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Punch, Or The London Charivari, Vol. 152, January 24, 1917
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PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.

VOL. 152.



January 24th, 1917.



CHARIVARIA.

"They know nothing about the War in Greenland," said M. DANGAARD IENSEN to a contemporary, and now the Intelligence Department is wondering whether it didn't perhaps choose the wrong colour after all for its tabs.

***

The Governor of Greenland, giving evidence in the Prize Court last week, was greatly interested to learn that there was a well-known hymn, entitled "From Greenland's Icy Mountains." He was, however, inclined to think that the unfortunate reference to the rigorous nature of the climate would be resented by the local Publicity Committee, to whose notice he would feel it his duty to bring the matter when they were next thawed out.

***

Lord DEVONPORT has established his own Press Bureau, and it is rumoured that the Press Bureau is about to appoint its own Food Controller.

***

The American Line has advanced its First-Class fares by three pounds. It is hoped that this will effectually discourage Mr. HENRY FORD from visiting Europe for some time to come.

***

The Times Literary Supplement has received 335 books of original verse in 1916. And still the authorities pretend that juvenile crime is confined to the East End.

***

A telegram despatched from London on January 22nd, 1906, which contained a polling result of the General Election then in progress, has just been received by a Witham resident, who told the messenger there was no reply.

***

"If agriculture is to flourish," says The Daily Mail, "it must be so conducted as to pay." It is just this sordid commercialism that distorts the Carmelite point of view.

***

The German Union for the Development of the German Language have sent a petition to the CHANCELLOR, asking that in any future Peace negotiations the German language should be used. Will German frightfulness never cease?

***

"Anybody in the Carmarthen district," says the local medical officer, "can keep a pig in the parlour if they keep it clean." The necessity of keeping the parlour clean for the sake of its guest will be easily understood by those who appreciate the fastidious taste of the pig.

***

A Hungarian paper complains that the Government treats the War as if it were merely a family affair. This contrasts unfavourably with the more broadly hospitable attitude of the Allies, who have made it abundantly clear that so far as they are concerned anyone is welcome to join in and help their side.

***

The other day a Farnham bellringer, after cycling seventy miles, rang a peal of 5,940 changes. It is not known why.

***

"War diet," says Professor ROSIN in the Lokal Anzeiger, "improves the action of the heart." But what the Germans really want to know is, what improves a war diet?

***

Among the goods stolen from a Crouch Hill provision merchant's the other day were eight cheeses and ten hams. As the place was much littered it is thought that the cheeses put up a plucky fight.

***

It is pointed out by experienced agriculturists that it is useless to plant potatoes unless steps are taken to destroy the insect pests. A Peterborough farmer has written a poem in The Daily Express against those pests, but we fancy that if a permanent improvement is to be effected it will be necessary to adopt much sterner measures than this.

***

The recent vagaries of the Weather Controller are said to be due to one of the new railway regulations, by which you are required to "Show all seasons, please."

***

Even Nature seems upset by the War. According to The Evening Standard primroses are blooming in a Harrow garden, while only the other day a pair of white spats were to be seen in the Strand.

* * * * *



* * * * *

Another Glimpse of the Obvious.

From the "Standing Orders" of a Military Hospital:—

"Officers confined to their beds will have their meals in their rooms."

* * * * *

"A gale of great fury raged at Sheffield early on Tuesday morning. Much damage was done in the city and outlying districts, a number of beings being unroofed."—Yorkshire Paper.

Several others have been noticed to have a tile loose.

* * * * *

"The welcome, amounting to an oration, which heralded the Prime Minister, was the most remarkable feature of a very remarkable occasion." Daily Dispatch.

Is this quite kind to the subsequent speakers?

* * * * *

"By his colleagues at Bar he has been regarded as a sound lawyer, well worthy of the high position which he had filled for little over two hundred years."—Englishman (Calcutta).

Lord HALSBURY must look to his laurels.

* * * * *

"Mr. Clement Wragge has prepared a special weather forecast for the year 9117. His opinion is that the year will prove distinctly good." New Zealand Times.

We infer that, in Mr. WRAGGE's opinion, the War will be over by then.

* * * * *

The Minimum.

Extract from a letter just received from H.Q. in France:—

"C.O.'s will take care that all ranks know that they must never parade before an Officer—Brigade, Regimental or Company—unless properly dressed, wearing at least a belt."

* * * * *

"The few women on the platform were dressed quietly, as befitted the occasion, the smartest person present being Mr. McKenna."—Illustrated Sunday Herald.

Our contemporary might have told us what he wore.

* * * * *

THE GOLFER'S PROTEST.

Among the shocks that laid us flat When WILLIAM loosed his wanton hordes There fell no bloodier blow than that Which turned our niblicks into swords; And O how bitter England's cup, In what despair the order sunk her That called her Cincinnati up When busy ploughing in the bunker!

Even with those who stuck it out, Bravely defying public shame, Visions of trenches knocked about Would often spoil their usual game; Rumours of victory dearly bought, Or else of bad strategic hitches, Disturbed their concentrated thought And put them off their mashie pitches.

Now comes a menace yet more rude That puts us even further off; It says the nation's need of food Must come before the claims of golf; We hear of parties going round, Aided by local War-Committees, To violate our sacred ground By planting veg. along our "pretties."

If there be truth in that report, Then have we reached the limit, viz.:— The ruin of that manly sport Which made our country what it is; The ravages we soon restore By conies wrought or hoofs of mutton, But centuries must pass before A turnip-patch is fit to putt on.

What! Shall we sacrifice the scenes On which our higher natures thrive Just to provide the vulgar means To keep our lower selves alive? Better to starve (or, better still, Up hands and kiss the Hun peace-makers) Than suffer PROTHERO to till The British golfer's holy acres.

O.S.

* * * * *

PERSONAL PARS FROM THE WESTERN FRONT.

(With acknowledgments to some of our chatty contemporaries.)

HAPPY C.-IN-C.—I saw the Commander-in-Chief to-day passing through the little village of X in an open car. He was very quietly dressed in khaki, with touches of scarlet on the hat and by the collar. I waved my hand to him and he returned the salute. It is small acts like this which endear him to all. I noticed that the Field-Marshal was not carrying his baton. Doubtless he did not wish to spoil its pristine freshness with the mud of the roads.

* * * * *

OF COURSE.—A friend in the Guards tells me that the new food restrictions do not affect the men in the trenches very seriously. Our brave soldiers are so inured to hardships by now that they willingly forgo seven-course dinners.

* * * * *

NOT STARVING.—While on the subject of food, the picture published on page 6 of to-day's issue refutes the idea that the Hun is starving. It represents the KAISER looking at some pigs. The KAISER can be distinguished by a x.

* * * * *

FASHIONS FOR MEN.—Now that mid-winter is with us it is quite a common event to meet fur-clad denizens of the firing line. Some of the new season's coats are the last word in chic, one which I noticed yesterday made of black goat, having pockets of seal coney with collar and cuffs of civet. The wearer's feet were encased in the latest style of gum boots, reaching to the thigh and fastening with a buckle. These are being worn loose round the ankle. A green steel helmet, draped in sandbag material, completed the costume. The field service cap was not being worn inside the helmet.

* * * * *

NUMBER NINE.—The Army doctors, so it seems, do not fully understand the delicate constitution of a friend of mine in the Blues, and sent him back to duty after dosing him with medicine, though he is suffering from pain in the foot. The medicine generally takes the form of a "Number Nine," the pill that cures all ills; but last time he went on sick parade they were out of stock, and he was given two "Number Fours" and a "Number One" instead. Rough-and-ready pharmacy. What?

