OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.
OCTOBER 21, 1914.
* * * * *
The following incident has been forwarded by the Special Constable himself, but the Authorities will not permit the publication of his actual portrait:—
Small Boy (suddenly noticing Special Constable). "LOOK AHT! COPPER!"
Boy. "THERE—AGIN FENCE."
Girl. "GARN, SILLY—FRIGHTENIN' ME!"
* * * * *
"The King," says The Manchester Courier, "has returned all his German Orders." So much for the taunt that Britain's object in taking part in the War was to pick up German orders.
* * *
We hear that, in addition to lowering the lights at night, the authorities intend, in order to confuse the enemy, to alter the names of some of our thoroughfares, and a start is to be made with Park Lane, which is to be changed to Petticoat Lane.
* * *
The KAISER is reported to have received a nice letter from his old friend ABDUL ("the D——d"), pointing out that it is the fate of some kind and gentle souls to be misunderstood.
* * *
Matches, it is stated, are required at the front—to put an end, we believe, to Tommy Atkins' reckless habit of lighting his cigarette by applying it to the burning fuse of a bomb.
* * *
A Sikh non-commissioned officer has, according to The Central News, delivered himself of the following saying:—"Power is to kings, but time belongs to the gods. The Indians know how to wait." This will no doubt call forth an indignant rejoinder from the Teutonic Waiters' Association.
* * *
"Property insured in London is valued at L1,320,000,000," according to an announcement made by Lord PEEL last week. One can almost hear the KAISER smacking his lips.
* * *
At last the authorities have acted, and the premises of a German firm with concrete foundations have been raided. This bears out the promise of certain high officials who declared that they would take action when a concrete example was brought to their notice.
* * *
The official "Eye-Witness" in a recent despatch tells us how a British subaltern saw, from a wood, an unsuspecting German soldier patrolling the road. Not caring to shoot his man in cold blood, he gave him a ferocious kick from behind, at which the startled German ran away with a yell. This subaltern certainly ought to have figured in "Boots' Roll of Honour" which was published last week.
* * *
Why, it is being asked, do not the French retaliate for the damage done by the Germans to their cathedrals and drop bombs on Berlin? The persons who put this question have evidently never seen Berlin or they would know that you cannot damage its architecture if you try.
* * *
The KAISER has announced his intention of eating his Christmas dinner in London. We trust that Mr. MCKENNA and his men will see to it that His Majesty will, anyhow, find no mince pies here. [NOTE.—"Mince pies" should be pronounced "mean spies." This greatly improves the paragraph.]
* * *
According to one report which reaches us the KAISER is now beginning to quibble. He has pointed out that, when he said he would eat his Christmas dinner at Buckingham Palace, he did not mention which Christmas.
* * * * *
TO THE ENEMY, ON HIS ACHIEVEMENT.
Now wanes the third moon since your conquering host Was to have laid our weakling army low, And walked through France at will. For that loud boast What have you got to show?
A bomb that chipped a tower of Notre Dame, Leaving its mark like trippers' knives that scar The haunts of beauty—that's the best reclame You have achieved so far.
Paris, that through her humbled Triumph-Arch Was doomed to see you tread your fathers' tracks— Paris, your goal, now lies a six days' march Behind your homing backs.
Pressed to the borders where you lately passed Bulging with insolence and fat with pride, You stake your all upon a desperate cast To stem the gathering tide.
Eastward the Russian draws you to his fold, Content, on his own ground, to bide his day, Out of whose toils not many feet of old Found the returning way.
And still along the seas our watchers keep Their grip upon your throat with bands of steel, While that Armada, which should rake the deep, Skulks in its hole at Kiel.
So stands your record—stay, I cry you grace— I wronged you. There is Belgium, where your sword Has bled to death a free and gallant race Whose life you held in ward;
Where on your trail the smoking land lies bare Of hearth and homestead, and the dead babe clings About its murdered mother's breast—ah, there, Yes, you have done great things!
* * * * *
TOMMY BROWN, RECRUITING SERGEANT.
Tommy Brown had been moved up into Form II., lest he should take root in Form I. He had been recommended personally by the master of Form I. to Mr. Smith, the guardian deity of Form II., as "the absolute limit." After a year of Tommy, Mr. Smith had begun to mention him in his prayers, not so much for Tommy's good as for his own deliverance—mentally including him in the category of plague, pestilence, famine and sudden death.
Though the pervading note of Mr. Smith's report upon Tommy was gloom, deep gloom, he must have had some dim hopes of him, for, at the end of the Summer Term, he had placed his hand upon Tommy's head and said, "Never mind, my boy, we shall make a man of you some day."
A new term had begun; Tommy Brown had mobilised two days late, but he was in time for Mr. Smith's lecture on "The War, boys."
The orator spoke for an hour and a quarter, and at the end he wiped his brows with the blackboard duster under the impression that it was his handkerchief. Meanwhile Tommy had eaten three apples, caught four flies, written "Kiser" in chalk on the back of the boy in front of him, exchanged a catapult with Jones minor for a knife, cut his finger, and made faces at each of the four new boys. Mr. Smith caught him in one of these contortions, but he was speaking of Louvain at the moment and took it as a compliment.
Suddenly Tommy found himself confronted with a number of sheets of clean paper. "The essay is to be written on one side of the paper only," said Mr. Smith.
Tommy asked the boy next to him what they had to write about, and the reply, "The War, you fool," set him thinking.
A deathlike stillness fell upon the room; Tommy Brown looked round, frowned heavily, dipped his pen in the ink and then in his mouth, and thought hard.
Then, after much frowning, he delivered himself of the following, the ink being shared equally between himself and the paper:—
"The wor was becose the beljums wouldent let the jermens go over there fields so they put minds in the sea and bunbarded people dead with airplans. It was shokkin. The rushens have got a steme roler. We have got a garden roler at home and I pull it sometimes. I dont like jermens. Kitchener said halt your country needs you and weve got a lot of drednorts. The airplans drop boms on anyone if your not looking it isnt fare yours truly T. Brown."
The essay completed to his satisfaction, Tommy Brown conveyed to his mouth a sweet the size and strength of which fully justified the name "Britain's Bulwarks" attached to it by the shopkeeper.
He then leaned back with the air of one who had done his duty in the sphere in which he found himself and proceeded to survey the room.
The other boys were still writing, and for fully half a minute Tommy looked at them in pained surprise.
He then read his own essay again and, finding no flaw in it, frowned once more on his fellow pupils and wrote: "My father won the Victoria Cross Meddle." Having written this he looked round again somewhat defiantly. His eye caught one of the new boys beginning another sheet.
Tommy's essay just filled two-thirds of a page. He would fight that new boy. Just then the words of a war poster came into his head and he wrote in large letters: "Your King and country want you."
Tommy studied this for a minute, and then, as the appeal seemed directed to himself, he wrote: "I'm not old enuf or I'd go my brothers gone I'm not a funk I let Jones miner push a needle into my finger to show him."
It seemed to Tommy Brown that the other boys possessed some secret fund of information, even the new boys. He'd show those new boys after school. Having made up his mind on this point he printed at the bottom of his essay, "Kitchener wants men." As an after-thought he added, "My father was a man."
He let his gaze wander round the room until it fell upon the face of his master, and then, under some impulse, he wrote the fateful words, "Mr. Smith is a man."
"Finish off now!" rang out the command from Mr. Smith.
Tommy saw the other boys putting sheet after sheet together, and he had hardly filled one. He racked his brains for something to add to his essay, and there came to his mind the words written under his father's portrait. He had only time to put down "England expecs——" when his paper was collected.
No one ever read Tommy Brown's essay excepting Mr. Smith, and he burnt it.
