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Title: Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 159, October 27, 1920
Author: Various
Language: English
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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.

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PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.

VOL. 159


October 27, 1920.


CHARIVARIA.


Some idea of the evils consequent on a coal strike can be obtained when
we hear there was talk of a football match in the North having to be
cancelled.

* * *

Mr. Lloyd George is certainly most unlucky. As a result of the coal
strike the New World has again been postponed.

* * *

We are assured that everything has been done to safeguard our food
supply. We ourselves have heard of one grocer who has sufficient fresh
eggs to last him for many months.

* * *

"Large numbers of South Wales miners left by train yesterday for the
seaside," says _Lloyd's News_. Unfortunately they did not travel by the
Datum Line.

* * *

The Opera House at Covent Garden is to be used as a cinema theatre.
Meanwhile the House of Commons remains firm.

* * *

_The Daily Mail_ Prize Hat has now been chosen, though it is not yet
definitely decided whether the wearing of it will be made compulsory. If
it is, we understand that Mr. Winston Churchill will apply for
exemption.

* * *

Thieves have broken into the railway station at Blaenau Festiniog and
stolen a quantity of chocolate. Apparently with the idea of confusing
the police, they left the name of the station behind them.

* * *

Twenty-one persons have been injured as the result of the explosion of a
bomb in a first-class carriage on the Brazil Central Railway. The
culprit, we understand, has written to the company expressing regret,
but pointing out that no seat was available in a third-class carriage.

* * *

A ship's cook has been fined twenty shillings for refusing to join his
ship, his excuse being that he had seen a rat as big as a cat in the
cabin. It was pointed out to him that only ship's officers are entitled
to see rats in the cabin.

* * *

A company has been formed at Stockholm for storing wind power. There
should be a great demand for the insides of some puff pastry that we
know of.

* * *

An American has invented an aeroplane capable of remaining in the air
for hours and hours. This is nothing to Mr. Asquith's Irish solution,
which is guaranteed to remain in the air for years and years.

* * *

Brides are getting rather tired of Harris's lilies, says a writer in
_The Daily Graphic_. It is only natural that brides should become rather
bored if they always wear the same sort of flowers every time they're
married.

* * *

Mr. E. Van Ingen, a New York merchant now in London, boasts that he has
crossed the Atlantic one hundred and sixty-eight times. It may be
against the Prohibition laws, but we fancy it would be cheaper if he
kept a few bottles of the stuff in New York.

* * *

A medical man advises people to use dried milk on health grounds. We
have felt for some time that what was wanted was a really good
waterproof milk.

* * *

Mr. E. A. Douse has spent forty-two years in a Cheshire post-office. It
is only fair to say that the young lady behind the counter didn't notice
him standing there all that time.

* * *

A Hertfordshire farmer, says _The Daily Mail_, has counted one hundred
and twenty-three grains of wheat in one ear. Our contemporary has not
yet decided what can be done about it.

* * *

"What is the right age for a man to marry?" asks Miss Gertie
Wentworth-James. The answer is, Not yet.

* * *

While addressing a meeting of miners an extremist declared that the idle
rich were the cause of all industrial troubles. It has since been
reported that several of the audience immediately proceeded home and
told themselves off in front of a mirror.

* * *

We understand that the miners greatly desire that Ireland will remain
quiet for a short period, and thus refrain from distracting public
attention from their cause.

* * *

"Lord Northcliffe," says _The New York World_, "is always in advance of
public opinion." This is a fitting rejoinder to those who tell us that
he is always behind _The Times_.

* * *

We cull the following from a speech of Senator Harding: "As I note the
cornfields I am reminded that we still plough the land and plant and
cultivate the fields in order to grow crops." We would remind the
Senator that, with the Elections drawing daily nearer, the habit of
making such sweeping and unguarded statements as the above is extremely
dangerous.

* * *

We advise all readers to stick to their own particular newspaper, as a
sudden change might upset the "net sales" which are being so carefully
compiled at the present moment.

* * *

The up-to-date song-writer, says a musical journal, must strike a sad
and soulful note this season. We are already engaged in writing "The
Scotsman's Farewell to his Corkscrew."

* * *

A theatrical writer informs us that _The Laughing Husband_ will be
revived this year. Not in our suburb, unless the cost of living drops
considerably.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Betty._ "Grandma, I Know My Twelve Times."

_Grandma._ "Do You, Dear? Well, What Are Twelve Times Thirteen?"

_Betty._ "Don't Be Silly, Grandma. There Isn't Such A Thing."]

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The modern Hydra, embracing innumerable adverse factors, would
    appear at least as many headed as the ancient, for as fast as one is
    more or less effectively decapitated up comes another to upset the
    applecart."

    _Financial Paper._

Classical students will, of course, remember how cleverly Hercules made
use of this habit of the Hydra to secure the apples of the Hesperides.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE DINING GLADIATOR;

OR, WAR TO THE KNIFE (AND FORK).

(_Being further Extracts from a certain Diary._)

II.

WROTE an even better article than ever, on indigestion as a determining
factor in national _moral_. Pointed out how important it is, if we are
to think coolly, that we should eat discreetly. Sufficiently, of course,
but with thought.

At the Tribunal all the afternoon, busily combing out.

To the Hippodrome in the evening. A most diverting show.

* * *

NORTHCLIFFE is becoming impossible and I must find another paper.
Several of my best commas cut out of to-day's article. All reference to
the necessity for immediately beheading ASQUITH omitted yesterday. Was
comforted by lunch at the Carlton with DORIS KEANE, GERTIE MILLAR and
SCATTERS. We had some good jokes.

* * *

The news of my resignation from _The Times_ has set my telephone ringing
all the morning with congratulations, requests for interviews and offers
of employment. Also some attractive invitations to dinner and week-ends.
The War for the moment seems to be forgotten. Wonderful, the power of
the printed word!

* * *

My first article in _The Morning Post_, distributing blame and praise
with my usual deadly accuracy. Wonder what poor NORTHCLIFFE is doing
without me.

* * *

Received long letter from HAIG asking for instructions, which I sent by
return.

Lunched at the Carlton with some charming musical-comedy actresses. To
the Tribunal after. Dined at the National Sporting Club and saw a good
fight.

* * *

A visit from an Italian personage of consequence, who told me that my
articles are the talk of Italy. If writing could win wars, he said, my
pen would have done it.

* * *

L. G. came up to Carryon Hall heavily masked. I gave him an excellent
dinner and some equally good advice, and he left much heartened.

* * *

Dined at Lady RANDOLPH'S. A merry crowd there. Every one very gay and
amusing; but we forgot that WINSTON was our hostess's son and castigated
him badly. Lady JULIET said that with some people, no matter what they
begin to talk about, even with Cabinet Ministers, it all comes back to
food.

* * *

Wrote a careful article pointing out that we must have at least one
hundred more divisions in the West before next Friday.

* * *

I was gratified to learn to-day that in consequence of my articles _The
Morning Post_ has doubled its circulation, while _The Times_ hardly
sells a copy.

* * *

Lunched with MASSINGHAM of _The Nation_, who eats more sensibly than he
writes.

In Paris. Saw CLEMENCEAU at the War Ministry. His table was littered
with papers and reports, amongst which he pointed out laughingly one of
my articles. I can't think why he laughed. Lunched at Voisin's.

* * *

Left for rapid tour of inspection to British H.Q. Found much to put
right. Issued an Order of the Day to soldiers of all ranks. The Germans,
hearing of my presence, made desperate attempts to bomb me, but failed.
Food at the Front not very alluring.

Yesterday's article, I learn, put the wind up the War Cabinet, and great
things may result. All my pleasure spoilt, however, by breaking a tooth
on a pellet in a Ritz grouse.

* * *

Visited the French H.Q. and was pleased with FOCH, whom I asked to run
over to Carryon when he was ever in any doubt. Sent home a powerful
article which, when it is reproduced in all the French papers, as it
will be, should encourage him and improve his position.

* * *

Dined at Lady RIDLEY'S. A very cheery party and much chaff. Mrs. ASQUITH
said that she was writing her reminiscences. I made no mention of my
diary, but if I don't get it out in book form before hers I'm not the
Colonel of the Nuts.

* * *

To-day's article should bring things to a head very shortly. Shall be
very glad when it is over and I can rest a little. Took some bicarbonate
of soda.

* * *

Armistice signed. Spent the day in a kind of triumphal procession from
restaurant to restaurant, at each of which I was hailed with applause.

* * *

Reached Versailles and let the news be known. A visible quickening up
already to be noted.

* * *

Sent for President WILSON, but something must have prevented his coming.
Lunched at Paillard's and dined at Larue's. Saw an amusing Palais Royal
farce.

* * *

_June 28th_, 1920.--Treaty of Peace, for which I have worked so long,
signed at last. Now I can utter my _Nunc Dimittis_, having accomplished
the two ends I had in view--to bring the first world War to a more or
less satisfactory finish and to make it dangerous for any but the deaf
and dumb to dine out.

