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Title: Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. CL, April 26, 1916
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. CL, April 26, 1916" ***

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TRANSCRIBER'S NOTES

1. Passages in italics are surrounded by _underscores_.

2. Images have been moved from the middle of a paragraph to the
   closest paragraph break.

3. The word manoeuvre uses an oe ligature in the original.

4. Printer's inconsistencies in spelling, punctuation, hyphenation,
   and ligature usage have been retained.



PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.

VOL. CL.



APRIL 26, 1916.



CHARIVARIA.

GENERAL VILLA, in pursuit of whom a United States army has already
penetrated four hundred miles into Mexico, is alleged to have died.
It is not considered likely, however, that he will escape as easily
as all that.

       ***

"Germans net the Sound," says a recent issue of a contemporary. We
don't know what profit they will get out of it, but we ourselves in
these hard times are only too glad to net anything.

       ***

Bags of coffee taken from a Norwegian steamer and destined for German
consumption have been found to contain rubber. Once more the
immeasurable superiority of the German chemist as a deviser of
synthetic substitutes for ordinary household commodities is clearly
illustrated. What a contrast to our own scientists, whose use of this
most valuable food substitute has never gone far beyond an occasional
fowl or beefsteak.

       ***

It has been suggested that in honour of the tercentenary of
SHAKSPEARE'S birth Barclay's brewery should be replaced by a new
theatre, a replica of the old Globe Theatre, whose site it is supposed
to occupy; and Mr. REGINALD MCKENNA is understood to have stated that
it is quite immaterial to him.

       ***

"Horseflesh is on sale in the West End," says _The Daily Telegraph_,
"and the public analyst at Westminster reports having examined a
smoked horseflesh sausage and found it genuine." It is only fair to
our readers, however, to point out that the method of testing sausages
now in vogue, _i.e._ with a stethoscope, is only useful for
ascertaining the identity of the animal (if any) contained therein,
and is valueless in the case of sausages that are filled with sawdust,
india-rubber shavings, horsehair and other vegetables.

       ***

Wandsworth Borough has refused the offer of a horse trough on the
ground that there are not enough horses to use it. But there are
always plenty of shirkers.

       ***

Colonel CHURCHILL was reported on Tuesday last as having been seen
entering the side door of No. 11, Downing Street. It was, of course,
the critical stage door.

       ***

The Austrian Government has issued an appeal for dogs "for sanitary
purposes." The valuable properties of the dog for sterilising sausage
casings have long been a secret of the Teuton.

       *       *       *       *       *

Commercial Candour.

    "Real Harris Hand-Knitted Socks, _1s. 6d._: worth _2s. 6d._;
    unwearable."--_Scotch Paper._

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Shopkeeper._ "YES, I WANT A GOOD USEFUL LAD TO BE
PARTLY INDOORS AND PARTLY OUTDOORS."

_Applicant._ "AND WHAT BECOMES OF ME WHEN THE DOOR SLAMS?"]

       *       *       *       *       *

A Chance for the Illiterate.

    "Wanted, a good, all-round Gardener; illegible."--_Provincial
    Paper._

    "Gardener.--Wanted at once, clever experienced man with good
    knowledge of toms., cucs., mums., &c., to work up small
    nursery."
                                             _Provincial Paper._

One with a knowledge of nursery language preferred.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "MANCHESTER, ENG. The election of directors of the Manchester
    Chamber of Commerce resulted in the return of eighteen out of
    twenty-two directors who are definitely committed to the
    policy of no free trade with the 60th Canadian Battalion."
                                      _Victoria Colonist (B.C.)._

We hope the battalion will not retaliate by refusing protection to
Manchester, Eng.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE CURSE OF BABEL.

Let me tell you about the Baronne de Blanqueville and her grandson.

The Baronne is a Belgian lady who came to England in the early days of
the refugee movement, and established herself here in our village.

With her came her younger daughter and Lou-lou, the infant son of an
elder daughter, who had for some reason to be left behind in Belgium.

Lou-lou was a year old when, with his grandmother and his aunt, he
settled in England as an _émigré_. He was then inarticulate; now he
has gained the use of his tongue.

He has had a little English nursemaid to attend on him, and he has
become a familiar object in many English families of the
neighbourhood.

In fact, he has had a very English bringing up, and now that he is
more than two years old and can talk, he insists on talking English
with volubility and understanding it with completeness.

I may mention, by the way, that someone has taught him some
expressions unusual in so young a mouth. The other day I met him in
his perambulator. He said, "I take the air. I'm damn comfable;"
whereupon the nursemaid blushed and chid him.

That, however, is not the point--at any rate, not the whole of it.

What I wish to make clear is this: the Baronne neither speaks nor
understands English, whereas Lou-lou speaks a great deal of English
and no French at all. He rejects that language with a violent shake of
his curly head. He stamps his small foot and tells his adoring
grandmother to speak English or leave him alone.

Thus a gulf has begun to yawn between the Baronne and her beloved
Lou-lou. Communications are all but broken off. Lou-lou's aunt is in
better case, for she is slowly acquiring English; but the Baronne, I
think, will never learn _any_ English.

What is to be done?

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The rage for flower-trimming is nothing short of an
    obeisance."--_Evening Paper._

In spite of the War we still bow to the decrees of fashion.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE JOY TAX.

    [By one who is prepared to accept it like a patriot without
    further protest.]

  Now Spring comes laughing down the sky
    To see her buds all busy hatching;
      With tender green the woods are gay,
      And birds, as is their April way,
  Chirp merrily on the bough, and I
    Chirp, too, because it's catching.

  Full many a joy I must eschew
    And to the tempter's voice "No! No!" say;
      With taxes laid on all delights
      Must miss, with other mirthful sights,
  On Monday next my annual view
    Of England's Art Exposé.

  I must forgo (and bear the worst
    With what I can of noble calm) a
      Pure bliss from which I only part
      With horrid pain about the heart--
  I mean the humour unrehearsed
    Of serious British drama.

  But, thank the Lord, I need not miss
    The birds that in their leafy nook coo;
      Young Spring is mine to taste at large,
      The Ministry has made no charge
  For earth that warms to April's kiss;
    They haven't taxed the cuckoo!                          O. S.

       *       *       *       *       *

A VOLUNTEER CASUALTY.

We were "standing easy" prior to the assault on the undefended heights
of Spanker's Hill when the voice of the platoon-commander disturbed
our thoughts of home and loved ones, and particularly of our Sunday
dinners, which would be very much out of season before we could get at
them.

"Number 4," he said, in a tone that thrilled us to the bottom twist of
our puttees, "these Body-Snatchers (thus coarsely he alluded to the
Ambulance Section) have been following us all day and haven't had a
single casualty so far. That is why, in the coming advance, I shall be
wounded. Sergeant, you will take over the command, should the worst
befall. Smith and Williams, as you are both big and heavy, you'd
better be knocked out too."

It was with mingled feelings that I heard my name mentioned. In the
first place, a feeling of annoyance was engendered at having my
proportions thus publicly referred to. But other, and I trust
worthier, thoughts came to me, and, turning to my neighbour, I gave
him a few last messages of a suitably moving nature to be delivered to
my friends. The kind-hearted fellow was deeply affected, and in a
voice broken by emotion offered to take charge of my loose change, and
asked for my watch as a keepsake. I thanked him with tears in my eyes,
but said that the burial party would forward all my valuables to my
relations.

