Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 152, March 28, 1917
Author: Various
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VOL. 152.

March 28th, 1917.

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Charged at Kingston with being an absentee from military service, a man of retiring habits stated that he did not know the country was at war. When told that we were fighting the Germans he was greatly interested.


The Hamburg hotel-keepers have decided to abolish the practice of charging more for food in cases where wine or beer are not consumed. The reason given—that there was no wine or beer to be consumed—is so trivial that a deeper motive may well be suspected.


"That is how we lawyers live, because lay-men have such queer ideas," said Judge CLUER in a recent case. Nevertheless, the view that lawyers shouldn't be allowed to live is not without its ardent supporters.


The Manchester Guardian has issued an "Empire number." It is pleasant to know that all differences between the Empire and our contemporary, due to the former's ill-advised participation in the War, have been satisfactorily adjusted.


Events have happened so swiftly of late that up to the time of going to press a contemporary had not decided who should be "The Man who Dined with the Tsar."


Virginia-creepers are recommended by a contemporary as a "tasty vegetable." In one large house where the experiment was tried they were pronounced to be quite all right on the second floor, but rather tough in the basement.


The businesses of Southgate men called to the colours are being conducted by a committee. Small sons of those absent fathers are going very warily until they have ascertained exactly how far the powers of the committee extend.


Writing on the German retreat Major MORAHT says: "Only a personality like that of Marshal von Hindenburg could give proofs of so great an initiative." Possibly he has never heard of the Dukes of York and Plaza Toro.


A boy of eleven charged with the theft of clothes is said to have stolen the notebook of the policeman who arrested him. His first idea was to pinch his captor's whistle, but he rejected this plan on finding that the policeman was attached to it.


Russian soldiers under the new regime will be allowed to smoke in the streets, travel inside trains, visit clubs and attend political meetings. There is a very strong rumour that they will also be allowed to go on fighting.


A ten-months-old boy at Prescot, Lancashire, has been called up for military service. It is, however, authoritatively stated that this is merely a precautionary measure on the part of the War Office, and will not necessarily apply to other men in the same class.


A Bromley gentleman is advertising for a chauffeur "to drive Ford car out of cab-yard." Kindness is a great thing in cases of this sort, and we suggest trying to entice it out with a piece of cheese.


"You have lost the privilege of serving on the last grand jury during the War," said the judge at the London Sessions last week to a shipowner who arrived at the court late. We understand that the poor fellow broke down and sobbed bitterly.


Nearly every Russian newspaper contains congratulatory references to Free Russia, and poets are busy composing verses on the same theme. It is this latter item which is said to be keeping the Germans from having a similar revolution.


We understand that the new "No Smoking near Magazines" enactment is profoundly resented in editorial circles.


To fill the gap which will be left in the ranks of Parliamentary humorists by the retirement of Mr. JOSEPH KING, M.P., who has decided not to seek re-election, the Variety Artistes Federation have nominated a candidate for the Brixton Division.


"On whatever day you sow your wheat," says Miss MARIE CORELLI, "you cannot stop its growing on Sundays." Mr. HALL CAINE has not yet spoken on this point, and his silence is regarded as significant.


Incidentally we are not so sure that you cannot stop wheat growing on Sundays. There is good precedent for plucking its ears on the Sabbath, and that ought to stop it.


The KAISER, it appears, is much annoyed at the CROWN PRINCE and the way he has mis-managed so many brilliant opportunities. It is even suggested in some quarters that the KAISER has threatened, if LITTLE WILLIE does not improve, to abdicate in his favour.


A respectably dressed man was recently arrested for behaving in a strange manner in Downing Street. Others have done the same thing before now, but have escaped the notice of the police by doing it indoors.


With reference to the taxi-cab which stopped in the Strand the other day when hailed by a pedestrian, a satisfactory explanation is to hand. It had broken down.

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That man at dawn should certainly be shot For being such a liar, Who says that you, my HINDENBURG, are not As high as our All-Highest, mate of GOTT (Or even slightly higher).

Stout thruster, in the push you have no peer, Yet more supremely brilliant This crowning stroke of progress toward the rear, This strong recoil from which with heartened cheer We hope to bound resilient.

Lo! the creative spirit's vital spark! None but a genius, we say, Would make his onset backward in the dark Or choose this route for getting at the Arc De Triomphe (Champs Elysees).

Nor to your care for detail are we blind; Your handiwork we view in The reeking waste our warriors leave behind; We read the motions of a master-mind In that red trail of ruin.

And not alone by yonder blackened beams, By garth and homestead burning, You put the sanguine enemy off your schemes, Who gaily follows up and never dreams That we'll be soon returning;

But by these speaking signs of godly hate, This ruthless ravage (prosit!), You teach a barbarous world how truly great Our German Gospel, and how grim the fate Of people who oppose it!

Then praised be Heaven because we cannot fail With HINDENBURG to boss us; And for each hearth stript naked to the gale Let grateful homage plug another nail In your superb colossus. O.S.

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As I said to John, I can bear anger and sarcasm—but contempt, not. Binny and Joe are our cats, and the most pampered of pets. Every day, when our meals were served, there was spread upon the carpet a newspaper, on which Binny and Joe would trample, clamouring, until a plate containing their substantial portion was laid down: after which we were free to proceed with our own meal.

Then came the paralysing shock of Lord DEVONPORT'S ration announcement, in which no mention is made of cats. Binny and Joe looked at one another in consternation over their porridge as I read aloud his statement from the newspaper at breakfast.

When I came in to luncheon I had a letter in my hand and accidentally dropped the envelope. Paper of any kind upon the carpet is associated in Binny's mind with the advent of food. Straightway he thudded from his arm-chair and sat down upon the envelope. You will notice that I speak above of Binny and Joe. I do so instinctively, because, though Binny is only half Joe's age of one year, somehow he always occurs everywhere before Joe. Joe was lying on the same arm-chair, and the same idea struck him too; but Binny got there first and continued sitting on the envelope, until, for very shame, I asked Ann, the maid, to spread a newspaper and try them with potato and gravy. They looked at it and then at me, and then, without tasting, walked off and began their usual after-luncheon ablutions of mouth, face and paws. But, as I have said, I can endure sarcasm.

The next day, just before luncheon, a mass of sparrow feathers was found on the hall-mat. The second day there were feathers of a blackbird. And the third day, when I came down to breakfast, I found a few thrush feathers carelessly left under the breakfast-room table. I began to search my mind, anxiously wondering whether any of my near neighbours kept chickens.

But the matter was settled that night. When the dinner-gong sounded, Binny and Joe rose from their arm-chair, looked at the vegetarian dishes now adorning a board which had been wont to send up savoury meaty steams (fish in these parts has become a rarity almost unprocurable, and we had exhausted our allowance of meat at luncheon, which we had taken at a restaurant), and then, with noses in the air and tails erect, stalked haughtily to the drawing-room, and there remained until dinner was finished.

