PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.
September 23, 1914.
* * * * *
Illustration: THE ALIEN.
Chorus. "BOO! 'OO KISSED 'ER 'AND TO THE KAISER LARST TIME 'E COME OVER? YAR! BLOOMIN' GERMAN!"
* * * * *
The KAISER, we are told, travels with an asbestos hut. We fancy, however, that it is not during his lifetime that the most pressing need for a fire-proof shelter will arise.
* * *
"The Germans," said one of our experts last week, "are retreating to what looks like a bottle-neck exit." Their fondness for the bottle is, of course, well known and may yet be their undoing.
* * *
The Times, one day, gave a map showing "The Line of Battle in Champagne." It was, as might have been expected, a very wobbly line.
* * *
A somewhat illiterate correspondent writes to say that he considers that the French ought to have allowed the Mad Dog to retain Looneyville.
* * *
The German papers publish the statement that a Breslau merchant has offered 30,000 marks to the German soldier who, weapon in hand, shall be the first to place his feet on British soil. By a characteristic piece of sharp practice the reward, it will be noted, is offered to the man personally and would not be payable to his next of kin.
* * *
With one exception all goods hitherto manufactured in Germany can be made just as well here. The exception is Lies.
* * *
We have been requested to deny the rumour that Mr. A. C. BENSON'S forthcoming Christmas book is to be a Eulogy of German Culture and is to bear the title, Some Broken Panes From a College Window (in Louvain).
* * *
A Corps of Artists for Home Defence is being formed, and the painter members are said to be longing for a brush with the enemy.
* * *
Cases have been brought to our notice by racing men of betting news having been delayed on more than one occasion owing to the wires being required for war purposes. We are confident that if a protest were made to Lord KITCHENER he would look very closely into the matter.
* * *
Another item reaches us from the dear old village of Pufflecombe this week. The oldest inhabitant met a stranger. "'Scuse me, Zur," he said, "but be you from Lunnon town?" The visitor nodded. "Then maybe, Zur," said the rustic, "you can tell me if it be true, as I have heerd tell, that relations 'tween England and Germany be strained?"
* * * * *
"If every man and woman in the country were mated, the number of men who would still remain bachelors would more than equal the entire population."—Daily News.
The Press Bureau cannot guarantee the truth of this.
* * * * *
Germans on board, who were arrested, stated that reports circulated in Hamburg declared that the British troops had been annihilated and Paris was in flames.
"Sixty-two British ships lie at Hamburg."
They must have caught it from the Germans.
* * * * *
(To a King's Recruit.)
Now is your time of trial, now When into dusk the glamour pales And the first glow of passion fails That lit your eyes and flushed your brow In that great moment when you made your vow.
The Vision fades; you scarce recall The sudden swelling of the heart, The swift resolve to have your part In this the noblest quest of all By which our word is given to stand or fall.
Your mother's pride, your comrades' praise— All that romance that seemed so fair Grows dim, and you are left to bear The prose of duty's sombre ways And labour of the long unlovely days.
Yet here's the test to prove you kin With those to whom we trust our fate, Sober and steadfast, clean and straight, In that stern school of discipline Hardened to war against the foe within.
For only so, in England's sight, By that ordeal's searching flame Found worthy of your fathers' fame, With all your spirit's armour bright Can you go forth in her dear cause to fight.
* * * * *
UNWRITTEN LETTERS TO THE KAISER.
(From Herr Von Bethmann Hollweg.)
MAJESTY,—Though you will never receive this letter, I feel that I must write it if only to relieve my mind of an intolerable burden. There is no doubt about it, things are not going well with us, and we shall soon be in a situation of a most deplorable kind. Our armies have been driven back in France—this is what VON STEIN means when he declares that we have had "partial successes"—and Paris, which was to be captured weeks ago, seems to be as strong and as defiant as ever. The English are still unbroken and are pouring new armies into France. In Galicia the wretched Austrians are running like sheep; even Servia has beaten them and is invading Hungary and Bosnia; and our wonderful fleet, which cost so much good money, is bottled up. Soon we shall have the Cossacks on our backs, and then the dance will begin in earnest.
But you don't care—not a bit of it. You've been prancing about and making speeches and showing yourself on balconies and congratulating God on being such a good German. Do for Heaven's sake give us all a rest. We are in for a frightful war, and untold miseries are sure to fall upon us. Do you suppose that we shall be helped to bear them if you continue to act like an inebriated madman in the sight of the whole world?
Of course I shall have to bear the responsibility. I know that well enough. So, while I still have the liberty to use my pen, I mean to make my protest and throw back the burden you want to put upon me. Let me tell you this: you can't go on bragging and trampling on others and glorifying your splendid and immaculate self without rousing anger somewhere. Other people have their feelings—I've got some left myself—and in the long run they're bound to get tired of being exposed to your insolence. We may be miserable worms, but we don't want to be told so every day.
And then how wanton and silly the whole management of the affair has been. Think of our Empire so gloriously won, so magnificently established. France, no doubt, brooded over the possibility of a revanche, but no other country envied us our success or desired either to damage our prestige or to interfere with our growing commerce. Everybody was glad to hail us as friends. And now nearly the whole of Europe has been brought about our ears. Almost all countries wish for our destruction and are trying to bring it about. Italy deserts us. Even America, though you cringe to her, dislikes us and mentions Louvain when we speak of culture. What a masterpiece of folly and miscalculation and wasted opportunity it has all been. And the truth is that there's nobody to thank for it except your sublime self. Others have made mistakes, but you alone were capable of constructing this colossal monument of detestable blunders. Our fault has been that we did not attempt to check you when you pulled on your jack-boots and mounted your high-horse to ride rough-shod over the world, and that we pretended to believe you when you assured us that all was well because you had taken in the Almighty as a sleeping-partner in the business of governing a State. That fault in all conscience is big enough, but it becomes a mere speck when it is measured against yours.
I could add more, but what I have said is enough. At any rate I am now feeling better.
Yours, with all deference,
VON BETHMANN HOLLWEG.
* * * * *
I have found favour in the sight of God; From all His servants He selected Me To take His gospel, "God and Germany," To Belgian heretics. Lo, I have trod Through Belgium terribly, and taught the pack; I put their ancient cities to the sack, I gave their men and women to the sword, I took their Belgian babes upon my knee And broke them to the glory of the Lord.
It may be that one Belgian kennel stands, One Belgian dog, not trampled into dust, Still battles on beside these hosts of Hell Who think to question the Most High's commands— God will forgive me one, for He is just; The blood of many thousands lights my feet; Calmly I step before the Judgment Seat— "Have I done well, O Lord, have I done well?"
A. A. M.
* * * * *
A Suffolk Sportsman, wandering out with his Gun to get what he could, once brought down a Pigeon.
It was a fine Bird, and he popped it in a Pie and made a hearty Meal of it.
And then he began to feel most horribly ill in his Stomach.
The Moral is that one should not eat German homers, for Evil Communications Corrupt Good Digestions.
* * * * *
"Who has not read the humorist W. W. Jacobs? who has not spent many an enjoyable hour over his books, such as 'Three Men in a boat'?"—Timaru Herald.
