Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 156, March 19, 1919
PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI
MARCH 19, 1919
President WILSON is stated to have played several keen games of
"shuffle-board" on the _George Washington_. As it is an open secret
that Lord ROBERT CECIL has been polishing up his "shove-halfpenny" in
the billiard-room of the Hotel Majestic interesting developments are
Primroses, daisies and wallflowers are in full bloom in many parts of
the country and young lambs may now be seen frisking in the meadows.
Can the POET LAUREATE be waiting for someone to get sun-stroke?
The Commission on the Responsibilities and Crimes of the War have not
yet decided that the ex-Kaiser is guilty. At the same time it is said
that they have an idea that he knew something about it.
At a Belfast football match last week the winning team, the police
and the referee were mobbed by the partisans of the losing side.
Local sportsmen condemn the attack on the winning team as a dangerous
The L.C.C. is training munition girls to be cooks. We understand that
the velocity and range will be clearly stamped on the bottom of all
A Stromness fisherman, on opening a halibut, found a large cormorant
in its stomach. Cormorants, of course, are not fastidious birds. They
don't mind where they nest.
The eclipse of the sun on May 28th should be a great success, if we
may judge by the immense time it has taken over rehearsals.
Inspector J.G. OGHAM, chief of the Portsmouth Fire Brigade, who is
about to retire, has attended over two thousand fires. Indeed it is
said that most of the local fires know him by sight.
"Ghost stories," says a contemporary, "are being spread about vacant
houses in Dublin to decrease the demand for them." The old caretaker's
trick of training a couple of cockroaches to jump out at the
house-hunter is quite useless to-day.
Hull merchants complain that only one train leaves Hull per day
on which wet fish can travel. The idea of bringing the fish to
Billingsgate under their own steam has already been ventilated.
Found insensible with a bottle of sherry in his pocket, an East Ham
labourer was fined ten shillings for being drunk. It is believed that
had he been carrying the sherry anywhere else nothing could have saved
An absconding Trade Society treasurer last week hit upon a novel idea.
He ran away with his own wife.
"Is nothing going to be done to stop the incursion of the sea at
Walton-on-the-Naze?" asks a contemporary. Have they tried the effect
of placing notice-boards along the front?
For the first time the public have been admitted to a meeting of the
Beckenham Council. It is pleasant to find that the importance of good
wholesome entertainment is not being lost sight of in some places.
Asked by the Wood Green magistrates for the names of his six children,
a defendant said that he did not know them. It is a good plan for a
man to get his wife to introduce him to the children.
It appears that a certain gentleman has managed to overcome the
domestic servant problem. He has married one.
A Salford man giving evidence in a local court told the magistrates
that his wife had repeatedly stuck pins into him. There is no excuse
for such conduct, even with pin-cushions at their present inflated
No one seemed to take the rat-plague very seriously in the Isle of
Wight until last week, when several rodents were discovered at the
Seaplane Station at Bembridge busily engaged in trying on the pilots'
It is only fair to remark that, although the Government has recently
been found guilty of profiteering, they have never during the War
raised the price: of their ten-shilling notes.
Much difficulty is being experienced by the Allies in deciding what.
to do with the German Fleet. Curiously enough this is the very dilemma
that the Germans were faced with during most of the War.
We hear that the officials at Lincoln prison are much impressed by the
cleverness of DE VALERA'S escape and are anxious to present him with
an illuminated address, but unfortunately they do not know it at
A scientific organ points out that in deciding the fate of Heligoland
it should not be forgotten that it was once a valuable ornithological
observation station. The almost extinct _Pavo Potsdamicus,_ if we
remember correctly, was an occasional visitor to the island.
Congress, says a Washington message, is anxious to get back to
domestic business. It does not say whose.
* * * * *
[Illustration: STRANGE CASE IN PUGILISTIC CIRCLES.
A REPORTER LEARNS FROM BILL SLOGGS THAT HE IS NOTHING LIKE AS HARD AS
NAILS AND NOT THE LEAST CONFIDENT.]
* * * * *
"'Easter and Peace will coincide,' declared a member of the
Council of Ten to the Central News correspondent in Paris."
"Easter Day this year is on April 20--less than six hours
hence."--_Evening Paper, March 12th._
How some of our journalists do jump to conclusions!
* * * * *
THE MUD LARKS.
Yesterday morning, a freckled child, dripping oil and perspiration and
clad in a sort of canvas dressing-gown, stumbled into "Remounts" (or
"Demounts," as we should more properly call ourselves nowadays) and
presented me with a slip of paper which entitled him, the bearer, to
immediate demobilisation on pivotal grounds. I handed it back to him,
explaining that he had come to the wrong shop--unless he were a horse,
of course. If he were and could provide his own nosebag, head-stall
and Army Form 1640, testifying that he was guiltless of mange,
ophthalmia or epizootic lymphangitis, I would do what I could for him.
He stared at me for a moment, then at the slip, then, murmuring
something about the mistake being his, began to feel in the numerous
pouches of his dressing-gown, bringing to light the following items:--
(1) A. spanner.
(2) Some attenuated cigarettes.
(3) A picture-postcard fashioned in silk, with tropical birds and
flowers, clasped hands, crossed Union Jacks and the legend "TRUE LOVE"
(4) A handful of cotton waste.
(5) Some brandy-balls.
(6) An oil-can.
(7) The ace of spades.
(8) The portrait (tin-type) of a lady, inscribed "With kind regards
(9) A stick of chewing gum.
(10) A mouse (defunct).
(11) A second slip of paper.
He grunted with satisfaction, replaced his treasures carefully in the
pouches and handed the last-named item to me. It read to the effect
that both he and his car were at my disposal for the day. I wriggled
into a coat and followed him out to where his chariot awaited us.
I never pretended to be a judge of motor vehicles, but it does not
need an expert to detect a Drift when he sees one; they have a leggy,
herring-gutted appearance all their own. Where it was not dented in
it bulged out; most of those little knick-knacks that really nice
cars have were missing, and its complexion had peeled off in erratic
designs such as Royal Academicians used to smear on transports to
make U-Boaters imagine they were seeing things they shouldn't and lead
I did not like the looks of the thing from the first, and my early
impressions did not improve when, as we bumped off the drive on to the
_pave_, the screen suddenly detached itself from its perch and flopped
into our laps.
However, the car put in some fast work between our chateau gates and
the _estaminet_ of the "Rising Sun" (a distance of fully two hundred
yards), and my hopes soared several points. From the _estaminet_ of
the "Rising Sun" to the village of Bailleul-aux-Hondains the road
wriggles down-hill in two sharp hair-pin bends. The car flung itself
over the edge of the hill and plunged headlong for the first of these.
"Put on the brakes!" I shouted.
The child did some kicking and hauling with his feet and hands which
made no impression whatever on the car.
"Put on the brakes, damme!" I yelled.
The child rolled the whites of his eyes towards me and announced
briefly, "Brake's broke."
I looked about for a soft place to jump. There was none; only
rock-plated highway whizzing past.
We took the first bend with the nearside wheels in the gutter, the
off-side wheels on the bank, the car tilted at an angle of forty-five
degrees. The second bend we navigated at an angle of sixty degrees,
the off-side wheels on the bank, the near-side wheels pawing thin air.
Had there been another bend we should have accomplished it upside
down. Fortunately there were no more; but there remained the village
street. We pounced on it like a tiger upon its prey.
"Blow your horn!" I screamed to the child.
"Bulb's bust," said he shortly, and exhibited the instrument, its
I have one accomplishment--only one--acquired at the tender age of
eleven at the price of relentless practice and a half-share in a
ferret. I can whistle on my fingers. Sweeping into that unsuspecting
hamlet I remembered this lone accomplishment of mine, plunged two
fingers into my cheeks and emptied my chest through them.
"Honk, honk," blasted something in my ear and, glancing round, I saw
that the child had swallowed the bulbless end of his horn and was
using it bugle-wise.
Thus, shrilling and honking, we swooped through Bailleul-aux-Hondains,
zig-zagging from kerb to kerb. A speckly cock and his platoon of hens
were out in midstream, souvenir-hunting. We took them in the rear
before they had time to deploy and sent a cloud of fluff-_fricassee_
sky-high. A Tommy was passing the time o' day with the Hebe of the
Hotel des Trois Enfants, his mules contentedly browsing the straw
frost-packing off the town water supply. The off-donkey felt the hot
breath of the car on his hocks and gained the _salle-a-manger_ (_via_
the window) in one bound, taking master and mate along with him.
