Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 156, Feb. 19, 1919
Author: Various
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VOL. 156.

February 19, 1919.


The report that demobilisation will be completed by March 31st is now officially denied. There would appear to be something in the rumour that the Demobilisation Staff have expressed the hope of dying in harness.


It is stated that Woolwich Arsenal is preparing to manufacture ice-cream freezers. People are wondering if it was the weather that gave them this happy thought.


The German ex-Crown Prince is so determined that the Allies shall not place him on trial that he now threatens to commit suicide or die in the attempt.


"There are things we want to get rid of," says "BACK BENCHER" in The Daily Mail. The rumour that Sir FREDERICK BANBURY, M.P., has already demanded an apology is unconfirmed.


Soldier-golfers, says a sporting writer, are already urging the introduction of fresh features into the game. A new method of addressing the ball, introduced from Mesopotamia, is said to be most efficacious.


With reference to the North of England man who has decided not to strike, we now learn that he happens to be out of work just at present.


ISAAC DENBIGH, of Chicago, is, we are told, one-hundred-and-thirteen years of age. He must try again. We expect better things than this from America.


Statesmen, says Sir WILLIAM ORPEN, A.R.A., are poor sitters. The impulse to rush out and cackle has probably something to do with it.


It is said that a soldier in the Lancashire Fusiliers decided, on being demobilised, to accept a standard civilian suit instead of the usual gratuity. The Sergeant-Major in charge of the case lies in a critical condition.


Sand-gleaners at Ramsgate are making money from bags of sugar washed ashore. This answers the oft-propounded question, "How do grocers spend their week-ends?"


Another hold-up by American soldiers has occurred in Liverpool. In view of the magnitude of our debt to the United States it is felt that this method of collecting it in instalments is bound to prove unsatisfactory.


"Humour and love," says a contemporary, "are what will pay the average writer best at the moment." It is not known whether Labour or the Peace Conference has done most to send up the price of these luxuries.


Officials of the Waiters' Union are perturbed over the rumour that restaurant habitues are preparing to strike in favour of a fifty per cent. reduction in tips.


Several of our leading magistrates declare that unless some High Court judge asks, "What is beer?" they will be compelled to do it themselves.


A St. Bernard dog belonging to a New York hotel-keeper perished after swallowing a bundle of dollar notes. It is said that the deceased died worth sixty-five pounds.


One explanation for the many daylight robberies committed recently in London is that several of our better-class burglars object to breaking into people's houses like thieves in the night.


Because a Highgate lodger refused to pay his rent, the landlady wrote asking his wife to come and fetch him away. If he is not claimed in three days he will be sold to defray expenses.


Only a person with a perfectly healthy skin, says a contemporary, can afford to face the keen winds without taking precaution. If you have any doubts about your skin the best thing is to leave it at home on the hat-rack.


At a football match at South Hindley last week the referee was struck in the mouth and severely injured by one of the backs, after ordering three other players off the field for fighting. This, we understand, was one of the first fixtures to be brought off under the auspices of the Brighter Football League.


The L.C.C. are said to be formulating a plan to meet the rush for trains on the Underground. Personally we always try to avoid it.


A medical journal refers to a new method of raising blisters by hypnotic suggestion. This is said to be an improvement on the old East End system of developing black eyes by back-answering.


A defendant told the Tower Bridge magistrate that he only took whisky when he had a cold. It must be hard work for him to resist sitting by an open window this weather.


A gold vase, said to have been stolen from Assyria 2478 years ago, has just been found in a sarcophagus at Cairo. We understand that the local police have been instructed to take action.


The typist who, as reported in these columns last week, fell out of a moving train on the Isle of Wight Railway and had quite a lot to say to the guard when she overtook the train, is now understood to have been told she could keep on walking if she liked. However, as her people were not expecting her until the train arrived, she again entered the carriage from which she had fallen.


Russian soldiers are now permitted to smoke in the streets and to travel in railway carriages. Later on it is hoped that the privilege of dying a natural death may be extended to them.

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Once more on Barnwell's fetid ooze, Neglected these long years of slaughter, In stolid tubs the Lenten crews Go forth to flog the same old water.

Fresh from the Somme's resilient phase, From Flanders slime and bomb-proof burrows, Much as we did in ancient days They smite the Cam's repellent furrows.

Their coaches sit the old, old gees, But with a manner something larger, As warriors who between their knees Have learned to steer the bounding charger.

Unchanged their language, rude and firm, Save where a khaki note is sounded, And here and there a towpath term With military tags confounded.

"Get forward! Are you ready? Quick— March!" "Get a move on! Keep it breezy!" "Two, mind the step!" "Swing out and kick!" "Halt! Sit at—ease! Ground—oars! Sit easy!"

"The dressing's bad all down the line." "Eyes on your front rank's shoulders, Seven! Don't watch the Cam—it's not the Rhine— Or gaze for Gothas up in heaven!"

"I want to hear your rowlocks ring Like a good volley, all together." "Hands up (or 'Kamerad') as you swing Straight from the hips. Don't sky your feather,

As if I'd given the word, 'High Port'!" "Five, I admit your martial charms, Sir, But now you're on a rowing-thwart, So use your legs and not your arms, Sir!"

"Six, you've a rotten seat, my son; Don't trust your stirrups; grip the saddle!" "Squad—properly at ease! Squad—'shun! Get forward! By the centre—paddle!"


* * * * *


The auctioneer glanced at his book. "Number 29," he said, "black mare, aged, blind in near eye, otherwise sound."

The cold rain and the biting north-east wind did not add to the appearance of Number 29, as she stood, dejected, listless, with head drooping, in the centre of the farmers and horse-dealers who were attending the sale of cast Army horses. She looked as though she realised that her day had waned, and that the bright steel work, the soft well-greased leather, the snowy head-rope and the shining curb were to be put aside for less noble trappings.

She had a curiously shaped white blaze, and I think it was that, added to the description of her blindness, which stirred my memory within me. I closed my eyes for a second and it all came back to me, the gun stuck in the mud, the men straining at the wheels, the shells bursting, the reek of high explosive, the two leaders lying dead on the road, and, above all, two gallant horses doing the work of four and pulling till you'd think their hearts would burst.

I stepped forward and, looking closer at the mare's neck, found what I had expected, a great scar. That settled it. I approached the auctioneer and asked permission to speak to the crowd for a few moments.

"Well," said he, "I'm supposed to do the talking here, you know."

"It won't do you any harm," I pleaded, "and it will give me a chance to pay off a big debt."

"Right," he said, smiling; "carry on."

"Gentlemen," I said, "about this time a year ago I was commanding a battery in France. It was during the bad days, and we were falling back with the Hun pressing hard upon us. My guns had been firing all the morning from a sunken road, when we got orders to limber up and get back to a rear position. We hadn't had a bad time till then, a few odd shells, but nothing that was meant especially for our benefit. And then, just as we were getting away, they spotted us, and a battery opened on us good and strong. By a mixture of good luck and great effort we'd got all the guns away but one, when a shell landed just in front of the leaders and knocked them both out with their driver; at the same time the gun was jerked off the road into a muddy ditch. Almost simultaneously another shell killed one of the wheelers, and there we were with one horse left to get the gun out of the ditch and along a road that was almost as bad as the ditch itself.

"It looked hopeless, and it was on the tip of my tongue to give orders to abandon the gun, when suddenly out of the blue there appeared on the bank above us a horse, looking unconcernedly down at us.

