Infomotions, Inc.Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 156, April 16, 1919 / Various



Author: Various
Title: Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 156, April 16, 1919
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April 16, 1919, by Various, Edited by Owen Seamen


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Title: Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 156, April 16, 1919

Author: Various

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Language: English

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PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI

VOL. 156

APRIL 16, 1919







CHARIVARIA.

We understand that a proposal to send a relief party to America
to rescue Scotsmen from the threatened Prohibition law is under
consideration.

       ***

It is rumoured that _The Times_ is about to announce that it does not
hold itself responsible for editorial opinions expressed in its own
columns.

       ***

A correspondent, complaining of the tiny flats in London, states that
he is a trombone-player, and every time he wants to get the lowest
note he has to go out on to the landing.

       ***

In Essex Street, Shoreditch--so Dr. ADDISON explained to the House
of Commons--there are seven hundred and thirty-three people in
twenty-nine houses. A correspondent writes that a single house in the
neighbourhood of Big Ben contains seven hundred and seven persons,
many of them incapable, and that nothing is being done about it.

       ***

"The Original Dixie Land Jazz Band has arrived in London," says an
evening paper. We are grateful for the warning.

       ***

Over two hundred season-ticket-holders live within a mile radius at
Southend. We suppose there must be some attraction at Southend to
explain why so many season-ticket-holders live there.

       ***

We are pleased to be able to throw some light on the mystery of the
Russian who was not shot in Petrograd last week. It appears that he
ducked his head.

       ***

We await confirmation of the report that an American has offered to
defray the cost of the War if the authorities will name it after him.

       ***

The Surplus Government Property Disposal Board is making a special
offer of eighteen-pounder guns to golf clubs. For a long shot out of a
bad lie the superiority of the eighteen-pounder over the Sammie cleek
is conceded by all the best golfers.

       ***

Westgate-on-Sea has decided to abolish bathing-machines. In future
visitors desiring to bathe will have to do it by hand.

       ***

Mr. KELLAWAY informed the House of Commons the other day that the War
Office has forty million yards of surplus aeroplane linen. It seems
inevitable that some of it will have to be washed in public.

       ***

A woman aged twenty-six, mother of five children, told the Old Street
police magistrate that she could not read. How she managed to have
five children without being able to read the Defence of the Realm
Regulations is regarded by the authorities as a mystery.

       ***

At the Royal Drawing Society's exhibition there is a picture painted
by a child of two. Pictures by older artists, with all the appearances
of having been painted by children of this unripe age, are, of course,
no novelty.

       ***

"Whitehall Wakes Up," says _The Evening News_. An indignant denial of
this charge is hourly expected.

       ***

A Northumberland man last week declined to draw his unemployment pay
on the ground that he was not actually wanting it. His workmates put
it down to the alleged fact that a careless nurse had let him fall out
of the perambulator on to his head.

       ***

"Unless Russian women join the Bolshevist movement," says Herr RADEK,
"they will all be shot by order of Lenin." This confirms our worst
fears that these Russian revolutionaries are becoming rather spiteful.

       ***

A new fire-engine has been provided for Aberavon. As a result of this
addition to their appliances the Aberavon Fire Brigade are now able to
consider a few additional fires.

       ***

A large rat with peculiar red markings on its back has recently been
seen at Woodvale, Isle of Wight. In consequence much alarm is felt
locally, as it is feared that this is an indication that the rodents
on the isle have embraced Bolshevism.

       ***

The correspondent who, as reported in these columns, noticed a pair
of labourers building within a stone's-throw of Catford Bridge, now
writes to say that a foundation stone has been laid.

       ***

Philanthropists are warned against a beggar who is going about saying
that, when wounded in France, he was so full of bullets that they took
him back to the Base in an ammunition wagon instead of an ambulance.

       ***

The reported decision of the Sinn Fein Executive, that policemen shall
only be shot at on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, has definitely
eased a situation which it was feared could only be coped with by
arresting the instigators of such crimes.

       ***

In a recent suit for alimony a wealthy New Yorker complained that his
wife used a diamond-studded watch for a golf tee. If she had only
wasted the money on a new ball he would never have complained.

       ***

Experiments in rat-killing, says a news item, are being carried out at
the Zoo. At the time of writing the reticulated python is said to be
leading the whale-headed stork by a matter of three rats.

       *       *       *       *       *


[Illustration: _Husband (just arrived home)._ "WHAT ON EARTH HAVE YOU
BEEN DOING WITH YOURSELF?"

_Wife_, "ONLY THE COAL-MAN'S BEEN AT LAST, AND I SIMPLY COULDN'T
RESIST GIVING THE DEAR MAN A KISS!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

From the report of a breach of promise case:--

    "The engagement came about through a chance meeting in Richmond
    Park in the summer of 117."--_Daily Herald_.

Despite the happy case of Jacob and Rachel, we never have approved of
these long engagements.

       *       *       *       *       *

A PAYING GAME.

  When Belgium lay beneath your heel
    To prove the law that Might is Right,
  And Innocence, without appeal,
    Must serve your scheme of _Schrecklichkeit_,
  "Justice," we said, "abides her day
    And she shall set her balance true;
  Methods like yours can never pay."
    "Can't they?" you cried; "they can--and do!"

  And now full circle comes the wheel,
    And, prone across the knees of Fate,
  You are to hear, without appeal,
    The final terms that we dictate;
  And, when you whine (the German way)
    On presentation of the bill:
  "_Ach, Himmel!_ we can never pay,"
    "Can't you?" we'll cry; "you can--and will!"

  O.S.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE BRIGHTER SIDE OF PEACE.

I'm not out of the Army yet, but lately I was home on leave. At a time
like that you don't really care about being demobilised just yet.
After all, to earn--or let us say to be paid--several pounds for a
fortnight's luxurious idleness is a far, far better thing than to
receive about the same number of shillings for a like period of
unremitting toil. There you have an indication of the financial
prospects of my civvy career. None the less, to me in Blighty the
future looked as rosy as a robin's breast, and life was immensely
satisfactory. I deemed that I was capable of saying "Ha, ha" among
the captains (though myself only boasting two pips). Then one day, in
the lane that leads to the downs, I met Woggles.

I've known Woggles for years and years. Some time ago she became a
V.A.D. and began to drive an ambulance about France; since when I had
lost sight of her. I greeted her therefore with jubilation.

"Oh, Woggles," I cried, "this is a great occasion. How shall we
celebrate it?"

"Well, if you like I'll go back again on to the top with you and show
you the Weald. But I'd much rather you came home to tea. I _could_
make some 'Dog's Delight'--s'posing you haven't outgrown such simple
tastes."

"Oh, if you put it like that," I said cheerfully.

Well, it was a bitter sort of afternoon and growing late. The
annoyance of Bogie (an enthusiastic puppy) at missing his walk might
appropriately be solaced with portions of "Dog's Delight." It's a
large home-made bun thing which used to delight me as well as Bogie's
mother in days gone by.

"I ought to warn you," said Woggles as we walked across the fields,
"that Mother and Dad are out to-day. I expect your dog'll have to take
acting rank as chaperon."

"By the way," I said, "you don't know each other, do you?" I called
Bogie, who was giving a vivid imitation of a cavalry screen protecting
our advance, and made him sit up and pretend to be begging. "Now
fix your eyes on the kind lady," I commanded. "Woggles--Bogie:
Bogie--Woggles. Two very nice people." Bogie barked, put out his
tongue and let the wind blow his left ear inside out. Woggles laughed
in that excellent way she has.

At the Rectory she sang to me even better than she used to; the
"Delight" was an achievement, Bogie being most agreeably surprised;
there was a glow of firelight such as I love, and a vast comfortable
chair. I felt lazy and very happy.

"This tea idea of yours was simply an inspiration. I don't know when
I've been so pleased with myself and existence generally. At the
moment my _moral_ is as high as Mount Everest."

"Yes, I noticed something like that," Woggles agreed. "More tea?
It's only about your fifth cup." Suddenly serious, she went on: "I
wonder--is there much to be happy about just now? Dad thinks not; and
so do I, rather. Do you want to talk about it, or would you rather
find faces in the fire?"

"Please I want to talk about it."

"Carry on then. Fortify yourself with that last bit of 'Delight.'"

In spite of this reinforcement I found it wasn't so very easy to
begin.

"Well," I said slowly, "I expect the foundation of my _joie de vivre_
is a great relief that the War's over. Lots of troops celebrated that
with song and dance and so forth on November 11th and subsequent
nights; I'm spreading it over a much longer time. In a way it's like
having a death sentence repealed, for millions of us. Not the heroic
spirit, is it?--but there you are."

