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Title: Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 152, March 7, 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, March 7, 1917" ***

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PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.

VOL. 152.



March 7th, 1917.



CHARIVARIA.

"A motor car repairer," says Mr. Justice BRAY, "is like a plumber. Once you
get him into the house you cannot get him out."... Unless, of course, you
show him a burst bath pipe, when he will immediately go out to fetch his
mate.

       ***

According to Herr WILDRUBE, a member of the Reichstag, Germans should
"rejoice at the departure of Mr. GERARD and his pro-Entente espionage
bureau." They have some rubes in the U.S.A., but nothing quite so wild as
this.

       ***

An historical film, called "The Discovery of Germany," is being exhibited
widely through the Fatherland under the auspices of the Government. A
further discovery of Germany--that she has been fatally misled by her
rulers--has not at present received the approval of the Imperial House.

       ***

The German Army authorities have issued an urgent warning to the public not
to discuss military matters. Their own communiqués are to be taken as a
model of the right kind of reticence.

       ***

An American film syndicate have overcome their difficulty in finding a man
to take the place of CHARLIE CHAPLIN. They have decided to do without.

       ***

In Vienna, so as not to infuriate the indigent poor, tables are no longer
placed near the window of the dearer restaurants. Similar establishments in
Germany for the same reason were long ago made sound-proof.

       ***

We note that German and Turkish diplomats have been engaged in conference
for the purpose of drawing the two countries closer together. Any little
pressure from outside (as on the Tigris and the Ancre) is doubtless welcome
as contributing to this end.

       ***

"The right way to dissipate the submarine nightmare" is how a contemporary
describes the new restrictions on imports. The embargo on tinned lobster
should certainly have that effect.

       ***

A museum is to be established at Stuttgart "to interest the masses of the
people in overseas Germans and their conditions of life." Several Foreign
Governments, it is understood, have expressed their willingness to supply
specimens in any reasonable quantity.

       ***

Lively satisfaction is being expressed among members of the younger set at
the appointment of Mr. ALFRED BIGLAND, M.P., as Controller of Soap. They
are now discussing a resolution calling for the abolition of nurse-maids,
who are notorious for using soap to excess.

       ***

A Bill has been introduced into the House of Lords with the object of
admitting women to practise as solicitors. The raising of the statutory fee
for a consultation to 6_s._ 8¾_d._ is also under consideration.

       ***

At Old Street Police Court a man charged with bigamy pleaded that when a
child he had a fall which affected his head. It is not known why other
bigamists do it.

       ***

At Haweswater, Westmoreland, some sheep were recently dug out alive after
being buried in a snow-drift forty days. It is thought that a morbid fear
of being sold as New Zealand mutton caused the animals to make a supreme
struggle for life.

       ***

A lady correspondent of _The Daily Telegraph_ suggests that tradesmen
should economise paper by ceasing to send out a separate expression of
thanks with every receipted bill. A further economy is suggested by a
hardened creditor, who advocates the abolition of the absurd custom of
sending out a quarterly statement of "account rendered."

       ***

Beer bottles are now said to be worth more than the beer they contain, and
apprehension is being felt lest the practice shall develop of giving away
the contents to those who consent to return the empty bottles.

       ***

Difficulty having been found in replacing firemen called up for military
service, the Hendon Council, it is rumoured, are requesting the residents
not to have any conflagrations for the present at least.

       ***

Mr. JOHN INNS, of Stevenage, has just purchased the whole parish of
Caldecote, Herts; but the report that he had to do this in order to obtain
a pound of sugar proves incorrect.

       *       *       *       *       *


NOTICE.

In order to meet the national need for economy in the consumption of paper,
the Proprietors of _Punch_ are compelled to reduce the number of its pages,
but propose that the amount of matter published in _Punch_ shall by
condensation and compression be maintained and even, it is hoped,
increased.

It is further necessary that means should be taken to restrict the
circulation of _Punch_, and on and after March 14th its price will be
Sixpence. The Proprietors believe that the public will prefer an increase
of price to a reduction of matter.

Readers are urged to place an order with their Newsagent for the regular
delivery of copies, as _Punch_ may otherwise be unobtainable, the shortage
of paper making imperative the withdrawal from Newsagents of the
"on-sale-or-return" privilege.

In consequence of the increase in the price of _Punch_ the period covered
by subscriptions already paid direct to the _Punch_ Office will have to be
proportionately shortened.

       *       *       *       *       *

APOLOGY OF A WARRIOR MINSTREL.

  Lucasta, don't be cruel
    If my bewildered lyre
  Amidst such stores of fuel
    Seems reft of sacred fire.

  For if you know what France is
    You know how it is hard
  To blend, as in romances,
    The warrior with the bard.

  The troubadours of story
    Knew no such woes as we,
  Whose hopes of martial glory
    Are built on F.A.T.[1]

  With songs and swords and horses
    They learned their careless rôle,
  While we are sent on courses
    That starve the poet's soul.

  With gay anticipations
    They feasted ere a fight,
  But we in calculations
    Wear out the chilly night.

  And if some hour of leisure
    Permits a lyric mood
  My wretched Muse takes pleasure
    In nothing else but food.

  Thus when I am returning
    Ice-cold from some O.P.,
  And in the East is burning
    Aurora's heraldry,

  That spark she fails to waken
    With which of yore I glowed,
  Who, fain of eggs and bacon,
    Tramp ravening down the road,

  Aware, with self-despising,
    Which interests me most--
  The silvery mists a-rising
    Or marmalade and toast.

  Such are the War-bard's passions--
    Rank seedlings of a time
  That chokes with maths and rations
    The bursting buds of rhyme.

        [1]: Field Artillery Training

       *       *       *       *       *

A ROMANCE OF RATIONS.

  "Not like to like, but like in difference."
                  "_The Princess._"

I have always misjudged Victorine--I admit it now with shame. While other
girls have become engaged--and disengaged quite soon after--she has
remained unattached and solitary. As I watched the disappointed suitors
turn sadly away I put it down to pride and self-sufficiency, but I was
wrong. I see now that she always had the situation well in hand.

As for Algernon, he is the sort of man who writes sonnets to lilies and
butterflies and the rosy-fingered dawn--this last from hearsay as he really
knows nothing about it. He is prematurely bald and suffers from the
grossest form of astigmatism, and I thought that no woman would ever love
him. I never dreamt that Victorine had even noticed he was there.

One day I heard that they were engaged. It was too hard for me to
understand.

On the third morning I went to see her.

"Victorine," I said, "you have never loved before?"

"Never," she assented softly.

"Now, this man you have chosen--you do not care overmuch for lilies and
butterflies and rosy-fingered dawns?"

"Not overmuch," she admitted sadly.

"Then what is it brings you together? What strange link of the spirit has
been forged between you? To speak quite plainly, what do you see in him?"

"Yesterday we lunched together, and two days before that he got here in
time for breakfast."

"And the engagement still holds?" I am no optimist.

"Before that we dined. Yes, I do not exaggerate. It was my suggestion. One
sees so much unhappiness now-a-days, and I wished to be quite sure we were
suited to one another."

"And you are convinced of the sincerity of the attachment?"

"Why, I feel for him as Mother does for the knife-and-boot boy, and Uncle
Stephen for the charlady. We cannot be separated. It would be monstrous."

I ceased to be articulate. Victorine suddenly became radiant.

"We must always be together--at any rate for the duration of the War, you
see. I eat under my meat and he is over. In flour and sugar--oh, how can I
confess it?--I _exceed_. He is far, far below his ration. Apart we are
failures; together we are perfect. We both saw it at once."

