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Title: Punch or the London Charivari, Vol. 147, November 11, 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, November 11, 1914" ***

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  VOL. 147.

  NOVEMBER 11, 1914.


"In Buenos Aires and other parts of Argentina," _The Express_ tells us,
"people are tired of the war, and a brisk trade is being done in the
sale of buttons to be worn by the purchaser, inscribed with the words
'_No me habla de la guerra_' ('Don't talk to me about the war')." The
KAISER, we understand, has now sent for one of these buttons.

       * * *

The Crown Prince RUPPRECHT of Bavaria, in an order to his troops last
week, referred to the British in the following words:--"Here is the
enemy which chiefly blocks the way in the direction of restoration of
peace." Conceive a "contemptible little army" being able to do that! It
makes one wonder whether the first epithet was perhaps a misprint for

       * * *

The Germans are now calling the Allies a Menagerie, though curiously
enough it is the others who have a Turkey waddling after them.

       * * *

According to a report which reaches us the crews of the _Goeben_
and _Breslau_ are wearing a most curious garb, being clothed in Turkish
fezes and breaches of neutrality.

       * * *


    _Irish Independent._

This is really a most unfortunate misprint, for it is just this kind of
carping statement that leads the Germans to say we are falling out with
our Allies.

       * * *

There is much speculation as to whether there is German blackmail behind
the announcement that the maximum period of quarantine for imported dogs
has been reduced from six months to four.

       * * *

The only animals left alive in the Antwerp Zoo are reported to be the
elephants, which are now being used for military traction purposes.
Later on it is proposed by the Germans to drive them into the lines of
the Indian troops with a view to making the latter home-sick.

       * * *

Mr. ALGERNON ASHTON asks in _The Evening News_, "Why is the Poet
Laureate so strangely silent?" Everyone else will remember Mr. BRIDGES'
patriotic lines at the beginning of the War, and we begin to suspect
that Mr. ASHTON'S well-known repugnance to writing for the papers has
been extended to the reading of them.

       * * *

_The Daily Mirror_, to signalise its eleventh birthday, produced a
"Monster Number," yet it contained no portrait of the KAISER.

       * * *

Happening to meet a music-hall acquaintance we asked him how he thought
the war was going, and he replied, "Oh, I think the managers will have
to give in."

       * * *

America is evidently attempting to attract some of the devotees of
winter sports who usually go to Switzerland. Another landslide on the
Panama Canal is now announced.

       * * *

We are sorry to have to bring a charge of lack of gallantry against _The
Leicester Mail_. We refer to the following passage in its description of
an ovation given to Driver OSBORNE, V.C., at Derby on the 31st ult.
After describing how, in the course of a great reception given to him by
a large crowd at the station, two or three buxom matrons insisted upon
embracing him, our contemporary continues: "Driver Osborne has now
practically recovered, and reports himself for duty again at the end of
this week."

       * * *

The municipality of Berlin has decided to substitute for the existing
designations of some of the principal streets in that city the names of
"German generals who have become famous during the present war." This,
however, will not involve many alterations.

       * * *

Orders have been issued by the Federal Council of the German Empire that
no bread other than that containing from 5 to 20 per cent. of potato
flour will be allowed to be baked. Such bread is to be sold under the
name of "K" bread. At first this was taken to be a graceful tribute to
Lord KITCHENER, but it is now officially stated that "K" stands for the
German for potatoes.

       * * *

The _Kölnische Zeitung_ complains that English prisoners in Germany "are
allowed to lead the lives of Olympian Gods." Our choleric contemporary
is evidently unaware that we are allowing German prisoners to reside in
Olympia, which is the next best thing to Olympus.

       * * *

The British steamer _Remuera_ reported on reaching Plymouth last week
that a German cruiser had attempted to trap her by means of a false
S.O.S. signal. We ought not, we suppose, to be surprised at a low trick
like this from the s.o.s.sidges.

       * * *

There is one quality that no one can with justice deny to the Germans,
and that is thoroughness. The other day, having laid a mine, they seem
to have used one of their own cruisers to test its destructive power.

       * * *

"It is noticeable," says _The Daily Mail_, "that the Kaiser's speeches
no longer include references to God, only Frederick the Great." This
confirms the rumours of a quarrel.

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *


    "In the south of Ypres we have lost some points, D'Appui, Hollebeke,
    and Landvoorde."

    _Worcester Daily Times._

If your map doesn't give D'Appui, buy a more expensive one.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Capstan Hands.--First-class Men, used to chucking work, for motor
    vehicle parts."

    _Advt. in "The Manchester Guardian."_

They ought to be easy enough to get.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Guardsmen again provided a dramatic element in the trial by
    guarding the prisoner and the door which fixed bayonets."

    _Evening News._

You should see our arm-chair give the salute.

       *       *       *       *       *


  Now of your free choice, while the chance is yours
    To share their glory who have gladly died
  Shielding the honour of our island shores
    And that fair heritage of starry pride,--
  Now, ere another evening's shadow falls,
          Come, for the trumpet calls.

  What if to-morrow through the land there runs
    This message for an everlasting stain?--
  "England expected each of all her sons
    To do his duty--but she looked in vain;
  Now she demands, by order sharp and swift,
          What should have been a gift."

  For so it must be, if her manhood fail
    To stand by England in her deadly need;
  If still her wounds are but an idle tale
    The word must issue which shall make you heed;
  And they who left her passionate pleas unheard
          Will _have_ to hear that word.

  And, losing your free choice, you also lose
    Your right to rank, on Memory's shining scrolls,
  With those, your comrades, who made haste to choose
    The willing service asked of loyal souls;
  From all who gave such tribute of the heart
          Your name will stand apart.

  I think you cannot know what meed of shame
    Shall be their certain portion who pursue
  Pleasure "as usual" while their country's claim
    Is answered only by the gallant few.
  Come, then, betimes, and on her altar lay
          Your sacrifice to-day!

  O. S.

       *       *       *       *       *


No. VII.



Sire,--You will pardon me, I know, if for a moment I break in upon the
serious occupations and meditations in which your time must be spent. I
like to picture you to myself in the midst of your Staff, working out
for them and your armies great problems of strategy and devising those
movements which, so far, have overwhelmed not your foes so much as the
minds of your fellow-countrymen. You too, Sire, sanguine and impetuous
as is your nature, are no doubt beginning to realise that a great
nation--let us say France, for example--is not to be overcome by mere
shouting and the waving of sabres, or by the making of impassioned
speeches in which God, having been acclaimed as an ally, is encouraged
to perform miracles for the benefit of the Prussian arms. I do not deny
that your soldiers are brave and that your armies are well equipped; but
our Frenchmen too have guns and bayonets and swords and shells and know
how to make use of them, and their portion of courage is no smaller than
that of the Prussians, or even of the Bavarians whom you have lately
been vaunting. Moreover--and this you had perhaps over-looked--they have
something which is deadlier and more enduring than shot and shell and
steel--the unconquerable spirit which leaps up in the hearts of men who
are gathered to defend their country from invasion and their national
existence from destruction.

Oh, Sire, how little you have understood France and her people; how
little you have understood the minds and motives of men! "France," your
Professors and your Generals told you, "is degenerate; her population is
smaller than ours; she has lost her skill in fighting and her courage;
she has no culture, never having heard of TREITSCHKE and having
neglected the inspired writings of NIETZSCHE; she will be an easy prey,
for no one will lift a hand to help her. England is lapped in ease
behind her ocean and will never fight again; Russia is distant and slow,
and we can despise her; Belgium will never dare to deny us anything we
care to ask. Let us make haste, then, and crush France to the earth for
ever." So you planned, and your legions set out to trample us down, with
the result that is now before the eyes of the world.

Only a few words more. There is at Sampigny, in Lorraine, a modest
country-house, which was, in fact, my home. Your troops passed through
the place, and for no military reason that I can discover they reduced
this house to ruins. I know that that is a small price to pay for the
honour of being allowed to represent the French nation in this hour of
peril and glory, and I pay it willingly. When so many are laying down
their lives with joy why should I complain because a few walls have been
shattered? But I am reminded and I wish to remind you of another story.
One hundred and eight years ago, in October, the Great NAPOLEON, having
scattered your predecessor's armies to the four winds of heaven,
proceeded to Potsdam, where he visited the tomb of the great FREDERICK.
They showed him the dead King's sword, his belt and his cordon of the
Black Eagle. These Napoleon took, with the intention of sending them to
Paris, to be presented to the _Invalides_, amongst whom there still
lingered a few who had been defeated by FREDERICK at Rosbach. Certainly
the relics took no shame from such a seizure and such a guardianship.
But the palace at Potsdam was not destroyed and stands to this day. I do
not wish to liken myself to FREDERICK, nor do I compare you with
NAPOLEON, but I tell you the story, which is true, for what it is worth.
I wonder if you will appreciate it?

