PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.
July 22, 1914.
Those who deny that Mr. LLOYD GEORGE is ruining land-owners will perhaps be impressed by the following advertisement in The Bazaar, Exchange and Mart:—
"To be sold, small holding, well stocked with fruit trees, good double tenement house on good road and close to station, good outer buildings. Price, Four Marks, Alton, Hunts."
The fact that the price should be translated into German looks unpleasantly like an attempt to entrap an ignorant foreigner.
* * *
Meanwhile it looks as if the Socialist ideal of driving our landed gentry into the workhouse is already being realised. The Abergavenny Board of Guardians, we read, has decided to accept an offer by Lord ABERGAVENNY to purchase the local workhouse for L3,000.
* * *
Three of the new peers have now chosen their titles. Sir EDGAR VINCENT becomes Baron d'ABERNON; Major-General BROCKLEHURST, Baron RANKSBOROUGH, and Sir EDWARD LYELL, Baron LYELL. Rather lazy of Sir EDWARD.
* * *
A lioness which escaped from a circus at Bourg-en-Brasse, France, the other day, was killed, and a gendarme in the hunting party was shot in the leg. As the lioness was not armed it is thought that the gendarme must have been shot by one of the party.
* * *
It is frequently said that, if the Suffragettes were to drop their militant tactics, the suffrage would be granted to-morrow. A Suffragette now writes to stigmatise this as a hypocritical mis-statement. She points out that recently the experiment was tried of allowing an entire day to pass without an outrage, but not a single vote was granted.
* * *
Dr. HANS FRIEDENTHAL, a well-known Professor of Berlin University, declares that, as a result of the higher education, women will in the near future be totally bald, and will wear patriarchal beards and long moustaches. They will then, no doubt, get the vote by threatening that, unless their wishes are granted, they will kiss every man they meet at sight.
* * *
Portsmouth Town Council has carried, by eleven votes to nine, a Labour amendment refusing to place official guide-books to Pretoria in the public library unless the nine deportees are allowed to return to South Africa. General BOTHA could hardly have foreseen this result of his action, and it will be interesting to see what happens now.
* * *
"POISON AFTER A DUCK'S EGG."
Our cricketers would seem to be getting absurdly sensitive. This is scarcely the way to brighten the game.
* * *
The Guildhall Art Gallery is to be rebuilt. Some of the pictures there might be at the same time re-painted with advantage.
* * *
Apparently the Moody of the Moody-Manners Opera Company is gaining the upper hand. This Company opened its London season with The Dance of Death.
* * *
The appearance in Bond Street last week of a lady leading a little pig instead of a dog as a pet is being widely discussed in canine circles, though it has not yet been decided what action, if any, shall be taken. In view of the fact that so many dogs are pigs it is possible that no objection will be raised to one pig being a dog.
* * *
By the way, The Daily Chronicle was not quite correct when, in describing the recent "Dog Feast," in which the Shepherds Bush Indians were alleged to have participated, it used the expression "pow-wow." Owing to the action of the Canine Defence League a sheep was roasted and not a pow-wow.
* * *
A motor-bus ran into a barber's shop in Gray's Inn Road last week, and three customers had a close shave.
* * *
Some burglars recently blew open with gelignite the safe of a Holborn jeweller containing L1,000 worth of gems, and, as the jewels are missing, the police incline to the view that the object of the men must have been robbery.
* * *
Asked by The Express for a suggestion for a motto for the L.C.C., Mr. H. DE VERE STACPOOLE sent the reply, "My word is sovereign." It is good to know that this delightful writer can command an even higher rate of pay than did Mr. RUDYARD KIPLING at the height of his popularity.
* * *
The Daily Herald informs us that the Russian monk, RASPUTIN, "started life as an illiterate peasant." But, we would ask, is there really anything remarkable in this? We believe that the number of persons who have been born literate is extremely small.
* * *
Says an advertisement in T.P.'s Weekly:—"Reader receives guests—Leigh-on-Sea, facing sea, minute cliffs." It is honourable of the advertiser to mention the minuteness of the cliffs. This is, we fear, a characteristic of the Essex coast.
* * *
Among "Businesses for Sale" in The Daily Chronicle, we come across what looks like an ugly example of military venality:—"GENERAL for Sale, taking L16 a week; going cheap."
* * *
Finally, we have the pleasure to award first honorary prize in our Pathetic Advertisement Competition to the following—also from The Daily Chronicle:—
"Fish (Fried) and Chips for Sale, owing to wife's illness: only one in neighbourhood."
We trust that the advertiser's addiction to monogamy is not confined to the neighbourhood.
* * * * *
Illustration: WE UNDERSTAND THAT, IN VIEW OF THE POPULAR REVIVAL OF BOXING, DR. STRAUSS HAS BEEN COMMISSIONED TO WRITE A GRAND OPERA ROUND THE NOBLE ART. THE ABOVE REPRESENTS THE FINALE.
* * * * *
OXFORD IN TRANSITION.
INTERVIEW WITH A FAMOUS PORTER.
(BY HAROLD BEGTHWAYT.)
Hearing from an undergraduate friend at Cardinal College of the impending retirement of Mr. Chumbleton ("Old Chum"), the famous porter of Salisbury Gate, I gladly seized the opportunity of running down to Oxford to gain some fresh sidelights on the inner life of the University. Cardinal College, unlike Balliol, Magdalen and New College, has never shown itself responsive to the new spirit. There are probably fewer Socialists in Peckover than in any other quad in Oxford. The old feudal traditions, though somewhat mitigated, still survive. You still hear the characteristic Mayfair accent and recognise a curious lack of that Moral Uplift without which, as Sir ROBERTSON NICOLL finely says, a man is no better than a mummy. And yet I own to having been strangely attracted by these well-groomed scions of a vanishing breed, with their finely chiselled features, their clipped colloquialisms and their cheerful arrogance. There is something engaging as well as pathetic in these unruffled countenances, blind to the realities of modern life and the need of that fraternal fellowship which alone can bring peace to the head that wears a crown or a coronet.
Mr. Chumbleton, who was just going off duty when I arrived, cordially invited me into his inner sanctum and offered me a glass of gin and green Chartreuse, the favourite beverage, he assured me, of the late Duke of Midhurst, whose scout he had been in the "seventies." Of that strange and meteoric figure, who was subsequently devoured by a crocodile on the Blue Nile, Mr. Chumbleton spoke with genuine affection. "He was something like a Dook," said the old man, "and not one of your barley-water-drinking faddists. Yes, in those days a Dook was a Dook and not a cock-shy for demigods [? demagogues]. I can remember," he went on, "when there were three Dooks in residence at the same time, the Dook of Midhurst, the Dook of St. Ives and the Dook of Clumber. But the Dook of Midhurst was the pick of the bunch. Why, once he went into a grocer's shop in the High and asked for two pounds of treacle. 'How will you have it?' asked the grocer, who was the baldest-headed man I ever seen. 'In my hat,' said the Dook, whipping off his bowler and holding it out. As soon as it was full, before you could say Jack Robinson, he popped it on the grocer's head and ran out of the shop."
The old man told this terrible story, which reminded me of the worst cruelties of the despots of the Italian Renaissance, with a gusto that was inexpressibly painful. When he had finished I asked whether the Duke was sent down. "Oh, no, Sir," was the prompt response. "You see the grocer, being a bald-headed man, had no trouble with the treacle, and, besides, the Dook he gave him a wig next day. But if anyone was to do that to-day, Dook or no Dook, there'd be questions asked about it in the House of Commons, or a Royal Commission would be appointed. Times is changed," he went on sadly, "and there ain't any more of the old stock left. Why, the Bullingdon Club got three First Classes this year, and as for breaking up furniture and bonfires in the quad it don't happen once in three years. 'Nuts' they call 'em now, but when I was a young scout they called 'em 'dogs,' and gay dogs they were, I can tell you. 'Bloods' they call 'em, too, but there ain't much blue blood in these modern Blutocrats."
I asked Mr. Chumbleton if there were any signs of Cardinal College being affected by the new Moral Uplift, but he seemed unable to fathom the meaning of my query. His standpoint was clearly philistine and, I regret to say, distinctly pagan. He had never heard of the Land Campaign, or of Mr. HEMMERDE, Baron DE FOREST or even Mr. HAROLD BEGBIE. His attitude towards Mr. LLOYD GEORGE was unsympathetic. He deplored the popularity of motor-bicycles, but, with a strange and lamentable perversity, welcomed the advent of the motor-'bus while condemning the introduction of trams.
