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Title: Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 152, May 30, 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 30, 1917" ***

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PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.

VOL. 152.



May 30th, 1917.



CHARIVARIA.


Mr. WILL THORNE declares that a hotel in Petrograd charged him twelve
shillings for four small custards. After all, the war spirit of
Russia, it would seem, is not wholly dead.

       * * *

According to officials of the Food Ministry, "domestic pastry" may
still be baked. The idea is that this kind of pastry tends to decrease
the total number of food consumers.

       * * *

Allied control officers have discovered fifteen hundred tons of
potatoes hidden in Athens. The Salonika expedition is now felt to be
justified.

       * * *

A certain Kingston resident, when out walking, wears a white band on
his hat, the with words, "Eat less bread. Do it now." Eyewitnesses
report that the immediate rush of pedestrians to the tea-rooms to eat
less bread is most gratifying.

       * * *

"The British loaf," according to Mr. KENNEDY JONES, "is going to beat
the Germans." If grit can do it, we agree.

       * * *

"Allotments under cultivation in Middlesex," says a weekly paper
breathlessly, "if place end to end, would reach five miles." Of course
it is not thought likely that they will be.

       * * *

The father of a lad charged with embezzlement explained that since the
boy was struck on the head with a cricket ball he could not keep a
penny novel out of his hands. Speculation is now rife as to the
nature of the accidents responsible for the passion that some people
entertain for our more expensive fiction.

       * * *

"It is possible," says a contemporary, "that an invention will one
day be forthcoming which will make a clean sweep of the submarine."
Meanwhile we must expect him to go on acting like the dirty sweep he
is.

       * * *

To meet the paper shortage, Austrian editors have determined to
economise by reducing the daily reports of victories.

       * * *

_Le Matin_ states that at a Grand Council of War sharp disagreement on
the conduct of operations arose between the KAISER and HINDENBURG. The
Marshal, we understand, insisted upon the right to organise his own
defeats without any assistance from the All-highest-but-one.

       * * *

A London dairyman has been heavily fined for selling water containing
a large percentage of milk.

       * * *

"To tell the honest truth," said the Hon. JOHN COLLIER, giving
evidence in the Romney case, "we artists do not think much of the art
critics." It is this dare-devil attitude which distinguishes your real
genius.

       * * *

Some surprise was recently caused in Liverpool when the residents
learned from the _Cologne Gazette_ that their port had been destroyed
and all the inhabitants removed to another town. They consider that in
common fairness the _Cologne Gazette_ ought to have given them some
idea as to where they were living.

       * * *

It is announced that four German War Correspondents have been
decorated with the Iron Cross of the Second Class. We have always
maintained that the War Correspondent, like his fighting brother, is
not immune from the perils of warfare.

       * * *

We are not surprised to learn that the mouth-organ is the favorite
instrument among the soldiers in a certain Labour unit. The advantage
of this instrument is that when carried in the pocket it does not
spoil the figure like a cello.

       * * *

Now that the shortage of starch supply will compel men to wear soft
collars it is understood that Mr. GEORGE BERNARD SHAW, who already
wears them soft, proposes to give up collars altogether, so as not to
be mistaken for an ordinary man.

       * * *

City business houses, it is stated, are adopting the practice of
closing during the dinner-hour. The old fashioned custom of doing
business and dining on alternate days had much to recommend it.

       * * *

There was no sugar in England when Crécy and Agincourt were fought,
as Captain BATHURST told the House of Commons recently. How the War
Office did without its afternoon tea in those barbarous days it is
impossible to conjecture.

       * * *

The forthcoming Irish Convention is to be held, it is stated, behind
locked doors. Why not add a charming element of adventure to the
affair by entrusting some thoroughly absent-minded person with the
key?

       * * *

Lord ESHER believes that "our home-coming is not far distant."
Meanwhile it is cheering to know that quite a number of our fellows
are getting home on the HINDENBURG line.

       * * *

"Walking canes for ladies with small round heads of ivory" are
becoming increasingly popular, declared a contemporary. We ourselves
would hesitate to lash the follies of smart Society in a manner quite
so frank.

       * * *

It appears that at the Bath War Hospital a hen lays an egg every day
in a soldier's locker. Only physical difficulties prevent the large
hearted bird from laying it in his egg-cup.

       * * *

ZAMBI, a Zulu native, has just died at the age of a
hundred-and-twelve. It seems that war-worry hastened his end.

       *       *       *       *       *


[Illustration: _Proprietress_ (_as customer becomes obstreperous_),
"NOW THEN, WILLIE, OVER THE TOP!"]

       *       *       *       *       *


=Professional Candour.=

From a dentist's advertisement:--

    "TEETH EXTRACTED WITH THE GREATEST PAINS"

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Wanted.--Good cook-general, for very small Naval officer's
    family."

_Isle of Wight Mercury_.

Intending applicants should exercise caution. A very small Naval
officer may have a very large family.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "£5 REWARD--Lost from Ruislip (July, 1214), half-persian dark
    tabby tom cat."

_Harrow Observer_.

And they tell us that a cat has only nine lives!

       *       *       *       *       *



=THE PROPHETIC PRESENT.=

    "There is no Hindenburg line."

_Inspired German Press_.

  By nature they abhor the light,
    But here in this their latest tract
  Your parrot Press by oversight
    Has deviated into fact;
  If not (at present) strictly true,
    It shows a sound anticipation
  Born of the fear that's father to
           The allegation.

  For, though the boasted "line" of which
    No trace occurs on German maps
  Retains the semblance of a ditch,
    It has some nasty yawning gaps;
  It bulges here, it wobbles there,
    It crumples up with broken hinges,
  Keeping no sort of pattern where
           Our Push impinges.

  When the triumphant word went round
    How that your god, disguised as man,
  At victory's height was giving ground
    According to a well-laid plan,
  Here he arranged to draw the line
    (As _Siegfried's_ you were told to hymn it)
  And plant _Nil ultra_ for a sign--
          Meaning the limit.

  And now "There's no such thing," they say;
    Well, that implies prophetic sense;
  And, if a British prophet may
    Adopt their graphic present tense,
  I would remark--and so forestall
    A truth they'll never dare to trench on:--
  _There is no HINDENBURG at all,
          Or none worth mention_.

O.S.

       *       *       *       *       *

=WAYS AND MEANS.=

I met her at the usual place, and she looked much the same as
usual--which astonished me rather.

"Now that we're engaged," I began.

"Oh, but we aren't," said Phyllis.

"Are you by any chance a false woman?" I asked. "You remember what you
said last night?"

"I do, and what I said I stick to. But that was pleasure, and this is
business."

I looked at her in sudden alarm.

"You're--you're quite sure you aren't a widow, Phyllis?"

"Quite. Why?"

"Talking of business at a time like this. It sounds so--so
experienced."

"Well, if you _will_ try to settle our whole future lives in one short
week-end leave, we must at least be practical. Anyway, it's just this.
I'm not going to be engaged to you until there's some prospect of our
getting married. I hate long engagements."

"That means not till after the War, then," said I disconsolately.

"I'm afraid it does. But when once the War's over it won't be long
before you'll be able to keep me in the style to which I'm accustomed,
will it?"

"Years and years, I should think," said I, looking at her new hat.
"It'll take at least a pound a day even to start with."

"Three hundred and sixty-five a year," said she thoughtfully.

"And an extra one in Leap Year," I warned her.

"Did I ever tell you," she asked with pride, "that I have money of my
own?"

"Hurrah!" I shouted. "You darling! How splendid!"

"Jimmy," she said apprehensively, "you aren't marrying me for it, are
you?"

"How can I tell till I know how much you've got?"

"Well, at a pound a day it would take us to February 19th. You'd have
to begin from there."

