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Title: Punch or the London Charivari, Vol. 147, December 9, 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 9, 1914" ***

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  Vol. 147

       *       *       *       *       *

  December 9, 1914.

       *       *       *       *       *


We are told that "it is confidently believed by the advisers to the
Treasury that the new issue of £1 notes cannot be successfully
imitated." We think that it is a mistake to put our artists on their
mettle in this way.

       * * *

A black eagle, a contemporary tells us, was seen one day last week at
Westgate-on-Sea. A Prussian bird, no doubt, in mourning for lost Calais.

       * * *

The German Government has declared timber contraband of war owing to its
alleged scarcity in Germany. Surely, as DOUGLAS JERROLD suggested on
another occasion, the German authorities could find plenty of wood in
their own country if they only put their heads together?

       * * *

The news that "Bantam" battalions are now being formed all over England
is said to have greatly interested General KLUCK.

       * * *

The report that the PRIME MINISTER spent last week-end in the country is
said to have caused intense annoyance to the KAISER, who considered that
it showed a lack of respect for His War.

       * * *

A map of the United Kingdom published in the Berlin _Lokalanzeiger_
depicts the Mersey as being located in the West of Ireland. Frankly, we
are surprised at the Germans showing any Mersey anywhere.

       * * *

Mr. JOHN WARD has been accused of perpetrating a mixed metaphor when he
warned the Government, the other day, that "they would wake up and find
the horse had bolted with the money." Is it not, however, a fact that
when a horse bolts he sometimes takes a bit between the teeth?

       * * *

The financial expert of _The Observer_, in referring to the War Loan,
said:--"From all over the country the small investor rallied in his
thousands." But he had just said that "the applicants were enormous."
Possibly the truth is somewhere between the two--say about 11-1/2 stone.

       * * *

A football pavilion in Bromley Road, Catford, was entirely destroyed by
fire last week. We are trying to bear the blow bravely.

       * * *

There would seem to be no limit to the influence of the Censor. Here is
the latest example of his activities:--


We must confess that we fail to see what British interest is served by
withholding the General's name.

       * * *

The German IMPERIAL CHANCELLOR has now repeated, in the presence of a
full-dress meeting of the Reichstag, the old falsehood about Great
Britain being responsible for the War. This, we believe, is what is
known as Lying in State.

       * * *

And the statement that Germany need have no fears of a food famine may
be described, we take it, as a Cereal Story.

       * * *

SVEN HEDIN has received the honorary degree of Doctor from Breslau
University--as a reward, presumably, for doctoring the truth.

       * * *

    6-MILE GUNS IN POSITION."--_Star._

It sounds like a 30,000 foot cinema film.

       *       *       *       *       *


The least that we others can do is to see that those who have joined the
colours don't have too dull a time in camp during the long evenings.
Messrs. JOHN BROADWOOD AND SONS are organizing concerts which will serve
the further good purpose of helping many professional musicians whose
incomes have been reduced by the war. It is hoped to give 200 of these
entertainments during the winter. Each is estimated to cost about £10.
The Directors of Messrs. BROADWOOD have privately subscribed £500
towards the carrying out of this scheme, and they would be glad to
receive generous help from the public. Subscriptions should be addressed
to them at Conduit Street, Bond Street, W.

       *       *       *       *       *


_Answers to Correspondents._

_Mother of the Gracchi._--If your son is under age, below the standard
height, is obliged to wear coloured glasses, suffers much from
face-ache, and frequently has carbuncles, we fear his chances of
obtaining a commission in the Household Cavalry are nil.

_Anxious to help._--The pistols used by your grandfather during the
Peninsular War would not, we are afraid, be of any use to your nephew in
the present campaign.

_All-British Matron._--We regret that we do not quite understand from
your letter whether it is your new Vicar that you suspect of pro-German
proclivities, or the pew-opener. We advise you to communicate with the
nearest Rural Dean or Archdeacon.

_Troubled Parent._--We fear that your boy will be obliged to dispense
with his hot-water bottle now that he has joined the Army, and it would
be no use your writing to his commanding officer about the matter.

_Aunt Alice._--Lord KITCHENER hardly ever accepts invitations to
tea-parties, but it was nice of you to think of asking him.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Dans l'Est, nous avons dû refuser une suspension d'armes,
    probablement destinée à l'inhumation des blessés."

To judge from this extract from _Le Nord Maritime_ the French still lack
a true appreciation of German culture.

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *


[_Suggested by an American's interview with the CROWN PRINCE and also by
WORDSWORTH'S "We are Seven"._]

  A simple earnest-minded youth,
    Who wore in both his eyes
  A calm pellucid lake of Truth--
    What should he know of lies?

  I met a gentle German Prince,
    His name was Truthful WILL,
  An honest type--and, ever since,
    His candour haunts me still.

  "About this War--come tell me, Sir,
    If you would be so kind,
  Just any notions which occur
    To your exalted mind."

  "Frankly, I cannot bear," said he,
    "The very thought of strife;
  It seems so sad; it seems to me
    A wicked waste of life.

  "Thank Father's God that I can say
    My constant aim was Peace;
  I simply lived to see the Day
    (_Den Tag_) when wars would cease.

  "But, just as I was well in train
    To realise my dream,
  Came England, all for lust of gain,
    And spoilt my beauteous scheme.

  "But tell me how the rumours run;
    Be frank and tell the worst
  Touching myself; you speak to one
    With whom the Truth comes first."

  "Prince," I replied, "the vulgar view
    Pictured you on your toes
  Eager for gore; they say that you
    Were ever bellicose.

  "'Twas you, the critics say, who led
    The loud War Party's cry
  For blood and iron." "Oh!" he said,
    "Oh what a dreadful lie!

  "'War Party'? Well, I'm Father's pet,
    And, if such things had been,
  He must have let me know, and yet
    I can't think what you mean."

  "But your BERNHARDI," I replied,
    "He preached the Great War Game."
  "'BERNHARDI'! who was he?" he cried,
    "I never heard his name!

  "Dear Father must be told of him;
    Father, who loathes all war,
  Is looking rather grey and grim,
    But that should make him roar!"

  So, with a smile that knew no art,
    He left me well content
  Thus to have communed, heart to heart,
    With one so innocent.

  And still I marvelled, having scanned
    Those eyes so full of Truth,
  "Oh _why_ do men misunderstand
    This bright and blameless youth?"

  O. S.

       *       *       *       *       *


_Northern France._

As you will see from our address, here we are among the War
Correspondents. But there is a mistake somewhere; either there are not
enough Germans to go round, or else they--Headquarters, you know--simply
hate the idea of throwing the flower of the British Army into the full
glare of the shrapnel. Anyhow, we haven't actually been engaged yet,
though our Private Smithson has collected three bits of shrapnel and a
German rifle; and we have all heard artillery fire (off). Which makes us
think that these rumours of war aren't just a scare got up to help

Some doubt exists among us as to our precise function out here. Here we
are (as I may have mentioned) a magnificent battalion of young giants,
complete with rifles--every man has at least one and Private Smithson
has two--webbing equipment, cummerbunds, mufflers, cameras, sleeping
caps (average, six per man) and even boots; and yet they can't decide
exactly what to do with us. Mind you, we are absolute devils for a
fight; we have already been reserve troops to five different divisions
and thought nothing of it. We are not quite sure whether we get five
medals for this or one medal with five bars. Not that we really care;
such considerations do not affect us. As Edward--the mascot of the
section--observed to me the other day, "I don't care two beans about
medals; I want to go home."

