HotFreeBooks.com
Punch, 1917.07.04, Vol. 153, Issue No. 1
Author: Various
Home - Random Browse

Vol. 153.



* * * * *



Punch 1917.07.04



* * * * *

MENTIONED IN DESPATCHES.

The oldest inhabitant sat on a bench in the sun, the day's newspaper spread across his knees, and the newest visitor sat beside him.

"He do be mentioned in despatches, do our Billy, by Sir DOUGLAS HAIG himself. If it hadn't a-been for him, where'd the Army been? he says. I knowed him ever since I come to these parts, and that weren't yesterday. He'd come round that there bend a-whistling, not sort o' cockahoop, like some does, but just a cheery sort o' 'Here I am again;' and he'd always stop most anywhere, if so be as you held up your hand.

"I've seed ladies with their golf-clubs runnin' up from the club-house, and he'd just sort of whistle to show as he seed them, and wait for them as perlite as any gentleman. For it do be powerful hot to walk back home with your golf-clubs after two rounds; I was a caddy, I was, 'fore I went on the line, so I knows what I'm telling you.

"It didn't make no difference if they was champions or duffers what couldn't carry the burn not if they tried all day. Or if it were an old woman a-goin' back from market with all her cabbages and live ducks and eggs and onions—it were all just the same to little Billy.

"Then I mind the day he was took. George he come up and tells me as they have took Billy because the Army wants all it can get. I was fair knocked over, and him so little and all.

"Then the Captain, what was the best golfer here, come back for leave.

"'Grandpa,' says he, same as he always call me—'Grandpa,' he says, 'I've been thinking about Billy all the time I've been out, and longing to hear him whistle again, and now I'm home and he's gone. I shall have to get back to France again to see him.'

"So he will, Sir, and if Billy was going up right under the German guns it's my belief as Captain would get out of his trench to go and see him.

"What regiment is Billy in, did you say, Sir? Why, he got no regiment. Ain't I been telling you, Sir, 'Puffing Billy' is what our golfers here call the little train what used to run six times a day from the town to the links. Just see what the paper says, Sir. I don't be much of a reader, but hark ye to this: 'I wish also to place on record here the fact that the successful solution of the problem of railway transport would have been impossible had it not been for the patriotism of the railway companies at home. They did not hesitate to give up their locomotives and rolling stock.'

"That's 'Puffing Billy,' Sir, him what I've put the signal down for hundreds an' hundreds of times. I miss him powerful bad, but the Army wanted him, and we've been and got some thanks too. I'm proud to think my Billy's in the paper."

* * * * *

THE MELTING-POT.

["The municipality of Rothausen has decided to present to the collection of metal which is being made in Germany its monument of Kaiser WILLIAM THE FIRST."—Reuter.]

Heavy is Armageddon's price And loud the call to sacrifice; All stuff composed of likely metals— Door-knockers, hairpins, cans and kettles— Into the War's insatiate melting-pot Has to be shot.

That was a hard and bitter blow When first your church-bells had to go— Those saintly bells that rang carillons While in the maw of happy millions Pure joy and gratitude to Heaven thrilled For babies killed.

It hurt your Christian hearts to melt A source of faith so keenly felt; And now (worse sacrilege than that) you Propose to take yon regal statue, That godlike effigy, and make a gun Of WILLIAM ONE!

What will He say when you reduce His Relative to cannon-juice? The prospect must be pretty rotten If thus the Never-To-Be-Forgotten Is treated, like the corpses of your friends, For useful ends.

I hear the ALL-HIGHEST mutter, "Ha! They're liquefying Grandpapa! The nation's needs, that grow acuter, Count sacred things as so much pewter; Even my holy crown may go some day Down the red way!"

O.S.

* * * * *

LE SNGALAIS.

Samdou Kieta sat up in bed with a child's primer open before him. "M—A," he spelled. Then, after an incredibly long time of patient puzzling, "M—A—MA. Oui, MA. Y a bon!" and embraced the whole ward in one wide white grin before turning to the next syllable, "M—A—N." Once more the puzzled frown on the black face, once more the whispered hints from neighbouring beds, once more the triumph of perseverance, "M—A—N—MAN!" He was just enjoying his success and chanting his pidgin-French paean of happiness, "Y a bon! Y a bon!" when Soeur Antoinette paused by his bed. "Trs bien, Sidi," she said, "mais il faut les mettre ensemble," and with her white finger she guided his black one back to the first syllable.

Here was difficulty indeed! He knew all right that M—A—N was MAN, but what was M—A? And when, after intense effort, he re-discovered that M—A spelled MA, it was only to find that he had forgotten what M—A—N spelled. At last the other wounded could contain themselves no longer, and the ward was filled with laughing shouts of "Maman!" in which Samdou joined most happily.

Presently the English nurse passed the negro's bed, and he at once turned to another branch of learning. "Good morning," he said, and, when she smiled back a greeting to him, he added, "T'ank you," and looked proudly round him at his fellow-patients as who should say, "See how we understand one another, she and I!"

During a sojourn of many months in the hospital Samdou invariably met the sufferings he was called upon to endure with an uncomplaining fortitude, which might have seemed due to insensibility had not the staff had ample proof that his silence was the silence of a fine courage. On one occasion a set of photographs of the hospital was in preparation, and when the salle de pansements had to be taken the photographer decided that the best lay figure for his mise-en-scne would be a black man, as a striking contrast to the white raiment of the staff. So Samdou was carried in on a stretcher and laid upon the table. Unfortunately the surgeons and nurses were so occupied with the business of placing things in the best light that no one realised that the poor Senegalese did not understand the purpose of the preparations, and when the English nurse was called to take up her position she noticed the hands of Samdou Kieta clutching the sides of the table and his black eyes rolling in a sea of white.

She at once ran to the nearest ward. "Quelqu'un voudrait bien me prter une photographie?" she asked, and a dozen eager hands offered her the treasured groups of la famille. Taking one at random she returned to Samdou and held it before his eyes. "Nous aussi," she said, "toi, moi, le Major, l'infirmier."

Samdou looked, and a heavenly relief chased the tension from his face. "Y a bon," he said happily. "Toi, bon camarade!"

When his wounds began to be less painful the problem was how to keep the Sidi in bed. No one cared to be very severe with him, so the staff resorted to the usual weak method of confiscating all his clothes save a shirt, and hoping for the best. But one day the English nurse, going unexpectedly into a distant ward, came upon Samdou Kieta, simply dressed in a single shirt and a bandage, visiting the freshly-arrived wounded and scattering wide grins around him. At her horrified exclamation he began to shrivel away towards the door, ushering himself out with the propitiatory words, "Good morning. Good night. T'ank you. Water!" A most effectual method of disarming reproof.