I came away more than ever impressed by the tenacity of feudal traditions, and the need of redoubled efforts on the part of all Radical stalwarts to convert the older universities from hotbeds of expensive obscurantism into free nurseries of humanitarian democracy. It was sad to see such a figure as that of Mr. Chumbleton, genial and hospitable, I admit, but utterly heedless of the trend of the times, hopelessly ignorant of the Progressive program, and deriving a senile satisfaction from memories of a barbarous and brutal past.
* * * * *
Painting the Lily.
"White duck trousers in a snow-white grey material."—Advt. in "Daily Province" (Vancouver).
* * * * *
From The Daily Mirror's account of the SMITH-CARPENTIER fight:—
"One French girl was so excited that she bit a large hope in her fan."
Not a white hope, we trust.
* * * * *
[In The Daily Mail's list of Situations Vacant, such as Housemaids (Hmds), Between-maids (Bmds), Working Housekeepers (Wkghkprs) and Cook Generals (Ckgns), appears the following:—"Young Lady wanted for cinema acting. Fullest particulars to Box No. —."]
Said she, "The Daily Mail ensures Immediate supply. Whose situation's vacant? Yours. Who's going to fill it? I.
"If you shall ask me, can I act? I readily retort, I'm just the Star you want; in fact The strong and silent sort.
"The sooner you reveal the plot The sooner I begin. In me, I beg to state, you've got The perfect Heroine."
Said they—"De Vere's a villain who For reasons not disclosed Desires to make an end of you ..." ("The cad!" she interposed).
"... He ties you to a railway line That so the Leeds express May execute his fell design With speed and thoroughness.
"But Herbert's heroism's such, He swears this shall not be. You see, he loves you very much ..." ("I guessed he would," said she).
"... He hires a rapid motor car, He also buys a map; He knows how fast expresses are, And notes the handicap.
"But, as he is a man of parts And born to play the game, Without delay the hero starts ..." We'd better do the same.
They chose a quiet neighbourhood, A lonely piece of track; They trusted that the metals would Not incommode her back.
"This is De Vere," they said, "whose hand Will tie you firmly down. Meanwhile your Herb, we understand, Is on his way from town.
"We do not, though one can't be sure. Anticipate the worst; Expresses may be premature; Still, Herbert should be first.
"Such realism must excite The audience (and you) ... If you are ready we are quite; Your train will soon be due."
* * *
She formed a resolution, viz., To put no trust in men, But hire herself to mistresses, A whole, if humble, ckgn.
* * * * *
Illustration: AT DURAZZO-SUPER-MARE.
MPRET. "I DON'T FEEL AT ALL COMFORTABLE HERE. ISN'T IT ABOUT TIME YOU TOOK ME OUT OF THIS?"
EUROPA (sleepily). "MPRAPS"
* * * * *
Illustration: "LOOK, ETHEL, LOOK—THERE GOES SIR BEERBOHM ALEXANDER!"
"SO IT IS; BUT HOW UNLIKE!"
* * * * *
ONCE UPON A TIME.
Once upon a time there was an ostrich who, though very ostrichy, was even more of an egoist. He thought only of himself. That is not a foible peculiar to ostriches, but this particular fowl—and he was very particular—was notable for it. "Where do I come in?" was a question written all over him—from his ridiculous and inadequate head, down his long neck, on his plump fluffy body, and so to his exceedingly flat and over-sized feet.
It was in Afric's burning sand—to be precise, at the Cape—that, on the approach of danger, the ostrich secreted his self-centred head, and here from time to time his plumes were plucked from him for purposes of trade.
Now it happened that in London there was a theatre given up to a season of foreign opera, and, this theatre having been built by one of those gifted geniuses so common among theatre architects, it followed that the balcony (into which, of course, neither the architect nor the manager for whom it was built had ever strayed) contained a number of seats from which no view of the stage was visible at all—unless one stood up, and then the people behind were deprived of their view. This, of course, means nothing to architects or managers. The thought that jolly anticipatory parties of simple folk bent upon a happy evening may be depressed and dashed by a position suffering from such disabilities could not concern architects and managers, for some imagination would be needed to understand it.
The new temporary management, however (whatever the ordinary management might do), recognising the rights of the spectator, refrained from selling any seats from which no view whatever could be obtained and behaved very well about it—as perhaps one has to do when half-a-guinea is charged for each seat; but with the border-line seats which they did sell—those on the confines of the possible area—a view of the stage was only partial and so much a matter of touch-and-go that any undue craning of the neck or moving of the head sideways at once interrupted the line of vision of many worthy folk at the back; while anyone leaning too far forward from a seat in the front row could instantly, for many others, obliterate the whole stage.
It happened that on a certain very hot night in July a fat lady in one of the front seats not only leaned forward but fanned herself intermittently with a large fan.
Now and then one of the unfortunate half-guinea seat-holders behind her in the debatable territory remonstrated gently and politely, remarking on the privation her fan was causing to others, and each time the lady smiled and said she was very sorry and put the fan down; but in two minutes she was fluttering it again as hard as ever, and not a vestige of the Pentateuchal caperings or whatever was going forward could be discerned in her vicinity.
She meant well, poor lady; but it was very hot, and how could she help it when her fan was made of that particular ostrich's feathers?
* * * * *
"Methods of sowing, reaping, watering, and thrashing have been passed down from father to son through countless generations."
Chronicle of London Missionary Society.
Of thrashing, anyhow.
* * * * *
"The feature of the Keswick valley is its spacious width of skyscrape."—L.& N.W.R. Guide to the English Lakes.
In this respect New York is its only serious rival.
* * * * *
Having been a bachelor from my earliest youth I suppose I ought to be accustomed to the condition; but the fact remains that I miss something—something which only a wedding supplies.
Curiously enough this want is not a wife. I have been without one so long that I should not know what to do with her if I had one. I should probably overlook her, and she would become atrophied or die of neglect or thirst. Neither do I crave a home of my own; nor golden-haired children to climb up my knee. I can do without these accessories.
But what I do hunger for and what I will have is a trousseau. Why the acquisition of a trousseau should be a purely feminine prerogative I have never been able to understand. A bride without a trousseau is generally regarded as an incomplete thing—a poached-egg without toast; a salad without dressing. But the bridegroom without a trousseau is a recognised institution. True, he has new clothes, both seen and unseen, but this is not a trousseau; it is merely a "replenishment of his wardrobe." His least disreputable old things are "made to do"; and nobody thinks slightingly of him if he attends his wedding in a re-cuffed shirt or in boots that have been re-soled. A girl, however, would as soon think of entering Paradise with a second-hand halo as she would contemplate being married in anything that was not aggressively new.
Thus it is that before my wish can be consummated I have two honoured conventions to defy: that only a girl may possess a trousseau, and that a marriage is a necessary condition to the acquiring of it. Fortunately I am strong-minded. A long course of Mrs. HUMPHRY WARD'S homilies has given me no little facility in achieving this attribute, and I am determined that I will change neither my sex nor my status.
Now, I have prepared a list, just as—I suppose—every girl does. In the first place I am going to indulge in the hitherto undreamt-of luxury of a surfeit of dress-shirts. No one who has not experienced life on two dress-shirts—one in wear, the other in the wash—can quite understand what this will mean to me. Men like Sir JOSEPH BEECHAM, Mr. MALLABY-DEELEY, Mr. SOLLY JOEL, Lord HOWARD DE WALDEN, and others, who, I daresay, have four or even five, cannot know what it is to feel that their evening's refreshment and entertainment depend on their finding the French chalk or the india-rubber.
Therefore I am making no stint in this matter. I am having fifteen dress-shirts, so that there may be one for wear each day in the week, seven in the laundry, and one over for emergencies—like Parsifal, that begins in the middle of the afternoon. I mean to be similarly lavish in the matter of collars and handkerchiefs. The number of the former which I am buying amounts almost to an epidemic; while the extent of my commission in the latter is the result of lessons learnt in the hard school of experience. I say unhesitatingly that the man who tries to get through life on a mere dozen handkerchiefs is simply begging for disaster, as, however methodical in their use he may be, a carelessly-caught cold may any day upset his reckoning and leave him at a loose end; sometimes scarcely that. Hence I am doing this part of my trousseau in princely fashion. I am having half a gross of them.
