Punch or the London Charivari, October 20, 1920
Author: Various
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Vol. 159.

October 20, 1920.


"Whenever I am in London," writes an American journalist, "I never miss the House of Commons." Nor do we, during the Recess.

* * *

"If Lord KENYON wishes, I am prepared to fight him with any weapon he chooses to name at any time," announced Sir CLAUDE CHAMPION DE CRESPIGNY recently to a representative of The Star. In sporting circles it is thought that, in spite of his recent declaration, Mr. C. B. COCHRAN may consent to stage the encounter.

* * *

At the Air Conference last week Lieut.-Colonel MOORE-BRABAZON, M. P., said the Government should appoint experts to control the weather. It looks as if The Daily Mail was not going to have things all its own way.

* * *

"The object of Poland," says M. DOMBSKI, "is peace, hard work and production." These were at one time the object of England, and she still hopes to get peace.

* * *

Mr. PUSSYFOOT JOHNSON has told a Glasgow audience that he is no kill-joy, but smokes cigars. It is also said that he has been seen going the pace playing dominoes.

* * *

"An apple a day keeps the doctor away." We can only add that the price of apples is enough to keep anybody away.

* * *

"What is a Penny Roll?" asks a headline. The answer is "Three half-pence."

* * *

The average boarding-house, says a gossip writer, is not what it seems. No, unfortunately it is what it is.

* * *

We understand that the world's record fast has been accomplished by a Scotsman, who has succeeded in remaining in Prohibition America for seven months and three days.

* * *

South Sea Islanders, when greeting friends, says Tit Bits, fling a jar of water over them. Cats on night duty are now putting a kindlier interpretation on the treatment they receive.

* * *

An employee at a coal-mine in Ohio is reported to have died from overwork. There is consolation in the fact that this could not possibly happen in England.

* * *

Three Glasgow workmen have started on a walk to London. With the possibility of a vote in favour of a dry Scotland we suppose they started early to avoid the rush.

* * *

It is still very doubtful whether JACK DEMPSEY can meet JESS WILLARD, says a sporting paper. A dear old lady thinks he might get over the difficulty by dropping him a letter.

* * *

It is reported that the captain of a village fire brigade recently declined to call his men out to a fire because it was raining. Unfortunately the owner of the fire was too busy to keep it going till the first fine day.

* * *

A clerk employed behind the counter at a post-office in the South of England recently rescued a young girl from drowning. In order to show their appreciation of the young man's bravery, local residents have now decided to purchase their stamps at his post-office.

* * *

"Life is uncertain and often full of trouble," bewails a writer in the "Picture" Press. Still, in our opinion it's the only thing worth living.

* * *

On two separate occasions last week a cat entered one of the largest churches in Yorkshire whilst a wedding was in progress. This supports our belief that feline society is contemplating the introduction of more ceremony into their own marriage system.

* * *

Ex-sailors on the reserve need not be alarmed by the repeated rumours that a surprise mobilisation of the Fleet may be ordered very shortly, as we now have it on good authority that, in order to ensure its complete success, plenty of notice will be given to them beforehand.

* * *

Women are said to be fonder than men are of morbid stage plays. Weddings also have a greater fascination for them.

* * *

Mr. T. A. EDISON is reported to have invented a machine to record communication with the other world. As a final experiment an attempt is to be made to get into touch with the POET LAUREATE.

* * *

The motor-car of polished steel and no paint-work is the latest innovation. It is said that this will do away with the objection of pedestrians that under present conditions one cannot be knocked down without soiling one's clothing.

* * *

"Water," says an official of the Metropolitan Water Board, "costs far too much to waste to-day." Adulterated with whisky, we believe it costs about eightpence a time.

* * * * *

Illustration: DIPLOMACY.


Norah (bristling up). "IS IT FINDING FAULT YE ARE?"


* * * * *

The Music of the Future.


For Sale, one small Economic Roller, 1 Brown's triple action Roller, 2 Eastern Produce Roll Breakers, 1 Updraft Sirocco Dryer—all the above in good order and can be seen working. 1 Saw Mill, good order. 1 Souter's roll Breaker, fair order."—Ceylon Paper.

* * * * *

"Mr. —— won L400,000 at Aix-les-Bains. The lucky player, who was educated at Harrow...."—Daily Paper.

The italics are Mr. Punch's. Are our public schools beginning to advertise?

* * * * *


(With grateful acknowledgments to the Commercial Statistician of "The Times.")

Sad is the sight, but not so strange, When the dead leaf to earth declines: I have observed this annual change As one of Autumn's surest signs; But oh, how very odd it is To mark the falling prices of commodities.

One had supposed the boom of War (Still raging with the desperate Turk), Whose closure seemed past praying for, Would carry on its hideous work And swell for years and years The bulging waistcoats of our profiteers.

But lo! a lot of useful wares Within my modest range have come; Trousers, I hear, are sold (in pairs) At three-fifteen—a paltry sum; And you can even get Dittos as low as thirteen pounds the set.

I can afford a further lump Of sugar in my cocoa—yes, And cocoa too is on the slump, Its "second grade" now costs me less; And green peas (marrowfat) Are down to fourpence. I can run to that.

And, though my coffers, sadly thinned, May not command a home-killed ham, And though the fees for pilchards (tinned) And eggs (to eat) and strawberry-jam Are still beyond my means (The same remark applies to butter-beans);

Yet milk (condensed) and salmon ("pink"), And arrowroot and pines (preserved)— All "easier," I am glad to think— These, and a soul not yet unnerved, Shall keep me going strong, Now that the price of boots is not so long.

O. S.

* * * * *


It seems to me that our local Hunt wants waking up. In some places, I believe, there are still people who "cheerily rouse the slumbering morn" by hunting the fox or the fox-cub, and, if one cannot let slumbering morns lie, there is no jollier way of rousing them. But in our village we hunt the 8.52. Morning after morning, if you watch from a high place, you can see our bowlers and squash hats just above the hedgerows bobbing down to the covert side. That one bobbing last is me.

As we trudge homeward under the star-lit skies all our racy anecdotes are of the fine fast runs we have had with the 8.52, the brave swinging of the tail carriage, the heavy work over the points, the check and find again at East Croydon main.... Those who arrive early at the meet in the morning (but, as I have hinted, I am not one of these) stroll about the platform, I am told, talking of the rare old times when the 8.52 used to be the 8.51, pulling out their watches every now and then and saying to the station-master, "She's twenty-five seconds late," for all season ticket-holders have special permission from the railway company to put trains into the feminine gender. This is a slight compensation for having to pay again when they are challenged and can only pull out a complimentary pass to the Chrysanthemum Show.

As for myself, no one can say that I lack the sporting spirit, and if I am late in the field it is because there is not enough noise and bustle about our Hunt. It needs, I submit, the romantic colour and pageantry that fire an Englishman's blood and rouse him irrevocably from his marmalade.

