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Title: Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 158, March 3rd, 1920
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 158, March 3rd, 1920" ***

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VOL. 158.

March 3rd, 1920.


A lunatic who recently escaped from an asylum was eventually recaptured in
a large dancing-hall in the West-End. The fact that he was waltzing
divinely and keeping perfect time with the music aroused the other dancers'
suspicions and led to his recapture.

* * *

The latest type of Tank, Mr. WINSTON CHURCHILL informed the House of
Commons, weighs thirty tons and can pass over a brick without crushing it.
It is said to be modelled on the Profiteering Act.

* * *

The proposal of the HOME SECRETARY to add fifty per cent. to taxi-cab fares
and abolish the initial charge of sixpence is said to find favour both with
owners and drivers. The men in particular have always chafed at the
necessity of messing about with small silver.

* * *

Much sympathy is felt locally for the man who in the excitement caused by
the declaration of the poll at Paisley lost his corkscrew.

* * *

"The ex-Kaiser was responsible for the War," says the _Kölnische Zeitung_.
Our Hush-hush Department seems to have grown very lax of late.

* * *

A welcome case of judicial sympathy is reported from West London. It
appears that a Society lady charged with shop-lifting pleaded that she was
the sole support of two kennel-ridden poodles, and was immediately

* * *

The Press reports the existence of miles and miles of war-material in huge
dumps near Calais and Boulogne. War Office officials, we hear, are greatly
relieved, as they have been trying for several months to remember where
they had left the stuff.

* * *

A lady with small capital would like to meet another similarly situated,
with a view to the joint purchase of a reel of thread.

* * *

At Jerusalem a tree has been uprooted whose fall is locally believed to
presage the destruction of the Turkish Empire. It is only fair to the tree
to point out that if it had known of this it would probably, like the
Government, have changed its mind at the last minute.

* * *

"One of the problems of civilized humanity," says a writer in _The Daily
Mail_, "is the avoidance of pain-producing elements in ordinary diet."
Nowadays it is impossible to eat even so simple a thing as a boiled egg in
a restaurant without the risk of being stung.

* * *

The identity of the gentleman who, under the initials "A.G.," recently
advertised in the Press for the thyroid gland of _Proteus diplomaticus_
remains unrevealed.

* * *

It appears that the Government have undertaken not to engage in any more
war with the Bolshevists, if they, for their part, will endeavour to quell
the peace which is still raging.

* * *

"Englishmen will never forget America," says a Service paper. For ourselves
we had hoped that the American bacon affair was closed.

* * *

A burglar broke into a barrister's chambers in the Temple last week. We
understand that he got away without having any money taken off him.

* * *

A woman who said she had had six husbands asked a London magistrate to
grant her a separation. It is supposed that she is breaking up her

* * *

Owing to the thick fog experienced in London, last week several daylight
hold-ups were unavoidably postponed.

* * *

With the present fashion in ladies' wear many owners of beautiful brooches
are in the unhappy position of having nothing to attach them to.

* * *

In order to raise funds for the building of a new church-porch in a
Birmingham parish a member of the committee suggested the sale of small
flags in the street. Struck by the originality of this novel idea the
chairman agreed to go into the matter in order to see if it was

* * *

A farmer writing from Bridgnorth, Salop, to a daily paper states that he
has a tame fox which guards the house at night and shepherds the sheep by
day. We understand that the Dogs' Trade Union takes a serious view of the
whole matter, but is not without hope of being able to avert a strike.

* * *

The real value of co-operation was illustrated the other day on the
Underground Railway when a lady complained that a straphanger was standing
on her foot. Word was immediately passed down the carriage, with the result
that by a combined swaying movement in one direction the offender was
enabled to remove his foot.

* * *

It is estimated that three hundred and forty thousand persons made fortunes
out of the War. Of these it is only fair to say that the number who
actually encouraged the War to happen are few. The vast majority simply
allowed it to come along and do its worst.

* * *

The Corporation of London made £18 on the sale of waste paper in the year
1919-1920, as compared with over £9000 in the year 1918-1919. It looks as
if in the last-named year the Corporation was in communication with a
Government Department.

* * *

"Why will not Scotsmen eat eels?" asks _The Manchester Guardian_. We cannot
say, but we have always understood that the attitude is reciprocal.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "HAVE YOU ANY--ER--HATS?"]

       *       *       *       *       *


  It was a stainless patriot, who could not bear to fight
  For England the oppressor, or own that she was right;
  But when the War was over, to show his martial breed,
  He shot down three policemen and made a woman bleed.

       *       *       *       *       *



  Welcome, for Old Long Since's sake,
    Home to your ancient seat!
  It needed only this to make
    My cup of joy complete;
  The weary waiting time is past;
    The yawning vacuum is mended;
  And here we have you back at last--
    Oh, HERBERT, this is splendid!

  As one whose wisdom overflows
    With human nature's lore,
  You know they make the keenest foes
    Who have been friends before;
  We loved as only Liberals do
    Until their rival sabres rattle
  And Greek joins Greek (like me and you)--
    Then is the tug of battle.

  As an old Parliamentary hand
    Familiar with the ropes,
  Those perils you will understand
    With which a Premier copes
  Whose big battalions run to seed,
    Having indulged a taste for slacking,
  And let their muscles moult for need
    Of foemen worth the whacking.

  Such was my case. By habit's use
    They still obeyed the whip,
  But loyal zeal grew limp and loose
    And things were left to rip;
  I had no hope to stay the rot
    And fortify their old affections
  (Save for the stimulus they got
    From losing by-elections).

  Daily I took, to keep me fit,
    My tonic in _The Times_;
  Daily recovered tone and grit
    Reading about my crimes;
  But one strong foe is what we lack
    To put us on our best behaviour;
  That's why in you I welcome back
    The Coalition's saviour.


       *       *       *       *       *


"It is Our Royal pleasure to will and declare one diamond," said the VIRGIN
QUEEN, when the Keeper of the Privy Purse had arranged her hand for her.
Sir WALTER RALEIGH, who sat on her left, was on his feet in a twinkling.
"Like to like, 'twas ever thus," he murmured, bowing low to his Sovereign.
"I crave leave to call two humble clubs, as becometh so mean a subject of
Your Majesty," It is not known whether his allusion to the QUEEN'S call was
intended to refer to the diamond rings upon HER MAJESTY'S fingers or to the
scintillating glint in HER MAJESTY'S eyes, but she inclined her head
graciously in acknowledgment of his remarks before turning to her partner.

"What say you, my Lord of LEICESTER?" she asked. "Wilt support a poor weak
woman?" His Lordship, however, looked down his noble nose and said nothing
for quite a long time. He found himself, to use a vulgar phrase, in the
_consommé_. His hand contained the ace, king and six other spades, nothing
to write home about in hearts or clubs, and one small diamond. To take from
his partner the right to play the hand would be the act of a fool--the mere
thought made him raise a hand to his neck as though to assure himself of
its continuity. Even failure to support her call would be looked on as
ungallant, if nothing worse.

"How now, sirrah? Art sleeping in Our presence?" prompted the QUEEN

The EARL swallowed noisily once or twice, just to show that he was awake,
and then plunged.

"An it please you, Madam, two diamonds," he muttered, with but a sorry show
of his habitual arrogance.

"Double!" said Sir FRANCIS DRAKE in crisp seamanlike tones, whereat the
Earl of LEICESTER was seen to fumble for the hilt of his rapier.

"Stay, my Lord," his liege commanded; "'tis true the Knight hath left his
manners in Devonshire, or on the Spanish main mayhap, but keep your brawl
for an hour and place more fitting. We redouble."

