OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.
July 8, 1914
LORD BRASSEY is said to be annoyed at the way in which his recent adventure at Kiel was exaggerated. He landed, it seems, on the mole of the Kaiser Dockyard, not noticing a warning to trespassers—and certain of our newspapers proceeded at once to make a mountain out of the mole.
* * *
Mr. ROOSEVELT'S American physician, Dr. ALEXANDER LAMBERT, has confirmed the advice of his European physicians that the EX-PRESIDENT must have four months' rest and must keep out of politics absolutely for that period; and it is said that President WILSON is also of the opinion that the distinguished invalid owes it to his country to keep quiet for a time.
* * *
At the farewell banquet to Lord GLADSTONE members of the Labour Unions surrounded the hotel and booed loudly with a view to making the speeches inaudible. As the first serious attempt to protect diners from an orgy of oratory this incident deserves recording.
* * *
There appear to have been some amusing misfits in the distribution of prizes at the recent Midnight Ball. For example a young lady of pronounced sobriety, according to The Daily Chronicle, secured a case of whisky and went about asking if she could get it changed for perfume. Whisky is, of course, essentially a man's perfume.
* * *
There are One Woman Shows as well as One Man Shows in these days. An invitation to be present at a certain function in connection with a certain charitable institution announces:—
"ATHLETIC SPORTS AND DISTRIBUTION OF PRIZES by LADY —— ——."
* * *
Some surprise is being expressed in non-legal circles that the actress who lost the case which she brought against SANDOW, LIMITED, for depicting her as wearing one of their corsets, did not apply for stays of execution.
* * *
Quite a number of our picture galleries are now closed, and it has been suggested that, with the idea of reconciling the public to this state of affairs, there shall be displayed conspicuously at the entrance to the buildings the reminder, "Ars est celare artem."
* * *
The Gentlewoman, by the way, which is publishing a series of articles entitled "Woman's Work at the 1914 Academy," omits to show us photos of Mr. SARGENT'S and Mr. CLAUSEN'S paintings after certain women had worked upon them.
* * *
The Admiralty dismisses as "a silly rumour" the report that one of our new first-class destroyers is to be named The Suffragette.
* * *
In Mr. STEPHEN PHILLIPS' play, The Sin of David, we are to see Cavaliers and Roundheads. This will be a welcome change, for in most of the theatres nowadays one sees a preponderance of Deadheads.
* * *
The intrepid photographer again! The Illustrated London News advertises:—
PHOTOGRAVURE PRESENTATION PLATE OF
GENERAL BOOTH AND MRS. BRAMWELL BOOTH
LIONS PHOTOGRAPHED AT 5 YARDS' DISTANCE.
* * *
Once upon a time Red Indians used to kidnap Whites. Last week, Mrs. W. BOWMAN CUTTER, a wealthy widow of seventy, living at Boston, Massachusetts, eloped with her 21-year-old Red-skin chauffeur.
* * *
A memorial to a prize-fighter who was beaten by TOM SAYERS was unveiled at Nottingham last week. Should this idea of doing honour to defeated British heroes spread to those of to-day our sculptors should have a busy time.
* * *
A visitor to Scarborough nearly lost his motor-car in the sands at Filey last week: it sank up to the bonnet and was washed by the sea before it was hauled to safety by four horses. Neptune is said to have been not a little annoyed at the car's escape, as he realises that his old chariot drawn by sea-horses is now sadly demode.
* * *
A new organisation, called "The League of Wayfarers," has been formed. Its members apparently consist of "child policemen," who undertake to protect wild flowers. How it is going to be done we do not quite understand. Presumably, small boys will hide behind, say, dandelions, and emit a loud roar when anyone tries to pluck the tender plant.
* * * * *
Illustration: A MESSAGE FROM THE SEA.
Romantic Tripper. "TELL ME, HAVE YOU EVER PICKED UP ANY BOTTLES ON THE BEACH?"
Boatman. "WERRY OFTEN, MISS!"
Romantic Tripper. "AND HAVE YOU FOUND ANYTHING IN THEM?"
Boatman. "NOT A BLESSED DROP, MISS!"
* * * * *
When The Yorkshire Post and The Hull Daily Mail differ, who shall decide between them? The Hull Daily Mail asserts positively that A. PAPAZONGLON won the long jump at the Bridlington Grammar School sports and that C. PAPAZONGLON was second in the 100 yards and High Jump. Its contemporary, however, unhesitatingly awards these positions to C. PAPAZONGLOU, C. PAPAZONGA and G. PAPAZAGLOU respectively. But it gives the "Victor Ludorum" cup to a new competitor, C. PAPAZOUGLOU, and again differs from The Hull Daily Mail, which knows for a fact that it was won by C. PPAZONGLON. Whom shall we believe?
* * * * *
"ASQUITH DENIES MILITANT PLEA.
Receives Working Women but Won't Introduce Bill."—New York Evening Sun.
We are left with the uneasy impression that William is a snob.
* * * * *
"On a divan the motion for rejection was carried by 178 to 136."—Daily Chronicle.
Our politicians are right to take it easy this hot weather.
* * * * *
A PATRIOT UNDER FIRE.
(Observed during the recent heat wave.)
Philip, I note with unaffected awe How, with the glass at 90 in the cool, You still obey inflexibly the law That governs manners of the British school; How, in a climate where the sweltering air Seems to be wafted from a kitchen copper, You still refuse to lay aside your wear Of sable (proper).
The Civil Service which you so adorn Would lose its prestige, visibly grown slack, And all its lofty pledges be forsworn Were you to deviate from your boots of black; Were you to shed that coat of sombre dye, That ebon brain-box (imitation beaver) Whose torrid aspect strikes the passer-by With tertian fever.
As something far beyond me I respect The virtue, equal to the stiffest crux, Which thus forbids your costume to deflect Into the primrose path of straw and ducks; I praise that fine regard for red-hot tape Which calmly and without an eyelid's flutter Suffers the maddening noon to melt your nape As it were butter.
"His clothes are not the man," I freely own, Yet often they express the stuff they hide, As yours, I like to fancy, take their tone From stern, ascetic qualities inside; Just as the soldier's heavy marching-gear Conceals a heart of high determination, Too big, in any temperature, to fear Nervous prostration.
I cite the warrior's case who goes through fire; For you, no less a patriot, face your risk When in your country's service you perspire In blacks that snort at Phoebus' flaming disc; So, till a medal (justly made of jet) Records your grit and pluck for all to know 'em, I on your chest with safety-pins will set This inky poem.
* * * * *
"THE PURPLE LIE."
"Arabella," I said, examining the fuzzy part of her which projected above the dome of the coffee-pot, "I perceive that you mope. That being so, I am glad to be able to tell you that I have been presented with two tickets for The Purple Lie to-morrow evening."
"Sorry," she replied, "but it's off."
"Off!" I exclaimed indignantly, "when the box-office is being besieged all day by a howling mob, and armoured commissionaires are constantly being put into commission to defend it. Off!"
"What I mean to say is," said Arabella, "that we're dining with the Messington-Smiths to-morrow evening."
I bowed my head above the marmalade and wept. "Arabella," I groaned, looking up at last, "what have we done that these people should continue to supply us with food? We do not love them, and they do not love us. The woman is a bromide. Her husband is even worse. He is a phenacetin. I shall fall asleep in the middle of the asparagus and butter myself badly. Think, moreover, of the distance to Morpheus Avenue. Remember that I have been palpitating to see The Purple Lie for weeks."
"So have I," said Arabella. "It's sickening, but I am afraid we must pass those tickets on."
I happened that day to be lunching with my friend Charles. "The last thing in the world I want to do," I said to him, "is to oblige you in any way, but I chance to have—ahem!—purchased two stalls for The Purple Lie which I cannot make use of. I had forgotten that I am dining with some very important and—er—influential people to-morrow night. When a man moves as I do amid a constant whirl of gilt-edged engagements——"
"Ass!" said Charles, and pocketed the tickets.
On the following morning I perceived a large crinkly frown at the opposite end of the breakfast table, and, rightly divining that Arabella was behind it, asked her what the trouble was.
"It's the Messington-Smiths," she complained. "They can't have us to dinner after all. It seems that Mrs. Messington-Smith has a bad sore throat."
"Any throat would be sore," I replied, "that had Mrs. Messington-Smith talking through it. I wonder whether Charles is using those tickets."
"You might ring up and see."
To step lightly to the telephone, ask for Charles's number, get the wrong one, ask again, find that he had gone to his office, ring him up there and get through to him, was the work of scarcely fifteen minutes. "Charles," I said, "are you using those two stalls of mine to-day?"
"Awfully sorry," he replied, "but I can't go myself. I gave them away yesterday evening."
"Wurzel!" I said. "Who to?"
"To whom," he corrected gently. "To a dull man I met in the City named Messington-Smith."
"Named what?" I shrieked.
"Messington-Smith. M for Mpret, E for Eiderdown——"
"Where does he live?"
"21, Morpheus Avenue."
For a moment the room seemed to spin round me. I put down the transmitter and pressed my hand to my forehead. Then in a shaking voice I continued—"Of all the double-barrelled, unmitigated, blue-faced——"
"What number, please?" sang a sweet soprano voice. I rang off, and went to break the news to Arabella.
She was silent for a few moments, and then asked me suddenly, "Whereabouts in the stalls were those seats of ours?"
"Almost in the middle of the third row," I replied mournfully.
Arabella said no more, but with a rather disdainful smile on her face walked firmly to her little escritoire, sat down, wrote a note, and addressed it to Mrs. Messington-Smith.
"What have you said?" I asked, as she stamped her letter with a rather vicious jab on KING GEORGE'S left eye.
"Just that I am sorry about her old sore throat," she replied. "And then I went on, that wasn't it funny by the same post we had been given two stalls for The Purple Lie to-night in a very good place in the middle of the third row? She will get the letter by lunch-time," she added pensively, "and it will be so nice for her to know that we shall be sitting almost next to them."
"But we aren't going to The Purple Lie at all," I protested.
"No," she said, "and as a matter of fact I don't suppose the Messington-Smiths are either—now."
I left Arabella smiling triumphantly through her tears, but when I returned in the evening the breakfast-time frown had reappeared with even crinklier ramifications.
"Why," I asked, "are you looking like a tube map?"
"Mrs. Messington-Smith," she answered with a slight catch in her voice, "has just been telephoning."
"I thought the receiver looked a bit played out," I said. "What does she want with us now?"
