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Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 146, April 15, 1914
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PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI

VOL. 146

APRIL 15, 1914



CHARIVARIA.

Reuter telegraphs from Melbourne that the Commonwealth building in London is to be called "Australia House." This should dispose effectively of the rumour that it was to be called "Canada House."

* * *

"The Song of the Breakers," which is being advertised, is not, we are told, a war song for the Suffragettes.

* * *

Some of the Press reported a recent happy event under the following heading:—

"WEDDING OF MRS. PATRICK CAMPBELL."

Mr. GEORGE CORNWALLIS WEST would like it to be known that it was also his wedding.

* * *

It was rumoured one day last week that a certain officer famous for his picturesque language was about to receive a new appointment as Director-General of Expletives.

* * *

"GOLD-PLATED TYPEWRITER,"

announces The Mail. We are sorry for the poor girl. Mr. GRANVILLE BARKER, of course, started the idea with his gilded fairies.

* * *

Miss MABEL ROGERS, we read, is bringing a suit against certain other girl students of Pardue University, Indiana, for "ragging" her by tearing off her clothes. It seems to us that it is the defendants who ought to bring the suit.

* * *

"Twelve small farmers," we are told, "were on Saturday sent for trial at Ballygar, County Galway, on a charge of cattle-driving." Their size should not excuse them.

* * *

One evening last week, The Daily Mail tells us, the electric light failed in several districts of Tooting and Mitcham. "A resident in Garden Avenue," says our contemporary, "had invited about a dozen friends to a card party. The host secured a supply of candles, in the dim light of which the party played." It is good to know that in this prosaic age and in this prosaic London of ours it is still possible to have stirring adventures worth recording in the country's annals.

* * *

The power of the motor! "At the request of the Car," says The Westminster Gazette, "M. POINCARE will leave on his visit to Russia, after the national fetes on July 14."

* * *

A couple of pictures by unknown artists fetched as much as L2,625 and L1,837 at CHRISTIE'S last week, and we hear that some of our less notable painters have been greatly encouraged by this boom in obscurity.

* * *

"This Machine," says an advertisement of a motor cycle, "Gets You Out-of-Doors—and Keeps You There." Frankly, we prefer the sort that Gets You Home Again.

* * *

The PREMIER, who was said to have "run away" to Fife, after all had a "walk over."

* * *

"The Elizabethan spirit," says a laudator temporis acti, "is dead among us." We beg to challenge this statement. When the Armada was sighted DRAKE went on with his game of bowls. To-day, in similar circumstances, we are confident that thousands of Englishmen would refuse to leave their game of golf.

* * * * *



* * * * *

PROFESSIONAL ANACHRONISM.

Mrs. Andrew Fitzpatrick, who looped the loop last Friday at Hendon with her son Hector, is certainly one of the youngest-looking women in the world of her age—for she is put down in black and white as forty-four in more than one book of reference. Her miraculous Lady Macbeth, which she impersonated at the age of seven, is still a happy memory to many middle-aged playgoers, though the miracle was eclipsed by the nine days' wonder of her elopement and marriage to Mr. Fitzpatrick, the famous Ballarat millionaire, on her thirteenth birthday. Her daughter Gemma, who made her debut in Grand Opera at the Scala in 1895, is already a grandmother; and her son Hector, who fought in the Russo-Turkish war of 1878, is the youngest Field-Marshal in the British Army.

M. Atichewsky, the famous Russian pianist, who gives his first recital in the Bluethstein Hall next Wednesday, is no stranger to London audiences, though he is only just twenty years of age. In the year of QUEEN VICTORIA'S Diamond Jubilee he visited England as a Wunderkind, being then only thirteen years of age, and created a furore by his precocious virtuosity. About eleven years later, while he was still in his teens, he appeared at the Philharmonic Concerts with his second wife, a soprano singer of remarkable attainments. The present Madame Atichewsky, it should be noted, has a wonderful contralto voice, which is inherited by her second daughter, Ladoga, who recently made her debut at the Theatre de la Monnaie, in Brussels.

* * * * *

The Poetry of the Ring.

For two pugilists, shaking hands before the knock-out fight begins:—

"Ere we rush, ere we extinguish sight and speech Each on each."

BROWNING, "Love among the Ruins."

* * * * *

"It is interesting to learn that the swans on the lower lake have built a nest and that one of the pairs on the upper lake have followed suit, so that there is some possibility of signets on the lakes presently."

Beckenham Journal.

We shall be glad to see these freshwater seals.

* * * * *

THE UNION OF IRISH HEARTS.

(How the prospect strikes an Englishman.)

["In ancient times ... the Devlins were the hereditary horseboys of the O'Neills. (Loud laughter.)"—From the "Times'" report of Mr. TIMOTHY HEALY'S speech in the House.]

I love to fancy, howsoe'er remote The fiery dawn of that millennial future, That some fine day the rent in Ireland's coat Will be adjusted with a saving suture, And one fair rule suffice For lamb and lion, babe and cockatrice.

In her potential Kings I clearly trace Ground for this hope; no bickering there, no jostling; If HEALY cares to hint that DEVLIN'S race Subsisted by hereditary ostling, That's just the family fun Brothers can well afford whose hearts are one.

No less the picture of O'BRIEN'S fist Clenched playfully beneath a colleague's nose-piece Lets me foresee—a sanguine optimist— That Union which shall bring to ancient foes peace, When all who lap the Boyne Beg on their knees to be allowed to join.

Still (to be frank) 'tis not alone the dream Of leagued Hibernians kissing lips with Ulster That warms my heart; there is another scheme That with a livelier motion makes my pulse stir; And this can never be Till we have posted REDMOND oversea.

But, when he's planted on his local throne, The Federal Plan should find him far less sniffy; We shall have Parliaments to call our own Modelled from that high sample on the Liffey, And crown the patient years With joy of "England for the English" (Cheers).

Meanwhile, amid the present rude hotch-potch, We natives must forgo this satisfaction, For still the cry is "England for the Scotch" (Or else some other tribe of Celt extraction); That's why I shan't be happy Till Erin's tedious Isle is off the tapis.

O. S.

* * * * *

THE BOMB.

I was rather glad to spend my eighteenth birthday in Germany, because I knew my people would make a special effort in the matter of presents. They did, and I turned the other girls at the pension green with envy when I wore them. The only thing that spoilt my day was that there was nothing at all from Cecil, which was rather a blow.

However, the next morning I received an official document referring to a parcel waiting for me at the Customs House, and lost no time in getting there.

It was a long, low building, strewn with packing cases, cardboard boxes and dirt, with a row of pigeon-holes—some big enough to take an ostrich—on one side, and a counter defending a row of haughty officials on the other. Several people were wandering aimlessly about, but no one took the least notice of me, or appeared to realize I was in my nineteenth year. So I approached an official in a green uniform with brass buttons, standing behind the counter. He was tall and stout, and his hair, being about one millimetre long, showed his head shining through. He had a fierce fair moustache, and, owing to overwork or influenza coming on, was perspiring freely.

Trusting he would prove more fatherly than he looked, I held out my paper. He drew back haughtily, ejaculating: "Nein!" and jerked his head towards a kind of letter-box on the counter. I pushed my paper in the slot, hoping the etiquette of the thing was all right now; and, as apparently it was, in his own good time he took the paper from the back of the box, looked at it, glanced sternly at me, looked at the paper again, and said severely:

"Vee—ta—hay—ad?"

I didn't know what he was driving at till I remembered my name was Whitehead. So I replied, "Ja," thinking his pronunciation not bad for the first shot. He turned to a pigeon-hole and laid a small square parcel on the counter addressed to me in Cecil's scrawl. I held out my hand, but he ignored it, and, picking up a fearsome-looking instrument consisting of blades, hooks and points—which turned out to be the official cutter—severed the silly little bit of string, unwrapped the paper and disclosed a white wooden box with a sliding lid.

