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Title: Punch or the London Charivari, Vol. 147, December 16, 1914
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, Vol. 147, December 16, 1914" ***

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  PUNCH,

  OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.

  VOLUME 147

  DECEMBER 16, 1914

       *       *       *       *       *

CHARIVARIA.

_T. P.'s Weekly_, in some sprightly lines, suggests that _Punch_ should
appear daily. This would certainly not be a whit more strange than to
issue a _T. P.'s Weekly Christmas Number_ as is done by our
contemporary.

       * * *

Answer to a Correspondent.--Yes, khaki is the fashionable colour for
plum-puddings for the Front.

       * * *

_Post hoc propter hoc?_ Extract from the Eye-Witness's description of
the KING'S visit to France:--"Another sight which excited the King's
keen interest was the large bathing establishment at one of the
divisional headquarters.... From here the procession returned to General
Headquarters, where his Majesty received General Foch and presented him
with the Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath."

       * * *

Sir JOHN FRENCH'S praise of the Berkshire Regiment will surprise no one,
least of all _Mr. Punch's_ Toby.

       * * *

REUTER tells us that when DE WET arrived at Johannesburg he was looking
haggard and somewhat depressed. This lends colour to the rumour that he
was annoyed at being captured.

       * * *

In a letter published by a German newspaper a Landwehr officer
writes:--"On the German front officers and men do not salute in the
usual way, but by saying, 'God punish England,' while the reply is, 'May
He punish England.'" This admission that the Germans themselves cannot
do it is significant.

       * * *

_Die Post_, in a reference to our million recruits, says, "Mere figures
will not frighten us." Frankly, some of the figures of the stout
Landwehr men frighten _us_.

       * * *

At last in Constantinople there are signs that it is being realised that
the Germans are driving the Turkish Army to Suez-side.

       * * *

When the Germans and the Russians both claim to have won the same
battle, what can one do? asks a correspondent. We can only suggest that
the matter should be referred to the Hague Tribunal.

       * * *

An item of war news which the President of the Society for the Promotion
of Propriety thinks the Censor might very well have censored:--"To the
south of Lask the Russian troops took Shertzoff."

       * * *

"The Grenadier Guard, 6 ft. 7 in. high, whom the Prince of Wales noticed
in hospital, is not the tallest man in the British Army, that
distinction being claimed for Corporal Frank Millin, 2nd Coldstream
Guards, who is 6 ft. 8-1/2 in." This, again, is the sort of paragraph
which might have been censored with advantage, for we are quite sure
that, if the PRINCE OF WALES'S giant sees it, it will cause a relapse.

       * * *

For the first time for many years there were no charges of murder at the
December Sessions at the Old Bailey. It looks as if yet another of our
industries has been filched by the Germans.

       * * *

The SECRETARY OF THE ADMIRALTY announces that candidates for
assistant-clerkships, Royal Navy, who have completed a period of not
less than three months' actual military service with His Majesty's
Forces since mobilisation, will be granted fifty marks in the
examination. It seems a most unpatriotic proceeding to pay them in
German money.

       * * *

_The Nursing Times_ must really be more careful or we shall have the
German newspapers drawing attention to atrocities by the French. In its
issue of the 5th inst. our contemporary says:--"The 'Train unit' whose
names we gave some weeks ago have waited all this time for their call
for duty.... And now the French authorities have cut the train--and the
staff--in two!"

       * * *

Reply to those who think it absurd to take precautions against
invasion:--It's the Hun-expected that always happens.

       * * *

A great fall of cliff occurred last week between Beachy Head and
Seaford, and the Germans are pointing out that the break-up of England
has now begun in earnest.

       *       *       *       *       *

Illustration: "I'M AFRAID IT'LL HAVE TO GO TO THE SAME PLACE AS MY
GERMAN PIPE WENT--THE DUSTBIN. IT SUITED ME, TOO."

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. Wells on Men's Wear.

    "Her thoughts came back to the dancing little figure in
    purple-striped pyjamas. She had a scared sense of irrevocable
    breaches."

    _The Wife of Sir Isaac Harman._

An obvious misprint in the last word.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Quickest Route.

    "THE KING'S JOURNEY.

    CROSSES CHANNEL IN TORPEDO." Cumberland Evening Mail.

This is the method which the KAISER means to try for his coming invasion
of England.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Professor G. Sims Woodhead, the Board's consultative
    bacteriological adviser, to whom the report had been submitted,
    said: 'I consider Dr. Mair's work contains a germ of great
    promise.'"

    _Birmingham Daily Mail._

We hope the Professor will not lose sight of the promising young
microbe.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "For any enemy ship to try to get into Dover at the present time
    would be like entering the mouth of hell.

    [We understand that the Admiralty have received no condemnation of
    this.]"

    _Daily Telegraph._

We hope that none of our contemporaries will blame the Admiralty for its
lack of information.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Rev. Owen S. Watkins, one of the Wesleyan Methodist Chaplains with
    the Expeditionary Force (already mentioned in the dispatches), tells
    some most extraordinary stories of his experiences at the Front."

    _Public Opinion._

We remember now some mention of this "Expeditionary Force" being made in
despatches, and we wondered at the time why the Censor allowed such a
public reference to it.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Russians quietly evacuated Lodz without the loss of a single man.
The Germans allege that they captured it after strenuous fighting.

"And how can man lie better
Than facing fearful Lodz?"

       *       *       *       *       *

BETWEEN MIDNIGHT AND MORNING.

    [Lines for _King Albert's Book_, published to-day for the benefit of
    _The Daily Telegraph's_ Belgian Relief Fund.]

  You that have faith to look with fearless eyes
    Beyond the tragedy of a world at strife,
  And trust that out of night and death shall rise
          The dawn of ampler life;

  Rejoice, whatever anguish rend your heart,
    That God has given you, for a priceless dower,
  To live in these great times and have your part
          In Freedom's crowning hour.

  That you may tell your sons who see the light
    High in the heaven, their heritage to take:--
  "I saw the powers of darkness put to flight.
          I saw the morning break!"

  O. S.

       *       *       *       *       *

FINANCIAL STRATEGY.

In some respects one is no doubt compelled to admire the foresight of
those gentlemen who are writing the History of the War while it is in
progress, but as Mabel (my wife and very able colleague) justly
observes, no History of the War, however copious or however fully
illustrated, can be considered complete without a few salient details of
the campaign by which The Snookeries (our domestic stronghold in
Tooting) was saved from the fate of Belgium.

That omission I propose to remedy. Peace hath her strategy no less than
War.

For some time prior to the Declaration of War it was evident that the
butcher, the baker, and other foes of our domestic happiness were
gathering for an onslaught. The attitude of the butcher was particularly
uncompromising: I do not hesitate to describe it as distinctly Hun-ish.
Diplomacy gave little hope of preserving peace, so that I was not
altogether surprised when the war opened with a heavy bombardment. A
brigade of small accounts advanced in skirmishing order, but were
disposed of without trouble.

Mabel suggested a temporary withdrawal to the sand-dunes of
Mudville-on-Sea, but I pointed out that this meant sacrificing part of
our scanty store of ammunition and had the further disadvantage of
cutting us off from our base of supplies in the City, to say nothing of
losing touch with Uncle Robert, who has so often proved a staunch ally
in a crisis.

We therefore resolved to entrench ourselves behind the Moratorium and
prepared for a stubborn resistance. From this strong position we were
able to sustain without loss a brisk fire of explosive missives which
continued unchecked for some weeks. Speaking quite candidly, and
dropping the language of the Press Bureau for the moment, there has
never been a time when the postman's rat-tat has occasioned me less
emotion.

The defences of the Moratorium did not save us from sundry annoying
raids upon our supplies, the butcher being peculiarly active in this
kind of warfare. I repeat, the butcher is a true Hun and must be sternly
dealt with after the Peace. I was forced to silence him temporarily with
a few shots from my new one-pounders.

I would like to say what a valuable weapon the one-pounder has proved in
this campaign. It is wonderfully mobile and saves the waste of heavier
ammunition. My only regret is that we were not armed with more of them.

Towards the end of August the rate-man and the gas-man mounted heavy
ordnance upon official heights. They got our range to a nicety and
threatened us in flank. I despatched Mabel at once to Uncle Robert, and
with his assistance we were enabled to silence the enemy's howitzers,
not, however, before the rate-man--a remorseless and persistent foe--had
landed a "sheriff's officer" (as we jocularly term his missiles) into
our dining-room. Little material damage was done, but for some days the
effect upon the _moral_ of our forces was apparent.