"What an heiress! Promise you'll never cast it in my teeth, dear, that
I've got less than you. I've got enough War Loan to take us on to the
23rd and halfway through the 24th; and Exchequer Bonds and things
which will see us through--er--to about 7.15 P.M. on March 31st. Then
there's my writing."

"Oh," she said in a surprised tone "do they pay you for that? I
always thought you gave them so much a line to put things in--like
advertisements, you know."

"Madam," I answered with dignity, "when you find yourself, from April
1st until April 20th, depending each year upon my pen for the very
bread you eat, perchance you will regret those wounding words."

"Well, what else?"

I shook my head.

"That's all," I said. "We don't seem to have got very far, do we?
Couldn't you--er--trim hats, or take in washing, or something?"

"No--but _you_ could. I mean, we haven't counted in your salary yet,
have we?"

"What salary?"

"Well, whatever they give you for doing whatever you do. What were you
getting before the War?"

"Oh, nothing much."

"Yes, but _how_ much?"

"Really," I began stiffly.

"If you're ashamed to say it right out, just tell me how far it would
take us."

"To about the end of September, I should think."

"Oh, dear! Three more months to go." A frown wrinkled her forehead;
then her brow cleared. "Why, of course we haven't counted in the
holidays."

"They aren't usually an asset."

"Yes, they are--if you spend them with your rich relations. I've got
lots, but I don't think they'd like _you_ much."

"All right," said I shortly; "_keep_ your beastly relations. I shall
go to Uncle Alfred for October. _He_ loves me."

"That leaves November and December," she mused. "Oh, well, there's
nothing else for it--we must quarrel."

"What, now?"

"No, stupid. Every October 31st, by letter. Then I'll go home to
mother, and you'll stay with Uncle Alfred some more. I hope he'll like
it."

"Y-e-s," I said doubtfully. "That would do it, of course. But we
shan't see very much of each other that way, shall we? Still, I
suppose.... Good Heavens!"

"What's the matter?"

"Phyllis, we've forgotten all about income-tax. That means about
another two months to account for."

"My dear, how _awful!_"

There was a pause while we both thought deeply.

"Couldn't you ..." we began together at last, and each waited for the
other to finish.

"Look here," I remarked, "we're both very good at finding things for
the other to do. Isn't there anything we could do together--a job for
'respectable married couple,' you know?"

"Why, of course--caretaking! We'll look after ducal mansions in the
silly season, when everybody's out of town. Then we'll see simply
heaps of one another."

"Yes," I agreed. "And then in the evenings, when you've scrubbed the
steps and the woodwork and polished the brass and dusted the rooms and
cleaned the grate and cooked the meals and tidied the kitchen, and
I've inspected the gas-meter and fed the canary, or whatever it is a
he-care-taker does, we'll dress ourselves up and go and sit in the
ducal apartments and pretend we're 'quality.'"

"And impress our relations by asking them to dinner there," added
Phyllis. "I think it's a lovely idea. We don't seem to be going to
have much money, but we _shall_ see life. I'm beginning to be quite
glad I listened to you yesterday, after all."

       *       *       *       *       *

=An Accommodating Creature.=

    "A Respectable woman wants situation as dairymaid, laundress, or
    fowl."

_Cork Constitution_.

       *       *       *       *       *



[Illustration: =THE GREAT UNCONTROLLED.=

The Mutton. "I HEAR THEY WANT MORE OF US NOW THE MEATLESS DAYS ARE
OFF."

The Beef. "DON'T YOU WORRY. THANKS TO THE PROFITEERS, PEOPLE CAN'T
AFFORD TO EAT US."]

       *       *       *       *       *



[Illustration: THE FIRST POTATO-LEAF!]

       *       *       *       *       *


=THE WATCH DOGS.=

LXI.

    My Dear CHARLES,--Have I ever, in the course of these SECRET and
    CONFIDENTIAL despatches, called your lordship's attention to the
    existence, the very marked existence, of our Hubert, "the little
    Captain," who, being out of the battle for the moment, relies upon
    argument for argument's sake to keep up his circulation? It
    has been said of him that he spends his office time in writing
    superior letters to his subordinates and insubordinate letters to
    his superiors; but that, I think, is over harsh. In any case, as
    he has now run short of grievances, and the authorities of the
    B.E.F. regard him as a joke and like him best when his little
    temper is hot, his fights out here have for some time lacked
    reality. I fancy that he was merely in search of a _casus belli_
    when, being on leave in the U.K., he conceived the idea of a day's
    extension and stepped round to the War Office to demand same as of
    right.

    But the War Office, Charles, is not as other places and War
    Officers are not like the common sort. Hubert, arriving in his
    best fighting trim, was at once ejected by the policeman at the
    door. He underestimated the importance of that official and
    his office, otherwise he would not have adopted the
    just-dropping-in-to-have-a-chat-with-a-friend-inside attitude.
    From the constable's cold response he realised that, in tackling
    the W.O. single-handed, he was attempting a big thing, whereas the
    W.O., in tackling him, was not under the same disadvantage. Then
    he did what was unusual with him; he paused to think before
    resuming the offensive. What he wanted, he felt, was big guns. The
    House of Commons caught his eye and reminded him of politicians.
    He recalled a slight acquaintance with one of the more important
    of these and went round to call upon him personally. It was not
    his idea to obtain any such authority as would demolish all
    opposition at the W.O.; he just hoped to get a personal chit,
    which would act as a smoke barrage and at least cover his advance
    right into the middle of the enemy defences.

    So Hubert asked for the politician in person, but only got his
    secretary. This gentleman, having elicited that Hubert's train for
    France left at 5 P.M., regretted that the politician would not be
    visible till 6. This opposition warmed Hubert's blood; he asked
    for a statement in writing. After some little discussion he got
    it, since the secretary, for all his caution, could see no harm in
    an unofficial note, addressed to no one in particular, and stating
    merely that Hubert wanted to see the politician and the politician
    was out till 6 P.M.

    The little captain is one of those who state their grievances to
    themselves, when no other audience is available. During his
    return journey to the W.O. mental processes of no little heat and
    significance took place in his busy head, he putting up an
    overwhelming case to show why his leave ought to be, and must be,
    extended. The force of this case gave him such a burning sense of
    justice as to carry him, this time, safely past the policeman.

    Five rows of barbed wire, two of them electrified, would be but a
    poor substitute for the barriers of the W.O. Before you set foot
    on the staircase you have to produce a ticket, and it is supposed
    that the porter, who has the forms to be filled in, forfeits a
    day's pay every time he parts with one. Hubert, gradually losing
    confidence, wrote upon the form all he could think of about
    himself, and handed it to the porter, who received it with
    reluctance, read it with suspicion, and disappeared with a grunt.
    What he did with it is not known; probably someone got into
    communication with the B.E.F. to know if such a person as Hubert
    existed, and, if so, why? Meanwhile Hubert had good time to
    realise that no one loved him and that this was cold brutal war at
    last.

    Bit by bit the porter drifted back and gave Hubert his form, now
    stamped and become his ticket. The porter having finished with
    him, he passed on and, after many wanderings, found the door of
    the room where his sentence would be passed. Bracing himself
    up and clearing his throat, he prepared to knock and enter.
    Fortunately, however, his audacious intention was observed by an
    official and frustrated. He was commanded to write something more
    about himself in the book provided for that purpose, and to go on
    waiting. Being now an expert at writing and waiting he did as he
    was bid, spending the next few hours of his life remodelling his
    case in less fierce and glowing terms.

    At last the door of the room persuaded itself to open and let out
    a real red god, who looked upon Hubert, took an instant dislike
    to him, relieved him of his ticket and went in again. During
    the ensuing period of suspense the last vestige of Hubert's
    personality departed from him.