I bent forward, but he glared at me and moved it further away, slid back the lid, removed some shavings and looked inside. His official manner underwent a change; such a look of sudden human interest showed on his fat clammy face that I thought he must have found some quite new kind of sausage. But instead he drew out very gingerly a curious square black box with a sloping front, two round holes at one side, and a handle at the other. He put it down on the counter and glared at me.

"Was ist das?" he demanded.

"Ich weiss nicht," I replied, shaking my head.

It was clear he didn't believe me, and he kept it out of my reach, turning it carefully about, and in response to a jerk of his chin two or three of his colleagues came up and glared, first, at me, and than at the suspicious object. However, he would not let them touch it, but, squaring his chin and taking a deep breath, he turned the handle.

There was a faint ticking noise, but nothing happened, and I suggested timidly that he should look through the peep-holes and see what was going on inside. He frowned at my interference, but taking my advice all the same, raised the box nearer his fierce eye and turned the handle once more and with greater force. Instantly there was a loud whirr, and a bright green trick-serpent leapt through the lid, caught him full on the nose and sent him back sprawling among his packing cases, carrying two of his friends with him.

I gave a bit of a squeak, but it was lost among the "Ach Gotts" and "Himmels" all round me. Cecil in his wildest dreams had never hoped for this. Whatever the consequences might be I meant to have my snake, and while I was collecting it from the floor and cramming it back in the box I discovered my defence.

Smiling my very best smile, I turned and faced the angry officials the other side of the counter and, holding the box towards them, pointed to three printed words underneath: "Made in Germany."

* * * * *

"The Prime Minister left Cupar by the 5.29 train.... The motor arrived at the station at 5.55 and the party went in leisurely fashion down the station steps."—Glasgow Herald.

What it is to be a Prime Minister! Ordinary mortals arrive at 5.28 and go down the steps three at a time.

* * * * *

"It is, of course, impossible to dogmatise without conclusive evidence."—Times.

You should hear our curate.

* * * * *



* * * * *

A NONENTITY.

He was a tramp, a mere tramp, clearly a man of no importance to you or me or anyone else in the world. The evening was warm, the place secluded and remote, and, other things being equal, he climbed over the hedge, chose a comfortable position against a haystack, pulled from his pocket a fragment of a newspaper and a fragment of a pipe and settled down.

A tramp, the merest tramp, seven miles from anywhere, sitting in a field smoking a pipe and reading a newspaper—what can such a one matter to the world at large?

The portion of the newspaper was that containing the law reports, not a prime favourite with the tramp. The lengthy report which had squeezed out other matter that might have been worth reading was a proceeding before the Lords of Appeal, in which Sir Rupert Bingley, K.C., M.P., was being very explicit and very firm about the exact limitations of the power of the Divisional Court to commit for contempt. This was hardly fit matter for the reading of a young and susceptible tramp, our man was telling himself, when the name of a district which he had once traversed cropped up in the case and caught his wandering attention.

The spot in question was on the wild Welsh border, and it was at a remote farm thereabouts that the trouble first began over which their Lordships and Sir Rupert, together with innumerable other senior counsel, junior counsel, solicitors, law reporters, lay reporters, ushers, and what-nots were so troubling themselves and each other. The farmer's stack of clover had been destroyed by fire, and the farmer, feeling that this was rather the affair of the Insurance Company than himself, had asked for solatium. The Insurance Company asked who set the stack on fire; the farmer didn't know; the Insurance Company, having regard to the size and the recent creation of the policy, were prepared to guess. The case was heard at Presteign Assizes and the farmer lost it, the jury who tried it being not quite so sure as was the farmer of his innocence in the matter.

Encouraged by this, the Insurance Company prosecuted the farmer for perjury; but the jury that tried this case took almost a stronger view of the farmer's virtue than he did himself and found a verdict of "Not Guilty," adding a rider very depreciatory of the Insurance Company. Encouraged by this verdict, the farmer sued the Insurance Company for malicious prosecution, but the jury that tried this case had no faith in either party and disagreed. Another jury were then put in their stead and they as good as disagreed by finding for the farmer but assessing the damages at one farthing.

It will be observed that their Lordships have not yet appeared in the matter, whereas the haystack, the cause of all the trouble, had as good as disappeared. Meanwhile our tramp, who had seen better days and was something of a mathematician, calculated that the total sum spent on counsels' fees alone up to this point was well over two hundred guineas.

Social reformers get mixed up in everything nowadays, and one appeared in the affair at this juncture. Having chanced to be in court at the hearing of the Malicious Prosecution suit, he had formed an opinion of the last-mentioned jury, and in an extremely witty speech, had included them specifically in the long list of people and things that were no better than they should, be. One of the jurors had unhappily been among his audience and, possibly because his experience of another's cause had endeared him to litigation, he must needs start his action for slander. By the time that action had been tried, and appealed, and a new trial ordered and held, and the legal proceedings in the respective bankruptcies of the social reformer and the juror were completed, the total of counsels' guineas must have been well on the other side of a thousand.

Everybody had now forgotten that there ever was a stack involved and no one would have recollected that the Insurance Company had had anything to do with it, had not the social reformer, in the course of his public examination, ingenuously attributed his financial downfall to the original misbehaviour of that company in disbelieving their policy-holders when they declared that they were not incendiaries. Thereupon, after a number of applications by counsel to a number of courts, the Insurance Company got itself inserted in the Bankruptcy proceedings, but not before an enterprising newspaper had taken upon itself to assert that there was an element of truth in the contention of the social reformer. And then it was that the Contempt proceedings began, and were fought strenuously stage by stage, each side briefing more and more counsel as they went along, until at last, when the case came before their Lordships, there were more barristers involved than could be seated in the limited accommodation provided at the bar of their Lordships' House.

To calculate even roughly the final total of counsels' fees was no easy sum to be done on the fingers. After wrestling with it a little, the tramp leant back and puffed hard at his pipe—so hard that the sparks flew and the smoke became thick around him—so thick that "Bless my soul," said the tramp, rising hurriedly, "there's another stack I've been and gone and set afire!"

A tramp, a mere tramp going about the country and setting fire to stacks, is not even he to be reckoned with in the order of things?

* * * * *



* * * * *

APRIL FOR THE EPICURE.

(An effort to emulate the gustatory enthusiasm of "The P.M.G.")

April, though regarded as somewhat suspect by meteorologists, appeals with a peculiar force to gastronomic experts, owing to the number of delicacies associated with the month.

FISH.

Oysters, like the poor, are still with us, but only till the end of the month; hence, ostreophils should make the most of their opportunities. But, besides the "king of crustaceans," as Colonel NEWNHAM-DAVIS happily termed the oyster, the sea provides us with a quantity of other succulent denizens of the deep. Foremost among these is the turbot; a fish held in high honour since the time of the Roman emperors. Nor must we omit honourable mention of lobster, whitebait, mullet and eels. It is true that some people have an insuperable aversion from eels, but it is the mark of the enlightened feeder to conquer these prejudices. Besides, no one is asked to eat conger-eel at the best houses.

MEAT.

Beef, mutton and pork are in good condition, or, if they are not, they ought to be. But the ways of the animal world are inscrutable, especially pigs. Lambs, again, show a strange want of consideration for the consumer, for, though April 12th is called "Lamb and Gooseberry-Pie Day," lamb, like veal, is dear just now and shows no signs of becoming less expensive. This is one of the things which independent back-bench Members should ask a question about in the House of Commons, or, failing that, they might write to The Times.

VERDANT STUFF.

Lovers of salads should now be conscious of a pleasing titillation, for this is the green season par excellence. Watercress is at its cressiest; and lettuce springs from the earth for no other reason than to invite the attentions of those two culinary modistes, oil and vinegar—the Paquins of the kitchen—and so be "dressed", with highest elegance.

LES PETITS OISEAUX.

Pheasants and partridges are, alas! not now obtainable except from cold storage. But let us not grumble over-much. Let us rather remember that the more they are neglected by the diner during the mating season the more of them there will be to eat when the horrid period of restriction is over. Among the rarer birds which are now on the market to compensate us may be mentioned the bobolink, the dwarf cassowary, the Bombay duckling and the skewbald fintail. The last-named bird, which comes to us from Algeria, is renowned for its savoury quality and is cooked in butter and madeira, with a soupcon of cayenne. The effect of the cayenne is to merge the too prominent black and white of the flesh into an appetising grey. The Rhodesian sparrow is another highly esteemed delicacy, which does itself most justice when seethed in a casserole with antimony, garlic and a few drops of eau-de-Cologne.