So now the butcher leaves two pennorth of lights at my door regularly. He assures me that Lord DEVONPORT won't mind as it is not strictly human food.

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MY DEAR CHARLES,—Recent events calling for strong comment, I turned to my friend, my brick-red friend who is able to retain his well-fed prosperous look notwithstanding the rigours of trench life, Rrobert James McGrregor. I took a map with me and, calling his attention to the general position, asked him what about it? McGregor, as you may guess, is a Scot, whose national sense of economy seems to have spread to his uniform, in that the cap he wears covers but a third-part of his head, and his tunic (which I ought really not to call a tunic but a service jacket) appears to have exhausted itself and its material at the fourth button. Notwithstanding all this, I attach great weight to his truculent views, and, the better to incite him into something outright, addressed him in My best Scottish, which is, at any rate, as good as his best English. "Rrrrrobert," I said, "what like is the VON HINDENBURG line?" Whereupon McGregor, helping himself to our mess whisky and cursing it as the vilest production of this vile War, spoke out.

McGregor has no respect whatever for HINDENBURG or anything which is his. He says that HINDENBURG and his crew have all along taken the line which any man could, but no gentleman would. In HINDENBURG he sees the personification of Prussian militarism, and for the Prussians and their militarism he has no use whatsoever. I forget what exactly is the Highland phrase for "no use whatsoever," but its meaning is even worse than its sound, and the sound of it alone is terrible to hear. Whatever befalls in the interval, it is certain that when at last McGregor and HINDENBURG meet they will not get on well together.

McGregor hates militarism. It is entirely inconsistent with his wild ideas of liberty. As such he is determined to do it down on all occasions and by every means. Not only is he a Scot, he is also a barrister of the most pronounced type. Brief him in your cause, and provided it is not a mean one he will set out to lay flat the whole earth, if need be, in its defence. He will overwhelm opposing counsel with the mere ferocity of his mien; he will overbear the Judge himself with the mere power of his lungs, and he will carry you through to a verdict with the mere momentum of his loyal support. Once he has made a cause his own, no other cause can survive the terror of his bushy eyebrows and his flaring face. He is a caged lion, but he does not grow thin or wasted in captivity. As ever, he grows stout and strong on his own enthusiasms. The cage will not hold much longer. Heaven be praised, it's HINDENBURG and not me he's taken a dislike to.

He loathes militarism. Having waited nearly thirty years for a fight, it's himself is overjoyed that he has Prussian militarism for the victim of his murderous designs. To this end he has become a soldier, such a bloodthirsty soldier as never was before and never will be again. The thoroughness of it, for an anti-militarist, is almost appalling. The click of his heels and the shine of his buttons frighten me. His salute is such that even the most deserving General must pause and ask himself if it is humanly possible to merit such respect as it indicates. No man, even upon the most legitimate instance, may venture, in the presence of the dangerous McGregor, the slightest criticism of the British Army or of anything remotely appertaining thereto. He will not even permit a sly dig, in a quiet corner, at the Staff.

Nevertheless McGregor hates, loathes and detests militarism. His convictions are quite clear and convincing. Soldiers are one thing; militarists are another. Rrobert James McGrregor, for the moment at least, is by the grace of God and the generosity of His Majesty a soldier. That creature HINDENBURG is a militarist. Quite so, I agreed; but then what about the line? He helped himself to some more whisky, showing that he could forgive anybody anything except a Prussian his militarism, and said he was coming to that. But first as to HINDENBURG.

The man represents his type and is, says McGregor, a mere bully. He has become a bully because he could succeed as nothing else. Given peace, it is doubtful if he could get and keep the job of errand-boy in a second-rate butcher's shop. Lacking the intelligence or spirit to succeed normally, he has not the decency to live quietly in the cheaper suburbs of Berlin and let other people do it. Flourish they must, HINDENBURG and his lot, and so the world is at war to keep their end up.

Now, says McGregor, it is undoubtedly sinful to fight, but he can't help half forgiving those whose desire to have a round is such that they must needs cause the bothers. But do I suppose that HINDENBURG ever wanted to fight, ever meant or ever means to do it? Not he; and that is why the War goes on and on and on. We've got to work through all the other Germans, says he, before we'll get to their militarists, who are all alive and doing nicely, thank you, behind. When we are getting near the throat of the first of them then the War will end.

McGregor cannot bring himself to detest all the Bosches. After all, he says, they do stick it out, and their very stupidity makes some call on his generosity. But HINDENBURG, he is convinced, never stuck anything out, except snubs from his competitor, WILHELM, in the course of his uprising career; he makes no call on anybody's generosity, taking everything he wants, including (says McGregor) the best cigars. Without ever having studied them closely, McGregor has the most precise ideas of HINDENBURG'S daily life and habits. He is quite sure he smokes all day the most expensive cigars, without paying for them or removing the bands. He rose, says McGregor, by artifice combined with ostentation. While his good soldiers were studying their musketry, he was practising ferocious expressions before his glass. If he ever did get mixed up in a real battle (which McGregor doubts) he was undoubtedly last in and first out. However it may appear in print, his military career would not bear close scrutiny; for that reason McGregor does not propose to scrutinise it. And as for his indomitable will, he sees nothing to admire in the man's persistence, since, when he stops persisting, he'll become ungummed and, at the best, forgotten.

So said McGregor, and when I besought him to come to the point, he said he'd dealt with it, and if I had any sympathy left for HINDENBURG or his line I was no better than a slave-driving, sit-at-home-and-push-others- over-the-parapet Prussian militarist myself. As for the map, it didn't matter in the least where HINDENBURG took his old line to, since wherever in Europe it endeavoured to conceal itself his own little line would scent it out and follow it. And if the HINDENBURG line was more than two hundred miles long and the Rrobert James McGrregor line less than two hundred yards, still it didn't matter; for when a Scot takes a dislike to somebody, that somebody's number is up.

McGregor didn't say that last, but he looked it.

Yours ever, HENRY.

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"Frightfulness" in England.

"Boys wanted for Kicking. ——— Stamping Works."—Midland Evening News.

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One ingenious commentator has suggested that the opera has some basis in 'A Midsummer Night's Dream.' Sarastro is Prospero, Pamina Miranda, Tamino Ferdinand, and perhaps Monostatos Caliban."—Glasgow Herald.

The fact that these Shakespeare characters all occur in "The Tempest" enhances the ingenuity of the suggestion.

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"The biggest fire in living memory occurred in Chapelhall on Monday morning, when the Roman Catholic School was partly destroyed along with the recreation rooms, damage amounting to L2,000."—Scotch Local Paper.

The parish pump was probably out of order when this unparalleled conflagration occurred; but is seems to be at work again now.

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(Aged six weeks.)

Small bundle, enveloped in laces, For whom I stood sponsor last week, When you slept, with the pinkest of faces, And never emitted a squeak; Though vain is the task of illuming The Future's inscrutable scroll, I cannot refrain from assuming A semi-prophetical role,

I predict that in paths Montessorian Your infantile steps will be led, And with modes which are Phrygian and Dorian Your musical appetite fed; You'll be taught how to dance by a Russian, "Eurhythmics" you'll learn from a Swiss, How not to behave like a Prussian— No teaching is needed for this!

