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Title: Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 152, June 20, 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 20, 1917" ***

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PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.

VOL. 152.


June 20th, 1917.



=CHARIVARIA.=


A man who purchased sandwiches at a railway restaurant and afterwards
threw them into the road was fined five shillings at Grimsby Police
Court last week. His explanation--that he did not know they might
injure the road--was not accepted by the Court.

       * * *

We cannot help thinking that too much fuss has been made about trying
to stop Messrs. RAMSAY MACDONALD and JOWETT from leaving England. So
far as we can gather they did not threaten to return to this country
afterwards.

       * * *

A North of England man, obviously wishing to appear unusual, still
persists in the stupid story that he did not hear the Messines
explosion.

       * * *

We can think of no finer example of the humility of true greatness
than KING CONSTANTINE'S decision to abdicate.

       * * *

There were forty thousand fewer paupers in 1916 than in 1915,
according to figures recently published. The difference is accounted
for by the number of revue-writers who have resumed their agricultural
occupations.

       * * *

In a small town in Australia, says a news item, over two tons of mice
were killed in two days. For some unknown reason, which perhaps the
Censor can explain, the name of the cat is withheld.

       * * *

"Eliminate the middleman," demands a contemporary. It might prove a
simpler affair, after all, than the present system of suppressing the
inner man.

       * * *

Mr. GINNELL, M.P., is responsible for the statement that "bringing
an action against the police in Ireland is like bringing one against
Satan in hell." The chief obstacle in the latter case is of course the
total absence of learned counsel in that locality.

       * * *

The KAISER, it appears, has lost no time in commiserating with his
troops on their magnificent victory at Messines.

       * * *

The title which Mr. JOHN HASSALL wrote under one of his sketches
suggested the words for a song which has now been written. It is
only fair to the artist to say that he was not aware that his quite
innocent title would lead to this.

       * * *

The National Service staff at St. Ermin's Hotel, Westminster, has been
reduced by half. It is now expected that the unemployed half will
volunteer for National Service.

       * * *

Berlin announces that all through-lines in Germany are running. The
case of the HINDENBURG Line seems to be infectious.

       * * *

"No cheese," says _The Evening News_, "has quite the bite of Cheddar."
At the same time, unless it wags its tail to show that it is friendly,
we feel that every cheese with a bite like that would be much safer if
muzzled.

       * * *

Triplets were born in Manchester last week. The father is going on as
well as can be expected.

       * * *

Complaint has been made by a member of the Hounslow Burial Committee
of courting couples occupying seats in the cemetery. The killjoy!

       * * *

We can only suppose it was the hot weather that tempted a newsagent
correspondent to ask whether Lord NORTHCLIFFE had gone to America on
"sail or return."

       * * *

Mr. BALFOUR, we are told, while staying at Washington, visited eleven
public buildings and interviewed nine representative Americans on one
day. There is some talk of his being elected an honorary American.

       * * *

We wish to deny the foolish rumour that when he arrived in London
from his American tour and was asked if he had had a good voyage,
he remarked, "Sure thing, sonny. All the little Mister Congressmen
gathered around, and it suited your Uncle Dudley very nicely and some
more. Yep!"

       * * *

An old lady was recently fined two pounds for putting out crumbs for
birds. Had the bread-crumbs been put outside, instead of inside, the
birds, no offence, it seems, would have been committed.

       * * *

Newspapers in Germany may now be sold only to subscribers for one
month or more. A similar measure for England is opposed on the ground
that it would be most inadvisable to check the practice at present in
vogue among patriotic supporters of the Coalition Government of buying
_The Morning Post_ and _The Daily News_ on alternate days.

       * * *

Bobbing for eels is being pursued with much enthusiasm on the Norfolk
Broads. Two-bobbing for haddocks in Kensington is sport enough for
most of us.

       * * *

Large numbers of the German prisoners taken at Messines wore new boots
and new uniforms. Other improvements included a less ragged rendering
of the well-known recitation, "Kamerad!"

       * * *

Asked what bait could be used for coarse fish, the late
FOOD-CONTROLLER suggested one "made from bran, with a limited quantity
of oatmeal." The correspondent has now written to inquire whether the
fish have been officially informed of the new diet.

       * * *

Four shillings a hundredweight is being paid for old omnibus tickets,
but there are still a few people who use these vehicles for pleasure,
without any motive of gain.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Visitor_. "YES, BUT WHAT'S THE POINT OF WHITEWASHING
THE TREE TRUNKS?"

_Amateur Gardener_. "I CAN'T SAY FOR CERTAIN; BUT I _THINK_ THE IDEA
IS TO KEEP THE BATS FROM KNOCKING THEIR HEADS IN THE DARK."]

       *       *       *       *       *

=Suspended Animation.=

    "LAUNDRY.--Girl to hang up and make herself useful."--_Liverpool
    Echo_.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "For myself, I have very good reasons for not being in khaki. I
    live on a farm near the Grand Falls of the St. John River. These
    falls are second to Niagara in size and splendour, and attract
    visitors from all over the country."--_Canadian Paper_.

He must have told the recruiting-officer that he was subject to
cataract.

       *       *       *       *       *


=T.M.G.=

  Farewell, my CONSTANTINE! A guardian navy
  Facilitates your exit on the blue;
  For Greece has been this long while in the gravy
  And he that put her there was plainly you;
  "TINO MUST GO!" was writ for all to see,
  Or, briefly, "T.M.G."

  Whither, dear Sir, do you propose to sally?
  To Switzerland's recuperative air,
  To sip condensed milk in a private chalet
  Or pluck the lissom chamois from his lair,
  Or on the summit of a neutral Alp
  Recline your crownless scalp?

  Or did you ask from him you love so dearly
  A royal haven fenced from rude alarms,
  Even though WILLIAM should reserve you merely
  A bedroom at "The Hohenzollern Arms,"
  Having for poor relations on the loose
  No sort of further use?

  Beware! I gather he might clasp his TINO
  Only too warmly to his heaving chest,
  Saying, "O how reward such merits? _We_ know!
  Thou shalt command an Army in the West!
  Yes, thou shalt bear upon the British Front
  The pick of all the brunt."

  Frankly, if I were you, I wouldn't chance it.
  Fighting has never really been your forte;
  Witness Larissa, and your rapid transit,
  Chivied by slow foot-sloggers of the Porte;
  Far better make for Denmark o'er the foam;
  There is no place like home.

  Try some ancestral palace, well-appointed;
  For choice the one where _Hamlet_ nursed his spite,
  Who found the times had grown a bit disjointed
  And he was not the man to put 'em right;
  And there consult on that enchanted shore
  The ghosts of Elsinore.

O.S.

       *       *       *       *       *


=LESSONS OF THE WAR.=

I.

(_Acting upon instructions received from the 3rd Self-help Division
the 9th Self-help Brigade issues its orders for a Raid._)

  9TH SELF-HELP BRIGADE OPERATION ORDER No. 49.
  _August 1st, 1920_.

Ref. Maps. LONDON 1/40000 shoot 27^d S.W. and (Special) 1/500
(BROADMEAD).

1. The 9th Self-help Brigade will carry out a Raid upon BROADMEAD
HOUSE, BROADMEAD SQUARE, W., on the night of 12/13 August.

2. The Raid will be carried out by the BILL SIKES and ROBIN HOOD
Battalions. The CHARLIE PEACE Bn. will be in close support, and the
DICK TURPIN Bn. in reserve.

