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Title: The Laughing Willow - Verses and Pictures
Author: Herford, Oliver
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.

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  TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE

  Italic text is denoted by _underscores_.

  Some minor changes are noted at the end of the book.



  THE LAUGHING WILLOW

  OLIVER HERFORD


  [Illustration: _Apropos de Rien_]



  THE
  LAUGHING WILLOW

  VERSES AND PICTURES

  BY

  OLIVER HERFORD

  Author of “Artful Antics,” “The Child’s Primer of Natural
  History,” “Overheard in a Garden,” “Fairy Godmother-in-Law,”
  “Astonishing Tale of a Pen and Ink
  Puppet,” “The Confessions of a
  Caricaturist,” etc.

  [Illustration: (Publisher’s colophon)]


  NEW YORK
  GEORGE H. DORAN COMPANY



  _Copyright, 1918,
  By George H. Doran Company_


  _Printed in the United States of America_



TO PEG


      _Oh, should some power the giftie gie her
      To see hersel’ as ithers see her,
      I’m thinking Peg would grow sae vain
      He’d take the giftie back again._



CONTENTS

THE LAUGHING WILLOW


                                           PAGE
  EPITAPHS                                    9

  THE TRUTH ABOUT RUSSIA                     11

  THE WEDDING FEAST                          11

  A MUJIK                                    12

  THE COSSACK                                13

  THE THREE S’S                              14

  THE AIR RAID                               15

  VALE DIABOLE                               18

  THE WRONG FLOOR                            21

  MARCHING TO BERLIN                         23

  TARGET PRACTICE                            26

  THE SAUSAGE BALLOON                        27

  CONCERNING THE CROWN PRINCE                28

  CAMOUFLAGE                                 31

  THE TANK                                   32

  THE BIRD-MAN                               33

  FRENZYLOGICAL CHART                        34

  BRITANNIA SALVATRIX                        35

  FATHER WILHELM                             37

  THE TOUCHING BALLAD OF GENERAL VON BEERS   40

  AN IMPERIAL SNEEZE                         45

  THE RUBAIYAT OF BILLI KAISAM               52

  WAR RELIEF                                 57

  SUMMER MASS                                58


  ABOUT PEOPLE I HAVE MET

  J. M. BARRIE                               61

  THE HORSE                                  63

  THE TOWN CAT                               65

  TOWSER                                     68

  THE OYSTER                                 70

  THE MOUSE                                  71


  PEOPLE I HAVE NOT MET

  THE TURTLE                                 77

  MICHAEL O’LEARY                            79

  CLORINDA                                   82

  ALCIBIADES J. SKINNER                      85

  EVE                                        90

  THE HIGHBROW HEN                           91

  SIR IPPYKIN                                92

  THE PSYCHOLOGY COP                         95

  PHYLLIS LEE                                97

  MRS. SEYMOUR FENTOLIN                      99

  THE DEVIL AMONG THE LADIES                101

  SPRING                                    105

  THE CATFISH                               108

  THE PRODIGAL CENTIPEDE                    109

  A BALLADE OF BLACK SOCKS                  111


  OTHER PEOPLE INCLUDING MARK TWAIN

  THE GENTLEMEN OF LETTERS                  115

  THE WOMEN OF THE BETTER CLASS             118

  MARK TWAIN                                121

  PRINCE POMPOM                             124

  THE SERIAL                                126

  THE CLOUD                                 130



THE LAUGHING WILLOW

      _To see the Kaiser’s epitaph
      Would make a weeping willow laugh._



THE LAUGHING WILLOW



EPITAPHS


Willy Nilly

      Here lies Willy’s mortal clay
        In its Mother Earth’s caresses.
      Willy’s soul has flown away--
        Where it is you have two guesses.


Here lies Bill

      Here lies Bill, the son of Fred.
      He lied alive; he now lies dead.


Tears, Idle Tears

      Oh, stranger, dry the starting tear!
      Kaiser Bill is buried here.


Pax

      ’Neath this stone lies Kaiser Bill.
      He sought for peace--he seeks it still.


Requiescat

      Here Wilhelm sleeps. For Mercy’s sake,
      Tread softly, friend, lest he should wake!


Ashes to Ashes

      Swallow him, O Earth, for he,
      Did his best to swallow thee.



THE TRUTH ABOUT RUSSIA


[Illustration]


_THE WEDDING FEAST_

      This is a Russian Wedding Feast;
      Counting the Groom, there are at least
      A hundred sitting down to dine,
      Or let us call it ninety-nine:
      For more than that there is no room,
      And no one ever counts the Groom!


_A MUJIK_

      The Mujik wears a costume weird
      Consisting of a fuzzy beard,
      A sheep-skin blouse (the wool inside)
      And breeks astonishingly wide,
      Made from the fur of North sea Whales,
      And Yak-hide boots with big brass nails.

[Illustration]


[Illustration]


_THE COSSACK_

      The Cossack is so much at home
      Upon his horse, that though he roam
      From Vladivostok to Odessa,
      His wife has only to address a
      Letter to Ivan “care his Horse”
      To catch her Spouse, unless of course,
      As sometimes happens, Ivan may
      Have swapped addresses on the way.


_THE THREE S’S_

      Without a doubt the _Samovar_
      The _Steppes_ and _Russian Sables_ are
      Of all things Russian the best known;
      So in this picture I have shown

[Illustration]

      A Sable sitting on a flight
      Of Russian Steppes, before a bright
      New Samovar, calm as can be,
      Brewing a cup of Russian Tea.



[Illustration]



THE AIR RAID


      I

      Come into the cellar, Maud.
      Get a move on! Goodness gracious,
      There is nothing to applaud
      In bravado ostentatious!
      Still Maud lingered, all unheeding,
      As the Siren sounded twice;
      Above the din her voice came pleading,
      “Are you _sure_ there’s no mice?”


      II

      Above the pandemonium
      Of Siren shrill and warning Drum
      And Aircraft Gun is heard the roar
      Of little Freddy, ætat four;
      The cellar dark and dank and dim
      No fascination has for him,
      The little darling wants to be
      Upstairs upon the roof and see
      The “fireworks!” “If you ask me--”
      Aunt Kate was overheard to say,
      “I’d let the dear child have his way!”


      III

      A hidden Crime, however slight,
      Is sure some day to see the light;
      Oh, why did Auntie come to stay
      With us upon an Air-raid day!
      Why did we never think to tell her
      That there were Lizards in the cellar
      Or Spiders or an Open Drain!
      How shall we ever now explain
      That “Antique Vase” we said was lost,
      That Nile green horror, gold embossed,
      Her Wedding Present--there it lay
      Before her eyes, as plain as day!
      We _almost_ wished a bomb would fall
      Upon the house and end it all!


      IV

      Who is that cowardly Jack Horner
      Crouching there in the darkest corner,
      Behind the furnace? Look again,
      That is no cringing coward, when
      Your eyes become accustomed to
      The darkness of the cellar, you
      Will see it is no other than
      Philander Jones and Marian;
      Make no mistake, Philander’s dread
      Is not a Zeppelin overhead,
      But that rude moment when he’ll hear
      The beastly Siren sound “All’s clear!”


      V

      “Where is Molly?” Like a Shell,
      Short and sharp, the question fell,
      Scattering every one pell mell
      From the cellar’s safe retreat
      Through the house on panic feet,
      Basement, Attic--everywhere
      They sought, one hope remained and there
      On the Drying-roof they found her,
      Shrapnel flashing all around her,
      Calm and cool ’mid war’s alarms,
      Hugging something in her arms.
      “I’s all right--don’t cwy!” said Molly,
      “I tame back to det my dolly!”



VALE DIABOLE

  At a recent church conference it was decided to drop the Devil
  from the ritual.


      Well! Well! so you’ve been fired,
        You’ve lost your job at last.
      It’s high time you retired,
        Old Boy, you’re failing fast.

[Illustration]

      You’re getting old, you know it,
        You are not in the race.
      Admit you cannot go it,
        The killing, modern pace.

      Your methods are too dull for
        The modern school of Hate,
      Your lake of burning sulphur
        Is sadly out of date.

      The Hohenzollern’s Kultur
        Mocks at your fiery pits,
      His double-headed vulture
        Has put yours on the fritz.