Our conversation was interrupted by the command "Platoon--'SHUN. To
the left, to six paces, ex-TEND." By an oversight the preliminary
formation usually adopted as a precaution against artillery had been
omitted, and in a moment we were advancing up the hill in open order.

Scarcely had we started when our officer, the pride of the platoon,
threw up his hands and fell. A moment later, chancing on a piece of
tempting grass, I decided to lie down, and with a choking gurgle
collapsed. As I lay on my back in an appropriate attitude (copied from
the cinema) I wondered when the stretcher-party would appear, for the
grass was damp and the April wind was chilly; but it was not long
before a bright boy, rather over than under military age, ran up and,
after a brief glance at me, began to signal with great vigour. He
meant well, and out of consideration for his feelings I restrained a
desire to tell him that he was creating a beastly draught. However, I
asked him if he had any brandy, and, on receiving an answer in the
negative, groaned deeply.

"Are you very bad?" he asked.

"No," I replied; "but if I lie here much longer I'll catch cold. Tell
your people to hurry up."

When the stretcher-party arrived they decided that I had been shot in
the chest, and, to get at the wound, began to remove my garments, till
arrested by some virile language thrown off from the part affected.
Then they began to carry me towards the gate of the park, despite the
fact that the stretcher had been meant to hold someone about six
inches shorter than I. Almost immediately the rear man, tripping on a
root, fell on top of me, and the front man, being brought to a sudden
stop, sat on my feet. When we had sorted ourselves out, and I had
stopped talking, more from lack of breath than of matter, we resumed
our journey.

After a matter of some three hundred yards the bearers began to feel
tired, and, suddenly rolling me off the stretcher, they informed me
that I was discharged as cured. Thus rapidly does a soldier of the
Volunteers recover. It speaks volumes not only for their high state of
physical condition but for the resilience of their _moral_.

       *       *       *       *       *

Intelligent Anticipation.

    "Bucharest, 8.--The 'Universul' has opened a list of
    subscriptions in favour of the widows and victims of the
    coming Austro-Roumanian war."--_Balkan News._

       *       *       *       *       *

    "'WHERE ANGELS FEAR TO TREAD' AT THE ---- PICTURE
    THEATRE."--_Hastings Observer._

The management doesn't mind so long as the fools rush in.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The Smyth-Pigotts are the owners of Brockley Court and
    Brockley Hall, near Congresbury, a pretty village which--like
    Majoribanks--is pronounced Coomesbury."--_Daily Sketch._

Just as, according to the old story, Cholmondeley is pronounced
Marjoribanks.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Monster Carnival! In aid of Returned Soldiers' Association.
    Novel Attractions!!! Realistic Egyptian Pillage, just as our
    soldiers saw it. Egyptian goods can be purchased
    here."--_Adelaide Register._

We hope this does not mean that our gallant Anzacs have been spoiling
the Egyptians.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "A LADY would like to let her beautifully furnished HOUSE or
    part, or three or four paying guests; from £2 10s. each."
                                       _Bournemouth Daily Echo._

We have heard of paying guests whom their hosts would have been glad
to part with at an even lower figure.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Notice.--Found, a Broadwood Piano. Apply, Barrack Warden,
    No. 1, Barrack Store, ---- Barracks."--_Aldershot Command
    Orders._

We think some recent criticism of Army administration is undeserved.
Care is evidently taken in regard to even little things carelessly
left about by the soldier.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "When the election does come there will be no need to ask
    these useless M.P.'s to resign. They can be kicked out, and
    there are plenty of workmen in the country who are ready to
    lend a hand at the kicking. The genuine Labour M.P. is known
    now, so also is the impostor, who, like the party hack, hails
    from nowhere."
                                         _Letter in "The Times."_

We suppose the manual kick, as described above, is the non-party hack.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: SERBIA COMES AGAIN.

THE BULGAR. "I THOUGHT YOU WERE DEAD."]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE WATCH DOGS.

XXXVIII.

MY DEAR CHARLES,--One of these days I will tell you the more intimate
history of the Corps to which I have the honour to belong, and this
will give you some cause for mirth. Its members are of all sorts, ages
and origins, and they have had between them some odd experiences since
that first day when, parading hastily in Kensington Gardens, they
wished they hadn't been quite so glib, in their anxiety to get to war,
about professing full knowledge of the ways and wiles of the motor
bicycle. One at least of them paid the price of inexactitude then and
there; he still shudders to think how, put to the test, he
unintentionally left the Park for a no less fashionable but much more
crowded thoroughfare, to arrive eventually, in the prone position, in
a byway of Piccadilly, where small fragments of the machine may still
be collected by industrious seekers of curios.

Another, whom the low cunning of the Criminal Bar enabled to avoid the
immediate test, paid the full price, with compound interest, later on.
Casual observers of the retreat, had there been any, would have become
familiar with the sight of him bringing up the rear--a very poor last.
To see him arrive, perspiring, over the brow of a hill, with his
faithful motor at his side, was to know that the Huns were at the
bottom of it. On one occasion they even beat him in the day's march,
but were too kind or too blind to seize their advantage. As usual he
was taking his obsession along with him, though, if he had but known,
he might have got it to do the work by the simple formality of turning
the petrol tap from OFF to ON. His was ever a curious life, from the
first moment of his joining the Army in tails, a bowler hat, and a
large sword wrapped in a homely newspaper. But the inward fun of it
all is not for the present, Charles; our clear old friends, the
Exigencies, forbidding.

I am reminded of it all by having just crossed with one of the
later-joined members. He came fresh from the line to a Head-quarters,
and he was walking about in a lane, working off some of his awe of his
new surroundings, when he was overtaken by a car containing a General,
who stopped and asked him what he was. So imposing was the account he
gave of himself that it was said to him, "No doubt, then, you'll know
the way to ----," a village at the back of beyond, where a division
was lying at rest. In the Army, at any rate at a Head-quarters, we all
know everything. So he said, "No doubt, Sir," hoping, if the worst
came to the worst, to give some vague directions and not to be present
when they were found wanting. But it was his bad luck to have struck
one of the more affable Generals. Could he spare the time to come
along and direct the driver?

So on to the box he got (it was a closed car) and, with the General's
eye always upon his back, he did his best as guide, a task for which
his previous career of stockbroker had ill qualified him. The first
thing to happen was that the car, proceeding down a narrow lane, got
well into the middle of a battalion on the march, which, when the car
was firmly jammed amongst the transport, ceased to be on the march,
and took a generous ten minutes' halt.... The second thing to happen
was a level crossing; which, as they approached it, changed its mind
about being a road and became a railway. A nice long train duly
arrived, and (this needs no exaggeration) stayed there, with a few
restless movements, for twenty minutes by the clock.... The third
thing to happen was that he lost himself (and the General); the fourth
was the falling of dusk, and the fifth a ploughed field, with which my
friend, alighting, had to confess that he was not so intimately
acquainted as he could have wished.

[Illustration: THE TRENCH TOUCH.

_Warrior in bunker (to caddie, who is seeing if the course is clear)._
"KEEP DOWN, YOU FOOL!"]

Had there been a scene, he could, he says, have endured the worst
bravely, standing to attention and taking it as it came. Not so,
however; his was the wrong sort of General for the purpose. As does
the partner at the dance, over whose priceless gown you have upset the
indelible ice, he said it didn't matter. He said he'd give the
division a miss, and return whence they had come. This they began to
do, when they had got the car out of the ploughed field, and this they
went on doing until the sixth thing happened, which was a burst tyre.

