The Project Gutenberg EBook of Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 148,
January 20th 1915, by Various

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Title: Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 148, January 20th 1915

Author: Various

Editor: Owen Seamen

Release Date: March 9, 2014 [EBook #45096]

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 41]

Volume 148, January 20th, 1915.
edited by Owen Seamen



The Kaiser, by gifts of roses, has been trying to ingratiate himself with the Grand Duchess of Luxembourg, whose country he has invaded in defiance of treaty obligations.


"At every point," we read, "the Allies have made sensible progress." So different from the stupid progress made very occasionally by the enemy!

We have been asked to recommend suitable Fiction for reading during the War. We have no hesitation in calling attention to the claims of the war news from Amsterdam and Rome.

The Prussian Government has ordered that there shall be no public festivities on the occasion of the birthday of the Kaiser. This confirms the rumour that His Majesty now wishes that he had not been born.

By the way, to show how far-reaching is the influence of a Prussian command even to-day, no public festivities will take place on the occasion referred to either in Belgium, France, Russia, Japan, Serbia, Montenegro, or Great Britain.

Dr. Dernburg—and the expression is really not a bit too strong for him—has been telling an American audience that his countrymen really "love the French and the Belgians." At the risk of appearing ungrateful, however, our allies are saying that the Germans have such a subtle way of showing their love that they would rather be hated, please.

"Germany," says the Cologne Gazette in an article on the food question, "has still at hand a very large supply of pigs." Even after the enormous number they have exported to Belgium.

Meanwhile we are constantly assured that the food question causes no anxiety whatever in Germany. It certainly does seem, judging by the lies with which the Germans are fed, that these wonderful people will be able to swallow anything.

Lord Rosebery's appointment as Captain-General of the Royal Company of Scottish Archers has not escaped the notice of the alert German Press, and it is being pointed out in Berlin that we are so hard up in the matter of equipment for our army that bows and arrows are now being served out.

The new corps which has just been formed with the title of the "Ju-Jitsu Corps" has, we are informed, no connection with the artistes who went to the Front to give entertainments for the troops.

Both officers and men in certain towns are beginning to complain of the irksomeness of the constant salutes that have to be given when they walk abroad. Surely it should be possible to invent some simple little contrivance whereby a button is pressed and a mechanical hand does the rest?

Suggested name for a regiment of Bantams—The Miniature Rifles.

A peculiarly touching instance of patriotism has been brought to our notice. A London barber whose measurements are too puny to allow of his being accepted as a recruit has written to the War Office offering to barb some wire for them in his spare time.

"Mr. Keir Hardie," says a bulletin, "was yesterday reported to be gradually improving." But we are afraid that this only refers to his health.

An Englishman had suddenly to exercise all his tact the other day. He was in Kensington Gardens with a Belgian refugee. "What's that?" he asked, pointing to the Albert Memorial. The Englishman explained. "What, already a monument to our brave King!" cried the Belgian as he embraced his friend. The Englishman, with admirable reticence, said nothing.

"A Turkish advance guard," says a telegram, "has occupied Tabriz." Very plucky of him, and his name ought to be published. Can it be dear old Turkish Reggie?

The Vorwärts computes that the War is costing nine millions a day. Small wonder if, in these hard times, one or two countries look upon war as a luxury which they ought to try to get on without.

"As there is every probability," we read, "that the child population of Kensington will decline in the future owing to the migration of families to the outer suburbs, the L.C.C. proposes to meet the present demand for a new school by building a 'short-life school,' one that will last but twenty years." The difficulty, of course, will be so to construct it that it will collapse gently on the last day of its twentieth year, and the problem threatens to tax to the utmost the ingenuity of our jerry-builders.

During a "stormy scene" in Stirling School Board, Councillor Barker, according to The Glasgow Evening Times, "refused to withdraw, alleging that Mr. Reid taunted him on the streets as being an Alpine Purist." "Alpine purist" is a term of abuse with which Mr. Punch has never sullied his lips, though once he nearly referred to a very tedious bishop as a cis-Carpathian pedagogue.

[pg 42]


The advertisement which appeared in our last week's issue, opposing the principle of the inoculation of soldiers against typhoid, came in very late, and unfortunately its contents were not submitted to the Secretary, who was merely told of the source from which it came—namely, the Anti-Vivisection Society. Mr. Punch is himself absolutely in favour of inoculation against typhoid for the troops.


("In the Spring a young man's fancy ...")

At it, old warrior! do your worst!

Here's Fevrier coming, moist and blowy,

And any trench you leave for him

Not saturated to the brim

He will accommodate its thirst

As in the days of Noë.

But we, well-armed in every pore

Against the tricks you mean to try on,

Will stick it out through slush and slime,

And bide, as best we may, our time

Till General Mars begins to roar

Just like a British lion.

And ere his exit, like a lamb,

The sloppy mess shall all be tidied,

And (since I can't believe that K.

Has said that things won't move till May)

We shall step out, as Shem and Ham

Did when the flood subsided.

Spring! Ah, to what a sanguine view

Thoughts of the vernal prime provoke us!

Yet never in my whole career

Can I recall a single year

When I so much looked forward to

The advent of the crocus.

For with the Spring, when youth is free

To execute its inward yearning,

Like to a lark (or other bird)

The soul of Thomas shall be stirred,

And to Berlin I hope to see

The young man's fancy turning.

O. S.


Petherby recommended route-marching; said he used to suffer from sensations of repletion after heavy meals, just as I did, but, after a series of Saturday afternoons spent in route-marching through our picturesque hill country (Herne, Brixton, Denmark and so forth), the distressing symptoms completely vanished, and he now felt as right as a trivet.

I hadn't a ghost of a notion what a trivet was, nor yet what degree of rectitude was expected of it; but I nevertheless determined to try the route-march cure. Bismuth and pepsin should henceforth be drugs in the market as far as I was concerned. The only doubt in my mind was whether, technically speaking, I could perform a route-march all by myself. Somehow I thought etiquette demanded the presence of a band, or at any rate a drum and fife obbligato. But Petherby thought not, and declared it would prove just as effective rendered as a solo. "Besides," he added, "if you want music to invigorate you, you can whistle or hum. Moreover, you can switch the music on or off at will."

I resolved to start the treatment the following Saturday afternoon, and certainly should have done so but for the weather, which was very moist. If there's one thing I hate more than dyspepsia it's rheumatism. The next Saturday was fine—fine for a Saturday, that is; but a well-meant gift of tickets for a matinée, which it would have been churlish of me to refuse, robbed me of my prospective enjoyment. However, Saturday of the week after was also fine. Nothing stood in the way of my pleasurable tramp, and I determined to route-march home from the City.

I spent two hours in ill-concealed impatience—the marker told me he had never seen me put up such a poor game—waiting to see if the weather would change. But as at the expiration of that time it had apparently got stuck I decided to risk it.

Softly humming to myself, "Here we are again," I route-marched out of the hotel into Bishopsgate in fine style, and got on to a bus bound for the Bank (I did this to save time). Arrived at the Bank I took another bus to Blackfriars (I did this to save more time. I thought it would be nice to commence the march from the Embankment). When I reached Blackfriars I remembered that all the big walks started from the political end, so as I did not wish to assume any superiority which I did not strictly possess I took the tram to Westminster. There I alighted and was about to set off over Westminster Bridge when it occurred to me that I hadn't had any tea. To route-march on an empty stomach was, I felt sure, the height of folly. I therefore repaired to a tea-shop in the vicinity, where I encountered young Pilkington. We discussed Kitchener and crumpets, training and tea, the Kaiser and cake, and with a little adroitness I managed to bring in the subject of the medicinal value of route-marching. When I rose to go Pilkington inquired my destination.

"Norbury," I told him.

"That's lucky," he said; "I shall be able to give you a lift in a taxi as far as Kennington."

In vain I expostulated with him, and urged that I was route-marching, not route-cabbing. But he wouldn't listen.

"Anyhow," he concluded, "it's most dangerous to march just after a crumpet tea. Haven't you read your 'Infantry Training'?"