      Beside the fierce, blaspheming,
        Mail-fisted Kaiser Bill,
      You are a seraph beaming,
        An angel of good-will.

      But tho’ we can’t deny, sir,
        You’re hopelessly outclassed,
      You’ve one thing on the Kaiser,
        Which is, tho’ first and last

[Illustration]

      A failure as a devil,
        Yet boast of this you can:
      You were always on the level--
        And--you are a gentleman!



THE WRONG FLOOR


      A certain Emperor
        (This is a censored tale)
      Once pounded on the door
        Of heaven with fist of mail.

[Illustration]

      Cried Peter from within,
        Awakened by the row,
      “Stop that infernal din!
        Who are you, anyhow?”

      “Don’t bandy words with me!”
        Thundered the visitor.
      “All doors to me are free.
        I am the Emperor.”

      “If you’re an Emperor,”
        Said Peter, “then I fear
      You’ve come to the wrong floor.
        We take no Emperors here.

      “Our waiting list is filled
        With martyrs brave and true
      Whose blood an Emperor spilled.
        There is no room for you.”

      Cowed by Saint Peter’s look,
        The Emperor, with a frown,
      Cried, “Well, I’m damned!” and took
        The elevator--down.



MARCHING TO BERLIN


      We come from God’s own country in the ships of Uncle Sam;
      We’re going to get the william-goat of Kaiser Will--i--am;
      We know it is _verboten_, but we do not give a damn,
                As we go marching to Berlin!
      (_Drums_) Berlin! Berlin!
                Berlin! Berlin! Berlin!
                As we go marching to Berlin!

      _Refrain_

      Hurray! Hurray! We’ll wave the Stripes and Stars!
      Away, away with Emperors and Czars!
      And when we get the Kaiser we’ll put him behind the bars,
                As we go marching to Berlin!
      (_Drums_) Berlin! Berlin! etc.

      We’re from the dear old U. S. A., the Land of Liberty;
      We’ve crossed a hundred rivers and three thousand miles of sea
      To teach the Huns a thing or two about Democracy,
                As we go marching to Berlin!
      (_Drums_) Berlin! Berlin! etc.

      _Refrain_

      Hurray! Hurray! We’ll show the Prussian swine
      That Freedom is the only Right Divine,
      And when we catch old Kaiser Bill we’ll pitch him in the Rhine,
                As we go marching to Berlin!
      (_Drums_) Berlin! Berlin! etc.

      We’ve left our happy homes that we may help to win the war.
      We’re a million strong already, and there’ll soon be millions more;
      And when the job is done with Kaiser Bill we’ll mop the floor,
                As we go marching to Berlin!
      (_Drums_) Berlin! Berlin! etc.

      _Refrain_

      Hurray! Hurray! We’re going to make it hot
      For all the bloody Hohenzollern lot,
      And when we get the Kaiser we’ll present him to his Gott,
                As we go marching to Berlin!
      (_Drums_) Berlin! Berlin!
                Berlin! Berlin! Berlin!
                As we go marching to Berlin!



TARGET PRACTICE


      At the Imperial Schützenfest
      Fritz Pickelheim led all the rest;

[Illustration]

      At target practice Pickelheim
      Could hit the Red Cross every time;

      At the clay-baby contest Fritz
      Scored nineteen out of twenty hits;

[Illustration]

      And once he won the Kaiser’s purse
      With nine live babies and a nurse.



THE SAUSAGE BALLOON


      I often wonder, when we fry
      A Sausage, if its thoughts can fly

[Illustration]

      Across the billowy ocean wave
      To where its namesake stern and brave
      Floats like a Guardian Angel, high
      Above our armies, in the sky,
      Serene and stately as a cloud.
      No wonder Sausages are proud!
      No wonder Sausages when fried
      Oft-times swell up and burst with pride!



[Illustration]



CONCERNING THE CROWN PRINCE


      I

      When Crown Prince Willy goes to bed
      It is his wont to lay his head
      Upon the pillow and extend
      His feet towards the other end.
      “But does he really wear his hat
      In bed?” you ask--well, as to that
      I cannot say, I never saw him,
      But that’s the way _I_ always draw him.


      II

      The thing that Germans most admire
      Is Crownie’s coolness under fire.
      He loves to watch it gleam and glow
      ’Mid fragrant smoke, an inch or so
      Above his nose as he reclines
      In some Château behind the lines;
      If the Crown Prince had his desire
      He would be _always_ under fire!


      III

      When you or I get up at eight
      We do not have to cogitate
      And rack our brains concerning just
      Which suit to wear, as Princes must;
      The Crown Prince has a hundred suits,
      Including hats and belts and boots,
      Yet such his master-mind, he knows
      Which he must wear and just what goes
      With what, which chevron, sash or sword,
      Each in his Royal Head is stored,
      Down to the detail of a spur,
      All in a Nut-shell, as it were!


      IV

      Here is a most uncensored sight!
      The Prince, in garb Pre-Adamite
      Taking (but tell it not in Gath)
      A good old English shower-bath!

[Illustration]


      V

      The Prince’s shy and shrinking habit
      Has earned for him the nickname “Rabbit.”
      This irritates His Highness more
      Than all his country’s grief and gore,
      It hurts his _amour propre_, for it’s
      A clear case of the “Cap that fits.”
      But don’t you think, however funny,
      It’s rather rough upon the Bunny?



[Illustration]



CAMOUFLAGE


      If you can stand upon one spot
      And look like something you are not
      And wouldn’t if you could be--say
      A Bean-bag or a Bale of Hay--
      You’ll find it quite a useful stunt
      To practise on the Western Front;
      This picture shows how Private Dunne,
      Disguised as snow, deceived the Hun,
      Who could not possibly see through
      The Camouflage: no more can you!



THE TANK


      The Tank’s a kind of cross between
      An Agricultural Machine
      And something fierce and Pliocene;
      Over embankments, trees, and walls,
      Trenches, barbed-wire, and forts it crawls;
      Nothing can stay its course--the Tank
      Has not the least respect for Rank
      Or File; with equal joy it squashes
      All things alike, men, beasts, and--Boches.

[Illustration]



THE BIRD-MAN


      The Bird-man does not chirp and sing
      As Larks and Robins do in Spring,
      He does not moult nor does he feed
      On Earthworms or Canary-seed,

[Illustration]

      Nor does the Bird-man build a nest
      In which his weary wings to rest;
      At night, instead, when he goes home
      To roost, he seeks an Aërodrome.



FRENZYLOGICAL CHART


[Illustration]

  1. Humanity.
  2. Veneration.
  3. Love of Nature.
  4. Modesty.
  5. Imagination.
  6. Generosity.
  7. Compassion.
  8. Sympathy.
  9. Chivalry.
  10. Integrity.
  11. Love of Children.



BRITANNIA SALVATRIX


      Mistress of the Trident dread,
      With the brow of Artemis,
      Like Minerva, helmeted,
      Seven Seas her sandals kiss.

[Illustration]

      Throbs a mighty heart withal
      Beneath her armour of Disdain.
      Not for naught did Belgium call,
      Servia has not cried in vain.

      When the gauge of Hate was hurled,
      Seven seas at her behest,
      From the corners of the world
      Brought the bravest and the best.

      From the utmost ends of earth,
      On their tireless waves they bore,
      To the Europe of their birth,
      Legions of the land and air,

      Spurning Peace, till Peace has brought
      Hohenzollern to his fall,
      And with the blood of Freemen bought
      A Place in Freedom’s Sun for all.



FATHER WILHELM

_To the Tune of Lewis Carroll_


[Illustration]

      “You are old, Father Wilhelm,” the Crown Prince said,
      “And the hair’s growing thin on your pate;
      Do you think you are perfectly right in your head--
      The way you’ve been acting of late?”

      “In my youth,” Father Wilhelm replied to his son,
      “I hated my honour to stain
      But, now that I’m perfectly sure I have none,
      Why, I do it again and again.”

      “You are old,” said the Prince, “and you’re getting quite bent,
      And rheumatic, yet only just now,
      You turned a back somersault into your tent--
      Pray why did you do it, and how?”

      “In my youth,” Kaiser Wilhelm replied to the Prince,
      “I kept all my muscles in training;
      And I’ve practised one thing that I learned, ever since--
      And that’s to go in when it’s raining.”