    Again the door opened and another red one, even more godlike,
    emerged clamouring for Hubert and his blood. Had he still been in
    possession of his ticket (a necessary passport for egress) Hubert
    would have fled. There was nothing for it but to confess his
    identity and to hope for mercy. The god, who clearly had not more
    than three and a half seconds to spare, demanded an explanation of
    his presence. Hubert admitted that once, in a moment of impudent
    folly, he had thought of asking for a day's extension. The god
    said nothing, but a light smouldered in his eyes which intimated
    to Hubert that if he did not at once produce some paramount excuse
    for so monstrous a request the War would be held up and the
    military machine would be concentrated on punishing Hubert.
    His tongue clove to the roof of his mouth; even if it had been
    available it would have helped little, for it is more than mere
    words that the gods require. His hand searched in his pockets and
    produced the return half of his leave warrant, a five-franc
    note, a box of matches, a recently purchased paper flag and the
    politician's secretary's note. The first and the last were taken,
    the rest fell to the floor, the door closed once more and again
    Hubert was alone.

    Hubert doesn't know what he did next; probably, he thinks, he sat
    down and wept, and it was his tears that induced the gods not to
    convert his ticket into a death-warrant, but instead to give him
    the slip, "Leave extended one day for urgent private business."
    This was clearly one of Hubert's most decisive victories. He had
    his day's extension solely in order to interview the politician
    at 6 P.M.; he was to interview the politician solely in order to
    obtain his day's extension. But Hubert insists morbidly that his
    was a moral defeat, amounting to utter suppression. He called upon
    the politician at 6 P.M. to thank him personally. Again he could
    get no further than the secretary, who, learning that Hubert's
    train would not depart at all that day, regretted that the
    politician would, on second thoughts, be out for a week. "Now if
    I really _had_ triumphed," said Hubert, "I should have got the
    secretary to put that also in writing, and should have stepped
    round to the War Office again to demand a further week's extension
    on the strength of it." This, however, he did not do.


    Yours ever, HENRY.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "GOOD 'EVINGS! WHERE YER GOIN'?"

"YE KEN YON THREE HUNS I JUST BROUGHT IN? WEEL, THEY WANT TO PLAY
WHIST, AN' I'M GOING BACK TO TRY AND PICK UP A FOURRTH."]

       *       *       *       *       *


    "Southport, December 9th.--Miss ---- presented vegetarian
    literature and a box of vegetarian sausages to a Sale of Work in
    connection with the United Methodist Church, High Park. The gifts
    led to much thought and inquiry."--_Vegetarian Messenger_.

In spite of a natural disinclination to look a gift sausage in the
mouth.

       *       *       *       *       *

A CALL TO THE COW PONIES.

  They sent us from Coorong and Cooper
    The pick of the Wallaby Track
  To serve us as gunner and trooper,
    To serve us as charger and hack;
  From Budgeribar to Blanchewater
    They rifled the runs of the West,
  That whatever his fate in the slaughter
    A man might ride home on the best.

  We dealt with the distant Dominion,
    We bought in the far Argentine;
  The worth of our buyers' opinion
    Is proved to the hilt in the line;
  The Clydes from the edge of the heather,
    The Shires from the heart of the grass,
  And the Punches are pulling together
    The guns where the conquerors pass.

  So come with us, buckskin and sorrel,
    And come with us, skewbald and bay;
  Your country's girth-deep in the quarrel,
    Your honour is roped to the fray;
  Where flanks of your comrades are foaming
    'Neath saddle and trace-chain and band,
  We look for the kings of Wyoming
   To speak for the sage-brush and sand.

W.H.O.

       *       *       *       *       *


=Commercial Candour.=

From an Indian trade-circular:--

    "All our goods are guaranteed made of the best material and equal
    to none in the market."

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The approach of the storm was heralded by a magnificent display
    of, for a time, almost intermittent lightning."--_Pall Mall
    Gazette_.

Followed, it may be presumed, by well-nigh interrupted peals of
thunder and nearly occasional downpours of rain.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "One always feels humiliated when one is stumped about a quite
    common thing.... All you could see a little way iff was that they
    were very dwarg and very thick, and the peculiar coloul baffled
    us...."

    _A Country Diary in "Manchester Guardian."_

Stumped we may be by the above, but humiliated--never!

       *       *       *       *       *


=PETHERTON'S PUBLICATIONS.=

A glance at a well-known publisher's window, during a recent visit
to London, provided me with material for a little possible quiet
amusement, and with this end in view I penned the following:--

DEAR MR. PETHERTON,--When up in town the other day I was surprised and
delighted to notice in Messrs. Egbert Arnwell's window two works of
yours, one on Bi-Metallism and the other on the Differential and
Integral Calculus. Nothing but the prices (really low ones for such
works) prevented my purchasing a copy of each book at once.

I cannot resist writing to congratulate you on the publication of
these volumes, which will, I am sure, add to the instruction if not
to the gaiety of nations. Of course I knew--and have had the most
complete olfactory proofs--that you were a chemist of at least strong
views, but had no idea that your range of knowledge was so extensive
as it apparently is.

  With renewed congratulations,
  Believe me, yours sincerely,
  HENRY J. FORDYCE.

By the way, what is a calculus? Could one be obtained in Surbury, or
would it be necessary to order from the Army and Navy Stores?

This brought forth:--

SIR,--I greatly regret that my latest publications should have caught
your eye, and look on your congratulations as a studied insult.

I should hardly expect a person of your (as I imagine) limited
intellect to know anything about the scientific subjects which
interest me, but I feel sure that you are perfectly aware that the
calculus is abstract and not concrete.

Had you tried to convey sincere congratulations to me I could have
borne the infliction with resignation, but I strongly object to such
flippant impertinences as are contained in your communication.

  Faithfully yours,
  FREDERICK PETHERTON.

I felt this was a good start, and so put out more bait:--

DEAR PETHERTON (I wrote),--Sorry you couldn't accept my letter in the
spirit, etc.

I've had such a priceless idea since I wrote to you last, and it is
this. I propose that we start a Literary Society in Surbury. I'm
certain the Vicar would join in. Mr. Charteris, of the Manor, too
would, I feel confident, welcome the idea. Dr. Stevenson, the only
one to whom I have broached the subject, got keen at once, and the
Gore-Langleys and others could no doubt be counted on--say a dozen
altogether, including you and myself. I append a short list of
suggested contributions, which will give some idea of the range of
subjects which might be tossed into the arena of debate:--

The Binomial Theorem in its relation to the Body Politic (yourself).

Cows and their sufferings during the milk controversy in the
newspapers (Charteris. This might be published in small quarto).

The attitude of the Manichean Heresiarch towards the use of Logarithms
(The Vicar).

The effect of excessive Philately on the cerebral organisms of the
young (Gore-Langley).

The introduction of the art and practice of Napery among the Dyaks of
Borneo (Miss Eva Gore-Langley).

With a few additions I think we should have enough mental food to keep
us going through the summer; and I may add that if you were put up for
President of the Society I should certainly second the motion.

  Yours ever,
  HARRY FORDYCE.

I notice that your writing has gone to pieces rather, old man--through
writer's cramp, I fear. You say what looks like "you are perfectly
aware that the calcalus is asphalt and not concrete." Of course I do
know that much about it.

My letter kept the ball rolling all right, for Petherton replied:---

SIR,--Have you no sane moments? If you have any such, I should be glad
if you would employ the next lucid interval in setting your affairs
straight and then repairing to the nearest asylum with a request that
they would protect you against yourself by placing you in a padded
cell. This done and the key lost, the world, and Surbury in
particular, would be a happier place.

You cannot seriously suggest that any society for literary discussion
could be formed here or elsewhere which should include yourself,
and even so you must know that your being a member would prevent my
joining it.

Has the call for National Service not reached your ears yet? You
appear to have plenty of leisure time on your hands which might be
better employed. Or have you offered yourself and been rejected on the
grounds of mental deficiency?

  Faithfully yours,
  FREDERICK PETHERTON.