"Well, she has got a sore throat after all. You could tell that from her voice. And she isn't going to The Purple Lie either. She never even meant to."
"But the tickets," I gasped.
"She and her husband quite forgot about them till to-day," said Arabella. "And now they have given them away to some friends. But they weren't given away at all till this afternoon, and——"
She broke off and gave a lachrymose little sniff.
"And she knew, of course, that we're disengaged to-night, and when she got my letter she was just going to send them round to us."
* * * * *
Illustration: BEATEN ON POINTS.
L.C.C. TRAM. "HARD LINES ON ME!"
MOTOR-'BUS. "YES, IT'S ALWAYS HARD LINES WITH YOU, MY BOY. THAT'S WHAT'S THE MATTER; YOU CAN'T SIDE-STEP."
* * * * *
Illustration: "WHO'S THE LITTLE MAN HOLDING HIS RACKET THAT FUNNY WAY?"
"OH, THAT'S MR. BINKS. HE TAKES THE PLATE ROUND IN CHURCH, YOU KNOW."
* * * * * Commercial Candour.
From a testimonial:—
"I have had this cover on the rear wheel of my 3-1/2 h.p. Humber Motor Cycle and have ridden same 7,000 miles, six of these without a puncture."—Advt. in "Motor Cycle."
* * * * *
"MRD. CPL., temporary."—Advt. in "Daily Mail."
When we tell you that the mystic letters mean "married couple," you will share our horror.
* * * * *
WOMAN AT THE FIGHT.
In ancient unsophisticated days Women were valued for their cloistered ways. And won at Rome encouragement from man Only because they stayed at home and span; While PERICLES in Attic Greek expressed The view that those least talked about were best. There were exceptions, but the normal Greek Regarded SAPPHO as a dangerous freak, And CLYTEMNESTRA for three thousand years Was pelted with unmitigated sneers, Till RICHARD STRAUSS and HOFMANNSTHAL combined To prove that she was very much maligned.
But now at last these cloistered days are o'er And woman, breaking down her prison door, Is free to take the middle of the floor. No more for her indomitable soul The meekly ministering angel role; No more the darner of her husband's socks, She takes delight in watching champions box, Finds respite from the carking cares that vex us In cheering blows that reach the solar plexus, Joins in the loud and patriotic shout While beaten BELL is being counted out, And—joy that makes all other joys seem nil— Writes her impressions for The Daily Thrill.
* * * * *
ONCE UPON A TIME.
THE SUSCEPTIBLE AMERICAN.
Once upon a time there was a beautiful singer named Miss Iris Bewlay. Every now and then she gave a recital, and it was always crowded. She was chosen to sing "God save the King" at bazaars and Primrose League meetings; her rendering of "Home, Sweet Home" moistened every eye. Hostesses wishing to be really in the swim engaged her to sing during after-dinner conversation for enormous fees.
When Miss Iris Bewlay was approaching the forties and adding every day to her wealth, another Miss Bewlay—not Iris, but Gladys, and no relation whatever—was gradually improving her gift of song with a well-known teacher, for it was Miss Gladys Bewlay's intention, with her parents' strong approval, to become a professional. She had not, it is true, her illustrious namesake's commanding presence or powerful register, but her voice was sweet and refined and she might easily have a future.
It happened that a susceptible music-loving American staying in London for a short time was taken by some English friends to a concert at which Miss Iris Bewlay was singing, and he fell at once a victim to her tones. Never before had he heard a voice which so thrilled and moved him. He returned to his hotel enraptured, and awoke with but one desire and that was to hear Miss Bewlay again.
"Say, where is a Miss Bewlay singing to-night?" he asked the hotel porter.
The porter searched all the concert announcements, but found no mention of the great name. In the end he advised a visit to one of the ticket libraries, and off the enthusiast hurried.
Now it happened that this very evening was the one chosen for the debut, before a number of invited friends, of Miss Gladys Bewlay, and one of the guests chanced to be at the ticket library at the moment the susceptible American entered and fired his question at the clerk.
"Say, can you tell me where Miss Bewlay is singing to-night?" he said.
The clerk having no information, the susceptible American was turning away when the guest of the other Bewlay family ventured to address him with the information that Miss Bewlay was singing that evening at a private gathering at one of the halls.
"Couldn't I get in?" the American asked.
"It's private," said the lady. "It's only for the friends of the family."
"Let me take down the address, anyway," said he, and took it down.
That evening, just before Miss Gladys Bewlay's first song, a visiting card was handed to one of her brothers, with the statement that a gentleman desired the pleasure of a moment's interview on a matter of great importance.
"See here," said the gentleman, and it was none other than the susceptible American, "I'm just crazy about Miss Bewlay's singing. They tell me she's here to-night. Now I know it's a strange thing to ask, but I want to know if you can't just let me lean against a pillar somewhere at the back while she's singing, and then I'll go right away. It's my last chance for some time, you see. I go back to America to-morrow."
The brother, not a little impressed by his sister's magnetism, all unsuspected in a debutante, and imagining the American to have heard her at a lesson, said he saw no reason why this little scheme should not be carried out; and so the American entered and took up an obscure position; and in a short while Miss Bewlay ascended the platform and began to sing.
When she had finished the American approached one of the guests and begged to be told the name of the singer.
"Miss Bewlay," said the guest. "It's her first appearance to-night."
"Miss Bewlay," gasped the American. "Then there are two of them. You say this is her first appearance?"
"Then she's very young?"
"Only about twenty."
The American returned to his corner, and the second song began.
Whatever disappointment his ears may have suffered it would have been obvious to close observers that his eyes were contented enough. They rested on the fair young singer with delight and admiration, and when she had finished there was no applause like the susceptible American's.
When Miss Bewlay's brother had gradually worked his way to the back of the room, he found the American in an ecstasy.
"She's great," he said. "Say, would it be too much to ask you to introduce me?"
"Not at all," said the brother, who was as pleased at his sister's success as though it were his own.
The American did not return to his own country the next day, nor for many days after; and when he did he was engaged to Miss Gladys Bewlay.
Isn't that a pretty fairy story? and almost every word of it is true.
* * * * *
Illustration: "MY DEAR OLD FELLOW! WHAT'S THE MATTER? THE SEA'S LIKE A DUCK-POND!"
"I KNOW, OLD BOY—BUT I'VE TAKEN SIX—DIFFERENT—REMEDIES."
* * * * *
A SEASIDE "SONG SCENA."
Yesterday I celebrated the beginning of my holidays by patronising The Melodities on the beach. The Melodities are a band of entertainers who draw enormous salaries for giving a couple of performances daily in a kind of luxurious open-air theatre.
"Ladies and Gentlemen," announced the Manager soon after I had taken my seat, "our first item will be a Song Scena entitled The Moon, by Bertie Weston, assisted by six members of the company." A quiver of expectation ran through the crowded audience.
Bertie Weston, wearing a uniform resembling (I imagine) that of a Patagonian Vice-Admiral, advanced mincingly to the footlights, and the six others, similarly attired, ranged themselves in a row behind him. Behind these again dropped a back-cloth representing a stone balustrade, blue hills and fleecy clouds.
There was a burst of warm applause, in response to which Bertie politely bowed his thanks. Without further preliminary he commenced—
The crescent moon on high Is shining in the sky.
Here the six turned up their faces and gazed pensively at the heavens (it was still broad daylight, by the way), at the same time resting their chins on their right hands and their right elbows on their left hands.
The sun is gone, The stars are wan, Oh come, my love, we'll wander, you and I.
Here the six ceased to regard the sky, split into pairs and by pantomimic gesture invited one another to wander.
Across the hills we'll go, While birds sing soft and low,
The singer paused for an instant, while the six, now formed into a semicircle, hummed together softly a suggestion of distant nightingales. Not an imitation—that would be too banal—but a suggestion. In point of fact I thought I detected the air of "The Little Grey Home in the West."
While the silver moon adorns the summer sky.
After a brief pause, brightened by what are vulgarly termed twiddly bits on the piano, the soloist sang the chorus, softly and appealing, with a sort of treacly intonation:—
Moon, moon, moon, We'll come soon, soon, Across the hills while all the world is dreaming. Moon, moon, moon, I'd like to swoon, swoon,
The heads of the six drooped listlessly and their hands fell languidly to their sides; their eyes closed.
When I see your white rays beaming, gleaming, streaming.
The six awoke briskly and commenced to glide around the stage, describing circles, figures of eight, and other more intricate patterns, while Bertie swayed his body rhythmically from side to side, his arms and hands outstretched and palms turned downwards. In this formation they all repeated the chorus together.
Bertie now cleared his throat and started on the second verse without delay. The six stood sideways, their hands in their trousers pockets and their faces turned to the audience.
Oh, moon of dainty grace, Shine on my loved one's face.
The footlights were suddenly switched off and each of the six produced a small electric torch and illuminated his neighbour's features. The effect was startling. Presently the footlights reappeared as abruptly as they had vanished and the torches were extinguished.
Upon the hill The night is still.
Again there was a short pause, during which the six breathed lightly through their teeth, producing a faint and long-drawn sh-sh-sh-sh-sh-sh.
Oh come, my love, together let us haste.
The six ceased sh-sh-ing and gracefully invited one another to haste.
Away, away, we'll roam To seek our fairy home, While the silver moon illuminates the place.
The six placed both hands on their breasts and stood with bowed heads, motionless except for a continuous and rhythmic bending of the knees, while Bertie sang the chorus softly, lingeringly. Then, stretching out their arms, they swayed their bodies from side to side as their leader had previously done, while Bertie himself drifted in and out between them, and all rendered the chorus for the second time.
Moon, moon, moon, We'll come soon, soon. Across the hills while all the world is dreaming. Moon, moon, moon, I want to swoon, swoon, When I see your white rays beaming, gleaming, streaming.
There was a moment's emotional silence, broken by a thunder of rapturous applause. The Song Scena, all too short, was finished.
Anxious not to risk spoiling the impression, I arose and left hastily before the next turn.
* * * * *
Illustration: She. "HERBERT, I CAN'T FIND MY BATHING-DRESS ANYWHERE!"
He. "SEE IF YOU'VE GOT IT ON."
* * * * *
"Young M'Pherson, the Blackford jumper, is anxious to fix up a match for a long jump with anybody in Scotland. A week ago he did 5-1/2 ft., but he asserts he can beat this hollow if called upon."
Edinburgh Evening News.
