The Project Gutenberg EBook of Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 159,
July 14th, 1920, by Various

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Title: Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 159, July 14th, 1920

Author: Various

Release Date: August 25, 2005 [EBook #16592]

Language: English

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Vol. 159.

July 14th, 1920.

[pg 21]


We understand that it has now been decided that the Ex-Kaiser will travel to England for his trial by way of the Channel Tunnel.

A new coal war is anticipated by The Daily Express. The difficulty is in knowing where the last coal war ended and this one will begin.

We understand that the Government fixture card is not yet complete and they still have a few open dates for Peace Conferences (away matches) for medium teams.

The world's largest blasting-furnace has been opened at Ebbw Vale. It is expected however that others will flare up immediately the Chancellor's proposals go through.

"Militarism has created a dragon whose fangs will never properly be drawn," announces a writer in a Sunday paper. This charge against Mr. Winston Churchill's dentist is, in our opinion, most unkind.

The report that the Turks had appealed to the Allies to stop the new war in Asia Minor turns out to be incorrect. What the Turks demand is that the Allies shall stop the Greek end of it.

"I would like to take a great piece of England back to America as a souvenir of the happy time I have recently spent there," exclaimed Miss Mary Pickford to a reporter in Belgium. Arrangements, we hear, are now being hastily made to offer her the whole of Ireland if she will take it away during this month.

According to a local paper a lawyer living in Birmingham, returning unexpectedly from the theatre, discovered two burglars at work in his library. It is reported, however, that the intruders with great presence of mind immediately retained him for their defence.

Several workhouses in the South of England now possess tennis-courts and bowling-greens. It is satisfactory to note that preparations are at last being made to receive the New Poor.

We are glad to learn that the two members of a well-known club in the City who inadvertently took away their own umbrellas have now agreed to exchange same, so that the reputation of the club shall not suffer.

A Warwickshire miner summoned for not sending his child to school is reported to have pleaded that he saw a red triangle danger notice above the word "school" and therefore kept his daughter away.

"We must have support," said the Postmaster-General last week. We can only say that we always buy our stamps at one of his post-offices.

A little domestic tragedy was enacted in London last week. It appears that a small boy, on being offered a penny by his mother, who had just returned from the winter sales, refused it, saying that he was not allowed to accept money from strangers.

An official of the New York Y.W.C.A. inquires whether a woman of thirty years is young. A more fair question would be, "When is a woman thirty years of age?"

President C.W. Eliot, of Harvard University, says Britishers drink tea because it feeds the brain. Our own opinion is that we drink it because we have tasted our coffee.

So many servant-girls are being enticed from one house to another that several houses now display the notice, "Visitors are requested to refrain from stealing the servants."

Under a new Order public-houses will not open until seven in the evening on Sundays. This seems to be another attempt to discourage early rising on that day.

Two men have been arrested at Oignies, Pas de Calais, for selling stones as coal. We fancy we know the coal-dealer from whom they got this wrinkle.

Speaking at Sheffield University last week, Sir Eric Geddes said he hoped to see the day when there would be a degree of Transport. What we're getting now, we gather, can't really be called Transport at all.

A live mussel measuring six inches has been found inside a codfish at Newcastle. We expect that if the truth was known the mussel snapped at the cod-fish and annoyed it.

A soldier arrested at Dover told the police he was Sydney Carton, the hero of The Tale of Two Cities. He is supposed to be an impostor.

A market-gardener in Surrey is said to be the double of Mr. Winston Churchill. Since this announcement it is stated that the poor fellow has been inundated with messages of sympathy.

"The secret of success," says Mr. W. Harris, "is hard work." Still, some people would scorn to take advantage of another man's secret.

Wives, said the Judge of the Clerkenwell County Court recently, are not so ignorant that they do not know what their husband's earnings are. There is no doubt, however, that many workmen's wives simply pocket the handful of bank-notes their husbands fling them on Saturday night without stopping to count them.

There were no buyers, it is stated, for fifty thousand blankets offered by the Disposals Board last week. We have all along maintained that, though it would take time, the Board would wear its adversaries down.

According to an official list recently published the Government employs over three thousand charwomen. The number is said to be so great that they have to take it in turns to empty Mr. Austen Chamberlain's portfolio.

Don't get him too tame, Professor.

Showman. "Don't get him too tame, Professor. He's got to go five rounds with the boxing kangaroo when you've finished."

[pg 22]


A writer commented recently in an article in Punch on the advantage to a cricketer of some harmless mannerism, giving as an instance Mr. P.F. Warner's habit of hitching up the left side of his trousers and patting the ground seven times with his bat. This homely touch reminded me irresistibly of Rankin. Not that Rankin resembles Mr. Warner even remotely in any other way. But Rankin has a mannerism, one which is fairly harmless, too, as a general rule. If on one occasion, of which I will tell you, it had unfortunate results, there was then a combination of circumstances for which Rankin was not entirely responsible. That much I now feel myself able to admit. At the time I could see nothing good about Rankin at all.

Rankin resides in our village of Littleborough, and is by trade what is known as a jobbing gardener. On Thursdays he is my gardener, on Wednesdays Mrs. Dobbie's gardener, and so on. On Saturday afternoons he plays cricket. Or at least he dresses in (among other garments) a pair of tight white flannel trousers and a waistcoat, and joins the weekly game.

Recently we met in deadly combat the neighbouring village of Smallwick. Away into the unchronicled past runs the record of these annual contests. Each village hints that it has gained the greater number of victories; each is inclined in its heart to believe that the other one has actually done so—because, as I suppose, the agony of defeat leaves a more lasting impression than the joy of victory. But I digress. We have not even got to Rankin's mannerism yet.

Rankin's mannerism is the habit of plunging his hands into his trouser pockets. A very ordinary one, you will say; but not when carried to the extent to which Rankin carries it. It is useless for Rankin to field at short slip, for instance. The only time he did so a catch struck him sharply in the lower chest (and fell to the ground, of course) before he had time to take his hands out of his pockets. When he is batting he crams one hand into his pocket between each delivery. As he wears a large batting glove and his trousers are very tight (as I mentioned before) this is a matter of some difficulty. In fact we usually attribute the smallness of his scores to its unsteadying effect.

How he ever survived five years of military service without being shot for persistently carrying his hands in his pockets while on parade, to the detriment of good order and military discipline, I can never understand. Surely some Brass-hat, inspecting Rankin's regiment, must have noticed that Rankin's hands were in his pockets when he should have been presenting arms? I can only presume that they all loved Rankin, and love is blind. Well, he is quite a good chap. I like him myself.

We now come to the day of the Smallwick v. Littleborough match.

Smallwick lost the toss and went out to field, and, as one of their players had not arrived, Rankin went with them as a substitute.

We lost three wickets for only ten runs, and then I went in. It was one of my rare cricket days. I felt, I knew, that I should make runs—not much more than twenty, of course, but then twenty is a big score for Littleborough. And I felt like twenty at least.

Rankin was fielding at deep long-on, close to the tent; but they had no one at square leg, which is my special direction on my twenty days. Presently the bowler offered me a full pitch on the leg side. I timed it successfully, and had no doubt of having added four to my score, when, to my astonishment, I saw a fieldsman running from the direction of the hedge. The next moment he had brought off a very creditable catch.

It did not dawn on me at first that this was their eleventh man, arrived at that moment. When it did, I could not help laughing to think that he should imagine he could rush in like that while his substitute was still fielding. Then I heard the bowler appeal to the umpire, and to my horror I heard the umpire (their umpire) say "Out."

"But they can't have twelve men fielding," I cried. "The substitute is still there."

"You're out, Sir," said the umpire haughtily. "The substitoot has already retired. 'E's standing there watching the game with 'is 'ands in 'is pockets."

A Self-Starter.

"Born of an Iris moter and a Scots father, in Chicago, U.S.A., Mr. ——'s ability for the stage developed very early."—New Zealand Paper.