RHUBARB.

This is an extremely painful subject. Let us hurriedly pass to something more congenial.

EXOTIC FRUIT.

An agreeable seasonal feature is the widening of the horizon to the fruit lover. All sorts of delightful foreign species and sub-species may now be bad for cash or (if one is lucky) credit—such as bomboudiac, angelica, piperazine, zakuska, shalloofs and pampooties. A delicious pampootie fool can be made quite cheaply as follows: 3 lb. of pampooties, 8 oz. of angelica paregoric, 1 imperial pint of sloe gin, 1 gill of ammoniated quinine, 9 oz. of rock salt. Boil the sloe gin and quinine to a frazzle, put in the pampooties, cut in thin slices, and take out an insurance policy.

PLOVERS' EGGS.

These eggs by a strange freak of nature are more easily obtainable in April and May than in any other month. In fact in December they are worth their weight in gold, and are then to be found on the tables only of Mr. MALLABY-DEELEY, Mr. ROCKEFELLER, Mr. HARRY LAUDER and Mr. JOHN BURNS. To-day they are anything from ninepence to a shilling each, and in a fortnight's time they will be sixpence each, with the added pleasure to the consumer of now and then finding a young plover inside.

* * * * *



* * * * *

"On Wednesday of last week an express train dashed into a flock of sheep being driven over a level crossing at Northallerton to-day."

Meat Trades' Journal.

Only an express train could arrive a week early; the other ones are always late.

* * * * *

From a calendar:—

"April 6th. Dividends due. 'We needs must love the highest when we see it.'"

Unfortunately we don't often see it.

* * * * *

NOCTURNE.

(A Golf-match has recently been played at Bushey by night.)

Not in the noontide's horrid glare When nervousness and lunch combined And James's shoes and well-oiled hair Perturb me, but when Cynthia fair In heaven is shrined, I show my perfect form, and play Big brassie-shots like EDWARD RAY. By night I am plus four. By day—— Well, never mind.

With elfin stance I stride the tee And deal my orb an amorous slap In the mid-moonshine's mystery, And Puck preserves the stroke for me From foul mishap; Pan saves me from the casual pot And Dryad nymphs upbear my shot Outstripping James's (James has got No soul, poor chap).

The little pixies of the wood Come thronging round him while he putts; They do his game no kind of good But many an unseen toadstool-hood Their craft unshuts; They turn his eye-balls to and fro And make marsh-lanterns round him glow; He is all off, whilst I am—oh! One of the nuts.

The gossips by the club-room fire Applaud my game with constant din: "Approach-work never was so dire, No mashies on this earth expire So near the tin; You ought to watch his tee-shots whizz At number nine. Hot stuff he is. The captain's lunar vase is his, If he goes in."

And so I do. My argent sphere Goes speeding through the night's opaque; No hazards of the sand I fear, The heavenly huntress keeps me clear Of thorn and brake; Not Dionysus' spotted ounce More featly on the sward may bounce; I hover like a hawk at pounce, Putt out——and wake.

EVOE.

* * * * *

Spring Fashions.

"A waistcoat of tan and a limp lawn collar flowing over the shoulders make a good suit."

Times.

* * * * *

ORANGES AND LEMONS.

VI.—THE RECORD OF IT.

"I shall be glad to see Peter again," said Dahlia, as she folded up her letter from home.

Peter's previous letter, dictated to his nurse-secretary, had, according to Archie, been full of good things. Cross-examination of the proud father, however, had failed to reveal anything more stirring than "'I love mummy,' and—er—so on."

We were sitting in the loggia after what I don't call breakfast—all of us except Simpson, who was busy with a mysterious package. We had not many days left; and I was beginning to feel that, personally, I should not be sorry to see things like porridge again. Each to his taste.

"The time has passed absurdly quickly," said Myra. "We don't seem to have done anything—except enjoy ourselves. I mean anything specially Rivierish.' But it's been heavenly."

"We've done lots of Rivierish things," I protested. "If you'll be quiet a moment I'll tell you some."

These were some of the things;

(1) We had been to the Riviera. (Nothing could take away from that. We had the labels on our luggage.)

(2) We had lost heavily (thirty francs) at the Tables. (This alone justified the journey.)

(3) Myra had sat next to a Prince at lunch. (Of course she might have done this in London, but so far there has been no great rush of Princes to our little flat. Dukes, Mayors, Companions of St. Michael and St. George, certainly; but, somehow, not Princes.)

(4) Simpson had done the short third hole at Mt. Agel in three. (His first had cleverly dislodged the ball from the piled-up tee; his second, a sudden nick, had set it rolling down the hill to the green; and the third, an accidental putt, had sunk it.)

(5) Myra and I had seen Corsica. (Question.)

(6) And finally, and best of all, we had sat in the sun, under a blue sky, above a blue sea, and watched the oranges and lemons grow.

So, though we had been to but few of the famous beauty spots around, we had had a delightfully lazy time; and as proof that we had not really been at Brighton there were, as I have said, the luggage labels. But we were to be able to show further proof. At this moment Simpson came out of the house, his face beaming with excitement, his hands carefully concealing something behind his back.

"Guess what I've got," he said eagerly.

"The sack," said Thomas.

"Your new vests," said Archie.

"Something that will interest us all," helped Simpson.

"I withdraw my suggestion," said Archie.

"Something we ought to have brought with us all along."

"More money," said Myra.

The tension was extreme. It was obvious that our consuming anxiety would have to be relieved very speedily. To avoid a riot, Thomas went behind Simpson's back and took his surprise away from him.

"A camera," he said. "Good idea."

Simpson was all over himself with bon-hommy.

"I suddenly thought of it the other night," he said, smiling round at all of us in his happiness, "and I was just going to wake Thomas up to tell him, when I thought, I'd keep it a secret. So I wrote to a friend of mine and asked him to send me out one, and some films and things, just as a surprise for you."

"Samuel, you are a dear," said Myra, looking at him lovingly.

"You see, I thought, Myra, you'd like to have some records of the place, because they're so jolly to look back on, and—er, I'm not quite sure how you work it, but I expect some of you know, and—er——"

"Come on," said Myra, "I'll show you." She retired with Simpson to a secluded part of the loggia and helped him put the films in.

"Nothing can save us," said Archie. "We are going to be taken together in a group. Simpson will send it to one of the picture papers, and we shall appear as 'Another Merry Little Party of well-known Sun-seekers. Names from left to right: Blank, blank, Mr. Archibald Mannering, blank, blank.' I'd better go and brush my hair."

Simpson returned to us, nervous and fully charged with advice.

"Right, Myra, I see. That'll be all right. Oh, look here, do you—oh yes, I see. Right. Now then—wait a bit—oh yes, I've got it. Now then, what shall we have first? A group?"

"Take the house and the garden and the village," said Thomas. "You'll see plenty of us afterwards."

"The first one is bound to be a failure," I pointed out. "Rather let him fail at us, who are known to be beautiful, than, at the garden, which has its reputation yet to make. Afterwards, when he has got the knack, he will be able to do justice to the scenery."

Archie joined us again, followed by the bull-dog. We grouped ourselves picturesquely.

"That looks ripping," said Simpson. "Oh, look here, Myra, do you—— No, don't come; you'll spoil the picture. I suppose you have to—oh, it's all right, I think I've got it."

"I shan't try to look handsome this time," said Archie; "it's not worth it. I shall just put an ordinary blurred expression on."

"Now, are you ready? Don't move. Quite still, please; quite——"

"It's instantaneous, you know," said Myra gently.

This so unnerved Simpson that he let the thing off without any further warning, before we had time to get our expressions natural.

"That was all right, Myra, wasn't it?" he said proudly.