In this connection, as we say so charmingly at our office, I have laid certain preliminary proposals before Enderby and Jackson. A lot of the sportsmen who hunt the 8.52 in our village do so in motor-cars, which is hardly playing the game. Of the stout-hearted fellows who follow on foot, both Enderby and Jackson pass in front of my house and may be discerned dimly through a gap in the hedge, which was probably made for that purpose by the previous tenant. Or it may have been because the gate-latch sticks and he did not jump well. Enderby asserts that my house is nine minutes from the station, and Jackson says it is six, and therein lies the whole difference between optimism and pessimism. All I know is that, if I gather my hat, coat, Times, stick, pipe, tobacco and matches and put as many as possible of them in appropriate places just after Enderby has passed the gap, I catch the 8.52 nicely. If I do these things just after Jackson has passed I catch it nastily, just about the rear buffers. My proposal is that Enderby and Jackson should encourage me a little by wearing scarlet coats, so that I can see them twinkling more brightly through the gap in my hedge, and if they will do this I will promise to provide them both with hunting horns. I have pointed out that a "View halloo" from Enderby, followed by a stirring

"Tantivvy, Tantivvy, Tantivvy; Tra-la, Tra-la, Tra-la"

from Jackson, will, if any power on earth can do it, bring me from my toast in time for my train in the morning.

I have explained to them that nothing can be pleasanter or more beautiful for the baker, the butcher and the grocer to look at every morning than Enderby and Jackson dressed in pink, with a despatch-case in one hand and a hunting-horn in the other. There must be other sportsmen situated as I am, and I should like to see all the little lanes streaming with pink coats; and it would be very nice too if they all brought their dogs to see them off, as some do already.

I am quite prepared to admit that neither Enderby nor Jackson sees eye to eye with me in this matter. They argue that ample notice is given of the imminent arrival of the 8.52 by the express train which passes through the cutting at 8.43, and is popularly known as "the warner." I have replied that I cannot hear express trains when I am eating toast, and that the only warner I recognise is PLUM WARNER, who cannot by any stretch of language be called an express train. There the matter rests at present, and I suppose in a few days I shall miss the 8.52 again.

Happily I have now found out what to do when this occurs. Enderby and Jackson believe that the next train is the 10.15; but that is their narrow-minded parochialism. They are quite wrong. About ten minutes after the 8.52 has gone away another perfectly good train steals panting from the undergrowth. When one has missed the 8.52 one cannot wait on the platform till 10.15, nor, on the other hand, having waved an airy good morning to the butcher, the baker and the grocer as I trotted along, can I very well go back and undo it. And then the derision at home, the half-drunk stirrup-cup of coffee standing tepid and forlorn. But, as I say, the 9.5 is a perfectly sound train. It is quite true that it goes to Brighton, but the weather has been very warm of late. I hate these splits in the local Hunt, but there it is.


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* * * * *



(Being further Extracts from a certain Diary).

August 4th, 1914.—Declaration of War. I hereby take a solemn oath not to relax my efforts to win this struggle for England, even if it costs me my last drop of ink.

Began my series of powerful articles by calling for KITCHENER, of whom I now, if guardedly, approve. Lunched at the Carlton and dined at the Ritz to let all the world see that I am not downhearted.

* * *

Spent the morning at the War Office, showing everyone how the work there ought to be done. Then to Downing Street to put things right there.

Lunched at Claridge's with six Leading Ladies, all of them cheery souls.

* * *

Week-ended at Melton. Some good tennis and bridge. Fear that none of our generals really knows his job.

* * *

I have been wondering to-day if any other military journalist could possibly know such a lot of the Smart Set, and so intimately as I do. I am extraordinary lucky in having all these nice people to fall back on when I am worn out with War-winning and Tribunal duties.

* * *

Wrote a wonderful article on the importance of dressing up some one to look like HINDENBURG and dropping him at night by parachute from an aeroplane into the German lines near Head-Quarters. It would have to be a biggish man who can speak German well—Mr. CHESTERTON perhaps, but I have never met Mr. CHESTERTON, as he seems never to lunch or dine at the Ritz; or even Lord HALDANE. Once safely landed (my article goes on to explain) he would make his way to German H. Q., being mistaken for the real HINDENBURG, kill him and then issue orders to the Army which would quickly put the Germans in our power. Strange that no one else has thought of this.

* * *

It is very awkward to be the only man in London who has the truth in him. Relieved some of my embarrassment by a glass or two of remarkable 1794 brandy.

* * *

WINSTON came to Carryon Hall to dine and we discussed his future. I mapped out the next six months for him very carefully, and he promised to follow my counsel; but I am afraid that Lady RANDOLPH may interfere.

* * *

My HINDENBURG article not in The Times yet. Cannot think what is coming to journalism. And NORTHCLIFFE calls himself a hustler.

Sent for the PRIME MINISTER and gave him a piece of my mind. He ought to be more careful in future.

* * *

Lunched at the Carlton with GEORGE GRAVES and had some valuable War talk.

In the afternoon to the Tribunal, where all excuses were disregarded and everyone packed off to the recruiting officer.

In the evening to a first-class revue at the Palace.

* * *

Had gratifying visit from ANATOLE FRANCE'S friend, M. PUTOIS, who told me that the French look to me as the only Englishman capable of winning the War. My articles are read everywhere, and some have been set to music.

* * *

More men must be obtained, and therefore wrote a capital article calling on all criminals to cease their labours during the War, in order to release the police for the army. After this effort, which was very tiring, lunched at the Ritz with ETHEL LEVEY, LAVERY and SOVERAL. Some good riddles were asked. A discussion followed on ladies' boots, and whether toes should be pointed or square. From this we passed to stockings and then to lingerie. Tore myself away to attend to my Tribunal duties.

* * *

Met the GLOOMY DEAN in the Mall and walked with him to the Rag., where he left me. A most diverting man. He told me a capital story about a curate and an egg.

* * *

Finished a rattling good article on a way to make our army look more impressive to the foe, namely by fitting each man with a dummy man on either side of him. Bosch aeroplane observers would imagine then that we were three times as strong as we are, and some very desirable results might follow.

* * *

Sent for NORTHCLIFFE and told him that unless my articles are treated with more respect I cannot go on and the War will be lost. He seemed to be impressed, but you never know.

Lunched at Claridge's with Lady CUNARD, Lady DIANA MANNERS and GEORGE ROBEY. We were all very witty.

In the afternoon saw ROBERTSON at the W.O. and told him of my dummy soldier idea. He roared with delight.

* * *

Wrote one of my best articles, on the importance of either L. G. learning French or CLEMENCEAU learning English. Very depressed all day; have lost my appetite.

* * *

Dined at the Ritz. A large party, including Lady CUNARD and Lady DIANA MANNERS. The Princess of X. was present and I found her intelligent. Afterwards to Lady Y.'s for bridge. The cards were mad, but we had some wonderful rubbers, the four best players in London being concerned.

* * *

Wrote one of my best articles, on the importance of eating and drinking and being merry during great national crises. Urged among other things the addition of restaurant cars to all trains, even those on the Tubes. It is madness to encourage seriousness, as The Times is doing.

* * *

My eating article not printed. Practice, however, is more than precept, and I shall continue to do my bite.

(To be continued.)

E. V. L.



* * * * *

Another Sex-Problem.