"Of course everyone feels that," Woggles admitted. "Only now that it
_is_ all over, aren't we sort of looking round and counting the cost?
Thinking that all this loss of life and suffering hasn't made the
world so very much better? Look at Russia and our strikes. Doesn't
Bolshevism worry you?" she asked.

"The fact is," I told her, "I believe I've evolved a philosophy of
life which nothing of that kind can seriously disturb--or I hope not.
It's very jolly to feel like that."

"It must be. May we have this philosophy, please? Perhaps you'll make
a disciple."

"It's an awfully simple one really, only I think people lose sight of
it so strangely. Just to realise the extraordinary pleasure everyday
things can give you--if you'll only let them. You compree that?"

"It doesn't sound very convincing," Woggles objected. "Everyday
things! As for instance?"

"Oh, what shall I say? One of those really fine mornings; huge white
clouds in a deep blue sky; the feel of a good drive at golf; smoke
from cottage chimneys at dusk; wondering what's round the next corner
of an unknown road; bare branches at night with the stars tangled in
them; the wind that blows across these downs of ours; the music of a
sentence of STEVENSON'S; Bogie here and his funny little ways--Well, I
needn't go on?"

"No, you needn't," said Woggles thoughtfully and looked at me rather
hard for a space. "We're old friends, aren't we, and all that sort of
thing?" she demanded.

"What a question! I hope we are. But why?"

"Well, I'm going to ask you something. But I may say I'm rather
nervous. You'll promise not to set Bogie at me or strangle me with
your Sam Browne?"

"I will."

"Well, then, have you been asking Betty Willoughby to marry you, and
has she said 'Yes'?"

I was amazed. Was Woggles also among the soothsayers? Because a few
evenings earlier, with the help of a splendid full moon and one or two
extenuating circumstances--

"But this is black magic and wizardry," I said. "It's a dead secret.
How on earth did you know?"

"Oh, I just guessed," said Woggles.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE MATRIMONIAL MARKET.

    "Young Girl Wanted, for Wife of Naval Officer."--_Provincial
    Paper_.

The Navy may be the Silent Service, but when it does speak it is very
direct.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE EASTER OFFERING.

MR. LLOYD GEORGE _(fresh from Paris)._ "I DON'T SAY IT'S A PERFECT
EGG; BUT PARTS OF IT, AS THE SAYING IS, ARE EXCELLENT."]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Colonel (back with his battalion from front lines--to
horsey and immaculate Railway Transport, Officer)._ "ENGINES A BIT
FRISKY THIS MORNING?"]

       *       *       *       *       *

PROPAGANDA IN THE BALKANS.

At the end of September last those whom we in Macedonia had come
to regard as our deadly enemies became our would-be friends with a
suddenness which was almost painful. Kultur is a leavening influence,
and our spurious local Hun in Bulgaria is every bit as frightful in
war and as oily in defeat as the genuine article on the Rhine.

To escape this unfamiliar and rather overpowering atmosphere of
friendliness our section of the Salonica Force immediately made for
the nearest available enemy and found ourselves at a lonely spot on
the Turkish frontier. The name of the O.C. Local Bulgars began with
Boris, and he was a _Candidat Offizier_ or Cadet, and acting Town
Major. As an earnest of good-will, he showed us photos of his home,
before and after the most recent _pogrom_, and of his grandfather, a
bandit with a flourishing practice in the Philippopolis district, much
respected locally.

We took up our dispositions, and shortly all officers were engaged
sorting out the suspicious characters arrested by the sentries. It was
in this way that I became acquainted with Serge Gotastitch the Serb.

When he was brought before me I sent for Aristides Papazaphiropoulos,
our interpreter, and in the meantime delivered a short lecture to the
Sergeant-Major, Quartermaster-Sergeant and Storeman on the inferiority
of the Balkan peoples, with particular reference to the specimen
before us, to whom, in view of the fact that he seemed a little below
himself, I gave a tot of rum. He eyed it with suspicion.

"What's this?" he asked suddenly (in English). "Whisky?"

I informed him that it was rum.

"That's the goods," he said, and drank it. I then commenced
interrogation.

"You are a Bulgar?" I asked.

"No," said Serge cheerlessly, "I am Serb."

"Serb! Then what are you doing here?"

"I hail from Prilep," he explained. "When Bulgar come Prilep, they
say, 'You not Serb; you Bulgar.' So they bringit me here with others,
and I workit on railroad. My family I not know where they are; no
clothes getting, no money neither. English plenty money," he added, _a
propos_ of nothing.

I ignored the hint.

"Then you are a prisoner of war?" I suggested.

"In old time," he continued, "Turks have Prilep. I go to America and
workit on railroad Chicago--three, four year. When I come back Turks
take me for army. Not liking I desert to Serbish army. When war
finish, Serbs have Prilep. I go home Serbish civil. Then this war
start. Bulgar come to Prilep and say, 'You Bulgar, you come work for
us.' You understahn me, boss?"

"I must look into this," I said to the Sergeant-Major. "Send for the
interpreter and ask the Bulgar officer to step in. He's just going
past."

Boris arrived with a salute and a charming smile and listened to my
tale. Then he turned a cold eye on Serge and burst into a torrent of
Bulgarian, under which Serge stood with lifting scalp.

"Sir," faltered Serge, when the cascade ceased, "I am liar. All I said
to you is false. I am good Bulgar. I hate Serbs."

"Then you are not, in fact, a Serb?" I said.

"Nope," said Serge, nodding his head frantically (the Oriental method
of negation).

"Do you want to go home?" I asked cunningly.

"Sure, boss," replied he. "Want to go Chicago."

Boris uttered one blasting guttural and Serge receded to the horizon
with great rapidity. "You understand, _mon ami_," explained Boris; "he
is really a Bulgar, but the villainous Serb propagandists have taught
him the Serbian language and that he is Serb. It is his duty really to
fight or work for Bulgaria, just as it was ours to liberate him and
his other Bulgar brothers in Serbia from the yoke of the Serbs. It is
understood, my friend?"

"Oh, absolutely," I replied.

He withdrew, exchanging a glance of hatred with Aristides
Papazaphiropoulos, who approached saluting with Hellenic fervour.

"You wish me, Sare?" he asked.

"I did," I answered, and outlined to him what had passed. "Is it true
that propaganda is, or are, used to that extent?"

"It is true," he answered sadly. "The Serb has much propagandism, the
Bulgar also. But in this case both are liars, since the population of
Prilep is rightfully Greek."

       *       *       *       *       *

Three days later Boris appeared before me with a sullen face.

"I wish to complain," he said. "You have with you a Greek, one
Papazaphiropoulos. It is forbidden by the terms of the Armistice that
Greeks should come into Bulgaria. Greeks or Serbs--it is expressly
stated. I wish to complain."

"You are wrong," I replied. "He is no Greek. He is a Bulgar. But the
cunning Greek propagandists have taught him the Greek language and
that he is a Greek. It is really his duty to be the first to rush on
to the soil of his beloved Bulgaria--"

"Ach!" said Boris, grinding his teeth; "you mock our patriotism. You
are an Englishman."

"I don't," I replied. "And I'm not. I'm French. We came over in
1066. You ask my aunt at Tunbridge Wells. But the villainous English
propagandists taught me English, and the Scotch gave me a taste for
whisky, and--"

But Boris had faded away.

       *       *       *       *       *

ALARMING: SPREAD OF CANNIBALISM.

    "AUSTRALIANS IN FRANCE.

    "THIRD OF GERMAN ARMY EATEN."
    _Queensland Paper_.

    "THOROUGHLY Experienced Cook. Capable cooking large
    family."--_Ceylon Paper_.

    "WANTED, Smart Young Man or Woman, for frying."--_Provincial
    Paper_.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Born Grumbler_. "FOR OVER FOUR YEARS I'VE BATTLED
FURIOUSLY AGAINST A 'ARD AN' BITTER FOE. AN' 'ERE I AM CONSTRUCTIN' A
WOODEN' 'ORSE FOR THE CAPTIN'S SON."]

       *       *       *       *       *

TO A YOUNG SUB.

_(By a late one.)_

  Sublime young Sir, so nuttily complacent,
    So airy-poised upon thy rubbered feet,
  The cynosure, no doubt, of all adjacent
    Regard along that hit of Regent Street,
  My thanks. In rather less than half a twinkling
    Thy lofty air and high Olympian gaze
  Have taught me that of which I had no inkling
    Throughout my swashing military days.

  I too (_et ego in Arcadia vixi_)--
    I too have strolled like that in London town,
  Demanding homage from the very bricks I
    Pressed with my shoes of scintillating brown;
  But never till I tried the fair corrective
    Of seeing khaki from a civvy suit
  Could I envisage in its true perspective
    That common circumstance, a Second-Loot.

       *       *       *       *       *

NOT DEAD YET.