A momentary silence followed the QUEEN'S discourse, cut short by the
uncouth ejaculation "'Ods fish!" which escaped from Sir FRANCIS apparently
without his consent. He embarked on an apology at once, based on the fact
that he was but an honest sailor; but, meeting with no encouragement, he
gave it up and fell to sucking his teeth.

Sir WALTER meanwhile made good use of the interval to perfect a flower of
speech signifying, in a manner worthy a courtier of his reputation, that he
was content. His effort drew from the QUEEN a glance as nearly approaching
the "glad eye" as any that august spinster was ever known to dispense. The
Laird of Kenilworth announced that he also was content; but historians
should accept the statement with reserve. Sir FRANCIS either wasn't sure
whether the rules of the game allowed him to double again, or else had just
enough tact not to do so. The game then proceeded.

Sir WALTER led the ace of clubs. The appearance of the noble lord's
solitary little diamond, as he laid down his hand, was greeted by a loud
hiccough from the old salt, and the QUEEN herself was only saved from
swooning by the timely administrations of a page with a flask of sal-

When, fourth in hand, she trumped the honest sailor's ace, her partner had
the hardihood to make conventional inquiry as to whether she had any clubs.
HER MAJESTY uttered in reply the one dreadful word, "Treason," thus
avoiding with true statesmanship any direct answer to the question, and
indicating clearly her opinion of his two-diamond call. The Keeper of the
Privy Purse shot out a lean hand and gathered in the trick.

With the help of the ace of spades in dummy, the ace of hearts in her own
hand, and a discriminating use of her Royal prerogative in the matter of
following suit, all went well until the odd trick had been won. After that,
however, Sir FRANCIS, who had not doubled without good reason, proceeded to
deal out six diamonds, led by the ace, king and queen. His partner unwisely
allowed his feelings to get the better of him. "As WILL SHAKSPEARE hath
it," he observed with unction, "'now is the winter of our discontent made
glorious summer--'" but stopped on a sudden, with ears and scalp twitching

"Ho without! Summon the guard!" roared the last of the Tudors, and
immediately an N.C.O. and six private beef-eaters appeared on the scene.
"Convey Our compliments to the Governor of the Tower," she continued,
addressing the N.C.O., "and bid him confine the Earl of LEICESTER during
Our pleasure. My Lord," she added, turning to her luckless partner, "'twere
well, methinks, you should have leisure in which to reflect on the folly of
trifling with a woman."

It is greatly to the EARL'S credit that at this point he made strenuous
endeavours to surrender his sword in accordance with the drill-book, but as
it refused to come out of its scabbard he was obliged to unbutton the frog
from his belt and hand over the weapon complete with leather gear. This
formality achieved, he was led away to durance vile.

Sir FRANCIS, poor fellow, fared scarcely better than the Earl. "Begone to
sea, Sir Knight," hissed the QUEEN; "mayhap the Dons will teach you more
becoming manners. Begone, I say, and look to 't your ships return not
empty, else shall you not receive payment of your winnings."

Sir FRANCIS went.

A glance at the pitiable condition of Sir WALTER caused HER MAJESTY'S heart
to soften somewhat. "Come, Sir," she cooed, "an arm, prithee, and We will
seek a place where you may read to Us the mummings of this strange bard,

Sir WALTER at once regained control of his nerve-centres and escorted HER
MAJESTY from the painful scene.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE ELUSIVE PEST.



       *       *       *       *       *




       *       *       *       *       *


The "rockerty-tockerty-tock" refrain of the carriage-wheels below me
changed into a jarring whine as the train came to a full stop. I looked out
on a dim-lit platform which seemed to be peopled only by a squad of
milk-cans standing shoulder to shoulder like Noah's Ark soldiers.

As the engine shrieked and plunged into its collar again the door was
jerked open and a man projected himself into the carriage and, opening the
window so that the compartment was flooded with cold air, leaned out and
resumed his conversation with a friend till the train bore him out of
shouting range. He then pulled up the window, trod on my foot, sat on my
lap and eventually came to rest on the seat opposite me.

It was a small man, red of head and bright of eye. He wore his cap at the
back of his head, so as to exhibit to an admiring world a carefully-
cultured curl of the "quiff" variety, which was plastered across his
forehead with a great expenditure of grease. His tie was a ready-made bow
of shot-colours, red, green, blue and purple, and from his glittering
watch-chain hung many fanciful medals, like soles upon a line.

"Brother-in-law to me," he remarked, jerking his thumb towards the
back-rushing lights of Exeter.

"Who?" I inquired.

"That young feller I was talking to just now. Didn't you see me talking to
a young feller?"

"Oh, yes, I believe I did hear you talking to somebody."

"Well, him. Married a sister to me, so he's my brother-in-law, ain't he?"


"Well, you're wrong then. He's only a half-brother-in-law, because she is
only a half-sister to me, her ma marrying my old man. Understand?"

I said I did and pulled up my rug as a signal that I was going to sleep and
the conversation was at an end.

"Anyhow, whatever he is, he's good enough for her."

I remarked that that was most satisfactory and closed my eyes.

He drew out a yellow packet of cigarettes, selected one and held them in my
direction. I declined and again closed my eyes.

"Very good, please yourself, it's one more for little Willie. All I can say
is that you're foolish not taking a good fag when it don't cost you
nothing. You don't catch me refusing a free fag even when I don't want to
smoke. I takes it and puts it in my cap for when I do. Pounds I've saved
that way, pounds and pounds."

He lit his limp tube of paper and mystery, stamped out the match and spat
deliberately on the floor.

"See me do that?"

I nodded with as much disgust as I could contrive.

"Know what them notices say I can get for that? Fined or imprisoned."

He paused for me to marvel at his daring.

"Think I'm mad to take risks like that, don't cher? Well, I aren't neither.
They couldn't catch me out, not they."

He brushed some ash off his lap on to mine and winked sagely.

"Suppose the guard was to come in here and start fining and imprisoning me
for it, do you know what I'd do? I'd swear _you_ did it."

"But I should deny it," I retorted hotly.

"Of course you would, old chum, and I shouldn't blame you neither, but you
wouldn't stand no chance against me"--he leaned forward and tapped me on
the knee as though to emphasize his words--"_I could lie your life away_."

He sank back in his seat, his face aglow with conscious superiority. The
clamour of the wheels increased as if they were live things burning with
the fever of some bloodthirsty hunt.

"Firing her up," said the red man; "always racing time, these passenger
wagons. It's a dog's life and no blooming error." He prodded my foot with
his. "I said 'it's a dog's life and no error.'"

"What is?" I growled.

"Engine-driving, of course. I'm on the road myself. Goods-pushing just now,
but I've been on the expresses off and on, though it don't suit me--too
much flaring hurry."

He rattled off into technicalities of his trade, embroidered with tales of
hair-bristling adventures and escapes.

"Yes, old chum, there's more in our trade than what most fat-headed
passengers thinks. As long as an accident don't occur they don't know what
trouble we've been to avoiding of it. I've a good mind to give 'em a
smash-up now and again just to teach 'em gratitood. F'instance, me and me
mate was running a local down Ilfracombe way last week when what d'you
think we runned into?"

"Ilfracombe?" I hazarded sleepily.

"An old cow! Now what d' you think of that?"

"It was so much the worse for the coo," I quoted.

"What say?"

"It was so much the worse for the cow."

"Worse for the cow?"

"So GEORGE STEPHENSON said, and he invented the locomotive and ought to
know, you'll admit."

The little man stared at me, his mouth open; for once he seemed bereft of
words. We had slowed to a momentary stop, in a small station and pulled out
again before he regained control of his tongue, then he broke loose.

