Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 153, Oct. 24, 1917


VOL. 153.

OCTOBER 24, 1917.


Those who think that people in high positions live a life of ease
and comfort received a rude shock last week. It is said that, while
visiting the Royal Enfield Works canteen, the Duke of CONNAUGHT drank
two glasses of Government ale.


Britons have no monopoly of pluck, it seems. Last week a Basuto
soldier attached to a labour battalion offered the LORD MAYOR'S
coachman a cigarette.


Two German bankers, formerly of London, have been arrested in New York
as dangerous aliens. Neither of them is a member of our Privy Council.


It is understood that the Spanish Government has addressed a note to
the Allies explaining that all possible precautions will have been
taken against the forthcoming escape of U23.


The PREMIER has received the magnificent gold casket containing the
freedom of the City of London conferred on him last April. A momentary
excitement was caused by the rumour that the Corporation had thrown
off all restraint and filled it with tea.


A Brigadier-General has been fined for shooting game on Sunday in
Hampshire. Sir DOUGLAS HAIG, we understand, has generously arranged
to close down the War on the first Wednesday in every month, in order
that the Higher Command may assist in supplying the hospitals with


Seven lunatics have escaped from a South Wales Asylum. It is assumed
that they got away by disguising themselves as German prisoners.


It has been decided that Counsel may appear before the High Court
dressed as Special Constables. It seems almost certain that this news
was withheld from Sir JOHN SIMON until he had definitely consented to
join Sir DOUGLAS HAIG'S Staff.


Two million pounds of jam per week, "the greater part strawberry," are
being, it is stated, delivered to the Army. Only the fact that the
Army Service Corps' labels all happen to be "plum and apple" prevents
the stuff being distributed to our brave troops.


Attempts to destroy livestock destined for the Allies are being
investigated, says a New York paper. Only a few days ago, it will be
remembered, a certain Legation discovered that its seals had been
tampered with.


It is announced that the War Office has taken over "the greater part"
of the new London County Hall. Our casualties were insignificant.


We are sorry to say that Mr. CHARLES HAWTREY'S latest success, _The
Saving Grace_, is not dedicated to Sir ARTHUR YAPP.


There is no foundation for the report that the recent postponement of
the production of _Cash on Delivery_ at the Palace was due to the fact
that a new joke was alleged to have been let loose in Mr. Justice
DARLING'S court.


Extravagant funerals have been condemned by Sir JOHN PAGET at the
Law Society Appeal Tribunal, and undertakers are complaining that in
consequence many of their best customers have decided to postpone
their interment till better times.


"Cats should be brought inside the house during air-raids," says the
Feline Defence League. When left on the roof they are liable to be
mistaken for aerial torpedoes.


According to the _Cologne Gazette_ German soldiers on the Western
Front have formed "Wilhelm Clubs," the members of which are compelled
on oath to undertake the work of gaining information about the British
lines. We understand that the terms for life-membership are most


A German prisoner named BOLDT has escaped from Leigh internment camp.
It is stated that he would have experienced no additional difficulty
in escaping if he had been called by any other name.


"We want no patched-up peace," says Mr. RAMSAY MACDONALD. But if the
assaults upon pacifist meetings continue we feel sure there will be
some patched-up peacemongers.


Twopenny dinners are the speciality at a Northern munition works'
canteen. We have long been used to twopenny meals, but of course much
more was charged for them.


There appears to be no truth in the report that a burglar has been
fined for infringing the Defence of the Realm Regulations by using an
unshaded lantern.


An application is to be made to the LORD CHANCELLOR for a County Court
for the Hendon district, though a contemporary remarks that it is
doubtful whether there is sufficient work to be done there. But surely
this is just the sort of case that could be met by a little judicious


Parliament is to be asked to pass a vote of thanks to the Naval and
Military Forces of the Crown. And it is thought that the latter will
reciprocate by thanking Parliament for giving them such a jolly little


Much concern has been caused by the announcement that bees are
entirely without winter stocks. We have pleasure in recording a
gallant but unavailing attempt to remedy the situation on the part
of two dear old ladies, who thought the paper said "socks."

* * * * *

[Illustration: _Sympathetic Passer-by._ "WHAT'S THE MATTER WITH YOUR


* * * * *


We regret to hear that Captain E.G.V. KNOX, Lincolnshire Regiment, has
been wounded. The many friends of "Evoe" will wish him a speedy and
complete recovery.

* * * * *

"Batches of one of its regiments were in such a hurry to get out
of the Ypres front when relieved by the 92nd Regiment that they
left without giving the newcomers infor-[inverted type: mation
about the line or state of their flanks.]"--_Scots Paper_.

The line seems to have been seriously disorganised in consequence.

* * * * *



By special arrangement Pratt's are able to offer their patrons unique
opportunities of witnessing the stirring events of the Great Struggle.

Don't miss it; you may never see another War.

Come and see Tommy at work and play.

Come and be _shelled_--a genuine thrill! Same as during London's
Air-raids, but less danger.

At the conclusion of the Tour patrons will be presented with a
Handsome Medal as a souvenir of their exploits.

* * * * *

The following is a list of Tours that Pratt's offer _you_:--



Very cheap. Very safe. Headquarters at the historic town of Amiens.

Itinerary includes: Battlefields of the Somme and Ancre, Bapaume,
Arras, Vimy Ridge, Ypres, etc. Guides will take parties round the old
British Front lines. The German Defence System will be explained by
harmless Huns actually taken at those places.


Lantern Lecture by Captain Crump at Thiepval Chateau. Recherche
Suppers at Serre Sucrerie.

* * * * *



See the real thing. Live it yourself. Dine in a dugout. Drink rum
as the Tommy drinks it. See Staff Officers at work (if it can be


I. Loud laughing and talking is discouraged.

II. Sunshades and umbrellas must not be put up when in the front line.

III. Don't talk to the man at the periscope.


In case of gas put on the respirator; otherwise breathe out


Official Photographers in attendance during Christmas week.

If possible visitors will be given the opportunity of witnessing a
practice barrage on the Enemy's front line.

Back seats (in ammunition dumps), two guineas. Front seats (firing
line), sixpence.

Terms inclusive for the four days, twenty guineas. Good food. Sugar
_ad lib_. All reasonable precautions taken. Casualties amongst
visitors up to the present, one sick (sugar saturation).

* * * * *



Very short. Very moderate terms. Five guineas each tour or three for
twelve and a-half. Bring the boy.


Magnificent Switchback Railway up and down the Messines Mine Craters.
Spot where Mr. WINSTON CHURCHILL lost his little Homburg hat under
fire will be shown.

* * * * *



All the fun of the fair. Souvenirs supplied while you wait.


I. How our lads keep fit. Regimental sports. Rivet your sides and see
the Bread and Jam Race.

II. Obstacle Race. Lorry _versus_ Staff Car (with French carts,
traffic control and G.S. wagons as obstacles). Very amusing. Language


Pick-a-back rides on the Highland Light Elephantry.


Bedrooms (_en pension_)--
Ground floor.............. One guinea.
First floor (below) ...... Three guineas.
Second floor (very safe).. Ten guineas.

* * * * *


Extraordinary offer. Thrills guaranteed.