3. The four sides of the house will be attacked simultaneously, the
BILL SIKES Bn. attacking with one Coy. each on the North and West, and
the ROBIN HOOD on the South and East.

4. The noise of entry will be covered by a barrage of street cries and
taxi whistles. "Q." will arrange.

5. Zero hour will be notified later.

6. The grounds and approaches will be reconnoitred thoroughly and as
many friends as possible made in the neighbourhood. Every opportunity
of reconnoitring the house itself, either through friendship or by
substitution for legitimate plumbers, window-cleaners, piano-tuners,
etc., will be taken.

7. The Brigades on the Right and Left will co-operate by starting a
street fight and a small fire respectively at some convenient distance
from the scene of operations.

8. At Zero _minus_ one hour, a cordon of outposts will be established
at a radius of 500 yards from the house, with strong points at the
street corners. "Q." will arrange for a supply of hedging-gloves.

9. The general scheme of approach will be on the lines as laid down in
the "Self-help Corps Standard Formation of Attack" (OK 340/CV/429).

10. Commanding Officers will submit a detailed scheme for the attack
(with sketch maps) not later than 4 P.M. on August 6th.

11. Mopping-up parties will be detailed to deal with all dug-outs
known to be occupied. Prisoners will not be taken, but undue roughness
is to be discouraged as likely to bring discredit upon the service.
Steps will be taken, however, to ensure the immediate, if temporary,
silence of the obstreperous. O.C. Chloroform will arrange.

12. The Dog emplacement at G 36 A 0.8 will be dealt with by the
Brigade Dog-fancier.

13. Brigade Cooks will be detailed in specified areas to act as decoys
for Policemen.

14. All information as to the plans, intentions, appearance, habits
and dispositions of inhabitants will be found in Appendix I. Some
good interior photographs of the house have been obtained by Corps
photographers acting as window-cleaners.

15. As foreshadowed in the Self-help Corps Intelligence Summary of
June 29th most of the family will be away at the seaside by the date
fixed for the Raid.

16. A teetotal Guard will be placed over all cellars.

17. Advanced Report Centre will be at G 25 D 93 ("The Peck and
Jackdaw").

18. A site for a forward dump will be chosen--preferably on the
BAYSWATER-BROADMEAD Road. "Q" will arrange.

19. Practice Raids will be carried out upon a model of the objective
which will be erected at the depot.

20. Parties detailed for Glass-cutting, Safe-opening, etc., etc., will
draw the necessary tools from the Main Dump at K 25 A on the 12th
inst. "Q" will arrange.

21. Dress: Fighting Order with Rubber Soles.

22. A non-committal hot meal (without onions) will be served to all
before starting. "Q" will arrange.

23. Results of the Raid will be collected and dumped at Advanced
Brigade dump at G 36 A. "Q" will arrange for necessary transport.
Distribution of proceeds will be made in accordance with G.R.O. 15.
"_G_" _Staff will arrange_.

24. Please acknowledge. _Issued at 5.15 P.M._

  Copies to
  Diary I.
  Diary II., etc., etc.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Detroit aldermen yesterday adopted a resolution asking for the
    freedom of Ireland from British rule.

    It is addressed to the president and was introduced by Alderman
    Walsh.

    Other Irish patriots eager for the freedom of Erin who did sign
    the resolution were Jacob Guthard, William H.C. Hinkle, Joseph H.
    Bahorski, Joseph A. Miotke, Anthony Nowe, Herman Zink, Charles
    Braun, Charles A. Kocher, Oscar A. Dodt, John C. Bleil, Ralph G.
    Mitter, Alexander Dill, John A. Kronk, Herman Schultz, Albert G.
    Kunz, Frederick W. Wendell and Oscar Riopelle."

    _Detroit Free Press_.

Your true Irish patriot doesn't mind what country he comes from.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: HOIST WITH HIS OWN PETARD.

MR. RAMSAY MACDONALD (_Champion of Independent Labour_). "OF COURSE
I'M ALL FOR PEACEFUL PICKETING--ON PRINCIPLE. BUT IT MUST BE APPLIED
TO THE PROPER PARTIES."]

       *       *       *       *       *


=BLANCHE'S LETTERS.=

WAR FEVER.

_Park Lane_.

[Illustration: THE LAST STRAW.]

Dearest DAPHNE,--Juno ffarrington's wedding to the Oldcastles' boy,
Portcullis, the other day, quite the best done of Allotment Weddings
that are having a little vogue just now. Juno's white satin gown was
embroidered with mustard and cress and spring onions in their natural
colours, her veil was kept in place by a coronal of lettuce leaves,
and, instead of a Prayer-Book or a posy, she carried a little
ivory-and-silver spade. The effect was _absolutely!_ The 'maids had on
Olga's latest in Allotment Wedding frocks, carried out in potato-brown
charmeuse and cabbage-green chiffon; also they'd garden-hats, tied
under the chin with ribbon-grass and with a big cluster of radishes at
the left side, and each of them carried a bunch of small salad and a
darling little crystal-and-silver watering-pot (Portcullis's gifts).
The Duke of Southlands gave his daughter away, and Juno _insisted_ on
his wearing a smock-frock and carrying a trowel, and just as the dear
Bishop said, "Who giveth this woman?" the poor old darling dropped his
trowel with a crash and rather spoilt things.

The wedding-cake was a great big war loaf stuck with flags. Juno cut
it in old-fashioned style with Portcullis's sword. While we were doing
ourselves well with war-bread and margarine, boiled eggs and plenty of
champagne, the Controller of Wedding Breakfasts blew in (it's a new
post, and he's two hundred and fifty able-bodied young assistants).
He was curious to see what we were having, and cautioned us against
throwing any rice after our bride and 'groom. "But how absurd, you
ricky person!" chipped in Popsy, Lady Ramsgate, who, of course, is
Juno's great-aunt. "_We_ never throw rice at our wedding-people!
_That_'s only done by the outlying tribes of barbarians." It was a
pity she attracted his notice, for he was down on her directly for
having on a toque almost entirely made of young turnips and carrots.
He said it was "an infraction of rule 150, cap. 4,500 of the Safety of
the Empire Act, forbidding the use of the people's food for personal
adornment."

The Allotment expression, which is the correct one now, is a look of
interest and expectation, because what one's planted is coming up.
_Some_ people rather spoil their Allotment expression by a _puzzled_
look. _Et pourquoi_? dear, they've _quite_ forgotten what they
planted, and, though they _pretend_ they know _exactly_ what it is
that's coming up, they really haven't the slightest!

My last photo is considered to show the Allotment expression in utter
perfection. (It's been in _People of Position, Mayfair Murmurs_, and
several other weeklies.) I'm standing in my potato-patch (my Allotment
toilette is finished off by a pair of _enthralling_ little hob-nailed
boots!) and I'm holding a rake and a hoe and a digging-fork in one
hand and a garden-hose in the other; there's a wheel-barrow beside me,
and I'm looking at the potato-plants with the _true_ Allotment smile,
my dearest. I sent a copy of this picky to Norty, and under it I wrote
those famous last words of some celebrated Frenchman (I forget whether
it was MOLIÈRE or MIRABEAU or NAPOLEON): "_Je vais chercher un grand
peut-être!_"

Wee-Wee is frightfully worried about Bo-Bo being so overworked. He
used to be at the head of the Department for Telling People What to
Do, and he and his five hundred assistants were worked half dead;
and _now_ he's at the head of a still newer department, the one for
Telling People What They're _Not_ to Do, and, though he's eight
hundred clerks to help him, Wee-Wee says the strain is too great for
words. He goes to Whitehall at ten every day and comes back at three!
And then he has the Long-Ago treatment that's being used so much now
for war-frayed nerves. The idea is to get people as far away from the
present as poss. So when Bo-Bo comes in from Whitehall he lies down on
a fearful old worm-eaten oak settle in a dim room hung with moth-eaten
tapestry, and Wee-Wee reads CHAUCER to him, and sings ghastly little
folk-songs, accompanying herself on a thing called a _crwth_--(it's a
tremendously primitive sort of harp, but I can't believe that even a
_crwth_ meant to make such a horrible noise as Wee-Wee makes on it!).
Myself, I don't consider Bo-Bo a bit the better for the Long-Ago
treatment, and there's certainly a wild look in his eyes that wasn't
there before!

