OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.
AUGUST 26, 1914.
An eclipse of the sun took place on Friday last. It is supposed to have been an attempt on the part of the sun to prevent the Germans finding a place in it.
South Africa has now declared with no uncertain voice that she intends to fight under the British Flag, and the KAISER'S vexation on realising that the money spent on a certain famous telegram was sheer waste is said to have been pitiable.
We hear, by the way, that HIS IMPERIAL MAJESTY is also extremely annoyed that so many English people should be resuming their summer holidays at the seaside. This is considered a slight on the power and ubiquity of the German Navy.
Some idea of how well the secret of their ultimate destination was kept even from the soldiers of our expeditionary force may be gathered from the fact that their favourite song on arriving in France was "It's a long way to Tip-per-ar-y."
The German newspapers no doubt perceive in this a reference to our Civil War in Ireland.
We are glad that the lie about the cutting-up of the Black Watch has been scotched. May they yet live to be "The Black Watch on the Rhine."
A gentleman writes to The Observer to mention that an American surgeon, on bidding him farewell the other day, remarked, "Blood is thicker than water." This statement, coming from a medical man, who ought to know, is extremely valuable.
"THE GOEBEN'S INGLORIOUS SCUTTLE."
Yes, and now full of Turkey's coal.
The London Museum is open again. The Curator, we understand, would be glad to add to his collection of curiosities any Londoner who is still in favour of a small Navy.
The Devon and Somerset stag-hounds have stopped hunting, and there is said to be a movement on foot among the local stags in favour of passing a vote of thanks to a certain mad dog.
Which reminds us that that rare spectacle, a smile on the face of an oyster, may now be seen. It has been decided that the Whitstable oyster feast shall not be held this year.
The Duc D'ORLEANS has sent back to the AUSTRIAN EMPEROR the collar of the Golden Fleece which His Majesty conferred on him in 1896. One can understand a Frenchman objecting to being collared by an Austrian.
It is, as is well known, an ill wind that blows no one any good. As a result of the War the proceedings of the British Association are not being reported at their usual length in our newspapers.
Another little advantage arising out of the War seems to have escaped notice. Owing to the fact that such Germans as are left among us eat much more quietly than formerly in order not to attract attention to themselves, it is now possible to hear an orchestra at a restaurant.
The horse-race habit is, we suppose, difficult to shed. A newsvendor was heard shouting the other day, "European War. Result!"
"An artist who called at a famous firm of etching printers," a contemporary tells us, "found the men were away printing bank-notes." We trust that they were authorised to do so.
"Cambridge public-houses," we read, "are to close at 9 P.M." Such dons as are still up for the Long Vacation are said to be taking it gamely in spite of the inconvenience of accustoming themselves to the new regulation.
Every day one has fresh examples of how the War is putting an end to our internecine rivalries. For instance, The Daily Mail is now issuing the "Standard" History of the War.
Some of our contemporaries are referring to the Germans as "Modern Huns." We would point out that, as a matter of fact, they are not real Huns. They are wrong Huns.
"Thousands of young men without ties," complains a writer in The Express, "remain indifferent to the call of their country." We are afraid that this is true not only of those without ties, but also of some who wear expensive cravats.
* * * * *
Illustration: FAIR LOOT.
John Bull, A.B. "WELL, I DIDN'T START OUT FOR THIS; BUT THERE CAN'T BE ANY HARM IN PICKING UP A GOOD THING."
* * * * *
"The idea is to make it possible for every individual to register for himself a number at the General Post Office.... All you do is to address him, say: '105051, care General Post Office,' and the officials look up 05051's latest address and forward the letter."
We fear that this is just what they would do.
* * * * *
"The members of Caldicot Wesleyan Church Sunday School had their annual summer tea on Tuesday in a field kindly lent by Mr. W. Howard of Church Farm."
This comes under the heading "War Items" in The Newport Evening Post. On applying to the Official Press Bureau, however, we were unable to obtain from Mr. F. E. SMITH any confirmation of the rumour.
* * * * *
"The Chairman put the vote, and there being no answering cries of '!' declared the vote carried nemine contradicente."
Birmingham Daily Post.
After which the proceedings closed amid approving shouts of "."
* * * * *
"A large firm of contractors to hotels points out that a prominent form of waste is eating too much."—Times.
Conversely, eating too much brings on a prominent form of waist.
* * * * *
Motto for debtors: Moratorium, te salutamus.
* * * * *
THE CALL OF ENGLAND.
[Every lover of England is bound to give what he can spare—and something more—for the help of those who may suffer distress through the War. Gifts to the National Relief Fund should be addressed to H.R.H. The Prince of Wales, at Buckingham Palace.]
Come, all ye who love her well, Ye whose hopes are one with hers, One with hers the hearts that swell When the pulse of memory stirs; She from whom your life ye take Claims you; how can you forget? Come, your honour stands at stake! Pay your debt!
By her sons that hold the deep, Nerves at strain and sinews tense, Sleepless-eyed that ye may sleep Girdled in a fast defence;— By her sons that face the fire Where the battle-lines are set— Give your country her desire! Pay your debt!
He that, leaving child and wife In our keeping, unafraid, Goes to dare the deadly strife, Shall he see his trust betrayed? Shall he come again and find Hollow cheeks and eyelids wet? Guard them as your kith and kind! Pay your debt!
Sirs, we should be shamed indeed If the bitter cry for bread, Children's cries in cruel need, Rose and fell uncomforted! Ah, but since the patriot glow Burns in English bosoms yet, Twice and thrice ye will, I know, Pay your debt!
* * * * *
A DETERMINED ISLAND.
III. August 19th.
During this season of splendid weather you may be sure that we in Totland Bay have not been idle. We swim, men, women and children, and we perform great feats of diving from the moored rafts which the authorities have kindly provided for that purpose. And we toil off on the usual picnic parties and inhale great draughts of health as we lie on our backs on the heather-clad slopes of the hill. But even while we pursue these simple pleasures our thoughts are with the great warships in their ceaseless vigil in the North Sea or with the gallant fellows who slipped away under cover of the night and are now taking their place in the fighting line with our French and Belgian friends. England, too, it seems, can perform a great operation of war on sea and land, and can do it with a swiftness, a precision and a silence that no other nation could surpass. So we hold our heads high and are proud to reckon ourselves the fellow-countrymen of JELLICOE and KITCHENER. We have begun well. May we have strength and resolution to endure without faltering to the end.