"In those days loose horses were straying all over the country, and I took this to be one from another battery which had come to us for company.

"I turned to one of the men. 'Catch that mare quick.'

"In a few minutes we had the harness off the dead wheeler and on the new-comer. Pull? Gentlemen, if you could have seen those two horses pull!

"We'd just got a move on the gun when another shell came and seemed to burst right on top of the strange mare. I heard a terrified squeal, and through the smoke I saw her stagger and with a mighty effort recover herself. I ran round and saw she'd been badly hit over the eye and had a great tearing gash in the neck. We never thought she could go on, but she pulled away just the same, with the blood pouring off her, till finally we got the gun out and down the road to safety.

"I got knocked out a few minutes later, and from that day to this I've often wondered what had happened to the mare that had served us so gallantly. I know now. There she stands before you. I'd know her out of a thousand by the white blaze; and if there was a doubt there's her blind eye and the scar on her neck.

"That's all, gentlemen; but I'm going to ask the man who buys her to remember her story and to see that her last days are not too hard."

She fell at a good price to a splendid type of West Country farmer, and the auctioneer whispered to me, "I'm glad old Carey's got her. There's not a man in the county keeps his horses better."

"Old Carey" came up to me as we were moving off. "I had a son in France," he said, "in the gunners, too, but he hadn't the luck of the old mare"—he hesitated a moment and his old eyes looked steadily into mine—"for he'll never come back. The mare'll be all right, Sir," he went on as he walked off, "easy work and full rations. I reckon she's earned them."

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"The bride was given away by her grandfather who was dressed in Liberty satin in empire style, with hanging sleeves of chiffon."—Provincial Paper.

He must have looked a sweet old dear.

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The Colonel of our Reserve Battalion has an almost unique reputation as an angler. Scattered elements of the regiment carry his piscatorial heroics to obscure corners of the earth. Majors on the Pushti Kuli range recount the episode of the ingenuous troutling which, having apparently conceived a violent passion for the Colonel, literally forced itself upon the hook seven times within a short afternoon. Captains on the Sultanitza Planina rehearse the epic incidents of how the Colonel snatched victory from defeat after pursuing for three miles an infuriated pike which had wrenched the very rod from his grasp. Subalterns in the chill wilds of Cologne, adding picturesque details to an already artistic story, relate how he hooked a mighty veteran carp near Windsor, and played it for nine full hours (with a rest of ten minutes after the first, and five after each successive hour); how, under a full moon, he eventually grounded it on the Blackfriars' mud and beached it with a last effort; how they lay panting side by side for a space, and how, finally, with the courtesy due to an honourable foe from a gallant victor, he forced neat brandy down its throat and returned it to its domain in a slightly inebriated but wholly grateful condition.

Consequently the Colonel's announcement that in view of the armistice he intended to spend three days in fishing the waters of a friend's estate was received by the Mess with lively satisfaction. An overwhelming fish diet was deprecated, but it was generally held that the honour of the regiment was in some way involved, and the Major felt it his duty to escort his senior officer on an expedition of such gravity.

It transpired that the first day was unfortunate. The Colonel was silently impolite throughout Mess and retired immediately afterwards. The Major explained that the conditions had been adverse. The punt leaked at the end depressed by the Colonel and the ground-bait had been left behind. The wind was fierce and cutting, and the brandlings had been upset into the luncheon-basket. In addition the Colonel's reel had escaped into the river and had declined to give itself up until the whole length of line had been hauled in; and, in leaning over the side to reclaim it, his gold fountain-pen had vanished. Five hooks had failed to return from the deep and two were left suspended from inaccessible branches; Also in the Major's opinion there was not a single fish in the river.

By breakfast the Colonel had regained his spirits. He commented on the lack of support given him by the Major, and in his place invited the Adjutant on the ground that he was probably less clumsy. He remarked that the offensive had not yet opened and that the previous day had been mainly devoted to a thorough reconnaissance of the whole sector. He had reason to believe that the enemy was present in considerable force.

The second day proved equally unfortunate. The Colonel took his dinner in private, and the Mess orderly, who had dismally cut the two of clubs in the kitchen, returned from his ministrations a complete nervous wreck. The Adjutant explained that misfortune had followed misfortune. They had barely settled down midstream, and he was in the act of extracting a hook from the Colonel's finger with his jack-knife, when the punt broke from its moorings and carried them half-a-mile downstream. It was uncanny how the craft had contrived to navigate four bends without giving an opportunity of landing. In the afternoon they had fished from the bank, and the Colonel had fallen asleep while the Adjutant mounted guard. The Adjutant protested that it was not his fault that the float suddenly disappeared, or that the Colonel, on being vigorously awakened by him, struck so violently at what proved to be a dead branch that he lost his footing and tobogganned heavily into the river, and was compelled to waste three hours in the neighbouring hostelry taking precautions against a chill.

At breakfast next morning the Colonel intimated that on this his last day he would go unaccompanied. With one eye on the Major and the other on the Adjutant, he passed a few remarks on the finesse of fishing. The element of surprise should be the basis of attack. Precision and absolute secrecy in the carrying out of preliminary operations was vital. Every trick and every device of camouflage should be brought into play. There should be no violent preliminary bombardment of ground-bait to alarm the hostile forces, but the sector should be unostentatiously registered on the preceding night. The enemy's first realisation of attack should be at that moment when resistance was futile—though for his part he preferred a foe that would fight to the fish-basket, as it were. He thought the weather was vastly improved and admitted that his hopes were high.

In the evening the Colonel positively swaggered into Mess. He radiated good fellowship and even bandied witticisms with the junior subaltern in an admirable spirit of give-and-take. He had enjoyed excellent sport. Later, in the ante-room, he delivered a useful little homily on the surmounting of obstacles, on patience, on presence of mind and on nerve, copiously illustrated from a day's triumph that will resound on the Murman coast as the unconditional surrender of the intimidated roach. He described how he had cunningly outmanoeuvred the patrols, defeated the vigilance of the pickets, pierced the line of resistance, launched a surprise attack on the main body, and spread panic in the hearts of the hostile legions.

Unhappily for us, common decency, he said, had forced him to present his catch to his friend.

* * * * *

"Wanted, to kill time whilst waiting demobilisation, an old gun, rifle, or pistol."—Morning Paper.

Now we know why Time flies.

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It was called Greatheart; or, Samuel's Sentimental Side; and I think you will agree that it was a lot of title for twopence. Day after day, as I fumbled among the old books in the Twopenny Bin of the little secondhand bookseller's shop, that volume would wriggle itself forward and worm its way into my hands; and I would clench my teeth and thrust it to the remotest depths of the box.

Then it haunted me. All day in my room I could hear Greatheart; or, Samuel's Sentimental Side calling out to me, "How would you like to be in the Twopenny Bin?"

I began to grow sentimental myself, and to handle those unconsidered trifles with tenderness. For you never know; I might be in the Twopenny Bin myself someday; might be picked up, just glanced at and shifted back into the corner out of sight.

Yesterday Greatheart again found himself in my hands, and I looked to see the date of his entry upon the world. I reflected on his sixty years of life, on the many happy fireside hours that had been spent in his company, on the gentle solace he had furnished to lesser hearts.

I had decided what to do. There were few people about; the bookseller was not looking, and, if offence it was, well, I could fall back on the mercy of those who would judge.

I leaned forward and tenderly deposited him in the Fourpenny Bin.

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["Georgina," the largest of the giant tortoises at the Zoo, has died. She was believed to be about two hundred and fifty years old.]

