The Project Gutenberg EBook of Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 158, 
March 31, 1920, by Various

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Title: Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 158,  March 31, 1920

Author: Various

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Language: English

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VOL. 158.

March 31, 1920.

[pg 229]


We were glad to see that two of our most important Universities were again successful in obtaining first and second places in this year's boat-race. (As this was written before the race we crave the indulgence of our readers if our prophecy should prove incorrect.)

Bradford Corporation is selling white collars to its citizens at sixpence a-piece. How the Labour Party proposes to combat this subtle form of capitalist propaganda is not known.

"I have been knocked down twice by the same bus, but fortunately have sustained no serious injury," stated a plaintiff at a London police-court the other day. The bus in question, we understand, will be given one more try, and in the event of failure will be debarred from all further contests of the same nature.

"Quite a lot of American bacon is being smoked in London," says a news item. We are glad they have found a use for it, but at the risk of appearing fastidious we must say we much prefer Havannah tobacco.

The Variety Artists' Federation has passed a resolution against the engagement of Germans in the profession. With yet another avenue of industry closed against him General Ludendorff is said to be contemplating a dignified retirement.

"Should uglier husbands have heavier damages?" was a question raised in a recent divorce action. The better opinion is that the fact that the ugly man must have gone out of his way to get married should tell against him.

Signs of Spring are everywhere. A couple of telephone mechanics have made their nest on the roof of a house in West Kensington.

At Question-Time in the House there was trouble over the pronunciation of Bryngwran and Gwalchmai. One of the Welsh Members present said he could have played them if he had had his harp with him.

Saturday afternoon funerals have been stopped at Bexhill. We are very pleased to note this, because if there is one thing which mars the enjoyment of the week-end it is being buried.

The Hon. John Collier will shortly explain why he painted the famous picture, "The Fallen Idol." If only some of our minor artists would be equally frank.

A weekly paper is offering a prize to anybody who discovers the oldest living fish. It is just as well that no prize is offered for the oldest dead fish.

"Large dumps of valuable material which is slowly rotting are to be met all along the main road in Northern France to-day," complains a morning paper. A responsible Government official now admits that whilst motoring in that district last week he noticed that the road was bumpy in places.

There is some talk of the Americans having a League of Notions of their own.

M. Charles Nordmann states that the world will end in ten thousand million years. It will be interesting to see if America will refuse to take part in this as well.

Our horticultural expert informs us that during the next two or three weeks all wooden houses should be carefully pruned.

The rumour that Mr. Mallaby-Deeley, M.P., will be asked to design a new uniform for the Royal Air Force is without foundation.

It is feared that, owing to the sudden appearance of Summer weather last week, the Poet Laureate will once again be obliged to hold over his Spring poem.

It seems a pity that eight of the nine bricklayers who entered for the recent brick-laying contest should have collapsed, allowing the ninth an easy walk-over with seven bricks to his credit.

Statistics show a remarkable increase in the Welsh birthrate as compared with previous years. As usual, nothing is being done about it.

There are several ways, says Sir James Mackenzie, the eminent specialist, of tracing heart weakness. One way is to charge the owner of the heart seven-and-six for a pound of butter. If he faints he has a weak heart; if he pays he is merely weak in the head.

A Bill has been introduced in the New York Legislature to confine the headlines in murder cases to thirty-six points. The limit for international headliners is still fourteen points.

The Government, says a contemporary, is about to start growing tobacco in Norfolk. Whether it is to be sold as Coalition Mixture or Carlton Club has not yet been decided.

The Royal Academy have issued a notice that frames other than gilt will be admissible this year. Many people, it is thought, who never felt attracted by the old-fashioned gilt frames will now visit the exhibition.

An auctioneer's clerk has been summoned for throwing a bun at a railway buffet waitress. It was a thoughtless thing to do. He might have broken it.

We have just heard of a Scottish engineer who has decided to strike out along novel lines. Although only twenty-two years of age he has arranged to settle down in Scotland.

Taxi-Driver (who has been paid the correct fare). "You've forgotten something, gov'nor."

Fare. "What is it?"

Taxi-Driver. "Your address. I might want another mascot some day."

From a fashion-advertisement:—

"Paris Moves the Waist-Line." American Paper.

But it is believed that the young man's strong right arm will succeed in rediscovering it.

[pg 230]


(with some moral reflections).

To-day I left my downy lair

An hour before my wont;

But do I consequently wear

An unctuous smile? I don't.

If with the early lark's ascent

I soared from out my bed, it

Is to an Act of Parliament

That I must give the credit.

When I escape, in butter's dearth,

The fault of waxing fat,

Calmly I view my modest girth

And take no praise for that;

Not mine the glory when my soul

Abjures its ruling passion;

'Tis his, the lord of Food-control,

Who fixed my sugar-ration.

Hampered by regulations for

The chastisement of crime—

Arson and theft and marrying more

Than one wife at a time—

I like to feel some sins there be

For which the law can't hurt you,

In whose regard your heart is free

To follow vice or virtue.

Of one temptation I rejoice

Especially to think,

That leaves me loose to take my choice—

My reference is to Drink;

Here, where as yet no rules apply

By Pussyfeet dictated,

The merit's mine whenever I

Am not inebriated.

O. S.


Not to be outdone by Olympia we have just held a motor show in our provincial Town Hall. What though the motoring magazines, obese with the rich diet of advertisement, grew no fatter in its honour, it was at least the most successful social function we have known since the War began. The Town Hall externally was magnificent with flags by day and coloured lamps by night, and within was a blaze of bunting and greenstuff. The band of the Free Shepherds played popular music, and the luncheon and tea rooms were the scene of most delightful little gatherings. Besides all this, quite a number of cars were to be found amongst the decorations.

Nearly every demobilised officer in the county seems to have taken up an agency for a car or two, and bought himself spats on the strength of a prospective fortune. Jimmy Wrigley and I are amongst them. Wrigley in the Great War was M.T., R.A.S.C., and knows so much about cars that he can tell the make of lamps from the track of the tyres; while I was a cavalryman and know so little that I judge Jimmy's cleverness only by other people's incredulity. On our stand at the show we exhibited two cars, which, as I carefully learned beforehand from the book of the words, were a Byng-Beatty and a Tanglefoot, these being the cars for which we are what they call concessionaires. (The bât is tricky, but one picks it up loafing about garages.)

As a rule Jimmy and I do the correspondence between us—Jimmy contributing the technique and I the punctuation; but for the three days of the show his cousin Sheila volunteered to preside at a dainty little table and make jottings of our orders. Sheila is always ornamental, and as we had the stand draped to tone with her hair, and she wore a dress which harmonized like soft music with the pale heliotrope of the Tanglefoot's body-work, our display was a magnet from the word "Go."

And then on the morning of the opening day Jimmy went down with his Lake Doiran malaria and left me to it!

I am as brave as most people, but this calamity unmanned me. "Sheila," I said to a pair of pitying grey eyes, as the crowd, having heard the show declared open, massed about our stand—"Sheila, the situation is desperate. These people will ask me about the cars. They will expect me to answer them intelligently, and it's no use in the world talking horse to them—I can see that from their sordid looks. I shall disappear. You can say I have gone out on a trial run, which won't be a lie, only an understatement. And you can just hand them out the little books and let them paw the varnish. Silence will be better than anything I could say. Probably it is better than what any conscientious man could say about the Tanglefoot."

"I'll carry on, Nobby," said Sheila. "You go and buy buns for Miss Hurdlewing, and be happy. Fly! here's a purchaser."