By special arrangement Pratt's are enabled to offer their patrons a
first-class view of the _British Weekly Push_ "Somewhere in France (or

Attention is called to the following specially attractive items (there
may be others):--

1. _View of Preliminary Bombardment_ from an absolutely proof 12-inch
O.P. The surrounding country and the objectives of the next attack
will be explained by a specially trained Staff Officer.

2. _The Battle._

Visitors are earnestly requested to be in time, as space in the
Observation Post is limited and late arrivals cause a great deal
of discomfort to all. Ladies are respectfully requested to remove
their hats.

3. _The Aftermath._

(a) Special Shelters are erected at cross-roads for visitors to
witness the getting-up of guns, ammunition, etc., after the attack.
Please don't feed the men as they go by or ask the Gunners questions.

(b) Breakfast in Boschland. Lunch in a Listening Post. Supper in
a Saphead.

(c) A Special Narrow-gauge Railway will take Visitors to the
newly-acquired forward area (not obligatory). This part of the
programme is liable to variation.

Terms, fifty guineas. An Insurance Agent is always in attendance.
Casualties up to the present, one Conscientious Objector missing,
believed joined up.

* * * * *

Bombardments arranged at the shortest notice. For five pounds you can
fire a 15-inch. Write for Free Booklet and apply for all particulars
to Pratt's Agency, London, Paris, etc., etc.

* * * * *


When I was very ill in bed
The fairies came to visit me;
They danced and played around my head,
Though other people couldn't see.

Across the end a railing goes
With bars and balls and twisted rings,
And there they jiggled on their toes
And did the wonderfullest things.

They balanced on the golden balls,
They jumped about from bar to bar,
And then they fluttered to the walls
Where coloured birds and roses are.

I watched them darting in and out,
I watched them gaily climb and cling,
While all the roses moved about
And all the birds began to sing.

And when it was no longer light
I felt them up my pillows creep,
And there they sat and sang all night--
I heard them singing in my sleep.


* * * * *


"From Lord Rosebery's herd at Mentmore, Mr. Ross got a show cow
of the Lady Dorothy family, giving every appearance of being a
great milker and a tip-top bull calf."--_Aberdeen Free Press_.

* * * * *

From a German _communique_:--

"Our naval forces had encounters with Russian destroyers and
gungoats north of Oesel."--_Westminster Gazette_.

The Russian reply to the ewe-boats, we suppose.

* * * * *

"Kugelmann, Ludwig, of Canterbury Road, Canterbury, grocer, has
adopted the name of Love Wisdom Power."--_Australian Paper_.

Who said the Germans had no sense of humour?

* * * * *

[Illustration: BURGLAR BILL.


* * * * *


The Babe went to England on leave. Not that this was any new
experience for him; he usually pulled it off about once a
quarter--influence, and that sort of thing, you know. He went down to
the coast in a carriage containing seventeen other men, but he got a
fat sleepy youth to sit on, and was passably comfortable. He crossed
over in a wobbly boat packed from cellar to attic with Red Tabs
invalided with shell shock, Blue Tabs with trench fever, and Green
Tabs with brain-fag; Mechanical Transporters in spurs and stocks, jam
merchants in revolvers and bowie-knives, Military Police festooned
with _pickelhaubes_, and here and there a furtive fighting man who had
got away by mistake, and would be recalled as soon as he landed.

The leave train rolled into Victoria late in the afternoon. Cab touts
buzzed about the Babe, but he would have none of them; he would
go afoot the better to see the sights of the village--a leisurely
sentimental pilgrimage. He had not covered one hundred yards when
a ducky little thing pranced up to him, squeaking, "Where are your
gloves, Sir?" "I always put 'em in cold storage during summer along
with my muff and boa, dear," the Babe replied pleasantly. "Moreover,
my mother doesn't like me to talk to strangers in the streets, so
ta-ta." The little creature blushed like a tea-rose and stamped its
little hoof. "Insolence!" it squeaked. "You--you go back to France by
the next boat!" and the Babe perceived to his horror that he had been
witty to an Assistant Provost-Marshal! He flung himself down on his
knees, licking the A.P.M.'s boots and crying in a loud voice that he
would be good and never do it again.

The A.P.M. pardoned the Babe (he wanted to save the polish on his
boots) on condition that he immediately purchased a pair of gloves of
the official cut and hue. The Babe did so forthwith and continued on
his way. He had not continued ten yards when another A.P.M. tripped
him up. "That cap is a disgrace, Sir!" he barked. "I know it, Sir,"
the Babe admitted, "and I'm awfully sorry about it; but that hole in
it only arrived last night--shrapnel, you know--and I haven't had time
to buy another yet. I don't care for the style they sell in those
little French shops--do you?"

The A.P.M. didn't know anything about France or its little shops, and
didn't intend to investigate; at any rate not while there was a war
on there. "You will return to the Front to-morrow," said he. The Babe
grasped his hand from him and shook it warmly. "Thank you--thank you,
Sir," he gushed; "I didn't want to come, but they made me. I'm from
Fiji; have no friends here, and London is somehow so different from
Suva it makes my head ache. I am broke and couldn't afford leave,
anyway. Thank you, Sir--thank you."

"Ahem--in that case I will revoke my decision," said the A.P.M. "Buy
yourself an officially-sanctioned cap and carry on."

The Babe bought one with alacrity; then, having tasted enough of the
dangers of the streets for one afternoon, took a taxi, and, lying in
the bottom well out of sight, sped to his old hotel. When he reached
his old hotel he found it had changed during his absence, and was now
headquarters of the Director of Bones and Dripping. He abused the
taxi-driver, who said he was sorry, but there was no telling these
days; a hotel was a hotel one moment, and the next it was something
entirely different. Motion pictures weren't in it, he said.

Finally they discovered a hotel which was still behaving as such, and
the Babe got a room. He remained in that room all the evening, beneath
the bed, having his meals pushed in to him under the door. A prowling
A.P.M. sniffed at the keyhole but did not investigate further, which
was fortunate for the Babe, who had no regulation pyjamas.

Next morning, crouched on the bottom boards of another taxi, he was
taken to his tailor, poured himself into the faithful fellow's hands,
and only departed when guaranteed to be absolutely A.P.M.-proof. He
went to the "Bolero" for lunch, ordered some oysters for a start,
polished them off and bade the waiter trot up the _consomme_. The
waiter shook his head, "Can't be done, Sir. Subaltern gents are only
allowed three and sixpenceworth of food and you've already had that,
Sir. If we was to serve you with a crumb more, we'd be persecuted
under the Trading with the Enemy Act, Sir. There's an A.P.M. sitting
in the corner this very moment, Sir, his eyeglass fixed on your every
mouthful very suspicious-like--"

"Good Lord!" said the Babe, and bolted. He bolted as far as the next
restaurant, had a three-and-sixpenny _entree_ there, went on to
another for sweets, and yet another for coffee and trimmings. These
short bursts between courses kept his appetite wonderfully alive.

That afternoon he ran across a lady friend in Bond Street, "a War
Toiler enormously interested in the War" (see the current number of
_Social Snaps_). She had been at Yvonne's trying on her gauze for the
Boccaccio Tableaux in aid of the Armenians and needed some relaxation.
So she engaged the Babe for the play, to be followed by supper with
herself and her civilian husband. The play (a War-drama) gave the Babe
a fine hunger, but the Commissionaire (apparently a Major-General)
who does odd jobs outside the Blitz took exception to him. "Can't go
in, Sir." "Why not?" the Babe inquired; "my friends have gone in."
"Yessir, but no hofficers are allowed to obtain nourishment after 10
p.m. under Defence of the Realm Act, footnote (a) to para. 14004." He
leaned forward and whispered behind his glove, "There's a Hay Pee Hem
under the portico watching your movements, Sir." The Babe needed no
further warning; he dived into his friends' Limousine and burrowed
under the rug.