Again, had there been a scene, my man could have explained that this
wasn't his fault; but no one _said_ it was his fault. Equally it was
never openly alleged that he was to blame for the driver's not being
prepared with a spare wheel ready for use. But his embarrassment was
such that my man was grateful to heaven for reminding him at this
juncture of the existence of R.F.C. Head-quarters, about a kilometre
away. He said he'd run and borrow a wheel off them, and before the
General could say him nay he'd started.... He ran all the way, and
burst, panting, into the officers' mess, where he had the misfortune
to strike another itinerant General.

It never rains but it pours, and the area seemed to be infested with
Generals of quite the wrong sort. He couldn't have hit upon a more
kind and genial and inappropriate one than this. No, he wouldn't allow
a word of apology or explanation from this exhausted lieutenant until
the latter had rested and refreshed himself with a cup of tea. No, not
out of that pot; it had been standing too long. Tea which had stood
should not be drunk, for reasons detailed at length. No doubt the
Colonel, whose guest he was, would order some more to be made. It
would take two minutes--it did take twenty. No, no; there was nothing
to say and nothing need be said. It was this General's particular wish
that he should be at peace and make himself at home. Let him make his
explanations and apologies later.

Whatever you would have done, my overwhelmed friend temporized. He was
just edging the conversation round to the other General, waiting
alone in the dark wet road, when the General in the nice warm room
rose to go, commanding my friend not to disturb himself on that
account. Being a man of some years he was a slow goer; being a
General, he was not to be interrupted in his going....

I don't know exactly how it all ended, nor, you may not be surprised
to learn, does my friend, though he is always expecting to hear.

There was also on our boat a subaltern, coming to France for the first
time. He wanted me to tell him all about it. How well I know these
subalterns who want to know all about it. I was one myself once. Does
he ask you what it's like in the mud? Does he listen if you give him
details of bloodshed? Does he inquire about the food, the washing
facilities, parapet or parados; what a time-fuse does when its time
has expired, or even as to the use and abuse of the entrenching tool?
No, he's for war only, and there's only one question in war: Do you or
do you not need a Sam Browne belt in the trenches?

It is an old question; there is no solution. I told him that some say
one thing and some say another, and, as both are authorities with whom
you are not in a position to argue, the only way to get out of the
difficulty is to keep out of the trenches.

                                          Yours ever,      HENRY.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: OUR AMAZON CORPS "STANDING EASY."]

       *       *       *       *       *

From a hotel advertisement:--

    "EXCELLENT CUISINE. SEPARATE STABLES."
                                            _West-Country Paper._

The WISE KING must have had a presentiment of this arrangement when he
wrote: "Better a dinner of herbs, where love is, than a stalled ox and
hatred therewith."

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The Premier (Sir Alexander Peacock) said that many years
    ago, when the world rang with the atrocities of Turks, Rev.
    Dr. Parker startled the whole world when, in a fiery address
    on those awful atrocities which were visited on the
    Christians, he cried, 'Dod damn the Sultan.' Now, when they
    heard of the cruelties and indescribable sufferings which had
    been visited upon the innocent people in order to satisfy the
    ideas of one man they could say, 'Kod damn the Kaiser.'
    (Great cheers)."--_Sydney Daily Telegraph._

Strong language for a Premier! But the printer has done his best to
tone it down.

       *       *       *       *       *

NURSERY RHYMES OF LONDON TOWN.

VIII.--ORCHARD STREET.

  The fruit hangs ripe, the fruit hangs sweet,
  High and low in my Orchard Street,
  Apples and pears, cherries and plums,
  Something for everyone who comes.
        If you're a Pedlar
        I'll give you a medlar;
        If you're a Prince
        I'll give you a quince;
        If you're a Queen,
        A nectarine;
        If you're the King
        Take anything,
  Apricots, mulberries, melons or red and white
  Currants like rubies and pearls on a string!
        Little girls each
        Shall have a peach,
  Boys shall have grapes that hang just out of reach--
  Nothing's to pay, whatever you eat
  Of the fruit that grows in my Orchard Street.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "USEFL. hlp. ckng. no wshg. fam. 2."
                                                 _Morning Paper._

Th. is rl. wd. plp. ecnmy.

       *       *       *       *       *

A NIGHT OUT WITH A ZEPPELIN.

BY KARL VON WEEKEND

(HYPHENATED NEUTRAL).

(_Concluded._)

Beneath us--beneath, in a manner of speaking, the iron heel of the
all-conquering Fatherland--lay perfidious England. I, as a mere
layman, had, of course, not the vaguest idea as to precisely what
vital portion of the doomed island was immediately below us. Not so my
host, the Captain Sigismund von Münchhausen, who suddenly snapped
together the stethoscope through which he had been gazing and rapped
out a monosyllabic order down the speaking tube at his right hand.

"We are now," he said, turning courteously to me, "diametrically above
the entrenched camp of Little Tillingham-under-Hill." A fearful crash
sounded from the depths below and a voice muttered something through
the speaking tube. "A hit!" cried the Captain without emotion.
"Ober-Leutnant von Dachswurst reports that the Arsenal, three
munitions factories and two infant schools are in flames. Ah! Now we
have reached Birmingham!" Another crash rent the abysm. "Now Glasgow!"
A third terrific explosion was audible.

"But," I cried, "we can't have got from Birmingham to Glasgow in
thirty-five seconds." For a moment the Captain's eyes flashed angrily.
He clenched his feet, and, remembering the horrible fate of the
seasick sailor, I crouched against the bulwark. With an effort,
however, the man mastered himself. I was relieved to see an enigmatic
smile overspread his countenance.

"It is plain," he said, in the voice of one patiently rebuking a
child, "that you do not know what a German airship can do. Ah! ha!
There goes Bristol!" he added, as further detonations smote upon our
ears.

And so the hideous carnage proceeded. Grasmere, Aberystwith,
Stratford-on-Avon, Freshwater Bay and the Lizard--with dreadful
precision these teeming hives of English industry were laid waste,
incinerated, scattered to the winds in fine impalpable dust. I thought
sadly of the brave men in khaki that were being cut off by the
thousand in their prime (for the gallant Captain had taken the utmost
precaution not to drop any of his bombs in the neighbourhood of
non-combatants). But, after all, I mused, they will soon be replaced
by intelligent Germans, a blessing that civilization will not be slow
to appreciate.

At this moment the Captain approached me with an object in his hand.
"You neutrals," he said, "have been deceived before now by the
ridiculous reports disseminated by our enemies as to the results of
these raids. But here is the proof." He then explained to me that to
every Zeppelin was attached a large sinker or plummet, which was
covered with grease and lowered from a drum to a few yards above the
spot where the bomb was destined to fall. To this plummet adhered
fragments of various objects, animate or other, which the explosion of
the missile hurled into the air. Such a fragment the Captain was now
extending for my observation. I admitted that to my uninitiated eye it
closely resembled a portion of the outer surface of a cow or some
kindred animal. "You are indeed ignorant," said my host, smiling in
the same enigmatic way. "The object is undoubtedly a fragment of the
propeller shaft of a large vessel, which satisfies me that at Swanage,
where our last bomb was dropped, a portion of the High Seas Fleet was
anchored. And as a matter of fact," he added, producing a small dark
object from his pocket, "here is a part of Sir JOHN JELLICOE'S
necktie. Notice how precisely it tallies with the descriptions
furnished by our secret agents, one of whom is actually engaged about
the Admiral's person disguised as a pastry-cook."