    "The Hungarian Soviet Government has adopted a non-posthumous
    attitude."--_Globe_.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Host (to visitor just arrived)._ "GET YOUR OVERCOAT
OFF QUICKLY, MAN; THEN HE'LL THINK YOU BELONG TO THE HOUSE!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE PASSING OF GREEK.

A great thanksgiving meeting (postponed till "Summer-time" on account
of the shortage of artificial heat) was held at the Albert Hall last
Saturday to celebrate the dethronement of Greek at Oxford. Mr. H.G.
WELLS presided, and there was a numerous attendance.

Mr. WELLS, while he struck and maintained a jubilant note throughout
his eloquent speech, tempered enthusiasm with caution. The Grecians,
he said, like the Greeks, were wily folk and capable of shamming dead
while they were all the while scheming and plotting to restore their
imperilled supremacy. Indeed he knew it as a fact that some of the
most infatuated scholars actually voted against compulsion, simply to
confuse the issue. Still, for the moment it was a great victory, a
crushing blow to Oxford, the stronghold of mediaevalism, incompetence
and Hanoverianism, and an immense relief to the sorely-tried physique
of the nation. For he was able to assure them, speaking with the
authority of one who had taken first-class honours in Zoology, that
the study of Greek more than anything else predisposed people to
influenza by promoting cachexia, often leading to arterio-sclerosis,
bombination of the tympanum, and even astigmatism of the pineal gland.
(Sensation.)

Mr. PEMBERTON BILLING, M.P., speaking from the seat of an aeroplane,
said that he had found the little Greek he remembered from his
school-days not only no help but a positive hindrance to his advocacy
of a strong Air policy. The efforts of the Greeks as pioneers of
aviation were grossly exaggerated and, speaking as an expert, he
denounced these literary fictions as so much hot air. There were at
least forty-seven thousand reasons against Greek, but he would
be content with two. It didn't pay, and it was much harder than
Esperanto.

Mr. WILLIAM LE QUEUX in a most impressive speech said that he was
no enemy of ancient learning. Egyptology was only a less favourite
recreation with him than revolver practice. But Greek he could never
abide, and he was confirmed in his instinct by the fact that at all
the sixteen Courts where he had been received and decorated Classical
Greek was practically unknown. It was the same in his travels in
Morocco, Algeria, Kabylia, among the Touaregs, the Senussis and the
pygmies of the Aruwhimi Hinterland. He never heard it even alluded to.
Nor had he found it necessary for his investigations into the secret
service of Foreign Powers, the writing of spy stories, the forecasting
of the Great War or the composition of cinema plays. He had done his
best to procure the prohibition of the study of Greek in the Republic
of San Marino, and he was inclined to trace the present financial
crisis in that State to his failure. (Cheers.)

Mr. BERNARD SHAW struck a somewhat jarring note by the cynical remark
that it would be a very good thing for modern sensational authors if
Greek literature were not only neglected but destroyed, as some of the
Classical authors had been guilty of prospective plagiarism on a large
scale. He knew this as a fact, as he had been recently reading LUCIAN
in a crib and found him devilish amusing. (Uproar and cries of
"Shame!")

A moving letter was read from Lord BEAVERBROOK, in which the great
financier declared that, in arriving at the peerage at the age of
thirty-seven, he had found his inability to read HOMER freely in the
original no handicap or hindrance. He pointed out the interesting fact
that Lord NORTHCLIFFE, who reached a similar elevation at the age of
forty, had never composed any Greek iambics, though his literary style
was singularly polished.

It was felt that any further speeches after this momentous
announcement would inevitably partake of the nature of an anti-climax.

The Chairman happily interpreted the feeling of the meeting by hurling
a copy of _Liddell and Scott_ on the floor of the platform and dancing
upon it, and the great assembly soon afterwards dispersed in a mood of
solemn exultation to the strains of a Jazz band. As Mr. WELLS observed
in a fine phrase, "We have to-day extinguished the lights in the
Classical firmament."

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Demobilised One (to massive lady about to make her
exit),_ "EXCUSE ME WOULD YOU MIND TREADING--ACCIDENTAL-LIKE--ON THAT
MAN'S TOES? HE USED TO BE MY SERGEANT-MAJOR."]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE TENDER-HEARTED BAILIE.

    "Accused broke down in the dock, and while weeping bitterly the
    Bailie fined both girls L1 or ten days."--_Edinburgh Evening
    News_.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Lord Burray of Elibank and the Hon. Gideon Murray, M.P., have
    recently had influenza and bronchitis."--_Scotch Paper_.

From internal evidence we gather that his lordship has not yet
completely recovered.

       *       *       *       *       *

SO SOON FORGOT.

    [A cinema has been showing a picture of M. PADEREWSKI, bearing
    the legend, "The new President of Poland: once a world-famed
    violinist."]

  The President of POLAND
    Was born to place and power;
  Yet, ere he found his mission
  In filling this position,
  He was a great musician--
    Men say so to this hour.
  But, dash it! while the whole land
    Admits his old repute,
  It wonders, "Did this fellow,
  At whom Queen's Hall would bellow,
  Perform upon the 'cello,
    Or did he play the flute?"

  The day AUGUSTUS JOHN is
    Created Duke of Wales,
  His countrymen will never
  Stop boasting of how clever
  He is at Art, whatever
    (Though Burlington still rails).
  But one small detail gone is
    From their forgetful nuts;
  Their recollection's shady--
  Did JOHN'S artistic heyday
  Mean costumes for _The Lady_
    Or things for _Comic Cuts?_

  When HALL CAINE rules a nation
    As Superman of Man,
  His subjects will assure us
  In daily dance and chorus:
  "Ere HALL presided o'er us,
    Men read him as they ran.
  For once his circulation
    Spread over Seven Seas."
  Yet memory by chance errs
  In these ecstatic dancers--
  Oh, did he edit _Answers_,
    Or write "Callisthenes"?

       *       *       *       *       *

OUR HELPFUL CONTEMPORARIES.

    "But the most pressing of all the questions with which the Peace
    Congress has to deal is the settlement of terms of peace with
    Germany."--_Nottingham Guardian_.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "LIFE'S LITTLE MARVELS.

    "A family of eight was stated to be living on L3 a week in the
    Bow County Court, and counsel said it was a marvel how they did
    it."--_Bradford Daily Argus_.

It is supposed that they take it in turns to sleep on the Bench.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "A Republic is derported to have been declared at Zagazig. In
    Cairo stdikes have added to the difficulties of the public, the
    latest being one by the cabddivers. Crowds ottempted to storm
    the Government printing works, but were dispersed by the
    military."--_Daily Paper_.

Not, however, until they had worked some havoc among the type.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE MUD LARKS.

I was motoring homewards across the old line. A ghost-peopled dusk was
crawling over the devastation and desolation that is Vimy, and in the
distance the bare bones of St. Eloy loomed like a spectre skeleton
against the frosty after-glow. We hummed past Thelus cross-roads,
dipped downhill and, _hey presto_! all of a sudden I was in China.
(No, not Neuville-St.-Vaast; China, China, place where they eat
birds'-nests and puppy-dogs' tails.) There were coolies from some
salvage company all over the place, perched on heaps of broken
masonry, squatting along the ditch side, banked ten-deep in the
road--tall villainous-looking devils, very intently watching
something. I pulled up, partly to avoid killing them and partly to see
what it was all about.

It was an open-air theatre. They had built it on the ruins of an
_estaminet_, roofed it over with odds and ends of tin and tarpaulin,
and the play was on. There was the orchestra against the back-cloth,
rendering selections from popular Pekin revues on the drum, cymbal and
one-stringed fiddle. There were the actors apparelled in the gorgeous
costumes of old Cathay strutting mechanically through their parts, the
female impersonators squeaking in shrill falsetto and putting in a lot
of subtle fan-work. And there was the ubiquitous property-man drifting
in and out among the performers, setting his fantastic house in order.
We were actually within a mile of the Vimy Ridge, but we might have
been away on the sunny side of Suez, deep within the mysterious heart
of Canton City.

"Good as a three-ring circus, ain't it?" said an English voice at my
side; "most of their plays run on for nine months or so, but this
particular show only lasts six weeks, the merest curtain-raiser."

I turned towards the speaker and looked full upon the beak nose, cleft
cheek and bristling red moustache of an old friend. "Good Lord, The
Beachcomber!" I breathed. He started, peered at me and growled,
"Captain Dawnay-Devenish, if it's all the same to you, Mister blooming
Lieutenant."

       *       *       *       *       *

 In the year 1907 John Fanshawe Dawnay-Devenish arrived in a certain
Far Eastern port, deck passenger aboard a Dutch tramp out of Batavia.
The Volendam mate accompanied him to the gang-plank, shaking a size
eleven fist: "Now yous, get, see?... an' iv yous gome bag...!" He
ground his horse-teeth and made unpleasant noises in his throat.

