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Title: Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 152, June 6, 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 6, 1917" ***

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


VOL. 152.

JUNE 6, 1917.


It is rumoured that the Press campaign against young men of military age
engaged in Government offices is causing some of them many sleepless


A correspondent writes to an evening paper to say that by his
thermometer the recent heat was a record for the year. We suppose it is
due to the example of the Censor in the matter of the Folkestone raid
that nobody appears to be able to keep a secret.


"A movement is on foot," says a contemporary, "to present the Italian
nation with a monument to SHAKSPEARE, to be erected in Rome." The
alternative of despatching Mr. GEORGE BERNARD SHAW to become a
naturalized Italian does not appear to have been so well received.


Lord COWDRAY recently presided at a lecture on "Flying after the War."
Most people will be content to wait till it comes by again.


Mr. KENNEDY JONES has declared that beer is a food. This should have a
salutary effect on those who have hitherto mistakenly regarded it as a


An artist has been arrested under the Defence of the Realm Act for
sketching on the East Coast without permission. It is dangerous in these
times to be caught mapping.


A contemporary complains that German officers at a South of England
Prisoners' Camp are being driven to the dentist in motor cars. We also
hold the opinion that these reprisals do more harm than good.


A controversy has recently been raging on the question of whether
trousers will survive the War. The better opinion seems to be that a few
exceptionally stout pairs at present in their infancy may be still
extant when peace is actually declared.


The sudden and dramatic conclusion of the ROMNEY case was a great
disappointment to many theatrical experts. They had predicted that it
would run for at least as short a period as most of the other recent
West-End revues.


The want of co-ordination between our Ministries becomes daily more
marked. It is an offence to keep a stray dog more than three days, but,
on the other hand, a sausage roll may be kept any length of time
provided it is sealed up at both ends.


The report comes from a German source that the resignation of Count
TISZA was procured by Marshal VON HINDENBURG. It is a curious commentary
on the fickleness of the multitude that the KAISER isn't even mentioned
as having taken a hand in the matter.


A branch of the Pan-German League has decided that Germany must not
conclude peace until the whole of the British Empire is annexed by the
KAISER. It is the sincere hope of the ALL-HIGHEST that the British
Empire will understand that in this matter his hand has been forced.


Dealing with the United States Navy, an American journalist says that
every recruit must learn to stand squarely on his own feet. The
attention of Mr. CHARLES CHAPLIN has already been drawn to this passage.


Sir HERBERT TREE has arrived in England, and, according to _The New York
Telegraph_, Mr. CHARLES CHAPLIN is now demanding a higher price for his


A strange case is reported from Northumberland, where a man who was
taken ill last weak admitted that he had not been eating rhubarb tops.


With reference to the complaint of an allotment-holder that cats cause
more damage than the pea weevil, a correspondent sends the following
hint as to the treatment of cats on the allotment: "These should be
sprayed with a good shot-gun and planted out in soft soil."


Leading provision-merchants state that there will soon be cheese-queues
outside the grocers' shops. One enterprising firm of multiple shop
grocers is said to have already engaged a troupe of performing cheeses
to keep the customers amused during the long wait.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE FATAL LURE.]

       *       *       *       *       *

     New Combination Head-gear for Troops.

     "Service dress caps in wear and those in stock will be used up and
     worn side by side with the soft caps."--_Army Council Instruction
     No_. 824.

       *       *       *       *       *

     "To a school in Battersea to-day the High Commissioner for New
     Zealand presented an Australian flag sent by the school-children of
     Dunedin."--_Evening News._

The children of Dunedin seem to have accepted in a very excellent spirit
the annexation of New Zealand by Australia, of which this is the first
news to reach us.

       *       *       *       *       *

     "The Germans wore absolutely dismayed at the promptness of
     President Wilson's rupture of relations. Then followed an amazing
     attempt to brow-beat Mr. Gerard into singing a revised version of
     the Prusso-American Treaty of 1799."--_Planters' and Commercial
     Gazette_ (_Mauritius_).

Happily Mr. GERARD refused to oblige.

       *       *       *       *       *

     "The annual report of the Kneckenmüller Lunatic Asylum at Stettin
     states that a number of lunatics have been called up for military
     service at the front, adding: 'The asylums are proud that their
     inmates are allowed to serve the Fatherland.' It appears, however,
     that the results are not always satisfactory."--_The Times_.

We have heard of no complaints on our side.

       *       *       *       *       *

     "Meat, particularly mutton, is (says 'The Times') likely to remain
     dead this week-end."

     _Lancashire Daily Post_.

But if the hot weather continues--

       *       *       *       *       *


     ["How long the conflict may last lies in God's hand; it is not our
     business to ask questions about it.... It is not the Prussian way
     to praise oneself.... It is now a matter of holding out, however
     long it lasts."--_Extract from Speech by the KAISER, delivered near

I fear that Father's lost his nerve.
  As I peruse his last oration
I seem to miss the good old _verve_,
  The tone of lofty exaltation,
The swelling note of triumph (_Sieg_)
That often carried half a league.

The drum on whose resounding hide
  He brought to bear such weight and gristle
Has now been scrapped and laid aside
  In favour of the penny whistle,
On which he plays so very small
You hardly hear the thing at all.

No more we mark the clarion shout--
  "Go where the winds of victory whirl you!"
His eagle organ, petering out,
  Whines like a sick and muted curlew;
A plaintive dirge supplants the paean
That used to rock the empyrean.

Poor Father must have changed a lot.
  He had a habit (now he's shed it)
Of patronising "_Unser Gott_,"
  And going shares in all the credit;
To-day he wears a humbler air,
And leaves to Heaven the whole affair.

He's modified his sanguine view
  About the foes he meant to batter;
He talks no more of barging through;
  He frankly owns it's just a matter
Of hanging on and sitting tight,
Possibly through the _Ewigkeit_.

"I never speak in boastful vein;
  No Prussian does," he tells the Army.
It really looks as if his brain
  Is going "gugga," which is barmy;
He's done some talking through his hat,
But never quite such tosh as that.

How to correct the sad decline
  Which takes this form of futile prattle?
That pious feat might yet be mine
  If I could only win a battle;
Cases are known of mental crocks
Restored by sharp and staggering shocks.


       *       *       *       *       *


(_In the manner of various contemporaries._)


_Corelli Parade, Stratford-on-Avon._

DEAR SIR,--I seem to have read somewhere of the extreme sagacity and
intelligence shown by the baboons of South Africa, some of whom, as well
as I remember, are employed as porters and, I think, station-masters on
the railways in the interior of Cape Colony. My gardener and coachman
having both been called up, it has occurred to me that I might find
efficient substitutes for them in these excellent animals.

Perhaps you or some of your readers would kindly inform me what it would
cost to import two trustworthy baboons, also what would be a fair wage
to give them; whether they would come under the provisions of the
National Insurance Act, and whether they are vegetarians or carnivorous?
Any other information bearing on their tastes and habits would be
gratefully received by

Yours faithfully, (MRS.) AMANDA BLEEK.