Then there is my slumber-wear. For years I have hungered for silk ones, but have had no conscientious excuse for appeasing my appetite. To buy silk pyjamas in cold blood has hitherto seemed to me to be sheer cynical extravagance; but now I feel that circumstances justify me in my action, for it would be a very sorry thing for me to encounter a burglar or cope with a fire clad in apparel that would not be up to the standard of the rest of my wardrobe.
Now, I am a great believer in dressing for the spirit of the moment; therefore I have resolved upon a pretty colour-scheme for my night-wear. My pyjamas are to be of tints conducive to refreshing rest, namely and severally white, lemon, light pink, and pale green—an idea which I candidly confess was inspired by the spectacle of a Neapolitan ice. If you think that this is merely an idle whim, just imagine endeavouring to sleep in pyjamas patterned like an Axminster carpet or a Scotch tartan. No wonder Macbeth "murdered sleep" if he was arrayed in garments of his club-colours!
I have brought the same aesthetic sense to bear upon my choice of ties and socks: greys and blacks for times of grave political crises; fawn, buff, pearl, moose—I am not sure that this is a colour, but it sounds quite possible—for brighter hours; and colours familiar to every student of spectroscopy for halcyon days of rejoicing—the opening of the Royal Academy, the Handel Festival, the return of HARRY LAUDER, or the elevation of Mr. BERNARD SHAW to the peerage.
As for externals, suffice it to say that they will be en suite, and that I intend to introduce just a little touch of originality into my trousers. I am going to have them made with spats sewn to the leg-ends in order to save time and trouble in dressing.
In short, I have forgotten nothing, except spare studs, and I think it is quite likely that I shall remember them too in course of time. I have even gone so far as to fix a day for a dress rehearsal. But first I shall invite my friends, as is the way with brides-elect, to a private view of my trousseau, when they shall see all of it spread upon the coverlet of my bed, over the backs of my chairs, or hanging in serried ranks in my wardrobe.
And now nothing more remains to be done but to raise the necessary funds, and with this object in view I have instructed my broker to draw my money out of the Savings Bank. I am expecting a postal-order almost any moment.
* * * * *
Illustration: Yokel. "'OW FAST CAN SHE TRAVEL, MASTER?"
Owner. "FIFTY MILES AN HOUR, MY MAN—EVEN SIXTY IF I CARE TO PUSH HER."
Yokel. "AN' 'OW MANY IF YE BOTH SHOVE?"
* * * * *
"'Anna virumque cano' was the burden of the charge the Chief Secretary had to meet, and it sorely embarrassed the dear gentleman."—Liverpool Courier.
Who is "ANNA"? We hope Mr. BIRRELL is not mixed up in a scandal.
* * * * *
Illustration: AN IMPALPABLE FLAME.
Claude. "WHAT ARE YOU WAITIN' HERE FOR, OLD THING?"
Cuthbert. "TO GIVE THESE FLOWERS AND CHOCOLATES TO THAT STUNNING LITTLE GIRL IN 'THE DEATH KISS OF DEADMAN'S GULCH.'"
* * * * *
(A Little Romance of the Restaurant-Car).
Is there a sight so soothing to the brain As England's outlines green and softly curved, Visions of wooded slope and fertile plain Seen by the traveller in a dining-train, No doubts to vex him and no talk to strain, His seat, his chance companion, both reserved?
I think not. Yet the rather stoutish man Who never raised his head but chewed and chewed Annoyed me as I feasted. I began To deem him one who had no higher plan, No larger outlook in life's journeyings, than Resonant demolition of his food.
I longed to point to him the hedges twined With starry blossoms, and the coats like silk Of oxen as they wandered unconfined; I longed to ask him if his heavier mind Preferred the cattle of more stedfast kind Stamped with advertisements of malted milk.
The little red-brick hamlets, poised apart, And all the grandeur of the rolling leas, I longed to ask him if they brought no smart Of scarce-remembered boyhood to his heart. But I refrained; and he took cherry tart And after that two different kinds of cheese.
And then we neared a little market town Half hidden in the dale, that seemed to cling Fondly about a church of old renown; And here the fat man started and looked down And filled his tumbler to the foaming crown And held it high as if to pledge the KING.
Some memory seemed to stir within his breast As though the curtain of old days were torn, And, as he drained the glass with eager zest, "Behold," I thought, "I wronged him. In that nest, So far from turmoil, full of old-world rest (He is about to tell me), he was born.
"And now, before the antique spire hath fled, Because remembrance of his home is dear, He toasts it deeply." All my wrath was dead. Then the man smiled at me and wagged his head; "Junction for Little Barleythorpe," he said; "A week ago these points upset my beer."
* * * * *
AN UNPLAYED MASTERPIECE.
[The growing popularity of the one-Act play has prompted the aphorism that what is required in this class of drama is a "maximum of action with a minimum of explanation." Nevertheless the following effort has been rejected by every Manager in London—a fact which decisively answers the oft-repeated question, "Do Managers read plays?"]
SCENE—A luxuriously furnished room in the flat of Violet Hazelwood. Violet is seated, writing. The telephone on the table rings noisily.
Violet (picking up the receiver). Hello! Yes.... It's me.... Oh, it's Reggie.... Yes, I'm at home to you.... In three minutes?... Right, I shall be here. (Hangs up receiver.)
Maid (entering suddenly). Sir Frank Bulkeley, m'm. (Goes out and Sir Frank enters.)
Sir Frank. My dear Violet—— (A report is heard and a splintering of glass.) Confound it all, I'm shot! (Falls on floor.)
Violet. Yes, he certainly appears to be shot. I'd better go and see the police about it. (Goes out.)
Reggie Fortescue (entering precipitately). Violet.... (Looking round in perplexity). Not here! She said she would be here.... She is false to me. False! I have nothing left to live for. (Takes out a revolver, shoots himself and falls on the floor.)
Gerald Maristowe (entering cautiously through the window and carrying a rifle). This is a devil of a risky business, this rifle practice, but Ulster must be saved somehow. I see I've broken the window. Wonder if I've done any other damage. (Sees Sir Frank.) Gee! I've killed a man! (Sees Reggie.) Oh, glory! I've killed two of 'em! Reggie, too, by all that's rum! I say, you know, that's pretty useful shooting.... Still, it probably means hanging, and I'm—er—hanged if I'll be hanged. Let me rather die by my own hand. (Discharges rifle at himself, and falls on floor.)
Violet (re-entering with an Inspector and a Constable). There he is, Inspector. (Sees Gerald.) My goodness, there seem to be two now! I feel sure.... (Sees Reggie.) Three! Really, Inspector, I feel almost certain that when I left.... Oh, it's Reggie! My heart is broken! (Faints.)
Inspector. Stand back, Clarkson; this job requires thought. (Takes up telephone receiver.) Circus 20634, Miss.... That you Doc.? Come round at once, please.... Two or three men shot.... Right.... (Hangs up receiver.) Clarkson, measure the exact distance between each corpse and the window. (Clarkson proceeds to do so. Enter Doctor.) Ah, Doc., that's the little job I mentioned.
Doctor (kneeling by Violet). This one isn't shot; she's only fainted. She'll be all right in a minute. (Examines Gerald.) Nor is this one. He'll be all right in a minute. (Examines Reggie.) Nor is this one. He'll be all right in a minute. (Examines Sir Frank.) This one is, though. Dead as a door-nail. (Violet, Reggie and Gerald rise simultaneously to their feet.) There you are! I told you so.
Gerald (aside). Missed!
Reggie (aside). Missed! (Aloud) Violet, I love you!
Violet. I'm so glad, because I love you.
Reggie (confidentially). Do you know, I really thought I was dead. Hello, Gerald, old son, what are you doing here?
Gerald. Oh, I thought I'd sort of look in, you know.
Inspector. Violet Hazelwood, I arrest you for the murder of Sir Frank Bulkeley, Bart., and I warn you that anything you may say will be used in evidence against you. Clarkson, stop playing with that tape and handcuff the prisoner. (Clarkson does so.)
Gerald (aside). Good business! That saves my neck.
Violet. But, my dear good soul.... However, I suppose it's no use to say anything. Reggie, I can never marry you now.
Reggie. You couldn't in any case, my dear, because I haven't got any money.
Violet. You forget that you are sole heir to Sir Frank there, who had fourteen thousand a year. I thought of that at once.
Reggie. Columbus! So I am. Well, that is a dashed nuisance.
Gerald (coming forward nobly). My dear, dear friends, I cannot allow your happiness to be wrecked in this way. I killed Sir Frank! You can be married now.
