Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 153, Oct. 3, 1917


VOL. 153.

OCTOBER 3, 1917.


There is no truth in the rumour that the Imperial Government is trying
to secure from KING ALFONSO an agreement that German prisoners shall
not escape on Sundays or in batches of more than fifty at a time.


"Far better another year of war," said the Bishop of LONDON in a
recent sermon, "than to leave it to the baby in the cradle to do it
over again." Too much importance should not be attached to these
ill-judged reflections on the younger members of the Staff.


In Berlin a crowd of people attempted to do some injury to an officer
on the paltry excuse that he ordered the execution of thirty people
for alleged espionage. The German people have always been a little
jealous of the privileges of the military.


Captain N. BERNIERS, who has just returned to Quebec, reports that the
Eskimos had not heard of the War. We should be the last to worry Lord
NORTHCLIFFE at present, but it certainly looks as if the Circulation
Manager of _The Daily Mail_ has been slacking.


We really think more care should be taken by the authorities to see
that, while waging war on the Continent, they do not forget the
defence of those at home. The fact that Mr. WINSTON CHURCHILL and Mr.
HORATIO BOTTOMLEY were away in France at the same time looks like
gross carelessness.


"Next to the field of Mars we must pay homage to the forge of Vulcan,"
said the KAISER in a recent speech. A stout fellow, this Vulcan, but
as a forger not really in the ALL-HIGHEST'S class.


Taxicabs are to be entitled to charge a shilling for the first mile.
The bus fare for the remainder of the distance will be the same as


It is stated that fifty per cent. of the sugar forms have been filled
in wrong. On the other hand a number of our youthful hedonists are
complaining that as far as sugar is concerned their forms have never
been anywhere near filled in.


A Wood Green gentleman has written to an evening paper to say that he
has grown a vegetable marrow which weighs forty-three pounds. There is
some talk of his being elected an Honorary Angler.


A Grimsby lady who has just celebrated her hundredth birthday states
that she has never visited a cinema theatre. We felt sure there must
be an explanation somewhere.


It seems a pity that the Willesden Health Committee should have
troubled to pass a resolution about the decreasing birth-rate. When we
remember air-raids and the shortage of sugar it is only natural that
people should show a disinclination to be born just now.


"I don't care how soon a General Election comes," says Mr. JOHN
DILLON, M.P. It is this dare-devil spirit which has made so many
Irishmen what they are. The recruiting officer has no terrors for


HENRY ELIONSKY, of New York, has succeeded in swimming seven miles
with his legs tied to a chair and with heavy boots and clothing. It
is not known why he did it, but we gather that CHARLIE CHAPLIN is now
wondering whether he was wise, after all, in becoming a naturalised


The wave of crime still sweeps the country. On top of the L30,000
jewel robbery comes the news that a man has been charged with breaking
into a London tobacconist's shop and stealing a box of matches value
1/2d. (price 11/2d.).


A letter has just reached a City office addressed to the tenants who
occupied the premises twenty years ago. Fortunately such cases of
loitering on the part of our postmen are extremely rare.


An infuriated bull has been killed in High Street, Tonbridge, after
wrecking several shop windows. It is thought that the animal had
misread the directions on its sugar card.


A number of people have complained that they could hear nothing of the
recent air-raids over London, owing to the noise of the firing being
drowned by the admonitory activities of the police.

* * * * *

[Illustration: THE BULLDOG BREED.

_Company Commander_ (_making sure of his men before the show_). "NOW,

_Chorus of Tommies_. "YUSS, SIR."


_Chorus_. "THEY GERMANS, SIR."]

* * * * *


"Mrs. Eckstein and Miss Eckstein have returned to London
from Scotland, and they are leaving London immediately for
London."--_Brighton Standard and Fashionable Visitors' List_.

* * * * *

"The Irish farmers are confident that the Food Controller's
declared intention to fix the price of cattle at 6s. per cwt. for
next January will not be carried into effect. They believe that
Lord Rhondda must realise the necessity of making a substantial
increase on this figure."--_Saturday Herald (Dublin)_.

Lord RHONDDA, we understand, has already met the Irish farmers more
than halfway by fixing the price at 60s.

* * * * *
"The Apia Blacksmiths, Ltd., will undertake contracts for the
building of houses, with or without material."--_Samoa Times_.

"And gives to airy nothing
A local habitation."--_Shakspeare_.

* * * * *


A correspondent informs us that the playbill of IBSEN'S _Ghosts_
at the Pavilion Theatre bears the following words: "Mr. Neville
Chamberlain says, 'It is essential there should be provided amusements
and recreations which can take people for an hour or so out of
themselves and return them to their work refreshed and reinvigorated.'"

* * * * *




A promising young poet of my acquaintance, who in the midst of war's
obsessions still finds time and taste for the exercise of his art
(he is in a Government office), has allowed me to see the opening
couplet of what I understand to be a very ambitious poem. It runs as

"Though overhead the Gothas buzz,
Stands London where it did? It does."

Many good judges of poetry to whom I have quoted these lines think
them very clever.

* * * * *

A witty friend of mine tells me that he is thinking of bringing out
a handy and up-to-date edition of the _Almanach de Gotha_, special
attention being paid to the changes of the Moon.

* * * * *

Society is always on the look-out for some new distraction from the
tedium of War. The latest vogue with smart people is to get up little
air-raid parties for the Tube, to be followed by auction or a small
boy-and-girl dance. Sections of tunnel or platform can be engaged
beforehand by arrangement with the Constabulary.

* * * * *

I hear that my friend, ARTHUR BOURCHIER, continues to draw crowds to
the Oxford. I was dining the other day with a young and brilliant
officer, who has seen two months' active service in the A.S.C. and
won golden opinions at the Base, and he assured me that there is no
"Better 'Ole" than the Oxford during an air-raid.

* * * * *

Now that London is part of the Front, with a barrage of its own, one
has to be careful to censor one's correspondence. It is advisable not
to mention your actual address, but just to write "Somewhere in the
West-End. B.S.F." (British Sedentary Force).

* * * * *

The Winter season has begun exceptionally early. Last Sunday at Church
Parade I saw Lady "Nibs" Tattenham, looking the very image of her
latest photograph in _The Prattler_, where she appears with her pet
Pekie over the legend, "Deeply interested in War-work."

* * * * *

A gallant Contemptible has been complaining to me that the Press shows
no sense of proportion in the space that it allots to air-raids. Our
casualties from that source, he said, are never one tenth as heavy as
those in France on days when G.H.Q. reports "Everything quiet on the
Western Front." I naturally disagreed with his attitude. Nothing, I
told him, is more likely to discourage the Hun than to see column
after column in our papers proving that these visitations leave us
totally unmoved. Besides it must be very comforting to our troops
in the trenches to learn in detail how their dear ones at home are
sharing the perils of the other fronts. In any case nobody who knows
our Press would doubt the purity of their motive in reporting as many
air-raid horrors as the Censor permits.

* * * * *

_A propos_ of the Patriotic Press, no praise can be too high for some
of our society weeklies. They have set their faces like flint against
any serious reference to the War. When I see them going imperturbably
along the old pre-war lines, snapping smart people at the races or in
the Row, or reproducing the devastating beauty of a revue chorus, I
know that they have their withers unwrung and their heart in the right
place. I always have one of these papers on my table to be taken as a
corrective after the daily casualty lists.