     [You should communicate with the Director of the Zoological
     Gardens, Regent's Park. We believe that baboons can be booked at
     special rates. Possibly they might be allowed to work their passage
     over as stokers? As regards wages, payment in kind is generally
     preferred to money. The baboon is a vegetarian but no bigot, and
     will eat mutton chops without protest. The great American nature
     historian, WARD, tells us that we should not give the elephant
     tobacco, but lays no embargo on its being offered to baboons. They
     are addicted to spirituous liquors, and on the whole it is best to
     get them to take the pledge. A valued correspondent of ours, Canon
     Phibbs, once had a tame gorilla which invariably accompanied Mrs.
     Phibbs at Penny Readings; but this interesting animal died suddenly
     from a surfeit of mushrooms, and Canon Phibbs has also joined the
     majority.--ED. _Daily Swallow._]

       *       *       *       *       *

_Kimono Cottage, Camberley._

DEAR SIR,--Poodles have from time immemorial been employed to hunt for
and dig out truffles in France. May I suggest to all owners of dogs of
this highly intelligent breed that they should use them (1) for digging
in gardens and allotments; (2) in place of caddies on golf links? May I
add that poodles ought not to be shaved with a safety-razor, but should
be trimmed by a topiary expert?

I am, Sir,
Yours faithfully, MAISIE MIMRAM.

     [We are most grateful to our correspondent for her information and
     the humane suggestion with which it is coupled. Truffle-hunting is
     indeed a noble sport.--ED. _Daily Scoop._]

       *       *       *       *       *

_Limejuice Villa, Leighton Buzzard._

DEAR SIR,--As a dead set is being made against dogs by some
uncompromising food economists, may I point out on behalf of our
four-footed friends what admirable service they render the community by
the destruction of flies? My Irish terrier, Patsy, spends half his time
catching blue-bottles--indeed, my husband, who is of a mathematical
turn, estimates that he accounts for several hundreds every day.
Faithfully yours, VERAX.

     [Patsy has indeed deserved well of the commonwealth. Some official
     recognition is clearly called for, preferably a special
     collar--unstarched, of course--recording his services.--ED. _Weekly

       *       *       *       *       *

_Mazawattee Mansions, Matlock._

DEAR SIR,--I have had since 1912 a Pomeranian dog of good pedigree.
Wishing to give him a chance, I changed his name from Fritz to Jock, but
he refuses to answer to the new title. As it is impossible to deport him
to his native land, I think of presenting him to a German Prisoners'
Camp in the neighbourhood, but before doing so should be glad of your
advice. Yours anxiously, PUZZLED.

     [The problem is a difficult one, but we see no reason for vetoing
     our correspondent's generous proposal. The position of neutral dogs
     is also puzzling. Only the other day we heard of a Great Dane who
     could not be taught to "die for the King"--doubtless on
     conscientious grounds. The feelings of the mites in a Dutch cheese,
     again, ought to be considered.--ED. _Conscience._]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: PLAYING SMALLER.


       *       *       *       *       *


When we have finished slaying for the day, have stropped our gory
sabres, hung our horses up to dry and are sitting about after mess,
girths slackened and pipes aglow, it is a favourite pastime of ours to
discuss what we are going to do after the War.

William, our mess president and transport officer, says frankly,
"Nothing." Three years' continuous struggle to keep the mess going in
whiskey and soda and the officers' kit down to two hundred and fifty
pounds per officer has made an old man of him, once so full of bright
quips and conundrums. The moment HINDENBURG chucks up the sponge off
goes William to Chelsea Hospital, there to spend the autumn of his days
pitching the yarn and displaying his honourable scars gained in many a
bloody battle in the mule lines.

So much for William. The Skipper, who is as sensitive to climate as a
lily of the hot-house, prattles lovingly during the summer months of
selling ice-creams to the Eskimos, and during the winter months of
peddling roast chestnuts in Timbuctoo. MacTavish and the Babe propose,
under the euphonious _noms de commerce_ of Vavaseur and Montmorency, to
open pawn-shops among ex-munition-workers, and thereby accumulate old
masters, grand pianos and diamond tiaras to export to the United States.
For myself I have another plan.

There is a certain historic wood up north through which bullets whine,
shells rumble and no bird sings. After the War I am going to float a
company, purchase that wood and turn it into a pleasure-resort for the
accommodation of tourists.

There will be an entrance fee of ten francs, and everything else will be

Tea in the dug-out--ten francs. Trips through trenches, accompanied by
trained guides reciting selected passages from the outpourings of our
special correspondents--ten francs. At night grand S.O.S. rocket and
Very light display--ten francs. While for a further twenty francs the
tourist will be allowed to pick up as many souvenirs in the way of rolls
of barbed wire, dud bombs and blind crumps as he can stagger away with.
By this means the country will be cleared of its explosive matter and I
shall be able to spend my declining years in Park Lane, or, anyway,

Our Albert Edward has not been making any plans as to his future lately,
but just now it looks very much as if his future will be spent in gaol.
It happened this way. He had been up forward doing some O. Pipping.
While he was there he made friends with a battery and persuaded the poor
fools into doing some shooting under his direction. He says it is great
fun sitting up in your O. Pip, a pipe in your teeth, a telescope clapped
to your blind eye, removing any parts of the landscape that you take a
dislike to.

"I don't care for that tree at A 29.b.5.8"," you say to the telephone.
"It's altogether too crooked (or too straight). Off with its head!" and,
hey presto! the offending herb is not. Or, "That hill at C 39.d.7.4" is
quite absurd; it's ridiculously lop-sided. I think we'll have a valley
there instead." And lo! the absurd excrescence goes west in a puff of

Our Albert Edward spent a most enjoyable week altering the geography of
Europe to suit his taste. Then one morning he made a trifling error of
about thirty degrees and some few thousand yards and removed the wrong

"One village looks very much like another, and what are a few thousand
yards this way or that in a war of world-wide dimensions? Gentlemen, let
us not be trivial," said our Albert Edward to the red-hatted people who
came weeping to his O. Pip. Nevertheless some unpleasantness resulted,
and our Albert Edward came home to shelter in the bosom of us, his

The unpleasantness spread, for twenty-four hours later came a chit for
our Albert Edward, saying if he had nothing better to do would he drop
in and swoop yarns with the General at noon that day? Our Albert Edward
made his will, pulled on his parade boots, drank half a bottle of brandy
neat, kissed us farewell and rode off to his doom. As he passed the
borders of the camp The O'Murphy uncorked himself from a drain, and,
seeing his boon-companion faring forth a-horse, abandoned the rat-strafe
and trotted after him.