Poor Samdou has since passed on to another hospital for electric treatment, but the staff still treasures his first and only letter:—

"Moi, Samdou Kieta, arriv l'autre hpital. Y a bon. Mais moi, Samdou Kieta, toi pas oubli. Merci, Monsieur le Major deux galons. Merci, Soeur Antoinette. Merci, Madame l'Anglaise. Y a bon. Y a bon. Y a bon."

* * * * *

"The Germans have suffered 100,000 casualties in 10 days on the western front, and their losses will increase rapidly. They must shorten their lives wherever possible in order to save men."—Ceylon Morning Leader.

In this laudable endeavour they may count upon receiving the hearty assistance of the Allies.

* * * * *

"Young gentleman (21), good family, strong, healthy, public school, O.T.C., Varsity education, speaks English, French, Spanish perfectly, engineering training, efficient car driver and mechanic, horseman, is open to any sporting job connected with war; willing undertake any risks; no salary, but expenses paid."

If the advertiser will apply to the nearest recruiting-station he will hear of something that will just suit him.

* * * * *

"The inhabitants of the Peak district are in a state of great alarm at the invasion of a great part of their beautiful country by what some of them describe as a plague of locusts, and yesterday considerable numbers of people visited the district where the hosts are still advancing. Many from Sheffield and Manchester alighted at Chinley, Edale, and Hope, among them some eminent etymologists, anxious to be of assistance in ridding the country of a serious menace to the field and garden crops."—Yorkshire Paper.

It is understood that the etymologists are chiefly concerned for the roots.

* * * * *



MR. PUNCH (to the PRIME MINISTER). "IF YOU MUST HAVE DIRTY LINEN WASHED IN PUBLIC DURING THE WAR, FOR GOD'S SAKE, SIR, WASH IT CLEAN."

* * * * *



Civilian model (posing for latest war picture). "MUS' SAY I'LL BE GLAD WHEN PEACE IS DECLARED. THIS CLEARING HUNS OUT OF TRENCHES IS FAIR TELLIN' ON ME."

* * * * *

THE ABSENTEE.

(Embodying divers quotations from the poems of G.K.C.)

Methinks at last the time has come to speak ... Since good old Russia up and revoluted I have been waiting, week by weary week, To hear the news—the obvious item—bruited; But now I give it up; it will not come; Or anyway I can no more be dumb.

Where were you, GILBERT, when the great release— "Freedom in arms, the riding and the routing," Demos superbly potting at police, And actual swords getting an actual outing— Came at the last, the things wherein you shone, Or let us think you'd shine in, CHESTERTON?

You were not there! Damme, you were not there! Alas for us whose faith refused to doubt you! "All that lost riot that you did not share" Managed, somehow, to get along without you; When Russia "went to battle for the creed" GILBERT sat tight and did not even bleed!

CHESTERTON! Dash it all, my dear old chap! Why, weren't you always eloquent on "Valmy," "Death and the splendour of the scarlet cap"? Here were the days you looked upon as palmy. Just think of all your poems! Why, good Lord, There is no word you work so hard as "sword."

We looked to see you there, the stout and staunch, "Red flag" in one hand and "ten swords" in t'other; Saw the strong sword-belt bursting from your paunch; Pitied the foes you'd fall upon and smother; Heard you make droves of pale policemen bleat, Running amok to "slay them in the street."

Strong athwart Heav'n ran the high barricades, And giant Bastilles reeled, impossibly smitten, And men with broken hands swung thunderous blades In "Russia's wrath"—just as you've often written; Yea, the terrific tyrants really reeled, While CHESTERTON sat safe at Beaconsfield.

And yet—I understand; I don't impute That only in your poems do you bicker; You would abstain, when people revolute, No more, I'm sure, than you'd abstain from liquor; And here we have it—here's the reason why: This was a revolution that was "dry."

* * * * *

The Eagle's Plume.

"The bride, who is an American by birth, was given away by her feather."—Liverpool Daily Post.

* * * * *

"Mr., Mrs. and Miss ——, who were in their bungalow at Sidbar, had a lucky escape from the earthquake recently, for no sooner had they ot out than gpractically the whole house cae mdown."—Pioneer (Allahabad).

On this occasion, contrary to the usual rule, Nature appears to have been more careful of the individual than of the type.

* * * * *

"You, too, reader, if you have not already visited ——'s, have a pleasant, bright happy experience before you. Why not visit this modern Forum to-morrow?"—"Callisthenes" in the evening papers, June 23rd.

One of our reasons for not taking this well-meant advice was that June 24th was a Sunday.

* * * * *

"Great fires continue in Germany. The latest include gutting of the Moabit Goods Station in Berlin wherein tanks of petrol, hydrogen, et cetera, exploded, resulting in the destruction of a part of Vilna and the township of Osjory near the Grodno conflagration station and a basket factory at Happe."—Ceylon Independent.

The effect of this remarkably extensive explosion seems to have been felt even in Colombo.

* * * * *

WOMAN AS USUAL.

(In the manner of some of our own evening papers.)

It was with a real pang that I tore myself away from the Frugality Exhibition, where the culinary demonstrations were most enthralling. Just before leaving, however, I watched a wonderfully tasty hash being compounded with oddments of rabbit and banana flour. It exhaled an aroma which I hated to leave—even for luncheon at the Fitz.

AT THE FITZ.

By a strange coincidence I made the acquaintance of an admirable rabbit goulash, which was, I believe, identical with that which I saw being prepared at the Frugality Exhibition. Thus extremes meet, and the fusion of classes is happily illustrated in the common use of the same comestibles.

There are always a number of people lunching in the great hotels in these war-time days, and I was glad to see Lady Allchin, looking remarkably well-nourished in a mauve Graeco-Roman dress and Gainsborough hat; Lady Waterstock, Lord Hilary Sprockett and Sir Peter Frye-Smith.

YESTERDAY'S WEDDING.

Lady Carmilla Dunstable made a lovely bride at St. Mungo's, Belgravia, yesterday, on her marriage to Prince Wurra-Wurra, of Tierra-del-Fuego. The story of the engagement is wildly romantic. Lady Carmilla was returning from Peru, where she had been hunting armadillos; the ship in which she was travelling was wrecked in the Straits of Magellan, and she was rescued by Prince Wurra-Wurra, who was casually cruising about in his catamaran. Her family were for some time hostile to the match, but all objections were soon removed, as the Prince has abjured cannibalism and is now an uncompromising vegetarian. The bridegroom, who is a fine-looking man of the prognathous type, was loudly cheered by the crowd on leaving the church.

A CHARMING CONCERT.

All true melomaniacs will rejoice to hear that the Signora Balmi-Dotti has decided to give another vocal recital at the Dorian Hall. Her programme as usual reflects her catholic and cosmopolitan taste, for she will sing not only Welsh and Cornish folk-songs, but works by PALESTRINA, Gasolini, Larranaga, Sparafucile, and the young American composer, Ploffskin Jee, so that both classical and modern masters will be represented.

