Stage directions are enclosed by equal signs (example: Enter).
PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI
MAY 20, 1914
It is comforting to know that we need not yet despair of human nature. Even the most abandoned politician may have one redeeming quality. For example, The Express tells us that Mr. WINSTON CHURCHILL is a reader of The Express.
* * *
It is reported to be the intention of General BOTHA to visit this country in June or July, and the Labour Party here are said to be already taking steps with a view to having him deported as an undesirable.
* * *
If Mr. HENRY CHAPLIN has been correctly reported he is even more of a reactionary than most of his opponents imagined. In the course of the debate on the Sunday Closing Bill he is said to have delivered himself as follows:—"Drunkenness is diminishing, and I say Thank God; long may it continue." The pious ejaculation would seem to be an expression of gratitude for the joys of inebriety.
* * *
"Does the nightingale really boycott the land of Llewelyn and Mr. Lloyd George—and why?" asks an anxious inquirer in a contemporary. If it is so we suspect the reason is a fear on the part of the bird that the CHANCELLOR may get to know of the rich quality of his notes and tax him out of existence.
* * *
Mr. GEORGE STOREY has been elected a Royal Academician. This will surprise no one. Burlington House has always favoured the Storey picture. And as regards Mr. H. S. TUKE, who was promoted at the same time, his serial tale, "Three Boys and a Boat," has now been running for quite a number of years.
* * *
"English," says Mr. BALFOUR, "is abominably difficult." But Erse is worse.
* * *
Despatched at Teddington twenty-three years ago a postcard has just been delivered at Walton-on-Thames. The postal authorities trust that the publication of this fact will induce people to exercise a little patience when they do not receive correspondence which they expect, instead of at once jumping to the conclusion that it has been lost.
* * *
As a consequence of recent outrages at the Royal Academy the Council is reported to be testing "unbreakable glass." No doubt the Indestructible Paint Company is also circularising artists.
* * *
A man walking across St. Paul's Churchyard gave a remarkable exhibition of presence of mind one day last week. He was knocked down under a motor-omnibus, but managed so to arrange himself that the wheels passed clear of him. Cinema operators will be obliged if he will give them due notice of any intention to repeat the turn.
* * *
"The London General Omnibus Company advertises itself, so why shouldn't we?" said the L.C.C. Tramways—so they had a nice little collision on the Embankment last week.
* * *
At the second annual celebration of "Mothers' Day" at the London Central Y.M.C.A., an eloquent address was delivered by the secretary of the association, Mr. VIRGO. The thought that, in spite of his name, this gentleman, try as he might, could never become a mother is said to have raised a lump in the throat of many a member of the audience.
* * *
We are glad to hear that "Hospital Egg Week" has been a success. We find it difficult, however, to believe one account, which states that sufficient new-laid eggs have been contributed to last the whole year.
* * *
"If Adam had lived till now," says Mr. SNOWDEN, "and had worked hard at honest labour the whole time, and had been a thrifty man withal, he would not have had an income like some of those enjoyed to-day." Mr. SNOWDEN is apparently presuming that ADAM'S wife would have lived as long as her husband.
* * *
At his examination in bankruptcy a Clacton monumental mason attributed his failure to the healthfulness of the neighbourhood. Suggested motto for Clacton funeral artists: " Si monumentum requiris—go elsewhere."
* * *
Among probable forthcoming improvements at the Zoological Gardens is the provision of a band on Sunday. But one great difficulty, we imagine, will be to persuade the laughing hyena and certain other rowdy animals not to take part in the performances.
* * *
The didactic drama is with us again, and this time we are to be taught to feel affection for the unpopular. Love Cheats is the hortatory title of a play to be produced by Miss HORNIMAN'S company next month.
* * *
Mr. MARGAM JONES has written a volume entitled Angels in Wales. Nonconformists, we presume.
* * * * *
Illustration: THE NEW DRESS.
"Going along Oxford Street, are you? I should love to come with you, but it would be a little hard on Bond Street. You see, I haven't shown it to Bond Street yet."
* * * * *
"BAD LANGUAGE. FROM SIR HERBERT TREE. To the Editor of The Daily Mail."
We hope the Editor replied suitably.
* * * * *
"WHO FEARS TO SPEAK OF"—NINETEEN-SIX?
[Thoughts on "a Bill for the Better (sic) Government of Ireland."]
There was an Isle all green and fair Where milk and whisky used to flow, Where, thanks to lavish legislators, The pious cult of pigs and taters Filled with content the balmy air— Eight little years ago!
Distressful she had been, a land Of kine curtailed and burning ricks, Until we others oped our purses To rectify her feudal curses And freed the soil with generous hand— Prior to nineteen-six.
Though still the casual moonlight raid Occurred at seasons, just for joy, New brands of owners, fat and thriving, Had lost their use for cattle-driving, And agitation's artful aid Pined for its old employ.
Then came the Liberals in and eyed This land where Peace had poised her wings; And "O!" said they, "how sad a smutch on Our clean United Kingdom's 'scutcheon! It is our duty to provide A Better State of Things."
Eight years ago! And now we see The dogs of war about to bay; The Bill for Ruling Ireland Better (Strangely enough) has so upset her That pretty soon there ought to be The DEVLIN'S self to pay.
So, when the general atmosphere Becomes opaque with flying bricks, And those who ran the Home Rule movement Bid me applaud this marked improvement, From pure politeness I shall fear To speak of nineteen-six.
* * * * *
Have you heard from —— this year? Mine came last night. Of course (to keep it among ourselves) I am not going to say who —— is beyond mentioning (for the purpose of handy reference) that he appears to have been christened Josef and that the capital from which he writes (or alleges that he writes) is associable with a high standard of musical comedy. His communication is very much underlined, very profuse of the mark of exclamation in quite unnecessary places (until, indeed, the sign begins to assume an absolutely satirical value), and very ornate with little amputated hands, all pointing out the short cut to illimitable wealth. Now you understand.
The envelope was addressed, as Josef himself assures me that his future communications will be, "in the most discreet manner," and yet....
"Put it into the waste-paper basket, my dear," I said to Philippa, who had brought it in with some curiosity. "We need not open it. It is only Josef offering us another fortune." Need I say that she at once opened it?
My address, according to Josef, had been given to him "by a mutual businessfriend." This threw me into a contemplation. Who could it be? Spraggs had certainly toured the capitals of Central Europe last autumn, but he never mentioned Josef on his return. Harris? Well, one would scarcely call Harris a businessfriend. Filmer? No, Filmer is too selfish, I fear, to do me so good a turn. Ah, of course! Kelly, dear old burly rubicund Kelly, with his unfailing memory for an address and his delightfully abbreviated style. And he goes everywhere too: the very man. I can almost hear him saying it: "Then there's Johnson, my staunch old businessfriend Johnson, whom I can trace right back as far as my impressions of 1912; mustn't leave him out. I think I can—yes, I have it: John Fdk. Johnson, 72, Chestnut Av., Mayfield Pk., S.W. You've got that?" Josef has it.
Josef, it appears, possesses a few tickets, and I gather that for some reason he does not require all of them himself. Naturally he turns to the friend of our mutual businessfriend. Will I participate in the distribution of "many, many million within five months?" The first prize is one—but perhaps I had better express it as Josef loves to do. The first prize is
—->ONE MILLION CRS.<—-
The chance, he goes on to say, is "without any risk worth mentioning." Still, he does mention it. He mentions it quite explicitly so that there shall be no mistake. The risk is as follows:—
1/4 Ticket sh 8/6. 1/2 Ticket sh 17/. 1/1 Ticket sh 34/.
"All tickets forwarded (paid for) belong to the customer," I am assured, "from the moment of dispatch and play, of course, on his account."
I fancy I see what Josef means, but I don't think that the expression, "play, of course, on his account," is altogether well chosen. I think it might have been phrased more felicitously.
You will not be surprised to know that Josef's interest, stimulated by our mutual businessfriend, goes beyond my mere personality. He reminds me—Philippa is quite affected by this—that there are others. "The astonishing advantages ... must induce to serious consideration anyone who is looking after his own welfare, and that of those near and dear to him as well."—Yet Josef can be almost stern when there is occasion, and he tersely warns me that it is a chance which "probably NEVER WILL BE OFFERED to you AGAIN!"
