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Title: Anecdotes of the Great War

Gathered from European Sources

Author: Carleton Britton Case

Release Date: March 1, 2015 [eBook #48393]

Language: English

Character set encoding: UTF-8



E-text prepared by Brian Coe, Emmy,
and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team
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Anecdotes of the Great War

Transcriber's Note: This cover has been created by the transcriber using the title page and is placed in the public domain.





Shrewesbury Publishing Co.




THERE have been occasions, even in this greatest of world’s conflicts, when

“Grim-visag’d war hath smoothed his wrinkled front,”

and stopped fighting long enough to smile.

It could not be all slaughter and struggle, this war, or every combatant on the long, weary battle-line would go mad. There must be relaxation from the terrible tension. And there is.

Human nature proves to be much the same in time of stress as under more cheerful circumstances, and the lads at the front, in the trenches, and even in the hospitals, as well as the sad-hearted folks left behind, are quick to catch at any incident, however trivial, that shall relieve the strain by a suggestion of mirthfulness; a mild paliative for the awfulness of things as they are.

In all wars there are amusing happenings; still but few are ever recorded, so overshadowed are they by more momentous matters. And now, while shrapnel and gas-bombs are still fouling the European air and tremendous events that make history for a whole world are being enacted daily, seems the most fitting time to gather such material as the European press[4] affords, to exhibit the lighter side of the world’s most dreadful war.

This is the first and so far the only collection of its kind published since the war began. In its compilation care has been taken to avoid all items calculated to give offense to any. The bitterness and hatred that characterize much of the current offerings, especially of the German and British press, are given no place here, for reasons that must be obvious.

The absence or scarcity of anecdotes from Russian, Japanese, Polish, Turkish, Bulgarian, Serbian and Italian sources may be attributed to the editor’s inability at this time to secure access to suitable material, if such exists at all, and not to any wish to limit selections solely to the other combatants.




Mrs. Waring—“What language do the Belgians use, Paul?”

Mr. Waring—“I don’t know; but I know what language I’d use if I were a Belgian!”


“How is it that nobody ever ventures to discuss the war with Jinks, and he has all the talking to himself?”

“Well, you see, he’s the only fellow in the club who knows how to pronounce the names of those Russian and Polish jawbreaker towns.”


The proprietor of a café at Havre, in endeavoring to please his large-increased British clientèle, as a consequence of the war, started his menus in English. The first effort of the local printer was:—

“Soup, fish, entrée, joint, sweet, wife and coffee included.”

Three francs was the price, and one might say not at all dear at that figure.



Mabel—“I think I shall give up my flat next week.”

Maud—“Why, is it too small?”

Mabel—“No; he won’t enlist.”


One night General —— was out on the line and observed a light on the mountain opposite. Thinking it was a signal-light of the enemy, he remarked to his artillery officer that a hole could easily be put through it. Whereupon the officer, turning to the corporal in charge of the gun, said:

“Corporal, do you see that light?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Put a hole through it,” ordered the captain.

The corporal sighted the gun, and, when all was ready, he looked up and said:

“Captain, that’s the moon.”

“Don’t care for that,” was the captain’s ready response; “put a hole through it, anyhow.”


“Yes,” sighed the mother, “I am so often worried about my boy John. You have no idea how much concerned a mother is when her son is on the tented field.”

“Ah!” said the sympathetic listener. “And what regiment is your son with?”

“Regiment? Oh, he isn’t with the army—he’s employed in a traveling circus.”



“Reckon I look a reg’lar Bluebird,” quoth Tommy to himself, as he caught a khaki reflection of himself in a looking-glass.

On going nearer he gazed at the rough stubble of his chin ruefully, and took a thoughtful look at his watch.

“Just time,” he muttered, as he pushed open the door of an unknown barber’s shop.

That worthy, with patriotic fervor, placed himself at the disposal of Tommy absolutely, and, between various tricky questions on points of war, nicked and gashed the poor soldier’s face with consummate skill.

The job finished, the barber surveyed Tommy with pride and admiration as he flicked him down with a towel. Our hero, however, again went and surveyed his face in the glass.

“Give me a drink of water!” he gasped.

“You ain’t going to faint?” exclaimed the alarmed hairdresser.

“No—oh, no,” calmly replied Tommy, staunching the wounds on his face. “I just want to see if my mouth’ll hold water!”


A section of British infantry entered a French village in the evening and were going to billet for the night, so many thought it a good chance to cook a hot supper. A private had foraged round and found everything to make a good Irish stew except the potatoes. Being unable to speak French, he asked his[8] section commander what was the French for potatoes. The section commander, being a bit of a wit and scenting some fun, replied, “Bon soir” (“Good evening”).

The private in perfect good faith went up to a house door and was answered by a Frenchwoman, who did not understand one word of English, and the following conversation occurred:

Private—“Bon soir.”

Frenchwoman—“Bon soir, monsieur.”

Private—“Yes, bon soir.”

Frenchwoman—“Bon soir, monsieur.”

Private—“Yes, yes! Some bon soirs, please.”

Thomas Atkins, seeing the look of amazement on the good Frenchwoman’s face, and seeing a potato lying in the roadway, thought he had better adopt different tactics, so, picking up the potato and showing it to the woman, said: “Here, missus, give us some of these blooming spuds!”


The “Tommy” on leave from the front had been given a free railway pass to take him home to see his people, and he utilized part of his brief holiday to get married. On the return journey, when the ticket-inspector asked to see his pass, he produced by accident his marriage lines.

The inspector handed the paper back with a glimmer of a smile.

“This is a ticket for a very long and wearisome journey, young man,” he said, “but not on this line.”



First Native—“We’re doin’ fine at the war, Jarge.”

Second Native—“Yes, Jahn; and so be they Frenchies.”

First Native—“Aye; an’ so be they Belgians an’ Italyuns an’ Rooshians.”

Second Native—“Aye; an’ so be they Allys. Oi dunno where they come from, Jahn, but they be perfect fiends for fightin’.”


Soldier’s Unmarried Wife (who has been living with her man for eleven years, to charming and aristocratic widow, the local representative of the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Families’ Association)—“Well, ma’am, I am going to be married next week, and I want you to come to the wedding. You’ve been so kind it would not be right without you.”

Fair Widow—“I shall be delighted to come, Mrs. Brown. What day is it?”

Mrs. Brown—“On Thursday, ma’am.”

Fair Widow—“That is very unfortunate. I am afraid I cannot go, as I have another important engagement.”

Mrs. Brown—“Is it very important, ma’am? Can’t you put it off?”

Fair Widow—“Well, the truth is, I am going to be married myself.”

Mrs. Brown—“Ah, I quite understand. It doesn’t do to miss the chance of getting righted when you gets the opportunity, does it now, ma’am?”



I’m up to my knees in cold water,
There’s “Zeps” droppin’ bombs from the sky,
But I don’t care a jot for the whole bloomin’ lot;
I’ve got you—and my matches are dry!

A right guid frien’ ye are tae me,
Ye gie me strength an’ vigor.
A comforter ye are. But, oh!
If only ye’d been bigger!

I’m a bloomin’ modest ’ero ’oo the boys say never swanks,
And I’ve never told my story to reporters,
But I’ll be a bloomin’ Kiplin’ if they like, by way of thanks,
For the blessed cigarette the post’s just brought us.

Oh, Kitchener is worth a lot, and so is Johnny French;
We talk a heap about ’em both when sitting in our trench.
But if you want to know the chap whose name should be wrote big,
I tell yer straight, the best of all is good old Gen’ral Cig.

Here’s to the beggar that hasn’t a smoke,
Nor a “fag-paper” even to make one;
And here’s to the toff, may he never go broke,
Who asks Tommy Atkins to take one.


Bully beef and cocoa—you’re right when in the fray.
Cold roast beef and pickles—in barracks you’re my lay.
Chicken soup and jellies, in hospital you get.
But I’d swap ’em all, and welcome, for you, my cigarette.

When the “Black Marias” are tumbling, dancing, bursting, spitting, grumbling;
And to blow us all to bits is what they’re after;
Ah, my little cigarette, you’re the cheeriest friend I’ve met,
For you help to turn the slaughter into laughter.


How Lord Kitchener is regarded in the English army was shown once in amusing fashion at a “geographical tea-party.”

It was noticed that a young subaltern came into the room with a tiny portrait of Lord Kitchener in his buttonhole. No one could guess what geographical significance could be attached to it. At last the young man explained that what he had intended to convey was “The Bos-phor-us.”


“You are a regular muff, sir,” said an exasperated sergeant, after vainly trying to drill a recruit.

“Thank you sir,” replied the latter; “if I am a muff, I have done my duty—I have made you warm!”



Even the war has its bright side. Two negro porters were discussing it as they waited for a train to pull into the station.

“Man,” said the first, “dem Germany submaroons is sho’ly gwine to sink de British navy. Yas, sir-ee, dey’s sho’ly gwine to ’splode dem naval boats dat’s waitin’ out yonda.”

“Sho!” said porter number two. “An’ what’s gwine ter happen den?”

“Why, dem Germany submaroons’ll come right on ’cross de ocean an’ splode de rest ob de naval boats ob de world. Dat’s what’ll happen den, Sambo!”

“Well, looky heah, Gawge. Ain’t yo’ an’ me better decla’ ouahselves a couple o’ noot—nootral—nootralities?”

“Man,” said Gawge, “yo’ all kin be a nootrality if yo’ wants to. Ah’m a German!”


Scene: A street in a French town. Enter Thomas Atkins, singing; he meets Jean Pioupiou.

T. A.—“‘It’s a long, long way to Tipperary, it’s—’ Halloa, cocky—how goes it?” (Holds out his hand, genially.)

J. P.—“Ah, mon cher ami! ‘For eeze a zholi good fellow,’ nest-ce-pas?” (Attempts to embrace his new friend.)

T. A.—“Whoa, mare—steady on! You make me blush, old sport—it’s not the thing where we come[13] from. Kiss the girls—not half! But the men—not in these!

J. P.—“You come from Teeperary—a long, long way, peut-être?

T. A.—“Me? Never was there in the whole course of my natural, cher ami, see voo play, mong cher frère. What price my parley-vooing, eh?”

J. P.—“Charmant—charmant! Vous parlerez bientôt—”

T. A.—“Cut it, old dear; I like you—you’re hot stuff; but your queer langwidge is a bit too thick. Have a fag? No offense.”

J. P.—“Merci bien, m’sieu. Mais dites-moi—tiens! Tell me, eef you please, where is zis Teeperary, and why you sing always of it such a ’long, long way?’ Ees it that you all come from there?”

T. A.-“Well, I never met anybody yet who’d been there, but I’ll tell you one thing—promise you won’t let on?”

J. P.—“‘Let on?’ Pardon—I do not—”

T. A.—“You won’t tell anyone?”

J. P.—“Ah, non, non—pas un mot!

T. A.—(Whispers hoarsely) “It’s in Ireland.”

J. P. (Ecstatically) “Ah—Teeperary ees in Ireland! Eet is the Hymne National of les Irlandais sans doute; the—what do you say—the National Anthem of that country!”

T. A.—(Rather taken aback) “Well, not exactly a hymn, my son. You’re a long way off it yet.”

J. P.—“‘A long, long way’ off eet, hein? But[14] why so very far to this place you sing of? And why do you celebrate it so loudly on your marching?”

T. A.—(Puzzled) “Blowed if I know. It’s a long way because—you see, you’d have to cross the Channel; then first on the left and straight on till you board the Irish packet; then—ask a policeman. See?”

J. P.—(Sadly) “Ah, oui, oui. Je ne comprends pas—mille regrets.

T. A.—“You no comprenny, eh? Same here—left my geography home on the piano, else I’d put it clearer.” (An idea comes to him.) “You see, it’s like this: we take Tipperary as kind of representative—oh, very hot. Now I’m oratin’. Twig?”

J. P.—“Pardon?

T. A.—(Very earnestly, explaining to himself as well as his friend) “Means lots of things, Tipperary—home, the girl, a square feed, plenty of ’baccy, and the old pals, you know; all signified by the word ‘Tipperary.’ Understand? We pack it up tight for convenience in transport, and when we sing it, it all comes out—the jolly things we’ve left behind. Got it?”

J. P.—(Smiling happily) “Ah, bien entendu—you ‘pack it’—ze Irish packet of which you have spoke, is it not?”

T. A.—(Groaning softly) “Oh, Lord! Cheese it, Frenchie—you make me perspire. What I mean is, when we sing ‘Tipperary’ it reminds us of all these things. And we like it. Makes us feel nice all over.”

J. P.—(Joyously) “Voilà—comme c’est bon—c’est symbolique, un coup de l’imagination, n’est-ce-pas?


T. A.—(Catching the word) “That’s it—you’ve struck it; it sets our imagina-see-on to work. Also it’s a special swanky tune for marching to; makes you forget your poor feet. Like the tune, eh? Savvy? Tipperary—you ’preciate the air—le music, tray bong, nace-pah?

J. P. (Beaming) “La musique—la mélodie—ah, oui, mais c’est—how do you say him?” (triumphantly): “Luv-lee!

T. A.—(Enthusiastically) “Oh, good! Bong garsong! You cottoned on beautifully that time, anyhow.”

J. P.—“Comment?

T. A.-“Come on? Where? Oh, I see—one of your words. Well?”

J. P.—“But, tell me, eet is how long—how far—to Teeperary?”

T. A.—(Desperately) “Now look here, old dear; I’ve had enough of this. You take it from me there’s some things you bally well can’t get the hang of, and this is one of ’em. Never mind; donny-moi one of those funny little black fags of yours and we’ll toddle to a caffy and drink to William the Conqueror—I don’t think. Come on!”

J. P.—“Comment?

T. A.—“That’s what I said.” (Takes his arm and sings): “‘It’s a long—’”

J. P. (Joining in with huge glee as they go off) “‘—long way to Teeperary, eet’s a long, long way to go-o-o—’” (Exeunt.)



Will Irwin, the war correspondent, supped in London recently with Lincoln Springfield, editor.

“Lord Kitchener,” said Mr. Irwin, “told a young lady some years since that, if he ever married, his choice would be a German widow.”

“Well, he’s making plenty of them now,” chuckled Mr. Springfield.


One of the best stories told about Sir John French is how, one night at dinner, some officers were discussing rifle-shooting. The general was listening, as was his wont, without making any remark, until at length he chipped in with:

“Say, I’ll bet anyone here,” in his calm, quiet, deliberate way, “that I can fire ten shots at 500 yards and call each shot correctly without waiting for the marker. I’ll stake a box of cigars on it.”

The major present accepted the offer, and the next morning the whole mess was at the shooting range to see the trial.

Sir John fired. “Miss!” he announced. He fired again. “Miss!” he repeated. A third shot. “Miss!”

“Hold on there!” protested the major. “What are you doing? You are not shooting at the target at all.”

But French finished his task. “Miss!” “Miss!” “Miss!”

“Of course I wasn’t shooting at the target,” he said. “I was shooting for those cigars.”



He was a shining light of the Intelligence Corps, and before he arrived at Swakopmund his abilities as a linguist were spoken of with bated breath. To him there came his captain.

“Glad you’ve come, Jones,” said he; “we need a man who speaks German. Take a file and go down and tell that officer we made a prisoner yesterday that I’ll give him parole, but if he attempts to escape he’ll be shot.”

Off marched Jones, full of the importance of his task.

Sprechen sie Deutsch?” he asked the chap, to the great admiration of the onlookers.

Ja, ja,” said the big German, eagerly, glad to find some one who understood him at last.

“Oh! yer do—do yer?” said Jones. “Well, old sauerkraut, the captain says as ’ow ’e’ll give yer parole, but if you blooming well tries to skip it, there’s a bullet for yer! See?”


When the opposing lines of trenches are near enough together, bombs of all kinds are being used by both belligerents. Some of these bombs are made out of old jam tins; and it is related how, when one Pure Plum and Apple, bearing the maker’s name, had succeeded in reaching its destination, the following plaintive remark was heard from the German trenches:

“Ach, Himmel! These English, these shopkeepers, how dey vos advertise!”


Tommy and His War Talk

The fondness of soldier-boys for nicknames and slang is proverbial. Their talk in barrack-room and camp would at times puzzle the most versatile of linguists, for “Tommy” prides himself on the originality of his expressions. He has already developed a slang of his own in connection with the German war, and the official despatches mention that he has dubbed the huge German shells “coal-boxes,” “Black Marias,” “Jack Johnsons,” and “suit-cases.” Trenches exposed to artillery fire are “stalls for the pictures,” while when an artilleryman makes a good shot he chuckles over the fact that he has “handed the Germans a good plum.”

Wire entanglements are known as the “Zoo,” while German spies are “playing offside.” “Flag-waggers” and “helio-wobblers” for signalmen are fairly obvious nicknames, and the latter’s grin when they hear them is only equaled by that of the members of the Medical Corps, who are known by the somewhat undignified names of “poultice-wallopers” or “linseed lancers.”

The Ordnance Store Corps has been nicknamed the “Sugar-Stick Brigade,” on account of the trimmings on its uniform. Tall men in the army are generally referred to as “lofties,” and more often than not a cavalryman calls his horse his “long-faced chum,” buglers being “fiddlers” or “wind-jammers.”

In ordinary conversation “Tommy” speaks of his clothes as his “clobber,” and the canteen as the “tank,”[19] a man who talks too much being known as a “chin-wagger.” To be in hospital is to be “in dock,” while money is referred to as “oof,” “rhino,” “the ready,” “pewter,” or “shiners.” A sovereign is a “canary,” and if a man wants to borrow money he is “trying to raise a station” or “to get his feet under” (meaning the canteen-table).

The man who drinks a lot is known as a “mopper,” and “bun-stranglers” are temperance soldiers.

A Reservist is a “dug-out,” a recruit a “rookie,” and a veteran an “old sweat.” A wheelwright in the artillery is a “spoky,” while the long-service medal is called the “rooti” medal—“rooti” being the slang term for bread, because the owner has eaten most. Puttees are known as “war socks,” and jam as “possie.”


The way they do things in some of the odd corners of the British Empire, where they are comparatively free from wireless telegrams, is very pretty. The officer in charge of a certain hinterland received from his superior officer at the base some time in August this message:

“War has been declared. Arrest all enemy aliens in your district.”

With commendable promptitude the superior officer received this reply:

“Have arrested seven Germans, four Russians, two Frenchmen, five Italians, two Roumanians, and an American. Please say who we’re at war with.”



“Say, pop,” said the American tourist’s little boy in London, “why does that there soldier wear an eyeglass only on one eye?”

“So he kin use t’other one to see with!” Mr. Scrapple answered.


A weaver, who is noted for his joking propensities, took his fellow-workers quite unawares the other morning. He was reading, as has been his custom since the war began, the latest news of Army and Fleet. After glancing through the first page they were astonished to see Jock looking wildly about him, and gesticulating to his partner.

“What dost think? What dost think? British Fleet ’as gotten surrounded. Dost yer? Dost yer? Our Fleet ’as gotten surrounded!”

In less than five minutes they were off scanning their papers for the unbelievable news. At last one of the weavers, not being able to find the news in his paper, approached Jock.

“Aw say, Jock, lad, wheer is it?”

“Wheer’s what? Th’ British Fleet? Whey, in t’ North Sea, aw reckon.”

“Aw mean wheer did ta see it about t’ German Fleet having surrounded our Fleet?”

“Aw never said owt about th’ German Fleet; aw said our Fleet ud gotten surrounded.”

“Well, what else con it be surrounded wi’, then?”

“Whey, it’s surrounded wi’ waythur, tha foo’!”



An English correspondent said in Washington:

“I once tried to interview Lord Kitchener, the English war minister. I tackled him after dinner in a hotel lounge as he sipped his coffee and puffed on a huge cigar. He stared at me when I proffered my request, then he blew a cloud of smoke and said:

“‘I never gave an interview in my life, and I never intend to.’

“This seemed decisive enough. I felt myself getting red, and I stammered, as I prepared to go:

“‘Well, then, Lord Kitchener, will you at least give me your autograph? It would be worth having.’

“He blew another cloud of smoke. Then he answered:

“‘You’d better go off and make your own autograph worth having.’”


Whilst making his usual daily inspection of the stables the colonel noticed Private Jones giving his horse a piece of lump sugar.

“I am very pleased to see you making much of your horse, Private Jones,” he said; “it shows that you regard him with the true spirit, and I will not forget you for it.”

