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Title: Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 152, May 16, 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, May 16, 1917" ***

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VOL. 152.

May 16, 1917.


Several factories where counterfeit bread tickets were printed have
been discovered in Berlin. We understand that the defence will be that
the tickets were only intended to be exchanged for counterfeit bread.


"The enemies' desire," says KING LUDWIG of Bavaria, "will he dashed to
pieces against our troops, who are accustomed to victory." A number
of the victors who are now eating themselves in behind our positions
profess to be absolutely nauseated with it.


Five million four hundred thousand pigs, says Herr BATOCKI, have
"mysteriously disappeared" in Germany in the last year. The idea of
having the CROWN PRINCE'S baggage searched does not seem to have been
found feasible.


A festival performance of _Parsifal_ is to be given in Charlottenburg,
to celebrate the anniversary of the Battle of Jutland. The proposal to
substitute the more topical opera, _The Flying Deutschmann_, has been
received without favour.


"With such troops," says the CROWN PRINCE, "we could fetch the Devil
from Hell." We have always maintained that the German military route
lay on a direct line to Potsdam.


A Manchester man writes to say that he has not heard the cuckoo this
year. What England hears to-day Manchester may hear next month.


A Norfolk lady has left an annuity of seventy pounds for the support
of her two favourite cats. Since the announcement of this windfall we
understand that the beneficiaries have been overwhelmed with offers of


"The bascules of the Tower Bridge were lifted 3,354 times last year,"
says a news item. Yet there are those who pretend that petty crime is
on the decrease.


Arundel proposes to have a house-to-house collection of bones. The
Borough Engineer is understood to be completing specifications for a
dog-proof trouser which will be a part of the collector's uniform.


The Islington Borough Council report that in the Lady Day quarter only
ten per cent, of the residents had removed without paying their rates.
The inhabitants of the New Cut now accuse Islington residents of
losing their nerve.


"Ipswich," says a daily paper, "is fighting a rat plague by putting
a penny on the head of every rat captured in the borough." The
arrangement with birds is of course different, You put salt on their
tails and capture them afterwards.


The new restrictions on the use of starch will, says Captain BATHURST,
affect the wearing of starched garments. It is expected that in
the House of Lords Lord SPENSER and Lord HARCOURT will join in an
impassioned plea that, until the shortage grows more acute, really
well-dressed men should be allowed to compromise on stiff dickeys.


Owing to the surveyor receiving increased powers the work of
conscientious objectors on the roads in East Essex has improved. Mr.
OUTHWAITE, we hear, will ask in Parliament whether under these
powers the surveyor has actually threatened to give one conscientious
objector a good hard slap.


We understand that Mexico has promised to stand by America on
condition that if she takes this step on the side of law and order
America will raise no objection to her having a revolution now and
then just to keep her hand in.


Allotment-holders in all parts of the country say that their gardens
need rain very badly, and _The Daily Mail_ is going to take the matter


It was stated by a defendant at Wandsworth County Court that his house
was haunted, the bell being rung several times without any visible
human instrumentality. The "Hidden Hand" again!


To enjoy good health, says Dr. A. FISHER in an American journal, we
should occasionally sleep for twelve hours on end. We confess that
we may be faddy in these things, but when sleeping we prefer the
horizontal position.


"One hundred thousand tons of sugar is wasted each year," says
Mrs. PEEL, "through being left in the bottom of the teacup." A
correspondent points out that if that amount has ever been left in the
bottom of his teacup it was an oversight.


The German people, says the _Kölnische Zeitung_, will not soon
forget what they owe to their future Emperor. The CROWN PRINCE, while
thanking them for their kindly intention, privately expressed a wish
that they would not keep rubbing it in.


According to _The Express_, every British theatrical star who plays in
America is regarded as the best that England has ever sent out. Until
he has heard from Mr. CHARLES CHAPLIN, Sir HERBERT TREE is holding
back his message, which reads, "That is so."


A workman at a brewery last week fell into a large vat of beer. It is
given to few men thus to realise the dream of a lifetime.


All vendors of comic postcards at Llanfairfeehan, North Wales, are
to be asked by the Town Council to cover them up on Sundays. We
understand that comic postcards may be differentiated from others by
the word "Comic" plainly printed on the card.


_The Daily Mail_ has just celebrated its twenty-first birthday, and
the silence of the POET LAUREATE on the matter is being adversely
commented upon.


The Anarchist, LENIN, says the Swedish _Dagblad_, has been missing for
two days. Even before that he never really seemed to make a hit.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE BRIBE.


       *       *       *       *       *



There are people in the world called tenants. I think nothing of them;
Celia thinks nothing of them; jointly we do not think anything of
them. However, as this is not so much a grammar as an explanation, I
will get on with it.

For the last two years we have been letting our flat. Naturally Celia
has had to do most of the work; my military duties have prevented
me from taking my share of it. I have been so busy, off and on,
inspecting my fellow-soldiers' feet, seeing their boots mended and
imploring them to get their hair cut that I have had no time for
purely domestic matters. Celia has let the flat; I have merely
allotted the praise or blame afterwards. I have also, of course, taken
the money.

Our tenants have varied, but they are all alike in this. They think
much more of their own comfort as tenants than of our happiness as
landlords. They are always wanting things done for them. When they
want things done for them, then I am firm. Celia may be a shade the
more businesslike of the two, but I am the firmer. I am adamant.

Take the case of Mr. Toots. As the wife of an officer proceeding
overseas, Celia let the flat to Mr. Toots at the nominal rental of
practically nothing a week. I said it was too little when I heard
of it, but it was then too late--Celia had already been referred to
hereinafter as the landlord. When he had been established some
weeks Mr. Toots wrote to say that he wanted seven different kinds of
wine-glasses, six of each. Personally I wanted seven different kinds
of Keating's Powder just then; tastes differ. The trouble with
Mr. Toots was that for some reason he expected Celia to supply the
glasses. Whether he only wanted them during his tenancy or meant
to keep them afterwards, we never knew. In any case Celia was
businesslike; she wrote regretting that she could not supply them.

But I was firm. I sent a picture-postcard of the champagne country,
which said quite simply, "You must not drink wine during the War. My
husband's milk-glass is in the corner cupboard."

Again, take the case of Mr. and Mrs. Winkle. After getting the flat
practically presented to them for a small weekly bonus, they suggest
that they should only pay half terms during the summer, as they wish
to take the children to the seaside. Celia was for telegraphing to say
that it was impossible. For myself I have just written the following

    "Dear Sir,--Could I consult my own feelings I would say, 'Pay
    no rent at all during the summer. Further, why not sub-let the
    flat to any of your own friends who can afford to give you
    a few guineas a week for it? Nay more, let _me_ have the
    privilege of paying your expenses at the Sunny South. What
    do you say to the Métropole at Brighton?' But, alas, I cannot
    speak thus; there are others to think of. The King of GREECE,
    President WILSON, Marshal JOFFRE--I need say no more. You
    understand. Things will have to go on as they are, except that
    the rent will probably be doubled about July.

