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Title: Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 150, May 24, 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, Volume 150, May 24, 1916" ***

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Punch, or the London Charivari.

Volume 150, May 24, 1916.


According to a contemporary, a regiment quartered at Pembroke Dockyard
had lost two thousand blankets "by pilfering." We shudder to think what
a real Pembroke burglar would get away with.

      * * *

"I am a looker for things," said a man at Willesden tribunal last
week when asked what his occupation was. The nation, which is paying
£5,000,000 a day for the privilege of pursuing the same occupation,
would be interested to compare notes with him on the question of
whether anything ever turns up.

      * * *

"A Saxon pot, quite perfect, has been found at St. Martha's Hill, near
Guildford," says a morning paper. Here is striking evidence in support
of the charge, which has more than once been levelled, that influential
alien enemies are still at large with the connivance of the authorities.

      * * *

"The life-blood of England to-day is sulphuric acid," said a Professor
at University College the other day. That is certainly the impression
one gets from reading the more vitriolic section of our Press.

      * * *

[Illustration: _First Public School Man._ "GREAT SCOTT, REGGIE! HOW ON

_Second ditto (kitchen fatigue)._ "OH, INFLUENCE, DEAR BOY--INFLUENCE."]

The London County Council is teaching Esperanto. The innovation is
intended to meet the needs of the lady tram-conductors, to whom
convention denies the right to "suffer and be strong" in words of
general currency.

      * * *

A soldier who lost his speech at the battle of Loos has recovered
it as the result of an operation for appendicitis. He has the added
satisfaction of knowing that greater soldiers than he have been
compelled by the exigencies of the present War to swallow their words.

      * * *

At Willesden a conscientious objector has eaten a £1 note in preference
to giving it up in part payment of his fine of forty shillings. It
would probably work out cheaper in the end to swallow the Compulsion

      * * *

While the Ealing Inspector of Shops is serving in the Army his official
duties are to be carried on by his wife. It is no doubt in anticipation
of other positions of this sort being thrown open to the female sex
that so many women can nowadays be seen familiarising themselves with
this class of war work in Regent Street and its neighbourhood.

      * * *

In a recent appeal case a man who had received sentences amounting to
twenty-six years begged to be put under chloroform, as he had heard
that people under the influence of this drug always told the truth
when they were asked questions. As a fact, however, the most that the
medical profession have ever claimed for it in this way is that it
often enables them to get a little inside information.

      * * *

A Belfast man who was fined for groaning at Mr. ASQUITH is understood
to have informed a sympathetic friend that if he'd known that
ten shillings was all he would be fined, begorra, he'd have had
thirty-shillings' worth, so he would.

      * * *

"To get and keep an upright carriage," says a woman-writer in _The
Daily Mail_, "stand with the feet eighteen inches apart and the hands
clasped above the head. Now, as if chopping wood, swing the hands down
between the parted feet, then bring them up over the head again, and
repeat the movement twenty times or so." Personally, as we consider
it bad form to keep any sort of carriage just now, we shall remain
faithful to the less spectacular custom of whistling for a taxi.

      * * *

From the Personal column of _The Times_:--"Airman will bring down
Zeppelins. Ladies, Gentlemen." An excellent idea in the present
condition of our own Air Service. As in the well-known case of the male
and female gondolas, one of each gender to breed from would do for a

      * * *

As a war economy the London County Council have disposed of the major
part of the waterfowl that used to adorn the London Parks. A few
ornamental geese however are still to be seen in the neighbourhood of
the War Office.

      * * *

We feel bound to take exception to the levity of a contemporary, which
recently introduced an account of a suicide with the heading: "A
Riverside Scream."

      * * *

A well-known opera-singer is now hauling cabbages on a farm. The ruling
passion strong in War. Bouquets all the time.

       *       *       *       *       *

Commercial Candour.

From a film advertisement:--

Role. There are twelve chapters. I have seen them all, because I was
compelled to do so."

_Newcastle Evening Chronicle._

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Livers are being lost on the banks of the Yser."

        _Egyptian Mail._

An Anglo-Indian Colonel tells us that he was so glad to part with his
that he hasn't taken any steps to recover it.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "St. Paul knew what he was talking about when he said to Herod,
    'Too much thinking has made thee mad.'"

      _Letter in an Evening Paper._

That is where St. PAUL had an advantage over the correspondent.

       *       *       *       *       *

More Impending Apologies.

"Sir A. A. Booth is chairman of the committee appointed by the
Government to inquire into the future of shipping and shipbuilding.
It is not intended to be an ornamental committee either, for Sir A.
Denny and Professor Abell, two of our leading naval architects, are on
it."--_Evening Paper._

       *       *       *       *       *

The Kaiser and the Daylight Saving Bill.

  "For our bad neighbour makes us early stirrers,
  Which is both healthful, and good husbandry."

  _Shakspeare's Henry_ V., Act IV. Sc. I. 6-7.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "His Holiness, Pope Pius, taking action, exhorts the Irish
    Bishops to be thoroughly loyal."--_Bray and South Dublin Herald._

The recent disturbances in Dublin seem to have made the late Pope turn
in his grave.

       *       *       *       *       *



  "How beautiful upon the mountain-tops
    Their feet would sound, the messengers of Peace!"
  So into neutral cars your unction drops,
    Hinting a pious hope that War may cease--
            War, with its dreadful waste,
  Which never suited your pacific taste.

  Strange you should turn so suddenly humane,
    So sick of ravage and the reek of gore!
  Dare we assume that Verdun's long-drawn strain
    Makes you perspire at each Imperial pore?
            Or that your nerve's mislaid
  Through cardiac trouble caused by our Blockade?

  You thought to finish on the high wave's crest;
    To say, "These lands that 'neath our sceptre lie--
  Such as we want we'll keep, and chuck the rest,
    And to the vanquished, having drained 'em dry,
            We will consent to give,
  Out of our clemency, the right to live."

  Then you came down a long, long way, and said,
    "For pure desire of Peace, and that alone,
  We'll deem the dead past buried with its dead,
    Taking, in triumph's hour, a generous tone;
            Uplift the fallen foe
  And affably restore the _status quo_."

  Fool's talk and idle. In this Dance of Death
    The man who called the piper's tune must pay,
  Nor can he stop at will for want of breath.
    Though War you chose, and chose its opening day,
            It lies not in your power
  To stay its course or fix its final hour.       O.S.

       *       *       *       *       *


    ["Wars of the future will be waged in the air...cities will be
    laid waste in a night."--_Press._]

_April 20, 1940._--Liberia, in a moment of Ministerial exuberance,
sends a Note to China alleging the death of a Krooboy subject who had
been forced to study the Chinese language. An indemnity of £100,000,000
is asked.

_April 22._--China, mildly surprised, promises investigation. Owing to
an oversight, however, the reply is sent in Chinese characters, which
gives the Liberians a just _casus belli_.

_April 23._--Liberia despatches her one airship to China _viâ_ Tibet.
Many bombs are dropped on the Chinese Empire and several rice-fields
are quite spoilt. The Chinese Ambassador, whom the airship conveyed
from Liberia, is also dropped--and spoilt.