Obviously the writer of the above paragraph.
* * * * *
Illustration: NOTHING DOING.
IMPERIAL DACHSHUND. "HERE I'VE BEEN SITTING UP AND DOING TRICKS FOR THE BEST PART OF SEVEN WEEKS, AND YOU TAKE NO MORE NOTICE OF ME THAN IF——"
UNCLE SAM. "CUT IT OUT!"
* * * * *
Illustration: Territorial Sentry (by profession a telephone operator). "ARE YOU THERE?"
* * * * *
THE SPLENDID FAILURE.
I found my old cheerful active friend in the depths of woe.
"What is it?" I asked.
"Well," he said, "I'm done for, useless. You see I'm forty-six, and that's a devil of an age just now. You're as fit as you ever were in your life, but of course the War Office won't look at you. Forty-six is impossible! 'But I can walk thirty miles a day,' I tell them. 'Not with all the accoutrements,' they say. 'I'm a member of the Alpine Club,' I tell them. 'You're over age,' they say. 'I'm stronger than any of your twenty-year-old recruits,' I tell them. 'You're forty-six,' they say. And it's true!"
"Then the new regiment of Sportsmen came along," he continued, "and I tried them. No good. Forty-five is their maximum. So there you are! I'm done—useless. No one wanted to help more than I did, and I can do absolutely nothing."
"I'll bet you've done a lot," I said, "if you would only confess."
"I tell you I've done absolutely nothing," he repeated testily. "I'm no use."
"But surely you're on a dozen committees?" I said.
"No," he said, "not one."
"Then you have started a Fund? Some minor fund guaranteed not to divert any money from the big ones?"
"But of course you've written to the papers?" I went on.
"Not about anything? Not to make the Government buck up about blankets or squashing German lies, or allowing Correspondents at the Front, or anything like that?"
"But surely you have views as to the better management of things? The Press Bureau, for instance. Haven't you pitched into that?"
"Not even clamoured for all Germans in this country, even the naturalised ones, to be shot? Surely you've harried MCKENNA a bit?"
"Well, you must at least have published a scheme for the partition of Europe after the war?"
"No; I never wrote to the papers in my life."
I shook his hand.
"Good heavens!" I said, "and this is the man who grumbles because he has done nothing for his country."
* * * * *
THE NEW SCHOOL OF DIVINITY.
[The most fashionable and eminent German theologians have enthusiastically endorsed the official view of Germany as the hierophant of Peace and Concord reluctantly forced into a defensive war by the perfidy of England. As worshippers in the new Temple of Teutonic Truth they may be imagined to express themselves much as follows.]
"As the ghostly adviser Of WILHELM our Kaiser I think this erection Is simply perfection. No censure can dim it, Because it's the limit In massive proportions And splendid distortions. To compare it with Ammon, Whose temple's at Karnak, Is the veriest gammon," Exclaims Dr. HARNACK.
"Since the days of my youth I have laboured for Truth, And, though keenly assailed By the arrows of slander, She has mostly prevailed. But now that she's nailed To our counter for aye, Neither black, white nor Grey Shall have power to withstand her."
(Signed) Dr. DRYANDER.
* * * * *
THE WATCH DOGS.
DEAR CHARLES,—I hope you haven't been worrying yourself to death because you haven't heard from your Territorial for a fortnight. The Germans haven't got us yet, and what is more we haven't yet shot each other. There is a private who comes down into the butts under my charge who ought to be especially grateful to Providence on this account, for I cannot induce him to make use of the red "Cease Fire!" flag before he ascends from the safety-pit; even when he does, he drags it out behind him so that the first thing those on the firing-point see is himself, and the second thing is the flag. I think he must have been an ammunition-monger in private life and mixed with bullets in their less dangerous moods.
We complain of the work and we complain of the food, but really we are very happy. The great thing about our life is that there is nothing to bother about; someone is looking after us all the time, that is from 5 A.M. to 10 P.M. They fetch you out of bed, they exercise your muscles, they put food into you, tell you where to go, when to come back, how to fold up your kit, and when to go to sleep. The only thing they don't do is to come round the last thing and tuck you up in your little valise. You can strap yourself in, all but the head, and as to that there is a flap which anybody with a little gum could fasten down as an envelope. If, Charles, you hear a rumour that my battalion has been sent across Germany to join the Russians on the other side by parcel post, don't be too ready to dismiss it as an absurdity.
Everybody has got somebody to look after him here. There was an instance on the range yesterday. The men were firing their standard tests and there were rumours of an inspection. The N.C.O.'s in charge, being a bit anxious themselves, were seeing to it that the privates did their duty. Be sure we kept a relentless eye on the N.C.O.'s, and the Major in charge of the whole Musketry Detachment did not deal gently with us. Then the Adjutant loomed up, and the Major had to explain himself as best he could; next came the Brigadier, and the Adjutant was on his defence. Just as the Brigadier was getting into his stride, "The General, Sir," whispered the Brigade-Major, and it was then for the Brigadier to account for things being as they were and to promise that very shortly they should be otherwise. You'd have thought that a man so mature and beribboned as our Divisional Commander would be immune from attack; but not so, for up rolled a motor which had come all the way from London and the War Office and even the dear old General was found to be capable of error. You may imagine that the five rounds which were being shot all this while by a mere private were somewhat spasmodic, especially as he was used by all parties as an illustration of their particular meanings. Standing by myself all the time while this unhappy man was severally instructed by N.C.O., Lieutenant, Major, Adjutant, Brigadier, General and Permanent Staff, I was a little amused to note that even so he failed to pass his test! And they all told him on no account to be nervous about it.
You know the song, "Where the wind blows, we'll go"? It is a great favourite on the march; and full marching kit, together with eighty rounds of ball ammunition carried by each man, cannot stop it. It is not a beautiful thing in itself, and it is not made more attractive by being sung when the band is playing something else. But it takes little to turn a bad thing into a good one. This morning Lieut. Wentworth, not usually mounted, took out a party for a route march, borrowing the Adjutant's horse for the purpose. As the party marched away at ease, some of their friends asked them where they were going. They answered to music: "Where the horse goes, we'll go." Wentworth tells me that this opinion was not ill-founded.
Food is my strong subject at the moment, for I have happened to be orderly officer once or twice lately; in other words I have been a sort of detective housekeeper. The first thing I have to do is to see that everybody gets up at reveille—a charity, Charles, which has to begin at home. But it is at the cookhouse that I am supposed to have my most deadly effect. You can see me paying visits en surprise, all the cooks springing to attention and the very potatoes in the dixies trying to look as if they weren't doing anything wrong! The pleasing sensation of importance having passed off, it is then time for me to do something intelligent. It is easy enough to tap a camp-kettle with a nonchalant cane and commence the removal of the lid, but it is much more difficult to cope with the pieces of boiled beef with which I am then confronted. As a subject of conversation boiled beef is not, in my opinion, a success: there are only two things to ask about it—"Is it beef?" "Is it boiled?" There is no way of finding out its merits except by eating it, and I simply cannot bring myself to steal my men's food! The temptation is to prod it with the cane, but when you've done that once and the Adjutant has happened to be looking you don't do it again. So I turn to the "pontoon," a composite dish containing everything in the world which is edible and savoury, and I ask the Cook-Sergeant why we cannot get that sort of thing in peace time, pay what we will. Oh, yes, my boy, we in the officers' mess have long abandoned our chefs and caterers, and have taken to drawing out rations and, secretly, thanking Heaven for the same.