"Within the square of spectators were paraded about two thousand Girl Guides. It delighted the eye to see the companies march with precision and smartness, while the ear was charmed and the marital spirit stirred by the music of the pipes and drums."—Scotch Paper.

So that's the idea.

"Soon we could make out the Sultan's Palace, from which the tired 'Hunter of the East' was now unwinding his 'nose of light.'"— —— Magazine.

For further details of this remarkable organ see Lear's "Dong with the Luminous Nose."


We are all different, and often our differences are of the widest. Some men can be knocked prostrate by the most trifling disappointment, while others can extract comfort or even positive benefit from what looks like complete disaster—such as the Cambridge youth I met last week, raving about Turner's "Fighting Téméraire."

"But I didn't know you were interested in pictures," I said.

"Oh, yes, I've always been, in a way," he replied; "but it wasn't till the rain ruined the first day of the Varsity match that I ever had a real chance to get to the National Gallery, and when it came down like blazes again on Tuesday I went back there. Did you ever see such painting? And the pathos of it too! And then that frosty morning scene in the same room! Why, Turner was too wonderful."

How some of the other dampened enthusiasts tided over their loss I can only guess; but this ardent one reminded me of the Shipwrecked Entomologist, and I placed him on a niche somewhere near that radiant soul.

And who was he?

Well, he was the curator of his own department in some Indian museum—I think at Calcutta—and when the time came for his holiday he took a passage for Japan on a little tramp steamer. Everything went well until a few hours out of Shanghai, when a typhoon began to blow with terrific force. The ship was driven on the coast of Korea, where she set about breaking up, and only with the greatest difficulty did the passengers and crew get to shore, bruised and saturated, without anything but their clothes and what their pockets could hold. Some lives were lost, but my man was saved.

It was a desolate part, with nothing but the poorest huts for shelter, dirty and verminous, so that the discomforts of the land were almost equal to the perils of the sea.

Naturally, on his return to Calcutta the curator was plied with questions. How did be feel about it? Wasn't it an awful experience? If ever a man deserved sympathy it was he. And so forth. But he wouldn't rise.

"Sympathy?" he said. "Good Heavens! I don't want sympathy. Why, I had the time of my life. Do you know that during the night in that Korean hovel I found five absolutely new kinds of bug."


"Notice to the public, that John ——, Toronto, will not be responsible for debts hereafter contracted by any one."—Canadian Paper.

Very sensible of him.

[pg 23]


British Housewife. "DO YOU REALLY MEAN IT?"


[pg 24]
Oi be sorry to 'ave to take 'ee off, Garge.

Captain (to very unsuccessful lob bowler). "Oi be sorry to 'ave to take 'ee off, Garge, but I must let the Vicar 'ave a go before the ball gets egg-shaped."


A Fancy.

[The santamingo is a kind of Oriental bird believed by foolish sailor-men to confer on its possessor great content and peace of mind.]

East from the Mahanadi and north of the Nicobar

You will come to Evening Island where the santamingoes are;

Their wings are sunrise-orange and their tails are starlight-blue;

You catch a santamingo and all your dreams come true.

They've a crest of flaming scarlet and a purple-golden breast,

And their voice is like all the music that ever you liked the best,

And their eyes are like all the comfort that ever you hoped to find;

You catch a santamingo and you'll get peace of mind.

You won't find buried treasures, you won't get sudden luck,

But things'll just go smoothly that used to get somehow stuck—

The little things that matter, the trumpery things that please,

You catch your santamingo and you're always sure of these.

You don't get thrones and kingdoms, you don't turn great or good,

But you know you're just in tune with things, you know you're understood,

And wherever you chance to be is home and any old time's the best

When you've got your santamingo to keep your heart at rest.

If ever you've dreamed of a golden day when nothing at at all went wrong,

Or a pal who'd want no tellings but would somehow just belong,

Or a place that said, "I was made for you"—well, sailor-men tell you flat,

You catch your santamingo and you'll find it all like that.

* * * * *

I've sailed from the Mahanadi to north of the Nicobar,

But I can't find Evening Island where the santamingoes are,

Though I've taken salt to put on their tails and all that a hunter should—

Perhaps you can't really catch them; but don't you wish you could?


"Capitalist who will consider financing Canadian oil fields or will send English theologist to investigate property."—Daily Paper.

And do the clerical work, we suppose.

From a description of the V.C.'s at Buckingham Palace:—

"There were a sergeant-major arranged in nine separate groups, and an attempt had been made to get old comrades together as far as possible."—Provincial Paper.

The reassembling of the sergeant-major must have taken a bit of doing.

[pg 25]


He visits me at least once every day. His favourite time is the hour of tea, when the family and staff may be expected to be at home; but sometimes he honours us with an additional call at the luncheon hour. He emerges from his deep hole beneath an ivy root, takes the air up and down the paths of my rockery, glances in at the drawing-room window, passes on to the back premises, and so home.

There is nothing furtive about his movements. His manner is that of one who has purchased the mansion and its appurtenances but does not wish to disturb the sitting tenants. It is his duty to sea that the premises are properly cared for, but for the present he has no desire to take possession. It is beautiful weather and the simple life out-of-doors contents him.

He is a brown rat. I write of his sex with confidence because his urbanity is that of a polished gentleman of the world; no feminine creature could ever display it. A female rat who had bought the house would eagerly try to get in and drive us forth. But not so my rat. He discharges the function of a landlord as considerately as he can; after all, even a landlord must be allowed the rights of inspection of his own property.

At first I regarded him as merely an ordinary intrusive brown rat. I laid down poisonous pills composed of barium carbonate and flour. He did not take offence; he understood our human limitations. He showed by a jaunty cock of the eye that all to understand is all to pardon. His daily visits continued without abatement.

It has been suggested to me that we should await his regular calls with dogs, blood-thirsty terriers. I cannot take so scurvy an advantage of his confidence.

I have sinned. The fault is less mine than that of the High Court of Parliament. I was bidden to study the penalties laid down for those who do not proceed to the destruction of their rats. When I weighed my landlord rat against five treasury notes I confess that in an hour of meanness I permitted the notes to tip the scale. I prepared phosphor paste and laid a trail of this loathsome condiment upon the path trodden every afternoon by my rat.

He came as usual on the day after that on which I had basely planned his murder—Heaven forgive me!—that I might escape a trifling fine, and he deigned to partake of my hospitality. Twenty-four hours later, when duty summoned him once more at the hour of tea, his eye was dim and he staggered slightly in his gait. He was still able to go his rounds, but since that tragic afternoon I have seen him no more.

My family eyes me with suspicion. They look for the rat, which no longer arrives at his accustomed hour. My cook has given notice. I alone bear the burden of the fatal secret.

Saved! What care I for five paltry pounds now that our rat has recovered from his indisposition and has hastened to re-visit his property? The phosphor paste, like arsenic, has added brightness to his eye and brought a beautiful lustre to his smooth brown coat. He has softened in his manner and tends towards friendship. There is less of the grand air, less assertion of the vast gap which yawns between the landlord and the tenant. Presently, if I continue to prove worthy of his condescension, my rat will eat phosphor paste out of my hand.

Try a number twenty-seven bus.

Jack (to novice in difficulties with the tide). "The next time you sportsmen takes an outin' try a number twenty-seven bus."

From the obituary notice of an octogenarian:—

"He was a keen chronologist, and possessed a valuable collection of shells."—Provincial Paper.

Picked up, no doubt, on the sands of time.

[pg 26]


[The following fragment is taken from the play, David Lloyd George, which we understand may some day be produced at the Lyric Opera House, Hammersmith, as a companion-piece to Abraham Lincoln.]

The scene is laid in the House of Commons, where Sir Frederick Banbury has moved the rejection of the Poets and Verse (Nationalisation) Bill.

Sir Frederick Banbury is speaking.

But it stands to reason,

If you propose to pay them just the same

Whether they write a little or a lot,

They won't write anything. There will not be

Sufficient stimulus. It's human nature,

And human nature is unchangeable.

Do you imagine, Sir, that Keats or Shelley

Would have produced such valuable work,

So large an output, if this precious Bill

Had been in operation at the time?