"Shouldn't dream of risking it, old dear," replied John Fanshawe
pleasantly, "not on your venerable coffee-grinder anyhow--not until
she gets a navigator." He kissed his nicotined fingers to the
exploding Hollander and strolled off down the wharf, whistling "_Nun
trink ich Schnapps_."

Arrived in the European quarter he smoothed what creases he could out
of his sole suit of drills, whitened his soggy topee and frayed canvas
shoes with a piece of chalk purloined from a billiard saloon, bluffed
a drink out of an inebriated ship's engineer and snatched a free lunch
on the strength of it. Thus fortified he visited the British Consul,
and by means of somewhat soiled letters proved that he really was a
Dawnay-Devenish of the Dorset Dawnay-Devenishes (who should be in no
way confused with the Devenish-Dawnays of Chipping-Banbury or the
Devenishe d'Awnay-Dawnays of Upper Tooting; the Dorset branch alone
possessing the privilege, granted by letters patent of ETHELRED the
Unready, of drinking the King's bathwater every Maunday Tuesday of
Leap Year).

Awed by the name--was there not a Dawnay-Devenish occupying a plump
armchair in the Colonial Office at the time?--the Consul parted
with five hundred dollars (Mex.). Next time the yield was not so
satisfactory, not by two hundred and fifty dollars. At the end of
a month, the Consul having proved a broken reed only good for
five-dollar touches at considerable intervals, it behoved our hero to
seek some fresh source of income. He cast up-river in search of it and
disappeared from civilised ken for seven merciful years.

In June, 1914, he beat back into port in a fancifully decorated junk,
minus one ear and two fingers, but plus a cargo of jingling genuine
money. He hired the bridal suite in the leading hotel, got hold of a
fleet of motor cars and a host of boon companions, lived on a diet
of champagne cocktails and splashed himself about with the carefree
abandon of a dancing dervish.

By the middle of July he was "on the beach" again and once more began
to haunt the Consular office babbling of his influential relations and
his "temporary embarrassment."

When war broke out he had thrown up the sponge altogether and "gone
yellow"; was living from hand to mouth among the Chinese. At the
end of August a ship touched at that Far Eastern port, picking up
volunteers for the Western Front. The port contributed a goodly
number, but there remained one berth vacant. The long-suffering Consul
had a stroke of inspiration. Here was a means of at once swelling
the man-power of his country and ridding himself of a pestilent
ne'er-do-well. His boys, searching far and wide, discovered John
Fanshawe in the back premises of a Malay go-down, oblivious to all
things, and bore him inanimate aboard ship.

In this manner did our hero answer The Call.

In due course he appeared in our reserve squadron and was detailed
to my troop. It did not take me many days to realise that I was up
against the most practised malingerer in the British (or any
other) army. Did a fatigue prove too irksome; did the jumps in the
riding-school loom too large; did the serjeant speak a harsh word unto
him, "The Beachcomber" promptly went sick. Malaria was his long suit.
By aid of black arts learned during those seven years sojourning with
the heathen Chinee he could switch malaria (or a plausible imitation
of it) on or off at will and fool the M.O.'s every time. I used to
interview them about it, but got scant sympathy. The Healers' Union
brooks no interference from outsiders.

"Look here, that brute's bluffing you," I would protest.

To which they would make reply, "Can you give us any scientific
explanation of how a man can fake his pulse and increase his
temperature to 102 deg. by taking thought? You can't? No, we didn't
suppose you could. Good day."

One person, however, I did succeed in convincing, and that was the
C.O., who knew his East. "Very good," said he. "If the skunk won't
be trained he shall go untrained. He sails for France with the next
draft."

Nevertheless our friend did not sail with the next draft. Ten minutes
after being warned for it, the old complaint caught him again, and
when the band played our lads out of barracks he was snugly tucked
away in sick-bay with sweet girl V.A.D.'s coaxing him to nibble a
little calves-foot jelly and keep his strength up. Nor did he figure
among either of the two subsequent drafts; his malaria wouldn't hear
of it.

I went back to the land of fireworks at the head of one of these
drafts myself, freely admitting that John Fanshawe had the best of
the joke. He waved me farewell out of the hospital window by way of
emphasising this.

The Babe followed me out shortly after, bringing about fifty men with
him. He strolled into Mess one evening and mentioned quite casually
that The Beachcomber was in camp.

"How did you manage it?" we chorused in wonder.

"Heard the story of his leaving China and repeated the dose," the Babe
replied. "Just before the draft was warned, my batman led him down
to Mooney's shebeen and treated him to the run of his throat--at my
expense. He came all the way as baggage."

Thus did John Fanshawe complete the second stage of his journey to the
War. He did not remain with us long, however; a fortnight at the most.

We were doing some digging at the time, night-work, up forward, in
clay so glutinous it would not leave the shovels and had mainly to be
clawed out by hand--filthy, back-breaking, heart-rending labour. On
calling the roll one dawn I found that The Beachcomber was missing.

"Anybody seen anything of him?" I asked.

"Yessir, I did," a man replied, and spat disgustedly.

"Well," I inquired, "was he hit or anything?"

The man grunted, "No, Sir; I don't think 'e was 'it; I think 'e was
fed up. 'Call this war, do they?' says 'e to me. 'I call it blawsted
WORK!' I told 'im to get on wiv it an' do 'is whack.

"'E chucks a couple of spoonfuls of muck and then sits down. 'I can
feel me damned ol' malaria creepin' over me again, Jim,' says 'e.
'Noticed a Red Cross outfit in the valley; think I'll be totterin'
along there,' says 'e. 'So long.' And that was the last the regiment
saw of its Beachcomber."

       *       *       *       *       *

"Have it as you like, Captain Dawnay-Devenish," I said, "but before I
go tell me, how did you wangle this job?"

"Any affair of yours?" he sneered.

"No," I admitted; "still I'm interested."

He laughed unpleasantly. "Yes, you would be. Always infernally keen on
minding my business for me, weren't you? Well, if you must know, I was
convalescing when these same Chows started a pogrom in the next camp.
I stopped it, and the powers--who were scared stiff--tacked a stripe
on me and told me to carry on."

"That accounts for the stripe," said I; "but what of the stars?"

"Oh, them! We were behind the line down south last year laying a toy
railway when the Hun broke clean through in a fog. Remember? I pulled
the Chinks together and we stopped 'em. That's all."

"Good Lord, that wasn't you, was it?" I cried. "Set about 'em with
picks and shovels, shrieking Chinese war-cries and chopped 'em to
bits. Oh, splendid! But how on earth did you rouse these tame coolies
to it?"

The Beachcomber tugged his red moustache and laughed deprecatingly.
"It wasn't very difficult really. You see, these birds of mine are
only temporary coolies. In civilian life they're mostly river pirates,
Tong-fighters and suchlike professional cut-throats. Killing comes
natural to 'em. They only wanted somebody who could organize and lead
'em."

"And you could?"

The Beachcomber drew himself up proudly.

"I should hope so. Wasn't I their Pirate King for seven long years?"

PATLANDER.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: OUR COURTEOUS TELEPHONE SERVICE.

_City Magnate_. "YOU'VE CUT ME OFF! HELL!!"

_Sweet Voice from the other end_. "THAT WILL BE A TRUNK CALL."]

       *       *       *       *       *

SELF-DETERMINATION IN DEVON.

    "At a public meeting at Barnstaple, the Vicar presiding, it
    was decided to form a local branch of the League of
    Nations."--_Western Morning News_.

Won't WILSON be bucked?

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Little Girl (in foreground)._ "MOTHER, I SUPPOSE THE
BRIDEGROOM _MUST_ COME TO HIS WEDDING?"]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE LAST WATCH OF THE NIGHT.

  The hand of dawn is on the door
    That seals the dolorous arch of night;
  Dim gardens and hushed groves once more
    Dream of the half-forgotten light;
  Yet all the ancient fires are cold
    On altars battered and forlorn,
  And men grope still for gauds of gold,
    Oblivious of the imminent morn.

  When comes the dawn? Its unseen dew
    Distils on folded swath and mound,
  Where grass is deep or sods are new,
    And branches shake without a sound;
  Where, numberless and low and grey,
    The furrows lessen to the sky;
  There sleep the sons of England, they
    Who died that England should not die.

  Better--ah, better for us all,
    For them who sleep and us who wake,
  That never bird at dawn should call
    Nor golden foam of morning break;
  That on one high cairn of the dead
    The ultimate light should be unsealed,
  Than that the world should live unled,
    Unchanged, unpurified, unhealed.