But you ask what do we actually do? Let no man believe that we are out
here on a holiday. On the contrary we give ourselves over entirely to
warlike pursuits. Some days we slope arms by numbers; and other days we
clean dixies and indent for new boots. Night by night we guard our
approaches and prod the tyres of oncoming motors with fixed bayonets.
Every morning the man who held up General FRENCH tells us about it with
bated breath over our bated breakfasts. It is one of the finest
traditions of the corps that General FRENCH is held up by us every
night. We have our own sentries' word for it. This is especially
interesting in view of the persistent reports that he is in a totally
different part of France. As he gives a different name every night and
varies considerably in appearance we feel that there must be something
behind it all.

Thompson, who is no end of a fire-eater and wants to be invalided home
with a bullet in his left shoulder--he is engaged--has invented a scheme
for getting to the front by sheer initiative. Our officers have quite a
pedantic veneration for orders, field-marshals and other obsolete pink
apron-strings. We are thus thrown back on our sergeants, a fine body of
men whose one weakness is an enthusiasm for chocolate. Acting on this
knowledge certain tactful and public-spirited privates in our midst will
present the sergeants with two sticks of chocolate per sergeant on the
understanding that they thereafter form the battalion into fours and
march them circumstantially to the trenches. There are, by all accounts,
such supplies of these that a few here and there are bound to be empty.
Having occupied these we will all expose our left shoulders, and, having
gleaned a whole shrubbery of laurels, return to Divisional H.-Q. The
sergeants, such as survive, will then be court-martialled and shot at
dawn, while the rest of the regiment will be honourably exiled to
England in glorious disgrace. All that remains is for Thompson to
approach the sergeants with chocolate.

       *       *       *       *       *

We notice a stray poster which advertises the thrilling romance, _I Hid
my Love_. Is the idea that he should elude conscription? or simply

       *       *       *       *       *

Illustration: THE INNOCENT.


[In an alleged interview the CROWN PRINCE is reported to have said, "As
to being a war agitator, I am truly sorry that people don't know me
better. There is no 'War Party' in Germany now--nor has there ever

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *


On the morning of November 27th I awoke to find my chest covered with a
pretty pink pattern. It blended so well with the colour of my
pyjama-jacket that for some minutes I was lost in admiration of the
pleasing effect. Then it occurred to me that coming diseases cast their
rashes before them, and I sprang from the bed in an agony of
apprehension. I rushed to the mirror and opened my mouth to look at my
tongue. There it was. I took some of it out. It looked quite healthy, so
I put it back again. Then I gazed long and earnestly down my throat. It
was quite hollow as usual. Next I got the clinical thermometer and
sucked it for quite a long time. When I removed it I saw my temperature
was about 86. Then I found I was reading it upside down and that I was
only normal. I felt disappointed. After that I tried my pulse. It took
me some time to locate it, but it hadn't run down; it was still going
quite regularly--_andante ma non troppo_, two beats in the bar. I
whistled "Tipperary" to it, and it kept perfect time.

But still the rash remained. It would neither get out nor get under. I
felt perfectly well, and yet I knew I must be ill. I could not
understand the complete absence of other symptoms.

At last a bright idea struck me. It was just possible that I might
refuse food. I knew that would be a symptom. At any rate I would go down
to breakfast and see. I dressed rapidly; I simply tore my clothes on to
me. I shaved hastily; I literally tore the whiskers out of me. Then I
tore down-stairs.

On the table was an egg. I removed the lid and looked inside. It was
full of evil odours. I refused it. Then I knew for certain I was ill. I
tore back to my bedroom and tore off my clothes. I unshaved. I tumbled
into bed and tried hard to shiver. I tried so hard that I perspired. As
I was really ill I knew that I had to get hot and cold alternately ever
so many times. I did my best to live up to all the symptoms I had ever
heard of. I tried to get delirious and talk nonsense, but I failed
ignominiously. How I cursed my public school education!

In my extremity I even endeavoured to imagine that I saw things which
were not there....

And then I saw something which really was there. It was my pin-cushion.
It looked unusually crowded even for a pin-cushion, and I got out of bed
to investigate the matter closer. I counted forty-five--yes,
forty-five--little flags, and then memory came back to me. The previous
day I had bought forty-five miniature Belgian flags at one time and
another during the day. Each charming but inexperienced vendor had
insisted on pinning my purchase wherever there happened to be an
unoccupied space on my manly (thanks to my tailor) bosom. I remembered
being conscious of a prickly sensation on each occasion, but I
attributed it to rapturous thrills running about the region of my heart.

To make sure that my explanation was correct I went once again to the
mirror and hastily counted my rash. There were forty-five of it!

       *       *       *       *       *


    _"Evening Standard" Poster._

Probably he had eaten too many sausages.

       *       *       *       *       *

Illustration: Flag-bearer. "FEEL COLD, AN' WANT YER SHIRT, DO YER?

       *       *       *       *       *


I wish you knew my sister-in-law; she is probably one of the sweetest
girls that ever breathed. Yet we are none of us perfect, and Grace has a
drawback. She cannot forget that I am a poet. A fortnight ago she wrote
to me:--

"Dear Edwin,--I am in such a fix. You remember Mary Smith? She has
persuaded a young doctor friend of hers to start an album for original
poems. He is such a nice fellow, though perhaps not very fond of poetry,
if left to himself. But he has bought the album and has asked her to
write on the first page. So she has come to me about it; and I am
writing to ask if you would be a great brick and help us, because we get
mixed up so with the feet, and I know it is nothing to you to write
poetry. Could you possibly let me have it by return?

Yours affectionately,


    P.S.--_Entre nous_, she is rather keen on him, I think."

Somehow, when Grace's note reached me at the Local Government Board (she
has a habit of addressing her communications to me there, in faintly
perfumed envelopes much appreciated by the messengers), I was not in a
poetical mood. For the past three weeks my branch had been engaged on
the subject of Drains in the Eastern Counties, and that very morning I
was completing an exhaustive minute dealing with the probable effects of
an improved system of sanitation on the public health of the Borough of
Ipswich. Still, I felt that something must be done. So I consulted
Jones. Jones is, like myself, a poet; he is also the official whom
Ministers of the Crown are accustomed, when hard pressed, to consult on
the subject of Infantile Mortality amongst Suburban Undertakers; why, I
cannot say, though many think it is on the strength of his having been a
Philpott's Theological Prizeman at Oxford. I scribbled him a line in
pencil: "Come over into number thirteen and help us; and bring your
cigarettes." He came, and before leaving the office at 4.30 I was
enabled to comply with my sister-in-law's request. I wrote as follows:--

"Dear Grace,--I do not remember Mary Smith. On the other hand, since in
poetry, as in boxing and batting, the proper management of the feet is
everything, and requires more practice than either you or your friend
have apparently been able to devote to it, I have much pleasure in
coming to the rescue. In dealing with members of the medical profession
it is never wise to beat about the bush; superfluous subtlety merely
irritates them. I have therefore endeavoured to make the poem just the
artless outpouring of the innocent passion of such a girl as I imagine
your friend Mary Smith to be. Here it is.


      How I love you, how I love you,
      Oh, you therapeutic dove, you!
  How I long to snuggle coyly on your chest;
      And reposing there to woo you,
      Till, with soft responsive coo, you
  Bid me share your warm but hygienic nest!

      Though I might have oft been married,
      I have tarried, I have tarried,
  Hoping still that I should catch you on the hop;
      For to pining, lonely Mary
      To be George's own canary
  Would be sweeter than the sweetest ginger pop.

"'George'--in the title and body of the poem--can of course be altered,
if necessary; but something, I know not what, tells me that that is his
name, and that it is probably followed by Harris. I may be mistaken, but
George Harris, as I feel I know him, is a simple, muscular young man,
addicted to tennis and his bicycle, fairly good at diagnosing whooping
cough or a broken leg. He likes his pipe and reads the _Referee_ on
Sunday mornings. Mary, however, will change all that. She will furnish
in fumed oak, art flower-pots, and the poems of ELLA WHEELER WILCOX, and
so will lead him gradually to higher and better things. I wish her all



P.S.--It is true that doves seldom marry canaries, nor do the latter
drink ginger beer to any considerable extent. But George will not notice
these discrepancies. He is not hypercritical."