Winds blow cold and the rain, Georgina, Beats and gurgles on roof and pane; Over the Gardens that once were green a Shadow stoops and is gone again; Only a sob in the wild swine's squeal, Only the bark of the plunging seal, Only the laugh of the striped hyaena Muffled with poignant pain.

Long ago, in the mad glad May days, Woo'd I one who was with us still; Bade him wake to the world's blithe heydays, Leap in joyance and eat his fill; Sang I, sweet as the bright-billed ousel, a Paean of praise for thy pal, Methuselah. Ah! he too in the Winter's grey days Died of the usual chill.

He was old when the Reaper beckoned, Ripe for the paying of Nature's debt; Forty score—if he'd lived a second— Years had flown, but he lingered yet; But you had gladdened this vale of tears For a bare two hundred and fifty years; You, Georgina, we always reckoned One of the younger set.

Winter's cold and the influenza Wreaked and ravaged the ranks among; Bills that babbled a gay cadenza, Snouts that snuffled and claws that clung— Now they whistle and root and run In Happy Valleys beyond the sun; Never back to the ponds and pens a Sigh of regret is flung.

Flaming parrots and pink flamingoes, Birds of Paradise, frail as fair; Monkeys talking a hundred lingoes, Ring-tailed lemur and Polar bear— Somehow our grief was not profound When they passed to the Happy Hunting Ground; Deer and ducks and yellow dog dingoes Croaked, but we did not care.

But you—ah, you were our pride, our treasure, Care-free child of a kingly race. Undemonstrative? Yes, in a measure, But every movement replete with grace. Whiles we mocked at the monkeys' tricks Or pored apart on the apteryx; These could yield but a passing pleasure; Yours was the primal place.

How our little ones' hearts would flutter When your intelligent eye peeped out, Saying as plainly as words could utter, "Hurry up with that Brussels-sprout!" How we chortled with simple joy When you bit that impudent errand-boy; "That'll teach him," we heard you mutter, "Whether I've got the gout."

Fairest, rarest in all the Zoo, you Bound us tight in affection's bond; Now you're gone from the friends that knew you, Wails the whaup in the Waders' Pond; Wails the whaup and the seamews keen a Song of sorrow; but you, Georgina, Frisk for ever where warm winds woo you, There, in the Great Beyond.


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LORD NORTHCLIFFE has recently contributed a remarkably outspoken criticism of Mr. LLOYD GEORGE by way of "send-off" to his latest journal, The New Illustrated. The following extracts from an article about to appear in The Pacific Monthly, kindly communicated to us by wireless, seem to indicate that the PREMIER is indisposed to take it lying down:—

"In a letter recently published without my authority I said that I was unable to control or influence him. This was true at the time and remains true now. Time and again have efforts been made to harness his energies to the State, but they have never succeeded. The responsibilities of office are irksome to his imperious temperament. There is something almost tragic in a figure, equipped with the qualities of an hereditary autocrat, endeavouring to accommodate himself to the needs of a democracy. The spectacle of this purple Emperor of the Press, with his ear constantly glued to the ground, is not wanting in pathos. With him the idols of yesterday are the pet aversions of to-day. He denounces me as 'a political chameleon, taking on the colour of those who at the moment happen to be his associates.' But what are you to say of a man who clamours for a saviour of the situation and then turns him into a cock-shy; of a Napoleon who is continually retiring to Elba when things are not going as he likes; of a politician who claims the privileges but refuses the duties of a Dictator?

"It is obvious that he is still labouring under the hallucination that the War was a duel between him and the KAISER; that he 'downed' his antagonist single-handed, and that the prospects of a stable peace have been shattered by my failure to include him among the British Peace Delegates. So, all in a moment, the 'Welsh Wizard' is converted into the miserable creature of the Tory Junkers—a man without 'high moral courage,' 'wide knowledge' or 'large ideas.'

"Personally I have no illusions about my consistency, but I do think that here I displayed some moral courage, also some unselfish consideration for CLEMENCEAU and WILSON and others. Just think of the panegyrics that would have been showered upon my head in the Press which he controls if he had been invited to the Table!

"But with all deductions he is a man to be reckoned with, if not counted upon. He is a man of large type—almost of "Pica" type. And sometimes he deviates into sound and just criticism; as for example when he says that I 'depend greatly, upon others.' It is true. What is more, I know on whom I can depend; and I have learnt that his support can only be secured on terms which would reduce the PREMIER to the level of one of his minor editors."

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Scottish Paper.

"... Our ship hath touch'd upon The deserts of Bohemia."

The Winter's Tale, III. 3.

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"At the Dogger Bank fight, Lion, the flagship of Sir David Beatty, was crippled. Some people say she was torpedoed, almost miraculously, by a Hun destroyer from five miles' range (which version is probably tripe)."—Scottish Paper.

Like so many things that we read in the Press nowadays.

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Paris, Feb., 1919.

Dearest POPPY,—Que la vie est drole! Who was it said that there are two great tragedies in life—not getting what you want, and getting it? I never understood that saying until now. For instance, when I left London most people I knew seemed to have a feverish desire to get to Paris. They were ready to move heaven, earth and the Ministry of Information to obtain the desired passport. They would go to any lengths to prove how necessary their presence is here during the Peace Conference.

And now I find my countrymen over here longing with an equal feverishness to go home again. Ils s'attristent. Ils s'ennuient. They have nostalgie in its acutest form. It quite goes to my heart to hear the pathetic questions they put to newcomers: "How is London looking? What shows are running now?" And they go on to speak of dear dirty dark London, its beloved fogs, how adorable is the atrocious climate of England, in a way that would bring tears to your eyes. Why don't they go back? you ask, ma chere. It's just because they want to be "in at the death" and say they were here when la paix etait signee.

So these poor exiles continue to sacrifice themselves and drift aimlessly about Paris, making it so full that there's scarcely room for people like myself—who really are on important work here—to breathe.

Imagine! I met Eleanor Dashgood on the Boulevard Haussmann to-day, descending from her car with her two poms yapping at her heels, just as if she were chez elle. I really felt like saying something pointed; but, after all, my only comment was, "My dear, what a strange lot of people one meets in Paris nowadays!"

"Yes, dearest," she said, "that just occurred to me, too." I'm wondering now what the creature meant. Believe me, my dear, that woman has illegally wangled a passport out of the authorities by representing herself as her husband's typist—he's got a diplomatic passport, you know. I inquired if the maid she had brought with her had turned into a typist, too, to say nothing of the poms. The toupet of some people!

And, of course, all this unnecessary rabble is helping to make everything horriblement cher. The price of things makes one's hair stand on end like the quills of the fretful porcupine. I can assure you that le moindre petit diner coute les yeux de la tete. Poor Bobbie Lacklands had a tragic experience yesterday. He said he quite unthinkingly dropped into that most recherche of eating places, Fouquet's, for a snack. With only a modest balance at the bank he ordered a sardine. Then he called for a filet mignon and half-a-pint of vin rouge—he was always a reckless spendthrift sort of boy, you know. A cup of cafe noir and an apple completed his financial ruin.

But he still declares that they were most awfully decent to him about it. They agreed, with scarcely any trouble, to take all the notes and loose silver he had with him on account. They accepted his securities and are now allowing him to pay off the balance gradually.

Paris is beginning to think of dress once more, or I ought to say undress, for with the skirts short and the sleeves short and the bodice low there isn't very much left to write about. I hope these short tight skirts will reach the ankles before they reach England, for I notice the people who have the courage to wear them generally lack the excuse of symmetry.