I must not forget to speak of Mabel's brilliant victory over the
milkman, whose attack she frustrated by a threat to open negotiations
for obtaining supplies from his hated rival. When these troubles are
happily over I must certainly see that Mabel receives a decoration.

Towards the end of October our entrenchments behind the Moratorium
became untenable, but by that time we had received substantial
reinforcements and were easily able to hold our own against the enemy's
reckless frontal attacks. The landlord suddenly unmasked a very strong
battery which created some consternation. He himself appeared in force,
but, thanks to the vigilance of my outposts, I was enabled to make a
strategic retirement by the back-garden gate, leaving Mabel to foil the
enemy by a _ruse-de-guerre_. (Dear Mabel is wonderfully clever at these
things.) I succeeded in regaining my position under cover of darkness.

The attacks of the landlord were renewed with such vigour that I called
a council of war to discuss the situation. Retreat being out of the
question, Mabel suggested a levy of our last reserves, and the charwoman
(who is a discreet person of considerable experience in such matters)
was mobilised. In this way we secured a sufficient force to rout the
landlord on his next appearance.

The last few days have been comparatively quiet. Mabel's dressmaker and
my tailor have reaffirmed their neutrality, and we have promise of
further support, if needed, from Uncle Robert. Thus, although the enemy
appear to contemplate a new attack in the future, we are full of
confidence.

In conclusion, I must not forget to refer to the very able way in which
Mabel out-manoeuvred the coal-man. Before he could unlimber, she had
deftly poured in a rapid fire of sympathy for the slackness of trade
from which she _knew_ he must be suffering, and followed this up by an
order for two tons of the best Wallsend.

I think I am justified in advancing the theory that there are no flies
on dear Mabel.

       *       *       *       *       *

OFF THE FALKLANDS, DECEMBER 8TH.

    [_To an old nautical air, with Mr. Punch's loud congratulations to
    Vice-Admiral Sir DOVETON STURDEE and his brave sailors_.]

    Hardened steel are our ships;
      Gallant tars are our men;
        We never are wordy
        (STURDEE, boys, STURDEE!),
  But quietly conquer again and again.

       *       *       *       *       *

FOR THE CHILDREN.

The Hon. Treasurer of the Hospital for Sick Children, Great Ormond
Street (where many Belgian children are being cared for) desires to
express his sincere thanks to _Mr. Punch's_ readers for their generous
response to the appeal for help which was recently made in these pages.

       *       *       *       *       *

Illustration: THE SINEWS OF WAR.

PRIVATE ATKINS. "FOR WHAT WE HAVE RECEIVED--AND ARE GOING TO
RECEIVE--HERE'S TO THE A.S.C."

       *       *       *       *       *

Illustration:

_Child_ (_much impressed by martial emblems opposite_). "MOTHER, IS THAT
A SOLDIER?"

_Mother._ "NO, DARLING."

_Child_. "WHY NOT?"

       *       *       *       *       *

UNWRITTEN LETTERS TO THE KAISER.

No. X.

(_From Mrs. JAMES PROSSER, 25, Paradise Road, Brixton_.)

KAISER,--Jim's gone. I don't know if you'll like to hear it, him being a
good fighter. I'd warrant him to take the shine out of any two Germans I
ever met. They're big men, the Germans, but they mostly run to fat after
their _premmer jewness_, as the Belgian lady over the way said last week
when we was a-talking about 'em. I don't know what she meant, but she
didn't look as if it was anything in the way of a compliment. That's why
I've wrote it down here.

Anyhow, Jim's gone. I saw him off with a lot of others, and they was all
singing and shouting as loud as their lungs would let 'em--not drink,
mind you, so don't you run away with that notion, but just high spirits
and health and happiness. First it was "Tipperary," and that made me
feel so mournful I had to give Jim a good old hug, and the little un
pulling at my dress all the time and calling out, "Let me have a go at
him, Mother," and "Don't give 'em all to Mother, Dad; keep half-a-dozen
for me," just as sensible as a Christian, which is more than you can say
of some. His name's Henery, the full name, not Henry, and we had him
christened so, to make sure. He's going on for five years now, and he's
got a leg and a chest on him to suit twice his years. I'm not saying
that because I'm his mother, but because it's the truth. After they'd
sung "Tipperary" they sang a lot of other songs. There was one in
particklar that I liked, it had such a go with it. Jim told me it was
made up by one of their own men, music and all. I misremember most of
it, but there was two lines stuck in my head:--

  General FRENCH is a regular blazer,
  He's going to dust the German KAISER.

There was a lot more about theirselves and their officers and their
colonel, who was second to none and was making tracks for the German
Hun, all as funny and clever as you could make it. I couldn't help
laughing to see 'em all so jolly. Then the engine give a whistle and the
guard said, "Stand back," and waved his green flag, and the train moved
out, and the men cheered and we cheered back, and at last they was gone,
and the little un was saying, "Don't mind me, mother. Have a good cry
and get it over;" and then we went home, and he kept talking all the way
of what he's going to do when he grows up to be a soldier himself.

Well, Jim's gone, but I wouldn't have had him stay at home not for ever
so much. He was earning good money, too, in his job, but that's going to
be kept open for him so as he can drop into it again when he comes back.
And I'm going to keep his home open for him so as he can drop into that
when he comes back; there's enough money coming in to make certain of
that, what with allowances and my work. Mind you, I _like_ to work; it
keeps you from thinking too much, and me and the little un manage
splendid together. He helps about the house better nor half-a-dozen
housemaids, and he's so managing it would make you die of laughing to
see him. The only trouble is he can't bear going to bed; but I tell him
if he don't the KAISER'll catch him, and then he's off with his clothes
and into his cot like a flash of lightning.

There, I've talked about myself and the little un and all the time I
meant to tell you about Jim. However, you'll know him right enough if
ever you come up against him. He's a handsome man with black hair and no
moustache, and he's got a scar over his right eye where he tumbled
against the fender when he was four years old.

Yours without love,

SARAH PROSSER.

       *       *       *       *       *

Illustration: _Genial Pedestrian._ "A BRIGHT MOON TO-NIGHT, CONSTABLE."

_Morbid P.C._ "YES, SIR. LET'S 'OPE IT DON'T DRAW THE FIRE OF 'OSTILE
AIR-CRAFT!"

       *       *       *       *       *

THE WATCH DOGS.

IX.

DEAR Charles,--As the men, for reasons best known to themselves, will
suddenly chant on the march--"We're here because we're here, because
we're here, because we're here," goodness knows when (if ever) we shall
get to the Front; so this is yet another letter for you from the Back,
where we are, much against our will, kept to deal kindly but firmly with
the German invader as, home-sick and sea-sick, he alights gloomily on
our shores. If, by the way, I have given hints in this correspondence as
to the disposition of any part of our troops, it is a comfort to think
that the artful spy who gets hold of them will have the utmost
difficulty in making up his mind as to the real or fictitious existence
of (1) my Division; (2) my Brigade; (3) my Battalion; (4) my Company; or
even (5) me.

Meanwhile we are in a very difficult position, such as I believe few
soldiers have ever been called upon to face. You will remember how, four
months ago, we collected ourselves together in accordance with our
long-standing engagement to protect these islands against the foreign
trespasser, the condition of our contract being that our service should
begin (as charity should) and end (as charity often does) at home. In
the bad old days when I was at the Bar I should of course have known
that contracts are apt to turn round on those who make them; but now I
am only a plain soldier and I am unable to understand why I should be
made to stay at home when I desire to go and make a nuisance of myself
abroad. But the real trouble comes from this, that some six weeks ago I
received written and explicit orders to the effect that I was to sail
forthwith.

Suppose this had happened to you and you had been given special leave of
forty-eight hours to make all necessary preparations, would not you have
gone where your more impressionable acquaintances and friends were
gathered together in the greatest numbers, informing them of the
position and doing, on the strength of it, a quiet but irretrievable
swank? No ostentation, mark you, and nothing approaching a boast, but
just a suspicion of a brave careless laugh, a voice just slightly choked
with emotion and but a formal reluctance to accept the numerous and
costly gifts proffered by relatives who at less emotional times would
have grudged you a Christmas card?

We did. We went home and were made a fuss of; we took our leave and nice
things were said to us, tears welled, and hands, peculiarly firm or
peculiarly tender as the case might be, held ours for rather longer than
the customary period. With a brave "Pooh! Pooh! It doesn't matter in the
least," we went off at last, off amid deafening cheers to the unknown
future....

The following week-end we were home again as before, but, since the joy
of a temporary reprieve may outweigh even the annoyance of an
anticlimax, they were pleased to see us and gave us another farewell
only slightly less emotional than the last. But on the third of this
series of week-ends a note of insincerity crept into the "Goodbye, old
man," and the hand-pressure was slightly curtailed.

