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Title: Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 159, September 22, 1920
Author: Various
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 159, September 22, 1920" ***

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VOL. 159.

September 22nd, 1920.


"'Strike while the iron is hot' must be the motto," says a business
man. Mr. SMILLIE, on the other hand, says that it doesn't so much
matter about the iron being hot.

       * * *

A curious story reaches us from the Midlands. It appears that it had
been decided to call out the workmen in a certain factory, but the
strike-leader had unfortunately mislaid his notes and could not
remember their grievance.

       * * *

Mr. C.B. COCHRAN has decided to have nothing further to do with the
promotion of boxing-matches owing to the way in which contracts are
continually being broken. It has since been reported that several of
our leading professional boxers are endeavouring to arrange a farewell

       * * *

Mr. EVANS, the American golf champion, has invented a new putter. We
appreciate America's effort, but all the same we cannot forget her
apathy toward the League of Nations.

       * * *

Last week the largest number of Alpinists ever assembled met on the
top of the Matterhorn. If this sort of thing goes on it is quite
likely that the summit will have to be strengthened.

       * * *

Colder weather is promised and the close season for Councillor CLARK
should commence about October 1st.

       * * *

"The ex-Kaiser," says _The Western Morning News_, "goes in daily
fear of being kidnapped." This is said to be due to the presence at
Amerongen of an enterprising party of American curio-hunters.

       * * *

A headline in a weekly paper asks, "What will Charlie Chaplin Turn out
this Year?" "His feet," is the answer.

       * * *

The language at Billingsgate, according to Sir E.E. COOPER, is much
better than it used to be. Fish porters invariably say "Excuse me"
before throwing a length of obsolete eel at a colleague.

       * * *

In the event of a miners' strike arrangements have been made for the
staff of the Ministry of Transport to sleep at the office. It would be
more wise, we think, if they remained wide awake.

       * * *

A feature of the new motor charabanc will be the space for passengers'
luggage. This is just what is wanted, as it so easily gets broken even
if the corks don't come out.

       * * *

A message from Allahabad states that the appointment of Mr. WINSTON
CHURCHILL as Viceroy of India would be very popular. Unfortunately
they omit to say where it would be popular.

       * * *

"Drink is Scotland's greatest sin," said a Prohibitionist speaker at
Glasgow. The gentleman does not seem to have heard of haggis.

       * * *

Asked what he would have, a Scotsman, taking advantage of its high
price, replied, "A small petrol, please."

       * * *

The National Gallery with its three thousand pictures is practically
priceless, we are informed. This probably accounts for the fact that
the hall-porter invariably takes visitors' umbrellas as security.

       * * *

What is now wanted, says a contemporary, is a good spell of fine
weather. We feel that no good can be done by rubbing it in like this.
_The Daily Mail_ is doing its best.

       * * *

We understand, by the way, that _The Daily Mail_ has definitely
decided not to offer a prize of a hundred pounds for a new world, but
to leave the matter entirely in the hands of Mr. LLOYD GEORGE.

       * * *

The Astronomical Correspondent of _The Times_ suggests that the new
star may have been produced through a sun being struck by a comet.
This raises the question as to whether suns ought not to carry rear

       * * *

There is some talk of a series of week-end summers being arranged for
next year.

       * * *

"If necessary I will walk from John-o'-Groats to Land's End,
distributing propaganda literature all the way," announced a
well-known strike agitator at a recent conference. Personally we do
not mind if he does, provided that when he reaches Land's End he
continues to walk in the same direction.

       * * *

According to a weekly journal the art of camouflage played a most
important part in recent naval warfare. It is, of course, quite an
open secret that the Naval authorities are aware that one of our
largest Dreadnoughts is somewhere in a certain English harbour, but,
owing to the excellence of its camouflage, they have not yet been able
to locate it.

       * * *

We now learn that it was merely through an oversight that the pit
ponies did not record their votes at the strike ballot.

       *       *       *       *       *



       *       *       *       *       *

=The Journalistic Touch.=

    "Shamming death, he moaned loudly."

_Irish Paper._

       *       *       *       *       *

=Our Critics.=

    "'The Seven Deadly Sins.' Frederick Rogers.

    This is a subject that Mr. Rogers is eminently fitted to
    explore."--_Review of Reviews._

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Tenor wanted, to join bass; must have voice."--_Scotch Paper._

Some people are so exacting.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Bride in apricot."--_Daily Paper._

A new significance is added to the calculation of one's fruit
stones--"This year, next year, some time, never."

       *       *       *       *       *


    [A final salutation to the M.C.C. team, from one who is destined
    to perish in the event of a coal strike.]

  O ship that farest forth, a greater _Argo_,
    Unto the homeland of the woolly fleece,
  Soft gales attend thee! may thy precious cargo
    Slide over oceans smoothed of every crease,
          So as the very flower, or pick,
  Of England's flanneled chivalry may not be sick!

  And thou, O gentle goddess Hygieia,
    Hover propitious o'er the vessel's poop;
  Keep them from chicken-pox and pyorrhoea,
    Measles and nettle-rash and mumps and croup;
          See they digest their food and drink,
  And land them, even as they leave us, in the pink!

  Thou, too, whose favour they depend so much on
    (Fortune, I mean) in this precarious game,
  Oh let there be no blob on their escutcheon,
    Or, if a few occur, accept the blame;
          Do not, of course, abuse thy powers;
  We'd have the best side win, but let that side be ours.

  Summer awaits them there while we are wheezing
    By empty hearths through bitter days and black;
  Yet we rejoice that, though we die of freezing
    And cannot get cremated, all for lack
          Of coal to feed our funeral pyres,
  Still "in our ashes [yonder] live their wonted fires."


       *       *       *       *       *


"As you are aware," said a prominent official of the Ministry of
Ancestry, "although our department has only been in existence for a
few months the profits have enabled the Government to take twopence
off the income-tax and to provide employment for thousands of
deserving clerks dismissed, in deference to public opinion, from other
Government offices."

"Yes. Could you tell me how this brilliant scheme came into being?"

"The Chinese knew and practised it for centuries. Here the credit for
its re-discovery must be assigned to Sir Cuthbert Shover, who, owing
to handsome contributions to necessary funds, combined, of course,
with meritorious public service during the War, was offered a
baronetcy. He refused it for himself, but accepted it for his aged
father, thereby becoming second baronet in three months. He deplored
the fact that his grandfather was no longer eligible for the honour.
Then we saw light. Why should the mere accident of death prevent us
from honouring a man if his family were prepared to contribute towards
the country's exchequer? But these letters will give you a clearer
insight into the working of the department."

The first letter was addressed to Miss Cannon, at Maidstone:--

    "DEAR MADAM,--We have no hesitation in advising you to have a
    bishop in your family. Few purchases give greater satisfaction.
    If, as you say, your late maternal grandfather was curate of
    Slowden, and was, as far as you are aware, a man of exemplary
    character, we could make him a bishop without delay. Your home
    being in Kent, it occurs to us that the see of Carlisle would suit
    the Right Reverend Prelate best. The cost of the proceedings,
    including a pre-dated _Congé d'Élire_, would be eight hundred
    guineas. An archbishopric would be slightly more expensive and, in
    our opinion, less suitable."

"Amazing," I said.

"But so simple. Here is a letter from a man who wants to have had
forbears in the Navy. We say:--

    "'Naturally it would have been an advantage for your son, whom you
    destine for the Navy, to have had relations in that service. But
    it is not too late to remedy this defect.

    "'By virtue of the powers conferred upon us by Act of Parliament
    (Ancestry Act, 1922), we are prepared to give your sometime
    great-great-uncle William, who, according to family tradition,
    always wanted to go to sea, a commission in the Navy, and the
    rank of lieutenant, together with appointment to any ship of the
    line--with the exception of the _Victory_--which fought under Lord
    NELSON. The making out the commission will be put in hand on the
    receipt of your cheque for three hundred guineas.'"

"Do you always give satisfaction?"