I realised suddenly the inevitability of this mutual bond.

"So marriage is the only thing?" I asked; but I was already conquered.

She assented with a regal air.

As I went away I saw a new and strange beauty in the problem of Food
Shortage.

       *       *       *       *       *

SONGS OF FOOD PRODUCTION.

IV.

The Farmer's Boy (New Style).

  The Hun was set on making us fret
    For lack of food to eat,
  When up there ran a City man
    In gaiters trim and neat--
  Oh, just tell me if a farm there be
    Where I can get employ,
  To plough and sow for PROTH-ER-O,
    And he a farmer's boy,
    And be a farmer's boy.

  "In khaki dight my juniors fight--
    I wish that I could too;
  But since the land's in need of hands
    There's work for me to do;
  Though you call me a 'swell,' I would labour well--
    I'm aware it's not pure joy--
  To plough and sow for PROTH-ER-O
    And be a farmer's boy,
    And be a farmer's boy."

  The farmer quoth, "I be mortal loth,
    But the farm 'tis goin' back,
  And I do declare as I can't a-bear
    Any farming hands to lack;
  So if you've got grit and be middlin' fit
    An'll larn to cry, 'Ut hoy!'
  And to plough and sow for PROTH-ER-O,
    You shall be a farmer's boy,
    You shall be a farmer's boy."

  Bold farmers all, obey the call
    Of townsfolk game and gay!
  And you City men put by the pen
    And hear me what I say:--
  Get straight enrolled with a farmer bold,
    And the Hun you'll straight annoy,
  If you plough and sow for PROTH-ER-O
    And be a farmer's boy,
    And be a farmer's boy.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Sex-Problem Again.

    "FOR SALE.--A 3-year-old Holstein gentleman cow."--_Canadian Paper_.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "A Liverpool master carter told the Tribunal that the last 'substitute'
    sent him for one of his men backed a horse down a tip and landed him in
    an expense of £50."--_Yorkshire Evening Post_.

Many men have lost more by backing a horse _on_ a tip.

       *       *       *       *       *

A Bare Outlook.

    "THINGS YOU HAVE GOT TO DO WITHOUT.
    CLOTHES AND FOOD."--_Daily Sketch_.

This seems to bring the War even closer than the PREMIER intended.

       *       *       *       *       *

MORE OR LESS.

The fleet of Dutch merchantmen which has been sunk by a waiting submarine
sailed, it now appears, under a German guarantee of "relative security":
and the incident has been received in Holland with a widespread outburst of
relative acquiescence. Germany, in the little ingenious arrangements that
she is so fond of making for the safety and comfort of her neighbours, is
so often misunderstood. It should be obvious by this time that her attitude
to International Law has always been one of approximate reverence. The
shells with which she bombarded Rheims Cathedral were contingent shells,
and the _Lusitania_ was sunk by a relative torpedo.

Neutrals all over the world who are smarting just now under a fresh
manifestation of Germany's respective goodwill should try to realise before
they take any action what is the precise situation of our chief enemy. He
has (relatively) won the War; he has (virtually) broken the resistance of
the Allies; he has (conditionally) ample supplies for his people; in
particular, he is (morally) rich in potatoes. His finances at first sight
appear to be pretty heavily involved, but that will soon be adjusted by
(hypothetical) indemnities; he has enormous (proportional) reserves of men;
he has (theoretically) blockaded Great Britain, and his final victory is
(controvertibly) at hand.

But his most impressive argument, which cannot fail to come home to
hesitating Neutrals, is to be found in his latest exhibition of offensive
power, namely, in his (putative) advance upon the Ancre.

       *       *       *       *       *

Realism.

From a cinema announcement:--

    "The management regret that 'The Lost Bridegroom' missed the boat on
    Sunday."--_Guernsey Evening Express_.

       *       *       *       *       *

A Family Affair.

From an account of a "gift sale":

    "Alderman ---- advised the Committee to sell the donkey in the evening,
    when there would be a lot present."--_Provincial Paper_.

       *       *       *       *       *

More Impending Apologies.

I.

"Mr. ---- writes from New Cross:--'Sir,--I was pleased to see that you do not
intend increasing the price of 'The Daily News,' and hope that you will not
have to reconsider your decision. If necessary I, for one, would be quite
content with four pages only."--_Daily News_.

II.

"The nurses who have a seven minutes' walk to their home quarters, have
never had a rude word said to them, 'even,' she added, 'when they have had
too much to drink.'"--_Daily Province (Vancouver, B.C.)_.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "THE FREEDOM OF THE SEA."

HOLLAND. "YOU'VE TAKEN A GREAT LIBERTY WITH ME."

GERMANY. "OF COURSE I HAVE. I'M THE APOSTLE OF LIBERTY."]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE THEATRE OF WAR.]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE SOLACE.

Mr. William Wood, grocer, of Acton, was very tired. And no wonder, for not
only had he lost his two assistants, both having been called up, but the
girls who had taken their places were frivolous and slow. Moreover his
errand boy had that day given notice. And, furthermore, the submarine
campaign was making it every day more difficult to keep up the stock, and
the rise in prices meant anything but the commensurate increase of profit
of which he was accused by indignant customers.

Mr. Wood, therefore, was not sorry when, the shutters up, he could retire
to his sitting-room upstairs and rest. His one hobby being reading, and his
favourite form of literature being Lives and Letters, he had normally no
difficulty in dismissing the shop from his mind. He would open the latest
memoir from the library and lose himself in whatever society it
reconstructed, political for choice. But to-night the solace could not so
easily be found. For one thing, he had no new books; for another, the cares
of business were too recent and too real.

He sank into his armchair, covered his eyes with his hand, and pondered.

Then suddenly he had an idea. If there were no letters of the Great to
read, he would himself write to the Great and thus escape grocerdom and
worry. If he were not a person of importance, he would at least pretend to
be, and thus be comforted.

Seating himself at the table and taking up his pen, he composed with
infinite care the following chapter from a biography of himself:--

The year 1916 was a comparatively uneventful one in the life of our hero.
The principal events were the marriage of his youngest daughter with the
son of the Bishop of Brighton and the rebuilding of The Towers after the
fire. Perhaps the most important of his new friends were the Archbishop of
CANTERBURY and Sir HEDWORTH MEUX, but unfortunately Sir HEDWORTH has not
kept any of the letters. Nor is there much correspondence; but a few
letters may be printed here, all testifying to the multifarious interests
of this remarkable man, who not only knew everyone worth knowing, but
projected himself into their careers with so much sympathy and keenness.
The first is to the then Prime Minister:--

_To the Right Hon. H.H. ASQUITH, M.P._

MY DEAR ASQUITH,--This is only a line to remind you that you lunch with me
at the Primrose Club on Monday at one o'clock. I have asked two or three
friends to meet you, all good fellows. With regard to that matter on which
you were asking my advice, I think that the wisest course at present is (to
use the phrase, now a little stale, which I invented for you) to wait and
see. Let me say that I thought your speech at the Guildhall a fine effort.
Kindly remember me to the wife and Miss ELIZABETH, and believe me,

  Yours sincerely,
      WILLIAM WOOD.

P.S.--I wish you would call me William. I always think of you as Herbert.

_To the Earl of ROSEBERY._

MY DEAR ROSEBERY,--It is a great grief to me to have to decline your kind
invite to Dalmeny, but there is an obstacle I cannot overcome. My youngest
daughter is to be married next week to the son of the Bishop of Brighton, a
most well-bred young fellow with perfect manners. Nothing but the necessity
of my presence at the feast of Hymen could deprive me of the pleasure of
seeing your country place. Do not stay away too long, I beg. The town is
dull without you.

