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Title: Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 159, November 24, 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, November 24, 1920" ***

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

Transcriber's note:

The original has a number of inconsistent spellings and punctuation.
Five corrections have been made for obvious typographical errors; these,
as well as one doubtful spelling, have been noted individually in the
text. All notes are surrounded by braces {}.

Text in italics in the original is shown between _underlines_;
superscript (one instance in this book) is marked by a caret (^).


VOL. 159

NOVEMBER 24, 1920.


No sooner had the League of Nations met at Geneva than news came of the
pending retirement of Mr. CHARLIE CHAPLIN. We never seem to be able to
keep more than one Great Idea going at a time.

       * * *

"Have you read Mrs. Asquith's Book?" asks an evening paper
advertisement. "What book?" may we ask.

       * * *

"In our generation," says Dean INGE, "there are no great men." It is
said that Sir ERIC GEDDES will not take this lying down.

       * * *

Since the Gloomy Dean's address at Wigmore Hall it is suggested that the
world should be sold to defray expenses while there is yet time.

       * * *

"What is wanted to-day," says Mr. H. M. RIODEN, "is a Destruction of
Pests Bill." "Jaded Householder" writes to say that when this becomes
law anybody can have the name of his rate-collector.

       * * *

"M. RHALLIS, the new Greek Premier," says _The Evening News_, "is a
regular reader of _The Daily Mail_." We had felt all along he was one of

       * * *

"Dendrology," says a contemporary, "is an admirable pursuit for
women." We seem to remember, however, that one of the earliest female
arboriculturists made a sad mess of it.

       * * *

According to the U.S.A. Bureau of Standards the pressure of the jaw
during mastication is eleven tons to the square inch. If this is
propaganda work on behalf of the United States' bacon industry we regard
it as particularly crude.

       * * *

A Sioux City millionaire is said to have paid two hundred pounds for a
goat. He claims that it is the only thing in Iowa that has whiskers and
isn't thirsty.

       * * *

"Mr. Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone, has just visited
Edinburgh, his birthplace, after an absence of fifty years," says a news
item. We can only say that if he invented _our_ telephone he had reason
to keep away.

       * * *

"After all," says an evening paper, "the Coalition is only human." _The
Times_, however, is not quite so sure about it.

       * * *

It is said that Mr. BOTTOMLEY is about to make a powerful announcement
to the effect that the present year will be nearly all over by

       * * *

In connection with the Ministry of Health Bill, we read, not a penny
of additional expenditure or expense will fall on the ratepayer or
taxpayer. People are now wondering whether the Government thought of
that one themselves.

       * * *

Balls made of newspapers soaked in oil are said to be a good substitute
for coal. It seems as if newspapers are determined to get a good
circulation somehow.

       * * *

Cars that run into four figures were to be seen at many stands at the
recent Motor Show. In the ordinary way motor-cars run into as many
figures as get in their way.

       * * *

It appears that the man who was knocked down in Charing Cross Road by
a motor-scooter was one of the middle class, and so could not afford to
have it done properly by a motor-car.

       * * *

It is rumoured that a Radical paper is about to offer a prize of one
hundred pounds for the best design for a _Daily Mail_ halo.

       * * *

A man charged at the Guildhall admitted that he had been convicted
sixty-seven times. Indeed it is understood that he has only to say
"Season" to be admitted to any police-court.

       * * *

"Pussyfoot beaten," announces a headline. We hear, however, that he
intends to have another try when the water-rate is not quite so high.

       * * *

A Streatham youth has been fined ten shillings for causing a disturbance
by imitating a cat at night. He said everything would have gone off well
if somebody had not made a noise like a policeman.

       * * *

"All men are cowards," declares a lady-writer in a weekly journal. Still
it should be remembered that one of us married the lady who is now known
as "Mrs. Grundy."

       * * *

In describing a storm a local paper recently stated that waves seventy
feet high lashed themselves to fury against the rocks. We have always
been given to understand that waves never exceed fifteen feet, but we
suppose everything has gone up since the War.

       * * *

"When is the Government going to commence operations in connection
with the Channel Tunnel?" asks a correspondent in a daily paper. We
understand that unless the English homing rabbit, recently released at
Calais, puts in an appearance on this side once again, the idea will be
abandoned as impracticable.

       *       *       *       *       *



       *       *       *       *       *


    "Head Laundress wanted, titled lady."

    _Irish Paper._

This is what results from washing dirty linen in public.

       *       *       *       *       *



    _Le Figaro._

The attention of the POSTMASTER-GENERAL should be drawn to the unusually
long delay in delivery.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The Rat Catcher then said 'Look behind.' I looked behind, and
    there on the seat was strapped a larger cake. This contained 145
    live rodents."--_Local Paper._

And now the pie with the four-and-twenty blackbirds must also take a
back seat.

       *       *       *       *       *


A football eleven composed of work-girls from a Lancashire factory
recently journeyed to Paris to play a team of French female footballers.
With women forcing an entry into the ranks of minor professions, such
as the Law and Politics, it is doubtful if even the sacred precincts of
professional football can now be considered safe, and Mr. Punch wonders
if he may soon find himself reading in the Sporting Columns of the Press
paragraphs something in the nature of the following:--

Kitty Golightly, who has the reputation of being one of the fastest
young women seen in London this season, has now definitely thrown in
her lot with the Tottenham Hotstuff. Her forward work is likely to cause
something in the nature of a sensation.

       *       *       *

The dropping of Hilda Smith from the League team of Newcastle United has
been much criticised by football enthusiasts throughout the country. We
are, however, in a position to state that there has been trouble between
Hilda Smith and the Newcastle Directors for some time past. It appears
that Newcastle's brilliant full-back objected to wearing the Newcastle
jersey, on the plea that its sombre colour-scheme did not suit
her complexion. She pointed out that Fanny Robinson, the Newcastle
goal-keeper, wore an all-red jersey and that, as the shade chosen was
most becoming to anyone with dark hair, she (Hilda Smith) claimed the
right to wear red also. The Newcastle Directors replied that under the
laws of the Football Association the goal-keeper is required to wear
distinctive colours from the rest of the team. That being so, Hilda
Smith would only consent to turn out in future on condition that she
should play in goal, and as the club management would not agree to
displacing Fanny Robinson the only thing to be done was to leave Hilda
Smith out of the side entirely.

       *       *       *

What would have been a very serious misfortune to the team chosen to
represent England in the forthcoming International against Wales has
only just been averted. But for the common-sense and good feeling of all
concerned, Dolly Brown, the English captain, might have found herself
assisting the Welsh side instead of her own country's eleven. Not
long ago this brilliant back became engaged to a Welsh gentleman from
Llanfairfechan and the wedding had been fixed for Thursday next. Under
the present state of the British Constitution a married woman takes on
the nationality of her husband, and had the marriage been solemnized
before the International Match on Saturday Dolly Brown would have been
ineligible for England and available for Wales. On this being pointed
out to her she at once consented to postpone her marriage, like the
patriotic sportswoman she is, and in the meantime legislation is to be
rushed through both Houses of Parliament to alter the absurd state of
the law and retain for England the services of one of the finest backs
that ever fouled a forward.

       *       *       *

Mr. Ted Hustler, the popular chairman of the Villa North End Club, has
been away from home for some days, rumour being strong in his native
city that he has gone to Scotland after Jennie Macgregor. On our
representative calling at Mr. Hustler's house this morning to inquire if
it really were true that Mr. Hustler has for a long time had his eye on
Jennie Macgregor, Mrs. Hustler, the charming wife of the chairman, was
understood to reply that she would like to catch him at it.

       *       *       *

The regrettable incident at Stamford Bridge on Saturday last, when
Gertie Swift was sent off the field by the referee, is to our mind yet
another example of the misguided policy of the League management. Gertie
Swift was strongly reprimanded by Mr. G. H. Whistler, the official in
charge of the match, for an alleged offence. Gertie Swift retorted. Mr.
Whistler warned her. Gertie again retorted. Mr. Whistler then ordered
Gertie to retire from the game. Whilst we quite agree that a referee
must exercise a strong control it is perfectly obvious that no
self-respecting woman player is going to allow any mere man to have
the last word; and the sooner the Football Association realise this and
dispense with the services of all male referees the better for the good
of the game.

       *       *       *

Our arrangements for a full report of the English Cup Final are now
completed. Our fashion experts are to journey to London with both teams,
and a detailed description of the hats and travelling costumes worn by
the players will appear in an extra special edition of this paper. We
understand that the two rival elevens are to turn out in silk jumpers
knitted in correct club colours by the players' own fair hands during
the more restful periods of their strenuous training.

