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Title: Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 159, December 22, 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, December 22, 1920" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

VOL. 159, DECEMBER 22, 1920***


PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.

VOL. 159.

DECEMBER 22ND, 1920.



CHARIVARIA. It is pointed out that the display of December meteors is
more than usually lavish. Send a postcard to your M.P. about it.

       * * *

Mr. LLOYD GEORGE recently stated that the first prize he ever won
was for singing. It is only fair to say that this happened in the
pre-NORTHCLIFFE era.

       * * *

An elderly Londoner recalls a Christmas when the cold was so intense
that in a Soho restaurant the ices froze.

       * * *

There has arrived at the Zoo a bird akin to the partridge and
excellent for the table, but unable to fly. The very thing for the
estate of a sporting profiteer.

       * * *

"What is the best fire preventative?" asks a weekly journal. The
answer is, the present price of coal.

       * * *

The National Rat Campaign this year, we are told, was a great success.
On the other hand we gather that several rats have threatened to issue
a minority report.

       * * *

"There is nothing so enjoyable," says a newspaper correspondent, "as
a trip across the water to Ireland." Except, of course, a trip back
again.

       * * *

A number of Huns are receiving Iron Crosses through the post inscribed
"Your Fatherland does not forget you." How like Germany! She won't
even allow bygones to be bygones.

       * * *

"Let Christmas come," says a contemporary headline. We have arranged
to do so.

       * * *

A Minneapolis judge rules that a man has the right to declare himself
head of the household. Opinion in this country agrees that he has the
right but rarely the pluck.

       * * *

"My faith in the League of Nations is not shaken," says Lord ROBERT
CECIL. This is the dogged spirit which is going to make this country
what it used to be.

       * * *

"It may yet be possible," according to the Water Power Resources
Committee, "to harness the moon." This of course would depend upon
whether Sir ERIC GEDDES would let them have it or not.

       * * *

Cinema stunt actors, says _The Manchester Guardian_, expect to be paid
fifty pounds for a motor smash. It seems an injustice that ordinary
pedestrians should have to take part in this sort of thing for
nothing.

       * * *

The continued disappearance of notepaper from a well-known club has
now been traced to a large female cat, and most of the paper has
been recovered from her sleeping-basket. It is thought that she was
probably preparing to write her memoirs.

       * * *

A burglar who broke into a private house near Hitchin helped himself
to a good supper before leaving. It is pleasing to learn, however,
that, judging by the disordered state in which the pantry was left,
the Stilton cheese must have put up a splendid fight.

       * * *

It was most unfortunate that Mr. "FATTY" ARBUCKLE'S visit to London
should have clashed with the Cattle Show at the Royal Agricultural
Hall.

       * * *

During a recent revue performance in London the conductor accidentally
turned over two pages of music at once and the orchestra suddenly
ceased playing. Several words of the chorus were actually heard by
those sitting in front before the mistake could be rectified.

       * * *

Green peas in excellent condition, says a contemporary, have been
picked at Pentlow, Sussex. It serves them right.

       * * *

"Although Labour extremists are now much quieter it would take very
little to set the ball of discontent into motion once again," states a
writer in the Sunday Press. This being so, is it not rather unwise to
let Christmas Day fall this year on the workmen's half holiday?

       * * *

We question the wisdom of drawing the attention of Parliament to the
silence of the POET LAUREATE. If he is goaded into breaking it we
shall know whom to blame.

       * * *

"If people at home only knew how grateful we are for _anything_ that
is sent us," writes a lady from the island of Tristan d'Acunha.
If they are as easily pleased as that, the idea of sending them
Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY should not be lost sight of.

       * * *

"The Hexathlon," we read, "is a form of contest new to this country."
Mind you get one for the children at Christmas.

       * * *

A new type of American warship is expected to be able to cross the
Atlantic in a little over three days. It will be remembered that the
fastest of the 1914 lot took nearly three years.

       * * *

Large numbers of Filipinos are resisting an edict requiring them to
wear trousers. Unfortunately it is impossible to offer to accommodate
them all in the ranks of the Chicago Scottish.

       * * *

Riverside residents remarked that just before the cold set in large
flocks of seagulls passed up the Thames. Well, what did they expect?
Flamingoes?

       * * *

Mr. A. B. WALKLEY has remarked that a prejudice against actors is as
old as the stage. It is satisfactory to think that it is no older and
that in many cases it may be removed by a change of profession.

       * * *

"I never dreamed of anything like this when I invented the telephone,"
said Dr. BELL after a demonstration. Neither as a matter of fact did
we when we hired ours.

       * * *

Owing to the fact that Dr. BELL has experienced no unpleasantness
during his stay over here, it is thought that the American genius who
invented revues may now risk a visit to our shores.

       *       *       *       *       *

It is with the deepest sorrow that we record the death of F. H.
Townsend, which occurred, without any warning, on December 11th. Their
personal loss is keenly felt by his colleagues of the _Punch_ Table,
to whom the fresh candour of his nature and his brave gaiety of
spirit, not less than his technical skill and resourcefulness, were a
constant delight and will remain an inspiration. As Art Editor he will
be greatly missed by the many contributors who have been helped by his
kindly counsel and encouragement. Of the gap that he leaves in the
world of Art they are sadly conscious who followed and appreciated
his fine work not only in the pages of _Punch_ but in his
book-illustrations and in those appeals for charity to which he always
gave freely of his best.

To his nearest and dearest among the wide circle that loved him we ask
leave to offer the sympathy of friends who truly share their grief.
With them we mourn a life untimely closed, and great gifts lost to us
while still in their fulness; but we take comfort in the thought that
death touched him with swift and gentle hand, and that he died with
harness on, as a man would choose to die.

       *       *       *       *       *



"THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT."

IN AFFECTIONATE MEMORY OF F. H. TOWNSEND.

Only a few days before the sudden tragedy which took from us our
colleague of the _Punch_ Staff, he made me a small request, very
characteristic of his kindly heart. It was that I should put in these
pages a notice of _The Christmas Spirit_, the illustrated annual
published in aid of the work of Talbot House ("Toc. H."), in which he
had taken a practical interest. In carrying out his wish I want not
only to plead in behalf of a good cause, but also to associate this
appeal with the memory of one with whom for over fourteen years I have
worked in close and happy comradeship.

In case any reader of _Punch_ has yet to be introduced to the idea
of Talbot House, let me explain that its purpose is to carry on in
peace-time the work that was done by the original "Toc. H.," which
from 1915 to 1918, under the management of the Rev. P. R. CLAYTON,
M.C., Garrison Chaplain, provided the comforts of a club and
rest-house at Poperinghe for soldiers passing to and fro in the
deadly Salient of Ypres. Its objects--I quote from _The Christmas
Spirit_--are:

    "(1) To preserve among ex-Service men and to transmit to the
    younger generation the traditions of Christian Fellowship and
    Service manifested on Active Service.

    (2) To offer opportunities for recreation and the making of
    friendships to thousands of men who find life a difficult salient
    to hold.

    (3) To provide opportunities for men of all kinds to come together
    in the Spirit of Service, to study, to discuss and, if possible,
    to solve the problems of their time.

    (4) To offer the help and happiness of club life at a low rate by
    establishing clubs in many centres throughout the country as the
    focus of the brotherhood."

The noble work done by Talbot House in Poperinghe and Ypres was
gratefully recognised by the scores of thousands of our troops whose
needs it served in those hard days, but it was only when the War was
over that its story was made known to the public at home in _Tales of
Talbot House_ (CHATTO AND WINDUS), which received a warm welcome in
the review columns of _Punch_. This was followed recently by _The
Pilgrim's Guide to the Ypres Salient_ (REIACH), a little book compiled
and written, as a labour of love, entirely by ex-Service men. Besides
being actually a present-day guide to the Salient, it contains special
articles illustrating the life that was there lived during the War by
various branches of the service. And now we have the annual of "Toc.
H."--_The Christmas Spirit_--to which the PRINCE OF WALES has given
a foreword and a host of brilliant authors and artists have freely
contributed. Here are RUDYARD KIPLING, STEPHEN GRAHAM, G. K.
CHESTERTON, E. F. BENSON, IAN HAY, GILBERT FRANKAU, W. ROTHENSTEIN,
"SPY," DERWENT WOOD, HEATH ROBINSON and, of _Punch_ artists, F. H.
TOWNSEND, LEWIS BAUMER, G. L. STAMPA, GEORGE MORROW, G. D. ARMOUR,
E. H. SHEPARD, "FOUGASSE," WALLIS MILLS and H. M. BATEMAN.

The four contributions of F. H. TOWNSEND include a "first study" for
a drawing that appeared recently in _Punch_ and a delightful sketch
of "The Christmas Spirit," as typified by a St. Bernard dog from whose
little keg of brandy a traveller, up to the neck in snow, is reviving
himself.