  I am, dear ROSEBERY,
      Yours most affectionately,
          WILLIAM WOOD.

_To Mr. RUDYARD KIPLING._

MY DEAR KIPLING,--Just a line to say how much I admire your poem in this
morning's _Times_. You have never voiced the feeling of the moment with
more force or keener insight. But you will, I am sure, pardon me when I say
that in the fifty-eighth stanza there is a regrettable flaw, which could
however quickly be put right. To me, that fine appeal to Monaco to give up
its neutrality is impaired by the use of the word "cope," which I have
always understood should be avoided by good writers. "Deal" has the same
meaning and is a truer word. You will, I am sure, agree with me in this
criticism when you have leisure to think it over.

Believe me, my dear KIPLING,

  Yours sincerely,
      WILLIAM WOOD.

_To His Grace the Archbishop of CANTERBURY._

MY DEAR ARCHBISHOP,--That was a very delightful dinner you gave me last
night, and I was glad to have the opportunity of meeting Lord MORLEY and
discussing with him the character of MARLBOROUGH. While not agreeing with
everything that Lord MORLEY said, I am bound to admit that his views
impressed me. Some day soon you must bring her Ladyship down to The Towers
for a dine and sleep.

  I am, my dear Archbishop,
      Yours cordially,
          WILLIAM WOOD.

_To Lord NORTHCLIFFE._

MY DEAR ALFRED,--You cannot, I am sure, do better than continue in the
course you have chosen. What England needs is a vigilant observer from
without; and who, as I have so often told you, is better fitted for such a
part than you? You have all the qualities--high mobility, the courage to
abandon convictions, and extreme youth. If you lack anything it is perhaps
ballast, and here I might help you. Ring me up at any time, day or night,
and I will come to you, just as I used to do years ago when you were
beginning.

  Think of me always as
      Yours very sincerely,
          WILLIAM WOOD.

_To Sir ARTHUR WING PINERO._

MY DEAR PINERO,--I am glad you liked my suggestion and are already at work
upon it. No one could handle it so well as you. I write now because it has
occurred to me that the proper place for Lord Scudamore to disown his
guilty wife and for her impassioned reply is not, as we had it, the spare
room, but the parlour.

  I am, dear old fellow,
      Always yours to command,
          WILLIAM WOOD

Having written thus far, Mr. William Wood went to bed, perfectly at peace
with himself and the world.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Friend (to Professor, whose lecture, "How to Stop the War,"
has just concluded)_. "CONGRATULATE YOU, OLD MAN--WENT SPLENDIDLY, AT ONE
TIME DURING THE AFTERNOON I WAS RATHER ANXIOUS FOR YOU."

_Professor._ "THANKS. BUT I DON'T KNOW WHY YOU SHOULD HAVE BEEN SO
CONCERNED ON MY BEHALF."

_Friend._ "WELL, A RUMOUR _DID_ GO ROUND THE ROOM THAT THE WAR WOULD BE
OVER BEFORE YOUR LECTURE." ]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE GREAT BETRAYAL.

  'Twas night, and near the Boreal cliff
    The monarch in seclusion lay,
  A wondrous human hieroglyph,
    Worshipped from Chile to Cathay;
  When lo! a cry, "Sire, up and fly!
    The pirate ships are in the bay!"

  "Begone, ye cravens," straight replied
    The monarch with his eyes ablaze;
  "No pirate on the ocean wide
    Can fright me, for I know their ways.
  Shall I do less in times of stress
    Than soldiers who have earned My praise?

  "Yet stay," he paused awhile, and then--
    "Let messengers the country scour
  On pain of death forbidding men
    To speak, in hut or hall or tower,
  Of what I said this night of dread,
    Or where I spent its darkest hour."

  Swift flew the minions to obey;
    The wearied monarch slumbered late;
  Yet, in the Capital next day,
    Writ large upon his palace gate,
  A mighty scroll to every soul
    Blazoned the words that challenged Fate.

  The monarch's rage surpassed all bounds
    When of this treachery he read;
  A price of several million pounds
    Was  placed upon the miscreant's head;
  But sceptics jibe--an odious tribe--
    And swear that he will die in bed.

       *       *       *       *       *

A New Way to Pay Old Debts.

    "The Inventor of British and American Patents is desirous to Sell or
    License to Manufacturers, &c., &c.... The above Inventor and Patentee
    will be greatly obliged if anyone that he owes money to will forward
    the amount not later than this month, otherwise he will not acknowledge
    after."--_Financial Times._

       *       *       *       *       *

    "LITTLE WAR PICTURES.
    A NOBLE ARMY OF OPTIMISTS IN TRANCE."--_Straits Times (Singapore)._

We wish our pessimists would join them.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE WATCH DOGS.

LVII.

My Dear Charles,--St. John, in 1914 a light-hearted lieut., advancing and
retiring with his platoon as an all-seeing Providence or a short-spoken
Company Commander might direct, and in 1915 a Brass-hat with a vast amount
of knowledge and only a hundred buff slips or so to write it down on, is
now Second in Command of his regiment. He tells me he is encamped with his
little lot on the forward slope of a muddy and much pitted ravine. On the
opposite slope are some nasty noisy guns, and at the bottom of the ravine
are the cookers.

When, after much forethought, he has found something to do and has begun
doing it, there is a cry of "Stand clear!" and, with that prudence which
even an Englishman will learn if you do not hustle him but give him a year
or two to find by experience that care should sometimes be taken, all get
to earth. The guns fire; the neighbourhood heaves and readjusts itself, and
a man may then come out again. By the time, however, he has collected his
senses and his materials there is another "Stand clear!" and back he must
go to earth. This is what is technically known as Rest.

It was not good enough for one of the battalion cooks. No man can do
justice to a mess of pottage by lying on his belly at a distance and
frowning at it. After many movements to and fro, he eventually said be
damned to guns and "Stand clears;" stood on the top of his cooker (there
was nowhere else to stand), and, holding a dixie lid in his hand and
bestowing on the contents of the dixie that encouraging smile without which
no stew can stew, defied all the artillery of the B.E.F. to do its worst.
It did.

The cook recovered to find himself among his dixies, frizzling pleasantly
and browning nicely in certain parts. Even so, professional interests
over-came any feeling of personal injury. Rising majestically, he stepped
down and advanced upon the nearest gun crew. "Now you've done it, you
blighters!" he shouted, waving an angry fist at them. "You've been and gone
and blown all the pork out of the beans."

The same man went on holiday to the neighbouring town, which is in reality
an ordinarily dull and dirty provincial place, but to the tired warrior is
a haven of rest and a paradise of gaiety and good things. Here he came into
contact with the local A.P.M. in the following way. The latter was in his
office after lunch, brooding no doubt, when in came a French policeman
greatly excited in French. There was, it appeared, promise of a commotion
at the Hotel de Ville. A British soldier had got mixed up in the queue of
honest French civilians who were waiting outside for the delivery of their
legal papers. There were no bi-linguists present, but it had been made
quite clear to the Britisher that he must go, and it had been made quite
clear by the Britisher that he should stay. Always outside the Hotel de
Ville at 2.30 of an afternoon was this queue of natives, each waiting his
turn to be admitted to the joyless sanctum of the Commissaire, there to
receive those illegible documents without which no French home is complete.
Never before had a British soldier fallen in with them, and, when requested
to dismiss, showed signs of being obstreperous.