"Occasionally we have to disappoint people. For instance, this letter
to a lady at Plymouth:--

    "'We fear we cannot grant your request to reserve a berth on the
    _Mayflower_ for your delightful ancestress, Mrs. Patience Loveday.
    The _Mayflower_ is already overcrowded, and, owing to some
    ill-feeling raised in America, we decided to resign all interest
    in the vessel. Should you desire some other form of Puritan
    distinction how would you like to provide yourself with a
    non-juring clergyman as an ancestor? We could present any suitable
    departed member of your family to a Crown living, and supply
    you with an order of ejectment, dated the anniversary of St.
    Bartholomew's Day, 1662.'"

"Judging from the address on this letter, 'X. O'Finny, Esq.,' your
jurisdiction extends to Ireland?"

"Yes, Mr. O'Finny wants some persecuted ancestors. We offer to supply
him with a member of his family condemned to be beheaded by order of
QUEEN ELIZABETH, price one thousand, which includes a replica of the
Great Seal of England; or, to have another member shot by order of
CROMWELL, at half the price; or a sentence of hanging in '98. This
would be three hundred only. We advise him to take the complete set at
a reduction, and have no doubt we shall come to terms."

"Have you anything more expensive?" I asked timidly.

"Rather. Here is our answer to Lord--better not give the name,
perhaps; the creation is recent. He wished for a Crusader, but we
explained that the Crusades were not under Government. We offer to
introduce his family name into our authorised supplement to the
Domesday Book for five thousand pounds. I call it cheap at the money.
Now what can we do for you?"

"I must think it over," I stammered.

"Do. You will come back. Pair of Colours, now, for a
great-great-grandfather. How would that suit you? Only five hundred.
Or a place at Court in the Regency? Or, if you wish good business
connection, a directorship of the East India Company? The whole of the
past lies before you. Give your children a fair start in life, that
is what we say. Money is good, education is better, but distinguished
ancestry is best of all."

       *       *       *       *       *

=Stitches in Time.=

    "The breeches on the line between Sini and Jhursagudha have now
    been repaired."--_Civil and Military Gazette._

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The King has given Mr. William Armstrong, Director of Criminal
    Intelligence of the Shanghai Municipal Police, authority to wear
    the Insignia of the Fourth Class of the Order of the Excellent
    Crop, conferred on him by the President of the Republic of China,
    in recognition of valuable services."--_Times._

We understand that extreme shortness of hair is not the hall-mark of
the Chinese criminal world.

       *       *       *       *       *



[_Loud crows from "Daily Herald" bird._]]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Horrified Sister_ (_to small artist_). "MABEL, YOU'RE

       *       *       *       *       *


There are thirty-six of them in all, ranging from WILLIAM I., who
is "severe," to VICTORIA, who is just "good." I first made their
acquaintance in childhood, when my grandmother gave them me with the
laudable object of teaching me history. Each is a little wooden block
signifying a monarch. On one side there is a portrait showing the
face, collar and upper portion of torso of the monarch in question;
on the other side there is written a single word summing up his whole

By means of these royal blocks I was brought up to a sound historical
sense based on religion and morality. At the age of seven I could
and did boast that I knew the innermost souls of all the monarchs
of England. I could say their dates by heart, often doing so during
sermon time on Sundays, with a grace and ease that only lifelong
acquaintance with royalty could have bred. I was even able to triumph
through that tricky period between the death of EDWARD III. and the
accession of ELIZABETH. I wonder if the late Lord ACTON was as learned
at that age: I am sure he could not say his dates backwards. I could.

It has always surprised those who have endeavoured to teach me
history that my youthful brain should be so strongly grounded in
the historical tradition of over half a century ago. Yet all the
historians of modern England could not shake me in my faith. To me
QUEEN VICTORIA was no "panting little German widow," as our latest
searcher after truth has affirmed, but the august lady who listened
entranced to the beautiful poems of Lord TENNYSON and invented
electricity and the tricycle. In consequence I was considered a
counter-revolutionary, if not bourgeois. My essays were deemed
dangerously reactionary. At Oxford I once found my tutor burning one.
This shows the value the authorities attach to my work. It is too
dangerous to live; it is burnt.

I venture to think, however, that my work, based as it is on the
most respectable principles, will survive long after my tutors have
subsided into a permanent state of death in life. Like SHAKSPEARE and
the present Government I am for all time.

It is easy to see how I came to acquire this stability of thought,
owing as I do my early training to the kings and queens of England,
who are nothing if not stable. They are my acknowledged guardians and
to them I turn in all difficulties. Only a year ago they came to my
aid in a most awkward predicament. It was my lot to fill up army
forms; of what variety I cannot remember save that they were of a
jaundicy colour and connected with the men's demobilisation. On these
documents I was expected to enter, besides the usual details as to
religion and connubial felicity, the character of each man in a
single word. I at once marshalled my wooden royalties before me
in chronological order and proceeded to deal with the squadron in

The first name on my list was that of the disciplinary sergeant-major.
It was with a glow of pride that I registered him with WILLIAM I.
as "severe." The designation of Tonks, the Mess waiter (whom we had
discovered on the night the bomb fell on the aerodrome making a home
and a house of defence in the cookhouse stove), as "heroic"
was distinctly happy. It was perhaps unfortunate that the
quartermaster-sergeant, an austere man from Renfrew, should have
found, on perusing his demobilisation card, that he was to be handed
down to posterity as "avaricious." I was also sorry to find the padre,
usually so broad-minded, in a nasty temper about the character given
to his batman, who was, he assured me, the only pious man in the
squadron and in private life a dissenting minister. "Dissolute"
certainly was on the face of things inappropriate, but then it was
no fault of mine that the merriest of English monarchs should have
appeared at the moment when I was filling up the papers of a minister
of religion.

The light that my wooden monarchs throw on history is both interesting
and, to a modern, precious. For instance, the designation of the first
Angevin king as "patriotic" will surprise many readers of the late
Bishop STUBBS. "Patriotic" is a wide term and may be applied to almost
anything from after-dinner flag-wagging to successful juggling with
Colonial stocks and shares; yet there are few who would have described
it as the besetting virtue of HENRY I. But it was; his little block
says so.

JOHN, again, was "mean." I am sorry, for, though in some respects
blameworthy, he had many agreeable traits. His views on the honesty of
his baronage are most entertaining. He was something of a wit, a good
judge of food and wine, and would have made an excellent Fellow of an
Oxford college. It is much to be regretted that he was mean.

Poor HENRY VI. is "silly." This is a hard judgment on the pioneer of
the movement against low backs in evening frocks, but doubtless he was
silly in other things.

Some of my monarchs had the most excellent characters. EDWARD I. was
"just," GEORGE IV. "courteous," OLIVER CROMWELL "noble"--a sad blow
for the White Rose Club. Our younger monarchs were particularly
attractive persons, and it is a pity that they did not live long
enough to display their qualities. EDWARD VI. was "amiable," while
EDWARD V., like all with expectations from their uncle, was "hopeful."
Poor child! he had need to be.

I am pained however that CHARLES II. was "dissolute." It was what
HENRY VIII. dissolved the monasteries for being--the impertinent old
polygamist! For my part I love CHARLES for the affection that he bore
little dogs, for the chance saying on Sussex hills that this England
was a country well worth fighting for. Alas! that he should have been

Best of all my friends is GEORGE III. He is portrayed with a jolly red
nose and a mouth that positively yawns for pudding. His character,
which is his chief glory, is "benevolent." Who would not rejoice to
have been the object of his regal philanthropy? SAMUEL JOHNSON himself
did not hesitate to accept the bounty of this kindly monarch, though,
while his predecessor reigned, the great lexicographer had defined a
pensioner as "a state hireling" paid "for treason to his country."

Such are my friends the kings and queens of England. Happy the child
who has such majesty to be his guardian spirit. To him life will be
a pomp, where vulgar democracy can have no part, and death a
trysting-place with old comrades--the child for whom

  "The kings of England, lifting up their swords,
  Shall gather at the gates of Paradise."

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _The Super-Tramp._ "MADAM, IF YOU HAVE ANY MORE OF THAT

       *       *       *       *       *


(_An actual incident_.)

  My fancy sought no English field,
    What time my holiday drew near;
  I felt no fond desire to wield
    The shrimping net of yesteryear;
  I found it easy to eschew
    All wish to hear a pierrot stating
  His lust to learn the rendezvous
    Of flies engaged in hibernating.