Reggie. Good egg! (Embraces Violet.)
Inspector. Gerald Maristowe, I arrest you for the murder of Sir Frank Bulkeley, Bart., and I warn you that anything you may say will be used in evidence against you.
Violet. Oh, we must save him. What can we do?
Clarkson. Lady, do you remember years ago giving sixpence to a starving boy in Peckham Rye?
Clarkson. I am—that is, was—that boy. I will save your friend. Inspector, you know that a reward of L10,000 is offered for the capture of the anarchist Mazzio?
Inspector. Yes. I wish to heaven I could lay my hands on him.
Clarkson. I can tell you how to do so.
Clarkson (dramatically tearing off his wig and false moustache). I am Mazzio! (Turning to Gerald and the others) I shall struggle violently. While he is engaged in arresting me, you can make good your escape.
Inspector. Ha! Do you think I can be so easily baffled? (Picking up telephone receiver.) There are other police in the neighbourhood.
Violet. Not so. (Slashes through the telephone cord with a knife).
Inspector. Oh, well, never mind. (Puts his head out of the window and blows a police whistle. The others look at one another in consternation.) Now I think I am master of the situation.
Clarkson. Foiled! All the same, you are less fortunate than you imagine. When I said I was Mazzio, I lied.
Inspector. Prove it.
Clarkson. Easily. Mazzio has a scar on his left forearm. (Rolling up sleeve.) I have none.
Inspector. Oh, well, never mind. I can now proceed with the arrest of the murderer of Sir Frank Bulkeley, Bart.
Gerald (aside). I'm done for!
Clarkson. There must be some way of escape. Doc., it's up to you to do something.
Doctor. With pleasure. I certify that Sir Frank died from heart disease.
Inspector (stammering). But—but—but he's obviously shot. I mean to say——
Doctor. I certify that Sir Frank Bulkeley died from heart disease ten seconds before the bullet struck him. You can do nothing in the face of my certificate.
Gerald, Reggie and Violet. Saved!
* * * * *
This Wonderful World.
"A Hamburg bookkeeper named Schute who has just celebrated his 8th birthday, has been with his employers for sixty years, while his son, his grandson, and his great-grandson are also working for them."
The Evening News.
* * * * *
"During the last two years some marvellous 'finds' have been made at this wonderful fortress from time to time. It is intended to continue excavation work for a moth."
Denbighshire Free Press.
They can be caught much better with beer and treacle.
* * * * *
"LIBERAL MEMBER RESIGNS.
WILL STAND AS INDEPENDENT.
London, Wednesday.—Mr. Joseph Martin, Liberal M.P. for East St. Pancras, is resigning his seat, and will recontest it as an independent South Pole under American auspices."—Sydney Daily Telegraph.
Sir ERNEST SHACKLETON must look out.
* * * * *
Illustration: First Caddie. "DOES IT MAKE YER DIZZY LOOKIN' DOWN THESE 'OLES?"
Second Caddie. "No."
First Caddie. "THEN WHY DON'T YOU GO TO THE PIN SOMETIMES?"
* * * * *
THE FIRST TEE.
(Mullion, July 17th.)
It is the place, it is the place, my soul! (Blow, bugle, blow; sing, triangle; toot, fife!) Down to the sea the close-cropped pastures roll, Couches behind yon sandy hill the goal Whereat, it may be, after ceaseless strife The "Colonel" shall find peace, and Henry say, "Your hole" ...
Caddie, give me my driver, caddie, The sun shines hot, but there's half a breeze, Enough to rustle the tree-tops, laddie, Only supposing there were some trees; The year's at the full and the morn's at eleven, It's a wonderful day just straight from Heaven, And this is a hole I can do in seven— Caddie, my driver, please.
Three times a day from now till Monday week (Ten peerless days in all) I take my stand Vestured in some degage mode of breek (The chess-board touch, with squares that almost speak), And lightly sketch my Slice into the Sand, As based on bigger men, but much of it unique ...
Caddie, give me my driver, caddie, Note my style on the first few tees; DUNCAN fashioned my wrist-work, laddie, TAYLOR taught me to twist my knees; I've a beautiful swing that I learnt from VARDON (I practise it sometimes down the garden— "My fault! Sorry! I beg your pardon!")— Caddie, my driver, please.
Only ten little days, in which to do So much! E.g., the twelfth: ah it was there The Secretary met his Waterloo, But perished gamely, playing twenty-two; His clubs (ten little days!) lie bleaching where Sea-poppies blow (ten days!) and wheeling sea-birds mew ...
Caddie, give me my driver, caddie, Let us away with thoughts like these; A week and a-half is a lifetime, laddie, The day that's here is the day to seize; Carpe diem—yes, that's the motto, "Work be jiggered!" and likewise "What ho!" I'M NOT GOING BACK TILL I'VE JOLLY WELL GOT TO! Caddie, my driver, please.
A. A. M.
* * * * *
"The 'Gunboat' and his manager, Mr. Buckley, lounged out on the beautiful old English lawn among the rose bushes and drank in the sunshine."—Daily Mirror.
What offers from brewers, distillers, etc., to name the particular beverage which they drank in the sunshine?
* * * * *
"Sir James Key Caird, the millionaire duke manufacturer of Dundee."—Montreal Gazette.
His yearly output is singularly small.
* * * * *
Illustration: THE SEX'S PROGRESS.
From "WOMEN AT PRIZE-FIGHTS" TO "WOMEN IN THE RING" SHOULD BE AN EASY STEP IN THE UPWARD MOVEMENT.
* * * * *
THE PUNCHER'S GRIEVANCE.
"You journalist chaps just spoil us," said Puncher Pete, when I called upon him yesterday at his training camp. "You draw us into conversation, stick down our remarks in your note-books, and then make us out to be the biggest boasters on the face of the earth. It's not right.
"For instance, you've got it on the tip of your tongue to ask me if I think I'll lick Jimmy Battle next Thursday. Well, of course I'll lick him. Jimmy's a good boy, but he can't stay, and then he hasn't gone twenty rounds with three blacks, as I have. But what's my opinion matter to you? Why make me shout it out like a cock on a steeple?
"Yes, I shall beat Jimmy. Six rounds will cure him. All right. Very well then. Leave it at that.
"One of your fellows called upon me two days ago. 'Pete,' he said, 'they say you're ill.' 'You tell 'em to mind their own ills,' I gave him back. Ill, indeed! If I were ill could I walk my forty miles a day and think nothing of it? Could I lift Harry Blokes there with one hand and hold him above my head? D'you suppose a sick man could do this?"
The Puncher seized a skipping-rope and did marvellous things with it. Then he smashed lustily at a punch-ball, left, right, left, right, duck, bing! "Here, Harry!" he cried. His sparring partner approached, bruised but beaming. The Puncher knocked him down.
"I seem ill, don't I?" said Pete, turning to me. "But what's it got to do with all you chaps, anyway? Wait till Thursday. Then you'll find out whether I'm ill or not. And even if I was ill Jimmy couldn't do it. Jimmy's got as good a punch as the next man, I'll say that for him. If he gets it in it would fell an ox. But can he get it in? Not next Thursday.
"Now, see here, you're not going to draw any words from me about the coming fight. You may draw others. I refuse. Let's get right off this fight and on to other things.
"After all, fighters are modest chaps. When I knocked Torpedo Troop out in three rounds last April for a purse of L5,000 and the Championship of Nova Scotia I didn't go bragging. I might have said that this was the first time that the Torpedo had ever had his eyes closed. Well, I didn't. What's more, I never shall. Tell your reader that!
"Take my victory over Quartermain, again. Or over Dinghy Abbs, who was down and out in the second round in spite of all the fuss that was made about him beforehand. I was a sick man at both these fights. Not a soul knew it, mind you. My wife—for I'm as fond of home life as any ordinary man, and we have a little baby—my wife used to worry terribly. She'd expect me to come home on a stretcher. But I never happened to choose that conveyance, and she don't fret any more.
"Will it be a stretcher on Thursday? I can see you want to put that question, but I'll ask you to excuse me. Next Thursday, as I've already hinted, will tell its own story, and when I say that the tale will have a happy ending for one of us who isn't too far from your ear to boast about it if he was inclined that way, perhaps you'll guess without my telling you what I mean.
"Not at all, Sir. Don't mention it. I'm always glad to have a friendly chat with anyone, and I hope you'll forgive me for refusing to talk shop."
* * * * *
Illustration: A RESORT TO THE OBVIOUS.
