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Title: Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 159, July 21, 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, July 21, 1920" ***

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VOL. 159.

JULY 21, 1920


To judge by the Spa Conference it looks as if we might be going to have
a peace to end peace.


It will soon be necessary for the Government to arrange an old-age
pension scheme for Peace Conference delegates.


It is difficult to know whom or what to blame for the exceptionally wet
weather we have been having, says an evening paper. Pending a denial
from Mr. Lloyd George, _The Times_ has its own opinion as to
who is at the bottom of it.


Mr. Stanton pointed out in the House of Commons that, unless
increased salaries are given to Members, there will be a strike. Fears
are entertained, however, that a settlement will be reached.


"The Derry shirt-cutters," says a news item, "have decided to continue
to strike." The Derry throat-cutters, on the other hand, have postponed
striking to a more favourable opportunity.


The way to bring down the price of home-killed meat, the Ministry of
Food announces officially, is for the public not to buy it. You can't
have your cheap food and eat it.


Harborough Rocks, one of the few Druid Circles in the kingdom, has been
sold. Heading-for-the-Rocks, the famous Druid Circle at Westminster, has
also been sold on several occasions by the Chief Wizard.


A gossip writer states that he saw a man carrying two artificial legs
while travelling in a Tube train. There is nothing like being prepared
for all emergencies while travelling.


"The ex-Kaiser," says an American journal, "makes his own clothes to
pass the time away." This is better than his old hobby of making wars to
pass other people's time away.


"Danger of infection from Treasury notes," says _The Weekly Dispatch_,
"has been exaggerated." Whenever we see a germ on one of our notes we
pat it on the back and tell it to lie down.


A West Riding paper states that a postman picked up a pound Treasury
note last week. It is said that he intends to have it valued by an


An engineer suggests that all roads might be made of rubber. For
pedestrians who are knocked down by motor-cars the resilience of this
material would be a great boon.


According to _The Evening News_ a bishop was seen the other day passing
the House of Commons smoking a briar pipe. We can only suppose that he
did not recognise the House of Commons.


"We can find work for everybody and everything," says a Chicago journal.
But what about corkscrews?


How strong is the force of habit was illustrated at Liverpool Docks the
other day when two Americans, on reaching our shores, immediately
fainted, and only recovered when it was explained that spirits were not
sold here solely for medical purposes.


"Watches are often affected by electrical storms such as we have
experienced of late," states a science journal. Only yesterday we heard
of a plumber and his mate who arrived at a job simultaneously.


We sympathise with the unfortunate housewife who cannot obtain a servant
because her reference is considered unsatisfactory. It appears she was
only six weeks with her last maid.


A pedestrian knocked down by a taxi in Oxford Street last Tuesday
managed to regain his feet only to be again bowled over by a motor-bus.
Luckily, however, noticing a third vehicle standing by to complete the
job, the unfortunate fellow had the presence of mind to remain on the


According to a local paper cat-skins are worth about 5½_d._ each. Of
course it must be plainly understood that the accuracy of this estimate
is not admitted by the cats themselves.


"Too much room is taken up by motor-vehicles when turning corners,"
declares a weekly journal. This is a most unfair charge against those
self-respecting motorists who negotiate all corners on the two inside
wheels only.


An American named J. Thomas Looney has written a book to prove that
Shakspeare was really the Earl of Oxford. We cannot help thinking that
Shakspeare, who went out of his way to prove that _Ophelia_ was one of
the original Looneys, has brought this on himself.


Fashionable Parisians, says a correspondent, have decided that the
correct thing this year is to be invited to Scotland for July. It may be
correct, but it won't be an easy matter if we know our Scotland.


American women-bathers with an inclination to embonpoint, it is stated,
have taken to painting dimples on their knees. The report that a
fashionable New Yorker who does not care for the water has created the
necessary illusion by having a lobster painted on her toe is probably


A Bridgewater, Somerset, man of eighty (or octogeranium) has cancelled
his wedding on the morning of the ceremony. A few more exhibitions of
that kind and he will end up by being a bachelor.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _First Indian Chief_ (_of travelling show_). "Brother
Bellowing-Papoose, which is the way back to the circus?"

_Second Ditto._ "I know not. Let us ask this paleface."]

       *       *       *       *       *

      There was a young lady of Beccles
      Whose face was infested with freckles,
                But nobody saw
                Any facial flaw,
      For she had an abundance of shekels.

       *       *       *       *       *


The Animal Kingdom may be divided into creatures which one can feed and
creatures which one cannot feed. Animals which one cannot feed are
nearly always unsatisfactory; and the grasshopper is no exception.
Anyone who has tried feeding a grasshopper will agree with me.

Yet he is one of the most interesting of British creatures. _The
Encyclopædia Britannica_ is as terse and simple as ever about him.
"Grasshoppers," it says, "are specially remarkable for their saltatory
powers, due to the great development of the hind legs; and also for
their stridulation, which is not always an attribute of the male only."
To translate, grasshoppers have a habit of hopping ("saltatory powers")
and chirping ("stridulation").

It is commonly supposed that the grasshopper stridulates by rubbing his
back legs together; but this is not the case. For one thing I have tried
it myself and failed to make any kind of noise; and for another, after
exhaustive observations, I have established the fact that, though he
does move his back legs every time he stridulates, _his back legs do not
touch each other_. Now it is a law of friction that you cannot have
friction between two back legs if the back legs are not touching; in
other words the grasshopper does not rub his back legs together to
produce stridulation, or, to put it quite shortly, he does not rub his
back legs together _at all_. I hope I have made this point quite clear.
If not, a more detailed treatment will be found in the Paper which I
read to the Royal Society in 1912.

Nevertheless I have always felt that there was something fishy about the
grasshopper's back legs. I mean, why _should_ he wave his back legs
about when he is stridulating? My own theory is that it is purely due to
the nervous excitement produced by the act of singing. The same
phenomenon can be observed in many singers and public speakers. I do not
think myself that we need seek for a more elaborate hypothesis. _The
Encyclopædia Britannica_, of course, says that "the stridulation or song
in the _Acridiidæ_ is produced by friction of the hind legs against
portions of the wings or wing-covers," but that is just the sort of
statement which the scientific man thinks he can pass off on the public
with impunity. Considering that stridulation takes place about every ten
seconds, I calculate that the grasshopper must require a new set of
wings every ten days. It would be more in keeping with the traditions of
our public life if the scientific man simply confessed that he was
baffled by this problem of the grasshopper's back legs. Yet, as I have
said, if a public speaker may fidget with his back legs while he is
stridulating, why not a public grasshopper? The more I see of science
the more it strikes me as one large mystification.

But I ought to have mentioned that "the _Acridiidæ_ have the auditory
organs on the first abdominal segment," while "the _Locustidæ_ have the
auditory organ on the _tibia_ of the first leg." In other words one kind
of grasshopper hears with its stomach and the other kind listens with
its leg. When a scientific man has committed himself to that kind of
statement he would hardly have qualms about a little invention like the
back-legs legend.

With this scientific preliminary we now come to the really intriguing
part of our subject, and that is the place of the grasshopper in modern
politics. And the first question is, Why did Mr. Lloyd George call
Lord Northcliffe a grasshopper? I think it was in a speech about
Russia that Mr. Lloyd George said, in terms, that Lord Northcliffe
was a grasshopper. And he didn't leave it at that. He said that Lord
Northcliffe was not only a grasshopper but a something something
grasshopper, grasshopping here and grasshopping there--that sort of
thing. There was nothing much in the accusation, of course, and Lord
Northcliffe made no reply at the time; in fact, so far as I know, he has
never publicly stated that he is _not_ a grasshopper; for all we know it
may be true. But I know a man whose wife's sister was in service at a
place where there was a kitchen-maid whose young man was once a gardener
at Lord Northcliffe's, and this man told me--the first man, I mean--that
Lord Northcliffe took it to heart terribly. No grasshoppers were allowed
in the garden from that day forth; no green that was at all like
grasshopper-green was tolerated in the house, and the gardener used to
come upon his Lordship muttering in the West Walk: "A grasshopper! He
called me a grasshopper--me--a Grasshopper!" The gardener said that his
Lordship used to finish up with, "_I_'ll teach him;" but that is hardly
the kind of thing a lord would say, and I don't believe it. In fact I
don't believe any of it. It is a stupid story.