Figurez-vous! Jenny Bounceley, who considers herself quite a Parisienne now she's got her official carte d'alimentation, appeared the other day in a skirt that resembled the jupe of a gamine. I think it's disgraceful in one of her age and proportions. If she were simply knock-kneed; but, as Bertie says, she's knock-ankled as well.

Votre bien devouee,


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East African Standard.

To judge from the rumours of revolution, this false concord is only too apt.

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"Music was supplied and enjoyed by a local orchestra."—Provincial Paper.

This phenomenon has frequently been observed; the audience meanwhile continuing its conversation.

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"Colonel Sir Rhys Williams, who wore his khaki uniform, moved the Address in reply to the Speech from the Throne....

It was not the glamour of war, Mr. Rhys Williams continued...."—Evening Standard.

It is refreshing to come across a case of really rapid demobilisation.

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"A message from Vienna states that the Emperor Carl intends to be a candidate in the forthcoming elections for the Australian National Assembly."—Australian Paper.

But there is no truth in the rumour that, by way of reprisal, Mr. HUGHES intends to put in for CARL's vacant throne.

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Last night about the country-side The nimble fairies flew, And forests on the latticed pane In quaint devices drew, The grasses standing straight and tall, The ferns with curious frond, And just a peephole left to show The misty world beyond.

The voices of the murmuring streams They silenced one by one, And bound their feet with gleaming chains So they no more could run; They hung the icicles about, And you would laugh to see Just how they flung the diamonds down Upon the whole bare tree; And every little blade of grass A thing of beauty stood, And when they'd finished it was just Like an enchanted wood.

They paused beside the old barn door; A spider's web hung there As fragile as a little dream, As delicate and fair; They decked it with a thousand gems Of oh! such dazzling sheen, It was the very loveliest thing That you have ever seen!

The sun from his soft bed of cloud Came pale and timidly; He knew if he let loose his rays The mischief there would be; He woke the sleeping world to life With finger-tips of gold, And up from meadow, wood and stream The shimmering mists unrolled; He lit the candles of the dawn On every bush and tree; The fairies on their homing wings Looked back and laughed with glee, "We've made a Fairyland for you, O Mortals, wake and see."

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"It is also extremely likely that the Democrats have induced a considerable number of former Centre voters in South Germany to join them."—Christian World.

"Democrats" would seem to be the German equivalent of "Home Rulers."

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Extract from a recent novel:—

"She wore under it a white blouse of thin stuff, snowy white ... the big floppy sleeves gently bellowed in the slight breeze."

It sounds rather a loud dress. Possibly le dernier cri.

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"It is like a red rag to a bull to the 'bus drivers to see those lorries running about picking up members of the public.

We are trying to keep our heads, but our shoulders are bending under the pressure, and presently, I am afraid, we shall collapse and find ourselves in the vortex."—Daily Paper.

We should like to see this situation illustrated. Would some Vorticist oblige?

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In these days of ever-increasing strikes it is suggested, for the convenience of contributors to those magazines which of necessity go to press some time in advance, that they should submit to editors stories with interchangable situations:—

Algernon Aimless rose { lazily } from the breakfast-table { hastily}

at { 9 A.M. } on a dark winter's morning { in order { 7 A.M. } { in preparation

{ to catch the 9.15 to his office in the City. } { for his four-mile trudge to the City (Tube strike). }

The { electric lights gleamed with dazzling brilliance } { solitary candle shed a dismal light (Electricians' strike) }

on the { well-polished } china, silver and table cutlery { neglected }

which { were the joy and pride of the admirable parlourmaid. } { no servants' hands had touched for weeks (Domestic servants' strike). }

{ had glanced casually at his letters. } { had had no letters to read (Postmen's strike). }

As he stood in the { spotlessly kept and charming } hall, { dusty discomfort of the dark }

arranging his { sleek well-brushed brown hair } { long untidy hair (Barbers' strike) } before

putting on his hat, Ermyntrude Aimless { glided } { bounced }

{ gracefully down the staircase, clad in a charming { breathlessly up from the basement, wearing an old

{ negligee of satin and lace. } { over-all above her dressing-gown. }

{ "A handkerchief, dearest," she murmured. "I was afraid { "Your sandwiches, old thing," she gasped. "I believe

you'd forgotten { to take one;" } and she held out in her { about 'em;" }

{ white delicately—manicured hand a silk handkerchief { none-too-clean hand an untidy brown-paper parcel which

{ of palest mauve, exquisitely scented. } { contained his luncheon (Restaurant strike). }

NOTE TO INTENDING AUTHORS.—This is not supposed to be a complete story, but just gives you the idea.

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Oft have I begged the high gods for a boon, That they would bear me from the Flanders slosh Back to a desert not made by the Bosch, The sunny Egypt that I left too soon. O silvery nights beneath an Eastern moon! O shirt-sleeved days! O small infrequent wash! O once again to see the nigger "nosh" The camel, rudely grunting (out of tune)! Loudly I called; the high gods hearkened not Till came the signal and the big guns ceased; But then they brought me to this sea-kissed spot, Heeded my prayer and gave me back at least One of the pleasures that of old I knew, For here once more there's sand within the stew.

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Tuesday, February 11th.—The KING's Speech outlined a programme of legislation which would in the ordinary way occupy two or three Sessions. But the Parliamentary machinery is to be ruthlessly speeded up and "a short cut to the Millennium" is to be discovered by way of the Committee-rooms. Precisians observed with regret that the customary reference in the Speech to "economy" had by some oversight been omitted; and the prospective creation of several additional Departments led Lord CREWE to express apprehension lest the country should be "doped" with new Ministries, to the detriment of the national health.

"Where are they gone, the old familiar faces?" was the question one asked oneself on looking at the crowded benches of the House of Commons. It was said of a Past President of the United States that he was the politest man in America—"he gave up his seat in a street-car and made room for four ladies." The gap made on the Front Opposition Bench by the involuntary retirement of Mr. ASQUITH—to which generous allusion was made by the PRIME MINISTER—is so vast that the joint efforts of Sir DONALD MACLEAN and Mr. ADAMSON to fill it met with only partial success. Unless, by the way, Mr. SPEAKER definitely decides the problem of precedence, it is to be feared that the hoped-for acceleration of business will not occur, for at present each of them thinks it necessary to speak whenever the other does, like the hungry lions on Afric's burning shore. For all their outward politeness I am sure "the first lion thinks the last a bore"; and if they insist on roaring together much longer the House will think it of both of them.

The corner-seat whence Mr. PRINGLE flung his barbed darts at the Government is filled, physically, by Mr. STANTON. Lonely Mr. HOGGE now sits uneasily upon the Front Opposition Bench, but, fearing perhaps lest its dignified traditions should cramp his style, makes frequent visits to the Lobby.

In accordance with ancient custom Sir COURTENAY ILBERT asserted the right of the House to initiate legislation by calling out "Outlawries Bill" in the middle of the SPEAKER's recital of the Sessional Orders. Some of the new Members, I fancy, took the interruption seriously, and thought that this was the outcome of the "Punish the KAISER." movement.

The Mover and Seconder of the Address fully deserved the customary compliments. Col. Sir RHYS WILLIAMS' quiet and effective style explained his success as a picker-up of recruits; while Lt.-Commander DEAN, V.C., though he faced the House with much more trepidation than he did the batteries of Zeebrugge, got well home at the finish.

