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Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 159, December 15, 1920
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PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.

VOL. 159.

DECEMBER 15, 1920.



CHARIVARIA.

Apparently the official decision not to issue Christmas excursion tickets for journeys of less than one hundred miles will inflict some inconvenience on the public. Several correspondents point out that they will be obliged to travel further than they had intended.

* * *

A newspaper correspondent describes CHARLIE CHAPLIN as being an amusing companion in private life. We always suspect a popular comedian of having his lighter moments.

* * *

"For twenty years," says a contemporary, "Superintendent Spencer of Scotland Yard has been watching the King." We hasten to add that during all that time HIS MAJESTY has never done anything to excite suspicion.

* * *

This year's Oxford and Cambridge Rugby match is said to have been the most exciting in the memory of the oldest undergraduate.

* * *

According to The Daily Express twenty-five thousand Government officials are on strike in Austria. People are asking why we can't have this sort of thing in England.

* * *

Official kissing at Presidential functions is now discontinued in France and visitors must shake hands in future. These curtailed amenities are still an improvement on the Mexican custom of exchanging revolver shots.

* * *

"Hats," says The Times' fashion correspondent, "are worn well on the head." We have always regarded this as the best place to wear a hat on.

* * *

White spats are to be fashionable this winter, we read. In muddy weather, however, the colour-scheme may be varied. Only the other day we saw one gentleman wearing a beautiful pair of Dalmatians.

* * *

So many singers want to run before they can walk, says Mr. BEN DAVIES. With some singers whom we have heard, the ability to dodge as well as run would be an advantage.

* * *

Loud cheers were given, says a Bolshevist wireless message, when LENIN left Petrograd for Moscow. We can well believe it.

* * *

The Bolshevists now forbid men to walk through the streets with their hands in their pockets. Hands in other peoples' pockets every time is their motto.

* * *

A palpitating writer in a Sunday paper asks if the summit of English life is being made a true Olympus or a rooting-ground for the swine of EPICURUS. Judging by the present exorbitant price of a nice tender loin of pork, with crisp crackling, we should say the former.

* * *

A West Norwood man who described himself as a poet told the magistrate that he had twice been knocked down by a motor-cyclist. Our opinion is that he should have given up poetry when he was knocked down the first time.

* * *

Mr. WINSTON CHURCHILL cannot be in two places at once, says The Bristol Evening News. All the same it is a dangerous thing to put him on his mettle like that.

* * *

Many people remain oblivious of the approach of Christmas until the appearance of mistletoe at Covent Garden. We don't wait for that; we go by the appearance in The Daily Mail of a letter announcing the discovery of primroses in Thanet.

* * *

Measures to arrest the subsidence of the dome of St. Paul's Cathedral have again become imperative. The cause assigned is the depressing effect of the DEAN.

* * *

Of several hats caught up in a recent whirlwind it was observed that the one with the largest circulation was a "Sandringham."

* * *

A judge has decided that it is ultra vires for a municipal body to run a public laundry. Apparently this is to remain a monopoly of the Royal Courts of Justice.

* * *

"The telephone," we are told, "was cradled in a dead man's ear." As far as we can ascertain the other end of ours is still there.

* * *

Seventy is suggested by the London County Council as the age limit at which coroners should retire. Complete justice cannot be done as long as there is anything in the shape of identity of interest between the coroner and the corpse.

* * *

"The natural position of the eyeballs in sleep," says a correspondent of The Daily Mail, "is turned upwards." The practice of leaving them standing in a tumbler of water all night should be particularly avoided by light sleepers.

* * *

We are asked to deny the rumour that the POET LAUREATE is entitled to draw the unemployment donation.

* * * * *



* * * * *

Theatre-Fashions in Malta.

"The House was full to its utmost capacity, the elegant night dresses and toilettes of the ladies presenting a fine aspect."—Malta Paper.

* * * * *

"Ye Olde —— Hotel. Hot and Cold Sheets." Daily Paper.

Produced, we assume, by a water-bottle (h. and c.).

* * * * *

"THE DRY CHAMPAIGN IN SCOTLAND. POLLING IN EDINBURGH."

Provincial Paper.

Judging by the results, the Scots seem still to prefer the local vintage.

* * * * *

There was a young high-brow of Sutton Who lived on hot air and cold mutton; He knew not of GROCK, But he idolized BROCK (I don't mean the sculptor, but CLUTTON).

* * * * *

TO THE LION OF LUCERNE.

TINO, before you went away To crouch behind a sheltering Alp, How strong the limelight used to play About your bald, but kingly, scalp! And now, emerging from the shelf (A site where Kings are seldom happy), You must be pleased to find yourself Once more resilient on the tapis.

Over your past (Out, damned spots!) With lavish bucketfuls you paint The whitewash on to clean its blots And camouflage the Teuton taint; From WILLIAM and the family tie Protesting your unbridled freedom, "I know you not, old man," you cry, "Fall to your prayers—you badly need 'em!"

For Athens, to your great content, Calls you to be her guiding star (Only a paltry one per cent Wanted to leave you where you are); And you've agreed to take it on, Jumped at the prospect Fate discloses, And thought, "With VENEZELOS gone, Life will be one long bed of roses."

But mark the oversight you made, Forgetting, while you waxed so fat, That England, whom you once betrayed, Might have a word to say to that; Might, if for love of your fair eyes Greece should decide again to wobble, Conceivably withdraw supplies And cut her off with half an obol.

Roar loud, O Lion of Lucerne! But lo, upon Britannia's shore Another Lion takes his turn And gives a rather louder roar; Meaning, "It doesn't suit my views To subsidise two sorts of beano, And Greece will therefore have to choose Between her tummy and her TINO."

O. S.

* * * * *

ABOUT GOLF.

Golf is obviously the worst game in the world. I doubt indeed whether it is a game at all.

It is played with a ball, about which, though I could say much, I will say little. I will not decide whether it should have a heart of oak or a heart of gold, whether it should go through a 1.6-inch ring or a plate-glass window, whether it should sink like the German Navy or float like the British. Enough, if not too much, has been said about the standard ball.

Golf is also played with a number of striking implements more intricate in shape than those used in any other form of recreation except dentistry. Let so much be agreed.

Now, quite plainly, the essential idea underlying all games played with a ball, whether a club, stick, mallet, bat or cue be added or no, is that some interference should take place with the enemy's action, some thwarting of his purpose or intent. In Rugby football, to take a case, where no mallet is used, it is permissible to seize an opponent by the whiskers and sling him over your right shoulder, afterwards stamping a few times on his head or his stomach. This thwarts him badly. The same principle applies, though in a milder form, to the game of cricket, where you attempt to beat the adversary's bat with your ball, or, if you have the bat, to steer the ball between your adversaries, or at least to make them jolly well wish that you would.

Even with the baser and less heroic ball games, like croquet and billiards, where more than one ball is used at a time, action inimical to the interests of the opponent's ball is permitted and encouraged. Indeed in the good old days of yore, when croquet was not so strictly scientific, a shrewd sudden stroke—the ankle shot, we called it, for, after all, the fellow was probably not wearing boots—well, I daresay you remember it; and I have once succeeded in paralysing the enemy's cue arm with the red; but this needs a lot of luck as well as strength, and is not a stroke to be practised by the beginner, especially on public tables.

We come then again to golf, and see at once that, with the miserable and cowardly exception of laying the stymie, there is no stroke in this game that fulfils the proper conditions which should govern athletic contests involving the use of spherical objects with or without instruments of percussion.

And yet we read column after column about fierce encounters and desperate struggles between old antagonists, when as a matter of fact there is no struggle, no encounter at all. Against no other ball game but golf, unless perhaps it be roulette, can this accusation be laid. Ask a man what happened last Saturday. "I went out," he says, rather as if he was the British Expeditionary Force, "in 41; but I came home"—he smiles triumphantly; you see the hospital ship, the cheering crowds—"in 39." Whether he beat the other fellow or not he hardly remembers, because there was in fact no particular reason why the other fellow should have been there.