Agree, Sire, the expression of my distinguished consideration.


       *       *       *       *       *


(For German looters.)

  [_In tempi barbari e più feroci
  S' appiccavan' i ladri in sulle croci;
  In tempi men barbari e più leggiadri
  S' appiccano le croci in petto ai ladri._--GIUST.]

  In former ferocious and barbarous times,
  The thief was hung up on the cross for his crimes,
  But Culture to savages offers relief--
  The cross is now hung on the breast of the thief.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Amended and more stringent regulations concerning the lights of
    London have been issued by Sir E. R. Henry, the Commissioner of
    Police. A number of them are in the same terms as those which were
    published in _The Globe_ nearly a month ago, but others make
    important changes. For example, the third order, as originally
    drafted, ran: 'The intensity of the inside lighting of shop fronts
    must be reduced from 6 p.m. or earlier if the Commissioner of Police
    on any occasion so directs', but it is now as follows:--

The intensity of the inside lighting of shop fronts must be reduced
_from 6 p.m. or earlier if the Commissioner of Police on any occasion so

The italics ought to make it a lot darker.

       *       *       *       *       *

Gifts of money for the purchase of blankets are being made in Germany
not less than here, and we understand that a large sum has been sent out
to South Africa addressed: "De Wet Blanket Fund."

       *       *       *       *       *

Illustration: HIS MASTER'S VOICE.

THE KAISER (_to Turkey, reassuringly_). "LEAVE EVERYTHING TO ME. ALL


       *       *       *       *       *

Illustration: _Talkative Passenger._ "I SEE THAT THE YOUNG EARL OF

_Rabid Socialist_ (_indignantly_). "WELL, SO HE OUGHT."

       *       *       *       *       *


(_A mild apostrophe to the young man next door._)

  Augustus! ever prone at eve to gurgle a
    Melodious distych from the music-halls,
  Piping in summer from beneath a pergola,
    Piping to-day behind these party-walls,
  Three months ago and more, when Mars had thrust us
    In doubt and dread alarm and cannons' mist,
  I found one solace, for I mused, "Augustus
          Will probably enlist.

  "I know not what his dreams of glory may be,
    I know not if his heart is full of grit,
  But I do know that he disturbs the baby,
    And, judging by his lungs, he must be fit;
  His is the frame, or else I've never seen one,
    His are the fitting years to fight and roam,
  He has no ties (except that pink and green one)
          To tether him to home.

  "When he returns he'll possibly be sager;
    If not (for glory of his long campaign)
  We shall be thrilled to hear the sergeant-major
    Singing the good old songs he loved again;
  Bellona, too, has something of the witch in her;
    It may be he will learn more tact and grace
  When that mild tenor has been turned by KITCHENER
          Into a throaty bass."

  Thus jestingly I dreamed. And now, Caruso,
    You have not budged one inch upon the road;
  While half the lads have got their khaki trousseau,
    You still retain that voice and nut-like mode;
  Peace holds you with the tightness of a grapnel,
    And, still adhering to her ample hem,
  You enfilade us with your tuney shrapnel
          From 9 to 12 P.M.

  So here's my ultimatum. Though it loosens
    The kindly bonds that neighbours ought to keep,
  I'll take a summons out to curb the nuisance
    Unless you stop it. Can I laugh or weep
  For those who fling their challenge at the blighting gale,
    Who smile to hear the cannon's murderous croon,
  When you go on like a confounded nightingale
          Under a fat-faced moon?

  The streets are darkened now that once were ringing
    Through all the lamp-lit hours with festal fuss,
  And songs are changed, and so's the time for singing,
    But I'd be greatly pleased to hear you, Gus,
  Out in the road there, watched by Anns and Maries,
    Op'ning your throttle to the mid-day light;
  Fate gave it you to prove that Tipperary's
          A long way off. _Left--Right!_


       *       *       *       *       *

We commend _The Pioneer_ to the notice of our evening contemporaries.
Its "Extraordinary War Special"--price, one anna--consists of the

    "No Reuter received since 8.30 a.m."

A more enterprising paper, such as _The_ ---- or _The_ ----[_censored_]
would have provided some new headlines from yesterday's news.

       *       *       *       *       *



Tommy Brown has already been in disgrace, although it is only a
fortnight since he wrote the famous patriotic essay which determined Mr.
Smith, his Form-master, to go to the Front. You see, Miss Price, who is
deputising for Mr. Smith, does not like lizards, and has an especial
aversion to white rats, whereas Tommy is very fond of these and other
dumb animals.

So Tommy was reported to the Headmaster. At first the Headmaster thought
that the application of "somewhat severe measures, my boy," would meet
the case; but whoever heard of caning a curly-headed boy with blue eyes
and an ink-stain on both lips? The interview took place in the
Headmaster's study. To the question, "What do you mean, Sir, by bringing
lizards and white rats to school?" Tommy said, "Yes, Sir," and then,
after thinking for fully three seconds, he said he had a ferret at home,
and did the Headmaster know how to hold a ferret so that it couldn't
bite you?

It seems that ferrets, if they once get hold of your thumb, never let
go--_not never_--and that you have to force their jaws open with a
penholder; also ferrets exhibit a marked preference for thumbs. All this
information Tommy conveyed without drawing a breath. The Headmaster
said, "Quite so, my boy, quite so. But don't you know it is extremely
reprehensible conduct to bring animals to school in your pocket?" Well,
you see, that is how Tommy's mother talks to him, so he knew what to do,
and, looking up into the Headmaster's face with that wistful look of
his, he imparted the deep secret that he had a tortoise.

Tortoises, the Headmaster learnt, had a way of getting lost among the
cabbages, but, if you wanted to prevent them from straying, all you had
to do was to turn them over on their backs and put a piece of brown
paper over them for their feet to play with. Also they were stuck fast
in their shells, because Tommy had tried. A boy had told Tommy that
tortoises laid eggs, but although Tommy had showed his tortoise a hen's
egg and then put the tortoise in a nice new nest the tortoise had taken
no step in the matter.

However, Tommy promised never to bring any more animals to school and to
express his sorrow to Miss Price. And he was richer by sixpence when the
interview closed.

At parting, Tommy offered to lend the Headmaster his tortoise for a
week, and told him that, if he stood for a whole hour on its back, it
wouldn't hurt it, because Tommy had trained it; also it never crawled
out of your pocket.

Tommy apologised to Miss Price for bringing the white rats to
school--they weren't white rats really, not to look at; they were rather
piebald through constant association with ink. Also he brought an apple
and showed her how, by holding it a certain way whilst eating it, she
would miss the bad part. In further sign of amity he showed her his
knife, and especially that instrument in it which was used for removing
stones from horses' hoofs. Not that Tommy had removed many stones from
horses' hoofs, not very many, but if you had a tooth that was loose it
was very helpful. Miss Price gave him a new threepenny bit, and Tommy
tried hard to please her in arithmetic by reducing inches to pounds,
shillings and pence.

With nine-pence in his pocket Tommy felt uneasy. It was a question
between a lop-eared rabbit and a mouth-organ. A lop-eared rabbit, that
is to say a proper one, cost two shillings; for nine-pence it was
probable that you could only get a rabbit which would lop with one ear.

Besides, a lop-eared rabbit meant a hutch, and he had already used the
cover of his mother's sewing-machine for the piebald rats.

On the other hand, you could get a mouth-organ with a bell on it for
nine-pence; he knew.

It was a splendid instrument!

Tommy took it to bed with him and put it under his pillow, and when his
mother came to see that he was all right at night his hand was clutched
round it as he slept content.

The next day Tommy gave an organ recital in the playground before a
large and enthusiastic audience. For a marble he would let you blow it
while he held it. For two marbles you could hold it yourself.