TWO RECIPES FOR TEA CAKES.

The FOOD CONTROLLER looks askance at teas in these days, but in hot weather, when luncheon is reduced to the lowest common denominator and dinner resolves itself into a cold collation in the cool of the evening, some refreshment between our second and third meals is indispensable. I accordingly give two recipes which need no wheaten flour and are very quickly made.

Take half-a-pound of sugar, a quarter of caviare, a quarter of calipash, a quarter of millet and six peaches. Beat the caviare to a cream and pound the peaches to a pulp; then add the sugar and millet and stir vigorously with a mirliton. Put into patty-pans and bake gently for about thirty minutes in an electric silo-oven. About thirty cakes should result; but more will materialize if you increase the ingredients proportionately.

Take two kilowatts of ammoniated quinine and beat up with one very large egg—a swan's for choice. Add gradually ten ounces of piperazine, a pint of Harrogate water and inhale leisurely through a zoetrope.

MLISANDE.

* * * * *



Extract from Hun airman's report. "WE DROPPED BOMBS ON A BRITISH FORMATION, CAUSING THE TROOPS TO DISPERSE AND RUN ABOUT IN A PANIC-STRICKEN MANNER."

* * * * *

The New Plutocracy.

"Munition Lady wants to buy Piano and Wardrobe; cash."—North Star.

* * * * *

"Goats' cheese is tasty and nourishing and more easily made than butter; and in winter time the humblest of sheds will suffice for its sleeping place."—Daily Mail.

The cheese should however be carefully tethered.

* * * * *

CHARIVARIA.

According to an Italian report the conviction of the master-spy, VON GERLACH, was effected by the aid of "the two most notorious burglars in Europe." Another slight for LITTLE WILLIE.

***

Reporting on a Glasgow subway railway accident, Colonel PRINGLE advises that "the use of ambiguous phraseology on telephones should not be permitted." Abbreviations now dear to the London subscriber, such as "Grrrrrrr-kuk-kuk-kuk-bbbzzzzz—are you—ping! phut! grrrrr!" etc., etc., will no longer be allowed.

***

The Sinn Feiners are proposing to send a mission to the United States to explain their attitude. An upward tendency in plate-glass insurance is already manifesting itself in New York and elsewhere.

***

Owing, we understand, to other distractions, no actress last week obtained a divorce.

***

A trade union for funeral workers has just been formed, the members of which are pledged to oppose Sunday burials. It is considered very unlucky to be buried on a Sunday.

***

No, "Thespian," it is no longer considered correct to wear a straw hat with a fur coat. Why not run the lawnmower over the astrachan collar?

***

A medical correspondent points out that wasps, gnats and midges can be kept at a distance by using preparations of certain obnoxious plants. There is also much to be said for the plan of making a noise like a German.

***

The death of the "Old Lady of Charing Cross" is announced. The Old Lady of Threadneedle Street, on the other hand, is still able to sit up and take a note or two.

***

Internal matters are not being neglected by the House of Commons. Lord RHONDDA on Bread and High Military Officers on Toast were the features last week.

***

"What is a copper's 'mark'?" asked a Metropolitan magistrate the other day, just as if he were a High Court Judge.

***

An hotel fire occurred in Brook Street last week, and we are told that the guests left the hotel and hurried into the street. Nothing is said as to how this happy idea originated.

***

Mexico, it appears, has arranged that future revolutions shall be held between Saturday and Monday, the week-end being selected as the most suitable time for business men who are assisting America in war-work.

***

At a North of England police-court last week a seven-pound piece of cheese was alleged to have made away with a conscientious objector.

***

We are informed that the fish landed in Great Britain in 1916 weighed 8,173,639 hundredweight. The angler who killed it still sticks to the story that he thought it was much larger than this.

***

Two brass wedding-rings have been found inside a salmon caught on the Wye. As the fish looked extremely worried it is thought that it must have been leading a double, or even treble, life.

***

Some consternation has been caused among food-profiteers in this country by a recent dictum of Mr. SCHWAB, the American millionaire, to the effect that "Honesty is the best policy."

***

In connection with the food-economy campaign a notable example has been set by the python at the Zoo, who has decided to give up his mid-monthly lunch.

***

Among the prisoners recently captured on the Carso is a Major who bears a remarkable likeness to Marshal VON HINDENBURG. The unfortunate Major, it appears, explains that it is no fault of his, being due to a terrible accident he had when a boy.

***

A correspondent in Folk Lore declares that the hedgehog is, after all, a very lovable animal. We do not profess to be expert, but in any comparison with other animals we imagine that the hedgehog ought to win on points.

***

Lord NORTHCLIFFE has informed the Washington Red Cross Committee that the War has only just begun. The United States regard it as a happy coincidence that their entry into the War synchronises with the initial operations.

***

The POSTMASTER-GENERAL has issued a recommendation that all eggs sent in parcels to troops should be hard-boiled. Some difficulty has been experienced, it is pointed out, in securing prompt delivery of portions of uncooked eggs that may have escaped from the parcels in which they were confined.

***

"Two privates in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers," says a news item, "cannot speak a word of English, and their platoon-commander knows no Welsh." Probably the platoon-sergeant knows some words that sound sufficiently like Welsh.

***

The question of transport is officially stated to be one of the main difficulties in connection with the beer supply. This however is questioned by many patriotic consumers, who affirm that they are very rarely able to get as much as they can carry.

***

The appointment of a Riot Controller for Cork and District is said to be under consideration. Following the Indian Government's precedent as exposed in the Mesopotamia Report, he will conduct his official business from the Isle of Wight.

* * * * *

RUINED RAPTURE.

Through many a busy year of peace I hoped some day, by way of beano, To give myself a jaunt in Greece, Famed land of HOMER (also TINO). Full oft I dreamed how, blest by Fate, I'd loll within some leafy hollow With Aphrodite tte-a-tte Or barter back-chat with Apollo.

Around Olympus' foot I'd roam (Not being really fond of climbing), Absorb romance and carry home Increased facility at rhyming; Those hallowed haunts of many a god That nowadays we only read of Would give my Pegasus the prod He not unseldom stood in need of.

That was in Peace. And then the War Sent me to learn within a hutment What martial duties held in store And what a sergeant-major's "Tut" meant;

Thence to the trenches, thence a rest, A route-march to a wayside station, With (every single soldier guessed) Greece as our "unknown destination."

I saw Olympus wrapped in snow, The clouds at rest upon its summit, But did I thrill or long to throw My hands athwart the lyre and strum it? Gazing, I felt no soulful throb, I only felt the body's inner Cravings and said, "I 'll bet a bob It's bully once again for dinner."