But this crisis we keep having with France owing to Mr. Lloyd George's
infamous conduct does make the story interesting. The suggestion is, you
see, that Lord Northcliffe lay low for a long time, till everybody had
forgotten about the grasshopper and Mr. Lloyd George thought that Lord
Northcliffe had forgotten about the grasshopper, and then, when Mr.
Lloyd George was in a hole, Lord Northcliffe said, "_Now_ we'll see if I
am a grasshopper or not," and started stridulating at high speed about
Mr. Lloyd George. A crude suggestion. But if it were true it would mean
that the grasshopper had become a figure of national and international
importance. It is wonderful to think that we might stop being friends
with France just because of a grasshopper; and, if Lord Northcliffe
arranged for a new Government to come in, it might very well be called
"The Grasshopper Government." That would look fine in the margins of the

Yes, it is all very "dramatic." It is exciting to think of an English
lord nursing a grievance about a grasshopper for months and months,
seeing grasshoppers in every corner, dreaming about grasshoppers.... But
we must not waste time over the fantastic tale. We have not yet solved
our principal problem. Why did Mr. Lloyd George call him a
grasshopper--a modest friendly little grasshopper? Did he mean to
suggest that Lord Northcliffe hears with his stomach or stridulates with
his back legs?

Why not an earwig, or a black-beetle, or a wood-louse, or a centipede?
There are lots of insects more offensive than the grasshopper, and
personally I would much rather be called a grasshopper than an earwig,
which gets into people's sponges and frightens them to death.

Perhaps he had been reading that nice passage in the Prophet Nahum: "Thy
captains are as the great grasshoppers, which camp in the hedges in the
cold day, but when the sun ariseth they flee away, and their place is
not known where they are." I do not know. But _The Encyclopædia_ has a
suggestive sentence: "All grasshoppers are vegetable feeders and have an
incomplete metamorphosis, so that _their destructive powers are
continuous from the moment of emergence from the egg until death_."


       *       *       *       *       *

    "The Mayor gave details showing how the Engineer's salary had
    increased from £285 when he was appointed in 1811 to £600 at the
    present time."--_Local Paper._

And think what he must have saved the ratepayers by not taking a pension
years ago.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Mr. ---- thought that the whole Committee would wish to
    associate themselves with the Cemeteries Sub-Committee in their
    congratulations to Alderman ---- upon his marriage."--_Local

We do not quite see why this particular sub-committee should have taken
the initiative.

       *       *       *       *       *


The Telephone. "I'M GOING TO COST YOU MORE."

Householder. "WHY?"


       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: A QUESTION OF TASTE.

_The Wife._ "You Must Get Yourself a Straw 'at, George. A bowler
don't seem to go with a camembert."]

       *       *       *       *       *


"French Leave."

The Mandarins of the Theatre, who are no wiser than other mandarins (on
the contrary), have been long repeating the formula that the public
won't look at a War play. If I'm not mistaken it will for many moons be
looking at Captain Reginald Berkeley's _French Leave_. He
labels it a "light comedy." That's an understatement. It is, as a matter
of fact, a very skilful, uproarious and plausible farce, almost too
successful in that you can't hear one-third of the jokes because of the
laughter at the other two-thirds (and a little because of the indistinct
articulation of one or two of the players). Of course when I say
"plausible" I don't exactly mean that any Brigade Headquarters was run
on the sketchy lines of _General Archibald Root's_, or that the gallant
author or anybody else who was in the beastly thing ever thought of the
Great War as a devastating joke, but rather that if it be true, as has
been rumoured, that not all generals were miracles of wisdom and
forbearance; that British subalterns and privates sometimes put on the
mask of humour; that _Venus_ did wander, as the observatories punctually
reported she did occasionally wander, into the orbit of _Mars_--then
_French Leave_ is a piece of artistically justifiable selection. Its
absurdity seems the most natural thing in the world and its machinery
(rare virtue!) does not creak.

_Rooty Tooty's_ brigade then was resting--if in the circumstances you
can call it resting. The rather stodgy Brigade-Major's leave being due,
his wife has come over to Paris to wait for him. The leave being
cancelled (and you could see how desperately overworked Headquarters
was) there suddenly appears what purports to be a niece of the billet
landlady's, a _Mdlle. Juliette_, of the Paris stage, with a distinctly
coming-on disposition (and frock). The uxorious Brigade-Major, weakly
consenting to the deception, suffers the tortures of the damned by
reason of the gallantries of the precocious Staff-Captain and the
old-enough-to-know-better Brigadier. There is marching and
counter-marching of detached units in the small hours; arrival of the
Brigade Interpreter with Intelligence's reports; sorrowful conviction in
the Brigadier's mind that _Juliette_ is _Olga--Olga Thingummy_, the
famous German spy. Confusions; explosions; solutions.

That's a dull account of a bright matter. The players were not, with the
exception of Miss Renée Kelly, of the star class and (I don't
necessarily say therefore) were almost uniformly admirable. I suppose
the honours must go to Mr. M.R. Morand's excellently studied
_Brigadier_--the most laughter-compelling performance I have seen on the
"legitimate" for some years. But the _Mess Corporal_ (Mr. Charles
Groves), the _Staff-Captain_ (Mr. Henry Kendall), the _Brigade-Major_
(Mr. Hylton Allen), the _Interpreter_ (Mr. George de Warfaz) and the
_Mess Waiter_ (Mr. Arthur Riscoe)--all deserve mention in despatches. As
for the "business" it was positively inspired at times, as when the
_Mess Corporal_ retrieved the red-hat (which the passionate
_Brigade-Major_ had kicked in his jealous fury) with an address which
would have done credit to the admirable Grock. Miss Renée Kelly had her
pretty and effective moments, but somebody should ask her (no doubt in
vain) to be less tearful in the tearful and just a little less bright in
the bright parts--a little less fidgetty and fidgetting and out of key,
in fact.

I should say in general that author and producer (Mr. Eille Norwood)
would do well to watch the serious passages--always the danger-points in
farce. As nobody on our side of the footlights takes these seriously the
folk on the other side must substantially dilute the seriousness. The
tragically uttered, "O God!" at the end of the Second Act ruined an
otherwise excellent curtain. But I must not end on a note of censure. I
was much too thoroughly entertained for that. Here's a quite first-rate
piece of fooling, with dialogue of humorous rather than smart sayings.
And humour's a much rarer and less cheap a gift than smartness.


       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _First Newly-Rich._ "It's a great secret, but I must
tell you. My husband has been offered a peerage."

_Second ditto._ "Really! That's rather interesting. We thought of
having one, but they're so expensive and we are economising just now."]

       *       *       *       *       *

Our Considerate Scribes.

    "Presumptious is a hard word that I would not readily apply to
    any man."--_Daily Paper._

       *       *       *       *       *



    _Sunday Paper._

But, after all, Berlin does not seem to have taken them lying down.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "At the start he made most of his runs by clever strokes on the
    leg side, but, once settled down, he drove with fin power."
    _Sunday Paper._

Cricketers need to be amphibious in these days.

       *       *       *       *       *


  There was a young man who said, "Hobbs
  Should never be tempted with lobs;
      He would knock them about
      Till the bowlers gave out
  And watered the pitch with their sobs."

  There is no one so dreadful as Fender
  For batmen whose bodies are tender;
      He gets on their nerves
      With his murderous swerves
  That insist upon death or surrender.

  When people try googlies on Sandham,
  You can see he will soon understand 'em;
      With a laugh at their slows
      He will murmur, "Here goes,"
  And over the railings will land 'em.

  I am always attracted by Harrison
  When arrayed in his batting caparison;
      If others look worried
      He never gets flurried,
  But quite unconcernedly carries on.

  All classes of bowlers have stuck at
  Their efforts to dislocate Ducat;
      Their wiliest tricks
      He despatches for six,
  Which is what they decidedly buck at.

  You should never be down in the dumps
      When Strudwick is guarding the stumps;
      His opponents depart
      One by one at the start,
  But later in twos or in _clumps_.

  "Like father like son," says the fable,
  And is justified clearly in Abel;
      No bowling he fears
      And his surname appears
  An extremely appropriate label.

  If I were tremendously rich
  I would buy a cathedral in which
      I would build me a shrine
      Of a noble design
  And worship a statue of Hitch.

       *       *       *       *       *

Our Sleuths Again.

    "His wrists were tied together with a piece of webbing, two
    bricks were in his coat pockets, and, most remarkable of all,
    the soles of his boots were found to be nailed to his toes....
    The police theory is that somebody 'owed the dead man a
    grudge.'"--_Provincial Paper._

       *       *       *       *       *


[Being specimens of the work of Mr. Punch's newly-established Literary
Ghost Bureau, which supplies appropriate Press contributions on any
subject and over any signature.]

III.--Are we going to the Dogs?

_By Vice-Admiral (Retd.) Sir Boniface Bludger, K.C.B_.

I was standing the other day at the window of the only Club in London
where they understand (or used to understand) what devilled kidneys
really are, musing in post-prandial gloom on the vanished glories of
this England of ours. "_Ichabod!_" I cried aloud to the unheeding stream
of Piccadilly wayfarers; and echo answered, "_Bod_."

What is wrong with us? Or what is wrong with me? Are we actually going
to the dogs, or is it merely that the Club kidneys are going to the
devil? Jeremiah or _Mrs. Gummidge_--which am I? Let the facts
attest and let posterity decide; thank Heaven I shall not be there to
hear the verdict.