The great-great-granddam of the hamlet was tottering across to the
undertakers to have her coffin tried on, when my frantic whistling and
the bray of the bugle-horn pierced the deafness of a century. With a
loud creaking of hinges she turned her head, summed up the situation
at a glance and, casting off half-a-dozen decades "like raiment
laid apart," sprang for the side-walk with the agility of an infant
gazelle. We missed her by half-an-inch and she had nobody but herself
Against a short incline, just beyond the stricken village, the car
came to a standstill of its own accord, panting brokenly, quivering in
"She's red-'ot," said the child, and I believed him.
From the kettle arrangement in the bows came the sound of hot water
singing merrily, while from the spout steam issued hissing. The
tin trunk, in which lurks the clockwork, emitted dense volumes of
petrol-perfumed smoke from every chink. The child climbed across me
and, dropping overboard, opened the lid and crawled inside. I lit a
pipe and perused the current "_La Vie Parisienne_."
The clockwork roared and raged and exploded with the sharp detonations
of a machine-gun. Sounds of violent coughing and tinkering came from
the bowels of the trunk, telling that the child was still alive and
busy. Presently he emerged to breathe and wipe the oil off his nose.
"Cylinder missin'," he announced.
I was not in the least surprised. "Probably dropped off round that
last bend," said I. "Very nearly did myself. How many have we got
He gaped, muttered something incoherent and plunged back into the
trunk. The noise of coughing and tinkering redoubled. The smoke
enveloped us in an evil-smelling fog.
"Think she'll go now," said the child, emerging once more. He climbed
back over me, grasped the helm and jerked a lever. The car gave a
dreadful shudder, but there was no other movement.
"What's the matter now?" I asked after he had made another trip to
He informed me that the car had moulted its winding handle.
"You'll 'ave ter push 'er till the engine starts, Sir," said he.
"Oh, will I? And what will you be doing, pray?" I inquired. He replied
that he was proposing to sit inside and watch events, steer, work the
clutch, and so on.
"That sounds very jolly," said I. "All right; hop up and hold your hat
on." I went round to the stern, set my back against it and hove--there
seemed nothing else for it. Five hundred yards further on I stopped
heaving and interviewed the passenger. He was very hopeful. The engine
had given a few reassuring coughs, he said, and presently would resume
business, he felt convinced. Just a few more heaves, please.
I doffed my British warm and returned to the job. A quarter of an hour
later we had another talk. All was well. The engine had suffered a
regular spasm of coughing and one back-fire, so the child informed me.
In half a jiffy we should be off.
I shed my collar, tie and tunic and bent again to the task. At
Notre Dame de la Belle Esperance we parleyed once more. He was most
enthusiastic. Said a few kind words about the good work I was
doing round at the back and thought everything was going perfectly
splendidly. The car's cough was developing every minute and there had
been two back-fires. All the omens were propitious. A couple of short
sharp shoves would do it. Courage, brave heart!
I reduced my attire to boots and underclothing, and toiled through
Belle Esperance, the curs of the village nibbling my calves, the
children shrilling to their mammas to come and see the strong man from
At Quatre Vents the brave heart broke.
"Look here," said I to the protesting child, "if you imagine I'm going
to push you all the way to Arras you're 'straying in the realms of
fancy,' as the poet says. Because I'm not. Just you hop out and do
your bit, me lad. It's my turn to ride."
In vain did he argue that I was not schooled in the mysteries of
either steering or clutching. Assuring him that I precious soon would
be, I dragged him from his perch and took station at the helm. Sulkily
he betook himself to the stern of the vehicle, and presently it began
to move. Slowly at first, then faster and faster. I suddenly perceived
the reason of this. We were going down-hill again, a steep hill at
that, with wicked hair-pin bends in it.
The engine began to cough, the cough became chronic, developing into a
"Brakes!" thought I (forgetting they were out of action), and wrenched
at a handle which was offering itself. The car jumped off the mark
like a hunter at a hurdle, jumped clear away from the child (who sat
down abruptly on the _pave_) and bolted down-hill all out. I glimpsed
the low parapet of the bend rushing towards me, an absurdly inadequate
parapet, with the silvery gleam of much cold water beyond it.
I have not preserved my life (often at infinite risk) through four and
a-half years of high-pressure warfare to be mauled to death by a tin
car at the finish. Not I. I got out. As I trundled into the gutter I
saw the car take the parapet in its stride, describe a graceful
curve in the blue, and plunge downwards out of sight. The child and
I reached the parapet together and peered over. Seventy feet below us
the waters of the river spouted for a moment as with the force of some
violent submarine explosion and then subsided. A patch of oil came
floating to the surface, accompanied by my breeches and British warm.
The child looked at me, his eyes goggling with horror. "They won't
'alf fry my liver for this, they won't, not 'alf," he gasped huskily.
I laid a kindly hand upon his shoulder. "Not they, my lad; I'll see
to that. Listen. You have that slip entitling you to immediate
demobilisation?" He nodded, wondering. "Then demobilise yourself
_now_, at once, instantly!" I cried. "Run like blazes to Calais,
Boulogne, Havre, Marseilles--anywhere you like; only run, you little
"But you, Sir?" he stuttered.
"Oh, don't worry about me," I smiled; "I shall be _quite_ all right.
I'm going to lay all the blame on you."
He shot one scared glance, at me, then, picking up the skirts of his
dressing-gown, scampered off down the road as fast as his ammunition
boots would let him, never looking back.
* * * * *
[Illustration: ANOTHER THREATENED INDUSTRY. CHANNEL STEWARD (_infected
with the prevailing strike mania_). "ANY MORE TALK ABOUT THIS TUNNEL
AND I DOWN BASINS!"]
* * * * *
[Illustration: THE HUNTER BAULKED OF HIS PREY.]
* * * * *
"They were manufacturers of aeroplanes--in their opinion
the best aeroplanes in the world and the most suited for
commercial lying."--_Provincial Paper_.
* * * * *
"A hospital nurse interrupted evidence given in Portuguese at
Thames Police Court on Saturday."--_Provincial Paper._
Very rude of her.
* * * * *
"An experimental air service for Army mails only was begun
a few days ago between Folkestone and Boulogne, with
intermediate points in Belgium, said Mr. Illingworth,
"We are a long way yet from the mastery of the air. Out of
fifteen days the Prime Minister's Paris postbag, which it had
been arranged should be sent 'via aloft,' had to go by the old
land and water route in fourteen days."--_Daily Mirror_.
Even that, we suppose, was quicker than to send it by the circuitous
air-route _via_ Belgium.
* * * * *
"Section-Commander ----, who has had charge of the ----
Special Constabulary since their inception, has been
presented by the members with a Sheraton clock at a wind-up
It was, of course, the clock that had the wind up, not the
* * * * *
"FOREIGN DIPLOMATS TAKE TO PRESIDENT. His Ability in Dealing
with Them Exceeds the Most Sanguinary Expectations."--_New
We shall have to revise our conception of Mr. WILSON as a man of
* * * * *
[Illustration: _Rearguard Officer of Demobilization (collecting
stragglers on route-march)._ "WHAT THE DOOCE ARE YOU?" Straggler._
"I'M WOT T' MULES BROKE AWAY FROM."_]
* * * * *
THE PATRIOT'S REWARD.
Narcissus, in that fateful hour
When Britain's belt was tightly buckled
Against the prowling U-boat's power,
Thou earnest to us newly suckled;
And oh! if interest ties the knot
That binds us to our fellow-creatures,
Be sure we loved thee on the spot,
My pigling with the pensive features.
No niggard hand it was that found
Thy punctual fare, nor short the measure
Of garbage brought from miles around
And meal that cost its weight in treasure;
But ever as the U-boat u'd
And lunch grew relatively lighter
We filled thee up with wholesome food
And watched thy tensile skin grow tighter.
Artless as is the wanton faun
And agile as the Hooluck gibbon,
The children "walked" thee on the lawn,
Tied with a bow of orange ribbon;
And aye as irksomer grew the task
Of fending off the Hun garotters
In our mind's eye--if you must ask--
We ate thee up from tail to trotters.
But Fate, as oft, declined to pour
Our cup of grief till it was quite full;
You scarce had turned your seventh score
When straightway Fritz became less frightful;
And argosies came home to port
As safe as though some inland lake on,
Laden from keel to groaning thwart
With tender ham and toothsome bacon.
No need, old sport, to slay thee now,
Yet in our hearts the thought we'll cherish
That for our sakes, Narcissus, thou,
So young, so fair, wast like to perish;
And, as the years of Peace go by
And war becomes a fireside story,
"Thank Heaven," we'll cry, "thou didst not die,
But lived to reap the fruits of glory;
"Assimilating in repose
Thy fragrant fare of tops and peelings,
Or making all the garden close
Echo with-pregustative squealings,
Or basking, when the sun is high,
Within thy chamber's cool recesses
While some fair child with practised eye
Combs with a rake thy tangled tresses."