_M'amie_, would you like to hear the simply _odious_ storyette of
Somebody's Cousin? Well, so you shall. Somebody is by way of being an
intimate foe of mine, and Somebody's Cousin has long been a thorn in
the flesh and a shaking of the head to his people. Before the War
he belonged to the League for Taking Everything Lying Down, the
Fellowship for Preventing People from Standing up against Foreign
Aggression, and the Brotherhood for Giving up All Our Advantages to
Aliens. He was of military age, and when war came, after giving vent
to some completely detestable sentiments, he crossed to the U.S. and
naturalised himself there, constantly attacking the country that was
unlucky enough to produce him.

[Illustration: _Recruit_. "EXCUSE ME, SIR, I FEEL GREATLY EXHAUSTED BY
THIS EXERCISE."

_Instructor_. "DO YOU, DEARIE? WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO PLAY AT?
KISS-IN-THE-RING?"]

When the U.S. came in, he shed his citizenship in a hurry, fled to
South America, and naturalised himself in a republic that had sworn
by all its gods to keep out of the War _à tout prix_. This republic,
however, changed its mind later and followed its big northern brother
into the War, _et voilà_! Somebody's Cousin was at a loose end again.
He afterwards naturalised himself in half-a-dozen small far-away
nations that all finally came in, and _then, chérie_, he drifted down
to the islands of the South Pacific (the favourite ocean of _his_
sort!) and had himself made an Ollyoola. (The Ollyoolas are a tribe
that has _never in all its past history_ been known to go to war). He
was made an Ollyoola with all the native rites, dancing and shrieking
and so on, and he wore the correct Ollyoola dress (a few shells and
his hair trained on sticks to stand straight up).

And _now_ comes the point of this storyette: Only a few weeks after
Somebody's Cousin had become a full-blooded Ollyoola (I think
that's the proper phrase), the Ollyoolas suddenly fell out with the
Patti-Tattis (on the next island) and went to war, for _absolutely the
first time_, with a _ferocity_, my Daphne, that seems to have been
saving up through all their centuries of peacefulness!

Nothing's been heard since of Somebody's Cousin!

  Ever thine,
  BLANCHE.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "AIRMEN'S ORDEAL IN THE NORTH SEA.

    FIVE DAYS ON A PIECE OF CHOCOLATE."

    _Continental Daily Mail_.

Rather a precarious perch.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "'GIB.' SHELLS FALL IN MOROCCO.

    MADRID.--Near Algeciras 20 shells fell from the batteries of
    Gibraltar. There were no victims, and no damage was caused.
    The authorities at Gibraltar have given satisfactory
    explanations."--_Evening Paper_.

Still, we should like to know the nature of the explosive that blew
Algeciras across the Straits.

       *       *       *       *       *


KINSMEN AND NAMESAKES.

An official circular, commenting on the presentation at the Scala, in
film form, of _The Crisis_, by Mr. WINSTON CHURCHILL, the American
novelist, adds the interesting statement, "the author is of course a
distant cousin of the Right Hon. Winston Churchill, M.P."; This sounds
a little ungracious. Why "of course _distant_?" But perhaps the gifted
novelist shares the opinion held by Lord BERESFORD of the politician
who did not write _The Crisis_, but is always trying to make one.

       *       *       *       *       *

From the account of a military wedding in _The West London Press_:--

    "The bridegroom was wearing a simple draped gown of lavender-blue
    crepe georgette, with a mushroom-shaped hat in the same shade,
    wreathed with small coloured flowers and draped with a blue lace
    veil."

Some mufti!

       *       *       *       *       *

    "When the Lord Provost ruled that the mater was not urgent, the
    Labourists created something of a scene."--_Glasgow Citizen_.

Quite justifiably, in view of the imminence of "Baby Week."

       *       *       *       *       *


=THE DISSUADERS.=

For many years--ever since the first piece of chalk was applied to
the first wall and advertising began its bombastic career--the
advertiser's tendency has been to commend his wares, if not to excess,
at any rate with no want of generosity. Everyone must have noticed it.
But war changes many things besides Cabinets, and if the paper
famine is to continue there will shortly be a totally novel kind of
advertising to be seen, where dissuasion holds the highest place. For
unless something happens those journals which have already done
much to reduce circulation will have to do more and actually decry
themselves. Such counsels as those which follow may before long meet
the eyes, and, it is possible, influence the minds, of the great
B.P.:--

       * * *

    THE PROPRIETORS OF

    _THE TIMES_

    Urge you to spend your money
    elsewhere.

    _THE TIMES_

    may have the best foreign correspondence,
    the latest news, the greatest
    variety of letters (in types of all sizes),
    the funniest dramatic criticisms, the
    sternest leading articles, and the only
    newspaper proprietor now acting as a
    plenipotentiary in America;

    BUT

    you are implored not to buy it.

    Remember its virtues for future use,
    when skies are brighter, but disregard
    them to-day.

       * * *

    We appeal to the great-hearted Public
    to make a real effort and refrain from
    buying

    _THE OBSERVER._

    Sunday may be only half a Sunday
    without it;

    But indulge in a little self-sacrifice.

    Not only eat less bread
    But
    Read less GARVIN.

       * * *

    DOWN SPECTATORS!

    Give

    _THE SPECTATOR_

    A WIDE BERTH.

    There are reasons why it must be published
    regularly

    But there are no reasons why you
    should buy it.

    There is no better, saner, or soberer
    Critic of Life; but what of it?

    We print all the latest Canine and
    Feline news; but never mind.

    If you won't, as seems probable, down
    your glass, down your _Spectator_.

       * * *

    HELP TO WIN THE WAR

    BY NOT BUYING

    _THE DAILY CHRONICLE_.

       * * *

    Whatever Sixpenny weekly you buy
    don't let it be

    _THE NATION_.

    Owing to its persecution by the present
    incapable Government _The Nation_ is
    achieving an embarrassing popularity.

    Please forget it.

    Let your only

    NATION

    Be your determi-

    Nation

    NOT TO BUY IT.

        * * *

    THE PROPRIETORS OF

    _THE STAR_

    urge you not to buy it any more until
    the War is over and paper is cheap again.

    Buy _The Evening News_ instead.

       * * *

    DON'T BUY

    _THE SPHERE_.

    IT IS ONLY SEVENPENCE A WEEK,

    BUT DON'T BUY IT.

    It is full of Pictures of the War, but
    you can do without them. It has
    punctual literary judgments of astounding
    finality by "C.K.S.," but they
    can wait.

    Do anything in reason, but don't buy

    _The Sphere_.

