The Project Gutenberg EBook of Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 150,
January 26, 1916, by Various

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Title: Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 150, January 26, 1916

Author: Various

Editor: Owen Seaman

Release Date: September 15, 2007 [EBook #22612]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


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Vol. 150.

January 26, 1916.

[pg 61]


Some idea of the financial straits in which English people find themselves may be gathered from the statement that the first forced strawberries of the season fetched no more than ten shillings a pound. The Germans proudly point out that their forced loans fetched more than that.

A kindly M.P. has suggested that our German naval prisoners should be employed in making the projected the ship canal between the Firths of Forth and Clyde. At present they suffer terribly from a form of nostalgia known as canal-sickness.

Owing to the scarcity of hay in the Budapest Zoo the herbivorous animals are being fed on chestnuts, and several local humorous papers have been obliged to suspend publication.

As the two Polar bears refused to flourish on a war-diet they were condemned to death, and a Hungarian sportsman paid twelve pounds for the privilege of shooting them. No arrangements have yet been concluded for finishing off the Russian variety.

Old saw, adapted by an American journalist: Call no one happy until he is Hearst.

We all know that marriage is a lottery. But the New Zealand paper which headed an announcement of President Wilson's engagement, "Wild Speculation," was, we trust, taking an unduly gloomy view.

The fact that the Postmaster-General and the Assistant Postmaster-General are as like as two Peases was bound to cause a certain amount of confusion. Still we hardly think it justified a Welsh paper in placing a notice of their achievements under the heading: "Pea Soup and Salt Beef: 300 Sailors Poisoned."

In the endeavour to decide authoritatively what is a new-laid egg the Board of Agriculture has sought information from various sources, but is reported to be still sitting. There is some fear that the definition will be addled.

In tendering birthday congratulations to Mr. Austin Dobson a contemporary noted that "many of his most charming poems and essays were written amid; their the prosaic surroundings of the Board of Trade," and described him as "a fine example of a poet rising above his environment." Mr. Edmund Gosse, who was a colleague of Mr. Dobson at Whitehall Gardens during his most tuneful period, is inclined to think this last remark uncalled for.

It is estimated that 843,920 house-holders read with secret joy the paragraph in last week's papers stating that spring-cleaning is likely to cost the housekeeper this year considerably more than usual both for materials and labour; that 397,413 of them repeated it to their wives, suggesting that here was a chance for a real war-economy; and that one (a deaf man) persisted in the suggestion after his wife had given her views on the subject.

On reading that London people spend on an average seven shillings a year in theatre-tickets, a manager expressed the opinion that according to his experience this calculation was not quite fair. Account should also have been taken of the very large sum which they expend on stamps when writing for free admissions.

It is evident that recent events have had a chastening effect upon Bulgarian ambitions. After receiving a field-marshal's baton from the Kaiser, King Ferdinand is reported to have expressed his hope that by co-operation their countries would obtain that to which they had a right. The Kaiser then left Nish in a hurry.

From El Paso (Texas) comes news that a band of Mexican bandits stopped a train near Chicuabar, seized seventeen persons, stripped them of clothing, robbed them, and then shot them dead. There is some talk of their being elected Honorary Germans.

China has sent a trial lot of small brown eggs packed in sawdust to this country, and it is thought that after all we shall be able to have a General Election.

Private Jones (crawling out after being buried by a shell explosion). "Silly 'orse-play, I calls it!"

Too Good to be True.

"The able organisation which resulted in Hell being evacuated with just as complete success and the same absence of loss as at Suvla and Anzac, relieves what might otherwise be the rather melancholy spectacle of the winding up of this enterprise."

Morning Paper.

From an article by Mr. John Layland on his visit to the Fleet:—

"One would like to describe much more than one has seen, but that is impossible."—Morning Paper.

Some other Correspondents have found no such difficulty.

"Lady Secretary Required, for about two hours early every morning, by lady doctor living near the Marble Arch; rapid shorthand essential; preference given to a possessor of healthy teeth."

Advt. in "The Times."

It looks as if the lady-secretary's luncheon would be a tough proposition.

"Our Correspondent endorses the Russian official claim to have captured the heights north-east of Czernowitz."—Morning Paper.

The Correspondent's condescension is no doubt greatly appreciated by our Allies.

Answer to a correspondent:—

"'Enquirer.'—It is pronounced 'communeek.'"—"Examiner," Launceston, Tasmania.

But not in the best circles.


Another simple and practical way of doing it would be, if the skirt is quite plain, to lift it well from the top, and set it neatly on to a band, so making the skirt shorter as well as fuller. Eight inches is not considered too short for present wear, though personally I think six inches a more graceful length. However, do not be tempted to wear a very short skirt unless you are the possessor of well-shaped feet and ankles.—The Woman's Magazine.

But what about knees?

A Babu's letter of excuse:—

"Sir,—As my wife's temper is not well since last night, on account of that I am unable to attend office to-day. Kindly excuse my absence and grant me one day's causual leave."

In the circumstances Caudle leave would have been a happier form of holiday.

[pg 62]


(German Style).

[The Special Correspondent of The Times at Salonica states that "among the documents examined at the Consulate of his Catholic and Apostolic Majesty of Austria are 1,500 copies of a long proclamation in Arabic to the Chiefs of the Senussis, inciting them to a Holy War on non-Germanic Christendom." The proclamation purports to be composed by one of the Faithful, but "its pseudo-Oriental wording clearly betrays its Germanic authorship."]

In Allah's name, Senussis! Allah's name!

Please note the Holy War that we proclaim!

High at the main we hoist our sacred banner

(Forgive my pseudo-Oriental manner);

For now the psychologic Tag has come

To put the final lid on Christendom,

Always excepting that peculiar part

Which has the hopes of Musulmans at heart.

For lo! this noble race (its Chief has said it;

Else would it seem almost too good to credit),

Prompted by generous instincts, undertakes

To waive its scruples and for your sweet sakes,

Indifferent to private gain or loss,

To help the Crescent overthrow the Cross.

Christians they are, I own, this Teuton tribe,

Yet not too Christian. I could here inscribe

A tale of feats performed with pious hands

On those who crossed their path in Christian lands

Which, even where Armenia kissed his rod,

Would put to shame The Very Shadow of God.

You must not therefore feel a pained surprise

At having Christian dogs for your allies;

For there are dogs and dogs; and, though the base

Bull terrier irks you, 'tis a different case

When gentle dachshunds jump to your embrace.

If crudely you remark: "A holy win

May suit our friends, but where do we come in?"

My answer is: "Apart from any boom

Islam secures by sealing England's doom,

We shall, if we survive the coming clash,

Collect papyrus notes in lieu of cash;

And, if we perish, as we may indeed,

We have a goodly future guaranteed,

With houris waiting in Valhalla's pile"

(Pardon my pseudo-Oriental style).

These are the joys, of which I give the gist,

Secured to those who trust the Kaiser's fist,

Which to the infidel is hard as nails

Or eagles' claws whereat the coney quails,

But to the Faithful, such as you, Senussis,

Is softer than the velvet paws of pussies.

O. S.

From a story in The Glasgow Herald:—

"'He had his feathers ruffled that time, anyway,' laughed my husband, as he followed me whistling into the house."

It isn't every woman that has a husband who can talk and laugh and whistle all at once. Was he the clever man in the French tale, we wonder, who chanted a Scottish air, accompanying himself on the bag-pipes?

"Fire has broken out in an oven in Kafr Zarb, near Suez, completely destroying the fire brigade extinguishing the blaze."

Egyptian Mail.

Serve them right for their officiousness.

"Wanted, Experienced Ruler (female); permanency."

Bristol Times and Mirror.

Might suit a widow.


(By our Tame Naval Expert.)

