PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI
MAY 3, 1916
SIR ROGER CASEMENT, it appears, landed in Ireland from a collapsible boat. And by a strange coincidence his arrival synchronised with the outbreak of a collapsible rebellion.
Hard soap can now be obtained in Germany only by those who purchase bread tickets. The soft variety cannot be obtained at all, the whole supply, it seems, having been commandeered by the Imperial Government for export to the United States.
L175 worth of radium was lost last week in Dundee. The ease with which bar radium can be melted down and remoulded in the form of cheap jewellery affords, according to the local police, a clear indication that this was the work of thieves.
A conscientious objector has stated that he had even given up fishing on humanitarian grounds. We fear that his fish stories may have caused some fatal attacks of apoplexy among his audiences.
According to Sir THOMAS BARLOW "the importation of bananas has had a far-reaching effect on the digestion of our children." Only last Monday week the importation of six bananas had just that kind of effect on the digestion of our own dear little Percy.
Portugal has decided to expel German sympathisers of whatever nationality. Other clubs please copy.
From the Eastern Counties comes news that in last week's Zeppelin raid twenty turnips were "completely destroyed." And so the grim work of starving England into submission goes relentlessly on.
"That boy there," said the LORD MAYOR at the Mansion House, in addressing some children from an orphanage, "can easily become a Lord Mayor." Cases of this sort are really not hard to diagnose when you are familiar with the symptoms, and the LORD MAYOR had, of course, noticed the hearty manner in which the lad was attacking his food.
The latest Shakspearean discovery announced by Sir SIDNEY LEE is that the Bard was a successful man of business; but the really nice people who have lately taken him up have resolved not to let the fact prejudice them against him after all these years.
"Absence of the Polecat from Ireland" is the title of a vigorous article in the current number of The Field. While agreeing in substance with the writer, we cannot refrain from commenting on this unexpected departure of a peculiarly moderate organ from its customary restraint in dealing with the political questions of the day.
The Editor of The Angler's News makes public the request that fishermen will provide him with the particulars of any exceptionally big fish which they may catch. Strangely enough he does not suggest that the data should be accompanied, for purposes of verification, by the fish themselves. It is refreshing to know that there is a man left here and there who is not trying to make something out of the War.
One of the Zeppelins that recently visited England dropped one hundred bombs without causing a single casualty, and a movement is on foot to present the Commander with a pair of white gloves.
"What I wish to show Mr. Norman," says Mr. G. K. CHESTERTON in The New Witness, "is that the fantastic pursuit of the idee fixe ... leads to a reductio ad absurdum." One has often had occasion to notice the rapidity with which a young idee fixe will dart down a convenient reductio ad absurdum when closely pursued.
A writer in the current number of The Fortnightly Review has elaborated the theory that the War can be won without difficulty by breaking through the German line in the West. It is the ability to grasp these simple but fundamental truths that distinguishes the military genius from the War Office hack.
The majority of the larger railways have now announced their intention of serving no more meals on trains. While the reason has not been officially stated the authorities are said to be of the opinion that Zeppelins have on several occasions been able to reach important termini by following the smell of cookery.
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The Perils of the Tyne.
"A ship's apprentice who attempted the rescue of a man in shark-infested waters to-day, at Newcastle, received the Shipping Federation's diploma and medal."
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The Infallible Experts.
"In general (continued Count Andrassy), the battle has ceased to be of the nature of a siege, as it was intended to be at the beginning. It is a long-drawn-out and deadly combat between the French and German armies, and the victory of one will undoubtedly be the defeat of the other."—Yorkshire Post.
"It is a reasonable conclusion from these facts that ... the principal attack, supposing that it should actually have taken place, has already been made."
Col. FEYLER in "The Sunday Times."
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"What looks much handsomer than a sow of Delphiniums in the borders of your garden, and once planted they are always there."—Garden Work for Amateurs.
The only drawback is that it is apt to make such a litter.
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"Before we are through with it, we may be obliged to have a war outright with Mexico, because the Defacto Government is none too friendly to us."—Bournemouth Guardian.
It is not perhaps generally known that President Defacto is a direct descendant of that well-known ruler, Senor A. Priori.
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"Outside Dublin the county is tranquil. Mr. Asquith, and three minor cases of disturbance are reported."—Evening News.
We deprecate this attempt to import political prejudice into the situation.
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"Two ladies obliged to remain in furnished house, Bournemouth, till let, offer free weekly accommodation to middle-aged healthy lady and dog in difficulties through war."
The Common Cause.
Even the pets are feeling the pinch of the Common Cause.
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* * * * *
DRESS ECONOMY AND THE CLAIMS OF ART.
[To Lord SPENCER on seeing his portrait by Mr. ORPEN at the Royal Academy.]
Here, at the Press View, ere the opening day Admits the public on receipt of pay And all the gallery like a murmurous shell hums, I stand before your picture, awed and mute, In reverent worship and an old, old suit Of baggy ante-bellums.
For, when Britannia first in wrath arose, I took a vow:—So long as these poor clo's Together, though reduced to just a mesh, hold, Never will I, till Victory's trump rings clear (Save when I purchase military gear), Cross any tailor's threshold.
Yet, gazing on the garb you figure in, Shining and perfect as a new-born pin— The frock-coat built to dazzle gods and men, Sir, The virgin tie, the collar passing tall, The flawless crease of trousers which recall The prime of BOBBY SPENCER—
I hesitate to blame your lack of thrift; I would not have your sacred feelings biffed By harsh reflections from a patriot's war-pen; Those rich externals which arrest the view Were but adopted as essential to The scheme of Mr. ORPEN.
Such was the sacrifice you made to Art! And there are other portraits, very smart— Sitters who must have borne the same hard trial; Who waived their loyal taste for cheap attire And went, superbly tailored, through the fire Of noble self-denial.
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UNWRITTEN LETTERS TO THE KAISER.
(From General VON FALKENHAYN.)
ALMIGHTIEST WAR-LORD,—See how the Fates make sport with us! We began in February to make our great attack upon the fortified position at Verdun. In ten days, so we thought, our massed artillery, firing a ceaseless torrent of projectiles, would have shattered beyond recovery the lines of the enemy, and our irresistible infantry, breaking through like a flood, would have swept away all opposition, and would without doubt have taken the fortress and cleared our way to Paris and to decisive victory. So we believed, having, as it appeared, every reason for our belief, and having taken into account in our careful planning all the chances and vicissitudes to which men and battles are exposed. And now May is come with her buds and blooms, May, when, as your Majesty knows, the heart of every good honest German turns to thoughts of beer-gardens and draughts of foaming liquid, and so far as the capture of Verdun and the opening of the road to Paris are concerned we have done nothing that has any value except for our foes, who have had the satisfaction of seeing us beat ourselves to fragments against the steel wall of their defence. It must be confessed that German blood and German courage have been miserably wasted, and not even our resources, great as they are, can much longer stand the strain which has been imposed upon them.