The upshot of the matter was that we taxied to Kennington, where at last I managed to leave him. And then I began to feel tired. True, I hadn't done any marching, but it was none the less true that I felt as tired as if I had. However, I succeeded in struggling on for about fifty yards (to the tune of Handel's Largo), and then I boarded a tram. It had only proceeded a quarter-of-a-mile or so when the current failed and we all had to get out. I waited half-an-hour for a fresh batch of current to arrive, but none came, and I realised that my best course would be to walk to Brixton Station and procure a cab.

Accordingly, to the melody of "I don't expect to do it again for months and months and months," I put my best foot foremost. It was a moot point which of my two feet merited this distinction; they both felt deplorably senile. Then it began to rain—no mere niggardly sprinkling, but a lavish week-end cataclysm. I reached the station in the condition known to chemists as a saturated solution, only to find that there was not a cab on the rank. I was therefore compelled to adopt the only means of transport left to me—to route-march home....

I ultimately staggered in at my gate at an advanced hour of the evening to the strains of the opening bars of Tschaikowsky's Pathetic Symphony, whistled mentally. I was far beyond making the actual physical effort.

That night I wrote a postcard to Petherby. It ran as follows:—"Have just completed your course of treatment. Am cured."

[pg 43]




[pg 44]

[pg 45]

Territorial (giving himself away to proprietor of coal-heap). "Could you lend us a bucket of coal until it's dark?"


A Modern Portrait.

Grave and serene, though young at heart,

"The Doctor," so his boys address him,

And rightly, since his healing art

Has made full many a mourner bless him—

For close on twenty years has served

An ancient church renowned in story,

And never in his teaching swerved

From studying God's greater glory.

His choir, like every singing school,

By turns angelic and demonic,

Are quick to recognise a rule

That is both "dominant" and "tonic;"

For contact with so rare a mind

Has seldom failed to spur and raise them,

And when they shirk their needful grind

With just rebuke he turns and flays them.

Withal he knows that human boys

Are dulled by industry unending,

And unreservedly enjoys

Himself at seasons of unbending;

A diet of perpetual Psalms

Is only fit for saints and Dantes,

And so he varies Bach and Brahms

With simple tunes and rousing chanties.

His taste is catholic and sane;

He does not treat as worthless lumber

All Mendelssohn, or Spohr disdain,

Or let the works of Handel slumber;

He likes to keep Church music clear

From operatic frills and ribbons,

And never ceases to revere

Tallis and Purcell, Byrd and Gibbons.

And thus he wisely neither aims

At showing off his erudition,

Nor for his choir and organ claims

A prima donna-like position;

He sees no virtue in mere speed,

With sentiment he scorns to palter,

And gives his most especial heed

To the clear chanting of the Psalter.

He loves his organ far too well

To be o'er-lavish with its thunder,

Yet wields at will the magic spell

That moves our hearts to awe or wonder;

Three centuries have lent its keys

All that consoles, inspires, rejoices,

And with a calm consummate ease

He blends the new and ancient voices.

And in these days when mothers mourn,

When joy is fled and faith is shaken,

When age survives bereft, forlorn,

And youth before its prime is taken,

He draws from music's soul divine

A double magic, gently pleading

With grief its passion to resign

And happy warriors vanward speeding.

The hurrying years their changes bring;

New-comers fill the singers' benches;

And many whom he taught to sing

To-day are fighting in the trenches;

But howsoe'er their sun shall set,

They'll face or glory or disaster

More nobly for the lifelong debt

They owe to their beloved master.

"On the other hand, the motor cycle rider may consider the law of expediency. When he confronts a motor car that insists on taking more than one-half of the road, it is up to him to stop and consider: 'Shall I insist on my rightful half of the road, and perhaps get injured, or shall I waive my right and break my neck?'"—Cape Argus.

Personally we wave our neck, and brake with the right.

From a sale advert.:—

To match above for 6 persons."

However, it is generally considered dangerous to breakfast more than five in a bed.

[pg 46]


Madingley is one of those men who are always asking you to do things for them. He will send you cheerfully on the top of a bus from the City to Hammersmith to buy tobacco for him at a particular little shop, and if you point out that he could do it much better in his own car, he says reproachfully that the car is only used for business purposes. (If so, he must have a good deal of business at Walton Heath.) "Isn't your cousin a doctor?" he'll say. "I wonder if you'd mind asking him——" And somehow you can't refuse. He beams at you with such confidence through his glasses.

However, it was apparently to tell me news that he came to see me the other day.

"I'm horribly busy," he said. "The fact is I'm going to enlist."

"They won't take you," I said. "You're blind."

"Not so blind as you are."

"Put it that we're both blind, and that our King and Country want neither of us."

"Well, I'm not so sure. There are lots of people with spectacles in the Army."

"And lots of flies in amber," I said, "but nobody seems to know how they came there."

Then Madingley got to business. His partner, who had enlisted in August, had developed lung trouble and had returned to civil life. Madingley was now free to go. He had heard from a friend that the 121st Rifles (a Territorial Regiment) had no conscientious objections to spectacles. Would I—(I thought it must be coming)—would I go and find out for him? He gave me the address of their head-quarters.

"You see I'm so horribly busy, old chap—clearing up at the office, and so on."

Well, of course I had to. Madingley's attitude of pained forgiveness, if one refuses him anything, is more than I can bear. Alter all, it didn't seem very much to do.

I began with the sentry outside.

"Can you tell me——" I said pleasantly. He scowled and jerked his head towards the door. I went in and tried another man. "Can you tell me——" I began. "Enlist?" he said. "Upstairs." I went upstairs and pushed open a door. "Can you tell me——" I said. "This is the canteen," answered a man in an apron....

At last I found a sergeant. "Enlist?" he said briskly. "Come in." I went in.

He leant against a table and I smiled at him pleasantly.

"I just wanted to ask," I said, "whether——"

"Quite so," he said, and gave me a long explanation of what my pay would be now that I had decided to join the Army. He began with the one and a penny of a private and was working up towards the stipend of a Field Marshal when I stopped him.

"One moment——"

"Exactly," he said. "You're married."

"Y—yes," I said. "At least, no," I added, thinking of Madingley.

"Surely you know?" he asked in surprise.

I remembered suddenly the penalty for a false declaration. It would be no good explaining afterwards that I meant Madingley.

"Yes," I said. "Married."

He told me what my separation allowance would be.... As a married Field Marshal with three children it came to ——.

I decided to be firm.

"Er—I mustn't trouble you too much," I said. "I really only wanted to know if you take men with spectacles."

"Depends how short-sighted you are. Do you always wear them?"

"No, but I ought to really." I made a desperate effort to get Madingley back into the conversation. "I really only came to find out for a——"

"Ah, well, the best thing you can do," said the sergeant, "is to pass the medical examination first. You can sign the papers afterwards. Come along."

I followed him meekly downstairs. It was obviously not Madingley's afternoon.

We plunged downstairs into what was no doubt the anti-Zeppelin cellar. Through the gloom I saw dimly two or three pink-and-white figures waiting their turn to be thumped. Down the throat of a man in the middle of the room a doctor was trying to climb. Mechanically I began to undo my tie.

The sergeant spoke to one of the doctors and then came back to me.

"It'll save time if we do your sight first," he said. "Stand over in this corner."

I stood in the corner....

For a long time nothing happened.

"Well?" said the sergeant impatiently.

"Well?" I said.

"Why don't you read?"

"What? Have we begun?" I asked in surprise. I couldn't see anything.

The medical officer came over to me and in a friendly way put his hand over my left eye. It didn't help much, but I spotted where he came from, and gathered that the card must be in that direction. Gradually it began to loom through the blackness.

"Wait a moment," I said. I removed his hand and gazed keenly at the opposite wall. "That's a B," I announced proudly. "That top one."

The doctor and the sergeant looked at each other.

"It's no good," sighed the sergeant.

"He can't even read the first two lines," groaned the doctor.

"It's all very well for you two," I broke in indignantly; "one of you lives down here and is used to it, and the other knows the card by heart. I haven't come to enlist for night operations only. Surely your regiment does things in the daylight sometimes?"

The doctor, only knowing about the daylight by hearsay, looked blank; the sergeant repeated sadly, "Not even the first two lines."