If M'PHERSON will say just how young he is, we will find a suitable nephew to take him on. Tommy (aged eight) did 6 ft. 1 in. yesterday, but asserts that he slipped.
* * * * *
A MIDSUMMER MADNESS.
The girl who shared Herbert's meringue at dinner (a brittle one, which exploded just as he was getting into it) was kind and tactful.
"It doesn't matter a bit," she said, removing fragments of shell from her lap; and, to put him at his ease again, went on, "Are you interested in little problems at all?"
Herbert, who would have been interested even in a photograph album just then, emerged from his apologies and swore that he was.
"We're all worrying about one which Father saw in a paper. I do wish you could solve it for us. It goes like this." And she proceeded to explain it. Herbert decided that the small piece of meringue still in her hair was not worth mentioning and listened to her with interest.
On the next morning I happened to drop in at Herbert's office.... And that, in short, is how I was mixed up in the business.
"Look here," said Herbert, "you used to be mathematical; here's something for you."
"Let the dead past bury its dead," I implored. "I am now quite respectable."
"It goes like this," he said, ignoring my appeal.
He then gave me the problem, which I hand on to you.
"A subaltern riding at the rear of a column of soldiers trotted up to the captain in front and challenged him to a game of billiards for half-a-crown a side, the loser to pay for the table. Having lost, he played another hundred, double or quits, and then rode back, the column by this time having travelled twice its own length, and a distance equal to the distance it would have travelled if it had been going in the other direction. What was the captain's name?"
Perhaps I have not got it quite right, for I have had an eventful week since then; or perhaps Herbert didn't get it quite right; or perhaps the girl with the meringue in her hair didn't get it quite right; but anyhow, that was the idea of it.
"And the answer," said Herbert, "ought to be 'four cows,' but I keep on making it 'eight and tuppence.' Just have a shot at it, there's a good fellow. I promised the girl, you know."
I sat down, worked it out hastily on the back of an envelope, and made it a yard and a half.
"No," said Herbert; "I know it's 'four cows,' but I can't get it."
"Sorry," I said, "how stupid of me; I left out the table-money."
I did it hastily again and made it three minutes twenty-five seconds.
"It is difficult, isn't it?" said Herbert. "I thought, as you used to be mathematical and as I'd promised the girl——"
"Wait a moment," I said, still busy with my envelope. "I forgot the subaltern. Ah, that's right. The answer is a hundred and twenty-five men.... No, that's wrong—I never doubled the half-crown. Er—oh, look here, Herbert, I'm rather busy this morning. I'll send it to you."
"Right," said Herbert. "I know I can depend on you, because you're mathematical." And he opened the door for me.
I had meant to do a very important piece of work that day, but I couldn't get my mind off Herbert's wretched problem. Happening to see Carey at tea-time, I mentioned it to him.
"Ah," said Carey profoundly. "H'm. Have you tried it with an 'x'?"
"Yes, it looks as though it wants a bit of an 'x' somewhere. You stick to it with an 'x' and you ought to do it. Let 'x' be the subaltern—that's the way. I say, I didn't know you were interested in problems."
"Because I've got rather a tricky chess problem here I can't do." He produced his pocket chess-board. "White mates in four moves."
I looked at it carelessly. Black had only left himself with a Pawn and a King, while White had seen to it that he had a Queen and a couple of Knights about. Now, I know very little about chess, but I do understand the theory of chess problems.
"Have you tried letting the Queen be taken by Black's pawn, then sacrificing the Knights, and finally mating him with the King alone?"
"Yes," said Carey.
Then I was baffled. If one can't solve a chess problem by starting off with the most unlikely-looking thing on the board, one can't solve it at all. However, I copied down the position and said I'd glance at it.... At eleven that night I rose from my glance, decided that Herbert's problem was the more immediately pressing, and took it to bed with me.
I was lunching with William next day, and I told him about the subaltern. He dashed at it lightheartedly and made the answer seventeen.
"Seventeen what?" I said.
"Well, whatever we're talking about. I think you'll find it's seventeen all right. But look here, my son, here's a golf problem for you. A. is playing B. At the fifth hole A. falls off the tee into a pond——"
I forget how it went on.
When I got home to dinner, after a hard day with the subaltern, I found a letter from Norah waiting for me.
"I hear from Mr. Carey," she wrote, "that you're keen on problems. Here's one I have cut out of our local paper. Do have a shot at it. The answer ought to be eight miles an hour."
Luckily, however, she forgot to enclose the problem. For by this time, what with Herbert's subaltern, Carey's pawn, and a cistern left me by an uncle who was dining with us that night, I had more than enough to distract me.
And so the business has gone on. The news that I am preparing a collection of interesting and tricky problems for a new Encylopaedia has got about among my friends. Everybody who writes to me tells me of a relation of his who has been shearing sheep or rowing against the stream or dealing himself four aces. People who come to tea borrow a box of wooden matches and beg me to remove one match and leave a perfect square. I am asked to do absurd things with pennies....
Meanwhile Herbert has forgotten both the problem and the girl. Three evenings later he shared his Hollandaise sauce with somebody in yellow (as luck would have it) and she changed the subject by wondering if he read DICKENS. He is now going manfully through Bleak House—a chapter a night—and when he came to visit me to-day he asked me if I had ever heard of the man.
However I was not angry with him, for I had just made it come to "three cows." It is a cow short, but it is nearer than I have ever been before, and I think I shall leave it at that. Indeed, both the doctor and the nurse say that I had better leave it at that.
A. A. M.
* * * * *
A SEASONABLE BEVERAGE.
Great charm hath tea—some fragrant blend; Sipped with a fair and festive friend;
And even milk hath flavour, too, When sun-kissed milkmaids hand it you.
Beer, in a large resounding can, Befits a coarser type of man,
While some rejoice in spirit pure, And others in a faked liqueur.
But none of these, nor any wine, Hath present claim to praise of mine,
Hath e'er produced the gasp and thrill Of that incomparable swill
When first, from care and toil set free, I plunge into the summer sea And bring a mouthful back with me.
* * * * *
Illustration: THE ANNUAL PROBLEM.
Showing how helpfully the hoardings distinguish between the characteristic features of various localities.
* * * * *
Illustration: A LONG-FELT WANT.
THE SOCIETY FOR THE PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO MOTOR-CYCLES.
* * * * *
POLITICS AT THE ZOO.
Lord ROBERT CECIL'S comparison of the occupants of the Treasury Bench to the monkeys at the Zoo has caused considerable excitement in Regent's Park, and one of Mr. Punch's representatives, assisted by an interpreter, has taken the opportunity to sound some of the principal inmates on the subject.
In the Simian section a certain amount of regret was expressed that Lord ROBERT had not been more explicit in his comparison. Did he refer to chimpanzees, baboons, gorillas or other species? But when all allowance was made for this lack of precision the general impression was one of satisfaction that a leading politician should have frankly admitted that monkeys possessed qualities which entitled their human possessors to high office and handsome salaries. It was felt that this admission marked a great advance on all previous concessions to the claims of the Simian community, and pointed irresistibly to the ultimate grant—already long overdue—of Monkey Franchise throughout the Empire.
Baboons, it was well known, were already employed as railway porters in Cape Colony, and chimpanzees had of late years appeared with great success at some of the leading music-halls. In view of these facts the further delay of the suffrage could no longer be justified. At present we were confronted with the gross anomaly that a tailor, who was admitted to be only the ninth part of a man, was given a vote, while the monkey, man's ancestor, was denied even the fraction which was all that a tailor deserved.
These views however were not shared by other genera domiciled at the Zoological Gardens. One of the oldest lions observed in a strepitous bass that it was a great relief to him that his race had not been degraded by any such comparisons. He had some respect for hunters, but as for politicians he would not be seen dead with them at a pig fair. Asked whether he had read Mr. RAMSAY MACDONALD'S account of his lion-hunting exploits, in The Daily Chronicle, he professed ignorance and even indifference. Speaking as an aristocrat he thought that a Labour leader was not worthy to twist his tail. As for the conduct of Mr. BERNARD SHAW in bringing lions on the stage, he thought it little short of an outrage for an anaemic vegetarian to take liberties with the king of the carnivora.
Considerable resentment was shown in the Ursine encampment at Mr. LLOYD GEORGE'S somewhat disparaging reference to the bear's hug. (It will be remembered that he compared with it the attitude of the Tories in respect of the Finance Bill.) The CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER evidently regarded it as an insincere caress, whereas it was a perfectly honest expression of hostility. This attack was all the more unjust and undeserved since the bear was a most hardworking and underpaid member of the community. When a politician reached the top of the poll he got L400 a year. When a bear did the same he only got a penny bun.
A conversation with a leading representative of the colony of Penguins revealed the interesting fact that they were incapable of appreciating our Parliamentary procedure owing to their hereditary inability to sit down.
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Illustration: Mr. Punch's HOLIDAY PAGES.
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THE PRIMA DONNA.
[The repertoire of Summer is here made to embrace the prelude of many good things that come within the wider scope of the holiday season.]
Good gentlemen, good gentlemen, we crave your kind attention! Here's Summer, at your service (till you bid the lady stop); Good gentlemen, she's songs for you—'tis time to drop dissension; 'Tis time to cut the cackle and to close awhile the shop; For stags shall be in Badenoch, and Kent hath twined the hop.
Yes, songs for every son o' you, and all have silver linings! Good gentlemen, good gentlemen, it's close, your London air; If I'm mixing up the proverbs, 'tis because my roads run shining Through the fret of far-off pine-woods, and I'm wishful to be there; Or at hand among the hop-poles when the vines are trailing fair.
Good gentlemen, the prologue! Here's a programme most attractive: She's songs for everyone o' you—oh, rare the tunes and rich! Here's hackneyed Devon Harbours (but the pollock's biting active); Here's Evening (rise in Hampshire); here's The Roller on the Pitch; And music in the lot o' them—it doesn't matter which.
We've long White Roads o' Brittany and pretty Wayside Posies, Blue Bays (beneath the undercliff—the white sails crawling by); We've Rabbits in a Hedgerow (how the bustling Clumber noses); We've Grouse Across the Valley (crashing crumpled from the sky); And magic's in each note of her—it doesn't matter why.
Here's Salmon Songs and Shrimping Songs, according to your pocket; Here's Hopping (with a lurcher—twice as useful as a gun For the fat young August pheasants that'll never live to rocket); Here's a jolly Song o' Golf Balls; here's the tune of Cubs that Run; We've something for each Jack o' you, for every mother's son.