Your Majesty asks me what under these circumstances it is best to do. Shall we break off our attacks at Verdun and direct our hammer-blows at some other part of the front? Theoretically there is much to be said from the purely military standpoint for such a course; but can your Majesty foresee what the moral effect would be upon our troops in the field and upon the Germans still left behind us in Germany? We might, of course, announce that we had now gained everything we had set out to gain, that the French had lost immense numbers of killed and wounded, that we had taken in unwounded prisoners the equivalent of an army corps, that our booty was incalculable, and that, in fact, the victory was definitely ours. But would Germany believe this statement— REVENTLOW, of course, would believe it, but then he would believe anything—and above all would the French believe it? I can promise your Majesty that they would believe nothing of the sort, and that they would give some excellent reasons for their disbelief. And the result would be that we should be held not only to have acknowledged our failure, but also to have made ourselves ridiculous in the sight of the whole world. That, I am certain, would be intolerable for your Majesty and for the German people, who have been fed upon a diet of victory, and would be beyond measure disquieted by such an admission of failure as I have mentioned. No, the only thing to do, now that we have been so deeply involved, is to persist in the struggle and hope that we may in the end wear out enemies who have hitherto shown no signs of fatigue.
Fortunately it cannot be said that your Majesty is involved in this lack of the success we all hoped for. Though you are nominally the chief Commander of our Armies it is known that in the actual operations your Majesty has played the modest part of an onlooker rather than a director. Formerly, that is before the breaking out of the War, you were a great planner of plans, and it was understood that, in case of war, you would lead your armies in the field and prove that a Hohenzollern can do anything. But now you have recognised your limitations, and no Emperor can well do more than that. You do not now thrust your advice upon your generals, whatever you may have done at the outset of the War, and, though you may once have dreamed of leading your hosts in a thundering charge upon the foe, you have long since abandoned such visions and have begun to realise that an Emperor is but a man and cannot know everything. This, at least, is my conviction, and I testify it to your Majesty with all the bluntness that befits a soldier who has been honoured by his Sovereign with a high command.
Most dutifully yours, VON FALKENHAYN.
* * * * *
"The jungle sale held in Warrenpoint in aid of the Warrenpoint District Nursing Association realised the sum of L40. 3s."
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"Young couple furnishing wishes to buy contents of 3 rooms, including piano, or part of same."—Edinburgh Evening News.
Their future neighbours are hoping that they will get one without a keyboard.
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"There is scarcely a family who have not someone near and dear to them in the fighting line, and by substituting the task of knitting for that of sewing, the well-known lines of Ibid are particularly appropriate:—
'My tears must stop, for every drop Hinders needle and thread.'"
Ibid, who is a close connection of that other voluminous author, Anon, seems on this occasion to have plagiarized from HOOD.
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* * * * *
ON THE SPY TRAIL.
Jimmy's bloodhound, Faithful, had his fortune told the other day—really, I mean; not what the man next door says when Faithful keeps on singing to his cat at night from the bottom of an apple-tree.
Jimmy says the man next door often has gloomy thoughts as to what will happen to Faithful, and he gets up from his warm bed to tell them to him.
Jimmy says Faithful was not expecting to have his fortune told; he was just sitting quietly on the wall near the road, watching the day go by.
Everything was very nice and quiet and peaceful; there was a cat up each of three trees close by, and a hen up another, all being comfortable and quite all right where they were, thank you, because Faithful had inquired.
The man next door was being busy amongst his flowers; he was replanting some that had been planted right on the top of a place where Faithful had laid down some bones to mature.
Things were so quiet that Jimmy was just thinking about taking his bloodhound on the spy trail, when a woman came along with a little hand-organ slung round her neck and a cage containing two small green parrots for telling your fortune.
Bloodhounds are very fond of music, Jimmy says; they sing to it, at least Faithful does. Jimmy says Faithful lifted up his stomach and threw back his head; but he found it a little difficult to keep time at first, because, you see, the notes that were missing in the organ were not the same ones that were missing in Faithful's voice. Jimmy says it is just the same when two people singing a duet both have hiccoughs; unless they hiccough together you always notice something wrong.
The parrots were very clever; they would come out of the cage and perch on the end of a stick the woman held, and then pick a small blue envelope out of a box. Jimmy says that he doesn't think the parrots had ever seen a prize bloodhound like Faithful before, not even in their native haunts, for when Faithful tried to make a fuss of them and love them they kept flying about the cage and moulting their feathers at him.
Faithful picked up one of the feathers, and when one of the parrots came out of the cage to tell fortunes he tried to put the feather back again. But the parrot avoided him and went away.
Faithful did his best to catch it again; he has a very good nose for game, Jimmy says, and he soon tracked the parrot to its lair: it had joined the hen, and the hen was being surprised—you could hear it doing it, Jimmy says.
Jimmy says Faithful sat at the bottom of the tree and tried to look like a birdcage; but his presence seemed to disturb the woman so much that Jimmy had to put the chain on him and lead him away.
Jimmy says Faithful kept yearning to go back and help; he is a good yearner, Jimmy says, and he does it by pushing his head through the collar as far as he can stretch it, and then choking. Jimmy says the butcher is a good yearner too, but he does it by going red in the face and trying to burst his collar with his neck. He did it at Faithful this time. You see Faithful was quietly passing his shop and doing nothing at all to anyone—Jimmy had only just let him loose on the trail—when he caught sight of the butcher's sandy cat lying curled up in the window and going up and down at him with her side. Jimmy says cats are always doing something like that at his bloodhound, and then what can you expect if you will do it?
There was a fly-paper on the counter, and after old Faithful had driven the cat into a corner Jimmy saw him suddenly swing his tail at the fly-paper and get firm hold of it; then he squatted down on the counter and wagged the fly-paper at the cat like anything to try and mesmerise it. Jimmy says that when the butcher came into the shop, and Faithful stopped to turn round and see where things were, the butcher yearned at him like anything, and it only made him worse when old Faithful semaphored at him with the fly-paper.
There was only a bluebottle on the fly-paper besides Faithful, Jimmy says, so that it wasn't very crowded; but by the buzz the bluebottle kept on making you would think it owned the fly-paper. Jimmy says his bloodhound had never shared a fly-paper with a bluebottle before, and he kept stopping to answer the bluebottle back instead of keeping to the spy trail.