The depreciation, you observe, is not always quite whole-heartedly
done. But it must be remembered that the habit of self-praise cannot
be broken down in a minute, and this is only a beginning.

       *       *       *       *       *

PAN PIPES.

  In the green spaces of the listening trees
           Pan sits at ease,
    Watching with lazy eyes
    Little blue butterflies
  That flicker sidelong in the fitful breeze;
    While on his pipe he plays
    Quaint trills, and roundelays
    With dropping cadences;
  And shy red squirrels rub against his knees.

  And, thro' the city's tumult and the beat
           Of hurrying feet,
    Those whom the god loves hear
    Pan's pipe, insistent, clear;
  Echoes of elfin laughter, high and sweet;
    Catch in the sparrows' cries
    Those tinkling melodies
    That sing where brooklets meet,
  And the wood's glamour colours the grey street.


=A LOCAL FOOD-CONTROLLER.=

"No partner for you this evening, Sir," said the Inspector. "Mr.
Tibbits has just telephoned through that he has rheumatism badly
again."

I know Tibbits' rheumatism. I also know he plays off his heat in the
club billiard handicap to-night. I can imagine him writhing round
the table. Still I remember the first rule of the force--under no
circumstances give another policeman away.

"You'll have to take Dartmouth Street by yourself, Sir," continues the
Inspector.

"What's it like?"

"Bit of a street market. All right--just tact and keep them moving."

I reach Dartmouth Street. It is a thronged smelly thoroughfare. I pass
along modestly, hoping that every one will ignore me.

But a gentleman who is selling fish detects me and calls "'Ere, Boss,
move this ole geezer on."

"What's the trouble?" I inquire.

The old geezer turns rapidly on me. "'Ere 'e's gone and sold me two
'errings for tuppence 'alfpenny which was that salt my 'usband went
near mad, what with the pubs bein' shut all afternoon, an' now 'e's
popped the fender jus' to get rid of 'is thirst."

"I told you to soak 'em in three waters," says the fishmonger.

"'Ow much beer is my 'usband to soak 'imself in--tell me that?"

It is time for tact. I whisper in the lady's ear, "Come along--don't
argue with a man like that. He's beneath you."

She comes away. I am triumphant. But she turns round and cries, "This
gentleman as _is_ a gentleman says I ain't to lower meself by talkin'
to a 'ound like you."

I move on. I doubt if the fishmonger will be pleased by the lady's
representation of my few words, and I make a mental note to keep away
from his stall. All at once another lady, who for some obscure reason
is carrying a bucket, grips me by the arm.

"I'm goin' to 'ave the law on my side, I am," she declares
emphatically, "an' then I'll smash 'is bloomin' fice in."

I am swayed towards a fruit-stall.

"Look at them," says the irate lady, holding out three potatoes.
"Rotten--at thrippence a pound. My 'usband 'e'd 'ave set abaht me if
I'd give 'im them for 'is dinner."

The fruiterer takes a lofty moral standard. "I sold yer them fer seed
pertaters, I did. If yer 'usband eats them 'e's worse than a Un."

"Seed pertaters, was they? Where was I to grow 'em? In a mug on the
mantelpiece?"

"'Ow was I ter know yer 'adn't a 'lotment?"

"You'll need no 'lotment. It's a cemet'ry you'll want when my 'usband
knows you've called 'im a Un."

"Now, now," I interpose tactfully. "Perhaps you can exchange them,
then you'll have the lady for a regular customer."

"I don't want the blighter fer a reglar customer," says the fruiterer.

Three potatoes whirl past me at the fruiterer. The lady with the
bucket departs rapidly.

"Lemme get at 'er," cries the irate fruiterer.

"You wouldn't hit a woman," I protest.

"Wouldn't I?" says the infuriated fruiterer.

I interpose--verbally. "You'll get everything stolen," I say, "from
your stall if you leave it."

"I'll leave you in charge."

"I'm needed down my beat," I reply, and stalk on instantly, leaving a
sadly disillusioned man behind me.

I reach a queue outside a grocer's shop.

"There now," says a stout lady, "give 'er in charge."

The queue all speak at once.

"She's a 'oarder, she is. Got 'arf-a-pound o' sugar already in 'er
basket and only 'erself and 'er 'usband at 'ome, while I got five
kids."

A lady down the queue caps this with seven kids, and in the distance a
lady in a fur cap claims ten, and is at once engaged by her neighbours
in a bitter controversy as to whether three in France should count in
sugar buying.

All the time the hoarder stands with nose in the air, the picture of
lofty indifference.

Tact--tact--I remember the Inspector's advice.

"Excuse me, Madam," I say, "but in these times we all have to make
sacrifices. You already have sugar. Some of your friends have none.
Under the circumstances--"

Slowly the lady turns a withering eye on me. "I'll move nowhere no'ow
for nobody."

A lady in the background suggests that the female should be boiled in
a sugar-sack. A more humane person expresses the hope that she will be
bombed that night.

"But, Madam, consider your friends," I proceed.

"Don't you call that lot my friends! I'm 'ere fer a pound of marge,
and get it I will if all the bloomin' speshuls come 'oo 're doin'
reglar coppers outer jobs."

Public opinion in the queue takes a sudden turn. One lady remarks that
these speshuls are that interfering. Another alleges that she has no
doubt I have sacks of sugar at home.

I remember the Inspector's counsel about moving on, and move myself
on.

There is one man in England who proclaims himself absolutely unfitted
to fill the Food-Controller's position.

I am that modest person.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Stage Manager._"THE ELEPHANT'S PUTTING UP A VERY
SPIRITED PERFORMANCE TO-NIGHT."

_Carpenter_. "YESSIR. YOU SEE, THE NEW HIND-LEGS IS A DISCHARGED
SOLDIER, AND THE FRONT LEGS is AN OUT-AND-OUT PACIFIST."]

       *       *       *       *       *

Broody.

    "WHIST DRIVE.--A sitting of eggs was given by Mrs. ---- for the
    lady or gentleman sitting the greatest number of times
    consecutively."--_Worcester Daily Times._

       *       *       *       *       *

    "In Captain ----'s boat all the men survived, although full of
    water."--_New Zealand Paper._

In the interests of temperance we protest against "although."

       *       *       *       *       *

    "RUSSIAN TROOPS MUTINY.

    Petrograd, Saturday.

    The Minister of War has given orders to disband the regiments, and
    to bring the officers and men responsible before a court-marital."
    _East Anglian Daily Times._

That's right. Let their wives talk to them.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "I'LL LEARN YER TO CALL ME 'LITTLE WILLIE.' MY FARVER
DON'T ARF KNOW 'OW TO KILL GERMANS. AN' _I'LL SHOW YER WHERE HE GITS
IT FROM!_"]

       *       *       *       *       *

=OPEN WARFARE.=  Men said, "At last! at last the open battle!
    Now shall we fight unfettered o'er the plain,
  No more in catacombs be cooped like cattle,
    Nor travel always in a devious drain!"
  They were in ecstasies. But I was damping;
    I like a trench, I have no lives to spare;
  And in those catacombs, however cramping,
    You did at least know vaguely where you were.

  Ah, happy days in deep well-ordered alleys,
    Where, after dining, probably with wine,
  One felt indifferent to hostile sallies,
    And with a pipe meandered round the line;
  You trudged along a trench until it ended;
    It led at least to some familiar spot;
  It might not be the place that you'd intended,
    But then you might as well be there as not.