You want to know what is to become of us. I will tell you on absolutely reliable information. We are going to Cherbourg to stand by as a reserve force; to Paris to act as a protection against surprise attacks; to Ostend to relieve the Casino; to Antwerp to resist Zeppelins; to the French frontier to guard lines of communication; to Leicester to supervise German prisoners; to Africa to conduct a show of our own; to India, Malta, Gibraltar and Egypt for garrison duty; to the North of Scotland to protect coast towns (which abound in that part); and to the right of the Allies' first, the centre of the Allies' second, and the left of the Allies' third fighting line. That, Charles, is our official programme: when we have completed it we shall be getting near Christmas. Then, of course, we proceed for rest and recreation to Berlin; our one fear being that when we get there we shall be turned on to military police duty, and the protection of German women and children against their own men-folk.
Meanwhile to-morrow's programme is less dashing. It consists of Church Parade. The Musketry Detachment is at some little distance from the main body, so the Padre has arranged for a private parade of our own. An officer is to read the lessons and has been instructed for the purpose. "The Party," as we call him for convenience, "will move two paces forward and, upon the word 'one,' will take the Book smartly in the left hand. Upon the word 'two' he will raise his right thumb to his lower lip and moisten the same, thus enabling it to turn over the page efficiently. When this movement is complete, he will cut away the right hand sharply and proceed to carry out his duties." Don't suppose we are irreligious—far from it; but always we are disciplinarians. I believe there is somewhere in the Infantry Training a correct way laid down for blowing your nose to numbers.
Yours ever, HENRY.
* * * * *
"TRADING WITH THE ENEMY BILL."
We prefer to say (less familiarly), "Settling accounts with the KAISER."
* * * * *
A FOOD WAR.
Some folk believe that wars commence From greed of gain or self-defence; But Austrian sages have divined Incitements of a different kind.
The Servian Army (so 'tis said) Has run completely out of bread, And every day the hungry souls Fight Austria for Vienna rolls.
The Austrian battles with the TSAR Because he dotes on caviare, And must that monarch's realm invade Because he likes it freshly made.
The Russians cannot do without The soul-sustaining sauerkraut, And march their armies to the West Because Berliners make the best.
The German confidently thinks That absinthe is the prince of drinks, And therefore must attack the land That keeps the most seductive brand.
The Frenchman, tired of his ragouts, Covets the meat that Teutons use, And charges like an avalanche For German sausage, not revanche.
The Briton, vexed by rules austere, Has heard the fame of German beer, And nought his onward march can stop While Munich holds a single drop.
The bold Italian stands prepared With rifle loaded, sabre bared, And to a questioning world replies, "Who touches my spaghetti, dies!"
* * * * *
I have a friend who is a Special Constable. He has had an experience which by no means casts any discredit upon him; but he would rather not write about it himself, he says; so I take up the pen on his behalf.
My friend is an artist, and as such is accustomed to use his eyes. The other day he saw a smartly dressed man whom he conceived to be a German spy, for, besides wearing an alien aspect, he carried a walking-stick which tapered suspiciously on the way down, and near the top of it was an obvious little catch. "A sword stick!" said the Special Constable to himself.
He followed the man. The man ultimately entered the purlieus of a police station and joined a queue of exotics who were waiting to be registered.
The Special Constable then accosted a pukka Police Inspector who was standing at the door and explained his suspicion as to the walking-stick and its probable contents. The Police Inspector also thought there might be something in it. He beckoned to the German. The alien enemy, trembling palpably, came up to him.
"Any arms?" asked the Inspector.
"No," replied the alien enemy, still trembling.
"Undo the catch of that stick," commanded the Inspector. With fumbling fingers the alien enemy did so—and drew forth a silk umbrella.
* * * * *
Illustration: First Golfer (to friend who has come from a distance to play with him). "BUT, MY DEAR CHAP, WHERE ARE YOUR CLUBS?"
Second Golfer. "HUSH! NOT A WORD! I'VE GOT 'EM DISGUISED IN HERE."
* * * * *
Two consecutive advertisements in The Portsmouth Evening News:—
"Lost, Sunday, Ring, with G.H.E. stamped on it."
"Why Lose Articles? Name, or initials engraved, 6d."
"Dash it," said G.H.E., one of the first to pay his sixpence, "I've been had."
* * * * *
He knew, none better, how 'twould be, And spoke his warning far and wide; He worked to save us ceaselessly, Setting his well-earnt ease aside.
We smiled and shrugged and went our way Blind to the swift-approaching blow; His every word proves true to-day, But no man hears, "I told you so!"
* * * * *
From a Territorial's letter in The Huddersfield Examiner:—
"We wash in a bucket—one bucket for eight men. We fall in when the bugle calls."
And then climb out again and look for the towel.
* * * * *
AS ENGLAND EXPECTS.
When the war broke out and Big Ben had boomed the hour which marked the rejection of the ultimatum, Bates was full of fire. He had bought a penny flag, and in a spirit of grim determination had walked the streets, processing with the processionists. There was no brag or bounce about him, no hideousness of noise or mafficking, no hatred of foreigners or cruelty of uncharity, but a grim steadfastness of determination which meant that, so far as he might, Bates would do or die.
He returned to his third-floor back in St. Pancras, and, lighting his lamp and a candle to ensure as much illumination as possible, looked with brooding earnestness at his reflection in the worn uncertain looking-glass.... He began to realise the truth of things. The flag was in his button-hole, his eye had a glint of lingering excitement, his brain was ruffled; he saw himself as he was. England must fight, Englishmen must help, for England could not fail. On her rested the truest and noblest concerns of humanity.
Bates removed his coat. He was five-foot two; his chest measurement was less than proportionate to his height. His muscles, so far as they existed, were flabby. He moved his arms to exercise their powers; then, realising his weariness, went slowly to bed. Bates was a little tiny man, but his heart was large.
He was restless throughout the night, rose but little refreshed, and breakfasted badly. He went forth to his labours—he was a ledger-clerk in some Stores—feeling greatly depressed. Gradually, however, that sense of oppression passed. The world was full of sunshine, and, though the faces of the passers-by were anxious and unsmiling, there was no despondency about them. Where no despondency is, there surely is hope. Bates began to feel hopeful. The sight of a Territorial with a kitbag completed his recovery. He strode out with an unusual vigour, squared his poor chest, swung his arms, and whistled softly to himself the chorus of some piece of music-hall patriotism—
"They can't build boys of the bull-dog breed!"
By the time he reached the office—well before the hour—he was a pugnacious and confident patriot for all his scarcity of feet and inches.