I suppose that I shall give a miss as usual. It isn't that I doubt a single word of Josef's splendid optimism on my behalf. It isn't that I really mind the always, to me, inexplicable fact that every second ticket is guaranteed to draw a prize, while the lowest prize is double the amount charged for the ticket. It isn't (altogether) that I distrust Philippa's rosy presentiment. I think it is the concluding paragraph that settles it. I read:—
Will you become A MILLIONAIRE?
Fill out this Order-Form and send it to me by return of post with the necessary remittance!
That last and entirely superfluous note of exclamation seems only to be adequately vocalised as a chuckle. And as I listen it does not seem to be myself that is laughing.
* * * * *
Mr. LLOYD GEORGE is already using his influence with the new WAR MINISTER. In the Army Orders for March, 1914, we read:—
"Paragraph 555, line 4. For '4d.' substitute '9d.'"
* * * * *
Illustration: THE CONCERT OF SOUTH AMERICA.
THE MEDIATORS. "PARDON, MADAM, BUT YOU HAVE HAD A LOT OF EXPERIENCE OF THIS KIND OF THING. HOW DO YOU DO IT?"
EUROPA. "OH, WE JUST TALK AND TALK—AND THEN TALK!"
* * * * *
Illustration: First Player (encouragingly). "Bad luck! Well tried!"
Second Player (petulantly). "I didn't try for anything."
* * * * *
THE PIERCING OF THE VEIL.
"I think," says Dr. LYNCH in The Daily Chronicle, "that a man leaves some trace of himself in every sentence that he writes. What then of works so extensive as Shakspeare's? Certainly we should see him through and through if we only knew how to look."
We do know how to look, and we have done so with results that can hardly fail to astonish the reader. It has long been known, for instance, that SHAKSPEARE was a good man of business, but until our researches no one had realised quite how good. His theatre had to pay, and he knew as well as any modern manager how to make it do so. That he realised, for instance, the attractions of American dance tunes is evident from his reference to "rags to split the ears of the groundlings" (Hamlet, Act III., Scene 2).
Apart from his business SHAKSPEARE had private ambitions. We all know that he applied for a grant of arms, but few are aware that he also stood for Parliament, and, like many another, regretted the expense after it was incurred. "Almost all," he says feelingly, "repent in their election" (Coriolanus, Act II., Scene 3). His exact political views are still uncertain, but, at any rate, we may be sure that he disapproved of the Lords, for he boldly announced the fact in the Two Gentlemen of Verona, Act V., Scene 4, where he says, "One house, one mutual happiness."
But these are serious matters. What of his hours of ease? That he golfed there can now be no manner of doubt. In The Tempest, Act IV., Scene 1, he refers to the "short grassed green," and in Hamlet, Act II., Scene 2, he earns our respect by the simple statement, "I went round," without any tedious details. Possibly the "thousand marks in links" in the first part of Henry IV., Act III., Scene 3, explains this reticence, but, at any rate, he occasionally found one whom he fancied he could beat; witness his remark in Twelfth Night, Act II., Scene 3, "Sir Toby, I must be round with you."
And, golf over, he liked his pipe and his glass. The "smoke and lukewarm water" mentioned in Timon of Athens, Act III., Scene 6, only needs the addition of a dash of whisky to make an evening any of us might enjoy; and his words in Anthony and Cleopatra, Act I., Scene 2, "We bring forth weeds when our quick minds are still," will find an echo in many a chest. In this connection it might be noted that he took an occasional holiday in France. That at least seems a reasonable assumption when so keen a smoker cries, as he does in The Merchant of Venice, Act III., Scene 1, "I have another bad match."
* * * * *
The humble bee No skep has he, No twisted, straw-thatched dome, A ferny crest Provides his nest, The mowing-grass his home.
The crook-beaked shrike His back may spike And pierce him with a thorn; The humble bee A tramp is he And there is none to mourn.
O'er bank and brook, In wooded nook, He wanders at his whim, Lives as he can, Owes naught to man, And man owes naught to him.
No hive receives The sweets he gives, No flowers for him are sown, Yet wild and gay He hums his way, A nomad on his own.
* * * * *
Having engaged a sleeping-berth I naturally hurried, coin in hand, to the conductor, as all wise travellers do (usually to their discomfiture), to see if I could be accommodated with a compartment to myself and be guaranteed against invasion.
The carriage was full.
I then sought my compartment, to learn the worst as to my position, whether above or below the necessarily offensive person who was to be my companion.
He was already there, and we exchanged the hard implacable glare that is reserved among the English for the other fellow in a wagon-lit compartment.
When I discovered that to him had fallen the dreaded upper berth I relaxed a little, and later we were full of courtesies to each other—renunciations of hat-pegs, racks and so forth, and charming mutual concessions as to the light, which I controlled from below—so that by morning we were so friendly that he deemed me a fit recipient of his Great Paris Grievance.
This grievance, which he considered that everyone should know about, bears upon the prevalence of spurious coins in the so-called Gay City and the tendency of Parisians to work them off on foreigners. As he says, a more inhospitable course one cannot conceive. Foreigners in Paris should be treated as guests, and just now, with all this Entente talk, the English especially. But no. It is the English who are the first victims of the possessor of obsolete francs, two-franc and five-franc pieces guiltless of their country's silver and ten-franc pieces into whose composition no gold has entered.
He had been in Paris but an hour or so when—but let me tell the story as my travelling companion told it to me.
"I don't know what your experience in Paris has been," he said, "but I have been victimised right and left."
He was now getting up while I lay at comparative ease in my berth and watched his difficulties in the congested room and thought what horrid vests he wore.
"I had been in Paris but a few hours," he continued, "when it was necessary to pay a cabman. I handed him a franc. He examined it, laughed and returned it. I handed him another. He went through the same performance. Having found some good money to get rid of him, I sat down outside a cafe to try and remember where I had received the change in which these useless coins had been inserted. During a week in Paris much of my time was spent in that way."
He sighed and drew on his trousers. His braces were red.
"I showed the bad francs to a waiter," he went on, "and he, like the cabman, laughed. In fact, next to an undressed woman, there is no stroke of wit so certain of Parisian mirth as a bad coin. The first thought of everyone to whom I showed my collection was to be amused." His face blackened with rage. "This cheerful callousness in a matter involving a total want of principle and straight-dealing as between man and man," he said, "denotes to what a point of cynicism the Parisians have attained."
I agreed with him.
"The waiter," he continued, "went through my money and pointed out what was good and what either bad or out of currency. He called other waiters to enjoy the joke. It seemed that in about four hours I had acquired three bad francs, one bad two-franc piece and two bad five-franc pieces. I put them away in another pocket and got fresh change from him, which, as I subsequently discovered, contained one obsolete five-franc piece and two discredited francs. And so it went on. I was a continual target for them."
Here he began to wash, and the story was interrupted.
When he re-emerged I asked him why he didn't always examine his change.
"It's very difficult to remember to do so," he said, "and, besides, I am not an expert. Anyway, it got worse and worse, and when a bad gold piece came along I realised that I must do something so I wrote to the Chief of the Police."
"In French?" I asked.
"No, in English—the language of honesty. I told him my own experiences. I said that other English people whom I had met had testified to similar trouble; and I put it to him that as a matter of civic pride—esprit de pays—he should do his utmost to cleanse Paris of this evil. I added that in my opinion the waiters were the worst offenders."
"Have you had a reply?" I asked.
"Not yet," he said, and having completed his toilet he made room for me.
I thought about him a good deal and sympathised not a little, for he seemed a good sort of fellow and might possibly have had his calculations as to expenditure considerably upset by his adventures. It certainly was a shame!
Later, meeting him in the restaurant-car I asked him to show me his store of bad money. I wanted to see for myself what those coins were like.
"I haven't got them," he said.
"You sent them to the Chief of the Police with your letter, I suppose?" I said.
"No, I didn't," he replied. "The fact is—well—as a matter of fact I managed to work them all off again."
* * * * *
Illustration: "Curfew shall not ring to-night."
* * * * *
"At the beginning of the season good bowling performances are not unusual—batsmen get themselves out so easily—but Barratt's bowling yesterday was better than his figures.... Five times yesterday he broke right across the wicket from leg, but none of those magnificent balls got wickets, perhaps because it was too early in the season."—Times.
