PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI
MARCH 8, 1916
Germany is declared to have built a submarine that can go to the United States and back. Future insults therefore will be delivered by hand.
Municipal fishshops are to be established in Germany. They will be closely associated, it is understood, with the Overseas News Agency, and will make a speciality of supplying a fish diet to sailors who are unfortunately prevented by circumstances from visiting the high seas.
In his lecture before the Royal Institute last week Dr. E. G. RUSSELL told his audience that there are 80,000,000 micro-organisms in a tablespoonful of rich cucumber soil. If we substitute German casualties for micro-organisms and deduct the average monthly wastage as shown by the private lists from the admitted official total of available effectives—but we are treading on Mr. BELLOC'S preserves.
The Government has announced itself as "satisfied with the measures taken to prevent Canadian nickel from reaching the Germans." Except, of course, in oblong pellets of insignificant size.
Answering a question of Sir ARTHUR MARKHAM in the House of Commons last week, Mr. TENNANT said, "If there was a large force of troops in Egypt, as to which it is undesirable that I should make any statement, it is quite conceivable that the presence of a hundred and seventeen Generals might be necessary." After all, if every one of them were just a Brigadier-General, they wouldn't require more than half-a-million men to keep them occupied.
Naval inspectors of cookery, it is officially announced, will hereafter wear a narrow stripe of white cloth on their cuff. This is a simplified form of the ancient heraldic emblem of the cook's guild, which was a hair frizze naiant in a dish of soup maigre.
All kinds of cleaning and washing are to be dearer, and a patriotic movement is already on foot among the younger set to do away with these luxuries altogether in the interests of patriotic economy.
As a reward of its efforts to save the lives of war-horses, the R.S.P.C.A. has now been officially recognized by the A.V.C. Some hindrance to their work is however feared as the result of strong protests lodged by the Westphalen Pie-makers' Association of Rotterdam, which the Government, in its anxiety not to deal harshly with the neutrals, is said to be carefully considering.
The owners of certain proprietary whiskeys have decided to put them up sixpence a bottle. In response to this move the owners of certain proprietary sixpences have decided not to put them down.
A correspondent of The Times states that large numbers of Owls have taken to visiting the trenches in Flanders. The War Office, strangely enough, professes to know nothing of the circumstance.
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For Conscientious Objectors.
"VARICOSE VEINS.—We stock all sizes, in best quality only."—Advt. in Irish Paper.
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"A young woman was fried as a spy in London the other day."—Sunday Pictorial.
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A Leap-Year Reminder.
"February 29, 1916.—Last day for single men."—Liverpool Daily Post.
* * * * *
"We ... are no haters of peace. We want it more than anything in the world—except the triumph of evil."—Star.
"A fallen star," we fear.
* * * * *
"Mr. Lloyd George said that Cabinet Ministers had agreed to take one-fourth of their salaries in Exchequer bombs."
The times call for strong measures, but we think this is going a little too far.
* * * * *
As seen through Teuton Eyes.
These English—who can know their ways? When, flushed with triumphs large and many, We condescend with tactful signs To hint of peace on generous lines They answer in a flippant phrase That they're "not taking any."
When from our conquering High-Seas Ark (Detained at home by stress of weather) We loosed the emblematic dove, Conveying overtures of love, Back came the bird with that remark, Minus its best tail feather.
They said they never wanted war; Yet, when we talk of war's abating, And name the price for them to pay, They have the curious nerve to say That, when they please, and not before, They'll do their own dictating.
How can you deal with minds so slow, With men who give no indication That we by any further shock Into their heads can hope to knock Enough intelligence to know That they're a beaten nation?
Odd that we cannot make it clear That we have won; and even odder That other markets seem to jump, While our exchange is on the slump, And everything's starvation-dear (Excepting cannon-fodder). O. S.
* * * * *
In that dim happy past, the Summer of 1913, I first saw him idly seated in a deck-chair on the firm sands of——, on the East Coast. A quiet detached figure amid a crowd of joyous children. Hard by a boy and girl were building a moated fortress, but, alas! the swiftly incoming tide eroded its foundations until the frowning battlements tottered to destruction.
Turning, the children faced him. He smiled.
"D'you know this one, Jacky?" he ventured.
"He's Dick," the little maid protested, "and I'm Betty."
"Now we're introduced, do you know this one?" he asked again.
Straightaway he plunged into the new game, moving back to where a smooth stretch of sand lay invitingly. Immediately two minute shapes were etched with his stick on its surface.
"Hairpins, of course! You always start with hairpins. And this," indicating a narrow oblong, "why, this must be that silver tray someone's always leaving her hairpins lying about on. Now for the hair-brushes—two of those—" (unerringly symmetrical)—"then the comb—" (equipped with most effective sand-teeth)—"then a powder-box? Well, a very little one——"
As fast as he thought of them, fresh articles (or their symbols) came into being. There was no pause. "The shoe-horn, the button-hook, oh! and a clothes-brush——"
Immediately following the last hair of the clothes-brush a rectangle put in an appearance around these assorted objects.
"Mummy's dressing-table," asserted Master Dick authoritatively.
"Sound man! What else do we want?"
The children suggested alternately and in chorus the completion of the plan. An armchair with cushions incredibly soft, a fire-place pokered and tonged, a wardrobe (disproportionately enormous), two colossal hat-boxes, and detail after detail, with finally the door, the key-hole and the key.
* * * * *
The little hamlet somewhere in France had been shelled spasmodically for months. Possibly there was something faintly familiar in the seated figure of that Captain of Engineers that caught my eye; one did not often come across Captains of Engineers sitting on debris in the village street. He squatted on a pile of granular masonry before a rudely prepared space surrounded by three small ragged children gazing round-eyed at something he was drawing with half a Nilgiri cane in the powdered rubble. I paused to look, and there arose before me the picture of a man with a boy and girl on a bygone day in happy England.
"On commence avec le sel," he was explaining as he indicated the shape of a salt-cellar. "Eh b'en, apres ca quat' assiettes, des couteaux, des fourchettes——" All the appurtenances of a homely table were quickly put in. "Et puis la table, n'est-ce pas? Et surtout faut pas oublier quelqu'chose a manger, eh, Jeanne?"
"Non, monsieur." But the little girl was busy pointing to where a small brown bird pecked fruitlessly in the dust. "Regardez, donc, le p'tit oiseau; il n'a pas mange, c'lui la."
"Y a pas grande chose a manger; les Boches, vous savez, ont passe par ici," added one of the two boys quite impersonally.