It is really surprising what confusion exists in the public mind upon the exact significance of such elementary terms as "Command of the Sea," and "A Fleet in Being." Only yesterday evening I was asked by a fellow-traveller on the top of a bus why, if we had command of the sea, we didn't blow up the Kiel Canal!

It will be as well to begin at the beginning. What is Naval Warfare? It is an endeavour by sea-going belligerent units, impregnated (for the time being) with a measure of animus pugnandi and furnished with offensive weapons, to impose their will upon one another. In rather more technical language it may be described as fighting in ships.

Now in order to utilize the sea for one's own purposes and at the same time to deny, proscribe, refuse and restrict it to one's enemy it is essential to obtain command. And it must not be overlooked that Command of the Sea can only be established in one way—by utilizing or threatening to utilize sea-going belligerent units. But we must distinguish between Command of the Sea and Sea Supremacy, and again between Potential Command, Putative Command and Absolute Command. Finally let there be no confusion between the expressions "Command of the Sea" and "Control of the Sea," which are entirely different things—though both rest securely upon the doctrine of the Fleet in Being, which is at the foundation of all true strategy.

This brings us to the question of what is meant by the phrase "A Fleet in Being." "To Be or Not to Be" (in Being) is a phrase that has been woefully misinterpreted, especially by those who insist on a distinction between Being and Doing. There is no such distinction at sea. For a fleet to exist as a recognisable instrument is not necessarily for it to be in Being. Only by exhibiting a desire to dispute Command at all costs can a fleet be said to come into Being. On the other hand, by being in Being a fleet does not necessarily obtain command or even partial control. This is not simply a question of To Be or Not to Be (in Being).

In explaining these academic principles one always runs the risk of being confronted with concrete instances. I shall be asked, "Is the German Fleet in Being?" I can only reply that it is in a condition of strictly Limited Control (I refer to the Kiel Canal), while the Baltic is in Disputed Command so long as the Russian Fleet is Strategically at Large.

This brings us to the question of the phrase "Strategically at Large," which has been loosely rendered "On the War-path." Let us say rather that any fleet (in Being) which is ready (even without Putative Control) to dispute Command is said to be Strategically at Large, so long as it is imbued with animus pugnandi.

Animus pugnandi is the root of the matter. A fleet is in a state of disintegration without it. And so long as the German Fleet's activities in the North Sea are confined to peeping out of the Canal to see if the foe is in the neighbourhood one must conclude that this ingredient has been overlooked in its composition.


General Utility.

"Invalided soldier seeks job; domestic and lity. factotum in bachelor menage, or musician, lyrist, dramatist, etc.; house work mornings, lit. asst. afternoons, evenings; ex-officer's servant; fair cook; turned 60, but virile and active; or working librarian, cleaning, etc.; theatrical experience; nominal salary if permanent."

Daily Express.

If he hadn't called himself a soldier we should have almost thought he was a handy-man.

[pg 63]



[pg 65]

Mistress. "And where is Jane?

Parlourmaid. "If you please, Ma'am, Jane says she can't come to family prayers any more while we have margarine in the kitchen."


We relieved the Royal What-you-call-'ems under depressing circumstances. The front line was getting it in the neck, which is unfair after dark.

As I reached the transport dump a platoon met me led by a Subaltern of no mean dimensions. He was conversing with certain ones, seemingly officer's servants, who were drawing a hand-cart. He grew suddenly excited, then spoke to a Senior Officer, turned, left his platoon and ran back at the double to the fire-trench.

It was three-quarters of an hour before we drew near that unpleasant bourne. In the imitation communication trench, which began a hundred or more yards behind it, we met the Subaltern, hurrying to rejoin his platoon, bearing what seemed to be an enormous despatch-box. He said "Good night" very politely.

By the time we got up the shelling had slackened. The last remaining officer of the Royal What-you-call-'ems stopped to pass the time o' night with us.

I asked him if he knew who the Subaltern might be, and what object of overwhelming importance he had thus returned to retrieve.

"Yes, that was Billy Blank."

"And what was it he was carrying when we met him?"

"A sort of young Saratoga?"

We nodded. Our informant seemed to hesitate a moment.

"Well," he said at last, "I don't see why you shouldn't know, though it's a sort of battalion secret—not that Billy would mind anyone knowing. It's his love-letters."

Vicarious Prophylactics.

"How you may dodge the horrible 'Grippe.'"

"Give your children a cold shower every morning."—Ottawa Evening Journal.

"At the time when Turnbull was asking for the account, and flourishing suggestions as to his ability to pay, there was in the prisoner's bank the sum of sixteen pence."

Newcastle Evening Chronicle.

We have reason to believe that there was also an odd shilling or two in the bank belonging to other clients.

From an account of "Calls to the Bar in Ireland":—

"Mr. —— was awarded the Society's Exhibition of £21 per annum for three roars."

Irish Evening Paper.

He seems to have called himself to the Bar.


O semblance of a snail grown paralytic,

Concerning whom your victims daily speak

In florid language, fearsome and mephitic,

Enough to redden any trooper's cheek:

Let them, I say, hold forth till all is blue;

I take the longer view.

Not mine it is to curse you for your tedium

And frequent stops in search of wayside rest,

Nor call you, through the morning papers' medium,

A crying scandal and a public pest;

I designate you, on the other hand,

A bulwark of the land.

For should the Huns, in final desperation,

On our South-Eastern shore dash madly down,

'Tis true they might entrain at Dover station,

But when, ah, when would they arrive in town?

Or would they perish, hungry, lost, and spent,

Somewhere in wildest Kent?

[pg 66]


(With acknowledgments to Mr. G. R. Sims.)

Being a few Foretastes of the Great Feast to follow.

Peering backward into the gulf of time as I sit in my grandfather's chair and listen to the tick of my grandfather's clock I see a smaller but more picturesque London, in which I shot snipe in Battersea Fields, and the hoot of the owl in the Green Park was not yet drowned by the hoot of the motor-car—a London of chop-houses, peg-top trousers and Dundreary whiskers....

I remember the Derby of Caractacus and the Oaks of Boadicea. Once more I see "Eclipse first and the rest nowhere." I remember "Old Q." and Old Parr, Arnold of Rugby and Keate of Eton, Charles Lamb and General Wolfe, Charles James Fox and Mrs. Leo Hunter; the poets Burns and Tennyson, the latter of whom gave me my name of "Dagonet."

I think back to a London of trim-built wherries and nankeen pantaloons, when The Times cost as much as a dozen oysters, which everyone then ate. I remember backing myself in my humorous way to eat sixty "seconds" in a minute and winning the bet.

I look back to the time when Betty, the infant Roscius, and Grimaldi, and Nell Gwynn and Colley Cibber and Robson and Fechter and Peg Woffington were the chief luminaries of the histrionic firmament. I remember the débuts of Catalani and Malibran and Piccolomini and Broccolini and Giulio Perkins.

I remember the opening of the Great Exhibition of 1851, the erection of Drayton's "Polyolbion," the removal of the Wembley Tower, and the fight between Belcher and the gas-man.

I often think of the battles of Waterloo and Blenheim and Culloden and Preston Pans and Cannæ. I often think of next Sunday with a shudder.

I see Count d'Orsay careering along Kensington Gore in his curricle; Lord Macaulay sauntering homeward to Campden Hill, and Lord George Sanger driving home to East Finchley behind two spanking elephants.

I see Jerusalem and Madagascar and North and South Amerikee...

It was on the eve of the anniversary of the battle of Cressy that I first drew breath on August 25th, "somewhere" in the Roaring Forties. The date was well chosen, for my maternal great-great-grandfather had amassed a considerable fortune by the manufacture of mustard, and the happy collocation was destined to bear conspicuous fruit in after years.