* * * * *
A lady teaches Form II. now, and Tommy Brown is eagerly looking forward to the day when Mr. Smith will return to occupy once more the post that is being kept open for him, for Mr. Smith has promised to bring Tommy home a German helmet.
* * * * *
"A number of shells burst together and almost at the same moment he saw a large cigar-shaped cigar fall to the earth."
Bolton Evening News.
The unusual shape of it struck him at once.
* * * * *
Illustration: THE GREATER GAME.
MR. PUNCH (to Professional Association Player). "NO DOUBT YOU CAN MAKE MONEY IN THIS FIELD, MY FRIEND, BUT THERE'S ONLY ONE FIELD TO-DAY WHERE YOU CAN GET HONOUR."
[The Council of the Football Association apparently proposes to carry out the full programme of the Cup Competition, just as if the country did not need the services of all its athletes for the serious business of War.]
* * * * *
THE SUNDAY EVENING EDITION.
Mrs. Henry looked up. "I think I hear that boy again selling evening papers," she said. "I suppose they must come off the 9.5 train. But it's a strange thing to happen on a Sunday—here."
The Reverend Henry was already at the window. He threw it up and leaned out.
"One can't approve of it, but I suppose in war time—" Mrs. Henry was beginning when her husband cut her short. "Hush—I'm trying to hear what he is saying. I wish boys could be taught to speak distinctly." There was a pause.
"I can't make him out." The Reverend Henry's head reappeared between the curtains. "It's really most exasperating; I'd give a lot to know if the Belgian army got out of Antwerp before it fell."
"Couldn't you shout down and ask him?"
"No, no. I cannot be discovered interrogating urchins about secular affairs from a second storey window on Sunday evening. Still, I'd like to know."
The Reverend Henry perambulated the room with knitted brow.
"I never bought a Sunday paper of any sort in my life. Never."
"I suppose one must have some principles," said his wife.
"But it's enormously important, you know. They may easily have been surrounded and captured." He returned to the window. "Hullo, he's gone to the door. I say, Cook has bought one. This is exciting. I should never have thought Cook would have done that."
"It raises rather a nice point," said Mrs. Henry.
The Reverend Henry returned resolutely to his book. The shouts of the newsvendor died away.
"We must not forget," said the Reverend Henry irrelevantly, "that Cook is a Dissenter." Then suddenly he broke out. "I wish I knew," he said. "I am not paying the least attention to this book and I shan't sleep well, and I shall get up about two hours before the morning paper arrives, and be restive till I know whether the Belgians got out. But what am I to do? I can't ask Cook."
"I might go down," his wife volunteered. "I needn't say anything about it, you know. I could just stroll about the kitchen and change the orders for breakfast. The paper is pretty sure to be lying about. There may be headlines."
"No," said the Reverend Henry with determination, "I really cannot consent to it."
"Well, I may as well go to bed. Don't sit up late."
The Reverend Henry did sit up rather late. He was wide awake and ill at ease. At last he listened intently at the door and then took a candle and stole down the passage.
The Reverend Henry had not been in his own kitchen for close upon ten years, and he did not know the way about very well. He had adventures and some moments of rigid suspense while the clatter of a kicked coal-scuttle died away in the distance. But when at last he crept noiselessly up-stairs he was assured of a good night's rest.
"What a mess your hands are in," said Mrs. Henry sleepily.
"Yes," said Henry. "That miserable woman had used it to lay the fire. But it's all right. They did get out—most of them."
* * * * *
Illustration: Alf (reading French news). "ALL THE CINEMAS IN CALAIS ARE SHUT UP. MY WORD! THAT BRINGS THE HORRORS OF WAR PRETTY CLOSE TO HOME!"
* * * * *
"British Troops Fighting (Official)."—Western Mail.
So the Censor has let the secret out at last, and the rumours of the last 70 days prove to be well founded.
* * * * *
"Five hundred German prisoners were landed in Dublin yesterday afternoon, and conveyed under escort to Templemore, County Tipperary."—Newcastle Daily Journal.
It's a long, long way, but they've got there at last.
* * * * *
"My dear," I said, "you are always proposing things, and then, when they are carried nem. con., you argue against your own proposal."
"It's unfair to use Greek to me."
"'Nem. con.,'" I said, "is rich old Castilian and, put simply, means that nobody—I am nobody—objects."
"But we can't afford a new tea-set."
"Then why did you ask so many to tea at once?"
"I didn't think," said Alison. "They are coming to make pyjamas for our soldiers in the trenches, and I simply thought that the more people came the more pyjamas there would be."
"How many cups have we?"
"Only five tea-cups. Jessie broke two more yesterday, and there's one with a piece out that you or I could use. Oh! and there are the two breakfast cups and two odd ones which would make up the number, but they're such a mixed lot."
Jessie is our domestic staff and a champion china-breaker.
"If Jessie," I said, "were not so good to young Peter I should insist on handing her back her credentials. Hold! I have the germ of an idea. Leave me to work it out, please. I see credit, nay kudos, in it."
At the end of ten minutes Alison looked in again.
"I'm just putting the finishing touches," I said. "Kindly ask Peter to spare me a few moments. He's sailing his boats in the bath, I imagine. By the way, what time are these people coming?"
"Half-past four," said Alison, "and it's now nearly four."
"Then please see that Jessie brings in tea at five exactly."
"Why exactly?" said Alison.
"Why not?" I said. "Five is a very good hour, and it's part of my scheme."
"It's most mysterious," said Alison.
"It's particularly ingenious," I said. "Everything dovetails in beautifully, and if you'll carry out your small share all will be well. By the way, if I make any remark to the company before tea which is not—er—strictly true, you will please to take no notice of it."
"I'll try not to," said Alison, "if it isn't too outrageous."
"Oh, no," I said, "nothing to shy at. But I might find it necessary to say something about a Worcester tea-set. Listen," I said before she could interrupt. "When you hear me say, 'Worcester tea-set' you say 'Great heavens!' or whatever women say under stress of great emotion. But sit tight. Don't go and see about it."
"See about what?"
"The Worcester tea-set, of course."
"But we haven't got one."
"My dear girl," I said, "try to imagine we have. In this little drawing-room comedy you've only one line to learn, and your cue's 'Worcester tea-set.'"
"But what's the idea?" said Alison.
"The idea," I said, "is great, but it is as well you should not know the whole plot of the piece yet. Play your one line, and I, as stage manager, will answer for the rest of the cast."
"And what's Peter got to do with it? I want him to have tea with Jessie."
"Right," I said. "Peter's part is important, but is played off—in the wings, as it were."
My interview with Peter was not a long one.
"Now look here, old pal," I said at the close, "quarter to exactly, in the bathroom."
"Right-o! Daddy." Peter (aetat. 9) has a wrist-watch already and winds it regularly, so I knew he wouldn't fail me.
At a quarter to five I was talking to Mrs. Padbury, the Rector's wife, about the doings of the various Armies in the field. I was sitting in such a position that, while seeming to attend only to her, I could keep an eye on the drawing-room clock behind her. Every detail of my scheme had been carefully arranged; it now only remained for the actors to play their ...
"Bless my soul," I said, "that sounds remarkably like the Worcester tea-set," and looking at the clock again I knew that Peter had made the "loud noise off" at the exact moment. "Good lad," I said to myself.
"Great heavens!" said Alison.
I was delighted. I had been more afraid of Alison's getting stage fright than of anything else, and there she was playing her part like a veteran actress. Things were going really splendidly.
It was at this precise moment that the grandfather clock in the kitchen gave out the first stroke of five, and at the same moment Jessie entered bearing a tray, on which were the five drawing-room tea-cups which were intact, the single ditto with a piece out, two breakfast cups and two odd ones.