Private Jones waited until his commanding officer was out of earshot, and then turned to his neighbor.

“I wasn’t making much of him,” he said. “The blighter threw me off this morning, and I’m trying to give him the blinkin’ toothache.”



Mollie (aged seven), English, and proud of it, was presented with a new and beautiful doll one morning.

A little later in the day she discovered the horrid fact that it was “made in Germany.”

For a few tense moments the pride of her new possession had a mental wrestle with patriotism. Then Mollie remarked:

“Well, never mind, she’s very young, and I’ll bring her up English.”


He had been a riveter in one of the large shipyards, and was used to the din and roar of the thousands of hammers used in connection therewith, which causes deafness to many of the men engaged in this occupation.

When the call of King and Country sounded he nobly responded and enlisted, and was eventually drafted to the front.

It happened that the first of his nights near the scene of action was supremely quiet, but just before daylight the enemy’s guns came into action, and the boom and roar of the “Jack Johnsons,” etc., woke him with a start, and he gazed round the unusual surroundings of his billet.

“What’s wrong, mate?” asked one of the old hands, seeing the expression on his face; “did you think the world was comin’ to an end?”

“No,” was the reply, “but I thought I had slept in, and they had started work without me.”



Recruiting is responsible for a good story from Carmarthenshire. One of the latest accessions to Kitchener’s army is a stalwart man 6 feet 2 inches in height, from the heart of the country, and on joining he expanded his chest with pride and ejaculated, “Now for the Germans.”

The following day he received from London a telegram: “Heartiest congratulations.—Kitchener.”

This was duly shown around, but next morning his pride was boundless on receiving the Royal message: “The Empire is proud of you.—George.”

It was not until the third day, when he received a wire, “For Heaven’s sake, keep neutral.—Wilhelm,” that he realized a waggish friend had been pulling his leg.


“I am told,” said the Kaiser, “that you are a very poor man, and the only support of your aged parents. Because of your poverty you shall have your choice between taking the Iron Cross or a hundred marks.”

“Your Majesty,” inquired the hero, “what is the Cross worth in money?”

“Not much,” said the Emperor. “It is the honor that makes it valuable. It is worth perhaps two marks.”

“Very well, then,” said Einstein, drawing himself up to his full height and saluting. “I will take the Iron Cross and ninety-eight marks in cash!”



Even an extremely aggressive enemy can be conquered by strategy; it is only a question of employing the stratagem fitted to the case.

An open-air preacher of East London understood this, and his stratagem fitted to a charm. He was addressing a crowd when a soldier who had been drinking came up and ridiculed the service. Finding it was useless to ignore the man, the preacher said:

“Ah, my friend, you’re no soldier. No servant of the King would get drunk and interrupt a peaceful service.”

The man said he was a soldier, and asked the preacher to test him.

“Very well,” was the reply, “I will. Now, then, attention!”

This the soldier did as well as his condition would allow.


This order was also obeyed, though with some trouble.

“Quick march!”

And off went the valiant soldier, marching down the road at a quick pace, while the preacher resumed his address.


Recruiting Sergeant—“I can’t enlist you, my good man; you have only one eye.”

Patriotic Scotsman—“Hoots! that disna matter. Ye’ve tae shut ae e’e whin yer shootin’ onywey.”



A good recruiting story, told by an officer at Seaforth, shows how prone is a simple mind to be confused by the elaborate cross-questioning which the new recruit has to undergo. The officer was entrusted with the collection of particulars necessary for the allotment of allowances to the soldiers’ dependents.

He was interrogating a young fellow who did not seem to have a clear idea what it was all about.

“Next of kin?” he asked, in a sharp, business-like way.

The young soldier dropped his voice and became confidentially apologetic.

“I’m only wearing a jersey,” he replied; “my shirt’s getting washed.”


A young lad applied for work the other day at a shed in Burnley, where his three brothers had worked previously, but had ’listed.

The manager, a thorough patriot, told the lad he could find him two looms at once, and then asked him:

“How’s your brother Frank going on?”

“’E’s out at the front, sir, feighting.”

“Is your brother Albert out in France as well?”

“Yes, sir, ’e’s wi’ eawr Frank—same regiment.”

“Your eldest brother, Jack, will be out there also, I reckon?”

“No,” said the youngster, with a proud shake of the head; “eawr Jack hesn’t gone to France yet. ’E’s mindin’ India!”



“Do you mean that you want me to press your trousers?” she demanded, with all the sternness she could muster.

“Why, certainly, my dear,” replied Sergeant Euchre, affably. “Am I asking too much?”

“Well, I should just about think so, Charles William. I’d have you know that when you married me you didn’t marry a flat-iron.”

Charles William thought a lot. That same evening Mrs. Euchre chipped in with, “Oh, Charles, you might just button my dress up the back before you go out.”

But Sergeant Euchre merely filled his pipe as he chuckled softly, “Not much, popsy-wopsy. You must remember that when you accepted me you did not marry a buttonhook.”

And setting his cap at a rakish angle, he made for the sergeants’ mess.


A recruiting sergeant, holding forth on the absolute necessity of every man enlisting, encountered an Irish wit.

“Halloa, John! Why can’t you join the Colors? I don’t know how any man can stand aside in such terrible circumstances. Why, what would you do if the enemy came over here, eh?”

“Oh,” said John, “that’s the simplest thing on earth. Why, shure, I’d enlist for foreign service then.”



Private John Mackay was pondering over the common problem of “raising the wind.” He was absolutely stony, hadn’t even the money to buy himself a packet of “fags.” But as he pondered an idea of striking originality took shape, which so delighted him with its simplicity that he immediately put it into practice.

Entering a hut, which, along with hundreds of others, Kitchener has caused to be built to protect the soldiers from the changes of weather, he called to attention the party of new recruits.

“Gentlemen,” he began, as he produced a highly-polished silver watch, “I have here a watch to sell. I already have a wristlet watch”—here he used the conventional lie—“so there is no use keeping this one. Now, what do you offer for it?” The question was addressed to no one in particular.

Save for cries of “a halfpenny” and “threepence,” no one appeared to be interested. But Mac wasn’t downhearted. Advancing farther into the hut, he held up his hand.

“We’ll raffle it, then,” he suggested, still feigning that he believed he would get a purchaser. “Here is a pack of cards.”

The cards were handed over, shuffled, and with the actions of an expert card player, a recruit deposited a card in front of each of the assembled men.

“Now, each man back his card, threepence all round, and the watch goes to the highest card.”


This was done with remarkable speed, the recruits had pocket-money in plenty, and the schemer now gathered in his shekels. The cards were then turned, and the fellow who had managed to win rushed off to his corner, exultantly bearing his prize. Mac departed.

Half an hour later Mac quietly slipped into the recruits’ hut, and going over to the man who had captured the watch, whispered:

“The man I got the watch from is wanting it. I’ll very likely get into a scrape if I don’t get it. I’ll give you a shilling for it.”

The recruit quickly jumped to the conclusion that Mac had stolen the watch, and not wishing to be connected in any way with stolen property, promptly handed it back.

As Mac went off with his watch to his own hut he muttered: “That’s raised the wind, anyway.”


The other day some Scottish Territorials were at the rifle butts. One of the men, a tailor by trade, was making exceedingly bad practice, and missing the target every shot. At length the officer in command became angry, and inquired gruffly:

“Can you not see the target, sir? Surely you, as a tailor, must thread your own needle!”

“Oh, aye, I can see the target,” replied the Terrier, calmly, “an’ I can thread a needle as well; but wha the mischief ever tried to thread a needle at twa hunder yairds?”



The schoolmaster wanted to know whether the boys had an understanding of the functions of a British Consulate.

“Supposing,” he began, framing his question in the likeliest way to arouse the interest of his hearers, “supposing some one took you up in an aeroplane, and after a long, exciting flight, dropped you down thousands of miles from home in a country quite foreign, what place would you seek out first of all?”

An eager hand was instantly uplifted.

“Well, Willie, what do you say?”

“Please, sir, the hospital.”


A senator was talking about the war. “Each side,” he said, “is declaring hotly now that it will never receive the foe within its hospitable borders again, and that after the war there will be no trading with the enemy forevermore.

“When we hear talk like that, let us smile skeptically, remembering the vain campaign of Wilberforce.

“When Wilberforce was fighting against slavery in London a shopkeeper put up a sign: ‘No goods made with slave-grown cotton sold here.’ But the man’s rival then put up another sign: ‘All our goods are made from cheap, slave-grown cotton.’

“This latter sign got all the trade, of course. If the first one hadn’t been taken down at once it would have driven its author into bankruptcy.”



A correspondent sends to the “Manchester Guardian” this story, evidently from an ironical Swiss paper. A few soldiers belonging to the brass band of a regiment in garrison at Basle went to a certain café for refreshments. One of them sat down alone at a table. Later a civilian, a German, joined him, and the two began to talk war politics.

“Would you shoot the Germans if they invaded Switzerland?” asked the German.

“Oh, no, never!” exclaimed the soldier.

“Waiter, a pint of beer and a beefsteak with potatoes for this brave man,” ordered the civilian. “And your pals sitting at the next table—would they also not shoot the Germans if they tried to invade this country?”

“Oh, no, never!” retorted the Swiss.

“Waiter, a glass of beer for each of the soldiers at the next table!” ordered the civilian. And, addressing again the soldier, he asked: “Is this generally the view held in the Swiss army in regard to a possible German invasion? Are all the Swiss soldiers so Germanophil?”

“I don’t know,” replied the soldier.

“But why would you not shoot the Germans?”

“Because we belong to the band!”


She—“Tell me, when you were in the army were you cool in the hour of danger?”

He—“Cool? I actually shivered.”



Pat Molloy came in for his evening’s beverage, and paper in hand, as usual. The crowd kept quiet to hear the latest war news. Pat said the war had reached a crisis, and that there was only one obstacle between the Allied Forces and Berlin. His listeners were dumfounded, and one of them, recovering quicker than the others, asked:

“And what might that be, Pat?”

“Oh,” said Pat, emptying his glass; “it’s nothing but the Germany army.”


The Irish Tommy, prisoner, was feeling very wroth with the destroyers of Louvain, when a German officer dashed by on what Paddy termed “a rare bit of horseflesh.”

“Faith, that’s an Irish horse,” said Paddy, and his eyes glinted maliciously at the Teutonic soldier, who had a fair knowledge of English, and at once took up the glove. They would probably have come to blows, in spite of Paddy’s precarious position, had not a compatriot of his proposed that whoever could tell the biggest lie might claim the horse for his country. Paddy forthwith began a tale which was one lie from beginning to end, and stopped triumphantly. Then his Teutonic opponent began, in slow, but correct, English:——

“There was once a German gentleman——”

“That settles it,” said Paddy, with a sigh of resignation; “the horse is a German one!”



Rain was falling steadily as the weary cyclist plodded on through the mud. At last he spied a figure walking towards him through the gloom. Gladly he sprang off his machine, and asked the native:—

“How far off is the village of Poppleton?”

“Just ten miles the other way, sir,” was the reply.

“The other way!” exclaimed the cyclist. “But the last signpost I passed said it was in this direction.”

“Ah!” said the native, with a knowing grin, “but, ye see, we warped that there post round so as to fool those ’ere Zeppelins.”


The occasion was the regimental ball. The band was there, and the palms and the refreshment buffet and everything was lovely.

But in one corner, behind a beautiful green rampart of palms, the young lieutenant and the colonel’s daughter were trying to occupy the same chair, and were giving other evidence of the fact that their hearts had been pierced by some of Cupid’s darts.

Suddenly an intruder appeared—a fierce intruder in the uniformed personage of the young lady’s father. Instantly the chair was abandoned, and the youthful swain stood at attention.

“Sir,” he said, in sharp, staccato tones, “I have the honor to report an engagement, in which I have been entirely victorious. Now, sir, it merely remains for you to give your official sanction of the terms of surrender.”



“My plate is damp.”

“Hush!” whispered his wife. “That’s your soup. They serve small portions in war time.”


Frau von Schmidt (of Berlin)—“Otto, where are we going for holidays this summer?”

Otto—“Well—er—there’s Turkey.”


Village Haberdasher—“Yew take it from me, sir, folk in our village be very spiteful agin the Germans. Why, Oi reckon Oi’ve sold fifty ’ankerchers wi’ Kitchener’s face on ’em!”


Actual extract from a sailor’s letter to his wife:

“Dear Jane,—I am sending you a postal order for 10s, which I hope you may get—but you may not—as this letter has to pass the Censor.”


He—“I hear that you are knitting socks for the fighting soldiers.”

She—“Yes; man’s extremity is woman’s opportunity, you know.”


“Since the war began women have been taking the places of the men on the Paris street-cars.”

“Well, they’d do it here, but the men are too ill-mannered to get up.”



A school teacher recently gave his pupils a lecture on patriotism. He pointed out the high motives which moved the Territorials to leave their homes and fight for their country.

The school teacher noticed that one boy did not pay attention to the instruction, and as a test question he asked him:

“What motives took the Territorials to the war?”

The boy was puzzled for a moment, then, remembering the public “send-off” to the local regiment at the railway station, he replied:

“Locomotives, sir.”


Softly the nurse smoothed the sufferer’s pillow. He had only been admitted that morning, and now he looked pleadingly up at the “ministering angel” who stood at his bedside.

“An’ phwat did yez say the docthor’s name was, nurse, dear?” he asked.

“Dr. Kilpatrick,” was the reply. “He’s the senior house surgeon.”

The sufferer winced, and pulled a wry face.

“That settles it,” he muttered, firmly. “That docthor won’t get no chance to operate on me.”

“Why not?” asked the nurse, in surprise. “He’s a very clever man.”

“That’s as may be,” the patient said again, his voice cold and strong. “But me name happens to be Patrick.”



Some men, dressed in civilian clothes, gathered together in the smoking-room of the hotel, discussing the joys and sorrows of life at the Front.

“Well, I’ve been with the Army and had a very interesting time,” said one.

“Ever got really alone with the enemy?” asked another.

“Rather! I once took two of their officers.”


“Of course! And the very next day I took eight men!”

“All wounded, I expect,” sneered a listener. “You didn’t get hurt, did you?”

“Just a slight scratch, that’s all. And two days after I took a transport wagon, and followed up that by taking a big gun.”

“Sir,” said a disagreeable auditor, “I have seen some of the finest specimens of anything you can call to mind, but I wish to state that you are the biggest romancer that ever trod this earth.”

“Oh no, I am not that,” replied the hero; “but I am a photographer!”


A well-informed miss of fourteen inquired of her brother, “What would you say if you met a German lady and she said, ‘Good morning, God punish England’?”

The boy quickly replied, “I’d say, ‘Don’t you think you’re very Hun-ladylike?’”



They are telling a story in Switzerland about what would happen if the Kaiser violated Swiss, as he has already violated Belgian, neutrality.

The Kaiser was amazed at a Swiss drill by the shooting of the Switzers, who all scored bull’s-eyes.

“Wonderful shots!” said the Kaiser to a Swiss general. “Wonderful shots!”

“And we have, your Majesty, 100,000 such shots in the Swiss army,” the general answered.

The Kaiser laughed, and in a joking way he said:

“But suppose I invaded you with 200,000 soldiers?”

“In that case, your Majesty,” said the other, “we should each of us fire twice.”


A certain regiment stationed in Belfast was mustered in the Ormean Park for inspection, and were standing awaiting the arrival of their colonel. Presently the commanding officer was seen approaching on horseback, but when a few paces from the troops the horse (which had been hired for the day) stood stock-still, and refused to move.

The officer made desperate efforts to urge on his steed, but all to no purpose. Before long a group of bystanders encircled him, and one of them, a ragged urchin, suddenly cried out to his chum:—

“I say, Bill, run and ring the park bell; it’s a tramcar horse.”

This was enough for the colonel, who at once dismounted.



Rivers have always played a great and sometimes a decisive rôle in the great drama of war, and the colossal European struggle raging at the present moment is no exception to the rule. On the contrary, the greatest battle the world has ever seen, both by reason of its duration and the numbers engaged, is not unlikely to go down to history as the Battle of the Rivers. These are the Aisne, the Oise, and the Somme, all of which, during that interminable battle, literally ran with blood.

What a rôle, too, has the Meuse played in this war! Indeed, it may be safely said that this river literally saved the situation, for it was the difficulty of crossing it in the face of the fire of the Liége forts which caused that fortnight’s delay in the carrying out of the Kaiser’s programme which saved France, and perhaps eventually the British Empire. During that fortnight the waters of the Meuse were choked with the bodies of the slain.

The River Marne will ever be memorable because it was along the line of that river that the great battle—a battle which may later be regarded as one of the decisive battles of the war—took place, which turned the Germans back upon their long journey home. Tens of thousands on both sides were slain in attempts to cross and recross this stream.

The River Nethe, a tributary of the Scheldt, formed one of the main obstacles to the Germans in their great assault upon Antwerp. Time and time[38] again the Germans succeeded in getting a pontoon bridge completed and came down to the river bank in solid masses to cross it. As they came every Belgian gun that could be turned upon the spot was concentrated upon them and they were blown away and the bridge destroyed, until the river literally ran with blood. Similar destructions of pontoon bridges burdened with their living freight of men and horses and guns have occurred on all the many rivers which this war has brought into the terrible limelight of battle.


“Jones, the captain wants you, matey. Whatcher bin doin’?”

“It’s that dog!” ejaculated Private Jones, as he made ready to appear before his superior officer.

“Jones,” said that worthy, frowningly, “this gentleman complain that you have killed his dog.”

“A dastardly trick,” warmly interrupted the owner of the dog, “to kill a defenseless animal that would harm no one!”

“Not much defenseless about it,” chimed in the private, heatedly. “He bit pretty freely into my leg while I was on sentry duty, so I ran my bayonet into him.”

“Nonsense!” answered the owner, angrily. “He was such a docile creature. Why did you not defend yourself with the butt of your rifle?”

“Why didn’t he bite me with his tail?” asked Private Jones, humbly.



A visitor to a West-end restaurant in London, being waited on by a particularly tall and fine-looking waiter with a foreign accent, asked the man his nationality.

“Oh, I am a Hungarian,” was the reply.

“How comes it, then, that a big, strong fellow like you is not in the firing line?” asked the visitor.

“Vell, sir, it’s like this,” replied the knight of the napkin, pointing to a brother waiter a few tables off; “you see that man? Vell, he’s a Serb, and we have vat you call paired.”


The recruit walked into the barrack-room and inadvertently left the door open. An old soldier immediately yelled:—

“Shut the door, you fool! Where were you born—in a barn?”

The youngster closed the door, then, dropping down on his cot, buried his face in his hands and began to weep. The old soldier looked somewhat uncomfortable, and, rising, finally walked over to the weeper and tapped him on the shoulder.

“Look here, boy,” he said, “I didn’t intend to hurt your feelings. I just wanted the door closed.”

The weeper raised his head and grinned.

“Comrade,” he said, “I’m not crying because you hurt my feelings; but because you asked me if I was born in a barn. I was, and every time I hear an ass bray it makes me feel home-sick.”



A sailor belonging to one of His Majesty’s ships returned home unexpectedly.

“Why, what’s up, Jack?” asked his old father, when he saw him.

“Had to put back. Too rough,” said the Tar, jocularly.

“Too rough! Well, that’s yere modern navy, is it, with her quick-firers and torpedo-catchers? Too rough, eh? Why, Jack, my boy, I remembers when I was in the old Grampius—well, it was a gale, and it did blow. Well, it blowed so hard that the skipper gave orders to cut away the mast, and no sooner had the carpenter appeared on deck than the wind blowed the teeth clean out of his saw!”

“That’s nothing,” retorted Jack. “Only yesterday the wind happened to veer round and caught our guns end on and it blowed the breeches clean out of all of them.”

“Jack, my boy,” said the old man, “give me yer hand. Yer was cut out for the sea.”


Patient (to pretty nurse)—“Will you be my wife when I recover?”

Pretty Nurse—“Certainly.”

Patient—“Then you love me?”

Pretty Nurse—“Oh, no! That’s merely a part of my treatment. I must keep my patients cheerful. I promised this morning to run away with a married man who had lost both his legs.”



“James!” she said, severely.

The butler looked up with a guilty flush.

“James,” she asked, “how is it that whenever I come into the pantry I find your work at sixes and sevens, and you sprawled out reading the war news?”

“Well, ma’am,” the butler answered, “I should say it was on account of them old rubber-sole shoes you’re always wearin’ about the house.”


