to fits of freakishness, in one of which he secreted
himself under the table during a dinner-party at his father's house
and sewed the dresses of the ladies together. The result, when they
rose to leave the room, was disastrous in the extreme. But Professor
Cawker, as I need hardly remind my readers, was a genial and
noble-hearted man. I presented him on his marriage with a set of
garnet studs. Ever after when I dined at his house he wore them.
Nothing was ever said between us, but we both knew, and I shall never


My old friend, Lemmens Porter, whose name I deeply regret not to
have read in the Honours List, reminds me of the painful story of
SWINBURNE, who, in a fit of temper, hurled two poached eggs at GEORGE
MEREDITH for speaking disrespectfully of VICTOR HUGO. The incident is
suppressed in Mr. GOSSE'S tactful life, but Mr. Porter had it direct
from MEREDITH, whose bath-chair he frequently pulled at Dorking.
SWINBURNE was, I regret to say, pagan in his views, but, unlike some
pagans, he was incapable of adhering to the golden mean. ARISTOTLE,
I feel certain, would never have condescended to the use of such a
missile, and it is beyond "imagination's widest stretch" to picture,
say, the late Dr. JOSEPH COOK, of Boston, the present Lord ABERDEEN,
or the Rev. Dr. Donald McGuffin acting in such a wild and tempestuous


Still we must admit the existence of high temper even in men of high
souls, high aims and high achievements. Everyone may improve his
temper. We cannot all emulate the patience of JOB, but we can at least
set before us the noble example of Professor Cawker, who redeemed
the angular exuberance of his youth by the mellow and mollifying
kindliness of his maturity. Even if Mr. GLADSTONE _did_ break chairs,
we should not lightly condemn him. You cannot make omelettes without
breaking eggs. Besides, chairs cannot retaliate.


       *       *       *       *       *



We congratulate our contemporary on its terseness. _The Times_ took
nearly a column to say the same thing.

       *       *       *       *       *


_Scene_.--A Battalion "Orderly" Room in France during a period of
"Rest." Runners arrive breathlessly from all directions bearing
illegible chits, and tear off in the same directions with illegible
answers or no answer at all. Motor-bicycles snort up to the door and
arrogant despatch-riders enter with enormous envelopes containing
leagues of correspondence, orders, minutes, circulars, maps, signals,
lists, schedules, summaries and all sorts. The tables are stacked with
papers; the floor is littered with papers; papers fly through the
air. Two type-writers click with maddening insistence in one corner.
A signaller buzzes tenaciously at the telephone, talking in a strange
language apparently to himself, as he never seems to be connected
with anyone else. A stream of miscellaneous persons--quarter-masters,
chaplains, generals, batmen, D.A.D.O.S.'s, sergeant-majors,
staff-officers, buglers, Maires, officers just arriving, officers
just going away, gas experts, bombing experts, interpreters,
doctors--drifts in, wastes time, and drifts out again.

Clerks scribble ceaselessly, rolls and nominal rolls, nominal
lists and lists. By the time they have finished one list it is long
out-of-date. Then they start the next. Everything happens at the same
time; nobody has time to finish a sentence. Only a military mind,
with a very limited descriptive vocabulary and a chronic habit of
self-deception, would call the place orderly.

The Adjutant speaks, hoarsely; while he speaks he writes about
something quite different. In the middle of each sentence his pipe
goes out; at the end of each sentence he lights a match. He may or may
not light his pipe; anyhow he speaks:--

  "Where is that list of Wesleyans I made?
  And what are all those people on the stair?
  Is that my pencil? Well, they _can't_ be paid.
  Tell the Marines we have no forms to spare.
  I cannot get these Ration States to square.
  The Brigadier is coming round, they say.
  The Colonel wants a man to cut his hair.
  I think I _must_ be going mad to-day.

  "These silly questions! I shall tell Brigade
  This office is now closing for repair.
  They want to know what Mr. Johnstone weighed,
  And if the Armourer is dark, or fair?
  I do not know; I cannot say I care.
  Tell that Interpreter to go away.
  Where is my signal-pad? I left it there.
  I think I _must_ be going mad to-day.

  "Perhaps I should appear upon parade.
  Where is my pencil? Ring up Captain Eyre;
  Say I regret our tools have been mislaid.
  These companies would make Sir DOUGLAS swear.
  A is the worst. Oh, damn, is this the _Maire?_
  I'm sorry, Monsieur--_je suis désolé_--
  But no one's pinched your miserable chair.
  I think I _must_ be going mad to-day.


  "Prince, I perceive what CAIN'S temptations were,
  And how attractive it must be to slay.
  O Lord, the General! This is hard to bear.
  I think I _must_ be going mad to-day."

       *       *       *       *       *


If there is one man in France whom I do not envy it is the G.H.Q.
Weather Prophet. I can picture the unfortunate wizard sitting in his
bureau, gazing into a crystal, _Old Moore's Almanack_ in one hand, a
piece of seaweed in the other, trying to guess what tricks the weather
will be up to next.

