The Project Gutenberg EBook of Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 148,
January 13th 1915, by Various

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Title: Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 148, January 13th 1915

Author: Various

Editor: Owen Seamen

Release Date: March 9, 2014 [EBook #45095]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by Punch, or the London Charivari, Lisa Tang,
Malcolm Farmer and the Online Distributed Proofreading
Team at

[pg 21]

Volume 148, January 13th, 1915.
edited by Owen Seamen


"The enemy is not yet subdued," announced the Kaiser in his New Year's address to his troops. It is gratifying to have this rumour confirmed from a source so unimpeachable.

Prince Buelow is finding himself de trop at Rome. "Man wants but little here, Buelow," he is being told.

"Stick it!" it may be remembered, was General von Kluck's Christmas message as published in a German newspaper. The journal in question is evidently read in Constantinople, for the Turks are now stated to have sent several thousand sacks of cement to the Egyptian frontier with which to fill up the Suez Canal.

After all, it is pointed out, there is not very much difference between the reigning Sultan of Turkey and his predecessor. The one is The Damned, and the other The Doomed.

With reference to the "free fight" between Austrians and Germans in the concentration camp at Pietermaritzburg, which Reuter reported the other day, we now hear that the fight was not entirely free. Several of the combatants, it seems, were afterwards fined.

The latest English outrage, according to Berlin, was done upon the German officer who attempted to escape in a packing-case. It is said that he has been put back in his case, which has been carefully soldered up, and then as carefully mislaid.

Another typical German lie is published by the Frankfurter Zeitung. Describing the First Lord this sheet says:—"Well built, he struts about elegantly dressed...." Those who remember our Winston's little porkpie hat will resent this charge.

An awfully annoying thing has happened to the Vossische Zeitung. Our enterprising little contemporary asked three Danish professors to state in what way they were indebted to German science, and they all gave wrong answers. They said they were also indebted to English science.


Daily Mail.

It was, of course, inevitable that the hunts should suffer through the war.

The Evening Standard has been making enquiries as to the effect of the War on the membership of the various Clubs. The report from the Athenæum was "The War has not affected the club at all." Can it be that the dear old fellows have not heard of it yet?

"Business as usual" is evidently Paraguay's motto. They are having one of their revolutions there in spite of the War.

The Tate Gallery authorities have now placed the pictures they value most in the cellars of that institution, and the expression on the face of any artist who finds his work still on the wall is in itself a picture.

... all his New Year's gifts.

Gallant attempt by a member of the British Expeditionary Force to do justice to all his New Year's gifts.]

Famous Lines.

"After plying regularly for nearly twenty-five years between Vancouver, Victoria and the Orient, the last few months of excitement must have brought back to the memory of her old timbers—if they happen to be sentient, as Kipling would almost have one believe—the famous line, 'One crowded hour of glorious life is worth a cycle of Cathay.'"

News-Advertiser (Vancouver, B.C.)

"P. B.—It is a pleasure to read your stirring lines entitled 'To Berlin'; they possess the twin merits of being vigorous and timely. We should make an alteration in title, calling them simply 'To Berlin.'"

Great Thoughts.

No, don't thank us. Our advice is always at the disposal of young writers.


For the Kaiser

"La Belle France sans merci

Hath thee in thrall."

For the Emperor of Austria, after the rout in Serbia—

"'But what good came of it at last?'

Quoth little Peter, king."

For the Commander of the Western Campaign

"Of all the towns that are so far

There's none so far as Calais."

For General Von Moltke (retired)—

"Then was I like some watcher on the Rhine

When a new plan is forced into his ken."

For the Sultan of Turkey

"He will hold me when his friendship shall have spent its novel force

Something better than his dog, a little dearer than his horse."

For the Imperial Chancellor

"Oft had I heard from Edward Grey."


Answers to Correspondents.

Materfamilias (Manchester).—No, it is not necessary for you to wear a dressing-gown for dinner out of compliment to your wounded guests' pyjamas; if you wear your best tea-gown they will not know the difference.

Sweet and Twenty (Surbiton).—I do not think your mother could object to your tucking up your charming wounded officer for the night as long as you don a Red Cross cloak over your evening attire. It is not usual to kiss these wounded heroes unless you or they are under seventeen or over seventy.

Veronica (Ventnor).—I think the right size of photograph for your second cousin to take with him to the Front depends on its subject: cabinets are usual for dogs, horses and female first cousins; carte size for parents and male relatives; but from the tone of your letter and from the fact that you are only his second cousin, I think there are but two alternatives: boudoir size, or a dainty miniature in a leather case for the pocket, such as can be obtained at Messrs. Snooks for the modest sum of ten guineas.

"Germans and Austrians at Loggerheads."

Daily Paper.

Another of these Polish towns.

[pg 22]


[To the officer whose letter, reproduced in The Daily Telegraph, after reporting the irregular exchange of Christmas gifts between our men and the enemy, goes on to say:—"In order to put a stop to a situation which was proving impossible, I went out myself after a time with a copy of 'Punch,' which I presented to a dingy Saxon in exchange for a small packet of excellent cigars and cigarettes."]

A Scent of truce was in the air,

And mutual compliments were paid—

A sausage here, a mince-pie there,

In lieu of bomb and hand-grenade;

And foes forgot, that Christmastide,

Their business was to kill the other side.

Then, greatly shocked, you rose and said,

"This is not my idea of War;

On milk of human-kindness fed,

Our men will lose their taste for gore;

All this unauthorized good-will

Must be corrected by a bitter pill."

And forth you strode with stiffened spine

And met a Saxon in the mud

(Not Anglo-) and with fell design

To blast his joyaunce in the bud,

And knock his rising spirits flat,

You handed him a Punch and said, "Take that!"

A smile upon his visage gleamed.

Little suspecting your intent,

He proffered what he truly deemed

To be a fair equivalent—

A bunch of fags of local brand

And Deutschodoros from the Vaterland.

You found them excellent, I hear;

Let's hope your gift had equal worth,

Though meant to curb his Christmas cheer

And check the interchange of mirth;

I should be very glad to feel

It operated for his inner weal.

For there he found, our dingy friend,

Amid the trench's sobering slosh,

What must have left him, by the end,

A wiser, if a sadder, Bosch,

Seeing himself with chastened mien

In that pellucid well of Truth serene.

O. S.



(From Grand Admiral von Tirpitz.)

All Gracious Lord,—It is no pleasant life in these days to be a sailor, especially if one happens to be an Admiral responsible for the organisation and direction of a great Fleet. This morning, for instance, just as I was drinking my early cup of coffee there comes me in my servant bearing a letter: "Will your Excellency have it now?" he says, "or will you wait till you have gathered more strength as the morning goes on?" and with that the old sea-dog smiles a just perceptible smile.

"Is it from ——?" I say, leaving out the name.

"Yes," he answers, "it is from ——. It is the seventh in three days. It will assuredly be some pleasant wish for the New Year. The Lord Great Admiral is, indeed, fortunate in having so high a well-wisher. I myself have no such luck, being only——"

"It is enough," I say, for I knew that he was about to tell me once more that he was only a poor orphan and that his wife's temper being of a bitter complaining nature had driven him from his home many years ago. It is a long story and he spares not the smallest detail in telling it, nay, rather he takes delight in showing how, in spite of his own worthiness, destiny has with express malice singled him out from his fellows to be trodden upon at all those moments when he had a right to look for ease and enjoyment. This morning I was in no humour to listen to it, so I ordered him to lay the letter down and to go about his business. When he had departed I opened the letter, which was a useless proceeding, for I already knew it was from your all-highest Self, and, without reading it, I could have written down its contents word for word. Notwithstanding this, I received the letter and read it with the respect that is due to such a communication, and I now proceed in all humility to answer it.