There was on Master Tommy Whiffles’s face, as he came in from play, an expression of unalloyed satisfaction. He bounced down on the one sound spring of the sofa with a sigh so indicative of profound content that his father was instantly filled with misgivings.

Half an hour afterwards Dabbs, from the next street, strode up the garden path and gave a pull at the front-door bell.

“If I catch your boy playing war games within a mile of my place again,” he announced, “I’ll trounce him till his hide looks like the paint on a barber’s pole.”

“Steady, old fellow, steady,” advised Whiffles, senior. “It’s very stupid for you to throw out rash threats. What boy wouldn’t play war games nowadays, eh? Boys will be boys, you know.”

“Let him keep a boy, then,” snarled Dabbs; “it’s when he imagines himself a Prussian army corps and my greenhouse a cathedral that I draw the line.”



The soldier was telling the workman about a battle that he had once been in that had lasted from eight o’clock in the morning until seven o’clock at night. His description was most graphic, and he became very enthusiastic as he lived through the stirring scenes again.

“There’s one thing I can’t understand about the story,” said the workman, slowly, when he had finished. “You say that the battle began at eight o’clock in the morning and lasted until seven o’clock at night?”

“Yes, that’s so,” was the reply.

“Then,” retorted the workman, with a puzzled air, “what I can’t make out is, how did you manage about your dinner-hour?”


Green was a raw recruit, and in his ignorance of the ways of the army had committed some slight offense. When brought before the colonel, that worthy was pleased to let him off with only a sharp admonition. The facts of the case appeared in the regimental orders, and when Green read the account he rushed off to his sergeant breathless with indignation.

“Why, sergeant, it says in the orders that I was ‘discharged with an admonition,’” he complained. “An’ all I got was a good wiggin’. Some other fellow ’as been and kept that admonition and means to do me out of it. Now, I wants to know what it is, for I mean to have it. I don’t mean to be cheated out of anything!”



The wounded Irish soldier was relating his adventures to the inquisitive old lady visitor.

“Afther we captured th’ hill, mum,” he said, “we hild it fur a whoile, but was evintually forced to retrate by th’ weight av numbers.”

“And were there many dead left on the hill?” she asked, anxiously.

“Dead!” he echoed. “Whoi, the whole hillsoide was simply aloive wid thim!”


Private —— was known to all his chums as “the early bird,” probably because it was an exact description of the very opposite to what he really was, for “the early bird” was always late, the last man to get out of bed at reveille and the last man on parade, and when his regiment sailed for France his chums declared that he was the last into the transport ship and the last out of it.

When his regiment was doing its spell in the trenches “the early bird” was sent for by his officer, and as he was creeping along the trench towards the dug-out a stray bullet caught him in the shoulder, just as he was outside the officer’s shelter.

After seeing that he wasn’t seriously wounded, the officer exclaimed, with a twinkle in his eye, “If you had just been a second earlier you would have missed that.”

“I would, sir,” returned Private ——, “or if I had been a second later it would have missed me.”



A Territorial on guard one night was walking up and down his beat in a business-like way when one of his chums brought him some pudding, which he was very pleased to get.

He was sitting down in the sentry-box, eating it, when the general of his regiment came up to him in civilian clothes.

The Territorial carried on with his pudding, not noticing the general.

The general said:—

“Do you know who I am?”

“You’re the general’s servant?”

“No; guess again.”

“Well, you’re his butler?”

“No; guess again.”

“Maybe you are the general himself?”

“That’s who I am.”

“Oh, half a mo! Hold this pudding until I present arms.”


We heard of a man the other day who, being apparently of military age (though he was really over it), was confronted by the usual old gentleman in the usual railway carriage with the challenge why had he not joined.

“Oh, but I belong to the M. B. B.,” said the victim.

“M. B. B.? What’s that, sir?”

“The Mind My Own Business Brigade,” replied the other, resuming his reading of the paper.



A dentist in an English east-coast town was one day standing on the pier watching the evolutions of some warships, when he accidentally toppled into the water. Three recruits who were standing by immediately plunged in to the rescue and hauled him out.

On recovering his breath, he looked admiringly at his brave rescuers, and in a voice filled with deep gratitude he said:

“My brave fellows, how can I ever repay you for your gallantry? Just come along to my consulting rooms, and I’ll draw all the bloomin’ teeth out of your heads, and not charge you a penny.”


At a “certain place in France” where the British and German trenches are within shouting distance of each other, the German soldiers were loudly singing one of their favorite war songs, “Gott mit uns! Gott mit uns!”

These “vain repetitions” palled on the Britons after a time, and at last an exasperated Jock arose in wrath and shouted across to the enemy, “Hae dune wi’ yer bletherin’! Ilka yin o’ us has got mittens tae, tho’ we dinna mak’ sic a fash aboot them.”


Undoubtedly the most amazing feature of the present war was the manner in which foe fraternized with foe on Christmas Day—when English and German exchanged presents, had Christmas trees in the trenches,[46] and gave concerts for one another’s benefit. Nevertheless, these incidents are no new feature of warfare. Wellington had to cope with what he regarded as a very serious similar state of affairs during the Peninsular war. He issued the strictest orders and took the severest measures to stop it, making it punishable with death for any man to be found holding any form of intercourse with the enemy.

When in Portugal the English lines were so close to those of the army of Massena that the horses had to water at the same river which separated them, the soldiers came to a mutual understanding not to fire on one another when drawing water. This led to an exchange of gifts and finally to the amazing spectacle of English and French soldiers sitting round the same camp fires, sharing rations and playing cards.

It seems to be a common phenomenon of war that, however bitter the struggle, a feeling of friendship will spring up after a time between the troops in the front ranks if they are close to one another for any length of time. It was so in the Russo-Japanese war, and it seems to arise from a growing respect for one’s adversary in sharing common hardships and danger. National feeling gives way before the fellow-feeling for the man opposite, who, after all, is not responsible for the war, but only obeying orders.

As one paper said at the time of the incident in this present war, “The little tales of the Christmas truce in the trenches prove that the gospel of brotherhood is more powerful than the gospel of hate.”



Colonel Kemyss, of the 40th Regiment, was remarkable for the studied pomposity of his diction. One day, observing that a careless man in the ranks had a particularly dirty face, which appeared not to have been washed for a twelvemonth, he was exceedingly indignant at so gross a violation of military propriety.

“Take him,” said he to the corporal, who was an Irishman, “take the man and lave him in the waters of the Guadiana.”

After some time the corporal returned.

“What have you done with the man I sent with you?” inquired the colonel. Up flew the corporal’s right hand across the peak of his cap.

“Sure an’t plaise y’r honor, and didn’t y’r honor tell me to lave him in the river? And sure enough I left him in the river, and there he is now, according to y’r honor’s orders.”


A Barbados plantation negro is reported to have said to his overseer:

“Massa, is it true that before the war the Kaiser sent a bag of rice to King George and told him, ‘King George, I’se got as many soldiers as there is rice in this bag,’ and that King George sent to the Kaiser a bottle of the hottest peppers that grows and tell him, ‘I only got as many soldiers as peppers in this bottle, but you just bite one of them and you’ll see how your soldiers will like ’em’?”


How His Money Is Invested

Thanks to the advice of financiers who, for obvious reasons, he admitted to his friendship, the Kaiser’s private fortune has increased to such an extent of late years that it was estimated a short time ago by the eminent German authority, Herr Rudolph Martin, that he is easily the richest man in Germany, having an annual income of five million dollars derived from possessions valued at approximately $100,000,000.

Apart from the Kaiser’s fortune, his son, the Crown Prince, has a separate income of $250,000, drawn from property valued at nearly $5,000,000, while the Kaiser’s brother, Prince Henry, enjoys some $150,000 a year on account of an estate worth two and a half million. Altogether the principal members of the Hohenzollern family own property valued at approximately $125,000,000.

The Kaiser’s fortune has been mainly built up by investments in many businesses. He has some very large holdings in the big German steamship lines, is extensively interested in the diamond-mine enterprises of German West Africa, owns forests and lands to the value of seventeen and a half millions, carries on a large lumber business, and has a horse-breeding establishment in Western Prussia which brings him in a handsome revenue. Furthermore, he has great financial interests in a municipal lager-beer brewery at Hanover, and founded an extensive pottery factory on his private estates at Cadinen.


Altogether the Kaiser owns about forty castles and country houses, valued at $10,000,000, and various property in Berlin, approximately worth $5,000,000. In seven different provinces he owns seventy-four estates, comprising close on half a million acres.

It is interesting to note that ever since Germany began to make preparations for a great war the Kaiser has been investing immense sums of money on the other side of the Atlantic. He is one of the largest landowners in the Western United States—not in his own name, of course—and owns a considerable section of property in the West of Canada. So notorious is the fact that it was at one time a standing joke at Vancouver that, although the Kaiser was a large owner of property in a certain district, he declined to join the local ratepayers’ association, which would have been materially assisted in its propaganda by the use of his name.


Soldiers were called for, owing to the scarcity of civilians, to work the railway. The weary “Tommies” were lying in camp one night after a hard day’s work, when a sergeant called out:

“Any of you men want to put your names down as railway porters, drivers, stokers, half-boiled clerks, or for any other appointments connected with the railway?”

Silence, broken only by snores. Then one “Tommy” slowly raised his head and drowsily muttered:

“Put me down as a sleeper, sergeant.”



“Are you going to the Wallerby reception tonight?”

“No. The Twobbles will be there, so I declined my invitation.”

“Why do you object to the presence of the Twobbles?”

“I don’t object to their presence particularly, but I have already heard them tell the story of their escape from Berlin ten or twelve times, and I don’t feel equal to another recital.”


The recruits were going through their first course of musketry, and they were in charge of a full-blown second lieutenant, who was trying to show his authority, together with his great knowledge of musketry. Sauntering up to the latest recruit, he said:—

“See here, my man, this thing is a rifle; this is the barrel, this is the butt, and this is where you put the cartridge in.”

The recruit seemed to be taking it all in, so the officer, continuing, said:—

“You put the weapon to your shoulder; these little things on the barrel are called sights; then to fire you pull this little thing, which is called the trigger. Now smarten yourself up, and remember what I have told you, and, by the way, what trade did you follow before you enlisted?—a collier, I suppose.”

“No, sir,” came the reply. “I only worked as a gunsmith for the Government Small Arms Factory.”



A little boy received a toy donkey as a birthday present.

“What are you going to call it?” asked his father.

“King George,” replied the boy.

“Oh, no,” said his father, “that would never do. That would be an insult to the King. Why not call it the Kaiser?”

“Because,” said the little boy, indignantly, “that would be an insult to my donkey.”


A Scottish Territorial was having his first experience of night duty, and was feeling a little nervous. The password was “Discount.”

In the darkest of the small hours a black form suddenly stepped up to him.

“Wh-wh-who goes there?” he challenged.

“Friend,” was the reply.

“Advance, f-f-friend, and give the d-d-discount.”


It was in South Africa that General French earned the title of the “shirt-sleeve General”—a sobriquet that conveys a subtle compliment from “Tommy’s” point of view. Actually French was often to be seen walking about in camp during his heavy marches in shirt-sleeves, writes Mr. Cecil Chisholm, in his biography of Sir John French.

One afternoon a correspondent rode up to the lines, and, seeing a soldier sitting on a bundle of hay, smoking[52] a dilapidated-looking old briar pipe, asked where the General was.

“The old man is somewhere about,” coolly replied the soldier.

“Well, just hold my horse while I go and search for him.”

“Certainly, sir,” and the smoker rose and obediently took the bridle.

“Can you tell me where the General is?” inquired the correspondent of a staff-officer farther down the line.

“General French? Oh, he’s somewhere about. Why, there he is, holding that horse’s head!”

And the officer pointed directly to the smoker, still tranquilly pulling at his pipe and holding the horse. Needless to say, “Uncle French” and his men hugely enjoyed the correspondent’s awakening.


“This war will go on and on,” said Mrs. Harry Payne Whitney, who has given a $250,000 field hospital to the belligerents.

“This war will go on and on,” she repeated, sadly, “and the side that is getting the worst of it will display the spirit of little Willie.

“Little Willie’s father, as he laid on the slipper, said:

“‘Willie, this hurts me more, far more, than it does you.’

“‘Then keep it up,’ said Willie, grinding his teeth. ‘Keep it up, dad. I can stand it.’”



General Servant—“If you please, mum, may I have a ’oliday?”

Mistress—“Why, Jane, you have had a fortnight’s holiday these last twelve months already.”

Servant—“Yes, mum; but the baker tells me that the Government gents is sending generals out to France, their fares is paid by the taxes, and I thought the sea-trip would do me good, mum.”


The King of the Belgians, one of the most democratic of European monarchs, was spending some time in Switzerland in the summer when the following incident happened.

At Territet the King and Queen were motoring. His Majesty was driving, and there were no attendants. The Queen went into a shop to make some purchases. The King was standing by the car reading a newspaper, when an American woman came out of the shop, jumped into the car, which she mistook for a public conveyance, and bade the monarch to drive her quickly to her hotel.

“Certainly, madam,” said the King, and deposited the woman at the hotel.

Accounts vary as to whether the King accepted or did not accept any fare.

In the meantime the Queen had come out of the store and was surprised to find that her husband and the car were absent. However, they speedily returned, and their Majesties laughed over the story together.



Two companies of the “Buffs” were marching along after a very tiring day, when a young staff officer galloped up to the captain in command of the party.

“Are you the West Riding?” he asked.

But before the captain had time to reply a gruff voice answered from the ranks, “No, we’re the Buffs—walking.”


The acquisition of a brand-new Brazilian Dreadnaught by Turkey recalls the story of the Turkish admiral who had been newly appointed to the command of the Ægean squadron. He installed himself in the admiral’s quarters—which opened to the sternwalk—on board the new flagship one evening, and went to bed. Next morning he awoke and ordered full speed ahead. After a little delay the propeller began to revolve, but as it had not moved since the ship was sold to Turkey—at more than cost price by a power which had no use for it—it made a tremendous racket.

“Allah!” cried the admiral. “What in the name of the Prophet is this uproar?”

“That, Excellency, is the propeller,” replied the captain.

“Stop it, then!”

It was pointed out to the admiral that stopping the propeller resulted as a rule in the stopping of the ship likewise.

“Then take the thing off,” bellowed the naval autocrat, “and put it on the other end.”



The mails from home had just been received by a certain regiment. Not only were there letters, but many parcels from relatives and friends at home for lucky soldiers. One of the Tommies received a large box addressed to himself, and with a triumphant yell he rushed off to his company’s lines and gathered them around him to share in the eagerly anticipated contents of his box.

“Smokes, lads!” he cried, as he undid the wrapping. “From the old man; I knows it. An’ there’s sure to be a bottle or two of Scotch.”

He opened the box, gave one look at the contents, and collapsed in a heap.

“What is it?” cried his comrades, pressing round.

“It’s from ole Auntie Mary,” groaned the disappointed warrior. “Bandages an’ ointment an’ embrocation an’ splints, an’ a book on ‘’Ow to be yer own Surgin’!”


The company marched so poorly and went through their drill so badly that the captain, who was of a somewhat excitable nature, shouted indignantly at the soldiers:—

“You knock-kneed, big-footed idiots, you are not worthy of being drilled by a captain. What you want is a rhinoceros to drill you, you wretched lot of donkeys.”

Then, sheathing his sword indignantly, he added, “Now, lieutenant, you take charge of them!”



The sporty lieutenant, on being handed one of the mufflers so thoughtfully sent out to English soldiers at the Front by “Mary R.” representing the ladies of the Empire, murmured:—

“I thought I knew every single one of the Empire ladies, by sight at any rate; but dashed if I can remember ‘Mary R.’”


The war bulletins, which used to announce the taking of provinces and army corps, announce now the taking of single trenches, or single farm-houses—they announce, like a football game, gains of a few yards.

It’s fine work, very fine work. It reminds one of the jockey who was a trifle overweight—only a trifle, mind; but this trifle was enough to disqualify him.

“James,” said his owner after the scales had told their tale, “is there nothing more you can do?”

“No, sir; nothin’.”

“Are you shaved and hair-cut?”

“Half an hour ago.”


The jockey showed his nails. They were trimmed to the quick.

“You’d better get your tonsils cut, James.”

But this, too, had been done.

“Well, then, James,” said the owner, “there’s nothing for it but to have your appendix taken out. Hurry off to the hospital now, or you’ll be too late.”



A company of Territorials were at the range. The usual marker had not turned up, but a deputy was soon found in the person of an old worthy well-known in the district who occasionally acted as substitute in such circumstances. The first round was about to be fired when the captain, looking towards the target, was almost stupefied to see the newly-engaged marker right in the line of fire.

“Stop firing!” he screeched, as he hastened to where the old man stood, calmly smoking. “You blithering idiot!” he yelled, as he approached. “Do you know you were within an ace of death just now?”

“Ich, aye,” was the reply. “Jist fire awa’. A’ve marked for your squad before.”


A South African newspaper hears that much badinage by wireless passes between English officers at Luderitzbucht and the German officers at Windhuk. The other day, so the story runs, the O. C. German troops at Windhuk wirelessed down to a certain prominent officer:

“Stop your men playing football and teach them to drill instead; Kolmanskop will make a good parade ground.”

That night a reconnoitering party went out to Kolmanskop and killed four Germans and wounded another. Colonel Blank thereupon wirelessed to Windhuk:

“Took your advice; scored four goals and a try.”



The course of training for a recruit is not all drudgery. Hardly a day passes without some amusing incident happening. The following occurred a few weeks ago in a Territorial regiment.

The day’s programme included practice in passing messages from mouth to mouth all along the line. In the roar of a battle it is very necessary that each man should be able to pass on a message which could not be heard if the officer in charge called it out. The officer got the men in a firing position and whispered the following message to the man on the left flank:—

“Left half company commander to right half company commander—ammunition almost done; let us have more quickly,” and ordered the message to be passed to the right. In a few minutes he called up the right-flank man and asked for the message as he received it.

The reply was:—

“Ammunition all gone. God Save the King.”

There was very little order for a few minutes after that.


Recruiting Sergeant—“Whose are these strapping youths, and why aren’t they in the army?”

Farmer—“They be my sons, for sure.”

Recruiting Sergeant—“Good heavens, man! Aren’t you doing anything for your country?”

Farmer—“In coorse I am. I sends two eggs every week to the wounded soldiers at the horspital.”



A captain of Hussars gave a dinner to the men of his squadron the night before they left for the front.

“Now, my lads,” he said, “treat this dinner as you will the enemy.”

And they set to with a will.

After dinner he discovered one of the men stowing away bottles of champagne into a bag, and, highly indignant, he demanded to know what he meant by such conduct.

“I’m only obeying orders, sir,” said the man.

“Obeying orders!” roared the captain; “what do you mean, sir?”

“You told us to treat the dinner like the enemy, sir, and when we meet the enemy, sir, those we don’t kill we take prisoners.”


One of the best stories of regimental life told by General Sir Archibald Hunter, the commander of England’s third new army, concerns a certain “Tommy” who was more noted for his wit than his scholarship. The man’s grammar and spelling were simply awful, and Sir Archibald was trying to teach him the King’s English.

“I don’t believe you know what w-o-m-a-n spells,” said he to the uneducated soldier on one occasion.

“Trouble as a rule, sir,” replied “Tommy,” with a grin.

Hunter was so amused that he was quite unable to reprimand the man for his “cheek.”



“Can anny av yer tell me why the Scots are the most humane sojers at the front?” asked the Irish sergeant, as he set light to his pipe.

“We give it up,” came the ready response from the boys just returned from the trenches.

“Why, it’s bekase they always carry their kilt aff the field.”


The drill instructor passed his hand wearily across his forehead. He had been breaking in some raw recruits and instructing them in the elements of company drill.

The majority were intelligent fellows, and found no difficulty in obeying his instructions; but one, in particular, did not seem able to understand even a simple order.

At last, losing his temper, the drill instructor determined to bring him to his senses by holding him up to ridicule. Calling him to the front he proceeded to put him through his paces.

“Eyes front!” he roared.

To everybody’s astonishment the recruit gazed absent-mindedly about him.

“Do you mean to say,” bellowed the instructor, “that you do not know where your front is?”

“Yes, I know, sir,” he replied.

“Well, then, where is it?” demanded the instructor.

“Please, sir,” he faltered, “it’s gone to the laundry.”