"Look here," I said, "lend me the card to-night and I'll come again to-morrow. If it's only two lines you want, I think I can promise you them."

The doctor said mournfully that he might lend me the card, but that in that case it would be his painful duty to put up a different card for me on the next day.

There seemed to be nothing more to say. I was about to go when a face which I recognised emerged from the gloom. It had a shirt underneath it and then legs. The face began to grin at me.

"Hallo," said a voice.

"Hallo, Rogers," I said; "you enlisting? I thought you couldn't get leave." Rogers is in the Civil Service, and his work is supposed to be important.

"Well, I haven't exactly got leave—yet," he said awkwardly. "The fact is, I just came here to ask about a commission for a friend, and while I was here I—er—suddenly decided to risk it. You know Madingley, by the way, don't you?"

"I used to think so," I said.

But now I see that there is more in Madingley than I thought. His job in this war is simple—and exactly suited to himself. By arrangement with the War Office he sends likely recruits to make enquiries for him—and the sergeant does the rest.

A. A. M.

"S. C.—1. The brussels-sprouts will do no harm to the apple trees."—Morning Post.

All very well, but we know what these Belgians are. As likely as not they have been plotting for years with the French beans to spring upon their inoffensive neighbours.

[pg 47]


Scene: At the "Plough and Horses."

"I be mortal sorry for that poor George—cut up as ever I see a man at thought of it."

"Tenderest-hearted fellow in these 'ere parts, and a true friend to all dumb animals."

"She be more 'n an animal to 'im. 'Aving no chick nor child, you may say as she's companioned 'im these many months."

"'E 'ave right to be proud of 'er too. Never did I see a more 'andsome sow—an' I've seen a many."

"She's been a right good sow to 'e."

"An' now 'e be nigh 'eart-broken 'long of these unnatural orders. For stuck ev'ry blessed pig 'as got to be should they Germans get anywheres within ten miles of us."

"I see 'im now as 'e was when 'e first got wind of it—fair struck all of a 'eap, 'e were. 'I ain't got no objection to burning ricks,' 'e says, 'for ricks ain't got 'uman ways to 'em, same as my old sow. But kill my old sow,' 'e says, 'that's asking of me more 'n I can do.'"

"'Tain't a question of asking, either. Them's our orders, set out in black and white."

"Somebody says that to George—and a cold-blooded word it seemed to me, considering 'is depth o' trouble."

"What did the old chap say to that?"

"'Orders?' 'e says; 'ain't this a free country? An' you come between me an' my old sow with orders!' 'e says."

"'Military law,' I says to 'im myself, 'makes 'avoc o' freedom—so it do. But with they Germans at your very gates,' I says, 'freedom ain't the same thing as a clean pair of 'eels. An' a pig's an awkward customer to drive in an 'urry,' I says."

"Ain't to be done—not really brisk like, any'ow."

"'E seed that, o' course?"

"Wouldn't say so, any way. An' the names 'e called the Government, or 'ooever 'twas as 'anded round them orders, fair surprised us all. Never knew the old chap could lay 'is tongue to the 'alf of it."

"If ever they Germans get 'ereabout there'll be trouble for the Government about old George."

"'E ain't got chick nor child, yer see. A man can't get on without something... Why, 'ere be George."

"Evening, George. You come right in an' 'ave your pint, George."

"I earnt my pint to-day—so I 'ave. Busiest day's work I done this side o' my wife's passing away, poor soul."

"What you been doing, George?"

"She were a one to keep you busy like. If she be really resting now I reckon she be pretty miserable. 'Owever, that ain't neither 'ere nor there."

"You tell us what you been up to, George. We only been talking o' you when in you walks as large as life."

"We been talking o' you an' these 'ere orders, George, an' we feels with you to a man. If you should 'ave to kill that fine sow o' yours along of a lot o' 'ungry Germans 'twill be a mortal shame."

"I shan't never kill 'er for no Germans, so I promises you."

"Then they'll do the killing theirselves—they be dabsters at that."

"No Germans ain't going to kill my sow. Nor I ain't going to kill 'er in an 'urry to please nobody."

"You'll get yourself in the wrong box, George, if you don't mind."

"You be too venturesome, George—at your old age."

"An' you a pensioner, too. Don't do to be too venturesome when you're well stricken in years."

"I know what I be saying, though, for all that. Don't do to wait till you 'ave to waste a good pig—all for nothing like. Good money she be worth, an' I says to myself, 'You 'ave the money now, my boy, as the old sow 'll fetch, before it be too late.' My old sow be pretty nigh pork by now, up at butcher's."

[pg 48]



Mabel (with a brother in the Anti-aircraft Corps). "Mother, they think she's a Zeppelin."


Between Mortimer and us yawns a great gulf, bridged by many flights of stairs. Even on the illuminated board at the foot of the lowest stairs we still keep our distance, but with this difference, that while Mortimer's position in the world is higher than mine, on the board I stand above him by as many names as there are stairs between us.

Mortimer first floated into my orbit one day when we both met in the porter's lodge to complain about the dustbin. Even after this I should have gone contentedly down to my grave with no further knowledge of the man than that he had a wife and four children. I knew that because I heard him tell the porter so.

One evening after dinner—it seems now many moons ago—Clara, our lady-help, threw open the drawing-room door and in startled tones announced Mr. and Mrs. Mortimer. Prompt to the word of command in they marched, followed by the four youthful Mortimers. Each of these latter clutched a sponge-bag and an elusive bundle of flannel, and in the background loomed the Mortimer maid-of-all-work.

Mortimer began to talk immediately and said that of course we had seen the War Office order that on the first sound of guns all Londoners were to make for the cellars. Mrs. Mortimer was certain she had heard firing and that the Zeppelin raid had begun, so, like good citizens, the family had hastened to comply with the regulations.

"We shan't put you to any inconvenience," said Mortimer volubly. "The children can curl up in the spare room and my wife and I will do with a shake-down in the passage. In time of war one must be prepared for discomfort. Think of the poor fellows in the trenches."

Here Mrs. Mortimer murmured something inarticulate.

"Oh, yes, of course," Mortimer assented, "Emma must be made comfortable." All this time my wife and I had not been able to say a word, Mortimer's plausibility and the spectacle of the four little Mortimers and their sponge-bags having robbed us of speech and thought. Jane was the first to find her voice, and managed to gasp out that we had heard no guns.

"You wouldn't, of course, in the—er—down here," said Mortimer. I was glad to notice him hesitate this time over the word "cellar" as applied to our artistic home.

"I know exactly what you are thinking," he went on kindly; "it is embarrassing to discuss household arrangements in public," and with a flourish of his arm, he marshalled his family and swept them out of the room, carefully shutting the door behind him.

Jane and I gazed awestruck at each other.

"We can't turn them away," said my wife. "Those five pairs of eyes would haunt me all night (Mortimer's and Emma's were, I presume, the ones omitted), and if the Zeppelins did come to-night how awful we should feel."

"We must be firm about it being only for to-night, then," I said. "We must consider Kate." (Kate is our cat.)

So it was arranged that we should give up our room and that Emma should share with Clara. I found the Mortimer family sitting in a crowded row on the antique bench in the hall, like players at dumb-crambo waiting for the word. Briefly I told them it was "stay." They all jumped up; Mortimer shook me cordially by the hand, and I believe Mrs. Mortimer kissed my wife.

True to the compact the refugees departed next morning, and we saw the last little Mortimer disappear upwards with unmixed relief. They were all back again, however, the following evening, this time encumbered with more articles towards "camping out." The expression was Mortimer's, not mine.

On the fourth evening Mortimer took me aside and told me confidentially that he could see this state of things was telling on us as much as on them, and that he thought the best plan would be for our two households to "chum together" while the Zeppelin menace lasted. (What fool said the war was going to last three years?) Never waiting for a reply, Mortimer went on to say that it really would not be so much trouble as it seemed at the first shock. He and I would be out all day, which would even up the numbers, and Emma would, of course, help. I much resented being estimated as equal to three-and-a-half Mortimers and had no delusions about Emma's helpfulness, but Mortimer's volubility had its usual stupefying effect. He carried the motion to his own satisfaction, and my wife told me that I behaved like an idiot.