I am glad to say that the sewing brigade, which I mentioned in my last, shows an ever-increasing activity. All good female Islanders are busy about the manufacture of pyjamas for the soldiery. One of the marks of patriotism amongst our ladies is the possession of a pair of pyjama legs. No picnic party is complete without them. When the men light their cigarettes the women bring out their pyjamas and add stitch upon stitch. Pyjama legs are awkward things in a breeze, being apt to flap about, but they are resolutely tucked round arms or otherwise restrained, and the needle continues its deft work in spite of all difficulties. Pyjama jackets, too, are of course made in the proper number, but they are not so dramatic in their movements as the legs, and I have not noticed them so much.
I revert once more to KITCHENER'S triumphant feat in transporting our army to France. We are not very far from Southampton, whence some of the troops must have sailed, but beyond the merest vague rumours we heard nothing. One lady, a fortnight ago, had word from some one that a Belgian padre had seen trucks full of British soldiers in Belgium. A gentleman had heard from a school friend of his daughter that motor-'buses of the General Omnibus Company had been seen in Brussels in all their bravery of scarlet, apparently bound (if their painted announcements might be trusted) for Cricklewood via Brussels with a full complement of soldiery and stores. Another lady knew, she said, that her nephew, an officer, had already sailed for an unknown destination. These were the reports, and they left us all guessing.
I am still in trouble about my tame alien, the children's maid, Maria Hasewitz. Her permit, obtained at Newport with some labour, authorises her to reside at Totland, but not to move more than five miles from the limits of that place. Having decided to leave Totland with family and household on Monday I have suddenly been brought up against the stone wall of Maria's alienship. It was obviously necessary to secure permission for this forlorn German girl to travel home with us. The idea of dropping Maria into the sea five miles from here could not be entertained, in spite of the fact that she is technically an enemy. So I applied, stating the facts, to the Chief Constable, who, with a promptitude and a courtesy which I desire to acknowledge, sent a sergeant to interview me. Struggling against that sense of general and undefined guilt which the propinquity of a police officer always inspires and striving to assume an air of frank and confident honesty, I approached the sergeant and learnt from him that, this being a prohibited area, the Chief Constable could not give the required permission to travel without the express authority of the HOME SECRETARY, to whom he begged to refer me. I urged that it would be a profound relief to the Chief Constable to get rid even of an alien so harmless as Maria; but this plea the sergeant at once put aside. I have therefore written to the HOME SECRETARY. If he refuses I wonder what will happen to Maria.
P.S.—The Home Office has replied authorising Maria to embark at Ryde and land at Portsmouth. This is like telling a Londoner to embark at Hull and land at Bristol on his way to Windsor. I have telegraphed.
Later.—The Home Office permits Maria to embark at Totland and land at Lymington. All is at last well.
R. C. L.
* * * * *
Extract from "Notes from an Alsatian Valley" in Chambers' Journal:—
"As a last word about this charming country, may I point out its advantages as a holiday playground? It offers attractions of many kinds to the sportsman.... The climate ... remains singularly warm right up to the end of October."
Rather too hot a playground for holiday-makers just now.
Illustration: THE COMING OF THE COSSACKS. WILHELM II. "WHAT IS THIS DISTANT RUMBLING THAT I HEAR? DOUBTLESS THE PLAUDITS OF MY PEOPLE!"
* * * * *
Illustration: Zealous Policeman (on German Spy duty, having got motorist's name and address, etc., and received, in answer to his further question, "And is this lady your wife?" a torrent of oaths very much in the vernacular). "OH! PASS ALONG; YOU'RE A BRITISHER ALL RIGHT."
* * * * *
THE NEW NEWS.
While cordially endorsing all the deserved tributes that have lately been paid to the tact and loyalty of our daily Press, we venture to express a hope that the practice of printing every kind of contradictory war report will not become of universal application to other forms of intelligence.
Imagine, for example, being confronted with this kind of thing in the Cricket specials:—
KENT v. LANCASHIRE.
THE GREAT MATCH BEGUN.
A telegram from Canterbury, dated 11 A.M., Aug 18th, states that the great match has actually begun. No details are given.
AMAZING LANCASTRIAN VICTORY.
Rumour's Agency learns that the resistance of Kent has everywhere been entirely overcome; no fewer than forty-three of the home side have been dismissed for sixteen runs. Twenty-nine wickets fell before lunch.
Maidstone, Aug. 19. [Delayed in transmission].—The team has arrived in Canterbury. Captain TROUGHTON, in a stirring address, pointed out that hostilities had been forced upon the county, which however would not be found unprepared. The greatest enthusiasm prevails among the team, who are in capital health. WOOLLEY especially was never in better form.
A private telegram received in Liverpool states that SHARP took seventeen wickets for no runs in eleven minutes. Up to the time of going to press this had not been officially confirmed.
Dover.—No credence is attached here to the reported success of Lancashire. It is pointed out that in any case the figures given must be greatly overestimated, not more than eleven men being employed on either side. Most probably the casualties include both umpires and spectators, and these losses would have no real effect on the game.
Manchester.—It is confirmed here that WOOLLEY has resigned.
Canterbury, noon, Aug. 18. (From our Special Correspondent.)—At last I am able to send you definite information. Amidst a scene of breathless enthusiasm the two Captains prepared to toss. A roar of cheering soon afterwards proclaimed that the coin had declared in favour of——
[Message breaks off here and has evidently been censored.]
Folkestone unofficial wires state that at lunch the scores stood—Kent all out 463: Lancashire 14 for 2 wickets (both taken by WOOLLEY).
The Press Bureau have just issued a statement that no play has yet been possible in the Kent v. Lancashire match on account of rain.
* * * * *
"Pingoism in Japan may be matched by Jingoism here."—Pittsburgh Press.
Pingoism should be carefully distinguished from pongoism.
* * * * *
"SILENCE OF THE BRITISH VIRGIL.
The awful silence of the British virgil in the North Sea is unbroken still."
Newcastle Daily Journal.
We are glad to see our old friend VIRGIL spoken of as British. It is, no doubt, the writer's forcible way of indicating Italy's sympathy.
OUR WAR MAP.
I have bought a war map. My newspaper told me to, and I did. It came yesterday with a host of little coloured flags on pins.
Helen and I surveyed it critically.
"Why, it's only an ordinary map of Europe," she said disgustedly.
"It won't be," I said, "when we've stuck the flags in."
I removed a picture and pinned the map to the wall.
"First of all there's Belgrade," I said.
"Where?" asked Helen eagerly.
"Er, er—somewhere round here, I know.... I do believe they've forgotten to put it in...."
Gladys (who is only ten) found it for us eventually, and we arranged a very fine battle there with a river in between.
The Meuse was easier. We infested its banks with our hosts and fixed a splendid array of troops all along the Franco-German frontier. Next we invaded Germany and Austria from the other side with several Russian armies and put some local troops to meet them. Without boasting, I think I may say the result was very pretty. But to our dismay we found we had a number of armies left. Helen said they must fight somewhere.
"You can't keep all those troops idle," she said. "Look at the waste of good material."