Good old Herodotus, my favourite reading in my school-days, tells us how old-world potentate, in order to discover which was the most ancient language in the world, had two children brought up in strict seclusion by dumb nurses, with the result that the first word they uttered was "Beck," the Phrygian for bread. Strange to say this was not my first linguistic effort, which was, as a matter of fact, the Romany word "bop."

Although I shall probably write my autobiography again a few details about my ancestry are pardonable at this juncture.

My great-great-great-great-grandfather was a robust Devon yeoman who fought with Drake in the Spanish main, but subsequently married the daughter of a Spanish Admiral, made captain at the time of the Armada, Count Guzman Intimidad Larranaga. The daughter, Pomposa Seguidilla, came to England to share her father's imprisonment, and my ancestor fell in love with her and married her. She was a vivacious brunette with nobly chiselled features and fine Castilian manners. Their son Alonzo married Mary Lyte of Paddington, so that I trace my descent to the Lytes of London as well as to the grandees of Spain.... Incredibly also I was one of the Hopes of England.

And now, when London has no light any more, I take pen in hand to retrace the steps of my wonderful journey through the ages. Ah me! Eheu fugaces!

Among my early reading nothing made so much impression on me as Mrs. Glasse's Cookery Book, and I still remember the roars of laughter that went up when I read out a famous sentence in my childish way: "First tatch your hair." Those words have stuck to me through life and have had a deep influence on my career. Strange how little we know at the time which are our vital moments.

I remember standing, when still only of tender years, listening to Bow bells and vowing that, if I grew up, I would so reflect my life in my writings that no experience however trifling should be without its recording paragraph. I would tell all. And I am proud to say I have kept that vow. I have not even concealed from my readers the names of the hotels I have stayed in, and if I have liked the watering-places I have resisted every temptation not to say so. Odd how childish aspirations can be fulfilled!

Tommy. "Hold hard, young feller. You shouldn't butt in like that—plenty of room behind."

His Girl. "Leave him alone, Harry. He thinks it's a recruiting office."

"A Young Country Girl, 18, wishes a situation as Housemaid or Betweenmaid; never out before; wages not objected to."

Irish Times.

Very nice of her to be so accommodating.

"Col. J. W. Wray and Mrs. Wray entertained the recruiting staff, numbering £21, to tea at Brett's Hall, Guildford, on Thursday."

Provincial Paper.

Sterling fellows, evidently.

[pg 67]

"Us have had a letter from our Jarge. He've killed three Germans!"

"I bain't zurprised! Lor'! How that boy did love a bit o' rattin', or anything to do with vermin!"


When the still silvery dawn uprolls

And all the world is "standing to;"

When young lieutenants damn our souls

Because they're feeling cold and blue—

The bacon's trodden in the slush,

The baccy's wet, the stove's gone wrong—

Then, purring on the morning's hush,

We hear his cheerful little song.

The shafts of sunrise strike his wings,

Tinting them like a dragon-fly;

He bows to the ghost-moon and swings,

Flame-coloured, up the rosy sky.

He climbs, he darts, he jibes, he luffs;

Like a great bee he drones aloud;

He whirls above the shrapnel puffs,

And, laughing, ducks behind a cloud.

He rides aloof on god-like wings,

Taking no thought of wire or mud,

Saps, smells or bugs—the mundane things

That sour our lives and have our blood.

Beneath his sky-patrolling car

Toy guns their mimic thunders clap;

Like crawling ants whole armies are

That strive across a coloured map.

The roads we trudged with feet of lead

The shadows of his pinions skim;

The river where we piled our dead

Is but a silver thread to him.

"God of the eagle-winged machine,

What see you where aloft you roam?"

"Eastward, Die Schlossen von Berlin,

And West, the good white cliffs of home!"

Journalistic Candour.

Heading to the Stop-Press column of a Provincial Paper:—


"Motorcycle. Give £25 (maximum) and exquisite diamond ring (engagement broken off)."—Motor Cycling.

No sidecar required.

"Maeterlinck, the great Austrian statesman, looked with suspicion on all kinds of suggestions of reform or agitation."

Provincial Paper.

So unlike Metternich, the famous Belgian bee-farmer.

"Young Baby—Wanted, homely woman to take charge of duration of war."

Wood Green Sentinel.

If she will only finish it satisfactorily—the War, we mean, not the baby—we don't mind how homely she is.

Under the heading of "Horses, Harness, &c.":—

"Offer, cheap—Horse Chestnuts, 6 to 8 feet; Scotch, 2 to 3 feet; Spruce, about 2 feet; also Privet, Lilacs, Laurels, etc."

Irish Times.

We are quite glad to see this old joke in harness again.

"Tourists are permitted to carry cameras and use them as long as they do not attempt to take fortresses."

Russian Year Book.

These 4.7 cameras are deadly things for siege work.

"Quite the tit-bit of the evening was the little interlude in the duet from 'Faust' taken by Mr. H—— as Faust and Mr. B—— P—— as Mephistopheles. 'His Satanic Majesty' sings—

"'What is your will? At once tell me.

Are you afraid?'"

Accrington Observer.

Is this "My dear Tino" under another name?

[pg 68]


January, 1916, will ever be remembered as the eventful month in which the oldest men in England turned aside from all their other pursuits and disregarded the state of Europe in order to take part in the Battle of Jobey. Their battle-ground was the columns of The Times, and no one was too proud or venerable to fight. Peers, bishops, deans, statesmen, baronets, knights—all rushed in, and still no one quite knows the result. How many Jobeys were there? we still ask ourselves. Did anyone really know the first Jobey, or was there only an ancestral Jobey back in the days of Edward VI.? How old was the dynasty? Was Jobey Levi? Was Jobey Powell? Was Jobey short and fat? Was Jobey tall and thin? What did Jobey sell? What did Jobey do?

To begin with, what was the casus belli? No one can remember. But some old Etonian, reminiscing, had the effrontery to believe that the Jobey to whom, in his anecdotage, he referred, who sold oranges at the gate or blew up footballs or performed other jobicular functions, was the only Jobey. That was enough. Instantly in poured other infuriated old Etonians, also in anecdotage, to pit their memories against his. Everything was forgotten in the struggle: the Kaiser's illness, Sir Ian Hamilton's despatch, the Compulsion Bill, the Quakers and their consciences, the deficiencies of the Blockade. Nothing existed but Jobey.

All the letters, however, were not printed, and some of those that escaped The Times have fallen into our own hand. We give one or two:—

Sir,—Your Correspondents are wrong. Jobey was a fat red man, with a purple nose and a wooden leg.

I am, Yours faithfully, Nestor.

Sir,—My recollection of Jobey is exact. He was a fat man with a hook instead of a left hand, and he stood at least six feet six inches high. No one could mistake him.

I am, Obediently yours,

Methuselah Parr.

Sir,—Jowett, though not an Etonian himself, was greatly interested in anecdotes of Jobey related to him by Etonian undergraduates in the "sixties," and on one occasion, when he was the guest of the Headmaster, he was introduced to the famous factotum, who instructed him in the art of blowing up footballs, and presented him with a blood orange, which Jowett religiously preserved for many years in a glass-case in his study. In features they were curiously alike, but Jobey's nose was larger and far redder than that of the Master's. I have given a fuller account of the interview in my Balliol Memories, Vol. iii., pp. 292-5, but may content myself with saying here that the two eminent men parted with mutual respect.

I am, Sir, Yours faithfully,

Lemuel Longmire.

Sir,—I wish to point out that "My Tutor's" is hopelessly wrong in thinking that his Jobey is the real Jobey. Looking through my diary for June, 1815, I find this entry:—

"News of Waterloo just received. Jobey, who has charge of all the cricket implements and is generally the custodian of the playing fields, monstrously drunk, on the ground of having won the battle."

This conclusively proves that there was a Jobey before the old fellow who has just died aged 85. But how anyone can be interested in people aged only 85, I cannot conceive. My own age is 118, and I am still in possession of an exact memory and a deadly diary.