      “You are old,” said the Prince, “and your head is too light
      For anything stronger than water;
      Yet you talk without ceasing from morning till night;
      Do you think, at your age, that you oughter?”

      “In my youth,” said the Kaiser, “I lived upon raw
      Spanish onions, I ate with my knife;
      And the strength that those onions gave to my jaw
      Has lasted the rest of my life.”

      “You are old,” said the Kronprins, “and one would suppose,
      You would be just a little more humble;
      Yet you balance your crown on the end of your nose.
      Aren’t you frightened some day it will tumble?”

[Illustration]

      “Your questions, my boy, are getting too free,”
      The Kaiser with anger protested--
      “Your impudence borders on _Lésé Majesté_;
      Be off, or I’ll have you arrested.”



THE TOUCHING BALLAD OF GENERAL VON BEERS

_To the Tune of W. S. Gilbert_


[Illustration]

      Major Fritz-Schinkenwurst Hofbrau Von Beers
      Was the pride and the joy of the Pruss Grenadiers.
      You’ve guessed him a Prussian, shrewd reader, at sight,
      And a glance at his manners will prove you are right.

      In his fervour for “Frightfulness” Major Von Beers
      Acknowledged no betters and precious few peers.
      And every one envied his well-earned repute
      For arson and pillage and rapine and loot.

      No symphony held such delectable tones
      For the ears of Von Beers as the shrieks and the groans
      Of women and children bombarded with shell,
      Or the crash of a hospital tumbling pell-mell.

      One day from Berlin came the order “Refrain
      For the present from Frightfulness. Start Press Campaign.
      Von Bernstorff has wired we’re getting in wrong
      With the Yankees, so play up HUMANITY strong.”

      Loud, loud were the wailings of Hofbrau Von Beers.
      But duty is duty, so drying his tears,
      He purchased a volume by Peter F. Dunne
      On “How to be Civilised, though you’re a Hun.”

      He swatted up Honour, and Peace and Good-will
      For a year seven months and a fortnight until,
      You’ll scarcely believe it, that Hun I declare
      Acquired a sort of a civilised air.

      It was balky, spasmodic and apt to take flight
      When a press correspondent was nowhere in sight.
      It was clumsy, uncertain and crude, I’m aware,
      Yet distinctly suggested a civilised air.

      He started at once a colossal campaign
      And filled correspondents with fibs and champagne,
      And the press correspondents all voted Von Beers
      A prince of good fellows, ’mid deafening cheers.

      Thenceforth when a soldier forgot to salute,
      Von Beers would use kindness instead of his boot.
      And he lectured a laggard he’d rather have shot,
      If a newspaper man chanced to be on the spot.

[Illustration]

      If a sentinel, smoking, he happened to catch,
      Instead of a hiding he gave him a match.
      A caress took the place of a clout on the ear,
      That is, when a war correspondent was near.

      He distributed photos of Godfearing Huns
      Feeding babies with Beef Broth, Bananas and Buns,
      And snapshots of Willie that caught his gay glance
      And others depicting him weeping for France.

      The fame of Von Hofbrau spread over the land,
      And rich Lady nurses proposed for his hand,

[Illustration]

      And the Kaiser, All Highest, ’mid deafening tears
      Pinned a cast-iron Halo on Major Von Beers.



AN IMPERIAL SNEEZE

_A Sniffle in One Act_


CHARACTERS

The GERMAN EMPEROR ...

_Others not to be mentioned in the same cast._


SCENE

A luxurious dressing room adjoining the Emperor’s Bedroom.


TIME

  _This morning. The Emperor is discovered standing before a Cheval
  Glass. He is dressed in what is known as “Athletic Underwear,”
  with plain black socks, upheld by Boston Garters._


  EMPEROR:
      It is not often that one sees
      An Emperor in B. V. D.’s.

  _A knock is heard on the door._

  EMPEROR:
      Herein!

  _A high officer enters with a telegram._
      A wire?

  [Illustration]

  OFFICER:
      Yes, Sire, a wire!

  EMPEROR: _Tears open envelope._
      You may retire.

  _Reads_

      Von Hindenburg has wired to say
      Our noble troops have won the day
      Captured a Russian Samovar
      And several tons of caviar
      Vodka a fabulous amount
      And Droskys more than we can count
      The greatest battle of the war,
      Won by the Fourteenth Army Corps
      All honour to the Lord therefore,
      Likewise the Fourteenth Army Corps.

  CHORUS OF OFFICERS:
      All honour to the Lord therefore,
      Not to speak of the Fourteenth Army Corps.

  EMPEROR:
      The Lord Be Praised! This cheering news
      Will cure my cold and banish my blues.
      I haven’t felt anything like so well
      Since my gallant Navy with shot and shell
      Bombarded the Scarborough Infant School
      And the Orphan Asylum at Hartlepool.

  CHORUS OF OFFICERS:
      He hasn’t felt anything like so well
      Since the Babes were bombarded with shot and shell.

  [Illustration]

  EMPEROR:
      Enough! Enough! Less cheering please
      With my nervous system it disagrees.
      Alas! My joy
      Is not without alloy.

  _Looks at telegram sadly._
      Oh wretched me! On this glorious day
      When I should have been in the thick of the fray
      I lay in bed
      With a cold in my head:
      Hot water bottles, Quinine and Squills
      Mustard Plasters, and Camphor Pills.
      And when they tell of this victory
      They do not so much as mention ME!
      While peans of praise and plaudits pour
      On the Lord--and the Fourteenth Army Corps!

  _Weeps._

  _Enter chorus of Highborn Lady Nurses bearing clinical
  thermometers._

  FIRST NURSE:
      Oh Sire we entreat!

  SECOND NURSE:
      This is most indiscreet!

  THIRD NURSE:
      A temperature we dread--

  FOURTH NURSE:
      Oh _please_ go back to bed--

  FIRST NURSE:
      Please do as you are told,
      You have an awful cold.

  EMPEROR: _Furious._
      A cold!!

  NURSE:
      I meant to say
      Broncho-Pneumonia.

  EMPEROR:
      Mine was no common plebeian ill,
      ’Twas a Pneumo-Psycho-Bronchial chill
      According to my medical adviser
      I caught it when I walked upon the Yser.

  NURSE:
      You walked!

  EMPEROR:
      I should have said I tried--
      You see it was high tide
      And I was much annoyed
      To find the bridge destroyed.
      But never at a loss
      I tried to walk across.

  _Angrily_

      But by the Eternal One
      I swear it can’t be done
      And never was----

  _Stops suddenly and makes as if about to sneeze.
  Nurses regard him apprehensively._

  _Emperor sneezes._

  FIRST NURSE:
      Ach! Himmel! what a sneeze!

  SECOND NURSE:
      Oh Sire! Please!----

  THIRD NURSE:
      Oh _please_!

  FOURTH NURSE:
      Your cold’s gone to your head!

  ALL TOGETHER:
      You MUST go back to bed!

  _They seize the Emperor and pull him, struggling,
  through the door leading to the bedroom._


  EMPEROR:
      Nein! Nein! Unhand me, wenches!
      My place is in the trenches.

  _Enter High Officer._

  HIGH OFFICER: _Looks about him cautiously._
      ’Tis an ill wind they say
      That profits nobody,
      And this Imperial sneeze
      May bring us victories,
      With Him in bed there’ll be
      Some chance for strategy.
      If on the other hand----

  EMPEROR: _Heard off stage_
      What ho! My horse!

  _The Emperor enters_

  HIGH OFFICER: _Anxiously_
      You go?

  EMPEROR: _Haughtily_
      Of course!


CURTAIN



[Illustration]



THE RUBAIYAT OF BILLI KAISAM

Surnamed the Tentbreaker


      I

      Ah, Franz! Could you and I with Gott conspire
      To grab this sorry little globe entire,
        Would we not shatter it to bits, and then
      Remould it nearer to our heart’s desire?


      II

      You all know how, the world to overwhelm
      I made a second Sparta of my realm
        And “dropped the Pilot” from my ship of State
      To lay my own mailed fist upon the helm.


      III

      And how myself did eagerly frequent
      Councils of war and heard great argument
        About it and about, and every year
      Came out with great and greater armament.


      IV

      For though in ME and MINE I set great store
      And THEE and THINE are terms that I abhor,
        Of all that one should care to fathom, I
      Was never deep in anything but--war.