Will you learn Esperanto at Eton? Or, if Eton by then is suppressed, Be sent to grow apples or wheat on A ranche in the ultimate West? Will you aim at a modern diploma In civics or commerce or stinks? Inhale the Wisconsin aroma Or think as the Humanist thinks?

Will you learn to play tennis from COVEY Or model your stroke on JAY GOULD? Will you play the piano like TOVEY Or by gramophone records be schooled? Will you golf, or will golfing be banished To answer the needs of the plough, And links from the landscape have vanished To pasture the sheep and the cow?

Your taste in the region of letters I only can dimly foresee, But guess that from metrical fetters The verse you'll affect must be free; And I shan't be surprised or astounded If your generation rebels Against adulation unbounded Of MASEFIELD and BENNETT and WELLS.

Upholding ancestral tradition Your uncle has booked you at Lord's, But I doubt if you'll sate your ambition Athletic on well-levelled swards; No, I rather opine that you'll follow The lead that we owe to the WRIGHTS, And soar like the eagle or swallow On far and adventurous flights.

But no matter—in joy and affliction, In seasons of failure or fame, I cherish the certain conviction You'll never dishonour your name; For the love of the mother that bore you, The life and the death of your sire Will shine as a lantern before you, To guide and exalt and inspire.

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Life's Little Ironies.

"Ever-ready Safety Razor, strop, outfit, 12 blades, new; exchange something useful."—The Model Engineer and Electrician.

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"The marriage of Captain ——, Grenadier Guards, to Miss —— was a very quiet affair, and not more than a score of people attended the ceremony at St. Andrew's, Wells-street, during the week.—Observer.

Quiet, perhaps, but unusually protracted.

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How it Happened.

From a publisher's advt.:—


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Collectors of coincidences will not fail to notice that what the papers call "The Great Allied Sweep" in France was contemporaneous with the arrival of General SMUTS in England.

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"Did you hear that?" cried the white hen.

"What?" asked all the other hens.

"He called us—cluck-cluck-cluck," said the white hen.

"Why shouldn't he?" asked all the other hens.

"I didn't mean he called us 'cluck-cluck-cluck,'" said the white hen hastily. "I was only choking with rage when I said that. He called us—cluck-cluck-cluck—"

"She's going to lay an egg," said the black hen with interest.

"Poultry!" screamed the white hen suddenly.

"Poultry?" gasped the other hens.

"Poultry!—he called us 'poultry'—oh, cluck-cluck-cluck—"

"Something must be done," said the yellow hen.

"Something must be done," repeated all the hens.

"We must have a hunger-strike till he apologises," said the thin hen importantly.

"But we shall be hungry," cried all the hens.

"That is the essence of a hunger-strike," said the thin hen.

Just then the keeper arrived with food for the fowls.

"We mustn't run to him," they said to one another. "It's a hunger-strike, you know."

Suddenly the fat hen began running to him.

"Come back; it's a hunger-strike, you know!" cried the hens.

"I have an idea," shouted the fat hen as she ran; "the more we eat the longer we shall hold out."

"So we shall," cried all the hens as they scurried after the fat one.

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Some people would die rather than talk aloud in a 'bus; others would rather die than hold their peace there. This second kind is more fun, and four of it made part of my journey the other day from Victoria to Oxford Street (I forget the number of the 'bus, but it goes up Bond Street) much less tedious. They were all young women in the latest teens or the earliest twenties, and all were what is called well-to-do, and they were fluent talkers.

Years ago, when poor LEWIS WALLER was at the height of his fame, we used to hear of a real or fictitious "Waller Club," the members of which were young women who spent as much time as they could in visiting his theatre and rejoicing in the sight of his brave gestures and the sound of his vibrant voice. It was even said that they had a badge by which they could know each other; although on the face of it, judging by what sparse scraps of information concerning the nature of woman I have been able painfully to collect, I should say that segregation would be, in such a case as this, more to their taste.

Be that true or only invented, it is very clear that in spite of the War and its shattering way with so many ancient shibboleths the cult of the actor is still strong; for this is the kind of thing that lasted all the way from Hyde Park Corner to Vere Street:—

"Did you see him the other day in that ballet? Of course I knew he could dance, because he can do everything, but I never thought he was going to be so gloriously graceful as he was."

"But surely you ought to have known. Don't you remember him as the Prince at the LORD MAYOR'S Ball?"

"And what a wonderful figure he has!"

"I couldn't help wishing that he had only stained his legs instead of putting on red tights."

"My dear!!!"

"It's his grace that's the wonderful thing about him, I always think. His ease. He moves so—how shall I put it?—so, well, so easily and gracefully."

"Don't you love him when he stands with his hands in his pockets?"

"My dear, yes. But what a wonderful tailor he goes to. I always used to tell my brother to try and find out where his things were made and go to the same place."

"But of course it's the way clothes are worn much more than the clothes themselves. I mean, some men can never look well dressed, whereas others can look well in anything."

"But he does go to the best tailor, I'm sure."

"How many times have you seen this new piece?"


"Only six! I've seen it eleven."

"I've seen it three times."

"I've seen it five times; but one of those doesn't count, because when we got there we found he was ill with chicken-pox. Wasn't that rotten luck?"

"I heard he had been ill, but I didn't know what it was. Was it really chicken-pox?"

"Yes, poor darling."

"Fancy him having a thing like that! I suppose it's part of the price of keeping so young."

"Oh, yes, isn't he young!"

"They say this thing's going to run for years."

"I hope not. I want to see him in something new. It's so wonderful how he's always the same and yet always different."

"I want him to be in every play. I never go to one without thinking how much better he would be than the other leading man."

"I saw that little what's-his-name imitate him the other evening. Really it's rather a shame."

"Yes, I've seen it. I couldn't help laughing, but I hated myself for it. I'm sure, too, he doesn't waggle his head like that."

"No! I couldn't see the point of that at all; but the people shrieked."

"Pooh, they'd laugh at anything."

"What did you like him best of all in?"

"That's difficult. Of course he was priceless as the policeman. But then he was priceless as the American too, in that thing before this."

"Well, I think—"

And so on. Except that I never mention his name, and I have suppressed the titles of the plays, this is practically an exact reproduction of the conversation. Naturally many of the sentences overlapped, for ladies no less than gentlemen often talk at the same time; but otherwise I have reported faithfully.

And who was the subject of these eulogies? You will guess at once when I say that he is probably the only actor in history who is referred to more often by his Christian name only than by his surname or full name. These young women who adored WALLER spoke of him not as LEWIS, but as LEWIS WALLER; and that is the usual custom. The divine SARAH is perhaps the only other histrion, and she is a woman, who may be spoken of simply as SARAH, with no risk of ambiguity. Ordinarily, as I say, we use either the surname only or the surname and Christian name combined, as ELLEN TERRY, VIOLET LORAINE, GEORGE GRAVES, GEORGE ROBEY, LESLIE HENSON, NELSON KEYS. But these four devotees referred to their hero always as GERALD; just GERALD.