       *       *       *       *       *


    "Small house or flat required; one child (off hand); any
    district."--_Daily Paper._

       *       *       *       *       *


(_A comparative study of incentives to labour._)

    The miner's _rôle_ is not for me;
      These manual jobs I always shun;
    In the bright realm of Poesy
      My thrilling daily task is done.
  My songs are wild with beauty. This is one.

    Yet has the miner, not the bard,
      A life that runs in pleasant ways;
    His labour may be pretty hard,
      But, when compared with mine, it _pays_.
  Scant the reward of my exhausting days.

    I bear no grudge. I don't object
      To watch his wages soaring high,
    If, as I'm told, we may expect
      To see him resolutely ply
  His task with greater vigour. So must I.

    Up, Muse, and get your wings unfurled!
      My rhymes at double speed must flow;
    Now, from this hour, the astonished world
      Must see my output daily grow.
  And why? I want some coal--a ton or so.

    Coal is my greatest need, the crest
      And pinnacle of my desires;
    And as I toil with feverish zest
      'Twill be the dream of blazing fires
  That spurs me to my labour and inspires.

    I wonder if the miner too
      Has visions in his dark abyss
    Which urge him on to hack and hew
      That he may so achieve the bliss
  Of buying great and deathless songs (like this).

       *       *       *       *       *


Notice in a Canadian book-shop:--

    "It often happens that you are unable to obtain just the book
    you want. We specialise in this branch of book-selling."

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Observing a straw stack on fire opposite her house a woman
    removed her baby from the bath and poured the bath water on to
    the flames."--_Evening Paper._

What we admire is her presence of mind in first removing the baby.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Mr. and Mrs. John ---- wish to return grateful thanks to all
    who so kindly contributed to their late great loss by theft."

    _Local Paper._

Always be polite to burglars. You never know when they may call again.

       *       *       *       *       *

We understand that Smith minor, who in an examination paper wrote
_margot_, instead of _margo_, as the Latin for "the limit," has been
reprimanded severely by his master.

       *       *       *       *       *



Self-praise, it used to be held, is no recommendation; but that was
before the War. The War has altered so many things that it may have
altered this too, and self-praise be the best recommendation of all. Mr.
Punch hopes so, because he wants to indulge for the moment in extolling
one of his own products; he wishes, in short, to urge upon all his
readers the merits of "Mr. Punch's History of the Great War." Everything
is here, in very noteworthy synthesis; the tragedy and the comedy
inextricably mingled, as they must ever be, but as by more formal
historians they are not.

Such is Mr. Punch's opinion on Mr. Punch's own book, which is no formal
history of the War in the strict or scientific sense of the phrase; no
detailed record of naval and military operations. Rather it is a
mirror of varying moods, reflecting in the main how England remained
steadfastly true to her best traditions; a reflex of British character
during the days of doubt and the hours of hope that marked the strenuous
and wearying days of the War.

All ages and classes come into the picture--combatants and
non-combatants, young and old, men and women. And Mr. Punch's pencil
plays a part at least equal to that of his pen, the record of each month
being generously supplied with cartoons and illustrations by famous
_Punch_ artists. Into these pages has been compressed just what we need
to remember about the War, and we are reminded of things which we had
already forgotten. Here is the tragedy and the pathos of the Great
War--even the comedy of those great years of undying memory.

No more popular history of the War has been written; it has been
eulogised everywhere, for it is a book that every citizen of the Empire
should read and be proud to possess. As a Christmas gift it is ideal,
and will be gladly welcomed not only by those at home, but also by
those in Canada, Australia, India, South Africa, and other parts of our
far-flung Empire, whose gallant sons shared the horrors and the victory
of those four-and-a-half years.

[Illustration: THE OPTIMIST.

"If this is the right village, then we're all right. The instructions is
clear:{missing colon in original} Go past the post-office and sharp to
the left afore you come to the church."]

       *       *       *       *       *


[Illustration: OUR MAN.

With Mr. Punch's Grateful Compliments to Field-Marshal Sir DOUGLAS HAIG.

["_Punch_," _November 29th_, 1918.]

"Mr. Punch's History of the Great War" is a History we can all read, and
all _should_ read, for here is the record of the heroes who added to
the glories of our blood and State--a roll that is endless--wonderful
gunners and sappers, and airmen and despatch riders, devoted surgeons
and heroic nurses, stretcher-bearers and ambulance drivers. "But Mr.
Punch's special heroes are the Second-Lieutenants and the Tommy who went
on winning the War all the time, and never said that he was winning it
until it was won."

To read this book will help us to realise the great debt, unpaid and
unpayable, to our immortal dead and to the valiant survivors, to whom we
owe freedom and security.

It is "a corrective record," says _The Times_, "not only of what
happened 'over there,' but of what people were saying and feeling at
home"; while _The Morning Post_ remarked: "Here Mr. Punch is the nation,
deftly wielding the weapon of ridicule that has helped to kill so many
enemy tyrants."


_Postage Extra_

_Published by_

CASSELL & Co., Ltd.
La Belle Sauvage, London, E.C.4


                           .................. _19_ ......
_To_ ....................................................

_Please supply to me_ ...... _cop_ ...... _of "Mr. PUNCH'S
net, published by Cassell & Co., Ltd., La Belle Sauvage,
London, E.C.4, by arrangement with the Proprietors of
"Punch." I enclose £    :     :_

_Name_ ...................................................
_Address_ ................................................

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE LAST STRAW.



       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Old Josh (who has just purchased stamp)._ "WOULD YER

       *       *       *       *       *



Which is boyhood's commonest ambition, to run away to sea or to be
something on a railway line? And how few, when they are grown up, find
that they have realised either of these desires! The present Minister
of Transport has freely confessed to his intimates that more than once,
when he was floating paper-boats in his bath or climbing a tree in the
garden to look out for icebergs from the crow's-nest, he felt in his
child's heart that water was the ultimate quest, the adventure, the
gleam. And yet for many a long year railways entranced and enslaved him.
Often he would sit for hours, forgetful of the griddle cakes rapidly
being burnt to a cinder, and gaze at the puffs of steam coming from the
spout of the kettle or the quick vibrations of its lid, planning in his
mind some greater and better engine that should be known perhaps as The
Snorting Eric, and be enshrined in glass on Darlington platform.

Once, when he had bought a small model stationary engine and the
methylated spirit lamp had by some accident set fire to the carpet, he
was found after the conflagration had subsided standing serenely amongst
the wreckage. When challenged as to its cause, "I cannot tell a lie," he
replied calmly; "I did it with my little gadget." A few months later
he and the present Ambassador of Great Britain at Washington had
constructed a double line of miniature tracks, which connected all the
rooms on the ground floor of the house and considerably interfered
with the parlourmaid's duties. It was known to the family as the Great
Auckland Railway. Another favourite hobby of the young engineer was to
lie on his back and watch the spider spin her web, comparing the results
with a railway map of Great Britain. It was seldom that he went to bed
without having learnt at least a page of _Bradshaw_ by heart.

Going from strength to strength this apparently dreamy lad had climbed
the giddy rungs of fame until, at the outbreak of war, he stood with the
ball at his feet and the title of Deputy General Manager of the N.E.R.
It was he who had invented the system whereby the handle of the heating
apparatus in railway carriages could be turned either to OFF or ON
without any consequent infiltration of steam, thereby saving passengers
from the peril of death by suffocation. It was he who, thumping the
table with an iron fist, had insisted vehemently that caged parrots
travelling in the rack should, if capable of speech, be compelled to pay
the full fare. It was he who effected one of the greatest economies that
the line had ever known by using rock-cakes which had served their term
of years in the refreshment-room as a substitute for the keys which hold
the metals of the permanent way in their chairs.

In the summer of 1914 he was about to adopt a patent device for
connecting the official notices in compartments with gramophones
concealed under the seats in such a way that when humourists had by dint
of much labour made the customary emendations, such as "IT IS DANGEROUS
"TO EAT FIVE PERSONS ONLY," a loud and merry peal of laughter should
suddenly hail the completed masterpiece.

Armageddon supervened, and the rest of Sir ERIC GEDDES' career is
history. When a new and sure hand was needed at the Admiralty, Mr. LLOYD
GEORGE was not long in making the only suitable choice. Sir ERIC GEDDES'
bluff hearty manner, positively smacking, despite his inland training,
of all that a viking ought to smack of, had long marked him out as the
ideal ruler of the King's Navy, and his name was soon known and feared
wherever the seagull dips its wing. Underneath the breezy exterior
lay an iron will, like a precipitate in a tonic for neurasthenia, and
scarcely had he boarded the famous building in Whitehall and mounted his
quarter-deck (Naval terms are always used at the Admiralty, the windows
being called "port-holes" and the staircases the "companion") than
victory began to crown the arms of the Senior Service.