              Yours admiringly."

This letter is now waiting to go off. Celia says it is waiting for a
stamp. Personally I don't see the necessity for a stamp.


There are people in the world called owners. I think nothing of them;
Celia thinks nothing of them; jointly we do not think anything of
them. However, as I said before, this is not a grammar.

For the last two years we have been renting cottages. Naturally Celia
has had to do most of the work; the cut and thrust of a soldier's life
has prevented me from taking my share of it. I have been so busy, off
and on, seeing that my fellow-soldiers have baths, getting them shaved
and entreating them to send their socks to the wash that I have had no
time for domestic trifles. Celia has taken the cottage; I have merely
allotted the praise or blame afterwards. I have also, of course, paid
the money.

Our landlords have varied, but they are all alike in this. They think
much more of their own comfort as landlords than of our happiness as
tenants. They are always wanting things done for them. When they want
things done for them, then I am firm. Indeed I am granite.

Take the case of Mr. Perkins, who owns our present cottage. Celia
borrowed the cottage from Mr. Perkins at a rental of several thousands
a week. I said it was too much when I heard of it; but it was then too
late--she had already been referred to hereinafter as the tenant. As
soon as we got in we began to make it look more like a cottage; that
is to say, we accidentally dropped the aspidistra out of the window,
lost the chiffonier, removed most of the obstacles and entanglements
from the drawing-room to the box-room, and replaced the lace curtains
with chintzes. In the same spirit of altruism we improved the
bedrooms. At the end of a week we had given Mr. Perkins a cottage of
which any man might be proud.

But there is no pleasing some people. A closer examination of the
lease, in the hope that we had over-counted the noughts in the rental,
revealed to us the following:--

"At the expiration of the said tenancy, all furniture and effects will
be delivered up by the tenant in the same rooms and positions in which
they were found."

Not a word of thanks, you notice, for the new avenues of beauty which
we had opened out for him; no gratitude for the great revelation that
art was not bounded by aspidistras nor comfort by chiffoniers; nothing
but that old reactionary spirit to which, if I may speak of lesser
things, the Russian Revolution was due. Like Mr. Perkins, the Bourbons
learned nothing and forgot nothing.

Naturally I wrote to Mr. Perkins:--

    "Dear Sir,--I regret to inform you that the aspidistra has
    perished. It never took kindly to us and started wilting on
    the second day. As regards other _objets d'art_ once in the
    drawing-room, but now seeking the seclusion of the box-room,
    we are in a little difficulty. Before letting it go my
    wife took the bearing of the marble how-now from the bamboo
    what-not and made it 28° 20', quite forgetting, unfortunately,
    that the what-not had also decided to lie fallow for a season.
    Consequently, while the direction of the what-not-how-now
    line is definitely fixed, their actual positions remain
    unestablished. Is it too much to hope that when the time comes
    for them to seek again the purer air of the drawing-room they
    will be able to rely upon the guidance of an old friend like
    yourself rather than upon that of two comparative strangers?

              Yours anxiously."


Sometimes I wonder what Mr. Perkins would say if I suggested paying
half-rent during the winter.

Sometimes Celia wonders what she will say if she finds that Mrs.
Winkle has re-arranged all her furniture for her.

"We might," said Celia, looking at the two letters, "send the Perkins
one to Mrs. Winkle and the Winkle one to Mr. Perkins."

"Why?" I asked.

"Just to show how broad-minded we are," said Celia.


       *       *       *       *       *


Seen in a Birmingham shop window:


       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: A BAD DREAM.


       *       *       *       *       *


Jimmy says he thought there must he something the matter with Jones
minimus, he was so gloomy.

He actually told Jimmy that he wished he was in heaven. Jimmy had to
tell him not to say such wicked things, because sometimes when you
wished things like that they came true, and then where would Jones
minimus be?

Jimmy says it takes a lot to make Jones minimus gloomy, but it turned
out that he had lost the War Loan; he had either lost or mislaid it,
he told Jimmy.

It was on a card, and Jones minimus only wanted another shilling to
make 15s. 6d., and then in five years they gave you one pound, and it
was because of the compound interest someone invented.

Jimmy says as they were talking the milkman came up and asked if they
had seen his pig. The milkman is always losing his pig. Jimmy says it
wanders off for a walk nearly every day talking to itself and going
into gardens and relishing things. It is a very good relisher, Jimmy

Jimmy says the milkman's pig is being talked about in home circles;
but it doesn't seem to mind, it just goes on its way.

You can always tell the milkman's pig by the black spot on its back.

Jimmy says he knows a man who is going to shoot the pig at sight next

Jimmy was just telling the milkman that he ought to put butter on its
feet to make it stay at home, when Jones minimus suddenly remembered.
He had put the War Loan in his algebra book and left it in Jimmy's
garden. Jimmy says it was a good thing they went back when they did,
because when he got home he found his bloodhound, Faithful, busy
suspecting a chimney-sweep of being a spy; he had done it to the
chimney-sweep's trousers, Jimmy says.

Jimmy says the chimney-sweep was doing bayonet exercises with his
brush at Faithful and working his black face at him.

Jimmy says the chimney-sweep had evidently never seen a prize
bloodhound before, because when Jimmy came up he stood on guard, and
in a frightened whisper said to him, "What is it?"

Jimmy says the beads of perspiration stood on the chimney-sweep's
face like ink. The chimney-sweep told Jimmy that he was travelling the
country sweeping chimneys; but Jimmy said that they had already had
theirs swept, because a cat got in their dining-room and Jimmy had put
in his bloodhound to tell it to go out.

Jimmy says they looked everywhere for the algebra book, but couldn't
find it, and they were just giving up in despair when they heard
Jimmy's bloodhound wrestling with something in his kennel, and there
it was.

Old Faithful had worked half-way through the algebra and was busy
solving simultaneous equations whilst sitting on the War Loan.

[Illustration: _Scandalised N.S. Volunteer_. "'INDENBURG's WATCHIN'

Jimmy says his bloodhound looked so disappointed when they took the
algebra book from him that Jones minimus gave it him back again, as he
said it was no good to him, and perhaps Faithful would find out how to
catch another German spy, or else how to make up the War Loan to 15s.

Jimmy says his bloodhound did enjoy the algebra, and the way he
tackled several pages of harder problems made old Jones minimus's
mouth water.

Jimmy says Faithful had finished the problems and was just beginning
to chew some quadratics when he looked up and there was the milkman's
pig calmly standing in the garden next door, looking at him through
the hedge and actually munching a piece of coal at him.

Jimmy says it made his bloodhound chew algebra like anything, and when
the pig began flapping his ears at him old Faithful had to go right
into the far corner of his kennel and nurse his wrath.

