PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI
SEPTEMBER 16, 1914
"Our future lies upon the water," once boasted the KAISER. "And our present lies in it," as the German soldier remarked when the Belgians opened the dykes near Antwerp.
* * *
The mass of the German people would seem to be extraordinarily ill-informed in regard to the War and to stand sadly in need of enlightenment in some respects. For example, their ebullitions of rage against everyone and everything English shows that they are ignorant of the fact that we are a decadent nation and a negligible quantity in the War.
* * *
Many of the little scraps in which the Germans were reported by their Press to have been victorious now turn out to have been merely scraps of paper.
* * *
According to The Times one of the first acts of the new Pope will be to urge the Powers at war to desist from hostilities in the interests of humanity. It is rumoured that Austria-Hungary thinks this a capital idea.
* * *
Our readers will, we are sure, be sorry to hear that the lady who, as reported in our pages the week before last, in the course of a difference with her husband, called him "a bloomin' Oolan," has once again had words with him. This time, the husband complains, she shouted after him, "You 'Un!"
* * *
An appeal has been made for magazines for the men at the front. The following extract from a letter touches on the subject:—"On Wednesday heavy German cavalry charged us with drawn sabres, and we only had a minute to prepare to receive them. We left our entrenchments and, rallying in groups, emptied our magazines into them as they drew near."
* * *
We regret to hear that, owing to so many persons failing to go out of Town this year, there is considerable distress among London burglars. The oldest among them do not remember a duller season.
* * *
A dear old lady writes to say that she is delighted to hear that the Crystal Palace has been taken over by the Admiralty, as she loves the place, and it is so brittle.
* * *
Another dear old thing suggests that, in order to facilitate the work of the police, all spies should be compelled to wear a distinctive dress.
* * *
With the object of benefiting the local branch of the National Relief Fund there has been published at Brighton the first number of a paper called The Ally. Our contemporary, Ally Sloper, has generously decided in the circumstances to take no proceedings with a view to protecting its title.
* * *
"Why," asks a lady, "should not waitresses take the place of the German waiters whose services are now being dispensed with?" Possibly we may be wrong, but we seem to remember once having seen an announcement on the placard of a feminist journal to the effect that:—
WOMEN CAN NOT WAIT.
* * *
Lord ROSEBERY, speaking the other day at Broxburn, said that defeat for us would not mean foreign tax-gatherers in the country. We are glad of this. It would be deplorable if the tax-gatherer were ever to become an unpopular figure with us.
* * * * *
Illustration: THE HUNTER HUNTED.
[With acknowledgments to Mr. J. C. DOLLMAN.]
* * * * *
The Fog of War.
"A final shell struck the Laurel amidship, enveloping her in a dense certainohtstl thesemac recsmscvtm mecevsccvc."
* * * * *
"Arthur," I said, "you are not handsome, but you have sterling qualities and know a thing or two."
"You are not exactly a mezzotint yourself," Arthur retorted, "and I'm not sure that you have any particular qualities yet. What does this lead up to?"
"This," I said. "Suppose you are a sentry, outside barracks or an encampment of some kind."
"I'm supposing," he said.
"And suppose," I went on, "you don't know me."
"I've supposed worse things than that," said Arthur with decision.
"And try further," I said, "to imagine that it's a dark night, and I come along and don't notice you. You'd say, 'Halt, who goes there?' wouldn't you?"
"I should if I remembered my lines, I suppose."
"Very well," I said. "Then I should say, 'Friend.'"
"Well," said Arthur, "where's the catch?"
"There isn't a catch," I said. "What I want to know is, how do we go on after that?"
"I should ask you if you'd got such a thing as a cigarette about you," said Arthur.
"You might do that," I said, "but it doesn't sound helpful. The reason I ask is because I've read the instructions several times in the papers on the courtesies to be observed when meeting a sentry; but the scene always ends at this point—'Friend.' What happens next?"
"Perhaps the right thing," said Arthur, "would be for you to ask after the Colonel's wife. But I might not let you get as far as that. The odds would be in favour of my not believing you when you said 'Friend,' and in that case I should either shoot or pink you. The choice between these two processes would lie with me."
"But wouldn't that be rather sudden? Surely you make another remark first. I seem to remember something about 'sign and countersign.'"
"You're thinking of trigonometry, aren't you?" said Arthur.
"Perhaps I am," I said. "Anyway it's awkward not knowing what happens next."
"I know the best way to find out," said Arthur suddenly. "Get your boots on. We'll go and enlist."
* * * * *
LEAVES FROM AN IMPERIAL NOTE-BOOK.
As I have taken occasion to tell them from time to time, God is sparing no effort in favour of My brave armies. The noble courage with which they have crushed a defenceless peasantry (who, by the way, do not seem to share My recognition of the Deity's support of Our methods) has proved them to be the authorised medium of the Divine vengeance. I am very pleased with both them and God.
The destruction of Louvain, seat of a culture wholly distinct from the Prussian ideal, was an inspiration, in which I once more detect the Hand of Heaven. Unfortunately it has been misunderstood in neutral countries; and, to appease their protests, I have had to explain that this feat of righteous wrath has given me an attack of bleeding heart.
I am despatching an Imperial telegram to the President of the Oxford University Boat Club to say that when My armies reach that city I may possibly spare Oriel for the sake of My Rhodes Scholars. This generous thought occurred to Me in church when I was returning thanks for the demolition of the library of Louvain.
I have also instructed My intrepid aviators to reserve a pew for Me intact among the ruins of Notre Dame de Paris—for thanksgiving purposes.
I have repeatedly warned NICHOLAS that God is against him. It is like his impious self-assurance to imagine that One whose services I have exclusively secured for My side could for a moment entertain the idea of supporting My enemies. I confess, however, that I had expected FRANZ-JOSEF, as My ally, to receive a larger portion of the Deity's favour than has so far fallen to him. From what I hear of the Lemberg affair, it looks as if his independent arrangements for Divine support had been inadequate. I am afraid I must leave him to get on without it as best he can. I shall want all I've got for my own use.
I see that a new Pope has been elected at Rome. At any ordinary moment this world-event must have attracted the attention of Heaven. But the present attitude of Italy towards the Triple Alliance naturally precludes any Divine cognisance of her concerns. On the other hand I have Myself thought it expedient to address congratulations to the Italian who now occupies the Pontifical Chair, and have ordered the fact to receive due publicity as part of My subsidised Press campaign.
In order that the organisers of this campaign may the better persuade neutral countries to accept My version of the justice of Our cause, I have given directions for them to appeal throughout to the God of Truth. We were, as usual, first in the field, and the Father of Lies has a lot of ground to make up.
My dear son WILHELM tells Me that his own army has a tough proposition in front of it. I sometimes fear that he lacks the unquestioning piety of his Imperial Parent.
I note that services are still permitted to be held in the English church at Dresden, but that no prayers for the success of British arms are allowed. In view of My monopoly of Divine protection I regard this precaution as unnecessary.
Some blundering operator in Berlin has circulated the ridiculous report of a disaster to My army in France. I have ordered the fear of God to be put into him.
Even I cannot be in two places at once, and I am too busy in exchanging felicitations with My Creator in the background of Our western sphere of operations to be able to give My benediction in person to the brave defenders of My beloved Prussia. My lack of the gift of omnipresence has always been rather a sore point with Me in My otherwise co-equal relations with the Almighty. I hope in course of time to have this corrected.
* * * * *
THE NEW NOAH'S ARK;
OR, A WORD TO THE CHILDREN OF ENGLAND ON THE IMPORTANCE OF SEA-POWER.
[As a part of our campaign to capture Germany's trade, it has been suggested that Noah's Arks should in future be made in this country.]
Remove yon odious concern That once outrode the mimic storm, And deep in darkest shelves intern Her captain and his pirate swarm: Sweep, sweep, that Dreadnought from the seas Of England's carpets, if you please, And set no more by two and two On Sabbath days her bestial crew, That mask with peace the Prussian uniform.
I seem to see the War-Lord's lace Bedeck that bosom mild and stout; Athwart yon patriarchal face The Kaiser-like moustaches sprout; The wideawake becomes a helm, The staff a sword to overwhelm, Hypocrisy stands writ and cant On yonder pale-blue elephant Tusk-less (Maud did it when Mamma was out).