MR. PUNCH. "PERMIT ME, GENTLEMEN—I DON'T THINK YOU KNOW ONE ANOTHER: SIR EDWARD CARSON—MR. REDMOND. IT'S MORE THAN TIME YOU MET."
* * * * *
ESSENCE OF PARLIAMENT.
(EXTRACTED FROM THE DIARY OF TOBY, M.P.)
House of Lords, Monday, July 13.—CAMPERDOWN, like HABAKKUK, is capable de tout. Can do (is at least ready to undertake) anything. Like Lord JOHN RUSSELL, he would at an hour's notice take charge of the British fleet, whether in Home waters or on Foreign stations. Confesses with pathetic modesty that there are two things beyond his capacity. One is to find a needle in a pottle of hay; the other, to discover a teller in Division Lobby when no one proposes to tell.
To-night this last dilemma faced noble earl. Home Rule Amendment Bill before House in Report stage. MACDONELL moved amendment introducing principle of proportional representation. After long debate Question put from Woolsack. There being a few cries of "Not content!" House cleared for division.
Hereupon strange thing happened. Whilst majority of peers streamed into Content Lobby discovery was made that not only were there no tellers for the Not-Contents but no Not-Contents for the tellers. Fortunately CAMPERDOWN on the spot. Instantly took charge of the affair. According to his own narrative, which thrilled the listening Senate, he had gone into Division Lobby, "where," he added, "I stayed a long time."
Began to realise something of the feeling of the boy who stood on the burning deck whence all but he had fled. CAMPERDOWN essentially a man of action. No use mooning round deserted Lobby wondering where everybody was.
"I tried," he protested, "to find a teller for the Not-Contents, which I was not able to do. There were no Not-Contents in the Not-Contents' Lobby and there were no tellers. I do not know," he added, turning his head with enquiring pose, like Mr. Pecksniff asking his pupil Martin Chuzzlewit to take compass, pencil and paper, and "give me your idea of a wooden leg," "whether any of your lordships have seen an occurrence like this before. I have not."
Illustration: The shade of MASTERMAN recalls happy memories to the inconsolable WORTHINGTON EVANS.
Murmur of sympathy ran round perturbed benches. Dilemma awful, unprecedented, irretrievable. But everyone felt that CAMPERDOWN had done his duty, and that if he had failed to find Not-Contents in an empty Lobby no one else could have found them.
Business done.—In House of Commons PREMIER announced winding-up of business at earliest possible moment with intent to meet again in "early winter" for new Session. No Autumn Session, you'll observe. Feeling against it so strong that insistence might have broken bonds that link faithful Ministerialists with their esteemed Leader. Accordingly prorogation about usual time in August, and new Session, instead of opening in February, will date from November. When we come to think of it, seems to amount to much the same thing as Autumn Session, which usually begins in mid-October. That an illusion. There will be no Autumn Session. Only we shall all be back at Westminster again in drear November.
Illustration: "He did not want these adaptations of a German system, which the CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER seemed to have chosen."—Lord HUGH CECIL.
House of Commons, Tuesday.
Like RACHEL weeping for her children, the Opposition will not be comforted in respect of the continued absence of CHANCELLOR of the Duchy. 'Tis a touching trait, illustrating the high level of human nature the Commons reach. Had it been MASTERMAN'S political friends who mourned his absence, recognising in it cause of insecurity for the Empire, situation would be natural and comprehensible. It is from the so-labelled enemy's camp that lamentation is sounded. WORTHINGTON EVANS, MASTERMAN'S severest censor whilst he still sat on Treasury Bench in charge of Insurance Act, is in especial degree inconsolable. Physically and intellectually reduced to a pulp—using the word of course in Parliamentary sense.
As he is too unnerved to dwell upon subject, BARNSTON and HAYES FISHER to-day take it up. Want to know how long a state of things most painful on their side of the House is to continue? PREMIER makes light reply. Points out that it's no new thing for a Minister to fail to find a seat, the globe meanwhile serenely revolving on its axis. In 1885 and in 1892 the Duchy was unrepresented on the Treasury Bench.
A more striking case, overlooked by PREMIER, of a Minister long struggling with adversity at the poll finding the door of House of Commons bolted and barred is familiar to Lord HALSBURY. Appointed Solicitor-General in 1875 HARDINGE GIFFARD did not take his seat till the Session of 1877. Crushed at Cardiff, left in the lurch at Launceston, hustled at Horsham, named as a probable starter at every election race in the three kingdoms taking place within a period of eighteen months, he persuaded the blushing borough of Launceston, on a second wooing, to yield to his advances.
Oddly enough, when at last he came to the Table to take the oath, he found he had mislaid the return to the writ, production of which is indispensable preliminary. Was nearly turned back, a calamity averted by discovery of the document in his hat on a bench under the Gallery where he had awaited SPEAKER'S summons to the Table.
But precedents are nothing when the bosom is deeply stirred.
"Can't the CHANCELLOR of the Duchy make an effort to secure a seat?" BARNSTON asked in tremulous voice.
"He has made two already," retorted the practical PREMIER.
Then came along WATT, with cryptic inquiry breaking silence that brooded over Ministerial benches.
"Has the time not arrived," he asked, "to jettison JONAH, in view of the fact that nobody seems willing to swallow him but the whale?"
House left thinking the matter over.
Business done.—House of Lords passed Third Reading of transformed Home Rule Amendment Bill. In the Commons Budget Bill again dealt with in Committee. Sharp strictures from both sides. But Ministerialists who had come to criticise remained to vote in its favour. Majority accordingly maintained at normal level.
Wednesday.—SON AUSTEN, who little more than a fortnight ago left the House Member for East Worcester, returned to-day representing the division of Birmingham where his father sat impregnably throned for uninterrupted period of twenty-nine years. As he walked up to Table to take the oath and sign afresh the roll of Parliament, was hailed by hearty burst of general cheering.
This rare. Common enough for one or other political party to welcome recruit to its ranks. On such occasions, the other side sit silent, save when especial circumstances elicit responsive bout of ironical cheering. To-day's demonstration afforded striking recognition of genuine merit modestly displayed.
Ever a difficult thing for young Member to be son of distinguished father also seated in the House. Position to be sustained only by exercise of qualities of mind and manner rarely combined. Whilst his father yet enthralled attention and admiration of House by supreme capacity SON AUSTEN successfully faced the ordeal. After DON JOSE'S withdrawal from the scene his son's advance to a leading place in the councils of his party and the estimation of the House was rapid. Within limits of present Session he has shown increased power as a debater, promising attainment of still loftier heights. Ever courteous in manner, untainted by the "new style" deplored by PREMIER, he, though an uncompromising party man, has made no personal enemies among any section of his political opponents.
Business done.—House of Lords threw out Plural Voters Bill on second time of asking. Commons still in Committee on Budget.
* * * * *
Illustration: A REVOLTING TASK.
THE WAITER'S EARLY-MORNING JOB.
* * * * *
"Hearne and Mead, the not-outs of Monday, were separated at 80, their partnership having yielded 441 in forty-five minutes."
The spectators, we suppose, could stand the strain no longer.
* * * * *
(Yawning, though rude, is, according to the doctors, an extremely healthy exercise.)
I have a friend who wrote a book And begged me to peruse it, And bluntly state the view I took— Encourage or abuse it. I want, he said, the truth alone, But said it in a hopeful tone.
Perceiving there was no escape, With Chapter I. I led off; Page 2 provoked my earliest gape, At 3 I yawned my head off, At 4 I cast the thing away Unto some dim and distant day.
For weeks I racked my harassed brain For something kind and ruthful, To spare his feelings and remain Comparatively truthful (I'm very often troubled by My inability to lie).
"Dear Charles," I wrote him in the end, "I fear no contradiction When I declare that you have penned A healthy work of fiction. I am, I candidly admit, A sounder man through reading it."
* * * * *
"Captain Turner only got a single when J. W. Hearne bowled him, and lunch was taken.
ESSEX. F. L. Fane c. Hendren b. Kidd 57 Russell run out 51 Major Turner b. J. W. Hearne 1"
Probably the Major got his step during lunch; and it was no doubt richly deserved, though not on account of the score he had made in the morning as a Captain.
* * * * *
"John Charles Edmund Carson were the names which Lord Gillford, the infant heir of Lord and Lady Clanwilliam, received yesterday afternoon."
If only this were a misprint for John Charles Redmond Carson.