For there is nothing this climate cannot do. As a quick-change artist
it stands _sanspareil_ (French) and _nulli secundus_ (Latin).

And now it seems to have mislaid the Spring altogether. Summer has
come at one stride. Yesterday the staff-cars smothered one with mud
as they whirled past; to-day they choke one with dust. Yesterday the
authorities were issuing precautions against frostbite; to-day they
are issuing precautions against sunstroke. Nevertheless we are not
complaining. It will take a lot of sunshine to kill us; we like it,
and we don't mind saying so.

The B.E.F. has cast from it its mitts and jerkins and whale-oil,
emerged from its subterranean burrows into the open, and in every wood
a mushroom town of bivouacs has sprung up over-night. Here and there
amateur gardeners have planted flower-beds before their tents; one of
my corporals is nursing some radishes in an ammunition-box and talks
crop prospects by the hour. My troop-sergeant found two palm-plants in
the ruins of a chateau glass-house, and now has them standing sentry
at his bivouac entrance. He sits between them after evening stables,
smoking his pipe and fancying himself back in Zanzibar; he expects the
coker-nuts along about August, he tells me.

Summer has come, and on every slope graze herds of winter-worn
gun-horses and transport mules. The new grass has gone to the heads
of the latter and they make continuous exhibitions of themselves,
gambolling about like ungainly lambkins and roaring with unholy
laughter. Summer has come, and my groom and countryman has started to
whistle again, sure sign that Winter is over, for it is only during
the Summer that he reconciles himself to the War. War, he admits,
serves very well as a light gentlemanly diversion for the idle months,
but with the first yellow leaf he grows restless and hints indirectly
that both ourselves and the horses would be much better employed in
the really serious business of showing the little foxes some sport
back in our own green isle. "That Paddy," says he, slapping the bay
with a hay wisp, "he wishes he was back in the county Kildare, he does
so, the dear knows. Pegeen, too, if she would be hearin' the houn's
shoutin' out on her from the kennels beyond in Jigginstown she'd dhrop
down dead wid the pleasure wid'in her, an' that's the thrue word,"
says he, presenting the chestnut lady with a grimy army biscuit. "Och
musha, the poor foolish cratures," he says and sighs.

However, Summer has arrived, and by the sound of his cheery whistle at
early stables shrilling "Flannigan's Wedding," I understand that the
horses are settling down once more and we can proceed with the battle.

If my groom and countryman is not an advocate of war as a winter sport
our Mr. MacTavish, on the other hand, is of the directly opposite
opinion. "War," he murmured dreamily to me yesterday as we lay on our
backs beneath a spreading parasol of apple-blossom and watched our
troop-horses making pigs of themselves in the young clover--"war!
don't mention the word to me. Maidenhead, Canader, cushions,
cigarettes, only girl in the world doing all the heavy
paddle-work--that's the game in the good ole summertime. Call round
again about October and I'll attend to your old war." It is fortunate
that these gentlemen do not adorn any higher positions than those of
private soldier and second-lieutenant, else, between them, they would
stop the War altogether and we should all be out of jobs.


       *       *       *       *       *


          "---- & Co.

    The Leading Jewellery House.
    Grand Assortment of Cut Glass."
        _Advt. in Chinese Paper_.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE ROAD TO RUIN.]

       *       *       *       *       *



       *       *       *       *       *


  _Gay shops, stately palaces, bustle and breeze,_
  _The whirring of wheels and the murmur of trees;_
  _By night or by day, whether noisy or stilly,_
  _Whatever my mood is--I love Piccadilly._

  Thus carolled FRED LOCKER, just sixty years back,
  In a year ('57) when the outlook was black,
  And even to-day the war-weariest Willie
  Recovers his spirits in dear Piccadilly.

  We haven't the belles with their Gainsborough hats,
  Or the Regency bucks with their wondrous cravats,
  But now that the weather no longer is chilly;
  There's much to enchant us in New Piccadilly.

  As I sit in my club and partake of my "ration"
  No longer I'm vexed by the follies of fashion;
  The dandified Johnnies so precious and silly--
  You seek them in vain in the New Piccadilly.

  The men are alert and upstanding and fit,
  They've most of them done or they're doing their bit;
  With the eye of a hawk and the stride of a gillie
  They add a new lustre to Old Piccadilly.

  And the crippled but gay-hearted heroes in blue
  Are a far finer product than wicked "old Q,"
  Who ought to have lived in a prison on skilly
  Instead of a palace in mid Piccadilly.

  The women are splendid, so quiet and strong,
  As with resolute purpose they hurry along--
  Excepting the flappers, who chatter as shrilly
  As parrots let loose to distract Piccadilly.

  Thus I muse as I watch with a reverent eye
  The New Generation sweep steadily by,
  And judge him an ass or a born Silly Billy
  Who'd barter the New for the Old Piccadilly.