Sheila's whisper dispersed me into the crowd and I strolled away, while she bestowed a smile and a specification pamphlet on the first of the crowd to step on to our stand.

I found it impossible to keep away for long. Sheila looked so well against the heliotrope Tanglefoot limousine that I had to go back to look at her.

The stand was surrounded by a throng, hushed and breathless with interest. Sheila was talking volubly. Hardened motorists listened with their mouths open; zealots, feverish to expend their excess profits on motoring because it was a novelty and expensive, stood spell-bound; a rival agent drank in her words with tears in his eyes—tears for his old innocence—and his cheek flushed with a sudden and splendid determination to amalgamate with our firm.

"This chassis, gentlemen," Sheila was saying, with a glance towards the Byng-Beatty, "has the most exclusive features. The torque-tube being fitted with an automatic lighter, it is possible to change tyres without leaving your seat; while by a simple adjustment of the universal joint the car will take any reasonable obstacle gracefully and without any inconvenience to the occupants. The clutch is of the Alabama type. This new pattern created a great sensation at Olympia, owing to the ease with which it permits even the amateur driver to convert the present body into a char-à-banc or a tipping-waggon. The hood is reversible, so that passengers may be sheltered from the wind when the car runs backwards. In the rear of the boot, concealed by a door flush with the panels, is an Einstein parachute, by means of which a passenger may leave the car before an imminent accident or when tired of the company."

I could not move; I did not want to either; and I certainly dared not interrupt.

"The Tanglefoot," continued Sheila, while a sigh of sheer rapture rose from the crowd, "is pre-eminently the car for a medical man or pushful undertaker. No horn is supplied, though this will be fitted if desired. The car is not cheap, but properly used will soon repay itself. Amongst the accessories supplied with the standard chassis I should like to call your attention to the collapsible game-bag and landing-net."

This went on for a long, long time, and I stayed till a man in the crowd recognised me and showed symptoms of coming out of his trance. I fled, and returned only at the luncheon interval.

"Sheila," I said—"Sheila, this may be fun for you, but James Wrigley and I may sing in the streets to pay for it."

"You great stupid"—her eyes were sparking as she spoke—"I've booked more orders than you will be able to carry out before you've learned wisdom. Look!" It was practically a nominal roll of the local capitalists that she showed me. "Nobody believes what you say about a car, so you can say what you like. The thing is to get it noticed."

"Did they study these cars much before they let you take their names?"

Sheila looked into my eyes and laughed happily.

W. K. H.

Our Eccentric Advertisers.

"Youth Wanted to Strike."

Provincial Paper.

[pg 231]


Fritz (doubtfully). "GOOD DOG—IF YOU STILL ARE A DOG."

[pg 232]

"Oh, auntie, 'Zymotic' is a funny word for you to be so fond of."

"My dear child, what are you talking about?"

"Well, daddy said you were very fond of the last word, so I looked it up in the dictionary."


Of all the beautiful things which are to be seen in shop windows perhaps the most beautiful are those luxurious baths in white enamel, hedged round with attachments and conveniences in burnished metal. Whenever I see one of them I stand and covet it for a long time. Yet even these super-baths fall far short of what a bath should be; and as for the perfect bathroom I question if anyone has even imagined it.

The whole attitude of modern civilisation to the bathroom is wrong. Why, for one thing, is it always the smallest and barest room in the house? The Romans understood these things; we don't. I have never yet been in a bathroom which was big enough to do my exercises in without either breaking the light or barking my knuckles against a wall. It ought to be a big room and opulently furnished. There ought to be pictures in it, so that one could lie back and contemplate them—a picture of troops going up to the trenches, and another picture of a bus-queue standing in the rain, and another picture of a windy day with some snow in it. Then one would really enjoy one's baths.

And there ought to be rich rugs in it and profound chairs; one would walk about in bare feet on the rich rugs while the bath was running; and one would sit in the profound chairs while drying the ears.

The fact is, a bathroom ought to be equipped for comfort, like a drawing-room, a good, full, velvety room; and as things are it is solely equipped for singing. In the drawing-room, where we want to sing, we put so many curtains and carpets and things that most of us can't sing at all; and then we wonder that there is no music in England. Nothing is more maddening than to hear several men refusing to join in a simple chorus after dinner, when you know perfectly well that every one of them has been singing in a high tenor in his bath before dinner. We all know the reason, but we don't take the obvious remedy. The only thing to do is to take all the furniture out of the drawing-room and put it in the bathroom—all except the piano and a few cane chairs. Then we shouldn't have those terrible noises in the early morning, and in the evening everybody would be a singer. I suppose that is what they do in Wales.

But if we cannot make the bathroom what it ought to be, the supreme and perfect shrine of the supreme moment of the day, the one spot in the house on which no expense or trouble is spared, we can at least bring the bath itself up to date. I don't now, as I did, lay much stress on having a bath with fifteen different taps. I once stayed in a house with a bath like that. There was a hot tap and a cold tap, and hot sea-water and cold sea-water, and plunge and spray and shower and wave and flood, and one or two more. To turn on the top tap you had to stand on a step-ladder, and they were all very highly polished. I was naturally excited by this, and an hour before it was time to dress for dinner I slunk upstairs and hurried into the bathroom and locked myself in and turned on all the taps at once. It was strangely disappointing. The sea-water was mythical. Many of the taps refused to function at the same time as any other, and the only two which were really effective were wave and flood. Wave shot out [pg 233]a thin jet of boiling water which caught me in the chest, and flood filled the bath with cold water long before it could be identified and turned off.

No, taps are not of the first importance, though, properly polished, they look well. But no bath is complete without one of those attractive bridges or trays where one puts the sponges and the soap. Conveniences like that are a direct stimulus to washing. The first time I met one I washed myself all over two or three times simply to make the most of knowing where the soap was. Now and then, in fact, in a sort of bravado I deliberately lost it, so as to be able to catch it again and put it back in full view on the tray. You can also rest your feet on the tray when you are washing them, and so avoid cramp.

Again, I like a bathroom where there is an electric bell just above the bath, which you can ring with the big toe. This is for use when one has gone to sleep in the bath and the water has frozen, or when one has begun to commit suicide and thought better of it. Apart from these two occasions it can be used for Morsing instructions about breakfast to the cook—supposing you have a cook. And if you haven't a cook a little bell-ringing in the basement does no harm.

But the most extraordinary thing about the modern bath is that there is no provision for shaving in it. Shaving in the bath I regard as the last word in systematic luxury. But in the ordinary bath it is very difficult. There is nowhere to put anything. There ought to be a kind of shaving tray attached to every bath, which you could swing in on a flexible arm, complete with mirror and soap and strop, new blades and shaving-papers and all the other confounded paraphernalia. Then, I think, shaving would be almost tolerable, and there wouldn't be so many of these horrible beards about.

The same applies to smoking. It is incredible that to-day in the twentieth century there should be no recognised way of disposing of a cigarette-end in the bath. Personally I only smoke pipes in the bath, but it is impossible to find a place in which to deposit even a pipe so that it will not roll off into the water. But I have a brother-in-law who smokes cigars in the bath, a disgusting habit. I have often wondered where he hid the ends, and I find now that he has made a cache of them in the gas-ring of the geyser. One day the ash will get into the burners and then the geyser will explode.

Next door to the shaving and smoking tray should be the book-rest. I don't myself do much reading in the bath, but I have several sisters-in-law who keep on coming to stay, and they all do it. Few things make the leaves of a book stick together so easily as being dropped in a hot bath, so they had better have a book-rest; and if they go to sleep I shall set in motion my emergency waste mechanism, by which the bath can be emptied in malice from outside.