Alas! there have been even more week-ends since that. I trust it is only
our self-consciousness makes us think that we are looked upon as frauds,
who have obtained by false pretences the field-glasses, electric
torches, knitted wares, tears, hand-clasps and choicest superlatives of
our friends. It becomes worse as time passes; we do not go home now, and
we would even refrain from writing if we could hope by that means to
have our whereabouts unknown and our existence doubtful. If the
authorities won't part with us, they might at least give us an address
which would make it look as if they had--something like "Capt. Blank,
Blankth Blank Regt., Blankth Fighting Force, c/o G.P.O." What will
happen is that we shall go suddenly and without time to explain, and,
when our friends are told, their faces will cloud over, not with sorrow
at our departure but with annoyance at being pestered with the news of
it again. It is a hard life, is a soldier's!

One bold bad private informed our most youthful orderly officer, upon
being asked if he had had a sufficient breakfast: "Yes, thank you, Sir:
a glass of water and a woodbine;" otherwise personal idiosyncracies
become less marked, since individualities become merged in the corporate
machine. The battalion is cross as a whole, nervy as a whole, laughs as
a whole, almost sneezes or has indigestion as a whole. Recalling the
good old days of annual camps, when energy used to be rewarded with free
beer rather than demanded as a matter of course, the battalion as often
as not sings as a whole while route-marching at ease past the C.O.:--

  "Nobody knows how dry we are,
  Nobody knows how dry we are,
  Nobody knows how dry we are,
    AND NOBODY SEEMS TO CARE."

While the conduct of all of us becomes every day more disciplined, our
speech, I have to report with regret, becomes more loose. Emphasis is an
essential of military life, and it must be such emphasis as the least
intelligent may readily appreciate. Sometimes I tremble to think in what
terms I may inadvertently ask some gentle soul later on in life to pass
the marmalade, or with what expletives I may comment upon some little
defect in domestic life. My literary friend, John, has shamelessly
compiled a short phrase-book for our use abroad, reproducing our present
regrettable idioms. One inquiry, to be addressed to the local peasant by
the leading officer, runs thus:--"Can you tell me, Sir, where the enemy
is at present to be found?"--"_Où sont les Boches sanguinaires?_"

The other point of view as to going to the Front was put last Sunday
with unconscious aptness. At breakfast we had read aloud to us a letter
written with inspiring realism by a Watch Dog who is actually there and
seeing life in all its detail in the trenches. Having listened to it
with rapt attention, we then marched to church and (actually) sang with
unanimous fervour:-

  "The trivial round, the common task
  Will furnish all we need to ask...."

Nevertheless more to be feared than the enraged German is the sceptical
scornful Aunt of

Yours ever,

  HENRY.

       *       *       *       *       *

Illustration: AT A MILITARY WEDDING.

_Usher_ (_to Uninvited Guest_). "BRIDE'S FRIENDS TO THE RIGHT;
BRIDEGROOM'S TO THE LEFT."

_Uninvited Guest._ "I'M AFRAID I'M A NEUTRAL."

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Washington, Saturday.--The American Ambassador at Constantinople
    reports that Turkey has acquiesced in the departure of several
    Canadian missionaries, whose safe conduct was requested by Sir Cecil
    Spring-Rice, the British Ambassador here."--_People._

This is headed "Millionaires Released," and shows how well the clergy
are paid in Canada.

       *       *       *       *       *

LITTLE BROTHER.

(_The Indian Jackal._)

  Panther, tiger, wolf and bear,
    They live where the hills are high,
  Where the eagle swings in the upper air
    And the gay dacoit is nigh;
  But we live down in the delta lands,
    A decenter place to be--
  The frogs and the bats and Little Brother,
    The pariah dogs and me.

  He was a Rajah once on a time
    Who is Little Brother now;
  And I know it is all for monstrous crime
    Or shamefully broken vow
  That he slinks in the dust and eats alone
    With a pious tongue and free;
  For a holy man is Little Brother,
    As beggars ought to be.

  But whether he lurks in the morning light
    Where the tall plantations grow,
  Or wanders the village fields by nights
    Telling of ancient woe;
  Or whether he's making a sporting run
    For me and a dog or two,
  An uncanny beast is Little Brother
    For Christian eyes to view.

  For there comes an hour at the full o' the moon
    When the Boh-tree blossoms fall,
  And a devil comes out of the afternoon
    And has him a night in thrall;
  And he hunts till dawn like a questing hound
    For souls that have lost their way;
  And it's well to be clear of Little Brother
    Till the good gods bring the day.

  Wherefore I think I will end my song
    Wishing him fair good night,
  For Little Brother's got something wrong
    That'll never on earth come right;
  And this perhaps is the honest truth,
    And the wisest folk agree,
  The less I know about Little Brother
    The better by far for me.

       *       *       *       *       *

HOME THOUGHTS FROM THE TRENCHES.

  Old mother mine, at times I find
     Pauses when fighting's done
  That make me lonesome and inclined
  To think of those I left behind--
     And most of all of one.

  At home you're knitting woolly things--
     They're meant for me for choice;
  There's rain outside, the kettle sings
  In sobs and frolics till it brings
     Whispers that seem a voice.

  Cheer up! I'm calling, far away;
     And, wireless, you can hear.
  Cheer up! you know you'd have me stay
  And keep on trying day by day;
     We're winning, never fear.

  Although to have me back's your prayer--
     I'm willing it should be--
  You'd never breathe a word to spare
  Yourself, and stop me playing fair;
     You're braver far than me.

  So let your dear face twist a smile
     The way it used to do;
  And keep on cheery all the while,
  Rememb'ring hating's not your style--
     Germans have mothers too.

  And when the work is through, and when
     I'm coming home to find
  The one who sent me out, ah! then
  I'll make you (bless you) laugh again,
     Old sweetheart left behind.

       *       *       *       *       *

HIGH JINKS AT HAPPY-THOUGHT HALL.

    [_An inevitable article in any decent magazine at this time of the
    year. Read it carefully, and then have an uproarious time in your
    own little house._]

IT was a merry party assembled at Happy-Thought Hall for Christmas. The
Squire liked company, and the friends whom he had asked down for the
festive season had all stayed at Happy-Thought Hall before, and were
therefore well acquainted with each other. No wonder, then, that the wit
flowed fast and furious, and that the guests all agreed afterwards that
they had never spent such a jolly Christmas, and that the best of all
possible hosts was Squire Tregarthen!

But first we must introduce some of the Squire's guests to our readers.
The Reverend Arthur Manley, a clever young clergyman with a taste for
gardening, was talking in one corner to Miss Phipps, a pretty girl of
some twenty summers. Captain Bolsover, a smart cavalry officer, together
with Professor and Mrs. Smith-Smythe from Oxford, formed a small party
in another corner. Handsome Jack Ellison was, as usual, in deep
conversation with the beautiful Miss Holden, who, it was agreed among
the ladies of the party, was not altogether indifferent to his fine
figure and remarkable prospects. There were other guests, but as they
chiefly played the part of audience in the events which followed their
names will not be of any special interest to our readers. Suffice it to
say that they were all intelligent, well-dressed and ready for any sort
of fun.

(Now, thank heaven, we can begin.)

A burst of laughter from Captain Bolsover attracted general attention,
and everybody turned in his direction.

"By Jove, Professor, that's good," he said, as he slapped his knee; "you
must tell the others that."

"It was just a little incident that happened to me to-day as I was
coming down here," said the Professor, as he beamed round on the
company. "I happened to be rather late for my train, and as I bought my
ticket I asked the clerk what time it was. He replied, 'If it takes six
seconds for a clock to strike six, how long will it take to strike
twelve?' I said twelve seconds, but it seems I was wrong."

The others all said twelve seconds too, but they were all wrong. Can
_you_ guess the right answer?

Illustration: FIG. 1.--TO ILLUSTRATE THE PROFESSOR'S DELIGHTFUL STORY
OF THE BOOKING-CLERK'S ANSWER.

When the laughter had died down, the Reverend Arthur Manley said:

"That reminds me of an amusing experience which occurred to my
housekeeper last Friday. She was ordering a little fish for my lunch,
and the fishmonger, when asked the price of herrings, replied, 'Three
ha'pence for one and a-half,' to which my housekeeper said, 'Then I will
have twelve.' How much did she pay?" He smiled happily at the company.

"One-and-sixpence, of course," said Miss Phipps.

"No, no; ninepence," cried the Squire with a hearty laugh.