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'Er keel was laid in 'seventy-four (Let 'er go—let 'er go); They built 'er cheap an' they scamped 'er sore, 'Er rivets was putty, 'er plates was poor, And then come in the PLIMSOLL line Or I wouldn't be singin' this song o' mine. (Let 'er go!)

She was cranky an' foul, she was stubborn an' slow (Let 'er go—let 'er go), An' she shipped it green when it come on to blow; 'Er crews was starved an' their wage was low, An 'er bloomin' owners was ready to faint At a scrape o' pitch or a penn'orth o' paint. (Let 'er go!)

But she's been 'ere an' she's been there (Let 'er go—let 'er go), An' she's been almost everywhere; An' wherever you went you'd sure see 'er, With 'er rust-red hawse an' 'er battered old funnel, All muck an' dirt from 'er keel to 'er gun'le. (Let 'er go!)

She's earned 'er keep in a number o' climes (Let 'er go—let 'er go); She's changed 'er name a number o' times, Which won't fit right into these 'ere rhymes, But the name of 'er now is the Sound o' Mull, Built on the Tyne an' sails out of 'Ull. (Let 'er go!)

'Er keel was laid in 'seventy-four (Let 'er go—let 'er go), An' a breaker's price was 'er price before The ships was scarce an' the freights did soar; But she's fetched 'er fourteen pound a ton On the Baltic Exchange since the War begun. (Let 'er go!)

So she's doin' 'er bit, which we all must do (Let 'er go—let 'er go), An' whether she's old or whether she's new Don't make much odds to a war-time crew, But 'ooever's sunk or 'ooever's drowned, The Sound o' Mull keeps pluggin' around. (Let 'er go!)

An' when she goes, by night or by day (Let 'er go—let 'er go), Either up or down, as she likely may, I only 'ope as someone'll say: "'Er keel was laid in 'seventy-four; She done 'er best an' she couldn't do more; She warn't no swell an' she warn't no beauty, But she come by 'er end in the way of 'er duty." (Let 'er go!) C. F. S.

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Call this cold? You orter been with me in '63, when I was whalin' in the North Atlantic. I was steward on the Ella Wheeler, 6,000 tons, out from New Caledonia. Our skipper was a reg'lar old bluenose, and some Tartar, I don't think! Why, 'e'd lay yer out sooner than look at yer; an' once 'e put the cook in irons for two days 'cos the poor devil 'ad tumbled up against the side of the galley an' burnt the 'air off the side of 'is 'ead, and the old man said it was untidy; and we all 'ad to 'ave cold grub for two days—and in them latitudes! Lord, 'ow we 'ated 'im!

But the worst of it was that we 'ad no doctor on board, and when anybody took sick the old man insisted on doctorin' 'im 'isself; and 'e 'ad only one way of treatin' every disease in the 'orspitals. "Put 'im into 'is bunk," he says, "and wait till I bring 'im a 'ot linseed poultice for's chest." Tooth-ache or chilblains, a pain in yer stummick or ring-worm—'e always says the same thing, "Put 'im in his bunk," he says, "and I'll bring 'im a 'ot linseed poultice for 's chest." And 'e brought it and put it on with 'is own 'ands too! There was no gettin' out of it if once 'e 'eard you were sick. Lord, 'ow we 'ated 'im!

There was Pete Malone—'ad a great mop of 'air like a lion or a musician—must needs go washing one day on deck, like a fool. It was all right as long as 'e 'ad the 'ot water and the soapsuds goin'; but 'e give 'is 'ead a rinse, an' stood up, and, swelpme, before 'e could get the towel to work every single 'air 'e 'd got 'ad its own private icicle, an' 'is silly 'ead looked like a silver-plated porkypine.

Well, as I was saying, we were about a 'undred-and-fifty mile from the nearest land, which 'ud be the West coast of Greenland, bearin' about E. by N., when we thought that at last we were going' to get one back on the old man. It was this way. One bitter cold night 'e was makin' 'is way aft to turn in, when 'e slips up where a wave 'ad froze on the deck, an' e' goes wallop down the 'ole length of the companion, from top to bottom, an' busts three of 'is ribs. Of course we all ran an' picked 'im up, an' said we 'oped 'e wasn't much 'urt. But 'e says, "None of yer jabber, ye swines; 'elp me inter my bunk, and two of yer bring me a 'ot linseed poultice for my chest."

Well, we puts 'im in 'is bunk, and I catches the eye of the first mate, and we goes out together. "Mick," says I, "'e's askin' for a 'ot poultice. Lord send there's a good fire in the galley!" "If there ain't," says Micky to me, "we'll damn'd soon make one." So we makes a fire such as none of the ship's company 'ad ever seen; and we gets two buckets of water, one very near full, and the other about a quarter full, and we soon 'as 'em both on the boil. Then we makes the poultice in the drop of water; and when 'e was ready, we gets the grid and puts it across the top of the other bucket, and lays the poultice on the grid, and me and the mate picks up the full bucket with two pair o' tongs, 'olding a torch under 'er to keep 'er at the boil.

When the old man saw us 'is face twisted a bit! But talk about cold! We slapped the poultice on to 'im, and, if you'll believe me, inside o' ninety seconds the thing 'ad froze 'ard on 'im, and formed a splint, and—saved 'is life, blarst 'im!

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Monday, March 19th.—Captain BATHURST announced that the FOOD CONTROLLER would issue an order fixing the retail price of swedes at a figure involving a reduction of "something like 200 per cent." The FOOD CONTROLLER, as his faithful henchman subsequently remarked, "is always doing his best," but if he can really reduce the price of a commodity to 100 per cent. less than nothing I hope he will not confine his activity to a solitary vegetable.

I am afraid that envy was the predominant feeling aroused by Mr. SNOWDEN'S story of the family in New Cavendish Street which secured in a single order from a single firm no less than sixty-three pounds of sugar. Lest any Hon. Members should be tempted to try and do likewise Captain BATHURST promptly announced that another order prohibiting hoarding would shortly be issued. The House cheered, for, as a journalist Member remarked with gloomy satisfaction, "It is only fair that 'no posters' should be followed by 'no hoarding.'"

The PRIME MINISTER paid one of his angelic visits to the House to give the latest information of the revolution in Russia. His description of it as "one of the landmarks in the history of the world" evoked loud cheers, but even louder were those which came from the Nationalist benches when he remarked that "free peoples are the best defenders of their own honour."

Tuesday, March 20th.—A long cross-examination of the representative of the Air Board produced one valuable statement which Members generally might bear in mind. Mr. BILLING asked if it was not "in the public interest or in the interests of this House" that certain contracts should be discussed. Fixing him with his eye-glass, Major BAIRD replied, "No, the interests of the House and of the public, I take it, are the same as the interests of the nation."