Another of my inventions is the Progress Indicator. It works like the indicators outside lifts, which show where the lift is and what it is doing. My machine shows what stage the man inside has reached—the washing stage or the merely wallowing stage, or the drying stage, or the exercises stage. It shows you at a glance whether it is worth while to go back to bed or whether it is time to dig yourself in on the mat. The machine is specially suitable for hotels and large country houses where you can't find out by hammering on the door and asking, because nobody takes any notice.

When you have properly fitted out the bathroom on these lines all that remains is to put the telephone in and have your meals there; or rather to have your meals there and not put the telephone in. It must still remain the one room where a man is safe from that.

A. P. H.

Mistress. "I see the new curate has called. What is he like, Smithers?"

Butler (who had noticed that the Curate was dressed for golf). "He had the appearance, my lady, of being out of 'oly orders for the day."

[pg 234]


A great deal of nonsense is being talked about our coal-mines. I should like therefore to throw a little helpful light on the subject of nationalisation. Speaking as an owner and not as a miner (I have at the present moment at least six coals and a pound or two of assorted mineral rubbish), I want to consider some of the pros and cons of this debatable proposition. I take it, first of all, that we shall pay for our coal along with our taxes and in proportion to our income. This will come rather hard, of course, on the kind of people who insist on warming their rooms with three large electric vegetable marrows, or by means of a number of small skeletons pickled in gas. But such people will no doubt be able to claim rebates, and rebating is one of the most healthy and instructive of our British parlour games. Let us pass on, then, to the means of distribution.

I greatly doubt whether under State organisation the practice of opening up those romantic and circular caverns in the middle of the pavement and suddenly filling our cellars with smoke, rain and thunder will be allowed to continue. Rather, I expect, at the moment when John Postman pushes the budget of bills through the slit in the front-door, William Coalman, walking along the roof, will be dropping a couple of Derby Brights, in the mode of Santa Claus, down the chimney. This will get over the basement trouble, and deliveries of course will occur frequently, if irregularly, throughout the day at such times as the Government consider them to be necessary for making up the fire.

But whatever happens about deliveries the Inspector of Grates will be an infernal nuisance. Nothing makes a man more unpopular than interference in a quarrel between husband and wife, and I imagine that there will be many little suburban tragedies like the following:—

Scene.—A Kensington drawing-room. Mr. and Mrs. Smith are discovered shivering over the fire.

Mr. Smith. No, no. Not like that at all. You must break up that big lump first.

Mrs. Smith (coldly). This is the way my mother taught me to make up fires.

Mr. Smith. Your mother! Ha!

[Snatches the poker from her hand.

Mary (entering). The Coal Inspector has called.

Enter Coal Inspector.

Taking the poker from Mr. Smith's nerveless grasp, with three vicious thrusts he assassinates the already moribund fire. They watch him with faces of horror. As he turns to go they glance at each other, and with a simultaneous impulse seize the tongs and shovel and strike him with all their strength on the back of the head.

Mr. Smith rings the bell. Enter Mary.

Mr. Smith. Please sweep that up.

[She does so. He takes up the poker and resumes the altercation.

But let us turn again to the brighter side of things. Nothing fills a house-holder with such deep pleasure as a legitimate grievance against the Government on minor counts, especially when such grievances are properly ventilated in the daily Press. Thus:—






These are specimens of the headlines we may confidently expect, and little forms like the following will be found in the more popular dailies:—


I protest against the continued refusal of my fire to burn up, for which Government maladministration is responsible. I urge you to do all in your power to see that a warm ruddy glow is cast continually over my dining-room. The men, women and children of your constituency will judge you at the next election by your action in this matter.

And then there is the question of the miscellaneous material which is now being supplied in the name of coal, especially those large flat pieces of excellent slate. As things are now I often wonder that the miners don't make use of them for propaganda purposes. Chalked manifestoes such as—

We demand forty-four shillings more a ton, a five-hour week and control of the mines

would do much to convert the armchair critic as he digs about in the scuttle. When we get our coal from the State, however, we shall, of course, carefully set apart these sections of slate, wrap them in brown-paper and send them by parcel post to the nearest elementary school, with a note to say there must have been an inter-departmental error.

From State coal too it will only be a step to State firewood, and we know from the papers what lots the Government has of that. Army huts, tables, bed-boards, trestles, aeroplanes, railway trucks—there is no end to it all. And underneath the firewood, of course, carefully packed, comes the daily newspaper itself. There can be little doubt that, once they have obtained a grip of coal and kindling-wood, the Government will proceed to nationalise the Press.



[Mr. R. H. Tawney and Mr. G. D. H. Cole, both Oxford Fellows, represent academic intellectualism in excelsis at the G.H.Q. of Labour.]

Only a simpleton or sawney

Falls short in reverence for Tawney;

Only the man without a soul

Disputes the kingliness of Cole.

Labour, no longer gross and brawny,

Finds its true hierophant in Tawney;

And, freed from all save Guild Control,

Attains its apogee in Cole.

Proud Prelates in their vestments lawny

Quail at the heresies of Tawney;

And prostrate Dukes in anguish roll,

Scared by the scrutiny of Cole.

The Nabob quits his brandy-pawnee

To listen to the lore of Tawney;

The plain beer-drinker bans the bowl,

Weaned by the witchery of Cole.

Students however slack or yawny

Grow tense beneath the spell of Tawney;

Footballers score goal after goal,

Trained in the principles of Cole.

The shrimp grows positively prawny

On list'ning to the voice of Tawney;

While upward shoots the blindest mole

Beneath the airy tread of Cole.

There's something thrilling—Colleen-Bawny—

About the articles of Tawney;

And no one can so grandly toll

The knell of Capital as Cole.

As Cornwall rallied to Trelawny

So Labour rallies to its Tawney;

And miners find a "better 'ole"

Provided by the creed of Cole.

"Our evening congregations have more than doubled in two months. Sans Deo!" Parish Magazine.

We don't wonder that two foreign languages were required to veil this shocking observation.

From a feuilleton ("dramatic, kinema and all other rights secured"):—

"So he just shook hands all round, and took off his coat, and lit a cigar, and laughed when Betty Cardon pointed out that he had put the wrong end of it in his mouth."—Daily Paper.

This incident should "film" well.

[pg 235]


[Mr. Punch herewith disclaims all intention of quoting the title of any actual book.]

"A Latter-day Lothario."

"The young charmers."

"My life-work in the slums."

"The woman with a purple past."

"The lyre of love."

"Half-hours with Bunyan."

"Court life from the inside."

"Stage deportment for Amateurs."

"What physical culture has done for me."

[pg 236]


"My dear Miss Monteith, couldn't you give us a more appropriate expression? Don't forget you're supposed to be stepping from the top of one sky-scraper to another, so do try and look just a little peevish."


"This summer," said Suzanne, "we must take the bull by the forelock."

"Dearest wife," I cried, "at your age you must not dream of joining in such dangerous sports. Besides I don't think the summer is quite the season for Spain."

"Who's talking about Spain? And what is this insinuation about my age? But a few short years have sped since you took me from the schoolroom——"

"Where you would mix up the proverbs in your copy-book. But let us get back to our starting-point; what exactly is it you meditate doing this summer—if any?"

"Taking the children to the seaside, of course; and, as I said, we must make our arrangements well in advance, otherwise we shall get left, as we did last year, and have to put up with lodgings in Margate."

"Have you any particular place in view?" I asked.