* * * * *

SPIRITED.—Met my old chum, Sir William ——, just back from the trenches. Dear old Billy, what cigars he used to smoke in the good old days! He tells me that when on a carrying fatigue the other night one of his men dropped the earthenware receptacle which contains Tommy's greatest consolation in this terrible war, and every drop of the precious liquid was spilt. Five minutes later a Jack Johnson landed beside him and put things right. It gave him a rum jar. Good, eh?

* * * * *

WHERE TO LUNCH.—I am just off to lunch with my old pal, the Hon. Adolphus Lawrie-Carr, of the Motor Transport Section of the A.S.C. I have never seen him look better than he does now, in hunting stock and field boots, crop and spurs. He always gives one a first-class meal.

* * * * *

THE NEXT PUSH.—I had a most interesting conversation the other day with Alphonse, late of the Saveloy. He is on the G.H.Q. Staff in a position of high trust—something to do with the culinary arrangements, I believe—and is, of course, in the know. From what he told me confidentially I can assure all my countless readers that there will be fighting on the Western Front during 1917, and, in the words of Mr. Hilary Bullox, "If it is not prolonged until next year, the present year will certainly see the end of the War." More I cannot divulge.

* * * * *

Our Cautious Contemporaries.

"What can be said with truth is that business in the New Loan for the first two days is easily AZ per cent. better for new money than for the same period on the occasion of the last loan."—Evening Standard.

* * * * *

"ANCIENT ORDER OF HIBERNIANS.

State President Fee has requisitioned a large supply of stationery; he announces that he will at once begin an active canvas of the State to revive old divisions and organize new ones."—Texas Newspaper.

Just as if he were at home in dear old Ireland.

* * * * *

"Athens, Wednesday.

The ex-Premiers who were consulted yesterday by the iKng, were unanimously of opinion that the Entente Note was not yesterday by the King were unanimously as its acceptance would imply that Greece contemplated an attack on General Sarrail's rear."—Continental Daily Mail.

Yet there are some people who complain that the situation in Greece is not entirely clear.

* * * * *



* * * * *

A WAY NOT TO PAY OLD DEBTS.

"Hullo, old thing!" said Herbert gloomily; "lots of Congrats. Lucky devil, you," and he sighed unobtrusively.

I had forgotten that once upon a time Adela had refused to walk out with Herbert because of his puttees, which she said were so original that they distracted her attention from the way he proposed.

Remembering this now, I offered my cousin a sympathetic cigarette, which he, shaking himself free from care, accepted; after which he began to borrow ten pounds—an achievement which, I am proud to say, cost him nearly twenty minutes' hard labour.

Not so very long afterwards Adela and I had a honeymoon, followed by a picture-postcard from Herbert. He said he was sorry he hadn't been there to throw boots at us, but he was convalescing on the Cornish Riviera, the exact spot being marked with a cross; also one could not send money by postcard, but I was not to think he was forgetting about that fiver he had borrowed.

The first part of this document caused Adela to wonder vaguely if wounded officers ought to convalesce in chimney-pots, but the last words gave me some twinges of a more sincere alarm. Was Herbert's delusion a permanency, or merely a slip of the pen?

"Adela," I decided, "let's ask Herbert to dinner as soon as ever he leaves the roofs of the British Riviera."

Then one day, when I was writing letters in the Mess, he strolled in. "Hullo!" he said, "where's the C.O.? What?... Oh, thanks awfully, and ... Oh, I say, good Lord! I owe you three quid, don't I?" and he drifted out abstractedly.

"Three!" I echoed dizzily, as the door banged. I staggered home for the week-end.

I found Adela having an excited conversation with the telephone in the hall.

"Ooo!" she said, hanging up the receiver, "Herbert's a hero. He's just been telling me. And he's coming to dinner to-night."

"I also," I responded with emotion, "have a tale to unfold," and I unfolded it.

When at last Herbert, moving modestly under the burden of a newly acquired D.S.O., arrived at the flat, hospitality and an unaccustomed awe withheld me from referring to so sordid a matter as the inconsiderable decrease in my lately-invested capital. Herbert, however, deprecated heroics, and, as he was saying good-night, came of his own accord to the subject of debts. He was always a conscientious fellow.

"You know, old chap," he said with charming candour, as I saw him off from the doorstep, "you must remind me to pay up that two quid some time. I keep forgetting, and when I do remember, like now, I haven't any money to do it with. Cheero!" The door clicked and I swooned.

It was very difficult; I could not even make up my mind whether my best policy was to stalk Herbert with vigilance or to avoid him as persistently as discipline allowed. On the one hand he wasn't the cheque-book kind of man and he wouldn't pay me unless he saw me. Contrariwise, he wouldn't even if he did, and whenever he saw me my original loan of ten gold sovereigns might continue its rapid decline. Finally I decided to abstain from his society.

Shortly after this momentous decision the War Office sent him off to some remote part of the country, and for many months our financial relations remained unaltered—at any rate in my own estimation. He was still far away when Adela II arrived, so we did our best to hush her up; we thought that if we could smuggle her to, say, the age of ten and send her to school Herbert couldn't possibly come and congratulate us about her. That only shows how much we didn't know; for Herbert procured some leave three weeks later and was excitedly mounting our stairs within a few hours.

"P'r'aps," whispered Adela bravely as he was being announced, "he'll forget about money—p'r'aps he'll even put it up a bit."

I smiled cynically, and was justified ten minutes later, when Herbert's conscience, troubled and apologetic, reminded him about that guinea he owed me.

At the christening it fell to half-a-quid, and, according to Herbert's latest allegation, it is only his rotten memory for postal-orders that prevents him from sending me that dollar at once.

And so, precariously, the matter rested till to-day, when the final blow fell from the War Office. Herbert and I are to proceed to France together next Monday. On that day, if I am ingenious and agile enough not to meet him before, we ought to be about all square; after that, as far as I can see, there will be an inevitable moment when Herbert will turn to me with, "I say, old fellow, you can't let me have that ten bob you touched me for the other day, can you? Hate to ask you, but I haven't got a sou ..." But I won't—no, I won't. I will let my imaginary debt mount up, I will let it increase even at the rate at which Herbert's has decreased, but I will not pay it. Herbert, of course, will always be kind to me about it, for he is a generous creature; and every time we go into action he will probably wring my hand and beg me not to worry about it any more.

"Old man," he will be saying on the twenty-ninth occasion, "if I got done in, promise you won't bother about that thousand pounds you owe me—remember you're to think of it as paid."

I shall remember all right.

* * * * *



* * * * *

"In a corn and meal merchant's shop, where two or three cats are kept for business purposes, the cats may be seen feeding at will from the open sacks."—Spectator.

This lapse on pussy's part goes rather against the grain.

* * * * *



* * * * *

POLITICAL NOTES.

BY OUR OWN PAIR OF LYNX.

There is unfortunately no truth in the rumour that, in order to provide billets for 5,000 new typists, and incidentally to win the War, the Government has commandeered the Houses of Parliament.

* * * * *

The problem of the housing of the traveller-classes when all the hotels of London have been taken over by the Government is now occupying both the waking and sleeping hours (such as they are) of the War Cabinet, and a special department of the Intelligence Department has been created to deal with it on the roof of No. 10 Downing Street. It has not yet been decided whether all visitors to London should be sent back as soon as they arrive, or whether Sir JOSEPH LYONS should reap the sole benefit of their sojourn.

* * * * *

Although the proprietors of the Hotel des Ambassadeurs, Ealing, and the Grand Hotel Riche, Mile End, have offered the Government their premises, on the most advantageous terms to themselves, no arrangement has yet been effected.