  But what a wilderness we now inhabit
    Since this confounded "open" strife prevails!
  It may be good; I do not wish to crab it,
    But you should hear the language it entails,
  Should see this waste of wide uncharted craters
    Where it is vain to seek the companies,
  Seeing the shell-holes are as like as taters
    And no one knows where anybody is.

  Oft in the darkness, palpitant and blowing,
    Have I set out and lost the hang of things,
  And ever thought, "Where _can_ the guide be going?"
    But trusted long and rambled on in rings,
  For ever climbing up some miry summit,
    And halting there to curse the contrite guide,
  For ever then descending like a plummet
    Into a chasm on the other side.

  Oft have I sat and wept, or sought to study
    With hopeless gaze the uninstructive stars,
  Hopeless because the very skies were muddy;
    I only saw a red malicious Mars;
  Or pulled my little compass out and pondered,
    And set it sadly on my shrapnel hat,
  Which, I suppose, was why the needle wandered,
    Only, of course, I never thought of that.

  And then perhaps some 5.9's start dropping,
    As if there weren't sufficient holes about;
  I flounder on, hysterical and sopping,
    And come by chance to where I started out,
  And say once more, while I have no objection
  To other people going to Berlin,
  Give _me_ a trench, a nice revetted section,
  And let me stay there till the Bosch gives in!

       *       *       *       *       *

=A Judge Speaks Out.=

    "Regarding the assertions that the appellant introduced politics
    into his sermons, it would be a bad day for this country when in
    a political controversy when a clergyman could conceive cases in
    which some high ideal was involved in a political controversy
    when a clergyman could honestly and reasonably preach about
    it."--_Yorkshire Post._

We have always felt that something like this needed saying.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: COMFORT IN EXILE.

IMPERIAL BROTHER-IN-LAW. "AFTER ALL, MY DEAR TINO, YOU ARE SOMETHING
BETTER THAN A KING; YOU ARE A FIELD-MARSHAL IN MY ARMY! YOU SHALL
PRESENTLY HAVE A COMMAND ON THE WESTERN FRONT."

TINO _(without enthusiasm)_. "THANK YOU VERY MUCH."]

       *       *       *       *       *


=ESSENCE OF PARLIAMENT.=

_Monday, June 11th_.--I am told that it was WILLIE REDMOND'S ambition
to be the Father of the House; indeed, that by some arithmetical
process peculiar to himself be claimed, although only elected in 1883,
to be already entitled to that venerable honour.

In reality he was the Eternal Boy, from the far-off time when it was
his nightly delight with youthful exuberance to cheek Mr. Speaker
BRAND until the moment of his glorious death in Flanders, whither he
had gone at an age when most of his compeers were content to play the
critic in a snug corner of the smoking-room.

Personal affection combined with admiration for his gallantry to
inspire the speeches in which the PRIME MINISTER, Mr. ASQUITH and Sir
EDWARD CARSON enshrined the most remarkable tribute ever paid to a
private Member.

Sir GEORGE GREENWOOD'S affection for the animal creation is commonly
supposed to be such that he would not countenance the slaughter of the
meanest thing that crawls--not even those miserable creatures who hold
that SHAKSPEARE'S plays were written by SHAKSPEARE. It was therefore
with pained regret that I heard him attempting to support his
objection to the activities of sparrow-clubs by the argument that,
if the birds were destroyed, large numbers of grubs and caterpillars
would be left alive. After this I shall not be surprised to hear that
he has been summoned by the R.S.P.C.A. for brutality to a slug.

What I most admire in the CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND is his wonderful
self-restraint. When Mr. GINNELL stridently inquired whether to
institute legal process against the police in Ireland was not like
bringing an action against Satan in hell, the ordinary man would
have been tempted to reply: "The hon. Member probably has sources of
information not accessible to me." Mr. DUKE contented himself
with mildly suggesting that the hon. Member should "apply his own
intelligence to that matter." Perhaps, however, he meant much the same
thing.

[Illustration: _IN RE_ AN ACTION AGAINST SATAN.

(MR. H.E. DUKE, K.C.)]

Half the sitting was taken up with discussing whether Messrs. JOWETT
and RAMSAY MACDONALD should be given passports to Russia. Mr. BONAR
LAW clinched the matter by saying that the Russian Government wanted
them. Well, _de gustibus_, etc.

_Tuesday, June 12th_.--Perhaps the most wonderful revelation of the
War has been the adaptability of the British working-man. Mr. CATHCART
WASON called attention to the case of a professional gardener who,
having been recruited for home service, had first been turned into a
bricklayer's assistant, then into an assistant-dresser, and finally
into a munition-maker. For some time the Ministry of Munitions
seems to have been loth to part with the services of this Admirable
Crichton, but having learned from the Board of Agriculture that there
was a shortage of food it has now consented to restore him to his
original vocation.

It will be a thousand pities if Captain BATHURST should persist in
leaving the department of the FOOD-CONTROLLER. If he could only keep
down food-prices as effectively as he does irrelevant questioners he
would be worth his weight in "Bradburys." His latest victim is Mr.
PENNEFATHER, who has developed a keen curiosity on the subject of
potatoes. Did not the Government think that the high price would cause
premature "lifting"? Were they aware that potatoes could be used for
making rubber substitutes and cement; and would they assure the House
that there would be an abundance of them for the next twelve months'?
Captain BATHURST declined to figure in the _rôle_ of prophet, and, for
the rest, remarked that the hon. Member appeared to have an insatiable
appetite for _crambe repetita_. Mr. PENNEFATHER is understood to be
still searching the Encyclopædia to discover the properties of this
vegetable, with the view of putting a few posers on the subject to
Captain BATHURST (or his successor) next week.

[Illustration: CAPTAIN BATHURST REFUSES TO BE A POTATO PROPHET.]

As the friends of Proportional Representation are wont to refer to
their little pet by the affectionate diminutive of "P.R.," they
can hardly be surprised that its appearance should lead to combats
recalling in intensity the palmy days of the Prize Ring. It was
designed that the Front Bench should be content to perform the
function of judicious bottle-holder, and leave the issue to be fought
out by the rest of the House. But Sir F.E. SMITH, like the Irishman
who inquired, "Is this a private fight, or may anyone join in?" could
not refrain from trailing his coat, and quickly found a doughty
opponent in Mr. HAYES FISHER. The House so much enjoyed the unusual
freedom of the fight that it would probably be going on still but for
that spoil-sport, the HOME SECRETARY, who begged Members to come to a
decision. By 149 votes to 141 "P.R." was "down and out."

Mr. EUGENE WASON entered an anticipatory protest against the
possibility that Scotland might be deprived of some of her seventy-two
Members. "I myself," he said, "represent two whole counties,
Clackmannan and Kinross, and I have a bit of Stirling and Perth and
West Fife, and I am told I am to be swept out of existence." Gazing at
his ample proportions the House felt that the Boundary Commissioners
will have their work cut out for them.

[Illustration: HEAVY WORK FOR THE BOUNDARY COMISSIONERS.

MR. EUGENE WASON TO BE SWEPT AWAY.]

_Wednesday, June 13th_.--Considering that barely three hours before
the House met the "Fort of London" had been drenched with the "ghastly
dew of aerial navies" Members showed themselves most uncommon calm.
They exhibited, however, a little extra interest when any prominent
personage entered the House, showing that he at least had escaped the
bombs, and were too busy comparing notes regarding their personal
experiences to ask many Supplementary Questions.