E. V. L.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE LATE WORM

(_Being a correction of "A Ballad of the Early Worm," "Punch," October
6th_).

    OH ye whose hearts were rent with pain
      A few short weeks ago,
    Is it unkind to harp again
      Upon that tale of woe?

    You know the tale--in _Punch_, I mean--
      Pathetic every word;
    Three wormlets fought to stand between
      Pa and the Early Bird.

    You sorrowed for their non-success
      (By use of triple strength
    They saved their father's life--ah yes--
      But not his total length).

    You thought, of course--I know you did--
      That Father left his hole,
    A briskly virtuous annelid,
      To take an early stroll.

    Well, now just go and read a book
      Called _Vegetable Mould
    And Earthworms_ (DARWIN); if you look
      You'll find that you've been sold.

    It's not my own, it's DARWIN'S firm
      Authority I cite:
    _There never is an early worm;
      Pa had been out all night._

    He swaggered forth at eventide
      And stayed till dawn next day;
    For I will not attempt to hide
      That _worms behave that way._

    So pious folk like you and me
      Should not be filled with woe
    At thought of Father's tragedy;
      _His morals were so low._

       *       *       *       *       *

Our Courtly Contemporaries.

    "The Earl of Athlone walked away on foot, as is the simple way of
    our Royal Family." _Sunday Paper._

       *       *       *       *       *
"High-backed chair of Tudor period, about
1660."--_Advt. in Daily Paper._

We don't question its genuineness, but infer that it has been subjected
to Restoration.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Furnished House, consisting of dining, drawing, eight breakfast
    rooms, etc." _Sunday Paper._

Would suit a large family inclined to be short-tempered in the morning.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: A TOO-FREE COUNTRY.

ALIEN RIOTER. "DOWN WITH EVERYBODY!"

P.C. JOHN BULL. "WELL, WE'LL MAKE A START WITH YOU."]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: PEOPLE WE ADMIRE.

THE HERO WHO KEEPS UP HIS ARMY EXERCISES, STRIKE OR NO STRIKE.]

       *       *       *       *       *

A LETTER TO THE BACK-BLOCKS.

DEAR GINGER,--So you have bought a very promising little gold-mine from
a rollicking Irish nobleman called Patrick Terence O'Ryan, who is
retiring on Mayo to take up the paternal estates. H-m!--have you? And
you think you yourself will be retiring home presently on the proceeds
of the said mine? H-m! again. There is a certain familiarity in your
description of the gentleman. Tell me, has this Hibernian philanthropist
a slight squint, a broken nose and a tendency to lisp in moments of
excitement?

I think I see you nod.

Ginger, I once bought a mine from that man. His name was Algernon Maddox
Cholmondely _then_, and he was homeward bound to assume the ancestral
acres in Flint. He escorted me down the hole and displayed visible gold
sparkling all along the reef. A week after he had gone I found that he
had put it there with a shot-gun--an old "salter's" trick, but new to me
at the time. You are not likely to be seeing Patrick Algernon Terence
Maddox O'Ryan-Cholmondely again, but, if you should, remember me to him,
please--with the business end of a pick-axe. Always delighted to keep in
touch with old friends.

Ginger, _you never can tell_. This is not an original remark. One of our
brainy boys--George Bernard, unless I err--thought of it before I did;
went away into the wilderness, wrapped his grey-matter in wet Jaeger
bandages, subsisted on a diet of premasticated grape-nuts and produced
this aphorism. And there's a world of truth in it, my son. You certainly
never can.

One fine morning last August (yes, there was _one_), I stepped out of my
diggings in an obscure Cornish fishing-village to find a gentleman
busily engaged strangling a lady on the cliff side. He had her by the
throat and was gradually forcing her over the edge. Once in Bristol I
interposed in a slogging contest between husband and wife and was very
properly chastised for my interference, not only by the happy pair but
by the entire street, who had valuable bets laid on the event. That, you
say, should have been a lesson to me. But you know me, Ginger,
impetuous, chivalrous, brave; I simply couldn't stand there and watch a
defenceless woman--moreover a good-looking woman--foully done to death
like that. I flung myself upon the villain--that is to say I spoke to
him about it.

"Oh, dash it, old bean," I said, "draw it mild!"

Somebody shouted something behind me, but I didn't catch its purport for
the sufficient reason that at that moment the long-suffering cliff gave
way and we all went overboard, all three of us, he, she and it--me.

Fortunately the drop wasn't terrific--not more than four feet or so--and
the tide happened to be in at the time, which was very decent of it. My
first thought as I came to the surface--or, at any rate, _one_ of my
first thoughts--was "What of the woman?" I struck out for the poor
creature. At the same moment she struck out for me, and, what is more,
she got me too, clean between the eyes--a straight left-hander.

"Out of my way, fathead!" she hissed and went on for the shore under
her own steam at about forty knots an hour. I was washed up myself,
along with a quantity of other jetsam, a few minutes later, to be met by
a small furious man with a heliotrope complexion and white spats who
wagged bunches of typescript under my nose and informed me that I had
absolutely ruined about twenty million feet of the Flickerscope
Company's five-reel paralyser, "The Smuggler's Bride."

Of course you say that you saw what was coming all along. Of course you
did. But wait a moment.

Yesterday afternoon I was strolling down a certain fashionable street
when a loud explosion occurred in a near-by shop and a cloud of acrid
grey smoke came rolling out. Being by nature as inquisitive as a
chipmunk I was on the point of shoving my head round the door-jamb to
see what was up when caution prompted me to turn round. Yes, there they
were, of course, a tall, thin youth winding away at a cine-camera like
an Italian at a barrel-organ, and beside him a heavy-weight Israelite,
dancing a war-dance, waving bunches of typescript and howling at me to
stand clear. I had very near ruined a further mile or two of film.

I sprang out of range, and then, wishing to atone for my previous
blunders and prove that I really had no malevolent intentions towards a
struggling industry, I went round and assisted the caracoling producer
in stemming the crowd. Among others I stemmed a pushful policeman. I
didn't notice he was a policeman until he was biting the dust, with my
stick between his legs. However an instantaneous application of palm-oil
made it all right between us, and he squatted half-stunned on the kerb,
nursing his brow with one hand, my five bob with the other and took no
further interest in the proceedings. And very interesting they were,
too.

Three masked men dashed out of the shop laden with booty and were
pursued by a fourth, whom they knocked on the head and left lying for
dead on the pavement. Most realistic. The crowd, led by me, cheered like
mad. Then the thieves jumped into a waiting car and were whirled away.
That done, the photographer and his step-dancing friend leapt into a
second car and were whirled away also. Once more we cheered. I made a
short speech to the effect that everything was all right with the
British Cinema business and, after leading a few more cheers for myself,
came home.

"Well," you say, "all very jolly and so on, but what about it?"

There's this about it, old companion, just this, that I am very probably
spending a meditative winter in gaol. The charge is that I did aid and
abet a peculiarly ingenious gang of desperadoes to blow a jeweller's
safe, knock the jeweller on the head and get safely away with the stuff.
I am even accused of obstructing the police. An inspector has been round
to see me this morning and he tells me there is practically no hope. He
advises me, as between friends, to make a clean breast of it, return the
boodle, betray my accomplices, plead mental deficiency and trust to the
clemency of the Court. It's pretty rough, after making all arrangements
for spending a cheerful Christmas in Algiers, to have it changed to cold
porridge in Parkhurst or Princetown. Of the two I hope it'll be
Parkhurst, for Princetown, so _habitués_ tell me, is no place for a
growing lad when the wintry winds do blow.

Thine, _de profundis_ PATLANDER.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Mistress._ "WOULD YOU LIKE TO GO OUT THIS AFTERNOON,
MABEL?"

_Mabel._ "I _AM_ GOING OUT."]

       *       *       *       *       *

Rhymes of Unrest.

    There was a young miner of Ayr
    Who gave himself up to despair;
      For he said, "If we're paid
      On our 'get,' I'm afraid
    That I canna ca' canny no mair."

    "Strike while the iron is hot,"
      Said the wise old saw of old;
    But the miners say, "What rot!
      Strike while the weather's cold."

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The art of decoration is alien to painting in this--that you must
    mix your colours with your brains."--_Daily Paper._

We await a reply from the intellectuals of Chelsea.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "There is one building now being erected, within a few miles of
    Manchester as the cock crows."--_Provincial Paper._

We are unfamiliar with this method of mensuration.

       *       *       *       *       *

ABOUT CONFERENCES.

WE may not have coal, but we can have conferences. A conference is the
most typically English thing that there is. The old Anglo-Saxons had
them and called them moots. Why they called them a silly name like that,
when "conferences" would have done just as well, one can't imagine; but
they had their notions and stuck to them. They would have called
Parliament a moot; in fact they did. They called it a moot of wise men.
Sarcastic beggars, these Anglo-Saxons!