* * * * *
"The anniversary of the Cattle of the Boyne was celebrated with unusual enthusiasm throughout Canada."
"Times" Toronto Correspondent.
These were the original Irish bulls, we suppose.
* * * * *
"Plant strawberry runners with grouse on Aug. 12th."—R.H.S. Gardener's Diary.
"Plant daffodils between grouse and partridges."—R.H.S. Gardener's Diary.
The daffodils should make good cover, but the runners will stand no chance against the Cockney sportsman.
* * * * *
Illustration: THE OLD, OLD PROBLEM.
IS THE BATSMAN OUT OR NOT?
* * * * *
I must confess that at one time I had little regard for collectors of cigarette cards; it seemed a feeble pursuit, though perhaps I should add I am of a somewhat intellectual nature.
Some little time ago, however, I happened to glance at one of these cards and was surprised to see a picture of a gentleman attired in white flannels and a vest of white, decorated with red embroidery. He was grasping a towel in both hands and appeared to have two or three sets of arms. The label said, "Scarf or Towel Exercises 4." A perusal of the instructions on the back of the card made everything clear.
Ten minutes later I entered the shop of an athletic outfitter. Unfortunately he had no white vests with red edges: I had to purchase one with blue. A scarf or towel I could find at home.
Then I entered a tobacconist's.
Four days later I had collected Scarf or Towel Exercises 2 and 3.
"We can," I said, "now make a start." As a matter of fact it was not altogether a foolish proceeding. Deep thinkers are apt to overlook the need for physical culture. This error I decided to remedy.
Every morning I (1) stood in position illustrated, (2) raised arms above head in manner indicated by the instructions, (3) straightened right arm and lowered right hand so that towel (still taut) sloped to right, (4) returned to Position 1. I then changed towel for scarf (my own idea) and continued with Exercises 3 and 4.
I was very happy; my only worry was the absence of Scarf or Towel Exercises 1.
Every morning I called at the tobacconist's and purchased packets of cigarettes, eagerly searching them for the missing card. Every afternoon I called again.
For a week I bore my disappointment bravely; then I became cynical.
"Perhaps," I said, "there is no Exercise 1. It may be a joke on the part of the makers."
My consumption of cigarettes increased. Packet followed packet with extraordinary rapidity, and still no Exercise 1.
I began to get worried. "Is it safe," I asked myself, "to do 2, 3 and 4 without 1? The omission may have a serious effect on 2, 3 and 4."
Then I returned to the attack with renewed vigour. In a week I got through twenty tens—with no result.
Disappointed and weary I was walking to the office one morning when suddenly I had an attack of giddiness. By the end of the day I was beginning to wonder if I was very ill. I felt it. Usually the clearest of thinkers, I was dizzy and dazed.
The evening saw the arrival of my doctor, and a thorough examination followed, at the end of which he shook his head gravely.
"'M," he murmured. "Ah."
"Tell me," I said with extraordinary calmness—"tell me the worst. Brain fever, I suppose?"
"Oh, dear no," he replied. "What I'm worrying about is the heart. It's in a bad state—a really bad state. Heaven knows how many cigarettes you've been consuming lately. You'll have to stop it altogether."
I looked at him blankly; then, with a bitter laugh, I (1) stood in position illustrated, (2) raised arms above head in manner indicated by the instructions, (3) straightened right arm and lowered right hand so that handkerchief (still taut) sloped to right, and (4) returned to sofa.
* * * * *
The Latest Style in Strikes.
"Engineers and firemen on the western railways of the United States have threatened to strike unless their demands for increased wages and other reforms are not granted."
They seem very hard to please.
* * * * *
Illustration: Mr. H. B. IRVING (Sir Hubert Lisle).
"Pomfret will fall in another two seconds if I don't ride over and raise the siege. Still, my first duty is to Mr. STEPHEN PHILLIPS, and he wants me for a few dialogues and a brace of soliloquies before I start."
* * * * * AT THE PLAY.
"THE SIN OF DAVID."
This is not, like the plays in which JOSEPH has recently figured, an adaptation from the Hebrew. Mr. STEPHEN PHILLIPS has given a seventeenth-century (A.D.) setting to the BATHSHEBA motive, transplanting it from the polygamous East into the England of one-man-one-wife. His object, no doubt, was to emphasize one aspect of his borrowed theme, which is further enforced by his choice of milieu—the camp of the Puritans.
Lest this fairly obvious note of irony should escape us, Mr. PHILLIPS accentuates it at the start by making his DAVID (Sir Hubert Lisle, Commander of the Parliamentary Forces in the fenland) condemn a young officer to be shot for a "carnal" offence. The delinquent's answer—
"Thou who so lightly dealest death to me Be thou then very sure of thine own soul;"
and Lisle's prayer—
"And judge me, Thou that sittest in Thy Heaven, As I have shown no mercy, show me none!... If ever a woman's beauty shall ensnare My soul into such sin as he hath sinned"—
these passages, even if the title of the play had not prepared us, afford fair warning of the way in which things have got to go. In fact it is all very simple and straightforward, and (on the constructive side) Hellenic. Perhaps indeed the treatment is a little too direct, and the tragedy moves too quickly to its consummation (thirty or forty minutes suffice for the reading of it). It might serve its publisher (of the Bodley Head) as one of a series to be entitled: "Half-hours with the Best Sinners."
As a poem The Sin of David cannot compare for beauty with Paolo and Francesca, though it contains isolated lines which recall Mr. PHILLIPS'S earliest drama, such as the plea of Joyce, the condemned officer—
"Her face was close to me, and dimmed the world."
"Thou hast unlocked the loveliness of earth."
But then, of course, the exotic manner would here have been an impropriety. This is not Rimini; it is the English Fenland; and all the characters, with the exception of Miriam Mardyke (the BATHSHEBA of the piece), who was bred in France and had its sun in her blood, were of the Puritan pattern that does not accommodate itself very easily to the language of passion.
But all this we knew ten years ago, when The Sin of David was first published; and the only new interest was the question of its adaptability to the theatre. Poetic drama seldom gains much by presentation on the stage, unless it is full of action; and there is little action in this play except of the inward kind. In almost the only case where quick movement is here demanded one becomes conscious of the intrusion of words. When he knows that the relief of Pomfret depends upon his instant action, Lisle still finds time for conversations with his servant, with Miriam and with the doctor, and for a couple of well-sustained soliloquies.
Certain lines, again, whose literary flavour, when read, makes us overlook their inherent improbability in the mouth of the character that utters them, take on, when spoken, an air of artifice. Such are the lines in which Miriam describes her old sister-in-law, to her face, as
"living without sin And reputably rusting to the grave."
And there is always the danger that actors will be content with a rather slurred and perfunctory recitation of lines that have no bearing on the action but are just inserted for joy as a rhetorical embroidery.
It may be a trivial criticism, but I think the play suffered a little from the appearance of the love-child whose death was to be the punishment for Lisle's sin in sending Mardyke to his death in a forlorn hope. The instructions in my book are contradictory. The time of Act III. is described as "five years later," and we are then told that "four years are supposed to have elapsed since Act II." Anyhow, the boy should be only three or four years old. Actually he is a girl (the stage must have it so) of some ten summers. You may say that all those years during which the lovers' passion has been purified by worship of the child's innocence, and "God has not said a word," add a dramatic force to the blow when at last it falls. But for myself—a mere matter of taste—I feel that the vengeance of Heaven has been nursed too long.
As for the interpretation, I must honestly compliment Mr. IRVING and Miss MIRIAM LEWES on their performance. It is true that I should never have mistaken Mr. IRVING for a fighting Roundhead, and he might well have sacrificed something of his personality for the sake of illusion. It is true, too, that he was more concerned about dramatic than poetic effects; yet, within the limitations of a very marked individuality, he did justice to the author by a performance that was most sincere and persuasive. Miss LEWES played her more difficult part with great charm and delicacy. Her manner, even under stress of passionate feeling, still kept the right restraint that Miriam had learnt from her environment; but always we were made to feel that under the prim Puritan gown was a body that had been "born in the sun's lap," and held the warmth of the vinelands in its veins. Perhaps it was from France, too, that Miriam had caught her strange habit of pronouncing "my" (a perfectly good word) as "me."
There is little so worth seeing on the stage to-day as The Sin of David, and I very sincerely hope that both the play and its interpreters may win the wide appreciation they have earned.