The days that followed were full of emotions and excitements. Three of Bates's colleagues went the Khaki way, and every hour brought some discussion of international problems. The counting-house thrilled with arguments of high strategy. What KITCHENER should do, and where CHARLIE BERESFORD should be sent, were questions confidently settled. Bates, whose want of stature made him too insignificant to speak with confidence in these discussions, held his peace, but listened with both ears. What was the good of this talk? It was incumbent on Englishmen to do.
That night he was one of a multitude who stood at the entrance of the local drill-hall hoping to become Territorials. He rather expected to be chaffed for his pains, but, though there was plenty of jollity among those waiting, there was no unkindness; and at last, thanks to squeezing and patience, he was able to get within the charmed gate. So far and no farther; not so far even as to the medical officer. A watchful sergeant grasped him by the shoulder, and, smiling with earnest eyes, said:
"It's no use wasting your time here, young fellow-my-lad! You'd better shave your upper lip and apply to the Boy Scouts."
Bates turned on his heel and, sick at heart, went out by a side door. He was angry with himself, at his inadequate inches. What could he do for England? He was deeply grieved at his uselessness. He crept up to his room and sat in the darkness, brooding.
His spirits were low for some days, and the sight of regiments marching, of soldiers with their friends, of placards telling the truth and the not-so-truthful, made him feel very futile. He spent hours of every evening wandering through the streets, watching the lighted windows of Buckingham Palace, gazing at the policemen who guarded Downing Street. He wanted to do so much for England, yet he must stand and wait. He had left the mimic flag in his pin-cushion at home; he was in no mood for wearing it now.
Then an idea came to him. His spirits rose, his eyes brightened; he walked again with something of a martial swing, and whistled to himself softly and inoffensively that even a neighbour might not have heard.
Bates had found his way. He too could serve England. He sacrificed all but his bare necessities, and grew actually thinner and even less obtrusive. His outer insignificance shrank, but inwardly he was as happy as a warrior. Every week a postal order went to this relief-fund or to that. It was regularly acknowledged to "One of the Bull-dog Breed."
Bates wears his flag boldly and is confident that we shall win.
* * * * *
Old Proverbs re-made in Germany.
I. "Vedi Parigi e poi mori."
* * * * *
KINGS FROM THE EAST.
Cities of wonderment, Pink as the morn, There, of the sunrise sent, Reigned the Sun-Born; From the high heaven's gate, Sprung from the flame, Ere Nineveh was great, Ere Thebes a name!
Emeralds, milky pearls Plucked from blue seas, Footfall of silken girls— Such for their ease; Shimmer and silken sheen, Jewel and maid— These but the damascene Chasing the blade!
For on a royal day Lost in the years Chose they the Happy Way— The way of spears; Ere Rome's first bastionings Climbed from the sods In the old East were kings Warring with gods.
Lo, through the eastern sky Crimson is drawn, Kings in their panoply Ride with the dawn; Sprung from high heaven's gate, Sprung from the flame, Ere Nineveh was great, Ere Thebes a name!
* * * * *
THE HOHENZOLLERN STIGGINS.
"'Oh, my young friend,' said Mr. Stiggins, 'here's a sorrowful affliction.... It makes a vessel's heart bleed.'
Mr. Weller was overheard to murmur something about making a vessel's nose bleed."
* * * * *
A NEW VERSION.
When French joined FRENCH Then was the tug of war.
* * * * *
MOTTO FOR THE WAR.
ENGLAND MEANS "BUSINESS—AS USUAL."
"'Who that England know who only England knows.' We are not certain of the precise verbality, but thus the poet sang."
"Leader," B. E. Africa.
The "precise verbality" is merely a private trouble of the poets.
* * * * *
From an official notification in The Shanghai Municipal Gazette:—
"Where mosquitoes cannot be exterminated by abolishing stagnant water or by the use of kerosine oil, or by reporting their presence to the Health Officer, the mosquito net should be carefully used."
Elderly bald Gentleman (to mosquito): "Now I've warned you once; and if you sting me again I shall report you to the Health Officer."
* * * * *
THE WAR DAY BY DAY.
We understand from our Special War Correspondent, who is counting the butter at Copenhagen, that great activity is manifesting itself among the officers and men of the German Slack-Water Fleet. This is owing to the fact that they are learning a new German National Anthem which has just been introduced into the Fleet, set to an old English tune. A rough translation of the chorus goes as follows:—
"Rule, Germania, Germania ever shall Ru—u—u-u-u-u-ule the Kiel Canal."
The order enforcing this new song is signed "WILHELM, Grand Admiral of the Canal."
* * * * *
The announcement that an indemnity of 100,000 cigars had been levied on Ghent created some little surprise. It is a fact, however, that before the campaign began a list of suitable indemnities for all the towns and villages through which the Germans hoped to pass had been drawn up by the ever-ready General Staff. A list of such war levies for various places in England has accidentally come into our possession, a dispatch-case containing this and other important documents having been dropped by a carrier-pigeon as it was flying over Bouverie Street on its way back to Berlin. We give a few examples, so that our readers may know what to expect:—
London.—L100,000,000, the Albert Memorial and three-dozen special constables.
Beaconsfield.—Mr. G. K. —— (suppressed by Censor).
Tonbridge.—100,000 cricket bats with splices, 10,000 pairs of leg-guards, and 1,000 wicket-keeping gauntlets.
Greenwich.—200,000,000 bunches of whitebait, 200,000 lemons, and 750,000 slices of brown bread and butter.
Steeple Bumpstead.—L5,000,000 and a mangold-wurzel. [Three weeks will be given the inhabitants in which to collect the money, but the wurzel must be handed over at once.]
* * * * *
By the way, the plan for this invasion of England is a remarkably subtle one. The invading army will be under the command of the CROWN PRINCE, who, according to the latest reports, is now fighting simultaneously on the eastern and western frontiers of Germany, and has volunteered for spare-time work. Waiting for the psychological moment when the British Fleet is looking the other way, the Grand High Canal Fleet will slip out with barges in tow, containing six army corps and His Royal Lowness. And, as VON MOLTKE said to the present writer's—the present KAISER'S grandfather. "Victory will be ours, Sire."
* * * * *
Illustration: A USE FOR ZEPPELINS.
Belated Citizen (who has been lamenting the loss of his latch-key all the way home). "HELLO! HERE'S A BIT OF LUCK!"
* * * * *
Success continues to attend the Austrian arms, both in the East and in the South. It is announced on reliable authority that more than 200,000 Austrians have forced their way into Russia, and are now guarding the more important Russian prisons from within. In the South the chastisement of Servia, undertaken solely for Servia's own good, has triumphantly achieved its object.
* * * * *
The Japanese army corps, which passed through Llanfairfechan, Inverness and Bushey last Saturday, on its way to outflank the German left wing at Metz, has arrived safely at Scutari, and is now marching on Vienna. [The Press Bureau has no notion whether this is true or not, and cannot think of any way of finding out. But it consents to its publication in the hope that it will frighten the KAISER.]
* * * * *
We learn that the Russians have won a pronounced victory (but not by us) at Przemysl.
* * * * *
Shakspeare on the Situation.
"List! list! oh list."—Hamlet, Act I., Scene 4.