* * * * *

Sometime later the door of the car was opened cautiously and the
moon-face of the Major-General inserted itself through the crack.
"Hall clear for the moment, Sir; the Hay Pee Hem 'as gorn orf dahn the
street, chasin' a young hofficer in low shoes. 'Ere, tyke this; I'm a
hold soldier meself." He thrust a damp banana in the Babe's hand and
closed the door softly.

Next morning the Babe dug up an old suit of 1914 "civies" and put
them on. A woman in the Tube called him "Cuthbert" and informed him
gratuitously that her husband, twice the Babe's age, had volunteered
the moment Conscription was declared and had been fighting bravely
in the Army Clothing Department ever since. Further she supposed
the Babe's father was in Parliament and that he was a Conscientious
Objector. In Hyde Park one urchin addressed him as "Daddy" and asked
him what he was doing in the Great War; another gambolled round and
round him making noises like a rabbit. In Knightsbridge a Military
Policeman wanted to arrest him as a deserter. The Babe hailed a taxi
and, cowering on the floor, fled back to his hotel and changed into
uniform again.

That night, strolling homewards in the dark immersed in thought, he
inadvertently took a pipe out of his pocket and lit it. An A.P.M. who
had been sleuthing him for half-a-mile leapt upon him, snatched the
pipe and two or three teeth out of his mouth and returned him to
France by the next boat.

* * * * *

His groom, beaming welcome, met him at the railhead with the horses.

"Hello, old thing, cheerio and all the rest of it," Huntsman whinnied

Miss Muffet rubbed her velvet muzzle against his pocket. "Brought a
lump of sugar for a little girl?" she rumbled.

He mounted her and headed across country, Miss Muffet pig-jumping and
capering to show what excellent spirits she enjoyed.

Two brigades of infantry were under canvas in Mud Gully, their cook
fires winking like red eyes. The guards clicked to attention and
slapped their butts as the Babe went by. A subaltern bobbed out of a
tent and shouted to him to stop to tea. "We've got cake," he lured,
but the Babe went on.

A red-hat cantered across the stubble before him waving a friendly
crop, "Pip" Vibart the A.P.M. homing to H.Q. "Evening, boy!" he
holloaed; "come up and Bridge to-morrow night," and swept on over the
hillside. A flight of aeroplanes, like flies in the amber of sunset,
droned overhead _en route_ for Hunland. The Babe waved his official
cap at them: "Good hunting, old dears."

They had just started feeding up in the regimental lines when he
arrived; the excited neighing of five hundred horses was music to his
ears. His brother subalterns hailed his return with loud and exuberant
noises, made disparaging remarks about the smartness of his clothes,
sat on him all over the floor and rumpled him. On sighting the Babe,
The O'Murphy went mad and careered round the table wriggling like
an Oriental dancer, uttering shrill yelps of delight; presently he
bounced out of the window, to enter some minutes later by the same
route, and lay the offering of a freshly slain rat at his best
beloved's feet.

At this moment the skipper came in plastered thick with the mud of the
line, nodded cheerfully to his junior sub and instantaneously fell
upon the buttered toast.

"Have a good time, Son?" he mumbled. "How's merrie England?"

"Oh, England's all right, Sir," said the Babe, tickling The O'Murphy's
upturned tummy--"quite all right; but it's jolly to be home again
among one's ain folk."


* * * * *

[Illustration: OUT OF REACH.

"Just ask Dr. Jones to run round to my place right away. Our cook's
fallen downstairs, broke her leg; the housemaid's got chicken-pox; and
my two boys have been knocked down by a taxi."

"I'm sorry, sir, but the doctor was blown up in yesterday's air-raid
and he won't be down for a week."]

* * * * *

[Illustration: AT BRIGHTON.

_Tommy (to alien Visitor about to run up to Town for the day)._

* * * * *




The paven terrace of Versailles
With tub and orange-tree,
And Dian's fountain tossed awry,
Were planned and made for me;
Since no one half so well as I
Could grace their symmetry,
Nor teach admiring man
The genuine pavane.

I know that when King Louis wears
A Roman kilt and casque
His smile hides many secret tears
In ballet and in masque,
Since to outshine my pomp appears
So desperate a task,
And royal robes look pale
Beside my noble tail.

With turquoise and with malachite,
With bronze and purple pied,
I march before him like the night
In all its starry pride;
LULLI may twang and MOLIERE write
His pastime to provide,
But seldom laughs the KING
So much as when I sing.

His fiddles brown and pipes of brass
May LULLI now forsake,
While I make music on the grass
Before the storm-clouds break;
He stops his ears and cries "Alas!"
Because _he_ cannot make
With all his fiddlers fine
A melody like mine.

LE BRUN is watching me, I know,
His palette on his thumb,
To catch the glory and the glow
That dazzle as I come;
So be it--but let MOLIERE go,
And LULLI crack his drum;
They do but waste their time;
Minstrel I am, and mime.

Men say the KING is like the sun,
And from his wig they spin
The golden webs that, one by one,
Draw Spain and Flanders in;
He will grow proud ere they have done,
A most egregious sin,
And one to which my mind
Has never yet declined.

* * * * *


"Of the 217 sheep sold at the Sunderland Mart, yesterday, there
was a very large percentage of heifers and bullocks."--_Newcastle
Daily Journal_.

* * * * *

News from the Russian Front: Pop goes the Oesel.

* * * * *

"Chauffeur Gardener wanted, titled gentleman."--_Glasgow Herald_.

We have often mistaken a taxi-driver for a lord.

* * * * *


The train came to one of those sudden stops in which the hush caused
by the contrast between the rattle of the wheels and their silence is
almost painful. During these pauses one is conscious of conversation
in neighbouring compartments, without however hearing any distinct

There were several of us, strangers to each other, who hitherto had
been minding our own business, but under the stress of this untoward
thing became companionable.

A man at each window craned his body out, but withdrew it without

"I hope," said another, "there's not an accident."

"I have always heard," said a fourth, "that in a railway accident
presence of mind is not so valuable as absence of body"--getting off
this ancient pleasantry as though it were his own.

The motionlessness of the train was so absolute as to be
disconcerting; also a scandal. The business of trains, between
stations, is to get on. We had paid our money, not for undue
stoppages, but for movement in the direction of our various goals;
and it was infamous.

Somebody said something of the kind.

"Better be held up now," said a sententious man, "than be killed for
want of prudence."

No one was prepared to deny this, but we resented its truth and
availed ourselves of a true-born free Briton's right to doubt the
wisdom of those in authority. We all, in short, looked as though
we knew better than engine-driver, signalman or guard. That is our

Some moments, which, as in all delays on the line, seemed like hours,
passed and nothing happened. Looking out I saw heads and shoulders
protruding from every window, with curiosity stamped on all their

"They should tell us what's the matter," said an impatient man.
"That's one of the stupid things in England--no one ever tells you
what's wrong. No tact in this country--no imagination."

