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Title: Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 158, June 16, 1920
Author: Various
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 158, June 16, 1920" ***

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Punch,

or the London Charivari

Volume 158, Jan-Jul 1920

June 16, 1920



CHARIVARIA.


"The Bolshevists," says a gossip writer, "do not always rob Peter to
pay Paul." No, they sometimes just rob Peter.

* * *

A Yarmouth report anticipates a shortage of herrings. It is said that
the PRIME MINISTER has a couple of second-hand red ones for disposal
which have only been drawn across the path once or twice.

* * *

"One of the Kaiser's mugs," says a news item, "has just been sold in
New York for forty pounds." We have suspected for some time that he
was a double-faced fellow.

* * *

"There should be no temptations to crime in so beautiful a spot," said
Mr. Justice COLERIDGE when presented with white gloves at the Anglesey
assizes. The sentiment is thought to be as old as ADAM.

* * *

"If it is necessary to strengthen the hands of the military in
Ireland," said Mr. LLOYD GEORGE, "the Government will certainly do
so." Our own view is that they should be protected even if it means
sending the Reserve of Special Constables to do it.

* * *

According to the Ministry of Transport, there is only one motor-car to
every one hundred and twenty people in Great Britain. The necessity of
fixing a maximum bag of pedestrians per car does not therefore arise.

* * *

A purple-eyed fish, eleven feet long, with a horn on its nose and no
teeth, has been caught at San Diego, California. That is the sort of
thing that makes Prohibition a secondary issue.

* * *

As the result of some remarks let drop by the crew and repeated by the
ship's parrot, several hundred bottles of liquor were found on board
the _S.S. Curaçao_ by the San Francisco port authorities. It is now
suggested, in the interests of philology, that the parrot should be
put back to hear how the crew takes it.

* * *

A young man while fishing on the Wye landed a wallet containing
twenty-two one-pound Treasury notes. A correspondent writing from
North of the Tweed inquires what bait the fellow was using.

* * *

The POSTMASTER-GENERAL points out that five hundred new telephones are
to be erected in rural districts. Local residents should at least be
grateful for this little friendly warning.

* * *

It is reported that M. KRASSIN told the PREMIER all about Russia. Mr.
LLOYD GEORGE was very interested, as he had often heard of the place.

* * *

With the letter postage at twopence, we read, it is in many cases just
as cheap to telephone. And in some cases just as quick.

* * *

"Will Wilde meet Beckett?" asks a headline. We can only say that we do
not intend to stand in their way.

* * *

General VON KLUCK has been telling somebody that he lost the battle of
the Marne by a fluke. As we can't have the War over again we must let
the matter remain at that.

* * *

According to an evening paper a temperance speaker fainted during a
procession in a Kentish town, and was immediately carried into a shop
and brought round by whisky. The report that on being informed of this
fact he again went off into a faint is happily without foundation.

* * *

A man aged seventy-six was charged last week with threatening to shoot
a West-End family of six. It is said that his parents intend to plead
the baneful influence of the cinema.

* * *

The fact that at least seven people have expressed their intention of
swimming the English Channel this year draws attention once more to
the lack of accommodation on our cross-Channel steamers.

* * *

A wheelbarrow has been presented to the parishioners of Hornchurch,
Essex. We have maintained all along that the motor-car craze would
wear itself out in time.

* * *

On April the 21st the Maharajah of BIKANIR shot his hundredth tiger.
All efforts to induce him to join the R.I.C. have so far failed.

* * *

The case is reported of a hen which lays an egg each morning on her
master's bed and then pecks his cheek to wake him up at the proper
time for breakfast. Guess where this happens. America? Right.

* * *

We understand that in view of the paper shortage the West Drayton man
who managed to get through on the telephone last week has abandoned
the idea of writing a book about it.

* * *

Much annoyance is said to have been caused to one bricklayer last
week. It seems that just before the dinner hour somebody kicked away
the brick he had laid and the unfortunate fellow had to start the day
all over again.

* * *

According to _The Manila Bulletin_ the cost of living is going to
fall. Not on us, we trust.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _'Arry._ "THEY'RE TALKIN' ABAHT DOIN' GREEK PLAYS AN'
PAGEANTS AN' ALL SORTS O' LOOPY STUNTS AT 'AMPSTEAD ON BANK 'OLIDAYS."

_'Arriet._ "LUMME! IT'LL GIT THE PLACE A BAD NAME."]

       *       *       *       *       *

The Hire Education.

    "Required, an Assistant Teacher (Lady), with option of
    purchase."--_Australian Paper._

       *       *       *       *       *

"Ex-Soldier's Tale.

    NOTE TO WAR PRISONER HIDDEN IN CHEESE."

_National News._

We should like to hear more of the prisoner and his novel
hiding-place.

       *       *       *       *       *

MAY-WEEK.

    [Addressed affectionately to the author of "May-Week Then and
    Now" in _The Times_ of last Wednesday.]

  Though forty years have done their worst
    To change us to the sere and brown,
  Since we in verdant freshness first
    Assumed the triple-chevroned gown,
  As I perused _The Times_ this very day week
    Your statement thrilled me through and through--
  How people still go gathering nuts in May-week
            Much as they used to do.

  The courts their dun-grey habit keep,
    Their velvet-green the sacred lawns;
  The rooks that marred our matin sleep
    Still devastate the golden dawns;
  Beneath my westward windows still the same bridge
    Sags in the centre as of old;
  In fact, in all essential matters Cambridge
            Preserves its ancient mould.

  Slight innovations have occurred
    That rudely on your senses strike;
  Our innocence had never heard
    The hooting of the motor-bike;
  And though you might approve, with your rich tresses,
    The vogue of leaving off your hat,
  I with a crust that loathes the wind's caresses--
          I should revolt at that.

  But for the rest there's little strange;
    Still Cam pursues his torpid way;
  'Tis we alone who suffer change
    (I could not stick the course to-day);
  New generations lash the same old river,
    Spurt up the Long Reach, bump and sup;
  What if we pass, through weight of years or liver?
            Somebody keeps it up.

  Time may have weaned us long ago
    With even sterner heights to win
  Than when the once resilient toe
    Was apt to dance the daylight in;
  No doubt we've grown in wisdom since we started,
    But I would give my head (with brain)
  Just to be back there, young and agile-hearted,
            Just for one June again.

  O. S.

       *       *       *       *       *

AUTHORSHIP FOR ALL.

    [In this series Mr. Punch presents a few specimens of the work
    of his newly-established Literary Ghost Bureau, which supplies
    appropriate Press contributions on any subject and over
    any signature. Terms and simple self-measurement form on
    application.]

I.--THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF GENIUS.

_By Miss Dinkie Devereux, the renowned Film Favourite._

The Editor of _The Weekly Newsbag_ has kindly asked me to write
an article on the duty which we denizens of Flickerland owe to
the public. This, it happens, is a subject that has long given me
"furiously to think," as a witty Frenchman once said in French. It may
be of interest, by the way, to state that I am myself partly of Gallic
extraction, my mother having been a Lyons girl before she was enabled
to open a tea-shop of her own; and, although born and bred in what
I am proud to call my native country, I can even now act just as
fluently in a French film as in an all-British production.

But I must not let my thoughts run away with my pen, fascinating
though such cross-country excursions may be. To return to my appointed
topic, heavy indeed is the burden that is laid on the back of a cinema
star. You who know me only as the reigning queen of countless
Palaces may possibly imagine that my life is spent in flitting
butterfly-fashion from film to film, existing only for the golden
moment. But one is not born a butterfly, nor does one remain so
without constant effort. The strenuous nature of my labours indeed
necessitates frequent periods of recuperation, which I seek either
in my Highland fastness, or on my Californian peach-farm, or amid
the lotus-bushes of my villa on the Riviera. This, then, is one of my
first duties to the public--to preserve that Heaven-sent talent which,
in the words of mighty MILTON, "is death to hide." (MILTON, I may
say, is my favourite poet next to GEORGE R. SIMS, and "Odont" is my
favourite mouth-wash.)