* * * * *

A deputation of officials recently visited the Zoo and made a number of measurements, but no decision has yet been reached as to whether or no it will be taken over for Government work.

* * * * *

There is absolutely no truth in the statement, circulated by some wholly frivolous or malicious person, that any of the theatres or music-halls are to be closed during the War in order to make space for workers.

* * * * *

It is rumoured that Mr. EDWARD MARSH may very shortly take up his duties as Minister of Poetry and the Fine Arts. Mr. MARSH has not yet decided whether he will appoint Mr. ASQUITH or Mr. WINSTON CHURCHILL as his private secretary.

* * * * *

Meanwhile a full list of the private secretaries of the new private secretaries of the members of the new Government may at any moment be disclosed to a long-suffering public.

* * * * *

The latest Captain of Commerce to be diverted from his own business for the benefit of his country is the head of the great curl industry. He will have one on his sleeve, being given commissioned rank in the Navy, and his special duty will be the control of the waves of the Channel.

* * * * *

At the invitation of the PREMIER, whose summons came to him just as he was entering his car bound for Pall Mall, Mr. HARVEY TATE has agreed to accept the portfolio of the Ministry of Road Traffic. Mr. TATE'S long experience as a motorist and familiarity with all the difficulties of motoring qualify him peculiarly for this post. One of his first tasks will be to inquire fully into the charges against the taxi varlet.

* * * * *

In spite of all rumours to the contrary, Lord NORTHCLIFFE will remain outside the new Government, but his interest in it is, at present, friendly. It is very well understood, however, that everyone must behave; for his Lordship, in one of his rare intervals of expansion, has been heard to remark that there are as good fish in the sea as ever came out of it.

* * * * *

"The Bishop of Winchester proposes to cultivate the park round big Palace at Fulham."—Bristol Times and Mirror.

The Bishop of LONDON will, no doubt, return the compliment at Farnham.

* * * * *

WARS OF THE PAST.

(As recorded in the Press of the period.)

VII.

From "Tempora" (Rome).

Admittedly, the peril is extreme. Crustumerium has fallen, and also Ostia. However, Janiculum, the key to the whole outer system of the City's defences, still stands, and there is accordingly no immediate cause for dismay. But we are strongly of the opinion—so rapid has been LARS PORSENA'S advance hitherto—that the bridge over the Tiber should be at once destroyed as a precautionary measure while there is yet time. We have every confidence in the continued capacity for resistance of the strong garrison at Janiculum, but it is necessary to be prepared for every eventuality; and if the fortress should fall without the bridge being demolished the latter would inevitably be seized by the enemy, and the Tiber, our last line of defence, would be lost to us.

For the rest, the spirit of the people is excellent. It has become almost a truism to say that nowadays none is for a party, but all are for the State. Rich and poor have learned to help and respect each other. Indeed, in these brave days Romans, in Rome's quarrel, have poured out blood and treasure unsparingly for the common cause. We are like a nation of brothers.

* * * * *

Placard of "Hesperus" (Special Phosphorus Edition):—

FALL

OF

JANICULUM.

* * * * *

From "Hesperus" (Noon Edition).

SWIFT ADVANCE OF THE ENEMY.

WAR COUNCIL MEETS.

HORATIUS TO HOLD BRIDGE-HEAD.

CAN THE BRIDGE BE DESTROYED IN TIME?

* * * * *

The Secretary to the Senate announces:

"The War Council met at the River Gate immediately on receipt of the news of the fall of Janiculum. It was decided to accept the offer of Port-Captain HORATIUS (S.P.Q.R.'s Own), SPURIUS LARTIUS (Ramnian Regt.), and HERMINIUS ("Titian Toughs"), who gallantly volunteered to hold the bridge-head in order to give time for the bridge itself to be destroyed. All hope of saving the town should not therefore be abandoned."

* * * * *

From our Special Correspondent.

I have just returned from the River Gate, where I was, I believe, the first to applaud one of the Patres Conscripti (commanding the Axe-and-Crowbar Volunteers), who set a fine example by actually starting on the demolition of the bridge himself. Already you could see the Tuscan hordes in the swarthy dust that shrouded the Western horizon. I was myself in a position to pick out ASTUR, who was girt with the brand which (I am informed by a high authority) none but he can wield. There is no need to describe to you the firmament-rending yell that rose when the presence of the false and shameful SEXTUS was officially notified. One saw women who hissed and even expectorated in his direction, and more than one child, I noticed, shook its small fist at him with splendid spirit....

I am told that HORATIUS spoke out pretty plainly to the Senate, expressing the opinion that three men could easily hold the bridge-head. The gallant officer, interviewed while he was in the act of tightening his harness, declined to say much, merely expressing the opinion that everyone has got to die some time and that there was, after all, some satisfaction in being killed in a fight against odds. I confess I was favourably impressed by the very nonchalance of his attitude.

* * * * *

Stop Press News.

LARTIUS BEAT AUNUS. HERMINIUS BEAT SEIUS. HORATIUS BEAT PICUS.

* * * * *

From "Hesperus" (Fourth Edition).

BRIDGE-HEAD STILL HELD.

DEATH OF ASTUR.

UNFORTUNATE MISHAP TO A LICTOR.

* * * * *

The Secretary to the Senate announces:

"Latest advices show that HORATIUS has despatched ASTUR, and, though slightly wounded in this encounter, has been able to keep his place in the line. The bridge head is still being held and there is now a pause in the fighting. The total enemy casualties up to the present are estimated at: Killed, 7; Wounded, 0; Missing, 0. Our own casualties are: Killed, 0; Wounded, 1; Missing, 0. A regrettable incident took place during the demolition of the bridge, a Lictor having sliced himself with one of his own axes and being compelled to relinquish his valuable labours."

* * * * *

(Stop-Press News.)

HORATIUS CUT OFF.

The bridge has been successfully destroyed shortly after the skilful withdrawal of LARTIUS and HERMINIUS in the face of the enemy. We greatly regret to add that HORATIUS is missing, I having failed to make good his retreat with his comrades, and must be regarded as lost.—(Official.)

* * * * *

From "Hesperus" (Special Home Edition).

HORATIUS SAFE.

HOW HE SWAM THE RIVER.

(By our Special Correspondent.)

HORATIUS, the only one of the "dauntless three" (as they have been already named) about whose safety doubts were entertained, has swum the river and is safe. I saw him, when the bridge fell, standing alone, but obviously with all his wits about him, despite the ninety thousand foes before and the broad flood behind. When he turned round he might have seen, I believe, from where he was standing (just where, on other occasions, I have stood myself) the white porch of his home. His lips parted as if in prayer. The next moment, pausing only to sheathe his ensanguined sword, he took a graceful dive into the river.

Some moments of terrible tension ensued. When at last his head appeared above the surges, a cry of indescribable rapture went up, and I am happy to place on record the fact that I distinctly detected a note of generous cheering from the Tuscan ranks.

But all was not yet over. The current ran fiercely, swollen high by months of rain. Often I thought him sinking—and indeed nearly sent in a message to that effect—but still again he rose. Never, I think, did any swimmer in like circumstances perform such a remarkable feat of natation. But at length he felt the bottom, was helped ashore by myself and the Senate, and was carried shoulder-high through the River Gate. I understand that some special recognition is to be made of his splendid feat.

* * * * *

From "Rome Chat."

Our frontispiece this week is a family group of brave Captain HORATIUS, together with the tender mother who (formerly) dandled him to rest, and his wife, who, it will be noticed, is nursing his youngest baby. We are glad to hear that, in conformity with the principle of settling our gallant soldiers on the land, a goodly tract is to be given to this popular hero. The story of how he held the bridge-head will certainly afford a stirring tale for the home-circle for a long time to come.