But peace no less than war finds an outlet for the energies of the old
sea-dog, and the veriest hint of a railway strike finds him ready
with flotillas of motor lorries in commission and himself in his flag
char-à-banc, aptly named the Queen of Eryx, at their head. Lever,
marlin-spike or steering wheel, it is all one to the brain which can
co-ordinate squadrons as easily as rolling-stock, to the man who is now
sometimes known as the Stormy Petrol of the Cabinet. Yet even so the
sailor is strongest in him still. It is not generally known that Sir
ERIC has already cocked his weather eye at our inland waterways as an
auxiliary line of defence in case of need. Experience has taught him
that it is even now quicker to travel, let us say, from Boston (Lincs.)
to Wolverhampton, by river and canal than by rail, and the future may
yet see Thames, Trent and Severn churned to foam by motor barges of
incredible rapidity, distributing the nation's food supplies.

This is one of the things that the Ministry of Transport has, so to say,
up its sleeve, and is alone a sufficient answer to those who suggest
that this Ministry has outlived its hour. There is a grim Norse spirit
amongst its officials, inspired perhaps by their chieftain's name, and
already the plans for a first-class Pullman galley are under way. As

  "Never saw the wild North Sea
  Such a gallant company
      Sail its billows blue;
  Never, while they cruised and quarrelled,
  Old King Gorm or Blue Tooth Harold,
  Owned a ship so well apparelled,
      Boasted such a crew."


       *       *       *       *       *

    "Mr. P. G. H. Fender, the Surrey cricket captain who has gone
    out with the M.C.C. team to Australia, is preparing a book on
    the tour, for which he has chosen the title of 'Defending the
    Ashes.'"--_Weekly Paper._

Quite the proper function for a FENDER.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Tailor (to yokel who has brought suit back)._ "WHAT'S

_Yokel._ "OH, AY, THEY _FIT_ ALL RIGHT, BUT (_pointing to
BY UN."]

       *       *       *       *       *


  Once in a fold of the hill I caught them--
    All by my lone was I--
  Out on the downs one night in Autumn,
    Under a moonlit sky.

  There on a smooth little green rectangle
    Sparkled the lines of dew;
  Over the court with their wings a-spangle
    Four little fairies flew;

  Skeleton leaves in their hands for racquets
    (All in a ring around
  Brownies and elves in their bright green jackets
    Watched from the rising ground).

  Then, as I crept up close for clearer
    Sight of the Fairy Queen,
  _Oberon_, throned on a toadstool near her,
    Carolled out "Love fifteen."

  Over a net of the fairies' knitting
    (Fine-spun gossamer thread)
  Smallest of tiny puff-balls flitting
    Hither and thither sped.

  So for a minute I watched them, shrinking
    Low in the gorse-bush shade;
  Then, like a mortal fool unthinking,
    Shouted aloud, "Well played!"

  Right in the midst of an elfin rally
    Sudden I stood alone;
  Far away over the distant valley
    Fairies and elves had flown.

       *       *       *       *       *


  [From which will be perceived not only that telephonic communication
  exists between Fiume and Lucerne, but also that there is an easy way
  out of the difficulty with Greece if only the League of Nations will
  utilise the instrument that lies to their hand.]

  _D'Annunzio (testily)._ Hello, Lucerne! Hello! Is that the Greek KING?
              Confound this buzz! Is that you, TINO?

  _King Constantine._                                Speaking.
              What do you want? I'm packing up my grip.

  _D'Ann._    D'ANNUNZIO speaks. Attend the trumpet's lip.
              Snatching a few brief moments, CONSTANTINE,
              Out of my business morning--eight to nine,
              Composing epic poems; nine to one,
              Consolidating our position in the sun
              (Sweet Alexandrine!), breakfast, bath and post,
              A raid or two on the Dalmatian coast,
              Speeches, parades and promulgating laws
              Which, being published to my followers, cause
              Loud cries of "Author!" and sustained applause;
              Such is the round of toil that leaves not limp
              Fiume's favoured Pontifex et Imp.--
              I thought I'd ring you up.

  _King Con._                            Well, well, what is it?

  _D'Ann._    I hear you are proposing to revisit

  _King Con._         Well, if I am, what's that to you?

  _D'Ann._    This, that, whilst gazing at the local blue
              The other day, I hit upon the plan
              Of conquering the Mediterranean,
              Including the Ægean and the finer
              Portions, most probably, of Asia Minor,
              And holding them as provinces beneath
              Fiume and my own imperial wreath.

  _King Con._ Go on, then, dash you.

  _D'Ann._                           I shall soon begin;
              But I decline to have you butting in.
              Tyrants there still may be, but not the sort
              Discarded from a philo-Teuton Court;
              The tolerant warmth that sheds a kind of lustre
              Over a stout Ausonian filibuster
              Does not extend to thoroughly bad hats
              Like abdicated Hellene autocrats.
              And, if the Allies feel some slight reserve
              About resisting your confounded nerve,
              I, GABRIELE, do not.    You may be
              A kind of subject satrap under me;
              If not, look out.    You shall have cause to know
              The singing eagles of D'ANNUNZIO.

  _King Con._ I'll think it over.

  _D'Ann._                        Do so swiftly then;
              Meanwhile good morning; I must see some men--
              Also the Muse.  She waits upon my pen.
                                               [_Rings off._


       *       *       *       *       *

    "How many cocktails are there? 'William,' the mixer at the Royal
    Automobile lub, who was for eayrs at the Hotel ecil, states
    that he can produce some 70 varieties without repeating
    himself."--_Daily Paper._

And did the author of the above paragraph try them all?

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Towards the conclusion of the meeting Miss Dolly ---- sang the
    solo 'The City of Light' in a very able style, and, as Mr. ----
    mentioned in a vote of thanks, which he proposed, seconded and
    supported, to the Chairman, speaker, accompanist, and soloist,
    she excelled herself."--_Local Paper._

We understand that the Gasworkers' Union has remonstrated with the
orator on his excessive output.

       *       *       *       *       *


Brackley is a good fellow, but I loathe him.

How would you like it if you were tied to work and every now and then a
man came up to you in your club and said, "Old man, do come away with
me to the Pyrenees and shoot jummel," or "Can't you spare a month, old
fellow, to come stalking ibex in Montenegro with me?" or "Look here,
you're just the chap I want to run over to Alaska with me for a pot at
the grizzlies"?

Just a fortnight ago Brackley came and told me of a delightful rough
shooting he had rented in an obscure corner of Ireland. According to
him it was a congested snipe area. You could not see the pools for
wild-duck. The honking of wild-geese kept one awake at night. The
drawback to the estate was that you were always tripping over hares.

"You won't be safe there," I said to Brackley.

"I'm safe anywhere," said Brackley. "Work it on system. In Arabia send
the mullah a bottle of brandy. On the Continent stand the local mayor a
bottle of wine. In Ireland ask the priest up to drink whiskey with you
in the evening. So long as the authorities have their thirst relieved
there's never trouble. Now just come for a fortnight. There'll be crowds
of snipe. I'm told there are woodcock too."

I was adamant.

"Well," sighed Brackley, "I'll send you a card to say how I get on."

When his postcard arrived it ran:--

  "To-day--                               "_Ballinagrub._

    Ten brace snipe.          Four landrail.
    One brace partridge.      Three wild-duck.
    Nine hares.               One woodcock.

"What ho!"

Isn't that an aggravating card to get when you are deep in the most
elusive and trying chase of all--the money hunt?

I wrote Brackley a scornful postcard:--

"Go on with your baleful schemes. Wallow in slaughter. Roll in blood.
Devastate the district. As an honest hard-working Englishman I regard
you with utter contempt."

Three days later Brackley slapped me on the back in our club.

"What are you doing here?" I said. "Don't tell me the snipe have gone on

"All your fault," he grumbled. "About half-an-hour after I got your
infernal postcard six outsize Republican soldiers called on me and gave
me just ten minutes to get a car and drive to the station. I told them
what a silly fool you were and that it was one of your wretched jokes;
but you can't expect an Irishman to see a joke. I tried to explain it; I
said that you referred to my exploits as a sniper; and they replied that
sniping was their department and nobody else's.

"So I decided to come home and arrange for some shooting in a place
where there's a bit of peace. I'm thinking of going after the ongdu
antelopes in Somaliland. You can't spare three months, can you?"

"Why didn't you face it out?" I said, knowing that Brackley had spent
four years and two months of his life shooting Huns.