But the intervals between pictures are not all play. When I receive
notice of a forthcoming production in which my services are entreated
(and I owe it to humanity not to refuse my co-operation provided
certain bothersome preliminaries of a financial nature are
successfully negotiated), I spend a considerable time steeping myself
in the atmosphere of the part I am to fill. One of my most famous
_rôles_, as I need hardly mention, is that of _Lilian the Lift-Girl_,
in the great Solomonson six-reeler, _Ups and Downs_. In order to
prepare for this momentous undertaking I used to visit Whiteridge's
Stores daily and devote an hour or so to travelling in the elevators;
only thus could I hope to attain the proper perspective. The
attendants of course knew me well and used to ply me with gifts of
chocolates, etc.; but after a time I was compelled to refuse these
touching offerings because my chauffeur has a tendency to biliousness.

Then there is the sacred duty of looking after what my Press agent
is good enough to call my "unearthly charm." I do not agree with
the _dictum_ that "we are as Heaven made us," and I am sure no film
enterprise could carry on successfully on those lines. Of course
you must have something to work upon, and for the bare edifice of my
beauty, which in all humility I admit was raised by other hands than
mine, I claim no special praise. But I think I may justly take
credit for the structural alterations I have effected and for the
self-sacrificing labours I have willingly undergone to maintain each
of my features at its maximum efficiency; to these the advertisement
columns of the papers bear constant testimony.

(In passing let me observe that I have always found Mrs. Phipps's
Face-Fodder of invaluable assistance in "that fierce light which beats
upon the screen," as dear old TENNYSON--another great favourite of
mine--so nearly said.)

Naturally enough the public is always ravenous for information
concerning the minutest details of my life, and to prevent
disappointment in this respect I send the Press a daily budget of
my doings, entitled _Dinkie Day by Day_. That is another burden I
cheerfully shoulder, and by this method my admirers are kept fully
acquainted with what I may call the real me--with the heart that
beats beneath the shadowed counterfeit. Nevertheless at times the most
absurd rumours get abroad. Recently, for example, I saw it stated in
quite a reputable organ that my favourite jam is blackberry-and-apple;
as a matter of fact I find all jams ruinous to the figure, and as a
tea-relish I usually limit myself to the more ascetic bloater-paste,
with salmon-and-shrimp as an occasional variant.

My pet hobby is collecting precious stones, and my favourites among
these are pearls and diamonds, especially of the larger variety.
Frequently admirers of my art who know of this harmless foible are
good enough to add to my collection, and these spontaneous tributes
are among the compensations of a life dedicated at every moment of the
day to the public service.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: DIRECT REACTION.

LABOUR EXTREMIST. "HE'S A BIT TOO QUICK ON THE REBOUND."

[Mr. LLOYD GEORGE gave a very straight answer to the representative of
those members of the National Union of Railwaymen who had refused
to handle munitions intended for the defence of the Royal Irish
Constabulary against murderous attack.]]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: HOLIDAY GOLF.

_Landlady_ (_showing apartments in the vicinity of famous links_).
"OH, YOU'LL BE QUITE COMFORTABLE HERE, SIR; YOU SEE, WE'RE USED TO
GOLFERS."]

       *       *       *       *       *

ANOTHER DOG DISPUTE.

As far as was revealed by the torn remnants of posters adhering to
Farmer Pyke's barn, the only event of importance in Little Spudsey
since the letting by auction of fifty-seven acres of summer keeping in
April, 1918, was the Rural District Council Election in March, 1920.
Conspicuous mention was made of Pyke, Cluttrel and Gedge, Coalition
Candidates, who had apparently coalesced to crush one Winch,
Independent. I was endeavouring to discover his fate when old William
Trimble doddered along.

"Marnin', Mr. Lomax," he said; "you be back at last?"

I could not deny the fact.

"There be only Hosea Bennett an' George Riley to coom now, an' the
toll'll be complete."

"Where are they now?" I asked.

"George be in India, or leastways 'e was, an' Hosea's at Cologny.
They'm both expected back by Saturday fortnit, an' th' question which
on 'em really owns th' Yarkshire tarrier'll have to be settled once
an' for all. Yon election hinged on it."

"I'm afraid I've forgotten the details, William," I confessed lamely.

"You'll surely remember th' little Yarkshire tarrier as strayed into
th' village in the summer o' '14," said William. "Hosea claimed it as
his'n by right of hollering it first, but George rackened him givin'
it a bit o' bacon-rind from 'is lunch med 'im th' rightful owner. It
stayed a few days wi' Hosea, then George 'ticed it away, an' generally
it hung to the one as happened to have th' biggest bone. Feeling ran
high atween them till, after the harvest 'ad bin got in, Mr. Gedge, at
The Chequers, axed George what about j'ining up.

"'What, an' give Hosea a free run wi' th' tarrier?' said George. 'Not
blessed likely.'

"Hosea for his part said 'e weren't going to budge while th' village
were infested wi' dog-stealers; so Mr. Gedge 'e says, 'Hand th' dog to
me. I'll howd it wi'out fear nor favour, an' when you both cooms back
we'll have it properly arbitrated on.'

"So Hosea j'ined the Infantry an' George went into th' Yeomanry. There
was some friction when George first coom on leave an' Mr. Gedge let
'im have th' tarrier for a day's ratting. Th' Bennett family said it
were breaking the agreement, but Mr. Gedge said it were a patriotic
duty to give th' lads a bit of amusement when they came on leave, an'
'e 'd undertake the Rileys 'ud make no objection when Hosea coom home.
But it made a lot 'o coolness atween th' families, an' when Hosea were
wounded in '15 the Bennettses as good as said th' Rileys weren't no
better nor pro-Germans in not giving up their claim to th' tarrier.
Public opinion were with Hosea at that time, but it veered round to
George when 'e won th' Military Medal in '16.

"However, George got orders to go East in '17, an' Hosea had pretty
frequent leaves and were allus parading th' dog outside the Rileys'
cottage. About the end o' '18 owd Ephraim Riley got tired of it and
went to see Mr. Gedge on th' subject.

"'Fair's fair,' he says, 'an' Hosea ain't no right to be worming 'is
way into that dog's affections while George can't get home.'

"'There's summat in that,' said Mr. Gedge; an' next time Hosea cooms
home 'e finds the dog in pound, so to speak.

"'Very good,' says he; 'I don't coom home again till George is here.'

"In th' spring of '19, 'bout the time as the tarrier--which was
getting owd and cantankerous--bit Wilfred Browitt in th' leg, we heerd
that George weren't likely to be back for a longish time, an' Hosea
wrote to say in that case he'd take on in th' Army for another year.
Then we had mower excitement, for it was said that Winch, a new-comer,
had put up for th' Council, an' it 'ud mean an election. Fowks were so
used to Farmer Pyke an' Mr. Gedge and Mr. Cluttrel setting that they
rackened they didn't need to be voted on, but would go in automatic.
However, there were a meetin' in th' parish-room, an' when Chairman
axed if anyone 'ad any questions Wilfred Browitt got up an' said:

"'Who owns tarrier, Hosea Bennett or George Riley?'

"It were well known that Wilfred were a mean-sperrited crittur as only
wanted to know from which one 'e 'd be likely to get compensation for
th' bite on his leg. So Mr. Gedge 'e rose an' answered:--

"'It's well known Mr. Pyke nor Mr. Cluttrel nor self can't say
anything on the matter, as it is sub-judish till th' lads coom home.'

"'What do you say, Mr. Winch?' persisted Wilfred.

"'I declare for George Riley,' said Winch boldly, 'him being the first
to give it sustenance.'

"There were a great sensation at that, an' it showed the cunningness
o' Winch. He knew the Rileys were intermarried wi' half th' village
and all George's relations 'ud be bound to vote for 'im after he'd
declared for them. And so it proved, for, though th' Bennettses
rallied everyone they could for th' Coalitioners, they weren't strong
enough, an Winch got in in place o' Mr. Cluttrel."

"Still," I remarked, "the question of ownership isn't settled."

"No, that'll be settled Saturday fortnit. It'll be a rare set-back for
Winch if the verdict goes to Hosea."