  Beyond the Channel I would range
    (I called it "cross the rolling main")
  And there achieve the thorough change
    Demanded by my jaded brain;
  It might be that an alien clime
    Would jog a failing inspiration,
  Buck up a bard and render rhyme
    Less difficult of excavation.

  A thorough change? Ah, barren quest,
    Foredoomed to fail ere half begun!
  Though left behind, my England pressed
    In hot pursuit of me, her son;
  London was brought again to view
    By hordes of maidens out for pillage,
  When from the train I stepped into
    A flag day in an Alpine village.

       *       *       *       *       *


This was the telegram that, after much hesitation, I had written out
at the side desk in the post-office and carried to the main desk to

    Pactolus, London.

    St. Vitus carburetter stammer tyre scream Sanguine.

You will observe that it is unintelligible. Decoded, it meant that I,
whose betting pseudonym is Sanguine, wished to invest with Messrs.
Lure, commission agents (not bookmakers, no, not for a moment),
whose telegraphic address is "Pactolus, London," a sum of ten pounds
(carburetter) on a horse called St. Vitus to win (stammer), and twenty
pounds (tyre) for a place (scream). I had done this for various
reasons, none really good, but chiefly because every paper that I had
opened had urged me to do so, some even going so far as to dangle a
double before me with St. Vitus as one of the horses. Nearly all had
described St. Vitus as a nap, setting up the name not only in capitals
but with a faithful asterisk beside it.

Having an account with Messrs. Lure and a liking now and then to
indulge in a little flutter over a gee (I am choosing my words very
carefully) I had decided, after weighing the claims of all the other
runners, to take the advice of the majority and back the favourite,
although favourites acclaimed with stridency by the racing experts
of the Press in unison have, I knew, a way of failing. In betting on
races, however, there are two elements that are never lacking: hope
against hope and an incomplete recollection of the past.

Having written out the telegram I took it to the main counter, to the
section labelled "Telegrams," and slipped it under the grating towards
the young woman, who, however, instead of dealing with it, continued
to tell an adjacent young woman about the arrangements that she and a
friend had made for their forthcoming holidays at Herne Bay.

The nature of those who have little flutters on gees is complex. The
ordinary man, having written out his telegram, on whatever subject
it may be--whether it announces that he will arrive before lunch and
bring his clubs with him, or that, having important business to detain
him at the office, he will not be home to dinner--gets it through
as soon as possible. He may be delayed by the telegraph girl's
detachment, but he would not be deterred. He would still send the
telegram. But those who bet are different. They are minutely sensitive
to outside occurrences; always seeking signs and interpreting them as
favourable or unfavourable as the case may be; and refraining from
doing anything so decisive as to call the girl to order. Their game
is to be plastic under the fingers of chance; the faintest breath of
dubiety can sway them. I had been in so many minds about this thirty
pound bet, which I could not really afford, that there was therefore
nothing for it, after waiting the two minutes that seemed to be ten,
but to tear up the message, in the belief that the friendly gods again
had intervened. For luck is as much an affair of refraining as of
rushing in.

I therefore withdrew quietly from the conversation and scattered the
little bits on the floor as I did so. But I did not leave the office.
Instead, I went to the side desk again and wrote another telegram,
which, with the necessary money (an awful lot), I pushed through the
grating, where the girls were still talking. My second telegram had
no reference to horses--I had done with gambling for the day--but ran

    Postmaster-General, London.

    Suggest you remind telegraph clerk on duty at this hour at this
    post-office that she perhaps talks a shade too much about Herne
    Bay and gives public too little consideration.

The girl, having ceased her chatter, took the telegram and began
feverishly to count the words. Then her tapping pencil slowed down and
her brows contracted; she was assimilating their meaning. Then, with a
blush, and a very becoming one, she looked at me with an expression of
distress and said, "Do you really want this to go?"

"No," I said, withdrawing the money.

"I'm sorry I was not more attentive," she said.

"That's all right," I replied. "Tear it up."

And I came away, feeling, with a certain glow of satisfaction not
unmixed with self-righteousness, that I had done something to raise
the post-office standard and to ensure better attention. But the joke
is that, if I had myself received better attention, I should have lost
thirty pounds, for St. Vitus was unplaced. This story must therefore
remain without a moral.


       *       *       *       *       *

=Notice in a Shop Window.=

    "Hats made to order, or revenerated."

Ah! that's what's wanted so badly to-day for the headgear of the
Higher Clergy.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "V.C.W. Jupp, the Sussex amateur, has been invited to become a
    member of the M.C.C. team, which leaves for Australia on Saturday.
    A fine all-round cricketer, Jupp is a useful man to any team,
    but as he usually fields cover-point his inclusion would not
    necessarily improve the side in its weakest point--_viz._, the
    lack of oilfields."--_Daily Paper._

Surely the fewer the better, if that's where the butter-fingers come

       *       *       *       *       *


[Dedicated to those high-minded and dispassionate leader-writers who,
after prefacing their remarks with the declaration that "we hold no
brief for--" extreme views of all sorts, proceed to show that the
conduct of the extremist is invariably explained, if not justified, by
the iniquities of the Coalition Government.]

  I hold no brief for LENIN
    Or TROTSKY or their breed;
  Their way of doing men in
    Is foreign to my creed;
  But, since to me LLOYD GEORGE is
    A source of deeper dread,
  For Bolshevistic orgies
    A great deal may be said.

  I hold a brief for no land
    That tramples on its kin;
  My heart once bled for Poland
    And groaned for Russia's sin;
  But, if to clear the tangle
    WINSTON is given his head,
  I feel that General WRANGEL
    Were better downed and dead.

  I hold no brief--I swear it--
    For militant Sinn Fein;
  I really cannot bear it
    When constables are slain;
  But if you mention CARSON
    I feel that for the spread
  Of murder and of arson
    A good deal can be said.

  I hold no brief for SMILLIE
    Or for the miners' claims;
  I disapprove most highly
    Of many of their aims;
  But when I see the Wizard
    Enthroned in ASQUITH'S stead,
  It cuts me to the gizzard
    And dyes my vision Red.

  I hold no brief for madmen
    On revolution bent,
  For bitter or for bad men
    On anarchy intent;
  But sooner far than "stop" them
    With Coalition lead,
  To foster and to prop them
    I'd leave no word unsaid.

       *       *       *       *       *

=Our Decadent Poets.=

Extract from an Indian's petition:--

    "... to look after my old father, who leads sickly life, and is
    going from bad to verse every day."

       *       *       *       *       *

    "So far from Mr. Kameneff having had nothing to do with any
    realisation of jewels, he ... took plains to report it to his
    Government."--_Daily Paper._

In fact, he took the necessary steppes.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "A privately owned aeroplane, flying from London to the Isle of
    Wight, descended in a field near Carnforth, seven miles north of
    Morecambe Bay. The propeller was broken, but the occupants, a lady
    and a gentleman, escaped with a shaking."--_Daily Paper._

The real shock came when they found out where they were.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: =THE PRESS PHOTOGRAPH.=







       *       *       *       *       *


The men I most admire at the present time, though I take care not to
tell them so to their faces, are the men who can do everything. By
this I don't mean people of huge intellectual attainments, like
Cabinet Ministers, or tremendous physical powers, like _Tarzan_ of the
Apes. It must be very nice to be able to have a heart-to-heart talk
with KRASSIN or to write articles for the Sunday picture-papers, and
very nice also to swing rapidly through the tree-tops, say, in Eaton
Square; but none of these gifts is much help when the door-handle
comes off. I hate that sort of thing to happen in a house.

In the Victorian age, of course, which was one of specialisation based
upon peace and plenty, one simply sent for a door-handle replacer and
he put it right. But nowadays the Door-handle Replacers' Union is
probably affiliated to an amalgamation which is discussing sympathetic
action with somebody who is striking, so nothing is done. This means
that for weeks and weeks, whenever one tries to go out of the room,
there is a loud crash like a 9.2 on the further side and a large blunt
dagger clutched melodramatically in the right hand, and nobody to
murder with it.