"No. But it must have a nice sandy beach for Barbara, and must not be too bracing for Baby, and there must be one or two caves dotted about, and a snug little harbour with a dear old fisherman who can take you sailing, and—oh, and we'll bask on the shore all day and watch the ripples dancing in the sun——"

"And hear the starfish calling to his mate," I extemporised.

"And we'll live a life of freedom in a corner by ourselves," she continued with a disconcerting change of metre into which I could not hope to follow her. But her words gave me an idea.

"I do believe," I said, "I know the exact spot you're pining for. To-morrow, something tells me, is Saturday. On Saturday I down tools at twelve. Meet me on the weighing-machine at Victoria Cross a quarter after noon and I will show you the place you seek."

"The man's a marvel," said Suzanne. "What frocks shall I pack for the week-end?"

"We return before nightfall," I replied.

Next day I sought Suzanne at the appointed hour and station. She had taken my words literally and was steadfastly occupying the automatic weighing machine, with her back impassively turned upon an indignant youth who was itching to gamble a penny on the chance of guessing his avoirdupois. Quietly I crept behind her and placed a coin in the slot, simultaneously pressing my foot upon the platform. Suzanne gazed with mingled horror and fascination at the mounting indicator, and at sixteen stone jumped off with a gasp on to my disengaged foot. For a few moments I could have believed that the machine had recorded the truth.

When we had both regained our composure Suzanne inquired if I had got the tickets. The moment for enlightenment had arrived.

I led her to a hoarding and placed her in front of a poster which depicted a most alluring seaside resort. The sea was of the royalest blue, the sands were a rich 22-carat; there was a cave in the left foreground, a gaily-striped tent on the right, and a tiny harbour with yacht attached in the middle distance; and, with the exception of a lady escaped from a lingerie advertisement whom vandal hands had pasted on the scene, the sole occupants of this coastal Paradise were a gentleman in over-tailored flannels, red blazer and Guards' tie who was dancing a Bacchanale with a bath-towel, a small boy who was apparently fleeing from his parent's frenzy, and a smaller girl, mostly sun-bonnet, who was nursing a jelly-fish. Beneath the picture was the legend, "You Can Let Yourself Go at Giddyville."

I looked anxiously at Suzanne as she surveyed this masterpiece.

"Well," I said at last, "isn't that the place of your dreams? It's all practically as you described it last night, and you will observe that it's by no means overcrowded."

[pg 237]

"But what objectionable children!" said Suzanne. "I shouldn't at all care for Barbara to mix with them; and jelly-fish sting. Besides, that boat doesn't look at all safe, and the man's a bounder in every sense of the word. What's this other place?"

I was disappointed, and considered Suzanne's criticism superficial in the extreme. The next pictures showed an emerald sea and pink shore, two piers, a flock of aeroplanes, and a structure that combined the characteristic features of the Eiffel Tower and the Albert Memorial. One suspected a herd of minstrels in the distance, but here again the beach was remarkably and invitingly uncongested. A solitary barefooted maiden communing with a crustacean rather caught my fancy, but it didn't need the angle of Suzanne's nose to tell me that "Puddlesey for Pleasure" was a wash-out; frankly, it was too good to believe that all the holiday-makers but one were content to patronise either the piers or the aeroplanes or the hidden attractions of the architectural outrage, and to leave the beach so desirably vacant.

We passed over in eloquent silence a couple of lurid affiches which declared that "Exhampton Is So Exhilarating" (a middle-aged person in side-whiskers and a purple bathing-suit attempting to drown his unfortunate wife), and that "Rooksea Will Restore the Roses" (a fragile young woman in a deck-chair being nourished out of a box of chocolates by a sentimental ass whose attire proclaimed him a member of the local concert party). The next scene to engage our attention was much more simple in its appeal and striking in its effect. The sea was neither so blatantly blue nor so vividly green as the other seas had been; the beach was but normally sandy-hued, and there was a delicious little fellow, clad in nothing much except seaweed, who was splashing himself with great seriousness in the middle of a shining pool. Again that amazing absence of the seaside crowd; but somehow or other this picture seemed to ring true. There were no piers or other "attractions," and to souls that shunned such delights the aura of the place was extremely sympathetic, A single glance sufficed to determine us both.

"Quick!" said Suzanne with a catch in her breath. "What's the place called?"

Alas! where the legend should have appeared was an ugly gap. The picture had been badly torn in its most vital part, and nothing was there to reveal the identity of that magic spot where that delightfully real and really delightful baby boy had been caught by the camera of the publicity agent. Hurriedly we sought the Inquiry Bureau, but no answer could be obtained to Suzanne's incoherent questionings. We have since written to various agencies, but in vain; nor, strangely enough, in spite of much searching, have we ever seen the poster exhibited anywhere else.

Suzanne, however, who has not given up her sanguine interest in the sport of bull-baiting, is still intent on taking time by the horns and getting in before the rush. She has just compiled a list of "likely" places (selected for the most part because she likes the sound of their names), to which we are apparently to pay week-end visits of exploration. I have calculated that long before we come to the end of these expeditions the summer—if any—will be over. Whether we shall ever find the land of our hearts' desire is, as the bull himself said, a toss-up.

Shopman. "Ammonia? Ay, I hae ammonia, but the stopper's oot an' the guidness gane."

Customer. "Well, have you benzine?"

Shopman. "Benzine? Ay, I hae benzine, but the stopper's in an' I canna get it oot."

No More "Feed the Brute."

"The speaker advised the women not to go in for pastry politics, but to be good suffragettes, working only for the benefit of their sex."—South African Paper.

"It is now announced that the America Cup defender, as well as the challenger, will be steered by an amateur helmsman, Mr. Charles Adams, of Boston, having undertaken the duty."—Provincial Paper.

We congratulate Mr. Adams on his impartiality.

[pg 238]


Sportsman (whose opponent has just achieved the hole in one). "This for a half!"


[A daily paper states that very few housewives will be able to indulge in the luxury of Spring cleaning this year owing to the enormous increase in the cost of materials and labour.]


I will make me a song about Spring;

I will write with delight of the brightness in store;

I will sing of a Spring never dreamed of before,

A Spring with a new and more beautiful meaning,

A season of reason, a Spring without cleaning,

A Spring without painters, a Spring without pain,

A Spring that for once will not drive me insane.

I lift up my voice and rejoice at this thing,

This excellent Spring.


Will in all probability cry;

She will rave at the news and refuse with disgust;

She will say that she must have a thrust at the dust;

But I know what I'm saying,

We've got to go slow;

We can't go on paying—

Spring-cleaning must go.

It's the knell of the mop and the doom of the broom;

We cannot afford to do even one room;

If she wants her own way I shall say with a frown,

"It's too dear, and I fear, until prices come down,

We must try and deny ourselves this little thing."

Magnificent Spring!


Going to have a delectable time;

Though in previous years I've been hustled about,

And they've driven me mad till I had to go out,

Without flurry or worry this year I shall stay

And know just where to look for my book ev'ry day;

It's the finest of schemes;

It's a blessing, a miracle;

Spring of my dreams,

I can't help growing lyrical

Over this quite unbelievable thing—

Glorious Spring!


Is a song of unqualified bliss;

I have never sung quite such a song in my life;

I have nothing but jeers for the tears of my wife;

She may moan, she may groan, she may weep and grow wild,

But the Spring shall remain undisturbed, undefiled,

Spring with a new and more beautiful meaning,

Spring as it ought to be, Spring without cleaning;

Halcyon days!

Oh, let us raise

Shouts of thanksgiving and pæans of praise.

Join me, O men. Bound the world let it ring—

Exquisite Spring!