One boy paid the two marbles, and noticed the words "Made in Germany" in
small letters on the under side. The silence that followed the
announcement of this discovery was broken only by the sound of Jones
minor biting an apple. All eyes were on Tommy Brown. For the fraction of
a second he hesitated, and in that fraction Brook tertius giggled.

Tommy seized the mouth-organ with a determination that was almost
ferocious; he threw it on the ground, stamped on it with his heel again
and again, and finally took and pitched it into a neighbouring garden.
He then fell upon Brook tertius and punched him until he howled.

Before Tommy Brown could go to sleep that night his mother had to sit by
his bed-side and hold his hand; he never released her hand until he was
fast asleep. How like his father (the V.C.) he looked! She wondered what
made him toss so in his sleep and what had become of his mouth-organ
with the bell on it.

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *


    _Leicester Daily Mercury._

Where he received his baptism of fire?

       *       *       *       *       *

    "German infantry on the morning of the 5th ventured an assault and
    were repulsed by blithering fire."--_Pioneer._

Some of their Professors should be able to do good work in the
blithering line.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Reuter's agency learns that according to an official telegram
    received in London Turkish vessels have entered the open port of
    Odessa and bombarded Russian ships.

    6 to 1 agst Cheerful, 7 to 1 agst Flippant."

    _South Wales Echo._

Not at all; we remain both.

       *       *       *       *       *


_Scene I._ A PERFECT FIT.        _Scene II._ AFTER A WEEK'S DRILL.

       *       *       *       *       *


Fleet Street was thrilled to the depths of its deepest inkpot last week
when it read in _The Daily Chronicle_ of the historic meeting between
Mr. HAROLD BEGBIE and Mr. W. J. BRYAN in New York. The sensation was
caused not so much by the announcement that Mr. BRYAN "has the long
mouth of the orator, the lips swelling and protruding as he speaks,
thinning and compressing when he is silent," or that "the full and heavy
neck, which seems to be part of the face, is corded with muscles,"
although either of those statements is startling enough. Nor was it Mr.
BEGBIE'S struggle to decide whether he should devote his attention to
the great statesman or to the railway station in which they met, the
statesman being selected only just in time. No, what nearly stopped the
clock of St. Bride's church was this paragraph in Mr. BEGBIE'S record of
the event: "At this point I asked quite innocently, and with a real
desire for information, an obvious but indiscreet question, which Mr.
BRYAN rebuked me for asking, reminding me that he was a member of the

What a subject for an Academy painting in oils! Or, if MILTON had been
living at this hour, how he would have immortalised the touching scene!

A desire to present to our readers some fuller details of this
world-staggering event prompted us to cable to a few correspondents in
New York. One cables back: "The scene was dramatic in the extreme. The
journalist, his big blue eyes brimming with innocence, gently breathed
his question, when the great statesman shook his shaggy mane and roared
out his rebuke like a lion in pain. The journalist's apologetic gesture
was one of the most delicate things I have ever seen."

Another tells us:--"When Mr. BEGBIE put his question so great a
stillness reigned throughout the crowded railway station that you could
have heard a goods-train shunt." Mr. BRYAN looked long and earnestly at
the journalist, then, placing his hand affectionately on his shoulder,
he said to him in a throbbing voice, "Oh, HAROLD, how can you?"

       *       *       *       *       *


"The enemy made attacks, but each effort was repulsed with great

       *       *       *       *       *

    "One recalls in this connection the statement made by Alexander the
    Great, that Napoleon's invasion of Russia was defeated not by the
    Cossacks, but by Generals January and February."--_Stock Exchange

This reminds us of CÆSAR'S comment on the sack of
Louvain:--"_Magnificens est, sed non bellum._"

       *       *       *       *       *


  There sits a little demon
    Above the Admiralty,
  To take the news of seamen
    Seafaring on the sea;
  So all the folk aboard-ships
    Five hundred miles away
  Can pitch it to their Lordships
    At any time of day.

  The cruisers prowl observant;
    Their crackling whispers go;
  The demon says, "Your servant,"
    And lets their Lordships know;
  A fog's come down off Flanders?
    A something showed off Wick?
  The captains and commanders
    Can speak their Lordships quick.

  The demon sits a-waking;
    Look up above Whitehall--
  E'en now, mayhap, he's taking
    The Greatest Word of all;
  From smiling folk aboard-ships
    He ticks it off the reel:--
  "An' may it please your Lordships,
    A Fleet's put out o' Kiel!"

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Much indecision prevails as to what the value of sultanas will be
    in the near future."

    _Daily Telegraph._

What the Germans want to know is the price of Sultans.

       *       *       *       *       *



_Park Lane._

Dearest Daphne,--The situation here is unchanged, though we have made
some progress in knitting. Forgive me, _m'amie_, but one does get so
much into the _despatch_ habit! The other day I'd a letter from Babs, in
which she told me she'd "nothing fresh to report on her right wing"
before she pulled herself together.

Norty's at the front as a flying-man. He's finding out all sorts of
things, dropping bombs on Zeppelins and covering himself with glory. I
had a few lines from him last week. He dated from "A place in Europe"
(they have to be _enormously_ cautious!), and said he was having the
time of his life. He was immensely pleased with the last letter I
managed to get through to him, and was particularly struck, he says,
with my advice to him: "Find out all you can, and above all don't get
caught;" he considers it simply _invaluable_ advice and says all airmen
ought to have it written up in letters of gold somewhere or other.

Stella Clackmannan's had a fortnight's training as a nurse and is off. I
ran in to see the dear thing the night before she left. She'd been
posing to a photographer in her Red Cross uniform for _hours_ and
_hours_ and was almost in a state of _collapse_; but the heroic darling
said she was ready to do even _more than that_ for her country. In one
photo she's sitting by a cot with her hands folded, looking sad but
_very_ sweet. In another she's standing up, singing, "It's a long way to
Tipperary;" and in a third she's bandaging someone (she had one of the
foot-men in for this photo), and, _à mon avis_, it's the least
successful of all. She appears to be _choking_ the poor man! However,
they're immensely charming, and will all be seen in the "Aristocratic
Angels of Mercy" page of next week's _People of Position_.

Dear Professor Dimsdale has only just got back to England from his
eclipse expedition. I'm not sure now whether it was an eclipse or an
occultation, but anyhow the only place where it could be properly seen
was a mountain in the Austrian Tyrol. It was due in the middle of
August, and the last week in July the Professor set off with his big
telescope and his lenses and his assistants and his note-books and
everything that was his. He lived a week or two on the mountain, to get
used to the atmosphere and prepare all his things, so he didn't know
what was going on in the world below. And then, just as the eclipse or
whatever it was _began_, and the Professor was looking up at the sky for
all he was worth, a lot of fearful creatures came rushing up the
mountain and said there was a war and that he was an alien enemy and
that he was making signals and that his big telescope was a new sort of
howitzer; and they pushed him down the mountain, and broke his telescope
and all his lenses, and tore up his note-books, and shook their fists at
him and used such language that he said for the first time in his life
he was sorry he was such a good linguist!

They finished by shutting him up in a fortress, and there he's been ever
since. He hardly knows how it was he got away, but he believes the whole
garrison was marched off to meet the Russians, and that they're all
prisoners now--which is his only drop of comfort. I've tried to console
him for having missed what he went to see. I said, "Perhaps the eclipse
or whatever it was will happen again soon--or one like it." He groaned
out, "My dear lady, that particular conjunction of the heavenly bodies
will not occur again for 2,645 years, 9 months, 3 weeks and 2 days." So
there it is, my dearest!

Would it cheer you up to hear a small romance of war and knitting? Here
it is, then. Some time ago Monica Jermyn brought round some terrific
mitts she'd knitted to go in one of my parcels for the troops. She's
easily the worst knitter who ever held needles! "My _dear_ child," I
said, "what simply ghastly mitts! They're full of mistakes." "What's it
matter?" Monica answered. "Mistakes will keep them quite as warm as the
right stitches. Besides, they're all right. I knit ever so much better
now than when I used to make socks for the Deep Sea Fisherman last
year." "That's not saying much," I said. "I remember those socks for the
Deep Sea Fishermen, and I doubt whether even the _deepest_ sea fishermen
would know how to put them on! What's this?" "It's a message to go with
the mitts," replied Monica. This was the message:--"The girl who made
these mitts hopes they will be a comfort to some dear brave hands
fighting for her and her sisters in England." "Oh, my _dear_!" I
remonstrated. "It's very _young_ and _romantic_ of you, but don't you
think it's _just_ a little----" "No, I don't!" she cried. "And if it is,
I don't care. Please, please let it go!" So it went.