Jimmy says that bloodhounds have been known to kill a pig in a very
short time; but the pig didn't seem to know this, when Jones minimus
and Jimmy took hold of the kennel and shook out Faithful at him.
Jimmy says the pig just turned on its heel and walked round the garden
sampling things and inquiring into them.

Jimmy says that Faithful is a good sampler too, and when the pig saw
him they tried to sample each other. Faithful thought he was chasing
the pig, and the pig thought he was chasing Faithful, and they did it
in a ring on the lawn.

Jimmy says he could see they were both working themselves up, because
the pig went up to a standard rose-tree and scratched his back at
Jimmy's bloodhound, whilst Faithful kept smelling the ground like

Jimmy says the pig is a sacred animal to the natives of some places,
but it wasn't to the man who owned the garden; he came out and accused
it of being there.

Jimmy told him that if you placed a pig in the middle of a lake it
always cut its throat when it tried to swim out. But the man hadn't
got a lake, he had only got an ornamental fountain, and the pig had
already scratched that over with its back. The pig seemed very uneasy
about its back, Jimmy says.

Jimmy says the man offered Jones minimus a shilling if he would remove
the pig and that piebald anteater from the garden in five minutes.

Jimmy says Jones minimus is a very good pig-remover, and he thinks it
must be a gift with him. Jimmy says the pig was very much surprised at
Jones minimus, and it wanted to go home and get to bed.

Jimmy says the pig trod on Faithful's toe as they both squeezed
through the gate together, and Faithful pulled the pig's ear, and then
they both went down the road, Faithful leading by about a yard, and
looking behind him with both eyes to make sure the pig was following
him. Jimmy says his bloodhound was working beautifully, and when the
pig stopped to smell one end of a cabbage-stalk which was lying in
the gutter old Faithful, with his nose to the ground, his ears hanging
slightly forward, and his eyes looking upwards, crept slowly back and
deliberately smelt at the other end. It was grand, Jimmy says. There
they stood in silent contest for about five seconds, each trying to
bend the other to his will, till the pig could stand the strain no
longer, and, breaking away with all its strength, actually rushed into
the garden of the man who had promised to shoot it at sight next time.

Jimmy says you might have thought the pig owned the garden until the
man came out. It rooted up wall-flowers and bit off tulips and browsed
on some early peas and was making a regular meatless day of it, and
then the man came rushing out with his gun.

Jimmy says that he and Jones minimus had to duck down, because the man
was so excited; he kept rushing about, talking about things and aiming
his gun at the pig, and the pig kept running round and round and
getting mixed up with Faithful. Then just as Jimmy was expecting the
gun to go off the chimney-sweep suddenly came round some laurels from
the back part of the house, with a bag of soot on his shoulders, and
walked right into the middle of it all.

Jimmy says the way his bloodhound had worked it all out made
even Jones minimus gasp. There was the pig being puzzled at the
chimney-sweep's face; there was the man with his double-barrelled
gun pointed straight at the chimney-sweep, and there was the
chimney-sweep, with both hands up in the air, shouting "Kamerad!" as
hard as he could.

Jones minimus couldn't get over it. To think that Jimmy's bloodhound
had actually made up the War Loan to 15s. 6d., and caught a German spy
at the same time, with nothing more to work with than a pig! Of course
Jimmy knew how old Faithful had done it, but then he knew what
a really prize bloodhound is capable of. It was the simultaneous
equations, of course.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Newcomer_ (_to veteran sanitary orderly_). "ARE YOU

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Scheinboden, who is very well known as a partisan of the
    'Mailed Fish.'"--_Manchester Evening News_.

The very man for a submarine campaign.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The main goal for which our troops went was the Oppy switch
    line, a hastily constructed main goal for which our troops
    went was the Oppy switch line, a hastily constructed trench
    system by which the Germans have extended their Hindenburg
    line northwards."--_Sunday Paper_.

Some of our contemporary's own lines seem also to have been rather
hastily constructed.

       *       *       *       *       *



  Good Jones, who saw his duty plain,
  Resolved he would not live in vain;
  He bought some land and made a start,
  He gave up literature and art,
  He studied books on what to grow,
  He studied Mr. PROTHERO;
  He worked from early dawn till ten,
  Then went to town like other men,
  And in his office he would stand
  Expatiating on the land.
  Prom five again he worked till eight,
  Although it made his dinner late;
  He could not tear himself away,
  He could not leave his native clay.
  At last, his energy all spent,
  He put his tools away and went,
  Took off his suit of muddy tan,
  Became a clean and cultured man,
  And settled firmly down to dine.
  On fish and fowl and meat and wine
  And bread as much as he might need;
  And while he dined he used to read
  What PROTHERO had said last night,
  And felt that he was doing right.
  He didn't notice food was short;
  He quite forgot Lord DEVONPORT.

       *       *       *       *       *


It happened one evening when my wife was staying away with her mother,
in the dark months of last winter, when we were without servants, and
I was glad to have received an invitation from my neighbour Jones to

He and his wife welcomed me warmly, and their rather unintelligent
maid had just brought in the saddle of mutton--a great weakness of
mine--when we heard a firm knock on the hall door. She returned to say
that someone wanted to speak to Mr. Brown immediately. "Who is it?"
I demanded. "I don't know, Sir," said the girl, "but he looks like a

"I hope nothing has happened to your wife," said Mrs. J. anxiously.
"Or her mother," added Jones rather cynically.

The man at the door was certainly a policeman, and an elderly one, and
had probably been recalled from pension when the War broke out.

"Good evening, Sir," he said, staring hard at me. "Are you
Mr. Brown"--I nodded--"of Myrtle Villa, next door"--he eyed me
suspiciously--"No. 17?"

"Yes, yes," I said impatiently; "what of it?"

"I must ask you for your name and address, Sir," pulling out his
note-book, "for showing a strong light at the back of the 'ouse at 8

"That's all nonsense," I answered impatiently; "the house is empty."

"Excuse me, Sir, I saw it myself from the road at the back and came
straight round," said he with his notebook ready.

"But it can't be," I said, getting annoyed.

At this moment a Special came running down the path. "They're coming,"
he panted.

"Who are?" I asked. "No one's been invited but myself."

"The engines."

"But I haven't ordered any," said I.

"I gave the alarm myself," he added proudly.

Jones's rather unintelligent maid had been standing by my side the
whole time. "Excuse me, Sir," she said, "I don't know, but I think
there's something wrong with your 'ouse--the little room at the back,
where you sit and smoke of an evenin'. There's been a big light there
for some time--a wobbly one. I don't know, Sir, but I think the 'ouse
is a-fire."

"_What?_" I yelled, and dashed aside the two varieties of
constabulary. Yes, it was all true. The strong light at the back of
the house--a wobbly one--was rapidly becoming a glow in the heavens,
as they say in journalese. I stood and looked at it, staggered for the
moment, when I heard a cheer and saw the engines coming. I dashed
for my front-door, but found myself forcibly dragged back. It was the
Special, who seemed to be having the time of his life.