I remain, Sir, Yours truly,

John Barchester.

Sir,—Although in my hundred-and-fiftieth year I can still recollect my school days with crystal clearness, and it pains me to find a lot of young Etonians claiming to have had dealings with the original Jobey. The original Jobey died in 1827, and I was at his funeral. He was then a middle-aged man of 93. When I was at Eton in 1776-1783, he stood with his basket opposite "Grim's," and if any of us refused to buy he gave us a black eye. Discipline was lax in those days, but we were all the better for it. On Jobey's death a line of impostors no doubt was established, trying to profit by the great name; but none of these can be called the original Jobey, except under circumstances of the crassest ignorance or folly.

I am, Yours, etc., Senex.

Sir,—It is tolerably obvious that your correspondent "Drury's" is suffering from hallucinations of the most virulent type. Maxima debetur pueris reverentia is all very well, but facts are facts. There may have been many pseudo-Jobeys, but the real original was born in the year of the Great Fire of London and died in 1745. He was already installed in the reign of William III., and was the first to introduce Blenheim oranges to the Etonian palate. He was an under-sized man, about five feet five inches high, with a pale face and hooked nose and always wore a woollen muffler, which we called "Jobey's comforter." To represent him as belonging to the Victorian age is an anachronism calculated to make the angels weep.

I am, Sir, Yours everlastingly,

Melchisedek Pontoppidan.


I made him mine in pain and fright,

The only little lad I'd got,

And woke up aching night by night

To mind him in his baby cot;

And, whiles, I jigged him on my knee

And sang the way a mother sings,

Seeing him wondering up at me

Sewing his little things,

And never gave a thought to wars and kings.

I heard his prayers or smacked him good,

And watched him learning miles ahead

Of all his mother ever could,

Roughing my hands to set him bread;

And when he was a man I tried

Not to forget as he was grown,

And didn't keep him close beside

All for my very own—

And meanwhiles you was brooding on your throne.

And now—He wouldn't wait no more,

I've helped him go, I couldn't choose;

My one's another in the score

Of all you've grabbed; seems like I lose.

But don't you think you've done so well

Taking my lad that's got but one;

He'll fight for me, he'll fight like hell,

And, when you're down and done,

You'll curse the day you stole my only son.

Commercial Candour.

From a shoemaker's advertisement:—

"8 years' wear! 12 hours' ease."

Comforting the Foe.

"Books and Magazines may be handed in at the counter of any Post Office, unwrapped, unlabelled, and hunaddressed."

Parish Magazine.

"To be LET, FURNISHED, cosily FURNISHED COUNTRY HOUSE, offering rest, recuperation, recreation, and the acme of comfort; 10 bedrooms, 2 bath, 4 reception; stabling, garage, billiards, tennis, croquet, miniature rifle range, small golf course, fringed pool, gardens, walks, telephone, radiators, gas; near town and rail; rent £3 3s. weekly, including gardener's wages."—The Devon and Exeter Gazette.

With a lodge, a deer park, and a "revenue of populars," this would be a bargain.

[pg 70]


Dear Old Lady. "Have you two men been at the Front?"

Soldier. "Bless you, no, Mum. We've just 'ad a bit of a scrap together, to keep fit."


I always wished to see the world—I 'ad no chanst before,

Nor I don't suppose I should 'ave if there 'adn't been no war;

I used to read the tourist books, the shippin' news also,

An' I 'ad the chance o' goin', so I couldn't 'elp but go.

We 'ad a spell in Egypt first, before we moved along

Acrost the way to Suvla, where we got it 'ot an' strong;

We 'ad no drink when we was dry, no rest when we was tired,

But I've seen the Perramids an' Spink, which I 'ad oft desired.

I've what'll last me all my life to talk about an' think;

I've sampled various things to eat an' various more to drink;

I've strolled among them dark bazaars, which makes the pay to fly

(An' I 'ad my fortune told as well, but that was all my eye).

I've seen them little islands too—I couldn't say their names—

An' towns as white as washin'-day an' mountains spoutin' flames;

I've seen the sun come lonely up on miles an' miles o' sea:

Why, folks 'ave paid a 'undred pound an' seen no more than me.

The sky is some'ow bluer there—in fact, I never knew

As any sun could be so 'ot or any sky so blue;

There's figs an' dates an' suchlike things all 'angin' on the trees,

An' black folks walkin' up an' down as natural as you please.

I always wished to see the world, I'm fond o' life an' change,

But Abdul got me in the leg; an' this is passin' strange,

That when you see Old England's shore all wrapped in mist an' rain,

Why, it's worth the bloomin' bundle to be comin' 'ome again!

A Fair Exchange.

From The Gazette of India:—-

"Delhi, the 16th December, 1915.—No. 100-C. With reference to Notification No. 2529, dated the 21st October 1915, Mr. H. W. Emerson, Indian Civil Service, is appointed Under Secretary to the Government of India, Department of Revenue and Agriculture, s. p. t. with effect from the forenoon of the 29th November 1915 and until further orders.—F. Noyce, Offc. Secretary to the Government of India."

"Simla, the 16th December 1915.—No. 2842. With reference to Notification No. 2417, dated the 19th October 1915, Mr. F. Noyce, Indian Civil Service, is appointed Secretary to the Government of India, Department of Revenue and Agriculture, s. p. t., with effect from the forenoon of the 29th November 1915 and until further orders.—H. W. Emerson, Under Secretary to the Government of India."

"Jamaica has removed the embargo on the exportation of logwood to British possessions and also to America and ports in France and Italy."—The Times.

A mixed blessing. There's too much logwood in some ports as it is.

From A Little Guide to Essex:—

"Steeple Bumpstead (see Bumpstead, Steeple).

Bumpstead, Steeple (see Steeple Bumpstead)....

Bumpstead, Helions (see Helions Bumpstead).

Helions Bumpstead (see Bumpstead, Helions)."

[pg 71]



[pg 73]


(Extracted from the Diary of Toby, M.P.)

House of Commons, Monday, January 17th.—To-day's sitting included episode justly described by Redmond as miraculous in relations between Ireland and her sisters in the family of the Empire. In Committee on Military Service Bill question promptly raised on exclusion of Ireland. Amendment moved by Unionist Member for Belfast to make Bill operative in the three Kingdoms.

Significant note struck at outset by Prime Minister. Overwhelmed with work, unable to take personal charge of Bill in Committee, he deputed task, not to Home Rule Irish Secretary, to whom it officially belonged, but to the Unionist Colonial Secretary.

In delicate position, Bonar Law acquitted himself with excellent taste, unerring tact. He did not disguise fact that as a Unionist his sympathies were with the Amendment. But he insisted that more would be lost than gained by trying to enforce Military Service on country divided upon the question.

"To anyone who knows the history of Ireland," he said, "who knows the history in our own lifetime, and the part which has been played by Nationalist Members in this House and Nationalist Members in Ireland—to anyone who recalls the state of this country during the whole of the Napoleonic Wars, when Ireland was a constant source of danger to Great Britain, it is not a small thing, it is a very great thing, that for the first time in our history the official representatives of the Nationalist Party are openly and avowedly on the side of Great Britain."

Carson patriotically responded to this harmonious call, rare in discussing Ireland across floor of the House. Regretfully but uncompromisingly advised withdrawal of Amendment moved by Ulster Member.

John Redmond, in speech pathetic in its plea, besought the House to refrain from effort to drive Ireland. The part her people have taken in the War side by side with British comrades was splendid.

"I am," he said, "as proud of the Ulster Regiments as I am of the Nationalist Regiments. If five years ago any one had predicted that in a great war in which the Empire was engaged 95,000 recruits would have been raised from Ireland and that there would be 151,143 Irishmen with the colours, would he not have been looked upon as a lunatic?"