A word or two explaining The O'Murphy. Two years ago we were camped at
one end of a certain damp dark gully up north. Thither came a party of
big marines and a small Irish terrier, bringing with them a long naval
gun, which they covered with a _camouflage_ of sackcloth and ashes and
let off at intervals. Whenever the long gun was about to fire the small
dog went mad, bounced about behind the gun-trail like an indiarubber
ball, in an ecstasy of expectation. When the great gun boomed he
shrieked with joy and shot away up the gully looking for the rabbit. The
poor little dog's hunt up and down the gully for the rabbit that never
had been was one of the most pathetic sights I ever saw. That so many
big men with such an enormous gun should miss the rabbit every time was
gradually killing him with disgust and exasperation.

Meeting my groom one evening I spoke of the matter to him, casually
mentioning that there was a small countryman of ours close at hand
breaking his heart because there never was any rabbit. I clearly
explained to my groom that I was suggesting nothing, dropping no hints,
but I thought it a pity such a sportsman should waste his talents with
those sea-soldiers when there were outfits like ours about, offering all
kinds of opportunities to one of the right sort. I again repeated that I
was making no suggestions and passed on to some other subject.

Imagine my astonishment when, on making our customary bi-weekly trek
next day, I discovered the small terrier secured to our tool-limber by a
piece of baling-wire, evidently enjoying the trip and abusing the
limber-mules as if he had known them all his life. Since he had
insisted on coming with us there was nothing further to be said, so we
christened him "The O'Murphy," attached him to the strength for rations
and discipline, and for two years he has shared our joys and sorrows,
our billets and bully-beef, up and down the land of Somewheres.

But it was with our Albert Edward he got particularly chummy. They had
the same dislike of felines and the same taste in biscuits. Thus when
Albert Edward rode by, ears drooping, tail tucked in (so to speak), _en
route_ to the shambles, The O'Murphy saw clearly that here was the time
to prove his friendship, and trotted along behind. On arriving at H.Q.
the comrades shook paws and licked each other good-bye. Then Albert
Edward stumbled within and The O'Murphy hung about outside saucing the
brass-collared Staff dogs and waiting to gather up what fragments
remained of his chum's body after the General had done with it. His
interview with the General our Albert Edward prefers not to describe; it
was too painful, too humiliating, he says. That a man of the General's
high position, advanced age and venerable appearance could lose his
self-control to such a degree was a terrible revelation to Albert
Edward. "Let us draw a veil over that episode," he said.

But what happened later on he did consent to tell us. When the General
had burst all his blood vessels, and Albert Edward was congratulating
himself that the worst was over, the old man suddenly grabbed a Manual
of Military Law off his desk, hurled it into a corner and dived under a
table, whence issued scuffling sounds, grunts and squeals. "See that?"
came the voice of the General from under the table. "Of all confounded
impudence!--did you see that?"

Albert Edward made noises in the negative. "A rat, by golly!" boomed the
venerable warrior, "big as a calf, came out of his hole and stood
staring at me. Damn his impudence! I cut off his retreat with the manual
and he's somewhere about here now. Flank him, will you?"

As Albert Edward moved to a flank there came sounds of another violent
scuffle under the table, followed by a glad whoop from the General, who
emerged rumpled but triumphant.

"Up-ended the waste-paper basket on him," he panted, dusting his knees
with a handkerchief. "And now, me lad, what now, eh?"

"Fetch a dog, Sir," answered Albert Edward, mindful of his friend The
O'Murphy. The General sneered, "Dog be blowed! What's the matter with
the old-fashioned cat? I've got a plain tabby with me that has written
standard works on ratting." He lifted up his voice and bawled to his
orderly to bring one Pussums. "Had the old tabby for years, me lad," he
continued; "brought it from home--carry it round with me everywhere; and
I don't have any rat troubles. Orderly!

"Fellers come out here with St. Bernard dogs, shot-guns, poison,
bear-traps and fishing-nets and never get a wink of sleep for the rats,
while one common cat like my old Pussums would----Oh, where is that
confounded feller?"

He strode to the door and flung it open, admitting, not an orderly but
The O'Murphy, who nodded pleasantly to him and trotted across the room,
tail twinkling, love-light shining in his eyes, and deposited at Albert
Edward's feet his offering, a large dead tabby cat.

Albert Edward remembers no more. He had swooned.


       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: FORCE OF HABIT.


_C3 War-worker_ (_formerly humorous artist_). "OH, JUST SIGNING MY

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Tommy_ (_reporting himself to Sergeant after search for
lost bayonet_). "AH'VE FOUND ME BAGGINET." _Sergeant_. "WHERE WAS IT?"
_Tommy_. "ON THE TOP O' MA GOON."]

       *       *       *       *       *



"I wish you would speak to Cook yourself about it," said my wife rather
nervously. "The whole thing depends upon her, and everyone says the
chief difficulty is to get one's servants into line."

"It seems hardly my department," said I.

"No," my wife admitted, "but I believe it would _impress_ her. She is
not in the least impressed by me."

I saw at once I should have to do it; you can't run away from a thing
like that without impairing your position as the head of the house. But
I dreaded it. I have always been afraid of her, and I knew that if she
began to argue I should be expected to take what my wife calls a firm
line, and that is always most uncomfortable. I wanted to have her up to
my study, so that I should have the moral support of encyclopædias and
things that she doesn't understand; but my wife was convinced that I
ought to mark the importance of the occasion by presenting myself in the
kitchen. I hadn't been down that stair for months and months. All this
happened weeks ago, when the DEVONPORT rations were proposed....

I took my stand with my back to the fire, conscious of a listening
kitchen-maid behind the scullery door, and after asking if the range
continued to give satisfaction I opened on the general question of
submarines. But Cook had the better of me there. I had forgotten that
she has a son on a submarine. I spoke of the serious position of the
country, and Cook cheerfully assented. (For her part she often said to
Jane that we were goin' 'eadlong into trouble.) I spoke, in general
terms, of economy, and found we were in complete agreement. ("Only last
night I says to Jane, 'Waste not, want not' must be our motter.") Then I
announced the amount of the DEVONPORT rations and repeated them twice
most impressively. Cook appeared to be going through a number of swift
professional calculations. ("Six times four is twenty-four, and six
times two-and-three-quarters is--m--m--m--m--carry one--is sixteen and
a-half, but syrup might do for the batter.") Well, Sir, she would try.
She would keep a book, "and every hounce that came into this house--be
it rabbit or be it liver--shall be put down."

I was so pleased with her attitude that I allowed myself to be carried
away rather, and we agreed before the conference ended that we would try
to improve upon Lord DEVONPORT if it was possible. Cook, as I left her,
impressed me as an heroic figure, facing a grim future with a high

"You did it beautifully, dear," said my wife as I came out. She also had
been listening behind the other door.


