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Title: Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 148, January 20th 1915
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, Volume 148, January 20th 1915" ***

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PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.

Volume 148, January 20th, 1915

_edited by Owen Seamen_



[Illustration: WILLIAM THE GALLANT.

THE KAISER, BY GIFTS OF ROSES, HAS BEEN TRYING TO INGRATIATE HIMSELF
WITH THE GRAND DUCHESS OF LUXEMBOURG, WHOSE COUNTRY HE HAS INVADED IN
DEFIANCE OF TREATY OBLIGATIONS.]

       *       *       *       *       *

CHARIVARIA.

"At every point," we read, "the Allies have made sensible progress."
So different from the stupid progress made very occasionally by the
enemy!

      * * *

We have been asked to recommend suitable Fiction for reading during
the War. We have no hesitation in calling attention to the claims of
the war news from Amsterdam and Rome.

      * * *

The Prussian Government has ordered that there shall be no public
festivities on the occasion of the birthday of the KAISER. This
confirms the rumour that HIS MAJESTY now wishes that he had not been
born.

      * * *

By the way, to show how far-reaching is the influence of a Prussian
command even to-day, no public festivities will take place on the
occasion referred to either in Belgium, France, Russia, Japan, Serbia,
Montenegro, or Great Britain.

      * * *

Dr. DERNBURG--and the expression is really not a bit too strong for
him--has been telling an American audience that his countrymen really
"love the French and the Belgians." At the risk of appearing
ungrateful, however, our allies are saying that the Germans have such
a subtle way of showing their love that they would rather be hated,
please.

      * * *

"Germany," says the _Cologne Gazette_ in an article on the food
question, "has still at hand a very large supply of pigs." Even after
the enormous number they have exported to Belgium.

      * * *

Meanwhile we are constantly assured that the food question causes no
anxiety whatever in Germany. It certainly does seem, judging by the
lies with which the Germans are fed, that these wonderful people will
be able to swallow anything.

      * * *

Lord ROSEBERY'S appointment as Captain-General of the Royal Company of
Scottish Archers has not escaped the notice of the alert German Press,
and it is being pointed out in Berlin that we are so hard up in the
matter of equipment for our army that bows and arrows are now being
served out.

      * * *

The new corps which has just been formed with the title of the
"Ju-Jitsu Corps" has, we are informed, no connection with the artistes
who went to the Front to give entertainments for the troops.

      * * *

Both officers and men in certain towns are beginning to complain of
the irksomeness of the constant salutes that have to be given when
they walk abroad. Surely it should be possible to invent some simple
little contrivance whereby a button is pressed and a mechanical hand
does the rest?

      * * *

Suggested name for a regiment of Bantams--The Miniature Rifles.

      * * *

A peculiarly touching instance of patriotism has been brought to our
notice. A London barber whose measurements are too puny to allow of
his being accepted as a recruit has written to the War Office offering
to barb some wire for them in his spare time.

      * * *

"Mr. KEIR HARDIE," says a bulletin, "was yesterday reported to be
gradually improving." But we are afraid that this only refers to his
health.

      * * *

An Englishman had suddenly to exercise all his tact the other day. He
was in Kensington Gardens with a Belgian refugee. "What's that?" he
asked, pointing to the Albert Memorial. The Englishman explained.
"What, already a monument to our brave King!" cried the Belgian as he
embraced his friend. The Englishman, with admirable reticence, said
nothing.

      * * *

"A Turkish advance guard," says a telegram, "has occupied Tabriz."
Very plucky of him, and his name ought to be published. Can it be dear
old Turkish Reggie?

      * * *

The _Vorwärts_ computes that the War is costing nine millions a day.
Small wonder if, in these hard times, one or two countries look upon
war as a luxury which they ought to try to get on without.

      * * *

"As there is every probability," we read, "that the child population
of Kensington will decline in the future owing to the migration of
families to the outer suburbs, the L.C.C. proposes to meet the present
demand for a new school by building a 'short-life school,' one that
will last but twenty years." The difficulty, of course, will be so to
construct it that it will collapse gently on the last day of its
twentieth year, and the problem threatens to tax to the utmost the
ingenuity of our jerry-builders.

       *       *       *       *       *

During a "stormy scene" in Stirling School Board, Councillor BARKER,
according to _The Glasgow Evening Times_, "refused to withdraw,
alleging that Mr. Reid taunted him on the streets as being an Alpine
Purist." "Alpine purist" is a term of abuse with which _Mr. Punch_ has
never sullied his lips, though once he nearly referred to a very
tedious bishop as a cis-Carpathian pedagogue.

       *       *       *       *       *

NOTICE.

The advertisement which appeared in our last week's issue, opposing
the principle of the inoculation of soldiers against typhoid, came in
very late, and unfortunately its contents were not submitted to the
Secretary, who was merely told of the source from which it
came--namely, the Anti-Vivisection Society. _Mr. Punch_ is himself
absolutely in favour of inoculation against typhoid for the troops.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO "GENERAL JANVIER."

("_In the Spring a young man's fancy ..._")

  At it, old warrior! do your worst!
    Here's Fevrier coming, moist and blowy,
      And any trench you leave for him
      Not saturated to the brim
  He will accommodate its thirst
    As in the days of NOË.

  But we, well-armed in every pore
    Against the tricks you mean to try on,
      Will stick it out through slush and slime,
      And bide, as best we may, our time
  Till General Mars begins to roar
    Just like a British lion.

  And ere his exit, like a lamb,
    The sloppy mess shall all be tidied,
      And (since I can't believe that K.
      Has said that things won't move till May)
  We shall step out, as SHEM and HAM
    Did when the flood subsided.

  Spring! Ah, to what a sanguine view
    Thoughts of the vernal prime provoke us!
      Yet never in my whole career
      Can I recall a single year
  When I so much looked forward to
    The advent of the crocus.

  For with the Spring, when youth is free
    To execute its inward yearning,
      Like to a lark (or other bird)
      The soul of Thomas shall be stirred,
  And to Berlin I hope to see
    The young man's fancy turning.

    O.S.

       *       *       *       *       *

A FORCED MARCH.

Petherby recommended route-marching; said he used to suffer from
sensations of repletion after heavy meals, just as I did, but, after a
series of Saturday afternoons spent in route-marching through our
picturesque hill country (Herne, Brixton, Denmark and so forth), the
distressing symptoms completely vanished, and he now felt as right as
a trivet.

I hadn't a ghost of a notion what a trivet was, nor yet what degree of
rectitude was expected of it; but I nevertheless determined to try the
route-march cure. Bismuth and pepsin should henceforth be drugs in the
market as far as I was concerned. The only doubt in my mind was
whether, technically speaking, I could perform a route-march all by
myself. Somehow I thought etiquette demanded the presence of a band,
or at any rate a drum and fife _obbligato_. But Petherby thought not,
and declared it would prove just as effective rendered as a solo.
"Besides," he added, "if you want music to invigorate you, you can
whistle or hum. Moreover, you can switch the music on or off at will."

I resolved to start the treatment the following Saturday afternoon,
and certainly should have done so but for the weather, which was very
moist. If there's one thing I hate more than dyspepsia it's
rheumatism. The next Saturday was fine--fine for a Saturday, that is;
but a well-meant gift of tickets for a _matinée_, which it would have
been churlish of me to refuse, robbed me of my prospective enjoyment.
However, Saturday of the week after was also fine. Nothing stood in
the way of my pleasurable tramp, and I determined to route-march home
from the City.

I spent two hours in ill-concealed impatience--the marker told me he
had never seen me put up such a poor game--waiting to see if the
weather would change. But as at the expiration of that time it had
apparently got stuck I decided to risk it.

Softly humming to myself, "Here we are again," I route-marched out of
the hotel into Bishopsgate in fine style, and got on to a bus bound
for the Bank (I did this to save time). Arrived at the Bank I took
another bus to Blackfriars (I did this to save more time. I thought it
would be nice to commence the march from the Embankment). When I
reached Blackfriars I remembered that all the big walks started from
the political end, so as I did not wish to assume any superiority
which I did not strictly possess I took the tram to Westminster. There
I alighted and was about to set off over Westminster Bridge when it
occurred to me that I hadn't had any tea. To route-march on an empty
stomach was, I felt sure, the height of folly. I therefore repaired to
a tea-shop in the vicinity, where I encountered young Pilkington. We
discussed KITCHENER and crumpets, training and tea, the KAISER and
cake, and with a little adroitness I managed to bring in the subject
of the medicinal value of route-marching. When I rose to go Pilkington
inquired my destination.

"Norbury," I told him.

"That's lucky," he said; "I shall be able to give you a lift in a taxi
as far as Kennington."

In vain I expostulated with him, and urged that I was route-marching,
not route-cabbing. But he wouldn't listen.

"Anyhow," he concluded, "it's most dangerous to march just after a
crumpet tea. Haven't you read your 'Infantry Training'?"