* * * * *



* * * * *

'EAD-WORK.

Bob Winter is our local carrier. His old grey mare Molly—or a predecessor very like her, driven by Bob's father before him—has jogged into town on market days as long as anyone in the village can remember. The weather-beaten, oft-patched tilt of Bob's cart must have heard in its day generations of village gossip, and a mere inspection of the cargo on the flap which lets down at the back will provide quite an amount of interesting information, such as "whose new housemaid's tin trunk be a-goin' to station already, lookee, and who be a-getten a new tyre to ees bicycle—see."

Now, however, there is a likelihood that Bob may be called up; and the fate of the carrying business hangs in the balance.

"Never mind, Bob," I said (I had overtaken him and old Molly sauntering up the steep hill above the village); "if it comes to that, you know, the women-folk will have to take turns at the carrying while you are away. I believe I should make rather a good carrier."

Bob shook his head and looked evasive.

"No, Miss," he said, "'twuddn' do, 'twuddn' do at all."

"Come," I said, "you don't mean to say Molly would be too much for me?"

"No, Miss, 'tain't Molly, but—well, 'tain't no job for a lady, ain't the carryin'; leastways, not to my way o' thinkin'."

"Oh, but I should get the people at the shops to help me with the heavy things."

Bob cleared his throat loudly and looked more uncomfortable still. Then at last he decided to take the plunge.

"'Tain't the liftin' that do be troublin' I, Miss," he said confidentially, "'tis the 'ead-work. I don't believe there be a wumman livin' could do it. There be a tur'ble lot of 'ead-work in the carryin' business. Why, I do think—think—think mornen till night, till what wi' one thing an' what wi' another thing I'm sure there's times when I don't know if I be on my 'ead or my 'eels. Why, I've seen the time when I've a-comed in and I've a-set down and I've a-said to Missis, 'No, Missis, I don't want no tea; I don't want nothen only to set quiet, for I be just about tired out with that there thinkin'.'

"There be such a sight o' things you do have to remember, lookee. What wi' the grocer, an' what wi' the draper, an' folks's parcels to leave an' folks's parcels to call for, an' picken up here an' setten down there—well, a woman's brain ain't strong enough for it, leastways not to my way o' thinkin'....

"Well, now, if I ain't a-gone an' forgot to call at old Mrs. Pettigrew's for her subscription for to get made up at the chemist's! There, now, Miss, don't that just show how you do 'ave to kip on thinkin' all the time, else you be just about sure to forget somethin' or another? Oh yes, there be a smartish lot of 'ead-work in the carryin' business, an' no mistake!"

* * * * *

An Enviable Post.

From a list of the new Government:—

"Chancellor of the Ducky of Lancaster: Sir Frederick Cawley."—Star (Johannesburg).

* * * * *

"Man, to drive horse and make himself generally useful in nursery."— Provincial Press.

No doubt a rocking-horse.

* * * * *

From a New Zealand diocesan magazine:—

"Owing to the continued illness of the Vicar, which we trust is reaching its last stage, the services of the Church have been conducted by the following," etc.

The Vicar, we understand, thinks this might have been more tactfully worded.

* * * * *



* * * * *

THE PURIFIED PRUSSIAN.

[Writing in Die Woche a well-known Baroness, a leader of Berlin society, discusses the transformation and purification of Berlin conviviality by the War. Social functions accompanied by eating have altogether ceased and given way to more refined gatherings—aesthetic afternoon teas and elegant evening parties—at which the conversation reaches heights of brilliancy unheard of in the old carnivorous days. Unhappily snobbery still prevails, "every class pretending to be richer and better than they are—small officials, officers, landowners, all pretending to be millionaires, and doing their pretension shabbily."]

One of the leading Prussian social stars Opines that War, although it makes for leanness, Not only banishes discordant jars And purifies Berlin of all uncleanness, But places her, beatified by Mars, Upon a pinnacle of mental keenness, Changing the cult of trencher and of bowl To feasts of reason and o'erflows of soul.

The gross carnivorous orgies of the past Have gone, and in their place is something finer; Emotions of a transcendental cast Preoccupy the luncher and the diner; The Hun, in short, by being forced to fast, Has grown ethereal, more alert, diviner; And, purged of all incentive to frivolity, His speech has almost lost its guttural quality.

His talk, of old to stodginess inclined, Now sparkles with consistent coruscation, Attaining heights of mirth and wit combined Unknown to any previous generation, But always exquisitely pure, refined And spiritual, as befits the nation In which the nicer touch was never missing Down from great FREDERICK to blameless BISSING.

'Tis easy, though the writer does not tell, To guess the themes which prompt the brightest sallies; Louvain; the Lusitania; Nurse CAVELL— With these Hun wit most delicately dallies; The wreck of Reims; the Prussic acid shell; The desolation of Armenia's valleys; The toll of Belgian infants slain ere birth— All these excite Berlin's ecstatic mirth.

And yet a slight amari aliquid Is mingled with this lady's honeyed phrases; Berlin society is not yet rid Of one of its less admirable phases; There is, in other words, one fly amid The precious ointment of the writer's praises; In every class are those who ape the airs Of the superior nobs and millionaires.

But still, when all reserves are duly made For negligible faults in tact or breeding, The picture by this noble scribe displayed Of high-browed Hundom makes impressive reading; For homage to convivial needs is paid Without the faintest risk of over-feeding, And, braced by frugal fare, the Prussian brain Soars to a perfectly celestial plane.

* * * * *

]

* * * * *



* * * * *

A FLEETING DETACHMENT.

Private Albert Snape, A.S.C. (M.T.), stepped off the footboard of X.33, a mediaeval Vanguard, and splashed his way round to the driver. "I'm fair sick o' this 'ere Flanders, I am," he complained, expectorating dolorously into the sea of mud; "'spose it 'ull be up to the blinkin' axles before February?" He stirred the mixture with a cautious foot.

"Not 'arf, ole sport," replied the driver, carefully unsticking a cigarette from his underlip. "But yer ought to 'ave bin out larst winter, then yer did 'ave to sit above yerself to keep yer tootsies dry."

"Wot—wuss than this?" exclaimed the disconsolate one.

"Wuss!" was the withering retort. "Wy, when I tells yer that some o' them Naval 'Umming-birds, t'other side o' Popinjay, fitted out an ole Blue 'Ammersmith with a pair o' propellers ... Wuss!" He exhaled scornfully and gave a turn to the lubricator.

"Any chance o' getting down Vermelly way? They say it ain't 'arf bad there." Albert brightened up at the thought.

"'Tain't likely," was the sharp and unsympathetic reply. "'Oo do yer think's goin' ter do this little job if they takes our lot away? Wy, this 'ere road is just like 'Igh 'Olborn to me; I knows all the 'umps and 'ollows blindfold."

Albert returned to the stern sheets and considered the most feasible method of desertion.

Half-an-hour later, when the daylight had gone, X.33, generously over-flowing with a detachment of the 20th Mudlarkers, was, in company with many other vehicles, making her inharmonious way along the "Wipers" road. Judging from the plunginess of her progress and the fluent language of the man of oil, it was evident that some of the "'umps and 'ollows" had passed from the driver's memory. Not that such a slight matter could damp the spirits of the passengers. Rather it served to entertain them.

"We 'ave gone an' fallen out of the dress-circle this time," a voice exclaimed after an extra steep dive into a badly-filled shell crater.

Albert, wet and unsociable, hung gloomily on to the back rail.