And ever, as new twilights burn
Low, and our offspring, loudly yelling,
Hurry the well-heaped votive urn
To thy obscure but ample dwelling,
"Ready at need thou wast to give
Thy life," they'll say, "that want might miss us,
For ever, therefore, shalt thou live
With us and be our love, Narcissus."
* * * * *
[Illustration: THE SCANDAL.
_Tramp (just discharged from workhouse_). "AND TO THINK THAT'S WHAT WE
PAYS RATES FOR!"]
* * * * *
ON THE RHINE.
There is an expression here which I expect will shortly become as
familiar as "Na poo," and that is, "Hoot up!" When I first beard
our mild and gently-mannered Carfax employ it as a vigorous word of
command to a civilian in this small German village, I thought he had
gone a little mad. For no good military purpose, it seemed to me,
could possibly be served by demanding an imitation of an owl at eleven
o'clock on a wintry morning. It argued a perverted sense of humour at
least; and in truth I had been expecting a slight lapse from the paths
of sanity on the part of our Mr. Carfax for some time. For, you see,
he is a pivotal man who cannot get away until others arrive to replace
the pivots, and it is difficult to persuade him that all is for the
best. But he informed me that "Hoot up" had nothing whatever to do
with, the night-cries of owls or any other kind of bird, but was in
fact the idiotic way in which the natives of this country pronounce
"_Hut ab_" (Hat off).
_Now_ you realise what horrid Huns we are. Civilians are obliged to
take off their hats to British officers--a very grim business. In
reality, except that we are the hated English, it makes very little
difference to the Bosch, for the innkeeper here says that orders
concerning the taking off of hats to all and sundry became so
stringent in 1918 that the local postman was constantly interrupted
in his duties to answer the salutes of people who wished to be on the
Bosches who have really fought for their country do not object
to "Hoot-upping." They of course are the first to realise that
inhabitants of occupied countries were forced by them to "hoot up,"
and that therefore there is a certain justice now in the retaliation.
Anyway, from these people the procedure does not greatly interest us;
but the overdressed Bosch profiteer, fat and muttony--to hoot him up
in his own village! Really, you know, in some ways the War has been
But the knowledge that he is carrying out a perfectly definite order
does not make the subaltern turn any the less pink the first time he
ticks off a civilian for failing to comply with the regulations. No,
you can't produce a really good Hun without lots of practice. I made
almost a companion of the Sergeant-Major at first, because he used
to say it for me; but the second day I got caught. It came as I was
picking my way down the main (and only) street of the village. My
attention being riveted upon keeping my feet, for there are little
streams on either side of the street which freeze and flood it, making
life in army boots difficult, I did not notice the approach of the
fellow until he was on me. And then I saw it was a real Hunnish Hun;
and, oh joy! he had a fur coat and a face which I had not thought
could exist outside bad dreams. His wicked little eyes glared
insolently at me, and he strolled by with his hat stuck at a rakish
angle; and for the life of me, would you believe it? I could _not_
remember the magic words. Turning in desperation I commanded him
without further delay to "hot hoop." He appeared surprised. He made
no sort of motion to comply with my order. "Hut hop!" I cried, purple
with vexation, and still the abominable article of headgear remained
jauntily perched over his square ugly face. Advancing threateningly
I thundered out that it was my firm intention that he should, under
peril of instant arrest, "_take his confounded, hat off_!" At this
final command (the first he had found intelligible) he grabbed hastily
at the offending article, slipped up on the ice, and, in my moment of
triumph, so did I.
It is a sickening business sitting on the ground opposite a man you
don't like, but I had the better of it in the end, for I had sat down
where the water was already frozen, and he hadn't.
Our Mr. Carfax too had an awkward incident happen to him. We were
walking down the street discussing the Pay Warrant, which gives the
young Army of Occupation a bonus from February 1st, and gives us
nothing for doing their job until May, when suddenly a civilian
passed us with a mere nod. Mr. Carfax went on with his insubordinate
conversation, oblivious to the insult.
"Mr. Carfax," I said sadly, "when will you learn that private affairs
must never be allowed to interfere with military duties?"
"Sir," he said, surprised and aggrieved, "though a pivotal man of some
years' standing I really am taking an interest in my platoon--"
"It is not that," I said; "but do you know you allowed a civilian to
pass on your side without taking his hat off?"
Scarlet with chagrin he rushed back after the offender and "hooted him
up" more sternly than I could have believed possible for anybody but a
Hun to the manner bred.
"I'm most awfully sorry," said the man, "but I've only just got out
and didn't know about it." It transpired (as they say) that he was an
Englishman who had been interned in the village for four years.
* * * * *
[Illustration: ["All horses selected from the Expeditionary Forces for
shipment to the United Kingdom must have the letter Y clipped on the
off saddle."---_Remount Regulation_.]
_Elated War-Horse (on completion of operation)_. "HOME, JOHN!"]
* * * * *
"Mr. ---- will play the flue obbligato for Miss ----, and none
better could be found."--_Provincial Paper_.
Very kind of him, no doubt, but most of us would prefer to do without
* * * * *
PUNCH'S APPEAL FOR "OUR DAY."
The following letter, dated March 12th, has been received from Sir
"The completion of the Fund which Mr. Punch has raised in
connection with the 'Our Day' appeal gives me the opportunity
of again expressing my grateful appreciation of this splendid
"The total remittances we have received from you amount to
L11,040 5s. 5d., and the long list of subscribers shows
how loyally and generously the readers of _Punch_ have rallied
to your appeal.
"On behalf of the Joint War Committee of the British Red Cross
Society and the Order of St. John, I should like to thank you
and your readers most cordially for the welcome assistance you
have provided for the relief of the sick and wounded."
* * * * *
"To-day in the garden:--
"Refine the onion-bed thoroughly."--_Daily Mail_.
Have you tried eau-de-Cologne?
* * * * *
_NOUVELLES DE PARIS_.
_Paris, March 1919._
DEAREST POPPY,--I have a piece of news to send you from here that will
give you a veritable _frisson d'angoisse_. No, it doesn't concern the
Peace Conference; it's something far worse than that. _Figurez-vous_,
the new style of _coiffure_ is severe to the point of being absolutely
terrifying--that is to the woman who has been shivering on the brink
of thirty for any length of time.
Foreheads are coming in again--_que c'est embetant_! I thought they'd
been abolished long ago. I wish I could get hold of the _mechant_ (for
I know it's a man) who is introducing them now. I had my hair dressed
_chez_ Manet to-day in the new style, and when I saw myself afterwards
I sat down and wept like the women of Babylon.
_Quel horreur!_ My locks were strained, brushed, tightened back, and
I was left high and dry with my exposed brow revealing four furrows to
an unsympathetic world. _C'est navrant_. We're not to be allowed even
the _soupcon_ of a wave or the lightest _bouffee_, while side-curls
are quite _demodes_.
I think the situation is really tragic. So few women can afford to
have a forehead. The result will be that lots of our _debutantes_ of
some seasons ago will be "_coiffees a Ste. Catherine_" in more senses
The "jewellery" one wears now is made of wood; we have carved wooden
beads, wooden bracelets, even wooden rings. "Therefore it will be
cheap!" you exclaim. _Vous vous trompez, mon amie._ I read a story
the other day of an American who said that if you want an egg here
for breakfast it is cheaper to buy the hen and hope she'll lay next
morning, and in any case you've got the hen. _Eh bien_, should you
desire a set of wooden jewellery you might save money if you bought a
Paris has done more than extend _le bon accueil_ to the Peace
delegates; she is giving their names to the latest thing in
_vetements_. Thus we have the Lloyd George _cravate_, the Wilson
_gilet_ and the "Bonarlaw" _chapeau melon_. It's surprising how
far-reaching are the effects of a Peace Conference.
A number of _nous autres Anglais_ over here started a perfectly
_thrilling_ idea. It was really in the way of being an adventure. We
have been exploring the quaint little _cafes_ of Paris, with results
_tout a fait etonnants_. We were served with provokingly delicious
_plats_, at a price absurdly moderate compared with what is extorted
from us in the hotels. Of course we were all enchanted. We became
_habitues_ of _cafes_ and ceased to take any meals at our hotels
beyond the matutinal _cafe complet_.
And then, quite suddenly, a horrid newspaper article appeared which
conveyed suggestions _extremement desagreables._ It insinuated, _ma
chere_, that "things are not what they seem"--at any rate things in
the bill of fare at the moderately-priced eating-house.
It went on to speak of the many uses that domestic animals are put to
after their labours on earth are ended. If it was horse that figured
in the _boeuf bourguignon_ served up to me, or the _potee de boeuf aux
choux_ (of which I will admit I _raffole_) I have no quarrel with it.
It's the "_lapin_" I have had occasionally that's giving me the most
qualms. I can't look at a cat now without a shudder.