Two days later I heard from Grace again.

Dear Edwin,--Thank you so much for the verses, though perhaps they are a
little--well, a little outspoken, aren't they? Unfortunately, Mary's
friend is not named George or Harris. He is not even English, but a very
nice dark brown man from Asia, a Hindu, I think, and only _trying_ to be
a doctor at present. As soon as he is one he is going back again. I
ought to have told you this before, as I feel it might have helped you.
But thanks very much all the same.

Yours affectionately,


When I showed this to Jones he expressed his chagrin with a freedom and
resource surprising even in a Civil Servant; but, having put our hands
to the plough, we felt we could hardly leave Mary Smith in the cart. So
we set to again, and I posted the following poem to Grace:--


    Though, O budding Inter-M.B.,
    You may now perchance pro tem. be
  Not indifferent to a simple English maid,
    Soon the daughters dark and dingy
    Of the land of Ranjitsinhji,
  Will be throwing her completely in the shade.

    And shall Mary thus be stranded,
    When she had you almost landed
  (Yes, the metaphors are mixed, but never mind)?
    Oh, imagine her emotion
    When the cruel Indian Ocean
  Separates you from the girl you left behind.

It was nearly a week before I heard from Grace. Then she wrote:--

"Dear Edwin,--It was really _too_ sweet of you to send the second set.
We have discovered, however, that Mary's friend is a Parsee, and
therefore a worshipper of the sun, and she thinks the last line in the
first verse would offend his family's religious scruples. She fears,
too, that he might not endorse the epithet 'dingy' as applied by you to
his female compatriots. So we have decided not to write in his album. I
think however that the first poem (with modifications) would do for the
album of a friend of my own, whose name, as it happens, _is_ George. So
I have asked the vicar to tone it down for me. He is a Durham man. Do
you mind?

Yours affectionately,


I read her letter, and breathed a deep sigh. Then seizing a telegraph
form, I wired: "Have no objection to Durham vicars. Am ordering
salt-cellars. Do not write again. Edwin."

       *       *       *       *       *


Peter goes to a dame's school in Armadale Gardens, round the corner.

On Tuesdays and Fridays he comes home at twelve, changes into his
football things, and goes off to play soccer till one.

Yesterday, Friday, he came in as usual and, after changing, he put his
head round the door of my study and shouted excitedly,


"Well, old chap," I said, "out with it. I'm busy."

"Have you heard? Italy joins Austria. Official."

"Heavens above!" I said. "Official, did you say?"

"Yes," he said. "Can't stop now."

"Hi! Peter," I shouted, "do get me a paper; it won't take you----" But
the banging of the front door cut my appeal short.

I couldn't get a paper myself. I had a cold, and had been ordered to
stay indoors, and I had an article to finish by three o'clock.

"Italy with Austria and Germany," I groaned. "It's monstrous."

I got up, kicked the waste-paper basket over and walked up and down the
room. I knew Peter wouldn't tell a lie. Even for fun he wouldn't say
anything like that if it weren't true.

I called Honor. She was in the drawing-room arranging the flowers. She
came hurriedly with a bunch of them in her hand. I don't know one flower
from one another, but they were big floppy red things.

"What's the matter?" she said.

"Matter? Italy's declared for the enemy," I said. "It's official."

"Is that all?" she said. "I thought at least you couldn't find some of
your writing things."

"What!" I said, "you can stand there with those ridiculous red blobs in
one hand and--and nothing in the other and talk like that."

"They're not blobs," said Honor, "they're peonies. And if that's all
that's the matter I'm busy. I must get my flowers done before lunch."

"Bah!" I said, turning to my table again. "Hang lunch; I can't eat any.
Italy, our staunch friend for years, throws in her lot with Austria, her
hereditary foe, and you talk of lunch."

"It's macaroni cheese," said Honor calmly, "and you know you love it."

"Shade of GARIBALDI! Macaroni! You dare," I said "to mix that miserable
Italian trash with good honest English cheese on such a day, when Italy
is mobilising her millions of soldiers and sailors against us and our
Allies. It's rank sacrilege."

"Don't get excited," said Honor; "besides the cheese is American

"You trifle with me," I said. "If you send any of the wretched stuff in
here I shall trample on it."

"Aren't you coming in to lunch, then?" she said.

"No, I'm not," I said. "I can't eat anything, and I doubt if I can write
a word after this."

"What earthly difference would having lunch make?" said Honor.

"None to you," I said. "You can gorge yourself on macaroni cheese while
the Empire totters."

I kicked the fallen waste-paper basket across the room. I don't suppose
I added more than fifty or sixty words to my article in the next

Then I heard Peter whistling in the hall. He had finished lunch and was
just off to school again.

I called him. "Look here, old man," I said, "you might get me a paper at
the station before going to school. I want to see about Italy joining
Austria. It's awful."

"You don't need a paper," said Peter; "look on the map and you'll see
that Italy joins Austria," and he fled. It was well for him that he

"Any more of that macaroni cheese left?" I said, rushing into the dining
room. "I've just swallowed the oldest joke in the world and I want to
take away the taste of it."

       *       *       *       *       *

Illustration: _Village Worthy (discussing possibilities of invasion)._

       *       *       *       *       *

    "During 1912 we imported 2,290,206,240 foreign eggs. It is estimated
    that over 60% of these are no longer available."--_Advt._

Heaven preserve us from the other 40%.

       *       *       *       *       *



At last! We are "recognised" by the War Office! Our months of toil are
not to go unrewarded. Two hours every evening at the end of an ordinary
civilian day's work, all Saturday afternoon and the whole of Sunday, we
have given these up cheerfully, supported by the hope of ultimate
recognition. And now it is come!

The terms of the War Office are generous. They are these. Provided that
we buy our own rifles and equipment and continue to pay our own training
expenses; provided that we use no military terms and make no attempt to
wear any clothing which may look to the Germans at all like a soldier's
uniform; provided that the War Office is at perfect liberty to employ
upon those of us within the age limits a conscription for whole-time
service which it has no intention of employing upon the more patriotic
man who spends his week-ends playing golf; these provisions complied
with, we--_are allowed to go on living!_

That startles you? I thought it would. You looked down upon us.
Recognition, you told yourself, would only mean that we were immediately
to be employed as waterproof sheeting for the new huts or concrete
foundations for the new guns. Aha! Now you wish you had joined us. We
are allowed to go on living!

But I was forgetting. The War Office is being even more generous than
that. In return for our not bothering them any more, it will allow us to
wear (and pay for) a small red armlet with "G.R." on it; the red colour,
I suppose, informing the Germans that we have just been vaccinated, and
the "G.R." ("got rash") warning them that the left arm is irritable.

James is annoyed about it. This is silly of him. As I point out, our
soldiers have already earned a reputation abroad for gaiety and high
spirits, and it is all to the good that the War Office should show that
it has a sense of humour equally keen. When the invasion comes, and
music-halls, cinemas and football matches are closed down, the amusement
of the country (as the War Office has foreseen) will depend entirely
upon _us_. Let us, then, obey rigidly the seven commandments of
"recognition" and see how funny we can be.

For instance:--


[_The Brigadier and the Adjutant--I beg pardon (don't shoot)--Father and
Father's Help are discovered in conversation._]

_Father (explaining orders)._ The Battalion will advance to-morrow
towards Harwich, where the enemy----

_Father's Help._ Excuse me, Sir, but isn't that _rather_ too military?
How would this do?--"The brethren will walk out towards Harwich
to-morrow, where the Band of Hope from another parish has already


_Churchwarden Jones._ Advance in half-pew rushes from the right!