The beginning of the season seems rather a tricky time.
* * * * *
"Death of Collar: Cobham Stud's severe loss."—Yorkshire Post.
The converse of this accident occurred to us the other day, when our Whitefriars collar lost its stud.
* * * * *
"Richard I.... at once began to prepare the third crusade. In 1190 he started, and reached Acre in June, 1911."
Thus missing KING GEORGE Vth's Coronation.
* * * * *
Illustration: Customer. "This is a beautiful chop, waiter, the best you've ever——"
Waiter. "Yes, an' I won't 'arf cop nothing. That was the boss's chop what I've giv you in mistake."
* * * * *
The new proposals with regard to the water supply of the City of Glasgow are causing, we are not surprised to learn, the utmost fury and consternation throughout Scotland. Criticism has concentrated especially upon two points: the imminent risk of submerging ROBERT THE BRUCE'S Stone and, of course, the danger of tampering in however slight a degree with the birthplace of ROB ROY. The passive resistance movement has already assumed such proportions that one enterprising publisher feels justified in announcing a new cheap edition of the "Waverley Novels," illustrated from local photographs.
There is, of course, another side to the question. As far as the stone goes it is contended:—
(1) That no one knows why it should have belonged to ROBERT THE BRUCE, where he got it or what he did with it when he had it.
(2) That the fact of its being under water would not impair its value in any way and at the same time would give an historical flavour to every glass of mitigated whisky thereafter drunk in the City of Glasgow.
(3) That it could very easily be shifted a bit up the hill if it is desired to keep it dry, and a small permanent umbrella erected over it.
With regard to ROB ROY'S birthplace the contention is that it is practically impossible to construct a new reservoir in these days anywhere north of the Tweed which will not interfere in some way with one or other of the places where ROB ROY was born.
It is not only Scotchmen, however, who have been touched to the quick by this irreverent and thoughtless proposal. The whole literary profession is up in arms. A memorial is being prepared to be presented to the PRIME MINISTER, under the heading, "Hands off ROB ROY!" Mr. Punch himself has not been idle in the matter. He has spent the last week in eliciting the opinions of some of our leading writers on this vital question.
Mr. WILLIAM DE MORGAN (in a charming, if rather discursive, letter of 32,000 words) demands legislation. "Who knows," he asks, "to what lengths this modern craze for water supplies may go? It is even possible that, within a century, attempts may be made to submerge that delightful little cottage in the county of Essex where Ghost met Ghost."
Mr. BERNARD SHAW, interviewed on his doorstep, derided the action of the Glasgow Corporation. No amount of water, he told our representative, could have the least effect in making our modern cities less beastly than they were. For his part, however, he was taking no risks. He had that morning arranged for the erection of a spiked iron fence twenty feet high round the (supposed) birthplace of Eliza Doolittle.
Mr. ARNOLD BENNETT writes:—"I have every sympathy with the widespread indignation of my fellow-authors, but personally I am not very closely concerned. My position is secure: no one is likely to tamper with the Five Towns in an attempt to improve their washing facilities."
"Might I suggest to the learned pundits of the House of Lords, if it is not too late," writes Mrs. FLORENCE BARCLAY, "that a writer who, in his day, enjoyed such a circulation as that of Sir WALTER SCOTT—this is, of course, fundamentally a question of circulation—is not to be treated in this cavalier fashion? For oneself, whatever fate may be in store for the precious local associations of one's past work, it is fortunately possible to make the future secure. I am laying the scene of my new romance, of which the fifth chapter is almost completed, on the top of an inaccessible hill."
Mr. H. G. WELLS points out that there is no particular need in his case to take action. He hopes that by the day when the conditions in time and space of his latest novel come into being every household in the country will be supplied with its own water by a process of filtered absorption from the atmosphere.
It is anticipated that something definite will be done by the special committee of the Authors Society which has been appointed with the view of extending the law of copyright so as to secure the author's undoubted property in his local associations.
* * * * *
Monday's breakfast is never a jovial affair. One always has the feeling that something dreadful has happened or is going to happen. Thus, three days ago I had with a light heart handed over my practice to a locum and my books to an accountant, telling the one to look up my bad patients and the other to look up my bad debts, while I went away to end the week with the Wrefords. Twelve hours ago it had seemed that I should never know such happiness in this world again as I had found with them, and here we all were on Monday morning with everything changed, Mrs. Wreford sulking in bed and Wreford displaying a polite but firm hatred of me and all the world. In this case my feeling was that something dreadful was happening.
"Mornin', Wreford," said I, as I took my place at table.
"Mornin', Everall," he grunted, barely looking up from his letters, and that seemed to end the dialogue. When, however, one's host is also one's most valuable patient, there is call for a special effort. He had all the correspondence, I had none; in an emergency this suggested itself as a matter of comment.
"To me," I said chattily, "things seem to be just as badly managed at the Post Office as they were in SAMUEL'S time."
"Was there a post office in those days?" he asked, without noticeable enthusiasm.
"The SAMUEL HERBERT," I explained, and that again seemed to end it.
After a pause, "However," I said kindly, "you enjoy your letters and I will find what consolation and company I can in a poached egg."
"Enjoy?" asked Wreford. "But you are being sarcastic, no doubt."
"Only panel doctors can afford to be that," I murmured.
Wreford's first letter appeared to pain him, and he looked at me sternly, as if the evils of this life were all my fault. Then he unbent a little.
"Tell me, Everall," said he, "have you enjoyed your little visit to us?"
The question took me by surprise but it was, at any rate, one to be answered in the affirmative.
"And you are proportionately grateful?" he pursued.
I protested, somewhat lamely, that I most certainly was.
"Gratitude, it seems," said he, "may express itself in the most odd manner."
"Mine," I replied stiffly, "will express itself in the customary letter."
"What, another?" he asked, adding, after a pause, "Do you refer to the note which your solicitors will write me forthwith and charge me three-and-sixpence for?"
I thought deeply but was baffled. "It is full early in the morning for the cryptic and abstruse," I said.
Wreford sighed as he slowly folded up his letter and put it in its envelope. "It is the one moment in the week," he explained, "when the very worst must be expected."
I begged him to elucidate the position.
"Suppose," said he, "you had invited a man to stay with you for the week-end, had motored him down from town on the Friday night and given him dinner and a nice big bed, and on Saturday more meals and more bed, and on Sunday still more meals and still more bed, and on the Monday morning a nice yellow-and-white poached egg all to himself."
"I quite appreciate all that," said I.
"And suppose, while he was still sitting at your table and working his way through the bit of toast where the egg once sat, you received a letter from him."
"A letter from me?" I cried.
"You said your thanks would be expressed in a letter, but the promptitude of it has surprised even yourself, hasn't it? I should have received it yesterday, but that there is no Sunday post, happily."
"You remember I said I was very grateful," said I, still not understanding.
"And I said that gratitude had a queer way of expressing itself sometimes," said he, handing over the letter at last. "Read it aloud," he added; "I find the style original."
"Harley Street, W. 25th April, 1914," I read. "Thomas Wreford, Esquire, debtor to John Everall. For professional services, 1912 to 1913, thirty-eight guineas."
"Go on," he said. "The postscript is where your gratitude becomes the most exuberant."
"Your attention will oblige," I finished.
"Well, what do you think of it?" he asked with a smile.
"I prefer not to," said I, also smiling tentatively.
There was a silence. "However," said Wreford eventually, "let us say no more about it." At this my smile became firmer and more expansive. "Let us agree," he said significantly, "to let bygones be bygones."
My smile died out suddenly, as smiles do on a Monday morning.
* * * * *
"In practice yesterday Mr. Hilton did 72 in a three-hole match."
Liverpool Daily Post.
We must challenge him at once.
* * * * *
Ah! the lapse of courtly manners, Ah! the change from knighthood's code Since the day when oil and spanners Ousted horseflesh from the road! This I realised most fully Last week-end at Potter's Bar When a beetle-flattening bully Held me up in Laura's car.
"Where," I shouted, "are the graces, Officer, of days long dead? Never mind how hot our pace is, Conjure up the past instead; Dream of chaises and postilions, Turnpike bars that ope and shut; Try to get some more resilience Into your confounded nut.