The advantages of having a conference about everything are almost too
numerous to explain. For one thing, suppose Smith is coming to see you
at 2.30 P.M. "It's no use his waiting now," you say. "I've got a
conference at 3. Tell him to come back at 5.30." And when he comes back
at 5.30 of course the conference is still going on, so you don't have to
see him at all.

There is nothing again that makes you feel so deliciously important as
being at a conference. You may be a leader of quite an insignificant
body of workers, like the Nutcracker-Teeth Makers' Union, but you rub
shoulders at a conference with men whose names are a household word
throughout the whole of Great Britain, amongst those who have houses.
The distinguished and the undistinguished lay their heads together; the
spat-wearing get their feet mixed with the non-spat-wearing; though
there is rather a fake, mind you, about this spat-wearing business, for
it may simply mean that the uppers are very badly worn, or that only
that very bright pink pair of socks came home from the wash this week,
or even that there are no socks underneath at all.

But anyhow, at a conference, Tom, Dick and Harry hobnob with Bob, James
and George, and all are equal, except perhaps the chairman, who has two
more pens in front of him and a much larger ash-tray. Mr. BEVIN and Sir
ERIC GEDDES smile affably across at each other, and the PRIME MINISTER
and Mr. CRAMP find out how much they have in common, such as love of
poetry and pelargoniums. The mine-owner offers the miners'
representative a cigarette, and the miners' representative says to the
mine-owner, "Many thanks, old boy; but I'll have one of my own." And
after it is over they all go out and stand arm-in-arm in a long row to
be photographed for the papers, and are read next morning from left to
right. It is the ambition of every properly constituted Englishman to
wake up some morning and find that his portrait is being read from left
to right; but how few succeed.

The total output of conferences in this country during one year has
never been computed yet, but it is supposed to exceed that of any
country in the world, except Red India. If there were to be a strike of
conferents or conferees, whatever they are called, in England, it is
impossible to say what would happen. But it might be possible to lay
down a datum line--a shilling extra for the first million words above
two hundred and fifty million per shift, and two shillings more for
every million words above that. Fortunately this will never be
necessary, for people who confer are so fond of conferences that they
will never down chairs.

And no wonder. Only a very strong man can hew coal, and only a very
reckless one can make a speech, but almost anyone can confer if he has a
large enough ash-tray; and there seems no reason why more people
shouldn't confer. Everybody is interested in conferences, whatever they
are about, and the British public ought to be admitted to this kind of
thing. One is always reading in the paper that the sound commonsense or
the traditional sense of fair play of the great British public will
support the miners in any just claim; but this claim is not just or just
isn't, or something of that sort. But how do they know what the great
British public will feel about it? They aren't there, are they? There
ought to be representatives of the G.B.P. on all these conferences. They
ought to be chosen from a rota, like jurymen. Very likely one of them
would have found out what a datum line is, anyway. There's a man who
comes up in the train with me in the morning who thinks he knows, but
unfortunately he gets out at Croydon so we haven't found out yet.

By having a lot more conferences and having a lot of representatives
from the public on them all, and paying them well for it, one could
practically settle the unemployment problem for the winter. If the
Government can only be brought to see that this is the only
statesmanlike course, and the sole course consistent with the
Anglo-Saxon sense of justice, and capable of leading to a satisfactory
Exploration of Avenues, Finding of Bridges and Discovery of Ways Out, we
may all achieve our life's ambition some day and open the morning paper
to find that we are being read at last from left to right. "Mr. ROBERT
WILLIAMS, Mr. LLOYD GEORGE, Mr. J. H. THOMAS, Lord RIDDELL," and so on
and so on, till you come at last to "J. Smith, Esq., R.B.P.," smiling
the widest of all. R.B.P.'s, I think, should wear a distinguishing
mark--a single spat perhaps. EVOE.

       *       *       *       *       *

MORE SECRET HISTORY.

    [According to a report in a daily paper, at the recent Peace
    Conference held at Spa, where the delegates were royally
    entertained in the matter of hotel accommodation, meals,
    etc., the cigar bill (which has been sent in to the League
    of Nations and sent out again) amounted to three thousand
    two hundred pounds. What the delegates could not smoke they
    seem to have taken away with them.]

    'TIS sweet in darkish times like these to see a
      Rent in the veil which keeps the public blind,
    And thus obtain a pretty shrewd idea
      Of what goes on behind;

    To note how quite an innocent report'll
      Reveal apparent trifles which befall,
    Proving that men whom we supposed immortal
      Are human after all.

    But here, while I can hardly call you blameful
      For smoking "free" cigars with so much zest,
    Frankly I feel 'twas little short of shameful
      To go and pinch the rest.

    I can forgive your huge hotel expenses;
      Your beef was rightly of a super-cut;
    A modicum of wine does whet the senses;
      But those cigars--tut, tut!

    For there's a finer aid to meditation,
      Much more appropriate, in my humble view,
    When Nation nestles cheek by jowl with Nation,
      And far, far cheaper too.

    So, if you'd really slay Bellona's bow-wows,
      Might I suggest your vicious ways should cease,
    And that in future you conduct your pow-wows
      Over the pipe of peace.

       *       *       *       *       *

An Affectionate Diminutive.

    "Lord Buxton, who retired this summer from the post of High
    Commissioner and Governor-General of South Africa, has been made an
    early."--_Daily Paper._

       *       *       *       *       *

A correspondent, referring to Mr. Punch's quotation (from an Australian
paper) of the title of a song, "It was a Lover and His Last," suggests
"_Ne_ suitor _ultra crepidam._"

       *       *       *       *       *

On the coal strike:--

    "We look to the Government to keep all doors open. We look to the
    public to keep cool."--_Westminster Gazette._

The public should have no difficulty in doing its part if the Government
do theirs.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration:

TRANSPORT: PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Giles._ "I DIDN'T 'ARDLY AGREE WI' THE VICAR IN WOT 'E
SAID ABOUT THEM EARLY MARTYRS BEIN' THROWN TO THE LIONS AN' BURNT AT THE
STAKE AN' LIVIN' ON FOR EVER."

_Curate._ "WHY NOT?"

_Giles._ "WELL, ZUR, NO CONSTITOOTION COULD STAND IT."]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE CONSPIRATORS.

V.

MY DEAR CHARLES,--Let me remind you that the Bolshevist conspirator has
to stir up conflagrations in other countries without leaving his own.
Passports and things are put in to make it more difficult when he comes
to getting his inflammable material and directions for use over the
frontier. So he has to invent a way over the obstacles.

The first prize is awarded to the following: Secret instructions are
printed in Arabic and the pages containing them are bound up in a five
hundred page book in that language. The courier, an Oriental, carries
this book openly in his hand when he presents himself at the frontier.
It is ten to one that an innocent-looking book, thus carried, will not
be suspected; a hundred to one against there being an official capable
of reading it; five hundred to three against that official trying one of
the guilty pages, if he is there and duly suspicious. Yet, with a
hundred and sixty-six thousand chances against it, our Little Man got
hold of those instructions.

The Sherlock Holmes of fiction is a gaunt figure, with a hatchet face,
spare of flesh. Our Little Man is a chubby lad, standing about four foot
ten in his stockinged feet, rubicund and corpulent, and he wears a
mackintosh with a very mackintoshy smell in all weathers. He never did a
day's work, and he never means to try, but he is a genius at getting it
out of others. Some say he is of Swiss origin, some say he is American,
and some say that surely he must be Chinese; he was never certain
himself until Czecho-Slovak was invented, and he plumped for that. He
has the degree of Master of Arts; what arts I don't know; probably the
black ones. His inner knowledge of the human species seems to give him
plenty to laugh at. He notices everything, forgets nothing, and there is
never a weakness in a man but he is on to it. He made up his mind that
those secret instructions were passing and set about to find how they
passed and what they were. He was too lazy to begin at the beginning, so
he began at the end. He called in person, as a commercial traveller, at
the suspected office of destination, and in the short time available
ascertained that the door-keeper who turned him out was a patriotic and
fervent admirer of the wine of the country.

Our Little Man had no vulgar idea of getting the secret out of him by
making him drunk. If there was a secret it wouldn't be in the
door-keeper. But he and that door-keeper got to drinking together and
the door-keeper did all the paying; the drinking and the paying went on
by progressive degrees till the door-keeper had no money and only a
still almighty thirst left. The Little Man left him with his thirst for
a few days, until it became intolerable, and the door-keeper insisted
that something simply must be done about it. The Little Man regretted
that he could not give the necessary money to finance further orgies,
but he would gladly advance it. Four nights got the door-keeper well in
his debt, and our Little Man then began to talk about repayment. The
door-keeper said he had no money; the Little Man said he must get it.
Off whom? His employer.

