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Title: Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 159, August 4th, 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 159, August 4th, 1920" ***

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PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.

VOL. 159.



August 4th, 1920.



CHARIVARIA.

A drought is reported from India and Eastern Africa. Considering the amount
of water which has recently escaped from clouds over here it is not
surprising to find that they are feeling the pinch in other countries.

* * *

A correspondent writes to a weekly paper inquiring when Sir ERIC GEDDES was
born. We admire the fellow's restraint in not asking "Why?"

* * *

We understand that one wealthy connoisseur has decided to give up buying
Old Masters in order to save up for the purchase of a railway ticket.

* * *

_The Daily Mail_ points out that Lord NORTHCLIFFE has left England for the
Continent. Sir ERIC GEDDES is said to have remarked that he will catch his
lordship coming back.

* * *

A gentleman who is about to travel to a South Coast resort writes to
inquire what his position will be if some future Government reduces the
railway fares before he arrives at his destination.

* * *

In view of the increased railway fares there is some talk of starting a
Mansion House Fund to convey Scotsmen home from England before it is too
late.

* * *

Of the new railway rates it can be said that those who go farthest will
fare worse.

* * *

With reference to the man who was seen laughing in the Strand the other
day, it should be pointed out that he is not an English tax-payer but a
Colonial who was catching the boat home next morning.

* * *

A Christmas-card posted at Farnham in December, 1905, has just been
delivered at Ivychurch. The theory is that the postal authorities mistook
it for a business communication.

* * *

The monocle is coming into fashion once again, and it is thought that a
motorist wearing one goggle will soon be quite a common sight.

* * *

In view of their unwieldiness and size it is being urged that motor
charabancs should be required to carry a special form of hooter, to be
sounded only when there is no room for a vehicle coming in the other
direction to pass. A more elaborate system of signals is also suggested,
notably two short squawks and a long groan, to signify "My pedestrian, I
think."

* * *

According to a County Court judge it is the duty of every motorist who
knocks down a pedestrian to go back and ask the man if he is hurt. But
surely the victim cannot answer such a question off-hand without first
consulting his solicitor.

* * *

A great pilgrimage of house-hunters has visited the enormous marrow which
is growing in an allotment at Ingatestone, but the strong military guard
sent to protect it has succeeded up to the present in frustrating all
attempts to occupy it.

* * *

A motor fire-engine dashed into a draper's shop in the North of London last
Tuesday week. We understand that one of the firemen with great presence of
mind justified his action by immediately setting fire to the building.

* * *

A petrified fish about fifty feet long has been discovered in Utah. This is
said to be the largest sardine and the smallest whale America has ever
produced.

* * *

Building operations were interrupted in North London last week, when a
couple of sparrows built a nest on some foundations just where a bricklayer
was due to lay a brick the next day.

* * *

Six tourists motoring through the mountainous district of Ardèche
Department fell a thousand feet down a precipice, but escaped without
injury. We understand that in spite of many tempting offers from
cinematograph companies the motorists have decided not to repeat the
experiment.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _The Girl._ "ISN'T THAT MR. JONES BOWLING?"

_The Enthusiast._ "YES. THE OTHER DAY HE TOOK THREE WICKETS FOR SIX."

_The Girl._ "HOW DREADFUL! I'D NO IDEA HE DRANK."]

       *       *       *       *       *

SOLVING THE HOLIDAY FARE PROBLEM.

"None but the rich can pay the fare" is as true at this moment as when the
words were first penned.

The reference, of course, is to the return fare, for the single fare of
tomorrow is hardly more than we paid without complaint in years gone by for
the journey there and back.

How comparatively few people seem to be aware that the solution of the
difficulty lies in not returning. Could anything be simpler?

Nobody wants to return. In preparing for a holiday our thoughts are
concentrated on when to go, where to go and how to get there. Who bothers
himself about when to come back, where to come back from, and how to do it?
After all, holiday-making is not to be confused with prize-fighting.

That we have come back in the past has been due as much to custom as to
anything. Someone introduced the silly fashion of returning from holidays,
and we have unthinkingly acquired the habit. Once we shake off this holiday
convention the problem of the return fare is solved.

Just stay where you are and all will be well. Sooner or later your friends
or your employer (if your return is really considered desirable) will send
a money-order. But that is their look-out. The point is that the return
fare need not trouble _you_. And you can please yourself as to what you buy
with the money-order.

Why all this outcry then about the cost of travelling in the holiday
season?

       *       *       *       *       *

    "M. Lappas, the young Greek tenor whose début last season won him a
    host of fiends."--_Daily Paper._

As _Mephistopheles_, we presume.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Lost, Monday, July 19th, silver purse containing 10s. note and
    photographs; also lady's bathing costume."--_Local Paper._

Wrapped up in the "Fisher," no doubt.

       *       *       *       *       *

  I once knew a bowler named Patrick
  Who, after performing the "hat-trick,"
      Remarked, as he bowed
      His respects to the crowd,
  "It's nothing: I often do that trick!"

       *       *       *       *       *

BADLY SYNGED.

The scene is the morning-room of the Smith-Hybrows' South London residence.
It is the day following the final performance of the Smith-Hybrows'
strenuous season of J.M. SYNGE drama, undertaken with the laudable
intention of familiarising the suburb with the _real_ Irish temperament and
the works of the dramatist in question.

Mrs. Smith-Hybrow is seated at the breakfast-table, her head buried behind
the coffee urn. She is opening her letters and "keening" softly as she
rocks in her chair.

_Mrs. Smith-Hybrow_ (_scanning a letter_). Will I be helping them with the
sale of work? It's little enough the like of me will be doing for them the
way I was treated at the last Bazaar, when Mrs. McGupperty and Mrs.
Glyn-Jones were after destroying me with the cutting of the sandwiches. And
was I not there for three days, from the rising of the blessed sun to the
shining of the blessed stars, cutting and cutting, and never a soul to bear
witness to the destroying labour of it, and the two legs of me like to give
way with the great weariness (_keens_)? I'll have no call this year to be
giving in to their prayers and beseechings, and I won't care the way the
Curate will be after trying to come round me, with his eyes looking at me
the way the moon kisses the drops of dew on the hedgerows when the road is
white.

    [_Opens another letter, keening the while in a slightly higher key.
    Enter_ Gertrude Smith-Hybrow. _She crosses to the window and stares
    out._

_Gertrude._ There are black clouds in the sky, and the wind is breaking in
the west and making a great stir with the trees, and they are hitting one
on the other. And there is rain falling, falling from the clouds, and the
roads be wet.

_Mrs. S.-H._ It is your mackintosh you will be wanting when you are after
going to the Stores.

_Gertrude_ (_coming to the table and speaking with dull resentment_). And
why should I be going to the Stores the way I have enough to do with a
meeting of the League for Brighter Homes and a luncheon of the Cubist
Encouragement Society? Isn't it a queer hard thing that Dora cannot be
going to the Stores, and her with time enough on her hands surely?

    [_Sits in her place and begins keening. While she has been speaking
    Dora has entered hurriedly, buttoning her jumper._

_Dora_ (_vigorously_). And is it you, Gertrude Smith-Hybrow, that will be
talking about me having time on my hands? May the saints forgive you for
the hard words, and me having to cycle this blessed day to Mrs.
Montgomery's lecture on the Dadaist Dramatists, and the méringues and the
American creams to be made for to-night's Tchekoff Conversazione. Is it not
enough for a girl to be destroyed with the play-acting, and the wind like
to be in my face the whole way and the rain falling, falling?

    [_Sits in her place and keens._

_Mrs. S.-H._ (_after an interval of keening_). Is it your father that will
be missing his train this morning, Dora Smith-Hybrow?

_Dora_ (_rousing herself and selecting an egg_). It is my father that will
be missing his train entirely, and it is his son that would this minute be
sleeping the blessed daylight away had I not let fall upon him a sponge
that I had picked out of the cold, cold water.

_Gertrude._ It is a flapper you are, Dora Smith-Hybrow.

_Dora._ It is a flapper you will never be again, Gertrude Smith-Hybrow,
though you be after doing your queer best to look like one.

_Mrs. S.-H._ Whisht! Is it the time for loose talk, with the wind rising,
rising, and the rain falling, falling, and the price of butter up another
threepence this blessed morning?

    [_They all three recommence keening. Enter_ Mr. Smith-Hybrow _followed
    by_ Cyril.

_Mr. S.-H._ (_staunching a gash in his chin_). Is it not a hard thing for a
man to be late for his breakfast and the rain falling, falling, and the
wind rising, rising. It's destroyed I am with the loss of blood and no food
in my stomach would keep the life in a flea.

    [_Sits in his place and opens his letters savagely._ Cyril, _a
    cadaverous youth, stares gloomily into the depths of the marmalade._

_Cyril_ (_dreamily_). There's gold and gold and gold--caverns of gold. And
there's a woman with hair of gold and eyes would pick the locks of a man's
soul, and long shining hands like pale seaweed. Is it not a terrible thing
that a man would have to go to the City when there is a woman with gold
hair waiting for him in the marmalade pot--waiting to draw him down into
the cold, cold water?

_Dora._ Is it another spongeful you are wanting, Cyril Smith-Hybrow, and
myself destroyed entirely waiting for the marmalade?