The A.P.M. buckled on his Sam Browne belt and prepared for the worst, which
he assumed to be but another example of the frailty of human nature when
suddenly confronted with unaccustomed luxuries. When he got to his prey he
found him not quite in the state expected. Usually at the sight of an
A.P.M. a soldier, whatever the strength of his case, will express regret,
promise reform, and make ready to pass on. This one stood his ground; on no
account would he leave the queue. He explained to the A.P.M. that he was
too used to the manifold and subtle devices of people who wanted to snaffle
other people's places in queues. He was however quite prepared to parley,
and was only too glad to find a fellow-countryman, speaking the right
language and having the right sense of justice, to parley with.

He said he had taken his proper place in the line, with no attempt to
hustle or jostle anyone else. He meant to do no one any harm, and he was
prepared to pay the due price, in current French notes, whatever it might
be. But having got his place by right he refused to give it up to anyone
else, be he French or English, Field Officer or even gendarme. He had been
excessively restrained in resisting the unscrupulous attempts of the
gendarme to dislodge him. If he had made any threat of knocking the
gendarme down he had not really intended to take that course. The threat
was only a formal reply to the gendarme's proposal to stick a sword through
his middle.

He was, he said most emphatically, not drunk. If the A.P.M., in whom he had
all confidence, would occupy his place in the queue and keep it for him, he
would demonstrate this by a practical test. In any case he ventured to
insist on his point. Without claiming any special privileges for a man
fighting and cooking for his country, he claimed the right of any human
being, whatever his nationality, to witness any cinema show which might be
in progress.

The underlying good qualities of both nations were evidenced in the sequel.
When the A.P.M. had interpreted the matter the gendarme insisted on an
embrace, and the cook permitted it. Later, I have reason to believe, they
witnessed a most moving cinema play together, but not in the Commissaire's
office at the Hotel de Ville.

  Yours ever,
      HENRY.

       *       *       *       *       *

CHILDREN'S TALES FOR GROWN-UPS.

I.

CAUSE AND EFFECT.

It hadn't rained for forty days and forty nights.

"The reason it doesn't rain," said the guinea-fowl, "is that the barometer
is very high."

But no one listened to her.

"The reason is," said the duck with the black wings, "that the pond is
nearly empty. When the pond is empty it doesn't rain."

"It's the hen-house," said the black hen. "Whenever the roof drips there is
rain."

"It is certainly the hen-house," said all the hens.

"It comes from the trees," said the turkey. "The leaves drip and then there
is rain, and the more they drip the heavier it rains."

"It is my kennel," chuckled Bruno, the wise old dog. "The more it leaks the
more it rains."

At that very moment it began to rain in torrents.

"The pond is full," quacked the ducks. "Look at the pond."

"Oh, do look at the hen-house roof--dripping!" shrieked the hens.

"The leaves--look at the leaves," gurgled the turkeys.

"And my kennel leaks. I can feel it on my back," chuckled Bruno.

"The barometer has gone down," said the guinea-fowl.

But no one took any notice of her--quite properly.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Housing Problem.

    "Three chicken coops, also pigeon-house, for pole; suitable for
    lady."--_The Lady_.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Open-Air Cure.

    "The _Telegraaf_ learns from its correspondent at the frontier that on
    yesterday (Monday) afternoon a fresh air attack was made on
    Zeebrugge."--_Morning Post_.

A pleasant change from stuffy shells.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE ETERNAL FEMININE.

"THAT SHADE. WOULDN'T 'ALF SUIT ME."

"LOR LUMMY, LIL! WOT TISTE--AN' YOU A BLONDE!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE SONG OF THE MILL.

    [Most of our water-mills have fallen into decay and disuse owing to the
    unsuitability of their machinery to grind imported grain. Will the
    revival of English grain production bring about a renewal of their
    usefulness?]

  As by the pool I wandered that lies so clear and still
  With tall old trees about it, hard by the silent mill
  Whose ancient oaken timbers no longer creak and groan
  With roar of wheel and water, and grind of stone on stone,

  The idle mill-race slumbered beneath the mouldering wheel,
  The pale March sunlight gilded no motes of floating meal,
  But the stream went singing onward, went singing by the weir--
  And this, or something like it, was the song I seemed to hear:--

  "By Teviot, Tees and Avon, by Esk and Ure and Tweed,
  Here's many a trusty henchman would rally to your need;
  By Itchen, Test and Waveney, by Tamar, Trent and Ouse,
  Here's many a loyal servant will help you if you choose.

  "Do they no longer need us who needed us of yore?
  We stood not still aforetime when England marched to war;
  Like those our wind-driven brothers, far seen o'er weald and fen,
  We ground the wheat and barley to feed stout Englishmen.

  "You call the men of England, their strength, their toil, their gold,
  But us you have not summoned, who served your sires of old;
  For service high or humble, for tribute great and small,
  You call them and they answer--but us you do not call.

  "Yet we no hoarded fuel of mine or well require,
  That drives your fleets to battle or lights the poor man's fire;
  We need no white-hot furnace for tending night and day,
  No power of harnessed lightnings to speed us on our way.

  "By Tavy, Dart and Derwent, by Wharfe and Usk and Nidd,
  Here's many a trusty vassal is yours when you shall bid,
  With the strength of English rivers to push the wheels along
  And the roar of many a mill-race to join the victory song."
                  C.F.S.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The Berlin Municipality has issued the following order. 'Despite the
    present unfavourable conditions of production, it has become possible
    that from Friday this week one shss will be available for every citizen
    of Berlin,'"--_Egyptian Gazette_.

Judging by the mystery surrounding it we infer that "shss" must be some
kind of sausage.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: FOOD RESTRICTION.

SCENE: _Hotel._

_Little Girl._ "OH, MUMMY! THEY'VE GIVEN ME A DIRTY PLATE."

_Mother._ "HUSH, DARLING. THAT'S THE SOUP."]

       *       *       *       *       *

ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS.

"MINSTREL BOY."--You are confusing TENNYSON'S "Brook" with the Tigris. Also
it is the Turkish Army and not the river (which flows the other way) that
is speaking in the famous lines--

  "I come from haunts of Kut (return);
    I make a sudden sally."

"ANXIOUS INQUIRER."--No, we are without reliable news of FERDIE. But it is
rumoured that he is preparing to conform to the general movement of the
Central Allied Powers, and is therefore taking a little gentle running
exercise in the Vulpedrome at Vienna.

"V.T.C."--We rejoice with you that already--not more than 2½ years since
the revival of the Volunteer Force--the War Office has recognised the
desirability of giving the Volunteer a rifle to shoot with; and it now
seems almost certain that he will receive one, _free of charge_, before the
conclusion of peace. We welcome this wise and generous decision, for though
we have never pretended to be a military authority we have always held the
view that in a tight corner a man with a rifle has an appreciable advantage
over an unarmed man.

"FORTUNE-TELLER."--Like you, we are greatly impressed by the convincing
arguments advanced by our military experts in support of the view that the
Germans are likely to put forth a great effort this year at some point on
one of their fronts; and we share your belief that the time has come when
the Government should supply a long-felt want by establishing a Department
of Intelligent Anticipation. It is a happy suggestion of yours to offer,
for a reasonable consideration, to place at the disposal of such a
Department your admirably-equipped premises in Bond Street.

"SCHNAPPS."--The correct version is:--

  "In the matter of U-Boats the fault of the Dutch
  Is protesting too little and standing too much."