"SALE OF LIVE AND DEAD FARM STOCK. 6 Steers in milk and in Calf."

Local Paper.

* * * * *

"In the second part of the programme Miss —— was associated with Mr. —— in 'It was a Lover and His Last.'"—Australian Paper.

Let us hope she will remain so.

* * * * *

"Rejoicing in a measure of freedom after the harassing restrictions of the war, Scotsmen are not eager to thrust their necks into the nose again."—Daily Paper.

They prefer, we imagine, to thrust the nose of the bottle into their necks.

* * * * *

"Every British voter on the sea coast is at heart a sailor."—Daily Chronicle.

At heart, no doubt. But how many have found to their cost that it is in fact another organ which affords the ultimate test of sailorship.

* * * * *


I had never before seen the Fairy Queen in such an agitated condition. She came dashing in, her cheeks glowing, her eyes aflame, her tiny form positively quivering with indignation and excitement.

In her hand she held a small scrap of paper, which she waved about in a frantic manner just in front of my nose.

"Look," she said, "look! My Press Agency sent it me this morning. Did you ever hear of such a thing? It's outrageous, it's incredible, it's.... Oh, don't sit staring there as if it didn't matter. Can't you say something—suggest something?"

"Your Majesty," I said humbly, for one has to be a little careful when dealing with incensed Royalty, "I haven't been able to read it yet."

"Oh, I'm so sorry," she said with quick contrition; "I'm afraid I'm apt to get a little carried away when I'm upset. But surely this is more than anybody could be expected to stand, mortal or immortal."

She settled down on the desk in front of me, spreading out the crumpled bit of paper on the blotter and holding the ends down with her little hands.

"There," she said—"read it." And this is what I read:—


After prolonged experiments we have succeeded in producing a preparation which checks the growth of unsightly rings on Lawns, &c. Two pounds of the Destroyer per square pole is sufficient for a single dressing. Full particulars with each consignment."

"'Unsightly'!" said the Queen in a trembling voice. "Do you see that?" and she pointed to the offending word with a tiny forefinger. "'Prolonged experiments' too. Do you know, I remember now that I have had complaints from some of our Garden Settlements about discomfort; but of course I never dreamed of anyone doing it on purpose. Do you think—oh, do you think"—she looked at me with tears in her bright eyes—"that it's really true that human beings are beginning to get tired of us? That we're"—she dropped her voice and I saw that she could hardly get out the next words—"out-of-date?"

Her falling tears made tiny marks on the blotting-paper.

"Of course not," I said stoutly. "On the contrary, you're coming in stronger than ever. Why, one might almost look upon you as one of the newest fashionable crazes, like motor-scooters and cinema stars and indiscreet memoirs." I hardly knew what I was saying, it was so dreadful to see her cry.

"Oh, I hope not," she said, half-laughing and hastily dabbing her nose with a ridiculous atom of swansdown which she produced from a minute reticule.

"As to these gentlemen," I continued, pointing contemptuously to the announcement, "we'll very soon settle them." I seized a sheet of paper and began scribbling away as hard as I could go.

The Queen amused herself meanwhile by balancing on the letter-scales. She seemed almost happy. I heard her murmur to herself, "Dear me. Two ounces. I shall have to start dieting. No more honey——"

"There," I said presently, "send them that, and we shall see what we shall see."

This is what I had written:—

"We, Titania, Queen of Fairyland, Empress of the Kingdom of Dreams, Grand Dame of the Order of Absolute Darlings, etc., etc., beg to draw the attention of Messrs. M—— to the enclosed paragraph, impinging gravely on the ancient and indisputable rights and prerogatives of ourselves and our loyal subjects, which appeared in their recent seed catalogue. We feel that the inclusion of the aforesaid paragraph must be due to some oversight, since Messrs. M—— can hardly be unaware of the fact that it is only owing to the co-operation of ourselves and our subjects that they are able to carry on their business with success. We are unwilling to resort to extreme measures, but unless the paragraph is immediately withdrawn we shall be obliged to take steps accordingly, in which case Messrs. M—— are warned that the whole of next year's flower crop may prove an utter and complete failure. Given under our Royal Hand and Seal. TITANIA R."

The Queen seemed very pleased when I read it over to her.

"It's perfectly splendid," she said, clapping her hands. "How silly of me not to have thought of it; but I was so distracted. Won't it make them sit up? And of course we could do it easily, though it would be rather dreadful, wouldn't it? I shall have it copied out the minute I get home and sent off to-night. By the way" (a little anxiously) "there aren't any split infinitives in it, are there? My chamberlain's rather peculiar about them—they make him ill. Extraordinary, isn't it? But—don't tell anyone—I never quite understand myself what they are or where they split, though it certainly does sound very uncomfortable."

I reassured her on that point.

"Oh, then that's all right," she said; "and I don't think even he would ever have thought of 'impinging'; it's lovely, isn't it? Thank you very much indeed," she added, as she folded up the paper and slipped it under her girdle. "You are a most helpful person. I really think I must—" I felt a touch on my cheek, lighter than the caress of a butterfly's wing, softer than the tip of a baby's finger, sweeter than the perfume of jessamine at night. For a moment the Queen continued to flutter close about me, radiant and shining. I shut my dazzled eyes for an instant. When I opened them she was gone.

I can't help wondering what Messrs. M—— will do. They'll be rather rash if they persist. And yet it does seem a little——Well, doesn't it?

R. F.

* * * * *



I never, never could admit The virtues of the bee; I thought she seemed a dreadful prig When I was small, and now I'm big I see she is a hypocrite, And so, of course, are we.

It's true she rushes to and fro With business promptitude, But what about the busy ant? Oh, let us clear our minds of cant— Why is it that we love her so? She manufactures food.

But not for us. If it were shown She organised the feast For us to eat, one might agree About her virtue; but, you see, She does it for herself alone, The greedy little beast!

So grasping is the little dear That every now and then She readjusts the ration scales By simply murdering the males, With many a base, malicious jeer At "idle gentlemen."

Nor does a man of us cry "Shame!" Though every man would own If there is one high hope for which He labours on at fever-pitch It is not honour, wealth or fame— He wants to be a drone.

Why is it, then, we don't abhor This horrid little prude? Why don't we cast the foullest slur On such a Prussian character? Because, as I remarked before, She manufactures food.

The world is full of beasts, my son, And I know two or three That any parent might employ To be a model for their boy, But take my word, we've overdone The insufferable bee.

A. P. H.

* * * * *

Illustration: THE NEW POOR.







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* * * * *



MY DEAR CHARLES,—The other evening I was sitting at an open-air cafe whose coffee is better than its social reputation. To be exact it is a low haunt. I always go there and have a cup of coffee in a glass when I am wondering what to do next and feeling it is about time something was happening. One of my acquaintances came and sat down at my table. To confess the truth he has once been a pickpocket, the sort of professional who followed the trade in the old dull days of peace for the excitement it furnished. He has since served in the Foreign Legion, and says that now he cannot bring himself to return to his normal work, since by contrast it is so very tame. For a time he was stranded, but now the international conspiracy business provides him with just the sport he was looking for.