"But in any case the terrier is sure of a good home," I said.

"Well, as to that," replied William, "it were the principle o' the
thing that were at stake. When th' tarrier bit Wilfred Browitt in '19
he chased it out of th' village wi' his stick, an' nobody ain't seen
it since."

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Host_ (_to guest, who is helping him to make a
pergola_). "DON'T LEAN ON IT, YOU SILLY ASS! YOU'LL HAVE IT DOWN."]

       *       *       *       *       *

Our Modest Advertisers.

    "TO BE LET.--Charming Little Gentleman's Pleasure
    Farm."--_Field._

       *       *       *       *       *

    "A Northampton Corporation report states that contractor's
    workmen have applied for permission to work longer hours."

_Daily Chronicle._

We understand that the Labour Party will at once order the Ministry of
Health to take steps to isolate these cases, and that there is little
danger of a spread of the epidemic.

       *       *       *       *       *

A PRISCILLA DIALOGUE.

There is probably some way by which a young female child can be led
through easy stages of Socratic dialogue to the idea of ultimate truth
in morals as well as art. There is probably some way of talking to
such a child without being badly scored off. But I do not seem to
have the gift. This is the more unfortunate because the thing usually
happens before I have finished my breakfast, and nothing is quite so
damaging to my self-esteem as to be soundly snubbed in my own house
before the day's work has begun.

Mind you I do not honestly believe that my logic is at fault. I
believe that there is usually a flaw in the reasoning of the child.
But you cannot very well say to an infant of three, "You are now being
guilty of an undistributed middle or a _petitio elenchi_ or whatever
it is." She would do what I have heard even older women do in like
circumstances. She would change the subject at once. Perhaps the
MONTESSORI system ... But let us take a typical case.

I found her sitting at a large table by the dining-room window, in a
high chair that left her red shoes eighteen inches from the ground, a
complete doll's tea service in front of her and a small stuffed lamb
on her right-hand side. The tea-pot appeared to contain real water
and the sugar-basin real sugar, and although she was supremely busy
watering and sugaring and rearranging her cups and jugs and spoons
she greeted me with the composure of an experienced _châtelaine_. Our
conversation went something like this:--

_She._ Will you have any cup of tea?

_I_ (_having drunk a small cup of water with a very little real sugar
and a large quantity of real grit in it_.) Thank you. How delicious!
But I must go and have my breakfast now.

_She_ (_taking no notice at all and offering me a small fragment of
moist toast_). Will you have any piece of cake?

_I._ Thank you. What lovely plum-cake!

_She_ (_with infinite scorn_). Ho! that isn't _plum_-cake. There isn't
any plums in it. It's _choclat_ cake.

_I_ (_humiliated_). Oh, well, I don't think I will have any more tea,
thank you.

_She_ (_coldly_). I'm going to give my lamb tea now.

[_The method of giving tea to a lamb, in case it is not generally
known, is to plaster the lamb's nose with spoonfuls of sugar and
then lick off the sugar with one's tongue. At least that is the way
Priscilla does it._]

_I_ (_reprovingly from the breakfast-table_.) What a funny way to give
your lamb tea, Priscilla.

_She._ My lamb says he likes having his tea like this. (_A longish
pause._) Please will you draw me a picsher?

_I._ What kind of a picture?

_She._ A picsher of a house.

_I._ What kind of a house?

_She_ (_in one long breath_). A purple house with a yellow roof and
blue curtains and a green door and rose-trees with red roses and
hollyhocks and a dear little pussy-cat and a motor-car coming up the
drive.

[_This is executed in coloured crayons with a rapidity born of
hunger and long practice, and passed to the Hanging Committee for
inspection._]

_She_ (_examining it critically_). Ho! that isn't a _door_.

_I._ Yes, it is, Priscilla. It's a very nice _door_.

_She._ It isn't a door. It hasn't any knocker.

[_After all, when_ is _a door not a door? I finish the joinery job and
carry on with my bacon._]

_She_ (_suddenly_). There isn't any sun.

[_I sketch in the regulation pattern of circular sun, with eyes, a
nose and a smile complete._]

_She._ That isn't a sun. It hasn't any hair.

_I._ The sun doesn't have any hair, Priscilla.

_She_ (_decisively_). Nurse has hair.

[_This really seems unanswerable. Having amended Phoebus Apollo
I start in with my marmalade. After a lapse of a few minutes a low
hammering is heard from somewhere on the floor at the far side of the
table._]

_I._ Whatever are you doing, Priscilla?

_She._ Sooing my horse.

[_She is discovered beating the wheels of a grey wooden flat-backed
animal on a stand with a hammer procured from heaven alone knows
where._]

_I._ Well, don't hit him on the wheels, anyhow. (_A pause, subdued
noises and a sigh._) What are you doing now, Priscilla?

_She._ Sooing him on his back.

_I._ Doesn't that hurt him?

_She._ It hurts him very much, but he doesn't _say_ anything.

[_I come round to give veterinary advice._]

_I._ Don't you love your horse, Priscilla?

_She._ Yes, he's my friendly horse.

_I._ Well, don't bang him about like that; all the paint's coming off
him.

[_The carpet is in fact bestrewn with small flakes of grey paint from
the unhappy creature's flanks._]

_She_ (_derisively_). Ho! that isn't paint. That's snorts.

_I_ (_helplessly_). Whatever do you mean?

_She._ That's snorts. Snorts from his mouf. White snorts.

_I._ But why is your horse snorting from his mouth, Priscilla?

_She._ He's snorting from his mouf because I'm sooing him on his back.

Well, there you are, you know; what is one going to do about it? There
is a sort of specious plausibility about these replies after all; I
am no farrier, but I should think it quite likely that if you shoed
a cart-horse long enough on the back with a large enough hammer he
_would_ snort white snorts from his mouth; and it's no use telling the
girl that she can't jump from realism to romance in that disingenuous
manner. Besides she might start hammering the wheels again. Or else
she would say that her horse _said_ he was snorting, and who am I to
contradict a British horse? I used to consider myself pretty good at
what are called back-answers and I still believe that with a little
practice I could hold my own in Whitechapel or the House of Commons,
but there are subtle transitions about Priscilla's method of argument
with which only a Prime Minister could cope. It carries too many guns
for me. It cramps my style.

V.

       *       *       *       *       *

A CORNISH COTTAGE.

  Beside the clock two spaniels stand,
    Two china spaniels golden-spotted;
  On a lace d'oyley (contraband)
    Beams a red-faced geranium (potted).

  Framed portraits rest on woollen mats,
    Black-bearded smugglers with their spouses;
  The gentlemen wear bowler hats,
    The ladies sport their Sunday blouses.

  Two pictures decorate the wall,
    Vesuvius spouting sparks and ashes,
  The brig _Calypso_ in a squall,
    Full-sailed despite the lightning flashes.

  Without, the dark Atlantic flings
    Against the cliff its booming surges,
  And, as a shell, the snug room rings
    With its reverberating dirges.

  Against the door the night winds rave
    Like outcast dogs, their lot deploring;
  Triumphant over wind and wave
    Rises my landlord's lusty snoring.

  PATLANDER.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "There was one summer when he lived by himself in a lonely old
    houseboat on the Thames, from which he paddled himself ashore
    every morning in a top-hat."--_Daily Paper._

The drawback to this kind of craft is that it only accommodates a
single skull.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: MANNERS AND MODES.

MR. GILEAD P. BLOGGS (U.S.A.) ORDERS FOR HIS NEW DINING-ROOM AT
PITTSBURGH A COLOSSAL PICTURE REPRESENTING A HOSPITABLE SIDEBOARD, TO
KEEP ALIVE HIS MEMORIES OF "WET" AMERICA.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration:

_Accused_ (_just dismissed_). "MANY THANKS! WHAT SHOULD I HAVE DONE
WITHOUT YOU?"

_Counsel._ "OH, ABOUT SIX MONTHS."]

       *       *       *       *       *

LITTLE BITS OF LONDON.

BILLINGSGATE.