"Carn't see wot they got to be so blinkin' 'appy abart," he muttered savagely; "I don't believe it's 'arf bad in them trenches." He ruminated bitterly on the thought that his job was probably the worst one on the whole front, and made a resolve to put the matter right.

When the final stopping-place had been reached and the 20th Mudlarkers, after the usual indescribable melee, had been put upon the path that would ultimately lead them (if they were fortunate enough to avoid all guides, philosophers and friends) to their trench, the man of oil was profanely grieved to discover that Albert Snape had abandoned X33 for the unknown.

As a matter of fact Albert had slipped away and followed the Mudlarkers, with a hazy idea that a rifle would fortuitously present itself. That an extra unit could possibly be noticed never occurred to him. He had a vague intention of joining a cavalry regiment. Very soon he lost the Mudlarkers, and then, by an easy sequence of events, himself.

"Wha goes there?" whispered a hoarse voice almost in his ear. It gave him quite an unpleasant start, but, suppressing his first inspiration, which was to say the Life Guards, he answered, "I'm a Mudlarker!"

"This iss the Seaforths in supporrt," remarked the sentry; "ye'll be in the firrst line, na doot. Ye'll hae to go back, an' it's the firrst turnin' tae the left, an' keep as strecht as ye can." The Highlander stepped back into the deeper shadows and the self-recruited Mudlarker continued his career.

He traversed what seemed to him an interminable number of trenches without encountering anyone. There was a reason for this lack of companionship, but it did not at first appeal to his imagination. Suddenly he was startled by the vicious "phut, phut, phut" of unpleasantly close shooting, and bullets began to splash and grease along the bottom of the trench, accompanied by the stutter of a machine gun.

Miraculously untouched, he slid over the parados and lay, sweating with fright, in the watery furrow of a turnip field.

The trench was one that was seldom used, being thoroughly exposed to enfilading fire. At stated periods through the night a machine gun was turned on, a proceeding which, beyond gratifying the Huns, had no sort of effect. Albert, in blissful ignorance of all such customs, floundered about amongst the turnips until he came across a Jack Johnson crater. From this he emerged even wetter than before. A little later he became mixed up with some barbed wire. The more be tried to get away the more inextricably he became involved with it. A star shell burst overhead, and a German sniper, seizing the chance of a lifetime, put in four rounds rapid fire.

Albert lost the lobe of an ear and had his breeches shot through, but he managed to escape from the wire and find another furrow. Mere dampness no longer inconvenienced him, there were so many other things to think about. He crawled stealthily on his hands and knees and found the barbed wire again. At length he heard the welcome sound of voices. He crawled faster until he became aware that the voices were not speaking English, This discovery turned him to stone. For an hour—perhaps two hours—he remained as still as a hare in its form.

Suddenly, blurred and crouching figures appeared out of the night. They moved quickly and silently. One of them nearly trod upon his hand, but he was too dazed to think of committing himself to either speech or action.

"Give it 'em!" cried a voice a few seconds later, and the roar of the exploding bombs signified that it had been given.

Instantly pandemonium broke loose. Machine gun and rapid rifle fire burst forth from the German front trenches, and streams of bullets swept over the intervening ground like a gigantic hail-storm; then some field batteries began to burst H.E. shrapnel above the disturbed area, while star shells and magnesium flares threw an uneven light over the whole scene.

A breathless body cast itself down beside the now completely mesmerised Albert: "We ain't 'arf upset the blinkin' beehive. Lumme! it's—"

The prone figure suddenly became silent, gave a convulsive kick or two and rolled over towards the man who still lived.

It was sufficient. Something seemed to draw very tense in Albert's brain and his body reeled into action.

Blindly and without coherent thought he ran shouting across the field, stumbling and falling over the slippery and uneven surface, but always picking himself up and flinging his body onward into the unknown.

A subaltern, who was examining a luminous watch, received him at the charge as he fell into an English first-line trench. They struggled wildly together in the mud to the accompaniment of startling language on the part of the subaltern.

Then Albert, having reached his limit of endurance, had the supreme tact to faint.

A little later, in a well-found dug-out, the patient was refreshing himself with copious draughts of brandy.

"Who are you, and what the devil are you doing here?" asked the still indignant officer.

Albert did not hesitate longer than it takes to swallow.

"Lorst me way, I 'ave, Sir. I'm with X 33, attached to Mechanical Transport, an' if I ain't back pretty quick my mate 'ull fair 'ave a bloomin' fit."

* * * * *

As was predicted by the sagacious man of oil, the mud upon the —— road is slowly climbing towards the axles, but in spite of this and sundry other drawbacks it would be hard to find a more contented spirit than that of Private Albert Snape, A.S.C. (M.T.).

* * * * *

LIONS AT PLAY.

BY A SUBALTERN.

The Colonel rustles his newspaper, smites it into shape with a mighty fist, rips it across in a futile endeavour to fold it accurately, and, casting it furiously aside in a crumpled mass, says, after the manner of all true War Lords, "Umph." Whereupon the Ante-Room as one man takes cover.

The Colonel then turns cumbrously in his chair, permitting his eye to rove round the room in search of the unwary prey. He smiles cynically at the intense concentration of the Auction parties; winces at the renewed and unnatural efforts of those who make music; glares unamiably at the feverish book-worms, and suddenly breaks into little chuckles of satisfaction. The Ante-Room peers cautiously round to discover the identity of the unfortunate victim, and chuckles in its turn. The Adjutant, checked in his stealthy retreat, hastens back, arranges the table and chess-board, pokes the fire with unnecessary energy, and sits down. At once the Ante-Room abandons its cover.

The Colonel begins by grasping the box, turning it upside down, and spilling the contents over the sides of the table. The Adjutant immediately apologises for his clumsiness. The Colonel then liberally spreads out the pieces, selects two pawns, and offers the Adjutant the choice of two fists. The Adjutant chooses. Each fist opens to disclose a white pawn. The Colonel's expansive smile over his little joke quickly turns to a frown at the Adjutant's exaggerated laughter. He suspects the Adjutant. He seizes two more pieces, offers his opponent another choice, but, to the latter's huge delight and his own discomfiture, eventually discovers that both are black. He accordingly makes use of his casting vote and selects white.

The Colonel plays a smashing game. When it is his turn to move he never pauses to make up his mind. His mind is already made up. All he has to do, immediately the Adjutant has finished touching up his position, is to move the piece his eye has been piercing throughout the long period of his opponent's cautious deliberation. When the Colonel moves a piece he may be said to get there. All obstructions are ruthlessly swept aside with a callous indifference to Hague Conventions. Should a knight haply descend from the clouds and settle on the correct square it arrives more by luck than judgment. Tradition alleges that whenever the Colonel is called upon to move his king in the earlier stages of the game all lights are turned off from the neighbouring town in accordance with the Defence of the Realm Regulations. However true this may be—the responsibility rests on the Padre's capable shoulders—when his king is moved in the later stages the Colonel pushes it along by half-squares in a haphazard and preoccupied manner. He invariably fills his pipe when the end is in sight, but leaves it unlighted so that he may cover his ultimate defeat by a general demolition of matches.

On this occasion the Adjutant skilfully snipes the Colonel's queen in the sixth move. The Colonel immediately retrieves the piece from the box, asks where it was before, examines it with the essence of loathing and revolt, removes it out of his sight, and refuses to take it back, although he had mistaken it for another piece. In retaliation he proceeds to concentrate all his effectives on his opponent's queen, and, after sacrificing the flower of his forces, drives the attack home and gains his objective with the greatest enthusiasm. He remarks that the capture was costly, but that honour is satisfied, and would the waiter kindly approach within ear-shot?