We stood three days of this lunatic ménage. Every evening on returning from office I found more alien belongings blocking up my home. Mortimer boots strewed the scullery, their coats smothered the hat-stand, their toothbrushes filled the bathroom. Clara is a noble-hearted girl, but there was menace in her glance, and my wife was ageing before my eyes. Kate too had left us.

On the third evening when I came home I found a note sticking in the hall clothes-brush. "Meet me in the pantry," it said. I flew to the rendezvous, where Jane received me with her finger on her lip. Dragging me in, she managed with difficulty to close the door—our pantry is what you might call bijou—and, leaning against the sink, she unburdened her mind.

"I have an idea," she hissed. "Overcome by superior numbers, we must evacuate the position. Better one Zeppelin once than six Mortimers for ever. Let us take possession of their flat, as they have of ours."

It was a masterly and superb idea, worthy of the brain from which it sprang. We hastened to impart it to the Mortimers, who were sitting over the drawing-room fire reading my evening paper. They were much touched. Mortimer said he should never forgive himself if we were killed by bombs, and Mrs. Mortimer said it made all the difference our not having children.

We have now been settled for some time in Mortimer's flat, and in many ways prefer it to our own; in fact we shall be quite content to remain here as long as Mortimer continues to pay the rent. We found Kate already installed. The sagacious animal evidently adds prophetic instinct to her other gifts. When she makes a decided move downstairs we shall prepare for hostile aircraft.


By One of Them.

Sisters, when fashion first decreed

To our devoted sex

That beauty must be broken-kneed

And spinal cords convex;

When sheathlike skirts without a crease

Were potent to attract,

Those were the piping times of peace

When everybody slacked.

But, since the menace of "The Day"

Has commandeered the Nut,

Since demi-saison modes display

A military cut,

It's up to us to do our bit

Each time we take the road,

For, if we wear a warlike kit,

The mien must match the mode.

What! would you set a "forage cap"

Upon a drooping brow?

The feet that used to mince and tap

Must stride with vigour now;

No longer must a plastic crouch

Debilitate the knees;

We've finished with the "Slinker Slouch;"

Heads up, girls, if you please!

[pg 49]



"You really must dine with us on Saturday. I shall have a couple of the dinkiest little wounded subs to show you."


A Summer Memory.

I removed my face hurriedly from a large tumbler of iced never-mind-what.

"Good heavens, Henry!" I cried, "you don't mean to say you've been weeding the grass!"

"It wasn't my own idea," he pleaded; "it was Sonia who put me up to it. She said that now Baby was beginning to notice things it was quite time something was done to the lawn—don't snort, we always call it the lawn at home—or he would grow up to think badly of his father. I had a shot at it yesterday, but there's a good bit more to do. Look here," he continued, brightening, "drop round to-morrow and let Sonia find you a chisel or something. It's not bad fun really. All the excitement of the chase and no danger to life or limb."

"Not for worlds," I replied solemnly, "You jest at the dangers of weeding, but I have seen something of the misery it involves. Listen, I am going to tell you a story.

"Once upon a time I chanced to know a man called Pilning, Sebastian Pilning. Like you, he was blessed with a young wife and the beginning of a family; like you, he was a quiet, unambitious fellow of simple tastes. Moreover, he was incredibly stubborn. One idle spring morning he sauntered out into his back garden to smoke a pipe, and it chanced that for the first time in his life he took a good look at his—yes, he, called it a lawn too. I need not tell you what he saw there. It was like most lawns, four blades of grass and the rest one vast expanse of weeds. For a moment he was staggered.

"And then the little devil that lies in wait for men who go out to look at their back-gardens whispered in his ear, 'You've nothing to do, Pilning, why not have a few of these weeds out?' It was his first temptation, and he fell.

"All that day he toiled at his lawn, and by the evening there was a patch about three feet square that looked like a fragment of a ploughed field. On this he sprinkled grass seed and fortified it with wire entanglements to keep out the birds. The next morning he was at it again, and so he continued for three whole weeks. At the end of that time the disease had taken a firm hold of him. He had managed to clear most of his plot, but only the finest grass would satisfy him now; he had begun to root up the coarser quality and the blades that didn't seem to him to be quite the right shade. He worked incessantly, and his wife had to bring his meals out to him. He even attempted to sleep out there in a hammock, so that he could start the first thing in the morning. He had an idea that the weeds would be rooted up more readily if he could catch them asleep. But it rained the first night he tried, and that put him off, because he knew that if his health broke down the dandelions would get the upper hand. He became so strange at last that one day his wife sent round and begged me to come and see him."

"Did you tell him one of your stories?" asked Henry.

"I found him in the garden on his knees stabbing at a plantain with a corkscrew. He had marked the whole place out in squares like a chess-board, each square representing a day's work and a pound of grass seed sown. The word had been passed round that free meals were going at Pilning's, and every sparrow in the district was there. They seemed to appreciate the system of wire entanglements: it showed them where to look for seeds.

[pg 50]

"I could see at a glance that Pilning was in a bad way. He spoke cheerfully enough, but there was a nasty look in his eyes. I tried to lead him off gradually to safer topics by interesting him in the less perilous delights of flower-growing. I asked after his gerania and spoke with admiration of his aspidistra and his jasponyx...."

"Rot!" said Henry. "That's a mineral."

"Sorry—my fault. It's such a jolly word, and I didn't think you'd know any better.... But it was all in vain; he would talk of nothing but grass and weeds. I tried to comfort his wife as I left, but my heart was very heavy. That night, Henry, the blow fell! They managed to lure Pilning in to dinner when it got dusk, but his mind was wandering a lot. Finally he broke down completely, and made a desperate assault with a toothpick on the baby's scalp. His wife fetched one of the neighbours to sit on his head while she went for the doctor; but it was too late. His reason had become utterly unhinged. There was nothing for it but to put him away in a home, and there he has remained for five long years.

"Only last week I went to ask how he was, and the doctor said there was no change, but that he was quite harmless. I was shown into a little room where he lived, and there I saw him on the floor talking and laughing to himself. But he took no notice of me when I spoke to him. They told me he was quite happy and would spend hours a day like that at his work."

"What sort of work?" asked Henry.

"The last time I saw poor Pilning," I replied sadly, "he was squatting on the carpet and trying to jab the pattern out with a fork."

It is reported that owing to the overproduction of mittens and the consequent slump in this article, one London firm of manufacturers has no fewer than 100,000 pairs on its hands.

By giving 'em wot's good for 'em, Sir.

Vicar. "Now, children, we are to love our enemies. That isn't easy, is it?"

Small Boy. "No, Sir."

Vicar. "Well, how are we to do it?"

(Dead silence.)

Vicar. "Yes, we must love even the Germans. How are we to do that?"

Small Boy. "By giving 'em wot's good for 'em, Sir."


(Being a selection from answers to a General Knowledge paper.)

A kukri is a suit which our soldiers wear.

Kukri is pastry-making.

Kukri is a place where the Germans' food is boiled.

Uhlan is a short name for the Willesden Uhlan District Council.

A Censor is swung about to incense people.

Przemysl is an acid.

A levy is when a man dies his wife gets some money to bery him.

Levy is a man who gets money for the German army.

Howitzer is a smell that comes out of a shell when fired.

"One of the famous but least visited lakes of Sicily is Guarda, with its southern end in the plains of Italy, and its northern far into Austrian territory."

East Anglian Daily Times.

We should describe "Guarda" briefly as "some lake."

[pg 51]




[pg 52]

[pg 53]



Mr. Crabbe augments his stock-in-trade.



My dear Mr. Punch,—We take special pride in the fact that we were the very first Territorials ever to land in India. As our battalion swung through the streets of Bombay before the critical eyes of the assembled natives, this knowledge enabled us to preserve an air of dignity despite the rakish angle of our unaccustomed topees. When you first march at attention with a rifle and a very large helmet you discover that the only possible position for the latter is well over the right ear. Later on you realise that this is a mistake, like most of the discoveries made during the first few days' residence in India.