       *       *       *       *       *


    "WANTED.--Lady shortly leaving the Colony is desirous of
    recommending her baby and wash Amahs, also Houseboy."--_South
    China Morning Post_.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Though the King's birthday was officially celebrated
    yesterday, there were no official celebrations."--_Daily

It seems to have been a case of unconscious celebration.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "We shall want a name for the American 'Tommies' when they
    come; but do not call them 'Yankees.' They none of them like
    it."--_Daily News_.

As a term of distinction and endearment Mr. Punch suggests
"Sammies"--after their uncle.

       *       *       *       *       *


    The local Committee of the Soldiers' and Workmen's Delegates
    announces that it will take into its hands effective power
    at Cronstadt. and that it will not recognise the Provisional
    Government, and will remove all Government representatives.

    This fateful decision was adopted by 21 votes to 40, with
    eight abstentions."--_Provincial Paper_.

The trouble in Russia just now is the tyranny of the minority.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: A WORD OF ILL OMEN.

CROWN PRINCE (_to KAISER, drafting his next speech_). "FOR GOTT'S

       *       *       *       *       *


_Tuesday, June 5th_.--In listless and dejected mood the House
of Commons reassembled after its all-too-brief recess. Members
collectively missed their MARK, for Colonel LOCKWOOD, the only popular
Food Controller in history, had been summoned upstairs and left the
Kitchen Committee to its fate. The shower of Privy Councillorships,
baronetcies and knighthoods which had simultaneously descended upon
the faithful Commons afforded little compensation for this irreparable
loss; and even the sight of the ATTORNEY-GENERAL'S immaculate spats
appearing over the edge of the Table was insufficient to dispel the
prevailing gloom.

Mr. PEMBERTON-BILLING made a gallant effort to galvanize his
colleagues into life. Remembering that it was an air-raid that got
him into the House--some people will never forgive the Germans for
this--he seldom allows a similar incident to pass without endeavouring
to improve the occasion. As his policy of "two bombs to one" failed to
intrigue Mr. BONAR LAW he sought to move the adjournment, but when the
Question was put only five Members, instead of the necessary forty,
rose in its support.

If Sir H. DALZIEL has his way, and the consumer is allowed to purchase
his sugar unrefined, the British breakfast will become a most exciting
meal. Lice, beetles and, on one occasion, a live lizard have been
found in the bags arriving from Cuba. Even with meat at its present
price, Captain BATHURST doubts whether such additions to our dietary
would be really welcome.

In the pre-historic times before August, 1914, the POSTMASTER-GENERAL
was wont to give on the Vote for his department a long and discursive
account of its multifarious activities, and to enliven the figures
with anecdotes and even with jokes. Mr. ILLINGWORTH knows a better
way. With deliberate monotony he reeled off his statistics to a
steadily diminishing audience. Only once did he evoke a sign of
animation. He has abolished the absurd rule that the person presenting
a five-pound note at a post-office should be required to endorse it;
and, in defending this momentous change, he remarked that he himself
had endorsed many such notes, "but never with my own name." For a
moment Members were startled by this cynical admission of something
which seemed to their half-awakened intelligence very like a
confession of forgery. But the POSTMASTER-GENERAL soon put them to
sleep again, and by nine o'clock had got his vote safely through.


_Wednesday, June 6th_.--Nothing short of a revolution, it was
supposed, would cause Whitehall to empty its precious pigeon-holes,
in which so many millions of pious aspirations and abortive complaints
sleep their last sleep. But the War has penetrated even here, and Mr.
BALDWIN was able to announce, with a cheerfulness that some of the
older officials probably regard as almost indecent, that already a
vast quantity of material has gone to the pulping-mill.

[Illustration: _Mr. WINSTON CHURCHILL_ (_with eye on the Air Board_).

In the course of the debate on the Representation of the People Bill,
Sir FREDERICK BANBURY explained that he resigned his membership of
the SPEAKER'S Conference because he found that he and his party were
expected to give up everything and to get nothing in return. If so
the Liberals on the Conference were very short-sighted, for a little
concession then would have saved them a lot of trouble now. What Sir
FREDERICK does not know about the art of Parliamentary obstruction is
not worth knowing, and he evidently means to use his knowledge for
all it is worth. He even succeeded--a rare triumph--in drafting an
instruction to the Committee which passed the SPEAKER'S scrutiny
and took a good hour to debate. In vain Sir GEORGE CAVE and Mr. LONG
reminded the House that it had already approved the main principles of
the Bill. You can't ride a cock-horse when BANBURY'S cross.

Another old hand at the game is Lord HUGH CECIL. His particular
grievance against the Bill is, I fancy, that it alters the character
of his constituency, and, should it pass, will oblige him to appeal
for the votes of callow young Bachelors with horrid Radical notions
instead of being able to repose in confidence upon the support of
a solid phalanx of clerical M.A.'s. He possesses also an hereditary
antipathy to extensions of the franchise. Lord CLAUD HAMILTON must
have thought himself back in 1867, listening to Lord CRANBORNE
attacking the Reform Bill wherewith DIZZY dished the Whigs. Lord HUGH,
like his father, is a master of gibes and flouts and jeers, and used
most of the weapons from a well-stocked armoury in an endeavour to
drill a fatal hole in the Bill.