"I'm—I'm afraid you had your hand over the lens, Samuel dear."

"Our new photographic series: 'Palms of the Great.' No. 1, Mr. S. Simpson's," murmured Archie.

"It wouldn't have been a very good one anyhow," I said encouragingly. "It wasn't typical. Dahlia should have had an orange in her hand, and Myra might have been resting her cheek against a cactus. Try it again, Simpson, and get a little more colour into it."

He tried again and got a lot more colour into it.

"Strictly speaking," said Myra sadly, "you ought to have got it on to a new film."

Simpson looked in horror at the back of his camera, found that he had forgotten to turn the handle, apologised profusely, and wound up very gingerly till the number "2" approached. "Now then," he said, looking up ... and found himself alone.

* * *

As I write this in London I have Simpson's album in front of me. Should you ever do us the honour of dining with us (as I hope you will), and (which seems impossible) should there ever come a moment when the conversation runs low, and you are revolving in your mind whether it is worth while asking us if we have been to any theatres lately, then I shall produce the album, and you will be left in no doubt that we are just back from the Riviera. You will see oranges and lemons and olives and cactuses and palms; blue sky (if you have enough imagination) and still bluer sea; picturesque villas, curious effects of rocks, distant backgrounds of mountain ... and on the last page the clever kindly face of Simpson.

The whole affair will probably bore you to tears.

But with Myra and me the case of course is different. We find these things, as Simpson said, very jolly to look back on.

A. A. M.

* * * * *



Officer of the Watch (on transport). "WHAT DO YOU DO IN CASE OF FIRE?"

Nervous Sentry. "THROW MESELF OVERBOARD AN' REPORT AT ONCE TO THE BLOKE ON THE BALCONY."]

* * * * *

IN SEARCH OF PETER.

Martell is one of those men that you might live next door to for half-a-century and never know any better. It is entirely owing to his wife and her love for Peter that Martell and I have discovered each other to be quite companionable fellows with many tastes in common, and I am smoking one of his cigars at the present moment.

Peter is the most precious and the most coveted of my possessions. He is coveted, or was, chiefly by Mrs. Martell, who fell in love with his name and his deep romantic eyes. Apart from these I can see nothing remarkable in him. He is certainly the most irresponsible hound that ever sat down in front of a motor-car to attend to his personal cleanliness, but still I should not like to part with him. "We must have a Peter," was the text of Mrs. Martell's domestic monologues, and of late, before the great disillusionment—that is, after hinting delicately to me that she would like best of all to have the Peter—she took to sallying forth, armed with the name, into the purlieus of dog-fanciers to find a criminal that would fit the punishment.

I was not altogether surprised, therefore, one afternoon when a note was brought in asking me to step round and have a cup of tea. Martell was monosyllabic as usual, and we sat and gazed into the fire.

"I don't suppose you would like to part with Peter," he said suddenly.

"I certainly should not," I answered.

Then, after a pause, "Could you tell a good lie?" he asked.

I looked up in astonishment, but just then Mrs. Martell entered and plunged in medias res. She had just returned from the last of those fruitless expeditions, and the slow realization that there can be only one Peter in the world had brought her nearly to tears.

"And I've bought such a sweet little collar for him," she said, "with 'Peter' printed in big letters."

I remembered then that the original dog was in daily danger of being arrested, his very aged collar having been chewed to pulp after his last castigation therewith.

"And a dear little pair of soft slippers, one for him to play with, and the other to smack him with if he's ever naughty, although I don't think he could be—your Peter, I mean. Have you slippers for him?"

"Well, not a pair," I said, "and not exactly slippers. One's a golf-ball, the other's more in the nature of a boot."

"Oh, but he 's such a sweet-tempered little creature, isn't he?"

I felt Martell's eye upon, me.

"Very," I said; "his early upbringing gave him a healthy body and a mellow heart. He was born in a brewery, you know, and never tasted water until I flung him into the canal the first day I had him. Since then, as often as he has time, he goes to bathe in the scummiest parts, and then comes and tells me all about it with any amount of circumstantial evidence. Most enthusiastic little swimmer he is."

"What a funny dog! But I should never allow him to go out alone—if he were mine, I mean. And what sort of food do you give him?"

"Well, he tried to swallow one of my white ties last night."

"Oh, but I should give him proper food," she said. "He doesn't hate cats, does he? I couldn't bear a dog that did."

My eyes met Martell's for one moment, then I cleared my throat. Slowly and sadly I opened the history of Peter militant, with unacknowledged borrowings from the lives of other Peters with other names. Beginning with cats I had seen in my garden looking as if they felt rather blurred and indistinct, I passed on through cats speechless and perforated, to cats that were. I told sad stories of the deaths of cats. I talked of nights of agonising shrieks, and mornings of guilty eyes and blood-stained lips. My store of reminiscences lasted five minutes, and before Mrs. Martell had recovered from their recitation I pleaded a pressing engagement and took my departure.

You will now understand why I count Martell among my friends and am at this moment, as I said before, smoking one of his cigars. It came in a box of a hundred, with the laconic note, "One for each."

As I write, my dog and my black kitten are barging in perfect accord all round my legs in pursuit of a brand-new collar with "Peter" printed in big letters.

* * * * *



* * * * *

Notice outside a station of the Wirral Railway Co.:—

"Loiterers on the Company's premises or annoying passengers will be prosecuted."

The passenger who annoys us most and seems worthiest of prosecution is the fifth on our side of the carriage.

* * * * *

ANNABEL LEE.

Up and down on the fresh-ploughed levels, All for the sake of their lady fair, Two cock-partridges fought like devils, Hammer-and-tongs and a hop in the air; And I and "Basket" Annabel Lee— Elderly tinking gyp is she— We leaned on the paling and watched it go; And "Eh," said she, "now a fight 'tis cruel, But of all the compliments 'tis the jewel! May I die to-day, but I know, I know There's naught as a young maid's 'eart takes better Than a couple o' big chaps out to get her Through a dozen o' dustin' rounds or so.

"Bet my bonnet it strikes you funny, Seein' I'm risin' seventy-three, To think o' me once as sweet as honey; Lor' how their fists went 'long o' me! Jake Poltevo and Pembroke Bill, I saw 'em then, and I sees 'em still, Eh, how their fists went—thud! crack! thud! None o' your booze-house scraps, Lor' love 'em; Turf to their feet and the sky above 'em— Stripped, bare-knuckle and mucked wi' blood; Queer thing, ain't it, I still thinks pleasure In the strength o' a man, bein' old, by measure, And plain, you'd say, as a pint o' mud?

"Scared me fine at the time, though; weepin' I 'id my face in the 'azels low; Tip-toe soon I was back a-peepin', Couldn't 'a' helped were it never so; Each as good as the other chap— Bad old woman I be, may'ap; But eh, I loved 'em, the fine young men. Marry a one of 'em? Why no, never; They wasn't a-marryin' me whatever; But I likes to think of 'em now and then; For, of all the compliments, that was candy, And—ain't them dicky-birds at it dandy? I knows the pride o' their pretty 'en! Eh, but I loved 'em, me fine young men!"

* * * * *



* * * * *



* * * * *

ESSENCE OF PARLIAMENT.

(EXTRACTED FROM THE DIARY OF TOBY, M.P.)

House of Commons, Monday, April 6.—At third time of asking Home Rule Bill read a second time. Odd feature, in curious sitting that hotly contested measure passed crucial stage without a division. House divided on WALTER LONG'S amendment for its rejection. When thereupon SPEAKER put the question that "the Bill be now read a second time" there was none to say him nay. Some folk of hopeful habit see in this incident a forecast of the end.

Debate unexpectedly decorous, not to say decidedly dull. TIM HEALY did something to lift it out of rut. But he was more concerned to belabour JOHN REDMOND and to dig DEVLIN in the ribs than to argue merits of measure. Taunted his much-loved fellow-patriot and countryman with facing both ways on question of exclusion of Ulster. ATTORNEY-GENERAL declared that PREMIER'S offer of exclusion for period of six years was still open. REDMOND, believing it was dead, had, TIM said, prepared its coffin, "and now the ATTORNEY-GENERAL comes along and forces fresh oxygen into the corpse."