"No one allowed to enter a burning building," said he importantly.

"But I must," I cried; "there are some valuable papers----"

"No one allowed to enter," he repeated firmly--he seemed to have
learned it by heart--"except the firemen and police."

"Well, you go in and get them then. I'll----"

"Pass along, please," he said quite suddenly, as a new phase of his
duties seemed to occur to him, and I found myself edged back towards
the crowd.

Now I had to have those papers, and an idea occurred to me, so I
stopped. "I say, how about your dinner? You'll miss it altogether. I
don't want to keep you. Perhaps if you hurry off at once----"

"Dinner," he cried indignantly, gripping me fiercely by the arm--"what
is dinner compared with duty? Do you know, man, I've been doing this
bally Special business for over two years and never had a case yet,
and now that I've got a real fire--and this is my own fire, mind you,
my very own----"

"I thought it was mine," I ventured.

"You talk to me of dinner! Pass right along, please;" and I found
myself back among the crowd, who seemed to be thoroughly enjoying it.

There was a small cheer just then as the flames came through the
roof. Of Jones and his wife I saw nothing, but supposed they must have
stayed on to enjoy their saddle of mutton, and wondered if they had
kept mine hot for me. I could have kept it hot in my own house, I
reflected rather miserably.

       *       *       *       *       *

The fire had been extinguished. As the crowd dispersed I felt a touch
on my shoulder. It was the elderly constable, note-book in hand.
"You are Mr. Brown, Sir, of Myrtle Villa?" he inquired patiently. "I
haven't had your name and address yet, Sir, for showing an unguarded
light at the rear of the premises at 8 P.M."

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Plain Cook (good). Wanted for country house; six
    kept."--_Devon and Exeter Gazette_.

Too many; sure to spoil the broth.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The Irish Party cars are placarded with posters calling on
    the electors to vote for 'Unity and Party,' and there are the
    cryptic words, '1/8 Up. M'Kenna.'"--_Daily Paper_.

But as the result of the election Mr. MCKENNA went to a slight

       *       *       *       *       *


  Artists reared it in courtly ages;
    WATTEAU and FRAGONARD limned its walls;
  Powdered lackeys and negro pages
    Served the great in its shining halls;
  Minstrels played, in its salons, stately
    Minuets for a jewelled king,
  And radiant gallants bowed sedately
    To lovely Pompadours curtseying.

  Pigeons cooed in its dovecots shady;
    Down in the rose-walk fountains played;
  Many a lovelorn lord and lady
    Here in the moonlight sighed and strayed;
  Here was beauty and love and laughter,
    Splendour and eminence bravely won;
  But now two walls and a blackened rafter
    Grimly tell the tale of the Hun.

  My lady's chamber is dust and ashes;
    The painted salons are charred with fire;
  The dovecot pitted with shrapnel splashes,
    The park a tangle of trench and wire;
  Shell-holes yawn in the ferns and mosses;
    Stripped and torn is the avenue;
  Down in the rose-walk humble crosses
    Grow where my lady's roses grew.

  Yet in the haunted midnight hours,
    When star-shells droop through the shattered trees,
  Steal they back to their ancient bowers,
    Beau Brocade and his Belle Marquise?
  Greatly loving and greatly daring--
    Fancy, perhaps, but the fancy grips,
  _For a junior subaltern woke up swearing
    That a gracious lady had kissed his lips._

       *       *       *       *       *


From a butcher's advertisement:--

        ------  & Sons
  And prove it for yourselves."

       *       *       *       *       *

    "A certain amount of discussion took place, and it was
    acknowledged that the number of horses in training had been
    exagggerated."--_Daily Chronicle_.

Nevertheless there is certainly one gee too many.

       *       *       *       *       *

The _Lokalanzeiger_ publishes an appeal for a new German National
Anthem. We understand that the best composition that has been sent in
up to the time of going to press begins as follows:--

  Who is WILLIAM? What is he
  That all our swine adore him?

       *       *       *       *       *


[Illustration: _The Plough Girl_. "NOW THEN, MABEL, NOT SO MUCH POSING

[Illustration: _Old Lady_ (_regarding the mannequin_). "I DON'T THINK


[Illustration: _Mr. Martin Harvey_.--"IT IS A FAR, FAR BETTER


[Illustration: _The Terrier_. "EXCUSE ME, GUV'NOR, BUT WHEN YOU'VE

[Illustration: _The Angel and the Veteran_ (_to conscientious

       *       *       *       *       *


  I've put the old mare's tail in plaits, now ain't she lookin' gay?
  With ribbons in 'er mane as well--you'd think it First o' May;
  For why? we're under Government, though it ain't just plain to me
  If we're in the Civil Service or the Admiralitee.

  An' it's "Gee-hup, Mabel," oh, we'll do the best we're able,
  For we're servin' of our country an' we're 'elpin' 'er to win;
  An' when the War is over then we'll all lie down in clover,
  With a drink all together at the "Navigation Inn"!

  I brought the news to Missis, an' to 'er these words did say,
  "Just chuck yon old broom-'andle an' a two-three nails this way,
  We're bound to 'ave a flagstaff for our old red-white-and-blue,
  For since we're under Government we'll 'ave our ensign too."

  The Navy is the Navy, an' it sails upon the sea;
  The Army is the Army, an' on land it 'as to be;
  There's the land an' there's the water, 'an the Cut comes in
  And I don't know what you'd call me if it ain't an 'Orse Marine.

  The Missis sits upon the barge the same's she used to sit,
  But they'll 'ave 'er in the papers now for doin' of her bit;
  An' I walk upon the tow-path 'ere as proud as anything--
  If I 'aven't got no uniform I'm serving of the KING.

  An' it's "Gee-hup, Mabel," an' we'll do the best we're able,
    For the country's been an' called us, an' we've got to 'elp to
  An' when the War is over, oh, we'll all lie down in clover,
    With a drink all together at the "Navigation Inn."


       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: OUR MIXED ARMY.



       *       *       *       *       *


Mr. Punch has thought that some of his hospitable readers might be
glad to have the opportunity of giving the welcome of their houses,
in however simple a way, to Australian soldiers on leave, who would
greatly appreciate the chance of seeing something of English home
life. An "Invitation Bureau" has been opened at the "Anzac" Buffet,
94, Victoria Street, where offers of entertainment should be

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The Military Representative appealed against the exemption
    of William Blake, aged 35, unmarried, a slaughterman in the
    employment of Mr. George Rigg, pork butcher. The Military
    Representative suggested that Mr. Rigg should slaughter
    himself. Mr. Rigg stated that he could not slaughter
    himself."--_Carlisle Journal_.

Compare _The Mikado_:--

_Koko_. "Besides, I don't see how a man could cut off his own head."

_Pooh-Bah_. "A man might try."

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: HIS LATEST.