"That's true," I admitted. "Perhaps my newspaper can help."
It did indeed contain enough rumours of battles to dispose of all our flags and a few dozen besides, but at the same time it urged me to accept unofficial statements with the greatest reserve. Mr. F. E. SMITH, it declared (it was a Liberal print; such are the vicissitudes of war) was the only reliable authority. Helen and I decided we could accept information from him alone. But Mr. SMITH gave us no help. I was worried for the moment, I admit; here were all these armies left in the envelope with nowhere to go to.
Then I had an inspiration such as comes to a man but seldom in a lifetime. The Fates should decide.
I pushed the furniture out of the way, led Helen to the other side of the room, blindfolded her, and thrust a British army into her hand.
"The idea is to walk across the room without looking and stick it somewhere on the map," I explained. "Scandinavia and the Peninsula are out of bounds until we hear further from the KAISER. If you hit them you have another prod."
Helen planted her army near Moscow. I took a Servian flag and planted it in the North Sea.
The game was very exciting while it lasted. I consider that I won it by placing a French force in the environs of Vienna, an extraordinarily good move. My newspaper would have been glad of the suggestion, I am sure.
Gladys was handicapped by her height, but, taking everything into consideration, I think she arranged some quite nice struggles in Sicily and the Principality of Monaco.
Wilkinson came in after dinner. He collects the latest rumours and edits them really well. Usually Helen and I find it wise to accept all his statements without a murmur, but yesterday I disagreed with him.
"I'm sorry," I said gently, "but I don't think you've got things quite right. This is more like the position of things at present," and I waved my arm in the direction of our war map.
When at last he regained speech he made some remarks which might have given offence to people less sure of themselves than I.
"No," I said, "I do know the flags of the nations, and so does my wife. But I must beg you to keep that map a secret. You see, I have a friend in the inner circle who has given me some information of which the outside world knows nothing. I can rely on your discretion, I am sure."
"Of course, my dear fellow." He seemed dazed and strangely silent. He had one long last look at the map and departed muttering to himself: "A Belgian fleet off the Outer Hebrides! French troops in Nijni Novgorod!! A Montenegrin squadron menacing Mitylene!!!"
It is strange how strong the force of habit is. I went to the City as usual to-day. At lunch I met Collins, who told me he had it on very good authority that there was an Austrian fleet bombarding the forts along the Mersey and that a combined force of French and Russians had crossed the Dutch frontier from Arnheim and was advancing on Berlin.
I hurried home to record these new developments on my map, and was compelled, through shortage of flags, to displace the Servian fleet from the North Sea and Gladys's Belgian contingent from Monte Carlo.
* * * * *
Illustration: German Bird. "I SEE IT DOESN'T SAY ANYTHING ABOUT EAGLES."
* * * * *
Illustration: The Hohenzollern (megaphonically). "TAKE COURAGE, MY BRAVE GERMANS. YOUR KAISER IS PREPARED TO SACRIFICE A MILLION OF YOU."
* * * * *
ANOTHER IMPENDING APOLOGY.
"500,000 copies of 'With the Flag to Pretoria' were sold a few days after publication and thousands were disappointed."—Advt.
* * * * *
Illustration: A FAUX PAS.
London Hawker (addressing obvious Teuton). "WEAR YER FLAG, SIR."
* * * * *
IN THE CITY.
Because beneath grey Northern skies Some grey hulls heave and fall, The merchants sell their merchandise All just as usual; Our cargoes sail for man's content The same as yesterday, And war-risk's down to 2 per cent., The underwriters say.
The clerks they sit with page and pen And fill the desks a-row, Because outside of Cuxhaven There's them to make it so; We go to lunch, as natural, From one o'clock till two, Because outside of Kiel Canal There's those that let us do.
We check and add our pass-books up Or keep our weekly Boards Unhampered by the works of KRUPP And all the KAISER'S swords; At five o'clock we have our tea And catch our usual bus— So thank the LORD for those at sea Who guard the likes of us.
* * * * *
THE COWARDLY CONSUMERS CO-OPERATIVE COMPANY.
The C.C.C.C. has been formed to provide for the wants of unpatriotic or panic-stricken persons in all parts of the country.
WRITE TO US TO-DAY.
WE HAVE MADE COMPLETE ARRANGEMENTS FOR YOUR CONVENIENCE.
A FULL DINNER-TABLE FOR YOU WHILE OTHERS STARVE.
HORS D'OEUVRES.—Ensure your hors d'oeuvres by allowing us to turn your bath into a sardine tank. Your basement too should make an excellent oyster bed. We would flood it for you.
SOUPS.—The mock turtles we supply are quite tame, and while waiting to be made into soup should keep your children amused. We also deliver Salted Oxtail by the furlong. Send for patterns.
FISH.—Try one of our Frozen Whales and assure your fish course for the next six months.
JOINTS.—Sheep-folds (with sheep) supplied at shortest notice to fit your tennis court, or you might order one of our Handy Styes, which have accommodation for half-a-dozen pigs (congenial company) and are suitable for erection in a corner of any flat or private residence.
SWEETS.—Our "one ton" plum puddings placed in position on your premises by our own cranes.
* * * * *
READ OUR TESTIMONIALS.
A Grateful Customer writes:—"Your transformation of my boudoir into a hen-pen is quite admirable, and enables us to face the future with complete calm. As your circular reminds us, one feels more comfortable about one's country when one is safe oneself."
Another writes:—"Many thanks for prompt attention. The night-nursery makes an excellent cow-house, and the two cows used the passenger-lift with perfect success."
* * * * *
WRITE US FOR QUOTATIONS FOR ANY QUANTITY OF PROVISIONS REQUIRED.
So long as the order is large enough we will execute it. No orders for less value than L50 accepted.
Our Hoarding Department has prepared a neat stocking capable of holding 750 sovereigns. Please ask to see one.
* * * * *
All goods are delivered in our own heavily armoured pantechnicons.
A charming miniature White Feather, suitable for personal adornment, will be presented to all customers.
Take no notice whatever of any warnings in the newspapers not to buy largely. Think of yourselves. It is only you who matter. Buy now; buy quantities.
* * * * *
From the regulations governing special constables:—
"A special constable guilty of misconduct may be suspended from duty, and, if so suspended, shall forthwith give up his warrant card, truncheon, armlet, and whistle to the police officer suspending him."
What tune must he whistle to him?
* * * * *
"Admiral Jellicoe has a reputation for thoroughness in the naval service, but a story which shows his kindly nature was told to me to-day (says 'F.' in the 'Citizen'). A defence boom was being constructed at Sheerness, and the admiral was dissatisfied with it. He told the officer in command of some defects, and said it was not so good as the boom at Portsmouth."
We feel sure there must be even better stories about him than this.