One note of discord came from little group below Gangway on Liberal side. Unable to withstand temptation to obtain mean little triumph, they refused to permit withdrawal of Amendment, as suggested by Bonar Law and accepted by Carson, and it was perforce negatived.


Mr. Bonar Law, Mr. Redmond, Sir Edward Carson.

Business done.—Military Service Bill in Committee.

Wednesday, 2.10 A.M.—House adjourned after ten hours' wrestling with Military Service Bill.

Once upon a time, not so far back, there was an Irish Member who, on his triumphant return to Westminster, took the oath and his seat at 4 o'clock in the afternoon, delivered his maiden speech at 6.50, and on the stroke of midnight was suspended for disorderly conduct.

That a record difficult to beat. The Member for Australia (London address, St. George's, Hanover Square) with characteristic modesty diffidently approached it. Taking his seat last Wednesday, he to-day delivered his maiden speech. It was risky in face of the sound axiom, adapted from nursery discipline, that new Members should (for a reasonable period) be seen, not heard. As a breaker of unwritten law Sir George has extenuation of success. This due to intrinsic merits of speech. Foremost of these was brevity. Furthermore, it was in the best sense a contribution to debate, arising directly out of question sprung upon Committee. No asphyxiating smell of the lamp about it. Sound in argument, felicitous in phrase.

Ivor Herbert had moved amendment to Military Service Bill, bring within its purview all unmarried men as they attain the age of eighteen years. The Bill calls to the colours only those who on 15th August last had reached that age.

"When the flames of destruction are approaching the fabric of our liberties," said Sir George Reid by way of peroration, "let us save our house first and discuss our domestic rearrangements afterwards."

The new Member rose in nearly empty House. Members already aweary of ineffectual talk round foregone conclusion. News that he was on his feet signalled throughout the precincts, Members hurried in to hear. Amongst them came the Prime Minister. Amendment withdrawn.

Business done.—Committee sat far into foggy night, driving Military Service Bill through Committee against obstruction on the part of at most a score of Members.

Thursday.—Both sides unite in welcoming Jack Pease back to Ministerial Position. (Mem.—Commonly called Jack because he was christened Joseph Albert). After filling in succession offices of Chief Whip of Liberal Party, Chancellor of Duchy and Minister for Education, in each gaining general approval and personal popularity, he was one of the sacrificial lambs cut off by reconstruction of Ministry on Coalition principles.

Took what must have been bitter disappointment with dignified reserve.

[pg 74]

Having made the personal statement common to retiring Ministers, he did not seat himself on the Front Opposition Bench on the look-out for opportunity to "hesitate dislike" of policy and action of former colleagues. Seeking for chance to do his bit in connection with the War, at request of Army Council he undertook unpaid post of Civil Member on Claims Commission in France. Comes back to Treasury Bench as Postmaster-General, in succession to the Infant Samuel, who, in accordance with the tradition of early childhood, has, since first promoted to Ministerial office, been "called" several times to others.

Sark, always considerate of convenience of public, thinks it may be well to state that it will be no use anyone looking in at Post Office and crying, "Pease! Pease!" Not because there is no Pease, but because there are two—Jack, the Postmaster-General, and his cousin Pike Pease, formerly a Unionist Whip, who has for some months served as Assistant Postmaster-General.

Business done.—In Committee on Military Service Bill.

Thursday.—Fourth night of debate in Committee on Military Service Bill. Concluded a business that might have been as fully accomplished at one sitting. Save for a few immaterial amendments; of the verbal kind, Bill stands as it did when introduced. Scene closed with exchange of compliments between Bonar Law and little band who have succeeded in keeping talk going. He expressed satisfaction, "or perhaps something rather stronger" (this a little dubious), at the way in which opposition had been conducted. They protested it was all due to his conciliatory manner.

And so home to bed as early as eleven o'clock.

Inquisitive Party. "Ye'll likely be gaun tae Elie?" N.C.O. "No!"

Inquisitive Party. "Than ye'll be gaun tae Pittenweem?" N.C.O. "No!!"

Inquisitive Party. "Then ye'll shair tae be gaun tae Crail?" N.C.O. "No!!!"

Inquisitive Party. "Dae ye think a care a dom whaur ye're gaun?'


"Delhi, Monday,—The P. and O. Steamer Arabia, with the outward mail of the 22nd, arrived here at 1-30 p.m. to-day (Sunday)."

The Beharee.

"Commencing on December 1st the London banks will close at three o'clock, except on Saturday at one o'clock, with a view to assisting recruiting by realising a number of clerks."

Bay of Plenty Times.

Financially and otherwise the bank-clerk is one of our best securities.


Before the War Miss Betty Pink

Was just an ordinary mink;

Her skirt was short, her eye was glad,

Her hats would almost drive you mad,

She was, in fact, to many a boy

A source of perturbation;

At household duties she would scoff,

She lived for tennis, bridge and golf,

She motored, hunted, smoked and biked,

Did just exactly what she liked,

And took a quite delirious joy

In casual flirtation.

But when the War arrived, you see,

She flew at once to V.A.D.,

Belgians, Red Cross, and making mitts,

And (profitably) sold her Spitz,

And studied mild economy

In things she wasn't wrapt in;

One game alone of all her games

She stuck to. Which is why her name's

No longer Pink. I laughed almost,

On reading in The Morning Post,

That Betty, "very quietly,"

Had wed a tempy Captain.

[pg 75]

M.C. (introducing bluejacket who fancies himself as a basso). "Mr. 'Icks will now oblige with several blasts on 'is fog-'orn, entitled, 'O Ruddier than the Cherry.'"


"Saft marnin', Mrs. Ryan—ye're out early this marnin'."

"Ye say right, Mrs. Flanagan, I am that. Me son wint back to the Front last night, and Himself was out seein' him off at the staymer, all through the pourin' rain, the way he's not able to shtir hand or fut. I was just down to Gallagher's gettin' him some medicine."

"Ah, now! 'tis too bad that Himself is sick. Will I help yez with the bottles, Mrs. Ryan?"

"Thank yez, Ma'am, it's too kind ye are."

"And ye tell me y'r son is away agin, and him only just back! 'Tis a tarrible warr, an' there's a powerful lot av fine young fellows that'll be missing when they come back to Dublin agin."

"Ah! ye may well say that, Mrs. Flanagan. There's more than a million gone out of this disthrict alone, and there's Irishmen fightin' in all the himispheres of th' worrld. They tell me that the Irish bees in such numbers that the inimy got fair desprit an' rethreated into Siberia to get away from thim, till they met more av us comin' along from th' other ind of the worrld."

"Glory be! But isn't that wandherful?"

"Ay, 'twas the Tinth Division, so it was, the brave boys comin' back afther fightin' the Turks, bad luck to them f'r haythens! F'r didn't Lord Kitchener himself go out to see thim at the Dardnells, and ses he, 'What's the use of wastin' brave throops here? We'll lave the English to clane up the threnches,' and on that they packs the Irish off and marches thim thousands of miles intil Siberia. Ah! 'twas the dhrop thim Germins got when they came shtrugglin' along wan day and run up aginst the ould Tinth agin. There was tarrible slaughter that day, and the inimy bruk in great disorther, and is now trying to escape down the Sewers into the Canal."

"Well now, Mrs. Ryan, that's grand news ye do be tellin'. 'Tis fair wandherful how well up in it y' are. But will ye tell me now what would the English be doin' all this time? Surely ye don't mane to say that the whole av th' Army bees Irish?"

"Not at all, Mrs. Flanagan, not at all. But the fightin' rigimints is mostly Irish. Ye see, th' Army has to be fed, and the threnches has to be claned and drained, and so on, and the English does the cookin' and clanin' for the Irish. But anny fightin' that's done is done bo th' Irish rigimints, as is well known to be the best fighters in the worrld."