We should have had no Shakspeare. And, besides,

It means the death of British poetry,

Because we can't continue to compete

With foreign countries.

A Labour Member. I am not a lawyer

Nor I am not a manufacturer,

But earned my bread these five-and-forty years,

Sweating and sweating. I know what sweat is....

An Hon. Member.

You're not the only person who has sweated.

Labour Member.

At any rate I sweated more than you did.

Mr. Speaker.

I do not think these constant interruptions

Are really helping us.

Labour Member. So you may take it

That what I utter is an honest word,

A plain, blunt, honest and straightforward word,

Neither adorned with worthless flummery

And tricks of language—for I have no learning—

Nor yet with false and empty rhetoric

Like lawyers' speeches. I am not a lawyer,

I thank my stars that I am not a lawyer,

And can without a spate of parleying

Briefly expound, as I am doing now,

The whole caboodle. As for this here Bill,

So far as it means Nationalising verse,

We shall support it. On the other hand,

So far as it means interferences

With the free liberty of working-men

To write their poetry when and how they like,

We will not have the Bill. So now you know.

Mr. Asquith.

It was remarked, I think by Aristotle,

That wisdom is not always to the wise;

To which opinion, if we may include

In that august and jealous category

The President of the Board of Ululation,

I am prepared most freely to subscribe.

When was there ever since the early Forties

A more grotesque and shameless mockery

Of the austere and holy principles

Which Liberalism like an altar-flame

Has guarded through the loose irreverent years

Than this inept, this disingenuous,

This frankly disingenuous attempt;

To smuggle past the barrier of this House

An article so plainly contraband

As this unlicens'd and contagious Bill—

A Bill which, it is not too much to say,

Insults the conscience of the British Empire?

I will not longer, Sir, detain the House;

Indeed I cannot profitably add

To what I said in 1892.

Speaking at Manchester I used these words:—

"If in the inconstant ferment of their minds

The King's advisers can indeed discover

No surer ground of principle than this;

If we have here their final contribution

To the most clamant and profound conundrum

Ever proposed for statesmanship to solve,

Then are we watching at the bankruptcy

Of all that wealth of intellect and power

Which has made England great. If that be true

We may put Finis to our history.

But I for one will never lend my suffrage

To that conclusion."

[An Ovation.

Mr. David Lloyd George. Mr. Speaker, Sir,

I do not intervene in this discussion

Except to say how much I deprecate

The intemperate tone of many of the speakers—

Especially the Honourable Member

For Allways Dithering—about this Bill,

This tiny Bill, this teeny-weeny Bill.

What is it, after all? The merest trifle!

The merest trifle—no, not tipsy-cake—

No trickery in it! Really one would think

The Government had nothing else to do

But sit and listen to offensive speeches.

How can the horse, the patient horse, go on

If people will keep dragging at the reins?

He has so terrible a load to bear,

And right in front there is a great big hill.

The horse is very tired, and it is raining.

Poor little horse! But yonder, at the top,

Look, look, there is a rainbow in the sky,

The promise of fair weather, and beyond

There is a splendidly-appointed stable,

With oats and barley, or whatever 'tis

That horses eat, while smiling all around

Stretch out the prairies of Prosperity,

Cornfields and gardens, all that sort of thing.

That's where the horse is going. But, you see,

The horse has got to climb the great big hill

Before he gets there. Oh, you must see that.

Then let us cease this petty bickering;

Let us have no more dragging at the reins.

What is this Bill when all is said and done?

Surely this House, surely this mighty nation,

Which did so much for horses in the War,

Will not desert this little horse at last

Because of what calumniators say—

Newspaper-owners—I know who they are—

About this Bill! No, no, of course it won't.

We will take heart and gallop up the hill,

We will climb up together to the rainbow;

We will go on to where the rainbow ends—

I know where that is, for I am a Welshman.

It is a field, a lovely little field,

Where there are buttercups and daffodils,

And long rich grass and very shady trees.

Hold on a little, and the horse will get there,

Only, I ask you, let the horse have rein.

That is my message to the British nation:

"Hold on! Hold fast! But do not hold too tight!"

[An Ovation. A Division is taken. The Ayes have it.


[pg 27]



"But I'm almost sure it was not. Love-Fifteen."

"No, really, I'm practically certain it was in. Fifteen-love."


"That was a double fault I served, wasn't it? Love-fifteen."

"No. Your second one was in all right, I think. Fifteen-love."


"But, my dear good fellow, I know I'm right. Love-fifteen."

"My very good idiot, you aren't. Fifteen-love."


"It looked miles out to me. Love-fifteen."

"Well, you were wrong, that's all. Fifteen-love."

TRUE SPORTSMANLIKE BEHAVIOUR (6). "Well, call it a let."

"You pig-headed beast, I am. Love-fifteen."

"You're a liar! You're not. Fifteen-love."

[pg 28]

Society Gossip Note. "I also saw the Honourable Pamela Puntah, attended by a gorgeous creation in tangerine orange and cornflower blue, with hat and handkerchief to match."

[It was remarked that at Henley the men's river attire quite outshone the ladies'.]


Sheila Davies and her brother had cycled over to play tennis. They sat, with John and myself, on the steps and watched the rain falling.

"As a matter of general interest," said Arthur Davies to me, "when a man invites his friends and neighbours over to play tennis and it pours with rain all the time, what is the correct thing for him to do?"

"As a matter of general interest," I answered, "the good host will send the ladies to play the piano, if any, and to talk scandal, whether there is any or not. He will himself conduct the men of the party to the billiard-room or the smoking-room and offer them cigarettes and whisky—if any."

"Ah," said Davies, "then it isn't usual just to keep them sitting miserably on the steps watching the net float away?"

John, on whose steps we were sitting, felt the need of speech.

"I have often wondered," he said, turning to Miss Davies, "how your brother ever got into such a nice family as yours. How do you keep so cheerful with it always about?"

"One gets used to it in time," said Miss Davies.

"I suppose so," said John. "After all, we have the same sort of family disaster in Alan, but we manage to bear up."

Davies rose.

"You and I don't seem popular here," he said to me. "Will you conduct me to the billiard-room or the smoking-room? I am in need of a wash."

"As a matter of general interest," said John to Miss Davies, "is it the correct thing to wash before setting out to visit friends, or can it be left until some hours after arrival?"

Miss Davies sighed heavily.

"If you two are going to sit here thinking of clever remarks to make about each other I shall go home. For goodness' sake let's pretend we are enjoying ourselves."

"I am enjoying myself," said John plaintively; "I've been wanting to say what I really think of your brother for years."

"Well, don't do it now. Things are miserable enough without having discussions on Arthur. Let's all have a game at something, shall we?"

"Splendid idea," said her brother. "What about tennis?"

"We might get into bathing togs and play polo," I suggested.

"That's not a bad notion," said John, "and then he needn't have a wash until to-morrow."

"I suggest," continued Miss Davies, "that we play at Word Chains."

Davies buried his face in his hands and groaned.

"It sounds fine," I said gallantly. "What is it?"

"Well, it's really a sort of mind exercise. They recommend it in those courses, you know," said Miss Davies, "er—'it stimulates a logical sequence in reasoning and quickens the mental processes.'"

"Is that what they say about it?" asked John fearfully.

"But it makes a splendid game," added Miss Davies eagerly. "Let me explain it to you and you'll see. First of all we think of a word, such as—er—'margarine.'"

"Why?" asked John.

"It's part of the game, of course," said Miss Davies indignantly.

"Oh, I see—of course. How stupid of me!" said John.

"Then we think of another word quite different, such as—"

"'Hippopotamus,'" I suggested.

"That's right," said Miss Davies.

I stood up and bowed.

"Well, I'm hanged!" said John. "Jolly good, Alan. However did you guess it? Has he won?" he asked Miss Davies.

"Of course not," said she; "we haven't begun yet."

I sat down again hurriedly.