    [Cyril _blushes, passes the marmalade, sits down languidly and selects
    an egg._ Mrs. S.-H. _pours out the coffee and resumes her keening._

_Mr. S.-H._ (_glaring at her_). Is it not a nice thing for the wife of a
respectable City stockbroker to sit at the breakfast-table making a noise
like that of a cow that is waiting to be milked?

_Mrs. S.-H._ (_hurt_). It is keening I am.

_Gertrude_ (_passing him "The Morning Post"_). Is it not enough that the
price of butter is up another threepence this blessed day, and the wind
rising, rising, and the rain falling, falling?

_Mr. S.-H._ It is destroyed we shall all be entirely.

_Cyril_ (_gazing into the depths of his egg_). There was a strange queer
dream I was after having the night that has gone. It was on the rocks I
was....

_Mr. S.-H._ (_glaring at the market reports_). It is on the rocks we shall
all be.

_Cyril._ ... on the rocks I was by the sea-shore ...

_Dora_ (_slightly hysterically_). With the wind rising, rising?

_Cyril_ (_nodding_). ... and the rain falling, falling. And a woman of the
chorus drove up in a taxi, and the man that had the driving of it was
eating an orange. The woman came and sat by the side of me, and the
peroxide in her hair made it gleam like the pale gold coins that were in
the banks before the Great War (_more dreamily_). Never a word said she
when I hung a chain of cold, cold sausages about her neck, but her eyes
were shining, shining, and into my hands she put a tin of corned beef. And
it is destroyed I was with the love of her, and would have kissed her lips
but I saw the park-keeper coming, coming out of the sea for tickets, and I
fled from the strange queer terror of it, and found myself by a lamp-post
in Hackney Wick with the wind rising, rising, and the rain falling,
falling.

    [_He stops. The others stare at him and at one another in piteous
    inquiry. The women begin keening._ Mr. S.-H. _seizes the remaining egg
    and cracks it viciously._

_Mr. S.-H._ (_falling back in his chair_). Damnation!

    [_The air is filled with a pungent matter-of-fact odour._ Dora,
    _holding her handkerchief to her nose, rushes valiantly at the offender
    and hurls it out of the window on to a flower-bed. The_ SYNGE _spell is
    broken._

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. Punch begs to thank the seven hundred and forty-three correspondents
who have so thoughtfully drawn his attention to the too familiar fact that
"there's many a slip 'twixt the Cup and the LIPTON."

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE BLUE RIBBON OF THE SEA.

COLUMBIA. "YOUR HEALTH, SIR THOMAS, AND BETTER LUCK NEXT TIME."

SIR THOMAS LIPTON. "'BUT LEAVE A KISS WITHIN THE CUP AND [_very tactfully_]
I'LL NOT ASK FOR WINE.'"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Professional_ (_to self-made man having his first lesson_).
"YOU'VE HIT THIS ONE HARD ENOUGH, SIR, AND NO MISTAKE. WHY, I'VE NEVER SEEN
A BALL GASHED LIKE THAT BEFORE."

_Self-made Man._ "WELL, LAD, AH MOSTLY DO GET RESULTS FROM ONYTHING AH
TAKES OOP."]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE SUCCULENT COMEDIANS.

Among the literary and artistic treasures of American collectors the
manuscript of LAMB'S essay on Roast Pig is eminent. I have seen this
rarity, which is now in the strong room where Mr. PIERPONT MORGAN keeps his
autographs safe equally from fire and from theft--if not from the desire to
thieve. Much did I covet in this realm of steel, and LAMB'S MS. not least.
The essay occupies both sides of large sheets of foolscap, written in a
minute hand, with very few corrections, both the paper and the time
occupied in transcription, if not also in actual composition, being, I
should guess, the East India Company's. It is not, I imagine, the first
draft, but the first fair copy after all the changes had been made and the
form was fixed; and its author, if he is in any position to know what is
going forward on a planet which he left some six-and-eighty years ago, must
have been amused when he heard that so much money--thousands and thousands
of dollars--had been given for it at auction the other day.

Reading the essay again, in the faded ink on the yellowing paper, I
realised once more that everything that can be said about little pigs, dead
and ripe for the eater, had been said here and said finally. But the
living? That very evening I was to find little live pigs working for their
maintenance under conditions of which I had never dreamed, in an
environment less conducive, one would suppose, to porcine activity than any
that could be selected.

It was at Coney Island, that astonishing permanent and magnified Earl's
Court Exhibition, summer Blackpool and August-Bank-Holiday-Hampstead-Heath,
which New York supports for its beguilement. In this domain of switchbacks
and chutes, merry-go-rounds and shooting-galleries, dancing-halls and
witching waves, vociferous and crowded and lit by a million lamps, I came
suddenly upon the Pig Slide and had a new conception of what quadrupeds can
do for man.

The Pig Slide, which was in one of the less noisy quarters of Luna Park,
consisted of an enclosure in which stood a wooden building of two storeys,
some five yards wide and three high. On the upper storey was a row of six
or eight cages, in each of which dwelt a little live pig, an infant of a
few weeks. In the middle of the row, descending to the ground, was an
inclined board, with raised edges, such as is often installed in swimming-
baths to make diving automatic, and beneath each cage was a hole a foot in
diameter. The spectators and participants crowded outside the enclosure,
and the thing was to throw balls, which were hired for the purpose, into
the holes. Nothing could exceed the alert and eager interest taken by the
little pigs in the efforts of the ball-throwers. They quivered on their
little legs; they pressed their little noses against the bars of the cages;
their little eyes sparkled; their tails (the only corkscrews left in
America) curled and uncurled and curled again: and with reason, for
whereas, if you missed--as was only too easy--nothing happened, if you
threw accurately the fun began, and the fun was also theirs.

This is what occurred. First a bell rang and then a spring released the
door of the cage immediately over the hole which your ball had entered, so
that it swung open. The little pig within, after watching the previous
infirmity of your aim with dejection, if not contempt, had pricked up his
ears on the sound of the bell, and now smiled a gratified smile,
irresistible in infectiousness, and trotted out, and, with the smile
dissolving into an expression of absolute beatitude, slid voluptuously down
the plank: to be gathered in at the foot by an attendant and returned to
its cage all ready for another such adventure.

It was for these moments and their concomitant changes of countenance that
you paid your money. To taste the triumph of good marksmanship was only a
fraction of your joy; the greater part of it consisted in liberating a
little prisoner and setting in motion so much ecstasy.

We do not use baby pigs in this entertaining way in England. At the most we
hunt them greased. But when other beguilements weary we might. The
R.S.P.C.A. could not object, the little pets are so happy. And what a
privilege is theirs, both alive and dead, to enchant creation's lord.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Ordinary Artist_ (_to Ultra-Modern ditto_). "HOW TOPPING
THOSE KIDDIES LOOK WITH THE SUN ON THEM! OH, I FORGOT--I MEAN THOSE THINGS
SPLASHING ABOUT OVER THERE. OF COURSE YOU DON'T SEE THEM AS HUMAN BEINGS."]

       *       *       *       *       *

    "In order to give a lead in economy King George and Queen Mary and a
    number of peeresses have decided not to wear plumes or tulle veils at
    the opening of Parliament."--_Australian Paper._

Very self-sacrificing of HIS MAJESTY.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "'My husband says I must leavee teo-night,' said a wife at Acton. 'Oh,
    hee eceanee't givee you ... notice to quit,' said the magistrate."--
    _Evening Paper._

His worship seems to have settled the matter with e's.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE MINISTERING ANGEL.

    [Yawning, it is now claimed, is an excellent thing for the health.]

  Stretched prone upon my couch of pain,
    An ache in every limb,
  Fell influenza having slain
    My customary _vim_,
  I mused, disconsolate, about
    The pattern of my pall,
  When lo! I heard a step without
    And Thomson came to call.

  "Your ruddy health," I told him, "mocks
    A hand too weak to grip
  The tea-cup with its captive ox
    And raise it to my lip;"
  To which he answered he had come
    To bring for my delight
  Red posies of geranium
    And roses pink and white.

  'Twas kind of Thomson thus to seek
    To mitigate my gloom,
  But why did he proceed to speak
    Of how he'd reared each bloom,
  Telling in language far from terse
    On what his blossoms fed
  And how he made the greenfly curse
    The day that it was bred?

  He told me how he rose at dawn
    To titivate the land
  ('Twas here that I began to yawn
    Behind a courteous hand),
  And how he thought his favourite pea
    Had found the soil too dry
  (And here I feared my yawns would be
    Apparent to his eye).

  On fruit and blossom good and bad
    He rambled on unchecked,
  Until his conversation had
    Such curative effect
  That in the end it drove away
    My weak despondent mood.
  I clasped his hand and blessed the day
    He came to do me good.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "MORE DEARER PUBLICATIONS."--_Daily Mail._

More dearer nor what they was? Dear, dear!

       *       *       *       *       *

From _Young India_, the organ of Mr. GANDHI:--

    "In our last issue the number of those in receipt of relief is given at
    500. This is a printer's devil. The number is 5,000."

Mr. GANDHI ought to exorcise that devil.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The tests were entirely satisfactory, and the pilot manoeuvred for a
    quarter of an hour at a height of 500 metres and a speed of 150
    millimetres an hour."--_Aeronautics._

This is believed to be the nearest approach to "hovering" that has yet been
achieved by a machine.