* * * * *

A striking feature of the Photographic Press is to be seen in the
revival of the _vie intime_ of popular idols of the stage. The human
life of our great actors and actresses as revealed in some simple
rustic _villeggiatura_ has always had a fascination for a public that
does not enjoy the privilege of their private friendship. And in these
strenuous War-days it is well to bring home to the theatre-goer how
necessary is domestic repose for those who are doing their courageous
bit to keep the nation from dwelling on the inconveniences of

* * * * *

One of the most profound after-the-war questions that is agitating
the mind of the Government is what eventually to do with the miles
of wooden and concrete villages that have sprung up all over London
like Jonah's mushroom. I hear a rumour that the House of Commons
tea-terrace will shortly be commandeered for the erection of yet
another block of buildings to accommodate yet another Ministry--the
Ministry of Demobilization of Temporary Departmental Hutments.

O. S.

* * * * *


[Mr. Punch has been fortunate enough to secure in advance a prospectus
of the enterprising managements.]


offers splendid night accommodation in its magnificently appointed
stations. Every modern convenience. Luxurious lifts conducted by the
Company's own liveried attendants convey guests to the dormitories.
Constant supply of fresh ozone. Reduced terms to season ticket


All lines converge to this Hotel, which is therefore the most central
in London. Frequent trains convey visitors direct to their beds. For
the convenience of patrons arriving above ground or by District, the
Directors have installed a superb moving staircase, thereby obviating
the inconvenience of crowded lifts.

The platforms and passages are tastefully decorated with coloured
pictures by the leading firms.

Visitors are respectfully requested not to sleep on the moving



This Hotel, which is one of the deepest in London, is composed of
four magnificent platforms and nearly a mile of finely tessellated
corridors. Electric light. Constant temperature of sixty-five degrees
Fahrenheit. Excellent catering under the control of the Automatic
Machine Company. Reduced terms during moonless nights.


Situated in a commanding position, underlooking the Heath, this hotel
is positively the deepest in London. The Management has decided to
extend the accommodation during one week in each month by offering
beds on the steps of the staircase. No one has ever been known to walk
either up or down this staircase, and patrons are therefore assured of
an uninterrupted night's repose. Extremely moderate terms are quoted
for the higher flights.


Ensure an undisturbed night's sleep by putting up at the Gillespie
Road Station Family and Commercial Hotel. Large numbers of trains pass
this station without stopping, and residents are comparatively free
from the annoyance caused by the arrival and departure of passengers.

Special terms for Aliens, who are requested to bring their own

* * * * *

[Illustration: A PLACE IN THE MOON.



* * * * *


It began like the noise of rushing water, and for a moment the Brigade
Major hoped that somebody had taken it upon himself to wash the
orderly. The noise, however, was followed by a succession of thumps
which put an end to this pretty flight of fancy. Aghast he surveyed
the scene before him. Close to the Brigade Headquarters' dug-out was
an old French dump of every conceivable kind of explosive made up into
every known form of projectile. No longer was it a picture of Still
Life. The Sleeping Beauty was awake indeed. The Prince had come in the
form of a common whizz-bang.

As he looked (and ducked) a flock of aerial torpedoes, propelled by
the explosion of one of their number, rose and scattered as if at the
approach of a hostile sportsman. Another explosion blew what seemed to
be a million rockets sizzling into the air.

The store was on fire!

The Brigade Major retired.
* * * * *
Everybody was in the Signal dug-out (Signals build deep and strong).
Secretly the clerks were praying for the disintegration of the
typewriter and the total destruction of the overwhelming mass of paper
(paper warfare had been terrible of late). The Staff Captain and
the O.C. Gum Boots, who had been approaching the Headquarters, were
already half a mile down the road and still going strong.

The Division rang up. One need hardly have mentioned that. In times of
stress the higher formations rarely fail.

"What's going on?" they asked.

The Brigade Major was just going to say, when suddenly he remembered.
That very morning he had been severely strafed for speaking of
important things over the telephone when so near the enemy. "Had he
not read the Divisional G 245/348/24 of the 29th inst.? What was the
good of issuing orders to defeat the efficiency of the Bosch listening
apparatus if they were not obeyed?" etc., etc.

True, it was conceivable that even without the aid of a delicate
listening apparatus the Bosch was cognisant of an explosion that
made his whole front line quiver; still orders is orders. So the
Brigade-Major swallowed hard.

"C-can't tell you over the wires. Your G 245/348/24...."

"Yes, yes, we know all about that. Don't say it _definitely_, but give
us an _idea_. _Where_ is all this noise?"

"Here!--Oh!" piped the B.M. as a crump shook the receiver out of his

"Send it in code at once. The G.O.C. is strafing horribly to know."

To encode a message which may be your last words on earth is not the
easiest of tasks. It has no romance about it. Who would relish
an obituary such as: "He died like a hero, his last words being

To the ramping of the continuous crump the B.M. scraped away the dirt
and stuff that had fallen from the throbbing walls of his dug-out
and fished out the Code-Book. Hurriedly he turned over the pages to
"Ammunition" and read down the set phrases and their code equivalents.
Four times he relit the candle. There seemed nothing under this
heading applicable to the situation. "Send up" was one, but that had
already been done. "Am/is/are/running short of" was another, but it
was doubtful if the Division would see the real meaning of it.

"Ah, here we are," he muttered, relighting the candle for the fifth
time. "Dumps." Alas, there was nothing to convey the situation very
clearly even under this heading. Finally he picked out the nearest he
could find and sent it over the wires.

This is what they decoded to the expectant G.O.C. of the Division:
"_Advanced ammunition depot has moved_."

The G.O.C. said something which impelled the entire Divisional Staff
to the telephone, where they all grabbed for the receiver.

"What the devil is this code message? We can't understand it. You've
sent in something about the dump at your Brigade Headquarters."

"Ah!" said the B.M. meaningly, "there is _not_ a dump at Brigade
Headquarters now."

"Well, I don't care. We want to know what all this noise is about."

"It's the dump. It's m-moved."

"Moved? Moved where? Give the map reference."

"Map reference?" murmured the B.M. "Oh, my sacred aunt, what fools ...
I'm sorry" (he smiled at them through his teeth) "I can't give you the
_m-map_ reference, but I can give you the _area_ roughly."

"Barmy!" was the word he heard spoken to a bystander at the other end.

"Look here, old man," they said kindly, "we know you're all very tired
and worried, but just try to _think_ a moment. Never mind dumps now.
You can't be making all that noise moving a dump--what?" (Specimen of
Divisional joke--very rare.) "Tell us, is the Bosch shelling?"

"No. They've stopped."

"Good. Then it's all over?"

"No. It's still going on."

"But you just said that it had stopped."

"Yes, it has. But the dump hasn't. It keeps m-moving."

"Poor old bird," they said, "his nerve's gone at last. All right,"
they shouted, "don't you worry. The storeman will look after the dump.
You go to bed and have a good sleep."

"Have a g-good sleep!" muttered the B.M., "that's just like the
Divis--Oh!" and he sat down as a torpedo flopped into his bedroom a
few doors away and made a hole of it.

Then he sat up. The storeman of the Brigade dump was not two hundred
yards away from the active one. The poor fellow was to have gone on
leave that night. Presently it occurred to him that, instead of trying
to decide who should have the reversion of the storeman's leave, it
would be better to go and see if there really was a vacancy. Fifteen
boxes of melinite delayed him but a moment. With melinite you know
the worst at once; it doesn't hang round like boxes of ammunition,
for instance. He called a clerk and together they raced over to the
storeman's dug-out.