"Then," continued Miss Davies, "we take turns, starting with the word 'margarine' and making a chain, each word being connected in some way with the one before it. And whoever can get to the word 'hippopotamus' first has won."

"One hippopotamus?" asked John.

"WON," said Miss Davies sweetly.

Her brother groaned again.

"I'll just give you an easy example," went on Miss Davies enthusiastically, "and then we'll begin. Take the words 'fire' and 'nigger.' A good chain would be 'fire—coal—black—nigger.' Do you see?

John and I made sounds expressing that we thought we did. Davies just went on groaning.

"Very well," said Miss Davies, "we'll begin. Now don't forget. We start with 'margarine' and try to get to 'hippopotamus.' The great thing is to keep the word 'hippopotamus' in your mind all the time and keep trying to work towards it. Are you ready? Right! I'll start with 'grease.'"

"Greece?" said John, looking startled.

"Yes, margarine—grease," explained Miss Davies.

"Oh, I see," said John, "er—oil."

I thought seriously for a moment.

"Salad," I said, looking round for approval.

"Splendid," said Miss Davies. "Now you, Arthur."

"I refuse—Oh, all right," he said. "Where have we—'salad'—er—'lobster.'"

Do you catch the idea, as it were? We seemed to fall into the way of it in a moment. Once we had tried we progressed at a tremendous rate. Perhaps we are all very clever, or perhaps it was really easier than it seems in the telling, but looking back the conversation seems to have been simply brilliant.

Well, here's an idea of how we went on, anyway, and you can judge for yourselves (Davies, you remember, has just snapped out "Lobster"):—

Miss Davies (quick as lightning). Shrimp.

John. Whiskers. (A very subtle one, this.)

Me. Beard. (Rather weak effort.) [pg 29]

Davies. Moustache. (Weaker still; received with groans.)

Miss Davies (quick as another lightning). Charlie Chaplin. (Loud cheers here and laughter, followed by a long pause while John thinks.) At last:—

John. Mary Pickford.

Me (after another pause). Douglas Fairbanks.

Davies (indicating with a wave of the hand that it has been forced on him). D.W. Griffiths.

There is a slight hold-up at this point while Miss Davies tells her brother that he is not trying, and he says he knows he isn't. Miss Davies gets back on to the track amidst applause, however, with:—

"Broken Blossoms."

After this things went on for a long time, hours and hours I should say. I remember that we mentioned among many subjects of interest sausage-rolls, horoscopes, hair-pins, Cleopatra's Needle and lung-wort. I must resist the temptation to tell the whole absorbing story in detail, and skip rapidly to the point where the chase reached the following interesting stage:—

Miss Davies (still going strong). Whale.

John (struggling hard but growing weak). Oil.

Me (quite innocently). Grease.

Davies (triumphantly). Margarine.

I looked at Miss Davies in embarrassment. John gazed round pitifully.

"But," he murmured weakly, "isn't that where we started?"

"Of course it is," said Miss Davies indignantly. "You've spoilt the whole game, Arthur."

"Well, I can't help it," said her brother; "I thought that was the word we were after. What was it, anyway?"

We all looked at the sky and thought hard.

"Hanged if I know," said John.

"I'm sure I don't," I said.

"Well, isn't that ridiculous?" said Miss Davies.

"Of course it is," said her brother brutally; "I knew it was ridiculous from the beginning. You said it quickened the mental processes. Would memory be one of them?"

"Let's go inside and have some tea," said John.

We crept quietly indoors.

Halfway through tea Miss Davies suddenly waved her teaspoon aloft. We looked at her and saw a great light shining in her eyes.

"Hip—hip—hippopotamus!" she shrieked.

We all agreed that Miss Davies had won.

Play us a chune, Mister. "Play us a chune, Mister."


There was once a satirical pup

Who with newspaper rule was fed up,

So he wrote bitter rhymes

Which disparaged The Times

But were praised in its weekly Lit. Supp.

"The Canadian officials refused to allow her to land because she did not proopse to carry out her original intention tom arry Captain ——, and the New Yorkaut horities declined to interfere with the Canadian decision."—Daily Paper.

But what we really want to know is where Tom and 'Arry come in.

"New York, Sunday.

The s.s. Minnehaha left here yesterday for London with fifty crates of American birds and a great variety of animals.

Three trunks were carried for the oppossum to build in and for the beavers to gnaw."—Daily Mirror.

Nothing is said about the other creatures' luggage.

From the time-table of a Hampshire motor-service:—

"The Fares between any points on any route will be found where the vertical line of figures under the name of one of the points meets the horizontal line of figures which terminates in the name of the other of the two points between which it is desired to travel."

The Hampshire Hog needs to be a very learned pig.

[pg 30]
A very quiet wedding.

Mother. "Well, darlings, what are you playing?"

Margaret. "We're playing at weddings. I'm the bride and Betty's the bridesmaid."

Mother. "But where's the bridegroom?"

Margaret. "Oh, this is a very quiet wedding."


All the grim rocks that stand guard about Scilly—

Wingletang, Great Smith and Little Granilly,

The Barrel of Butter, Dropnose and Hellweather—

Started to boast of their conquests together,

Of drowned men and gallant, tall vessels laid low

While gulls wheeled about them like flurries of snow

And green combers romped at them smashing in thunder,

Gurgling and booming in caverns down under,

Sending their diamond-drops flying in showers.

"Oh," said the reefs, "what a business is ours!

Since saints in coracles paddled from Erin

(Fishing our waters for sinners and herrin')

And purple-sailed triremes of Hamilco came

To the Islands of Tin, we've played at the game.

We shattered the galleys of conquering Rome,

The galleons of Philip that scudded for home

(The sea-molluscs slime on their glittering gear);

We plundered the plundering French privateer,

We caught the great Indiaman head in the wind

And gutted her hold of the treasures of Ind;

We sank a whole fleet of three-deckers one night

(The drift of the sand keeps their culverins bright),

And cloudy tea-clippers that raced from Canton

Swept into our clutches—and never went on.

Come steel leviathans scorning disaster

We scrapped them as fast—if anything faster.

So pick up your pilot and take a cross-bearing,

Sound us and chart us from Lion to Tearing,

And ring us with lighthouses, day-marks and buoys,

The gales are our hunters, the fogs our decoys.

We shall not go hungry; we grin and we wait,

Black-fanged and foam-drabbled, the wolves at the Gate."



Although the cost of everything is on the rise there are still a few good things that quite a little money can buy. One pound, for example—or, if you prefer it, twenty shillings—can work wonders by taking (under the auspices of the Children's Country Holiday Fund) a London child away from our smoke and grime for a fortnight of country air and surprises, excitements and joys. The Fund (the Hon. Treasurer of which is the Earl of Arran, 18, Buckingham Street, Strand, London) must not now be restricted because lodgings and railway fares are dearer. Last year the sum asked for each child was just half what is now required; but the increase is necessary. Yet even with the increase it is not great, considering the good that it can do! In spite of all the other claims of the moment upon his readers' generosity, Mr. Punch trusts that this modest and most excellent ameliorative organisation will not be neglected.

"The police are divided in their opinions as to whether Mamie is still alive or whether she has gone to Canada."—Provincial Paper.

Why this "down" on the Dominion?

[pg 31]



[pg 33]


Monday, July 5th.—When the Germans left Peking after the Boxer Rebellion they took with them the astronomical instruments which had hung for centuries on its walls. How the Celestial equivalent of Old Moore has managed to translate the message of the stars without their assistance I cannot imagine; but the Chinese Government does not appear to be worrying, for, though it was specifically provided at Versailles that the instruments should be returned, China has omitted to sign the Peace Treaty.



Colonel Wedgwood.

There are the makings of a great statesman in Sir John Rees. Some apprehension having been expressed lest France should prohibit the importation of silk mourning crêpe and so injure an old British industry, he was quick to suggest a remedy. "Would it not be possible," he asked in his most insinuating tones, "to have a deal between silk and champagne?" And the House, which is not yet entirely composed of "Pussyfeet," gave him an approving cheer.