       *       *       *       *       *

NITRATES.

  All alone I went a-walking by the London Docks one day,
  For to see the ships discharging in the basins where they lay;
  And the cargoes that I saw there they were every sort and kind,
  Every blessed brand of merchandise a man could bring to mind;
  There were things in crates and boxes, there was stuff in bags and bales,
  There were tea-chests wrapped in matting, there were Eastern-looking
      frails,
  There were baulks of teak and greenheart, there were stacks of spruce and
      pine,
  There was cork and frozen carcasses and casks of Spanish wine,
  There was rice and spice and cocoa-nuts, and rum enough was there
  For to warm all London's innards up and leave a drop to spare;

  But of all the freights I found there, gathered in from far and wide,
  All the smells both nice and nasty from the Pool to Barkingside,
  All the harvest of the harbours from Bombay to Montreal,
  There was one that took my fancy first and foremost of them all;
  It was neither choice nor costly, it was neither rich nor rare
  And, in most ways you can think of, it was neither here nor there,
  It was nothing over-beautiful to smell nor yet to see--
  Only bags of stuffy nitrate--but it meant a lot to me.

  I forgot the swarming stevedores, I forgot the dust and din,
  And the rattle of the winches hoisting cargo out and in,
  And the rusty tramp before me with her hatches open wide,
  And the grinding of her derricks as the sacks went overside;
  I forgot the murk of London and the dull November sky--
  I was far, ay, far from England, in a day that's long gone by.

  I forgot the thousand changes years have brought in ships and men,
  And the knots on Time's old log-line that have reeled away since then,
  And I saw a fast full-rigger with her swelling canvas spread,
  And the steady trade-wind droning in her royals overhead,
  Fleecy trade-clouds on the sky-line--high above the Tropic blue--
  And the curved arch of her foresail and the ocean gleaming through;
  I recalled the Cape Stiff weather, when your soul-case seemed to freeze,
  And the trampling, cursing watches and the pouring, pooping seas,
  And the ice on spar and jackstay, and the cracking, volleying sail,
  And the tatters of our voices blowing down the roaring gale ...
  I recalled the West Coast harbours just as plain as yesteryear--
  Nitrate ports, all dry and dusty, where they sell fresh water-dear--
  Little cities white and wicked by a bleak and barren shore,
  With an anchor on the cliff-side for to show you where to moor;
  And the sour red wine we tasted, and the foolish songs we sung,
  And the girls we had our fun with in the days when we were young;
  And the dancing in the evenings down at Dago Bill's saloon,
  And the stars above the mountains and the sea's eternal tune.

  Only bags of stuffy nitrate from a far Pacific shore,
  From a dreary West Coast harbour that I'll surely fetch no more;
  Only bags of stuffy nitrate, with its faint familiar smell
  Bringing back the ships and shipmates that I used to know so well;
  Half a lifetime lies between us and a thousand leagues of sea,
  But it called the days departed and my boyhood back to me.

  C.F.S.

       *       *       *       *       *

ROSES ALL THE WAY.

Fired by an Irish rose-grower's pictures of some of his beautiful new
seedlings we are tempted to describe one or two of our own favourite
flowers in language similar to his own. This is an example of the way he
does it:--

    "LADY MAUREEN STEWART (_Hybrid Tea_).--A gloriously-finished globular
    slightly imbricated cupped bloom with velvety black scarlet cerise
    shell-shaped petals, whose reflex is solid pure orangey maroon without
    veining. An excellent bloom, ideal shape, brilliant and non-fading
    colour with heavy musk rose odour. Erect growth and flower-stalk.
    Foliage wax and leathery and not too large. A very floriferous and
    beautiful rose. 21s. each."

Why not also these?--

DAVID (_Hybrid Tory-Lib._).--A gloriously-finished true-blue-slightly-
imbricated-with-red-flag coalition rose whose deep globular head with
ornate decorative calyx retains its perfect exhibition-cross-question-
hostile-amendment symmetry of form without blueing or burning in the
hottest Westminster sun. Its smiling peach and cerise endearments
terminating in black scarlet shell-shaped waxy Berlin ultimata are carried
on an admirably rigid peduncle. Equally vigorous in all parts of Europe.
Superbly rampant. Not on sale.

AUSTEN (_Tea and most other things_).--This bottomless-cupped bank-paper-
white-edged-and-rimmed-with-tape-pink-margin bloom, the reflex of whose
never-fading demand notes is velvety black thunder-cloud with lightning-
flash six-months-in-the-second-division veinations, has never been known to
be too full. It is supported by a landlordly stalk of the utmost excess-
profits-war-profits-minor-profits rigidity. A decorative, acquisitive and
especially captivating rose, and already something more than a popular
favourite. 18s. in £1.

SIR THOMAS (_Ceylon and India Tea_).--This true sport from the British
bull-dog rose has a slightly globular double-hemisphere-popular greatly-
desiring-and-deserving-to-be-cupped bloom whose pearly preserved cream
flesh is delicately flushed and mottled with tinned salmon and dried
apricot. Rich golden and banking-account stamina, foliage deep navy blue
with brass buttons and a superb fragrance of western ocean. Its marvellous
try-try-try-again floriferousness in all weathers is the admiration of all
beholders. Price no object.

       *       *       *       *       *

From a weather forecast:--

    "General Outlook.--It appears probable that further expressions will
    arrive from the westward or north-westward before long, and that after
    a temporary improvement the weather will again become unsettled; with
    much cloud and occasional rain."--_Evening Paper._

In which event further expressions (of a sultry character) may be expected
from all round the compass.

       *       *       *       *       *

"COME UNTO THESE YELLOW SANDS."

[Illustration: "COME UNTO THESE YELLOW SANDS AND THEN--]

[Illustration: --TAKE HANDS."--[_The Tempest_, Act I., Sc. 2. ]

       *       *       *       *       *

QUEEN'S COUNSEL.

The Fairy Queen shook her head in answer to my question. "No," she said, "I
have no favourite flower."

She had dropped in after dinner, as was her occasional habit, and at the
moment sat perched on a big red carnation which stood in a flower-glass on
the top of my desk.

"You see," she continued, floating across to where I was sitting and
lowering her voice confidentially, for there were a good many flowers
about--"you see it would never do. Just think of the trouble it would
cause. Imagine the state of mind of the lilies if I were to show a
preference for roses. There's always been a little jealousy there, and
they're all frightfully touchy. The artistic temperament, you know. Why, I
daren't even sleep in the same flower two nights running."

"Yes, I see," I said. "It must be very awkward."

I lapsed into silence; I had had a worrying day and was feeling tired and a
little depressed. The Queen fluttered about the room, pausing a moment on
the mantel-shelf for a word or two with her old friend the Dresden china
shepherdess. Then she came back to the desk and performed a brief _pas
seul_ on the shining smooth cover of my pass-book. My mind flew instantly
to my slender bank-balance and certain recent foolishnesses.

"Talking of favourites," I said--"talking of favourites, do you take any
interest in racing?"

Instantly the Queen subsided on to my rubber stamp damper, which was
fortunately dry.

"Oh, yes," she replied, "I take a _great_ interest in racing. I love it. I
can give you all sorts of hints."

I thought it was a pity she hadn't called a week or two earlier. I might
have been a richer woman by a good many pounds.

"And there are so many kinds," continued the Queen earnestly. "Now in a
butterfly race it's always best just to hold on and let them do as they
like. It's not a bit of use trying to make them go straight. Rabbits are
better in that way, but even rabbits are a little uncertain at times. Full
of nerves. But have you ever tried swallow-racing?" she went on
enthusiastically. "It's simply splendid. You give them their heads and you
never know _where_ you may get to. But, anyway, it doesn't really matter in
the least afterwards who wins; it's only while it's happening that you feel
so thrilled, isn't it?"

I didn't acquiesce very whole-heartedly. I'm afraid my thoughts were with
my lost guineas. It _had_ rather mattered afterwards. I really had been
very foolish.

"You look depressed," said the Fairy Queen. "Can I help you? I'm really
extremely practical. You know, don't you," she leaned forward and looked at
me earnestly, "that I should be delighted if I could assist you with any
advice?"

I hesitated. Just before she came I had been anxiously considering as to
how I was going to make one hundred pounds do the work of two during the
next few weeks; but somehow I didn't quite like to mention such material
matters to the Queen; it didn't seem suitable.

I looked up and met her kind eyes fixed on mine with an expression of the
gentlest interest and solicitude.

"I wonder," I said, still hesitating, "whether you know anything about
stocks and shares?"

"Stocks and shares," she repeated slowly, looking just a little vague and
puzzled. And then--"Oh, yes, of course I do, if that's all you want to
know."

I felt quite pleased now that I had really got it out.

"If you could just give me a useful hint or two I should be tremendously
grateful," I said. Already thousands loomed entrancingly before me. Already
I saw myself settled in that darling cottage on the windy hill above
Daccombe Wood. Already--

"I think I had better get a pencil and paper," I said. "My memory's
dreadful."

But the Fairy Queen shook her head.

"I'll write it down for you," she said, "and you can read it when I'm gone.
That's so much more fun. But I don't need paper."