How was the door-keeper to get his employer's money off him? By selling
him a safe. Our Little Man then divulged that he was in reality a
commercial traveller in safes; if the door-keeper would get his employer
to buy one of his safes the Little Man would forgive him his debt by way
of commission. He felt sure that the Head of the Office had a weakness
for precautions. The door-keeper, now enthusiastic, said he should just
think he had! The Little Man felt he was getting warm. The door-keeper
put the deal through and prevailed upon his master to instal a really
safe safe in the office, instead of the old one. You had only to look at
it to see it was impregnable by fire, water or the King's Enemies. But
one set of keys stayed with the Little Man.

The drinking (by both) and the paying (by the door-keeper) were resumed.
When the debt was again large enough the Little Man imposed new terms.
This time he wanted to see the Head of the Office himself, to put
further deals through. The door-keeper thought deeply, but could see no
harm in this. The Little Man was thus introduced into the presence, and
startled it by pointing to the safe and offering to do burglar on it any
night of the week. The Head was manifestly concerned.

"We have here," said the Little Man, producing two formidable slabs of
steel hinged together and leaving room between them when locked for a
wad of papers only--"we have here a special strong box exactly suited
for the storage of your bank-notes. Put them in this box, and the box in
the safe, and then you really are ahead of your enemies."

The Head bought. He gave the Little Man less money than he had spent on
the strong box, and the Little Man gave him less keys than he was
entitled to. The drinking and the debt were resumed, and, when it came
to a question of settlement for the third time, the Little Man pointed
out to the door-keeper that, if he hadn't the money to repay, then he
must steal it. He now divulged that he was not really a broker, but a
breaker of safes and strong boxes. He handed the door-keeper a key of
his employer's safe. In the safe would be found the strong box. In the
strong box would be found some notes of high value, unless he was very
much mistaken.

So the door-keeper went and opened the safe and returned. And the Little
Man opened the strong box, and he _was_ very much mistaken. There was
never a note there; just half-a-dozen pages torn out of a book printed
in Arabic.

He was so angry that he gave the strong box one on the lid for itself,
with the result that he couldn't lock it again. However, he said he had
a friend who could lock or unlock anything, and he left the door-keeper
drinking, for the first time at the Little Man's expense, while he took
off the box to be repaired by his friend. The latter happened to be in
the next room with a camera. The pages were photographed; the Little Man
returned to the door-keeper with the strong box, now capable of being
re-locked; the door-keeper returned to the office and put back the
strong box, locked, into the safe, which he also locked, and was wiping
the sweat off his forehead and congratulating himself that no one was
the worse, when he was startled to find a policeman had been watching
him all the time.

But he proved to be a very amenable policeman. He said he would take no
action before he and the door-keeper had had time to talk it over next
day. By the time that talk came the photographs had been developed,
printed and translated. But the policeman did not wish to bore the
door-keeper with the tiresome details. To put it quite shortly the
policeman thought it was a most excellent crime, worthy of repetition at
intervals.

Yours ever,        HENRY.

(_To be continued._)

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: CONCENTRATION.]

       *       *       *       *       *

NEW RHYMES FOR OLD CHILDREN.

THE ----.

    I NEVER know why it should be
    So rude to talk about the ----.
      What funny folk we are!
    I think we've got the jealous hump
    Because we see we'll never jump
      So skilfully and far.
    For, if one's nibbled by a gnat
    Or harvest-bugs or things like that,
      One seldom keeps it dark;
    One may enlarge upon the tale
    If one is gobbled by a whale
      Or swallowed by a shark;
    But if you speak about the bite
    Of this abandoned parasite
      You're very, very rash;
    So sure is it to raise a frown
    I dare not even write it down;
      I simply put a ----.
    None but an entomologist
    Will quite admit the things exist,
    And generally _they_ insist
      On using other names;
    For, when at night Professors leap
    Out of their scientific sleep
    Because these little devils keep
      Playing their usual games,
    They never shout, "It seems to be
    A something, something, something ----!"
    (The word is never used, you see,
      Except by artisans);
    No, as they fling the bedclothes high
    They give a wild but cultured cry,
    "Confound it! Botheration! Hi!
      A _Pulex irritans_!" A. P. H.

       *       *       *       *       *

Our Ruthless Motorists.

    "Triumph 1920 4 h.p. Model H, also Baby, both brand new; sacrifice,
    £5 off each."

_Motor Journal._

       *       *       *       *       *

    "It was intended to hold mock trials in order to familiarise women
    with court procedure and 'legal shibboleths.'

    When I saw her to-day, Miss ---- said that 'techniaclities' would
    have been a better word."--_Evening Paper._

We hate to contradict a lady, but we cannot agree.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Aggrieved Profiteeress_ (_studying photographs of the
Peerage_). "WELL, I DON'T SEE AS THEY'VE ANY CALL TO LOOK THAT 'AUGHTY.
LIKE AS NOT ME AN' YOU'D BE WEARIN' CORONETS THIS MINUTE IF ALL OUR
ANCESTORS 'ADN'T A-BEEN CUT OFF IN THE WARS OF THE ROSES, OR
SOMETHINK."]

       *       *       *       *       *

WORKING FOR PEACE.

(_Extracts from the Diary of Mr. John Robert Boffkins, Trade Union
Leader._)

_Monday._--Rose with a heart over-flowing with love towards my
fellow-men. Industrial strife must cease. Strikes are a barbarous and
futile method of redressing wrong. Rather think that an increase in
wages of two shillings a day would appeal to our members. Must inquire.

_Tuesday._--Have confirmed my opinion that a two-shillings' increase
would appeal to our members. They all seem enthusiastic over the
suggestion. They appear to be under the impression that the idea is
their own. It is not. It is mine. If it materialises I shall be most
popular. But I am all for peace. A strike is out of the question. I
shall spare no effort to prevent one.

_Wednesday._--Presented formal demand to employers to-day. Told our
members they must be firm to the bitter end. The two-shillings' increase
is their strict due, and, if we present a united front, the grasping
capitalist will be brought to his knees. Am working night and day for
peace.

_Thursday._--Pointed out to the employers that a strike is inevitable
unless they give way. We can make no concession. My whole energies are
concentrated on preventing a strike. Told our members that unless they
remain firm the employers will crush them. A strike would be a national
calamity and might spell ruin to the country.

_Friday._--The possibility of a strike looms larger. Can nothing be done
to prevent it? Informed the employers that we declined to abate one iota
of our claim. "All or nothing" is our motto. Also refused to go to
arbitration. Warned the employers that a strike means starvation for
women and children. The prospect appals me.

_Saturday._--The employers, who seem to be determined on a strike, have
offered the men two shillings if they will consider the question of
working five days a week instead of four. We refused their offer and
demanded that our claim should be conceded unconditionally by noon,
failing which our members would cease work.

_Later._--The strike has commenced. Heaven knows that I did everything
to prevent it which human being could do. The capitalists seem to have
made up their minds to force civil war and all its horrors upon the
country. The spectacle of little children starving causes me acute
distress.

       *       *       *       *       *

A GUIDE TO GREATNESS.

    [Mr. JACOB EPSTEIN maintains in _The Daily Mail_ that a man
    to be a creative genius must lead an orderly domesticated
    life.]

    I COURTED the Muse as a stripling,
      Immured in a Bloomsbury flat,
    And yearned for the kudos of KIPLING
      For fees that were frequent and fat;
    But editors, far from discerning
      The worth of the pearls that I placed
    At their feet, had a way of returning
      The same with indelicate haste.

    But, espousing, a year or two later,
      The sweetest and neatest of wives,
    I found, after peeling a tater
      Or imparting a polish to knives,
    I could scribble with frenzy and passion,
      That the breaking of coal would inspire,
    In a truly remarkable fashion,
      My soul with celestial fire.

    Serenity reigns in the household;
      I've cancelled my grudge against Fate;
    My lyrical efforts are now sold
      At a simply phenomenal rate;
    And, whether I'm laying the lino
      Or bathing the babes, I regard
    The job as a cushy one: _I_ know
      The way to succeed as a bard.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE SCALES OF JUSTICE.

SIR ROBERT HORNE. "I WANT TO KEEP THE BALANCE. NOW THEN, BOTH TOGETHER."

THE MINER. "NO. _YOU_ BEGIN--AND THEN PERHAPS I'LL THINK ABOUT IT."]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _P. C. GREENWOOD._ "ARRAH! GET OUT WID YEZ AND LET THE
LADY PASS."]

       *       *       *       *       *

ESSENCE OF PARLIAMENT.

_Tuesday, October 19th._--A start was made with half a hundred
Questions, and, considering that most of them had been in cold storage
since before the Recess, it was surprising how fresh they remained.
Persia and Mesopotamia--not to mention Ireland--are still unsettled; the
Turkish Treaty is not yet ratified; the cost of living continues to
rise, and the ratio of unemployment has alarmingly advanced, especially
in the case of ex-service men.

These last are to be found work in the building trades, with, it is
hoped, the assistance of the trade unions, but, if that hope is
disappointed, then without it. The country requires half-a-million
houses built. "Here are men who could assist," said the PRIME MINISTER,
"and we propose that they should be allowed to assist."