What makes he with a lilac dove This Corsair desperate and daft? Behold the conning tower above The big stern chasers pointing aft! This is not he that saved mankind With pards and pigs from tempests blind, But rather he that forged a flood, And not of water but of blood, And filled with worse than wolves his impious craft.
But come, we'll build a larger boat Of English breed, no Teuton shams, Where sheltered animals shall float, The lion couchant with the lambs: See from the cabin's open door What mild-faced dromedaries pour! What SHEMS are these? what host arrives Of gentler JAPHETS with their wives? What antelopes? what un-Westphalian HAMS?
And sometimes, should the pageant cloy, Supposing Nurse has left the room, We'll take again that outcast toy From the deep cupboard's inmost gloom; We'll shell that buccaneering barque With the good guns of England's ark; We'll chase it flying like a rat For some fort-guarded Ararat, And leave it flotsam for Jemima's broom.
* * * * *
Peace: Old and New Style.
Now that the Allies have all agreed not to make separate peaces, we can look forward to the War stopping all at once, and not just a bit at a time, though of course the calendar of the Russians will allow them the option of keeping at it for twelve days after the others have finished.
* * * * *
"GLORIOUS COMPEAGNE.—For ever memorable in the annals of the country will be the name of Compeigne."—News of the World.
Nor shall Compiegne, we hope, be utterly forgotten.
* * * * *
Illustration: MADE IN GERMANY.
KAISER. "I'M NOT QUITE SATISFIED WITH THE SWORD. PERHAPS, AFTER ALL, THE PEN IS MIGHTIER!"
* * * * *
Illustration: Belated Reveller. "YOU A SPESHUL CONSHTABLE?"
Special Constable. "YES." (Long pause.)
B. R. "WHAT ARMS 'AVE YER?"
S. C. "A TRUNCHEON AND A WHISTLE, AND (suddenly inventive, in view of reveller's superior physique) A SIX-SHOOTER."
B. R. "AH, WELL, I'M NOT TAKIN' ANY FORTRESHES TO-NIGHT."
* * * * *
My wife was certainly ruffled, and, more than that, she was mystified. She could not understand it at all.
"And this is the second time," she said.
"Have you questioned the servants?" I asked.
"It is not likely that my servants would amuse themselves by throwing lumps of coal on the drawing-room carpet," she replied, "not being lunatics. But as a matter of fact I have questioned them."
"It is the sort of thing a playful kitten might do," I suggested. "Or a puppy perhaps."
"No, they couldn't have lifted the tongs, and the tongs were in it too, and three walking-sticks. It must have been children, I suppose; but I don't think there have been any children in the house."
I found her the same afternoon studying some scratched hieroglyphics on the gravel in front of the house. It was quite an elaborate design with squares and circles and curving lines, and with a wobbly streak running through it. And that evening she announced once and for all that the house was bewitched and she gave it up. She had found a loofah, two sponges and some cakes of soap elaborately arranged in a pattern on the bathroom floor.
She had not yet gathered, as I had, that it was Sinclair and the Reverend Henry. I do not think that these two can have been properly trained in their youth to put away their toys when they had finished with them, as all tidy children should. They had no right to go out suddenly and play tennis, leaving the drawing-room carpet in that condition.
I had seen it coming on for some days. As soon as Henry has spent his first half-hour on the newspapers he is ripe to explain in detail the exact disposition of the Allied forces and "what they are evidently driving at." And the thing is getting very complicated. He cannot make you understand. He tries to draw maps on the back of envelopes, but his drawing is pitiable, and then naturally he reaches out at any object that happens to be lying on the table, planks it down for Paris or Verdun, and gets seriously to work. He and Sinclair were sitting before the unlit fire in the drawing-room when Sinclair put forth his brilliant hypothesis about a flanking movement on VON KLUECK'S right. Henry was quite certain it was wrong. He was down on his knees in a moment grabbing pieces of coal.
"Look here," he said. "There's Chalons; and that shovel is Soissons. You must not forget that the Ardennes lie in behind here"—realistically represented by a heap of logs from the wood-basket—"and that is the Meuse. Of course it isn't quite so straight as that really"—he put the poker in position—"but that is the line of it. Very well. Can't you see that what he is at is to nip this force here between two fires? By Jove, the tongs will do splendidly for that. Might have been made for it. So. Well, if JOFFRE is any good—Stop a bit"—he filled both hands with coal—"move your chair back. There, that's Paris, and the edge of the fender is the Marne. Well, if JOFFRE is not asleep his game is obviously——"
"Stop a bit," said Sinclair. "You've left out the CROWN PRINCE."
"No, I haven't. That's him there in the work-basket. And you must remember that there are Uhlans all over the place." (I think that it must have been the Uhlans that chiefly exacerbated my wife when she came to clear up. They did reach pretty far afield, and there was quite a lot of them under the sofa.) "This is the Allied front"—Sinclair had brought him several walking-sticks by this time. "Now suppose we were to swing round like this—I say, do move your chair. Like this. Confound it, I didn't notice that little table was in the way. Why do people put silly little vases of flowers on tables? Mop it up, will you? Of course FRENCH is here. You must keep your eye on FRENCH. But——"
"What about these lines of communication?"
Henry paused. "Well, there's always the Belgians. I'm afraid we'll have to move the piano. Just give it a heave at the other end, will you? That'll do. Those pianola records are just the thing. No, not so near together. So. Now you see how it works. The whole thing from here to here moves sideways."
"Stop a bit," says Sinclair. "You're moving Paris sideways. Whatever they may do to it when it falls—if it ever does—I don't think they'll move it sideways."
Now that the Reverend Henry is no longer permitted to play with coals in the drawing-room or make maps on the gravel he has found an outlet on the breakfast-table. But he is not allowed to start till after the meal is over, ever since he got down early one morning and had the whole place laid out in army corps and fortresses, with a horrid tangle of knives and forks, cruet-stands, rolls, egg-cups, plates and coffee-pots, at the point where the main action was going on in the centre.
But he is not at all satisfied with the breakfast-table. He has to crowd things terribly close together at one end in order to have room for the Eastern theatre; and Posen (a toast-rack) keeps falling off the edge.
* * * * *
The Kirkintilloch Herald describes the manoeuvres of a submarine thus:—
"Without its presence being detected, it approached within a few hundred yards of a German Dreadnought, at which it discharged two torpedoes. In order to escape attack the submarine was then obliged to sing."
Suggested song: "Get out and Get under."
* * * * *
"We will overhaul the chassis ... if you let us undertake the work now. The War will probably be over by the time the Car is ready for use."—Advt.
We cannot decide whether this is an example of Commercial pessimism or Military optimism.
* * * * *
Illustration: "MRS. SMITHERS, IF YOU ARE UNPATRIOTIC ENOUGH TO HOARD YOUR FOODSTUFF, THAT IS A MATTER FOR YOUR OWN CONSCIENCE; BUT PLEASE REMEMBER IN FUTURE NOT TO GIVE ME A HOARDED EGG FOR BREAKFAST."
* * * * *
The Pacificist was very worried about it all. In the first place it worried him (quite honestly) that his country should ever go to war at all. In the second place it vexed him profoundly that the war should be against an enemy whose pure-souled benevolence he himself had proclaimed and written about for years. Most of all, perhaps, was he secretly irritated that these untoward events should coincide with the beginning of his own annual holiday at Shrimpborough.
A few mornings after war was declared, the conductor of the Shrimpborough orchestra (a genius of cosmopolitan extraction) rose nobly to the occasion. From his demeanour and a certain flurry amongst the musicians, the Pacificist, seated prominently in the two-penny chairs, had about three minutes' warning of what was coming, so that when the conductor swung round with uplifted baton, and the audience, thrilled but a little self-conscious, climbed to its collective feet as the band crashed into the opening bars of the Marseillaise, the Pacificist had already decided upon his conduct. He sat still, even for a few moments he feigned to be absorbed in his favourite newspaper, but almost immediately gave this up as unconvincing and remained staring straight before him.