"CARILLON."--You ask how the Germans will manage for their joy-peals now
that the military authorities have commandeered the church bells. It was
very bright of you to think of this. The answer is that, in view of
pressing national needs, they are going to give up having victories. After
all, this is an age of sacrifice.     EDITOR.

       *       *       *       *       *

Commercial Candour.

    "Abandon housekeeping and live in comfort at the hotel ------.
    Not too large to give the best of service, and not too small to be
    uncomfortable."--_Morning Paper_.

       *       *       *       *       *

We feel it to be our patriotic duty to call the attention of the FOOD
CONTROLLER to the conduct of a well-known restaurant which blatantly
describes itself on a bill of fare as

    "THE GORGE AND VULTURE."

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Women lamplighters will shortly be seen in the submarine districts of
    London."--_Bradford Daily Argus_.

But to prevent disappointment we ought to mention that this phenomenon can
only be witnessed by the _Argus_-eyed.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: ALSO RAN.

WILLIAM. "ARE YOUR LURING THEM ON, LIKE ME?"          MEHMED. "I'M AFRAID I
AM!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

ESSENCE OF PARLIAMENT.

_Monday, February 26th._--The new Member for Roscommon has not yet appeared
in the House, but he is nevertheless doing his bit more effectively,
perhaps, than some of his compatriots. The SPEAKER'S ruling is "No seat, no
salary"; so Count PLUNKETT will have the satisfaction of knowing that by
his self-sacrificing absence he is paying the expenses of the War for at
least five seconds.

With suitable solemnity Sir EDWARD CARSON gave a brief account of the
exploits of the German destroyer squadrons. One of them, comprising several
vessels, had engaged a single British destroyer for several minutes before
cleverly executing a strategic movement in the direction of the German
coast; while another had simultaneously bombarded the strongholds of
Broadstairs and Margate, completely demolishing two entire houses. The
damage would have been still more serious but for the fortunate
circumstance that the fortresses erected on the foreshore last summer by an
army of youthful workpeople had been subsequently removed.

Any gloom engendered by the fore-going announcement was quickly dissipated
by Mr. BONAR LAW, who read a telegram from General MAUDE, announcing the
fall of Kut-el-Amara.

The rest of the afternoon was chiefly occupied by a further combat over the
merits of Lord FISHER. Although, as Dr. MACNAMARA subsequently remarked,
"this is not the time for fighting battles along the Whitehall front," I am
afraid the House thoroughly enjoyed Sir HEDWORTH MEUX'S discursive account
of his relations with the late FIRST SEA LORD, who really seems to be quite
a forgiving person. At least it is not everybody who, after being greeted
at a garden-party with "Come here, you wicked old sinner," would afterwards
invite his accuser to lunch at the Ritz.

In the first statement of policy made by Mr. LLOYD GEORGE after his
appointment as Prime Minister he said that the primary step towards a
settlement of an age-long Irish trouble would be the removal of the
suspicion of Irishmen by Irishmen. Mr. DILLON'S notion of contributing to
that desirable end is to accuse Sir BRYAN MAHON, who has had to deport
certain recidivist Sinn Feiners, of being the tool of a Dublin Castle gang.
Not, of course, that Mr. DILLON is in sympathy with Sinn Feiners; on the
contrary he dislikes them so much that he would like to keep St. George's
Channel between them and himself. But by his own speeches he has hypnotized
himself into the belief that everything done by the British Government in
Ireland must have a corrupt motive. His colleague from West Belfast is not
much wiser, to judge by the tone of his speech to-night; and I think Mr.
DUKE, who is doing his best to reconcile the irreconcilable, must have been
tempted to adapt one of MR. DILLON'S phrases and to say that Ireland was
between the DEVLIN and the deep sea.

_Tuesday, February 27._--The capture of Kut has had an exhilarating effect
upon Lord CREWE. Not long ago he was warning us against excessive
jubilation over the British advance in that region. Now he justified his
title by coming out as a regular _Chanticleer_, and invited Lord CURZON to
tell the assembled Peers that we might be confident of regaining
predominance in the whole of Mesopotamia.

[Illustration: LORD BUCKMASTER'S DREAM OF A BRIGHTENED HOUSE OF LORDS.]

In these times the Lords can refuse nothing to the Ladies. In moving the
second reading of a Bill to enable women to become solicitors Lord
BUCKMASTER may have approached his subject in the spirit of a cautious
knight-errant, as Lord SUMNER said, but he carried his argument. He owed
something, perhaps, to the unintentional assistance of his opponents. Lord
BUCKMASTER had incidentally mentioned that a woman once sat on the
Woolsack, and there administered such very odd law that the City of London
rose in mutiny. This shocked the historical sense of Lord HALSBURY, who
hastened to point out that the lady in question had left the Woolsack for a
reason entirely creditable to her sex, namely to become the mother of one
of our greatest Kings. Then Lord FINLAY, who now occupies the seat alleged
to have been filled by ELEANOR of Provence, endeavoured to frighten their
Lordships by the thin end of the wedge argument. If women were admitted
solicitors they would next want to practise at the Bar, and even become
Judges. But the Peers refused to be intimidated, and gave the Bill a second
reading.

Mr. MACCALLUM SCOTT'S colossal intellect, like the elephant's trunk, can
grapple with the most minute objects. Yesterday it was the shortage of
sausage-skins; this afternoon it was the grievance of Scottish bee-keepers,
who are deprived of sugar for their charges, and compelled to put up with
medicated candy at twice the price. In spite of the FOOD CONTROLLER, I
understand that MR. SCOTT has no intention of parting with the very
promising swarm that he carries in his national headgear.

_Wednesday, February 28th._--Mr. WATT was seized with a bright idea this
afternoon. The CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND had explained to Mr. GINNELL,
that certain men had been convicted of having attempted to cause
disaffection by singing disloyal songs. "Will the right hon. and learned
gentleman give the House a sample?" interjected Mr. WATT. The notion of Mr.
DUKE, _vir pietate gravis_, if ever there was one, indulging in ribald
melody, caused much laughter, which was increased when the right hon.
gentleman in his most portentous manner implied that his only reason for
not granting the request was fear that the SPEAKER might intervene.

[Illustration: SIR FREDERICK BANBURY AND COLONEL MARK LOCKWOOD CONSULT THE
WATER LIST.]

A brief recrudescence of the MEUX-CHURCHILL duel was not much to the taste
of the House, which is evidently of opinion that LORD FISHER might now be
left alone both by foes and by friends. Members were glad to seek solace in
the drink question, and gave a sympathetic hearing to the proposal of Mr.
WING that they should voluntarily submit to the same restricted hours of
consumption as they had imposed on the outside world. Mr. WING is a
temperance reformer, but on this occasion he had the redoubtable assistance
of Mr. GEORGE FABER, a stout friend of the "trade" whose hair had grown
white, he declared (though in other respects he still looks delightfully
juvenile), in fighting the Licensing Bill of 1908. In his opinion the House
could no longer keep itself in a compartment apart--especially as it was
not a watertight compartment. Sir FREDERICK BANBURY, who is naturally a
champion of cakes--and ale--made a despairing effort to preserve the
privileges of the Palace of Westminster, but did not carry his protest to a
division; and after a few valedictory remarks from Colonel LOCKWOOD,
including two quotations from LUCRETIUS (derived from a crib, as he
modestly explained), the House unanimously decided that its habits should
be in conformity with its debates--dry with moist intervals.