Out of the great scheme in whose aid this remarkable annual has been
published have already sprung two Talbot Houses, one in Queen's Gate
Gardens, and one in St. George's Square. There is still need of a main
headquarters in London and hostels for its branches, more than sixty
of them, spread all over the country. "'Toc. H.,'" says its Padre, "is
not a charity. Once opened our Hostel Clubs are self-supporting, as
our experience already proves. In Edinburgh, Liverpool, Manchester,
Bristol, Newcastle, Birmingham, Leeds, Sheffield, two thousand pounds
will open a house for which our branches in each of these places are
crying out. It is only the original outlay, the furniture and the
first quarter's rent, which stand between us and a whole series of
such houses in the great provincial centres. Fifty pounds will endow a
bedroom, where a lad can live cheaper than in the dingiest lodgings,
and know something better of a great city than that it is a place
where all evil is open to him and all good is behind closed doors....
'Toc. H.,' we repeat, is _not_ another recurrent charity. It is a wise
way of helping to meet our debt of honour; it is a living and growing
memorial, charged with the task of making reincarnate in the younger
world the qualities which saved us."

_Punch_ ventures to add his voice to this claim upon our honour and
gratitude; and, if I may, I would like to make appeal to all who
loved the work of our friend who is dead, that they should send some
offering to this good cause as a personal tribute to the memory of a
man who, in his own form of service, did so much to cheer the hearts
of our fighting men in the dark hours that are over.

Contributions should be addressed to the Rev. P. B. CLAYTON, M.C.,
Effingham House, Arundel Street, Strand, W.C.2.

O. S.

       *       *       *       *       *


THE FAIRY TAILOR.

  Sitting on the flower-bed beneath the hollyhocks
  I spied the tiny tailor who makes the fairies' frocks;
  There he sat a-stitching all the afternoon
  And sang a little ditty to a quaint wee tune:
    "Grey for the goblins, blue for the elves,
    Brown for the little gnomes that live by themselves,
    White for the pixies that dance upon the green,
    But where shall I find me a robe for the Queen?"

  All about the garden his little men he sent,
  Up and down and in and out unceasingly they went;
  Here they stole a blossom, there they pulled a leaf,
  And bound them up with gossamer into a glowing sheaf.
    Petals of the pansy for little velvet shoon,
    Silk of the poppy for a dance beneath the moon,
    Lawn of the jessamine, damask of the rose,
    To make their pretty kirtles and airy furbelows.

  Never roving pirates back from Southern seas
  Brought a store of treasures home beautiful as these;
  They heaped them all about him in a sweet gay pile,
  But still he kept a-stitching and a-singing all the while:
    "Grey for the goblins, blue for the elves,
    Brown for the little gnomes that live by themselves,
    White for the pixies that dance on the green,
    But who shall make a royal gown to deck the Fairy Queen?"

  R. F.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Unless he wishes to raise a hornet's nest about his ears we would
    advise him to let sleeping dogs lie."--_Local Paper_.

Personally we never keep a dog that harbours hornets.

       *       *       *       *       *

From a concert-programme:--

    "Fantastic Symphony ... Berlioz in a Vodka Shop ... Bax."

    _Birmingham Paper_.

This should help to combat the current opinion that BERLIOZ is dry.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Sir Johnston Forbes-Robertson said there were, in certain places,
    some forms of light entertainments which, to say the least, wanted
    carefully watching."--_Daily Paper_.

At present, we gather, the wrong people do the watching.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: SING A SONG OF DRACHMAS.

(_TINO AT ATHENS._)

THE KING WAS IN HIS COUNTING-HOUSE LOOKING FOR HIS MONEY.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Man of Wealth_ (_to his son just home for the
holidays_). "AND WHY DON'T YOU LIKE YOUR FUR COAT? I'LL BET NONE OF
THE OTHER BOYS 'AVE GOT ONE."

_Son._ "YES, BUT NONE OF THE OTHER BOYS HAVE TO BE CALLED 'SKUNKY.'"]

       *       *       *       *       *


THOUGHTS IN A COLD SNAP.

It is going to be very cold when I get up, which will be almost
immediately--very cold indeed. It was zero yesterday; it may be below
the line to-day, twenty or thirty below the line--even more. A
little slam, perhaps, in spades. There are icicles hanging from the
window-frame; and it is a curious thing, when one comes to think of
it, what a lot of things there are that rhyme with icicle: tricycle,
bicycle, phthisical, psychical--no, I am wrong, not psychical ...

Anyhow, it is going to be very cold. Some people do not mind the cold.
There are people bathing in the Serpentine at this moment, I suppose,
and apparently nothing can be done about it. They ju-just break the
ice and ju-jump in. And yet it is not their ice; it is the KING'S.
It seems to me that it ought to be made illegal, this breaking of
the KING's ice, like the breaking of windows in Whitehall. These
ice-breakers seem to me as bad as the people who say, "It's going to
be a nice old-fashioned Christmas, with Yule-logs and things." Not
that I object to Yule-logs. I have some in my own Yule-shed, hand-sawn
by myself, though I am not a good hand-sawyer. When I get about
halfway through, the saw begins to gnash its teeth and groan at me.
It seems to me that what is wanted is a machine for turning the logs
round and round while one holds the saw steady. But there is something
beautiful in burning the Yule-logs of one's own fashioning that makes
one feel like the sculptor when at last the living beauty has burst
forth under his chisel from the shapeless stone. Besides, they are
cheaper than coal.

As I say, when people talk of "Yule-logs and things," it is not the
Yule-logs that I object to. It is the things. Nasty cold things like
clean shirts and collars and bedroom door-handles--there ought to be
hot water in bedroom door-handles--nasty cold things that make one say
"Ugh." I have a theory that the word "Ugh" was invented on some such
morning as this. Previously people had been contented with noises like
"Ouch" and "Ouf" and "Ur-r," though they realised how inadequate they
were. And then one day, one very cold 0/40 day, inspiration came
to the frenzied brain of a genius, and he wrote down that single
exquisite heart-cry and hurried it off to the printer. People knew
then that the supreme mating of sound and sense, which we have agreed
to call poetry, had once more been achieved.

But I have wandered a little from the Serpentine. Has it ever struck
you what people who bathe in the Serpentine on days like this are like
during the rest of the year?

Suppose it is a balmy spring morning, a mild temperate afternoon in
early summer, a soft autumn twilight when everyone else is happy and
content, what are they doing then? Positively bathed in perspiration,
groaning under the burden of the sun, mopping their shining foreheads
and putting cabbage-leaves under their hats. And then at last comes
the day they have longed for and looked forward to all through the
twelve-months' heat-wave, a beautiful day forty degrees below the
belt. They spring out of bed and fling wide the casement. That is
what they intend to do, at least. As a matter of fact, of course,
it is stuck, and they have to bash it out with a bolster, sending the
icicles clinking into the basement. "Delicious!" they say, leaning out
and breathing deep. Then they chip a piece of ice out of the water-jug
with a hammer, rub it on their faces and begin to shave.

They shave in their cotton pyjamas, with bare feet, humming a song.
Then they put on old flannels and a blazer, wrap a towel round their
neck, light a cigarette, pick up a mattock and stroll to Hyde Park.
When they get there they feloniously break the KING'S ice. Then they
"ugh." The mere thought of these people ughing with a great splash
into the Serpentine makes me feel ill. When I think of them afterwards
sitting lazily on the bank and letting the blizzard dry their hair,
basking in the snow for an hour or two and reading their morning
paper, and every now and then throwing a snowball or a piece of "ugh"
into the water, I hate them. Nobody ought to be allowed to bathe in
the Serpentine on days like this except the swans, who paddle all
night to hold the ice at bay. I wonder if I could get a swan and keep
it in the water-jug.

Half-past eight? Yes, I did hear, thank you. I am really going to get
up very soon now.

What I am going to do is to make one tiger-like leap--tiger-like leap,
I say--for the bathroom door and turn the hot-water tap full on until
the whole of the upper part of the house is filled with steam.

I am going to do it this very moment. I--yes--ugh.

Now I come to think of it a tiger-like leap would be quite the wrong
idea. I am glad I did not do it. Tigers are not cold when they leap.
"Tiger, tiger, burning bright." Tiger, tiger----

What did you say? A quarter to nine? What? And the water-pipes frozen?
_Are_ they?

Thankugh.

K.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "WIDOW KISSED BY BURGLAR.

    ADVENTURE WITH A SOFT-VOICED GIANT.

    The gurglar took nothing away with him." _Scots Paper._

"Gurglar" seems the _mot juste_.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "---- CLUB. Monthly medal competition. Returns:--

                      Gross.    Hep.        Nett.
      F. Slicer         92        8          84
      W. H. Putter     103       16          87"

    _Provincial Paper_.