It was perhaps not a very impressive protest. It was obviously, under the special circumstances of the case (which need not detain us), an entirely foolish and mistaken one. But he made it. He alone in that audience of several hundreds did not rise. A little to his secret disappointment the hundreds made no apparent counter-demonstration. An enthusiastic humming rose from them, mingled with a few easy French words happily introduced when occasion seemed to serve. They were far too preoccupied to trouble about the Pacificist. He had been prepared for every kind of martyrdom, for abuse, hustling, even for blows. All he got was a few looks of embarrassed concern from his immediate neighbours.
To his excited imagination the tune seemed to go on and on for hours. As a matter of fact the genius of cosmopolitan extraction (who had not been extracted quite far enough to be sure of British tastes) gave the audience four verses where one would have been better. And all this time the anger of the Pacificist grew. His cheeks burned, and the excited pounding of his heart was like to stifle him. He knew himself one, alone, against hundreds; impressing them, no doubt (despite their pretence of indifference), with the courage of a right cause. To face odds like that! It was intoxicating.
At last he could bear it no longer. Just as the band ceased and the rest of the audience subsided again to their morning papers, the Pacificist rose. He walked a little unsteadily. The light of battle flashed from his eyes, meeting and beating down what he took, erroneously, to be the glare of a hostile mob. (As a matter of fact no one noticed him any more). Stumbling, white-faced, with set lips and the face of a visionary, he gained the turnstile. This, this, was victory! One against so many! He had proved himself. He had conquered!
The battle-spirit—for, despite his honest conviction, his forebears had been soldiers and sea-dogs—surged up within him. How splendid it was, this fighting down opposition! What was life, after all, but a fight? He had never realized that before. But now he knew. The flame that burnt in his blood demanded other foes, other worlds to conquer. It had become an urgent need with him to continue fighting; almost anyone would do.
Immediately opposite to the turnstile was the open door of a large building; flags surmounted it, and at each side was a large proclamation in red and white. With shoulders squared, flashing eye, and the demeanour of NAPOLEON at the head of the Old Guard, the Pacificist entered the recruiting office. "I have come," he said fiercely, "to enlist!"
* * * * *
"The crumbling towers, the shattered fanes, The havoc of the Belgian plains; Dead mothers, children, priests and nuns, Who fall before My conquering Huns— Believe Me, friends, these grievous woes Deprive Me of My due repose, And, though enforced by higher need, Make My Imperial bosom bleed."
As the fat spider wipes its eye Over each strangulated fly; As ABDUL HAMID once was fain To weep for the Armenian slain; As HAYNAU felt his eyelids drip When women cowered beneath his whip; As TORQUEMADA doubtless bled With sorrow for the tortured dead— So in his own peculiar style Weeps the Imperial Crocodile.
* * * * *
THE IMPERIAL PRUSSIAN COLLEGE OF CULTURE.
Telegrams: "Kultur, Berlin."
Principal Dr. von Hackheim, assisted by a large staff of University Professors.
Brutality is acknowledged by the most distinguished Teutonic psychologists to have an important place in modern warfare, as serving to maintain a properly submissive attitude on the part of the unarmed enemy, and the College has been established to complete this side in the training of cadets for the Imperial German field army.
TRAINING BY GRAMOPHONE.
Many difficulties have had to be surmounted. For instance it was found that, in spite of training students, proceeding to the front showed hesitation in the execution of non-combatants, and grew pale on first hearing the cries of women and children. This difficulty is being obviated by means of gramophone records taken in Belgium, which serve to inure the novice to the sounds of anguish. By the time he proceeds to the front no cries for mercy have any power to move him.
The curriculum is extensive. In addition to regular musketry practice at moving and stationary Red Cross waggons, hospital bomb drill, etc., courses of lectures are being given by thinkers of the first eminence. Some of the most celebrated names on the contemporary record of German culture are to be found in our staff list. During the coming term, for instance, Dr. Junker, of the BERNHARDI School of Philosophy, will give a series of discourses on "The Evolution of the Doctrine of Blood and Iron," "Infantile Mortality and its Promotion," "Philosophic Doubts regarding the Value of Mercy," illustrated by photographs taken in Louvain; and a course of lectures on "The Debt of Art to Atrocity" will be delivered by Professor Blutwurst, who occupies the ATTILA Chair of Anatomy in the University of Leipzig.
The proper recreation of students is not neglected and sports are encouraged. Paper chases are held frequently, the paper torn up for the trail being provided by the courtesy of the Foreign Office, who supply the College with all treaties found upon their shelves.
RECORDS IN BRUTALITY.
The Principal desires it to be known that he will always be glad to hear from past students now serving with the Imperial Forces who have performed any notable act of inhumanity towards non-combatants.
* * * * *
Illustration: Teutonic Barber. "SHAFE, SIR?"
Customer. "YE-ES—— THAT IS, NO!—— I THINK I'LL TRY A HAIR-CUT."
* * * * *
The lurid sunset's slanting rays Incarnadine the soldier's deed; His rugged countenance betrays The bulldog breed.
Not his to shun the stubborn fight, The combat against heavy odds, Alone, unaided—'tis a sight For men and gods!
And now his back is bowed and bent, Now crouching, now erect, he stands, And now the red life blood is sprent From both his hands.
He takes his punishment on trust, As one who sees and yet is blind, For every lacerating thrust Comes from behind.
The twilight creeps, the sun has gone, But triumph fills the soldier's breast; He's sewn his back brace-buttons on While fully dressed!
* * * * *
JAMES FEELS BETTER.
THE Sergeant-Major was speaking.
We 'shunned. We stood motionless (all but one of us) waiting for his next words. Then he spoke again.
"Blank blanket," he yelled, "what the blank are you doing?" He was looking at me, and my heart was in my mouth. "Blanket," he went on, "if you want to scratch your nose, step out here and scratch it. My blank!" My heart dropped back again. He must be talking to James behind me. I longed to look round and watch the generous waves of colour stealing over James's classic features, to fix with a reproachful eye that Roman proboscis which he had been grooming; but duty, or natural integrity of character, or fear of the Sergeant-Major, or something, held me fast.
We turned to the right and I took James affectionately by the arm. "How's the neb?" I said.
And then James told me what he thought of the Sergeant-Major.
"Pretty good rot," he said, "talking like that to a man in my position. Cursing a married man with a family as if he were a rotten schoolboy. If I met him in ordinary life he'd say 'Sir' to me—probably ask me for a job, and go about in a holy fear that I was going to sack him."
"Discipline, James," I said. "Think how good it is for you to be ordered about for a change. And think how jolly it must be for the Sergeant-Major to swear at well-known public men. Don't grudge him his little bit of pleasure. And finally, think how stimulating it is for the rest of us. I assure you, James, there's nothing more bracing to a man than to hear another man being cursed."
James muttered to himself. We lit our pipes and sat down among some other members of our platoon. James was silent, but we others talked eagerly about the difference between "Right form" and "On the right form company," and other matters which had suddenly become of great importance.
"Let's go and have a little private drill," said one of the keen ones.
"It'll only turn into a rag," I said.
"But of course we shall have to agree to take it seriously and obey orders. Who'll come?"
About ten of us offered ourselves. I looked at James; to my surprise he jumped up quickly. We went off to a corner of the field, and lined up two deep.
"And now who'll drill us?" said James.
We all hung back nervously. To obey an order as one of ten is so much easier than to give an order as one of one.
"I will, if you like," said James doubtfully, "but I'm not sure if——"
"Go on," we all said; "have a try."
James stepped out of the ranks and faced us.
"Cover off, there," he said briskly. "Squad—'shun!" We were five files, and I was No. 3 in the front rank. "Stand at—ease ... Number Three, what the blank are you smoking for? Number Three—the stout one in the front rank. Put that pipe away, Private Haldane. Blanket, Sir, this isn't a Cabinet meeting; you're drilling."
"Steady, James, old man," I said.
"Silence in the ranks! Two days cells for Private Haldane—both of them week-days. 'Shun! Number!... Form fours!"
We formed fours. Of course it is absurdly easy, even with an odd number of files, but it is also absurdly easy to forget.