And first I will tell your Majesty that what you ask I cannot promise to do. You want me to provoke a fleet action under the best conditions so that we may be sure of smashing up the British and securing eternal glory for ourselves. These things are, no doubt, splendid, but they are not done by waving a wand. In securing conditions the enemy also has something to say, especially when he is much stronger than we are, so much so that, wherever we can put one ship, he can put at least two ships of equal power. And sailors have to consider the sea, the wind, the fog and a thousand other things that the landsman cannot understand. To bombard Scarborough and Whitby and to kill women and children may be all very well for once in a way, but even for that once it was not so glorious a feat that your Majesty will wish to inscribe it amongst the battle-honours of our Navy. I may whisper to your Majesty, moreover, that in face of a brave and resourceful foe these showy excursions are not without risk, and it was only by the skin of their teeth that your ships escaped into home waters after they had flung their shells into the two undefended coast-towns.

Next, you want your foreign commerce restored. I cannot do that. It is a misfortune of war that if your enemy has a bigger fleet he can wipe away your foreign trade. If your Majesty did not wish it to be so it would have been better not to go to war. I presume your Majesty couldn't wait, lest the Russians should construct strategic railways and the French provide themselves with boots (which I understand they have now procured in great quantities), but there it is; and after all we might not have been better off for waiting, since these English rascals showed a most bloodthirsty determination always to have a bigger Fleet than ours, no matter what we did. And so our poor commerce must have disappeared in any case. For an Empire like ours that is, I am informed, a great misfortune, though, for my own part, it has not hitherto affected me. On the other hand the scattering of ships like the Emden and von Spee's squadron, in order to destroy the enemy's commerce has only led to one conclusion, and that has been the bottom of the sea. All this is vexing, but it must be endured, and an occasional success with a submarine, though agreeable at the moment, does not substantially alter it.

Finally, as to the Russian Fleet, how, I ask, can we be expected to gain a victory over ships which hide themselves away in the Baltic in so mean a manner, and show no desire for the delight of battle? They have no consciousness of the fact that war-ships were intended for warfare.

Your Majesty is good enough to impute blame to me. Some part of this, I do not doubt, belongs to me. The rest, as is right, I will pass on to poor old Ingenohl and to Prince Henry, and shall ask them to guess whence it originally came.

I am Your Majesty's most humble
Von Tirpitz.

[pg 23]




[pg 24]

[pg 25]

Study of a lady....

Study of a lady who, during a Zeppelin scare, has fled to the cellar and thinks that, after all, it was a cowardly thing to do.


Dear Chloe, how often my cravings

To winter abroad I've suppressed,

Well knowing my limited savings

Would last but a fortnight at best;

In vain have the posters adjured me

To sojourn in Monte or Rome,

In vain has Herr Baedeker lured me ...

I have wintered at home.

But now, half the "ads" I set eyes on

Suggest—and I jump at the chance—

I should widen my mental horizon

By touring through Belgium and France;

They hint at abundance of shooting

With guns that are Government made,

Till the minor excitements of Tooting

Are cast in the shade.

Each tripper, it seems, will be guided

By leaders of courage and skill;

Free bedding and board are provided;

Expenses are little, or nil;

A welcome delightfully hearty,

And sport that at least is unique,

Await every man of the party....

We leave in a week.

Good-bye, then, old dear, for the winter;

Expect me in London by May

(Unless a stray bullet or splinter

Should lead to a trifling delay);

From rumours—of which there are plenty—

I gather the fun will begin

At Calais, whence, Deo volente,

We tramp to Berlin.


["The Siberians have refused to have their beards cut, saying that the shagginess frightens the Germans." No doubt the adaptable enemy will not be behindhand in this method of warfare.]

The Frighten-em-to-Death's-Head Hussars, in their brilliant charge yesterday, were greatly aided by the fact that, before going into action, they had burnt-corked their faces. The effect upon the moral of the enemy was disastrous, the terrified troops flying in confusion.

The 1914 conscripts, who, as is well known, have yet to go into action, must not be supposed to be lying idle; they are being rendered irresistible by a severe training in the use of the grimace, which is likely to take the place of the bayonet as a means of clearing enemy trenches. The Crown Prince himself has frequently given instruction to the troops, although, in the interests of the men, it has been found necessary for the demonstrations to be carried on through sheets of smoked glass.

Krupps have largely abandoned the manufacture of big guns, and have now laid down plant for the construction of five million masks of a hideousness without parallel. Samples tested by the Black Pomeranians prove that any one of these masks has the power to drive a force of a thousand men into instant and complete insensibility.

With regard to the new crop reports, it must be remembered that fields hitherto intended for the growing of wheat and barley have, under a new order from the Imperial War Department, been planted with roots for the manufacture of the terrifying turnip-ghosts now required by the German army.

[pg 26]



Our uniform—or, if that is too military a word, our academical costume—is officially announced to be "grey-green," the colour of the sea at 7.30 in the morning, when you decide that you have forgotten your towel and had better have a hot bath quietly at home. I don't know how invisible we shall be as soldiers, but anchored off the Maplin Sands we should deceive anybody. Where are the Buoys of the Old Brigade? Ah, where indeed! Even as marines we should have our value.

Luckily, we have been practising amphibious warfare for some time. The camp is mostly under water, and when the "Fall-in" is sounded we do it quite easily. The "Emerge" is not so easily obeyed. But there were drier days in December, and on one of these I made a curious discovery.

We were having a field-day, and my side of the battle was advancing in sections under shell-fire over fairly flat country. Every now and then, however, we came to a small hill or group of hills. There seemed to be no human reason for it, and I suggested to my section that we were on the track of some new kind of mole.

"No," said James, "those are bunkers."

We looked at each anxiously and tapped our foreheads.

"It's a golf-course," he persisted.

I could not allow dangerous talk of this kind to go on.

"Silence in the ranks," I said sternly.

A little later, when we were halted, an old, old man, the Nestor of the section, asked if he might speak to me.

"Certainly, my lad," I said.

"I think he du be right," he said, indicating James; "I've heerd tell on 'un. Great-great-grandfayther used to play."

Another man said that he had seen an old print of the game in a shop, but he thought it was called Ludo.

And then, in a most curious way, I had the sudden feeling that I myself had played the game in some previous existence—when I was a king in Babylon, perhaps, and James was a Christian caddie. It was most odd. When we got back to camp, I spoke to him about it.

"On Boxing Day, James," I whispered, "one might pursue one's researches in this matter. I should like to find out the truth about it. We might meet at——h'r'm! To the left, to two paces, ex-tend!" I added this loudly for the benefit of our platoon commander who was passing, and James (who in ordinary life extends two paces to the front) withdrew slowly into the darkness.

I won't refer to what happened on Boxing Day; one does not talk about these things. But I must tell you of its unfortunate sequel.

Last week, in the course of a route-march, we were suddenly turned on to distance-judging. I had never done this before, and a remote and lonely tree, half-hidden in the mist, conveyed nothing definite to me.

"What do you think?" I asked James.

"A drive and a mashie, about."

"S'sh," I said warningly. However, I determined to act on the suggestion. Remembering Boxing Day I allowed eighty yards for James's drive, and thirty-five for a mashie off the socket. Total, 115. It looked more, but the mist was deceptive. However, when the results were read out, the distance was given as 385 yards, and James, if you please, had said 350!

Let us leave this painful subject and turn to signalling. We are getting a little more proficient. Every message we send now starts properly with prefix, service instructions, code time, and so on, and the message itself gets in as many hyphens, horizontal lines, fractions and inverted commas as possible. Here, for instance, is the beginning of a thrilling message (sent to the Editor of The Times) which I was receiving last Sunday.

"Fore-warned being fore-armed Lieut. Z. SMITHSON, 21st Foot on the Przemysl-Rzeszow-Olkusz road, with £3 9s.d. in his pocket (interest on 5½% DEBENTURES at 97—brokerage 1/8th) proceeded at 9.25 P.M. to ——"

At this point the "Fall-in" sounded and we had to stop. I never heard what happened to Lieut. Smithson. My own theory is that he murdered Emma and put the blame on Lt.-Col. St. George, D. S. O., who only had three-and-a-half per cents, and had never seen the girl before. Perhaps the matter will be cleared up when the War is over.