Golf matches ought to be arranged, and for my part I shall arrange them in future, as follows:—

He. Can you play on Saturday at Crump?

I. No, I'm not playing this week.

He. Next week then?

I. Yes, at Blimp.

He. I can't come to Blimp.

I. Well, let's play all the same. Your score this week at Crump against mine next week at Blimp, and we'll have five bob on it.

I'm not quite sure what his retort is, but you take my point. It is manifestly absurd to drag the psychological element into this cold-blooded mathematical pursuit. After all that England has done and come through in the last few years, is a man in baggy knickerbockers, with tufts on the ends of his garters, going to be daunted and foiled just because a man in slightly baggier knickerbockers and with slightly larger tufts on his garters has hit a small white pellet a little further than he has? Hardly, I think.

That is why, when I read long letters in the principal daily papers about the expense of this so-called game, and calculations as to whether it can be played for less than twenty-five shillings a time, I am merely amused. In my opinion, if the relatives of members of golf-clubs cannot afford to support them, these institutions should either be closed or the inmates should be provided with some better game, like basketball. That is what I feel about golf.

All the same, if Enderby really thinks and believes that, because in a nasty cross-wind I happened to be slicing badly and didn't know the course and lost a ball at the twelfth, and he holed twice out of bunkers and certainly baulked me by sniffing on the fifteenth tee, and laid a stymie, mark you, of all places at the seventeenth, that I can't beat him three times out of five in normal conditions and not with that appalling caddy —— well, I suppose one must do one's best to relieve a fellow-creature of his hallucinations, mustn't one?

EVOE.

* * * * *



* * * * *



* * * * *

OUR HEAVY-WAITS.

Our Boxing Correspondent sends us the following gloomy forecast. We have pointed out to him that Mr. COCHRAN has recently made a definite contract for a meeting between DEMPSEY and CARPENTIER. Our Correspondent replies that this does not affect his attitude, and urges us to publish his predictions of further delay. We do so under protest.

Paris, December 22nd, 1920.—M. DESCHAMPS (CARPENTIER'S Manager) denies all knowledge of any agreement with Mr. COCHRAN.

New York, December 24th, 1920.—Mr. C. B. COCHRAN says that DESCHAMPS must be dotty. He (C. B.) is returning by the Mauretania to-morrow.

London, April 17th, 1923.—As Mr. COCHRAN and M. DESCHAMPS have not yet come to an agreement the fight for the World's Heavy-Weight Championship is indefinitely postponed. JOE BECKETT meets Bombardier WELLS to-night at the Circle.

London, April 18th, 1923.—Since the days of JIM CORBETT no more polished exponent of the fistic art has graced the ring than our Bombardier Billy. Thunders of applause greeted his appearance in the "mystic square" last night. He flashed round his ponderous opponent, mesmerising him with the purity of his style, the accuracy of his hitting, the brilliance of his foot-work. He held the vast audience spell-bound. BECKETT won on a knock-out in the second round.

London, August 11th, 1924.—Mr. LOVAT FRASER in a powerful article (written entirely in italics) in The Daily Mail points out the fearful tension the peace of Europe is undergoing through the continued differences between Messrs. COCHRAN and DESCHAMPS, and demands to know what the PREMIER is doing about it.

London, August 24th, 1924.—Mr. LLOYD GEORGE, acting under Mr. LOVAT FRASER'S orders, has gone to Lympne (kindly lent by Sir PHILIP SASSOON), where he will be joined by Mr. COCHRAN, M. DESCHAMPS and M. MILLERAND.

London, September 30th, 1924.—The whole civilised world will rejoice to hear that the differences between Mr. C. B. COCHRAN and M. DESCHAMPS have at last been amicably settled. The great fight for the world's heavy-weight championship is fixed to take place at Olympia on November 17th. DEMPSEY is to receive L100,000, CARPENTIER L75,000.

London, October 4th, 1924.—It appears that Olympia was already booked for November for The Daily Mail's Ideal Pyjama Exhibition, and Mr. C. B. COCHRAN has to-day issued a communique to the Press Association to the effect that the contest will be held definitely in Sark (Channel Islands) on December 23rd. He has hired the entire Cunard and White Star Fleets for the day, and those who cannot find standing room on the island will be provided with seats and telescopes in the ships' riggings. All will be welcome at fifty guineas a head.

New York, October 6th, 1924.—DEMPSEY denies that he is meeting CARPENTIER on December 23rd. He laughs at the idea of fighting for L100,000.

"Heaven knows I am not mercenary," he says, "but there's such a thing as a living wage."

London, October 7th, 1924.—Mr. C. B. COCHRAN, in an interview granted to our reporter yesterday, says that he has done with fight-promoting for ever and will in future concentrate on performing seals.

London, October 10th, 1924.—A sensation was caused at the Circle last night when an old man jumped unannounced into the ring and offered to fight anyone living to a finish for five pounds and a pint of beer for the sheer fun of the thing. The disturber, who was obviously out of his senses, was quickly removed. His identity has not so far been established, but he is thought to be a fighter of the old school escaped from confinement.

No authoritative announcement has been made as to who will assume Mr. COCHRAN'S extensive boxing engagements, but rumour is busy with the name of Mr. MALLABY-DEELEY.

New York, January 31st, 1925.—Mr. W. BRADY, the veteran fight-promoter, has signed up J. DEMPSEY and GEORGES CARPENTIER to meet at Havana, Cuba, on Easter Monday, 1925. DEMPSEY will draw L200,000, CARPENTIER L150,000.

New York, February 8th, 1925.—Following Mr. W. BRADY'S announcement, Mr. TEX RICKARDS (promoter of the JEFFRIES-JOHNSON contest) has now come forward, stating that DEMPSEY and CARPENTIER have signed a contract with him to fight at Nome, Alaska, on Shrove Tuesday, for a quarter-of-a-million each.

New York, February 19th, 1925.—Mr. C. B. COCHRAN, who arrived on the Aquitania this morning, says that the two champions have contracted to meet under his management at Tristan d'Acunha on Good Friday for half-a-million each and a percentage on the popcorn and peanut sales.

New York, March 3rd, 1925.—With the view of lifting the national depression consequent on the hitch in the world's championship arrangements, Mr. HENRY FORD, whose successes as a mediator are celebrated, is labouring to bring about a conciliatory meeting between the rival promoters.

New York, July 12th, 1925.—Mr. HENRY FORD'S efforts, fortified by the prayers of the Rev. WILLIAM SUNDAY, have at length borne fruit. Messrs. BRADY, COCHRAN and RICKARDS have consented to talk matters over. The White House has been placed entirely at the disposal of the promoters, their families, secretaries, legal advisers, etc.

Washington, D.C., July 20th, 1925.—Mr. HENRY FORD'S "Peace Party" has not proved an unqualified success. Battle royal broke out among the delegates at noon yesterday. Messrs. BRADY, COCHRAN and RICKARDS have been taken to hospital, but are not expected to recover. The White House is in ruins.

THE GREAT FIGHT.

Geneva, July 4th, 1960.—The fight for the Heavyweight Championship of the World, held under the auspices of the League of Nations, took place yesterday before a gigantic crowd. DEMPSEY, who now wears a flowing white beard, was wheeled into the ring in a bath-chair. CARPENTIER, now wholly bald, appeared on crutches and was seconded by two trained nurses and his youngest grandson. Both champions were assisted to their feet by their supporters, shook hands and immediately clinched. In this clinch they remained throughout the entire round, fast asleep. At the opening of the second round they attempted to clinch again, but missed each other, overbalanced and went to the mat. Neither could be persuaded to get up, and consequently both were counted out.