"Jock!" cried the clerk. "Are ye there, Jock?"

"Is he quite dead?" said the B.M., making up his mind to use his leave
warrant for himself.

"No, Sir, he's very deaf, that's why he's a storeman. Jo-ock!!"

"Hello!" came from the ground.

"Are ye all right, Jock?"

"Na. There's an awfu' to-do here."

"What's wrong then?"

"Ma candle keeps going oot."

"Are ye all right, though, Jock?"


"Well, what's up with ye?"

"I told ye. Ma candle keeps going oot. What's up yon?"
* * * * *
When the B.M. got back he found a one-sided war in progress on the
telephone. The G.O.C. had heated up the wires to red-heat.

"Is that you, Nessel? Where the devil have you been? This noise is
still going on. Tell me what it is. No-dam-nonsense-now. Let's have

"If you want to know and you don't mind the Bosch hearing what I say,
Sir, the dump, the French dump, has b-blown itself to b-blazes."

"Why the _devil_ couldn't you say so before?"

Every dog has his day. With a full and fatuous smile the Brigade-Major
picked up a paper and began: "Reference your G. 245/348/24 of the 29th
inst. It says that--"

Somebody must have taken a bone away from a dog at the other end. He
growled horribly.

* * * * *

[Illustration: _Flapper (shyly)._ "COULD YOU TELL ME WHAT A STAMP

* * * * *

From an account of the Ministerial crisis in Sweden:--

"Two imperialist minstrels, however, Von Melsted and
Lengquist, did quite enough mischief."--_Daily Mail_.

Members of the pro-German band, no doubt.

* * * * *

Mr. Punch desires to record thanks to the innumerable correspondents
who have drawn his attention to the statement in _The Daily Chronicle_
that among the German officers who escaped and were afterwards
recaptured was "Von Thelan, a lieutenant in the lying corps." The
existence of this unit in the German Army has, as most of them point
out, been long suspected, but never officially confirmed till now.

* * * * *

[Illustration: _The Colonel's Daughter_. "WHAT A WONDERFUL VOICE AND


* * * * *


["If taxi-cab fares are increased it will put a stop to
tipping."--_Evening Paper_.]

Only really robust men should refuse to tip the taxi-driver. Many a
City man has set out in the morning intent on giving no tips and has
not been heard of afterwards.

To enable timid men to avoid a tip, the police are providing
taxi-drivers with antiseptic mouthpieces, through which their words
may be sterilised.

If the driver insists on a tip do not threaten to take his number.
Just take it and run. If you haven't time for both, just run.

* * * * *

"ALL-WOOL Black Cashmere Stockings, winter weight. 1/111/2
and 2/6 per yard." _Advt. in Scotch Paper_.

We had always thought hosiery was sold by the foot.

* * * * *

"On the estate of the late Hon. Lionel Walrond, Uffculme,
Devon, Robert James, 97, is felling for the purpose of
aeroplane construction aspen trees which he helped to
plant 80 years ago."--_The Times_.

Three cheers for Mr. ROBERT JAMES! "For he's a jolly good feller!"

* * * * *




From Egypt, Africa and Gaul
CAESAR his Roman triumph brings:
Dark queens and ruddy-bearded kings,
And scowling Britons led in thrall,
And elephants with silver rings;
But oh, more excellent than all,
This pensive beast, this mottled beast,
From the marshes of the East.

_Patres conscripti_, hail him now
Divine! Through Rome his triumph rolls;
Oysters in barrels, pearls in bowls,
Chariots and horsemen, moving slow
Where purple garlands droop on poles.
_Patres conscripti_, crown his brow,
Who brought us from the golden East
This unimagined peerless beast!

Never has CAESAR made our foes
Weep more than he has made us laugh;
He who divides the world in half
With the long shadow of his nose,
And bridges oceans with his staff,
Brings now, with pomp of vine and rose,
This wondering and wondrous beast
From the subjugated East.

In bronze and basalt let us raise
The bust of CAESAR; he has done
Great things for Rome; but here is one
Above the rest, o'ertopping praise.
The elephants and kings are gone,
But still the roaring tumult sways--
Much for the Conqueror of the East,
More for the incomparable beast.

* * * * *


Life in a convalescent hospital for officers is not one continuous
round of gaiety, but it has its incidents for all that.

The other day Sister took Haynes, Ansell and myself to have tea with
some people in the neighbouring village of Little Budford. We were
waiting in the hall for the car when Seymour came along. Seymour is an
adjutant when he is not at home, and he likes to see things done with
proper military precision.

"Here," he said, "you can't go off casually like that. Fall in,

We fell in, and he went to the smoking-room and woke Major Stanley.

"Party for tea ready for inspection, Sir," he reported.

"Who? What? Where?" asked the Major confusedly. "Good Lord, you young
idiot, what a scare you gave me! Thought I was back in France for a
moment. Where's this party paraded?"

"Hout in the 'all, Sir." Seymour led him to where we were standing at

"Party!" he roared. "Shunsuwere!" We gave two convulsive jerks.
"Smarten up there, smarten HUP! Get a move on! This ain't a waxwork.
Shunsuwere!... Shun!! Party present, Sir."

The Major inspected us.

"I don't like this smear, Sergeant," he said, pointing to Ansell's
upper lip.

Seymour examined the feature in question.

"It don't appear to be dirt, Sir. Some sort o' growth, I think. You
try sand-papering it, me lad, an' you'll find it come orf all right."

"Very good, Sergeant," answered Ansell solemnly.

The Major proceeded to Haynes, and eyed him with disfavour.

"We can't do nothing with this man, Sir," said Seymour deprecatingly.
"'Is legs is that bandy."

"What do you mean, Private Haynes, by appearing on ceremonial parade
with a pair of bandy legs?"

"It wasn't my fault, Sir. 'Strewth, it wasn't. They got wet, Sir, an'
I went an' dried 'em at the cook'ouse fire, Sir, an' they got warped,

"Well," said the Major, "don't bring 'em on parade again. Tell your
Q.M.S. I say you're to have a new pair."

"Very good, Sir."

The Major passed on to me, and surveyed my left arm more in anger than
in sorrow.

"Why has this man got his blue band fastened on with pins?" he
demanded. "Why isn't it sewn on? Why hasn't he fastened it on with
elastic? D'you hear me? Are you deaf? Why isn't it sewn on? Why don't
you speak?"

"Please, Sir...."

"Don't answer me back! Sergeant, take this man's name. He is insolent.
Take his name for insolence. You are insolent, Sir. You're a disgrace
to the Army. You're a ..."

"If you've quite finished with my squad, Major," put in Sister in a
quiet voice from the door, "the car is here, and we're late already. I
shall have to push a bit."

I promptly made for the seat beside the driver, explaining that I
wanted to see the speedometer burst. Sister does a good many things,
and does most of them well; but her particular accomplishment is
her motor-driving. After my experiences in different cars at the
Front--especially those driven by Frenchmen--I thought at first that
motoring had no new thrills to offer me; but when Sister takes corners
I still clutch at anything handy.

Surrey began to stream past us. The landscape was extremely beautiful,
but only the more distant parts of it were visible except as a mere
blur. After five or six miles we turned into a long straight stretch
of road.