We all agreed. No imagination. It was the national curse.

"And yet," said another man with a smile, "we get there."

"Ah! that's our luck," said the impatient man. "We have luck far
beyond our deserts." He was very cross about it.

Again the first man to speak hoped it was not an accident; and again
the second man, fearing that someone might have missed it, repeated
the old jest about presence of mind and absence of body.

"Talking of presence of mind," said a man who had not yet spoken,
emerging from his book, "an odd thing happened to me not so very long
ago--since the War--and, as it chances, happened in a railway carriage
too--as it might be in this. It is a story against a friend of mine,
and I hope he's wiser now, but I'll tell it to you."

We had not asked for his story but we made ourselves up to listen.

"It was during the early days of the War," he said, "before some of us
had learned better, and my friend and I were travelling to the North.
He is a very good fellow, but a little hasty, and a little too much
disposed to think everyone wrong but himself. Opposite us was a man
hidden behind a newspaper, all that was visible of him being a huge
pair of legs in knickerbockers, between which was a bag of golf-clubs.

"My friend at that time was not only suspicious of everyone's
patriotism but a deadly foe of golf. He even went so far as to call it
Scotch croquet and other contemptuous names. I saw him watching the
clubs and the paper and speculating on the age of the man, whose legs
were, I admit, noticeably young, and he drew my attention to him
too--by nudges and whispers. Obviously this was a shirker.

"For a while my friend contented himself with half-suppressed snorts
and other signs of disapproval, but at last he could hold himself in
no longer. Leaning forward he tapped the man smartly on the knee, with
the question, 'Why aren't you in khaki?' It was an inquiry, you will
remember, that was being much put at the time--before compulsion came

"We all--there were two or three other people in the compartment--felt
that this was going too far; and I knew it only too well when the man
lowered his paper to see what was happening and revealed an elderly
face with a grey beard absolutely out of keeping with those vigorous

"To my intense relief, however, he seemed to have been too much
engrossed by his paper to have heard. At any rate he asked my friend
to repeat his remark.

"Here, you will agree, was, if ever, an opening for what we call
presence of mind.

"My friend, like myself, had been so taken aback by the apparition of
more than middle age which confronted him when the paper was lowered
that for the moment he could say nothing; the other passengers were in
an ecstasy of anticipation; the man himself, a formidable antagonist
if he became nasty, waited for the reply with a non-committal
expression which might conceal pugnacity and might genuinely have
resulted from not hearing and desiring to hear.

"And then occurred one of the most admirable instances of
resourcefulness in history. With an effort of self-collection and
a readiness for which I shall always honour him, my friend said,
speaking with precise clearness, 'I beg your pardon, Sir, but,
mistaking you for a golfing friend of mine at Babbacombe, I asked
you why you were not in Torquay. I offer my apologies.'

"At these words the golfer bowed and resumed his paper, the other
passengers ceased for the moment to have the faintest interest in a
life which was nothing but Dead Sea fruit, and my friend uttered a
sigh of relief as he registered a vow never to be a meddlesome idiot
again. But he looked years older."

* * * * *


_Visitor._ "And is your brother still in France?"

_Little Girl._ "Yes."

_Visitor._ "And what part of France is he in?"

_Little Girl._ "He says he's in the Pink."]

* * * * *




_George._ I must ask you, Mamma, before we talk of anything else,
whether Withsak and Alldane were beheaded?

_Mrs. M._ No; you will be relieved to hear that, although ALFRED
was greatly incensed against them and had resolved to proceed to
the enforcement of the extreme penalty, they were rescued by the
intervention of the Archbishop of Canterbury and afterwards granted
a free pardon on condition of abstaining from all participation in
public life. This magnanimity on the part of ALFRED is all the more
praiseworthy as many people firmly believed that these two princes
had attempted to poison him, and that they were responsible for all
the calamities which had befallen England from the invasion of JULIUS
CAESAR, and which were destined to befall her till the end of time.
Indeed a writer in an old saga, known as the Blackblood Saga, went
so far as to maintain that the English climate had been permanently
ruined by the incantations of Prince Alldane. Undoubtedly his name was
an unfortunate one at the time, but, to judge by the old portraits
I showed you, neither of these princes looked capable of such
atrocities, and Prince Alldane was described as being the essence of

_Richard._ Did not ALFRED invent the quartern loaf?

_Mrs. M._ Yes; before his time the nobles lived exclusively on cake
and venison, while the peasantry subsisted on herbs and a substance
named woad, which was most injurious to their digestions. ALFRED,
who among his many accomplishments was an expert baker, himself gave
instructions to the wives of the poor, supplied them with flour, the
grinding of which was carried out in mills of his own devising, and
insisted that all loaves should be made of a certain quality and size,
with results most beneficial to the physique of his subjects. The
story of his quarrel with the woman who would insist on baking cakes
illustrates the difficulties he encountered in effecting his reforms.

_Mary._ Was not ALFRED called "England's Darling"?

_Mrs. M._ Yes, my dear, and no wonder. Before his time there were no
proper newspapers, the few issued being of high price and written in
an elaborate style which only appealed to the highly educated. ALFRED
changed all this, and insisted that they should be written in a
"simple, sensuous and passionate style." This was one of the causes of
his falling out with Withsak, who supported the old-fashioned methods,
while ALFRED was in favour of simplicity and brevity. You will find
all this related in the work of Leo Maximus, a learned writer, the
friend and admirer of ALFRED and author of his Life.

_George._ How much I should like to read it.

_Mrs. M._ You would find in it some inspiring and interesting
particulars of ALFRED's conversations and private life.

_Mary._ How many things ALFRED did! I cannot think how he found time
for them all.

_Mrs. M._ He found time by never wasting it. One-third of his time
he devoted to religious exercises and to study, another third to
sleep and necessary refreshment, and the other to the affairs of his
kingdom. The benefits he bestowed on his country were so great and
various that even to this day we hardly comprehend them fully, and
some ungrateful people refuse to regard them as benefits at all.

_Richard._ How sad! But thanks to you, dear Mamma, we know better.
When Papa comes in to tea I will ask him when he thinks I shall be old
enough to read all the books that have ever been written about KING
ALFRED. I want to know everything about him.

* * * * *

[Illustration: _Mother (to curate)._ "AND DO YOU REALLY PRAY FOR YOUR

_Ethel (overhearing)._ "I DO, MUMMY."



* * * * *


"The Lord Mayor formally declared the aerodrome opened, and turned
on the flute diverting the waters of the Cardinal Wolsey river
underground."--_Evening News_.

* * * * *

From an interview with Lord ROBERT CECIL, as reported by _The
Manchester Guardian_:--

"It is literally true of the British soldier that he is _tans peur
et tans rapproche_."

This perhaps explains some recent reflections on the linguistic
accomplishments of our Foreign Office.

* * * * *


This tedious and important War
Has altered much that went before,
But did you hear about the change
At _Mariana's_ Moated Grange?
You all of you will recollect
The gross condition of neglect
In which the place appeared to be,
And _Mariana's_ apathy,
Her idleness, her want of tone,
Her--well, her absence of backbone.
Her relatives, no doubt, had tried
To single out the brighter side,
Had scolded her about the moss
And only made her extra cross.