* * * * *
Illustration: Old Lady. "I'VE BROUGHT BACK THIS WAR MAP YOU SOLD ME YESTERDAY, MR. BROWN. IT'S NOT UP TO DATE. I'VE BEEN LOOKING ALL THE MORNING FOR ARMAGEDDON, AND CAN'T FIND IT MARKED ANYWHERE."
* * * * *
ODE TO THE SPIRIT OF WIRELESS VICTORY.
(An attempt, suggested by certain Marconigrams, to shed still further light on the nature of the principal Teutonic deity.)
What to thee are marching legions, Cannon smoke and sabre thrust, Goddess of the cloud-rimmed regions In whose might the Germans trust? Though, however high and regal, Kingly pomp may break and bend Soiled with murder (labelled legal), Thou, more active than the eagle, Thou endurest to the end.
Thou wast not behind their banners When they scoured the Belgian plain, When they taught their Teuton manners By the wreck of farm and fane; Clear of battle's mire and fury On those sightless feet and hid, Thou wast wafted with the story Saying this was German glory To Chicago and Madrid.
Long e'er Paris heard the thunder, Herald of the Uhlan's lance, Thou wast making Stockholm wonder At the dying flame of France: Not on wires, with no word written, Thou hadst trod thine airy track, Faster than the mailed mitten, And behold our fleet was smitten Somewhere near the Skager Rack.
So. And when their lines are broken, When their shrapnel falls less fast, Shalt thou fail to send a token Undefeated to the last? Surely not. Red devastation Still shall urge by land and sea Every proud advancing nation While Marconi's installation Rules the skies of Germany.
Still when pagan peoples sever Railway line and telegraph Thou shalt keep thy staunch endeavour, Thou shalt scatter us like chaff. Still, O goddess of the Prussians, Thou shalt sound thy trump of tin Undeterred by rude concussions While the Frenchmen hail the Russians On the flagstones of Berlin.
* * * * *
A German Motto:—"Gott mit Huns."
* * * * *
Illustration: THE GREAT ILLUSION.
KAISER. "MY POOR BIRD, WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO YOUR TAIL-FEATHERS?"
GERMAN EAGLE. "CAN YOU BEAR THE TRUTH, SIRE?"
KAISER. "IF IT'S NOT FOR PUBLICATION."
GERMAN EAGLE. "IT'S LIKE THIS, THEN. YOU TOLD ME THE BRITISH LION WAS CONTEMPTIBLE. WELL—HE WASN'T!"
* * * * *
Illustration: FROM OUR SPECIALLY CREDULOUS CORRESPONDENT.
Stoker. "I SEE THE TORPEDO APPROACHIN' US; SO, WITHOUT WAITIN' FER ANY ORDERS, I DIVES OVERBOARD, JUST GIVES 'IM A FLICK ON 'IS LITTLE RUDDER, AN' OFF 'E GOES TO STARB'D AN' PASSES US 'ARMLESSLY BY."
* * * * *
ESSENCE OF PARLIAMENT.
(EXTRACTED FROM THE DIARY OF TOBY, M.P.)
House of Commons, Monday, Sept. 14.—House met to-day with proud feeling of altered circumstance. A fortnight ago things looked bad in France. Allied Armies were continuing prolonged retreat not made more acceptable by being officially named "Retirement." A detailed narrative compiled in neighbourhood of the Army had described the little British Force, long fighting at odds of four to one, as "broken to pieces."
Seemed as if Paris were on verge of another triumphal entry by German forces: France on eve of a second Sedan.
To-day a more hurried retreat is daily accumulating speed. This time it is the invader who, in order to avoid final disaster, is racing back to the comparative safety of his own country, whilst French and British, elate with repeated victory, hang with uncomfortable closeness on his heels.
"In the matter of carefully planned advance and sudden withdrawal, we have," said the MEMBER FOR SARK, "a parallel episode in our own military history. You remember how 'the gallant Duke of YORK' on an expedition to Flanders had 'twice ten thousand men,' how he 'marched them up to the top of the hill And marched them down again'? The simple verse lends itself with easy adaptability to present circumstances of our old friend the EMPEROR WILLIAM:—
"The gallant plumed WILHELM Had twice a million men; He marched them up to Paris town And marched them back again."
As in depressing circumstances of a fortnight ago the House betrayed no sign of dejection or variation from resolve to see the fight out to a finish, so to-day it does not present itself in mafficking mood. It is nevertheless more than ever resolved, at whatever cost of blood or treasure, to make an end of the throned KAISER and his system of militarism, the curse of Europe these more than twenty years. Wherein it is truly representative of the nation.
Business done.—PREMIER announces that Prorogation will be accomplished before end of week, with incidental consequence of addition to Statute Book under Parliament Act of Bills establishing Home Rule in Ireland and disestablishing Church in Wales.
Tuesday.—A sitting of alarums and excursions, especially excursions.
PREMIER introduced Bill suspending for twelve months, or longer if War lasts, operation of Home Rule Bill and Welsh Church Bill, which, in accordance with Parliament Act, will on Prorogation be automatically added to Statute Book. In speech which BONAR LAW described as "temperate and moderate," he defended himself from charges of broken pledges brought against him by gentlemen opposite.
"I shall endeavour to imitate him," said LEADER OF OPPOSITION.
Got along moderately well till, "resuming the offensive," as despatches from the Seat of War have it, he lapsed into comparison between conduct of PREMIER and the action of the KAISER in his "infamous proposal" that this country should connive in breach of common pledge to preserve neutrality of Belgium.
Here broke forth shouts of angry protest from Ministerialists. WINSTON, who can't abear strong language, rose from Treasury Bench and stalked forth behind the SPEAKER'S chair, example numerously followed above and below Gangway.
This excursion number one. Number two, more exhaustive of audience, followed when BONAR LAW, having concluded his speech, shook from off his feet the dust of the House and walked out, accompanied by entire body of Opposition.
Mr. FLAVIN, not liking to see Front Opposition Bench desolate, moved down from accustomed seat in Irish quarter and temporarily assumed place and attitude of LEADER OF OPPOSITION.
BYLES of Bradford proposed to offer a few words of counsel and farewell. His interposition received with such shout of contumely from friends and neighbours that he incontinently dropped back into his seat.
PREMIER observed walking towards glass door under the Gallery. Surely he too was not going to leave us? No. Was merely acting in accordance with immemorial custom that when Minister or Member "brings in" a Bill he must start on his journey at the Bar. As he walked to the Table, a sheet of foolscap paper in right hand, Liberals and Nationalists leapt to their feet waving hats and handkerchiefs, cheering like madmen.
Business done.—Bill postponing operation of Home Rule and Welsh Church Acts till close of War carried through all its stages.
House of Lords, Thursday.—SECRETARY OF STATE FOR WAR takes kindly to new position. His statement to-day, explanatory of general military situation, a model of lucidity and brevity. Had much of the charm of FRENCH'S historic despatch, the modesty and simplicity of which delighted everybody. One omission in the document KITCHENER generously supplied. FRENCH said nothing of his own share in accomplishment of feat of arms rarely paralleled. Amid cheers unusually warm for this Chamber, KITCHENER paid tribute to "the consummate skill and calm courage of the Commander-in-Chief."