Good gentlemen, good gentlemen, we crave your kind permission! Here's Summer, at your service, and she'd sing you on your ways The marching songs of morning and the Road that fits the Vision, The mellow songs of twilight and the gold September haze; God rest you all, good gentlemen, and send you pleasant days.
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Illustration: THE VOGUE FOR WEARING FANCY DRESS THREATENS TO INVADE ORDINARY SOCIAL LIFE.
TENNIS AT THE VICARAGE.
A JOLLY BATHING PARTY.
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Illustration: OUR DEAR OLD FRIEND, THE FOREIGN SPY (CUNNINGLY DISGUISED AS A GOLFER), VISITS OUR YOUNGEST SUBURB ONE SATURDAY AFTERNOON IN QUEST OF FURTHER EVIDENCE OF OUR LETHARGY, GENERAL DECADENCE AND FALLING BIRTH-RATE. HE GETS A SHOCK AND AT ONCE TELEGRAPHS TO HIS COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF URGING THAT THE CONQUEST OF THE BRITISH ISLES BE UNDERTAKEN BEFORE THE PRESENT GENERATION IS MANY YEARS OLDER.
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Illustrations: THE INTRUSIONS OF THE CINEMA.
[Jones, secretary to the South Sea Islanders' Regeneration Society, who is suffering from nerves, is recommended a very remote sea-coast retreat for his summer holiday. With his wife and family he tries it. The manager of a certain cinema company likewise chooses this particular spot for his company to rehearse their powerful new drama, "Down among the Dead Men."]
Miss Jones. "WAKE UP, DAD, WE'RE GOING TO BATHE."
First Act of the Drama.—AFTER THE WRECK: DESMOND AND ROSEMARY WASHED ASHORE ON THE CANNIBAL ISLAND.
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Jones (to the rescue). "DEVILS! FIENDS! UNTIE THAT WHITE MAN!"
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The Cinema Manager explains. "SORRY TO HAVE CAUSED YOU ANY INCONVENIENCE, SIR—MERELY REHEARSING 'DOWN AMONG THE DEAD MEN'—DAM FINE DRAMA, SIR—WE PRODUCE SAME AT THE OPERA 'OUSE, CROYDON, ON THE 16TH."
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Illustration: Surf-rider. "I'M ALMOST SURE THIS ISN'T A BIT THE WAY IT'S DONE IN THOSE ILLUSTRATED PAPERS!"
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Illustration: Early Tripper. "MAKES YER FEEL LIKE OLE NAPOLEON AT WHAT'S-ITS-NAME!"
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Illustration: APT NOMENCLATURE IN OUR GARDEN SUBURB.
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Illustration: The Captain. "THE BLOOMIN' VICE-PRESIDENT'S FORGOT THE STUMPS. YOUNG BILL 'ERE BETTER BE THE WICKET—'E WANTS TO PLAY AND 'E'S TOO LITTLE TO BAT AGIN SWIFT BOWLIN'!"
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Illustration: Native (having seen his rival tipped by guileless visitor). "'E'S SWINDLED YER, SIR. I'M THE OLDEST INHABITANT—NINETY-FOUR COME SUNDAY THREE WEEKS. 'E'S ONLY A YOUNGSTER OF EIGHTY-TWO."
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Illustration: EVEN IN HIS PLAY THE SCIENTIST'S CHILD IS SCIENTIFIC.
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Illustration: THE POLITICAL JUNGLE.
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Illustration: A FULL JOY-DAY.
How an energetic visitor contrived to sample nearly all the attractions of Worplethorpe-on-Sea (as advertised by the municipality) in the course of a one-day's trip.
9 to 10.30 A.M.—BATHING AND FISHING.
10.30 A.M. to 12 (noon).—SHOOTING AND CYCLING.
12 to 1.30 P.M.—TENNIS AND BOTANY.
3 to 4.30 P.M.—CROQUET AND ARCHAEOLOGY.
4.30 to 6 P.M.—GOLF AND GEOLOGY.
6 to 7.30 P.M.—SKETCHING AND DONKEY-RIDING.
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Illustration: RACE-COURSE OF THE NEAR FUTURE, SUFFRAGETTE-PROOF.
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Illustration: SMITH, WHO ALWAYS WEARS THE NATIVE COSTUME WHEN FISHING IN THE HIGHLANDS (HIS GREAT-GRAND-AUNT'S STEP-FATHER HAVING BEEN A McGREGOR) FINDS THE MIDGES SOMEWHAT TROUBLESOME. A LITTLE INGENUITY HOWEVER OVERCOMES THE DIFFICULTY.
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Illustration: THE "SPASMO" CANOELET.
IT IS A RELUCTANT STARTER.
WHEN IT DOES START, IT STARTS.
IT LAUGHS AT LOCKS.
IT ENDS AS A HYDRO-AEROPLANE.
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Illustration: THE EMANCIPATION OF THE EAST.
THE GRAND VIZIER, A MASTER OF POLYGAMY, REGRETS THE VOGUE OF THE CINEMA AS AN EDUCATIVE FORCE.
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Illustration: LUNCH "SCORES."
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COMPLAINTS ARE HEARD FROM HOLIDAY-MAKERS ON THEIR RETURN THAT THE HOLIDAY HAS FAILED TO BENEFIT THEM. THIS IS DUE TO LACK OF PREPARATORY TRAINING AT HOME.
Illustration: HARDEN THE FEET FOR BEACH-WALKING.
Illustration: ACCUSTOM THE LUNGS TO MARINE AROMAS.
Illustration: PREPARE TO RECEIVE THE BUFFETINGS OF NEPTUNE.
Illustration: TOUGHEN THE INTERIOR FOR A LODGING-HOUSE DIET.
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MR. PUNCH'S HOLIDAY FILM.
[Having had the good fortune to pick up for a mere song (or, to be more accurate, for a few notes) several thousand miles of discarded cinema films from a bankrupt company, Mr. Punch is gumming the best bits together and presenting them during the holiday season on the piers of many of our fashionable watering-places, such as Bayswater, Hackney Marshes and Ponder's End. The films comprise the well-known "Baresark Basil, the Pride of the Ranch" (two miles long), "The Foiler Foiled" (one mile, three furlongs, two rods, poles or perches), "The Blood-stained Vest" (fragment—eighteen inches), "A Maniac's Revenge" (5,000 feet), "The Life of the Common Mosquito" (six legs), and so forth. An accomplished writer has been chosen to weave a connected story round the selected parts of the films, and his scenario of Mr. Punch's great picture play, when finally gummed together, is given below. The illustrations depict a few representative incidents in the story—taken from the sketch-book of an artist who was present when the films were first being prepared.]
Twenty-five years before our film opens, Andrew Bellingham, a young man just about to enter his father's business, was spending a holiday in a little fishing village in Cornwall. The daughter of the sheep-farmer with whom he lodged was a girl of singular beauty, and Andrew's youthful blood was quickly stirred to admiration. Carried away by his passion for her, he—
[MANAGER OF PUNCH FILM COMPANY. Just a reminder that MR. REDFORD has to pass this before it can be produced.]
—he married her—
[MANAGER. Oh, I beg pardon.]
—and for some weeks they lived happily together. One day he informed Jessie that he would have to go back to his work in London, and that it might be a year or more before he could acknowledge her openly as his wife to his rich and proud parents. Jessie was prostrated with grief; and late that afternoon her hat and fringe-net were discovered by the edge of the waters. Realising at once that she must have drowned herself in her distress, Andrew took an affecting farewell of her father and the sheep, and returned to London. A year later he married a distant cousin, and soon rose to a condition of prosperity. At the time our film begins to unwind, he was respected by everybody in the City, a widower, and the father of a beautiful girl of eighteen, called Hyacinth.
[MANAGER. Now we're off. What do we start with?]
On the sunny side of Fenchurch Street—
[MANAGER. Ah, then I suppose we'd better keep back the Rescue from the Alligator and the Plunge down Niagara in a Barrel.]
—Andrew Bellingham was dozing in his office. Suddenly he awoke to find a strange man standing over him.
"Who are you?" asked Mr. Bellingham. "What do you want?"
"My name is Jasper," was the answer, "and I have some information to give you." He bent down and hissed, "Your first wife is still alive!"
Andrew started up in obvious horror. "My daughter," he gasped, "my little Hyacinth! She must never know."
"Listen. Your wife is in Spain—
[MANAGER. Don't waste her. Make it somewhere where there are sharks.
AUTHOR. It's all right, she's dead really.]
—and she will not trouble you. Give me a thousand pounds, and you shall have these;" and he held out a packet containing the marriage certificate, a photograph of Jessie's father dipping a sheep, a receipted bill for a pair of white gloves, size 9-1/2, two letters signed "Your own loving little Andy Pandy", and a peppermint with "Jess" on it in pink. "Once these are locked up in your safe, no one need never know that you were married in Cornwall twenty-five years ago."
Without a moment's hesitation Mr. Bellingham took a handful of bank-notes from his pocket-book, and the exchange was made. At all costs he must preserve his little Hyacinth from shame. Now she need never know. With a forced smile he bowed Jasper out, placed the packet in his safe and returned to his desk.
Illustration: The Theft.
But his mysterious visitor was not done with yet. As soon as the door had closed behind him Jasper re-entered softly, drugged Andrew hastily, and took possession again of the compromising documents. By the time Mr. Bellingham had regained his senses the thief was away. A hue-and-cry was raised, police whistles were blown, and Richard Harrington, Mr. Bellingham's private secretary, was smartly arrested.
At the trial things looked black against Richard. He was poor and he was in love with Hyacinth; the chain of evidence was complete. In spite of his impassioned protest from the dock, in spite of Hyacinth's dramatic swoon in front of the solicitors' table, the judge with great solemnity passed sentence of twenty years' penal servitude. A loud "Hear, hear" from the gallery rang through the court, and, looking up, Mr. Bellingham caught the sardonic eye of the mysterious Jasper.
Richard had been in prison a month before the opportunity for his escape occurred. For a month he had been hewing stone in Portland, black despair at his heart. Then, like lightning, he saw his chance and took it. The warders were off guard for a moment. Hastily lifting his pickaxe——
[MANAGER. Sorry, but it's a spade in the only prison film we've got.]
Hastily borrowing a spade from a comrade who was digging potatoes, he struck several of his gaolers down, and, dodging the shots of others who hurried to the scene, he climbed the prison wall and dashed for freedom.
Illustration: The Escape.