After our half-baked victory over the Hun the popular watchword was
"Reconstruction." We have now enjoyed a year and more of this
"building-up" process, and the net result is that houses for those that
lack them are as scarce as iced soda-fountains in the Sahara.

In this work of restoration, we were told, our women voters and
legislators would play a leading part. What part are they in truth
playing? Their main object apparently is still further to embitter the
Drink question, although if they would only put a little more bitter
into our national beverage they might help to lubricate matters. Is it
not a significant fact that the slackness evidenced in every phase of
industry manifests itself at a time when it becomes more and more
difficult to get a decent drink? In this respect our progress is not so
much to the dogs as to the cats, who sneak along on the padded paws of

The crazy conditions to be observed in the industrial world are well
matched by the state of anarchy that prevails in the sphere of the arts.
Take music, for example. I do not lay claim to more than a nodding
acquaintance with Euterpe, and at a classical concert, I am afraid, the
nodding character of the relation becomes especially marked. To me the
sweetest music in the world is the roar of a fifteen-inch gun on a day
when the visibility is good and plentiful. But I do know enough to be
able to say that the wild asses who with their jazz-bands "stamp o'er
our heads and will not let us sleep" (slightly to amend my old friend
FitzGerald) are nothing less than musical Trotskys.

Music was once regarded as the staple nourishment of the tender passion,
and in my younger days the haunting strains of "The Blue Danube"
assisted many a budding love-affair to blossom. But these non-stop
stridencies of the modern ballroom, even if they left a man with breath
enough to propose, would effectually prevent the girl from catching the
drift of the avowal. You can't roar, "Will you be mine?" into a maiden's
ear as if you were conversing from the quarterdeck, and if you did she'd
only think you were ecstatically emulating the coloured gentleman in the
orchestra with the implements of torture and the misguided voice.

I will pass over in the silence of despair such other symptoms of
national decadence as zigzag painting, whirlpool poetry, cinema
star-gazing and the impossibility of procuring a self-respecting Stilton
(which assuredly is not "living at this hour"). Nor can I trust myself
to speak of the spirit of Bolshevism that seems to animate our so-called
Labour Party, though I comfort myself with the conviction that this
doctrine will not wash, any more than will its authors.

I will conclude these few reflections by drawing attention to the
manners of the modern girl, who is so busily engaged in kicking over the
traces that formerly kept her in her proper place. Nowadays flappers who
should still be in the schoolroom consider themselves called upon to
teach their grandmothers how to conduct their lives; and, to complete
the chaos, the grandmothers are eagerly lapping it up, and in the matter
of dress and deportment are even bettering the instruction. _Si
vieillesse savait!_

Oh for a prophet's tongue to lash our visionless leaders into a
realisation of the rocks on to which we are drifting! We need the
scourge of a Savonarola, but all we get is the boom of a

  "Gone are our country's glories.
  _O tempora, O mores!_"

       *       *       *       *       *


  It takes all sorts to make the world, an' the same to make a crew;
  It takes the good an' middlin' an' the rotten bad uns too;
  The same's there are on land (says Bill) you'll find 'em all at sea--
  The freaks an' fads an' crooks an' cads an' ornery chaps like me.

  It takes a man for all the jobs--the skippers and the mates,
  A chap to give the orders an' a chap to chip the plates;
  It takes the brass-bound 'prentices--an' ruddy plagues they be--
  An' chaps as shirk an' chaps as work--just ornery chaps like me.

  It takes the stiffs an' deadbeats an' the decent shell-backs too,
  The chaps as always pull their weight an' them as never do;
  The sort the Lord 'as made 'em knows what bloomin' use they be,
  An' crazy folks an' musical blokes an' ornery chaps like me.

  It takes a deal o' fancy breeds--the Dagoes an' the Dutch,
  The Lascars an' calashees an' the seedy boys an' such;
  It takes the greasers an' the Chinks, the Jap and Portugee,
  The blacks an' yellers an' half-bred fellers and ornery folk like me.

  It takes all sorts to make the world an' the same to make a crew,
  It takes more kinds o' people than there's creeters in the Zoo;
  You meet 'em all ashore (says Bill) an' you find 'em all at sea--
  But do me proud if most o' the crowd ain't ornery chaps like me!

       *       *       *       *       *


      Evening--Monthly Sermon for Young Men and Women.

      'Love, Courtship, and Marriage.'

      Anthem--'And it shall come to pass.'"

      _Scotch Paper._

The organist seems to be a sympathetic soul.

       *       *       *       *       *

"The fees for Burial will in the future be doubled, in order to meet the
increased cost of present-day living."--_Parish Magazine._

At this rate we shall soon be unable to afford either to live or to die,
and must try a state of suspended animation.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "As Lady ---- was stepping aboard she dropped a waterproof
    satchel containing a pair of the Queen's shoes, and Their
    Majesties laughed heartily at her Ladyship's discomfiture. One
    of the sailors adroitly recovered the satchel with the aid of a
    boot-hook." _Scotch Paper_.

The handy-man! Prepared for all eventualities.

       *       *       *       *       *


[Illustration: This is the house that Jack wants built.]

[Illustration: This is the landowner who (if the talk of a railway
being made over this bit of land doesn't come to anything, and the
corporation cannot, after all, be induced to buy it as a
recreation-ground, and no one makes a better offer) is willing to sell
the ground to carry the house that Jack wants built.]

[Illustration: This is the architect and surveyor who (as soon as he
has finished his designs for the new Town Hall, the proposed County
Hospital, the Cathedral Extension, the Borough power station and the
drinking-fountain, and provided that no more important commission turns
up) is going to design the house to go on the ground of the landowner
who ...]

[Illustration: This is the local authority who (if he can obtain
details of the several requirements of the County Council, Parish
Council, Central Housing Authority, Ministry Of Health, Board Of
Agriculture, Ministry of Transport, Congested Districts Board, and any
other departments interested, either now in existence or contemplated
for the future) is going to inspect, revise, amend, and positively
finally approve the designs of the architect and surveyor who ...]

[Illustration: This is the building contractor who (provided that
pressure of work allows him, and that he can get the materials, which is
doubtful, and the men, which is hardly probable, and the price, which is
practically out of the question) is going to carry out the designs, as
finally approved by the local authority who ...]

[Illustration: This is the railway official who (on the supposition
that the congestion on the line will possibly be easier later, and that
the supply of goods wagons is very considerably augmented, and that new
loops and sidings not yet suggested will be constructed to relieve the
pressure, and that a reorganisation of the railway staff does not move
him elsewhere, as will almost certainly happen) has promised to do his
best to expedite the transport of the necessary materials to the
building contractor who ...]

[Illustration: This is the merchant who (if prices are left entirely
to his discretion and time is of no importance, and if he finds that,
after all, it is to his advantage to sell in this country rather than to
export, and if he doesn't retire in the meantime, as he is thinking of
doing) has consented to try to send materials through the medium of the
railway official who ...]

[Illustration: These are the representatives of the building trades
who (if all matters in dispute are satisfactorily settled by that time,
and provided that they can all get their own houses sited, designed,
passed, contracted for, supplied and built first) are going to erect the
materials provided by the merchant who ...]

[Illustration: And this? This, incidentally, is Jack.]

       *       *       *       *       *


Rural England, I learn, is rapidly changing hands--not for the first
time, by the way, but we cannot go into that just now. Excellent
treatises on feudal tenure, wapentake, the dissolution of the
monasteries and the enclosure of common lands may be picked up dirt
cheap at any second-hand bookshop in the Charing Cross Road with the
words "Presentation Copy" erased from the flyleaf by a special and
ingenious process. What is happening now is that farmers are buying up
the big estates in pieces, and Norman piles or Elizabethan manors are
beginning to be too expensive to maintain, what with coal and the rise
in the minimum wage of vassals and one thing and another.

  "The stately homes of England
    How beautiful they stood
  Before their recent owners
    Relinquished them for good,"

as the poet justly observes. And even if there is enough money to keep
up the castle without the broad acres (though as a matter of fact an
acre is not any broader than it is long) there is no fun in having a
castle at all when the deer park has been divided into allotments and
the Dutch garden is under swedes.

The question is then what is going to happen to Montmorency (pronounced
"Mumsie") Castle, and The Towers at Barley Melling?

In London the difficulty of dealing with huge houses has been solved in
a very subtle manner by turning them into a couple of maisonettes
apiece, so that under the portico of what used to be 105 Myrtle Crescent
you discover two perfectly good doors, marked 105a and 105b. Into the
letter-box of the door marked 105a the postman invariably puts the
letters intended for 105b, and _vice versá_, but, as these are always
letters addressed to the last tenant but two, it does not really very
much matter. Both are desirable maisonettes, though the tenants of 105a
have the sole enjoyment of the lincrusta dadoes in the original
dining-room. In some cases there are as many as three maisonettes, and
the notice on the area gate says, "105c. _Mrs. Orlando Smith_," where it
used to say simply "No bottles." I never really understood that notice
myself, for whenever I am walking along with an empty bottle that I want
to get rid of I do not throw it down into an area, where it would make a
most horrible crash, but softly into the thick shrubs of the Crescent

This brings me back to the country again.