While the Adjutant is working up his offensive on the Colonel's right flank, the Colonel himself is making independent sallies on the left, unless, of course, he is compelled to march his king out of a congested district into more open country. On the rare occasions when he is at a loss for a moment what to do he makes it a practice to move a pawn one square in order to gain time. By this method, unexpectedly but none the less jubilantly, he recovers his queen—only to see it laid low again by enfilading fire from a perfectly obvious redoubt.

After twenty minutes of battle the Colonel's area becomes positively draughty, and the sole survivors of his dashing but sanguinary counter-attack, the king and two pawns, have assumed the bored and callous air of a remnant that has fought too long and is called upon to fight again. The Colonel has just unceremoniously pushed his sovereign to the rear with a flick of his nervous irritated little finger. His opponent can obviously bring him to his knees in two moves. Instead of which the Adjutant brazenly commences with massed bands and colours flying to execute a masterly tactical advance with the whole of his command—cavalry, infantry, church and tanks, in order to achieve the destruction of the two bantam bodyguards.

This is not playing the game, and the Colonel fumes inwardly and frets outwardly. In the intervals of pressing down the unlit tobacco in his pipe with an oscillating thumb, he alternately pokes his king out of the corner and pulls it back again; while his transparent impulse is to scrap the board, wreck the ante-room and run amok. The Adjutant continues his innocent amusement until at last the pleasure wanes. The two heroic pawns are carried decently off, and he apologetically whispers his suspicions of a checkmate to his commanding officer.

The Colonel brushes aside the Mess President's tinder-lighter, shatters the mute triumph of the serried black ranks of the hostile forces with one superb elevation of the eyebrows, smashes three matches in quick succession, and proves that all the time his mind has been preoccupied with weightier matters by saying after the manner of all true War Lords, "Umph."

* * * * *



* * * * *

Sweetness and Light.

O MATTHEW ARNOLD! you were right: We need more Sweetness and more Light; For till we break the brutal foe Our sugar's short, our lights are low.

* * * * *

A LUCID EXPLANATION.

It was my task to collect from their relatives particulars as to the whereabouts of the wounded of our neighbourhood, for the purposes of our local report. It wanted five minutes to twelve, the sacred dinner-hour of the British artisan, and one name remained upon my list, against which was a pencilled note, "Reported returning home." Did that mean that he was disabled? And should I manage to gather the necessary information before the clock struck?

I knocked at the door, which was opened by a woman wearing a canvas apron with a very tight string, her head surmounted by hair-curlers and a cloth cap.

"Yes, thanking you kindly," she replied in answer to my question, "me son 'as been wounded. 'Eard of it from the War Office. This war's a shocking business."

I expressed my sympathy and asked for particulars.

"Yer see, he was at Gallipoli."

"At Gallipoli? Then it must have been some time ago? I understood—"

"It was this way. Me son, 'e ses to me, 'Mother,' 'e says, 'don't you worry, but I've had a toe took off.' 'E never was one to put up a great shout 'bout hisself, nor nothink of that. They took 'im down to their base 'ospital. Leeharver's the name. Perhaps you know it?"

I cast my mind over the AEgean Islands, from which Mudros sprang up very large, and everything else sank into oblivion. "I'm afraid I don't," I owned apologetically.

"Thought perhaps you might. L-E first word, H-A-V-R-E second—Leeharver."

"Oh-h, to be sure, Le Havre. I mean—yes, now you mention it, I think I have heard of it. And is your son still there?"

Me son, 'e ses the vermin there was something shocking, and they spent all their spare time 'unting theirselves."

"What? not in the hospital? Oh, I see; you mean in the trenches."

"And 'im," she continued, not noticing my remark, 'and 'im that partic'lar 'bout 'is linen; couldn't use a 'andkerchief not unless it was spotless; must 'av a clean one every Sunday as reg'lar as the week come round. It do seem 'ard, don't it? They've pinched his sweater too. S'pose I shall 'av to get 'im another, s'pose I shall; but it's a job to know how to get along these times. And now margarine's up this week, that's the latest."

"But your son," I ventured tentatively—"is his foot still bad?"

"Oh, 'is foot's right enough. It's 'is teeth that's the worry. 'E ses to me, 'Mother,' he ses, 'afore I can do any good I must 'ave me teeth seen to.' Oh, this fighting's cruel work!"

Could he have been wounded in the jaw? The thought was horrible, but I remarked with affected cheerfulness, "Well, come, anyhow he is able to write."

"Oh, 'e can write right enough—got the prize at school for 'rithmatic, 'e did."

"Yes, but I mean if he is able to write he can't be so very bad."

"Oh, 'e didn't write that. That was August come a twelvemonth. The very first thing they done to him was to take out pretty near 'alf 'is teeth. The military authorities do pull you about something shocking."

"And where did he go after Hav—after Leehar—I mean after the hospital?" I was getting rather bewildered.

"Oh, 'e went to the War right enough; but 'is digestion's that bad. They said 'e'd feel a lot better once 'is teeth was was out, but 'e ses, 'Mother,' 'e ses, 'you want a mouth full of teeth to eat this bullet beef what they give us.' Next thing was they set him to drive them machines."

"What machines would those be?" I asked, groping for a little light.

"Why, them motors as they use out there. 'E got meddling with one of 'em, and it was the nearest thing 'e didn't 'ave 'is 'and in a jelly; the machine didn't act proper, or somethink o' that."

"And do you mean that his hand was injured?"

"Not as I've 'eard on," came the prompt reply.

"Well, but I thought you said your son had been wounded."

"Ah, yes, that was 'is toe, yer see; sent 'im down to the base 'ospital, Leeharver."

"Yes, you told me that; but I heard he might be coming home. I was afraid perhaps he was disabled."

"That's right. 'E's coming 'ome right enough. Ought to be 'ere in 'bout five minutes. 'Ope 'is dinner 'asn't spiled time I've stood 'ere talking to you."

"Well, what is the matter with him then?" I asked desperately.

"Dunno there's anything partic'lar wrong with 'im. 'E's going to get married to-morrer, if that's what you mean. 'Ope it won't be the beginning of fresh troubles for 'im. But you never know what's coming next."

I agreed that you never did.

* * * * *



* * * * *

LETTERS FROM MACEDONIA.

III.

Jerry, my lad,—We have lost a dear friend, and with him, alas, the piping days of peace. No, he is not dead, or even moribund, but his friendship for us lives no longer. His name is Feodor, and he is a Bulgar comitadjus, or whatever is the singular of "comitadji," and he lived until lately in No. 2 Dugout, Hyde Park, just over the way.

It is a moot point which delighted us the more, Feodor's charming manner or his exquisite trousers. These two characteristics were the more pleasing because of their perfect contrast; for whereas his manner was refined and retiring, his trousers were distinctly aggressive in their flaunting shameless redness.

Feodor's appearances were at first spasmodic. This was only natural, seeing that he had not yet instilled into us his own attractive habit of laisser aller and laisser faire, and that his red trousers offered such a beautiful mark.

He would appear suddenly, smile seraphically towards us, and then disappear before our snipers could get on to him. At first of course we tried to pot him, but gradually our ferocity gave way to amazement and then to tolerance. At last came a day when Feodor climbed on to his parapet and made us a pretty little speech. We cheered him loudly, although we didn't understand much of it. Next day we brought down an interpreter and asked Feodor for an encore. His second performance was even more spirited than the first, and after a graceful vote of thanks to our benefactor we asked the interpreter to oblige.