  Life and all things that make it fair
    Men gave that better lives might be;
  They went exulting and aware
    Forth to the great discovery;
  But who will prize life over-much
    Or deem that death comes over-soon
  If hands of fools and barterers touch
    The architrave of Hope half-hewn!

  Under a brave new baldachin,
    New robes drooped o'er their crimson feet,
  The old unaltered twain begin
    Their ride along the embannered street;
  With golden charms for men to kiss
    A-swing from wrist and bridle-rein,
  The brethren Pride and Avarice,
    The monarchs of the world again.

  If this thing be and no new world
    Rise from the old dead world beneath,
  Then morning's chaplet seven-pearled
    Is made the bauble-crest of death;
  All dreams belied, all vows made void,
    Pale Hope a wingless fugitive,
  And man a stumbling anthropoid--
    Can these things be if England live?

  If England live, the anarch tide
    Shall lose itself among her waves,
  And the grey earth be glorified
    By the young blossom on her graves;
  And by her grace no power shall part;
    Fulfilment from the dreams that were,
  If still the music of her heart
    Be theirs who lived and died for her.

  D.M.S.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE DOVE AT SEA.

BIRD OF PEACE. "EXCUSE ME, BUT IS THIS THE ARK?"

MAN OF WAR. "DUNNO NOTHIN' ABOUT NO ARK; BUT WE'RE FOR ARK-ANGEL, IF
THAT'S ANY USE TO YOU."]

       *       *       *       *       *

ESSENCE OF PARLIAMENT.

[Illustration: _Sultan Addison (his mind on the house famine)._ "TELL
ME THE STORY OF THE PALACE BUILT IN A SINGLE NIGHT."]

_Monday, April 7th_.--The FIRST COMMISSIONER OF WORKS is determined
that there shall be no slack time in the furniture-removing industry.
To that end he is arranging that the business-premises in Kingsway
now being vacated by the Government shall be filled by the Commission
Internationale de Ravitaillement, that the Commission's old premises
shall then be occupied by the Air Ministry, and that the Hotel Cecil
shall then be restored to its original owners--unless, of course, it
should be wanted by the Department lately housed in Kingsway. "Musical
chairs," muttered Colonel WEDGWOOD.

That was not the hon. and gallant Member's only contribution to the
gaiety of the proceedings. He essayed to move the adjournment in order
to discuss the situation of our troops in Russia, but was reminded
that there was already a motion on the Order Paper dealing with that
subject and standing in his own name. An attempt to perform the
difficult manoeuvre of getting out of his own light was frustrated by
the SPEAKER, who, to the argument that the motion on the Paper
dealt with a wider subject, replied "_Majus in se minus continet_."
Overwhelmed by this display of erudition, the victim murmured "_Der
Tag!_" and collapsed.

In moving the Second Reading of the Housing Bill Dr. ADDISON thought
it necessary to disclaim any intention of posing as "an Oriental
potentate," modestly adding, "I do not look the part." He has,
however, one characteristic of the Eastern ruler, namely, a delight in
long stories. It took him two hours to tell the House in melancholy
monotone all about the defects of our present system and his proposals
for removing them. Unfortunately he has not the Oriental gift of
transforming slums into palaces in a single night, but hopes to
produce a similar effect by treating the local authorities with a
judicious mixture of subsidies and ginger.

_Tuesday, April 8th_.--Congratulations to Lord ASKWITH on taking his
seat in the House of Lords and condolences (in advance) to those
foreign journals which will inevitably announce that the ex-PRIME
MINISTER has overcome his objections to taking a peerage.

Lord BUCKMASTER'S futile attempt to resist the passage of the Military
Service Bill was chiefly remarkable for his epigrammatic description
of the present SECRETARY OF STATE FOR WAR--"a man of great capacity, a
man of most restless and versatile energy and unconquerable will,
and of the most vivid and most illimitable and elusive vision of
any politician of recent time." Several public schoolmasters, I
understand, have already noted its possibilities as a suitable extract
for translation into Tacitean Latin.

Lord CURZON hastened to assure Lord BUCKMASTER that, though deprived
of his co-operation, the present Cabinet thought itself equal
to coping with Mr. CHURCHILL. As for the Bill, there were still
storm-clouds over Europe that might break at any moment; and every
threatened nationality was uttering the same cry, "Send us British
troops." Although we could not respond to all these appeals, we must
have the power to give aid when the circumstances required it.

Some of our warriors are already experiencing the horrors of peace.
Mr. CHURCHILL has promised searching inquiry into the case of the
officer who sent a hundred-word telegram--at Government expense--about
a dog; and Mr. CHAMBERLAIN, on his attention being called to the
forty-three motorcars still in use by the War Office, gave an answer
which implied an impending slump in joy-rides.

Sir MARTIN CONWAY'S anxiety that an "archaeologically-qualified
official" should be entrusted with the duty of protecting the ancient
monuments of Mesopotamia was relieved by Mr. FISHER. Such an official
had already been sent out--not from the War Office, where all the
"archaeologically qualified" are presumably too busy--but from the
British Museum. Part of his work had been kindly done for him by the
German scientists, who had collected ninety cases of specimens, now in
our hands. The removal of bricks or other antiquities had long been
forbidden--rather a blow to Dr. ADDISON, who in the present shortage
of building material is very envious of the new Bavarian Government
with a bricklayer at its head.

_Wednesday, April 9th_.--In the Commons Dr. MACNAMARA announced that
the Admiralty did not propose to perpetuate the title "Grand Fleet"
for the principal squadron of His Majesty's Navy. The Grand Fleet is
now a part of the history that it did so much to make.

On the Third Reading of the Ministry of Health Bill Mr. J.H. THOMAS
made a rather ungracious allusion to the Local Government Board. _De
moribundis nil nisi bonum_ should have been his motto, especially as
the old Department has done splendid work (and never better than in
recent times under Sir HORACE MONRO) for the health and comfort of His
Majesty's lieges.

If words were as effective as bullets the Bolshevist Government in
Russia would have but a brief existence. The rumour that LENIN had
made overtures to the Allies moved Mr. CLEM EDWARDS to a display of
virtuous vituperation that Mr. BOTTOMLEY found difficult to equal,
though he did his best. Even Colonel WEDGWOOD, though he evidently
thinks we ought to make peace with LENIN, indignantly repudiated the
suggestion that he himself is a Bolshevist. Towards the close of the
evening the HOME SECRETARY declared that no proposals from LENIN had
reached our delegates in Paris--a statement which, if made a few hours
earlier, would have rendered the debate superfluous. In his opinion
the proposals, whatever they may be, had been "made in Germany" and
should be excluded as goods of enemy origin. His statement that he was
deporting Bolshevists every day was satisfactory so far as it went,
but left the House wondering how they had been permitted to get here.

_Thursday, April 10th_.--The House does not feel quite the same
without its BONAR, who has once more flown off to Paris. Question
after Question was "postponed" for his return. We were informed,
however, that the delay in releasing Charles the First from internment
was due to the necessity of repairing sundry damages to his fabric,
due, I understand, not to Zeppelins or Gothas, but to the corroding
tooth of Time.

Several Questions regarding an explosive magazine at Dinas Mawddwy
have lately been addressed to the Ministry of Munitions. Hitherto
they have received rather cryptic replies, no one in the Department
apparently being prepared to pronounce the name. But this afternoon
Mr. HOPE, after a few preliminary sentences to get his voice into
condition, boldly blurted out, "Dinnus Mouthwy," and received the
tribute which the House always pays to true courage.

[Illustration: MODIFIED MOTOR FACILITIES.

STAFF-OFFICERS PASSING THROUGH WHITEHALL ON THEIR WAY TO LUNCHEON.]

The LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION, hitherto a dual personality, is now
three single gentlemen rolled into one. Mr. GEORGE LAMBERT has
accepted the leadership of a new Liberal Party, and with Colonel
GODFREY COLLINS and Mr. ALBION RICHARDSON as his attendant Whips, duly
took his seat upon the Front Bench. Someone challenged the intrusion
of non-Privy Councillors into that sacred precinct. But the SPEAKER
dismissed the objection with the remark, "There is more room upon
that bench than on any other, you know." It is expected that, in
contradistinction to the "Wee Frees," the new Party will be known as
the "Auld Lichts."

       *       *       *       *       *

    "It is impossible to plough on account of the large number of
    unexploded shells and bombs buried in the soil. These are now
    being employed by the Engineers."--_Evening Paper_.

We trust they will manage to avoid the traditional fate of the
engineer.

       *       *       *       *       *

UNEMPLOYMENT NOTES.

Government unemployees at present engaged in drawing their weekly
donation are requested to call at the Labour Exchange every day at 10
A.M. Morning dress.

It is not permissible for applicants to send their wives, valets or
chauffeurs to represent them.

Smoking is not prohibited, but applicants are requested not to offer
tobacco, cigarettes or cigars to the officials.