_April 24._--China sends four airships to bomb Liberia. These, however,
are unable to locate the Black Republic and return, after dispensing
with the company of the Liberian Ambassador while over Lake Chad.

_April 26._--China addresses a curt Note to Liberia, requesting her to
be good enough to state her exact whereabouts.

_May 1._--The Grand Lama directs a plaintive Note to Liberia, alleging
that on April 23 a Liberian airship violated the neutrality of Tibet.

_May 3._--Liberia, never having heard of Tibet, but believing the G.L.
to be a species of camel and a great fetish, publishes an apology
in _The Liberian Times (and Advertiser)_, which, however, does not
circulate in Tibet.

_May 4._--China, after exhaustive inquiries, despatches another
air-fleet, but again fails to locate her quarry.

_May 5._--Liberia again raids China by air. Some stones in the Great
Wall are badly chipped.

_May 7._--Liberia issues her first official communiqué through the
medium of _The Liberian Times (and Advertiser)_:--"On the night of
May 5-6 our Naval and Military airship attacked the Chinese cities
of Pekin, Hankow and others too intricate of pronunciation to be
mentioned here. Incendiary and explosive bombs were dropped on the
fortifications, gun emplacements, waterworks and waxworks at Pekin. A
battery and many hens were silenced at Hankow. Our entire air-fleet
returned safely and hurriedly."

_May 9._--The G.L. of Tibet sends another Note to Liberia, protesting
against a further grave infringement of neutrality, several eggs of
dubious quality and the remnants of an unsavoury stew having been
dropped from a Liberian airship on Tibetan territory on the night of
May 5-6.

_May 11._--Liberia publishes another apology, and sacks her air _chef_.

_May 13._--Two squadrons of Chinese airships scour the globe but cannot
find Liberia. Several are forced to land in the Arctic Circle and are
interned by the Esquimaux.

_May 15._--The G.L. of Tibet sends another Note to Liberia.

_May 16._--Liberia, owing to a paper shortage, makes no reply.

_May 17._--Liberia adopts the Group System.

_May 18._--Introduction of "starring and badging" in Liberia. Owing to
a slight miscalculation all trades and professions are "reserved."

_May 19._--Liberia abandons Group System.

_May 24._--Liberia again despatches her airship to China _viâ_ Tibet.
The raider falls in flames near the Forbidden City, the commander
having been rather careless with his cigar in one of the gas chambers.

_May 25._--The G.L. of Tibet buys a typewriter and some carbon sheets,
and begins a campaign of daily Notes to Liberia.

_May 26_-June 5.--Liberia lies low.

_June 7._--China, after fifteen futile attempts to locate Liberia, sues
for peace, asking Liberia to send an envoy who will be able to guide
airships carrying Peace delegates and the first instalment of indemnity
to Liberia.

_July 12._--Ten Chinese airships, loaded with Peace delegates and
money, and piloted by the Liberian envoy, travel to the Black Republic.
Arrived over the much-sought country, the Peace delegates drop their
pilot and aid the airships' crews in wiping Liberia off the face of the

_July 14._--The G.L. of Tibet disposes of his typewriter at a
considerable loss.

       *       *       *       *       *

In a Good Cause.

Mr. _Punch_ is bound to plead for THE CHILDREN'S AID COMMITTEE, who
undertake the care of the motherless children of our fighting men,
feeding and clothing them and finding homes for them in the country.
This labour of love has far outgrown the modest scope of its original
plan and now stands in urgent need of assistance. Except for a
Christmas Gifts Fund no appeal has yet been made to the public in the
Press. Mr. _Punch_ is very confident that he will not ask in vain for
help in a cause that so nearly touches the hearts of all; and that he
may rely on his many generous readers to see that this good work does
not fail, both for the children's sake and for the comfort of their
fathers who are fighting our battles.

Gifts of money and clothing, and offers of hospitality will be very
gratefully acknowledged by Miss MAXWELL-LYTE, Hon. Treasurer of The
Children's Aid Committee, 9, South Molton Street, London, W.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: PUFFING BILLY.


       *       *       *       *       *



  _A Farm,
  Somewhere in the Country._

DEAREST DAPHNE,--I'm on the land! _Several_ of us are on the land! No
one need worry any more about agriculture and rotation of crops and
all that sort of thing being stopped by the War. We're going to see to
it. It is positively _enthralling_ work! Lady Manoeuvrer wrote me an
agonised letter the other day, asking me if I thought there'd be any
season in London, and if it would be worth her while to take a house
and give some parties for Bluebell. And I wrote back: "Please--_please_
don't talk to me about London and seasons and _parties_! I know
absolutely _nothing_ of such matters. I'm on the land!" And I wound up
with, "This comes hopping," in real farmers' style.

[Illustration: _Recruit (much perturbed)._ "IF YOU PLEASE, SERGEANT,


I wish you could see me ploughing, dearest. My ploughman's pinny,
big soft hat and leggings are a dream. (_À propos_, the "ploughman's
pinny" is going to be _the_ summer coat this year.) Oh, my Daphne, I
plough such an adorable furrow! Yesterday, when I was at it, the oldest
inhabitant came and leaned on a gate to watch me--one of those fearful
creatures, you know, who've lived through six reigns and can read small
print and smoke six pipes a day, and end by getting into the daily

"Be you one o' they fine Lunnon ladies wot 'ave come to these parts to
blay at varmin'?" he asked.

"We haven't come to _play_ at farming," I told him; "we've come to take
the men's places and help save the country."

"Yon's a wunnerful bad furrow," said the creature. "And what be goin'
to sow in it?"

"Oh, corn or chaff, or whatever it is people eat, I suppose," I said.

"Seems to Oi the right crop for such a wunnerful crooked furrow as yon
'ud be _tares_," said the horrid old thing; "but happen you don't know
what tares be--happen you don't read your Bible."

I was starting up the field again by that time and paid no more
attention to him. The oldest inhabitant is _proverbially_ a most
unpleasant character, I believe. Beryl and Babs are also doing very
well down here. And now that we've learned all about farming and
agriculture we're training _numbers_ of girls and putting them on the
land, (_Entre nous, chérie_, it's not so difficult to _put_ them on
the land as to _keep_ them on it. Some of them are a wee bit inclined
to "put their hands to the plough and look black," to quote dear
SHAKSPEARE, that we've all been talking of so much lately.) Beryl
has developed positively _shining_ gifts as a _drover_. She drives
cattle into the nearest market town twice a week, and does it _à
merveille_. (I _can't_ say the dear thing's drover's coat and hat are
becoming--indeed, I never saw her look worse!) She has a large class of
women and girls learning to be drovers. But unluckily, the other day,
there was a regrettable little affair. Beryl was taking a big herd of
cattle along to the market town, with her class in attendance, when one
of the bullocks stopped to nibble at the hedge. Beryl told a girl in
the class to give it a tap and send it on.

"I'm afraid to," said the girl.

"Oh," said Beryl, "you city girls are duffers at country life! What's
there to be afraid of?" and she went up to the bullock and gave it a
smart whack with her drover's stick. "Come," said, "no nonsense! Go on
with the others," and she gave it a harder whack.