Reaching Weymouth at nightfall, he made his way to the house which Hyacinth had taken in order to be near him, and, suitably disguised, travelled up to London with her in the powerful motor which she had kept ready. "At last, my love, we are together," he murmured as they neared Wimbledon. But he had spoken a moment too soon. An aeroplane swooped down upon them, and Hyacinth was snatched from his arms and disappeared with her captors into the clouds.
Illustration: The Abduction.
Richard's first act on arriving in London was to go to Mr. Bellingham's house. Andrew was out, but a note lying on his study carpet, "Meet me at the Old Windmill to-night," gave him a clue. On receipt of this note Andrew had gone to the rendezvous, and it was no surprise to him when Jasper stepped out and offered to sell him a packet containing a marriage certificate, a photograph of an old gentleman dipping a sheep, a peppermint lozenge with "Jess" on it, and various other documents for a thousand pounds.
"You villain," cried Andrew, "even at the trial I suspected you," and he rushed at him fiercely.
A desperate struggle ensued. Breaking free for a moment from the vice-like grip of the other, Jasper leapt with the spring of a panther at one of the sails of the windmill as it came round, and was whirled upwards; with the spring of another panther, Andrew leapt on to the next sail and was whirled after him. At that moment the wind dropped, and the combatants were suspended in mid-air.
Illustration: The Duel at the Mill.
It was upon this terrible scene that Richard arrived. Already a crowd was collecting; and, though at present it did not seem greatly alarmed, feeling convinced that it was only assisting at another cinematograph rehearsal, its suspicions might at any moment be aroused. With a shout, he dashed into the mill. Seeing him coming Jasper dropped his revolver and slid down the sail into the window. In a moment he reappeared at the door of the mill with Hyacinth under his arm. "Stop him!" cried Richard from underneath a sack of flour. It was no good. Jasper had leapt with his fair burden upon the back of his mustang and was gone....
The usual pursuit followed.
It was the gala night at the Royal Circus. Ricardo Harringtoni, the wonderful new acrobat of whom everybody was talking, stood high above the crowd on his platform. His marvellous performance on the swinging horizontal bar was about to begin. Richard Harrington (for it was he) was troubled. Since he had entered on his new profession—as a disguise from the police who were still searching for him—he had had a vague suspicion that the lion-tamer was dogging him. Who was the lion-tamer? Could it be Jasper?
At that moment the band struck up and Richard leapt lightly on to the swinging bar. With a movement full of grace he let go of the bar and swung on to the opposite platform. And then, even as he was in mid-air, he realized what was happening.
Illustration: An Awkward Moment for Richard.
Jasper had let the lion loose!
It was waiting for him.
With a gasping cry Ricardo Harrington fainted.
When he recovered consciousness, Richard found himself on the S.S. Boracic, which was forging her way through the—
[MANAGER.—Somewhere where there are sharks.]
—the Indian Ocean. Mr. Bellingham was bathing his forehead with cooling drinks.
"Forgive me, my boy," said Mr. Bellingham, "for the wrong I did you. It was Jasper who stole the compromising documents. He refuses to give them back unless I let him marry Hyacinth. What can I do?"
"Where is she?" asked Richard.
"Hidden away no one knows where. Find her, get back the documents for me, and she is yours."
Illustration: The Rescue. [Inset—the Cinema Shark, 3s. 6d.]
At that moment a terrible cry rang through the ship; "Man overboard!" Pushing over Mr. Bellingham and running on deck, Richard saw that a woman and her baby were battling for life in the shark-infested waters. In an instant he had plunged in and rescued them. As they were dragged together up the ship's side he heard her murmur, "Is little Jasper safe?"
"Jasper?" cried Richard.
"Yes, called after his daddy."
"Where is daddy now?" asked Richard hoarsely.
"Can't you see the likeness?" whispered Richard to Mr. Bellingham. "It must be. The villain is married to another. But now I will pursue him and get back the papers." And he left the boat at the next port and boarded one for America.
The search through North and South America for Jasper was protracted. Accompanied sometimes by a band of cowboys, sometimes by a tribe of Indians, Richard scoured the continent for his enemy. There were hours when he would rest awhile and amuse himself by watching the antics of the common mosquito. [MANAGER. Good!] or he would lie at full length and gaze at a bud bursting into flower [MANAGER. Excellent!]. Then he would leap on to his steed and pursue the trail relentlessly once more.
One night he was dozing by his camp-fire, when he was awakened roughly by strong arms around his neck and Jasper's hot breath in his ear.
Illustration: Another Awkward Moment.
"At last!" cried Jasper, and, knocking Richard heavily on the head with a boot, he picked up his unconscious enemy and carried him to a tributary of the Amazon noted for its alligators. Once there he tied him to a post in mid-stream and rode hastily off to the nearest town, where he spent the evening witnessing the first half of The Merchant of Venice. [MANAGER. Splendid!] But in the morning a surprise awaited him. As he was proceeding along the top of a lonely cliff he was confronted suddenly by the enemy whom he had thought to kill.
"Richard!" he cried, "escaped again!"
"Now, Jasper, I have you."
With a triumphant cry they rushed at each other; a terrible contest ensued; and then Jasper, with one blow of his palm, hurled his adversary over the precipice.
Illustration: Over the Precipice.
How many times the two made an end of each other after this the films will show. Sometimes Jasper sealed Richard in a barrel and pushed him over Niagara; sometimes Richard tied Jasper to a stake, and set light to him; sometimes they would both fall out of a balloon together. But the day of reckoning was at hand.
[MANAGER. We've only got the Burning House and the 1913 Derby left.
It is the evening of the 3rd of June. A cry rends the air suddenly, whistles are blowing, there is a rattling of horses' hoofs. "Fire! Fire!" Richard, who was passing Soho Square at the time, heard the cry and dashed into the burning house. In a room full of smoke he perceived a cowering woman. Hyacinth! To pick her up was the work of a moment, but how shall he save her? Stay! The telegraph wire! His training at the Royal Circus stood him in good stead. Treading lightly on the swaying wire he carried Hyacinth across to the house opposite.
"At last, my love," he breathed.
"But the papers," she cried. "You must get them, or father will not let you marry me."
Once more he treads the rocking wire; once more he re-crosses, with the papers on his back. Then the house behind him crumbles to the ground, with the wicked Jasper in its ruins.
Illustration: Richard Recovers the Letters.
"Excellent," said Mr. Bellingham at dinner that evening. "Not only are the papers here, but a full confession by Jasper. My first wife was drowned all the time; he stole the documents from her father. Richard, my boy, when the Home Secretary knows everything he will give you a free pardon. And then you can marry my daughter."
At these words Hyacinth and Richard were locked in a close embrace. On the next day they all went to the Derby together.
A. A. M.
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Illustration: A MASTERPIECE IN THE MAKING.
LORD LANSDOWNE (Art Dealer, to Mr. ASQUITH). "YES, I QUITE SEE YOUR IDEA—A FIGURE OF PEACE; BUT, SINCE YOU INVITE SUGGESTIONS FROM ME, I SHOULD SAY THAT THE ADDITION OF A FEW RECOGNISABLE SYMBOLS, SUCH AS A PAIR OF WINGS, OR A DOVE, OR AN OLIVE-BRANCH, MIGHT HELP TO MAKE IT CORRESPOND MORE CLEARLY WITH MY PUBLIC'S NOTION OF THE GODDESS IN QUESTION."
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ESSENCE OF PARLIAMENT.
(EXTRACTED FROM THE DIARY OF TOBY, M.P.)
House of Commons, Monday, June 29.—Curious how the Labour Party, who the other day, joining hands with the Conservatives, nearly threw the Government out, lead the way in sartorial fashion. Since DON'T KEIR HARDIE, home from the storied East, presented himself in a reach-me-down suit of white drill such as is worn aboard ship in the Red Sea, nothing has created such sensation as the dropping in this afternoon of Mr. HODGE, arrayed in a summer suit. It was not, as some might have expected, the simple garment of the elder branch of his honourable family. No. It was not a smock such as FRANK LOCKWOOD pictured BOBBY SPENCER wearing when he made his historic declaration, "I am not an agricultural labourer." HODGE (Gorton Div., Lancs., Lab.), as The Times' parliamentary report has it, burst upon the attention of a crowded House at Question-time got up in wondrous garment, white in the foundation of colour, but relieved from the crude hardness of DON'T KEIR HARDIE'S suit by what suggested dexterous process of patting and lightly smearing with a mustard-spoon. A Trilby hat crowned and accentuated this creation.
As the vision crossed the Bar Members sat silent, gazing upon it with lips slightly parted. Similarly, upon a peak in Darien, stout CORTEZ stared at the Pacific.
Silence was broken by a burst of hearty cheering, in which the keen ear detected a slightly discordant note. Whilst Members were frankly disposed to applaud the boldness of what I believe purveyors of new models of female dress call the "confection," whilst they were lost in admiration of its effect, there was a feeling of disappointment that they had not thought of it themselves, and been the first to enter the field.
Thanks to the genius of FRANK LOCKWOOD a former House was able to realise the figure presented by the present. Earl SPENCER, whilst still with us in the Commons, skipping along in the purity of a Monday morning smock, carrying in his right hand a garlanded pitchfork. What the present House, jaded with a succession of Budgets and the persistence of the Ulster question, would like to see is the entrance of those twin brethren, Lord CASTLEREAGH and Earl WINTERTON, walking arm-in-arm, arrayed in garb approaching as nearly as possible that which, thanks to Mr. HODGE, this afternoon illuminated the Legislative Chamber.
Business done.—CHANCELLOR OF EXCHEQUER announced third edition of Budget. "Before the end of the week," said SARK, "I expect we shall meet him running up and down the Terrace with hand to widely-opened mouth shouting "Extry Speshul!"
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Illustration: "EXTRY SPESHUL!"
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Tuesday.—AMERY began to think he had escaped consequences of his little mistake. Nearly a week has sped since he called attention to indiscretion of Captain BELLINGHAM, aide-de-camp to the LORD-LIEUTENANT, who, reviewing small body of Nationalist volunteers, enjoined them to stand fast by cause of Home Rule. From answer of CHIEF SECRETARY it appeared that Member for South Birmingham had been forestalled by Lord ABERDEEN, who had called upon the Captain for explanation and received suitable apology for the error.