Captain Bolsover made it come to £1 3_s._ 2-1/2_d._, and the Professor
thought fourpence. But once again they were all wrong. What do _you_
make it come to?

Illustration: FIG. 2.--TO ILLUSTRATE THE CURATE'S INGENIOUS PROBLEM OF
THE FISHMONGER.

It was now Captain Bolsover's turn for an amusing puzzle, and the others
turned eagerly towards him.

"What was that one about a door?" said the Squire. "You were telling me
when we were out shooting yesterday, Bolsover."

Captain Bolsover looked surprised.

"Ah, no, it was young Reggie Worlock," said the Squire with a hearty
laugh.

"Oh, do tell us, Squire," said everybody.

"It was just a little riddle, my dear," said the Squire to Miss Phipps,
always a favourite of his. "When is a door not a door?"

Miss Phipps said when it was a cucumber; but she was wrong. So were the
others. See if _you_ can be more successful.

"Yes, that's very good," said Captain Bolsover; "it reminds me of
something which occurred during the Boer War."

Everybody listened eagerly.

"We were just going into action, and I happened to turn round to my men,
and say, 'Now, then, boys, give 'em beans!' To my amusement one of them
replied smartly, 'How many blue beans make five?' We were all so
interested working it out that we never got into action at all."

"But that's easy," said the Professor. "Five."

"Four," said Miss Phipps. (She would. Silly kid.)

"Six," said the Squire.

Which was right?

Illustration: FIG. 3.--TO ILLUSTRATE THE CAPTAIN'S THRILLING STORY OF
THE BOER WAR.

Jack Ellison had been silent during the laughter and jollity, always
such a feature of Happy-Thought Hall at Christmas time, but now he
contributed an ingenious puzzle to the amusement of the company.

"I met a man in a motor-'bus," he said in a quiet voice, "who told me
that he had four sons. The eldest son, Abraham, had a dog who used to go
and visit the three brothers occasionally. The dog, my informant told
me, was very unwilling to go over the same ground twice, and yet being
in a hurry wished to take the shortest journey possible. How did he
manage it?"

For a little while the company was puzzled. Then, after deep thought,
the Professor said:

"It depends on where they lived."

"Yes," said Ellison. "I forgot to say that my acquaintance drew me a
map." He produced a paper from his pocket. "Here it is."

Illustration: FIG. 4.--TO ILLUSTRATE THE JOURNEY OF THE SAGACIOUS
HOUND.

The others immediately began to puzzle over the answer, Miss Phipps
being unusually foolish, even for her. It was some time before they
discovered the correct route. What do _you_ think it is?

"Well," said the Squire, with a hearty laugh, "it's time for bed."

One by one they filed off, saying what a delightful evening they had
had. Jack Ellison was particularly emphatic, for the beautiful Miss
Holden had promised to be his wife. He, for one, will never forget
Christmas at Happy-Thought Hall.

    [NOTE.--The originals of the drawings are on sale from the Author at
    five guineas apiece.]

  A. A. M.

       *       *       *       *       *

Illustration: _Little Tomkins_ (_to Herculean Coalheaver_). "WHY DON'T
YOU COME UP THE GREEN A COUPLE O' NIGHTS A WEEK AN' DO A BIT O' SHOOTIN'
AN' DRILLIN'? YOU'D GET AS FIT AS A FIDDLE."

       *       *       *       *       *

STABLE INFORMATION.

  Last winter I wasn't familiar with Brown,
    Our intercourse didn't extend
  Past a grunt if we met on the journey to town
    And a nod when I chose to unbend;
  But times are _mutata_, and now I've begun
    To cultivate Brown more and more,
  For Brown has a son who is friends with the son
    Of a man at the Office of War.

  When a fog is concealing how matters progress
    And editors wearily use
  (Upholding the goodly repute of the Press)
    A headline from yesterday's news,
  Brown's knowledge enables his friends to decide
    What the future is holding in store,
  For we gather that KITCHENER _loves_ to confide
    In that man at the Office of War.

  And I in my turn spread the tidings about;
    To the heart that is apt to be glum
  And the spirit that suffers severely from doubt
    Like a sunbeam in winter I come;
  "The Teuton," I whisper, "will suffer eclipse
    In the course of a fortnight--no more;
  I have had it--well, almost direct from the lips
    Of the Chief of the Office of War."

       *       *       *       *       *

Illustration: UNRECORDED EVENTS IN THE HISTORY OF THE WAR.

GERMAN SOLDIERS BEING ROUSED TO ENTHUSIASM BY THE "HYMN OF HATE."

       *       *       *       *       *

MAILS FOR A MAILED FIST.

    [The rumours of an invasion of this country, which have been
    prevalent during the last few days, are presumably responsible for
    these letters addressed to the Kaiser, which have been intercepted.]

_Northsea Cove, Suffolk._

       * * *

Kind Sir,--Should your troops land in this neighbourhood, would you
please ask them not to fire off guns between 3 and 4 P.M., as during
that hour I have my afternoon rest, and I do not sleep very well.

Yours truly,
WILHELMINA TIMMINS.

       * * *

Sir,--Hearing that you are thinking of sending over an army, we have
formed a small Reception Committee to provide for its comfort, and
knowing how concerned you are for the welfare of your troops we think
you will be glad to learn that complete arrangements have been made for
conveying them to, and accommodating them at, a salubrious spot called
Tipperary, immediately on their arrival.

(Signed) J. PUSHER, _Secretary_,
Eastern and Home Counties Resorts
Association.

       * * *

Professor Burgess-Brown, the well-known swimming expert, presents his
compliments. He would be pleased to call at Kiel Harbour (or other
appointed place) in order to teach the art of natation to German
soldiers who may, after arrival in England, suddenly find themselves
deprived of their troopships when wishing to return.

       * * *

Dear Sir,--We hear that a number of your friends are coming to England,
and shall accordingly welcome an enquiry for our advice, which is always
at the disposal of the travelling public. We do not know whether you
propose personally to come over, but we should certainly recommend this
course, as by travelling _viâ_ an English port you could get a boat
_direct_ to St. Helena and thus save the wearisome changing to which you
might be exposed in sailing from the Continent.

Yours obediently,
THE WORLD'S TOURS, LIMITED.

       * * *

_Headquarters, Poppy Patrol Boy Scouts, Cliffe, Norfolk._

Dear Sir,--I don't think there is much use in your troops landing. In
this county alone there are two hundred and ninety-five more scouts than
there were in August, and they are still coming in. Of course come if
you like, but don't say I didn't warn you.

Yours, T. SMITH,
Patrol Leader.

       * * *

_Imperial Studios, Yarmouth._

Sir,--Hearing that your troops are thinking of visiting the above town,
we should be glad to take you, in small or large groups. We understand
that your excursion will be only a half-day one, but we have facilities
for the immediate development of negatives.

Yours obediently,
GEORGE GELATINE JONES.

       * * *

WARNING! TO THE KAISER.

_From the Huntsman of the Bungay Foxhounds._

Send your men over if you like. Let them turn their guns on all our
ancient buildings, destroy crops, blow up bridges; but MIND, if one of
your Huns raises a rifle to any Norfolk or Suffolk fox, there will be
trouble of a serious kind.

       *       *       *       *       *

Illustration: KILLED!

[With _Mr. Punch's_ compliments to General BOTHA.]

       *       *       *       *       *

Illustration: _Old Lady_ (_to District Visitor_). "DID YOU HEAR A
STRANGE NOISE THIS MORNING, MISS, AT ABOUT FOUR O'CLOCK? I THOUGHT IT
WAS ONE OF THEM AIREOPLANES; AND MY NEIGHBOUR WAS SO SURE IT WAS ONE HE
WENT DOWN AND LET HIS DOG LOOSE."

       *       *       *       *       *

MINOR WAR GAINS.

  The year that is stormily ending
    Has brought us full measure of grief,
  And yet we must thank it for sending
    At times unexpected relief;
  These boons are not felt in the trenches
    Or make our home burdens less hard;
  They're not a bonanza, but merit a stanza
    Or two from the doggerel bard.

  The names of musicians and mummers
    No longer are loud on our lips;
  By the side of our buglers and drummers
    CARUSO endures an eclipse;
  And the legions of freaks and of faddists
    Who hailed him with rapturous awe,
  O wonder of wonders, are finding out blunders,
    And worse, in the writings of SHAW!

  Good BEGBIE, no longer upraising
    His plea for the "uplift" of Hodge,
  Has ceased for a season from praising
    LLOYD GEORGE and Sir OLIVER LODGE;
  And there hasn't been much in the papers
    About the next novel from CAINE
  (No doubt he's in Flanders, the guest of commanders
    Who reverence infinite brain).