Soon after that the Jermyns went down to their place in Sussex, and
later I heard they'd some convalescent war heroes as guests. Monica
wrote me: "All six of them are dear brave darlings, of course, but _one_
of them is _darlinger_ than the others. Tell it not in Gath, dear
Blanche, but I think I've met my fate!" Later she wrote: "He's getting
on splendidly. He turns out to be a cousin of the Flummerys. He
performed _prodigies_ of valour, but won't say a _word_ about it. When
he leaves us my heart will quite, _quite_ break--and I sometimes hope
_his_ will too!"

Yesterday came the following:--"Claude and I belong to each other. And
what, oh _what_ do you think helped to lead up to the dear, delicious
finale? But wait. My hero is almost quite well now, and this morning,
when we took what would have been our _last_ little walk in the grounds,
it happened! He walks _beautifully_ now, though he still needs an arm at
about the level of _mine_ to lean on. It was a chilly morning and, as I
was looking down and trying to think of something to say, I gave a
sudden shriek, for on his dear heroic wrists I recognised--_My Mitts_!
And when he heard I'd made them he was just as _confondu_ as I was.
'They were in a bale of comfies sent to my company,' he said, 'and I had
the ladling out of them to the men. But when I came to these mitts, with
the sweet little message pinned to them, I simply couldn't part with
them! And to think _you_ made them--and wrote the little message! It
makes one believe in all those psychic what-d'-you-call-'ems.'

"I felt a crisis was coming and so I said hurriedly, 'Oh, I only wish
they were worthier of--of--brave hands and wrists. I'm a wretched
knitter--they're full of mistakes--I kept forgetting to keep to the
pattern--it ought to have been, "_knit_ two together and _make_
one"--but of course you don't understand knitting.' 'I understand it
right enough if _that's_ all there is to it,' he said. "Knit two
together and make one." Monica--no, you mustn't run away----' And
that's all you're going to be told, Blanche, except that the powers that
be have given their consent and I'm too happy for words!"

_Et voilà mon petit roman de guerre et de tricotage._

My poor Josiah is still at the uttermost edge of beyond. He began to
come home, and the boat was chased and ran to an island for shelter, and
then the island was taken by one of our enemies and he was a prisoner.
Then it was retaken by one of the Allies and he was free again. Since
then more things have happened and he's been a prisoner again, and free
again. And now he's lost count, and says he doesn't know _what_ he is or
_who's_ got the island!

Ever thine,


       *       *       *       *       *


_Shopkeeper._ "NO, SIR."

_Cyclist._ "OH, WHY'S THAT?"


       *       *       *       *       *


  "You are bold, Father WILHELM," the young man said;
    "Your moustache, too, is fiercer than mine;
  But I'm tempted to ask by the size of your head,
    Do you really suppose you're divine?"

  "In my youth," said his father, "you probably know
    That I held the most orthodox views;
  But since I have hypnotized HARNACK and CO.
    I simply believe what I choose."

  "You are bold," said the youth, "as I've mentioned before,
    Yet you frequently talk through your hat;
  For you told us the English were worthless in war;
    Pray what was the reason of that?"

  "In my earlier days," said his sire, "through and through
    I studied that decadent race,
  And in failing to prove that my forecast was true
    They have covered themselves with disgrace."

  "You are bold," said the youth, "and the Nietzschean creed
    Cries, 'Down with the humble and meek;'
  Yet the sack of Louvain made your bosom to bleed;
    Why were you so painfully weak?"

  "In my youth," said his father, "I studied the Arts
    With a zeal that no force could restrain;
  And the love of mankind which that study imparts
    Has made me unduly humane."

  "You _were_ bold," said the youth, "but it seems to be clear
    That you're losing your grit and your fire;
  And, if I may whisper the hint in your ear,
    Don't you think that you ought to retire?"

  "I've answered three questions," the KAISER replied,
    "That might baffle the wit of a ZANCIG;
  I'm tired of your talk and I'm sick of your 'side':
    Be off, or I'll send you to Danzig."

       *       *       *       *       *


  The position of Turkey is muddled and murky,
    But the course she's resolved to pursue
  Is true to her mind, which we constantly find
     _À l'Enver(s) et contre tous._

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The Hun and the Tartar stand together--_par mobile patrum_."

    _Newcastle Daily Journal._

We cannot speak with equal confidence of the head of the Tartars, but
the KAISER certainly makes a very mobile parent.

       *       *       *       *       *

Illustration: _Cavalry Instructor_ (_to nervous Recruit_). "NOW THEN;

       *       *       *       *       *



Dear Charles,--We haven't gone yet. Upon my word, we don't know what to
do about it. We start off for the Continent and then we halt and ask
ourselves, "Won't they be wanting us to go to Egypt and have a word with
the enemy there?" So we come back and change our underclothes and start
out again; but we haven't got far before a persistent subaltern starts a
scare about invasions. At that we halt again and have a pow-wow. Thick
underclothes for the Continent; thin underclothes for Egypt, but what
underclothes for home defence? And that, old man, is the real difficulty
about war: what clothes are you to make it in? Our official programme
is, however, clearly defined now. It is this: We sail on or
about ---- to ----, and thence to ----, pausing for a cup of tea at ----.
We then change direction left and turn down by the butcher's shop and up
past the post-office. Here we form fours, form two deep, slope arms,
order arms, present arms, trail arms, ground arms, take up arms, pile
arms, unpile arms, move to the right in fours, by the left, left wheel.
The essence of these manoeuvres is that they make it impossible for
even the most acute enemy to guess which is our real direction. He
gathers that it is one of two things: it is either right or, failing
that, left. But which? Ah, that is the secret! Sometimes I am in some
doubt myself after having given the order.

Our musical _repertoire_ is extensive, and, I venture to think, very
aptly and poetically expresses the feelings of soldiers in the several
aspects of military life. Their deep-seated respect for ceremonial is
expressed thus, to the _Faust_ airs:--

  "All soldiers live on bread and jam;
  All soldiers eat it instead o' ham.
  And every morning we hear the Colonel say,
  'Form fours! Eyes right! Jam for dinner to-day!'"

His heart's sorrow upon leaving his fatherland is rendered exactly

  "The ship is now in motion;
  We're going to cross the Ocean.
      Good bye-er!
  Farewell for ever-mo-er!"

And lastly his deep concern for his country's and his own and
everybody's welfare is thus put:--

  "I don't care if the ship goes down,
    It doesn't belong to me."

We had a Divisional Field Day yesterday. Recollecting a previous
experience, the G.O.C. sent for his three Brigadiers, when the division
was assembled for action, and, it seems, said to them, "There must be
less noise." The Brigadiers, returning to the field, called out each his
four battalion-commanders and said to them, distinctly, "There must be
less noise." The twelve battalion-commanders called out each his eight
company-commanders, who called out each his four section-commanders, and
in every instance was repeated, quite audibly, the same utterance,
"There must be less noise." Three hundred and eighty-four
section-commanders were engaged in impressing this order, with all the
emphasis it deserved, upon the men, when the General rode on to the
field. His anger was extreme. "THERE MUST BE LESS NOISE!" said he.

Yours ever,


       *       *       *       *       *

    "The Press also avoids very carefully all discussion of the status
    of the Goeben and the Breslau. Practically the only reference to the
    subject is a remark in the _Frankfurter Zeitung_ that Turkey has
    alone to decide what ships are to fly under her flag."--_Times._

If Turkey decides that the _Goeben_ is to fly, we hope she will warn the
man who works the searchlights at Charing Cross.