In a moment the creature turned upon her with a simply _odious_
expression in its eyes and began to bellow; and _then_,
dearest--_wasn't_ it a pity?--Beryl suddenly lost her nerve, dropped
her drover's stick, and climbed to the top of a big gate near at hand,
while the class ran back along the road, shrieking. As for the cattle,
terrified by the shrieks of the class, they took to their heels (if
they have such things), and were finally stopped by a farmer, who
drove them into the market himself.

Everyone's so glad General Dodderidge is better. You remember his
marrying Mittie Jermyn _en troisièmes noces_ some years ago? The
wedding was at Newmarket; Mittie was married in her racing colours, and
her famous Oaks and One Thousand winner, "Give-'em-beans," was her only
bridesmaid. It was quite a nice marriage, but they've not seen much of
each other for several years. Poor Mittie was fearfully _affaissée_
when the War hit racing so hard; but she's found herself again now,
and the last we heard of her she was buying and breaking horses for
the Remount Department somewhere in the world. The dear General, being
enormously old, couldn't take any part in the War, but he was like the
war-horse, you know, dearest, mentioned by the Psalmist, that "sayeth
Ha, ha! through a trumpet"; he read _every_ daily and weekly paper,
with all the conflicting reports from both sides, till at last he was
in a frightful state. Sir William Kiddem took him in hand, he said,
only just in time to save his cerebral spheres and nerve centres from
doing something horrible in a dozen syllables. And now, with newspapers
taboo and a milk and egg diet, the old darling is so much better that
he helped at our matinée in town the other day in aid of the "Fund for
Manicuring Amateur Farm Hands."

All the people one knows were perfectly sweet in placing their talents
at one's disposal for the benefit of the Fund. (Has it ever struck
you, my Daphne, how _much_ readier people are to offer their _talents_
than their _money_?--even though they may have _immensely_ more of
the latter than the former.) It was a tremendous programme. General
Dodderidge, who said he'd been considered a very good ventriloquist
in his time, gave a turn with one of those doll-things. I'm sure it
was a topping turn, because the dear General laughed so often himself
at the things he was saying. Several people, however, said that the
voice, when they could hear it, seemed to be always the General's and
never the doll's; but there'll always be grumblers.

The gem of the afternoon was certainly Hermione Shropshire's song and
dance, "Sal of the Supper Club." She was coached by the famous Jenny
Jolliwell, who's called "The Diva of the Dials;" and I hear that
Jenny (who was one of our programme-sellers) said afterwards, "Lumme,
duchess, you went one better than me, you did, straight! If I dared
to give 'Sal' like that at the Syndicate Halls I'd have the Lord High
What's-his-name down on me in two ticks!"

_Wasn't_ that a triumph for dear Hermione?

  Ever thine,

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Judge._ "ANYTHING TO SAY?"


       *       *       *       *       *

Vaulting Ambition.

The Germans seem to have adopted a new method of hiding their losses.
We read in _The Edinburgh Evening Dispatch_ that the attack on the Mort
Homme "has brought no kudos to the Crown Prince--only more catacombs."

       *       *       *       *       *



  The Lady sat
    On the brink of the Well;
  She lost her balance
    And in she fell!
  They fished her up
    With a crooked pin;
  She came out wetter
    Than she went in.
  "Well, Lady, well?"
    "Sir, very ill!
  If you sit by the Well
    You are certain to spill."


  Walk, Shepherdess, walk,
    And I'll walk too,
  To find the ram with the ebony horn
    And the gold-footed ewe;

  The lamb with the fleece of silver
    Like Summer sea-foam,
  And the wether with the crystal bell
    That leads them all home.

  Walk, Shepherdess, walk,
    And I'll walk too,
  And if we never find them
    I shan't mind--shall you?

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Wanted, cast-off clothing for pen of profitable pedigree
    bantams."--_The Lady._

Moulting already?

       *       *       *       *       *



The malignant and perfidious English have again to eat their own
words. Indeed, they have eaten them. It will be remembered that on
every occasion of one of our glorious Zeppelin raids our official
report of the damage done, notwithstanding the meticulous accuracy
which those who draw up the reports impose upon themselves, has been
angrily contradicted by the English Press, always under some heading
attributing habitual mendacity and wilful and continuous dishonesty to
the German headquarters.

Germans do not lie. There is no need. Their deeds are so terrific
and sweeping as it is that the slightest embroidery or exaggeration
would produce an effect to stagger humanity. Hence when our reports
said on one occasion that our Zeppelins had irretrievably damaged the
fortified town of Margate, and on another occasion that our Zeppelins
had practically destroyed the formidable garrison of Ramsgate, and on
a third occasion that our Zeppelins had almost eliminated that English
Kronstadt, Yarmouth, and on a fourth occasion that the menacing citadel
of Cromer had been reduced to ruins, and on a fifth occasion that
the hitherto impregnable fortress of Lowestoft had become pregnable
owing to the wonderful science of the revered Count ZEPPELIN--when our
reports said these things they recorded facts, although the reptile
English Press instantly hissed out denials and attacks.

But justice will prevail, even in England, although one may have
to wait long for it. And now, some while after these magnificently
successful raids, the admission is made that our official reports, so
suspect and derided, were right all the time. In one of the leading
English papers we find the following words in an article entitled,
"Prospects for the Summer Holidays." For it seems that, in spite of
the famine and other hardships which the immortal German army and
supreme German navy are inflicting upon England, some of these trivial
islanders are proposing to go to the seaside as usual this year--either
out of a paltry bravado or by arrangement with the Government to create
an illusion of prosperity and composure. But, whereas normally the
watering-places of the whole country are open to them for their obscene
and brutish frolics, this year they are not expected to patronise the
East coast--that is to say the English shores of the German Ocean. And
why? The reason is not without its flattery to us; and it also carries
with it the damning admission of the absolute exactitude, the minute
veracity of the German official reports of the Zeppelin raids which
previously the English papers had conspired to impugn. We give the
precise words:--

    "There is, we fear, every reason to anticipate a barren season
    for the East Coast resorts, usually so popular. From Margate
    and Ramsgate, right up through Lowestoft, Yarmouth, Cromer and
    Cleethorpes to Scarborough and Whitby, they have, it cannot be
    denied, been _badly hit_ by the Zeppelin raids."

The italics are ours. Note them well, for they are the measure of
English turpitude. When, after our shattering and comprehensive raids
had occurred, one by one, always with such devastating fury and
precision, our reports announced that these very towns had been "badly
hit" (mark the phrase!), the English Press once more accused us of
perversion and dissimulation. How right we were is now proved. In fact
it seems that we understated the case, for we gather that a very large
number of East Coast towns have been badly hit by our irresistible
machines of retribution--far more than we knew.

If we wait long enough we shall doubtless find somewhere in an English
paper the verification of other of our claims, which at the time were
treated with contempt--such, for example, as the glorious destruction
of Liverpool and Manchester by bombs from the sky. All that we need is
a little patience.