"No, I don't admit it neither. I don't care if your friend George invented
the moon, he talks like a fool, and you can tell him so from me."

"I can't, unfortunately; he's--"

"A chap that talks disrespectful and ignorant of cows like that didn't
oughter be allowed to live. A cow is one of the worstest things you can run
up against. I'd rather run into a row of brick houses than one of them
nasty leathery old devils; and you can hand the information to your chum

"I tell you I can't; he's--"

"Ask any driver or fireman on the road, and if he don't slip you one with a
shovel for your withering ignorance he'll tell you just what I'm telling
you now. Yes, you and your funny friend."

"Look here, GEORGE STEPHENSON has been--"

"Let your funny friend try running into a cow just for 'speriment. Just let
him try it once. They tangle up in your bogies, all slippery bones and
hide, slither along with you a yard or two, and the next thing you know is
you're over an embankment and your widder is putting in for insurance. Tell
your pal George from me."

The brakes ground on and the lights of a station flickered past the

"My gosh!" exclaimed the red-headed man, springing to his feet, "this is
Cullumpton, and I ought to have got out at the station before." He wrestled
with the door-handle. "And it's all through sitting here listening to your
everlasting damfool chatter about you and your friend George."

"Who died forty years before I was born," said I. "Good night."


       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Robinson._ "IT'S ABOUT TIME YOU CHAPS STARTED TO DO


       *       *       *       *       *


"Another _Parsifal_ ought to be written from the angle of Klingsor, who was
an enlightened Arabian, physician, scientist and probably Aristotelian....
The Knights, and Wagner with them, call him a wizard, which was a crude
mediæval way of 'slanging' any man who preferred knowledge to

This remarkable utterance by the musical critic of _The Daily Mail_ in the
issue of February 25th has created a sensation in the political world fully
equal to that caused by the announcement of Mr. ASQUITH'S return for
Paisley. Scientific and artistic circles have also been deeply moved.

Sir PHILIP SASSOON, Mr. LLOYD GEORGE'S new secretary, interviewed by our
representative, said that the tribute to his chief was all the more welcome
considering its source. His only criticism was that, instead of calling the
charge of wizardry a "crude mediæval" mode of invective, he should prefer
to style it an ultra-modern application of the art of obloquy.

Sir OLIVER LODGE, in a wireless message from New York, entirely approved of
_The Daily Mail's_ reading of KLINGSOR'S character. He was clearly a
scientist and a spiritualist of remarkable attainments. The defection of
_Kundry_ to the side of the Knights was a sad instance--but not without
modern parallels--of the unrelenting pressure exerted on weak women by the
zealots of orthodoxy.

Mr. A.B. WALKLEY said that he had long suspected KLINGSOR of being a
crypto-Aristotelian, but the arguments of the writer in _The Daily Mail_
had converted his suspicion to a certainty. He proposed to deal with the
matter more fully in an imaginary dialogue between KLINGSOR and Sir OSWALD
STOLL (who was a devout follower of HERBERT SPENCER) which would shortly
appear in _The Times_.

Mr. DEVANT professed himself delighted with the vindication of KLINGSOR,
who was undoubtedly, like ROGER BACON, a first-rate conjurer, far in
advance of his time, and with limited resources was yet capable of
producing illusions which would not have disgraced the stage of St.
George's Hall.

The Archbishop of CANTERBURY excused himself from pronouncing a definite
opinion on the subject, but pointed out that it would doubtless come within
the purview of the inquiry into Spiritualism undertaken by high clerical

Mr. JACOB EPSTEIN made the gratifying announcement that he was engaged on a
colossal statue of Mr. LLOYD GEORGE in the character of the modern
_Merlin_. His treatment might not commend itself to the leaders of
Nonconformity in Wales, but his own artistic conscience was clear, and he
felt he could count on the benevolent sympathy of the Northcliffe Press.

The Editor of _The Times_ strongly demurred to the statement that KLINGSOR
was an Arabian. The great authority on KLINGSOR was the anonymous
thirteenth-century epic poem on _Lohengrin_, the father of _Parsifal_, and
he had no doubt (1) that the author was either a Czecho-Slovak or a
Yugo-Slav; (2) that KLINGSOR, as the etymology suggested, was of the latter
race. In these circumstances the attempt to establish an affinity between
Mr. LLOYD GEORGE and KLINGSOR was nothing short of an outrage, which might
have disastrous results on our relations with the new States of Central

Mr. J. MAYNARD KEYNES observed that the characterisation of Mr. LLOYD
GEORGE, implicit in the defence of KLINGSOR made by the musical critic of
_The Daily Mail_, indirectly confirmed his own impressions. It was true
that the PREMIER did not physically resemble an Arab sheikh, and his
knowledge of medicine, science or philosophy, to say nothing of geography,
was decidedly jejune, but the sad case of President WILSON made it all too
clear that he was capable of exerting a hypnotic influence on his
colleagues. Mr. KEYNES did not think Mr. LLOYD GEORGE was an Aristotelian;
he preferred to consider him an unconscious Pragmatist. This view he
proposed to develop in his forthcoming volume on the Subliminal Conscience
of Nonconformity.

       *       *       *       *       *


[Many mules are appearing upon the streets of London and are showing an
extraordinary and unexpected docility amidst the traffic.]

  James, when I note your air supremely docile,
    Your well-fed look of undisturbed content
  (Doubtless you find this land an adipose isle
    After lean times on active service spent),
  I do not join with those who hymn your praises
    For calmness mid the turmoil of the town;
  I find myself consigning you to blazes--
        James, you have let me down.

  For I am one who, after having striven,
    A hero (_vide_ Press) though far from bold,
  Has come back home and, naturally, given
    Artistic touches to the tales he's told;
  The Transport was my scene of martial labours;
    That was the section where I saw it through;
  And I have told astonished friends and neighbours
        Some lurid yarns of you.

  You are the theme I have been wont to brag on;
    I've told how you, my now innocuous moke,
  Would chew the tail-board off a G.S. wagon
    By way of mere _plaisanterie_ (or joke);
  Dubbed you most diabolical of ragers,
    A rampant hooligan, a fetid tough,
  A thing without respect for sergeant-majors--
        That is to say, hot stuff.

  Full many a fair young thing I've seen displaying
    A sympathetic pallor on her cheek
  And wonder in her eye, when I've been saying
    How almost every day in Salonique
  You jazzed with me on brinks of precipices;
    But when I talk to-day they cannot fail
  To think of you in town and murmur, "This is
        A likely sort of tale."

  To take, without one thought of evil plotting,
    Even without one last protesting kick,
  Thus kindly to somnambulistic trotting--
    Oh, James, old pal, it was a dirty trick;
  To show the yarns I'd told of you and written
    (In letters home) were not entirely swank
  At very least, I think, you might have bitten
        The policeman at the Bank.

       *       *       *       *       *


"The Oxford University crew arrived at Henley yesterday for a week's
practice. The Cambridge president, Mr. E.A. Berrisford, accompanied the
crew as spare man."--_Provincial Paper._

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The Government, said Mr. Bonar Law, had not received any intimation
    from the Netherlands Government that Holland had decided to keep the
    ex-Kaiser in Curaçoa."--_Evening Standard._

Good news for Mr. PUSSYFOOT.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "ESSEX and SUSSEX BORDERS.--To be Let, well-built Mansion, surrounded
    by fine gardens, situate in one of the finest parts of this delightful
    country."--_Daily Paper._

But it must be rather a nuisance to cross the Thames every time you want to
go from the Essex to the Sussex wing.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: MANNERS AND MODES.