I didn't feel called upon to make a song about my method of doing my
bit, which, I am glad to say, has the approval of the authorities;
but I was anxious to hear Petherton's joints crack once more, so I
wrote:--

DEAR FREDDY,--Your letters get better and better in style as your
writing deteriorates. I am very sorry to gather from your last that
you look coldly on my scheme. I am sure that those to whom I have
mentioned the idea would decline to entertain it if it lacked your
active support, so I trust you will reconsider the matter.

I am thinking over your asylum stunt. It would certainly save some
expense, and if this terrible War continues much longer it will, I
fear, drive me to such a refuge; though I trust in that event that I
shall be allowed to choose pleasanter wall hangings than those you
suggest. I'm rather fond of light chintzy papers, aren't you? They're
so cheerful.

Hoping to hear from you _re_ our little society at your earliest ("The
Surbury Literary and Scientific Society" would sound well, and would
look rather nice on our note-paper--what?)--

  I am, yours as ever,
  HARRY.

Petherton saw red again and bellowed at me, thus:--

SIR,-- ---- you and your beastly society. I don't know who is the more
execrable, you or the KAISER.

  Faithfully yours,
  FREDERIC PETHERTON.

Common decency compelled me to reply, so I wrote:--

MY DEAR OLD BOY.--You don't know how grieved I am to hear that you
cannot entertain the scheme.

Of course I can read between the lines, and know that your heart is in
it, and that it is only the many calls on your time which prevent your
active co-operation with me in the matter. Of course, needless to say,
your lack of support has killed what looked like being a promising
scientific bantling (through stress of emotion I nearly wrote
"bantam," which brings me to the subject of poultry. How are yours? I
forgot to ask before).

I hope the question of the S.L. & S.S. will now be dropped; it is too
painful. If you insist on continuing the discussion I shall decline to
answer the letter, so there!

  Yours,
  H.

But Petherton refused to be drawn.

       *       *       *       *       *

From a Church appeal:--

    "A recent collection revealed that, of 179 coins put in the plate,
    176 were coppers, whilst not more than 15 people could have
    contributed anything above one shilling."

The person who took the twelve silver coins by mistake will, we hope,
return them next Sunday.

       *       *       *       *       *


=THE SHERWOOD FORESTERS.=

  Deep in the greenwood year by year
    Bold ROBIN HOOD, a knightly ghost,
    Has eased the purse that bulged the most
  And stalked the wraiths of Rufford deer;

  And, as the centuries speed away,
    Has seen his oak and birk-land shrink,
    Where teeming cities on its brink
  Crowd in on Sherwood of to-day.

  But still each year the outlaw-king,
    By Normanton and Perlethorpe spire,
    Has watched the beeches' emerald fire
  Flare upward in the leaping spring;

  Each heather-time has found his own
    Eyrie of rest where Higger Tor
    Shimmers in purple as before
  KING COEUR-DE-LION held his throne.

  And Foresters away "out there,"
    Sons of his sons, have surely seen
    A figure clad in Lincoln green
  Glide by them swiftly, thin as air;

  And, yarning in the creepy dark,
    Have told of arrows, cloth-yard long,
    Whistling before them clean and strong,
  Of Huns that got them, pierced and stark;

  How when their line is making good,
    In charge or trench, as Sherwoods can,
    Soft-footed, ever in the van,
  Stalks the bold ghost of ROBIN HOOD.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Mrs. Jones_ (_suspiciously, to Jones, who is kept on
strict rations_). "SOMEBODY HAS EATEN FIDO'S DINNER."]

       *       *       *       *       *

=THE SECRETS OF HEROISM.=

"Don't talk about heroism," said Sergeant William Bingley, "until you
know what it is--and isn't.

"There were two men in my platoon over there that I'd match against
any other two in the British, Allied, or Enemy armies for the biggest
funks on earth; two boys from the same town, as unlike as cross-bred
puppies, but cowards to the ankles.

"They were the only two that didn't volunteer for a listening picket
one night, and I felt so ashamed of them that I decided to mention it.

"'You nickel-plated, glass-lined table-ornament,' I said to Ruggles
when I found him alone, 'aren't you ashamed to form a rear rank alone
with Jenks every time you're asked to do anything?'

"I knew they hated each other, and I thought I'd draw him, but he
hadn't a word for himself.

"'Tell me what you joined for,' I said more persuasively, for he had
been in the Army over a year. 'You're the only man in the company,
bar your friend Jenks, that turns white at the pop of a cork out of a
Worcester sauce bottle.'

"He stroked the bit of hair behind his right ear and let slip a grin
like the London and Country mail slots at the G.P.O.

"'I'll tell you, Sergeant,' he said. 'I never had much heart for
soldiering, and I only joined up when I did to spite the girl that
jilted me. She jilted me for Jenks, and no sooner did she say the word
to him than she talked him into enlisting too.... That's why I'm no
good. Every time I remember I'm a soldier I think of her laughing at
me, and I feel a fool.'

"'Well,' said I, 'she must be proud of you both, for you're the
weariest, wonkiest pair of wash-outs I ever swore at.'

"I didn't send for Jenks; I could guess his excuse. He had obviously
about as much spirit for fighting as Ruggles, and he was just hanging
on and trying not to get hurt before the War stopped.

"We had a few weeks out of the trenches after my chat with Ruggles,
and one afternoon I came upon them enjoying a hearty, homely,
ten-round hit, kick, and scramble in a quiet corner near their billet.
They looked as if they meant it, but they finished up in about ten
minutes, hugging each other in six inches of mud. Ruggles got up
first, and while he waited for Jenks he turned on his Little Tich
smile. It worked; Jenks smiled too, and the rivals went off together
like brothers.

"I said nothing, and forgot them again--clean forgot them, until,
a week later, Jenks came to me in Number Seven with a yarn about a
crater and a sniper, and might he go and perforate him.

"I had noticed the sniper myself, so I sent Jenks to chase a broom and
picked my own men for this job that mattered. I'd no sooner done it
than Ruggles marched up and asked to be made one of the party.

"I just stared at him, and his grin stretched half an inch each way.

"'I saw Jenks asking you,' he told me, 'and I won't be behind Jenks.
Besides, it was me told him of the sniper.'

"'It's a change for you two to be worrying over snipers,' I said.

"'Well, you're not grumbling at that, are you, Sergeant?' said he.

"'I am not,' I said. 'And I hope you'll keep it up until we're
relieved.'

"'You watch us,' he answered.

"I did. It was Ruggles that put his bayonet into the machine-gunner
that had knocked out half the company. He took the last two bullets in
his arm and side; and it was Jenks that put himself between Ruggles'
head and the revolver that would have made pulp of it if Jenks hadn't
got the hand that held it. He took the bullet in his cheek.

"I saw them in the dressing-station when the shouting was over.
Ruggles was laughing at what Jenks's face would look like when it was
out of bandages. The bullet had taken away about a third of an ear.
Jenks was cursing because it hurt to laugh back.

"'Never mind,' I said to him with a wink at Ruggles, 'I warrant
there's some little girl who won't laugh at you when you get back
home. She has more to be proud of now than your face.'

"'Then you're wrong, Sergeant,' he answered quietly. 'She's changed
her mind. She's _his_ girl now.'

"I looked at Ruggles. He wouldn't catch my eye, but a blush was
working round towards his neck.

"'And I've changed my mind too,' said Jenks. 'D'you think I'd have
taken those risks I took to-day if there was a girl at home worrying
over every casualty list? A man's a fool to risk breaking a heart to
try to get a medal.'

"'Ay, that's the way you look at it,' said Ruggles, as red as
beetroot. 'But I bet the Sergeant's glad she's changed her mind. I
never knew your equal for a clammy coward, Jim, before she chucked you
up.'

"Jenks began to look black. 'There were two of us, anyway,' he said.

"'P'r'aps there were,' Ruggles agreed cheerily. 'But what's the good
of making a show of your soldiering unless there's someone at home
looking on and caring?'"