The upshot of the matter was that we taxied to Kennington, where at
last I managed to leave him. And then I began to feel tired. True, I
hadn't done any marching, but it was none the less true that I felt as
tired as if I had. However, I succeeded in struggling on for about
fifty yards (to the tune of HANDEL'S _Largo_), and then I boarded a
tram. It had only proceeded a quarter-of-a-mile or so when the current
failed and we all had to get out. I waited half-an-hour for a fresh
batch of current to arrive, but none came, and I realised that my best
course would be to walk to Brixton Station and procure a cab.

Accordingly, to the melody of "I don't expect to do it again for
months and months and months," I put my best foot foremost. It was a
moot point which of my two feet merited this distinction; they both
felt deplorably senile. Then it began to rain--no mere niggardly
sprinkling, but a lavish week-end cataclysm. I reached the station in
the condition known to chemists as a saturated solution, only to find
that there was not a cab on the rank. I was therefore compelled to
adopt the only means of transport left to me--to route-march home....

I ultimately staggered in at my gate at an advanced hour of the
evening to the strains of the opening bars of TSCHAIKOWSKY'S Pathetic
Symphony, whistled mentally. I was far beyond making the actual
physical effort.

That night I wrote a postcard to Petherby. It ran as follows:--"Have
just completed your course of treatment. Am cured."

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: AN AWFUL WARNING.

AUSTRIA (TO RUMANIA). "NOW, BE CAREFUL! REMEMBER WHAT I DID TO
SERBIA!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Territorial_ (_giving himself away to proprietor of
coal-heap_). "COULD YOU LEND US A BUCKET OF COAL UNTIL IT'S DARK?"]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE ORGANIST.

A MODERN PORTRAIT.

  Grave and serene, though young at heart,
    "The Doctor," so his boys address him,
  And rightly, since his healing art
    Has made full many a mourner bless him--
  For close on twenty years has served
    An ancient church renowned in story,
  And never in his teaching swerved
    From studying God's greater glory.

  His choir, like every singing school,
    By turns angelic and demonic,
  Are quick to recognise a rule
    That is both "dominant" and "tonic;"
  For contact with so rare a mind
    Has seldom failed to spur and raise them,
  And when they shirk their needful grind
    With just rebuke he turns and flays them.

  Withal he knows that human boys
    Are dulled by industry unending,
  And unreservedly enjoys
    Himself at seasons of unbending;
  A diet of perpetual Psalms
    Is only fit for saints and Dantes,
  And so he varies BACH and BRAHMS
    With simple tunes and rousing chanties.

  His taste is catholic and sane;
    He does not treat as worthless lumber
  All MENDELSSOHN, or SPOHR disdain,
    Or let the works of HANDEL slumber;
  He likes to keep Church music clear
    From operatic frills and ribbons,
  And never ceases to revere
    TALLIS and PURCELL, BYRD and GIBBONS.

  And thus he wisely neither aims
    At showing off his erudition,
  Nor for his choir and organ claims
    A _prima donna_-like position;
  He sees no virtue in mere speed,
    With sentiment he scorns to palter,
  And gives his most especial heed
    To the clear chanting of the Psalter.

  He loves his organ far too well
    To be o'er-lavish with its thunder,
  Yet wields at will the magic spell
    That moves our hearts to awe or wonder;
  Three centuries have lent its keys
    All that consoles, inspires, rejoices,
  And with a calm consummate ease
    He blends the new and ancient voices.

  And in these days when mothers mourn,
    When joy is fled and faith is shaken,
  When age survives bereft, forlorn,
    And youth before its prime is taken,
  He draws from music's soul divine
    A double magic, gently pleading
  With grief its passion to resign
    And happy warriors vanward speeding.

  The hurrying years their changes bring;
    New-comers fill the singers' benches;
  And many whom he taught to sing
    To-day are fighting in the trenches;
  But howsoe'er their sun shall set,
    They'll face or glory or disaster
  More nobly for the lifelong debt
    They owe to their beloved master.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "On the other hand, the motor cycle rider may consider the law of
    expediency. When he confronts a motor car that insists on taking
    more than one-half of the road, it is up to him to stop and
    consider: 'Shall I insist on my rightful half of the road, and
    perhaps get injured, or shall I waive my right and break my
    neck?'"--_Cape Argus._

Personally we wave our neck, and brake with the right.

       *       *       *       *       *

From a sale advert.:--

    "OAK BEDSTEADS.
      PILLOW CASES.
      BREAKFAST SET
  To match above for 6 persons."

However, it is generally considered dangerous to breakfast more than
five in a bed.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE RECRUITER.

Madingley is one of those men who are always asking you to do things
for them. He will send you cheerfully on the top of a bus from the
City to Hammersmith to buy tobacco for him at a particular little
shop, and if you point out that he could do it much better in his own
car, he says reproachfully that the car is only used for business
purposes. (If so, he must have a good deal of business at Walton
Heath.) "Isn't your cousin a doctor?" he'll say. "I wonder if you'd
mind asking him----" And somehow you can't refuse. He beams at you
with such confidence through his glasses.

However, it was apparently to tell me news that he came to see me the
other day.

"I'm horribly busy," he said. "The fact is I'm going to enlist."

"They won't take you," I said. "You're blind."

"Not so blind as you are."

"Put it that we're both blind, and that our King and Country want
neither of us."

"Well, I'm not so sure. There are lots of people with spectacles in
the Army."

"And lots of flies in amber," I said, "but nobody seems to know how
they came there."

Then Madingley got to business. His partner, who had enlisted in
August, had developed lung trouble and had returned to civil life.
Madingley was now free to go. He had heard from a friend that the
121st Rifles (a Territorial Regiment) had no conscientious objections
to spectacles. Would I--(I thought it must be coming)--would I go and
find out for him? He gave me the address of their head-quarters.

"You see I'm so horribly busy, old chap--clearing up at the office,
and so on."

Well, of course I had to. Madingley's attitude of pained forgiveness,
if one refuses him anything, is more than I can bear. Alter all, it
didn't seem very much to do.

I began with the sentry outside.

"Can you tell me----" I said pleasantly. He scowled and jerked his
head towards the door. I went in and tried another man. "Can you tell
me----" I began. "Enlist?" he said. "Upstairs." I went upstairs and
pushed open a door. "Can you tell me----" I said. "This is the
canteen," answered a man in an apron....

At last I found a sergeant. "Enlist?" he said briskly. "Come in." I
went in.

He leant against a table and I smiled at him pleasantly.

"I just wanted to ask," I said, "whether----"

"Quite so," he said, and gave me a long explanation of what my pay
would be now that I had decided to join the Army. He began with the
one and a penny of a private and was working up towards the stipend of
a Field Marshal when I stopped him.

"One moment----"

"Exactly," he said. "You're married."

"Y--yes," I said. "At least, no," I added, thinking of Madingley.

"Surely you know?" he asked in surprise.

I remembered suddenly the penalty for a false declaration. It would be
no good explaining afterwards that I meant Madingley.

"Yes," I said. "Married."

He told me what my separation allowance would be.... As a married
Field Marshal with three children it came to ----.

I decided to be firm.

"Er--I mustn't trouble you too much," I said. "I really only wanted to
know if you take men with spectacles."

"Depends how short-sighted you are. Do you always wear them?"

"No, but I ought to really." I made a desperate effort to get
Madingley back into the conversation. "I really only came to find out
for a----"

"Ah, well, the best thing you can do," said the sergeant, "is to pass
the medical examination first. You can sign the papers afterwards.
Come along."

I followed him meekly downstairs. It was obviously not Madingley's
afternoon.

We plunged downstairs into what was no doubt the anti-Zeppelin cellar.
Through the gloom I saw dimly two or three pink-and-white figures
waiting their turn to be thumped. Down the throat of a man in the
middle of the room a doctor was trying to climb. Mechanically I began
to undo my tie.

The sergeant spoke to one of the doctors and then came back to me.

"It'll save time if we do your sight first," he said. "Stand over in
this corner."

I stood in the corner....

For a long time nothing happened.

"Well?" said the sergeant impatiently.

"Well?" I said.

"Why don't you read?"

"What? Have we begun?" I asked in surprise. I couldn't see anything.

The medical officer came over to me and in a friendly way put his hand
over my left eye. It didn't help much, but I spotted where he came
from, and gathered that the card must be in that direction. Gradually
it began to loom through the blackness.

"Wait a moment," I said. I removed his hand and gazed keenly at the
opposite wall. "That's a B," I announced proudly. "That top one."

The doctor and the sergeant looked at each other.

"It's no good," sighed the sergeant.

"He can't even read the first two lines," groaned the doctor.

"It's all very well for you two," I broke in indignantly; "one of you
lives down here and is used to it, and the other knows the card by
heart. I haven't come to enlist for night operations only. Surely your
regiment does things in the daylight sometimes?"