On that memorable day, of which our battalion poet has written—

"O day of pride and perspiration,

When, 'scaping from the dreary sea,

We marched full blithely to our station

And filled ourselves with eggs and tea—"

we were eight hundred strong, having spent thirty-two days in a transport and passed through all the salutary trials of inoculation, vaccination and starvation with considerable éclat. Now, alas! we are decimated. Decimated, did I say? Far, far worse than that. We are practically wiped out.

No, there has not been a second Mutiny, concealed by the newspapers. We have not perished of malaria. Nor have we been eaten by white ants. Even the last-named would be a glorious, an inspiring end compared with the fate which has overtaken us.

You remember how, many years ago, you used to sit with your infantile tongue protruding from the left-hand corner of your mouth and write in a fair round hand, "The pen is mightier than the sword." At that time you disbelieved it. But you were wrong. It is true, sadly true.

A few days after our arrival we were reviewed by the G.O.C. In eloquent words he told us that we were not in India for garrison work, but to be trained speedily for the Front, to be fitted to play our part on the great battlefields of Europe. Inspiring visions of military glory rose before us. Later in the day they began to evaporate. They have been evaporating ever since.

Owing to the departure of the Expeditionary Forces there has been a great shortage of soldier clerks in India, and the luckless Territorials who had the misfortune to arrive first have been called upon to fill the vacancies. Ichabod.

When the announcement that clerks were required was made to us my blood ran suddenly cold. I remembered how, centuries ago, when in camp on Salisbury Plain, I had been requested to fill up a form giving, among other particulars, my occupation, and light-heartedly and truthfully I had written "Clerk." It is a great mistake to be truthful in the Army. How I wished I had described myself as an agricultural labourer. Or a taxidermist—surely there is no demand, for taxidermists in the Indian Army.

In a vain attempt to remedy the mistake I preserved a stony silence when we were asked who had had clerical experience, who could do type-writing, who possessed a knowledge of shorthand. With a single lift of my right eyebrow I disclaimed all acquaintance with office stools. With a faint pucker of the brows I made myself appear to be wondering where I had once heard that word typewriter. But my fatal incriminating declaration was too great a handicap.

[pg 54]

By threes and fours our brave fellows melted away. They went as clerks; they went as typists; they went as telephone operators; they went as telegraphists. To the Battalion Orderly Room they went; to the Brigade Headquarters Office; to the Embarcation Office.

Then came a lull, and I thought, after all, I had escaped. I arose happily at 5.30 a.m. I did many various and strenuous fatigues. I swept the barrack floor singing and peeled potatoes with a joyful heart. I polished my equipment incessantly and greased my mess tin with the greatest care. In short, I was rapidly becoming a soldier.

And I obtained leave and went into the town, where I saw much that cheered me while the clerks were at their labours. I read a sign in a restaurant window, "Breakfast, tiffin, tea, dinner and all kinds of perfumery." I saw six coolies running along a main street with a grand piano balanced on their heads. I was very happy while it lasted.

And then the blow fell. We had thought that surely every possible office had been filled with clerks, but we were wrong as usual. As I was going to bed one night there came a peremptory order that I was to be at the Divisional Staff Office, four miles away, sharp at eight o'clock next morning.

In conformity with my instructions I went forth next morning to take up my new and peaceful avocation in full marching order, with rifle, side-arm and twenty rounds of ball ammunition.

Being a soldier clerk in India is very different from being a civilian clerk in England. Here I work in shirt-sleeves, khaki shorts and puttees, pausing occasionally to brush off the ants which crawl affectionately over my knees. At home—well, I can imagine the Chief's face if a clerk (or an ant) ventured into his office with bare knees.

Also the methods adopted here are not like our impetuous English ways. Operations are carried out with a leisured dignity befitting the immemorial East. Take a telegram for example. At home the Chief says rapidly, "Send a wire to So-and-so telling him this-and-that." A harassed clerk snatches off the telephone-receiver, and in two minutes the message is dictated to the post-office and the incident is closed.

Not so here. A document comes out of the Records Department three days old, having been duly headed, numbered, summarised and indexed. The clerk to whom it is handed thinks it advisable to wire a reply, so he writes at the foot, "Wire So-and-so, telling him this-and-that?" initials it and sends it to the Chief. The Chief writes, "Yes, please," initials it and sends it back. The clerk then drafts the actual telegram, initials the draft and sends it to the Chief, who, if he approves, initials it and sends it back. The draft is next handed to a second clerk, who, after due consideration, types two copies and initials them. These are taken to the Chief, who signs them and sends them back. One copy is filed and the other goes to a third clerk, who enters it verbatim into a book and has the book initialled by clerk No. 1, after checking. Then it goes to a fourth clerk, who numbers it, makes a précis in another book, and hands it, with explanations, to a patli wallah, who takes it outside to an orderly, who conveys it (with unhasting dignity) to the post-office.

More of this, if you can bear it, in my next.

Yours ever,
One of the Punch Brigade.

Excuse me--any of you blighters seen my pipe?

British Tommy (returning to trench in which he has lately been fighting, now temporarily occupied by the enemy). "Excuse me—any of you blighters seen my pipe?"


Daily Chronicle.

We always thought the Great Western claimed to be the Holiday Line.



"How are yours getting on?"

"Oh, all right."

"How many rooms do you give them?"

"A sitting-room and two bedrooms."

"I wish we could. We have no spare sitting-room. They have meals with you, I suppose?"

"Lunch and dinner, yes."

"Do they know any English?"

"Devil a word."

"Do you know any French?"

"Precious little. But Norah does—some. I say, what does 'chin-chin' mean?"

"'Chin-chin'? Isn't that what some fellows say before they drink?"

"Well, it can't be that. Madame says it at intervals all the time her husband is talking."

"Oh, you mean 'Tiens, tiens,' don't you?"

"Perhaps. What does it mean, anyway?"

"It's just an exclamation like 'Really' or 'Just think of that!'"

"Thank Heaven I know! You've taken a terrible load off my mind."

"Do they eat much?"

"Well, I should call their appetites healthy."

"Same with ours. But it's all right. I shouldn't mind if they ate twice as much."


"Do yours do anything?"

"Monsieur is an artist. Madame mends lace beautifully."

"What does he paint?"

"Well, he hasn't painted anything yet, but he says he's an artist. He looks like one. He goes to the National Gallery."

"Why don't you ask him to paint one of the children?"

"My dear, they're terrified of him! They won't come into the room."


"Are you having an easy time with yours?"

"Moderate. Only Jack behaves so badly. After every meal Monsieur always begins a long speech about their indebtedness to us and all the rest of it, and Jack will walk out in the middle."

"What do you talk about?"

[pg 55]

"Well, for the most part about the terrible privations before they got away. But now and then they will tell risqué stories. More than risqué—really shocking. Jack does his best to get them off it, but he never succeeds. They seem to think we expect it."

"Oh, ours aren't a bit like that. The trouble with ours is that they hate going out. They sit tight indoors from morning to night."

"Can't you lure them out?"

"Well, I tell them what a wonderful place the British Museum is; but it's no use."


"Every evening during dinner Madame tells us how she walked from Louvain. Poor creature, she's not slender, and she had to walk mile after mile for eight hours. It must have been dreadful. But she won't remember that we've heard it all before. Everything reminds her of it. We're terrified to speak, Andrew and I, for fear some little tiny word will suggest walking from Louvain, and it always does.... Poor thing, though!"


Little Boy. "Have the Germans killed Mr. Lloyd George, Ma?"

Mother. "Of course not, dear. Why do you ask?"

Boy. "Well, I haven't heard nuffin 'bout him lately."

Naval Notes.

A correspondent asks us what exactly are the duties of the marines. We have not space to give him an exhaustive account of the work of these handy men, but we can indicate their affectionate nature by the following cutting from The Liverpool Echo:—

"One notable case in which a decoration was bestowed was of a young seaman, who at tremendous risk to himself, freed a submarine from a marine which had become attached to it off Heligoland."

Casual meetings off Heligoland are responsible for many such romances. Our correspondent's further enquiries about the duties of the destroyer and the torpedo we will let two other contemporaries answer:—

"Fourteen Roumanian destroyers from the Austro-Hungarian army arrived at Sinaia, Roumania, having crossed the Transylvanian Mountains on foot."—Bombay Chronicle.