"Blooms are bursting in the covers Even as they burst to-day (Not to mention tyres); two lovers Post to Scotland, let us say; Sudden from the hedge comes TURPIN, Pistols cocked and debonair; Both the horses stand up perpen- dicularly in the air.
"What occurs? The gallant caitiff, Noticing the swain is poor (Courtesy with him is native, Not like you, suburban boor), Bows, and says in accents sunny, 'Pass along, Sir—make good speed; I'm convinced you've got no money And I do not want your bleed.
"'Sweet be Maytime to your noses; Short is life, but love is sweet, There's a city man named Moses Whom I've simply got to meet; On you go, you two young larkers;' Then he bids his Jew disgorge Or reserves his brace of barkers For the coach of D. LLOYD GEORGE.
"Such the good high Toby fashion; Surely in your bosom stirs, Constable, a like compassion For our two poor cylinders; All we have is vile and shoddy; See that low-hung touring brute— There's a bonnet! there's a body Worthy of a road-knight's loot!"
Thus I spake; but, still phlegmatic, Imperturbable and stout, Rendering Doric for my Attic, Robert pulled his note-book out; Said, "Me dooty is me dooty," And retiring to his trench Pondered further schemes of booty For the footpads on the Bench.
* * * * *
"The enthusiasm of the people was so great that it was not damped by a real Scotch milk."—Liverpool Courier.
When did whisky ever damp the enthusiasm of a Scotch crowd?
* * * * *
ROYAL ACADEMY—SECOND DEPRESSIONS.
Illustration: Harlequin. "Never Mind, My Dear; I'll Have A Few Words To Say To The Limelight Man About This!"
* * * * *
Illustration: THE CARD-SHARPERS.
Near Female. "Stop Cheating For A Minute While I Get My Portrait Taken."
* * * * *
Illustration: A PHANTASY IN THE CENTRAL HALL.—"CAUGHT."
* * * * *
Illustration: A DEADLOCK.
"IF WE GO FORWARD WE'LL GET SUNSTROKE, AND IF WE GO BACK THERE'S A BLIZZARD; SO WE MAY AS WELL STOP WHERE WE ARE AND HAVE OUR PICTURE PAINTED."
* * * * *
Illustration: FLOODS IN THE THAMES VALLEY.
The family of a well-known stockbroker takes advantage of the situation to practise a little first-aid, and incidentally get on with the week's washing.
* * * * *
Illustration: SINGULAR APATHY OF AGRICULTURAL LABOURERS DURING AN INVASION.
* * * * *
Illustration: The Sea-Maiden. "Catch me!"
The Shrimp-Hunter (regretfully). "I'D LIKE TO, BUT UNFORTUNATELY THIS IS THE CLOSE SEASON FOR MERMAIDS."
* * * * *
Illustration: THE ART OF ACHIEVING THE IMPOSSIBLE—A CUBIST PICTURE GETS A PLACE ON THE LINE.
* * * * *
Illustration: YOUTHFUL ATHLETES, WHILE TRAINING FOR THE NEXT OLYMPIC GAMES (THREE-LEGGED RACE), ARE HAMPERED BY THE PRESENCE OF LARGE, FIERCE BIRDS.
* * * * *
Illustration: First Territorial. "WELL, WHAT DO YOU THINK OF OUR MANOEUVRES, BILL?"
Second Territorial (hitherto unacquainted with field-days). "THANK 'EVIN WE'VE GOT A NIVY!"
* * * * *
BELOW THE WEIR.
Beyond the punt the swallows go Like blue-black arrows to and fro, Now stooping where the rushes grow, Now flashing o'er a shallow; And overhead in blue and white High Spring and Summer hold delight; "All right!" the black-cap calls, "All right!" His mate says from the sallow.
O dancing stream, O diamond day, O charm of lilac-time and May. O whispering meadows green and gay, O fair things past believing! Could but the world stand still, stand still When over wood and stream and hill This morn's eternal miracle The rosy Hours are weaving!
Eternal, for I like to think That mayflowers, crimson, white and pink, When I am dust the boughs shall prink, On days to live and die for; That sun and cloud, as now, shall veer, And streams run tumbling off the weir, Where still the mottled trout rolls clear For other men to try for.
I like to think, when I shall go To this essential dust, that so I yet may share in flowers that blow, And with such brave sights mingle, If tossed by summer breeze on high I'm carried where the cuckoos cry And dropped beside old Thames to lie A sand-grain on a shingle.
Meanwhile the swallows flash and skim Like blue-black arrows notched and trim, And splendid kingcups lift a brim Of gold to king or peasant, And 'neath a sky of blue and white High Spring with Summer weaves delight; "All right!" the black-cap calls, "all right!" And life is very pleasant.
* * * * *
THE LANGUAGE OF COLOUR.
"My dear Clarice," I said, "I may say, in the circumstances, my very dear Clarice, I like being engaged—to you, that is; no, I've never been engaged before—but I don't see the sense of getting married. Even the State seems to deride the idea of our union."
"What do you mean?" said Clarice. "I'm almost alarmed. Have they discovered that you suffered from toothache as a boy?"
"It isn't," I said, "a question of eugenics. I was at Somerset House to-day getting a copy of my birth certificate, and——"
"They surely didn't say anything about our engagement at Somerset House. I didn't suppose they even knew of it," said Clarice.
"Ill news travels apace," I said. "But that by the way. I was about to say that red is a noble colour. It is a bold, a striking colour. A day on which a great event occurs is called 'a red letter day.' Black, on the other hand, may mean nothing, or it may denote sadness."
"Why this going off at a tangent?" said Clarice. "Why this dissertation on colours?"
"I say, that's a good word—I mean that long one just near the end. Did you really learn it, or did you merely come by it? But, as I was saying, red is a colour used for indicating notable events. The State considers a birth is a notable event. Birth certificates are printed in red."
"And death certificates," said Clarice, "in black, I suppose?"
"Yes," I said, "a delicate hint that the State feels sad."
"And marriage certificates?" asked Clarice.
"Ah!" I said, "that's the strange thing. Nothing may be implied really, but it is significant that they print them in——"
"Purple?" said Clarice eagerly.
"Verdant green," I said.
* * * * *
Illustration: THE NEW SHYLOCK.
MR. REDMOND. "LOOK HERE, I UNDERSTOOD YOU WERE TO GET ME MY FULL POUND OF FLESH!"
MR. ASQUITH (his counsel). "YES, YES, I KNOW: BUT IT RATHER LOOKS NOW AS IF WE MIGHT HAVE TO SETTLE FOR THREE-QUARTERS."
* * * * *
Illustration: MR. LLOYD GEORGE Regards MR. BALFOUR'S Attitude as Bellicose.
"If every conciliatory offer put forward by the Government is to be treated in the spirit displayed by the right hon. gentleman, that is the way to promote civil war."
Mr. LLOYD GEORGE.
* * * * *
Illustration: THE BILL AND THE AMENDING BILL.
Nurse ASQUITH. "Now, take the powder like a good boy."
Master BONAR LAW. "Where's the jam?"
Nurse ASQUITH. "Oh, that comes later."
Master BONAR LAW. "Well, I want to see it now. What's it made of?"
Nurse ASQUITH. "I must have notice of that question."
* * * * *
ESSENCE OF PARLIAMENT.
(EXTRACTED FROM THE DIARY OF TOBY, M.P.)
House of Commons, Monday, May 11.—For a while PRIME MINISTER'S protest against inordinate questioning, his announcement of determination not to take part in further shorter catechism more or less distantly related to the "plot" and the "coup," had wholesome effect. As he stated, since the plot was discovered he had made seven hundred replies to friendly inquiries. A Member below Gangway to his right added the seven hundred and first. Wanted to know whether it is true that the argumentative questions crowding the notice paper are the product of a factory in the neighbourhood of Parliament Street, presided over by an official whose name suggests that he has been "made in Germany." Expeditiously turned out, as from a sausage machine, is it true that they are nicely sorted and distributed among Members of the Opposition, who in turn pelt the PREMIER with them?
After brief lull epidemic breaks out afresh. Twenty-three Questions addressed to PRIME MINISTER to-day appear on printed paper. As each, with the aid of semi-colons, represents two, three, occasionally five distinct queries they reach aggregate of half a hundred. This not counting Supplementaries.