The doctor, only knowing about the daylight by hearsay, looked blank;
the sergeant repeated sadly, "Not even the first two lines."

"Look here," I said, "lend me the card to-night and I'll come again
to-morrow. If it's only two lines you want, I think I can promise you
them."

The doctor said mournfully that he might lend me the card, but that in
that case it would be his painful duty to put up a different card for
me on the next day.

There seemed to be nothing more to say. I was about to go when a face
which I recognised emerged from the gloom. It had a shirt underneath
it and then legs. The face began to grin at me.

"Hallo," said a voice.

"Hallo, Rogers," I said; "_you_ enlisting? I thought you couldn't get
leave." Rogers is in the Civil Service, and his work is supposed to be
important.

"Well, I haven't exactly got leave--yet," he said awkwardly. "The fact
is, I just came here to ask about a commission for a friend, and while
I was here I--er--suddenly decided to risk it. You know Madingley, by
the way, don't you?"

"I used to think so," I said.

But now I see that there is more in Madingley than I thought. His job
in this war is simple--and exactly suited to himself. By arrangement
with the War Office he sends likely recruits to make enquiries for
him--and the sergeant does the rest.

    A. A. M.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "S. C.--1. The brussels-sprouts will do no harm to the apple
    trees."--_Morning Post._

All very well, but we know what these Belgians are. As likely as not
they have been plotting for years with the French beans to spring upon
their inoffensive neighbours.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: IN THE SEARCHLIGHT.

_Mabel_ (_with a brother in the Anti-aircraft Corps_). "MOTHER, THEY
THINK SHE'S A ZEPPELIN."]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE SACRIFICE.

    SCENE: _At the "Plough and Horses."_

"I be mortal sorry for that poor George--cut up as ever I see a man at
thought of it."

"Tenderest-hearted fellow in these 'ere parts, and a true friend to
all dumb animals."

"She be more 'n an animal to 'im. 'Aving no chick nor child, you may
say as she's companioned 'im these many months."

"'E 'ave right to be proud of 'er too. Never did I see a more 'andsome
sow--an' I've seen a many."

"She's been a right good sow to 'e."

"An' now 'e be nigh 'eart-broken 'long of these unnatural orders. For
stuck ev'ry blessed pig 'as got to be should they Germans get
anywheres within ten miles of us."

"I see 'im now as 'e was when 'e first got wind of it--fair struck all
of a 'eap, 'e were. 'I ain't got no objection to burning ricks,' 'e
says, 'for ricks ain't got 'uman ways to 'em, same as my old sow. But
kill my old sow,' 'e says, 'that's asking of me more 'n I can do.'"

"'Tain't a question of asking, either. Them's our orders, set out in
black and white."

"Somebody says that to George--and a cold-blooded word it seemed to
me, considering 'is depth o' trouble."

"What did the old chap say to that?"

"'Orders?' 'e says; 'ain't this a free country? An' you come between
me an' my old sow with orders!' 'e says."

"'Military law,' I says to 'im myself, 'makes 'avoc o' freedom--so it
do. But with they Germans at your very gates,' I says, 'freedom ain't
the same thing as a clean pair of 'eels. An' a pig's an awkward
customer to drive in an 'urry,' I says."

"Ain't to be done--not really brisk like, any'ow."

"'E seed that, o' course?"

"Wouldn't say so, any way. An' the names 'e called the Government, or
'ooever 'twas as 'anded round them orders, fair surprised us all.
Never knew the old chap could lay 'is tongue to the 'alf of it."

"If ever they Germans get 'ereabout there'll be trouble for the
Government about old George."

"'E ain't got chick nor child, yer see. A man can't get on without
something... Why, 'ere _be_ George."

"Evening, George. You come right in an' 'ave your pint, George."

"I earnt my pint to-day--so I 'ave. Busiest day's work I done this
side o' my wife's passing away, poor soul."

"What you been doing, George?"

"She were a one to keep you busy like. If she be really resting now I
reckon she be pretty miserable. 'Owever, that ain't neither 'ere nor
there."

"You tell us what you been up to, George. We only been talking o' you
when in you walks as large as life."

"We been talking o' you an' these 'ere orders, George, an' we feels
with you to a man. If you should 'ave to kill that fine sow o' yours
along of a lot o' 'ungry Germans 'twill be a mortal shame."

"I shan't never kill 'er for no Germans, so I promises you."

"Then they'll do the killing theirselves--they be dabsters at that."

"No Germans ain't going to kill my sow. Nor I ain't going to kill 'er
in an 'urry to please nobody."

"You'll get yourself in the wrong box, George, if you don't mind."

"You be too venturesome, George--at your old age."

"An' you a pensioner, too. Don't do to be too venturesome when you're
well stricken in years."

"I know what I be saying, though, for all that. Don't do to wait till
you 'ave to waste a good pig--all for nothing like. Good money she be
worth, an' I says to myself, 'You 'ave the money now, my boy, as the
old sow 'll fetch, before it be too late.' My old sow be pretty nigh
pork by now, up at butcher's."

       *       *       *       *       *

THE INVASION.

Between Mortimer and us yawns a great gulf, bridged by many flights of
stairs. Even on the illuminated board at the foot of the lowest stairs
we still keep our distance, but with this difference, that while
Mortimer's position in the world is higher than mine, on the board I
stand above him by as many names as there are stairs between us.

Mortimer first floated into my orbit one day when we both met in the
porter's lodge to complain about the dustbin. Even after this I should
have gone contentedly down to my grave with no further knowledge of
the man than that he had a wife and four children. I knew that because
I heard him tell the porter so.

One evening after dinner--it seems now many moons ago--Clara, our
lady-help, threw open the drawing-room door and in startled tones
announced Mr. and Mrs. Mortimer. Prompt to the word of command in they
marched, followed by the four youthful Mortimers. Each of these latter
clutched a sponge-bag and an elusive bundle of flannel, and in the
background loomed the Mortimer maid-of-all-work.

Mortimer began to talk immediately and said that of course we had seen
the War Office order that on the first sound of guns all Londoners
were to make for the cellars. Mrs. Mortimer was certain she had heard
firing and that the Zeppelin raid had begun, so, like good citizens,
the family had hastened to comply with the regulations.

"We shan't put you to any inconvenience," said Mortimer volubly. "The
children can curl up in the spare room and my wife and I will do with
a shake-down in the passage. In time of war one must be prepared for
discomfort. Think of the poor fellows in the trenches."

Here Mrs. Mortimer murmured something inarticulate.

"Oh, yes, of course," Mortimer assented, "Emma must be made
comfortable."

All this time my wife and I had not been able to say a word,
Mortimer's plausibility and the spectacle of the four little Mortimers
and their sponge-bags having robbed us of speech and thought. Jane was
the first to find her voice, and managed to gasp out that we had heard
no guns.

"You wouldn't, of course, in the--er--down here," said Mortimer. I was
glad to notice him hesitate this time over the word "cellar" as
applied to our artistic home.

"I know exactly what you are thinking," he went on kindly; "it is
embarrassing to discuss household arrangements in public," and with a
flourish of his arm, he marshalled his family and swept them out of
the room, carefully shutting the door behind him.

Jane and I gazed awestruck at each other.

"We can't turn them away," said my wife. "Those five pairs of eyes
would haunt me all night (Mortimer's and Emma's were, I presume, the
ones omitted), and if the Zeppelins _did_ come to-night how awful we
should feel."

"We must be firm about it being only for to-night, then," I said. "We
must consider Kate." (Kate is our cat.)

So it was arranged that we should give up our room and that Emma
should share with Clara. I found the Mortimer family sitting in a
crowded row on the antique bench in the hall, like players at
dumb-crambo waiting for the word. Briefly I told them it was "stay."
They all jumped up; Mortimer shook me cordially by the hand, and I
believe Mrs. Mortimer kissed my wife.

True to the compact the refugees departed next morning, and we saw the
last little Mortimer disappear upwards with unmixed relief. They were
all back again, however, the following evening, this time encumbered
with more articles towards "camping out." The expression was
Mortimer's, not mine.

On the fourth evening Mortimer took me aside and told me
confidentially that he could see this state of things was telling on
us as much as on them, and that he thought the best plan would be for
our two households to "chum together" while the Zeppelin menace
lasted. (What fool said the war was going to last three years?) Never
waiting for a reply, Mortimer went on to say that it really would not
be so much trouble as it seemed at the first shock. He and I would be
out all day, which would even up the numbers, and Emma would, of
course, help. I much resented being estimated as equal to
three-and-a-half Mortimers and had no delusions about Emma's
helpfulness, but Mortimer's volubility had its usual stupefying
effect. He carried the motion to his own satisfaction, and my wife
told me that I behaved like an idiot.