"Newspapers state that a French torpedo entered Dunkirk on Friday and reported having rammed and sunk a German submarine off Westende."

Indian Daily Telegraph.

In advertisement matters it is sometimes asserted that the right uses of type is the great thing. It is, however, a relief to the writer that a certain announcement with an ironic suggestion of reckless benevolence has now been removed from most of the hostelries. Yet it afforded instruction as to ringing the changes upon the sizes of type:—


"There are complaints concerning the housing of the new Armies which, although now partly rectified, would be the better for further ventilation."—Times.

In sending us this cutting, our soldier correspondent writes:—"Further ventilation be blowed. I've had to shove the rest of the blessed paper in the cracks, as it is."

[pg 56]


I feel that I am entitled to speak with perfect freedom of the entertainment lately given in our parish hall, for, except as a spectator and as contributing several of the performers to the programme, without myself knowing anything about it beyond what rumour and the unwonted bustling mystery of the household brought to my knowledge—except, as I say, in these points, I had nothing to do with it. The whole thing was managed by an informal committee of ladies, acting on the discovery that the School Children's Meals Fund was at its last gasp, and required replenishment in order to carry it on through the ensuing year. Upon that the informal committee got to work and held several meetings. Now the methods of a committee of ladies differ from those of men. The ladies meet together in drawing-rooms and, so far as a casual observer can judge, they discuss every subject except the particular one for which they have been summoned. Then comes the moment when they intimate to one another that they must go, and they arise and draw slowly and reluctantly out from the drawing-room through the hall to the front-door step. Then, but never till then, just as they are about to go away, they suddenly remember what they came for, and in another five minutes the whole business is settled, and they stream away with the consciousness of work satisfactorily done. It is an unceremonious method, but a highly efficient one if judged by its results. In this particular case it produced a delightful entertainment, which I may describe as being by the children, for the children and of the children, as well as of the elders who gathered together to applaud the zeal and skill of the little performers.

Fortunately the appointed day was fine and there was a great rush of spectators, who soon filled the hall to its utmost capacity. The entertainment began with a tribute to patriotism in the shape of tableaux vivants, all save one selected from the storehouse of our kind old friend Mr. Punch's cartoons. There, brilliantly and magnificently accoutred, was seen Britannia setting out to war for friendship and honour. There again we beheld brave little Belgium defying the German bully, and Holland succouring the refugees, and Belgium consoled by Liberty, and a final picture of Liberty blessing the Allies. All these were admirably represented, the immobility of the performers being not less remarkable than the splendour of their equipment; and enthusiasm was still further stimulated by the singing of the anthems of the various allied nations.

The performance proceeded, and the intermezzi had been briskly taken; the harp had spent its last liquid notes; "Caller Herrin'" had been delightfully sung, and four tiny girls (combined height some twelve feet) had charmed us with the pretty innocence of their flower carol. Also a dramatic version of "The Holly Tree Inn" had been played in a fashion that Dickens would not have disapproved. Now there was a murmur of expectation among the audience; soon the crystal-clear strains of "He shall feed His flock" sounded through the room, and as they lingered and died away the curtain rose for the masque, "The Holy Night." At the back of the stage was a lowly shed, its closed door guarded by two angelic figures clothed in pure white draperies and with wings that sparkled with a silver sheen. High above, to the left of the shed, a third angel soared, and these three watched and waited, intent and motionless, their hands crossed over their breasts. In front of them lay three shepherds, and amongst them frisked a white and woolly little lamb (Douglas, the Vicar's son), and further to the left we recognised little Kit Price as a raven in sleek black satin, and our John only partially disguised as a highly-coloured and effective cock, strutting and flapping and pecking and scraping to his heart's content, and admitted to the cast in spite of the stage directions, which declare that "if any little boy have very fat legs he shall not play the part of the cock." He made such amends as were possible by the extreme vividness and energy of the beak with which he kept the raven in order. At the back of the scene there were vague indications of the presence of an ox and an ass. It had been intended to represent them in a lifelike fashion by two heads; but these, though ordered, had failed to arrive, being cut off on their way by floods.

Now the shepherds burst into song, and when that was over the cock flapped his wings and crew, and the raven cawed, and the lamb ba-a-ed, and the uncompleted ox and ass made noises after their kind, and there was a lively bustle everywhere, except where the angels watched and waited with their hands crossed and their shining wings at rest. The shepherds began to gossip as shepherds, I suppose, have gossiped ever since the care of sheep began. One told how his grandam said, on the authority of a wise woman, that on the night Messias is born all the beasts shall speak. Another doubted whether this would hap in our time. Nothing, he thought, would hap save these heavy taxings; but the other reminded him that it had been a good year for sheep. But suddenly, as the shepherds chatted, the three angels, invisible to the shepherds, raised each a warning hand and bent forward and whispered, "Hush-sh!" and an awe-struck silence fell upon the scene. Something great and wonderful had happened, but what was it, and how would it be revealed?

Thereupon the cock, flapping his wings, did not crow, but cried out, "Christus natus est! Christ is born!" and the raven, instead of cawing, called "Quando? When?" and the ass in a loud voice answered, "Hac nocte! This night!" and the ox said "Ubi? Where?" and the lamb stood up and bleated "Be-e-ethlehem." Oh, then was heard a swelling sound of great exultation, and above the shed the dark and starry skies were opened and drawn away to each side, and there were disclosed angels raised up and standing in a long row, their bright wings folded and pointing upward, while they declared the glory of the Lord. And next the two guarding angels folded back the door of the shed, and there were seen Mary and Joseph, "and betwixt them two"—I quote from the directions—"the Holy Child lieth on a tuft of straw in a little box which shall be called the Manger," while two diminutive angels knelt, one at each side of the open door. No more beautiful and gracious picture could be imagined. Thus might some old Italian master have painted it, but this had, not colour alone and simplicity, but life and song and jubilation and perfect harmony of movement so natural as to seem unstudied. Then the shepherds did obeisance and the Wise Men, Melchior, Caspar and Balthasar, came and offered their gifts, and, last, after preparations had been made for departure into Egypt, the whole company sang together the glorious and triumphant "Adeste, Fideles," and the curtain drew down and the beautiful masque was over. There was no applause—only a universal sigh of contentment and admiration.

"Rudyard Kipling's 'The Camelion's Hump' was very well recited by the whole school, every word being very clearly pronounced, and an encore was called for but not acceded to."

Times of Natal.

All the same there seems to have been one word which the reporter missed.

From a speech as reported in The Morning Post:—

"It took the Canadian continent 17 to 19 days to come 3,000 miles."

This shows what faith in the British cause will do.

[pg 57]

German Sentry. "Who goes there?"

Turk. "A friend—curse you!"


It was on Monday, January 11, 1915. He had been reading The Daily Mail and suddenly he banged it down. "You can't believe what you see in the papers," he said.

"Since when?" I asked.

"I suppose always," he said, "but particularly to-day."

He was a nice young soldier on his way back to his camp after a holiday, and I guessed him, before he enlisted in Kitchener's army, to have been a provincial clerk or a salesman of some kind.

"Yes," he said; "and I know someone else who'll say the same when she sees it."

"Sees what?" I asked.

He found a paragraph in the paper—towards the foot of the Society column—and placed his thumb on it.

"This," he said.

"Mayn't I see?" I asked.

He kept his thumb there.

"Yes, and her mother will have something to say to it too," he went on, "and"—he chuckled richly—"my mother too. The idea!"

"Mayn't I see it?" I asked again.

"As if nobody in this world mattered but toffs," he said. "Perhaps they did once; but they're not going to for ever, I can tell you."

"You're a Socialist?" I suggested.

"No, I'm not," he said. "I don't hold with Socialism. But I'm sure after this war's over toffs aren't going to be quite everything that they were before it began.

"The cheek of it!" he continued, with another glance at the paper. "Lumme, I'd like to be there when she lets herself go!"

"Your mother?" I said.

"No, I didn't mean her just then; but she'd be all right to listen to, too. She can't half speak her mind! No, I meant my fiancy. I've just left her; been there for Sunday."