Arrangements are to be made to provide entertainment by means of
concert parties and motor-trips; also newspapers and periodicals, in
which, to avoid annoyance, the "Situations Vacant" column has been
blacked out.

It is desirable that applicants should not wear fur coats. The present
fashion does not go beyond a grey tweed lounge suit, with white spats
and velours hat.

A limited number of openings are offered to any who care to act as
batmen to unemployed munition-workers.

A doctor is in future to be kept at every Labour Exchange to render
first-aid to those who should be offered a situation.

Applicants are requested not to tease the officials.


       *       *       *       *       *

JARGON.

From a speech at a Medical conference:--

    "He was ashamed of the term 'shell-shock.' It was a bad word, and
    should be wiped out of the vocabulary of every scientific man.
    It was really molecular abnormality of the nervous system,
    characterised by abnormal reactions to ordinary stimuli."--_Daily
    Paper_.

We must try to remember this.

       *       *       *       *       *

A MODEST ESTIMATE.

From a publisher's advertisement:--

    "Baroness Orczy has laid the world under a fresh debt of
    gratitude. 7/- net."--"_Times" Literary Supplement_.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The question one could naturally put is, 'Has the
    millennium arrived, when the lion and the lamb shall lay
    together?'"--_Monthly Paper_.

Let's hope, at all events, that the produce won't be a cockatrice's
egg.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "This is the anniversary of the death of Robert Southey in 1843.
    Perhaps his most celebrated poem is the delightful 'Ode to a
    Skylark,' the beginning of which 'Hail to thee, blithe spirit,' is
    known to every school child."--_New York Evening Journal_.

It seems that Truth still stands in need of propaganda in America.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Amateur Photographer (on a conducted tour in
France)._"CHARMING SPOT; BUT RATHER DISAPPOINTING. I _QUITE_ HOPED IT
WOULD HAVE BEEN ALL SMASHED UP."]

       *       *       *       *       *

FINANCIAL INTELLIGENCE.

The decision of _The Westminster Gazette_ to return to its old figure
of a penny must not be taken as a sign that prices generally are
coming down. On the contrary there is every indication that they are
rising and will still rise, as the following symptomatic scraps of
news, gathered from all parts of the country, go to prove:--

The First Commissioner of Oaths states that "twopenny damns" will,
until further notice, be eight-pence each.

       *       *       *       *       *

A schoolmaster in Birmingham who propounded the old question about
a herring and a half costing three half-pence has been put under
restraint as a dangerous lunatic.

       *       *       *       *       *

If the information that reaches us from a little bird is correct, a
boycott of sparrows is in progress, owing to their inveterate habit of
saying, "Cheep! Cheep!"

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. HEINEMANN announces that, as a concession to modern
susceptibilities, he has decided to alter the title of Mr.
HERGESHEIMER'S successful novel, _The Three Black Pennys_ to _The
Three Black Half-crowns._

       *       *       *       *       *

All guinea-pigs and guinea-fowls will from the present date onwards be
two guineas.

       *       *       *       *       *

In the best profiteering circles cigars are now lighted with spills
made of one-pound, notes, instead of, as during the war, ten-shilling
ones.

       *       *       *       *       *

A well-known orchestral leader states that there is a serious movement
afoot to popularise "The Dear Home Land" as an encore for the National
Anthem.

       *       *       *       *       *

The legal profession has long been concerned by the fact that lawyers'
fees remain so fixed in a world given over to flux. It has now been
decided that, although the fees shall remain the same, less value
shall be given. For six-and-eightpence a solicitor will in future give
only half his attention, by listening with only one ear.

       *       *       *       *       *

COMMERCIAL CANDOUR.

    "EGGS FOR SALE.

    "Why go out of ---- to be swindled? Come to the ---- Poultry Farm."

       *       *       *       *       *

    "IN MY GARDEN.

    "April 4.--Now is a suitable time to saw sweet peas."--_Daily
    Mirror._

When the stalks are very strong we always use an axe.

       *       *       *       *       *

L'ALLEGRO.

  Haste thee, Peace, and bring with thee
  Food and old festivity,
  Bread and sugar white as snow,
  The bacon that we used to know,
  Apples cheap, and eggs and meat,
  Dainty cakes with icing sweet,
  And in thy right hand lead with thee
  The mountain nymph (not much U.P.).
  Come, and sip it as you go,
  And let my not-too-gouty toe
  Join the dance with them and thee
  In sweet unrationed revelry;
  While the grocer, free of care,
  Bustles blithe and debonair,
  And the milkman lilts his lay,
  And the butcher beams all day,
  And every warrior tells his tale
  Over the spicy nut-brown ale.
  Peace, if thou canst really bring
  These delights, _do_ haste, old thing.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "WINTER SPORTS IN FRANCE.--Sledges were constructed out of
    empty ration-boxes, whilst the old flappers used for dispersing
    poison-gas from dug-outs did duty as snow-shoes."--_Daily Paper_.

The young flappers were no doubt better engaged.

       *       *       *       *       *

PINK GEORGETTE.

Joyce, at breakfast that morning, had announced firmly that if I
really loved her I would take the pattern up to town with me and "see
what I could do." What she failed to realise was that, if I ventured
alone into the midst of so intimately feminine a world as Bibby and
Renns' for the purpose of matching stuff called Pink Georgette, I
should become practically incapable of doing anything at all.

The only redeeming feature about the whole nerve-racking business was
that he found me as soon as he did.

"Good afternoon, Sir," he said in a most ingratiating voice. "What can
we have the pleasure of showing you, Sir?"

He was tall and handsome, with a perfectly waxed moustache and a
faultless frock-coat. He bowed before me with a sort of solicitous
curve to his broad shoulders, and the way he massaged one hand with
the other had a highly soothing effect.

"Pink georgette, Sir? Certainly, Sir." To my inexpressible relief he
seemed to consider it the most likely request in the world.

A moment before I had been drifting hopelessly, in a state of most
acute self-consciousness. But with him to guide me I set off quite
boldly.

At what proved to be exactly the right spot he paused.

"Miss Robinson," he called; "pink georgette."

With a polite introductory wave of the hand he motioned me towards
the lady. He hovered about, near by, whilst I opened the bit of
tissue-paper containing the pattern and murmured my needs to Miss
Robinson. His very presence gave me confidence.

When it was all over he came up and led me away. As we emerged into
the stronger light near the door I peered at him closely. Then I
touched him on the arm and beckoned him behind a couple of Paris
models.

I took hold of his hand and wrung it fervently.

"Sergeant Steel," I said, "you always _did_ have the knack of being in
exactly the right spot at the right moment. I haven't set eyes on you
since that very hot day in '16, when you brought up the remnants of 14
platoon and pulled me out of that tight corner at Guillemont. That
was a valuable bit of work, Sergeant, but nothing to this--simply
nothing!"

The solicitous curve had straightened out from his broad shoulders.
His hands had ceased their soothing massage. His heels were together,
his arms glued to his sides, his eyes glaring at a fixed point
directly over the top of my head.

"Thought it was you, Sir, as soon as I saw you. But of course I wasn't
going to say anything till you did." It was not the ingratiating
voice now, but that rasping half-whisper he always used for nocturnal
conferences in the front line. "Never heard anything of you, Sir,
since you went down with a Blighty after Guillemont. Beg your pardon,
Sir, but you looked a bit windy as you came in just now, so I thought
I'd keep in support.... Yes, Sir, got my ticket last month--only been
back on my old job a fortnight."

I tapped the parcel that Miss Robinson's own fair hands had made up
for me.

"This a good issue, Sergeant?" I said. "Sound and reliable and all
that?"

"Couldn't be better, Sir. I had my eye on her. We only drew it
ourselves lately. That's the stuff to give 'em. You can safely carry
on with that, Sir ... a perfect match ... exquisite blending of colour
... those art shades are to be very fashionable this season, I assure
you, Sir."

Imperceptibly his hands had resumed their massage, the solicitous
curve had returned to his broad shoulders, his voice was ingratiating
again.

"We have a large range of all the daintiest materials. I believe our
charmeuse, ninons and crepe-de-Chines to be unrivalled in town, Sir.
A little damp under foot to-day, Sir, but warmer, I think--distinctly
warmer. Yes, Sir. Thank you, Sir, _Good_ day, Sir."

And Sergeant Steel (D.C.M. and four chevrons) bowed me into the
street.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: "I DON'T THINK I CARE ABOUT THAT ONE. IT MAKES ME LOOK
LIKE ONE OF THESE 'ERE SPANISH DANCERS."]

       *       *       *       *       *

LITERARY GOSSIP.

