Punch, Or The London Charivari, Vol. 161., April 9, 1919
Produced by Malcolm Farmer, William Flis, and the Online Distributed
OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.
April 9, 1919.
A Brass-hat employed at the Air Ministry recently requested that
his salary might be reduced on the ground that there was now very
little work for him to do. As no other symptoms developed, the close
observation kept upon him has now been relaxed.
To what extent the habit of war economy is embedded in the minds of
the British public was illustrated at Woodford Green on March 29th,
when a lady entered the local Post Office and endeavoured to purchase
some Daylight Saving Certificates.
The War Office Staff, it was stated in the House of Commons, has been
reduced from 21,807 to 19,510 since the Armistice. It is only fair
to point out that the vast bulk of them were not asked whether they
wanted an Armistice.
The War Office talks of re-issuing to the Volunteers the rifles and
equipment which were long ago called in. This threat is likely to
discourage many of them from volunteering for the next Peace.
Experiments are being conducted with the view of discovering the best
use to which obsolete army tanks can be put. Attached to a piece of
cheese they are said to make excellent mouse-traps.
"The police," says _The Irish Times_, _a propos_ of the escape
of twenty Sinn Feiners from Mountjoy prison, "are pursuing active
inquiries." This is much simpler than pursuing active Sinn Feiners.
"Ever since the snowdrop gave the first hint of Spring," burbles
a contemporary, "we have watched the miracle of the young year
unfolding." It certainly _was_ a miracle in the weather we had last
The suggestion is being put forward in certain quarters that, in order
to save time, the Commission to fix the responsibility for the Peace
should begin to sit at once.
It is not known definitely how many ex-munition workers in this
country are at present in Government unemployment.
In connection with the recent report that the Sittinghurst Vermin Club
had killed 1,175 mice in one day, we are asked to say that the number
should be 1,176. It appears that one mouse made its way in a state of
collapse to the Club headquarters and gave itself up.
From the newspapers we gather that a sample of water analysed by the
Essex County Analyst contained seven per cent. of milk.
A man charged with burglary in Hoxton Street was captured in a
meat-storage ice-house. It is said that, remembering a well-known
precedent, he tried to evade capture by making a noise like a frozen
Sir SAMUEL SCOTT says that the odds are that a quack will kill
you quicker than a qualified doctor. All the same we prefer the
According to the Bishop of MANCHESTER there is a shortage of curates.
A spinster writes to say that she is not surprised, considering how
quickly they get snapped up.
With reference to the burglar who made off with the jewels of ex-Queen
AMELIE, it is said that the fellow contemplates in future styling
himself on his visiting-cards as "Housebreaker to the ex-Queen of
A weekly paper states that if every soldier who served in France
during the War would place all the letters he had received in a line
they would reach a little more than once round the world. We hear,
however, that, as the present addresses of several demobilised men
are unknown, the feat will not be attempted.
"Between ten and fifteen thousand years ago," says Professor KEITH,
"Scotland became fit for habitation." We ourselves should not have
assigned so remote a date to the introduction of whisky into that
"There is no place like home," says a gossip-writer. This seems to
indicate that spring cleaning has started at his residence.
"It isn't every year we celebrate peace," says a correspondent in a
weekly paper. The usual custom, of course, is to celebrate peace about
once every war.
"A Pretty Way to Pat Butter" is the heading of one of a contemporary's
"Household Hints." They will never improve on the old-fashioned custom
of slapping it heartily on the bread.
"People will be able to have their strawberries and cream this
summer," said an official of the Food Ministry the other day.
Still, for association's sake it is thought that the conventional
description, "Marrows and Milk," will be retained on the menus.
Professor LEONARD HILL says that people working in gas factories who
have to breathe poison fumes suffer less from influenza than anyone
else. It is thought that this opinion may give a serious set-back to
the Garden City movement.
"Hens like artificial light," says Professor RICE, of Cornell
University, "and if provided with it will lay through the winter." One
enterprising gas company, we understand, is already advertising that
no fowl-house can be regarded as adequately furnished without its
* * * * *
[Illustration: THE FIRST PROHIBITION TIPSY-CAKE IN DEAD MAN'S GULCH,
* * * * *
"L5.--Church, nicely situated Gothic structure, sliding
roofs. No ground-rent. Pulpit, Font, Lectern, Organ, Parson,
Choir Boys, Bells; fully seated; electric light, bells,
It seems a nice cheap lot. The parson alone must be worth the money.
* * * * *
"THE TIMES" AS PEACEMAKER.
[On reading the heavy attack made by the "Political"
Correspondent of _The Times_ in Paris on the Peace Conference
leaders, "and in particular the British Prime Minister."]
How like the talk at Babel's Tower
This interchange of tedious chat!
War can be made in half-an-hour
And why should Peace take more than that?
All this procrastination, worst of crimes,
Annoys the Paris Politician of _The Times_.
Had _he_ been summoned to construct
New Heavens and a brand-new Earth,
To cope with Cosmos and conduct
The business of its second birth,
He would have finished months and months ago;
Why, the Creation only took a week or so!
He (while the Moving Spirit wired
Instructions from the South of France)
Would have dispatched, like one inspired,
A thousand details at a glance,
Built corridors for Poland while you wait,
And at a single sitting fixed the Bolshies' fate.
No _seance_ of the secret sort,
Had barred the Truth with bolts and keys;
The Press, encouraged to report.
_Verbatim_ his soliloquies,
Would have exposed to all men near and wide,
(The Hun included) what was going on inside.
Is it too late to start again?
At this eleventh hour depose
A Council whose united brain
Apparently is comatose?
Replace the Big Four with a Monstrous One,
And hand the whole show over to _The Times_ to run?
* * * * *
TO-DAY IN THE FOOD GARDEN.
PEAS.--Have you planted your early peas yet? If not you should do
so at once. Select a piece of well-tilled ground running North and
South. To find the North go out at twelve o'clock and stand facing
the direction you think the sun would be in if it were visible. Turn
smartly about bringing up the left foot on the word "Two." If you
guessed right the first time you will now be facing North. Without
taking your eye off it, drill your peas into the ground in columns of
fours. Don't forget to soak them in prussic acid or any simple poison
(this is done more easily before they are sown) to prevent them being
eaten by mice. A less effective precaution is to sit up all night near
the vegetable garden and miaow.
Here is a good recipe for cooking peas. Shell the peas. Take a piece
of butter as big as a nut, two ducklings, six ounces sage and onions
and three drops of mushroom catsup. Roast together briskly for twenty
minutes. Boil the peas for fifteen minutes. Serve together.
ONIONS.--The big, gentle onions seen in the shops can only be brought
to maturity on very warm sandy soil. Most of them come from Portugal.
How the natives can bear to part with them is a mystery. The small
high-powered onions, on the other hand, are easily cultivated. The
best varieties are Eau de Jazz, Cook's Revenge, Sutton's Saucepan
Corroder and Soho Violet. Sow in rows and beat the soil flat with the
back of a spade. Your neighbour's spade is as good as any other for
this purpose. Goats are said to be very fond of onion tops, but many
people hesitate to keep both.
PARSNIPS.--To get big parsnips plant a single row twenty feet long.
Thin out to ten feet apart. The crop you will get will last you until
the following year. Placed in a quiet corner of the potting-shed and
covered with sand it will last for several years. To get the best out
of parsnips stew them in a _bain-marie_ for eight hours. Remove the
undissolved portion of the parsnips and set the liquid on the stone
floor of the larder to cool. Prepare a nice thick stock, adding
seasoning to taste. Cut up three carrots. Place the carrots in the
saucepan in which the parsnips were cooked, being careful to wash it
out first. Add the stock, bring to a boil and serve.
A LADY-FRIEND sends me the following instructions for growing
vegetable marrows: In the sunniest part of the garden--the middle of
the tennis-court is as good as anywhere else--dig a trench ten feet
deep and about six wide, taking care to keep the top soil separate
from the subsoil. Into this trench tip about six hundredweight of
a compost made up of equal parts of hyperphosphate of lime, ground
bones, nitrate of soda and basic-slag. The basic-slag should be
obtained direct from the iron-foundry. That kept by the chemist is
not always fresh. Add one chive, one cardamon, two cloves, half a
nutmeg and salt to taste. Replace the top-soil. Top-soil and sub-soil
can easily be distinguished in the following way. If it is on your
whiskers it is top-soil, if on your boots sub-soil. In the middle of
the bed set a good strong marrow seedling, root downwards. As it grows
remove all the marrows except the one you wish to develop. When it
stands about two hands high, thread a piece of worsted through it,
allowing the end of the worsted to hang in a pail of water. Some
gardeners recommend whisky-and-water. If the marrow is intended for
exhibition a half-inch pipe connected with the water main may be
substituted for the worsted as soon as the marrow is about six feet
long. Make a muslin bag out of a pair of drawing-room curtains and
enclose the marrow in it. This will protect it from mosquitoes.