       *       *       *       *       *



During the trial of George Smith for obtaining the sum of five hundred
pounds by means of a forged cheque, it was proved that the prisoner
spent a portion of the money in the purchase of a ninepenny admission
to a local cinema. The learned judge, speaking with considerable
warmth, observed that he hoped the Press would make a careful note of
that fact. It entirely confirmed a belief he himself had long held,
namely, that the existence of such places afforded a temptation to
wrongdoing that was nothing short of a public menace. He only wished
that he had power to sentence the proprietor. (Applause.)

       *       *       *       *       *

During the hearing of a petition for breach of promise of marriage,
evidence was given that the behaviour of defendant had changed since he
witnessed the performance of a certain film entitled, "Mr. Quiverful
keeps House."

Mr. Dodge, K.C. (for the plaintiff) put in a scenario of the film,
showing that it represented the troubles of a paterfamilias forced to
look after a crowd of children, pacify indignant servants, and the
like. It was unquestionable that such an exhibition might produce a
very serious effect upon a timid and impressionable bachelor.

_His Lordship._ It is perfectly monstrous that such things should be

Counsel, continuing, said he believed that there was also introduced a
mother-in-law. At this point the jury stopped the case, and awarded the
plaintiff three thousand pounds damages.

       *       *       *       *       *

Arrested on a charge of severely wounding a neighbour with a shotgun,
a prisoner at Birmingham pleaded that he had been led astray by a
visit paid to a picture-house, where films of cowboy life were being
exhibited. It was true that his parents were both doing time, and
he had two uncles in an asylum, but he attributed his own downfall
entirely to the pernicious influence of the cinema.

_The Judge._ I am glad you appreciate that fact.

Counsel for the defence here stated that the victim was now ascertained
to have been a writer of picture-plays.

_The Judge._ Why didn't you say so before? That entirely alters the
complexion of the case. I am not sure that the prisoner has not
rendered a public service.

By direction of his Lordship the charge was subsequently amended to one
of using firearms without a licence, and, a nominal fine having been
imposed, the accused left the dock amid general congratulations.

       *       *       *       *       *


(_On hearing it correctly imitate the hoot
of a motor-horn._)

  "Poor little foal of a despised race"--
  Thus in an earlier day a poet broke
  Into blank verse about thee, and awoke
  Compassion for thy patient, pleading face.
  But time thy ancient burden of disgrace
  Has ta'en away long since, and, though in joke
  Sometimes we may address thee as "the moke,"
  No more we seek thy service to debase.
  For thou art changed, O much-enduring ass!
  No longer scorned but honoured in our day,
  When an entire and influential class--
  Our politicians--emulate thy bray;
  Whilst thou, in bland reciprocal salute,
  Hast tuned thy note to mock the motor's hoot.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The balloon immediately began to drift over the enemy's lines.
    Although he threw his rifle, field glasses, and everything movable
    overboard, the balloon went still higher."

      _Continental Daily Mail._

Well, what did he expect?

       *       *       *       *       *

    "APPRENTICE.--Smart Lad to learn up-to-date business; must be
    mechanically bent."

      _Liverpool Echo._

The simple plan of putting him across your knee will not suffice.

       *       *       *       *       *

From a review of Sir CHARLES WALDSTEIN'S _Aristodemocracy_ in an
evening paper:--

    "That, however, is only a side-issue in a volume which treats
    the provident questions of politics with perfect humility and
    with much persecution. It is a book which, as we began by saying,
    deserves a much better title."

Some people might even say that it deserved a better reviewer.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Chalmers Invasion.

With Sir ROBERT CHALMERS as the new Irish Under-Secretary and Sir
MACKENZIE CHALMERS (no relation) as one of the members of the
Commission of Enquiry into the Rebellion, Ireland no doubt will find
another grievance, singing:

  How happy could I be with either,
    Were t' other dear Chalmers away!

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Expert in Military Matters._ "HE SAID HE WAS AN

       *       *       *       *       *



MY DEAR CHARLES,--The weather has changed and War has resumed a less
uncomfortable aspect. The last I heard of our friend Persius Adolphus
(now promoted to the giddy heights of Second-Lieutenant, but still
referred to, in the privacy of the traverse, as "Perse") he was living
_al fresco_ in his little bit of trench, leading the sinful life with
a pot of _páté de foie gras_ in the one hand and the latest number of
_La Vie Parisienne_ in the other. It takes a lot of H.E. to distract
a man's attention from these luxuries, which goes to show that, if
at times it is a short life, it is in spring a merry one, and a
twenty-franc note will in these parts provide a man with all the most
extravagant pleasures of the idle rich for a month.

To the officer in the trench, Battalion Headquarters, a few hundred
yards to the rear, is a veritable pleasaunce far removed from the din
and worry of battle. To the C.O. and his satellites, putting up with
their dangers and discomforts for a noble cause, Brigade Headquarters,
a mile down the road, is a palace of safety and ease, where any man
but a fool of a Brigadier would remain. To the Brigade Staff, grimly
holding on in its rough and perilous fortress, the Divisional villa
is the ideal of quiet residences. To the Divisional Staff, suffering
silently, the Corps Château is all that a man could ask in the way of
handsome furnished apartments. And to the Corps Staff it is ever a
matter of surprise that its miserable hovel can be contemplated without
a blush by the Army Staff, revelling, as the latter does, in every
modern convenience. The Army Staff says nothing but thinks bitterly
of those at G.H.Q., and by the time it gets to the War Office I
couldn't tell you what the grouse is or whose the envied lot. The real
wallower out here is, if we all did but know it, some little known and
unobtrusive C.O. of some special company, with a village to himself,
half-a-dozen châteaux to choose from, more motors than he knows what to
do with, and, wickedest and worst, a real bath to wash in.

Be that as it may, the eyes of all rest upon the same unwarlike
pictures torn from the same least bellicose journal. From dug-out to
palace, faded walls are decorated with the same three-colour process
divinities, whose expressions are as arch as arch and whose clothing
is typical of the wonderful economy of the French. Through the clamour
of bursting shells or the din of the military typewriter, turning out
its thousand "Pass Memos." to the hour, these fair Parisiennes continue
to smile unperturbed, until some officer, callous rather than modest,
hides their bright blue eyes and bright red cheeks under a pile of
official telegrams relating to picks and shovels, gas protectors and
other sordid and unromantic matter.

Meanwhile the motor lorries creep demurely along the country lanes,
coming nobody knows whence, going nobody knows whither. Now and then
they will pause in a convenient ditch, rubbing their wheels briskly
in the mud to restore the circulation. A less restful sight is the
military car, proceeding at a pace never exceeding twenty kilometres
per hour, the occupants of which have also, these days, adopted the
three-colour process, a sure sign that we are winning. Fortune favours
the brave, and the lightning despatch-rider as often as not will pass
through the lot, with the loss of little more than a couple of limbs
and half-a-dozen spare parts. Even so, he will not omit to salute you,
as you stand off the road, a sight which has a peculiar thrill of
its own, since the salute of a motor cyclist consists in his looking
fixedly in one direction and proceeding recklessly in another. You
cannot help appreciating his courtesy, but in your more nervous moments
you can't help wishing he wouldn't do it.