MR. WELLS has a new volume of collected Prefaces coming out this week,
with an Introduction and an Epilogue by Sir HARRY JOHNSTON. It will be
remembered that in _Joan and Peter_, a comparatively early work of
Mr. WELLS--it was published, if our memory serves us, before the
Armistice--handsome acknowledgment was made of Sir HARRY JOHNSTON'S
administrative ability and high aims; and it is pleasant to know that
in the long interval that has elapsed nothing has occurred to modify
their mutual admiration.

       *       *       *       *       *

The firm of Black and Green will shortly publish Lord DYSART'S
monumental monograph on _China Tea: the Universal Antidote._ Lord
DYSART establishes the remarkable fact that the word "dyspepsia" was
practically unknown until the introduction of Indian and Ceylon tea.
Mr. WELLS, who contributes an illuminating Preface, points out that
the troubles of Russia are entirely due to the cutting off of the
supplies of caravan tea from China (the leading Bolshevists prefer
vodka to tea in any form) and the consequent recourse to inferior
synthetic substitutes. The rival merits of cream, milk and lemon are
carefully discussed both from the gustatory and hygienic standpoint,
Mr. WELLS pronouncing in favour of lemon, in which idiosyncrasy
he resembles Mr. CONRAD and Mr. GALSWORTHY. The volume is richly
illustrated with pictures of rare tea-pots, tea-caddies and samovars,
and contains a set of humorous verses dedicated to the author by Mr.
T. LEIF JONES.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Right Hon. REGINALD MCKENNA'S new book, _The Proud Podsnaps_,
will be his first novel, and we hear it is to be humorous. His
distinguished relative, Mr. STEPHEN MCKENNA, Mr. WELLS and Mr. HERBERT
JENKINS have all written encouraging Prefaces to it; and Master
ANTHONY ASQUITH has added two essays on commercial aviation and a
couple of brilliant caricatures of Mr. LLOYD GEORGE and Mr. WINSTON
CHURCHILL.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. HAROLD BEGBIE'S _Life of the Kaiser_ is already far advanced, but
he has laid it on one side in order to collaborate with Sir ARTHUR
CONAN DOYLE in the authoritative biography of Sir OLIVER LODGE. It
is understood that of the chapters dealing with the physiognomy
and phrenological aspect of the subject Mr. HAROLD BEGBIE will be
exclusively responsible for those on the frontal regions of Sir
OLIVER'S cranium, while Sir ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE will devote himself to
the occipital Hinterland. In this way it is hoped that the whole
area, which is enormous, will be adequately covered. The book will be
published by Messrs. Odder and Odder at 10s. 6d.; but a limited
number of copies, with special tambourine and planchette attachments,
will be available at L2 2s.

       *       *       *       *       *

To the list of biographies of the PRIME MINISTER already published or
in contemplation there remains to be added one by an author who veils
his identity under the pseudonym of "Mount Carmel." It will bear the
title, _Lloyd George_--_Saint or Dragon_? and will be prefaced by an
introduction by Mr. Stickham Weed, in which that eminent publicist
discusses the antagonism of the Celtic temperament to Jugo-Slav
ideals. The book will be published at Fontainebleau.

       *       *       *       *       *

The new Cardiff firm of Jenkins and Jones announce a novel from the
pen of Mr. Caradoc Blodwen, who had to fly from his native village
last year owing to the realistic picture he gave of local life in _The
Home of the Squinting Widows_. It is to be called _Taffy was a Thief_;
and those who have had the privilege of seeing early copies of the
book, which Mr. Blodwen wrote during his seclusion amongst the Hairy
Ainus, describe it as lurid in the extreme.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. Cuthbert Skrimshanks's new novel is being looked forward to
expectantly by those who admire the vital and distinguished artistry
of his work. The author, it will be remembered, was employed in a firm
of ginger-beer bottlers before he took to literature, and Mr. WELLS,
who contributes a Preface, dwells happily on the stimulating and
phosphorescent quality which his literary work owes to his employment,
and contrasts it favourably with the flatness of Eton "Pop."

       *       *       *       *       *

Yet another Shakspearean volume, which promises to be of engrossing
interest, has been written by Lord BLEDISLOE. It is to be called
_Bacon and Hamlet_, and Sir THOMAS LIPTON has contributed an
Introduction, in which the organisation of the food supply in the
Elizabethan age is exhaustively described. This exhaustive work, which
is dedicated to General STORRS, the Governor of Jerusalem, will be
published by Messrs. FORTNUM and MASON.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Nurse (reproachfully)._ "WHO DIDN'T FOLD UP HIS
TROUSERS WHEN HE WENT TO BED?"

_Tony_. "I KNOW. ADAM. I CAN ALWAYS GUESS THESE SUNDAY RIDDLES."]

       *       *       *       *       *

"C'EST LA GUERRE."

A brace of chemists' labels:--

    This preparation is issued in amber glass pots, as a War Emergency
    Measure, when white glass is not available owing to shortage."

    "War Bottle. Amber glass is not obtainable just now, so we have to
    use white glass. May we ask you to grant us your kind indulgence
    under the circumstances?"

       *       *       *       *       *

    "A bullet fired at a pig from a humane killer, struck the wall
    of a Merthyr Tydvil slaughterhouse, ricochetted and wounded a
    butcher's manager."--_Daily Paper_.

The victim regards the name of the instrument as most inept.

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Lord Salvesen, the presiding judge, arrived in Aberdeen on Monday
    night, and gave a winner in the Palace Hotel."--_Sunday Paper_.

We hope to meet him in London before the Derby.

       *       *       *       *       *

POLLY.

_(With acknowledgments to Mr. KIPLING.)_

  I went into a private 'ouse to get a place as cook;
  The lady ups an' greets me with a most angelic look:
  "I've just been makin' tea," she sez, "I 'opes as you will try
  These little scones wot I 'ave baked;" and to myself sez I:
          "It was Polly this, an' Polly that, an' 'Polly, scrub the
                      floor,'
          But it's 'If you please, Miss Perkins,' since we won the
                      bloomin' War;
          We won the bloomin' War, my girls, we won the bloomin' War,
          It's 'If you please, Miss Perkins,' since we won the
                      bloomin' War."

  The lady she was out to please; we talked about the weather,
  An' when the tea was done we smoked a cigarette together,
  An' then we talked o' jazzin' an' the BILLIE CARLETON case,
  An' so we come in course o' time to talkin' o' the place.

  "You won't mind cookin' lunch?" sez she. Sez I, "Without a doubt,
  On Toosdays an' on Fridays, which they ain't my 'alf-days out;
  An' dinner, too, I'll manage"--'ere the lady give a grin--
  "On Mondays an' on Thursdays, which they 'll be my evenings in."

  "An' wot about the breakfast?" "Don't you worry, mum," sez I,
  "I'm willin' to oblige you every single blessed dye,
  Bar Sundays, when my young man comes; 'e's such a bloomin' toff,
  'E takes me up the river, so I takes the 'ole day off."

  "That's excellent," the lady sez, "I'll easy do the rest,
  So if you come, Miss Perkins, you will be our honoured guest,
  For Mr. Vere de Vere an' I do all we can an' more
  To please the splendid women wot 'ave bin an' won the War."

  Well, seein' as the lady seemed to 'ave the proper view,
  I took the situation an' I 'opes as it will do.
  Of course there may be drawbacks, but you can't get _all_ you wish,
  For aprons ain't quite overalls an' cookin' ain't munish.
          It was Polly this, an' Polly that, an' "Ugh! the mutton's red;"
          But it's "_Won't_ you come, Miss Perkins?" now we're paid to
                      stay in bed;
          An' it's Polly this, an' Polly that, an' anythink you please;
          An' Polly ain't a bloomin' fool--you bet that Polly sees!

       *       *       *       *       *

"LES BEAUX ESPRITS SE RENCONTRENT."

    "Persons expressing unpopular views (by which I mean views opposed
    to such patriots as Horatio Bottomley, Colonel Lowther, and
    our own hon. and gallant member of Parliament, et hog genus
    omne)."--_Letter in "The Daily News_."

    "There have been more pig posts than there have been big men able
    to fill them.--Mr. Bonar Law."--_Bristol Times and Mirror_.

       *       *       *       *       *

From an article on the Zeebrugge exploit:--

    "An on-shore wind was needed to carry the fog-screen in advance
    of the blockships. Absence of fog was essential. A fog would be
    beneficial. These desiderata postulated a concurrence of
    favourable conditions, and on April 23 they were not all
    present."--_Cologne Post_.

We gather that the Censor, shortly to be demobilised at home, still
maintains his watch on the Rhine.

       *       *       *       *       *

CRITICISM IN EXCELSIS.