"Not worth while. I could have had a guard, of course. But you can't
expect decent snipe-shooting when there's a lot of promiscuous firing
going on in the district. The snipe is a peculiarly nervous bird, you

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Porter._ "DO YOU WANT TO SIT NEXT TO ONE ANOTHER, OR

       *       *       *       *       *


  [The Vice-Chairman of No. 1 Committee of the League of Nations,
  dealing with general organisation, is Mr. WELLINGTON KOO, the
  distinguished Chinese diplomatist.]

  Serene and Celestial Sage,
    How well you revive and renew
  The delights of an age when good "Bab" was the rage--

  For I feel, though I may be a fool,
    You were reared in remote Rum-ti-Foo,
  Maybe suffered at school its episcopal rule--
    Tolerant WELLINGTON KOO.

  Next I see you adorning the scene
    In the city of fair Titipu,
  Garbed in green and in gold, very fine to behold--
    Sumptuous WELLINGTON KOO.

  Then you probably met _Captain Reece_
    And all his affectionate crew,
  Who knew no decrease of their comfort and peace--
    Nautical WELLINGTON KOO.

  _Clonglocketty Angus McClan_
    I fear was withheld from your view;
  That unfortunate man was not fated to scan
    Fortunate WELLINGTON KOO.

  But my reason instinctively tells
    It was you who contrived to imbue
  With his knowledge of spells _John Wellington Wells_--

  "Morality, heavenly link,"
    I'm sure you will never taboo,
  Though to it I don't think you'll "eternally drink"--
    Temperate WELLINGTON KOO.

  It is rather malicious, I own,
    To play with a name that is true,
  But I hope you'll condone my irreverent tone--
    Generous WELLINGTON KOO.

       *       *       *       *       *


    Some archdukes have become clerks, and many have become
    governesses and ladies' maids."--_Tasmanian Paper._

For these last two posts, their archness would, we think, be an
irresistible qualification.

       *       *       *       *       *


    540 Hours Working Week.

    Extra pay at special rates for any time worked in excess of
    ordinary working hours."

    _Provincial Paper._

The generous provision for "overtime" makes the above offer unusually

       *       *       *       *       *


(_That is, if the House of Commons were like our School Debating
Society--as indeed it is--and if its proceedings were reported with the
incisive brevity of our School Magazine--and why not?_)

On Wednesday the Society held its 2,187th meeting. There was some
regrettable rowdiness during Private Business, and A. MOSELEY
(Collegers) had to be ejected for asking too many questions. Members
must not bring bags of gooseberries into the debates.

In Public Business the motion was:--

"_That in the opinion of this House Science is better than Sport._"

D. LLOYD GEORGE, Proposer (School House), said that Science had won the
War, and quoted Wireless Telegraphy and Daylight Saving to prove this.
The most successful Generals had had a scientific training. His uncle
had met a General who knew algebra and used it at the Battle of the
Marne. Only two first-class cricketers had ever been in the Cabinet.
Three scientists had. The earth went round the sun. The moon went round
the earth. Rivers flowed into the ocean.

    An improving speaker, who is inclined to be carried away by his
    enthusiasm. Too many metaphors.

H. ASQUITH, Opposer (Collegers), said that the speech of the hon.
Proposer was a tissue of fabrications, as ineffective as they were
insincere. Never in the whole course of his career had he encountered a
subterfuge so transparent, a calumny so shameless as the attempt of the
Hon. Prop., he might say the calculated and cynical attempt of the Hon.
Prop., to seduce from their faith the tenacious acolytes of Sport by
the now threadbare recital of the dubious and, on his own showing, the
anæmic enticements of Science. The War had proved that Science was no

    This speaker is steadily improving, but he has a tendency to a
    "fatal fluency," and he must beware of high-sounding phrases.
    Also too many passages in his speech sounded like quotations.

A. BONAR LAW, Seconder (Commoners), said that the War had proved that
Sport was no good. Gas had been invented by Science. He pointed out the
importance of astronomy in navigation.

    A rapidly improving speaker. But he must not mumble.

E. G. PRETTYMAN{most likely misprint for 'PRETYMAN' - see ESSENCE OF
PARLIAMENT below}(Hodgeites) said that farming was both a science and a
sport. The canal system of Great Britain had been neglected.

    Some neat little epigrams.

LESLIE SCOTT (Collegers) said that his father was a lawyer. Science had
been used in the Russo-Japanese War.

    This speaker was not at his best. Perhaps it was the

LESLIE WILSON (Hittites) said that his Christian name was the same as
the previous speaker's--(Laughter)--but his views were very different.
(Loud laughter.) He would like to ask the House which had done most in
the War--Tanks or Banks.

    The speech of the evening. Witty and well-argued. But he must
    not fidget with his waistcoat-buttons.

W. S. CHURCHILL (Hivites) said that this was a revolutionary motion.
Sport and Science must stand together. True sport was scientific and
true scientists were sportsmen. (Applause.) Together they would stand
as an imperishable bulwark against the relentless tide of Socialism.
Divided they would fall.

    A steadily improving speaker, but he must not recite.

H. A. L. FISHER (Collegers) was in favour of Proportional Education.

    He must not lecture.

E. GEDDES (Perizzites) said he did not mind what game he played. Rugger,
Soccer, Hockey, Cricket, Lacrosse, Rounders--he was equally at home with
all of them.

    An improving speaker. He must not speak at the roof; there is no
    one there.

F. BANBURY (Sittites) must not go on and on.

A. MOND (Moabites) must not fidget with his feet.

H. D. KING (Hivites) said that sailing was scientific.

    He has not been heard before.

R. KENWORTHY (Day-boy) must not be heard again.

R. BRACE (Coalites) must not wheedle.

ADAMSON (Coalites) must not shout.

A. ADDISON (Collegers) was inaudible where we were.

E. CARSON (Jebusites) was inaudible everywhere. But we gather we did not
miss much. He must speak up.

W. BENN (Amalekites) was invisible.

A. BALFOUR (Stalactites) was insensible. But why not sleep in the

R. CECIL _mi._ (Parasites) must not preach.

J. DEVLIN (Meteorites) said that Ireland was a nation. But he must not
get excited.

R. CECIL _ma._ (Collegers) must not eat while he is speaking. Otherwise
a gentlemanly speech.

The President summed up and the Motion was carried by 12 votes to 11.

A. P. H.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: AN "IMPASSE" AT OUR HOTEL.


       *       *       *       *       *



       *       *       *       *       *


DEAR MR. PUNCH,--This is one of those social problems which end by
asking what A should do, only in this case I want to know what you would

It happened on the first day of my leave, just after I had, as is my
custom on this day, had my hair cut and otherwise made beautiful at a
place in Bond Street. (I am afraid this sounds as if I was a rich man,
but really I am a Naval Officer.)

I was wearing--well, that would not interest you, but it really was
rather a pleasant suit, with a hat which even _The Daily Mail_ could not
improve upon. Briefly, I was strolling along in a perfectly contented
frame of mind when a horse, drawing a van, chose to fall down right
alongside me.

In a moment of rashness and chivalry--have I said that the horse was
being driven by a girl?--I promptly sat on the brute's head, an act
which I had always been told is the correct thing to do, though, I
should imagine, discouraging for the horse.

In my haste I sat down with my back to the van, so was unable to gauge
the progress of the refitting work which was going on.

In an effort to convey to the crowd, which had, of course, collected,
that I was in no way embarrassed, nay more, that I was well accustomed
to sitting on horses' heads in the middle of Bond Street, I lit
a cigarette and tried to look _blasé_, no easy thing to do in the

Small boys made tactless remarks about my personal appearance and
eccentric habits, but I ignored them, feverishly thinking that this
adventure would necessitate an early visit to my club. I had just
decided what brand of cocktail would best meet the case when I felt a
tap on my shoulder and looked up at a vast blue expanse which I realised
later was a policeman.

"If you've quite finished with that there 'orse you're sitting on, young
man," he said, "the leddy wants to take it 'ome."

The crowd chuckled and I rose hurriedly. Unfortunately, so did the
horse, urged on, possibly by the cries and kicks of several willing
helpers, or possibly by the sight of his mistress, who had come up, I
hoped, to thank me.

Not only did the horse rise, but he rose at full speed and without
giving me time to get my foot off the rein on which I was unwittingly

My leg shot into the air and I lost all sense of direction for a few
seconds. Then a slight shock, and I found myself clasping the "leddy"
firmly round the neck.

At this juncture my aunt appeared.

My aunt, I should explain, is nothing if not dignified. She is built on
the lines of a monitor, bluff in the bow, broad in the beam, slow and
majestic of movement. Her lips were moving feebly when I saw her, but
she uttered no sound, uncertain, I suppose, whether to intervene or to
pretend that I was in no way connected with her.