      V

      Bernhardi, Nietzsche, Treitschke, who discussed
      Of the “Next War,” so wisely, they are thrust
        Like foolish prophets forth, their words to scorn
      Are scattered and their mouths are stopped with dust.


      VI

      With them the seed of warfare did I sow,
      And with mine own hand wrought to make it grow.
        And this is all the Harvest I have reaped:
      “I came like thunder--and like wind I go!”


      VII

      And lately from Hell’s Cavern Door rose up
      A shape Titanic, ravening to sup
        On Living Human Fodder, and he bade
      Me give him taste of it; and ’twas--The Krupp.


      VIII

      The Krupp that can with Logic absolute
      The plans of modern Strategists confute
        The steel iconoclast that in a trice
      The strongest Fortress into Dust transmute.


      IX

      The Krupp no question makes of Aye and No,
      But strikes alike Cathedral or Château
        And I who send it out into the Field--
      I know about it all--I know--I know!


      X

      And much as War has made an infidel
      Of me, and robbed me of my honour, well
        I often wonder what the Devil has
      One half so devilish as I--In Hell!


      XI

      Ah, but _my_ innovations people say
      Placed war upon a sounder basis? Nay,
        ’Twas only striking from War’s lexicon
      The terms TRUTH, HONOUR, DECENCY, FAIR PLAY.


      XII

      The Treaties that I set my seal upon
      Are turned to dust and ashes, which anon
        Like snowflakes falling in a muddy street
      Lighting a little hour or two are gone.


      XIII

      What if my sword can fling the Sheath aside
      And naked plunge into the crimson tide,
        Were’t not a shame, were’t not a shame for me,
      By a “mere scrap of paper” to abide?


      XIV

      Indeed, indeed, continually I swore
      For Peace--but was I solemn when I swore?
        And then--then came the Day and sword in hand
      My threadbare piety apieces tore.

       *       *       *       *       *

      XV

      From Europe’s centre, through the Belgian gate
      I rode and at the Door of Paris sate.
        And many a city ravished by the road,
      But Paris--she is still immaculate.


      XVI

      Here was the Gate to which I found no key;
      Here was the Wall o’er which I might not see.
        Some little talk awhile of strategy
      There was, and then--good afternoon, Paree!

[Illustration]



WAR RELIEF


[Illustration]

      “Can you spare a Threepenny bit,
          Dear Miss Turkey,” said Sir Mouse,
      “For Job’s Turkey’s benefit?
          I’ve engaged the Opera House!”

      “Alas! I’ve naught to spare!”
          Said Miss Turkey, “save advice,
      I am getting up a Fair,
          To relieve the Poor Church Mice.”



SUMMER MASS


      In the cloisters of the grass,
      Lit by buttercups and daisies,
      Celebrants of summer mass,
      Little creatures sing their praises.
      From a myriad throbbing throats
      Rises up their song of Love,
      Like a mist of golden motes,
      To the Golden Throne above.
      And the good Lord, bending nigh,
      Quite forgets his house of stone
      Where the frightened sinners cry,
      And the frowning priests intone,
      And the saints (if saints they be)
      Smile and smile in effigy.



ABOUT PEOPLE I HAVE MET



J. M. BARRIE

_A Round Robin from His Humble and Devoted Servants the Alphabet_


      The Lord forgive if we transgress
      Thus to familiarly address
      One of our betters.
      But, Jamie, do you no recall
      The slate whereon you learned to scrawl
      Your Humble Letters?

      Well we remember how you drew
      Our shapely features all askew,
      Unflattering really.
      You made A lame and B too fat.
      And C too curly--what of that!
      We loved you dearly.

      From that first day we owned your spell.
      And just because you used us well
        We served you blindly.
      Why, even when you put us through
      A fearsome Scottish reel, we knew
        You meant it kindly.

      Jamie, ’tis said Grand Tales there be
      Still biding in the A B C--
        If this be true,
      Quick, Jamie! Cast your golden net.
      Maybe we have the grandest yet
        In store for you.



[Illustration]



THE HORSE


[Illustration]

    The Horse, I don’t mind telling you,

[Illustration]

    Is not an easy thing to do.

[Illustration]

    With Cats and Lions, I confess,

[Illustration]

    I’ve had a measure of success;

[Illustration]

    Likewise with Camels, Mice and Snails

[Illustration]

    And Frogs and Butterflies and Whales.

[Illustration]

    Eels and Rhinoc’ruses and Ants

[Illustration]

    And Porcupines and Elephants

[Illustration]

    And Bees and Yaks and Owls. But when

[Illustration]

    I try to draw a Horse, my pen

[Illustration]

    Sputters and scares the high-strung steed,

[Illustration]

    Who gallops off at such a speed

[Illustration]

    You have to take the beast on trust--
    You can not see him for the dust.

[Illustration]



THE TOWN CAT


      The melancholy days are come,
        The saddest of the year;
      Of houses closed and doorbells dumb
        And windows dark and drear.

[Illustration]

      Now Dives to his country seat
        Has hied himself away,
      And Tabby turned into the street
        Must shift as best she may.

      No more the cushion soft as silk,
        The catnip ball no more;
      No more the saucer full of milk
        Behind the pantry door.

      Nor shall she in the temple prey
        Upon the lean church mouse;
      The good Lord, too, has gone away
        And closed his city house.

[Illustration]

      When Dives hies him back once more
        To his town house, oh, shame!
      Tabby will greet him at the door,
        But not--no, not the same.



TOWSER


      My hair hangs down on either side
        Like a Niagara small.
      Why is it this, my greatest pride,
        Should bring about my fall?

[Illustration]

      Why is it that my well brushed hair,
        That now so smoothly lies,
      As soon as I descend the stair
        _Always_ gets in my eyes?

      No wonder, thus deprived of sight,
        I step on empty air
      And to the bottom of the flight
        Rebound from stair to stair.

      I’m not the sort of dog that cares
        To make a fuss when hit;
      But falling down a flight of stairs
        Is not the worst of it.

[Illustration]

      As there I lie completely out
        Of breath and very flat,
      Why is it _always_ some one stout
        That takes me for a mat?



THE OYSTER


      In Autumn, when the leaves are dead,
      They take us from our Oyster-bed,
      And all the winter long they keep
      Us up, without a wink of sleep--

[Illustration]

      And doesn’t it seem hard to you
      When Spring is here, and skies are blue,
      And we should like so much to stay,
      We have to be in bed by MAY?



THE MOUSE

_A Study in Egotisms_


  _Scene: A drawing-room.

  Persons: Clarissa, the Mouse, Purrline._

  CLARISSA: Help! Help! A Mouse!

  MOUSE:         Don’t be alarmed! _I’m_ here!
      I hurried when I heard you scream--

  CLARISSA:                       Oh, dear!
      If it jumps up at me I shall expire!

  MOUSE: If I may be permitted to enquire,
      Why are you standing there in such a fright,
      Upon a chair, clutching your frock so tight
      About your--

  CLARISSA: Help! Oh dear! I wonder what
      That girl’s about! Good heavens! I forgot
      It’s Jane’s day out. There’s no one in the house
      But me--

  MOUSE:   Fair lady! I am but a Mouse,
      A simple Mouse, but underneath this fur
      There beats a heart whose motto is _Sans Purr_.
      To see a lovely female in distress
      Rouses in me the spirit of _Noblesse_.
      To her protection instantly I fly.
      No common _Mus Domesticus_ am I!
      You may have heard--

  CLARISSA:            If only Jane were here!
      What _shall_ I do?

  MOUSE:             Dear lady, have no fear!
      As I was saying, doubtless you’ve heard tell
      How once a Mountain bore a Mouse-child. Well,
      _I_ was that Child! Or rather, to be more
      Strictly veracious, ’twas my Ancestor;
      And sometimes when I dream of deeds Titanic
      I think that Mountain must have been Volcanic!
      So have no fear! If any one should dare
      Molest you, I am here beneath your chair,
      Ready to spring--

  CLARISSA:         Mercy! I wonder why
      It squeaks like that! It’s crazy! I shall die
      If it--

  MOUSE:    Sweet lady! Though I cannot guess
      From your queer speech the cause of your distress,
      Your voice, quite meaningless to my Mouse ear,
      Is strangely sweet and musical and clear;
      And, though they violate our beauty-laws,
      I never saw such shapely hinder paws
      As yours, so smooth and beautiful to see,
      So silky white, like sticks of celery.
      Upon each side a tender sprig of gold--
      Gold as pure Cheese, and toothsome to behold--
      Climbs up and up! ’Tis called, so I am told
      By Mice more versed in lady-lore, a Clock.
      Once, it is said, a Mouse named Dickery Dock
      Ran up the--

  CLARISSA:    Ouch!!!