       *       *       *       *       *



       *       *       *       *       *


"These want paying," said Suzanne as she bounced into my nominally sacred
den at a strictly prohibited hour. Therewith she thrust a _dossier_ of
tradesmen's bills into my feebly-resisting hands, and bang went an idea I
had been tenderly nursing since breakfast.

"But I can't spend the rest of the morning writing cheques," I protested.
"I'm engaged just now on a most important article."

"With your eyes shut," commented Suzanne, stooping to a grossly unfair
insinuation. "I must tell Cook to make the breakfast coffee stronger in
future; then you might manage to--"

"Look here, Suzanne, you've been married to me long enough to know my
methods of work. I can't begin an article until I've got the whole thing
shaped in my mind, and to do that I must shut out everything else."

"Especially your wife, I suppose. Well, I won't stay. You've got all the
bills there; but don't start writing the cheques till you've got them well
shaped in your mind."

"But what on earth does all this mass of accounting literature represent?"
I asked.

"For the benefit of new readers a synopsis is attached," said Suzanne.
"They're mostly small items; for instance, Madame Pillby--she's the little
dressmaker round the corner, you know; though why an all-British spinster
should call herself 'Madame' I can't imagine--five-and-fourpence-ha'penny."

"Suzanne; I will _not_ write a cheque for five-and-fourpence-ha'penny! Are
they all like that?"

"The biggest is two guineas; that's what it cost to have my last dance-hat
altered to your specifications, because you said it tickled your nose.
There are seventeen of them in all--bills, not hats; total, twelve pounds
fifteen shillings and elevenpence three farthings, pa-pa."

"I'll tell you what I'm going to do," I said. "I'm going to advertise in
the Personal Columns of the papers that I will not be responsible for
payment of any debts incurred by my wife under the sum of one pound.
That'll stop this half-crown cheque nuisance. Why don't you go out and buy
yourself a packet of assorted postal-orders?"

"I did once; but I got in with a nice long list just before closing-time,
and there was very nearly a riot on both sides of the counter."

"Well, anyhow, this sort of thing has got to stop; I can't waste all the
morning settling your miserable little bills. What we'll do is this: you
shall have your own banking-account, and in future you can write your own
cheques--as long as the Bank will stick it."

"Oh, how perfectly splendid!" cried Suzanne. "I've always wanted to have a
cheque-book of my own, but Father thought it unsexing. Do let's go and take
out the licence at once."

The precious hour of fertilisation was already wasted, so there and then I
escorted Suzanne to the Bank. At my demand we were ushered into the
Manager's room, where we were received with a courtesy only too obviously
tempered by the suspicion that I had come to suggest an overdraft. On my
explaining our errand, however, the Manager's features relaxed their
tenseness, and as I wrote the cheque that brought Suzanne's account into a
sordid world he even attempted a vein of fatherly benediction.

"Now we shall require a specimen of the lady's signature," he said as he
produced an amazingly obese ledger and indicated where Suzanne was to sign
her name. "Remove the glove, please," he added hastily.

"Just like old times in the vestry," said Suzanne to me in a whisper. Then
she wrote her name--"Suzanne Désirée Beverley Trumpington-Jones"--all of
it. By the time she had finished she had trespassed into several columns
reserved for entirely different uses. The Manager surveyed the effect with

"Rather a long name, isn't it?" he asked diffidently. "I was only wondering
if our cheque-forms would accommodate it all."

"Well, I'm not really responsible for it all," she replied. "The
Trumpington-Jones part is the more or less permanent result of a serious
accident when I was little more than a child. But I might shorten it a bit.
I sometimes answer to the name of Soozles, but I suppose that would only do
for really intimate cheques. How would 'S. Beverley T.-Jones' do? I
shouldn't like to lose the 'Beverley' as it's a kind of family heirloom,
and I always use it, even when I'm writing to the sweep."

I edged away to the window and left them to settle the signature question
among themselves.

"And what kind of cheques would you like--'Order' or 'Bearer'?" I next
heard the Manager asking.

"Show me some patterns, please," commanded Suzanne.

On the wall was a frame containing a number of different cheque varieties,
to which her attention was directed.

"Haven't you any other colours?" she asked. "I thought a black-and-yellow
cheque would be rather becoming; but don't bother about it if it's not in

She ended by taking one book of blue and one of purple cheques, and with
these and a paying-in-book (which she said would do so nicely for spills)
we at last departed. From behind the closed door of the private office I
distinctly heard a prolonged sigh of relief.

A few days later I came upon Suzanne sitting at her writing-table and
examining a cheque with a mystified air.

"Anything wrong?" I asked.

"I don't quite know," she replied. "I sent Angela this cheque the other day
to pay for my ticket for the Law-Courts' Revel, and she says the Bank
people have returned it to her. And it's marked 'R.D.' in red ink. Who is

"He's the gentleman who censors cheques; and he has a way of disqualifying
them when there's not enough cash to pay them. Suzanne, what have you done
with all that money I paid into your account last Monday?"

"But I've only paid those footling little bills. There must be tons of
money left, unless the Bank's been speculating with it."

"Let me have a look at that cheque," I said.

She handed it to me and I examined it carefully.

"I see it's signed 'Thine, Suzanne.'"

"But that's how I always sign myself to Angela," she said; "and the Manager
distinctly told me to use my customary signature."

"Signature--not signatures," I explained gently. "They're rooted in
convention at the Bank and can't bear the least approach to variety. And
what's this scribbled on the back of it?"

"Oh, that's only a note I dashed off to Angela telling her what I was going
to wear. It seemed such a pity to waste a sheet of notepaper when there was
all that space to spare."

I gave her a quarter-of-an-hour's lesson in the art of drawing cheques.
Then I took up the paying-in book which was lying on the table. I knew it
ought to be in a virgin state as I had added nothing to the entrance money.
"And what might all these figures portend?" I asked.

"Those? Oh, that's baby's weight-chart. I'm always going to keep it there."

Well, well, if Suzanne looks after the weighing-in I can at least control
the paying-in. And I left it at that.

       *       *       *       *       *



       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Fond Parent_ (_who has done pretty well in woollens_).

       *       *       *       *       *



(1) _Duties, Officers._--Orderly Officer for to-morrow: Second-Lieutenant
W. Jenks.

W. Jenks is prepared to undertake duty for any brother subaltern.
Terms--one day's pay, plus fifty per cent. for Saturdays or Sundays
(handsome discount for cash in advance). Sleepless activity. Guards visited
courteously but firmly. Any unusual occurrence handled with precision and
despatch. Engage W. Jenks to do your duty, then sign your report with a
clear conscience. Testimonials from all ranks.

(2) _Parades._--0830 hours and 1130 hours, as per routine.

Hello! Hello!! Hello!!! Come in your hundreds. Amusing and health-giving.
Bracing barrack-square; magnificent pedestrian exercise. Come and be
experimented on by Sergt.-Major Whizbang, the great military spellbinder.
See the Adjutant put Company Commanders through the hoop. Screams of
laughter at every performance. Best places in the ranks for those who
arrive early. Twice daily (Sundays excepted) till further notice. Breakfast
kept for those attending first house.

(3) _Dress, etc., Officers._--Attention is again drawn to recent
instructions on these matters.

Why invite trouble when the local A.P.M. is simply yearning to advise you
on points of etiquette? A kindly benevolent man who never forgets that he
himself was once a regimental officer. He will tell you whether or not you
may arm your aged grandmother across a busy London street without risking
your commission. If you favour whiskers, call and see his inimitable museum
of permissible patterns. Always at your service.