       *       *       *       *       *


_Monday, May 7th_.--The Royal House has found an unexpected defender
in Mr. OUTHWAITE. He alone has perceived the hidden danger underlying
the recent proposal of the Lower House of Convocation to restore
KING CHARLES I. to his old place in the Church Calendar. This, he
considers, is a direct encouragement to the persons who seek the
restoration of the Stuart dynasty, and would make Prince RUPPRECHT of
Bavaria heir-apparent to the British Throne. The House was relieved
to hear from Mr. BRACE that there was no immediate danger of this
contingency. Indeed, Prince RUPPRECHT has had so much trouble already
with his prospective subjects that he has probably no desire for their
closer acquaintance.

Sir LEO CHIOZZA MONEY is ordinarily a chirpy little person, quite
able to take care of himself. But he was obviously depressed by his
inability to furnish a plausible reason why two food-ships, having
arrived safely in home ports, should have been sent away undischarged,
with the result that they were torpedoed and their cargoes lost. The
statement that he was "still inquiring" brought no comfort to the
House of (Short) Commons. Why doesn't the SHIPPING CONTROLLER organise
a Flying Squadron of dock-labourers?

[Illustration: _Mr. BONAR LAW_ (_to Mr. MCKENNA_). "AS ONE CHANCELLOR

_Tuesday, May 8th_.--The official reticence regarding the names
and exploits of our airmen was the subject of much complaint. Mr.
MACPHERSON declared that it was quite in accordance with the wishes of
the R.F.C. themselves. But Sir H. DALZIEL was still dissatisfied. He
knew of a young lieutenant who had brought down forty enemy machines
and been personally congratulated by the Commander-in-Chief, and yet
his name was not published. It is obvious that praise even from
Sir DOUGLAS HAIG is not the same thing as a paragraph in _Reynolds'


A request for an increased boot-allowance to the Metropolitan Police
met with a dubious reception from Mr. BRACE, who explained that
it would involve an expenditure of many thousands of pounds. It is
rumoured that the Home Office is considering the recruitment of a
Bantam Force, with a view to reducing the acreage of leather required.

_Wednesday, May 9th_.--If the CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER should
be accused of having taken advantage of his knowledge of the
Budget-proposals to lay in a secret hoard of tobacco he will have no
one to blame but himself. He solemnly assured the House that nothing
has been brought to his notice to show that the trade is making undue
profits. It is clear, therefore, that he has not had occasion to go
into a tobacconist's and ask for his favourite mixture, only to find
that his three-half-penny tax has sent the price up by twopence.

By prohibiting the manufacture of starch the Government has done
something to please Mr. PEMBERTON-BILLING. The hon. Member, who has
always affected the "soft shirts that Sister Susie sews," is flattered
to think that he has set a fashion which must now become universal.
When Captain BATHURST, falling into his humour, assured him that even
BEAU BRUMMEL would accept the position with patriotic resignation,
Mr. BILLING felt that he had found his true vocation as an arbiter of

In moving a Vote of Credit for the unexampled sum of five hundred
millions, Mr. BONAR LAW apologised for a slight error in his Budget
statement. He had then estimated the expenditure of the country at
five and a half millions a day. Owing to fortuitous circumstances, the
amount for the first thirty-five days of the financial year had turned
out to be seven and a half millions a day. Mr. MCKENNA, conscious
of some similar lapses in calculation during his own time at the
Exchequer, handsomely condoned the mistake. Still one felt that
it strengthened the stentorian plea for economy made by Mr. J.A.R.
MARRIOTT in a maiden speech that would perhaps have been better if
it had not been quite so good. The House is accustomed to a little
hesitation in its novices and does not like to be lectured even by an
Oxford don.

[Illustration: THE SECRET SESSION.


The debate produced a number of speeches more suitable for the Secret
Session that was to follow. Our enemies will surely be heartened when
they read the criticisms passed by Mr. GEORGE LAMBERT, an ex-Minister
of the Crown, upon our Naval policy, and by Mr. DILLON on the Salonika
Expedition; and they will not understand that the one is dominated
by the belief that no Board of Admiralty that does not include Lord
FISHER can possibly be efficient; and that the other is congenitally
unable to believe anything good of British administration in Ireland
or elsewhere.

For once Mr. BONAR LAW took the gloves off to Mr. DILLON, and told him
plainly that more attention would be paid to his criticism if he was
himself doing something to help in the prosecution of the War.

_Thursday, May 10th_.--I gather from Mr. SPEAKER'S report of the
Secret Session that nothing sensational was revealed. The PRIME
MINISTER'S "encouraging account of the methods adopted to meet the
submarine attack" was not much more explicit, I infer, than the speech
which Lord CURZON was making simultaneously, _urbi et orbi_, in the
House of Lords, or Mr. ASQUITH would not have observed--again I quote
the official report--that "hardly anything had been said which could
not have been said openly."

That none of the Nationalists should have addressed the House was
perhaps less due to their constitutional reticence than to the
depressing effect of the South Longford election, where their nominee
was defeated by the Sinn Fein candidate--one MCGUINNESS, and evidently
a stout fellow. But it is odd to find that the debate was conducted
without the assistance of Messrs. BILLING, PRINGLE and HOGGE. Their
eloquent silence was a protest, no doubt, against the eviction of the
reporters. Mr. CHURCHILL was probably suffering equal anguish,
but with patriotic self-sacrifice he refused to deprive his
fellow-legislators of the privilege of hearing once again his views on
the conduct of War.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Mrs. Smith_ (_to Mr. Smith, who has just been examined
by Army Medical Board_). "WHAT DID THE DOCTOR SAY TO YER?"


       *       *       *       *       *


    [_The Daily Chronicle_, writing on women farmers, quotes the
    tribute of HUTTON, the historian, to a Derbyshire lady who
    died at Matlock in 1854: "She undertakes any kind of manual
    labour, as holding the plough, driving the team, thatching
    the barn, using the flail; but her chief avocation is
    breaking horses at a guinea per week. She is fond of Pope and
    Shakespeare, is a self-taught and capable instrumentalist, and
    supports the bass viol in Matlock Church."]

  Though in the good old-fashioned days
    The feminine factotum rarely
  Was honoured with a crown of bays
    When she had won it fairly;
  She did emerge at times like one
    For manual work a perfect glutton,
  Blue-stocking half, half Amazon,
    As chronicled by HUTTON.

  But now you'll find her counterpart
    In almost every English village--
  A mistress of the arduous art
    Of scientific tillage,
  Who cheerfully resigns the quest
    Of all that makes a woman charming,
  And shows an even greater zest
    For gardening and farming.

  She used to petrify her dons;
    She was a most efficient bowler;
  But now she's baking barley scones
    To help the FOOD CONTROLLER;
  Good _Mrs. Beeton_ she devours,
    And not the dialogues of PLATO,
  And sets above the Cult of Flowers
    The Cult of the Potato.