As soon as the marrow ceases growing or if it becomes sluggish and
exhibits loss of appetite it is ready for the table. Marrows grown
in this way make delicious orange-marmalade.
HOW TO GET RID OF SLUGS.--Take a piece of hose-pipe about forty feet
long. Lay one end anywhere and the other on the lawn. At the latter
end place some cabbage leaves fried in bacon fat. The slugs will be
attracted by the cabbage leaves and, having eaten their fill, will
enter the hose-pipe to rest. Now hold the hose-pipe perpendicularly
over a pail of water and pour into it a few drops of chloroform. This
will cause the slugs to faint and relax their hold. They will then
fall through the pipe into the water and be drowned. ALGOL.
* * * * *
OUR HELPFUL PRESS.
"Summer time commences to-morrow morning at 2 o'clock, and it
will be necessary for people to put their clocks by one hour
before retiring to bed to-night. In Southport the Cambridge
Hall clock, which governs the clocks for the municipal
buildings, will be put one hour at midnight."--_Provincial
* * * * *
"The ---- Society has a large selection of literature tracing
the origin and development of Bolshevism, and exposing its
miseries and horrors, of which samples will be forwarded on
We are not applying; it is bad enough to read about them.
* * * * *
From a General Routine Order:--
"_Shoeing_.--G.R.O. No. ---- /d 23/10/18. With the exception
of Pack and Draught Mules ..., all animals proceeding to
join Units in the forward area must be shot all round without
That should save the farriers a lot of trouble.
* * * * *
[Illustration: THE ARMY OF UNOCCUPATION.
FIRST GENTLEMAN OF LEISURE. "I SEE THEY'RE GIVING US ANOTHER SIX
MONTHS' UNEMPLOYMENT PAY. SEEMS ALL RIGHT."
SECOND GENTLEMAN OF LEISURE. "YES. BUT WHAT ABOUT THE INDIGNITY OF
HAVING TO FETCH IT? WHY CAN'T THEY BRING IT TO US?"]
* * * * *
[Illustration: _War Profiteer_. "AH, THAT'S BEAUTIFUL--GOT ME TO THE
LIFE, THAT 'AS. WOTIMEANTERSAY IT _LOOKS_ LIKE MONEY, THAT DOES!"]
* * * * *
ON THE RHINE.
In spite of oft-repeated warnings--in spite of the fact that I
personally explained to each sentry that all he had to remember was
that there were only seven different kinds of military passes, each
one of different colour and all with dates, stamps and signatures,
and that there was no difficulty in recognising its validity if a
pass had the right British official stamp and so long as the signature
underneath was one of the twenty-four people authorised to sign
(a list of which would be kept in every sentry-box and constantly
revised), and if the number of the pass, the name of the person, his
address, destination, habits, hobbies and past life tallied exactly
with the information on his "personal Ausweis," which must be produced
except in the case of a licence to proceed by bicycle, which differed,
of course, in colour, shape, size and other small details (which would
have to be learnt by heart) from the licence to carry foodstuffs--in
spite, also, of the fact that all necessary details of the
examination of passes were typewritten in not more than three pages
of the clearest official language and were posted up in every
sentry-box--even then that ass Nijinsky let the whole company down by
passing a member of the Intelligence Police through the line on his
giving his word of honour that it was all right.
The result was, of course, that I received official intimation that
our line could apparently be broken at any time and that "steps must
be taken," etc., etc. I took steps in the direction of Nijinsky.
Nijinsky is a Polish Jew (from Commercial Road, E.) and has long been
the despair of his platoon sergeant. He is fat where there is no
need to be fat, his clothes bulge where no clothes are expected to
bulge, and he is the kind of man who loses a cap-badge once a week,
preferably just before the C.O. comes round. There is only one saving
grace about him. He can always be trusted to volunteer for a dull
lecture or outing to which nobody else wants to go, but to which
certain numbers have to be sent. His invariable reply to the question
is, "Yiss, I'll ger-go, it's ser-something for ner-nothing."
I found him, as I expected, hanging round the cookhouse, and taxed
him with his neglect of duty.
"He ter-told me I ought to use my dis-cretion, Sir," he piped in his
high plaintive voice.
I told him severely that it was a trick, a very palpable trick, and
that he must ever be on the alert for all such kinds of evasion.
Finally, when I had informed him how badly he had let us all down, he
waddled away contrite and tearful, and fully under the impression,
I think, that I should probably lose my commission through his
I did not realise how deeply he had taken the matter to heart until
I found him at his post apparently reading the Riot Act to a crowd of
obsequious Huns, who were listening patiently to the written law as
expounded in Yiddish--that being a language in which he succeeds in
making himself partially understood. The incident passed, but I began
to have fears that the reformed rake might prove a greater danger than
The next day my worst fears were realised. In fact, during my
temporary absence Nijinsky surpassed himself. At eleven o'clock the
General, supported by his Staff, rolled up in his car and stopped at
Nijinsky's post on his way into "neutral" country. The General, the
G.S.O.1, the D.A.Q.M.G. and the A.D.C. got out, shining, gorgeous
and beflowered with foreign decorations, to chat to the sentry
(you've seen pictures of it; it's always being done), Nijinsky, who
had already turned back two innocuous Gunner Colonels (armed with
sporting guns) that morning, sauntered up, drunk with newly acquired
confidence, his rifle slung on his right shoulder and his hat over one
"All well here, sentry?" asked the General, towering over him in all
"Pup-pass, please," said Nijinsky, ever on the look-out for some
"Oh, that's all right; I'm General Blank."
The word "General" recalled Nijinsky to his senses. He unslung his
rifle, brought it to the order, brought it to the slope and presented
arms with great solemnity, and as only Nijinsky can.
"Oh--er--stand easy," said the General, when the meaning of these
evolutions was made manifest to him. "Wonderful days for you fellows
here--what? There have been times when the Rhine seemed a long way
away, didn't it? And now here you are, a victorious army guarding that
very river! It's a wonderful time for you, and no doubt you appreciate
"Ger-grub's short," said Nijinsky.
"Rations?" said the D.A.Q.M.G. "I've had no complaints."
"Yiss. No spuds--taters, I mean."
"We must see to that," said the General. "Well, we'll go on, I think;"
and they got into the car.
"Pup-pass, please," said Nijinsky, spotting the trick at once.
"Oh, that's all right, my good fellow. Drive on."
"N-n-no," said Nijinsky sternly; "you ker-can't ger-go without a
"Come, come, don't be ridiculous. I'm your General; you know me
"Then let me through, do you hear? And let me have no more of this
"_I_ know all about the orders, boy. I gave them myself."
"Yiss, and I'm ker-carrying them out, ain't I?" came with inexorable
"Well, now I give you orders to let me through. Do you see?"
"Yiss; but if I do they'll have me up for disobeying the fer-first
one. Pup-pass, please."
"Don't be ridiculous. We _must_ go through. Don't you realise we have
our duty to perform?"
"Yiss, Sir, so have I."
"'Pon my soul, this is too preposterous. My good boy, I'm very glad
you know how to obey an order, but you must use your discretion
At the word "discretion" Nijinsky started. Then he broke all records
and winked--winked at a perfectly good General at eleven o'clock in
"Oh, no, you der-don't," he grinned; "I've been her-had before. The
Captain says I'm ner-not to use my discretion; it only ger-gets me
into a lot of terouble."
The General got out of his car. So did the G.S.O.1. So did the
D.A.Q.M.G. So did the A.D.C. But the spectacle was not so impressive
as before. They advanced in artillery formation upon the enemy. It was
enough. Perish the General Staff! They were mere phantoms of authority
beside the vision of the company officer and the words, "Escort and
accused--halt. Left--turn. Private Nijinsky, Sir." With his eyes
bulging with excitement Nijinsky leapt back and assumed the attitude
of warlike defiance known as "coming on guard."
The General hesitated. He did not know Nijinsky, you see; he had
never seen him going sick before the battle, or heard him murmur
"ser-something for ner-nothing," as he took his medicine.