But when the War had really come
At once the place began to hum,
And _Mariana's_, bless her heart!
She threw herself into the part
Of cooking for the V.A.D.
And wholly lost her lethargy.
She sent her gardeners off pell-mell
(They hadn't kept the gardens well),
And got a lady-gardener in
Who didn't cost her half the tin,
And who, before she'd been a day,
Had scraped the blackest moss away.
She put a jolly little boat
For wounded soldiers on the moat;
Her relatives were bound to own
How practical the girl had grown.
She often said, "I feel more cheery,
I doubt if I can stick this dreary
Old grange again when peace is rife;
You really couldn't call it life."

But something infinitely more
Than just a European War
Would have been requisite to part
Romance from _Mariana's_ heart;
Once more she felt within her stir
The dawn of _une affaire de coeur_;
In other words, I must confess
She found her thoughts were centred less
On that young man who never came
And more on Captain What's-his-name,
Who'd left his other leg in France
And was a model of romance.

* * * * *

The wedding was a pretty thing;
I sent the "Idylls of the King,"
Well bound. And _Mariana_ wrote
A most appreciative note.
They live in London now, I'm told;
The Moated Grange is let (or sold);
I only hope they'll manage so
That TENNYSON need never know.

* * * * *


For a certain German Admiral on being booted: "_Ite, Capellae_."

* * * * *



* * * * *


_Tuesday, October 16th_.--To Mr. Punch's blunt inquiry, "Why?" in last
week's cartoon different answers would, I suppose, be returned by
various Members. The CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER would say that the
reassembling of Parliament was necessary in order that he might obtain
a further Vote of Credit from the representatives of the taxpayers.
Brigadier-General PAGE CROFT, inventor and C.-in-C. of the new
"National" party, who has already attached to himself a following not
inferior numerically to the little band which, under Lord RANDOLPH
CHURCHILL in the eighties, struck terror into the hearts of the Front
Benches, longs to prove that, under his brilliant leadership, Lord
early prowess of Sir JOHN GORST, Sir HENRY DRUMMOND-WOLFF and Mr.

But a word to the gallant General: he will do little until he has
secured a corner-seat. By hook or by crook Mr. HOUSTON, "the Pirate
King," must be induced or compelled to surrender his coign of vantage
to the new generalissimo, who will then be able alternately to pour a
broadside into the Government or to enfilade the ex-Ministers who aid
and abet them.

Then there are those humanized notes of interrogation like Mr. KING,
Mr. HOGGE and Mr. PEMBERTON BILLING. They would like Parliament to
be in permanent session in order that the world might have the daily
benefit of their searching investigations. Mr. KING has not yet quite
run into his best form. He had only six Questions on the Paper, and
actually asked only five of them--a concession which so paralysed
the MINISTER OF RECONSTRUCTION, to whom the missing Question was
addressed, that, when asked where his department was located, he
had to confess that he did not know the precise number, but it was
somewhere in Queen Anne's Gate.

Eclipsed in Ireland by the more spectacular attractions of Sinn Fein,
the Nationalists' only hope of recovering their lost popularity is to
kick up the dust of St. Stephen's. Accordingly Mr. REDMOND gave notice
of yet another Vote of Censure on the Irish Executive, but whether
for its slackness or its brutality the terms of his motion do not
make quite clear. Perhaps he has not yet made up his own mind on
the subject.

I feel sure that Mr. MONTAGU has a sense of humour, and I admired
the way in which he concealed its existence when explaining the
Indian Government's release of Mrs. BESANT. As he read the VICEROY'S
reference to "the tranquillizing effect of Mr. MONTAGU'S approaching
visit" the House rippled with laughter; and when he proceeded to say
that Mrs. BESANT had undertaken to use her influence to secure "a
calm atmosphere for my visit," the ripple became a wave. But with the
stoicism of the unchanging East he read on unmoved.

Mr. KENNEDY JONES, taking up the _role_ of the newsboy in a recent
cartoon, invited the Government to give the Germans the monosyllabic
equivalent for a very warm time. Mr. BONAR LAW declined to commit
himself to the actual term, but announced the intention to set up a
new Air Ministry, and to "employ our machines over German towns so
far as military needs render us free to take such action."

To return to Mr. Punch's question, "Why?" I think the answer most
Members would make would be, "Because we wanted to see what the
Ladies' Gallery would look like without the grille." It must be
confessed that those who cherished visions of a dull assembly made
glorious by flashing eyes, white arms, and brilliant dresses were

"Stone walls do not a prison make,
Nor iron bars a cage,"

wrote LOVELACE. Well, the iron bars have gone, but the stone walls
remain, and make, if not a prison, something very like a _purdah_; and
the "angels alone that soar above" are almost as much cut off from the
inferior beings below them as they were before Sir ALFRED MOND came to
the rescue of Beauty in thrall. He is rather disappointed at getting
so little change out of his "fiver."

_Wednesday, October 17th_.--The latest recruit to what JOHN KNOX
would have called the "monstrous regiment of Ministers" is Mr. WARDLE,
lately Chairman of the Labour Party. He made a promising _debut_. Mr.
HOGGE professed to be anxious as to the future of the North-Eastern
Railway, which, according to him, had lent all its "genii" to the
Admiralty. Mr. WARDLE, quick to note the classical accuracy of the
plural, assured him that he need be under no apprehensions--"there
are still some genii left."

Ireland is to have the extended franchise conferred by the
Representation of the People Bill, but not the accompanying
redistribution of seats. The Chairman suggested that Sir JOHN
LONSDALE, who wanted to do away with the anomaly, should move a
supplementary schedule embodying his own ideas of how Ireland should
be redistributed. Unfortunately--for one would have liked to see how
much was left for the other three provinces after he had designed an
Ulster commensurate with his notion of its relative importance--the
hon. Baronet demurred to this tempting proposal, and thought it was
a matter for the Government.

Some very pleasant badinage between Lord HUGH CECIL and the HOME
SECRETARY as to the relative merits of the words "dwell" and "reside"
for the purpose of defining a voter's qualification was followed by an
exhaustive and exhausting lecture by Major CHAPPLE on how to tabulate
the alternative votes in a three-cornered election. His object was to
demonstrate that under the Government scheme the man whom the majority
of the voters might desire would infallibly be rejected, while by
a plan of his own, which he had tried successfully on a couple of
wounded soldiers, the best man invariably won.

_Thursday, October 18th_.--The most obliging of men, Sir ALFRED MOND
nevertheless draws the line when he is asked to look a gift horse in
the mouth. His predecessor at the Office of Works having offered a
site for a statue of President LINCOLN, it is not for him to challenge
the artistic merit of the sculpture, which has been picturesquely
described as "a tramp with the colic." It is thought that the American
donors, after an exhaustive study of our outdoor monuments, have been
anxious to conform to British standards of taste.

The "Nationals" are beginning to move. Their General elicited from the
Government a promise to introduce a Vote of Thanks to His Majesty's
Forces; though it is possible that this would have been done without
his intervention. His lieutenants were less successful. Sir RICHARD
COOPER could not persuade Mr. BONAR LAW to publish the official report
on the loss of the _Hampshire_, and is now more than ever convinced
that K. OF K. is languishing in a German prison-camp; while the HOME
SECRETARY intimated that he required no instruction from Major ROWLAND
HUNT in the business of suppressing seditious literature.