  JOHN WARD has forgiven the Curragh
    (The Curragh's forgotten JOHN WARD);
  No longer he cries "Wurra Wurra!"
    At sight of an officer's sword;
  MACDONALD, the terror of tigers,
    Sits silent and meek as a mouse,
  And the great VON KEIRHARDI is curiously tardy
    In "voicing" his spleen in the House.

  The screeds of professors and jurists
    Have quite disappeared from the Press;
  'Tis little we hear of Futurists,
    And frankly we care even less;
  Why, TREVELYAN, the martyr to candour,
    Who lately his office resigned,
  Though waters were heaving has sunk without leaving
    The tiniest ripple behind.

  In fine, though there fall to our fighters
    Too many hard buffets and humps,
  'Tis a comfort to think that our blighters
    Are down in the deadliest dumps;
  And whatever the future may bring us
    In profits or pleasures or pains
  The ill wind that's blowing to-day is bestowing
    A number of negative gains.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE IDEAL CHRISTMAS CARD.

"Are we sending Christmas cards this year? Yes," said Blathers, "but not
next year, or the year after that, as we shall be retrenching. They are
quite modest trifles, yet at the mere sight of the envelope each
recipient will, cheerfully, I hope, pay twopence towards the sinews of
war. One hundred of these contributions will amount, I am told, to
sixteen shillings and eightpence; not much, but it is my little offering
to the country in her hour of need. This is the card I propose to send
out in a sealed and unstamped cover":--

    MR. AND MRS. BLATHERS WISH YOU A HAPPY CHRISTMAS 1914, 1915 AND
    1916, AND A BRIGHT NEW YEAR 1915, 1916 AND 1917.


_The Ferns, Tooting._

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The Russian mining engineers who have been sent to Galicia since
    the occupation report that the oil districts will suffice to supply
    the whole of South-Western Russia. The working of the fields will
    start in the spring; moreover salt and iron abound, also
    sporadicalli, silver, copper, lead and the rarer metals."

_Cork Examiner._

For vermicelli, however, it will still be necessary to go to Italy.

       *       *       *       *       *

OUR NATIONAL GUESTS.

III.

To the list of things that the Belgians in Crashie Howe do not
understand, along with oatmeal, honey in the comb, and tapioca, must now
be added the Scottish climate. They do not complain, but they are
puzzled, and after sixty-five consecutive hours of rain they wonder
wistfully if it is always like this. We simply dare not tell them the
truth.

By every post we are busy hunting for lost relatives who are scattered
before the shattering fist of the KAISER over Great Britain, Belgium,
Holland and France. We have not been very successful so far, but one or
two we have found, at points as far apart as York and Milford Haven,
and, best of all, we have unearthed a great-grandmother, last seen in an
open coal boat off Ostend, who is now in comfortable quarters in a
village in Ayrshire.

Our language difficulties have not been assisted by the arrival of a
family from Antwerp who talk nothing but Walloon, but, on the other
hand, the progress of the children is now beginning to afford certain
frail lines of communication. The least of them, Élise, can already
count up to twenty in English (with a strong Scoto-Flemish accent), and
so it came about that when I took my little nieces round to pay calls,
relations were at once established on a numerical basis.

"One, two, three," said Sheila, holding out her hand.

"Four," retorted Juliette, gurgling with delight.

"Five, six, seven," shouted Betty.

"Eight, nine?" enquired Juliette....

At the next cottage, where we were all rather shy, we began tentatively
with "One?" But we finally gained so much confidence that by the time we
reached our last visit we ran it up to ten at a single burst, and were
consequently received with open arms.

One of our main concerns has been the Santa Claus question, and that is
a matter which touches us closely, as we have among our number eleven
children of Santa Claus age. There are a good many pitfalls here, and it
is now unfortunately too late to warn other people of the chief of them.
For the fact is--as we found to our amazement--that Santa Claus (you
must, by the way, call him St. Nicholas; after all, it is his proper
name) comes to Belgium and Russia, not on December 25th, but on December
6th. All our attempts to explain this phenomenon by the difference in
the Russian calendar, though ingenious, have failed; it doesn't work out
at all. Still, for some reason, that is how it is, and we cannot but be
grateful to St. Nicholas for this delicate attention to our allies, by
which no doubt they get the pick of the toys, even though we were nearly
let in by him. Indeed Pierre had practically given up hope. He had told
his mother that he was afraid St. Nicholas would never find his way to
Scotland, it was too far.

Then there is another thing which might easily have been overlooked.
It's no use putting out stockings, as we prefer to do in our insular
way; one must put out _shoes_. At first sight it looks as if we in this
country have the pull over our allies here, for one pair of little shoes
does not hold much stuff. But fortunately it is the happy custom in all
lands to allow of overflow to any extent. And finally St. Nicholas never
comes down the chimney; he pops in through the window (which should be
left slightly open at the bottom so that he can get in his thumb and
prize it up). Also he never drove a reindeer in his life. He rides a
horse. And this is of the first importance, for the one condition
attaching to his benevolence is that you must put out a good wisp of hay
for the horse, along with your shoes, or else he will simply pass on and
you will get nothing at all.

Having collected and considered all these facts we were fully prepared
to meet the situation--even down to the small gingerbread animals which
always grace the day--on December 6th, and to deal faithfully with the
little rows of clogs, bulging with hay, which awaited us on St. Nicholas
Eve.

       *       *       *       *       *

Illustration: _Weary Variety Agent._ "AND WHAT'S _YOUR_ PARTICULAR
CLAIM TO ORIGINALITY?"

_Artiste._ "I'M THE ONLY COMEDIAN WHO HAS SO FAR REFRAINED FROM
ADDRESSING THE ORCHESTRA AS 'YOU IN THE TRENCH.'"

       *       *       *       *       *

CHRISTMAS PRESENTS, 1914.

"It's perfectly simple," said the Reverend Henry, adopting his lofty
style. "We must cut the whole lot. There is no other course."

"I don't consider that your opinion is of any value whatever," said
Eileen. "In fact you ought not to be allowed to take part in this
discussion. Every one knows that you have always tried to get out of
Christmas presents, and now you are merely using a grave national
emergency to further your private ends."

The Reverend Henry was squashed; but Mrs. Sidney had a perfect right to
speak, for she has been without doubt the most persistent and
painstaking Christmas provider in the family, and has never been known
to miss a single relation even at the longest range.

"I quite agree with Henry," said she. "This is no time for Christmas
presents--except to hospitals and Belgians and men at the Front."

"You mean that you would scratch the whole lot," said I, "even the
pocket diary for 1915 that I send to Uncle William?"

"Yes, even that. You can send the diary to Sidney" (who is in Flanders).
"I have always wanted him to keep a diary."

"What about the children?" said I.

"The children must realise," said the Reverend Henry solemnly, "what it
means for the nation to be at war."

"Oh, no," Laura broke in impetuously. "How can they realise? How can you
expect Kathleen to realise?"

"Do you know," said the Reverend Henry, "that only last Sunday my niece
Kathleen was marching all over the house singing at the top of her
voice, 'It's a long, long way to Tipperary: the Bible tells me so?'
Obviously she realises."

"But what about----" Eileen was beginning.

"Let's have a scrap of paper," said I, "a contract that we can all sign,
and then we can put down the exceptions to the rule."

Henry was already hard at work with a sheet of foolscap.

"... not to exchange, give, receive or swap in celebration of
Christmas, 1914, any gift, donation, subscription, contribution, grant,
token or emblem within the family and its connections: and further not
to permit any gift, donation, subscription, contribution, grant, token
or emblem to emanate from any member of the family to such as are
outside."

"Good so far," said I.

"The following recipients to be excepted," Henry went on,

"(1) All Hospitals; (2) Belgians; (3) His Majesty's Forces----"

"(4) The Poor and Needy," suggested Eileen.

"(5) The Aged and Infirm," said I. "I only want to get in Great-aunt
Amelia. She mustn't be allowed to draw a blank."

"That's true," said Henry; "we'll fix the age limit at ninety-one.
That'll bring her in."

"(6) Children of such tender age that they are unable to realise the
national emergency," said Mrs. Sidney.

"Quite so," said Henry. "What would you suggest as the age limit?
Three?"

"Four," said Laura simultaneously.

"I should like to suggest five," said I, "to bring in Kathleen."

"Let's make it seven," said Mrs. Henry. "I can hardly believe that Peter
realises, you know."

"Stop a bit," said I. "If you take in Peter you can't possibly leave out
Tom. Make it eight-and-a-half."