The man who can do everything is the kind of man who can mend a thing
like a broken door-handle as soon as look at it. He always knows which
of the funny things you push or pull on any kind of machine to make it
go or stop, and what is wrong with the cistern and the drawing-room

Such a man came into my house the other day. I call it my house, but
it really seems to belong to a number of large people who walk in and
out and shift packing-cases and splash paint and tramp heavily into
the bathroom about 8.30 A.M. when I am trying to get off to sleep.
They have also dug a large moat right through the lawn and the
garden-path, which rather spoils the appearance of these places,
though it is nice to be able to pull up the drawbridge at night and
feel that one is safe from burglars. Anyhow, whether it is my house or
theirs, the fact remains that the electric-bells were wrong. The man
of whom I am speaking lives next-door, and he came in and pointed this
out. "It is not much use having electric-bells," he said, "that don't

I might have argued this point. I might have said that to press the
button of a bell that does not ring gives one time to reflect on
whether one really wants the thing one rang for, and thereafter on
the whole vanity of human wishes, and so inculcates patience and
self-discipline. It is quite possible that an Eastern _yogi_ might
spend many years of beneficial calm pressing the buttons of bells that
do not ring. But I replied rather weakly, "No, I suppose not."

"I'll soon put that right for you," he said cheerily, and about five
minutes later he asked me to press one of the buttons, and there was a
loud tinkling noise. It seemed a pity that at the moment when the bell
did happen to ring there should be nobody to come and answer it.

"Whatever did you do to them?" I asked.

"It only needed a little water," he said, and I had hard work to
suppress my admiration. The very morning before, feeling that I ought
to take a hand in all this practical work that was going on about the
place, I had filled a large watering-can that I found lying about and
wetted some things which someone had stuck into the garden. I have
a kind of idea that they were carrots, but they may have been
maiden-hair ferns. Somehow it had never occurred to me for a moment to
go and water the electric bells.

Almost immediately afterwards this man discovered that all the knives
in the kitchen were blunt and went and fetched some kind of private
grindstone and sharpened them, and then told me that the apple-trees
ought to be grease-banded, which I thought was a thing one only did
to engines. And, when he had brought a hammer and some nails and put
together a large bookcase which had collapsed as soon as _The Outline
of History_ was put on to it (I should like to know whether Canon
BARNES can explain _that_), I was obliged to ask him to stop, in case
the tramping men should see him and strike immediately for fear of the
dilution of labour.

But what impressed me most was the part he took next day in the
Railway Carriage Conference, which curiously enough was on the subject
of strikes. There were several people in the carriage, and they were
talking about what they had done during the railway strike last year,
and what they would do if such a thing happened again. I said I should
like to be a station-master if possible, because they had top-hats and
grew such beautiful flowers. Only four or five trains seem to stop at
our station during the day, and if there was a strike I suppose the
number would be reduced to one or two. And I thought it would be
rather nice to spend the day wearing a top-hat and watering the
nasturtiums in the little rock-gardens behind the platform. Watering,
I said, was quite easy when once one got into the swing of it.

But the man who could do everything seemed to know everything too, and
he told me that station-masters were much too noble to strike. There
were two kinds of station-masters, he said, both wearing top-hats,
but one kind with full morning-dress underneath it and the other with
uniform. But neither kind struck.

Slightly nettled at his superior knowledge, I asked him, "What did
_you_ do during the Great Strike?"

"Oh, I had rather fun," he said; "I controlled the signals at London

If all the truth were known I expect that he is quite ready for Mr.
SMILLIE'S strike; that he has a handy little pick in his bedroom and
knows of rather a jolly little coal-mine close by.


       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Mother_ (_firmly, to little daughter about to have

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _The Woman_. "I DO WISH YOU TWO WOULD WALK PROPERLY."]

       *       *       *       *       *



  In the village of Picking's Pool
  Lived Theobald, the village fool;
  He had been simple from his birth
  But kindly as the simple earth,
  And in his heart he sang a song
  Of "Ave, Mary" all day long.

  On Good Friday the people came
  To honour the rood of Christ His shame;
  They scattered flowers and leaves and moss
  About the foot of the humble cross
  And, when they knelt and prayed and wailed,
  Theobald saw the Mother, veiled
  And bowed in a mother's agony.
  "She suffers more than the Christ," said he.

  Theobald searched the fields and lanes
  To find a solace for MARY'S pains;
  All the flowers were plucked and gone
  Save a little dull Parsley, sere and wan;
  And Theobald wreathed it in simple guise;
  "It mourns like her," said the Fool made wise.

  When Holy Saturday morning broke
  Back to the shrine went the village folk;
  And lo! on the weeping Mother's brow
  A chaplet of flowers was gleaming now;
  And Theobald smiled secretly
  To think he had soothed her agony.
  And ever since Theobald crowned his Queen
  Fool's Parsley has flowered amongst its green.

       *       *       *       *       *


    [A contemporary, having heard of the hat specially designed for M.
    CLEMENCEAU, has decided that the bowler, the topper, the Homburg,
    the straw, the cloth cap and all other styles at present more
    or less in vogue leave much to be desired, and has therefore
    inaugurated a search for the ideal male headdress.]

THE SMILLIE.--A Phrygian model, executed in red Russia leather.
Special features are the asbestos lining, the steam vents and the
water-jacket, which combine to minimise the natural heat of the head.
Embellished with an heraldic cock's-comb _gules_, it is a striking

THE PREMIER.--A semi-Tyrolean type in resilient chamois, which can
be readily converted to any desired shape, with or without extra
stiffening. Its adaptability and the patent sound-proof ear-flaps make
it particularly suitable for travellers. Detachable edelweiss and leek

THE ERIC.--An adaptation of the _cap of maintenance_ in a special
elastic material, warranted not to burst under pressure of abnormal
expansion of the head of the wearer. Practically fool-proof.

THE WINNIE.--A fore-and-aft derived from a French model of the First
Empire period, the severity of which is mitigated by the addition of
little bells. A novelty is the mouthpiece in the crown, which enables
the hat to be used as a megaphone at need. An elastic loop holds a
fountain-pen in position. The whole to be worn on a head several sizes
too big for it.

THE CONAN.--A straw bonnet of bee-hive shape. Medium weight. In a
diversity of shades. The special puggaree of goblin blue material is
designed to protect the wearer from moonstroke without obscuring the

THE WARNER.--An easy-fitting crown carried out in harlequin flannel
surmounts a full brim of restful willow-green. Garnished with
intertwined laurel and St. John's-Wort, and decorated with the tail
feather of a Surrey fowl, it makes a comfortable and distinguished
headdress for a middle-aged gentleman.

       *       *       *       *       *


_John_ (_very virtuously_). "PINCHING."]

       *       *       *       *       *


  In a sailormen's restaurant Rotherhithe way,
  Where the din of the docksides is loud all the day,
  And the breezes come bringing off basin and pond
  And all the piled acres of lumber beyond
  From the Oregon ranges the tang of the pine
  And the breath of the Baltic as bracing as wine,
  In a fly-spotted window I there did behold,
  Among the stale odours of hot food and cold,
  A ship in a bottle some sailor had made
  In watches below, swinging South with the Trade,
  When the fellows were patching old dungaree suits,
  Or mending up oilskins and leaky seaboots,
  Or whittling a model or painting a chest,
  Or yarning and smoking and watching the rest.

  In fancy I saw him all weathered and browned,
  Deep crows'-feet and wrinkles his eyelids around;
  A pipe in the teeth that seemed little the worse
  For Liverpool pantiles and stringy salt-horse;
  The hairy forearm with its gaudy tattoo
  Of a bold-looking female in scarlet and blue;
  The fingers all roughened and toughened and scarred,
  With hauling and hoisting so calloused and hard,
  So crooked and stiff you would wonder that still
  They could handle with cunning and fashion with skill
  The tiny full-rigger predestined to ride
  To its cable of thread on its green-painted tide
  In its wine-bottle world, while the old world went on
  And the sailor who made it was long ago gone.