If there was any lingering doubt as to the main responsibility for the inception—as apart from the carrying out—of the Dardanelles affair Mr. CHURCHILL himself must have removed it. Unlike his former chief he welcomes the publication of the Report, which in his opinion has shared among a number of eminent personages a burden formerly borne by himself alone. But his enthusiasm for the project as it originally formed itself in his fertile brain is undiminished, and he still marvels that for the want of a little further sacrifice we should have abandoned the chance of cutting Turkey out of the War, and uniting in one friendly federation the States of the Balkans.

Wednesday, March 21st.—General MAUDE'S manifesto to the people of Baghdad, with its allusions to the tyranny under which they had long been suffering, did not escape the eagle eye of Mr. DEVLIN, ever anxious to scarify British hypocrisy. So he drafted a long question to the PRIME MINISTER, embodying the most salient passages of the manifesto. Much to his disgust it appeared on the Paper without its "most beautiful and striking passages." The SPEAKER explained that he had blue-pencilled "a good deal of Oriental and flowery language not suitable to our Western climate." Not the least part of the joke is the rumour that the manifesto was largely the work of a Member of the House well versed in Eastern lore.

Thursday, March 22nd.—The Ministry of National Service, being unprovided at present with a Parliamentary Secretary, is supposed to be represented in the House by Mr. ARTHUR HENDERSON. But as the Member for Barnard Castle has important functions to perform in the War Cabinet and is rarely in the House he usually deputes some other Member of the Government to answer Questions addressed to him. To-day the lot fell upon Mr. BECK, who good-temperedly explained, when a shower of "supplementaries" rained down upon him, that he really knew nothing about the Department he was temporarily representing. This led to a tragedy, for Mr. SWIFT MACNEILL worked himself into a paroxysm of excitement over this constitutional enormity, and finally sat down on his hat. "I only wish his head had been in it," muttered a brother Irishman—from Ulster.

Believers in "the hidden hand," which is supposed to paralyse our military efforts, are divided in opinion as to whether this cryptic member is most actively employed by Lord HALDANE, Sir WILLIAM ROBERTSON or Sir EYRE CROWE, Assistant-Secretary to the Foreign Office. They will probably regard Lord ROBERT CECIL'S statement that some seven years ago Sir EYRE drew up a memorandum calling the attention of Sir EDWARD GREY to the grave dangers that threatened this country from Germany as further evidence of his duplicity. The rest of the world will rejoice at Lord ROBERT'S spirited vindication of "one of the ablest of our public servants," who, despite Miss CHRISTABEL PANKHURST, is not one of "the three black crows" of legendary fame.

When Sir H. DALZIEL, at the outset of his appeal to the Government to make another attempt to settle the Irish Question, promised that he would not "explore the noxious vapours of the past," I feared the worst. But he was as good as his word, and spared us any gruesome excavations in ancient Irish history. Major HILLS did even better by implying that it was only during the last ten years that the question had warped and diverted our domestic politics. If all Irishmen were as reasonable and moderate as Mr. RONALD MCNEILL showed himself this afternoon it would not need settling, for it would never have arisen. He only asked, if sacrifices were necessary, that Ulster should not alone be expected to make them. Sir HAMAR GREENWOOD, as the great-grandson of a Canadian rebel who took twelve sons into the field—"almost his whole family," added his descendant—insisted that the Colonial method of securing Home Rule was the best—first agree among yourselves, and then go to the Imperial Parliament to sanction your scheme. And perhaps, after the conciliatory spirit displayed in to-day's debate, that is not so impossible oven in Ireland as it seemed a few weeks ago. Hitherto every attempt of the British Sisyphus to roll the Stone of Destiny up the Hill of Tara has found a couple of Irishmen at the top ready to roll it down again. Let us hope that this time they will co-operate to instal it there as the throne of a loyal and united Ireland.

* * * * *




All things true, All things sweet— Summer-dawn dew And Love's heart-beat; All things holy, Hill-flow'rs lowly, A far church-chime— These things dwell In the smell Of Thyme.

All things clean, All things pure— Joys that have been And faiths that endure; All things sunny, Bee-song and honey, Sheep-walks, rhyme— These things dwell In the smell Of Thyme.

All things set With sharp sweet pain— April regret For vows yet vain; All things fragrant, Thoughts long vagrant From Beauty's clime— These things dwell In the smell Of Thyme.

* * * * *

"Sir John Simon, K.C., cited as an illustration the friendship between Daniel and Jonathan. The Lord Chief Justice: I become very nervous when you support your law by quoting Scripture."—Daily Mail.

We always feel more nervous when people misquote Scripture for their purpose.

* * * * *

"The Lord Mayor of London, Sir William Dunn, accompanied by other members of the City Council in their robes, and the Lady Mayoress, were amongst the very large conflagration at St. Patrick's, Soho. An eloquent sermon was preached."—Irish Paper.

"Burning words," indeed.

* * * * *

From a description of the difficulties of the members of the Press Gallery in reporting Mr. BONAR LAW:—

"Since he has become leader of the House they have aged and grown haggard and dejected. The sound of his voice fills them with bread."—Birmingham Daily Post.

Well, in these days that ought to afford them ample consolation.

* * * * *

"Sir Richard L. Borden's name, now a household word, became familiar only six years ago."—Daily Paper.

But even now he is not so well known as Sir ROBERT!

* * * * *


When I went round the trenches a day or two before we were to move in, the great frost was still in possession; but there was a mild feeling in the air.

"I can thoroughly recommend these trenches to you, Sir," said the occupier in a businesslike manner. "Commodious and well built, fitted throughout with the latest pattern duck-boards and reached by three charmingly sequestered communication trenches, named Hic, Haec and Hoc. The dug-outs are well equipped and well sunk. The whole would form an ideal retreat for gentlemen of quiet tastes."

"Good. And the people over the way?"

"Unobtrusive and retiring to a degree."

"In fact," I said, "a most select neighbourhood—unless it thaws."

He dropped pleasantries and answered very seriously. "If it thaws, Heaven help you. There's enough water frozen up in these walls to drown the lot of you."

It did thaw.

When we relieved, we waded up to the line through miles of trenches all knee-deep in water, to the accompaniment of ominous splashes as the sides began to fall in. When daylight came we found our select estate converted into a system of canals filled with a substance varying in consistency from coffee to glue. Hic, Haec and Hoc, owing to the wear and tear of constant traffic, became especially gluey, and after a time we rechristened them respectively the Great Ooze, the Little Ooze and the River Styx—the last not solely in reference to its adhesive qualities, but also because such a number of things went West in it. Some time after the original duck-boards had sunk out of our depth we could still move along Styx on a solid bottom composed of lost gum-boots, abandoned rations and the like. At last, when Frankie, struggling up to the line with the rum ration, was forced to dump his precious burden in order to save his life, we pronounced Styx impassable and thenceforth proceeded along the top after dusk.