       *       *       *       *       *




       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *



"LORD CHARLES has broken his chest-bone--a piece of which was cut out in
his boyhood leaving a cavity--his pelvis, right leg, right hand, foot,
five ribs, one collar-bone three times, the other once, his nose three
times." Thus Mr. COPE CORNFORD in one of the notes with which he
illuminates the _Memoirs of Admiral Lord Charles Beresford_, published
by Messrs. METHUEN in two volumes, illustrated with a score of plates,
the portrait of Lady CHARLES adding the charm of rare beauty to the

For many years I have been honoured by the friendship of Lord CHARLES,
and have had frequent opportunity of witnessing his multiform supremacy.
Till I read this amazing catalogue of calamities, I never dreamt that
among other claims to distinction he might have been billed as The
Fractured Man, principal attraction in a travelling show, eclipsing the
One-Legged Camel, the Tinted Zebra, and the Weird-Eyed Wanton from the
Crusty North, who can sing in five languages "It's a Long, Long Way to
Tipperary." Ignoring the monotony of experience suffered by the ribs,
and noting the obtrusiveness of one collar-bone, we may, with slight
variation from a formula in use by the SPEAKER in the House of Commons,
declare "The Nose has it." Happily no one regarding Lord CHARLES'S
cheery countenance would guess that its most prominent feature had been
"broken three times."

Here is a man whose life should be written. Fortunately the task has
been undertaken by Lord CHARLES himself, and the world is richer by a
book which, instructive in many ways, valuable as throwing side-lights
on the slow advance of the Navy to the proud position which it holds
to-day on the North Sea, bubbles over with humour.

Record opens in the year 1859, when Lord CHARLES entered the Navy,
closing just half-a-century later, when he hauled down his flag and
permanently came ashore. Within the space of fifty years there is
crammed a life of adventure richly varied in range. A man of exuberant
individuality, which has occasional tendency to obscure supreme
capacity, of fearless courage, gifted with a combination of wit and
humour, Lord CHARLES is the handy-man to whom in emergency everyone
looked not only for counsel but for help. It is a paradox, but a
probability, that had he been duller-witted, a more ponderous person, he
would have carried more weight alike in the councils of the Admiralty at
Whitehall and of the nation at Westminster.

As these memoirs testify, behind a smiling countenance he hides an
unbending resolution to serve the public interest, whether aboard ship
or in his place in Parliament. Perhaps the most familiar incident in his
professional career is his exploit during the bombardment of Alexandria,
when the signal flashed from the flag-ship, "Well done, _Condor_." A
more substantial service was his command of what he describes as "the
penny steamer" _Safieh_, whose manoeuvring on the Nile amid desperate
circumstances averted from Sir CHARLES WILSON'S desert column, hastening
to the rescue of GORDON, the fate which earlier had befallen STEWART.

Another splendid piece of work was accomplished when, after the
bombardment of Alexandria he was appointed Provost-Marshal and Chief of
Police, and had committed to his charge the task of restoring order. His
conspicuous success on this occasion bore fruit many years later when he
was offered the post of Chief Commissioner of Police in the Metropolis.
His story of the Egyptian and Soudan Wars, carried through several
chapters, is a valuable contribution to history. It suggests that, all
other avenues to fame closed against him, Lord CHARLES would have made
an enduring name as a war correspondent.

It is a circumstance incredible, save in view of the authority upon
which it is stated, that, as part of the reward for his splendid service
in the Soudan, Lord CHARLES narrowly escaped compulsory retirement from
the Service before he had completed the time required to qualify for
Flag Rank. The Queen's Regulations ordained that before a captain could
win this prized position he must have completed a period of from five to
six years of active service. In 1892, Lord CHARLES, the flag almost in
reach of his hand, applied for permission to count-in the 315 days he
was strenuously and brilliantly at work in the Soudan. The Board of
Admiralty, invulnerable in their environment of red tape, refused the
request, repeating the _non possumus_ when on two subsequent occasions
the request was preferred.

It must be admitted that the Board had no reason to regard Lord CHARLES
with favour or even with equanimity. When returned to Parliament, the
man who had superintended the mending of the boiler on the penny
steamboat on the Nile, devoted himself to the bigger task of mending the
Navy, at that time in an equally pitiful condition. During his brief and
solitary term of office as Junior Lord of the Admiralty, Lord CHARLES,
who thought he was put there to do some work, drew up a memorandum on
the necessity of creating at the Admiralty a Naval Intelligence
Department. The memorandum was laid before the Board, and the Junior
Lord was told he was meddling with high matters that did not come within
the scope of his business. A few weeks later a Naval Intelligence
Department (of a sort) was created. _Sic vos non vobis._

'Twas ever thus. Lord CHARLES, whether in office, on active service, or
from his familiar place above the Gangway in the House of Commons,
bringing to bear upon Naval affairs the gift of keen intuition and the
endowment of long practical experience, has, with one exception, done
more than any man living to deliver the Navy from mistakes inevitable in
the case of the over-lordship of a civilian who is subject to currents
of political and party feeling. By way of reward he has received more
kicks than ha'pence.

       *       *       *       *       *



       *       *       *       *       *


I had secured an empty compartment. Something in my blood makes me rush
for an empty compartment. I suppose it is because I am a Briton, yet it
was another Briton who intruded upon my privacy.

At the first glance I saw that he would talk to me about the--well, what
do you expect? I can always tell when men want to talk about it. Would
that I had the same subtle instinct when they wish to borrow money! I
was ready for him. If he said, "Have you heard?" I was going to answer,
"About the SECRETARY OF STATE FOR WAR ordering Lord FISHER to be
imprisoned in the Tower as a spy? Why, my brother-in-law told me all
about it last week."

Instead he put his hand on my knee and asked, "Are you a German?"

"Unless I am descended from HENGIST or HORSA," I replied, "there isn't
an atom of culture in me."

"Then I can confide in you. A disturbance is advancing in this direction
from Eastern Europe."

"You mean that the CROWN PRINCE is retreating towards us from Poland?"

"No," he snapped. "And another disturbance is coming from the vicinity
of Iceland."

"Good heavens! This is too much. At my time of life how am I to learn
how to pronounce Pzreykjavik."

"Let me tell you what I prophesy for the next few days. Saturday will be

"Splendid! A cheerful week-end will do us all good."

"Sunday will be gloomy, and on Monday will come the downfall."

"WILLIAM'S or ours?"

"Accompanied by strong south-westerly winds, rising to a gale, and a
rapid fall of the barometer. So now you know. My mind is easy. I have
told someone. I have been cruelly censored--only allowed to predict just
wet or fine from day to day. I felt that I must tell someone. The Censor
and Count ZEPPELIN between them were killing me."

I pitied the agony of the professional weather forecaster. I promised to
respect his confidence. I left the carriage proud of the fact that I was
one of the two men in England who knew what Saturday's weather would be.
That is why I left my umbrella at home while apparently every other man
took his out. It is also the reason why my new topper was ruined. And
now I wonder whether the prophet was mistaken, or whether at the last
moment he detected signs of culture in me and lied.

       *       *       *       *       *

From an Indian paper:--

    "The Germans are continuing the questionable tactics of sowing
    floating mines in neutral waters to the danger of neutral shipping,
    as well as of British and French war vessels. They are apparently
    tying them in Paris, so as to make it more difficult to avoid them."

As a result, the _Iron Duke_ has had to give up entirely its morning run
down the Rue de Rivoli. At the same time we are glad to hear that these
floating mines are tied. It stops them from floating quite so much.

       *       *       *       *       *


(NOTE: _If this essay in the well-informed manner achieves any success,
the credit is largely due to the timely interruptions of the Censor._)

Few people, I think, realise the tremendous significance of waterproof
overalls in a war like the present. I was talking to one of our most
prominent Midland manufacturers at Sheringham the other day and he
remarked confidentially [passage deleted by the Censor] at fifteen per
cent. reduction to our soldiers for spot cash.

       * * *

Which reminds me of a stifling Malta afternoon, when I first saw the
good ship _Sheringham_ steam slowly up through the haze of Sliema Creek.
It was in the early days of the Navy's grey-paint era. The change was a
drastic one, as all service-men admitted. And why grey? I make no secret
of the fact that I have always advocated ultramarine for the
Mediterranean station; but the Grey Water School, you know--well, there,
I must not be indiscreet.

       * * *

Life on a cruiser may be the tally for some, but give me the nimble
t.b.d.! There you have none of "the great monotony of sea" which drove
W.M.T. to his five meals a day. Nothing but the charming _fraternité_ of
the ward-room, the delightful inconsequences of the chart-house kitten,
and the throb of the oil-fed turbine! Unless I am greatly mistaken
[passage deleted by the Censor--which shows that I wasn't].