The Captain of Engineers continued quickly, "Maintenant il faut mettre le—" he paused for the word—"le—table-cloth." The children grasped his meaning from the comprehensive gesture. Rapidly he outlined chairs, a delightful baby's cradle, a clock with cuckoo complete, a fire-place, until at length a complete pictorial inventory had been made of the contents of the living-room of just such a cottage as had obviously been buried beneath the rubbish heap upon which he sat. Those children of the stricken country-side entered with keenness into the spirit of the make-believe. The little girl, searching for an appropriate stone to place on the imaginary table for imaginary bread, thrust her hand down among the debris and, withdrawing it, exposed a relic. It was the faded remnant of a baby's shoe, grotesque in the autumn sunshine.
"Oui, par exemple, les Boches ont passe par ici," said the little boy as impersonally as before.
* * * * *
In a Good Cause.
An auction of stamps will be held on the 13th and 14th of March at 47, Leicester Square, in aid of the National Philatelic War Fund, the proceeds to be given to the Societies of the British Red Cross and St. John of Jerusalem. Collectors should seize this chance, as the Allies may shortly be arranging to modify the map of the world.
* * * * *
"The year 1914 showed a drop of 441 million eggs in the year." Trade Paper.
Taking our population as 46 millions this means 9-1/2 eggs dropped per head in the year. Under the influence of the thrift campaign a great effort is being made to drop only half an egg per head this year, but should there be a General Election there may be a rise in the drop.
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THE GREAT MAN.
Every Saturday, about four P.M., I am to be found worshipping at the Shrine of the Open Mind. Once within its portals I put off the subfuse vestments of J. Watson, Esq., Barrister-at-Law, and become simply Uncle James. This alone is a tonic. To-day as I ascended the steps of the temple there floated down to me the voices of the priestesses chanting, evidently in a kind of frenzy, and to the air of a famous Scottish reel, this rhyme——
"Daddy is a Sergeant, a Sergeant, a Sergeant! Daddy is a Sergeant, a Sergeant of Police."
So I opened the nursery door and went in. An uncle has no honour in his own country, and my two small nieces assaulted me immediately. Phyllis dragged me to a chair, while Lillah shrieked unrelentingly in my ear that Daddy was a sergeant.
"So the special constables have seen that your father is a born policeman?" I said as I sat down.
"The special ones," nodded Phyllis with profound pride.
"Magnificent," I murmured. "He has at last justified his choice of the law as a profession."
"Tell us," said Lillah, with the air with which one speaks of a self-made man who has just appeared in the Honours List—"tell us how Daddy started."
"He went to the Bar," I said.
"Bar?" echoed Lillah.
"Why, yes," I said; "it's a place where people wait."
"Like a station?"
"Only the trains don't always come in. Anyway, on one side of the bar are a lot of young men waiting for something to turn up, and on the other a lot of old men writing autobiographies."
"But aren't there any middling-olders?" This is Phyllistian for men of middle age.
"Not allowed," I said. "At the Bar you are either a junior or a reminiscer."
"It's an illness that attacks people who aren't really famous."
Phyllis stared. "Like measles?"
"Oh," cried Lillah eagerly, "do the reminiscers go all pink?"
"They ought to," said I.
There was a silence. The round eyes of Phyllis were full of suspicion.
"Daddy said," she remarked slowly, "that he did law."
"So he does," I answered.
"Well, what's that, then?"
Small girls ask questions in two words which wise men must write books to answer.
"The law," I answered warily, "gives reasons for things that are unreasonable."
"Like what?" said Phyllis.
I laughed a little uneasily. This was getting difficult.
"Oh—er—things like getting married," I said, "and refraining from shooting little girls who ask questions."
I admit that this sort of joke is the last infirmity of an uncle's otherwise noble mind. They regarded me sadly.
Then Lillah turned to Phyllis with a detached air. "Uncle James is being grand," she said, "because he doesn't know what law is."
"Don't you?" said Phyllis.
"Perhaps not," I murmured feebly. The nursery makes very small beer of the cynic. There was a moment's silence.
"You've told us wrong," said Phyllis sternly. "Daddy isn't ever wrong."
"So he's risen from his bar to be a sergeant," added Lillah, with the air of one finishing a story with a moral.
I'm afraid I chuckled. It was in very bad taste, of course, but I couldn't help it. I suppose George is one of the most egregious Micawbers of the English Bar, whereas I—— why, I remember noticing a brief on the mantelpiece in my chambers only last month.
"Poor Uncle James," said Phyllis in her best drawing-room tones, "perhaps if you tried very hard——"
They had mistaken my laughter for that bitter disappointed kind you get in the theatres.
"I know," said Lillah; "we'll play Germans, and Uncle James can pretend he's a sergeant."
Yes, they were sorry for me. The table was pushed into the window and became a waterworks of importance.
The invidious part of the alien enemy fell to Lillah. It was admitted that she could glare best. "Besides," said Phyllis, "Lillah can make growly noises come up from her tummy."
The complete Hun, as you perceive.
Phyllis became a "special," while I was her sergeant, the star part of the piece. But the show was a frost, though Lillah gave an excellent imitation, with the aid of a toy spider, of a Hun inserting bacilli into the nation's aqua pura. Yes, I'm afraid I was the failure. I couldn't get to grips with my part, and the whole thing was so obviously a charity performance, with Phyllis ordering herself sternly about to try and help me through.
We were halfway through the second house when a well-known step was heard on the stairs.
Lillah turned, her eyes ablaze with worship. Phyllis trembled with excitement. As I sat down I couldn't help thinking that we grown-ups are just a little absurd. There is more than one thinks in the relativity of things.
Adoration? George was never going to get anything like it again in this world. My mind mused on ambition. Why, the CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER himself——
The door-handle turned and I heard the small voice of Phyllis in my ear.
"Mummie says," she whispered, "we can't all be great."
Nice little maid!
Then we all lined up to receive the Sergeant.
* * * * *
* * * * *
Constantinople, Saturday.—On the Canadian front there were outpost duels and local fighting at several points. These skirmishes are still going on."—Evening Paper.
Forthcoming volume by Sir MAX AITKEN—Canada in Turkey.
* * * * *
From a description of a new enemy aeroplane:—
"The whole machine is armoured, and the supper part is shaped like a reversed roof." Provincial Paper.
Trust the Germans for looking after the commissariat.
* * * * *
AN EMBARGO ON INK.
Great Public Meeting.
Mr Runciman, President of the Board of Trade, having stated that the Government was following up its restrictions on the importation of paper by drastic new rules concerning our supplies of ink, a public meeting of protest was immediately called. Mr. T. P. O'Notor, M.P., took the chair, and he was supported by many of the most illustrious ink-men of the day.