The Great Ooze still remained just possible for those whose business took them back and forward during the day, but even here were spots in which it was worse than unwise to linger. As I squelched painfully through one of these on our last day in the line, I found one Private Harrison firmly embedded to the top of his thigh-boots. He told me he had been struggling vainly for about an hour.

"Give me your hands," I said.

I tugged, but could get no proper purchase. Harrison grew gradually black in the face, but remained immovable. I tried another plan. I turned about, and Harrison clasped his hands round my neck. Then I walked away.... At least that was the idea.

"Harrison," I said anxiously after a determined struggle, "were you standing on the duckboards?"

"Yes, Sir. I still am."

"Heavens, so am I. Let go. I've got to get myself out now."

By using Harrison as a stepping-stone to higher things I just managed to heave myself out. I surveyed him panting.

"In about an hour it'll be dusk. I'll bring some men and a rope and haul you out then. If that fails we'll simply have to hand you over as trench stores when we get relieved."

As soon as Fritz's wire had disappeared into the gathering gloom I took out my little rescue party. We threw the captive a rope and began to pull scientifically under direction of a sergeant skilled in tugs-of-war.

"Heave, you men," I whispered excitedly. "He's coming."

He was, but without his boots. Inch by inch we dragged him out of them. The strain was terrific. Suddenly—much too suddenly—the tension broke. Harrison shot into the air and fell again with a dull thud in the Ooze beside his boots, while the rescue party collapsed head over heels into an adjacent shell-hole.

Harrison seemed a little peevish, but consented to try again. The rope tautened, and there was a sharp crack from below.

"'Old on," cried the prisoner sharply, "me braces is bust."

"Can't think o' braces now," grunted my burly sergeant. "Heave-ho, lads, up she comes!"

Harrison was pulled clean out of his nether garments, cursing bitterly as the wind caught his bare legs, and hung suspended between earth and water, amid ribald comments from above.

One more pull would do it. But at that moment Fritz, apparently feeling that we weren't taking his war seriously enough, opened up with a machine-gun. The rescue party dropped the rope and rolled heavily into the shell-hole, and the sorely tried Harrison found himself back again, but face downwards this time, and held by his arms up to the elbows.

We could hear horrible language, and after a moment, all being quiet, I crawled to the edge and looked over. His last struggle had split Harrison's tunic and pulled it clean off his back; and now, with his shirt-tail trailing dismally in the Ooze, he was making the best of his own way to the dressing-station, ungratefully consigning his gallant rescuers to complete and lasting perdition as he went.

* * * * *

* * * * *


Jim Startin was not loved at school; We thought him rather knave than fool. Migrating thence to Oxford, he Failed to secure a pass degree. Years sped—some twenty—ere again Jim Startin swam into my ken. I met him strolling down the Strand Well-dressed, well-nourished, sleek and bland, A high-class journalistic swell— The Headline Expert of The Yell. Great at the art, in peaceful days, Of finding means our scalps to raise, The War had since revealed in him A super-Transatlantic vim, And day by day his paper's bills Gave us fresh epileptic thrills. The sons of Belial, in the rhyme Of DRYDEN, had a glorious time, But never managed to attain To Jim's success in giving pain. But while his power was at its height It perished in a single night; For, with his bills by law abolished, Jim's occupation was demolished; Headlines that can't be blazed abroad On bills and posters are a fraud; They cease to titillate the mob Or draw the pennies from its fob, So Jim was "fired" and lost his job.

* * * * *

* * * * *

"More to the west the British marked fresh progress south of Achiet-le-Petit, where their lines were advanced on a front of 2 kilometres (1-1/4 miles). Finally the Germans fell back for the length of 2 kilometres (5/8 mile) between Essarts and Gommecourt."—The Evening News.

The road home always seems shorter.

* * * * *

"The enemy went at the moment when he left because he was shelled out."—Daily Mail.

Of course he might have had a different motive if he had gone the moment after he left.

* * * * *

"She was wearing a three-quarter red coat with glass buttons to match a heavy blue skirt with low neck."

We never have approved of these decolletes skirts.

* * * * *

* * * * *


"I feel regular down this morning, Sir," said Private Thomas Weeks, as I seated myself beside his bed; "regular down, I do."

It was such a very unusual greeting from this source that I said anxiously, "Not the leg gone wrong?"

"No, the old leg's fine. It's the stopping of the imports." He indicated the morning paper which he had just laid aside. "It's just about bust up my old business."

I took the paper and glanced down the list of prohibited articles. Clocks and parts thereof, perfumery, and quails (live) caught my eye. I didn't think it could be any of these.

"What was your business?" I asked.

"Fruit merchant, Sir. Barrow trade, you understand. 'Awker, some calls it. But it don't much matter now what it's called, 'cos it's bust up."

"Not quite bust up, is it?" I said. "Only a bit cut down for a time."

"That may be," he said, "but I got a strong affection for the trade, Sir, a very strong affection, and I can't 'elp feeling it. Why, rightly speaking, it was the fruit trade what got me my D.C.M."

"Did it though? How was that?"

"Well, it was like this. I bin callin' fruit a good many years. I could call fruit with anyone. When I calls ''Oo sez a blood orange?' at Kennington Lane, you could 'ear it pretty well as far as New Cross. Same with ''Ave a banana?' If you're to do the trade you must make the people 'ear. It ain't no good bein' like them chaps what stands in the gutter and whispers, 'Umberella ring a penny,' to their boots."

"But what about the D.C.M.?"

"I'm comin' to it, Sir. You see, I got it in connection with a little bit o' work Trones Wood way. Through various circs, fault o' nobody really, me and Sam Corney found ourselves alone alongside a dug-out full o' Bosches. If we'd 'ad a few bombs we'd 'a' bin all right, but we 'adn't. I sez to Sam, 'We must scare 'em,' I sez, and I shouts, ''Oo says a blood orange?' at the top o' my voice into the dug-out, which was dark, of course, and I stands in the doorway with my bayonet ready. I can't say what they mistook it for. Crack o' doom, Sam sez. But eight come out o' that dug-out with their 'ands up. I sent Sam off 'ome with 'em, though they'd 'a' gone with no escort at all, I reckon, bein' sort o' stunned. And I went on down the trench.

"At the turn there was another dug-out. ''Ave a banana?' I yells, and out come ten of 'em, cryin' for mercy. I took 'em back to what we calls Petticoat Lane and 'ands 'em over and come up again. But I didn't get no more barrow-work that day, and my D.C.M. was for them prisoners right enough. So now you see what I feels like about the fruit business. It's like an old pal bein' done in."

"I shouldn't worry too much about it," I said. "You've each had a bit of a knock-out; but you'll soon be on your legs again, and so will your barrow, and going strong, both of you."

* * * * *


[Dr. GEORG BIEDENKAPP, writing in the Muenchner Neueste Nachrichten, says that if you examine any famous "Englishman" you find that he really comes from Scotland, to which country he assigns a place with Suabia, Thuringia, and the Hartz Mountains as "a cradle of Kultur and a fountain of first-class genius."]