"The Hepworths live somewhere along this," said Sister. "There's a
lovely sunken garden just in front of the house which I want you to
notice. Hallo! here we are; I thought it was further on."

The car whizzed round and through a drive gateway half hidden in
trees. When I opened my eyes again I looked for the sunken garden; but
except for a few very prim-looking flower-beds the grounds in front of
the house consisted entirely of a lawn, round which the drive took a
broad circular sweep.

"It must be the wrong house," said Sister, and without pausing an
instant in our centrifugal career we rushed round the complete circle
and disappeared through the gate as suddenly as we had come. As we
passed the house I had a fleeting glimpse of an old, hard-featured and
furious female face glaring at us from one of the windows.

On the road we stopped the car so as to regain some measure of gravity
before presenting ourselves at our real destination--next house--but
were still rather hysterical when we arrived.

"You'll hear more of this," said our hostess, when we had reported our
raid. "Old Miss Mendip lives there--a regular tartar; all kinds of
views; writes to the papers."

* * * * *

In a subsequent issue of the local weekly we found the following:--

_To the Editor of "The Inshot Times, Great and Little
Budford Chronicle and Home Counties Advertiser_."

SIR,--Even in _war-time_, when one cannot call our souls our own,
we may surely expect the privacy of individuals and the rights of
property to receive _some_ respect. An Englishman's home is still
his castle, though the debased morals and decayed manners of modern
_Society_ (?) seem to blind its members to the fact.

I wish to give publicity in your pages to a disgraceful _outrage_
of which I have been made the victim. On Tuesday last I was rudely
awakened from my afternoon rest by the sound of a large motor-car.
As I did not expect visitors I proceeded to the window in order
to discover to what the _intrusion_ might be due. What was my
_astonishment_ to discover that the vehicle contained a party of four
_perfect strangers_. Three of them, I regret to state, were wounded
officers; they were being driven by one of the modern games-playing
cigarette-smoking young women to whom the old-fashioned word "_lady_"
seems so _singularly_ inapplicable. Their sole object in entering
appeared to be the perpetration of a senseless practical _joke_, for
after _careering_ round my garden at a pace which I can only describe
as _unwomanly_, they went off by the way they had come.

My gardener, who witnessed the incident, tells me that on reaching
the road they stopped the vehicle and celebrated the success of their
inane efforts by _shrieking_ with that unrestrained mirth which jars
so painfully on refined ears.

Can _nothing_ be done?

I am, Sir, Yours faithfully,


_Manor Lodge, Little Budford_.

* * * * *

[Illustration: _Orderly Officer_. "HOW MANY HORSES ARE HERE, PICKET?"

_Picket (a little fed-up)_. "ER--HORSE LINE, 'SHUN! FROM THE

* * * * *


"While the horse doeuvres were being served, the Kaiser, etc."

At the Imperial table, it will be observed, they put the horse before
the _carte_.

* * * * *

"He held several Court appointments, including those of Keeper of
the Privy PuPrse to the Prince"--_The Star_.

It is not every Keeper of the Privy Purse who thus manages to double
the initial capital.

* * * * *

THE P.-P.-D.

Henry is in the War Office, where he takes a hand in the Direction of
Military Aeronautics. To meet him you might almost think that Military
Aeronautics was a one-man show. He has, at any rate in the eyes of the
layman, an encyclopaedic knowledge of aircraft and all appertaining
thereto. When he is out for a walk on Sunday with his wife and
daughter, and a British aeroplane passes over them with the usual
fascinating roar, Henry is very superior. Mummy (who is of coarse
clay) and Betty (aged 11/2, and coarser still) are frankly excited
every time.

"Look at the pretty airship!" says Mummy.

"Oo-ah!" says Betty.

"B. E. 4 X.," snaps Henry, without looking at it.
* * * * *
Or rather this is what Henry used to do; but now things are different.
It was Betty who, so to speak, brought him down to earth again.
He had great ambitions for Betty, whom he fondly believed to be
possessed of intelligence above the lot of woman, and he always
laboured prodigiously to advance her education. Betty took to it
philosophically, however, and refused to be hurried; and Henry almost
despaired of getting her beyond two syllables. The "Common Objects
of the Farmyard" were rapidly assimilated, and all the world of
mechanical traction was comprehended in the generic "puff-puff." But
Henry wouldn't be satisfied with this very creditable repertoire. "Out
of respect for her father, if for no other reason," he would insist,
"she _must_ learn to say 'aeroplane.'"

"How ridiculous!" said Mummy, who always called them "airships," to
annoy Henry; "and anyhow it's no use going on at her; she never will
say things to order. If you'll only leave her alone for a bit she'll
probably say it, and then your sordid ambition will be gratified."

But Henry cared for none of these things, and when Sunday came, and
with it Sunday's promenade and Sunday's aeroplane, he went at it as
hard as ever.

"Say 'air-ye-play,'" he commanded, as the pram was brought to a
standstill and the droning monster passed overhead.

Betty gazed raptly at the entrancing thing. Then suddenly she raised a
fat hand and pointed. "Oo-ah!" she said, "puff-puff-dicky!"

* * * * *
And nowadays Henry's omniscience is decently obscured under a
capacious bushel. If you meet an aeroplane when you are walking with
him and ask humbly for his verdict thereon, in the expectation of an
explosion of clipped technical jargon, he will stop and study its
outline with great attention, and will eventually inform you, to your
respectful mystification, that it is a "P.-P.-D." Thereafter he will
chuckle most unofficially.

* * * * *



* * * * *


"Wanted, a Blue Bull (Nilgai or Rojh). Apply, stating sex,
age, height and price."--_Pioneer_.

* * * * *

From a German _communique_:--

"On the eastern bank of the Mouse desperate fishing
continues."--_Edinburgh Evening Paper_.

And the Bosch has caught more than he bargained for.

* * * * *

From the report of the meeting, in London, of the Executive Committee
of the National Farmers' Union:--

"Farmers had hundreds of acres of grass which they were willing
to turn into meat, but were prevented from doing so."

Mr. Punch thinks that the difficulty might be overcome if the meat
were turned into the grass.

* * * * *


Command Headquarters (who, of course,
Ride us as Cockneys ride a horse--
I mean, without considering
The animal; the ride's the thing)
On Army Form--I cannot think
Precisely which; the form was pink--
Instructed Captain So-and-so,
With certain other ranks, to go
And at a given hour report,
With rifles, such-and-such a sort,
So many rounds of S.A.A.
Per man, and so much oats and hay
Per horse (as specified and charged
On War Establishments, enlarged,
Revised and issued as amended);
And here the said instruction ended,
"Signed, Eustace Blank, G.S.O.3,
For D.A.Q.A.M.A.G."
The reason why the form was thus
Truncated was--alas for us!--
That Major Blank, a hasty man,
Neglected his accustomed plan
And failed, in short, to P.T.O.,
So never told us where to go.

We drafted a polite reply:--
"Your such a number, Fourth July;
Instructions touching destination
Requested, please, for information."
And Captain So-and-So and men
Donned and inspected kits.
And then
Command Headquarters went and wired:
"The draft in question not required.
When any draft is _wanted_ you
Will hear _precisely_ what to do;
No error ever passes through
This office. You will therefore not
In future tell US what is what;
WE know; and WE are on the spot.
The G.O.C.-in-C. is much
The old Headquarters' touch.