The Chairman, having first read a number of letters apologising for absence, one of which was, of course, from Lord Southbluff, who specialises in this epistolary form, proceeded to pour scorn on the Board of Trade's decision. How can the Board of Trade, he asked pointedly, know its business as well as we do? If it hopes, by curtailing the supplies of ink that come to England, to make room for the more important necessaries of life, it is mistaken. There is nothing more important than ink. (Cheers.) Without ink what are we? (A voice: "Not much.") Without ink, how can advertisements be written? (Cries of "Shame!") Among all forms of human endeavour none was nobler than putting one word after another. (Applause.) That is what SHAKSPEARE did. (Hear, hear.) Always with the assistance of ink. (Cheers.) And what would England be like without SHAKSPEARE? (Renewed cheers.) Had Mr. RUNCIMAN thought of that? He (the speaker) would venture to say he had not. In any case ink must be saved. (Loud applause.)
Mr. Harry Austinson, Editor of The English Revue, rose to protest against the Board of Trade action. To put an embargo upon ink was, he held, nothing less than an outrage. Ink was the life-blood of British liberty, and he for one would never hesitate to spill the last drop, either in his own select periodical or in a Sunday paper for the masses. The mere fact that the feeling against ink was inaugurated by a Member of the Government automatically proved it wrong. No good could come from such a corrupt agglomeration of salary-seekers as the Coalition Ministry. Speaking as one who knew Germany from within, he would say that to put any obstacle in the way of the public expression of opinion in England was to help the foe. (Hear, hear.)
Mr. Bernold Pennit said that the Government's action paralysed him. For years he had been in the habit of writing his ten thousand words a day. It did not much matter what they were about; the point was that they were written. Otherwise he could not keep in good health. Where another man might do Swedish exercises, ride, walk, eat or play golf, he, Mr. Pennit, wrote. (Hear, hear.) It might be an attack on British stupidity; it might be a eulogy of Mr. ASQUITH; it might be a description of the arrival of a ton of coal at an auctioneer's private residence in Handley and its transference to the cellar and the discovery that there was one hundredweight one stone short. Whatever the theme, there were ten thousand words in any case, and unless he could write them daily he was lost. The tragic thing was that he could write only in ink and with his own hand. (Sensation.) Before meddling with ink there were all sorts of things for the Government to forbid. Golf balls, for one. He wished to express his complete dissatisfaction with Mr. RUNCIMAN's insane proposal. (Cheers.)
Mr. Bolaire Hillock thought that a great deal too much fuss was being made about ink. The Board of Trade was, of course, an ass; that goes without saying (ca va sans dire); but it is childish of literary men to come there and pretend to be nonplussed. Let them rather show themselves superior to such trumpery legislation. As an old campaigner he could tell them what to do. When he was an artilleryman in France, and writing a series of articles on the Reformation at the same time, he mixed an excellent substitute for ink out of the ashes of his pipe and claret. There were countless things that could be utilised, including blacking, seethed mushrooms, boiled ash-buds, and the juice of the pickled walnut. With such resources as these we intended to go on writing and drawing diagrams long after Mr. RUNCIMAN was forgotten. (Loud cheers.)
Lord Penge said that one of the purest pleasures of life was writing to The Times, and how could that be done if there was no ink? Some people doubtless could use pencil; but he personally could not. Others had typewriters or dictated to typists, but that was beyond him. To him there were few delights more complete than to dip his pen in the forbidden fluid and begin, "Sir." (Applause.)
The Rev. R. Trampbell said that not during his whole career as a clergyman of the Church of England could he remember a more monstrous proposal than this one to reduce the supply of ink. To him ink was more precious than radium, for it enabled him to express his thoughts and thus come into intimate relationship with his fellow-beings. It might be within the knowledge of the meeting that he was in the habit of contributing every week an article on the War to the Sunday papers. It was not on tactics, but on some subject of spiritual interest connected with the War, and he had reason to believe that thousands, he might say millions, of his fellow-countrymen and fellow-countrywomen found it helpful. Was that to cease? England had too few inspired teachers for this article to be lightly disposed of. He felt sure that he had the great weight of his beloved Church of England at the back of him when he uttered this protest.
Mr. Chester Gilbertson said that neither the restriction on ink or paper would worry him. There was nothing he couldn't write with, and nothing he couldn't write on. He had written many of his best articles with a piece of chalk on one of his black coats, and many of his worst on cab and railway-carriage windows with a diamond ring which he had compelled a commercial traveller to relinquish. (Cheers.) Rather than not express an opinion on whatever was forward, he would carve his views on a rock and himself carry the rock to the printing office. (Loud cheers.) The Runcimen of this world were created purely in order to be defied.
Mr. Bernard Jaw said that of course for the Government to pretend that the cargo space now occupied by ink was needed for something else was rubbish. The Government's real reason was that they were terrified of the critics and thought to muzzle them in this way. But he for one—and he knew for a fact that the Government dreaded his genius acutely and would give much if they could still the blistering accuracy of his pen—he for one would not be daunted.
At this point a special messenger arrived bearing a letter for the Chairman, who, after reading it, asked leave to put the meeting in possession of its terms, as it somewhat altered the situation. It was, in fact, from the Board of Trade, and stated that, owing to a misprint, the recent decision concerning ink had been misunderstood. It was not ink that was to be restricted, but zinc. (Cheers.) In the circumstances perhaps they might adjourn.
The meeting then broke up peaceably, although Mr. Bernard Jaw did his best to collect an audience for a new speech on the monstrosity of interfering with zinc.
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"Count Bernstorff finds that the Washington Government has left him in the air. Seemingly he is at sea."—Morning Post.
As was said of a nobler character, "the elements are so mixed up in him."
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THE EXPERT ADVISER.
I met him near the entrance of the Institute, where I was waiting to see the Superintendent. He approached with light, nervous steps, and his haggard eyes met mine questioningly.
"A fine morning," I remarked.
"It is," he agreed; "and if you would be good enough to tell me the day of the week—"
"It's Saturday," I said, wondering a little.
"I—I feared so," he said and clutched me by the arm. "Listen. This is the day when I have to make up my five columns—seven hundred lines, brevier type. It is my destiny to give advice, and you can have it without the asking. Take, for example, the Rhode Island Rabbit—a noble strain and rich in phosphates. Plant out at the beginning of April in a mixture consisting of two parts road-grit, two parts table-scraps, and a deed of assignment, and by the end of October they will be throwing up magnificent clusters of yellow blossom. The Magellan Lop-eared is also hardy and prolific, though pugnacious if reared under glass. In the absence of a specified agreement a dose of tartaric acid that has been well stewed with the mutton left over from Sunday will usually put matters straight. Snip off shoots that show signs of becoming broody, and give a mash of middlings at quarter-day.