Weeks passed. My only desire was to dismiss the whole question from my
mind. Like LLOYD GEORGE in the House of Commons I had appeared and made
my statement, and I was content to leave the whole matter to my wife. I
do not mean to say that I did not observe sundry innovations in the food
supply. Funny-looking scones came up that tasted rather of pea-soup;
some of the meat dishes had a sort of padded-out aspect, and it was
difficult to get quite away from oat-meal. But I had no cause to
complain. It is only in the last ten days that the situation has become
grave. Barer and barer is the board. I have even had to make
suggestions. I proposed that bacon, for instance, might be allowed to
reappear on Sundays. Very well, said my wife patiently, she would see
what she could do. I wondered if buttered toast had been finally
banished for the Duration. She hoped not. But I gave up that policy, for
I found that whenever I recovered some such fugitive from our table
something else was certain to disappear.

My eyes were opened to it at last. I saw that the establishment was
going rapidly downhill. And I could get no real satisfaction from my
wife. She would make vague promises of reform; she would undertake to do
her best; and she would begin to talk brightly about something else.

And then I wanted to ask the Harrisons to lunch. That brought on the
crisis, for I formulated a minimum demand of a leg of mutton or a pair
of fowls.

"I don't see how it's possible, dear," said my wife. "I _am_ so sorry."

"You are keeping something back from me," said I. "Tell me, whose is the
'Hidden Hand' that is running this blockade?"

"It's Cook."

"Oh, Cook."

"Yes, ever since you gave her that awful slanging about patriotism she
has been grinding me down more and more. She's always plotting and
scheming and telling me that she must keep the book down for the good of
the country. I can see that Jane isn't getting sufficient nourishment.
If I were to propose a pair of fowls for lunch I know that she would say
it was her duty to remind me that we were a beleaguered city. And yet I
don't want to discourage her...."

"That's very awkward," said I. "What in the world are we to do about the

"I know," said my wife suddenly. "Ask them on Saturday. Cook's going to
Plymouth for the week-end to see her son."

"Oh, good," said I. "And we _will_ have a blow-out."

"And we won't put it down in the book."

"No, not a hounce of it."

So that is what we are going to do about the Harrisons. But it doesn't
touch the larger question. Our problem, you will see, is very different
from that of other people, and my wife smiles a pale wan smile when she
hears her friends endlessly discussing ways and means of keeping within
Lord DEVONPORT'S rations. What we want is to discover a means of getting
back to that lavish and generous standard of living.


       *       *       *       *       *


Unconscious that the times are strange,
  Enthroned in cushioned ease and quiet,
My _first_ foresees not any change
  In his luxurious canine diet.

While I, his master and his lord,
  A hearty breakfast-eater reckoned,
No longer at my frugal board
  Enjoy the pleasures of my _second_.

Controllers!--I detest the tribe;
  Freedom I hold in deep devotion;
Why should they want to circumscribe
  My powers of rapid locomotion?

My _whole_ I can no longer buy,
  'Tis useless to attempt to beg it;
And whether it be wet or dry
  Three times in four I have to leg it.

       *       *       *       *       *

     "In the Commons this afternoon Mrs. Macpherson said recent fighting
     in Southern Palestine had resulted in the capture of a Turkish
     advanced position."--_Nottingham Evening Post_.

The lady seems, without waiting for the Franchise Bill, to have captured
an advanced position herself.

       *       *       *       *       *

     "Good Bed room and sitting room, bath, h. and c., in lovely
     secluded garden, Hants."

Very proper. Baths should always be taken in seclusion.

       *       *       *       *       *

     "Deland is a church-going community,
     with Baptist, Presbyterian, two Methodists,
     Christian, Episcopalian and Roman Catholic
     Churches."--_American Paper_.

We are so glad the Christians were not forgotten.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: IT'S THE SAME MAN.]

       *       *       *       *       *



       *       *       *       *       *


I never countenanced the Hun in any sort of way--
He always does what isn't done and won't learn how to play--
But never have I felt estranged quite as I do to-day.

Till now I've strafed him like the rest, as natural and right,
But now my spirit is obsessed by bitter private spite;
And if he wants to know the cause--no mail came up to-night.

The sun must plod his weary course, the long night wax and wane,
To-day's strong rumours lose their force for others as insane,
The ration cart crawl up once more before we hope again.

Who is to blame what man can guess? I do not want to know,
The U-Boats or the Q.M.S., the Censor or the snow--
It cannot modify the fact that warps my nature so.

Although I may not vent my spleen upon the stricken Mess,
Where fancies of what might have been add gall to bitterness,
I mean to cause _some_ sentient thing confusion and distress.

And who so handy as the Hun? I know what I will do,
I will prevent to-morrow's sun with avid zeal and new,
Betaking me to some O. Pip that gives a charming view;

Each Teuton nose that dares to lift above the tunnelled ground
Shall be saluted with its swift and dedicated round,
Till all the burrows of the Bosch with panic shall resound.

And by this wrath it shall be known when there is like delay,
Till far beyond my trembling zone pale Hun to Hun shall say,
"It's no use crying _Kamerad_--he's had no mail to-day!"

       *       *       *       *       *



     The gorgonzola column also fought a vigorous action, inflicting
     great losses on the rebels."--_Evening Chronicle_.

       *       *       *       *       *

     "The standard ship now being built in British shipyards to make
     good the loss of tonnage due to submarine warfare, is of about
     8,000 tons, and all the ships already laid down are of identical

     Eight thousand tons seems to have been hit upon as a middle size
     between 6,000 and 10,000 tons."--_Pearson's Weekly_.

A very good hit too.

       *       *       *       *       *

From an Indian cinema advertisement:--

     "'The Marble Heart' from 'King Baggot': A splendid drama dealing
     with the loves of a young sculptor whose daydreams partake of an
     astral separation from his own self, and carry him to the scenes of
     the times in which his 3 statues were living persons. We are
     introduced to old Greece, and meet Diagones; Georges; Philideas and
     live over again the old times."--_Civil and Military Gazette_

But with a lot of nice new friends.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: AGAINST TYRANNY.

RUSSIA (_drawing her sword again in the common cause_). "IF I CAN'T KEEP

       *       *       *       *       *



       *       *       *       *       *


(_An echo of the Romney cause célèbre_.)

In view of the attacks on their honourable calling by Sir THOMAS JACKSON
and others, in _The Times_ and elsewhere, the Art critics of London
called a public meeting to consolidate their position. The Chair was
taken by Sir WILLIAM RICHMOND, who was supported by Mr. HUMPHRY WARD,
Mr. A.S. TEMPLE, and numerous other gentlemen who know a Romney when
they see it, or who earn an honest livelihood by distributing
adjectives, good or bad, among painters.