So the one player, the kitchen clock, whose part had been overlooked, had spoilt the whole show by being nearly fifteen minutes fast; and the fact that Jessie tripped on the doormat as she came in, with fatal results to the rest of our tea-things, was a mere circumstance.
Alison blames me for everything.
The next pyjama conference is to be held at the Rectory.
* * * * *
From a well-known Firm's catalogue:—
"Our roll of honour to date: 487 employees joined the colours."
The question, "Shall women fight?" has now been decided.
* * * * *
Illustration: The St. John Ambulance Association, which forms part of the Red Cross Organisation of Great Britain, derives its name and traditions from the Order of St. John of Jerusalem (Knights Hospitallers), founded at the time of the Crusades. It has at this moment many thousands of workers engaged in tending the wounded at the seat of war and in the hospitals of the Order.
In peace time it does not appeal to the public for subscriptions, but under the stress of war it finds itself in urgent need of help, and is absolutely compelled to ask for funds. Gifts should be sent to the Chief Secretary, Colonel Sir Herbert C. Perrott, Bt., C.B., at St. John's Gate, Clerkenwell, E.C., and cheques should be crossed "London County and Westminster Bank, Lothbury," and made payable to the St. John Ambulance Association. In aid of its work, a Concert (at which Madame Patti will sing) is to be given at the Albert Hall on Saturday afternoon, October 24th.
* * * * *
Illustration: A UNITED FAMILY.
Irish would-be Recruit. "BEG PARDON, CAPTAIN, BUT THE MAN IN THERE WON'T LET ME GO TO FIGHT BECAUSE OF ME EYE."
Captain. "HAVE YOU EVER BEEN IN THE ARMY?"
Would-be Recruit. "I HAVE, SORR."
Captain. "WHAT REGIMENT?"
Would-be Recruit. "ME BROTHER WAS IN THE LEINSTERS."
* * * * *
STICK TO IT, RIGHT WING!
(A few suggested official communiques, respectfully offered to the authorities in Paris.)
Enemy, towards Lassigny, made attack, But after suffering heavy loss withdrew. We have made progress near to Berry-au-Bac, And on our right wing there is nothing new.
Near the Argonne we had a slight reverse (Though what the Germans said is quite untrue). Along the Meuse things seem a little worse, But on our right wing there is nothing new.
We gather that sensational reports Announced the fall of Antwerp ere 'twas due; There's still resistance in some Antwerp forts, And on our right wing there is nothing new.
Our left is making progress, and it looks (For the straight line is getting very skew) As if our forces might surround VON KLUCK'S. Meantime, on right wing there is nothing new.
Fighting in centre; German loss immense; Our casualties, it seems, were very few. All up the left wing Germans very dense; May they remain so! Right wing, nothing new.
In some few places we have given ground; In several others we have broken through. Our left is still by way of working round, And on our right wing there is nothing new.
On our left wing the state of things remains Unaltered, on a general review. Our losses in the centre match our gains, And on our right wing there is nothing new.
So it goes on. But there may come a day When WILHELM'S cheek assumes a different hue, And bulletins are rounded off this way:— "And on the right wing there is something new."
* * * * *
"The prisoner, who was said to be an Indian barrister's window, was placed on the floor of the Court."—Edinburgh Evening Dispatch.
The prisoner would have looked better in the roof as a skylight.
* * * * *
"THE DOUBLE MYSTERY."
Scene: The house of Judge Hallers. Also of Mr. ARTHUR BOURCHIER; that is to say, The Garrick.
Doctor Ferrier (professionally). Now tell me the symptoms. Where do you feel the pain?
Judge Hallers. At the back of the head. I've never been myself since I fell off my bicycle. My memory goes.
Ferrier. Ah, I know what you want. Open your mouth. (Inserts thermometer.) This will cure you ... Good heavens, he's swallowed it!
Hallers. There you are, that's what I mean. I thought it was asparagus for the moment. Haven't you another one on you?
Ferrier. Tut, tut, this is very singular. (Makes another effort to grapple with it.) What books have you been reading lately?
Hallers. One about Dual Personality. It's all rubbish.
Ferrier (quoting from the programme with an air of profound knowledge). Cases showing prevalence of this mental disorder are to be found everywhere. (Gets up.) Well, well, I will come round to-morrow with another thermometer. Good night. [Exit.
Hallers. Dual personality—nonsense! (A spasm seizes him. He scowls at the audience, ties a muffler round his neck and loses his identity.) Gr-r-r-r! Waugh-waugh! Gr-r-r-r-r! Przemysl! [Exit growling.
Scene: "The Lame Duck" cafe, a horrible haunt of depravity.
Poulard (the Proprietor, to long-bearded customer). Yes, Sir?
L.-B. Customer. H'sh! (Removes portion of beard.) I am Inspector Heidegg!
Poulard. Fried egg?
Inspector (annoyed). Heidegg. (Replaces beard.) A gang of desperate desperados, headed by the ruffianly ruffian whom they call The Baron, will be here to-night. I shall be hiding under the counter. Ten men and two dachshunds surround the house. If you betray me your licence will not be worth a moment's purchase.
[He dives under the counter. Poulard, rather upset, goes out and kicks the waiter.
Enter the gang of desperados, male and female. A scene of horrible debauchery ensues.
Charlier (revelling recklessly). Small lemonade, waiter.
Picard (with abandoned gaiety). A dry biscuit and a glass of milk.
Jacquot (letting himself go). Dash, bother, hang, bust!
Picard (to Merlin). Why don't you revel?
Merlin (giving Suzanne a nudge). What-ho! [Relapses into silence again.
Picard (gaily). A song! a song!
Charlier (in an agonised whisper). You fool, none of us can sing!
Picard. What about the girl who sang the recruiting song before the play began? Isn't she behind the scenes still? (Cracking his biscuit.) Well, let's have a dance anyway. We must make the thing go. Waiter, another glass of milk.
Enter Judge Hallers in scowl and muffler.
Charlier (enthusiastically). Ha! The Baron!
Hallers. I mean business to-night, boys. Look at this! (He produces a dagger and a pistol.)
Charlier. What a man!
[He throws away his pea-shooter in disgust. Jacquot, who has just begun to strop a fish-knife, realizes that he has been outdone in devilry, and gives it back to the waiter. Picard replaces his knotted handkerchief.
Hallers. Yes, boys, I've got a crib for you to crack to-night. It's Judge Hallers' house. (A loud bumping noise is heard from the direction of the counter.) What's that?
It is Inspector Heidegg. (Raising his head incautiously, in order to catch his first sight of the notorious Baron, he has struck the top of his skull against the counter and is now lying stunned.)
All. A spy!
Hallers. Bring him out ... Ha! Who is he? Is that his own beard or Clarkson's?
Charlier. It's a police inspector in a false beard!
Mr. BOURCHIER (contemptuously).
A real artist would have grown a beard. (Producing his knife.) He must die.
(There is a loud noise without.)
Noise without. Open! Bang-bang. Open! Bow-wow, bow-wow. [It is the police and the two dachshunds.
Hallers. Quick! The trap-door!
[They escape as the dachshunds enter.
Scene: Next morning at Judge Hallers.
Dr. Ferrier. Good morning, Judge. I've come with that other thermometer. I have ventured to tie a piece of string to it, so that in case the—er—temperature goes down again——But what's happened here? You seem all upset.
Hallers. Burglary. I dropped asleep at my desk here last night, and when I wake up I find that a criminal called The Baron and two accomplices have burgled my house. The Baron escaped, but Heidegg caught the others.
Ferrier. Extraordinary thing. What theatres have you been to lately?