(4) _Musketry._--The next party to fire General Musketry Course will
proceed on the 2nd prox.

The finest form of outdoor sport (for these who prefer it to any other) is
shooting. We are making up a little party to proceed to camp next week.
Will you join us? Sylvan scenery; country air; simple wholesome diet; young
and cheery society. Cigars or cocoanuts every time you hit the bull's-eye.
Practice at stray dogs about camp is encouraged. Secure the skin of one of
these beautifully-marked creatures for your own barrack-room bedside.

(5) _Hair, Length of._--The practice of allowing the hair to grow beyond
the regulation length must cease.

Why suffer the inconvenience of long hair when our own regimental tonsorial
artist is waiting to bob it for you free of charge? Luxurious saloon; deft
workmanship; no tips. His speciality--memento locks. Twelve such souvenirs
guaranteed from one crop. Bald soldiers supplied to taste from surplus
clippings. A delicate, lasting and inexpensive compliment to lady friends
on leaving a station. Start collecting now.

       *       *       *       *       *


A psychical séance of the above disembodied Corps will be held on Friday
the 26th March, in the Common Room of the Law Society in Chancery Lane (by
kind permission of the Council), commencing 7.30 P.M.

Astral members desirous of attending should apply to their late Platoon
Sergeants, or to Mr. H.L. BOLTON, 1, The Sanctuary, Westminster.

       *       *       *       *       *



       *       *       *       *       *


_Monday, February 23rd._--The Highland Fling involves, I understand, some
complicated figures, but it is nothing to the Lowland Reel (COATS'
variety), on which subject Sir AUCKLAND GEDDES was rather badly heckled
this afternoon. A suggestion that Messrs. COATS might use the profits of
their foreign trade to reduce the price to the home consumer drove the
harassed Minister into an unconscious _mot_. "Suppose," he said, "they cut
the thread ... where should we be then?"



"The tank, weighing thirty tons, is able to pass over a brick lying on the
road without crushing it. This is a very important point."--_Mr.

Mr. CHARLES PALMER, the well-known _Globe_-trotter, has just completed a
remarkable journey. Within the space of a few weeks he has traversed the
distance from the Press Gallery to the Floor of the Chamber, going round by
the Wrekin. During the last stage of the route the intrepid traveller was
accompanied by Sir HENRY DALZIEL and Mr. BOTTOMLEY.

In introducing a Vote on Account of the Army for a trifle of seventy-four
millions the WAR MINISTER proudly announced that Britain and Germany were
the only countries in the world that had abolished conscription--and
Germany's action was not exactly voluntary.

Mr. CHURCHILL'S description of a new tank, so fast that it could outstrip a
foxhound "over a country," so cool that even in the tropics its crew would
preserve their _sangfroid traditionnel_, and so delicately sprung that it
could run over a brick without hurting itself--or the brick--momentarily
encouraged the belief that here was the weapon to make war impossible. But
almost in the same breath Mr. CHURCHILL stated that simultaneously the War
Office had invented a rifle grenade which would put the super-tank out of
action. "As you were!"

Criticism was not entirely disarmed. Mr. DEVLIN of course talked of
Ireland--"the only country with which the Empire is at war to-day;" and
little Capt. WEDGWOOD BENN rebuked Mr. CHURCHILL for his unfilial sneer at
"pious America," and was himself advised "not to develop more indignation
than he could contain."

_Tuesday, February 24th._--In both Houses the new policy of the Allies in
regard to Soviet Russia was unfolded. The gist of it is that they will not
enter into diplomatic relations with the Bolshevist Government until it is
ready to adopt civilised methods, but in the meantime will heartily
encourage trade with Russia. It would seem that the practical genius of our
race has once more discovered a means of indulging sentiment without
interfering with business.


_A forecast._


Lord BIRKENHEAD (not BROKENHEAD, by the way, as the _Cork Constitution_,
inadvertently or not, calls him) chaffed LORD HALDANE on his "How Happy
could I be with Either" attitude between Liberalism and Labour, and advised
him definitely to be off with the old love and on with the new, in order
that when Labour came into its own the Woolsack might be adequately filled.

Sir ALFRED MOND did not allow himself to be perturbed by the description of
certain pictures in the Imperial War Museum as "freaks" and "libels," for
he had observed "with some astonishment" that most of the art critics had
pronounced them to be very fine works of art. But when Mr. JEREMIAH
MACVEAGH asked if some of these pictures were not portraits of Cabinet
Ministers, "and if so how can they possibly be works of art?" the First
Commissioner's artistic conscience was stirred, and compelled him to give
the questioner a little instruction in first principles. "Whether a
portrait is a work of art depends," he pointed out, "on the artist and not
on the subject painted."

The evening was devoted to drink. Sir JOHN REES, who urged the abolition of
all wartime restrictions, would have been more effective, perhaps, if he
had not striven so hard to be lively. One of his sallies, evoked by the
impending _début_ of Lady ASTOR as a Parliamentary orator, was indeed, as
she observed, "more than polite."

She herself had her moments of gaiety, but was best, I thought, when
seriously arguing for the continuance of the restrictions on alcohol in the
special interests of women.

I am afraid, however, that the unregenerate were more intrigued by Mr.
CARR'S claim that the Carlisle experiment had been a great success--"it was
the only city in the country in which a man could buy a bottle of whisky to
take home."

_Wednesday, February 25th._--Question-time in the Commons was dominated by
the news that Mr. ASQUITH was in for Paisley, and Members were more
concerned in discussing the effect of his return upon the Government and
Opposition than in listening to Ministerial replies. Sir DONALD MACLEAN was
"all smiles" over his approaching release from the responsibilities of
leadership; but Mr. HOGGE, I thought, looked rather like _Mrs. Gummidge_
when "thinking of the old 'un."

A nod from Mr. MACPHERSON and the Government of Ireland Bill was formally
and silently introduced--strange contrast to the long debates and exciting
scenes that attended the birth of the Bill's three predecessors in 1886,
1893 and 1912.

Sir ROBERT HORNE explained with his usual clarity and persuasiveness the
new Unemployment Insurance Bill. The debate on it was interrupted to allow
the discussion of a motion by Sir J. REMNANT advocating the increase of
police pensions to meet the present cost of living. The police are, with
good reason, very popular with the House. In vain the HOME SECRETARY
pointed out that the Government even in this cause did not feel justified
in "out-running the constable." Forgetting all their recent zeal for
economy Members trooped into the Bobbies' Lobby and beat the Government by
123 to 57.

[Illustration: "Whether a portrait is a work of art depends on the artist
and not on the subject painted."--_Sir A. MOND on the Imperial War Museum

The idea that Irishmen, however much they may dislike British rule, never
miss an opportunity of raiding the British Treasury, has received a rude
shock. Captain REDMOND, inquiring about the allocation of a sum of a
quarter-of-a-million for reconstruction in Ireland, was surprised to learn
that ten thousand pounds had been allotted to his own constituency, but not
claimed. Mr. DEVLIN supplied the key to the mystery: "The reason it was not
asked for was because we did not know it was there."

I learn from _Who's Who?_ that the recreations of Sir ALFRED MOND include
"golf, motoring and all forms of sport." It must have been with keen
regret, therefore, that he felt himself compelled to refuse facilities for
cricket in Hyde Park, owing to the risk to the public. Viscount CURZON
asked if cricket was more dangerous than inflammatory speeches. But the
FIRST COMMISSIONER, speaking no doubt from personal experience, expressed
the view that there was considerably more danger from a cricket-ball.