If only the Judicious HOOKER had been playing he might have downed
them both.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: AT THE NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM.

_Mother_ (_trying to calm her lachrymose offspring_). "'ERE,
ALBERT--LOOK AT THE PRETTY FISHES."]

       *       *       *       *       *

NEW RHYMES FOR OLD CHILDREN.

THE PIG.

  The way in which he eats and drinks
    Is so extremely crude
  That nearly everybody thinks
    The pig enjoys his food.

  But when I see how very fast,
    Without one single chew,
  He gobbles up his huge repast,
    I'm sure it isn't true.

  Far nobler than your Uncle Joe,
    Who simply sits and sits,
  Revolving, gluttonous and slow,
    The more attractive bits;

  Far nobler than your Uncle Dick,
    Who likes the choicest food,
  And, if he doesn't have the pick,
    Is very, very rude;

  The pig has not a word to say
    To subtleties of taste;
  He eats whatever comes his way
    With admirable haste.

  In fact, the pig may well resent
    The insult to his line
  When certain of the affluent
    Are said to eat like swine.

A. P. H.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "None are much better than others, and some are much worse."--_New
    Zealand Paper._

We fear the writer is a pessimist.

       *       *       *       *       *

TAFFY THE FOX.

[Mr. HORATIO BOTTOMLEY has complained of the war-time efforts of the
POET LAUREATE, and desires the appointment of a national bard whose
mind is more attuned to the soul of the British nation. Recent
political events are not of course a very inspiring subject for
serious verse, but we have tried to do our feeble best here in faint
imitation of one of the manners of Mr. JOHN MASEFIELD.]

  Safe and snug from the wind and rain
  In a thick of gorse with a tranquil brain
  The fox had slept, and his dreams were all
  Of the wild Welsh hills and the country's call;
  He slept all night in the Wan Tun Waste,
  He woke at dawn and about he faced,
  He flexed his ears and he flaired the breeze
  And scratched with his foot some poor wee fleas;
  He sat on his haunches, doubted, stood;
  To his left were the lairs of his native wood,
  The deep yew darkness of Cowall Itchen;
  He flaired, I say, with his nostrils twitching
  Till he smelt the sound of the Fleet Street stunt
  And over the hillside came the Hunt.

         *       *       *       *       *

  Over the hillside, clop, clip, clep,
  And the dappled beauties, Ginger and Pep,
  Live Wire, Thruster, Fetch Him and Snatch Him,
  They were coming to bite him and pinch him and scratch him,
  Whimpering, nosing, scenting his crimes,
  The Evening News and The Morning Times.
  "Yooi! On to him! Yooi there!"  Hounds were in;
  He slunk like a ghost to the edge of the whin;
  "Hark! Holloa! Hoick!" They were on his trail.

         *       *       *       *       *

  The huntsman, Alfred, rode The Mail,
  A bright bay mount, his best of prancers,
  Out of Forget-me-not by Answers.
  A thick-set man was Alf, and hard;
  He chewed a straw from the stable-yard;
  He owned a chestnut, The Dispatch,
  With one white sock and one white patch;
  And had bred a mare called Comic Cuts;
  He was a man with fearful guts.
  So too was Rother, the first whip,
  Nothing could give this man the pip;
  He rode The Mirror, a raking horse,
  A piebald full of points and force.
  All that was best in English life,
  All that appealed to man or wife,
  Sweet peas or standard bread or sales
  These two men loved. They hated Wales.

         *       *       *       *       *

  The fox burst out with a flair of cunning,
  He ran like mad and he went on running;
  He made his point for the Heroes' Pleasance,
  By Hang Bill Copse, where he roused the pheasants.
  They rose with a whirr and kuk, kuk, kukkered;
  The fox ran on with a mask unpuckered
  By Boshale Stump and Uttermost Penny,
  Where the grass was short and the tracks were many.
  He tried the clay and he tried the marl,
  A workman's whippet began to snarl;
  Into the Dodder a splash he went;
  All that he cared was to change the scent,
  And half of the pack from the line he shook
  By paddling about in the Beaver Brook.

         *       *       *       *       *

  He swerved to the left at Maynard Keynes,
  With an eye to sheep and an eye to drains;
  By Old Cole Smiley and Clere St. Thomas,
  Without any stops and without any commas;
  At Addison's Cots he went so quick,
  He startled a bricklayer laying a brick;
  He ran over oats and he ran over barleys,
  By Moss Cow Puddle and Rushen Parleys;
  By Lympne Sassoon and Limpet Farm
  He scattered the geese in wild alarm;
  He ran with a pain growing under his pinny
  Till he heard the sound of a war-horse whinny,
  And tried for an earth in the Tory Holts.

         *       *       *       *       *

  The earth was stopped. It was barred with bolts.

         *       *       *       *       *

  He turned again and he passed Spen Valley,
  By Paisley Shawls and Leamington Raleigh;
  His flanks were wet, he was mire-beslobbered
  By Hatfield Yew and by Hatfield Robert;
  He tried a hen-coop, he tried a tub,
  He tried the National Liberal Club--
  A terrier barked and turned him out.

         *       *       *       *       *

  He tried the end of an old drain-spout.

         *       *       *       *       *

  It was much too small. With a bursting heart
  He thought of the home where he made his start;
  His flanks were heaving, his soul despairing,
  He flaired again--he was always flairing
  To find the best way of escape and nab it,
  He couldn't get out of this flairing habit;
  He felt at his back the fiery breath
  Of the Kill Gorge pack that had vowed his death;
  He turned once more for the shelter good
  Of the Wan Tun Waste and the dark yew wood,
  The deep yew fastness of Cowall Itchen
  And the scuts and heads of hens in his kitchen.
  The hounds grew weak and The Mail was blowing;
  Rother said, "Alf, this is bad going!"
  Past Pemberton Billing, past Kenworthy,
  He shook them off, he was damp and earthy;
  By Molton Lambert and Platting Clynes----
  But I can't go on with these difficult lines.

         *       *       *       *       *

  The night closed down and the hunt was dead,
  Alfred and Rother were tucked in bed;
  The cold moon rose on a fox's snore
  And everything much as it was before.

  Evoe.

       *       *       *       *       *

Our Erudite Contemporaries.

    "'Her feet beneath her petticoat like little mice peep in and out.'

    Yes, but when Bobbie Burns wrote that the lassies of Scotland
    didn't wear Louis heels and extremely short skirts."--_Ladies'
    Paper._

Any more than they did when Sir JOHN SUCKLING apostrophised the "wee,
sleekit, cow'rin', tim'rous beastie."

       *       *       *       *       *

Our Sleuths.

    "A Sheffield firm of solicitors have, this week, had stolen from
    one of the pegs in the hall an overcoat belonging to one of the
    principals. The solicitor concerned is of the opinion that someone
    removed it between his arrival at the office the other morning
    and going to find it in the evening, when it was
    missing."--_Provincial Paper_.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Sandringham Hat.

    "Many women are making surprise presents of hats to their
    husbands, and will take great pleasure in seeing them worn for the
    first time on Christmas Day."--_Daily Mail_.

We understand that it will be the quietest Christmas on record, many
family men having decided to spend the day in the seclusion of their
own homes.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "WHAT I LIKE--]

[Illustration: --ABOUT SWITZERLAND IS--]

[Illustration: --THE COMPLETE CHANGE--]

[Illustration: --FROM LONDON LIFE--]

[Illustration: --AND ALL THAT--]

[Illustration: --NEEDLESS DRESSING-UP."]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Doris._ "BUT, JIMMY, I THOUGHT YOU CAME TO BUY A
PRESENT FOR DADDY?"

_Jimmy._ "YES, IT'S ALL RIGHT, SIS, I _AM_ DOING. HE M'NOPOLISED
MY ENGINE LAST CHRISTMAS; I THOUGHT HE'D LIKE ONE FOR HIMSELF THIS
YEAR."]

       *       *       *       *       *


THE HUMOURIST.

"Here's Alan," said Cecilia; "good."

"Really," I said, stopping and bowing slightly in several directions,
"I am touched. Such a reception.... I find no words----"

"Don't be funny," said Margery cuttingly, "we shan't laugh. What we
want to know is what are you going to do?"

"Well," I said, "I did think of sitting by the fire and--er--just
watching it burn."

"Oh, dear," said Margery, "please don't be dense. I mean, what are you
going to do at the show?"

I passed my hand over my eyes.

"I'm sorry," I said; "I'm afraid I don't.... Have I been to sleep for
ten years or anything?"

"Tell him," said Margery impatiently. "You'll have to start right at
the beginning."

I sat down expectantly.

"Well," began Cecilia, "Christmas is coming and we shall be full up."