Here, then, was the proof. One could not doubt the evidence of one's
senses. But mine had been subjected to an unusual test that night, and
when the Captain, well satisfied with his night's work, courteously
invited me to have another glass of schnapps with him I accepted with
alacrity. The glass was hardly at my lips when an orderly announced
that we were at anchor in the shed. Thanking the brave Captain for the
most wonderful experience of a not uninteresting lifetime, I hurried
away to my hotel and fell into a deep slumber. When I awoke late that
afternoon my manservant placed in my hand the last edition of the
London _Times_. It stated that there had been a Zeppelin raid, and
that 19 civilians, three cows, four churches, two rows of cottages,
one omnibus, and no soldiers had been destroyed.

I smiled--enigmatically.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Socialist Working Man, aged 25, would welcome companionship
    of Socialist exempted conscientious objector, chiefly for
    week-end cycling; or athletic lady holding similar views
    would suit, residing North Kent area."
                                               _Socialist Paper._

It would be much better for him to meet an athletic lady not holding
similar views.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE OCC. POET'S APOLOGIA.

  Where the moon's unmitigated crescent,
    Sailing through the amethystine deeps,
  With a smile sardonic and senescent
    Down upon our Armageddon peeps;
  Thither, drawn by sympathy ecstatic,
    Like a shooting star my spirit flies
  From the company of gross, lymphatic
    Souls entangled by terrestrial ties.

  Where the sombre azimuths are booming,
    Flecked with argent elemental foam,
  And the stately colocynths are blooming
    In a salicylic monochrome;
  There, transported on pellucid pinions,
    Sick of common sense I seek repose,
  Far from the disconsolate dominions
    Tainted by the tyranny of prose.

  O'er the whole translunar gamut ranging.
    There my astral body slides and skims,
  Choriambic melodies exchanging
    With the apolaustic cherubims;
  Weaving in a polyphonic pattern
    Harmonies that mock at clefs and bars;
  Toying with the shining rings of Saturn,
    Throwing star-dust in the eyes of Mars.

  There, suspended in a sumptuous limbo,
    Like a happier version of the boy
  Drawn by Mr. BLACKWOOD in his _Jimbo_,
    I shall taste of bliss without alloy;
  Other minstrels may indulge in fighting,
    I myself cannot so far forget
  As to shun the raptures of inditing
    Occ. verse for the _Bestspinster Gazette_.

       *       *       *       *       *

For our "Glimpses of the Obvious":

    "An interesting feature in the prone trees was that they all
    fell in one direction, showing the direction from which the
    blast came."
                                                 _Morning Paper._

       *       *       *       *       *

    "So soft and loose was the earth that the trench walls had to
    be rivetted."
                                                  _Daily Sketch._

A very curious treatment. Personally we always use a safety-pin.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Inquiries are being received at Lloyds for insurance to pay
    total loss in case of peace being declared during the present
    war."
                                              _Montreal Gazette._

We ourselves should take our chance of this contingency.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The total import value of matches is less than £1,000,000
    per annum, and if £2,000,000 is to be collected, it will make
    matches 6d. or even more per dozen."--_Daily Chronicle._

Mr. MCKENNA surely cannot have realized this.

       *       *       *       *       *

MR. PUNCH'S POTTED FILMS. THE SENTIMENTAL DRAMA.

[Illustration: REGINALD CARSTAIRS, READING DURING THE VACATION AT
A REMOTE COUNTRY VILLAGE, FALLS IN LOVE WITH THE LANDLADY'S FAIR
DAUGHTER, ROSIE. IN THE OLD ORCHARD SHE WOULD SING TO HIM "PANSY
FACES."]

[Illustration: REGINALD'S HAUGHTY FATHER WILL NOT HEAR OF HIS UNION
WITH THE RUSTIC GIRL, AND MARRIES HIM TO A WEALTHY HEIRESS. HE
CONTINUALLY ANNOYS HER BY PICKING OUT ON THE PIANO THE MUSIC OF
AN OLD SONG. AND SO THEY REACH A LOVELESS MIDDLE-AGE.]

[Illustration: IN THE MEANTIME ROSIE HAS HAD HER VOICE CULTIVATED,
AND, UNDER THE NAME OF "LA BELLE ROSSIGNOLETTE," HAS TAKEN THE
CONTINENT BY STORM. IN THE MIDST OF HER GREATEST TRIUMPHS, HOWEVER,
SHE IS OFTEN _DISTRAITE_.]

[Illustration: COMING AT LENGTH TO LONDON, SHE APPEARS IN GRAND OPERA.
FOR HER FIRST NIGHT CARSTAIRS, LITTLE KNOWING HER TRUE IDENTITY, HAS
TAKEN THE STAGE-BOX. SHE RECOGNISES HIM, AND, INSTEAD OF SINGING HER
OPENING SONG, ELECTRIFIES THE HOUSE BY GIVING "PANSY FACES."]

[Illustration: IN THE SENSATION THAT ENSUES THE THEATRE CATCHES FIRE.
ROSIE RESCUES REGINALD, BUT HIS WIFE PERISHES IN THE FLAMES.]

[Illustration: IN THE EVENING OF LIFE: "PANSY FACES."]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE ABOVE SQUAD, CONTAINING AN EX-CONTORTIONIST, HAS
JUST RECEIVED THE FOLLOWING INSTRUCTION:--"AT THE COMMAND 'BACKWARD
BEND,' PLACE THE HANDS ON THE HIPS AND BEND BACK AS FAR AS POSSIBLE."]

       *       *       *       *       *

MORE EYE-WASH.

  Whene'er I see some high brass-hatted man
    Inspect the Depôt with his ribboned train,
  When all seems spick and absolutely span
    And no man spits and nothing gives him pain,
  I think what blissful ignorance is theirs
    Who only see us on inspection days,
  And wonder, could they catch us unawares,
    Would they be still so eloquent of praise?

  They think the soldiers are a cleanly type,
    For all their brass is bright with elbow-fat,
  Burnished their bayonets and oiled their hyp;
    Do they suppose they always look like that?
  They see the quarters beautiful and gay,
    Yet never realise, with all their lore,
  Those bright new beds were issued yesterday
    And will to-morrow be returned to store.

  They doubtless say, "Was ever drill so deft?
    Were ever rifles so precisely sloped?
  Observe that section change direction left
    So much, much better than the best we hoped;"
  But little know with what grim enterprise
    For week on week that clever-looking crew
  Have practised up for their especial eyes
    The sole manoeuvre they can safely do.

  And I could tell where many a canker gnaws
    Within the walls they fancy free from sin;
  I know how officers infringe their laws,
    I know the corners where the men climb in;
  I know who broke the woodland fence to bits
    And what platoon attacked the Shirley cow,
  While the dull Staff, for all their frantic chits,
    Know not the truth of that distressing row.

  These are the things I think they should be taught,
    But, since I know what ages must elapse,
  What forms be filled, what signatures be sought,
    Ere I have speech with such exalted chaps,
  I here announce that they are much misled,
    That they should see us when we think them far,
  Should steal upon us, all unheralded,
    And find what frauds, what awful frauds we are.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "I was astonished that not a Londoner raised a cheer for the
    fine Bankers' Battalion of the Fusiliers which marched
    through the City to-day. We are really absurdly shy."
                     _"Quex Junior" in "Evening News," April 15._

    "The older comrades, who are keeping banks going in the
    absence of the younger patriots, turned out to cheer their
    comrades."
                                     _"Evening News," same date._

The older bankers, we must presume, are all from the provinces, and
not so shy.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE CHAMPION OF THE SMALLER NATIONS.