Pat was a witty young recruit, who was taking instruction in marksmanship. The squad had finished firing. Pat was brought to task for his poor shooting, and told that he must do better at the next distance; there were to be seven rounds of quick firing.

“Now, Pat,” the sergeant told him, “fire at target number five.”

Pat banged away, and hit target number four seven times in succession.

“What target did you aim at?” asked the irate officer.

“Number five sor,” answered Pat.

“And you have hit number four every time.”

“Bedad, sor,” retorted Pat, “that would be a grand thing in war. Sure, I might aim at a private and hit a gin’ral!”


A soldier, charged with being drunk and disorderly, mentioned, in extenuation of his offense, the fact that he had been compelled to travel up from camp in very bad company.

“What sort of company?” asked the magistrate.

“A lot of teetotallers!” was the startling response.

“Do you mean to say teetotallers are bad company?” thundered the magistrate. “I think they are the best company for such as you!”

“Beggin’ your pardon, sor,” answered the prisoner, “ye’re wrong, for I had a bottle of whisky and I had to drink it all mesel’.”



A sturdy little Lancashire lad went to a recruiting station to enlist.

He was much disappointed when the officer told him he was too small and too young.

“Can’t you find me some job in th’ army what I am big enough for?” anxiously asked the lad.

“No, I can’t, I’m sorry to say,” replied the officer.

As the lad turned sorrowfully away he said:

“Well, don’t blame me if th’ bloomin’ Germans lick o’ t’ lot on yo’; that’s all!”


Life in the new Army teaches a man to look after himself. This is especially true of the larger camps, and the rule appears to be that “they shall take who have the power and they shall keep who can.”

A story illustrative of this is told of one of the Yorkshire regiments now in training. The cold weather had led some of the men to forage for extra blankets one night, and when next morning they were warned that the colonel was coming round for kit inspection they were too busy cleaning and preparing to put matters right again. The result was that when the men paraded some of them had three or four blankets while others had no blanket at all.

The colonel noticed this in his inspection, but said no word until he had been wholly round. Then, drawing himself up in front of the men, he thundered:—

“Ahem, major, one-half the regiment are simple fools, and the other half are bloomin’ thieves.”



Readers of the War news who have some difficulty in remembering where the Falkland Islands are may be helped by the recollection of one of Ian Maclaren’s stories. After a disaster to an emigrant ship many years ago, some of the survivors reached those islands. When the news came home the minister of a Scottish church to which some of the emigrants had belonged prayed thus:—

“Oh, Lord, we pray Thee to be with our brethren, stranded in the Falkland Islands, which, as Thou knowest, are situated in the South Atlantic Ocean.”


“Well, Tom, what d’ye think o’ this prohibition business?”

“We ought to do like France and Russia.”

“You’re givin’ it all up, then?”

“No; France is givin’ up absent and Russia’s givin’ up vodka. So I’m not goin’ to touch absent or vodka till peace comes. Give me beer.”

Seaforth Highlanders’ Quaint Ceremony

The Seaforth Highlanders, now at the front, have one of the most peculiar New Year’s Eve customs of the whole British Army. The ceremony is picturesque and imposing.

On the night of Hogmanay, at about half-past ten, the regiment assembles in the barrack square. A few minutes later the oldest soldier in the battalion, dressed[64] up as a druid, makes his appearance, to the accompaniment of a flourish of trumpets, and ascending the improvised throne, he calls on the ancient veterans to show their uniforms and achievements of bygone times. To the music of the pipes and brass band, veteran after veteran, arrayed in the uniforms worn by the regiment at different periods, marches past, and salutes the druid. The druid then toasts “The Seaforth Highlanders.”

After a display of Highland dancing, the alarm is sounded, and the second oldest soldier, arrayed as Father Time, approaches. The veterans now retreat, leaving their honors to be guarded by their successors, and Father Time expels the druid.

At the last stroke of midnight a loud knock is heard at the gate, and out rings the sentry’s challenge, “Halt! Who goes there?”

“The New Year!” comes back the answer.

“Advance, New Year, and give the countersign!” is the next command.

“Cabar feidth gu brath!” (the clan cry of the Mackenzies, i. e., the Seaforths).

“Pass, New Year; all’s well!”

The gate is then opened, and the youngest boy of the battalion enters, dressed as the high chief of ancient Ross, to represent the New Year. The colonel shakes hands with the boy, while the band strikes up “A Guid New Year to Ane and A’.”

After the colonel’s greeting to the battalion the National Anthem is played, and the men fall out.



Mrs. Barron was paying a visit to Mrs. Atkins, whose husband was away fighting at the front. The visitor found the soldier’s wife in a paroxysm of grief.

“Whatever is the matter?” exclaimed Mrs. Barron.

“Aint yer heard?” was the sobbing reply. “Bill’s in ’orspital with both ’is arms off.”

Mrs. Barron was obviously shocked. With a view to easing the grief, however, she said:

“But the Government will be sure to provide for you.”

“That ain’t it,” was the tearful response. “Who’s a-goin’ to turn the mangle for me on washin’ days now, I’d like ter know?”


When a talk about the German invasion of England was going on, an Irish militiaman, stationed in Carrickfergus, was heard to remark that immediately the enemy landed in England he would certainly bolt, taking a good stock of provisions, and hide in a convenient cave he knew of.

The colonel, hearing of his unpatriotic resolve, called him out next day on parade, and lectured him severely on his cowardice.

“You’re a disgrace to the regiment and the Service at large,” he cried. “Fancy you threatening to run away; but I’d be after you in quick time, my man, never fear.”

“Sure, an’ you’d be welcome, your honor; but, bring yer own praties an’ things, won’t yer, colonel?”



Somewhere in Europe,
Some Day in December, 1915.

My Dearest Nursie: I suppose I am the same chap who got drilled through the wing rib by a German bullet about a century since? That I haven’t been in heaven, and, not being up to sample, have been shunted to hades? Don’t mistake me, nursie. I’m jolly glad to have another go at the dog that bit me. But last time I left for the front I took my heart with me, and this time I have left it behind in old England.

I owe the Germans a grudge, but I owe them a vote of thanks, too. They introduced us, nursie. I didn’t know what living meant until I was wounded and met you. Wounded! Why, my dearest nursie, the wound you dressed so tenderly was a mere flea-bite to the one the first sight of you, a Red Cross angel, hovering about my bed, made bang through my heart.

As you know, heart wounds are generally fatal—kill a chap as dead as pork; but, as I have already said, I have found it just the other way about. My heart wound has given me new life, new hope, new courage, a new and better manhood.

I have always foolishly regarded women as the weaker sex, but great Kitchener! the Man Killers the Germans can produce and use are nothing to yours, either in range, number, or effectiveness. You take a man prisoner with one glance of your eyes, you put[67] him hopelessly out of action with a quiver of your lip, you leave him dead to everything in earth or sky but your own sweet self with one touch of your dear hand, and you make him your eternal vassal and slave with the flicker of a smile.

Melinite is a fool to the galvanic thrill the mere sound of your fairy footstep approaching my bed or my chair used to give me every morning. The German “Black Marias” are mere popguns to the batteries of your sweet eyes, masked at times by their fringed lashes. The German bayonets even at their best cannot begin to compete with the wounds your gentle tongue can inflict by a sharp rebuke, and a charge of Uhlans is nothing to the overwhelming charge of love which sweeps through the ranks of my heart when I think of you.

But though I laid siege to your heart, and brought up all the guns and reinforcements I could muster, and although I pride myself on having, by your own confession, captured a few of the outer ring of forts, such as Friendship, Regard, Good Wishes, and Interest, yet I’m horridly afraid that your heart’s real affections are still unconquered.

Oh, nursie, I cannot believe that your heart is solid concrete. There’s surely a soft core if I could only get at it. But you can’t prevent me writing. It’s raining in torrents, but rain cannot damp my ardor. The enemy is firing all his big guns at once, but they cannot drive your image from the deep trenches of my soul. There is an aeroplane overhead, but the[68] chap in it does not feel half so uplifted as I do when I think of our last handshake—shall it be a kiss when We meet?—and he would not feel half so cast down, even if he were crashing to earth with a broken wing, as I shall if you do not reply soon.

Nursie, say “Yes” for Christmas, there’s a love!

With my life’s devotion,

Your late patient and grateful convalescent,

P. S.—I think you are sufficiently interested in my welfare to be glad to hear that I received my commission yesterday, and that our colonel put me to shame before all the chaps by saying all sorts of bosh about a little job I did last week.

P. P. S.—Nursie, a little word of three letters—three, mind—by return will make me prouder and happier than if I had been made a field-marshal.


The Germans came down in force upon a patrol of Lancers, who were obliged to retire. One man, however, fell wounded in the thigh, and would have been captured had not a comrade turned back and brought him in under a heavy fire.

“Well done, Mac,” said his captain at the close of the fray; “that was a plucky action of yours in bringing Private Johnson in under fire.”

“Weel, sir,” replied Mac, “ye see, he’s the only box o’ matches in the whole bloomin’ troop, an’ what’d we do without oor wee bit smoke?”



The proud father had come up from the country to see his sailor son on board his ship. He had never seen a battleship before, and accordingly marvelled thereat.

Just as he caught hold of the two ropes which hung over the side to assist sailors to the deck, he was somewhat surprised to hear a clanging of bells—the eight bells of seamen’s time.

As he stepped on deck he met the officer of the watch. He saluted him and said, timidly:

“I beg your pardon, sir, I’ve come to see my son Jack, but, ’pon my word, I didn’t mean to ring so loud.”


A certain Staffordshire regiment had a very small band; but the commanding officer’s feet were—well, rather broad. One day the regiment was to march out on parade, but the music was not forthcoming.

“Where on earth is the band?” queried the adjutant.

For some time there was no reply; but when the question was repeated, a gruff voice from the rear rank said:

“I believe, sor, the colonel trod on it be accident!”

Calls Husband to His Wife from Trenches

A young Parisian lady, newly married to a French artillery officer who had fought through the battles of the Marne and the Aisne and is now at the Front[70] in Flanders, determined to see her husband at all costs.

She left Paris for Dunkirk and tried vainly at the French headquarters to secure a pass. She was, however, not beaten. She travelled in a peasant’s country cart and with many delays to the Belgian headquarters.

Taking her courage in both hands, she explained her mission, gained access to the officers of the headquarters staff, and put forward her request.

The officers received her with great politeness, listened to her story sympathetically, and told her gently that what she asked was impossible.

Just at that moment a tall young officer who had been intently studying a map turned to the lady. “Madame,” he said, “you shall see your husband.” Then he spoke for a few moments through the telephone, and, turning again to the young wife, said, “If you will wait a little while, your husband will come to you.”

With tears streaming down her cheeks she seized his hands and thanked him warmly for his kindness.

Two hours later there was a joyous meeting between the lady and her husband, who had been bewildered by his sudden recall from the trenches in the midst of a battle.

His wife explained how it had all come about, and described the officer through whose kindness the meeting had been made possible.

“That was King Albert,” said her husband.



Quite recently a man appeared at the recruiting offices in Newcastle and stated to the officer in charge that he wished to enlist into His Majesty’s Army.

“Well, my man, what regiment do you prefer to join?” asked the officer.

“Well,” replied the recruit, “I should like to join the cavalry.”

“Cavalry,” repeated the head of the recruiting department. “All right, my man, do you know anything about horses?”

“Do I know anything about horses?” replied the would-be recruit, seriously. “Why, I backed a winner and two seconds yesterday!”


The men of a certain regiment had made some complaints respecting the scarcity of food, but the colonel, a strong believer in the go-away-from-the-table-hungry maxim, saw no grounds for increasing the supply.

At last, however, the climax came.

The gunnery instructor had one day been explaining to a squad of men the advantages of different sights, when the colonel appeared on the scene and began to ask questions on the subject.

“Can any of you men tell me what a fine sight is?”

“Yes, sir,” came the reply from a private.

“Well, what is it?”

The private saluted. “Two dinners, sir, on one plate,” he cried.



There is no country in the world where women occupy a more dignified or honored position in the home than Servia. The Servian idea is quite different from that of the Turk, who keeps his women behind shut doors, or the German, whose ideal woman is a good hausfrau. In Servia the woman is the companion of the man.

A man is responsible for his unmarried sisters, and throughout the Balkan States it is considered rather a breach of etiquette for him to marry before his older sister.

No Servian girl would feel she could hold up her head in society unless she could speak four languages. There is hardly a Servian woman who cannot play some musical instrument. Embroidery, painting, drawing and sculpture are all studied.

Servian women are very domesticated, and the highest ladies pay personal attention to trivial matters of housekeeping.

There are two women doctors practicing in Belgrade, and women teachers galore. But public opinion on the whole is rather against women entering the labor market.


“Every time I see grandfather’s sword and medals,” said Bill, “I long to take part in a universal war.” Then, as an afterthought, Bill said, “But every time I look at grandfather’s wooden leg I long for the advent of universal peace.”



It was the drilling of a squad of recruits. The officer was calling the names, and prompt replies came from Jones and Smith and Robinson.

The next name was Montaig—that was how the officer pronounced it.

There was no reply.

“Montaig,” repeated the officer with emphasis.

“Here, sir,” came the half-hearted reply from the rear rank.

“Why didn’t you answer at once?” said the man in charge.

“My name is Montague,” said the recruit.

“Is it?” replied the officer. “Well, you do seven days’ fatigew.”


One day recently a colonel in a newly-recruited North-country battalion had occasion to reprimand severely one of his men. Next day, passing this same recruit, who was doing sentry duty, the colonel observed he did not receive the usual salute. After intentionally passing him a second and third time with the same omission each time on the part of the sentry, the following conversation took place:—

Colonel—“Do you know who I am?”


Colonel—“Do you not know you ought to salute me, or any other officer when he passes you?”

Recruit—“Aye; but then thee and me fell out yesterday.”



Aide-de-Camp to Grand Duke Nicholas—“We have just captured a motor-car containing a German of very high rank. We think it is the Kaiser.”

Grand Duke—“For heaven’s sake release him at once. He is our best asset in the field. He always gives the wrong instructions and interferes at the wrong moment.”


Like knights of old, the Canadian troops for the front are equipped with armor. It is in the form of a spade, to be carried on the back when not in use, to be used for digging trenches when not wanted for protective purposes, and to act as a shield and rifle-rest when the fighting begins.

There is an oval hole in the middle of the blade of the spade. Through this hole the soldier pokes his rifle, just as the archers in the old days used narrow niches in the walls of a castle.

Although the spade weighs only four pounds, and can be carried on marches with ease, it is practically bullet-proof. For hours at Valcartier Camp Sergeant Hawkins, the King’s prize-winner, potted at the spades with his rifle, but it was not until he shot at 200 yards with Mark 7 ammunition that the spades were damaged at all. Then they were only cracked.

Bullets just shattered against the shields and fell back, shapeless. A company of the 1st Royal Montreal Regiment fired volleys at the spades, without piercing them.



A recruit, well known for his “strategy” when seeking a holiday, went to the doctor and asked for a note, as he said he was ill. The doctor could not find anything wrong with him, but gave him a note, and just marked a stroke where the nature of complaint should be. He went to the chief officer with the note and asked for leave. The officer took the note, looked at it, and then said (for he looked puzzled):

“What is this you are suffering from? I can’t tell.”

Then our friend took the note, looked at it, and confidently replied:

“Can’t you see, sir, that it’s a stroke I’m suffering from?”


At a certain British club the other day the possibility of providing soldiers with some form of bullet-proof protection was being discussed.

“Those bullet-proof shields are an insult to Tommy’s’ dignity, gentlemen,” inveighed a retired military man, whose oft-boasted achievements no living person had ever seen recorded.

“What do they want with such feminine accessories? When I was out in India my force faced a galling fire for two hours, and there was no shelter but a little rock for miles; yet though hundreds fell on every side of me, I came off without a scratch.”

“That’s an argument in favor of shields,” quietly commented a fellow-clubman. “If there had been more rocks some of the men might have escaped too.”



Fogarty (a moderate drinker): “I’ll bet ye th’ Rooshians are beginnin’ t’ feel th’ loss iv vodka.”

Flaherty (warmly): “Don’t ye lose any slape over it. Mar-rk me wur-ruds, they’ll retake it agin before long!”


The Bishop of London discharges his duties in camp as the chaplain of the London Rifle Brigade very thoroughly. One morning a number of men were out scouting, and a recruit, very well up in his drill, took advantage of passing through a wood to loiter behind and have a surreptitious “smoke” behind a clump of trees. He was discovered by the bishop, who, as chaplain, is, of course, an officer of the regiment.

The bishop gave the rifleman a good wigging as to his dereliction of duty, and reminded him that he ought really to be the bishop’s prisoner. The rifleman stood at the salute, and, expressing his penitence, the offense was overlooked.

The rifleman, who stands well over six feet, in telling the story, says, “That’s the second time I have been personally addressed by the bishop. The first time was some ten years ago, when I was top boy in our parish church choir, and after a service the bishop patted me on the shoulder and commended me for my solo singing! I little thought then that the day would come when I should be his Lordship’s prisoner for my solo smoking.”



He was a very raw recruit, and was paying his first visit to the riding school. He was allotted a horse; but it was obvious, from the nervous way he handled the animal, that he had never been on horseback before. When the instructor came up the recruit pointed to the girth.

“What’s it got that strap round it for?” he asked.

“Ah!” exclaimed the instructor, with mock admiration, “Fancy you noticing that. You see, that horse has a terrible keen sense of humor, an’ he’s subject to sudden bursts of laughter at some of the recruits he gets; so we puts that band round him to keep him from bursting his sides.”


He was instructing some recruits in the mysteries of marching movements. After explaining and illustrating his remarks several times he approached one recruit, looked at him silently for a couple of seconds, then demanded his name.

“Fitzgerald, sorr,” was the answer.

“Did you ever drive a donkey, Fitzgerald?” was his next inquiry.

“Yes, sorr,” was the man’s reply.

“What did you say when you wanted him to stop?”


The sergeant turned away and immediately put his squad in motion again. The men advanced a dozen yards or so, when he rasped out:

“Squad, halt! Whoa, Fitzgerald!”



Some friends were in a restaurant the other day discussing the war, when a Scotsman at the next table remarked:

“The Alleys are doing verra weel, ar-ren’t they?”

One, thinking to be smart, said:

“The Alleys! Whom do you mean?”

“Why,” said the Scotsman, “the French and the Scotch, of course.”

At this the friends roared with laughter.

“Aye, you can laugh!” said the Scot. “But I saw my mistake as soon as I spoke. I should have said the Scotch and the French.”


In a fit of impatience because the speed of his yacht was slowed down on entering a certain harbor, the German Emperor on one occasion tried to assert his authority, and rang the bell for “Full speed ahead.” To his great surprise, the pilot, an old Norwegian named Nordhuns, who knew the dangerous character of the channel, placed himself in the way, and, leaning over the wheel, called down the tube to the engine-room, “Half-speed ahead. Never mind the bell!”

“What! You dare to countermand my orders?” cried the Kaiser, again ringing the bell.

“Disregard the bell,” calmly repeated Nordhuns through the tube.

For a moment the Kaiser glared at the intrepid pilot, and then, drawing himself up to his full height,[79] said, majestically, “Go below, sir, and report yourself under arrest.”

“Leave the bridge!” thundered the Norwegian, grimly, as he grasped the wheel more firmly. “This ship is in my charge, and I’ll have no interference with my orders from Kaiser or seaman!”

The officers on deck hurried silently aft, wishing luck to the sturdy old sea-dog, who, knowing that he had the law as well as common sense on his side, stood at his post unshaken by threats, unheeding commands, and steered the Hohenzollern safely into port.

The next day the Kaiser came to his senses, and decorated the pilot—the king at the wheel—with one grade of the Order of the Black Eagle, and also appointed him his life pilot in Norwegian waters.


Private Tommy Sims had had pneumonia, and had been for some time in hospital, where they treated him so well that he was much averse to the prospect of being discharged as “cured.” One day the doctor was taking his temperature, and while Tommy had the thermometer in his mouth the doctor moved on, and happened to turn his back. Tommy saw his chance. He pulled the thermometer out of his mouth and popped it into a cup of hot tea, replacing it at the first sign of the medico’s turning. When that worthy examined the thermometer he looked first at Tommy and then back at the thermometer and gasped:

“Well, my man, you’re not dead, but you ought to be!”