* * * * *


"Cottage, suitable for pigs and poultry."--_Birmingham
Daily Mail_.

* * * * *

"SUSAN'S PUDDING.--This is a super-excellent pudding, and,
as times go, the cost of the material used is not excessive.
Required: One cup each of flour, breadcrumbs, raisins (stoned
and chopped), currants (washed and dried), also a teacupful
of baking powder.... If served only on occasion--a special
occasion--the most scrupulously careful housewife should not
be troubled by uneasy sensations."--_Bristol Times and Mirror_.

We should--after a teacupful of baking powder.

* * * * *

[Illustration: THE BELGIAN "MENACE."


{"Belgium would be required to give a guarantee that any such
menace as that which threatened Germany in 1914 would in future be
excluded."--_German Foreign Secretary to Papal Nuncio at Munich_.}]

* * * * *


A good deal of dissatisfaction is expressed with the state of the
cellars to which people have been invited during the raids. "Surely,"
writes one of our correspondents, "it is a scandal that, at this time
in the world's history, some cellars should be totally destitute
of wine. That there should be no coal in the coal-cellars is
understandable enough; but to ask the timid public into empty wine
cellars is a travesty of hospitality."

* * * * *

Every effort will be made when the House reassembles to provide
separate cellars for the SPEAKER and Mr. PEMBERTON BILLING.

* * * * *

Mr. JIMMY WILDE, the Welsh boxer, it has been widely announced, had a
marvellous escape from an air-bomb. The little champion (for once not
in a position to hit back) was standing in the door of his hotel when
the projectile dropped, and blew him along the passage, but inflicted
no injuries. The world will therefore hear from Mr. WILDE again, whose
future antagonists should view with a shudder this inability of the
Gothas to knock him out.

* * * * *

Mr. WILDE is, however, not alone in his good fortune. From all the
bombarded parts, and from some others, come news of remarkable pieces
of good luck, due almost or wholly to the fact that the bombs fell on
spots where our correspondents were not standing, although they might
easily have been there had they not been elsewhere. The similarity of
their experience is indeed most striking.

* * * * *

Mr. HAROLD BEGBIE, for example, who disapproves of soldiers laughing,
happened to be in the country on the night of the 24th. Had he been
in town he might, in a melancholy reverie caused by the incorrigible
light-heartedness of his fellow-countrymen, have wandered bang into
the danger zone. No one can be too thankful that he did not.

* * * * *

Sir HENRY WOOD'S project to play TCHAIKOVSKY'S "1812" in such
perfect time that the audience will have the pleasure of hearing our
anti-aircraft men supply the big-gun effects, although laudable, is,
it is feared, doomed to failure.

* * * * *

There was no air raid over London on Wednesday the 26th. The sudden
noise (which happily produced no panic) in His Majesty's Theatre was
merely Miss LILY BRAYTON dropping the clothes she was not wearing.

* * * * *

A CONSTANT RAIDER writes:--"It is understood that the German
airmen's motto--borrowed, without acknowledgment, from the dental
profession--is 'We spare no panes.'"

* * * * *

In view of recent events Miss TENNYSON JESSE is considering whether
her new novel, _Secret Bread_, should be renamed _Air-raided Bread_.

* * * * *

Mr. CHARLES COCHRAN is very anxious that it should be known that not a
single bomb hit him. Had any of them done so, the consequences might
have been very serious. This happy immunity being his, he wishes it
also to be known that his various and meritorious theatres are doing
even more astonishing business than before.

* * * * *

Mr. COCHRAN, however, together with other theatrical managers, has a
dangerous rival. The raids are threatening to ruin the matinees now so
prevalent by setting up counter attractions. The thousands of people
(not only errand-boys) who now stand all day to watch the workmen mend
a hole in the roadway caused by a bomb would otherwise, but for this
engrossing and never tedious spectacle, be in this theatre or that.

* * * * *

Mr. HALL CAINE telegraphs from the Isle of Man that no bombs having
fallen there he remains intact.

* * * * *


* * * * *


"Wanted, two Single Rooms, in private or boarding house; special
arrangements for constant absence."--_Australian Paper_.

* * * * *



MY DEAR BOY,--We both congratulate you heartily on your appointment.
Acting on your suggestion, I have hinted to your mother that her
anxieties for your safety may be considerably lessened in consequence.
You will, of course, continue to address letters likely to cause her
any apprehension to my club. On entering this new phase of your career
you will not take it amiss if I offer you a few words of practical

1. Do not neglect your advantages. Always visit the line with a double
mission, one for the right of the line and one for the left--and see
which they are shelling.

2. If they are strafing all along the line, inspect Transport.

3. Cultivate the detached manner when dealing with all but the very
senior. This will give you what is called distinction. Charm will come

4. What you don't know, guess. If wrong, guess again.

5. Always put off on to others what you cannot do yourself.

6. What little you do, do well--and see that it gets talked about.
Medals are going round, and you may as well have them as anybody else.

7. Belong to a good Mess and invite people who are inclined to

8. When rung up on a subject of which you know nothing, learn
to conduct the conversation so that you abstract the necessary
enlightenment from the questioner himself (while appearing to be
perfectly conversant with what he is talking about), and, if possible,
get him to suggest the answer to his own conundrum. In other words,
bluff as in poker (which I trust you don't play).

These are just a few little hints that have occurred to me. Your own
good sense will guide you as to the rest. Everybody at home is taking
a tremendous interest in the War, I'm glad to say. Hardly a day passes
but I am asked at least a dozen times when it is going to be over.

Your affectionate Father, etc., etc.

* * * * *

From an order recently issued at the Front:

"Great care must always be exercised in tethering horses to
trees, as they are apt to bark, and thereby destroy the trees."

Wow, wow!

* * * * *

[Illustration: THE PERFECT LIFE.


* * * * *


The Herald lives in cloister grey;
He lives by clerkly rules;
He dreams in coats and colours gay,
In _argent_, _or_ and _gules_;
He blazons knightly shield and banner
In dim monastic hall,
And in a grave and reverend manner
He earns his bread withal.

Were I a herald fair and fit
So featly for to limn
As though I'd learnt the lore of it
Among the seraphim,
I'd leave the schools to clerkly people
And walk, as dawn begins,
From steeple unto distant steeple,
And paint the signs of inns.

_The Dragon_, as I'd see him, is
A loving beast and long,
And oh, the _Goat and Compasses_,
'Twould fill my soul with song;
_The Bell_, _The Bull_, _The Rose and Rummer_,
Such themes should like me still
At Yule, or when the heart of Summer
Lies blue on vale and hill.

Let others' blazonry find place
Supported, scrolled with gold,
A glowing dignity and grace
On honoured walls and old;
And let it likewise be attended
In stately circumstance
With mottos writ o' Latin splendid
Or courtly words of France;

But I would paint _The Golden Tun_
And others to my mind,
And mellow them in rain and sun,
And hang them on the wind;
And I would say, "My handcraft creaking
On this autumnal gale
Unto all wayfarers is speaking
In praise of rest and ale."

Then bless the man who puts a sign
Above his wide door's beam,
And bless the hop-root, fruit and vine,
For still I dream my dream,
Where, as the flushing East turns pinker
And tardy day begins,
I take the road like any tinker
And paint the signs of inns.

* * * * *



_Evening News_.

They ought to set a better example.