Happily the PREMIER is incomparable master of the rare art of brief reply, wherein he presents pleasing contrast to the manner of his old master, GLADSTONE. Had he chanced to be Premier when the Fourth Party were struggling into notoriety their task would have been more difficult, their triumph delayed if not unattainable.
When GRANDOLPH, WOLFF and GORST, with PRINCE ARTHUR looking on, set themselves to "draw GLADSTONE," as was their custom of an afternoon, that astute personage became as a child in their hands. GRANDOLPH led off with a question, to which long reply was made. WOLFF, profusely grateful for the right hon. gentleman's courtesy, shunted the PREMIER on to another track, along which he cheerfully sprinted. Then came JOHN O' GORST. With the subtlety of a trained but not practising barrister he put a third question, drawing a third speech. Thus merrily sped a quarter of an hour or twenty minutes, deferring by so much the progress of public business.
ASQUITH'S share in the conversation at the Question hour is based on a familiar Biblical injunction. It is largely composed of "Yea, yea," and "Nay, nay." In the case alluded to, wherein the Fourth Party gave play to their insatiable desire for information, he would have replied to GRANDOLPH, "Yes, Sir;" to WOLFF, "No, Sir." Had he been exceptionally lured into verbosity he might have gone as far as to say, "The answer is in the negative," or "in the affirmative," as the case might be. As for JOHN O' GORST, he would have referred him to a speech made on a particular preceding date, "to which I have nothing to add."
Business done.—LLOYD GEORGE further explains his Budget. Resolutions founded thereupon agreed to.
Tuesday.—What at outset promised to be businesslike debate verging on dulness suddenly leapt into flame and fury, signifying angry passion stirred by Home Rule Bill. In studiously moderate speech PREMIER moved resolution identical with that adopted last year, whereby Committee stage of Home Rule Bill, Welsh Church Disestablishment and Plural Voting will be forgone. Pointed out that Committee stage is designed for purpose of providing opportunity of amending Bills. Since under Parliament Act none of these measures can be amended in the Commons, what use to go into Committee on them?
Being in increasingly businesslike mood PREMIER went a step further. Abandoned proposal to submit and discuss "suggestions" to Home Rule Bill. Authoritatively announced by WALTER LONG and others that the Lords are predetermined to throw it out on second reading. What use then to formulate and discuss suggestions that could be dealt with by the Lords only in subsequent Committee? Finally announced intention of getting Bill through all Parliamentary stages before Whitsuntide, placing it on Statute Book by automatic process of Parliament Act. Will then bring in Amending Bill dealing with Ulster.
It was PRINCE ARTHUR who roused crowded House from chilled condition following upon douche of this application of ordinary business principles to legislative procedure. In best fighting form. Stirred to profoundest depths of scorn for actual working of that detested statute, the Parliament Act.
"We are," he said, amid strident cheers from Opposition, welcoming their old captain back to the fighting line, "asked to force through under the Parliament Act a Bill which by hypothesis requires amendment. What is worse than that is that we are to be compelled to read it a third time and to part with it while we know that it is to be amended, but while we have not the smallest conception in what respects or in what way." Insisted that before Home Rule Bill is added to Statute Book Parliament should know in what points it would be amended. "Let us have the Amending Bill first."
PRINCE ARTHUR having stirred the embers of slumbering fire, CHANCELLOR OF EXCHEQUER vigorously fanned them.
"If," he said, "every conciliatory offer put forward by the Government is to be treated in the spirit displayed by the right hon. gentleman, that is the way to promote civil war."
Hereupon storm burst over Opposition quarters. Shouts of "Shame!" and "Liar" hurtled through the suddenly heated atmosphere. The CHANCELLOR'S attempt to proceed with his speech baffled by continuous cry,—"Withdraw! Withdraw!" At length SPEAKER interposed with suggestion that the CHANCELLOR had been misunderstood. Claimed for him the right of explanation. This conceded, LLOYD GEORGE pointed out that what he had meant to say was that argument such as that forthcoming from Front Opposition Bench, making it difficult for the Government to submit proposals of peace, would have effect of promoting civil war.
PRINCE ARTHUR naturally falling into "old style" of House of Commons debate, not only frankly accepted explanation but chivalrously took upon himself blame of the outbreak, which he said "apparently arose from an unfortunate expression of mine." Ended with pretty turn of grave satire that greatly pleased the House.
After this, debate quietly proceeded to appointed end, everyone mutely invoking
Blessings on the falling out That all the more endears, When we fall out with those we love And kiss again with tears.
Business done.—PREMIER'S resolution carried by 276 votes against 194. Majority 82. House of Lords by common consent passed second reading of useful little Bill for protection of grey seals threatened with extinction by mercenary sportsmen.
Thursday.—Remarkable how SHAKSPEARE (or was it BACON?) wrote not only for all time but for all circumstance. The marvel came to light again in scene in House yesterday.
Writing of the time of Romeo and Juliet SHAKSPEARE reports dialogue between two fighting men of the houses of Capulet and Montague. Meeting Sampson in a public place in Verona, Abram truculently asks, "Do you bite your thumb at us, Sir?
Sam. I do bite my thumb, Sir.
Abr. Do you bite your thumb at us, Sir?
Sam. (aside, to his comrade Gregory). Is the law on our side if I say ay?
Sam. No, Sir, I do not bite my thumb at you, Sir; but I bite my thumb."
KINLOCH-COOKE, having put question to WEDGWOOD BENN, following it up by two supplementary inquiries, put a third when the SPEAKER interposed. Shrugging his shoulders in silent protest against this tyranny KINLOCH-COOKE resumed his seat.
Said the SPEAKER sternly, "It is no good shrugging your shoulders at me."
This is prosaic account of incident given in this morning's papers. Refer to Hansard and see how it runs.
SPEAKER. Do you shrug your shoulders at me, Sir?
KINLOCH-COOKE. I do shrug my shoulders, Sir.
SPEAKER. Do you shrug your shoulders at me, Sir?
KINLOCH-COOKE (aside to WINTERTON). Is there anything in the Standing Orders that forbids my shrugging my shoulders at the SPEAKER?
WINTERTON (who is training for Speakership and has them all by heart). Yes.
KINLOCH-COOKE. No, Sir, I do not shrug my shoulders at you, Sir; but I shrug my shoulders.
SPEAKER. Order! Order!
Business done.—Another plot that failed. For some weeks Opposition have not attempted to snap a division. Ministerialists, lulled into sense of security, off guard. Secret preparations sedulously made for trapping them this afternoon. Questions over, division challenged on formal motion. Ministerial Whips awake in good time to emergency. Urgent messages had been sent out to their men by telephone and special messengers. Arrivals watched with feverish interest. Ministerialists hurriedly drop in by twos and threes, presently by tens. ILLINGWORTH'S massive brow, temporarily seared with wrinkles, smooths out. When, after division, Clerk hands paper to him indicating that ambush has been baffled, hilarious cheer rises from Ministerial benches. Renewed when figures read by the SPEAKER show that the motion is carried by 255 votes against 234.
"Not a high-class game in imperial politics," says SARK. "Rather akin to the humour of making a butter slide on the pavement for the discomfiture of unsuspecting passers-by. But boys will be boys."
* * * * *
Illustration: Mr. ROWLAND HUNT IN HIS BEST FORM.
"I don't know [laughter] what honourable Members [renewed laughter] are laughing about [loud and prolonged laughter.]"
* * * * *
A NATIONAL CALAMITY.
GREAT PERFORMER CONTEMPLATES RETIREMENT.
Once more the Atlantic liner has delivered Mr. Bamborough (ne Bamberger) back to us, and once more British concert-goers should in consequence rejoice. But their natural jubilations are unfortunately tempered by a momentous announcement which the great violinist made to our representative at Plymouth last week, on the arrival of the Julius Caesar, to the effect that he has decided to retire from the active pursuit of his profession. On receiving the news of this national calamity our representative fell into a heavy swoon, and was revived with some difficulty. The thought of the permanent withdrawal from public life in his golden prime of the great virtuoso, with his opulent physique, his superbly Mosaic features and his luxuriant chevelure, was altogether too poignantly overwhelming. Let us hasten then to reassure our readers that the blow, though it must inevitably descend one day, is mercifully deferred for a considerable period. To begin with, Mr. Bamborough is under contract to give five farewell tours in the United States at intervals of four years before entering upon the penultimate stage of his severance from the British concert platform. This, which will begin in the autumn of 1934, is likely to continue until the year 1948, when he is booked for an extended tour in Polynesia, Japan, New Guinea and Java. On his return to England in 1950 he proposes to give sixty farewell recitals at intervals of three months, culminating in a grand concert at the Albert Hall.