Over a prospect already sufficiently bleak there broods the shadow of
the coal-strike. Sir ROBERT HORNE, in presenting the case for the
Government, was admirably clear but, perhaps naturally, a little cold.
Only when the new lighting arrangement had flooded the House with
artificial sunshine did the Minister warm up a little and hint that a
way of peace might yet be found.

I wonder if it was by accident or artifice that Mr. BRACE began his plea
for the miners with the admission that they had only dropped the demand
for the reduction of fourteen shillings and twopence in the price of
domestic coal when they discovered that "the money was not there."
Anyhow the laughter that ensued served to put Members into a good temper
and to cause them to lend a friendly ear to his suggestion that the two
shillings advance, though in his view only "dust in the balance," should
be "temporarily" conceded, pending the establishment of a tribunal which
should permanently settle the conditions of the mining industry. The
increase of output which everyone desired would then be brought about.

Most of the speakers who followed seemed to think that Mr. BRACE had
sown the seed of a settlement. It was left to the PRIME MINISTER, who
evidently did not relish the task, to awaken the House from its
beautiful dream. He pointed out that to accept the proposal would be to
give the miners what they had originally claimed, without any guarantee
that the greater output would be forthcoming. If it were not forthcoming
and the two shillings were taken away, what would happen? "A strike,"
cried someone. "Precisely," said Mr. LLOYD GEORGE; only it would have
been provoked by the Government instead of by the miners. He was not
prepared to do business on those lines.

And so the debate came to an end rather than a conclusion.

_Wednesday, October 20th._--The Peers plunged into the morasses of the
Irish Question. Lord CREWE asked for an official inquiry into the
alleged "reprisals" and particularly instanced the attacks upon the
creameries. Rather than that Ireland should be "pacified" by such
methods as these he would see her engaged in civil war, "fairly
conducted on both sides." From these words it may be gathered that his
lordship's knowledge of civil war is happily not extensive.

Furnished with a voluminous brief from the Irish Office, Lord CURZON
made a long reply, the purport of which was that many of the reprisals
were bogus, many were actions undertaken in self-defence, while the rest
were generally due to men "seeing red" after their comrades had been
brutally murdered. The Government did not palliate such cases, and had
instituted inquiries and taken disciplinary action against the
offenders, when known; but they were not prepared to set up a public
inquiry such as Lord CREWE had demanded. It would only substitute "a
competition in perjury" for the present "competition in murder"--a
somewhat infelicitous phrase by which, as he subsequently explained, he
did not mean to imply, as Lord PARMOOR suggested, that police and rebels
were engaged in a murderous rivalry.

Simultaneously the House of Commons was engaged upon an identically
similar debate. Mr. ARTHUR HENDERSON was as lugubrious as Lord CREWE in
presenting the indictment and distinctly less adroit in selecting his
facts. His theory was that the Government had provoked the Sinn Fein
outrages by its treatment of the people. Why, women had been prevented
from taking their eggs to market!

Sir HAMAR GREENWOOD spoke from the same brief as Lord CURZON, but threw
far more passion and vigour into its recital. There had been some
reprisals, he admitted, but they were as nothing compared to the horrors
that had provoked them; and he protested against the notion that "the
heroes of yesterday"--the R.I.C. is mainly recruited from ex-service
men--had turned into murderers. As for the creameries, he had never seen
a tittle of evidence that they had been destroyed by servants of the
Crown, and he warned the House not to believe the stories put out by the
propaganda bureau of the Irish Republican Army. He was still a convinced
Home Ruler--an Ulster hot-gospeller had accused him of being a Sinn
Feiner with a Papist wife!--but the first thing to do was to break the
reign of terror and end the rule of the assassin. That they were doing,
and there was no case for Mr. HENDERSON'S "insulting resolution."

The Opposition for the moment seemed stunned by the CHIEF SECRETARY'S
sledge-hammer speech. No one rose from the Front Bench and
Lieutenant-Commander KENWORTHY had to overcome his modesty and step into
the breach. Later on, Lord ROBERT CECIL, on the strength of information
supplied by an American journalist, supported the demand for an
inquiry. So did Mr. ASQUITH, on the ground that it would be in the
interests of the Government of Ireland itself; but this argument was
obviously weakened by Mr. BONAR LAW'S reminder that in 1913 and 1914 Mr.
ASQUITH himself had deprecated inquiries in somewhat similar
circumstances. The Government had a very good division, 346 to 79; but
there were many abstentions.

_Thursday, October 21st._--It was, no doubt, by way of brightening an
unutterably gloomy week that Mr. L'ESTRANGE MALONE, who has not hitherto
been known as a humourist, invited the Government to intercede at
Washington for the release of the notorious JAMES LARKIN, now
languishing in an American gaol. Inasmuch as LARKIN had been convicted
for having advocated the overthrow of the United States by violence, Mr.
HARMSWORTH did not think H.M. Government were called upon to intervene.
Mr. MALONE understood from this that the Government had no sympathy with
British subjects in foreign lands, and so he got another laugh.

Commander BELLAIRS thought it would be a good idea if the League of
Nations, pending the discharge of its more important functions, were to
offer rewards for world-benefiting discoveries such as a prophylactic
against potato-blight. Sir JOHN REES saw his chance and took it. "Does
the League," he inquired, "declare to win on Phosphates, Peace or
Potatoes?"--thus supplying proof positive that he owes his precise
pronunciation to past practice with "prunes and prisms."

It was rather impudent of Mr. ADAMSON, who has just been instrumental in
throwing out of work some hundreds of thousands of his fellow-citizens,
to initiate a debate on unemployment. Most of the speakers endeavoured
to throw the blame on "the other fellow"--the Government on the trade
unions, the trade unionists on the employers, and the employers on the
Government. A welcome exception was Mr. HOPKINSON, who boldly blamed the
short-sighted selfishness of some of his own class. Employés would not
work their hardest to "make the boss a millionaire." As a fitting
_finale_ to an inconclusive debate the PRIME MINISTER announced that in
order to force a settlement of the coal-strike the railwaymen--Mr.
THOMAS, apparently, dissenting--had threatened to join the unemployed.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Harassed Secretary._ "I SAY, YOU NEEDN'T MAKE BUNKERS,
YOU KNOW."]

       *       *       *       *       *

Our Erudite Contemporaries.

    "Willard was game and well trained, and in stature he was Goliath to
    the Daniel of Dempsey."--_Evening Paper._

A DAVID come to judgment!

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The rate plague has developed to an alarming extent in Thanet, and
    considerable anxiety is felt, especially as there appears to be no
    effective preparation of poison to exterminate them."--_Evening
    Paper._

And Thanet is not the only place.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE TYPE-SLINGER.

    BITING and keen as any razor
    The fluent pen of LOVAT FRASER;
    And swift as arrows, thick as hail,
    His outbursts in _The Daily Mail_,
    Exposing in impassioned phrase
    The PREMIER'S wild and wicked ways.
    And yet the PREMIER doesn't squirm,
    No, not a bit--the pachyderm!
    But goes about with cheerful mien,
    As if such things had never been.

    So LOVAT FRASER grows emphatic
    In efforts to be more dogmatic,
    And down the column, once a week,
    _His shrill italics fairly shriek._
    But does the PREMIER bow his back
    And go and give himself the sack?
    Not he. Indeed, for all he troubles,
    His critic might be blowing bubbles.

    It's up to LOVAT FRASER now
    To make an even bigger row;
    I'd like to see the sturdy fellow
    Write articles that simply bellow.
    I think the PREMIER might perhaps
    Shiver and possibly collapse
    IF LOVAT GOT TO WORK IN "CAPS."

       *       *       *       *       *

The Black Swan of Avon.

"A NATIVE DRAMA
Entitled
'Inu vere ki pani'

    (Popularly known as Merchant of Venice, but beautified and enlarged
    to local taste), Interspersed with Popular Dialogues, latest Songs,
    etc. Will (D. V.) be rendered by the ---- Guild."--_West African
    Poster._

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: WHAT OUR BOHEMIANS HAVE TO PUT UP WITH.

_Shabbily-dressed person._ "I'VE LOST THE TICKET, BUT I LEFT A HAT.
THAT'S IT OVER THERE."

_Attendant._ "I MUST ASK YOU TO FIND THE TICKET, SIR, PLEASE. THE HAT
THAT YOU INDICATE IS QUITE NEW."]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE REVIVAL OF OLLENDORFF.

FROM the memories of my mid-Victorian childhood, before the instruction
of a governess had reached a point at which the plunge was made into a
preparatory school, three names emerge with remarkable distinctness.
"Little Arthur," from whom I derived my earliest knowledge of the
History of England; "Henry," by whom I was grounded in the rudiments of
the dead Latin tongue (but who must be carefully distinguished from
JAMES HENRY, the Virgilian, who in turn had nothing whatever to do with
HENRY JAMES the novelist), and OLLENDORFF, the illustrious author of a
series of manuals for the teaching of living foreign languages.