In order to see Billingsgate properly in action it is necessary to get
up at half-past four and travel on the Underground by the first train
East, which is an adventure in itself. The first train East goes at
three minutes past five, and there are large numbers of people who
travel in it every day; by Charing Cross it is almost crowded. It is
full of Bolshevists; and I do not wonder. One sits with one's feet up
in a first-class carriage, clutching a nice cheap workman's ticket and
trying hard to look as if, like the Bolshevists, one did this every
day.

On arriving at the Monument Station one walks briskly past the
seductive announcement that "THE MONUMENT IS NOW OPEN," and plunges
into a world of fish. I have never been able to understand why fish
is so funny. On the comic stage a casual reference to fish is almost
certain to provoke a shout of laughter; in practice, and especially
in the mass, it is not so funny; it is like the Government, an
inexhaustible source of humour at a distance, and in the flesh
extraordinarily dull.

Over the small streets which surround the market hangs a heavy pall
of fishy vapour. The streets are full of carts; the carts are full of
fish. The houses in the streets are fish-dealers' places, more or less
full of fish. The pavements are full of fish-porters, carrying fish,
smelling of fish. Fragments of conversation are heard, all about
fish. Fish lie sadly in the gutters. The scales of fish glitter on the
pavements. A little vigorous swimming through the outlying fisheries
brings you to the actual market, which is even more wonderful. Imagine
a place like Covent Garden, and nearly as big, but entirely devoted to
fish. In the place of those enchanting perspectives of flower-stalls,
imagine enormous regiments of fish-stalls, paraded in close order and
groaning with halibut and conger-eel, with whiting and lobsters and
huge crabs. Round these stalls the wholesale dealers wade ankle-deep
in fish. Steadily, maliciously, the great fish slide off the stalls
on to the floor; steadily the dealers recover them and pile them up
on their small counters, or cast them through the air on to other
counters, or fling them into baskets in rage or mortification or sheer
bravado.

The dealers are men with business-faces, in long white coats,
surprisingly clean. Every now and then they stop throwing crabs into
baskets or retrieving halibut from the floor, and make little entries
in long note-books. I do not know exactly what entries they make, but
I think they must all be in for some competition, and are making notes
about their scores; one man I watched had obviously just beaten the
record for halibut-recovery. He recovered so many in about a minute
that the tops of his boots were just beginning to show. When he had
done that he made such long notes in his book about it that most of
the halibut slid on to the floor again while he was doing it. Then he
began all over again. But I expect he won the prize.

Meanwhile about a million fish-porters are dashing up and down the
narrow avenues between the fish-stalls, porting millions of boxes of
fish. Nearly all of them, I am glad to say, have been in the army or
have had a relative in the army; for they are nearly all wearing the
full uniform of a company cook, which needs no description. On their
heads they have a kind of india-rubber hat, and on the india-rubber
hat they have a large box of fish weighing about six stone--six
_stone_, I tell you. This box they handle as if it was a box of
cigars. They pick it up with a careless gesture; they carry it as
if it was a slightly uncomfortable hat, and they throw it down with
another careless gesture, usually on to another box of fish; this
explains why so many of one's herrings appear to have been maimed at
sea.

When they have finished throwing the boxes about they too take out a
note-book and make notes about it all. This, it seems, is to make
sure that they are paid something for throwing each box about. I don't
blame them. It must be a hard life. Yet if I thought I could pick up
six stone of salmon and plaice and throw it about I should sign on at
Billingsgate at once. It is true they start work about five; but they
stop work, it seems, about ten, and they earn a pound and over for
that. Then they can go home. Most of them, I imagine, are stockbrokers
during the rest of the day.

And they are a refined and gentlemanly body of men. I hope the old
legend that the fish-porter of Billingsgate expresses himself in
terms too forcible for the ordinary man is now exploded; for it is a
slander. In fact it is a slander to call him a "porter;" at least in
these days I suppose it is libellous to connect a man falsely with
the N.U.R., if only by verbal implication. But, however that may be,
I here assert that the Billingsgate fish-porter is a comparatively
smooth and courteous personage, and, considering his constant
association with fish in bulk, I think it is wonderful.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Connoisseur (smoking cigarette stump just thrown away
by passer-by)_. "EITHER TERBAKKER ISN'T WOT IT WOS--OR THESE 'ERE
TOFFS AIN'T."]

       *       *       *       *       *

At the far end of the market is the river Thames; and on the river
Thames there is a ship or two chockful of fish. Fish-porters with a
kind of _blasé_ animation run up and down a long gangway to the ship
with six-stone boxes of fine fresh whiting on their heads. These
boxes they pile up on a chute (carefully noting each box in their
note-books), after which an auctioneer auctions the boxes. This is the
really exciting part of the show. The dealers or the dealers' agents
stand round in a hungry ring and buy the boxes of fish as they slide
down the chute. The dealers seem to detail a less cultured type of man
for this purpose, and few of the bidders come up to the standard of
refinement of the fish-porters. But the auctioneer understands them,
and he knows all their Christian names. He can tell at a glance
whether it is Mossy Isaacs or Sam Isaacs. He is a very clever man.

They stand round looking at the boxes of fish, and when one of them
twitches the flesh of his nose or faintly moves one of his eyelashes
it means that he has bought six stone of whiting for thirty shillings.
That is the only kind of sign they give, and the visitor will be wise
not to catch the auctioneer's eye, or blow his nose or do any overt
action like that, or he may find that he has bought six stone of
salmon and halibut for forty-five shillings. At an auction of fish it
is true to say that a nod is as good as a wink; in fact it is worse.

The dealers are silent motionless men; but nobody else is. Everybody
else is dashing about and shouting as loud as he can. As each box of
fish is sold the porters dash at it and shout at it (of course in a
very gentlemanly way) and carry it off in all directions. It is quite
clear that nobody knows who has bought it and where it is going. The
idea of the whole thing is to impress the visitor with the mobility
of fish, and this object is successfully attained. No doubt when the
visitors have gone away they settle down and decide definitely whom
the fish belongs to.

It is now about half-past six. Fish is still rushing in at one end
from the ship and is rushing in at the other from the railway-vans.
The porters are throwing the fish at the dealers' stalls (registering
each hit in their note-books), and the dealers are throwing it on
to the floor or throwing it at each other or trying to throw it at a
retailer, who always puts on a haughty air and passes on to the next
stall, till he too gets entangled in the game and finds that he has
bought twenty-four stone of whiting at twopence a pound; then he
throws it at some more porters, and the porters dash outside and throw
it at the carts, and the carts clatter away to Kensington, and my
wife buys a whiting at tenpence a pound, and the circle of fish
organisation is complete.

At about this point it is a good thing to pass on to Covent Garden and
buy some flowers.

A. P. H.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Aspiring Solicitor_ (_speaking in telephone with the
idea of impressing supposed client_). "YES, TELL THE LORD CHANCELLOR
I WILL LUNCH WITH HIM, AND SHALL BE VERY HAPPY TO GIVE HIM THE BENEFIT
OF MY ADVICE IN THE MATTER HIS LORDSHIP MENTIONED. GOOD-BYE. NOW WHAT
CAN I DO FOR YOU, SIR?"

_Supposed Client._ "WELL, I'VE COME ABOUT YOUR TELEPHONE, SIR, WHICH
I UNDERSTAND FROM YOUR LETTER TO US HAS BEEN COMPLETELY OUT OF WORKING
ORDER SINCE YESTERDAY."]

       *       *       *       *       *

A Record Crash.

From "Sayings of the Week" in a Sunday paper:--

    "With the aerial world at our feet we are making no effort to
    grasp it.--_G. Holt Thomas._"

       *       *       *       *       *

CAPUA.

(_A Bolshevist's lament, designed to show that though we may appear to
be giving way rather easily to the Russian Government we have a deep
purpose in it all._)

  Silken ways and softer manners
    Bend the barbarous victor down;
  Woe unto the Soviet banners!
    M. KRASSIN is in town.

  Hark! the Lydian lute is thrumming
    Roses fall about his feet;
  He shall pardon each shortcoming,
    Conqueror he shall taste defeat.