_Thursday, March 1st._--Copies of the unexpurgated edition of the Report of
the Dardanelles Commission marked "confidential" are to be sent to the
SPEAKER and to the leader of every political party in the House. If Mr.
BONAR LAW thought by this announcement to allay curiosity he was
disappointed. Requests for a definition of the term "political party"
rained upon him from all quarters. It really is a rather nice point. Mr.
ASQUITH, Mr. REDMOND and Mr. WARDLE will, of course, receive their copies
of the _editio princeps_. But what about Mr. WILLIAM O'BRIEN, who commands
a bare half-section, even if one includes Mr. T.M. HEALY as odd file? What,
too, of the Peace-without-Victory party, which is all leaders? The case of
Mr. PRINGLE and Mr. HOGGE, which was publicly mentioned, presents little
difficulty. Much as they love one another, neither is prepared to
acknowledge the other as his leader.

The greatest crux is furnished by Mr. GINNELL and Mr. PEMBERTON-BILLING.
Each of them leads a distinct party, making up by its activity and
volubility for its comparative lack of size. Logically they may look
forward to receiving copies of the "confidential" document too sacred for
the inspection even of Peers and Privy Councillors. But I should not
encourage them to hope.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Maid._ "THE DOCTOR HAS CALLED TO SEE YOU, SIR."

_Government Official (faintly)._ "TELL HIM TO FILL UP A FORM, STATING THE
NATURE OF HIS BUSINESS AND IF BY APPOINTMENT."]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Boss (to typist, a war flapper, who is very late)._ "EH,
YE'VE COOM AT LAST. WE WERE JUST TALKIN' ABOOT YE."

_Typist._ "AH, I WONDERED WHAT MADE MY EAR BURN." ]

       *       *       *       *       *

CLASSICAL AMERICA.

    [A correspondent of _The Westminster Gazette_ remarks in a recent
    issue, "I am told American students sing their Pindar."]

  A WRITER in the evening Press
  Lays quite unnecessary stress
  Upon the fact that youthful scholars,
  Residing in the land of dollars,
  Where men are shrewd and level-headed,
  Sing songs to PINDAR'S verses wedded.
  Yet why this wonder, when you think
  How strongly welded is the link
  That binds Columbia and its glory
  To lands renowned in classic story?
  There's hardly any town of note
  Mentioned by MOMMSEN or by GROTE
  Except Byzantium, perhaps--
  Which doesn't figure in our maps.
  Of Ithacas we have a score,
  And Troys and Uticas galore;
  Chicago has a Punic sound,
  And pretty often, I'll be bound,
  Austere Bostonians heavenward send a
  Petition calling her _delenda_;
  While Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  Betray the classicising mania.
  We have a Capitol, also,
  As fine as Rome's of long ago;
  Pompey and Romulus and Remus
  (I'm not so sure of Polyphemus)
  Are names with us more often worn
  Than in the lands where they were born.
  Then, as true classicists to stamp us,
  Each College has its separate Campus,
  And we have Senators whose mien
  Might well have turned old BRENNUS green.
  Why even the Bird that proudly soars
  In majesty to guard our shores
  Before migrating to these regions
  Was followed by the Roman legions.
  But we have writ enough to show
  What everybody ought to know,
  That, spite of hustle and skyscrapers,
  And Tammany and yellow papers,
  The spirit of both Greece and Rome
  Has found a second lasting home
  Across the wide Atlantic foam.

       *       *       *       *       *

More War Economy.

    "Perambulator, cheap, for cash, as new; cost £9 15s., receipt shown;
    owner getting rid of baby."--_Birmingham Daily Mail_.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Turn to the annals of the period 1914-1917, everlastingly to be
    remembered by the Meuse of History."--_Jamaica Paper_.

The Meuse needs no reminder.

       *       *       *       *       *

"DOING WITHOUT."

A valued correspondent writes:--
"We are deluged in the Press just now with information on how to 'do
without.' One morning a splendid recipe for making pancakes without eggs;
another, a perfect Irish stew without potatoes; another, a Welsh rabbit
without cheese. Meatless days are to be as natural as wireless telegraphy;
and the other day we were asked seriously to consider the problem of a
school without teachers! But there is a certain little corner of the daily
paper headed, 'London Readings,' which could better, in war-time phrases,
be expressed thus: 'Stern Facts must be Faced--How to do without Sunshine,'
for all that the Meteorological expert can find to say is, 'Yesterday
Sunshine, 0.0. Previous day Sunshine, 0.0.' O! O!"

       *       *       *       *       *

What a Woman Notices.

    "Sears succeeded in cashing two of the cheques at the bank, the woman
    cashier not noticing that they were crossed. When she came to the bank
    a third time, however, the cashier recognised the hat she was wearing,
    and caused her to be detained."--_Times_.

       *       *       *       *       *

PRIVILEGE.

Mr. Jenkins, junior partner in the firm of Baldwin and Jenkins, antique
dealers, Wigpole Street, was in the habit, on fine afternoons, of walking
home from business to his flat in the Brompton Road.

He invariably chose the path which runs parallel to Park Lane, just inside
the Park railings.

Being middle-aged and unmarried he walked slowly and methodically, and was
careful, when he came level with an entrance, to note the particular gates
marked "In" and "Out." He would, as he crossed the "Out" opening, look
sharply to the right, and as he passed the "In" opening look sharply to the
left. "Safety first" was a creed with him.

One mild Spring afternoon, as he was passing by an "Out" aperture, with his
whole attention fixed to the right, he was aware, amid the sound of
motor-horns and shouts, that the roadway had risen up and struck him on the
back of the neck, and that something like the Marble Arch had kicked him at
the same moment.

A week later Mr. Jenkins recovered consciousness in a beautiful clean ward
of St. George's Hospital. A smiling nurse stood by his bed and, as he tried
to sit up, she told him he must be quiet and not disturb the bandages.

"Your friend Mr. Baldwin is coming to see you to-day at two o'clock," she
told him. "No, it is not serious; you are out of danger. Now you have only
to be quiet; so when your friend comes you mustn't talk too much."

He lay still and thought, and it all came back to him. "But, good heavens!"
was his reflection, "that car must have come _in_ by the '_Out_' gate! In
that case," he continued, not without pleasure, "I can claim damages--very
severe damages too."

At two o'clock Mr. Baldwin, his grey-bearded friend and partner, entered.
"Well, Jenkins," said he, "I'm glad to see you've turned the corner. You've
had rather a narrow squeak."

Mr. Jenkins looked at his friend for a moment. "Look here," he said, "I'm
not allowed to speak much, but did you know that that car, when it struck
me, was coming in through an 'Out' gate, and, as that can be proved, don't
you see that I can get pretty good compensation?"

His friend's face remained solemn. "I fear not," he said.

"But I must," said Jenkins. "It's as clear as can be. Scores of people must
have seen it."

Mr. Baldwin shook his head horizontally.

"Heavy damages," said Mr. Jenkins, "I repeat."

"I've gone into it," his partner replied, "and it's hopeless."

"Why?" asked the sick man.

"I'll tell you," said Mr. Baldwin. "Because that car belonged to the Duke
of Mudcaster."

"The more reason," said Mr. Jenkins, "for heavy damages. Very heavy. The
Duke's rolling."

"Maybe he rolls," said Mr. Baldwin. "But that is not all. Listen. The Duke
of Mudcaster is the only representative of the Pennecuiks, whose founder
had the good fortune to be of some service to KING WILLIAM III. For this
service he and his posterity were allowed the privilege of entering places
by gates marked 'Out' and leaving by gates marked 'In.'"

Mr. Jenkins sat half up, groaned and subsided again. He said nothing.

"Well, I must say good-bye now," said Mr. Baldwin. "Sorry I've depressed
you about compensation, but you never had an earthly. See you again soon.
So long."