She drew a tiny shining implement from her pocket and, picking up a couple
of rose-petals which had fallen upon the table, she busied herself with
them for a moment at my desk, her mouth pursed up, her brows contracted in
an expression of intense seriousness.

"There," she said, "that's that. And now show me _all_ your new clothes."

We spent quite a pleasant evening over one thing and another, and I forgot
all about the rose-leaves until after she had gone; but when I came back to
my empty sitting-room they shone in the dusk with a soft radiance which
came, I discovered, from the writing on them. It glowed like those luminous
figures on watches which were so entrancing when they first appeared. I had
never realised before that they were fairy figures.

I spread the petals out on my palm, feeling quite excited at the prospect
of making my fortune by such means, though I was a little anxious as to how
I was going to make use of the information I was about to acquire.

"I will ask Cousin Fred," I decided (Cousin Fred being a stockbroker), and
I smiled a little to myself as I thought how amazed and possibly amused my
dapper cousin would be when he learnt the source of my knowledge. He might
even refuse to believe in it--and then where should I be?

I needn't have troubled. When I unfolded my rose-petals this is what I
read:--

"_Stocks._--The white ones are much the best and have by far the sweetest
scent.

_Shares._--_Always_ go shares."

R.F.

       *       *       *       *       *

HEART OF MINE.

(_Being a rather hysterical contribution from our Analytical Novelist._)

_Friday._--I suppose one never realises till one is actually dead how
nearly dead one can be without actually being it. You see what I mean? No.
Well, how blithely, how recklessly one rollicks through life, fondly
believing that one is in the best of health, in the prime of condition, and
all the time one is the unconscious victim of some fatal infirmity or
disease. I mean, take my own case. I went to see my doctor in order to be
cured of hay fever. He examined my heart. He made me take off my shirt. He
hammered my chest; he rapped my ribs with his knuckles to see if they
sounded hollow. I don't know why he did this, but I think he was at one
time attached to a detective and has got into the habit of looking for
secret passages and false panels and so on.

Anyhow, he suspected my chest, and he listened at it for so long that any
miscreant who had been concealed in it would have had to give himself away
by coughing or blowing his nose.

After a long time he said, "Your heart's dilated. You want a complete rest.
Don't work. Don't smoke. Don't drink. Don't eat. Don't do anything. Take
plenty of exercise. Sit perfectly still. Don't mope. Don't rush about. Take
this before and after every meal. Only don't have any meals." I laughed at
him. I knew my heart was perfectly sound, much sounder than most men's. I
went home. I didn't even have the prescription made up.

_Saturday._--Now comes the tragic thing. _That very night I realised that
he was right._ There _is_ something wrong with my heart. It is too long. It
is too wide. It is too thick. It is out of place. It would be difficult to
say _exactly_ where the measurements are wrong, but one has a sort of
_sense_ ...  you know?... One can feel that it is too large.... A swollen
feeling.... Somehow I never felt this before; I never even felt that it was
there ... but now I always know that it is there--trying to get out.... I
put my hand on it and can feel it definitely expanding--like a football
bladder. Sometimes I think it wants to get out at my collar-bone; sometimes
I think it will blow out under my bottom rib; sometimes some other way. It
is terrible....

I have had the prescription made up.

_Sunday._--The way it beats! Sometimes very fast and heavy and emphatic,
like a bad barrage of 5.9's. Fortunately my watch has a second-hand, so
that I can time it--forty-five to the half-minute, ninety-five to the full
minute. Then I know that the end is very near; everyone knows that the
normal rate for a healthy adult heart is seventy-two. Then sometimes it
goes very slow, very dignified and faint, as when some great steamer glides
in at slow speed to her anchorage, and the engines thump in a subdued and
profound manner very far away, or as when at night the solemn tread of some
huge policeman is heard, remote and soft and dilated--I mean dilatory, or
as when--But you see what I mean.

_Monday._--How was it, I wonder, that all this was hidden from me for so
long? And now what am I to do? I am a doomed man. With a heart like this I
cannot last long. I have resigned my clubs; I have given up my work. I can
think of nothing but this dull pain, this heavy throbbing at my side. My
work--ha! Yesterday I met another young doctor at tea. He asked me if there
was any "murmur." I said I did not know--no one had told me. But after tea
I went away and listened. Yes, there was a murmur; I could hear it plainly.
I told the young doctor. He said that murmurs were not considered so
important nowadays. What matters is "the reaction of the heart to work." By
that test I am doomed indeed. But the murmur is better.

_Tuesday._--I have told Anton Gregorovitch Gregorski. He says he has a
heart too.

_Wednesday._--I have been learning things to-day. I am worse even than the
doctor thought. In a reference book in the dining-room there is a medical
dictionary. It says: "Dilatation leads to dropsy, shortness of breath and
blueness of the face." I have got some of those already. I have never seen
a face so blue. It is like the sea in the early morning.

_Thursday._--The heart is bigger again to-day--about an inch each way. The
weight of it is terrible to carry.... I have to take taxis.... This evening
it was going at thirty-two to the minute....

_Friday._--Last night, when I tried to count the beats, I could not find
it.... It must have stopped.... Anton Gregorovitch says it is the end....
This is my last entry....

_Saturday._--My face is very blue. It is like a forget-me-not ... it is
like a volume of _Hansard_....

I shall go to see the doctor as I promised ... he can do nothing, but it
will interest him to see how much bigger the heart has grown in the last
few days....

No more....

_Sunday._--The doctor said it was much better.... It is undilated again....
After all I am not going to die. But the reaction to work is still bad.
This evening I make it sixty to the minute....

_Monday._--This morning's count was seventy-two. It is terrible....

A.P.H.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Sympathetic Old Lady._ "AND WHEN YOU WENT DOWN FOR THE
THIRD TIME THE WHOLE OF YOUR PAST LIFE OF COURSE FLASHED BEFORE YOUR EYES?"

_Longshore Billy._ "I EXPECT IT DID, MUM, BUT I 'AD 'EM SHUT AT THE TIME,
SO I MISSED IT."]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Mollie._ "AUNTIE, DON'T CATS GO TO HEAVEN?"

_Auntie._ "NO, MY DEAR. DIDN'T YOU HEAR THE VICAR SAY AT THE CHILDREN'S
SERVICE THAT ANIMALS HADN'T SOULS AND THEREFORE COULD NOT GO TO HEAVEN?"

_Mollie._ "WHERE DO THEY GET THE STRINGS FOR THE HARPS, THEN?"]

       *       *       *       *       *

FLOWERS' NAMES.

          SHEPHERD'S PURSE.

  There was a silly shepherd lived out at Taunton Dene
    (Hey-nonny-nonny-no for Taunton in the summer!)
  And oh, but he was bitter cold! and oh, but he was mean!
  The maidens vowed a bitterer had never yet been seen
              At Taunton in the summer.

  He lived to gather in the gold--he loved to hear it chink
    (Hey-nonny-nonny-no for Taunton in the summer!),
  And he could only dream of gold--of gold could only think;
  And all the fairies watched him, and they watched him with a wink
              At Taunton in the summer.

  At last one summer noonday, when the sky was blue and deep
    (Hey-nonny-nonny-no for Taunton in the summer!),
  They made him heavy-headed as he watched beside his sheep
  And all the little Taunton elves came stealing out to peep
              At Taunton in the summer.

  They opened wide his wallet and they stole the coins away
    (Hey-nonny-nonny-no for Taunton in the summer!),
  They took the round gold pieces and they used them for their play,
  They rolled and chased and tumbled them and lost them in the hay
              At Taunton in the summer.

  And when they'd finished playing they used all their magic powers
    (Hey-nonny-nonny-no for Taunton in the summer!);
  The silly shepherd woke and wept, he sought his gold for hours,
  And all he found was drifts and drifts of tiny greenish flowers
              At Taunton in the summer.

       *       *       *       *       *

MORE WORK FOR HIS MAJESTY'S JUDGES.

    "Potato disease has unfortunately made its appearance in the ----
    district, the early and second early crops being seriously attacked.
    The late crops are free from disease up to the present, and it is hoped
    by judicial spraying to save them."--_Local Paper._

       *       *       *       *       *

From an interview with the Superintendent of Regent's Park:--

    "'People seem surprised,' he said, 'when I tell them that within a few
    minutes' walk of Baker Street Station, and the incessant din of
    Marylebone Road, such birds as the cuckoo, flycatcher, robin and wren
    have reared their young.'"--_Observer._

To hear of the cuckoo bringing up its own family in any circumstances was,
we confess, a little bit of a shock.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "'Idling, my dear fellow!' was Mr. Jerome K. Jerome's decisive answer
    to my question: 'What do you most like doing at holiday-time?'

    'But if, and only when, I am really driven to exertion, let me have a
    horse between my legs, a pair of oars, and a billiard-table, and I ask
    nothing more of the gods.'"--_Answers._

The next time Mr. JEROME indulges in this performance may we be there to
see.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE LEAGUE OF YOUTH.

WAR-WEARY WORLD (_at the Jamboree_). "I WAS NEARLY LOSING HOPE, BUT THE
SIGHT OF ALL YOU BOYS GIVES IT BACK TO ME."]

       *       *       *       *       *

ESSENCE OF PARLIAMENT.