"Of course, of course," I murmured deprecatingly. "You want me to get
some medicine ready for you?"

"I mean the house will be full up," explained Cecilia coldly.
"The point is we must arrange something beforehand--some sort of
entertainment."

"Good heavens," I said, "you're not going to hire the Sisters
Sprightly or anything, are you?"

"No, we are not," said Cecilia; "not the Sisters Sprightly nor the
Brothers Bung. We are going to do it ourselves."

"What--a Sisters Sprightly Act? Have a little shame, Cecilia. What
will Christopher think when he sees his mother in a ballet skirt,
kicking about all over the drawing-room?"

"He'd think I looked very nice," said Cecilia hotly, "if I was going
to wear one; but I'm not."

"Not going to wear a ballet skirt?" I said. "You surely don't mean to
appear in----"

"We're not going to do a Sisters Sprightly turn at all," shouted
Margery: "nobody ever thought of them but you."

"Then I give it up," I said helplessly; "I quite understood you to
say---- Then what are you going to do, anyway?"

"Well, we thought at first we'd do a play, but there were difficulties
in the way."

"Too true," I said; "none of us can act to begin with."

"Speak for yourself," said Margery.

"Pardon, Miss Thorndike," I apologised.

"No, the difficulty is that we haven't really room for theatricals.
We should have to use the drawing-room, and by the time you've got
a stage and scenery and rooms for changing, well, there's simply no
space left for the audience," explained Cecilia.

"That's no objection at all," I said; "rather an advantage, in fact."

"And anyhow," continued Margery, "we haven't got a play to do."

"And so," said Cecilia, "we've decided to have a concert party."

I gasped.

"Not a concert party," I implored.

"Yes," said Cecilia, "a costume concert party. It isn't any use groaning
like that. It's all arranged. Sheila and Arthur Davies, Margery, John,
you and I are in it. The question is what are you going to do?"

"Nothing. I never heard of such a horrible idea."

"Don't be a pig, Alan," said Margery.

"Really, Cecilia," I said, "let me plead with you. _Not_ a costume
concert party, please. A simple glee perhaps--just four of us--in
evening dress; or even a conjurer. I'll agree to anything. But not,
_not_ Pierrots, Cecilia."

"Pierrots it is," said Cecilia defiantly.

"Then I wash my hands of it. To think that our family----"

"You can wash your hands if you like," said Cecilia; "we should prefer
it, in fact; but you are certainly going to take part."

I know the futility of arguing with Cecilia.

"Then tell me the worst," I begged; "what am I to be? Can I show
people to their seats, or am I the good-looking tenor with gentlemanly
features and long hair?"

"We thought of making you the funny man," said Cecilia.

I buried my head in my hands and shuddered.

At this moment John came into the room. "Talking about the 'Merry
Maggots'?" he said. "Splendid idea of Cecilia's, isn't it? I've just
been thinking it over, and what we must decide on first of all is who
is to be the--the humourist. He's the really important man; must be
someone really first-class."

"We've also been discussing it," I said quickly, "and we came to the
conclusion that there's only one man for the job--yourself."

John nodded complacently.

"I'm glad to hear you say so, because I was going to suggest it
myself. It's my belief that I should be a devilish funny fellow if I
had a chance. I've just tried a few jokes on myself upstairs, and I've
been simply roaring with laughter. Haven't enjoyed myself so much for
years."

"Splendid fellow!" I said heartily; "you shall tell them to me later
on and I'll roar with laughter too. Cecilia, put your husband down for
the funny man."

"H'm--humourist," corrected John with a slight cough.

"'Humourist,'" I agreed; "and thank goodness that's settled."

"But," said Cecilia, "you said you were going to do a dramatic
recitation."

"So I am, so I am," said John; "I'm going to do that as well.
Contrast, my dear Cecilia. Laughter and tears. Double them up with
sly wit one moment and have them sobbing into their handkerchiefs the
next. I'm going to do it all, Cecilia."

"So it appears," said Cecilia; "it hardly seems worth while to have
anybody else in the show."

"Now, now," said John, wagging his forefinger at her, "no jealousy.
You ought to be glad to have someone really good in the party. _Good_
funny men aren't to be found just anywhere."

"But we don't know that you _are_ a good funny man," said Margery.

"Of course you don't," said John; "I've never had a chance to prove
it. For years I have been kept in the background by your family. I'm
never allowed to make a joke, and if I do nobody laughs. This is my
chance. I'm going to be in the limelight now. I shall be the life of
the party, and it's no good trying to stop me. In fact," he finished
confidentially, "I shan't be surprised if I take it up professionally.
You should have heard me laughing upstairs."

"But, John," began Margery.

"Sh--!" said Cecilia; "it's no use arguing with him while he's in this
mood. That's all right, John. You shall be everything you like. But
as you've selected such a lot of parts for yourself perhaps you'll
suggest what we can do with Alan."

"Ah," said John; "Alan! Yes, he's a problem, certainly. If he had
any voice, now. I'm not sure that we want him at all. Could he do a
clog-dance, do you think?"

"Don't worry," I interrupted; "I've thought of a fine part for me. All
the best concert parties have a chap who sits in the corner and does
nothing but look miserable. I could do that splendidly."

"That's quite true," said John approvingly; "it tickles the audience,
you know, to see a fellow looking glum while everyone else is having
hysterics at the funny--at the humourist. It isn't as easy as it
looks, though, Alan. I shall keep saying things to make you laugh, you
know. You'll find it jolly difficult to keep looking miserable once
I get going."

"Not at all," I said. "That is, I shall do my best to keep serious.
I shall try not to listen to you being funny."

John looked at me and considered whether it was worth following up. He
decided it was not.

"I daresay he'll do," he said loftily to Cecilia; "the fellow has no
sense of humour anyway."

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "So long, old chap! I'm off to Charing Cross."
"Hospital, I presume."]

       *       *       *       *       *


Commercial Modesty.

    "This system develops such valuable qualities as:--

      --Forgetfulness
      --Mind Wandering
      --Brain Fag
      --Indecision
      --Dullness
      --Shyness
      --Timidity
      --Weakness of Will
      --Lack of System
      --Lack of Initiative
      --Indefiniteness
      --Mental Flurry."

    _Advt. in Sunday Paper_.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "It is announced that, starting with next week, 'Ways and means'
    and 'Common Sense' will be amalgamated."

    _Evening Paper_.

Will the Government please note?

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Army biscuits, suitable for bed-chair cushions. 3s. reserve.
    ----'s Auction Sale."

    _Provincial Paper_.

They seem to have lost something of their war-time hardihood.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Small Boy._ "I SAY, ISN'T THERE ANYTHING WITH A BIT
MORE BUCK IN IT THAN THIS LEMONADE?"]

       *       *       *       *       *

PUSS AT THE PALACE.

[_The Daily Telegraph_, in a report of the Cat Show at the Crystal
Palace, remarks that "the cat has 'come back' as a hobby."]

  O ALL ye devoted cat-lovers,
    Ere spending the cheques you have cashed,
  Leave a trifle for tickets to enter the wickets
    That ope on the Temple of Pasht.

  For to-day in the Palace of PAXTON
    Cats gathered from every zone--
  Manx, Persian, Sardinian, Chinese, Abyssinian--
    Are now being splendidly shown.

  The names of the winners and owners
    Inspire me with joy and delight;
  _E.g._, Blue-eyed Molly, John Bull (Madame Dolli)
    And Snowflake, the champion white.

  And then the adorable kittens!
    Too high-bred to gambol or skip,
  With names that are mighty, like Inglewood Clytie,
    Or comic, like Holme Ruddy Pip.

  It is pleasant to learn Mr. SHAKESPEARE'S
    Success with his Siamese strain,
  For his namesake the poet, so far as we know it,
    Held "poor, harmless" puss in disdain.

  Yes, the cat has "come back" as a hobby,
    Oh, let us be thankful for that,
  For it might be the coon or the blue-nosed baboon,
    Or the deadly Norwegian rat.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE FINE OLD FRUITY.

Wine merchants must be kind men. So many of those who have sent me
their circulars this Christmas-time have announced that they are
"giving their clients the benefit of some exceptionally advantageous
purchases which they have made."

But it is not the humanity of wine merchants of which I wish to speak.
It is the intriguing epithets which they apply to their wines. And I
have entertained myself by applying these to my relatives, an exercise
which I find attended by the happiest results.

"Fine old style, rich," is, of course, obvious. It applies to more
than one of my Victorian uncles. "Medium rich" to a cousin or so. More
subtle is "medium body." This must be Uncle Hilary; he takes little
exercise nowadays and his figure is suffering. Soon he will be
"full-bodied" or "full and round." "Elegant, high class" is my Cousin
Isabel. "Pretty flavour" also is hers. "Fresh and brisk" is Aunt
Hannah. And could anything be more descriptive of Aunt Geraldine than
"delicate and generous"?