It appeared that from his boyhood Feodor had been apprenticed to an assistant piano-tuner in Varna. Rosy days of rapid promotion followed, and the boy, completely wrapped up in his profession, soon became a deputy assistant piano-tuner. Then followed the old, old story of vaulting ambition.

The youth, his head turned by material success, sought to consolidate his social position by a marriage above his station, and dared to aspire to the hand of a full piano-tuner's daughter.

The old man tried gentle dissuasion at first, but the obstinate pertinacity of the stripling made him gradually lose patience. He was a hale and hearty veteran, and when the situation came to a climax his method of dealing with it was stern and thorough.

Seizing the hapless Feodor during an evening call he interned him in the vitals of a tuneless Baby Grand, and for three hours played on him CHOPIN'S polonaise in A flat major, with the loud pedal down. On his release Feodor had lost his reason and rushed to the nearest police-station to ask to be sent to the Front immediately. His object, he explained, was to end the War. The Bulgar authorities thought the plan worth trying and sent him off as a comitadjus; and to these circumstances we were indebted for his society.

Every day we saw more and more of Feodor, and we grew to love him. As to sniping him now—the idea never entered our beads. Accordingly, while a deafening strafe proceeded daily on both sides of us, we remained in a state of idyllic peace and hatelessness.

Then arrived the cruel day when the Brass Hats came round, and a large and important General asked us—

"But are you being offensive enough to the enemy in front?"

"Offensive to Feodor, Sir? Impossible!"

"You must be offensive," he rejoined. "I don't think there is sufficient hate in this part of the line."

It was this unfortunate moment that Feodor chose to step on to his parapet and call out cheerfully to the Great Man—

"Good morning, Johnee!"

For one tense moment I thought the General would burst. By an effort he pulled himself together, however, and shouted to my troops in a voice of thunder—

"At That Person in front—fifteen rounds rapid. Fire!"

We had to do it, of course, and, although I think most of our sights were a little high, accidents will happen. Feodor emitted one unearthly shriek, and his time back towards home would, if it had been taken, make a world's championship record.

I don't think he was physically hurt; but his poor trousers were badly punctured!...

Our friend, Jerry, may not be lost, but he is certainly gone behind.

Yours always, PETER.

* * * * *



* * * * *

"From the Pentland Firth to Norway, the eyes of the British Fleet are those of Nunquam."—Yorkshire Post.

We suppose old Dormio is asleep as usual.

* * * * *

"The clergy will be pleased to hear of parishioners who are sick.".—Parish Magazine.

No doubt they mean it kindly, but it sounds rather callous.

* * * * *

"Holders of 15s. 6d. War Savings Certificates and scrip vouchers of the War Loan are acceptable over the Post Office counter at their face value."—Daily News.

"'My face is my fortune, Sir,' she said."

* * * * *

"Will anyone give 15/- and a kind home to a nice little brown miniature poodle dog, 3 years, ideal pet and companion?"—The Bazaar.

Sixpence more and the little pet could buy a War Savings Certificate.

* * * * *

THE FATE OF UMBRELLAS.

No. I.

From Arthur Vivian, Bury Street, St. James's, to Mrs. Morton, Dockington Hall, Bucks.

DEAR MRS. MORTON,—Just a line to thank you very sincerely for my delightful visit. It was like old times to see you "all gathered together in hospitable Dockington and to find that the War, terrible as it is, has not altogether abolished pleasant human intercourse in England, in spite of what the Dean said. But then Deans are privileged persons.

I am sorry to say, by the way, that in the hurry of departure this morning I took away the wrong umbrella and left my own. I am sending back the changeling with all proper apologies. Would you mind sending me mine? It has a crook handle (cane) and a plain silver band with my initials engraved on it. Please give my love to Harry and the children.

Yours always sincerely, ARTHUR VIVIAN.

No. II.

From the Dean of Marchester to Mrs. Morton.

DEAR MRS. MORTON,—I desire to thank you for three most agreeable days spent in congenial company. You have indeed mastered the secret of making your guests feel at home, and Dockington even in war-time is still Dockington. Pray give my warm regards to Mr. Morton and remember me suitably to the dear children. I wish they wouldn't keep on growing up as they do; childhood is so delightful.

I find to my great regret that by some inexplicable mistake I took away with me an umbrella that is not mine. I am sending it back to you, and shall be deeply beholden to you if you will pack up and send to me the one I left. It is an old one, recognisable by its cane handle (crook) and an indiarubber ring round the shaft. Pray accept my apologies for the trouble I am giving you.

Yours very sincerely, CHARLES MELDEW.

No. III.

From Brigadier-General Barton to his Sister, Mrs. Morton.

DEAR MARY,—You gave me a capital time. There's a slight difference between Dockington and the trenches. I'm not as a rule a great performer with clergymen, but I liked your Dean. By the way, when I dashed off your man put somebody else's umbrella in with me, instead of my own, which is a natty specimen. The one I've got is an old gamp with a stout indiarubber ring to it. I haven't time to send it back. Every moment is taken up, as I cross to France to-night. Besides, how can you pack such a thing as an umbrella? It's much too long. Keep mine till we meet again. Best love to Harry and the kids.

Ever yours, TOM.

No. IV.

From Arthur Vivian to Mrs. Morton.

DEAR MRS. MORTON,—I wired you this morning asking you to do nothing about my umbrella. The fact is I have found it at my rooms, and I am forced to the conclusion that I never took it with me to Dockington at all. I am awfully sorry to have given you all this trouble. It shall be a lesson to me never to take my umbrella anywhere, or rather never to think I've taken it, when, as a matter of fact, I haven't.

Yours always sincerely, ARTHUR VIVIAN.

No. V.

Telegram from Mrs. Morton to Arthur Vivian.

Too late. Sent off somebody's umbrella to you yesterday. Please return it to me.

No. VI.

From Mrs. Morton to her Sister, Lady Compton.

... We had a few friends at Dockington last week, not a real party, but just a few old shoes—Tom, Arthur Vivian and the Dean of Marchester and Mrs. Dean. Since they went away I've had the most awful time with their umbrellas. They all took away with them the wrong ones, and then wrote to me to send them their right ones. Arthur Vivian never brought one, and whose he took away I can't say. In fact I've been exposed to an avalanche of returning umbrellas, and Parkins has spent all his time in doing up the absurd things and posting them. He has just celebrated his seventieth birthday, and these umbrellas have ruined what's left of his temper. Umbrellas still keep pouring in, and nobody ever seems by any chance to get the right one. It's the most discouraging thing I've ever been involved in. As far as I can make out the Dean's umbrella is now in the trenches with Tom. If ever I have a party at Dockington again I shall write, "No umbrellas by request," on the invitations.

* * * * *

THE INN O' THE SWORD.

A SONG OF YOUTH AND WAR.

Roving along the King's highway I met wi' a Romany black. "Good day," says I; says he, "Good day, And what may you have in your pack?" "Why, a shirt," says I, "and a song or two To make the road go faster." He laughed: "Ye'll find or the day be through There's more nor that, young master. Oh, roving's good and youth is sweet And love is its own reward; But there's that shall stay your careless feet When ye come to the Sign o' the Sword."

"Riddle me, riddlemaree," quoth I, "Is a game that's ill to win, And the day is o'er fair such tasks to try"— Said he, "Ye shall know at the inn." With that he suited his path to mine And we travelled merrily, Till I was ware of the promised sign And the door of an hostelry. And the Romany sang, "To the very life Ye shall pay for bed and board; Will ye turn aside to the House of Strife? Will ye lodge at the Inn o' the Sword?"