As for DEVLIN, he was introduced accidentally at end of harangue. Had interposed comment inaudible to main body of House, but safely assumed not to be complimentary. WILLIAM O'BRIEN turned round with angry retort.

"There is," mused TIM, "one gentleman from whom on historical grounds I had expected firmness in regard to Ulster. It is the gentleman who has just interrupted me, and the grounds of expectation are that in ancient time downward from the flight of the earls the DEVLINS were the hereditary horse-boys of the O'NEILLS."

Remark perhaps scarcely relevant to Home Rule Bill or motion for its Second Reading. But it soothed TIM and didn't hurt DEVLIN.

BIRRELL having made cheery speech on situation generally, PETO rose with amiable intention of continuing debate. House had had enough of it. Persistently cried aloud for division. Amid hubbub PETO shouted dissatisfaction at top of his voice. Unequal contest maintained for only a few minutes, when MCKENNA in charge of business of House during absence of his elders nipped in with motion for Closure.

This carried, LONG'S amendment negatived by 356 votes against 276. Majority for Government, 80. Motion for Second Reading unchallenged; amid prolonged cheering from Ministerialists and Irish Nationalists Bill read a second time.

Business done.—For third time in course of three successive sessions Home Rule Bill passes Second Reading stage.

Tuesday.—BROWNING, longing to be in England "now that April's there," would have been disappointed had it been possible for him to turn up to-day. So dark and dank that at three o'clock, when Questions opened, electric light was turned on. Revealed dreary array of half-empty benches. Had Closure been promptly moved a count out inevitable.

As in time of war the cutting off of superior officers brings comparatively young ones to chief command, MCKENNA (in the absence of PREMIER, CHANCELLOR OF EXCHEQUER, and FOREIGN SECRETARY) sits in the seat of the mighty in charge of Government business. Fills the part excellently. Ten days ago SPEAKER cheered House by announcement that there should be no more Supplementary Questions. Welcome resolution either forgotten or deliberately ignored. Supplementary Questions, almost exclusively argumentative, assertive, or personally offensive, buzzed about Treasury bench like bees at mouth of hive. HOME SECRETARY, alert, self-possessed, deftly parried attack.

While Questions on printed paper were being duly picked up, put and answered, midway in melancholy proceeding there entered Distinguished Strangers' Gallery a small group of gorgeously clad princes from the storied East. They surveyed the scene with keen interest. In their far-off home they had read and talked of the House of Commons, the central controlling force of wide-spread Empire, whereof their possessions were as a bit of fringe. They had travelled far to look upon it. And here in this comparatively small chamber, scantily peopled, they beheld it.

Is this the face that launched a thousand ships And stormed the topmost towers of Ilium?

Fortunately for reputation of the House ROWLAND HUNT chanced to be to the fore. The other day, burning with patriotism, he issued a circular letter addressed to non-commissioned officers of the Army, advising them how to act in certain contingencies relating to Ulster. It happens that one CROWSLEY had previously circulated amongst soldiers at Aldershot a handbill urging the men to disobey orders when on duty. He was prosecuted for inciting to mutiny, convicted and sentenced. Members in Radical stronghold below Gangway want to know wherein the two cases differ, and why, if CROWSLEY is in gaol, the Member for South Shropshire should go free?

ATTORNEY-GENERAL, to whom questions were addressed, diplomatically discriminated. Came to conclusion not to employ services of PUBLIC PROSECUTOR. So ROWLAND HUNT remains with us.

Business done.—A couple of small Government Bills advanced a stage. House talked out at eleven o'clock.

Wednesday.—Adjournment for brief Easter Holiday. Back on Tuesday.

* * * * *



* * * * *

THE COWL.

Murdoch McWhannel, 3, Poynings Avenue, Glasgow, N.W., to Messrs. Fairley and Willing, house-factors there.

January 3, 191—.

I have been seriously annoyed for some weeks now by a noisy chimney-cowl on your property at 15, Poynings Road. It is on the stack of chimneys at the rear of your property, and within about fifty yards of the back windows of this house. During the recent high winds the cowl has kept up a continual shrieking, day and night, which has been extremely destructive to "Nature's sweet restorer, balmy sleep." I trust that you will be so good as to have the cowl overhauled, and this cause of disturbance removed.

Messrs. Fairley and Willing to Murdoch McWhannel.

January 6, 191-.

Re your letter of 3rd curt., the chimney cowl at 15, Poynings Road shall have our immediate attention.

Murdoch McWhannel to Messrs. Fairley and Willing.

January 7, 191-.

I have to thank you for your prompt and courteous reply to my letter of 3rd January, and am glad to know that the noisy cowl will have your immediate attention.

The Same to the Same.

January 14, 191-.

May I remind you that in your letter of 6th January you were good enough to promise that the noisy cowl at 15, Poynings Road would have your immediate attention? Of course I know that it is difficult to get tradesmen to work so soon after the New Year holidays, but they should now be available, and the cowl is having a very serious effect on the health and nerves of the residents here.

Messrs. Fairley and Willing to Murdoch McWhannel.

January 17, 191-.

Re chimney cowl at 15, Poynings Road and your letter of 14th curt., we are surprised to receive same. We sent out a tradesman on January 11, who reported same date that he had oiled and adjusted the cowl, and that it would give no further trouble. If you are still troubled, some other cowl must be causing it now. We understand, from enquiries made on the spot, that there is a noisy one, not on our property at all, but on Hathaway Mansions. We hope you will find this explanation satisfactory.

Murdoch McWhannel to Messrs. Fairley and Willing.

January 19, 191-.

I am surprised by the contents of your letter of 17th, for which I am much obliged. If your tradesman attended to a cowl on the back stack of your property at 15, Poynings Road, on January 11, he must have attended to the wrong cowl. One can readily understand that if he adjusted and oiled a cowl which had not been making any noise it would continue to be silent. The error might easily occur, especially so soon after the New Year holidays. This is the only explanation I can think of, for the noise has been as bad as ever. I trust you will have the matter further looked into, as the situation, especially in regard to my wife's nerves, is becoming more and more serious.

Messrs. Fairley and Willing to Murdoch McWhannel.

January 23, 191-.

In re chimney cowl at 15, Poynings Road and your letter of January 19, we can only say that it surprises us very much. We employ only the most competent tradesmen, who could not possibly make the kind of mistake you suppose. We beg to refer you to the part of our letter of January 17 referring to Hathaway Mansions.

Murdoch McWhannel to Messrs. Fairley and Willing.

January 24, 191-.

I regret very much the tone of your letter of January 23. It is hardly courteous to suggest, as your letter does, that I cannot distinguish between the noise of a cowl on Hathaway Mansions, which are fully 150 yards away, and one which is practically just above my bedroom. As I write this letter, seated at a table at the window of my study, I can actually see the cowl shrieking—if you will pardon a figure of speech which has perhaps a Hibernian flavour. As my study is built out to the back of this house, it is parallel with your property at 15, Poynings Road. I am within fifty yards of the offending cowl. The noise it makes rises and falls in shrillness according to the speed at which the cowl revolves under the pressure of the wind. We are not disturbed at all by any cowl on Hathaway Mansions, but by this one of yours, about which I wrote you first so long ago as January 3. I have kept a diary of the cowl since then and for some days earlier, showing the number of hours per day that we have been annoyed by it, the number of times it has prevented us from getting to sleep at the usual time, the number of nights we have been wakened from the same cause, and the number of mornings when we have been prematurely wakened, often as early as seven o'clock, and prevented from getting to sleep again. I shall be glad to send you a copy of this document for your information. The original I must retain, in case any legal proceedings should be necessary, as I have had each item in the diary certified by my wife and our house-tablemaid, a very intelligent and observant girl. I hope, however, it may not be necessary to take any legal steps, such as an action of interdict and damages at my instance, or a prosecution for nuisance at the instance of the public authority, which in this case would be the City Council, to a number of which body I am not altogether unknown. In fact I may say I took the opportunity of mentioning the matter to Bailie McPartan at a municipal conversazione to which my wife and I were invited last week. I do not wish to trouble you by writing at any undue length on this subject, but I think it right and only fair to tell you that owing to the actual noise of the cowl, and perhaps even more (as our doctor says) to the mental strain of listening to hear whether it is going to begin again, my wife is on the verge of a complete nervous collapse, which seems likely to necessitate some weeks' rest cure in a nursing home, and possibly a trip to the Canaries. I am advised by my lawyer that these are contingent liabilities, the burden of which would fall upon you as the owner of the cowl. In these circumstances I feel sure you will favour the immediate removal of this nuisance.