Jimmy says Faithful had just sent an ultimatum to the bluebottle when there came the sounds of the hand-organ from a house close by.
Jimmy says as soon as Faithful heard the music he seemed to stiffen all at once and become rigid. He looked splendid like that, Jimmy says. One paw up, his tail as straight as he could get it, and the fly-paper at half-mast—everything pointing to sudden death.
Jimmy followed Faithful as hard as he could, and was in time to see him stalking quietly hand over fist across a lawn while the woman was getting one of the green parrots on the end of the stick.
Jimmy knew the man who lived at the house, and who was having his fortune told. He had come there to live a tired life, Jimmy says, and when the War broke out he had put up a big flag-pole with a Union Jack on it as his share.
Jimmy says the parrot had just got the man's fortune in its beak, when Faithful took a standing jump from behind the woman at it. It was awful, Jimmy says. The woman gave a scream and grabbed at the parrot, the man grabbed at Faithful, and Faithful—well, Jimmy says he never knew quite what Faithful did or how he did it, but he emerged with the man's fortune sticking to the fly-paper.
Jimmy says bloodhounds are very sensitive and avoid a commotion; but the man and the woman were not used to his side action in running and they fell over one another.
Jimmy says it was a very funny fortune; it was in a special red envelope and he couldn't understand it at first. You see it only contained the names of some towns and villages, and Jimmy was just wishing that Faithful would leave music and parrots and fly-papers and fortunes alone, and catch German spies instead, when it all came to him because a friend of his mother's lived at one of the villages and some Zeppelin bombs had been dropped there.
The woman had given the man the names of the places where Zeppelin bombs had fallen, and old Faithful had been tracking them down all the time.
Jimmy's head just buzzed with thoughts as he ran to the police-station. They caught the man and the woman, and one of the policemen discovered the flag-pole on the man's lawn, and it turned out to be part of a wireless apparatus to send messages to Germany.
Jimmy says that, when the spies were nicely locked up and settled for the night, one of the policemen got the parrot to tell Faithful's fortune, and when they opened the envelope it said,
"Your face is your fortune."
* * * * *
* * * * *
A VERDICT REVISED.
Randolph the rash in cruel phrase defames The "mediocrities with double names;" But nowadays we find whole-hearted pleaders Urging the claims of hyphenated leaders.
For what were Pemberton without the thrilling Corollary and supplement of Billing? While Billing by itself, pronounced tout court And shorn of Pemberton, sounds bald and poor.
Without emotion you and I may any day Light on a Jones unwedded to a Kennedy; Likewise a Kennedy unlinked with Jones Will fail to stir the marrow in our bones.
Mark you, moreover, how the order tends To foster and promote euphonic ends; For Billing Pemberton sounds flat and dull, And Jones prefixed to Kennedy is null.
But Pemberton by Billing followed up, And Kennedy with Jones to fill the cup, Electrify the nation's tympanum And strike the voice of sober Season dumb.
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A quotation from BROWNING as rendered by The Daily Chronicle:—
"No! let me taste the whole of it, fare like my peers, The horrors of old."
We regret to see our respected contemporary has not yet abandoned its prejudice against the Upper House.
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"A report was read from the Sanitary Inspector who has now joined the 3rd/4th Wilts Regt. This showed that 18 parishes had been infected under the Housing and Town Planning Act, leaving eight parishes still to be dealt with."—Wiltshire Advertiser.
In the interests of the uninfected parishes we trust that the Sanitary Inspector will deal faithfully with the Germs.
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A young lady typist was overheard remarking in a City teashop the other day that she liked SILAS HOCKING better than JOSEPH, because the latter was "rather deep." The remark was significant of the new atmosphere of literary enthusiasm which the feminine invaders of business London have brought with them into the luncheon-hour. We are instituting a causerie for the special benefit of this large class of readers, i.e. those who get out of their depth in the transition from SILAS to JOSEPH.
I want to introduce you to-day to a writer whose subtle genius defies analysis but demands reverent appreciation. Ruby L. Binns came into my own intellectual life at a rather critical stage in my reading. Like most young men of the early nineteen-noughts, I had fallen under the spell of Guy Beverley, whose Only a Mill Hand and Squire Darrell's Heir appeared to us the consummation of the novelettist's art. In those days every other young man you met was mouthing the great renunciation scene from the Mill Hand. Small marvel too! As I recall it even now something of the old glamour revives.
"Go!" cried Mary Ellen. "Though you are the Export Manager and I but a poor humble mill-girl, I would sooner beg my bread from door to door than seek it at your hand." She eyed him with pitiless scorn. Jasper Dare went out into the night.
Fine? Ay, and more than fine. But we young men of the nineteen-noughts made one big mistake. We thought Guy Beverley had scaled the summit of art; but art has no summit. We thought he had plumbed the depths of psychology; but psychology defies the plumber. I date a new epoch in my life from that day in 19— when I picked up my Daily Reflector and read the opening chapter of a new serial, Her Soldier Sweetheart, by Ruby L. Binns. That was on a Monday. By Wednesday of that week this unknown writer had revealed to me a New Idea and a New Style. The idea is familiar to most of you now, but in those days the daring conception that a common soldier might turn out to be the missing heir of a baronet rang like a challenge in the ears of the older romanticism. It is her style, however, that is Ruby Binns's most enduring gift to English prose literature. Lean, restrained, economical, it holds (for me) the very spirit of the English race and tongue. Listen:—
She went to the door, thinking she heard something. There was nobody there, so she went back to her work, thinking sadly of her soldier boy. "Cheer up," said Clarice; "perhaps he'll come back soon." "Perhaps," answered Yvonne wanly, "but it does not seem very likely, does it, dear?" The next moment the door opened and a tall soldierly figure entered the room.
English? It is like a May morning on Tooting Common. Beverley would have handled that situation well, no doubt. But could he—could anyone—have achieved the poignancy of that unaffected phrase, "It does not seem very likely"? I said that the depths of Art were unplumbable. True, but Ruby Binns has at least got lower than most.
Next week I want to speak of a new man and a new book, Stott Mackenzie and his Only a Trailer-Car Conductress.
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THE BEAUTIFUL THING.
You see ugly things in London now-a-days. Oh, yes, but you see beautiful things as well. I saw one yesterday—one of the beautiful things.