"And then," mused the illustrious artist, "farewell to the platform for ever! I find it hard indeed to realise that the concert-going public and I by that time will have been intimate friends for more than seventy years, but so it will be, for I was only nine when I made my first appearance in London, in a velvet knickerbocker suit with pearl buttons and a Fauntleroy collar. Still, it will all make a lovely retrospect for me, and when I finally retire it will be with a heart very full of gratitude to my generous friends in all four hemispheres of the globe."
"And after that?" suggested our representative, now partially restored by these reassuring tidings.
"After that—literature," was the emphatic reply. "I have already signed a contract with Messrs. Goodleigh and Champ to write my Reminiscences in the form of a Musical Encyclopaedia. My father-in-law, Sir Pompey Boldero, is giving me valuable assistance in preparing the material, but as he is already sixty-five I cannot, unhappily, count with absolute confidence on his being spared to witness the completion of the work. Still, he is so full of vigour that M. METCHNIKOFF considers his chances of becoming a centenarian decidedly promising. In any case the collaboration of my children, whose filial devotion is only equalled by their talent, is secured, and Mrs. Bamborough, as you know, wields a vivid and trenchant pen. But literature will not occupy all my time. My estancia in the Argentine will need supervision, and I hope to spend an occasional summer in the Solomon Islands, where the natives are strangely attached to us."
Mr. Bamborough pointed out that Sir JOHNSTON FORBES-ROBERTSON, who also returned by the Julius Caesar, had only drawn receipts amounting to L107,000 in a tour of thirty weeks' duration, while he (Mr. Bamborough) had netted no less than L150,000 in a tour lasting twenty-seven weeks and three days. In addition to the receipts in specie, Mr. Bamborough had received several nuggets from the gold miners in Colorado, and a bull moose from Mr. KERMIT ROOSEVELT, while Mrs. Bamborough had been the recipient of a highly-trained bobolink, and a charming young alligator from the cedar swamps of Louisiana.
Other notable passengers on the Julius Caesar were Miss Topsy Cooney, the famous coloured pianist, who plays only on the black keys and entirely by ear; Little Dinky, the marvellous calculating boy, who does not know the names of the numbers; and Elaine Runnymede, the child contralto, who can only sing the whole tone scale.
* * * * *
Illustration: Small Brother (whose sisters are working for their girl guides' ambulance badge). "Come on, here's A bit of luck for you. I've made Rupert's nose bleed."
* * * * *
From a catalogue:—
"Also made in cheaper and better quality models."
* * * * *
Illustration: Grumpy. "Better put the diamond in the safe, my boy. You'll be ruined if anybody steals it."
Ernest. "Yes, but the play will be ruined if nobody does."
Grumpy Mr. CYRIL MAUDE. Ernest Heron. Mr. EDWARD COMBEMERE.
* * * * *
"GRUMPY." (As it might as well have been.)
ACT I.—THE CRIME.
Scene—Mr. "Grumpy" Bullivant's library. Enter his grand-daughter Virginia and Mrs. Maclaren.
Mrs. Maclaren. What a remarkable man Mr. Jarvis seems to be, dear—so amusing at dinner! And he writes for Tiddly Bits, he tells me. Where did you meet him?
Virginia. Quite accidentally in Hyde Park. He told grandfather a long story about a gold brick, and grandfather was so charmed with him he asked him down at once for the week-end.
Mrs. Maclaren. Such a knowledge of character your grandfather has, love.
Virginia. Yes, but you must remember he used to be the cleverest criminal lawyer of his time. He saw directly that Mr. Jarvis was a nice man.
Enter Ernest Heron and "Grumpy" by opposite doors.
Grumpy (when the audiences delight at seeing Mr. CYRIL MAUDE again has at last been got under). Wow-wow-wow-wow-wow; tut-tut-tut-tut-tut (and other old-gentleman noises). Ah, Ernest, my boy, what are you doing here?
Ernest. Just back from Africa, uncle, with a diamond weighing—I mean costing—ninety thousand pounds in my belt, which I'm taking up to the firm in London. May I sleep here?
Grumpy. Do, my boy. (Enter Mr. Jarvis.) Ah, Mr. Jarvis, let me introduce my nephew, Mr. Heron. He's just back from Africa with a—— (To himself) No, perhaps better not. Well, good night to you both. Wow-wow-wow, tut-tut-tut-tut.
[Exit, followed, by Mr. Jarvis.
Ernest is left alone with his diamond. Seeing a suspicious shadow at the window he rushes to it and leans out, so as to give anybody a chance of sand-bagging him. The chance going begging, he takes his diamond from his belt to see if it is still there. The only other precaution he can think of is to draw the curtains. At this moment a hand steals through the door and turns out the lights. A terrible struggle in the dark ensues; there is a noise of somebody's larynx going; and then the curtain goes down and up ... to disclose, the body of poor Ernest on the floor. Is he dead? Certainly not; he's got to marry Virginia; but the diamond is gone.
Act II.—THE SLEUTH-HOUND.
Grumpy. Tut-tut. Is everything just as it was last night? Very well, then. You say that when you discovered Mr. Ernest he was lying on his back, and in his right hand he was clutching this—what did you call it?
Ruddock (the valet). A dicky, Sir. A detachable shirt-front.
Grumpy. Excellent. Then the first question is—to whom did this—er—richard belong?
Ruddock. Yes, Sir.
Grumpy (musing). Could it have been his own? In the fierceness of the struggle might he have torn it off in order to give himself greater freedom? Was he offering it to his assailant as a bribe? Was he—but first we must find if he was wearing one at all. Call Susan.
Enter Susan, the lady's-maid.
Grumpy. Susan, you were the first to see Mr. Ernest when he came in last night. Did you happen to notice if he was wearing a detachable shirt-front, a—h'm—dicky?
Susan. Yes, Sir.
Grumpy. Ah! (He hands her the all-important clue.) Was this it?
Susan (examining it). No, Sir.
Grumpy. Tut-tut, are you sure?
Susan. Yes, Sir; Mr. Ernest's was an india-rubber one. I know, because he said he'd been travelling all day, and he asked me to sponge it for him.
Grumpy. Thank you, Susan. Ruddock, we must find that india-rubber richard. If Ernest has his assailant's shirt-front, what more likely than that his assailant has Ernest's? Probably they exchanged them before the battle, as, you may remember, Glaucus and Diomed did at the siege of Troy.
Ruddock. Yes, Sir.
Grumpy. Every shirt-front we see we must suspect. Let us go and look for some. [Exeunt.
Enter Jarvis and Virginia.
Virginia. Still in evening dress, Mr. Jarvis?
Jarvis. Yes, I was so busy fetching the doctor last night that I had no time to change. I am going back to London now. (Tenderly) I should like to think you had some little memento of me. (He removes his shirt front.) Keep this and think of me sometimes when you look at it.
Virginia. Oh, Mr. Jarvis! But I must give you something too. (She goes out and returns with one of her grandfather's shirt-fronts.) Wear this in place of the one you have given me—always. [Exit.
Grumpy. Now, Mr. Jarvis, I wonder if you would help me. You were the first to find the body last night. Would you mind lying down in the position in which it lay? It may give me an important clue.
Jarvis. Certainly. (He prepares to lie down.)
Grumpy. Take care, you mustn't crumple your shirt-front. Perhaps it removes? Ah, allow me. (He detaches it and hastily substitutes the other one for it.) Ah, thank you so much. Here is your shirt-front again.
Ruddock (eagerly). Is that it, Sir?
Grumpy (examining Jarvis's shirt-front carefully). No, linen, confound it. Ruddock, we must find that india-rubber richard. Who has it? Ah!
Scene—Jarvis's rooms in London.
Keble (his man). Terrible thing that assault on Mr. Heron, Sir.
Jarvis. Yes, terrible.
Keble. I hope they don't suspect me of it, Sir.
Jarvis. Why on earth should they suspect you?
Keble. Well, I was known to be jealous of Mr. Heron, Sir. I found Susan sponging his shirt-front, and Susan and I are as good as engaged. Jarvis (mildly interested). How can you sponge a shirt-front?