For some minutes Mr. Jenkins remained as one stunned. Then he began to
think again. "I wonder," he said once or twice, for he knew his
partner,--"I wonder. Could it have been Baldwin himself in his old Ford?
Could it?"

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Old Lady_ (_ruminating_). "WHAT A POOR SUPPLY OF GAS THERE
IS! AH, WELL, I MUSTN'T GRUMBLE. PERHAPS WE ARE ATTACKING WITH GAS AT THE
FRONT TO-DAY." ]

       *       *       *       *       *

Extract from a schoolboy's letter:--

    "Please do not send me a cake this term, or it will go to the Red Cross
    Soldiers."

       *       *       *       *       *

    "MANAGERESS wanted immediately, small Blouse Factory, Harrogate; able
    to cut out and control girls."--_Harrogate Advertiser._

She will need to be careful. A girl who has been cut out is apt to be
uncontrollable.

       *       *       *       *       *

HEART-TO-HEART TALKS.

(_The German KAISER and a wounded Belgian Officer, a Prisoner._)

_The Kaiser._ So, then, you are still in arms against me, still persisting
in your insane desire for battle and bloodshed? Will nothing content you?
Must you compel us to continue in our enmity when by a word peace might be
established between us, and Belgium might take her place at the side of
Germany as a sister-nation striving with us to promote the cause of true
civilisation?

_The Belgian._ It is useless, Sir, to say such things to any Belgian.

_The Kaiser._ Why useless? Do you not wish that death and ruin and misery
should cease?

_The Belgian._ Certainly we do. No one more ardently than the Belgians, for
it was not we who desired war or began the contest. But when you talk of
stopping we must remind you that it was by your deliberate choice that war
was treacherously forced on us. What could we do except defend ourselves
against the dastardly blow that you aimed at our life? And after that it
was not by us that Louvain was destroyed, that old men and women and
children were ruthlessly massacred. Do you think such scenes can be wiped
out of the memory of a nation, so that her men shall turn round and kiss
the bloodstained hand that has tried to throttle them? Surely you expect
too much.

_The Kaiser._ You speak too freely. Remember in whose presence you are.

_The Belgian._ There is not much fear that I shall forget. I am in the
presence of one who has desired at all costs to concentrate on himself the
gaze of the world, caring nothing as to the means by which he accomplished
his object. This man, for he is, after all, only a poor human creature
prone to anger, suspicion and foolish jealousy--this man has always gone
about arrogating to himself the attributes of a god, calling upon his own
people to worship him, and on all other peoples to be humble before him.
Stung by his own restless vanity and the servile applause of those who are
ever ready to prostrate themselves before an Emperor, he has rushed hither
and thither seeking to make others the mere foils of his splendour and his
wisdom, making mischief wherever he went and striving to irritate and
depress his neighbours. This man in peace was a bad neighbour, and in war a
base and treacherous foe, sanctioning by his enthusiastic approval such
deeds as the meanest villain would have contemplated with shame.

_The Kaiser._ This is too much. I gave you leave to speak, but not to
revile me. You must not forget that you are in my power.

_The Belgian._ A noble threat! But it is right and proper that men like
you, who think they are infallible because their cringing flatterers tell
them so, should sometimes hear the truth. You dare, forsooth, to talk to a
Belgian of your magnanimity and your desire for peace. Cannot you realise
that our nation has been tempered by outrage and ruin; that exile and the
ruthless breaking of their homes only serve to make its men and women more
resolute; that even if others were to cease fighting against you, and if
her sword were broken, Belgium would dash its hilt in your face till breath
and life were driven out of her mangled body; that, in short, we hate you
for your cruelty and despise you for your baseness; and that for the
future, wherever there is a Belgian, there is one who is the enemy of the
thing called KAISER.

_The Kaiser._ Enough, enough. I did not come here to be insulted. If you
have suffered, you and your nation, it is because you have deserved to
suffer for having dared to set yourself against Germany, whom our good old
German god has appointed to lead the way in righteousness to the goal
marked out for her.

_The Belgian._ Sir, when you speak like that you are no doubt a marvel in
your own eyes, but to others you are a laughing-stock, a mere scare-crow
dressed up to resemble a man, a thing of shreds and patches to whom for a
time the inscrutable decrees of Providence have permitted a dreadful power.
But we are resolute to endure to the end, and your blandishments will avail
as little as your threats.

       *       *       *       *       *

MY WATCH.

  The Sage who above a Greek signature nightly
    Emits a succession of eloquent screeds,
  Instructing us firmly but also politely
    How best to supply our material needs,
  Has specially urged us of late, in a shining
    Example of zeal for his frivolous flock,
  With the object of "speed" and "precision" combining
        To "work with our eye on the clock."

  The precept is sound, and its due application
    Is fraught with undoubted advantage to some,
  But I'm free to remark that my own situation
    Represents a recalcitrant re-sidu-um;
  Clocks I cannot abide with their truculent ticking--
    A nuisance I always have striven to scotch--
  And I gain very little assistance in sticking
        To work, if I'm watching my watch.

  For my watch, which I treasure with ardent affection--
    'Twas given to me in my juvenile prime--
  Exhibits a truly uncanny objection
    To keeping an accurate count of the time;
  In the matter of speed it's a regular sprinter;
    Repairs are a farce; it invariably gains;
  And in Spring and in Autumn, in Summer and Winter
        Precision it never attains.

  Mathematics to me are a terrible trial,
    They plague me in age as they floored me in youth,
  Or I might, when observing the hour on my dial,
    Allow for the error and guess at the truth.
  Then why do I keep it? Because it's a mascot,
    And none of its vices can alter the fact
  That the very first day that I wore it, at Ascot,
        Three winners I happily backed.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The annual meeting of the Court of Governors of the University of
    Birmingham was held yesterday at the University, Edmund Street. The
    Pro-Vice-Chancellor said the University had done its share in the
    present awful state of Europe."--_Birmingham Daily Post_.

We are sorry to hear this.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The Government have apparently taken infinite pains to so 'cut their
    coast according to their cloth' as to provide for the least possible
    inconvenience and suffering to the people of these islands."--_Cork
    Constitution._

Thanks to this wise provision there is still just enough coast to go round.

       *       *       *       *       *

From the report of a schoolmasters' conference:--

    "That we should spread our education wider, and not allow a boy to
    spend too much time on specialising is a good idea, but it is rather
    difficult to carry out in practice. It means switching the boy's mind
    from one subject to another. The whole day is spent in this
    way--switching from one subject to another, and therefore it is very
    difficult."--_United Empire_.

And it sounds painful too.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Jock._ "AND ME GIVIN' YON MAN AT THE STATION TWA BAWBEES
TAE MIND MA GREATCOAT!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

OUR BOOKING-OFFICE.

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

It is strange to find the inexhaustible Mr. W.E. NORRIS turning towards the
supernatural. Yet there is at least more than a flavouring of this in the
composition of _Brown Amber_ (HUTCHINSON), which partly concerns a
remarkable bead, having the property of bringing good or evil luck to its
various owners. As (after the manner of such things in stories) the charm
was for ever being lost, and as the kind of fortune it conferred went in
alternations, possession of it was rather in the nature of a gamble. All I
have to observe about it is that such hazards consort somewhat better with
the world of HANS ANDERSEN or the _Arabian Nights_ than with those quiet
and well-bred inhabitants of South-Western London whom one has learnt to
associate with the name of NORRIS. Thus, in considering the nice problem of
whether _Clement Drake_ (as typical a Norrisian as ever buttoned spats)
would or would not escape the entanglements of _Mrs. D'Esterre_, it simply
irritated me to suppose that the event might be determined by the
machinations of djins. In a word, East is East and S.W. is S.W., and never
the twain shall, or should, be mixed up in a novel that pretends to
anything more serious than burlesque. I am not sure also that, for
different reasons, I did not regret the introduction of the War; though as
a grand climax it has, I admit, a lure that must be almost irresistible to
the novelist. For the rest, if you do not share my objection to the (dare I
say it?) amberdexterity of the plot, you will find Mr. NORRIS as pleasant
as ever in his scenes of drawing-room comedy.