It was a cold wet evening, not actually raining but very, very nearly. I stood at the place in Piccadilly where the 'buses stop. There was quite a little crowd waiting, as there always is at this time of day—women with parcels, work-girls going home, a few men. All of them looked tired, and many of them looked cross.
When a 'bus drew up at the curb all those people made a simultaneous plunge for it. Before it had finally stopped they were clinging like a swarm of bees to the steps and rails. It is an arduous game this 'bus-catching, though for those who are young and strong it should perhaps have a certain attraction, combining as it does the allurement of a lottery gamble with the charm of a football scrimmage.
There were only three vacant places, and these, after a desperate struggle, were secured by two athletic-looking girls and a red-haired schoolboy. The conductor waved back the disappointed boarders and they dropped off sulkily. I watched them a moment and then my eyes toward two soldiers, who were crossing the street. Fine, well-set-up men they were, and they carried themselves with the indescribable air of those who have crossed swords with Death and left their opponent, for the time at least, defeated. One of them had a green shade over his left eye. The other carried a stick and walked with a slight limp.
They took up their position a little to the side of the expectant crowd that was already beginning to sway and jostle at the sight of a fresh 'bus, which had just rounded the corner. Small chance for the new-comers, however slightly wounded, in such a melee, thought I.
The 'bus came rocking along, reeled to the left, staggered to the right, and came uncertainly to a shuddering rest beside the pavement.
And then it was that I saw the Beautiful Thing.
For of that little crowd, some twenty people in all, not a soul moved. Not a man, woman or child took so much as a step forward. They looked at the half-filled 'bus, they looked at the two soldiers, and waited, motionless.
Those two had pressed forward briskly enough, but as they mounted the steps, the man with the green shade giving a helping hand to his companion, the attitude of the crowd seemed suddenly to strike them. The lame man glanced over his shoulder, smiled and murmured something to his friend. His friend turned likewise and stared. He pushed his comrade through the doorway, turned again, and very solemnly raised his hand to his cap in salute. A second later he too vanished within the interior of the 'bus.
And then the rush began.
* * * * *
THE TRUMP CARD.
"Gold lace has a charm for the fair."
When William first became a Lieut. R.N.V.R., in blue and gold, Belinda smiled upon his suit (Which formerly had found her cold); His manly form and honest face, She really liked them, I believe; But, most of all, she loved the lace Upon his sleeve.
Yet soon a rival courtier came— A dashing dapper Lieut. R.N.; And, as this paragon pressed his claim, Oh, what could William hope for then? How could a wobbly-braided swain Vie with the actual Royal Navy, Whose stripes were half as broad again And straight, not wavy?
Then William swore (ah, Envy, ah!) "Belinda shall be mine, she SHALL!" And wrote a note to his papa, Who'd just been made an Admiral:— "Father, now that you'll fly at sea A two-balled flag in place of pennant, What do you say to taking me As flag-lieutenant?"
When William next waylaid his fair, He had his glittering "aiglets" on; Rope upon rope of gold was there, And now his rival's look was wan; He tried a bitter sneer, to greet This "peacock preening in the sun"; But Miss Belinda thought them "sweet".... And William won.
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MR. PUNCH'S POTTED FILMS. THE AMERICAN THRILLER.
THE EXPLOITS OF JEMIMA ANN. 159th EPISODE.
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THE LATEST SOLAR MYTH.
[Mr. J. H. WILLIS, a Norwich scientist, writing in The Morning Post, condemns the daylight-saving movement on the ground that too much sunshine is enervating and that life is more virile in Northern latitudes.]
Though the daylight-saving measure, which ingenious WILLETT planned To illume the work and leisure of the toilers of the land, Has not yet convinced the nation, or unto the mass appealed, Still without exaggeration it can claim to hold the field.
But of late a man of science—Mr. WILLIS is his name— In a mood of flat defiance bans the daylight-saving game; And, relentlessly pooh-poohing the delights of sunny days, Recommends the prompt tabooing of the cult of solar rays.
All the hardy Northern races are efficient, in his view, Just because they live in places where the sunlit hours are few, And, conversely, peoples broiling in the horrid torrid zones Have no grit or zest for toiling and no marrow in their bones.
There was once a commentator, if I rightly recollect, Who, discussing the Equator, treated it with disrespect; But his temperate impeachment, though it showed a mental twist, Pales before the drastic preachment of the Norwich scientist.
Metaphorically speaking, it's a symptom of the Hun To be always bent on seeking after places in the sun; But I'd rather choose to follow what my deadliest foes applaud Than to ostracise Apollo as an enervating fraud.
No, you don't convince me, WILLIS, with your scientific chat, And my slangy daughter, Phyllis, says you're talking through your hat; For, while many drug-concoctors merit death by sus. per coll., I believe the best of doctors is our old friend Doctor Sol.
Hours recorded on the dial, "hours serene," assuage more ills Than the lancet or the phial or a wilderness of pills; And if cranks of anti-solar leanings long for gloom, they should Emigrate to circumpolar regions and remain for good.
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Punch's Roll of Honour.
We record with sincere grief the death of Lieutenant ALEC LEITH JOHNSTON, who was killed in action on April 22nd during the fight in which the gallant Shropshires recaptured a trench on the Ypres-Langemarck Road. Early in the War Mr. JOHNSTON joined the Artists' Corps and saw service at the Front. Later he received a commission in the K.S.L.I., and a few months ago was in the list of wounded. He has for a long time been associated with Punch, and during the War has contributed many articles under the titles "At the Back of the Front" and "At the Front." His loss will be very keenly felt.
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WANTED—A ST. PATRICK.
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ESSENCE OF PARLIAMENT.
Tuesday, April 25th.—The Government, which has sometimes been accused of not having sufficient confidence in the House of Commons, has made ample amends. Information about the Army, too grave to be imparted to the people who provide the men and the means for maintaining it, is to be freely given to four or five hundred Members of Parliament (not to mention a similar number of Peers).
The PRIME MINISTER opened the Secret Session in one of his briefest speeches. "Mr. Speaker," he said, "I beg, Sir, to call your attention to the fact that strangers are present." The historic form of this advertisement, "I spy strangers;" is briefer still, but inadmissible in these ticklish times. One does not want to see, in the enemy Press, "British Prime Minister confesses to spying."
Then the Press Gallery was cleared, and the Great Inquest of the Nation became a Vehmgericht. The wretched scribe who should attempt to peer behind the veil that shrouds its proceedings has been warned in advance of the unnamed pains and penalties that await him if he should venture to describe or even "refer to" the proceedings of the Secret Session. I am unable to say, therefore, whether it is true that the occupants of the Treasury Bench forthwith donned helmets and gas-masks to protect themselves from the fiery darts and mephitic vapours launched at them from above and below the Gangway.