* * * * *
"THEY ALSO SERVE."
Jeremy threw away the stump of his after-dinner cigar and began to light another one.
"Where's the economy of giving up smoking when you've got lots of cigars in the house?" he asked.
"Oh, Jeremy," said his wife, "who says you ought to?"
"The Vicar. He only smokes one non-throat cigarette a day himself. I told him he ought to give that up, but he said it was different. I say, it will want rather a large soldier for that shirt, won't it?" He sat on the arm of his wife's chair and began to play with the sleeve.
"Jeremy, can't you find something to do?"
"Yes." He went out and returned with his golf clubs, which he began to polish lovingly. "I think I shall have a round to-morrow. If FRANCIS DRAKE played bowls when the Spanish Fleet was in sight, I don't see why Jeremy Smith shouldn't play golf when the German Fleet is out of sight."
"I thought you said you weren't going to till the war was over?"
"I don't see why I shouldn't. Golf keeps us fit, and it is the duty of every Englishman to be fit just now."
"But you really play golf because you like it."
Jeremy looked up at her in surprise.
"Really," he said, "I don't see why I shouldn't like doing my duty."
"Oh, Jeremy!" sighed his wife. "You know I didn't mean that."
"I know exactly what you meant." He dropped his clubs and began to pace the room. "You're filled with the idea that the only way a man can serve his country is by doing something he absolutely detests. That's why you made me a special constable." He stopped and glared at her. "A special constable! Me!"
"Darling, it was your own idea entirely."
"You said to yourself, 'There are men who would make excellent special constables—men with red faces and angry moustaches who take naturally to ordering other people about, men who instinctively push their way into the middle of a row when they see one, men with a lust for gore, great powerful men who have learnt ju-jitsu. But the fact that they'd all rather like it shows that it can't really be their duty to join; they wouldn't be making a big enough sacrifice. The men we want are the quiet, the mild, the inoffensive, the butterflies of life, the men who would simply loathe being special constables, the men who would be entirely useless at it'—and, having said this to yourself, you looked round and you saw me."
Mrs. Jeremy smiled and shook her head at her husband, sighed again, and returned to her work.
"And so now I'm a special constable, and I wear a belt and a truncheon, and what good do I do? Baby loves it, I admit that; Baby admires me immensely. When Nurse says, 'If you're not a good girl the special constable will be after you,' Baby shrieks with delight. But officially, in the village, I am useless.... Oh but I forgot, I arrested a man this morning."
"Jeremy, and you never told me!" said Mrs. Jeremy excitedly.
"Well, I wasn't quite sure at the time whether I arrested him or he arrested me. But in the clearer light of evening I see that it was really I who was doing the arresting. At any rate it was I who had the belt and the note-book."
"Was it a German spy?"
"No, it was old Jack, rather drunk. I arrested him for being intoxicated on a bridge—the one over the brook, you know, by Claytons. He put his arm round my neck and we started for the Haverley police-station together. I didn't want to go to the police-station, because it's three miles off, but Jack insisted.... He had me tight by the neck. I couldn't even make a note."
"Wasn't he afraid of your truncheon?"
"My darling, one couldn't hit old Jack with a truncheon; he's such a jolly old boy when he's sober." Jeremy played nervously with his wife's scissors, and added, "Besides he was doing things with the truncheon himself."
"What sort of things?"
"Conducting the Marseillaise chiefly—we marched along in time to it." A smile spread slowly over Jeremy's face as the scene came back to him. "It must have looked splendid."
"How dared he?" said Mrs. Jeremy indignantly.
"Oh, well, if you make your husband a special constable you must expect these things. I consoled myself with the thought that I was doing my duty ... and that there was nobody about. You see, we made a detour and missed Haverley, and when we were nearly home again he left me. I mean I released him. You know, I'm not what I call a good special constable. I did what I could, but there must be more in it than that."
Mrs. Jeremy looked up and blew a kiss to him.
"However," he went on, "I dropped in on him this evening and made him sign the pledge."
"Well, there you are; you have done some good."
"Yes, but I hadn't got my truncheon on then. I spoke as Jeremy Smith, Esq." He put a brassey to his shoulder and said, "Bang," and went on, "I should be no good at all at the front, and Lord KITCHENER would be no good trying to paint my water-colours, but all the same I scored an inner last night. The scene at the range when it got about that the President had scored an inner was one of wild enthusiasm. When the news is flashed to Berlin it will give the GERMAN EMPEROR pause. Do you know that the most unpatriotic thing you can do is to make shirts for the wounded, when there are lots of poor women in the village who'd be only too glad of the job? Like little Miss Merton. And yet you think to get out of it by making your husband a special constable."
Mrs. Jeremy put down her work and went over to her husband and knelt by his chair.
"Do you know," she said, taking his hands in hers, "that there isn't a man, woman or child in this village who is idle or neglected or forgotten? That those who wanted to enlist have been encouraged and told how to, and that those who didn't want to have been shown other ways of helping? That it's all been done without any fuss or high-falutin or busy-bodying, and chiefly because of an absurd husband of mine who never talks seriously about anything, but somehow manages to make everybody else willing and good-tempered?"
"Is that a fact?" said Jeremy, rather pleased.
"It is. And this absurd husband didn't understand how much he was helping, and he had an idea that he ought to do something thoroughly uncomfortable, so he ordered a truncheon and gave up golf and made himself quite miserable ... and then put it all on to his wife."
"Well, why didn't you stop me?" said Jeremy helplessly.
"I wasn't going to be a drag on you; if you'd volunteered for a submarine I should have said nothing."
"I should be useless in a submarine," said Jeremy thoughtfully; "I should only fall over the white mice. But I really thought you wanted—— Why then," he cried happily, "I might play golf to-morrow, you think?"
"I wish you would," said Mrs. Jeremy.
Jeremy took up his brassey and addressed an imaginary ball.
"Sir Jeremy Smith playing golf in a crisis," he said. "Subject for historical picture."
A. A. M.
* * * * *
Illustration: A DESPERATE MEASURE.
West Country Skipper (stationary in small Cornish port and ignorant of our Navy's control of the sea). "IF I PUTS OUT AN' GOES EAST I BE SUNK BY T' GERMANS, AN' IF I GOES SOUTH I BE SUNK BY T' AUSTRIA-'UNGRIANS. IT DU SEEM AS 'OW I WERE BEST TO BIDE WHERE I BE AN' GI' T' OLD SHIP A COAT O' PAAINT!"
* * * * *
THE WATCH DOGS.
MY DEAR BILL,—It is now upwards of a fortnight since we were torn asunder, I being taken away to cope with the Germans and you being left at home to protect our property against the predatory attacks of our landlady. I imagine you would like to know how things are going with me, but please don't trouble to answer, for I don't in the least want to know how things are going with you. No one does, my boy; you are what we refer to as a something civilian. You must forgive us, Bill; it is one of the too few pleasures in the life of the mobilized Territorial.