By way of contrast to the business of it all is the light-blue
Gendarme, unaffected by the entourage of war, ambling peacefully where
he will, greeting all and sundry with an expansive smile and growing
momentarily ruddier and more fat in his happy face. It is his work in
life to get in nobody's way and do no man any harm; it is his pleasure
to wear upon his head a helmet of the truest steel, of a type created
to ward off hostile shrapnel, but worn by him for the same good
reason for which a miller wears a white hat. I count amongst the best
of my newly-found friends a certain _chef_ of this merry and bright
_escadron_. An ex-Cavalry Officer, he fought through the earlier stages
of the War, undaunted by many misadventures. Since he took to the less
hazardous pastime of commanding _gendarmerie_, he has found life not so
precarious, may be, but a good deal more intricate.

He will tell you, if you ask him, the story of the sacred civilian
automobile which he once ventured to stop in order to satisfy himself
as to its contents. He did not recognise any significant halo
surrounding it, though this should have been discernible even in the
cloud of dust accompanying it. He had his written instructions to see
that the credentials of all who drove through his zone should be _en
règle_. Simple and ingenuous as he then was, written instructions
were enough for him. The car approached him menacingly, but he stood
his horse in the middle of the road and signed to it to stop. The car
hooted with hoarse and defiant anger, and a sinister bowler hat was
seen and angry words were heard at the window. None the less he stopped
it at the risk of his life, and in his best manner (always a nice one)
demanded credentials.

In wartime, one may interfere with Jupiter and be forgiven, but my
Commandant had gone too far. He was lucky to find himself, at the
conclusion of the correspondence, severely admonished and in receipt
of an order to place himself under arrest for six days (which he did,
choosing six wet ones).

The car contained a Deputy, no less.

The Commandant clings to the childlike belief that we manage these
things better in England. What would have happened, he asked me, if
he had been a British officer and the object of his attention merely
a Member of Parliament? "Merely," indeed! I answered that the thing
simply couldn't be conceived as happening with us. Our soldiers, I
admitted, were amongst the bravest of the brave, but I had never yet
met one reckless enough to dream of obstructing the slightest whim of a

Meanwhile, Charles, don't forget to forward to me, day by day, the
Official Communiqué from the Irish Front.

  Yours ever,

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: LEST WE FORGET.

_"Combed-out" Gentleman (to pal, also about to be called up)._ "WHAT

       *       *       *       *       *

Shakspeare on Daylight Saving.

  "It shall be what o'clock I say it is."

  _Taming of the Shrew_, Act iv. Sc. 3.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE GOLDEN MOMENT.


       *       *       *       *       *




_Monday, May 15th._--The continued absence of Mr. ASQUITH is causing
much speculation in the Lobbies. Will the new Irish Privy Councillor
come back from Dublin, like Lord BEACONSFIELD from Berlin, bringing
peace with honour in his pack? Or will he, as so many British statesmen
have done before, find the inherited hostility of Irishmen to one
another an insuperable obstacle? An hon. and learned Nationalist was
not encouraging. "When," he was asked, "were the seeds of this trouble
sown?" "When STHRONGBOW came to Ireland," was the answer. "And when do
you think it will be over?" persisted the questioner. "When the world's
at an end."

Last Session Mr. KING was easily the champion of Question-time. But
this year, thanks to the Sinn Feiners, Mr. GINNELL is coming up with a
rush. Mr. KING has however one consolation. Mr. GINNELL rarely extracts
much information from Ministers; often it is nothing more than "There
is no foundation for the allegation contained in the question." Whereas
his rival, whose queries cover a much wider field, frequently elicits
important facts. Like the rest of the world he has been puzzled by
the coloured tabs now so commonly seen on officers' tunics. What did
they mean? Mr. TENNANT for once was communicative. "I think," he said,
"green stands for intelligence." Mr. KING is now more regretful than
ever that he is over military age; the green badge would just suit his
mental complexion.

Ever since the Military Service Bill came under discussion the public
galleries have been full of men in khaki. As it seems difficult to
believe that their presence is due to the intrinsic fascination of
debates, which have been for the most part insufferably dull, another
theory has been started. Should the opponents of the Bill become too
obstructive and threaten its passage, will these doughty warriors leap
over the barriers, drop down on to the floor of the House (in the
manner already made historic this Session) and execute a new "PRIDE'S

A rather unkind trick was played upon the Simonites by Mr. BARNES. He
has a good deal of influence with the Government nowadays, and when he
delivered an eloquent defence of conscientious objectors, describing
them as the men who kept the spiritual fires burning, there were high
hopes that he was going to secure an enlargement of the loopholes in
the Bill. But as he went on to explain that his remarks only applied to
genuine cases and had nothing to do with the shoal of frauds who had
discovered a conscience within the last month or two, the enthusiasm
below the Gangway fell so suddenly that you could almost hear it drop.

_Tuesday, May 16th._--To invite the House of Lords to go in for
daylight saving is rather like carrying coals to Newcastle. The Peers
habitually set an excellent example in this respect. No matter what the
importance of the subject under consideration they almost invariably
manage to conclude its discussion before the dinner-hour.

Some of Lord LANSDOWNE'S friends are beginning to fear that association
with wicked Radicals like Lord CREWE is having a deteriorating effect
upon his political faith. They were shocked to hear him allude almost
disparagingly to the innate conservatism of the national temperament,
which put Greenwich mean time on the same level as the Thirty-nine
Articles. He even spoke disrespectfully of the sun, to the marked
disapproval of that other shining light, Lord SALISBURY.

In the Commons the Simonites made a determined effort to get the
minimum age raised from 18 to 19. But Mr. LONG was obdurate, though he
promised that, subject to exceptional military necessity, no conscript
should be sent abroad till he was 19. Eventually the Bill passed its
Third Reading by 250 to 35.

A characteristically bitter speech from Mr. SNOWDEN evoked an
appropriate retort from Sir ARTHUR MARKHAM. Observing that the Hon.
Member had been against the War throughout, he charged him with "making
vitriolic speeches and dropping acid drops in every direction." Mr.
SNOWDEN (remembering the case of Mr. JOHN BURNS) may think himself
lucky if he is not known as "The Acid Drop" for the rest of his
political career.

_Wednesday, May 17th._--The Summer Time Bill passed into law to-day,
in spite of the gloomy prognostications of Lord BALFOUR OF BURLEIGH.
He foresaw the time when the Committee of Privileges might be called
upon to pronounce a new judgment of SOLOMON on the question whether
a peerage should go to a boy born at 2.50 A.M. on October 1st or to
his twin-brother, born actually half-an-hour later, but according to
statutory time half-an-hour before.

While the Lords were illuminating the daylight the Commons were engaged
in ventilating the air. The present administration of the Flying
Services was severely criticised by Mr. JOYNSON-HICKS, who wanted an
Air Minister--not Lord CURZON, but "someone with a reputation to lose."
Mr. TENNANT promptly announced that the ex-Viceroy of India would be
President of the new Air Board.