"The Town Clerk said that Kilkenny coal, or coal raised elsewhere in Ireland, was uncontrollable."—Irish Paper.

Like most other things in that country.

"Customers in London.—Hardly creditable, yet true; we satisfy them; let us satisfy you. —— Laundry."—Scotch Paper.

On the contrary, we think it most creditable.

[pg 239]




[pg 240]


Monday, March 22nd.—As if the condition of Ireland were not bad enough, Mr. Clem Edwards sought to make our flesh creep by asking whether the Government had information that risings had been planned for Easter Monday, not only in that country but in Liverpool, Manchester and Glasgow as well. The Prime Minister declined to answer the question, and was manifestly relieved when Mr. Jack Jones, with great tact, changed the subject by asking if a white blackbird had been caught that morning on Hackney Marshes.


Lord Winterton and the other "Young Turks" were again inquisitive about the suppressed report of the alleged Greek outrages at Smyrna, until Mr. Lloyd George put an end to the catechism with the remark that "Even Christians are entitled to a fair trial."

Chafing under the accusation that the trade unions are largely responsible for preventing ex-Service men from obtaining employment the Labour Party pressed the Prime Minister to produce his evidence. To-day they got it, in stacks. All the unions, in principle, are in favour of training disabled men, but in practice most of them require that a workman shall have worked at his craft for from three to six years before being admitted to their ranks. "You have fought for us, but you shall not work for us" is their attitude.

On the Army Estimates Sir Samuel Scott pleaded for the formation of an Imperial General Staff. Even in peace-time there were plenty of problems to be solved. We should never be really at peace, moreover, so long as there were tribes on our frontiers who looked upon war as an amusement and a pastime, "as hon. Members look upon golf." Surely this is to underestimate the devotion of our earnest golfers. Judging by the condition of the links on Sunday I should say some of them look upon it as a religion.

Mr. Neil Maclean pretended not to understand why we wanted an army at all. Was not the last war "a war to end war"? But his main point—in which he will be surprised to find many quite respectable people agreeing with him—is that it should not be officered from one class. Mr. Maclean is not so revolutionary as he thinks himself. The most insurgent thing about him is his hair, and even that is not more rebellious than Mr. Dan Irving's.

The Addison Bird. "Beautiful spring weather, John."

John Bullfinch. "Yes, my dear. But you don't seriously mean to start building—what?"

Tuesday, March 23rd.—Lord Peel was evidently surprised at the amount of opposition encountered by the Silver Coinage Bill. Having a specimen of the new shilling in his pocket he himself was feeling particularly bobbish, and could not understand the gloomy vaticinations of Lord Buckmaster and Lord Salisbury as to what might happen in West Africa and elsewhere if we depreciated our currency. But his usual self-confidence so far deserted him that he confessed that he could not "answer for the whole of the British Empire at a moment's notice."

The Lord Chancellor refused to accept Lord Balfour of Burleigh's proposal to abolish the D.O.R.A. regulation forbidding the sale of confectionery in theatres, on the ground that it would be unfair to the ordinary shops to allow this competition, and that the business of the theatre was to supply drama not chocolate. Lord Balfour was unconvinced. His imagination boggled at the thought of a Scotsman, at any rate, paying for a seat in a theatre in order to purchase a shilling's worth of "sweeties."

The House of Commons has a childlike sense of humour. There is nothing that it enjoys more than to have a Minister struggling with the pronunciation of some outlandish place-name. When, therefore, Mr. Illingworth, posed with the deficiencies of the mail service to Bryngwran and Gwalchmai, made a gallant but ineffectual effort to get over the first obstacle and evaded the second by calling it "the other place," Members roared with delighted laughter.

In the further debate on the Army Estimates a good deal was said about the unfortunate events in Ireland. Mr. T. P. O'Connor had the grace to withdraw some of the unfortunate insinuations against the conduct of the British soldiers into which he had been betrayed the day before, but Messrs. Kenworthy and Malone repeated them with additions of their own, and incurred thereby a castigation from Mr. Churchill which the House cordially approved.

The Coal Mines (Emergency) Bill was read a third time. On behalf of the Labour Party, Mr. Adamson declared that the profits of the coal industry must be "pooled"—a proposition which would command general approval if there seemed any likelihood that consumers would receive a share of the pool.

Wednesday, March 24th.—Since Disraeli startled a scientific meeting by declaring himself to be "on the side of the angels" there has been no more remarkable piece of self-revelation than Lord Birkenhead's defence of the Matrimonial Causes Bill. It was not so much his wealth of [pg 241]ecclesiastical lore or the impassioned appeal that he made for the victims of the present divorce law that impressed the Peers as the high line that he took in condemning the opponents of the measure. He as good as told the occupants of the Episcopal Bench that their view of marriage was lacking in spirituality. The Archbishop of Canterbury was so dumbfounded by the accusation that he meekly confessed himself unable to follow the Lord Chancellor's religious arguments. Lord Salisbury displayed more pugnacity in a reassertion of views that had been described as "mediæval superstition." But the Peers preferred the Use of Birkenhead to the Use of Sarum, and gave the Bill a Second Reading by a two-to-one majority.

The Postmaster-General, Mr. Illingworth (after some unsuccessful attempts to ring up the Prime Minister for particulars about the pronunciation of Gwalchmai). "Ah well, if I can't get on to David within the next half-hour I must content myself with calling it 'the other place.'" [Does so.]

In the course of the debate Lord Buckmaster expressed his regret that so effective an orator as the Archbishop of York should have deserted the Law for the Church. After this afternoon's display I could not help wondering what would have happened if "F. E.'s" call had been to the Church instead of the Bar, and whether a shovel-hat would not have suited him even better than a wig.

Members who display a friendly interest in the revival of German trade were gratified to learn that the clock-manufacturers, at any rate, are taking time by the forelock and are already sending their goods to this country. So far are they, moreover, from cherishing animosity or desiring to magnify the Fatherland that they modestly label them "Westminster Chimes." It is pleasant to record that the Board of Trade, exhibiting the same spirit of self-abnegation, has insisted on substituting the time-honoured inscription, "Made in Germany."


It is a mistake to suppose that there are no limits to the ambition of the Geddes family. "I never wanted air-transport," said Sir Eric this afternoon, and later on he expressly disclaimed the megalomania which had been attributed to him "by those best able to diagnose the disease." He is certainly coming on as a Parliamentary speaker, and gave an informing and, on the whole, hopeful account of the work of the railways in promoting reconstruction.

Thursday, March 25th.—The Prime Minister was rather husky this afternoon. He had been having a strenuous time with the miners and possibly some of the coal-dust had got into his throat. But his spirit is unabated, and he flatly refused to withdraw his charge that the trade unions, by refusing to modify their regulations, are holding up the building industry.

In connection with the proposal to raise the Tube fares, Mr. Will Thorne inquired whether this would not mean an increase of two pounds a week in the expenditure of some families, and, on the figure being challenged, said that it was quite correct, for one of the families was his own. Members entered into rapid calculations on their Order Papers with the view of discovering how many olive-branches had sprung from this Thorne.

After Mr. Asquith's "prave 'orts" at the National Liberal Club the mildness of his criticism upon the Government's foreign policy sadly disappointed his more ardent supporters. His only concrete suggestion was that we should surrender our mandate for Mesopotamia and retire to the coast, and this did not meet with much approval.


The train ran into Victoria Station and pandemonium.