A certain General Golovin having published statements reflecting on Mr. Churchill's conduct of the campaign in North Russia last year, that section of the House which is always ready to take the word of any foreigner as against that of any Englishman, particularly of any English Minister, at once assumed that the charges were correct. The Secretary of State for War was in his place, with the light of battle in his eye, ready to meet his enemies in the gate. But by the time Mr. Bonar Law had done with them there was not much left of the charges. So far as the statements were true, he said, they merely repeated what was already familiar to the House. Everybody knew that the Government was helping the anti-Bolshevik forces last year. But the story that Mr. Churchill had taken his orders from Admiral Koltchak was both untrue and absurd. He had simply carried out the policy of the Government, a policy which, though some hon. Members did not seem to appreciate it, had now been altered.

Committee on the Finance Bill saw the annual assault on the tea duty. "We are going to drop this duty directly we are in a position to do so," said Commander Kenworthy, with his eye on the Treasury Bench. "Who are we?" shouted the Coalitionists; and it presently appeared that "we" did not include Sir Donald Maclean, but did include Colonel Wedgwood, who, as becomes one of his name, was all for a generous tea-pot.



Undeterred by his failure over tea, Commander Kenworthy next attacked the duty on films, complaining inter alia, "Mr. Chaplin is taxed twenty pounds for every thousand feet." Mr. Chamberlain defended the tax on general grounds, but wisely avoided Mr. Chaplin's feet, over which it is notoriously easy to trip.

The debate on the beer duty shattered one more illusion. It is an article of faith with the "Wee Frees" that Sir George Younger is the power behind the scenes, and that Mr. Lloyd George is a mere marionette, who only exists to do his bidding. Yet here was the autocrat confessing, quâ brewer, that the latest addition to the beer duty was the biggest surprise of his life.

Tuesday, July 6th.—The Lord Chancellor's request for leave of absence in order that he might attend the Spa Conference was granted. Lord Crewe's remark, that it was "a matter of regret that the Government had to depend upon the noble and learned lord for legal assistance," might perhaps have been less ambiguously worded. At any rate Lord Birkenhead thought it necessary to allay any possible apprehensions by adding that he would be accompanied by the Attorney-General.

The gist of Mr. Churchill's comprehensive reply to allegations of waste at Chilwell was that there were not enough sheds to cover all the stores, and that to build additional accommodation would cost more than it would save. There was a pleasant Hibernian flavour about his admission that the goods, "if they remained in their present condition, would, of course, deteriorate."

Who says that D.O.R.A. has outlived her usefulness? The Home Secretary announced that the sale of chocolates in theatres is still verboten, so the frugal swain, whose "best girl" has a healthy appetite, may breathe again.


Mr. Clynes. "Look here—if the price of ale keeps on going up like this I'll have to speak to Austen Chamberlain about it."

Mr. Clynes, usually so cautious, was in a reckless mood. First he tried to move the adjournment over the Golovin revelations, and was informed by the Speaker that a report of doubtful authenticity, relating to events that happened over a year ago, could hardly be described as either "urgent" or "definite."

Next, on the Finance Bill, he shocked his temperance colleagues by boldly demanding cheaper beer. But, although he received the powerful support of Admiral Sir R. Hall, he failed to soften the heart of the Chancellor, who declared that he must have his increased revenue, and that the beer-drinker must pay his share of it.

Mr. Chamberlain turned a more sympathetic ear to the bark of another sea-dog, Admiral Adair, who sought a reduction of the tax on champagne, and mentioned the horrifying fact that even City Companies were abandoning its consumption. He received the unexpected support of Lieutenant-Commander Kenworthy, who declared that Yorkshire miners always had a bottle after their day's work and denounced an impost that would rob a poor man of his "boy." Eventually the Chancellor agreed to reduce the new ad valorem duty by a third. He might have made the same reduction in the case of cigars but for the declaration of a Labour [pg 34] Member that this was becoming "a rich man's Budget from top to bottom."

Wednesday, July 7th.—Never was Lord Haldane's power of clear thinking employed to better advantage than in his lucid exposition of the Duplicands and Feu-duties (Scotland) Bill. I would not like to assert positively that all the Peers present fully grasped the momentous fact that a duplicand was a "casualty" and might be sometimes twice the feu-duty and sometimes three times that amount; but they understood enough to agree that it was a very fearful wild-fowl and ought to be restrained by law.

After this piquant hors-d'œuvre they settled down to a solid joint of national finance, laid before them by Lord Midleton. I am afraid they would have found it rather indigestible but for the sauce provided by Lord Inchcape, who was positively skittish in his comments upon the extravagance of the Government, and on one occasion even indulged in a pun. In his view the Ministry of Transport was an entirely superfluous creation, solely arising out of the supposed necessity of finding a new job for Sir Eric Geddes. I suppose the Prime Minister said, "Here's a square peg, look you; let us dig a hole round it."

The Lord Chancellor's reply was vigorous but not altogether convincing. His description of the Government as a body of harassed and anxious economists did not altogether tally with his subsequent picture of the Chancellor of the Exchequer "always resisting proposals for expenditure made by his colleagues in the Cabinet." Despite his eloquence the Peers passed Lord Midleton's motion by 95 votes to 23.

The Commons made good progress with the Finance Bill, though there was a good deal of justifiable criticism of its phraseology. The Secretary of the Treasury admitted that there was one clause of which he did not understand a word, but wisely refused to specify it. Colonel Wedgwood advanced the remarkable proposition that "the workers in the long run pay all the taxes," but did not jump at Captain Elliott's suggestion that in that case it would save trouble if the Chancellor were to levy all the taxes on the working classes direct. When asked to extend further relief to charities Mr. Chamberlain sought a definition of "charity." Would it apply, for example, to "the association of a small number of gentlemen in distress obeying the law of self-preservation in the face of world-forces which threaten to sweep them out of existence"? I seem to hear Mr. Wilkins Micawber reply, "The answer is in the affirmative."

Thursday, July 8th.—In the absence of the Lord Chancellor the Gas Regulation Bill was entrusted to the Under-Secretary for Air. The mingling of gas and air has before now been known to produce an explosion, but on this occasion Lord Londonderry so deftly handled his material that not a single Peer objected to the Second Reading.

The proceedings in the Lower House were much more lively. Mr. Stanton threatened that there would be a general strike of Members of Parliament unless their salaries were increased; but Mr. Bonar Law seemed to be more amused than alarmed at the prospect. The Chancellor of the Exchequer was asked point-blank whether he was satisfied with the reduction in the bureaucracy during the last six months, and replied that he was not, and had therefore appointed Committees to investigate the staffs in seven of the Departments. The number is unfortunately suggestive.

"If seven maids with seven mops

Swept it for half a year,

Do you suppose," the Walrus said,

"That they could get it clear?"


And we know what the Carpenter replied.

If an unnecessary amount of heat was engendered by the debate on General Dyer's case the fault must be partly attributed to the Indian Secretary's opening speech. "Come, Montagu, for thou art early up" is a line from one of the most poignant scenes in Shakspeare; but early rising, at Westminster as elsewhere, is not always conducive to good temper.

Members who thought with Sir Edward Carson that General Dyer had not been fairly treated resented Mr. Montagu's insinuation that in that case they were condoning "frightfulness." Mr. Churchill was more judicious, and Mr. Bonar Law did his level best to keep his followers in the Government Lobby. But Sir A. Hunter-Weston's reminder that by the instructions issued by the civil authority to General Dyer he was ordered "to use all force necessary. No gathering of persons nor procession of any sort will be allowed. All gatherings will be fired on," confirmed them in the view that the General was being made a scape-goat. No fewer than 129 voted against the Government, whose majority would have been very minute but for the assistance of its usual foes, the "Wee Frees" and Labourites.

"Keble's own future should be all the more secure in a University in which there is not only complete religious intolerance but complete religious equality."—Local Paper.

Poor old Oxford! Still "the home of lost causes" apparently.

"Few stories of London origin are more familiar than that of the cabby who, regarding his day off as one of his indisputable rights, spent it each week in riding about the City with a fellow cabby in order to keep him company."—Sunday Paper.