After a little conversation about pocket-picking, as it used to be in the good old days, he asked me if I was interested in communist plots. I said I was interested in anything. He looked round the cafe to see that all was well, leant across the table and asked me if I was not particularly interested in communist plots. "Yes," I whispered, "as long as it's a plot I'm interested in it, even though it is a communist one."

He grew suspicious; why was I so interested? There is always a lot of whispering and mutual suspicion about on these occasions. I told him of these letters I was writing to you on the subject. This made him more than suspicious; positively hostile. Who was this Charles? he wanted to know. I told him all about you; explained that you were a good friend of mine; quite all right—one of us.

He rather took to the description of you, dropped all signs of doubt or anxiety and wondered if we couldn't get hold of you to come and take coffee with us one evening? You may rest assured, Charles, that there is now one cafe in Central Europe where you are regarded as a first-class fellow, even though your acquaintance has yet to be made; bon camarade; not above picking a pocket or two yourself in a moment of enthusiasm. You must come here and show yourself one day. You need have no fear. We never pick each others' pockets; it isn't considered etiquette.

"I am now a Young Socialist," said my friend with great pride. The Young Socialists are the worst communists there are.

"Really?" said I; "the last time we had a chat you were an ardent German Monarchist."

He produced his Matriculation card; it wasn't in his proper name, but, as he explained, one name is as good as another and he has had so many from time to time that now he cannot rightly say which is his own. I asked him to elaborate the Young Socialists' programme of murder and sudden death, a subject which, as a proposed victim, had a morbid fascination for me. He said he knew nothing about that; their everlasting talk bored him and he never attended the public meetings. It was the committee work which interested him.

He told me about the first committee meeting he attended. He wasn't a member of the committee at the time, a fact which put difficulties in the way of his attending the meeting, as it was held behind closed doors. All the doors were closed and locked, including the cupboard door. He was in the cupboard. I wondered what they would have done to him if they had found him there. He told me he had had plenty of time to wonder that himself when he had once got himself locked in.

"Begin at the beginning," said I.

It was a question, first, of getting round the door-keeper. He made friends with that door-keeper, took him out to supper, gave him a kirsch with his coffee and a cigar with his kirsch. He told the door-keeper that he was the most distinguished door-keeper he had ever met. He encouraged him to go through his ailments and his grievances and was visibly distressed by the recital. He got in the habit of sitting with the door-keeper while he was keeping the door for the committee assembled inside. And, when he thought the friendship was sufficiently advanced, he poured forth his inmost heart to that door-keeper. He said that Young Socialism was to him the breath of life, and the tragedy was that he was always kept on the outskirts of it. He said he would give anything to take part in a committee meeting, or anyhow to hear the great ones at it; and, to make this sound plausible, he expounded a scheme of Young Socialism of his own, which was far more drastic and bloodthirsty than anything that had yet occurred to any committee.

The door-keeper didn't believe there could be anybody who really cared all that much for communism; for his part he kept the door because there was money to be made easily that way. At the next committee meeting he made more money and made it more easily, and my friend was safely locked up in the cupboard before the committee arrived. What with the heat inside, the thought that the door-keeper might be more cunning than had appeared and a persistent desire to sneeze, he questioned all the time whether he was the right man in the right place. The committee meanwhile did little more than vote its own salaries from the central fund and quarrel amongst itself who should be treasurer.

Later proceedings of the committee, as noted in the cupboard, were more interesting. When the question turned on finding someone trustworthy and competent to take secret instructions to comrades in France and England, my friend very nearly burst forth from his shelf to say to them, "I'm your man!" He restrained himself, however, and thought out a more elaborate scheme than that.

He secured a front seat at the next public meeting of the section, applauded vigorously when the President referred to the need of more briskness in France and England and asked for a private interview after the meeting was over. In a few well-chosen words he offered his services to run messages over the frontier. Off his platform the President was quite a practical man and, though he didn't use these words, he indicated to my friend as follows: "If you are a genuine blackguard the police won't let you go; if you are not a genuine blackguard you are not really one of us."

My friend said that that would be all right, and they agreed to meet later on. He then went to the police and explained that he was about to be entrusted with important letters to carry over the frontier, if they would afford the necessary facilities. The police also were practical and, without wishing in any way to hurt his feelings, raised the question of his being genuine. Genuine was, of course, the very last thing he was claiming to be, but he understood what they meant, said that that would be all right and arranged a later appointment. He then called on the President and found him duly suspicious.

"I've had a talk with the police," said my friend, "and I've told them all about you and your messages, and they are going to give me the facilities and I am going to give them the messages."

This was the first occasion on which the President had had to handle the plain truth, and he didn't know what to do or say next.

"Give me some dud messages, of course," said my friend, and the President, thinking what a bright young Socialist this was, complied.

He then went back to the police. "I've had a talk with the President," said he, "and I've told them all about you and your interest in the messages, and here the messages are; and you needn't worry to read them because they are dud."

The police had also got so unused to the truth from such quarters that they were taken aback when they met it.

"And now have I your full confidence?" said he, and they said that he might take it that he had. He then went back to the President.

"Good morning, Mr. President," said he. "I have given your messages to the police and told them they are dud messages, so that now I have their full confidence and can move about as I like. Give me the real messages and I'll be getting on with my journey."

Throwing precaution to the winds, the President wrote out the real messages in full and handed them to him.

"Come, come, come," said he, "you must be more careful than that," and he told him what he ought to do to make sure. He did it.

My friend then proceeded to the frontier, where, by arrangement, he was arrested. In the inside pocket of his inside coat a bundle of messages were found. The police nodded at him.

"Yes," they said, "here are the messages all right. We don't know that they help much, but we suppose that we mustn't blame you."

"Come, come, come," said my friend, "if you doubt me, search me." They did so, and, written on linen and sewn into the lining of his coat, they found some more messages, which really did help them. Yours ever, HENRY.

(To be continued.)

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"YOUTHFUL HOSTESSES.—A few years ago when a bachelor entertained he invited his aunt or his mother to act as hostess for him. Now he asks his grand-daughter."—Daily Paper.

* * * * *

"Ostensibly Lit was a move to check the ever-rising cost of living, Land in a way not fully realised by the public Lit was a method of riveting control on the industry."

Evening Paper.

With money flung about like this the cost of living is bound to go up again.

* * * * *



Client. "I was just giving particulars of my flat, which I am anxious to let, and when I said, 'No premium required,' he crumpled up as if he'd been shot."

* * * * *


[The taking of finger-prints of all new-born babies is advocated. These will be useful for identification at trials, inquests, etc., since the pattern of the print does not change from the cradle to the grave.]

With paternal pride I used to glow When the neighbours dropped their pleasant hints How like Daddy Reginald would grow, But to-day they took his finger-prints; Now I am convinced they spoke in haste— Such expressions show a lack of taste.

Operator was a kindly man, Formerly a sergeant of police; Dipped our Reggie's digits in a pan Filled with printers' ink and oil and grease, Pressed them on a card and soothed his moans, Saying "Diddums" in official tones.