  The studious maid whose classic brow
    Was high with conscious pride of learning
  Now grooms the pony, milks the cow,
    And takes a hand at churning;
  And one I know, whose music had
    Done credit to her educators,
  Has sold her well-beloved "Strad"
    To purchase incubators!

  The object of this humble lay
    Is not to minimize the glory
  Of women of an earlier day
    Whose deeds are shrined in story;
  'Tis only to extol the grit
    Of clever girls--and none work harder--
  Who daily do their toilsome "bit"
    To stock the nation's larder.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Overburdened Mother_. "GIT A MOVE ON, ALBERT--KEEPIN'

       *       *       *       *       *


Under this title I refer to a lady whom I will call Mrs. Legion, for
there are many of her all over the country, bless her conservative old
heart. She has been in service as cook or cook-housekeeper most of her
life (she is now getting on in years), and constant preoccupation
with kitchen affairs has somewhat narrowed her outlook, so that the
circumvention of the butcher, whose dominant idea (she believes) is to
provide her with indifferent joints, is more to her than the defeat of
HINDENBURG; and so far as she is concerned the main theatre of the
War is neither Europe nor the Atlantic, but the coal merchant's yard,
which disgorges its treasure so grudgingly. Not only is her first
thought for her cooking, in order--the transition to her second
thought is automatic--that her employer or employers may be
comfortable; but it is her last thought too.

With such singleness of purpose to crystallize her, she cannot
absorb even the gravest of warnings; not from unwillingness or stupid
obstinacy, but from sheer inability to grasp any novelty. That her
beloved master and mistress--either or both--should not have the
best of everything and plenty of it is, at this advanced stage in
her career, unthinkable. Even though she read it in print she would
disregard it, for her attitude to them papers is sceptical; even Lord
NORTHCLIFFE, with all his many voices, dulcet or commanding, has wooed
in vain.

I imagine that the milkman, from whom she heard of the War and whom
she thinks (for his class) a sagacious fellow, has warned her against
the Press. Anyway she has refused--and will, I fancy, never relent--to
allow any extreme idea of food shortage to disturb her routine.

"Look here, Mrs. Legion," you say, "really, you know"--you don't like,
or you have lost the power, to be too firm with her after all these
years of friendliness--"really we mustn't have toast any more."

"Not toast!"

"No, not any more. In fact"--a light laugh here--"I'm going to do
without bread altogether directly."

"Do without bread!" This with much more alarmed surprise than if you
had declared your intention of forswearing clothes.

"Yes; the Government want us to eat less bread. In fact we must, you
know; and toast is particularly wasteful, they say."

"There's no waste in this house, Sir [or 'M]." This with a touch
of acerbity, for Mrs. Legion is not without pride. "No one can ever
accuse me of waste. I'm not vain, but that I will say."

"No, no," you hasten to reply, "of course not; but things have reached
such a point, you know, that even the strictest economy and care have
got to be made more strict. That's all. And toast has to be stopped,
I'm afraid."

"Very well, Sir [or 'M], if you wish it. But I can't say that I
understand what it all means."

And that evening, which is meatless and is given up largely to
asparagus (just beginning, thank God!), you certainly see no toast in
the rack, but find that the tender green faggot reposes on a slab of
it large enough to feed several children.

Mrs. Legion may go to church, but her real religion is concerned far
more with her employers' bodies than with her own soul; and among the
cardinal tenets of her faith is the necessity for dinner to be hot.
You may have a cold lunch, but everything at dinner must have been
cooked especially for that meal, all circling about the joint, or a
bird, like satellite suns.

How to cleave such a rock of tradition? How to bring the old Tory into
line with the new rules and yet not break her heart?

"And, Mrs. Legion," you say, not too boldly, and at the end of
some other remark, "we'll have yesterday's leg of mutton for dinner
to-night, with a salad."

"Cold mutton for dinner?" she replies dully.

"Yes--now the weather's getting warmer it's much nicer. It will save
coal too. Just the mutton and a salad. No potatoes."

"No potatoes!" Surely the skies are falling, says her accent. You have
been eating mashed potatoes, done with cream and a dash of beetroot in
it, with cold meat, at lunch, for years.

"No, no--we mustn't eat potatoes any more. Haven't you heard?"

"I heard something about it, yes. But aren't we to eat those we've

"No, we must give them away. Remember, just cold mutton and salad.
And no toast." You are getting more confidence. "Never toast any
more"--another light laugh--"never any more!"

And at dinner there are the cold mutton and salad all right; but to
your horror you are asked first to eat a slice of salmon with two
boiled potatoes.

"Good heavens!" you say, "what's this?"

"Well, Sir [or 'M], the fishmonger called, and as I felt sure the cold
meat couldn't be enough for you...."

Summoning all your courage you protest again, adding, "And another
thing, Mrs. Legion; you mustn't make any more pastry. The flour can't
be spared. It's not only bread we've got to be careful about, but
everything made with flour."

"Then what's the flour for?"

"That's all right. But it's got to be saved."

"I don't understand, Sir [or 'M]. I can't see why it shouldn't be used
if we have it."

"No. The idea is that every one should go without flour as much as
possible, and then there will be more and it will last longer. More
for other people."

"My duty is to this house, Sir [or 'M]. But the flour's so coarse and
brown it's hardly worth using, anyhow. I never saw such stuff. It's a
scandal. But I'm truly sorry if I've disappointed you. All I want to
do is my duty."

"You have, Mrs. Legion, you have. You've been splendid; but the time
has come now to eat less and to eat more simply. Is that clear?"

"Well, I hear you right enough, Sir [or 'M], but I can't say I
understand it. War or no war, I don't hold with folks being starved."

And there it breaks off, only, of course, to begin again.

That is Mrs. Legion!--one of the hardest nuts that Lord DEVONPORT has
to crack. She doesn't hold with Lords poking their noses into people's
kitchens, anyway. That's not her idea of how Lords ought to behave.
Lords not only ought to be gentlefolk, and be fed and waited upon and
live in affluent idleness, but super-gentlefolk. But then she doesn't
hold with many modern things. She doesn't (for one) hold with the War.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Sergeant-Major_. "AIN'T YOU GOT THAT BIVVY BUILT YET,

       *       *       *       *       *



You will easily guess that a comedy (or farce) in which a woman is
reduced to advertising in the Press for a husband belongs to the
ante-bellum era, before the glad eye of the flapper became a permanent
feature of the landscape. Indeed Mr. CYRIL HARCOURT'S play might
belong to just any year since the time when women first began to write
those purple tales of passion that are so bad for the morals of the
servants' hall. It was simply to get copy for this kind of stuff that
_Mabel Vere_ (most improbably pretty in the person of Miss GLADYS
COOPER) advertised for a husband, for this post had already been
assigned to the dullest and stuffiest of _fiancés_. I dare not
think how the theme might have been treated in French hands, but Mr.
HARCOURT is very firm about the proprieties. My only fear was that the
gallery might mistake his rather second-rate people for gentlefolk.
In what kind of club, I wonder, do members reply to matrimonial
advertisements and make bets about the result of their applications?
I should be sorry to think that anybody attributes such conduct to the
_habitués_ of the Athenæum.