There will not be enough of the new rich to purchase a castellated
mansion apiece, partly because of the Excess Profits Duty, which is
crippling this kind of enterprise, and partly because so many baronial
seats, romantic and picturesque in their way, are terribly
under-garaged. On the other hand you cannot expect a farmer who happens
to be buying the fields round Badgery Mortimer to have any use for a
dungeon keep or the haunted picture-gallery in the west wing. No, there
is only one thing to do and that is to break these places up into a
number of self-contained homes.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: MODERN AND ANCIENT.

_Young Cricketer_. "Yes, I cocked one off the splice in the gully
and the blighter gathered it."

_Father_. "Yes, but how did you get out? Were you caught, stumped or
bowled, or what?"]

       *       *       *       *       *


is the house-agents' advertisement which I seem to see, and what you
will actually find will be a sort of concentrated hamlet where modern
improvements are mixed with ancient grandeur and the white-haired
seneschal is kept on to operate the electric lift.

Let us take, for instance, the case of Soping Hall. There will be none
of that untidy straggling arrangement about it which detracts so largely
from the beauty of Soping Barnet, Little Soping and Soping Monachorum.
In Soping Hall the billiard-room will be the village club, the armoury
the blacksmith's shop, the housekeeper's room the place where you buy
buttons and balls of string and barley-sugar, the cellars the village
tavern, and very nice too. In the state-saloon, with a few trifling
alterations, such as the introduction of a geyser and a sink, will live
Mrs. Ponsonby-Smith, who will sniff a little at the Jeffries in their
attic suite and the Mutts who live in the moat. But Mrs. Jeffries will
have compensations, because the air is really so much more bracing, my
dear, on the higher ground, and on fine days one can walk about the roof
and peep through the boiling-oil holes, while as for the Mutts they are
protected, at any rate, from those bitterly piercing east winds and have
an excellent view of the draw-bridge.

A further advantage of residing at Soping Hall will be that you can do
all your shopping and pay your calls without going out-of-doors on a wet
day, and, if you like, have a communal dining-room or restaurant, where
only those who have been recognised by the county should sit above the
salt. And if your friends come to visit you in expensive motor-cars they
will have the privilege of passing through the great iron gates on the
main road and up the large gravel drive planted on each side with the
cedars of Lebanon which Roger de Soping brought back in his haversack
from the Second Crusade.

I am quite aware that when federal devolution becomes really infectious
and every county insists on a legislative assembly of its own it may be
necessary to turn some of these great houses into Parliament chambers,
and the rural civil service will also no doubt insist on having offices
comparable with the vast hotels which their parent bodies occupy in
London. But this will not account for nearly all the ancestral seats,
and, in calling the attention of the Minister of Health and Housing to
this little memorandum of mine, I would specially urge him to note how
it will solve some of the most difficult problems which confront him

There will be a rush upon these potted villages, and that will ease the
situation in towns and free a number of cottages for agricultural
labourers too. There will be a rush, not only because of the advantages
which I have already enumerated, but because all the people who live in
Soping Hall will be able to put "Soping Hall" on their notepaper, and,
if they like to pay for it, two _wyverns rampant_ as well, and everyone
outside the circle of their immediate friends will imagine that they
have not only bought the whole place but even become the possessors of
the flock of wyverns that used to be pastured on the Home Farm.

Three acres and a cow was all very well in its way, but what about two
wyverns and a flat? Evoe.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Dame_ (_seeing the signpost_). "Stop, Jenkins--stop!
I think it would be safer to turn back. They may have catapults or
something dangerous."]

       *       *       *       *       *


Dear Mr. Punch,--I am writing to you about uncles because you
are in a way a kind of general uncle. Uncles are much more useful than
aunts, because uncles always give money and aunts mostly give advice.
Only, as the Head always says when he jaws our form, "I regret to see in
this form a serious deterioration"--I mean in uncles. They come down
here and trot us round and say what a luxurious place it is compared
with the stern old Spartan days. They know something, though. They ask
us to have meals with them at an hotel. They take care not to face a
luxurious house-dinner. And while we dine they tell yarns about the
hardness of the old days and how it toughened a fellow. And then,
because about 1870 it was the custom to tip a boy five bob, they fork
out five bob and tell you not to waste it.

If the Head had any sense--only you can't expect sense from Heads--he'd
put up a notice at the school gates: "Parents, Uncles and Friends are
respectfully reminded that the cost of tuck has increased three hundred
per cent. since 1914." Why, old Badham, my bedroom prefect, who was a
fag in 1914, turned up the other day and declared that then he could buy
four pounds of strawberries for a bob, and that a fag could get enough
chocolate for two bob to give him a week in the sick-room.

Yet we have uncles coming down in trains (fare fifty per cent. extra),
smoking cigars (costing two hundred per cent. extra), cabbing it up to
school (a hundred-and-fifty per cent. extra) and then tipping as if the
old Kaiser was still swanking in Potsdam.

Now Sutton minor, who has a positive beast of a house-master and is
practically a Bolshevist, says that we ought to go on strike against the
tipping system and demand a regular living wage from relations. He says
that if a scavenger gets four quid a week a fellow who has to tackle
Greek aorists ought to get eight quid a week.

But I'm afraid a strike might aggravate uncles. It's no use upsetting
the goose that lays the silver eggs, so I thought it better to write to
you, pointing out that there was one luxury still at pre-war prices and
that uncles should never miss a chance of indulging in it, and whenever
high prices bothered them they should write us a bright cheerful letter
enclosing a postal order--they're still quite cheap.

Chalmers major, who has read this and leads a sad life, having only
aunts, says that the only hope for him is in fixing a standard tip of
9_s._ 11¾_d._ or, better still, 19_s._ 11¾_d._, that women couldn't
help giving.

So hoping that all uncles will put their hands to the plough--I mean in
their pockets--and then the bitter cry of the New Poor will cease in our
public schools,

Yours respectfully, Bruce Tertius.

       *       *       *       *       *


    My wife, Roxie M. ----, having left my bed and board, I will not
    be responsible for any bills contracted after this date, June
    21, 1920. Fred ----." _American Paper_.


    The undersigned wishes to state I had just cause to leave, but I
    left neither bed nor board as I furnished my own board, and the
    bed being mine I took it. Roxie ----."

_Same Paper, following day._

A good example of what _Touchstone_ calls "The lie with circumstance."

       *       *       *       *       *

    "To-Night at 9.30.
    For the first time in Calcutta."
    _Indian Paper._

Where was the Censor?

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Bridegroom-Elect_."--and we wants to have the hymn,
'The flag that waved o'er Eden.'"]

       *       *       *       *       *


(_By a Student of Film Politics._)

Great satisfaction has been evinced in film circles over the conferment
of a signal honour on Signor Pavanelli, the outstanding Italian
screen luminary. The rank of Chevalier of the Crown of Italy is
equivalent to a knighthood in this country, and Pavanelli's
elevation is a gratifying proof of the paramount position which the
cinema is assuming in Italian national affairs. But gratification is
sadly tempered by the deplorable lack of State recognition from which
film-artists suffer in this country. The joint co-starring Sovereigns of
the Screen, though acclaimed by the populace with an enthusiasm
unparalleled in the annals of adoration, were allowed to depart from our
shores without a single official acknowledgment of their services to
humanity. No vote of congratulation was passed by the Houses of
Parliament; no honorary degree was conferred on them by any University;
no ode of welcome was forthcoming from the pen of the Poet

The discontent caused by the indifference of the Government to the
wishes of the people is fraught with formidable possibilities. Already
there are serious rumours of the summoning of a Special Trade Union
Congress to discuss the desirability of direct action as a means of
compelling the Government to abandon their attitude of hostility to the
only form of monarchy which the working-classes can conscientiously
support. It is further reported that Lieutenant-Commander
Kenworthy, M.P., will seize the first opportunity to move the
impeachment of Dr. Bridges. The indignation in Printing House
Square has reached boiling-point, and it is reported that the
authorities are only awaiting the delivery of a huge consignment of
small pica type to launch a fresh and final onslaught on the Coalition.

[Illustration: BAD FOR THE BULL.]