_Sidesman Tomkins._ No. 1 half-pew, advance.... At the congregation in
front at a thousand yards.

_Parishioner Brown (to his neighbour)._ I say, how many bullets have you
brought with you?

_Parishioner Smith._ Fifteen. Fact is, I'm jolly hard up just now.
Emily's been ill again, and one thing and another.... I did have twenty,
but the baby swallowed two.... You might lend me some, old man. I
promise to pay you back at the end of the month.

_Parishioner Brown._ I'll lend you a couple, but that's really all I can
spare.... Look at Boko swanking away like a bally millionaire. That's
his tenth shot this afternoon. Fairly chucking his money about.

_Parishioner Robinson._ I'll give you a hundred cartridges in exchange
for your bayonet if you like. Sickening the Germans coming just now;
it's my birthday next week and I'd been practically promised one by Aunt


_Elder Perks, C.B. (that is to say, "completely bald")._ What the blank
blanket do those blanks think they're doing?

_Lay-Helper Snooks._ I beg your pardon, Sir, for reminding you, but
_military_ terms are not allowed to be used.

_Elder Perks._ Quite right, Snooks; I forgot myself. Kindly request the
organist to sound the Assemble. Those naughty lads are running in the
wrong direction.


_German Officer (to prisoner)._ You are a civilian and you are caught
bearing arms. Have you anything to offer in your defence?

_Prisoner._ Civilian be blowed! I'm recognised by the War Office. Look
at my---- Oh lor, it's come off again!

_German Officer._ Well?

_Prisoner._ I know appearances are against me, but----

_German Officer._ What is your rank?

_Prisoner._ Er--Chairman of the Committee.

_German Officer._ I thought so. (_To Sergeant_) Take him away and shoot
him. (_To Prisoner_) Any last message you wish to leave will be

_Prisoner (drawing himself up nobly)._ Tell my wife not to mourn me.
Tell her that I die happy (_his voice breaks for a moment_) knowing that
my death (_with deep emotion_) is--technically--(_a happy smile
illuminates his face_) an illegal one.

       * * *

And so I tell James not to worry. If the worst befalls him--and all the
time when I was writing "prisoner" above I seemed to see James in that
position--if the worst befalls him, his partner will at least be able to
bring an action against somebody. For we are not "civilians." We
are--well, I don't quite know _what_ we are.

  A. A. M.

       *       *       *       *       *


(_In acknowledgment of the services of some of the gifted
representatives of "The Daily Mail" and "The Daily Chronicle."_)

  _Correspondents, though banned at the Front,
  Are so manfully doing their "stunt"
      In searching for news
      That the Limerick Muse
  Thus honours their skill in the hunt._

  The despatches of Mr. ELIAS
  Are so laudably free from all bias
      That their moderate strain
      Has given much pain
  To the shade of the late ANANIAS.

  K. OF K., who by birth is a Kerry man,
  Much approves of the work of Z. FERRIMAN,
      For it holds the just mean
      That's betwixt and between
  The extremes of Cassandra and Merryman.

  For news that is fresh from the spot
  Commend me to great ALAN BOTT;
      The stuff that he wires
      Stokes our patriot fires
  Without being ever too hot.

  The despatches of good Mr. PERRIS
  Have the flavour of syrupy "sherris;"
      They enrapture the mind
      Of the sane and refined--

  In Rotterdam city JAMES DUNN
  Keeps his vigilant eye on the Hun,
      And fires off despatches
      In generous batches,
  Like a humanized 15-inch gun.

  It is futile to cavil or carp
  At Sir ALFRED, whose surname is SHARPE;
      For he soothes us or stings
      As the nightingale sings,
  Or as angels perform on the harp.

       *       *       *       *       *

Illustration: THE MASTER WORD.

       *       *       *       *       *



       *       *       *       *       *


(_For the information of an ever-thirsty public._)


  This is the man whose work is War;
  He plans it out in a room on shore--
  He and his Staff (all brainy chaps)
  With miniature flags and monster maps,
  And a crew whose tackle is Hydro-graphic,
  With charts for steering our ocean traffic.
  But the task that most engrosses him
  Is to keep his Fleet in fighting trim;
  To see that his airmen learn the knack
  Of plomping bombs on a Zeppelin's back;
  To make his sailors good at gunnery,
  And so to sink each floating hunnery.


  Here is the man who mans the Fleet
  With jolly young tars that can't be beat;
  He has them trained and taught the rules;
  He looks to their hospitals, barracks, schools;
  He notes what rumorous Osborne's doing,
  And if it has mumps or measles brewing.
  He fills each officer's vacant billet
  (Provided the First Lord doesn't fill it);
  And he casts a fatherly eye, betweens,
  On that fine old corps, the Royal Marines.
  This is the job that once was JELLICOE'S,
  But now he has one a bit more bellicose.


  Ships are the care of the Third Sea Lord,
  And all Material kept on board.
  'Tis he must see that the big guns boom
  And the wheels go round in the engine-room;
  'Tis he must find, for cloudy forays,
  Aeroplanes and Astra Torres;
  And, long ere anything's sent to sea,
  Tot up a bill for you and me.


  The Fourth Sea Lord has a deal to plan,
  For he's, chief of all, the Transport man.
  He finds the Fleet in coal and victuals
  (Supplying the beer--if not the skittles);
  He sees to the bad'uns that get imprisoned,
  And settles what uniform's worn (or isn't)....
  Even the stubbornest own the sway
  Of the Lord of Food and the Lord of Pay!

       *       *       *       *       *


  A long lean bar of silver spans
    The ebon-rippled water-way,
    And like a lost moon's errant ray
  Strikes on the passing caravans--

  Ghost-ships that from the desert seas
    Loom silent through the steady beams,
    Pale phantoms of elusive dreams
  Cargoed with ancient memories.

  Through the long night across the cool
    Black waters to their shrouded berth,
    Bearing the treasures of the earth,
  Glide the fair ships to Liverpool.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Londoner" in _The Evening News_:--

    "Long live King Leopold, a faithful prince if ever there was one, as
    loyal to his brave Belgians as they, gallant souls that they are,
    are loyal to him. Does he, I wonder, ever take a look at his family

Because, if so, he would discover that his name was really Albert.

       *       *       *       *       *

Illustration: THE KING AT THE FRONT.

"TOMMY", (_having learned the language_). "VIVE LE ROI!"

       *       *       *       *       *

Illustration: _Michael (gloomily)_. "MUMMY, I DO HOPE I SHAN'T DIE



       *       *       *       *       *


We were sitting in a little restaurant in the gay city--which is not a
gay city any more, but a city of dejection, a city that knows there is a
war going on and not so long since could hear the guns. There are,
however, corners where, for the moment, contentment or, at any rate,
visitations of mirth are possible, and this little restaurant is one of
them. Well, we were sitting there waiting for coffee, the room (for it
was late) now empty save for the table behind me, where two elderly
French bourgeois and a middle-aged woman were seated, when suddenly the
occupant of the chair which backed into mine and had been backing into
it so often during the evening that I had punctuated my eating with
comments on other people's clumsy bulkiness; suddenly, as I say, this
occupant, turning completely round, forced his face against mine and,
cigarette in hand, asked me for a light. I could see nothing but face--a
waste of plump ruddy face set deep between vast shoulders, a face
garnished with grey beard and moustache, and sparkling moist eyes behind
highly magnifying spectacles. Very few teeth and no hair. But the
countenance as a whole radiated benignance and enthusiasm; and one
thing, at any rate, was clear, and that was that none of my resentment
as to the restlessness of the chair had been telepathed.