Then I looked at the inn 'twixt joy and fear, And the Romany looked at me. Said I, "We ha' come to a parting here And I know not who you be." But he only laughed as I smote on the door: "Go, take ye the fighting chance; Mayhap I once was a troubadour In the knightly days of France. Oh, the feast is set for those who dare And the reddest o' wine outpoured; And some sleep sound after peril and care At the Hostelry of the Sword."

* * * * *

For our "National Lent"—the War Loan.

* * * * *



* * * * *

OUR BOOKING-OFFICE.

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

When the eminent in other branches of art take to literature, criticism must naturally be tempered with respect. This is much how I feel after reading Sir WILLIAM RICHMOND'S The Silver Chain (PALMER AND HAYWARD). Probably, however, I should have enjoyed it more had not the publishers indulged in a wrapper-paragraph of such unbounded eulogy. If anybody is to call this novel "a work of great artistic achievement," and praise its "philosophy, psychology, delightful sense of humour, subtle analysis" and all the rest, I should prefer it to be someone less interested in the wares thus pushed. For my part I should be content to call The Silver Chain by no means an uninteresting story, the work of a distinguished man, obviously an amateur in the craft of letters, who nevertheless has pleased himself (and will give pleasure to others) by working into it many pen-pictures of scenes in Egypt and Rome and Sicily, full of the glowing colour that we should expect from their artist-author. But the tale itself, the unrewarded love of the middle-aged "Philosopher" for the not specially attractive heroine Mary, and the subordinate very Byronic romance of Herbert and Annunziata, quite frankly recalls those early manuscripts that most novelists must have burnt before they were quit of boyhood, or preserved to smile over. Still, in these winter days, when only Prime Ministers go to Rome (and then not to bask) and Luxor is equidistant with the moon, you may well find respite in a book so full of sunshine and memories of happy places; but I am bound to repeat my warning that your fellow-travellers will perhaps not be quite such stimulating society as the publishers would have you expect.

* * * * *

Sir THEODORE COOK has already done sound work in dealing with German methods, and in The Mark of the Beast (MURRAY) he pursues his labours a step further. So careful is he to give incontestable proofs for the charges he brings against the Huns that even the most anaemic neutrals must find a difficulty in reading this volume without recognising the truth. Especially he emphasizes the dangers of peace-making with an enemy whose whole policy and programme have been based on lies. And if he insists many times and again upon this point he has his excuse in the fact that some of us are so extraordinarily forgetful and forgiving that we cannot be reminded too often of what the future has in store for us if we do not now remember the past. With such an absolutely flawless case in his hands I find myself wishing sometimes that Sir THEODORE had been less prodigal of the denunciatory language which he hurls at Teutonic heads. Not for a moment would I suggest that the Hun does not deserve vituperation, but I am inclined to think that a less violent manner of attack is more effective. In his own way, however, Sir THEODORE is inimitable, and I can pay no higher praise to his book than to say that I know of no War-literature so admirably calculated to make BETHMANN-HOLLWEG ("more double than his name") really sorry for himself.

The War has not been lacking in fine memorials of the dead. To what extent the Germans have commemorated the fallen I have no notion; but in France and Italy the papers constantly print tender and eloquent tributes, usually to the young. And in England we have the same thing too, touchingly, proudly and generously done. For the most part such tributes are mere records, but now and then they reconstruct; and the most remarkable example of such reconstruction—to the world at large, absolute creation—is the memoir of Charles Lister (UNWIN), which his father, Lord RIBBLESDALE, and some devoted friends have, with perfect biographical tact, prepared. But for CHARLES LISTER'S untimely death, leading his men against the Turks in July, 1915, most of the letters in this book would never have been printed at all; for whatever his career might have become—and he was a man apart and bound for distinction—and however great a record were his, the early years could not be thus liberally illumined. But since death decreed that these early years—he was not quite twenty-eight when he was wounded for the third time and succumbed—should constitute all his career, we have this notable and beautiful book. If one had to put but a single epithet to it I should choose "radiant." At Eton, at Balliol, at the Embassies in Rome and Constantinople, and in the Army, CHARLES LISTER shed radiance. All his many friends testify to this. As for his letters, they are clear and gay and human; and they have also a sagacity that many older and more determined observers of life might envy; while that one to Lady DESBOROUGH upon the death of his great friend, JULIAN GRENFELL, is literature. Every page is interesting, but some are far more than that; and at the end one has almost too moving a concept of an ardent idealistic English gentleman met too late.

* * * * *

At first sight, perhaps, Nothing Matters (CASSELL) may sound to you a somewhat, shall I say, transatlantic title for a book published in these days, when we are all learning how enormously everything matters. But this emotion will only last till you have read Sir HERBERT BEERBOHM TREE'S disarming little preface. Personally, it left me regretting only one thing in the volume (or, to be more accurate, outside it), which was the design of its very unornamental wrapper—a lapse, surely, from taste, for which it would probably be quite unfair to blame the writer of what lies within. This is almost all of it excellent fooling, and includes a brace of longish short-stories (rather in the fantastic style of brother MAX); some fugitive pieces that you may recall as they flitted through the fields of journalism; with, for stiffening, a reprint of the author's admirable lecture upon "The Importance of Humour in Tragedy." This is a title that you may well take as a motto for the whole book. It will have, I think, a warm welcome from Sir HERBERT'S many friends and admirers, even should it turn out to be the case that some of his plots have been (in his own quaintly attractive phrase) "prophetically plagiarised" by other writers. Certainly this welcome will not be lessened by the knowledge that all profits from the sale of the volume are to go to support a cause that, to all who love the Stage, will be far indeed from not mattering—the fund to supplement the incomes of the wives and families of actors at the Front. You may regard it therefore as the lightest of comedies played, like so many others, in the cause of charity, and put down your money with an approving conscience.

* * * * *

Let no one whose heart has been touched beyond mere vicarious pride in the achievement of our brothers-in-arms at the gate of Paris allow himself to miss the detailed narrative of HENRI DUGARD in The Battle of Verdun (HUTCHINSON). A good translation by F. APPLEBY HOLT, rather exceptional in these days of hurried conveyancing, does not detract from the vigour and movement of the story. We, who only saw the long agony through the medium of the always inadequate and discreet technicalities of the communiques, could form no real impression of the kind of fighting or of the results of each phase of it. The author has collected the accounts or reports, so that the strokes and counter-strokes (for there was nothing passive in this siege) of the epic combats round Douamont, Fort Vaux, the Woevre, Malancourt, Avocourt and the Mort Homme are intelligibly reconstructed. Comment in the form of personal anecdotes of individual heroism is added. Perhaps the most illuminating touch is in the letter of poor Feldwebel KARL GARTNER, which was to have been despatched to his mother by a friend going on leave, so as to escape the Censor's eye. It began in a mood of robustious confidence and ended (or rather was interrupted by GARTNER'S capture) on the most despairing note. And this was seven months before the most brilliant counter-attack in the history of the War slammed the door once for all in the face of the enemy.

* * * * *



* * * * *

"The scheme of utilising vacant spaces in London is being taken up enthusiastically in the provinces."—Evening Standard.

At the same time the scheme of utilising vacant spaces in the provinces is being welcomed with similar enthusiasm in London.

* * * * *

"Vigorous complaints against the proposal to establish an overhead electric system of tramways in Edinburgh were made this afternoon.

Lord Strathclyde declared that the overhead wires proposal had electrified the citizens."—Scottish Paper.

There must be something seriously wrong with the insulation.

* * * * *

—> NOTICE.—Rejected Communications or Contributions, whether MS., Printed Matter, Drawings, or Pictures of any description, will in no case be returned, not even when accompanied by a Stamped and Addressed Envelope, Cover, or Wrapper. To this rule there will be no exception.

THE END

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