_Monday, July 26th._--When the Peers were about to discuss the Law of
Property Bill, which seeks to abolish the distinction between land and
other property, Lord CAVE dropped a bombshell into the Committee by moving
to omit the whole of Part I. Lords HALDANE and BUCKMASTER were much upset
and loudly protested against the proposal to cut out "the very heart and
substance of the measure." The LORD CHANCELLOR was less perturbed by the
explosion and was confident that after further discussion he could induce
the CAVE-dwellers to come into line with modern requirements. Thirty-four
clauses thus disappeared with a bang; and of the hundred and odd remaining
only one gave much trouble. Objection was taken to Clause 101, granting the
public full rights of access to commons, on the grounds _inter alia_ that
it would give too much freedom to gipsies and too little to golfers. Lord
SALISBURY, who, like the counsel in a famous legal story, claimed to "know
a little about manors," was sure that only the lord could deal faithfully
with the Egyptians, but, fortified by Lord HALDANE'S assurance that the
clause gave the public no more rights and the lords of the manor no less
than they had before, the House passed it by 42 to 29.

Mr. BRIDGEMAN, for the Board of Trade, bore the brunt of the early
questioning in the House of Commons. He sustained with equal
imperturbability the assaults of the Tariff Reformers, who asserted that
British toy-making--an "infant industry" if ever there was one--was being
stifled by foreign imports: and those of the Free Traders, who objected to
the Government's efforts to resuscitate the dyeing trade.

The alarming rumours in the Sunday papers about the PRIME MINISTER'S state
of health were effectively dispelled by his appearance on the Front
Opposition, a little weary-looking, no doubt, but as alert as ever to seize
the weak point in the adversary's case and to put his own in the most
favourable light. From the enthusiasm of his announcement that the Soviet
Government had accepted our invitation to attend a Conference in London,
one would have thought that the Bolshevists had agreed to the British
proposals unconditionally and that peace--"that is what the world
wants"--was now assured.

[Illustration: _David._ "YOU KNOW THE RHYME, GRANDMAMA, THAT SAYS--

        'THIS LITTLE PIG WENT TO MARKET,
        AND THIS LITTLE PIG STAYED AT HOME'?"

_The Mother of Parliaments._ "YES, DAVID, DEAR. WHY DO YOU MENTION IT?"

_David._ "OH, I WAS MERELY WONDERING WHAT WAS TO BE DONE ABOUT IT."]

Abhorrence of the Government of Ireland Bill is the one subject on which
all Irishmen appear to think alike. It is, no doubt, with the desire to
preserve that unanimity that the PRIME MINISTER announced his intention of
pressing the measure forward after the Recess "with all possible despatch."

But before that date it looks as if Irishmen would have despatched one
another. The little band of Nationalists had handed in a batch of
private-notice Questions arising out of the disturbances in Belfast. Their
description of them as the outcome of an organised attack upon Catholics
was indignantly challenged by the Ulstermen, and the SPEAKER had hard work
to maintain order. The contest was renewed on a motion for the adjournment.
As a means of bringing peace to Ireland the debate was absolutely futile.
But it enabled Mr. DEVLIN to fire off one of his tragical-comical orations,
and Sir H. GREENWOOD to disclaim the accusation that he had treated the
Irish problem with levity. "There is nothing light and airy about me," he
declared; and no one who has heard his pronunciation of the word "Belfast"
would doubt it.

Before and after this melancholy interlude good progress was made with the
Finance Bill, and Mr. CHAMBERLAIN made several further concessions to the
"family-man."

_Tuesday, July 27th._--The Lords rejected the Health Resorts and Watering
Places Bill under which local authorities could have raised a penny rate
for advertising purposes. Lord SOUTHWARK'S well-meant endeavour to support
the Bill by reminding the House that Irish local authorities had enjoyed
this power since 1909 was perhaps the proximate cause of its defeat, for it
can hardly be said that the last few weeks have enhanced the reputation of
Ireland as a health resort.

Mr. HARMSWORTH utterly confounded the critics of the Passport Office. Its
staff may appear preposterously large and its methods unduly dilatory, but
the fact remains that it is one of the few public departments that actually
pays its way. Last year it spent thirty-seven thousand pounds and took
ninety-one thousand pounds in fees. "See the world and help to pay for the
War" should be the motto over its portals.

It is, of course, quite proper that soldiers who wreck the property of
civilians--albeit under great provocation--should receive suitable
punishment. But a sailor is hardly the man to press for it. Lieutenant-
Commander KENWORTHY received a much-needed lesson in etiquette when Major
JAMESON gravely urged, in his penetrating Scotch voice, that soldiers in
Ireland should be ordered not to distract the prevailing peace and quiet of
that country, but should keep to their proper function of acting as targets
for Sinn Fein bullets.

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN dealt very gingerly with Sir ARTHUR FELL'S inquiry as to
whether "any ordinary individual can understand the forms now sent out by
the Income Tax Department?" Fearing that if he replied in the affirmative
he would be asked to solve some particularly abstruse conundrum, he
contented himself with saying that the forms were complicated because the
tax was complicated, and the tax was complicated because of the number and
variety of the reliefs granted to the taxpayer. It does not seem to have
occurred to him that it is the duty of the CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER to
make the tax simple as well as equitable. Is it conceivable that he can
have forgotten ADAM SMITH's famous maxims on the subject, and particularly
this: "The time of payment, the manner of payment, the quantity to be paid,
ought all to be clear and plain to the contributor, and to every other
person"?

[Illustration: MR. BONAR LAW PACKS HIS TRUNKS.]

The House did not rise till half-past one this morning, and was again faced
with a long night's work. In vain Sir DONALD MACLEAN protested against the
practice of taking wee sma' Bills in the wee sma' oors. Mr. BONAR LAW was
obdurate. He supposed the House had not abandoned all hope of an Autumn
recess. Well, then, had not the poet said that the best of all ways to
lengthen our days was to steal a few hours from the night?

The Report stage of the Finance Bill was finished off, but not until the
Government had experienced some shocks. The Corporation tax, intended
partially to fill the yawning void which will be caused some day by the
disappearance of E.P.D.--on the principle that one bad tax deserves
another--was condemned with equal vigour, but for entirely different
reasons, by Colonel WEDGWOOD and Sir F. BANBURY. They "told" together
against it and had the satisfaction of bringing the Government majority
down to fifty-five.

The champions of the Co-operative Societies also put up a strong fight
against the proposal to make their profits, for the first time, subject to
taxation. Mr. CHAMBERLAIN declined, however, to put them in a privileged
position as compared with other traders, but carried his point only by
sixty-one votes.

_Wednesday, July 28th._--In spite of the limitation of Questions the Member
for Central Hull still manages to extract a good deal of information from
the Treasury Bench. This afternoon he learned from Mr. LONG that the Board
of Admiralty was not created solely for the purpose of satisfying his
curiosity; and from Mr. KELLAWAY that the equipment of even the most
versatile Under-Secretary does not include the gift of prophecy.

At long last the House learned the Government decision regarding the
increase in railway fares. It is to come into force on August 6th, by which
time the most belated Bank-Holiday-maker should have returned from his
revels. Mr. BONAR LAW appended to the announcement a surely otiose
explanation of the necessity of the increase. Everybody knows that railways
are being run at a loss, due in the main to the increased wages of miners
and railway-men. Mr. THOMAS rather weakly submitted that an important
factor was the larger number of men employed, and was promptly met with the
retort that that was because of the shorter hours worked.

Cheered by the statement of its Leader that he still hoped to get the
adjournment by August 14th the House plunged with renewed zest into the
final stage of the Finance Bill. Mr. BOTTOMLEY, whose passion for accuracy
is notorious, inveighed against the lack of this quality in the Treasury
Estimates. As for the war-debt, since the Government had failed to "make
Germany pay," he urged that the principal burden should be left for
posterity to shoulder.

These sentiments rather shocked Mr. ASQUITH, who, while mildly critical of
Government methods, was all in favour of "severe, stringent, drastic
taxation." Mr. CHAMBERLAIN repeated his now familiar lecture to the House
of Commons, which, while accusing the Government of extravagance, was
always pressing for new forms of expenditure. In the study of economy he
dislikes abstractions--except from the pockets of the taxpayer.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Company's water is on to the house and cowshed."--_Advert. in Daily
    Paper._

Now we know why our water is sometimes contaminated with milk.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "One of the most striking of the collection of exhibits of fascinating
    interest [at the Imperial War Museum] is the Air Force map for carrying
    out the British plan for bombing Berlin. Specimens of the bombs,
    weighing 3,000 pounds each, are also included in this museum of war
    souvenirs with the object of demonstrating the resources of the Empire
    and giving a stimulus to its trade."--_South African Paper._

Motto for British traders: "If at first you don't succeed, try, try
trinitrotoluene."

       *       *       *       *       *

THE BIRTHDAY PRESENT.

I went into the morning-room with a worried frown upon my brow. Kathleen
was doing the accounts at the table.

"Kathleen," I said, "it's Veronica's birthday on Wednesday and--"

"What did you say seven eighths were?" said Kathleen. "I asked you last
week."

"I can't possibly carry complicated calculations in my head from week to
week," I said; "you should have made a note of it at the time. It's
Veronica's birthday on Wednesday, and what do you think she wants?"

But Kathleen was enthralled by the greengrocer's book. "Have we really had
eight cabbages this week?" she said. "We must, I suppose. Greengrocers are
generally honest; they live so near to nature. Well, now," she shut up her
books, "what were you saying, dear?"