A struggling mass of people trying to get out, another mass trying to get in; everybody pushing and muttering, grunting and groaning; and above all the howling of the Specially Selected Band of Hustlers in their now famous and unpopular performance:—

"'Urry up off the car, please. Wait till they're all off. Move right down the centre, please. Wot are you doin' there? Come orf it if you're comin' orf. Get a move on, please. 'Urry up on board. Come on there. Right behind."

A siren shrilled and we were moving again.

"Can't you set the kid down, Mother?" said a voice. "You can't carry her like that. Be quiet, 'Enry, will you."

I managed to struggle out of my seat.

"Thank you, Sir," said the man. "Sit down, Em'ly. That's better. Now you can 'old the kid. Shut up, 'Enry, will you?"

I looked for Henry and found him wedged in a forest of legs.

"I think he's afraid of being trodden on," I said.

We managed, with some effort, to extract the child and make him a little more comfortable. His father turned with a sigh of relief to me.

"Awful business travellin' with kids nowadays, ain't it?" he said.

"I can quite believe it," I said.

"Bad enough anywhere," he went on, "but on this line—well—and they stick up placards tellin' you to be patient. Patient! With a wife and two kids, and them young jackanapes at Victoria a-howling at you all the time. If there's one thing I 'ate it's bein' 'ustled." He laughed resentfully. "'Come on, get a move on.' 'Jump to it!' Shoutin' and howlin' till you don't know whether you're gettin' on or gettin' orf. Anybody'd think we was a lot of blinkin' animals."

Something clicked inside my head (I hesitate to suggest what) and the carriage and the swaying people went out of focus.

There was a little squad of soldiers piling arms.

"Stand clear," said the subaltern in charge.

"Stand at—ease. Stand easy. Carry on, Sergeant."

The P.T. Instructor came forward.

"Now, lads," he said briskly, "take off your equipment and your tunics [pg 242]and puttees and roll up your sleeves. And while you're doin' it listen to your Uncle Brown, who's goin' to give things away.

"I 'aven't took any of you lads before—(come along there, my son; we ain't syncopatin' the movements)—but I'm told you're all B.E.F. men. Well then, I expect you think you know something. So you do. You know what a Jerry looks like and what a Whizzbang sounds like. But that ain't much. You don't know me. 'Ave a good look at me. You'll 'ear what I sound like in a minute."

He paused for effect and breath.

"Now you 'ave 'ad a look at me you'll know me. Not the Apollo Belgravia, but just plain Brown—Mrs. Brown's old man—that's me; and thank 'Eaven it's 'im you've got to deal with and not Mr. Brown's old woman. Now we'll get to work, lads, and 'ustle's the word."

He moved away a few paces.

"When I say 'Round me nip,'" he shouted, "I want to see a cloud of dust and a livin' statue. Round me—Nip!"

There was boxing.

"'It 'im," yelled Brown; "you ain't doin' a foxtrot! Bite 'is ear orf! Make 'is nose bleed!"

Their noses bled.

There were bayonet charges on stuffed sacks.

"Kick 'em," roared Brown, leaping round like a dervish; "make faces at 'em! I want to see ye getting uglier every minute."

They grew uglier.

Half-an-hour later the squad, limp and perspiring, lay down for a rest.

"Well, you've not done too bad," said Brown; "you're all breathin', anyway. Get dressed now, and don't be 'alf-an-hour at it. Don't forget, my lads, 'ustle's the word what makes such men as me—and you too by the time I've finished with you. I'll make it a bit stiffer to-morrow."

He strolled off.

A voice arose from the squad:—

"Anybody'd think we was a lot of blinkin' animals."

I came back suddenly to the carriage and the crush.

"So you've altered your ideas about hustling?" I said.

"Altered them? Why?"

"Well," I said, "I can remember a day when Mrs. Brown's old man——"

"Why, Sir, you mean to say——"

"I do," I said.

And after a time:—

"Well, good-bye, Sergeant. Awfully glad to have seen you again, and to know you don't like being hustled any more than we did."

He laughed.

"One for you, Sir," he said. "But after all you was carrying a rifle, not a bloomin' baby."

Old Gentleman. "Is that your baby?"

Little Girl. "No, Sir, it ain't ourn. We ain't 'ad none since me."

A Cool Reception.

"Visit of 10 Wesleyan Ministers.

—— Wesleyan Church.

'Is happiness possible to-day?'"

Provincial Paper.

"Nursery Governess to go to Jamaica early May; two boys ages seven and four; one able to give first lessons and music."—Times.

Then why can't he teach the other?


Exceptional Purchase of —— Cigars. Weight about 1½ lbs. Length 5 inches."

Advt. in Evening Paper.

But only suitable, we should imagine, for very heavy smokers.

"Ex-Government Bedside Tables, make Boat Cupboards, Safes, Bookcases, Wash-stands, etc., not large enough to live in."

Provincial Paper.

Not a solution of the housing problem after all.

[pg 243]

Head of the House. "Don't think I'm complaining, Emma. I know I can't afford to buy new clothes, and don't in the least object to having Wilfrid's trousers cut down to fit me; but the bag of the knee makes them fall so awkward at the ankle."


[According to Mr. W. G. Faulkner, who has recently interviewed Charlie Chaplin at Los Angeles, the great film comedian chiefly reads serious books on philosophy and social problems, being specially interested in the prices of food and clothing. Romantic novels have no attraction for him, and it is nonsense to say that he ever hoped to play Hamlet, for "he does not like Shakespeare, whose works neither entertain nor interest him."]

There is bitter grief at Stratford, on the silver Avon's marge,

Where the cult of William Shakespeare is extremely fine and large,

For across the broad Atlantic comes the petrifying news

That the greatest film comedian does not care for William's Muse.

Serious problems—economics and the price of margarine—

Occupy the hours of leisure that he snatches from the screen;

But the works of William Shakespeare he dismisses as inane,

And he harbours no ambition to enact the princely Dane.

This momentous revelation, little birds reveal to me,

Has produced a spasm of anguish in the heart of Sidney Lee;

Wails arise from Henry Ainley, Benson, Lang and Moscovitch,

Though so far no word of protest emanates from Little Tich.

Still, by way of compensation for this ruthless turning down

Of the chief Elizabethan by a neo-Georgian clown,

'Tis averred that Stoll (Sir Oswald), in a life of storm and stress,

Finds distraction from his labours in the works of William S.

In this context I may notice that the "consequential" Keynes

From an economic survey of the cinema abstains;

But this curious lacuna does not prove that he has missed

Charlie Chaplin's true importance as a sociologist.

All the same, good Viscount Morley is, we are prepared to state,

Unaware of the existence of the peerless Harry Tate;

And the name of Mary Pickford doesn't palpably convey

Any sort of connotation to the mind of Viscount Grey.

This is much to be regretted, but I'm not without the hope

That our publicists and statesmen may enlarge their mental scope

By frequenting entertainments where the pleased spectators rock

At the antics of George Robey or the drolleries of Grock.

So, conversely, Charlie Chaplin, in a later, mellower phase,

May attain to the enjoyment of Elizabethan plays,

And, when economic problems on his jaded palate pall,

Recognise that there is something in our William after all.

Extract from a lover's letter, read recently in court:—

"I see those self-same eyes, which are my own love's, looking at each other with all that tenderness with which they once looked into mine."—Provincial Paper.

It would appear that the object of his affections suffered from some obliquity of vision.

[pg 244]


As one of family—cat (lady), elderly; would give slight services (mousing, etc.) in return for comfortable home. No dogs. Highest refs. Strictest confidence.

Parrot seeks sit. with refined conversationalists. Eighty years in last place. Cause of leaving, death of owner.

Rabbit.—Quiet, domesticated, with family of nine, wishes to find home with vegetarians. Sleep out.