Hatters. Only the Garrick. (Enter Heidegg.) Well, anything fresh to report, Inspector?
Heidegg. Yes, Judge. The prisoners say that you are The Baron. But they say you had a muffler on last night. That might account for our dachshunds missing the scent.
Hallers. Good heavens, what do you make of this, Doctor?
Ferrier (picking up programme). Cases showing prevalence of this mental disorder——
Hallers. You mean I am a dual personality! (Covers his face with his hands.)
Ferrier. Come, come, control yourself.
Hallers (calmly). It is all right; I am my own man—I mean my own two men again. What shall I do?
Ferrier. You must wrestle with your second self. I will hypnotise you. (He glares at him.)
Hallers (after a long pause). Well, why don't you begin?
Ferrier. You ass, I'm doing it all the time. This is the latest way.... There! Now then, wrestle!
[A terrible struggle ensues. After what seems about half an hour the Judge, panting heavily, gets The Baron metaphorically down on the mat, and——
Ferrier. Time! (Replacing his watch.) That will do for to-day. But continue the treatment every morning—say for half an hour before the bath. Good day to you.
Hallers. Wait a moment; you can't go like this. We must have a proper curtain. Ah, here's my fiancee. Would you——Thank you!
[The Doctor leads her to the Judge, who embraces her.
A. A. M.
* * * * *
"It was dark, and as he stumbled on his way he called out, 'Are you there, Fritz?' A French soldier with a knowledge of German shouted back, 'Here.'"—Daily Mail.
At the critical moment his knowledge of German seems to have failed him.
* * * * *
From the report of the Manchester Medical Officer of Health:—
"An important step forward was taken in 1909, when an Order of the Local Government Board made Tuberculosis of the Lungs obligatory on the Medical Officers of the Poor Law Service; in 1911 a second Order extended the obligation to other Institutions."
So far, luckily, the Order has not been extended to journalists. Regarding it, however, from the standpoint of the onlooker, we think that the L. G. B. has gone a little beyond its powers.
* * * * *
Illustration: WHY HAVE WE NO SUPERMEN LIKE THE GERMANS?
HOW THEY MIGHT BRIGHTEN REGENT STREET.
HOW THEY MIGHT WAKE UP OUR RESTAURANTS.
AND HONOUR US WITH THEIR GALLANTRY.
AND, BEST OF ALL, HOW AMUSING TO SEE THEM MEET A SUPER-SUPERMAN.
* * * * *
Illustration: FACTS FROM THE FRONT.
STORM OF RIGHTEOUS INDIGNATION AT THE ENEMY'S HEADQUARTERS ON THEIR BEING SHOWN A "BARBAROUS AND DISGUSTING ENGINE OF WAR" IN USE BY THE ALLIES. [The Germans have taken a strong objection to the French 75 m/m gun.]
* * * * *
THE GREAT SHOCK.
(Or a tragic result of Armageddon as gleaned from the Evening Press.)
No more the town discusses The Halls and what will win; Now stifled are the wags' tones On Piccadilly's flagstones, And half the motor-buses Have started for Berlin.
New eyes to war adapting We stare at the Gazette; Yon eager-faced civilian, When posters flaunt vermilion And boys say "Paper, capting," Replies "Not captain—yet."
"Remains," I asked, "no station Of piping peace and sport? Oh yes. Though kings may tumble, No howitzers can rumble, No sounds but cachinnation Can boom from DARLING'S Court.
"That garden of the Graces Can hear no cannon roar; From that dear island valley No bruit of arms can sally. But men must burst their braces With laughter as of yore.
"While dogs of war are snarling His wit shall sweep away Bellona's ominous vapour;" Therefore I bought a paper To see what Justice DARLING Happened to have to say.
In vain his humour sortied, In vain with spurts of glee Like field-guns on the trenches He raked the crowded benches; My evening print reported No kind of casualty.
No prisoner howled and hooted, No strong policemen tore With helpless mirth their jackets, There was not even in brackets This notice: "(Laughter—muted In deference to the war.")
* * * * *
A Traitor Press.
"BRITISH PRESS BACK THE ENEMY." Manchester Courier.
Punch anyhow backs the Allies.
* * * * *
Cardiff claims the honour of having enlisted the heaviest recruit in the person of a police constable weighing nineteen stone odd. He should prove invaluable for testing bridges before the heavy artillery passes across.
* * * * *
A ROYAL CRACKSMAN.
When the housebreaking business is slack And cracksmen are finding it slow— For all the seasiders are back And a great many more didn't go— Here's excellent news from the front And joy in Bill Sikes's brigade; Things are looking up since The German CROWN PRINCE Has been giving a fillip to trade.
His methods are quite up to date, Displaying adroitness and dash; What he wants he collects in a crate, What he doesn't he's careful to smash. An historical chateau in France With Imperial ardour he loots, Annexing the best And erasing the rest With the heels of his soldierly boots.
Sikes reads the report with applause; It's quite an inspiring affair; But a sudden idea gives him pause— The Germans must stop over there! So he flutters a Union Jack To help to keep Englishmen steady, Remarking, "His nibs Mustn't crack English cribs, The profession is crowded already."
* * * * *
THE KAISER, "SO, YOU SEE—YOU'VE LOST EVERYTHING."
THE KING OF THE BELGIANS, "NOT MY SOUL."
* * * * *
Illustration: MORE HORRORS OF WAR.
Lady Midas (to friend). "YES, DO COME TO DINNER ON FRIDAY. ONLY I MUST CAUTION YOU THAT IT WILL BE AN ABSOLUTE PICNIC, FOR MY FOURTH AND SIXTH FOOTMEN HAVE JUST ENLISTED."
* * * * *
The reiterated accusations made by Germany of the use of dum-dum bullets by the Allies, although they are not believed by anyone else, appear to be accepted without question by the German General Staff. New measures of retaliation are being taken, which, while not strictly forbidden by International Law, may at any rate be said to contravene the etiquette of civilised warfare. We learn from Sir JOHN FRENCH'S Eye-witness that numbers of gramophones have made their appearance in the German trenches north of the Aisne River.
* * * * *
Papers captured in the pocket of a member of the German Army Service Corps contain bitter complaints of the enormous strain thrown upon the already over-taxed railway system in Germany by the KAISER'S repeated journeys to and fro between the Eastern and the Western Theatres of War. He is referred to (rather flippantly) as "The Imperial Pendulum" (Perpendikel). The writer, while recognising the eager devotion with which the KAISER is pursuing his search for a victory in the face of repeated disappointment, congratulates himself that the Imperial journeys, though they are not likely to be discontinued, will at least grow shorter and shorter as time goes on. Indeed, it is hoped that before long a brief spin in the Imperial automobile-de-luxe will cover the ground between the Eastern and Western Theatres.
* * * * *
WORKS OF KULTUR.
In some respects, apparently, the enemy has been less affected by the War than we have. While in England the book-trade has been slightly depressed, in Germany it seems to be flourishing. We give samples from the latest catalogues:—
The most interesting volume announced is A Hunning We Will Go, and Other Verses, by WILLIAM HOHENZOLLERN, whose Bleeding Heart attracted so much attention.
Kaiser's Gallic War Books, I. & II., a new edition, very much revised since August by General VON KLUCK and other accomplished scholars, are certain to be of great use for educational purposes.
In this department a work likely to be enquired for is The Dogs of St. Bernhardi, by General VON MOLTKE.
The demand for fiction in Germany is said to be without parallel and the supply appears to be not inadequate. Among forthcoming volumes there should be a demand for Der Tag; or, It Never Can Happen Again.