But it was a sad blow to us to be told in a lecture that same afternoon that despatch-riding has proved to be much more useful than signalling at the Front. It had an immediate effect on James, and the advertisement in The Times beginning "Wanted to Exchange a pair of blue-and-white silk flags (new) for motor-bicycle," is generally supposed to be his.

"And all the time I've spent on signalling has been wasted," he said indignantly.

"Not wasted, James. Your silhouette as you signalled an 'i' has made many a wet day bright. Anyway, it's no excuse for not coming to bayonet drill. That won't be wasted."

James made some absurd excuse about wanting to improve his shooting first.

"One is more independent with the bayonet," I assured him. "The Government doesn't like us as it is, and it's not going to waste much ammunition on us. But once you've tied the carving-knife on to the end of your umbrella, there you are."

"Well, I'll think about it," said James.

But I have heard since that he had already attended one class; and that in the middle of it James the solicitor advised James the soldier not to proceed further with the matter.

"Your time," said James the solicitor, "will be better spent on the range—where you can lie down."

And James the soldier made it so.

A. A. M.


[What would happen if we modelled our business affairs on the Yellow Book, Blue Book, White Book, Orange Book and Grey Book]

  1.  From Alfred Midgely, Office Manager, to James Henry Bullivant (Managing Director of Bullivants, Limited, Drysalters), temporarily abroad.

I hear from an absolutely trustworthy source that our town traveller, Mr. Herbert Blenkins, is thinking of giving notice. I have the honour to suggest that this merits the immediate attention of Your Excellency.

  2.  From J. H. B. to A. M.

Blenkins cannot be allowed to leave at this juncture. You should make a démarche towards the Office Boy, endeavour to ascertain from him whether pourparlers might not be opened with the Senior Typist in the direction of her using her influence with the Book-keeper to learn whether Blenkins' purpose is in the nature of an ultimatum or a ballon d'essai.

  3.  From A. M. to J. H. B.

Mr. Blenkins has presented his note. I have the honour to enclose a copy. The Office Boy is absent for a few days attending the obsequies of his grandmother. I have telegraphed to his home in the sense of your despatch. No reply has come, and I have the honour to await Your Excellency's further orders.

  4.  From J. H. B. to A. M.

[pg 27]

It is imperative that there should be no delay in this matter. You should obtain the address of the office-boy's grandfather, and call upon him to learn whether he will agree to exert his grandparental influence in the direction already outlined.

  5.  From J. H. B. to Uncle Edward, Brother Theodore and Cousin Bob, co-Directors.

I enclose copies of correspondence relative to the Blenkins' crisis, which is rapidly assuming a gravity which I cannot affect to view with indifference. I beg you to proceed immediately to Midgely, and support his endeavours with the united weight of your diplomatic abilities.

  6.  From A. M. to J. H. B.

I learn from a sure source that the Office-Boy's grandmother has already died three times. The grandfather is alleged to be non compos mentis. Mr. Blenkins is mobilising his office papers. This is highly significant.

  7.  From A. M. to J. H. B.

Further to my despatch of this morning, I have the honour to report that Mr. Robert Bullivant suggests that we should offer Mr. Blenkins another twenty pounds a year and have done with it. Mr. Theodore Bullivant is firmly opposed to any diplomatic weakness at this juncture, in view of possible demands from the Book-keeper, whom we suspect of a secret entente with Mr. Blenkins. Your Excellency's uncle demands peace at any price. Should I take the unprecedented step of making a direct approach to Mr. Blenkins?

  8.  From J. H. B. to A. M.

No. The resources of Diplomacy must first be exhausted. In view of the urgency of the crisis, I authorise you to pass over the Office Boy and open pourparlers with the Senior Typist with a view to obtaining a mise en demeure from Blenkins.

  9.  From A. M. to J. H. B.

The Senior Typist has met with a reverse from an experimental hair-dye, and will not be visible for a week.

10.  From J. H. B. to A. M.

Approach the Book-keeper.

11.  From A. M. to J. H. B.

I have the honour to surmise that no definite purpose will be achieved through the diplomatic channel of the Book-keeper. He states that he prefers to keep himself to himself. Mr. Blenkins has already asked for his office cuffs, and a final severance of relations is imminent. I have not yet handed him his cuffs, which I have ventured to sequestrate on the ground that they are spotted with our ink.

12.  From J. H. B. to A. M.

Retain the cuffs pending diplomatic action from Mr. Theodore.

13.  From J. H. B. to Brother Theodore.

I enclose copies of correspondence relative to Blenkins' attempt to claim possession of our ink-spots. If in your opinion this constitutes a casus belli, I beg you to approach him with such menaces as are not inconsistent with the continuance of diplomatic relations.

14.  From T. B. to J. H. B.

In view of the gravity of the crisis, I have taken legal opinion. If the cuffs were not only spotted with our ink, but were also clipped with our scissors, then they are ipso facto and ad hoc to be considered as neutral territory within the meaning of the Statutes of International Office Law.

15.  From J. H. B. to A. M.

You should immediately ascertain, through the proper channels, if and (or) when and (or) how Blenkins clipped the cuffs. In the meantime you will convey to him that we should not be disposed to view with indifference any attempt on his part to violate the frontiers of neutral territory.

16.  From A. M. to J. H. B.

Blenkins has gone!

17.  Chorus of the Diplomats.

The resources of Diplomacy were strained to the uttermost.



Sergeant. "Now, then, turn out! Show a leg, you blankety landlubbers!"

[pg 28]


[Gerhart Hauptmann, the German dramatist and poet, has nominated Lord Curzon as Viceroy of England when it becomes a German province.]

If you'd trample on the Briton

And secure his just abasement,

Well, I think you might have written

First to me.

(Signed) Roger Casement.

If only as a recompense

For my expenditure of jaw

And anti-British "common-sense,"

Why not yours truly,

Bernard Shaw?

Would you avoid a bad rebellion?

The man for you is

Charles Trevelyan.

Since all the Dublin Corporation

Protest against my resignation,

My long experience vice-regal

Might mollify the German eagle

If he should nest on College Green.

Yours amicably,


Believe me, Curzon's haughty hand

Would lie too heavy on the land;

No, to appease the British Isles

Appoint yours truly,

William Byles.

I fear the freedom-loving British

Under Lord Curzon might grow skittish;

Far better knit the nations twain

Under a more pacific reign:

For instance, Brunner's; he's beyond

Reproach. Yours ever,

Alfred Mond.

Curzon, I own, is not a noodle,

But his demeanour is too feudal;

Try Alfred Mond: he is a stunner,

Affectionately yours,

John Brunner.

As I am still without a seat,

I'm not unwilling to compete

For any post in which there's scope

To preach humanitarian hope.

You might, of course, secure elsewhere

A smarter or a "faster" man,

But none in "uplift" could compare

With truly yours,

Charles Masterman.


It was a bright Monday morning in September, and I was doing my usual patter dance in the dressing-room, striving to defeat the time-table—ten minutes for breakfast and five minutes to get to the station.

I dipped hurriedly into the collar-drawer, drew one forth, inverted it, cast a tie (Wadham Wanderers, E. team) into the parting and proceeded to secure the arrangement. The back stud operated without comment, but when I came to the front there seemed to be an inch or two of collar missing. At first I looked at it with mild surprise, then the horrible truth flashed through me.

I dashed into Joe's room.

"Look here," I exclaimed, "just look at my neck!"

Joe looked at it carefully for quite a minute.

"Yes," she remarked, "I think there is a tiny spot under the left ear. You've been drilling too much. You've been dressing too much to the left."

"No! No!" I shouted, tugging at the collar, "can't you see how swollen it is? It's that complaint you get from drinking chalky water. It's all your fault! I've told you hundreds of times to put a marble in the kettle."

Joe unfastened the collar, looked at it and laughed.

I snatched it back.

Inside there was a brief summary: "Alonzo. Fourfold. 14½."

I take 16.

"That," said Joe, pointing to Alonzo, "must be the extra collar they sent from the laundry last week."

It was. Alonzo was a gift—a donation. Sleek, youthful and unsullied, he came to us, bringing an air of tragedy into the home.