  MOUSE:              I wonder if I dare!
      Only the brave deserve--

  CLARISSA:          O Lord! This chair
      Is giving way! If it should break!--What’s that?
      It’s Purrline’s mew! Here, Puss! Puss!--

  MOUSE:                      What? The Cat!
      I’d _love_ to meet him! But it’s getting late.
      My wife’s expecting me. I musn’t wait!

        (_Exit_)

  PURRLINE: Me-ouw!

  CLARISSA:        And is that _all_ you’ve got to say?
      Did you expect the Mouse to wait all day?
      For all _you_ care, I might have died of fright!
      My! But I’m glad it got away all right!


CURTAIN



PEOPLE I HAVE NOT MET



THE TURTLE


      I never wasted any love
      On turtles, but the turtle-dove
          Is quite another thing;
      When I have nothing else to do,
      I love to hear them bill and coo
          While mating in the spring.

[Illustration]

      There’s something in their plaintive note
      That brings a lump into my throat
          And makes my pulses stir;
      Something between a smothered snore
      And the shrill creaking of a door,
          That soothes me, as it were.

[Illustration]

      How strange is Nature’s alchemy,
      To think that living in the sea
          Should change a creature so!
      The turtle of the finny kind
      That swims the sea, is to my mind
          The lowest of the low.

[Illustration]

      And yet, O inconsistency!
      Although the turtle is to me
          A most obnoxious beast,
      When on a menu card I spy
      “Green Turtle, Soup,” though it comes high,
          I take two plates at least!



MICHAEL O’LEARY

  When forming one of a storming party which advanced against an
  enemy’s barricade, O’Leary rushed to the front and himself killed
  five Germans who were holding the first barricade, after which
  he attacked the second barricade, about sixty yards further on,
  which he captured after killing three of the enemy and making
  prisoners of two more.


      You may talk of the Rebels of Ulster
        And the shindy we had to chuck;
      But we don’t give a rap for a family scrap
        Whin the Prooshuns is running amuck.

      Did you hear how Lance Corporal O’Leary,
        Mike O’Leary of the Guards,
      Wid his own two mits, tore a forthress to bits
        Like a blissed conthraption of cards.

      He’d a shmile, had Mike, that ’ud span a dyke,
        And a fist that ’ud fell a horse,
      And he ripped through the mire of blood and barbed wire,
        Like a bull through a bunch of gorse.

[Illustration]

      Whin he waded in, sure ’twas a sin,
        The way that he bashed and bruk ’em;
      He dropped on thim Huns like forty tons,
        And they niver knew what had struck ’em.

      “Poor dears,” says Mike, “I’m thinking belike
        All the news they’ve been told is lies,
      So it’s up to me, ’ere it’s kilt they be,
        To put the poor divils wise.

      “Thim Huns, I’m told, while outrageous bold
        Is over a trifle dull.
      Sure, if that’s a fact, ’tis a friendly act
        To hammer it through their skull.

      “So here’s for insulting old Erin,
        By thinking a thraitor she’d be!
      And here’s for your Imperor sneerin’!
        ‘Contemptible army,’ says he.

      “Here’s one for the mothers whose pleadin’
        You stopped with a shot and a curse,
      And one for the girls dead and bleedin’
        And the girls that you spared--for worse.

      “For the churches you shelled and the priests you felled
        Here’s one! And the women, too,
      You held for a shield on the battle field,
        And the innocent babes you slew.”

      Whin O’Leary had done, there was divil a one
        Left to tumble to what he said--
      Barrin’ only ten, which I’m wrong again,
        For eight av the ten was dead.



[Illustration]



CLORINDA

_A Fable for Heiresses_


      Above the plate-glass window-pane,
        Inviting every passing gaze,
      Hung an inscription, large and plain,
        “THE HUSBAND SHOP.” This, in amaze,
      Clorinda seeing, stopped wide-eyed,
      And stared, then turned and stepped inside.

      A floor-walker whose faultlessness
        And condescending air proclaimed
      One of the _table d’haute noblesse_,
        Approached Clorinda and exclaimed,
      With graceful undulating palm:
      “Something in husbands? _Oui, Madame._”

      “We have the latest thing of all
        In husbands; kindly step this way.
      We’re using them on hats this fall,
        In place of plume or floral spray,
      The creature being pinned or tied
      With chiffon bows on either side.”

      He leads the way, all wreathed in smiles,
        And wonderful in spotless spats
      That flitter like twin butterflies
        Along an avenue of hats,
      Each one displaying on its brim
      A husband--fashion’s latest whim.

      Clorinda tries them each in turn
        Before the glass; some are too small,
      And some too cold, and some too stern,
        And some are slightly soiled, and all,
      When punctured by the hat-pin’s steel,
      Betray by squirms how bored they feel.

      At last Clorinda came to one
        Marked “_Dibbs_,” that scarce seemed worth her while;
      But when she tried it on for fun,
        It met the hat-pin with a smile,
      As if to say, “Oh, beauteous miss,
      Even a stab from you is bliss!”

      “The very thing! but thrown away
        Upon a _hat_!” Clorinda cried.
      “’Twould make a sweet corsage bouquet.”
        The shoppers stared electrified,
      To see Clorinda Dibbs depart
      Wearing a husband next her heart.



ALCIBIADES J. SKINNER


      Alcibiades J. Skinner
      Was a famous after-dinner
          Speaker. Great the way
      He secured, just by excelling
      In the art of Story Telling,
          One good meal a day.

      Chestnuts more than often passé
      He exchanged for Marrons Glacés,
          Canvasback and Quail.
      Flat the feast and dull the dinner
      Lacking that accomplished Spinner
          Of Postprandial Tale.

      Every mail brought invitations:
      Teas and luncheons and collations,
          Dinners without end.
      No one to a Formal Function
      Such impressiveness, such unction,
          Such éclat could lend.

      At that gruesomest of gruesome
      Rites, The Banquet tendered to some
          Literary Light,
      None could say with such conviction,
      “We have Snooks of _Snappy Fiction_
          In our midst To-night.”

      How he said it made no matter;
      Shaft of Wit or Broadway Patter
          Meets with like acclaim.
      Latest Mot or Jest Historic,
      To the dinner guest plethoric
          It is all the same.

      When he said, “This moment finds me
      Unprepared,” or, “That reminds me,”
          There would be a hum
      Of expectance, or a rippling
      As though Daniel (or Kipling)
          Had to Judgment come.

      Alas for Fame! As A. J. Skinner
      Put it at the Author’s Dinner,
          “Fame’s a fickle Jade!”
      Had he then an intimation
      That his own wide reputation
          Was ere long to fade?

      From that day his after-dinner
      Stories thinner grew and thinner.
          Sorry was his case.
      Rare the dinner invitation,
      Rarer still the lunch--Starvation
          Stared him in the face.

      One day as his eye was wandering
      O’er a map, he fell to pondering:
          “If I cross the Main,
      Somewhere ’twixt the Poles and Tropics
      I may find some brand new Topics
          For my food campaign!”

      So one Friday A. J. Skinner
      Bought a passage and an “Inner”
          On a sailing ship;
      Not for sport or relaxation,
      Not for rest or recreation--
          ’Twas a business trip.

      Fatal trip, had he but known it!
      Or a Fortune Teller shown it
          Written on his palm!--
      How one morning bright and sunny,
      With a breeze as soft as honey,
          And a sea as calm--

      Somewhere in the South Pacific
      There would spring up a terrific
          Tropical typhoon--
      Smite their helpless ship and bear it
      On a mountain wave and tear it
          Like a Toy Balloon.

      Luckily for Mr. Skinner,
      When she sank he was not in her.
          Clinging to a Spar,
      Being, too, an expert swimmer,
      Soon he saw the breakers’ glimmer
          On a sandy bar.