The provocation has undoubtedly been intense. It was proved in an
article of studied moderation and exquisite taste that the time had come
to revise our estimates of bygone grandeur and substitute for the
devotion to a Queen of tarnished fame and disastrous tendencies the
spontaneous and chivalrous worship of her beneficent and prosperous
namesake. Yet in spite of this dignified and convincing appeal no
invitation was sent to the one person whose presence at the recent
proceedings at Holyrood would have lent them a crowning lustre. The
action or inaction of the Lord Chamberlain is inexplicable,
except on the assumption that Queen Pickford's engagement to attend the
Spa Conference would have rendered it impossible for her to accept the
invitation to Edinburgh. None the less the invitation should have been
sent. Besides, the resources of aviation might have surmounted the
difficulty. In any case this deplorable oversight has knocked one more
nail in the coffin of the Prime Minister.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "At the fifth each played a magnificent tea shot. Hodgson again
    used his favourite spoon."--_Provincial Paper_.

Obviously the right club for the purpose.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "'The Tongue Can no Man Tame.'
                    _St. Peter._"
            _Heading in Daily Paper_.

A clear case of robbing James to pay Peter.

       *       *       *       *       *


_Monday, July 12th._--Viscount Curzon's complaint about "crawling"
taxi-cabs was ostensibly based upon the obstruction thus caused to more
rapidly moving traffic. But I fancy that it was really due to an
inherent belief that the motor-car is a noble creature, only happy when
exceeding the speed-limit and dashing through police-controls, and that
to compel the poor thing to crawl is "agin natur'" and ought to be dealt
with by the R.S.P.C.A.

As usual much of Question-time was devoted to Russian affairs. Colonel
Wedgwood wanted to know whether the Cabinet had approved a message from
Mr. Churchill to the late Admiral Kolchak, advising him how to commend
his Administration to the Prime Minister, who was described in the
telegram as "all-powerful, a convinced democrat and particularly devoted
to advanced views on the land question." Mr. Law, while provisionally
promising a Blue-book on Siberia, declined to pick out a single message
from a whole bunch.

The news that the Soviet Government had accepted the British conditions
with regard to the resumption of trade and had thereupon been requested
to conclude an armistice with Poland did not seem particularly welcome
to any section of the House. Those whom Mr. Stanton in stentorian
whispers daily describes as the "Bolshies" evidently feared that the
request had been accompanied by a threat, while others were horrified at
the idea of recognising the present _régime_ in Russia, and drew from
Mr. Law a hasty disclaimer. The House as a whole would, I think, have
liked to learn how you can do business with a person whom you do not

The Chancellor of the Exchequer refused to accept Mr. George Terrell's
proposal to reduce the Excess Profits Tax from sixty per cent. to forty,
but, in reply to Sir G. Younger--who "has such a way wid him"--promised
that next year he would make the reduction. He admitted that it was in
many ways an unsatisfactory tax, but the Government could not afford to
part with it unless a substitute was provided. Somebody suggested
"Economy," and Sir F. Banbury proved to his own satisfaction that the
present estimates could be reduced by a hundred-and-fifty millions. But
unexpected support for the Government came from Mr. Asquith, who as the
original sponsor of the tax felt it his duty to support it.

saving of one hundred-and-fifty millions you merely have to hold the hat
firmly in the left hand--thus."]

There was a perfect E.P.D.mic of criticism, but it was brilliantly
countered by Mr. Baldwin, who declared that the Chancellor, far from
leading the country down the rapids, "was the one man who had seized a
rock in mid-stream and was hanging on to it with hands and feet." The
Amendment was rejected by 289 to 117, and the clause as a whole was
passed by 202 to 16.

[Illustration: THE LIMPET OF THE EXCHEQUER. Mr. Baldwin portrays his
chief "hanging to a rock with hands and feet."]

_Tuesday, July 13th._--Lord O'Hagan was one of the Peers who helped
to outvote the Government a few days ago on a motion excusing them
of extravagance. Yet that did not prevent him to-day from saying that
the War Office should be more generous in their financial treatment
of the Territorial Force, and particularly of the Cadet Corps.
Naturally Lord Peel did not refrain from calling attention to this
inconsistency--common to most of the financial critics of the
Administration--but nevertheless he made a reply indicating that the
grants for the Territorial Force were being revised, presumably in an
upward direction, since Lord O'Hagan expressed himself grateful.

The Commons, like the Lords, are all for economy collectively, if not
individually. General cheers greeted Mr. Bonar Law's announcement that
all war-subsidies--save that on wheat--were to be brought to an end as
soon as possible, but then there were similar cheers for those Members
who urged the substitution of ex-service men for the less highly-paid
women in various Public Departments.

The House enjoyed the unusual experience of hearing from
Lieut.-Commander Kenworthy an apology--and a very handsome one too--for
something that he had said in debate about Colonel Croft. It was
accompanied by a tribute to his military efficiency which made that
gallant warrior blush. It only now remains for the Leader of the
National Party to reciprocate by rescuing from the Naval archives some
equally complimentary reference to the services of Lieut.-Commander

A new sport has been invented by Colonel Guinness. It consists in
sending two telegrams simultaneously to Paris, one _viâ_ London and the
other _viâ_ New York, and seeing which gets there first. At present New
York wins by twenty minutes. Mr. Illingworth excused himself from giving
an immediate explanation on the ground that he had not had time to check
the facts. No doubt he hopes that in the interim other Members will
follow Colonel Guinness's example and, by joining in the new pastime,
bring grist to the Post-Office mill.

_Wednesday, July 14th._--Lord Milner must have thought he was back in
the era of "Chinese Slavery" when he found himself assailed on all sides
because the Chief Native Commissioner in Kenya Colony (late British East
Africa) had issued a circular instructing the chiefs to influence their
followers in the direction of honest toil. Lord Islington described this
as "perilously near forced labour;" His Grace of Canterbury facetiously
suggested that the chiefs' idea of influence would be the sjambok; and
Lord Emmott talked of "Prussianism."

Taught by past experience Lord Milner did not make light of the
accusations, but set himself to show how little real substance they
contained. The Chief Native Commissioner was "not a Prussian"; on the
contrary the local white population thought him too great an upholder of
native privileges. But he was very keen on getting the black man to
work, and had therefore issued this circular, which was open to
misinterpretation. An explanatory document would be issued shortly.

Echoes of the Dyer debate are still reverberating through the Commons,
and Mr. Montagu was put through a searching cross-examination regarding
his relations with Mr. Gandhi. Apparently that gentleman has a very
simple plan of campaign. He agitates more and more dangerously until he
is threatened with prosecution. Then he says "Sorry!" and Mr. Montagu
begs him off. After a brief interval of quiescence he starts again. Just
now he is once more nearing the imaginary line that separates proper
from impropa-Gandhism.

[Illustration: B.C. 1920. _Sir Alfred Mond._ "What a topping idea!
They'll never get a more suitable design from the Office of Works--not
if they wait 3840 Years."]

The House was delighted to see Mr. Devlin and Mr. MacVeagh back in their
places. A little honest Irish obstruction would be a refreshing change
after the feeble imitations of the Kenworthies and Wedgwoods. But the
Speaker could not accept the proposition that a speech delivered three
weeks ago, in which an Irish official was alleged to have prophesied
some dreadful things which as a matter of fact had not happened, could
be regarded as "a definite matter of urgent public importance."

It is unfortunate that the Prime Minister was unable to get back from
Spa in order to assist in the final suppression of his famous
land-duties. Most of the speeches delivered were made up of excerpts
from his old orations of ten years ago--that almost prehistoric era
known as the Limehouse Period--and it would have been an object-lesson
in political gymnastics to see him explaining himself away.

The land-taxers made a gallant effort to frighten their opponents away
by chanting the "Land Song" in the Lobby, but it is supposed that the
Government supporters had copied Ulysses' method with the Sirens, for
enough of them remained faithful to defeat the land-taxers by 190 to 68.

[Illustration: _Mr. Neal._ "Your fares will cost you more."]

_Thursday, July 15th._--Mr. Neal's announcement that the proposed
increase in rail way fares had been postponed until August 5th, in order
not to spoil the Bank Holiday, was far from satisfying the House. Mr.
Clynes pointed out that large numbers of the working-classes now took
their long holidays in August. Mr. Palmer was of opinion that the
working-classes could pay well enough; it was the middle-class that
would suffer most; and Mr. R. McNeill, following up this assertion,
suggested (without success) that for the sake of poverty-stricken M.P.'s
the House should adjourn before the fateful date.

Sir H. Greenwood gave particulars of the Sinn Fein raid on the Dublin
Post-Office, but declined to give an opinion as to whether there had
been any collusion with the staff inside. Judging by the promptitude and
efficiency of the raiders' procedure it seems highly improbable that
postal officials had anything to do with it.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Each day the barometer seems to drop a little lower, the rain
    seems to drop a little more persistent and wet."--_Provincial

It is this persistent wetness that is so annoying. Nobody would mind a
little dry rain.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Farmer._ "I wonder what some of these London folks
'ud say to this?"

_Farm-hand._ "Zay? They'd zay as we must be makin' our fortunes out
o' mushrooms."]