"That seems a little hard on Alice, doesn't it?" said Eileen.

"Any advance on eight-and-a-half?" called Henry from the writing-desk.
And from that moment the discussion assumed the character of an auction,
Laura finally running it up to thirteen (which brings in the twins) to
the general satisfaction.

When the contract was signed, witnessed and posted on its way to the
other signatories there was a general sense of relief that Christmas
would not be very different from usual after all. Henry growled a good
deal. But we know our Reverend Henry: he will do his duty when the time
comes.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The Prince of Wales noticed a private in his own regiment, the
    Grenadier Guards, who is six feet inches in height. He is six feet
    inches in height."--_Scotsman._

It sounds silly, but the writer evidently means it.

       *       *       *       *       *

Illustration: THE RULING PASSION.

_Voice from below._ "FOR 'EAVEN'S SAKE, MUM, GET BACK. THE FIRE-ESCAPE
WILL BE 'ERE IN FIVE MINUTES."

_Endangered Female._ "Five minutes? Then throw me back my knitting."

       *       *       *       *       *

THE WILLOW-PATTERN PLATE.

  A Philistine? Then you will smile
    At this old willow-pattern plate
    And junks of long-forgotten date
  That anchor off Pagoda Isle;

  At little pig-tailed simpering rakes
    Who kiss their hands (three miles away)
    To dainty beauties of Cathay
  Beside those un-foreshortened lakes.

  With hand on heart they smile and sue.
    Their topsy-turvy world, you say,
    Is out of all perspective? Nay,
  'Tis we who look at life askew.

  Dreams lose their spell; hard facts we prize
    In our humdrum philosophy;
    But, could we change, who would not be
  A suitor for those azure eyes?

  Who would not sail with fairy freight
    Piloting some flat-bottomed barge--
    A size too small, or else too large--
  On this old willow-pattern plate?

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The 'Figaro' publishes a telegram from Petrograd which contradicts
    the German announcement that Lodz is occupied by the
    Kermans."--_Lancashire Evening Post._

And quite right too.

       *       *       *       *       *

A MARNE FOOTNOTE.

There was a battlefield, I was told, with a ruined village near it,
about as far from Paris as Sevenoaks is from London, and I decided to
see it. The preliminaries, they said, would be difficult, but only
patience was needed--patience and one's papers all in order. It would be
necessary to go to the War Bureau, opposite the Invalides.

I went to the War Bureau opposite the Invalides one afternoon. I rang
the bell and a smiling French soldier opened the door. Within were long
passages and other smiling French soldiers in little knots guarding the
approaches, all very bureaucratic. The head of the first knot referred
me to the second knot; the head of the second referred me to a third.
The head of this knot, which guarded the approach to the particular
military mandarin whom I needed or thought I needed, smiled more than
any of them, and, having heard my story, said that that was certainly
the place to obtain leave. But it was unwise and even impossible to go
by any other way than road, as the railway was needed for soldiers and
munitions of war, and therefore I must bring my chauffeur with me, with
his papers, which must be examined and passed.

My chauffeur? I possessed no such thing. Necessary then to provide
myself with a chauffeur at once. Out I went in a fusillade of courtesies
and sought a chauffeur. I visited a taxi rank and stopped this man and
that, but all shied at the distance. At last one said that his garage
would provide me with a car. So off to the garage we went, and there I
had an interview with a manager, who declined to believe that permission
for the expedition would be made at all, except possibly to oblige a
person of great importance. Was I a person of great importance? he asked
me. Was I? I wondered. No, I thought not. Very well then, he considered
it best to drop the project.

I came away and hailed another taxi, driven by a shaggy grey hearthrug.
I told him my difficulties, and he at once offered to drive me anywhere
and made no bones about the distance whatever. So it was arranged that
he should come for me on the morrow--say Tuesday, at a quarter to
eleven, and we would then get through the preliminaries and my lunch
comfortably by noon and be off and away. So do hearthrugs talk with
foreigners--light-heartedly and confident. But Heaven disposes. For when
we reached the Bureau at a minute after eleven the next morning the
smiling janitor told us we were too late. Too late at eleven? Yes, the
office in question was closed between eleven and two; we must return at
two.

"But the day will be over," I said; "the light will have gone. Another
day lost!" Nothing on earth can crystallize and solidify so swiftly and
implacably as the French official face. At these words his smile
vanished. He was not angry or threatening--merely granite. Those were
the rules, and how could anyone question them? At two, he repeated: and
again I left the building, this time not bowing quite so effusively, but
suppressing a thousand criticisms which might have been spoken were not
the French our allies.

Three hours to kill in a city where everything is shut. No Louvre, no
Carnavalet! However, the time went, chiefly over lunch, and at two we
were there again, the hearthrug and I, and were shown into a
waiting-room where far too many other persons had already assembled. To
me this congestion seemed deplorable; but the hearthrug merely grinned.
It was all a new experience to him, and his meter was registering the
time. We waited, I suppose, forty minutes and then came our turn, and we
were led to a little room where sat a typical elderly French officer at
a table. He had white moustaches and was in uniform with blue and red
about it. I bowed, he bowed, the hearthrug grovelled. I explained my
need, and he replied instantly that I had come to the wrong place; the
right place was the Conciergerie.

Another rebuff! In England I might have told him that it was one of his
own idiotic men who had told me otherwise, but of what use would that be
in France? In France a thing is or is not, and there is no getting round
it if it is not. French officials are portcullises, and they drop as
suddenly and as effectively. Knowing this, so far from showing
resentment or irritation, I bowed and made my thanks as though I had
come for no other purpose than a dose of frustration; and again we left
this cursed Bureau.

I re-entered the taxi, which, judging by the meter, I should very soon
have completely paid for, and we hurtled away (for the hearthrug was a
demon driver) to Paris's Scotland Yard. Here were more passages, more
little rooms, more inflexible officials. I had bowed to half-a-dozen and
explained my errand before at last the right one was reached, and him
the hearthrug grovelled to again and called "Mon Colonel." He sat at a
table in a little room, and beside him, all on the same side of the
table, sat three civilians. On the wall behind was a map of France. What
they did all day, I wondered, and how much they were paid for it; for we
were the only clients, and the suggestion of the place was one of
anecdotage and persiflage rather than toil. They acted with the utmost
unanimity. First "Mon Colonel" scrutinised my passport, and then the
others, in turn, scrutinised it. What did I want to go to ---- for? (The
name is suppressed because it is two or three months since the battle
was fought there.) I replied that my motive was pure curiosity. Did I
know it was a very dull town? I wanted to see the battlefield. That
would be _triste_ too. Yes, I knew, but I was interested. "Mon Colonel"
shrugged and wrote on a piece of paper and passed the paper to the first
civilian, who wrote something else and passed it on, and finally the
last one got it and discovered a mistake in the second civilian's
writing, and the mistake had to be initialled by all the lot, each
making great play with a blotter; and at last the precious document was
handed to me and I was really free to start. But it was now dark.

       * * *

The road from ---- leaves the town by a hill, crosses a canal, and then
mounts and winds, and mounts again, and dips and mounts, between fields
of stubble, with circular straw-stacks as their only occupants. The
first intimation of anything untoward, besides the want of life, was the
spire of the little white village of ---- on the distant hill, which
surely had been damaged. As one drew nearer it was clear that not only
had the spire been damaged, but that the houses had been damaged too.
The place seemed empty and under a ban.

I stopped the car outside, at the remains of a burned shed, and walked
along the desolate main street. All the windows were broken; the walls
were indented with little holes or perforated with big ones. The roofs
were in ruins. Here was the post-office; it is now half demolished and
boarded up. There was the inn; it is now empty and forlorn. Half the
great clock face leant against a wall. Everyone had fled--it is a
"deserted village" with a vengeance: nothing left but a few fowls.
Everything was damaged; but the church had suffered most. Half of the
shingled spire was destroyed, most of the roof, and the great bronze
bell lay among the _débris_ on the ground. It is as though the enemy's
policy was to intimidate the simple folk through the failure of their
super-natural stronghold. "If the church is so pregnable, then what
chance have we?"--that is the question which it was hoped would be
asked; or so I imagined as I stood before this ruined sanctuary.
Where, I wondered, are those villagers now, and what chances are there
of the rebuilding of these old peaceful homes, so secure and placid only
four months ago?