"Look here, my man, you are exceeding your duty and the consequences
will be very serious. I will _not_ be stopped in this outrageous
manner! There is a time to _obey_ orders and there is a time to _use
our discretion_. Confound it, we must _all_ of us use our discretion
"Then," said Nijinsky, "wer-will you per-please use yours, for. I
ker-can't let you through without a pup-pass."
The sun shone brightly on the car as it retired ignominiously, leaving
Nijinsky hot, happy and victorious, presenting arms faithfully to the
indignant Great Ones, and silence reigned on the battlefield.
He came and spluttered it all out to me afterwards, concluding with
"I der-didn't let the ker-company down this time, Sir, der-did I?" and
evidently expected a pat on the back for it.
Teams of infuriated artillery horses wouldn't drag from me whether
he got it or not, but from that day to this he has never looked back.
Indeed he has begun to take a pride in his personal appearance and
general smartness. I met him yesterday wearing a smile like a slice
of melon and with his boots, and buttons glistening in the sunshine.
"The General came through to-day, Sir," he said, beaming, "and he
her-had a pup-pass all right;" and he strutted on, making strange
noises in his throat, which I understand is the Yiddish for being
pleased with yourself.
* * * * *
[Illustration: _Alf_. "AIN'T YOU GOIN' TO EAT ANYFINK, 'ERBERT?"
_'Erbert_ (_four years in France_). "WELL, MY OLD FAM AIN'T TURNED UP
WITH MY BIT OF DAYJERNY."]
* * * * *
[Illustration: _Visitor to devastated area_. "JOHN CHINAMAN LIKEE
MUCHEE DLESSEE ALLEE SAMEE ENGLISH SOLDIER."
_Chinese Ganger_. "WELL, SIR, I DON'T CONCERN MYSELF MUCH ABOUT
UNIFORM. ACTUALLY I'M A JOURNALIST AND ONLY CAME OUT HERE FOR THE
* * * * *
"General wanted; small family; cook wept; wages
We confess we should like to know the cause of cook's affliction. Was
it jealousy, or onions?
* * * * *
TO CHLOE, CAUGHT SPRING-CLEANING.
Now wherefore should you be dismayed
And in confusion fall,
Because I spied on you arrayed
In cap and overall,
And saw you for a moment stand
Clenching a duster in your hand?
The morning ardour of your face
Was like a summer rose;
One sooty smudge but seemed to grace
The challenge of your nose;
The gaudy thing that hid your hair
Performed its office with an air.
There is a time for stately tire,
For frills and furbelows,
When dainty humours should inspire
Such vanities as those;
So for stern hours of high intent
Behoves a fit habiliment.
Did not those gallants win our pride
And heroes stand revealed,
Who flung their fineries aside
For fashions of the field?
I, who have known campaigning too,
Salute a kindred soul in you.
* * * * *
THE OVERLAND ROUTE.
"H.M.S. New Zealand, with Admiral Jellicoe on board,
arrived at Bombay on March 14, and left for Delhi on
the 15th."--_Scots Paper_.
* * * * *
[Illustration: COMRADES OF THE WAR.
"STRAFE ME IF IT AIN'T ME OLD 'ORACE! W'Y, I AIN'T SEEN YER SINCE THAT
STUNT RAHND CAMBRAI!"]
* * * * *
GETTING A JOB.
John looked very gloomy.
"_Pourquoi triste_, John?" said I, knowing the language.
"Well, it's like this," said John, "the time has come when you and I
must look for a job."
"That's all right," said I cheerfully. "We'll go and see the Advisory
Committee. They'll put us up to a job in civil life. They're sitting
there bubbling over with advice. Employers in England are simply
falling over one another to find positions for brave young officers
"Yes, I don't think," remarked John very sceptically. "I went to see
the Advisory Committee two days ago. Perhaps I was rather unfortunate
in arriving at the same time as the English mail; anyhow I came away
with the following information and convictions:--
(1) That the easiest job in civil life is to sit on an Advisory
(2) That one is always either too old or too young for the Civil
(3) That I was a devil of a good fellow and I'd won the War (they
patted me on the back and told me so).
(4) That I was to fill up my A.Z.15 and trust in my stars (not the
things on my sleeve)."
"Well, what about it?" I continued.
"Personally," said John, "I think an advertisement in _The Daily
Telegraph_ is the correct thing. How's this?--
"'Anybody know of a decent war? Two young subs in France, Soldiers of
Fortune (so-called), would like to get in touch with anyone thinking
of starting a first-class war. Send full particulars and rough
strength of enemy to "Warriors," c/o _The Daily Telegraph_.'"
Mine was much more modest:--
"An officer at present in France desires a good job in civil life. No
experience, no education, no languages, no money, no prospects and no
hope. What offers?"
"I don't think they'll bring much," said I. "You know, John, what we
really want is leave."
So we applied for leave.
John asked permission to remove his person to the U.K. for urgent and
private reasons. I stated that I had a position offered me, but an
interview was necessary, and asked their indulgence for the purpose.
John's chit came back three days later. "Will this officer state his
urgent and private reasons, please?"
"Ah!" said John, "enemy attitude hostile." Nevertheless he stated as
Three days later it came back again with the request that this officer
further state his reasons, please.
"Enemy attitude distinctly hostile," said John, and committed himself
Nothing happened for a week and John's hopes ran high. "It must be
through, old man," he declared, "or it would have been back before
But when at the end of the week it came back for further information
his ardour cooled somewhat, and when, three days later, it turned up
once more with a request for his urgent and private reasons, John in
a fit of exasperation retorted that if the matter was kept much longer
it wouldn't be urgent, and if they enquired much further it wouldn't
be private. That finished him, and he got no leave.
My application was still on the tapis. Eventually it returned. "This
officer can be granted leave only on condition that he promises to
serve with the Rhine Army."
"Go on," said John; "promise."
So I promised.
Now, looking over the situation, we find that it amounts to this: John
has no job and never will have till he can get leave to look for one.
He can't get leave. That's John.
I have a job (I haven't really) if I can get leave to attend an
interview. I've got leave, but only on the understanding that when
I've got the job I refuse it because I've promised to serve on the
Rhine. That's me.
We are now thinking out the next move.
* * * * *
THE MATERNAL INSTINCT.
_Mr. Crabbe Hermitage to Mrs. Bonnamy_.
MY DEAR MRS. BONNAMY,--I am glad to report that my journey was
accomplished in safety and comparative comfort. Indeed my housekeeper
was surprised that I showed so few traces of fatigue. This, I tell
her, was due to the kind care and consideration experienced by me
throughout my sojourn beneath your hospitable roof.
Please inform Miss Chance that the carriage _was_ a through one. This
may relieve her of any possible anxiety as to her own journey with
her mother. I much appreciated her consideration in seeing me into
the train, and trust that the weather will prove favourable for their
return to town.
Although the week I passed in your society will always be an agreeable
memory it carries with it the penalty of an increased sense of my
solitary life, and I feel that your remarks were not without justice.
With kind regards,
Believe me, Yours sincerely,
THOS. CHABBE HERMITAGE.
_Mr. Crabbe Hermitage to Mrs. Mayne Chance_.
MY DEAR MRS. MAYNE CHANCE,--Ever since my return from the visit
which gave me so much happiness in your society and that of your dear
daughter, I have wondered whether I dared address you upon a point
which concerns me intimately. Have you reason to suppose that her
affections are engaged in any quarter? Believe me that I seek this
information from no idle curiosity, but solely that I may know whether
there is any obstacle to my making a certain proposal. I naturally
shrink from intruding myself between a mother and daughter whose
companionship is so close and am well aware of the disparity in our
ages, but if you could encourage me to proceed you would confer the
greatest happiness upon a very lonely man.
Believe me, Yours very sincerely,
THOMAS CRABBE HERMITAGE.
_Mrs. Mayne Chance to Mr. Crabbe Hermitage_.
MY DEAR MR. CRABBE HERMITAGE,--Your letter has come as the greatest
surprise. I suppose mothers cannot expect to keep for ever at their
daughters' side, but the parting is robbed of its bitterness when
_other_ considerations are involved.
I questioned the dear child this morning and she confessed, as indeed
I suspected, that she is not indifferent to the attentions of the son
of a neighbour of ours. But anyhow there need be no obstacle in that
quarter. She is far too sensible and unselfish, as only I know. Surely
there is not such a disparity of age as you seem to think! But perhaps
I have said too much.