I sighed, cleared my throat and began again. "It's Veronica's birthday on
Wednesday, and what do you think she wants? She wants," I said
dramatically, "a 'frush' from the bird-shop in the village. The ones that
hang in cages outside the door."

"Well," said Kathleen, "why not?"

"Why not?" I became more than serious. "A daughter of ours has demanded for
a plaything a caged bird. Psychologically it is an important occasion. Now
or never must she learn to look upon a caged bird with horror. What I am
thinking of is the psychological effect upon the child's character. The
psychological--"

"You needn't worry about Veronica's psychology," said Kathleen. "Veronica's
psychology is in the right place."

"You misunderstand the meaning of the word," I said loftily. "However, if
you wish to wash your hands of Veronica's training, if you refuse to cope
with your own child, I must take it upon myself."

"Do," said Kathleen sweetly; "I'll listen."

       *       *       *       *       *

It was Veronica's birthday. We were outside the bird-shop. The thrushes in
cages hung around the door.

Veronica lifted grave blue eyes to me trustingly. "You promised me a frush,
darlin'," she said.

Veronica is small for her name and has a disarming habit of introducing
terms of endearment into her conversation.

"You didn't quite understand me," I said gently. "I said I'd think about
it."

"Yes, but that means promising, doesn't it? Finking about it _means_
promising. I _fought_ you meant promising. I fought all night you meant
promising. Darlin'." The last word was a sentence all by itself.

Kathleen raised her eyebrows when we came out with the bird in the cage.

"This isn't quite the moment," I said with dignity; "it's best to let her
get it first and realise afterwards."

"Let's all go to Crown Hill now," said Veronica in a voice that admitted of
no denial.

       *       *       *       *       *

We were on Crown Hill. Veronica had hugged the cage to her small bosom all
the way, making little reassuring noises to its occupant.

"Now," said Kathleen, "hadn't you better begin? Isn't this the psycho--you
know what moment?"

I took a deep breath and began.

"Veronica," I said, "listen to me for a moment. If you were a little
bird--"

But she wasn't listening to me. She had held up the little wooden cage,
opened the clasp of the door and, with a rapt smile on her small shining
face, was watching the "frush" as he soared into the air with a sudden
burst of song.

We none of us spoke till he had vanished from sight. Then Veronica broke
the silence.

"It's all my very own plan," she said proudly. "I planned it all by myself.
An' all my birfdays I'm going to have one of that nasty man's frushes for a
present, and we'll all free come up here and let it out--always an' always
an' for ever an' ever--right up till I'm a hundred."

"Why stop at a hundred?" I murmured, recovering myself with an effort.

But I could not escape Kathleen's eye.

"I hope you feel small," it said.

I did.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _The Colonel._ "_ANYONE_ MAY MISS THE TIDE OR GET STUCK UPON
A MUD-BANK; BUT TO LOSE THE MATCHES AND FORGET THE WHISKY IS TO PROVE
YOURSELF UNWORTHY OF THE NAME OF 'YACHTSMAN'!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

RHYMES OF THE UNDERGROUND.

                  I.

  I never heard of Ruislip, I never saw its name,
  Till Underground advertisements had brought it into fame;
  I've never been to Ruislip, I never yet have heard
  The true pronunciation of so singular a word.

  I'd like to go to Ruislip; I'd like to feast my eyes
  On "scenes of sylvan beauty" that the posters advertise;
  But, though I long to view the spot, while I am in the dark
  About its name I dare not face the booking-office clerk.

  Suppose I ventured "Riz-lip" and in answer to his "Eh?"
  Stammered "Ruse-lip, Rise-lip, Rees-lip," just imagine how he'd say,
  "Well, where _do_ you want to book to?" and the voices from behind,
  "Must we wait until this gentleman has ascertained his mind?"

                  II.

  The trains that stop at Down Street--(Sing willow-waly-O!)--
  They run through Hyde Park Corner as fast as they can go;
  And trains at Hyde Park Corner that stop--(Oh dearie me!)--
  Contrariwise at Down Street are "non-stop" as can be.

  There's a man at Down Street Station--he came there years ago
  To get to Hyde Park Corner--(Sing willow-waly-O!)--
  And, as the trains go past him, 'tis pitiful to see
  Him beat his breast and murmur, "Oh dearie, dearie me!"

       *       *       *       *       *

    '"The Rev. R.S. ---- has accepted the post of librarian of Pussy House,
    Oxford."--_Local Paper._

And will soon get to work on the catalogue.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "WANTED--a middle-aged Witty Indian to read Bengali religious books and
    capable of telling witty and fairy tales from 12 to 3 p.m."--_Indian
    Paper._

This might suit Mr. GANDHI. If not witty, he is very good at fairy-tales.

       *       *       *       *       *

VADE MECUMS.

I have invented a new sort of patience. It is called Vade Mecums. The rules
are quite simple and all the plant you need for it is a "Vade Mecum"
traveller's handbook and a complete ignorance of all languages but your
own. Get one of these fascinating little classics, a passport and a single
to Boulogne, and you can begin at once.

The game consists in firing off (in the local lingo) every single phrase
that occurs in the book. The only other rule in the game is that the
occasion for making each remark must be reasonably apposite. You need not
keep to the order in the book and no points are awarded for pronunciation,
provided that the party addressed shows by word or deed that he (or she)
has understood you. By way of illustration I will give some account of my
first experiments in this enthralling pastime.

As it happened I was able to start at once--too soon, in fact, to be
altogether comfortable. We had scarcely put out from Folkestone before I
got my chance. The sea was distinctly rough, but I just had time to open my
Vade Mecum at page 228 (sub-heading, "On embarking and what happens at
sea"), and to read to a passing French steward the first sentence that
caught my eye. It was as follows: "The wind is very violent; the sea is
very rough; the waves are very high; the rolling of the vessel makes my
head ache; I am very much inclined to be sick."

After that I made no more progress till we reached Boulogne; but from the
steward's subsequent actions I judged that he had understood; so I was one
up.

My Vade Mecum, like most of its kind, was unfortunately compiled many years
ago and had never been brought up to date. This, of course, saved me the
expense of having to hire aeroplanes or even motor-cars, but it landed me
in quite a number of difficulties at the opposite extreme, as you will see.

For instance, in order to polish off the heading, "Of what may happen on
the road," I was compelled to obtain a carriage. Judge then my joy when, on
reaching a carriage builder's, I discovered a whole section tucked away in
a corner of the book dealing exclusively with that very topic. I can think
of no other conceivable circumstances under which I could have said, "The
wheels are in a miserable state; the body is too heavy; the springs are too
light; the shafts are too short; the pole is too thin; the shape is
altogether old-fashioned, and the seats are both high and uncomfortable."

Yet now I said it all--in two halves, it is true, and in two different
shops; but still I said it all. The first half cost me three front teeth,
which fell out while the outraged _carrossier_ was ejecting me; the second
cost me a large sum of money, because somehow or other I found I had
_bought_ the vehicle in question. This I fancy must have been occasioned by
my turning over two pages at once, so that I suppose I really said, "Mr.
X., you are an honest man; I will give you ten thousand francs, but on
condition that you furnish splinter-bars and traces also for that price."

Still one must pay for one's pleasures, and once _en route_ I made short
work of the "What-may-happen-on-the-road" section. The sentence from which
I anticipated most trouble was this: "Postilion, stop. A spoke of one of
the wheels is broken; some of the harness is undone; a spring is also
broken and one of the horses' shoes is come off." I got out all this
(without having to tell a lie too) and was just looking feverishly through
the book to find phrases to describe the ricketty state of every other part
of the vehicle when the off hind-wheel came in half, the front axle snapped
and the carriage rolled over on its side stone dead. When I came to myself
I found that I was comfortably seated in a ditch, my driver beside me and
my Vade Mecum still open in my hand; so I had the gratification of being
able to continue the conversation where I had left off. "We should do
well," I read, "to get out."

I will not detain you long over the difficulties that I had with the
"Society" section. But I feel I ought to mention the business of the
Countess, if only to put intending players on their guard. There is a
puzzling phrase which occurs in answer to the observation, "Pray come
nearer the fire; I am sure you must be cold." The proper answer is, "No, I
thank you. I am very well placed here beside the Countess." It took me a
month to find a Countess, two to meet her in the drawing-room of a mutual
friend, and four to recover from the hole which the irascible little Count
made in me when we met next morning on the field of honour.

So I pass sadly and with tears of chagrin to my ultimate defeat. I met my
Waterloo, my friends, in the section labelled "The Tailor." Requests within
reason I can comply with, for the fun of the thing. Eatables and drinks,
suites of rooms and carriages, when ordered on the lavish scale of my Vade
Mecum, are not exactly _cheap_ now-a-days. But it's about the limit when
one's Mecum expects one to squander the savings of a lifetime in ordering
several suits of clothes at once. And yet there it was as large as life,
the accursed sentence that made me shut the book with a snap and come
home:--"These coats fit me well, though the cut is not fashionable. I shall
require also three pairs of trousers, three nankeen pantaloons and four
waistcoats."

If anyone feels inclined to try my patience--and theirs--I should like to
mention that I have a nice annotated Mecum and a good second-hand carriage
for disposal at a very moderate figure.