       *       *       *       *       *


We were sitting in the verandah, Ernest and I. On the greensward before
us Ernest Junior and James Junior (I am James) disported themselves as
became their years, which were respectively 1-3/4 and 1-5/8. In the
middle distance, or as middle as the size of our lawn permits, might be
seen the mothers of Ernest Junior and James Junior deep in conversation,
discussing, perhaps, the military prowess of their lords, though I
rather fear I caught the word "jumper" every now and then.

A loud difference of opinion between James II. and Ernest II. as to the
possession of a wooden horse momentarily disturbed the peaceful scene.
It was left to Ernest and myself to settle it, our incomparable wives
being still completely engrossed with the subject of our military
prowess (or of jumpers). When quiet reigned once more Ernest said, "Have
you ever looked twenty years on?"

"Practically never," I answered. "It is too exhausting."

"It is exhausting, but with my usual energy I do it all the same," said
Ernest, who is as a fact the world's champion lotus-eater. "Last night I
was picturing a little scene in the year 1940. Shall I tell you of it?"
And without waiting for my assent he proceeded:--

"The scene is laid in an undergraduate's rooms. Ernest Junior and James
Junior are discovered in _négligé_ attitudes and the conversation
proceeds something like this:--

"_Ernest Junior._ What are you going to do with yourself in the Vac.?

"_James Junior._ I shall go abroad, in spite of my choice of objectives
being so terribly restricted.

"_Ernest Junior._ Why restricted?

"_James Junior._ Well, I wouldn't say this to anybody else, but to tell
you the truth it is impossible for me to go to either France, Belgium or
Italy. You see my dear old father was in these countries during the
first Great War, and if I were so much as to mention them he'd never
stop talking. If I were to say that I proposed spending a fortnight in
the Ardennes it would let loose such a flood of reminiscence that I
should hardly get away before next term begins.

"He gets a little confused too at times. He told me the other day a long
story about the relief of Ypres, and he also boasted of having himself
captured a large number of Turks on the Somme.

"And it isn't only that. My mother was a V.A.D. in France, you know. And
when the old man had done talking of Ypres and the Somme she'd begin
about Rouen and Etaples."

I laughed, but without mirth, for I did not really think this at all
funny. And after all I might have said just the same about Ernest, if
only I'd thought of it first.

       *       *       *       *       *


    [_The Manchester Daily Dispatch_ gives a most distressing
    account of the bibulous hooliganism which is becoming more
    rampant week by week among char-à-bancs trippers.]

  The patrons of the charabang
  Employ the most outrageous slang
  And talk with an appalling twang.
  Their manners ape the wild orang;
  They do not care a single hang
  For sober folk on foot who gang,
  But as they roll, with jolt and clang,
  For parasang on parasang,
  They cause a vulgar _Sturm und Drang_.
  They never heard of Andrew Lang,
  Or even Mr. William Strang;
  They are, I say it with a pang,
  A most intolerable gang;
  In fact I wish them at Penang
  Or on the banks of Yang-tse-Kiang--
  _Some_ folk who use the charabang.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Wanted, a good, clean General, for private."--_Provincial

Discipline is going to the dogs.

       *       *       *       *       *


The manager had seen to it that the party of young men, being very
obviously rich, at any rate for this night, had some of the best
attendance in the restaurant. Several waiters had been told off
specially to look after them, the least and busiest of whom was little
more than a boy--a slender pale boy, who was working very hard to give
satisfaction. The cynic might think--and say, for cynics always say what
they think--that this zeal was the result of his youth; but the cynic
for once would be only partly right. The zeal also had sartorial
springs, this eventful day being the first on which the boy had been
promoted to full waiter-hood, and the first therefore on which he had
ever worn a suit of evening dress; which by dint of hard saving his
family had been able to obtain for him. Wearing a uniform of such
dignity and conscious that he was on the threshold of his career, he was
trying very hard to make good and hoping very fervently that he would
get through without any drops or splashes to impair the freshness of his
new and wonderful attire.

The party of young men, who had been at a very illustrious English
school together and now were either at a university or in the world,
were celebrating an annual event and were very merry about it. For the
most part they had, between the past and the present, as many topics of
conversation as were needed, but now and then came a lull, during which
some of them would look around at the other tables, note the prettier of
the girls or the odder of the men and comment upon them; and it chanced
that in such a pause one of the diners happened for the first time to
notice with any attention the assiduous young waiter. Although not old
enough to have given any thought to the anomaly of youth (though lowly)
attending upon youth (though gilded) at its meals in this way--not old
enough indeed to have pondered at all upon the relations of Capital and
Labour or of the domineering and the servile--he had reflected a good
deal upon the cut and fit of clothes, and there was something about the
waiting-boy's evening coat that outraged his critical sense. Nor did the
fact that the other's indifferent tailoring throw the perfection of his
own into such brilliant contrast--the similarity between the livery of
service and the male costume _de luxe_ fostering such comparisons--make
him any more lenient.

"Did you ever see," he asked his neighbour, "such a coat-collar as that
waiting Johnnie's? I ask you. How can anyone, even a waiter, wear a
thing like that? Don't they ever see themselves in the glass, or if they
do can't they see straight? Why, it covers his collar altogether."

His companion agreed. "And the shoulders! You'd have thought that in a
restaurant like this the management would be more particular. By George,
that's a jolly pretty girl coming in! Look--over there, just under the
clock, with the red hair." And the waiter was forgotten. Only, however,
by his table critics, for at that moment a little woman who had made
friends with the hall-porter for this express purpose was peering
through the window of the entrance, searching the room for her son. She
had never yet seen him at his work at all, and certainly not in his
grand waiting clothes, and naturally she wanted to.

"Ah!" she said at last, pointing the boy out to the porter, "there he
is! At that table with all the young gentlemen. Doesn't he look fine?
And don't they fit him beautifully? Why, no one would know the
difference if he were to sit down and one of those young gentlemen were
to wait on him."


       *       *       *       *       *


While waiting for proof-sheets of my book on _The Dynamic Force of
Modern Art_ I thought I might get a certain amount of amusement out of a
little correspondence with my neighbour, Mr. Gibbs, small farmer and
dairyman, between whom and myself letters had passed a short time ago on
the subject of a noisy cow, since removed from the field below the study
window of the house that has been lent me by my friend Hobson. With this
end in view I wrote to Mr. Gibbs as follows:--

My dear Mr. Gibbs,--The field of the uproarious cow has, I
notice, suddenly become tenanted again, this time by what appears to be
a school, herd or murrain of swine. Their number seems to vary.
Sometimes I count ten younglings, sometimes as many as thirteen, and
once I made it as much as fourteen.

Did you know they were there, or are they a crop? Or is the field
suffering from swine fever, of which they are the outward manifestation?
Anyhow, whether they are friends of yours or have merely just happened,
as it were, they are distinctly intriguing.

My wife was remarking to me only yesterday how nice some pork would be
as a change from the eternal verities, beef and mutton, and I told her
that if she would look out of my window she would see the pork running
about, simply asking for it. There are so many of these piglets that I
don't think the old sow would miss one. Swine can't count, can they?

But apart from food values they interest me as subjects for the Cubist,
the Vorticist and other exploiters of dynamic force in the Art of to-day
(I fancy I told you in a previous letter that I am engaged upon a tome
on this subject).

Figure to yourself, _mon ami_, what delightful rhomboidal figures
Wyndham Lewis and his school would make of these budding
porkers with the sleek torso and the well-poised angular snout, and,
having visualised their treatment of the theme, compare it with the
painted effigies of such animals by George Morland, which were
merely pigs, Sir, and nothing more. No symbolism, no force. You get

But looking at these piglets from a more intimate point of view, don't
you think (if they should happen to be yours, and you have any influence
with their parents) that something should be done about their faces?
They have such a pushed-in appearance. Can this be normal? If so, it
must seriously interfere with their truffling. But perhaps this is not
good truffle-hunting country. I'm sorry if this is so, as I could do
with a nice brace of truffles now and again.

Remember me kindly to our mooing friend, and believe me, dear Mr. Gibbs,

      Yours sincerely,
      Arthur K. Wilkinson.

How this early touch of Spring has got into the blood, to be sure.

To this letter Mr. Gibbs replied thus:--

Dear Sir,--i cant make much of your letter except a riglemerole
about pigs and dinamite and pictures but what they have to do with one
another i dont know if you want some pork why dont you say so strait out
like mr Hobson does i shall be killing one this week shall i send you a
nice leg and remain

      Yours obedient
      Henry Gibbs.

My reply, given in the affirmative, resulted in the arrival of a
succulent-looking joint with a bill for leg of pork special 5½ lbs.
at 2_s._ per lb. 11_s._

As the price too was rather special I returned the bill with the

My dear Mr. Gibbs,--What a rapturous piece of pork! Lovely in
life, and oh, how beautiful in death. I count the hours till 7.30

I am truly sorry you couldn't read my letter with comfort. I have
derived great pleasure from yours. You appear to have a strong leaning
towards phonetic orthography which is very refreshing and seems to bear
the same relation to the generally accepted rules of the art that the
modern dynamic art (a favourite topic of mine, as you know) does to the
academics of the late nineteenth century.