For "great breed and style" (used, I see, of a claret) I should,
I fear, be obliged to go outside the family; and "recommended for
present consumption and for laying down" I only mention because it
leaves me wondering to what other uses a fine fruity Burgundy could be
put. But here is a noble one: "Of very high class, stylish, good body
and fine character." I have tried this on several relations without
being entirely satisfied about it, and I have finally decided that
I shall keep it for myself.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Only a few visitors braved the first fall of the snow yesterday
    and adventured as far as the Zoological Gardens. They found there
    a depressed-looking collection of animals in the open-air cages,
    but a perfect holocaust of sparrows."--_Sunday Paper_.

The sparrows must have been warm enough, anyway.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: VERDUN.

LONDON (_to her adopted daughter_). "YOU WILL LET _ME_ PASS--TO YOUR
HEART?"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _The Lord Chancellor._ "AND TO THINK IT WAS THE BEST
IRISH LINEN!"]

ESSENCE OF PARLIAMENT.

_Monday, December 13th._--Since the House of Lords took the bit in
its teeth and bolted with the Government of Ireland Bill the LORD
CHANCELLOR has practically thrown the reins on the creature's neck and
confined himself to occasional mild remonstrance when it kicked over
the Government traces. The most he could do when rival amendments were
put forward was to secure the passage of the less objectionable. Thus
when Lord SHANDON, for purely sentimental reasons--Ireland knew him as
"a most susceptible Chancellor"--desired that the unifying body should
be called a Senate Lord BIRKENHEAD laughed the proposal out of court
with the remark that "a man might as well purchase a mule with the
object of founding a stud," and persuaded the Peers to accept the word
"Council." He was at first inclined to oppose Lord WICKLOW'S amendment
providing that neither Irish Parliament should take private property
without compensation; but when he found that an old Home Ruler, Lord
BRYCE, was in favour of imposing this curb on Irish exuberance he, as
"a very young Home Ruler," gracefully withdrew his objection.

Sir JOHN BAIRD revealed the names of the members of the Central
Control Board (Liquor Traffic). The muffled groans that followed the
announcement of the first of them, Mr. WATERS-BUTLER, were quite
uncalled for, as I understand that the gentleman in question preserves
a strict impartiality between two branches of his patronymic.

Sir ERIC GEDDES was not too sympathetic to the complaints of
overcrowding on the suburban railways; but I cannot think that Mr.
MARTIN had fully thought out the consequences of his suggestion that
the right hon. gentleman should take a trip one night from Aldgate to
Barking and see for himself. Imagine the feelings of the strap-hangers
when Sir ERIC essayed "little by little" to wedge himself into their
midst.

If the Opposition desired a really satisfactory discussion on the
origin of the fires in Cork it should have chosen some other spokesman
than Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY. The hon. and gallant gentleman was
less aggressive in manner than usual, but even so he encountered a
good many interruptions. He was answered in a characteristic speech by
Mr. CLAUDE LOWTHER; and the debate as a whole never rose much above
the level where it was left by these "Burnt Cork Comedians."

_Tuesday, December 14th._--Despite the protests of Lord BRAYE, who
demanded full self-determination for Ireland, the Peers gave a Third
Reading to the Government of Ireland Bill. Lord CREWE so far modified
his previous attitude as to congratulate the Government on having held
on their course in the face of the discouraging events in Ireland, and
to express the hope that the measure would be worked for all it was
worth, though, in his lordship's estimation, it was not worth much.

[Illustration: THE END OF THE OMNIBUS.

_Conductor ADDISON._ "A NICE OLD MESS YOU'VE BEEN AND GONE AND MADE!"

_Driver CURZON._ "_ME?_ IF _YOU_ HADN'T BEEN SO LATE IN TURNING OUT I
SHOULDN'T HAVE HAD TO CUT THINGS SO FINE."]

The Ministry of Health Bill found the Peers in a much less
accommodating mood. Lord STRACHIE moved its rejection, chiefly on the
ground of the financial strain it would impose upon local authorities,
and was supported by Lord GALWAY, who thought it an insult to
Parliament to bring forward so ambitious a measure at the fag-end of
the Session. Lord CURZON vainly endeavoured to avert the coming storm
by accepting a suggestion that the Bill should be carried over till
next Session. The majority of the Peers were out for blood, and they
defeated the Second Reading by 57 to 41. Dr. ADDISON, from the steps
of the Throne, gloomily watched the overturn of his omnibus. It is
understood that, following the example of his distinguished namesake,
he is going to write to _The Spectator_ about Lord STRACHIE.

So many of the Commons appeared to have anticipated the Christmas
holidays that Questions were run through at a great pace. Mr. HOGGE,
however, was in his place all right to know how it was, after all the
protestations of the Government, that an official motor-car containing
an officer and a lady had been seen outside a toy-shop in Regent
Street. "Mark how a plain tale shall set you down," said Mr. CHURCHILL
in effect. The officer was on his way from an outlying branch of the
War Office to an important conference in Whitehall; the lady was his
private secretary; the natural route of the car was _viâ_ Regent
Street, and the officer had merely seized the opportunity to pick up
a parcel.

A Supplementary Estimate of six and a-half millions for the Navy gave
the economists their chance. Mr. G. LAMBERT could not understand why
we were employing more men at the dockyards than before the War, and
suggested that three or four of the yards might be sold. This proposal
was received with singularly little enthusiasm by most of the Members
for dockyard constituencies; but Sir B. FALLE (Portsmouth) handsomely
remarked that Chatham might well be leased for private enterprise.
The Member for Chatham was not present, or he would, no doubt, have
returned the compliment.

_Wednesday, December 15th._--A less adventurous Minister than Mr.
CHURCHILL might have funked the task of justifying to a House of
Economists a Supplementary Army Estimate of forty millions. But he
boldly tackled the job, and proved to his own satisfaction that half
the liability was a mere book-entry, and the other half inevitable,
in view of the Empire's commitments. Sir CHARLES TOWNSHEND, in a
maiden speech which in the more flamboyant passages suggested the
collaboration of the EDITOR of _John Bull_, announced his intention
of supporting the Government "for all I am worth," and proceeded to
demonstrate that their policy in Mesopotamia had been wrong from start
to finish.

_Thursday, December 16th._--I don't know whether the current rumours
of the PRIME MINISTER'S delicacy are put about by malignant enemies
who hope that Nature will accomplish what they have failed to achieve,
or by well-meaning friends who desire to convince the Aberystwith
Sabbatarians that Sunday golf is essential to his well-being. In his
answers to Questions this afternoon he showed no signs of failing
powers. When Mr. BILLING accused him of breaking his pledge that there
should be no more secret diplomacy he modestly replied that that was
not his but President WILSON'S phrase; and a little later he informed
the same cocksure questioner that a certain problem was "not so simple
as my hon. friend imagines most problems are."

An inquiry about the Franco-British boundaries in the Holy Land led
the PRIME MINISTER to observe that the territory delimited was "the
old historic Palestine--Dan to Beersheba." It was, of course, a
mere coincidence that the next Question on the Paper related to the
destruction of calves, though not the golden kind.

The quarter-deck voice in which Rear-Admiral ADAIR thundered for
information regarding the Jutland Papers so startled Sir JAMES CRAIG
that, fearing another salvo if he temporised with the question, he
promptly promised immediate publication.

Despite a characteristic protest from Mr. DEVLIN, who, as Mr. BONAR
LAW observed, treats his opponents as if they were "not only morally
bad but intellectually contemptible," the House proceeded to consider
the Lords' Amendments to the Home Rule Bill, and dealt with them by
the time-honoured device of "splitting the difference."

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Dealer._ "WELL, THERE SHE IS, GUV'NOR, AN' YOURS AT A
ROCK-BOTTOM PRICE."

_Farmer._ "NOA, THANKEE. I ONLY GOT POUND NOTES ON ME, YE SEE, AN' I
DOAN'T WANT TO BREAK INTO ANOTHER."]

       *       *       *       *       *

    "MALESWOMAN WANTED.--Competent to take charge of Millinery
    establishment."

    _Trade Paper_.

A sort of Mannequin, we presume.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _The Viking's Wife_ (_to husband, who is setting off to
raid the coast of Britain_). "GOOD-BYE, SIGURD DARLING. DON'T FORGET
WHAT I SAID ABOUT GETTING YOUR FEET WET. AND, BY THE WAY, I'M GREATLY
IN NEED OF A COOK-GENERAL, IF YOU HAPPEN TO SEE ONE. BUT REMEMBER SHE
MUST BE CAPABLE AND PLAIN--NOT LIKE THE HUSSIES YOU USUALLY FETCH."]

       *       *       *       *       *

A FOUL GAME.

