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Title: Punch, or The London Charivari, Vol. 150, May 31, 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. 150, May 31, 1916" ***

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PUNCH,

OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.

VOL. 150.

MAY 31, 1916.


[Illustration: _Retired Major (to mendicant who has claimed to have seen
service in the South African War)._ "WRETCHED IMPOSTOR! THAT IS AN
INDIAN MUTINY RIBBON."

_Mendicant._ "LUMME! IS IT?"]

       *       *       *       *       *



CHARIVARIA.


A conscientious objector told the Cambridge tribunal that he could not
pass a butcher's shop without shuddering. The suggestion that he should
obviate the shudders by going inside seems almost too simple a solution.

     *   *   *

According to a report of the committee appointed to investigate the
matter, water is the best agent for suppressing conflagrations caused
by bombs. It is not suggested, however, that other remedies now in
use for the purpose, such as the censorship of the Press, should be
completely abandoned.

     *   *   *

According to Reuter (whom we have no reason to doubt) a campaign is now
being waged in German East Africa against giraffes, which have been
inconveniencing our telegraphic system by scratching the wires with
their necks. It will be remembered that the policy of using giraffes
instead of telegraph poles was adopted by the War Office in the face
of a strong body of adverse opinion.

     *   *   *

It is reported that, as the result of the prohibition by Sweden of the
exportation of haddock, salmon, cleverly disguised to resemble the
former, are being sold by unscrupulous fishmongers in the Mile End Road.

     *   *   *

An arsenal worker has pleaded for exemption on the ground that he had
seven little pigs to look after. The Tribunal however promised him that
in the German trenches he would find as many full-grown pigs to look
after as the heart of man could desire.

     *   *   *

"In showing how to use as little meat as possible," says a contemporary
in the course of a review of the Thrift Exhibition of the National
School of Cookery, "a cook mixed the steak for her pudding in with
the pastry." This is a striking improvement upon the old-fashioned
method of serving the pastry by itself and mixing the steak with the
banana-fritters.

     *   *   *

"A cricketer from the Front" (says an evening paper) "believes a lot of
fellows would escape wounds if they would watch missiles more carefully."
It would, of course, be better still if there was a really courageous
umpire to cry "No-ball" in all cases of objectionable delivery.

     *   *   *

Addressing the staff at SELFRIDGE's on Empire Day, Mr. GORDON SELFRIDGE
said he was glad that President WILSON, "who had had his ear to the ground
for a long time, had at last seemed to realise that the American nation
was at heart wholly with the principles that animated the Allies in
this world struggle." But why put his ear to the ground to listen? Does
he imagine that the heart of the American nation is in its boots?

     *   *   *

The Lord Mayor of LONDON states that he expects that within a couple of
years he will be able to reach his estate, seventy miles from London,
in half-an-hour by aeroplane. We hope his prophecy may be realised,
but we cannot help wondering what would happen if his aeroplane were
to turn turtle on the way.

     *   *   *

A legal point has been raised as to whether a woman who, while attempting
to kill a wasp, breaks her neighbour's window is liable for damages.
Counsel is understood to have expressed the view that, if the defendant
had broken plaintiff's window while trespassing through the same
in pursuit of the wasp, or had failed to give the wasp a reasonable
opportunity of departing peaceably, or if it could be shown that the
wasp had not previously exhibited a ferocious disposition, then judgment
must be for the plaintiff.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Here in a circular letter from the Home Office we find the
    sentence: 'The increase in the number of juvenile offenders is
    mainly caused by an increase of nearly 50 per cent. in cases
    of larceny.' In ordinary human language this only means that
    nearly twice as many children were caught thieving as in the
    year before. But it would be all that an official's place was
    worth to say so."

                                                          _The Nation._

Certainly it would, if his duties required a knowledge of elementary
arithmetic.

       *       *       *       *       *



THE BRITISH DRAGON.

    [The KAISER's Chancellor, in an interview with the American
    journalist, KARL VON WIEGAND, accuses England of militarism, and
    alleges that we pursued towards Germany a policy of envelopment
    (_Einkreisungspolitik_).]


  They mocked us for a peaceful folk,
    A land that flowed with beer and chops;
  NAPOLEON (ere we had him broke)
    Remarked our taste for keeping shops;
  And WILLIAM, in his humorous way,
    Thought that we must have all gone barmy
  Because we joined so large a fray
    With so absurdly small an army.

  Opinions alter. Now it seems,
    Under our outer rind, or peel,
  Deep at the core of England's schemes
    There lurked a lust for blood and steel;
  Herr BETHMANN-HOLLWEG he proclaims
    The War was due to our intrigue and
  Expounds our militaristic aims
    Into the ear of Herr VON WIEGAND.

  We are a dragon belching fire,
    One of those horrors, spawned in hell,
  Who come from wallowing in the mire
    To crunch the innocent damosel;
  And when we've nosed about and found
    What looks to be a toothsome jawful
  We call our mates and ring her round
    With other dragons just as awful.

  Prussia was ever such a maid;
    Pink-toed and fair and free from guile
  She frolicked in the flowery glade,
    Pursuing Culture all the while;
  Then, coached by GREY, the monsters came,
    And their behaviour (something horrid)
  BETHMANN condemns, and brands the blame
    Upon the premier dragon's forehead.

                                                                   O.S.

       *       *       *       *       *



UNWRITTEN LETTERS TO THE KAISER.

No. XL.

(_From a German._)


Yes, and for the very reason that I am a German I am speaking to you,
so that you may know what one German at least thinks of you and your
deeds. For I know that even where you sit walled about by your flatterers,
ramparted against the intrusion of any fresh breath of criticism, and
protected by entanglements of barbed wire against any hint of doubt as to
your god-like attributes--even there I know that my voice shall in time
reach you, and you shall become aware that there is a German who dares
to say of you what millions of Germans think and soon will dare to say.

You are the man, Sir, who by a word spoken in a seasonable moment might
have forbidden the War, and this word you refused to speak because,
knowing your own preparations for war and those of the nations whom
you forced to be your enemies, you anticipated an easy and a swift
triumph. You believed that, after spending a few thousands of men and a
few millions of marks, victory would be yours, and you would be able,
as an unquestioned conqueror, to dictate peace to those who had dared
to oppose you. And thus in a few months at the most you would return
to Berlin and prance along the flower-strewn streets at the head of
your victorious and but little-injured regiments. It is told of you
that lately, when you visited a great hospital crowded with maimed and
shattered men, your vain and shallow mind was for a moment startled by
the terrible sight, and you murmured, "It was not I who willed this."
In part you were right. You did not consciously will to bring upon
your country the suffering and the misery you have caused, because you
were willing to take the gambler's chance; but in the sight of God,
to whom you often appeal, you will not escape the responsibility for
having steadily thrust peace and conciliation aside when, as I say,
by one word you might have avoided war.