Sir WILLIAM RICHMOND, referring to a recent lawsuit, said that it was
monstrous that careful conclusions based upon a long life of study
should be upset by the production of a pencil sketch, and he called for
the removal of Mr. Justice DARLING from the Bench. Art criticism was not
a mere matter of caprice, as people were now pretending, but an exact
science. If a qualified man, not only a theorist but a practical
craftsman, after years of preparation, stated that a picture was by such
and such a painter, it was by him. The mere fact that someone named
OZIAS HUMPHRY had made a small sketch resembling a large oil painting
proved nothing. (Loud cheers.) The speaker said that he was glad to hear
those sounds. But he would go further. The conclusion of the recent case
was described as dramatic. He had a far more dramatic possibility up his
sleeve. Suppose it should be discovered--as it might be, nothing being
impossible--suppose it should be discovered that ROMNEY chose to paint
some of his pictures under the pseudonym of OZIAS HUMPHRY. What then?
(Terrific sensation.) They had all heard of the SHAKSPEARE-BACON
controversy. The ROMNEY-HUMPHRY controversy might be destined to eclipse
that. (Profound excitement.) He, the speaker, personally was not
prepared to let the matter rest where it did. His honour as an Art
critic was at stake.

An even greater sensation was caused at this juncture by a rush of cold
air in the hall, followed by the appearance of a ghostly shape, which
announced itself to be the shade of OZIAS HUMPHRY himself. If anyone
doubted his identity or suggested that he did not paint his own pictures
he should take very prompt action indeed. The art of haunting was by no
means extinct. (Here the Chairman hurriedly left the room.) The shade,
continuing, caused some consternation by stating that the picture which
had led to litigation the other day was by no means the only supposed
Romney that he had painted. He could name several in collections within
a mile or two of the spot where he was then standing. (At this point Mr.
HUMPHRY WARD swooned and was carried out by Mr. ROBERTS.)

Mr. A.S. TEMPLE remarked that no doubt the shade of OZIAS HUMPHRY
attended that meeting in all good faith, but for his part he thought
that he would have shown better taste had he kept away. In fact everyone
would be happier if OZIAS HUMPHRY had never existed. It was not Art
critics that should be pitched into, but painters whose styles resembled
each other. They were the real nuisance. It was the duty of artists to
be distinctive, and it was the duty of Art critics to keep them so. No
doubt, as SHAKSPEARE knew, there was a certain humour to be extracted
from men who were exactly alike, such as the two _Dromios_, but when
painters painted alike there was no fun in it at all.

Mr. JOHN SMITH testified to the fact that he had no interest in a
picture unless he knew who painted it; and even then he was not
interested unless the name of the painter was a familiar one. If Art
critics provided these names, it was obviously desirable that their
services should be retained; but it was confusing if the Art critics
disagreed among themselves. All he asked was that when they thus
disagreed they should all equally fix on well-known names, even though
they were different ones. Names such as REYNOLDS, GAINSBOROUGH, LEADER
and GOETZE were well known and inspired confidence. Strange names merely
irritated. In visiting the Royal Academy, for example, he personally
always bought a catalogue and confined his attention to the pictures of
the more famous artists. In this way he ensured a pleasant afternoon. If
there was still any doubt as to the merit of a picture, he inquired the
price and was guided by the size of that.

Sir FREDERICK WEDMORE said that to decry the value of Art criticism was
absurd. It was only through the efforts of their literary henchmen that
some painters could be known at all. The better the picture the more
words ought to be written about it, at so much a word. It was impossible
to over-estimate the importance of fitting every brush-mark with the
adequate epithet. He himself had devoted a long life to this task and he
intended to continue doing so. (Loud cheers.)

The Editors of the _Sketch_ and _Tatler_, speaking in unison, said that
not only was there too much talk about pictures, but there were far too
many pictures. Artists ought not to be encouraged in the way they are.
The world was never so happy as in the interval between the loss of the
"Monna Lisa" and its recovery. We should apply our enthusiasm to the
stage--to actors and, above all, to actresses.

The Editors of _The Daily Mirror_ and _The Daily Sketch_, also speaking
in unison, said they agreed to a large extent with the last speakers. It
would not really matter if every painting disappeared, so long as the
camera remained. One living photographer was better than a thousand dead

Sir CLAUDE PHILLIPS asked how the Masters would ever have been called
Masters had it not been for the critics. Painters merely painted and
left it there; it was the critics who decided whether or not they should
be immortal, and whether their pictures should be worth tens or

Mr. MARION SPIELMANN said that no one would deny that the contemplation
of pictures, even those of Saints or Holy Families, had given enormous
pleasure. But why? Not because the crowds that flocked to the galleries
really cared for them, but because gifted writers had for centuries been
setting up hypnotic suggestions that in this way was pleasure to be
obtained. He had often seen men and women standing before a canvas of
REMBRANDT, hating the grubby muddle of it in their hearts, but adoring
it in their heads--all because some well-known critic had told them to.
Their pleasure, however, was real, and therefore it should, in a world
of sadness, be encouraged, and consequently Art critics should be

Mr. ROGER FRY here rose to point out that the test of a picture is not
the pleasure which it imparts, as the last speaker seemed to think, but
the pain. The sooner the public got that fact into its thick head the
better would it be for those artists who were not so clay-souled as to
allow stuffy conventions to interfere with the development of their

Mr. D.W. GRIFFITH said that he had never heard so much talk about
pictures, with so little reference to himself. It was he who invented
"The Birth of a Nation" and "Intolerance," and he was the Picture King,
and as such he wished to tell them that the best Art critic in the world
couldn't hold a candle to a very ordinary Press agent. (Uproar, during
which the meeting broke up.)

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _The "Nut" of the Regiment_ (_reading Army order re

       *       *       *       *       *



Next to the beauty of its girls my little Western home is noted for two
things--the ferocity of its dogs and its bountiful provision for
assuaging an attack of thirst. For the latter there are fifteen houses,
ten of which have licences and the rest back-doors. We are by birth a
temperate people, but there is much salt in the air.

Our dogs are very like ourselves, as peaceable and well-conducted as can
be, except when some rascal takes up their challenge and makes faces at
them or trails a tail of too much pretension and too suddenly in their
neighbourhood. Then the fur is apt to fly.

"What a degrading spectacle a dog-fight is!" Moriarty, who takes up the
collection in church and has thus a semi-ecclesiastical status in life,
which shows itself in his speech, said this to me only last evening.
There were about a hundred of us trying to hide this degrading spectacle
from the police and other innocent people, and Moriarty had just lost
three-and-sixpence on Casey's dog. "A degrading spectacle indeed," said
I. "If Casey's dog had held out two minutes longer he had the other dog
beat. I am disappointed in Casey's dog." It _was_ degrading, and I am
glad I had only half-a-crown on it. So I paid up to our collector of
rates and taxes and came home.

This little incident made me think of Billy O'Brien, our next-door
neighbour. Billy had one passion in life, and that was the rearing of a
dog that could whip any combination in the vicinity.

Billy said life wasn't worth living if he could not walk in the streets
without some neighbour's dog beating his. Billy had failed hitherto, and
this is not surprising to one who knows the dogs of Ballybun. They are
Irish terriers to a dog, and all of them living instances of the
doctrine of the survival of the fittest. The air of Ballybun is bad for
a dog with a weak chest who thinks he has a strong one. Billy
experimented with many breeds and had many glimpses of success, but a
Ballybun dog always put an end to his experiments.