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: =INTENSIVE CULTURE FOR FLAT-DWELLERS.= SOWING EARLY
MUSTARD AND CRESS ON WINTER UNDERCLOTHING.]

       *       *       *       *       *


    "The National War Savings Committee is issuing a two-penny cookery
    book, giving a host of simple remedies for economical dishes."
    _Birmingham Daily Mail_.

Some of them do upset the internal economy, no doubt.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "St. Quentin Canal, in spite of the damage reported to have been
    done to it by the Germans, will probably still be an important
    military obstacle. It is, for instance, when full of water, over
    eight feet deep." _Daily News_.

When full of beer it becomes absolutely impassable.

       *       *       *       *       *

Extract from a regimental notice:--

    "I am glad to inform you that a Special Order ... guarantees
    your admission to this Regiment on your release from the Postal
    Service.... If attested and passed into Class A for Service, you
    should apply to your Recruiting Officer, who will post you and
    forward you here on an A.F. B. 216."

An appropriate and convenient arrangement.

       *       *       *       *       *



[Illustration: =ERIN TAKES A TURN AT HER OWN HARP.=

WITH MR. PUNCH'S SINCERE GOOD WISHES FOR THE SUCCESS OF THE IRISH
CONVENTION.]

       *       *       *       *       *


[Illustration: IN HAPPY DAYS TO COME.

_Non-Politician_ (_in remote country-house, to wife on her midnight
return from county town_).

"MABEL, YOU'VE BEEN VOTING."]

       *       *       *       *       *


=ESSENCE OF PARLIAMENT.=

_Monday, May 21st_.--Mr. MACCALLUM SCOTT complained that a question
of his relating to the prohibition of "dropped scones"--which Captain
BATHURST, that encyclopædia of food-lore, described as falling "under
the same category as the crumpet"--had been addressed to the Ministry
of Munitions instead of the Ministry of Food. It was really a venial
error on the part of the Clerk at the Table, for the modern scone
distinctly suggests a missile of offence, and is much more like a
"crump" than a crumpet. If HINDENBURG were acquainted with our London
tea-shops (_consule_ DEVONPORT) he would never have imagined that his
famous phrase about "biting upon granite" would have any terrors for
the British recruit.

When the PRIME MINISTER read from his manuscripts the proposed
conditions of the Irish Convention--how it must include
representatives not only of political parties, but of Churches, trade
unions, commercial and educational interests, and of _Sinn Fein_
itself; and must be prepared to consider every variety of proposal
that might be brought before it--an Irish colleague whispered to me,
"Sure, the Millennium will be over before we get it."

Nothing could have been handsomer than Mr. REDMOND'S welcome to the
proposal. All he was concerned for, I gathered, was that his Unionist
opponents should be generously represented. Ulster, in the person of
Sir JOHN LONSDALE, made no corresponding advance. He would submit
the proposal to his constituents, but not apparently with letters
commendatory.

I daresay Mr. WILLIAM O'BRIEN set out with the honest intention of
blessing the Government plan, of which indeed he claims to be the
"onlie begetter." But the sound of his own voice--in its higher
tones painfully provocative--stimulated him to proceed to a dramatic
indictment of his former colleagues. I felt sorry for the prospective
Chairman, charged with the task of attempting to reconcile these
opposites.

Mr. HEALY, cowering beneath the shelter of his ample hat, as Mr.
O'BRIEN'S arms waved windmill-like above him, must have felt like
_Sancho Panza_ when the _Don_ was in an extra fitful mood; but he kept
silence even from good words.

The briefest and most helpful speech of the afternoon came from Sir
EDWARD CARSON, who, while declaring that he would never desert Ulster,
nevertheless made it plain that Ulster on this occasion should take
her place beside the rest of Ireland. Only Mr. GINNELL remained
obdurate. In his ears the Convention sounds "the funeral dirge of the
Home Rule Act."

[Illustration: PESSIMIST'S DESIGN FOR COSTUME OF CHAIRMAN OF IRISH
CONVENTION.]

_Tuesday, May 22_.--If you should happen to see of a Sabbath morning
a stream of official motor-cars leaving London with freights of the
brave and the fair you may be sure they are going on some National
business. Both the War Office and the Admiralty keep log-books, in
which are faithfully entered--I quote Dr. MACNAMARA--"full particulars
of each journey, the number and description of passengers carried and
the amount of petrol consumed." Do not therefore jump to the hasty
and erroneous conclusion that the gallant fellows and their charming
companions are "joy-riding;" such a thing is unknown in Government
circles.

The HOME SECRETARY moved the second reading of the Representation of
the People Bill with a suavity befitting a CAVE of Harmony; and by
the clearness of his exposition very nearly enabled the House to
understand the mysteries of proportional representation, though even
now I should not like to have to describe off-hand the exact working
of "the single transferable vote."

The opponents of the Bill were well-advised in selecting Colonel
SANDERS as their champion. With his jolly round face, bronzed by the
suns of Palestine, he looks the typical agriculturalist. He may, as
he says, have forgotten in the trenches all the old tricks of the
orator's trade, but he has learned some useful new ones, and while
delighting the House with his sporting metaphors struck some shrewd
blows at a measure which he regards as unfair and inopportune.

For almost the first time since the War Lord HUGH CECIL was discovered
in quite his best form. The House rippled with delight at his refusal
to be forcibly fed with a peptonized concoction, prepared by the
SPEAKER'S Conference in the belief that the Mother of Parliaments was
too old and toothless to chew her own victuals. "This Bill is Benger's
Food, and you, Sir, and your Committee are Bengers."

The SOLICITOR-GENERAL'S solid and solemn arguments in favour of the
Bill fell a little flat after this sparkling attack. He should have
said, "The noble Lord reminds me, not for the first time, of GILBERT'S
'Precocious Infant,' who

  'Turned up his nose at his excellent pap--
    "My friends, it's a tap
    Dat is not worf a rap."
  (Now this was remarkably excellent pap).'"

_Wednesday, May 23rd_--The Russian officers who adorned the
Distinguished Strangers' Gallery this afternoon must be a little
puzzled by the vagaries of British politics. They had been informed,
no doubt, that the most urgent problem of the day was caused by the
desire of one of the British Isles to manage its own affairs. Yet the
first thing they heard at Westminster was the petition of another of
these Isles--that of Man--begging release from the burden of Home Rule
and demanding representation in the Imperial Parliament. Perhaps this
little incident will help our visitors to appreciate why Englishmen
do not invariably form a just judgment of events in other
countries--Russia, for instance.

       *       *       *       *       *


[Illustration: _Our Win-the-War Garden Suburb Enthusiast_ (_as the
storm bursts_). "MADAM! MADAM! WILL YOU KINDLY PUT DOWN YOUR UMBRELLA?
IT'S KEEPING THE RAIN OFF MY ALLOTMENT."]

       *       *       *       *       *

=SONGS OF FOOD PRODUCTION.=

V.

  _Oh, for grapes a-growing
       In Ludgate and the Fleet!
     Cauliflowers blowing
       Down Regent's Street!
     Oranges and Lemons
     Clustered by St. Clemen's,
  And Sea Kale careering past the kerb on London Wall!
  And oh, for private Mushroom beds rolling down the Mall!_

  Motor engines, motor engines, do not wear a bonnet!
  You have artificial heat--grow something on it!
  Precious artificial heat, costly to instal;
  Turn it into a hot-bed, growing food for all!

  _Must_ you have a superstructure? Let it be a hot-house
  Forcing (say) some early peas--the only decent pot-house;
  Oh, if I could only see in walking down the street
  No unpatriotic waste of all that lovely heat!