It is Christmas, and here is a nice little cricket story for the
hearth. The funny thing about it is that it is true. And the other
funny thing about it is that it was told to me by a huge Rugger
Blue called Eric. (I understand people can change their names at
Confirmation. Why don't they?)

It was in a College match--not, I gather, a particularly serious one.
Eric and his friend Charles were playing for Balbus College against
Caramel College. Caramel had an "A" team out, and Balbus, I should
think, must have had about a "K" team ... anyhow, Eric and Charles
were both playing. Eric, as he modestly said, doesn't bat much, and
Charles doesn't bowl much. Eric said to Charles, "I bet you a fiver
you won't get six wickets." Charles said to Eric, "All right; and I
bet you a fiver you won't get a hundred runs."

Then began a hideous series of intrigues. Caramel were to bat first,
and Eric went to the Balbus captain and said, "There's a sovereign[1]
for you if Charles doesn't go on to bowl _at all_."

  [Footnote 1: This is a pre-war story.]

"Very well," said the captain, with a glance of sinister
understanding. "Wouldn't have anyhow," he added as he pocketed the
stake.

Then Charles arrived.

"Two pounds," said the captain.

"What for?" said Charles.

"For ten overs--four bob an over."

"It's too much," said Charles; "but there's a sovereign for you if
Eric goes in ninth wicket down."

"Very well," said the captain, with a glance of devilish cunning.
"It's only one lower than usual. Thank you."

Acting on intuition and their knowledge of the captain, Eric and
Charles then hotly accused each other of bribery. Both confessed,
and it was agreed to start fair. Charles was to bowl first change and
Eric was to bat first wicket. The captain said he would want a lot of
bribing to go back on the original arrangement, especially if it meant
Charles bowling, but he would do it for the original price; and, as he
already held the money, Eric and Charles had to concede the point.

By the way, I am afraid the captain doesn't come very well out of
this, and I'm afraid it is rather an immoral story; but my object is
to show up the evils of commercialism, so it is all right.

Pallas Athene came down and stood by the bowler's umpire while Charles
was bowling, and he got five wickets quite easily. It was incredible.
The Caramel batsmen seemed to be paralysed. Then the last man came in,
and the first thing he did was to send up a nice little dolly catch to
Eric at cover-point. Eric missed it. When I say he missed it I mean he
practically flung it on the ground. Indeed he rather over-did it, and
the batsman, who was a sportsman and knew Charles, appealed to the
umpire to say he was really out. Pallas Athene grabbed the umpire by
the throat, and he said firmly that no catch had been made.

Then the batsmen made a muddle about a run and found themselves in the
common but embarrassing position of being both at the wicket-keeper's
end. The ball had gone to Eric and he had only to throw it in to
Charles, who was bowling, for Charles to put the wicket down. But
in one of those flashes of inspiration which betray true genius he
realised that in the circumstances that was just what Charles would
_not_ do. Direct action was the only thing. So, ball in hand, he
started at high velocity towards the wicket himself.

He was a Rugger Blue (I told you) and a three-quarter at that, so he
went fairly fast. However, the batsman saw that he had a faint hope
after all, and he ran too. It was an heroic race, but the batsman
had less distance to go. Eric saw that he was losing, and from a few
yards' range he madly flung the ball at the wicket. He missed the
wicket, but he hit Charles very hard on the shin, which was something.
I fancy he must have hit Pallas Athene as well, for with the very next
ball she gave Charles his sixth wicket.

By this time the game had resolved itself into an Homeric combat
between the two protagonists, of which the main bodies of the Balbus
and Caramel armies were merely neutral spectators--neutral, that is,
so far as they had not been hired out for some dastard service by one
or other of the duellists.

When Eric went in it was clear that Juno had come down to help him,
for he made three runs in eight balls without being bowled once. Then
Charles came in. His first ball he hit slowly between mid-off and
cover, and he called for a run. All unsuspecting, Eric cantered down
the pitch. When he was half-way Charles seemed to be seized with the
sort of panic which sometimes possesses a batsman. "No, no!" he cried.
"Go back! go back!" And he scuttled back himself. Juno fortunately
intervened and Eric just got home in time. But he realised now what he
was up against. His next ball he hit towards mid-wicket, and shouting
"Come on!" he galloped up the pitch. Charles came on gingerly,
expecting to be sent back, but Eric duly passed him; he then turned
round and just raced Charles back to the wicket-keeper's end. Charles
was only a Soccer Blue (and a goal-keeper at that), and Eric won.

"After that," said Eric with his usual modesty, "it was easy."
Eyewitnesses, however, have told me more. Juno dealt with the Caramel
bowlers, but Eric had to compete with Charles. And Charles resorted to
every kind of devilish expedient. Nearly all the Balbus batsmen were
bribed to run Eric out, and whenever he hit a boundary Eric had to
stop and reason with them in the middle of the pitch. Sometimes he
tried to outbid Charles, but he usually found that he couldn't afford
it. So he collared the bowling as much as possible and tried not to
hit anything but boundaries. Juno helped him a good bit in that way.

When he had made seventy he got a ball on the knee. Charles ran out
and offered to run for him, but Eric said he could manage, thank you.
Then Charles went and walked rapidly up and down in front of the
screen; but Eric wasn't the sort of batsman who minded that.

At about ninety, Eric's knee was pretty bad, so he called out for
somebody to run for him--_not_ Charles. Five of Charles's hirelings
rushed out of the pavilion, but the captain said he would go himself,
as that wasn't fair. Besides, he had money on Eric himself.

At this point I gather that Pallas Athene must have deserted Charles
altogether, for he seems to have entertained for a moment or two the
ignoble notion of tampering with the scorer. I am glad to be able to
say that even the members of the Balbus College "K." Team, eaten up
as they were by this time with commercialism, declined to be parties
to that particular wickedness. With every circumstance of popular
excitement Eric's hundredth run--a mis-cue through the slips--was
finally made, scored and added up. In fact, he carried his bat.

"So you were all square," I said, not without admiration.

"By no means," said Eric. "It cost me forty shillings."

"And Charles?"

"It cost him seven pounds."

A. P. H.

       *       *       *       *       *

"SUGGESTIONS."

A WARNING.

Entering as we are upon the season of games, it might be well to
utter an urgent appeal to hostesses not to play "Suggestions." For
"Suggestions," though it may begin as a game, is really a wrangle.
Under the guise of a light-hearted pastime it offers little but
opportunities for misunderstanding, general conversation, allegations
of unfairness, and disappointment.

"Suggestions" ought to be played like this: You sit in a semicircle
and the first player says something--anything--a single word. Let us
suppose it is (as it probably will be in thousands of cases) "MARGOT."
The next player has to say what "MARGOT" suggests--"reticence," for
example--and the next player, shutting his mind completely to the word
"MARGOT," has to say what "reticence" suggests--perhaps _Grimaud_,
in _The Three Musketeers_--and the fourth player has to disregard
"reticence" and announce whatever mental reaction the name of
_Grimaud_ produces. It maybe that he has never heard of _Grimaud_ and
the similarity of sound suggests only GRIMALDI the clown. Then he
ought to say, "GRIMALDI the clown," which might in its turn suggest
"melancholy" or "the circus." All the time no one should speak but the
players in their turn, and they should speak instantly and should say
nothing but the thing that is honestly suggested by the previous word.
At the end of, say, a dozen rounds the process of unwinding the coil
begins, each player in rotation taking part in the backward process
until "MARGOT" is again reached.

That is how the game should be played.

This is how it _is_ played:--

_First Player._ Let me see; what shall I say?

_Various other Players_ (_together_). Surely there's no difficulty in
beginning? Say "anything," etc., etc.

_A Player_ (_looking round_). Say--say "fireplace."

_First Player._ But that's so silly.

_Master of Ceremonies_ (_who wishes he had never proposed the game_).
It doesn't matter. All that is needed is a start.

_Another player._ Say "MARGOT."

(_Roars of laughter._)

_All._ Oh, yes, say "MARGOT."

_First Player._ Very well, then--"MARGOT."

(_More laughter._)

_Second Player_ (_trying to be clever_). "Reticence."

(_Shouts of laughter._)

_Other Players._ How could "MARGOT" suggest "reticence"?

_M. C._ Never mind; the point is that it did. Now then--and please
everyone be silent--now, then, Third Player?

_Third Player._ "Audacity."

_M. C._ I'm afraid you're not playing quite fairly. You see
"reticence" cannot suggest "audacity." The First Player's word not
impossibly might. Could it be that you were still thinking of that?

_Third Player._ I'm sorry. But "reticence" doesn't suggest anything.

_Other Players_ (_together_). Oh, yes, it does--"silence," "grumpiness,"
"oysters," "Trappists."

_M. C._ If a word suggests nothing whatever to you, you should say,
"Blank mind."