As for Bertie, he says whenever he thinks of the _tripes a la mode
de Caen_ he so often favoured, he's very glad that he has even less
imagination than his friends credit him with.
Of course the article may have been inspired by the keepers of hotels
who were losing our custom. I think it's more than likely. But we've
decided for the present to give the hotels the benefit of the doubt.
Your well-devoted ANNE.
* * * * *
A contemporary, hearing of the reported engagement of two well-known
persons in the world of Music and the Drama, interviewed the lady and
obtained from her the following synopsis of the crucial moment:--
"I was lunching with my costumier this afternoon, and among the people
there was M---- After luncheon he asked me to be his wife. I said
'Yes,' and the marriage takes place next week. We've been friends
since I was twelve years old, and his music is the finest I have ever
Spurred to emulation by this striking example of journalistic
enterprise, correspondents in all parts of the world are composing
piquant descriptions of similar contracts. We offer two examples:--
1. Miss Fanny V. Adie consented to give the correspondent of _The
Poppleton Observer_ a few particulars of her engagement to Captain
"I was sitting on my ambulance having a biscuit and tin of bully with
Alphonse (my French poodle), when suddenly there was a terrific crash.
It appears, as I learnt later, that Captain Scorcher was motoring
to Lille to purchase whisky and other medical comforts, when the
steering-gear of his 60-H.P. Rolls-Ford came away in his hands, with
the result that he nose-dived into the rear of my ambulance at forty
miles per hour. When I came to my senses my head was in the ditch
and the rest of me in mid-air. Captain Scorcher, crawling out of the
wreckage, said, 'Do you reverse?' and then asked me to be his wife. I
said 'Yes,' meaning I reversed, and the marriage takes place as
soon as we arrive at the same hospital. We have been more or less
bosom-friends for five minutes, and I think his moustache is the
sweetest thing I ever met."
2. Asked if she could confirm her reported engagement to Lord Bertie
Brasshatte, Miss Fifi Thistledowne--who dances "The Camisole Squeeze"
so daintily in "_Really, Girls!_" (the Mausoleum revue)--recounted
to the correspondent of _The Jazzers' Gazette_ the following romantic
"I was having oysters and stout with my chiropodist at his place in
Stepney, and among the people there was Lord Bertie Brasshatte, who
is a martyr to cold feet, contracted during his visit to Boulogne in
1918. (How can we ever repay these brave men for the hardships they
have suffered?) Well, after the tenth oyster he passed me two slips
of buff paper, pinned together. On the first was written, 'For
information and necessary action, please;' and on the other, 'Are you
engaged tomorrow?' I said, 'No,' and the marriage takes place as soon
as my agent can make arrangements with the illustrated papers. We've
been friends ever since Lord Bertie left a lovely diamond tiara in my
waste-paper basket, and I think his suppers are the finest I have ever
* * * * *
HIMALAYANS AT PLAY.
_(Suggested by the sequel to a recent Lecture.)_
The Chairman, Sir Norman Everest, after congratulating the lecturer
on his interesting address and beautiful photographs, observed that he
remained unconvinced by his arguments in favour of approaching Mount
Amaranth from the North. The climatic difficulties of that route were
in his opinion insuperable, to say nothing of the hostility of the
natives of the Ong-Kor plateau and the Muzbakh valley. He still
believed that the best mode of approach was from the South-West,
following the course of the Sissoo river to Todikat, where an ample
supply of yaks could be obtained, and thence proceeding along the
Dagyolong ridge to Tumlong.
Sir Francis Oldmead said that he had seldom heard a more interesting
lecture or seen a finer collection of photographs. He must be allowed
to demur, however, to the lecturer's description of the heavy snowfall
in the highlands of Sandjakphu. During his visit to that district, as
they would see from the photographs which he would presently show on
the screen, he enjoyed uninterrupted sunshine; nor had he met with the
slightest difficulty from the Pangolins of Phagdub. As for the best
approach to Mount Amaranth he was convinced that the only feasible
route was to work up the Yulmag valley to the Chikkim frontier at
Lor-lumi, crossing the Pildash at Gonglam, and, skirting the deep
gorge of the Spudgyal, ascend the Takpa glacier to Teshi Tsegpa.
Professor Parbatt expressed his keen appreciation of the vivid
descriptions of Himalayan scenery given by the lecturer, and the
admirably-selected photographs which had enlivened his address. He
wished, however, that he could have furnished more details as to his
camp equipment. Had he, for example, used Nummulitic beds for his
party? Then there was the question of geoidal deformation, on which
he had remained unaccountably silent. As for the vital problem
of approaching Mount Amaranth, he ventured to differ from all the
previous speakers. The Northern, South-Western and Eastern routes were
all equally impracticable, as he would conclusively demonstrate from
the photographs he had brought with him. But there were at least
fourteen routes from the West, of which he would confine himself to
four. (1) Starting from Yeh, the party might cross the Tablung-La
pass to Gorkpa Nor, and thence follow the Yombo to Chilgat, where they
would be only twenty-five miles from the foot of the western face
of Amaranth. (2) They could follow the old Buriat pack-road to Amdo,
diverge by the narrow defile of Koko-Pir-Panjal to Tumbung, and thence
make for Ghapchu-Srong and Chyang-Chub-Gyultshan. (3) They might start
from Pongrot and cross the Tok-Tok pass to Pilgatse. (4) They might
construct a tube from Darjiling to Grogma-Nop, and thence proceed by
aeroplane to the saddle of Makalu, or, better still, to the summit of
Amaranth itself. The last route was far the shortest and quickest, but
it involved a certain amount of preliminary expense.
The Chairman having expressed his regret that Sir Marcon Tinway was
not present to describe his experiments with man-lifting kites and
trained albatrosses, the assembly dispersed after singing the Tibetan
* * * * *
[Illustration: HOW TO BRIGHTEN THE PERIOD OF REACTION.
_Mother (to son who has fought on most of the Fronts)._ "DON'T YOU
KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH YOURSELF, GEORGE? WHY DON'T YOU 'AVE A WALK DOWN
THE ROAD, DEAR?"
_Father._ "AH, 'E AIN'T SEEN THE CORNER WHERE THEY PULLED DOWN
SIMMONDSES' FISH-SHOP, 'AS 'E, MA?"]
* * * * *
A hitherto unrecorded incident in the life of M. CLEMENCEAU:--
"A little later in his career--at the time of the Commune, in
fact--another man very nearly escaped being shot in mistake
for him."--_Egyptian Gazette_.
There are, we understand, several Frenchmen who can boast that they
escaped this fate altogether.
* * * * *
[Illustration: _Lady (to prospective daily housemaid)_. "THE HOURS
WILL BE FROM NINE TO SIX-THIRTY, WITH AN HOUR AND A-HALF OFF FOR
_D.H_. "FOR _LUNCHEON_, I SUPPOSE YOU MEAN. AND I SHOULD HAVE TO LEAVE
AT SIX, AS I ALWAYS DINE AT MY CLUB AND HAVE TO DRESS FIRST."]
* * * * *
AN UNHAPPY HERO.
Poor Clayton-Vane's case is one of the most poignant peace tragedies
that have come to my notice. He had just acquired an inexplicable
but genuine enthusiasm for stockbroking when the War gave him the
opportunity of developing into a remarkably brilliant officer. Not
only did he attain his majority, but gathered a perfect chestful of
decorations, including all the common varieties and several which
leave civilians guessing.
Yet strange to say the man who has won these honours in war detests
soldiering with all his heart. He fought as a duty, and did his share
with furious energy in the hope of so shortening the War. His hatred
of the military profession is indeed equalled only by his love of
stockbroking and by his natural pride in having scrapped right on
from the word "Go!" till November 10th, 1918, when he was sent home
Now the tragedy of which he is the pathetic central figure is the
result of his remarkably youthful appearance. Every time his portrait
figures in _The Daily Scratch_, people say, "Why, he looks a mere
child! But then these Press photographs always do distort one so." Yet
in this instance people are unjust. Clayton-Vane, after a four years'
flirtation with death, has the face and figure of a careless chubby
schoolboy. When he is in uniform this youthfulness only adds lustre to
his blushing honours.
Now my unhappy friend is on the horns of a dilemma. He pines to go
back to broking as sincerely as some men pine to travel or to write
poetry, but every time he ventures out in mufti some painful incident
warns him what he will have to suffer as a civilian, with his round
rosy face, innocent blue eyes, curly hair and bright smile. He hears
himself referred to as a chip of the old block. Chance acquaintances
ask him if his father or big brothers were at the Front. To-day, he
told me very bitterly, he was asked if he did not wish the War had
lasted a little longer so that he might have been old enough to go out
"I can't bear it, old man," he said. "There's something about me that
draws out their sentimentality, and they've all got to say something
about my youth, and the heritage of peace that the 1917 conscripts won
for me. They talk as if I had been busy with a feeding-bottle instead
of compressing my silly face in a box-respirator."