      Lucky, did I say? Appalling
      Choice of words! Would you when crawling
          Up a Sandbank gritty,
      On firm land a foothold winning,
      Call it luck to meet a grinning
          Cannibal Committee?

      Well, to make a long narration
      Shorter (by abbreviation),
          Soon as he was sighted
      Alcibiades J. Skinner
      To a most select Shore Dinner
          Was at once invited.

      Never had the South Pacific
      Witnessed such a beatific
          Banquet as was here.
      Never was such mirth unbounded
      As when that far beach resounded
          With unwonted cheer.

             *       *       *       *       *

      Epicures on South Sea beaches
      Waste no time on Toasts and Speeches;
          Happy dreams had they.
      In their midst was A. J. Skinner,
      Most nutritious After-Dinner
          Speaker of his day.



EVE

_Apropos de Rien_


      It is not fair to visit all
      The blame on Eve, for Adam’s fall;
      The most Eve did was to display
      Contributory negligé.



[Illustration]



THE HIGHBROW HEN


      Said Farmer Dole to his speckled hen,
      “Why don’t you lay for me now and then?”
      Said the speckled hen to Farmer Dole,
      “Because I’ve taken up birth control.”



SIR IPPYKIN


      Grim Giant Graft sate in his cavern dim;
        A king’s reward was offered for him dead.
      He scowled to think it could not come to him,
        That price upon his head.

      Of all his foes he dreaded only one,
        A knight of stalwart heart and spotless fame,
      Who feared no creature underneath the sun--
        Sir Ippykin his name.

      One night to Ippykin there came a thought--
        A mocking thought, that whispered in his ear:
      “Ah, ha, Sir Knight! men say thou fearest naught;
        They lie--thou fearest Fear!

      “Fear smites you when you read the king’s decree
        That whatsoever knight shall rid the land
      Of Giant Graft will gain a golden fee,
        Likewise his daughter’s hand.

      “You fear to win, for fear that you must wed
        The princess--for you love another maid;
      You dare not lose the fight because you dread
        Lest men call you afraid.”

      Cried Ippykin, “Lord, how shall I cut through
        This tangled coil?” Then of a sudden laughed
      A gleeful laugh, and rose and hied him to
        The cave of Giant Graft.

      No chronicler was present to reveal
        What passed between the knight and Giant Graft;
      Or what the bargain was the which to seal
        So many horns they quaffed.

      But this is sure--thereafter from the lands
        Of Ippykin once every week would stray
      Certain fat sheep into the Giant’s hands
        In some mysterious way;

      And once a week the giant and the knight
        Would chase each other round in seeming strife,
      Until the king grew weary of the sight,
        And pensioned both for life.

      Then Ippykin and his true love were wed
        And both lived happy till they passed away;
      But Giant Graft, fat, flagrant, and well fed,
        Is living to this day.



THE PSYCHOLOGY COP

The New York Police Force is to be instructed in psychology.--_News
Item._


      One morn, as Robert Ristwatch Rice
        Sped _Childs_ward for his midday meal,
      Upon his shoulder, like a vise,
        He felt a grip of steel.

      And in his ear a voice there hissed
        (With spirits fraught, and crime),
      And something snapped around his wrist
        That did not tell the time.

      “I’ve pinched yer now!” (devoid of tact
        Was Sergeant Fay). “For shame!
      Yer Hun! I caught yer in the act
        Insultin’ that there dame!

      “That skirt there in the showy lid,
        And muff of classy fur.”
      “My word!” cried Robert Rice, “I did
        Not even speak to her.”

      “What’s words to me, just froth and foam!
        I’m a psycholic guy--
      I lamp yer thoughts inside yer dome
        With my subconscious eye!”

      “Then you should know,” said Rice, “I’m a
        MISOGYNIST!”--“By Gee!
      That settles you!” cried Sergeant Fay;
        “You come along with me.”



[Illustration]



PHYLLIS LEE


      Beside a Primrose ’broider’d Rill
        Sat Phyllis Lee in Silken Dress
      Whilst Lucius limn’d with loving skill
        Her likeness, as a Shepherdess.
      Yet tho’ he strove with loving skill
      His Brush refused to work his Will.

      “Dear Maid, unless you close your Eyes
        I can not paint to-day,” he said;
      “Their Brightness shames the very Skies
        And turns their Turquoise into Lead.”
      Quoth Phyllis, then, “To save the Skies
      And speed your Brush, I’ll shut my Eyes.”

      Now when her Eyes were closed, the Dear,
        Not dreaming of such Treachery,
      Felt a Soft Whisper in her Ear,
        “Without the Light, how can one See?”
      “If you are _sure_ that none can see
      I’ll keep them shut,” said Phyllis Lee.



MRS. SEYMOUR FENTOLIN

  It was Mrs. Seymour Fentolin who stood there, a little dog under
  each arm; a large hat, gay with flowers, upon her head. She wore
  patent shoes with high heels, and white silk stockings. She had,
  indeed, the air of being dressed for luncheon at a fashionable
  restaurant.
                       From a story in _The Popular Magazine_.


[Illustration]

      The lauded lilies of the field
      Who toil not--neither do they spin,
      The palm sartorial must yield
      To Mrs. Seymour Fentolin.

      A hat, French heels, white stockings, dogs!
      Not even Solomon could win
      The championship for showy togs
      From Mrs. Seymour Fentolin.

      The two extremes in décolleté,
      Of ballroom and of bathing beach,
      Here meet in a bewildering way
      And mingle all the charms of each.

      I am no social butter-in,
      I do not crave to meet her bunch,
      But where does Mrs. Fentolin,
      If one might venture--take her lunch?

      And might one ask that peerless dame,
      Without appearing impolite,
      Is _Seymour_ really her first name,
      And has the printer spelt it right?



THE DEVIL AMONG THE LADIES


[Illustration]

      I

      The Devil seeking some new way
      To kill eternity, one day
          (So bored he was, in Hades)
      Flew to Manhattan Isle to start
      A Summer School to teach the art
          Of Smuggling to Ladies.


      II

      He opened in an uptown street
      A Modiste’s shop refined and neat
          (The number doesn’t matter),
      Displaying in his window all
      The Modes--Spring, Summer, Winter, Fall
          (Especially the latter).


      III

      The Ladies came in eager flocks,
      And as he showed his Paris frocks,
          With dext’rous verbal juggling,
      He lightly led the talk from Modes
      To Customs--and the law that goads
          An honest girl to smuggling.


      IV

      “If Uncle Sam for Revenue,
      Dear Ladies, picks your pockets, you
          The compliment should bandy.
      Pray let me teach you how to pick
      The spangled pockets of that slick
          Avuncular old Dandy.

[Illustration]


      V

      “We can begin at once, if you
      Will step this way.” The giddy crew
          Flocked after him like chickens
      To where an effigy there hung
      Of Uncle Sam with bells be-strung
          Like Fagin’s doll in Dickens.


      VI

      The Devil then with money fills
      The dummy’s pockets--gold and bills
          And silver pieces mingling.
      “Now try your skill! all you can take
      Is yours, my dears, if you don’t shake
          The bells and set them jingling.”

[Illustration]


      VII

      The news flew round, and soon the crush
      Was like a bargain-counter rush
          Of Frantic Ladies struggling;
      And soon the Devil was about
      A hundred thousand dollars out
          And closed his School of Smuggling.


      VIII

      Exclaiming, “I’m behind the age!”
      He kicked the dummy in his rage.
          “What’s this--the bells don’t jingle!”
      And sure enough the bells were dumb.
      Deftly inserted chewing gum
          Had stopped their tingle-tingle.


      IX

      “Ho! ho!” he laughed, “’tis plain to see
      New York is too advanced for me.
          I should have stayed in Hades;
      For who the devil, pray, am I
      In this enlightened age to try
          My wit against the Ladies!”



SPRING


      By his cold hearth, sans Youth, sans Mirth,
      Sits poor old shivering Daddy Earth.

[Illustration]

      A knock, a footstep on the floor.
      “Come in!” he growls--“and _shut that door_!”

      Two soft hands on his eyelids press;
      A laughing voice: “Who am I?--guess!”

      “’Tis Mistress Spring! Alas, my dear,
      You find me sadly changed, I fear.”