Messrs. Fairley and Willing to Murdoch McWhannel.

January 27, 191-.

Your letter of 24th curt. will receive immediate attention at the hands of our solicitors. Messrs. Samson and Samuel, 114, North Regent Street, to whom perhaps you will kindly address any further communications you may think necessary re cowl.

Gilbert Macdonald, 5, Poynings Avenue, Glasgow, N.W., to George Willing, house factor.

February 3, 191-.

DEAR WILLING,—For Heaven's sake, as an old friend, spike or remove the chimney cowl that McWhannel at No. 3 has written you about. He has called on me twice and written three long letters, "to enlist my sympathy and support." He is the most poisonous kind of bore, and I'll gladly pay for the removal of the cowl, if that's the only way of muzzling him.

Reply by telephone, summarised. Willing to Macdonald.

February 4, 191-.

I would do so, for friendship's sake, but I've just sold the property. I preferred that to having any more letters from him.

Messrs. Fairley and Willing to Murdoch McWhannel.

February 14, 191-.

Re your letters to Messrs. Samson and Samuel of January 29th and 31st, and February 2nd, 5th, 8th, 11th, and your telegrams of 12th and 13th, we have now pleasure in advising you that we have sold the property at 15, Poynings Road, including the cowl, to the Corporation. We understand that the Corporation propose to use the premises as a reception house in connection with their Home for Lost Dogs, and we trust that this arrangement will be satisfactory to you.

* * * * *



* * * * *

Commercial Candour.

From an Oxford Street wine merchant's advt.:—

"Equal to the so-called First Quality brands."

* * *

"He was defended by Mr. Macbottle of whisky."—Scotch paper.

The Macbottles (of whisky) are a very well-known Highland clan.

* * * * *

"At Sapphire Lodge in Vincent Square, W. A. Randall Wells has lately painted two rooms in a manner which combines novelty very successfully with a sound tradition." Speaking of the bedroom, The Times goes on to say that "there are passages from the 'Sensitive Blast' finely written on vellum in every panel." Certainly this variation on the title of SHELLEY'S poem seems to "combine novelty very successfully with a sound tradition."

* * * * *

A VILLAIN IN REVOLT.

I have been in a fair dust-up in Denver City, Made many a baresark rush; I have bluffed with Death in my time and scooped the kitty, Smashing a cool straight flush; I have gouged my jack-knife deep in a victim's thorax (Golly, how the blood did gush!); I have scalped some dozens of skulls with an Indian war-axe Without being put to the blush.

I've killed with stilettos at times and with crude sandbagging, Or a brute belaying-pin; With a twisted cord I have frequently done my scragging, And doped with devilish gin; I remember once in a boarding-house racket at Rio How my snickersnee snicked clean in; And I booted a blackguard to death with consid'rable brio One evening in Tien-tsin.

I've run amok with a kris and sent men howling; With a kukri I've killed my prey; I'm an amateur still—I admit it—at disembow'ling, But I've settled a few that way; And I mind me well (for I still can sniff the aroma Of that particular fray) How I quartered and cut into ribbons some beggars at Boma On rather a busy day.

But I'm blowed—being really a rabid humanitarian, And a vegetarian too— If I mean to devour an unfortunate fellow Aryan In the Island of Oahu. I have done dire deeds by request, without any evasion, But this thing I will not do; If they won't be content with a "fake" for this single occasion, My cinema job is through.

* * * * *

From a list of popular novels:—

"The Beloved Premier, by H. MAXWELL. The Greater Law, by VICTORIA CROSS."

Politicians can take their choice.

* * * * *

The Latest Cinema Poster.

"Our Sea Rooms now open. No Finer Death."

* * * * *

The Men that Matter.

Sound the clarion, FILSON, FYFE, To all the reading world proclaim One signed half-column, straight from life, Is worth a page without a name.

* * * * *

THE ART OF CONVERSATION.

I had a terrible experience yesterday, one of life's inky black hours which will bring a shudder whenever in future days memory seizes an idle moment to refresh herself. I had been dining with Scarfield and his mother at Hampstead, and with the entry of the coffee he had pleaded a sudden dyspepsia and withdrawn. So his mother, a dear colourless old lady, undertook to entertain me. By her desire I lighted a cigar.

She mentioned that she had just returned from a visit to Glasgow, and I remarked intelligently that Glasgow was a fine place. Considering for a moment, she observed that she thought the weather in Glasgow was colder than that of the South of England; and I said, Yes, very likely, I had heard so. In about two minutes she qualified her statement by informing me that the South of England was as a rule milder than Glasgow. I replied that it appeared to me very possible, adding recklessly that they had peculiarly mixed weather in Glasgow, which she seemed to think rather a questionable presentment of the case for the North, for she kept silent and ruminated for seven or eight minutes. My mind took a little excursion to Putney, where I have friends. But, before I had really settled at Putney, the lady's voice intimated that perhaps they had more rain in Glasgow than in the South of England.

I came back from Putney with a slight mental wrench, yet sufficiently clear-headed to say decidedly that Glasgow, on the whole, had a much better climate than the South, because I had once spent a day there, and the sun shone the whole time, so I ought to know. Then I started off again, and had just reached Walham Green (one does not speak of these places, but I may tell you that it is a station on the way to Putney, where I have a friend), when she responded with lightning-like swiftness that it couldn't be healthy to live in Glasgow. This bordered on repartee, so I countered rapidly with the brilliant suggestion that a good many people managed to live there, hoping she would not score by the obvious rejoinder that a good many people died there. If she had, I can't imagine how I should have extricated myself. Luckily she merely murmured, "Ah, yes," and reflected. I was just stepping off the train at a station (Putney—to be explicit, it is a lady friend) when there seemed to be a collision, and I caught myself saying, "Indeed!" though I don't know why. She nodded approval, however, and I ventured on a meditative "Ye-es."

"But they don't seem to mind," she said, glancing at me blandly through her spectacles. "Do they?"

"You see," I answered, chancing it, "they are so used to it." She smiled and agreed.

"That must be the reason," she said. For what, I hadn't the remotest idea; but this just shows what presence of mind will do for one in an emergency.

"What a difference they must find," I went on boldly, and lapsed into a muse. She sighted it, however, and replied in less than five minutes—

"You mean now that the old-fashioned ones are coming in again?"

Here was a catastrophe. Did she refer to hats, or skirts, or Christmas cards? What sudden original observation had I unfortunately missed during that last journey South-westward? At all costs I must keep cool. I pulled myself together and plunged.

"Yes," I said. "You see the old-fashioned ones were so awfully tight, weren't they?"

"Tight?" she echoed. "Not tight."

"Well, not exactly tight," I answered, feeling rather distracted. "I meant large."

She looked at me suspiciously, I thought. "I think they're too long," she said, "and such a lot of people in them."

This was growing too complicated, and I wished heartily we had stuck to Glasgow and its weather.

"One finds them," she added, "so hard to follow."

I racked my miserable brain for anything that was lengthy, populous, and difficult to follow; in vain.

"Still," I gasped, glancing at the door, "one can always ... one can generally ... one can sometimes sit down ... for a rest ... if one is dreadfully tired," I explained.

She gazed at me reproachfully.

"I don't usually stand at the back of the pit," she said. "The last time Fred took me we had stalls."

"How—how jolly!" I murmured. "I was thinking of—of——"

"If you please, Mr. Fred would like some soda-water and a few biscuits taken up, Ma'am," said the servant, entering softly.