Three times during that week I tried to soil his glossy coat, and each time a golden minute was shorn from my breakfast. After that I put him in the sock drawer.

At the end of the first week I said to Joe, "Alonzo is bored, the society of half-hose does not interest him. Send him home."

He was sent, and my wardrobe settled itself peacefully.

On the following Monday I dipped into the collar drawer, went through the usual rites, and——No, it didn't really startle me. He had returned.

I put him in the sock drawer again.

Evidently he had plans of his own. One week at the laundry and one week at "Sunnyside," alternating, as it were, between taking the waters and a rest cure.

I began to respect Alonzo, but at the same time I felt he must be shown that there is such a thing as authority. I put him in a cardboard box, addressed it myself, posted it myself, and wrote to the manager myself. You think that settled him? You do not know Alonzo. He is made of sterner stuff than that.

At the end of the week he was back again, well and cheerful. Coming of a resourceful and determined race we tried other means—I forget how many—of outing him. Once the manager took him away in a taxi and once our Ann consigned him to the ash-pit.

It was no good. We had to give it up. We adopted him. As I write, Alonzo rests in his sock drawer, slightly fatigued but indomitable.


We thought you fellows over there,

Before this all begun,

Was queer in talk, but acted fair,

And paid your way, and did your share

Of things as should be done.

You made a lot of trashy stuff,

And ate some. All the same,

You beat us some ways sure enough,

And seemed like pals, though brought up rough,

For which you weren't to blame.

We reckoned when the trouble bust,

Remem'bring what you'd been,

You'd march to heel as you were cussed,

And so you'd fight because you must,

But still you'd fight us clean.

But now you've worked us murder-hot

With filthy tricks you've played;

And whether you were bid or not

Is nought to us; we hate the lot

What ordered or obeyed.

And so you're not the pals we thought,

But foes, these rougher days;

We're out against you till you're brought

To book, your Chief and you, and taught

To drop your bullying ways.

Now hear the truth. Your lives is poured

For reasons one and two:

He draws his bright and shiny sword

To make him one and only Lord

Of all the world—and You.

And when your roofs is tumbling in,

Your heads is cracked and cooled,

You'll think the glory middling thin

And hate the lying cheats like sin

To see how you've been fooled.

By then it's odds you feel inclined

To state the view you take

In words that's not so sweet and kind

But what they'll let them War-Lords find

You're suddenly awake.

Till then you're heathen swine! Get fit

To start and grow like men.

Turn round and do your level bit

Till brag and grab are past and quit,

And then we'll pal again.

Motto for the Turkish Army in the Caucasus:—"There ain't going to be no Corps."

[pg 29]


Peter's birthday is soon after Xmas, too soon after for Peter's taste—and mine.

"I want one or two good War Games," I said to the attendant at the toymonger's. "What have you got?"

"Several, Sir," she said. "Here is one, 'The North Sea Battle.' Made in London."

She opened a box containing realistic wooden models, in silhouette, of two battleships, two cruisers and two destroyers correctly coloured; a grey and grim-looking breech-loading gun with wooden projectiles, a gun embrasure and a small rule labelled "one mile." Every ship carried the White Ensign and my heart warmed to them at sight.

"Tell me the worst at once," I said, pulling out some loose silver.

"Two-and-eleven," she said.

"Sold in two places," I said; "I mean I'll have two of them without reading the rules."

"Here," she said, fingering another box, "is the 'Siege of Berlin.'"

"Intelligent anticipation," I said, "at any rate."

"Quite so," she said, "Made in London, too, by the same people."

I liked the idea of besieging Berlin, and when the open box disclosed a Rathhaus, churches, houses and other buildings, and a breach-loading gun similar to the one last before mentioned, to demolish the buildings with, I forked out another five-and-tenpence, and became the possessor of two "Sieges of Berlin."

I despatched one "Siege" and one "North Sea Battle" to some Belgian refugee children I know, and took the others home to Peter.

We tried the sea-fight first, Peter electing to play the part of Sir John Jellicoe. I took the gun behind the embrasure and tried to prevent the ships from reaching my cardboard fastness by knocking them over en route. I found that, every time I missed, the whole Fleet was entitled to advance one mile—in reality about six inches—nearer my fort. The ships were provided with rockers and came up smiling if not squarely hit.

Long before my allowance of shot was expended, the British Fleet was upon me, and I metaphorically hoisted the white flag.

"Come," I said, as Peter set up the Rathhaus and other buildings of Berlin, "my heart is in this. How do we play?"

"Three shots each," said Peter, "and you score what's marked on the back of each building you knock down. I'll go first."

Peter's first shot was a miss. With his second he brought down a house which fell against a fort, knocking it over too. His third shot sailed harmlessly over the town and landed in the fender.

"How many?" I said.

"Twenty," said Peter. "Not bad."

"Keep your eye on father," I said, training the gun on the Rathhaus. I managed to conceal my surprise when the building fell at the first attempt.

"I shall knock you endways," I said.

The second shot hit the fallen Rathhaus, so I shifted the muzzle of the gun a little to the left. The buildings seemed well bunched together at this point.

It was a magnificent shot; the projectile skimmed past the church steeple as well-regulated shells should do, without damaging it, and swept away two buildings immediately behind it.

"That's some shooting," I said. "How many am I?"

"Nothing," said Peter.

"Look here, young man," I said, "explain yourself. First the Rathhaus."

"That's five," said Peter, "because it's so big and easy to hit."

I hadn't thought of that.

"Then there's this house—ten," said Peter.

"Come, we're getting on," I said. "That's fifteen; and now—this bigger house."

"Minus fifteen," said Peter. "That's the Red Cross Hospital. Oh, Daddy, you Hun!"



"I know you'll hate talking about it, but do tell me how you got your wound."

"Chopping wood for the old girl at my billet, miss!"

[pg 30]



Horror of German General Staff on reading the following extract from notes of spy who, disguised as a Highlander, has been listening near British lines:—"We gave 'em wot 4 not ½."


(It is reported that a pack of hounds has been sent out to our Army in France, and in this connection it is recalled that the Duke of Wellington had also a pack sent to him from England for the amusement of his officers in the Peninsula.)

So Jorrocks has said, and the captains shall ride,

And a host of good fellows shall follow the fun,

With War, in its realness, a space put aside—

There's a fox in the spinney that once held a Hun;

There's a southerly wind and a wet sky and soft;

There's a respite to snatch, death and ruin amid;

Do not tongues in the woodland fling echoes aloft?

Sounds the horn not as sweetly as ever it did?

When the Duke and his armies, a hundred years back,

Went Southward a courtlier foeman to seek,

High Leicestershire lent him a galloping pack,

And his stiff-stocked brigades hunted two days a week;

Oh, Portugal's foxes ran stoutly and fast,

And our grandfathers pounded in scarlet and blue,

And they hunted each rogue to his finish at last,

And they hunted old Boney to famed Waterloo!

When the soldier once more hears the horn's silver note

In hail of War's trumpets, the brazen and bold,

Will the heart of him turn, 'neath to-day's khaki coat,

To dreams of past glories and battles of old?

Torres Vedras's lines and brave Soult's grenadiers,

Badajos and the rest of that great long ago?

Will he follow the fifes of those wonderful years?

Will he think of his fathers? I really don't know.

Nay, I fancy he won't; but may-happen he'll see

In his mind's eye the Midlands go rolling away

In fair ridge and furrow, when steeple and tree

Are blurred in the mists of a mild winter's day;

He'll mark the gnarled pollards by Whissendine's brook,

The far meads of Ashwell, dim, peaceful and still,

Where the big grazing bullocks lift heads up to look

When the Cottesmore come streaming from Ranksborough Hill.

Well, dreamer or no, may his fortune be good;

May he find him delight in a hound and a horse

Kin to what he has found in a Leicestershire wood,

Like the best he has known in a Lincolnshire gorse!

May the Fates keep him safe, and show sport to his pack

Till he starts the great run that shall end at Berlin!

And when cubbing is o'er may the Shires see him back,

For the Lord send a Peace ere November comes in!