"But will ye tell me now, what's this I hear about making the English go into the Army be description?"

"Is ut conscription ye mane? Shure, 'tis like this. Furst of all there was inlistment be groups. Himself tould me all about it. Over there, there was no inlistin' as there was over here. Shure, in Dublin alone we have three recruitin' offices, to say nothin' of th' recruitin' thram. Ah! 'tis a fine sight to see the thram, Mrs. Flanagan, going up and down the sthreets o' Dublin, with the flags and the fine coloured posthers plasthered on ut, and divil a wan ever in ut, bekase why? there isn't a sowl lift in the city, and what is lift is bein' held back by the polis at the recruitin' office in Brunswick Sthreet. Well, as I was tellin' yez, in England there was no recruitin' like that. It got so that there was just wan recruitin' office left, as the other three had to be closed, bekase no wan came. Ye see, all the young men were down at the poorts, gettin' their tickets to Ameriky.

"'This,' ses one of the English Lords—a felly be the name o' Derby—'this,' ses he, 'is tarrible. If the inimy hears o' this, all the Irish in the worrld and in Ameriky won't save us.'

"So he gets out a scheme—he's a tarrible ould schemer is that wan—whereby, ye see, ivery man in England [pg 76] was to inlist to sarve when he was called up, and they were to be made up intil groups, an' the married men was to be put intil the lasht group. The advantage o' that was that it intimidated th' inimy, bekase a man looks more whin he is called a group. Thin the ould schemer arranged that these groups should get armlets, somethin' like a sling, so, whin a man was called up in a group, he could show the sling he was wearin' and he'd be put intil a later group. Ah! 'twas a grand scheme! Ye see, the limit of militry age bees now forthy-wan, and supposing there was a million men in ivery group (and I was tould there was more) that was forthy-wan million!"

"Glory be to God, Mrs. Ryan, but that's a tarrible number!"

"Ye say right, Mrs. Flanagan. But look you here, ivery time a group was called up and the men was put back intil a later group, it made more men for the later groups, until, ye see, whin they called up the lasht group there 'd be forthy-wan times as many men at the ind as at the beginnin'. That was the scheme for puttin' the fear o' God intil thim Germins."

"Thin will ye tell me, Mrs. Ryan, why didn't they shtick till it?"

"'Tis harrd to explain, Mrs. Flanagan, and here we are at me door. I'll take the porther bottles, thank ye kindly, Ma'am. Well, this was the way av it. When they shtarted the recruitin' av the groups they found that 'twas too many officers they were afther gettin'. I heard there was half a million as had to be given their shtars! An' I needn't be afther tellin' ye, Mrs. Flanagan, that even with all the millions of Irish out there, there wouldn't be room for five hundred thousand officers to lead thim. Besides which every wan knows that the Irish don't want leadin'. 'Tis thim shows the way whin it comes to a charrge. An' sure, as it is, all the Ginirals, exceptin' for an odd wan or two, bees Irish!"

"Is that you, Biddy? Will yez come in out of that now?"

"Och, that's Himself now. He must be betther! Good-day to yez, Mrs. Flanagan, and many thanks to ye."

Cause and Effect.

"Peace Speakers pelted with Ochre.

The speakers on the platform had a curried consultation."—Provincial Paper.

"One may say of Kitchener's Army (at any rate of the rank and file I have acquaintance with here in Gaul) that it est omnia in duo partes divisa (with apologies to Cæsar)."

Morning Paper.

Cæsar's commentary on this would be worth reading.


The Staff of The Muddleton Weekly Gazette, having disguised himself as an ordinary citizen, entered the local hospital in quest of copy. His keen eye immediately singled out a man of solemn, careworn aspect, and to him he directed his footsteps. Two clear grey eyes looked into his, and his greeting was answered politely, though without enthusiasm. Then, exerting all the skill and adroitness which had marked him out for forty years as a coming man in the journalistic world, the visitor put the soldier gradually at his ease and tactfully induced him to recount his experiences.

"I could tell you lots of things what would astonish you, Sir," began the convalescent. "Six months in the trenches gives you plenty of time to pick up tales—and invent them, too; but I don't hold with that. A little exaggeration helps things along, as old Wolff says, but when he goes beyond I'm not with him. No lies—not for Truthful James. That's me, Sir. They call me that in B Company; James being the name what my godfathers and godmothers give me, and Truthful being as you might say an identification mark."

The other nodded and waited in silence.

"Nothing much happened to me for the first three months, but then we was moved further South and a new Sub. joined us. Name of Williamson. Do you know him, Sir? Second-Lieutenant J. J. C. de V. Williamson was his full war paint. Ah, it's a pity you don't. Quite a kid he was, but he could tell you off as free and flowing as a blooming General, and never repeat himself for ten minutes. He stirred things up considerable—specially the enemy. Sniping was his game; two hours regular every morning, with a Sergeant to spot for him and a Corporal to bring him drinks at intervals of ten minutes to keep him cool. He kept count of the Huns he had outed by notches on the post of his dug-out. Every time he rang the bell he'd cut up a notch, and before he'd been with us a month you could have used that post as a four-foot saw.

"Naturally the Huns were riled. You see, we was a salient and they was a salient, and there wasn't more than a hundred yards between us. We could hear them eating quite plainly, when they had anything to eat, and when they hadn't they smoked cigars which smelt worse than all the gas they ever squirted. One day the Sub. strolls up for his morning practice and sees a huge sign above the enemy trench: 'Don't shoot. We are Saxons.' They had relieved the Prussians and they was moving about above their trenches as free as a Band of Hope Saturday excursion.

"'Until anyone proves the contrary,' says our Sub., 'I maintain that Saxons is Germans.' Moreover, says he, 'war is war,' and he had to cut up three more notches on his post afore he could make them understand that his attitude was hostile. When they did grasp it they began to strafe us, and they kep' it up hard all day. When night come our Sub. decided he'd had enough. 'Boys,' he says to us, 'one hour before the crimson sun shoots forth his flaming rays from out of the glowing East them Germans is going to be shifted from that trench. We ain't a-going to make a frontal attack,' he says, 'because some of us might have the misfortune to tear our tunics on the enemy entanglements, and housewives is scarce. We are going to crawl along that hollow on the flank and enfilade the blighters.'

"So we puts a final polish on our bainets and waits. Bimeby we starts out, Sergeant leading the way. We wriggled through the mud like Wapping eels at low tide for the best part of an hour, and at last we got to their trench and halted to listen. There wasn't a sound to be heard; nobody snoring, nobody babbling of beer in his sleep; only absolute silence. Sergeant was lying next to me and I distinctly heard his heart miss several beats. Then all at once we leaps into the air, gives a yell fit to make any German wish he'd never been born, and falls into their trench, doing bainet drill like it would have done your heart good to see. But we stops it as quick as we begun, because there wasn't a single man in that trench. Not one, Sir.

"After a awkward pause, 'The birds have flown,' says our Sub., sorrowful like, as if he'd asked some friends to dinner and the cat had eat the meat.

"'I think, Sir,' says Sergeant, 'that they've abandoned this trench as being untenable, and probably left a few mines behind for us.' I didn't like that. I thought our trench was a much nicer trench in every way, and I felt it was time to think of going back, when suddenly we hears a norrible yell come up from our trench and sounds of blokes jumping about. Yes, Sir, the Germans had made an attack on our trench at the same time, only they had gone round by the other flank, where there was some trees to help them.

"So there they was in our trench, and we in theirs, and dawn just beginning to break. There was only one thing to do. We went back, hoping they would wait for us; but they hopped [pg 77] it quick, same way as they come, and so we finished up just as we was when we started, except for mud. Our Sub. was wild with rage, and he hustled about all the morning looking for defaulters, his face as black as the Kayser's soul; and he even went so far as to curse a Machine Gun Section, which shows you better than words what he felt like. D Company, when they come to relieve us, wouldn't believe a word of it, not till I told them. They had to then, because they knew what my name was. James, Sir, and Truthful as a sort of appendix."