It is therefore impossible to say who won or who lost, and the Heavyweight Championship of the World remains as open a question as ever.

PATLANDER.

* * * * *



* * * * *

EVE VICTORIOUS.

"Aren't girls funny, Uncle Alan?" said Christopher.

"Christopher," I answered, "girls are the very dickens. You can't trust 'em. Never have anything to do with girls, my boy."

"I'm not going to," said Christopher.

This is what we said to each other afterwards. If either of us had thought of it before—— But that's the usual way, of course.

* * * * *

Christopher and I were sitting by the fire. We were very peaceful and happy together, pretending to look at a book but really doing nothing at all.

Then Dorothy came into the room. Dorothy is Christopher's cousin and six years old. Not that her age matters—six, sixteen or sixty, they are all the same.

"What are you doing?" inquired Dorothy.

"Nothing," murmured Christopher contentedly.

"I wanted you to come and play with me."

Christopher shuffled uneasily and I came to the rescue.

"Not now, Dorothy," I said; "we are too comfortable. Come and have a look at this book with us."

Dorothy looked at me as though she had just realised my presence.

"I want Christopher to come and play with me," she repeated.

Christopher has a fine old-fashioned idea of a host's duty to his guests. He stifled a yawn and slid from my knee.

"All right, Dorothy," he said. "What shall we play?"

Dorothy skipped like a young lamb. "Hide and Seek," she sang. "I'll go and hide. Don't look till I call."

She danced gaily and triumphantly out of the room.

Now I don't mind being snubbed and I certainly shouldn't trouble about a spot of a child who ought to have been kept in the nursery. Of course it's ridiculous even to begin explaining, isn't it? The thing's obvious. No, I felt that Dorothy should be taught a lesson; that is all. I thought it would be good for her.

"That settles Dorothy," I said deliberately. "Now we can go on reading."

"But she wants me to go and look for her," explained Christopher.

"Then let her want," I said shortly. "We can't always be—— Christopher, we'll have a game with Dorothy. We'll stop where we are and let her look for herself."

Christopher chuckled. "She'll be awfully angry," he said uncertainly.

"Good!" said I.

"Cooee!" came a voice from the far-away. We laughed guiltily to ourselves and settled down in the chair. The scheme proceeded according to plan.

After sundry shrieks and screeches and whistles Dorothy grew impatient and adopted bolder tactics.

"You can't find me," she called hopefully.

I felt that it was time for a little encouragement.

"I wonder where she can be?" I said loudly.

There was a long silence. At last Dorothy grew desperate. "Look under the armchair in the hall," she called.

Christopher and I smiled to ourselves. Then suddenly we heard her creeping towards the door. I blame Christopher for what followed.

"She's coming," he whispered excitedly. "Let's hide."

There was no time to think. We slipped rapidly under the table. A ridiculous thing to do, of course; so undignified. I kick myself when I think of it, but at the time—— Well, it was Christopher's fault for getting excited. So there we were squashed under the table when the door opened and Dorothy appeared.

"I don't believe——" she began, and then stopped. "Why, they're not here," she gasped. And then Christopher spoilt everything by spluttering. I strangled him at once and we hoped that Dorothy hadn't heard. We saw her legs standing very still by the door. Then they moved quickly round the table to the fireplace. Christopher and I held our breaths and waited. We saw that Dorothy was pulling our chair round to face the fire. Then she sat herself in it and all we could see was the back of the chair.

There was a great silence. Christopher and I looked at each other and decided that something must be done.

I cleared my throat quietly. "Cooee!" I fluted.

Dorothy began to sing a hymn in a loud voice.

And then Cecilia came into the room.

Now Cecilia is Christopher's mother and my sister. You will understand that neither Christopher nor I would care to appear ridiculous in front of her. So we kept quiet.

"Hallo, Dorothy," said Cecilia; "all by yourself? Where's Christopher?"

"I'm reading Christopher's book," said Dorothy, ignoring the question. "May I?"

"Of course, dear," said Cecilia, sitting down. There was a lot more silence. It grew very hot and uncomfortable under the table.

"What shall we do, Uncle?" whispered Christopher.

"Come on," I said desperately. We crawled out and stood up.

"What on earth——" began Cecilia.

I managed a watery smile. "Here we are," I said to Dorothy.

Dorothy looked at us in surprise.

"You are untidy," she said. "Whatever have you been doing?"

Christopher swallowed indignantly. "We were playing 'Hide and Seek' with you," he said.

"Oh, I stopped playing a long time ago," said Dorothy. "I'm reading now." She turned to our book again. Cecilia began to laugh.

"Come and have a wash, Christopher," I said in a strangled voice, and we moved off sheepishly.

* * * * *

"Aren't girls funny, Uncle Alan?" said Christopher.

"Christopher," I answered, "girls are the very——" Well, I told you at the beginning what we said to each other.

* * * * *

HIGH EXPLOSIVE ART.

[The Morning Post has been conducting a vigorous campaign against singers who dispense with careful and prolonged training, and by their spasmodic and declamatory style suggest the title of "gaspers."]

Oh, all young folk of tuneful aims And fancy names like Joan and Jasper, I hope you'll read (and duly heed) The Morning Post upon the "gasper."

'Tis not the "fag" that is turned down, Though that often proves a rasper Upon the larynx; here the noun Denotes the human, singing gasper.

Rome was not builded in a day, Nor even row-boats (teste CLASPER); No more are voices which will stay, Unlike the organ of the gasper.

Attorneys need, before they start, Five years of training, but the grasper Who grudges one to vocal art Will end, as he began, a gasper.

Wherefore, ye men and maids who chant, Refrain at all costs from exasper- ating The Morning Post, which can't Abide the methods of the gasper.

* * * * *

Another Impending Apology.

"St. —— Hall was filled last night with people, with Scottish song—and with fog. Perhaps nothing but the —— Orpheus Choir could have done that."—Scottish Paper.

* * * * *

"THE JAPANESE BUDGET.

Tokio, Tuesday.

The Cabinet has approved of the Budget, which totals 1,562 million yen (about 2s.)."

Jersey Paper.

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN, please copy.

* * * * *



* * * * *

LITTLE BITS OF LONDON.

BOND STREET.

I find it very difficult to walk slowly down Bond Street as one ought to do; I always feel so guilty. Most of the people there look scornfully at me as if I belonged to Whitechapel, and the rest look suspiciously at me as if I belonged to Bond Street. My clothes are neither good enough nor bad enough. So I hurry through with the tense expression of a man who is merely using Bond Street as a thoroughfare, because it is the way to his dentist—as indeed in my case it is. But recently I did saunter in the proper way, and I took a most thrilling inventory of the principal classes of shops, the results of which have now been tabulated by my statistical department.

For instance, do you know how many shops in the street sell things for ladies to wear (not including boots, jewellery or shoes)? No? Well, there are thirty-three. Not many, is it? But then there are twenty-one jewellers (including pearl shops) and eight boot and/or shoe shops; so that, with two sort of linen places, which may fairly be reckoned as female, the ladies' total is sixty-four. I only counted a hundred-and-fifty shops altogether. Of that total, nine are places where men can buy things to wear, and ten are places where they can buy things to smoke; I have charitably debited all the cigarette-shops to the men, even the ones where the cigarettes are tipped with rose-leaves and violet-petals. But even if I do that and give the men the two places where you can buy guns and throw in the one garden-seat shop, we are left with the result:—

Feminine Shops. Masculine Shops.