Most sincerely yours,
MELISSA MAYNE CHANCE.
_Mr. Crabbe Hermitage to Miss Chance_.
MY DEAR MISS CHANCE,--I wrote to your dear mother two days ago to
endeavour to ascertain whether you would view favourably the proposal
which I wished to make. Her reply was, on the whole, encouraging,
but it is far from being my wish that in seeking my own happiness you
should sacrifice your own. More I will not permit myself to add until
you have reassured my mind.
Believe me, Your sincere Friend,
THOS. CRABBE HERMITAGE.
_From Miss Chance to Mr. Crabbe Hermitage_.
DEAR MR. CRABBE HERMITAGE,--Yes, mother told me all about it, and I
think it is perfectly lovely. Of course I would never stand in the way
of your happiness and you need not consider me at all. She is so happy
about it, and of course I am too.
Yours very sincerely, EDITH CHANCE.
_From Mr. Crabbe Hermitage to Mrs. Mayne Chance_.
MY DEAR MRS. MAYNE CHANCE,--I have received a letter from dearest
Edith which removes the only obstacle to the realization of the wish
of my heart. Rest assured that my every endeavour shall be to prove
worthy of this great happiness. If quite convenient I hope to call on
the 9th instant to offer myself in person.
Believe me, Your sincere Friend,
THOS. CRABBE HERMITAGE.
_From Mrs.-Mayne Chance to Mr. Crabbe Hermitage_.
MY DEAR THOMAS,--For I must call you this without waiting till to
morrow! I knew the dear child would share our happiness. How could
you ever doubt it? Only this morning she said there was no one in the
world she would like better for a father than you. But I mustn't begin
by making you vain! Oh dear! I wish to-day was to-morrow.
* * * * *
I don't agree with grousing, and I trust I shall escape any
Desire to pick a quarrel with an egg at fivepence ha'penny;
I'm quite prepared to recognise that no persuasive charm'll aid
In getting from a grocer either cheese or jam or marmalade;
I brave the brackish bacon and refrain from ever uttering
Complaints about the margarine that on my bread I'm buttering;
I'm not unduly bored with CHARLIE CHAPLIN on the cinema
And view serenely miners agitating for their minima;
I sit with resignation in a study stark and shivery,
Desiderating coal with little hope of its delivery;
I realise that getting into tram or tube's improbable
And pardon profiteers for robbing ev'ryone that's robable;
I don't mind cleaning doorsteps in the view of all ignoble eyes
(Now Mary, my domestic, has decided to demobilise);
Though life is like a poker that you've handled at the vivid end
And all my wretched companies have ceased to pay a dividend--
All these and other worries, though they're very near the limit, I
Maintain that I can face with philosophic equanimity;
But, when I by my family and fond and fussy friends am asked
To trot about in public with my features influenza-masked,
My sense of humour wrings from me (or possibly a lack of it)
The protest of the camel at the straw that breaks the back of it.
* * * * *
RECONSTRUCTION IN LONDON.
Extract from a recent novel:--
"She sat at her desk and, without any palpable hesitation,
wrote to Stanley asking him to meet her within an hour by
the bridge over the Serpentine in St. James's Park."
* * * * *
[Illustration: THE MAKING OF HISTORY.
1915. THE PURCHASE OF THE SOUVENIR.
1920. "THAT'S A SOUVENIR OF MY JOB AT HAVRE--
1925. --OF MY SERVICE IN FRANCE--
1930. --OF MY ACTIVE SERVICE--
1935. --OF MY FIGHTING DAYS
1940. GOT THAT IN THE BIG PUSH
1945. --FIERCE FIGHTING IT WAS--
1950. --DESPERATE FIGHTING.
1955. --HACKED MY WAY THROUGH--
1960. --RIGHT UP TO THEIR GENERAL--
1965. --CUT HIS HEAD OFF--
1970. --_THAT_ WAS ON IT!"]
* * * * *
[Illustration: _Infatuated Little Boy_. "I WISH YOU CAME TO OUR
CHURCH. WHY DON'T YOU?"
_Little Girl_. "MOTHER SAYS IT'S TOO HIGH."
_I.L.B_. "IS THAT ALL? WELL, I'LL SPEAK TO DADDY, AND I'M SURE HE'LL
FIX THAT UP ALL RIGHT."]
* * * * *
A GENTLE HINT.
The Corps Commander paced thoughtfully down the street of a
half-ruined village in France and his thoughts were pleasant; for he
alone amongst all other Corps Commanders was the owner of a cow. There
was no other cow in the whole army nearer than G.H.Q., and he pictured
the envy of brother Generals when he invited them to come in and have
a glass of milk.
The Assistant Provost-Marshal stood at his office window and gazed
out upon his garden. His thoughts were also pleasant, for the garden
belonged to him by right of billet law, and in the garden grew
strawberries rich and ripe.
The A.P.M. pictured the envy of brother A.P.M.'s when he should ask
them to a strawberry feast.
The Corps Commander's thoughtful wanderings took him by chance through
the A.P.M.'s garden, and as he walked he stooped now and again and
picked some of the sacred fruit.
The A.P.M. swelled with impotent anger, for the Corps Commander was
known to be "hot stuff," and nobody had told him "not to do it" for a
very long time.
That night the A.P.M. sought the company of his friend the R.E.
officer and told his troubles.
The R.E. officer had been a journalist before the War and had learnt
to say and write rude things without offence. He was also the owner of
wood and paint and brushes.
The next morning a large notice-board reared its head above the
scarlet fruit of the strawberry bed:--
ANYONE FOUND PICKING THESE STRAWBERRIES
WILL HAVE HIS COW SHOT.
* * * * *
"Express Train to the Orient.
The itinerary will include London, Paris, Vallorbe, Lausanne,
the Simpleton, Milan, Trieste and beyond. The first train is
fixed to leave Paris on April 15."--_Provincial Paper_.
"All Fools' Day" would have been more appropriate for the "Simpleton"
* * * * *
The following advertisement appeared in a French provincial paper:--
Ask always the interchanging thooth made by this inventors in
this mastery. The interchanging tooth is able for any people
and it is very good and not dear.
The imperfections of the mouth, resulting of a bad dentition,
are stricken away by the application of the interchanging
Thooth. That toolh it is not expensive and you can changed
in five minutes if it broked.
Gives you all guarontees of perfect natural immitation.
But, as you may have remarked, not invariably written.
* * * * *
[Illustration: CRAMPING HIS STYLE.
BRITISH LION: "I'M GETTING A BIT TIRED OF THIS LADY. AFTER ALL, I _AM_
A LION, AND NOT AN ASS."]
* * * * *
ESSENCE OF PARLIAMENT.
_Monday, March 31st._--Colonel WILLIAM THORNE has the credit of
eliciting from the Government the most hopeful statement about Peace
which has yet been made. To the hon. and gallant Member's suggestion
that May 1st should be declared a general holiday, if Peace was signed
before that date, Mr. BONAR LAW replied that it would be considered.
It is fortunate that the PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY TO THE BOARD OF TRADE
possesses a most imperturbable character. He is daily bombarded with
the most diverse questions regarding the effects of the Government's
fiscal policy. The paper manufacturers are being ruined because
paper is being allowed in; export traders are suffering because glass
bottles are kept out; the textile trades cannot compete with their
foreign rivals because of the high price of olive-oil. But for all
inquirers Mr. BRIDGEMAN has a soft answer, delivered in level tones,
discouraging further catechism.
A delightful inconsistency is one of Lord HENRY CAVENDISH-BENTINCK'S
many claims upon the affection of the House. Not long ago he wrote a
book in praise of Toryism as a democratic creed; so it was perfectly
natural that when Mr. CECIL HARMSWORTH (a Coalition Liberal) had
explained that law and order must be restored before an inquiry could
usefully be held into the causes of the Egyptian riots Lord HENRY
should burst out with, "When will my hon. friend begin to apply
Mr. BOTTOMLEY is the latest convert to "P.R.," as the result of a
mock-election in which he came out top of the poll, with the PRIME
MINISTER second, Mr. HOGGE third, and Messrs. BALFOUR and ASQUITH
among the "also ran;" but Mr. BONAR LAW, who can be very dense when he
likes, did not see in that an argument for the general adoption of the
The "Wee Frees" made a last and unavailing attempt to defeat the new
Military Service Bill. Mr. GEORGE THORNE, Major HAYWARD and others
made great play with the PRIME MINISTER'S "No Conscription" pledge,
and Mr. NEWBOULD in a maiden speech declared that what West Leyton
had said yesterday England would say to-morrow. But it was noticeable
that not one of the opponents of the Bill was unwilling to give the
Government the powers they required if they were really necessary.