* * * * *
It is unfortunate that Mr. ARTHUR ECKERLEY'S ingenious little farce, A Collection will be made, was only introduced into the bill at the Garrick two days before the withdrawal of the Duke of Killicrankie, and that, like the melancholy Jaques, it has had to share the ducal exile. I look forward to its early reappearance under happier auspices, and with Mr. GUY NEWALL again in the leading part.
* * * * *
"The father of a young lady, aged 15—a typical 'FLAPPER'—with all the self-assurance of a woman of 30, would be grateful for the recommendation of a seminary (not a convent) where she might be placed."—Times.
"Coaching required for Cambridge Little Girl."—Times.
Is it the same little girl?
* * * * *
Illustration: A PROPOSAL FOR THE PURCHASE OF DONKEYS FOR PRACTISING AMMUNITION-SUPPLY IN THE FIELD HAS BEEN APPROVED BY THE WAR OFFICE.
* * * * *
[The armbone of a prehistoric lion has been discovered in Fleet Street during the excavations for the new offices of "The Daily Chronicle." Remains of other prehistoric animals were found some years ago near the same spot.]
READER, when last you went down Fleet (Wait half-a-second. Thank you.) Street, And gazed upon it from your seat, Perched on a motor-bus, Did you, I wonder, guess that there, In ages long ago, the bear Contended for the choicest lair With the rhinoceros?
Where now the expectant taxis prowl, And growlers, still surviving, growl, And agonised pedestrians howl, Seeing the traffic skid, There lions roamed the swampy glade, There the superb okapi brayed, And many a mighty mammoth made Whatever noise it did.
It pleases me to pause and think That where to-day flows printing-ink All sorts of beasts came down to drink Clear waters from a spring. I like to reconstruct the scene; I feel existence must have been, Before the rotary machine, A more delightful thing.
I like to think how, westward bound, Tigers pursued their prey and found The Strand a happy hunting ground, Seeking tit-bits by night. Reader, will you come there with me When London lies asleep? Maybe Their phantoms still prowl stealthily Down by the Aldwych site.
* * * * *
Lady Diana Dingo was in the Park yesterday, walking with Lancelot, her new ant-eater, and the latter, who has happily recovered from his severe attack of measles, is now quite tame, and was wearing bronzed toe-nails and a large blue ribbon under the left ear.
The Countess of Torquay and her sister, Mrs. Pygmalion Popinjay, were at the Earl's Court Exhibition on Wednesday. The Countess's crested toucan, Willy, was much admired.
The Ladies' Park Pet race at Ranelham next Friday is expected to prove an exciting event, especially as Stella, Lady Killaloo, has entered her large crocodile, Horace—called after her late husband—who is known to prove rather fractious at times.
Mrs. Halliday Hare is in deep mourning for her bandicoot, Maud Eliza, who was unfortunately set upon and eaten last week by the Hon. Mrs. Joram's young jaguar during an afternoon call at the house of a mutual friend of their mistresses. Mrs. Hare is leaving town at once, and her house will be closed until late in the autumn.
The iguana worn by Miss Bay Buskin in the second Act of The Belle of Bow Street is a delightful little creature, and accompanies his mistress everywhere. While on the subject of the theatre, we are glad to learn that the cages now being erected behind the stage at Galy's Theatre will soon be ready, when there should be no further cause for complaint about the rapacity of some of the larger carnivora owned by certain ladies of the chorus.
The recent fashion of having one's pet emu coloured to match one's frock is dying out, and armadilloes with gilded trotters are becoming the vogue.
* * * * *
"Very well," said the lady of the house, "don't let's do it. Nobody can force us to go to the seaside if we don't want to."
"It's too late," I said, "to begin to agree with me now."
"It's never too late to realise how reasonable you are."
"Yes, it is. The agreement is signed; half the rent has been paid; Sandstone House has got us by the legs, and, whether we like it or not, we've got to go there next week."
"We might try the effect of a death-bed repentance."
"No," I said, "we're dead already. We died when the blessed agreement was signed."
"Well, then, let's write and say our aunt from British Columbia is about to arrive here unexpectedly on a visit to us, and that sand and seaweed and prawns and star-fish are simply death to her. We can wind up with a strong appeal to the landlord's better nature. No true landlord can wish to be responsible for the death of anybody's British Columbian aunt."
"You're quite wrong," I said. "Landlords just revel in that kind of thing. Besides, he will not believe in our aunt. He will say that she is too thin."
"But the aunt I'm thinking of is stout and wheezy. She is a widow; her name is Aunt Wilhelmina; except ourselves there's nobody in the world left for her to cling to. No marine landlord can dare to separate us from Aunt Wilhelmina."
"It's no good," I said. "I'll admit that your Aunt Wilhelmina——"
"She's only mine by marriage, you know; but I love her like a daughter."
"I admit," I continued, "that Aunt-by-marriage Wilhelmina may some day be useful to us. We will put her by for another occasion. But she can't help us now."
"Well, go ahead yourself and suggest something, then."
"I could suggest a thousand things. Suppose we just pay the rest of the rent and don't go."
"The man," she said with conviction, "is mad."
"I thought you'd say that, and I know you'd say the same about any other suggestion of mine, so I shan't make any more."
"You mustn't be sulky," she said.
"I never am. I'm reasonable, but, as usual, you'll realise it too late. Besides," I added, "it's you who've brought us into this fix."
"I?" she said with an air of wonder. "How can I have done that?"
"I'll tell you," I said firmly, for I saw that my chance had come. "For weeks and weeks past you have been engaged in shutting up avenues and closing loop-holes. Wherever there was the tiniest way of escape from the seaside, there you were with your walls and your fences, until at last you'd got me safely penned in."
"You didn't struggle much, did you?"
"No, I was like the man in The Pit and the Pendulum, and you were—whoever it was that made the walls close in on him."
"I refuse," she said, "to be called a Spanish Inquisition."
"You may refuse as much as you like, but that's the sort of thing you've been. How you worked on my domestic affections and my household pride! When Helen forgot to go to her music-lesson you said the poor child was evidently run down and wanted a breath of sea-air. When Rosie lost her German exercise-book, and when Peggy fell off her bicycle, you worked both these accidents round into an imperative demand for salt water. When John was bitten by a gnat you said the spot was bilious and things would never be right with him until he got into a more bracing climate; and when Bates tripped up in the pantry and broke a week's income in plates and dishes you said he needed tone and would get it at the sea. Seaside, seaside, seaside! I couldn't get away from it."
"Oh, but you haven't been there yet, you know. You're shouting before you're hurt."
"No," I said, "I am not—I mean I am hurt, but I'm not shouting. I'm just whispering a few salutary truths."
"And there's another thing," she said; "it must be terrible for you to know what a designing person your wife is."
"Madam," I said, "my wife is as heaven made her. I will not permit her to be abused. She has good impulses. She means well. Her plain sewing is quite excellent."
"Spare me," she said, "oh spare me. I will never go to the sea again."
"But you shall go to the sea," I said. "Everything is settled. The agreement is signed; the tickets are all but taken. John and Peggy are panting for pails and spades. Do you think I want to stand in the way of their innocent pleasures? We will all try for shrimps while you sit on a heap of sand and tell us not to get too wet, or that it's time for tea, and have I forgotten the thermos-flask again."
"Horatio," she said, "I can see you paddling in my mind's eye."
"But tell me," I said, "when do we start."
"We start on Tuesday. The whole lot of us together, you know, servants and all. Won't that be fun?"
"Ye—es," I said, "it will—I mean it would if I could go with you, but unfortunately——"
"What!" she said, "you mean to desert us?"
"No, no, I can never desert you, but I've got two solemn engagements on Tuesday—meetings in the City."
"Then I'm to take the whole party, am I?"
"Yes, dear," I said. "And I'll join you next day."
"You've won," she said.
* * * * *
Sweet as a wild-rose was Kitty Adare, Blithe as a laverock and shy as a hare; Mid all the grand ladies of all the grand cities You'd not find the face half so pretty as Kitty's; "'Tis the fine morning this, Kit," says I; she says, "It is," The day she went walking to get to the Fair.
She was bred to give trouble, was Kitty Adare, For she had my heart caught like a bird in a snare; O, her laugh was the ripple of quick-running water, And—the seventh-born child of a seventh-born daughter— She wore the green shoes that the fairies had brought her To help her go dancing that day at the Fair.
She'd the foot of a princess, had Kitty Adare, And the road fell behind her like peel off a pear; She was into the town with the lads and the lassies, And the shouting of showmen and braying of asses, And on to the green where the best of the grass is, With the sun shining bright on the fun of the Fair!