Tribute also paid in another quarter, the more valuable as it came from a man of few words and no disposition towards flattery. "The Territorial Force is making great strides in efficiency," the WAR LORD said, "and will before many months be ready to take a share in the campaign. This force is proving its military value to the Empire by the willing subordination of personal feelings to the public good in the acceptance of whatever duty may be assigned to it in any portion of the Empire."
Business done.—Suspensory Bill agreed to without insistence on ST. ALDWYN'S Amendment to Welsh Church Disestablishment Bill.
House of Commons, Friday.—Circulation of Official Report of Commission of Inquiry into Atrocities in Belgium creates profound sensation.
When the Manager of the Itinerant Theatrical Company of which Nicholas Nickleby and Smike were for a time Members caused the insertion in a local paper of a paragraph stating "Mr. Crummles is not a Prussian," there was some obscurity about his object. It is now clear that his instinct was sure, his prevision acute. After experience of last seven weeks all decent-minded men would like it to be known that they are not Prussians.
Business done.—Parliament prorogued.
* * * * *
Illustration: Admiral of the Atlantic (to himself). "IT IS MY IMPERIAL PLEASURE TO PRESENT YOU WITH THE ORDER OF THE MASTHEAD BROOM (FIRST CLASS) IN RECOGNITION OF YOUR CONSPICUOUS SUCCESS IN SWEEPING THE SEAS."
* * * * *
Illustration: The Wolff. "GOOD MORNING, MY DEAR LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD. WOULDN'T YOU LIKE ME TO TELL YOU ONE OF MY PRETTY TALES?"
Little Miss Holland. "THANKS; BUT I'M NOT LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD, AND I DON'T WANT ANY OF YOUR FAIRY STORIES."
* * * * *
TO A NAVAL CADET
IN THE GRAND FLEET.
[There are over 500 naval cadets, aged 15 to 17, at present in the Fleet, serving as midshipmen.]
Young man, a little year ago At Osborne (where the admirals grow) I saw you fall on a mimic foe With tackle and shove and thrust. There by the jolly trim canteen, Where the figure-head flaunts her golden sheen, You fought, or cheered, for your Term fifteen, As a fellow of mettle must ... Yet now those deeds seem mighty small You dared in the chase for a leather ball— Now that you trip On His Majesty's Ship Playing the finest game of all!
A year ago, a naval fight Was a tantalising dim delight That fed your dreams on a Wednesday night, When History prep. was through. Yet yours was a Destiny strong and clear That ever, unknown, was stalking near; And now in a flash, it's here, it's here— Now are your dreams come true!... There are grey old admirals in our land Who never have stood where now you stand, Here on your feet In His Majesty's Fleet— With a real live enemy hard at hand!
* * * * *
Britannia to the French Generalissimo:—
"A l'honore do nos deux nations J'offre—cent mille felicitations!"
* * * * *
Illustration: THE EGOIST.
Warlike Mistress. "DON'T YOU THINK, JAMES, YOU WOULD LIKE TO JOIN LORD KITCHENER'S ARMY?"
Peaceful Footman. "THANK YOU, MUM, BUT I DON'T SEE AS 'OW I'D BE BETTERING MYSELF. WAR'S FOR THEM AS LIKES IT, WHICH I NEVER DID."
* * * * *
The War has caused one thing (among others). It has filled me with an infinite distrust of human testimony. Were I on a jury I should find every one "Not guilty" now—unless, of course, the prisoner were foolish enough to bring evidence on his own behalf. It is not the German Press Bureau that has done this. It has maintained its customary high standard with magnificent consistency.
My faith in human testimony has been shattered by Mactavish's uncle, Bloomer's maiden aunt, and Wiggins' brother-in-law. I put on one side the statement of Mirfin's grandmother because her allegation that 193 trains passed her house one night might have been based on the shunting of a single goods train. One knows the fiendish persistency of the shunted goods train at night.
But let me take the bald statement of Mactavish's uncle. He is a baillie, an elder and a drysalter. He wrote to Mactavish:—"I regret that the attendance at the Kirk on Sunday was most unsatisfactory. The younger members of the congregation were all watching the disembarcation of the Cossacks. I understand that the Established Kirk held no services at all. I did not feel it consistent with a proper observance of the Sabbath to go and watch them myself, so I only saw by chance, and not intentionally, the six regiments which marched past my house."
What could be more conclusive than that?
The very next day Bloomer met me and produced a much-crossed letter from his pocket. "Just read the last few lines," he said triumphantly.
I read with zest.
"Damsons are very cheap this year. I am jamming an extra quantity. Do you think pots of jam could be safely sent to the chaplains at the front? Kiss the dear baby for me. Excuse a longer letter, but I am quite worn out with handing hot meat pies to the Russian troops passing through here.
Ever your affectionate Aunt,
Not "meat pies," mark you, but "hot meat pies." Somehow that little touch won my absolute belief.
Now we come to the solemn statement of Wiggins' brother-in-law. He is, according to Wiggins, a patriot of the finest type—only prevented from going to the front by the claims of business, a family of nine, and a certain superfluity of adipose tissue. "When guarding a railway bridge as a special constable a troop train stopped through an engine breakdown. Numbers of finely built men in fur coats descended on to the line. Two of them came to me and, making signs of thirst, said, 'Vodka, vodka.' They embraced me warmly after I had offered them my pocket-flask, and then, shouting 'Berlin,' rejoined the train."
I could quite believe that. Any brother-in-law of Wiggins would have a pocket-flask.
Yet the Press Bureau solemnly asserts that no Russian troops have passed through this country. I have now no faith in anyone's uncles, aunts nor yet brothers-in-law. I believe nothing. Is there a KAISER? Is there a War? Or is the whole thing a malignant invention of LLOYD GEORGE to save a tottering Government? But then again—(most terrible of all doubts)—is there a LLOYD GEORGE?
* * * * *
MORE SPIRITUOUS HOSPITALITY.
From a German pamphlet quoted by the Ipswich Evening Star:—
"With German energy we are determined to win, and we invite Italians to gin with us?"
* * * * *
THE SILVERN TONGUE.
It was his vest-slip which chained my eye. Spats and the lesser niceties are common among the altruists who strive to set us to rights just by the Marble Arch, but a vest-slip was a new note.
His voice was like his hair, in that it was thin, undecided, not really assertive enough to be impressive ... Ah, now I had the range of him.
"You may call 'im a beneffercent despot. I don't. You may 'ave a tiste for aristocrercy, plootocrercy, ortocrercy. I 'aven't. You may prefer to 'ave a iron-shod 'eel ground on your fices. I don't.
"There was a professor at Kimebridge, some years ago, who said to me, when I 'come-up,' as they say, after tikin' my degree, 'My boy,' 'e says, 'when you git out into the world, when you desert these 'ere cloistered 'alls, these shidy lawns, these venerable cryp's, never you eat no dirt! Not for nobody, my boy! Remember your ol' collidge, think of your awmer-miter, think of 'istoric Trinity 'All, an' the pelloocid Isis, and never eat no dirt!'