I rose.

"Must you go?" protested my conversationalist. "Oh, I am so sorry! But come again soon—you have kept me quite lively. Good-bye."

I took the tube to Charing Cross and changed there for Putney and Ethel. (Did I mention that her name was Ethel?) But when I told Ethel about it afterwards she said she thought sarcasm in elderly ladies was very objectionable.

* * * * *

COMMERCIAL ART.

Across the sundering gulf of time I lift a song to you, Melodious as a minster chime, Loud, I expect, as two. Years have flown swiftly since we met; Do you, remembered one, forget The rapturous moment and sublime When I drew near to you? I bet A half-a-crown you do.

Your name I never learned—Helene, Beryl, perhaps Marie, Phyllis, Estelle, or merely Jane— It makes no odds to me. I hymn you, maiden, none the less; I toil in rhyme and metre; yes, From noon till eve I bear the pain Of this prolonged poetic stress (With half-an-hour for tea).

Carrots your hair was (i.e., red; "Carrots" is just my fun); Blue were your eyes, and from them sped A gleam that mocked the sun— I think that's so, but, as I say, Time has moved quickly since that day, And few, too few, the words we said When languidly, as beauty may, You handed me a bun.

Calmly you took it from the place Where it was used to sit, And I can still recall the grace With which you dusted it. I paid you, and we parted; so Life's rich adventures come and go! And did that brief glimpse of your face Set love within me surging? No, It didn't. Not a bit.

I only sing because I must; Not mine the fret, the throb Of fevered passion; verse is just My livelihood, or job. Searching for themes, I had a clear, Swift vision of your dial; queer How such things happen, but I trust These lines will bring me in, my dear, L1 or 30s.

* * * * *



* * * * *

THE BURNING QUESTION.

Feeling that not all the representative voices have been heard with regard to the question of smoking in theatres, Mr. Punch has been making further inquiries. The replies are appended:—

General VILLA V. VILLA. I think that smoking should be permitted everywhere.

Mr. MAX PEMBERTON. I am totally opposed to giving theatres the same comfortable rules as the variety halls. If people may smoke at musical comedies they are in danger of avoiding revues.

Mr. G. K. CHESTERTON. I am in favour of giving the public all they want. Let them smoke if they wish to, everywhere and everywhen. Let them also chew and take snuff: a private snuff-box should be attached to every stall.

Mr. VICTOR GRAYSON. I would support smoking in theatres if pipes were permitted. But of course they won't be.

Mr. BERNARD SHAW (to whom no inquiry was addressed, but that did not prevent his sending a long letter on the subject, the purport of which is that there should be no smoking anywhere). Had I ever smoked I should not now be the first intellectual in Europe.

Sir JAMES CRICHTON-BROWNE. No smoking in theatres for me. And if I go to the Gaiety and find that a cigar or cigarette on my right or left singes my whiskers I will have the law of Mr. GEORGE EDWARDES.

"Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch." Let there be smoking, but let some kind of control be kept on the brands of cigars that are smoked.

Mr. LLOYD GEORGE. I am in favour of the extension of all taxable luxuries.

Mr. EUSTACE MILES. Most London theatres are now so grossly over-ventilated that I welcome the idea of tobacco as helping to redress the balance.

Master ANTHONY ASQUITH. Surely if there is smoking in one house of entertainment there may be smoking in another. I am sure my poor father would agree.

* * * * *

THE FEDERAL SOLUTION.

(See the daily papers passim.)

I.

SIR,—At last a ray of sanity has fallen like oil on the troubled waters of the Irish controversy and has given a well-merited cold douche to the extremists on either side. It is now acknowledged that what for want of a better term I may call the Federal Solution holds the field, and any attempt to expel it will only plunge the objector still deeper in the mire and cover him with ridicule from head to foot.

Long ago I adumbrated in the clearest possible way the fundamental outlines of this solution, and every hour which has passed has only sufficed, to strengthen a conviction which was already so deeply rooted as to be beyond the reach of hostile argument. What is now required to be done may be stated in a nutshell. Let the Government withdraw the present Home Rule Bill. They will thus dispose at once of the opposition of Mr. BONAR LAW, Sir EDWARD CARSON, Mr. J. L. GARVIN and Mr. WILLIAM O'BRIEN, and will provide themselves with a clean slate, which will be a peg on which any subsequent plan may be hung. Then let them bring in a Bill (or four or more Bills, if deemed necessary) for conferring autonomous governments on all the counties of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales, every county to have the option of excluding itself for a period of not less than fifty or more than a hundred years by a majority of two-thirds of its electorate, women to count as two on a division. At the same time let the House of Lords be so reconstituted as to become in truth an Imperial Legislature, subject, however, to the veto of a new and impartial body to be composed of Field-Marshals, Archbishops, Judges and retired Lieutenant-Governors. Our Oversea Dominions could come into this scheme at any moment, if so desired. To this plan I can see no objections whatever except, perhaps, that its execution will take time and will stand in the way of other legislation—but anything that is worth doing takes time, and, for my own part, I want no other legislation.

Yours, etc.,

JAMES B. HORNBLOWER, Organising Secretary, Society of Federationists.

II.

(In answer to the above.)

SIR,—Dr. Hornblower is at his old games. His plan for settling the Irish question is no plan at all, as I have frequently shown. Whenever it has been submitted to the fire of criticism it has been found that it will not wash. It is quite useless to try to mix oil and vinegar in a jug that will not hold water.

I do not wish to be misunderstood. I am a convinced supporter of a Federal Solution and have for many years endeavoured to remove the public apathy which I have found to exist in regard to this profoundly interesting question. My suggestion is that, in order to sift the matter thoroughly and, if possible, to strike out a new path, we should put our existing constitution into the melting pot and thus clear away the weeds which threaten to choke its fair growth. Let Parliament be a movable institution, sitting for one week in Australia, for one week in Canada, for one week in Ireland, and so on. In the course of a year it will have sat in all the component parts of the Empire, which will then, indeed, be an Empire on which the sun never sets, and in which Parliament always sits. It need not, of course, be the same Parliament in every case, but can be varied, to suit local customs and prejudices. As a symbol of unity His Majesty the King might be conveyed by a special service of air-ships from one country to another, so that he might always open every Parliament in person. England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales would thus take their proper places in the Empire by the side of Barbados, Canada and British Guiana, and there would be no jealousy because all would be treated equally. Only in this way can civil war be avoided and Ulster be satisfied.

Yours, etc.,

BENJAMIN WOOLLET, Chairman of the Amalgamated League for the Federation of the Empire.

III.

(In answer to the two preceding letters.)

SIR,—Professor Woollet and Dr. Hornblower are both wrong. The only way in which a Federal Solution, such as we all desire, can be brought about is to convert the existing House of Lords—no change being made in its constitution—into the supreme and only legislative assembly of the whole Empire. The House of Commons, of course, would cease to sit, or it might take the place of the present London County Council. This is the true plan. All others are absurd. It is useless for people to say they do not want this. We insist on their having it.

Yours, etc.,

JONATHAN FIREDAMP, President of Council of the Federal Association.

* * * * *

A MYTH OF BOND STREET.

(The latest thing in female head-wear is said to be the "Minerva" Hat.)

Forgive me if my nerves were somewhat shaken; Pardon me if my pulse went pit-a-pat When I observed your tiny head had taken To a "Minerva" hat.

Love at my heart's closed door, with loudest knockings, Won his admittance as I gazed on you Garbed in the gear of her, of all blue-stockings, The most superbly blue.

For you seemed nobler far in form and feature; In wisdom, too, I deemed you now divine, And, though I felt myself a worthless creature, I swore to make you mine.

I said, "I'll win this goddess. Though the siege is Long, I shall learn her wisdom if I can, Until in time she throws her nuptial aegis Over her Super-man."

And then you spoke, in accents all too human, Glanced at me coyly from beneath your casque; My vision vanished, and I saw the woman Behind that heavenly mask.