At one moment he chaffed the HOME SECRETARY for seeking to turn the
House into a Trappist monastery, where Ministers alone might talk
and Members must obey; at the next he was reminding the House, on a
proposal to raise the age of voters, that a great many of the persons
who took part in the massacre of St. Bartholomew were under twenty-two
years of age. But though Members listened and laughed they refused,
for the most part, to vote with him. The Bill came almost unscathed
through the first day of its ordeal in Committee.

_Thursday, June 7th_.--If all the hundred and sixty-eight Questions
on the Order Paper had been fully answered the German Government would
have learned quite a number of things that it is most anxious to know,
for the Pacifist group were full of curiosity regarding the war-aims
of the Allies. Several of the most searching inquiries had to be
met by such discouraging _formulæ_ as "I have nothing to add to my
previous reply," or "The matter is still under consideration."

Mr. SNOWDEN, however, learned from the HOME SECRETARY that the
Government, the House and the Country were in full sympathy with
the war-policy laid down by the French Government, and that we were
prepared to go on fighting until it was achieved. Here is something
for his colleagues to tell the Stockholm Conference, if they can get

For some occult reason the word "cheese" always excites Parliamentary
merriment. Mr. GEORGE ROBERTS'S announcement that the Board of Trade
had made arrangements by which a quantity of this commodity would
be available for public use next week was greeted with the customary
laughter. Upon Army requirements, he added, would depend the quantity
to be "released." Colonel YATE was perturbed by this Gorgonzolaesque
phrase, and anxiously inquired to what species of cheese it referred.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE COMFORTER.

_Lance-Corporal_ (_in charge of footsore Tommy who has fallen out on

       *       *       *       *       *



(_Private Whidden, who ate his Iron Rations and came to an untimely

  Private Tom Whidden had a passion
  For eating of his iron ration--
  A thing, you know, which isn't _done_
  (Except, just now and then, for fun),
  Because there is a rule about it
  And decent people rarely flout it.
  But Tom was greedy and each day
  He'd put a tin or two away,
  Though duty told him, clear and plain,
  To keep them safe as brewers' grain,
  For eating _as a last resort_
  When eatables were running short.
  His Corporal said, "My lad, don't do it!"
  His Sergeant groaned, "I'm _sure_ you'll rue it!"
  But still he never stopped. At last
  His Captain heard and stood aghast....
  Then he said sternly, "Private Whidden,
  Really, you know, this is forbidden.
  Some day, Sir, if you _will_ devour
  Your ration thus from hour to hour,
  You'll find yourself in No Man's Land
  With neither bite nor sup at hand.
  Yes, when it _is_ your proper fare,
  Your iron ration won't be there;
  Then in your hour of bitter need
  You will be sorry for your greed."

  He ceased. But Private Thomas Whidden,
  Being thus seriously chidden,
  Said simply (with a Devon burr),
  "Law bless us! do 'ee zay zo, Zur?"
  Then with an uncontrolléd passion
  He went and ate his iron ration.

  So, since he chose, from day to-day,
  Persistently to disobey,
  As you'd expect, the man is dead,
  Though not the way his Captain said.
  The fate of starving out of hand,
  Or nearly so, in No Man's Land--
  Alas! it never came in question.
  He died of chronic indigestion.

       *       *       *       *       *


    "William Henry Gadd, said to have left Middlesex in 1812 for
    South America, or anyone acquainted with his whereabouts,
    will oblige by communicating at first opportunity with H.M.
    Consul-General, 25 de Mayo 611, this city."--_The Standard_
    (_Buenos Aires_).

       *       *       *       *       *

A correspondent informs us that the male gasworker is familiarly known
as "Cokey," and asks us whether the ladies who have recently entered
the business ought to be described as "Cokettes." We think it very

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _British Officer_ (_interrupting carousal in Bosch
dug-out_). "TIME, GENTLEMEN, PLEASE!"]

       *       *       *       *       *


The financial success of Mr. H.G. WELLS' punctuality and enterprise
in looking into the vexed question of the Deity, even in war time, has
had the usual effect, and many literary men are feverishly pursuing
similar studies. In due course some of these will no doubt take
practical shape. Meanwhile it has seemed desirable for a _Punch_ man
to make a few inquiries among our leading philosophers and readers of
the future with regard to the same engrossing topic. For England will
ever be the wonder and despair of other nations in its capacity,
no matter with what seriousness its hands are filled, for pursuing
controversial distractions.