Germany, you will say, is a great nation and cannot brook being insulted
and defied. Great Heaven, Sir, who denied that Germany was great? Who
wished to insult or defy her? Not France, whose one desire was to
live in peace; not Russia, still bleeding from wounds suffered at the
hands of Japan; not England, still, as of old, intent on her commercial
development, though anxious, naturally enough, for her Fleet; not Italy,
bound to you by a treaty designed to guard against aggression. It is
true that all nations were becoming weary of a violent and hectoring
diplomacy, of a restless and jealous punctilio seeking out occasions
for misunderstandings and quarrels, and rushing wildly from one crisis
to another; but under your direction this intolerable system had been
patented and put in operation by Germany and by no other nation. It was
as though a _parvenu_, uncertain of his manners and doubtful as to his
reception, should burst violently into a _salon_ filled with quiet people
and, having upset the furniture and thrown the china ornaments about,
should accuse all the rest of treading on his toes and insulting him. So
did Germany act, and for such actions you, who had autocratic power--you,
at whose nod Chancellors trembled--you loved their tremors--and Generals
quaked with fear--must be held responsible. What low strain of vulgarity
was it, what coarse desire to bluster and rant yourself into fame and
honour, rather than to deserve them by a magnanimous patience and a
gentleness beyond reproach, that drove you on your perilous way? It was
your pettiness that at the last plunged you into the War.

And now that you have been in it for little short of two years, how
stands the Fatherland, and where are the visions of easy and all but
immediate victory? Germany is bleeding at every pore. Her soldiers are
brave; but to confirm you on your throne you force them day by day to
a slaughter in which millions have already been laid low. That other
nations are suffering too is for me no consolation. My thoughts are
centred on Germany, once so nobly great, and now forced by a restless
and jealous lunatic into a war to which there seems no end.

I sign myself in deep sorrow,

                                                              A GERMAN.

       *       *       *       *       *


"The Mahogany Tree."

    A correspondent writes to Mr. Punch: "In this season's _Printer's
    Pie_ your old friend and mine, Sir HENRY LUCY, speaks of '"the old
    mahogany tree" in Bouverie Street, under which THACKERAY for a while
    sat.' This tantalising sidelight makes many of us pine for fuller
    information. Did the incident occur on some particular occasion,
    or did the great novelist make a practice of this engaging form
    of self-effacement?"

       *       *       *       *       *

    "At a camp in Essex New Zealand troops joined with the local
    school children in the celebrations. The men paraded and the New
    Zealand flag was saluted. Afterwards there was a march past; the
    National Anthem, Kipling's 'Recessional,' and 'Lest we Forget'
    were sung."--_The Times._

Mr. KIPLING seems to have got an encore.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: HELD!]

       *       *       *       *       *



A REGRETTABLE INCIDENT.


Anne was standing in the hall looking like nothing on earth. One of the
reasons why I gave in to Anne and married her was because of her repose.
She can look more tragic than BERNHARDT, but she never makes a noise. In
moments of domestic stress, as when the six hens we had purchased
contributed one egg and that in the next garden (date of birth unknown),
Anne assumes a plaintive smile that leaves the English language at the
post. When the cook, who wears a frayed ulster ornamented with regimental
badges ranging from the Royal Scots to the Brixton Cyclists, looked
on the wine and went further, Anne did not blurt out crudities. Having
shut the kitchen-door behind her, she simply entered the hall and walked
smoothly to the plate where any persons who call may leave cards. Already
she had soothed the house; and in that splendid silence, that pursuit
of the commonplace, she had not merely calmed my dread of the scene
that accompanies a cab and a constable, but had carolled, as it were,
to Ethel the nursery-maid tilted over the second floor banisters that
all was well, or nearly so.

Having stared gravely at a dusty card, which we all knew by heart, Anne
turned her face and, raising her eyebrows about an eighth of an inch,
shrugged her shoulders very slightly and passed on.

But on the present occasion there was, so far as I was aware, no domestic
friction--we had boiled the hens--and I was, I admit, at a loss.

"Come, Herbert," said Anne gently. Then I knew that we were bankrupt--I
mean, of course, more bankrupt. I knew that the Government, having
crouched in leash, had sprung with a snarl upon the married man of
forty-five.

We seated ourselves in Anne's room just as persons do upon the stage,
Anne, leaning against the shutter, stared dreamily out of the window.

"Tell me," I said.

Anne is a great artist. She dabbed at her cheeks--but lightly, as though
scorned a tear--smiled bravely at me with moist eyes, and, walking to
the mantelpiece, adjusted a Dresden shepherdess.

"You have heard me speak of the Ruritanian Relief Fund," she said in a
splendid off-hand tone.

"Frequently," I responded, but not impatiently.

"It was, you remember, the only possible fund when dear Lady Rogerson
heard about the War. All the other allied countries had been snapped
up--there seemed for a while no chance, no hope. Lady Rogerson was
so brave. She said to me at the time, 'My dear we will not give in--we
have as much right as anyone else to hold meetings and ask for money.'"

"And so you did, dear--surely you have been in the thick of it. Constantly
have I seen appeals for Ruritania in the Press."

Anne permitted herself a faint gesture.

"Everything was going so well," she continued, dusting the shepherdess
abstractedly. "We had a splendid committee, and Lady Rogerson was
leaving for Ruritania with our Ladies' Coffee Unit this morning. They
were going to provide hot refreshment for the gallant mountaineers as
they marched through their beautiful mountain passes--they have them,
haven't they, Herbert?"

"They must have," I said hotly. It was a nice state of affairs if they
were going to back out of the coffee on that preposterous ground.

"At the last moment," she sobbed, and, dropping the shepherdess, was
quite overcome. I was seriously concerned for poor Anne, whose affection
for the Ruritanians was only rivalled by her ignorance of where the
blessed country is.

"At the station," she said suddenly in a low voice, "news came that
Ruritania was not even at war."

"Monstrous," I cried. "Most monstrous."

"So we all came back, and Lady Rogerson was so splendid and looked so
brave in her sombrero and brass buttons. She explained how it was all
her own fault--that old Colonel Smith had muddled the names of the
Allies, and that we must be patient because who knew what might or
might not happen in the future? But would you believe it, several of
the Committee said the most awful things about Ruritania and poor Lady
Rogerson, and in the middle of it all the telephone bell rang."

"Ah," I said, with a knowing look.

"And Lady Rogerson, after a moment, laid down the receiver, turned
like BOADICEA, and said in a voice I shall never forget, 'Ladies and
gentlemen, Ruritania declared war this afternoon. If the Coffee Unit
starts immediately they can catch the night train.'"

Anne paused and made a little cairn of broken china on the mantelpiece.

"I'm so glad," I said, stroking her hand--"so glad. Lady Rogerson
deserved her triumph."

Anne made no comment for a moment. When she spoke her voice was poignant.

"The Committee sang the National Anthem," she resumed miserably, "and
we all put on our Ruritanian flags. A vote of confidence in dear Lady
Rogerson was passed amidst tremendous enthusiasm, and the Coffee Unit
set off for the station."

"It must now be on its way," I remarked briskly.

"No," said Anne, "never."

"But Ruritania?"

Anne trailed to the door. She was a wonderful artist in effects.

"Ruritania declared war"--

"I know, my dear--you said so"--

"Upon the Allies," added Anne, and left the room.

It was, considering everything, a rotten thing for Ruritania to do.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Boots (in Irish hotel)._ "I'VE FORGOTTEN, CAPTAIN,
WHETHER YOU WANTED TO BE CALLED AT SIX OR SEVEN."

_Voice from within._ "WHAT TIME IS IT NOW?"

_Boots._ "EIGHT, YER HONOUR."]