Would I do him the honour of giving him a light? he asked, the face so
close to mine that we were practically touching. I reached out for a
match. Oh, no, he said, not at all; he desired the privilege of taking
the light from my cigarette, because I was an Englishman and it was an
honour to meet me, and--and----"_Vive l'Angleterre!_" This was all very
strange and disturbing to me; but we live in stirring times, and nothing
ever will be the same again. So I gave him the light quite calmly and
with great presence of mind said, "_Vive la France!_" Then he grasped my
hand and thanked me for the presence of the English army in his country,
the credit for which I endeavoured fruitlessly to disclaim, and we all
stood up and bowed to each other severally and collectively, and resumed
our own lives again.

But the incident had been so unexpected that I, at any rate, could not
be quite normal just yet, for I could not understand why, out of four of
us, all English, and one a member of the other sex, so magnetic to
Frenchmen, I should have been selected either as the most typical or the
most likely to be cordial--I who only a week or so ago was told
reflectively by a student of men, gazing steadfastly upon me, that my
destiny must be to be more amused by other people than to amuse them.
Especially, too, as earlier in the evening there had been two of our
men--real men--in khaki in the room. Yet there it was: I, a dreary
civilian, had been carefully selected as the truest representative of
Angleterre and all its bravery and chivalry, even to the risk of
dislocation of the perilously short neck of the speaker.

It was therefore my turn to behave, and I whispered to the waiter to
fill three more glasses with his excellent _Fine de la maison_ (not the
least remarkable in Paris) and place them on the next table, with our
compliments. This he did, and the explosion of courtesy and
felicitations that followed was terrific. It flung us all to our feet,
bowing and smiling. We clinked glasses, each of us clinking six others;
we said "_Vive la France!_" and "_Vive l'Angleterre_." We tried to
assume expressions consonant with the finest types of our respective
nations. I felt everything that was noblest in the English character
rushing to my cheeks; everything that was most gallant and spirited in
the French temperament suffused the face of my friend until I saw
nothing for him but instant apoplexy. Meanwhile he grasped my hand in
his, which was very puffy and warm, and again thanked me for all that
_ces braves Anglais_ had done to save Paris and _la belle France_.

Down we all sat again, and I whispered to our party that perhaps this
was enough and we had better creep away. But there was more in store.
Before the bill could be made out--never a very swift matter at this
house--I caught sight of a portent and knew the worst. I saw a waiter
entering the room with a tray on which was a bottle of champagne and
seven glasses. My heart sank, for if there is one thing I cannot do, it
is to drink the sweet champagne so dear to the bourgeois palate. And
after the old _fine_, not before it! To the French mind these
irregularities are nothing; but to me, to us....

There however it was, and, in a moment, the genial enthusiast was again
on his feet. Would we not join them, he asked, in drinking to the good
health and success of the Allies in a glass of champagne? Of course we
would. We were all on our feet again, all clinking glasses again, all
crying "_Vive la France!_" "_Vive l'Angleterre!_" to which we added, "_À
bas les Allemands!_" all shaking hands and looking our best, exactly as
before. But this time there was no following national segregation, but
we sat down in three animated groups and talked as though a ban against
social intercourse in operation for years had suddenly been lifted. The
room buzzed. We were introduced one by one to Madame, who not only was
my friend's wife, but, he told us proudly, helped in his business,
whatever that might be; and Madame, on closer inspection, turned out to
be one of the capable but somewhat hard French women of her class, with
a suggestion somewhere about the mouth that she had doubts as to whether
the champagne had been quite a necessary expense--whether things had not
gone well enough without it, and my contribution of _fine_ the fitting
conclusion. Still she made a brave show at cordiality. Then we were
introduced to the other gentleman, who was Madame's cousin and had a son
at the Front, and, on hearing this, we shook hands with him again, and
so gradually we disentangled and at last got into our coats and made our

When I had shaken his feather-bed hand for the last time my new friend
gave me his card. It lies before me now as I write and I do not mean to
part with it:--

           9A PLACE GAMBETTA.

    _Pompes Funèbres._

Well, if ever I come to die in Paris I know who shall bury me. I would
not let any one else do it for the world. Warm hearts are not so common
as all that!

       *       *       *       *       *

Illustration: FAITH.

       *       *       *       *       *


It has been discovered by a Berlin research student that "Germany" is a
mere corruption of "Cyrmania," and that the KAISER is descended from
CYRUS, King of Persia.

We are inclined to agree as to the "mania" part, and we think the
"corruption" must be that of the modern representatives of the ancient
Orientals, whose education consisted in riding, shooting--and telling
the truth.

The _Almanach de Bouverie Street_, however, informs us that the
ever-frowning WAR LORD derives from the monarch of the rocky brow, who
counted his men by nations at break of day, and when the sun set where
were they? If the Hohenxerxes family are still on the look-out for
places in the sun, they will find their ancestral homes for the most
part unoccupied in the sufficiently arid regions around Ecbatana and
Persepolis, now crying aloud for Kultur and Kraut.

We are still waiting to hear that VON HAFIZ and OMAR ZU KHAYYAM, as well
as SHAKSPEARE, have been proved to be Germans, and that the Herr WOLFF
of the Berlin Lie Bureau traces back to the foster-mother of
ROMULUS--and Romance.

       *       *       *       *       *


_Mr. Punch_ begs to remind the 1,793 correspondents who have lately sent
him delightful plays upon the word "wet" [DE WET the man and "de wet"
the rain (ha-ha)] that the same idea had already occurred to 15,825
correspondents during the Boer War. Time is a great healer, but twelve
years is not long enough.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. C. G. GREY writes in _The Daily Express_ on the Freidrichshafen

    "The raid itself was one of those simple affairs which might have
    been done by any aviator possessing skill and pluck, only
    fortunately for these three officers nobody else did it."

And the disparaging comment was one of those simple affairs which might
have been done by any journalist possessing ---- and ----, only
fortunately nobody else did it.

       *       *       *       *       *


  Waking at six, I lie and wait
  Until the papers come at eight.
  I skim them with an anxious eye
  Ere duly to my bath I hie,
  Postponing till I'm fully dressed
  My study of the daily pest.
  Then, seated at my frugal board,
  My rasher served, my tea outpoured,
  I disentangle news official
  From reams of comment unjudicial,
  Until at half-past nine I rise
  Bemused by all this "wild surmise,"
  And for my daily treadmill bound
  Fare eastward on the underground.
  But, whether in the train or when
  I reach my dim official den,
  Placards designed to thrill and scare
  Affront my vision everywhere,
  And double windows can't keep out
  The newsboy's penetrating shout.
  For when the morning papers fail
  The evening press takes up the tale,
  And, fired by furious competition,
  Edition following on edition,
  The headline demons strain and strive
  Without a check from ten till five,
  Extracting from stale news some phrase
  To shock, to startle or amaze,
  Or found a daring innuendo--
  All swelling in one long crescendo,
  Till, shortly after five o'clock,
  When business people homeward flock,
  From all superfluous verbiage freed
  Comes JOFFRE'S calm laconic screed,
  And all the bellowings of the town
  Quelled by the voice of Truth die down,
  Enabling you and me to win
  Twelve hours' release from Rumour's din.

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *


A few days ago, when sitting in Committee on ways and means in the
matter of Christmas presents, Joan and I made out that the extra taxes
which we should be called upon to disgorge this year would amount to £3
16_s._ 1_d._

"That's curious!" Joan remarked, comparing our calculation with some
figures on another slip of paper before her. "Isn't three pounds sixteen
and a penny half of seven pounds twelve and twopence?"

"It is," I admitted. "But why?"

"Because last year," said Joan, "our Christmas presents cost us exactly
seven pounds twelve and twopence. In other words it means that we can
only afford--owing to the extra taxes--to spend half that sum on
presents this year."

I nodded.

"Well," continued Joan, "I have a splendid idea. Our folk, I know, won't
expect proper presents this year. How would it be if we----"

"I know what you mean," I chimed in. "Give them half-presents! Half a
lace scarf to your mother, one fur glove only to your father,
afternoon-tea saucers to Aunt Emma, a Keats Calendar for 182-1/2 days to
Uncle Peter, kilt-lengths instead of dress-lengths to Cook and Phoebe,
and so on, all with promissory notes for the balance attached."