"Have you been engaged long?" I asked.

He laughed. "No," he said. "That's the point. We only got engaged this year. I'd courted her a long time, but it wasn't till New Year's day that we fixed it up."

"I congratulate you," I said, "and her too. I think she's lucky to have a soldier for her husband. I hope you're both very happy."

"Happy!" he said; "I should think we were. That's what makes me so disgusted with this paper. Look at it."

At last he removed his thumb and showed me a paragraph beginning with the words, "The first interesting engagement of the New Year is that between Captain Dudley Hornby and Lady Marjorie Feilding."

"The 'first'!" he said scornfully. "The 'first'! She and her mother on that," he chuckled, "and my mother to help them! (We live close by). My, I wish I could be there to hear it. Give it me back, please; I must mark it and post it. What a time they'll have!"

I would like to be there too.

"A few days ago a military concert was given [at Antwerp], but upon the band striking up the tune of 'Heil dir im Siegerterang' the people hooted. They were thereupon charged by the police, and since that occasion mitrailleuses have been posted in front of the German musicians."

Glasgow Evening Times.

In this matter our sympathies are with the audience, because (1) It was surely entitled to hoot a band which did not know the name of its own National Anthem; (2) The police should not have been allowed to make any charge at a free concert.

[pg 58]


"I towld you how the Docthor's War speech sent iv'ry man from Ballymurky to the war," said old Martin Cassidy to me. "But did I not tell you how the Widdy O'Grady persuaded Terence Connelly to join them?

"I did not? Well, well. It all came out the very day the boys were leaving Ballymurky. Seventeen of them there were no less, and the Docthor there reviewing them this way and that way till he had you bewildered with the inthricacies of them.

"''Tis an uneven number you are,' sez he, 'however I look at you,' sez he.

"'Maybe you'll join us, Mrs. Murphy?' sez he; ''twill not be the first time you've worn the trousies, good luck to you,' sez he. 'Och have done wid your banther, Docthor dear,' sez she; 'there's plenty of them that wears them regler,' sez she, 'in other parts,' sez she. 'You'll not be looking for men in petticoats in Ballymurky,' sez she.

"Sure 'tis a good thing wars come only once in a while," said old Martin; "and me there comfortin' Mrs. Doolan. 'He'll come back to you when the war is over, Mrs. Doolan,' sez I; 'niver fear,' sez I.

"'I know he will,' sez she, wipin' her eyes wid her apron. 'He's not aisy lost, trust him for that. 'Tis no luck I have at all, at all,' sez she.

"They went by the express thrain, so they did," continued old Martin, and went on to explain that very few express trains passed through Ballymurky without stopping. "Sure isn't it a terminus?" said he. "Och but 'twas the fine band they had to play them to the station. Be the way Doolan bate the big dhrum you'd think 'twas the Kaiser's head he was at.

"'Go aisy with her, Doolan,' said the Docthor; 'you're drowning Patsy's runs on the thrombone,' said he.

"'Twas the beautiful music Patsy was discoursin' on that same thrombone. He had the way of it—none betther. 'Twas a gift wid him.

"The band—Patsy and Doolan—headed the procession playing 'Erin-go-bragh'—at laste Patsy was. And didn't he shtop playing in the middle of the third verse?

"'What the divvle d'you think you're playing, Doolan?' sez he.

"'Arrah, gwan out o' that,' sez Doolan, bating the big dhrum. ''Tis all one to me what I play this day,' sez he. 'Gwan you wid your thrombone,' sez he, 'and lave me extemporise on the big dhrum. 'Tis a free counthry annyway,' sez he.

"'Twas at Micky's shebeen that they had the first encounther wid the inimy," said old Martin. "Sure the whole company began to trimble.

"''Tis dying with the thirst on me I am,' sez Shemus; 'you could shtrike a match on me tongue,' sez he.

"'Arrah, go aisy, Docthor dear,' sez Larry; ''tis the cowld has settled on me stomach,' sez he, 'like a shtone,' sez he.

"But the Docthor was inixorable; he wouldn't lave a man break the ranks.

"'Double!' sez he—just that. You should have heard the blasht Patsy let out of his thrombone. If iver the Docthor gets mintioned in the despatches you'll find Patsy at his elbow, so you will.

"'Twas ten o'clock the thrain was to shtart, and the Docthor had them at the station be half-past, punctual to the minyit. Isn't Terence the guard and hadn't he been blowing his whistle this half-hour wid the express there stamping her feet to be away? 'Is it tomorrow you're going, Docthor?' sez he; 'for if 'tis so you'll have to go be a later thrain,' sez he. ''Tis all I can do to hould her in,' sez he.

"'Sure 'tis a hurry you are in, Terence,' sez the Docthor; 'and you wid the nice bright day before you. Seventeen of the best I've brought you, Terence; I can't make an even number of them count them as I will. 'Tis hard to see Conlan there forming twos be himself, so it is.'

"'You're looking younger iv'ry day, Terence me boy,' sez the Docthor, aisy like. 'What age would you be now?'

"''Tis forty I am, Docthor darlin',' said Terence—'in me boots,' sez he.

"''Tis the thick boots you're wearin'; won't you take them off, Terence?' sez the Docthor. 'What's your chist measurement?' sez he.

"'Thirty-eight, no less,' sez Terence, expanding of himself to his full height like a pouther pigeon.

"'I once heard tell of a man that gave his chist measurement be mistake for his age, Terence. Did you never make a mistake in your life now, Terence?' sez the Docthor.

"'Did I not, Docthor, and only last night,' said Terence; 'mebbe you'll hear of it yet,' sez he. 'Gwan out o' that, Docthor, now.'"

"I thought you said that Terence joined them," I remarked.

"Wait now till I tell you," said Martin. "Was I not saying that the Widdy O'Grady was there? Next to the engine she was, looking out of the carriage window at the boys. 'Twas goin' part of the way wid them she was; and why not?

"'You'll be late startin',' said the station-master to Terence, ''tis near eleven o'clock,' sez he; 'or after,' sez he. ''Tis me flag I'm lookin' for,' sez Terence. 'Sure the signal's against us, anyway,' sez he.

"''Tis not this thrain the signal refers to,' said the station-master, ''tis the next thrain. Wave your flag and let her go, Terence,' sez he.

"But 'twas flusthered Terence was wid losin' his flag," said old Martin. 'The divvle take the flag,' sez he. 'Sure I'll shtart her wid me handkerchief,' sez he. A red handkerchief at that," said Martin Cassidy.

"You'd not expect an engine-dhriver to shtart the thrain be wavin' a red handkerchief at him—not an express thrain. Sure he'd know the by-laws betther than that. But 'twas Bridget O'Grady's eye caught the red handkerchief, so it did.

"''Tis wavin' his handkerchief at me, he is,' sez she to the engine-dhriver. 'Good luck to you, mam,' sez he. 'Och the darlint,' sez she, waving back at Terence, 'he worships the ground I thread on,' sez she. 'Sure his feelings have overcome him, mam,' sez the engine-dhriver. 'Och me little Bo-peep,' sez she, blowing kisses to Terence be the dozen at a time.

"'Is it wantin' me to come to you, so it is,' said Bridget, opening the carriage door, 'me little love-burrd?' sez she. 'I'm coming to you, Terence dear,' sez she.

"'She's got you this time, Terence me boy,' said the Docthor, laughing. ''Tis here your flag is,' sez he. 'Well, wave it you,' said Terence. ''Tis no flag of mine now,' sez he. 'Boys,' sez he, ''tis Bridget has let the cat out of the bag this time before 'twas quite hatched,' sez he. ''Tis this is me flag,' sez he, takin' hould of a Union Jack from the dicorations, 'and 'tis the flag of ivery thrue Irishman,' sez he. 'Come along here wid you now, Bridget me jewel,' sez Terence, 'and see me take the King's shilling from the Docthor,' sez he.

"'Wasn't it you that was wantin' me to join last night? And didn't I promise you I'd join at Dublin just as a pleasant surprise for the Docthor? Sure 'tis you that has the laugh on the lot of them, so it is, and you breakin' your heart. Will you wave your flag now you have your eighteen, Docthor asthore? You and your mistakes,' sez he. 'The mistake I made was in thinkin' that a dacent woman would marry an Irishman who didn't know his flag,' sez he. 'For the love of Hivin let her go now, Docthor darlint,' sez he, 'or we'll be late for the Imperor,' sez he."