  Puzzled, maybe slightly baffled,
    He shall get to like it all,
  Overlook the absent scaffold
    At the windows of Whitehall.

  Piccadilly, though it warps his
    Sense of justice, he shall see
  Unencumbered by the corpses
    Of a bloated _bourgeoisie_;

  Quite forget the stern aspirants
    To a nobler newer world;
  Tread the Birdcage Walk with tyrants,
    Have his hair by Bond Street curled;

  Lulled by scented airs and graces,
    Feel the Scythian ardours fade;
  Purchase underwear and braces
    In the Burlington Arcade;

  Losing for a mess of pottage
    TROTSKY'S wireless apothegms,
  Take a little country cottage
    And a houseboat on the Thames.

  Oh to think that as he lingers
    Hour by hour he needs must hook
  Round imperial palms the fingers
    Of a hand that LENIN shook.

  Commerce like an iron girder
    Props the new world and the old;
  All men know the stains of murder
    May be lightly washed with gold.

  Ah, but when the bright-eyed vulture,
    Fresh from feasting on the slain,
  Learns the way of foreign culture
    Shall his claws grow sharp again?

  So for him we weep, the Tartar
    Blood-bedabbled to his wrists,
  When his free soul sinks to barter
    With abhorred capitalists.

  Silken ways and softer manners
    Bend the sturdiest victor down;
  Woe unto the Soviet banners!
    M. KRASSIN is in town.

  EVOE.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: AIR-CRAFTINESS

BRITISH LION. "HALLO! STARTED FLYING AGAIN ALREADY?"

GERMAN EAGLE. "OH, PURELY A COMMERCIAL FLUTTER."

BRITISH LION (_to himself_). "I REMEMBER HEARING THAT SAME YARN ABOUT
THEIR NAVY. TIME I DEVELOPED _MY_ WINGS AGAIN."

["In Germany there are millions of men firmly determined to win back
by the air what they have lost by sea and on land."

_General Seeley._]]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "MANY YEARS AGO."

SIR ERIC GEDDES AT A SUNDAY SCHOOL TREAT.]

       *       *       *       *       *

ESSENCE OF PARLIAMENT.

_Monday, June 7th._--"Has the right hon. gentleman any experience
of Sunday School treats?" asked Mr. INSKIP after the MINISTER OF
TRANSPORT had announced that the railway companies, while conceding
reduced fares for these outings, could not extend the facilities to
more than one adult for every ten children. Sir ERIC GEDDES admitted
that his experience was "many years ago." There must have been "giants
in those days" among the Sunday School teachers if one of them was
able to "moderate the transports" of ten little ERICS.

The PRIME MINISTER had discarded the jaunty grey suit which he wore
last week, and in his "blacks" looked rather like a Scottish elder.
Nevertheless, when requested by Mr. MACCALLUM SCOTT to interpret the
articles of the "Auld Kirk" he declined to rush in where Mr. BONAR LAW
had feared to tread, and contented himself with the remark that this
was "a very dangerous question for a mere Southerner."

The negotiations with M. KRASSIN caused many inquiries. Mr. WILLIAM
SHAW, for example, sought a guarantee that the Bolshevists should not
be allowed to pay for the goods they might now order with the stores
that they had seized from His Majesty's Government. One is reminded
of PHIL MAY'S publican, who took the theft of his pewters
philosophically, but was moved to strong protest when the thief
brought them back in the form of bad half-crowns.

Coalitionist anxiety in regard to the PRIME MINISTER'S flirtation with
the Soviet emissary took shape in a motion for the adjournment moved
by Colonel GRETTON, who was shocked at the idea of negotiating with a
Government that depended on violence, and seconded by Admiral Sir R.
HALL, who doubted whether there was anything to be got out of
Russia. Mr. LLOYD GEORGE replied that, according to the evidence
of anti-Bolshevist refugees, there were quantities of grain and raw
materials awaiting export, while in regard to the general question he
poured much rhetorical contempt on the argument that we were never
to trade with a country that was misgoverned. What about Turkey?
What about Mexico? "You cannot always examine the records of your
customers."

Earlier in the day Sir A. GRIFFITH BOSCAWEN had moved the Second
Reading of the Agriculture Bill with so much vigour and enthusiasm
that one wondered why a Bill so vital to the national well-being
had not been introduced a little earlier. Later speakers were less
friendly. Mr. ACLAND declared that the measure was only necessary
because the Government could not keep the country out of international
difficulties. Captain FITZROY complained that the Bill did too
much for the tenant-farmer; whereas Mr. CAUTLEY described it as the
tenant-farmer's death-knell.

_Tuesday, June 8th._--The prevalent belief that Mr. CHURCHILL is
always spoiling for a fight, and is mainly responsible for all the
wars now going on in various parts of the world, is, I am ready to
believe, entirely erroneous. But there is no doubt of his desire to
"see red" so far as His Majesty's Army is concerned. The report
that the Government intended to spend three millions in putting our
soldiers back into the traditional scarlet inspired a multitude of
questions to the WAR SECRETARY this afternoon. Mr. CHURCHILL declared
it to be grossly exaggerated. Nevertheless, in political circles it
is believed that at the next election the Government can rely with
confidence upon the nurserymaids' vote.

[Illustration: MR. CHURCHILL SEES RED. ARMY UNIFORM (1) AS IT IS;
(2) AS IT WAS BEFORE THE WAR AND WILL BE AGAIN; AND (3) AS TO SUIT MR.
CHURCHILL'S MARLBOROUGH TRADITIONS, IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN.]

In resisting the proposal to make a levy on capital Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
covered the ground so exhaustively that, as Sir F. BANBURY
subsequently observed, the chief complaint to be made of his speech
was that it was not delivered three months before, when it would have
saved the money-market great anxiety and prevented much depreciation
of capital. For, according to the CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER, a levy
on war-wealth was never really practicable, and even if it had been
would have had no effect upon the amount of the floating debt, his
most pressing problem. But, if so, why not have said it at the start,
instead of setting up a Committee to try to find a solution for the
insoluble?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN'S contention that by the income-tax and super-tax
wealth was already heavily conscripted would have perhaps been better
left without illustration. His case of the gentleman with £131,000 a
year, who after paying his taxes had only £42,500 to spend, left Mr.
STEPHEN WALSH quite cold. Sir DONALD MACLEAN, by some odd process of
reasoning, came to the conclusion that the Government's decision would
be welcomed by all the enemies of capital, and announced his intention
of joining the Labour Party in the Lobby.

_Wednesday, June 9th._--The Air Navigation Bill passed through
the usually serene atmosphere of the Upper House, but not without
encountering a certain number of "bumps." Lord MONTAGU, calling to
mind the nursery saying, "if pigs could fly," was alarmed by the
possibility that "air-hogs" might interfere with the amenities, and
might even endanger the lives, of earth-bound citizens by flying over
them at unduly low altitudes. He suggested two thousand feet as a
minimum. Lord LONDONDERRY resisted the Amendment on the ground that it
was difficult to gauge the height at which aircraft flew, and thought
few airmen would care to risk the penalties provided in the Bill--a
fine of two hundred pounds and six months' imprisonment--by indulging
a taste for forbidden stunts.

At first blush you would hardly think it necessary to include the City
Corporation among the local authorities who may establish aerodromes.
The "one square mile" does not offer much encouragement to the airman
who wishes to make a safe landing. But you never can tell what may
happen. The "Old Lady of Threadneedle Street," who is said to be
contemplating an upward extension of her premises, may perhaps welcome
aeroplanes to her hospitable roof, and thereby give a new significance
to "banking" in the aviator's vocabulary.

In the Commons the anomalous position produced by President WILSON's
undertaking to delimit the boundaries of Armenia, although his country
has refused to accept the mandate for its administration, elicited
from Mr. BONAR LAW the curious explanation that the invitation to
delimit was addressed to Mr. WILSON "in his personal capacity." But
when Mr. BOTTOMLEY sought further light on this phrase Mr. LAW was
unable or unwilling to supply it. He did, however, vouchsafe the
information that, whatever America might do, this country would not
add Armenia to its existing share of "the white man's burden."