The lot of a Labour leader just now is not a happy one. Perhaps that accounted for the querulous tone assumed by Mr. ADAMSON, who seemed more concerned with the omissions in the KING's Speech than with its contents. His best sayings were imported from America, but he would have done better to content himself with LINCOLN and abjure BRYAN, whose "cross-of-gold" fustian will not bear repetition.

After Sir DONALD MACLEAN had thoughtfully provided a welcome tea interval the PRIME MINISTER rose to reply to his critics. The accusation that he had forgotten some of his recent promises, such as "No Conscription," "Punish the Kaiser," and "Germany must pay," did not trouble him much. If these election-eggs had hatched out prematurely and the contents were coming home to roost at an inconvenient moment he had no time to attend to them. What the country most needs at the moment is a firm clear statement on the Labour troubles, and that is what it got. So far as those troubles are due to remediable causes they shall be remedied; so far as the demands of Labour are based upon class-greed they shall be fought tooth and nail. There were a few dissentient shouts from the Opposition Benches, but the House as a whole was delighted when the PREMIER in ringing tones declared that "no section, however powerful, will be allowed to hold up the whole nation."

Wednesday, February 12th.—The Lords had a brisk little debate on agriculture. Lord LINCOLNSHIRE paid many compliments to Lord ERNLE for what he had accomplished as Mr. PROTHERO, but could not understand why, having exchanged the green benches for the red, he should have reversed his old policy, "scrapped" the agricultural committees and begun to dispose of his tractors. Lord ERNLE, in the measured tones so suitable to the Upper House, made a good defence of the change. The chief thing wanted now was to "clean the land," where noxious weeds, the Bolshevists of the soil, had been spreading with great rapidity. As for the tractors, the Board thought it a good thing that the farmers should possess their own, but would retain in its own hands enough of them to help farmers who could not help themselves—not a large class, I imagine, with produce at its present prices.

In the Commons an hour was spent in discussing the Government's now customary motion to take all the time of the House. Up got Mr. ADAMSON, to denounce it, now the War was over, as sheer Kaiserism. Up got Sir DONALD MACLEAN to defend it as commonsense, though he induced Mr. BONAR LAW to limit its duration to the end of March. Colonel WEDGWOOD pleaded that private Members might still be allowed to bring in Bills under the Ten Minutes' Rule; but that Parliamentary pundit, Sir F. BANBURY, asserted that there was no such thing in reality as the Ten Minutes' Rule, and pictured the possibility of whole days being swallowed up by a succession of private Members commending their legislative bantlings one after another with the brief explanatory statement permitted on such occasions. Alarmed at the prospect Mr. LAW decided not to admit the thin end of the WEDGWOOD.

The debate on the Address was resumed by Mr. BOTTOMLEY, who had a large audience. During his previous membership, terminated by one of those periodical visits to the Law Courts to which he made humorous reference, he delivered some capital speeches; and it was pleasant to find that the necessity of constantly producing "another powerful article next week" has not caused him to lose his oratorical form. His gestures are slightly reminiscent of the action of the common pump-handle, but his voice is excellent, and his matter has the merit of exactly resembling what our old friend "the Man in the Street" would say in less Parliamentary language, He has no hesitations, for example, on the subject of making Germany pay. By one of those rapid financial calculations for which he is renowned he has arrived at the comfortable figure of ten thousand millions sterling as Britain's little bill; and if you express doubts as to the debtor's capacity to pay he replies that he cannot recall any judge who made an order against him ever prefacing his judgment with an inquiry whether it would be convenient for him to find the money.

Payment in kind is Mr. RONALD McNEILL's prescription. Let Leipzig library replenish the empty shelves of Louvain and the windows of Cologne make good—so far as German glass can do it—the shattered glories of Rheims.

Mr. CLYNES warned the Government against neglecting the legitimate aspirations of Labour, one of which, he had the courage to affirm, was access to more and better beer. He also sought a clear statement of the Government's policy in Russia. This request was repeated by Sir SAMUEL HOARE, who, having spent a year and a half during the War in that distracted country, declared that "we must decide between Bolshevists and anti-Bolshevists." Unfortunately that is exactly what, according to the PRIME MINISTER's reply, we cannot do. The Allies are not prepared to intervene in force; they cannot leave Russia to stew in Her own hell-broth. The proposed Conference is admittedly a pis-aller; and, if it ever meets, no one can feel very hopeful of a tangible result from the deliberations of the Prinkipotentiaries.

Thursday, February 13th.—Labour unrest produced a capital debate, in which Mr. BRACE, Mr. THOMAS and Mr. SEXTON made excellent speeches on the one side, and Major TRYON, Mr. REMER (an employer and a profit-sharer) and Mr. BONAR LAW were equally effective on the other. Brushing aside minor causes the Leader of the House, in his forthright manner, said the root of the matter was that "Labour wants a larger share of the good things which are to be obtained in this world"—not an unreasonable desire, he indicated, but one which would not be permanently realised by strikes directed against the whole community. Mr. SEDDON, of the National Democratic Party, compressed the same argument into an epigram. If the miners' full demands were conceded they would have "an El Dorado for one minute and disaster the next."

* * * * *


I was earlier than usual that morning, which was bad luck, as I heard Fitz-Jones click his gate behind me and thud after me in his snow-boots. Fitz-Jones and I had a little disagreement, not long ago, about the sole possession of a servant-maid. Since then there has been a coolness. Curiously enough, the hideous frost that raged at the moment (the thermometer stood at twenty-five degrees in the henhouse) seemed to thaw Fitz-Jones. And I knew why.

Last summer Fitz-Jones had spent four torrid days with the thermometer at 75 degrees, winding up his pipes in straw "against" the winter. I had seen his purple face as I hammocked it with an iced drink. He had seen and heard me laugh.

"Ah," he croaked, "you may laugh on the other side of the hedge now, but you'll laugh on the other side of your face later."

So now I knew that he was thudding after me in the snow, bursting to hear that my pipes had burst or were about to burst.

"Hallo, Browne," he began, "how'd you like this?"

"Oh, all right," I said airily. Here I did a wonderful step. Slide on the right heel—hesitation shuffle on the left toe—two half slips sideways. Wave both arms—backward bend. Recover. Jazz—tangle—tickle-toe was nothing to it.

"Slippery, isn't it?" he said. "My flannel was frozen to the wash-stand to-day—had to get it off with a chisel."

I was prepared for these travellers' tales. I knew he was leading up to water-pipes.

"Couldn't get my cold tub," he went on; "frozen solid overnight."

I had heard of this cold tub before. "My tooth-brush froze on to my teeth," I capped him; "the teapot spout was hung with icicles, and the cat's tongue froze on to the milk when it was drinking."

"How about your pipes?" he began, "Who was right about wrapping?"

"Rapping," I said in well-feigned innocence—"rapping? Who rapped? Rapped on what?"

That set him going.

I gathered when we reached the station there was a strike on. But we found a milk-lorry travelling our way. So Smith had the entire use of my right ear into which to say, "I told you so," for an hour, while we travelled to the spot on which we win our bread. He had dragged from me the fact that our hot-water tap had also struck. The milk cans clattered. Smith chattered. So did my teeth.

When I got home that night our house seemed to be more handsomely garnished with icicles than any other house I had seen that day.

"Keep the home fires burning!" I said to my wife on entering. "If need be, burn the banisters and the bills and my boot-trees and everything else beginning with a 'b.' Keep us thawed and unburst, or Fitz-Jones will feel he has scored a moral victory; he will strut cross-gartered, with yellow stockings, for the rest of his days."