  _Captain Corkoran_ ......... MR. MALCOLM CHERRY.
  _Adams_ (_a butler_) ....... MR. ERNEST HENDRIE.
  _Mabel Vere_ ............... MISS GLADYS COOPER.]

The types that came to inspect _Mabel Vere_ were sufficiently varied.
There was a masterful Colonial (finally ejected by a lady-friend, who
performed a jujitsu feat which required a very palpable collusion
on his part); a butler; an Army Officer (with a reputation for
exploring); a gay naval thruster, and an old gentleman who ought
to have known better. To most of them she opposed an air of
virgin superciliousness very disappointing to their justifiable
anticipations; but the butler promised copy, and she accepted an
invitation to tea in his kitchen. This scene furnished some very
excellent and natural fun, and there was really no need to introduce,
and exploit over and over again, the hallowed device of a trip-mat,
that last resort of the bankrupt farceur. The necessary complications
ensued with the unexpected arrival of the master (one of the
candidates for the lady's hand, I need not say), who makes sudden
demand for an early dinner, a thing impossible to execute with the
cook in a fit of hysterics induced by jealousy of the lady who had
supplanted her in the butler's perfidious affections.

In the third Act we return to _Mabel's_ flat and resume her interviews
with the applicants for her hand. This revival of the situation of the
First Act was a weakness in the construction. The original _fiancé_--a
wooden dummy set up for the purpose of being knocked down--is
dismissed, and _Captain Corkoran_, the bold explorer, is appointed to
the vacancy. He deserved his luck; but, if I wish him joy of it, I do
so without a pang of envy, for she was much too good at back-chat for
a quiet life, to say nothing of her taste in literature, which would
want a deal of correction.

Of course Miss GLADYS COOPER made her seem much more desirable
than she really was. (I speak of her personal charm and not of
her agreeable costumes, which are for the pens of more instructed
reviewers. I got nothing out of a lady near me, whom I recognised as
a dramatic critic by a question that her neighbour put to her. "Do you
know this frock," she asked, "or will you have to go behind?") Apart
from the delightful picture which Miss COOPER always presents she has
a most swift and delicate feeling for the details of her craft.
She has the confidence that avoids over-emphasis, and she does her
audience the compliment of assuming that they have intelligence enough
to understand the least of those little nods of hers that have the
true eloquence of an under-statement. Mr. MALCOLM CHERRY was at his
best and easiest as _Captain Corkoran_. Mr. HENDRIE handled the broad
humour of the butler with imperturbable restraint, and Miss BARBARA
GOTT was as fine and human a cook as I ever wish to meet in her native
lair. Miss MARGARET FRASER, a most attractive figure, was a model for
any housemaid on whose damask cheek the concealment of an unrequited
passion for her master feeds like a worm i' th' bud. Altogether a
really excellent cast.

The humour of the dialogue was fresh and well sustained. Here and
there Mr. HARCOURT permitted himself allusive refinements which
deserved a better response, as when _Captain Corkoran_, discussing
with _Mabel_ the menu of the dinner that she fails to cook for him,
adapts the language of SOLOMON and says, "Fritter me apples, for I am
sick of love." This was lost upon an audience insufficiently familiar
with the works of that great voluptuary.


       *       *       *       *       *


(_By Mr. Punch's Food Specialist_.)

Mr. Punch considers it to be his duty at the present time to show how
an abundance of excellent and nourishing food may be obtained from the
most unlikely materials. In doing this he is aware that he is merely
following the example set him by countless culinary experts, who have
communicated their ideas to the daily press; but Mr. Punch is not to
be deterred from doing a helpful action by any paltry jealousy as to
precedence. His readers, he knows, will be grateful to him for his


Take two Committees--it is not absolutely necessary that they should
meet more than once--and, having added to them a Chairman, stew on a
slow fire until a Secretary emerges. Turn into an enamelled saucepan
and set to simmer over gas. Then boil up twice into resolutions and
votes of thanks, and let the whole toast for at least three hours.
Sprinkle with amendments and add salt and pepper to taste. Then brown
with a salamander and serve up hot in egg-cups.


To half a tennis-lawn add two ounces of croquet-mallet and three
arches of pergola, and reduce the whole to a fine powder. Drench with
still lemonade and boil into a thick paste. Add two hundredweight
of dandelions and plantains together with at least three pounds of
garden-roller and five yards of wire-netting carefully grilled.
Let this be roasted and basted for an hour and then flavoured
with vantage. Turn out into a mould, and serve overhand as fast as
possible, having first shred into the mixture half a ton of daisies or
buttercups, according to taste.


Catch one thousand bees and extract their stings. Then throw away the
bees and lay the stings gently but firmly on a mash composed of the
breasts of five Buff Orpington cockerels. Sift the whole through
a fine cloth and add the yolks of a hundred poached eggs. Beat up
together for an hour and ten minutes. Flavour with coffee and dilute
with elderberry wine. Allow the mixture to simmer in a hot oven and
serve with fresh asparagus cut before breakfast.


Chop into small pieces three or four puntpoles, having first melted
down the metal shoes, and spread thin over as many canoe paddles as
can be obtained for the purpose. Immerse the whole suddenly in
the river and dry before a quick fire. Add one boat's rudder and
twenty-four dab-chicks, and season with three yards of grated swans'
necks, six barbel, four dace and a dozen gudgeon, close time for
these fish being strictly observed. Sprinkle with cowslips and willow
leaves, insert in a pie-dish and cover with a thick paste of bulrushes
and marsh grass. Then set to bake for three hours, and stick four
pigeons' claws into the crust. Picnic baskets from which the salt has
been omitted may be shredded over the surface instead of parsley.

Mr. Punch has many more recipes equally cheap and excellent, and is
prepared to disclose them to those of his readers who may desire to
practise a rigid economy and at the same time to enjoy an abundance of
good food.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Recruit_ (_with exercising party_). "IF I LETS THE

       *       *       *       *       *


    "Will the soldier who assisted the Gentleman with a motor
    cycle and sidecar on the Downs on Tuesday communicate with him
    at Greenbank Cemetery."--_Bristol Evening News_.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Harry Wilson, milkman, of Devonport, has no connection of
    any kind with Woodrow Wilson, of United States of
    America."_Auckland Paper_.

HARRY is now sorry he wrote.

       *       *       *       *       *

  "The daily rations of the shirkers are:--
      Bread . . . . . . . . . . . 9 oz.
        (uncooked, including bone)."
                                _Daily Mail_.

The conscientious objector doesn't seem to be having such a soft time
after all.