* * * * *

"Ex-King Constantino has bought a magnificent chateau called Chartreuse, situated near Thun Castle. It belonged to Baron von Zadlitz, a German officer, who is now in the field, and has been empty since the beginning of the war."—Evening Paper.

Well, he will be able to fill himself up on the proceeds.

* * * * *



* * * * *



Father. "WHAT CLASS DID THEY PUT YOU IN COMING ACROSS?"

Tommy. "C 6."

* * * * *

HAY FEVER.

That is the twenty-seventh time to-day! What is the use of Nobbs's Nasal Spray? What use my aunt's "unfailing" recipes? There is no anodyne for this disease— Thirty, I think! Another hanky, please— A-tish-oo!

The world is gay; the bee bestrides the rose; But I blaspheme and madly blow my nose. For shame, O world! for shame, the heartless bee! Your sweetest blooms are misery to me; And as for that condemned acacia-tree— A-tish-oo!

Oh, could I roam, contented like the sheep, In sunlit fields where, as it is, I weep; Oh, to be fashioned like the lower classes, Who simply revel in the longest grasses, While I sit lachrymose with coloured glasses— A-tish-oo!

Fain would I spend my summers high in air; At least there are no privet-hedges there. But even then I have no doubt the smell From slopes celestial of asphodel Would fill the firmament and give me hell— A-tish-oo!

They tell me 'tis the man of intellect The baneful seeds especially affect; And I that sneeze one million times a year— I ought to have a notable career, Though, at the price, an earldom would be dear— A-tish-oo!

Gladly, indeed, to some less gifted swain Would I concede my fine but fatal brain, Could I like him but sniff the jasmine spray Or couch unmoved within a mile of hay, And not explode in this exhausting way— A-tish-oo!

* * * * *

Wanted, a Faith-healer.

Dear Madam,—We have received your enquiry for Sergeant ——, and wish to inform you that he was transferred to —— Hospital, suffering from a slightly sceptic toe. Trusting this information may be of some value,

Yours faithfully, ——

* * * * *

"It scarcely seems as if the Premiership of Graf Moritz Esterhazy, with all his Oxford education and the vigour of his thirty-six years, will be able to bruise the serpent's heel."—Observer.

The serpent is so beastly cunning; he always sits on it.

* * * * *

"MARRIAGES.—All contemplating Marriage consult Proprietors —— Matrimonial Bureau, Melbourne, opposite Old Cemetery. Specially erected for the purpose."—The Age (Melbourne).

This recalls the description of a famous football-ground in Dublin, "conveniently situated between the Mater Misericordiae Hospital and Glasnevin Cemetery."

* * * * *

"Margaret was clinging to Dick's arm as she walked, looking up adoringly into his handsome, tanned face, with her blue eyes.

A week later Dick led Margaret into Suburban Garden, where he had wooed and won her so long ago.

Dick's voice was very tender as he looked down into two grey eyes."—Manchester Evening Chronicle.

If Margaret is not careful to be a little more consistent she will finish with two black eyes.

* * * * *



["National Baby Week" is being celebrated during the current week. The object of the movement is to educate the Mothers of the Nation in the care of their children's health and their own. Universal sympathy will be felt for a cause to which our heavy losses in the War have given an added urgency. Those who desire to give practical help towards the cost of the scheme will kindly address their gifts to the Hon. Treasurer, National Baby Week Council, 6, Holles Street, Oxford Street, W.I.]

* * * * *

ESSENCE OF PARLIAMENT.

Monday, June 25th.—Mr. LYNCH is beginning to pine for the return of Lord ROBERT CECIL. He does not quite know what to make of Mr. BALFOUR, who politely represses his honest endeavours to elucidate the situation in Greece, and actually declared to-day that the difficulties of the Allies would only be increased by the hon. Member's attempts to deal with them piecemeal. Mr. LYNCH was not entirely done with, however. "Is that reply," he asked in a "got-him-this-time" manner, "given by reason of freedom of choice or ineludible necessity?" "Sir," replied the apologist of philosophic doubt with Johnsonian authority, "questions of freewill and necessity have perplexed mankind for ages."

The House will be delighted to welcome back to its fold Sir ROBERT HERMAN-HODGE, whose flowing moustaches, once described as "the best definition of infinity," have been, at intervals, its pride and joy for over thirty years. But it will have to wait a while, for—strange lapse on the part of a hero of half-a-dozen contests!—Sir ROBERT had omitted to bring with him the returning-officer's certificate. Lord HALSBURY, delayed by a similar accident on his first appearance in the House forty years ago, systematically turned out the contents of seemingly endless pockets and eventually discovered the missing document in his hat.

At this crisis in Ireland's affairs you might suppose that all good Nationalists would remain in their country, doing their best to make the Convention a success. Mr. DILLON prefers to attack the Government at Westminster, because it proposes to set up a Conference to consider the future composition and powers of the Second Chamber. Was it not, he asked, a breach of privilege to do this without the express consent of the House of Commons? The SPEAKER thought not, and referred his questioner to the preamble of the Parliament Act of 1911, in which such action was distinctly contemplated. Mr. DILLON, thus suddenly transported to the dear dead days before the War, when he was hand-in-glove with the present PRIME MINISTER, considers that Mr. LOWTHER is open to censure for possessing a memory of such indecent length and accuracy.

Tuesday, June 26th.—A gentle creature at ordinary times, Lord STRACHIE has been roused to unexpected ferocity by the German air-raids, and advocates a policy of unmitigated reprisals upon the enemy's cities. Had his appeal been successful he would have been recorded in history as the mildest-mannered man that ever bombed a German baby. But Lord DERBY would have none of it. British aeroplanes—of which, like every nation engaged in the War, we have none too many—shall only be employed in bombing when some distinctly military object is to be achieved.



After much consultation with the military authorities the Government has decided that to issue general warnings on the occasion of an air-raid would tend to do more harm than good; and the LORD MAYOR (teste Mr. CATHCART WASON) has announced that he will not ring the great bell of St. Paul's. The DEAN and Chapter, while regretting that Sir WILLIAM DUNN should be deprived of a health-giving exercise, had, as a point of fact, declined to countenance his contemplated invasion of their belfry.



Commander WEDGWOOD, I am sorry to observe, has almost exhausted the store of commonsense that he brought back with him from the trenches at Gallipoli. Otherwise he would hardly have championed the cause of Mrs. ANNIE BESANT, upon whose activities the Government of Madras have imposed certain salutary restrictions. What India wants, I understand, is less Besant and more Rice.

Now that young soldiers are to have votes as a reward for fighting there is logically a strong argument for taking away the franchise from those who have refused to fight. It was well expressed by Mr. RONALD MCNEILL and others, but, apart from the objections urged on high religious grounds by Lord HUGH CECIL, the Government was probably right in resisting the proposal. Parliament made a mistake in ever giving a statutory exemption to the conscientious objector. The most that person could claim was that he should not be called upon to take other people's lives; he had no right to be excused from risking his own. But having deliberately provided a loophole it is hardly fair for Parliament to inflict a penalty upon those who creep through it. And so the House thought, for it rejected the proposal by a two-to-one majority.