[Illustration: _Resourceful Spokesman of Picnic Party (anticipating
trouble)._ "DELIGHTED YOU WERE ABLE TO TURN UP! YOU DON'T MIND OUR
HAVING STARTED WITHOUT YOU?"]

_Thursday, June 10th._--It seems a pity that since Count DE SALIS left
Montenegro and made his famous secret report the British Government
has had no representative in that distracted country. In the absence
of official information the most diverse descriptions of its present
state gain currency. According to Lord SYDENHAM the Serbians, who wish
to incorporate Montenegro in the new Jugo-Slavia, are taking every
step to intimidate their opponents (described as ninety per cent.
of the population) and have incidentally imprisoned a number of
ex-Ministers. Lord CURZON agreed that this was quite probable,
inasmuch as ex-Ministers bore a considerable ratio to the whole
population, but otherwise challenged Lord SYDENHAM's allegations. His
own information (source not named) was that the Montenegrin majority
was in favour of Yugo-Slav union. The debate confirmed the impression
that all statements emanating from the Black Mountain should be taken
_cum grano_ DE SALIS.

In the Commons Mr. BONAR LAW was taking a day off, and, as usually
happens when the PRIME MINISTER is in charge, "a certain liveliness"
prevailed. The renewed offensive of General WRANGEL incited the
Bolshevist sympathisers to start one on their own account. An attempt
to move the adjournment was nipped in the bud by the SPEAKER. Colonel
WEDGWOOD made a gallant effort to usurp the functions of the Chair
by declaring that the matter was both definite and urgent; but Mr.
LOWTHER replied that unfortunately the decision rested with him and
not with the hon. Member.

The House then settled down to business, and gave a Third Reading to
two Bills, and a Second Reading to five others. On the Women, Young
Persons and Children (Employment) Bill Mr. BARNES took exception, not
unnaturally, to a clause permitting "the employment of women and
young persons in shifts up to ten o'clock at night," and Major BAIRD
undertook to consider the withdrawal of this equivocal piece of
draftsmanship.

       *       *       *       *       *

  "'The time has come,' the walrus said,
  'To speak of many things:
  Of shoes and ships and sealing-wax,
  Of cabbages and kings.'--(O. Henry)."

  _Free State Paper._

Where did LEWIS CARROLL? Apparently not in the Free State.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Curate_ (_discussing the drink question_). "MIND YOU,
I'M FOND OF A GLASS OF BEER. MYSELF, BUT I CAN'T INDULGE. IT DOESN'T
AGREE WITH ME."

_Rustic_ (_sympathetically_). "DEAR, DEAR! AIN'T THERE NO CURE?"]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE FUTURE OF APSLEY HOUSE.

CONFLICTING STATEMENTS.

The possibility of a super-dancing-saloon being erected on the site of
Apsley House is, we fear, likely to be relegated to the limbo of lost
opportunities.

It will be remembered that a few weeks ago London in general and the
West-End in particular was excited and delighted by the announcement
that Apsley House had been sold to an influential syndicate and
would shortly be converted into a massive and monumental block,
forty storeys high, crowned with the dancing-saloon and including
a concert-hall with the most powerful organ in the world, and
a swimming-bath with salt water conveyed by a special pipe from
Brighton.

It will also be remembered that Mr. Chumpley Swope, the chairman of
the syndicate, issued a powerful manifesto in which he explained
the purely humanitarian motives of the enterprise--to obliterate
the militaristic associations of the site; to replace an unsightly
building by a fabric which would be one of the architectural glories
of London, and simultaneously to cheer the patients in St. George's
Hospital with the sounds of harmony by night.

Unhappily the realisation of these beneficent and artistic designs
seems likely to be indefinitely postponed, to judge from the
authoritative statements made to our representative by Mr. Doremus
Pomerene, architect to the owners, and by Mr. Chumpley Swope himself.

"There never was any idea," said Mr. Pomerene, "in the minds of
the present owners, Mr. Otis Flather and Mr. Virgil Onderdonk,
of converting the site of Apsley House to the uses of a
super-dancing-saloon. Mr. Flather is a convinced opponent of the
dancing mania and President of the Anti-Tarantulation League, while
Mr. Onderdonk has always been a profound admirer of the great Duke
of WELLINGTON. Subject to the approval of the present Duke it is our
intention to re-erect Apsley House on the Playing Fields at Eton, and
utilise the site for the building of flats for the New Poor."

"The erection of a Neo-Georgian super-dancing-saloon on the Piccadilly
frontage of Apsley House," said Mr. Chumpley Swope, "has long been the
dearest dream of my heart. My first negotiations with Messrs. Shumway
and Prudden were conducted for the express purpose of facilitating the
realisation of this project. Moreover, when Mr. Flather joined me in
the purchase of the entire site his representative, Mr. Onderdonk, was
fully aware of my plans and expressed his cordial approval thereof.

"Eventually my friends and I accepted offers made to us by Mr. Flather
whereby the entire site was vested in him, subject to an agreement
that the Piccadilly frontage to a depth of two hundred kilowatts
should be reserved for the erection of the dancing-saloon, the
concert-hall and the swimming-bath.

"Owing however to the difficulties connected with the laying of the
pipe from Brighton and the unaccountable and irrational hostility
displayed by the Governing Body of St. George's Hospital the plan of
erecting this Temple of Terpsichore has fallen into abeyance and
the West-End is threatened with the loss of an educational asset of
incomparable value. I may add, however, that negotiations have been
opened with the Dean and Chapter of WESTMINSTER and that I do not
altogether despair of obtaining an alternative site and making a fresh
start with my plans for beautifying and humanising London."

       *       *       *       *       *

Limitations.

  There was a young lady of Clacton
  Whose knowledge was wide and exact on
      Jazz, jumpers and plays
      And the cinema craze;
  But she never had heard of Lord Acton.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "'Obregon signed the flag as did others at the convention,'
    said Villa. 'He kissed the mlag, and cried as he kissed it.
    Then those who wanted to break the agreement stole the blag
    with the signatures of the delegates."

    _American Paper._

This helps us a little to appreciate the confusion of Mexican
politics.

       *       *       *       *       *

PERSISTENCE OF THE MILITARY.

In pre-war days, when one's health was tested at the order of a
verbally polite but fundamentally distrustful insurance company, the
examination was a pleasant affair, conducted by a benign old gentleman
who behaved like one's own family physician.

Now all that is changed. I lately took the liberty of offering to bet
a Company that I would not live for ever, in spite of my present rude
health. In reply I was invited "to meet our medical advisers at our
office."

I arrived obediently at the appointed time and was ushered into a room
in which sat behind a table two elderly gentlemen of ultra-military
appearance. When, later, they addressed each other as "Colonel" and
"Major" I knew that they were civilian dug-outs militarised by the
War.

Colonel drew himself up and spoke to me in a C.O. voice: "Well, what
is the general state of your health?"

I felt that it was up to me to play the old war-game, even if it
ruined my chance of getting insured. I therefore started to enumerate
the various minor ailments from which I suffered.

"To begin with," I explained, "I've sprained my wrist rather badly
and--"

"That won't prevent your holding a rifle," interrupted Colonel
severely.

"Then," I continued, "sometimes I have a headache."

"Ah," said Major, "and I suppose when you run uphill your heart
palpitates like a pea in a drum?"

"Yes," I replied quickly, "it does do that. How did you know?"

Major laughed a laugh such as HINDENBURG himself might have delivered.
It was cold and mirthless and must have hurt his face.

"Come," said Colonel sharply, "let's have no more of this humbug.
Drink and smoke less and keep yourself fit; and don't come whining
before us, complaining of this and that. A few route marches will soon
set you up."

"But, seriously," I objected, "my health is not of the best and I
feel I ought to warn you that there are slight disabilities in my
constitution which----"

"Which make you," interjected Major, "of course unfit to do your
duty." His voice was like steel wire and I hated him.