Dress 33 Dress 9 Jewellers 21 Tobacco 10 Boots and Shoes 8 Motors 9 Sort of Linen Places 2 Guns 2 Dog Bureau 1 Garden Seats 1 — — 65 31

From these figures a firm of Manchester actuaries has drawn the startling conclusion that Bond Street is more used by women than by men. It may be so. But a more interesting question is, how do all these duplicates manage to carry on, considering the very reasonable prices they charge? At one point there are three jewellers in a row, with another one opposite. Not far off there are three cigarette-shops together, madly defying each other with gold-tips and silver-tips, cork-tips and velvet-tips, rose-tips and lily-tips. There is only one book-shop, of course, but there are about nine picture-places. How do they all exist? It is mysterious.

Especially when you consider how much trouble they take to avoid attracting attention. There are still one or two window-dressers who lower the whole tone of the street by adhering to the gaudy-overcrowded style; but the majority, in a violent reaction from that, seem to have rushed to the wildest extremes of the simple-unobtrusive. They are delightful, I think, those reverent little windows with the chaste curtains and floors of polished walnut, in the middle of which reposes delicately a single toque, a single chocolate or a single pearl. Some of the picture-places are among the most modest. There is one window which suggests nothing but the obscure branch of a highly-decayed bank in the dimmest cathedral town. On the dingy screen which entirely fills the window is written simply in letters which time has almost erased, "—— —— PICTURES." Nothing could be less enticing. Yet inside, I daresay, fortunes are made daily. I noticed no trace of this method at the Advertisers' Exhibition; they might give it a trial.

Now no doubt you fondly think that Bond Street is wholly devoted to luxuries; perhaps you have abandoned your dream of actually buying something in Bond Street? You are wrong. To begin with, there are about ten places where you can buy food, and, though there is no pub. now, there is a cafe (with a licence). There are two grocers and a poulterer. There is even a fish-shop—you didn't know that, did you? I am bound to say it seemed to have only the very largest fish, but they were obviously fish.

Anyone can go shopping in Bond Street. I knew a clergyman once who went in and asked for a back-stud. He was afterwards unfrocked for riotous living, but the stud was produced. You can buy a cauliflower in Bond Street—if you know the ropes. There is a shop which merely looks like a very beautiful florist's. There are potatoes in the window, it is true, but they are "hot-house" ones; inside there is no trace of a common vegetable. But if you ask facetiously for a cauliflower (as I did) the young lady will disappear below ground and actually return with a real cauliflower (de luxe, of course). I remember few more embarrassing episodes.

And if you like to inquire at the magnificent provision-merchant's he too will conjure up from the magic cellars boot-cream and metal-polish and all those vulgar groceries which make life possible. That is the secret of Bond Street. Beneath that glittering display of luxurious trivialities there are vast reserves of solid prosaic necessaries, only waiting to be asked for. A man could live exclusively on Bond Street. I don't know where you would buy your butchers' meat, but I have a proud fancy that, if you went in and said something to one of those sleek and sorrowful jewellers, he too would vanish underground and blandly return to you with a jewelled steak or a plush chop.

Many years ago, they tell me, there was a butcher in Bond Street. Perhaps you dealt there. For my part I was not eating much meat in those days. But I can imagine his window—a perfect little grotto of jasper and onyx, with stalactites of pure gold, and in the middle, resting on a genuine block of Arctic ice, an exquisite beef-sausage. I wish he would come back.

It is difficult to realise that there is anything but shop-windows in Bond Street, but I like to think that, up there in those upper storeys which one never sees, there does dwell a self-contained little community to whom Bond Street is merely the village street, down which the housewives pass gossiping each morning to the greengrocer's or the fishmonger's and never purchase any pearls at all.

When the butcher comes back I think I shall join them.

A. P. H.

* * * * *



* * * * *



* * * * *

THE SAD CASE OF EL GRECO.

It was at the National Gallery, situated on the north side of Trafalgar Square, that I first made the acquaintance of one DOMENICO THEOTOCOPULI, a native of Crete, who—probably because his own people wanted him to be a stockbroker or something—set up as a painter in Spain, and was dubbed by the Dons "El Greco," as you might say "Scottie."

For years I have been rather tickled by his manner of depicting Popes and Saints as if they were reflected in elongating mirrors labelled, "Before Dining at the Toreador Restaurant." But until quite lately I hardly ever met anyone who had even noticed him, so I felt quite bucked on the old chap's account when I heard that he was considered one of the most distinguished of the Spanish painters, past and present, who are on view just now at Burlington House.

And what surprises me is not that old THEOTOCOPULI should attract so much attention in Piccadilly, but that such lots of people seem never to have known that he has been exhibiting himself all this time in Trafalgar Square.

I'm sure Mrs. Bletherwood didn't, for one, when she tackled me at the Chattertons' the other afternoon.

"Of course you've been to Burlington House?" she began, and she was in such a hurry to get first innings that she didn't give me time to say that I hadn't yet, but that I meant to go on my first free day that wasn't foggy.

"Don't you love those quaint 'El Grecos'?" she went on. "He's quite a discovery, don't you think? My daughter Muriel, who hopes to get into the Slade School soon now, says she doesn't see how anybody can see people differently from the way 'El Greco' saw people. And yet I don't know that I quite like the idea of Muriel seeing me like that, although she's so clever...."

I could not help thinking that in Mrs. Bletherwood's case the "El Greco" treatment would be an admirable corrective to a certain lateral expansion.

"Besides," she continued in a confidential tone, "I've heard or read somewhere that there's just a doubt whether he distorted people on purpose or because there was something wrong with his eyes. If I thought it was astigmatism I would insist on taking Muriel to an oculist. I wonder what you think."

I raised my teacup suggestively.

Mrs. Bletherwood gasped. "You don't mean that he——"

"Like a fish," I said.

"Oh, how too disgraceful!" she exclaimed. "Fancy their having his pictures there at all. Such religious subjects too. I shall warn Muriel at once. I'm so thankful you told me...."

Have I done a wrong to Senor DOMENICO THEOTOCOPULI ("El Greco")? Perhaps; but I hope it has prevented Miss Muriel Bletherwood from doing him a greater.

* * * * *

"Sun Sets This Morning 8.8 Sun Sets To-night 3.56"

Liverpool Paper.

Just as in London last Wednesday.

* * * * *



* * * * *

CURES FOR INSOMNIA.

The following correspondence, clearly intended for the Editor of The Daily Ailment, has found its way into our letter-box. Another example of post-office inefficiency.

SIR,—As a regular reader of your valuable journal I am always deeply interested in the views of your readers as expressed in its columns. The recent letters on the cure of insomnia have interested me particularly. Although I have read your paper for many years, always eaten standard bread, study most diligently each morning my lesson on Government wobble and waste, grow sweet peas, keep fowls, take my holidays early (in Thanet) and read the feuilleton, in short perform all the duties of an enthusiastic loyal Englishman, I cannot sleep. Yesterday I decided to try the remedies suggested by your readers.

After inviting sleep with "a dish of boiled onions" I found that I must go to bed "without having eaten anything for five hours or so." This meant sitting up very late, but I found the time useful for taking "deep long breaths." Meanwhile I ran through the names of my friends alphabetically and emptied the feathers from my pillow, replacing them with hops. Sometimes a hop got mixed up in a "deep long breath," which was rather pleasant.

Every few minutes I left my friends' names to say to myself, "I am terribly sleepy," or "I am falling asleep;" this was wrong, as the boiled onions had not had nearly five hours. "Relaxing all my muscles" was rather awkward, as one hand was filling the pillow with hops and the other was "holding a wet sponge," which would drip water on the sheets. Another difficulty was "wafting myself in an imaginary aeroplane" to bring about "a state of oblivion and coma," which I might perhaps have done more easily by putting the hops to another use.

I had to cut out the "recital of the Litany," partly because my friends' names had only got as far as George (Lloyd), and also because, being a Nonconformist, I don't know it. (I must learn it now the feuilleton is finishing.)