His dilemma is a very painful one for a man so sensitive and at the
same time so enamoured of stockbroking. Hard as the renunciation will
be, I really believe he will end by turning his back on the Exchange
for ever and taking a regular commission, though I try to persuade
him that if he will only brave the horrors of peace as he braved the
horrors of war he will win through in the end and grow out of his
* * * * *
"Ex-Batman wanted as General in private house."--_Times_.
* * * * *
[Illustration: AN IRRESISTIBLE CLAIM.
ROUMANIA. "I HOPE, WHILE THEY'RE FEEDING THEIR STARVING ENEMIES, THEY
WON'T FORGET THEIR STARVING FRIENDS."]
* * * * *
ESSENCE OF PARLIAMENT.
[Illustration: _Duke of Venice (the Lord Chancellor), to Portia_. "YOU
ARE WELCOME: TAKE YOUR PLACE."--_Merchant of Venice, Act IV. Sc. 1. _]
* * * * *
_Monday, March 10th_.--Sir JAMES AGG-GARDNER asked two questions
dealing with the distribution of poisons. By a singular
coincidence--or was it design?--the hon. baronet was himself, as
Chairman of the Kitchen Committee, accused by Mr. BOTTOMLEY of having
purveyed poison in the shape of stale fish to sundry Members of the
House, thereby causing them serious internal disturbance. Happily he
was able to show that the charge was entirely baseless.
Scots legal terminology always puzzles me. The "peremptory diets"
which Mr. MACQUISTEN urged upon the attention of the SECRETARY OF THE
TREASURY as a remedy for the grievances of Glasgow's financiers are
not, as you might suppose, a synonym for forcible feeding; nor have
they anything to do with the substitutes for "parritch" to which, as
I gathered from Mr. STURROCK, the people of Scotland are being obliged
to resort owing to the high price of oatmeal.
Members rubbed their eyes a little when they heard Colonel AMERY
declare that the general policy of the Government regarding Imperial
Preference had been "clearly defined" and in the ensuing debate Sir
DONALD MACLEAN declared that, on the contrary, their whole fiscal
policy was "wrop in mystery."
The veil was lifted to some extent by Sir AUCKLAND GEDDES, the
Ministerial "handy man," who, in the absence through illness of Sir
ALBERT STANLEY, explained how the Government proposed to regulate
imports and exports during the transitional period. Up to September
1st our manufacturers are to enjoy a sort of close-time, free from
foreign competition, but after that they must, like the partridges,
take their chance.
Later in the evening the House welcomed a new orator in Dr. MURRAY,
who sits for the Western Isles. He made a rousing appeal on behalf of
the men--practically the whole able-bodied population--who had gone
from them to fight the Empire's battles. In his view the SECRETARY FOR
SCOTLAND was too mild in his methods, and should be "bristling with
thistles and flourishing the claymore" when he tackled the reform of
the Land Laws. Mr. MUNRO was evidently flattered by this tribute to
the martial potentialities underlying his eminently pacific exterior.
_Tuesday, March 11th_.--In moving the Second Reading of his Bill to
enable women to become barristers and solicitors, Lord BUCKMASTER
thought it necessary to assure the House that there was no danger of
its flooding the Inns with prospective Bar-maids. He might have spared
his apologetics, for there was no opposition. The LORD CHANCELLOR
welcomed the Bill on behalf of the Government, and expressed the
conviction that the Benchers, though not "avid of this change," would
nevertheless loyally co-operate if Parliament saw fit to adopt it.
Having caught the infection from the Commons the Peers then proceeded
to discuss their own procedure. From Lord CURZON we learned, somewhat
to our surprise, that the House possesses certain Standing Orders.
At present it honours them chiefly in the breach, and in its Leader's
view it would do well to imitate the more orderly procedure of
another place, even to the adoption of "starred questions" and the
abandonment of the practice by which any noble Lord, by the simple
process of addressing an inquiry to a Minister, can initiate a
full-dress debate. Lord CREWE'S pious hope that these suggestions
would enable more noble Lords to take part in the debates was welcomed
by Lord AMPTHILL, who remarked that, after nearly thirty years in
that House, he had never before been made aware of this desire for
As originally introduced the Rent Restriction Bill was strictly
limited in its operation. But landlord-baiting is a sport to which the
House of Commons is much addicted, and by the time the measure emerges
from Committee its own draughtsman will hardly recognise it.
The best of the many Amendments complacently accepted, after a show
of reluctance, by the Government spokesmen, was one providing that
no increase of rent shall be chargeable except in the case of a
house "reasonably fit for habitation." That should make some of our
slum-owners sit up and take notice.
_Wednesday, March 12th_.--An apparently innocent request from Lord
SUDELEY for the reinstatement of the system of guide-lecturers in
the Museums led to quite a lively debate. Other noble lords used the
motion as a peg for a fierce indictment of the Government's treatment
of these institutions during the War. Lord CRAWFORD, who has probably
forgotten more about Art than some of his critics ever knew,
concealed his real sympathy for the motion under a mask of official
obstructiveness, but was compelled eventually to give it a strictly
In the old days when the possession of a seat was secured by the
deposit of a hat it was no uncommon thing, on the morning of a big
debate, to see a Member staggering in under a load of toppers, with
which he proceeded to secure seats for his friends. To put an end to
this nefarious practice the card-system was introduced; but that, it
is said, has now been similarly abused. One man one card, however,
is in future to be the rule. Colonel WILL THORNE feared that it might
still be circumvented by the "stage army" trick; but the SPEAKER
thought the attendants might be trusted to recognise and defeat any
Member who essayed it.
Rear-Admiral Sir REGINALD HALL, having added to his laurels by
defeating a NELSON at Liverpool, took his seat this afternoon, and was
loudly cheered for the manner in which he came into action. He and
his supporters maintained their "line abreast" and discharged their
salvoes of salutes to the Chair with faultless precision.
Later on the gallant Admiral earned further cheers for a capital
maiden speech on the Naval Estimates. These were introduced by Mr.
LONG, who told the story of the Navy's triumph with all a landsman's
enthusiasm. Its future size may to a certain extent depend upon the
Judgment of Paris, but he was certain that, come what may, the Nation
would always insist on having a Fleet sufficient for our needs--a
sentiment which received the welcome endorsement of Mr. BRACE for the
According to Commander NORMAN CRAIG it was anything but sufficient for
our needs when war broke out. It lacked docks, destroyers, submarines,
air-ships--everything, in fact, save Dreadnoughts, which, in the
absence of these accessories, had to belie their name and rush
from one unprotected anchorage to another in fear of the German
mosquito-craft. Only the courage of the officers and men saved us, and
up to the present--that was the tenor of many of the speeches--they
have reaped but a scanty reward.
[Illustration: GENERAL SEELY'S NON-STOP FLIGHT.]
_Thursday, March 13th_.--Ministers left at home to "mind the shop"
would rather like, I fancy, to put up a notice over the Palace of
Westminster, "Closed till after the Peace Conference." Nearly every
problem presented to them depends for its ultimate solution upon the
decisions arrived at in Paris. Lord STUART OF WORTLEY, for example,
put a series of most pressing questions regarding the present
condition and future prospects of Poland; but Lord CURZON in reply
could only shrug his shoulders (at considerable length) and refer him
to the Conference.
The LEADER of the House of Commons labours under similar disabilities,
which are beginning to try even his amiable temper. Until Paris has
spoken he cannot give definite information about the Government's
fiscal policy, the amount of the German indemnity and other pressing
topics, and, as he told some of his persistent questioners this
afternoon, it is no good putting the same question to him every week
and expecting a different answer.
The best news of the day is that there will be an ample supply
of currants for Whitsuntide school-treats, and _Smith minor's_
translation of "_Non cuivis homini contingit adire Corinthum_" as "Not
everyone is lucky enough to find a currant in his war-bun" will no
longer be applicable.
Five years ago General SEELY, then Secretary of State for War, asked
timidly for a single million for aircraft. To-day, as Under-Secretary
for Air, he boldly demanded sixty-six millions, and explained that but
for the Armistice the amount would have been two hundred millions.
And the House, after hearing his glowing account of the wonderful
achievements of our airmen, readily voted the money. A good deal of it
is to go, quite rightly, to relieving the hardships of demobilisation,
which fall with peculiar severity on men whose special training is
not much use to them in civil life. The least we can do when they are
forced to descend from their chosen element is to insure them against
a bad landing.
* * * * *
TO A VEGETABLE-MARROW.
O monstrous, O Gargantuan, overgrown!
O huge! O gross! O squat!