"Very well, then," I answered calmly, "I will say no more."

"You'd better not," roared Colonel. "It's no use your thinking you
can impose on us. I've marked you down A1. I'm sick to death of
you fellows who try to get behind a doctor directly your comfort is
threatened. That disposes of _your_ case. About--turn!"

Mechanically I left their presence....

I don't know what the Insurance Company will make of it when they find
all their candidates passed as first-class lives. Somebody ought to
tell these doctors that the War is over.

       *       *       *       *       *

ANOTHER POST-OFFICE HOLD-UP.

Our post-office is to be found taking cover in one corner of the
village's general shop. Poetically it may be described as between the
lard and the lingerie. In prose the most interesting thing to be said
of it is that I was there this morning.

It was while I was buying a box of matches that the thought came to me
that I might as well enjoy myself thoroughly and have some stamps as
well. There was quite a crowd in the shop at the time, and we both
moved to the postal counter together. She, however, got in the first
word.

"One stamp, please," she demanded, and went on, "You'll never guess
what I want it for."

"Isn't it for a letter, then?" asked the post-mistress, as if, for
instance, stamps might be used for holding down the butter while the
bread is rubbed against it.

"Yes, but who to? That's the point. Our George!"

To me there did not seem much in this to cause a sensation, but it
did. Question and answer flew backwards and forwards as thick as
reminiscences at a regimental dinner.

"Not young George?"

"Yes, old George. We had a letter from him last week. First we'd heard
for six years."

"Lordy, lordy," said the post-mistress, "it only seems yesterday that
he went away. I remember----" and she proved it by doing so for ten
minutes with a volubility that would have made the fortune of a patter
comedian. At the first sign of a pause I found the courage to ask for
my stamps, but quite in vain. The conversation was only getting its
second wind.

"Young George, to be sure! And how is he? Tell me all about him."

I gathered that George was in the best of health and in America, was
unmarried and umpired out in a recent baseball match and wanted----"
["A dozen stamps, please." This from me.] a photograph of the old
people and his brothers and sisters. From this the transition was
easy to an uncle of the post-mistress's who went----" ["A dozen
stamps."]--to foreign parts. He always was a rolling stone, he was.
Never gathered no moss. On the other hand, there were no flies on him.
Did very well for himself, he did, and when he died----"

But it was at this point that the moisture from the margarine cask
against which I had been leaning began to make its presence felt, and,
stampless, I left the shop.

At the edge of the village I met our policeman.

"Go quickly," I implored him; "there's a hold-up at the post-office."

Perhaps "quickly" is not quite the right word, but, at any rate, he
went. I doubt if he will get promotion over the job, but I am sure he
too will like to hear about our George, if there's anything left to
say by the time he gets there.

       *       *       *       *       *

SOMETIMES.

  Some days are fairy days. The minute that you wake
  You have a magic feeling that you never could mistake;
  You may not see the fairies, but you know they're all about,
  And any single minute they might all come popping out;
  You want to laugh, you want to sing, you want to dance and run,
  Everything is different, everything is fun;
  The sky is full of fairy clouds, the streets are fairy ways--
  _Anything_ might happen on truly fairy days.

  Some nights are fairy nights. Before you go to bed
  You hear their darling music go chiming in your head;
  You look into the garden and through the misty grey
  You see the trees all waiting in a breathless kind of way.
  All the stars are smiling; they know that very soon
  The fairies will come singing from the land behind the moon.
  If only you could keep awake when Nurse puts out the light . . .
  _Anything_ might happen on a truly fairy night.

  R. F.

       *       *       *       *       *

"CRICKET.

Little Snoring Ladies _v._ Little Snoring Lads."--_Local Paper._

This match was played in Norfolk and not, as you might have expected,
in Beds.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE BROTHERHOOD OF MUSIC.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: A CAST.

_Ghillie._ "AY, SIR, THE FUSHERS ARE NO WHAT THEY WERE. YE'LL MAYBE NO
BELIEVE ME, BUT THERE WAS A MAN HERE LAST MONTH THAT HAD NAETHING BUT
A SUP O' COLD TEA IN HIS FLASK TO WET A FUSH WHEN HE CAUGHT YIN!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE PARADISE OF BARDS.

(_From an Oxford Correspondent._)

Considerable resentment has been caused in various centres of poetic
activity by the preference recently expressed by the PRIME MINISTER
for the products of Welsh minstrelsy. In a letter addressed to HUW
MENAI, the working South Wales miner poet, Mr. LLOYD GEORGE declares
that he has read his poems with the "greatest delight." If the PREMIER
had merely said "great delight" no untoward consequences would have
ensued, but the invidious use of the superlative threatens to embroil
the whole country in that internecine war recently predicted by
the Editor of _The Athenæum_ in his gloomy survey of Neo-Georgian
literature.

Meetings of protest have been held in Hampstead, at Letchworth,
Stratford-on-Avon and the Eustace Miles Restaurant, but the most
remarkable and orderly of these demonstrations was that which took
place at Boar's Hill on Saturday last, under the presidency of the
POET LAUREATE. Boar's Hill, we need not remind our readers, is _par
excellence_ the fashionable intellectual suburb of Oxford, and has
been called the "Paradise of Bards." Dr. BRIDGES in a brief opening
address, speaking more in sorrow than in anger, dealt with the
statistical side of the question. He pointed out that of the residents
at Boar's Hill one in every six was a true poet, and three out of
every five were masters of the art of prosody. There were no miner
poets on Boar's Hill. Their motto was _Majora canamus_.

Professor GILBERT MURRAY, who followed, laid stress on the perfect
harmony which reigned amongst the residents, in spite of the fact
that all schools of poetry were represented, from the austerest of
classicists to the most advanced exponents of Neo-Georgian _vers
libre_. They were a happy family, linked together by a common devotion
to the Muses, and in their daily output of verse showing a higher
unit of production than that recorded of any other community in either
hemisphere.

Mr. JOHN MASEFIELD moved the only resolution, which was carried
unanimously, to the effect that Mr. FISHER, the Minister of Education,
should be requested to convey to the PRIME MINISTER the regret of the
meeting that he should have overlooked the paramount claim of Boar's
Hill to be regarded as the Parnassus of Great Britain. In _Murray's
Guide to Oxfordshire_ it had been spoken of as "a health resort for
jaded students," but that was an obsolete libel. Constitutionally
vigorous and daily refreshed by draughts from the pellucid springs
of the Pierides, they led a life of exuberant health, as the vital
statistics of the neighbourhood would abundantly show. On Boar's Hill
people began to write poetry earlier and continued to do so later than
in any other spot in the British Isles.

Sir ARTHUR EVANS, in proposing a vote of thanks to the Chairman, made
the gratifying announcement that Mr. MASEFIELD was already engaged on
a companion poem to his "Reynard the Fox," commemorating the _genius
loci_ under the inspiring title of "The Sticking of the Pig."

       *       *       *       *       *

A Very Free Translation.

"'Have you come to make peace?'

'_Nous verrons pour cela_ ('That is what we have come for),' replied
Krassin at once."

_Daily Paper._

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Martha_ (_to ancient spouse, who has narrowly escaped
being run over by passing car_). "AN' SERVE YER RIGHT TOO IF IT 'AD
A-KNOCKED YER. YER DU GO RACIN' A'EAD--NO SENSE."]

       *       *       *       *       *

OUR BOOKING OFFICE.