IMPERIAL PACHYDERM. "OUR HEART GOES OUT TO THESE POOR LITTLE
UNPROTECTED EGGS. THEY WANT MOTHERING. WE WILL SIT ON THEM."
[_Does so._]

[With Mr. Punch's apologies to a noble animal.]]

       *       *       *       *       *

ESSENCE OF PARLIAMENT.

[Illustration: _COLONEL CHURCHILL (arriving post-haste at the House
of Commons from the Front, on April 18_), "COME I TOO LATE FOR THE
PREMIER'S STATEMENT?"

_Constable._ "ON THE CONTRARY, SIR, YOU'RE A DAY TOO EARLY."

[The Constable was in error. He should have said a week.]]

_Monday, April 17th._--The hon. Member who described the present
Parliamentary situation as "a cabal every afternoon and a crisis every
second day" is justified of his epigram. The lobbies this afternoon
were full of agitated whisperers, with much talk of a divided Cabinet
and this and that Minister on the brink of resignation, because they
cannot agree upon the number of men they want for the Army or the best
method of obtaining them. All of which must be very comforting to our
enemies.

Some anxiety is felt on the Treasury Bench owing to the marked
shortage of Members from Ireland. Hitherto, whenever the Government
has seemed to be in danger, Mr. REDMOND'S followers have trooped over
from Dublin to the rescue. But to-day most of them are absent. Some
attribute their defection to chagrin at their shortsightedness in
resisting the appointment of Mr. CAMPBELL as Lord Chancellor of
Ireland. As Attorney-General they fear he will exert a much more
potent influence in Irish affairs.

Faithful among the faithless, Mr. GINNELL was in his place. He is not
interested in the troubles of the British Government. His present
obsession is the alleged over-taxation of his own beloved country. In
order that he might have due verge and scope to expatiate upon that
grievance be pressed the PRIME MINISTER to arrange an early sitting on
Wednesday and also to suspend the eleven o'clock rule. At this naïve
suggestion the House relieved its tension with a hearty laugh.

How much truth there may be in the stories of Ministerial dissension
I do not know; but there is undoubtedly a CAVE on the Treasury Bench.
In the absence of the CHANCELLOR he took charge of the Report Stage of
the Finance Bill, and very well he acquitted himself. Incidentally the
SOLICITOR-GENERAL had the honour of bringing about a notable
reconciliation. Among the few occupants of the Nationalist benches
were Mr. DILLON and Mr. TIMOTHY HEALY, who for some years past have
rarely met without a collision. Accordingly when Mr. DILLON had
resisted a proposal to fine any visitor to an entertainment who did
not pay the Amusements-tax, it was confidently expected that Mr. HEALY
would find excellent reasons for asserting that this was the best
clause in the whole Bill, and that only a melancholy humbug would
oppose it. Instead he vigorously supported his former foe with an
argument that I am sure Mr. DILLON would never have thought of. "Was
it not a weird proposal," he asked, "that a child who had unwittingly
walked; through a turnstile should forthwith become a convict and lose
its Old-Age Pension?"

_Tuesday, April 18th._--When one has at last screwed up one's courage
to have a tooth out, there is nothing more unnerving than to be told
by the dentist that he cannot operate to-day and that one must come
again to-morrow. The House of Commons felt like that this afternoon.
Members had flocked from all parts of the kingdom--Nationalist Ireland
excepted--to hear the PRIME MINISTER'S promised statement. Col.
CHURCHILL, Lord HUGH CECIL (with a patch on his lofty brow denoting a
recent casualty), and other warrior-statesmen had reluctantly torn
themselves from the attractions of the trenches to do their duty at
Westminster. The Ladies' Gallery was filled to overflowing.

Then the ominous word went round, "No statement to-day." Sure enough,
when the PRIME MINISTER rose and hushed the buzz of conversation that
had rendered Questions inaudible, it was merely to observe that there
were still some points outstanding, that no statement would be
adequate without their adjustment, and that he would therefore
postpone his motion for the Easter adjournment until to-morrow. Sir
EDWARD CARSON'S motion demanding compulsory service for all men of
military age would, if necessary, be discussed on Thursday.

Members hastened out into the Lobby to chatter about the new phase of
the crisis and to speculate as to what were the points outstanding,
and whether the MINISTER OF MUNITIONS was or was not the prickliest of
them. To the noise and flurry created by their exit Mr. MCKENNA owes
it that his Finance Bill will appear in the Journals of the House as
having been passed without a dissenting voice. Mr. WHITLEY, who was in
the Chair, has not the commanding tones of Mr. LOWTHER, and when he
put the question, "That this Bill be now read a Third time," nobody
rose to speak. Accordingly he declared that the "Ays" had it; and
though several Members then protested that they had not heard the
question put, and urged that it should be put again, he politely but
firmly declined to oblige them.

In an incautious moment yesterday Mr. TENNANT advised Mr. SNOWDEN to
use his imagination. I should have thought the advice was superfluous,
for, to judge by some of the stories that the Member for Blackburn is
in the habit of retailing to the House regarding the persecution of
conscientious objectors by callous N.C.O.'s, his imagination is
working overtime. On the motion for the adjournment Mr. TENNANT had to
listen to several more of them. He was rewarded for his patience by
obtaining an unexpected testimonial from Mr. KING, who in his most
patronising tones declared that he was sorry for the UNDER SECRETARY,
who was really "a great deal better than the average man in the
street."

In readiness for the PRIME MINISTER'S anticipated statement, Lord
MILNER had put down a motion in the House of Lords in favour of
compulsory service for all men of military age; and, despite the
changed circumstances, he persisted in moving it, and made an
admirable speech in its support. Lord CREWE, indeed, found it
unanswerable for the time being, as Downing Street was "still
thinking." He could not say when its thoughts would be resolved into
decision, but hoped it might be to-morrow--or, if not to-morrow,
Thursday--or, if not Thursday, then perhaps Monday. Lord CREWE has not
sat at Mr. ASQUITH'S feet all these years without catching something
of his methods.

_Wednesday, April 19th._--The House was even more crowded and anxious
than yesterday. In the Peers' Gallery a dim figure, carrying a bunch
of primroses and looking astonishingly like Mr. DENNIS EADIE, was
heard to murmur, "I wonder whether England loves Coalitions any more
than she did in my time." The present PRIME MINISTER appears to think
that she does, for, after remarking that continued disagreement on
material points threatened a breakup of the Government, he ventured to
describe that contingency as a national disaster. The Liberals thought
so too, and cheered loudly; the Unionists were not quite so sure, and
Sir EDWARD CARSON, beside whom sat Col. CHURCHILL, looking as if he
had never heard of Ulster, indicated that, while he would be the last
man to refuse the Government time for repentance and reformation, he
would in the meantime keep his Resolution on the Paper for use if
necessary when the House met again.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _First Stoker (weary)._ "I'D LIKE TO FIND THE MERCHANT
'OO INVENTED BOILERS!"

_Second Stoker (also weary)._ "BOILERS BE BLOWED! I'M LOOKIN' FOR THE
BLIGHTER 'OO FOUND OUT THAT COAL WOULD BURN."]