She was light as a feather, was Kitty Adare, And she danced like a flame in a current of air; O, look at her now—she retreating, advancing, And stepping and stopping, and gliding and glancing! There wasn't a one was her marrow at dancing Of all the young maidens who danced at the Fair.
O Kitty, O Kitty, O Kitty Adare, Till the music was beaten you danced to it there; And the fiddler, poor fellow, the way that he was in, Him sweating for six and his bow wanting rosin, He was put past the fiddling a month—all because in A pair of green shoes Kitty danced at the Fair!
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Illustration: Cheerful Householder (to burglar). "BY THE WAY, WHEN YOU GO DOWNSTAIRS YOU MIGHT LET THE CAT IN; SHE'S BEEN SPOILING MY SLEEP."
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(By Mr. Punch's Staff of Learned Clerks.)
If memory serves me, the publishers of World's End (HURST AND BLACKETT) described its theme as one of unusual delicacy, or words to that effect. I should like to reassure them. The particular kind of marriage of convenience which it concerns (marriage for the convenience of the wronged heroine, by which the virtuous hero gives his name to the child of the villain) may be, indeed is, a delicate matter, but—in fiction at least—by no manner of means unusual. Nor can I see that its present treatment by AMELIE RIVES (Princess TROUBETZKOY) lends it any degree of novelty. No, let me be just; perhaps Richard Bryce, the wicked betrayer, does strike a somewhat new note, at least in his beginnings. Richard was the product of art superimposed upon dollars. He was so cultured that the humanity in him had dwindled to a negligible quantity; and thus, when poor Phoebe wanted him to "do the right thing by her," he sent her instead some charmingly modern French verse—which she could not understand—and finally took ship for Europe in mingled alarm and boredom. You will have gathered that the scene is laid in America. Perhaps this explains the hero. Owen Randolph was one of the strong and silent. He was so silent that, though he knew perfectly well all that had happened, he married Phoebe, and allowed that unhappy lady to suffer chapters of agonized apprehension as to his attitude, when half-a-dozen words would have set her at ease on the subject. He was, moreover, so strong that, when eventually the theme of their relations with Phoebe did crop up between himself and Richard, the latter spent some months in hospital as a consequence. However, he recovered, and things were thus able to reach the kind of ending which was expected of them. There are parts of World's End that are worthy of a better whole, but that is the best I can say for it.
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I believe that Paul Moorhouse (LONG) was never really predestined to end unhappily and that his suicide was a conclusion as little premeditated by the author as it was apparently by the hero. If such ends must be, they should be a climax demanded by relentless logic: some sort of culminating event should occur which, added to what has gone before, leaves no alternative. Paul, however, had survived for years under the stress of all the circumstances which finally constrained him to make an end of himself; and, had he stayed the course—only another hour or so—he would have found that all had turned out for the best and that adequate arrangements had been made for his permanent happiness. No doubt these things happen in real life and I cannot accuse Mr. GEORGE WOUIL (a most discerning author) of any inhuman treatment of his puppet; yet I wish that he had been more kindly disposed and had spared me a bitter disappointment. Having known Paul, man and boy, for upwards of ten years, I had become sincerely attached to him; as assistant time-keeper, foreman and works-manager he showed a spirit true to the real Black Country type. He had his moments of weakness when he went astray after the manner of his kind; but he always became master of himself again and, when he had to, paid like a man the price of his misdeeds, never pausing to discover the overcharge. As for Joan Ware, his intended and his due, she was a dear; poor dear!
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I do not think that you will believe The Story of Fifine (CONSTABLE), although Mr. BERNARD CAPES takes some pains to give it an air of actuality; but if you are like me you will not be greatly concerned about that. Purporting to be the ill-used daughter of a mad French marquis, Fifine, in that naive and charming way which has always been so dear to the hearts of novelists, came to live at the bachelor abode in Paris of the sculptor Felix Dane (his half-sister, who was keeping house for the marquis, provided the introduction), and, calling each other "cousin" and "gossip," these two shared rooms together in perfect simplicity of soul and held several conversations which reflect, I suppose, Mr. BERNARD CAPES' views on the plastic arts and life in general. And why, in passing, he should continue to heap ridicule on staid Victorian respectability I cannot for the life of me imagine. The plucky and unorthodox thing nowadays surely is to make game of Bohemianism. But, anyhow, the happy moment for me arrived when Felix Dane suggested (on the grounds that the marquis would soon discover his daughter's hiding-place) a holiday tour through Provence. Mr. BERNARD CAPES in Provence is Mr. BERNARD CAPES at his best. How the lovers (for that—perhaps you roguishly guessed it?—they gradually became) paid visits to Nimes, to Aigues-Mortes, to Arles and to Paradou les Baux, and met M. Carabas Cabarus, the native minstrel, you must read for yourself, for I cannot give a faint idea of the eloquence with which their fairyland is portrayed. And if the plot ends as artificially as it began, and with an unnecessary tragedy thrown in, I suppose for the sake of that idyll in the very nesting-place of idylls I must shrug my shoulders and forgive. After all, it does not matter much who Fifine really was, nor what happened to her. Suffice it that Mr. BERNARD CAPES has conducted her to Arles.
* * * * *
The Caddis-Worm (HURST AND BLACKETT) is an appropriate enough title for Mrs. DAWSON SCOTT'S novel, but I confess to having grown a little restive at its appearance on the top of each of 352 pages. "Episodes in the Life of Richard and Catharine Blake" is the alternative title, and to the average human reader possibly a more significant one. The Caddis-Worm is quite in the modern manner, having no plot—or what has been contemptuously called "anecdote." I have, however, a more genuine grievance against Mrs. DAWSON SCOTT, and it is that she seems inclined to be a propagandist without the requisite robustness. A little more vigour in her protests against the iniquity of British laws, and her theme might have allured me. As it is, the troubles of Catharine with her peremptory Richard only made me want, but not very keenly, to take and give her a good shaking. Whereas, with a little more encouragement, I believe I should have been quite anxious to kick her husband from the top to the bottom of several flights of stairs. Drastic methods were taken by the author to bring Richard to his senses; in fact, at one time he made a sort of corner in disasters. But unless a sanatorium exists where patients are treated kindly and firmly for swollen-head I do not think that Richard's cure is likely to be permanent. That, however, does not affect my view that Mrs. DAWSON SCOTT has given us a book which is full of clever writing and fairly shrewd observation.
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"It was a wild wet night, though the month of May was well begun." Without caring very much about the month of May, I felt on reading these introductory words that the story called My Lady Rosia had excellently well begun. I am sorry to add, though, that it does not carry on quite so bravely as you might expect from such a start. My own suspicion is that Lady Rosia is one of many novels that owe their existence to a summer holiday. I haven't the slightest knowledge of the facts, and still less wish to incur a libel action, but, by my way of imagining it, Miss FREDA MARY GROVES found herself one day in the Winchelsea country, fell very naturally in love with its jolly old houses, and determined there and then to write a story about them. So here it is, with a mildly romantic hero, Bernard, a heroine in the title role who is as pretty and persecuted as heroines should be, a villain (Lord Segrave by name—even, you see, in those Black-Princely days peers were a bad lot), some conflicts not quite so exciting as they might have been, and the rest of the mixture as before. You perhaps catch already my chief ground of complaint. Frankly I do not think that Miss GROVES' pen is quite sufficiently dashing for this sort of thing. Historical and adventurous romance, if it is to earn my vote, must keep me out of breath the whole time. It should never be allowed to slacken pace; and (to be entirely candid) My Lady Rosia sometimes ambles rather heavily. I forgot to add that it is published by WASHBOURNE, printed on detestable paper, and contains some pleasant illustrations of the places mentioned in the story. In few, the best I can say of it is that it would make a charming gift for the young Person (if she still survives) on the occasion, say, of a family holiday to Hastings.
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Illustration: The Optimist (who has just been struck by a passing motor-car). "GLORY BE! IF THIS ISN'T A PIECE O' LUCK! SURE, 'TIS THE DOCTHOR HIMSELF THAT'S IN UT."
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The John Bull Breed.
The South African Farmers' Guide pays a pretty compliment to a well-known family in describing a typical South Devon bull as the "property of Major APTHORP, a magnificent example of this breed."
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WANTED.—A Tame Tory who will undertake to write scathing criticisms on the policy of his own party. Meals supplied on premises. Sleep in. Address, Offices of Westminster Gazette.
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