Whose one redeeming virtue--one alone--
Is that you weigh a lot;
Who will not thrive upon the common soil,
So that the patient digger e'en must toil
To raise a special mound
Above the level ground
That you may sun yourself upon the sloping earth
And, like the wicked, wax to an uncommon girth.
But it is not your vast circumference
That stirs this passing strain;
I would not sing although, to move you hence,
They fetched their biggest crane;
It is that men should shovel tons of _that_
Into the maws of some capacious vat,
Add sugar (half-a-pound)
And stir it round and round;
Then, at the last, throw in some ginger with a spade
And label the result as "Lemon Marmalade."
* * * * *
From a description of the first flight of R 33:--
"Alas, the meteorological conditions, at first considered
probable, turned out worse."--_Yorkshire Paper_.
Nothing so likely as the improbable.
* * * * *
[Illustration: SENSATIONAL SURPRISE STRIKE OF HEROES IN CINEMA-LAND.
PICKETS OF HEROES PREVENT BLACKLEG COLLEAGUE FROM WORKING WHEN THE
HEROINE MOST PARTICULARLY NEEDS HELP.]
* * * * *
THE BIBLE IN PAIN.
MR. H.G. WELLS' new novel, based on the Book of Job, and Mr. ARNOLD
BENNETT'S new play dealing with the story of JUDITH and HOLOFERNES,
by no means exhaust the Biblical and Apocryphal motives from which our
popular writers are now drawing inspiration.
Mrs. HUMPHRY WARD'S next novel will be a minutely analytical study of
the contrasted temperaments of ESAU and JACOB, the one standing for
revolt and the other for a rather smooth and supple orthodoxy.
Mr. E. PHILLIPS OPPENHEIM is turning his attention to a new spy
romance woven about the experiences of CALEB and JOSHUA.
Professor CHALMERS MITCHELL has long been engaged on a monograph on
the Ark and its inmates, in which the famous zoologist will explain
the conditions under which the animals lived, the segregation and food
problems, and how the complexities following disembarcation were dealt
with by NOAH and his family. Lord PIRRIE is contributing a chapter
on the structure of the vessel, and there will be an appendix on the
dangers of overcrowding by Sir ARTHUR NEWSHOLME.
Mr. GALSWORTHY has also been turning his attention to the Ark, and
the inhumane congestion of the creatures that were packed into it.
The result should be a very interesting psychological and sociological
work, the leading character being HAM'S wife, whom the novelist
figures as a protester to her father-in-law against his treatment of
all the animals, but in particular of the two Pekinese spaniels.
Mr. ALEC WAUGH has nearly completed an indictment of private tuition
based on the story of SAMUEL and ELI.
Mr. H.B. IRVING, turning aside for the moment from the study of more
recent turpitude, is preparing an analytical memoir on the first
murder, that of ABEL by CAIN. With all his well-known thoroughness he
reconstructs the crime and shows in what particulars CAIN, although an
innovator, proved himself also an adept.
Mr. GEORGE MOORE is meditating a revised version of the story of
JOSEPH and his Brethren, which in his opinion is sadly in need of
re-writing, suffering as it does from an unsophisticated simplicity of
diction and thought.
Mr. CONRAD is busy with a new romance treating of JONAH and the whale,
in which, for the sake of verisimilitude, JONAH will himself recount
his strange adventure to a few personal friends. As the narrative runs
to over a hundred thousand words the reader may be sure that no detail
of realism is omitted from the description of the luckless voyage.
Mrs. ELINOR GLYN'S new novel will be called _The Heart of Solomon_.
The movie-producers are not idle. After the greatest difficulty in
procuring an actor of prophetic mien willing to undertake the rather
trying part of DANIEL, an intrepid _dompteur_ has been found in France
and the story of the Lions' Den is to be filmed at once. Possibly some
assistance from the drug whose power was illustrated by Mr. GEORGE
MORROW in last week's _Punch_ may be called for.
Meanwhile a company is being formed for the exploitation of a new
system of muscular development under the name of "Samsonism," and
a powerful company of public men is being enlisted to write daily
articles in its praise.
* * * * *
ANOTHER IMPENDING APOLOGY.
"London's Premier Turn Coat Specialist."--_Advt. in Daily
* * * * *
"Writers, mostly town-bred, infatuated with the country-side,
have raved of the statuesque repose of the rural maiden. A
statute is no doubt a beautiful object, but you do not want to
take it to a dance."--_Daily Paper_.
We shouldn't, but the LORD CHANCELLOR might.
* * * * *
AT THE PLAY.
"THE HOUSE OF PERIL."
The maker of a plot that turns upon murder and drugging in the
neighbourhood of a Continental gambling haunt must be aware that his
work is not going to be brought to the test of common experience, and
he is therefore less likely to be hampered by the laws of probability.
But there are limits even to the British public's gift of credulity.
How far Mrs. BELLOC LOWNDES may have enjoyed special privileges in the
search for her material I cannot say; but for myself I confess that a
modest acquaintance with the atmosphere of European casinos has left
me in absolute ignorance of any such society as that of the hosts
of The House of Peril. Perhaps Mrs. LOWNDES'S book (which I have not
read) may throw light on this dark mystery; but in the play--and the
play's the only thing that concerns us here--I could trace nothing
to indicate to my poor intelligence how it was that two decently-bred
ladies and their escort, a perfectly honest French officer, ever came
to find themselves on terms of easy intercourse with the frowsy old
German couple who lived at the Chalet des Muguets, Lacville, on the
proceeds of robbery.
Any obstacle which these repellent Teutons may have had to overcome in
the ultimate execution of their nefarious designs must have been the
merest child's-play compared with the initial difficulty of inducing
the right kind of victim to penetrate so fifth-rate an interior. One
never even began to get over the inherent improbability of such an
And I was the less disposed to take things for granted because of the
rather irritating obscurity that veiled the opening of the Second Act,
in which we are introduced to The House of Peril and are left for a
long time in doubt as to the nature of the place and its relation to
anything that has gone before. I think this must have been the fault
of the adapter, Mr. VACHELL. He seems to have assumed in his audience
a general knowledge of the original story--dangerous confidence, even
in the case of so clever and popular a writer as Mrs. BELLOC LOWNDES.
It certainly was his fault that the end of the play was like nothing
ever seen off the stage. Let me briefly put the scene before you. A
young Englishwoman, paying a farewell call upon the criminals of The
House of Peril, has been drugged by them. She wakes up prematurely to
find them collecting her pearl necklace--four thousand pounds' worth
of it. Murder is in the air, when suddenly, to the surprise of
the villains (but not to ours, for we had had fair warning of the
_denouement_), enter to the rescue two admirers of the lady. In the
excitement attendant upon her recovery from a swoon the druggists
are suffered to pass out through the door into the arms of a posse of
At this juncture, the lady having been restored to her senses, you
might suppose that the rescue-party would take at least some fleeting
interest in the disposal of their prisoners. There you would be in
error. The final curtain is due and there are peremptory affairs of
the heart to be wound up before we can get away. So, to clear the
ground, one of the admirers makes a gallant statement which redeems
the other's character from a false suspicion, and, rightly regarding
himself as _de trop_, goes off by another exit and shows no further
concern in either of the two developments--on or off the stage.
The remaining admirer, left alone in the company of the lady, ignores
with a fine detachment the impotent rage that his captives are
presumably venting in the passage just outside, and declares the
ardour of his passion as a man might do in the breathless calm of
a moonlit solitude _a deux_. And on this idyllic scene the curtain
[Illustration: "PAP-PA" AND "POOSY-CAT."
_Wachner_ . . . . . MR. NORMAN MCKINNEL.
_Madame Wachner_ . . MISS ANNIE SCHLETTER.]
The most satisfying thing in the play was the acting of Miss ANNIE
SCHLETTER as "_Madame" Wachner_ of the Chalet des Muguets, an
extraordinarily clever study of the doting _Hausfrau,_ much busied
about the service of her lord. Mr. NORMAN MCKINNEL as _Wachner_ easily
contrived to convey the typically Teuton blend of brutishness, and
domestic sentimentality, combined with the heavy playfulness which by
a curious delusion, ineradicably racial, is mistaken over there for
humour. "Ja, ja," he says complacently, "I have the humour-sense."
It was regrettable that the cosmopolitan _Anna Wolsky,_ acted with
great animation by Miss MARGARET HALSTAN, had to withdraw from the
scene at an early stage in consequence of being murdered--I don't
know how, as we neither saw nor heard the details. Her friend, _Sylvia
Bailey_, however, stayed on to the finish, and Miss EMILY BROOKE saw
her nicely through her troubles. A very level performance.
[Illustration: "CHARGE, CHESTER--CHARGE!"
_Count Paul de Virieu_ . . . MR. OWEN NARES.