"As you were!" shouted James. "The last file is always an even number. Surely you ought to know that by this time, Private Kitchener. The fourth file—Private Asquith and Private Tree, chest out, Private Tree—the fourth file stands fast. 'Form fours! Right turn! Form two deep! 'Bout turn! Form fours! I thought so; Private Tree is wrong again. Silence, Private Haldane! Private Haldane will be shot at dawn to-morrow. Private Tree will be shot at dawn on the day after, this giving him time to prepare his farewell speech. Right turn! Where are you, Private Carson? Try and remember that you're not reviewing troops just now; you're attempting to decide as quickly as possible which is your right hand and which is your left. You'll find it a much harder job. The Army Corps will advance. By the right, quick march! Step out, Private Tich, my lad, step out."
James was now thoroughly enjoying himself.
"Left incline! Theirs not to reason why, Private Kipling; if I had meant 'right incline, and stop at the canteen,' I should have said so.... Tut-tut, Private Tree, 'left incline' doesn't mean 'advance like a crab'.... Right incline! And now where are you, Private Masterman? Left behind again. Halt! Dress up by the right. Blanket, Private Haldane, you're still talking. Private Haldane will be blown from the guns at dusk. As you were. It's no good taking half measures with Private Haldane; kindness is wasted on him. Private Haldane will be stopped jam for tea this afternoon."
And then a smile came over James's face. He repressed it, drew himself up, and surveyed us sternly.
"Squad, 'shun! Scratch—noses!"
* * *
"Thank you, I feel much better," said James.
A. A. M.
* * * * *
DEAR MR. PUNCH,—Unless the blackberrying season is to be utterly ruined and thousands of homes thus rendered poisonously unhappy, something must be done to make people play the game.
Why is it that this simple little fruit should have such a bad influence on otherwise nice persons? But it has. It makes them utterly selfish and inconsiderate.
Take our experience last week on the Common. We went out with baskets—three of us—Elsa, Dolores, and me, and, after hunting about for some time and getting fearfully scratched, we came upon a perfectly priceless group of bushes which no one had discovered.
The blackberries were there in millions, ripe too, and all sparkling in that patent-leather way which makes the mouth water and prevents as many getting into the basket as ought to. We were of course fearfully bucked by finding such a spot, and began at once in earnest. Judge then of our dismay when another party of blackberriers, attracted, I imagine, by our cries of rapture, came up and began picking too! These were the two Misses Blank, whom we know very slightly. They ought, of course, to have gone right away and done their own discovering. Instead of that they just nodded, and then snatched away at our bushes as though they were in their own garden. One of them even came up to a bush on which Elsa was engaged. What was she to do? She could not remonstrate, as we knew them so slightly, so she abandoned the bush with a gesture of contempt which should have made a dummy blush, but had no effect whatever on these thick-skinned Prussians, as we now believe they must be. Probably their real name is Fressen, Elsa thinks.
Common decency (I don't mean this for a joke, but I suppose it is one) should prevent anybody from going to a place discovered by somebody else; and why I write is to ask you if there is not an unwritten law against such conduct, and if so will you make it widely known?
It would be dreadful if all the blackberrying parties during this September and October were to be ruined by people like the Misses Fressen.
I am, Yours faithfully, FAIR PLAY.
* * * * *
Illustration: BY REQUEST.
Visitor (to Percy of "The Mauve Merriments.") "WHAT WOULD YOU CHARGE TO SING 'IT'S A LONG WAY TO TIPPERARY' INTO AUNTIE'S EAR-TRUMPET?"
* * * * *
THE GREAT CAMPAIGN.
The formal declaration of war (altogether unexpected by the best minds of the community, though the opposing armies had been mobilised for a month previously), came like a bolt from the blue on September 1st. In an instant the whole country was engaged in sanguinary conflict. We give with reserve the following reports which have reached us from our correspondents at the front:—
CIVILIANS IN THE BATTLE LINE.
On the north-eastern frontier a keen encounter occurred between the famous Albion South End Corps and an invading division of the redoubtable Cockspur troops. Fifteen thousand spectators from posts of vantage round the field witnessed the fearful onslaught of the enemy. Civilians were so moved by the imminent peril of the home troops that, arming themselves with stones and bottles, and shouting "——" (excised by Censor), they flung themselves on the wings of the invading army and utterly routed them. It is rumoured that the Cockspurs contemplate reprisals. In the event of the South End Corps invading their country it is believed that all civilians will fight to the death against the invader.
THE OLD BRITISH SPIRIT.
Thrilling scenes were witnessed at the opening of the Ealham Thursday campaign. A huge crowd, thirsting for a sight of the conflict, gathered in the confines of the battlefield. A force of blue-clad mercenaries held them in check for a time. But thirty thousand volunteers are worth more than a hundred paid men. With magnificent unanimity the Britons formed in column. The dense black mass pressed forward. For a moment the conflict was fearful. Then the thin blue line of the mercenaries gave way and they fled in disgraceful rout. A moment later thirty thousand unconquerable Britons, laden with booty from the pay-boxes, stood triumphant on the shilling reserved mound. That wonderful charge had captured the position.
OUTRAGES ON NON-COMBATANTS.
We record with deep regret a violation of the laws of war by the General of the Shatterham Wanderers army. In the heat of the combat with the Notts Strollers brigade he ignored the whistled appeal for an armistice to pick up the wounded. Proceeding steadily he fired a deadly shot into the enemy's fortifications. A neutral officer, under the protection of the Red Cross, courageously protested against this infamy. In an excess of military fury the General smote the neutral officer to the earth. It is believed that, unless the offending General be instantly submitted to a regular court-martial, the Shatterham Wanderers' army will be solemnly declared outside the pale of humanity. (NOTE.—The Censor allows the foregoing account to be printed but disclaims all responsibility for its correctness.)
BRILLIANT RECRUITING CAMPAIGN.
Great weakness has been observed amongst the advanced sharpshooters of the Bullington Arsenal corps. "We must have men at any cost," said their determined Secretary. A cheering crowd attended him to the station as he set out for —— (excision by the Censor), accompanied by two commissionaires bearing armoured bags of bullion. A rumour reaches us that at the cost of four thousand pounds the Secretary has secured two famous shots. Great anxiety is felt in Bullington. Crowds gather round the headquarters of the corps and ask, "Will they come in time?"
LATER.—A wire from Scotland confirms the news. The Union Jack is flying over the headquarters. It is felt that the great recruiting campaign has saved Britain.
* * * * *
Illustration: "HELLO, MARIA! STOPPED SEWING FOR TO-DAY?"
"YES, SAMPSON. I THINK THERE IS MORE NEED OF MEN THAN OF PYJAMAS. I HAVE DECIDED TO PART WITH YOU, AND SHALL GIVE YOU TO LORD KITCHENER—MYSELF! GET YOUR HAT ON."
* * * * *
THE TIRPITZ TOUCH.
(A new nautical ballad.)
They faced the winds, the waves, the fogs, For they were a gallant band, And they ventured forth, the bold sea dogs, From the bight of Heligoland.
Six ships of war they steamed along, Audacious and yet discreet, When lo! on the skyline, fifteen strong, They sighted another fleet.
Oh! theirs was indeed a perilous choice, 'Twas a case of fight or flee, When the captain cried in a resolute voice, "Let us fight, my lads," cried he.
"Long have we panted to come to grips, And here we shall gain our wish; Moreover, I fancy that yonder ships Have nothing on board but fish."
Then up spake a grizzled Goeben lad, "We be far from land or fort; I should feel more safe if I knew we had A battleship in support."
"There be six of us, and fifteen of them; Have a care while the odds are thus; We may rake 'em with shell from stern to stem, But they might throw herrings at us."
The captain he said, "Take heart of grace; There's many a risk to run; A herring's an awkward thing to face, But it's not so bad as a gun."
"My mariners all, be not afraid To venture on bold designs; Remember ye come of the stock that made The North Sea stiff with mines."
"So clear the decks for a scrap, my braves, Since fight ye must and shall, Like sons of the men who rule the waves, The waves of the Kiel Canal."