But the most annoying part of the business was to find that, after all this elaborate preparation for sleep, I was to "take a brisk walk for half-an-hour" (whatever the weather conditions). Even this did not work, for by that time the milkmen and newsboys were heralding the dawn and kept my brain too alert.

As a final effort, do you think you could produce a nightcap model of the Sandringham, or is it quite impossible for one who reads your paper to be anything but wideawake?

* * * * *

THE PERFECT PARTNER.

There are, my Mabel, men who vow The perfect wife is theirs Because she smoothes the ruffled brow And drives away their cares; While there are others hold the view That she is best who'll pay Some trivial attention to Her promise to obey.

Well, let each babble in his turn About that spouse of his; Not knowing you, how could they learn What true perfection is? Of all your sex you stand most high By far and very far Who mid your Christmas gifts can buy A smokeable cigar.

* * * * *



* * * * *

ESSENCE OF PARLIAMENT.



SIR D. MACLEAN, MR. HOGGE, MR. G. LAMBERT, MR. G. R. THORNE, MR. ASQUITH, MR. ACLAND, GENERAL SEELY.]

Monday, December 6th.—"Logic has never governed Ireland and never will," said Lord MIDLETON to-day. It was certainly conspicuous by its absence from a good many of the speeches made in Committee on the Government of Ireland Bill. Representatives of Southern Ireland have been clamouring for greater financial control, but they quite changed their tone when Clause 24, enabling the Irish Parliaments to impose a surtax upon residents in Ireland, came up for discussion. While professing the greatest confidence in the desire of their fellow-countrymen to treat them fairly, Lords DROGHEDA, SLIGO and WICKLOW agreed in thinking that this was too dangerous a power to entrust to them; it would breed absenteeism and drive capital out of the country.

Lord FINLAY, to whom as a Scotsman logic still makes appeal, was for the deletion of the whole clause. But the Irish Peers again objected; for they desired to preserve for the Irish Parliaments power to remit Imperial taxes, on the off-chance that some day it might be exercised. And they carried their point.

According to Lieut.-Colonel CROFT the pencils used by the British Post-Office are procured from the United States. As one who has suffered I can only hope that Anglo-American friendship, already somewhat strained by the bacon episode, will survive this revelation.

On the strength of a rumour that the seed of Irish peace had been planted in Downing Street, Mr. HOGGE promptly essayed to root it up in order to observe its progress towards fruition. The PRIME MINISTER, however, gave no encouragement to his well-intentioned efforts. Nor did he satisfy Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY'S curiosity as to whether Father O'FLANAGAN was "a Sinn Feiner on the bridge," beyond saying "that is what we want to find out."

Tuesday, December 7th.—After a week's interval for reflection and study Lord LINCOLNSHIRE moved the rejection of the Agriculture Bill. Adapting an old joke of Lord SPENCER'S, made in "another place" a generation ago, he observed that this was no more an agricultural Bill than he himself was an agricultural labourer. He knows however how to call a spade a spade, if not something more picturesque, and he treated the measure and its authors to all the resources of a varied vocabulary. Possibly his brother peers, while enjoying his invective, thought that it had been a little bit overdone, for of the subsequent speakers only Lord HINDLIP announced his intention of voting against the Bill, the others being of opinion that parts of it were, not excellent perhaps, but at least tolerable.

In the Commons Viscount CURZON pressed upon the Government the desirability of licensing side-car combinations as taxi-cabs. The idea might, one feels, appeal to a Coalition Government but Sir JOHN BAIRD for the Home Office hinted at the existence of "serious objections."

Collectively the House has an infantile mind. It went into kinks of laughter over a question put by Dr. MURRAY regarding the "daily mail service" between one of his beloved islands and the Scottish mainland. The author of the joke—and small blame to him—quite failed to appreciate how funny he had been until his neighbours muttered in stage-whispers, "Daily Mail!" "Daily Mail!" Then a wan smile broke over his own features.

It has been stated in certain newspapers that Mr. CHAMBERLAIN has refused the Viceroyalty of India in consequence of the weak state of his health, and that for the same cause he is likely to vacate shortly the Chancellorship of the Exchequer. All I can say is that on the Treasury Bench he betrays no outward sign of this regrettable debility when dealing with critics of the Treasury. It is not easy to puncture the aes triplex of Mr. BOTTOMLEY, but two words from Mr. CHAMBERLAIN did it this afternoon.

Sir ROBERT HORNE got a second reading for the Dyes Bill, a measure which he commended as being necessary to protect what is a key-industry both in peace and war. Dye-stuffs and poison-gas are, it seems, inextricably intermingled, and unless the Bill is passed we shall be able neither to dye ourselves nor to poison our enemies.

Wednesday, December 8th.—The Agriculture Bill found one thoroughgoing supporter in the Duke of MARLBOROUGH, an "owner-occupier" so enamoured of Government control that he desires to see the whole of the ditches and hedges of England administered out of public funds; and a host of critics, friendly and otherwise. Lord CHAPLIN, though he thought the Bill one of the worst ever introduced, declined to vote against the Second Reading; Lord HARRIS believed that it would make very little difference one way or the other; Lord RIBBLESDALE, as an old-fashioned Free Trader, would have nothing to do with it; Lord LOVAT was of opinion that as an insurance for our food supply it would not compare with a Channel Tunnel; and Lord BUCKMASTER feared that it would rather strengthen than allay the demand for land nationalisation. The Government approached the division in some trepidation and were the more rejoiced when, in an unusually big House, the Second Reading was carried by 123 votes to 85.

But for the self-sacrifice of Mr. SPEAKER the Commons would have made themselves ridiculous this evening. Major ARCHER-SHEE wanted to have up a certain newspaper for breach of privilege in endeavouring to dictate to Members how they should vote. He obtained leave to move the adjournment and would doubtless have provided the peccant journal with a valuable free advertisement had not Mr. LOWTHER, reckless of his reputation for infallibility, suddenly remembered that motions for the adjournment were intended for criticising the Government and not for rebuking irresponsible outsiders. At his request the gallant Major withdrew his motion, and The Daily —— lost its advertisement.

Invigorated by this episode the House—or what was left of it—resumed the Report stage of the Ministry of Health Bill. The debate was remarkable for the brevity of some of the speeches. Sir ROWLAND BLADES set a good example to new Members by making a "maiden" effort in a minute and a half. But his record was easily beaten by Mr. SEXTON, who found ten seconds sufficient for expressing his opinion that the fact that the House was trying to legislate in the small hours was sufficient proof of the necessity of extending the laws of lunacy. "Si argumentum requiris circumspice," he might have said as he gazed upon the recumbent and yawning figures around him.

Thursday, December 9th.—Mr. BONAR LAW enumerated a portentous list of measures which the House of Commons must pass if it wants to enjoy its Christmas holidays in peace. Lord HUGH CECIL wanted to know what was the use of passing "all these foolish little Bills." Mr. PEMBERTON BILLING had another solution for the difficulty and asked, "Why not pass them all ad hoc?" meaning, it is supposed, "en bloc."

Well might the PRIME MINISTER remark at Question-time that he welcomed the attacks of a certain section of the Press on the "Wastrels" because then he knew the Government was all right. Mr. GEORGE LAMBERT made a lively speech in support of his proposal to "ration" the Government to a sum of L808,000,000—the amount Mr. CHAMBERLAIN had said would suffice for a normal year. But his criticisms were too discursive to be really dangerous, and his condemnation of "sloppy Socialism" put up the backs of the Labour Party.

The CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER reminded the House that when he talked of a "normal Budget" he had been careful to add, "but not this year, next year or the year after," which sounds suspiciously like the nursery formula, "This year, next year, sometime, NEVER."

Still the great majority of the Members were only too anxious to be convinced, and passed by a huge majority the "blanketing" amendment of Sir GODFREY COLLINS in favour of economy in the abstract. I don't know how this is to be squared with the PRIME MINISTER'S theory that it is the business of the Government "to see that the population is contented." That sounds a little like panem et circenses—a policy which did not work out cheaply.