"We now come to the Light Sussex Long-furred Goatlings. These can be kept in hutches, which may be obtained at any oil-shop at about fivepence per pint. Grasp firmly by the wings when lifting, and explain the matter to your solicitor. Short-haired Pouters should be housed in kennels which have been thoroughly disinfected with peat-moss, cod-liver-oil emulsion and a good face-powder. A little boracic ointment rubbed well into the roots before breakfast is also to be commended. With regard to the Squirrel-tailed Borzois, during the period of weaning try bicarbonate of soda, one scruple; sal volatile, one drachm; to be taken every calendar month from date of contract."
A large, genial man, with an official manner—he was, I discovered, the under-superintendent—approached, and the haggard man moved rapidly away.
"A painful case," I observed.
"Very," said the large man. "Journalist of the name of Criddle—Jabez Wilberforce Criddle. He used to run the Gardening section of The Sunday Helio. Then the chap that was responsible for the 'Legal Advice' was called up, and Criddle got his column as well as his own. Next, the 'Poultry Gossip' man went, and they gave Criddle that, and when a week later the 'Cookery Notes' woman took up V.A.D. work he got her share too. He struggled along gamely enough until 'Auntie Gladys,' who ran 'Our Baby' column, became a tram-conductress; but, when they passed him that, his mind went, and the proprietors sent him here."
I inquired as to the possibilities of recovery.
"There is hope," said the large man, "that the trouble may not last beyond the duration of the War. But we shan't feel that we've made a fair start until we've cured him of getting up in the night and tapping his artificial teeth with a button-hook. He fancies he's dictating 'Answers to Correspondents.'"
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"In order to satisfy my mind I spent over two hours in a certain cinema ... Frankly I was disappointed. I saw nothing which could in any way be called indecent."
The Rev. F. H. GILLINGHAM, in "The Weekly Dispatch."
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* * * * *
THE WORLD SET FREE.
(An awful prospect.)
Long, long ago, when I had not attested, I prized the liberties of this proud race, The right of speech, from haughty rulers wrested, The right to put one's neighbours in their place; I liked to argue and I loved to pass Slighting remarks on Robert, who's an ass, To hint that Henry's manners were no class, Or simply say I did not like his face.
But things are changed. To-day I had a tussle With some low scion of an upstart line; Meagre his intellect, absurd his muscle, I should have strafed him in the days long syne; I took a First, and he could hardly parse; I have more eloquence but he more stars; Yet (so insane the ordinance of Mars) I must say "Yessir," and salute the swine.
And it was hard when that abrupt Staff-Major Up to the firing-line one evening came (Unknown his motive, probably a wager), And said quite rudely, "You are much to blame; Those beggars yonder you should enfilade." I fingered longingly a nice grenade; I said those beggars were our First Brigade, But might not call him any kind of name.
Yet not for ever shall the bard be muted By stars and stripes, but freely, as of yore, When swords are sheathed and I'm civilian-suited, I shall have speech with certain of my corps, Speak them the insults which I now but brood: "Pompous," "incompetent," "too fond of food," And fiercely taste the bliss of being rude And unrestrained by Articles of War.
That will be great; but what if such intentions Are likewise present in the Tenth Platoon? What if some labourer of huge dimensions Meet me defenceless in a Tube saloon, And hiss his catalogue of unpaid scores, How oft I criticised his forming fours, Or prisoned him behind the Depot doors, Or kept him digging on the Fourth of June?
Painful. And then, when all these armed millions Unknot with zest the military noose, Will the whole world be full of wroth civilians, Each one exulting in a tongue let loose? And who shall picture or what bard shall pen The crowning horror which awaits us then— That civil warfare of uncivil men In one great Armageddon of abuse?
* * * * *
The writer of a letter appearing in The Daily Mail signs herself "Wife of Group 41."
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* * * * *
In my first formal introduction to Frank he appeared, together with his clothing and various belongings, as an item in a list of things to be taken over. I knew him already by reputation, and I remembered some of the occasions when he had appeared on parade. Also I knew that two successive Company Commanders had managed in turn to exchange him with some unsuspecting newly appointed O.C. Company for something more tractable. This last process, indeed, accounted for my having to take him over instead of the mild creature with the duck-waddle action which my predecessor had ridden or, let me say, sat.
It became then my lot to take over Frank, or, to put it more correctly, I was issued with him. That is part of the military principle of fixing responsibility. Things are not issued to you; you are issued with them, and you alone are accountable. I was issued with Frank and all his harness and appointments and, incidentally, his parlour tricks. This was the formal introduction. I didn't meet him at close range until later. When I was issued with him I didn't even know his name. No previous owner had ever thought of asking it, and had they asked they would not have believed that a horse could be called Frank. On general principles it seems wrong, but on nearer acquaintance I found that Frank was exactly the name for him. The great thing about him was that if he thought a thing he said it.
For example, when I first mounted him he thought he would prefer to remain in the stable where he had been for the best part of a week. He said so quite candidly. I am nothing very great as a handler of wild animals, and he gave me three minutes made up of every action in his repertoire—no limited one. At the end of it I very kindly dismounted. I didn't want him to think I was not intelligent enough to understand what he meant, and moreover I hated the idea of marring our first meeting by refusing so unmistakable a request. So he was led back to his quarters and the incident closed, if not with mutual goodwill at least with some degree of satisfaction fairly evenly distributed among the parties.
It was, I remember, on the next morning that the Mess Sergeant noticed a shortage of lump sugar in one of the basins. I mention this merely because it fixes in my mind the first day on which I had a comfortable ride. Frank started out in a good temper and came home at his best pace, hoping to get some more sugar. That, at least, is how I read his meaning, and I pursued my policy of not misunderstanding him. After this he developed a parlour trick which made me quite fond of him. When I went to the stable he would put his nose round to the side pocket whore I kept the sugar. He always got some, and he knew there would always be some more when he got home.
Thus it became necessary to instruct him in topography. He quickly learned that certain turnings led to the camp, and I was reduced to subterfuges to prove to him that they did not. It was essential to go over every road at various times in opposite directions. That confused him, and though I disliked the deception I had to resort to it, with the result that Frank finally accepted me at my own fictitious valuation as a person who did not properly know his own mind.
But it took him some time to get into my ways. Once we spent twenty minutes on a small stretch of road leading from the parade ground to a railway bridge. I wanted to cross the bridge and Frank did not. I took him towards the bridge and he took me back towards the camp. This happened thirteen times. At the fourteenth there was a variation; he changed his mind and we crossed the bridge. During the twenty minutes, I remember, we had a further slight disagreement about a stick. I was glad I had brought it, and he was not. But on the other side of the bridge we let bygones be bygones. Frank had his moods, but he was always a gentleman.