Has that rosy, well-groomed body of yours ever sought repose on the tessellated floor of a public hall? Has it ever washed itself in an enamel mug? Has it ever set out on a round of visits with luggage limited to 35 lbs., inclusive of its bed? No, nor had mine before; and yet it doesn't seem to suffer much harm from the experience. What is more, we are beginning to find scope for little luxuries even in this narrow compass; there are mess tins, for instance, of the larger sort in which one may, with a little ingenuity, have a complete bath.
When I set off last Tuesday week, with my chest out and my eyes right, I only got as far as the Infants School round the corner, where my company was foregathered. Here we spent our time, the hundred odd of us, getting together the necessaries of life: the most formidable of these was undoubtedly the housewife. I confess to a faint heart when I think of myself darning my socks in off moments between battles.
From the Infants School we went to the Town Hall to join the Battalion, and the thousand of us marched to our war station, some thirty miles away. I hope I looked like a soldier as I stepped out, but I felt more like a general stores with all my stock hanging in my shop window. Next time I do this sort of thing I'm going to have a row of pegs on my back and an extra storey in my head-gear for oddments. There is no denying that the whole arrangement is an efficient one, the only failure being the cellar equipment. It seems to me that the War Office ought to have discovered some shady nook about the human body where one's drinking water could be kept cool. Also I think they have wasted space by not utilizing the inside of one's field-glasses for the carriage of something or other. A combination sword and razor would also be an economy.
We increased in numbers as we progressed. At our war-station we joined the Brigade, making us four thousand in all, and from there we joined the Division, becoming about sixteen thousand. If we go on at this pace, we shall be getting into the millions soon, and then I think somebody's meals must be overlooked. There's bound to be some limit to the capacity of these organizing people, although it certainly hasn't appeared yet. They moved our Brigade two hundred miles by train with less shouting and fuss than is usual with the single British family mobilising for its seaside resort. Their system of train-catching however is worth mentioning.
Section Commanders were told to have their section ready by six-thirty. That was the order issued by us Lieutenants responsible for half-companies. We had been told to be ready by seven o'clock, under a threat of execution on the following dawn. Hence the margin of half an hour. We took our orders from our Captains, who had them from the Majors, who had them from the Adjutant, who had them from the C.O., who had them from the Brigadier, who had them from goodness knows where. Every rank is prepared to be shot, if need be, but desires, if possible, not to have it happen at dawn; so each officer, taking his order from his superior, puts on his margin before instructing his inferior.
The Brigadier came round this morning to have a look at a guard. He found our one and only T. B. Ponks doing sentry. "Turn out the guard," was the order. "Eh?" was the response. "Where is the guard?" asked the flushed suite. "A dunno," said T. B. The suite was inclined to be fussy, but our Brigadier is essentially human. "Where are the other lads?" he asked genially. "They 'm in theer," said T. B., pointing to the entrance with no particular enthusiasm. The Brigadier and his staff made as if to enter. "'Ere, you," called T. B., now galvanized into activity, "you can't go in theer," and he barred the way. We have since been lectured on the elements of military ceremonial, but at the same time we have been asked to volunteer as a unit for the fighting line if need be. I think the Brigadier has his doubts as to how T. B. and his sort will impress the Allies, but feels quite confident of their manner towards the enemy. It was the same T. B. who, being sent by the magnificent Lieutenant d'Arcy to summon Lance-Corporal Brown, was overheard calling, "Hi, Mr. Brown, d'Arcy wants yer."
I must break off here, for I have had an intimation from Private Cox that now is my opportunity to see his bare feet. A fortnight ago I might have hesitated to accept this kind invitation; to-day I insist upon his bringing them along at once. In fact, my hobby in life is other people's feet; I have fitted a hundred pairs of them with socks and with boots, and I have assisted personally at the pricking of their blisters and the trimming of their excrescences. What a fall from our intellectual heights! But so it is with us, Bill; if we can once get those boys' feet in sound marching order, all the nice problems of the human soul which we used to canvass may go to the—— But I suppose that I must reserve that word for military use.
By the way, when the battalion was asked to volunteer, the men only raised one point. They didn't trouble themselves about the work or the risk of it, but they wondered whether anybody really would look after their homes and dependants when the excitement had died down a little. Their scepticism may be due to a certain music-hall comedian who used to declare as follows:—"And if, gentlemen, this glorious old country of ours shall ever be involved in war, I know, I say, gentlemen, that I know, there is not a man in this hall to-night who will fail to turn out and see the troops off."
But to-day things are different, and these boys of ours, a noisy, troublesome and magnificent crew, need have no fear about the homes they leave behind them.
Yours ever, HENRY.
* * * * *
Illustration: HOW WE SAVED THE HARVEST AT SLOSHINGTON-ON-SEA.
* * * * *
"WANTED.—Girls to sort nuts."
Advt. in "Liverpool Echo."
The object is to find if there are any without grease on their hair.
* * * * *
Illustration: THE TRIUMPH OF "CULTURE."
* * * * *
Illustration: THE MISFORTUNE OF WAR.
Tired Tim. "'ERE, I DON'T ARF LIKE THE LOOK O' THIS, BILL."
Work-shy Willy. "NO, MORE DON'T I, MATE. CUSS THAT THERE KAISER!"
* * * * *
Thanks to the courtesy of the Editor we are able to publish the following selections from the stories about cats sent in for the prize competition organised by The Scottish Meekly. The first received a complete edition of the sermons of Dr. Angus McHuish, the second a mounted photograph of Sir Nicholson Roberts, and the third a superb simulation gold pencil-case.
THE LIFE-STORY OF A WILD CAT.
Here is a true story of a wild stray cat which I hope may interest your readers. Some years ago I lived with my parents (my father being a retired manufacturer of artificial eyes) on the banks of the river Dodder, near Dundrum. In the back-garden there was an old summer-house, where we used to store cabbages, disused kippers, Carlsbad plums and other odds and ends, and here a stray cat took up his abode in an empty porter cask during the latter part of January, 1901. He was of some rare breed and very beautiful in appearance—a blend between a marmadillo and a young loofah—but so savage that no one dared to touch him. During the cold months of the year we placed bottles of stout in the summer-house for him, the corks of which he drew with his claws, which were remarkably long. In the summer-time he used to forage for himself, subsisting mainly on roach, with an occasional conger-eel which he caught in the Dodder. One day early in April, 1902, the cat—whom we called Beethoven, because of his indulgence in moonlight fantasias—came to the back door mewing, and on opening the door my father found that it had lost an eye—probably in a fight—and evidently wished him to supply the loss artificially, which he did. I have never heard a cat purr so loudly as Beethoven did on that occasion. After that he completely lost his shyness and became quite one of the family, singing in the choir on Sundays and contributing to the larder during the week by his skill as a fisherman. He lived with us until a few months ago, when he unhappily died through inadvertently swallowing a cork. He is buried in our garden, and on the stone are inscribed the following lines composed by my mother—
Here lies Beethoven in his grave, No earthly power could him save; An envious cork blocked up his breath And that was how he met his death.