The subaltern was being put through an examination in geography, wherein he proved himself astonishingly ignorant. At last, after a failure on his part of unusual flagrance, the examiner scowled at him and thundered:—

“Idiot, you want to defend your country, and you don’t know where it is!”


One of the most dangerous duties a scout is called upon to perform in war-time is that of ascertaining whether some particular position is or is not occupied by the enemy’s forces. Every scout has his own methods of working, but the first thing each does is generally to attempt to trap the hidden men into betraying their position.

The other day a British scout, who, previous to the outbreak of war, had been a well-known man about town, was told to examine a little wood on the right bank of the ——. He went forward and tried all the usual artifices, including the somewhat threadbare one of pretending to gallop away in alarm, but in vain. Not a German showed himself. Yet the scout was not satisfied, and suddenly a bright thought struck him. He advanced a few paces and, jingling some loose silver in his pocket, roared out:

“Waiter! Get me a taxi!”

“Yessir! Cert’n’y, sir!” came the reply from some twenty or thirty German soldiers. Force of habit had proved too much for bonds of discipline.



The other day a British reservist living in Montreal with his wife and family received the call to join the colors immediately. He decided to take his wife and children to England to stay during his absence. He found the most convenient arrangement would mean leaving Montreal the following day. But it was midweek, and the family wash was at the Chinaman’s. The lady went over to the laundry. The “boys” shook their heads—the wash would not be sorted out before Saturday. But just then the boss laundry-man came in.

“Your husband going to the war? Velly brave man. Me work all night to get your laundry.”

Next morning it was brought home by the “boss” himself.

“How much?”

“Nothing. Your husband go to the war. If you stay here all winter me wash all the clothes for the family. Not a cent.”


A curious incident was witnessed in a tram-car in a Yorkshire town a day or two back. Two women were seated side by side in earnest conversation.

“So tha’s been to see him off?” said one.

“Aye,” replied the other. “Ah’ve been to see him off. Eh, dear, but I didna know what to say to him. So I says, ‘Well, good-bye, old lad,’ I says, ’an if tha thoomps t’ Kaiser as tha’s thoomped me he’ll be sorry he went to war!’”



“Some of our cannon are disappearing,” remarked the lieutenant.

“Well, things will disappear when you have careless help,” responded the lady who was going over the fort. “I find that a great trouble about keeping house.”


Chatty Neighbor—“I suppose you don’t stand for any war arguments among your boarders?”

Boarding House Mistress—“O, yes. You see, our biggest eater gets so interested that he forgets to eat and our next biggest eater gets so mad that he leaves before the meal is half over.”


Bill—“I read as ’ow that ’ere ’Indenburg ’as got an English wife.”

Alf—“Ah, that accounts for ’is fightin’ like ’e does.”


Barman—“Strikes me, there’s one o’ these blooming German spies in the smoke-room, sir. ’E’s bragging about bein’ a Scotsman, and the whisky I took ’im a quarter of an hour ago ’e ain’t even touched yet.”


Officer (severely)—“Is this rifle supposed to have been cleaned?”

Recent Recruit—“Well, sir—yes. But you know what these servant gals are!”



A British naval officer, home on short leave, told a North Sea story. “We had taken some prisoners aboard, three of them officers; one of their torpedoes had missed us by nearly ten feet.

“We made the officers as comfortable as we could, gave them food and drink, and talked about ordinary general matters; hardly a word was said about the fight.

“The Germans seemed ill at ease, suspicious. At last one of them said, ‘We don’t understand you treating us like this. We tried to torpedo you.’

“‘Oh, that’s all right; that’s over now,’ said a navigating lieutenant, handing him a cigarette.

“‘We’d like to show you that we appreciate your goodness,’ went on the German.

“There was a long pause. Then the lieutenant burst in with great cheerfulness, ‘Well, sing us the “Hymn of Hate.”’

“That was one of the rare moments when I have seen German officers look abashed.”


As a young man was walking along reading the evening newspaper he was accosted by an old lady who seemed interested in the war.

“Any news from the front, young man?” she exclaimed.

“Not much,” he replied. “Big battle in progress.”

“Well, thank heaven,” she said, “that it’s not in Belgium, where my poor Johnnie is gone.”


Supposed to Be Written by Mrs. Malaprop

’Tis very easy to ask me for an account of my escape from Berlin, but when one has been hustled and fluted and prosecuted as I have, it is a wonder that one’s brain is not totally disinterred. However, in spite of my adventitious experiments, I am still, thank heaven! compote mentis, and can give a strictly voracious prescription of my sufferings. Like Othello, I will “nothing exterminate, nor set up aught in malice.”

You may require what I was doing in the great Prussian necropolis. The fact is that after the fatigues of the season I found myself somewhat interposed. I am the last person to give way to a fit of the vapors, but my enemy, the gout, had made such invidious advances and become so chromatic that I was advised to go and reciprocate under the care of a prominent Berlin physician. Despite the diversion which I naturally feel for all Germans, I must admit that his treatment and regiment proved beneficent—though his fees were exuberant—and I was rapidly recovering when the declaration of war burst upon us like a cataplasm.

Berlin was at once in a state of convolution. The streets were crowded with people in a very succulent humor, waving flags, singing typical songs, and shouting remarks which deluded recognition, as my knowledge of the language is merely superfluous. Any attempt at leaving the house was not only fertile but[85] periculous, as Englishmen were subjugated to various forms of contumacy, either because the police were useless or with their secret contrivance.

I protest I never saw such a panharmonium! Foreign residents had their windows stoned, and abstained many cuts and confusions from the missals. The proprietor of our boarding-house was not actually indolent, but treated me in a very caviare manner, advising me to speak no English. Even neuters, he told me, were being distrained to stimulate a factious enthusiasm for the Kaiser.

Next day an official arrived. He asked me if I was English. “Sir,” I replied, “I am no camellia, changing my colors to suit my surroundings.” I think he hardly depreciated my semaphore; he merely told me to pack my trunks in readiness to leave Berlin at a certain hour next day. After another sleepless night passed in anxious participations, four of us were convoyed to the station in a closed vehicle and left for hours on a platform crowded to supplication with fugitives. Some of the women wept quietly, while others gave way to historical outbursts. They gave us nothing but water, and I was induced to eating some digestible chocolate caravans produced by my maid.

At last the aliens’ train arrived; but we were at the back of the crowd, and you may imagine my constellation when I discovered that every department had its full quotient of passengers. Seizing a passing official, I exclaimed: “Thou transcendental[86] Triton, is it thus that the confidential visitors, whose gold gorges the coffins of thy treasury, and who patiently suffer the ubiquitous distortions of thy greedy countrymen, are rewarded? Fie, sir! It is larceny—tyranny—barometry of the vilest conscription!”

He seemed puzzled, and said, roughly: “Are you Suffer-gette?”

“Sir,” I replied, “I will endure no more obliquity. I will say no more. I refuse to omit another syllabus.”

He called another official, and after a long discursion, during which they regarded me very strangely, frequently tapping their foreheads, they had a horse-box corrected to the train, into which my maid and I were inducted, attended by a German female. I passed the journey in a sort of comma, and eventually reached England, which it is my firm resolution never to leave again.


The Irish Guards were holding a position at Ypres, and flying bullets were the order of the day. The Germans endeavored to break through, and after a particularly brisk volley Private Flynn was heard to shout:—

“Murder of wars, I’m done now altogether!”

“Why, have you been hit?” shouts Captain P——.

“Not entoirely hit, sir,” shouts Flynn; “but I’ve been waiting this ten minutes for a smoke from Murtagh’s pipe, and by the powers they’ve just shot it out iv his mouth.”



The vicar of S——— is very patriotic, and has done a great deal of recruiting in his own and the adjoining parishes. He is also very absent-minded. This was never so forcibly brought home to him as on the occasion of the young squire’s wedding. The squire’s regiment was leaving almost immediately for the front, consequently the wedding attracted more than ordinary interest, and the little church was crowded to its utmost capacity.

The ceremony proceeded without a hitch, the momentous words had been spoken by the vicar, and repeated by the bridegroom ... “take thee, Phyllis, to my wedded wife,” when the congregation were astounded by the next words from the vicar, “for three years or the duration of the war.”


It was company field-training. The captain saw a young soldier trying to cook his breakfast with a badly-made fire. Going to him, he showed him how to make a quick-cooking fire, saying:

“Look at the time you are wasting. When I was on the West Coast I often had to hunt my breakfast. I used to go about two miles in the jungle, shoot my food, skin or pluck it, then cook and eat it, and return to the camp under the half-hour.” Then he unwisely added, “Of course, you have heard of the West Coast?”

“Yes, sir,” replied the young soldier, “and also of Ananias and Baron Munchausen, too.”



Bill—“Have you heard about the Prince of Wales?”

Nell—“No. What of His Royal Highness?”

Bill—“Well, he had a fall, and remained unconscious for some hours.”

Nell—“Oh, poor Prince!”

Bill—“But I am happy to say when His Royal Highness came to himself he was none the worse.”

Nell—“How did it happen?”

Bill—“In this way (not officially denied): It was very late on Monday; he fell—asleep in his bed!”


“Proud of ’im, I am,” announced an old lady, whose son had just enlisted, to a knot of friends in the village street. “Always done ’is duty by me, ’e ’as, an’ now ’e’s doin’ ’is duty by King an’ country. I feel right down sorry for them poor Germans to think of ’im goin’ into battle with ’is rifle in ’is ’and an’ ‘It’s a long way to Tipperary’ on ’is lips.”

“Poor Germans, indeed!” exclaimed one of her audience. “Pity’s wasted on ’em. P’r’aps you ’aven’t ’eard of their cruelties?”

“P’r’aps I ’aven’t,” agreed the old lady, “an’ p’r’aps you ’aven’t ’eard George sing!”


Short-sighted Customer—“Aren’t you making your rolls a little larger these days, Mr. Baker?”

“What! R-r-rolls? Them’s loaves!”



Amongst some recruits waiting to be passed by the doctor for a Tyneside battalion was a miner from a local colliery, a fine strapping youth. After a good many had been examined, it came to Geordie’s turn, and everyone present thought him a likely recruit. The doctor, after looking at Geordie’s teeth, remarked sadly:—

“I’m sorry, my lad, I cannot pass you; your teeth are too bad.”

“Wey, if this isn’t a licker,” replied Geordie. “Ye passed th’ same teeth yisterday wi’ Bill Smith, an’ we both borrowed them.”


A certain Yorkshire soldier, who was badly wounded in the jaw at Mons by a German bullet, was, on his return home, relating to an interested group how his company tackled the enemy when the order to charge was given.

“Bullets was flyin’ like snowflakes,” he said; “an’ lots o’ our chaps was hit.”

“Weel, Tommy,” interrupted one of his listeners, “couldn’t ye hear t’ bullets whizzin’ an’ makin’ a noise as they was comin’ along, an’ so be able to get out o’ their way?”

Tommy gave the inquirer a withering look, then replied:

“Nay, lad, we couldn’t hear ’em comin’, becos them bullets was Dum-Dum ’uns; an’ did anybody ever hear of aught that was dumb makin’ a noise?”



The soldier of four months was recounting his experience of “living on the country” in an Eastern county. He and a comrade had been dispatched with a motor-car to perform a certain mission. After traveling a considerable distance they sighted an inn sign, and, running the car into the yard at the rear, alighted and entered by a back door. A picturesque dame appeared, to whom the bluff and hearty spokesman said:

“Now, mother, is there anything to eat?”

“Well, you can have some nice cold beef, and if you like to wait half an hour I’ll cook you some potatoes and a cauliflower.”

“Ah! Worth waiting for, that is, mother! Right-o!” said the soldier.

She smiled approvingly, and told them to go into her own parlor. In due course they were bidden to the feast, over which they were glad to have her preside, for she talked very entertainingly. Eventually the spokesman broached the question of payment.

“Now, then, mother, how much do we owe you, please?”

“Oh, nothing! I’m sure I’ve been very glad to have you.”

“But, look here! I’d never have come in ordering stuff to eat without expecting to pay for it. You know you can’t keep a ‘pub.’ open on dinners for naught! Now, can you, mother?”

“No, I can’t, my dear lad! I don’t try to. This isn’t the pub. It’s the house next door!”



“What do you think?” exclaimed Mrs. Twobble. “While the Belgian Relief Committee was holding an important meeting yesterday afternoon in my drawing-room a ragged woman came to the house and asked for food. She had a baby in her arms, too!”

“What did you do?” asked Mrs. Gadson.

“Sent her about her business, of course! I was reading my report to the committee and had no time to bother with stray beggars.”


Owing to the safeguards which the Admiralty have placed at the entrance to all large British seaports, it is now compulsory for all outward-bound and incoming vessels to be under the charge of a Government pilot.

A few weeks ago a Sunderland collier was anchored outside the Humber waiting for his pilot, and incidentally chafing at the delay.

Eventually the pilot was shipped and the safe channel entered for Hull, when the captain rather sarcastically remarked: “Do you know where the mines are?”

“No,” replied the pilot, “I do not.”

“What! you’ve taken over my ship and you don’t know? Well, I might just as well have brought the ship in myself.”

The pilot smiled indulgently upon the enraged skipper and said: “Aye, captain, ’tis true I don’t know where the mines are, but I know where they are not.”



All the work was mapped out for the new charwoman, but about the appointed time she arrived in tears.

“My poor ’usband was shot in the battle,” she said, “and ’e’s passed away.”

The employer was all sympathy, gave the widow the half-crown she ought to have earned, and did the necessary work herself.

The next day she met the neighbor who recommended the woman, and said:

“You’ve heard, I suppose, about Mrs. W.’s husband being killed?”

“Yes,” said her friend. “But she ought to have got over it by now. It was in the Boer war.”


A certain Landwehrman had received his hundredth pair of warm woolen stockings knit by fair hands.

“Fritz must be a regular Don Juan,” said one of his less fortunate comrades.

“No,” said another, a fellow-townsman of the accused. “No, it isn’t that. The fact is, Fritz, before the war came, was teacher in a girls’ school.”


Sergeant—“Now, then, don’t you know how to hold a rifle?”

Recruit—“I’ve run a splinter in me finger.”

Sergeant (exasperated)—“Oh, you ’ave, ’ave you? Bin scratchin’ yer ’ead, I suppose?”



As the sergeant was bawling out his orders and watching the line of feet as the raw recruits endeavored to obey the word of command, he found to his astonishment that one pair of feet—more noticeable on account of their extra large size—never turned.

Without taking his eyes off these feet the sergeant bawled out, “About turn!”

He could see that all the feet except those he watched turned in obedience. Rushing up to the owner, a little fellow, he seized him by the shoulder, shouting:

“Why don’t you turn with the rest?”

“Why, I did,” replied the trembling recruit.

“You did, eh? Well, I watched your feet, and they never moved.”

“It’s the boots they gave me, sir,” said the poor fellow. “They’re so large that when I turn my feet turns in them.”


The two servants met in the tram.

“Does this war they’re talking so much about make much difference to you?”

“The missus says we’ve got to economize, so we’ve to have margarine at meals in the kitchen.”

“Doesn’t she have it, then?”

“Not her. She says it doesn’t suit her digestion. But there’s nothing wrong with her digestion. We know that. For as often as not we send her up the margarine and have the butter ourselves.”



A story is current that a certain colonel of a British regiment offered to give a sovereign for every German killed by any of his men.

It happened shortly after this that a sergeant and a private were out spying around, and took different points for observation.

After a while the private crawled up to the sergeant with a look of suppressed excitement on his face, and in a tense whisper said:

“Here’s a fine piece of luck for us, sergeant! There’s four thousand Germans over yonder, and there’s only you and me for ’em. Won’t we rake some quids in now?”


Mr. Horace Wyndham has published a book on his military experiences, in which he quotes the reply of an Egyptian clerk to a demand for 1,000 rations for a Middlesex Regiment.

“Honorable Sir—Estimable telegram to hand, but not understood. Male sex I know well; ditto female sex. Middlesex, however, not familiar. Please send specimen.”


He was a new recruit home on leave.

“Halloa,” said a friend, “how are you going on? Applied for a commission yet?”

“Not me. All the rest in my battalion are sending in their names, I think; but I say that a regiment needs at least one regular, steady private.”



During a sham fight which constituted part of a certain infantry battalion’s training for the war a company was told off to follow up the retreating “enemy.” For this purpose the pursuers, who had been having a strenuous time, had to cross a fairly wide river, and were marched to the nearest bridge, which was about four miles away. Imagine their disappointment on arriving to find this notice attached to the bridge by the “enemy:”

“This bridge is blown up.”

But the officer in command of the pursuers was a man of action, and promptly attached another notice to one of his leading men and proceeded to march them across the bridge. They had almost crossed it, when an umpire suddenly appeared, frantically waving his hands and exclaiming:

“This bridge is blown up; all these men are drowned!”

The commanding officer made no reply, but simply pointed to his notice, which read:

“This company is swimming across!”


It was Saturday night, and the rival butchers were shouting against each other.

“’Ere’s a piece of beef,” shouted one, “any price yer like. No war prices here.”

The other was equal to the occasion.

“Come ’ere,” he shouted. “Don’t ’ave piece at any price; have piece with honor.”



A man in the Veteran Reserves was called up recently.

After a week at his new quarters he was brought up before the officer commanding for not cleaning his rifle one day. Said the officer commanding:—

“Hem, you’re an old soldier re-enlisted, I see. I suppose it will be many years ago since you were reprimanded? What was your last offence? Can you remember what it was?”

Old Soldier (with irony on account of the repeated assertions to his age): “For not cleanin’ me bow an’ arrow, sir!”


A cricket match was taking place near a German internment camp. Many were the comments on the game.

One of the British soldiers who had taken part in the game turned to a German officer, and asked what he thought of the game and the British cricketers.

“Oh,” he said, “they’re very good, but we Germans can beat you on the battlefield.”

“Oh, I suppose you get the most ‘runs’ there!” said the soldier.


Chaplain (in French town near the Front)—“I have been working so hard of late that I feel rather run down. I must try a tonic.”

Soldier—“Why not try a glass of lager?”

Chaplain (badly shocked)—“Oh, that’s Teutonic!”



One of the neatest stories of how a military officer can do the right thing without sacrifice of dignity is related of the man who afterwards became Commander-in-Chief of the British Army. He was sitting in a high-toned tap-room of Dublin, where privates were not permitted the privilege of the bar. Two finely-built men of a dragoon regiment, wearing long-service stripes, entered and called for drinks, which were curtly refused them. They turned without a word and were retiring in good order.

“Halt!” came sharply from the officer in civilian’s clothes. From sheer force of habit the soldiers obeyed and faced about.

“I can purchase what I want here, I suppose?” said the officer as he advanced to the bar.

“Certainly, sir.”

“Then serve these two gentlemen with what they want,” and there was a pleasant emphasis on the title. “Gentlemen, will you drink with me?”

“With pleasure, sir,” and the happy compact was carried out. Then the dragoons courteously inquired the name of the gentleman who had thrown out the life-line, as it were.

“My name is Wolseley—Colonel Wolseley,” with a smile.

Two pairs of heels went together with a click, two brawny arms went up in salute, and the soldiers departed amid the applause of all who had witnessed the scene.



During camp parade of the buglers the other day an Irish corporal was in charge. He was asked by the C. O. if all the buglers were present, when he replied:

“No, sorr; one man absent.”

“Well, then,” said the C. O.; “go and find him, and ask what he has to say for himself.”

A few minutes later Pat came running back, and shouted:

“Shure, sorr, and weren’t we a pair of duffers not to know it? It wor meself. Bedad, sorr, Oi forgot to call me own name, entoirely, sorr!”


“I have some astonishing news for you, Maria,” said Brown. “In addition to the war, England is on the eve of a great strike, in which thousands upon thousands of hands will be involved.”

“What a dreadful thing!” ejaculated his unsuspecting victim. “When is it to take place?”

“This very night, my dear,” answered Brown, gravely. “At midnight thousands of clock hands will point to the hour, and it will strike twelve.”


Visitor (leaving inn, after sleepless night): “I suppose you don’t happen to be a German?”

Landlord: “Do I look like it?”

Visitor: “No; but I thought I’d just ask, because my room last night had a concrete bed in it.”


Supposed to Be Written by an Old British Soldier
After the Style of Baron Munchausen

I venture to set down some of my deeds in the great war, both as a proof of my courage and veracity, and in order to demonstrate the value of resourcefulness in the conduct of military adventures.