"Several houses are inundated in Brocas Street, including a public-house, where drink can only be obtained at the back door from punts."—Edinburgh Evening Dispatch.

Come where the drink is cheaper; come where the punts hold more.

[pg 31]







[pg 32]

[pg 33]



"There! what did I tell you? Northdown Lambs beaten—two to nothing."


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

House of Lords, Wednesday, January 6th.—Judging from public form, few would imagine that Lord Kitchener of Khartoum is a wag. Versatility in this direction triumphantly vindicated this afternoon. On approach to Christmas, House of Commons, after exceptionally long and arduous Session, adjourned till first week in February. That all very well for a frivolous miscellaneous assemblage. Under vigorous leadership of dominant opposition by Lord Curzon, Peers resolved to set example of higher devotion to public interest. Regardless of private convenience, arranged special sitting opening to-day.

Procedure unprecedented. Not unusual for Commons to sit while Lords make holiday. In long course of Parliamentary history contrary course unknown.

Some embarrassment at first in face of persistent questioning as to Why and Wherefore. Last week official explanation forthcoming. Announcement made that House was summoned primarily with intention of providing Secretary of State for War with opportunity of making important statement as to actual situation and immediate prospects of the war.

This quite reasonable, indeed very desirable. Country growing increasingly impatient at being kept in the dark as to the progress of affairs in Flanders on the plea of military necessity for secretiveness. Now Kitchener, provided with exceptional opportunity, would sweep away all clouds of doubt and ignorance. Of course with due reticence in hearing of the enemy, would take into his confidence the common people who provide blood and money for carrying on the gigantic struggle.

In anticipation of this lifting of the veil House crowded in measure reached only at great political crises. As usual on such occasions, side galleries flecked with Peeresses. But what ominous change in their appearance! The gay colours of other times are changed for monotony of deepest mourning. Black is the only wear.

K. of K. rose promptly on the stroke of half-past four, when public business is entered upon. Producing a bundle of MS. he bent his head over it and proceeded at the double to get through it. Noble Lords behind him and on back benches opposite found it difficult to follow the story.

Gradually point of little joke dawned upon them. Here were the benches thronged with expectant Peers, and all the world listening at the door for a message. That all very natural. But it was not an affair of K.'s initiative or arrangement. He was expected to make a speech, and it is a soldier's duty to obey orders. But if any supposed he was going to be more communicative than is the fashion established under the rule of the Censor they would find themselves sharply undeceived.

[pg 34]

Turning to survey the Western theatre of the War, he remarked, "During the month of December the Allied Forces have made progress at various points." Chilling silence following upon enunciation of this familiar generality, he added, "The tide of battle has ebbed and flowed with varying success to either side." Facing about to view the situation Eastward, he informed noble Lords that "in East Prussia the situation has undergone but little change.... In the Caucasus, the end of November [six weeks ago] the Turkish Army was being pushed back towards Erzerum." Later, the House heard with startled amazement that "On our own coasts, on the morning of December 16, German battle cruisers bombarded for half-an-hour Hartlepool, Scarborough, and Whitby."

As to progress of recruiting, with respect to which information was looked forward to with exceptional interest, he went so far as to say, "Recruiting has proceeded on normal lines."

"The noble lord," said the Leader of the Opposition, amid a murmur of assent from the dumbfounded Peers, "has been very economical in his information," a really delicate way of stating the fact.

Business done.—None.

Friday.—Lords adjourned.



Cultured Teuton training carrier pigeon, when off duty, to pose as a parrot.


Viâ Berlin.

The following extracts from official despatches exchanged between General von Funkinstein and the German Great General Staff have been communicated to us by a wholly impeachable authority, and are published with no reserve whatever:—

(1)   From the General Officer Commanding, &c.:—

"... with regard to various recent regrettable incidents in which sections of the Imperial trenches have been captured by native troops from British India (which, according to the German official programme, ought to have been in revolt long since) some light has now been cast upon the probable reason for this. Used as we now are to the contempt for every rule of civilized warfare displayed by our detestable and cowardly adversary, this new revelation of his cunning and brutality will nevertheless come as a shock.

"Aircraft observation has now made it clear that the force immediately opposed to my command is not the —— Horse, as was believed, but a picked body of the First Indian Jugglers, specially recruited for this campaign. On the occasion of the last attack we were startled about 5.30 a.m. by a prodigious and ear-splitting noise proceeding from the trenches occupied by these troops—or troupes. Perhaps no soldiers in the world save our own incomparable warriors, trained to withstand modern German music, could have endured this ghastly din without flinching. Before long we observed a confused and stealthy movement on our front; but what was our emotion to see advancing out of the mist not the expected native charge, but a double line of trained cobras. Despite the inevitable shock produced by this discovery, energetic steps were at once taken to deal with the attack, and a brisk fire was opened with hand grenades. The results were however negligible, from the fact that the reptiles, apparently mistaking the hissing of the fuses for a challenge from others of their own species, instantly and savagely bit them off, thus rendering the grenades ineffective. Under these circumstances I had no alternative but to evacuate my position, a movement that was accomplished in fair order and very creditable time, myself leading..."

(2)   Extract from copy of reply by Chief of Great General Staff, Berlin:—

"I am commanded by H.I.M. to inform you that you must retake trenches at once, regardless of loss. Reports of scandalous breach of all civilised laws forwarded to Presidents Geneva Convention and Hague Tribunal. Two reserve battalions of Guards leave Potsdam to-night. Hope that an accentuated mongoose-step movement may crush the new enemy. Please report at once."

(3)   From Same as No. 1:—

"Regret to convey further unfavourable development with regard to our operations against the Jugglers' Corps. Having tempted a large body of these into open country some distance to the rear of our original lines, I ordered an attack in what should have been overwhelming force. The enemy was at this stage entirely exposed to our fire, being without any possibility of cover. Unfortunately, just as we had them at our mercy, a concerted movement by their entire strength, known (I believe) as the Mango Trick, resulted in the appearance of a dense grove of these trees, behind which the enemy is at present effectually screened."

(4)   From the same:—

"Our treacherous foe has again escaped us. An heroic attack by the bayonet upon the Mango Grove mentioned in previous despatch was successful in capturing the position, but only in time to see the last unit of the defending force vanishing up a rope, which with a large number of others was dangling without visible attachment. The effect of this renewed failure upon the moral of the Imperial army has unfortunately been considerable. I learn from my agents that the enemy is now bringing up a number of heavy hypnotists for use against me personally. Please wire instructions."

(5)   From the same as (2):—

"Your resignation on the ground of ill-health regretfully accepted. Return at once."


In Universities & Schools
dan gersoffalsee ducation.

Freeman's Journal.

But why suddenly break into Flemish?

Routine order issued by the Q.M.G.'s department:—

"Fuel for general and other headquarter offices and signalling offices with the troops, is authorised at the scale of sixteen kilometres of coal per fireplace per day.

Dec. 20th.

B. E. F."

Theirs not to reason why. If the order is "Ten miles of coal per fireplace" then ten miles it is.

[pg 35]

"Oh, mummy, what a lot of pennies it will take to fill that dog!"


Scene.—A mud puddle in ——shire, in which are discovered forty yeomen in khaki lying on their backs and flapping their legs like seals. They are not really seals, but men whom their King and country needs, doing breathing exercises. The reason they do not get up out of the puddle and walk away is that they would probably be killed by the enormous troop sergeant who is instructing them.

Troop Sergeant (fiercely). Now then. Work at it. I'm 'ere to do you a bit of good, I am. Finest thing in the world, this is. Some of you fellows don't know a good thing when you see it. What is it that causes tuberckylosis? Why, want of hoxygen. That's what it is. Look at Sam Stevens—middle-weight champion of the world he was. And what did he die of? Why, drink. And what made him take to drink? Why, want of hoxygen. That's what it was. If a man can't breathe hoxygen he'll drink it. How many cells do you suppose you 'ave in your lungs, Number Three?

Number Three (inhaling through the mouth). Don't know, Sergeant.

Troop Sergeant. Why, fifty million. Fifty million cells in your lungs you've got.