The Opposition had rather bad luck on the Constantinople debate. If they
had waited till Monday, as originally arranged, they could have trained
their big gun from Paisley on to the Government entrenchments. Through
insisting on the earliest possible date, they had to content themselves
with the far lighter artillery of Sir DONALD MACLEAN. Much, however, was
hoped from Lord ROBERT CECIL, who was believed to be heavily charged with
high explosives. But before he could come into range up jumped Sir EDWARD
CARSON, and in a few brief sentences pointed out that until the PRIME
MINISTER had told them the grounds for the decision to leave the Turk his
capital, and the conditions under which he was to stay there, the House was
talking in the air. Members thereupon clamoured for the PRIME MINISTER, who
accordingly had to make his defence when he had heard only half the
indictment, and to expend most of the ammunition he had prepared for Lord
ROBERT, including some remarkable specimens of the "deadly parallel,"
before receiving his adversary's fire.

That in turn rather upset Lord ROBERT'S plan of campaign, and he was not
much more destructive than Sir DONALD MACLEAN had been. The House as a
whole seemed satisfied that the Allies had done their best with a problem
for which there is no perfect solution, and that there was at least a
chance that the SULTAN would find the guns of an international fleet
pointing at his palace windows a strong incentive to good behaviour.

       *       *       *       *       *


    "Mr. Asquith was accompanied by Mrs. Asquith and the audience singing
    'He's a jolly good Lady Bonham-Carter.'"--_Scotch Paper._

       *       *       *       *       *


When any friend of mine is in trouble I always make a point of writing and
asking if there is anything I can do. As a rule, there isn't, but it is a
satisfaction to me to know I have made the offer. When I heard that Filmer
was leaving his spacious house and grounds at Hampstead, selling half his
furniture and moving into a third storey flat at Battersea, I wrote at
once. I received in reply one of his usual barely decipherable scrawls:
"Yes, old dear, you might find a home for my raven; it's ancient and a bit
rusty, but lots of life in it yet. I'm parting with all my garden things."

I busied myself about the matter at once. When a man you have known and
respected for years is driven by high prices and income-tax to vacate a
beautiful home and asks such a simple thing of you as to find a shelter for
his bird, you like to do your best. Personally I knew nothing of ravens,
but I recognized the inadequacy of my garden for the accommodation of a
bird of any kind, therefore I could not think of taking it. But I had a
surface acquaintance with the owner of a carriage drive, and I approached
him without delay. He was cold in his manner and said with so many calls
upon him he could not see his way to contribute towards the expense of
Filmer's move, although he had no doubt, from my representation, that it
was a deserving case.

The misunderstanding arose from my leading up to the object of my visit
gradually instead of coming to the point at once and asking him to give a
comfortable home to a raven. When I explained further he unbent and said he
would think it over.

Later he wrote:--


"DEAR SIR,--I have consulted an authority on this bird and find that its
bad character has brought about its practical extinction in this country
save in the mountain fastnesses of Wales and the craggy moors of Yorkshire.
I also learn that its extended wings measure thirty-six inches on an
average. I must decline to provide an asylum for such an extensive mass of

I confess I was discouraged and also somewhat shocked. I felt Filmer should
have enlightened me more on the characteristics of his _protégé_. The
episode taught me to avoid preamble in my next quest for a domicile. Also I
thought it only right to express myself with absolute frankness. The
address of a lady with a reputation for a love of animals was given to me,
and I hastened to call upon her. She answered the door herself.

"Madam," I said, "may I ask you of your kind heart to give a home to an
almost extinct bird of evil character about a yard across?"

She looked startled for a moment and then quietly closed the door.

I was still further discouraged. I felt bound in honour to comply, if
possible, with Filmer's comparatively simple request. By chance I ran
across Timberley, a man brimful of resource and suggestion. "You want a
brewery," he said; "that's the _milieu_ for a raven. To my mind no brewery
is artistically complete without one. A raven hopping about the casks gives
a _je ne sais quoi_, a _cachet_, to the premises. You should get an
introduction to a manager."

With some difficulty I did, and I waited upon him in his private office. He
seemed immersed in business and asked me to be seated in such a brusque
manner that I had no alternative but to remain standing.

"I must apologise for trespassing upon your valuable time, but it has been
suggested to me that no brewery is complete without a raven--" I began,
stammering slightly from nervousness.

"Well, we've got one. What about it?" he said.

In face of this unlooked-for development I could do nothing but bow and

After this third failure to house the bird I threw convention to the winds
and took to accosting utter strangers in the street with, "Will you have a
raven?" I went rides in trams and tubes and canvassed the passengers. "Not
to-day, thank you," was the response, save in a few instances. One man
invited me to ask him again and he would do me in. A lady to whom I
propounded the query as we were descending the moving staircase side by
side precipitated herself forward with such haste that but for the
intervening travellers she must have fallen headlong to the bottom. The
mother of a family to whom I appealed shook her head politely and said she
was obliged to me for the offer, but it was hard enough to pay for
butcher's meat; she couldn't afford poultry.

Then at last, all my efforts having failed, I reluctantly took my pen and
wrote to Filmer. In reply I received another of his scrawls:--

"What's this about a raven? Don't let it grow on you. The Victory Croquet
Club is taking my ROLLER, £7 carriage forward. I gave £3 10s. for it
second-hand ten years ago.

"N.B.--I had great difficulty in reading your writing. Don't cultivate
illegibility; it's tiresome for your friends."

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *

    "Referring to charges of drunkenness the Chairman said there were 13
    men and five women fined for drunkenness and residing at Chiswick."--
    _Local Paper._

To reside at Chiswick may be an eccentricity, but surely is not an offence.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Auctioneer._ "COME, GENTS, HOW MUCH FOR THESE DOZEN


       *       *       *       *       *



After the unsatisfying theatre-diet which has fallen to me of late I was
doubly glad to get my teeth into Mr. St. JOHN ERVINE'S good meaty ration at
the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith. His theme is as old and new as Job. _John
Ferguson_ is a saintly Ulster farmer, apostle of the doctrine of non-
resistance (rare type in those parts, I understand) and eager justifier of
the ways of God to men. _Ferguson's_ beloved farm is mortgaged; foreclosure
imminent. Help is confidently expected from brother _Andrew_ in America,
but does not come. Daughter _Hannah_, sent with a message to the brutal
mortgagee, is outraged by him. Prospective son-in-law _James_, man of great
words but little heart, rushes into the night to kill the ravisher. But it
is silent son _Andrew_ (destined for the ministry) who does the killing,
because he knows _James_ to be a craven.

_John Ferguson_ urges confidently the will of God that _James_, whom he
believes blood-guilty, should not avoid arrest, and refuses to hide him.
But when young _Andrew_ insists on giving himself up to save _James_ and
his own peace the old man's faith, weakened, falters; he protests in his
anguish, but rallies to accept this last blow from the hand of God--made
none the easier to bear by the arrival, just a fatal fortnight late, of the
money from his brother, a forgetful sort of man, who had mistaken the date
of the mail. The tragic irony of the whole is skilfully heightened by the
fact that it is half-witted "_Clutie_," with his penny whistle and his
random words, who goads young _Andrew_ to his vengeance.