MRS. PULLAR LEGGE.
Marine Villas, Brondesbury.
CAT OR CHAMELEON?
Piffles was a splendid pink Circassian—perfect in colour and shape, with glorious topaz eyes. But the extraordinary thing about him was a gift that he had for changing his colour. Thus my uncle, an old Anglo-Indian who always drank a bottle of Madeira after dinner, declared that from 10 P.M. onwards Piffles invariably seemed to him to be a bright crimson with green spots. Another peculiarity of Piffles was that he always followed the guns out shooting, and used to retrieve birds from the most difficult places. He practically ruled the household, took the boys back to school after the holidays, attended family prayers, and was learning to play the pianola when he was unfortunately killed by a crocodile which escaped from a travelling menagerie.
(MISS) IVY WAGG.
The Oaks, Long Boughton.
A FELINE PRACTICAL JOKER.
Last year I had a cat who, whenever she was offended, used to go to my bedroom and throw various articles out of the window. I was constantly finding purses, powder-puffs, artificial teeth, safety-pins, hymn-books, etc., on the lawn, and never suspected the culprit until she was caught in the act.
She also had a habit of sitting on the top of the front door and dropping golf-balls on the head of the postman, whom, either for his red hair or his Radical opinions, she disliked bitterly.
She would eat and drink anything, including ice-pudding and green Chartreuse, and was always peculiarly cheerful on Thursday evenings, when The Scottish Meekly reaches our house.
D. MONK HOWSON.
Steep Bank, Grogport.
* * * * *
Illustration: "BETTER 'AVE ONE AND READ ABOUT IT NOW, SIR; IT MIGHT BE CONTERADICTED IN THE MORNING."
* * * * *
THE SCRATCH HANDICAP.
"What do you do?" asked Charles, "when people want you to play lawn-tennis?"
"Sometimes I play," I said. "Sometimes I send Sophonisba. Sometimes I tell them that my head-keeper is away and I am obliged to look after the lop-ears. What happens to you?"
"Well, you know what lawn-tennis is like nowadays. In the bygone butter-pat era I could hold my own with the best of them. Golf had hardly come in, and when one wasn't playing cricket, and the spilliken set had been mislaid, and tiddley-winks was voted too rough, a couple of sets or so was rather fun. Soft undulating courts, very hard to keep a footing on, and plenty of sticks and leaves to assist one's screws, and patches of casual whiting here and there so that you could say that it wasn't a fault but hit the line. Now all that is changed. Panther-limbed, hawk-eyed young persons leap about the lawn dressed in white from top to toe. They play on fast and level lawns, entirely circumscribed by a kind of deep-sea trawling apparatus. They want you to hit hard and well. I have only two strokes when I hit hard. One of them pierces the bottom of the seine or drag-net fixed across the fairway, the other brings the man round from the next-door garden but two to say that his cucumbers are catching cold. And then I do not understand their terms. What is a 'fore-hand drive'? It sounds like the coaching Marathon. And how do you put on top spin? Do you wind your racquet round and round the ball and then pull it away suddenly, or what? And cross-volleys—what in the world are they?"
"Goodness knows," I said. "My own volleys are the best-tempered little chaps alive. But, hang it! no one can force you to play lawn-tennis if you don't want to."
"Can't they?" said Charles. "That's just the point. They do. They say to me, 'You play golf and cricket; of course you can play tennis. Easiest thing in the world.' Swish! swish! they go, making a ferocious cross-hand top-lead from baulk with their umbrellas. 'That's how to do it. You'll soon get into the way of the stroke.' 'That's just what I'm afraid of,' I say, leaping nervously on to the table. But it's no good. 'Come round next Saturday afternoon,' they say, 'we shall be expecting you,' and pass rapidly into the night before I can refuse."
"One can always have a sick headache," I reminded him.
"I did that once," said Charles. "I had been asked to play in a tournament, and at dinner the next evening I sat next to the girl who ought to have been my partner in the mixed handicaps, and we had meringues. No, it isn't safe, and besides one might always want to play golf. I think the best thing is to go once and trust to one's own skill not to be asked again. Anyhow, I don't believe the Jenkinsons will give me another invitation for some time."
"What happened?" I asked. "I suppose when they've sewn up the net and bought new balls——"
"No, it wasn't that," he answered, with a dreamy smile. "You know the Jenkinsons. You know how keen they are on tennis and how proud of their court. I did everything I could to save them, but they would have me. I said I had no racquet except the one I had used for landing trout in the spring, and they told me I could get it restrung. I said I had no shoes, and they told me any shoes would do. I couldn't tell them I had no flannels, because they wouldn't have believed me. So I went. I wore an old blue cricket cap on the back of my head: I wore long white trousers not turned up, and I wore brown shoes."
"And your racquet?" I asked.
"I borrowed a real tennis-racquet," replied Charles; "one of those narrow, rather wistful-looking things, with a kink in its head. I thought it would complete the languid artistic effect and help to convince them. It had rained a good deal in the morning, and I rather hoped we might spend the time looking at the conservatory and have muffins for tea. But no. When I reached the house I found that they had decided to play. They laughed at me a good deal, of course—at my cap, and my racquet, and my trousers, and my brown shoes. When we had taken up our stations in the arena they told me I was to serve first. I sent the ball high up into the air underhand and ran swiftly to the net." He paused melodramatically.
"Go on," I said. "Was it the solar plexus or the eye?"
"No," he answered sadly, "I was unwounded; but that was the last stroke I played. When I served that service they laughed at me again, but when I ran to the net they ceased to laugh. They said they could easily find someone else to complete the four. They pressed me to sit and watch for the remainder of the afternoon. Indeed, they were quite firm about it."
"I don't understand," I said. "Was it your face that frightened them in the blue cap?"
"Not so much my face," he answered gently, "as my feet."
"What was the matter with them?"
"There are big nails," he said softly, "in my brown golf shoes."
* * * * *
Illustration: Trooper. "COME ON BEHIND HERE AND TRAVEL WITH US, JIM!"
Jim (from horse-box). "NOT MUCH. NONE OF YOUR THIRD-CLASS FOR ME."
* * * * *
FROM ANOTHER POINT OF VIEW.