On these picturesque details the official report, compiled by Mr. SPEAKER, who is understood to have seized the opportunity offered by his recent stay at Bath to learn Pitman's shorthand, is unfortunately silent.
All we learn from its severely restrained pages is that the PRIME MINISTER made a long statement about recruiting. From this we gather that if fifty thousand of the unattested married men do not enlist before the end of May they will be compelled to do so; and that altogether the Government will insist on getting 200,000 men from this source. The German General Staff will be surprised to learn that our requirements are so modest, and will wonder, as we do, what all the pother is about.
Perhaps Mr. LOWTHER did not take notes of the other speeches that were delivered. At any rate he gives us no indication of their drift. All we know is that in the course of some seven hours no fewer than sixteen Members addressed the House. From this it may be inferred that the absence of reporters has at least the negative advantage of conducing to brevity of utterance. May we also infer that the speaking was as plain as it was brief, and that for the time being the Palace of Westminster has become the Palace of Truth?
Wednesday, April 26th.—So far as we are permitted to know what took place—for the House of Commons had another Secret Session—in both Houses it was Ireland, Ireland all the way. The Commons began by granting a return relating to Irish Lunacy accounts, and then by an easy transition passed to the report of the Sinn Fein rebellion in Dublin.
Colonel SHARMAN-CRAWFORD, who bears a name that all Ireland has solid reason to respect, desiring to return to his native country, asked Mr. BIRRELL what routes, if any, were open. Mr. BIRRELL did not know, but intimated genially that he might be able to take absence of over the gallant Colonel under his own protecting wing. The House appeared to find humour in the idea of the CHIEF SECRETARY returning to his post, and an Hon. Member inquired why he had ever left it.
The PRIME MINISTER gave a brief and, so far as it went, rosy-coloured report of the situation in Dublin. Some Nationalist Volunteers were helping the Government. The forces of the Crown were to be further strengthened by a party of American journalists, armed to the teeth with quick-firing pencils, who were going over to deal with "this most recent German campaign."
This may have reminded Mr. ASQUITH that there were British journalists in the Press Gallery. The DEPUTY SPEAKER'S attention having been called to this fact, the House voted for their expulsion, and again passed into Secret Session.
The Lords were again in Open Session, to the regret, perhaps, of the Government representatives, who heard some very plain speaking from Lord MIDDLETON. According to his information the rebels were still in possession of important parts of Dublin. The Government had been warned on Sunday last that an outbreak was imminent, but had nevertheless allowed many officers to go on leave, while others were permitted to assist at the races on Monday.
Thursday, April 21th.—Mr. GINNELL does not believe in the supineness of the Irish Executive. His information is that quite a long time ago it had resolved to place Dublin in a state of siege, to imprison Archbishop WALSH and the LORD MAYOR in their respective official residences, and to arrest the leaders of sundry Nationalist associations. Mr. T. W. RUSSELL, as spokesman for the ruthless Mr. BIRRELL, denied emphatically that these drastic steps had been contemplated.
The PRIME MINISTER subsequently announced that the situation still had "serious features." This mild phrase covers the continued possession by the rebels of important parts of Dublin, the prevalence of street fighting, and the spread of the insurrection to the wild West. Martial law had been proclaimed all over the country; Sir JOHN MAXWELL had been sent over in supreme command, and the Irish Government had been placed under his orders—the last part of this announcement being greeted with especially loud cheers.
Sir EDWARD CARSON and Mr. JOHN REDMOND joined in expressing horror of this rebellion and hoped that the Press would not make it an excuse for reviving political dissension on Irish matters—a sufficient rebuke to The Westminster Gazette and The Star, both of which by a curious coincidence had found the moment auspicious for preaching from the text of the old tag, "There but for the grace of God," etc.
Sir H. DALZIEL attempted to secure an immediate debate upon the Irish trouble. But the eminent Privy Councillor found little support in the House, and was first knocked down by the DEPUTY-SPEAKER and then trampled upon by Mr. ASQUITH.
If the Secret Sessions were intended to make smooth the way of the Military Service Bill they failed miserably in their object. Mr. LONG, to whom was entrusted the task of introducing it, felt his position acutely. Only when explaining that one of the principal objects of the Bill was to extend the service of time-expired soldiers for the duration of the War did he wax at all eloquent, and then it was in lauding the chivalry of these men and in expressing his extreme distaste for the task of coercing them. The whole speech justified the poet's remark that "long petitions spoil the cause they plead."
Not a voice was heard in favour of the measure. Sir EDWARD CARSON damned it for not going far enough, and Mr. LEIF JONES because it went too far; and Mr. STEPHEN WALSH, as representative of the miners, who have given so much of their blood to the country's cause, bluntly demanded that the House should reject this Bill "and insist on the straight thing."
Mr. ASQUITH, recalled to the House by his agitated colleague, recognised that his old Parliamentary hand had got into a hornet's nest, and promptly withdrew it. To the best of my recollection this is the first time on record that a Government measure has perished before its first reading. Conceived in secrecy and delivered in pain, its epitaph will be that of another unhappy infant:—
"If I was to be so soon done for I wonder what I was began for."
* * * * *
* * * * *
"The Austrians thrice attempted to rush the Italian positions on the Upper Isonzo, but were repulsed with heavy lasses."
Times of Ceylon.
Stout girls, these contadine.
* * * * *
"Recently I have seen several German planes so high as to be mere specks, and of the many I have seen none has been lower, I should say, than ,000 ft."—Morning Paper.
A cautious statement, and probably true.
* * * * *
"We are glad to learn that the daughter of our popular banker was married on the 10th instant, over 1000 persons were invited and sumpfedtuously."—Indian Paper.
We infer that the compositor was among them.
* * * * *
"In his defence Mr. —— said he had endeavoured to fake the point that the onus of proving he was under the Military Service Act was upon the prosecution."
If not a conscientious he seems to have been at least a candid objector.
* * * * *
"THE BIRTH OF A FLUENCE."
In consequence of the new tax on imported films the Cinema industry in England has received a new fillip, and a wave of enterprise is passing over the studios. In place of the familiar—almost too familiar— American dramas we are to have English. No more of those square-jawed stern American business men at their desks, with the telephone ever in their hands and instantaneous replies to every call. No more police officers, also at their desks, giving orders like lightning and having them understood and acted upon as quickly. No more crooks clambering over the roofs of an express train. No more motor-car pursuits. No more Indians, no more cowboys, no more heroines in top boots.