* * * * *

"Certain people seem to have misread the statement last week
that flour would be reduced 1s. 11/2d. that flour would be
reduced to 1s. 11/2d. but that that that flour would be reduced
to 1s. 111/2d. but that amount or somewhere about it would be
taken off the former price."--_Rossendale Free Press_.

There ought to be no misunderstanding after this.

* * * * *

"At such close quarters were attackers and attacked that to
have used grenades would manifestly have been equally dangerous
to both. So, after a brief pause to collect the means, our men
began to pelt the Huns with bottles filled with water. Apparently
the enemy thought this was some new form of 'frightfulness,'
for they speedily threw down their arms and tossed up their
hands."--_Daily Telegraph_.

Our contemporary, while rightly applauding the resourcefulness of our
bombers, might have given the Germans credit for their remarkable feat
of acrobacy.

* * * * *


If ever, in a railing mood, I have unjustly aspersed the Army; if,
by reason of deferred pay, over-diluted stew, or leave adjourned, I
have accused the Powers That Be of a step-motherly indifference to
my welfare, I hereby withdraw unreservedly all such aspersions and
accusations. For since my discharge tokens of kindly interest and
affection have reached me in such rapid succession that I am kept
wondering what the next will be. With a quarter of a million men in
his care (as I suppose, since my number was 256801), my fatherly
Record Officer has yet time for frequent correspondence with "crocks"
like me. He registers all his letters; he makes his instructions so
plain that a very suckling might understand them; he takes every
precaution lest, in the press of business, I should be overlooked.

I had been at home about a week when his first communication
arrived--an unexpected windfall purporting to represent the balance of
my pay and allowances. The method of computation would probably have
transcended my intelligence if it had been indicated; but there was no
attempt at explanation, nor did I desire it. I stamped and signed the
receipt form according to unmistakable directions, and returned it to
Headquarters. A few days later certain arrears of Separation Allowance
came to hand--arrears whose existence our own unaided sagacity would
never have revealed. Guided by an illustrative diagram we signed
the receipt in due form and returned it. Before we had ceased
congratulating ourselves on these accessions, yet another instalment
of pay was delivered, with form of receipt as in the previous case.
We were almost convinced that the country cottage and the leisured
ease of our dreams were within our grasp, but the well ran dry at
that point. Some of my balance may yet lurk in the coffers of the
Paymaster, but I dare not throw off the yoke of my bondage on the
strength of a bare possibility.

After a brief interval, Records returned to the charge with a bulky
envelope containing matter of great interest. One of the enclosures
certified that, for the term of three months, I was transferred to
Class W.P., Army Reserve. I made various conjectures as to the meaning
of "W," and so did Cinderella. On the whole we favoured "Warrior,"
but perhaps we were wrong. At all events, the interpretation of "P"
was clearly set forth by another document, which explained that I was
entitled to a pension of eight shillings and threepence per week so
long as I remained among the happy W.P.'s. There was also an identity
certificate, whereon some clergyman, magistrate or policeman must
attest that I was alive when I brought it to him, and a form of
receipt for all the papers in the batch. I signed it according to
instructions and returned it to Headquarters.

The identity certificate went back to a specified address, where
it set in motion machinery by which my pension paper was presently
delivered to me--accompanied by a form of receipt. This paper was
covered with mystic circles, whose meaning I discovered when I
presented myself at the post-office. They were apparently intended to
appease the presiding divinity by gratifying her passion for stamping
things. She hit my paper accurately in four of its rings, and then,
with a pleased smile, handed me thirty-three shillings.

Meanwhile Records had stirred up a benevolent neighbour to call upon
me. He belonged to an organisation for assisting discharged soldiers;
he was Opportunity in person for anyone who might need him; but,
as Cinderella explained, I was at that moment engaged upon work of
national importance and could not claim his help. Nevertheless she
thanked the gentleman and placed the incident to the credit of the
Powers That Be.

No acknowledgment was required for this visit; but a week later my war
services' badge was delivered per registered post, and I confessed the
fact both on the usual green slip and on the form of receipt which was
enclosed. Henceforth I was able to appear in public with an outward
and visible sign of the ferocity which underlies my demeanour, and my
most lurid tales had a substantial witness.

Two months went by, during which the O. i/c Records made no further
additions to our postbag. There are mornings when your friends appear
to have forgotten you, when a Levitical postman bangs your neighbour's
gate mockingly and forthwith crosses the street. On such mornings
our thoughts may have turned to Records with a certain yearning; but
mainly we felt his care like the air about us, and had no need that it
should materialise in idle correspondence.

At last my term of probation came to an end. In response to a
note from Records (with form for receipt) I returned my Transfer
Certificate and received in its place my final Discharge Papers--with
a form for receipt. At the same time I heard that the Commissioners
were in earnest consultation as to the continuance of my pension.

Thus goodness and loving-kindness have followed me ever since I handed
in the uniform. To this day I am the subject of anxious consideration.
Not a week ago the early post brought me my character. Imagine the
incessant parental watchfulness of an authority which can testify
concerning one two hundred and fifty thousandth of its charge that
he is "a good soldier, willing and industrious, honest, sober,
trustworthy and well-conducted." Think of the kindly interest which
prompted the O. i/c Records to insert a form of receipt--"to guard
against impersonation." My character might have got into base hands;
some unworthy person might have gone about professing to possess that
willingness, that industry, that sobriety, that trustworthiness and
that elegance of conduct which are mine alone; but the form of receipt
would baffle him. I cannot explain how, but Records knows.

What is yet in store for me the future bides; but this I know: while
England endures and Records continues to record, I shall not walk

* * * * *

[Illustration: _Lady farm-help, being shown her new duties, notices
fowls having dust-bath._ "DEAR ME! I EXPECT THEY'LL WANT WASHING EVERY

* * * * *

[Illustration: _Aunty (wishing to be sympathetic)_. "I'M GLAD TO HEAR

* * * * *


[A writer in _The Daily Express_ has been discussing the
questions where and by whom the purest English is spoken
and written, and pronounces strongly in favour of East

Once more 'tis discussed
What guides we should trust
If we wish to write prose to perfection;
Is it BORROW or "FITZ,"
_The Times_ or _Tit Bits_?
And how should we make our selection?

We were bidden to brood
If we aimed at distinction and purity;
And, when we escaped
From their influence, aped
GEORGE MEREDITH'S vivid obscurity.

The remarkable style
Found many a lover and hater;
And precious young men
Who made play with the pen
Were devoted disciples of PATER.

But these idols we've burned
And have latterly learned
That "distinction"'s an utter delusion;
For if you would aim
At a popular fame
You must cultivate "vim" or effusion.

Some place on the whole
At the top of the tree for his diction;
But his style, I opine,
Is a little too fine
For the average reader of fiction.

If you can't be a WELLS,
Or aspire to Miss DELL'S
Impassioned and fervid variety,
You still may attain
And leaven Romance with propriety.

For democracy shies
At the artist who tries
To express himself subtly or darkly;
And the man in the street
In a fair plebiscite
Would probably crown Mrs. BARCLAY.

* * * * *

Extract from a sermon:--

"We meet here to-day under circumstances which are not
ordinary ... We seem to hear 'the sound of a gong in
the tops of the mulberry trees.'"--_The Record_.

This must be some air-raid warning by the rural police.

* * * * *

"On the roads near by 'a Verdun' signposts have been
replaced by new ones reading 'A Glorieux Verdun.' The
name of France herself might well be altered to
'Glorieux France.'"--_Canadian Paper_.