He was also a soldier. His strong point really was that he was excellent on parade. He would look round, grasp the formation at a glance, and drop into his place. He was never more happy than when route-marching; never more unhappy than when compelled to break out of the line. Indeed, so much did he enjoy column of route that when off duty with two or three other horses he would play at route-marching, taking up a position in Indian file and avoiding any sort of arrangement which brought him abreast of his companions.
At last we had to part. I don't know the right way to express this. Possibly I was reissued without him; I am not sure what the process was. At any rate we separated, he remaining at the camp and I proceeding on duty to the Depot. I said good-bye to him and he nuzzled for the last time at my side pocket. Having munched the sugar, he turned to the more serious business of his manger. I think this must have been his way of concealing his emotion.
* * * * *
RAG-TIME IN THE TRENCHES.
Roll up, rally up! Stroll up, sally up! Take a tupp'ny ticket out, and help to tote the tally up! Come and see the Raggers in their "Mud and Slush" revoo. (Haven't got no money? Well, a cigarette'll do). Come and hear O'Leary in his great tin-whistle stunt; See our beauty chorus with the Sergeant in the front; Come and hear our gaggers In their "Lonely Tommy" song; Come and see the Raggers, We're the bongest of the bong.
Roll up, rally up! Stroll up, sally up! Show is just commencing and we've got to ring the ballet up. Hear our swell orchestra keeping all the fun alive, Tooting on his whistle while they dance the Dug-out Dive. Come and see Spud Murphy with his double-ration smile, ('Tisn't much for beauty, but it's PHYLLIS DARE for style); Come and see our scena, "How the section got C.B.;" Bring a concertina And we'll let you come in free.
Roll up, rally up! Stroll up, sally up! First and last performance. If you want to see it, allez up! Come and sit where "Archibalds" won't get you in the neck (If it's getting sultry you can take a pass-out check). Come and hear the Corporal recite his only joke; See the leading lady slipping out to have a smoke; Sappers, cooks, flag-waggers, Dhooly-wallahs too; Come and hear the Raggers In their "Mud and Slush" revoo.
* * * * *
"The perfume par excellence ... unapproached and unapproachable." Advt. in Provincial Paper.
* * * * *
"GERMAN FOOD CRISIS. ATTEMPT TO CONGEAL THE TRUTH AS TO SHORTAGE."—Buenos Ayres Standard.
The Huns are so economical that they put even Truth into cold storage.
* * * * *
"Cheery messages come through from General Townshend. He is sewing vegetable seeds and has asked for gramophone needles." Lloyd's Weekly News.
The ordinary kind being unsuited for such delicate stitchery.
* * * * *
ESSENCE OF PARLIAMENT.
Tuesday, February 29th.—Mr. LLOYD GEORGE announced to-day that the Members of the Cabinet had decided to take one-fourth of their salaries in Exchequer Bonds. Murmurs of applause followed, and before they had died away Mr. HOGGE launched his great joke. Leading up to it with the remark that Exchequer Bonds can be sold the next day, he asked, "Would it not be a good idea to call them the Laughing Stock?" Mr. HOGGE is not one of the chartered jesters of the House so his jeu d'esprit just caused "a laugh," as the reporters say, and nothing more.
On the Third Beading of the Consolidated Fund Bill Sir JOHN SIMON renewed his attack upon the Military Service Bill. The tribunals, he declared, were disregarding the appeal of the widow's only son; the Yellow Form, of which the late Home Secretary takes the same jaundiced view as he did of the Yellow Press, was being sent out indiscriminately to all whom it did not concern: the War Office had issued a misleading poster; and everywhere men were being "bluffed" into the Army. He himself would have been inundated with correspondence if he had not had the happy inspiration of diverting the flood into Mr. TENNANT's letter-box. Passionately he called upon the Government not to imitate Germany's brutality.
Mr. LONG, suave as usual, deprecated Sir JOHN SIMON'S ferocity, reminded him that all cases of hardship could be considered by the Appeal Tribunals, and promised to investigate the cases that had been mentioned. "May I send in my list too?" asked Mr. WATT. But Mr. LONG, unwilling to share the fate of Mr. TENNANT, suggested that the SECRETARY FOR SCOTLAND would form a more appropriate dumping-ground for Mr. WATT'S dossier.
After Mr. SNOWDEN, Sir THOMAS WHITTAKER and Mr. LOUGH had reinforced Sir JOHN SIMON'S case with added instances the Government found an unexpected champion in Mr. HEALY. He was amazed to hear the late HOME SECRETARY—"one of the Ministers who made the War"—gloating over the inefficiency of the War Office at a moment when round Verdun was raging a battle in which the fate of Paris, and perhaps of London, was involved. Why had he not imitated the monumental silence of Mr. BURNS? Instead, he, the suppressor of obscure Irish newspapers, had done more to injure recruiting than any Connemara editor.
I never expected to live to hear the Bank of England described in the House of Commons as a useless institution. In Mr. HEALY'S opinion, "The Old Lady of Threadneedle Street," like the other who lived in a shoe, has too many children, and her attempt to get 190 of them exempted from military service moved him in a moment of "vituperative irrelevance," as Mr. PRINGLE subsequently described it, to say the rudest things about her financial capacity.
Wednesday, March 1st.—Sir OWEN PHILLIPS, once Liberal Member for Pembroke, returned to the House to-day as Unionist Member for Chester. To signalise the capture of so gigantic a prize—he is 6ft. 6in. in his stockinged feet—Lord EDMUND TALBOT and Sir G. YOUNGER, Unionist Whips, conducted him to the Table; and as they are both of moderate height the procession gave the effect of a Mauretania going to her moorings in charge of a couple of tugs.
When Dr. MACNAMARA moved a Supplementary Estimate of L10 for the Navy, I was reminded of PRAED'S lines "On seeing the SPEAKER asleep in his chair":—
"Hume, no doubt, will be taking the sense Of the House on a saving of thirteen pence."
But there were differences. The L10 was not an ordinary "ten-pun' note" but was a "token" representing something like four and a half millions received by the Fleet for services rendered to Foreign Powers and others; and Mr. WHITLEY, who was in the Chair, too so far from being asleep, was intensely wide-awake. Members who sought to discuss Naval policy generally were promptly pulled up, and the SECRETARY OF THE ADMIRALTY, when in his third or fourth attempt to explain the Vote he remarked hypothetically, "Suppose we were to sell a battleship——" was himself called to order, Mr. WHITLEY evidently regarding such a reduction of the Fleet as unpatriotic even in imagination.