So all that day they fought and drank Of the battle's fierce delight, And blazed and blazed away till they sank Those trawling boats ere night.
Then they steamed away, Yeo ho! Yeo ho! Brave men who had gained their wish, With lots of captives of war in tow, And any amount of fish.
* * * * *
"The members of the Cheltenham Club do not play on Sundays; the ladies and gentlemen of the Cotswold Hills Club do play on the Sabbath."—The Homefinder.
* * * * *
Illustration: HAIL! RUSSIA!
* * * * *
Illustration: THE LAST OF THE NUTS OF SANDY COVE;
OR, HOW TO MAKE USE OF OUR STAY-AT-HOMES.
Lady in the background (also engaged in making night-wear for the wounded). "I SAY! I WONDER IF YOU WOULD BE SO GOOD AS TO LEND HIM TO US WHEN YOU'VE FINISHED WITH HIM."
* * * * *
Illustration: THE RT. HON. JOHN BURNS FAILS TO RECOGNISE HIS PORTRAIT AS PAINTED BY A GERMAN PRESS AGENCY ARTIST.
* * * * *
ESSENCE OF PARLIAMENT.
(EXTRACTED FROM THE DIARY OF TOBY, M.P.)
House of Commons, Wednesday, Sept. 9.—Parliament met again after brief recess. Compared with recent rushes at critical epochs, attendance scanty. Among absentees the SPEAKER, who has well earned the holiday deferred by exigencies of war.
PREMIER in place at Question time. Did not stop long. Expected to make statement on position and prospects of Home Rule and Welsh Church Bills. As his magnificent speech at Guildhall testified afresh, when occasion arises he can say the right thing in perfect phrase. Constitutionally is disinclined to talk.
No absolute need to make preliminary statement. Everyone knows these matters are settled; nor are details of settlement a secret. Prorogation will be decreed early next week, and, in accordance with provisions of Parliament Act, Home Rule Bill and Welsh Church Disestablishment Bill will be added to Statute Book. But an interval will elapse before they become operative, an opportunity to be used for final effort to arrive at compromise between conflicting parties.
Proceedings, in the main formal, varied by reading of statement from VICEROY describing how chiefs and people of India are each all one in enthusiastic loyalty in the hour of England's need, and how lavish are their offers of help. Reading of Eastern story received with outbursts of cheering.
"No one to say a good word for the Scourge of Louvain. But let us give the——, I mean the KAISER, his due. At a stroke he effected the long-time impossible feat of welding Ireland into a loyal entity enthusiastically ready to draw the sword in aid of its long-estranged Sister across the Channel. Less than a year ago India was in state of ominous unrest that found partial expression in attempt on life of VICEROY. The KAISER, secretly plotting treacherous design on a friend and neighbour accustomed to lavish hospitality upon him, took note of these things. Confidently counted them in when reckoning up his game, and arranging time and opportunity for opening it. And lo! when he stands unmasked, he finds among the trustiest wings of the Empire's Army those supplied by India and Ireland." Thus the MEMBER FOR SARK mused on his way to the Club to read the latest telegrams from the seat of war.
Business done.—Various emergency Bills advanced a stage.
Thursday.—Five weeks ago, when Declaration of War with Germany boomed across Europe, PREMIER asked the Commons to sanction increase of Army by half-a-million men. Reply enthusiastically affirmative. To-day comes down again and, like a young person who shall here be nameless, "asks for more."
National response to recruitment of first batch most gratifying. Save 60,000 men the half-million already enrolled. At present rate of progress another couple of days or so will see number completed. Meanwhile PREMIER asks for another half-million.
These forthcoming, and in present mood of nation there is no doubt on subject, "We shall be in a position," he added, "to put something like 1,200,000 men in the field," a sight that would make WELLINGTON, not to mention MARLBOROUGH, stare.
With that patriotic zeal that has marked attitude of Opposition since war began BONAR LAW warmly supported proposal. Vote agreed to without debate or division.
Business done.—Having voted additional half-million men for Army, House adjourned till Monday.
* * * * *
AT THE PLAY.
"BLUFF KING HAL."
The arrangements for the production of Mr. LOUIS PARKER'S pageant-comedy had of course been made long before war was contemplated. The completion of Mr. BOURCHIER'S beard in itself points to a comparatively remote date for the play's inception. Certainly there is nothing very apposite in its theme at the present juncture; for HARRY OF ENGLAND, suffering from the gout, blustering into a sixth marriage, and haunted by the ghosts of four dead wives and the wraith of the sole survivor, is not a figure precisely calculated to inspire patriotic fervour. Still, the circumstances of the play are sufficiently national, and it should serve well enough as a permissible distraction for non-combatants.
You need not be terrified by the complexity of the cast, which consists of twenty prominent characters, twenty-four in smaller type, four ghosts and a wraith, and a sprinkling of nameless "halberdiers, huntsmen, minstrels, servitors, etc." (The soldier-supers—a type not to be confused with the super-soldier—were a very scratch lot; and I must hope that this defect was due to the enlistment of the more martial spirits in the profession.) The history of the period is made easy for all intelligences, and the relations of Katharine Parr with her lover, Sir Thomas Seymour, furnish a clear thread of human interest.
It was pleasant to make the acquaintance of two future Queens—Mary and Elizabeth—at the less familiar stages of girlhood. Mary, very nicely played by Miss MINA LEONESI, showed no sign of her subsequent taste for blood; but Miss KATHLEEN JONES, in the part of the pedantic little Princess Elizabeth, gave us some very happy premonitions of the domineering qualities of the Virgin Queen. The tiny Prince Edward, too, who was prepared to compose an epithalamium for his royal parent's final wedlock, already gave promise of a scholarly career. Apart, however, from the charm of Miss VIOLET VANBRUGH as Katharine Parr, and the gentle dignity of Miss ALICE LONNON as Anne Askew, there was little distinction shown by the others, though the Lord Chancellor Wriothesley of Mr. HUMPHREYS, and Mr. BURTON'S Bishop Gardiner, conducted their villainies with a proper restraint.
The honours of the evening obviously went to Mr. HUGO RUMBOLD, who devised the admirable scenery and costumes, and to Mr. BOURCHIER in the title-role. By nature and constitution he is clearly made for this part of all others. Occasionally, in asides, his voice was the voice of Mr. BOURCHIER, but for the rest he identified himself with the undefeatable Hal. I hope he may be persuaded to retain the monarch's beard as a permanent feature; for, as a finished product, it suits him well in private life; and, if he is to make a practice of playing the part of Henry VIII., whether to the words of SHAKSPEARE or Mr. PARKER, I would not, for his own sake and that of his many friends, have him renew the horrific processes of its growth.
"THE IMPOSSIBLE WOMAN."
The joy of Tante (from which novel Mr. HADDON CHAMBERS has adapted this play) was that many chapters went by before the reader realised that Madame Okraska was indeed an impossible woman. One began by liking her; went on to criticise; decided that she wasn't so nice as the author intended her to be; and then discovered suddenly that she wasn't intended to be a sympathetic character at all, and that, in fact, our changing attitude towards her had been just the changing attitude which would have been ours in real life. That was Miss ANNE DOUGLAS SEDGWICK'S art. She took her time. Mr. CHAMBERS on the stage has not the time to take.
And so "Tante" is shown to us at once as a histrionic vampire, feeding on the admiration and love of others. Gregory Jardine, in love with her ward, Karen, has already seen through her; we have seen through her; the question is, when will Karen see through her. Forget about the book and you have the foundation of a good play here, on which Mr. CHAMBERS has built skilfully. I gather from the fact that he took alone the call for "Author" that he would wish us to forget about the book. I cannot quite do that, but I can say with confidence that whoever has not read Tante will enjoy The Impossible Woman fully, and that the others will at least find it interesting.
Miss LILLAH MCCARTHY was a superb Okraska. Since she had to reveal herself plainly to the audience, the temptation to overplay the part must have been great, but she resisted it nobly. Mr. GODFREY TEARLE, still a little apt to smile at the wrong moment, was a thoroughly efficient Gregory; but Miss HILDA BAYLEY did not give me a very clear idea of Mr. CHAMBERS' Karen, and was certainly not Miss SEDGWICK'S. Miss MAY WHITTY and Mr. HENRY EDWARDS, in the small but important parts of Mrs. Talcot and Franz Lippheim, were of very great assistance to the play.