And then I walked to the battlefield a few hundred yards away, and only
too distinguishable as such by the little cheap tricolors on the
hastily-dug graves among the stubble and the ricks. Hitherto I had
always associated these ricks with the art of Claude Monet, and seeing
the one had recalled the other; but henceforward I shall think of those
poor pathetic graves sprinkled among them, at all kinds of odd angles to
each other--for evidently the holes were dug parallel with the bodies
beside them--each with a little wooden cross hastily tacked together,
and on some the remnants of the soldier's coat or cap, or even boots,
and on some the blue, white and red. As far as one can distinguish,
these little crosses break the view: some against the sky-line, for it
is hilly about here, others against the dark soil.

It was a day of lucid November sunshine. The sky was blue and the air
mild. A heavy dew lay on the earth. Not a sound could be heard; not a
leaf fluttered. No sign of life. We were alone, save for the stubble and
the ricks and the wooden crosses and the little flags. How near the dead
seemed: nearer than in any cemetery.

Suddenly a distant booming sounded; then another and another. It was the
guns at either Soissons or Rheims--the first thunder of man's hatred of
man I had ever heard.

So I, too, non-combatant, as _Anno-Domini_ forces me to be, know
something of war--a very little, it is true, but enough to make a
difference when I read the letters from the trenches or meet a Belgian
village refugee.

       *       *       *       *       *

Illustration: _Pompous Lady._ "I SHALL DESCEND AT KNIGHTSBRIDGE."

_Tommy_ (_aside_). "TAKES 'ERSELF FOR A BLOOMIN' ZEPPELIN!"

       *       *       *       *       *

    "General Joffre then engaged in a short conversation with several
    journalists, and when they referred to the military medal which M.
    Poincaré pinned on his chest, he said: '3/8 All this counts for
    nothing.'"

    _Manchester Guardian._

But on the other 5/8 we offer our respectful congratulations.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE PROPHETS.

  I have a friend, a gloomy soul,
    Who daily wails about the war,
  Taking the line that, on the whole,
    Our luck is rotten at the core,
        And into each success
  Reads some disaster, rather more than less.

  Another friend I have, whose heart
    Beats with "abashless" confidence,
  Who sees the KAISER in the cart
    And hung in chains "a fortnight hence";
        He saw this months ago,
  And some day hopes to say, "I told you so."

  When Heraclitus brings a cloud,
    Democritus provides the sun;
  Or should the Hopeful crow too loud,
    I listen to the Mournful One;
        And thus, between the two,
  I find a fairly rational point of view.

       *       *       *       *       *

Faces We have no Use For.

    "Once or twice he sighed a little, although he had an uninterrupted
    view of a profile as regular as a canoe."--_New Magazine._

       *       *       *       *       *

AT THE PLAY.

"THE MAN WHO STAYED AT HOME."

No, he was not a shirker, as you thought. Nor was he engaged in making
munitions of war, or khaki, or woollens, or military boots, or in
exporting cocoa to the enemy _viâ_ neutral Holland--that roaring
monopoly of the Pacificist. His business was to spy at spies--a task
that called for as much coolness and courage as any job at the Front.
And so when the officious flapper presented him with a white feather he
had no use for it except as a pipe-cleaner.

For his purpose _Christopher Brent_ had taken up his residence at a
"select boarding establishment" on the East Coast, which contained the
following members of the German Secret Service: _Mrs. Sanderson_,
proprietress; _Carl_, her son, clerk in the British Admiralty; _Fräulein
Schroeder_, boarder, and _Fritz_, waiter. Their design, if I rightly
penetrated its darkness, was to give information of the whereabouts of a
certain section of the Expeditionary Force which was "coming through
from the North"; to supply Berlin with plans of the coast defences; and
finally to give a signal to a German submarine by the firing of the
house, which would incidentally mean the roasting alive of its innocent
contents. All this (for the sake of ARISTOTLE and the Unities) was to
take place in a single day, though I for one could not believe that
either the pigeon post or the ordinary mail would be equal to the
strain.

Their utensils included a Marconi instrument concealed in the chimney; a
bomb; a revolver; maps of the minefield and harbour; a carrier-pigeon,
and a knife for disposing of the cliff-sentry.

To frustrate their schemes something more was needed than the wit of
_Brent_ and his ally, the widow _Leigh_; something more, even, than his
skill in shooting pigeons in flight with an air-rifle. The vacuum was
supplied by the crass stupidity of the EMPEROR'S minions. Even when full
credit is given to _Brent_ for letting his bath overflow so as to flood
the public salon and render it untenable, it was surely unwise of _Mrs.
Sanderson_ to offer her private parlour for the use of the boarders on
the very day set apart for the execution of her plans which were centred
in this room. It was also gross carelessness on the part of her son,
when he had _Brent_, with hands up, at his mercy, to place his own
revolver on the table and to use, in exchange, the unloaded weapon which
he had taken from his opponent's pocket. It was puerile, too, to accept
without proof the verbal assurances of the widow _Leigh_ that she was
one of themselves, a loyal German spy. And _Fritz_ committed an
unpardonable error in giving away the site of the Marconi apparatus by
his undisguised suspicion of anybody who took any interest in the
fireplace.

And so their schemes all went agley; the whole pack was arrested; and
when the curtain fell on a happy group of boarders in midnight
_déshabillé_ there was every promise that the misdemeanants would
receive a month's imprisonment or at least a caution to be of good
behaviour for the future.

Illustration:

"HANDS UP!"

"HANDS UP YOURSELF!"

_Carl Sanderson._ .. Mr. MALCOLM CHERRY.
_Christopher Brent._ .. Mr. DENNIS EADIE.

I understand, on good authority, that the tendency of the public at this
juncture of the War is to demand light refreshment. Well, they have it
here. For, though the subject deals with a serious problem of the hour,
it can be treated, and is treated, with a very permissible humour that
just stops short of farce. Some of the stage-devices, as I am assured by
my betters, may have a touch of antiquity, but their application is as
modern as can well be, and I should indeed be ungrateful if after an
entertainment so smoothly and dexterously administered I were to be
captious about origins or other matters of pedantry.

Mr. DENNIS EADIE, as _Brent_, both in his real character of detective
and in the assumed futility of his disguise as a genial idiot, was
equally excellent, and again proved his gift for quick-change artistry.
Miss MARY JERROLD'S _Fräulein Schroeder_ was extraordinarily Teutonic in
all but her quiet humour, which she seemed to have caught from the
country of her adoption. The _Fritz_ of Mr. HENRY EDWARDS was another
delightful sketch, though his actual German birth and his allegation of
Dutch nationality were both belied by the red Italian corpuscles with
which the authors had inoculated him. Miss JEAN CADELL, as usual, played
a pale and fatuous spinster, but this time, in the part of _Miss
Myrtle_, she had her chance, and seized it bravely. When that typical
British boarder, Mr. _John Preston, M. P._ (interpreted with great relish
and vigour by Mr. HUBERT HARBEN), remarked, "I call a spade a spade,"
she replied, "And I suppose you would call a dinner-napkin a
_serviette_"--one of the pleasantest remarks in a play where the good
things said were many and unforced.

I have not mentioned the admirable performance--its merits might easily
be missed--of Mr. STANLEY LOGAN as a Territorial Tommy; or the very
natural manners of Mrs. ROBERT BROUGH as _Mrs. Sanderson_; or the quiet
art of Miss RUTH MACKAY in a part (_Miriam Leigh_) that offered a
too-limited scope to her exceptional talents. Miss ISOBEL ELSOM
contributed her share of the rather perfunctory love-interest with a
very pretty sincerity; and Mr. MALCOLM CHERRY, in the ungrateful part of
the spy _Carl_, did his work soundly, with a lofty sacrifice of his own
obvious good-nature. Indeed, it was a very excellent cast.

I should like to congratulate the authors, Messrs. LECHMERE WORRALL, and
HAROLD TERRY, on having given the public what they want, without lapsing
into banality. The attraction of the first two Acts was not, perhaps,
fully sustained in the third, but they gave us quite a cheerful evening;
and at the fall of the curtain the audience was so importunate in their
applause that Mr. DENNIS EADIE had to break it to them that, though the
loss of their company would give him pain, he thought the time had come
for them to go away.

I did not notice Mr. REGINALD MCKENNA in the stalls, but it was a great
night for him and the Home Office.

  O. S.

       *       *       *       *       *

Raison de Plus.

    Says the sleek humanitarian: "Any sacrifice I'd make
    For the voluntary system--up to going to the stake,"
    Which inspires the obvious comment that contingencies like this
    Turn the coming of conscription to unmitigated bliss.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The remaining characters were taken by Mr. HERBERT LOMAS as Ever, a
    splendid actor...."--_Manchester City News._

You should see Sir HERBERT TREE as Always.

       *       *       *       *       *

Illustration: LANGUAGE-KULTUR.