And what is there to be instead? Not—I hear you cry appealingly—not panoramas of Zurich or Cape Town? No, not those devastating views of scenery, but home-made films "featuring" English performers, with an eye not only to entertainment but instruction. That is the new movie note. And for a start a wonderful picture has just been completed, under the title "The Birth of a Fluence," taking the Cinema-goers (as they are called) behind the scenes of a London daily paper.
Not a real paper, of course, for that would be telling too much, but an absolutely imaginary paper, yet like enough in many respects to a real paper to afford to the imaginative spectator an idea of how such marvellous sheets are put together.
No expense has been spared to get an air of verisimilitude into these pictures, at a private view of which we were permitted to be present.
Let us give a rough sketch of the film, which is some mile and a half long, or as far, say, as from the House of Lords to Printing House Square. But first we must remark that the unseen force which agitates all the documents and blinds of the various rooms shown is not due, as it usually is, to the circumstance that the pictures were taken in the open air, during a gale, but it symbolises the power of the Proprietor of the paper, who can by a breath make or unmake Governments.
The first picture shows the arrival of the Editor, a man of desperate mien, dark as a thunder cloud, ready to be affrighted by nothing, with instant disapproval of whatever he disapproves breaking through his alert, intellectual features. To him, stern patriot as he is, it is nothing that men do well. He is there, vigilant and implacable, to pounce swiftly and mercilessly on derelictions of duty. No one knows so well as he what is possible to a Minister and his Department and what not. They themselves, the Minister and his Department, are totally uninstructed in the matter. Truly a remarkable man.
The Editor opens his letters; touches bells, speaks through telephones, and generally proves himself to be more than a man, a Force. Imaginary as is the whole affair, no one seeing this film can ever open a morning paper again without a thrill, a foreboding.
Next we are shown the Proprietor leaving his private house by aeroplane to visit the office. We see him first alighting on the roof and then entering his private room by a secret door, from a secret staircase. Having removed his slouch hat and cloak and laid aside his dark lantern, he is revealed as a man of destiny indeed.
We see the mottoes on the walls of the room, such as "Always change horses in midstream"; "Always wash dirty linen in public"; "Any stick is good enough to beat a dog with"; "If you throw enough mud some will stick"; "Damn the consequences"; "Disunion is strength"; "After me the Deluge," and so forth.
Then the Proprietor begins to get busy. He too touches bells, and various assistants rush to his presence. The first is the Editor, and we watch the progress of a fateful interview, which is made the more understandable by legends shown on the screen. Thus, after a long course of lip-moving and chin-wagging on the part of the Proprietor, we read the helpful words:—
"The Twenty-three must go."
Then the Editor's lips move and his chin rides up and down and we read the words:—
"But suppose the old man is too clever?"
And so the epoch-making talk goes on and others are summoned to take part in it.
Next, as a guide to the paper's enterprise we are admitted to a meeting of the Cabinet, and are assisted, at last to unravel the mystery as to which Minister it is who gives away the secrets of that assembly, for we watch him in his various disguises on his way to the dark cellar where he meets the political representative of the paper, makes his report and receives the promise of his future reward. It is, we feel confident, this particular section of the film which will secure for it an amazing popularity, though all reference in the Press to Cabinet proceedings has now been made illegal for the duration of the War.
"The Birth of a Fluence," it will be seen, does not confine its energies to the office of the paper. So thorough is the scheme that various pictures have been taken—always, of course, at the usual enormous expense—at even distant places, where its activities, or the result of them, can be studied. For example, we are shown a section of the Front and the delight of the English soldier as he unfolds the paper and discovers that his country is still being goaded towards that healthy disintegration which must necessarily accelerate our victory. And we are even shown one of the paper's defeated candidates seeking the railway-station after the election; for it is notorious that, vast as are the paper's other influences, it is often unable to persuade an electorate to follow it.
The last picture, which also should be of particular interest to the public as proving how sacred the Fourth Estate holds the duty of providing it with accurate reports, shows the whole of the building draped with the habiliments of woe and the staff in deep mourning on learning that the secrecy of the secret session is to be callously and rigorously enforced by the Government. And in this state of prostration the personnel is left. So ends one of the most enthralling films that this country has yet invented.
"The Birth of a Fluence" would, of course, be more instructive still were there any paper that at all corresponded to the fantastic and incredible organ here illustrated. But of course a sheet that during the progress of an anxious war so consistently belittled its country and aspersed its rulers would be impossible. Still, enough verisimilitude remains to make an amusing half-hour.
* * * * *
* * * * *
NURSERY RHYMES OF LONDON TOWN.
IX.—The Poultry and the Borough.
The Fox ran to London Starving for his dinner; There he met the Weasel Looking even thinner.
The Weasel said to Reynard, "What shall be our pickin's?" Said Reynard to the Weasel, "Rabbits and Spring Chickens."
Then they went a-hunting, And they did it very thorough, The Fox in the Poultry And the Weasel in the Borough.
Wormwood scrubs, Wormwood scrubs Windows, walls, and floors, Pots and pans and pickle-tubs, Tables, chairs and doors; Wormwood scrubs the public seats And the City Halls; Wormwood scrubs the London streets, Wormwood scrubs Saint Paul's; Wormwood scrubs on her hands and knees, But oh, it's plainly seen, Though she use a ton of elbow-grease She'll never get it clean!
* * * * *
A TRUE PESSIMIST.
* * * * *
It was past ten o'clock and the maid was, or should have been, asleep, so when there came a knock at the front-door Bertha got up to answer it herself.
"Whoever can it be at this time of night?" I said.
"It's Evelyn come to borrow again," said Bertha. "I know her knock."
"Don't always look on the dark side of things," I counselled; "be an optimist like me. Now I have a feeling that she has come to pay back what they borrowed last week."
A minute later Bertha returned. "I knew it," she said; "it is as I feared. Jack has sent her over to borrow three more."
"Three more!" I gasped; "but it's preposterous. They borrowed five only last Monday and they'll never pay them back, of course. What did you say to her?"
"I said I couldn't manage it myself, but I would ask you."
"I suppose we shall have to do it," I said, crossing over to the bureau and unlocking it.
"Haven't you got any on you?" asked Bertha.
"Only one; I never carry more than that in case I might get my pockets picked. It's a bit thick," I continued, "we economise and deny ourselves in all kinds of ways and then that spend-thrift comes—or, rather, sends his wife—and borrows all our hard-earned savings."
From a secret drawer in the bureau I drew forth a small box that I opened with fingers that trembled like Gaspard's.