_Vive le France!_

* * * * *

From a report of the British Cotton-growing Association:--

"The negotiations with the Government for the development
of the irritation scheme for the Gezira plain are still
under consideration."--_The Field_.

We trust we shall hear no more of this vexatious project.

* * * * *

A lodging-house keeper at Whitby
Saw a couple of Zeppelins flit by;
Though she felt a sharp sting,
It's a curious thing
That she never knew which she was hit by.

* * * * *

"War conditions have given occasion in Germany for the study
of an oedema disease (swelling) unknown in peace times. Among
the civil population it has been generally located in the feet
and legs, and in more than one-half of the cases studied some
degree of facial swelling was present."--_Daily Paper_.

This last symptom is especially noticeable in the case of the KAISER.

* * * * *

"Prior to the meeting [of the Irish Convention] in Cork the
members of the secretariat attended in Sir Horace Plunkett's
private room, and presented him with a solid ivory chairman's
mantle."--_Dublin Evening Mail_.

But we are glad to state that the proceedings were quite orderly, and
that the Chairman did not need this protective garment.

* * * * *


"In these days," I began, but Francesca interrupted me.

"When anyone starts like that," she said, "I know he's going to make
the War an excuse for doing something rather more paltry than usual."

"'Paltry' is not," I said, "a very nice word."

"I'll take the phrase back and substitute 'rather less noble and

"Yes, I like that better. I'll pass it in that form as your comment on
what you haven't yet allowed me to say."

"Quick," she said; "what was it? Don't leave me in suspense."

"In these days," I said, "one mustn't spend too much on railway

"True," she said. "I'm with you there in these or any other days."

"And therefore," I continued, "it will be quite enough if one of us
accompanies Frederick, our lively ten-year-old, to begin his second
term at school. There is no necessity whatever for both of us to go
with him."

"Hear, hear!" said Francesca; "your idea is better than I thought. I
will go with Frederick and you can stay at home and look after the

"No," I said firmly, "I will take Frederick, and you must remain
behind and keep an eye on Muriel, Nina and Alice."

"No," she said.

"Yes," I said; "my eye's not good enough for the job; it hasn't been
trained for it. I should be sure to mislay one of the girls, and then
you'd never forgive yourself for having put upon me a burden greater
than I could bear. Besides," I added, "goings back to school are in
the man's department, with football, cricket, boxing and things of
that kind."

"And what," she said scornfully, "are you graciously pleased to leave
in my department?"

"Oh, I thought you knew. I leave to you table-manners, tidiness
(that's a tough one), hand-washing (that's a tougher), reading aloud
from Kipling and tucking him up in bed."

"Quite a good list, if by no means a complete one; but in these days
one mustn't be too critical. Anyhow it proves that I must take the boy
back to school."

"It proves just the contrary."

"No," she said, "it proves what ought to be there by leaving it out."

"That," I said, "is a record even for you, Francesca."

"Well, it's logical anyway. How, for instance, could you talk to
the Matron? You'd be utterly lost before you'd been at it for half
a minute."

"Don't you worry about that," I said. "I have accomplishments of which
you don't seem to be aware, and one of them is talking to Matrons at
preparatory schools."

"Anyhow, you're not going to have a chance of showing it off this
time, _because I am going to take the boy back to school_. That's

It was, and in due time Francesca took the boy back. Her account of
the farewell moments was not without a certain amount of pathos,
several other mothers and their boys being involved in the valedictory
scene. Four or five days afterwards, however, we received the
following letter, which put to flight any idea that Frederick might be

"I am very happy this term, and I am getting on fairly well in my
work. I like football much better than cricket. I have three or four
times just not got a goal, once it was when I kicked into goal the
goalkeeper (3 st. 4 lb.!) rushed out and kicked it away, and once when
we were playing Blues and Reds, and I was on the Blue side, and I
managed by good luck to get through a crowd of shouting Reds and
followed it up amidst shouts from the Blues and shot it to the Red
goal; but the goalkeeper (a different one) came out and hit it away,
at which I twisted my knee and collapsed (not with pain, because it
wasn't anything, but with anger and _desparation!_) Am I to learn
boxing this term? I am sorry to hear the hens are not behaving well."

I should like to have seen the bold goalkeeper of 3 st. 4 lb. It is a
proud weight.

R. C. L.

* * * * *


Yesterday in Oxford Street, oh, what d'you think, my dears?
I had the most exciting time I've had for years and years;
The buildings looked so straight and tall, the sky was blue between,
And, riding on a motor-bus, I saw the fairy queen!

Sitting there upon the rail and bobbing up and down,
The sun was shining on her wings and on her golden crown;
And looking at the shops she was, the pretty silks and lace--
She seemed to think that Oxford Street was quite a lovely place.

And once she turned and looked at me and waved her little hand,
But I could only glare and stare, oh, would she understand?
I simply couldn't speak at all, I simply couldn't stir,
And all the rest of Oxford Street was just a shining blur.

Then suddenly she shook her wings--a bird had fluttered by--
And down into the street she looked and up into the sky,
And perching on the railing on a tiny fairy toe
She flashed away so quickly that I hardly saw her go.

I never saw her any more, although I looked all day;
Perhaps she only came to peep and never meant to stay;
But oh, my dears, just think of it, just think what luck for me
That she should come to Oxford Street and I be there to see!

R. F.

* * * * *


"Dr. Michaelis is the trusted no-hold-out until their plans
of annexation have been carried out, and they always receive
a gracious telegram in reply. So he who cares to hear knows
what the hour is striking."--_Egyptian Mail_.

* * * * *


"Two years ago The Daily Mail begged our sluggish authorities
to study the question of daylight air-raids as well as night
attacks. We pointed out their risk; we asked that the best
means of meeting them should be considered and the best method
of warning the public investigated. The result was that nothing
was done."--_Daily Mail_.

* * * * *

"Of old was it written that they who taketh up the sword shall
perish by the sword, and the written word remaineth."--_The
Daily Mirror_.

But it hath been a little damaged in the interval.

* * * * *

"It may be estimated the Germans opposing our troops represented
an average concentration of more than four men to every yard of
front."--_Liverpool Echo_.

Never could it have been done with four pre-war Germans!

* * * * *

"Up to July 26 1,559 lists had been issued officially of German
casualties. Each list contained 19,802 pages of three columns
per page, and each column contained between 80 and 90 names of
dead, wounded, and missing officers and men--a total of nearly
6,000,000."--_Daily Sketch_.

We trust our spirited contemporary has not joined the Hide-the-Truth
Press, for we make the sum approximately 7,872,186,090.

* * * * *

[Illustration: _Old Gentleman (to father of conscientious


* * * * *



I think I prefer Mr. WELLS'S recent essay in the Newest Theology to
this too concrete illustration of _The Soul of a Bishop_ (CASSELL).
It's not that I object to the irreverence of stripping a poor tired
bishop of cassock and gaiters, pursuing him to a sleepless bed and
cinematographing all his physical twistings and turnings, his moral
misgivings, his torturing doubts. I owe too much to Mr. WELLS'
irreverences to mind that sort of thing; and I must say that, for a
man who can't have had very much to do with the episcopacy in his
busy life, he does manage to give a confoundedly plausible atmosphere
to the whole setting. There are two letters from an older bishop to
_Dr. Scrope_, the one, yieldingly tolerant, to dissuade him from
resignation, the other, written after the accomplished fact, with
touches of exquisitely restrained yet palpable malice, which strike
me as masterly projections. Mr. WELLS also contrives a wonderful
impressiveness in certain passages of the bishop's three visions. But
I can't, even after careful re-reading, see the point of making the
bishop's enlightenment depend upon a mysterious drug. This has an
effect of impishness. There is nothing in _Dr. Scrope's_ development
that might not have taken place without this fantastic assistance....
I suppose the general suggestion of this rather wayward and hasty but
conspicuously sincere book is, that if only an occasional bishop would
secede it would make it easier for the plain man to listen to the
rest. And there may be something in this.