* * * * *
Illustration: "I DUNNO 'OO NANCY IS—BUT THAT THERE KAYZER CAN'T BE NO GENTLEMAN TO STAND BY AN' SEE 'ER KNOCKED ABAHT!"
* * * * *
Motto for German sailors who have sunk several herring-boats:—Nemo repente fuit Tirpitzimus.
* * * * *
Illustration: Member of Relief Committee (taking down "all particulars.") "THANK YOU, THAT'S ALL. OH, BY THE WAY, I HAVEN'T GOT YOUR TELEPHONE NUMBER."
* * * * *
When the thunder-shaking German hosts are marching over France— Lo, the glinting of the bayonet and the quiver of the lance!— When a rowdy rampant KAISER, stout and mad and middle-aged, Strips his breast of British Orders just to prove that he's enraged; When with fire and shot and pillage He destroys each town and village; When the world is black with warfare, then there's one thing you must do:— Set your teeth like steel, my hearties, and sit tight and see it through.
Oh, it's heavy work is fighting, but our soldiers do it well— Lo, the booming of the batteries, the clatter of the shell!— And it's weary work retiring, but they kept a dauntless front, All our company of heroes who have borne the dreadful brunt. They can meet the foe and beat him, They can scatter and defeat him, For they learnt a steady lesson (and they taught a lesson, too), Having set their teeth in earnest and sat tight and seen it through.
Then their brothers trooped to join them, taking danger for a bride, Not in insolence and malice, but in honour and in pride; Caring nought to be recorded on the muster-roll of fame, So they struck a blow for Britain and the glory of her name. Toil and wounds could but delight them, Death itself could not affright them, Who went out to fight for freedom and the red and white and blue, While they set their teeth as firm as flint and vowed to see it through.
R. C. L.
* * * * *
IMPORTS AND EXPORTS.
[A German cargo of lead has been captured.]
It is not lost to you, so make no moan; You shall receive it back, O Potsdam pundit; We do but take a temporary loan, Intending to refund it.
And goodly interest it shall not lack, A generous rate per cent. for every particle; We take the raw material, sending back The manufactured article.
* * * * *
MR. PUNCH'S HOLIDAY STORIES.
V.—A HUNTING MORN.
(In the approved manner of the Sporting Feuilleton.)
Setting his teeth determinedly, Ralph Wonderson swarmed up the Virginia-creeper until he reached the closely-shuttered window. Here he clung precariously with one hand while with the other he produced a gimlet and noiselessly bored two holes in the green shutters. Was he too late? The question shot through his brain. With a quick intake of breath he applied an eye to one hole and an ear to the other and watched and listened.
In the lighted room before him sat Sir Ernest Scrivener (alias Marmaduke Moorsdyke) and a brutal-looking stranger. Sir Ernest was speaking.
"Everything, I think, is ready," he said in his cold, level voice. "The wedding is to take place in the village church to-morrow at eleven. You, Ragley, will take up your position, disguised as a policeman, by the church porch, arrest Wonderson on a charge of arson, and detain him until I arrive, if I should not be already there. I have here the policeman's uniform complete. We are cub-hunting to-morrow morning, and at the proper moment I shall leave the hunt and make my way across to the church, provided with the forged warrant of arrest (which I shall, as a magistrate, hand to you), the forged death certificate of my present wife, and the forged special licence for the marriage of Lady Margaret Tamerton and myself. You will then rush Wonderson off in the motor which will be waiting, and I shall proceed to marry Lady Margaret. Yes—yes, everything is quite ready."
"There's just one thing, Sir," said Ragley, "if you'll excuse me mentioning it. Supposing as how the lady refuses like."
Sir Ernest tossed away his half-smoked cigar and smiled evilly.
"That has been foreseen," he said. "The shock of Wonderson's arrest will cause her to feel faint. I shall have ready a bottle of smelling salts. I need not go into details ... drugs ... loss of will power ... you see...."
The blood boiling in Ralph's ears prevented him from hearing more. Only the sight of the two murderous-looking revolvers on the table and the knowledge that he could not afford to take risks at this juncture stopped him from tearing open the shutters and dashing into the room.
Sir Ernest rose to his feet and simultaneously Ralph slid down the creeper and regained terra firma. His mind was working rapidly.
* * *
The meet of the Chingerley Hunt made a gay spectacle. The red coats of the men and the fascinating Parisian toilettes of the ladies shone resplendently in the morning sunshine, while the champing of the horses' bits blended harmoniously with the choiring of numberless larks. Through the brilliant throng moved the Master, Sir Ernest Scrivener, bowing his greetings right and left as he passed.
A few minutes before the hour fixed for the start the approach of a solitary horseman caused many eyebrows to lift in surprise, while Sir Ernest for an instant went white to the teeth. Then he laughed scornfully.
"Why, Wonderson!" cried one of the Hunt. "What on earth are you doing here? I understood you were being married this morning."
"That is so," replied Ralph easily. "But I see no reason why I shouldn't hunt first. DRAKE, you know, played bowls during a crisis, and NERO fiddled."
As he spoke he watched Sir Ernest narrowly. The Master was making his way towards the iron cage in which the fox cub was imprisoned. Ralph edged his horse insensibly nearer.
Amid the eager plaudits of the Hunt Sir Ernest leaned down from his saddle and raised the catch with a flourish. As he did so a packet of papers fell from his breast pocket.
In a flash the released cub had pounced upon the papers and carried them off in his mouth. With a savage oath Sir Ernest plunged his spurs into his horse's flanks and gave chase. Ralph, perceiving instantly what had happened and guessing the all-important nature of the papers, was by him in a stride. Side by side the pair thundered along, while behind them the hounds and hunters streamed out in a confused and glittering medley. They were off! The hunt was up.
Crouching low on the necks of their panting steeds, the two protagonists swept forward, plying remorselessly whip and spur, curb and snaffle. For a time neither gained an inch. Then, without warning, the fox doubled. With a single turn of his iron wrist Ralph wrenched his horse round without the loss of a second, but as he glanced back over his shoulder he perceived that the Master was only twenty yards behind. Ralph redoubled his efforts, his eyes glued to the white bundle clenched in the cub's dripping jaws.
Through field and farmyard, by barn and byre, over rick and river, they sped, and ever the gap between the fox and Ralph lessened, while the gap between Ralph and Sir Ernest grew wider, and the savage baying of the hounds, mingled with the frenzied view halloos of the Hunt, receded further into the distance. Never had the Chingerley Hunt known such a chase.
At last Ralph recognized that his chance had come. Leaning over his horse's ears, he took careful aim and slashed out with his long whip. Unerringly the lash coiled round the papers and jerked them from the fox's mouth. A single glance showed him that they were, as he had anticipated, the forged documents.
Two minutes later Sir Ernest found the exhausted fox lying insensible by the roadside. Glancing up, he perceived Ralph vanishing over the crest of a hill.
"Curse him!" he muttered savagely. "Curse him! I must and will overtake him before he reaches the church or the game is up. If I take a short cut under the hill I can outwit him yet. Curse him again!"
Mercilessly lashing his foaming horse, he galloped in the direction of the church. As he rode a sense of the urgency of the situation grew upon him. If he arrived first, Wonderson could be arrested, if necessary at the pistol's point, before he entered the churchyard, and the papers recovered. If he was too late.... He plunged his spurs an inch deep into his weary mount.
At length the desperate Mazeppa-like dash was over. As he shot through the lych-gate Sir Ernest breathed a sigh of relief. A policeman stood by the church porch awaiting him. Wonderson had been beaten.
With an ugly laugh of triumph he swung himself from the horse. Stolidly the constable turned to face him. Sir Ernest gave one startled exclamation as he saw, not Ragley, but a stranger. He had been forestalled.
The heavy hand of a second policeman fell on his shoulder from behind.
"Sir Ernest Scrivener," said a voice solemnly, "I arrest you on a charge of forgery, and I advise you to come quietly."