Colonel CHURCHILL launched into a lengthy history of the Air Services,
from which we gathered that but for the exertions of a former First
Lord, who used to divert money voted for hospitals and coastguard
stations to the building of aeroplanes, the country would have had no
aerial defences when the War broke out. He joined in the demand for an
Air Ministry. In fact, he had himself proposed it to the PRIME MINISTER
a year ago. It is possible that he even indicated a suitable person to
fill the post.

Before the War it was sometimes said of Lord HUGH CECIL that his
Parliamentary speeches were too much up in the clouds. Since he has
taken to exploring those regions as a member of the Royal Flying Corps,
that criticism no longer applies. In a severely practical speech he
flatly contradicted the accusations that had been made against our Air
Service, and boldly claimed that it was the most efficient in the world.

After that, Mr. BONAR LAW had a comparatively easy task in persuading
the House to give the new Air Board a fair trial. In reference to the
fears that had been expressed as to the powers to be accorded to its
President he drily remarked that from his experience in the Cabinet he
did not think Lord CURZON would be found lacking in personality.

All through the afternoon Mr. PEMBERTON-BILLING had been popping up
with questions, interjections and points of order. Now he rose to
continue the debate, but Members had apparently had enough of him for
one day. After a few minutes he suffered the most inglorious fate that
can befall a Parliamentary crusader. One by one his audience melted
away, until there was not enough left to make a House. "P. B." was
counted out.

_Thursday, May 18th._--Lord LANSDOWNE at least is not afraid of the
new Order in Council prohibiting reference to Cabinet proceedings. In
answer to complaints of the delay in introducing Compulsory Service he
told the old story of the widow who married a widower, and complained
to a friend that "_his_ children are always fighting with _my_ children
and frightening _our_ children." That, he implied, was what went on in
the Coalition.

The Commons enjoyed a pretty little duel between two old friends.
Ex-Professor HEWINS delivered a long lecture on elementary economics,
leading up to the conclusion that we could not beat the Germans without
an immediate dose of Tariff Reform. The House, expecting an equally
solemn defence of Free Trade from the CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER, was
at once surprised and delighted when Mr. CHAMBERLAIN rose to reply.

Though tied to the Tariff movement "by my heart-strings as well as by
my head," he thought it would be imprudent to embark on it at this
moment. After the War it would very likely meet with general consent.
Mr. HEWINS must have felt like _Alice_ with "jam yesterday, and jam
to-morrow, but never jam to-day."

       *       *       *       *       *



       *       *       *       *       *




       *       *       *       *       *


    [It is reported that the citizens of Berlin are agitated about
    the serious difficulty that has arisen with regard to the removal
    of dust. A Berlin journal has championed their cause.]

  I love to catch such bits of local colour
    As hide awhile the lurid hues of war,
  And paint the fatuous Hun an even duller
        Fool than we took him for.

  I love to seize on every source of humour
    That gives black care a very welcome shove--
  I like, I mean to say, the sort of rumour
        Recited up above.

  Berlin, you see, has grown of late so gritty
    That half the pop. is troubled to the quick,
  Finding the dust of that unwholesome city
        Is just a bit too thick.

  Well, I have read about some other grumblers
    With curious similarity of soul
  Who left untouched the gnats that thronged their tumblers,
        But drank their camels whole.

  So here your Hun, denouncing this condition
    Of his uncleanly city's upper crust,
  Flatly declines to have his earthly vision
        Clogged with material dust,

  Yet, all unconscious of the draught he's taking,
    Swallows the stuff in pharisaic wise
  With which his rulers have for years been making
        A dustbin of his eyes.

       *       *       *       *       *



Last Sunday morning an hour was lost. The children had been discussing
the question beforehand.

"Where will it go?" asked one.

"I suppose the fairies will take it," said Joyce.

"Perhaps it will go behind the clock," said another.

"Well, I'll tell you what I'd like to do," said Joyce deliberately.
"I'd like to get up in the middle of the night, when the hour is going
to be lost, and put on my dressing-gown without waking Nannie, and go
out into the garden and see for myself how they lose it. It's sure to
be about somewhere."

"You couldn't," said one of the others. "Nannies always sleep so that
they wake up at once if you move. You'd never get up without her

"Well, why do they want to lose it?" asked Joyce, realising that the
last argument was unanswerable and so darting off on to a new train of
thought altogether.

"Because they'll save a lot of other hours that way. And then, you see,
if we get up earlier we shan't have to pay the pennies for gas and
electric light, and all those pennies can go to help Daddy win the War."

"Yes, but where will the hour be gone?"

And so we came back to the beginning again.

There, was a long pause.

"Well," concluded Joyce, on a note of finality, "it's a very good plan

That settled it.

       *       *       *       *       *


_"Westminster Gazette" Contents Bill._

But in justice to the late CHIEF SECRETARY it should be said that the
Sinn Feiners also had a hand in it.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _P.C. O'Leary._ "MOVE ON THERE, AND DON'T BE

_Interested Spectator._ "WOT 'ARM AM I DOIN' OF?"


       *       *       *       *       *



  How delicate must be the young man's dealings
    With those who hold the regimental reins;
  How sensitive he finds the Major's feelings,
    How constantly the Adjutant complains;
      Yet any youth of reasonable phlegm
      Should be at ease with some at least of them,
      But, mind you, there is only one Q.M.,
    And he, I think, requires the greatest pains.

  For he provides his own peculiar terrors,
    His own pet penalties, his special scores;
  He little recks your mere strategic errors,
    He marks unmoved the feeblest kind of fours;
      'Tis naught to him how Private Thompson shoots,
      Only he must not wear civilian boots;
      And all the officers may act like brutes
    If they commit no sin against the Stores.

  Then, like the octopus, that all day dallies
    In loathly caverns, loving not the sun,
  Till prying trespassers provoke his sallies,
    He waddles forth and gives the culprit one;
      Unrolls, like tentacles, by fold and pleat,
      Some hoary form, some long-forgot receipt,
      And stamps the fellow liar, thief and cheat--
    There is no argument; the man is done.

  And evermore, however slight the caper,
    His name, his credit in the Stores is black;
  If he but supplicate for emery-paper,
    Or seek small articles his soldiers lack,
      He will be lucky if they fail to look
      His record up in some avenging book,
      And say, "I thought as much--the man who took
    A bar of soap and never brought it back."

  Be careful, then, and court the man's compassion;
    Note how the gods, in old Olympian years,
  Would woo Hephaestus's, that used to fashion
    Stout shields and suchlike for his godly peers;
      How upstart deities, who feared not Zeus
      And gave Poseidon something like abuse,
      Approached him sweetly and were quite profuse,
    Lest he be cross and serve them out no spears.

  Nor in the trenches should your tact diminish,
    For there, still stern with casual issue notes,
  _He_ will determine when the food must finish,
    And stint his rum to undeserving throats;
      And what if in some struggle he should say,
      "Look here, this battle can't go on to-day;
      You'll get no hand-grenades, no S.A.A.,
    Till Simpson signs for all those overcoats"?

       *       *       *       *       *

Mormonism in England?