  And still as he worked at the toy on his knee
  He would spin his old yarns of the ships and the sea,
  _Thermopylæ_, _Lightning_, _Lothair_  and _Red Jacket_,
  With many another such famous old packet,
  And many a bucko and dare-devil skipper
  In Liverpool blood-boat or Colonies' clipper;
  The sail that they carried aboard the _Black Ball_,
  Their skysails and stunsails and ringtail and all,
  And storms that they weathered and races they won
  And records they broke in the days that are done.

  Or sometimes he'd sing you some droning old song,
  Some old sailors' ditty both mournful and long,
  With queer little curlycues, twiddles and quavers,
  Of smugglers and privateers, pirates and slavers,
  "The brave female smuggler," the "packet of fame
  That sails from New York and the _Dreadnought_'s her name,"
  And "all on the coast of the High Barbaree,"
  And "the flash girls of London was the downfall of he."

  In fancy I listened, in fancy could hear
  The thrum of the shrouds and the creak of the gear,
  The patter of reef-points on topsails a-shiver,
  The song of the jibs when they tauten and quiver,
  The cry of the frigate-bird following after,
  The bow-wave that broke with a gurgle like laughter.
  And I looked on my youth with its pleasure and pain,
  And the shipmate I loved was beside me again.
  In a ship in a bottle a-sailing away
  In the flying-fish weather through rainbows of spray,
  Over oceans of wonder by headlands of gleam,
  To the harbours of Youth on the wind of a dream.


       *       *       *       *       *


    Jerusalem, August 27.--The High Commissioner visited yesterday
    afternoon the tomb of Abraham, Sarah, Rebecca, Isaac, Jacob and
    Leah in the Cave of Makpéla at Hebron."--_Egyptian Mail_.

No flowers, by request.

       *       *       *       *       *



       *       *       *       *       *


_New Whip_ (_rib-roasting very bad cub-hunter_). "'TAIN'T SAFE TO GO

       *       *       *       *       *


Whither in these littered and overcrowded islands should one flee to
escape the spectacle of outworn and discarded boots? I should go to a
mountain-top and amongst mountain-tops I should choose the highest. I
should scale the summit of Ben Nevis.

Yet it is but a few days since I saw on that proud eminence the
unmistakable remains of an ordinary walking boot.

It reposed on the perilous edge of a snowdrift that even in summer
curves giddily over the lip of the dreadful gulf over which the
eastern precipice beetles. There is ever a certain pathos about
discarded articles of apparel: a baby's outgrown shoe, a girl's
forgotten glove, an abandoned bowler; but the situation of this boot,
thus high uplifted towards the eternal stars, gave to it a mystery, a
grandeur, a sublimity that held me long in contemplation.

How came it there?

The path that winds up that grey mountain is rough; its harsh stones
and remorseless gradients take toll of leather as of flesh. Yet half a
sole and a sound upper are better than no boot; and what climber but
would postpone till after his descent the discarding of his damaged

Could it be, I asked myself, the relic and evidence of an inhuman
crime? Was it possible that some party of climbers, arriving at the
top lunchless and desperately hungry, had sacrificed their plumpest,
disposing of his clothes over the cliff, but failing to hole out with
this tell-tale boot?

But no, I bethought me of the price of leather. They would have
reserved the boots, even at the risk of suspicion. Moreover, no one
would ever reach that exacting altitude in a state of succulence.

A glow of sympathy, a thrill of appreciation swept through me as I
realised what was at once the worthiest and the likeliest explanation.

Who shall plumb the depths of the affection of a true pedestrian for
his boots, the companions and comfort of so many a pilgrimage? Who but
the climber, the hill-tramp, knows the pang of regret with which he
faces at last the truth that his favourite boots are past repair, the
sorrow and self-reproach with which he permits them to be consigned to

I saw it all. As the Roman veteran hung upon the temple wall of Mars
the arms he might no longer wield, so hither came some lofty-minded
climber, bearing in devoted hands his outworn and faithful boot, to
leave it sadly and with reverence in this most worthy resting-place,
here to repose at the end of all the roads it had trod, on the highest
of all the native hills it had climbed.


       *       *       *       *       *

=Another Impending Apology.=

    "Mr. Roberts, Member of Parliament, has arrived. Mr. Roberts is a
    tall and well-built gentleman with a posing appearance."

_Mysore Patriot_.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Families supplied in 18, 12 or 6 gallon casks."--_Hertford
    brewer's notice_.

Where's your DIOGENES now?

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The dinner was in the House of Commons, and I sat next to Henry.
    I was tremendously impressed by his conversation and his clean
    Cromwellian face."

_From a famous autobiography._

It was, we trust, the CROMWELL touch rather than the cleanness that
was so impressive.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Ancient Gardener_ (_who has just been paid_). "OI SAY,

_Employer._ "WHAT'S THAT, JOHN?"




       *       *       *       *       *



  How odd it is that our Papas
  Keep taking us to cinemas,
  But still expect the same old scares,
  The tiger-cats, the woolly bears,
  The lions on the nursery stairs
      To frighten as of old!
  Considering everybody knows
  A girl can throttle one of those
  While choking with the other hand
  The captain of a robber band,
      They leave one pretty cold.
  The lion has no status now;
  One has one's terrors, I'll allow,
  The centipede, perhaps the cow,
      But nothing in the Zoo;
  The  things that wriggle, jump or crawl,
  The things that climb about the wall,
  And I know what is worst of all--
      It is the earwig--_ugh_!

  The earwig's face is far from kind;
  He must have got a spiteful mind;
  The pincers which he wears behind
      Are poisonous, of course;
  And Nanny knew a dreadful one
  Which bit a gentleman for fun
      And terrified a horse.

  He is extremely swift and slim,
  And if you try to tread on him
      He scuttles up the path;
  He goes and burrows in your sponge
  And takes one wild terrific plunge
      When you are in the bath;
  Or else--and this is simply foul--
  He gets into a nice hot towel
      And waits till you are dried,
  And then, when Nanny does your ears,
  He _wrrriggles_ in and disappears:
  He stays in there for years and years
      And _crrrawls_  about inside.
  At last, if you are still alive,
  A lot of baby ones arrive;
      But probably you've died.

  How inconvenient it must be!
  There isn't any way, you see,
      To get him out again;
  So, when you want to frighten me
      Or really give me pain,
  Please don't go on about that bear
  And all those burglars on the stair;
  I shouldn't turn a tiny hair
      At such Victorian stuff;
  You only have to say instead,
      And that will be enough.


       *       *       *       *       *


On glancing the other day through the only human column of my
newspaper--that headed "Personal"--I was much intrigued by the
advertisement of a gentleman who styled himself a "busy commercial
magnate," and who announced his urgent need of a "right-hand man." The
duties of the post were not particularised, but their importance was
made clear by the statement that "any salary within reason" would be
paid to a really suitable person.

No, I did not think of applying for the post myself; a twelve months'
adjutancy to a dyspeptic Colonel had long cured me of the desire to
bottle-wash for anyone again, however lavish the remuneration. But, I
thought to myself, it must evidently be a profitable notion to employ
a right-hand man, or why should this magnate person be so airy on the
subject of salary? Would it not then pay me to engage somebody in
a similar capacity? Increased production, in spite of Trade Union
economics, is emphatically a need of the moment. With a right-hand man
at my right hand (when he wasn't at my left) I could, I felt sure,
increase my own output enormously; and I began to plan out my daily
work under the reconstruction scheme.

I will call him "Snaggs"; that will save me the trouble of having to
write "my right-hand man" every time I want to refer to him; but when
he enters my service such economy of labour will not, of course,
be necessary. Snaggs, then, will arrive punctually at nine every
morning--no, on second thoughts he will sleep in, in case an
inspiration that needs recording arrives after I have gone to bed. (I
shrink from estimating how much wealth I have lost through going to
sleep on my nocturnal inspirations, which the most thorough search
next morning never avails to recapture; but a speaking-tube, with
alarm attachment, running into Snaggs's room will alter all that.)