[Illustration]

      “Cheer up!” cried Spring, “I bring for you
      The Spell of Youth: Gold--Silver--Blue.”

      Sun gold, sky turquoise, silver rain,
      And Daddy Earth was young again!

      He danced, he sang: “Hail Spring divine!
      Ethereal Spring--h’m--_wine?--pine--shine?_”

      Too late the rhyme popped in his head;
      “Be _mine_!” he sang--but Spring had fled.



THE CATFISH


      The saddest fish that swims the briny ocean,
          The Catfish I bewail.
      I can not even think without emotion
          Of his distressful tail.
      When with my pencil once I tried to draw one,
          (I dare not show it here)
      Mayhap it is because I never saw one,
          The picture looked so queer.
      I vision him half feline and half fishy,
          A paradox in twins,
      Unmixable as vitriol and vichy--
          A thing of fur and fins.
      A feline Tantalus, forever chasing
          His fishy self to rend;
      His finny self forever self-effacing
          In circles without end.
      This tale may have a Moral running through it
          As Æsop had in his;
      If so, dear reader, you are welcome to it,
          If you know what it is!



THE PRODIGAL CENTIPEDE


      Once to a Centipede a Snail
      Remarked, “I wonder why you trail
      Along the ground with such a lot
        of feet--a hundred, is it not?
      A hundred feet! when two or three
      Are all you need. Just look at me!

[Illustration]

      “The speed and ease with which I crawl,
      And yet I have no feet at all!
      In these days would it not be wise
      For you to--well, to _Hoof_erize?
      You surely don’t need more than two
      To get along! If I were you,
      I’d use one pair and stand up straight,
      And save the other ninety-eight
      Against a rainy day.”

                                    “Indeed
      You’re right!” replied the Centipede.
      “I’ve often thought, to do my part,
      ’Twould be advisable to start
      A Feetless Day--but then, you see,
      If I stood upright I should be
      A hundred feet in height, and I
      Might bump my head against the sky!”
      “Well,” said the Snail, “I must admit
      That puts a different face on it!
      Your life depends on lying flat!
      Dear! Dear! I hadn’t thought of that!”

[Illustration]



A BALLADE OF BLACK SOCKS

  Plain Black socks can never be wrong.
                  --_The Gentleman of Letters
                  in “Vanity Fair.”_


      Lords of Fashion may disagree
        On the question of questions, what to wear
      At _déjeuner_, dinner, dance or tea,
        “Feed informal” or “Smart affair.”
      Let not the neophyte despair
        Dreading disdain of the gilded throng
      Hark to the dictum of Vanity Fair
        “Plain Black Socks can never be wrong.”

      Let scribes sartorial decree
        Whether the “skirt” shall be full or spare,
      Whether the crease be above the knee,
        Whether the seam shall be here or there.
      Of the openwork sock with the clock beware!
        On Fancy’s rein let your curb be strong!
      Hark to the dictum of Vanity Fair,
        “Plain Black Socks can never be wrong.”

      Doubting dolts may be all at sea
        Tossed on tempestuous waves of care.
      Are they wearing two studs?--or one?--or three?
        Will a satin tie cause a well bred stare?
      Leave dressy deeds to dudes that dare!
        Heed not the scented siren’s song
      Hark to the dictum of Vanity Fair,
        “Plain Black Socks can never be wrong.”

                            L’envoi
      Princes of Fashion, wherever ye fare--
      London, Paris, New York, Hong Kong,
      Hark to the dictum of Vanity Fair:
      “Plain Black Socks can never be wrong.”



OTHER PEOPLE INCLUDING MARK TWAIN



[Illustration: _Horace_]



THE GENTLEMAN OF LETTERS

  How splendid to have men’s attire treated by a gentleman and
  litterateur.--_John Armstrong Chaloner._


      Ah me! Had Horace when his muse was flagging,
      But given laughing Lalage a rest,
      And kept Mæcenas’ pantaloons from bagging,
      (Whatever ’twas he wore below his vest.)

[Illustration: _Moore_]

      If when his frisky Pegasus he mounted,
      He’d sung, instead of the eternal HER
      The stylish HIM, he might have been accounted
      A gentleman as well as litterateur.

      If Shakespeare had abstained from malty liquors,
      And spent the time (when not purloining plays)
      In pressing Francis Bacon’s velvet knickers
      He might thereby have gained a social raise.

      If Tommy Moore when not devoutly pressing
      His suit in amorous rhyme, had pressed instead
      His patrons lordly “pants,” it is past guessing
      What titles had been showered on his head.

      Had Bobby Burns renounced his Highland lassies,
      And tuned his pipes to “Gentlemen’s attire,”
      He might in time have risen from the masses
      And been addressed as Robert Burns, Esquire.

      If Hall Caine--............................
      ...........................................
      ...........................................
      ..............but why drag in Hall Caine?

      Come, Chaloner, confess like a good feller
      By “Gentleman and litterateur” you meant
      The literary style of the Best Seller
      And the strictly pure refinement of the Gent.



THE WOMEN OF THE BETTER CLASS

  “The artists and writers were the first Americans to make
  themselves at home in this amusing Parisian resort. (_The Old
  Café Martin._) And it was here, too, that women of the better
  class first tasted the delights of café life. It was considered
  quite a daring thing in the late eighties for be-cloaked and
  be-diamonded women of Fifth Avenue to sit here and sip their
  after-dinner coffee.”
                            _Vanity Fair._


[Illustration]

      One of those queer, artistic dives,
      Where funny people had their fling.
      Artists, and writers, and their wives--
      Poets, and all that sort of thing.
      Here, too, to view the vulgar herd
      And sip the daring demi-tasse--
      Be-cloaked, be-diamonded, be-furred--
      Came women of the better class.

      With its Parisian atmosphere,
      It had a Latin Quarter ring.
      Painters and journalists came here--
      Actors, and all that sort of thing.
      Here, too, to watch the Great Ungroomed
      And sip the dangerous demi-tasse,
      Be-furred, be-feathered and be-plumed,
      Came women of the better class.

      Here Howells dined--Saint Gaudens, Nast,
      Kipling, Mark Twain and Peter Dunne,
      Nell Terry, and not least though last
      One Robert Louis Stevenson.
      And mingling with that underworld,
      To sip the devilish demi-tasse,
      Be-cloaked, be-diamonded, be-pearled,
      Came women of the better class.

      Like geese to see the lions fed,
      They came--be-jewelled and be-laced,
      Only to find the lions fled.
      “My Word!” cried they, “What wretched taste!”
      Ermined and minked and Persian-lambed,
      Be-puffed (be-painted, too, alas!)
      Be-decked, be-diamonded--be-damned!
      The women of the better class.

[Illustration]



MARK TWAIN

_A Pipe Dream_


      Well I recall how first I met
        Mark Twain--an infant barely three
      Rolling a tiny cigarette
        While cooing on his nurse’s knee.

[Illustration]

      Since then in every sort of place
        I’ve met with Mark and heard him joke,
      Yet how can I describe his face?
        I never saw it for the smoke.

[Illustration]

      At school he won a _smokership_,
        At Harvard College (Cambridge, Mass.)
      His name was soon on every lip,
        They made him “smoker” of his class.

      Who will forget his smoking bout
        With Mount Vesuvius--our cheers--
      When Mount Vesuvius went out
        And didn’t smoke again for years?

      The news was flashed to England’s King,
        Who begged Mark Twain to come and stay,
      Offered him dukedoms--anything
        To smoke the London fog away.

      But Mark was firm. “I bow,” said he,
        “To no imperial command,
      No ducal coronet for me,
        My smoke is for my native land!”

[Illustration]

      For Mark there waits a brighter crown!
        When Peter comes his card to read--
      He’ll take the sign “No Smoking” down,
        Then Heaven will be Heaven indeed.