Paralysed by her arrival, I saw her slowly take in the scene. Her eye
wandered from the policeman to me, from me to the unfortunate girl
to whom I still clung. I could see her jumping--no, moving
ponderously--towards the wrong conclusion.

Mr. Punch, what would you have done?

Yours faithfully, An N. O.

[Your first thought should have been for the girl, whom you had clearly
compromised in your aunt's eyes. You should at once have introduced her
to that lady as your long-lost _fiancée_. Later in the afternoon you
could have called on your relative and told her that you had mislaid the
girl again--this time irretrievably.--ED.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE FOLLY OF ATHENS.

ATHENA (_to her Owl_). "SAY 'TINO'!"


       *       *       *       *       *


_Monday, November 15th._--To induce the House of Lords to accept a
measure for the compulsory acquisition of land is analogous to the
process of getting butter out of a dog's mouth; and it is not surprising
that Lord PEEL essayed the task of getting a second reading for
an Acquisition of Lands Bill in rather gingerly fashion. When one
remembered a racy correspondence in the newspapers over certain
Midlothian farms one could hardly have been surprised if the Laird of
DALMENY had reappeared in the arena, flourishing his claymore. But,
alas! he still remains in retirement, and it was left to Lord SUMNER to
administer some sound legal thwacks and, in his own words, to "dispel
the mirage which the noble Viscount raised over the sand of a very arid
Bill." He did not oppose the Second Reading, but hinted that if ever it
emerged from Committee its own draftsman would not know it.{missing
period in original}

The PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF TRADE must regard Monday with rather mixed
feelings. That is the day on which Questions addressed to his Department
have first place on the Order-paper; and accordingly he has a lively
quarter-of-an-hour in coping with the contradictory conundrums of
Cobdenites and Chamberlainites. On the whole he treads the fiscal
tight-rope with an imperturbability worthy of BLONDIN. A Tariff
Reformer, indignant at the increased imports of foreign glass-ware,
provoked the query, "Does my hon. friend regard bottles as a
key-industry?" And a Wee Free Trader who sarcastically inquired if
foreign countries complained of our dumping cement on them at prices
much above the cost in this country was promptly told that "that is the
very reverse of dumping."

Sir DONALD MACLEAN was rewarded to-night for all his uphill work as
leader of the Wee Frees before--and since--Mr. ASQUITH'S reappearance.
On the Financial Resolution of the Ministry of Health Bill his eloquent
plea for the harassed ratepayers received an almost suspiciously prompt
response from Mr. BONAR LAW, who admitted that it was inconvenient to
drive an "omnibus" measure of this kind through an Autumn Session, and
intimated that thirteen of its clauses would be jettisoned. An appeal
from Lady ASTOR, that the Government should not "economise in health,"
fell upon deaf ears. Dr. ADDISON not only enumerated the thirteen doomed
clauses, but threw in a fourteenth for luck.


_Conductor ADDISON (to Driver LAW)._ "WHAT, YOU CAN'T GET 'OME BY

_Tuesday, November 16th._--I don't suppose Lord CREWE and the other
noble Lords who enlarged upon the theme "_Persicos odi_" expected to
embarrass the FOREIGN SECRETARY by their cross-questioning. Persia is
to Lord CURZON what "de brier-patch" was to _Brer Rabbit_. He has been
cultivating it all his life, and knows every twist and turn of its
complicated history, ancient and modern. The gist of his illuminating
lecture to the Peers was that our one aim had been to maintain Persian
independence with due regard to British interests, and that it now
rested with the Persians themselves to decide their own destiny.

[Illustration: BRER RABBIT{original had 'RABBBIT'} IN HIS ELEMENT.


Hopes of a relaxation of the passport restrictions were a little dashed
by Mr. HARMSWORTH'S announcement that the fees received for British
visas amounted to some fifty per cent. more than the cost of the staff
employed. The Government will naturally be loth to scrap a Department
which actually earns its keep.

The WAR MINISTER was again badgered about the hundred Rolls-Royces
that he had ordered for Mesopotamia. Now that we were contemplating
withdrawal was it necessary to have them? To this Mr. CHURCHILL replied
that the new Arab State would still require our assistance. A mental
picture of the sheikhs taking joy-rides in automobiles _de luxe_
presented itself to Mr. HOGGE, who gave notice that he should "reduce"
the Army Estimates by the price of the chassis. A little later Mr.
CHURCHILL came down heavily on an innocent Coalitionist who had
proffered suggestions as to the better safeguarding of the troops in
Ireland. "Odd as it may seem," he told him, "this aspect of the question
has engaged the attention of the military authorities."

In the course of debate on the Agricultural Bill, Mr. ACLAND hinted that
Sir F. BANBURY, one of its severest critics, was out of touch with rural
affairs. Whereupon Mr. PRETYMAN came to the rescue with the surprising
revelation that the junior Member for the City of London, in addition
to his vocations as banker, stockbroker and railway director, had on one
occasion carried out the functions of "shepherd to a lambing flock."
The right hon. Baronet, who is known to his intimates as "Peckham,"
will have Mr. PRETYMAN to thank if his _sobriquet_ in future is "Little

_Wednesday, November 17th._--The Lords, having welcomed the Bishop of
DURHAM--a notable addition to the oratorical strength of the Episcopal
Bench--proceeded to show that even the lay peers had not much to learn
in the matter of polite invective. Lord GAINFORD invited them to declare
that the Government should forthwith reduce its swollen Departmental
staffs and incidentally relieve our open spaces from the eyesores that
now disfigure them. Perhaps he laid overmuch stress upon the latter part
of his motion, for the Ministerial spokesman rode off on this line--Lord
CRAWFORD confessing that his artistic sensibility was outraged by these
"horrible hutments"--and said very little about cutting down the staffs.
This way of treating the matter dissatisfied the malcontents, who voted
down the Ministry.

The Front Opposition Bench in the Commons was almost deserted at
Question-time. Presently the appearance of Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY in
unusually festive attire furnished an explanation. After forty years of
bachelorship and four of fighting, WEDGWOOD BENN is Benedict indeed; and
his colleagues were attending his wedding-festivities.

[Illustration: AMOR TRIUMPHANS.

(_After the Pompeii mosaic._)


The SECRETARY TO THE ADMIRALTY has not yet attained to the omniscience
in Naval affairs that his predecessor acquired in the course of twelve
years' continuous occupancy of the post. But Sir JAMES CRAIG can handle
an awkward questioner no less deftly than "Dr. MAC." Witness his excuse
for not replying to a "Supplementary":--"The hon. and gallant gentleman
must understand that I attach so much importance to his questions that
I wish to be most punctilious in my answers." Who could persist after

Mr. BONAR LAW stated that the treaties by which Great Britain and France
were responsible for constitutional government in Greece came to an
end in August last. Consequently the two Powers have "a completely free
hand" in regard to the Greek Monarchy. But he begged to be excused from
saying in what manner that "free hand" would be used if TINO should
think of returning.

_Thursday, November 18th._--In the Lords the Acquisition of Land Bill
had most of its teeth drawn. Lord SUMNER was the most adroit of the many
operators employed, and he used no gas.

The usual dreary duel of Nationalist insinuation and Ministerial denial
in regard to Irish happenings was lightened by one or two interludes.
Mr. JACK JONES loudly suggested that the Government should send for
General LUDENDORFF to show them how to carry out reprisals. "He is no
friend of _mine_," retorted the CHIEF SECRETARY, with subtle emphasis.
Later he read a long letter from the C.-in-C. of the Irish Republican
Army to his Chief of Staff discussing the possibility of enlisting the
germs of typhoid and glanders in their noble fight for freedom. The
House listened with rapt attention until Sir HAMAR came to the pious
conclusion, "God bless you all." Amid the laughter that followed this
anti-climax Mr. DEVLIN was heard to ask, "Was not the whole thing
concocted in Dublin Castle?" Well, if so, Dublin Castle must have
developed a sense of humour quite foreign to its traditions. Perhaps
that is the reason why the PRIME MINISTER, earlier in the Sitting,
expressed the opinion that "things in Ireland are getting much better."

       *       *       *       *       *







  [Note.--The author is surprised, not to say pained, at the conspiracy
  of silence on the part of the daily Press, as a result of which he is
  left to write this matter up himself. However ...]

A sombre court-house of Quarter Sessions, the light with difficulty
penetrating the dusty panes of the windows. On the so-called Bench
sits the Bench so-called; in point of fact there are half-a-dozen ripe
aldermen sitting on chairs, in the midst of which is an arm-chair, and
in it Mr. Augustus Jones, the Recorder of Bilbury.