Friday, December 10th.—With the air of one who has something fresh and strange to impart the PRIME MINISTER informed the House of Commons to-day that in regard to Ireland "the Government are determined on a double policy." The novelty presumably consists in putting those old stagers, conciliation and coercion, hitherto only tried tandem-fashion, into double harness. Martial law is to be introduced in certain of the most disturbed districts, and at the same time such Sinn Fein M.P.'s as are not "on the run" are to be called into conference. On the face of it the prospect looks unpromising, but happily Ireland is essentially the place where nothing happens save the unexpected.

* * * * *



* * * * *



* * * * *

MAKING THE LAW POPULAR.

A writer in an evening contemporary complains that one has some difficulty in finding the notices to jurors in the newspapers.

We have often thought that more prominence might be given to the Law Notices generally. Printed in the smallest type and abbreviated almost beyond understanding, they are by no means the brightest item of news.

Would it not be an advantage to hand the department over to a smart paragraphist? Readers might then be entertained by something like the following:—

Visitors to the Law Courts to-day should on no account fail to look in at King's Bench XIII., which is one of the cosiest of our beautiful Courts of Justice. Here will be continued the scintillating contest between Sir Anthony Prius, K.C., and that rising young barrister, Mr. Terry Blee-Smart, K.C. It is more than probable that the cross-examination of the humorous butcher will continue through most of the day.

The first case on the list in the Lord Chief's Court to-day is no other than The King v. The Dean and Chapter of Mumborough Cathedral. While it is not expected that his Majesty's engagements will permit him to be present, an action of this character is fraught with more than common interest, since it must be seldom that the Royal House finds itself in such conflict with the Church as to resort to the arbitrament of the law.

We see no reason why some legal engagements should not be boldly displayed, the more readily to catch the reader's eye. Why not the following:—

ROYAL COURTS OF JUSTICE. ROYAL COURTS OF JUSTICE. ROYAL COURTS OF JUSTICE. YOU MUST NOT MISS THIS! Chancery Court No. 29, Before Mr. Justice Howling, Binks v. Arcana Cinema Company, Ltd.

As one of the leading comedians of the day Mr. TIM BINKS never fails to create roars of laughter, and with Mr. JUSTICE HOWLING may be relied upon to put up a show provocative of never-failing mirth.

CHEER YOURSELF UP! ADMISSION FREE!

Whether it's wet or whether it's fine, Visit Chancery Twenty-nine.

* * * * *

NEW RHYMES FOR OLD CHILDREN.

THE LOBSTER.

The lobster is an oblong crab With one or two antennae; I fancy life would be less drab If people had as many.

I think he uses them to smell, But what he most enjoys Is rubbing them against his shell; It makes a funny noise.

He rubs away like anything, And you should see his face! Alas, he thinks that he can sing; But that is not the case.

He's very sensitive and shy; At last when he is dead He knows the truth—and that is why He goes so very red.

A. P. H.

* * * * *

"Your System appealed to me as a rational means of exercise without undue fatigue, and I started on the 10th of March, 1920. I was then in my 75th year, and now within only two months of completing the 85th." Advt. in Sunday Paper.

If he keeps it up he should be a centenarian by about the end of next year. One seems to age rather rapidly under this system.

* * * * *

THE OTHER HALF.

I was sitting by Anderson's fire the other day when his telephone bell rang. He made the usual insincere exclamation of disgust—as insincere as the horror we simulate when a bundle of letters is brought into the room, to have letters and to be called up on the telephone being really adventures and therefore welcome; and he then crossed the room to answer the call.

"Shall I go?" I asked, thinking that he might prefer to be alone.

"Oh, no," he said, and I remained. I was not trying to overhear, but it couldn't be helped.

This is the conversation (his half) that I heard:—

"Yes."

"Speaking. Who is it?"

"Oh, I'm so glad! I was getting horribly nervous. How is he?"

"Good Heavens! I was afraid he might be. What do you think?"

"Of course I must trust you. But we must never let my wife know."

"I'll think about it and let you know."

"Quite likely. I'll go into that and let you know. She can't be absolutely alone anyway. There must be another some time."

"And what do you propose to do now?"

"You're sure it will be painless?"

"I wouldn't have him suffer for anything."

"Thank you very much. I shall tell my wife he died in his sleep. Good-bye."

What, I wonder, would you have made of that? Some telephone conversations are easy to construct, but this to me was a puzzle. What had Anderson been up to? It must be an awful moment, I have often thought as I read divorce and other cases, when a friend is suddenly turned into a witness; and I had the feeling that that might be my lot now. Those clever cross-examining devils, they can get anything out of you. If Anderson had known who was ringing him up he would probably (so I reasoned) have got me out of the room; but, having once started, he decided to brazen it out as the less suspicious way.

As so often happens, however, I was wrong. This is the whole innocent conversation:—

"Is that 1260?"

"Yes."

"Is Mr. Anderson there?"

"Speaking. Who is it?"

"Harding, the veterinary surgeon."

"Oh, I'm so glad! I was getting horribly nervous. How is he?"

"He's worse."

"Good Heavens! I was afraid he might be. What do you think?"

"I think we had better put an end to him."

"Of course I must trust you. But we must never let my wife know."

"Shall I be looking about for another?"

"I'll think about it and let you know."

"Perhaps a totally different breed would be better; not another Peke. There'd be fewer unhappy associations then, don't you see?"

"Quite likely. I'll go into that and let you know. She can't be absolutely alone, anyway. There must be another some time."

"Yes."

"And what do you propose to do now?"

"Oh, I'll give him poison."

"You're sure it will be painless?"

"Quite."

"I wouldn't have him suffer for anything."

"That will be all right."

"Thank you very much. I shall tell my wife he died in his sleep. Good-bye."

E. V. L.

* * * * *

THE MOUNTAIN AND THE PROPHETS.

My dear Charles,—At Geneva there is, and was long before the arrival of the League of Nations, a mountain. There are many mountains in Switzerland, but Geneva's private mountain happens to be in France. It is called "The Saleve," a nasty name, but not of my choosing. If, being in Geneva, you want to go up The Saleve (as I personally do not) you have first to get your passport off the police. The police are always a little difficult about passports, but, if you mention the name of The Saleve, you will find them easier. You have next to obtain the French visa in order to get out of Geneva; then the Swiss visa in order to get back again. Thus provided you have to compete with a complicated and long-drawn process of trams and frontier controls; even so you find yourself at the bottom and not at the top of The Saleve.

Being a busy (or shall we say idle?) man yourself, you will thus understand the reasons of my policy; if the mountain will not come to MAHOMED then MAHOMED and the mountain are best kept apart.

The inhabitants of Geneva have long been contriving, intriguing, I will even say complotting, to get me up The Saleve. My doctor, having made me thoroughly interested in myself, got on to the subject of exercise; when my banker passed from the subject of interest on overdrafts to the advisability of my seeing the great Geneva view, it was undoubtedly blackmail; and as for my dentist—well, you know what dentists are and what mean advantages they take. But this one, I think, over-stepped the limit when he allowed the crown of my tooth to remind him of the crown of Mont Blanc; paused in fixing the former to descant on the beauties of the latter; told me that from The Saleve I should get a better view of the latter than he, where he was, was getting of the former; asked me almost simultaneously if he was hurting me and if I had been up The Saleve, and told me that I must go up it and (which I took to mean "or") that he might have to hurt me.

That was the most critical moment in the whole Battle of The Saleve; the military critics are unanimous that I should have then said, "I will go up," had I been in a position to say anything at all. Saved by the gag, I have won the war against the Genevois.