OLLENDORFF, I fear, is not even the shadow of a name to the present
generation. There is no mention of him in _The Encyclopædia Britannica_
or in _Chambers_. Even in his own country he seems to have lapsed into
obscurity, and in MENDEL'S voluminous _Conversations-Lexikon_ there is
only a brief reference to the Ollendorffian method, but no account of
the man or his history.

Yet he must have existed; OLLENDORFF cannot have been a mere symbol. And
as students of SHAKSPEARE have endeavoured to reconstruct the man from
his plays so I feel sure that the character of OLLENDORFF, his interests
and politics, might very well be reconstructed from a study of his
dialogues. One must admit that his Teutonic patronymic is an obstacle to
his revival, but that difficulty can be surmounted by the adoption of an
_alias_. For example, by the omission of one of the "f's" and the
transposition of one other letter his name, read backwards, becomes
Frondello, which is at once euphonious and void of all racial offence.

The Ollendorffian method, it may be noted for the benefit of the
ignorant, did not merely depend on the employment of question and
answer; it aimed at conveying information drawn from the homely affairs
of daily life and the relations between persons belonging to different
trades and occupations. "Have you," OLLENDORFF would ask, "the hat of
the gardener's son?" And when this had been duly and correctly
translated into German or French the pupil proceeded to the answer, "No,
but I have the boots of the grocer's brother-in-law."

I think OLLENDORFF built better than he knew; or perhaps he did know. A
strong vein of Socialism runs through all his examples, which seem to
show a lively appreciation of the Communistic principle. To him there
was nothing wrong or dangerous in this mutual interchange and enjoyment
of property. He drew no hard-and-fast lines between _meum_ and _tuum_.
We cannot help thinking that, at a time when so much depends on the
fusion of classes, a new edition of these immortal dialogues, brought up
to date so as to meet the exigencies of the new poor, the new rich, the
old aristocracy and the new plutocracy, would be fraught with the most
salutary results.

The following are some crude suggestions of the lines on which the
revision might be carried out:--

"Have you the leathern waistcoat of the taxi-driver?--"No, but I have
the reach-me-down trousers of an inferior quality to those worn by the
village postman."

"Have you the smooth-running automobile of the prosperous grocer?"--"No,
but I have the loan of the push-bicycle of my former under-gardener's
uncle."

"Are you going to marry the beautiful daughter of the shoemaker?"--"Yes,
and her brother has just become engaged to the widow of my cousin the
marquis."

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Mr. Arthur Wontner_ (_to himself_). "WELL, I DON'T THINK
MUCH OF YOUR TASTE IN CLOTHES."]

       *       *       *       *       *

AT THE PLAY.

"THE ROMANTIC AGE."

I HOPE that Mr. ALAN MILNE is a good enough critic to agree with me in
thinking that this is the best play he has so far given us. Not that the
idea of it is as new as that of his _Mr. Pim_ or his _Wurzel-Flummery_,
but because, without sacrificing his lightness of touch and his sense of
fun, he has, for the first time, produced a serious scheme.

People will tell you that his Second Act was the weak spot in the play;
that the others were brilliant, but that this one, for its first half,
was tedious and delayed the action. They will say this because they are
familiar with A. A. M.'s humour, but not with his sentiment. Yet it was
in this middle Act that he gave us the best passage of all, in
presenting the philosophy of his pedlar, which had in it something of
the dewy freshness of the early morning scene in the wood ("morning's at
seven," as _Pippa_--not _Mr. Pim_--said _en passant_). There was no real
delay in the action here, for the pedlar was providing the hero with the
argument without which he could never have persuaded the lady to yield;
could never have made her understand that Romance is not confined to the
trunk-and-hose period, or any age, so named, of chivalry, but is to be
found wherever there is a true companionship of hearts. Unfortunately
the effect of this passage was a little spoilt by what had just gone
before--a rather slow and superfluous scene with the village idiot--and
some of the audience imagined that the author was still marking time.

Mr. MILNE has an individual manner so distinct that he can well afford
to acknowledge his debt to Sir JAMES BARRIE. As in _Mary Rose_, so here
(though there are no supernatural forces at work) we have the sharp
contrast between commonplace life, as lived by the rest, and the life of
Fairyland, as coming within the vision of one only. And we were reminded
too of the Midsummer-madness that overtook the company in _Dear Brutus_.
I won't say that it wasn't natural enough for _Melisande_, under the
fascination of a moonlit Midsummer Eve, to imagine, when she chanced
upon a gentleman in fancy dress of the right period, that at last she
had realised her dream of a hero of romance; but she was stark
Midsummer-mad to suppose, when she met him early next morning with his
costume unchanged, that he would keep it on till he came to tea with the
family, and then, still wearing it, waft her off to Faerie.

But not even BARRIE has ever made a better scene than that which showed
us the disillusionment of the visionary when she is confronted with her
blue-and-gold hero of romance now transformed into a plain Stock
Exchange man, his air of banality enhanced by the last word in golf
suitings. The humour of this scene, in which she made conventional
conversation without any real effort to conceal her sense of the bathos
of the situation, was very perfect. The relatively simple humour of the
match-making mother--not so simple, all the same, as its spontaneity
made it appear--had the distinction which one expects of Mr. MILNE; but
this was far the funniest feature in the play.

It would have been an easy matter to make cheap fun, as MARK TWAIN did
in _A Yankee at the Court of King Arthur_, out of the popular view of
the Age of Romance, but A. A. M. avoided that obvious lure. Indeed, in
his natural anxiety not to be taken too seriously in his first attempt
to be serious, he rather tended to make light of his own theory of
modern romance, laying a little too much stress at the end on the
culinary aspect of conjugal felicity.

I am not sure that Mr. ARTHUR WONTNER (to whom my best wishes for his
new managership) quite realised, in his doublet and long hose, my idea
of a figure of mediæval romance. In fact I am free to confess that I
disagreed with _Melisande_ and preferred him in his golf-clothes. But
perhaps that was part of the idea, and Mr. MILNE meant me to feel like
that. Miss BARBARA HOFFE'S _Melisande_--a difficult part, because she
was the only other-worldly person in the play and the only one in
desperate earnest--was very cleverly handled. In her most exalted
moments of poetic rapture she was never too precious, and when called
upon for a touch of corrective humour was quick to respond.

Miss LOTTIE VENNE laid herself out in her inimitable way for a broad
interpretation of the visionary's very earthly mother; indeed once or
twice she almost laid herself out of the picture; but she still remained
irresistible. As a pair of light-hearted young lovers Miss DOROTHY
TETLEY and Mr. JOHN WILLIAMS played really well in parts that were not
nearly so easy as they looked. And there was the dry humour of Mr.
BROMLEY-DAVENPORT, as the father (I fear he must have missed the romance
of twin souls) and the open-air charm of Mr. NICHOLSON'S performance as
_Gentleman Susan_, the pedlar. In a word, my grateful compliments
embrace as good a cast as ever caught--and held--the spirit of an
author.

"PRISCILLA AND THE PROFLIGATE."

When you have been jilted by _Cynthia_ at the church-door and, two days
afterwards, in a fit of pique marry _Priscilla_ at sight (of course you
can't always get a _Priscilla_ to consent to this arrangement; but _Mr.
Bensley Stuart Gore_ had a young ward at school who wanted her freedom;
so that was all right), you may think to persuade the Faithless One that
you have given solid proof of your indifference to her. But you mustn't
dash off to Africa an hour after your wedding with the declared
intention of being eaten by wild men or wilder beasts, because, if you
do that, you give your scheme away and _Cynthia_ will have the
satisfaction of knowing that she has driven you to desperate courses.
Yet that is what _Mr. Bensley Stuart Gore_ did (he was the "Profligate"
of the title, though he never gave any noticeable sign of profligacy).

After this strain on my credulity I felt prepared for anything, and was
not in the least surprised to find him, six years older and still
intact, on the terrace of the Hotel Casa Bellini, by the dear old shores
of Lake Maggiore, which, as the programme advised me, is in Italy. It
seemed, too, the most natural thing in the world that the author, Miss
LAURA WILDIG, should have collected _Priscilla_ and _Cynthia_ (the
latter in tow of a third-rate millionaire husband whom she loathed) at
the same address.

It was at this juncture that _Mr. Bensley Stuart Gore_ was inspired
with a Great Thought. In order to set _Priscilla_ free (I ought to say
that he hadn't recognised her) he would elope with _Cynthia_. How
_Priscilla_ set out to frustrate this noble sacrifice and secure her
husband for herself; how she bribed the caretaker to lock him up with
her in the "Bloody Turret" of an adjacent ruin; how subsequently, at 2
A.M., in the public lounge of the hotel, she tried to work upon his
emotions by appearing in a black night-dress (surely this rather vulgar
form of allurement is _démodé_ by now even in the suburbs, or, anyhow,
is not so freshly daring as she seemed to think it), I will leave you to
imagine. Even Miss IRIS HOEY'S nice soft voice and pleasant _câlineries_
could not quite carry off this rather machine-made trifle. If anything
saved it, it was the acting of Mr. FRANK DENTON as _Jimmy Forde_.
Starting as _Bensley's_ "best man," he missed the wedding ceremony
through going to the wrong church, but after that he stuck close to his
friend for the remainder of the plot, and greatly endeared himself to
the audience by the excellent way in which he played the silly ass.