His first duty of the day will be to wade through all the newspapers
and cut out any paragraphs that may serve as pegs for an article or a
set of verses. My own difficulty in this respect has always been that
I can never manage to get through more than one paper in a working
morning, and not all of that; invariably my attention gets caught
by some long and instructive but (for my purposes) hopelessly
unsuggestive dissertation on Pedigree Pigs or The Co-operative
Movement in Lower Papua, and I consequently overlook many of those
inspiring little "stories" that inform us, for example, that a
distinguished physician advocates the use of tomato-sauce as a

By the time I have finished breakfast, I reckon, Snaggs will have
found me subjects for at least a dozen effusions, neatly arranged with
a few skeleton suggestions for the treatment of each. I shall first
decide which are to be handled in prose and which in verse, and in the
case of the latter shall jot down a few words and phrases that will
obviously have to be dragged in as line-endings. Then I shall put
Snaggs on to the purely mechanical drudgery of finding all the
possible rhymes to these words (_e.g._, fascinate, assassinate,
pro-Krassinate--you know the sort of thing that's called for), and by
the time he has catalogued them all I shall have dashed off most of
the prose articles, which Snaggs will then proceed to type while I am
engaged in the comparatively simple task of piecing together the verse
jigsaws. In this way I should easily be able to earn an ordinary
week's takings in a morning.

The next task will be the placing of this material, and that is how
Snaggs's afternoons will be spent. I have always had an unnecessarily
tender feeling for editors, and often, after laboriously giving birth
to an article, have concealed it in a drawer rather than run the risk
of boring anyone with its perusal. Snaggs, however, will be fashioned
of more pachydermatous material and will daily make himself such a
nuisance that they'll give him an order, and possibly a long contract,
to get rid of him. By a proper system of book-keeping he will also
save me from the occasional blunder of sending the same article to the
same paper twice.

My wife, to whom I have submitted this brain-wave, says that the first
job to employ Snaggs on will be calling on the Bank Manager to arrange
about the overdraft which neither of us has so far had the courage to
moot. But that, I am afraid, would inspire him with foolish doubts as
to the stability of his princely salary. Perhaps it will be best if,
before actually engaging Snaggs, I convert myself into a limited
company, "for the purpose of acquiring and enlarging the business
and goodwill of the private enterprise known as Percival
Trumpington-Jones, Esq." A sufficient number of shares will be issued
to guarantee Snaggs at least his first year's screw; that done, the
proposition should be practically gilt-edged. So who's coming in on
the bargain-basement floor?

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: =THE PHILANTHROPIST.=



       *       *       *       *       *



I imagine that the authors who founded this play on a Hungarian
original regarded it as an ambitious piece of work. If so, they were
right in the sense that they have attempted something very much beyond
their powers. In the view of the gentleman who addressed us at the
fall of the curtain (I understand that he was one of the authors) it
offered magnificent opportunities (I think "magnificent" was the word)
for the brilliant gifts of two of the actors. Certainly it covered a
good bit of ground, what with this world and the next; for it started
with roundabouts on the Heath, and got as far away as the Judgment Day
(Hungarian style?)--and fourteen years after.

I may have a contemptibly weak stomach for this kind of thing, but I
confess that I don't care much for a representation of the Judgment
Day in a melodrama of low life. Of course low life has just as much
right as any other sort of life to be represented in a Judgment
Day scene; but it ought to behave itself there and not introduce

I should explain that it was a special Suicide Court, and that the
object of _The Magister_, as the Presiding Judge was named in the
programme, was to inquire into the record of the delinquent and, if
his answers were satisfactory, to allow him to revisit the scenes of
his earthly life in order to repair any little omissions that he might
have made in the hurry of departure. Unfortunately the leading case
was a bad example of suicide. It had not been deliberate; he had
simply killed himself impromptu in a tight corner to avoid arrest for
intended murder.

Worse still, when he returned to earth after a lapse of fourteen
years' purgatory (between the sixth and seventh scenes), for his
record was a rotten one and he had shown no signs of penitence, the
_revenant_ made very poor use of his hour. Returning to his wife whom
he had brutalised, he found that she had taught their girl-child to
regard him as a paragon of virtue, and most of his limited time was
spent in correcting this beautiful legend. You see, at the time of his
death he had had no chance of making the child realise how bad he was,
for the excellent reason that she had not yet been born, so he seized
this opportunity of making good that omission.

As a practical illustration of the kind of man he really had been, he
struck the child violently on the arm. We all saw him do it and we
all heard the smack, but the child assured us that she had not felt
anything. This I suppose was the author's way, ingenuous enough, of
reminding us that it was a case of spirit and not of flesh, whatever
our eyes and ears might persuade us to think of it.

Already in a previous scene there had been the same old difficulty.
While the man lay dead on his bed his spirit had been summoned by
a Higher Power (indicated in a peep-show), and his corpse sat up,
displacing the prostrate form of the widow, who had to take up a new
position, without however appearing to notice anything. It was still
sitting up when the curtain fell, and incidentally was caught in the
act of resuming its recumbent position when the curtain rose again for
the purpose of allowing the actors to receive our respectful plaudits.

Behind me I heard an American lady suggest that if they could somehow
distinguish the spirit from the body it would be better for our
illusions. To which her neighbour expressed the opinion that they
would eventually manage to do that feat. I await, less hopefully, this
development in stage mechanism. Meanwhile _Mary Rose_ has much to
answer for.

The play began promisingly enough with a scene full of colour and
humanity, of humour and pathos. We were among the roundabouts, whose
florid and buxom manageress, _Mrs. Muscat_ (admirably played by Miss
SUZANNE SHELDON), was having a quarrel of jealousy with her assistant
and late lover, "_The Daisy_," who had been seen taking notice of
Another. The dumb devotion of this child, _Julia_ (Miss MARY MERRALL),
who could never find words for her love--she said little beyond "Yuss"
and "I dunno"--was a very moving thing; and the patient stillness with
which she bore his subsequent brutality held us always under a strange

[Illustration: "_The Daisy_" (_Mr. CAINE_). "WHAT MADE YOU TAKE A

_Julia_ (_Miss MERRALL_). "I DUNNO."

(_Sympathetic appreciation of her ignorance on part of audience._)]

For the rest it was an ugly and sordid business, relieved only by the
coy confidences of the amorous _Maria_ (played by Miss GLADYS GORDON
with a nice sense of fun). Mr. HENRY CAINE, as "_The Daisy_,"
presented very effectively the rough-and-ready humour and the frank
brutality of his type; but he perhaps failed to convey the devastating
attractions which he was alleged to have for the frail sex; and his
sudden spasms of tragic emotion seemed a little out of the picture.

Apart from the painful crudity of the scene that was loosely described
as "The Other Side," the play abounded in amateurisms. For one thing
there was too much sermonising. It began with an obtrusive homily
on the part of an inspector of police, who went out of his way to
admonish _Julia_ about the danger of associating with "_The Daisy_."
Another instance was that of the bank-messenger, a person of such
self-possession and detachment that he contrived to deliver a moral
address while holding one foiled villain at the point of his revolver
and gripping the other's wrist as in a vice.

Nothing again could have been more naïve than the innocent home-coming
of the domestic carving-knive, freshly sharpened, from the grinder's
just in time to be diverted to the objects of a murderous enterprise.

Altogether, it was rather poor stuff, unworthy of the talent of many
of its interpreters and of the trouble that Miss EDITH CRAIG had spent
over its scenic effects. Perhaps the audience had been led to expect
too much, for "_The Daisy_," far from being the "wee, modest" flower
of ROBERT BURNS, had been at some pains to draw preliminary attention
to its merits.


       *       *       *       *       *

=The Bedroom Shortage.=

    "That a woman ought to dress quietly and practically in the street
    is unquestionable."

"_Times" Fashion article_.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "As the harvest season this year is late, sport will not be
    general for at least two weeks hence, when grain crops may be
    expected to be in stook. For some time to come sheep will be
    confined to the low hill-sides and pasture lands and turnip
    fields, and a few good bags were had there yesterday."--_Scotch

We still prefer the old-fashioned sport of partridge-shooting.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: =WAR AND SCIENCE.=



       *       *       *       *       *



      The bells of Cadiz clashed for them
                When they sailed away;
      The Citadel guns, saluting, crashed for them
                Over the Bay;
      With banners of saints aloft unfolding,
      Their poops a glitter of golden moulding,
      Tambours throbbing and trumpets neighing,
      Into the sunset they went swaying.
  But the port they sought they wandered wide of,
  And they won't see Spain again this side of
                Judgment Day.