Bertha joined me and, side by side, we stood gazing at the contents in a hush that was akin to worship.
"Well," said I, at last breaking the silence, "here you are, and for goodness' sake tell her not to waste them!" and into my wife's outstretched hand I carefully counted out—three matches.
* * * * *
AT THE PLAY.
"The Mayor of Troy."
The admirable "Q" has shot his arrow into the gold so often and carried off so mountainous a load of trophies that he can see with equanimity his last shot signalled an outer—even a miss. The signaller must needs be more dismayed than he. "Q" is also too honest and perceptive a critic not to see the weak points of The Mayor of Troy as a stage play, though he may fairly plume himself on the pleasant (and unpleasant) folk of his creation who partly came to life on the opening night at the Haymarket. He will have found out and noted for an appendix to those lively and instructive discourses of his On the Art of Writing that it is a jolly difficult thing to write a play; that an act is not a chapter of a novel, still less a compote of bits of many chapters; that, while to be charmingly discursive is a paramount quality of the higher type of novelist, the same attribute in a play, whose very breath of life is essential brevity, makes it appear to go on crutches, like his own discomfited hero. It bemuses an audience and gravels the players—as the queer uncertainty of touch of so skilful, so conscientious an actor as Mr. AINLEY sufficiently betrayed. But to the story.
Portly and pompous Major Solomon Hymen Toogood (Mr. AINLEY), wealthy citizen of Troy Town, and, in the perilous year of grace 1804, for the seventh time its Mayor; Justice of the Peace, in command of the battery of Diehards which himself had raised, spoilt by the worship of the women and the tractability (with reservations) of the men, has reason to be mightily pleased with himself; and very distinctly is. On this pleasant day on which the play opens he has written a proposal of marriage to a lady whose heart, unhappily, is already given to his Deputy in civic office and Second in Command of the battery, Dr. Dillworthy (Mr. LEON QUARTERMAINE). Meanwhile a little smuggling expedition, which he had planned under cover of his military authority (Sir ARTHUR does not quite put it like that), turns into a genuine fight, and our Mayor is carried off prisoner to France.
At the peace of 1814 he returns thin and lame to find that the lady of his choice has long married the man of hers (and why not?), and that the two, with their children, are installed in his house; Dillworthy no longer Deputy but reigning Mayor. Nobody recognises the famous Toogood, which is entirely "Q's" fault, not theirs; and nobody, except a pretty maid who is to marry his nephew (his own money has made the match possible), seems to worry overmuch (absit omen!) about returned prisoners of war. He reveals himself to nobody but his villain brother William (Mr. AYRTON). That fatuous revenue officer, Lomax (Mr. MALLESON), has written a fulsomely flattering life of him at which his gorge rises. Everybody, apart from opening a hospital in his memory (in a bed of which he eventually finds himself), seems to be going about his or her business much as usual (yet what else could they do?). He extracts a character of himself from his faithful old servant and finds it not so flattering as he would have liked. Seems, in fact, determined to have his grievance. Well, then, he will buy a dog. And he will take the road with his pal the comic sailor and shake the dust of fickle Troy from off his feet.
But I protest that this is all very unfair to the Trojans. As soon as he gave them their chance they took it decently enough, so much so that all ended happily in what must have been a most uncomfortable dance on the sharp fragments of the Toogood bust which the disgruntled original had smashed with his crutch.
Of course poor William very naturally resented this extraordinarily inconsiderate return from the dead of a long and well-lost brother, several thousand of whose pounds he had misappropriated. As for Lomax, could he by any stretch of the imagination within the frame of this picture have tried to bribe the Mayor to go away just to save his infernal biography from being wasted? You simply can't have a convincing colloquy on these lines between the tragic figure of the disillusioned and embittered hero and this farcical jackanapes.
And I think it was just this sort of lack of conviction that flattened the actors. Mr. HENRY AINLEY had his moments, but he's not a man of moments. He's about our best whole-hogger. Mr. LEON QUARTERMAINE'S easy skill was, as it always is, a very pleasant thing to watch. Mr. DE LANGE gave an animated little sketch of a droll French spy. Mr. MILES MALLESON shouldn't let his sense of character and his undoubted talent for business lead him into that capital sin of taking more than his share of the stage. Mr. HENDRIE as the sailor, Ben Chope, gave us another of those amusing grotesques of his; and Miss CLAIRE GREET put in a clever paragraph as Mrs. Chope. Mr. FREDERICK GROVES was an excellent gruff servant; Miss PEGGY RUSH a pretty bride; Mr. GERALD MCCARTHY a plausible lover; Miss BRUCE-POTTER a becomingly subdued and adoring Georgian doctor's wife. Mr. LYALL SWETE played competently a poisonous ass of a vicar, and was responsible for the production, which was admirable.
* * * * *
Extract from Battalion Orders:—
"The horse and cab of the Headquarters attached to the —— Regt., A. Coy., for forage and accommodation."
* * * * *
"In the Ascot Double Handicap Hurdle Race, after an objection to Early Berry for jumping, the race was awarded to Marita."
Marita, presumably, crawled under the hurdles like a little lady.
* * * * *
"In spite of all traditions about the British love of a tub, we rarely are acquainted with the proper use of soap and water.... And thus we lay ourselves under Browning's reproach of 'You very imperfect ablutionist!'"
Browning may have written this; but we prefer GILBERT'S version:—
"You very imperfect ablutioner."
* * * * *
* * * * *
(By Mr. Punch's Staff of Learned Clerks.)
I would heartily commend to all good English women and men The Book of Italy (UNWIN), first because it will help the families of those Italians who have left England to join their ships and regiments and will make possible the works of mercy of the Italian Red Cross, and secondly because it is in itself an admirable book—the most distinguished, I think, of any of its kind published here during the War. It tells us something of the great Italian creators and liberators, DANTE, LEONARDO, MICHELANGELO, MAZZINI, GARIBALDI, CAVOUR—too little perhaps of MAZZINI, than whom no movement for liberty ever had a nobler or a saner prophet. Of the good things, besides the contributions of distinguished Italians (a particularly interesting note on the Italian Red Cross by Signor GALANTE claims a Neapolitan, FERDINANDO PALASCIANO, as the pioneer, in 1848, of the Red Cross idea), let me specially commend the spirited introduction of Lord BRYCE, the eloquent letter of SABATIER, the memories of FREDERIC HARRISON, the quiet wisdom of CLUTTON-BROCK, the learning (decently veiled for normal eyes) of FRAZER, of The Golden Bough; the inspired prejudices, fringed with epigram, of G. K. C. A mere catalogue of a few of the well-known writers represented, of SYMONS, GALSWORTHY, GILBERT MURRAY, BAGOT, HICHIENS, BARRY BAIN, PHILLPOTTS; and of artists such as BRANGWYN, SARGENT, SHANNON, JOHN, LAVERY, RICHMOND, POYNTER, FRAMPTON, RICKETTS, ANNING BELL, CAYLEY ROBINSON, makes its best testimonial. England has never been other than the friend of modern Italy, for the Triple Alliance was merely a freak of desperate diplomacy and was broken by the popular will when Germany (be it remembered) was giving fair promise of ultimate victory. We don't need conversion to the cause of Italy, but everything that helps to foster and develop the comradeship of the now Risorgimento of the Allied Nations is welcome. And The Book of Italy will serve this purpose excellently well.