After all, Ireland is to be redistributed. Unless the success of the
Convention renders the task superfluous, the Government will appoint a
Boundary Commission as an act of simple justice. Needless to say the
announcement was received with frenzied abuse by all the Nationalist
factions. Abstract justice, it seems, is the very last thing that
Ireland wants.

* * * * *


* * * * *

[Illustration: "TURN AGAIN."

_Instructor (to recruit, who on the command, "Left turn," has made a

* * * * *


DEAR MR. PUNCH,--Aware as you must be of a deplorable confusion
now prevailing in the public mind as to the true inwardness of the
expressions "gadget" and "stunt," you will agree, I am sure, that the
moment has come for a clear and authoritative ruling on this vexed
point. At a time when the pundits of the Oxford Dictionary are coldly
aloof, like GALLIO, and the Army Council, though often approached,
studiously reserve their decision, it rests with you Mr. Punch, as
Arbiter of National Opinion, to give judgment.

What notion, then, of "gadget" and "stunt" is gained by the young
subaltern of today as he joins his regiment and shakes down to the
fundamental facts of life and death? He finds himself harassed by no
end of devilish enemy stunts, to stultify which a fatherly all-wise
War Office has given him an infinity of gadgets. For every stunt
an appropriate countering gadget. Does the foe strafe him with a
gas-bombing stunt? "Ha, ha!" laughs he, and dons that unlovely but
priceless gadget, his box-respirator. But by no means all gadgets have
just one peculiar stunt to counter; such a definition would exclude,
for instance, the height-gauge on a plane, which is emphatically,
wholly and eternally a gadget of gadgets. Moreover, gadgets are small
things. The airman's "joystick" is a gadget; the tank is not. Now are
these views sound, Sir, or is it permissible, as one authority does,
to describe persons as "gadgets"?

One final word. A nervous subaltern recently appeared before his
Adjutant and called the Wurzel-Flummery Electro-Dynamical Apparatus,
Mark II., "this sky-plotter stunt." "Great Heavens!" gasped the
Adjutant, "what is the Service coming to? Stunt? Gadget, man, gadget!"
Three days later the hapless boy found himself desired to resign on
the grounds of "gross ignorance of military terminology."

I am, dear Mr. Punch,

Yours solemnly,


* * * * *



* * * * *



_The Tsar_. You must admit that Sofia is a most agreeable place. Where
else could you find such genuine and overwhelming enthusiasm for the
War and our alliance?

_The Kaiser_. I don't know. It didn't seem to me exactly violent;
but then, of course, you know your people better than I do, and it
may be--

_The Sultan_. Umph.

_The Tsar_. I know just what you are going to say, MEHMED. You feel,
as we do, that the voice of the People is the true guide for a ruler.
You feel that too, don't you, WILHELM?

_The Kaiser_. I have never hesitated to say so. It is on such
sentiments that the greatness of our Imperial House is based.

_The Sultan_. Umph.

_The Tsar_. There--I knew you would agree with us. You heard, WILHELM?
MEHMED agrees with us.

_The Kaiser_. That is, of course, immensely gratifying.

_The Tsar_. We will at once publish an announcement in all our
newspapers. It will declare that the three Sovereigns, after a
perfectly frank interchange of views, found no subject on which there
was even the shadow of a disagreement between them, and are resolved
in the closest alliance to continue the War against the aggressive
designs of the Entente Powers until a satisfactory peace is secured.
How does that suit you, WILHELM?

_The Kaiser_. Very well. Only you must put in that bit about my being
actuated by the highest and most disinterested motives.

_The Tsar_. That applies to all of us.

_The Sultan_. Umph.

_The Tsar_. Again he agrees. Isn't it wonderful? I've never met a more
accommodating ally. It's a real pleasure to work with him. Now then,
we're all quite sure, aren't we, that we really want to go on with the
War, and that we utterly reject all peace-talk?

_The Kaiser_. Utterly--but if they come and _sue_ to us for peace we
might graciously consider their offer.

_The Tsar_. That means nothing, of course, so there's no harm in
putting it in. At any rate it will please the POPE. We're quite sure,
then, that we want to go on with the War? Of course I'm heart and soul
for going on with it to the last gasp, but I cannot help pointing out
that at present Bulgaria has got all she wants, and my people are very
fond of peace.

_The Sultan_. Umph.

_The Tsar_. He knows that is so. He's very fond of peace himself. You
see he hasn't had much luck in the War, have you, MEHMED?

_The Sultan_. The English--

_The Tsar_. Quite true; the English are an accursed race.

_The Sultan_. The English have a lot of--

_The Kaiser_. A lot of vices? I should think they have.

_The Sultan (persisting)_. The English have a lot of men and guns.

_The Tsar_. Well done, old friend; you've got it off your chest at
last. I hope you're happy now. But, as to this peace of ours, can't
something be done? I always say it's a great thing to know when to
stop. So it might be as well to talk about peace, even if your talk
means nothing. In any case, I tell you frankly, I want peace.

_The Kaiser_. FERDINAND!

_The Tsar_. Oh, it's no use to glare at me like that. If it comes to
glaring I can do a bit in that line myself.

_The Sultan_. The Americans--

_The Kaiser_ \ _(together)_.
_The Tsar_ / Oh, curse the Americans!

* * * * *

[Illustration: _Postlethwaite (keenly appreciative of hum of Gotha
overhead)._ "LISTEN, AGATHA! EXACTLY B FLAT." {_Strikes note to
establish accuracy of his ear._}]

* * * * *


[Mr. M. GRIEVE, writing from "The Whins," Chalfont St. Peter, in
_The Daily Mail_ of the 12th inst., suggests herb-teas to meet
the shortage, as being far the most healthful substitutes. "They
can also," he says, "be blended and arranged to suit the gastric
idiosyncrasies of the individual consumer. A few of them are
agrimony, comfrey, dandelion, camomile, woodruff, marjoram,
hyssop, sage, horehound, tansy, thyme, rosemary, stinging-nettle
and raspberry."]

Although, when luxuries must be resigned,
Such as cigars or even breakfast bacon,
My hitherto "unconquerable mind"
Its philosophic pose has not forsaken,
By one impending sacrifice I find
My stock of fortitude severely shaken--
I mean the dismal prospect of our losing
The genial cup that cheers without bemusing.

Blest liquor! dear to literary men,
Which Georgian writers used to drink like fishes,
When cocoa had not swum into their ken
And coffee failed to satisfy all wishes;
When tea was served to monarchs of the pen,
Like JOHNSON and his coterie, in "dishes,"
And came exclusively from far Cathay--
See "China's fragrant herb" in WORDSWORTH'S lay.

Beer prompted CALVERLEY'S immortal rhymes,
Extolling it as utterly eupeptic;
But on that point, in these exacting times,
The weight of evidence supports the sceptic;
Beer is not suitable for torrid climes
Or if your tendency is cataleptic;
But tea in moderation, freshly brewed,
Was never by Sir ANDREW CLARK tabooed.

We know for certain that the GRAND OLD MAN
Drank tea at midnight with complete impunity,
At least he long outlived the Psalmist's span
And from ill-health enjoyed a fine immunity;
Besides, robust Antipodeans can
And do drink tea at every opportunity;
While only Stoics nowadays contrive
To shun the cup that gilds the hour of five.