That's why they called him a busman and his holiday a busman's holiday.

"Do you remember the sad fate of a certain distinguished hostess who found herself at midnight left with only a few hogs and elderly men to entertain her pretty girl guests, and the sudden epidemic of rents that necessitated a rush to the cloakroom for mending."—Evening Paper.

The ripping property of tusks is well known.

[pg 35]



A returning circumnavigator reports that the passengers on the boat—a Japanese liner—coming from Yokohama to Honolulu were apprised of the fact that they were to have two Thursdays, one immediately following the other (and you can have no notion how long a second Thursday can be), owing to the crossing of the imaginary but very boring line which divides the two hemispheres. The official notice came from the captain's own hand. The ship had an American purser and an American chief steward, and there were many English on board, but the gallant little commander preferred to tackle the linguistic problem unaided. On Wednesday, therefore, the board had this announcement pinned to it:—"As she will be crossed the meridian of 180 to-morrow, so to-morrow again." Could, after the first blow, anything be clearer?

Meanwhile from Siam come the glad tidings that the British residents in Bangkok are to have a new paper. That the editorial promises are rich the following extracts sufficiently prove:—

"The news of English we tell the latest, writ in perfect style and earliest. Do a murder get commit, we hear and tell of it. Do a mighty chief die, we publish it in borders of sombre. Staff has each one been college and writes like the Kipling and the Dickens. We circulate every town and extortionate not for advertisements. Buy it."

Rather a Tall Order.

"For Sale.

Grey flannel suit made by English tailor in January last, unworn Rs. 50; chest 39, height 8ft. 5 inches."—Indian Paper.

"Small (Elephant) Pram, as new, extending back, 6 gns."—Local Paper.

Thanks; but we always take our elephant in the side-car.

"Samuel Johnson, who had pleaded guilty yesterday to stealing a wallet, was sentenced to three months' hard labour."—Evening Paper.

When he comes out (if there is any truth in Boswell) he will make a pun.

Vers Libre.

There was an old man of Dunoon

Who always ate soup with a fork;

For he said, "As I eat

Neither fish, fowl or flesh

I should finish my dinner too quick."

"It is as well to note that during dry weather it is always advisable to pass the watering-can along the rows of plants in order to moisten the soil."—Daily Paper.

This means, we think, "Water the garden."

"The City views with the gravest concern the existence of places like Didcot."—Daily Paper.

There is reason to believe that Didcot entertains precisely similar feelings in regard to the City.

Commercial Candour.

"For Lightweight Motor Cycles there is no alternative to the —— Magneto. Maximum Weight. Minimum Performance."—Trade Paper.

"Reason and instinct dictate the smoking of a cigarette that will give the minimum of pleasure at a moderate cost."—Advt. in Evening Paper.

[pg 36]


"Hulloa, Melhuish," I said, "after all you had ideal weather for your Midsummer Night's Dream yesterday."

"Ideal," said Melhuish moodily.

"Really, if you'd picked the day it couldn't have been better. You want peculiar atmospheric conditions for a pastoral, don't you? Just enough sun, not too much wind, temperature congenial for sitting out-of-doors. You had 'em all."

Melhuish nodded.

"Your garden must be looking like fairyland too now with the roses out and the trees in all their full summer greenery."

He nodded again.

"What a setting for the Dream! It drew a crowd, of course?"

"Yes, we drew the county."

I sighed regretfully. "How I wish I hadn't funked it, but with my lumbago I never dare risk damp grass and it looked so awfully like rain in the morning."

Melhuish suddenly got excited. "Looked like rain!" he said violently. "It did rain. It rained several drops. I never saw such drops, as big as saucers. Perhaps you didn't hear the thunder?"

"My dear bean," I said, "it was the thunder which put me off coming to see you as Bottom and Mrs. Melhuish as Titania in the most idyllic surroundings I can imagine."

"You wouldn't have seen us in any idyllic surroundings," said Melhuish. He had relapsed into moodiness again. I could see there was something serious.

"What happened, old friend?" I said gently.

"We began rehearsing during that glorious spell of sunshine in the spring, when the garden was a carpet of daffodils and it was a sheer joy to play about out-of-doors. Then the weather broke for a time and we migrated to the Parish Hall. You know our Parish Hall?"

"Quite well. A little tin place on the left from the rectory."

"That's it. It's got a platform on trestles at one end and a paraffin lamp in the middle. The Vicar placed it at our disposal when there wasn't a Women's Institute or a choir practice, and on chilly nights he had the 'Beatrice stove' lit for us. Then the Summer began in real earnest. We got in extra gardeners, worked like niggers ourselves, and when the turf was in perfect condition and the thyme was coming up on Titania's bank we fixed the date and billed the county.

"After that we all got nervous and went about consulting weather forecasts. Old Moore prophesied heavy rains. The Daily Mail said a cyclone from New York was on the way. The weather-glasses jumped about and seemed to know their own minds even less than usual. Three days before the date thunderstorms were reported all over the country and a fowl was struck by lightning. But not a drop of rain came to our village.

"At the dress-rehearsal the night before the performance we debated the weather prospects until the moon rose. Lysander said his bit of seaweed which he brought from Bognor was as dry as parched peas and he would back it against any fool barometer. Cocklewhite, our prompter, said he didn't want to depress the company, but he had a leech in a bottle of water which rose for fine weather and sank for wet, and he was bound to tell us it was like lead at the bottom at the present moment. Hermia pointed to the heavens, 'Red sky at night shepherds' delight,' she quoted. There was no getting away from the swallows; they were nose-diving to a bird. 'Hang swallows,' Oberon said; 'put your trust in mosquitoes. Look at my eyelid.'

"'It's no good talking,' Theseus said; 'nobody can tell until the morning, and then it'll be up to Bottom to decide by 11.30 whether it's to be indoors or out. He's our stage-manager and we know his arrangements in case of rain. They're the only arrangements possible in our little village, and it's going to be a nightmare instead of a dream if they have to be carried out. But we can depend upon Bottom to make a wise decision. He'll notify us and the boy-scouts will notify the audience. All we've got to do is not to grouse.'

"Cocklewhite said he would phone me the position of his leech at 9 a.m., and Lysander promised to report any change in the condition of the seaweed. I set our glass and Titania and I got up at half-hour intervals during the night and tapped it. It refused to budge either way.

"At dawn Titania looked out of the window and gave a wild cry. 'Red sky in the morning shepherds' warning,' she wailed. At breakfast Cocklewhite phoned that his leech was dead, and he had strong suspicions it had died from atmospheric pressure. Almost at the same moment Lysander sent word that his seaweed had gone clammy during the night. Half-an-hour later came a clap of thunder and the drops of rain I mentioned. I needn't go on. You can guess the rest."

Melhuish paused.

"But the performance came off, didn't it?" I said.

"Yes, in the Parish Hall. It was a perfect day for a pastoral."

I want you to paint me with a book in my 'and.

Profiteer. "I want you to paint me with a book in my 'and and my valet standin' unobtrusively in the background in case I might wish to call 'im."

A Clean Hitter.

"J. —— carried his bath through the innings."—Scotch Paper.

"Fishing near the bridge on Monday a schoolboy caught a chub with artificial fly weighing 2lbs. 15ozs."—Local Paper.

It is supposed that the unfortunate fish was struck on the head and stunned.

"After long delays a new Polish Cabinet has been formed under Mr. Grabski. He would annex much Russian territory outright."—Weekly Paper.

Pace Shakspeare, there would seem to be something in a name.

"That Queer Fish the Salmon.

Some fish are 'takers,' some are not, but most salmon can be worried into talking."—Daily Paper.

Whereas most fishermen chatter of their own accord.

[pg 37]
Wind gettin' up nicely. Fair Skipper. "Wind gettin' up nicely— what?"


(Being an inquiry into the two Candidates for the Presidency of the United States of America.)

I wish I knew some facts regarding

The private life of Mr. Harding;

I wish that I had simply stocks

Of anecdotes of Mr. Cox.