_Third Player._ Ah, but I've thought of something now--"reticule."

(_Roars of laughter._)

_M. C._ It's all right. That's how the mind does work. Now, next
player.

_Fourth Player._ Have I got to say something that "reticule" suggests?

_M. C._ That's the idea--yes.

_A Player._ Say "vanity-bag."

_Another Player._ Say "powder-puff."

(_Roars of laughter._)

_M. C._ Please, please--either the game is worth playing or it isn't.
If it is worth playing it is worth playing seriously, and then you can
get some very funny effects--it's a psychological exhibition; but if
other players talk at the same time and try to help it's useless. Now,
next player, please. The word is "reticule."

_Fourth Player_ (_after a long silence_). "Bond Street."

_Fifth Player._ Ah, "Bond Street"! That's better. That suggests
heaps of things. Which shall I choose? "Chocolates"? No. "Furs"? No.
"Diamonds"? No. Oh, yes--"Old Masters."

_M. C._ (_with resignation_). But you know you mustn't select. The whole
point of the game is that you must say what comes automatically into
your mind as you hear the word.

_Fifth Player._ I'm sorry. Shall I go back to "diamonds"?

_M. C._ No; you had better stick to "Old Masters."

_Fifth Player._ "Old Masters."

_Sixth Player_ (_deaf_). What did you say--"mustard-plasters"?

_Fifth Player._ No; "Old Masters."

_Sixth Player._ I've heard of new men and old acres, but I've never
heard of Old Pastures. What are they?

_Fifth Player_ (_shouting_). No, no; "Old Masters." Pictures of the Old
Masters--RAPHAEL, TITIAN.

_Sixth Player._ Ah, yes! "Old Masters." Well, that suggests to me----
Yes (_triumphantly_), "the National Gallery."

_Seventh Player_ (_who has been waiting sternly_). "Trafalgar Square."

_Eighth Player_ (_instantly_). "NELSON."

_Ninth Player_ (_even more quickly_). "NELSON KEYS."

_M. C._ (_beaming_). That's better. It's going well now.

_Tenth Player._ "England expects----"

_Ninth Player._ No, you can't say that. I could have said that, but
you can't.

_Tenth Player._ Why not?

_Ninth Player._ Because "NELSON" is all over and done with. The
new name is "NELSON KEYS." You ought to have thought of something
connected with him.

_Tenth Player._ If you'd said "KEYS" I might have done. But you said
"NELSON KEYS," and the "NELSON" touched a spot. Isn't that right?

_M. C._ Quite right. It's the only way to play. But may I once more
ask that there should be no talking? We shall never be able to unwind
if there is. Now, please--"England expects----"

_Eleventh Player._ "Duty."

_Twelfth Player._ "Bore."

_Thirteenth Player._ "The Marne."

(_Cries of astonishment._)

_Various Players._ How can "bore" suggest "the Marne"?

_M. C._ But it did. You mustn't mind.

_Twelfth Player._ How did it? Just for fun I'd like to know.

_Thirteenth Player._ Well, when I was on the Marne I used to see the
marks on the ground made by them.

_Twelfth Player._ By who?

_Thirteenth Player._ The wild boars.

(_Roars of laughter._)

_Twelfth Player._ But I meant that duty is a bore--b-o-r-e.

_M. C._ (_frantic_). It doesn't matter. It's what you think--not what
is--in this game. But really we're in such a muddle, wouldn't it be
better to begin again? You all know the rules now.

_Hostess._ Perhaps "Clumps" might be better, don't you think?

_M. C._ Just as you like. "Clumps," then.

_The Deaf Player._ What is the word now?

_A Player._ We're going to play "Clumps" instead.

_The Deaf Player._ Mumps in bed? I'm sure I don't know what that
suggests. That's very difficult. But I like this game. It ought to be
great fun when we unwind.

(_They separate for "Clumps."_)

E. V. L.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Fruiterer._ "ROYALTY 'ISSELF, MADAM, COULDN'T WISH FOR
A BETTER PINEAPPLE THAN THAT."

_Newly-rich Matron._ "WELL, IF ROYALTY CAN BITE 'EM I S'POSE I CAN.
I'LL 'AVE IT."]

       *       *       *       *       *

Headline to an article on ladies' fashions:--

    "STOCKINGS COMING DOWN."

This should make the hosiers pull up their socks.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Several reasons, besides the claims of humanity, made the
    Eugenist favour schemes for abolishing the eugenist."--_Daily
    Paper._

We are inclined to agree with the Eugenist.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: AT A FAT STOCK SHOW.

"THEY'RE TWO SMART 'OGS, I ADMIT. BUT LOOK AT THE PRICE O'
FOOD-STUFFS. YOU KNOW YERSELF IT DON'T PAY ANYONE TO FEED THESE
DAYS."]

       *       *       *       *       *

MISPLACED BENEVOLENCE.

DEAR MR. PUNCH,--From your earliest years you have preached sound and
wholesome doctrine on the duty of man to birds and beasts. Indeed,
I remember your pushing it to extreme lengths in a poem entreating
people not to mention mint-sauce when conversing with a lamb. Still,
I wonder whether even you would approve of the title of an article
in _Nature_ on "The Behaviour of Beetles." Of course I know that
"behaviour" is a colourless word, still I am rather inclined to doubt
whether beetles know how to behave at all. I may be prejudiced by my
own experiences, but they certainly have been unfortunate. They began
early--at my private school, to be precise. I shall never forget the
conversation I had, when a new boy, with a sardonic senior who, after
putting me through the usual catechism, asked me what I was going to
be. I replied that I had not yet decided, whereupon my tormentor,
after looking at my feet, which I have never succeeded in growing
up to, observed, "Well, if I were you, I think I should emigrate to
Colorado and help to crush the beetle." Later on in life I was the
victim of a cruel hoax, carried out with triumphant ingenuity by a
confirmed practical joker, who with the aid of a thread caused what
appeared to be a gigantic blackbeetle to perform strange and unholy
evolutions in my sitting-room. Worst of all, I was victimised by the
presence of a blackbeetle in a plate of clear soup served me at
my club. I backed my bill, but it was too late, for I am very
shortsighted.

No, Mr. Punch, I am prepared to discuss the Ethics of Eels, the
Altruism of Adders, the Piety of Pintails, or even the Benevolence of
Bluebottles, but (to deviate into doggerel)--

  "Let LANKESTERS, LUBBOCKS and CHEATLES
    Dilate with a rapturous bliss
  On the noble behaviour of beetles--
    _I_ give them a miss."

I am, Mr. Punch, with much respect,

  Yours faithfully,
  PHILANDER BLAMPHIN.

       *       *       *       *       *

THREE TRAGEDIES AND A MORAL.

  There was an imperious old Sage
  Who upheld the dominion of Age,
    But his son, a grim youth,
    Red in claw and in tooth,
  Shut him up in a chloroformed cage.

  There was also a Child full of beans
  Who bombarded nine great magazines,
    But not one of the nine
    Ever published a line,
  For the Child was not yet in its teens.

  There was thirdly, to round off these rhymes,
  A Matron who railed at the crimes
    Of designers of frocks
    Who in smart fashion "blocks"
  Left middle-age out of _The Times_.

  The moral--if morals one seeks
  In an age of sensation and shrieks--
    Is this: Even still
    Things are apt to go ill
  With old, young and middle-aged freaks.

       *       *       *       *       *

Our Erudite Contemporaries.

    "The Grecian women were forbidden entrance to the stadium where
    the [Olympic] games were being held, and any woman found therein
    was thrown from the Tarpeian rock."

    _Canadian Paper._

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The French are thinking of building straw houses to remedy the
    present housing crisis. The first straw house has already been
    built at Montargis."--_Evening Paper._

Where, presumably, they are trying it on the well-known local Dog.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Negotiating the intricate traffic of the City was quite easy, the
    engine being responsive to the slightest touch of the steering
    wheel. It is just the car for the owner-driver."

    _Financial Paper._

Our chauffeur agrees. He says _he_ wouldn't undertake to drive it down
the village street, let alone the City.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "IS SINGING ON THE DECLINE?
      A GREAT TENOR'S ADVICE.
  'NEVER FIGHT AGAINST THE BRASS.'"

_Morning Paper._


It is, we believe, the experience of most impresarios that great
tenors almost invariably fight _for_ the brass.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "QUICK, MUMMIE! COME AND HELP BOBBIE--HE'S FALLEN INTO
THE LUCKY DIP."]

       *       *       *       *       *

OUR BOOKING-OFFICE.