Our company—I being then a private—disembarked at ——, in France, and were at once sent to the front. I was immediately selected to go out for the purpose of obtaining information of the enemy’s movements, and I set out determined to perform that task at all costs. Unfortunately a Taube aeroplane scouting overhead espied me, despite my disguise—a small hayrick on my hat—and dropped a bomb, which, though failing to strike me, burst near with such force that it blew me into the air about twenty feet high, and the Taube swooping down, its pilot caught me by the breeches with a hook suspended on a rope. I hung beneath that aeroplane for three days, with a most exhausting backache, and it was not till the night of the third day that I succeeded in climbing up the rope and killing the pilot; but then, the petrol being all consumed, I was obliged to land in the German lines. There I was captured, and forced to remain in the firing-line. This, however, proved to be my good fortune, for, determined to perform my task, I had recourse to a most extraordinary ruse to escape. As soon as I was unobserved, I twined myself about a big shell, and was put into the gun at[100] the next loading. The shot was a good one, and, rendered invisible by the dense smoke, I rode on the shell across the German and British lines, and landed safely at the feet of my general, whom I was able to supply with valuable information. For this deed I was awarded the D. S. O. (Distinguished Suspension Order).

The following day we were ordered to march to ——-, and hold it against the expected attack of the Germans. The village was fifty miles away, and we had but twelve hours for the journey. The pace proved too much for my brave comrades, and one after another they dropped out, till none was left save myself and the captain, whom I carried the last ten miles on my back, together with the rifles and ammunition of twelve of my comrades. Reaching the village, we requisitioned two houses, one at each end. In one I took my stand with six rifles, in the other the captain did likewise. Within an hour the Germans attacked both positions in overwhelming force. After two hours’ violent fighting those on my side drew off to re-form, and I immediately raced across to the captain’s house, just in time to repel a desperate charge. Then I returned to the encounter on my side, and these movements I repeated five times during the night, till at dawn the rest of the company came to our assistance. I had thirty-five bullet wounds, but none of them being in a vital part, I desired the doctors to remove the bullets at once, so that I might continue my duties. My great feet on[101] this occasion gained me the Order of the B.O.O.T. (Best of Our Transports).

But on one more occasion I was able to serve my country in an exceptional manner. Our wireless operator, ordered to signal “Advance to Nancy,” his mind being filled with another name, sent “Advance to Lil,” to the French general. Discovering his mistake, he was unable to correct it, for a shell shattered his instrument. Quick as thought I flung off my coat and ran like the wind to the French headquarters, five miles away, arriving exactly one and a half seconds before the message, just in time to take off my hat and hold it in the way of the oncoming message, which hit it with such force as to knock me backwards. Thus I saved a ghastly mistake. At the conclusion of war I was for this exploit made a corporal, and decorated with the Order K. C. B. (Karnarftellem Cops the Bun).


Whilst making some purchases in a village shop in Scotland the other day, an excited inhabitant rushed in with the news:—

“Tam Henry’s gaun awa’ wi’ the sodgers!”

The shopkeeper remarked dolefully:—

“My, the auld wife’ll miss him sairly.”

When the visitor had left to carry her news elsewhere, a customer inquired sympathetically if “Tam Henry” was the old woman’s only son.

“Naw, naw,” the shopkeeper answered with a pitying smile, “Tam Henry’s her best hoarse!”



A certain recruiting sergeant was sent by the military authorities to his native town, with a view to getting as many of his acquaintances to enlist as possible.

One morning, as he was walking down the street, he saw a group of his old pals standing at the corner.

Going up to the group, he said, “Now, lads, what do you say about joining the colors? You know, I didn’t get these stripes for standing at street corners.”

“Nowe,” replied one of his pals, “if they’d gi’n stripes for that tha’d ’a’ bin a bloomin’ zebra bi neaw.”


In one of the French restaurants in Soho, where there had been a fight a few nights before, the following was at once posted in large type:—

“The war will be settled abroad. Please do not start anything here.”

An enterprising man has printed these placards in large quantities, and is selling them to the restaurants frequented by persons of various nationalities now at war abroad.


The Family Man—“The cost of everything is increasing at a terrible rate.”

The Military Expert—“Not everything. According to statistics in former wars it cost fifteen thousand dollars to kill a man, but now, with improved ordnance and ammunition, it can be done for one-third of that.”



Wife (proud of her military brother-in-law, to husband)—“Do you know Fred has been recently promoted to field-marshal?”

Husband—“To field-marshal! Impossible, dear.”

Wife (indignantly)—“Well, if it’s not a field-marshal he’s come to, it’s a court-martial.”


An English colonel, at kit inspection, said to Private Flanigan:

“Ha! Yes, shirts, socks, flannels, all very good. Now, can you assure me that all the articles of your kit have buttons on them?”

“No, sir,” said Private Flanigan, hesitating.

“How’s that, sir?”

“Ain’t no buttons on the towels, sir!”


A well-known London journalist never uses a notebook, but jots down such events as appeal to him, with suggestions for his subsequent articles, on his cuffs. At first his laundress was much puzzled by these hieroglyphics, but as time went on she became able to read them, and apparently derived much benefit and pleasure therefrom.

One day the journalist received, with his laundered garments, a slip of paper on which was written:—

“Your last washing was very interesting, but we should be glad if you would give us more about ‘Scandals in high life,’ and less about the war.”



Sergeant (disgustedly, to Private Jones, who is not exactly an expert at shooting)—“Ugh! don’t waste your last bullet. Nineteen are quite enough to blaze away without hitting the target once. Go behind that wall and blow your brains out.”

Jones walked quietly away, and a few seconds later a shot rang out.

“Great sausages, the fool’s done what I told him!” howled the sergeant, running behind the wall. Great was his relief when he saw Private Jones coming towards him.

“Sorry, sergeant,” he said, apologetically; “another miss.”


A retort that shows something of the attitude of Russian and Austrian officers before hostilities actually broke out is reported by a Petrograd correspondent.

In the course of his last interview with the Russian military authorities before the war, Prince Hohenlohe, the Austrian military attaché, expressed surprise that the Russians should be requisitioning so many automobiles, the extensive use of which since then may help to explain the rapid alternations of fortune of engagements that have so often proved confusing.

“Your roads are too bad,” the Austrian remarked. “Of what use are automobiles?”

“Ah!” replied the Russian, “but you must remember that your Austrian roads are very good!”


Wonderful Escapes From Death

A sapper in the Royal Engineers tells the story of an extraordinary escape which one of his comrades experienced. A bullet took his cap off and cut a groove through his hair, without injuring the scalp, in such a manner that it looked as though he had carefully parted his hair down the center.

This is but another illustration of the tricks that bullets play at times. It is doubtful, however, if any soldier in the present campaign has had such marvelous escapes as Lieutenant A. C. Johnston, the Hants County cricketer, who relates how, shortly before he was slightly wounded, a shell hit the wall six inches above his head, while shortly afterwards a bullet hit the ground half a yard in front of him, bounded up, and hit him on the body, bruising his ribs. Then a bullet hit him over the heart, but was spent before reaching him, and when in the hospital he picked it out of his left-hand breast-pocket and sent it home to his wife.

A charmed life, too, seems to be borne by a private of the Manchester Regiment, who relates how, while smoking a cigarette in the trenches, a bullet took the “fag” out of his mouth, while another cut the crown off his hat, leaving the peak still sticking on his head. And it is characteristic of the humor of “Tommy,” even when the fire is hottest, that when a bullet took off the top of a tin of bully beef which another private had in his hand, he looked at it, coolly[106] turned round, made a bow in the direction of the enemy, and thanked them for saving him the trouble of finding a can-opener.

A curious escape from what might have been a mortal wound was that of a Royal Scots Fusilier. During a severe fight he suddenly felt the shock of a bullet. “I am hit,” he said to his chum. Looking down, however, he saw that the bullet had struck a clip of cartridges in his top left-hand pouch, but had done no other damage. The first cartridge must have been a little loose, and as it twisted round when it was struck, the bullet was turned off instead of going straight through the soldier’s body, as it would have done had all the cartridges been firm.

Mr. Frank Scudamore relates an extraordinary incident which occurred during the Soudan campaign, when he saw an officer, a friend of his, go down apparently shot through the head. “To my surprise,” he says, “I met him walking about after the battle, apparently none the worse, save that his head was bandaged. Then he showed me how the bullet, striking and deflected by one of the hooks of his helmet chain, had run right round his forehead, cutting a groove under the skin, and had then glanced off the helmet hook at the other side.”


Private Atkins—“Jones just stood me a drink.”

His Best Girl—“And did you stand him one back?”

Private Atkins—“No; a true British soldier never re-treats.”



The general was busily inspecting a regiment the colonel of which was a very bad horseman, and this was well known to his men. The battalion was formed up in quarter column, and as the commanding officer gave the order “Advance in column,” the band struck up the regimental march past, with the result that his horse plunged and kicked furiously, and he was very nearly unseated.

As the leading company was nearing the saluting-base the captain glanced round to see if his men were marching well, and was horrified to see the whole of the front two ranks bunched up in the middle and every man watching the commanding officer’s efforts to retain his seat.

“Ease off, there!” he shouted, angrily.

“No ’ee ain’t,” said a young recruit, “but ’ee soon will be!”


Pat, who had joined the new army, was given his uniform by the quartermaster. Everything fitted all right till he came to put on the trousers, which he said were far too tight.

“No, no,” said the quartermaster; “they’re fine.”

“I tell you they are too tight,” said Pat. “They are tighter than me skin.”

“Nonsense, Pat; how can they be tighter than your skin?”

“Begorra!” exclaimed Pat. “I can sit down in my skin, but I can’t sit down in the trousers.”



Some time ago little Willie rambled into the house, threw his soldier suit in the corner, and began looking over a book. This was unusual for the youngster, and mother began to investigate.

“What did you come into the house for, Willie?” she asked. “You haven’t quarrelled with Georgie Brown, have you?”

“No, mother,” answered Willie; “but I’m not going to play war with him any more.”

“Why not?” queried mother. “What has he been doing?”

“It’s just this way,” explained Willie. “When we play war I’m Germany and he’s England, and if I don’t let him lick me every time he says that I’m not patriotic.”


Pat has always been celebrated the world over for his repartee, and he did not belie his reputation for smart retorts quite recently.

It happened that a warship touched at a military port on the coast of Ireland, and a “Tommy,” meeting a full-bearded Irish “tar” in the street, accosted him with:—

“Here, I say, Pat, when are you goin’ to put those whiskers of yours on the reserve list?”

Pat turned and eyed his questioner thoughtfully for the space of half a second, then:—

“Begorra, just as soon as ever you place your tongue on the civil list,” was his reply.



The inhabitants of a Sussex village recently received somewhat short notice of the visit of a regiment of soldiers, and local butchers’ shops were absolutely cleared out in the endeavor to treat the visitors well at their various one-night billets.

One motherly old dear, who was cute enough to foresee the possible shortage, was early on the market and managed to secure a nice piece of steak weighing two-and-a-half pounds.

Her three men arrived, very tired and very hungry, and by the time their ablutions were through the meat was done to a turn.

“There,” she said, proudly, as she placed it on the table, “I thought you’d like somethin’ substantial. If you manage to eat that you won’t be wanting much more till the morning. You’re lucky to get it, I can tell you, for there isn’t another scrap o’ meat to be had in the place for love or money. Just shout out if you’re wantin’ any more tea made.”

The soldiers decided to have a joke with the old lady. They transferred the steak to a spare plate, popped it under the table, and called for her attendance.

“Are the other two steaks ready yet?” came the question.

The old lady eyed the empty dish and held up her hands in astonishment. “Other two!” she exclaimed. “Why, I thought that one was enough for the three of you. Well, well, I’m done altogether. I can’t beg,[110] borrow, or steal a bit, and I’m right down sorry for you, that I am.”

“It’s all right, mother,” laughed the soldiers. “It’s too bad of us—we were only having a joke. The steak’s under the table.”

“Good gracious!” screamed the lady. “So is Rover!”

Instantly the men dived underneath the table to secure their meat. They saw a big black retriever dog, looking on very good terms with himself, beside an empty dish. The steak was gone.

And three very tired and very hungry men made a meal off bread and cheese. It is dangerous to say “Rover” in their hearing nowadays.


“Yes, John received his trunk this morning. It’s been somewhere over there in Germany for eleven weeks.”

“Where is John?”

“Why, he’s out in the garage shooting bullets through the trunk. He thinks they’ll make it look so much more interesting, don’t you know.”


The Irish adjutant’s wife was telling Bridget about her husband.

“My husband, Bridget,” she said, proudly, “is at the head of the Tipperary militia.”

“Oi t’ought as much, ma’am,” said Bridget, cheerfully. “Ain’t he got th’ foine malicious look?”



“I don’t know that there is much use in keeping my school open more than a month or two each year,” said the German pedagogue.

“Why is that?”

“Our Emperor has simplified matters to such an extent that when you ask the name of the world’s greatest poet, painter, musician, general, traveller, or monarch, there is only one answer to all the questions.”


Two French soldiers took their places in the trenches—the one middle-aged, who had long since received his baptism of fire, the other a mere youth, whose chattering teeth and blanched face proved it was his first experience of real war.

The older soldier tried to reassure his frightened companion. “Be brave, my lad; remember you fight for France.”

A shell screeched through the air close overhead, and the young man’s terror increased.

More soothing words, but more shells, and the upset nerves still on edge. An hour passed, punctuated by many kindly encouragements, but the new soldier’s fear had not abated.

The patience of the other was at last exhausted.

“Why do you shiver and shake like that, you vain young fool?” said he. “You don’t suppose the Germans are firing all these expensive shells at you, do you? You are not a cathedral or a work of art!”



A lot of old-timers of the Army and Navy Club in Piccadilly were swapping stories.

“One Sam Haskins,” says a retired brigadier-general, “decided to enlist. He burned with a desire to serve his country. So he applied at a recruiting office, and was duly punched and prodded, trotted up and down, jumped over chairs and tables, and so forth.

“Then came the questions. All manner of them were fired at him, and he answered most of them satisfactorily. Then came the stern inquiry:

“‘Have you ever served a term of imprisonment?’

“‘No, sir,’ stammered Sam; ‘but,’ he added, hastily, ‘I’d be willing to serve a short one, if it’s necessary.’”


Wife—“The heavy explosions of a battle always cause rain. It rained after Waterloo. It rained after Fontenoy. It rained after Marathon.”

Husband—“But Marathon was fought with spears and arrows, my dear.”

Wife—“There you go again! Always throwing cold water on everything I have to say.”


Still another recruiting story. A new cavalry trooper was being initiated into the mysteries of riding when his horse bolted. “Where the deuce are you going?” thundered the instructor. The reply came back in gasps: “Don’t know—but the ’orse’s ’ome is at ’Ammersmith.”



“Of course, doctor, German measles are seldom serious?”

“I never met but one fatal case.”


“Yes; it was a Frenchman, and when he discovered it was German measles that he had, mortification set in.”


When the young officer, ordered to the Front, called on his tailor to get a fresh outfit, the tailor could not forget that there was already an old and unsettled account.

But he felt nervous about broaching the subject.

“I see the Germans,” said the young officer, casually, “have had a check.”

“Lucky Germans!” said the tailor, wistfully.

The young man looked puzzled for a moment, and then took the gentle hint. Next day the bill was settled.


Scene—Soldiers’ concert at which no alcoholic liquors are being supplied, the men being served with mineral waters by young lady helpers.

Soldier (to young lady helper)—“Do you see that the man who is singing has got his eyes half-shut?”

Young Lady—“So he has. What’s he doing that for?”

Soldier—“He can’t bear to look at us. He knows wot we’re sufferin’.”



During a particularly nasty dust-storm at one of the camps a recruit ventured to seek shelter in the sacred precincts of the cook’s domain.

After a time he broke an awkward silence by saying to the cook:

“If you put the lid on that camp kettle you would not get so much of the dust in your soup.”

The irate cook glared at the intruder, and then broke out:

“See here, me lad. Your business is to serve your country.”

“Yes,” interrupted the recruit, “but not to eat it.”


The British soldier is never at a loss when sarcasm is needed, and an example of his readiness was seen only the other day.

A long route march had been in progress and the officer had been none too patient. Several times he had had occasion to speak strongly to the men. At last, on the march home, the order came, “March easy”—the time when songs are indulged in. There was no call for “Tipperary” this time, but unanimously they started singing, “Kind Words Can Never Die.”


Bix—“I see there’s a report from Holland that concrete bases for German cannon have been found there.”

Dix—“Don’t believe a word you hear from Holland. The geography says it is a low, lying country.”



First Lady—“I see the master cutting a dash this morning. Nobody would think he was hard-up.”

Second Lady—“Lor’ bless yer, no! Since this ’ere Merrytorium come in he walks down the High Street in front of all the shops as though he didn’t owe ’em a penny.”


The value of army remounts was exemplified the other day by the cavalry sergeant who lost patience with an awkward recruit.

“Never approach the horses from behind without speaking,” he exclaimed. “If you do they’ll kick you in that thick head of yours, and the end of it will be that we shall have nothing but lame horses in the squadron.”


A train loaded with wounded soldiers drew up at a certain station. Among these was one whose face could not be discerned for bandages.

“You poor, poor boy,” sympathized an English lady, who approached him timidly.

“Madam,” replied the soldier, with as much pride as springing to attention would convey, “don’t pity me. Pity my chums in the train there, who got hit where it won’t show.”

“Why, why,” she stammered. “I thought you would not like to be disfigured.”

“Disfigured!” the soldier replied, scornfully; “I am not disfigured, I am decorated!”



A well-known English politician was much annoyed by reporters. One day he was enjoying a chat at a London hotel, when a strange young man came up who seemed to have something of importance to communicate, and led him across the room. Arrived in a corner, the stranger whispered, “I am on the staff of an evening paper, and I should like you to tell me what you think of the Government’s foreign policy.” Mr. Dash looked a little puzzled; then he said, “Follow me.” Leading the way, he walked through the reading-room, down some steps into the drawing-room, through a long passage into the dining-room, and drawing his visitor into the corner behind the hat-rack, he whispered, “I really don’t know anything about it.”


A well-known physician was examining a class of nurses. He described the condition of a patient, and asked one nurse how much morphine, in her opinion, should be administered to the sufferer.

“Eight grains,” promptly replied the nurse.

The doctor made no comment, and the girl passed on. When her turn came again she appeared greatly confused, and said to the examiner, “Doctor, I wish to correct the answer I made last time. I meant to say that one-eighth of a grain should be given to the patient.”

“Too late,” remarked the physician, without looking up from his question paper. “The man’s dead.”



The wounded soldier was being attended by the doctor. The latter seemed to treat the case in a light-hearted manner. He prodded the soldier in the ribs, and grinned.

“You’ll be all right,” he said. “You’ve got a bullet in your left arm; but that does not trouble me in the least.”

“I don’t suppose it does,” said the soldier. “An’ if you’d got a bullet in both arms I don’t suppose it ’ud trouble me, either.”


He was a Canadian and he wore a corporal’s stripes. There he sat snugly in a sheltered part of his trench in that little corner of Belgium and played poker with a quartet of his comrades. Luck was against him. He had lost about everything he had to lose, when at the very height of the game—just after the dealer had done his best and worst—a shell came through the roof of the shelter, passed between the Canadian’s long, lean legs (luckily without hitting him), and buried itself harmlessly in the soft earth. The others of the party leaped up in not inexcusable haste and fled from the place, but the Canadian did not move.

The disturbance brought the company commander on the run.

“What’s up?” says he.

“Well, sir,” says the Canadian, “that there shell drops in on us and when it don’t explode at once I[118] judge it is pretty safe not to go off at all. So I just set where I am. The cursed luck of it is that I’ve been playin’ away here all morning’ drawin’ rotten cards and losin’ my shirt, and here just as I holds the first four of a kind that’s gladdened my two eyes since Hector was a pup—and kings at that, sir—at that identical moment there comes this pifflin’ German turnip and the other fellows beats it.”


English men-of-war have no ice-making machines on board, as do our ships, and everybody knows how the English fail to understand us on the subject of the use of ice, especially in our drinks.

An English officer was aboard one of our ships of the Asiatic fleet, and, on being served with an iced drink, commented on the delights of having cool water aboard. The American officer responded with an offer of a small cake of ice, which was sent the following morning. Meeting the Englishman ashore a week later, the American asked him if he had enjoyed the ice.