I have taken the standpoint of the prophet, who, as you know, is not without honour abroad—a prophet with the policy outlined above. When a prophet of my sort decides on a policy, and that policy consists of doing nothing, he takes a lot of shifting, even on the flat. And there the matter and I remained, when there arrived from England, on or about November 15th, a positive cloud of prophets, intent on the League of Nations. The busiest figure among them is the secretary of one of the delegates. Pretending to be my best friend he sought the occasion of a heart-to-heart with me. I took it he wanted to discuss Nations; it appeared he wanted to discuss mountains. I hoped he was considering them generally in mass, possibly with the view of making a League of them. He was thinking in the particular, and you can guess what particular. He was beginning to think of wanting to go up It.

In an effective speech, which brought tears to my eyes but merely gave him an opportunity to fill and light his pipe, I put all the "cons" before him, particularly the passport part. As a man speaking with the authority behind him of a world leagued together, he detailed all the "pros." We must act together, he and I; he would assemble the prophets, I the passports.

I refused to be bullied by him. He named some major prophets, whom I should find it more difficult to withstand. His propaganda amongst them apparently began at once. Mark the sequence of events:—

On Tuesday, November 16th, His Majesty's Minister-Plenipotentiary and Envoy-Extraordinary in Switzerland assembled the British element to dinner. I have reason to know that he had already been approached by the secretary. The Crown of Mont Blanc was freely discussed and curiosity was aroused as to the identity, the desirability, even the approachability of the nearer mountain.

On Wednesday, November 17th, I ran into Lieut.-Col. His Highness the JAM SAHIB of NAWANAGAR—"RANJI," in brief. He was standing at the entrance of his hotel in significant meditation. The entrance of his hotel looks upon The Saleve and past it to the Crown of Mont Blanc. And that was where he looked.

On Friday, November 19th, I found the Right Hon. G. N. BARNES walking along the Quai de Mont Blanc in the fatal direction. His eyebrows pointed relentlessly upward.

On Saturday, November 20th, Mr. BALFOUR arrived. The secretary began to talk about a date for our excursion.

On Sunday, November 21st, I became involved in conversation with Lord ROBERT CECIL in his room in his hotel. He moved towards the window, and as he did so Armenia, Vilna and all the Powers that want to come into the League and all the Powers that want to stay out of the League faded from his mind, and he called attention to the Crown of Mont Blanc and fixed his eagle eye upon the mole-hill in between.

On Monday, November 22nd, the secretary came to me and ordered me to provide passports, duly visaed, for The Saleve party—seven in all, myself included. I told him that I would appeal direct to the delegates themselves, with whom I had already done some defensive propaganda on my own. He told me it was nothing to do with the delegates; it was the delegates' ladies. Fool that I was, I had never thought of them!

That night I wrote in my diary: "At Geneva there is a mountain. It is called The Saleve—a nasty name for a nasty mountain. On Saturday I shall be on the top of it. I always knew that the League of Nations would make trouble."

On Tuesday, November 23rd, I sent an emissary among the ladies to persuade them that the summit of The Saleve was loathsome. The emissary succeeded in establishing this point by contrasting it unfavourably with the Crown of Mont Blanc. The ladies thanked the emissary cordially for her most interesting information and said they would take steps to see the Crown of Mont Blanc more nearly, even if those steps had to be up The Saleve.

That night I wrote in my diary: "For a year I have fought and won, but on Saturday the Crown of Mont Blanc will witness my defeat, and the whole range of the Alps will look on in silent contempt."

On Wednesday morning, November 24th, I met Mr. BALFOUR crossing the Pont du Mont Blanc. He was looking at It with that dreamy smile of his, which seems to laugh at the littleness of man and the futility of his policies. That finished me.

On Wednesday night, November 24th-25th (read your paper to witness if I lie), the Crown of Mont Blanc fell off ... I have left The Saleve where it is. What does it matter now?

Yours ever, Henry.

* * * * *



* * * * *

Enough Said.

"Sir Henry apologised at the close for having made the lecture somewhat shorter than usual. Sir Donald —— said that theirs was an unspoken gratitude to Sir Henry for having done what he had been able to do."—Scots Paper.

* * * * *

"MADRID, Dec. 8.

"The Ministry of Public Works has announced that on January 15 next an opportunity will be offered to foreign firms to secure orders for 119 railway engines and tenders needed by the Spanish railway companies. Tenders must be handed personally by a duly accredited representative of the firm making the offer."—Times.

The engines may, however, be done up in a parcel and sent by post in the usual manner.

* * * * *



* * * * *

THE ARRIVAL OF THE MANX BALLET.

The first visit of the Manx Ballet to London is undoubtedly the most outstanding feature in the annals of choregraphic and corybantic realism since the historic premiere of the Botocudo Troupe on September 31st, 1919. And it is all the more welcome as an indication of the emergence of a native school, fully equipped in technique and scenic resource and, above all, imbued from start to finish with a high sense of the paramount importance of psycho-analysis in eliminating all supra-liminal elements from the orchestro-mimetic drama.

The most ambitious as well as the most successful item in the programme presented on Saturday night at the Colossodrome was The Cat of Ballasalla, that wonderful old Manx legend of the Princess who was turned into a cat by the enchantments of the Wizard of Dhoon and subsequently sentenced to decaudation by the cruel Scandinavian invader, MAGNUS BARFOD. The scene of the trial in the great synclinorium of Greeba Castle—exhibiting contemporaneous carboniferous tuffs, soft argillaceous rocks with choriambic fossils as well as later dolerite dykes, amid which the feline amenities of the Princess were illustrated with miraculous agility by Miss Agneesh Crannoge—compares favourably with the most ambitious enormities ever perpetrated by the genius of BAKST, DIAGHILEV, or even COCODRILLO, the Sardinian neo-Gongorist.

The music, which is chiefly founded on Manx folk-songs, developed and adapted by Mr. Orry Poolvash, is richly suggestive of the psycho-analytic basic aroma which pervades the entire scenario. The absence of a Coda in the Funeral March which concludes the ballet is an exquisitely pathetic touch which could only have occurred to a composer of genius. The orchestration is sumptuous and sonorous, the usual instruments being supplemented by two Glory Quayle-horns, a quartet of Laxey-phones with rotating C and C sharp crooks, a Manx harp with three strings, and a Miaowola, which gives out the Death Motive of the Princess at the various crises of the drama in tones of sublimated anguish and intensity.

We have only space in this brief preliminary notice to remark that the programme includes a humorous extravaganza entitled The Quirks of Quilliam, in which a grotesque pas de quatre for the Deemster, the Doomster, the Boomster and the Scrabster, forms the central episode; and ends with a satiric sketch, The Golden Calf of Man, apparently aimed at the extravagance of Lancashire trippers, who are pursued by demons into Sulby Glen, and released, to the sound of sea-trumpets, by the beneficent intervention of Lord Greeba on their promising to evacuate the island.

* * * * *

GOLFING "IFS."

If you bring your own lunch And frugally munch Your sandwich and cake For economy's sake; If you strictly abstain From sloe-gin and champagne, Never touching a drop Save perhaps ginger-pop; If you're clever enough To keep out of the rough, If you don't slice or hook Into pond, dyke or brook Your new three-shilling ball, And, best saving of all, If you carry your clubs, You can pay heavy "subs.," Fees for entrance and greens, Without straining your means, And, though you're a middle- Class man, not a peer, Agree with LORD RIDDELL That golf isn't dear.

* * * * *



* * * * *

OUR BOOKING-OFFICE.