Mother stood and gazed upon the thing, Lovingly as doting mothers do; Asked, "Does Reggie's hieroglyphic bring Memories of famous men to you— Men who, having made their lives sublime, Left their thumb-prints on the sands of time?

"Will it be his destiny to write Or to earn a living with his brains? Will he share a 'loop' with GRAHAME WHITE? Do his 'arches' pair with those of BAINES? Is there similarity between Reggie's 'whorls' and those of M. MASSINE?"

Operator coughed behind his hand, Moved his feet and shook his hoary head, Thrust his fingers in his bellyband, Then at last reluctantly he said, "I've encountered in the course of biz Many prints that much resembled his.

"One, I mind me, such impressions made; P'r'aps you never heard of Ginger Hicks, Him what done in uncle with a spade Down in Canning Town in ninety-six? Ginger was a wrong 'un from the fust; As a child he bellowed fit to bust.

"Then there was another, something like, Got a lifer seven years ago; Surely you remember Mealy Mike, Robbery with violence at Bow? Michael's thumb-print, though of larger size, Was the spit of Reggie's otherwise.

"Then again his lines could be compared—" Mother snatched her precious up and fled, Pausing once to ask him how he dared Put such notions in um's little head. Her departure mid a storm of kissing Put the lid on further reminiscing.

* * * * *




* * * * *


* * * * *


John Antony Grunch was one of the mildest, most innocent men I ever knew. He had a wife to whom he was devoted with a dog-like devotion; he went to church; he was shy and reserved, and he held a mediocre position in a firm of envelope-makers in the City. But he had a romantic soul, and whenever the public craving for envelopes fell off—and that is seldom—he used to allay his secret passion for danger, devilry and excitement by writing sensational novels. One of these was recently published, and John Antony is now dead. The novel did it.

Yet it was a very mild sort of "shocker," about a very ordinary murder. The villain simply slew one of his typists in the counting-house with a sword-umbrella and concealed his guilt by putting her in a pillar-box. But it had "power," and it was very favourably reviewed. One critic said that "the author, who was obviously a woman, had treated with singular delicacy and feeling the ever-urgent problem of female employment in our great industrial centres." Another said that the book was "a brilliant burlesque of the fashionable type of detective fiction." Another wrote that "it was a conscientious analysis of a perplexing phase of agricultural life." John thought that must refer to the page where he had described the allotments at Shepherd's Bush. But he was pleased and surprised by what they said.

What he did not like was the interpretation offered by his family and his friends, who at once decided that the work was the autobiography of John Antony. You see, the scene was laid in London, and John lived in London; the murdered girl was a typist, and there were two typists in John's office; and, to crown all, the villain in the book had a boar-hound, and John himself had a Skye-terrier. The thing was as plain as could be. Men he met in the City said, "How's that boar-hound of yours?" or "I like that bit where you hit the policeman. When did you do that?" "You," mark you. Old friends took him aside and whispered, "Very sorry to hear you don't hit it off with Mrs. Grunch; I always thought you were such a happy couple." His wife's family said, "Poor Gladys! what a life she must have had!" His own family said, "Poor John! what a life she must have led him to make him go off with that adventuress!" Several people identified the adventuress as Miss Crook, the Secretary of the local Mothers' Welfare League, of which John was a vice-president.

The fog of suspicion swelled and spread and penetrated into every cranny and level of society. No servants would come near the house, or if they did they soon stumbled on a copy of the shocker while doing the drawing-room, read it voraciously and rushed screaming out of the front-door. When he took a parcel of washing to the post-office the officials refused to accept it until he had opened it and shown that there were no bodies in it.

The animal kingdom is very sensitive to the suspicion of guilt. John noticed that dogs avoided him, horses neighed at him, earwigs fled from him in horror, caterpillars madly spun themselves into cocoons as he approached, owls hooted, snakes hissed. Only Mrs. Grunch remained faithful.

But one morning at breakfast Mrs. Grunch said, "Pass the salt, please, John." John didn't hear. He was reading a letter. Mrs. Grunch said again, "Pass the salt, please, John." John was still engrossed. Mrs. Grunch wanted the salt pretty badly, so she got up and fetched it. As she did so she noticed that the handwriting of the letter was the handwriting of A Woman. Worse, it was written on the embossed paper of the Mothers' Welfare League. It must be from Miss Crook. And it was. It was about the annual outing. "Ah, ha!" said Mrs. Grunch. (I am afraid that "Ah, ha!" doesn't really convey to you the sort of sound she made, but you must just imagine.) "Ah, ha! So that's why you couldn't pass the salt!"

Mad with rage, hatred, fear, chagrin, pique, jealousy and indigestion, John rushed out of the house and went to the office. At the door of the office he met one of the typists. He held the door open for her. She simpered and refused to go in front of him. Being still mad with rage, hatred, chagrin and all those other things, John made a cross gesture with his umbrella. With a shrill, shuddering shriek of "Murder!" the girl cantered violently down Ludgate Hill and was never seen again. Entering the office, John found two detectives waiting to ask him a few questions in connection with the Newcastle Pig-sty Murder, which had been done with some pointed instrument, probably an umbrella.

After that The Daily Horror rang up and asked if he would contribute an article to their series on "Is Bigamy Worth While?"

Having had enough rushing for one day John walked slowly out into the street, trying to remember the various ways in which his characters had committed suicide. He threw himself over the Embankment wall into the river, but fell in a dinghy which he had not noticed; he bought some poison, but the chemist recognised his face from a photograph in the Literary Column of The Druggist and gave him ipecacuanha (none of you can spell that); he thought of cutting his throat, but broke his thumb-nail trying to open the big blade, and gave it up. Desperate, he decided to go home. At Victoria he was hustled along the platform on the pretence that there is more room in the rear of trains. Finally he was hustled on to the line and electrocuted.

And everybody said, "So it was true."

A. P. H.

* * * * *


* * * * *

Commercial Candour.

From an Indian trade-circular:—

"We believe in making a Small Profit and selling Everybody rather than making a Big Profit and selling only a Few."

* * * * *

"Wanted for Tea Estate, Nilgiris, good climate Superintendent."—Indian Paper.

We could do with one here, too.

* * * * *


Advt. in Daily Paper.

And still the wander grew.

* * * * *

"When the Prime Minister, accompanied by Mr. Lloyd George, appeared a magnificent ovation was accorded them."—Welsh Paper.

This tends to confirm the statements in the anti-Coalition Press that the PRIME MINISTER was beside himself.

* * * * *

From an examination-paper at a girls' school:—

Question. Why are the days in summer longer than those in winter?

Answer. Because they are warmer and therefore expand.

* * * * *



* * * * *


There is no doubt that Ernest was to blame. I know, of course, that he meant well. But a passion for fresh air, unless it is checked in time, is bound to lead one into all sorts of trouble.

You see, Ernest suffers so from theories. He has theories about eating, sleeping and waking, talking and thinking; but those on fresh air are the worst (or perhaps I ought to say the best) of all. Not that we, who constitute his family, would object to his theories if he didn't get us involved in them as well; but that is exactly what does happen. There was, for example, the camping-out proposition.