And straight I felt (so flippant was your mien) a Pain as I mused on Pallas and her fowl, And left the phantom of a faked Athena, A disillusioned Owl.

* * * * *

Love's Labour Lost.

"The Newcastle Fire Brigade were called upon last night to deal with an outbreak at——, where Mr. J. G—— carries on business as a firelighter manufacturer. Before much damage had been done, the firemen were able to extinguish the flames with chemicals."

Newcastle Daily Journal.

Once again we see how the economic instinct clashes with the artistic temperament.

* * * * *



* * * * *

OUR BOOKING-OFFICE.

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

A reflection that I could not resist after reading Love the Harper (SMITH, ELDER) was that the Boy appears in this volume as a very indifferent performer upon his instrument. For the muddle into which he plunged the amatory affairs of the inhabitants of Downside was terrible. Downside was a quiet delightful village, as lovingly described by Miss ELEANOR G. HAYDEN, but the number of misplaced attachments it contained seemed, as Lady Bracknell once observed, "in excess of that which statisticians have laid down for our guidance." There was John Harding, the hero, who began by courting Phyllis, and subsequently transferred his suit to Ruth. There was Will, his brother, an even more inconstant lover, whom Phyllis (still nominally betrothed to John) adored at first sight, and who divided his own heart between Ruth, Phyllis and the crippled Miss Mayling. There was also Ruth herself, who thought she had a Past (she hadn't, at least it was all right really; but just in what sense it would be unfair to explain here) and therefore imagined herself for no man. The story begins with a wedding on the first page; and what with one thing and another I began to fear that this was the last consummation we were likely to get. But, of course, in the end—— But I shall not tell you how the couples finally re-sort themselves, because this is the author's secret, and one that she very craftily preserves till the last moment. It is arithmetically inevitable that there must be an odd woman left over in the end; but as to her identity I was entirely wrong, and so probably will you be. This ending is perhaps the best thing—I don't mean the words in an unkind sense—about a pleasant if not very thrilling story of a country that Miss HAYDEN evidently knows with the knowledge of affection.

* * * * *

Perhaps some of those who remember J. BURGON BICKERSTETH captaining the Oxford soccer team four years ago may be surprised to find him serving his apprenticeship at sky-piloting in Alberta. And very manfully and sincerely and tactfully he does it, to judge by the account which he modestly renders in The Land of Open Doors (WELLS, GARDNER). With headquarters at Edmonton he rides and drives or swims (when the floods are out or the bridges down) across this untidy country from shack to shack, holding odd little services in dormitories and kitchens, and evidently making friends with the rough pioneer folk, railway men and small farmers, of his assorted acquaintance. The discouragements of such a task must be immense; indeed, they peep through the narrative, reticently enough, for grousing habits are not in the equipment of this staunch and cheery young parson. His notes of this land of promise and swift achievement are admirably observed. He has the gift of characterisation with humour, is clever at reproducing evidently authentic and entertaining dialogues, and has caught the Western idiom, not only in these set reproductions, but unconsciously in his own writing, which is singularly straightforward and attractive, nor burdened with the sort of cleverness which the young graduate is apt to air. Neither is there anything of the prig in his composition—his book abounds in reported words which an earlier generation of clerics would certainly have censored—but when he is saddened by the indifference, the unplumbed materialism and what he sees as the wickedness of his scattered flock he might remember for his comfort that valid and sane distinction of the casuists between formal and material sin. Anyway, good luck to him for a sportsman!

* * * * *

I have often wondered why so few novelists select the English Lake District as a fictional setting. I wonder still more after reading Barbara Lynn (ARNOLD), in which it is used with fine and telling effect. Miss EMILY JENKINSON'S previous story showed that she had a rare sympathy with nature, and a still rarer gift of expressing it. Barbara Lynn does much to strengthen that impression. It is a mountain tale, the scene of which is laid in an upland farm, girt about by the mighty hills and the solitude of the fells. Here, in the dour old house of Graystones, is played the drama of Barbara and her sister Lucy; of Peter, who loved one and married the other; of the feckless Joel, and the old bed-ridden great-grandmother, who is a kind of chorus to it all. Practically these five are the only characters. Of them it is, of course, Barbara herself who stands out most prominently, a figure of an austere yet wistful dignity, of whom any novelist might be proud. I should hazard a guess that Miss JENKINSON writes slowly; one feels this in her choice of words and her avoidance (even in the final tragic catastrophe) of anything approaching sensationalism or melodrama. When all, is said, however, it is for its descriptions that I shall remember the book. The hot summer, with the flocks calling in the night for water; the storm on the slopes of Thundergray; and the end of all things (which, pardon me, I do not mean to tell)—these are what live in the reader's mind. Barbara Lynn, in short, is an unusually imaginative novel, which has confirmed me in two previous impressions—first, that Miss EMILY JENKINSON is a writer upon whom to keep the appreciative eye; secondly, that Westmorland must be a perfectly beastly country to live in all the year round. Both of which conclusions are sincere tributes.

* * * * *

I was at school, some years ago, with two brilliant twins called DUFF, who between them captured, amongst other trifles, the Porson, two Trinity scholarships, a Fellowship, and first place in the examination for the Indian Civil Service. I mention them here as an example of the minute care with which ALISTAIR and HENRIETTA TAYLER have compiled The Book of the Duffs (CONSTABLE). For I find their names and achievements duly recorded in the list of (I should think) every male Duff born of the stock of ADAM OF CLUNYBEG, temp 1590, from, whom the present Duchess of FIFE is ninth or tenth in descent. And that is only one branch of the clan, only one of the numerous family-trees that make these two bulky volumes a perfect forest of Duffs. I know now exactly how Macbeth felt when he saw Birnam Wood descending on Dunsinane. No wonder he exclaimed, "The cry is still, They come." When I looked at all these genealogies and lifelike portraits I had an appalling vision of this great army of Duffs of Clunybeg and Hatton and Fetteresso and the rest advancing towards me solemnly waving their family-trees. In the van, with his Dunsinane honours thick upon him, marched MACDUFF—MACDUFF, you know, who was also "Thane of Fife, created first Earl, 1057, m. Beatrice Banquo." Then followed a long train of other warriors—General Sir ALEXANDER, who fought in Flanders; Captain GEORGE, who was killed at Trafalgar; Admiral NORWICH and Admiral ROBERT, also contemporaries of NELSON; General PATRICK, who slew a tiger in single combat with a bayonet; General Commander-in-Chief Sir BEAUCHAMP of our own day—and I was afraid. Not, you understand, of their swords, but of their trees. And then suddenly the spirit of Macbeth came upon me again. With him I shouted, "Lay on, Macduff; and damn'd be he that first cries, Hold, enough." But, luckier than he, I have lived to tell the tale, or rather to tell about it, and to recommend it to all those who have arborivorous tastes. I can promise them that they will heartily enjoy a good browse in the Forest of Duff.

* * * * *

When a book is called The Sea Captain (METHUEN) I do not think that the hero ought to be the driest of dry-bobs for nearly a quarter of it. If, however, Mr. H. C. BAILEY is a slow starter he knows how to make the pace when he once gets going; indeed, he travels so fast and so far that merely to follow him in fancy is a breathless business. When I have told you that Diccon belonged to the spacious times of ELIZABETH, I need hardly add that his methods of winning fame and fortune on the sea were as rough as they were ready. Mercifully he had a steady head and a very strong back, or something must have given way under the strain that his creator puts upon him. No hero in modern fiction has jumped so frequently from the frying-pan into the fire with so little injury to himself. But if I cannot altogether believe in Diccon I admit an affection for him. He was as loyal a lover and friend as could be found in the Elizabethan or any other age, and although he treated troublesome men without mercy his behaviour to women was marked by the extreme of propriety; so, though you may insist that he was merely a pirate, I shall still go on calling him a gentleman-adventurer, and leave him at that.

* * * * *



* * * * *

The Barbados Standard on an approaching Royal visit:—

"The visit it is understood is fixed to begin on April 29 and to last until April 25. The visit is probably unprecedented."

It is.

THE END

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