Even Mr. BONAR LAW'S announcement that KING CONSTANTINE had abdicated
the throne of Greece passed almost without remark; except that Mr.
SWIFT MACNEILL anxiously inquired whether TINO, having received the
Order of the Boot, would be allowed to retain that of the Bath.

The mystery of Lord NORTHCLIFFE'S visit to the United States has been
cleared up. Certain journals, believed to enjoy his confidence, had
described him as "Mr. Balfour's successor." Certain other journals,
whose confidence he does not enjoy, had declined to believe this.
The fact, as stated by Mr. BONAR LAW, is that "it is hoped that Lord
NORTHCLIFFE will be able to carry on the work begun by Mr. BALFOUR
as head of the British Mission in America." He is expected "to
co-ordinate and supervise the work of all the Departmental Missions."
It was interesting to learn that his Lordship "will have the right of
communicating direct with the PRIME MINISTER"--a thing which of course
he has never done before.

_Thursday, June 14th_.--Mr. KEATING, having made the remarkable
discovery that the War has injured the prosperity of Irish seaside
resorts, demanded the restoration of excursion trains and season
tickets. Mr. GEORGE ROBERTS stoutly supported the Irish Railway
Executive Committee in its refusal to encourage pleasure-traffic.
His decision received the involuntary support of Mr. MACVEAGH, who
attempted to back up his colleague by the singular argument that the
existing trains in Ireland ran half-empty.

The Lords spent the best part of a sunny afternoon in discussing
whether or not the South-Eastern Eailway should be allowed to bolster
up the Charing Cross railway bridge. In vain Lord CURZON, flying in
the face of his Ministerial colleague, the PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF
TRADE, urged the claims of Art; in vain he assured the House that when
WORDSWORTH wrote of the view from Westminster, "Earth has not anything
to show more fair," he was not thinking of that maroon-coloured
monstrosity. The majority of their lordships, understanding that the
proposal had something to do with "strengthening the piers," declined
to reject it.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Officer_. "AND WHAT DID YOU SAY TO PRIVATE SMITH?"
_Witness_ (_who had discovered prisoner milking cow belonging to
French farmer_). "I TOLD HIM TO STOP IMMEDIATELY AND PUT THE MILK
BACK."]

       *       *       *       *       *

We have received a copy of _The Glasgow Weekly Herald_, dated "May 56,
1917." Trust a Scot to make a good thing go as far as possible.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Great jubilation prevailed amongst the people at finding the
    children alive, and congratulations were extended to their parents
    that their little ones were not lost in the cavities and chasms of
    Knocknatubber Mountain, though straying thereon for upwards of 25
    years."--_Nenagh Guardian_.

The young "Rips"!

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _National Service Volunteer_ (_late crack billiard
player_). "MARKER, HAND ME THE REST."]

       *       *       *       *       *


="IN PRIZE."=

  A ship was built in Glasgow, and oh, she looked a daisy
    (Just the way that some ships do!)
  An' the only thing against 'er was she allus steered so crazy
    (An' it's true, my Johnny Bowline, true!)

  They sent 'er out in ballast to Oregon for lumber,
  An' before she dropped 'er pilot she all but lost 'er number.

  They sold 'er into Norway because she steered so funny,
  An' she nearly went to glory before they drawed the money.

  They sold 'er out o' Norway--they sold 'er into Chile,
  An' Chile got a bargain because she steered so silly.

  They chartered 'er to Germans with a bunch o' greasers forrard;
  Old shellbacks wouldn't touch 'er because she steered so 'orrid.

  She set a course for Bremen with contraband inside 'er,
  An' she might 'ave got there some time if a cruiser 'adn't spied 'er.

  She nearly drowned the boarders because she cut such capers,
  But they found she was a German through inspectin' of 'er papers.

  So they put a crew aboard 'er, which was both right an' lawful,
  An' the prize crew 'ad a picnic, because she steered so awful.

  But they brought 'er into Kirkwall, an' then they said, "Lord lumme,
  If I ever see an 'ooker as steered so kind o' rummy!"

  But she'll fetch 'er price at auction, for oh, she looks a daisy
    (Just the way that some ships do!)
  An' the chap as tops the biddin' won't know she steers so crazy
    (But it's true, my Johnny Bowline, true!)

C.F.S.


=TO MR. BALFOUR ON HIS RETURN.=

  Our hearts go out with all our ships that plough the deadly sea,
  But the ship that brought us safely back the only ARTHUR B.
  Was freighted with good wishes in a very high degree.

  There are heaps of politicians who can hustle and can shriek,
  And some, though very strong in lung, in brains are very weak,
  But A.J.B.'s equipment is admittedly unique.

  His manners are delightful, and the workings of his mind
  Have never shown the slightest trace of self-esteem behind;
  Nor has he had at any time a private axe to grind.

  For forty years and upwards he has graced the public scene
  Without becoming sterilized or stiffened by routine;
  He still retains his freshness and his brain is just as keen.

  His credit was not shipwrecked on the fatal Irish reef;
  He has always been a loyal and a sympathetic chief;
  And he has also written _The Foundations of Belief_.

  As leader of the Mission to our cousins and Allies,
  We learn with satisfaction, but without the least surprise,
  That he proved the very cynosure of Transatlantic eyes.

  For the special brand of statesman _plus_ aristocratic sage,
  Like the model king-philosopher described in PLATO'S page,
  Is uncommonly attractive in a democratic age.

  "BALFOUR Must Go!" was once the cry of those who deemed him slack,
  But now there's not a single scribe of that unruly pack
  Who is not glad in every sense that BALFOUR has come back.

  And as for his "successor"--the Napoleonic peer
  Whose functions are restricted to a purely business sphere--
  We must try to bear his absence in a spirit of good cheer.

       *       *       *       *       *


=THE INFANTICIDE.=

From an economic point of view it was inexcusable. I can only hope
that the affair will never reach the ear of the new FOOD-CONTROLLER.
The chief culprit was undoubtedly Joan minor--I only became an
accomplice after the fact--and I can scarcely believe that even a
Food-Controller could be very angry with Joan minor. For one thing she
really is so very minor. And then there's her manner; in face of it
severity, as I have found, is out of the question. Even Joan major,
who has been known to rout our charlady in single combat, finds it
irresistible. Indeed when I taxed her with having a hand in the crime
she secured an acquittal on the plea of duress.

Ever since Joan minor arrived at years of understanding the weeks
preceding the great day have been fraught with a mystery in which I
have no share. Earnest conversations which break off guiltily the
moment I enter the room; strained whisperings and now and again little
uncontrollable giggles of ecstatic anticipation from Joan minor--these
are the signs that I have learned to look for, and, being well versed
in my part, to ignore with a sublime unconsciousness which should make
my fortune in a melodrama of stage asides. And then, on the morning of
my birthday, the solemn ceremonial of revelation, I would come in to
breakfast, to find a parcel lying by my plate. At first I would not
see it. In a tense and unnatural silence Joan minor would follow me
with her eyes while I opened the window a few inches, closed it again,
stroked the cat and generally behaved as though sitting down at table
was the last thing I intended. Then, when I did take my place, "The
post is early to-day," I would say, pushing the parcel carelessly on
one side as I took up the paper, while Joan minor hid her face in Joan
major's blouse lest her feelings should betray her into premature
speech. And at last I would open it, and my amazement and delight
would know no bounds. There was very little acting needed for that. It
is no small thing to be spirited back to the age when birthdays really
matter.