It began with Mother sitting at a table one evening in the early autumn and jotting down figures. Her brow was troubled. "We really can't afford a holiday this year, girls," she said, "though I suppose we shall have to. What with the price of everything just now and—" She then went on to speak with hostility of things like the Government and Sir ERIC GEDDES, though she is a peaceable woman as a rule.

Whereupon Ernest, who was at the open window engaged in a little quiet biceps-training (we won't allow him to do the more rowdy muscular exercises in the living-room), remarked, "But why should we be subjected to these eternal trammels of civilisation? Isn't the open country man's rightful heritage?"

"I see the prices have gone up at the select boarding-house where we stayed last year and met such nice people," went on Mother, ignoring Ernest. "It's five guineas a week each now."

"Monstrous," put in Ernest again. "Five guineas a week just to breathe the pure air of Heaven."

"Oh, they give you more than that," said Mother, "though I suspect the meat isn't English."

Ernest laughed sardonically. "Now let me tell you of my plan," he said, taking a newspaper cutting from his pocket. "Here is my solution to the holiday problem, and it certainly doesn't cost five guineas a week. Why not adopt it?"

"Why, it's an umbrella," commented Mother, feeling for her glasses. "But surely you don't expect it to rain all the time?"

"That is not an umbrella, it is an illustration of a portable tent," explained Ernest. "The canvas folds up and can be carried in the pocket, while the pole also folds and is convertible into a walking-stick by day. Thus you are able to camp where you will; throw off the shackles of convention——"

"It may be all right for throwing off the shackles of convention," remarked Mother, "but nothing would induce me to undress in a thing like that."

"But when it's erected it's perfectly solid——"

"So am I," said Mother, "and I like room to turn round. No, Ernest, I am as fond of fresh air as anyone—you know I always have my bedroom window open at least two inches at night—but air is not everything. Give me a comfortable bed and good catering if I am to go on holiday and enjoy it. You can please yourself."

That is the mistake Mother made. Ernest ought not to be allowed to please himself. He doesn't know what is good for him. And, when he departed on his walking tour accompanied by his tent, his sponge-bag, a copy of OMAR KHAYYAM, but very little else, Mother felt uneasy.

"What will happen if you get your feet wet?" she asked. "I'm sure you ought to take more things with you, Ernest."

"What more do I want?" he demanded, "'A loaf of bread beneath the bough——'"

"A loaf of bread indeed!" echoed Mother. "Fiddlesticks! Mind you get at least three good meals a day." She then gave him the address of the boarding-house where we had finally decided to spend our holidays and told him to send her a wire at once if he got a cold in the head.

* * *

It was the hour of dinner at the Select Boarding Establishment (sep. tables, 3 mins. sea, elec. lt., mod.) where we had spent ten days of our entirely select holiday. Everyone was assembled in the lounge hall waiting for the gong to announce the meal. Mother, basking her soul in the atmosphere of gentility, was chatting with the half-sister of a bishop, who was just remarking that Mother must call on her in town, when a strange fracas was heard at the back of the hall; a moment later a strange figure thrust itself in our midst and looked wildly round.

"Ernest!" murmured Mother faintly. She was a wise woman to know her own child under the circumstances. Perhaps she identified the tent-pole to which he was still clinging. Otherwise he was scarcely recognisable. His hair was wild and unkempt, his clothing torn and damaged. His boots clung to his feet by the uppers only and were held together by fragments of a sponge-bag.

"Mother!" said Ernest, singling her out from amongst the gay throng. The moment was dramatic.

"I—I was arrested," went on Ernest. He spoke in a purely conversational tone, but it's surprising how far the human voice will carry at times. Everybody about the place, including the lift-boy and the Belgian waiter, seemed to hear that remark.

"Arrested?" whispered Mother in reverberating tone-waves.

"Yes. How was I to know that I had pitched my tent on private property and was unwittingly trespassing? They would have prosecuted me if I hadn't——"

"You had better come up to my room and explain there," interposed Mother; and we followed her, a broken woman, to the lift. People fell aside to make a passage for us.

Mother held up until she got to her own room. Then she sat down and cried. "Why did you disgrace us like this?" she asked at last of Ernest. "Was it necessary for you to come here?"

"I had to," said Ernest apologetically. "You see I hadn't any money."

Mother looked up quickly. "But what of the extra ten pounds I insisted on your taking with you in case of emergency?"

Ernest appeared slightly shame-faced. "Well, when those fatuous asses hauled me up for trespassing they left me in the charge of a gamekeeper while they 'phoned for the police. I induced the chap to let me go, and I had to square him with a tenner."

There was a long pause. Mother's mind seemed to be working at some abstruse calculation. Then she dried her eyes and looked up with the triumphant smile of the woman who gets the last word and wins her point.

"And so, Ernest," she said, "it did cost you five guineas a week to 'breathe the pure air of Heaven' after all."

* * * * *



* * * * *


(By a Student of Jargon.)

By the courtesy of Professor Prawling, F. R. S., who has supplied us with the MS. of his recent lecture before the Psycho-Economical Society, we are in a position to give our readers a full account of that masterly and epoch-making address, of which, strange to say, no adequate notice has so far appeared in any newspaper.

Professor Prawling's credentials, we may premise, are of a nature to inspire the utmost confidence. His father, Theodore Prawling, was the inventor of the speedle, that remarkable implement, fully described by Punch in the early seventies, which rendered possible the emulsification of all gelatinoid substances and revolutionised the marmalade industry. He is duly commemorated by the fine statue which is one of the principal features of Dundee. His son, however, has even greater claims on our respect and admiration. Educated at the High School, Crieff, and the Universities of Glasgow, Upsala, the Sorbonne and Princeton, he is generally recognised in the United States as the foremost authority on Paedological Gongorism and the cognate science of Mendelian Economics.

The problem with which he grapples in his latest contribution to these fascinating studies may be tersely summed up in a single sentence: Can a healthy metabolism be superinduced on an economic system already showing symptoms of extrinsic conglucination?

Professor Prawling is of opinion that it can, but only if and when the evils of co-partnership and co-operation have been neutralized by a diastolic synthesis. To compute exactly the extent to which these evils have been developed he has devised a syncretic abacus, in which, on the principle of the spectroscope, the aplanatic foci are arranged in fluorescent nodules each equidistant from the metacentre. With a frankness that cannot be too highly commended, Professor Prawling admits that this instrument is founded on BENTHAM'S Panopticon. But the deviations from BENTHAM and the expansions of his machine are far more remarkable than the resemblances to it. Prawling—if he will allow us the familiarity—is not a utilitarian. His aim is to re-establish our textile pre-eminence by reconciling monistic individualism with the fullest solidarity of the social complex. He is meticulously careful in stressing the point that the demarcations arrived at by the use of his abacus are not absolute, but conditioned by EINSTEIN'S theory of relativity. The ancillary industries, each moving in its orbit, whether jurassic or botulistic, must be placed on a contractual basis with liberty of preferential retaliation. Thus the whole industrial polyphony is linked up by enharmonic modulations, and thrombosis—or, at any rate, conglucination—of the central ganglia of commerce is reduced to negligible dimensions.