       * * *

I was dining the other evening at the Buckingham Palace with a friend
who is well known in Foreign Office circles. The conversation turned,
naturally enough, on the dangers in our midst from foreign waiters. The
English waiter who was attending us happened at the moment to dislodge
with his elbow a wine-list which, in falling, decanted a quantity of
Sauterne into the lap of my _vis-à-vis_, who remarked [passage deleted
by the Censor].

       * * *

I learn from reliable sources that one wing of our "contemptible little
army" is resting upon ----. Dear old ----! How often have I wandered down
your sleepy little High Street to the _épicerie_ of our lively old
_Thérèse_! But that was in the old days, before the black arts of
Kaiserism transformed the peace of yesterday into the Armageddon of
to-day. Next week I shall deal more intimately with life behind the
scenes in German frontier towns; but you must wait with what patience
you can for these further confidences.

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *


  With fingers too canny to bungle,
    With footsteps too cunning to swerve,
  They swing through the heights of the jungle,
    These stalwarts of infinite nerve;
  Blithe sailors who heed not the breezes
    Which play round their riggings and spars,
  Lithe gymnasts who live on trapezes
        And parallel bars.

  In ballrooms of plantain and mango
    They scamper, they slither and slide
  In the throes of a tropical tango,
    In the grip of a Gibbony glide;
  'Tis thus in these desolate spaces,
    Away from humanity's ken,
  They mimic the civilised races
        And strive to be men.

  As the grey little acrobats patter
    O'er creepers of myriad shapes,
  They mouth not the meaningless chatter
    Of dull and demoralised apes;
  But, proud of their portion as creatures
    Who know not the stigma of tails,
  They screw up their weather-worn features
        And practise their scales.

  And oft in this primitive Eden
    When I study some antic that hints
  At the physical fitness of Sweden,
    The speed of American sprints,
  I dream of the wreaths and the ribbons
    Their prowess would certainly win,
  If there weren't any war, and my gibbons
       Could go to Berlin.

  J. M. S.

       *       *       *       *       *



All day long I read the papers that keep this little island noisy and
tell us how we ought to be governed. I can't help it. I want to know the
latest, and reading the papers seems (more or less) the way to get at
it. The best way of all, of course, is to meet a man at a club or a
resident in a locality favoured by retired colonels; but, in default of
those advantages, one must buy the papers. And then of course it follows
that one reads far too many papers and gets one's head far too full of
war news. Still, what would you have? The war is so eminently first and
everything else nowhere that this is inevitable.

Outside suggestion has its share, too. Morning papers are a matter of
course. One reads one's regular morning papers and no others. But after
that the trouble begins with the evening paper placards, each with its
lure. How can one resist them? The progress of the Allies! The repulsing
of the enemy! The ten miles gained! The Russian advance! A German
cruiser sunk! Each newsman has a different bait, and as the day goes on
they become more attractive, so that one goes to bed at night filled
with optimism. Well, these all have to be bought.

Speaking as a reader of too many of them I must admit to a grievance or
two; and the chief is the difficulty that we have in finding the
fulfilment of all the promises which are set out in the headings to the
principal war news. For example, I find among these headings on the day
on which I write a reference to a German admission of failure and
dismay. But can I find the thing itself? I cannot. It may be there, but
again and again has my eye travelled up and down the columns seeking the
nutritious morsel and not yet has it alighted thereon, and that is but
one case out of many. Sometimes after a long hunt I do track these
joyful tit-bits down, and then discover that they are separated from the
heading by several columns. Some day a newspaper editor will arise who
can achieve a really useful index to his contents. _The Times_ used to
have something of the sort, but under the stress of battle that has

Another grievance--but I shall say no more on that subject. Grievances
are for peace time, when a general huffiness and stuffiness about the
way that everyone else conducts business is natural and indeed expected.
In wartime no one should be harassed by criticism. So I pass on to the
paper which I like best of all those now being published. I like it
because it contains the news I most want to read, and every day, or
rather every night, it gets better and will continue to get better until
the Brandenberg gate opens to let the Allies in. This paper is not a
morning paper and not an evening paper. It is published at night, in the
smallest of the small hours, and I am its sole subscriber, for it is the
paper of my dreams. Whether or not I am its editor I could not say. That
question leads to the greater one which would need a volume for its
decision: Do we compose our own dreams, or are they provided by Ole Luk
Oie or some other dream-spinner? Anyway, no one can read the paper of my
dreams but I, and it is, after all, the best reading. It contains the
oddest things. Last night it had a fine article about a football match
in the North of England. Twenty-two terrific fellows, whose united
salaries came to a respectable fortune and whose united transfer fees,
should their Clubs ever let them go, would be sufficient to build a
_Dreadnought_, had been charging up and down the ground in a series of
magnificent rushes, while ten thousand North of England lads roared
themselves hoarse to see such glory. Suddenly a newspaper boy, reckless
of his life, dashed on to the ground with a placard stating that a whole
regiment of British soldiers had been trapped by a German ruse and
annihilated. In an instant the game was broken up and every player and
every spectator who was of age ran like hares to the nearest recruiting
office and enrolled themselves as soldiers. They had seen in a flash
that the only chance for England to get rid of this German menace was
for every eligible man to do his share.

In another part of the paper I read of a young and powerful man in an
English village who, on being asked if he did not think that England was
in danger, replied "Yes." He was then asked if he did not think that it
was necessary to fight for her, and he replied "Yes" again. He was then
asked who in his opinion were the most suitable volunteers to come to
her aid, and he replied, "Other people." So far the story is not
appreciably different from a story that you might read anywhere. But the
version in my paper stated that he was seized by all the company present
and not only ducked in the nearest horse-pond but held under the water
for quite a long time, and then held under the water again.

And another article--a most exciting one--described the success of a
British aviator who flew over Essen and dropped five bombs on KRUPP'S
gun factory and did irreparable damage. I forget his name, but, although
he was pursued, he got clear away and returned to the Allies' lines.
There was a fellow for you!

So you see that I get some good reading out of my favourite paper. And
more is to come!

       *       *       *       *       *


  Now woe is me! My treasure, my delight,
    My guerdon after many toilsome days,
  Shall gladden me no more. It was a sight
    To bid men gape in wonderment, and praise
  My patient courage that endured despite
    The gibes of friends and Delia's pitying ways.
      Ah, cruel fate that forced my hand to snip
      Such costly growth as graced my upper lip!

  Moustache most cherished! Not as other men
    That let their lush growth riot as it will,
  With just a formal waxing now and then,
    Did I maintain it. Nay, with loving skill
  And all the precious oils within the ken
    Of cunning alchemists I strove until
      Its soaring points aspired to pierce the skies,
      And I was martial in my Delia's eyes.

  Great store of gold I lavished. Yea, I went
    To one that works in metals and I bought
  A kind of dreadful iron instrument
    With leathern straps, most wonderfully wrought,
  And wore that horror nightly, well content
    To bear such anguish for the prize I sought.
      And all this patient toil was thrown away--
      They stoned me for the KAISER yesterday!

       *       *       *       *       *

At a time when every penny that can be spared is needed for the help of
our soldiers in the field and of our wounded, or to relieve the distress
of the Belgian refugees or our own sufferers from the War, a public
appeal is being made to the citizens of Newcastle-on-Tyne for
subscriptions to a fund for presenting a testimonial to their Lord
Mayor, on the ground that he has done his duty. We beg to offer our
respectful sympathy to the LORD MAYOR of Newcastle-on-Tyne.

       *       *       *       *       *

Illustration: _Colonel of Swashbucklers._ "NAH THEN, SWANK! THE WIMMIN

       *       *       *       *       *


I had done the second hole (from the vegetable-marrow frame to the
mulberry-tree) in two, and was about to proceed to the third hole by the
potting-shed when I thought I would go in and convey the glad news to
Joan. I found her seated at the table in the breakfast-room with what
appeared to be a heap of tea spread out upon a newspaper in front of
her. Little slips of torn tissue-paper littered the floor, and on a
chair by her side were several empty cardboard boxes. The sight was so
novel that I forgot the object of my errand.

"What's all that tea for, and what are you doing with it?" I asked.

"It isn't tea; it's tobacco," Joan replied, "and I'm making cigarettes
for the soldiers at the front."