Mr. CHURCHILL revealed himself in a new _role_ as a financier, and
proved to his own satisfaction that the Army Estimates of L506,500,000
would, if properly manipulated, work out at little more than a fourth
of that amount. Between now and the Budget Mr. CHAMBERLAIN might do
worse than get his versatile colleague to explain away the National
[Illustration: THE PROMISE OF MAY.
_Peace_. "IF YOU'RE WAKING, CALL ME EARLY, CALL ME EARLY, BONAR DEAR,
FOR I'M TO BE QUEEN OF THE MAY, BONAR; I'M TO BE QUEEN OF THE MAY."]
_Tuesday, April 1st_.--Twenty years ago there used to be a not
infrequent headline in _The Times_, "The Duke of Devonshire on
Technical Education," which always struck on my frivolous spirit
with a touch of infinite prose. It is the same nowadays, I regret to
say, with a Lords' debate on the national resources. The Upper House
is filled with eminent financiers--men who think in millions and
who under our glorious Constitution may not propose an expenditure
of sixpence without the consent of Tom, Dick and Harry in the
Commons--and they all talk the most excellent good sense. But whether
such unimpeachable truisms as that "this huge Debt is going to be a
terrible handicap to this country" (Lord LANSDOWNE), or that "what
applies to private credit and private economy may be in the main taken
to apply to public economy and also to public credit" (Lord CREWE),
are going to have much effect upon the demands of the Labour Party, to
whom they were directly addressed, I am rather inclined to doubt.
It is refreshing to note, however, that the Commons had a brief
spasm of economy. Under the financial resolution of the Ways and
Communications Bill the new Minister would have had almost unlimited
powers of initiating great enterprises without the consent of
Parliament. Mr. R.J. MCNEILL alluded (without acknowledgment to Mr.
Punch) to the hero _Eric; or, Little by Little_, and urged that
not even "a Napoleon of administration" ought to be trusted with
a blank cheque. He rather spoilt a good case by referring to the
new Minister's financial relations with his late employers, the
North-Eastern Railway; but his argument was so far successful that
Mr. BONAR LAW undertook first that a Treasury watchdog should be
permanently installed in the new Ministry, with instructions to bark
whenever he saw any sign of extravagance; and, secondly, that the
Minister should not have power to initiate any enterprise involving
large expenditure--he suggested a million as a moderate limit--without
the direct sanction of Parliament.
After this achievement Members felt that a rest was necessary. So the
Housing Bill was postponed, and after two or three Scottish Bills had
received a second reading the House counted itself out, and Members
went to their dinners feeling as comfortably virtuous as the Boy Scout
who has done his good deed for the day.
_Wednesday, April 2nd_.--The unemployment donation was the theme of
innumerable inquiries. The MINISTER OF LABOUR was forced to admit
that Parliament had at present furnished him with no direct authority
to spend a million or so a week on this form of out-door relief, but
hoped that it would be kind enough to do so when the Appropriation
Bill came along. A statement that in Ireland men were coming for their
donation in motorcars aroused the sympathy of Mr. JACK JONES, who said
that surely they were entitled to an occasional ride, but did not go
so far as to suggest that the Government should organise a service of
cars to be at their disposal.
A suggestion to incorporate in the Army Annual Bill one of Dora's most
stringent regulations for the prevention of criticism upon military
matters aroused much indignation. Mr. BEN TILLETT observed that,
if it were retained, Lord NORTHCLIFFE, Mr. BOTTOMLEY and even Sir
HENRY DALZIEL might soon be conducting their various journals from a
prison-cell. This possibility may have mitigated but it did not wholly
remove the objections to the clause, which Mr. CHURCHILL ultimately
A debate on the popular theme, "Make Germany Pay!" was initiated by
Col. CLAUDE LOWTHER, who not long ago produced a specific scheme for
extracting twenty-five thousand millions from the enemy--a scheme
which by its unconventional handling of the rules of arithmetic
excited the amazed admiration of professional financiers. Possibly Mr.
BONAR LAW, as ex-Chancellor of the Exchequer, was jealous because he
had not thought of it first. At any rate he subjected the plan to so
much caustic criticism that Col. LOWTHER, having appealed in vain for
the protection of his namesake in the Chair, walked out of the House.
[Illustration: _Treasury Bulldog (to Minister of Transportation)_.
_Thursday, April 3rd_.--Some of NAPOLEON'S many complaints of his
treatment at St. Helena concerned the cost and quality of his food.
The exile of Amerongen need have no fears on that score should the
Allies decide to remove him to Longwood, for the present Governor has
been so successful in keeping down the price of foodstuffs that the
merchants of the island have petitioned for his recall.
The CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER has so far relaxed his _non-possumus_
attitude on the joint income-tax question as to consent to receive
a deputation of Members interested, and even to allow them to be
accompanied by a small number of ladies. Mr. CHAMBERLAIN, by the
way, has exchanged his hereditary monocle for a pair of ordinary
spectacles, which may account for his taking a less one-sided view of
Mr. T.P. O'CONNOR now enjoys the distinction of being the "Father"
of the House of Commons, having sat there uninterruptedly since the
General Election of 1880. Perhaps his new dignity sits rather heavily
on his youthful spirit, for his speech on the Irish Estimates was
painfully lugubrious. He took some comfort from a statement in _The
Times_ that "We are all Home Rulers now," but as a veteran journalist
he is probably aware that what _The Times_ says to-day it will not
necessarily say to-morrow.
"Leave politics alone and give us decent houses for our people
and better education for our children" was Sir EDWARD CARSON'S
prescription for invalid Erin; and Mr. IAN MACPHERSON, making his
first speech as Chief Secretary, indicated that he meant to apply it.
But the patient is suffering from so many disorders at present that
she must have a tonic--with iron in it--before her Constitution can
be regarded as completely restored.
* * * * *
Oft when the world was bent
Solely on killing
Heard we in Parliament
Now the Dove hovers near,
Now the League's brewing,
May we not hope to hear
* * * * *
The Allies having won the War, and myself having been released from
the hands of the Hun, I spent a happy repatriation leave, and began to
think about soldiering again. My orders were to rejoin my reserve unit
in the North of England.
Before the time came, however, a friend of mine, an educational staff
officer in Ireland, wrote to me and suggested that I should go over
and give him the assistance of my superior intelligence. I replied
that I would be delighted. He then wrote:--
"My dear K----,--I am so pleased that you are willing to come over
to Macedonia and help us. You had better ask War Office for a week's
extension of leave, by which time my application for you will probably
have filtered through. That will save you the trouble of rejoining
your reserve unit."
I thought this an excellent plan and went to the War Office to see
After the customary wait I was granted a few moments of a Staff
Officer's precious time.
"What do you want?" said the Staff Officer. He seemed used to meeting
people who wanted things, and familiarity had evidently bred contempt.
I humbly explained.
"Have you got a written authority to support your application?" he
I produced my friend's letter, which was endorsed with the stamp of
his Command Headquarters.
The Staff Officer, standing (not out of politeness, I am sure), read
the letter. Then he looked up, suspicion in his eye and in the cock of
"I don't understand this," he said. "You told me you wanted to go to
Ireland. This letter distinctly refers to your going to Macedonia."
"Macedonia!" I echoed (I had forgotten my friend's Biblical way of
"Yes, Macedonia," snapped the Staff Officer. "Balkans, isn't it?
Something to do with Salonika?"
"Macedonia!" I repeated, still mystified.
"Yes, yes--Macedonia," he snapped, obviously suspecting me of trying
to obtain a week's leave on false pretences. "Here it is, in black and
white, 'so pleased that you are willing to come over to Macedonia and
help us.' I don't understand this at all."
He handed me the letter. Then I realised what was amiss. My friend
had not reckoned with the War Office. They call a spade a spade in
Whitehall (unless they refer to it as "shovels, one.")
"Oh," said I, "I see. Yes, Macedonia. Slight misunderstanding. It's
written from Ireland all right. There's the Irish Command stamp on it.
'Come over to Macedonia and help us.' Biblical phrase. St. PAUL, you
know. Just a figure of speech. My friend meant it metaphorically."