At this juncture it is well to point out in the interests of clarity that regurgitation can only be avoided by a rigorous adhesion to the canon of CRITTENDEN—that the unit of nutrition must vary inversely with the square of dilution.

It will thus be seen that by the logical application of a few simple and easily apprehended principles Professor Prawling has built up a great edifice of practical economics, which, whether we regard it in its subliminal or its pragmatic aspects, cannot fail to have influence on the dynamics of International Industrialism.

One word more. The conglucination theory appeals with especial force to Punch, because it reminds him of the kindred and remarkable speculation on Snooling discussed by him many years ago. The new theory, like the old, deserves to be treated "in no spirit of sedentary sentimentalism, but in its largest and most oleaginous entirety. It is no plan for fixing hat-pegs in a passage, nor is it a mode of treating neuralgia with treacle." How true and appropriate this is. Mutatis mutandis we may add the further statement that it is "the truest and tenderest thesis that can occupy the most calculating cosmopolite." The corporate pursuit of a granulated conglucination is perhaps the highest achievement of which the present generation is capable.

* * * * *


* * * * *

More Impending Apologies.

"Cardinal Dubois, Archbishop of Rouen, has been translated, as most of us expected, to the Archbishopric in Paris. Being a very distinguished man of letters, the Academie Francaise would like to include him among the Immorals, but, alas! they are 'full inside.'"

Evening Paper.

* * * * *


The thrilling incident of the stray cat at "Chez Nous" is never likely to get into the newspapers. On the other hand, lots of incidents which do get in never deserve to. It's all a question of head-lining, which is the bluff by which the public is induced to read matter it would otherwise skip.

The affair began while I was in the City. I learnt afterwards that Marjorie (my wife) was crooning to her needles the unmetrical jumper lullaby, "Six purl, eight plain; then the same all over again." Anyhow she was knitting, when she suddenly found herself looking into the wistful eyes of a tortoiseshell cat which had appeared—merely appeared.

As she told me, she softly exclaimed, "A cat!" (right first time); then, because it looked so wistful, she directed the maid to set before the creature a saucer of milk. In fact—


When I arrived home, Marjorie ran into the hall to give me one of her smooth evening kisses. I stepped forward to exchange it for one of my stubbly ones when—

"Oh, Jack," said Marjorie, "you've trodden on her!"

"'Her,'" I said. "Who's 'her'?"

"The dearest little tortoiseshell stray cat," replied Marjorie. "You really might have been more careful."

"I say, that's rather unfair," I said. "I stagger home tired to the teeth after a particularly thin day in the City, followed by a sardine-tin journey, and my own wife turns on me in favour of the first outcast cat that comes along. It's enough to drive a man to dope." Or, as the headlines would have it:—


After a bath and a change I felt better, and came down to dinner humming a sentimental ballad in Marjorie's honour. But the word "love" died on my lips when I saw that in the lap of Marjorie's pretty pink gown reposed the stray cat. The colour-clash and the misapplication of caresses which should have been my monopoly threw me back with a jerk to a state of bearishness.

"Surely you're not going to keep that animal?" I asked.

"Of course I am, as long as she likes to stay," said Marjorie. "She's very fond of me, aren't you, pussy? Fonder than my husband, I 'spect."

"I know these stray cats," I said. "Stiff with microbes. Tribes of mangy lovers prowling round the house. A nest of kittens in my top-hat. I know."

"Poor li'l pussy," cooed Marjorie. "Don'tum listen to the big coarse man."

"Coarse be——"

In other (and more suitable) words—


Marjorie said coldly that she didn't know I had such a temper. I said hotly that I didn't know she could be so infantile.

We went on discovering things we hadn't known about each other:—


Dinner was an ordeal. I felt miles apart from Marjorie. A great gulf filled with black-and-yellow cat lay between us. Once only the topic of the beast arose (on the subject of fish-bones) and just as I was becoming big and coarse again the maid entered with the joint. She must have heard what I said.


Still, the meal itself was a cheering one, and, after Marjorie had risen, the sentimental ballad mood gained on me again. After all, what was a stray cat compared with one's marriage vows? If the dear girl wanted to keep the thing we would have it vetted, definitely named, and warned as to followers.

Marjorie's voice interrupted my amiable planning. "Puss, puss," she called. I joined her and stated my decision to relent.

"But she's vanished," said Marjorie. She had. And she has never come back. Ah! those stray cats.


"Look here, old girl," I said, "I take back all I said about your little friend. I'm with you that she was the dearest, most hygienic, most moral cat that ever strafed a mouse."

"Perhaps it's all for the best that she's gone," said Marjorie.

The dear girl inclined her head towards my shoulder. Well, well.


* * * * *

More Precocity.

"Unfurnished Rooms wanted (two or three), with attendance; one child, 4-1/2 years; at business all day."—Provincial Paper.

* * * * *


[A daily paper points out that many girls find their sweethearts in print, and expresses the hope that when "a real man comes along he may be as brave and tender, as cheery and clean-living," as these heroes of fiction.]

Dear lady, put down for a minute That book which you eagerly scan, Intent upon finding within it Your perfect ideal of a man; Its pages reflectively closing, Consider a moment the strain Your standard may soon be imposing Upon some susceptible swain.

Those heroes whose fortunes you follow I've noticed are able to show The unparalleled charms of Apollo, The muscles of SAMSON and Co.; But he who comes seeking to win you May have, for supporting his plea, A palpable shortage of sinew And beauty distinctly C 3.

And, unprepossessing in mien, he May also lack some of the art With which Saccharissa the Tweeny Was wooed by Sir Marmaduke, Bart.; His tongue may (conceivably) stammer, His heart (not impossibly) quake, And in stress of emotion his grammar May even develop a shake.

But pause ere you "spurn his addresses;" His merits may still be as high As the sort that your hero possesses, Though they leap not so quick to the eye; At the least, you've the comfort of knowing, Since his heart at your feet he has placed, That in one thing at least he is showing A wholly impeccable taste.

* * * * *

How Some Advertisers "Tell the Tale."

"We spin the yarn ourselves."

Advt. in Daily Paper.

* * * * *



I watch the faces of the 'men,' boys in so many cases, jumping from their trains; from the north, the south, the east, the west they come, and they come not alone but dona ferentes—they carry tennis-racquets, golf-sticks, cycles, sidecars, kitbags, gladstone-bags, trunks, hold-alls."—Evening Paper.

Hefty chaps, these post-war undergraduates.

* * * * *

"Question.—How much has the time for crossing the ocean been shortened since the day of Columbus?

T. E. C.

Answer.—Idaho is a North American Indian word meaning 'Gem of the Mountains' or 'Sunrise Mountains.'"

Boston (Massachusetts) Herald.

We hope that T. E. C. isn't going to be put off with such a simple device as this.