"Yes, gents, they was 'is larst words to me, one of 'is fivourite pupils, if I may say so; 'is Pawthian shots. An' if that there estimable ol' man could look down on me now, as I stand 'ere fice to fice in front of you, 'e would candidly admit that I 'ave always bore in mind 'is fawtherly adjuritions.
"I'll tell you what it is, gents. If you was to walk quietly into Buckin'am Pellis at this moment, an' 'ave a friendly word with 'Is Mejisty, do you kid yourselves 'e would igspress any what I may call cuzzen like feelin' for this—this perisite? Do you fan your ducks, in vulgar pawlence, that if the KING'S 'ands was free 'e would not 'asten to be the first to pluck the bauble from 'is cuzzen's fat 'ead?
"If there are any Germans present, is there one among them who will 'ave the 'ardi'ood to step forward now and say a word, one little word, gentlemen, one single bloomin' ''Och!' on be'alf of 'im? Naow, gents, naow! Ten thousing times naow!
"'Eaven forbid that I should talk above your 'eads, my friends, but I say, an' I maintain, that this insolent upstawt, this pestilenshul braggadosho, this blood-suckin', fire-eatin', spark-spittin', sausage-guzzlin', beer-swillin' ranter, this imitashun eagle, with a cawdboard beak an' a tin 'elmet, this 'ypercritical 'umbug, 'as forfeited the larst shred of the respec' of any but the mos' sooperfishul stoodent of international affairs, or welt-politik, as the French would put it.
"I know what I'm talkin' abaout, gents. I can call for my seven-course dinner, my little 'alf-bottle, my Larranaga or Corona, my corfy, my lickewer an' my tooth-pick, in the language of every capital in Europe.
"Well, gents, where did I get my information, my insight, my instinc', on these things? 'Ow came it to be that I can walk into the private offices of the biggest bankers in Europe, knowin' full well what they would understand if I so much as suggested a pinch of snuff, or said it looked like rain, or asked if they 'ad seen the Shaw of Persha litely?
"You don't suppose I got my intimercy with questions what 'ave brought a Continent, ay, an' 'alf a world, to grips, by 'angin' round Embassies an' Consulates, and Chawncelleries, do you?
"There is always somethink subrowsa, somethink be'ind the scenes, somethink suttle, some unsuspected inflooence, what the outer world 'ardly ever 'ears of.'
"An' what is it, in 'undreds of cises? Gents all, I will tell you, in the words of the gallant defenders of Leege—Shurshy-lar-fam! That little phrise, gents, in cise you may 'ave forgot your French or Belgian, as the cise may be, means 'Look for the woman,' gents.
"I may not look it now, my frien's, an' you may larf with scorn to 'ear an ol' feller speak the words, but there was a time, shortly arfter I come-up from the Varsity, an' just before I took my commishun in the dear ol' Tin-Bellies, when there was no man more popular than me in the salongs of Europe.
"Take my word for it, gents! Young, wealthy, not undistinguished in the matter of learnin', well-bred, nurchured in the lap of luxury, tolerably good-lookin', if not actually 'andsome, my way was easy, gents. It was child's play for me to get at the inside of things, to get under the surface, to see what was agitatin' the boorses of 'alf the Continent, to understand why big financiers was orderin'-in 'ams by the 'alf-'undred, religious scruples not-withstandin'. Why, if I was to sit down an' put pen to piper I could sell my memo'rs of them days for a fabulous sum—if the biggest publishers in the land was not too bloomin' chicken-'earted to publish anythink so 'ot, gentlemen!
"Your ears would wag, my friends, if I told you one 'alf of the spells what some of them Continental society sirens wielded, an' but for my mastery over their 'earts what might we not have igsperienced years agow? An' this, gentlemen, at the biddin' or the innuendoes of vile bein's not fit to 'arthstone the door-step of the po'rest workin'-man what plods 'is 'eart-broken way acrost this Pawk to-night!
"You 'ave no idear, I assure you, gents, what might not 'ave 'appened, what cruel, what damn ..."
B2471, who had gradually edged toward the stool on which he stood, stepped up to him and spoke softly. "That's bloomin' well torn it, matey," said B2471. "You've 'ad a good time all to your little self, but we 'ave to dror the line. You'll 'ave to 'op it, old sport!"
And, just, as we were getting into his confidence, he of the vest-slip 'opped it, and we were left behind, without further clues to Shurshy-lar-fam.
The woman still remains a mystery.
* * * * *
"Everybody's doing it," I said, "so as to have more for the Funds. Also for other reasons. The only question is what?"
"Well," said Ursula, "let's make a beginning." She produced a silver pencil and some celluloid tablets that are supposed to look like ivory. "What first?" she asked, frowning.
I reflected. "Clearly the superfluities ought to go first. What about my sacrificing sugar-cakes for afternoon tea? And burnt almonds?"
"M' yes," said Ursula. "I was thinking myself about giving up cigars."
"Heroine! But let us be temperate even in denial."
"As a matter of fact," she said, "I'm getting to detest almonds."
"And I simply loathe—I mean, I'm sure pipes are ever so much better for one than cigars."
"Good!" observed Ursula. "Cigars and almonds go out. Only if you have your pipe there ought to be some cheap and filling substitute for my almonds."
"Turkish delight," I suggested, "supposing it turns out all right about the Goeben."
"And, if not, I could get along with Russian toffee. That settles tea. How about other meals?"
"We're at the end of that Hock."
"I'm glad of it," said Ursula. "Nasty German rubbish. I wonder it didn't contaminate the cellar. Now we must drink something patriotic instead."
"What about good old English water?"
"My dear! With all those spies simply picnicing round the reservoirs! Goodness knows what they've put in. My idea was a nice, not too-expensive, champagne, like what they get for the subscription dances."
"Dearest! Ask me to go out into the road and sing the Marseillaise. Ask almost anything of me to display my pride and affection for our brave allies, but do not, do not ask me to drink sweet champagne at lunch!"
"You shall choose it yourself," said Ursula, "and it isn't for lunch, but dinner. At lunch you will continue to drink beer. Only it will be English, not German."
"Glorious beer! C'est magnifique!"
"Mais ce n'est pas lager!" said Ursula quickly.
This was rightly held to constitute one trick to her, and we resumed.
"About clothes," I said.
"There was an article I read in some paper," observed Ursula, "pointing out that if everybody did without them no one would mind."
"Still, even in war time——"
"Of course I meant new clothes and fashionable things."
"An alluring prospect!" I agreed wistfully. "Fancy reading in the frock-papers that 'Ursula, Mrs. Brown, looked charming in a creation of sacking made Princess fashion, the chic effect being heightened by a bold use of the original trade-mark, which now formed a striking decor for the corsage.'"
Ursula did not smile. "No man can be amusing about clothes except by accident," she said coldly. "The article went on to advise that if new things were bought they should be specially good. It called this the truest economy in the long run."
When Ursula had sketched out a comprehensive wardrobe on truest economy lines, and I had mentally reviewed my pet shades in autumn suitings, there was a pause.