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

Recent developments have given an unexpectedly topical interest to a
new book by Professor PAUL MILIUKOV, L.L.D., entitled _Bolshevism: an
International Danger_ (ALLEN AND UNWIN). The whole question of the _de
facto_ Government of Russia is so fiercely controversial that it is
not to be expected that such a work should escape violent criticism
from those for whom that Government can do no wrong, though the writer
justly claims that (however obvious his own views) he has striven to
be strictly fair to those of the enemy. The scheme of his work has
been "to trace the evolution of Bolshevism from an abstract doctrine
to a practical experiment." One may excusably find the history a grim
and menacing one. In the course of it Professor MILIUKOV tells again
the tragedy of the great betrayal (which it will do no one harm to
ponder upon just now), when the Commander of the 1st corps of the
Siberian Army reported: "A brilliant success crowned our efforts ...
there remained before us only a few fortifications, and the battle
might soon have taken the character of a complete destruction of the
enemy." But the work of M. LENIN had been too thorough; instead of a
victory that might have ended the War and saved thousands of lives, we
saw this already triumphant army, equipped through British industry,
melt into a disorganised rabble. Nor is the writer less interesting
on other aspects of his theme; in particular an exposition of the
notorious Third International and a survey of the present-moment
activities of Bolshevist propaganda, notably in our own country. No
one who wishes to read and keep for reference a clearly written and
understandable survey of the most urgent problem in modern politics
need go further than this short but highly concentrated study.

       *       *       *       *       *

_The March to Paris and the Battle of the Marne, 1914_ (ARNOLD), by
Generaloberst ALEXANDER VON KLUCK, is more of a soldiers', indeed a
staff-officers', book than any that has appeared here from the other
side. It deals exclusively with the operations of the German right
wing, VON KLUCK'S own (first) army and his _liaison_ with the second
(VON BÜLOW'S), during the move forward to the Grand Morin, the allied
counter-offensive and the establishment of the line of the Aisne--that
is from the twelfth of August to the twelfth of September. The
principal army orders are given textually. An admirable map
illustrates each day's routes and billets for his first line and
second line troops, his cavalry and the extreme right of the second
army. VON KLUCK'S explanation of his breach of the Supreme Command's
orders and the manoeuvre which exposed him to MANOURY'S stroke was
that, while ignoring the letter, he was acting in the spirit of those
orders on the information available; that a pause to fulfil them
literally would have given the enemy time to recover; that defective
intelligence kept him ignorant of the fact that the German left and
centre had been definitely held by the French (if he had known this
he would not, he says, have crossed the Marne). An examination of the
frontispiece portrait suggests that this fighting General would
easily find excellent reason for disobeying other people's orders and
maintain an obstinate defence of his own decisions once made, however
disastrous in result. Notes by the historical section (military
branch) of the Committee of Imperial Defence point out inaccuracies
and contradictions which the lay reader would be unlikely to discover
for himself. He will however, if I mistake not, appreciate a soldierly
narrative, unspoiled by "political" parentheses or underestimation of
opponents, of what was undoubtedly a great military feat. The German
right wing covered the most ground and met perhaps the toughest of the
fighting.

       *       *       *       *       *

I have found in _Lighting-up Time_ (COBDEN-SANDERSON) that all too
rare thing, a theatrical novel of which the vitality does not expire
towards the end of the fourth chapter. Obviously Mr. IVOR BROWN knows
the life of modern stageland, one would say, with the intimacy of
personal experience. More important still, he commands an easy style
and a flow of genial, not too esoteric, humour that combine to keep
the reader chuckling and curious to the last page. His title is
characteristic, _Lighting-up Time_ symbolising here that period in
the career of an actress when her possibly waning attractions need the
illumination of a judicious boom. The two main characters are
_Mary Maroon_, the leading lady, and _Peter Penruddock_, the astute
publicity agent who engages to set her upon her financial and artistic
pedestal. _Peter_, in other words, is _Mary's_ tide, taken at the
flood in chapter one, and leading her, very divertingly, on to
fortune. Both the tour of _Stolen or Strayed_ and the company that
present it are admirably true to life, while Mr. BROWN has even been
able convincingly to suggest the atmosphere of theatrical Oxford, when
in due course his mummers descend upon that home of lost comedies and
impossible revues. If I have a complaint against the book it is that a
tale of such pleasant irony hardly needed the general pairing-off with
which the author rings down his curtain; but for this Noah's Ark
I should have more easily believed in a story that entertained me
throughout.

       *       *       *       *       *

There are some forty-odd bits in _A Bit at a Time_ (MILLS AND BOON),
and they embrace a variety of subjects, ranging from crocuses in
Kensington Gardens to corpse-boats on the Tigris. They are all,
whether sentimental, satirical or pathetic, fiction of the lightest
type. Such literature was eminently readable during the War--most
of Mr. DION CLAYTON CALTHROP'S bits have to do with somebody's
"bit"--when a touch of conventional pathos and pretended cynicism
and a generous padding of humour, real or forced, provided sufficient
relaxation from the strain of anxious hours. But the wisdom of
republishing them in book form in these sober days of peace is open to
question. When Mr. CALTHROP talks satirically of "perfect officials"
or of an earnest young American aviator who writes letters home in
a United States dialect that was never heard on land or sea outside
Bayswater, or of the war-time adventures of one _Mr. Mason_, skipper,
and _Mr. Smith_, his mate, he is tolerably amusing. When he becomes
serious, as in "The Prayer of the Classical Parson" and "When the Son
Came Home," his limitations become increasingly apparent. Yet it is
in this vein that he gives us what is by all odds his best bit, "The
Chevalier of Carnaby Row." When he writes of Cupids and fauns and
Columbines and rose-leaves and the sort of young females that find
this environment congenial (in books) I like Mr. CALTHROP least.
Perhaps it is because the publishers have put his picture on the paper
cover. He looks much too stalwart and sophisticated to be toying with
such gossamer fantasies.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: LIFE'S LITTLE ANOMALIES.

HOW MANY THOUSANDS OF POUNDS HAVE BEEN OFFERED TO CARPENTER AND
DEMPSEY TO FIGHT, AND NOW HERE IS A KIND OLD LADY GIVING TWO BOYS
SIXPENCE EACH IF THEY'LL PROMISE _NOT_ TO.]

       *       *       *       *       *

I doubt whether the complications which attend the devolution of dead
men's property were created for the confusion of survivors or for the
convenience of novelists. In the case of _The Lost Mr. Linthwaite_
(HODDER AND STOUGHTON), _Mrs. Byfield_ had married _Mr. Byfield_, or
at least she thought she had, and _Mr. Byfield_ had died, supposedly
intestate. Previously _Mrs. Byfield_ had married _Mr. Melsome_, or
again she thought she had, and _Mr. Melsome_ had disappeared and was
assumed to be dead, leaving nothing behind him except a brother as
vile as himself. The following discoveries were made by her in due
sequence: That _Mr. Melsome_ was not dead and that therefore she was
not _Mrs. Byfield_ but _Mrs. Melsome_; that _Mr. Melsome_ was already
married when he purported to marry her, and that therefore she was not
_Mrs. Melsome_ but _Mrs. Byfield_; and that a solicitor's clerk was
absconding with the bulk of the _Byfield_ estate, which, of course,
was what the bother was all about. Her son, bitten with the craze for
discoveries, then discovered on his own that the late _Mr. Byfield_
hadn't died intestate. I wonder myself if he ever really died at
all.... These are what Mr. J. S. FLETCHER very aptly calls the mere
legalities; the plot, which thickens and thickens from first page to
last, concerns the handling of them by the evil but talented _Melsome_
brothers, the accidental intervention of _Mr. Linthwaite_, and the
rescue work of his admirable nephew, _Mr. Richard Brixey_, of _The
Morning Sentinel_. Mr. FLETCHER tells his story well, but up to the
very last moment I was looking and hoping for a surprise and was
suspecting those legalities of being a deception invented to make
the surprise all the greater. A first-class adventure, in my opinion
spoilt by the sacrifice of originality to technicality.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The girls, to the number of 116, escaped in their night
    attire, and displayed great coolness."--_News of the World._

Very natural.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Baron Evence Coppee, a Belgian, has been arrested on
    the charge of furnishing coal to the enemy during the
    war."--_Daily Paper._

With a name like that the copper could hardly miss him.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Sir Robert is now satisfied, I understand, that there
    is considerable merit in the adage 'all comes to he who
    waits.'"--_Daily Paper._

SIR ROBERT seems easily pleased.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "ORCHESTRA (small), or few Instrumentalists, for sea-handling
    Margarine and Butter in up-to-date style."--_Advt. in
    Provincial Paper._

But we fear that some of the stuff met with nowadays would "beat the
band."





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