       *       *       *       *       *

    "WANTED. Reliable Woman to Wash Mondays, 2s. 6d.
    daily."--_Llanelly Star._

Some Mondays are so black.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "War Work for capable open-air Woman of leisure. Wanted to
    help sister of man called up to run sole grocery shop in
    lovely country."--_Advt. in "The Times."_

Why wasn't he called up to fight?

       *       *       *       *       *

_The Observer_ rebuked _The Daily News_ for unkindness in remarking
that at a certain point in the recent "Poets' Reading," Mr. BIRRELL,
"who had been sitting with his head in his hands, looked up
delighted." But was it quite nice of _The Observer_ itself to say in
its account of the same function that "the Prime Minister looked in
when the readings were in progress, and remained for some time talking
with many friends"?

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Peppery Senior (through din of Bosches' "morning
hate")._ "LATE FOR BREAKFAST AGAIN."

_Very Junior Officer (apologetically)._ "SORRY, SIR. DIDN'T HEAR
THE GONG."]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE PHILATELIST.

This was the day appointed, after considerable discussion, for our
visit to London, and at an early hour Frederick and I were ready for
the journey. Frederick, who is tending slowly, as it seems to me,
towards an as yet sufficiently remote ninth birthday, had been
vigorously and successfully scrubbed till he shone with an unwonted
absence of grime; his hair had been temporarily battened down; his
Eton collar was speckless, and his knickerbocker suit, while not
aggressively new, was appropriate and free from visible rents. I
cannot say he was impressed with the solemnity of the occasion, but he
was eager and fully determined to purchase as many stamps as could be
secured for the generous prize of money bestowed upon him by a lady
who had observed his progress in the study of Nature--beetles, moths,
tadpoles and the like--and had noted his ever-growing passion for
postage-stamps.

London he looked upon as one gigantic repository of stamps. I spoke to
him of Trafalgar Square and the Nelson Column and the Landseer Lions.
He replied by informing me that there was a certain issue of Mauritius
which was valued at £1,200. "If," he said, "I could get that some day
I shouldn't want to collect any more."

"It seems," I said, "a lot of money to pay for a small piece of
paper."

"Yes," he agreed, "it is; but perhaps I could get it cheap in some old
shop which didn't know much about it."

I then tried to divert his attention to the prospect of having
luncheon with me at the Rhadamanthus Club, but he begged me not to
interrupt him, as he was endeavouring to calculate how many years it
would take him to get together the sum if he could manage to save
two-pence a week out of his pocket-money. After a short mental
struggle, however, he gave it up and banished the blue Mauritius, or
whatever it is, from his ambitions and his conversation.

Before we started Francesca addressed a few earnest words to me about
the proper care of a boy in London.

"Be sure," she said, "to see that he keeps his hands clean. I should
hate to think that he was wandering about Piccadilly and Pall Mall
with dirty hands."

"He'll have to wander," I said, "with such hands as Nature provides
for him. No little boy can ever keep his hands clean anywhere for more
than half a minute at a stretch."

"But you might give him an occasional wash, you know."

"I will do everything," I said, "that may become a father, short of
carrying about a wash-hand basin and a jug of water and a piece of
soap and a towel through Piccadilly and Pall Mall."

"And his hair," she said,--"you'll not let it got too untidy, will
you?"

"I'll brush it when I can," I said; "but you must remember that a
little boy without a Catherine-wheel of hair on the back of his head
is only fit for a museum. I must insist on his keeping his
Catherine-wheel substantially intact."

Well, at last we got off in the train on our adventure, I with a
morning paper, and Frederick deep in a stamp-catalogue, from which he
occasionally brought forth things old and new. In due time we reached
our destination and stood triumphant in the stamp-shop. It was not a
large shop, but it was a rich shop, owning countless valuable
varieties, and Frederick, whose hands were now of the subfuse hue
which Cambridge insists on for the garments of her candidates, was
soon engaged in an animated discussion with the affable and amused
proprietor. At last the five shillings were exhausted and the deal was
complete, the last item consisting of a perfectly terrific set of
Gaboon stamps, each decorated with the fuzzy head of a spear-bearing
native warrior. It speaks volumes for the power and courage of our
French allies that they should have been able to overcome these savage
and formidable tribesmen, and reduce them to the order that is implied
by the existence of a post-office and the possession of stamps.

We now found that we had about forty minutes to spare. It is hardly
necessary to say that, being in the immediate neighbourhood of the
Strand, we devoted the time to a Cinema. The change from the Gaboon
and its truculent inhabitants to a highly sentimentalised
fishing-village was something of a wrench, but Frederick, clutching
his purchases and his catalogue as if his life depended on stamps, was
equal to it. He bore without flinching the storms and the wrecks, and
the bodies of drowned men tossed upon the shore. Nor did he audibly
disapprove when one fisherman, rescued from death, lost his memory for
many years, and eventually regained it in extreme old age amid the
rejoicings of his relatives and neighbours.

Thence we passed by a happy change to the detached and melancholy
malice of Mr. CHARLES CHAPLIN, of whom I can now say, _Vidi tantum_.
Mr. CHAPLIN'S victim on this occasion was a well-dressed foreign
gentleman of perfect manners but fiery temper, who was compelled to
suffer a series of dreadful indignities. We left him struggling
silently but furiously against an adhesive lobster salad which Mr.
CHAPLIN had, in an absent-minded moment, plastered over his face.

We now went on to the Rhadamanthus. Here the rite of washing and
brushing was duly performed, Frederick remarking with obvious regret
that if it had only been on the Cinema he would have had to throw the
soap at me and splash the water in my face. "But," he added, "I shall
be able to do it to Alice when I get home." He was not at all
overwhelmed by the marble and gilded splendours of our palace, but sat
himself down to luncheon as if he had an immemorial right to be there.
General Wilbraham (in khaki), Mr. Justice Black, and Mr. Trevor, the
eminent publisher, kind old gentlemen, my friends and contemporaries,
came up to us and were introduced to the little boy and smiled at him
and patted his head, where the indomitable Catherine-wheel still
whirled in triumph, and all declared that it was hardly tolerable in
another to be so young, and asked him what it felt like, and said that
growing up was the great mistake.

And then a strange thing happened. The luncheon-room suddenly became a
hall filled with boys. The General and the Judge and the Publisher
dwindled and changed. The long-lost hair came back to their heads in
great untidy tufts; they put on Eton jackets and collars and grubby
hands. In fact, they were little boys again; and Master Wilbraham said
he was keeping _Cave_, and Master Black said something was a regular
chouse, and Master Trevor declared violently that somebody was a sneak
and that somebody else must have tweaks for new clothes. It lasted for
a moment, and then, as with a puff of air, it all changed back, and we
were again in the luncheon-room of the club, four time-worn veterans
and one eager little boy tightly grasping a catalogue of stamps.
                                                            R. C. L.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Subaltern (proudly, as devastating motor-cyclist
dashes by)._ "ONE OF 'OURS.'"]

       *       *       *       *       *

AT THE PLAY.

"THE SHOW SHOP."

The drama is almost the only religion I know that can expose the
mysteries of its ritual to the vulgar gaze and yet retain the devotion
of its worshippers. There is nothing a British audience so loves as to
be taken behind the scenes and shown how it is done--or not done; and
then it will attend the next play and go on adoring with the blindest
infatuation. Were it not for this astounding gift of resilience one
might deplore the prurient curiosity that wants to peep into the
hollow image of Isis and get at the machinery of the priesthood.