Last year Billy thought he had achieved his aim at last. When he
returned from the sea-side he brought with him a powerful dog of unknown
breed and of the most colossal ugliness. He confided to me that he would
not let him out on the street until his education was complete, "and
then," said he, "there will be only one dog in the Ballybun census." I
had my doubts, as I know the local dog, which would have the hide off an
elephant if it barked. But Billy O'Brien is a stranger, or as we say
"transplanter" in our part of Ireland, his grandfather being the first
of his branch to transplant himself here, and he did not then know much
about the higher education of dog, though he is an admirable inspector
of schools.

But he thought he did, and he had an educational theory which was all
his own. He claimed that a dog is what he eats, and he simply spent
pounds on that dog's education. In a month or two Elixir, which was the
dog's name, could swallow curries without winking which would bring
tears to the eyes of an Oriental Potentate, and he would howl if he was
given water without Worcester Sauce.

O'Brien's theory may have been right, or else it was only his dog's
liver that was wrong, for very soon Elixir would keep us up half the
night shouting offensive epithets across our wall at Mulligan's dog, who
hurled them back at him. Mulligan, who is a light sleeper, was much
annoyed, and wrote O'Brien eight pages about it. He mentioned that he
was a member of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals,
and that it was positive cruelty to keep these two animals separated a
moment longer than was absolutely necessary. He said that his
conscientious objections to betting were well known and life-long, but
that even they would not stand in the way of his wife's putting a fiver
on their dog Stanislaus. He added a few remarks about O'Brien's
grandfather, the "transplanter"; but what annoyed the owner of Elixir
most was Mulligan's remark that he had not seen the dog, but heard it
was some new kind of German pug.

Billy came in with the libelled animal at his heels to show me
Mulligan's letter and discuss his wrongs, before he went round to talk
dog with the writer. His shortest way to Mulligan's was through my
back-yard. Elixir, without anybody's permission, at once started to
break his way through in order to tell Mulligan's dog to his face what
he thought of him. He had hardly set a paw in it when an infuriated ball
of fur lit somewhere out of space on to his back, cursing and spitting
and tearing the hair out in slathers. This new enemy was my wife's
tortoise-shell kitten Emmeline, whose existence I had for the moment
forgotten, but who owns that backyard and whose permission had not been

What was left of Elixir let a yell out of it like a foghorn and bolted.
It returned twenty-four hours later with its tail between its legs, a
convinced pacifist. The disgusted O'Brien at once changed its name to
Bertrand Russell, after some philosopher who palliates German methods of
warfare, and gave it to a tinker.

O'Brien has abandoned theories about dogs and is now trying to encourage
hygiene in our midst, and Mulligan is sleeping better than ever.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Diner_ (_choking_). "QUICK! WATER! CRUMB IN ME THROAT."

       *       *       *       *       *


     "Governess (Nursery), £40, seasick, one pupil, usual subjects,
     about 30."--_Melbourne Argus_.

       *       *       *       *       *

From a Cadets' examination:

"_Q._ What is a Roster?

_A._ A Roster is a soldier who frequently gets drunk or rowdy. Not what
could be called a steady man."

       *       *       *       *       *

From a Publishers' advertisement:--

     Wild Foods of Great Britain: Where to Find them and How to Cook
     them. 46 figs. Post free 1s. 9d."

The figs alone are worth the money.

       *       *       *       *       *

     "Leytonstone's best effort was by a wounded soldier, who at great
     risk of pneumonia gallantly rescued a number of women from a
     tramcar that couldn't swim."--_Daily Sketch_.

The attention of the L.C.C. is respectfully called to this deficiency on
the part of its vehicle.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "A vessel of 30,000 tons may be sunk, but on the percentage
    table, such as the Admiralty serves up to us, she occupies the
    same relative position as a one-ton yawl returning with a load of
    kippers."--_Mr. E. Ashmead-Bartlett in "The Sunday Times."_

Inquiries as to the locality of the kipper fishing-grounds should be
addressed to our contemporary. We ourselves hear that it is in the
neighbourhood of the fried whitings.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Anxious voice_ (_from motor-launch_). "I SAY, CAN YOU

_Commander of destroyer_. "YES, DEAR OLD THING. YOU'RE IN THE NORTH

       *       *       *       *       *


Master of Arts, how is it with you now?
  Our spires stand up against the saffron dawn
And Isis breaks in silver at the prow
  Of many a skiff, and by each dewy lawn
Purple and gold the tall flag-lilies stand;
  And SHELLEY sleeps above his empty tomb
  Hard by the staircase where you had your room,
  And all the scented lilacs are in bloom,
But you are far from this our fairy-land.

Your heavy wheel disturbs the ancient dust
  Of empires dead ere Oxford saw the light.
Those flies that form a halo round your crust
  And crawl into your sleeping-bag at night--
Their grandsires drank the blood of NADIR SHAH,
  And tapped the sacred veins of SULEYMAN;
  There flashed dread TIMOUR'S whistling yataghan,
  And soothed the tiger ear of GENGHIZ KHAN
The cream of Tartary's battle-drunk "Heiyah!"

And yonder, mid the colour and the cries
  Of mosque and minaret and thronged bazaars
And fringed palm-trees dark against the skies
  HARUN AL RASCHID walked beneath the stars
And heard the million tongues of old Baghdad,
  Till out of Basrah, as the dawn took wing,
  Came up the laden camels, string on string;
  But now there is not left them anything
Of all the wealth and wisdom that they had.

Somehow I cannot see you, lean and browned,
  Chasing the swart Osmanli through the scrub
Or hauling railroad ties and "steel mild round"
  Sunk in the sands of Irak to the hub,
Heaping coarse oaths on Mesopotamy;
  But rather strewn in gentlemanly ease
  In some cool _serdab_ or beneath the trees
  That fringe the river-bank you hug your knees
And watch the garish East go chattering by.

And at your side some wise old priest reclines
  And weaves a tale of dead and glorious days
When MAMUN reigned; expounds the heavenly signs
  Whose movements fix the span of mortal days;
Touches on Afreets and the ways of Djinns;
  Through his embroidered tale real heroes pass,
  RUSTUM the bold and BAHRAM the wild ass,
  Who never dreamed of using poisoned gas
Or spread barbed wire before the foeman's shins.

I think I hear you saying, "Not so much
  Of waving palm-trees and the flight of years;
It's evident that you are out of touch
  With war as managed by the Engineers.
Hot blasts of _sherki_ are our daily treat,
  And toasted sandhills full of Johnny Turk
  And almost anything that looks like work,
  And thirst and flies and marches that would irk
A cast-iron soldier with asbestos feet."

Know, then, the thought was fathered by the wish
  We oldsters feel, that you and everyone
Who through the heat and flies conspire to dish
  The "_Drang nach Osten_" of the beastly Hun
Shall win their strenuous virtue's modest wage.
  And if at Nishapur and Babylon
  The cup runs dry, we'll fill it later on,
  And here where Cherwell soothes the fretful don
In flowing sherbet pledge our easeful sage.