Irish Members quick to see opening innocently made for them. Having long regarded with resentment Lord LONDONDERRY'S active patronage of movements of Ulster volunteers, have sedulously sought opportunity of bringing it under notice of House. AMERY obligingly provided it. Unexpected delay in seizing it was due to search for particulars now presented in form of question addressed to PREMIER, citing with dates and places six separate occasions when the aide-de-camp to the KING had, by his presence and counsel, sanctioned reviews of Ulster volunteers, "whose avowed object," as the question put it, "is, in event of enactment of Home Rule Bill, to resist by armed force the authority of the Crown and Parliament, and to make the administration of the law impossible." What Mr. DEVLIN, with studied politeness, was anxious to know was "whether there is any special reason why in this matter the Marquis of LONDONDERRY should be treated differently from Captain BELLINGHAM?"
PREMIER not to be drawn into the controversy. Duties of aide-de-camp to the KING, unlike those of aide-de-camp to LORD-LIEUTENANT, are, he said, of entirely honorary character. In such circumstances he did not think it worth while to take notice of the matter.
Effect of the reply designedly chilling; object of question attained by publicly submitting it. AMERY "wishes he hadn't spoke."
The PREMIER'S imperturbability stood him in even greater stead at later proceedings. On going into Committee of Supply, HOPE of Sheffield moved reduction of his salary on account of alleged failure to take necessary steps to maintain high standard of single-minded disinterestedness in public service. Though nominally concerned with the PREMIER and the public service HOPE told a flattering tale which was a thinly veiled attack on that meek personage the CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER.
ARCHER-SHEE, who followed, was less circuitous in his retrograde march on old Marconi quarters. Soon had Committee in state of uproar vainly combated by those champions of order, WINTERTON, ARTHUR MARKHAM and SWIFT MACNEILL. WINTERTON, whilst constitutionally forceful, was irresistibly irrelevant. Member for Pontefract venturing to offer an observation, WINTERTON shouted, "Order, pigeons!"
Of course there were no pigeons about. An active mind, quick to seize a point, had harked back to DICK TURPIN BOOTH'S ride to Yorkshire in a race with carrier pigeons.
MARKHAM denounced ARCHER-SHEE for delivering "a low attack that could not be answered." Accusation summarised by other Members with yell of "Coward!"
As for SWIFT MACNEILL, ARCHER-SHEE presuming to rise simultaneously with one of his many upgettings, he turned upon him and roared, "Sit down, Sir!" Gallant Major so terrified that he incontinently fell back in his seat.
To general discussion Members from various quarters of House contributed the observations, "Dirty lies!" "Coward!" "Caddish!" "Unspeakably low!" "Shut up!" Only for coolness, courage and prompt decision of WHITLEY in the Chair discreditable scene would have worthily taken its place among others that smirch pages of Parliamentary record. Having occupied two hours of time assumed to be valuable it died out from sheer exhaustion. On division what was avowedly vote of censure on PREMIER negatived by majority of 152.
Business done.—Summer storm in Committee of Supply.
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Illustration: Lord MORLEY."Thanks, I won't trouble you; I still have a crust left."
["The noble marquis seemed to regard the Government as a shipwrecked mariner—I presume a pirate. If I am a pirate he is the last man to whom I should think of applying for aid, unless the distress was dire indeed."
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House of Lords, Thursday.—Second night of debate on Amending Bill to modify a measure not yet enacted. House crowded, evidently weighed down by a sense of direct responsibility at grave crisis. Le brave WILLOUGHBY DE BROKE has no patience with attitude of noble lords on Front Opposition Bench. Is congenitally prone to take a short way with dissenters. Came to the fore five years ago, when what HALDANE called LLOYD GEORGE'S first great Budget (eclipsed by his second) fell like a bomb in the Parliamentary arena. Whilst elder peers were disposed to temporise in view of constitutional difficulty, WILLOUGHBY had only three words to say—"Throw it out!"—MILNER adding a fearless remark about the consequences whose emphasis has been excelled only by Mrs. PATRICK CAMPBELL in Pygmalion. So the Budget was shattered on the rock of the House of Lords, and in swift reprisal with it went the supremacy of that ancient institution.
Less effectual in his resistance to the Parliament Act which promptly followed, DE BROKE is insistent upon treating the Amending Bill as the Budget of 1909 was treated. Has moved its rejection and, in spite of HALSBURY, threatens to go to a division.
Meanwhile LANSDOWNE, in weighty speech worthy great occasion, announces intention of voting for Second Reading of Bill, with intent to amend it in Committee. Originally planned that division should be taken to-night. So many peers have something to say that it is postponed till Monday.
Business done.—Debate on Amending (Home Rule) Bill continued.
* * * * *
Illustration: THE "FRESH AIR FUND": AN APPRECIATION.
"THERE, NOW, AIN'T THAT A TREAT, BILLY? THERE AIN'T NO COUNTRY IN THE WORLD I LIKE SO MUCH AS ENGLAND."
* * * * *
THE NEW PROFESSIONAL HUMILITY.
["I have always held a decided opinion that the less people trouble themselves about literature the better for them."—M. PIERRE LOTI (vide "Daily Chronicle.")]
Sir THOMAS LIPTON. How can a tea-drinking people hope to lift the Cup? Tannin is a poison fatal to the true sportsman.
The CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER. The interest taken in politics diverts attention from everything that really matters.
The POET LAUREATE. Poetry is not only a drug on the market, it is a drug that narcotises and debilitates all true manhood.
Mr. EUSTACE H. MILES. Vegetarianism is fit only for pigs. The noble king of the forest is a meat-eater.
Lord ROBERTS. The military bias is the only obstacle to peace.
Mme. CLARA BUTT. The human voice was given us for fish-hawking and encouraging football-players, not for singing.
Sir H. BEERBOHM TREE. I cannot think why anyone goes to the theatre. It bores me horribly.
Mr. H. G. WELLS. The past alone possesses interest for intelligent men.
Mr. G. K. CHESTERTON. Orthodoxy, it has been said, is my doxy; heterodoxy is other people's doxy; but paradoxy is the devil's doxy.
Sir E. ELGAR. Music? How can any serious man fiddle while Home is burning?
Sir E. J. POYNTER. The Royal Academy is crushing the life out of English Art. The country's only hope is in Cubism.
Signor MARINETTI. Your Royal Academy is the true Temple of Art. I never cross its threshold without first removing my sandals.
* * * * *
A RECORD CAST.
"A 3 lb. 15 oz. chub has been taken at Abingdon by Mr. A. Owen near Henley."
* * * * *
Illustration: WHY SHOULD NOT PERSEVERING PETER OF THE PUSH-BIKE ADOPT, WHEN TRAVELLING, THE SAME SUPERCILIOUS ATTITUDE AS LANGUID LIONEL OF THE TOURING-CAR DE LUXE.
* * * * *
THE JESTING OF JANE.
(In which it is explained how competent I am to keep the servants in their places even when their mistress is away.)
I like a good practical joke; as the garland adorning The hair of a maiden it shines, as the balm that is shed On the brain of a wandering minstrel; it comes without warning, Transmuting to gold an existence that once was as lead. It glads, it rejoices the soul; recollecting it after One well-nigh explodes; but I say there are seasons for laughter, And, like other great men, I am not at my best in the morning When just out of bed.
So it was that last week, when the pitiless glare of Apollo Was toasting the lawn till it looked like a segment of mat, When I came to my breakfast at length from a lingering wallow In a bath that professed to be cold—as I moodily sat And observed how the heat on the pavements was momently doubling, And hated the coffee for looking so brown and so bubbling, And hated my paper, which seemed to expect me to follow A prize-fight (my hat!)—
When I heard a great noise as though heaven was breaking asunder, And "Thanks be to glory," said I, "for this merciful dole; The rain! the beneficent rain! Will it lighten, I wonder? I need not pack up, after all, for my cruise to the Pole;" And my spirits revived and my appetite seemed to awaken, And I said so to Jane as she brought in the kidneys and bacon; I was vexed when she answered me pertly, "Why, that isn't thunder; We're taking in coal!"
I say there are limits. The girl may be decent and sunny, Industrious, sober and what not; I don't care a bit; But she hasn't a right on a day such as that to be funny, With the glass at 120, confound her, the chit! I refuse to submit to the whimsical wheeze of a servant Just because Araminta's away and the weather is fervent, So I said to her, "Wench, do you fancy you're taking my money For work or for wit?
"What are parlourmaids coming to now with their insolent banter? Command those uproarious ruffians to hop it, to trek And fetch me a siphon or two and the whisky decanter; Your notions of humour have left me exhausted and weak; Take the breakfast away; disappointment has vanquished my hunger, And afterwards go out at once to the nearest fishmonger And order two cart-loads of icebergs. Obey me instanter, Or leave in a week."
* * * * *
"Although weighing over 13 tons, Glendinning declares that an aircraft built from his designs could sail round the world without the slightest danger of calamity."—Glasgow Herald.
Subject for Silly Season—Should Stout Men Boast?
* * * * *
RUBBING IT IN.
[The following article appears to have been intended for a popular Halfpenny Daily, but as it has been sent to us we feel entitled to print it.]
MR. LOWLY DEFEATS MR. GORMAN CRAWL.
HOW I DID IT. BY FERDINAND LOWLY.
Mr. Gorman Crawl's efforts to avoid defeat in his match with me in the semi-finals of the Dartmoor and West Dorset Championship was, I think, the finest exhibition of Lawn Tennis that has been seen for many a long day, and I congratulate those who were so fortunate as to witness the game. In the second set particularly, Mr. Crawl's play exhibited a consistent accuracy combined with activity of resource and hard hitting which, so far as I am aware, has rarely been equalled in the history of the pastime. He frequently returned drives down the side lines and cross volleys which I have always regarded as untakable, putting me in the position of having to repeat those strokes several times before I could make the ace. Even in the third set, Mr. Crawl certainly did not lose heart, as many might have done; in fact he gained vigour to such an extent that his play in the last games became not merely impetuous, but frenzied. Had I not possessed an iron nerve, Mr. Gorman Crawl might have snatched a game or two; and I feel sorry for my opponent when I recall that he only made five points in the set, one of which was due to a net cord stroke, and another to my accidentally treading on a ball. The final scores, as set forth in the "Stop Press" columns of one of the evening papers, were as follows:—
"Crawl beat Lowly ... 6—0. 6—0. 6—0,"
and if the reader reverses the statement he will know the correct result. Mr. Gorman Crawl, after an exhibition which stultifies previous conceptions of what is possible in the way of offensive and defensive tactics, and which refutes once and for all the leading contentions in Mr. Wail's monumental work on the game, was beaten by me in three love sets.