“Enjoy it, old top? Why, do you know, that was the first cold bawth I’ve had since I left England!”


A recruit very anxious to join Kitchener’s Army enters recruiting station determined to accommodate himself to any condition required.

Officer (filling in form)—“What’s your religion?”

Zealous Recruit—“Well, what are you short of?”



“Why are you for the Allies?” a friend asked a solemn-looking neutral, who looked as if there had been much suffering in his life. “Is it because you abhor Prussian militarism?”


“Is it that you fear Germany’s desire to expand, to absorb foreign lands? Is it that you dislike the German character?”

“No,” replied the solemn-looking individual.

“Well, why are you for the Allies?”

“Because,” said the other, with a pensive air, “I once ate some sauerkraut.”


A sentry was giving close attention to his post in the neighborhood of a British army camp in England, challenging returning stragglers late after dark. The following is reported as an incident of his vigil:

“Who goes there?” called the sentry at the sound of approaching footsteps.

“Coldstream Guards!” was the response.

“Pass, Coldstream Guards!” rejoined the sentry.

“Who goes there?” again challenged the sentry.

“Forty-ninth Highlanders!” returned the unseen pedestrian.

“Pass, Forty-ninth Highlanders!”

“Who goes there?” sounded a third challenge.

“None of your d——n business!” was the husky reply.

“Pass, Canadians!” acquiesced the sentry.



The crew of the Harpalion, one of the British ships torpedoed off Beachy Head, arrived in London yesterday. Mr. S. Harper, the second officer, describing the experiences of the crew, said the ship was sailing down the Channel at the rate of about eleven and a half knots.

“We had just sat down to tea,” said Mr. Harper, “at the engineers’ table, and the chief engineer was saying grace. He had just uttered the words, ‘For what we are about to receive may the Lord make us truly thankful,’ when there came an awful crash.”


A gallant Tommy, having received from England an anonymous gift of socks, entered them at once, for he was about to undertake a heavy march. He was soon prey to the most excruciating agony, and when, a mere cripple, he drew off his foot-gear at the end of a terrible day, he discovered inside the toe of the sock what had once been a piece of stiff writing paper, now reduced to pulp, and on it appeared in bold, feminine hand the almost illegible benediction: “God bless the wearer of this pair of socks!”


“I saw a war picture, and one of the soldiers in the firing-line, amid bursting shells and dead and wounded men, was yawning.”

“He was probably a football-player to whom his surroundings seemed tame.”



During the opening stages of the present war a certain soldier was told that there were three Germans to every one of the Allied forces in that part of the field.

Tommy went into action with great vigor, but later his company sergeant was horrified to see him shoulder his rifle and calmly march to the rear.

“Where are you off to?” he roared.

“Oh,” replied Tommy, “I’ve killed three of the enemy. I’ve done my share, so I’m off back to the camp.”


“If you had to go to war what position would you choose?”

“The drummer’s, I think.”

“Why so?”

“When a charge was ordered, I’d pick up my drum and beat it.”


The company was about to commence practice in trench-digging.

“Shall I show you how to handle the spade?” inquired a young officer of one private who was curiously watching the efforts of his companions.

“Aye, if tha likes,” responded the soldier.

“There you are,” commented the officer shortly afterwards, as he handed over the spade.

“Tha shapes pratty weel,” said the private, a collier from the Durham pits, “for a novice.”



Policeman (arresting burglar)—“Ain’t people worried enough by this war without burglaring their houses?”

Burglar—“All the papers are saying ‘business as usual.’”


Bill Bates, a coal miner, had joined Kitchener’s Army, and was undergoing musketry instruction.

The officer had been at some pains to impress upon the recruits that in loading a rifle they should place one cartridge in the barrel and ten in the magazine.

Singling out Bill, the officer said to him:

“Now, what do you do with your cartridges when loading?”

“Put one in t’ tunnel an’ ten in t’ can!” was the reply.


The general was distributing medals for special valor. Summoning Private Bumptious to step forward, much to the general surprise of the ranks, he thundered out:

“Men, look upon this hero, and imitate his bravery! All through the long night he stood firm at his sentinel’s post, although completely surrounded by the enemy, and there he remained, calmly.”

Private Bumptious turned deadly pale. But before he fell in a faint to the ground, he gasped out:

“Then they were enemies! I thought they were our own troops.”



“Wasn’t it fearful about the Reims cathedral?”

“Don’t say Reems; it sounds horribly ignorant.”

“Well, how do you pronounce it?”

“Why, Hranss.”


“Hn—Hranhss! Just as if you were clearing your throat. See? Hranss!”

“Well, you sound as if you had a dreadful influenza, threatened with grip!”

“Well, that’s right, anyhow. H—hn—hnh—hrahnhss!”

“You’d better go to Arizona! You’ll never get well here! I don’t believe you, anyway. Everybody says Reems.”

“They don’t, either!”

“They do so!”

“Oh, well, it depends on the sort of people you associate with—”

“Well, I don’t go with a lot of fake highbrows, anxious to show off the French they learned in a course of lessons by mail—”

“Better than a lot of country junks who don’t know how to pronounce—”

“Oh, well, the church wasn’t hurt much, anyhow.”

“No, they say it can be repaired. How do you like my hat?”

“Heavenly! What do you think of mine?”

“Adorable! Let’s go in and have soda.”




British Teacher (to small boy)—“So you’ve come to school without a pen, eh? What would you say if one of our soldiers went to France without his gun?”

Tommy—“Please, sir, I should say he was an officer.”


The awkward squad had been having a lecture in musketry. Just before they were dismissed the instructor asked one of them:

“Why is the rifle placed in the hands of a soldier?”

“To protect my life,” came the prompt reply.

The instructor glared at him.

“Protect your life!” he snorted. “Who’s bothering about your life? The rifle, my lad, is placed in your hands for the destruction of the King’s enemies!”


A friend called on a merchant who did a large Continental business to offer him his sympathy.

“This must hit you very hard.”

“Very hard,” said the merchant. “I’ve over eleven hundred pounds owing to me in Germany, and it’s touch and go whether I ever get a penny of it. Still, we’ve got to put up with something for the country.”

“I’m glad you take it so cheerfully.”

“Well,” explained the merchant, “I owe over sixteen hundred pounds in Germany.”



In order to stimulate rifle practice in a Lancashire district, especially amongst the rising generation, a match was arranged in which the competitors must be over fourteen years and under seventeen years of age.

The match was in progress, and there seemed to be not a few of the competitors who would never see another seventeenth birthday.

The climax was reached, however, when a young enthusiast, seeing the excellent score one of the competitors was making, astonished the spectators by shouting at the top of his voice:

“Go on, father; get another bull’s-eye!”


A corporal in the Liverpool Scottish tells a good story of “the front.”

The sentry’s challenge is no longer the orthodox “Halt! Who goes there?” It is a short, prosaic, “Who are you?”

The other day a tired sentry challenged a party of the Princess Patricia’s Own Canadian Light Infantry. Back came the response, “P.P.O.C.L.I.”

“I don’t want to hear you say your alphabet,” growled the sentry. “Who the blazes are you?”


“George, where are your school-books!”

“When notices appeared that books were wanted for the wounded, I gave mine to them.”—Humoristicke Listy (Prague).



They were about the rawest lot of recruits the sergeant had ever tackled. He worked hard for a couple of hours, and at last, thinking he had them licked into shape, he decided to test them.

“Right turn!” he barked; then, before they had ceased to move, barked again, “Left turn!”

One burly yokel slowly left the ranks and made off towards the barracks.

“Here, you!” yelled the sergeant, angrily, “where are you off to?”

“Ah’ve had enough on’t,” replied the recruit, in disgusted tones. “Tha dissent knaw thee arn mind two minutes stright running.”


“Excuse me, but do you mind keeping your dog indoors at night till the war is over?”

“Why?” said the surprised dog-owner to the stranger.

“Well, your dog’s barking sounds just like a ‘special’ boy shouting in the distance. My wife’s got two brothers at the front, and every time she hears your dog she sends me racing down to get the ‘special,’ and says I’ve been too stupid to catch the boy.”


Very British Guest—“What! Brahms? You’re surely not going to sing German?”

Hostess (apologetically)—“Well, of course, I shall take care to sing it flat.”



Frederick Palmer, the war correspondent, was talking about England.

“Everything is war, war, war, over there,” he said. “Dear help the young man who is not in khaki. He has a dreadful time.

“Now and then, though, one of these slackers—as they are called—gets a bit of his own back.

“A slacker, for example, was passing a prison camp near London when an interned German shouted at him from the barbed wire fence:

“‘Hey, Kitchener vants you!’

“The slacker frowned. ‘What?’ he said.

“‘Kitchener vants you,’ the German repeated.

“‘Well, by Jove,’ said the slacker, ‘he’s got you, all right!’”


Robert Skinner, ex-consul-general to London, said at a dinner:

“Of course neutrals see things from one viewpoint and belligerents from another. We all have our various viewpoints.

“An English inebriate was recently released from jail. To a friend who met him outside the prison gates he said:

“‘Well, mate, wot noose?’

“‘There’s a law agin’ treatin’, was the reply, ‘and pretty near the whole world is at war.’

“‘Just think,’ he said. ‘Just think of a no-treatin’ law havin’ sech an effect as that.’”



The wounded soldier had reached home and was just out of a long delirium.

“Where am I?” he said, feebly, as he felt the loving hands making him comfortable. “Where am I? In heaven?”

“No, dear,” cooed his devoted wife. “I am still with you.”


A chaplain in the navy enjoys telling of his endeavors to induce a marine to give up the use of tobacco. During a talk that ensued between the two, the chaplain said:—

“After all, Bill, you must reflect that in all creation there is not to be found any animal except man that smokes.”

The marine sniffed.

“Yes,” he agreed, “and you won’t find, either, any other animal in all creation that cooks its food, or wears clothes.”


Zealous Sentry—“Afraid I can’t let you go by without the password, sir.”

Irate Officer—“But, confound you! I tell you I have forgotten it. You know me well enough. I’m Major Jones.”

Sentry—“Can’t help it, sir; must have the password.”

Voice from the Guard-Tent—“Oh, don’t stand arguing all night, Bill; shoot ’im.”



The English official had been telling the old Scottish farmer what he must do in the case of a German invasion on the East Coast of Scotland.

“An’ hiv I reely tae dae this wi’ a’ ma beesties gin the Germans come?” asked the old fellow at the finish.

The official informed him that such was the law, “All live stock of every description must be branded and driven inland.”

“Dearie me!” gasped the farmer, in dismay. “I’m thinking I’ll hae an awful; ob wi’ ma bees!”


A stranger became one of a group of listeners to a veteran of many battles. The veteran had about concluded a vividly colored narrative of a furious battle, in which he had taken part.

“Just think of it,” exclaimed one of the party, turning to the stranger. “How would you like to stand with shells bursting all around you?”

“I have been there,” responded the newcomer.

“What? Have you, too, been a soldier?”

“No,” answered the stranger. “I am an actor.”


Outside one of the recruiting depots in a large town a sergeant saw a smart young milkman, and, thinking to get a fresh recruit, said:

“Young man, would you like to serve the King?”

“Rather!” said the milkman, eagerly. “How many quarts does he want?”



Two Irishmen were walking into Dublin from one of the outlying villages, and fell to discussing the war and the consequent increase in the cost of living.

“But have ye heard the latest news?” says Tim.

“No,” says Pat. “Phwat is it?”

“There’s a penny off the loaf.”

“Bedad,” says Phat, “I hope it’s off the penny ones.”


An Army officer’s wife wrote to a Royal Army medical corps officer saying her child was suffering during teething; she addressed the letter “Dr. Brown.”

The recipient returned it with the remark that he should be addressed “Brigade-Surgeon Lieutenant-Colonel Brown.”

Whereupon the lady wrote back:—

“Dear Brigade-Surgeon Lieutenant-Colonel Brown—I am sorry about mistake.—Yours, May Jones.

“P. S.-Please bring your sword to lance baby’s gums.”


“I suppose you had a good deal of trouble when you spent your holiday in Germany this summer?” said Mrs. De Jinks.

“Yes,” said Mrs. Von Slammerton; “chiefly in the matter of getting money, however. Why, would you believe it, Mrs. De Jinks, a letter of credit over there wasn’t of any more value than a treaty of neutrality?”



An Irishman who had recently joined Lord Kitchener’s Army was sitting in a railway refreshment room the other day, when two smart young soldiers entered. Thinking to make the Irishman look small, one of them went up to the young lady attendant and asked for “A good cigar for a Hussar!”

A little time afterwards the other one went up and said: “A glass of beer for a Grenadier!”

Pat was not to be taken down so easily, and after a few moments’ thought went up to the bar and, in a loud voice, ordered “A good tea for a V. C.!”


At a recruiting meeting recently the speaker, having got his audience in a high state of enthusiasm by telling them of the many brave deeds of the British soldiers in France, suddenly espied a big, strongly built man at the back of the hall. “My man,” he cried, “how is it that you are not at the front?”

“Oh, it is all right,” replied the burly yokel; “I can hear every word you say from here.”


A South London resident, whose garden runs down to the railway line, has hit upon a novel recruiting advertisement.

He has hung out two old petticoats with a poster reading:

“If you won’t help your King and Country now you had better wear these.”



If you favor war, dig a trench in your back yard, fill it half full of water, crawl into it, and stay there for a day or two without anything to eat, get a lunatic to shoot at you with a brace of revolvers and a machine-gun, and you will have something just as good, and you will save your country a great deal of expense.


“Some of the soldiers in those trenches,” said a doctor, recently back for a rest, “don’t get a chance to wash for weeks at a time. They eat like bears, they never take cold, their health is superb—but, dear me, how they look, with never a wash!

“A humorist of the Coldstream Guards was singing in a second-line trench a parody of ‘Tipperary.’ It was a funny parody, and in the midst of it a young sergeant shouted to the singer:—

“Yer makin’ me laugh till I cry, Bill! Won’t yer stop it? The tears are makin’ me face all muddy.’”


A few Sundays ago Bobby’s mother was hurrying him to get ready for Sunday-school. Bobby (aged seven), not being very fond of Sunday-school, was grumbling all the time about schools in general and Sunday-schools in particular. Finally, to give vent to his feelings, he exclaimed:—

“I wish there was only one Sunday-school in the world, and that—er—that one was in Germany.”



Ernest P. Bicknell, national director of the American Red Cross, said on his return from Belgium to a Washington reporter:

“If peace is to come, each side must do its share. Advances must be made like the girl, you know.

“A young millionaire said to a beautiful girl on a moonlit beach between two dances:

“‘Don’t you like that Shakespearean quotation:

“‘“The friends thou hast and their adoption tried, Grapple them to they soul with hoops of steel”?’

“The girl sighed.

“‘Beautiful,’ she said. ‘Beautiful. But wouldn’t hoops of gold be better?’”


An absentee soldier at West London police court complained that he had not been able to get a decent dinner at the police station and that he was hungry.

“Well, I like to show consideration to men serving their country,” said the magistrate. “Would you like something now?”

“Yes, I could do with tea and bread and butter,” the soldier answered.

“All right,” said the magistrate, but the soldier amended his request.

“Can I have tea, bread and butter and cheese?” he asked.

“Oh, yes,” said the magistrate, laughing, “but take him away, jailer, before he asks for champagne and oysters.”



A British soldier in Belgium was one morning wending his way to camp with a fine rooster in his arms when he was stopped by his colonel to know if he had been stealing chickens.

“No, colonel,” was the reply, “I saw the old fellow sitting on the wall and I ordered him to crow for England, and he wouldn’t, so I just took him prisoner.”


A Herculean soldier, arriving at Liverpool by rail, somewhat travel-stained, was passing along Lime Street when he stopped and called on a street arab to shine his boots. His feet were in proportion to his height, and, looking at the tremendous boots before him, the arab knelt down on the pavement and, hailing a companion near by, exclaimed:—

“Billie, come o’er and gie’s a hand; I’ve got an army contract.”


A chap had just gone to Flanders from the training camp in Devon, and his calmness and cheerfulness under German fire impressed everyone. So much so, in fact, that his corporal declared:

“I never saw a new hand settle right down to it like George.”

“Oh,” said another recruit, “if you knew George’s wife, corporal, you’d understand how the poor fellow enjoys a quiet day among the vitriol sprays and poison bombs.”



An English school inspector, who did not look beyond military age, got a Roland for his Oliver the other day. He invited a class he was examining to put questions to him.

“Now, boys,” he said, “don’t be shy; it’s your turn now. Ask me any question you like on any subject you like, and if I can, I’ll answer it.”

After hesitating, a small but courageous boy held up his hand and blurted out: “Why are you not in khaki?”


“No, sir, I don’t believe in war,” cried the little man. “It means invasion and confiscation and a forcible and brutal alteration of existing boundaries.”

The man across the way turned to his companion and asked in a whisper who the little man was.

“He is a mapmaker,” the companion whisperingly replied, “and he’s got an immense stock of old maps on hand.”


A British officer inspecting sentries guarding the line in Flanders came across a raw-looking yoeman.

“What are you here for?” he asked.

“To report anything unusual, sir.”

“What would you call unusual?”

“I dunno exactly, sir.”

“What would you do if you saw five battleships steaming across the field?”

“Sign the pledge, sir.”



The people of Luxemburg are not wanting in a sense of humor. One day an officer of the Prussian Guard entered a barber shop and had a shave. Whereupon he tendered to the barber a twopenny piece.

“Excuse me, sir,” said the barber, “but it’s threepence now.”

“Why threepence?” asked the Kaiser’s Guardsman. “In August last you only charged me twopence.”

“That’s true enough,” was the barber’s reply; “but since the Battle of the Marne your face has grown much longer.”


They were talking of the war.

“What an age we are living in, to be sure!” said one.

“Yes,” replied the other; “it is the German sauce age.”


When a certain Dublin woman was informed a few days ago that her son had been captured by the Germans with other prisoners, and that he had been put into a chain-gang, she said, with great emotion:—

“Heaven help the man that’s chained to our Paddy.”


English Host—“I thought of sending some of these cigars out to the front.”

The Victim—“Good idea! But how can you make certain that the Germans will get them?”



During the fighting a Highlander had the misfortune to get his head blown off.

A comrade communicated the sad news to another gallant Scot, who asked, anxiously:—

“Where’s his head? He was smoking ma pipe.”


I received a letter from my husband last week, in which he states that he and others were having a glass of beer, when a minister came amongst them and, kneeling down, began to pray, when one of the company present, known as “Stammering Tommy,” closed his eyes and bent his head. When he again opened his eyes, at the close of the prayer, some one had drunk up all his beer. “Eh!” exclaimed Tommy, in astonishment. “M-my b-beer’s all g-gone. I shall w-watch and p-pray n-next t-time.”


A group of patriotic and very enthusiastic boys was assembled outside a well-known London hospital. A passer-by was asked by one of them:—

“Please, sir, can you tell us which general it is who is in this hospital?”

“General?” replied the man. “I don’t know of any general in this hospital.”

“Oh, yes, sir—look for yourself,” cried all the boys together.

The man fixed his gaze on the sign and read, “General Lying-In Hospital.”



A woman who had had four stalwart soldiers billeted on her endeavored to use as little butcher meat as possible. Day after day there was served at the dinner time a scanty meal, the chief item of which was tea.

“Ah,” she said one day, pointing to a tea leaf floating in one of the cups, “there’s to be a visitor today.”

“Well, madam,” said one of the hungry four, “let us hope that it’s the butcher!”


The number of famous literary men who are now serving in his majesty’s forces is so great that the happy idea has been conceived of publishing a book, the contributors to which are all celebrated authors who have become soldiers.

Among the long list of names to be found in the volume, one of the best known is that of A. E. W. Mason, the novelist.

Formerly Mr. Mason was a member of Parliament, and he tells of a man who wrote a certain M. P. asking for a ticket of admission to the gallery of the house of commons.

The M. P. wrote back saying that he was very sorry that he could not send the ticket because the gallery was closed.

The next day he was astonished to receive from the stranger the following note: “As the gallery is closed, will you please send me six tickets for the zoo?”



A gentleman in khaki, just back from France, rambled into a restaurant. After glancing over the bill of fare, he looked around the room for a waiter.

“Yes, sir,” said the waiter, sliding over in response to his call with a glass of water and a napkin.

“Tell me, waiter,” remarked the soldier, “have you got frogs’ legs?”

“No, sir,” was the rather unexpected answer; “it is rheumatism that makes me walk like this!”