       *       *       *       *       *


At a time when not a potato was to be found in all Kensington, the Food
Controller decided to form the Potato Appropriations Department. I was
put at its head and received my orders direct from that supreme

Up to the moment of being called upon to take up this important post I
was a Captain on the Staff of an Artillery Headquarters, and my
ignorance of the finer points of the potato was profound. It was
therefore with some trepidation that I proceeded to hold a lengthy
consultation with the Controller on the subject of the organisation and
general duties of my department. My official title, I was told, was
Appropriator of Tubers. I was further informed that, until the
department got into the swing of routine, it had better work under the
direct supervision of the Food Controller. I agreed.

I was then taken into the Controller's confidence with regard to a
certain matter, and it was suggested that I should see to it.

I demurred on the ground that I did not yet feel myself a sufficient
authority on the potato to carry out this particular duty; but the
Controller overcame my objection by sending for a Mrs. Marrow, an expert
on the Potato Utilisation Board. She appeared, a plump middle-aged lady,
attired appropriately in a costume of workmanlike simplicity.

Thus reinforced, I ordered the car and drove to Whitechapel. At the end
of a street, whose gutters were full of vegetable garbage I stopped,
and, descending, beckoned imperiously to an adjacent policeman.

"On duty for the Food Controller, constable," I said. "Take me to the
nearest greengrocer, please."

He saluted respectfully and led the way to where a long queue, armed
with a varied assortment of baskets and bags, waited impatiently and
clamoured. A hush fell on our approach. Two more policemen who now
appeared on the scene constituted themselves my retinue. Through a lane
opened in the throng I made a stately entrance, Mrs. Marrow and the
police bringing up the rear. I was confronted by a large flabby
individual, who grasped a cabbage in one hand and a number of
mangel-wurzels in the other.

"Good morning, Sir," I remarked courteously but firmly. "You are the
proprietor of this shop, I presume?"

His reply left no room for doubt.

"I am the A.T.," I said impressively, indicating the red brassard of
office presented to me by the Food Controller. "In case you do not know
what that means, I am the Appropriator of Tubers. A tuber, Sir, is a
potato. Now it has been brought to the notice of my chief, the Food
Controller, that certain vendors of vegetables are seeking to defraud
the public by selling as potatoes a totally different kind of vegetable
disguised with colouring matter and rubbed with earth."

I paused to allow this weighty announcement to sink in. My audience
gaped. I continued--

"Acting on orders received from the Controller I am making a series of
surprise inspections with a view to discovering the guilty parties, who
will be proceeded against under section A, subsection 2, paragraph 1,769
of Part III. of King's Reg's.--I mean, the Defence of the Realm Act. I
particularly wish you to understand," I went on ruthlessly, nipping an
indignant protest in the bud, "that I do not for a moment allege,
suggest or insinuate that you specifically are one of these
potato-swindlers; nevertheless I have my duty to do, and I must ask you
here and now to lay out your entire stock for inspection."

The flabby individual wiped his forehead and signed to a trembling

"Get 'em art," he said. "Fer Gawd's sake, get 'em art!"

Six bushel baskets of the precious vegetables were brought and laid in a
row at my feet.

"Perhaps, Madam," I said, turning to Mrs. Marrow, "you will be so kind
as to inspect these--ah, tubers. Mrs. Marrow," I explained to the
greengrocer, "the famous tuber expert."

In silence Mrs. Marrow began to overhaul the contents of the baskets,
every now and then picking out a particularly choice specimen, which she
added to an accumulating pile on the floor.

"Aha! Suspects!" I exclaimed grimly. "I shall take all these to the
laboratory at the Food Controller's Headquarters, where Mrs. Marrow will
submit each tuber to a meticulous test in order to satisfy herself as to
its _bona fides_. You will be gratified to hear that, should your
potatoes prove to be all they seem, the Controller will issue you a blue
card, registering you as a certified vendor of Government-tested
potatoes. This you may place in your window for the information of your
customers. If the test proves unsatisfactory"--I paused. In the deathly
silence the heavy breathing of Mrs. Marrow was distinctly audible--"you
will hear further," I concluded. "Weigh these suspects."

They turned the scale at eighteen pounds.

"Since in any case the potatoes will be rendered unfit for consumption
by the rigorous process through which they will be passed, I am
empowered by the Food Controller to compensate you in advance, at a rate
not exceeding sevenpence per pound, out of the special appropriation
funds, this sum to be returned in the event of the test proving

So saying I handed him ten-and-sixpence. The basket was carried out to
the car by one of the guardians of law and order. Then I headed for

The Food Controller met us breathlessly at the door.

"Oh, what darlings!" she exclaimed. "Do you think they will last out the
master's leave?"

"They've jolly well got to," declared the master promptly. "There are
limits, Elsie, to the elasticity of conscience. Besides, my ability to
maintain a flow of official phraseology is exhausted."

The Food Controller kissed me very sweetly. It was cheap at

       *       *       *       *       *


     [According to "a distinguished neutral" there is a great demand
     in Constantinople just now for pianos.]

Of all occasions to unfaithful scoffers
  Given by Turkey in this year of grace,
The unexpected homage that she offers
  To the piano holds the foremost place.

For Turkish music, _vide_ GROVE and others,
  Meant in the past the cymbals and big drum,
And piccolo, a group which wholly smothers
  All other instruments and strikes them dumb.

Compared with this barbaric combination
  The tinkling of the keys, so soft and clear,
Is lacking in explosive concentration,
  And yet there's more in them than meets the ear.

At least, one reason for this revolution
  Is plain; the keyboard, though its tones are cold,
Viewed as a means of rapid "execution"
  Endears itself to Turks both Young and Old.

       *       *       *       *       *

     "M. Bratiano, Rumanian Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign
     Affairs, has returned to Bukarest from Petrograd."--_The Times_.

The force of habit, we presume. How surprised the German Governor must
have been to see him.

       *       *       *       *       *


_Artist_. "I RATHER LIKE THAT." _Super-Critic._ "BAH! PRETTY-PRETTY!

       *       *       *       *       *


I have been examining a book by the POET LAUREATE, in which that learned
and painstaking man puts forward for general acceptance a new theory and
a new practice of metre in English poetry. It seems that our verse is
accentual, whereas it ought to be quantitative--or it may be the other
way about; my brain is in such a whirl with it all that I can't be
certain which is right, but I am sure that one of them is, and so I
leave you to take your choice. Failing that, you can buy Dr. BRIDGES'
book, which is entitled _Ibant Obscuri_ (Oxford University Press), and
thus expresses my inmost convictions about our great official poet and
his followers. We are henceforth to write hexameters in English on an
entirely new plan, of which the result is that they lose all likeness to
any hexameters previously encountered on the slopes of Parnassus or
anywhere else and become something so blind and staggering and
dreadfully amorphous that the whole mind of the reader rises up in
revolt against them.