"Where on earth did you get that tobacco from, if it _is_ tobacco?" I
went on.

"Let me see now," mused Joan, pausing to lick a cigarette-paper--"was it
from the greengrocer's or the butcher's? Ah! I remember. It was from the

Joan gets like that sometimes, but I do not encourage her.

"But what made you choose this Hottentot stuff?" I enquired.

"The soldiers like it strong," Joan replied, "and this looked about the
strongest he'd got."

"What does it call itself?"

"It was anonymous when I bought it, but you'll no doubt see its name on
the bill when it comes in."

"Thanks very much," I said. "That's what I should call forcible
fleecing. Not that I mind in a good cause----"

"Isn't it ingenious?" interrupted Joan. "You just put the tobacco in
between the rollers, and twiddle this button round until--until you've
twiddled it round enough; then you slip in a cigarette-paper--like
that--moisten the edge of it--twiddle the button round once more--open
the lid--and shake out the finished article--_comme ça!_"

An imperfect cylindrical object fell on to the floor. I stooped to pick
it up and the inside fell out. I collected the _débris_ in the palm of
my hand.

"How many of these have you made?" I asked.

"Only three thoroughly reliable ones, including _that_ one," she
replied. "I've rolled ever so many more, but the tobacco _will_ fall

"Here, let me give you a hand," I suggested. "I'll roll and you lick."

"No," said Joan kindly but firmly. "You don't quite grasp the situation.
I want to do something. I can't make shirts or knit comforters. I've
tried and failed. My shirts look like pillow-cases, and anything more
comfortless than my comforters I couldn't imagine. I wouldn't ask a
beggar to wear an article I had made, much less an Absent-Minded

"What about that tie you knitted for me last Christmas?" I said.

"Yes," said Joan; "what about it? That's what I want to know. You
haven't worn it once."

It was true, I hadn't. The tie in question was an attempt to hybridise
the respective colour-schemes of a tartan plaid and a Neapolitan ice.

"That," I explained, "is because I've never had a suit which would set
it off as it deserves to be set off. However, if I can't help I won't
hinder you. I only came in to say that I had done the second hole in
two. I thought you would like to know I had beaten bogey." And I
retired, taking with me the little heap of tobacco and the hollow tube
of paper.

When I reached the seclusion of the mulberry-tree I found that the paper
had become ungummed, so I placed the tobacco in it and succeeded after a
while in rolling it up. The result, though somewhat attenuated, was
recognisably a cigarette. I lit it, and when I had finished coughing I
came to the conclusion that if only I could induce Joan to present her
gift to the German troops instead of to our Tommies it would precipitate
our ultimate triumph. I had to eat several mulberries before I felt
capable of proceeding to the third hole. When I got there (in two) I
found it occupied by a squadron of wasps while reinforcements were
rapidly coming up from a hole beneath the shed. Being hopelessly
outnumbered I contented myself with a strategical movement necessitating
several stiff rearguard actions.

       * * *

Joan, growing a little more proficient, had in a couple of days made 500
cigarettes. I had undertaken to despatch them, and one morning she came
to me with a neatly-tied-up parcel.

"Here they are," she said; "but you must ask at the Post Office how they
should be addressed. I've stuck on a label."

I went out, taking the parcel with me, and walked straight to the

"Please pack up 1,000 Hareems," I said, "and post them to the British
Expeditionary Force. Mark the label 'Cigarettes for the use of the
troops.' And look here, I owe you for a pound of tobacco my wife bought
the other day. I'll square up for that at the same time. By-the-by, what
tobacco was it?"

"Well, Sir," the man replied, "I hardly like to admit it in these times,
but it was a tobacco grown in German East Africa. It really isn't fit to
smoke, and is only good for destroying wasps' nests or fumigating
greenhouses, which I thought your lady wanted it for, seeing as how she
picked it out for herself. Some ladies nowadays know as much about
tobacco as what we do."

I left the shop hurriedly. The problem of the disposal of Joan's
well-meaning gift was now solved. I returned home and furtively stole up
the side path into the garden. Under cover of the summer-house I undid
the parcel and proceeded rapidly to strip the paper from those of the
cigarettes that had not already become hollow mockeries. When I had
collected all the tobacco I went in search of the gardener, and
encountered him returning from one of his numerous meals.

"Wilkins," I said, "there is a wasps' nest on the third green, and here
is some special wasp-eradicator. Will you conduct the fumigation?"

As Joan and I were walking round the garden that evening before dinner
Joan said--

"I don't want to blush to find it fame, but--do you know--I prefer doing
good by stealth."

A faint but unmistakable odour was borne on the air from the direction
of the third green.

"So do I," I said.

       *       *       *       *       *


My wife attributes our success (so far) in the entertainment of Belgian
Refugees solely to the fact that we have not, and never have had, a
vestige of a committee. We all work along in the jolliest possible way,
and we have no meetings, or agenda, or minutes, or co-opting of
additional members, or remitting to executives or anything of that kind.
We just bring along anything that we think will be useful. Some of us
bring clothes and others butter or umbrellas, or French books, or
razor-strops or cigarettes. Hepburn, the dairy farmer, keeps sending
cart-loads of cabbages; old Miss Mackintosh at the Brae Foot sends
threepence a week. And when we are short of anything we just stick up a
notice to that effect in the village shop. I issued a call for jam
yesterday and ever since it has rained pots and pots. We have three
large families of Belgians and we have already got to the stage where
the men are at work and the children at school--though no one really has
the least idea what they do there.

But although I admit that it is magnificent to be without a
committee--we escaped from that by the simple plan of getting the
Belgians first and trusting to the goodwill of the Parish to take care
of them afterwards--there are other important factors in our success.
There is our extraordinary foresight--of course it was a pure fluke
really--in obtaining among them a real Belgian policeman. You can have
no idea what a fine sense of security that gives us in case anything
goes wrong. We have already enjoyed his assistance in a variety of ways,
and we have something still in reserve in the very unlikely event of his
being professionally called in--his uniform. When we put him into his
uniform the effect will be tremendous.

Then again we have the advantage of being Scotch. I simply don't know
how English country people are going to get on at all. Here we find that
by talking with great emphasis in the very broadest Scotch--by simply
calling soap _sape_ and a church a _kirk_ you can quite frequently bring
it off and make yourself understood. I had a most exhilarating hour of
mutual lucidity with the one that makes furniture in the carpenter's
shop. It seemed to me that he called a saw a _zog_, which was surely
quite good enough; and when he referred to a hammer as a _hamer_ it
might surely be said to be equivalent to calling a spade a spade.

Still the language difficulty remains, and the worst of it is that it
gives an altogether unfair advantage--where all are so anxious to
help--to the few select people in our neighbourhood who happen to be
able, fortuitously, to talk French. They are--(1) Dr. Anderson, whose
French is very good; (2) my wife, who is amazingly fluent in a crisis,
though her constructions simply don't bear thinking of; (3) the
school-master, who is weak; (4) the joiner, who is bad; (5) myself, who
am awful. Several of our Refugees talk French.

Of course we all have pocket-dictionaries, but even they don't always
help us out. I found my wife once engaged in a desperate hand-to-hand
encounter with the one who does the cooking about some household
necessity that was sadly lacking. She was completely baffled. It was
pure stalemate, a deadlock. I pulled out my dictionary and suggested to
the cook (by illuminative signs) that she should look it up and point to
the English word. There was some rejoicing at this, and she at once
called upon the collective wisdom of her whole family. At last they got
it with much nodding of heads and exhibited the book, buttressed with an
eager finger at the place. And we looked and read "A young gold-finch;"
so you will see that that didn't help us much. It was only by the almost
miraculous emergence of the word _Fat_ in the course of their own
private conversation shortly afterwards that light came to us.

That they are quite at a loss to understand the meaning of honey in the
comb did not greatly surprise us--though it was rather queer--but the
Parish is deeply distressed at their total ignorance of oatmeal. They
are quite at sea there, and so far have only employed it for baiting a
bird-trap: and that touches us closely, for the very foundation of our
being in these parts is oatmeal. Even their beautiful devotion to
vegetables of all sorts cannot, we feel, compensate for their attitude
of negation towards this very staple of existence. There is a strong
party among us bent on their conversion. We hope with all our hearts
that they will be comfortable and contented among us till the day comes
when they can return to their own country; and we feel that their exile
will not have been entirely wasted if they have learned to appreciate
the purpose fulfilled by porridge in the Divine Order of things.