We stood three days of this lunatic _ménage_. Every evening on
returning from office I found more alien belongings blocking up my
home. Mortimer boots strewed the scullery, their coats smothered the
hat-stand, their toothbrushes filled the bathroom. Clara is a
noble-hearted girl, but there was menace in her glance, and my wife
was ageing before my eyes. Kate too had left us.

On the third evening when I came home I found a note sticking in the
hall clothes-brush. "Meet me in the pantry," it said. I flew to the
rendezvous, where Jane received me with her finger on her lip.
Dragging me in, she managed with difficulty to close the door--our
pantry is what you might call bijou--and, leaning against the sink,
she unburdened her mind.

"I have an idea," she hissed. "Overcome by superior numbers, _we must_
evacuate the position. Better one Zeppelin once than six Mortimers for
ever. Let us take possession of their flat, as they have of ours."

It was a masterly and superb idea, worthy of the brain from which it
sprang. We hastened to impart it to the Mortimers, who were sitting
over the drawing-room fire reading my evening paper. They were much
touched. Mortimer said he should never forgive himself if we were
killed by bombs, and Mrs. Mortimer said it made all the difference our
not having children.

We have now been settled for some time in Mortimer's flat, and in many
ways prefer it to our own; in fact we shall be quite content to remain
here as long as Mortimer continues to pay the rent. We found Kate
already installed. The sagacious animal evidently adds prophetic
instinct to her other gifts. When she makes a decided move downstairs
we shall prepare for hostile aircraft.

       *       *       *       *       *

DEPORTMENT FOR WOMEN.

BY ONE OF THEM.

  Sisters, when fashion first decreed
    To our devoted sex
  That beauty must be broken-kneed
    And spinal cords convex;
  When sheathlike skirts without a crease
    Were potent to attract,
  Those were the piping times of peace
    When everybody slacked.

  But, since the menace of "The Day"
    Has commandeered the Nut,
  Since _demi-saison_ modes display
    A military cut,
  It's up to us to do our bit
    Each time we take the road,
  For, if we wear a warlike kit,
    The mien must match the _mode_.

  What! would you set a "forage cap"
    Upon a drooping brow?
  The feet that used to mince and tap
    Must stride with vigour now;
  No longer must a plastic crouch
    Debilitate the knees;
  We've finished with the "Slinker Slouch;"
    Heads up, girls, if you please!

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: PEOPLE WE SHOULD LIKE TO SEE INTERNED.

"YOU REALLY MUST DINE WITH US ON SATURDAY. I SHALL HAVE A COUPLE OF
THE DINKIEST LITTLE WOUNDED SUBS TO SHOW YOU."]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE SAD CASE OF SEBASTIAN PILNING.

A SUMMER MEMORY.

I removed my face hurriedly from a large tumbler of iced
never-mind-what.

"Good heavens, Henry!" I cried, "you don't mean to say you've been
weeding the grass!"

"It wasn't my own idea," he pleaded; "it was Sonia who put me up to
it. She said that now Baby was beginning to notice things it was quite
time something was done to the lawn--don't snort, we always call it
the lawn at home--or he would grow up to think badly of his father. I
had a shot at it yesterday, but there's a good bit more to do. Look
here," he continued, brightening, "drop round to-morrow and let Sonia
find you a chisel or something. It's not bad fun really. All the
excitement of the chase and no danger to life or limb."

"Not for worlds," I replied solemnly, "You jest at the dangers of
weeding, but I have seen something of the misery it involves. Listen,
I am going to tell you a story.

"Once upon a time I chanced to know a man called Pilning, Sebastian
Pilning. Like you, he was blessed with a young wife and the beginning
of a family; like you, he was a quiet, unambitious fellow of simple
tastes. Moreover, he was incredibly stubborn. One idle spring morning
he sauntered out into his back garden to smoke a pipe, and it chanced
that for the first time in his life he took a good look at his--yes,
he, called it a lawn too. I need not tell you what he saw there. It
was like most lawns, four blades of grass and the rest one vast
expanse of weeds. For a moment he was staggered.

"And then the little devil that lies in wait for men who go out to
look at their back-gardens whispered in his ear, 'You've nothing to
do, Pilning, why not have a few of these weeds out?' It was his first
temptation, and he fell.

"All that day he toiled at his lawn, and by the evening there was a
patch about three feet square that looked like a fragment of a
ploughed field. On this he sprinkled grass seed and fortified it with
wire entanglements to keep out the birds. The next morning he was at
it again, and so he continued for three whole weeks. At the end of
that time the disease had taken a firm hold of him. He had managed to
clear most of his plot, but only the finest grass would satisfy him
now; he had begun to root up the coarser quality and the blades that
didn't seem to him to be quite the right shade. He worked incessantly,
and his wife had to bring his meals out to him. He even attempted to
sleep out there in a hammock, so that he could start the first thing
in the morning. He had an idea that the weeds would be rooted up more
readily if he could catch them asleep. But it rained the first night
he tried, and that put him off, because he knew that if his health
broke down the dandelions would get the upper hand. He became so
strange at last that one day his wife sent round and begged me to come
and see him."

"Did you tell him one of your stories?" asked Henry.

"I found him in the garden on his knees stabbing at a plantain with a
corkscrew. He had marked the whole place out in squares like a
chess-board, each square representing a day's work and a pound of
grass seed sown. The word had been passed round that free meals were
going at Pilning's, and every sparrow in the district was there. They
seemed to appreciate the system of wire entanglements: it showed them
where to look for seeds.

"I could see at a glance that Pilning was in a bad way. He spoke
cheerfully enough, but there was a nasty look in his eyes. I tried to
lead him off gradually to safer topics by interesting him in the less
perilous delights of flower-growing. I asked after his gerania and
spoke with admiration of his aspidistra and his jasponyx...."

"Rot!" said Henry. "That's a mineral."

"Sorry--my fault. It's such a jolly word, and I didn't think you'd
know any better.... But it was all in vain; he would talk of nothing
but grass and weeds. I tried to comfort his wife as I left, but my
heart was very heavy. That night, Henry, the blow fell! They managed
to lure Pilning in to dinner when it got dusk, but his mind was
wandering a lot. Finally he broke down completely, and made a
desperate assault with a toothpick on the baby's scalp. His wife
fetched one of the neighbours to sit on his head while she went for
the doctor; but it was too late. His reason had become utterly
unhinged. There was nothing for it but to put him away in a home, and
there he has remained for five long years.

"Only last week I went to ask how he was, and the doctor said there
was no change, but that he was quite harmless. I was shown into a
little room where he lived, and there I saw him on the floor talking
and laughing to himself. But he took no notice of me when I spoke to
him. They told me he was quite happy and would spend hours a day like
that at his work."

"What sort of work?" asked Henry.

"The last time I saw poor Pilning," I replied sadly, "he was squatting
on the carpet and trying to jab the pattern out with a fork."

       *       *       *       *       *

It is reported that owing to the overproduction of mittens and the
consequent slump in this article, one London firm of manufacturers has
no fewer than 100,000 pairs on its hands.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Vicar._ "NOW, CHILDREN, WE ARE TO LOVE OUR ENEMIES.
THAT ISN'T EASY, IS IT?"

_Small Boy._ "NO, SIR."

_Vicar._ "WELL, HOW ARE WE TO DO IT?"

(_Dead silence._)

_Vicar._ "YES, WE MUST LOVE EVEN THE GERMANS. HOW ARE WE TO DO THAT?"

_Small Boy._ "BY GIVING 'EM WOT'S GOOD FOR 'EM, SIR."]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE LANGUAGE OF WAR.

(_Being a selection from answers to a General Knowledge paper._)

A _kukri_ is a suit which our soldiers wear.

_Kukri_ is pastry-making.

_Kukri_ is a place where the Germans' food is boiled.

_Uhlan_ is a short name for the Willesden Uhlan District Council.

A _Censor_ is swung about to incense people.

_Przemysl_ is an acid.

A _levy_ is when a man dies his wife gets some money to bery him.

_Levy_ is a man who gets money for the German army.

_Howitzer_ is a smell that comes out of a shell when fired.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "One of the famous but least visited lakes of Sicily is Guarda,
    with its southern end in the plains of Italy, and its northern far
    into Austrian territory."

      _East Anglian Daily Times._

We should describe "Guarda" briefly as "some lake."

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE WHITEWASHERS.

KAISER. "LAY IT ON, MY WORTHY PROFESSORS--LAY IT ON THICK! I WANT EVERY
DROP OF IT."]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE OPPORTUNIST IN THE THAMES VALLEY.

MR. CRABBE AUGMENTS HIS STOCK-IN-TRADE.]

       *       *       *       *       *

A TERRITORIAL IN INDIA.

I.

My dear _Mr. Punch_,--We take special pride in the fact that we were
the very first Territorials ever to land in India. As our battalion
swung through the streets of Bombay before the critical eyes of the
assembled natives, this knowledge enabled us to preserve an air of
dignity despite the rakish angle of our unaccustomed topees. When you
first march at attention with a rifle and a very large helmet you
discover that the only possible position for the latter is well over
the right ear. Later on you realise that this is a mistake, like most
of the discoveries made during the first few days' residence in India.