       *       *       *       *       *


Our Helpful Critics.

    "Browning's _Sordello_ was literature--but not actable
    drama."--_Daily Chronicle._

The same remark applies to _Paradise Lost_.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Charwoman._ "PLEASE, MUM, I AIN'T COMING TO WORK HERE NO
MORE."

_Mistress._ "INDEED. HOW IS THAT?"

_Charwoman._ "WELL, MY MAN'S EARNING SO MUCH NOW THAT THERE'S PLENTY
COMING IN. LAST WEEK WE WAS OBLIGED TO PUT SOME IN THE SAVINGS-BANK, AND
I'M AFRAID WE SHALL HAVE TO AGAIN _THIS_."]

       *       *       *       *       *



THOUGHTS ON NEWSPAPERS.


I swear that this article is not written in the interests of the
newspaper trade.

If it bears fruit the newspaper trade will score, but that I cannot help.
It is written in the larger interests of humanity and the sweeter life.

The situation briefly is this. One paper is not enough for any house,
and some houses or families require many. In the house in which I write,
situate in a foreign country, there are many exiles from England and
only one paper, which arrives on the fourth day after publication (thus
making Wednesday a terrible blank), and sometimes does not complete
the round of readers until to-morrow. The result is that a bad spirit
prevails. Normally open and candid persons are found concealing the
paper against a later and freer hour; terminological inexactitude is
even resorted to in order to cover such jackdaw-hoardings; glances become
covetous and suspicious.

All this could be obviated.

I remember hearing of a distinguished and original and masterful
lady (SARGENT has painted her) in the great days, or rather the
high-spirited days, of _The Pall Mall Gazette_--when verse was called
Occ, and it was more important that a leading article should have a comic
caption than internal sagacity, and six different Autolyci vended their
wares every week--who had fifteen copies of the paper delivered at her
house every afternoon, and fifteen copies of _The Times_ every morning,
so that each one of her family or guests might have a private reading;
and she was right.

A newspaper should be as personal as a toothbrush or a pipe, otherwise
how can we tear a paragraph out of it if we want to?--as my friend, Mr.
Blank, the historian, always does, for that great sociological essay on
which he is engaged, entitled _The Limit_.

But the idea of having enough papers for all has gained no ground. Even
clubs don't have enough. And as for dentists----!

Givers of theatre parties have been divided into those who buy a
programme for each guest and those who buy one programme for all; and
programmes, for some occult reason which seems to satisfy the British
ass, cost sixpence each. Yet the enlightened hosts of the first group
will cheerfully pack their houses with week-enders and supply but one
_Observer_ for the lot. Why?

The suggestion, even with war-time economy as an ideal before us, is
not so mad as it sounds. Most of us smoke more cigarettes than we need,
to an amount far exceeding the cost of six extra morning papers.

The worst of it is that other people can never read a paper for us. Most
people don't try; they put us off.

If ever a La Rochefoucauld compiles the _sententiæ_ of the breakfast-room
he must include such apophthegms as these:--

Even the most determined opponent of journalism becomes alert and
prehensile on the arrival of the paper.

He is a poor master of a house who does not insist upon the first sight
of the paper.

He is a poor master of a house who, on being asked if there is any news
of-day, replies in the affirmative.

No papers require so much reading as those with "nothing in them."

He is a poor citizen who could not edit a paper better than its editor.

Into what La Rochefoucauld would say when he came to deal not with the
readers of papers but with papers themselves, I cannot enter. That is
a different and a vaster matter. But certainly he should include this
_pensée_:--

He is a poor editor who does not know more than the PRIME MINISTER.

       *       *       *       *       *



ABDUL: AN APPRECIATION.


I heard the shriek of an approaching shell, something hit the ground
beneath my feet, and I went sailing through the ether, to land softly on
an iron hospital cot in a small white-walled room. There was no doubt
that it was a most extraordinary happening. On the wall beside me was
a temperature chart, on a table by my bed was a goolah of water, and
in the air was that subtle Cairene smell. Yes, I was undoubtedly back
in Cairo. Obviously I must have arrived by that shell.

Then, as I was thinking it all out, appeared to me a vision in a long
white galabieh. It smiled, or rather its mouth opened, and disclosed
a row of teeth like hailstones on black garden mould.

"Me Abdul," it said coyly; "gotter givit you one wash."

I was washed in sections, and Abdul did it thoroughly. There came a halt
after some more than usually strenuous scrubbing at my knees. Mutterings
of "mushquais" (no good) and a wrinkled brow showed me that Abdul
was puzzled. Then it dawned on me. I had been wearing shorts at Anzac,
and Abdul was trying to wash the sunburn off my knees! By dint of bad
French, worse Arabic, and much sign language I explained. Abdul went
to the door and jodelled down the corridor, "Mo-haaaaamed, Achmed." Two
other slaves of the wash-bowl appeared, and to them Abdul disclosed my
mahogany knees with much the same air as the gentleman who tells one
the fine points of the living skeleton on Hampstead Heath. They gazed in
wonder. At last Achmed put his hand on my knee. "This called?" he asked.
"Knee," I told him.

"Yes," he said thoughtfully, "this neece--Arabic; this" (pointing to an
unsunburnt part of my leg)--"Eengleesh."

Then the washing proceeded uninterruptedly. "You feelin' very quais
(good)?" Abdul asked. I told him I was pretty quais, but that I had been
quaiser. "Ginral comin' safternoon and Missus," he informed me, and I
gathered that no less a person than the Commander-in-Chief (one of them)
was to visit the hospital. And so it happened, for about five o'clock
there was a clinking of spurs in the passage, and the matron ushered
in an affable brass hat and a very charming lady. In the background
hovered several staff officers. Suddenly their ranks were burst asunder
and Abdul appeared breathless.

He had nearly missed the show. He stood over me with an air of ownership
and suddenly whipped off my bed clothes, displaying my nether limbs. He
saw he had made an impression. "Neece is Arabic," he said proudly. It was
Abdul's best turn, and he brought the house down. The visitors departed,
but for ten minutes I heard loud laughter from down the corridor. Abdul
had departed in their wake, doubtless to tell Achmed and Mohammed of
the success of his coup.

I had been smoking cigarettes, but found the habit extravagant, as Abdul
appreciated them even more than I did. One morning I woke up to see
him making a cache in his round cotton cap. I kept quiet until he came
nearer, and then I grabbed his hat. It was as I thought, and about ten
cigarettes rolled on the floor. I looked sternly at Abdul. He was due to
wither up and confess. Instead he broke first into a seraphic grin and
then roared with laughter. "Oh, very funny, very, very funny," he said
between his paroxysms. Now what could I say after that? I was beaten and
I had to admit it, but I decided that I would smoke a pipe. To this end
I gave Abdul ten piastres and sent him out to buy me some tobacco. He
arrived back in about an hour with two tins worth each eight piastres.
"Me quais?" he asked expectantly. "Well, you are pretty hot stuff,"
I admitted, "but how did you do it?"

Abdul held up one tin.

"Me buy this one," he said solemnly; "this one" (holding up the other one)
"got it!"

"What do you mean, 'got it'?"

"Jus' got it," was all the answer I could get. Then to crown the
performance he produced two piastres change. Could the genii of the
_Arabian Nights_ have done better?