It is a strange thing that, much as women have entered the writing lists with men, there is one branch of literature which they rarely attempt. Take away Mrs. BROWNING and CHRISTINA ROSSETTI and you will scarcely find a love poem by a woman, or, at any rate, a love poem which takes the woman's point of view. Probably many of the most cherished sentimental songs which wake the echoes of the drawing-room and conservatory are the work of women; but they write as men. It is always the masculine aspect which is set before the public; the beloved is always feminine. And yet marriage statistics show that precisely as many men have married as women. But during the preliminary period of exalted emotion any love poetry that was written was written by the men.
Surely, as the advancement of woman proceeds, and she adds territory upon territory to her kingdom, she will redress the balance and write love poetry too.
A very few changes in certain of the classic lyrics indicate how near the two varieties of love poems can be: male and female. Thus, why should not "he" as well as "she" have dwelt among untrodden ways? Why should not "he" have walked in beauty like the night? POE wrote magically about ANNABEL LEE; why should not one of his female relatives, for example, have written in a similar strain? Something like this:—
It was many and many a year ago, In a kingdom by the sea, That a gentleman lived whom you may know By the name of Hannibal Lee; And this gentleman lived with no other thought Than to love and be loved by me.
Women must see to it that men do not have it all their own way for ever. LANDOR was moved to a perfect lyric by love of ROSE AYLMER. Is the following any less perfect?
Ah! what avails the sceptred race? Ah! what the form divine? What every virtue, every grace? George Aylmer, all were thine.
George Aylmer, whom these wakeful eyes May weep, but never see, A night of memories and sighs I consecrate to thee.
George is of course not the only name, nor is Aylmer. The adaptrix, however, must be careful that the Christian name is a monosyllable and the other a dissyllable.
Again, in the following feminine version of a Shakspearean song the name is subject to alteration:—
Who is Bertie? What is he That all the girls commend him? Handsome, brave and wise is he; The heavens such grace did lend him That he might admired be.
Examples might be adduced from many poets, but two more will suffice. A female TENNYSON might have begun a song in the following terms:—
It is the youthful miller, And he is grown so dear, so dear, That I would be the pencil That trembles on his ear: For 'midst his curls by day and night I'd touch his neck so warm and white.
Finally, let us look at the very prince of love poets—ROBBIE BURNS. Two of his most famous songs might as well have been written of swains as maidens. Here is one in which in the most natural way in the world lassie becomes laddie, and Mary, Harry:—
Go, fetch to me a cup o' tea, And take it from a silver caddie, That I may drink a health to thee, A service to my bonnie laddie! The boat rocks at the pier o' Leith, Fu' loud the wind blaws frae the Ferry, The ship rides by the Berwick-Law, And I maun leave my bonnie Harry.
Is that injured by the change? Not a bit. And here is another in which we have successfully introduced a variation of the original name:—
Of a' the airts the wind can blaw I dearly like the west, For there the bonnie laddie lives, The laddie I lo'e best. There wild woods grow, and rivers row By mony a fleecy flock, But day and night my fancy's flight Is ever wi' my Jock.
After reading these famous stanzas in their amended form our women poets may perhaps take heart and emulate them: to the immense delight of their fiances, who like to be wooed as well as to woo, and have never shied very much at adulation.
* * * * *
MR. PUNCH'S HOLIDAY STORIES.
III.—THE FIGHT OF THE CENTURY.
For weeks past the press had discussed little but the coming boxing contest between Smasher Mike and the famous heavy-weight champion, Mauler Mills, for a purse of L20,000 and enormous side stakes. Photographs of the Mauler in every conceivable attitude had been published daily, together with portraits of his wife, his two children, his four maiden aunts and the pink-eyed opossum which he regarded as his mascot. Full descriptions of his training day by day, with details of his diet, his reading, his amusements and his opinions on war, divorce, the clergy and kindred subjects, testified to the extraordinary interest taken by the public in the titanic struggle.
But with regard to Smasher Mike the newspapers were at a loss. The Daily Flash indeed declared him to be the son of a popular Cabinet Minister, and triumphantly published photographs of Downing Street, the Woolsack, the Ladies' Gallery and Black Rod. The Daily Rocket, on the other hand, described him as a herculean docker, discovered and trained by a syndicate of wealthy Americans, and issued photographs of Tilbury Station, Plymouth Hoe and the Statue of Liberty in New York harbour. The fact remained that the identity of the daring challenger was a well-kept secret.
Mauler Mills was too experienced a pugilist to be perturbed by the mystery surrounding his adversary. The stakes had been handed in, and the purse of L20,000, in one pound-notes, had formed a full-page illustration in The Trumpet, with a photo of the Mauler eating gooseberries inset. Content with this knowledge, he trained faithfully and well, treated the interviewers with great courtesy, and publicly announced that Smasher Mike would be knocked out early in the third round by means of a left hook to the jaw.
The betting on Mauler Mills was a hundred to one.
Young Lord Tamerton was in desperate straits. The estate to which he had succeeded at the age of ten had been administered during his minority by a fraudulent executor, who had absconded to South America with his ill-gotten wealth. Matters had since gone steadily from bad to worse, and the young peer was now face to face with utter ruin.
An effort had been made to retrieve the family fortunes by the marriage of his sister, the beautiful Lady Margaret Tamerton, to her cousin, the wealthy Sir Ernest Scrivener, but the providential discovery that the latter was already married under the alias of Marmaduke Moorsdyke had prevented the match. Since then Sir Ernest had been their implacable and relentless enemy, and his desperate attempt to kidnap Lady Margaret had only been frustrated by the skill and courage of the famous athlete, Ralph Wonderson.
Lord Tamerton was seated at a grand piano, playing BACH and moodily reflecting on these matters, when Ralph Wonderson himself entered the room, vaulting lightly over piano and performer as he did so.
"What's the matter, Fred?" he asked. "You look blue."
Lord Tamerton dramatically threw L8 4s. 6d. on the table.
"This morning I pawned the Island Cup, which you won for us," he said bitterly. "That is the result, and that is what stands between me and starvation." His voice broke, "And—and between Madge and starvation," he added.
Ralph laughed gaily. "I'm not rich," he said, "and if I were I don't suppose you'd accept money from me. But I came here purposely to put you in the way of making it. Wager as heavily as you can on Smasher Mike. The odds are a hundred to one against him. I can introduce you to a man who will consider your name sufficient security for a loan of L5,000. That will bring you in L500,000, which should secure you at any rate from absolute privation. As for little Madge—well, I have a bare L8,000 a year, but if——"
A light step was heard behind him, and a small hand stole into his own.
"I would marry you," said Lady Margaret, "I would marry you if it were only L7,000."
As the lovers gazed fondly into each other's eyes, a sinister figure emerged from the grand piano and slipped out noiselessly through the open door.