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

The news that Mr. STEPHEN LEACOCK has published a fresh series of burlesques will, I do not doubt, add to the Christmas jollity of a vast crowd of laughter-lovers. The name of it is Winsome Winnie, and other New Nonsense Novels (LANE), and I can only describe it in that pet phrase of the house-agents as "examined and strongly recommended" for the merriest five-shillings' worth that I have enjoyed this long time. If ever a volume demanded to be read aloud over the Yule log here it is. Which of the eight novels is the most irresistible must remain, I suppose, a matter of individual taste; for myself I found the opening chapter in the title-tale the funniest thing in the collection, and that not forgetting the billiard match in the detective story, a contest that I defy anyone to follow without tears. To attempt analysis of such happily unforced humour would be a dark and dreadful task; but I incline to think that, more than most, the fun of Mr. LEACOCK (to be accurate one should, I suppose, say Dr. LEACOCK) depends upon the sudden tripping-up of the reader in his moment of fancied security. The cliche, with its deceptive appearance of solid and familiar ground, conceals an unexpected trap. Thus Winnie, the thrown-upon-the-world heroine, asked by the family lawyer how she proposes to gain a livelihood, replies in consecrated phrase, "I have my needle." "Let me see it," says the lawyer. But I grow pedantic; far more important than the method of this little book is its gift of seasonable entertainment, for which we need only wipe our eyes and be grateful.

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In The Royal Artillery War Commemoration Book Messrs. G. BELL AND SONS have produced a noble volume worthy of the great record of the Royal Regiment. To the energy and enthusiasm of Mrs. AMBROSE DUDLEY is largely due the collection of the fine material which Major-General Sir HERBERT UNIACKE has here set out in fair order and proportion. Personal diaries dealing with various phases of the War on all fronts or with the daily routine of batteries are here interspersed with articles and poems of a more purely literary quality and with original illustrations, largely the work of Gunner-officers and extremely well reproduced. Among the most notable contributors are Brigadier-General J. H. MORGAN, Major V. R. BURKHARDT, D.S.O., Major The Master of BELHAVEN, Captain VICTOR WALROND (the last two killed in action), Captain GILBERT HOLIDAY, Captain H. ASQUITH, Lieut. ROBERT NICHOLS, Lieut. GILBERT FRANKAU, Gunner MEARS, the Hon. NEVILLE LYTTON, Mr. SEPTIMUS POWER, Mr. W. ROTHENSTEIN, Miss LUCY KEMP-WELCH and Mr. C. CLARK. Punch is represented by several artists, including Captain E. H. SHEPARD, M.C., and Lieut. WALLIS MILLS (both of the Regiment), who have contributed some delightful colour-sketches, very faithfully observed. Many of the poems, too, that appear in the volume have been reprinted from the pages of Punch. There are brief records of those members of the Regiment who won the V.C., many portraits of "Representative Artillerymen," and a Roll of Honour of fallen officers, numbering 3,507. Lack of space alone prevented the inclusion of the names of the 45,442 Other Ranks who gave their lives for their country. Every Gunner who does not possess this splendid memorial work should have it given to him this Christmas by some proud relative or friend. Like the Regiment, it should go Ubique.

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When Mr. ROBERT CHAMBERS decides to give his neurotic New York society women a miss, and exploit his more imaginative and adventurous vein, I always know that I am in for a late night and an extra large gas bill. Like the British soldier Mr. CHAMBERS does not carry the word "impossible" in his vocabulary. Why should he, since he can give the semblance of reality to the utterly unbelievable? Then one mutters, "What utter rubbish!" and sends round to the bookseller to enquire if by any chance there is a sequel coming out. In The Slayer of Souls (HODDER AND STOUGHTON) Mr. CHAMBERS is at his best and most impossible. A race of dreadful magicians, the descendants of the Old Man of the Mountain, who have been multiplying and acquiring extraordinary psychic powers in the interior of China for centuries, come forth to do battle with the United Secret Service for the souls of men. They have inspired the Hun, and the Bolshevik has been their tool. Fortunately a beautiful young American girl, who was brought up in their midst and has learned all their grizzly powers and (as it seems) a bit more, is on the side of the "forces of law and order." The struggle is titanic, for these magicians can slay and be slain corporeally and incorporeally with equal ease. I do not need to tell you who wins out, but neither will I intimate how it is done. I can only say that I envy anybody who is fortunate enough to have a long evening before him and The Slayer of Souls at his elbow, still unread.

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In Uncle Pierce's Legacy (METHUEN) Mrs. DOROTHEA CONYERS gives us once more all that we have learned to expect of her novels: the friendly, witty, blundering servants; the hunting society in which wealth and poverty, breeding and vulgarity, cheerfully rub shoulders; the descriptions of the wistful beautiful West of Ireland in autumn and winter; and above all the horses. Added to all this there are Sinn Fein raids, real and imaginary, to bring things up to date. A rather unconvincing plot, with a dash of Great Expectations in it, yet offers a situation which has plenty of amusing possibilities. Honor and Evie Nutting, two middle-aged spinsters, find themselves the possessors of eight thousand a year, on condition that they spend it all. That sounds, of course, a very pleasant arrangement; but they have been struggling for years to make ends meet and economy has become a habit. The end of the first quarter finds them sending Harris, the English manservant, in haste to buy a frying-pan with the last unspent three shillings and sixpence. That the Uncle Pierce of the title should be really a brother, that characters should change their names without rhyme or reason from paragraph to paragraph, and that inverted commas should make their appearance just anywhere—all this, I think, is the author's clever way of suggesting an atmosphere of Irish irresponsibility, and it is quite successful. Uncle Pierce's Legacy is a pleasant tale most pleasantly told, and it is not Mrs. CONYERS' fault, but her misfortune (and ours), that novels which describe the lighter side of Irish life, even with the tenderest humour, are more likely just now to make one sigh than smile.

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I do not know whether The Scar (HODDER AND STOUGHTON) first saw publication in any of our popular dailies, but from internal evidence I should be strongly inclined to suspect it. At least Miss RUBY M. AYRES has written an admirable example of the class of tale, beloved of our serial public, in which new every morning are the tribulations of the elect, only to vanish with startling suddenness in the last days of June or December. For example, Mark, the hero, begins as the misunderstood son of one of those widower-fathers who in such stories dwell for ever behind the locked doors of studies, leaving in this instance Mark to be the victim of an aunt whose lack of sympathy approaches the pantomimic. All the usual results follow, even to the acquisition by Mark of a faithful hound, which the least experience of sentimental fiction would have caused any insurance company to refuse on sight. When therefore Aunt Midian, following her appointed course, effaced this friend-of-man, I confess that my grief was to some extent tempered by a recognition of the inevitable. Of course, however, Mark does not remain for long in what I might call these dog-days of his young affection; love, strong, passionate and not too slavishly restricted to a single object, soon has his world going round as fast as the most exacting reader could desire. For the decorous details of this delirium I need only add that, if you want them, you know where to go to find them.

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Had I been asked to godfather Smith and the Pharaohs (ARROWSMITH) I should have refused to stand, unless its name was changed to "Barbara who Came Back," for the tale of Barbara is by far the best in this book of short stories. It would be boastful—as well as untrue—to say that I have read all of Sir H. RIDER HAGGARD'S many books, but as far as my experience of them goes I find a delightfully fresh quality in this tale. It may be old-fashioned and over-sentimental, but in spite of these defects it has a very definite charm, and its conclusion makes a curious and legitimate appeal to the emotions. All the other stories are well up to standard, and it is amazing that an author who has written so much still shows no symptoms either of weariness or vain repetition.

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Those who appreciate Miss C. FOX SMITH'S familiarity with the ways and moods of sailormen and her flair for the true sea-tang will welcome the new collection of poems which she has brought out under the title, Ships and Folks (ELKIN MATHEWS). Most of these verses have appeared in Punch, and no further commendation is here needed.

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Transcriber's notes:

Page 465: Tristan d'Acunha—this spelling also appears in the next issue of 'Punch'.

Page 478: choregraphic is a valid spelling of choreographic. (Oxford Dictionary: Cho'regraph etc. See CHOREOGRAPH etc.)

THE END

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