"The devil he did," barked the Staff man. "Then why the blazes didn't
he say so?"
Of course, why didn't he say so? Very stupid of him. One can't be too
literal in dealing with the War Office, that notorious fount of clear
and orderly diction.
My plan nearly went West, and I was nearly sent East. It was only the
Headquarters' stamp that turned the scale in my favour.
It was lucky for my friend that I ultimately got leave to help him
in his educational duties. Cleanly he is himself sadly lacking in the
very rudiments of official culture.
* * * * *
[Illustration: _Magistrate_. "BUT WHAT WERE YOU DOING TO ALLOW A MAN
OF THE PRISONER'S PHYSIQUE TO GIVE YOU A BLACK EYE?"
_Constable_. "ON THE MORNING OF TOOSDAY, THE FIRST OF APRIL, YOUR
WORSHIP, I WAS ON DOOTY OUTSIDE THE 'DOOK OF WELLINGTON' PUBLIC-'OUSE,
WHEN, AT THE INSTIGATION OF THE PRISONER, MY ATTENTION WAS DRAWN TO
SOMETHIN' THAT WASN'T THERE. 'E THEN 'IT ME."]
* * * * *
THE LETTERS THAT COUNT.
["Meanwhile one sighs for the letters which do not
exist."--C.K.S., in "_The Sphere_."]
I never have felt any hunger,
Apart from my shortage of gold,
For the spoils of the autograph-monger,
The screeds of the sages of old;
By envy unvexed and unsmitten
I study the connoisseur's list,
But I sigh for the letters unwritten,
Or those that no longer exist.
The notes, for example, that Hector
Despatched to his Andromache,
When, tied to a troublesome sector,
He couldn't get home to his tea;
Or the messages CAESAR kept sending
To pacify QUEEN CLEOPAT,
When, simply from fear of offending
The mob, he avoided her flat.
But even more impetus giving,
More apt to inspire and refresh,
Are the letters addressed to the living
By writers no more in the flesh--
The epistles to WILCOX from SHELLEY,
From LANDOR to Mrs. JOHN LANE,
From SWIFT to Miss MARIE CORELLI,
From POPE to Sir THOMAS HALL CAINE;
The instructions to NORTHCLIFFE from BONEY,
The comments of SHAKSPEARE on SHAW,
COLUMBUS'S hints to MARCONI,
TOM HUGHES'S to young ALEC WAUGH,
Or a letter to cheer her supporter
In CHARLOTTE'S own delicate fist,
Enclosing her photo to SHORTER--
A letter which does not exist.
For relics of _this_ sort I hanker,
For these, when they're offered for sale,
I will beg overdrafts from my banker
And bid on a liberal scale;
For the arts of the DOYLES and the LODGES
Are bound to contribute new grist
To SOTHEBY'S mills and to HODGE'S
In the letters which do not exist.
* * * * *
AN AID TO GENUFLEXION.
"The Rev. ----, minister of ---- U.F. Church, was yesterday
presented with pulpit robes, hassock, hood and cap by his
* * * * *
"Schools of cokery are being 'snowed' under with
We ourselves call almost every day to ask for more cokery.
* * * * *
[Illustration: _Employer_ (_who has given his foreman a ticket for
Pianoforte Recital_). "AND HOW DID YOU ENJOY THE MUSIC LAST NIGHT?"
_Foreman_. "I WAS A BIT DISAPPOINTED, SIR. 'E WASN'T 'ARF AS GOOD AS
MY YOUNG FLORRIE. WHY, 'E PLAYED THERE FOR CLOSE ON TWO HOURS, AND
NEVER ONCE CROSSED 'IS 'ANDS."]
* * * * *
AN APPEAL FOR GOD-PARENTS.
For many years the village of Chailey, in Sussex--famous
topographically for possessing that conical tree which is said
to mark the centre of the county, and for a landmark windmill of
dazzling whiteness--has been famous sociologically for its Heritage
Craft Schools of crippled boys and girls. Among the ameliorative
institutions of this country none has a finer record than these
schools, where ever since 1897 the work of converting helplessness
into helpfulness has been going bravely on. Entering as complete
dependents, the inmates leave fully equipped to earn their living
unassisted, the boys chiefly as carpenters, and the girls as
needlewomen. In some cases the cures effected have been remarkable. In
the late War seven-and-twenty Guild boys fought in the ranks, four of
whom were killed and are now proudly commemorated on the wall of the
This contribution of fighting men, together with a certain activity in
munition-making, is not, however, Chailey's only share in the War, for
the Government are using its experience for the education of cripples
of a larger growth. The boys have, in short, surrendered their
comfortable old quarters--now transferred to a War Hospital, named,
after the Heritage's chief patron, the Princess Louise Special
Military Surgical Hospital--to companies of maimed soldiers, who are
sent to Chailey to learn how much of usefulness and fun can still
remain when limbs are missing; and, by a charming inspiration, their
teachers in this great lesson are the boys themselves. It is no doubt
encouraging for a soldier who has lost both arms to be told by a
kindly and enthusiastic visitor at his bedside that all will be well,
and he will be able to manage without them; but a certain measure of
scepticism and despair may remain to darken his waking hours. But
when a little fellow in precisely the same plight shows him how the
disabilities have been conquered, his zest in life begins to return.
Seeing is believing, and believing means new endeavour. The result is
that the crippled soldiers at Chailey, taught by the crippled boys,
have been transformed into happy and active men, and not a few of them
have discovered themselves to possess faculties of which they had no
notion. There is even an armless billiard-player among them; and I
could not wish him a happier setting for the exercise of his skill.
For here is one of the finest Y.M.C.A. recreation halls in the
country, with a view of the South Downs that probably no other can
boast. Whether or not the method of learning from a young cripple the
art of being an old one is novel, I cannot say, but it has been proved
to be eminently successful; and one of its attractions is the pride
taken not only in their mature pupils by the immature masters but in
the boys by the men.
Meanwhile, what became of the boys whose nest was thus invaded? (The
Girls' School and Babies' Montessori School is half-a-mile away.) They
immediately showed what they are made of by themselves erecting on
the ground beside the windmill a series of Kitchener huts. There they
sleep and eat, coming hobbling down to headquarters for carpentering
and to perform their strange new duties as guides, philosophers and
Another development in the Chailey scheme of altruism that arose from
the War was, as readers of _Punch_ will no doubt remember, the sudden
establishment of the St. Nicholas Home for child victims of the
air-raids. So sudden was it that within seven days of the inception of
the idea a house had been found and furnished, a staff engaged and a
number of the beds were occupied. Here, throughout the last years of
the War, terrified children were soothed back to serenity and a sense
of security in the sky above.
And now for "Botches." It had long been one of the many aspirations of
the founder of the Heritage Schools, and the founder also of the Guild
of Brave Poor Things and the Guild of Play--Mrs. C.W. KIMMINS--who in
her quiet practical way is probably as good a friend as London ever
had--it had long been one of her dreams that the word "cripple" should
be enlarged from its narrower meaning to include the crippled mind
no less than the crippled limbs. In her work in Southwark, where the
Guild of the Brave Poor Things began, she has seen too many children
stunted and enfeebled by lack of pure food and fresh air, who would
under better conditions grow naturally into health and strength
and even power: "little mothers" taxed beyond their capacity by
thoughtless parents, and all the other types of "cripple" which the
mean streets of a great city can only too easily produce. If a house
at Chailey or near by could be found or built where this wasted
material might be nourished into happy efficiency, how splendid! Such
was the desire of the founder, and it is now within sight of fruition;
for, through the generosity of a friend of the Heritage, the house has
been acquired and is ready for occupation.
Strange are the vicissitudes of fortune; stranger the links in the
chain of life. CLAUDE and ALICE ASKEW, who wrote popular serial novels
in the daily papers, lived in a rambling old home at Wivelsfield
Green, in Sussex, known as "Botches." This they enlarged and
modernised; they developed the gardens and filled the grass with
bulbs. Then came the War. Mr. and Mrs. ASKEW threw themselves into
foreign work, and on one of their voyages were drowned through an
enemy torpedo, and "Botches" became tenantless. It is "Botches" which
has now been given to the Heritage for the reception of Southwark
For the peopling and maintenance of the Home a novel and very pretty
device has been invented. Everyone has heard of the _marraines_ of
France during the War--those ladies who made themselves responsible
each for the comfort of a _poilu_, sending him gifts of food and
cigarettes, writing him letters and so forth. It is the _marraine_--or
godmother--system which is being adopted and adapted for "Botches."