* * * * *
More than once before now I have commented upon that almost unique gift that Mr. JACK LONDON has of transferring physical energy to fiction. His characters must always be about some sinew-straining business that makes the reader ache in sympathy. However in The Little Lady of the Big House (MILLS AND BOON) the author seems to have allowed himself and his creations an unwonted holiday. Here is no fierce struggle for existence, but the fruits of it upon a millionaire ranche in California. Dick Forrest was the millionaire, by heritage and his own success; a great farmer and a breeder of shires. He had a wife, the Little Lady of the title, and a Big House that was one of the most eligible dwellings in fiction. A plain recital of the arrangements ("tweaks" we should have called them at school) in Dick's open-air bedroom makes the ordinary home look like ten cents. Mr. LONDON certainly knows how to luxuriate when he gives his mind to it. Moreover there was a wonderful swimming-bath, with a concealed submarine chamber in which the Little Lady used to hide for the terror of uninstructed guests (she was rather that kind of person), and a great music-room for her to play RACHMANINOFF in and flirt with the Other Man. This is all the tale. Eventually the flirtation becomes serious and the Little Lady is driven to suicide, with a death scene of rather unconvincing sentiment. The fact is, I am afraid, that Capuan ease does not altogether suit the super-strenuous beings whom Mr. JACK LONDON designs. They are too energetic for it, and, lacking an outlet, tend to become melodramatic. I hope that next time he will take us back to the muscle-grinding.
* * * * *
When the War broke out Mr. F. W. WILE, an American gentleman, was living in Berlin as the correspondent of The Daily Mail. Having read his book, The Assault (HEINEMANN), I may say that I judge him to be singularly alert and wide-awake and admirably fitted for the position he occupied. He has no scintilla of hatred or animosity for the German people as individuals, but he wishes to see Germany beaten. "I wish her beaten," he says, "for the Allies' sake and for my own country's sake. A victorious Germany would be a menace to international liberty and become automatically a threat to the happiness and freedom of the United States." He saw the furious transports of patriotism and hatred to which the Berlin mob gave way; he witnessed the brutal attack on the British Embassy, and he was himself denounced as an English spy, was arrested and was lodged in jail, whence he was rescued only by the direct interposition of the American Ambassador. All these incidents he relates in a very vivid way and with a certain dry humour that adds to the effect. His description of the manner in which, on his way to prison in a taxi with two German policemen, he managed to destroy a telegraph code which was in his breast pocket, is positively thrilling. Had it been discovered on him, nothing, he thinks, would have availed to save him, so delirious were his captors with rage and suspicion. Certainly a delightful people. Finally he was allowed to leave Berlin and travel to England as a member of Sir EDWARD GOSCHEN'S party. In the later portion of this book Mr. WILE castigates us, not too unkindly, but, perhaps, a little too insistently, for not being ready, for not realising what war means and for being self-complacent. Since his criticisms are based on affection for us we can make an effort to kiss the rod, especially as he discerns signs of improvement in us. Incidentally I may add that he is, perhaps, not altogether fair to Lord HALDANE, but, per contra, he gives Lord NORTHCLIFFE a high testimonial to character and behaviour.
* * * * *
Cordelia (MELROSE) is a story as agreeable as its name, or as the pretty, if rather chocolate-box-school, picture on its wrapper. One small defect I find in the dissipation of its interest. Beginning with one hero, it goes on with another; and the result is some confusion for the reader who has backed the wrong horse. But Mr. E. M. SMITH-DAMPIER might very justly retort that this is but fidelity to life. When in the early chapters we see the first hero turned from home by an unsympathetic parent, and faring forth to seek romance in a new world, it was surely reasonable to suppose that he would eventually be rewarded by the pretty lady of the wrapper, especially as Savile Brand (though his name inevitably suggests tobacco) is a character drawn with understanding and skill. But Mr. SMITH-DAMPIER is good at lovers. He has another, even better, up his sleeve. This is Peter, the forty-year-old American cousin, who cherishes a tender regard for Mistress Cordelia. I should explain that all this happened in the time of powder, lace coats, and witches. This last is important. Those were the days when Cherchez la sorciere was the unfailing remedy in New England for every ill, material or emotional. It is from this, coupled with the mistaken jealousy of her sister, that Cordelia's troubles come, and so nearly turn her story to tragedy. The main motive may remind you a little of that grim play of witchcraft that we saw at the St. James's Theatre some years ago. But fortunately the end is more comfortable. Cordelia, in short, is a nicely-flavoured romance of old America, with at least three unusually well-drawn characters to give it substance. I have no doubt at all of its success.
* * * * *
* * * * *
LADY POORE'S Recollections of an Admiral's Wife (SMITH, ELDER) is as excellent a book of its kind as readers of Punch are likely to find reviewed in a month of Wednesdays. Scrapbooks of reminiscences are so often dumped upon a surfeited world that it is at once a pleasure and a duty to draw attention to a volume of real worth and significance. Wherever LADY POORE was living—whether in Australia before the War or in Chatham after August, 1915—her main object was to arrive at a sympathetic understanding of the people with whom she had to deal, and, without a hint of patronage, to be of service to them. It is impossible to read of the work she did and helped to do during the last dozen years or so without recognising how possible it is to be official and still remain very human. In spite of little outbursts of opinion which refuse to be suppressed, Lady POORE is as discreet as the most censorious of censors could desire. One of her anecdotes—for the most part well told and fresh—is as funny a tale as I have I ever encountered; but I will leave you to find it for yourself. Altogether a book to thank the gods for.
* * * * *
"On the way to Berea, Mr. Lloyd George met the Rector of the parish, and both cordially shook hands."—Scotsman.
Are we to infer that as a rule, when these two gentlemen meet, only one of them shakes hands?