"I don't mean anything of the sort," said Joan. "We shall give no
half-presents. We shall give one whole present where it will be needed
far more than by our relations. It will have a face-value of three
pounds sixteen and a penny, but virtually it will represent a sum of
seven pounds twelve and twopence."

I coughed a sceptic's cough.

"You don't believe me," said Joan. "Now, will you be content to give me,
here and now, a cheque for three pounds sixteen and a penny, and credit
your conscience with double that sum? Will you be willing to leave its
disposal to me if I guarantee that that shall be the full extent of your

"Absolutely!" I replied with enthusiasm. "Can't you arrange to settle
the rates, the electric-light bill and the coal bill on the same terms?"

"No," said Joan gravely, "my principle only applies to presents. Here's
your cheque-book and here's my fountain-pen."

"What is your principle?" I asked as I meekly complied with her demand.

"What did Mr. ASQUITH say in 1912?" was all the answer Joan vouchsafed,
so I decided to follow that eminent statesman's advice and wait and see.

       * * *

When I came down to breakfast two days later Joan passed me _The Times_.
"Read that," she said, indicating a paragraph in the "Personal" column
marked in pencil.

"The Chancellor of the Exchequer," I read out, "acknowledges the
receipt of two pounds and three shillings conscience-money from----"

"Oh! I've marked the wrong paragraph," exclaimed Joan. "It's the one
underneath." Then I saw--

"The Hon. Treasurer of the QUEEN'S 'Work for Women' Fund, 33, Portland
Place, W., gratefully acknowledges the receipt of Treasury notes and
postal orders to the value of £3 16_s._ 1_d._ forwarded by an anonymous

When I looked up Joan was smiling significantly.

"Very nice," I commented, "but I see they've only acknowledged the
original amount I gave you. I thought you were going to double it."

"And so I have," said Joan. "He (or she) gives twice who gives quickly."

       *       *       *       *       *


    [_Being privileged extracts from two of next season's War

From _Pot-bank and Potsdam_:--

Edwin Clayhanger strolled dully down the Square. A squat dirty boy
shrieked: "Sentinel. Result of Bursley Match. War News--Official." Edwin
snatched a pink paper and under an anti-Zeppelin gas-lamp read that
Knipe had defeated Bursley Rovers by four goals to none. He crumpled the
paper in his hand and threw it disgustedly into the gutter, outside
Bates the cheesemonger's. Sam Bates emerged, picked up the paper and
confided to his assistant that "Young Edwin's brain is going, like old
Mr. Clayhanger's."

Chill mists enveloped the pot-banks. The glare of the Hanbridge furnaces
was subdued to a faint glimmer. The shout of a laughing crowd outside
the Blood Tub drew Edwin closer. He perceived in the midst of the throng
an elephant covered with Union Jacks. On its back stood Denry Machin,
the famous Card of the Five Towns, thrice Mayor of Bursley.

"Boys," cried the Card, "you can see the circus elephant free. You can
listen to me free. Hanbridge is going to raise a Pot-bank Company for
Kitchener's Army. They want us to raise one to match it. We're going one
better. Bursley will raise a Pot-bank Regiment. I just want a thousand
men to be going along with. Don't all speak at once."

The crowd shrieked with laughter at Bursley's only humorist.

Edwin Clayhanger thought deeply. For three years he had been waiting to
marry Hilda Lessways. Now the thought of 528 pages of married life with
her overwhelmed him. Up went his hand.

"We're doing fine," cried the Card. "Nine hundred and ninety-nine more
and off we march to Potsdam in the morning."

       * * *

From _The Military Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes_:--

I shrank down into a corner of the reserve trench. The fifteen inches of
half-frozen mud caused my old wound from an Afghan bullet to ache
viciously. I longed for some wounded to arrive--anything to end this
chilly inactivity. A tall officer in staff uniform jumped into the
trench beside me.

"You are wishing yourself back in Baker Street," he remarked.

"How did you know?" I exclaimed. "Why, Holmes, what are _you_ doing

"Business, my dear Watson, business. Moriarty is becoming troublesome

"But he was drowned."

"Far too clever to be drowned in that pool. Merely stranded on the edge
like myself. But I had made England too hot for him. You can guess his

"Not the K----!"

"Watson, Watson, Moriarty was my mental equal. Now he calls himself von

I was overwhelmed.

Just then a little group of the staff arrived. I recognised amongst them
the figures of General J---- and Field-Marshal F----, and saluted.

"The spy in staff uniform is the third on your left, Sir," said Holmes

The Field-Marshal beckoned a firing party.

As the shots rang out I whispered, "How did you know he wasn't English?"

"Watson, Watson, did you not see that he had no handkerchief in his

       * * *

"It is all-important, Captain Holmes," said the British Commander, "that
we should ascertain what army is opposing our right wing. Our airmen are
useless in this fog. I detail you for this duty."

Holmes saluted. "Come, Watson," he said, and led me through the fog
towards the enemy's lines. We had not walked a mile when we reached a
fine chateau.

"You are cold, Watson," said Holmes. "Light a fire in the front room
whilst I scout for Uhlans."

In a moment he returned to me after having looked round the house. It
was, I think, the first time the Chateau had known the scent of shag
tobacco. A glow of heat rushed through me. I felt another man.

"Better than the trenches," said Holmes, penetrating to my inmost
thought. We sat for an hour and then I said, "Holmes, your mission."

"Ah, I forgot. Come on."

He led me into the thickening fog, and in a few minutes I was surprised
to find myself in the British lines. The General emerged as we
approached. Holmes saluted. "The CROWN PRINCE'S army is on the enemy's
left, Sir. It is now in rapid retreat."

The General shook him warmly by the hand.

"But, Holmes," I said, as we went away, "we have done nothing. The lives
of thousands of our men may depend on this."

"My dear Watson," said Holmes, tapping the dottel of his pipe into his
hand. "I used my eyes. In the house we visited the silver had almost all
vanished. Inference--CROWN PRINCE. But two solid silver spoons had been
left on the table. Inference--CROWN PRINCE in a hurry. Really, I am
ashamed to explain a deduction which an intelligent child could have

       *       *       *       *       *


Karl has emerged from the obscurity in which for years he has been
wrapped and has become a topic of conversation, a link with the past, a
popular alien enemy and a common nuisance.

Once upon a time, when we were first told about Karl, those of us who
didn't say that it was an extraordinary coincidence observed that the
world is a small place after all; but now, when the narrator reaches
that part of the story where he tells us that we "can imagine his
surprise when"--I usually interrupt him to say that he must forgive me,
but really I can_not_.

Karl was a German waiter at all the restaurants where my friends and my
friends' friends were in the habit of dining. In time of peace not one
of our mutual friends ever mentioned Karl to me, nobody ever wrote
excitedly to tell me that they had seen him getting into a bus in the
Strand; but now----

My sister-in-law's brother has the distinction of being the first among
us to meet Karl since the outbreak of war. He was at Waterloo Station
one morning when some German prisoners were being brought through
from----, and as he passed them someone, speaking with a familiar voice
and a strong German accent, addressed him by name. You can imagine his
surprise when----

Karl, my sister-in-law said her brother told her, had spoken of being
pleased to be among us once more, but this was apparently only another
German lie, for when next I heard of him he was back in the trenches
again. A friend of my brother's fiancée, who was superintending the
removal of some German wounded to Paris, was surprised to find himself
addressed by name by a young German whose face seemed vaguely familiar.
You can imagine his astonishment when, etc. Karl, my brother said the
friend of his fiancée told her, was only too glad to have fallen into
English hands.