To run Mr. ARNOLD BENNETT to earth was no easy matter, for in these
days he is behind every scene, and no statesman, however new, can
get along without his counsel or correction. But, since to the
good _Punch_ man difficulties exist only as obstacles of which the
circumvention acts as intellectual cocktails or stimuli, the task was
accomplished. Mr. BENNETT agreed that the book of the other famous
Essex fictionist was a meritorious and ingenious work, but he found it
far from exhaustive. The idea of God, he held, still needed handling
in a capable efficient way. What was wrong with religion was, he said,
its mystery; if only it could be pruned of nonsense and made
practical for the man in the street, it might become really useful. He
personally had not yet thought finally on the subject of God, having
just now more tasks on hand (including a new play and universal
supervision) than he could count on the Five Fingers, but directly he
had time he meant to attend to the matter and polish it off. It was a
case where his intervention was clearly called for, since omniscience
could be handled only by omniscience.

The _Punch_ man has, however, to admit himself beaten in the matter
of Sir OLIVER LODGE. On inquiring at Birmingham University he was told
that the illustrious Principal was absent, no one knew where, but it
was believed that he was visiting the higher slopes of Mount Sinai.
All that the _Punch_ man could obtain was one of the black velvet
skull-caps which the seer wears, but, as it refused to give up any of
its secrets, he must confess to failure--at any rate until Sir OLIVER

Being in Brummagem (as it has been wittily called), the _Punch_ man
bethought him of the Rev. R.J. CAMPBELL, once the very darling of the
new gods--in fact the arch neo-theologian. But Mr. CAMPBELL, erstwhile
so articulate and confident, had nothing to say. All he could do was
to lock himself for safety in his church and look through the keyhole
with his beautiful troubled wistful orbs.

Mr. G.K. CHESTERTON loomed up to a dizzy height amid a cloud of new
witnesses. Greeting the _Punch_ man, he laid aside his proofs.

"I was just deleting the abusive epithet 'Lloyd' from all the
references to the PREMIER," he said, "but I have a moment for you.
I find a moment sufficient time for the assumption of any conviction
however lifelong."

The _Punch_ man asked if he had read the Dunmow evangel.

"I have read Mr. WELLS'S book, _God, the Invisible Man_, with the
greatest interest," said Mr. CHESTERTON.

The _Punch_ man ventured to correct him. "_God, the Invisible King_,"
he interposed.

"Very likely," replied the anti-Marconi Colossus. "But what's in a
title anyway? Books should not have titles at all, but be numbered,
like a composer's operas, Op. 1, Op. 2, and so on."

"Whether or not the opping comes, some of them," said the _Punch_ man,
"are certain to be skipped."

The giant was visibly annoyed. "You're not playing the game," he
said. "It's I who ought to have said that. Not you. You're only the
interviewer. You'd better give it to me anyway."

"And what," the _Punch_ man asked, "are your views respecting God?"

"I consider," he said instantly, "that an honest god's the noblest
work of man."

"I felt sure you would," the _Punch_ man replied. "In fact, I had a
bet on it."

The Rev. Sir WILLIAM ROBERTSON NICOLL, Editor of _The British Weekly_,
said that for many years his paper had supported Providence, to, he
believed, their mutual advantage, and it would continue to do so.
He personally recognised no need for change. Still, no one welcomed
honest analysis more warmly than himself, and he had read Mr. WELLS'S
masterpiece with all his habitual avidity and delight.

The _Punch_ man, passing on to the office of _The Times_, craved
permission to see the Editor, through smoked glass if necessary.
Having complied with a thousand formalities he was at last ushered
into the presence. The great man was engaged in selecting the various
types in which to-morrow's letters were to be set up--big for the
whales and minion for the minnows. "I can give you just two minutes,"
he said, without looking up. "These are strenuous ti----, I should
say days. Self-advertisement we leave to the lower branches of the

"All I want to know," said the _Punch_ man, "is what is your idea
of God? The feeling is very general that God should be more clearly
defined and, if possible, personified. One of your own Republican
correspondents, who not only got large type but a nasty leader, has
said so. How do you yourself view Him?"

"I have a god of my own," said the Editor, watch in hand, "and I see
him very distinctly. Powerfully built, with a boyish face and a wealth
of fairish hair over one side of the noble brow. Aloof but vigilant.
Restive but determined. Quick to praise but quicker to blame.
Adaptive, volcanic, relentless and terribly immanent--terribly.
That is my god. A king, no doubt, but"--here he sighed--"by no means
invisible. Good day."

Nothing but the absence of Mr. FRANK HARRIS in what is not only his
spiritual but his actual home, America, prevents the publication of
his definitive and epoch-making views on this suggestive theme.

Meanwhile things go on much as usual.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Officer_ (_superintending party that is trying to
extinguish a fire at French farm_). "GOOD HEAVENS, CORPORAL, WHAT ARE




       *       *       *       *       *


From a Stores circular:--

    "Members who like a very delicately Smoked Bacon or Ham will
    appreciate the valuable new line recently added to our Stock,


       *       *       *       *       *

    "From Switzerland comes a report of a noiseless machine gun,
    operated by electricity."--_Yorkshire Evening Post_.

Another invention gone wrong.