A vote for L37,000 to extend the British Consulate buildings at Cairo united both sides of the House in criticism. Mr. ASHLEY thought what was good enough for Lord CROMER should be good enough for his successor. Mr. HOGGE, by a somewhat obscure process of reasoning, now understood why the Germans were so anxious to get to Egypt. In vain Mr. LEWIS HARCOURT, usually so persuasive, explained that they were now buying for L3 10s. a metre land for which the owner wanted L12 a metre not long ago. Sir F. BANBURY, shaking his pince-nez at the Treasury Bench, retorted that he might ask L5 for this pair of glasses, for which he had paid half-a-crown (more war economy), but he would not expect to get it.
A vote for L50,000, to complete the purchase of the estate of Colonel HALL-WALKER, who has presented his racing stud to the Government, evoked some opposition and much facetiousness. Mr. ACLAND, who proposed it, did not help his case by remarking that personally he regarded racing as a low form of sport. The fact that some of the horses have been leased by the War Department to Lord LONSDALE for racing purposes "on sharing terms" caused Mr. MCNEILL to inquire whether Mr. TENNANT would act as the Ministerial tipster; and Mr. HOGGE, who displayed a knowledge of racing which will, I fear, shock the unco' guid of East Edinburgh, thought it ridiculous that Ministers should preach economy in the City and start a racing stud at Westminster.
* * * * *
* * * * *
Thursday, March 2nd.—Ariel, Earl of DERBY, has not entirely left the Earth for the Air. His head, at any rate, is not in the clouds, for his speech on the working of his own scheme was full of practical wisdom. He was not afraid of the exemptions that the tribunals might give if left to themselves, but he was a little concerned about SIMON and his scratch crew of pro-shirkers who seemed to be doing their little best to prevent the country from getting men.
* * * * *
THE ELUSIVE ONES.
A large number of claims for exemption from military service were made before the Bouverie Street Tribunal at its sittings last week.
Ike Feldmann (23) asked for exemption on the ground that he was an agriculturalist and therefore excused under the Act. Questioned further, he stated that at the present time he was employed in making artificial onions for a firm of Bond Street milliners, but his uncle, who was wealthy, had promised to buy him a farm as soon as the weather got warmer. His application was rejected.
William Smith (31) stated that he was the President, Treasurer and Secretary of the Anglo-Chinese Industries Association, Limited, and urged that unless he was exempted the company must inevitably go into liquidation, there being no one else familiar with its business. Answering a question by the Chairman, applicant stated that the company was formed to do a general mercantile business, but that at the present time its activities were confined to manicuring Pekingese pugs. Asked whether this work could not be done by women, applicant stated that it had been tried, but that women seemed to get on the nerves of the dogs, causing their hair to fall out. The application was refused.
An appeal was made on behalf of George W. Hopper (18), an employee of the West End Delicacy Company, a concern engaged in the business of supplying steak-and-kidney puddings to the large hotels. These delicacies, the Secretary of the company explained, weighed about a ton each, and Hopper was the only man who was strong enough to lift them out of the ovens into the delivery wagon.
A Member of the Board. That is just the kind of man they want in the army.
The Secretary of the company stated as an additional ground for exemption that Hopper had a wooden leg and bronchitis. He was put back one group to give time for medical treatment of leg.
James Ponks (19), who appeared somewhat dazed at his surroundings, explained in a confidential whisper that he was the caretaker of the municipal macaroni beds in Regent's Park. Asked if he would not like to fight for his country, he replied that he would, only MARTIN Luther had appeared to him in a dream and ordered him to go into the dressed poultry business. Referred to the Medical authorities.
Jim Bounce (30) stated that he had a conscientious objection to fighting. He didn't like the Germans, but recognised that they were his spiritual brothers.
A Member of the Board. Where did you get that cauliflower ear?
Owing to the unsatisfactory nature of the applicant's reply his appeal was refused.
Arthur Small (35), proprietor of a fish and chips emporium, stated that he was a widower and the sole support of his mother-in-law, two married sisters-in-law, their husbands and their thirteen small children.
The Chairman. It seems a clear case for exemption.
Applicant hastened to explain that he did not ask for exemption as he felt that his first duty was to his country. He would like, however, a week in which to say good-bye to his relations by marriage. The request was granted, the Chairman stating that the attitude of Small, who was sacrificing everything for duty, did him the greatest credit.
* * * * *
* * * * *
A Smooth Passage.
"In the Lords Viscount French took his sea but it was a quiet affair."—Morning Paper.
* * * * *
"EMPLOYMENT as odd man offered to a disabled soldier in a very good gentleman's household."—Morning Paper.
As the above advertisement appeared several times we are afraid the gentleman must have been regarded as almost too good to be true.
* * * * *
* * * * *
THE DUG-OUT DOMINIE.
Some thirty years ago or more He tried his hand at gerund-grinding, But very speedily forswore The role before its ties grew binding; He earned a living by his pen, Paid court to Clio and Melpomene, Until the War broke out, and then Enlisted—as a dug-out dominie.
Shortsighted, undersized and weak, Intolerant yet self-distrusting, There could not well have been a "beak" Less fitted for the nice adjusting Of his peculiar point of view To that of forty-odd years later, Less eager to acclaim the New, Less apt for Georgian tastes to cater.
He strove, 'tis true, to keep abreast Of MASEFIELD'S grim poetic frenzy, Sought Truth in WELLS, and did his best To like the Oxford of MACKENZIE; With YEATS he wandered in the Void, Tasted of SHAW'S dramatic jalap, Then turned with rapture unalloyed To DICKENS, THACKERAY and TROLLOPE.
Thus handicapped, thus fortified, Behold him perilously faring Into a world where all are tried By boyhood's scrutiny unsparing; Where ev'ry trick of gait or speech Is most inexorably noted, And masters, more than what they teach, Are studied, criticised and quoted.
His idols mostly left them cold— BAGEHOT, MATT. ARNOLD, SCOTT and MILTON; But they were quick in taking hold Of PRAED and J.K.S. and HILTON; And once undoubtedly he scored When, on a day of happy omen, He introduced them to A. WARD, The wisest of the tribe of showmen.
But still his fervours left them calm— Emotion they considered freakish;— He felt with many an inward qualm That he was thoroughly un-beakish; His mood perplexed them; he was half Provocative, half deferential, Too anxious to provoke a laugh, Too vague where logic was essential.
So, struggling on to bridge the gaps That seventeen from sixty sunder, And causing at his best, perhaps, A mild and intermittent wonder, At least he recognised the truth That there are other ways of earning The sympathy of clear-eyed youth Than by a mere parade of learning.
And yet I think his pupils may In after years, at camp or college, Admit that in his rambling way He added to their stock of knowledge; And, as they ruefully recall His "jaws" on CLAUSEWITZ and JOMINI, On BALZAC, HEINE and JEAN PAUL, Think kindly of their dug-out dominie.