Wednesday, June 27th.—There is a general impression that membership of the House of Commons is in itself a sufficient excuse for the avoidance of military service. This, it appears, is erroneous. Only those are exempt whom a Medical Board has declared unfit for general service; and even these, according to Mr. FORSTER, may now be re-examined. This ought to prove a great comfort to certain potential heroes.

Thursday, June 28th.—Mr. JOSEPH KING'S chief concern at the moment is to get Lord HARDINGE removed from the Foreign Office, where he suspects him of concocting the devastating answers with which Mr. BALFOUR represses impertinent curiosity. Accordingly he raked up the old story of Lord HARDINGE'S letter to Sir G. BUCHANAN, and inquired what action the FOREIGN SECRETARY proposed to take. Mr. BALFOUR proposed to take no action. The letter was a private communication, which would never have been heard of but for its capture by a German submarine. Even Mr. KING'S own correspondence, he suggested, could hardly be so dull that everything in it would bear publication.

Mr. KING justly resented this imputation. Dull? Why, only this week his letter-bag brought him news of the great reception accorded in Petrograd to one TROTSKY, on his release from internment; and would the HOME SECRETARY be more careful, please, about interning alien friends without trial? Sir George Cave was sorry, but he had never heard of TROTSKY. There was a certain KAUTSKY, who had been interned—by the Germans. Perhaps Mr. King would address himself to them.

The MINISTER OF MUNITIONS had a good audience for his review of the wonderful work of his department. Who could refuse the chance of listening to ADDISON on Steel? I cannot honestly say that the result of this combination was quite so sparkling as it should have been, for the orator stuck closely to his manuscript and allowed himself few flights of fancy. But the facts spoke for themselves, and the House readily endorsed the verdict already given by Vimy Ridge and Messines.

* * * * *



"DOES GOD MAKE LIONS, MOTHER?"

"YES, DEAR."

"BUT ISN'T HE FRIGHTENED TO?"

* * * * *

"You remember that lachrymose elegiac of Tom Moore, The Exile's Lament, 'I'm sitting on the stile, Mary, Where we sat side by side.'" —Canadian Courier.

No, frankly, we don't. But we seem to have a dim recollection that Lady DUFFERIN wrote something very like it.

* * * * *

A RESOLUTION.

I'll tell you what I mean to do When these our wars shall cease to rage: I'll go where Summer skies are blue And Spring enjoys her heritage; I shall not work for fame or wage, But wear a large black silk cravat, A velvet coat that's grey with age Beneath a high-crowned broad-brimmed hat.

I'll journey to some Tuscan town And rent a palace for a song, And all the walls I'll whitewash down Some day when I am feeling strong; And there I'll pass my days among My books, and, when my reading palls And Summer days are overlong, I'll daub up frescoes on the walls.

The world may go her divers ways The while I draw or write or smoke, Happy to live laborious days There among simple painter folk; To wed the olive and the oak, Most patiently to woo the Muse, And wear a great big Tuscan cloak To guard against the heavy dews.

Between the olive and the vine I'll make heroic mock of Mars, And drink at even golden wine Kept cool in terra-cotta jars; And afterwards harangue the stars In little gems of fervid speech, And smoke impossible cigars Which cost at least three soldi each.

Let more ambitious spirits spin The web of life for weal or woe, Whilst I above my violin Shall sit and watch the vale below All crimson in the afterglow; And when the patient stars grow bright I'll draw across the strings my bow Till Chopin ushers in the night.

Such things as these I mean to do When Peace once more resumes her sway; To walk barefooted through the dew And while the sunlit hours away, If haply I may find some gay Conceit to light a sombre mind, As gracious as a Summer day, As wayward as an April wind.

* * * * *

A Legitimate Inference.

"FOUND, Brown Dog, very clever begging, great pet, believed property clergyman."—Belfast Evening Telegraph.

* * * * *

"The Molahiz of the district ordered to arrest the criminals and hand them to the Dilitary Authorities for trial has been able to seize the materials stolen. Enquiry is still going on."—Egyptian Mail.

The authorities seem to be living up to their title.

* * * * *

THE TWO MISSING NUMBERS.

A CONTRAST.

I.

My friend X. is normally the mildest of men. His temper is under perfect control; and in his favourite part of the angels' advocate he finds palliations and makes allowances for all those defections in the servants of the public which goad men to fury and which, since the War came in to supply incompetence with a cloak and a pretext, have been exasperatingly on the increase. Thus, serene and considerate, has X. gone his uncomplaining way for years.

But yesterday I found him on the kerb in the Strand inarticulate and purple with rage. His face was hardly recognisable, so distorted were those ordinarily placid features. His eyes were fixed on a receding taxi.

Fearing that he might be ill I took his arm; but he flung himself free. "Don't touch me," he said; "I can't bear it." Having reached a point in life when tact is second nature, I waited silently near him until the storm should have passed.

His eyes were still fixed.

After a short time he recovered sufficiently to turn to me and explain.

"I could have killed that fellow," he said.

"What fellow?"

"That taxi-driver. He went by slowly with his flag up and wouldn't look at me. I hailed him, and I know he heard, but he wouldn't look at me. Now I don't mind when they point, or make any kind of sign that they don't want to be hired, or say that they have no petrol, even if I don't believe it; but when they won't turn their heads or pay any attention whatever I could kill them. And there's such a lot of them like that. I swear," he went on, beginning to go purple again—"I swear that, if I had had a revolver just now, I should have shot him. When one man hails another, the man who is hailed must give some kind of an indication. It's only human. Society would fall to pieces if we all behaved like that chap. It's awful, awful! If I'd only thought of taking his number I'd run him in, and I'd carry it to the House of Lords if necessary. Such men—ugh!"

He broke down, smothered by righteous anger.

"Good heavens!" he exclaimed as I was leaving, "if I'd only taken his number!"

II.

The same night a miracle happened. It was very late, and the dbris of a little charity performance at an assembly-room had to be cleared away. The last guests had gone—in this or that conveyance, or on our best friends in war-time, the feet—and that hunt for a taxi, which has now taken the place of all other sport, was being prosecuted with more or less energy by a policeman, a loafer and two or three amateurs, all of whom returned at intervals while the packing-up was in progress, to say how hopeless the case was and how independent the men had become.

One passing cab I hailed myself, but he did no more than laugh a loud laugh of mere incivility and ironically remark, "Ter-morrer!" signifying, as I understood it, that nothing on earth should interfere with his homeward journey that night, since he had done enough and was tired, but that on the succeeding day, if I still required his services, he was at my disposal.