       *       *       *       *       *


    "Senor Aladro Castriota, the wealthy wine merchant of
    Xerxes."--_Daily News_.

HERODOTUS omits this detail.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Mrs. ---- thoroughly recommends her Russian Nursery
    Governess; speaks fluent French, German; will answer any
    question."--_Daily Paper_.

There are a lot of questions we should like to ask her about Russia.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The jury found the prisoner guilty of man-slaughter, and was
    sentenced to 18 months' hard labour."--_Provincial Paper_.

No wonder there is a scarcity of jurymen.

       *       *       *       *       *



_Mark Holdsworth_, a bachelor of middle age, is bored with commercial
success and seeks a diversion. He would like to have a son. And his
attractive typist, _Sheila_, strikes his fancy as a suitable medium.
On her side the girl (obviously recognisable by her innocence as a
pre-war flapper) is sick of drudgery, longs very simply for the joys
of life, as she imagines them, meaning freedom and pretty dresses
and money to spend and piles of invitation cards, and so forth. His
proposal of marriage, practically the first word he has ever said
to her outside their business relations, seems to her too good to be
true. There is no question of a grand passion, not even a question of
every-day romance. It is just a fair exchange, though she is too young
to appreciate the man's motives and is content with the pride of being
his choice and the prospects of the wonderful life that opens before

Three months later (they are married and in their different ways have
grown to care for one another) we find her discontented. Her social
blunders and the attitude of his people have set her on edge, and
we are further to understand that she is not very responsive to the
strength of his feelings for her. A bad shock comes when she hears,
through a jealous woman-friend of his bachelor days, that he has
married her for the sake of a son. This poisons for her the memory of
their first union and she refuses to be his wife again.

An old obligation, entered into before his marriage, compels him to
go abroad on business where she cannot accompany him. He does not
know that she is to have a child, and in his absence she keeps the
knowledge from him. Her boy is born and dies. The news, reaching
_Holdsworth_ through a brother, brings him home, and husband and wife
are reconciled. Such is the plot, told crudely enough.

Now, if Miss SOWERBY meant deliberately to create a woman who does
not really know what she wants--a creature of moods without assignable
motives--then I am not ashamed of failing to understand her _Sheila_,
since her _Sheila_ did not understand herself. But if she is designed
to illustrate the eternal feminine (always supposing that there is
such a thing) then I protest that her chief claim to be representative
of her sex is her unreasonableness. Of course I should never pretend
to say of a woman in drama or fiction that she has not been drawn true
to nature. To know one man is, in most essentials, to know all men;
to know fifty women (though this may be a liberal education) does
not advance you very far in knowledge of a sex that has never been

When we first meet _Sheila_ her idea of happiness is to spend an
evening (innocent of escort) at the picture-palace; take this from
her and her heart threatens to break. Three short months and she has
developed to the point of breaking off relations with a husband
who has given her all the picture-palaces she wanted, but has also
committed the unpardonable indecency of marrying her with the object
of getting a son!



_Mark Holdsworth_.. MR. C. AUBREY SMITH.

_Sheila_........... MISS FAY COMPTON.]

Here, if she approves the attitude of her heroine, I am tempted to
argue, in my dull way, with the charming author of _Sheila_. You must
always remember that there was no love--not even courtship--before
this betrothal. The girl was swept off her feet by the honour done to
her and by the chance of seeing "life" as she had never hoped to
see it. The man, on his side, wanted a son. Was his object so very
contemptible in comparison with hers? Women marry by the myriad for
the mere sake of having children, and nobody blames them. Indeed, we
call it, very reverentially, the maternal instinct. Well, what is the
matter with the paternal instinct?

However, I am not going to set my opinion up against Miss SOWERBY'S.
Where I can follow her I find so much clear insight and observation
that I must needs have faith in her good judgment where I cannot
understand. This arrangement still leaves me free to prefer her in
her less serious moments. Here she is irresistible with that delicate
humour of hers that is always in the picture and never has to resort
to the device of manufactured epigram. There is true artistry in her
lightest touch. Her people are not galvanised puppets; they simply
draw their breath and there they are. And she has the particular
quality of charm that makes you yield your heart to her, even when
your head remains your own.

How much she owes to Miss FAY COMPTON'S interpretation of _Sheila_
she would be the first to make generous acknowledgment. It was an
astonishingly sensitive performance. Miss COMPTON can be eloquent with
a single word or none at all. By a turn of her eyes or lips she can
make you free of her inarticulate thoughts. I must go again just to
hear her say "Yes," and give that sigh of content at the end of the
First Act.