  _Motor lorries for Marrows!
       Taxis for Nectarines!
     No more coster-barrows,
       But lemon-house Limousines!
     Oh, to see Tomaties
     Skidding by Frascati's!
  Grand heads of Celery passing the Carlton Grill,
  And fine forced Strawberries--forced up Denmark Hill!_

  Hard's the fight with Nature in our uncongenial climate,
  Cuddling plants and coaxing 'em, and oh, the weary time it
  Takes to get a slender crop--we toil the Summer through;
  England, needing quick returns, is looking now to you!

  Food that comes from tropic lands, needing heat upon it,
  You could grow without a thought, if you'd doff your bonnet;
  Thousands of you, growing food on your daily trips,
  Helping to economise the tonnage of our ships.

  _Oh, to count the numbers
       Of Cabbages on the march,
     Jostling with Cucumbers
       Just at the Marble Arch!
     Oh, for Piccadilly's
     Capsicums and Chilies!
  Oh, for Peckham's Peaches (not the sort that's canned),
  And oh, for ripe Bananas roaring down the Strand!_

       *       *       *       *       *

    "A reaper and binder was destroyed, also a foster mother incubator
    with 43 young children."--_Chester Chronicle_.

The paragraph is headed "Fire at a Farm"--a baby-farm, we fear.

       *       *       *       *       *


=IN A GOOD CAUSE.=

On Sunday, June 10th, Mr. GEORGE ROBEY is to give a Concert, at 7
P.M., at the Palladium, in aid of the Metropolitan and City Police
Orphanage, which is in special need of funds on account of the losses
sustained at the Front among members of the Police Force.

Mr. GEORGE ROBEY will be assisted by Miss IRENE VANBRUGH, Miss HELEN
MAR, Mr. JOHN HASSALL, Mr. HARRY DEARTH and others, as well as by
the Royal Artillery String Band, the Canadian Military Choir and the
Metropolitan Police Minstrels.

Tickets are on sale at the National Sunday League Offices, 34, Red
Lion Square, W.C., and applications for boxes will be received
personally by Mr. ROBEY at the Hippodrome.

       *       *       *       *       *

=The Domestic Problem--Two Extremes.=

    "WANTED, Housemaid and Kitchenmaid; Paying Guests."

    "SCULLERY or Between Maid required immediately for Derbyshire;
    wages £218."

    _Morning Post_.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "On Wednesday evening a fire broke out in Mr. J. Elkin's scutch
    mill at Kilmore, near Omagh, which resulted in the complete
    destruction of the premises. It is surmised in the absence of
    anything which would indicate the origin of the outbreak that it
    resulted from a heated journal."--_Belfast News Letter_.

An unusual quantity of inflammatory matter has been observed recently
in the Irish Press.

       *       *       *       *       *


[Illustration: _Past_. THE ARTIST AND THE VILLAGE MAID.

_Present_. THE VILLAGE MAID AND THE ARTIST.]

       *       *       *       *       *

=HEART-TO-HEART TALKS.=

(_Marshal VON HINDENBURG; a Telephone_.)

_The Telephone_. RR-RR-RR-RR.

_The Marshal_. Curse the infernal telephone! A man doesn't get a
moment's peace. Tush, what am I talking about? Who wants peace? If we
were all to be quite candid there might be--

_The Telephone_. Rr-rr.

_The Marshal_. All right, all right, I'm coming. Yes, I'm Marshal VON
HINDENBURG. Who are you? What? I can't hear a single word. You really
must speak up. Louder--louder still, you fool. What? Oh, I really
beg your Majesty's pardon. I assure you it was impossible to hear
distinctly, but it's all right now. I thank your Majesty, I am in my
usual good health. Yes. No, not at all. Yes, I have good hope that we
shall now maintain ourselves for at least two days. Yes, if we are
forced to retire we must say it is according to plan. No, I don't like
it either, but what is to be done? Their guns are more numerous and
heavier than ours, and weight of metal must tell. Will I hold the
line? Yes, certainly, till your Majesty returns and graciously resumes
the conversation. Oh, you didn't mean that line? You meant the
Siegfried line, or the Wotan line, or the Hindenburg line? Yes, I see,
it was a _Witz_, a play of words. Yes, I am sorry I could not at once
see what your Majesty was driving at, but now I see it is good. I must
practise my joking. Ha-ha-ha! Are you there? No, he's gone (_rings
off_). (_To himself_) He is a queer Emperor who is able to make jokes
while his soldiers are dying by thousands and thousands. It can't last
like this--and as for the Hindenburg line, I'm perfectly tired to
death of the words; and the thing itself doesn't exist.

_The Telephone_. Rr-rr-rr-rr.

_The Marshal_. What, again? This is too much--who are you? Who? WHO?
General VON KLUCK? Impossible. General VON KLUCK's dead. What--not
dead? Anyhow, nobody's heard of him for months. If you're really
General VON KLUCK I'm afraid we must consider you to be dead. The
EMPEROR won't regard it as very good taste on your part to come to
life again like this. He's very unforgiving, you know. You don't care?
But, my dear dead General VON KLUCK, you must care. What is it you say
you wanted to do? Congratulate me? What on? My splendid defence of the
Hindenburg line? Now, look here. As one German General to another do
you mean to tell me you believe in the Hindenburg line? No, of course
you don't. You thought I believed in it? Was that what you said? Come,
don't wriggle, though you are a dead man. Yes, that was what you said.
Well, then understand henceforth that there is no Hindenburg line
and there never was anything of the sort. Why am I retreating then?
Because I must. That's the whole secret. Why did _you_ retreat after
your famous oblique march during the Battle of the Marne? Because you
had to, of course. There--that's enough. I can't waste any more time.
What? Oh, yes, you can congratulate me on anything you like except
that. And now you had better return to the grave of your reputation
and remain there (_rings off_).

_The Telephone_. Rr-rr-rr-rr.

_The Marshal_. To h-ll with the telephone! Who is it now? What--an
editor of a newspaper? That's a little bit too thick. What is it
you want? To thank God for that masterpiece of bold cunning, the
Hindenburg line? Is that what you want? Well, make haste, for the
masterpiece doesn't exist. No, I'm not joking. I can't joke. Enough
(_rings off_).

       *       *       *       *       *


[Illustration: _Nervous Recruit_ (_on guard for the first time_).
"HALT, FRIEND! WHO GOES THERE?"]

       *       *       *       *       *

=THE HOUSE-MASTER.=

  Four years I spent beneath his rule,
    For three of which askance I scanned him,
  And only after leaving school
    Came thoroughly to understand him;
  For he was brusque in various ways
    That jarred upon the modern mother,
  And scouted as a silly craze
    The theory of the "elder brother."

  Renowned at Cambridge as an oar
    And quite distinguished as a wrangler,
  He felt incomparably more
    Pride in his exploits as an angler;
  He held his fishing on the Test
    Above the riches of the Speyers,
  And there he lured me, as his guest,
    Into the ranks of the "dry-flyers."

  He made no fetish of the cane
    As owning any special virtue,
  But held the discipline of pain,
    When rightly earned, would never hurt you;
  With lapses of the normal brand
    I think he dealt most mercifully,
  But chastened with a heavy hand
    The sneak, the liar and the bully.

  We used to criticise his boots,
    His simple tastes in food and fiction,
  His everlasting homespun suits,
    His leisurely old-fashioned diction;
  And yet we had the saving _nous_
    To recognise no worse disaster
  Could possibly befall the House
    Than the removal of its Master.

  For though his voice was deep and gruff,
    And rumbled like a motor-lorry,
  He showed the true angelic stuff
    If any one was sick or sorry;
  So when pneumonia, doubly dread,
    Of breath had nearly quite bereft me,
  He  watched three nights beside my bed
    Until the burning fever left me.

  He served three Heads with equal zeal
    And equal absence of ambition;
  He knew his power, and did not feel
    The least desire for recognition;
  But shrewd observers, who could trace
    Back to their source results far-reaching,
  Saw the true Genius of the Place
    Embodied in his life and teaching.