A grim tale finely (perhaps just a little too diffusely) told and admirably
presented. Mr. ERVINE'S most effective stroke was, I think, the character
of _James Cæsar_, with his pathetic yet revolting self-condemnation,
interpreted with a real mastery of art without artifice by Mr. J.M.
KERRIGAN, of the old band of "Irish Players." Miss MOYNA MACGILL (a name
new to me) played her _Hannah_ with an exquisite sincerity and restraint. A
particular moment when, from her hysterical laughter at the careful choice
made by her father's God of the moment for the arrival of the money, she
breaks into a passionate "It's not right! It's not just!" was very fine.
The whole character was skilfully built up. The part by no means played

Mr. HERBERT MARSHALL'S _Andrew_ was also an excellent performance. Was it
quite right, however, that the morning after the murder he should appear so
completely unruffled? (I admit I don't know my Ulster intimately). I rather
think that Mr. MILES MALLESON'S well-studied "_Clutie_" might have been a
little less coherent, with more fawning in his manner. He seemed something
too normal for his purpose in the piece. The way in which the other
characters staved off his piping was beyond all praise. I should guess,
from specimens submitted, that his repertory was not extensive.

Mr. REA, as the father, was of course competent, but surely a little
overplacid throughout. He accepted the blow of his daughter's dishonour
with scarcely a sign that submission caused him any serious pang--a seeming
indifference shared by Miss MAIRE O'NEILL (_Hannah's_ mother), who appeared
quite untroubled a few minutes after the harrowing relation, and indeed
seemed throughout to be playing too easily. Mr. RAYMOND VALENTINE had a
"fat" part as the villain, and well and fatly he played it.

I realise more than ever the difficulties of an Irish Settlement.


       *       *       *       *       *




       *       *       *       *       *


For a long time past I had felt that something ought to be done about it,
and then one evening as I opened my paper in the Tube I came suddenly upon
the following paragraph:--

"Lunching yesterday with Jack Poppington at the Bitz, where, by the way, M.
Caramel treated us to a superbly priceless _mousse à la Canadienne_, he
told me that his _Little Pests_ is selling like wildfire and proving a real
bonanza to the lucky publishers, Messrs. Painter and Lilley. Had a pleasant
chat with him about old times in the Army Pay Corps, in which we served
together for nearly sixteen months during one of the hottest periods of
hostilities 'out yonder.' More famous amongst the general public for his
black ribboned tortoiseshell monocle and invariable presence at all truly
semi-smart Bohemian functions, Poppington keeps a brindled bulldog, grows
primulas and is, of course, known to a select circle as the energetic
Organising Secretary of the North Battersea Entomological Society."

The letterpress which I have quoted above was headed "Popular Pap" and
formed a kind of frame for a photograph of Mr. Poppington, which seemed to
show that his luncheon at the Bitz had not really agreed with him after
all, and at the bottom of the column I noted the familiar signature of
"_Marchand du Beurre_."

As usual when I read paragraphs of this kind I first of all blushed
guiltily and glanced round to see whether anyone had noticed how eagerly I
was drinking it all in. Then I put on the faint superior smile of
recognition which I felt that the situation obviously demanded. Good old
Poppington! One of the best. What recollections it stirred! _Marchand_ and
he and I--

When I left the Tube I carefully crumpled the paper up and threw it away,
and in the middle of dinner I took care to remark casually to Araminta, "By
the way, I suppose you put _Little Pests_ on the library list?"

"Awfully sorry," she said, "but I'm afraid I hadn't heard of them."

"Poppington's latest," I said curtly.

"I'm afraid I haven't heard of Poppington either."

I gave a sigh of desperation and leant back in my chair.

"Well, really!" I protested. "Surely the man himself--everybody--I
mean--his--his eye-glass--his bulldog--of course only a few of us fully
appreciate the extent of his actual research work--but still--"

"All right, I'll get it," she replied.

That finished off Araminta easily enough, but the situation none the less
was serious. Paragraphs exactly like this had been meeting my eye in almost
every popular paper for month after month, and, though I use two memory
systems and have an electric scalp shampoo each week, I find them
increasingly difficult to cope with. _Who's Which_ already transgresses the
established canons of literary art. It is almost as tall lying down as
standing up, and fellows like Poppington are not even in _Who's Which_. He
had not, you observed, even obtained an O.B.E. What would happen if I met
him at some public gathering or dinner and by some awful mischance forgot
those salient facts?

It appeared to me that a process for reproducing short biographies of this
nature in a slightly larger type on the shirt-fronts of eminent personages
was badly needed; it should be coupled, I felt, with an arrangement of
periscopes to help one when sitting beside the great man or standing behind
his back. Or he might perhaps wear upon his sleeve something like the
divisional signs which were so useful in France. Old Poppington, for
instance, might have a--might wear an--I mean there might be something or
other on his coat in red or green or blue to indicate the nature and scope
of his secretarial activities and give a fellow the right lead. And to
think that every week dozens and dozens of new Poppingtons are springing up
like crocuses about me! It was a bewildering thought. They were becoming
perhaps the most numerous and influential class in the community. I had
visions of mass meetings of "well-known" men--"well-known" men marching in
procession with flags to Downing Street to demand State recognition,
statues and pensions, and insisting that it should be made a penal offence
not to recognise their well-known features in the street. I made a great
resolve. Why should I be left out of it? I determined to join the crowd.

I had got rather out of touch with old _Marchand_ for some time, and had
indeed forgotten exactly what he looked like, but I persuaded a mutual
friend to point him out to me, and, selecting the psychological moment,
cannoned into him heavily in the street. His spectacles dropped off and his
note-book fell out of his hand.

"Why, if it isn't _Du Beurre_!" I shouted, feigning an ecstatic surprise.

"I am sorry," he said rather stiffly, when he had recovered his breath,
"but I am afraid I haven't the pleasure--"

"I am John Smith," I said.

"I am afraid I still--"

"Allow me to tell you all about myself," I said. And I did.

I was a little nervous as to how he would take it, but the event justified
me. When I opened my paper next evening I found the following words:--

"Ran across John Smith of Ravenscourt Park yesterday afternoon. Chatting
with him about one thing and another, he told me something of the methods
he has employed to bring about his present celebrity in that salubrious
suburb. He has never, it appears, written a book, collaborated in a review,
appeared in a night-club, lunched at the Bitz, sat on a committee, or been
summoned as a witness in a sensational divorce case. His record, I fancy,
must be one of the most thoroughly unique in Greater London."

There was no photograph of John Smith, but, biting partly into this
paragraph and partly into another on the opposite side of the column, was
one of Mortimer Despenser, the new film star, featured in _Scented Sin_,
which really did almost as well. Dear old _Du Beurre_!


       *       *       *       *       *


  There was a young singer whose moans
  Struck a chill to her auditors' bones;
      So she had to explain
      That she wasn't in pain,
  But was trying to sing quarter-tones.

  There once was a basso, a swain
  Who came from the rolling Ukraine;
      He could sing double D
      From breakfast till tea
  Without any symptom of strain.

  There was a benevolent peer
  Who wished to make Art less severe,
      So he learned the Jazz drum
      And bids fair to become
  The black man's most terrible fear.

  There once was a critic whose bane
  Was his dread of a style that was plain,
      So, resolved to refresh us,
      He strove to be precious,
  But sank to the nether inane.

       *       *       *       *       *


It was noticed even during the Billiard competition that he never really
got the wind up.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The chief obstacle to the development of water-power is usually the
    question of finance, and if the scheme will not hold water from that
    point of view it is not likely to float."--_Electrical Review._

And if it holds too much water it is certain to sink.