And that's how Ballymurky made an even number of it.

[pg 59]

N.C.O. (passing squadron that has been halted, men resting). "Stop that bad language. What do you mean by it?"

Voice from darkness. "You'd give tongue if you'd an 'orse's 'oof on yer face an' still 'alted!"


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

I seem to remember that, in the old days of peace, when a friend was run down or in want of thorough rest, it was a commonplace of advice to suggest a long voyage in a sailing ship. Somehow I do not think that, even when mines and traffic raiders are no more, I shall be quite so ready with this counsel after reading The Mutiny of the Elsinore (Mills and Boon). Of course I know that a voyage in nautical fiction can never be wholly uneventful, also that one is justified in looking to Mr. Jack London for something rather strenuous. But really the Elsinore appears to touch the limit in this kind. I wish I could tell you properly about her crew. (Mr. London takes chapters and chapters in which to do it). I suppose that every possible variety of undesirable was represented among them, from dangerous maniacs downwards. And their behaviour was what you might expect. The disquieting thing about the book is that the author gives to its most horrific episodes a cold and calculated air of truth. "Experto crede," he seems to say; "thus and thus is the real life of ships." So I had to believe him. There was only one passenger on board the Elsinore, and he finished the voyage in command of her. This was after the Captain had gone wrong in the head, and the First Officer had discovered the Second to be the murderer of one whom he had sworn to avenge. By this time also the voyage (which might be called one of attrition) had considerably reduced the Elsinore's company; while the survivors were mostly engaged in hurling bombs and vitriol at each other. What one might call an active, open-air book. But, though I am far from denying its grim strength, it will not be my favourite among its author's always interesting romances.

Mr. Gilbert Cannan offers us in Young Earnest (Secker) an extremely conscientious and plausible study of a talented, sensitive and, I am afraid, rather "superior" youth whose love affairs preoccupy him too exclusively and whose demands on life are so exacting that nothing can ever bring him content. I feel so sure from the good deal which I now know of young Fourmy and his behaviour to his wife, Linda, that brilliant suburban, and to Ann, the factory girl, that he never found with Cathleen the perfect peace which his creator alleges; or perhaps, more justly, that he never could have found it without a struggle and self-discipline, of which there are few signs. It is surely one of the fallacies of a common philosophy of romance—a fallacy much too crude for Mr. Cannan's unusually careful method—that while this, that and the other relation, opening delightfully, becomes sordid or impossible some final selection is to prove automatically and permanently blissful, even if there be no legal ties to chafe against on principle. The fact is your Fourmys are in this difficult matter of the affections doomed to trouble as the sparks fly upward, and of course the perceptive author knows this perfectly well and his happy ending is only a "let's pretend." I have been fascinated by the skill of a series of uncannily clear-cut portraits; I know no other writer who has the power in so singular a degree of getting right down below surface traits to depths of mood and character. Analyse it and you will find that Mr. Cannan gives you no descriptions but merely lets his characters unfold themselves in their talk. There's much in that "merely."

[pg 60]

Oliver, the hero of The Woman who Looked Back (Stanley Paul), seems to have been a person of exceptional credulity. Having as a boy married a quite undesirable foreigner, he subsequently went to India, and on his return accepted without question his mother's statement that he was a widower. So he married Sara, the heroine of the tale, and lived in great placidity for some eight years with her, till the expected happened, and the discovery of an old letter proved that wife No. 1 was very much alive. It is at this dramatic crisis that M. Hamilton raises the curtain upon his (or her) story. If I treat it with flippancy it is not from any dislike of it; on the contrary it seems to me both interesting and human, especially human. The dialogue is profoundly and movingly natural; in every chapter I have felt that, given the postulated situation, the characters would talk exactly thus, which simply means that M. Hamilton is an adept in her (or his) art. The situation is complicated by the fact that, though Oliver had accepted his second marriage as an ideally happy one, Sara in her secret heart was becoming monstrously bored. Indeed in a soft, play-with-fire fashion she believed herself in love with Oliver's friend George, who himself adored her passionately. Naturally, therefore, when the bomb burst and Sara was no longer the wife of anybody, George thought his moment had come. I shall not carry the story of their three-cornered fight further. It remains three-cornered. Contrary to every accepted custom, the original and only genuine wife never once appears upon the stage. This strikes me as constituting a record in the avoidance of the scène-à-faire. Incidentally also it confirms me in my opinion of M. Hamilton as an author of originality and honesty, whose picture of Sara in particular shows that she understands a great deal about her own sex.

My enjoyment of a book that is frankly a study on a special subject is always limited by the interest of the subject itself, however prettily the theme be embroidered. The most eloquent disquisition on postage stamps, for example, would leave me unmoved. Margaret Peterson needs no introduction as a most eloquent writer on things Indian; yet "Eurasia," her set study in Tony Bellew (Melrose)—I am not likening it to philately, and should be sorry to be disrespectful to either—so swamps her story, and is in itself so little agreeable, that I cannot feel much enthusiasm for her latest work. That it is dry and barren cannot be said of a single page; indeed, I could even wish that such adjectives might be applicable here and there as a relief from the—shall I say?—clammy fungoid atmosphere that permeates, and is intended to permeate, the world that lies between the covers of this volume. The central figure—certainly not hero, and wanting something to be man—exhales in his fickle violences just this miasma; and rightly so, if the general conception of the book be just, for he is born of a Bengali mother. Even his final sacrifice to save Joan, herself about the only character one would care to meet, is hysterical and unnecessary, and does little to redeem him. I would gladly believe that the picture of her unpleasant experiences is as false as, I think you will agree, it is on the whole ugly and unsympathetic; though I admit that a lack of sympathy is as much against the intention of the writer as a certain unpleasantness is the deliberate object of her able craftsmanship. I must place it in your hands at that, with the advice to read or pass by according to your interest in the subject.

The Wise Virgins (Arnold) is one of those quaint old-world stories of the day when there were artists and individualists who despised convention and the stiffness of ordinary morality and wanted to realise themselves and occupied quite a lot of our attention. To read it is to plunge back through the mists of time into the early summer of 1914 a.d. And even then I have my doubts as to whether I should have been persuaded to share the sympathy which L. F. Woolf appears to feel for Harry Davis, the young Richstead painter. The two types of people among whom his lot is cast are cleverly if much too bitterly and unkindly contrasted—the Garlands, pre-eminently suburban, unable and (all except Gwen) unwilling to leave their monotonous groove, and the Lawrences, too cultured and full of æsthetic sensibilities to do anything but sit still and talk. Harry combines the æsthetic sense with a restless vitality which he attributes to his Jewish origin, and is desirous of action and enterprise. And so, rejected by Camilla Lawrence, he talks to Gwen until she almost compels him to compromise her, and the book closes with the mockery of a forced marriage in deference to the sentiments of Philistia. In spite of some skilful and penetrating satire, I fancy that 1915 will consider The Wise Virgins neither a very nice nor a very necessary book.

Teashop Waitress (feeling the pinch of War). "Just look at that lot, Edna! Not five minutes' chat in the whole crowd."


The claims which have been made by Belgium upon the generosity of the British public have been eagerly met, but the needs of her Army do not seem to have been fully realised. If we owe one debt more than other it is to the fighting men among our Belgian allies. These brave fellows are still in want of warm clothing and those simple comforts—such as tobacco and chocolate—which sound so little and mean so much. Mr. Punch, at the risk of seeming importunate in his demands upon the goodness of his readers, begs them to give their help where it is so sorely needed. Gifts in kind should be addressed to Commandant Maton, 23, City Road, E.C., and money gifts (perhaps the more useful form of help) to M. Vandervelde, Victoria Hotel, Northumberland Avenue, S.W.

Tho Honorary Secretary of the Queen's "Work for Women" Fund, 33, Portland Place, W., desires to express her gratitude to those who generously responded to Mr. Punch's appeal for this good cause.

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