  The War's deep waters o'er him rolled
    As he beheld Young England giving
  Life prodigally, while the old
    Lived on without the cause for living;
  And yet he never heaved a sigh
    Although his heart was inly riven;
  He only craved one boon--to die
    In harness, and the boon was given.

       *       *       *       *       *

=Vicarious Parenthood.=

    "DABRERA.--Yesterday, at 6.55 a.m. 'Shernery,' Bambalapitiya,
    to Mr. and Mrs. Ossy Dabrera a daughter. Grand parents doing
    well."--_Ceylon Independent_.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Mr. J.H. Minns (Carlisle) charged the brewers of his city with
    allowing their tenants to be placed under the heel of the Control
    Board.... It was the cloven hoof of the unseen hand that the trade
    had to face in Carlisle."--_Derby Daily Express_.

Mr. MINNS must cheer up. The Trade has only to wait for

    "That auspicious day when the velvet glove will be stripped for
    ever from the cloven hoof of the German Eagle."--_London Opinion_.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The fact that a few girls earn abnormal wages has obscured in the
    public mind the the Board to accept the gift a Bill is to be
    age girl working 48 hours a week earned only 18s. or 19s. a
    week."--_Daily Paper_.

This statement should go far to clear up the obscurity in the public
mind.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Mr. ---- gave one of his popular lectures on 'Alcohol' and its
    effects on March the 30th in the Wesleyan school."--_True Blue
    Magazine_.

What exactly did happen on March 30th in the Wesleyan school?

       *       *       *       *       *

    "WANTED, Smart Workman, aged 80, and exempt from military
    service, as handy man; must be steady; a job for life for careful
    man."--_Cambria Daily Leader_.

He must be particularly careful to guard against premature decease.

       *       *       *       *       *


[Illustration: _Waitress_. "WE HAVE A VERY REALISTIC MOCK-POTATO
SOUP."]

       *       *       *       *       *

=EMILY'S MISSION.=

It was all through Emily that I am to-day the man I am.

We were extraordinarily lucky to get her; there was no doubt about
that. Her testimonials or character or references or whatever it is
that they come to you with were just the last word. Even the head of
the registry-office, a frigid thin-lipped lady of some fifty winters,
with an unemotional cold-mutton eye, was betrayed, in speaking of
Emily, into a momentary lapse from the studied English of her normal
vocabulary.

"Madam," she said to my wife, "I have known many housemaids, but never
one like this. She is, I assure you, Madam, absolutely IT."

So we engaged her; and ere long I came to hate her with a hatred such
as I trust I shall never again cherish for any human being.

In almost every respect she proved perfection. She was honest, she
was quick, she was clean; she loved darning my socks and ironing my
handkerchiefs; she never sulked, she never smashed, her hair never
wisped (a thing I loathe in housemaids). In one point only she failed,
failed more completely than any servant I have ever known. She would
not make my shaving-water really hot.

Cursed by nature with an iron-filings beard and a delicate tender
skin, I was a man for whom it was impossible to shave with comfort in
anything but absolutely boiling water. Yet morning after morning I
sprang from my bed to find the contents of my jug just a little over
or under the tepid mark. There was no question of re-heating the
water on the gas stove, for I never allowed myself more than the very
minimum of time for dressing, swallowing my breakfast and catching my
train. It was torture.

I spoke to Emily about it, mildly at first, more forcibly as the weeks
wore on, passionately at last. She apologised, she sighed, she wrung
her hands. Once she wept--shed hot scalding tears, tears I could
gladly have shaved in had they fallen half-an-hour earlier. But it
made no difference; next morning my water was as chill as ever.
I could not understand it. Every day my wrath grew blacker, my
reproaches more vehement.

Finally an hour came when I said to my wife, "One of two things must
happen. Either that girl goes or I grow a beard."

Mildred shook her head. "We can't possibly part with her. We should
never get another servant like her."

"Very well," I said.

On the morrow I started for my annual holiday, alone. It was late
summer. I journeyed into the wilds of Wiltshire. I took two rooms in
an isolated cottage, and on the first night of my stay, before getting
into bed, I threw my looking-glass out of the window. Next morning
I began. Day by day I tramped the surrounding country, avoiding all
intercourse with humanity, and day by day my beard grew.

I could feel it growing, and the first scrubbiness of it filled me
with rage. But as time slipped by it became softer and more pliable,
and ceased to irritate me. Freed, too, from the agony of shaving, I
soon found myself eating my breakfast in a more equable frame of mind
than I had enjoyed for years. I began also to notice in my walks all
sorts of things that had not struck me at first--the lark a-twitter
in the blue, the good smell of wet earth after rain, the pale gold of
ripening wheat. And at last, before ever I saw it, very gradually I
came to love my beard, to love the warm comfort and cosiness of it,
and to wonder half timidly what it looked like.

When I left, just before my departure for the six-miles-distant
station, I called for a looking-glass. They brought me a piece of the
one I had cast away. It was very small, but it served my purpose. I
gazed and heaved a sigh of rapturous content; a sigh that came from my
very heart. My beard was short and thick, its colour a deep glorious
brown, with golden lights here and there where the sunbeams danced in
some lighter cluster of its curling strands. A beard that a king might
wear.

I have never shaved again. Every morning now, while untold millions
of my suffering fellows are groaning beneath their razors, I steal an
extra fifteen minutes from the day and lie and laugh inside my beard.

"And what of Emily?" you ask.

Almost immediately after my return she left us. She gave no reason.
She was not unhappy, she said. She wished to make a change, that was
all. To this day my wife cannot account for her departure. But I know
why she went. Emily was a patriot with a purpose. A month after she
parted from us I received a letter from her:--

"Dear Sir,--May I ask you to take into consideration the fact that
by having ceased to shave you will in future be effecting a slight
economy in your daily expenditure? Might I also suggest to you
that during the remainder of the War you should make a voluntary
contribution to the national exchequer of every shilling saved under
this head? The total sum will not be large, but everything counts.
Yours is, if I may be allowed to say so, the finest beard I have been
instrumental in producing during my two and a half years' experience
in domestic service. I am now hard at work on my sixth case, which is
approaching its crisis.

Apologising for any temporary inconvenience I may have caused you, I
am,

Yours faithfully, EMILY JOHNSON,

  _Foundress and President of the
  Housemaids' Society for the
  Promotion of Patriotic Beards._"

I never showed the letter to my wife, but I have acted on Emily's
suggestion. I often think of her still, her whole soul afire with her
patriotic mission, flitting, the very flower of housemaids, from home
to home, lingering but a little while in each, in each content for
that little while to be loathed and stormed at by an exasperated
shaver, whom she transforms into a happy bearded contributor to her
fund.

       *       *       *       *       *


=Another Impending Apology.=

    "This terrible fire roused hundreds of people from their beds,
    and a great crowd gathered in the adjoining streets; but
    Sub-divisional Inspector Stock and Inspector Ping were on the spot
    within a few months after receiving the call."--_Westminster and
    Pimlico News_.

       *       *       *       *       *


[Illustration: _Cowman_ (_to new recruit, Women's Land Army_). "YOU
GET BEHIND THAT THERE WATER-BUTT. MEBBE COWS WON'T COME IN IF THEY SEE
YOU IN THAT THERE RIG."]

       *       *       *       *       *

=THE FIFTEEN TRIDGES.=

Once upon a time there was a flourishing covey of fifteen: Pa Tridge,
Ma Tridge, and thirteen little Tridges, all brown and speckled and
very chirpy. They had been born in a hollow under some big leaves
beside a hedge, and they now moved about the earth, pushing their way
through the grass, all keeping close together when they could, and
setting up no end of a piping when they couldn't and thought they were
lost.