[Number Three, appalled at this revelation, inhales briskly through the nose in the hope of filling some of them.

Troop Sergeant. And how many do you suppose you generally use? Why, not half of them. Twenty-five million cells you've got doing nothing.

[Number Three exhales despondently through the mouth, realising the vanity of all human endeavour. The Troop Sergeant, satisfied that he has disposed of Number Three, glares contentedly at the troop in silence.

Troop (exhaling through the mouth). F-s-s-s-s-h.

Troop Sergeant (with sudden emotion). Look at your neck, Number Ten. I ask you, look at the back of your neck.

[Number Ten, feeling that this is a difficult feat to perform at any time and quite impossible when lying on his back, continues to gaze upwards, conscious of insubordination.

Troop Sergeant. Why is it twisted like that? A bone out of place, the doctors will tell you. But (solemnly) WHY is it out of place, I ask you? Tell me that. Want of hoxygen—that's what it is. It's as plain as day.

[Enter Troop Officer.

Troop Officer (explosively). A-tssh! Code id by head, Sergeadt.

Troop Sergeant. Ah, Sir, if you was to do these breathing exercises you wouldn't 'ave no colds, Sir. If everyone was to do these exercises there wouldn't be no doctors, Sir. It's only want of hoxygen that makes people ill. There isn't a man in this troop's 'ad a cold since we began, Sir.

Numbers Five, Seven and Nine (surreptitiously). A-tissh!

[The Troop Sergeant is about to ignore this breach of discipline when Number Three, who has been trying to repress a sneeze while inhaling through the nose and at the same time carrying the legs to a vertical position above the body, explodes violently.

Troop Sergeant (ominously). Number Three!

Number Three (weakly). Yes, Sergeant.

Troop Sergeant. Have you got a cold?

Number Three (ingratiatingly). Only a very little one, Sergeant.

Troop Sergeant (appealing to Officer). Isn't it enough to break one's 'eart, Sir? 'Ere am I trying to do them a bit o' good and 'ere's this man lies there with his 'ead tucked into 'is chest, and doesn't even try to breathe. There's only one thing that causes a cold. Want of hox—— A-tissh! A-tissh!

[A painful silence ensues. The Officer walks away, leaving the Sergeant to his grief. The forty seals continue to flap in the mud puddle in ——shire.

[pg 36]



My Dear Charles,—When you have witnessed a military inspection, have seen the Great Man going round the companies and have heard his few kind words to the victims of his scrutiny, no doubt you have told yourself that a soldier's life must be very smooth and comfortable and his work as easy as kiss-my-hand. If further you assume, from the clock-like regularity of the parade, that we must all be on very good terms and intimate understanding with each other, I feel bound to disclose the dismal facts.

The information that we were to be inspected by our Great Man on the Friday was handed to me, with the soup, at Thursday's mess. I did not appreciate its horrible significance and, wondering why it should put the older hands off their ration beef, I ate my dinner in the usual manner, cracked a jest or two with the slightly preoccupied Adjutant and C.O., and later on strolled down to my company's billet to inform them that they would be inspected on the morrow. I supposed they would say to each other, "Oh! indeed," and turn in to sleep; but I am credibly informed that they had no bed that night.

On the following morning I was dumbfounded by their dazzling appearance and could not help remarking that here at last was the Perfect Thing. I was just sufficiently soldierlike, however, to examine them with an icy disdain before we set out. En route to the rendezvous, I pictured to myself the Great Man's delight at beholding us, his superlative admiration expressed in a voice choked with affectionate emotion, and his final jocular farewell to myself—"As for your company, my dear Henry, it's marvellous."

I cannot record the actual event in all its details, which were mostly bootlaces and whiskers. The first I knew of the trouble was a face so ominous as to divert attention even from a splendid uniform. Such was the look in the inspecting eye that, had I been my own master, I should have bowed as lowly as to Allah, and said, "Your Highness, I regret that urgent business at the Bank compels the instant departure of myself (with my company)," and we should have been gone at the double before he had gathered the gist of my remark. As it was, I had to stand fast and pretend that we were all very glad to see him and hoped he would make a long stay with us.

At about the third man, he stopped dead, very dead, and called my attention to the fact that this private was all whiskers and no bootlaces. What had I to say to that? I might have said, "So he is, Sir, now I come to look at him. He should, of course, have been all boot-laces and no whisker," or merely, "Well, I never!" or, again, with some truth, "As to his laces, Sir, they were there a minute ago but have just fallen out of his boots; and the hair has all grown on his face while you and I were saluting each other just now." Instead I was mute by the visitation of Heaven and we passed on, to pause at No. 8, whose feet and face also were by now all that they should not be.

Again, I was called upon for a speech—in vain. You will notice, Charles, that Brigadiers and Colonels are poltroons at these times; they push the company-commander into the forefront of the battle and skulk behind his back.

The Great Man interrupted his examination to chat with his A.D.C., mainly, I fancy, about whiskers and bootlaces. Being also interested in the subject, I took the opportunity to look along my company and see (believe me or not, as you please) the whiskers coming into existence and the laces going out.... I gathered later that things were much the same with every company in the brigade. The Brigadier gathered this also, but at once and from the Great Man.

That night the Brigadier sent for our C.O. The next morning our C.O. sent for us. In due sequence we sent for our section-commanders, and what was left of them, when we had finished, went to interview the private. The last-named, having no one to whom to express his contempt, utter loathing and devilish intentions for the future, adopted the only alternative and took the necessary action.

The news of a second inspection reached me a week in advance, during which I took no food because I was left no time and had no appetite. It was a gloomy period, which was relieved only by two small incidents. The one took place at the C.O.'s inspection, and I will call it "The Private and the Toothbrush." Asked why it was so black, he replied that he cleaned his teeth with permanganate of potash, thus defeating the little crowd inspecting him, since none knew whether that chemical could be used for cleaning teeth and, if it could, whether it would turn the brush black. The other I will call "The Memo. of the Transport Officer," who was so upset by what was said to him that he "begged to certify that he had that day purchased 3 new altars for his Transport service." This was officially passed on to me to cheer me up a little, and I am authorised to divulge it to you.

The week elapsed in a hurricane of harsh oaths, and again I paraded my company. Upon examination it now appeared to me to be the most revoltingly untidy and deficient sight I had ever seen, an opinion heartily endorsed by the Adjutant, C.O. and Brigadier. En route to the rendezvous this time I pictured nothing to myself; I merely shifted my service revolver to a position from which I could more easily destroy myself in an emergency.... And when the Great Man approached he smiled at me, and no sooner had he remarked to his A.D.C. that the buttons and bayonets of the brigade did credit to all concerned than those stolidly dull buttons of mine brightened up and bayonets grew where before there had been empty and depressed scabbards.

I don't know exactly what the Great Man said to the Brigadier, but expect it was much the same as the C.O. said to us and we to the section-commanders. I doubt if the section-commanders said anything nice to the private, but no doubt the latter knew by instinct that this was an occasion upon which he might with impunity, but only once in a way, step slightly aside from the straight and narrow path. I guess, my dear Charles, that it is only the second inspection to which you, as representing the ignorant public, are invited.

The forty-eight hours' leave (by way of reward or for convalescence) which ensued I spent with my wife. With feminine perversity she at once started inspecting my moustache, one of the most astonishing productions of these astonishing times. "Say what you please now," said I, quite imperturbable. "At the next inspection you'll find yourself remarking that it is the best disciplined and equipped moustache you have ever seen." And so it is.

Yours ever,



If mid your foolish change of names

Your ruler takes it ill

That, spoiling all his cherished aims,

Calais is Calais still,

Sir, there's a name supremely pat

Lies ready to your hand;

Call it, and let it rest at that,

The Never Never Land.

"There is a curious discrepancy in the reports of the Kaiser's New Year message to his forces that have reached London."

Irish Times.

The Kaiser has been misled. They have not reached London.

[pg 37]


'a' and 'e'
'U' and 'O'

a as in "car."         
e like French "un."

  I somewhat like the "e" in "self,"
    with a very indistinct "m" or
    "n" following it.

u and o like "oo."