_William Chester_ . . . . . MR. JOHN HOWELL.]
To the rather wooden part of _William Chester_ (foil to hero) Mr. JOHN
HOWELL brought a certain unliveliness of his own. A better chance was
taken by Miss STELLA RHO, who gave proof of a vivid personality in
her brief sketch of a professional fortune-teller who admitted to her
clients (this must be very unusual) that she nearly always made a mess
of her crystal-gazing.
Finally, Mr. OWEN NARES, looking pretty and not too warlike in the gay
uniform of a French Officer of Cavalry, played the hero's part with a
very natural and fluent charm. I join in the general hope that this,
the first play under his actor-management, will go well. It ought to,
for though, in point of power to thrill, it did not quite confirm the
promise of its sinister name and theme it was never for a moment dull,
and its faults were the kind of stage-faults about which, while they
give the critic a chance of being unkind, a British audience never
worries too much.
* * * * *
A matinee of _Romeo and Juliet_ will be given at the Royal Court
Theatre on Sunday, March 30th, at 2.30 P.M., in aid of the Notting
Hill Day Nursery, which has done such admirable service among the poor
of "The Potteries." Help is greatly needed to enable the promoters of
this good work (for which Mr. Punch has before now appealed) to pay
off a mortgage and to start a fund for a convalescent cottage-home.
Among the cast of the matinee will be Miss MONA MAUGHAN, Mr. DENNIS
NEILSON-TERRY and Mr. OTHO STUART, who produces it. Tickets may be
obtained from the Hon. Sec., 22, Paulton's Square, Chelsea, S.W.
* * * * *
[Illustration: LEAVES FROM A SPECIAL'S REMINISCENCES OF THE GREAT WAR.
_Small Girl (on morning after air-raid)._ "HI, MISTER, _'E_ BROKE THAT
* * * * *
"LILLAH MCCARTHY AS EXECUTIONER."--_Sunday Paper_.
Well, they can't say they haven't had a fair warning.
* * * * *
"Scotsmen the world over possess to a remarkable degree the
spirit of clamishness."--_Times of India_.
A good many of them have certainly made the world their oyster.
* * * * *
"OXFORD AND CAMBRIDGE.
"BOOT RACE TO BE ROWED THIS YEAR AT HENLEY REGATTA."--_Daily
A very suitable _venue_ for the contest, which, we presume, will be
conducted in pairs.
* * * * *
"---- CATTLE MARKET.
"Messrs. ---- beg to announce that they will hold their usual
Sale of Fat and Store Stock at above.
"Present Entries include:
"80 Pairs Men's, Women's and Children's New Boots, assorted
These, of course, will be entered with the calves.
* * * * *
TO A MARCH BROWN, SWALLOWED ALIVE.
Rash insect with your jaunty air
The troubled stream serenely riding,
How guessed you not that Death was there
Nor feared the hungry trout in hiding?
Did instinct, friend of helpless things,
Not bid you rise and use your wings?
Alas, the widening ripple showed
Around the spot which lately bore you,
And down you went the deadly road
Where many a fly has gone before you,
One victim more to swell the pride
Of golden tum and spotted side.
Yet know (if any ghost of you
Or delicate spirit's left to know it)
That I've a fly which never flew
(Your likeness) and the skill to throw it;
And I that saw the fatal rise
Marked where a fat half-pounder lies.
Thither will I with reel and rod
And cure his taste for dainty dishes
By favour of whatever god
Decides the destiny of fishes;
And that were vengeance passing sweet--
Your captor on your counterfeit!
* * * * *
He was always called Daisy. We hated the name, but the christening
"just happened" with the suddenness of influenza or an earthquake.
Percy was the culprit, for he knocked all our pre-arranged plans for
a name on the head by his passion for what he calls "apt quotation."
When he (Daisy) emerged from his basket we saw that, like NELSON,
he was blind of an eye. Percy, immediately inspired, quoted from
WORDSWORTH'S _Ode to the Daisy_, "A little Cyclops with one eye"--and
the result was inevitable. Daisy resented the name from the first, for
at the very font, so to speak, he drew blood from us both, and then,
utterly indifferent to our feelings, settled himself on the top of an
empty beer barrel and there performed his evening ablutions.
It was a curious coincidence that made him select a beer barrel, for
thereby hung a tragic tale. He and his twin-brother had been adopted
from infancy by the Sergeants' Mess and had lived in peace and
plenty--in fact in too much plenty, for I regret to say that Daisy's
brother died of drink from having formed the discreditable habit
of emptying all the dregs of the Sergeants' beer mugs into his own
inside. However, he was granted military obsequies, which were so
successfully performed that an account of them found its way into one
of the daily papers. This so delighted the amateur undertakers that
Daisy's brother was at once exhumed and re-buried with further pomp
and circumstance. Daisy meanwhile, feeling himself of less consequence
than the departed hero, began to mope; so to save life and reason he
was sent to us "to cheer and cherish," as the Sergeants put it.
An egotistical irascible bachelor seagull; yet his vices, and he was
made up of them, became virtues in our eyes.
The morning after his arrival he went for a solemn tour of
investigation, finally taking up his abode in the middle of the
tennis-court, as being to his mind the most salubrious spot--and from
there he ruled despotically. "That blooming bird fears neither man nor
devil," Cook was heard to mutter, after he had embedded his beak in
her ankle; and it was quite true. He so terrified Horatio, our portly
bull-dog, by pecking at his sensitive kinky tail from behind when he
was absent-mindedly lapping water from Daisy's bath, that he never
again ventured alone on to the lawn. I say "alone," for he dared once
more, emboldened by the presence of his unwilling young wife, who
accompanied him, tied by a rope to his collar.
Percy and I watched them advance from afar and waited in suspense
for the sequel. Daisy was taking a post-prandial nap inside his beer
barrel. There was a breathless hush, followed by a pandemonium of
sound, masculine and feminine cries of distress mingled with raucous
shrieks of anger, and then we saw our valiant couple in slow but
ignominious retreat. Horatio was dragging his spouse along on her
back, with legs in air and bulging eyes! What had happened in the
interim we never knew, but both Mr. and Mrs. Horatio bore marks of
battle, and they were sadder and wiser dogs for many days to come.
Percy, always deprecatingly anxious to find favour in Daisy's eyes,
tore down to the shore one morning before breakfast and returned with
a large pailful of salt water, which he laid--so to speak--at Daisy's
feet. Daisy glanced at it and at Percy with his cold grey eye, and
then stepped lightly into his fresh-water tub, which was always at
hand. Percy however, being of an unsnubbable disposition, tried again
to find a way into Daisy's heart, and this time he brought Hengist
and Horsa, two young seagulls that he had found derelict on the rocks,
hoping that he would take a paternal interest in their loneliness;
but, like his great prototype, Daisy clapped his glass to his
sightless eye, and "I'm damned if I see them," he said. But he saw
them all right at meal times, when he would whisk round suddenly as
their portion of fish was flung to them, and swiftly gobble it up!
So Daisy prospered and grew sleek and fat, and his days were long in
the land. He consented indeed to partake of our hospitality for over
a year, won many hearts, but kept his own intact, until the following
spring, when a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love;
then be preened his white waistcoat and sallied forth.
Did I say he was a bachelor? The last we beard of him was from a
fisherman friend who, when in search of sea-birds' eggs, saw and
recognised our Daisy by the fierceness of his one eye. He was
reluctantly taking his turn on the family egg while Mrs. Daisy
stretched and titivated herself after her domestic labours.
Does he sometimes, we wonder, think regretfully of his celibate days
and the beer barrel, where he lived _en garcon?_
* * * * *
"Widower, 35, abstainer, would like to correspond with
respectable widow, or otherwise, view matrimony."--_Provincial
He seems an easy-going fellow who would make any woman happy.
* * * * *
At 10 A.M. or so (in bed,
With lowered blinds and curtains drawn),
There wander lightly through my head
Memories of ruddy dawn--
A thing I never could have said
Before we warred against the Hun,
For then, although I may have heard
That this phenomenon occurred,
I had no notion how the thing was done.
A stranger to the birth of day,
How many have I watched since then!
At least a thousand, I should say
(It seems to me like ten);
On Salisbury Plain, austere and grey,
Breaking night's gloom and deepening mine,
When, crawling forth, I used to see
Stonehenge all shaken visibly
By the rude Sergeant's bellow, "_Rise and shine!_"
Gilding the foam of distant seas--
And humbly then I bowed my neck
And sank forlornly to my knees
To swab the blooming deck;
A wealth of flaming pageantries,
When, in a dusty Indian fort,
I went to early morning jerks,[A]
Cursing the sun and all his works
And dripping perspiration by the quart;
In Egypt, too, a pallid glow
Through swirls of desolating dust--
There often have I watched it grow,
Fed up enough to bust;
In Palestine, uncertain, slow
(While standing-to, with drowsy eyes),
Herald of shells and, what was worse,
Waking the ancient Eastern curse,
A hundred thousand million ravenous flies.