It was a large family from our point of view, and larger perhaps than
a prudent French partridge would approve, but the world is wide, and
there are no butcher's or baker's or tailor's or dress-maker's bills
to pay for little birds. All that a Pa and Ma Tridge have to do after
fledging is complete is to look out for cats and hawks and foxes, to
beware of the feet of clumsy cattle, and to administer correction and
advice. Above all there are no school bills, made so doubly ridiculous
among ourselves by German measles and other epidemics during which
no learning is imparted, but for which, educationalists being a wily
crew, no rebate is offered.

There being so little to be done for their young, it is no wonder, in
a didactic and over-articulate world, that parent Tridges take almost
too kindly to sententiousness; and young Tridges, being so numerous as
to constitute a public meeting in themselves, are specially liable to
admonishment.

It was therefore that, strolling aimlessly amid the herbage or the
young wheat with their audience all about them, Pa and Ma Tridge got
into a habit of counsel which threatened to become so chronic that
there was a danger of its dulling their sensibility to the approach of
September the first.

"Never," Pa Tridge would say, "criticise anyone or anything on
hearsay. See for yourself and then make up your own mind; but don't
hurry to put it into words."

"Tell the truth as often as possible," Pa Tridge would say. "It is
not only better citizenship to do so, but it makes things easier for
yourself in the long run."

"Always bear in mind," Ma Tridge would say, "that after one has
married one's cook she ceases to cook."

"Never tell anyone," Pa Tridge would say, "who it was you saw in the
spinney with Mr. Jay or Mrs. Woodpecker."

"Indeed," he would add, "you might make a note that the world would
not come to a miserable end if everyone was born dumb"--but he was
very glad not to be dumb himself.

"Even though you should get on intimate terms with a pheasant," Ma
Tridge would say, "don't brag about it."

"Forgive, but don't forget," Pa Tridge would say.

"Remember," Pa Tridge would say, "that, though it may be wiser to say
No, most of the fun and all the adventure of the world have come from
saying Yes."

"Bear in mind," Ma Tridge would say--but that is more than enough of
the tiresome old bores.

And after each piece of advice the little Tridges would all say,
"Right-O!"

And then one night--these being English Tridges in an English early
summer--a terrible frost set in which lasted long enough to kill the
whole covey, partly by cold and partly by starvation, so that all the
good counsels were wasted.

But on the chance that one or two of them may be applicable to human
life I have jotted them down here. One never knows which is grain and
which chaff until afterwards.

       *       *       *       *       *


=OUR BOOKING-OFFICE.=

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

We have had many studies of the War, in various aspects, from our
own army. Now in _My ·75_ (HEINEMANN) there comes a record of the
impressions of a French gunner during the first year of fighting. It
is a book of which I should find it difficult to speak too highly.
PAUL LINTIER, the writer, had, it is clear, a gift for recording
things seen with quite unusual sharpness of effect. His word-pictures
of the mobilisation, the departure for the Front, and the fighting
from the Marne to the Aisne (where he was wounded and sent home) carry
one along with a suspense and interest and quite personal emotion that
are a tribute to their artistry. His death (the short preface tells us
that, having returned to the Front, he was killed in action in March,
1916) has certainly robbed France of one who should have made a
notable figure in her literature. The style, very distinctive, shows
poetic feeling and a rare and beautiful tenderness of thought, mingled
with an acceptance of the brutality of life and war that is seen in
the vivid descriptions of incidents that our own gentler writers would
have left untold. The horror of some of these passages makes the book
(I should warn you) not one for shaken nerves. But there can be no
question of its very unusual interest, nor of the skill with which its
translator, who should surely be acknowledged upon the title-page, has
preserved the vitality and appeal of the original.


[Illustration: _Tommy_ (_who has made a find in a German dug-out_).
"_NOW_, ALBERT, AREN'T YOU GLAD YOU CAME? WHY, THESE CIGARS IN LONDON
WOULD COST YOU CLOSE ON A TANNER APIECE."]

       *       *       *       *       *

The author of _Helen of Four Gates_ (JENKINS) has chosen to hide her
identity and call herself simply "An Ex-Mill Girl." I am sufficiently
sorry for this to hope that, if the story meets with the success that
I should certainly predict for it, a lady of such unusual gifts may
allow us to know her name. Of these gifts I have no doubt whatever. As
a tale _Helen of Four Gates_ is crude, unnatural, melodramatic; but
the power (brutality, if you prefer) of its telling takes away the
critical breath. Whether in real life anyone could have nursed a
lifelong hatred as old _Mason_ did (personally I cherish the belief
that hatred is too evanescent an emotion for a life-tenancy of the
human mind; but I may be wrong); whether he would have bribed a casual
tramp to marry and torment the reputed daughter who was the object of
his loathing, or whether _Day_ and _Helen_ herself would actually so
have played into his hands, are all rather questionable problems.
Far more real, human and moving is the wild passion of _Helen_ for
_Martin_, whom (again questionably as to truth) her enemies frighten
away from her. A grim story, you begin to observe, but one altogether
worth reading. To compare things small (as yet) with great, I might
call it a lineal descendant of _Wuthering Heights_, both in setting
and treatment. There is indeed more than a hint of the BRONTË touch
about the Ex-Mill Girl. For that and other things I send her (whoever
she is) my felicitations and good wishes.

       *       *       *       *       *

I wonder if Mr. (or Mrs. or Miss) E.K. WEEKES would understand me if I
put my verdict upon _The Massareen Affair_ (ARNOLD) into the form of
a suggestion that in future its author would be well advised to keep
quiet. Not with any meaning that he or she should desist from the
pursuit of fiction; on the contrary, there are aspects of _The
Massareen Affair_ that are more than promising--vigorous and
unconventional characters, a gift of lively talk, and so on. But all
this only operates so long as the tale remains in the calm waters of
the ordinary; later, when it puts forth upon the sea of melodrama, I
am sorry to record that this promising vessel comes as near shipwreck
as makes no difference. To drop metaphor, the group of persons
surrounding the unhappily-wedded _Anthony Massareen_--_Claudia_, who
attempts to rescue him and his two boys, the boys themselves, and the
clerical family whose fortunes are affected by their proximity to
the _Massareens_--all these are well and credibly drawn. But when
we arrive at the fanatic wife of _Anthony_, in her Welsh castle,
surrounded by rocks and blow-holes, and finally to that last great
scene, where (if I followed events accurately) she trusses her
ex-husband like a fowl, and trundles him in a wheel-barrow to the pyre
of sacrifice, not the best will in the world could keep me convinced
or even decorously thrilled. So I will content myself with repeating
my advice to a clever writer in future to ride imagination on the
curb, and leave you to endorse this or not as taste suggests.

       *       *       *       *       *

I am seriously thinking of chaining _Grand Fleet Days_ (HODDER AND
STOUGHTON) to my bookcase, for it is written by the author of _In
the Northern Mists_, a book which has destroyed the morality of my
friends. Be assured that I am not formulating any grave charge against
the anonymous Chaplain of the Fleet who has provided us with these
two delightful volumes; I merely wish to say that nothing can prevent
people from purloining the first, and that drastic measures will have
to be taken if I am to retain the second. In these dialogues and
sketches I do not find quite so much spontaneity as in the first
volume; once or twice it is even possible to imagine that the author,
after taking pen in hand, was a little perplexed to find a subject to
write about. But that is the beginning and the end of my complaint.
Once again we have a broad-minded humour and the revelation of a most
attractive personality. Above all we see our Grand Fleet as it is;
and, if the grumblers would only read and soundly digest what our
Chaplain has to say their question would be, "What is our Navy _not_
doing?"

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The sight was wonderful. From the grand lodge entrance to the
    lake-side quite 3,000 blue-breeched khaki-coated men and nurses
    lined one side of the long drive."--_Manchester Evening News_.

It must indeed have been a wonderful sight. Nevertheless we hope that
nurses generally will stick to their traditional uniform.

       *       *       *       *       *





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