When the proof-sheets of my book arrive I should be glad of your
assistance in going through them. My tendency, I think, is to
over-punctuate, and your proclivity would, I believe, counteract this.

_Mais revenons à nos moutons_ (_mutatis mutandis_, of course). The
specialist who superintends my diet allows me to eat pork at 1_s._ 9_d._
per lb., but does not approve of my indulgence in it at a higher figure.
If you will meet his views (and I am sure you will) I shall absorb my
full share of the dainty you have provided. Otherwise I must return it
with many exquisite regrets.

Anticipating your favourable recognition of my specialist's absurd
prejudice, I enclose a cheque for 9_s._ 8_d._

      Accept my word for it that I am
        Yours ever most truly,
          Arthur K. Wilkinson.

To this Mr. Gibbs offered the following reply:--

Deer Sir,--i thought being a friend of mr Hobson you was a
gentleman as wouldn't mind paying a bit extra for something special like
this pork which these pigs was by Barnsley Champion III i cant charge
less. i dont know who your specialist is but he dont know much about
pork the bests the safest. please send ballance and remain

      Yours obedient,
        Henry Gibbs.

We were still in March and pork had not yet been decontrolled, so I
returned the bill again with this brief but incisive note:--

My dear Mr. Gibbs,--I have never met your friend from Barnsley,
but am surprised that you haven't come across my specialist, whose
address is the Local Food Control Office at Harbury. Would you like to
meet him? He is very interested in pigs, also in milk and other things
in which you specialise expensively, so you would have lots to talk
about, no doubt.

      Yours sincerely,
        Arthur K. Wilkinson.

The receipt in full, which reached me in reply, was very satisfactory.
The pork was delicious.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Country Postman._ "I'm sorry, Ma'am, I seem to have
lost your postcard; but it only said Muriel thanked you for the parcel,
and so did John, and they were both very well and the children are happy
and she'll give your message to Margery. That'll be your other daughter,
I'm thinkin'?"]

       *       *       *       *       *


    Lady's Bedstraw.

  Under two secret arching hedges
    Masses of Bedstraw grow,
  Silvery-white among the sedges,
    Like drifts of fairy-snow;
  Deep's the middle, fringed the edges;
    Who sleeps there? Do you know?
  Do you? Or you?
    Hark! for the breezes know.

  "Oh, there my Lady Summer lies
  Adream beneath cool April skies;
    About her blossoms fall
  On her long limbs and secret eyes.
    Still she sleeps, virginal;
    Then--hark! June's clarion call!
  She lifts her wistful wilful eyes,
  Springs light afoot and away she flies.
  But her Bedstraw dies."

       *       *       *       *       *

    "We have received from ---- Manufacturing Company, New York,
    makers of Distructive Stationery for Social Correspondence,
    copies of their artistic Wall Calendars." _West Indian Paper._

The calendars don't interest us, but a few samples of the "distructive
stationery" would come in useful for answering bores.

       *       *       *       *       *


Of course I suppose I ought to be grateful for the opportunity of having
a front seat at one of Nature's romances, but I imagine she reaps more
applause at matinées than at soirées. I know that I--But judge for

The _dramatis personæ_ were corncrakes, neighbours of mine. The
heroine--a neat line in spring birdings--I labelled "Thisbe," and she
had evidently inspired affection of no mean degree in the hearts of two
enthusiastic swains, Strong-i'-th'-lung and Eugène. I know all this
because Thisbe's home is a small tuft of grass not distant from my
bedroom, and her admirers wooed her at long range from opposite corners
of my field.

Now, as a cursory study of ornithology will tell you, the corncrake's
method of attracting his bride is by song, and the criterion of
excellence in C.C. circles is that the song shall be protracted,
consistent and perfectly monotonous. To those who are unacquainted with
his note I would describe it as rather similar to the intermittent
buzzing noise which an inexperienced telephone operator lets loose when
she can't think of a wrong number to give you. It has also points of
resemblance to the periodic thud of the valve of a motor-tube when one
is running on a deflated tyre. But there is no real standard of
comparison. As a musical feat it is unique, and I for one am glad it is.

It was night. Eugène was in possession of the stage when I began to take
an interest in the romance. I cannot say for how long he had serenaded
his divinity before I became conscious of his lay, but I do know that
thereafter he put in one and a half hours of good solid craking before
he desisted. I then felt grateful for the silence, rolled over and
prepared to get on with my postponed slumber.

But Strong-i'-th'-lung decreed otherwise. With a contemptuous snort at
his rival's performance he opened his epic. He was splendid. For one and
three-ninths hours he descanted on the glories of field life, on the
freshness of the night, on the brilliance of the June foliage; for the
next two hours he ardently proclaimed the surpassing beauty of Thisbe's
eye, the glossiness of her plumage, the neatness of her claw, and he
wound up with a mad twenty minutes of piercing monotony as he depicted
the depth of his devotion for her.

When he ceased, in a silence which was almost deafening, I could
visualise Thisbe dimpling with satisfaction and undoubtedly filled with
tenderness toward a lover capable of expressing himself so eloquently. I
turned over with a sigh of relief and closed my eyes in pleasurable
anticipation of rest.

But Eugène felt it necessary to reply. I think his intention was to
crake disbelief of his rival's sincerity, to throw cold water on his
burning professions, perhaps even to question the excellence of his
intentions. But his nerve was obviously shaken by his competitor's
undoubtedly fine performance, and he craked indecisively. At 4.30
a.m. I distinctly heard him utter a flat note. At 4.47 he
missed the second part of a bar entirely. Thisbe's beak, I must believe,
curled derisively; Strong-i'-th'-lung laughed contemptuously, and at
5.10 a.m. Eugène faltered, stammered and fled from the field

The sequel I have had to build up on rather fragmentary data, but it
appears that Eugène fled as far as Pudberry Parva, and endeavoured to
cool his discomfiture in a dewy hayfield.

To him there came an old crone, the "father and mother" of all
corncrakes, who comforted him, cossetted him, and from a fund of deep
experience offered him hints on voice production. She also gave him of a
nostrum of toadwort and garlic, which mollified his lacerated chords,
and she prescribed massage of the throat by rubbing against a young
beech stem.

Within two days Eugène was back in my field. In tones that feigned to
falter he craked a few bars to open the performance. Strong-i'-th'-lung
at once rose full of pitying confidence and craked for two and a half
hours the song of the practically accepted suitor. It was a good song,
and Thisbe seemed pleased, though I fancy she rather resented the note
of assurance which he imparted to his ballad.

Then Eugène came on. Bearing well in mind all the instruction of his
recent benefactress, he commenced at 11.45 p.m. such a masterpiece as
has never before been heard in the bird world. His consistency of period
was masterly, his iteration superb and his even monotony incomparable.
Crake succeeded crake with dull regular inevitability. So far as I know
he carried his bat. He was still playing strongly when I fell on a
troubled sleep about 5.30....

The next day, walking through the field, I put up two birds which flew
away together. One was Thisbe. And the other? Well, not
Strong-i'-th'-lung. I stumbled across him a little later, dead without a

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Wanted Music Master for 2 girls; also Mincing
    Machine."--_Local Paper._

One way or another they seem determined that the poor girls shall be
"put through it."

       *       *       *       *       *


The recent discovery of a London millionaire, who not only lives in a
small suburban villa, where his wife dispenses with servants, goes to
bed at 7.30 p.m. and rises at 3 a.m., but reads Homer in the Greek, has
caused a sensation.

His endeavours to prove to a doubting world the truth of a favourite
British adage is admirable; and his modest establishment only bears out
what the millionaires keep on telling us, that, owing to high taxation
and the abnormal cost of luxuries, they must really be reckoned as poor
men. But his study of Homer provokes a difference of opinion.

Our representative, in interviewing a venerable sociologist on the
subject, was told that the study of Greek for millionaires is, within
proper limits, comparatively harmless, but that Homer contains the
elements of danger.

"It is in Homer's apotheosis of heroism in human combat that the peril
lies," he said. "Having regard to the part played in the past by
financiers in the wars between civilised nations, the security of the
League of Nations will be threatened if the millionaires of to-day come
under the spell of that great poet, who, with all his excellent
qualities, directed his genius so persistently to the praise of

One of the millionaire class was next approached, and was asked what he
thought of millionaires reading Homer.

"Why not?" he asked. "Some millionaires are great readers. I am one
myself. There are not half-a-dozen of Oppenheim's I haven't read; and I
like Hall Caine--and Ethel Dell's not bad. Who is this Homer? If he's
any good I may as well order him."

"Well, Homer was a poet, you know, a--"

"I've no use for poetry," said the millionaire.