A volume of remarkable interest is _In Ruhleben _(HURST AND BLACKETT), into
which Mr. DOUGLAS SLADEN has gathered a variety of information concerning
the life of the English civilian prisoners in Germany, its many hardships
and few ameliorations. The greater part of the book is filled with a series
of letters sent by one of these prisoners to his mother. Perhaps (one
suspects) the writer of these was not altogether an ordinary young man.
From whatever reason, the fact remains that his letters are by no means
uncheery reading; his books and study, most of all his friendships (with
one fellow-captive especially), seem to have kept him contented and even
happy. Of course some part of this may well have been coloured for the
maternal eye; it is clear that he was greatly concerned that she should not
be too anxious about him. A more impartial picture of the conditions at
Ruhleben is given in the second part of the volume, and in a letter by Sir
TIMOTHY EDEN, reprinted from _The Times_, on The Case for a wholesale
Exchange of Civilian Prisoners. I should add that the book is illustrated
with a number of drawings of Ruhleben made by Mr. STANLEY GRIMM, an artist
of the Expressionist School (whatever that may mean). These are vigorous
and arresting, if, to the unmodern eye, somewhat formless. But they are
part of a record that all Englishmen can study with quickened sympathy and
a great pride in the courage and resource of our race under conditions
needlessly brutal at their worst, and never better than just endurable.

       *       *       *       *       *

Nothing will ever persuade me that _This Way Out_ (METHUEN) is an
attractive title for a novel, however effective it may be as a notice in a
railway station. The book itself, however, is intriguing in spite of its
gloominess. The grandfather of _Jane_ and _John-Andrew Vaguener_ committed
a most cold-blooded murder--this in a prologue. Then, when we get to the
real story, we find _Jane_ tapping out popular fiction at an amazing pace,
and her brother, _John-Andrew_, living on the proceeds thereof. _Jane_ is
noisy, vulgar, and successful in her own line, and gets on _John-Andrew's_
nerves; and when he discovers that she has for once turned aside from
tawdry fiction and written a play that is really good he decides that he
can stand it and her no longer. While she was pouring out literary garbage
he could just manage to endure his position, but the thought that she would
be hailed as a genius while he remained an utter failure was the final
stroke that turned him from a mendicant into a madman. I am not going to
tell you exactly what happened, but _Jane_ found a "way out," and with her
departure from this life my interest in the book evaporated. Mrs. HENRY
DUDENEY has notable gifts as a descriptive writer, and my only complaint
against her is that vulgar _Jane_ was not allowed to live, for in the Army
or out of it she was worth a whole platoon of _John-Andrews_. The
_Vagueners_, I may add, were not a little mad, but then they were Cornish,
and novelists persist in treating Cornwall as if it were a delirious duchy.

       *       *       *       *       *

I don't think I can honourably recommend Mr. HUGH ELLIOT'S volume on
_Herbert Spencer_ (CONSTABLE) as light reading, though the ungodly may wax
merry over the philosopher's first swear-word, at the age of thirty-six, in
the matter of a tangled fishing-line, and may be kindled at the later
picture of a middle-aged sportsman shinning, effectively too, after a
Neapolitan who had pinched his opera-glasses. Fine human traits these in a
character which will strike the normal man as bewilderingly unlike the
general run of the species. The serious-flippant reader, tackling Mr.
ELLIOT'S elaborate and acute analyses, may get an impression of an
obstinate old apriorist, a sort of White Knight of Philosophyland, with all
manner of reasoned-out "inventions" at his saddle-bow (labelled
"Homogeneity-Heterogeneity," "Unknowable," "Ghost Theory,"
"Presentative-Representative"), which don't seem, somehow, as helpful as
their inventor assumes. And 'tis certain he took tosses into many of the
pits of his dangerous deductive method. I don't present this as Mr.
ELLIOT'S view. He is respectful-critical, and makes perhaps the best case
for his old master's claim to greatness out of the assumption that SPENCER
himself, stark enemy to authority and dogmatism, would have preferred his
biographer's critical examination to any mere "master's-voice" reproduction
of Spencerian doctrine. I wonder if he would!

       *       *       *       *       *

Miss F.E. MILLS YOUNG'S newest story has at least this much merit about it,
that no one who has seen the title can complain thereafter of having been
taken unawares by the course of the narrative. That is perhaps as well,
for, having discovered in the opening chapters a sufficiently charming
_Pamela_ living in perpetual honeymoon with a partner rich, good-looking
and with no particular occupation to interfere with unlimited motor trips
and dinner parties, we might have imagined the tale was going to remain a
jolly meaningless thing like that all through, and so have been as much
shocked as the heroine herself on reading the fatal letter. But, since we
knew the book to be called straight out _The Bigamist_ (LANE), we could
have no possible difficulty in foreseeing the emergence of that other wife
from the buried past ready to pounce down on poor little _Pam_ at her
happiest. And of course she duly appeared. Not that such happiness could in
any case have lasted long, for the man was, flatly, a cur, not deserving
the notice of any of the rather foolish women he managed to attract--there
were three of them--and not particularly worth your attention either for
that matter. Having said so much I can gladly leave the rest to your
perusal, or, better perhaps, your imagination, only hinting that the
conclusion has something of dignity that does a little to redeem the
volume. But when all is said this is not Miss YOUNG at her best, the
characters without exception being unusually stilted, the plot unpleasant,
and the South African atmosphere, for which I have gladly praised her
before now, so negligible that but for an occasional name and a page or two
of railway journey the yarn might as well have been placed in a suburb of
London or Manchester as in the land of delectable sunshine.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. JOHN S. MARGERISON, in _The Sure Shield_ (DUCKWORTH) sees to it that
our national pride in our Fleet is thoroughly encouraged. Whether he is
describing a race against the Germans in times of peace, or a fight against
odds with them in these days of war, we always come out top dog. Very good.
But, at the same time, I am bound to add that some of his stories compelled
me to make considerable drafts on my reserves of credulity before I could
swallow them. So improbable are the incidents in one or two of them that I
am inclined to believe that they must be founded on fact. However that may
be, their author is an expert in his subject, and writes with a vigour that
is very bracing and infectious.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Tactful Customer (forestalling a rebuff at a coal order
office)._ "OF COURSE, MISS, I DON'T EXPECT THAT YOU REALLY _SELL_ COALS,
BUT I SUPPOSE YOU WOULD HAVE NO OBJECTION TO MAKING THEM A SUBJECT FOR
CONVERSATION?" ]

       *       *       *       *       *

Music in Mesopotamia.

Among the songs which have recently exhausted their popularity in the
music-halls of Baghdad is:--

  "Come into the Garden of Eden, MAUDE."

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The White Star Company, the Dominion Shipping Company, and other
    Atlantic lines are now arranging to employ a certain number of Sea
    Scouts on their boats. The shipping companies will certainly be
    ducky."--_Manchester Guardian._

Or perhaps they may even happen upon a DRAKE.





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