It was in a hospital ship in the North Sea that my cousin met him. The
situation remained unchanged. He addressed my cousin by name and said he
was longing to be back in England again.

Two days afterwards I heard that a friend of mine had seen him in
Holland, where the unlucky fellow was interned, having deserted with the
intention of returning to us.

I made it my business to let my friends know--those friends of mine who
had not already heard from someone who had met him--that he was securely
interned in Holland, and we should know no more of him until the war was
over, and after that I had for some time the pleasure of forgetting his
existence. Unfortunately, however, I had overlooked Stephen.

Stephen and I were talking of the war (and incidentally having dinner
together) when he told me that a man he knew had told him of a strange
coincidence of which his nephew had told him. A friend of his who was at
the Front had been in the habit of dining at a certain restaurant where
a German waiter----

"Karl," I said.

"You've heard about it?" he asked.

"Only yesterday," I said, "I met a friend who knew someone who was
present at the inquest."

"The inquest!"

"Yes," I said. "He shot himself through the heart with one of the seven
hundred and twenty-five rifles which were found in her dress-basket."

I didn't allow him to interrupt me.

"He had only recently become engaged to her, I believe. She had been a
trusted nurse and governess in many English families for many years,
etc., etc. Some day I will tell you all about her. It's a long, long
story and rather depressing. But about Karl. His mind had undoubtedly
become unhinged and, after escaping from Holland, he found his way to
the house where she was employed, learnt that she had been arrested (you
see, the red stitches on her handkerchief, which everyone had supposed
were laundry marks, turned out to be plans of Hampton Court Maze and the
most direct route to Swan and Selfinsons), and, seizing the rifle, he
rushed from the house (it was the night the Russians passed through
Aberdeen and Upper Norwood) and----"

Stephen apologised to me.

"Karl shall be no more," he said. "Karl the ubiquitous is dead."

"Evening papers please copy," I added.

       *       *       *       *       *

Illustration: CARRYING ON.


_Tom (retired Huntsman)._ "YES, SIR; ONLY SECOND WHIP NOW. DIDN'T THINK


       *       *       *       *       *


I do not say that the expedition I propose to describe was accompanied
by any very great risk. The streets, of course, were dark and the taxis
and motor-buses were quite up to the usual average in number and well
above it in speed. Still, when your mind is full of stories of shrapnel
and Black Marias, you feel able to affront motor vehicles, even in
darkened streets, with a feeling of comparative security. It is not so
much danger as mystery that makes this story remarkable.

There were two of us, and we found ourselves taking tea in the N.W.
district, that is to say in one of those parts (there are millions of
them) which lie about the Abbey Road. One of us had knitted belts for
soldiers; another knew a hero who had received the D.S.O., and all of us
had been brought into close connection with Belgian refugees whose
cheerful courage under terrible suffering formed the burden of our talk.
Not to know a Belgian in these days is a mark of social outlawry, and
you cannot know them without admiring them. The fire was warm, the room
was comfortable, and the minutes ticked themselves away in the usual
place on the mantelpiece.

"How long," said one of us, "will it take us to walk from here to

"To walk?" said our hostess in a tone of mild surprise.

"Yes," I said, "to walk. We are the ones for adventure. We are country
folk, and we don't get a chance of a walk in St. John's Wood every day."

"I don't want to hurry you," said our hostess, "but if you _really_ want
to walk you must start at once."

We did. We went out, turned to the right, and plunged head-first towards
the brooding darkness of Maida Vale.

"Are you sure," said my companion, "that you know the way?"

"No," I said, "I am not sure. Is one sure of anything in this life? But
Paddington is a big place. We can't miss it. Think of its immense glass
roof and take courage. We are bound to get there sooner or later."

"Yes," she said, "but we want to get there for the 5.50."

"True," I said. "We must limit our wanderings. I will ask this
gentleman. He is standing at a corner. He has leisure and must know the
way to Paddington."

I approached the gentleman and addressed him. "Sir," I said, "can you
tell me the best way to get to Paddington?"

He looked at me suspiciously. "The station?" he said.

"Yes," I said, "Paddington station."

"Are you going to _walk_?"

I said we were.

"Ah," he said, "that makes a difference. If you wanted a bus now I might
help you; but I'm lame, you see--only got one real leg. Run over by a
van a matter of ten years ago, and I don't do much hard walking myself.
Still you can't go far wrong if you take the first on the left."

We tore ourselves away, took the first on the left and walked on, ever
on, through a wilderness of silent and unfamiliar houses. At last we
came upon a baker's cart. "Ask him," said my fellow-traveller, pointing
to the baker's man. I asked him.

"Are we right," I said, "for Paddington?"

"Oh yes," he said, "you're right enough. You'll get there in time, but
you'll have to walk round the world first. My advice is to go in the
opposite direction and take the second on the right, close to the dairy;
you can't miss it."

Again we fled into the blackness. Paddington had shrunk to the size of a
needle and we were in a huge bottle of hay, an oriental bottle full of
weird surprises in the shape of sultans, genie, princesses, mosques,
one-eyed porters, but never a hint of a railway station. How, indeed,
could there be a railway station in Bagdad five hundred years ago?

"Ask again," said the other one.

I addressed a gentleman who was hurrying over a bridge. "Can you," I
said, "direct me to Paddington station?"

He murmured something unintelligible and pointed to his ears.

I repeated my question loudly and again he murmured. At last I made out
his words: "Stone deaf, stone deaf."

"Great heavens," I said, "all the infirmities of the world are come out
against us. The man with one leg--the stone-deaf man. What next, what

The second wayfarer seized my arm. "Look," she said, pointing to the
sky. There, before our eyes, merging into the foggy infinity of the
heavens, was the glass roof of our dreams. We ran like hares. We
collided with everybody. Both of us had our feet trodden on by soldiers.
We shouted at porters and they shouted back at us, and at last we flung
ourselves into a train.

"You don't often come by this train," said a friendly fellow-passenger.

"No," I said, "I generally come by the 6.50."

"This _is_ the 6.50," he said.

       *       *       *       *       *


(_Sympathetically addressed to the Hamburg Colonial Institute, which
"has undertaken the task of showing that Germany has conducted her
operations in the spirit of the most enlightened humanity."_)

  In this war of the civilised nations
    That extends from the East to the West,
  Have arisen full many occasions
    For a man to put forth of his best;
  When the battle was raging its roughest,
    Men have spared themselves never a jot,
  But, gentlemen, yours is the toughest
        Affair of the lot.

  Your countrymen's road through the trenches
    Has not proved too easy a course,
  For they seem to be hindered by FRENCH'S
    No longer contemptible force,
  But their work with the gun and the sabre,
    Their frenzied attempts to break through,
  Are child's play compared with the labour
        Allotted to you.

  One fears that your gallant intentions
    Will meet with a general scorn,
  For I doubt if all history mentions
    A hope so extremely forlorn;
  But, should you succeed in acquitting
    The Huns and their bellicose boss,
  All the world will unite in admitting
        You merit your Cross.

       *       *       *       *       *

War Stringency.

From the catalogue of a G. W. R. salvage sale:--

    "696. 2 bags tares and 1 grass seed."

We have bought the grass seed and are planting it in our garden. If
anybody hears of another for sale we shall be glad to know.

       *       *       *       *       *


    _Daily Paper._

We always keep a cork tip on ours in case of accidents.