Proverbial Philosophy contains the favourite proverbs of various persons of eminence. From the Imperial FINANCE MINISTER comes: "It's never too late to lend." From General MANTEUFFEL (the destroyer of Louvain library): "Too many books spoil the Goth." The CROWN PRINCE contributes: "Beware the rift within the loot."
* * * * *
ZEITUNGS AND GAZETTINGS.
It is sad to relate, but persistent efforts to maintain the disinterested claim on American friendship which we Germans have always (when in need of it) advanced, continue to be misrepresented in that stronghold of atheistical materialism and Byzantine voluptuousness, New York. To the gifted Professor von Schwank's challenge, that he could not fill a single "scrap of paper" with the record of acts of war on our part which were incompatible with Divine guidance and the promulgation of the higher culture, the effete and already discredited ROOSEVELT has merely replied, "Could fill Rheims." This is very poor stuff and worthy only of a creature who combines with the intellectual development of a gorilla the pachymenia of the rhinoceros and the dental physiognomy of the wart-hog. ROOSEVELT, once our friend, is plainly the enemy and must be watched. Should he decide, however, even at the eleventh hour, to fall in line with civilisation, he can rely on finding in Germany, in return for any little acts of useful neutrality which he may be able to perform, a generous ally, a faithful upholder of treaty obligations, and a tenacious friend. There must surely be something that America covets—something belonging to one of our enemies. Between men of honour we need say no more.
BASE CALUMNY EXPOSED.
Let us speak plainly with regard to the Rheims affair. We have successively maintained that this over-rated monument of Arimaspian decadence (1) was not injured in any way; (2) was only blown to pieces in conformity with the rules of civilised warfare; (3) was mutilated and fired by our unscrupulous and barbaric opponents themselves; (4) was deliberately pushed into our line of fire on the night of the 19th September; (5) never existed at all, being indeed an elaborate but puerile fiction basely invented by a baffled enemy with the object of discrediting our enlightened army in the eyes of neutral Powers. Any of these was good enough, but what now appears is better. Exact measurements have since demonstrated beyond all question of cavil that Rheims Cathedral had been built with mathematical accuracy to shield our contemptible enemy's trenches around Chalons from our best gun positions outside Laon. This act of treachery proves that, instead of Germany being the aggressor, France has been cunningly preparing ever since 1212 A.D. for the war which at last even our chivalrous diplomacy has been powerless to avert.
GENEROUS OFFER TO MONACO.
It is time for Monaco to reconsider its position. Should it maintain its present short-sighted and untenable neutrality what has it to gain from England, France, or Russia? Nothing that it has not already got. Monaco very naturally wants something more. Let us be frank. We of Germany speak very differently. It is not desirable to be specific, but short of that we may say that whatever Monaco asks for it will be promised. England, we would then repeat, is the enemy. Has Monaco forgotten the sinister malignity of an article in an English paper disclosing "How to Break the Bank at Monte Carlo." It is unnecessary to labour the point, to which we will return in our next issue. Monaco, in short, like Turkey, Bolivia, China, the United States, Hayti and Oman, is the natural ally of Germany.
Illustration: "PFUTSCH! DEY VAS JUST A FEW TINGS VAT I USE TO FRIGHDEN DER CATS FROM MEIN GARTEN!"
* * * * *
"After exhaustive research a Scotch scientist has decided that no trees are species is struck as often as another."
Vancouver Daily Province.
He must have a rest and then try some more research.
* * * * *
THE SLUMP IN CRIME.
"Praise is due to criminals," remarked Mr. ROBERT WALLACE, K.C., at the London Sessions, "for the self-control they are exercising during this period of stress and anxiety."
It is to be feared that Mr. WALLACE'S views are not entirely shared by the legal profession. As the junior partner in Mowlem & Mowlem confided to our representative: "That's all very fine, but what's to become of us? Not a burglar on our books for the last six weeks. Not a confidence man; not a coiner; not a note expert. And they had the opportunity of their lives with the JOHN BRADBURY notes! We shall have to shut up our office, and then what's to become of our clerk? What's to become of our charwoman? I ask you, what's to become of our charwoman's poor old husband dependent on her? No, let's have patriotism in its right place!"
An old-established firm of scientific implement merchants showed even more indignation. "We had taken our place in the firing-line in the War on Germany's Trade," they declared. "We had made arrangements for home manufacture to supplant the alien jemmy. No British burglar would need to be equipped with anything but all-British implements, turned out in British factories and giving employment to British workmen only. And now what do we find? The market has gone to pot. Yes, Sir, to pot. And that's the reward for our patriotic efforts!"
Opinions of other representative men in the criminological world have reached us in response to telegrams (reply paid):—
Sir ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE: "Ruin stares me in the face."
Mr. GERALD DU MAURIER: "Have decided to suppress Raffles for the period of the War."
Mr. RAFFLES: "Have decided to suppress GERALD DU MAURIER for the period of the war."
Mr. G. K. CHESTERTON: "Have always maintained that patriotism is the curse of the criminal classes. Will contribute ten guineas to National Fund for Indigent Burglars Whose Front Name Is Not William."
Crown Prince WILHELM: "Have nothing to give away to the Press."
Mr. GEORGE BERNARD SHAW: "My first telegram for three months. To be a criminal needs brains. There are no English criminals."
* * * * *
Illustration: Nurse. "GOODNESS ME! WHAT 'AVE YOU BEEN DOING TO YOUR DOLLS?"
Joan. "CHARLIE'S KILLED THEM! HE SAID THEY WERE MADE IN GERMANY, AND HOW WERE WE TO KNOW THEY WEREN'T SPIES?"
* * * * *
WITH HIGH HEART.
The long line of red earth twisted away until it was lost in the fringe of a small copse on the left and had dipped behind a hillock on the right. Flat open country stretched ahead, grass lands and fields of stubble, lifeless and deserted.
There was no enemy to be seen and not even a puff of smoke to suggest his whereabouts. But the air was full of the booming of heavy guns and the rising eerie shriek of the shrapnel.
Behind the line of red earth lay the British, each man with his rifle cuddled lovingly to his shoulder, a useless weapon that yet conveyed a sense of comfort. The shells were bursting with hideous accuracy—sharp flashes of white light, a loud report and then a murderous rain of shrapnel.
"Crikey!" said a little man in filthy rain-sodden khaki, as a handful of earth rose up and hit him on the shoulder; "crikey! that was a narsty shave for your uncle!"
The big man beside him grunted and shifted half an inch of dead cigarette from one corner of his mouth to the other. "You can 'old my 'and," said he with a grin.
Four or five places up the trench a man stumbled to his knee, coughed with a rush of blood and toppled over dead.
"Dahn and aht," said the big man gruffly. "Gawd! If we could get at 'em!"
The wail of a distant shell rose to a shriek and the explosion was instantaneous. The little man suddenly went limp and his rifle rolled down the bank of the trench.
His friend looked at him with unspeakable anguish. "Got it—in the perishing neck this time, Bill," gasped the little man.
Bill leaned over and propped his pal's head on his shoulder. A large dark stain was saturating the wounded man's tunic and he lay very still.
"Bill," very faintly; then, with surprise, "Blimey! 'E's blubbing! Poor old Bill!"
The big man was shaking with strangled sobs. For some moments he held his friend close, and it was the dying man who spoke first.
"Are we dahn-'earted?" he said. The whisper went along the line and swelled into a roar.
The big man choked back his sobs. "No, old pal, no!" he answered, and "No-o-o-o!" roared the line in unison.
The little man lay back with a contented sigh. "No," he repeated, and closed his eyes for ever.
* * * * *
The Grey Men of the South They look to glim of seas, This gentle day of drouth And sleepy Autumn bees, Pale skies and wheeling hawk And scent of trodden thyme, Brown butterflies and chalk And the sheep-bells' chime.