Keble. It was an india-rubber one, Sir; they sponge off quite clean, and save the laundry bill, Sir. My——
Jarvis. Good Heavens, I'm ruined!
Enter Isaac Wolfe, his partner. Exit Keble.
Wolfe. Got the diamond, my boy?
Jarvis (moodily). Yes ... I'm done for; I must leave the country.
Wolfe. What d'you mean? You've got the diamond?
Jarvis (rapidly). I throttled him in the dark and got the diamond. My shirt-front fell off in the struggle. I noticed one on the floor and picked it up. I thought it was mine. It was his; his had fallen off too; and he was found with mine in his hand.
Wolfe. Well, why did you leave it there?
Jarvis. I thought it was his own—and that, anyhow, as long as we each had one, no one would notice. But his was an india-rubber one!
Wolfe. And that's the one you've got now? Well, burn it.
Jarvis (burying his face in his hands). It isn't! I cannot! I gave it to Miss Bullivant. (Grimly) But I shall get it back again.
ACT IV.—THE SLEUTH-HOUND'S TRIUMPH.
The Library again.
Grumpy. Well, Virginia, and how's Ernest? Better, hey! He ought—— Good heavens, child, what's that you've got in your hand?
Virginia. Just a dicky, grandfather.
Grumpy (excitedly). Let me look ... Virginia, it's an india-rubber one! (Sternly) Where did you get this?
Virginia. Mr. Jarvis gave it to me.
Grumpy. Mr. Jarvis! Aha! (He hides behind the sofa.)
Enter Mr. Jarvis.
Jarvis (-to Virginia=). I'm afraid my conduct must seem very strange, but I had to come back to see you. I—er—lost the shirt-front you gave me. Could you let me have my own back again? You see, I'm going abroad and I must have one.
Grumpy (popping his head up). Ah, Mr. Jarvis, did I hear you asking for a shirt-front? Allow me to offer you one—an india-rubber one, Mr. Jarvis! (Jarvis blenches.) And the price, Mr. Jarvis, is the diamond in your waistcoat-pocket!
CURTAIN—except that Ernest gets engaged to Virginia first.
* * * * *
Postscript.—On reading this through I feel that it hardly does justice to the clever acting of Mr. MAUDE as an always delightful old gentleman, the excellent support given him by the rest of the company, and the pleasantly exciting melodrama provided for them by Messrs. HORACE HODGES and T. W. PERCYVAL. To all of them my thanks for an entertaining evening.
A. A. M.
* * * * *
Illustration: Pat (having hung up an ostrich's egg on the hen-house door). "There, ye deginerate little spalpeens, look at that and thry what ye can do!"
* * * * *
From a letter to The Scotsman:—
"It goes without saying that when recognising a friend in the street one raises one's hat by the hand removed from that friend."
Of course. But it is proper to return the hand immediately after the little ceremony with a few words of thanks.
* * * * *
"For the latter an excuse must be offered in that he was badly hit on the left hip by the previous ball—a yorker—to that which bowled him."—Evening News.
In the over before he had been stunned by a sneak.
* * * * *
The Yorkshire Daily Observer on the income tax:—
"A Bradford widow has been left with five children under 15 years of age. Her income is L300 a ear."
Or L3,600 in all. We refuse to be moved by her hard case.
* * * * *
"Miscellaneous Volumes. 10s. per cwt. (No theology.)
Theology. 5s. 6d. per cwt."—Catalogue.
Money being tight, we are ordering 8 stone 7 lbs. of theology for the drawing-room.
* * * * *
"The Government has introduced another Bill to regulate the sale of milk and the inspection of dairies. This disgracefully dilutory Parliament of ours has been playing with similar Bills for five years."—Daily Herald.
The dilutory milkman is really more to blame.
* * * * *
[SCENE—A room at Niagara Falls. The Argentine, the Brazilian and the Chilian mediators are mediating; that is to say, they are sitting on rocking chairs not very close to a large table covered with papers, pens, ink, etc. A deep noise of falling water pervades the air. Out of compliment to Canada the conversation is carried on in English.]
Argentine Mediator. Cold, isn't it?
Brazilian Mediator. Yes, there's a great deal of cold in the atmosphere.
Chilian Mediator. We often get it colder than this in Chili.
A. M. There's a lot of water coming down.
B. M. Yes, and it keeps coming, too, doesn't it?
C. M. It isn't as noisy as I thought it would be, though.
A. M. Oh, I don't know. It's quite noisy enough.
B. M. Yes, it's very difficult to concentrate one's mind. We've got a waterfall in Brazil which has the same effect. You can't do any work near it. People go there for a rest-cure.
C. M. There are a good many waterfalls in Chili, too, and they make more noise than this one.
A. M. How long do you think we shall be here?
B. M. A week, or a month, or a year—I don't know.
C. M. It's a dull place, isn't it?
A. M. Yes, it is, dull as ditchwater.
B. M. Dull as a ditchwaterfall. Ha, ha.
C. M. and A. M. (together). Ha, ha. That's capital.
B. M. You fellows must remind me to telegraph that home to Brazil.
A. M. By the way, I see ROOSEVELT has been in Brazil.
B. M. Yes; isn't it awful?
G. M. Discovered a river, hasn't he?
B. M. Something of that sort. He'll discover the world next.
A. M. Anyhow, I'm glad he's not here.
B. M. By Jove, yes. Wouldn't it be dreadful if he were?
C. M. Don't. You make my flesh creep.
B. M. After all, I'm not sure he's worse than WILSON. They're all alike, these Yankees. I've no use for them and their MONROE Doctrine; have you?
A. M. Not the slightest. If they think we're children they'll soon find out their mistake.
C. M. Hear, hear!
A. M. Anything new from Mexico?
B. M. No. Same old game.
C. M. What's HUERTA up to?
B. M. Sitting tight.
A. M. And what's VILLA doing?
B. M. Oh, he's been capturing Tampico a good deal lately.
C. M. Isn't a fellow called ZAPATA chipping in somewhere?
B. M. Yes, he's having a go too.
A. M. I say, you men, I've got an idea.
B. M. Out with it, then.
C. M. Yes, let's have it.
A. M. Well, then, suppose we start by saying that HUERTA and WILSON must both be eliminated. That'll please both sides. HUERTA will be tickled to death if WILSON has to go, and WILSON will be delighted at our backing up his policy. What do you think?
B. M. I can't think at all in this noise.
C. M. Nor can I, but I daresay it's all right.
A. M. I'm glad you like the idea. It's fair to both sides, you see. That's what mediation's for.
* * * * *
THE BATH UNREST.
My bath awaits me! It contains to-night, Besides the customary water—stay: Before I name ingredients, let me say Exactly who and what I am who write.
(My bath awaits me!) I am known to fame, First, as a rising music-hall artiste; But, secondly and chiefly, I'm the beast Who Puts Things in his Bath. You've met my name.
(My bath awaits me!) People come, you see, With sample packets of the Lord knows what, And want me to "endorse" the silly rot. Well, I "endorse"; receiving L. s. d.
(My bath awaits me!) But I specialise In baths. I will not "like it in my soup," Nor "take five drops before I loop the loop"; Nor will I "find it helps to keep off flies."
(My bath awaits me!) Am I over-nice? I cannot "thank you for the lovely sox," Nor shall "my children quarrel for the box." I Put It In My Bath. Let that suffice.
(My bath awaits me!) Now, to take the list: Mustard, by thirteen makers; salt, by six; Saponica; Shampoona; Sozothrix; Eau-de-Cologne (nine samples); Bathex; Vrist.
(My bath awaits me!) These and more than these (I drop the catalogue) in pungent strife, Stench hard at grips with stench for loathly life, Yon seething cauldron holds. Excuse a sneeze.
(My bath awaits me!) Why the cauldron? Why Not desecrate the dustbin? Here's the rub: All the endorsements specify my tub; The dustbin is not mentioned. Can I lie?
(My bath awaits me!) So I made a vow, Soon as the groaning shelf could bear no more, In one doomed bath to mix 'em. What I swore I've done. The night of reckoning is now.
My bath awaits me! True. But then I said Not "use" but "put." Why have my beastly bath? Bed, too, awaits me; be the bedward path My choice. I do not Put Things in my Bed.