The house can accommodate fifty children, and as many godmothers
or godfathers are needed, each of whom will be responsible for one
child for a year, at a minimum cost of fifty pounds. The Duchess of
MARLBOROUGH, who has just been elected a Southwark County Councillor,
was the first to accept this honourable privilege, and other ladies
and gentlemen have already joined her; but there are still many
vacancies. Mr. Punch, who has very great pleasure in giving publicity
to Mrs. KIMMINS'S most admirable scheme, would be proud indeed if the
other godparents were found among his readers. All communications
on the subject should be addressed to the Hon. Treasurer, Miss A.C.
RENNIE, the Heritage Craft Schools, Chailey, Sussex.
"Botches," it should be added, is not to be the Home's final name. The
final name--something descriptive of the work before it and its ideal
of restoration--has yet to be found. Perhaps some of Mr. Punch's
readers have suggestions.
* * * * *
[Illustration: _Lady of the billet_ (_to officer returned from Rugger
match on Flanders ground_). "LA, LA! VOUS ETES TOMBE, M'SIEUR?"]
* * * * *
"NAVAL SQUADRON IN ROME.
The special Brazilian naval squadron, comprising the cruiser
Bahia and four destroyers, under the command of Admiral
Defrontin, arrived to-day."--_Evening Paper_.
Like the British Army, it looks as if the Brazilian Navy can "go
* * * * *
A WASTED TALENT.
Fresh knowledge of a varied kind
While in the army I acquired,
Some useful, which I didn't mind,
And much that made me tired;
But one result was undesigned;
It cost me neither toil nor care:
Swiftly and surely, with the ease
Of drinking beer or shelling peas,
War taught me how to swear.
Widely my power was recognised;
The hardiest soldier shook like froth,
And even mules were paralysed
To hear me voice my wrath;
Unhappy he and ill-advised
Who dared withstand when I reviled;
Have I not seen a whole platoon
Wilt and grow pale and almost swoon
When I was really wild?
But now those happy days are past;
A mild civilian once again,
I dare not even whisper "----!"
If something gives me pain;
Barred are those curses, surging fast,
That swift and stinging repartee;
Instead of words that peal and crash
I breathe a soft innocuous "Dash!"
Or murmur, "Dearie me!"
Yet sometimes still, when on the rack
And past all due forbearance tried,
The ancient fierce desire comes back,
I seem to boil inside;
And then I take a hefty sack,
I place my head within, and thus
Loose off, in some secluded niche,
A deep, whole-hearted, grateful, rich,
Sustained, delirious cuss.
* * * * *
THE SLUMP IN MONARCHY.
From a publisher's advertisement:--
THE PRICE OF
* * * * *
"The scratching of the hydroplane Sutnrise for the Atlantic
Flight Stakes must tempt her captain to change his name from
Sunstedt to Sunsttd."--_Provincial Paper_.
We fear the printer did not appreciate the sub-editor's humour.
* * * * *
"Until they get a barber the Islington Board of Guardians are
employing a gardener to do hair-cutting and shaving work in
his spare time at a remuneration of 1s. 3d. per hour."--_Daily
But we understand that he is expected to provide his own scythe.
* * * * *
THE OLD SHIPS.
They called 'em from the breakers' yards, the shores of Dead Men's Bay,
From coaling wharves the wide world round, red-rusty where they lay,
And chipped and caulked and scoured and tarred and sent 'em on their way.
It didn't matter what they were nor what they once had been,
They cleared the decks of harbour-junk and scraped the stringers clean
And turned 'em out to try their luck with the mine and submarine ...
With a scatter o' pitch and a plate or two,
And she's fit for the risks o' war---
Fit for to carry a freight or two,
The same as she used before;
To carry a cargo here and there,
And what she carries she don't much care,
Boxes or barrels or baulks or bales,
Coal or cotton or nuts or nails,
Pork or pepper or Spanish beans,
Mules or millet or sewing-machines,
Or a trifle o' lumber from Hastings Mill ...
She's carried 'em all and she'll carry 'em still,
The same as she's done before.
And some were waiting for a freight, and some were laid away,
And some were liners that had broke all records in their day,
And some were common eight-knot tramps that couldn't make it pay.
And some were has-been sailing cracks of famous old renown,
Had logged their eighteen easy when they ran their easting down
With cargo, mails and passengers bound South from London Town ...
With a handful or two o' ratline stuff,
And she's fit for to sail once more;
She's rigged and she's ready and right enough,
The same as she was before;
The same old ship on the same old road
She's always used and she's always knowed,
For there isn't a blooming wind can blow
In all the latitudes, high or low,
Nor there isn't a kind of sea that rolls,
From both the Tropics to both the Poles,
But she's knowed 'em all since she sailed sou' Spain,
She's weathered the lot, and she'll do it again,
The same as she's done before.
And sail or steam or coasting craft, the big ships with the small,
The barges which were steamers once, the hulks that once were tall,
They wanted tonnage cruel bad, and so they fetched 'em all.
And some went out as fighting-craft and shipped a fighting crew,
But most they tramped the same old road they always used to do,
With a crowd of merchant-sailormen, as might be me or you ...
With a lick o' paint and a bucket o' tar,
And she's fit for the seas once more,
To carry the Duster near and far,
The same as she used before;
The same old Rag on the same old round,
Bar Light vessel and Puget Sound,
Brass and Bonny and Grand Bassam,
Both the Rios and Rotterdam--
Dutch and Dagoes, niggers and Chinks,
Palms and fire-flies, spices and stinks--
Portland (Oregon), Portland (Maine),
She's been there once and she'll go there again,
The same as she's been before.
* * * * *
Their bones are strewed to every tide from Torres Strait to Tyne--
God's truth, they've paid their blooming dues to the tin-fish and
By storm or calm, by night or day, from Longships light to Line.
With a bomb or a mine or a bursting shell,
And she'll follow the seas no more,
She's fetched and carried and served you well,
The same as she's done before--
They've fetched and carried and gone their way,
As good ships should and as brave men may ...
And we'll build 'em still, and we'll breed 'em again,
The same good ships and the same good men,
The same--the same--the same as we've done before!
* * * * *
A FIRST-CLASS MISDEMEANANT.
Cozens has a conscience--a conformist conscience--and is a first-class
The other morning we were travelling up to town together as usual.
He was evidently bursting with the anticipatory pride of telling me
something very much to his credit. Presently, at a gap in my reading,
"I left my season at home this morning, so I bought a return."
"What on earth for?" I expostulated. "You've already paid the company
once by taking out a season; why pay twice? And anyhow it's only the
"It's the first duty of a citizen to obey the laws of his country,"
he proclaimed sententiously.
"Oh, all right; but you'll never get your money back--not from the
Government. Besides, you could easily have got through without a
"By taking out your note-case at the barrier and showing the girl the
back of a Bradbury. Dazzled by the display of so much wealth, she'd
pass you without a murmur."
"A miserable subterfuge," Cozens protested.
"Or you and I might walk up to the barrier deep in conversation. I
should then get in front, and the examiner would pull me up for my
ticket. I should fumble before producing my season. Meantime you would
have passed beyond recall."
"I simply couldn't do it."
"Or why not pay at the barrier, if you _must_ pay?"
"Yes, and lose the return ticket rate. How should I get down
"That's easy. Buy a platform ticket. The man at the gate at home will
pass you; he knows you."
"All underhand work," said Cozens. "It's much more dignified to buy a
Just then a travelling inspector entered our carriage.
"Tickets, gentlemen, please!"
And Cozens, looking supremely undignified, produced a third-class
return, and tried to explain.
* * * * *
[Illustration: _Little Girl_ (_reading poster_). "OH, MUMMY, ISN'T
THAT VULGAR? OUGHTN'T THEY TO PUT 'PERSPIRED LABOUR'?"]
* * * * *
(_BY MR. PUNCH'S STAFF OF LEARNED CLERKS_.)