Dog, young, seeks home in cheerful family. Well-bred society. Children not objected to. Liberal table and good outings necessary.

Pony, no longer young, quiet tastes, is seeking post with family where motor is kept.

Sow, eleven encumbrances, wishes to board with Jewish family. Liberal table.

Lonely goldfish would like to meet with another similarly situated. View to partnership.

Donkey, at present in seaside town, wishes post inland during holiday months. Suitable for bed-ridden invalid.

Canary, powerful notes, enthusiastic singer, seeks board-residence with musical family.

Homes from home—Cuckoos coming England in April desire addresses of well-appointed nests for depositing eggs. Personally investigated.

Au pair—Robin, having maisonette larger than he requires (flower-pot), would like to find another to share it.

Cockerel, early riser, smart, good appearance, seeks sit. in country house. Preference for one with home-farm immediately adjacent.

Pet lamb, the property of butcher's daughter, desires home with humane gentlewomen.

Spaniel, field, rather stout but pleasing appearance, is giving up country pursuits owing to difference with game-keeper. Would join lady in carriage drives and meals.

Pekinese, noble birth, would go as companion in Ducal family living in good neighbourhood. Carriage. No knowledge of Chinese required.


I'm looking for my mother. Has she been in here? I know she went to buy a chicken, but I don't know if you're her chicken butcher."


Sir Auckland Geddes and Other Problems."

Canadian Gazette.

But we understand that the late President of the Board of Trade is no longer a problem. The last thing he did before leaving office was to issue a licence for his own exportation.

The Soldier Ants of New Zealand.

"Details of the distribution of the payments to soldiers' wives in lieu of separation allowances have not yet been finally approved, but the amount is to be made up to 3s. a day. Sir James Allen told a Post reporter this morning; in reply ants and 2nd lieutenants would share in the distribution."

New Zealand Paper.

"The Defence Minister was asked by Mr. G. Witty if he would extend the payment of gratuities on behalf of deceased soldiers to sisters and cousins when the soldier had made a will to that effect."—Same paper, later.

The reason why Mr. Witty's solicitude was limited to the sisters and cousins evidently was that the ants had been already provided for.

"Sir Oliver's personality is like that of one of the prophets of old. Venerable, white of beard and what scanty locks of hair remain, a dome-like head, over six feet in height."

Boston Herald.

This must be the result of the American atmosphere, as we are quite certain that the last time we saw Sir Oliver his head was not an inch over three feet in height.

[pg 245]


India, 1920.

"I'm goin' home," said Hennessey, "for I've been East too long;

I want the English hedges an' fields an' the English thrush's song,

An' the honest English faces an' never nobody black;

It's home for mine," said Hennessey, "so it's down your tents and pack.

It'll pass out here

For a month or a year,

But not for a lifetime—no dam fear.

I want my folks," said Hennessey, "an' I'm jolly well goin' back."

But I said, "Home's gone different an' I've somehow lost the touch,

An' nobody's written for fifty years, so they're not worryin' much;

An' I like it here; I love it." Says Hennessey, "Well, I'm shot!

Would ye die an' be buried in India?" "Well, Natty," says I, "why not?"

"East Africa, then," said Hennessey; "it's a promisin' place is that—

Money to make an' jobs galore, easy an' rich an' fat;

An' think of the ridin' an' shootin' an' the camp an' the trekkin' too;

You've no ties," said Hennessey; "it's the place for a chap like you.

There's a grand career

For a pioneer,

Which is more than ever you'll see out here.

East Africa's it," said Hennessey, "if the half they say is true."

But I said, "Blow East Africa an' slavin' yourself all day;

I'm an idle man—bone idle—with a little bit saved away,

An' I like them palm-tree beaches an' the warm blue sunlit sea;

East India, yes, an' welcome, but East Africa—no, not me."

"Well, Palestine," said Hennessey; but I cut him short and sweet,

An' "Natty," I said, "I've heard it all an' I don't want to repeat—

Jerusalem or Mombasa, Tahiti or Timbuctoo,

Or careers an' pioneerin' an' the rest of it all—nah poo!

It's no good, Nat,

For I tell you flat

I've cottoned to India an' that's just that;

Bus hogeva; all done—finish; I'm here till the trees turn blue,

For I love them early mornings, shiny an' clear an' grey,

An' I love the cool o' the evening when the temple drummers play,

An' the long, long, lazy afternoons, when the whole creation sleeps—

Quit it? Old man, I couldn't; I'm India's now for keeps.

"So Hennessey, you go home," I says, "an' see to the wife an' kid."

"You'll follow me there one day," says he, an' I says, "Heaven forbid!

I'll just be goin' about an' about an' keepin' an open mind

An' sometimes doin' a job o' work, but not if I'm not inclined;

An' I won't care

If I'm here or there,

Jungle or forest or feast or fair;

I'll take it all as it comes along, as the Maker o' things designed;

I'll tramp it North to the Kashmir hills an' South to the Nilgiris;

I'll find my friends as I find my fun—and that's where I dam well please;

An' never no saman or houses or taxes or servants to send things wrong."

"It wouldn't suit me," said Hennessey. "It wouldn't," says I. "So long!"


You are doubtless aware that in the successful musical comedy, The Girl of Forty-Seven, there is a scene in which Miss Verbena Vaine, as Clementina, the horse-dealer's beautiful daughter, denounces the disreputable old veterinary surgeon, Binnett, so whimsically played by that ripe comedian, Mr. Sid Apps.

On my first visit to the play many weeks ago an incident occurred which both enhanced Mr. Apps's reputation for spontaneous humour and highly diverted the audience.

It will be remembered that at the climax of her outburst, Clementina, with eyes ablaze and voice vibrating with passion, hisses, "Loathsome scoundrel, how I detest and despise you!" On the evening to which I refer a mock-submissive look came into Apps's face when these words were spoken, and he interrupted gently, "Not too much soda, Verbena," glancing with mischievous curiosity to see how she would take his humorous comment upon her emphatic utterance of this line of many sibilants.

The audience was greatly delighted by this effect. Miss Vaine failed completely to maintain the rôle of the indignant beauty and turned her back to the footlights to hide her face, though her laughter was betrayed by the shaking of her handsome shoulders. There was a pause of some moments before she resumed, "My father shall know of this," and so forth.

Last week, when Doris, my niece, chose that I should take her to see The Girl of Forty-Seven, I was not unwilling again to enjoy Apps's humour. I listened with especial care as we approached the scene in the play to which I have referred. Perhaps he would employ some still more successful gag. At last came Clementina's outburst. "Loathsome scoundrel, how I detest and despise you!" she exclaimed with vehemence. "Not too much soda, Verbena," replied the comedian gently, with a mischievous glance of curiosity. The actress gave a look of amazement, then quickly turned her back to the audience, where she stood for some moments with her face in her hands and her shoulders shaking, the audience laughing aloud with delight. The action of the play was delayed for some moments before Miss Verbena Vaine resumed her part.

Another Sinecure.

"Wanted, Housemaid, £45, for three in family, three maids; no children; good room; all time off usual."—Morning Paper.

The Domestic Problem.

"——'s Registry have ladies waiting here daily, 2 to 4.30, for all kinds of maids (with or without experience)."—Scotch Paper.

We don't doubt it for a moment.

"Councillor ——: Can we afford to allow the town to be in real jeopardy every hour?

The Chairman (to the Brigade Captain): Did you have to take the horses away from a funeral the other day, when there was a call?

Brigade Captain: We had to wait until the funeral party got back."

Local Paper.