'rz' and 'z'
There are four sounds somewhat difficult to foreigners....
The accent invariably falls,...

  rz and z like the French "j" in
    "jour," but after "k," "p," "t,"
    or at the end of a word, like "sh."

  There are four sounds somewhat
    difficult to foreigners: Ć,  Ś,  Ź,  Ń
    —— as you were.

The accent invariably falls, etc.——.


(On seeing Mr. Henry Newbolt's name in the New Year's Honour List).

Because his verses always aim,

With one unwearying design,

At adding lustre to the fame

Achieved by Britain on the brine;

Because they fail to satisfy

The sex-besotted catechist—

It very nearly makes me cry

To see him in the Honour List.

Because he holds in high respect

The knightly courtesies of war,

Does not bow down to intellect,

And steeps himself in Froissart's lore;

Because he bids us play the game

And not the super-egotist—

I do not care to see his name

Included in the Honour List.

Because he has not eulogized

The operas of Richard Strauss,

Or liberally recognized

Keir Hardie's courage in the House;

Because he's more an errant knight

Than Pacifist or Chauvinist—

I feel it is not fair or right

To put him in the Honour List.

Because he has not wreathed with bays

The brow of good Sir William Byles

Or lavished undiluted praise

Upon the food of Eustace Miles;

Or urged that we should subsidize

The cult of the Theosophist—

It fills me with a sick surprise

To find him in the Honour List.

Because he hasn't written odes

In praise of Norman Angell's views,

Or aped the fashionable modes

Which modern versifiers use;

Because he writes with much restraint

And is, in style, a Classicist—

It very nearly makes me faint

To see him in the Honour List.

In fine, while Masterman—O Fi

For Asquith's everlasting shame!—

MacDonald, Cadbury and I

Have each no handle to his name;

While Handel Booth's well-earned O.M.

Is still conspicuously missed—

I can't sufficiently condemn

The framing of the Honour List.

Irony in the Tube.

After all the efforts and good nature sometimes exercised in getting on to the right platform in a Tube station, it is quite nice to be faced by the following bold announcement—


Each word that follows is a stab at your heated and gross imbecility:—


Possibly the Tube will take its revenge and post the following advertisement on the buses:—


Private——writes from the Front:—

"Dear Mother, I expected when I come to France to hear the pheasants shouting the mayonnaise, but you dont."

"Reinforcements subsequently arrived, and a squadron of dragons then courageously attacked the enemy."—Westminster Gazette.

Thus heaping coals of fire on the head of poor St. George.

[pg 38]


I must confess that I was finding it rather galling to have no friends at all at the Front. Everyone else was so well furnished with these acquaintances, often actually relations. But I had no one I knew, although gradually one by one my clerks joined Kitchener's Army and passed to various training grounds, returning (in my opinion far too often) to the office in their uniforms to disturb the routine and waste the time of the others. Some drilling and instruction I am assured go on in these camps, but I see in London every day sufficient English soldiers to drive twice the present number of Germans out of Belgium—if they really meant it.

My point, however, is that for far too long there was no one at the Front, either living, dead or wounded, with whom I could claim any intimacy, and this is the kind of thing which does not do a man any good on his way to and back from the City.

Everyone else in my morning and evening trains has had friends at the Front ever since we sent out our first draft, and to me their talk about them has been extremely galling. Some of them have even had letters from them, and these are either read or paraphrased and have enormously sent up the stock of the recipients. In fact several men whom I know to be very shaky in business, and others who have been rather blown upon on account of their general bounderish demeanour, have established themselves in improved social positions wholly through letters from the Front.

There are people, of course, who, not having a soldier friend, would invent one; but that is not my way. I would not do that. For one thing, I should have great difficulty in keeping it up. It would mean studying the map, reading all the reports and knowing more about the army than I have time to learn.

Imagine then my delight and excitement when I opened the evening paper a day or so ago, and found that the hero of the dashing and perilous feat of which everyone was talking, and which resulted in the capture of many Germans and machine guns, was no other than the son of my old friend Wargrave. I had not seen Wargrave for some years, but we met often once, and on my last visit to him his son had been home from school, and I now remembered how fine a lad I had thought him. He had a fearless eye and a high spirit; he was, in fact, the very stuff of which bold warriors are made. There was no doubt about his identity either, for a personal paragraph in the paper stated who his father was.

I was so pleased about it all that I sat down at once and wrote a congratulatory note to Wargrave senior; and on my way to the station I thought of other things in connection with his brave son which I might never have called to mind but for this deed of prowess: what a good appetite he had had; how he had climbed a tree for cherries; how he had torn his clothes; and how tedious I had found his addiction to what was called a water-pistol. "Good old Clifford!"—that was his name. Lieut. Clifford Wargrave, I said to myself, and my heart beat the faster for having known him.

That evening the only man that I knew in my carriage coming home was Barrington, and naturally I said something to him about the gallant son of my old friend. Barrington is not a man that I ever liked, and my young people say contemptuous things of his family as a whole. One of the daughters, however, is rather pretty, but I should not care to confess this at my own table. It is as dangerous to tell some girls about the prettiness of others as to tell some people that they look well. Anyway, since Barrington was there, I mentioned to him that it was gratifying to me to think that my old friend's son had become such a public hero, and I recollected as I was talking, and mentioned too, certain further incidents in the young fellow's boyhood. We once bathed together in Cornwall, I remembered, and I am not sure that it was not I who taught him to swim. At another time we had been on a picnic and I had made him and his sister laugh a good deal by my jokes—poor simple things, no doubt, but tickling to him. "And no doubt he is the same simple fellow now," I said, "always ready to laugh and be merry." I told Barrington also about the cherries and the torn clothes, and what a good appetite he had; and about the water-pistol.

"Odd to think that that boy should grow into a hero," I said. "How little we can read the future!"

"Yes, indeed," said Barrington.

I don't know why, but talking about this young friend of long ago, now so illustrious, to Barrington, made me quite to like the man, and I even went out of my way to accompany him to his gate.

I am wiser now. I now know that it is a mistake ever to change one's opinion of a man. And the extraordinary pettiness of human nature! the paltry little varieties of it! the straws it will clutch at to support its self-esteem!

The next morning, owing to some delay over breakfast, I was a little late at the station and failed to get my usual seat among my usual set. I managed just to scramble into a carriage and subsided into the far corner with my paper well before my face because I did not want to be sociable in that company. One has to be careful. Just as the train started, in dashed Barrington and took the only seat left—in fact there was not really room for him. He did not see me.

The train had not left the station before one of the men remarked upon the heroism of young Wargrave; when to my astonishment and annoyance Barrington at once took him up.

"Ah! yes," he said. "Such a fine young fellow; I always knew he would do something like that."

"Then you know him?" he was asked.

"Well, I don't say that I exactly know him," he said, "but I used to hear a lot about him from one of the most intimate friends of the family."

And one by one he told all my little anecdotes—trivial enough when in the mouth of a stranger, but, coming from one who knew, interesting and important. Will you believe it, Wargrave lasted Barrington and his idiotic listeners all the way to London—my Wargrave, mind, not his at all! And the way they listened! I personally sat hidden, and fumed but said nothing. How could I suddenly claim Wargrave as my own without being ridiculous? Nor would they have believed me. Besides, to put myself in competition with Barrington....

I managed to elude Barrington's eye at the terminus, and sought my office in a state of fury and contempt. At lunch I was again baulked, for none of my regular companions were there. It was beginning to be ridiculous. I might as well have not known the Wargraves at all.

That evening I was very carefully early for my train, determined that I would score then. My own set should now know first-hand what my association with the young hero was. After all, what did those others matter? But here again I had been forestalled.

"I met that man Barrington at lunch," said one of my neighbours, "and he was most interesting about this young Wargrave. Knew lots of things about his boyhood. Often stayed there. A ripping boy it seems he was. Really, Barrington's not such a bad chap when you get to know him. I think we must have him in our carriage now and then. He was most modest about it."

"Did Barrington say that Lieut. Wargrave was a friend of his?" I asked.