The game opened by my serving a double fault. I then found that I was using my Thursday's racket instead of Tuesday's. After a brief recess, during which, as I am informed, Mr. Gorman Crawl took in his belt one hole, the game proceeded. I served to my opponent's back hand, but, contrary to all rules laid down by Mr. Wail, he unexpectedly returned the ball to my back hand. The result was that I failed to reach it. It then occurred to me that I ought to make sure I had no gravel in my shoes. I did this without leaving the court. When I had replaced my footwear and was preparing to serve again, I saw that Mr. Gorman Crawl was lying on the ground, apparently asleep. He started up, however, on the score being called a second time, and the game proceeded.
Noticing that my opponent was standing a long way back, I now made a display of hitting the ball hard and then dropped it just over the net. Mr. Crawl did not notice what was happening till too late, and I not only took the ace but had the satisfaction of noticing that my opponent was breathing hard after his fruitless effort to reach the ball. I had, so to speak, drawn first blood. I repeated the ruse with my next service. Mr. Crawl, being now on the alert, reached the ball, but was unable to stop himself, and charged into the net, and the score was called "thirty all." A third time I brought off a drop serve; the ball was returned and I then tossed it with an undercut stroke to the base line. Mr. Crawl ran back, but the ball bounding high and with a strong break he lost sight of it, and after some intricate manoeuvres, in which he had the advantage of advice from the crowd, it eventually fell on his head, and I scored the ace. I had now only to make one point to reach the game, and I effected this by a high-kicking service that left my opponent petrified.
During the set Mr. Crawl gradually got into his game, and, thanks to a strong instinct of self-preservation, he succeeded in returning, when up at the net, many of my drives at his chest and head which I had thought were sure of their mark. His play in the last rally, when the score stood at "5 games to 0 and 40 love" in my favour, called forth loud applause, and I had to do all I knew to prevent him winning an ace which might have resulted in his eventually capturing the game.
At this point an incident occurred which has been variously reported. The facts are that, before embarking on the second set, Mr. Gorman Crawl petitioned the referee that I should be required to remove my tie. The tie referred to is my well-known tennis tie. It is a Mascot, as I associate all my successes on the court during the past four years with this tie. It is a large scarlet bow with vivid green and white spots the size of halfpenny pieces, arranged astigmatically. Mr. Crawl said the cravat held his eye and put him off his game, and complained that there were so many spots in front of him that he did not know which was the ball. I am glad to be able to add the testimony of such a first string man as Mr. Gorman Crawl to the merits of the "Lowly Patent Tennis Tie" (Registered No. 273125/1911, price 2s. 9d., of all Gunsmiths and Sports Outfitters). I explained to the referee that the tie was a well-known patent and that, if he ruled it out and disqualified the tie, a promising industry would be irretrievably ruined. The referee naturally declined to take such a responsibility and ordered the game to proceed, and we took our places on the course. When, however, I faced Mr. Crawl I found that he had pulled down the sleeve of his shirt over his hand and buttoned it round the handle of his racket. The effect was most disconcerting, for the racket appeared to be part of his body—as if, in fact, he had two elbow joints, and the face of the bat was the palm of his hand. Moreover it was impossible to anticipate the direction of his shots. When forty love had been scored against me I appealed to the referee. The result of that interview was that M. Gorman Crawl courteously unbuttoned his sleeve, and I with equal courtesy removed my tie. The episode was greeted with loud applause, and for my part I felt amply repaid for the sacrifice I had made by the gain in popularity.
I have already referred to the strenuous character of Mr. Gorman Crawl's efforts in this set. The following is the rally for the third ace in the fifth game, given in the notation invented by Mr. Wail, though not yet generally adopted. The diagram will be found in the third volume of Mr. Wail's book, How to be always right.
1. RS to SL2. 1. BR1 to LK5. 2. LP3 to RT4. 2. KL to LK4. 3. PK4 to LK5. (Ch.) 4. K x R. 5. P x K. 5. B x P. 6. Resigns.
At the conclusion of the match I shook hands with Mr. Gorman Crawl across the net before he could leave the court, and loudly congratulated him on his brilliant struggle. I now have to meet Mr. "U. R. Beete" in the final round, and if successful my match for the Championship with Mr. "Y. R. U. Sadd" will be played, weather permitting, on Tuesday at 3 o'clock, and should be well worth seeing.
Mr. Gasp has exchanged the cheese scoop, which is identified with the championship of South Rutlandshire, for a fish-slice.
Mr. Bloshclick, who lately won the South-West Devon Singles Championship at Sidmouth, is not a native of Antananarivo, as has been stated, but is, we are informed, of Zulu origin.
We regret to report that Mr. Wail met with an unfortunate accident at Broadstairs ten days ago. As a spectator at the annual Lawn Tennis Tournament he was demonstrating to a group of experts the methods which Mr. Wilding ought properly to employ in making his lifting forehand drive, when he struck himself a violent blow on the head, partly severing the right ear. This is the second time Mr. Wail has met with the accident, but we are glad to hear that he is making a satisfactory recovery.
* * * * *
Illustration: Tramp (suddenly appearing at riverside camping party). "BEG YER PARDON, GUV'NOR, BUT COULD YER LEND ME A BATHIN' SUIT?"
* * * * *
"Cigarette Makers (Female), round and flat."—Advt. in "Daily Chronicle."
Who makes round cigarettes (or flat) should herself be round (or flat) respectively.
* * * * *
"WANTED.—Anything old to do with the Church or Church Services; preference given to examples with dates or inscriptions."
Advt. in "The Challenge."
We were just going to offer our Vicar, but he has no inscription on him.
* * * * *
PLATITUDES: THE NEW GAME.
It is based on "Bromides" and any one can play it. The least educated has a chance of winning and an Oxford degree is no bar to success—quite the reverse, in fact; indeed I have known dons....
This is how it is played. Two people are seated in easy-chairs, for it has been found that you cannot be too comfortable for this game; any discomfort is apt to excite the mind, to disturb the grey matter, to interfere with that complete repose which is so essential a feature of the contest. These two are the players. They indulge in small talk and the smaller talker wins. The object of each player is to make such inanely conventional remarks that his opponent is reduced to silence. For example you are sitting next to a bishop, and it falls to you to start the conversation. Of course you don't say anything like "How sad about this Kikuyu business." No, you open like this. "Are you fond of dancing?" you say. The bishop will reply coldly, "It is many years since I danced." You sigh and murmur, "Ah! the dear old days!" I cannot imagine what his lordship will say next.
Of course the conversation in Platitudes must be connected and coherent. There is no use repeating "Wollah wollah, gollah gollah, ASQUITH must go, We want eight," or things of that sort. And you must not make mere blank statements like "The number of cigars annually imported into the U.S.A. is 26,714,811," unless they can be introduced deftly into the conversation.
You must imagine yourself paying a call in a London drawing-room, and you must say nothing that would not be possible and indeed suitable in that milieu. To attempt to arouse any interest or show any intelligence is wrong, but then neither must you betray any sign of actual imbecility. Anything that approaches gibbering cannot be too strongly condemned.
The players speak in turn and quotations are not allowed (at least not from living writers). The question as to whose talk is the smaller of the two is so much a matter of taste that the game can only be decided by an umpire or by the votes of the spectators. But there is seldom much doubt. It is not uncommon for one of the players to break down and become almost hysterical, and few can hold out long against one of the champions. Some people allow facial expression and general demeanour to count, but this I do not recommend. It gives some an unfair advantage, and I have known it lead to unpleasantness.
Perhaps a short sample will give a better idea of the game than any description. I take one from a little tournament in which I competed a few days ago. I was highly commended, but it was thought I displayed a little too much intelligence. This is one of the pleasing features of Platitudes; when one loses, things like that are somehow said, as they are never said, for instance, at Bridge. From this specimen the beginner will learn the right style and method. Only by study of the best models and by constant practice can he attain anything like proficiency.
He. What a world we live in, do we not? (This is a very common opening.)
She. Yes, to be sure. Dear, dear!
He. The age is so complex, so full of rush and hurry. Everyone is running after money, are they not?
She. They are not. I mean they are.
He (heaving a sigh). How sad it is!
She (in a tone of gentle correction). It is deplorable. Did you read Mr. Goldstein's speech the other day? I thought it so sweet! He said that the possession of wealth entailed great responsibilities.
He. How like him! (After a pause) And how true! Yes, things are in a bad way.
She. How one deplores these strikes.
He (sternly). They ought to be shot.
She. Too dreadful. I think it is so terrible when quite nice people are positively inconvenienced. It makes one think of the French Revolution.
He. Ah! Yes, the French Revolution. Well, well, the good old days are gone.
She. Yes, they have quite gone.
He (sighing heavily). Dear, dear, dear, dear! May I have some teacake?
She. Oh do! but I'm afraid they're cold.
He. I like them cold. I think they are so much cooler then.
She. They are a shade less warm.
[There was a short interval here when the supporters of each party gathered round and gave advice and encouragement. The lady seemed as fresh as a fiddle, but the man was very exhausted and had to have a spirituous stimulant. After a quarter-of-an-hour's interval the game was resumed.]
She. Look at the fashionable ladies and their dogs! The sums they lavish on them!
He. Oh, it's disgraceful. The Government ought to do something.
She. I call it wicked.
He (much struck with this). You are quite right.
She. But mind you, I'm fond of animals myself.
He. Oh, so am I. I dote on dogs. You know, I call the horse a noble animal—that's what I call the horse.
She (after a pause). I call the camel the ship of the desert.
He. Ah, very witty, very clever. I see you have a sense of humour. "Ship of the desert"—that's good.
She. Yes, I don't know what I should have done without my sense of humour.
He (sharply). No more do I.
She (confidentially). You know, I think dogs should be treated as dogs. They should be kept in their proper places. I like them best in the country, you know. Don't you?
He. Yes. I think the country is the place for all animals. One sees so many there—at least in some places.
She. I am so fond of the country. It is so restful. The old oaks and the buttercups and the village rector and the dear cows. I don't know what we should do without them.
He. That's what I say. Where would England be without the country?
She. Ah, yes. "Far from the madding crowd," as the poet says.
He. Yes. What a great poet MILTON is, to be sure.
She. Oh, delightful! And don't you like Miss WHEELER WILCOX?
He. Of course—ripping, yes, of course. Her poems of pleasure—her poems of passion, her—well, in fact, all her poems.