On that memorable day, of which our battalion poet has written--

  "O day of pride and perspiration,
    When, 'scaping from the dreary sea,
  We marched full blithely to our station
    And filled ourselves with eggs and tea--"

we were eight hundred strong, having spent thirty-two days in a
transport and passed through all the salutary trials of inoculation,
vaccination and starvation with considerable _éclat_. Now, alas! we
are decimated. Decimated, did I say? Far, far worse than that. We are
practically wiped out.

No, there has not been a second Mutiny, concealed by the newspapers.
We have not perished of malaria. Nor have we been eaten by white ants.
Even the last-named would be a glorious, an inspiring end compared
with the fate which has overtaken us.

You remember how, many years ago, you used to sit with your infantile
tongue protruding from the left-hand corner of your mouth and write in
a fair round hand, "_The pen is mightier than the sword_." At that
time you disbelieved it. But you were wrong. It is true, sadly true.

A few days after our arrival we were reviewed by the G.O.C. In
eloquent words he told us that we were not in India for garrison work,
but to be trained speedily for the Front, to be fitted to play our
part on the great battlefields of Europe. Inspiring visions of
military glory rose before us. Later in the day they began to
evaporate. They have been evaporating ever since.

Owing to the departure of the Expeditionary Forces there has been a
great shortage of soldier clerks in India, and the luckless
Territorials who had the misfortune to arrive first have been called
upon to fill the vacancies. _Ichabod._

When the announcement that clerks were required was made to us my
blood ran suddenly cold. I remembered how, centuries ago, when in camp
on Salisbury Plain, I had been requested to fill up a form giving,
among other particulars, my occupation, and light-heartedly and
truthfully I had written "Clerk." It is a great mistake to be truthful
in the Army. How I wished I had described myself as an agricultural
labourer. Or a taxidermist--surely there is no demand, for
taxidermists in the Indian Army.

In a vain attempt to remedy the mistake I preserved a stony silence
when we were asked who had had clerical experience, who could do
type-writing, who possessed a knowledge of shorthand. With a single
lift of my right eyebrow I disclaimed all acquaintance with office
stools. With a faint pucker of the brows I made myself appear to be
wondering where I had once heard that word typewriter. But my fatal
incriminating declaration was too great a handicap.

By threes and fours our brave fellows melted away. They went as
clerks; they went as typists; they went as telephone operators; they
went as telegraphists. To the Battalion Orderly Room they went; to the
Brigade Headquarters Office; to the Embarcation Office.

Then came a lull, and I thought, after all, I had escaped. I arose
happily at 5.30 A.M. I did many various and strenuous fatigues. I
swept the barrack floor singing and peeled potatoes with a joyful
heart. I polished my equipment incessantly and greased my mess tin
with the greatest care. In short, I was rapidly becoming a soldier.

And I obtained leave and went into the town, where I saw much that
cheered me while the clerks were at their labours. I read a sign in a
restaurant window, "Breakfast, tiffin, tea, dinner and all kinds of
perfumery." I saw six coolies running along a main street with a grand
piano balanced on their heads. I was very happy while it lasted.

And then the blow fell. We had thought that surely every possible
office had been filled with clerks, but we were wrong as usual. As I
was going to bed one night there came a peremptory order that I was to
be at the Divisional Staff Office, four miles away, sharp at eight
o'clock next morning.

In conformity with my instructions I went forth next morning to take
up my new and peaceful avocation in full marching order, with rifle,
side-arm and twenty rounds of ball ammunition.

Being a soldier clerk in India is very different from being a civilian
clerk in England. Here I work in shirt-sleeves, khaki shorts and
puttees, pausing occasionally to brush off the ants which crawl
affectionately over my knees. At home--well, I can imagine the Chief's
face if a clerk (or an ant) ventured into his office with bare knees.

Also the methods adopted here are not like our impetuous English ways.
Operations are carried out with a leisured dignity befitting the
immemorial East. Take a telegram for example. At home the Chief says
rapidly, "Send a wire to So-and-so telling him this-and-that." A
harassed clerk snatches off the telephone-receiver, and in two minutes
the message is dictated to the post-office and the incident is closed.

Not so here. A document comes out of the Records Department three days
old, having been duly headed, numbered, summarised and indexed. The
clerk to whom it is handed thinks it advisable to wire a reply, so he
writes at the foot, "Wire So-and-so, telling him this-and-that?"
initials it and sends it to the Chief. The Chief writes, "Yes,
please," initials it and sends it back. The clerk then drafts the
actual telegram, initials the draft and sends it to the Chief, who, if
he approves, initials it and sends it back. The draft is next handed
to a second clerk, who, after due consideration, types two copies and
initials them. These are taken to the Chief, who signs them and sends
them back. One copy is filed and the other goes to a third clerk, who
enters it _verbatim_ into a book and has the book initialled by clerk
No. 1, after checking. Then it goes to a fourth clerk, who numbers it,
makes a _précis_ in another book, and hands it, with explanations, to
a _patli wallah_, who takes it outside to an orderly, who conveys it
(with unhasting dignity) to the post-office.

More of this, if you can bear it, in my next.

    Yours ever,
      ONE OF THE _PUNCH_ BRIGADE.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _British Tommy_ (_returning to trench in which he has
lately been fighting, now temporarily occupied by the enemy_). "EXCUSE
ME--ANY OF YOU BLIGHTERS SEEN MY PIPE?"]

       *       *       *       *       *

"BEHIND THE GREAT WESTERN BATTLE LINE."

_Daily Chronicle._

We always thought the Great Western claimed to be the Holiday Line.

       *       *       *       *       *

OVERHEARD EVERYWHERE.

I.

"How are yours getting on?"

"Oh, all right."

"How many rooms do you give them?"

"A sitting-room and two bedrooms."

"I wish we could. We have no spare sitting-room. They have meals with
you, I suppose?"

"Lunch and dinner, yes."

"Do they know any English?"

"Devil a word."

"Do you know any French?"

"Precious little. But Norah does--some. I say, what does 'chin-chin'
mean?"

"'Chin-chin'? Isn't that what some fellows say before they drink?"

"Well, it can't be that. Madame says it at intervals all the time her
husband is talking."

"Oh, you mean 'Tiens, tiens,' don't you?"

"Perhaps. What does it mean, anyway?"

"It's just an exclamation like 'Really' or 'Just think of that!'"

"Thank Heaven I know! You've taken a terrible load off my mind."

"Do they eat much?"

"Well, I should call their appetites healthy."

"Same with ours. But it's all right. I shouldn't mind if they ate
twice as much."

II.

"Do yours do anything?"

"Monsieur is an artist. Madame mends lace beautifully."

"What does he paint?"

"Well, he hasn't painted anything yet, but he says he's an artist. He
looks like one. He goes to the National Gallery."

"Why don't you ask him to paint one of the children?"

"My dear, they're terrified of him! They won't come into the room."

III.

"Are you having an easy time with yours?"

"Moderate. Only Jack behaves so badly. After every meal Monsieur
always begins a long speech about their indebtedness to us and all the
rest of it, and Jack will walk out in the middle."

"What do you talk about?"

"Well, for the most part about the terrible privations before they got
away. But now and then they will tell _risqué_ stories. More than
_risqué_--really shocking. Jack does his best to get them off it, but
he never succeeds. They seem to think we expect it."

"Oh, ours aren't a bit like that. The trouble with ours is that they
hate going out. They sit tight indoors from morning to night."

"Can't you lure them out?"

"Well, I tell them what a wonderful place the British Museum is; but
it's no use."

IV.

"Every evening during dinner Madame tells us how she walked from
Louvain. Poor creature, she's not slender, and she had to walk mile
after mile for eight hours. It must have been dreadful. But she won't
remember that we've heard it all before. Everything reminds her of it.
We're terrified to speak, Andrew and I, for fear some little tiny word
will suggest walking from Louvain, and it always does.... Poor thing,
though!"

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE POLITICAL TRUCE.

_Little Boy._ "HAVE THE GERMANS KILLED MR. LLOYD GEORGE, MA?"

_Mother._ "OF COURSE NOT, DEAR. WHY DO YOU ASK?"

_Boy._ "WELL, I HAVEN'T HEARD NUFFIN 'BOUT HIM LATELY."]

       *       *       *       *       *

Naval Notes.

A correspondent asks us what exactly are the duties of the marines. We
have not space to give him an exhaustive account of the work of these
handy men, but we can indicate their affectionate nature by the
following cutting from _The Liverpool Echo_:--

    "One notable case in which a decoration was bestowed was of a
    young seaman, who at tremendous risk to himself, freed a submarine
    from a marine which had become attached to it off Heligoland."