I was in that hospital for three months, and I verily believe that if it
had not been for Abdul I should have been in three months more. He had his
own way of doing things and people, but he modelled himself unconsciously
on some personality half-way between FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE and _Fagin's_
most promising pupil. The day I was to go he cleaned my tunic buttons and
helmet badge with my tooth-brush and paste and brought them proudly to
me for thanks. And I thanked him.

The last I saw of Abdul was as I drove away in the ambulance. A pathetic
figure in a white robe stood out on the balcony and mopped his eyes
with his cotton cap, and as he took it off his head there fell to the
ground half-a-dozen crushed cigarettes. It was a typical finale.

       *       *       *       *       *



THE DYSPEPTIC'S DILEMMA.

    [_Maté_, an infusion of the prepared leaves of the _Ilex
    paraguayensis_, or Brazilian holly, long familiar in South
    America, is coming into fashion in London.]


  In happy ante-bellum days,
  To quote a memorable phrase,
  "Whisky and beer, or even wine,
  Were good enough for me"--and mine.

  But now, in view of heightened taxes
  And all that grim MCKENNA axes,
  I have religiously tabooed
  All alcohol--distilled or brewed.

  But "minerals" are now expensive,
  And, though the choice may be extensive,
  I find them, as my strength is waning,
  More effervescent than sustaining.

  At cocoa's bland nutritious nibs
  My palate obstinately jibs;
  And coffee, when I like it best,
  Plays utter havoc with my rest.

  Tea is a tipple that I love
  All non-intoxicants above;
  But on its road to lip from cup
  All sorts of obstacles crop up.

  On patriotic grounds I curb
  My preference for the Chinese herb,
  But for eupeptic reasons think
  The Indian leaf unsafe to drink.

  Hence am I driven to essay
  _Maté_, the "tea of Paraguay,"
  As quaffed by the remote Brazilians,
  Peruvians, Argentinians, Chilians.

  My doctor, Parry Gorwick, who
  Believes in this salubrious brew,
  Has promised from its use renewal
  Of my depleted vital fuel.

  And so I'm bound to try it--still
  I wasn't born in far Brazil,
  And find it hard on leaves of holly
  To grow exuberantly jolly.

       *       *       *       *       *


A New Reading.

    "Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree, after first posing for screen purposes
    in California, promises to produce his _Henry VIII._ in New York,
    with himself as _Cardinal Richelieu_."

                                                   _Munsey's Magazine._
       *       *       *       *       *

    "MR. BIRRELL IN THE DOCK."

                                                 _Dublin Evening Mail._

This is quite a mistake. He has only been in the nettles.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The excitement in the Lobby yesterday was reminiscent of the
    Irish crisis, Members remaining to discuss numberless humours
    long after they had risen."

                                          _Civil and Military Gazette._

The correspondent who sends us the above extract suggests that the
Members in question must have been Scotsmen.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: GETTING THE MASCOT ON PARADE.

"COME ON!"

"GEE UP!"

"NOW, THEN--"

"WE'LL BE LATE--"

ENTER THE DECOY.

WELL AWAY.

(_Never could stand that dog._)

ON PARADE AT LAST--JUST IN TIME.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Kindly old Gentleman (distributing cigarettes to soldiers
returning home on leave)._ "AND WHERE'S YOUR HOME, MY MAN?"

_Scotsman._ "I COME FRA PAISLEY--BUT I CANNA HELP THAT."]

       *       *       *       *       *



BALLADE OF BOOKS FOR THE WOUNDED.


  'Midst of the world and the world's despair,
    A fair land lieth in all men's sight;
  Ye that have breathed its witching air,
    Remember the men who went to fight,
    That have much need in their piteous plight
      Its gates to gain and its ease to win.
    The need is bitter, the gift is light;
      Give them the key to enter in.

  If ever ye crept bowed down with care
    Thither, and lo! your fears took flight,
  And the burden of life grew little to bear,
    And hurts were healed and the way lay bright;
    If ever ye watched through a wakeful night
      Till the dawn should break and the dusk grow thin,
    And a tale brought solace in pain's despite,
      Give them the key to enter in.

  Once they were stalwart, swift to dare;
    Little could baulk them, naught affright;
  Still are they staunch as then they were,
    Strong to endure as once to smite.
    Yet for awhile if so they might
      They would forget the strife and din;
    Shall they wait at a door shut tight?
      Give them the key to enter in.


ENVOI.

  Friends, this haven is theirs by right;
    They held it safe for you and your kin:
  Hereby a little may ye requite--
    Give them the key to enter in!

       *       *       *       *       *


A Test of Valour.

    "Mr. Mellish, a regular reader of the _Daily Mail_ for years, was
    awarded the V.C. last month for conspicuous bravery."--_Daily
    Mail._

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The lack of food is especially irritating to the people, because
    Bulgaria is a great fool producing country."--_Daily Dispatch._

Yet their irritation seems quite intelligent and sane.

       *       *       *       *       *


How History is Written.

    "The Prime Minister passed through Cardiff in a special train
    this morning on his return from Ireland. The train stopped at the
    station to change engines, but the right hon. gentleman was only
    recognised by a few of those on the station."--_South Wales Echo._

    "Mr. Asquith travelled _viá_ Rosslare and Fishguard. It was
    eight a.m. when he left the Pembrokeshire port and 10.25 when
    the special train pulled up for a few moments at Cardiff. The
    Prime Minister was then soundly asleep in a sleeping car."

                                           _Evening Express (Cardiff)._

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: INJURED INNOCENCE.

THE GERMAN OGRE. "HEAVEN KNOWS THAT I HAD TO DO THIS IN SELF-DEFENCE; IT
WAS FORCED UPON ME." (_Aside_) "FEE, FI, FO, FUM!"

[According to the Imperial Chancellor's latest utterance Germany is the
deeply-wronged victim of British militarism.]]

       *       *       *       *       *



ESSENCE OF PARLIAMENT.

[Illustration: PRESS THE BUTTON, AND UP COMES THE GENIE.]


_Monday, May 22nd._--Mr. ASQUITH returned to his place to-day, looking
all the better for his trip to Ireland. No one was more pleased to see
him than Mr. TENNANT, who had been subjected all last week to a galling
fire from the Nationalist snipers. Mr. TIMOTHY HEALY had been especially
active, employing for the purpose a weapon of unique construction.
Although discharged at the Treasury Bench, its most destructive effect
is often produced on the Members who sit just behind him. Mr. DILLON is
particularly uneasy when Mr. HEALY gets his gun out.

When Mr. ACLAND moved the Vote for the Board of Agriculture there were
barely two-score of Members present. He made a capital speech, full of
attractive detail and delivered with unbucolic gusto, but did not succeed
in greatly increasing the number of his audience.

There was some excuse perhaps for the non-attendance of the Irish Members.
They have an Agricultural Department of their own, presided over by an
eminent temperance lecturer who teaches Irish farmers how to grow barley
for the national beverage. But it might have been supposed that more
Englishmen and Scotsmen would have torn themselves away from their other
duties in the smoking-room or elsewhere to hear what the Government had
to say about the shortage of labour in the fields.