_Voice from the darkness._ "DOAND SHOOD! DOAND SHOOD! VE VOS DE
VILTSHIRES."

       *       *       *       *       *

OUR BOOKING-OFFICE.

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

If _The Prussian Officer_, a study of morbidly vicious cruelty practised
by a captain of Cavalry on his helpless orderly (and the first of a
sheaf of collected stories, short or shortish, by Mr. D. H. LAWRENCE,
issued by Messrs. DUCKWORTH), had been written since the declaration of
war it would certainly be discounted as a product of the prevailing
_odium bellicosum_. But it appeared well in the piping times of peace,
and I remember it (as I remember others of the collection) with a
freshness which only attaches to work that lifts itself out of the
common ruck. An almost too poignant intensity of realism, expressed in a
distinguished and fastidious idiom, characterises Mr. LAWRENCE'S method.
It is a realism not of minutely recorded outward happenings, trivial or
exciting, but of fiercely contested agonies of the spirit. None of those
stories is a story in the accepted mode. They are studies in (dare one
use the overworked word?) psychological portraiture. I don't know any
other writer who realises passion and suffering with such objective
_force_. The word "suffering" drops from his pen in curiously unexpected
contexts. The fact of it seems to obsess him. Yet it is no morbid
obsession. He seems to be dominated by sympathy in its literal meaning,
and it gives his work a surprising richness of texture.... I dare press
this book upon all such as need something more than mere yarns, who have
an eye for admirably sincere workmanship and are interested in their
fellows--fellows of all sorts, soldiers, keepers, travellers, clergymen,
colliers, with womenfolk to match.

       * * *

On a map of the North you may be able to find an island named after one
_Margaret_. It should lie, though I have sought it in vain, just about
where the florid details of the Norwegian coast-line run up to those
blank spaces that are dotted over, it would seem, only by the occasional
footprints of polar bears. Anyhow it was so christened by two bold
mariners who lived in the _Spacious Days_ (MURRAY) of QUEEN ELIZABETH.
That they both loved the lady (ELIZABETH, of course, too--but I mean
_Margaret_) may be assumed; but that they should eventually, with one
accord, desire to resign their claims upon her affection must be read to
be understood. I for one did not quarrel with them on this score. For
had not their mistress in the meantime found companionship more suitable
than theirs? Besides, if even the author is so little courteous to his
heroine as to invite her to appear only in two chapters between the
third and the twenty-seventh, why should two rough sea-dogs--or you and
I--be more attentive? And indeed it is a correct picture of his period
that Mr. RALPH DURAND is concerned to present rather than a love story.
In the writing of the love scenes considered necessary to the mechanism
of the plot he seems very little at his ease; and so marked at times is
his discomfort that I must confess to having felt some irritation when
my willingness to be convinced was not met halfway. In the handling of
his sheets and oars I like the author better, though even here I miss
what might have brought me into a companionship with his people as close
as I could wish on a most adventurous journey of nearly four hundred
pages. But perhaps that is my fault; and, at the least, here is a
straightforward sea story--as honest as the sea and as clean.

       * * *

_Llanyglo_ was a child with fair hair and blue eyes, and how she grew
and what she learnt, and all the changes of her dresses and her soul,
are set forth by Mr. OLIVER ONIONS in _Mushroom Town_ (HODDER AND
STOUGHTON). She differed from the children of other novelists who grow
up to be men and women, because she was made of bricks and mortar and
iron girders and romantic scenery and ozone (especially ozone), and the
people who lived with her or took trips to see her are treated as a mere
emblematical garnish of her character and growth. _Llanyglo_ is a
daughter of Wales, but she is not any town that you may happen to have
seen, although possibly Blackpool and Douglas and Llandudno have met
her, and turned up their noses at her, as she turned up her nose at
them. Lancashire built and conquered her, to be conquered and annually
recuperated in turn. _Cymria capta ferum_ ... might have been the motto
of her municipal arms. Exactly how Mr. ONIONS exhibits the romantic
spectacle of her development, with the strange knowledge she picked up,
as from virgin wildness she became first select and then popular, I
cannot hope to explain. Suffice it to say that the process is epitomised
in sketches of the various people who helped in the moulding of her--the
drunken _Kerr_ brothers, who built a house in a single night; _Howell
Gruffydd_, the wily grocer; _Dafydd Dafis_, the harper; and _John Willie
Garden_, son of the shrewd cotton-spinner who first saw the
possibilities of the place, and won the heart of the untamed gipsy girl,
_Ynys_. This is surely Mr. ONIONS' best novel since _Good Boy Seldom_;
and as _Llanyglo_ is safely ensconced on the West coast you should go
there at once for the winter season.

       * * *

_Spragge's Canyon_ (SMITH, ELDER), takes its title, as you might guess,
from the canyon where the _Spragges_ lived. It was a delightful spot, a
kind of earthly paradise (snakes included), and the _Spragge_ family had
made it all themselves out of unclaimed land on the Californian coast.
Wherefore the _Spragges_ loved it with a love only equalled perhaps by
the same emotion in the breast of Mr. H. A. VACHELL, who has written a
book about it. The _Spragges_ of the tale are _Mrs. Spragge_, widow of
the pioneer, and her son _George_. With them on the ranch lived also a
cousin, _Samantha_, a big-built capable young woman, destined by
Providence and _Mrs. Spragge_ to be the helpmate of _George_. But
_George_, though he was strong and handsome and a perfect marvel with
rattlesnakes (which he collected as a subsidiary source of income), was
also a bit of a fool; and when, on one of his rare townward excursions,
he got talking to _Hazel Goodrich_ in a street car, her pale
attractiveness and general lure proved too much for him. Accordingly
_Hazel_ was asked down to the ranch on a visit (I am taking it on trust
that Mr. VACHELL knows the Californian etiquette in these matters) and
has the time of her life, flirting with the love-lorn _George_,
impressing his mother, and generally scoring off poor _Samantha_. At
least so she thought. Really, however, _Mrs. Spragge_ had taken
_Hazel's_ measure in one, and was all the time quietly fighting her
visitor for her son's future. This fight, and the character of the
mother who makes it, are the best things in the book. I shall not tell
you who wins. Personally I had expected a comedy climax, and was
unprepared for creeps. But _George_, I may remind you, collected snakes.
A good and virile tale.

       * * *

Sir MELVILLE MACNAGHTEN hopes, in his Introduction to _Days of my Years_
(Arnold), that his reminiscences "may be found of some interest to a
patient reader"; and, when one considers that _Sir Melville_ spent
twenty-four years at Scotland Yard, many of them as chief of the
Criminal Investigation Department, he can hardly be accused of undue
optimism. Speaking as one of his readers, I found no difficulty at all
in being patient. I have always had a weakness for official detectives,
and have resented the term "Scotland Yard bungler" almost as if it were
a personal affront; and now I feel that my resentment is justified.
Scotland Yard does not bungle; and the advice I shall give for the
future to any eager-eyed, enthusiastic young murderer burning to embark
on his professional career is, don't practise in London. I would not
lightly steal a penny toy in the Metropolitan area. There are two
hundred and seventy-nine pages in this story of crime, as seen by the
man at the very centre of things, and nearly every one of them is packed
with matter of absorbing interest. Consider the titles of the chapters:
"Bombs and their Makers"; "Motiveless Murders"; "Half-a-day with the
Blood-hounds." This, I submit, is the stuff; this, I contend, is the
sort of thing you were looking for. There is something so human and
simple in Sir MELVILLE'S method of narration that it is with an effort
that one realises what an important person he really was, and what
extraordinary ability he must have had to win and hold his high
position. Even when he disparages blood-hounds I reluctantly submit to
his superior knowledge and abandon one of my most cherished illusions. I
hate to do it, but if he says that a blood-hound is no more use in
tracking criminals than a Shetland pony would be, I must try to believe
him.

       *       *       *       *       *

Illustration: THE COMPLETE SALESMAN.

_Lady_ (_rather difficult to please_). "I LIKE THIS ONE, BUT--I SEE IT'S
PRINTED IN GERMANY."

_Salesman._ "WELL, IF YOU LIKE IT, MADAM, I WOULDN'T TAKE TOO MUCH
NOTICE OF THAT STATEMENT. IT'S PROBABLY ONLY ANOTHER GERMAN LIE!"

       *       *       *       *       *

Revenge.

    "After Herr Von Holman Bethwig's wild speech in the German Reichstag
    the Government might change their minds."

    _Cork Constitution._

It isn't much one can do to the GERMAN CHANCELLOR just now, but these
misprints of his name always annoy him, and every little helps.

       *       *       *       *       *





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