As for _Bensley_ himself, you might have thought that he had a
sufficiently chequered career, yet Mr. CYRIL RAYMOND got very little
colour out of the part. For the rest, Mr. H. DE LANGE, as the
millionaire, got a certain amount out of the subject of his wife's
indigestion, which was a sort of _leit-motif_ with him; but most of the
colour seemed to have gone into the scenery, admirably designed and
painted by Mr. MCCLEERY and Mr. WALTER HANN.

O. S.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Diner._ "I SAY, WAITER, I'VE ASKED THREE TIMES FOR
POTATOES."

_Waiter_ (_still under the influence of military discipline_). "BEG
PARDON, SIR, BUT I'M TOLD OFF TO CONCENTRATE ON THE CABBAGE."]

       *       *       *       *       *

"LOGS TO BURN."

    "_Logs to burn; logs to burn;
    Logs to save the coal a turn._"

    HERE's a word to make you wise
    When you hear the wood-man's cries;
    Never heed his usual tale
    That he has splendid logs for sale,
    But read these lines and really learn
    The proper kinds of logs to burn.

    Oak logs will warm you well
      If they're old and dry;
    Larch logs of pine woods smell,
      But the sparks will fly.
    Beech logs for Christmas-time,
      Yew logs heat well;
    "Scotch" logs it is a crime
      For anyone to sell.
    Birch logs will burn too fast,
      Chestnut scarce at all;
    Hawthorn logs are good to last
      If cut in the Fall.
    Holly logs will burn like wax,
      You should burn them green;
    Elm logs like smouldering flax,
      No flame to be seen.
    Pear logs and apple logs,
      They will scent your room;
    Cherry logs across the dogs
      Smell like flowers in bloom.
    But Ash logs, all smooth and grey,
      Burn them green or old;
    Buy up all that come your way,
      They're worth their weight in gold.

       *       *       *       *       *

"GIRL EYE-MAKER."

_Picture-title in Daily Paper._

Perhaps we ought to mention that the eyes she makes are artificial,
not "glad."

       *       *       *       *       *

Our Discreet Press.

    "Mystery surrounds the Russo-Polish peace negotiations at Riga.
    According to a Central News message from Warsaw Marshal Pilsudski
    has had a conference with??????????, the Premier, as to whether
    demobilisation should take place shortly."--_Evening Paper._

       *       *       *       *       *

    "When he [Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree] was prepared to play _Martin
    Chuzzlewit_ he wrote to me (and doubtless explained to others) that
    he was going to present _Mr. Micawber_ as 'a sort of
    fairy.'"--_Sunday Paper._

We suppose if Sir HERBERT had staged _David Copperfield_ he would have
cast himself for the husband of _Mrs. Harris_.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE PRIVATE FILM.

MY attention has been drawn to the most recent and perhaps the most
terrible development of the Cinema by an advertisement, from which I
take the following extracts:--

    HAVE YOUR OWN FILM TAKEN.

    THE MOST MODERN METHOD OF GAINING PUBLICITY.

    _To Members of Parliament, Mayors, Lecturers and other Public Men
    and Women._

    "The Cinema has become the cheapest, the surest and most rapid road
    to publicity. It is estimated that a third of the population attend
    the Cinema once a week. Messrs. Mump and Gump have therefore fitted
    up a special studio for film work, in which you can now have your
    own film taken, representing you in any action you may desire. This
    method of publicity is specially recommended to Members of
    Parliament. For instance one can be filmed writing a letter, which
    can be closed down and handed to a messenger, which action can be
    followed by the letter itself being thrown on the screen.... Think
    what this means to a prospective Candidate when he goes to a
    constituency where he is unknown. He takes with him twenty or more
    films. Your constituents must see and know you before you can hope
    for their vote. The Cinema introduces your personality and your
    policy.

   "Your film will cost you--
    First reel ... Three guineas.
    Each extra reel. One guinea."


The more I see of business-men the less they seem to me to know about
business. I never read an advertisement without thinking, "How much
better I (or even you) could have done that!" Yet they will tell you
that it is their advertisements which make the money. It only shows....
However. Messrs. Mump and Gump, for instance, have scarcely skimmed the
surface possibilities of their brilliant notion. This invention is going
to make politics tolerable at last. No man minds being in the House of
Commons; it is being in his constituency which is so dreadful. _And now
he need never go there._

For instance, when the constituency is tired of the letter-film, he can
be filmed making a speech, which can be taken down and handed to a
typist, which action can be followed by the speech itself being thrown
on the screen--in instalments. The constituency will enjoy this, because
it will take much less time to read it than it would to listen to it,
and they can argue out loud about the meaning of Early English phrases
like Datum-line and Functional Representation. In fact they can go on
arguing during the _Whips of Sin_ which will follow.

As for the public man, it won't take him two minutes to be filmed making
the speech, unless, of course, he has any very complicated gestures; and
it won't take him any time at all to compose it, because the private
secretary will do that; and the private secretary will be able to make
sure that his joke about JEREBOAM is not turned into a joke about
JEHOSHAPHAT at the last minute, or simply shelved in favour of a
peroration on rainbows. After the speech the M.P. can be filmed opening
a flowershow and, if necessary, writing a cheque to the local
hortiphilist society, which cheque can be thrown on the screen amid loud
applause, but need not, of course, go any further.

There is one other point, but it is rather a delicate matter: Messrs.
Mump and Gump say to the prospective Candidate, "Your constituents must
see and know you before you can hope for their vote." Are they quite
right? I have seen a good many Candidates in my time, and I can think of
some to whom I should have said, "Your constituents must _never_ see you
if you hope for a single vote." I mean, when one looks round the present
House of Commons, one really marvels how.... But perhaps I had better
not go on with that. The point is that a Candidate of that kind never
_need_ be seen by his constituents now. A handsome young private
secretary, uniformed and beribboned, and the film does the rest.

Then I rather resent the assumption that Members of Parliament, Mayors,
Lecturers and Actors are the only people who require publicity. I should
have thought that those who spend their time writing things in the
public Press, which are read by the public (if anybody), might have had
at least the courtesy title of Public Man. Anyhow, I am going to have
three guineas' worth. The only question is, what sort of picture will
most thoroughly "get" my personality before a third of the population
once a week? The moment when I am most characteristic is when I am lying
in a hot bath, and to-morrow is Sunday; but I doubt if even a sixth of
the population would be really keen on that. I don't mind writing a
letter or two, only, if it meant an extra reel every time I decided to
write it to-morrow instead, it would be rather a costly advertisement.

Really, I suppose, one ought to be done _At Work in His Study_; but even
that would require a good deal of faking. Ought one, for instance, to
remove the golf-balls and the cocoa-cup (and the rhyming dictionary)
from The Desk? Then I always write with a decayed pencil, and that would
look so bad. Messrs. Mump and Gump would have to throw in a quill-pen.
And I have no Study. I work in the drawingroom, when the children are
not playing in it. To go into The Study I simply walk over to my table
and put up a large notice: "THE STUDY. DO NOT SPEAK TO ME. I AM
THINKING." Do you think that had better be in the film?

Or I wonder if a Comic would be more effective--a Shaving reel or a
Dressing reel? It is the small incidents of every-day life that one
should look to for the key to the character of a Public Man; and once a
whole third of the population had seen for themselves what pain it gives
me to put links and studs and all those things in a clean shirt, they
would understand the strange note of melancholy which runs through this
article.

But of course an author should have several different reels
corresponding to the different kinds of work which he wants to
publicitise. (That is a new word which I have just invented, but you
will find it in common use in a month or two.) People like Mr. BELLOC
will probably require the full politician's ration of twenty or more,
but the ordinary writer might rub along with four or five.

When his _Pug, Wog and Pussy_ is on the market there will be a Family
reel, in which he is pretending to be a tree and the children are
climbing it. And when he has just published _The Cruise of the Cow_;
or, _Seven Hours at Sea_, he will be seen with an intense expression
tying a bowline on a bight or madly hauling on the throat-halyard--at
Messrs. Mump and Gump's specially-equipped ponds. And for his
passionate romance, _The Borrowed Bride_---- But I don't know what he
will do then.

And even now we have not exhausted the list of Public Men. There are
clergymen. Don't you feel that some of those sermons might be thrown on
the screen--and left there? A. P. H.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Merry Bishop.