    "A Minister's Wives' Meeting will be held at Whitefield's,
    Tottenham Court Road."

       *       *       *       *       *


"Hurrah!" I said, "I've got a letter from the Front."

"Well done!" said Francesca. "Who's it from?"

"From Walter. It's not a very long one."

"That doesn't matter a bit. The great thing is to have one from the
Front, even if it's only to thank you for a pair of socks."

"Mine's better than that," I said. "It runs into nearly two pages."

"Yes," she said, "but it doesn't tell you much, now does it?"

"No, to tell you the truth it doesn't. They're under an honourable
obligation, you know, not to reveal things."

"Poor boys! It isn't much a Second-Lieutenant could reveal, is it.
There's nothing said in your letter about Sir DOUGLAS HAIG having
called Walter up to Headquarters----"

"You mustn't say Headquarters; you must say G.H.Q. if you want to
impress people."

"I'm not talking to people; I'm talking to you. There's nothing said in
your letter, is there, about Walter having been asked by Sir DOUGLAS
HAIG to draw up a plan for the Big Push?"

"No, there isn't; but Walter would draw up a dozen if he were asked.
He's that sort."

"Don't talk about my first cousin once removed in that flippant way."

"I'm not."

"You are, and it's most ungrateful of you."


"Yes, ungrateful. He's written you a letter that you'll be able to
chat about for a fortnight. I can hear you mentioning it to your
train-friends, Major Boger and Dr. Apthorpe. You'll bring it in in a
careless kind of way. 'I've had a letter,' you'll say, 'from a chap at
the Front, a cousin of my wife's, and he tells me they're expecting a
move now at any moment.' Then they'll both say, 'Ah,' as if they didn't
think much of your chap, and each of them will produce a chap of his
own with some highly private information about the CROWN PRINCE having
been taken to a lunatic asylum in a motor-car so heavily iron-clad that
nobody could see who was inside, but he was recognised by his shrieks;
and Dr. Apthorpe will cap it all with some cock-and-bull story about
German ships having bombarded one another in the Canal last week. And
so you'll get to London."

"Francesca," I said, "you are a holy terror. How do you know all these
things? You have never travelled to London with Major Boger and Dr.
Apthorpe, and yet you're able to misrepresent them as if you'd heard
them speak every day of your life. It's wonderful."

"Clever fellow," said Francesca; "we won't pursue the question of your
boastings. They're innocent enough, I dare say. Let me hear what Walter
actually does say in his letter."

"Well," I said, "he doesn't actually say very much. The weather is
fine, he says, and his particular lot have been having rather a slack
time lately. There was a stampede of horses last week, but his Battery
was not involved in it, and would I mind sending him a packet or two
of chocolate, some strong brown boot-laces and a briar-root pipe, he
having broken his last one, and he's never felt fitter in his life, and
anybody who wants to know what health is had better come out to France
at once. That's about all; but you can read it for yourself." I handed
it over to her and she skimmed through it.

"I'll tell you what," she said, "I strongly advise you not to show this
letter about."

"I certainly shall show it," I said, "but only to friends."

"Well," she said, "I wouldn't even do that, unless you want to get
Walter into trouble."

"What nonsense!" I said. "It's the most discreet and honourable letter
I ever received.".

"Yes," she said, "but it's so cheerful. If certain newspapers got hold
of it there wouldn't be any peace for Second-Lieutenant Walter Carlyon.
He'd be told he was like all other Englishmen--he didn't take a serious
view of the War. Then they'd say that he was one of the men who were
responsible for the French not understanding us, and for the Russians
failing to appreciate our efforts, which, indeed, could hardly be
called efforts at all, and for the Italians despising us as we deserved
to be despised for tolerating such a Government as we were afflicted
with--and lots more of the same sort, all because poor Walter doesn't
go about in a state of perpetual gloom, as if he expected the whole of
Great Britain to be sunk into the sea the next minute."

"Francesca," I said, "your warmth is excusable, and there's a good deal
in what you say, but I shall show Walter's letter all the same."

"Well," she said, "when the storm bursts I shall let him know whom he's
got to thank for it."

"I shall write to him," I said, "and warn him to write a really
pessimistic letter next time, so that I may show it to influential
people and get his name up."

"It'll be no good," she said. "Walter isn't one of that sort. He 's
cursed with a profound and unreasoning belief in his country, and,
being an Englishman, he'll go to his grave if necessary believing that
England is bound to win the War."

"And, by Jove," I said, "I thoroughly agree with him."

"Yes," she said, "and so do I, but it doesn't do to say so to everybody

 R. C. L.

       *       *       *       *       *


  As I was a-walking on Chilbolton Down
  I saw an old farmer there driving to town,
  A-jogging to market behind his old grey,
  So I jumped up beside him, and thus he did say:--

  "My boy he be fightin', a fine strappin' lad,
  I gave he to England, the one boy I had;
  My boy he be fightin' out over the foam,
  An' here be I frettin' an' mopin' at home.

  "But if there be times when 'tis just about hard
  Wi'out his strong arm in the field an' the yard,
  Why, I plucks my old heart up an' flicks the old grey,
  An' this is the tune that her heels seem to say:--

  "'Oh the hoof an' the horn, the roots an' the corn,
  The flock in the fold an' the pigs in the pen,
  Rye-grass an' clover an' barns brimmin' over,
  They feed the KING'S horses an' feed the KING'S men!'

  "Then I looks at my furrows to see the corn spring
  Like little green sword-blades all drawn for the KING;
  An' 'tis 'Get up, old Bess, there be plenty to do
  For old chaps like me an' old horses like you.

  "'My boy be in Flanders, he's young an' he's bold,
  But they will not have we, lass, for we be too old,
  So step it out lively an' kip up your heart,
  For you an' me, Bess, be a-doin' our part--

  "'Wi' the shocks an' the sheaves, the lambs an' the beeves,
  The ducks an' the geese an' the good speckled hen,
  The cattle all lowin', the crops all a-growin',
  To feed the KING'S horses and feed the KING'S men.'"

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE GREAT GAME.

_Subaltern (wounded four times at Gallipoli, about to rejoin after four
months' sick leave)._ "CAN I GET A TRENCH DAGGER HERE?"