Mr. ACLAND puts his faith in women. If the farmers would only meet them
half-way the situation would be saved. Mr. PROTHERO thought the farmers'
wives would have something to say about that. They did not like "London
minxes trapesing about our farmyard." From their point of view
conscientious objectors would be a safer substitute.

_Tuesday, May 23rd._--Over ten years have passed since Sir ALFRED
HARMSWORTH became Baron NORTHCLIFFE, yet never until to-day, I believe,
has he directly addressed his fellow-Peers, though it is understood
that through other channels he has occasionally given them the benefit
of his counsel.

His speech was a sad disappointment to those trade-rivals who have not
scrupled to attribute his silence to cowardice or incompetence. No
justification for such insinuations was to be found in his speech
to-day. He had something practical to say--on Lord MONTAGU's motion
regarding the Air-Service--and said it so briefly and modestly as to
throw doubt upon the theory that he personally dictates all those leaders
in _The Times_ and _The Daily Mail_.

Colonel HALL-WALKER took his seat to-day after a re-election necessitated
by the transfer of his racing stud to the Government. Up to the present
Ministers have found it a Greek gift. To-day they had to withstand a
further attack upon their horse-racing proclivities by Lord CLAUD HAMILTON,
who, notwithstanding that he is chairman of the railway that serves
Newmarket, denounced with great fervour the continuance during the War of
this "most extravagant, alluring and expensive form of public amusement."

In introducing a Vote of Credit for 300 millions, making a total of
£2,382,000,000 since August, 1914, the PRIME MINISTER said very little
about the War, except that we were still confident in its triumphant
issue. Any omission on his part was more than made good by Colonel
CHURCHILL, who for an hour or more kept the House interested with his
views on the proper employment of our Armies. Whenever he speaks at
Westminster one is inclined to remark, "What a strategist!" whereas it
is rumoured that his admiring comrades in the trenches used to murmur,
"What a statesman!" One of his best points was that the War Office should
use their men, not like a heap of shingle, but like pieces of mosaic, each
in his right place. Colonel CHURCHILL's supporters are still not quite
sure whether he has yet found his own exact place in the national jigsaw.

_Wednesday, May 24th._--The House of Lords was well attended this
afternoon, in the expectation of hearing Lord CURZON unfold the programme
of the new Air Board. But it had to exercise a noble patience. Lord
GALWAY gave an account of a trip in a Zeppelin; Lord BERESFORD (who,
strange to say, is much better heard in the Lords than he was in the
Commons) told how the Government were still awaiting from America a large
consignment of aeroplanes which as soon as they were delivered would be
"obsolete six months ago"; and Lord HALDANE (less impressive in mufti
than when he wore the Lord Chancellor's wig) delivered once again his
celebrated discourse on the importance of "thinking clearly."

Lord CURZON at least did not seem to require the admonition, for his speech
indicated that he had carefully considered the possibilities of the Air
Board. He did not agree with Colonel CHURCHILL that its future would be
one of harmless impotence or of first-class rows. At any rate the second
alternative had been rendered less probable by the disappearance from the
Government of his critic's own "vivid personality."

Mr. ARTHUR PONSONBY and Mr. RAMSAY MACDONALD have inadvertently done
signal service to their country's cause. By raising--on Empire Day,
too!--the question of peace, and urging the Government to initiate
negotiations with Germany, they furnished Sir EDWARD GREY with an
opportunity of dealing faithfully with the recent insidious manoeuvres
of Herr VON BETHMANN-HOLLWEG. The only terms of peace that the German
Government had ever put forward were terms of victory for Germany, and
we could not reason with the German people so long as they were fed with
lies. The FOREIGN SECRETARY spoke without a note, and carried away the
House by his spontaneous indignation. The House had previously passed the
Lords' amendments, strengthening the Military Service Bill. Altogether
it was a bad day for the pro-Bosches.

_Thursday, May 25th._--There was a big attendance in the House of Commons
to hear Mr. ASQUITH unfold his new plan for the regeneration of Ireland.
In the Peers' Gallery were Lord WIMBORNE, still in a state of suspended
animation; Lord MACDONNELL, wondering whether Mr. ASQUITH would
succeed where he and Mr. WYNDHAM failed; and Lord BRYCE, ex-Chief
Secretary, to whom the Sinn Feiners are indebted for the repeal of the
Arms Act. On the benches below were the leaders of all the Irish groups,
including Mr. GINNELL. Even Mr. BIRRELL crept in unobtrusively to learn
how his chief had solved in nine days the problem that had baffled him
for as many years. An Irish debate on the old heroic scale was looked upon
as a certainty.

In half-an-hour all was over. The PRIME MINISTER had no panacea of his
own to prescribe. All he could say was that Mr. LLOYD GEORGE had been
deputed by the Cabinet to confer with the various Irish leaders, and that
he hoped the House would assist the negotiations by deferring debate on
the Irish situation.

His selection of a peacemaker is generally approved. If anyone knows
how to handle high explosives without causing a premature concussion, or
to unite heterogeneous materials by electrical welding, or to utilise
a high temperature in dealing with refractory ores it should be the
MINISTER OF MUNITIONS. Everybody wishes him success in his new _rôle_ of
Harmonious Blacksmith.

Nevertheless some little disappointment was felt by those who had hoped
for a prompter solution. As an Irish Member expressed it, "This has been
the dickens of a day. We began with 'Great Expectations' and ended with
'Our Mutual Friend.'"

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "I'VE SEEN IT--'TAIN'T NO GOOD."

"'E GETS 'UNG, DON'T 'E?"

"YUS, BUT THEY DON'T SHOW YER THAT."]

       *       *       *       *       *

The Policeman's Friend.

    "Cook wanted, used to coppers."--_Daily Paper._

       *       *       *       *       *



A CONVENIENT CONSCIENCE.


"I'm sorry to disturb you, Theodore," began Mrs. Plapp, opening the door
of her husband's study, "but I've just been listening at the top of the
kitchen stairs, and from what I overheard I'm certain that girl Louisa
is having supper down there with a soldier!"

"Dear, dear!" exclaimed Mr. Plapp; "I can't possibly permit any
encouragement of militarism under _my_ roof. Just when I'm appealing to
be exempted from even non-combatant service, too! Go down and tell her
she must get rid of him at once."

"Couldn't _you_, Theodore?"

"If I did, my love, he would probably refuse to go unless I put him out
by force, which, as you are aware, is entirely contrary to my principles."

"I was forgetting for the moment, Theodore. Never mind; I'll go myself."

She had not been long gone before a burly stranger entered unceremoniously
by the study window. "'Scuse me, guv'nor," he said, "but ain't you the
party whose name I read in the paper--'im what swore 'e wouldn' lift
'is finger not to save 'is own mother from a 'Un?"

"I am," replied Mr. Plapp complacently. "I disbelieve in meeting violence
_by_ violence."

"Ah, if there was more blokes like _you_, Guv'nor, this world 'ud be a
better plice, for some on us. Blagg, _my_ name is. Us perfeshnals ain't
bin very busy doorin' this War, feelin' it wasn't the square thing,
like, to break into 'omes as might 'ave members away fightin' fer our
rights and property. But I reckon I ain't doin' nothink unpatriotic in
comin' _'ere_. So jest you show me where you keeps yer silver."

"The little we possess," said Mr. Plapp, rising, "is on the sideboard
in the dining-room. If you will excuse me for a moment I'll go in and
get it for you."