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"The following are good dishes for a small luncheon, not a complete menu, but suggestions for filling one out with those light and tempting dishes which the jaded modern palate so greatly prefers to the solid English cookery of our forefathers."—Truth.
That is all very well, but if one really wants filling out these little kickshaws are no good; roast beef and Yorkshire pudding is the thing.
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"Folds of net and thick white face lighten the effect of the corsage."—Westminster Gazette.
The writer seems keen, but we are not.
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Illustration: THE SCRUTINEER.
Eliza Jane. "'Ere, that last one didn't seem like a full sack to me."
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(By Mr. Punch's Staff of Learned Clerks.)
Not the least attractive feature in Madame WADDINGTON'S new book, My First Years as a Frenchwoman (SMITH, ELDER), is the revelation, undesignedly made, of a keen-sighted, vivacious, exceedingly womanly woman. During her residence in France as the wife of a highly placed Minister she had rare opportunity of watching the progress of historic events from a favoured standpoint behind the scenes. When she married M. WADDINGTON, in later years known to this country as French Ambassador, the National Assembly was sitting at Versailles. THIERS, first President of the Republic, had been overthrown and MACMAHON reigned in his stead. Madame WADDINGTON was brought into personal touch with these statesmen, with their successors, JULES GREVY, DE FREYCINET, CARNOT and with their varied entourage. Of each she has something shrewd, sprightly and informing to say. While immersed in international politics, perhaps not wholly free from anxious conviction that she was in some measure responsible for their direction, she had a seeing eye for frocks. Frequently, when describing social gatherings at the height of political crises, she stops to tell you how some lady was dressed and how the apparel suited her. Amongst other men of the epoch she has something to say about BLOWITZ, the famous Paris correspondent of The Times. It is evident that, without premeditation, he managed to offend the lady. She reports how Prince HOHENLOHE expressed a high opinion of the journalist, remarking, "He is marvellously well-informed of all that is going on." "It was curious," writes Madame, "how a keen clever man like the Prince attached so much importance to anything Blowitz said." For the side-lights which it flashes on high life in Paris at a critical period of the Republic the volume possesses exceptional value.
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The subtleties of human motives, the fine problems of temperament, the delicate interplay of masculine logic and feminine intuition, what are these compared to blood, thunder, plots, counter-plots, earthquakes and, from the final chaos, the salvage of the "sweetest woman on earth" effected in the nick of time by a herculean and always imperturbable hero? Mr. FRANK SAVILE is not out to analyse souls. The opening chapter of The Red Wall (NELSON) plunges us into a fray, irrelevant to the narrative save in so far as it introduces Dick Blake and Eileen O'Creagh and removes any possible doubt that might ever have been felt as to their respective merits and their mutual suitability. That preliminary complete, we proceed to the real business of the agenda, and momentous, passionate, nefarious, diabolical, mysterious and incessantly exciting business it is, covering the gamut of private emotions and international complications. In such narratives I demand three things: the first, that my author should combine a graphic (and grammatical) style with the professional knack of imparting an air of probability to his tale; the second, that things should go all wrong in the beginning and come all right in the end; the third, that if any German schemers are involved these should be eventually outwitted. Mr. SAVILE has abundantly satisfied me in all particulars; although I incline to carp at the opportuneness with which nature is made to erupt from time to time, and I venture to suggest that men and women never were and are probably never going to be like Dick and Eileen. The book is, however, of the sort which is to be read and enjoyed but not considered further.
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Joe Quinney, the curiosity shop man in Mr. HORACE ANNESLEY VACHELL'S Quinneys' (MURRAY), is undoubtedly a "card," not unrelated, I should say, to Mr. BENNETT'S Machen. He is an entertaining fellow with his enthusiasms, his truculences, his fluctuating standards of honesty. Mr. VACHELL didn't quite get me to believe in Joe's expert knowledge, which indeed seemed to be turned on and off in rather an arbitrary way as the exigencies of the story rather than the development and experience of the character dictated; but he did make me see and like the fellow. Mrs. Quinney, that faithful timid soul, is admirably drawn, both in her courtship and her matronly days. But I found Quinney a little hypocritical in his denunciation of Miggott, the chair-faker, who was not really sailing half so close to the wind or so profitably as Quinney and his bibulous friend of a dealer, Tamlin. There are some interesting side-lights upon the astonishing tricks of the furniture trade, which are reflected by the authentic experience of the bitten wise. An entertaining and clever book; but why, why should H. A. V. drop from his Hill into the discreditable fellowship of those who have misquoted "honoured in the breach"?
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Anybody can understand how extremely annoying and inconvenient the complete disappearance of a husband would be to a wife after a mere fortnight or so of married existence, before he had even begun to complain of the—well, anyhow that is what happens in Mrs. BELLOC LOWNDES'S latest novel, The End of Her Honeymoon (METHUEN). The Dampiers arrive in Paris, a Paris en fete and crowded beyond all custom because of the state visit of the TSAR, and are obliged to occupy rooms on different floors of the Poulains' hotel. Next morning Mrs. Dampier awakes to find herself in the awkward predicament of Ariadne on the beach of Naxos, with the aggravation (spared to Theseus' bride) that the hotel people absolutely deny that she came with a husband at all. A punctilious if sceptical American senator (refreshingly guiltless of accent) and his enthusiastic son and daughter take pity on her, and the rest of the book resolves itself into a detective story, saved from conventionality by the pleasantly distinguished style in which the author writes and the intimate knowledge which she appears to possess of the Paris prefecture de police. Gerald Burton, the young American, not entirely platonic in his solicitude, is baffled; Salgas, a famous enquiry agent, is baffled; and I am ready to take very long odds against the reader's unravelling the mystery, unless he happens to be familiar with a certain legend of the plague (though no plague comes in here). Indeed, it is only a chance conversation in the last chapter that throws light, my dear Watson, on this particularly bizarre affair. And what then, you ask, had happened to Jack Dampier after all? Ah!
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I wonder why it is that so many books about walking tours should be written in much the same style. At least I don't really wonder at all, since it is quite apparent that R. L. S. and Modestine are the models responsible for this state of things. And, since the style in itself is pleasant enough, I don't know that any one need complain. What put me upon this reflection was Vagabonds in Perigord (CONSTABLE), which, for the modulation of its prose, might almost have been an unacknowledged work of the Master, but is actually written by Mr. H. H. BASHFORD. It concerns the wanderings on foot of certain pleasure pilgrims along the course of the river Dordogne; and is, for those that like such things, one of the most attractive volumes I have met this great while. I liked especially the author's happy gift of filling his pages with a holiday atmosphere; there is, indeed, so much fresh air and sunshine in them that the sympathetic reader will emerge feeling mentally bronzed. Nor does Mr. BASHFORD lack an agreeable humour of phrase. "Those wonderful three-franc dinners that seem to fall like manna upon France at seven o'clock every evening" is an example that lingers in my memory. Moreover, running through the whole is a hidden joke, and very cunningly hidden too, only to be revealed in the last paragraphs. Not for worlds would I reveal it here; I content myself with admitting that I for one was entirely fooled. I am less sure whether as a record of travel the book tempts to emulation. The drawbacks are perhaps too vividly rendered for this—heat and thirst through the flaming June days, and by night not wholly unbroken repose. But I am delighted to read about it all.
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BRAM STOKER, whose too early cutting off saddened a wide circle of friends, was the Fat Boy of modern writers of fiction. He knew how to provide opportunity in fullest measure for making your flesh creep. A series of stories named after the first, Dracula's Guest (ROUTLEDGE), is a marvellous collection of weird fancies wrought with ingenuity, related with graphic power, that come as near EDGAR ALLAN POE as anything I am acquainted with. There are nine, widely varying in subject and plot. I have read them all, and am not ashamed to confess that, finishing one before commencing another of the fascinating series, I found it convenient and agreeable to turn aside for a while and glance over less exciting pages. Not the least marvellous thing about the banquet is that it is provided at the modest charge of a shilling.
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Illustration: (A nervous individual, having been advised by a specialist that he must undergo an operation, calls upon his own doctor to ask him to administer the anaesthetic.)
The Doctor (a conscientious practitioner). "Well! I will administer the anaesthetic, but—you know, I never like doing it. The jury are always down on the anaesthetist."