(To be concluded in our next.)
* * * * *
Illustration: Burglar (to his mate). "SEE WOT PEOPLE GITS FUR BEIN' UNPATRIOTIC! IT'S A PURE TREAT TO GIVE THESE 'ERE GOLD 'OARDERS A LESSON."
* * * * *
Sad Case of Cannibalism by Robert.
"Milton scarcely heard her. He was too intent upon wondering how Robert came to be dining tete-a-tete with the one-time Adeline Goodrin, and—if the truth be told—upon that amazing woman, herself."
"Daily Mail" feuilleton.
* * * * *
From Chemistry of Plant Products:—
"D'Arbamont concludes that starch, and presumably also sugar, may or may not be essential for the formation of chlorophyll."
We came to the same conclusion long ago.
* * * * *
Illustration: Excited Veteran. "THE ALLIES WILL PROBABLY REACH HERE AND THEN SWEEP ROUND WITH A SUDDEN FLANKING MOVEMENT."
* * * * *
(By Mr. Punch's Staff of Learned Clerks.)
The heroine of Alberta and the Others (SIDGWICK AND JACKSON) was the eldest of an orphaned family of girls and boys who were finding life a little boring in an English village; and when an unexpected legacy made her mistress of a couple of town lots in a place called Sunshine, in Western Canada, nothing would content her but to emigrate with the whole tribe—reinforced by a delightful Aunt Mary and an animal known as the Meritorious Cat—to the Land of Promise. The book is the history of how they got on there. Naturally, from the circumstances of their start and the giddy altitude of Alberta's hopes, you will be prepared for its being, to some extent at least, a story of disillusion. Miss MADGE S. SMITH, who wrote it, says that it is all true; and indeed there is much in the tale that stamps it as the outcome of personal experience. This being so, I could wish that her attitude in the matter had been a little less uncompromisingly English. In many ways the language and general outlook of the daughter of an Oxford don will no doubt differ considerably from that of a Canadian-born inhabitant of a prairie township; but that is no good reason for assuming an air of patronage. However, this defect, though it exists, is not so pronounced as to spoil one's enjoyment of an entertaining record, written, as the publishers say, "in high spirits throughout," and having, I fancy, just this much fiction mingled with its obvious fact, that it ends with a general pairing off and the prospect of three weddings—which seems, as Lady Bracknell observed in a similar connection, "a number considerably above the average that statistics have laid down for our guidance." But at least it is the amende honorable to the Land of Promise.
* * * * *
From the cover of A Tail of Gold (HODDER AND STOUGHTON) I gather with respectful interest that its author, Mr. DAVID HENNESSEY, recently won four hundred pounds with another story in open competition. I did not read the story in question, but in view of its satisfactory financial result I may be permitted to express a hope that it was considerably better work than the present volume. Let me be entirely fair. A Tail of Gold has some pictures of Australian mining life that are not without interest; but I am bound to add that a careful and sympathetic perusal has failed to disclose any other reason for its existence. The plot, so far as there is one, concerns the chequered career of a certain Major Smart, who seems to have been by no means all that a major should be. Amongst other unpleasing peculiarities, he was apparently possessed of a fetish that brought misfortune or death to all who were associated with him. These results were in the main involuntary; but it is only just to add that Smart was not above assisting nature to take her course. Thus, some years before the opening of the story, he had deliberately buried one poor lady alive in a cave containing sulphide of mercury. Never ask me why. I am as muddled by this as I am over his further conduct in leaving with the corpse every possible clue in the way of letters and ciphers that could bring his guilt home to him. In any ordinary novel he would have been convicted in a few chapters; but A Tail of Gold wags (if I may use the term) so leisurely, and its action is so much impeded by false starts and repetitions and general haphazardness, that there is no telling how long it might not have continued but for the limitations of volume form. No, I can't pretend I liked it much.
* * * * *
Madame ALBANESI, in The Cap of Youth (HUTCHINSON), cannot be accused of excessive kindness to her own sex, for the charming women of the book are almost snuffed out by two poisonous females, Lady Bollington and Lady Catherine Chiltern. Indeed these ladies are a little too much of a bad thing, and, not for the first time, I am left thinking how wonderfully Madame ALBANESI'S novels might be improved if she could persuade herself to bestow an occasional virtue upon her wicked characters. The heroine, Virginia, escaped from the hands of one of the pair only to fall under the thumb of the other. I must admit, however, that Lady Catherine had some reason to be angry at having Virginia suddenly dumped upon her as a derelict daughter-in-law. Why Brian Chiltern married in haste and then left his wife to endure such impossible conditions you must find out for yourself, but I fancy you will agree that his delicacy of feeling amounted to sheer stupidity. Nevertheless this story is bound to be popular, and I should have had no complaint to make if I did not feel that its author has it in her to do better work.
* * * * *
Even readers to whom American humour is generally a little indigestible may glean some smiles from Penrod (HODDER AND STOUGHTON), provided that it is taken in small doses and not in the lump. If this book were to be considered a study of the normal American boy I should cry with vigour, "Save me from the breed," but as a fanciful account of a thorough and egregious imp of mischief I can, within limits, offer my congratulations to Mr. BOOTH TARKINGTON. The triumph of Penrod lies in the fact that, although he brought woe and tribulation to his relations and exasperated his friends to the point of insanity, it is nevertheless impossible to suppress an affection for him. Ofttimes and hard his father chastised him with rods, but Penrod merely accepted these beatings as the price that had to be paid for leading an adventurous life, and showed not the smallest signs of repentance. Yes, I like Penrod, though I have not any great desire to meet him in the flesh. It grieves me, however, that such a character as Mr. Kinosling should have been dragged in by the heels. If fatuous clerics are worth any novelist's attention they certainly are not worth Mr. TARKINGTON'S, and the only effect Mr. Kinosling had upon me was to fortify my conviction that it is far easier to begin a book of humour than to finish it.
* * * * *
Illustration: THE NORTH SEA PERIL.
"BY JOVE, I PITY THE GERMANS IF SHE GETS HOLD OF 'EM!"
* * * * *
Loud swells the roar of traffic in the street, The motor-buses rumble on and wind Their plaintive warnings as they come behind Faint folk who dally, dazed by summer heat; The reckless taxis seem a deal too fleet To country cousins nervously inclined, And raucous news-boys fret the curious mind With spicy rumours of the foe's defeat.
But suddenly a hush falls everywhere: Stopp'd is each taxi with its languid load, And, as the City's silence deeper grows, Only a barrel-organ churns the air While Peggy (in the middle of the road) Pauses to put some powder on her nose!
* * * * *
Mr. Chaplin as an Apache.
"RETIREMENT OF MR. HENRY CHAPLIN.
SAFETY OF THE STREETS."
* * * * *