    The Dean of CAPE TOWN with a critical frown
      To the jests of St. Albans' gay Bishop demurs;
    But the Bishop denies the offence and implies
      'Tis the way of all asses to nibble at FURSE.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Harvest Festival celebrations took place at St. John's Church on
    Sunday evening, when the choir rendered the anthem 'Praise the young
    ladies of the choir.'"--_Yorkshire Paper._

And we have no doubt they deserved it.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Butcher_ (_at conclusion of scathing criticism of
horse_). "WELL, THAT'S MY OPINION, ANYWAY. AND I OUGHT TO KNOW SOMETHING
BY NOW ABOUT A BIT OF 'ORSEFLESH WHEN I SEES IT."

_Groom._ "YES--AND SO OUGHT YOUR CUSTOMERS TOO."]

       *       *       *       *       *

OUR BOOKING-OFFICE.

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

How you regard Miss MAY SINCLAIR'S latest story, _The Romantic_
(COLLINS), will entirely depend upon your attitude towards the
long-vexed question of the permissible in art. If you hold that all life
(which in this association generally means something disagreeable) is
its legitimate province and that genius can transmute an ugly study of
morbid pathology into a romance, you will admire the force of this vivid
little book; otherwise, I warn you frankly, you are like to be repelled
by the whole business. The title, to begin with, is an irony as grim as
anything that follows, in what sense you will find as the story reveals
itself. _The Romantic_ is a picture--what do I say? a vivisection--of
cowardice, seen through the horrified eyes of a woman who loved the
subject of it. The scene is the Belgian battlefields, to which _John
Conway_, being unfitted for active service, had taken out a
motor-ambulance, with _Charlotte Redhead_ as one of his drivers. All the
background of this part of the tale is wonderfully realised, a thing of
actual and unforgetable experience. Here gradually the first tragedy of
_Conway_ is made clear, though shielded and ignored as long as possible
by the loyalty of fellow-workers and the obstinate disbelief of the
girl. Perhaps you think I am making too much of it all; treacherous
nerves were the lot of many spiritually noble men in that hell. But
little by little conviction of a deeper, less understandable, horror
creeps upon the reader, only to be explained and confirmed on the last
page. To be honest, _The Romantic_ is an ugly, a detestably ugly book,
but of its cleverness there can be no question.

       *       *       *       *       *

It would appear that Mr. A. E. W. MASON is another of those who hold
that the day of war-novels is not yet done. Anyhow, _The Summons_
(HODDER AND STOUGHTON) shows him dealing out all the old familiar cards,
spies and counter-spies, submarines and petrol bases and secret ink. It
must be admitted that the result is unexpectedly archaic. Perhaps also
Mr. MASON hardly gives himself a fair chance. The "summons" to his hero
(who, being familiar with the Spanish coast, is required when War breaks
out to use this knowledge for submarine-thwarting) is too long delayed,
and all the non-active service part of the tale suffers from a very dull
love-interest and some even more dreary racing humour. Archaic or not,
however, _Hillyard's_ anti-spy adventures, in an exquisite setting that
the author evidently knows as well as his hero, are good fun enough. But
the home scenes had (for me at least) a lack of grip and conviction by
no means to be looked for from a writer of Mr. MASON'S experience. His
big thrill, the suicide of the lady who first sends by car to the local
paper the story of her end and then waits to confirm this by telephone
before making it true, left me incredulous. I'm afraid _The Summons_ can
hardly be said to have found Mr. MASON in his customary form.

       *       *       *       *       *

"To write another person's life-history in the first person, and yet
give to it the verisimilitude of a genuine autobiography, would under
ordinary circumstances be a difficult if not impossible undertaking." So
Mr. C. E. GOULDSBURY tells us in a note to _Reminiscences of a Stowaway_
(CHAPMAN AND HALL), and most of us will cordially agree with him. But,
after reading this volume of reminiscences, I think you will also agree
that Mr. GOULDSBURY has acquitted himself admirably of a most difficult
task. The man into whose skin, if I may so express it, he has
temporarily tried to fit himself was Mr. ALEXANDER DOUGLAS LARYMORE, who
started his adventurous career as a stowaway in an "old iron tub," and
eventually became Inspector-General of Jails in India. For nearly forty
years Mr. GOULDSBURY was Mr. LARYMORE'S intimate friend, and has had
sufficient data at his disposal to do justice to what was a remarkably
full and interesting life. Possibly those of us who retain a tender spot
in our hearts for stowaways may regret that Mr. LARYMORE grew tired of
the sea; but his adventures were as numerous and amusing on land as on
water, and they are also valuable for the strong light they throw on the
India of some years ago. Mr. GOULDSBURY has at once provided a lasting
tribute to the memory of his friend and written a book which both in
style and matter would be hard to beat.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _The King._ "LOOK HERE--THIS THRONE WON'T DO; IT IS
IMPOSSIBLE FOR US TO LOOK DIGNIFIED IN IT."

_The Artificer._ "I'M SORRY, YOUR MAJESTY. THERE MUST BE SOME MISTAKE. I
GOT IT IN MY 'EAD THAT YOUR MAJESTY ORDERED A _LOUNGE_ THRONE."]

       *       *       *       *       *

Are you a victim to the _Tarzan_ habit? Perhaps your eye may have been
caught by the word on bookstalls as the generic title of an increasing
pile of volumes; but knowing, like myself, that all things explain
themselves in time, you may have been content to leave it at that.
Meanwhile, however, the thing has continued to spread, till on the
wrapper of _Tarzan the Untamed_ (METHUEN), which now at last finds me
out, its publishers are able to number its devotees in millions. Well,
of course the outstanding fact about such popularity is that in face of
it any affectation of superiority becomes simply silly. One has got to
accept this creation of Mr. EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS as among the definite
literary phenomena of our time. In the immediate spasm before me
_Tarzan_ (who is, if you need telling, a kind of horribly exaggerated
_Mowgli_ after a diet of the Food of the Gods) is represented as placing
himself at the disposal of the British forces in East Africa, and
attacking the Germans with man-eating lions. The rather chastening
feature of which was my own unexpected enjoyment of the idea. Even, for
one disconcerting moment, like the persons in the admonitory anecdotes
who taste opium "just for fun," I began to feel that perhaps.... However
it passed, and the temptation has not returned. Meanwhile the real
nature of Tarzanism, whether some sinister possession or simply the
age-long appetite for the monstrous, just now a little out of hand,
remains as far from solution as ever.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. HORACE BLEACKLEY, whose last excursion into political fiction was a
description of an opéra-bouffe Labour Government in action, addresses
himself, in _The Monster_ (HEINEMANN), to a more serious theme. His
monster is the factory system, and if I say that this witty novel will
provide the ignorant and comfortable with instruction as well as
entertainment I hope I shan't have done him any harm. The author, while
making his points against the system, notes truly enough that the risen
ranker, the one who had been through the dreadful mill, with its
ninety-hour working week for children, became the hardest master during
that wonderful period of the Manchesterising of England which laid the
train for the explosions of our present discontents. He reminds us also
of that admirable speech, made about every ten years for the last
hundred or so in the House with the same fervour and conviction, to the
effect that any change in conditions or wages would surely mean the
complete ruin of the country. A comforting speech, that! Perhaps Mr.
BLEACKLEY, presenting three generations from Peterloo to the Jubilee of
QUEEN VICTORIA, covers too much ground for full effect, but he has
pleasantly gilded a wholesome pill for pleasant people. Good luck to
him.

       *       *       *       *       *

I did not take the publishers' statement that _Pengard Awake_ (METHUEN)
was "entirely unlike Mr. STRAUS'S previous stories" as a recommendation,
however alluring it was intended to be, for he has good and enjoyable
work to his credit. I doubt, indeed, if he has yet written a book more
acceptable to the novel-reading public than this tale of "action,
mystery and wonderful adventures" (again I quote from the paper
wrapper). Possibly in a so-called mystery book the author ought to have
his readers guessing all the time, but if I was not perpetually engaged
in this rather exhausting pursuit I was, at any rate, intrigued.
_Pengard_, who is also _Sylvester_, and yet is neither the one nor the
other, may be too much for your saner moments of credulity. But Mr.
STRAUS tells his queer story so plausibly and with so light a touch that
even though you may affect to scoff at his dashing improbabilities you
cannot escape their attraction. Indeed Mr. STRAUS'S adventure into
fields hitherto strange to him has been so successful that I am inclined
to ask him to continue cultivating them.

       *       *       *       *       *

Life's Little Contradictions.

"Now mind, you know, if I kill you it's nothing, but if you kill me, by
Jingo, it's murder." This remark was put by JOHN LEECH into the lips of
a small Special Constable, represented as menacing a gigantic ruffian,
and was not, as you might think, addressed by a Sinn Feiner to a member
of the Royal Irish Constabulary.

       *       *       *       *       *

Messrs. W. H. Smith & Son.

Mr. Punch wishes to offer the most sincere congratulations to his old
friends on the occasion of the centenary of their firm.





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