MR. COMPTON MACKENZIE gives us in _Sylvia and Michael_ (SECKER) a
continuation--I hesitate to say a conclusion--of the adventures of
that amazing heroine, _Sylvia Scarlett_, which, being not a sequel but
a second volume, needs some familiarity with the first for its full
enjoyment. Not that anyone even meeting _Sylvia_ for the first time
in mid-course could fail to be intrigued by the astounding things that
are continually happening to her. The variety and piquancy of these
events and the general brilliance of Mr. MACKENZIE'S colouring must
keep the reader alert, curious, scandalized (perhaps), but always
expectant. His scheme starts with an invigorating plunge (as one might
say, off the deep end) into the cabaret society of Petrograd in 1914,
where _Sylvia_ and the more than queer company at the pension of _Mere
Gontran_ are surprised by the outbreak of war. Incidentally, _Mere
Gontran_ herself, with her cats, whose tails wave in the gloom "like
seaweed," and her tawdry spiritualism--"key-hole peeping at infinity"
the heroine (or the author) rather happily calls it--is one of the
least forgettable figures in the galaxy. I have no space to indicate
what turns of this glittering kaleidoscope eventually bring _Sylvia_
and _Michael_ together during the Serbian retreat, though there are
scenes upon which I should like to dwell, notably that of the death
of _Guy Hazlewood_, an incident whose admirable restraint shows Mr.
MACKENZIE at his best. One question I have to ask, and that is how
has _Sylvia_ learnt to imitate so bewilderingly the mannerisms of
_Michael_? Her soliloquies especially might have come straight from
the first volume of _Sinister Street_, so much more do they suggest
the cloistered adolescence of Carlington Road than a development from
her own feverish youth. While I cannot pretend that she has for me the
compelling vitality of _Jenny Pearl_, her adventures certainly make
(for those who are not too nice about the morals or the conversation
of their company) an exhilarating, even intoxicating entertainment,
the end of which is, I am glad to think, still remote.
* * * * *
The publishers, in their preface to Mr. HUGH SPENDER'S new novel, _The
Seekers_ (COLLINS), led me to believe that it was written with the
object of denouncing the dangers and the frauds of spiritualism. This,
however, is by no means the case. To be sure the first few chapters do
contain an account of a _seance_, which serves not so much to lay
bare the mysteries of spiritualism as to bring together a few of the
characters in the novel. From that point onward there is nothing
more about spooks, save for an occasional reference. It is when the
_dramatis personae_ have been well collected in and about a Yorkshire
vicarage that things really get a move on and begin to hum. No reader
is entitled to complain of a lack of excitement; the mortality,
indeed, is almost Shakspearean. _Rudge_, a medium, who must not be
confused with our old friend, _Mr. Sludge_, perishes in a snowstorm.
_John Havering_ batters in the head of _Hubert Kenyon_, and later
on commits suicide, while _Beaufort_, a Labour leader, is wrongfully
charged with the murder of _Hubert_ and barely escapes with his life.
Everything however ends comparatively well, owing to a strong female
interest. Mr. SPENDER is usually a careful workman, but sometimes his
sentences get the better of him. Here is one such: "She wondered if
Peter, who must have seen Mary as he came into the vicarage disappear
into the study, had gone in, hoping to find her there as he left the
house." It is not often however that Mr. SPENDER leaves his clauses to
fight it out together like that.
* * * * *
In _The Golden Rope_ (LANE) Mr. J.W. BRODIE-INNES has tried to combine
a tale of mystery and murder with the love-story of a man of fifty;
and, on the whole, it is a fairly successful effort. _Alan Maclean_,
the middle-aged one, who tells the tale, was a celebrated artist, and,
when he made his way to Devon to paint Pontylanyon Castle, he little
expected to find himself involved in a maze of intrigue and adventure.
The castle, however, was owned by a lady of great but unfortunate
possessions. In the first place she had a dual personality (and,
believe me, it is the very deuce to have a dual personality); and,
secondly, she possessed a crowd of relatives (Austrian) who wanted her
estate and were ready to remove mountains and men to get it. I know
nothing of _Mr. Maclean's_ pictures except that I am assured by the
author that they were exquisitely beautiful, but I do know that Mr.
INNES'S own canvas suffers from overcrowding, and, although I admire
the deft way in which he handles his embarrassment of figures, his
task would have been less complicated and my enjoyment more complete
if he had managed to do with fewer. Otherwise I can recommend _The
Golden Hope_ both for its exciting episodes, lavish of thrills, and
for the warning it gives to men of fifty to stick to their pigments,
or whatever their stock-in-trade may be.
* * * * *
_The Cinderella Man_ (HODDER AND STOUGHTON), "a romance of youth,"
by HELEN and EDWARD CARPENTER, is more suited to the ingenuous than
the sophisticated reader. Its hero is a poet, _Tony Quintard_, very
poor and deathly proud. The scene is set in New York and largely
in _Tony's_ attic verse-laboratory, which _Marjorie_, the rugged
millionaire's daughter, visits by way of the leads in a perfectly
proper if unconventional mood. The idiom occasionally soars into
realms even higher. Thus when _Tony's_ father dies he is "summoned, by
the Great Usher of Eternity." When the gentle _Marjorie_, reading out
one of _Tony's_ efforts--
"Love whose feet are shod with light
Lost this ribbon in her flight;
Rosette of the twilight sky,
Waft to me Love's lullaby!"
(the note of exclamation is _Tony's_), says, "Anyone who can write
songs like that ought to write an opera," you realise that her
heart is sounder than her pretty head. Anyway _Tony_, who needed no
encouragement, wrote his opera and landed a ten-thousand dollar prize
for same, together with the daughter of the millionaire, who began to
see, no doubt, that there might be something in poetry after all.
* * * * *
_Indian Studies_ (HUTCHINSON) one may call a work partly descriptive
and historical, partly also polemic. Its author, General Sir O'MOORE
CARAGH, V.C. (and so many other letters of honour that there is hardly
room for them on the title page), writes with the powerful authority
of forty years' Indian service, five of them as Commander-in-Chief.
His book is, in compressed form, a survey of the Indian Empire that
deserves the epithet "exhaustive"; history, races, religious castes
and forms of local government are all intimately surveyed; the
chapters on the India Office and (especially) the army in India will
command wide attention both among experts and the general public.
Naturally the word "experts" brings me to the controversial side of
the subject, the much discussed Montagu-Chelmsford Report, concerning
which the late C.-in-C. holds views that might fairly be described
as pronounced. Where authorities differ the honest reviewer can but
record impartially. Really we have here the old antagonism between the
upholder of one school of Imperial thought, fortified by many years'
experience of it's successful application, and the theories of a
newer and more experimental age. Without attempting a judgment on its
conclusions, I can safely agree with the publishers that this is a
book that "will be read with special interest in military, diplomatic
and Government circles"; also--my own postscript--more vociferously
debated in certain club smoking-rooms than almost any volume of recent
* * * * *
A "Literary Note" thoughtfully inserted in the fly-leaves of _The
Elstones_ (HUTCHINSON) informs me that it will "make a strong appeal
to all those who have experienced the suffering caused by religious
conflict." It is not entirely because it has been my lot to escape the
ordeal in question that Miss ISABEL C. CLARKE'S latest book failed
to make the promised appeal. She takes two hundred and odd pages
of peculiarly eye-racking type to convert the _Elstone_ family to
Catholicism without indicating in any way how or why her solemn
puppets are inspired to change their beliefs. Now and again a
completely nebulous cleric happens along to perform the necessary
function of receiving a moribund neophyte into the Church; otherwise
the conversion appears to take place as it were by spontaneous
combustion and not as the result of any visible proselytising agency.
However the _Elstones_ bear no resemblance to real human beings--you
can hardly expect it of people called _Ierne_ and _Magali_ and _Ivo_
and _Elvidia_ and names like that--so perhaps it doesn't matter how
they came to see the great light. The important thing obviously from
the authoress's point of view is to get them into the fold; and good
Catholics who look at the end rather than the means may enjoy _The
Elstones_. As a novel it will try them hard.
* * * * *
[Illustration: _Manager of Gasworks_ (_to aeronaut who has just had
his balloon inflated_). "EXCUSE ME, SIR, BUT I WOULD LIKE YOU TO
UNDERSTAND CLEARLY THAT OUR TERMS FOR GAS ARE STRICTLY CASH."]
* * * * *
HOW THE SECRETS OF ROYAL HOUSEHOLDS LEAK OUT.
"'SO HOMELY AND NICE.'
WHAT THE PRINCE SAID WHEN TOLD THERE WERE NO
* * * * *
"It is a trifle, perhaps, that the author mispels the name of
Varden in 'Barnaby Rudge,' and the name of Bucket in 'Bleak
House.' Spelling is not of much consequence."--Mr. Arthur
Machen in "_The Evening News_."
So we observe.
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