"And lock me in 'ere while you ring up the slops!" retorted
Mr. Blagg. "You don't go in not without _me_, you don't; and, unless
you want a bullet through yer 'ed, you'd better make no noise neither!"

No one could possibly have made less noise than Mr. Theodore Plapp,
as, with the muzzle of his visitor's revolver pressed between his
shoulder-blades, he hospitably led the way to the dining-room. There
Mr. Blagg, with his back to the open door, superintended the packing of
the plate in a bag he had brought for the purpose.

"And now," said Mr. Plapp, as he put in the final fork, "there is
nothing to detain you here any longer, unless I may offer you a glass
of barley-water and a plasmon biscuit before you go?"

Mr. Blagg consigned these refreshments to a region where the former
at least might be more appreciated. "You kerry that bag inter the
drorin'-room, will yer?" he said. "There may be one or two articles
in there to take my fancy. 'Ere! 'Old 'ard!" he broke off suddenly,
"What the blankety blank are you a-doin' of?"

This apostrophe was addressed, however, not to his host, who was doing
nothing whatever, but to the unseen owner of a pair of khaki-clad arms
which had just pinioned him from behind. During the rough-and-tumble
conflict that followed Mr. Plapp discreetly left the room, returning
after a brief absence to find the soldier kneeling on Mr. Blagg's chest.

"Good!" he said encouragingly; "you won't have to keep him down long.
Help is at hand."

"Why don't you _give_ it me, then?" said the soldier, on whom the strain
was evidently beginning to tell.

"Because, my friend," explained Mr. Plapp, "if I did I should be acting
against my conscience."

"You _'ear_ 'im, matey?" panted Mr. Blagg. "'E's _agin_ you, 'e is. Agin
all military-ism. So why the blinkin' blazes do _you_ come buttin' in to
defend them as don't approve o' bein' defended?"

"Blowed if _I_ know!" was the reply. "'Abit, I expect. Lay still, will
you?" But Mr. Blagg, being exceptionally muscular, struggled with such
violence that the issue seemed very doubtful indeed till Louisa rushed
in to the rescue and, disregarding her employer's protests, succeeded
in getting hold of the revolver.

       *       *       *       *       *

"It was lucky for you," remarked Mr. Plapp, after Mr. Blagg had been
forcibly removed by a couple of constables, "that I had the presence
of mind to telephone to the police station. I really thought once or
twice that that dreadful man would have got the better of you."

"And no thanks to _you_ if he didn't," grunted the soldier. "I notice
that, if your conscience goes against lighting yourself, it don't object
to calling in others to fight for you."

"As a citizen," Mr. Plapp replied, "I have a legal right to police
protection. Your own intervention, though I admit it was timely, was
uninvited by me, and, indeed, I consider your presence here requires
some explanation."

"I'd come up to tell you, as I told your good lady 'ere, that me and
Louisa got married this morning, as I was home on six days' furlough
from the Front. And she'll be leaving with me this very night."

"But only for the er--honeymoon, I trust?" cried Mr. Plapp, naturally
dismayed at the prospect of losing so faithful and competent a
maid-of-all-work altogether. "Although I cannot approve of this marriage,
I am willing, under the circumstances, to overlook it and allow her to
remain in my service."

"Remain!" said Louisa's husband, in a tone Mr. Plapp thought most uncalled
for. "Why, I should never 'ave another 'appy moment in the trenches if I
left her _'ere_, with no one to protect her but a thing like _you_! No,
she's going to be in the care of someone I can _depend_ on--my old aunt!"

"I don't like losing Louisa," murmured Mrs. Plapp, so softly that her
husband failed to catch her remark, "but--I think you're wise."

                                                                  F. A.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _First Slacker (to second ditto)._ "WELL, NO ONE CAN SAY
WE'RE NOT PATRIOTS.  WE'RE NOT KEEPING ABLE-BODIED CADDIES FROM JOINING
THE ARMY."]

       *       *       *       *       *

A Dangerous Quest.

    "Lost, at Bestwood, Saturday, Irish Terrier Dog, finder rewarded,
    dead or alive."--_Provincial Paper._

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Sergeant._ "'ERE, WHAT ARE YOU FALLING OUT FOR?"

_Excited Cockney._ "SEE THAT PIGEON? I'LL SWEAR 'E'S GOT A MESSAGE
ON 'IM!"]

       *       *       *       *       *



SCREEN INFLUENCES.


The plea, "I saw it at the Cinema," may be offered by others than those
of tender years in excuse for vagaries of conduct.

Only the other day a young officer, wearing his Sam Browne equipment
the wrong way round and carrying his sword under his left arm, was
seen at King's Cross bidding farewell to his fiancée. As the train
moved out he drew his sword, threw the scabbard away, and, standing
stiffly to attention, saluted the fair lady. On being questioned by
the authorities he said he was not aware that his conduct was unusual,
as he had often seen that kind of thing done at the Cinema.

In view of the popularity of the Cinema to-day, habitués of our more
palatial restaurants cannot be surprised at the growing custom among
men about town of wearing the napkin tucked deeply in at the neck,
cutting up all their food at one time, and conveying it afterwards to
the mouth with the fork grasped in the right hand.

The following incident will show that the Cinema excuse is made to serve
in other lands also. A simple Saxon soldier, in a moment of remembrance,
stooped to pat the rosy cheek of a small Belgian child, then lifted the
little one up and kissed him and kissed him again. A young officer
caught him in the act. "What do you mean, you dog, by treating the
brat so?" roared the lieutenant, who would have struck the man had not
his companion, an older officer, restrained him. Together they waited
for the fellow's explanation. "When I was on leave," said the soldier,
"I--I saw Prussian soldiers treating little Belgian children like that--at
the Cinema."

       *       *       *       *       *


"The Elements so mixed" again.

    "Of two evils always choose the lesser, and on the whole we
    think we might fall from the frying-pan into the fire if we
    swopped horses whilst crossing the stream."--_Financial Critic._

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Is the German Chancellor alone to be allowed to scatter broadcast
    his falsifications of history?"--_Daily Telegraph._

Oh, no! Some Members of the House of Commons have recently given him
valuable assistance.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "How an Irish colleen travelled free from Ireland to London was
    explained at the Willesden Police Court yesterday, when she was
    charged with not paying her face."

                                                        _Daily Sketch._

Rather ungrateful of her, after travelling on it so far.

       *       *       *       *       *



NURSERY RHYMES OF LONDON TOWN.

XV.--BILLINGSGATE.

  "Trot, mare, trot, or I'll be late,
  And Billing will have locked his Gate.

        "Mister Billing,
        Are you willing
    To open your Gate to me?"
        "Yes!" says Billing,
        "Give me a shilling
    And I will fetch the key."

        "Mister Billing,
        I haven't a shilling,
    I'll give you a button of horn."
        "No!" says Billing,
        "I'm unwilling,
    A button will buy no corn."

  "Take it or leave it, but I can't wait--
  Jump, mare, jump over Billing's Gate!"


XVI.--LIMEHOUSE AND POPLAR.

  I planted a limestone once upon a time,
  And up came a little wee House of Lime.

  I planted a seed by the corner of the wall,
  And up came a Poplar ninety feet tall.