Gen. Joffre’s quiet humor is typified in a story which comes from the trenches. Some members of the general’s staff were discussing the number of officers whose hair had turned from jet black to white since the war began, and they had decided to their own satisfaction that the cause was to be found in the mental strain. Gen. Joffre was asked for his opinion, and, while agreeing with the conclusion arrived at by his officers, naively added that it was also very difficult in war time to obtain the toilet accessories to which one was accustomed in times of peace!


First Tramp—“You seem very ’appy abaht it. Wot’s up?”

Second Tramp (reading Mr. Asquith’s Guildhall speech)—“’Ere’s me bin goin’ wivout luxuries all this time, an’ I’ve only jus’ found out that I’ve bin ’elpin’ the country to win this war.”



During the recent fighting along the banks of the Aisne a man was badly wounded. The Ambulance Corps tenderly placed him on a stretcher.

“Take him to the hospital,” said the man in charge.

Slowly the wounded man opened his eyes and whispered, faintly:—

“What’s the matter with the canteen?”


Sergeant-Major—“Now, Private Smith, you know very well none but officers and non-commissioned officers are allowed to walk across this grass.”

Private Smith—“But, Sergeant-Major, I’ve Captain Graham’s verbal orders to—”

Sergeant-Major—“None o’ that, sir. Show me the captain’s verbal orders. Show ’em to me, sir.”


A soldier had died, and a very unpopular sergeant was making a “voluntary” levy of a shilling per man to be sent to the dead soldier’s widow. He came to Mick, an Irishman, who was always in trouble, and who hated the sergeant.

“Now, Mick, my man, where’s your shilling?”

Mick slowly put his hand in his pocket, and as slowly withdrew it. He looked lovingly at the shilling as it lay in his palm, and then passed it over to the sergeant.

“There it is,” he said, “and I’d gladly make it a sovereign if it was for you.”



The following story is vouched for by a well-known Scottish M. P. somewhere off the East Coast. A trawler was on naval patrol duty. The skipper thought he would like some fish for breakfast, so he commenced operations. Soon up popped a German submarine close by. The trawler’s skipper, an Aberdonian, was about to ram it and earn the prize money when the submarine’s commander, not suspecting this evil intention, offered to buy some fish. So the canny Scot went alongside, sold his fish—and then rammed the submarine.


Girl (reading letter from brother at the front)—“John says a bullet went right through his hat without touching him.”

Old Lady—“What a blessing he had his hat on, dear.”


“I was speaking with your father last night,” he said, at last, somewhat inanely.

“Oh, were you?” answered the sweet young thing, lowering her eyes. “Er—what were you—er—talking about?”

“About the war. Your father said that he hoped the fighting would soon be over.”

The sweet young thing smiled.

“Yes,” she remarked, “I know he’s very much opposed to long engagements.”

He took the hint.



Vicar (who has called to read a letter to one of his parishioners from her son at the Front)—“Your son, Mrs. Codling, has been fighting in the trenches. For a whole week he was standing up to his neck in water!”

Mrs. Codling—“Well, I never! This war be doing some funny things, sir, to be sure. We couldn’t get ’im to put water anywhere near ’is neck when ’e was at ’ome!”


“Do you know, Bill would be awfully helpful to the Germans at the front.”

“How so?”

“They might just get him on to talking about his fishing exploits when they were filling their gas-bombs.”


Mrs. Brown (to Mrs. Jones, who has been to see a son off in a troop-ship)—“Well, I’m sure they’ll be starting soon, for both funnels are smoking; and, you see, my dear, they couldn’t want both funnels just for lunch.”


Private A—“Wot kind of a cigarette have you got?”

Private B (handing him one)—“Flor de Kitchener.”

Private A (takes a few puffs and throws it away, remarking)—“They would floor better men than Kitchener.”



The Home Secretary, we understand, can not see his way to allow a distinguished Anglo-American who dwells in our midst with his family to exhibit, with a view to safeguarding his home against Zeppelins, an illuminated sky-sign bearing the words “Gute leute wohnen hier” (“Good people live here”).—Punch.


In a certain hospital “somewhere in France” one of the nurses, before going out shopping, was inquiring of the wounded soldiers whether they required anything brought in, and, if so, what.

One poor chap asked her to bring him a bottle of “Scotch.” She told him that was impossible, as he had been forbidden to drink anything, whereupon he promptly replied:

“Well, have it frozen, and I’ll bite it.”


Patriotism is more than name-deep. In the early summer a tourist party at a Stirling hotel included an obvious German who had a few months previously gone the whole hog in the matter of naturalization.

He had called himself—say—Hector McKiltie. The party strolled out to the field of Bannockburn. Standing beneath the flagstaff, “McKiltie’s” eyes beamed through his spectacles for a minute. And then came the patriotic outburst:

“Mein gracious,” he exclaimed, “so dis vas vere ve beat der Inglish!”



The wounded soldier explained his grievance to his nurse.

“You see, old Smith was next to me in the trenches. Now, the bullet that took me in the shoulder and laid me out went into ’im and made a bit of a flesh wound in his arm. Of course I’m glad he wasn’t ’urt bad. But he’s stuck to my bullet and given it his girl. Now, I don’t think that’s fair. I’d a right to it. I’d never give a girl o’ mine a second-’and bullet.”


Wealthy Benefactress (stopping in at the hospital)—“Well, we’ll bring the car to-morrow, and take some of your patients for a drive. And, by the bye, nurse, you might pick out some with bandages that show—the last party might not have been wounded at all, as far as anybody in the streets could see.”


Eminent Woman Surgeon, Who Is Also an Ardent Suffragette (to wounded guardsman)—“Do you know, your face is singularly familiar to me? I’ve been trying to remember where we’ve met before.”

Guardsman—“Well, mum, bygones be bygones; I was a police constable.”


Sniper—“I’ve knocked the spike orf ’is bloomin’ ’elmet—’e’s took the top orf o’ my bloomin’ ear—and it’s my shot next!”



An Irishman invalided home from the war was asked by one of his relatives what struck him most about the battles he took part in.

“What struck me most?” said Pat. “Sure, it was the large number of bullets flying around that didn’t hit me.”


Sergeant—“’Ey, there! Where are you going?”

The Absent-Minded Beggar (who climbed out of the trench)—“’Oly Jiminy! When that bloomin’ shell whistled over ’ead Hi thought it was twelve o’clock!”


“My love, I’ve an idea,” said old Mrs. Goodart to her caller. “You know we frequently read of the soldiers making sorties. Now, why not make up a lot of those sorties and send them to the poor fellows at the front?”


Rather unexpected was the reply of a Mrs. Tommy Atkins to a lady who inquired if her husband was at the front.

“Yus,” she said, “an’ I ’ope ’e’ll serve the Germans as ’e served me.”


A stranger inquired of Pat which was the shortest way to the hospital.

Pat seriously replied: “By shouting three cheers for Germany.”



A soldier in barracks asked for exemption from church parade on the ground that he was an agnostic. The sergeant-major assumed an expression of innocent interest.

“Don’t you believe in the Ten Commandments?” he asked, mildly.

“Not one, sir!” was the reply.

“What! Not the rule about keeping the Sabbath?”

“No, sir.”

“Ah, well, you’re the very man I’ve been looking for to scrub out the canteen!”


Making the geography lesson as interesting as possible, the teacher asked the name of one of the Allies.

“France,” cried one little boy.

“Now name a town in France.”

“Somewhere,” promptly returned the youngster.


Young Subaltern:—“I think I ought to get a periscope; what do you think?”

Grandmamma—“Don’t go buying one, my dear; if you could borrow one for a pattern, I am sure I could knit you one just as good.”


“Mein Gott, it iss too much? Ain’t it enough dot I fight for der Vaterland? Now der Emperor says we should marry before leaving for der front.”



A young officer at the front wrote home to his father:

“Dear Father—Kindly send me $250 at once. Lost another leg in a stiff engagement and am in hospital without means.”

The answer was as follows:

“My dear Son—As this is the fourth leg you have lost (according to your letters), you ought to be accustomed to it by this time. Try and hobble along on any others you may have left.”


“I understand that all the warring nations find that women are perfectly able to make shrapnel.”

“I’ll wager they make it in their own way, however. One cupful gunpowder, one cupful nitroglycerin, a pinch of fulminate, and so on.”


She—“Where have you been?”

He—“In the hospital getting censored.”


He—“Yes; I had several important parts cut out.”


“Did you ever go to a military ball?” asked a lisping maid of an army veteran.

“No, my dear,” growled the old soldier. “In those days I once had a military ball come to me, and what do you think? It took my leg off.”



The young organist of the village church had joined the local corps to fight for King and Country. The whole place turned out to see the boys go off to the Front, among them the organist’s mother, a dear old soul, who was weeping bitterly. Bravely the old lady dried her tears, and as the train steamed out of the station she called to her son:—

“Look after yourself, my boy, and be sure you keep your practice up.”


Recruiting Officer—“And now, my lad, just one more question—are you prepared to die for your country?”

Recruit—“No, I ain’t! That ain’t wot I’m j’ining for. I want to make a few of them Germans die for theirs!”


British Foreman Compositor—“Three more of my men have enlisted this morning.”

Editor—“Ah! A wave of patriotism, I suppose?”

Foreman Compositor—“Well! Perhaps that’s the way to put it, but they say they would rather be shot than set any more of your copy!”


War Fan—“What’de yuh think of von Hindenburg’s drive?”

Golf Fan—“His drive is all right, but they say he’s weak on the green.”



The Village Know-All—“’Ow’s that son o’ yourn wot went into the Army gettin’ on, Mr. Highpate?”

Mr. Highpate—“Oh, doin’ splendid. They’ve made ’im a color-sergeant now.”

The Village Know-All—“’Ave they, though? What color?”


“What makes you think we’ll have better times when the war is over?”

“Well, for one thing, all these men who do nothing but stand around discussing the war news will have time to go back to work.”


Yoemanry Officer (to trooper whose horse continually falls to the rear)—“How’s this? You told me your horse had won half-a-dozen matches against some of the best horses in the country.”

“So he has, sir,” replied the trooper. “It was in ploughing matches he took the prizes.”


“Blockhead!” shouted the exasperated drill-sergeant to the raw recruit. “Are they all such idiots as you in your family?”

“No,” said the recruit. “I have a brother who is a great deal more stupid than me.”

“Impossible! And what on earth does this incomparable blockhead do?”

“He is a drill-sergeant.”



Teacher—“Now, children, who can tell me which is the Germans’ favorite drink?”

After a pause—“Champagne,” exclaimed all the class excepting Tommy.

Teacher—“Now, Tommy, don’t you agree with the others?”

Tommy—“Well, teacher, I don’t know. I am not sure that the German army are fond of champagne, but all the world knows that their navy always stick to port.”


Scene, improvised singsong in a British relief-camp, to which a number of German prisoners were admitted as a special favor. Officer running it returns after a brief absence to find the sergeant left in control of the program announcing the following item: “Our friends Fritz and ’Ans will now oblige with the ’Ymn of ’Ate.”


Officer (in volunteer camp, to recruit)—“Now, if a fire should break out, what are you to do?”

Recruit—“Run and find you, sir.”

Officer—“Right. And, if I’m not be found, what then?”

Recruit—“Put out the fire, sir.”


“Well, I see the Germans have taken Lodz.”

“I’ll bite. Loads of what?”



A big German officer went into a shop in Brussels and explained to the old woman inside that Germany was ever so many times bigger than Belgium.

“How is it, then,” she inquired, “that you can travel through Germany in three weeks, whereas you have taken over a year to get through Belgium, and you are not through yet?”

The officer saluted the old woman and walked away.


A platoon of a certain regiment, among whom were a number of men noted as inveterate card-players, was being drilled. The instructor lined them up and gave the command:

“Number off!”

Like fire along the front rank ran the response:

“One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, jack, queen, king, ace!”


“Anyhow, there’s one advantage in having a wooden leg,” said the happy soldier.

“What’s that?” said his friend.

“You can hold your socks up with tin-tacks.”


“Does your wife show any interest in the war?”

“Yes, indeed. She talks about it.”

“What does she say?”

“Why, she says that she wishes I could go.”



He—“Why so pensive, my dear? What are you thinking about?”

She—“I was thinking that if all the yarns husbands give their wives could be knit up, what a lot of socks and mittens there’d be for the brave soldiers.”


“I can’t understand it. A month ago you cut her dead, and now you can’t make too much fuss over her.”

“My dear, it’s quite simple. She has the biggest cellar in the district.”—London Opinion.


“My barber is a Frenchman. Every day while he’s shaving me he gives me a little lesson in French.”

“Fine. But don’t you find it rather difficult to make replies?”

“Yes, to a certain extent, but the lather that gets into my mouth seems to help my accent.”


It was several days after arriving home from the front that the soldier with two broken ribs was sitting up and smoking a cigar when the doctor came in.

“Well, how are you feeling now?” asked the latter.

“I’ve had a stitch in my side all day,” replied the wounded soldier.

“That’s all right,” said the doctor. “It shows that the bones are knitting.”



At a party Miss Brown had sung “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary,” and for days after she was singing or humming it to herself.

“It seems to haunt me,” she said to a friend, who had also been at the party.

“No wonder,” said the friend. “Look at the way you murdered it.”


A pair of field-glasses “made in Germany” was responsible for the loss of a trench by the Germans in circumstances at once laughable and inspiring.

The hero was a young British subaltern who won the Victoria Cross.

The subaltern had a pair of Beiss field-glasses of which he was extraordinarily proud. He bored everyone stiff by talking about them continually.

One day his company had been compelled to fall back on their support trenches owing to a sudden German attack.

All at once the subaltern shouted “Good heavens!” and bolted through the communication trench.

A sergeant, who was very fond of the young officer, went after him, and came back shortly after to the commanding officer to report:—

“Sir, he has recaptured the trench.”

The commanding officer collected his men, and again advanced to the fire trench, where he found the subaltern, with a revolver in each hand, in front of a whole row of Germans, who had laid down their[154] rifles and were holding up their hands. The commanding officer congratulated him, but pointed out the recklessness of his action.

“Sir,” replied the subaltern, “I wanted to get my glasses back.”


Old Lady (to nephew on leave from the front)—“Good-by, my dear boy, and try and find time to send a post-card to let me know you are safely back in the trenches!”


Bix—“By the way, who is, or rather was, the god of war?”

Dix—“I’ve forgotten the duffer’s name, but I think it was Ananias.”


Officer (as Private Atkins worms his way toward the enemy)—“You fool! Come back at once!”

Tommy—“No bally fear, sir! There’s a hornet in the trench.”


Ship’s Officer—“Oh, there goes eight bells; excuse me, it’s my watch below.”

The Lady—“Gracious! Fancy your watch striking as loud as that!”


“That is the rhinoceros. See his armored hide?”

“Um. And what’s this?”

“The giraffe.”

“Gee! He’s got a periscope.”



First Recruit—“What do you think of the major, Bill?”

Second Recruit—“‘E’s a changeable kind o’ bloke. Last night I says to ’im ‘’Oo goes there?’ An’ he says, ‘Friend,’ an’ today ’e ’ardly knows me.”


Old Lady (to wounded officer)—“Oh, sir, do you ’appen to ’ave ’eard if any of your men at the front ’as found a pair of spectacles wot I left in a 16 ’bus in the Edgware Road?”


“Do the Germans ever leave anything valuable behind them in the trenches?”

Veteran—“Never a drop, mum!”


Overlooking Blackburn cemetery has been stuck a great recruiting poster, which reads:—

“Wake up! Your King and Country need you!”


Here is a true story from Paris. A batch of conscripts were to be examined by the army doctor. The latter, after seeing that everything was ready in the room, called out to the soldier attendant:

“Send in the first man.”

The attendant shouted, “Adam!” And in walked a nude man whose name it was, and who happened to be the first on the list.



The black sheep of the regiment stood before his commanding officer charged with being drunk. He stoutly denied the offense, and there was only one witness, a sergeant, to prove it. However, the records showed eleven previous convictions for the same offense.

“You are a hardened and habitual offender,” said the captain, sternly. “I can’t take your denial against the sergeant’s word.”

The prisoner turned to the sergeant-witness, and asked, “Have you ever been drunk?”

On receiving an emphatic negative, he turned to the captain again.

“Sergeant says I was drunk; I says I wasn’t. I ask yer, captain, which is likely to be right—him what’s ’ad no experience of what being drunk is, or an ’ardened and ’abitual like me?”


Modesty is an engaging quality in a young man, and the British War Office is said to have appreciated the letter of a youth with no military experience whatever who, in applying for a commission, stated that he would be quite willing to start as a lieutenant.


“I hear, Tommy, you saved a life in the war.”

“Hi did, sir.”

“How did you do it, Tommy?”

“By not hinlisting, sir.”



When the Germans entered Belgium a native of Liége made himself obnoxious to one troop by his constant loud talk about the brave defense. Finally the commander summoned him.

“Now, you’ve boasted about enough,” he said. “We can’t listen to you any longer. I’m going to give you your choice: you will be shot, or you will swear allegiance to the German Emperor.”

Considerably subdued, the offender pondered. “Well,” he decided, “I don’t want to die, so I guess I’ll swear allegiance.”

And he took the oath.

“All right,” said the commander, “now you are one of us. You can come and go as you like.”

The man walked towards the door and was passing out, when suddenly he turned. “Say,” he exclaimed, “didn’t those Belgians give us an awful fight!”


Loquacious Visitor—“So you were wounded at the front, my good man?”

Irishman—“No, begorry. I was wounded in the rear av me.”


Medical Officer—“Sorry; I must reject you on account of your teeth.”

Would-be Recruit—“Man, ye’re making a gran’ mistake. I’m no wanting to bite the Germans; I’m wanting to shoot ’em.”



160 Pages        Paper Covers        Price 30 cents.


The best bulls, blunders and banter by the sons and daughters of the Emerald Isle, gathered into one volume for the delectation of all who appreciate a hearty laugh. This is not a mere collection from the ancient Irish authors, with their “Handy Andys” and other butts and jokers, but, in the main, is the best wit of the modern, the transplanted Irishman, the kind that Americans best know and appreciate. You will agree, when you peruse it, that it is the most mirth-provoking collection of real good Irish fun you ever read, and to say that is equivalent to saying that it is a book of unsurpassed humor, for the Irishman above all others “takes the cake” as a natural wit.




160 Pages        Paper Covers        Price 30 cents.


A collection of the most laughable jokes, doings and sayings of funny folks, gathered from every quarter of the globe; warranted to produce a smile on the longest face. Comprising original and selected anecdotes by the world’s best wits, some of which have never before been in print, and all of them funny and laugh-provoking; such humor as ladies and gentlemen appreciate, and are better and happier for the having. This is a companion book to Flashes of Irish Wit, its contents entirely different and with less of the Hibernian humor; the two taken together making the most complete gathering of modern wit extant.



The Shrewesbury Series of

Edited by Carleton B. Case

The very latest, most up-to-date and complete works of their kind. Uniform in style. Price each 30 cents. Procurable where you bought this book, or will be sent postpaid direct from the publishers on receipt of price.

Shrewesbury Publishing Co.,




By Mohammed Ali

160 Pages        Paper Covers        Price 30 cents.

(Edited by Carleton B. Case.) A symposium of the various ancient and modern methods, as practiced by Arab Seers and Sibyls and the Romany Gypsies, with plain examples and simple instructions that enable anyone to acquire the art with ease. Divination by cards nowadays is chiefly employed for amusement and pastime, for entertaining one’s self or one’s company; at church fairs, charity bazars and the like. This book supplies all the data for the complete mastery of this interesting science, and is the only one in the English language that is free from technical errors. Just out.


By Carleton B. Case

160 Pages        Paper Covers        Price 30 cents.

A book of the best current wit, culled from European and American sources; all clean and laughable; due to find a place in every home where mirth is welcome and happiness has its habitat. Nobody knows who wrote

“A little nonsense now and then
Is relished by the wisest men,”

but that couplet inspired our title. It is a collection of smile-provokers for “the wisest men,” and women, and we believe you’ll like it. There are bits of Irish anecdote in places, but most of the fun is other than Hibernian, and all of it is good.





Transcriber’s Note:

Obvious punctuation errors were corrected.

Book uses “yoeman” where “yeoman” might be expected.

Page 5, “cafe” changed to “café” (of a café at Havre)

Page 41, “Be” changed to “He” (He bounced down on)




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