In U.S.A. (where both are resident

And each one hoping to be President)

Their favourite hymns, their size in boots,

Their views on liquor and cheroots

Are known to all; not Julius Cæsar

Is quite so much renowned as these are.

In England, where they do not dwell,

No one appears to know them well.

One cannot say if Cox's liver

Keeps well upon the Swanee River,

Nor whether Harding finds, when glum,

Any relief in chewing gum.

It may be that they both have good rows

Of dental ornaments like Woodrow's,

The waist of Taft, the Roosevelt eye

For pinking hippopotami.

It may be Harding had some flickers

Of Cleveland's spirit whilst in knickers,

And Cox while yet a puling babe

Dreamed tiny dreams of Lincoln (Abe);

And both, although they knew they'd catch it,

Cut fruit-trees with a little hatchet;

Both may have been, when glorious youths,

Too proud to fight or tell untruths.

I cannot say. I know they wrangle

On points I dare not disentangle,

That one of them's a Democrat

And t' other's not. And that is that.



On the upper floors of a shop in the Strand, between Wellington Street and the Savoy, is a well-known maker of fowling-pieces, who gave me a terrible start the other day; and probably not me alone, but many passers-by who chanced to look upwards at his windows. For he is at the moment advertising the most undesirable article in the world, a commodity for which I can conceive of no demand whatever. Yet there—the result of the caprice of adhesive cement or the desire of one letter of the alphabet to get level with its neighbour and be dropped too—the amazing notice is, in conspicuous white enamel:—


The Domestic Problem Solved.

"A Lady wishes to meet with a gentleman or lady to share her home as sole paying guest; one with a hobby for gardening preferred; every home comfort; terms, £300 per annum."—Sunday Paper.

We are desirous of entertaining, on the same terms, a lady (or gentleman) with a penchant for cooking and washing-up.

"The Hindus and Mahomedans are the two eyes of India, but have long been engaged in a tug-of-war. On account of this cleavage both have suffered, but now the wall of separation is broken down, and they are coming together like sugar and milk, the bitter feelings between them having been pulled out like a thorn. They are advised to give up biting each other for the future."—Indian Paper.

Or our contemporary will have exhausted its stock of metaphors.

[pg 38]


Our move-in took place in no furtive or clandestine fashion; our installation of ourselves in our semi-detached was performed well under the eye of the neighbouring public. Our furniture waited on the public thoroughfare until our new home was ready to receive it. Small children played games on our sofa; enthusiastic acquaintances played tunes on our piano. In a word, our move-in was a local festival; everyone took part. This is the sad tale of the man who took the most expensive part—the clock.

If the hard choice had been put to Diana, my wife, to say which she could least sorrowfully part with, me or the clock, the clock would have stayed. If I had been put to the same dismal alternative as to Diana or the clock, Diana would have gone. In fact, directly the clock was safely in Diana had gone out. That was all she cared about; small children might play on the sofa, enthusiastic acquaintances might play on the piano, and I might toil unremittingly with everything else, for all Diana cared. So, the clock being in, out she went upon her lawful or unlawful purposes. As she departed she said something about my seeing to the clock. I remembered that later on, but I remembered it wrong. This is how I did it.

The man sat a little on my own special chair (at that time on the pavement) before he came in. I asked him what he was sitting there for. He got up and came inside. Then I asked him what he had come in for, and he said, "The clock." I looked at the clock and it had stopped. I gave it a shake, and it still stopped. He said it was no good shaking it; that only annoyed it. He said he had come to look after it. He then took off his hat and his coat, moved the fingers about, put his ears to it to hear its heart beating, and asked me what I had been doing to it. I said I hadn't been doing anything to it; he watched me doing things to everything else, and adopted an expression as if to say he didn't believe me. He gave me the feeling that I was a very interfering person, and that he didn't want to have anything more to do with me. He said he should have to take the clock away. I asked him when he would bring it back. He said he didn't know. He appeared to take a pessimistic view of it. I asked him cheerfully if he would ever bring it back. He gave me a contemptuous look and, without another word, went, taking the clock with him.

When Diana came back she asked where the clock was. I said it had gone. "Gone where?" asked Diana. I said I didn't know; the man had taken it. "What man?" asked Diana. I was trying to move the sofa at the moment and I was inclined to be short-spoken. I said that the man who had taken it was, no doubt, the man whom Diana had gone forth to find and bid take away our clock. Diana said that, if the man had said that she had said that he might take our clock away, the man was a liar. Had the man said that she had said he might take the clock away? The answer was in the negative.

Then the truth emerged. The man had stolen our clock. I had assisted the man to steal our clock, helping him to lift it off its perch and handing him his bowler hat as he left.

It all sounds incredible, doesn't it? But you will admit, I am sure, that it is a thing which could quite easily happen to anyone. Isn't it?

To be quite frank, I have improved the story a bit. The clock wasn't really stolen.

Was the man really taking it away to repair it? No; to tell you the truth he didn't actually take it away at all. In fact, I might as well own that no man ever came into the house while I was shifting the furniture in from the street. And, if you want to know, I never had a clock ... nor a wife ... nor a house.

The mere fact of my pretending that there are such things as semi-detacheds for people to move into these days ought to have put you wise from the start that the whole tale was a fabrication.


(By our Medical Expert.)

The Times, in its daily summary of "News in Advertisements" recently called attention to the appeal of an invalided officer who "will be glad to give a hundred pounds to any doctor, nerve specialist or hospital that can cure him of occupation neurosis and writer's cramp." A careful study of other newspapers shows that offers of handsome remuneration for cures are not confined to those who have suffered from the War, but are made by civilians and officials of the highest position in public life. We append a few outstanding examples of the splendid opportunities now provided to psycho-pathological specialists:—

A Cabinet Minister of massive physique, perfect self-confidence and immovable determination, who has had varied experience in different business callings and (up to a certain point) unvarying success, offers five thousand pounds to any professor of deportment or member of the Old Nobility in reduced circumstances who will impart to him suavity of manner, tact and diplomatic courtesy, the lack of which constitutes the sole obstacle to his achieving immortality. If the instructor can succeed in making him (the Cabinet Minister) really beloved the honorarium will be doubled.

An Editor of thirty years' experience as a journalist, first-rate linguist, deeply versed in geography, Central European politics, etc., will give five hundred pounds to any mental specialist, registered or unregistered, who will cure him of an irresistible temptation on all occasions, with or without provocation, to utilise every incident, occurrence, calamity or disaster as a means of assailing and undermining the position of the Coalition Government in general and the Prime Minister in particular.

A Member of Parliament, formerly attached to one of His Majesty's services, is prepared to offer fifty pounds to any phrenologist who without inflicting undue pain will reduce or remove the Bump of Curiosity which at present impels him without rhyme or reason to bombard Ministers with irrelevant questions contrary to the public interest and calculated to produce the maximum amount of irritation even amongst Members who sit on the same side of the House.

A Peer of great wealth, striking physiognomy, affectionate disposition and wonderful general knowledge will pay the sum of twenty thousand pounds to any psychiatric practitioner who succeeds in eliminating from his system the microbe of filmolatry, the ravages of which have latterly threatened to infect his monumental mind with histrionic monomania highly deleterious to the best interests of the community.

A neo-Georgian poet, disciple of Freud, pacificist and vegetarian, will gladly pay five pounds to any psychopathic suggestionist who will extirpate from his subconsciousness the lingering relics of an antipathy to syncopated rhythms which retard his progress towards a complete mastery of the technique of amorphous bombination.

Another "Substitute."

"For the first time on record snow has fallen at Albany, Western Australia.

The Food Ministry announces that this surplus will therefore be available for home jam-making."—Provincial Paper.

"The Roman poets, all of them inveterate Cockneys, talk of the joys of the country, of purling streams and lowing kine and frisking lamps."—Weekly Paper.

And their verses occasionally smell of them.

[pg 39]
The early worm.

Prospective Mistress. "Are you a consistently early riser?"