Mr. AUBREY SMITH as _Mark Holdsworth_ had a much easier task, and
did it with his habitual ease. Mr. WILLIAM FARREN--a very welcome
return--was perfect as ever in a good grumpy part. It was strange
to see the gentle Miss STELLA CAMPBELL playing the unsympathetic
character of a jealous and rather cruel woman; but she took to it
quite kindly. Mr. LANCE LISTER, as the boy _Geoffrey_, who kept
intervening in the most sportsmanlike way on the weaker side and
adjusting some very awkward complications with the gayest and most
resolute tact, was extraordinarily good. Admirable, too, were Miss
JOYCE CAREY as a shop-girl friend of _Sheila's_ boarding-house period,
and Mr. HENRY OSCAR as her "fate," whose line was shirts. The scene in
which these two encounter the superior relatives of _Sheila's_ husband
abounded in good fun, kept well within the limits of comedy. It was
a pure joy to hear _Miss Hooker's_ garrulous efforts to carry off the
situation with aggressive gentility; but even more fascinating was the
abashed silence of her young man, broken only when he blurted out the
word "shirts," and gave the show away.

The whole cast was excellent, and Sir GEORGE ALEXANDER must be
felicitated on a very clever production. But it is to author and
heroine that I beg to offer the best of my gratitude for a most
refreshing evening.


       *       *       *       *       *

    "You will find that the men most likely to get off the note
    are those who never really got on to it."--_Musical Times_.

The real question is how those who never got on to the note contrive
to get off it.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Mother_ (_reading paper_). "I SEE A BAKER'S BEEN FINED

_Alan_ (_who now goes to school by train_--_joining in_). "OH, THINK!

       *       *       *       *       *



When I first read the title of _Secret Bread_ (HEINEMANN) my idea
was--well, what would anyone naturally think but that here was a
romance of food-hoarding, a tale of running the potato blockade and
the final discovery of a hidden cellar full of fresh rolls? But of
course I was quite wrong. The name has nothing to do with food, other
than mental; it stands for the sustaining idea (whatever it is)
that each one of us keeps locked in his heart as the motive of his
existence. With _Ishmael Ruan_, the hero of Miss F. TENNYSON JESSE'S
novel, this hidden motive was love of the old farm-house hall of
Cloom, and a wish to hand it on, richer, to his son. _Ishmael_
inherited Cloom himself because, though the youngest of a large
family, he was the only one born in wedlock. Hence the second theme of
the story, the jealousy between _Ishmael_ and _Archelaus_, the elder
illegitimate brother. How, through the long lives of both, this
enmity is kept up, and the frightful vengeance that ends it, make an
absorbing and powerful story. The pictures of Cornish farm-life also
are admirably done--though I feel bound to repeat my conviction that
the time is at hand when, for their own interest, our novelists will
have to proclaim what one might call a close time for pilchards.
Still, Miss JESSE has written an unusually clever book, full of
vigour and passion, of which the interest never flags throughout the
five-hundred-odd closely-printed pages that carry its protagonists
from the early sixties almost to the present day. No small

       *       *       *       *       *

Mrs. SKRINE has collected some charming fragrant papers from various
distinguished sources concerning the ever-recurring phenomenon of
_The Devout Lady_ (CONSTABLE), in order to inspire one JOAN, a V.A.D.
heroine of the new order. I guess JOAN, of whom only a faint glimpse
is vouchsafed, must be a nice person--the author's affectionate
interest in her is sufficient proof of that. I suppose we all know
our Little Gidding out of SHORTHOUSE'S _John Inglesant_. Mrs. SKRINE
deprecates the Inglesantian view and offers us a stricter portrait of
MARY COLLET. "Madam" THORNTON, Yorkshire Royalist dame in the stormy
days of the Irish Rebellion and the Second JAMES'S flight to St.
Germain, is another portrait in the gallery; then there's PATTY MORE,
HANNAH'S less famous practical sister, of Barleywood and the Cheddar
Cliff collieries; and a modern great lady of a lowly cottage, in
receipt of an old-age pension and still alive in some dear corner of
England--the best sketch of the series, because drawn from life and
not from documents. If the author has a fault it is her detached
allusiveness, her flattering but mystifying assumption that one can
follow all her references, and her rather mannered idiom: "He proved a
kind husband, but sadly a tiresome." These, however, be trifles. Read
this pleasant book, I beg you, and send it on to your own Joan.

       *       *       *       *       *

I have read with deep interest and appreciation and with a mournful
pleasure the _Letters of Arthur George Heath_ (BLACKWELL, Oxford). It
is the record, in a series of letters mostly written to his parents,
of the short fighting life of a singularly brave and devoted man.
There is in addition a beautiful memoir by Professor GILBERT MURRAY,
whose privilege it was to be ARTHUR HEATH'S friend. HEATH was not
vowed to fighting from his boyhood onward. He was a brilliant scholar
and afterwards a fellow of New College, Oxford. The photograph of him
shows a very delicate and refined face, and his letters bear out
the warrant of his face and prove that it was a true index to his
character. Until the great summons came one might have set him down
as destined to lead a quiet life amid the congenial surroundings of
Oxford, but we know now that the real stuff of him was strong and
stern. He joined the army a day or two after the outbreak of war,
being assured that our cause was just and one that deserved to be
fought for. He had no illusions as to the risk he ran, but that didn't
weigh with him for a moment. On July 11th, 1915, he writes to his
mother from the Western Front: "Will you at least try, if I am killed,
not to let the things I have loved cause you pain, but rather to get
increased enjoyment from the Sussex Downs or from Janie (his youngest
sister) singing Folk Songs, because I have found such joy in them,
and in that way the joy I have found can continue to live?" Beautiful
words these, and typical of the man who gave utterance to them.
The end came to him on October 8th, his twenty-eighth birthday. His
battalion of the Royal West Kent Regiment was engaged in making a
series of bombing attacks. In one of these ARTHUR HEATH was shot
through the neck and fell. "He spoke once," Professor MURRAY tells us,
"to say, 'Don't trouble about me,' and died almost immediately." His
Platoon Sergeant wrote to his parents, "A braver man never existed,"
and with that epitaph we may leave him.