       *       *       *       *       *


_Irishman_ (_discussing "roarer" recently purchased by P.-W.S._). "VERY

       *       *       *       *       *


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

Undeniably Mr. CARADOC EVANS is the bold boy. No doubt you remember (since
they are so difficult to forget) the two volumes in which he dealt
faithfully (and a bit over) with the manners of his countrymen in the land
of their fathers. I have heard, and can well believe, that some of Mr.
EVANS' own people were moved by this tribute even to the extent of
threatening its author with personal violence. And now he has turned from
Welsh Wales to English London, and gives us in _My Neighbours_ (MELROSE) a
further collection of sketches pleasantly calculated to prove that the
general detestability of his compatriots remains unchanged by their
migration from a whitewashed cottage to a villa in Suburbia. Whatever you
may think of Mr. EVANS' work, whether it attracts or violently repels,
there can be no question of its devastating skill. His sketches, no more
than a few pages in length, contain never an idle word, and the phrases
bite like vitriol. Moreover he employs an idiom that is (I conjecture) a
direct transcription from native speech, which adds enormously to the
effect. Understand me, not for worlds would I commend these volumes
haphazard to the fastidious; I only say they are clever, arresting and
violently individual. Also that, if you have not so far met the work of Mr.
EVANS, here is your opportunity, in a volume that shows it at its best, or
worst. Half-an-hour's reading will give you an excellent idea of it. At the
end of that time you will probably send either to the chemist for a
restorative or to the bookseller for the two previous volumes. Meanwhile,
if I were the writer, I should purchase a bulldog.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mrs. GEORGE WEMYSS has for some time past specialised in spinster-aunts,
bachelor-uncles and charming nieces. In _Oranges and Lemons_ (CONSTABLE)
she introduces us pleasantly to some more. The plot, in fact, is chiefly
concerned with the violent squabbles of an uncle and aunt, who belong to
different sides of the family, for the good graces of _Diana_ (who is
nineteen, or thereabouts, and radiant), and _Shant_, (who says so--just
like that--and is five). There are also several young men. To test his
abilities in the _Admirable Crichton_ line _Diana_ maroons the most
favoured of these, together with three other aspirants to her hand, and her
bachelor uncle, on an island in a Scottish loch, hamperless, on a soft day.
As the affections of all the lovers remain undimmed, you can guess what
kind of a girl _Diana_ must have been. _Shant's_ even more responsible job
is to tumble off a pony and allay the temporary tartness which existed
between her two elderly admirers, so that nothing but oranges and
orange-blossoms remain. Really, of course, none of the story much matters.
But if you want the sensation of having stayed with delightful people in
delightful places, where rising prices are not even mentioned or thought
of, Mrs. WEMYSS can give it you all the time.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Night and Day_ (DUCKWORTH) is the title of VIRGINIA WOOLF'S last book; but
there is no night for the author's clarity of vision, or her cleverness in
describing every detail she has seen, or her delicate precision of style;
there is only daylight, temperate, pervading, but at times, I am afraid,
almost irritatingly calm. "Give me one indiscretion of sympathy or emotion
on behalf of your characters," the reader is tempted to implore her; "let
me feel that you are a little bit excited about them and I shall feel
excited too." The story, after all, is the simple one (to put it in the
shudderingly crude language of former days) of a girl's change of heart
from an unreal love to one of whose sincerity she eventually convinces
herself. _Katharine Hilbery_, the granddaughter of a great poet, brought up
by a father whose only interest is in literature, and a charming mother who
wanders in fields of Victorian romance, breaks off her engagement with a
civil servant who has more taste than talent for letters, and chooses
instead a man slightly below her in social position, but with firmness and
decision of character and genuine skill in--what? Ironmongery? No,
literature. All through the book I found myself wondering whether a mind so
finely tempered as _Katharine's_, a perception so acute, was really fitted
for anything so commonplace as, after all, love is. And I longed for the
authoress, who explained every mood so amazingly well, to explain this too.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mrs. NORRIS is evidently a specialist in unconventional situations. In her
last novel her theme was the intrigue between a man and his step-mother. In
_Sisters_ (MURRAY) it is the passion of a man for his living wife's married
sister, and in neither case does the author seem to be conscious of
anything out of the ordinary. Not that there is any air of naughtiness
about the business. _Peter_, a rich cripple, loved _Cherry_, the youngest
and prettiest of the three _Strickland_ girls. But _Martin_, a casual
impecunious stranger, stepped in and took her in one bite before _Peter_
could quite realise she was no longer a child. So in default he married
_Alix_, who was, incidentally, worth six of her. Meeting his _Cherry_,
disillusioned about an unsatisfactory and unsuccessful _Martin_, he reaches
out his hand for this forbidden fruit. Whereupon _Alix_, the selfless,
drives herself and _Martin_ over a cliff by way of making things smooth for
_Peter_ and _Cherry_, which was inconsiderate, if resourceful; for, while
_Alix_ is happily killed, poor _Martin_ only breaks his back, so that all
may end with the balance on the credit side of the Recording Angel's ledger
with _Cherry_ nursing her hopeless invalid. An unlikely story, pleasantly
and competently told.

       *       *       *       *       *

My appreciation of _The Ancient Allan_ (CASSELL) may be measured by my keen
disappointment on finding that the concluding pages of the book were absent
in the copy vouchsafed to me, and that (apparently) in their place a double
dose of pages 279-294 was offered. Nevertheless I can safely assert that
you will find this a yarn worth reading, for here Sir RIDER HAGGARD is in
as good form as ever he was, when both he and _Allan Quatermain_ were
younger. _Lady Ragnall_, who is an old friend to readers of _The Ivory
Child_, reappears here, having in her possession a mysterious and potent
herb, which she persuades _Allan_ to inhale. Then the fun takes on a great
liveliness. _Allan_ is wafted back to the days when Egypt was under the
domination of the Persians, and he in his ancient existence performed some
of the very doughtiest of deeds. No one living can tell such a tale with a
greater dexterity and zest than Sir RIDER. And at that I will leave it,
with one more regret that I was not allowed to be present when _Allan_
recovered from the effects of Taduki (the herb that did it).

       *       *       *       *       *

I find that when the medicine of thought is wrapped up in the jam of
fiction I generally take both more willingly than either alone. But if my
author, holding out the spoonful, protests that the jam isn't jam at all
but part of the dose, then my mouth does not open with quite its usual
happy confidence. Miss W.M. LETTS has said something of the sort about her
great little book, _Corporal's Corner_ (WELLS, GARDNER, DARTON), and I wish
she hadn't. It is cast in the form of letters written by a soldier in
hospital to a nurse who has been good to him and whose lover has been
killed at the Front. Miss Letts introduces it with a foreword which conveys
the impression that a real _Corporal Jack_ wrote these letters to a real
nurse; but the letters themselves convince--or very nearly convince--me
that the foreword itself is a mere device of authorship, and one which
defeats its own intention of adding weight to the wise and tender and often
humorous things the writer has to say. From his own death-bed _Corporal
Jack_, together with his own love-story and that of his chum _Mac_, writes
what he can of comfort to his friend, and whether his hand or Miss LETTS'S
held the pen the book is the work of someone who knows all about sorrow,
and only the initiated--who must be many for a decade to come--will know
quite how well it is done.

       *       *       *       *       *

Of the late Mr. NOEL ROSS, who, to the infinite loss of British journalism,
died at the early age of twenty-seven, Mr. Punch cannot trust himself to
speak with the cold detachment of the critic. He saw life with the clear
eye of happy youth and set it down with the easy pen of a ready writer.
Coming from New Zealand, through the War, to England, his natural talents
were at once recognised, and he won a position for himself on the staff of
_The Times_. In the leisure moments spared from the service of the Old Lady
of Printing House Square, he would crack a jest, now and then, with the Old
Sage of Bouverie Street. Mr. EDWIN ARNOLD now publishes a collection of his
writings under the title, _Noel Ross and His Work_, and Mr. Punch confines
himself to commending the volume to his readers.

       *       *       *       *       *



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