* * * * *
"Hide-bound red tape rules the day." SIR F. MILNER'S Letter to "The Times."
It is much more effective than ordinary unreinforced variety.
* * * * *
A Happy Family.
"A milk deliverer 31 years of ago, who applied for exemption, said his father was an Atheist, his mother was 'all the other way about,' and his brother was a Socialist, and if he went away there would be war at home. He considered that he should stay at home to keep the peace."—Western Evening Herald.
But a merciful tribunal, thinking that he was more likely to find it in the trenches, only exempted him for a month.
* * * * *
THE NATIONAL SCAPE-GOAT ASSOCIATION.
My companion had come into the compartment hurriedly just as the train started. He was a small, middle-aged, sandy-haired man with a straggling tufted beard, the sort of beard that looks as if it owed its origin rather to forgetfulness than to any settled design. The expression on his face and, indeed, over his whole body was a deprecating one. He reminded me of a dog who has transgressed and begs humbly for forgiveness. He had no newspaper, and accepted the offer of one of mine with a deference of gratitude that struck me as excessive. Soon after that we slid into a conversation about the War and made most of the usual remarks.
"It's wonderful," he said, "how the country maintains its financial stability. Five millions a day, you know. It's a pretty big sum, and yet nobody seems to feel it. Here we are, for instance, you and I, travelling first-class."
"My next season-ticket is going to be third-class," I said. "All business has been hit very hard, and we've simply got to economise."
"I daresay, I daresay," he said. "It may be so with some businesses. All I know is my business hasn't gone off."
"Shipowner?" I said.
He gasped and shook his head emphatically. "Oh dear, no," he said. "Nothing of that kind—wish I was. But you won't guess what I do, not if I were to let you have a thousand guesses." His humility had vanished and he looked almost triumphant.
"I give it up at once," I said. "What are you?"
"I," he said, "am the National Scape-Goat Association."
"The what?" I said.
He repeated his words. "I see you don't understand," he went on, "so perhaps I'd better explain."
"Yes," I said, "much better."
"Well, it's this way," he said. "Have you ever written a book or been a Candidate for a seat in the House of Commons?"
I said I hadn't.
"It doesn't matter," he said. "You'll understand what I mean. Take the politician first. He issues an Address and makes speeches; in fact, does things which make him known to thousands of people whom he doesn't know. Do you follow me?"
I said I did.
"Well, then, somebody posts back his Election Address with 'This is pitiful balderdash and most ungrammatical' written plainly at the bottom of it. What would be your feelings if you got a thing like that?"
"I shouldn't like it," I said.
"Of course you wouldn't. You'd want to kick the writer, or at the very least you'd want to write back to him and tell him what you thought of him. But you can't do it, because of course he hasn't signed his name or given any hint of his address. It's the same way with anonymous letters of abuse. You can't answer them. So you 're done. You feel as if you'd tried to walk up a step where there wasn't a step, and your temper suffers. That's where the Association comes in. All you've got to do is to write to us, enclosing fee. For half-a-guinea we send down to any address in England one of our experts from the Assault-and-Battery Department, and you're entitled to kick him once—we guarantee him boot-proof, so you can kick as hard as you like. Or, if you prefer writing to kicking, you can write to me as if I'd written the anonymous letter or article or whatever it may be, and you can abuse me to your heart's content for half-a-crown. For three shillings you can call me a pro-German. Anyhow, the result is that your temper recovers and you feel perfectly satisfied. It's well worth the money, isn't it? I'm thinking of starting a Subscriptions' Department, to which you could write a refusal of any application for money, even if you have to subscribe in the end. It will give a man a pleasant glow to write to a clergyman, for instance (I shall keep a dozen or so on the premises), and say he'll be immortally jiggered if he'll subscribe to the Church Building Fund. But the anonymous letter business will always be my chief source of profit. Here's our prospectus, with all details. If you think any more of it perhaps you'll let me know. I get out here. Good-bye."
* * * * *
* * * * *
"Men of all castes had rallied to the Flag, and truly we had witnessed the truth of what the poet told us. 'The East is West and the West is East.'" Surrey Mirror.
* * * * *
"Alfred Billinger and Albert Robson, miners ... were fined 20s. each for trespassing in search of fame." Provincial Paper.
Well, now they've got it.
* * * * *
"In the Metropolitan Police District the employment of special constables has resulted in a saving of five-eighths of a penny."—Yorkshire Evening Post.
Very disappointing! Not even a whole copper.
* * * * *
From the report of a Dairyman's Association:—
"It further aims at insuring that the milk-supply for the city and district shall, like Caesar's wife, be beyond suspicion, and it therefore enjoins on its members the necessity for taking every possible care that the sanitary conditions prevailing at the farms, in the dairies and during the transit of the milk to the public shall leave nothing to be desired. In short, its motto is, in these respects, 'Nilus secundus'."—Hampshire Chronicle.
If they must use water in their milk we are glad to think that the Nile is only their second choice.
* * * * *
"The Sunday schools must try to 'wangle'—that was, a project their in-to 'wangle'—that was, to project their in-enlarged task, and attempt to do what seemed impossible."—Provincial Paper.
We would not go so far as to say impossible, but they certainly seem to have difficulties ahead.
* * * * *
"Good fish, fruit, and rabbit business for sale. No opposition fish or rabbits."—Bolton Journal.
It looks rather as if the fruit might disagree with you.
* * * * *
Under the heading, "Musical Instruments, etc.":—
"AMERICAN mammoth bronze turkey cockerels, strong, healthy, grand stock birds; 20s. each."—Glasgow Herald.
You should hear these musical instruments throw off "Yankee-doodle."
* * * * *
* * * * *
(By Mr. Punch's Staff of Learned Clerks.)
Mr. Maurice Hewlett's latest volume, Frey and His Wife (WARD, LOCK), suffers from the defect of being in reality a long short story puffed out to the dimensions of a short novel; and in consequence, even with large type—most grateful to the reviewing eye; Heaven forbid I should complain of that!—and a blank page between each chapter, it has considerable difficulty in filling its volume. It is a tale of antique Iceland and Norway. The first part, which is really padding and has nothing whatever to do with Frey or his matrimonial affairs, treats of one Ogmund, who was called Ogmund Dint, for the very good reason that he had been literally dinted as to the skull. It was done by a gentleman named Halward. Everybody naturally expected Ogmund to dint back; but he was something of a conscientious objector in the matter of face-to-face dinting, and being too proud for vulgar conflict he bided his time till he could cut Halward's throat with the minimum of personal inconvenience. End of padding and appearance of Frey. There is a picture of Frey on the cover by Mr. MAURICE GREIFFENHAGEN. You know already what the GREIFFENHAGEN vikings are like—high-coloured, well developed and (if I dare say it) sometimes a trifle wooden. Frey indeed looked so very wooden that in my foolish ignorance I was tempted to protest. But the astonishing fact is that Frey was not only wooden in appearance, but in actuality. How then could he have for wife a slip of a sixteen-year-old maid that you may have met before in Mr HEWLETT's romances? This however is the real story, which (pardon me) I do not mean to tell. If it is no tremendous matter, it will at least please an idle hour, which will be almost time enough for you to enjoy every word of it.