       *       *       *       *       *

The scenes of _A Sheaf of Bluebells_ (HUTCHINSON) are laid in
Normandy, where they speak the French language. But the Baroness ORCZY
does not take advantage of this local habit, and is careful not to put
too heavy a strain upon the intelligence of those who do not enjoy the
gift of tongues. "_Ma tante_," "_Mon cousin_," "_Enfin"_--these are
well within the range of all of us. Indeed, though I shrink from
boasting, I could easily have borne it if she had tried me a little
higher. "_Ma tante_," for instance, got rather upon my nerves before
the heroine had finished with it. The plot (early nineteenth century)
is concerned with one _Ronnay de Maurel_, a soldier and admirer of
NAPOLEON, and in consequence anathema to most of his own family.
The heroine was betrothed to _Ronnay's_ half-brother, as elegant and
royalist as _Ronnay_ was uncouth and Napoleonic. It is a tale of love
and intrigue for idle hours, the kind of thing that the Baroness does
well; and, though she has done better before in this vein, you
will not lack for excitement here; and possibly, as I did, you will
sometimes smile when strictly speaking you ought to have been serious.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Economy, I hate the word!" said a much-harassed housekeeper recently:
echoing, I fear, the sentiments of the great majority of the British
people. Nevertheless, let no one be deterred by a somewhat forbidding
title from reading Mr. HENRY HIGGS'S _National Economy: An Outline
of Public Administration_ (MACMILLAN). Although written by a Treasury
official--a being who in popular conception is compounded of red-tape
and sealing-wax and spends his life in spoiling the Ship of State by
saving halfpennyworths of tar--it is not a dry-as-dust treatise on the
art of scientific parsimony, but a lively plea for wise expenditure.
Mr. HIGGS is no believer in the dictum that the best thing to do with
national resources is to leave them to fructify in the pockets of
the taxpayers--"doubtful soil," in his opinion; nor is he afraid that
heavy taxation will kill the goose with the golden eggs. It may be
"one of those depraved birds which eat their own eggs, in which case,
if its eggs cannot be trapped, killing is all it is fit for." The
author is full of well-thought-out suggestions for saving waste and
increasing efficiency in our national administration. The introduction
of labour-saving machinery, the elimination of superfluous officials,
the reduction of the necessary drudgery which too often blights the
initiative and breaks the hearts of our young civil servants--all
these and many other reforms are advocated in Mr. HIGGS'S most
entertaining pages. I cordially commend them to the attention of
everyone who takes an intelligent interest in public affairs, not
excluding Cabinet Ministers, Members of Parliament, and political

       *       *       *       *       *

Though already we have so portentous an array of books jostling each
other upon the warshelf, there must be many people who will gladly
find the little space into which they may slip a slender volume
called _A General's Letters to His Son on Obtaining His Commission_
(CASSELL). So slender indeed is the book that by the time you have
read the disproportionate title you seem to be about halfway through
it. But here is certainly a case of infinite riches in a little room.
The anonymous writer is deserving of every praise for the mingled
restraint and force of his method; you feel that, were the name
less outworn, he might well have signed himself "One Who Knows," for
practical experience sounds in every line. Greatest merit of all, the
letters contrive to handle even the most delicate matters without a
hint of preaching. But no words of mine could, in this association,
add anything to the tribute paid in a brief preface by so qualified a
critic as General Sir H.L. SMITH-DORRIEN: "If young officers will only
study these letters carefully, and shape their conduct accordingly,
they need have no fear of proving unworthy of His Majesty's
Commission." This is high praise, but well deserved. Personally, my
chief regret is that so valuable a collection of advice should have
delayed its appearance so long: there would have been use and to spare
for it these three years past.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE ARTS IN WAR-TIME.

_First Tommy_ (_watching artist engaged in protective colouring_).


       *       *       *       *       *

    "The Admiralty announce that several raids were carried out by
    naval aircraft from Dunkirk in the course of the night of May
    21-June 1, the objectives being Ostend, Zeebrugge and
    Bruges. Many bombs were dropped on the objectives with good
    results."--_Cork Constitution_.

The Huns must have found it a very long night.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 152, June 13, 1917" ***

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