At this point the man broke down altogether and began to gibber. But he recovered in time to see the prize unanimously voted to the lady. This consisted of a volume of Mr. ——, but perhaps I had better not mention names; it might be liable to misconstruction. I hope I have said enough to show what a fascinating and delightful game it is. No appliances are required (as with dominoes), except one's own nimble brain; and I think Platitudes will soon sweep the country. Signs are not wanting that Clumps and Dumb Crambo are already becoming back numbers in the best circles.
* * * * *
"The military dirigible Koerting made the wound in the leg of Baron de Rothschild. It was found to have flattened itself against the bone."—Egyptian Mail.
"The Koerting; so it is," said the Baron, when shown the X-ray photograph of his calf.
* * * * *
TOURS IN FACT AND FANCY.
Tell me not of Western Islands Or some bonnie loch or ben Of those hustled haunts, the Highlands; I'm not going there again.
Cease from cackling so cocksurely Of some heavenly woodland dell Where the pipes of Pan blow purely; I have sampled these as well.
Do not harp upon your hollow Tales of Somewhere-by-the-Sea Patronised by Ph. Apollo; 'Tisn't good enough for me.
No, nor urge me, friend, to hasten To your "cloudless alien climes," Hungering for my Fleece like Jason— I've been fleeced there many times.
No, not one of your romances Can, I say, provide a lure; Not one spot on earth's expanses For my ailment find a cure.
Others may enjoy each jolly day Somewhere with their hard-earned pelf; But, for me, I want a holiday From my super-silly self.
* * * * *
From a story in Munsey's Magazine:
"My father was a clergyman in a college community; and that explains my home in a nutshell."
It doesn't. The father should have been a vegetarian in a Garden City community.
* * * * *
"Captain Roald Amundsen has qualified for his pilot's certificate at the military camp near Christiania. An officer of the Flying Corps first took him for a preliminary flight round the course, showing him what tests were required. Suddenly the elevator broke and the aeroplane fell nose downwards to the ground 40 feet below. Captain Amundsen escaped unhurt."—South Wales Echo.
So he got through the first test all right.
* * * * *
"SMALL SURREY SCORE.
ONLY HAYES AND HITCH SHINE AT NORTHAMPTON."
Surrey should have been at home, where HAYES and HITCH would have found an excellent third in Old Sol, who shone at his best.
* * * * *
"CLACTON.—A Lady would be glad to hear of anyone wishing to Join House-Party from August 14th to September 10th. Minute from sea and ten golf links."—Advt. in "Times."
Personally we find that, at our usual rate of divot-removing, five golf-links will last us a month. Ten is an unnecessary extravagance.
* * * * *
Illustration: Polite little boy (suffering from repletion). "OH, PLEASE MISS, DON'T ASK ME TO HAVE ANY MORE; I CAN'T SAY NO."
* * * * *
(By Mr. Punch's Staff of Learned Clerks).
I think I should have detected what was the primary Trouble with A Lad of Kent (MACMILLAN) if Mr. HERBERT HARRISON had given me any opportunity of studying Lord Haresfield at closer quarters. Upon the material vouchsafed it was impossible to spot in him the villain of the piece; I was only allowed to meet him at two brief interviews, throughout which he was consistently courteous and kind, with nothing of the murderer about him. There was, in this connection, not only suppressio veri, but even some suggestio falsi; at any rate I still have great difficulty in believing that a man so obviously intelligent and diplomatic could have initiated schemes so unnecessarily elaborate and entirely incompetent for the mere removal of an unknown and fatherless village youth. I make these observations only as in duty bound; for myself, I didn't care twopence who was trying to get rid of Phillip, or why. Provided they didn't succeed, I was content to leave them at it and enjoy the fascinating picture of life in a sea-coast village in the good old days when everybody was busy either in preventing or assisting the "free trade" when a press-gang might come along at any moment and steal a man or two without so much as by your leave, and, generally speaking, things moved. Mr. HARRISON has a delightful style, a perfect sympathy with the times of which he writes, and no small gift of characterization. Frankly, I don't believe he attaches any more importance to his plot than I do, for he is quite content to leave it to itself for several chapters on end.
* * *
The Double House (STANLEY PAUL) began attractively with a retired Indian colonel who had a mysterious sorrow and wished to betake himself to some quiet English hamlet "where echoes from his past might never penetrate." Of course this could hardly be called wise of the Colonel; the slightest knowledge of quiet English neighbourhoods in fiction or the drama might have assured him that towards the end of Act I somebody was simply bound to turn up who knew all. However, he rented one half of a divided old manor house, and, even when informed that the other half was inhabited by a widow of quiet habits, he apparently did not share my own instant certainty that there were coincidences ahead. As a matter of fact E. EVERETT-GREEN, the author, had so arranged matters that this lady was the sister-in-law of a wicked murderer, for whose crime the gallant Colonel had himself been tried. So much for his past; but as a matter of fact that of the lady was ever so much more sinister. She had, it appeared, married a gentleman called Paul Enderby, only to learn after the ceremony that her husband had a twin-brother Saul, who must have been the twinniest twin that ever breathed, since at no moment could any living soul tell the two apart. I won't harrow you with details, but the confusion was such that, even after the unlamented decease of Paul, poor bewildered Mrs. Enderby was by no means sure that she wasn't only a bereaved sister-in-law. Her sad plight reminded me of nothing so much as that of the lady in Engaged who entreated to have three questions answered: "Am I a widow, and if so how came I to be a widow, and whose widow came I to be?" The great difference between the two cases is that this of Mrs. Enderby is meant to be taken with solemnity—a task that I regret to add was too heavy for me. I am only sorry that so charming a title as The Double House has been so sadly wasted.
* * *
If a wicked male novelist had dared to write Jacynth (CONSTABLE) I tremble to imagine the things that certain fair critics would have said about him. But since a woman is the creator, and one, moreover, with the well-won reputation of Miss STELLA CALLAGHAN, what is there to say? After all she must know. As a portrait of futility, Jacynth is the most mercilessly realistic thing that I have met for some time. Pretty, brainless, egotistical, utterly unable ever to understand even the least of the men who loved her—this was Jacynth. The picture is so unsparing that (though I am not calling the book a masterpiece or free from dull moments) the very completeness of the dreadful thing fascinates you unwillingly. Jacynth was the typical product of a seaside town, where she was adored by two men—a young squire and a famous novelist. I was just a little bored by her beginnings, especially when she sprained her ankle—a gambit I had imagined demode even with the most provincial of heroines. However, Jacynth married the novelist, and after the honeymoon settled down to a steady course of fatuousness and general interference with his work which presently reduced the poor man to exasperation, and finally constrained him to pack her off on a prolonged visit to the seaside home of her maidenhood. After that Jacynth went from worse to worst; too preposterous a fool even to be greatly moved when she brought tragedy into the lives of those who came under her malign influence. I will not follow her vicissitudes in detail. Throughout the book the most sinister thing in her story was to me the fact that a woman had written it. Moreover I have a lurking suspicion that the portrait is no imaginary one. Perhaps this is a high tribute to Miss CALLAGHAN'S skill; it certainly is meant to be a compliment to her courage.
* * *
I've often longed to come upon Some giant spoor and dog the track till I ran to earth a mastodon, A dinosaur, a pterodactyl; But I supposed my natal date— However distantly I view it— Was several thousand years too late To give me any chance to do it.
And yet Sir ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE Has found a man who's penetrated Through bush and swamp on virgin soil And seen the things I've indicated, Creatures with names that clog your pen— Dimorphodon and plesiosaurus— And carried home a specimen To silence any doubting chorus.
In The Lost World[A] the tale is told (SMITH, ELDER do it cheap) in diction So circumstantial that its hold Is more than that of common fiction; If you can run the story through, By aid of portraits when you need it, And not be half convinced it's true, You simply don't deserve to read it.
[Footnote A: New Edition, with illustrations.]
* * *
There is nothing wrong with Mr. EDEN PHILLPOTTS' latest collection of short stories, The Judge's Chair (MURRAY), but there is something vigorously to protest against upon the wrapper that covers them. For there I found an uncompromising statement to the effect that these stories "bring to a conclusion the author's Dartmoor work," and no sooner had I read it than my heart sank into my heels. Solemnly I plead with him to reconsider this decision, for if he does not his innumerable admirers will be deprived of something almost as annual and quite as enjoyable as Christmas. If he wants a holiday let him have one by all means, though personally I was not pleased when he left Dartmoor for Italy. But let it be only a holiday, a break in his real business. As for the book, I advise everyone who can appreciate dry humour and quaint philosophy to sit behind The Judge's Chair. "The Two Farmers" is in its way a masterpiece, grim and very real, and there is not the ghost of a sign in the whole collection that Mr. PHILLPOTTS has written of Dartmoor until he is tired of it or it of him. He has made a niche for himself in that old temple of Nature, and we must all try to persuade him to stay there.
* * *
I have been reading a book, written by the Rev. H. S. PELHAM, and published by MACMILLAN, which is at least twenty times as absorbing and moving as any novel. It is called The Training of a Working Boy. I daresay you may have met with other volumes on something like the same theme before, and may suppose you know all about camps and evening schools and blind-alley employment and the rest of it. But I am pretty well sure that you have read nothing more practical and human on the questions of boydom. It is, indeed, the humanity, sympathetic and more than half humorous, of Mr. PELHAM'S attitude that gives his book its appeal and incidentally, I fancy, explains his success with the object of it. His little volume is a plea for personal rather than pecuniary help, and is directed more especially to Midlanders, since its chief concern is with the boy population of Birmingham. I can only wish for it the largest possible number of readers in the shires and elsewhere, since to read it is inevitably to be moved to active sympathy.
* * * * *
Illustration: THIS PICTURE ILLUSTRATES THE DEADLY STRUGGLE WHICH GOES ON DAILY BETWEEN RIVAL SEASIDE RESORTS. IT REPRESENTS A PARTY OF HIRELINGS IN THE PAY OF WOBBLETHORPE-ON-SEA ENGAGED IN RUNNING UP THE RAINFALL OF LITTLE BLINKINGTON.
* * * * *
"The selection of a player for the leading role, that of Pallas Athene, the beautiful goddess of Greek mythology, was successfully accomplished when Miss Genevieve Clark, the pretty and vivacious daughter of Speaker Clark, consented to take the part. Those who know Miss Clark and Greek mythology will realise at once that there will be a natural affinity between the player and the character."
Washington (D. C.) Post.
We never actually met Pallas Athene, but have always heard of her as being neither very pretty nor vivacious.
* * * * *