"I don't know what you are talking about," said Evangeline, "but Christabel and I" (Christabel is our general-in-command) "have been cosseting those pipes all day. Been giving them glasses of hot water and dressing them up in all our clothes. The bath-pipe is wearing my new furs and your pyjamas, and I've put your golf stockings on the geyser-pipe. I expect they'll all blow up. Come and look at the hot-water cistern."

The cistern looked dressy in Evangeline's fur coat. I added my silk hat to the geyser's cosy costume and a pair of boots on the bath-taps. But I was told not to be silly, so took them off again.

I suggested that the geyser should go to a fancy-dress ball as "The Winter of our Discontent," but was again told not to be silly.

Two days elapsed. The frost held. Then something happened. Fitz-Jones's lady-help came round at 7.30 A.M. to borrow a drop of water, as they were frozen up.

We lent them several drops, and I breathed again, and continued to breathe, with snorts of derision.

Three days later the thaw came.

As I passed Fitz-Jones's house I was grieved to hear a splashing sound. A cascade of water was spouting from his bathroom window. Fitz-Jones himself was running round and round the house like a madman, flourishing a water-key and trying to find the tap to the main.

I begged him to be calm, to control himself for his wife's sake, for all our sakes. I was most graceful and sympathetic about it.

But with the thaw Fitz-Jones had frozen again.

* * * * *

"Civil Servant requires house."—Local Paper.

On the other hand, many houses just now require a civil servant.

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* * * * *



I remember, I remember. The line where I was borne, The little platform where the train Came rushing in at morn; I used to take a little seat Upon the little train, But now before I get at it It rushes out again.

I remember, I remember The 'buses red and white, The corner where they used to stop And take me home at night; They never gave a wink at me And shouted, "Full to-day," But now I often wish that one Would carry me away.

I remember, I remember The cabs we used to get, The growler from the "Adam Arms" (The horse is living yet); My spirit was impatient then, That is so meek to-day, And now I often think that that Would be the quickest way.

I remember, I remember The lights against the sky; I used to think that London would Be closer by-and-by; It was a childish ignorance, But now 'tis little joy To know I'm farther from the Strand Than when I was a boy.


* * * * *


At the present moment, when the billiard professionals are contesting the palm and Mr. S.H. FRY has re-captured the title of amateur champion seven-and-twenty years after he first won it, there is such interest in the game that a kind of Guide to Billiard Types cannot but be of value. Hence the following classification of players who are to be met with in clubs, country-houses or saloons by any ordinary wielders of the cue. Any reader who has ever endeavoured to master what may be called (by way of inversion) the Three Balls Art has power to add to their number.

The player who, as he drops behind in the game, says so often that it is months since h" touched a cue that your success is robbed of all savour.

The player who is funny and calls the red the Cherry, the Robin, the Cardinal or the Lobster.

The player who comes to the game as to a solemn ritual and neither smiles nor speaks.

The player who keeps on changing his cue and blames each one in turn for his own ineptitude.

The player who can use his left hand as well as his right: a man to be avoided.

The player who whistles while he plays. This is a very deadly companion.

The player who never has a good word for his opponent's efforts.

The player who congratulates you on every stroke: a charming antagonist.

The player who is always jolly whatever buffets he receives from fortune.

The player who talks about every one of his strokes.

The player who swears at most of them.

The player who doubts the accuracy of your scoring. Avoid this one.

The player who hits everything too hard. This is a very exasperating man to meet because fortune usually favours him. Either he flukes immoderately or he does not leave well. He is usually a hearty fellow with no sense of shame. Perhaps he says "Sorry;" but he adds, "It must have been on."

The player who hits everything too gently: the lamb as compared with the previous type, who is a lion. The lamb is good to play with if you prefer winning to a real contest.

The player who groans loudly when you make a fluke.

The player who is accustomed to play on a much faster table than this.

The player who calls the game Pills.

The player who calls it Tuskers.

The player who counts your breaks for you, but whether from interest or suspicion you are not sure.

The player who pots the white when he should and says nothing about it.

The player who pots the white when he should, with a thousand apologies.

The player who pots the white when he shouldn't, with a thousand apologies.

The player who is snappy with the marker.

The player who drops cigar ash on the cloth.

The player who hates to lose.

The player who would much rather that you won. This type is a joy to play with, unless towards the end he too patently ceases to try.

The player who, after the stroke, tells you what you ought to have done.

The player who talks to the balls, particularly to the red. "Now then, red," he says, "don't go into baulk;" or, "Stop just by that pocket;" or "White, don't go down."

The player who has just come from a spectacular match and keeps on trying to reproduce that shot of STEVENSON's.

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* * * * *

"In a licensing prosecution at —— yesterday it was stated that one shilling was charged for a 'drop' of whisky of about one-sixth of a gallon."—Daily Paper.

In the interests of temperance we have suppressed the name of the town at which this bargain was secured.

* * * * *


It was shortly after the commencement of the March offensive that it was decided to open new munition works in Glenwhinnie, N.B. The contract for building was offered to the well-known firm of McTavish, McTurk & McThom, of Auchterinver.

They accepted. With thanks.

And so it came about that, early in April, Glenwhinnie, N.B. became the scene of great activity. Men bearing strange instruments came and took extensive measurements; large bodies of gentlemen in corduroys, armed with powerful implements indicative of toil, arrived and smoked clay pipes; a special light railway was rapidly constructed, and bore colossal cranes and more gentlemen with clay pipes to the scene of action. And Mr. McTurk went in person to open the proceedings.

In a speech pulsating with patriotism, Mr. McTurk exhorted his men to do their best for their King and country, and show everybody what the firm of McTavish, McTurk & McThom could do. He then departed, leaving things in the hands of a dozen subordinates well tried and true ...

And so by the early days of June the work began ...

Came November 11th ...

November 20th it was decided that the new works in Glenwhinnie, N.B., would not be necessary after all.

What was to be done?

A special committee decided that the buildings should be demolished, and the contract was offered to the well-known firm of McClusky, McCleery & McClumpha, of Auchtermuchty.

They accepted. With thanks.

And so it came about that a second army of occupation descended upon Glenwhinnie, N.B. Fresh bodies of gentlemen in corduroys and armed with a rather different set of powerful implements arrived, and smoked clay pipes. Another light railway was rapidly constructed, and Mr. McCleery went in person to open the proceedings. In a speech full of fervour ...

And so by early January the work commenced.

By this time Messrs. McTavish and Co. had got the buildings well in hand. What was to be done? Leave their work uncompleted? Never! As Mr. McThom pointed out with considerable emotion to his partners, a contract was a contract all the world over.

If it ever came to be said that any firm he was interested in had failed to fulfil a contract, he for one (Angus McThom) would never hold up his head. The contract must be completed. It was a sacred duty. Besides—a minor point—what about payment?

So Mr. McTurk was despatched to Glenwhinnie, N.B., where in a speech of great power he pointed out the path of duty.

Amid scenes of enthusiasm the work went on apace.

And at the other end the well-known firm of McClusky, McCleery & McClumpha tore down the buildings with equal enthusiasm.

And that is the state of affairs just now in Glenwhinnie, N.B. What will happen when—as they are bound to do—the wreckers overtake the builders is a matter for speculation. Mr. McTurk may make another speech. Possibly Mr. McCleery may also exhort. There is promise of a delicate situation.