The Grey Men they are old, Ah, very old they be; They've stood upside the wold Since all eternity; They standed in a ring And the elk-bull roared to them When SOLOMON was king In famed Jerusalem.
KING SOLOMON was wise; He was KING DAVID'S son; He lifted up his eyes To see his hill-tops run; And his old heart found cheer, As yours and mine may do On these grey days, my dear, Nor'-East of Piddinghooe.
* * * * *
AT THE PLAY.
Mr. Samuel Woodhouse, of the middle classes, being anxious to distract his son John during the critical moments of Mrs. John's confinement, relates how, in similar circumstances more directly affecting himself, he had been playing tennis, and the strain of the crisis had quite put him off his game. The little jest is, of course, adapted from the familiar lines:—
"I was playing golf the day: When the Germans landed ..."
It is of material interest not so much because it is borrowed (for it is not the only joke that Mr. THURSTON has conveyed) as because it serves as a brief epitome of the play. For the thing started with the War, and we were getting on quite well with it when an element of obstetrics was introduced and became inextricably interwoven with the original design. Indeed it went further and affected the destinies of the country at large. For England had to wait till the baby was born before it could secure its father's services as the most unlikely recruit in the kingdom.
But you must hear more about this John. He was an intellectual who threatened to achieve the apex of literary renown with a work in two volumes (a third was to follow) on the Philosophy of Moral Courage. At the outbreak of the present war he was at once torn asunder between his duty to his country and his duty to himself. The latter seemed to have the greater claim upon him, and this view was encouraged by an officer who found himself billeted upon the Woodhouse menage. The dilemma had already worried John (and us) a good deal even before the extension of the age limit made him roughly eligible for the army. Indeed I never quite gathered what it was that ultimately decided him to enlist. Anyhow, six months later he received a bullet in the head, and the wound, though I am glad to say that he survived it, left him incapable of any further intellectual strain.
That was "the cost" of the war to him. Its cost to us (in the play) was almost as heavy. For John's head still retained such a command of brain power that he contrived to be very fluent over his theories of war in general, theories not likely to be of any vital service at a time when our men of fighting age are wanted to act and not think.
I give little for Mr. THURSTON'S generalities (his talk of "hysteria," which was never a British foible, showed his lack of elementary observation), but the character of John intrigued me as a fair example of the type of egoist, very common among quite good fellows, who is more concerned to satisfy his own sense of the proper thing to do than to consider in what way, less romantic perhaps, he can best devote to the service of his country the gifts with which nature has endowed him.
The play went very well for the first two Acts. The various members of the Woodhouse family were excellently differentiated. The father (played with admirable humour by Mr. FREDERICK ROSS) bore bravely the shock to his trade, and took a manly but quite ineffectual part in household duties for which he had no calling. His lachrymose wife (Miss MARY RORKE) was a sound example of the worst possible mother of soldiers. John we know, and Mr. OWEN NARES knew him too, and very thoroughly. John's wife (I can't think how she came to marry him) had the makings of an Amazon and would gladly have spared her husband for KITCHENER'S Army at the earliest moment. Her part was played very sincerely and charmingly by Miss BARBARA EVEREST. John's eldest sister regretted the war because she had some nice friends in Germany, but she caught the spirit of menial service from her sisters, of whom the younger was a stage-flapper of the loudest. Finally the second son (Mr. JACK HOBBS) was a nut who began with his heart in his socks but shifted it later into the enemy's trench.
Perhaps the best performance of all—though it had little to do with the war and nothing to do with child-birth—was that of Miss HANNAH JONES as Mrs. Pinhouse, a perfect peach of a cook. There were also two characters played off. One was a maid-servant who declined to come to family prayers on the ground of other distractions. I admired her courage. The other was Michael, the precious infant whose entry into the world had occupied so much of our evening. Everybody on the stage had to have a look at him. I felt no such desire. He bored me.
For a play that made pretence to a serious purpose there was far too much time thrown away on mere trivialities. At first the exigencies of the stage demanded compression. The news of the ultimatum to Germany, the mobilisation, the rush to enlist, the attack on Germany's commerce, were all stuffed into the space of a few minutes. But the whole of the Third Act (laid in the kitchen) was wantonly wasted over the thinnest of domestic humour.
There is a light side, thank Heaven, even to war; but Mr. THURSTON had a great chance of doing serious good and he has only half used it. I am certain (though he may call me a prig for saying it) that if he had set himself to serve his country's cause through the great influence which the theatre commands, he could have done better work than this; and he ought to have done it.
* * * * *
The Ambassadors' Theatre is producing a triple bill which includes a "miniature revue" entitled Odds and Ends. The cost of the production may be gathered from the following note in the preliminary announcement:—
"N.B.—Mr. C. B. COCHRAN has spared no economy in mounting this Revue."
* * * * *
Among the more notable novels announced for immediate publication is The Man in the Platinum Mask by Samson Wolf (Black and Crosswell). By a curious and wholly undesigned coincidence the name of the hero is ATTILA, while a further touch of actuality is lent to the romance by the fact that the author's aunt's first husband fought in the Italian War of Independence.
Another story strangely opportune in its title, which was however chosen many months ago, is With Nelson in the North by Hector Boffin (Arrow and Long-i'-th'-bow). Its appeal to the patriotic reader will be further enhanced by the interesting news that the author's wife's maiden name was Collingwood, while he himself is a great admirer of HARDY.
The same publishers also announce a Life of ATTILA by Principal McTavish, which was completed last March before the name of the redoubtable Hun had come so prominently before the public—another instance of the intelligent anticipation which is the characteristic of the best and most selling litterateurs.
Few writers of romance appeal to the generous youth more effectively than the Countess Corezeru, from whose exhilarating pen we are promised a tale of the Napoleonic era under the engaging title of The Green Dandelion (Merry and Bright). The pleasurable expectations of her myriad readers will be heightened when they learn the interesting fact that the Countess recently visited Constantinople, where such thrilling happenings have lately been in progress.
* * * * *
"The Petrograd correspondent of the 'Mesaggero' telegraphs that the Austro-German Army was yesterday completely defeated in the neighbourhood of Warsaw, and suffered unanimous losses."—Liverpool Echo.
Carried, in fact, nem. con.
* * * * *
Illustration: Boy Scout. "'XCUSE ME, MUM. 'AV YER SEEN ANY GERMANS ABOUT 'ERE?"
* * * * *
UNWRITTEN LETTERS TO THE KAISER.
(From ALBERT, King of the Belgians.)
SIR,—This comes to you from France. Hospitably received and nobly treated by the great and chivalrous French nation I must yet remember that I am an exile on a foreign soil, that my country has been laid waste and that my people, so laborious, so frugal and so harmless, have seen their homes destroyed and have themselves been driven ruthlessly forth to cold and hunger and despair.
Yes, your designs on Belgium have been accomplished—for the time. A people of sixty-five millions has prevailed against a people of seven millions; a great army has overwhelmed a little army; careful schemes long since prepared have outmatched a trustfulness which you and your Ministers fostered in order that in the dark you might be able to strike a felon's blow with safety to yourself. No considerations of honour hindered you. Indeed, I do not know how I can bring myself to mention that word to one who has acted as you have acted. If I do so it is in order that I may tell you that for an Emperor (or any other man) to be honourable it is not enough that he should have great possessions, glittering silver armour, and armies obedient to their War Lord's commands. It is not enough that he should make resounding speeches and call God to witness that he is His friend. It is not even enough that he should succeed in carrying through his plans, and earn the applause of those flatterers who, agreeing with you, believe that an Emperor crowned with success and capable of bestowing favours can do no wrong. No, there must be something more than this. What that something is I will not discuss with you. To do so would be useless, for, since you will never possess it, you can never satisfy yourself that I am right.