More human and wholesome is the satisfaction derived from the
revelation of amateur foibles, for here we are laughing at ourselves,
as in _A Pantomime Rehearsal_. In _The Show Shop_ this element was
supplied by a young plutocrat who took a small part with a travelling
company in order to be near his _fiancée_, the leading lady; and
continued in it as _jeune premier_ because she refused to be made love
to on the stage by anybody else. In assuming a _rôle_ for which he was
incredibly ill-qualified he seemed likely to facilitate the
achievement of his purpose, namely to make the play a hopeless failure
and so secure the deliverance of his lady from the thraldom of her
mother's ambitions and set her free to marry him.

However, the failure failed to come off, and although he forgot to
remove his overcoat (containing the stolen bonds) at a critical
juncture on which the Great Situation turned--the error was so deadly
that the mother, who had stage-managed the thing and was witnessing
the first performance from a box, actually rose in her seat to correct
it--the play was a roaring success; and there was nothing for it but a
secret marriage, marred by the prospect of a two years' run "on
Broadway."

Mr. A. E. MATTHEWS, as the amateur, made extraordinarily good fun for
us; and there was something fresh in the idea of following up the
dress rehearsal with a first night. It not only gave the amateur his
chance of making the big mistake against which he had been thoroughly
warned, but our own applause allowed the company to put into practice
the lessons they had learned in those sacred conventions which
regulate the taking of a call.

There are those who say that Transatlantic humour should be
interpreted exclusively by a native cast, and that an Anglo-American
alliance is a mistake. I trust President WILSON'S recent policy will
not be affected by this view. Certainly, though the combination was
responsible for the noisiest fun of the farce, the purely American
performance of Miss MARGARET MOFFATT at the opening of the First Act
was as good as anything in the play. But happily this is not one of
those imported creations that overwhelm my uninstructed intelligence
with exotic colour and exotic slang.

Mr. EDMUND GWENN, as _Max Rosenbaum_, impresario, was in irresistible
form. Miss MARIE LÖHR, in the part of the leading lady, was at her
lightest and therefore her best; but Lady TREE (her designing mother),
though she played very hard and incisively, could scarcely have
satisfied her own very nice sense of humour with what was to be got
out of a character that resembled nothing on earth (or the Eastern
hemisphere anyhow).

In the midst of all the mirth there was a pathetic passage between a
couple of impecunious players, _Johnny Brinkley_ (played by Mr. GEORGE
ELTON, who had many good things to say and said them well) and
_Effie_, his wife, on the theme of the precariousness of their career.
It must have melted the cynical heart of many a critic in the
audience, and I for one was almost persuaded to confine myself for the
future to encomium in these columns.

However, there is no flattery in the compliments I beg to offer to Mr.
JAMES FORBES for a very diverting evening. Perhaps the last Act
dragged a little, but in any case after the orgy he had given us we
were ripe for reaction. With most imported plays one is apt to doubt
whether the humour is novel in its essence or merely a matter of
unfamiliar form, common enough in its place of origin. But the humour
of Mr. FORBES, or at least the best of it, is something more than
American.
                                                               O. S.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "She heard him blowing his nose on the hall mat, and
    she understood the major sufficiently to know that this
    portended something."--_Home Chat._

We have always regarded this behaviour as ominous, even in the case
of civilians.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Once you have a wife and are tied down to the world, she
    creates the necessity of a house and saves you from being a
    wanderer on the face of the earth. No wife, no house. Hence,
    say our Shastras, it is not the building called the house
    that is the wife, it is the wife who is the house. And even
    now, both among the high and the low, it is usual for a Hindu
    to speak of his wife as his house."
                     N. G. CHANDAVARKARIN "_The Times of India._"

We foresee domestic trouble when the Flat system reaches India.

       *       *       *       *       *

AN ECCENTRIC.

Having alighted on strange ground at Chiswick Park Station, I was
lost. My destination was HOGARTH'S House--one of the few homes of the
illustrious which are preserved for pious pilgrims, but whether to go
this way or that I had no notion, nor was there anyone to ask. I
therefore turned to the left and, just after being half-blinded by a
dusty whirlwind, stopped an errand-boy and was told by him I had done
right, and had but to keep on.

I therefore continued, but with so little confidence that a hundred
yards further on I stopped another wayfarer, who, however, had no
knowledge of any Hogarth but a local laundry of that name, and could
not say where it was.

It was then that I fell into the arms of as admirable although
peculiar a man as I ever hope to meet, and communicative too. He was
one of those elderly men who keep their youth, largely by virtue of
cheerful spirits. He was short and active and he wore a cap. He had
sandy-grey hair and a touch of sandy-grey whisker; his eye was bright
and his cheeks were ruddy. He beamed with contentment. He may not have
been, as the diverting Mr. BERRY says in _Tina_, "fearfully crisp,"
but he was crisp enough.

Did he know Chiswick? Why, he had known it for nearly sixty years.
Then he knew HOGARTH'S House? No, he couldn't say he did, but, anyhow,
it must be in the other direction, because this, strictly speaking,
was Acton Green and not Chiswick at all. To get to Chiswick I ought to
have gone the other way. "But a depraved errand-boy----" I began to
say, and then realising that the recapitulation of other people's
errors is perhaps the idlest form of speech, where nearly all lack
necessity, I said instead that the natives did not seem to specialise
much in knowledge of their locality; to which he replied that they
ought to, for there was no more beautiful place in the world.

"I'm going in the direction you want, myself," he added. "The fact is
we're moving, and I've got to get some new blinds, and the shop's on
your way."

So we fell into step, I with great difficulty keeping up with his
happy buoyancy.

Yes, he admitted, moving was a trial, but his new house was far more
comfortable than the old one, and, after all, what's a little trouble?

This was a revolutionary enough remark, but when he went on to ask,
Wasn't it a lovely spring morning? I felt shamed completely, for I was
still angry with the gusts under the scudding sky. And it had been a
lovely night, too, he added. Not a cloud all night. And a moon! such a
moon! He never remembered a lovelier night. How did he know so much
about the night? Why, he was a night watchman. In the General Omnibus
Company. Had been for years. When then did he sleep? Oh, he would soon
be in bed, but he liked a walk in the morning. Especially such a
morning as this. In two hours' time he'd be fast asleep. Oh no, he
didn't mind being on duty at night, and then, being in the General, he
could have rides for nothing, and only the other day he'd been to
Bushy Park to see the fallen trees. My, what a grand sight! He'd never
seen so many fine trees on their sides. Wonderful it was.

Didn't Chiswick look grand in the Spring? he asked me. Such lovely
blossom in the gardens. Chiswick had once been famous for its fruit
orchards, and many trees still remained. Didn't I think it pretty?

As a matter of fact it was looking to me exactly like other suburbs;
but I hadn't the heart to dash so enthusiastic and friendly a
creature; so I said I thought Chiswick charming.

And healthy, he went on: there wasn't a healthier place anywhere--all
sand. Wherever you dug you'd find sand.

I had a sudden vision of myself, spade in hand, testing this
statement; but he allowed no time for such diversions of thought. The
goodness of Chiswick and the importance of praising it were too urgent
with him.