"Where are the gees of the Old Brigade?"

"Gone to a funeral, Sir," she said.

[pg 246]


Voice from the Crowd (to sportsman whose horse has refused the brook). "Now then, guvnor, what yer afraid of?—Spoiling the fishing?"


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

Countless readers, fusionists and others, will be glad to have Mr. Harold Spender's sparkling abstract of the more romantic passages in the life of The Prime Minister (Hodder and Stoughton). The first half of the book describes the upbringing and early battles of this man of peace, Rose Cottage at Llanystumdwy with "Uncle Lloyd"—there is a touching picture of the courage, wisdom and unselfishness of this grand old man—the little attorney's office at Portmadoc, squire- and parson-baiting passim, capture of Carnarvon Boroughs, guerilla tactics in the House, suspension, recognition, pacifism, office, original budgeting, Limehousing (very reticently indicated), social reform. Then War and the supreme opportunity for the energy, persuasiveness, adroitness and determination which must extort even from opponents the tribute of admiration. Not a dull page; occasionally an obscure one. None of your cold and calculated criticism for Mr. Spender. Have idols clay feet? Well, not this one, thank you. And it is an attitude which enables him to convey to the reader something of the irresistible personal magnetism of his distinguished friend, and the courage which delights in riding the storm and is at its best in the tight corner (one might suspect the Premier of holding the view that if there were no tight corners it would be necessary to invent them). The summary of the War period is admirably done. The history of events leading to the formation of the second Coalition Government—and the third—is again tactfully presented. It would be unreasonable to suppose that all of Mr. Spender's verdicts and estimates will be unchallenged by historians. But it is unlikely that the Premier will find a more competent hagiographer.

A story that so far violates the conventions as to start with a mother whose moral instability is a worry to her children, and a hero who longs to be a practical builder despite a parental command to follow art—such a tale can at least claim the merit of originality. Mr. J. D. Beresford would be fully justified in claiming this and much more for An Imperfect Mother (Collins). Here is an interesting, fascinating and certainly unusual story, in which only two characters are of any real moment, Cecilia, the imperfect mother, embodiment of the artist temperament, egotistical almost to inhumanity, who abandons her dull husband and boring daughters to "live her own life"; and Stephen, the son, who alone can give her a half-sympathetic, half-resentful understanding. You see already the cleverness of Mr. Beresford's conception. Really, it is just this that works (at least for me) its undoing. His characters are fashioned with the nicest ingenuity; the positions into which he so dextrously manipulates them compel your interest and delighted wonder; but never once do they touch your emotions, and never once can you see them as anything but the creations of a highly talented brain. This is the more strange because Mr. Beresford's people are as a rule so convincingly real. Perhaps to some degree the effect of artifice is due to the author's exclusive preoccupation with his central character. Cecilia's husband, her daughters, the home of her early married life, are shown to us only by the light of her flashing personality; this withdrawn, [pg 247]they simply cease to exist. On the whole, therefore, I should call An Imperfect Mother a highly entertaining example of pure intellect, admirable but uninspired, which for my own part I enjoyed amazingly.

Though "E. H. Anstruther" (Mrs. J. C. Squire) has called her latest story The Husband (Lane) one can hardly resist the feeling that this is rather a generous description of the central character, who indulged in so much philandering with one person or another that it is difficult to regard him as more than a husband in, so to speak, his spare time. Richard Dennithorne, I must believe, was a "ladies' man" in two senses, since he is undeniably a very womanly conception of the all-conquering male, with indeed more than a little of Mr. Rochester in his composition. The story tells how Penelope, the heroine, comes to live with her adopted aunt Margery, of whom Richard was the spouse intermittent); how Richard, at the moment absent upon amorous affairs, returned, and so fascinated Penelope with his masterful ways that she fled to London; how, almost immediately after, she stultified her precautions, but saved the plot, by becoming Richard's secretary at his office in that city; and how, finally, poor Margery (who throughout monopolised my sympathy), having generously expired, Penelope and the ex-husband fell into each other's arms. Of course there is a lot more than this really, so don't think that I have spoilt the fun for you. As for the quality of the tale, this, I fancy, may be better appreciated by women than men, since, as I have hinted, its outlook is so essentially feminine. Mrs. Squire writes with sincerity and brings her characters to life. She needs, however, to remember that words unwatched are dangerous. Such slipshod phrasing as "young muscular youth" must grieve the judicious, while the effect of the sentimental interview on p. 99 was simply ruined for me through the unfortunate suggestion conveyed by "her blood rose in a boil to her face." The italics are mine, but the proof-reading is (or should have been) the author's.

Miser's Money (Heinemann) brings Mr. Eden Phillpotts back to Devonshire, and I wave my little flag to welcome him. Of late he has sometimes been a shade too didactic for my liking, but here he gives us yet another plain tale of his beloved moor, and he is instructive only in showing the danger of too much money—a danger at which most of us can in these days afford to smile. The Mortimers were, one would have supposed, a clan unlikely to be moved from their native soil by anything less convulsive than an earthquake. But money did it. One of them was a miser, and when he died—after a terrific gorge at his brother's expense—he left trouble behind him. Some of his relations wanted more of his money than was good for their souls, and one of them (actually) fought shy of receiving her proper share. Altogether a pretty tangle, which was not unravelled until the Mortimers had resolved to try new pastures. True, they did not go very far, but the disturbing influence of money is sufficiently illustrated by the fact that it induced such deeply-rooted folk to move at all. If the theme of this story is a little sordid it is relieved by its treatment from any reproach, and faithful followers of the Phillpotts' trail will enjoy every word of it.

All that we ever hoped—some day, when the War was over—to hear about those most fascinating mysteries, the Tanks, has been put together by Major C. and Mr. A. Williams-Ellis, under the title The Tank Corps (Country Life Offices). Here are genuine uncamouflaged pictures of all kinds of tanks, with detailed maps and descriptions showing their operations, as well as stories not only of those that walked in orthodox fashion through enemy villages "with the British army cheering behind," but of others that disappeared entire in mud, or drove themselves unaided back to our lines when too full of gas to be occupied, or scrunched up batteries of field-guns, or cruised alone for hours, like the famous one called Musical Box, among the enemy's communications, or crossed vast trenches over bundles of faggots carried upon their backs. Every boy of the right kind who inherits the proper zeal for mechanisms will certainly find in this book the most absorbing of yarns. Not that the subject is treated in the least lightly or frivolously, but, since the barest truth is here incredible romance, the authors, soberly collecting materials from despatches, diaries and so on, as well as drawing on their own obvious first-hand knowledge, have achieved a fairy-tale of mechanics. That the crews were no less wonderful than their machines we knew before, but the writers' modest yet illuminating account of the difficulties under which they worked is none the less welcome.

If you decide to go on Circuits (Methuen) with Mr. Philip Camborne you will find him an interesting and informing companion. His hero and heroine are a Wesleyan minister and his wife, so completely out of tune with the usual heroes of contemporary fiction that they are actually shameless enough to be in love with one another from the first page to the last. Though he shows a remarkable insight into the lives of Wesleyan ministers, Mr. Camborne declines the popular methods of sectarian fiction and refrains from any attempt to proselytize. Instead we are simply given a clear and often amusing account of what Mark Frazer had to put up with in his wanderings from circuit to circuit. Mr. Camborne is modern in confining himself to the history of a single family, but in outlook he belongs to a past century. And I mean that for a compliment.


Motto for the Wee Frees when attempting to conciliate the Labour Party: Lib. and let Lab.

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol.
158,  March 31, 1920, by Various


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