  For they're down, deep down, in Dead Man's Town,
    Twenty fathoms under the clean green waters.
  No more hauling sheets in the rolling treasure fleets,
    No more stinking rations and dread red slaughters;
  No galley oars shall bow them nor shrill whips cow them,
    Frost shall not shrivel them nor the hot sun smite,
  No more watch to keep, nothing now but sleep--
    Sleep and take it easy in the long twilight.

      The bells of Cadiz tolled for them
                Mournful and glum;
      Up in the Citadel requiems rolled for them
                On the black drum;
      Priests had many a mass to handle,
      Nuestra Señora many a candle,
      And many a lass grew old in praying
      For a sight of those topsails homeward swaying--
  But it's late to wait till a girl is bride of
  A Jack who won't be back this side of
                Kingdom Come.

  But little they care down there, down there,
    Hid from time and tempest by the jade-green waters;
  They have loves a-plenty down at fathom twenty,
    Pearly-skinned silver-finned mer-kings' daughters.
  At the gilt quarter-ports sit the Dons at their sports,
    A-dicing and drinking the red wine and white,
  While the crews forget their wrongs in the sea-maids' songs
    And dance upon the foc'sles in the grey ghost light.


       *       *       *       *       *

    "REMARKABLE OVAL SCORING." _Evening Paper Contents Bill._

We have made some remarkable scores of that shape ourselves in the
past, but we never boast about them.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "He believed that the English pronounced in the streets of
    London in, say, 200 years' time, will be much different, if not
    unintelligible, to the man of to-day."--_Daily Paper._

Just like the English in some of our newspapers.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The Secretary of State for India is not _persona grata_ either to
    the British House of Commons or to the British public. That is the
    old-fashioned English of it."--_Bangalore Daily Post._

It would be interesting to see the old-fashioned Latin of it.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Will any Lady Recommend Country Home of the best where 2 precious
Poms can be happy and would be looked after for 6 weeks? Surrey
preferred."--_Morning Paper._

Think of their disgust at finding themselves boarded out in Sussex or

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Young Hungarian Lady with English and German knolidgement wants
    sob with English or American Organization."--_Pester Lloyd._

        Laugh and the world laughs with you;
          Sob and you sob alone.

       *       *       *       *       *


"A penny for your thoughts," I said to Kathleen.

"I like that," said Kathleen indignantly. "A penny was the market
value of my thoughts in 1914. Why should butter and cheese and reels
of cotton go up more than double and my thoughts stay the same?"

"Twopence," I offered.

"I said _more_ than double," she remarked coldly.

I plunged. "Sixpence," I said.


"I'll put it in the collection bag for you next Sunday," I added

"Well, I was thinking of Veronica's future. I was wondering what she
was going to be."

"When we went to the Crystal Palace," I said gently, "I rather
gathered that she wanted to be the proprietor of a merry-go-round.
They were dragons with red-plush seats."

"She might go into Parliament," said Kathleen dreamily; "I expect
women will be able to do everything by the time she's grown up. She
might be a Cabinet Minister. I don't see why she shouldn't be Prime

"Her hair's just about the right length now," I said. "And perhaps she
could give me congenial employment. I wouldn't mind being Minister of
Transport. There's quite a good salary attached. But of course she may
have ideas of her own on the subject."

Feeling curious, I went in search of Veronica. I found her at a
private dance given by the butterflies and hollyhocks at the other end
of the lawn. When she saw me she came to meet me and made her excuses
very politely.

"We've just been wondering what you're going to be when you've stopped
being a little girl," I said.

"Me?" said Veronica calmly. "Oh, I'm going to be a fairy. You don't
want me to be anything else, do you?" she added anxiously.

Even the Prime Minister's post seemed suddenly quite flat.

"Oh, no," I said. "I think you've made a very good choice." But she
was not quite satisfied.

"I shall hate going away from you," she said. "Couldn't you come too?"


"To Fairyland."

"Ah!" I said, "that takes some thinking about. Could we come back if
we didn't like it?"

"N-no, I don't fink so. I've never heard of anyone doing that. But
you'll love it," she went on earnestly. "You'll be ever so tiny and
you can draw funny frost pictures wiv rainbows and fold up flowers
into buds and splash dew-water over everyfing at night and ride on
butterflies and help the birds to make nests. Fink what _fun_ to help
a bird to make a nest! You'll _love_ it!"

"Is that all?" I said sternly. "Are you keeping nothing from me? What
about witches and spells and being turned into frogs? I'm sure I
remember that in my fairy tales."

"Oh, nothing that _matters_," she said quickly. "You can always _tell_
a witch, you know, and we'll keep out of their way. An' if a nasty
fairy turns you into a frog a nice one will always turn you back quite
soon. It's all right. You mustn't worry about _that_. There won't be
any fun if you don't come too, darlin'," she ended shamelessly.

I considered.

"Veronica," I said at last, "is there such a thing as Ireland in
Fairyland? Is there an exchange that won't keep steady? Is there any
labour trouble?"

She shook her head.

"I've never heard of anyfing that sounded like those," she said; "I'm
sure there isn't."

"That decides it," I said. "We'll all come. As soon as you can
possibly arrange it."

She heaved a sigh of relief and ran off to tell the glad news to the
butterflies and hollyhocks.

So that's settled.

I think we've made a wise decision.

After all, what's a witch or two, or even a temporary existence as a
frog, compared with a coal strike?

       *       *       *       *       *


  When that I was a tiny grub,
  And peevish and inclined to blub,
          Mother, my Queen,
  My infant grief you would assuage
  With promise of the ripe greengage
          And purple sheen
        Of luscious plums,
        "When Autumn comes."

  The Autumn days are flying fast;
  Across the bleak skies overcast
          Scurries the wind;
  Where are those plums of purple hue,
  Mother? I only wish that you
          Had disciplined
        My pampered youth
        To face the truth.

  The time for wasps is nearly done,
  And what is life without the sun,
          Mother, my Queen?
  Dull stupor numbs your royal head;
  Torpid my sisters lie--or dead;
          Come, let me lean
        Back on my sting
        And end the thing.

       *       *       *       *       *


(_For the benefit of the Examiners in the Oxford School of English

    (1) Compare, in respect of pulpit oratory, (_a_) Dr. SOUTH with
"WOODBINE WILLIE," and (_b_) Dr. MICHAEL FURSE (Bishop of St. Albans)

    (2) Give reasons in support of Mr. BEVERLEY NICHOLLS' emendation of
the lines in _The Ancient Mariner_--

  The wedding guest he beat his breast,
    For he heard the proud SASSOON.

    (3) Re-write "Tears, idle tears" in the style of (_a_) Dr. JOHNSON,
(_b_) CALISTHENES, (_c_) the SITWELLS.

Sir OLIVER LODGE say that he would not leave _ein Stein_ unturned
until he had upset the theory of Relativity?

    (5) Give a complete list of all the poets, major and minor, at present
residing on Boar's Hill, and trace their influence on the Baconian

    (6) Distinguish by psycho-analysis between (_a_) SYDNEY SMITH
convergences as well as divergences of mentality, physique and
sub-conscious uplift.

    (7) Would Jason, who sailed in the _Argo_, have laid an embargo on
MARGOT as passenger or supercargo? Estimate the probable results
of her introduction to Medea, and its effect on the views and
translations of Professor GILBERT MURRAY.

    (8) What eminent Georgian critic said that TENNYSON's greatest work
was his _Idols of the Queen_?

    (9) Estimate the effect on Reconstruction if Mr. BOTTOMLEY were to
devote himself exclusively to theological studies, and Mr. WELLS were
to take up his abode permanently in Russia.

       *       *       *       *       *

=Another Impending Apology.=


_Daily Paper._

       *       *       *       *       *

From a Pimlico shop window:--


Apparently not worth a "d."

       *       *       *       *       *
    "Professor ----, the pianist, who is trying to complete 110 hours'
    continuous playing, completed fifty-five hours on the first day."