Casual meetings off Heligoland are responsible for many such romances.
Our correspondent's further enquiries about the duties of the
destroyer and the torpedo we will let two other contemporaries
answer:--

    "Fourteen Roumanian destroyers from the Austro-Hungarian army
    arrived at Sinaia, Roumania, having crossed the Transylvanian
    Mountains on foot."--_Bombay Chronicle._

    "Newspapers state that a French torpedo entered Dunkirk on Friday
    and reported having rammed and sunk a German submarine off
    Westende."
      _Indian Daily Telegraph._

In advertisement matters it is sometimes asserted that the right uses
of type is the great thing. It is, however, a relief to the writer
that a certain announcement with an ironic suggestion of reckless
benevolence has now been removed from most of the hostelries. Yet it
afforded instruction as to ringing the changes upon the sizes of
type:--

                 OUR
    CHRISTMAS CLUB HAS COMMENCED.
         PAY WHAT YOU LIKE.
       HAVE WHAT YOU PLEASE.

     TO THE VALUE OF YOUR MONEY.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "There are complaints concerning the housing of the new Armies
    which, although now partly rectified, would be the better for
    further ventilation."--_Times._

In sending us this cutting, our soldier correspondent
writes:--"Further ventilation be blowed. I've had to shove the rest of
the blessed paper in the cracks, as it is."

       *       *       *       *       *

THE ENTERTAINERS.

I feel that I am entitled to speak with perfect freedom of the
entertainment lately given in our parish hall, for, except as a
spectator and as contributing several of the performers to the
programme, without myself knowing anything about it beyond what rumour
and the unwonted bustling mystery of the household brought to my
knowledge--except, as I say, in these points, I had nothing to do with
it. The whole thing was managed by an informal committee of ladies,
acting on the discovery that the School Children's Meals Fund was at
its last gasp, and required replenishment in order to carry it on
through the ensuing year. Upon that the informal committee got to work
and held several meetings. Now the methods of a committee of ladies
differ from those of men. The ladies meet together in drawing-rooms
and, so far as a casual observer can judge, they discuss every subject
except the particular one for which they have been summoned. Then
comes the moment when they intimate to one another that they must go,
and they arise and draw slowly and reluctantly out from the
drawing-room through the hall to the front-door step. Then, but never
till then, just as they are about to go away, they suddenly remember
what they came for, and in another five minutes the whole business is
settled, and they stream away with the consciousness of work
satisfactorily done. It is an unceremonious method, but a highly
efficient one if judged by its results. In this particular case it
produced a delightful entertainment, which I may describe as being by
the children, for the children and of the children, as well as of the
elders who gathered together to applaud the zeal and skill of the
little performers.

Fortunately the appointed day was fine and there was a great rush of
spectators, who soon filled the hall to its utmost capacity. The
entertainment began with a tribute to patriotism in the shape of
_tableaux vivants_, all save one selected from the storehouse of our
kind old friend _Mr. Punch's_ cartoons. There, brilliantly and
magnificently accoutred, was seen Britannia setting out to war for
friendship and honour. There again we beheld brave little Belgium
defying the German bully, and Holland succouring the refugees, and
Belgium consoled by Liberty, and a final picture of Liberty blessing
the Allies. All these were admirably represented, the immobility of
the performers being not less remarkable than the splendour of their
equipment; and enthusiasm was still further stimulated by the singing
of the anthems of the various allied nations.

The performance proceeded, and the _intermezzi_ had been briskly
taken; the harp had spent its last liquid notes; "Caller Herrin'" had
been delightfully sung, and four tiny girls (combined height some
twelve feet) had charmed us with the pretty innocence of their flower
carol. Also a dramatic version of "The Holly Tree Inn" had been played
in a fashion that DICKENS would not have disapproved. Now there was a
murmur of expectation among the audience; soon the crystal-clear
strains of "He shall feed His flock" sounded through the room, and as
they lingered and died away the curtain rose for the masque, "The Holy
Night." At the back of the stage was a lowly shed, its closed door
guarded by two angelic figures clothed in pure white draperies and
with wings that sparkled with a silver sheen. High above, to the left
of the shed, a third angel soared, and these three watched and waited,
intent and motionless, their hands crossed over their breasts. In
front of them lay three shepherds, and amongst them frisked a white
and woolly little lamb (Douglas, the Vicar's son), and further to the
left we recognised little Kit Price as a raven in sleek black satin,
and our John only partially disguised as a highly-coloured and
effective cock, strutting and flapping and pecking and scraping to his
heart's content, and admitted to the cast in spite of the stage
directions, which declare that "if any little boy have very fat legs
he shall not play the part of the cock." He made such amends as were
possible by the extreme vividness and energy of the beak with which he
kept the raven in order. At the back of the scene there were vague
indications of the presence of an ox and an ass. It had been intended
to represent them in a lifelike fashion by two heads; but these,
though ordered, had failed to arrive, being cut off on their way by
floods.

Now the shepherds burst into song, and when that was over the cock
flapped his wings and crew, and the raven cawed, and the lamb ba-a-ed,
and the uncompleted ox and ass made noises after their kind, and there
was a lively bustle everywhere, except where the angels watched and
waited with their hands crossed and their shining wings at rest. The
shepherds began to gossip as shepherds, I suppose, have gossiped ever
since the care of sheep began. One told how his grandam said, on the
authority of a wise woman, that on the night Messias is born all the
beasts shall speak. Another doubted whether this would hap in our
time. Nothing, he thought, would hap save these heavy taxings; but the
other reminded him that it had been a good year for sheep. But
suddenly, as the shepherds chatted, the three angels, invisible to the
shepherds, raised each a warning hand and bent forward and whispered,
"Hush-sh!" and an awe-struck silence fell upon the scene. Something
great and wonderful had happened, but what was it, and how would it be
revealed?

Thereupon the cock, flapping his wings, did not crow, but cried out,
"_Christus natus est!_ Christ is born!" and the raven, instead of
cawing, called "_Quando?_ When?" and the ass in a loud voice answered,
"_Hac nocte!_ This night!" and the ox said "_Ubi?_ Where?" and the
lamb stood up and bleated "Be-e-ethlehem." Oh, then was heard a
swelling sound of great exultation, and above the shed the dark and
starry skies were opened and drawn away to each side, and there were
disclosed angels raised up and standing in a long row, their bright
wings folded and pointing upward, while they declared the glory of the
Lord. And next the two guarding angels folded back the door of the
shed, and there were seen MARY and JOSEPH, "and betwixt them two"--I
quote from the directions--"the Holy Child lieth on a tuft of straw in
a little box which shall be called the Manger," while two diminutive
angels knelt, one at each side of the open door. No more beautiful and
gracious picture could be imagined. Thus might some old Italian master
have painted it, but this had, not colour alone and simplicity, but
life and song and jubilation and perfect harmony of movement so
natural as to seem unstudied. Then the shepherds did obeisance and the
Wise Men, MELCHIOR, CASPAR and BALTHASAR, came and offered their
gifts, and, last, after preparations had been made for departure into
Egypt, the whole company sang together the glorious and triumphant
"_Adeste, Fideles_," and the curtain drew down and the beautiful
masque was over. There was no applause--only a universal sigh of
contentment and admiration.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Rudyard Kipling's 'The Camelion's Hump' was very well recited by
    the whole school, every word being very clearly pronounced, and an
    encore was called for but not acceded to."
      _Times of Natal._

All the same there seems to have been one word which the reporter
missed.

       *       *       *       *       *

From a speech as reported in _The Morning Post_:--

    "It took the Canadian continent 17 to 19 days to come 3,000 miles."

This shows what faith in the British cause will do.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _German Sentry._ "WHO GOES THERE?"

_Turk._ "A FRIEND--CURSE YOU!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE ERROR.

It was on Monday, January 11, 1915. He had been reading _The Daily
Mail_ and suddenly he banged it down. "You can't believe what you see
in the papers," he said.

"Since when?" I asked.

"I suppose always," he said, "but particularly to-day."

He was a nice young soldier on his way back to his camp after a
holiday, and I guessed him, before he enlisted in KITCHENER'S army, to
have been a provincial clerk or a salesman of some kind.

"Yes," he said; "and I know someone else who'll say the same when she
sees it."

"Sees what?" I asked.

He found a paragraph in the paper--towards the foot of the Society
column--and placed his thumb on it.

"This," he said.

"Mayn't I see?" I asked.

He kept his thumb there.

"Yes, and her mother will have something to say to it too," he went
on, "and"--he chuckled richly--"my mother too. The idea!"

"Mayn't I see it?" I asked again.

"As if nobody in this world mattered but toffs," he said. "Perhaps
they did once; but they're not going to for ever, I can tell you."

"You're a Socialist?" I suggested.

"No, I'm not," he said. "I don't hold with Socialism. But I'm sure
after this war's over toffs aren't going to be quite everything that
they were before it began.