The various bags and parcels being now all ready, we waited patiently in the hall, and from time to time received reports as to the progress of the chase.

At last, when things seemed really hopeless, a taxi arrived, driven by a young man in spectacles, which were, I am convinced, part of a disguise covering one of the noblest personalities in the land—some Haroun al Raschid, filled with pity for lost Londoners, who is devoting his life to redressing the wrongs inflicted upon poor humanity by taxi tyrants—for he said nothing about having no petrol, nothing about the lateness of the hour, nothing about the direction in which we wished to go, but quietly and efficiently helped to get the things in and on the cab; and then drove swiftly away, and when we got to the other end insisted on carrying some of the bundles up three flights of stairs, and had no objection to make when asked to wait a little longer and go on elsewhere.

All this time I was, I need hardly say, in a dream. Could it be true? Could it?

And when he was at last paid off he said both "Good night" and "Thank you," although it was I in whom gratitude should have thus vocally burned. Perhaps it did; I was too dazed to remember.

How I wish I had taken his number, that all the world might know it and look for it, assured of a gentleman on the box!

III.

So you see there are both kinds of taxi-drivers still—only the bad ones are more difficult to get hold of.

* * * * *



"SMART GIRL, THAT NEW GOVERNESS—GOT ME TO LOOK AT THE TAPESTRY WHILE SHE PINCHED MY BREAD!"

* * * * *

Caveat Emptor.

"Leopard for Sale.—A full grown animal, about 6-1/2 feet. Purchaser will have to make his own arrangements for removal."—The Statesman (India).

This species of animal being notoriously unable of its own accord to change its spot.

* * * * *

"There are ninety million tons of tea in bond in the United Kingdom. This is sufficient to supply our needs for about fifteen weeks."—Greenock Telegraph.

May we suggest that our contemporary should spare a few tons for the staffs of other journals?

* * * * *

"One Royal Family Member, who has rendered services to 4 big states as also the Government (and yet in service) and obtained a great deal of experience is entirely willing to accept a respectable post either of a Companion or a Household Controller or A.D.C."—Indian Paper.

Can this be TINO?

* * * * *

"Mr. Herbert Samuel asked if the Government would give an undertaking that nothing would be done to expend public money in this connection before the House had had the opportunity of discussing the question?"—Provincial Paper.

Fie, fie, Mr. SAMUEL.

* * * * *

"It is the new magistrates who have broken the ice, and the supporters of both camps are curiously watching to see if they will now find themselves in hot water."—Liverpool Echo.

We thought this sort of thing only happened in the geyser-region.

* * * * *

"Home offered delicate person on small farm; partner pig, poultry, dairy."—Observer.

This ought to cure any delicacy he might start with.

* * * * *

TO LORD RHONDDA.

DEAR LORD RHONDDA,—When you were an unassuming undergraduate at Caius College, spending your leisure-time in an eight-or a pair-oar, and stirring up the muddy shallows of the Cam, as you did to some purpose, I cannot believe that any premonitions of the heights of celebrity to which you would some day attain disturbed your mind. And yet here you are, a survivor from the foul and murderous shattering of the Lusitania, a coal-owner, a member of the Government, a peer, and the Food-Controller of a whole nation at war.

Your predecessor, Lord DEVONPORT, had no very happy experience of the post you now hold, and I can well understand that his life during his tenure of it cannot have been a pleasant one. Every crank with an infallible recipe for catching sunbeams in cucumber-frames and turning them into potatoes, or whatever might be the fashionable food at the moment; every grumbler who imagined that every rise in prices must be entirely due to the malignity of men and not to the scarcity of the article; every politician with a grudge to satisfy or an axe to grind—all these pounced upon Lord DEVONPORT as a victim made ready to their hands, and gave him a time which can only be described as a very bad one. Add to this the mistakes almost necessarily made by an office which was entirely new and dealt with unexampled conditions, and it is not on the whole surprising that difficulties were encountered and that the right way for overcoming them was not always taken. Indeed there was or there seemed to be at one time a lively controversy between Lord DEVONPORT and Mr. PROTHERO about the true meaning of the words maximum and minimum as applied to prices, and we were left to infer that these Latin monsters are virtually indistinguishable from one another.

However, all that is now over; Lord RHONDDA reigns in Lord DEVONPORT'S place and can profit by his experience. I don't want to delude you into the belief that all is plain sailing for you. You couldn't be made to believe that if I tried for a month of Sundays, and I don't mean to spend my time to no purpose. But I think the great body of the nation is determined that you shall have fair play and will support you through thick and thin in any policy, no matter how drastic, that you may recommend to their reason and their patriotism. This business of food-controlling is new to us as well as to you, but we are willing to be led, we are even willing to be driven, and we are grateful to you for having engaged your reputation and your skill and your firmness in the task of leading or driving us. And if in the course of your duty you encounter any genuine rascal endeavouring to grind the faces of the poor or to find his own profit in the misery of his fellow-men we look to you to give him short shrift.

I am, my Lord, with all goodwill, your Lordship's obliged and faithful Servant,

THE GATE OF HUMILITY.

* * * * *



Officer (having pulled up recruit for not saluting). "NOW THEN, MY MAN, DON'T THEY TAKE ANY NOTICE OF OFFICERS IN YOUR BATTALION?"

Recruit. "WELL, SIR, IT AIN'T THAT EXACTLY; BUT I'VE ALWAYS BEEN ONE, AS YOU MIGHT SAY, TO KEEP MESELF TO MESELF."

* * * * *

"WANTED, Second-hand Invalid's Chair (tired wheels)."—Kentish Mercury.

Just the thing for a second-hand invalid; even the wheels show a sympathetic fatigue.

* * * * *

"Delirant Reges."

The Kaiser, prodigal of verbal boons, Congratulates his brave Bayreuth Dragoons Upon their prowess, which, he tells them, yields Joy "to old Fritz up in Elysian fields." Perhaps; but what if he is down below? In any case what we should like to know Is how his modern namesake, Private Fritz, Enjoys the fun of being blown to bits Because his Emperor has lost his wits.

* * * * *

One of the "Illuminate."

"Unfurnished room wanted by elderly lady with gas connections."—Montreal Daily Star.

* * * * *

AT THE PLAY.

THE ROYALTY TRIPLE BILL.

First a quite charming and, what is not so usual, a quite intelligible fantasy in mime—The Magic Pipe: Pierrot, faithless mistress, despair, sympathetic friend, adoring midinette, and so on. But Mr. JULES DELACRE, who played his own part, Pierrot, with a fine sincerity and a sense of the great tradition in this genre, got his effect across to us with an admirable directness. Miss PHYLLIS PINSON looking charming in a mid-Victorian Latin-Quarterly sort of way (which is a very nice way), danced seriously, fantastically, delightfully, and with quite astonishing command of her technique—the sort of thing that nine infallible managers out of ten who know what the public wants would condemn out of hand as impossible. The intelligent tenth must have been consoled by the enthusiastic applause which greeted the little piece. I have a fancy that mime would go far to restore sanity and tradition to the English stage, and every creditable essay in a delightful art deserves the fullest support.