* * * * *

* * * * *


I, for my part, admire The snug domestic fire, The comfortable hearth, the glowing coals, Nor in the least aspire To emulate those strong heroic souls Who get up while it's dark And haste to chill ablutions in Hyde Park.

It can't be very nice To break the solid ice And, like a walrus, plunge into the deep; Then jump out in a trice, Dissevering the icicles as you leap, Even though the after-glow Of virtue melts the circumjacent snow.

And we of milder mould, And we who're growing old, Wish they would wash, like other folk, elsewhere; It makes us feel quite cold To think of them refrigerating there; We shiver in our beds; Our pitying molars chatter in our heads.

* * * * *



After what men have suffered from the flag-day sex, no wonder they get vindictive when they have a chance of retaliation.

* * * * *

"The causes of the engineers' strike in London are a little obscure, but the stoppage of the ten minutes allowed for tea before the 47-hour day was introduced brought the men out from one motor works."—Provincial Paper.

The great objection to a day of this length is that it gives so little scope for overtime.

* * * * *

"The Association for the Betterment of the Highlands and Islands of the Free Church of Scotland have prepared and presented to the Secretary for Scotland a memorandum on the reconstruction of the Highlands."—Scots Paper.

We have always thought that judicious thinning of the more congested views would help the tourist.

* * * * *

"The men who had watched the daily search set up a cheer, ffi—— ——fl."—Sunday Paper.

We hope the cheer was more hearty than it appears at first sight.

* * * * *


Persons of the dialogue: Arthur Pillwell, M.D., a fashionable physician; Henry Swallow, a patient. The scene is laid in Dr. Pillwell's consulting-room—a solid room, heavily furnished. A large writing-table occupies the centre of the scene. There are a few prints on the walls; two bookcases are solidly filled with medical books. Dr. Pillwell is seated at the writing-table. He rises to greet his patient.

Dr. P. Good morning, Mr. —— (He looks furtively at a notebook lying open on the table) Mr.—ah—Swallow.

Mr. S. (thinking to himself: Ought I to call this Johnnie "Doctor," or not? I'm told they're very particular about a thing like that. Like a fool, I never gave it a thought. Still, I can't go so very far wrong if I call him "Doctor." Besides, he's got to be called "Doctor" whether he likes it or not. Here goes.) (Aloud) Good morning, Dr. Pillwell. I've been troubled with some symptoms which I can't quite make out. I think I described them in my letter. (To himself: They made several doctors Knights of the British Empire, and I'm almost certain Pillwell was one of them. Sir John Pillwell. Yes, it sounds all right; but I shan't call him "Sir John" because if he isn't a knight he might think I was trying to make fun of him and then he might retaliate by calling me "Sir Henry," and I should hate that). (Aloud) The chief symptoms are a steady loss of appetite and a disinclination to work. I was recommended to consult you by my friend, Mr. Bolter, as I think I explained in my letter.

Dr. P. It's curious how prevalent these symptoms are at the present moment. I think, if you don't mind, I will begin by taking your temperature.

[Produces clinical thermometer and gives it three good jerks.

Mr. S. (to himself: There—I knew he'd want to put one of those infernal machines in my mouth. I simply loathe the feeling of them, and I'm always on the verge of crunching them up. Perhaps I ought to warn him.) (Aloud) I'm afraid I'm not much good as a thermometer man.

Dr. P. Oh, it's a mere trifle. All you've got to do is just to hold it under your tongue. There—it's in.

Mr. S. (talking with difficulty). Ish i' in 'e ri' plashe?

Dr. P. Yes. But don't try to talk while it's in your mouth. I've had patients who've bitten it in two. There—that's enough. (Extracts it deftly from patient's mouth and examines it.) Hum, hum, yes. A point below normal. Nothing violently wrong there. (He now performs the usual rites and mysteries.) I'll make you out a little prescription which ought to put you all right. And if you can spare a week, and spend it at Eastbourne, I don't think it will do you any harm.

Mr. S. (To himself: I like this man. He doesn't waste any time. It's a curious coincidence that I should have been thinking this very morning of arranging a visit to the seaside. Now of course I've absolutely got to go. Can't disobey my new doctor, and wouldn't if I could. By Jove, I'd all but forgotten about the two guineas fee. Yes, the cheque's in my breast-pocket. Two guineas for the first visit. The rule is not to give it too openly, but to slip it on to a desk or table as if you were half ashamed of it. Where shall I put it so as to make sure he spots it out of the corner of his eye? Ha! on the blotting-pad, which I can just reach. Does it with his left hand, and feels a man once more.)

Dr. P. And here's your prescription.

Mr. S. Thank you a thousand times. (To himself: He's edging up to the blotting-pad, and he'll have the cheque in another second.)

* * * * *


O happy Chink! When I behold thy face, Illumined with the all-embracing smile Peculiar to thy celestial race, So full of mirth and yet so free from guile, I stand amazed and let my fancy roam, And ask myself by what mysterious lure Thou wert induced to leave thy flowery home For Flanders, where, alas! the flowers are fewer.

Oft have I marked thee on the Calais quay, Unloading ships of plum-and-apple jam, Or beef, or, three times weekly, M. and V., And sometimes bacon (very rarely ham); Or, where St. Quentin towers above the plain, Have seen thee scan the awful scene and sigh, Pick up a spade, then put it down again And wipe a furtive tear-drop from thine eye.

And many a Sabbath have I seen thee stride With stately step across the Merville Square, Beaming with pleasure, full of conscious pride, Breaking the hearts of all the jeunes filles there; A bowler hat athwart thy stubborn locks And round thy neck a tie of brilliant blue, Thy legs in football shorts, thy feet in socks Of silken texture and vermilion hue.

Impassive Chu (or should I call thee "Chow"?), Say, what hast thou to do with all this fuss, The ceaseless hurry and the beastly row, The buzzing plane and roaring motor-bus, While far away the sullen Hwang-ho rolls His lazy waters to the Eastern Sea, And sleepy mandarins sit on bamboo poles Imbibing countless cups of China tea?

A year ago thou digged'st in feverish haste Against the whelming onset of the Hun A hundred miles of trench across the waste— A year ago—and now the War is won; But thou remainest still with pick and spade, Celestial delver, patient son of toil! To fill the trenches thou thyself hast made And roll the twisted wire-in even coil.

But not for thee the glory and the praise, The medals or the fat gratuity; No man shall crown thee with a wreath of bays Or recommend thee for the O.B.E.; And thou, methinks, wouldst rather have it so, Provided that, without undue delay, They let thee take thy scanty wage and go Back to thy sunny home in Old Cathay;

Where never falls a shell nor bursts a bomb, Nor ever blows the slightest whiff of gas, Such as was not infrequent in the Somme, But on thy breast shall lean some slant-eyed lass; And she shall listen to thy converse ripe And search for souvenirs among thy kit, Pass thee thy slippers and thy opium pipe And make thee glad that thou hast done thy bit.

* * * * *


Young widwep lady intelligent, wealthy wishing to remarie, wishes to make acquaintance in a Swiss Sportplace with a well situated english or american gentleman. Preference is given to a businessman, self made, with fine caracter aged 35-45 handsome as the lady is it too."—Swiss Paper.

We foresee a rush of profiteers to the Alps.