After passing the station we came to a block of peculiarly hideous
flats on the right. There, he said, pointing to them, wasn't that
convenient? What could a clerk want better than that? For himself he
couldn't ask a better fate than to live at Chiswick. Such a fine High
Street, and the biggest music-hall in the suburbs. The picture palaces
too. But he was sorry to say that some Chiswick people had taken to
going to a new one at Hammersmith. That was a pity, he thought. Had I
ever seen such a nice Green?

By this time I was becoming stunned. I pinched myself to discover
whether or not I dreamed. A Londoner, or Greater Londoner, pleased
with his home; an Englishman of any description satisfied with
anything English, and especially just now, when the rule is to cry
stinking fish! What could be the matter?

I would try him, I thought, in his most sensitive spot, his pocket;
and the opportunity came naturally enough for we were passing the
shops in the High Street and he began to extol their merits.

"But isn't everything horribly dear nowadays?" I said.

"Yes," he replied, gaily "it is; but I can remember when it was
dearer."

What is one to do with a man like that? Had we not now come to my
turning, Duke's Avenue, where he bade me good-bye, I might have
discovered that he did not think Lord KITCHENER an imbecile, Mr.
BALFOUR a mere salary-hunter, and Mr. ASQUITH a traitor. To such an
oddly constructed mind even those things were possible.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Tommy (to Jock, on leave)._ "WHAT ABOUT THE LINGO?
SUPPOSE YOU WANT AN EGG OVER THERE, WHAT DO YOU SAY?"

_Jock._ "YE JUIST SAY, 'OOF'."

_Tommy._ "BUT SUPPOSE YOU WANT TWO?"

_Jock._ "YE SAY 'TWA OOFS,' AND THE SILLY AULD FULE WIFE GIES YE
THREE, AND YE JUIST GIE HER BACK ONE. MAN, IT'S AN AWFU' EASY
LANGUAGE."]

       *       *       *       *       *

OUR BOOKING-OFFICE.

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

Mr. BELLOC can, I am sure, write entertainingly about any phase of the
French Revolution on his head, and in _The Last Days of the French
Monarchy_ (CHAPMAN AND HALL) he has apparently done so. I cannot think
it will add to his reputation. It will be something if it doesn't hurt
it. He has taken a short story, and by a process of dextrous padding
and the practice of a method, which is becoming an obsession with him,
of going deep into the obvious with much industry and circumstance, he
has contrived, with the addition of a number of plates--some of
singular irrelevance--a fattish book. Even ignorant persons like this
Learned Clerk are apt to be chagrined by being so obviously written
down to. On the other hand, naturally, an author who knows his
intriguing subject so well and drives so forceful a pen cannot fail to
be interesting. The historian seems most concerned to prove, by his
familiar and plausible method of going over the ground "in the same
season, in the same weather, after the same rains, in the same mist,"
that the Prussian charge by Valmy Mill miscarried only because the
infantry got bogged in marsh that looked like stubble. So now we know!

       *       *       *       *       *

From the list of books already published by Mr. CECIL HEADLAM it is
easy to see that he is by choice a topographer rather than a novelist.
Indeed the fact is made sufficiently obvious to the reader of _Red
Screes_ (SMITH, ELDER). Its sub-title is _A Romance of Lakeland_, and
so strongly developed is the place-spirit in its author that he is
constantly breaking the rather tenuous thread of his story to
introduce long descriptions of Cumberland scenery and people, and as
this is most easily done by sending his chief characters for walks in
the districts that Mr. HEADLAM wishes to talk about the result is that
I seldom read a novel in which the protagonists were kept so sternly
on the move. But I am far from saying that the result is not happy
enough, especially for those readers who already know and love the
neighbourhood that the author handles so well. As for the tale, that,
as I have hinted, is nothing to keep you awake o' nights. There is a
millionaire in it, with one daughter (whom he hates) and a very
unpleasant secretary, who loves the daughter for her prospects and a
country lass for her looks; and there is a great deal of the most
unconvincing finance that ever I read, even in fiction. As for the
secretary's end, it wouldn't be fair to give that away, as it is
really the only point at which the plot quickens into sufficient
vigour to hold its own with the setting. Mr. HEADLAM obviously both
knows and loves the land of red screes; I am doubtful whether he is as
much at home with the stock-manipulators of Wall Street or their
emotional offspring. And I don't like his introduction of the second
heroine--"The girl's head was bare, save for the crowning glory of
womanhood." What I mean is, if it hadn't had that much covering----

       *       *       *       *       *

_The King's Men_ (SECKER) are just our friends, yours and mine and Mr.
JOHN PALMER'S, who have exchanged their tools and toys, their pens,
wigs, brushes, books, spats and dreams for stars (one, two or three)
and scars; all drawn into the Great Adventure which began on that 4th
of August so many long years ago. Dilettante _Pelham_, prig and
pacificist not from passion but from detachment, always so unbeatable
in argument and always so wrong; sportsman _Rivers_, seeing simply and
straight; crank _Smith_; comfortable _Baddeley_ in his snug Government
berth; poser _Ponsonby_, always doing the thing that's the thing to
do; exquisite _Graham_, with his fair lodge in the wilderness--all
hallowed by the great consecration. There are, too, the King's women
and an unhappy necessary stay-at-home or two, and a big and rather
crude contractor, who will be master in his own works. But the young
men are the folk Mr. PALMER best understands and presents in turns of
clever and vehement talk. I beg you to read this book for these good
things and for a tender love of England which shines nobly between the
lines of it.

       *       *       *       *       *

Perhaps _Fauvette_, the heroine of _The Green Orchard_ (CASSELL), was
too modern to have much acquaintance with the works of the late
WILLIAM BLACK. Which was a pity, as a recollection of _A Daughter of
Heth_ might have withheld her from her impulsive marriage with _Martin
Wilderspin_, or from feeling so much like a gold-fish out of water
when he took her away from Paris to share a life that was a dreary
contrast to all her previous experience. In any case I cannot hold her
blameless for the resulting shipwreck. A bride who comes down late for
a most critical little dinner to her husband's family, and attires
herself (see cover) like a circus-rider, simply is not giving
matrimony a fair chance. Moreover I seem to observe that Mr. ANDREW
SOUTAR thinks this was rather sporting in his heroine. He certainly
loads the dice in her favour, for, when the inevitable had happened
and _Martin_ and _Fauvette_ had separated, the lady sought the
consolations of literature and became (as heroines will) the sensation
of the hour. Though _The Green Orchard_ is a brisk easy-running tale
fidelity to life is hardly its strong point. Of course it was not to
be expected that _Fauvette_ would escape being adored by _Martin's_
best friend; the real touch of originality is the final reward of this
kind gentleman. For my own part I certainly expected--but to tell you
that would be to betray what doesn't happen. The whole affair is a
pleasant respite from actuality: more, I fear, it would be impossible
to say.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Kind Old Lady._ "I SEE THERE IS AN URGENT APPEAL FOR
MORE LITERATURE FOR OUR FIGHTING MEN. I THOUGHT SOME LONELY SOLDIER OR
SAILOR MIGHT LIKE TO REVIVE MEMORIES OF THE DEAR HOMELAND WITH THIS
VOLUME OF THE POST OFFICE DIRECTORY FOR 1899."]

       *       *       *       *       *

From the description of a polar-bear's escapade in the Edinburgh
"Zoo":--

    "The keepers now appeared, and with the assistance of
    of gun-firing and much noise the animal was quietly
    shepherded back to its accustomed place of confinement."
                                   _North British Agriculturist._

"Quietly" was a happy thought.





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