But war is war, and when we have to face
Shortage in tea as well as bread and boots
'Tis well to teach us how we may replace
The foreign brew by native substitutes,
Extracted from a vegetable base
In various wholesome plants and herbs and fruits,
"Arranged and blended," very much like teas,
To suit our "gastric idiosyncrasies."

It is a list for future use to file,
Including woodruff, marjoram and sage,
Thyme, agrimony, hyssop, camomile
(A name writ painfully on childhood's page),
Tansy, the jaded palate to beguile,
Horehound, laryngeal troubles to assuage,
And, for a cup ere mounting to the stirrup,
The stinging-nettle's stimulating syrup.

And yet I cannot, though I gladly would,
Forget the Babylonian monarch's cry,
"It may be wholesome, but it is not good,"
When grass became his only food supply;
Such weakness ought, of course, to be withstood,
But oh, it wrings the teardrop from my eye
To think of Polly putting on the kettle
To brew my daily dose of stinging-nettle!

* * * * *



There are great ways of borrowing, as EMERSON said, and in his new
Fantasy Sir JAMES BARRIE has given us a very charming variation on
_A Midsummer Night's Dream_ (with echoes of _Peter Pan_ and _The
Admirable Crichton_). Certainly I got far more fun out of his deluded
lovers in the Magic Wood than I ever extracted from the comedy of
errors which occurred between the ladies and gentlemen of the Court
of _Theseus_.

In _Dear Brutus_ the contrast between real life and the life of
Magicland is sharply accentuated by the fact that there is not a
separate set of characters for each; the same men and women figure in
both, making abrupt transitions from one to the other and back again.
We have a house party of actual humans (not too obtrusively actual),
most of whom, including the butler, imagine that if they could have a
Second Chance in life they would not make such a mess of it as they
did with the First. One of them thinks he would never have taken to
drink and lost his self-respect and his wife's love if he had only had
a child; one that he would not have become a pilferer if he had stuck
to the City; others that they would have done better to have married
Somebody Else. Well, they are all whisked off into the Magic Wood, and
there they get their Second Chance. The pilferer becomes a successful
tradesman in a large and questionable way; the tippler finds himself
sober and attended by the daughter of his heart's desire; various
married folk get re-sorted; and so forth.

The moral purpose (if any) of the author, as conveyed to us through
the mouth of the leading humourist of the party, is to show that a
man's nature would remain the same even if he got a Second Chance.
Unfortunately--but what can you expect in the realm of Magic?--the
scheme does not work out with any logical consistency. It is true
that the philanderer and the pilfering butler show little promise of
making anything out of their Second Chance; but, on the other hand,
the childless tippler seems to have gone reformation and recovered
his wife's regard; and if I rightly interpret certain delicate
indications, they propose to have a pearl of a daughter later on. Also
the dainty and supercilious _Lady Caroline_, who in the wood becomes
enamoured of the butler-turned-plutocrat (_cf. Titania_ and _Bottom_)
and subsequently returns to her sniffiness, cannot be said to have
lost much by failing to utilise her Second Chance.

However, one might never have troubled about Sir JAMES'S logic if he
had not declared his moral purpose in set terms. I suppose he had to
explain his title, which was sufficiently obscure. It comes, as Mr.
SOTHERN kindly informed us, from the lines:--

"The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves."

_Brutus_, in fact, is the famous general to whom certain things were
caviare. He is the typical man in the audience, to whom Sir JAMES
says: "You, too, Brutus; I'm talking at you."

[Illustration: IN AND OUT OF THE WOOD.

_Mr. Purdie_ MR. SAM SOTHERN.

Happily (for my taste, anyhow) the humour of the play dominates its
sentiment. And where the sentiment of the child _Margaret_ threatens
to overstrain itself we had always the healthy antidote of Mr. DU
MAURIER'S practical methods to correct its tendency to cloy. He was
extraordinarily good both as himself and, for a rare change, as
somebody quite different. Miss FAITH CELLI as his daughter--a sort of
_Peter Pan_ girl who does grow up, far too tall--was delightful in the
true BARRIE manner. It was a pity--but that was not her fault--that
she had to end her long and difficult scene on rather a false note.
I am almost certain that no child (outside a BARRIE play), who is
left alone in a Magic Wood, scared out of her life, would cry aloud,
"Daddy, daddy, I don't want to be a Might-have-been." The sentiment of
the words was, of course, part of the scheme, but it was not for her
to say them.

Mr. NORMAN FORBES, in the Wood, was an elderly piping faun and
performed with astonishing agility a sword-dance over a stick crossed
with his whistle. Elsewhere as _Mr. Coade_ he played very engagingly
the part of the only character who had made such good use of his First
Chance that he really didn't need a Second. Both in name and nature he
brought to mind the late Mr. CHOATE, who gallantly declared that if he
had not been what he was he would have liked to be his wife's second
husband. And no wonder that _Mr. Coade_ wanted nothing better than to
remain attached to so adorable a creature as his wife, played with a
delightful homeliness by Miss MAUDE MILLETT, who has lost nothing of
that charm to which, with _Mr. Coade_, we retain the most faithful

Mr. WILL WEST was admirable as a _Crichton_ gone wrong; and Mr.
SOTHERN, as the philanderer _Purdie_, took all his Chances of humour,
and they were many, with the greatest aplomb. They included some very
pleasant satire on stage manners. I have only to mention the names
LYDIA BILBROOKE for you to understand how excellent a cast it was,
both for wit and grace.

Finally, Mr. ARTHUR HATHERTON, as _Lob_, the host of the party, a kind
of hoary old _Puck_ who had a _penchant_ for filling his house every
Midsummer Eve with people who wanted a Second Chance, interpreted Sir
JAMES'S whimsical fancy to the very top of freakishness.

I hope, but doubtfully, that there are enough Dear Brutuses in London
(so many aliens have lately fled) to do justice to BARRIE at his best.


* * * * *


"Tea is very scarce and that to Irish folks, who like it black
and strong, with always 'one more for the pot,' is a source of
damentation."--_Liverpool Daily Post and Mercury_.

* * * * *

"Another Army Order provides that an officer while undergoing
instruction in flying shall receive continuous flying pay at
the rate of 4s. a day in addition from the public-houses of the
town."--_Provincial Paper_.

Very generous of them; but what will the Board of Liquor Control say?

* * * * *



* * * * *



I have often pitied the lot of the costume novelist, faced with the
increasing difficulty of providing fresh and unworn trappings for his
characters. Therefore with all the more warmth do I congratulate those
seasoned adventurers, AGNES and EGERTON CASTLE, on their acumen in
discovering such a setting as that of _Wolf-lure_ (CASSELL). The name
alone should be worth many editions. Nor do the contents in any sort
belie it. This remote country of Guyenne, a hundred years ago, with
its forests and caves and subterranean lakes, with, moreover, its
rival wolf-masters, Royal and Imperial, and its wild band of coiners,
is the very stage for any hazardous and romantic exploit. It should
be added at once that the authors have taken full advantage of these
possibilities. From the moment when the wandering English youth who
tells the tale wakes on the hillside to find himself contemplated
by a lovely maiden and a gigantic wolf-hound, the adventure dashes
from thrill to thrill unpausing. One protest however I must
utter. The conduct of the young and lovely heroine (as above) and
her single-minded devotion to her lover may be true to nature,
but somewhat alienated my own sympathies, already given to the
first-person-singular English lad who also adored her, and whom both
she and her chosen mate treated abominably. To my thinking, unrequited
devotion has no business in a tale of this sort. Realistic pathos may
have its _Dobbin_ or _Tom Pinch_, but the wild and whirling episodes
of tushery demand the satisfactory finish hallowed by custom.
With this reservation only I can call _Wolf-lure_ about the best
adventure-novel that the present season has produced.