       *       *       *       *       *

A VICTIM OF FASHION.

Like everybody else that one knows, Kidger is an ex-service man. During the
last year of that war on the Continent some time ago he had the acting rank
of captain, as second in command of a six-mangle army laundry.

When I knew him in pre-war days he was an amiable character, with only two
serious weaknesses. One of these was an exaggerated fastidiousness about
clothes, and the other an undue deference to the dicta of the Press. A
leader in _The Tailor and Cutter_ would make him thoughtful for days. This
fatal concern about clothing amounted to a mania where neckwear was
concerned.

In pre-war days he wore the ordinary single, perpendicular variety of
collar, with sharp turn-over points, starched and white to match his
shirts.

Before leaving England to join his laundry, Kidger, with a magnificent
gesture, abandoned his fine collection of collars to his aunt, bidding her
convert them to some patriotic end. The fond lady, however, fearing lest
anything should befall her nephew if a hot sector of the line moved up to
the laundry, preserved them carefully, and Kidger was very glad to reclaim
them on his demobilisation.

One unfortunate day Kidger's morning paper contained one of those Fashions
for Men columns, where he learned that the best people were wearing only
soft collars, as they couldn't stand being cooped up in starch after the
freedom of uniform. Kidger felt that as an ex-army man it was up to him to
maintain any military tradition, and he immediately bought several dozen,
soft white collars with long sharp points. The fellow in the shop said they
were correct.

A week later another expert mentioned in print that no man who had any
self-respect wore collars with sharp corners.

Kidger is not a manual worker. He reduced his cigarette allowance and
bought some round-cornered ones, white as before. And then his aunt
directed the poor fellow's attention to a paragraph by an authority signing
himself "The Colonel," which stated that none but the profiteer was wearing
white collars, and that you might know the man who had done his bit by the
fact that he wore a blue one with slightly rounded corners, accompanied by
a self-coloured tie of a darker shade, tied in a neat butterfly bow.

This was a blow to Kidger, but he resigned from his golf club and laid in
some haberdashery in accordance with "The Colonel's" orders.
Recommendations would be too mild a word. I saw the paragraph--most
peremptory.

But in a rival paper "Brigadier" mentioned only three days later that none
but the most noxious bounder and tout would be found dead in a blue collar
with a white shirt. Kidger saw the truth of this at once; he had
receptivity if not intuition. After a trying interview with his banker he
bought several blue shirts.

Then the General who contributes "Sartorial Tips" to several leading
journals remarked that, since all kinds of people were wearing coloured
shirts and collars, the man who desired to retain or achieve that touch of
distinction which means so much must at any cost wear white ones; and that,
further, Society was frowning on the slovenly unstarched neck-wear of the
relapsed temporary gentleman.

Kidger began to show signs of neurasthenia. His stock of pre-war collars
was exhausted, or rather eroded. His faithful aunt, however, remembered a
neglected birthday and gave him a dozen new ones, of the up-and-down model,
to save Kidger's delicate neck. These, with his nice butterfly-bow ties,
looked really well, and Kidger recovered his old form.

I warned him to keep to the police and Parliamentary news in the papers,
but his eyes would wander. The result was that he learned from "Brigade
Major" that the wearing of a butterfly bow with a double event collar was a
solecism past forgiveness or repentance, and that its smart appearance was
the deadly bait which caught the miserable bumpkin who ignorantly fancied
that a man could dress by the light of nature.

Kidger collapsed. His aunt volunteered to sell her annuity and help him,
but the innate nobility of the man forbade him to accept this useless
sacrifice.

His medical attendant tells me that he is now allowed to read only poetry,
wearing a sweater meanwhile, and that arrangements are being made for him
to join a sheep-farming cousin in Patagonia, where collars are despised and
newspapers invariably out of date.

W.K.H.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _She._ "I TOLD 'EE TO GREASE THE WHEELS AFORE WE COME OUT."

_He._ "IT BE AS MUCH AS I CAN DO TO KEEP UP WITH IT AS 'TIS."]

       *       *       *       *       *

    A SUPERFLUOUS ANNOUNCEMENT.

    "The Government have found it impossible to proceed with the Government
    of Ireland before the Autumn Session."--_Daily Paper._

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Clerk (Junior) Wanted for Spinners' Office, age 1617.--_Yorkshire
    Paper._

"Junior," we take it, is a misprint.

       *       *       *       *       *

EDWARD AND THE B.O.F.

It was the first Sunday of the season, and the select end of Folkesbourne
revealed in each carefully curled geranium leaf, in each carefully-combed
blade of grass, the thought and labour expended by the B.O.F. (Borough of
Folkesbourne).

Upon the greensward stood orderly rows of well-washed chairs, each with
B.O.F. neatly stencilled upon its back. On this day, however, and at this
hour (12.30 P.M.) scarce a B.O.F. was visible; each was hidden by a
well-dressed visitor. And between the orderly rows of well-dressed visitors
paraded orderly pairs of superbly-dressed visitors.

I was standing at the corner by the steps leading to the lower parade and
thence to the beach and the rocks where the common people (myself on
week-days, for instance) go to paddle with their children. I was wearing my
new pale-grey suit which cost--but you will know more or less what it cost;
I need not labour an unpleasant subject--and I was actually talking at the
time to a member of the B.O.F.

"This is Peace at last," he was saying; "the place really begins to look--"

It was at this moment that Edward appeared. His route was the very centre
of the lawn. He was wearing a battered Panama hat, a much-darned brownish
jersey, and his nether man--or rather boy, for Edward's years are but
four--was encased in paddling drawers made of the same material as a
sponge-bag. Black sand-shoes completed his outfit, and a broken shrimping-
net trailed behind him. At the moment when Edward first caught my horrified
eye a particularly well-groomed young gentleman of about his own age caught
Edward's eye in turn. Edward paused to survey this silken wonder with
interest. Then, as if prompted thereto by the sight, he snatched off his
hat and, casting it upon the ground, kicked it vigorously across the grass.

The removal of the hat was the last straw, for Edward's hair is
provocatively red. My friend of the B.O.F. advanced towards him with the
intention of exerting authority and restoring discipline. Edward turned at
the sound of a stern voice. Possibly he might have put out his tongue--you
never know with Edward. But, what was worse, far worse, he saw me. With a
glad cry of "Daddy" he rushed to me and, regardless of the fact that his
front was covered with green slime, the result of going _ventre à pierre_
over the rocks, he flung his arms round my legs.

I would gladly have sunk into the ground. All eyes were upon us, and
remained, as I felt, upon me, even when a breathless nursery-maid had
retrieved Edward and borne him seawards once more.

One especially I had noticed, a very superbly dressed female visitor who
had paused to witness the whole scene and was now resuming her promenade. I
dreaded the comment which I felt I should overhear as she passed me--"What
a horrible child!" it would be at the very least. But women are strangely
unaccountable, even in so highly civilised an atmosphere as this. I
distinctly heard her say, "What a darling!"

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Mother._ "IT IS VERY NAUGHTY TO TELL UNTRUTHS, KITTY. THOSE
WHO DO SO NEVER GET TO HEAVEN."

_Kitty._ "DIDN'T YOU EVER TELL AN UNTRUTH, MUMMY?"

_Mother._ "NO, DEAR--NEVER."

_Kitty._ "WELL, YOU'LL BE FEARFULLY LONELY, WON'T YOU, WITH ONLY GEORGE
WASHINGTON?"]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE HORRORS OF PEACE.

    "Wanted.--Boy for Butchering, about 15 years old."--_Local Paper._

Extract from a solicitor's letter:--

    "The sale of the above premises is now nearing completion and we expect
    to have the conveyance ready for execution in the course of a short
    period the length of which depends to some extent upon how soon we can
    obtain the execution of the Bishop."

       *       *       *       *       *

NEO-TOPICS.

  There was a young neo-DELANE
  Whose writing was frequently sane;
      But the name of LLOYD GEORGE
      So uplifted his gorge
  That it threatened to swallow his brain.

  There was an adored neo-Queen
  Who ruled the whole world on the screen;
      She simply knocked spots
      Off poor MARY OF SCOTS,
  But she doubled the gloom of our Dean.

  There was an advanced neo-Georgian,
  Or perhaps we should say Georgy-Porgian,
      When asked to declare
      What his principles were,
  He invariably answered, "Pro-Borgian."

  There was a great neo-Art critic
  Whose style was extremely mephitic;
      He treated VAN GOGH
      And CÉZANNE as dead dog,
  And JOHN as a growth parasitic.

       *       *       *       *       *

OUR BLOATED PLURALISTS.

    "Wanted, Organist. Small country church. Salary £20. Good lodgings.
    (Could be held with post of Milker on Manor Farm; permanent work;
    Sundays free; ample salary.)"--_Church Times._

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The Grimsby trawler Silurian has towed Sir George Grahame, Minister
    Plenipotentiary in Paris, to be his Majesty's Ambassador Extraordinary
    and Plenipotentiary to the King of the Belgians."--_Provincial Paper._

We really think the Government might have provided him with a torpedo-boat.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The one thing which the Cabinet does not intend to do is to authorise
    the proclamation of marital law. It would engage far too many troops."
    --_Provincial Paper._

The Irish girls are _so_ attractive.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "A friend of mine bought from a bookseller who was also, oddly enough,
    a bibliophile himself, a copy of Arnold's very rare book, _The Strayed
    Revetter_, by A. He gave 6d. It is worth £5."--_Book Post._

Surely more than that!