To those who are in love with Mr. W.J. LOCKE'S incurable romanticism
or who have a taste for heroines that "stiffen in a sudden stroke
of passion looking for the instant electrically beautiful," let me
commend _The Red Planet_ (LANE). As a matter of fact _Betty_, the
heroine, is quite a dear, and the narrator, _Major Meredyth_, a maimed
hero of the Boer War, who looks at this one from the tragic angle of
an invalid chair, is, apart from a habit of petulant and not very
profound grousing at Governments in _The Daily Rail_ manner, a sport
who thoroughly deserves the reward of poor widowed _Betty's_ hand
on the last page but one. Perhaps he does not show a very ready
understanding of the phenomenon of physical cowardice in the case of a
brother-officer, though later he makes amends. But I take it that it
was Mr. LOCKE'S idea to present a very ordinary decent sort with the
common man's prejudices and frank distrust of subtleties. A sinister
mystery of love, death and blackmail runs, a turbid undercurrent,
through the story. The publisher's pathetic apology for the drab grey
paper on which, in the interests of War Economy, the book is printed,
makes one wonder how the other publishers who still issue books in
black and white manage to live.

* * * * *

Of the literary reputations that the War has, so to speak, dug in, I
suppose none to be more firmly consolidated than that of Mr. PATRICK
MACGILL. The newest of his several battle-books is _The Brown
Brethren_ (JENKINS), a title derived from the campaigning colour
that has amended a popular quotation till it should now read "the
thin brown line of heroes." I can hardly tell you anything about
Mr. MACGILL'S new book that you have not probably read or said for
yourself of the previous volumes. For my own part, if the War is to
be written about at all (a question concerning which I preserve an
open mind), I say let it be, as here, the real thing, and the hotter
and stronger the better. There is rough humour in these sketches of
soldier types, and just enough story to thread them together; but it
is the fighting that counts. Certain chapters, for example that about
_Benner's_ struggle with the Hun sniper, seem to leave one bruised and
breathless as from personal conflict. Mr. MACGILL writes about war as
he knows it, horribly, in a way that carries conviction like a charge
of bayonets, and with an entire disregard of the sensibilities of the
stay-at-home reader. For all which reasons _The Brown Brethren_ and
their French friends are assured of the success that they certainly
deserve. Here's wishing them the best of it!

* * * * *

In _The Sentence of the Court_ (WARD, LOCK) Mr. FRED M. WHITE
contrives effectively to entangle our interest in one of those webs of
facile intrigue from which the reader escapes only at the last line of
the last page, muttering at he lays the volume down and observes with
concern that it is 2.30 A.M., "What rot!" The title of the story is
misleading. There is no Court, and nobody is sentenced, though the
eminent specialist of Harley Street who essays the _role_ of villain
richly deserves to be. However, as he is left a bankrupt, discredited
in his practice and detached from the heroine whom he had sworn to
appropriate, it would perhaps be straining a point to cavil at his
remaining at large. The idea upon which the story is based, and which
enables the author to clothe his characters and their actions with
bewildering mystery, is essentially good and, I believe, new, though
far be it from me to do either Mr. WHITE or the reader the disservice
of saying what it is. Suffice that we are introduced to some quite
charming people, as well as two extremely unpleasant ones, and if the
web of mystery is held together in places by a somewhat generous share
of obtuseness on the part of the persons concerned it is not for us to
complain, since we become aware of the defect only after the affair is

* * * * *

Apart from the greater complaint that I do not like her subject, which
probably is entirely my own fault, I have nothing but praise for Mrs.
STANLEY WRENCH'S latest volume, _Beat_ (DUCKWORTH), except as regards
her amazing fondness for drooping the corners of her characters'
mouths, generally either "wistfully" or "sullenly." It only made one
annoyed when _Beatrix's_ unpleasant sisters developed the trick,
but when poor little _Beat_ herself was affected that way, in spite
of the magnificent courage with which she faced the burden of
deputy-motherhood, it made one miserable as well. The task she had
undertaken was a prodigious one, for the sisters she had to rear
were, you must understand, vexed with sex instincts of the type of
the modern novel, and so in a large measure she failed, even though
she sacrificed strength, happiness and even her own love-story in
the effort to keep them straight. The tale is set out with every
circumstance of sordid misery, in which the spiritual beauty of
the heroine is meant to shine, and undeniably does shine with
real strength and purity. The successive deaths of the mother and
step-mother, the shabby London lodgings, the fall of _Veronica_, the
selfishness of _Beat's_ boy-friend, and the loathsome trade of her
lover--these, and more horrors and lapses beside, are all taxed for
the general effect in so able and vivid a fashion that the authoress
succeeds to admiration in making her readers nearly as uncomfortable
as her characters, long before the climax is reached. The end comes
rather less wretchedly than could have been expected, but even so
surely this is genius partly run to seed. The greatest tragedies are
not written in these minor keys. _Beat_, woman and heroine, is so
admirable that one fain would know her apart from all this unredeemed
welter of sex and selfishness.

* * * * *

I confess I should have thought that the fictional possibilities
of being as like as two peas to Royalty were fairly exhausted. But
apparently Mr. EDGAR JEPSON does not share this view; and it is only
fair to admit that in _The Professional Prince_ (HUTCHINSON) he has
contrived to give a novel twist to the already well laboured theme.
_Prince Richard_ (precise nationality unstated) was so bored with
the common round of his exalted duties that, hearing of a convenient
double, he engages him, at four hundred a year and pickings, to
represent him at dull functions, and incidentally to pay the requisite
attentions to the young woman, reported by photograph as depressingly
plain, whom political considerations have marked as the _Prince's
fiancee_. When later one of the characters points out to His Highness
that this conduct showed some lapse from the finer ideals of taste, I
am bound to say that I could find no words of contradiction. However
the originality arrives when _John Stuart_, the deputy, instead of
falling in love with the bride-elect in Ruritanian fashion, develops
a marked liking for the prosaic side of his job, and insists upon
lecturing his supposed relations upon the political crisis of the
moment. Capital fun this. When the _fiancee_ in her turn proved wholly
different from the photograph I permitted myself to hope that we
were in for a double masquerade--but this was to expect too much.
Still, Mr. JEPSON has handled his wildly-preposterous plot with
great verve; and even if the central situation is one that has been
often encountered before, this only proves again that HOPE springs
eternal.... But I wish he had avoided the War.

* * * * *

[Illustration: _Manager of Automatic Dreadnought Pianofortissimo
Company (enthusiastically to Literary Gentleman who has written a
moving appeal to the public in favour of the Company's goods)._ "MY

* * * * *


"Wanted, modern Detached Villa Residence, inside tram
lines."--_Northern Whig_.


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