These Lynnekers (CASSELL) is yet another example of the "family" novel whose increasing popularity I have lately noticed. It is a clever and interesting story—the name of Mr. J. D. BERESFORD assured me in advance that it would be—and, when it is finished, the characters go on living and speaking in one's mind, which is, I suppose, a sound proof of their vitality. Yet in a sense vitality was just what most of the Lynneker tribe chiefly lacked. They were an ancient and honourable house, country-born to the third and fourth generation, and all of them far too conventional and apathetic and fuss-hating ever to follow any but the line of least resistance. All of them, that is, except Dickie, who was the youngest of his father's numerous progeny, and in more senses than one a sport. How Dickie released himself from the shackles of family tradition, how he grew up and bustled things about, and generally made a real instead of a conventional success—this is the matter of the tale. All the characters are well-drawn, and about Dickie himself there is a compelling virility that rushes you along in his rather tempestuous wake. I am not sure that I altogether believe in his attitude towards the question of sex. He appeared to think generally too little, and on occasions remarkably too much, about it. Also the painful detail with which the author lingers over the death of old Canon Lynneker (that attractive and human figure of ecclesiastical gentility) roused me to resentment. When will our novelists learn that, as regards the physical side of mortality, reticence is by far the better part of realism? This marred a little my pleasure in a story for whose quality and workmanship I should else have nothing but praise.
* * * * *
In To Ruhleben—and Back (CONSTABLE), Mr. GEOFFREY PYKE has such a fine yarn to spin of his foolhardy proceeding in walking right into the eagle's beak as correspondent for an English newspaper, at the end of September, 1914, and (after some months' solitary confinement in Berlin and his transfer to the civilian prisoners' miserable internment camp at Ruhleben) walking right out of it again, that one can forgive him for spreading his elbows for a piece of expansive writing when he was safe home. To tell the truth he writes extraordinarily well; one's only feeling is that the simplest idiom would be best for such an amazing narrative, and Mr. PYKE is too young and too clever (both charmingly venial faults) to write simply. When I tell you that this persistent youngster, hardly out of his teens, patiently worked out a plan of escape which depended for its efficacy on an optical illusion (the precise secret of which he does not give away), and with his friend, Mr. EDWARD FALK, a District Commissioner from Nigeria, part tramped, part bummel-zugged the two hundred and fifty miles or so from Ruhleben to the Dutch frontier, disguised as tourists, with a kit openly bought at WERTHEIM's, living, when marketing became too dangerous, on potatoes and other roots burglariously digged from the fields at dark, you will gather that this is some adventure. But I am afraid the publication will not assist any other prisoners at Ruhleben to escape. It is pleasant to note that the Commandant of the Camp, VON TAUBB, was a sportsman and none too thickly tarred with the brush of Prussian efficiency; and that the Governor, GRAF SCHWERIN, threatened resignation if a no-smoking order, sent from headquarters, were insisted on. Indeed, the fact that our young friend was not shot out of hand must stand as a small entry on the credit side, not inconveniently crowded, of Prussia's account in the recording angel's ledger.
* * * * *
In A Frenchwoman's Notes on the War (CONSTABLE) Mademoiselle CLAIRE DE PRATZ discourses pleasantly and patriotically of sundry effects of the War on French life and character. She is excusably proud of the part which her fellow-countrywomen have played. The women of France seem to have accomplished to admiration what we in England are only beginning to understand. Quietly, almost automatically, Frenchwomen have slipped into the men's vacant places and carried on the work of the country. The industry and resourcefulness of the average Frenchwoman are proverbial, but the author ascribes the peculiar readiness they have displayed at the present time largely to compulsory military service, as well as to the Frenchman's habit of discussing his work with his wife and daughters and awakening their interest in it. Thus, when the local paperhanger was called to the colours his wife repapered the author's country cottage "quite as efficiently"; and thrilling indeed is the account of the gallantry of one intrepid woman who, when the German Staff entered an important town (from which the Mayor and Municipal Council had fled), resisted their demand for a large war ransom. Widow of a former Senator of the Department, she "alone remained, the sole representative of officialdom." "We want to see the Mayor," said the invaders. "Le Maire? C'est moi!" was the reply. "Then kindly direct us to some members of the Municipal Council." "Le Conseil Municipal? C'est moi!" We are told that the Teutonic officials were amazed—and no wonder. But in the end they were forced to go without the money, and the town and its defender were left in peace. I commend A Frenchwoman's Notes on the War as a most inspiriting record of what women can do; though the author magnanimously admits that, "for the callings of the coal-heaver and the furniture-remover," men, even in France, are still indispensable.
* * * * *
* * * * *
For novels which require a guide to conduct me through them I confess weariness, but in That Woman from Java (HURST AND BLACKETT) I found the glossary less fatiguing hero. Things were going badly for Mrs. Hamilton in the divorce case, "Hamilton v. Hamilton, co-respondent King," when the judge broke down. That might have happened to any judge, but, although I can follow the judicial Bruce quite easily to his sick bed, I cannot believe that he would, on his recovery, have refrained from finding out how the case ended. Apparently being in love with Mrs. Hamilton, he did not dare to enquire what happened; but a more plausible explanation of his unenterprising conduct seems to be that he had only to act like an ordinary man and the rather sandy foundations on which E. HARDINGHAM QUINN's story are built would have collapsed. Here in fact we have a tale in which the main complications are caused by the characters behaving with a total lack of what the Americans call horse-sense. But if you can get by this difficulty you will admire, as I did, the reticence with which the troubles of the much misunderstood heroine are told, and also admit that the colour of Java has been vividly conveyed.
* * * * *
Save the Mark!
Germany's last word:—
And a very pretty word too. But it does not surprise us to learn from the German Press that the Legislature will probably have to devote at least three weeks to the discussion of the subject which it defines.
* * * * *
From a book catalogue:—
"The Royal Marriage Market of Europe. By Princess Radziwill. With eight half-ton illustrations."
It is thought that these must be portraits of German princesses taken before the War had deprived them of their usual supply of butter.
* * * * *
"ARTIST, Academy Exhibitor, paints gentlemen's residences."
Another result, no doubt, of the exigencies of War, but rather hard on the ordinary house-decorator.