       *       *       *       *       *


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

Except by keen politicians the fourth volume of Mr BUCKLE'S _Life of
Benjamin Disraeli_ (MURRAY) may be found a little dull in comparison
with its predecessors. That is not the fault of the biographer, who
has done his best with a vast mass of somewhat dry material, but could
not make this portion of his record so enthralling as that which
preceded it or--we may confidently hope--that which will follow it. In
1855 DISRAELI had arrived at respectability, but had not yet attained
power. The Conservative Party recognised that he was indispensable,
but continued to withhold its full confidence, with the result that,
although his brain still teemed with the great schemes formed in his
hot youth, he had to defer their practical accomplishment and to devote
himself to educating his party and its titular leader, Lord DERBY, for
the day when the swing of the pendulum might give it a majority in the
House of Commons. Only one great triumph came to him during these years
in the wilderness. DISRAELI had never visited India, but, owing perhaps
to his Eastern ancestry, he had a truer intuition of Oriental needs
than most contemporary statesmen; and it was fortunate that it fell to
him in 1858, during one of the brief periods when the Conservatives
held office on sufferance, to carry the Bill which transferred the
government of India from "John Company" to the Crown. The principles
which he then laid down, and which eighteen years later he carried
a stage further in the Imperial Titles Act, justify Mr. BUCKLE in
claiming the Coronation Durbar of 1911 as "the logical conclusion of
Disraeli's policy." Apart from this one episode the volume is mainly
concerned with the reconstruction of the Conservative party--"at about
the pace of a Tertiary formation"--with which DISRAELI'S voluminous
correspondence with Lord DERBY was mainly concerned. Happily he had
other correspondents, and, though too self-conscious to be a perfect
letter-writer, he could be playful enough when writing to his wife or
to Mrs. BRYDGES-WILLIAMS. In this volume Mr. BUCKLE has given us a
careful portrait of the Politician DISRAELI; in his next we look to see
a little more of the Man.

       *       *       *       *       *

It is probable, I think, that you will not have turned many pages
of _Brenda Walks On_ (HUTCHINSON) before being struck by a certain
pleasing incongruity between its matter and style. Sir FREDERICK
WEDMORE is such an artist in words, so punctilious in the niceties
of their employment, that to find him writing a story of modern
stage-life, and using for it--with, as it were, a certain delicate
deliberation--phrases peculiar to the jargon of the class of which it
treats, gives one a series of small shocks. It is like hearing slang
from a Dean. As a matter of fact, though, I was wrong in calling
_Brenda Walks On_ a story. It is rather a disquisition about stage
people, stage art and life, and anything else whatever upon which
Sir FREDERICK wishes to talk at the moment, from the beauties of
the North-Eastern coast (the Scarborough part of the book carried
me back to the far-off days of _Renunciations_) to the treasures of
Hertford House. Even _Brenda's_ chief suitor is capable of breaking
off the avowal of his love to deliver a few well-chosen remarks
about theatrical rents and the hazards of management. This suitor,
_Penfold_, is perhaps the nearest approach to an actual character
that the book contains. He was a writer of papers upon the drama of
whom the author observes, "With a ready pen, indeed, Heaven forbid
that he should have been cursed! It was better to have a careful one,
faithfully ordered, allowing him to make sensible utterance of some
part of the knowledge and thought that were in him." Which, by a happy
coincidence, is exactly my verdict author's method in this graceful

       *       *       *       *       *

_Christina's Son_ (WELLS GARDNER) is a disarming book. It overcomes
criticism by the direct simplicity of its attack, in which only later
do you begin to suspect a concealed art. Miss W. M. LETTS tells a
tale that (you might say) has nothing in it; nothing certainly at all
sensational or strikingly original. But this story of a middle-class
North-country woman grips the attention, and holds it, by some quality
hard to define. _Christina_, as wife of a man she can never greatly
love, and, later, as mother of a son whom she adores but only half
understands, becomes, for all her commonplace environment, a figure
that dwells in the memory because of what you feel to be its absolute
truth. The atmosphere of the story is so crystal clear that every
detail of its chief characters stands out with the distinctness of a
landscape after rain. And because, by all the rules, these characters
should be so little interesting, and the very provincial society
in which the thirty or so years of the book pass is so entirely
undistinguished, you are faintly astonished all the way through (at
least I was) at not being bored. I see that one critic has praised a
previous story by Miss LETTS for its humour, should not have picked
this out as a characteristic of _Christina's Son_. Rather has it a
certain gravity and sobriety of aim, which in part explains its appeal;
if there is humour it is generally below the surface and never insisted
upon. There is a moment when its rather restrained style rises suddenly
to rare beauty, where the theme is old age; and throughout there is
a maturity of judgment in the writing that will make it perhaps less
attractive to the young than to those whose outlook has reached the
same stage.



       *       *       *       *       *

If I were to give away the plot of Miss MARY L. PENDERED'S _The Secret
Sympathy_ (CHAPMAN AND HALL) I think that you would sniff. It is not
likely to cause animated discussion in intellectual circles. We are
introduced to a girl who, finding herself reduced from affluence
to poverty, takes a garage and runs it with success, and we become
acquainted with a chauffeur and a peer, and the former turns out to
be--but that is just what I am not going to tell you. If you want a
book in which the hero is a very perfect gentleman indeed and the
villain really is a villain, then here you are. Miss PENDERED'S
scheme is not too subtle, but what she has set out to do she has
done, and done well. Although her characters play their part in the
War, she resists the temptation to smother them with V.C.'s and other
decorations, and for this abstinence and for _Miss Chetwynd_, a
middle-aged spinster of shrewd sense and humour, I warmly commend her.
I confess myself in love with _Miss Chetwynd_ and should dearly like
to hear her candid opinion of _The Secret Sympathy_. But I feel sure
that, if she smiled a little at the wonderfulness of it all, her final
verdict would be as benevolent as mine.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. RICHARD MAHER'S _The Shepherd of the North_ (MACMILLAN) looks a
little like one of those rather elaborate Catholic tracts in form of
a novel of which we have so many classic examples. _Mgr. Winthrop_,
the Bishop of Alden, way up in the Adirondacks, was indeed a noble old
fellow, somewhat given to long speeches, but with a great heart in the
right place, and wise and tolerant withal. He was known and loved by
the small farmers and lumber-men as _The White Horse Chaplain_ for a
deed of valour done in his youth in the Civil War. And he carried that
high quality of courage into his work of defending his people against
the machinations of the U. & M. Railroad, which swept down upon them
and stuck at nothing, not arson on a Teuton scale or judicial murder,
to get the prize it was after--valuable iron ore in the hills through
which its track ran. However, it was the Bishop's oar, dexterously
thrust in, which finally won the victory. There is a point which
puzzles me considerably. The crisis of the story turns on the secret of
the Confessional. A young man is accused of murder, and the Bishop, his
friend, has heard the confession of the real murderer, so that his lips
are sealed. But his fiancée also unwittingly overheard the essential
of the confession screamed by the dying man. Mr. MAHER seems to think
her bound by the same sacred ties as the Bishop, even to the point
of allowing her lover to go to the chair because of her silence. But
is that sound moral theology? I should doubt it. I ought to add that
there's nothing to shock the most sensitive evangelical conscience, and
quite a good deal to edify, instruct and entertain.

       *       *       *       *       *

Overheard at a fashionable restaurant:--

_1st Guest._ I read in one of the Sunday papers that BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
discovered the Daylight Saving Bill by noticing that the sun shines
the moment it rises, and not several hours afterwards, as is popularly

_2nd Guest._ How interesting! By the way, FRANKLIN'S body has never
been found since he discovered the North Pole.

_3rd Guest._ No, poor fellow, although STANLEY went in search of him.

_1st Guest (correcting)._ He found him right enough, but FRANKLIN
preferred to stop where he was. Rough on STANLEY.

[Transcriber's Note:

Inconsistent spelling and hyphenation are as in the original.]

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 150, May 24, 1916" ***

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