And even in regard to this "Success" with which you comfort yourself are you so perfectly sure of it? How do you feel when you call VON MOLTKE to you and question him about the progress of the war?
"How goes it," you say to him, "in the East?" "We hope," he replies, "to hold the Russians in check, but they are very numerous and very brave." "Presumptuous villains! And in the West?" "In the West the French and English," he says, "still bear up against us. They have thrust us back day after day." "May they perish! But, at any rate, there is Belgium. Yes, we have crushed Belgium and taught the Belgians what it means to defy our Majesty." And VON MOLTKE, no doubt, will murmur something that may pass for approval and will withdraw from the conference.
I believe you admire SHAKSPEARE. Do you remember what Macbeth says?
"If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well It were done quickly: if th' assassination Could trammel up the consequence, and catch With his surcease, success; that but this blow Might be the be-all and the end-all here."
But that it cannot be. Blows have their consequences, immediate and remote. You first, and then your memory, will be stained to all generations by this deed of treachery and blood. How have you excused it? "With necessity, the tyrant's plea." You had to hack your way through, you said, and it was on my people that your battle-axe fell. So when Louvain was burnt and its inhabitants were shot down you assured the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES that your heart bled for what "necessity" had forced you to do. President WILSON is a man of high principles and deep feelings. I wonder how he looked and how he felt when he read your whimpering appeal.
You have destroyed Belgium, but Belgium will rise again; and, even if fate should ordain that Belgium is to be for ever wiped away, so long as one Belgian is left alive there will be a heart to execrate you and a voice to denounce your deeds.
* * * * *
A SEQUEL TO "THE CHOICE."
Mr. Julius Bannockburn hung up his hat with a bang and stepped angrily into the drawing-room.
Mrs. Bannockburn was comfortably seated in an arm-chair, with the tea-table at her side and a fire blazing.
"That's right," she said placidly, ignoring her husband's very obvious mental disarray,—"just in time for a cup of tea."
"No tea for me," he said darkly.
"Oh, yes. It'll do you good," she replied, and poured some out.
"By the way, how much do you give for this tea?" Mr. Bannockburn sharply inquired.
"Two-and-eight," she replied.
He grunted. "I get excellent tea in the City which retails at two shillings a pound," he said. "Better than this."
"Well, dear," said Mrs. Bannockburn, "you don't often have this. This is my tea. You prefer Indian."
"And why so many different kinds of cake?" Mr. Bannockburn went on.
"You wouldn't grudge me those?" she answered. "Surely, even with the war, little things like that might go on?"
Mr. Bannockburn sent his eyes round the room on a tour of critical exploration.
"Yes," he continued, "and how can you do with a fire—at any rate such a fire—on a day like this? The room is like an oven." He scowled murderously at the innocent flames and opened the window.
"I felt distinctly chilly," said Mrs. Bannockburn. "Besides, a fire is so much more cheerful."
"Cheerful!" said Mr. Bannockburn with a snarl. "I'm glad something is cheerful."
"My dear," said his wife soothingly, "you're over-worried. You've had a hard day at the office. But I've got something to show you that will make you happy again." She smiled gaily.
"Happy!" Mr. Bannockburn echoed with abysmal bitterness. "Happy!" He groaned.
"Yes, happy," said his wife. "Now drink your tea," she added, "and then light a cigar and tell me all about it."
"Cigars!" said. Mr. Bannockburn; "I've done with cigars. At any rate with Havanas. We're on the brink of ruin, I tell you."
"Not any longer," said his wife with a little confident laugh. "That's all right now. Taking the new name was to settle that, you know."
Mr. Bannockburn was attempting to eat a cake, but at these words he gave it up. He struck a match angrily and lit a cigar—a Havana. "Well, what is it you want to show me?" he asked.
"The cards," she said. "They look splendid. Here," and she handed a visiting-card across the table and drew his attention to the delicate copper-plate in which their new name had been inscribed: "Mrs. Julius Bannockburn."
Mr. Bannockburn scowled afresh. "How many of these have you ordered?" he asked anxiously.
"Five hundred for each of us," she replied. "And they're done. They all came this morning."
Mr. Bannockburn groaned again. "What ridiculous haste!" he said. "Where was all the hurry?"
Mrs. Bannockburn laughed. "Well, I must say!" she exclaimed. "You to complain of things being done quickly! I've done all you told me," she continued. "Everything. I sent a notice to the Post Office about the telephone directory, telling them to alter the name. I sent to KELLY'S about the London Directory. I told all the tradespeople. I got the cards. I even went further and ordered a few silver labels for your walking-sticks and umbrellas. I thought you would like that."
Mr. Bannockburn puffed at his cigar and said nothing.
"Aren't I a good head clerk?" she went on. "But, after all, when one does change one's name it is wise to go right through with it, isn't it?"
"Yes," said her husband ominously, "when one does change one's name."
"What do you mean?" Mrs. Bannockburn asked sharply. "Has anything gone wrong?"
"Everything," he said. "I've had a notice forbidding changes of name altogether. Everyone has had it."
"When did you get it?" his wife inquired with a flutter.
"Then it's all right," she said excitedly. "We made the change several days ago."
"Yes," replied her husband, "but the notice goes on to say that everyone who has changed since the war began must revert to the name he had before the war commenced. You can't get away from that."
"But we paid for it," Mrs. Bannockburn exclaimed. "We paid for it. Why did they take our money?"
"They didn't know then," said her lord. "It's only just decided by this infernal Government."
Mrs. Bannockburn turned white. "This is terrible," she said. "And how unfair! How grossly unfair! It's not as if we were Germans. I'm not a German at all, and you are merely a German's son, and British to the core. Of course they'll give the money back?"
"It says nothing about that," replied the Briton.
"How very unlike England!" she said.
"Yes," he agreed; "but the point is, apart from the horrible expense of it all, that here we are, saddled with a name which is bound to keep customers away and which we thought we had got rid of for ever. It's horrible. It's wrong. It's a shame." He paced the room furiously.
Mrs. Bannockburn—or, as we now should say, Mrs. Blumenbach—looked in the fire for a few moments in silence. "Well," she said at last, "we must make the best of it, I suppose; we're not paupers anyway, and things are never so bad as one fears. After all, we haven't been to so very much expense. A few cards and so forth. You, dear, can hardly have spent a penny over it."
"Eh," said Mr. Blumenbach sharply—"what?"
"I said that the cost to which we have gone since we changed our name is very trifling," his wife repeated. "You yourself have been put to no expense at all, except perhaps office paper."
Mr. Blumenbach looked suspiciously at her and resumed his walk. "No, no," he said; "that's fortunate certainly."
At this moment a servant entered bringing the post, which included a long roll of paper addressed to "Mrs. Julius Bannockburn."
"I wonder what this can be," she remarked as she reached for a paper-knife.
Her husband snatched it and held it behind him. "Oh, I know all about that," he said; "it's a mistake. It's meant for me, not you."
"But it's addressed to me," said his wife. "Please let me have it."
Mr. Blumenbach for a moment flashed lightning. "Oh, all right," he said, "take it. I might as well confess to my folly, and, after all, I did it as a pleasant surprise for you, even though it's a failure. But I heard about some heraldic fellow, and I got him to draw me up a Bannockburn pedigree. A Scotch one, you know. I was going to have it framed in the hall. Burn the thing without looking at it."
"Was it—was it—very expensive?" his wife asked tremblingly.
"Fifty pounds," he said, half in pride at his own recklessness and half as though having a tooth out.