  I settled down for life, as happy as could be,
  In my little wee Lime-House by my big Poplar-Tree.

       *       *       *       *       *



THE BIRTHDAY PRESENT.


Late October and a grey morning tinging to gold through the warming
mist. A large comfortable dining-room smelling faintly of chrysanthemums
and more strongly of coffee and breakfast dishes. In the hearth a great
fire, throwing its flames about as with joy of life. The table-cloth,
the silver, the dishes, the carpet on the floor, the side-board, the
pictures, the wall-paper told of wealth and ease, the fruits of peace,
and the arrangement of these things told of the good taste which is so
essentially the fruit of long peace.

The room was empty, and the first to enter it that morning was the Mother.
She was a tall imposing woman, and her bearing and her little mannerisms
were of the kind that the latter-day novelists have delighted to use
as matter for their irony. It was the Boy's birthday--his eighteenth
birthday, the first he had spent at home since he had been going to
his preparatory and his public school. So she departed from the usual
routine to place by the side of his napkin the neat little parcels she
had brought down with her. Two of them were from her other sons fighting
in France. They were a very affectionate and united family--father and
mother and the three sons.

After that she went to her husband's end of the table and looked through
the heap of letters placed there as usual by the admirable butler. It
was understood of old that she opened no letters but those addressed
to her, not even the letters from the fighting sons when they happened
to write to their father instead of to her.

This time, however, her eye caught at once, between the edges of the
others, an official envelope and, lower yet, another. She became rigid
and stood for a minute by the table, her mind running vaguely into
endless depths. Then she put her hand out and picked the envelopes from
the heap and saw that her fears might not be groundless. But they were
addressed to her husband, and at that moment she heard his tread and
his slight cough as he came slowly down the stairs. Hastily she pushed
them back among the others and went to her place. When he came into
the room she was busy with the urn.

As usual he was just putting his handkerchief back; as usual he looked
out of the window, then walked over to the fire and warmed his hands
automatically. All this business of coming down to breakfast had been
to him for so many years a leisurely pleasant business in a world free
from serious worries, that even the War, with its terrible disturbances,
with its breaking up of the family circle, had not succeeded in altering
his habits. Everything waited for him--for he was not unpunctual--the
letters, the newspaper and the breakfast. But this day was the Boy's
birthday and the Father took from his pocket an envelope and placed it
with a smile by the side of the little parcels.

Would he never look at his letters? The Mother was on the point of
speaking, but long habit, the old habit of obedience to her lord,
restrained her. Even now, when she was cold with anxiety, those old
concealed forces of habit restrained her. Might she not offend him?

The Father sat down, put on his glasses and began to look at the pile by
his side. She noticed the slight start he gave and her eyes met his as
he looked up suddenly at her. Deliberately braving Fate, he put those
two envelopes aside. It was evident that he meant to read through all
the others first, but he was not so strong as he thought. His fingers
went again to the official envelopes and he took up the letter-opener
placed ready for his use by the admirable butler and slit along the
top of one envelope and took the thin paper from it and read.

His head drooped a little, and the Mother came round to his side. Then
he opened the other and suddenly sat very still, with his great strong
fine hand open on the paper, gazing straight in front of him. His wife
bent over him and tried to speak, but her voice had died to a whisper,
a hoarse straining sound.

"Dead?" she said at last.

Her husband dropped his head in affirmation.

"Which?"

He did not answer and the Mother understood. "Oh, Harry, not _both_?"

Again his head drooped and he fumbled for the papers and gave them to
her, and as he did so a tear rolled suddenly down his cheek and splashed
on a spoon. It seemed to be a sign to him, he felt his courage giving
way and visibly pulled himself together. Then he turned to take the
Mother's hand, rising from his seat. They stood a little while thus,
the Mother looking away, as he had done, into unfathomable distances
of time and space. Then she too pulled herself together and went to her
place at the other end of the table. They heard steps on the staircase,
a voice singing. The door opened and the Boy came in late and expecting
a comment from his father, His eyes travelled to the parcels beside his
plate, then he felt the silence and saw the strained expressions of his
mother and father and lastly the official papers. He came forward and
spoke bravely.

"Bad news, Dad?"

There was no answer. He had not expected one, for he read the truth on
the face that had never lied. He stood very still for a brief moment, his
head up--characteristically--his face a little pale. Both brothers! Then
he breathed deeply and turned to his father in expectation. The latter
knew what was wanted.

"You are eighteen to-day, Boy. You may apply for your commission."

There was a cry, quickly stifled, from the Mother, and the Boy said very
quietly, "Thank you, Dad; of course I must go now." Then he went to his
mother and kissed her and was not ashamed to cry.

It was his father who broke the silence.

"May God grant you many returns, many happy returns of the day!"

       *       *       *       *       *


THE SORROWS OF WILSON.

(_With humble apologies to THACKERAY._)

  WILSON had a love for Charlotte
    That impelled him to address her
  (Charlotte was a town, and WILSON
    Was a famous ex-Professor).

  So upon the War in Europe
    He delivered an oration,
  Darkly hinting at the problems
    Calling for elucidation.

  As reported in the papers,
    He discussed the situation
  With Olympian detachment
    And conspicuous moderation.

  But the wireless WOLFF discovered
    In his words a declaration
  Of his laudable intention
    To proceed to mediation.

  Thus the speech, which cost good WILSON
    Many hours of toil and trouble,
  From a sober cautious statement
    Turned into a Berlin bubble.

  Charlotte, having heard the lecture,
    Ignorant of what was brewing,
  Like a well-conducted city
    Went on innocently chewing.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The water in the South-West Norfolk Fens has now subsided about
    6 in. Two 6 ft. openings have been cut in the river bank near
    the Southery engine to let the water flow into the river. Two
    temporary slackers have been put in the openings, so that they
    can be closed when the tide is higher in the river."

                                                    _Provincial Paper._

They might just as well have been put into the trenches.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Orderly Officer._ "WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITHOUT YOUR RIFLE,
SENTRY?"

_Tommy._ "BEG PARDON, SIR, BUT I AIN'T THE SENTRY."

_Orderly Officer._ "WHO ARE YOU, THEN, AND WHERE IS THE SENTRY?"

_Tommy._ "OH, 'E'S INSIDE OUT OF THE RAIN. _I'M_ ONE OF THE PRISONERS."]

       *       *       *       *       *



OUR BOOKING-OFFICE.