* * * * *

* * * * *



Finding Midas and Son (METHUEN) described on the wrapper as a tale of "the struggle of a young man and his immense riches," I said to myself (rather like Triplet in the play) that here was a struggle at which it would greatly hearten me to assist. As a fact, however, the conflict proved to be somewhat postponed; it took Mr. STEPHEN McKENNA more than two hundred pages to get the seconds out of the ring and leave his hero, Deryk, face to face with an income of something over a million a year. Before this happened the youth had become engaged to a girl, been thrown over by her, experienced the wiles of Circe and gone in more or less vaguely for journalism. Then came the income and the question what to do with it. Of course he didn't know how to use it to the best advantage; it is universal experience that other people never do. But Deryk impressed me as more than commonly lacking in resource. All he could think of was to finance and share in an archaeological venture (rather fun), and to purchase a Pall Mall club-house—apparently the R.A.C.—and do it up as a London abode for himself and his old furniture. Also for his wife, as fortune had now flung him again into the arms of his early love. But it is just here that the subtle and slightly cruel cleverness of Mr. McKENNA's scheme becomes manifest. The million-a-year had been at work on Deryk; it had slain his capacity for romance. In plain words, he found that he cared more for his furniture than for his fiancee, whose adoration soon bored him to shrieking point. So there you are. I shall not betray the author's solution of his own problem. I don't think he has proved his somewhat obvious point as to the peril of great possessions. Deryk was hardly a quite normal subject, and Idina (the girl) was a little fool who would have irritated a crossing-sweeper. But what he certainly has done is to provide some scenes of pre-war London not unworthy to be companion pictures to those in Sonia; and this, I fancy, will be good enough for most readers.

* * * * *

Its publishers call The Pot Boils (CONSTABLE) a "provocative" book, and certainly the title at least deserves this epithet. But I decline to be drawn into the obvious retort. Besides, with all its faults, the story exhibits an almost flaunting disregard of those qualities that make the best seller. About the author I am prepared to wager, first, that "STORM JAMESON" is a disguise; secondly, that the personality behind it is feminine. I have hinted that the tale is hardly likely to gain universal popularity; let me add that certain persons, notably very young Socialists and experts in Labour journalism, may find it of absorbing interest. It is a young book, almost exclusively about young people, written (or I mistake) by a youthful hand. These striplings and maidens are all poor, mostly vain, and without exception fulfilled of a devastating verbosity. We meet them first at a "Northern University," talking, reforming the earth, kissing, and again talking—about the kisses. Thence they and the tale move to London, and the same process is repeated. It is all rather depressingly narrow in outlook; though within these limits there are interesting and even amusing scenes. Also the author displays now and again a happy dexterity of phrase (I remember one instance—about "web-footed Socialists ... dividing and sub-dividing into committees, like worms cut by a spade"), which encourages me to hope that she will do better things with a scheme of wider appeal. But to the general, especially the middle-aged general, the contents of her present Pot will, I fear, be only caviare.

* * * * *

Little Sara Lee Kennedy, betrothed to one of those alert grim-jawed young Americans one sees in the advertising pages of The Ladies' Home Journal, learns of the suffering in Belgium at the beginning of the great War and finds she must do something about it. She can cook, so she will go and make soup for KING ALBERT's men. She takes her young man's photograph and his surly disapproval; also a few dollars hastily collected from her obscure township in Pa.; and becomes the good angel of a shattered sector of the Belgian line. And she finds in The Amazing Interlude (MURRAY) her prince—a real prince—in the Secret Service, and, after the usual reluctances and brave play (made for the sake of deferring the inevitable) with the photograph of the old love, is at last gloriously on with the new. It is a very charming love-story, and MARY ROBERTS RINEHART makes a much better thing of the alarms and excursions of war than you would think. It was no good, I found, being superior about it and muttering "Sentiment" when you had to blink away the unbidden tear lest your fireside partner should find you out. So let me commend to you this idealised vision of a corner of the great War seen through the eyes of an American woman of vivid sympathies.

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Rovers of the Night Sky (CASSELL) is for more reasons than one a welcome addition to my rapidly bulging collection of books about flying. "NIGHT HAWK, M.C.," was in the Infantry—what he calls a "Gravel-Cruncher"—before he took to the air, and by no means the least interesting part of his sketches is the way in which he explains the co-operation which existed between the fliers and the men fighting on the ground. And his delight when a bombing expedition was successful in giving instant assistance to the Infantry is frequently shown. After his training in England "NIGHT HAWK" was attached as an observer to a night-flying squadron in France, and he tells us of his adventures with no sense of self-importance but with an honest appreciation of their value to the general scheme of operations. He has also a keen eye for the humours of life, and can make his jest with most admirable brevity. "Doubtless," he says in a foreword, "the whole world will fly before many years have passed, but for the moment most people have to be content to read about it." I am one of them, and he has added to my contentment.

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My studies of recent fiction induce the belief that modern Wales may be divided into two parts, in one of which the inhabitants call each other Bach and follow a code of morals that I simply will not stoop to characterise; while the other is at once more Saxon in idiom and considerably more melodramatic in its happenings. It is to the latter province that I must assign A Little Welsh Girl (HODDER AND STOUGHTON), the Romance, with a big R, of Dylis Morgan, who pushed an unappreciated suitor over a precipice and came to London to make her fortune in revue. Really the suitor didn't go all the way down the precipice; but as, by the time he recovered, Dylis, disguised, had fled for England, he was promptly arrested for her murder, and as Dylis thought she had murdered him there was presently so much confusion (increased for me by the hopelessly unpronounceable names of a large cast) that I found it increasingly hard to keep the affair in hand. As for Dylis's theatrical career—well, you know how these things are managed in fiction; for my part I was left wondering whether Mr. HOWEL EVANS' pictures of Wales were as romantically conceived as his conception of a West-End theatre. Though of course we all know that Welsh people do sometimes make even more sensational triumphs in the Metropolis; just possible indeed that this fact may have some bearing on the recent flood of Cambrian fiction. Certainly, if A Little Welsh Girl achieves success on the strength of Mr. LLOYD GEORGE's triumph, she may thank her luck, for I have my doubts whether she could manage it unassisted.

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Of Ladies Must Live (HODDER AND STOUGHTON) one may say, in the first place, that it is fortunately unnecessary as well as unusual for the bulk of them to live in the scalp and tomahawk atmosphere that distinguishes the sexual and social rivalry of Christine Fennimer and Nancy Almar, the two beautiful American Society dames whose duel for the affections of the eligible hero form the plot, the whole plot and nothing but the plot of Miss ALICE DUER MILLER's latest book. Nature red in tooth and claw has not mothered them—they are too well-bred for that; they simply bite with their tongues. Mrs. Almar, who is married and purely piratical, comes off worst in the encounter, and the more artful Christine, ultimately falling in love with the object of her artifices, becomes human enough to marry him, despite his lapse from financial eligibility. The plot is a thin one, but smoothly and brightly unfolded. Unhappily Miss MILLER lacks the gift of delicate satire and the sense of humour that the society novel above all others seems to require. With a lighter and less matter-of-fact treatment one would accept more easily the overdrawing of her rather impossible felines.

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"Sir Charles Sykes, Director of Wood Production, has conferred with representatives of each section of the tailoring trade, with a view to simplifying the regulations and making possible a larger output of Standard suits."—Daily Paper.

We look forward to the part that this new clothing will play in the general scheme of afforestation.

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"A lady visiting the town complained that she went to a licensed house and asked to be served with tea. She alleged that the licensee was very rude to her, and refused to grant her request. He [the Superintendent of Police] desired to point out to license holders that they were bound to provide proper accommodation and refreshment for man and beast."—West-Country Paper.

And we desire to point out to the Superintendent that that is not the proper way to refer to a lady.


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