"Oh, yes. No doubt about it; Barrington taught him to swim."

[pg 39]



Sergeant. "Gawn tae be releevit, are we? Weel, we're no gawn. We've been here the best pairt o' a week noo, and we're up tae a' the dir-rty tricks o' thae German beggars, and if they pit new yins in here they'll just mak a rare mess o' it!"


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

Is not Come Out To Play (Constable) a delightful title for a story? And, believe me, not better than the story itself, which I should call, save for one defect, a perfect masterpiece in miniature. To have done with blame, I will say at once that the defect is the end, which, to my thinking at least, seems both inartistic and cowardly. I can hardly explain my meaning more clearly without spoiling your enjoyment. But I will hint that this tragedy of unfulfilled promise (for the book is a tragedy, though concealed beneath a surface merriment) seemed too delicate for so melodramatic a climax. Miss M. E. F. Irwin writes with an ease and finish that is amazing. She has form, too, and a quite unusual beauty of style that gives to her work something that is very difficult to analyse. The book is the story of a boy called Truffles (which of course was not his real name), a boy with a long white face and dark eyes under heavy lids that gave him the look of Pierrot. Nothing very special happens in his life. He has a genial spendthrift father, a prig of an elder brother, a rather jolly sister and a host of admiring friends. And the lot of them drift along in the artificial comedy of London existence in peacetime, flirting and idling, working and loving, all a little self-consciously; setting their emotions for the most part to an accompaniment of popular comic songs, those vacuous jingles whose light-heartedness Time so quickly turns to a wistful and poignant melancholy. You will gather that the actual story is no great matter. It is the faintly pathetic grace of the telling that makes this book one of the very few to which the misused adjective "beautiful" can honestly be applied. Perhaps in reading it you may be reminded, as I was, of another modern novel, one that was praised greatly in these pages and has leapt since to fame. I name no names, because I am far indeed from charging Miss Irwin with imitation. The more present-day writers who can display this same sensitive and compelling charm, the better I shall be pleased.

The perfect children's-book must be one of the most difficult things in the world to write. The qualities it would demand are so varied and the dangers so many. You must, for example, be just sentimental enough to obtain sympathy, yet never so much as to invite suspicion of being sloppy. There must be adventure for the adventurous, colour for the romantic and magic for everybody. Frankly I cannot say that Mr. H. de Vere Stacpoole has achieved the ideal; but in Poppyland (Lane) he has certainly strung together a number of stories that most children are sure to like. I fancy their favourite will be "The Little Prince," a story in which all the right things happen—beggar girls turn out to be Countesses, and handsome Princes suffer a strictly temporary decline into beggary—and all in an agreeable Neapolitan setting, which, as the advertisements say, "will appeal to children of larger growth." With his fairies Mr. Stacpoole is, to my thinking, a degree less successful. The worst of tales about storks and magic gardens and cripple-boys and the like is that, however freshly you set forth, sooner or later you are sure to find yourself in the foot-prints of the old wizard of Denmark. If I had loved my Hans Christian less, I should have better appreciated certain tales in this collection that inevitably recalled him. Still, the whole is pleasant enough. I wish I could say also that I liked the illustrations, but, with exceptions, these seemed to me both ugly and pretentious. The best exception was one of the old stork, a delightful piece of colour for the sake of which I can almost forget some of the others.

[pg 40]

Miss Macnaughtan always writes very charmingly and with plenty of humour, and in dedicating A Green Englishman (Smith, Elder) to "My Canadian friends" she must, I think, be too unconscious of her powers, for this collection of stories is far from being a valuable endorsement of the flowery praises of the emigration bureaux. Very little hope is held out to the young man of good family who is a gentleman and something of a sportsman, and proposes to pick up gold on the pavements or the prairies of the West. I do not mean that the writer is ungenerous either to the Dominion or to its people, but she takes no pains to conceal the terror that lives with the beauty of its vast spaces, and she does not represent the struggle to "make good" as altogether a lovely thing. Perhaps the most ambitious of these sketches, certainly the one which conforms most nearly to the "short story" model, describes the fate of a clergyman's daughter who pays a visit to Macredie, "somewhere on the C. P. R. line," and marries a farmer and land-speculator, chiefly because this is her last chance of marrying at all. The horror of the silence and the snow, when her husband leaves her to face a Canadian winter alone, because he has business in England, eventually drives her mad; and though most of the stories are in a lighter vein than this, and there is plenty of the humorous sentiment in which Miss Macnaughtan excels, the moral that I draw from the book as a whole is, "Visit Canada by all means, but, unless you are a Scotchman of the very doggedest type, don't stay there."

The hiding of lights under bushels may be all very well in private life, but is misplaced in the book-publishing business. I thoroughly disapprove of the title and the outside cover of the Hon. Mrs. Dowdell's latest collection of leisurely essays, Joking Apart (Duckworth). The one suggests a heart-to-heart talk on the things that matter or else an outburst of boisterous farce, while the other is merely dismal. The two together are enough to put the public off a really good thing. Mrs. Dowdell treats of the domestic and social side of feminine life in that peculiar vein of humour which is neither joking nor yet joking apart; her writing reminds me of those least-to-be-forgotten evenings of my life when I have been lucky enough to listen for hours to a real pucker conversationalist in the best of spirits and at the top of his form. The words that passed are forgotten; it is even difficult to remember what all the talk was about; but the recollection remains of having heard the truth of things for once, neither laughed at nor wept over, but very brightly revealed. Of twenty excellent chapters I much prefer the one about woman's sphere in electioneering; as to the thumb-nail illustrations in the margin, they show bad draughtsmanship, but some are delightfully apt.

Mr. Lincoln Colcord, writer of short stories of the sea, republished under title The Game of Life and Death (Macmillan), has taken no pains to conceal his admirable model. There surely never was, outside conscious parody, so conspicuously derivative a method of handling similar types and subjects. It was a bold thing to do. He has not Conrad's fastidious sense of words, nor his masterly suggestion of atmosphere, so much more felt than actually expressed, nor his patient sure unravelling of motives; and in "The Voice of the Dead" he commits a piece of shocking bad Wardour Street, of which by no conceivable lapse could his master have been guilty. But there is a whiff of the sea in his work; his types, if cruder, have life, and he often contrives some ingenious turn in the situation which gives the story interest. The Game of Life and Death—which ends in a hand of poker played between Chinese merchants and pirates, with two lives and much money and gear for stake—is a good yarn, though it leans on the inartistic unlikelihood of a royal capping a straight flush—which is piling it on too thick. The tale of "The Moths" that haunted a man who took them for the souls of wronged women provides a sufficient thrill. "De Long" is just the kind of story of the crooked cosmopolitan ship-chandler that Conrad would write, indeed has written. Nichols, the narrator of this and others, is made after the model of his reflective skippers. And here the challenge gets too near for Mr. Colcord's chances. Still the yarns go well with a seasoned pipe; and that is no mean recommendation.

The Honourable Percival (Hodder and Stoughton) may at least claim to have established a record in one respect. I think I never met a full-sized novel with a more slender plot. The Honourable Percival Hascombe, on a pleasure tour in the Pacific, met Miss Roberta Boynton, and fell in love with her. This, I give you my word, is all there is of it. But, if you think that so slight a thread will be insufficient to hold your interest, you reckon without the cunning of Alice Hegan Rice, who has spun it. There are those of us who worship Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch. There are also those who don't. But while regretfully classing myself among the benighted to whom this Best Seller appealed in vain, I hasten to add that I have nothing but gratitude for The Honourable Percival. This record of a shipboard romance is done with the daintiest art, delicate, tender, humorous, and not (as is the fault with so many American romances) oversweetened. The development of Percival from a priggish misanthrope to a man and a lover is beautifully told. Also a great part of the charm of the tale lies in its setting, a series of cinemascopic views of the ports touched at by the S.S. Saluria, so vividly portrayed that you will close the book with quite the feeling of the returned traveller. One small but poignant surprise the ending has in store, which I will not spoil by anticipation.


Influencing public opinion.

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