It is amusing to see our solemn Mr. JOHN GALSWORTHY in labour for three Acts over a rude joke. I frankly confess I enjoyed the joke. Cisterns (its theme) have no terrors for me even in mixed company. But the joke was not the really serious thing about The Foundations, a play that starts (some years hence) with a mob of starving people yelling outside the house—dear, stupid, kindly Lord William Dromondy's house. Lord William was a god of an infantry captain in the great War, and his four footmen—particularly James, the first of them—though revolutionaries at heart, are ready to stand between their master and any other revolutionaries in London town. Well, a bomb is found in the foundations of Lord William's Park Lane palace, and explodes to embarrassed laughter of shocked stall-holders in the Third Act.

The plot's nothing, and the main joke, as I say, nothing to get excited over. But the whole effect of the tremendous trifle, admirably cast as it was, was diverting in the extreme.

Of course it is like our Mr. GALSWORTHY to assume that things will be as black as ever a few years hence. 'Tis, no doubt, what encourages us to keep our end up in the great War. But we know the customs of leopards, and can forgive our pessimist for his creations (for all the world as if he were a milliner) of Poulder, Lord William's butler, rounded pillar of the eternal old order of things; of James, revolutionary but faithful (of course James never would in fact have kept this absurd job); of a light yellow pressman; of a feckless, torrentially eloquent plumber, whose solution of the class war was loving-kindness and the letting of the blood of all who were not kind.

Mr. EADIE was a beloved vagabond of a plumber doing a fine part on his head, as is his way nowadays. But the thing is so good that it is perhaps ungracious to remind him he could make it better. Mr. SIDNEY PAXTON'S triumph with Poulder was his admirable restraint—rarest of accomplishments among comic stage butlers. The effect of everything was heightened by this excellent economy. It was a lesson in artistic reticence. An even more notable feat in the same kind was The Press of Mr. LAWRENCE HANRAY. Obviously he could have collected a good deal more of the laughter of the house if he had played less subtly. I should put it as quite the best piece of playing in a well-played piece. Mr. DAWSON MILWARD has made a deserved reputation as the strong silly ass. He sustained it—with something in hand. Mr. STEPHEN EWART'S James was a quite excellent performance, not very coherent and consistent in conception on the author's part, perhaps, and on that account all the more difficult. Miss ESM HUBBARD gave us pathos skilfully reserved in her clever study of an old, old countrywoman turned trousers-maker; and little DINKA STARACE showed quite astonishing aptitude (or the most wonderful training) in the part of her granddaughter. Miss BABS FARREN also did well with her rather intrusive part of Lord William's daughter.

Box B, by Mr. COSMO GORDON LENNOX, was just a gay trifle to send us home easy-minded to bed. Bobby Stroud, Zepp-strafer, kisses a pretty (oh, ever such a pretty!) widow by mistake. And continues by arrangement. Miss IRIS HOEY was really perfectly irresistible—something ought to be done about it. She would have reduced the whole Flying Corps to dereliction of duty. Mr. FRANK BAYLY had just that air of awkward modesty which is so much more effective than plain swank as an advertisement of gallantry, and Miss MURIEL POPE played a programme-girl with all the skill that an artist thinks is worth putting into little things.

The best evening that I've had in the stalls since the War began ever so long ago.

T.



* * * * *

THERE USED TO BE—

There used to be fairies in Germany— I know, for I've seen them there In a great cool wood where the tall trees stood With their heads high up in the air; They scrambled about in the forest And nobody seemed to mind; They were dear little things (tho' they didn't have wings) And they smiled and their eyes were kind.

What, and oh what were they doing To let things happen like this? How could it be? And didn't they see That folk were going amiss? Were they too busy playing, Or can they perhaps have slept, That never they heard an ominous word That stealthily crept and crept?

There used to be fairies in Germany— The children will look for them still; They will search all about till the sunlight slips out And the trees stand frowning and chill. "The flowers," they will say, "have all vanished, And where can the fairies be fled That played in the fern?"—The flowers will return, But I fear that the fairies are dead.

* * * * *

The Kaiser Lands in England.

"A disturbance of rates (when it tends to raise them) is never popular. Father Barry remarked yesterday that Mr. Underhill, as chairman of the Assessment Committee, was the most unpopular man in Plymouth except one, and the other one was the Kaiser."—Western Daily Mercury.

* * * * *

Letter addressed to local Tribunal:—

"Dear Sirs,—The reason for my exemption has been removed and I shall be glad to join your army if there is still a vacancy."

* * * * *



Lady (to doctor, who has volunteered to treat her pet). "AND IF YOU FIND YOU CAN'T CURE HIM, DOCTOR, WILL YOU PLEASE PUT HIM OUT OF PAIN?—AND OF COURSE YOU MUST CHARGE ME JUST AS FOR AN ORDINARY PATIENT."

* * * * *

OUR BOOKING-OFFICE.

(By Mr. Punch's Staff of Learned Clerks.)

I should like to commend with extraordinarily little reserve Mr. FIELDING-HALL'S The Way of Peace (HURST AND BLACKETT) to the kind of reader that is drawing plans in his head for a New England. No wonder that in these great days the impatient idealist rushes forth with his bag of dreams. The author of The Soul of a People is extreme but sane—an extremist in common sense, say. He stakes on the fact of human solidarity as the cure for the bitternesses and crookednesses of politics; declares life and men to be good, not evil (how right he is!); wants an England rescued from the Puritans on the one hand and the mere musical comedians on the other; an England chaste because freer, less ignorant; good beer in easeful inns; the village or township as the unit of government and of fellowship; a return to music and the dance, not as a plasmon-fed high-brow proposition but as the natural expression of a joy of life returned; a clear fount of honour; a representative House of Commons; justice, respect, common sense and responsibility instead of charity; some place other than the streets for our young men and maidens to make love in; a recognition of crime as mainly a social, not an individual, disease; a law simplified and scales of justice not weighted against the poor; and a host of other good and wise and nearly possible things. Here is not the barren politics of manipulation but an ideal of living citizenship. I commend it to all believers in new days and all honourable disgruntlers; not perhaps as a programme but as a tonic.