* * * * *


* * * * *


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

There is certainly this to be said of Mr. HUGH WALPOLE—that, having devised a tale of gloom, he allows no weak consideration for his readers' feelings to deter him from making the worst of it. I write, having but now emerged, blinking a little at the familiar sunlight (yet oddly invigorated too), from a perusal of the four-hundred-and-seventy pages of his Captives (MACMILLAN). Of course I have nothing like space to detail for you its plot. Summarised, it tells the life of a young woman, Maggie Cardinal, whom one may briefly call the bemused victim of religions—and relations. You never knew any well-intentioned heroine who had such abysmal luck with both. Her clergyman father, a bad hat, who spared us his acquaintance by expiring on the first page; her semi-moribund aunts in their detestable London home; the circle of the Inner Saints, with their intrigues that centred in the ugly little meeting-house; the seaside parish with its spiritually-dead atmosphere, in which Maggie's hopeless married life is spent—all these and more are realised with an art that is almost devastating in its unforced effect. Sometimes I hoped that such universal drabness was too bad to be true; one caught touches of manipulation, times in which these poor Captives seemed bound less by the chains of circumstance than by the wires of Mr. WALPOLE. The queer result was that I found myself believing in his compellingly human characters, but protesting that such unbroken misfortune could not, or need not, have encompassed them. To take an example, when Maggie's "tipsy" uncle was shown into the Vicarage drawing-room on her "At Home day," no other guests had yet arrived. Surely therefore (save for peremptory orders from Mr. WALPOLE) she might somehow have removed the culprit to another room, or at least denied herself to subsequent callers, who included (of course) the most influential and scandal-mongering of the parish ladies. That is the kind of rather piled-up agony that made me suspect Mr. WALPOLE of letting his fortitude get at times the better of his commonsense. But he has written a big book.

* * * * *

Mr. E. F. BENSON, of whom it might justly be said that he produces not books but libraries (and the quality of his output under these circumstances remains for me amongst the literary wonders of the age), has been at it again. Hardly have I finished laughing over Queen Lucia, when I find him claiming a wholly different interest with a volume of personal recollections called Our Family Affairs (CASSELL). By its theme and treatment this is work standing naturally a little outside criticism; but I can say at once that Mr. BENSON has never written with a more sympathetic charm than in these pictures of the childhood of himself and his sister and brothers; of the various scholastic and ecclesiastical homes to which the increasing dignities of that rather alarming parent, the Archbishop, transported his family; and (quite the best and most attractive portrait in the collection) of the mother whom all of them united to adore. There is an actual photograph of her here, taken at the age of twenty, which goes far to explain how she came to be the heroine of the story; the lurking gaiety and laughter of it quaintly foretelling the great ecclesiastical lady who, on one occasion when the Archbishop was absent, could announce to her enraptured children that family prayers should be remitted, "as a treat!" Schooldays at Wellington; Cambridge; some topical memoirs of the Georgian regime in Athens, and (what will interest many readers most of all) the history of the origin of that famous lady, Dodo—these are but a selection from the contents of a volume that should find hosts of friends.

* * * * *

The Girl in Fancy Dress (HODDER AND STOUGHTON) was so very much disguised in one way and another that Anthony, the hero, when he asked her to marry him, even for the second time, was taking considerable risks. The speed of the affair must also have been bewildering. Cynthia, the heiress, arrives on a Thursday to stay with his people, but, having tumbled out of a motor-car into a wet ditch on her way, she is dressed, rather like a stage coster-girl, in garments borrowed from a cottager. Naturally, as of course a nursery-governess is much more likely than an heiress to look like that, Anthony's people mistake her for a poor country cousin who is also expected, and Cynthia, discovering that her host and hostess and their dreary daughters intend the heiress to marry Anthony and, worse than that, that he has called her "the goose with the golden eggs," fosters the mistake and does her best to pay them all out. She leaves on the following Tuesday, but before that Anthony has taken her to one dance as a peasant girl and she has talked to him at another disguised as a green domino, and he has proposed to her as his cousin and withdrawn his declaration when he finds she isn't. Next he sees her as Lady Teazle in amateur theatricals, and then comes his final meeting with her in her proper person, which brings about a satisfactory ending for everyone but Cynthia's other lover. I don't say that all these things couldn't have happened; I only say that as a rule they don't. Apart from that, the bright bustling action of Mrs. J. E. BUCKROSE'S story has a cheerful charm of its own, and Cynthia, as poor relation of one of the anxiously best families in a little country town, provides some amusing situations—for the reader.

* * * * *

If the shade of ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON is jealous of its rights and its copyrights, Mr. JEFFREY FARNOL may look to be hauled up before the Recording Angel, on his arrival, in the matter of his Black Bartlemy's Treasure (SAMPSON LOW), which he might just as well have called Black Bartlemy's Treasure Island and have done. Never was such frank adoption of ideas; and yet no God-fearing, adventure-loving Englishman will regret it. For all my devotion to R. L. S. I heartily enjoyed this elaboration of his idea, split me (to quote the thorough-going language of it)—split me crosswise else! There are forty-seven chapters and a bloody fight in every one of them, save in the dozen set apart for an interval of refreshment and romance in the middle. Nay, but was not the primitive romance a gentler combat, itself, between Martin Conisby and Lady Joan Brandon, marooned, solitary, upon the Island where they did find (and lose) a treasure even greater than Black Bartlemy's? After having "consorted with pirates and like rogues" and having "endured much of harms and dangers, as battle, shipwreck, prison and solitude," it seemed we had sighted happiness at last. But even at the very end things took an ill turn and our Martin, our dear Martin, is left stranded and in sorry plight. Yet must there be a sequel to this. Had he been left to die on the Island he could not have told us his story thus far; moreover his last word is that the tale is yet to finish. May I be there to hear!

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I rather think that the lady who elects to write under the name of O. DOUGLAS did less than justice to the peculiar quality of her own gifts in calling her last story Penny Plain (HODDER AND STOUGHTON). Because really such confectionery as this, covered inches deep with the sweetest and smoothest and pinkest of sugar, could never in these days be bought for many pennies, while as for "plain"...! Most of the plot (which really isn't at all the right word for such caramel-stuff) takes place in a small Scottish town, where lives a family of book-children, mothered by an elder sister named Jean, all of them rich in char-r-rm but poor in cash. To this town comes, first, a pleasant single lady with a lord for her brother; secondly an aged man full of money; and, because the family (and the tale) is what it is, Jean, in fewer chapters than you would easily credit, has clasped the young lord to her breast and is saying the correct things to the family lawyer of the aged man concerning the responsibilities of being his heiress. So there you have it. I doubt whether anything even temporarily unpleasant so much as suggests itself; for "O. DOUGLAS" has apparently discovered that, in a world still struggling with stale peace-bread, her pink sugar-cakes are not only cheerful to cook but likely to prove highly remunerative.

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Illustration: TACT IN TIME.



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A Confession.

"The —— Manufacturing Co. (The Profiteering Stranglers)." Advt. in Provincial Paper.

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"Wanted, 1,000 pairs running shoes for local expeditionary force about to be organised."—North China Daily News.

The wise commander always prepares for a retreat.

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The limits of age for entrance to the [Royal Air Force] college will be from 157-1/2 to 1 years."—Daily Paper.

"Percy —— has recently joined the R. A. F. He is only 199 years of age."—Local Paper.

We are sorry for PERCY, who will probably get the "push" as soon as the authorities find out that he has exceeded their very liberal age-limit.

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