And so this year it was with a feeling of having been cheated that I
left the house for the office, where, in company with other old fogies
and girl clerks, I do my unambitious bit towards downing the Hun. The
premonitory symptoms had seemed to me unusually acute, but the morning
had brought no parcel. My years weighed on my shoulders again, and I
am afraid I was more than a little tart with my typist.

I was kept late for dinner, and when I entered the room I found Joan
minor sitting in her place, her eyes bright with expectation. Beside
my place was a covered muffin dish. There was no dallying with the
pleasure this time, for I had suddenly become young again, and could
not have waited had I tried. I lifted the cover, and there, about the
size of a well-nourished pea, lay the first-fruit of Joan minor's
peculiar and personal allotment, prepared, planted and dug by Joan
minor's own hands, a veritable and unmistakable potato.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Official of Lady War-workers' Bureau_. "WHAT SORT OF
WORK DO YOU FEEL FITTED FOR?"

_Applicant_. "I DON'T QUITE KNOW, BUT I WANT TO WEAR THESE CLOTHES."]

       *       *       *       *       *

Our Official Pessimists.

From an Admiralty notice:--

    "It is to be particularly noted that entries are only being made
    for 12 years' service, and not for duration of war."--_Evening
    Paper_.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Summoned at Barry for having driven a horse whilst drunk, Antonio
    Millonas was stated to have narrowly missed a policeman and two
    children."--_Western Mail_.

We are all in favour of prohibition for horses.

       *       *       *       *       *


=IN A GOOD CAUSE.=

The Newport Market Army Training School, Greencoat Place, Westminster,
which has for over fifty years been training homeless and destitute
boys to become soldiers of the KING, and has sent over two thousand
into the Army, is in great need of funds. Mr. Punch cordially supports
the appeal of the President of the School, H.R.H. the Duke of
CONNAUGHT, who "sincerely hopes the public will generously support
an Institution that has for so many years quietly and unobtrusively
furnished a Christian home and education to poor and outcast lads, and
has supplied the Army with so many good and gallant soldiers."

Donations and inquiries should be addressed to the Secretary, the Rev.
H.A. WILSON, 20, Great Peter Street, Westminster, S.W.1.

       *       *       *       *       *

A Credit to the Commonwealth.

    "COCKATOO, Australian, splendid talker, does not
    swear."--_Newcastle Evening Chronicle_.

       *       *       *       *       *


=THE HAT AND THE VISIT.=

"Francesca," I said, "does my hat really look all right?"

When I put this momentous question we were in a train, being bound on
a visit to Frederick at his preparatory school. A sudden doubt had
just assailed me as to my presentability. Should I, as a father, be
looked upon as a credit or a disgrace to my son? Francesca took some
time before she answered my question. Then she spoke.

"Your hat," she said, "is well enough."

"I see what it is," I said; "you think I ought to have worn a top-hat.
There are still occasions when a top-hat may, nay, must be worn; and
this, you think, is one of them. There are solemnities and venerations
that only a top-hat can inspire in the naturally irreverent mind of
youth. A father in any other hat is a ridiculously youthful object and
has no business to inflict himself on his son. Very well. I would not
for worlds spoil Frederick's half-holiday by shaming him in the eyes
of his schoolfellows."

"What do you propose to do about it, then? You can't alter your hat
now."

"No," I said, "I can't; but I can get out of the train at the next
station and go home and leave you in your comparative spickness and
your relative spanness to spend your afternoon with the boy. Or, stay,
there must be a shop in Belfield where top-hats can be bought. It is a
cathedral city and possesses dignitaries of the Church who still wear
top-hats, and----"

"But those are special top-hats. You couldn't go to Frederick in a
bishop's hat, now could you?"

"No-o-o," I said doubtfully, "perhaps I couldn't. But suppose I wore
the gaiters too--wouldn't that make it all right?"

"I should like," she said, "to see Frederick's face on perceiving the
new bishop."

"Francesca," I said, "you talk as if no boys ever had bishops for
their fathers. Let me assure you, on the contrary, that there are many
bishops who have large families of both sexes. I once stayed with a
bishop, and I never heard anybody attempt to make a mockery of his
gaiters."

"But they were his own. He couldn't be a bishop without them."

"That fact doesn't render them immune from laughter. My present hat,
for instance, is my own, and yet you have been laughing at it ever
since I called your attention to it."

"Not at all; I have been admiring it. I said it was well enough, and
so it is. What more can you want?"

"I only hope," I said, "that Frederick will think so too. It would be
too painful to dash the cup of half-holiday joy from a boy's lips by
wearing an inappropriate hat."

"You're too nervous altogether about the impression you're going to
make on Frederick. Take example by me. I've got a hat on."

"You have," I said fervently. "It has grazed my face more than once."

"It is feeding," she said, "on your damask cheek. But I'm quite calm
in spite of it."

"But then," I said, "you never knew Rowell."

"No. Who was he?"

"Rowell," I said, "was a schoolfellow of mine, and he had a father."

"Marvellous! And a mother too, I suppose."

"Yes," I said, "but she doesn't come into the story. Rowell's father
had a passion, it appears, for riding, and one dreadful afternoon,
when we were playing cricket, he rode into the cricket-field. _He was
wearing trousers, and his trousers had rucked up to his knees._ It was
a terrific sight, and, though we all pretended not to see and were
very sorry for young Rowell, he felt the blow most keenly. I hope my
hat won't be like Rowell's father's trousers."

"It isn't a bit like them yet," said Francesca.

R.C.L.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Officer_. "BUT SURELY, THOMPSON, IF THESE MUD-BILLETS
ARE ALL ALIKE YOU OUGHT TO REMEMBER WHERE YOU PUT MY HORSE----"]

[Illustration: _Batman_. "HERE HE IS, SIR."]

       *       *       *       *       *

"Fireman wanted; consuming under 50 tons; wages 30s."

Under the present system of rationing, this demand for moderation does
not seem excessive.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Inspecting Officer_. "IT'S NO USE YOUR TELLING ME YOU
HAVEN'T GOT ANY POTATOES ABOUT THE PLACE. IF YOU HOLD THE END OF THIS
TAPE I'LL VERY SOON TELL YOU HOW MANY YOU HAVE HERE."

_Farmer_. "YE'LL BE A MAIN CLEVER LITTLE FELLOW, THEN. THEY WAS
TURMUTS WHEN I PUT 'EM IN LAST BACK END."]

       *       *       *       *       *

=OUR BOOKING-OFFICE.=

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

It is my deliberate verdict that Mr. E.F. BENSON is (as my old nurse
used to express it) "in league with Somebody he oughtn't." I hope,
however, that he will understand this for the extorted compliment that
it is, and not magic me into something unpleasant, or (more probably)
write another book to prove to my own dissatisfaction that I am
everything I least wish to be. That indeed is the gravamen of my
charge: the diabolic ingenuity with which he makes not so much our
pleasant vices as our little almost-virtues into whips to scourge us
with. All this has been wrung from me by the perusal of _Mr. Teddy_
(FISHER UNWIN). Even now I can't make up my mind whether I like it or
not. The first half, which might be called a satire on the folly of
being forty and not realising it, depressed me profoundly. I need not
perhaps enlarge upon the reason. Later, Mr. BENSON made a very clever
return upon the theme; and, with a touch of real beauty, brought
solace to poor _Mr. Teddy_ and consolation to the middle-aged reader.
I need give you only a slight indication of the plot, which is
simplicity itself. Into the self-contained little community of a
provincial society, where to have once been young is to retain a
courtesy title to perpetual youth, there arrives suddenly the genuine
article, a boy and girl still in the springtime of life, by contrast
with whom the preserved immaturity of _Mr. Teddy_ and his partner,
_Miss Daisy_, is shown for an artificial substitute. Baldly stated,
the thesis sounds cynical and a little cruel; actually, however,
you will here find Mr. BENSON in a kindlier mood than he sometimes
consents to indulge. He displays, indeed, more than a little fondness
for his disillusioned hero; the fine spirit with which _Mr. Teddy_
faces at last the inevitable is a sure proof of the author's sympathy.