"And there were others, of course, to corroborate your story?"

"To what, Sir?"

"To swear to the truth of it?"

"Oh yes. They swore to it all right. Again and again. But that was nothing to what happened in the same trench when we come back from billets. It was like this here. Our Sub.... What's that you say, Bill?" He broke off. "Time for visitors to leave?"

The Orderly explained that it was so, and, after a cordial leave-taking on the part of the visitor, saw him out and returned.

"Do you know who that was, Jim?" he asked.

"Soon as he started pumping me," replied James, "I offered myself a hundred quid to a bob on his being a noospaper man, but there was no taker at the price, bobs being scarce and me having a dead cert. Suppose I shall be in the local paper on Saturday, Bill?"

"Yes. Thrilling Tales from the Trenches, number forty-three."

"Pity he had to go so soon," sighed James. "I was only just beginning to get into my stride."

Cheerful One (to newcomer, on being asked what the trenches are like). "If yer stands up yer get sniped; if yer keeps down yer gets drowned; if yer moves about yer get shelled; and if yer stands still yer gets court-martialled for frost-bite."

From the current Directory of the London Telephone Service:—


Communication may be obtained between London and Paris (including the suburbs), Brussels, Antwerp, Basle, Geneva, Lausanne, and certain provincial towns in France and Belgium. Full particulars may be obtained on application to the Controller."

We are afraid these facilities, as far as Belgium is concerned, will shortly be withdrawn. The new Postmaster-General has heard that there is a war on.

"Winter Laying Strain pure bred White Leghorn Cockerels; record layers: 5s."

Bath & Wilts Chronicle.

Smith minor's translation of ab ovo usque ad mala is thus justified: "It is up to the males to lay eggs."

"'Thundering' and 'nous' are two of the expressive words of which Sir Ian Hamilton made use of in his Suvla Bay report. It was the Royal Artillery that did 'thundering good shooting.' 'Nous,' meaning gumption, is a word greatly in use in Lancashire."

Daily Mirror.

It has also been met with in Greece.

"Two labourers employed by the —— Distillery Company fell a distance of fifty feet into a barley vat yesterday, and when released were found to be suffering from carbolic acid poisoning."—Weekly Dispatch.

This paragraph will no doubt be freely quoted by temperance advocates as showing what whiskey is really made of.

From a notice issued by the Sydney Chamber of Commerce:—

"The Fair, which will be officially opened by His Excellency the Governor, will be held at the Town Hall, and will be followed by a Luncheon. Space will be allotted by the foot frontage from 10/- to 15/-."

An excellent idea for City dinners.

[pg 78]


O young and brave, it is not sweet to die,

To fall and leave no record of the race,

A little dust trod by the passers-by,

Swift feet that press your lonely resting-place;

Your dreams unfinished, and your song unheard—

Who wronged your youth by such a careless word?

All life was sweet—veiled mystery in its smile;

High in your hands you held the brimming cup;

Love waited at your bidding for a while,

Not yet the time to take its challenge up;

Across the sunshine came no faintest breath

To whisper of the tragedy of death.

And then, beneath the soft and shining blue,

Faintly you heard the drum's insistent beat;

The echo of its urgent note you knew,

The shaken earth that told of marching feet;

With quickened breath you heard your country's call,

And from your hands you let the goblet fall.

You snatched the sword, and answered as you went,

For fear your eager feet should be outrun,

And with the flame of your bright youth unspent

Went shouting up the pathway to the sun.

O valiant dead, take comfort where you lie.

So sweet to live? Magnificent to die!


"Francesca," I said, "will you do me—I mean, will you accept a favour from me?"

"If," she said, "your Majesty deigns to grant one there can be no question of my accepting it. It will fall on me and I shall have to submit to it."

"Well," I said, "it's this way. You know I'm going to—a-hem!—deliver a lecture at Faringham next Monday?"

"I gathered," she said, "that you were up to something from the amount of books you were piling up on your writing-table. Besides you've been complaining of the ink a good deal, and that's always a bad sign."

"Hadn't I mentioned Faringham and the lecture?"

"You had distantly alluded to something impending and you had looked at the A.B.C. several times, but it stopped at that."

"How careless of me!" I said. "I know I meant to tell you all about it."

"You didn't make your meaning clear. It's all part of the secretiveness of men. They tell one nothing and then they're offended if we don't anticipate all their movements."

"We will," I said, "let that pass. It is an unjust remark, but I will not retaliate. Anyhow, I now inform you formally and officially that I am going to Faringham on Monday in order to deliver a lecture on 'Poetry in its Relation to Life,' before the Faringham Literary Association. It is one of the most famous Associations in the world and has a large lecture-hall capable of seating one thousand people comfortably."

"But why," she said, "did they ask you to lecture?"

"They must," I said, "have heard of me somewhere and guessed that I had wonderful latent capacities as a lecturer. Some men have, you know."

"Well," she said, "let's hope you're one of that sort, and that you'll bring all your capacities out on Monday. Aren't you nervous?"

"No," I said, "not exactly nervous; but I shall be glad when it's well over."

"So shall I," she said. "The ink will be gradually getting better now, and there won't be so many troubles about the A.B.C. being mislaid."

"No book," I said, "was ever so much mislaid as that. I put it down on the sofa two minutes ago and it has now vanished completely."

"It has flown to the window-seat," she said.

"Ah," I said, "and if we give it two minutes more it will fly into the dining-room."

"Never mind," she said; "there shall be A.B.C.'s in every room till you depart for Faringham. That's poetry."

"But it has no relation to life," I said. "It is not sincere, as all true poetry must be."

"'At this point,'" she said in a quoting voice, "'the lecturer was much affected, and his audience showed their sympathy with him by loud cheers.' Will there be much of that sort of thing?"

"There will be a good deal of it," I said with dignity. "The lecture is to last for an hour exactly."

"A whole hour?" she said. "Isn't that taking a mean advantage of the Faringham people?"

"They," I said, "can go out if they like, but I must go on. Francesca, may I read the lecture to you, so as to see if I've got it the right length?"

"So that's what you've been driving at," she said. "Well, fire away—no, stop till I've fetched the children in. You'll have a better audience with them."

"Need those innocent ones suffer?" I said.

"They are young," she said, "and must learn to endure."

The consequence was that all the four children, from Muriel aged sixteen, to Frederick aged eight, were fetched in and told they were going to have a treat such as few children had ever had; that they were going to hear a lecture on "Poetry in its Relation to Life"; that they must cheer loudly every now and then, but not interrupt otherwise, and that there would be a chocolate for each of them at the end. In addition Frederick was told that if he felt he really couldn't stand any more of it he was to leave the room very quietly, and that this wouldn't interfere with the chocolate. Thereupon the lecture started. At the end of the seventh minute Frederick rose, bent his body double and tiptoed out of the room. He was a great loss, for, as Muriel remarked afterwards, he represented two hundred of the audience of a thousand. The rest, however, stuck it out heroically, and danced for joy when it came to an end in one hour exactly. Frederick was afterwards discovered writing poetry on his own account in the school-room. As an illustration of the far-reaching influence of a lecture I may cite two of his stanzas:—

Summer is coming,

Then the bees will be humming,

Birds will be flying,

And girls will be buying,

And boys will be running;

Oh, hail! Summer is coming.

Summer is coming,

Then the fox will be cunning,

And all will be glad,

And none will be sad,

And I hope none will be mad,

And I hope none will be bad;

Oh, hail! Summer is coming!

This may be premature and, as to the fox, incorrect, since he requires but little cunning in the summer; but there is a good Browning flavour about it which redeems all errors.