       *       *       *       *       *


  When Sparta's heroes, tired of truce,
    The fires of battle woke,
  TYRTÆUS sang them golden lays
  And bravely on their marching days
    His queenly Muse outspoke.
  TYRTÆUS' name's come down the years
    And did deserve to do,
  For so he dried men's eyes of tears,
  So loosed their hearts from idle fears,
  Stouter they thrust their ashen spears,
    Their javelins further threw.

  In those fair days TYRTÆUS' song
    Was all men had to trust,
  But while he hymned the coming fight
  They did not wail, "He can't be right,"
    They heard and cried, "He must!"
  When men of craven soul came in--
    Which now may Heaven forbid--
  Then stout TYRTÆUS would begin:--
  "Mere argument can be no sin,
  But whining is; we're going to win."
    And so, of course, they did.

  TYRTÆUS' heart has ceased to beat,
    But still his measures run,
  And still abides the British Press,
  Which men must credit, more or less,
    To tell how things are done.
  So by all bards with hearts of fire
    Cheerfully be it sung,
  That still our people may not tire
  In doing well, but yet aspire;
  Let these renew TYRTÆUS' lyre,
    Let others hold their tongue.

       *       *       *       *       *



A volume called _Curious Happenings_ (MILLS AND BOON) can boast at
least a highly attractive, open-and-see title; to which is added, in
the present instance, a wrapper-picture of the most intriguing brand.
Perhaps not quite all the contents of Miss MARJORIE BOWEN'S book
of short stories fully live up to the promise of its outside (what
stories could?), but they have amongst them one, from which both title
and picture are taken, of very unusual and haunting quality. So, if
you should only be able to snatch so much time from work of National
importance as suffices to read a single tale, begin at the start, and
be assured of having the best. Not that the others are without their
attractions, though one is rather gratuitously revolting. Laid in the
picturesque eighteenth century, they all exhibit Miss BOWEN'S very
pretty gift for costume-drama at its happiest. The trouble is that,
with a volume of such short tales, stories of situation, one gets too
familiar with the method--as, for example, in "The Folding Doors,"
where a lady's husband and lover had played out their scene before the
closed doors (with an alleged cut finger for the husband), and I
knew only too well in what state the flinging open of the doors would
reveal the lady herself. But perhaps I am exceptionally cursed in this
matter; and, anyhow, a volume that contains even one story so good as
"The Pond" is a thing for gratitude and rejoicing.

       *       *       *       *       *

I may have been wrong in turning to a novel for mental relief; anyhow,
I have just come through one of the toughest bouts of relaxation I can
remember, and my only solace for the slight weariness of such repose
is the thought how much more tired the author, Mr. BASIL CREIGHTON,
must be. With such a hail-storm of metaphor and epigram constantly
dissolving in impalpable mist of mere words has he assaulted _The
History of an Attraction_ (CHATTO AND WINDUS) that the poor thing,
atomised, vaporised and analysed to the bone, lies limp and lifeless
between the covers, with hardly a decent rag of incident or story to
cover it. And there one might perhaps be content to let it rest, but
for the fact that _Anita_, the lady of the "Attraction," is worthy of
a better fate. The principal man of the book, who, after much wobbling
consideration, and in spite of his quite fortuitous marriage with some
one else in the meantime, discovers at last that he does love _Anita_,
is the merest peg on which to hang endless philosophisings; and so
is his impossible wife _Janet_ herself, the lady who, after having
accepted his dubious courtship for no particular reason, fortunately
deserts him without any better excuse, thus clearing the way for a
most decorous divorce and readjustment. Neither is the writer's inner
thesis--the immoralness of ordinary morality, so far as I can make
out--particularly agreeable; but _Anita_, though far from being the
sort of person one would look to meet in real life, is intriguing
after a fashion, and just possibly repays the hard work needed for the
making of her acquaintance.

       *       *       *       *       *

Miss M.E.F. IRWIN, whose previous books I remember to have greatly
enjoyed, has produced for her third a story of much originality and
power, called _Out of the House_ (CONSTABLE). The title may perplex
you at first. It comes from the struggles of the heroine to wrench
herself free from encompassing family ties and the tradition of
intermarriage, in order to join her life to the outside lover who
calls to her. You might therefore consider it, in some sense, a story
of eugenics, but that its outlook is emotional rather than
scientific. Yet the _Pomfrets_, as a result of family pride and
over-specialization, had become a sufficiently queer lot to warrant
a normal girl in any violence of house-breaking to be free of them.
Therein of course lies the cleverness of the book; it is full of
atmosphere, and the atmosphere is full of dust, _Pomfret_ dust. You
can feel how heavy to rebellious lungs must have been the air of the
_Pomfret_ houses, where lived _Philip_, the intriguing father, and his
sons _Anthony_ (a little mad) and _Charles_ (much more mad, but with
at least the instincts of a lunatic gentleman). It is not, you will
guess, precisely a lively tale, but the force of it is undeniable.
Miss IRWIN has now more than ever proved herself a fastidious and
careful artist, with a touch of austerity that gives weight to a tale
so frankly one of sentiment, and she will, I hope, continue to keep
her work above the ordinary level.

       *       *       *       *       *

_The Wane of Uxenden_ (ARNOLD) seems to be one of those novels which
may be classed as worthy in intention without being exactly happy in
execution. Miss LEGGE has a desire to warn us all against the perils
of monkeying with spiritism, and she has chosen the method of making
it tiresome even to read about. Well, it is a method certainly.
_Uxenden_ was a nice old family, which had come down to cutting its
timber while a rich Jewish soap-and-scent-manufacturer sat rubbing his
hands on a slice of the property, waiting for the rest of it to come
his way. _Uxenden_ eventually waned entirely, and without tears so far
as I was concerned. I feel sure _Mr. La Haye_ (_né Levinstein_) would
make a better landlord than the old squire, in spite of the prejudices
of the countryside.... No, I am afraid it would be stretching a point
to promise you any great entertainment from this well-intentioned but
rather woolly book. _Brother Jenkins_, the fraud, of the Society of
Seven, is about the most entertaining of the marionettes.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Lady Customer_. "BUT ARE YOU SURE THAT THIS CHAIR IS

_Fake Antique Dealer_ (_off his guard_). "I'M SORRY, MADAM, WE HAVE NO

       *       *       *       *       *


    "It is Mr. Wells's great advantage as a preacher that he has a
    prose style instinct with life and beauty. Somewhere he speaks
    of a cathedral as a 'Great, still place, urgent with beauty';
    somewhere else he says, 'The necessary elements of religion
    can be written on a postcard.'"--_Daily Chronicle_.

"Callisthenes" must look to his laurels.

       *       *       *       *       *

Extract from the letter of a lady who helps in parish work and is full
of agricultural enthusiasm:--

    "Next week I am going to start digging for the vicar."

Assuming that the reverend gentleman was inadvertently buried alive,
we deprecate this delay.

       *       *       *       *       *

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 152, May 16, 1917" ***

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