Born in 1873 of rich but respectable parents; called, with no uncertain
voice, to the Bar in 1894; of a weighty corpulence and stormy visage,
Mr. Jones now settles himself in his arm-chair to hear and determine
all this business about Absalom Adkins and the Boots. How admirably
impressive is Mr. Jones's typically English absence of hysteria, his
calm, his restfulness. Indeed, give Mr. Jones five minutes to himself
and it is even betting he would be fast asleep.

The Clerk of the Court with awful dignity suggests getting a move on.
Mr. Blaythwayte{original had "Blathwayte"} who, as well as Clerk of the
Court is also Town Clerk of Bilbury, was born in 1850 and, having
survived the intervening years, now demands the production of the
prisoner from below. Looking at this dignitary one gets the poetic
impression of a mass of white hair, white moustache, white whiskers,
white beard and white wig, with little bits of bright red face appearing
in between. From a crevice in one of these patches come the ominous
words, of which we catch but a sample or two: "... Prisoner at the bar
... for that you did ... steal, take and carry away ... pairs of boots
... of our Lord the King, his crown and dignity."

At this moment there arrives in court a sinister figure wearing the wig
and gown so much affected by the English Bar. Plainly a man of character
and of moment; obviously selected with great care for this highly
difficult and delicate matter. His features are sharp, clean-cut. One
feels that they have been sharpened and cut clean this very morning. In
his hand he holds the fateful brief, pregnant with damnatory facts. He
makes his way into the pen reserved "For Counsel only." The usher locks
him in for safety's sake.


    _Mr. Augustus Jones._ Recorder. Born in 1873.{missing period in

    _Mr. Joseph K. Blaythwayte._ Clerk of the Court. Born in 1850.

    _Absalom Adkins_, of uncertain age, supposed boot-fancier.

    _Our Lord the King_, whose peace, crown and dignity are reported
    to have been rudely disturbed by the alleged activities of
    Absalom Adkins.

Who is this strong silent man, this robed counsellor trusted with the
case of the Crown? Who is it? It is I! Born in the year--but if I'm to
tell my life story it's a thousand pounds I want. Make it guineas and
I will include portraits of self and relations, with place of birth,

The scenario (or do we mean the scene?) is now complete. Leading
characters, minor characters, chorus, supernumeraries and I myself
are all on the stage. Absalom Adkins, clad in a loose-fitting corduroy
lounge suit and his neck encased in a whitish kerchief, rises from his
seat. Mr. Jones, the Recorder, does much as he was doing before--nothing
in particular. Counsel for the prosecution re-reads his brief,
underlines the significant points, forgets that his pencil is a blue
one and licks it. On a side-table, impervious to their surroundings and
apparently unconcerned with their significance, sit the crucial boots.

"How say you, Absalom Adkins"--such the concluding words of the Clerk,
the finish of the prologue which rings up the curtain on this human
drama--"how say you? Are you guilty or not guilty?"

"Guilty," says Absalom, and that ends it.

       *       *       *       *       *

Later a large and enthusiastic crowd outside (had there been one) might
have seen a man with clean and sharp-cut features carrying a bag in
one hand and an umbrella in the other, stepping lightly on to a Bilbury
corporation tram, station bound. This is the counsel for the prosecution
(still me), his grave responsibilities honourably discharged, hurrying
back to the vortex of metropolitan life.

F. O. L.

       *       *       *       *       *


_Darby._ "EH, WHAT? WHAT'S 'E SAY, JOAN?"


       *       *       *       *       *

From a stores catalogue:--

    "THE ---- WRINGER.

    Guaranteed for one year--Fair wear and tear excepted."

There is always a catch somewhere.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "A consignment of Rumanian eggs has arrived in this country.
    This shipment, which is the first to arrive since the war closed
    this source of supply in 1914, consists of 100 cases, each
    containing 1914 eggs."--_Scots Paper._

Referring, we trust, to the number and not the vintage.

       *       *       *       *       *


    The Great Northern Railway Company.

    Allegro moderato } from String     }
    Notturno ....... } Quartet, No. 2, } Borodine.
                     }      in D       }


    _Daily Paper._

It is generally supposed that the company entertains the idea of
attempting to "soothe the savage breast" of the MINISTER OF TRANSPORT.

       *       *       *       *       *


_I met a philosopher the other day--he is not a philosopher by
profession, but an architect--who told me that, when annoyed by the
anomalies and petty red-tape restrictions of life or irritated by
incompetence and incivility, or even when he feels that he can amend
somebody else's error or propose an improvement, it is his habit to
write a letter expressing his indignation or embodying his suggestions._

_After remarking that he must be kept very busy I asked him what kind of
replies he got._

"_Oh, I don't get any replies," he said, "because, you see, I don't send
the letters; I only write them and then I tear them up._"

_This is how I knew that he was a philosopher._

_I propose to take to philosophy myself._

       *       *       *


DEAR SIR,--(You must understand, as must all the people that I address
in these epistles, that by "dear" I do not necessarily imply any
affection. I employ the word because I am too old to care about breaking
down harmless conventions; but I might claim in the present connection
that it has more than one meaning. That indeed you will see, if you read
on, is the main point of this letter.)--Dear Sir, then, you may remember
me. I am the fare who hailed you on your rank at the corner of Fulham
Road and Drayton Gardens last Tuesday evening at a quarter to six, and
told you to drive to the Marble Arch. You put down the flag and then
jumped off the box to wind up the starter. It failed, and after several
attempts you had to examine the machinery. I suppose that six minutes
were occupied in this way, whether because you are a bad mechanic or a
careless fellow or because the engine is defective, I cannot say; all
I know is that I was in a hurry and that the flag was down, but we were
not moving. If you had not put the flag down I should have got out and
taken another cab; but I felt that that would be unfair to you. When,
however, at the end of the journey I paid you without adding any tip,
and you received the money with an offensive grunt, I wished that I had
been less considerate.

It is because nothing that I could have said then, in your horrid
hostile mood, would have convinced you that there is any injustice to a
fare at all in putting down your flag before you are properly started,
that I am writing this letter. My hope is that quiet perusal may
demonstrate that the fare has, at any rate, a grain of logic on his side
if he looks upon himself as defrauded. We don't, you know, take your
cabs for the joy of sitting in them, or for the pleasure of watching you
struggling with a crank, but to be conveyed quickly from place to place.
It is wrong to ask us to pay for the time spent by you in persuading
your engine to behave, and it is indecent to become abusive when we act
on that assumption. If I had not been so busy I should have refused to
pay at all and forced you to summon me; but who has time for such costly
formalities? And I might have had to lose my temper, which I have not
done (much) since I read an article by a doctor saying that every such
loss means an abbreviation of life. Life in a world made fit for heroes
may not be any great catch, but it is better, at any rate, than
passing to a region where one is apparently liable to be in constant
communication with mediums.

One other thing. I have just returned from Paris, where, amid much that
is unsatisfactory and besmirched by Peace, taxis remain trustworthy and
plentiful. The price marked on the meter is that which the fare pays,
and any number of persons may ride in the cab without extra charge.
Nothing exceeds my scorn for the English taxi-driver who demands another
ninepence for an additional passenger, even though only a child--nothing
except my scorn for the cowardly official who conceded this monstrous

       *       *       *


DEAR SIR,--May I implore you to authorise the instant removal of the
buildings in the St. James's Park lake? During the War we who find on
the suspension bridge, looking West, the most beautiful late afternoon
view in London, were content to endure the invasion. But we have passed
the second Armistice Day, and still the huts remain, and still there is
no water, and still the enchanted prospect is denied us. After all,
this lake is part of London, and London ratepayers should be entitled to
their city's beauties as well as its necessities.

       *       *       *


MY DEAR,--I want you to be a little more merciful. The other day, when
your father, over the eggs and bacon, was reading out the news from
Greece, with the defeat of VENIZELOS, you said lightly that exile didn't
matter very much because VENIZELOS was a very old man. You then returned
to the absorbing occupation of identifying Society people, reading from
left to right. Now VENIZELOS is fifty-five years of age, and I cannot
allow the term "very old" to be applied to him without protest; I am too
nearly his contemporary. "Getting on," if you like, "mature," "ripe,"
but not "very old." You must keep that phrase for the people who--well,
who _are_ very old.

       *       *       *


DEAR SIR,--When I came to put on the collar that I bought from you
yesterday (I am the tallish customer who takes sixteen and a half by two
and was in a hurry to get home to dress) I found that your young man's
finger-marks were on it. Why don't you make your assistants wear gloves
when they handle collars?