PRINCE POMPOM


      Beneath a Fruitful Apple Tree
      Sate Pompom, youth of high degree,
      And Prince of Apple-Tartary;
      While in the branches overhead
      The apples blushed with rapture red,
      As from a great book on his knees
      He read of the Hesperides,
      And how, to win the apples gold,
      One Hercules, a Hero bold,
      A hundred-headed Dragon shew.
      “How brave! How wonderful! How true!”
      Exclaimed the apples, flushed and red.
      “That proves what we have always said:
      We come of Ancient Pedigree!
      We’re of the Applestocracy!
      Our title cannot be denied.”
      Whereat they swelled and swelled with Pride
      Until their High and Mighty Air
      Was more than Apple Tree could bear.
      “Come!” cried the Tree, “you must vacate
      My boughs--they will not bear your weight!”
      Pride goes before a fall.
                                  Alas!
      Next morning, prone upon the grass,
      Blushing for shame, the Apples lay,
      And when Queen Pompom passed that way
      She picked them up, and by and by
      She made them into Apple Pie.



THE SERIAL

_To the Tune of Tennyson_

      _I burst upon the reader’s eye
        With verbal trumpet blaring,
      Proclaiming me the latest cry
        In fictionary daring--
      Vital, compelling, hectic, rare,
        Heart-gripping, epoch-making!
      A woman’s naked soul laid bare,
        A climax record-breaking!
      A quivering, pulsating plot,
        The mystery of a red room,
      A story to be read red hot
        In boudoir, or bedroom,
      An Eve, repentant, up to date,
        Confesses what her fall meant;
      You simply won’t know how to wait
        Until the next installment._


      I come from heaven knows where--or when.
        My pedigree is shady.
      My father was a Fountain Pen;
        My mother, a Typelady,

      Who smote the keys from morn till night
        With fingers swift and taper,
      Till I appeared, all clean and bright,
        On reams of foolscap paper.

      And now in serial form I flow,
        And flout at style and diction,
      As like a babbling brook I go
        To join the Sea of Fiction.

      Some streams, I know, more deeply flow,
        And some for speed endeavor.
      Short stories come, short stories go,
        But I’ll go on forever.

      I glitter like a foolish string
        Of pearls, with polish painful,
      With epigrams of doubtful ring
        And platitudes Hall-Caineful.

      And many a mood and tense amiss,
        And metaphor amuddle,
      And here and there a clinging kiss,
        And here and there a cuddle--

      And here and there a phrase in French,
        To give a touch linguisty;
      And here and there a Fisher wench,
        And here and there a Christy.

      And here and there and everywhere
        My thin stream slowly trickles
      ’Twixt _Bunk’s Elixir for the Hair_
        And _Black and Croswell’s Pickles_.

      And here a temperamental scene,
        Fervid, intense, Byronic--
      Tosses tempestuous between
        _Ayre’s Soap and Tinkham’s Tonic_.

      A sprightly conversation’s flow
        Is checked by _Soak and Stingham’s
      Pink Pills_, to reappear below
        An ad for ladies’ thingums.

      The well-known slip ’twixt cup and lip
        Here, too, finds confirmation--
      “He raised his glass”--_Thy Anti-Grip!
        Beware of Imitations!_

      --“Up to his lips; when on his wrist
        He felt a grip, steel-sinewed;
      The glass fell, and a hoarse voice hissed
        The words”--_To be Continued_.


Editorial Note

      _Some streams, we know, more deeply flow,
        And some for speed endeavor.
      Short stories come, short stories go,
        But this goes on forever._



THE CLOUD

_An Idyll of the Western Front_


  SCENE: _A wayside shrine in France_.

  PERSONS: Celeste, Pierre, a Cloud.


  CELESTE (_gazing at the solitary white Cloud_):
    I wonder what your thoughts are, little Cloud,
    Up in the sky, so lonely and so proud!

  CLOUD: Not proud, dear maiden; lonely, if you will.
    Long have I watched you, sitting there so still
    Before that little shrine beside the way,
    And wondered where your thoughts might be astray;
    Your knitting lying idle on your knees,
    And worse than idle--like Penelope’s,
    Working its own undoing!

  CELESTE (_picks up her knitting_): Who was she?
    Saints! What a knot!--Who was Penelope?
    What happened to _her_ knitting? Tell me, Cloud!

  CLOUD: She was a Queen; she wove her husband’s shroud.

  CELESTE (_drops the knitting_):
    His shroud!

  CLOUD:     There, there! ’Twas only an excuse
    To put her lovers off, a wifely ruse,
    Bidding them bide till it was finished, she
    Each night the web unravelled secretly.

  CELESTE: He came home safe?

  CLOUD:                If I remember right,
    It was the lovers needed shrouds that night!
    It is an old, old tale. I heard it through
    A Wind whose ancestor it was that blew
    Ulysses’ ship across the purple sea
    Back to his people and Penelope.
    We Clouds pick up strange tales, as far and wide
    And to and fro above the world we ride,
    Across uncharted seas, upon the swell
    Of viewless waves and tides invisible,
    Freighted with friendly flood or forkèd flame,
    Knowing not whither bound nor whence we came;
    Now drifting lonely, now a company
    Of pond’rous galleons--

  CELESTE:                Oft-times I see
    A Cloud, as by some playful fancy stirred,
    Take likeness of a monstrous beast or bird
    Or some fantastic fish, as though ’twere clay
    Moulded by unseen hands.

  CLOUD:                   Then tell me, pray,
    What I resemble now!

  CELESTE:             I scarcely know.
    But had you asked a little while ago,
    I should have said a camel; then your hump
    Dissolved, and you became a gosling plump,
    Downy and white and warm--

  CLOUD:           What! _Warm_, up here?
    Ten thousand feet above the earth!

  CELESTE:                           Oh dear!
    What am I thinking of! Of course I know
    How cold it is. Pierre has told me so
    A thousand times.

  CLOUD:            And who is this Pierre
    That tells you all the secrets of the air?
    How came he to such frigid heights to soar?

  CELESTE: Pierre’s my--He is in the Flying Corps.

  CLOUD: Ah, now I understand! And he’s away?

  CELESTE: He left at dawn, where for he would not say,
    Telling me only ’twas a bombing raid
    Somewhere--My God! What’s that?

  CLOUD:                  What, little maid?

  CELESTE (_pointing_): That--over there--beyond the
            wooded crest!

  CLOUD: Only a skylark dropping to her nest;
    Her mate is hov’ring somewhere near. I heard
    His tremulous song of love--

  CELESTE:                     That was no bird!
        (_Drops upon her knees._)
    O Mary! Blessed Mother! Hear my prayer!
    That one that fell--grant it was not Pierre!
    Here is the cross my mother gave me--I
    Will burn the longest candle it will buy!

  CLOUD: Courage, my child! Your prayer will not be vain!
    Who guards the lark, will guide your lover’s plane.
    The West Wind’s calling. I must go!--Hark! There
    He sings again! _Le bon Dieu garde, ma chère!_


II

  PIERRE: I made a perfect landing over there
    Behind the church--

  CELESTE:            The Virgin heard my prayer!
    Now I must burn the candle that I vowed--

  PIERRE: Then ’twas our Blessed Lady sent that Cloud
    That saved me when the Boche came up behind.
    I made a lightning turn, only to find
    The Boche on top of me. It seemed a kind
    Of miracle to see that Cloud--I swear
    A moment past the sky was everywhere
    As clear as clear; there was no Cloud in sight.
    It looked to me, floating there calm and white.
    Like a great mother hen, and I a chick.
    She seemed to call me, and I scurried quick
    Behind her wing. That spoiled the Boche’s game,
    And gave me time to turn and take good aim.
    I emptied my last drum, and saw him drop
    Ten thousand feet in flames--

  CELESTE (_shuddering_):       Stop! Pierre, stop!
    Maybe a girl is waiting for him too--

  PIERRE: ’Twas either him or me--

  CELESTE:                         Thank God, not you!

  PIERRE (_pointing to the church_): Come, let us burn
             the candle that you vowed.

  CELESTE: Two candles!

  PIERRE:               Who’s the other for?

  CELESTE:                                   The Cloud!


FINIS



  TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE

  Three repeated section headings were removed.

  Obvious typographical errors and punctuation errors have been
  corrected after careful comparison with other occurrences within
  the text and consultation of external sources.

  Except for those changes noted below, all misspellings in the text,
  and inconsistent or archaic usage, have been retained.

  Pg viii, ‘High Brow Hen’ replaced by ‘Highbrow Hen’.
  Pg 39, ‘Lese Majestee’ replaced by ‘Lésé Majesté’.
  Pg 61, ‘if we trangress’ replaced by ‘if we transgress’.
  Pg 77, ‘smothered sn’ replaced by ‘smothered snore’.





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