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

So charged is it with liable-to-go-off controversy that I should
hardly have been astonished to see Mr. H. G. WELLS'S latest volume,
_Russia in the Shadows_ (HODDER AND STOUGHTON), embellished with
the red label of "Explosives." Probably everyone knows by now the
circumstances of its origin, and how Mr. WELLS and his son are (for
the moment) the rearguard in that long procession of unprejudiced
and undeceivable observers who have essayed to pluck the truth about
Russia from the bottom of the Bolshevist pit. What Mr. WELLS found is
much what was to be expected: red ruin, want and misery unspeakable.
The difference between his report and those of most of his forerunners
is that, being (as one is apt to forget) a highly-trained writer, he
is able to present it with a technical skill that enormously helps
the effect. Our author having been unable to deny the shadow, like
everyone else save perhaps the preposterous Mr. LANSBURY, the only
outstanding question is who casts it. The ordinary man would probably
have little hesitation about his answer to that. Mr. WELLS has even
less. He unhesitatingly names you and me and the French investors and
several editors. Well, I have no space for more than an indication of
what you will find in this undeniably vigorous and vehement little
volume. But I must not forget the photographs. Some of these, of
devastated streets and the like, have rather lost their novelty.
Unfortunately, however, for Mr. WELLS as propagandist he has also
included a number of the most revealing portraits yet available of the
men who are hag-riding a once great nation to the abyss. I can only
say that for me those portraits put the finishing touch to Mr. WELLS'S
argument. They extinguish it.

       *       *       *       *       *

The pictorial wrapper of _A Man of the Islands_ (HUTCHINSON) is
embellished with a drawing of a coffee-coloured lady in a costume that
it would be an under-statement to call curtailed, also (inset, as the
picture-papers say) the portrait of a respectable-looking gentleman in
a beard. In the printed synopsis that occupies the little tuck-in
part of the same wrapper you are promised "an entrancing picture
of breaking seas on lonely islands and tropical nights beneath the
palms." In other words Mr. H. DE VERE STACPOOLE as before. Lest
however you should suppose the insularity of this attractive
pen-artist to be in danger of becoming overdone, I will say at once
that the six tales from which the book takes its name occupy not much
more than a third of it, the rest being filled with stories of varied
setting bearing such titles as "The Queen's Necklace," "The Box of
Bonbons," and the like--all frankly to be grouped under the head of
"Financial Measures." This said, it is only fair to add that the
half-dozen _Sigurdson_ adventures--he was the Man of the Islands, a
bearded trader, murderer, pearl thief and what not--seem to me a group
of as rattling good yarns as of their kind one need wish to meet,
every one with some original and thrilling situation that lifts it far
above pot-boiling status. I could wish (despite anything above having
a contrary sound) that Mr. STACPOOLE had given us a whole volume with
that South Sea setting that so happily stimulates his fancy.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. S. P. B. MAIS has not yet extricated himself from the groove into
which he has fallen. It is not a wholesome groove, and even if it were
I should not wish an author of his capacity to remain a perpetual
tenant of it. In _Colour Blind_ (GRANT RICHARDS) we are given the
promiscuous amours of a schoolmaster, a subject which has apparently a
peculiar attraction for Mr. MAIS. _Jimmy Penruddocke_, who tells the
story, left the Army and could not find a job until he was offered a
mastership at a public school. The school rather than _Jimmy_ has
my sympathies. There was nothing peculiarly alluring about this
philanderer to account for the devastating magnetism which he exerted
upon the female heart. To describe all this orgy of caresses could
hardly have been worth anyone's time and trouble; certainly it was
not worth Mr. MAIS'S. I say this with all the more assurance because,
greatly as I dislike the main theme of this novel, there are many good
things in it. There is, for example, _Mark Champernowne_ (_Jimmy's_
friend), a finely and consistently drawn character, and there are
descriptive passages which are vividly beautiful and also some
delightful gleams of humour. I think that when Mr. MAIS'S sense of
humour has developed further he will agree with me that a man who
loved as promiscuously as _Jimmy_ and then wrote over three hundred
pages about it could, without much straining of the truth, be called a
cad.

       *       *       *       *       *

For many reasons I could wish that England were China. It would be
nice, for instance, to address the HOME SECRETARY as "Redoubtable
Hunter of Criminals" and to call the Board of Exterior Affairs (if we
had one) "Wai-wo-poo." I should like my house also to be named "The
Palace of the Hundred Flowers." I think there are about a hundred,
though I have not counted them. But in China it is above all things
necessary to be an ancestor, and this may lead to complications if Mr.
G. S. DE MORANT, who appears to be much more at home with the French
and the Oriental idiom than the English, is to be trusted. _In the
Claws of the Dragon_ (ALLEN AND UNWIN) describes the experiences of a
young lady named _Monique_, who married the Secretary to the Chinese
Embassy in Paris and was obliged, after visiting her relations-in-law,
to reconcile herself to the introduction of a second wife into the
family, in order that their notions of propriety might be respected
and an heir born to the line. When she had consented she returned to
Paris and wrote the following cablegram from her own mother's house:
"You have acted as a good son and a faithful husband. Bring back with
you the mother of our (_sic_) child." And so, the author evidently
feels, it all ended happily. His book is an interesting and amusing
presentment of an older civilisation, but if it won't strain the
_Entente_ I am bound to say that I disagree with his conclusions.

       *       *       *       *       *

I fear it may sound an unkindly criticism, but my abiding trouble with
_Broken Colour_ (LANE) was an inability to get any of the characters,
with perhaps one exception, to come alive or behave otherwise than as
parts of a thoroughly nice-mannered and unsensational story. Perhaps
it was my own fault. Mr. HAROLD OHLSON (whose previous book I liked)
has obviously, perhaps a little too obviously, done his best for these
people. It is a tale of two rivalries: that for the heroine, between
the penniless artist-hero and a pound-full other; and that in the
breast of the p.a.h., between the flesh-pots of commerce and the
world-well-lost-for-Chelsea. It is typical of Mr. OHLSON'S care that,
though one would in such a situation nine times out of ten be safe
in backing Art for the double event, he makes so even a match of it
between _Hubert_ and _Ralph_ that he leaves the heroine ringing the
door-bell of the one immediately after kissing the other. You observe
that I was perhaps really more interested in the contest than
my opening words would suggest, but it was always in a detached
story-book way; except in the case of a mildly unsympathetic
secretary, represented as having spent too much time in the
contemplation of other persons' affluence, also as owning an
expensive-looking stick that made him long to be as rich as it caused
him to appear. I hate to think that there can have been anything here
to touch a chord in the reviewing breast, but the fact remains that
_Mr. Burnham_ stands out for me as the only genuinely human figure in
the book.

       *       *       *       *       *

Blessed, no doubt, is the nation or the man without a history, but
blessed too is the biographer who has something definite to write
about. Mr. C. CARLISLE TAYLOR, in putting together his _Life of
Admiral Mahan_ (MURRAY), the American naval philosopher and prophet,
must have felt this keenly, for rarely can a man whose work was so
important that he simply had to have a biography have done so few
things of the kind that help to fill up a book. The Admiral not only
foresaw the great War before 1914; he even suggested definite details
of it--for instance, the loyalty of Italy to Western civilisation and
the final surrender of the German fleet; yet in himself, though the
writer draws an attractive picture of his home and religious life,
he was only a kindly Christian gentleman who lectured to a few naval
students. This is not the stuff to turn into a thrilling life-story,
yet his studies on _Sea-Power_ in relation to national greatness must
certainly be reckoned among the prime causes of world-war. They set
the Germans trying to outbuild the British fleet; more fortunately
they were an inspiration to naval enthusiasts in this country also.
Mr. TAYLOR has a pleasant chapter describing the immediate recognition
and welcome his hero received in England, while it has taken quite a
number of chapters to do justice to all the written tributes to his
genius that the energetic author has collected. Personally, if ever I
had been in doubt about it, I should have been quite willing to take
that genius for granted some time before the end, and could indeed
recommend the volume much more happily if it were reduced by about
half. It will be valuable mainly as a necessary work of reference.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Artist_ (_condescendingly_). "I DID THIS LAST SUMMER.
IT REALLY ISN'T MUCH GOOD."

_Candid Friend._ "NO, IT CERTAINLY ISN'T. BUT WHO TOLD YOU?"]

       *       *       *       *       *

Our Well-Informed Press.

    "At Kensington Palace the ground frost registered 9 deg. Fahr.,
    which represents 23 degrees below zero."--_Evening Paper._

       *       *       *       *       *

    "WELLS HITS BACK AT CHURCHILL."--_Sunday Paper._

Not the Bombardier, as you might think, but BERT WELLS.



       *       *       *       *       *



Transcriber's notes:

   Page 481: Tristan d'Acunha--this spelling also appears in the
   previous issue of 'Punch'.

   Page 488: Single quote corrected to double quote.

   Page 493: Replaced missing double quote.

   Page 494: Replaced missing opening quote.

   Page 498: Removed extraneous closing quote.





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