"The cheek of it!" he continued, with another glance at the paper.
"Lumme, I'd like to be there when she lets herself go!"

"Your mother?" I said.

"No, I didn't mean her just then; but she'd be all right to listen to,
too. She can't half speak her mind! No, I meant my fiancy. I've just
left her; been there for Sunday."

"Have you been engaged long?" I asked.

He laughed. "No," he said. "That's the point. We only got engaged this
year. I'd courted her a long time, but it wasn't till New Year's day
that we fixed it up."

"I congratulate you," I said, "and her too. I think she's lucky to
have a soldier for her husband. I hope you're both very happy."

"Happy!" he said; "I should think we were. That's what makes me so
disgusted with this paper. Look at it."

At last he removed his thumb and showed me a paragraph beginning with
the words, "The first interesting engagement of the New Year is that
between Captain Dudley Hornby and Lady Marjorie Feilding."

"The 'first'!" he said scornfully. "The 'first'! She and her mother on
that," he chuckled, "and my mother to help them! (We live close by).
My, I wish I could be there to hear it. Give it me back, please; I
must mark it and post it. What a time they'll have!"

I would like to be there too.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "A few days ago a military concert was given [at Antwerp], but
    upon the band striking up the tune of 'Heil dir im Siegerterang'
    the people hooted. They were thereupon charged by the police, and
    since that occasion mitrailleuses have been posted in front of the
    German musicians."
      _Glasgow Evening Times._

In this matter our sympathies are with the audience, because (1) It
was surely entitled to hoot a band which did not know the name of its
own National Anthem; (2) The police should not have been allowed to
make any charge at a free concert.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE BALLYMURKY CONTINGENT.

"I towld you how the Docthor's War speech sent iv'ry man from
Ballymurky to the war," said old Martin Cassidy to me. "But did I not
tell you how the Widdy O'Grady persuaded Terence Connelly to join
them?

"I did not? Well, well. It all came out the very day the boys were
leaving Ballymurky. Seventeen of them there were no less, and the
Docthor there reviewing them this way and that way till he had you
bewildered with the inthricacies of them.

"''Tis an uneven number you are,' sez he, 'however I look at you,' sez
he.

"'Maybe you'll join us, Mrs. Murphy?' sez he; ''twill not be the first
time you've worn the trousies, good luck to you,' sez he. 'Och have
done wid your banther, Docthor dear,' sez she; 'there's plenty of them
that wears them regler,' sez she, 'in other parts,' sez she. 'You'll
not be looking for men in petticoats in Ballymurky,' sez she.

"Sure 'tis a good thing wars come only once in a while," said old
Martin; "and me there comfortin' Mrs. Doolan. 'He'll come back to you
when the war is over, Mrs. Doolan,' sez I; 'niver fear,' sez I.

"'I know he will,' sez she, wipin' her eyes wid her apron. 'He's not
aisy lost, trust him for that. 'Tis no luck I have at all, at all,'
sez she.

"They went by the express thrain, so they did," continued old Martin,
and went on to explain that very few express trains passed through
Ballymurky without stopping. "Sure isn't it a terminus?" said he. "Och
but 'twas the fine band they had to play them to the station. Be the
way Doolan bate the big dhrum you'd think 'twas the KAISER'S head he
was at.

"'Go aisy with her, Doolan,' said the Docthor; 'you're drowning
Patsy's runs on the thrombone,' said he.

"'Twas the beautiful music Patsy was discoursin' on that same
thrombone. He had the way of it--none betther. 'Twas a gift wid him.

"The band--Patsy and Doolan--headed the procession playing
'Erin-go-bragh'--at laste Patsy was. And didn't he shtop playing in
the middle of the third verse?

"'What the divvle d'you think you're playing, Doolan?' sez he.

"'Arrah, gwan out o' that,' sez Doolan, bating the big dhrum. ''Tis
all one to me what I play this day,' sez he. 'Gwan you wid your
thrombone,' sez he, 'and lave me extemporise on the big dhrum. 'Tis a
free counthry annyway,' sez he.

"'Twas at Micky's shebeen that they had the first encounther wid the
inimy," said old Martin. "Sure the whole company began to trimble.

"''Tis dying with the thirst on me I am,' sez Shemus; 'you could
shtrike a match on me tongue,' sez he.

"'Arrah, go aisy, Docthor dear,' sez Larry; ''tis the cowld has
settled on me stomach,' sez he, 'like a shtone,' sez he.

"But the Docthor was inixorable; he wouldn't lave a man break the
ranks.

"'Double!' sez he--just that. You should have heard the blasht Patsy
let out of his thrombone. If iver the Docthor gets mintioned in the
despatches you'll find Patsy at his elbow, so you will.

"'Twas ten o'clock the thrain was to shtart, and the Docthor had them
at the station be half-past, punctual to the minyit. Isn't Terence the
guard and hadn't he been blowing his whistle this half-hour wid the
express there stamping her feet to be away? 'Is it tomorrow you're
going, Docthor?' sez he; 'for if 'tis so you'll have to go be a later
thrain,' sez he. ''Tis all I can do to hould her in,' sez he.

"'Sure 'tis a hurry you are in, Terence,' sez the Docthor; 'and you
wid the nice bright day before you. Seventeen of the best I've brought
you, Terence; I can't make an even number of them count them as I
will. 'Tis hard to see Conlan there forming twos be himself, so it
is.'

"'You're looking younger iv'ry day, Terence me boy,' sez the Docthor,
aisy like. 'What age would you be now?'

"''Tis forty I am, Docthor darlin',' said Terence--'in me boots,' sez
he.

"''Tis the thick boots you're wearin'; won't you take them off,
Terence?' sez the Docthor. 'What's your chist measurement?' sez he.

"'Thirty-eight, no less,' sez Terence, expanding of himself to his
full height like a pouther pigeon.

"'I once heard tell of a man that gave his chist measurement be
mistake for his age, Terence. Did you never make a mistake in your
life now, Terence?' sez the Docthor.

"'Did I not, Docthor, and only last night,' said Terence; 'mebbe
you'll hear of it yet,' sez he. 'Gwan out o' that, Docthor, now.'"

"I thought you said that Terence joined them," I remarked.

"Wait now till I tell you," said Martin. "Was I not saying that the
Widdy O'Grady was there? Next to the engine she was, looking out of
the carriage window at the boys. 'Twas goin' part of the way wid them
she was; and why not?

"'You'll be late startin',' said the station-master to Terence, ''tis
near eleven o'clock,' sez he; 'or after,' sez he. ''Tis me flag I'm
lookin' for,' sez Terence. 'Sure the signal's against us, anyway,' sez
he.

"''Tis not this thrain the signal refers to,' said the station-master,
''tis the next thrain. Wave your flag and let her go, Terence,' sez
he.

"But 'twas flusthered Terence was wid losin' his flag," said old
Martin. 'The divvle take the flag,' sez he. 'Sure I'll shtart her wid
me handkerchief,' sez he. A red handkerchief at that," said Martin
Cassidy.

"You'd not expect an engine-dhriver to shtart the thrain be wavin' a
red handkerchief at him--not an express thrain. Sure he'd know the
by-laws betther than that. But 'twas Bridget O'Grady's eye caught the
red handkerchief, so it did.

"''Tis wavin' his handkerchief at me, he is,' sez she to the
engine-dhriver. 'Good luck to you, mam,' sez he. 'Och the darlint,'
sez she, waving back at Terence, 'he worships the ground I thread on,'
sez she. 'Sure his feelings have overcome him, mam,' sez the
engine-dhriver. 'Och me little Bo-peep,' sez she, blowing kisses to
Terence be the dozen at a time.

"'Is it wantin' me to come to you, so it is,' said Bridget, opening
the carriage door, 'me little love-burrd?' sez she. 'I'm coming to
you, Terence dear,' sez she.

"'She's got you this time, Terence me boy,' said the Docthor,
laughing. ''Tis here your flag is,' sez he. 'Well, wave it you,' said
Terence. ''Tis no flag of mine now,' sez he. 'Boys,' sez he, ''tis
Bridget has let the cat out of the bag this time before 'twas quite
hatched,' sez he. ''Tis this is me flag,' sez he, takin' hould of a
Union Jack from the dicorations, 'and 'tis the flag of ivery thrue
Irishman,' sez he. 'Come along here wid you now, Bridget me jewel,'
sez Terence, 'and see me take the King's shilling from the Docthor,'
sez he.

"'Wasn't it you that was wantin' me to join last night? And didn't I
promise you I'd join at Dublin just as a pleasant surprise for the
Docthor? Sure 'tis you that has the laugh on the lot of them, so it
is, and you breakin' your heart. Will you wave your flag now you have
your eighteen, Docthor asthore? You and your mistakes,' sez he. 'The
mistake I made was in thinkin' that a dacent woman would marry an
Irishman who didn't know his flag,' sez he. 'For the love of Hivin let
her go now, Docthor darlint,' sez he, 'or we'll be late for the
IMPEROR,' sez he."