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *


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

One aspect of the present problem (as this sounds a little too like a
leading article, I should explain that I mean the Christmas present
problem) has this year been very satisfactorily settled. Everybody buys
some books at this time; and when you know that for two shillings and
sixpence you can now purchase the best and most characteristic work of
two-score famous writers and artists, and, moreover, that the said
half-crown will go to one of the most sensible and practical of all the
Funds, naturally _Princess Mary's Gift Book_ (HODDER AND STOUGHTON) is
going to figure large in this year's list of things-not-to-forget.
Honestly and without hyperbole, I question if a better collection has
ever been brought together. From the first page (on which you will find
a charming portrait by Mr. J. J. SHANNON of the gracious young lady to
whose timely inspiration the volume is due) to the last, everyone seems
to have given his or her best. Not only this, but the precise kind of
best that we most like to have from them. To take a few examples at
random, here is a song of _Big Steamers_ by Mr. RUDYARD KIPLING, with
the jolliest ship-pictures by Mr. NORMAN WILKINSON; a Zulu tale by Sir
RIDER HAGGARD; a _Pimpernel_ story by the Baroness ORCZY; and a comic
upside-down dream of a little London child by Mr. PETT RIDGE. This last
has drawings by Mr. LEWIS BAUMER that are fully worthy of it; indeed it
cannot but be a proud sensation for the peculiarly gallant heart of Mr.
_Punch_ to find that he is represented by so many of his knights of the
pencil in this worthy cause. It is satisfactory to learn that the
originals of the drawings in the book will shortly be on sale at the
Leicester Galleries in aid of the QUEEN'S Work for Women Fund. Upon the
assured success of a delightful book the reviewer begs to offer to its
only begetter his most respectful congratulations.

       *       *       *       *       *

The _Life of Benjamin Disraeli, Earl of Beaconsfield_, published by
MURRAY, is the third volume of the work, the two earlier ones having
been edited by the late Mr. MONEYPENNY. Mr. GEORGE BUCKLE now "takes up
the wondrous tale," and maintains at a high level its historic interest
and literary charm. He finds DISRAELI, after the fantastic flights of
early manhood, in an assured position. He was within measurable distance
of assuming the Leadership of a Party which, long dallying with the
harsh appellation Protectionist, now decided to be known as
Conservative, a compromise hotly resented by good Tories. A flash of the
old vanity flickers over a letter written from the Carlton Club to his
wife: "The Ministry have resigned. All _Coningsby_ and Young England the
general exclamation here." Alone he did it, partly by writing a novel,
incidentally by forming a Party of which Lord JOHN MANNERS was a
representative member. On the opening of the Session, January 19th,
1847, DISRAELI took his seat on the Front Opposition Bench in
embarrassing contiguity to PEEL, acutely suffering, it may be supposed,
from the combined influence of _Coningsby_ and Young England. One of
those Parliamentary descriptive writers held in light esteem in their
day, but to whom historians turn for light and colour, notes a
significant change in DISRAELI's attire. "The motley coloured garments
he wore at the close of the previous Session were exchanged for a suit
of black unapproachably perfect." Also "he appeared to have doffed the
vanity of the coxcomb with the plumage of the peacock." Evidently he
felt that his carefully-designed sartorial extravagances had played
their appointed part in attracting notice. In manner of speech as in
fashion of clothing he assumed ways more compatible with the position of
a responsible statesman.

At last, after long struggle, he stood on safe ground. But the fight was
not over yet. The personal antipathy and distrust with which he was
regarded in Tory circles were unabated. He had proved an invaluable
auxiliary in the battle against Free Trade; but having defeated PEEL the
Protectionists did not want any more of DISRAELI. His old friend, Sir
GEORGE BENTINCK, whose patronage had been invaluable as investing him
with an air of respectability, stood by him to the last. Resigning the
post of Leader of the Protectionists, he nominated DISRAELI as his
successor. The Tory rank and file would have none of him. Lord STANLEY,
acknowledged leader of the Party in the House of Lords and the country,
hesitated and chaffered, in the end reluctantly giving in. Something of
the same thing happened when, six years later, STANLEY, now succeeded to
the earldom of Derby, formed an Administration and proposed to make
DIZZY Chancellor of the Exchequer and Leader of the House of Commons.
Among the most strenuous objectors to the proposal was QUEEN VICTORIA.
But DISRAELI was invincible because he was indispensable. How
courageously and with what matchless skill he fought against
overwhelming odds, and won the day, is a fascinating story that in the
skilled hands of Mr. BUCKLE loses no point of interest.

       *       *       *       *       *

Captain HARRY GRAHAM is one of the authors whose work I never argue
about. If, as has happened occasionally, I meet those who do not find
him amusing, I conceal my own personal opinion that, with the possible
exception of Mr. STEPHEN LEACOCK, he is the most rollickingly funny
person at present writing the King's English; but now, being in a
position to air my private views without fear of contradiction, I make
the statement boldly, and put, in as Exhibit A of my evidence, _The
Complete Sportsman_ (ARNOLD). Like other earlier volumes from the same
source it is compiled from the occasional papers of _Reginald Drake
Biffin_, and the sportsman who tries to get on without it is positively
courting disaster. The first thing he knows, he will be talking to
well-informed people about a flock of sparrows or a covey of weasels,
and their quiet smiles will show him that he has been guilty of a
ludicrous blunder. If he had read his _Biffin_ he would have known that
the correct terms are a "susurration of sparrows" and a "pop of
weasels." These are small matters, perhaps, but your sportsman cannot be
too accurate. _Mr. Biffin_ treats of practically every branch of sport,
from elephant-snaring to Sunday bridge, in the easy chatty style which
made _The Perfect Gentleman_ the inseparable companion of all who desire
to comport themselves correctly in Society. Nor is the usual complement
of anecdotes lacking. The practical value of these cannot be
over-estimated. A careful perusal of the tragic story of the late _Lord
Bloxham_, to take but one instance, will certainly save the lives of
many deep-sea fishermen who have fallen into the foolish habit of
angling for sharks with a line fastened to one of their waistcoat
buttons to save the trouble of holding it.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. WILLIAM CAINE has a very nice and persistent sense of humour, and
his last book, _But She Meant Well_ (LANE), shows him in his most
natural and therefore best vein. His lady of the good intentions was one
_Hannah Neighbour_, an incorrigible infant whose eminently virtuous
resolves produced the most vicious results without the adventitious aid
of any extraordinary circumstances. There is generally about people who
mean well something pathetic and something else which is worse, and
these characteristics are apt to become so exaggerated in fiction as to
be almost offensive. Mr. CAINE'S young person is not of that sort; she
is no prig, and her fault is not weakness but irrepressible activity. To
whatever extent she annoyed me, I was always possessed with the morbid
desire to see some even worse result attending her efforts; and all the
while I had to give her credit for infecting the other characters of the
story with a remarkable vitality. I congratulate the author upon his
presentation of the problem, how can you deal with such a misguided
child so that you may at the same time check dangerous proclivities and
yet do justice to her excellent motives? Still more was I pleased with
his frank, if abominable, admission that in order properly to inculcate
discipline it is necessary for the most part to ignore motives and let
justice be blowed.

       *       *       *       *       *

The reappearance of _Dorothea_ as a volume in the new collected edition
(CONSTABLE) of the works of Mr. MAARTEN MAARTENS has at this moment a
strange aptness. For you may remember that _Dorothea_, herself of
Dutch-English extraction, married into a Prussian family. Nay, more,
into the family of a Prussian general. A very obvious interest attaches
to the impression made by these people upon the mind of the author. Of
the old General we find him writing that "his lofty soul had accepted
the theory of the unity on earth of the good, the true and the
beautiful." Who, I ask you, would have supposed it? But throughout the
book these _Von Rodens_ stand as the perfect family, gently chivalrous,
cultured and altogether charming. Then one remembers in explanation that
_Dorothea_ was written some time ago, and that this was the
old-fashioned _Kultur_. There you have the German tragedy in a nutshell.
Of _Dorothea_ herself I will say little. Probably you already know her,
and may agree with me in considering her an unattractive prig, whose
place in the list of Mr. MAARTENS' heroines is decidedly at the wrong
end. But those amazing pathetic Prussians! and the conflicting emotions
they stir in your heart as you read!

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *

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