    _Cologne Post._

That makes it too easy.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Mme. Karsavina is taller than Pavlova, but has an equally perfect
    figure. The Greeks would have bracketted her with Venus and
    Aphrodite."--_Provincial Paper._

The two last have, of course, been constantly bracketed.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: Golfer (very much off his game). "ONE ROUND NEARER THE

       *       *       *       *       *


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

Not for a long time have I got so great a pleasure from any collection
of short sketches as now from Miss ANNE DOUGLAS SEDGWICK'S _Autumn
Crocuses_ (SECKER). Not only has the whole book a pleasant title, but
each of these stories is happily called after some flower that plays a
part in its development. I am aware of the primly Victorian sound of
such a description applied to art so modern as that of Miss SEDGWICK.
You know already (I hope) how wonderfully delicate is her almost
passionate sensibility to the finer shades of a situation. It is,
I suppose, this quality in her writing that makes me still have
reminiscent shivers when I think about that horrible little
bogie-tale, _The Third Window_; and these "Flower Pieces" (as 1860
might have called them) are no whit less subtle. I wish I had space to
give you the plots of some of them; "Daffodils," for instance, a quite
unexpected and thrilling treatment of perhaps the oldest situation of
literature; or "Staking a Larkspur," the only instance in which Miss
Sedgwick's gently smiling humour crystallizes definitely into comedy;
or "Carnations," the most brilliantly written of all. As this liberty
is denied me you must accept a plain record of very rare enjoyment and
take steps to share it.

       *       *       *       *       *

Chief among the _Secrets of Crewe House_ (HODDER AND STOUGHTON),
now divulged to the mere public, are the marvellous efficiency and
superhuman success achieved by the British Enemy Propaganda Committee,
which operated in Lord CREWE'S London house under the directorate of
Lord NORTHCLIFFE. "What is propaganda?" the author asks himself on an
early page, and the right answer could have been made in four letters:
ADVT. It is endorsed by the eulogistic manner in which the Committee's
work is written up by one of them, Sir CAMPBELL STUART, K.B.E., and
illustrated by photographs of Lord NORTHCLIFFE (looking positively
Napoleonic) and of the sub-supermen. As in all great achievements, the
main principle was a simple one. A good article is best advertised by
truth; and it was the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the
truth which the Committee, with admirable conciseness and no little
ingenuity, so promulgated that it could no longer escape notice even
in the Central Empires. Not the least of the Committee's difficulties
and achievements was to get the truth of our cause and policy so
defined as to be susceptible of unequivocal statement by poster,
leaflet, film and gramophone record. Sir CAMPBELL STUART perhaps tends
to underrate the rival show, the German propaganda organization, whose
work, if it did Germany little good, has done and is still doing
colossal harm to us. Also he tends to forget that Lord HAIG and his
little lot in France at any rate helped the Committee to effect the
breakdown of the German _moral_ in 1918 and so to win the war.

       *       *       *       *       *

I feel that Miss MARGARET SYMONDS had a purpose in writing _A Child of
the Alps_ (FISHER UNWIN), but, unless it was to show how mistaken
it is, as _Basil_, the Swiss farmer, puts it, "to think when thou
shouldst have been living," it has evaded me. The book begins with a
romantic marriage between an Englishwoman of some breeding and a Swiss
peasant who is a doctor, and tells the history of their daughter until
she is about to marry _Basil_, her original sweetheart. I cannot be
more definite or tell you how her first marriage--with an English
cousin--turned out, because _Linda's_ own account of this is all
we get, and that is somewhat vague. A great many descriptions of
beautiful scenery, Swiss and Italian, come into the book, and a great
many people, some of them very individual and lifelike; but the
author's concentration on _Linda_ gives them, people and scenery
alike, an unreal and irritating effect of having been called into
being solely to influence her heroine, and that lessens their
fascination. Yet it is a book which makes a distinct impression, and
once read will not easily be forgotten. It seems a strange comment to
make on a new volume of a "First Novel Library," but _A Child of
the Alps_, as you will realise if you have been reading novels long
enough, is almost exactly the sort of book its title would have
suggested had it appeared thirty years ago.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Prospective Employer._ "HOW OLD ARE YOU?" _Applicant

       *       *       *       *       *

These wrapper-artists should really exercise a little more discretion.
To depict on the outside of a book the facsimile of a cheque for ten
thousand pounds might well be to excite in some readers a mood of
wistfulness only too apt to interfere with their appreciation of the
contents. Fortunately, _Uncle Simon_ (HUTCHINSON) is a story quite
cheery enough even to banish reflections on the Profiteer. A
middle-aged and ultra-respectable London solicitor, whose thwarted
youth periodically awakes in him and insists upon his indulging all
those follies that should have been safely finished forty-odd years
before--here, you will admit, is a figure simply bursting with every
kind of possibility. Fortunately, moreover, MARGARET and H. DE VERE
STACPOOLE have shown themselves not only fully alive to all the
humorous chances of their theme, but inspired with an infectious
delight in them. It is, for example, a singularly happy touch that the
wild oats that _Uncle Simon_ tries to retrieve are not of to-day but
from the long-vanished pastures of mid-Victorian London. Of course
such a fantasy can't properly be ended. Having extracted (as I
gratefully admit) the last ounce of entertainment from him, the
authors simply wake _Uncle Simon_ up and go home. As a small literary
coincidence I may perhaps add that it was my fortune to read the book
in the very garden (of that admirable Shaftesbury inn) which, under
a transparent disguise, is the scene of _Uncle Simon's_ restoration.
Naturally this enhanced my enjoyment of a sportive little comedy,
which I can most cordially commend.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. ST. JOHN G. ERVINE is a versatile author who exhibits that
unevenness of quality which is generally the besetting sin of
versatile authors. When he is good he is very good indeed, and in _The
Foolish Lovers_ (COLLINS) he is at his best. The Ulsterman is seldom
either a lovable or an interesting character. He has certain rude
virtues which command respect and other qualities, not in
themselves virtues--such as clan conceit and an intensely narrow
provincialism--that beget the virtues of industry, honesty and
frugality. But to the philosopher and student of character all types
are interesting, and Mr. ERVINE'S skill lies in his ability not merely
to draw his Ballyards hero to the life but to interest us in his
unsuccessful efforts to become a successful writer. It is merely clan
conceit that drives him forward in the pursuit of this purpose, for
circumstances have clearly intended him to carry on the grocery
business in which the family have achieved some success and a full
measure of local esteem. The _MacDermotts_ never failed to accomplish
their purpose; he, as a _MacDermott_, proposed to achieve fame as a
novelist. It was quite simple. But it turned out to be not at all
simple. The quite provincial young _MacDermott_ cannot make London
accept him at his own valuation and his novels are poor stuff. His
wife, loyal to him but still more loyal to the _MacDermott_ clan into
which she has married and which now includes a little _MacDermott_, is
the first to recognise that her husband had best seek romance in the
family grocery business. Then the _MacDermott_ himself, with that
shrewdness which may be late in coming to an Ulsterman but never fails
him altogether, realises it too and the story is finished.

       *       *       *       *       *

The main object of the characters in _The Courts of Idleness_ (WARD,
LOCK) was to amuse themselves, and as their sprightly conversations
were often punctuated by laughter I take it that they succeeded. To
give Mr. DORNFORD YATES his due he is expert in light banter; but some
three hundred pages of such entertainment tend to create a sense of
surfeit. The first part of the book is called, "How some passed out
of the Courts for ever," and then comes an interlude, in which we are
given at least one stirring war-incident. I imagine that Mr. YATES
desires to show that, although certain people could frivol with the
worst, they could also fight and die bravely. The second part, "How
others left the Courts only to return," introduces a new set of people
but with similar conversational attainments. Mr. YATES can be strongly
recommended to anyone who thinks that the British take themselves too

       *       *       *       *       *

=A Burning Question.=

    "The Germans have singed the Protocol."--_China Advertiser_.

       *       *       *       *       *

=A Master of Deduction.=

    "At 11.30 last night a black iron safe, 22 inches by 18, was found
    by the roadside at Leaves Green-road, Keston. When examined it was
    found that the bottom of the safe had been cut out. A burglary is
    suspected."--_Evening Paper_.

       *       *       *       *       *

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