       *       *       *


YOUR FAR-FROM-SERENE GLOOMINESS,--Won't you one day be a little
cheerful, and wrong? Won't you send out a lifeboat to the wreck instead
of watching her through your smoked field-glasses as she sinks? What you
seem to forget is that most people at times are their own Gloomy
Deans: some of us too often; and there can be too much of a good thing.
Hopelessness butters no parsnips and it is a mood not to be encouraged
or the world would be as bad as we then think it. Gloomy-deaniness,
though salutary for brief intervals, should be sparingly indulged in;
but you are at it all the time. There is a Chinese proverb which says,
"If you can't smile don't open a shop;" and, after all, St. Paul's
Cathedral is in a manner of speaking a kind of shop, isn't it?--the
goods, at any rate, should be obtainable there. The phrase "there is no
health in us" does not constitute the whole liturgy. Down with facile
optimists by all means, but, my dear Sir----

E. V. L.

       *       *       *       *       *



  The ermine is not quite as grand as he sounds;
  As a rule he is shot if he comes in the grounds;
  You have seen him about by the mulberry-tree,
  Though I very much doubt if you knew it was he.

  He is shot with a gun and hung up by the throat,
  For the ermine, my son, is the same as the stoat;
  So when Auntie has got just a little more ermine
  You can tell her (or not) she is covered with vermin.

A. P. H.

       *       *       *       *       *


    "Col. ---- was unable to be present, and altogether the event
    was highly successful."

    _Local Paper._

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _First Pugilist._ "YOU'RE STANDING ON MY FOOT."



       *       *       *       *       *


_November 20th._--I have been much struck this morning by a remarkable
instance of protective mimicry on the part of a grey squirrel, which
assumes attitudes and adopts gestures which at a little distance render
him almost indistinguishable from a small monkey. WHITE'S _Selborne_
throws no light on this strange phenomenon, which I can only explain as
a result on the animal world of the now fashionable _Tarzan_ cult, which
so happily reconciles the old hostility between apes and angels.

Of the habits and customs of the hedgehog mention has already been made
in these notes. It may be added that the whistle which these interesting
creatures emit from time to time resembles the _timbre_ of a muted
piccolo, and their employment in a mixed orchestra is well worth the
consideration of our younger and more enterprising composers. Another
animal which shares with the hedgehog the defensive faculty of rolling
itself up in a ball is the "pill millipede," a myriopod with seventeen
pairs of legs, but fortunately exempt from the necessity of wearing
trousers, which at present prices would impose an exorbitant demand on
its resources.

As winter draws on the evolutions of birds great and small are a
never-ending source of surprise and delight. Many hooded crows are now
to be seen consorting with the rooks in the field and swelling the
sable multitude that flies at evensong towards the park trees. And great
congregations of plovers, curiously self-sufficing in their ability
to dispense with the services of any feathered parson, lend colour and
subconscious uplift to marshland scenes, which would otherwise look
extremely _triste_.

Small indigenous birds, such as titmice, chipmunks, pipits and
squinches, are constantly seen in coveys or even bevies just now. A
party of pipwinks visited my copse yesterday afternoon, and indulged in
delicious _morceaux_ of melody before the red sun sank starkly below the

As long as the weather remains open I find it a good plan to plant
flowers and shrubs which bloom in the spring. Proticipation is a
cardinal asset in the outfit of the judicious gardener, and no
time should be lost in completing the spring beds, as the cost of
hair-mattresses is going up by leaps and bounds.

       *       *       *       *       *


  There are decimal dots which we can't do without
  In spite of Lord RANDOLPH'S historical flout;
  There are dots too, with dashes combined, in the mode
  Familiar in Morse's beneficent code;
  While some British parents good reasons advance
  In favour of "_dots_" as they're managed in France.
  But as for the writers disdainful of plots
  Who pepper their pages with plentiful dots,
  They must not complain if the critics of prose
  Disapprove of a practice which savours of pose,
  And, searching around for an adequate [Greek: hoti],
  Proclaim it a sign of a brain that is dotty.

       *       *       *       *       *

From an article on "Back to Germany":--

    "The quiet, old-fashioned restaurants, where in the old days I
    have seen field-marshals' batons hanging up in the cloak-room,
    know them no more."--_Daily Paper._

Nowadays the German Field-Marshal takes his baton into the dining-room
to stir his soup.

       *       *       *       *       *



Even before the era of Prohibition (there were cocktails in this play)
strange things must have happened in "God's own country" under the
banner of the Bird of Freedom. But never so strange as the effects you
get on the stage when very English people play at being Americans. You
have to be rather young and unsophisticated if such phrases as "He's
putting it over on us," or "I'm not going to stand for that," generously
peppered about the dialogue and recited in the purest of English
accents, can persuade you to believe that you are getting the real
local stuff. At the same time you accept cheerfully the most farcical
conditions on the vague assumption that all things may be possible over

So, when _John W. Brook_, of Fifth Avenue, millionaire, engaged the
services of _Alexander Y. Hedge_, plenipotentiary representative of an
Efficiency Company, to introduce economic reforms into his motherless
household during his temporary absence, we regarded it as a most
reasonable experiment. And for a time it made excellent fun. But after
a while it began to wear thin for lack of fresh stimulus, and by the
end of the Second Act there was a general feeling in the audience that
something would have to be done about it.

The same thought seems to have occurred to Mr. CYRIL HARCOURT, the
author, and he started, a little late in the day, to introduce an
element of sex-romance into what so far had been an absolutely bloodless
proposition. But at first it was with sinister intent that _Brook's_
elder daughter made advances to _Alexander Y. Hedge_. As soon as she
could induce this monster of inhumanity to become a prey to her charm
she would repulse him with scorn, and then he would have to go.

The children's allowances having been cut off on the ground that
they did nothing to earn them, she offered her services as his paid
secretary. "Propinquity" did its work and she was soon in a position
to offer him the privilege of an experimental kiss, thus incidentally
justifying the dreadful title of the play.

The first, delivered on the cheek, was a wash-out; but the second,
pressed home on the lips, had the desired effect. Then she turned and
rent him, telling him exactly what she thought of his treatment of the
family. He replied with an eloquent philippic directed at the vices of
a bloated aristocracy (this was the ante-bellum age, before things had
been made so much safer for democracy). Almost before the applause of
the gallery had died down, the father burst upon the scene, furious
at the report that this hired commercial had been making love to his

Explanations follow which appease his wrath, and he is further mollified
by the statement that the Master of Efficiency had cut down the expenses
of his _ménage_ by some nineteen thousand dollars. But why, when his
feats of economy had all the time been the matter of his offence in the
children's eyes, the announcement of the total should have favourably
affected the girl's heart I cannot say, and I don't think anybody else
can. Yet the fact remains that the next moment she undertakes to marry
the object of her previous loathing.

To have arrived naturally at such an end would have meant a couple more
Acts, in which the man _Hedge_ might have had time to live down the
evil effects of his efficiency. But with so much economy in the air the
author appears to have caught the infection of it and economised in his
processes to save our time. That is the kindest excuse I can find for

As for the moral, it would seem to be that, if (as is more than
probable) you have no copy of the works of ARISTOTLE in your Fifth
Avenue library, and imagine, never having heard of the happy mean,
that virtue lies in one of two excesses--an excess of idle luxury or an
excess of efficiency--the former is the one to choose.

Mr. DONALD CALTHROP as _Hedge_ bore the burden of the play with a
high hand that had a very sure touch. It was extraordinary with what
alertness and confidence he commanded every situation--except, of
course, the absurd climax which nobody could hope to handle. Mr. C. V.
FRANCE, as the English butler (ex-clergyman) who had taken a long
time to learn how to disfigure his aspirates (out of deference to the
American legend), gave a very fresh and attractive performance. Some of
the best things in the dialogue--not always very humorous--were given
to little _Alice Brook_ (aged 14), one of those precocities for which
America has always held the world's record. I don't know, and should not
think of asking, Miss ANN TREVOR'S age, but she looked to me a little
old for the part of this child, however precocious. Miss MARJORIE GORDON
played with intelligence as the elder sister, but never for a moment
suggested a New York atmosphere. Indeed she adopted just the mincing
kind of speech which out there is held to bewray the "Britisher." The
only performance that made any real pretence of being American was that
of Mr. TURNBULL as the manager of the Efficiency Company.


_Horace, the Butler_ (MR. C. V. FRANCE) lengthens his stride in
obedience to

_Alexander Y. Hedge_ (MR. DONALD CALTHROP).]

Still, after all, local colour is no great matter so long as you get
some recognisable aspect, though farcically presented, of human
nature; but the trouble with this play is that while our sense of the
probabilities is never too much outraged so long as the chief character
is just a piece of inhuman machinery, the author lapses into the
incredible the moment he tries to introduce a little humanity into his
scheme. However, I have perhaps taken things too seriously, instead of
being properly grateful for some very good entertainment.