Sombre, inspiring, radiant, chill,
Mysterious, wild, inert, ablaze,
A thousand times on plain and hill
The dawn has held my gaze;
Idly I dream of it, until
A sterner mood invades my brain
And I grow resolute. Here and now
I register a mighty vow
_Never_ to see the beastly thing again.
ONE OF THE _PUNCH_ BRIGADE.
[Footnote A: Physical training.]
* * * * *
"The Home Secretary gives notice that summer time will be
brought into force this year on the morning of Sunday, March
30, and will continue until the night of Sunday-Monday;
September 28129."--_Scots Paper_.
By which time, it is confidently expected, the Peace Conference will
* * * * *
[Illustration: _Road Sweeper_. "WOT'S BECOME O' BILL? I 'AVEN'T SEEN
'IM FOR MONTHS."
_Female ditto_. "BILL! WHY, 'AVEN'T YOU HEARD? 'E'S PROMOTED. 'E'S ON
* * * * *
_(By Mr. Punch's Staff of Learned Clerks.)_
MR. H.M. HYNDMAN brings to _Clemenceau: the Man and his Time_ (GRANT
RICHARDS) a specialised knowledge of the intricacies of French
politics, personal friendship with his subject and a sympathy not
discounted by profound differences of opinion. Here is one veteran
fighting man writing a brilliant (I don't use the word as a _cliche_)
chronicle and commentary of the battles of another, battles which
cover the same period and were fought broadly for the same causes. But
the French Radical extremist could never see his way to subscribe
to the Socialist creed. His stalwart individualism, in part
temperamental, was also as a political working faith the result of a
distrust of logic divorced from the experience and responsibility
of actual administration. Somewhat similarly the English Socialist
refused to let logic press him into the premature Internationalism of
so many of his associates, nor did he share their trust, so ruthlessly
betrayed, in German Social Democracy as having either the power or
the serious intention of thwarting German Imperialism. If a man's
achievement be rightly gauged by the difficulties he has overcome,
then M. CLEMENCEAU, called unwillingly and unwilling at the most
desperate crisis of the destiny of a distracted and dispirited France
hammered by the enemy's legions and with the pass ready for sale by
false friends, may well justify Mr. HYNDMAN'S verdict on him as _the_
statesman of the Great War. The man who came into the War a mere Tiger
will go out of it an authentic Lion.
* * * * *
"Miss BERTA RUCK" is among the few writers from whom I can really
enjoy stories about the War. She has an engaging way with her that can
turn even that (at least the more endurable aspects of it) to favour
and prettiness. And in _The Land Girl's Love Story_ (HODDER AND
STOUGHTON), a theme after her own heart, she has given us what is, I
think, her best achievement so far. It is an excellent slight tale
of two heroines who took their patriotic turn at the work of the land
army on a Welsh farm, and the adventures, agricultural and (of course)
amorous, that befell them there. It is all the best-humoured affair
imaginable, refreshingly full of country airs and brisked up with a
fine flavour of romance. "Miss RUCK" has the neatest hand for this
kind of thing; she permits no loose ends to the series of love-knots
that she ties so amusingly. So the finish of the comedy deserves the
epithet "engaging" in more senses than one: with a Jack to every Jill,
and the harvest moon (as promised in the cover picture) beaming upon
all, the couples paired off to everyone's entire satisfaction. A tale
that will be safe for a _succes fou_ with all who have worn the
smock and the green armlet; while I can well imagine that ladies
less fortunate may find their enjoyment of it tempered with a certain
* * * * *
_German Days_ (MURRAY) is a plain tale of everyday life in Germany
before the War, with just those gaps in it which would naturally occur
in the narrative of any one observer who also hadn't been aware at the
time that she was observing. "A POLISH GIRL (C.B.)" has written
this account with an engaging frankness and an apparent lack of
exaggeration which distinguish it among books of its kind. It is
largely a record of school days, and "C.B.," as the child of a Polish
Jew of good standing living in Posen, suffered slights and insults
and met with injustices which a "true German" would not have had to
endure; but she does not seem embittered. Her picture of the German at
home has not made me yearn to renew my acquaintance with him, but it
seems to explain the origin of some of his most unpleasant qualities.
Since, as "C.B." and other writers would have us know, the German
soldier was cowed by physical suffering in peace-time it is small
matter for wonder that he became a brute in war, or that the citizen,
to whom everything used to be _verboten_, has, since the bureaucracy
which regulated his smallest actions went to pieces, shown very little
ability to regulate them for himself. The terrible pact, by which
in the ten years preceding the War thousands of German women bound
themselves to combat the predominance of the landed classes, which
was making life for ordinary people a slow starvation, is one of the
things which I am induced to believe, because "C.B." has dealt so
faithfully with others of which I knew already. Of books on Germany
from within there have been very many, but there is still room for
such books as this.
* * * * *
You must not be shocked to find that Captain HARRY GRAHAM has
(apparently) abandoned the lighter fields of literature for the heavy
plough-land of Biography. What is, I believe, his initial venture of
this kind lies before me in _Biffin and His Circle_ (MILLS AND BOON),
a record of the career of _Reginald Drake Biffin_, that eminent
author with whose works (_The Bolster Book_, and others) the public
is already familiar; though, by a pardonable confusion, they are more
usually associated with the name of the present biographer. It may be
said at once that, if a life of _Biffin_ had to be written, Captain
GRAHAM was emphatically the man for the task; indeed, from the
preface, with its absorbing account of the inception of the work in
certain alleged convivialities between author and publishers, to the
final chapter, there is not a page that is not calculated to
inspire the reader with profound (and in my own case frequently
uncontrollable) emotion. Nor is the work valuable for the central
figure alone. Of each member of the _Biffin_ circle Captain GRAHAM
tells (nay, repeats) some anecdote that forms a tribute at once to the
fertility of his research and the industry of his invention. I should
not omit to add that the volume is enriched with some admirably
reproduced portraits of members of the _Biffin_ circle, as also by an
index that is itself a monument of inaccuracy so subtle that it must
be traced to be appreciated.
* * * * *
Mr. REGINALD BLUNT has scored another brilliant success with _The
Wonderful Village_ (MILLS AND BOON). It is one of his Chelsea books
of anecdote, gossip and good talk of which he possesses the secret. He
knows how to create the right Chelsea atmosphere and he is most artful
in leading his readers on, just as a little dog shows himself every
now and then at a decoy and thus draws the inquisitive ducks after
him till they drift in with all exit cut off. At one moment Mr. BLUNT
gives you a glimpse of that bloodthirsty butcher, KING HENRY VIII.
Then you pass to ANNE BOLEYN, CATHERINE PARR and the PRINCESS
ELIZABETH. Further on there is a delightfully humorous account by
WILLIAM DE MORGAN of his attempt to induce CARLYLE to become a member
of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings: "He promised
to think it over, chiefly, I think, because Sir JAMES STEPHEN had
rather implied that the Society's object was not worth thinking over.
He added one or two severe comments on the contents of space." The
various Chelsea potteries are not omitted, and there is an account
of the wonderful set designed and executed by the WEDGWOODS for the
EMPRESS CATHERINE OF RUSSIA. Of this, in 1909, about one thousand
pieces were surviving. Who shall say where those are now? I may
add that the author's profits on this book are to be given for the
assistance of our blinded soldiers and sailors at St. Dunstan's.
* * * * *
The title of Miss F.E. MILLS YOUNG'S _The Shadow of the Past_ (HODDER
AND STOUGHTON) does not refer to the youthful transgressions of any of
her characters, but to the cloud which the Boer War left behind it, to
burst ultimately in rebellion. I do not know any novelist who brings
to her work a greater sympathy with or a finer feeling for South
Africa than Miss YOUNG, and if her moderate methods do not find favour
the reason can only be that for the moment moderation is a rather
unpopular quality. As regards the actual story given to us here I
find myself unable to accept the hero, _Guy Matheson_, with any great
enthusiasm. Fresh from the kissing of one girl, he at once falls
heavily in love with another. Number One, however, secured him in the
end, for he discovered that his feeling for her was real affection,
while passion had been responsible for his affair with Number Two. But
I fancy that he would still need a little watching. Intermingled with
his love affairs is a tale of racial prejudice and intrigue which
is told with restraint and skill. _Holman_, a German agent who had
dropped an "n" for his better security, is an obnoxious person, in
whose underhand work I can quite readily believe.
* * * * *
[Illustration: THE ABSENT-MINDED STRAPHANGER.]
Back to Full Books