* * * * *

Do not, please, run away with the idea that The Nursery (HEINEMANN) presents us with Mr. EDEN PHILLPOTTS' views on baby culture. The background of his story, the scenes of which are laid in and around Colchester a year or so ago, is composed of gardens and oyster-beds. On these he gives a lot of information, and, as he could not be pedantic even if he tried to be, I browsed pleasantly upon the store of knowledge set before me. Also I liked the restraint he shows in dealing with the War, and commend his exemplary method to some of our more blatant novelists. When, however, I came to the inhabitants of The Nursery I failed to find in them that rare and delightful quality with which Mr. PHILLPOTTS usually succeeds in endowing his characters. Readers of his novels must know by this time that he is not exactly in love with Mrs. Grundy, but here he seems to be insurgent against something, and for the life of me I don't know quite what it is. Perhaps it is insincerity, which is a very good thing to be in rebellion against. There is one very amusing and delightful character, a bibulous old sinner who defied law and order and almost at the last gasp ladled out what he considered justice in a most dramatic manner. His name is William Ambrose, and it is worth your while to make his disreputable acqaintance.

* * * * *

One fact at once awakened in me a fellow-feeling for Mr. BERTRAM SMITH—the discovery of his appreciation (shared by myself, the elder STEVENSON, and other persons of discernment) for the romantic possibilities of the map. There is an excellent map in the beginning of Days of Discovery (CONSTABLE), showing the peculiar domain of childhood, the garden, in terms that will hardly fail to win your sympathy. But not in this alone does Mr. SMITH show that he has the heart of the matter in him; every page of these reminiscences of nursery life proclaims a genuine memory, not a make-believe childhood faked up for literary ends. Who that has once been young can read unstirred by envy the chapter on "Devices and Contrivances," with its entrancing triumph of the chain of mirrors arranged (during the providential absence of those in authority) from the night nursery, down two flights of stairs, to the store-room in the basement? I know a reviewer whom nothing, but moral cowardice restrained from testing the possibility of this delightful plan by personal experiment. Fireworks too—Mr. SMITH has remembered them with a proper regard that is, of course, wholly different from that of those who understand them only in their pyrotechnic aspect, not as objects loved for themselves alone, for their shape and feel, and the glamour of weeks of hoarding and barter. In short, a real nursery book for the study; not one perhaps that actual children would care for (quite possibly they might resent it as betrayal), but one that for the less fortunate will reopen a door of which too many of us have long lost the key.

* * * * *

What I found strangest in the Transactions of Lord Louis Lewis (MURRAY) is that it is a story, or rather series of stories, about rogues, in which trickery is invariably vanquished—a refreshing contrast to the methods of most of our romanticists, who are given to a certain courtier-like attitude towards the lawbreaker. Certainly that various artist, Mr. ROLAND PERTWEE, has contrived to put together a highly entertaining collection of diamond-cut-diamond yarns, adventure tales that have the great advantage (for these days) of being concerned, not with bloodshed and mysterious murders, but with the wiles of dealers in the spurious antique and the exploits of Lord Louis in defeating them. This Lord Louis is indeed a very pleasant as well as a very ingenious gentleman. From the rotundity of his conversational periods and a certain general suavity of demeanour I suspect him of having made a careful study of the methods of his distinguished predecessor in rogue-reducing, Prince Florizel of Bohemia. But he is, of course, none the worse company for that. Once, however, he shocked me badly, when, in perusing an eighteenth-century MS., he—I can hardly bring myself to quote the passage!—he "moistened his fingers and turned over three pages." And this of a nobleman and a connoisseur! Oh, Mr. PERTWEE! Having said so much, it is only fair that I should call your special attention to one of the stories, "The House in Bath," an exquisite little gem of considerably higher art than is usually associated with such "Exploits of the Event."

* * * * *

You might perhaps allow yourself to be put off by such a title as Home Truths about the War (ALLEN), because it, or something like it, has so often been used as the preliminary to alarming or disagreeable statements that we have grown excusably suspicious. But to avoid on this account the letters that the Rev. HUGH CHAPMAN has here brought together would be to miss a very original and inspiring little book. Let me say once that Mr. CHAPMAN (whom you may know is energetic and popular chaplain of the Savoy; also as already, under a pseudonym, an author) has deliberately essayed the impossible. Self-revelation, especially in letters, can hardly ever be made convincing. But putting this on one side, and accepting these, not as the letters that would be written from one man to another, but rather (to speak without irreverence) such as the human heart might address to its Creator, you will find them full of interest and encouragement. All sorts and conditions of men and women are here shown, in their varied reaction to the great acid that for these three years past has been biting into the life of the world. The priest, the actor, the profiteer, the society-woman, even the conscientious objector, are all touched lightly, tactfully, and with a kindly humour that saves the book from its very obvious danger of becoming pedantic. In his brief preface Mr. CHAPMAN has crystallised very happily into a couple of words his ideal for the British attitude towards the War—buoyant sternness. It is the reflection of that quality in its pages that gives this little book its tonic value.

* * * * *

Mr. ARNOLD WRIGHT'S main work in Early English Adventurers in the East (MELROSE) has been that of making good. Most of us know something, at any rate, of the men who brought our Eastern Empire into actual existence, but I tell myself hopefully that my ignorance of those daring pioneers, whom Mr. WRIGHT describes as humble adventurers of the seventeenth century, is not exceptional. It has now been satisfactorily removed, and, after reading this excellently written history of stirring deeds, I must believe that even men of learning will thank him for rescuing many good names from the oblivion which threatened them. And Mr. WRIGHT is not only to be congratulated on this act of salvage, but also on the admirable way in which he has performed it. A restrained style and a temperate judgment are equally at his command. I cannot better commend his book to Imperialists than by saying that all Little Englanders will detest it.

* * * * *

On internal evidence I had set down Root and Branch (ALLEN AND UNWIN), by R. ALLATINI, as the very clever first book of a very clever and observant writer of the (alleged) weaker sex. But I find the title-page gives two previous novels to her pen—I still guess a woman's hand. And I by no means withdraw the "clever." The characterisation of the various members of the Arenski family—the branches are better done than the root, old Paul Arenski, K.C., idealist and orator—is uncannily good. There's wit and humour and diversity of gifts. What suggested the "first book" idea was an uncertainty of method, a hesitation between the new realism and the older romanticism. In both moods the author is successful, but the joints show something clumsily. This, however, is technical merely. I commend the book to all who are interested, approvingly or critically, in the Jew. A dramatic theme runs through the book, the ethical question as to whether a man may be justified in killing, at her passionate request, a woman dearly loved who is slowly dying of a terrible disease.

* * * * *



Angry Customer (who has been induced by an advertisement to purchase a portrait enlargement). "YOUR ADVERTISEMENT SAYS, 'MONEY RETURNED IF NOT SATISFIED.' I'M NOT SATISFIED, AND I WANT MY MONEY BACK."

The Eureka Portrait Company (placidly) "I'M SORRY YOU DON'T LIKE IT, MADAM; BUT IF YOU WILL READ THE ADVERTISEMENT CAREFULLY YOU WILL NOTE THAT IT DOES NOT SPECIFY WHO IS TO BE SATISFIED—AND I ASSURE YOU I AM."

THE END

Home - Random Browse