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


Herr HERMANN FERNAU's _Because I am a German_ (CONSTABLE) is a sort of
postscript to the widely-outside-Germany-circulated _J'accuse!_, that
vigorous indictment by an anonymous German of the Prussian clique as
the criminal authors of the War. Herr FERNAU summarises the argument of
_J'accuse!_ and if anyone cares to have at his finger-tips the essential
case against the enemy he could not do better than absorb the six pages in
which twenty-four questions put by the anonymous author to the directors
of his unhappy country's destiny are most skilfully compressed. Four
attempted German answers are shown by our author to have in common an
amazing reluctance to deal with any single definite point at issue;
and a most unjudicial appeal to popular hatred of the traitor critic. Of
course it is a cheap line to welcome as a miracle of wisdom every German
who takes a pro-Ally view. But I honestly detect no shadow of pro-Ally
bias in this book, and it is certainly no tirade against Germany. What
bias there is is that of the extreme republican against his autocratic
government. "I have read," says Herr FERNAU in effect, "this perfectly
serious and definite indictment lucidly drawn in legal form. I hope as a
German (not afraid to sign my name) there is an answer. But whereas the
Entente Powers have supported their official case by documentary evidence
we are asked to accept mere asseveration in the case of Germany. That
is the less allowable as the obvious (though not necessarily the true)
reading of the facts is against her. Silence and vigorous suppression
of the indictment look rather like signs of guilt." Yes, emphatically
a book for members of the Independent Labour Party.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Beatrice Lovelace_ belonged to a family that had come down in the world,
and were now Reduced County. So far reduced, indeed, that _Beatrice_
lived with her cross aunt _Anastasia_ and one little maid-of-all-work
in a tiny house in a very dull suburb, where the aunt would not allow
her to be friends with the neighbours. However, one fine day two
things happened. _Beatrice_ got to know the young man next door, and
the little servant (whose name, by a silly coincidence which vexed
me, happened to be _Million_) was left a million dollars. So, as the
house was already uncomfortable by reason of a row about the young man,
_Beatrice_ determined to shake the suburban dust from her shapely feet
and take service as maid to her ex-domestic. That is why the story of
it is called _Miss Million's Maid_ (HUTCHINSON). An excellent story, too,
told with great verve by Mrs. OLIVER ONIONS. I could never attempt to
detail the complicated adventures to which their fantastic situation
exposes _Beatrice_ and _Million_. Of course they have each a lover; indeed,
the supply of suitors is soon in excess of the demand. Also there is an
apparent abduction of the heiress (which turns out to be no abduction at
all, but a very pleasant and kindly episode, which I won't spoil for you),
and a complicated affair of a stolen ruby that brings both heroines into
the dock. It is all great fun and as unreal as a fairy-tale. For which
reason may I suggest that it was an error to date it 1914? Such nonsensical
and dream-like imaginings are so happily out of key with the world-tragedy
that its introduction strikes a note of discord.

       *       *       *       *       *

I have just finished reading a distinguished book, _One of Our
Grandmothers_ (CHAPMAN AND HALL), by ETHEL COLBURN MAYNE--a book full of a
delicate insight and very shrewd characterisation. It probes to the heart
of the mystery of girlhood--Irish girlhood in this case. I certainly
think that _Millicent_, who was a sort of prig, yet splendidly alive,
with her gift of music (which, contrary to custom in these matters,
the author makes you really believe in), her temperament, her temper
and her limitless demands on life, would have given young _Maryon_,
of the Royal Irish Constabulary, a trying time of it; but it would
have been worth it. That, by the way, was _Jerry's_ opinion, common,
horsey, true-hearted, clean-minded little _Jerry_, who was the father
of _Millicent's_ coarse and something cruel stepmother. I have rarely
read a more fragrant chapter than that in which this queer, sensitive,
loyal little man tries to cut away the girl's ignorance while healing
the hurt that a rougher hand (a woman's), making the same attempt, had
caused. Perhaps Miss _Mayne_ was really trying to trace to its source
the stream of modern feminism. She is a rare explorer and cartographer.

       *       *       *       *       *

_A Rich Man's Table_ (MILLS AND BOON) is one of those stories that I find
slightly irritating, because they appear to lead nowhere. Perhaps this
attitude is unreasonable, and mere fiction should be all that I have
a right to look for. But in that case I confess to wishing a little
more body to it. Miss ELLA MACMAHON's latest novel is somehow a little
flat; not even the splintered infinitive on the first page could impart any
real snap to it. The rich man was Mr. _Bentley Broke_, a pompous person,
who had one child, a son of literary leanings named _Otho_. Perhaps
I was intended to sympathise with _Otho_. It looked like it at first;
but later, when he left home and married, without paternal blessing, the
daughter of his father's great rival, he developed into such a fool--and
objectionable at that--that I became uncertain on the matter. Especially
as the pompous parent, lacking nerve to carry out a matrimonial venture
on his own account, relented and behaved quite decently to the rebellious
pair. So the rich man's table would have, as all tables should, more than
one pair of legs under it again. Nothing very fresh or thrilling in all
this, you may observe. But the characters, for what they are, live, and
are drawn briskly enough. And there is some skill in the contrast between
a dinner of herbs in Fulham, and a stalled ox, with fatted calf, at the
rich man's table in Portman Square. Perhaps this is the point of the story.

       *       *       *       *       *

So often have I read and admired the novels of "M. E. FRANCIS" that to
praise her work has become a habit which it irks me to break. But I am
now bound to say that _Penton's Captain_ (CHAPMAN AND HALL) has not added
to my debt. And the cause of the trouble--as of so many other troubles--is
the War. In her own line Mrs. _Blundell_ is inimitable, but here she is
just one of a hundred or a thousand whose fiction seems trivial beside the
facts of life and death. Apart from this defect, her story is absolutely
without offence, a simple tale of love and misunderstandings and war and
heroism, and the curtain falls upon a scene of complete happiness. Her
only fault is that she has been tempted, excusably enough in these days
of upheaval, to wander from her element, and I am looking forward to the
day when she returns to it and I can again thank her with the old zest
and sincerity.

       *       *       *       *       *

As a painstaking study of lower middle-class life _The Progress of Kay_
(CONSTABLE) is to be remarked and remembered. That is not, however, to say
that it is exciting, for _Kay's_ progress consisted so much in just
getting older that I suspect Mr. G. W. BULLETT's title to be ironical. As
a child _Kay_ had some imagination and a sense of mischief; as an adult
he would have been all the better for a little military training, and
there is no disguising the fact that as a married man and a father he
was a dreary creature. I can well believe, from the air of truth which
these pages wear, that there are plenty of _Kays_ in the world to-day;
and to confess that I was not greatly intrigued by this particular sample
when he grew to man's estate is in its way a compliment to his creator. For
however much you may like or dislike the mark at which Mr. BULLETT has
aimed there is no doubt that he has hit it. Villadom, by his art, takes
on a revived significance, and _Kay's_ career encourages reflection
touched by a vague sadness.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: FALSE ECONOMY.]

       *       *       *       *       *

A Tale for the Horse-Marines.

                                                     "_London, Sunday._

    "While a British submarine was rescuing the Zeppelin crew in the
    North Sea, a German cruiser fired at it.

    "The Cavalry from Salonika are pursuing the remainder of the
    Zeppelin crew."--_Egyptian Mail._

       *       *       *       *       *

"LONDON STOCKS.

REVIVAL IN GUILT-EDGED SECURITIES."

                                        _Manchester Evening Chronicle._

Now we hope our contemporary will coin an equally felicitous description
for the pillory.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Mr. Hughes, the Australian Prime Minister, was carried
    triumphantly round camp last night after he had addressed nearly
    two thousand Anzacs on parade. Mr. Hughes was accompanied by
    Mrs. Hughes, Mr. Fisher, High Commissioner, and Mrs. Fisher.
    Brigadier-General Sir Newton Moore, Commander-in-Chief of the
    Australian Forces in England, was also present with Lady Moore."

                                                       _Morning Paper._

It is regrettable that General and Lady MOORE could not share the honours,
but probably the chair was constructed to carry four only.





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