       *       *       *       *       *

You will hardly have traversed the passages of our underground railway
system without being hurriedly aware in passing of a picture in reds
and browns, representing a faun-like figure piping to an audience of
three rather self-conscious rabbits. This pleasing group does not
portray an actual scene from _Autumn_ (LANE), but is rather to be
taken as symbolic of the atmosphere of Miss MURIEL HINE'S latest book.
The faun, I imagine, stands for _Rollo_, the middle-aged lover of the
country, into whose happy life other, more human, loves break with
such devastation. What the rabbits mean is a more difficult problem. I
jest; but as a matter of fact I should be the first to admit that Miss
HINE has written a story that, despite a certain crudity of colouring,
is both unconventional and alive. The attitude of the characters
towards their parents, for example, is at least original. _Deirdre_,
the heroine, frankly despised her mother, to whom she owed a marriage
with the man whom she hated. The gift of a country cottage enabled
her to escape from him to rabbits (figurative) and the simpler life.
There, however, she fell in with _Rollo_, who loved her at sight,
and whose daughter, _Hyacinth_, adored her father, but quite blandly
deceived him about her own amorous adventures. A pretty tangle, you
observe, and I am not sure that I can wholly acquit the author of
some cowardice in her manner of cutting it. But undoubtedly _Autumn_
remains a story to read, and remember.

       *       *       *       *       *

Since Mr. H. PERRY ROBINSON'S name must be familiar to most of us
by now as that of one of the very select company of journalists who
monopolise seats at the Front, one naturally turns with interest from
his daily despatches to a sustained narrative. His account of last
year's battle of the Somme, which he names _The Turning Point_
(HEINEMANN), is as lively and vigorous a recital as can well be
imagined of events hardly the less thrilling because already
well-known. Although he disclaims expert knowledge of strategies, he
is at least uncommonly well qualified to appraise the things he saw.
"Before July, 1916, our Army," he says, "was like a small hoy hoping
to grow up and be big enough to lick a bully some day. Told to attack
him before he felt sure of his own strength, the small boy would not
have been sorry to wait a bit longer, but the pressure against Verdun
and against the Russians had to be relieved, and so with steadily
increasing skill and confidence the attack was made, and day after day
fresh units proved themselves more than a match for the enemy." The
result was a series of victories--Mametz, Contalmaison, Pozières,
Guillemont, Thiepval, Beaumont-Hamel--and the writer is able to
associate with each immortal name the regiments there engaged, all
heroes, for "there were no stragglers." Indeed, if there is a weakness
in the book it is that the insistent recording of the individual
heroism of different battalions tends to become monotonous. But what
a fault! It is a monotony of British valour crowned by a monotony of
British triumph.

       *       *       *       *       *

A point that will hardly avoid your notice in the plot of _In the
Night_ (LONGMANS), by Mr. R. GORELL BARNES (now Lord GORELL), is the
exiguous part played in its elucidation by the Great Investigator, who
(as usual) happens to be on the spot and able to place his services
at the disposal of the local authorities. It is, I suppose due to the
Sherlockian tradition these unhappy persons, the local detectives,
must always be supplemented by a superior and high-handed expert. I
think, from his preface, that the author does not quite share my own
taste in such matters, since he promises that his Investigator shall
keep no secrets and observe nothing withheld from the eye of the
reader. So faithful is the author to this undertaking that he
practically keeps his expert hanging about with the unenlightened
crowd, while another character, in light-hearted amateur enthusiasm,
does all the work. But of course, in a tale of this kind, the only
thing that really matters is the one question of spotting the
criminal, or who killed Cock Robin. Naturally I am not going to spoil
your fun over this by any officious whisperings. As you probably know,
the one safe rule in such matters is to concentrate upon Cæsar's wife;
and even in repeating this antique maxim I may have betrayed too
much. Forget it, and you may find what happened _In the Night_
a sufficiently intriguing problem to provide a pleasant bedtime
entertainment that will leave your subsequent repose unimpaired.

In deciding to add to what one may call the fiction of Metropolitan
Adventures, whereof _The New Arabian Nights_ may be regarded as both
the model and the prototype, the author of _The London Nights
of Belsize_ (LANE) has undertaken a task which is both easy and
difficult--easy because a sophisticated style and a lively imagination
are the only essential qualifications, and difficult because it
involves competition with a perfect galaxy of distinguished authors.
There is always room for more of it, however, and, if Mr. VERNON
RENDALL disappoints us, it is not merely because the standard has
been set unusually high. His style is smooth and assured, and, though
somewhat lacking in humour, his touch is light and pleasing. He begins
well and interests us in his principal character so that we look
forward with zest to the adventures of a personality which is
everything that this sort of fiction requires. Here unfortunately the
matter ends. _Belsize_, who promises so much, has no adventures worth
the name. It is true that he rescues the _Prince of Mingrelia_, runs
to earth a gang of highly-educated and æsthetic criminals, and does
other things that we properly expect such men to do. But there is no
excitement about his methods. Not to put too fine a point on it, the
author of _Belsize_ lacks the true imagination that makes the unreal
seem real--a very different thing from the imagination which merely
clothes realities in a garment of mystery. Notwithstanding this
defect, _The London Nights of Belsize_ should wile away an hour or so
very pleasantly.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Delighted Patriot (after three days' absence)_. "NOT
MUCH TO FEAR FROM U-BOATS IF WE CAN GROW FOOD AT THIS RATE!"

_Voice from, above_. "PLEASE WOULD YOU THROW OVER OUR LITTLE BOY'S
ZEPPELIN?"]

       *       *       *       *       *

If _A Regimental Surgeon in War and Prison_ (MURRAY) does not create
so profound an impression as it would have done two years ago, the
reason must be that our capacity for disgust at Hunnish cruelty is
exhausted by the demands already made upon it. Captain DOLBEY was in
the Mons retreat and assisted at what he calls "the Miracle of the
Marne," and in writing of these events he shows a real knowledge of
both friend and foe. Taken prisoner under circumstances entirely
creditable to himself, he saw the inside of German prison-camps, and
suffered the indignities and horrors for which these places have so
justly become infamous. His experiences are described with an almost
judicial calmness. In one case of childish revenge I trust that the
sufferers were sustained by a sense of humour. When the picture of a
"Prussian family having its morning hate" appeared, the prisoners were
punished by having their deck-chairs confiscated. Mr. Punch, while
deeply regretting this vicarious expiation of his offence, cannot help
deriving some solace from the thought that he succeeded in penetrating
the hide of these Teuton pachyderms. When, for a change, Captain
DOLBEY received a kindness from German hands he acknowledges it
frankly. He also makes one or two suggestions which I sincerely hope
will be considered by those who are in a position to deal with them.
Altogether an illuminating book.

       *       *       *       *       *





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