Sir Ernest glanced round and saw that he was completely surrounded by police.
As the handcuffs clicked over his wrists there crashed above him the joyous clamour of wedding bells.
* * *
Ralph Wonderson paused for a moment at the lych-gate, his lovely fair-haired bride clinging to his arm. Standing in the mellow beauty of the English landscape they made a memorable picture. A red-coated figure, covered with the stains of hard riding, approached them, bowing low. In his hand he held a magnificent fox's brush.
"This has been unanimously awarded to you, Sir," he said, "as a memento of the finest ride in the annals of the Chingerley Hunt."
And, as Ralph and his bride raised the brush to their lips, from the admiring throng which pressed about them went up that thrilling immemorial hunting chorus, "Tally-ho! Yoicks forrard! Rah! Rah!"
* * * * *
We, the undersigned, having carefully considered the situation in all its bearings and applications, have come to the decision that it is no longer consonant with the self-respect of Englishmen to share a name with the great swollen-headed German aggressor—the despiser of treaties, the desecrator of Belgium and the foe of the liberty of the world. We therefore give notice that from now and henceforward we renounce the name of William in all its variations.
BURGLAR BILL (Shade of).
WILLIAM DE MORGAN.
WILLIAM LE QUEUX.
WILHELM MEISTER (Shade of).
WILLIAM SHAKSPEARE (Shade of).
WILLIAM THE SILENT (Shade of).
BILL SIKES (Shade of).
WILLIAM WHITELEY, LTD.
* * * * *
Illustration: A Pufflecombe Worthy speaks. "YOU BE TELLING US, JAMES BUZZICOTT, 'BOUT THIS 'ERE LOOVANE THERE'S S'MUCH TARK OVER IN THE PAPERS, AN' THE DESTRUCTION OF A GRAN' OLE BUILDING. BUT WOT DO EE ZAY, JAMES BUZZICOTT, 'BOUT PUFFLECOMBE AND T'OLD 'BELL AN' HORNS' IF US BE INVADED? WOT DO EE ZAY 'BOUT THAT?"
* * * * *
IT'S AN ILL WIND....
DEAR MR. PUNCH,—I thought you would like to hear about the Intelligence Bureau which we have established at home since the War broke out. It is run on German lines and so far has been most successful, although there are serious risks.
Clarence thought of it. He is my cleverest brother. He got the idea from a newspaper. Before the War we weren't allowed to read anything in the papers but the cricket scores, but now we may read all.
The Bureau works like this. Clarence goes to mother and says, "May we go fishing this afternoon?" Mother says "No," and hurries off to the sewing meeting somewhere. They are all making things for soldiers, and soldiers' wives and children, and Belgian peasants. Briefly, when she's gone, Clarence writes on a piece of paper the fact that Mother has no objection to our fishing, shows it to our governess, and off we go. Isn't that clever of Germany? When mother returns she forgets to ask of the governess what we have been doing, and it is all right.
The other week-end mother went away and wrote to Clarence that we were to be sure to go to the children's service on Sunday afternoon. Clarence read the letter aloud, and when it came to that part he said, instead of "children's service on Sunday afternoon," something about a picnic on Monday. That is what he calls editing, which is the special duty of an Intelligence Bureau.
Hoping that other children may find our example useful,
I remain, Yours truly,
* * * * *
The Return to Culture.
"GERMANS FALLING BACK ON THE MUSE."
* * * * *
ARMS AND THE WOMAN.
I was working in the garden, tidying up after the weekly visit of the jobbing gardener, when Bolsover put his head over the hedge. "Heard about the Pottingers' governess?" he asked excitedly.
"The Pottingers' governess?" I repeated. "No; what about her? Has she given them notice?"
"Well, she's not exactly the Pottingers' governess," he replied, "but governess to some intimate friends of theirs named Ings living at Ponders End. Anyhow, I can absolutely vouch for the truth of the story."
"Get on," I said. "Don't keep me on tenterhooks. What's she done?"
"Why, the police have discovered that she's a German spy," said Bolsover mysteriously.
"'Angels and ministers of grace de —— '"
"Yes," he went on, "she had been with them three years, teaching the children 'Ich bin geworden sein,' and 'Hast du die Tochter des Loewen gesehen,' and all that. It appears that the police called at the house one night recently and insisted on searching her room and her trunks. Mr. Ings protested; said they'd made a mistake, pledged his word on her honour and integrity, but all with no avail. They searched and found—what do you think?"
"I'll buy it," I said; "Uncle Jasper's coming to lunch with me. What did they find?"
"It's no catch," protested Bolsover, "but the solid truth. They found in one of her trunks a German service-rifle and a quantity of ammunition."
"Never!" I exclaimed.
"Only once," retorted Bolsover. "She's now in a Concentration Camp near Hendon."
I thought no more about the matter until midway through lunch. We were waiting for the souffle when—
"Have you heard that story about a German?" Uncle Jasper and I began simultaneously.
"After you, Uncle," I said dutifully. "What were you going to say?"
"I was about to ask you if you had heard the story of the Polworths' governess," he said.
"No," I answered. "Tell me. You refer to the Polworths of Croydon?"
"Exactly. Well, they—or rather some friends of theirs named Culverton, living at Purley—had a German governess who had been in the family for some years. A night or two ago the police——"
But I needn't repeat it. In all essentials it was Bolsover's story over again, the only differences being that they found three bombs and that the governess was incarcerated at Horsham.
In the afternoon I accompanied Uncle Jasper to the railway station. On my way home I met the Vicar, and we fell to discussing the war. Eventually the conversation got to espionage.
"That reminds me," said the Vicar, "of a very strange case in the household of one of my parishioners—or it would be more correct to say that what I am going to tell you occurred in the house of a friend of his at Canterbury. However, the bona fides of the facts is absolutely unimpeachable. It appears that——"
And here followed another version of the governess episode, identical in all respects with those of Bolsover and Uncle Jasper, save only that the police found a loaded revolver and a plan of Chatham Dockyard, and that the woman had been deported.
That same evening I dined at old Colonel Jevers', and when the ladies had withdrawn to the drawing-room our host began—
"Talking about the war reminds me of a most extraordinary spy story I heard to-day about a German governess."
All the men exchanged glances and smiled. The Colonel continued—"I can say at once that what I am going to tell you is authentic, for the events actually happened to the man who told me—I daresay some of you know Bickerton?—or rather to an old friend of his, which, under the circumstances, is practically the same thing. Well, this friend of Bickerton's, whose name was—"
"Ings, Mullens, Doddridge, Finlayson," we all, except young Pitts, murmured sotto voce.
"... Potherby, lived at—"
"Ponders End, Woking, Cleckheaton, Norwich," we added in a similar manner.
"... Maidstone, and for some time had had in his employ a German governess."
And so the tale went on until the Colonel got to the searching of the trunk. "... and in it was found...."
"A service-rifle, three bombs, a loaded revolver, plans of fortifications," we supplied as before.
"... incriminating letters showing clearly that for years the woman had been in communication with the German Secret Service Bureau," concluded our host.
Young Pitts left with me and walked to my house.
"I didn't hear any asides from you while the Colonel was repeating that hoary old yarn," I said as we reached the gate. "Hadn't you heard it before?"
"I heard it in the train this morning," Pitts answered.
"You don't believe it, surely?"
"Of course not. Amongst other reasons, because the man in whose house the events were supposed to have taken place happens, I know, to be a bachelor, and would not therefore require the services of a German governess."
"Who was the person referred to in the version you heard?" I asked.
"You," he replied.
* * * * *
Illustration: London Scot (proud of his English). "AW'LL BE HAME ABOOT EICHT O'CLOCK THE NICHT, AN'——"
Voice of Operator (obedient to Government instructions). "NO FOREIGN LANGUAGES, PLEASE."
* * * * *
"In a comparatively short time now, summer gardens will have to be overhauled, the bedding-out plants taken up, cuttings taken, and the ground prepared for next spring's display; all of which will be labour usually regarded as manual, but which is well within the capabilities of a strong intelligent woman."—Country Life.
Who would of course regard such labour as womanual.
* * * * *
"Forming a hollow square in front of Webbe Tent, Lord Grenfell addressed the corps, and complimented them on the work they had done and their smart appearance."