"What about the green-house?" I asked suddenly. "Do we need a fire there all winter just that John may swagger about his chrysanths?"
John, I should explain, is the gardener who jobs for us at seven-and-six weekly, and "chrysanths" is a perfectly beastly word that we have contracted from him. In summer John mows the lawn (fortissimo at 6.30 A.M.) and neglects to weed the strawberries. In winter he attends to what auctioneers would call the "commodious glass."
"M'yes," said Ursula reflectively. "But what about John himself?"
"My dear girl, surely it is obvious by the simplest political science——"
"Sweetheart!" interposed Ursula anxiously, "John isn't going to have anything to do with the Moratorium or hoarding gold, is he? Because, do remember how cross you got trying to explain that!"
"I remember nothing of the sort!"
"And, anyhow," she continued, "now we're saving in so many other things, I intend to pay John an extra half-crown, in case food goes up."
There was obviously only one thing to do, and I did it. I retired in fair order, abandoning to Ursula the task of preparing the schedule of our domestic retrenchment. At lunch she produced it.
"The bother is," she observed, "that what with truest economy clothes and champagne, and John, and some other things, it seems to work out at about two pounds a week more than we spend now."
"That," I said cuttingly, "is at least a beginning!"
However, since then I have discovered an article in another paper denouncing panic economies as unpatriotic. So we shall probably return to the old regime, plus John's half-crown. Even with this, it will mean a distinct saving of thirty-seven-and-six on Ursula's proposals. It is not often that one gets a chance of serving one's country on such easy terms.
* * * * *
Illustration: Father (who has been stung by a wasp on the back of his neck). "I DON'T CARE IF IT'S FULL OF GERMANS, I'M NOT GOING TO LOOK UP AT IT."
* * * * *
TO A POMPADOUR CLOCK.
Bright loves and tangled flowers Adorn your china face; You beat out silver hours Within your golden case.
Still rings old Time's denial Of respite in your tone, But o'er your painted dial Is built a little throne—
A throne so neat and narrow Where, heedless of your chime, Poising his gilded arrow Sits Cupid killing Time!
* * * * *
(By Mr. Punch's Staff of Learned Clerks.)
I suppose that never in the history of this nation did we harbour quite so many military experts. From the Service Clubs to the street corner their voice goes up daily in unceasing hortation. Therefore the moment seems specially apt for me to call your attention to a volume by a military man who really was expert, in other words to a new edition of PASLEY'S Military Policy of the British Empire (CLOWES), brought up to date by Colonel B. E. WARD, R.E. I blush to think of the number of civilian readers to whom the name of PASLEY conveys nothing. I blush still more to reflect that I have myself only just ceased to belong to them. But, quite honestly, if you are at all concerned with the science and policy of arms (as who nowadays is not?), you will find this book of extreme interest. A few chance quotations will be enough to prove that the gallant Captain was a man who knew what he was writing about. In the year 1810, for example, he could look ahead far enough to say, "Germany may become so powerful as to act the same part in Europe which France now does." It is perhaps on the ethical side of war that he is most impressive. Fair play, we all know, is a jewel; but many of us may have secreted an uneasy suspicion that the side that practises it suffers from a certain handicap. All those unpleasant persons whose names have become so uncomfortably familiar lately—CLAUSEWITZ, BERNHARDI, and their professional crew—have so vociferously preached the gospel of Might as Right, that it is refreshing to read here such maxims as "It is an advantage in war to show moderation and justice," and "A scrupulous adherence to the law of nations is the only sound policy." This is the sort of sermon—from an authoritative source—that we do well to lay to heart just now; while still retaining a fixed determination to exact for future assurance the uttermost penalty from an enemy that has broken every law of God and man.
* * * * *
In ordinary life it would be a distinct advantage for a man to become possessed of a spell which rendered him immune from death, pain or restraint, enabled him to pass through walls and floors and generally freed him from all those little restrictions which make life the tiresome and precarious thing it is. A man so constituted would conduct himself after the manner of his fellows from day to day and would resort to the use of his peculiar powers only when the necessity arose. But the hero of fiction has his duty always to perform, and he may well find that such transcendental gifts are apt to become a burden. He must for ever be turning them to account and finding new material to work upon. That the scope is limited anyone will at once discover who reads The Great Miracle (STANLEY PAUL). He may never do the same thing twice; once he has disappeared through a floor at a critical moment, floors are off. Each feat must be more astounding than the last: when he has worked his way through a prison wall it would be an anticlimax to do a job with the wall of a mere dwelling-house, and, of course, he is absolutely precluded from the common use of doors. I am afraid Mr. T. P. VANEWORD'S primary conception has been too much for him: he lacks the nice imagination of a WELLS to carry it off. Also he fails to deal with the humour of the position, whether in the madhouse, the court of justice, the manager's office or the palace, an elementary mistake which the most amateur conjurer will always avoid. It is rather the author's misfortune than his fault that his incidental picture of war, introduced only as a new field of operation for his prodigy, is rendered almost fatuous by the actual conditions at present existing.
* * * * *
Illustration: Porter. "DO I KNOW IF THE ROOSHUNS HAS REALLY COME THROUGH ENGLAND? WELL, SIR, IF THIS DON'T PROVE IT, I DON'T KNOW WHAT DO. A TRAIN WENT THROUGH HERE FULL, AND WHEN IT COME BACK I KNOWED THERE'D BIN ROOSHUNS IN IT, 'CAUSE THE CUSHIONS AND FLOORS WAS COVERED WITH SNOW."
* * * * *
When the father of Patience Tabernacle (MILLS AND BOON) suddenly left his books at the bank in a state of regrettable inaccuracy and went off to borrow the wig and other equipment of his elderly maiden sister I thought I was to have one of those jolly, naive detective stories which the feminine hand can best weave. But I was deceived, nor do I consider quite fairly. For how was I to know that such an incident had no essential relation to any other in this quiet story of the love affairs of Patience and the wrong boy rejected, and the right man discovered, in time; that it wasn't even introduced so as to throw light on the character of any one concerned? Now I would ask Miss SOPHIE COLES what she would think of me if I began my (projected) Sussex village epic with the blowing up of the local public-house by anarchists and contented myself with merely casual references to the matter, never really making it part of any design or letting it modify any of my characters? And wouldn't it aggravate, not lessen, my artistic crime if I made the anarchists related to my heroine? Of course it would. Very well, then. And I am afraid our author can't claim the privileges of a lawless realism, for she distinctly doesn't belong to the photographic school.
* * * * *
THE CANDID ENEMY.
[It is stated that the Germans have forsworn the use of all words borrowed from the English, including "gentleman."]
The Germans all English expressions eschew, And on "gentleman" place an especial taboo; Well, the facts of the case their decision confirm, For they've clearly no more any use for the term.
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"Harrods have exported their Chocolate to all parts of the universe and are now forwarding large consignments to the forces on active service."—Advt.
France is no distance after Mars.
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A benevolent old lady writes to enquire whether any Relief Committee has been formed to deal with unemployment among those ambassadors who have been thrown out of work by the war.
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