That, at any rate, is my condition at this moment after going through a
course of them. I notice that the reviewers have been a little shy of
these hexametric efforts. They have mostly described them as
"interesting experiments" and have applauded Dr. BRIDGES for his
adventurous industry and his careful scholarship, and thereafter they
have skirmished on the outskirts and have shown a disinclination to come
to grips with the LAUREATE on the main question whether these hexameters
are a success or a failure. Now I have no hesitation whatever in
admitting my metrical ignorance and at the same time in denouncing as a
fiasco the experiment of Dr. BRIDGES. I have spent some time in
struggling with his hexameters; I have attempted to track his dactyls to
their lair; I have followed up what I took to be his spondees, and I am
thankful to say that I have managed to survive.

Let me now give some examples, not composed, it is true, by the
LAUREATE, but by myself. This is not an unfair proceeding, for it will
serve to show the effect of _Ibant Obscuri_ on a mind not too obtuse. I
promise that the rules shall be observed. There shall be six feet in
each line, dactyls or spondees, and the fifth foot shall be a dactyl and
the sixth a spondee or a trochee. Are you ready? Go!

  Apollo now came forth his course through the sky to fulfil;
  In other words it was morning and most people got out of bed;
  And fathers of families munched and grumbled at their breakfasts,
  Denouncing their bacon and not to be mollified with their
  Coffee or tea, as the case might be, and the housewives reproved them,
  Saying 'twas impossible to control them with such an example.

Beyond the above I cannot go, but I must add that the lines are of the
most perfect metrical lucidity and the purest melody when compared with
some written by the LAUREATE in _Ibant Obscuri_.

       *       *       *       *       *


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

Mr. H.G. WELLS also among the New Theologians is not an entirely
unexpected event. We have all had intimation in his later writings of
the coming of some such thesis as _God, The Invisible King_ (CASSELL). I
can see the deans making mincemeat of the rash author. All's well if
they'll eat some of the meat. And they may. At least this is no
super-subtle modernist divine dealing out old coins surreptitiously
stamped with a new image and superscription, but a plain blunt heretic
who knows his mind (or, rather, mood). But it is a reverent, indeed, I
dare to say, a noble book. The sanely and securely orthodox may read it
with profit if with shock. It should brace their faith, and will rob
them of nothing but a too-ready doubt that so forthright a house-breaker
may be a builder in his own way. There is indeed more faith in these
honest denials than in half the assents of the conformists. Just because
it is not a subtle book it should not be "dangerous." It is romantic,
rather; inspired, you might loosely say. The _Index Expurgatorius_ will
of course list it when they learn of it; but foolishly, because while
the philosophy, the cosmology, the metaphysics may be advanced (so
advanced as to be called hasty and apt to run into the theological
barrages), the religion, the mysticism, the "conviction of sin," the
vision of the invisibles, the perception of the imponderables, are
positive, vivid, sincere, passionate in phrasing and in intention.
Sincere as Mr. WELLS is always sincere; sincere rather than stable,
patient, learned and so forth. I rather wonder that he insists so much
on his _finite_ God. The postulate hardly touches his real thesis. And I
find it easier to believe that there may be some things behind "this
round world" that Mr. WELLS cannot fully understand because he (the
author) is finite--and busy--than accept what seems a contradiction in
terms to no particular end.

       *       *       *       *       *

The author of _Grand Chain_ (NISBET) is profoundly aware that man is not
the master of his fate (though he may be the captain of his soul, which
is quite a different matter), and that the claim so universally put
forward, that the leopard can change his spots, is simply an excuse for
criticising the superficial pigmentation of other leopards. _Dermod
Randall_, Miss G.B. STERN'S hero, is certainly not the master of his
fate, which is inexorably moulded by the belief of his relatives,
ascendant and descendant, that he must inherit the vices of his father,
a particularly pard-like specimen, and may be expected at any minute to
come out in spots himself. As a matter of fact his only failings were a
young heart and a sense of humour; but, as these qualities were as out
of place in the _Randall_ family as a hornpipe at a funeral, _Dermod_
lives under a perpetual cloud of unmerited suspicion. How he is
compressed into a life groove, of which an ineffably turgid
respectability provides the chronic atmosphere, is the theme of _Grand
Chain_. And because the author possesses a wonderfully delicate gift of
satire and a power of character delineation that never gets out of hand,
she has written a novel deserving of more praise than the usual
reviewer, all too timid of superlatives, may venture to give.
Comparisons in criticism are dangerous, but Miss STERN'S philosophy
strongly calls to mind BUTLER'S _The Way of All Flesh_. At least there
is the same mordant and rather hopeless analysis of the power for evil
in a too complicated world of impeccable people with no sense of humour.
And in _Dermod's_ case the effect is heightened by the feeling that if
he had really been the irresponsible creature he was suspected of being
he would have come much nearer to controlling his own destinies. He
sowed a decent regard for his obligations, and reaped a perfect
whirlwind of well-to-do respectability. _Grand Chain_ is a really
remarkable novel, and no discriminating reader will overlook it.

       *       *       *       *       *

Was it not Mr. ALBERT CHEVALIER who used to sing some hortatory lyrics
upon the inadvisability of introducing your donah to a pal? Something of
this sort, _mutatis mutandis_ in the matter of sex, might stand as the
moral of _That Red-headed Girl_(JENKINS). Because no sooner had _Julia_,
the heroine, got herself engaged to _Dick_ than the arrival of
auburn-tressed _Sheila_ so dazzled the youth that in less time than it
takes to write he had called the engagement off and prepared to marry
the new-comer. However, to square matters, _Sheila_ now jilted him;
whereupon he fled back to _Julia_ (meanwhile, though he knew it not,
legatee of twelve thousand a year) and promptly married her. Which was
entirely satisfactory, save from the view-point of Miss LOUISE HEILGERS,
who was left with her hero and heroine united and the whole affair at an
end before she had passed Chapter XII. Here however intervened a very
touching instance of filial piety. Springing to the rescue of her
author, and with no other possible motive or excuse than that of helping
Miss HEILGERS towards a publishable six-bobs-worth, the resourceful
_Julia_ determined to think that _Dick_ had married her for the money of
whose existence he was palpably unaware. He, on his part, not to be
outdone, played up to the situation thus created with a lunatic
behaviour that gave it the support it wanted. I need not, of course,
insult your intelligence with any indication of the end. A happy,
flagrantly artificial little comedy of manners, as exhibited by the
characters in polite pre-war fiction, and nowhere else.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Resigned Patriot_. "DO WE DRAW FOR THIS, MY DEAR?"]

       *       *       *       *       *


     "On a front of fourteen yards, this position extends by a series of
     redoubts and trenches eleven miles south-east of Gaza."--_Isle of
     Man Times_.

       *       *       *       *       *

     "Lord Devonport ... hoped their Lordships would realise that the
     stable necessaries of life had been brought under Government
     control."--_Belfast News-Letter_.

They do realise it. You should hear their language about oats.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 152, June 6, 1917" ***

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