       *       *       *       *       *

    "An Ipswichomnibus pushed its bonnet through the window of a millinery
    shop."--_Daily Paper._

This intelligent animal (believed to be the female of the Brontosaurus) was
probably seeking a change of headgear.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Tripper._ "I'VE A BLOOMIN' GOOD MIND TO REPORT YOU FOR
PROFITEERING."

_Old Salt._ "WHAT YER TALKIN' ABOUT?"

_Tripper._ "WELL, THEM SHRIMPS I BOUGHT OFF YOU. ONE OF EM'S GOT ONLY ONE
EYE."]

       *       *       *       *       *

OUR BOOKING-OFFICE.

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

I rather wish that the publishers of _Invincible Minnie_ (HODDER AND
STOUGHTON) had not permitted themselves to print upon the wrapper either
their own comments or those of Miss ELISABETH SANXAY HOLDING, the author.
Because for my part, reading these, I formed the idea (entirely wrong) that
the book would be in some way pretentious and affected; whereas it is the
simple truth to call it the most mercilessly impersonal piece of fiction
that I think I ever read. There is far too much plot for me to give you any
but a suggestion of it. The story is of the lives of two sisters, _Frances_
and _Minnie_; mostly (as the title implies) of _Minnie_. To say that no one
but a woman would have dared to imagine such a heroine, much less to follow
her, through every phase of increasing hatefulness, to her horrid
conclusion is to state an obvious truism. It is incidentally also to give
you some idea of the kind of person _Minnie_ is, that female Moloch,
devastating, all-sacrificing, beyond restraint.... As for Miss HOLDING, the
publishers turned out to be within the mark in claiming for her "a new
voice." I don't, indeed, for the moment recall any voice in the least like
it, or any such method; too honest for irony, too detached for sentiment
and, as I said above, entirely merciless. Towards the end I found myself
falling back on the old frightened protest, "People don't do these things."
I still cling to this belief, but the fact remains that Miss HOLDING has a
haunting trick of persuading one that they might. Minor faults, such as an
irritating idiom and some carelessness of form, she will no doubt correct;
meanwhile you have certainly got to read--"to suffer" would be the apter
word--this remarkable book, whose reception I await with curiosity.

       *       *       *       *       *

A much misunderstood man is Count BERNSTORFF, formerly German Ambassador at
Washington. While we were all supposing him to be a bomb-laden conspirator,
pulling secret strings in Mexico or Canada or Japan from the safe
protection afforded to his embassy, really he was the most innocent of men,
anxious for nothing but to keep unsophisticated America from being trapped
by the wiles of the villain Britisher. One has it all on the best of
authority--his own--in _My Three Years in America_ (SKEFFINGTON). Of course
awkward incidents did occur, which have to be explained away or placidly
ignored, but really, if the warlords at home had not been so invincibly
tactless in the matter of drowning citizens of the United States, this
simple and ingenuous diplomat might very well have succeeded, he would have
us believe, in persuading President WILSON to declare in favour of a
peace-loving All-Highest. As an essay in special pleading the book does not
lack ingenuity, and as an example of the familiar belief that other peoples
will shut their eyes and swallow whatever opinions the Teuton thinks good
to offer them, it may have interest for the psychologist. For the rest it
is a very prosy piece of literature, only saved occasionally in its dulness
by the unconscious crudity of the hatreds lurking beneath its mask of
plausibility. One of these hatreds is clearly directed against Ambassador
GERARD, to whose well-known book this volume is in some sort a counter-
blast. Neither a historian seeking truth nor a plain reader seeking
recreation will have any difficulty in choosing between them.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. D.A. BARKER, in _The Great Leviathan_ (LANE), doesn't merely leave you
to make the obvious remark about his having taken Mr. H.G. WELL'S loose,
tangential and, for a beginner, extraordinarily dangerous method as a
model, but rubs it in (stout fellow!) by transplanting his hero to India,
seemingly in order to have excuse for writing a passage which one would say
was obviously inspired by that gorgeous description of the jungle in _The
Research Magnificent_. Mr. BARKER has enough matter for two (or three)
novels and enough skill in portraiture to make them more coherent and
plausible than this. The theme is old but freshly seen. _Tom Seton_,
resolved to avoid risking for his beloved the unhappiness which his mother
had found in the bondage of marriage, offers her--indeed imposes on her--a
free union. How the pressure of _The Great Leviathan_ (_Mrs. Grundy_--well,
that's not perhaps quite the whole of the idea, but it will serve) drove
her into the shelter of a formal marriage with a devoted don, I leave you
to gather. I don't think the author quite succeeds in making _Mary's_
defection inevitable, nor do I see the significance of the apparently quite
irrelevant background of Indian philosophy and intrigue. But here's a
well-written book, with sound positive qualities outweighing the defects of
inexperience.

       *       *       *       *       *

Captain ALAN BOTT ("Contact") has a literary gift of a high order, the gift
of getting the very last thrill out of his experiences while telling his
tale in the simplest and most straightforward way. In _Eastern Nights_
(BLACKWOOD) he describes his adventures as a prisoner of the Turks, first
in Damascus and Asia Minor and finally in Constantinople. The narrative,
which is purely one of action, the action being supplied by the efforts,
finally successful, of the author and various brother-officers to escape
from their most unattractive captivity, nevertheless offers a most vivid
picture of the social fabric of the Near East and in particular of the
attitude of the _mélange_ of Oriental peoples that comprised the Turkish
Empire towards the War in which they found themselves taking part, most of
them with reluctance and all inefficiently. Apathy rather than calculated
brutality was chiefly responsible for the hardships suffered by the
prisoners of war of all nations who were unfortunate enough to fall into
Turkish hands. From the point of view of an officer determined to escape,
however, the prevalence of this quality was not without its advantage. Most
of the officials (Turks and Germans excepted) with whom Captain BOTT and
his fellow-officers had to do were pro-Ally at heart and ready enough to
assist an escaping prisoner if they did not happen to be too timid. And
even the Turk was amenable on occasion to baksheesh. Altogether a most
fascinating book, _Eastern Nights_ is likely to win wide appreciation not
alone for its literary merit but as a stirring record of the courage and
resource, under desperate and trying conditions, of the Empire's soldiers.

       *       *       *       *       *

Miss HENRIETTA LESLIE belongs to the school of novelists who believe in
telling you all about their characters and leaving you to pass judgment on
them yourself, without expert assistance. It is a fine impartial method
which succeeds in representing life and the indecisiveness of human nature
very well; but such books somehow lack the glow of more partisan writings.
In _A Mouse with Wings_ (COLLINS) she tells the story of a woman's life
from the time of her engagement until her son is a young man and she
herself married again. _Olga_ is a splendid creature, but, as Miss LESLIE
cleverly lets you see for yourself, the belief in her own principles and
their application, which is the essence of her character, alienates her
husband and makes something like a ninny of _Arnold_, her son. _A Mouse
with Wings_ is not only the sobriquet of _Beryl_, the cheerful young
Suffragette whom he loves, but has its application also to poor _Arnold_,
who finds the courage to face life and a way out of it fighting in France.
It is a nicely-written book with a little air of distinction, but, in case
anyone should blame me for hushing it up, I ought to mention that both
_Olga_ and _Beryl_ would probably have admired _Arnold_ a great deal more
had he "found himself" by way of Conscientious Objection.

       *       *       *       *       *

I can testify that Mr. ZANE GREY'S _The Man of the Forest_ (HODDER AND
STOUGHTON) is a yarn told with considerable zest and with just that
undercurrent of sentiment which sweeps large portions of the British public
completely off its feet. In this book the heroine, _Helen Rayner_, and her
sister, _Bo_, leave Missouri for their uncle's ranch in New Mexico; but
before they reach their destination many and wonderful adventures befall
them. To escape from being kidnapped by some superb scoundrels they were
hustled off to _Milt Dale's_ home in the forest, and there they had for a
long time to remain. _Milt_ was one of nature's gentlemen, but as his boon
companion was a cougar (whose uninviting picture is to be seen upon the
paper cover), this forest home had its slight inconveniences. Mr. GREY,
however, writes of it so admirably that he almost persuades me to be a
camper-out, provided always that I may live in a cavern and not in a
caravan. Cowboys, bandits, Mormons and other vigorous characters keep
things moving at a terrific pace. But stirringly full of incident as this
tale is, Mr. GREY never forgets that it is love that really makes the world
go round. He is in short a born storyteller, with a style by no means to be
despised, and I see no reason why his popularity should not continue to wax
here, and ultimately to rival its American magnitude.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: ATMOSPHERE IN OUR RIVER BUNGALOWS.

_Hostess_ (_to her husband, just arrived from Town_). "YOU'VE FORGOTTEN THE
CHOP-STICKS, JOHN. YOU'VE SPOILT THE PARTY!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

ANOTHER GEDDES PROMOTION.

    "Among celebrities who will watch British seamanship matched against
    American are Franklin D. Roosevelt, Assistant Secretary of the Navy,
    and Sir Auckland Geddes, British Admiral to the United States."--
    _Canadian Paper._





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