After which the C.O., on behalf of the corps, complimented Lord GRENFELL on forming a hollow square.
* * * * *
Illustration: SEASIDE MINSTREL, SUSPECTED OF BEING AN ALIEN, IS MADE TO REMOVE THE BLACK FROM HIS FACE FOR PURPOSES OF IDENTIFICATION.
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We read with very great interest the official and authentic information circulated by the Wolff Agency with regard to the status of the Austrian Landsturm. From this we learn that "on account of its gallant conduct" (attended apparently by disastrous results) the Emperor FRANCIS JOSEPH has granted it permission to serve outside Austria. This is a gracious concession which will no doubt be very highly appreciated by the Landsturm; but one trifling difficulty seems to stand in the way. To be frank, we do not quite see how they are going to get outside. At least it would be well for them to take steps before it is too late. Events have not facilitated the journey via Lemburg, or that via Sarajevo. We know it would be a cruel disappointment if they found themselves debarred from enjoying this exceptional boon. Perhaps they might try the emergency exit to Italy, where a warm reception would await them.
Meanwhile the idea has been taken up by FRANCIS JOSEPH'S brother Emperor, who never likes to miss a good thing. We understand that he has granted to the German Fleet—on account of its gallant conduct in the Kiel Canal—permission to serve outside in the North Sea and also in the Solent. We need hardly add that the news has been received with the utmost geniality by the British Fleet.
* * * * *
Nasty Accident to Divine.
"Cardinal Vanutelli, the doyen of the Papal Conclave, has had the misfortune to break his conclave."—Liverpool Echo.
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Another Attack on the Press.
"The Antwerp correspondent of the 'Telegraaf' states that yesterday, between Termonde and Ghent, German soldiers fired upon a train full of Reuter."—Birmingham Daily Post.
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From a poster:—
"WHAT WE HAVE TO OFFER ITALY.
This is, of course, a rhetorical exaggeration. Actually it would be a small piece of Austria.
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From a letter in The Globe on the liberty allowed to German prisoners:—
"With Portland and Weymouth almost within artillery range the thing seems monstrous. Who is responsible?—I am, &c., MIDDLE TEMPLAR."
Then we hope Middle Templar is ashamed of himself.
* * * * *
Eastward the buzzing tram-car dips Adown Commercial Road, Till you may see the masts of ships, With all their canvas stowed, Stand o'er the house-tops, high Against blue sky; And thus Romance doth stray, Mid work-a-day.
O drabbest of all penny fares! Yet may you catch a glimpse Of little dusty courts and squares Where little dusty imps Play by the plane-trees there, Squalid, un-fair— If these a child or tree Could ever be.
The trams they go with hoot and lurch Long miles, through glare and grime, With here and there a dim cool church Wide open all the time; Where on this lovely day Folk stop to pray That wars, at length, may cease And we have peace.
* * * * *
Stamping Out the Enemy.
"With German factories paralysed and the cold grip of the British Feet about her throat, Germany, it is argued, must bring the war to a close before starvation conquers her."
Yorkshire Evening Post.
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(By Mr. Punch's Staff of Learned Clerks.)
I confess that I did not foretell the present state of affairs, and I refuse to believe anyone else who professes to have done so unless he can produce his prophecy in writing. Germany and England (MURRAY), however, puts the late Professor J. A. CRAMB definitely among the few and persistent prophets who should long ago have been very much more honoured in their own country. The book is a resume of lectures delivered in London in the early part of 1913, and it was first published a few months ago. The present reprint proves the lecturer to have been wiser before the event than many of us are even while the event is happening. Had he lived to see "the day," he would certainly have revised his incidental opinions of French competence and Russian honesty, British resource, and the utility of the Territorial; he would have willingly praised what he has somewhat hastily derided. His theme, however, is not criticism of the Allies, but appraisement of Germany; and his arguments, simply but eloquently expressed, should be very closely regarded by those haphazard optimists who suppose this War to be the personal prank of a braggart Kaiser, doomed to an immediate failure for want of his subjects' support. I have devoured more pages of printed matter since this trouble began than I care to think about, but from the whole lot I have had less enlightenment than from this half-crown volume; I have learnt exactly what is taking place—and why—from one who, unhappily, died before any of the existing wars was declared. Clearly the days of miracles are not yet dead.
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No doubt you already know the work of Mr. H. F. PREVOST BATTERSBY (FRANCIS PREVOST) in "another place," i.e., on the battlefield, where as a war-correspondent he has proved himself a keen observer and an accomplished master of style. But he can also write romances uncommonly well. His latest, The Lure of Romance (LANE), displays once more exactly the qualities that have brought its author previous renown—an appreciative eye and a ready pen for the dramatic and picturesque aspects of a big fight. He knows exactly what a bullet sounds like as it whistles over the head of the person to whom it was addressed; and as no doubt many of us are taking an unusual interest in bullets just now there should be a large public for a story that is so largely concerned with them. On its own merits as a tale it is bustling and picturesque enough. The scene of it is laid in a South American Republic (that useful variant on Ruritania), and the plot deals with the rescue of the charming daughters of a rapscallion President, threatened by local revolutionaries. Naturally, therefore, there is some shooting—in the American sense—all of which bears the sign of expert handling. The affair ends with a really thrilling climax, in which Doyne, the engineer and chief hero, confounds the politics of his enemies by letting loose a reservoir upon them. This is great fun. Especially as the contents of the reservoir, on its way down through a mountain-jungle, brought along with it what Mr. BATTERSBY pleasantly calls "clattering carapes of gigantic crabs." A truly gripping finish!
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Illustration: THE PICNIC, SEPTEMBER, 1914.
Anxious Mother. "I HOPE WE'VE FORGOTTEN NOTHING, FRED?—SANDWICHES, SPIRIT LAMP, SUGAR, TEA, MILK, JAM, AMMUNITION, KNIVES, FORKS, REPEATING RIFLE, PICKLES, BARBED WIRE, &C., &C."
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It would seem a far cry from the clash of armies to the romance of a honeymoon spent on a raft de luxe drifting lazily down a river of Burma. That is the theme of Love's Legend (CONSTABLE), by Mr. FIELDING HALL, author of The Soul of a People. But there may be a war of sex with sex scarcely less tragic than the wars of men with men (or brutes). The author shows us an oldish husband—a civil servant—who surmounts, with not too much indelicacy, the primary difficulty of his young wife's ingenuousness in relation to the sacrament of marriage. But a further and worse difficulty is waiting for him when he comes to deal with the incompatibility of the sexes in the matter of moral standards. The thing, of course, has been done once for all by LOUIS STEVENSON in Virginibus Puerisque. But he did it in essay form; here we have the piquancy of personal narrative and dialogue. Husband and wife in turn are responsible for the story, each assuming a partial attitude towards facts and opinions; or else it is one of his old friends (a source of foolish jealousy to the wife) who takes up the tale without warning when they meet at some riverside station. This means a pleasant variety of styles, and there is a certain childlike freshness about the method by which the husband adapts himself to his wife's intelligence, presenting his more difficult arguments in the form of fairy-tales—a habit which the author may, for all I know, have assimilated through intercourse with the local native. All goes badly, and things began to threaten an impasse, when one foggy night the raft is cut in two by a paddle-boat and the pair get separated and nearly killed. They are so pleased to be restored to one another alive that they tacitly agree to waive their differences. It is perhaps rather a puerile denouement, and not likely to be very helpful to the newly-wedded public. There must be very few couples who can count on having their elemental differences healed by means of a collision between a honeymoon raft and a paddle-steamer on a Burmese river. All the same I commend the book, for it has a charm of manner that will appeal to all. As for its matter, half of it will seem sound to you if you are a male, and most irritating if you are a female; and the other way about with the other half. Personally, being a man, I thought the woman wanted smacking.
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The new German National Anthem (we hope):—Deutschland unter Allies.
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We are living in unsettled times. St. Petersburg has become Petrograd, and now we read in The Yorkshire Observer that "The Bradford Baths Committee have decided to alter the name of the Central Baths to 'The Kursaal.'" What next?