"A Greek poet, who lived--"

"Greek. A _Greek_, did you say?" A shrewd look came into his eyes. "Some
of the cutest devils I know are Greeks." He pulled down a shirt-cuff and
took a diamond-studded pencil from his waistcoat pocket. "How do you
spell it? With an H?"

       *       *       *       *       *


    Belfast or Neighbourhood.--Locum Tenency or Sunday duty wanted
    by well-known Rector during holiday."--_Irish Paper._

It looks as if he had been mistaken for a Lay-reader.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Nothing is left of the knave of the church, but the choir still
    remains."--_Scotch Paper._

We are glad they discarded the knave.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Country Cousin_ (_who suffers from his wife's elbow at
each crossing_). "Oo! lawks, Maria! Next time we've to cross lemme be
roon ower!"]

       *       *       *       *       *


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

_Double Life_ (Grant Richards) is a story that unblushingly bases its
appeal on the love of almost everyone for a fairy-tale of good fortune.
The matter of it is to show how a lady amateur, wife of a novelist,
herself hardly knowing one end of a horse from the other, might make
forty thousand pounds in a year on the Turf, without even her own
husband so much as suspecting her activities. The thing isn't likely, is
indeed a fantasy of the wildest improbability; but, told with the zest
imparted to it here by Mr. Grant Richards, it provides first-rate fun.
Some danger of monotony there was bound to be in what is really a
variation upon a single theme. Though the author cunningly avoids this,
I think it might justly be observed that he has made _Olivia's_ plunges
almost too uniformly successful. But perhaps not; after all, while you
are handling fairy-gold, why be niggardly of it? The heroine's
introduction to horse-racing comes about through the unconscious agency
of her husband, who takes her with him on a visit to Newmarket in search
of local colour for a "sporting" novel. The resulting situation reaches
its climax in what is the best scene of the book, when _Geoffrey_,
returning from a race that he has visited alone, but upon which
_Olivia_, unknown to him, has risked thousands, recounts its progress in
the best manner of realistic fiction, wholly ignorant of the true cause
of what seems such flattering agitation in the listener. Altogether a
happy if not very subtle story which I am glad that Mr. Grant Richards
could persuade himself to publish.

To write, as Mr. R.W. Chambers has written, fifty-two novels, many of
them excellent and all readable, while still on the right side of sixty,
is an achievement of intelligent industry that entitles any novelist, at
the latter end, to take matters a little easily. _The Moonlit Way_
(Appleton) has neither the imaginative qualities of _The King in
Yellow_, the humour of _In Search of the Unknown_, nor the adventurous
tang of _Ashes of Empire_, but it is a good live story that will carry
the reader's interest to the last page. Mr. Chambers is at his best when
dealing with spies and secret service agents and scheming chancellors
and the other subterranean apparatus of war and diplomacy; at his least
interesting when depicting affluent young America on its native heath of
New York bricks and mortar. _The Moonlit Way_ deals with all these
things and more. We are whisked from the Bosphorus to the Welland Canal
on the heels of Germany's "War in the United States," and French Secret
Service officers, German saloon keepers and Sinn Fein revolutionaries
jostle one another for a place in our interest. The novel-reading public
knows that it is quite safe in buying any story by Mr. Chambers, and, if
it does not expect too much of _The Moonlit Way_, it will not be

       *       *       *       *       *

Lately, volumes of individual memorial to dead youth seem to have become
less frequent. Perhaps there was a suggestion that the making of them,
or rather their publication for the eyes of strangers, was in danger of
being overdone. However this may be, I think that, quite apart from the
appeal of circumstance, there would always have been a welcome for such
a bright-natured book as one that Father Ronald Knox has put together,
mostly from diaries and letters, about _Patrick Shaw-Stewart_ (Collins).
Eton and Balliol will agree that there could be no biographer better
fitted to record the life, as happy seemingly as it was fated to be
short, of one who combined success with popularity at both these places,
was caught by the War on the threshold of a wider career, served his
country with very notable distinction and was killed in the winter of
1917. Though he met death in France, the most of Shaw-Stewart's
war-service was on the Eastern front; in particular he saw more than
most soldiers of the whole Gallipoli adventure, to which he went as a
member of that amazing company--surely the very flower of this country's
war contribution--the _Hood_ Battalion of the R.N.V.R. Here he was the
comrade of many of those whom England has especially delighted to
honour: Rupert Brooke, Denis-Browne, Charles Lister and others, all of
whom figure in these vivid and most attractive letters; from which also
one gathers an engaging picture of Shaw-Stewart himself, a generously
admiring, humorous and entirely independent young Tory in a band of
brilliant revolutionaries. In fine a book (despite its theme of promise
sacrificed) full of laughter and a singularly charming character-study
of one who, in his biographer's phrase, was assuredly "not one of the
passengers of his generation."

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE SPECIALIST.

_Eminent Botanist on scientific expedition_. "Dear me! Why didn't I
take up Zoology instead of Botany? This seems such an interesting

       *       *       *       *       *

Miss Ella Sykes, after going with her brother and a camera on his
special mission to Kashgar during the earlier days of the War, has
detailed in charming fashion, under the title _Through Deserts and Oases
of Central Asia_ (Macmillan), their travels in lands still almost
unknown. Sir Percy Sykes himself has added some chapters on the history
and customs of the district in order to allow himself the pleasure of
referring affectionately to his hunting of the giant sheep--the _Ovis
poli_--of the Pamirs. Between them they have given me a good deal of
information, with a lot of really capital photographs, about a
country--Chinese Turkestan--that one may have just heard of before,
though it is impossible to be sure. Resisting a burning desire to pass
on newly-acquired learning to the first listener, I will be content to
say that a more readable volume of its kind has not come my way for a
long time, and incidentally the country itself seems surprisingly
desirable. For one thing it is free from the mosquitoes that spoil so
many books of travel, while the people are peaceful, reasonably
contented and not liable to jar on the reader's nerves, in the
time-honoured fashion, with spears and poisoned arrows. Even the yaks,
that one had supposed to be fearsome beasts, are mild benevolent
pacifists. The authors do not suggest that it is all Paradise, of
course, though for the Moslem there may be something of that sort in it.
"Praise be to Allah! I have four obedient wives, who spend all their
days in trying to please me," said a Kirghiz farmer to Sir Percy. But
even Paradise may be a matter of taste.

       *       *       *       *       *

If _War in the Garden of Eden_ (Murray) cannot be numbered among the
books which must be read by a serious war-student it is in its
unassuming way very attractive. Captain Kermit Roosevelt made many
friends while serving as a Captain with the Motor Machine-Gun Corps in
Mesopotamia, and here he reveals himself as a keen soldier and a
pleasant companion. In style he is perhaps a shade too jerky; his
frequent failure to make his connections gives one a sense of being in
the hands of a rather rambling guide. But the important points are that
he is an engaging rambler, and that he can describe his experiences both
of war and peace with so clear a simplicity that they can be easily
visualized. When the American Army arrived in France Captain Roosevelt
naturally wished to join it, and his last chapter is called "With the
First Division in France and Germany." But for us the main interest of
his book lies in the work he did with the British in Mesopotamia, and to
thank him for this would seem to be an impertinence.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. Arnold Bennett's _From the Log of the Velsa_ (Chatto) deals with
some vague period before the War (dates are most carefully concealed),
when the versatile author undertook certain cruises up and down Dutch
canals, the Baltic, French, Flemish and Danish coasts and East Anglian
estuaries with companions about whom he preserves an equally mysterious
silence. (Was it secret service, I wonder?) A delightful book, produced
with something like pre-war attention to æsthetic appearance--a pleasant
quarto with roomy pages faithfully printed in a fair type. You ought to
enjoy the owner's evident enjoyment (he was never bored and therefore
never boring), his charmingly ingenuous pride of possession, his shrewd,
humorous and excessively didactic utterances about painters, pictures,
architecture and female beauty, his zeal for water-colour sketching and
his apparently profound contempt of other exponents of the craft.
Nothing could be less like (I thank Heaven) the ordinary yachtsman's
recollections of his travels, and I get an impression that Mr. Bennett
was not ill-pleased to leave most of the work and the technical
knowledge to his skipper.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Crêpe de Chine in oyster white will show the top of the dress
    embroidered to the knees in some unconventional design of black
    and a deeper shade of white."--_Daily Paper_.

    "The bridesmaid's dress was of heavy white crêpe-de-chine, of
    pale apricot shade."--_Provincial Paper_.

Canning must have had a premonition of the modern fashions when
he wrote in _The New Morality_, "Black's not so black, nor white so
_very_ white."

       *       *       *       *       *

From a bookseller's advertisement:--

    "Mr. ---- has the way of when you finish one of his most
    interesting books that you really cannot help yourself by
    reading all." _Newfoundland Paper._

Not being quite sure whether this is a compliment or not we have
suppressed the distinguished author's name.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 159, July 21, 1920" ***

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