O. S.

       *       *       *       *       *


    "Miss ---- takes Orders for Knitted Skirts, Jerseys, and Hats to
    match. Also, Gent.'s Cardigan Coats and Hand-Painted Blouses."

    _Scots Paper._

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The Rev. W. E. ---- based the subject of his discourse on 'The
    Foolish Virgins.' A large number were present."

    _South African Paper._

We trust they were edified.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The discovery of Saturn's rings was made by Galileo in 1610
    through his little refractory telescope."--_Welsh Paper._

The difficulty with this kind of instrument is to make it shut up.

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *


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

Inevitably one's first thought on sighting _A Naval History of the War_
(HODDER AND STOUGHTON) is that he must be a brave skipper indeed who
would take out a lone ship, however excellently found, to cruise such
controversial waters. But Sir HENRY NEWBOLT is an experienced hand,
and, though (so to speak) one finds him at times conscious of Sir
JULIAN CORBETT on the sky-line, he brings off his self-appointed task
triumphantly. To drop metaphor, here is a temperate and clearly-written
history, midway between the technical and the popular, of a kind
precisely suited to the plain man who wishes a comprehensive _résumé_
of the course of the War at sea. For this purpose its arrangement is
admirable, the story being presented first in a general survey under
dates, then in special chapters devoted to episodes or aspects, e.g.,
Coronel and the Falklands (that unmatchable drama of disaster and
revenge), the submarines and their countering, and finally Jutland.
Throughout, as I have said, Sir HENRY, having one of the best stories
in the world to tell, is at pains to avoid anything that even remotely
approaches fine writing. Only once have I even detected the literary
man, when, in describing the strange finish of the _Königsberg_,
he permits himself the pleasure of calling it "the sea fight in the
forest." For the rest, the "strength and splendour" of England's
greatest naval war are left to make their own impression. I shall be
astonished if such a book, having figured brilliantly as a present
this Christmas, is not treasured for generations as a work of family
reference in hundreds of British homes.

       *       *       *

The name of Mrs. BELLOC LOWNDES on the outside would alone have made me
open _From the Vasty Deep_ (HUTCHINSON) with a pleasant anticipation of
creepiness, even without the generous measure of bogies depicted on the
coloured wrapper. Having now read the story, I am bound to add (and
I can only hope that Mrs. LOWNDES will take my admission for the
compliment that it really is) that the net result has been one of slight
disappointment. Briefly, I continue to prefer the writer as a criminal,
rather than a psychic, "Fat Boy." After all, once grant your ghost and
anyone can conjure it, with appropriate circumstance, at the proper
moments. Wyndfell Hall was full enough of ghosts, all ready to appear at
the voluntary or involuntary instance of a young lady named _Bubbles_,
who was one of the Christmas house-party and the owner of a rather
uncomfortable gift of spook-raising. But beyond making themselves an
occasional nuisance to the guests I couldn't find that the phantoms did
anything practical to help along such plot as there was. Even the quite
palpable fact that the host was at least a double murderer came to
proof by the ordinary process of law rather than by any supernatural
revelation. Before this I have gratefully owed to Mrs. LOWNDES the
raising of my remaining hairs like quills upon the fretful porcupine,
but the ca'-canny bogies of her present story are too perfunctory to
excuse even a shiver in any but the most unsophisticated reader.

       *       *       *

It may, I suppose, be accounted for righteousness to Major-General Sir
ARCHIBALD ANSON that in _About Others and Myself_ (MURRAY) he is so
little of an egotist as to convey scarcely any impression of what manner
of man he is or what he thinks of this or that. Much more clear from her
quoted letters is the character of his grandmother, who vainly tried
to keep the over-gallant First Gentleman of Europe out of mischief. Our
autobiographer gives us a plain, blunt, not to say bald record of what
must have been an interesting life. He was at Eton under KEATE; a cadet
at Woolwich, where he saw a gunner receive two hundred lashes; a gunnery
subaltern in the Crimea, where he saw many queer and unedifying things;
a successful administrator in Madagascar, Mauritius and Penang, and
finally Governor of the Straits Settlements, with a K.C.M.G. and
honourable retirement to follow. But he is a man of action rather than
words, and his faculty of observation is but too often exercised upon
such slender matters as that "Poor Captain Powlett met with a misfortune
on the way to Kedah. His servant laid the dinner things on the deck
of the gunboat, then went below for something and, coming up again,
accidentally walked into the middle of the crockery and glass,
causing considerable destruction." Also, I think he quotes
his testimonials--those never very candid and always very dull
documents--much too freely. The best of the book is concerned with his
administration work in Penang and district, where on the evidence he
seems to have kept his end up with skill and no small zeal for good

       *       *       *

The title of Lady (LAURA) TROUBRIDGE'S new novel, _O Perfect Love_
(METHUEN), applies to her V. C. hero only; with his wife it is a case of
O Very Imperfect Love. _Jean Chartres_ is a common product of the age,
the sort of girl that insists on "having a good time" and "living her
life" and "being herself" (how well one knows the jargon!). Less common,
let us hope, is the woman who would desert her husband, as _Jean_ did,
because the injuries he had received in the War prevented him from
giving her the kind of life for which she craved. Foolish rather than
vicious, she drifts into a relationship which could have had only one
conclusion, if her lover, tiring of platonics, had not prematurely
pressed his demands. Thoroughly scared by his violence she runs away
and finds sanctuary with the "perfect love" of the title. In this happy
solution she had better fortune than she deserved. It is not every woman
who has the good luck, when rushing blindly out of the House of Peril
into the wintry night (in a ball-dress), to find--what had apparently
escaped _Jean's_ memory for the moment--that her faithful husband's
estate is in the immediate neighbourhood. Though Lady TROUBRIDGE'S sense
of style is not impeccable she can tell a good tale; her dialogue rings
true and her characters are well observed. The trouble with most authors
of Society novels is that either they know their subject but can't
write, or that they can write but know nothing of their subject. Lady
TROUBRIDGE is one of the very few writers in this kind who both know
their world and how to portray it.

       *       *       *

Mr. B. BENNION follows the vogue for confidentially descriptive covers
in announcing, as a title to his volume of angling reminiscences, that
_The Trout are Rising in England and South Africa_ (LANE) and suggesting
that here is "a book for slippered ease." One is certainly warned not
to expect anything very strenuous in its course, and indeed so placidly
flow its waters that few, perhaps, but devotees of the craft will
follow it to the end. Not but what there are metaphorical trout in it,
too--enticing descriptions of bits of rivers, for instance--but on the
whole they are easy-going fish that come to bank without showing very
much sporting spirit. Here is no manual of precise information, though
even old fishermen may gather a hint or two; nor yet a guide-book to the
trout-streams of two continents; not even a collection of good stories,
though anyone may come across some old friends in it. The author's yarns
indeed are numerous and, on the whole, as an angler's yarns should be,
picturesque. If he does seem to enjoy the rather feeble joke or incident
as much as the other sort, that may be natural in a book of ease,
whether slippered or not. Indeed one half suspects it is as a book for
his own ease that the writer is mainly considering it, yet, taken in the
right spirit and especially if you are an enticer of trout, it may
be for your ease too. Of course, if you are not an angler and if your
spirit is not right, the slipper may not fit.

       *       *       *

In the course of a long study of detective fiction I have never met
any sleuths with a gift of loquacity like that of _Messrs. Corson_ and
_Gibbs_, who during the first part of _In the Onyx Lobby_ (HODDER AND
STOUGHTON) make futile efforts to trace the murderer of _Sir Herbert
Binney_, proprietor of Binney's Buns. _Sir Herbert_ had gone to New York
to persuade his nephew to become the manager of an American branch of
a Binney Bun factory, and, on returning late at night to his
apartment-house, was stabbed to death. Fortunately Miss CAROLYN WELLS
seems to have grown as tired of them as I did, and they give way to one
_Pennington Wise_ (whose name did not prepossess me in his favour) and
his assistant, _Zizi_. This couple have the authentic sleuth-touch, and
their detection of those implicated in the murder is a very ingenious
piece of work. There is so much padding in this book that if _Sir
Herbert_ had worn a tithe of it no stabber could even have scratched
him; but with judicious skipping it will wile away two or three idle
hours. And, as I said, the solution is a really skilful piece of work.

       *       *       *       *       *



       *       *       *       *       *

Extract from an account of the unveiling of the portrait of Mr. ----,

    "It was a happy idea to unveil the portrait in a darkened room."

    _Local Paper._

But after the LEVERHULME-JOHN episode we ought to have been told whose
was the happy idea, the artist's or the sitter's?

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