* * * * *

Since the opening pages of _Calvary Alley_ (HODDER AND STOUGHTON) are
concerned with choir-boys and a cathedral and a rose-window, things to
which one gives, without sufficient reason, an association exclusively
of the Old World, I was a little startled, as the action proceeded,
by the mention of cops and dimes and trolly-cars. Of course this
only meant that I had forgotten, ungratefully, the country in which
any story by ALICE HEGAN RICE might be expected to be laid. Anyhow,
_Calvary Alley_ proves an admirable entertainment, a tale of a girl's
expanding fortunes, from the grim slum that gives its name to the
book, through many varied experiences of reform schools, a bottling
factory and membership of the ballet, up to the haven of matrimony.
Through them all, _Nance_, the heroine, carries a very human and
engaging personality, so that one is made to see the young woman
who is clasped to the heroic breast on the last page as the logical
development of the ragged urchin stamping her bare foot into the soft
cement of _Calvary Alley_ on the first. Moreover--wonder of wonders
for transatlantic fiction!--the author is able to write about
children, and the contrasted lives of rich and poor city dwellers,
without lapsing into sentimentality, _O si sic omnes!_ But either
American bishops are strangely different from the English variety,
or Mrs. RICE, following Mr. WELLS'S example, has permitted herself
an episcopal burlesque. In either case the resulting portrait is
hardly worthy of an otherwise admirably-drawn collection of original

* * * * *

_Christine_ (MACMILLAN) contains a very illuminating picture of
Germany in the months immediately preceding the War; but I am
perplexed--and a little provoked--by the way in which it is presented.
The book opens with a pathetic foreword, signed by Miss ALICE
CHOLMONDELEY, in which we read: "My daughter Christine, who wrote
me these letters, died at a hospital in Stuttgart on the morning
of August 8th, 1914, of acute double pneumonia.... I am publishing
the letters just as they came to me, leaving out nothing.... The
war killed Christine, just as surely as if she had been a soldier
in the trenches.... I never saw her again. I had a telegram saying
she was dead. I tried to go to Stuttgart, but was turned back at
the frontier." Then follows a Publishers' note to the effect that
some personal names have been altered. After this one is naturally
surprised to find the book advertised as a "new novel." All I can
say is that, if Miss CHOLMONDELEY'S preface is true, her book is not
a novel, and that, if it is untrue, I do not think the foreword is
fair or in good taste. My opinion, for what it is worth, is that Miss
CHOLMONDELEY was herself in Germany during the summer of 1914, and
has chosen this way of telling us what she saw and heard. Anyhow the
letters are undoubtedly the work of someone who knows Germany and the
inhabitants thereof. And for this excellent reason _Christine_ should
not be missed by anyone who wants to know in what a state of militant
anticipation the Germans were living. The strongest searchlight
has been thrown over the Hun, from the habitues of a middle-class
boarding-house to members of the Junker breed. Whether these letters
ought to be classed as fiction or not they contain facts, and as they
are written in a style at once vivid and engaging my advice to you is
to read them and not worry too much about the foreword.

* * * * *

_The Four Corners of the World_ (HODDER AND STOUGHTON) is emphatically
what I should call a fireside book. On these chill Autumn evenings,
with the rain or the dead leaves or the shrapnel whirling by outside,
you could have few more agreeable companions than Mr. A.E.W. MASON,
when he is, as here, in communicative mood. He has a baker's dozen of
excellent tales to tell, most of them with a fine thrill, out of which
he gets the greatest possible effect, largely by the use of a crisp
and unemotional style that lets the sensational happenings go their
own way to the nerves of the reader. As an example of how to make the
most of a good theme, I commend to you the story pleasantly, if not
very originally, named "The House of Terror." Before now I have been
ensnared to disappointment by precisely this title. But Mr. MASON'S
House holds no deception; it genuinely does terrify; and when at the
climax of its history the two persons concerned see the door swing
slowly inwards, and "the white fog billowed into the room," while
"Glyn felt the hair stir and move upon his scalp," I doubt not that
you will almost certainly partake of some measure of his emotion.
Naturally, in a mixed bag such as this, one can't complain if the
quality of the contents varies. Not all the tales reach the level of
"The House of Terror"; but in every one there is enough artistry to
occupy any spare half-hour you may have for such purposes, without
letting you feel afterwards that it was wasted. And as a hospital
present the collection could hardly be beaten.

* * * * *

Miss MARJORIE BOWEN'S historical romances usually have the merit of
swift movement, and that is precisely the quality I miss in _The Third
Estate_ (METHUEN). It does not march--at least not quick enough.
You will not need to be told that Miss BOWEN has saturated herself
conscientiously in her period--an intensely interesting period
too--and has contrived her atmosphere most competently and plausibly.
But for all that I couldn't make myself greatly interested in the bold
bad Marquis DE SARCEY in those anxious two years before "the Terror,"
with his insufferable pride, his incredible elegance, his fantastic
ideas of love and his idiotic marriage, the negotiations for which,
with the resulting complications, take up so large a space in a
lengthy book. It gives one the impression of being written not
"according to plan" but out of a random fancy, with so hurried a pen
that not merely have irrelevant incidents, absurdities of diction, and
indubitable _longueurs_ escaped excision, but such lapses from the
King's fair English as "save you and I" and "I shoot with my own hand
he who refuses." Even a popular author--indeed, especially a popular
author--owes us more consideration than that.

* * * * *

_The Fortunes of Richard Mahony_ (HEINEMANN) is one of those pleasant
books in which the hero prospers. True, the process as here shown
is very gradual; so much so that the four hundred odd pages of the
present volume only take us as far as "End of Book One." Clearly,
therefore, Mr. H.H. RICHARDSON has more to follow; and, as one should
call no hero fortunate till his author has ceased writing, it is as
yet too early for a final pronouncement upon _Richard Mahony_. My own
honest impression at this stage would be that he is in some danger of
outgrowing his strength. This pathological phrase comes the more aptly
since _Richard's_ fortune, though begun in the goldfields, was not
derived from digging, but from the practice of medicine, and from a
lucky speculation in mining stock (I liked especially the description
of the day when the shares sold at fifty-three, and _Richard_ "went
about feeling a little more than human"). The end of the whole matter,
at least the end for the present, is that, with his wife, and what he
can get together from the remains of the mining _coup_, and the sale
of a somewhat damaged practice, _Richard_ sets forth for England.
Obviously more turns of fortune are in store there for him and _Mary_
and that queer character, his one-time inseparable, _Purdy_. That I
anticipate their future with much interest is a genuine tribute to
the humanity in which Mr. RICHARDSON has clothed his cast. _Richard
Mahony_, in short, is a real man, whose fortunes take a genuine hold
upon one's attention; though I repeat that I could wish his author had
told them less wordily, and--in one glaring instance--with a greater
respect for the decencies of medical reticence.

* * * * *



* * * * *


"A telephone massage was received last night by the Scotland
Yard authorities."--_Bristol Times and Mirror_.


Back to Full Books