Man Sandy, here's a German Hun Wha thinks he's on a track That nane hae trodden, having fun' A new an' stairtlin' fac'; A' English thocht he doots is nocht, An' English ways are henious, But ah, says he, in Scotland see The hame o' first-class genius.

New? Why, my feyther kent it fine, An', Sandy, I'll be sworn The knowledge o' the fac' was mine Or ever I was born; If there be ane wad daur maintain The truth is still to settle, I haena met the madman yet In bonny braw Kingskettle.

Ay, yon's a truth that's kent fu' weel In ilka but an' ben; But I could teach the German chiel A truth he doesna ken; Gin ye would find the hame o' mind An' intellectual life, man, Ye needna look far frae the Nook, The bonny Nook o' Fife, man.

Whaur did our good EX-PREMIER go Whene'er he wished to swank? To Lunnon? Edinburgh? No! He cam' to Ladybank; Nae doot he thocht if there was ocht Would put him on his mettle 'Twas meetin' men o' brain, ye ken, Like us frae auld Kingskettle.

Fleet Street is fu' o' Fifers tae; The Cockneys want the views O' men like JOCK MCFARLANE frae The Crail and Cupar News; For if a chiel can write sae weel That you an' me will read him, Why, man, withoot a shade o' doot Lunnon is sure to need him.

Then tak' the Army. What d'ye see? Wha's chief? Nae need to tell That DOUGLAS HAIG is prood to be A Fifer like mesel'; An' weel he may, for truth to say There's something aye aboot us: In ilka trade they want oor aid— They canna win withoot us.

* * * * *

Wedding Fashions, B.C.

"The bridesmaid was attired in pink carnations."—"Daily Colonist," Victoria, British Columbia.

* * * * *

* * * * *


Jim and me could never 'ave got through the six weeks we was billeted with Mrs. Sweedle if we 'adn't been 'ardened by Mrs. Larkins in the way I 'ave described.

Mrs. Sweedle were a widow woman with a big family, besides a aged father and a brother who suffered with fits. The billetin' orficer was afraid she wouldn't he able to take us in, but Mrs. Sweedle was willin' and eager.

"Bless their hearts, that I will," she said; "it shall never be said I turned a soldier from my door. Nobody knows better than I do what soldiers is in an 'ouse. Always merry and bright and ready to put their 'ands to anything when a poor woman's work's never done and she's delicate and liable to the sick-'eadache in the mornin's. There's the week's clothes to go through the wringer, but I know what soldiers is for a wringer; they can't leave it alone. And if I 'appens to overlay meself I know there's no cause to worry about Grandfer's cup o' tea, nor yet Bobby and Tom and Albert gettin' off to school tidy. Like as not they'll do me more credit than if I washed 'em meself; there's nobody like a soldier for puttin' a polish on children."

Mrs. Sweedle overlaid herself the very first mornin', and sent word by Albert if we would be so kind as make her a cup o' tea when we was makin' Grandfer's it might save her a doctor; and the wood for the fire was out in the yard, and she knew, bein' soldiers, we should chop her a barrer-load while we was about it; and when she crawled downstairs presently the breakfast things would be washed and put away, as was the 'abit of soldiers, and very likely the pertaters peeled for dinner.

It bein' a strange 'ouse and we not knowin' where to put our 'ands on anythin', and, when we'd got the kettle to boil, not bein' able to let it out of our sight owin' to the youngest little Sweedle wantin' to drink out of the spout, Jim and me was regler drove. We was as near late for parade as we 'ave ever been in our lives. Mrs. Sweedle was very upset. "I know what soldiers is for punctuality," she said, "a minute late and they're court-martialled. How would it be if you was to lay the fire over-night and scrub over the floor? It 'ud save ye a lot in the mornin', if so be I'm forced to keep me bed."

We done as she advised, and it were fortunate. She 'ad another sick-'eadache the next day, and sent word by Albert would we be so good as bake her a mouthful of toast; she knew what soldiers' toast was like, it give ye a appetite to look at it, thin and crisp, with the butter laid on smooth as cream and cut in fingers.

We never run no risk after that. 'Owever dog-tired we was and 'owever Mrs. Sweedle seemed in 'ealth we always got the work forward over-night, and when we could catch 'old of Bobby and Tom and Albert we washed 'em to save time in the mornin' and parted their 'air.

One day Mrs. Sweedle were well enough to get up. "I know who's goin' to 'ave a treat now," she said. Our 'arts leapt. We did 'ope she might be goin' to say we was to sit down to our breakfasts.

"Grandfer's goin' to be shaved, and not 'ave to pay tuppence out of 'is poor pension," she said. "There's nobody can shave like a soldier." And when Jim 'ad got the old man by the nose she said to me, "I can see what you want to be at, shakin' these mats with your strong arm and savin' me comin' on giddy."

It were very 'ard at first, but after a bit Jim and me got into the work at Mrs. Sweedle's and was just able to get through with it, except the mornin' her brother 'ad a fit when we was racin' to finish the washin'-up. That fair broke our backs. We 'ad a sort of seizure on parade and 'ad to fall out till we got our breaths back.

* * * * *


Give ear to my words and you shall hear The song of the British Volunteer, Who started out when the War began As a middle-aged mostly grey-haired man. Too old to be sent to join the dance Of the doughty fellows who fought in France, He refused to go on the dusty shelf, And he set to work and he bought himself A spirited grey-green uniform, With a cap to match and a British warm, And he took his fill Of the latest drill; But somehow they didn't seem to prize him Or wish in the least to recognise him.

But now they have let him cast away His excellent clothes of green and grey; They think they can use him, And don't refuse him, And they've dressed him up and they've dressed him down In a regular suit of khaki brown; He has been gazetted And properly vetted As able to march five miles at least, Though he puffs a bit when the speed 's increased; And he can double Without much trouble, And do such deeds as a man must do Who is willing to help to see things through.

* * * * *

A Wholesale Order.

"Lieut-Colonel —— received the K.C.B. and other decorations, including C.M.G.s, D.S.O.s, Military Crosses, and Royal Red Crosses."—Evening Standard.

* * * * *

From "Paris Theatrical Notes":—

"The programme for to-day at the Opera compromises 'Samson et Dalila.'"—Continental Daily Mail.

It sounds a little superfluous.

* * * * *


(By Mr. Punch's Staff of Learned Clerks.)