R. C. L.

Commercial Candour.

"There are large stocks of Tailor Costumes Ready-to-Wear, in the old reliable materials. These cannot last long."—Provincial Paper.

[pg 79]


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

Not once or twice have I paid tribute to the craftsmanship of Mr. Neil Lyons, generally as a portrayer of mean urban streets and their inhabitants. His latest volume, however, Moby Lane and Thereabouts (Lane), finds him at large in the Sussex countryside. But the old skill and quick-witted charm serve him equally in these different surroundings. Mr. Lyons, as I have noticed before, achieves his ingenious effects not only by the quaint unexpected things he says but equally by the things that he skilfully omits to say. As an example of the second method I might cite one of the best of the sketches in the book, that called "Viaduct View," after the name of the detestable and dreary little house which a loving aunt has preserved for the problematical return of the nephew who would certainly not endure it for two days. This shows Mr. Lyons at his best—sympathetic, subtle and gently ironical. I am not saying that every one of the thirty-seven chapters is on the same high level. "Befriending Her Ladyship," for instance, a story that tells how a cottage-dweller repaid in kind the interfering house-inspection of the lady from the Hall, though amusingly told, is neither original in idea nor quite fair in execution. Throughout I found indeed that Mr. Lyons's natural good-humour and sympathy were severely tried when they came in contact with squires and the ruling classes; and that now and then he was unable to resist the temptation to burlesque. But for one thing at least he deserves unstinted praise; I know of no other writer who can transfer, as he can, the genuine flavour of dialect into print. Try reading some of the Moby Lane dialogue aloud and you will see what I mean.

If spacious hobbies make for happiness then is Sir Martin Conway the happiest of men. He has been before us at various times of his crowded life, now as an undaunted peak-compeller in Alps and Himalayas, or skiing over Arctic glaciers, or pushing forward into hazardous depths of Tierra del Fuego; now sitting authoritative in the Slade Chair at Cambridge, or contesting an election, or restoring an old castle, or picking up priceless primitives for paltry pence in Paduan pawnshops; and always as a resourceful author setting it all down (in a couple of dozen books or so) with an easy-flowing pen incapable of boring. In The Crowd in Peace and War (Longmans) he makes his bow as the political philosopher. It is a lively essay packed with observation, reflection, modern instances; it intrigues us with audacious and disputable generalisations, acute criticism, and a liberal temper. Solemnity and dulness are banished from it, and it might well serve as a light pendant to the admirable Human Nature in Politics of Mr. Graham Wallas. Let no student (and no mandarin either) neglect it. And we others, however scornful we may profess to be, are all at heart desperately interested in the confounded thing called politics, and can all appreciate this shrewd analysis of the vices and virtues of the crowd "which lacks reason but possesses faith," whose despotism is now on trial as once was that of our kings—"unlimited crowddom being as wretched a state as unlimited monarchy." As a dose of politics without tears I unreservedly commend this book.

[pg 80]

I am like Mr. Jacobs' Night Watchman; it's very hard to deceive me. I had read only a few pages of Miss Una Silberrad's The Mystery of Barnard Hanson (Hutchinson) when I guessed who had done the murder. Unfortunately, when I had read a few pages more, I found that I had picked the wrong person. Then I accused another character on perfectly good circumstantial evidence, and he was not the man. After that I decided to withdraw from the detective business and let Miss Silberrad unravel her mystery for herself. If you are of the opinion that a woman cannot keep a secret read The Mystery of Barnard Hanson and become convinced that Miss Silberrad at least is an exception. If I have ever read a more perfectly sustained mystery novel I cannot recall it. There is just a chance that in the last few pages you may get on the right track, but, if you are honest with yourself, you will have to admit that you did it simply by a process of elimination, after you had made an ass of yourself and arrested every innocent person in the book on suspicion. I think it is Miss Silberrad's manner that throws the detective reader out of his stride. She is so detached. She conveys the impression that she herself is just as puzzled as you are, and that, for all she knows, Barnard Hanson may have been murdered by somebody who is not in the book at all. In other words she gives her story just that reality which a murder mystery has when unfolded day by day in the papers. I confess that, when I unwrapped the book and found that a polished artist like Miss Silberrad had written a detective story, I was a little shocked; but I need not have been. There are no dummies in this novel. Each character is as excellently drawn as if delineation of character were the author's main object; and in the matter of style there is no concession to the tastes of the cruder public which makes murder novels its staple diet.

Mistress. "I see you had a card from your young man at the Front, Mary."

Mary. "Yes'm. And wasn't it a saucy one! I wonder it passed the sentry."

In her preface to Morlac of Gascony (Hutchinson) Mrs. Stepney Rawson apologizes for producing an historical novel in these days when the present rather than the past is occupying people's minds. But a good historical novel is never really untimely, and Morlac of Gascony is not only well written but deals with a period of English history not often exploited by the historical novelist—the days of Edward the First, when the future of England as a naval power rested on the energy and determination of the sailors of the Cinque Ports. Although Jehan Morlac, the young Gascon, is the principal character in the story the most arresting figure is that of Edward himself, as dexterous a piece of character-drawing as I have come upon in historical fiction for some time. The plot is cleverly constructed to throw a high light on one of the most interesting personalities in the history of the English monarchy. We see Edward as a young man, wild, reckless and brutal; then, grown to his full powers and sobered by responsibility, making by sheer force of character something abiding and coherent out of the strange welter of warring factions from which Great Britain emerged as a united kingdom. Wales was a hot-bed of rebellion, Scotland the "plague-spot of the North," the Cinque Ports on the verge of going over to France. Only a strong man, with strong men under him, could have saved England then. Morlac of Gascony is not the easy reading which many people insist on in novels which deal with the past, and for this reason it may not be so popular as some historical novels of far less merit; but if you are prepared to make something of an effort to carry the trenches of the earlier portion of the story you will have your reward.

I suppose that what a Crawford doesn't know about Roman society may fairly be dismissed as negligible. Therefore the name of J. Crawford Fraser (in association with Mrs. Hugh Fraser) on the title-page of Her Italian Marriage (Hutchinson) is a sufficient guarantee that the local colour at least will be the genuine article. And it happens that the scheme of the tale, the union between a Roman of the old nobility and an American girl, makes the local colour of special significance. It was just this matter of doing as the Romans do that Elsie Trant found at first one of life's little difficulties. There is a very pleasant scene of the dinner-party at which she was formally presented to her husband's family; the contrast in atmospheres between that of the new-risen West and that of the severely Papal circles to which Prince Pietro belonged being suggested most happily. I wish, though, the authors had been content to leave it at that, as a social comedy about pleasant people getting to understand one another. In an ill-inspired moment, however, they decided to have a dramatic plot, and truth compels me to say that this is a dreary affair, tricked out with such dust-laden devices as secret marriages, missing heirs and concealed papers. There is a steward person who alternately is and isn't the rightful Prince, as we delve deeper into the revelations. Finally, if I followed the intrigue correctly, the long arm of coincidence brought it about that Elsie's mother was the eloping wife of Pietro's uncle. Frankly, all this bored me, because we readers could have been so much more profitably engaged in renewing our Roman memories under such expert guidance. But of course this is a merely personal opinion, which you may not share.


"Sydney.—Timely rains have saved the early corps."

The later ones also are now quite recruited, thank you.

"French Official.—Between the Argonne and the Meuse our heavy huns destroyed an enemy blockhouse in the region of Forges."

Evening Paper.

Stout fellows, these German renegades.

"Henley (near).—Gentleman offers land, piggeries, poultry-houses to lady or gentleman as guest. Pleasant home."—The Lady.

The gentleman to the lady: "Will you occupy a piggery or a poultry-house?"

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol.
150, January 26, 1916, by Various


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