And that's how Ballymurky made an even number of it.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _N.C.O._ (_passing squadron that has been halted, men
resting_). "STOP THAT BAD LANGUAGE. WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY IT?"

_Voice from darkness._ "YOU'D GIVE TONGUE IF YOU'D AN 'ORSE'S 'OOF ON
YER FACE AN' STILL 'ALTED!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

OUR BOOKING-OFFICE.

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

I seem to remember that, in the old days of peace, when a friend was
run down or in want of thorough rest, it was a commonplace of advice
to suggest a long voyage in a sailing ship. Somehow I do not think
that, even when mines and traffic raiders are no more, I shall be
quite so ready with this counsel after reading _The Mutiny of the
Elsinore_ (MILLS AND BOON). Of course I know that a voyage in nautical
fiction can never be wholly uneventful, also that one is justified in
looking to Mr. JACK LONDON for something rather strenuous. But really
the _Elsinore_ appears to touch the limit in this kind. I wish I could
tell you properly about her crew. (Mr. LONDON takes chapters and
chapters in which to do it). I suppose that every possible variety of
undesirable was represented among them, from dangerous maniacs
downwards. And their behaviour was what you might expect. The
disquieting thing about the book is that the author gives to its most
horrific episodes a cold and calculated air of truth. "_Experto
crede_," he seems to say; "thus and thus is the real life of ships."
So I had to believe him. There was only one passenger on board the
_Elsinore_, and he finished the voyage in command of her. This was
after the Captain had gone wrong in the head, and the First Officer
had discovered the Second to be the murderer of one whom he had sworn
to avenge. By this time also the voyage (which might be called one of
attrition) had considerably reduced the _Elsinore's_ company; while
the survivors were mostly engaged in hurling bombs and vitriol at each
other. What one might call an active, open-air book. But, though I am
far from denying its grim strength, it will not be my favourite among
its author's always interesting romances.

      * * *

Mr. GILBERT CANNAN offers us in _Young Earnest_ (SECKER) an extremely
conscientious and plausible study of a talented, sensitive and, I am
afraid, rather "superior" youth whose love affairs preoccupy him too
exclusively and whose demands on life are so exacting that nothing can
ever bring him content. I feel so sure from the good deal which I now
know of young _Fourmy_ and his behaviour to his wife, _Linda_, that
brilliant suburban, and to _Ann_, the factory girl, that he never
found with _Cathleen_ the perfect peace which his creator alleges; or
perhaps, more justly, that he never could have found it without a
struggle and self-discipline, of which there are few signs. It is
surely one of the fallacies of a common philosophy of romance--a
fallacy much too crude for Mr. CANNAN'S unusually careful method--that
while this, that and the other relation, opening delightfully, becomes
sordid or impossible some final selection is to prove automatically
and permanently blissful, even if there be no legal ties to chafe
against on principle. The fact is your _Fourmys_ are in this difficult
matter of the affections doomed to trouble as the sparks fly upward,
and of course the perceptive author knows this perfectly well and his
happy ending is only a "let's pretend." I have been fascinated by the
skill of a series of uncannily clear-cut portraits; I know no other
writer who has the power in so singular a degree of getting right down
below surface traits to depths of mood and character. Analyse it and
you will find that Mr. CANNAN gives you no descriptions but merely
lets his characters unfold themselves in their talk. There's much in
that "merely."

_Oliver_, the hero of _The Woman who Looked Back_ (STANLEY PAUL),
seems to have been a person of exceptional credulity. Having as a boy
married a quite undesirable foreigner, he subsequently went to India,
and on his return accepted without question his mother's statement
that he was a widower. So he married _Sara_, the heroine of the tale,
and lived in great placidity for some eight years with her, till the
expected happened, and the discovery of an old letter proved that wife
No. 1 was very much alive. It is at this dramatic crisis that M.
HAMILTON raises the curtain upon his (or her) story. If I treat it
with flippancy it is not from any dislike of it; on the contrary it
seems to me both interesting and human, especially human. The dialogue
is profoundly and movingly natural; in every chapter I have felt that,
given the postulated situation, the characters would talk exactly
thus, which simply means that M. HAMILTON is an adept in her (or his)
art. The situation is complicated by the fact that, though _Oliver_
had accepted his second marriage as an ideally happy one, _Sara_ in
her secret heart was becoming monstrously bored. Indeed in a soft,
play-with-fire fashion she believed herself in love with _Oliver's_
friend _George_, who himself adored her passionately. Naturally,
therefore, when the bomb burst and _Sara_ was no longer the wife of
anybody, _George_ thought his moment had come. I shall not carry the
story of their three-cornered fight further. It remains
three-cornered. Contrary to every accepted custom, the original and
only genuine wife never once appears upon the stage. This strikes me
as constituting a record in the avoidance of the _scène-à-faire_.
Incidentally also it confirms me in my opinion of M. HAMILTON as an
author of originality and honesty, whose picture of _Sara_ in
particular shows that she understands a great deal about her own sex.

      * * *

My enjoyment of a book that is frankly a study on a special subject is
always limited by the interest of the subject itself, however prettily
the theme be embroidered. The most eloquent disquisition on postage
stamps, for example, would leave me unmoved. MARGARET PETERSON needs
no introduction as a most eloquent writer on things Indian; yet
"Eurasia," her set study in _Tony Bellew_ (MELROSE)--I am not likening
it to philately, and should be sorry to be disrespectful to either--so
swamps her story, and is in itself so little agreeable, that I cannot
feel much enthusiasm for her latest work. That it is dry and barren
cannot be said of a single page; indeed, I could even wish that such
adjectives might be applicable here and there as a relief from
the--shall I say?--clammy fungoid atmosphere that permeates, and is
intended to permeate, the world that lies between the covers of this
volume. The central figure--certainly not hero, and wanting something
to be man--exhales in his fickle violences just this miasma; and
rightly so, if the general conception of the book be just, for he is
born of a Bengali mother. Even his final sacrifice to save _Joan_,
herself about the only character one would care to meet, is hysterical
and unnecessary, and does little to redeem him. I would gladly believe
that the picture of her unpleasant experiences is as false as, I think
you will agree, it is on the whole ugly and unsympathetic; though I
admit that a lack of sympathy is as much against the intention of the
writer as a certain unpleasantness is the deliberate object of her
able craftsmanship. I must place it in your hands at that, with the
advice to read or pass by according to your interest in the subject.

      * * *

_The Wise Virgins_ (ARNOLD) is one of those quaint old-world stories
of the day when there were artists and individualists who despised
convention and the stiffness of ordinary morality and wanted to
realise themselves and occupied quite a lot of our attention. To read
it is to plunge back through the mists of time into the early summer
of 1914 A.D. And even then I have my doubts as to whether I should
have been persuaded to share the sympathy which L. F. WOOLF appears to
feel for _Harry Davis_, the young Richstead painter. The two types of
people among whom his lot is cast are cleverly if much too bitterly
and unkindly contrasted--the _Garlands_, pre-eminently suburban,
unable and (all except _Gwen_) unwilling to leave their monotonous
groove, and the _Lawrences_, too cultured and full of æsthetic
sensibilities to do anything but sit still and talk. _Harry_ combines
the æsthetic sense with a restless vitality which he attributes to his
Jewish origin, and is desirous of action and enterprise. And so,
rejected by _Camilla Lawrence_, he talks to _Gwen_ until she almost
compels him to compromise her, and the book closes with the mockery of
a forced marriage in deference to the sentiments of Philistia. In
spite of some skilful and penetrating satire, I fancy that 1915 will
consider _The Wise Virgins_ neither a very nice nor a very necessary
book.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Teashop Waitress_ (_feeling the pinch of War_). "JUST
LOOK AT THAT LOT, EDNA! NOT FIVE MINUTES' CHAT IN THE WHOLE CROWD."]

       *       *       *       *       *

IN A GOOD CAUSE.

The claims which have been made by Belgium upon the generosity of the
British public have been eagerly met, but the needs of her Army do not
seem to have been fully realised. If we owe one debt more than other
it is to the fighting men among our Belgian allies. These brave
fellows are still in want of warm clothing and those simple
comforts--such as tobacco and chocolate--which sound so little and
mean so much. _Mr. Punch_, at the risk of seeming importunate in his
demands upon the goodness of his readers, begs them to give their help
where it is so sorely needed. Gifts in kind should be addressed to
Commandant MATON, 23, City Road, E.C., and money gifts (perhaps the
more useful form of help) to M. VANDERVELDE, Victoria Hotel,
Northumberland Avenue, S.W.

      * * *

Tho Honorary Secretary of the Queen's "Work for Women" Fund, 33,
Portland Place, W., desires to express her gratitude to those who
generously responded to _Mr. Punch's_ appeal for this good cause.

       *       *       *       *       *





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