Alfred Lyttelton: An Account of his Life, by EDITH LYTTELTON (LONGMANS), is a most fascinating book. Mrs. ALFRED LYTTELTON might perhaps have contented herself with writing a formal biography of her husband. It would have been difficult for her, but she might, as I say, have done it. Instead of this she takes her readers by the hand in the friendliest manner and admits them with her into the heart and soul of the man with whom she was for twenty years associated. She shows him as what he was, a noble and upright English gentleman, straightforward and tender-hearted, and beloved in a quite exceptional measure by all who were privileged to be his friends. I can only be grateful to Mrs. LYTTELTON for having interpreted her duty in this manner, and for having carried it out with so sure a hand. As I read her pages I saw again in my mind's eye the loose-limbed, curly-headed young son of Anak as he swung down Jesus Lane, Cambridge, or as he witched the world with noble cricketing at Fenner's or at Lord's. It is good to be able to remember him. His Eton tutor described him as being "like a running stream with the sun on it," and there was, indeed, a charm about him that was irresistible. Mrs. LYTTELTON devotes a beautiful chapter to the memory of ALFRED'S first wife, LAURA, who died after one short year of happiness. "She was a flame," says Mrs. LYTTELTON, "beautiful, dancing, ardent, leaping up from the earth in joyous rapture, touching everyone with fire as she passed. The wind of life was too fierce for such a spirit—she could not live in it. Surely it was Love that gathered her." I have only one little bone to pick, and that not with Mrs. LYTTELTON, but with Lord MIDLETON, who in a page or two of reminiscences describes as one of ALFRED'S triumphs at the Bar his appearance as counsel for the Warden of Morton, Mr. GEORGE BRODRICK. The Warden, having said something offensive about Mr. DILLON, was hailed before the Parnell Commission for contempt of court. ALFRED put in an affidavit by the Warden, in which the whole thing was said to be a joke, and in his speech he chaffed Mr. REID (now Lord LOREBURN), who was counsel for Mr. DILLON, for being a Scotsman, with a natural incapacity for seeing a joke. So far Lord MIDLETON; but he omits Mr. REID'S crushing retort. "Even a Scotsman," said Mr. REID, "may be pardoned for not seeing a joke which has to be certified by affidavit."

* * * * *

Mr. JEFFERY E. JEFFERY has been playing cheerful tricks on the British public. We must forgive him, because he has for a long time been doing far worse than that to the Huns; but it is undeniable that in following the winding trail of his beloved guns we are in no small danger of losing our sense of direction. This is because along with imaginary tales, some of them written before August, 1914, when of course he could not fix precisely the chronology and locality of his fights, he has mixed almost indiscriminately the record of his own actual experiences during two distinct phases of the War. Not until the last page does he abandon the jest to explain—with something of a school-boy grin—just where fact and fiction meet, and so enable me to recover from my bewilderment and pass on a word of warning. Once on your guard, however, you will find his story of the Servants of the Guns (SMITH, ELDER), and more especially the first half of it (dealing, in diary form, with his recent adventures as an officer of Artillery—he does not state his present rank), as vivid and real as anything of the sort you have seen. Field-gun warfare of to-day—mathematics, telephones and mud—with little more of old-time dash and jingle than the hope that some to-morrow may revive them in the Great Pursuit—this is his theme; and above all the loyalty of the gunner to his guns. Even the story-book part in the middle of the volume speaks of this finely and movingly; but here and there amongst his personal experiences comes a passage less consciously composed that tells it even better in the bareness of a great simplicity.

* * * * *

Mr. J.D. BERESFORD'S new story, House-Mates (CASSELL), might be regarded as an awful warning to young gentlemen seeking bachelor-apartments. Because, if the hero had been a little more careful about his fellow-lodgers at No. 73 Keppel Street, he would not, in the first place, have been defrauded of a large sum of money, or, in the second, have been involved in a peculiarly revolting murder. (The special hatefulness of this murder strikes me as rather superfluous. But this by the way.) On the other hand, of course, he would never have married the heroine, and we should have missed a very agreeable study of expanding adolescence. This, I take it, is the real motive of Mr. BERESFORD'S story, as exemplified by his pleasant introductory metaphor of the chicken and the egg. From the feminine point of view, indeed, the tale might be not inaptly labelled "Treatise on Cub-hunting." Anyhow, what with strange actresses and I.D.B. criminals and painted ladies and reviewers (they were a queer lot at No. 73!) the hero completes his tenancy with enough experience of life, chiefly on its shadowy side, to last him for some time. An original and rather appealing story, told with a good deal of charm.

* * * * *

I was waiting for it, and now, behold, it has come. In The Shining Heights (MILLS AND BOON) the War is over and we have to do with some of the results of it. Unfortunately Miss I.A.R. WYLIE is very chary about dates, and she is not encouraging about the changes which most of us hope will come with peace. "Social conditions indeed," she writes, "had scarcely moved. Universal brotherhood was not ... and, for the vast majority of men and women it had been easiest to go back to the old work, the old pleasure, the old love and the old hate." Well, I don't know much about universal brotherhood, but for the rest I sincerely hope that these gloomy prognostications are wrong. As for the story, laid in the Delectable Duchy, no one needs to be told that Miss WYLIE is a novelist of considerable power and capacity, and here she has chosen a theme of very real interest. It is the rivalry of two men, one of whom had returned from the War with wounds and a V.C., while the other had never taken part in it because he believed (with justification) that he was on the point of making a discovery of value to humanity. The story is well constructed and well told, but I am beginning to think that it is time for Cornwall to be declared a prohibited area for all novelists except Mr. CHARLES MARRIOTT and "Q."

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Yet more theatrical recollections. The latest volume of them is My Remembrances (CASSELL), in which Mr. EDWARD H. SOTHERN recounts, with the pleasant humour to be expected from him, what he quaintly (and quite unjustifiably) calls "The Melancholy Tale of Me." One has heard that Mr. SOTHERN, now that he has retired from the stage, proposes to live in England; the book explains such an intention by its evidence of the writer's intense love for this country. Naturally he has a rich stock of good stories, amongst which I was delighted to welcome yet once again that old favourite about the departing spectator who, on being told that two Acts remained to be performed, said briefly, "That's why I'm going!" Newer (to me) was the Dundreary tale that told how the elder SOTHERN'S triumph was actually the result of JEFFERSON'S partiality for horse-exercise. The connection I leave you to find out. Like all volumes of its kind, My Remembrances abounds in photographs. At times, indeed, you may be tempted to consider that the domain of the family portrait album has been too largely usurped. But there is even about this a friendliness which, coupled with the brisk style of its writing, will give the book a popularity as wide as that of its author.

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We all know that Mr. WILLIAM CAINE has a gay humour, and he indulges it liberally, sometimes rollickingly, in The Fan. With a candour which I warmly commend he states conspicuously that most of these stories have appeared before, and he expresses his acknowledgments to various Editors over a widish range—from Macmillan's Magazine to London Opinion, and from The English Review to Answers. It would be an innocent diversion to have to guess which story was written for which Editor. But for whatever public the author caters he is, with only one or two exceptions, out for fun, and he gets it. Some of his stories are pure extravaganzas, but they are written in a style unusually good for this kind, and by a very shrewd observer of human foibles. Messrs. METHUEN tell us that Mr. CAINE "views life from an angle all his own," and although I do not often find myself in agreement with publishers' opinions of their own wares it is to me a right angle.

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Then, as the vulgar have it, the food-hoarders will just have to go and eat coke.


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