       *       *       *       *       *

Illustration: WORD PERFECT.

_Sentry_ (_on duty for first time_). "'ALT! WHO GOES THERE? ADVANCE TO

       *       *       *       *       *


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

In the good old days when that royal pipsqueak, our FIRST JAMES, came to
the throne, if you were a physician of a little more than common skill
and furnished with theological opinions of a modernist complexion, or a
lonely woman with (or without) some cunning in the matter of herbs, who
cherished a peculiar (or normal) pussy-cat, you were quite likely to be
burnt out of hand. And, in her competent way, MARY JOHNSTON, in _The
Witch_ (CONSTABLE), deals with this dark blot on the escutcheon of
Christianity. Through what suffering and what joys _Dr. Aderhold_, the
kindly free-thinking mystic, and _Joan Heron_, the simple village maid,
found their ultimate and, for the times, merciful release by halter in
place of fire, readers who have nerves to spare for horror will read
with eagerness. It is indeed a dreadful story. Miss JOHNSTON is not one
of your novelists who lets herself off the contemporary document, and on
her reputation you may take it she is not far out. The grim tale serves
to show to what lengths the force of suggestion will, in times of
excitement, carry folk otherwise sober and truthful. Manifestly
preposterous evidence, freely given, was freely admitted by trained
legal minds--evidence on which innocent lives were sacrificed at the
average rate of over a thousand a month in England and Scotland in the
two centuries of the chief witch-baiting period. But, after all, have we
not, most of us, near relations who saw a quarter-of-a-million of
astrakanned Russians steal through England in the dead of an August
night? And have we not---- But I grow tedious. _The Witch_ is an
eminently readable story of adventure of the coincidental kind.

       * * *

What I like best in the stories of Mr. W. W. JACOBS, apart from their
mere hilarity, is their triumphant vindication of the right to jest.
They spread themselves before me like a pageant representing the
graceful submission of the easy dupe. They tempt me to filch away chairs
from beneath stout and elderly gentlemen who are about to sit down. Take
the case of _Sergeant-Major Farrer_ in _Night Watches_ (HODDER AND
STOUGHTON). He was afraid of nothing on earth, or off it, but ghosts,
and he despised the weedy young man who was in love with his daughter.
So the weedy young man dared him to come to a haunted cottage at
midnight, and, dressed up as a spectre, terrified the soldier into
something more than a strategic retreat, with the result that he
surrendered his daughter. In real life of course it is different. I know
a colour-sergeant, and somehow I rather think that if I--but never mind.
In Mr. JACOBS' beautiful world, as it is with _Mr. Farrer_ so is it with
_Peter Russet_, with _Ginger Dick_ and with _Sam Small_. They know when
the laugh is against them, and, waiving the appeal to force or to law,
they grumble but retire. There is one exercise in the gruesome in _Night
Watches_, but it hardly shows Mr. JACOBS at his best in this particular
vein. There are also several charming illustrations by Mr. STANLEY
DAVIS, executed with a buff tint, which help to sustain the gossamer

       * * *

If I were a woman I should always be a little irritated with any story
which shows two women in love with the same man. Miss MAY SINCLAIR in
her new novel does not mind how much she annoys her own sex. She shows
us no fewer than three women engaged in this competition, and they are
sisters. True, there was not much choice for them in their lonely
moorland village, which contained a young doctor and no other eligible
man. Of this fellow _Rowcliffe_ we are told that "his eyes were liable
in repose to become charged with a curious and engaging pathos," an
attraction which had broken many hearts before the story opened, and
gave to their owner a great sense of confidence in himself. This set me
against him at the start, but the three sisters, as I said, were not in
a position to be fastidious. _Mary's_ love for him was of the
social-domestic kind; _Gwenda's_ was spiritual; _Alice's_ frankly
physical. Though alleged to be "as good as gold," _Alice_, the youngest
of _The Three Sisters_ (HUTCHINSON), was one of those hysterical women
who threaten to die or go mad unless they get married--a very unpleasant
fact for a young doctor to have to discuss with her sister, and for us
to read about. Indeed, if I were to tell in all its incredible crudity
the story of the relations of this gently-bred girl with the drunken
farmer who, to her knowledge, had previously betrayed her own
servant-girl, I think even Miss SINCLAIR would be revolted. Her exposure
of certain secret things which common decency agrees to leave in silence
is a treachery to her sex, not excusable on grounds of physiological
interest; and I, for one, who was loud in my praise of the fine
qualities of her great romance, _The Divine Fire_, confess to a sense of
almost personal sorrow that such high gifts as hers, which still show no
trace of decline in craftsmanship, should have suffered so much taint. I
sincerely hope that the noble work she is now doing with the Red Cross
at the front--where the best wishes of her many friends follow her--may
make more clear the claim that is laid upon her to devote her
exceptional powers as a writer to the higher issues of life and death;
or, at the least, to something cleaner and sweeter than the morbid
atmosphere of her present theme.

       * * *

It has been my private conviction that the most depressing and
shuddersome of all natural prospects is the wide expanse of mud and
slime to be found at low water in the estuary of a tidal river. Such
scenes have always been singularly abhorrent to me. Mr. "ADRIAN ROSS"
appears to share this feeling, for out of one of them he has made the
novel and very effective setting for his bogie-tale, _The Hole of the
Pit_ (ARNOLD). It is a story of the Civil Wars, though these have less
to do with the action than the uncivil and very gruesome war waged
between the Lord of Deeping Castle and the Unseen Thing that lived in
the Pit. The Pit itself is real joy. It was covered always by the tide,
but could be distinguished by a darker shadow on the surface of the
sluggish stream, a shadow streaked at times by wavering bands of greyish
slime, strangely agitated.... There were smells, too, dank, sodden,
drowned smells that came in upon the sea mist. Moreover, Deeping Castle
I can only describe as an eligible residence for the immortal _Fat Boy_.
It was built right upon the water, within convenient distance, as the
auctioneers say, of the Pit; and between the two of them your flesh is
made to creep more than you would believe possible. As for the great
scene where the Thing finally gets out of the Pit, and comes slobbering
and sucking round the castle walls--I cannot hope to convey to you the
horror of it. Perhaps you may feel with me that Mr. Ross has been at
times a little too confident that the undoubted thrill of his bogie
would save it from being unintentionally funny. I confess I did laugh
once in the wrong place. But everywhere else I shivered with the fearful
joy that only the best in this kind can produce.

       * * *

I remember that I have before this admired the mixture of cheerful
cynicism and dry humour that is the speciality of Mr. MAX RITTENBERG. He
has shown it again in _Every Man His Price_ (METHUEN), but hardly, I
think, to quite the same effect as formerly. My feeling about the book
was that it started with a first-class idea for a plot of comedy and
intrigue, but that the author, instead of being contented with this,
wanted to give us a novel of character-development on the grand scale,
and somewhat spoilt his work in the attempt. The earlier chapters could
hardly have been better. There was a real snap in the struggle between
the English hero, _Hilary Warde_, who had nearly perfected a system of
wireless telephony, and the Berlin magnates who wished to bluff him out
of the results. As I say, I liked these early scenes and some others
subsequently that dealt with rather sensational finance (it always
cheers me up when the hero makes half-a-million pounds in a single
chapter!) better than those that had to do with _Warde's_ domestic
entanglements and the deterioration of his character. And the climax
seemed inadequate to the point of bathos. But there is much in the tale
to enjoy; and you might read it if only for a vivid word-picture of what
Berlin used to be like before the beginning of the great _débâcle_. This
has now an interest almost historical.

       *       *       *       *       *



       *       *       *       *       *


    The Turkish Ambassador left Paris yesterday on a visit to Biarritz.
    He announced before leaving that he would return. This was the first
    visit paid by the Turkish Ambassador for over a fortnight. He did
    not see Sir Edward Grey, but had a long conference with Sir Arthur
    Nicolson, Permanent Under-Secretary."

    _Edinburgh Evening News._

The only possible answer to this extraordinary conduct was a declaration
of war.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Punch or the London Charivari, Vol. 147, November 11, 1914" ***

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