"Fifty pounds!" Mrs. Blumenbach moaned, and burst into tears.
* * * * *
Illustration: Lady (diligent reader of spy articles and exposures of Anglo-German businesses) to alien window-cleaner. "LOOK HERE: YOU NEEDN'T COME ANY MORE."
Window Cleaner. "ENDIRELY BRIDISCH GOMBANY, LADY."
Lady. "YES, I DARESAY. BUT FOR ALL I KNOW YOU MIGHT BE PART OF THE FLOWER OF THE GERMAN ARMY."
* * * * *
(By Mr. Punch's Staff of Learned Clerks.)
I can imagine the feelings of a romantic maiden who, prone to choose her novels by title, has set down on her library list The Price of Love (METHUEN), and finds herself landed with one of Mr. ARNOLD BENNETT'S intimate little guides to "Bursley" and the four other drab towns. And yet if she will set her teeth and read the first fifty pages without skipping she will discover that she is being let into real secrets of real human hearts; that handsome Rachel (penniless companion to a benign old lady), and her debonair Louis (who somehow never can run straight where money is concerned), are becoming known to her as she knows few, if any, of her friends; and that, because known, they are extraordinarily interesting. She will see Rachel drawn out of the haven of her staunch and critical common sense by her infatuation for Louis; threatened by the shipwreck of despair when she realises his weakness and her irrevocable mistake, and again putting into a new harbour of determination to pay the price of her love and make the best of things. And I should not be altogether surprised if even our romantic library-subscriber finds the next live-happily-ever-after story a little flat by comparison. For there is no doubt that Mr. BENNETT has some uncanny power of realising the conflict of human souls, and that there is an astonishingly adroit method in his mania for unimportant and unromantic detail. I refuse altogether to accept as adequate (or appropriate) his explanations of the adventures of the banknotes on the night of their disappearance, but I am grateful for every word and incident of this enchanting chronicle and for the portrait of Rachel in particular.
* * * * *
Modern Pig-Sticking (MACMILLAN) is a book that, appearing at this particular moment, has an air of detachment not without its own charm. Chiefly, of course, it appeals to a special and limited public—a public, moreover, that is at present too busy to give it the attention that it would otherwise command. Certainly Major A. E. WARDROP'S spirited pages deserve to rank with the best that has been written about this sport. As one frankly ignorant, I was myself astonished to find how considerable a body is this literature. As for the gallant Major's own contribution, it is sufficiently well-written to make tales of sporting feats and adventures interesting to the outsider. Which is saying a lot. At the same time his sense of humour is sufficiently strong to save enthusiasm from becoming oppressive. Certainly he loves his theme, as I suppose a good pig-sticker should. "To see hog and hunter charge each other bald-headed with a simultaneous squeal of rage is," he says youthfully, "always delightful." It is all, in these more strenuous times, most refreshing and even a little wistful in its naivete. The honest and brave gentlemen whose exploits it records are about another kind of pig-sticking now. One hopes that practice with the Indian variety may help them in their chase of the Uhlan road-hog. Here's power to their spears!
For all his good humour, Mr. PETT RIDGE can say a hard thing now and then about humanity in general and point it with a touch of startling sarcasm. Possibly it is this combination which makes him the favourite author he is. While we get tired of the harsh satirist who is always up against us, and pay little attention to his teaching, we not only profit by the occasional home truths of the genial humourist, but thoroughly enjoy hearing them. Certainly it is not Mr. RIDGE'S plots which so attract everybody, including myself. The Happy Recruit (METHUEN) might as well (or even better) have been plotless. There is the central figure, Carl Siemens, who comes to England from abroad in his youth and has an unremarkable career, and there is a mysterious and rather tiresome trunk which is mentioned from time to time and finally opened; but apart from these the book is but a collection of little episodes more or less about the same people, the Maynard family in particular. It is not the story that lends the charm but the people who come into it, that upper-lower section of Londoners whose little peculiarities of thought, word and deed Mr. Ridge so perfectly understands. Through their mouths he utters his truest sayings, and they make his books always worth reading. It should be added that this one has nothing to do with present warfare; it is antedated by a reign and a half. In this the title is misleading, for there are so many recruits about nowadays and all of them are happy.
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After reading Messrs. HUTCHINSON'S announcement that the critics describe Mr. F. BANCROFT as the most remarkable South African novelist now at work, I searched for a talent that was too successfully hidden for my finding. I was on the track of it two or three times, and once at least the scent was so hot that I thought the quarry was mine; but it got away. With Dalliance and Strife the author completes a trilogy upon the Boer War, but here we are given too much flirtation and too little fighting. His liberality in the matter of heroines compensates me not at all for his niggard accounts of the war. That he himself should apparently take more interest in dalliance than in strife seems to indicate sheer perversity, for, when once he has ceased to toy with tennis-teas and trivialities, it is possible to respect the opinions of those admiring critics even if it is impossible to agree with them. The little fighting and the few whiffs of the veldt that we are given come as welcome reliefs to the rather stuffy atmosphere that Mr. BANCROFT has been at such pains to create. The British officer in his hours of dalliance is in his hands merely a figure of fun, but the militant Boer in field and camp is a faithful picture, so faithful, indeed, when contrasted with the other, that it leaves me astounded at such a combination of skill and futility.
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Germaine Damien was a little girl with considerable force of character. Having been told by a Socialist shoemaker that Squires were a mistake, she endeavoured to correct this error by driving a large knife into the first specimen of the race whom she met. This was Miles Burnside, a decent young man enough, and one obviously qualifying to be the hero of the story. So that when, quite early in its course, Germaine caught him asleep and apparently left him dead with a dagger in his heart, I was for a little time considerably puzzled as to how Mrs. BAILLIE REYNOLDS was going to get on with her tale. However, I need not have worried. Of course Miles was not dead; indeed the last six words of the book tell you that "His smile was good to see." And naturally he wouldn't have been smiling like that if he had not been enfolding the heroine in his strong arms. But before this happy moment we had a lot to get through. Miles on recovery had told the properly apologetic Germaine that she must never, never let anybody else know about the dagger business, and she said she wouldn't. Personally, if I had been Germaine, I should have done the same. Later in life, reflecting upon this injunction, and discovering that her grandfather had also killed a man, Germaine got it into her head that the habit was inherited, and the idea worried her quite dreadfully. This, I suppose, is why her story is called The Cost of A Promise (HODDER AND STOUGHTON). Eventually, however, when the thing had gone on long enough and the revelation of her secret had scared away a superfluous rival, Miles informed her that her grandfather's record was (forgive me!) not germane to the matter, and that she was as sane as anybody in the story. M'yes. But Mrs. REYNOLDS has done better.
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Illustration: "IT 'TAIN'T 'ARF FINE TER BE A GENERAL, COS 'E CAN CALL A BLOKE 'POODEN FICE,' AN' 'AVE 'IM SHOT IF 'E SORCES 'IM BACK."
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"No good thing comes from out of Kaiserland," Says Phyllis; but beside the fire I note One Wilhehm, sleek in tawny gold of coat, Most satin-smooth to the caresser's hand.
A velvet mien; an eye of amber, full Of that which keeps the faith with us for life; Lover of meal-times; hater of yard-dog strife; Lordly, with silken ears most strokeable.
Familiar on the hearth, refuting her, He sits, the antic-pawed, the proven friend, The whimsical, the grave and reverend— Wilhelm the Dachs from out of Hanover.
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We are surprised to hear of police constables being accepted for service abroad in view of the ban on the export of copper.
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Austrians are being urged to send newspapers to the front to serve as chest-protectors for the troops. If possible the papers should be German, as these lie best.
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