Maid. "Not arf! Why, Mum, in my last place the master's pet name for me was 'the early worm.'"


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

Rescue (Dent) is a story in the authentic manner of Mr. Joseph Conrad at his unapproachable best. If it is true, as one has heard, that the book was begun twenty-five years ago and resumed lately, this explains but does nothing to minimize a fact upon which we can all congratulate ourselves. The setting is the shallow seas of the Malay coast, where Lingard, an adventurer (most typically Conrad) whose passion in life is love for his brig, has pledged himself to aid an exiled young Rajah in the recovery of his rights. At the last moment however, when his plans are at point of action, the whole scheme is thwarted by the stranding of a private yacht containing certain persons whose rescue (complicated by his sudden subjection to the woman of the party) eventually involves Lingard in the loss of fortune and credit. Perhaps you can suppose what Mr. Conrad makes of a theme so congenial; how the tale moves under his hand in what was once well called that "smoky magnificence" of atmosphere, just permitting the reader to observe at any moment so much and no more of its direction. Of the style it would now be superfluous to speak. It has been given to Mr. Conrad, working in what is originally a foreign medium, to use it with a dignity unsurpassed by any of our native craftsmen. Such phrases as (of the prudent mate remonstrating with Lingard): "What he really wanted was to have his existence left intact, for his own cherishing and pride;" or again, "The situation was too complicated to be entrusted to a cynical or shameless hope," give one the quick pleasure of words so delicately and deftly used as to seem newly coined. Rescue, in short, is probably the greatest novel of the year, one by which its author has again enriched our literature with work of profound and moving quality.

I was inclined to flatter myself that nothing in the plot of The Silver Tea-shop (Stanley Paul) could possibly take me by surprise, but I found towards the end that Miss E. Everett Green had contrived to slip in the real villain all unsuspected while I, as she meant me to, was staring hard at the supposed one, so that there I must acknowledge myself defeated. With a stolen invention, an old gentleman found shot in his room, and a son under a vow to avenge his father, the story provides plenty of thrills, and the "Silver Tea-shop" itself has the fascination that business ventures in books often exercise. It seems to be run on such lavish lines for the prices charged that I found myself looking hungrily for its address. I wish the author had not referred to her hero as having "mobile digits" and burdened her ingenuous story with anything so important as a prologue. By making the villain's deserted offspring not one baby girl only, or even twins, but triplets, Miss Everett Green provides waitresses all of one family for the "Silver Tea-shop," and that, though a happy arrangement, is a little too uncommon to add to the likelihood of an unconvincing tale.

When a book is succinctly labelled Love Stories (Doran), at least no one has any right to complain that he wasn't warned beforehand of the character of its contents. As a matter of fact, human nature being what it is, I have little doubt that Mrs. Mary Roberts Rinehart has hit upon a distinctly profitable title. Indeed I believe that this has already been proved in the Land of Freedom, from which the work comes to us, where (I am given to understand) the vogue of sentimental fiction is even greater than with ourselves. [pg 40] What the name does nothing to indicate is that the stories are almost all of them laid in or about hospital wards. For some, perhaps most, of the author's admirers this may serve only to increase the charm; for others, who prefer their romance unflavoured with iodoform, not. Undeniable that she has a smiling way with her, and a gift of sympathetic enjoyment that carries off the old, old dialogues, even imparting freshness to the tale of the patient in extremis who persuades his attractive nurse into a death-bed marriage, treatment that the slightest experience of fiction should have warned her to be invariably curative. Perhaps the best of the tales is "Jane," which tells very amusingly the results of a hospital strike that in actual life would, I imagine, have provided little humorous relief. By this time you may have gathered that what matters about Mrs. Rinehart is not what she says but the way that she says it; upon which hint you can act as fancy dictates.

I very distinctly feel that "Katharine Tynan" could have made a first-rate novel of Denys the Dreamer (Collins) and have had plenty over for a good second if she had taken the trouble. But her fluent pen runs away with her down paths that lead nowhere in particular, instead of developing her main characters and situations to an intelligible and satisfactory point. Denys is of a gentle Irish family that has come down to very small farming. He dreams good, solid and rather Anglo-Saxon dreams of draining bogs on the sea-coast estates of Lord Leenane, whose agent he becomes (and whose daughter he loves from afar), and of a great port that is to rival Belfast. Unexpected, not to say incredible, assistance comes from a Jew money-lender and his wife. The portraits of Mr. and Mrs. Aarons are the best things in the book, and I hope Mrs. Hinkson will make a novel about these two admirable people some day soon. Denys makes his own and his patron's fortune and I am sure lives happily ever after with Dawn, who is the palest wraith of a girl, owing to the shameful neglect of her author, who is too busy putting large sums of money into the pockets of the principal puppets. Indeed, for a West Coast of Ireland story a demoralising amount of money is going about.

The principal scenes of The North Door (Constable) are laid in the Cornwall of some hundred-and-thirty years ago, and I welcome Dr. Greville Macdonald as an expert in the Cornish language and character. Cornwall, as all readers of fiction know, has during the last few years been attacked again and again by novelists, and most of them would do well to study Dr. Macdonald's romance and most thoroughly to digest it. In form, however, he will have little to teach them, for his book is very indifferently constructed. It may seem ungrateful in these rather skimpy days to complain of a surfeit of matter, but there is stuff in this book for two if not three novels. One cannot blame Dr. Macdonald for his indignation at the miseries of child-labour, but here it is perhaps out of place. His Mr. Trevenna, the mystical parson, friend of smugglers and of everyone who suffered from laws (unrighteous or righteous), is a great figure; and I shall not soon forget either his correspondence with Lady Evangeline Walrond or his superhuman kindliness of heart. If you want to get at the true flavour of Cornwall you have only to open The North Door.

A young clerk in an insurance office, who wanted to go as a missionary to India, is the hero, if there is one, of Mrs. Alice Perrin's latest novel, The Vow of Silence (Cassell). I have never read a book about India which made such an ambition seem more courageous, for it gives such a hot and thirsty picture of that country when Harold Williams at last reaches it that it is positively uncomfortable to read it in Summer weather. Harold and his brother and sister missionaries live in a state of stuffy discomfort which soon undermines his health and leaves him no defence against the charms of Elaine Taverner, who has a large cool drawing-room and dainty frocks, and a young soldier lover and an old scholar husband, and all the other things we expect of pretty young women in Anglo-Indian novels. Poor Harold, consumed at once by a zeal which makes him long to save Elaine's soul and a passion which makes him embrace a parcel of her lingerie, very naturally loses the remains of his reason and paves the way for her marriage with her lover by obligingly pushing the elderly husband into the jaws of a crocodile. If it were more convincing it would be a painful story—in some hands it might have been a great one; as it is, Mrs. Perrin seems for once to have missed her opportunity.

If the publisher of About It And About had told me on the wrapper that Mr. D. Willoughby has an excellent fund of literary reminiscence, on which he draws for the modelling of a very pretty epigrammatical style, I should, after reading the book, have agreed with him heartily. What Mr. T. Fisher Unwin does say about these short essays, which embrace most of the subjects on which people have violent opinions, is that the author's "point of view is that of the natural historian making an unprejudiced examination." An unprejudiced man, I take it, is a man whose sentiments are the same as mine, and I happen to disagree with Mr. Willoughby as profoundly as possible on several of the themes he has chosen. On fox-hunting, for instance, which he considers a more decadent sport than bull-fighting; and on Ulster, which he attacks bitterly by comparison with the rest of Ireland, for cherishing antiquated political animosities and talking about the Battle of the Boyne. But will Mr. Willoughby not have been hearing of "the curse of Cromwell"? Let us rather agree to be impatient with Yorkshire for her absurd tranquillity with regard to William the First. I repeat that Mr. Willoughby has a very clever style, but, bless his heart, he is as bigoted as I am myself.

Entirely self-made.

Occupant of Pew. "Entirely self-made. Originally a waiter, as you can see."

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol.
159, July 14th, 1920, by Various


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