There was a good deal of excitement in the Elysian Fields when the
news went round that the Committee had exercised their power of
electing a certain distinguished Shade to full membership of the
Asphodel Club without a ballot. The general opinion seemed to be that
the Committee had acted wisely, and that the election was in every way
justified. A few members, however, expressed disapproval, not so
much on account of any demerits of his own as of the effect that his
election might produce on the sensitive minds of some who were already
members.

"This Dr. SAMUEL JOHNSON," said one who had been busy in canvassing
opinions, "is fully qualified for membership, but I fear he may have a
deleterious effect on JOHN MILTON and THOMAS GRAY. Did he not roughly
criticise them in his _Lives of the Poets_, and do you think that
MILTON is one who will sit down tamely under the affront? MILTON has
been for years and is still one of our most distinguished members.
Indeed, he has almost the standing amongst us of a highly-respected
Bishop. He uses the Club a great deal, and I fear his comfort will be
much reduced by the admission of one who regards his poetry with a
hostile eye."

"In what way," said another, "has the denouncer of SALMASIUS become
entitled to complain of rough attacks? Nor has his character been
assailed. In that he remains episcopal. Only in his poetry is he made
to suffer."

"But he is made to suffer pretty heavily," said a third. "Hear what
JOHNSON said with regard to our friend's _Lycidas_:--

"'One of the poems on which much praise has been bestowed is
_Lycidas_; of which the diction is harsh, the rhymes uncertain and the
numbers unpleasing. What beauty there is we must therefore seek in the
sentiments and images. It is not to be considered as the effusion of
real passion; for passion runs not after remote allusions and obscure
opinions. Passion plucks no berries from the myrtle and ivy, nor calls
upon Arethuse and Mincius, nor tells of rough _satyrs_ and _fauns
with cloven heel_. Where there is leisure for fiction there is little
grief.

"'In this poem there is no nature for there is no truth; there is no
art for there is nothing new. Its form is that of a pastoral: easy,
vulgar and therefore disgusting.'

"Do you call that criticism?"

"Ah, but listen," said another and much agitated Shade, "to what he
says of our respected THOMAS GRAY. The Committee must have forgotten
how it goes:--

"These odes are marked by glittering accumulation of ungraceful
ornaments; they strike rather than please; the images are magnified by
affectation, the language is laboured into harshness. The mind of the
writer seems to work with unnatural violence. _Double, double, toil
and trouble_. He has a kind of strutting dignity and is tall by
walking on tiptoe."

The agitated Shade was about to proceed further with his protest when
a sound of cheering stopped him. And lo and behold! an approving
throng was circling round the new member, and in the thick of it were
JOHN MILTON and THOMAS GRAY.

       *       *       *       *       *

"FOR THIS RELIEF," ETC.

From a Girl Guides' report:--

    "The thanks of the Association are due to the following ladies who
    have resigned...."

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Sir George Newman and Mr. Philip Snowden have resigned their
    membership of the Central Control Board" (Liquor Traffic).

    "Caruso has sung at 550 performances."--_Evening Paper_.

All the same, there seems to have been a lack of harmony.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Lady (who has called on two successive Wednesdays, the
fourth and fifth of the month, and has been told each time that Lady
Smith-Robinson is not at home)._ "BUT I THOUGHT HER LADYSHIP WAS AT
HOME ON ALTERNATE WEDNESDAYS?"

_Parlourmaid (with dignity)._ "NO, MADAM. HER LADYSHIP IS AT HOME ON
THE FIRST AND THIRD WEDNESDAYS IN THE MONTH; BUT WHEN THERE IS A FIFTH
WEDNESDAY THAT IS TO _OUR_ ADVANTAGE."]

       *       *       *       *       *

OUR BOOKING-OFFICE.

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

_My War Experiences in Two Continents_ (MURRAY) is made up of the
diary and letters of Miss MACNAUGHTAN, written during her search for
work that might help in the great Task. The book, it is sad to say,
must serve as her memorial to those many whom she has amused by her
bright and wholesome stories. Worn out by labours and quests beyond
her strength she fell sick at Teheran in 1916 and returned to England
to die. In 1914 she had done fine service with her soup-kitchen in
Flanders, where her energy and almost too tender sympathy had full
scope and the reward of good work accomplished. She seemed also to be
happy in her lecture tour on her return to England, trying to arouse
the sluggish-minded to a sense of the gravity of the business. But
in her Russian and Persian adventure it is clear that she was deeply
disappointed at feeling herself unwanted and useless in a region
of waste and muddle. It is probable that for all her courage and
unselfish devotion she was too sensitive to the suffering she
encountered ever to attain the routine indifference which makes work
among such horrors possible. Her deep religious convictions aggravated
rather than eased that suffering. She was honestly old-fashioned and
never took quite kindly to the khaki-breeched free-spoken young women
of the subsidiary war services, had a hatred of muddle and was a
little severe on men, though acknowledging that "young men are the
kindest members of the human race." True this, I should say, who am no
longer young. "The war is fine, _fine_, FINE, though I don't get near
the fineness except in the pages of _Punch_." Charming of her to say
that.

       *       *       *       *       *

The heroine of _Miss Fingal_ (BLACKWOOD) is called by her publishers
"a woman whose distinguishing trait is femininity," to which they add,
with obvious truth, "a refreshing creation in these days." Really,
in this one phrase Messrs. BLACKWOOD have covered the ground so
comprehensively that I have little more to do than subscribe my
signature. To fill in details, Mrs. W.K. CLIFFORD'S latest is a
quietly sympathetic tale about a lonely gentlewoman (this you can take
either as one or two words) rescued from a life of penury by the
will of a rich uncle, transferred from her tiny flat in Battersea to
Bedford Square and a country cottage, expanding in prosperity, and
generally proving the old adage that where there's a will there's a
way, indeed several ways, of spending the result agreeably. As I have
said, it is all the gentlest little comedy of happiness, not specially
exciting perhaps. I find it characteristic of Mrs. CLIFFORD'S method
that the only at all violent incident, a railway smash, happens
discreetly out of sight, and does no more than provide its victim
with an enjoyable convalescence, and the attentive reader with the
suggestion of a psychological problem that is both unnecessary and
unconvincing. The best of the tale is its picture of _Miss Fingal_
herself, rescued from premature decay and gradually recovering her
youth under the stimulus of new interests and opportunities. Whether
the now rather too familiar _Kaiser-ex-machina_ solution was needed in
order to rid the stage of a superfluous character is open to question;
but at all events it leaves _Miss Fingal_ happy in companionship and
assured of the success that waits upon a satisfactory finish.

       *       *       *       *       *

"How can I"--I seem to hear the author of _Elizabeth and Her German
Garden_ communing with herself--"how can I write a story, with all
my necessary Teutonic ingredients in it, which shall be popular even
during the War?" And then I seem to see the satisfaction with which
she hit upon the solution of inventing pretty twin girls of seventeen,
an age which permits remarks with a sting in them to be uttered
apparently in innocence and yet is marriageable or, at any rate,
engageable; making them orphans; giving them a German father and
an English mother, and very mixed sympathies, in which England
predominates; and sending them to America to pass its novelty under
their candid European eyes. Much of the satisfaction which her scheme
must have given to the authoress of _Christopher and Columbus_
(MACMILLAN) is shared by its readers, although the feeling that it has
been made to order to fit a difficult market is never absent. For much
of the dialogue, and often when most amusing, does not ring true,
and we are occasionally asked to believe that the twins could be far
slower in the uptake than at other, and less inconvenient, times they
show themselves to be. But the book is another sufficing proof that
the male sex has no monopoly of humour.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. CHRISTOPHER CULLEY, in his rather superfluous and petulant preface
to _Billy McCoy_ (CASSELL), observes that such reviewers as "may find
time to skip through its pages" will probably call it a Romance. Well,
skipping or not, here is one reviewer who will not disappoint him.
A story of a hero who adventures into sinister places, disregards
repeated warnings to "go back ere it is too late" (or the American for
that entrancing formula), meets there a Distressed Damsel and kisses
her as introduction, and finally, after an infinity of perils, is
left with the D.D. as his B.B., or blushing bride--this I state
emphatically to be not only Romance, but a most excellent brand of
that article. What however Mr. CULLEY seems most to fear is that we
shall think that _McCoy_ himself and the whole setting (New Mexican
scenes) are all make-believe. He need have had no such alarm in my
case. I have, I remember, already commented on the admirable reality
of his cowboys, as exemplified in the hero of a previous story.
_Billy_, if just a little less convincing, is in many ways a worthy
companion. But Mr. CULLEY'S heroines always strike me as inferior to
his men. They have the air of hanging about in corners of the tale,
and generally of being rather a nuisance than a delight to their
creator. But the heroine of _Billy McCoy_ makes hardly a pretence
of being other than a lay figure; without her it would be just as
entertaining and exciting, if perhaps less completely furnished for
Romance.

       *       *       *       *       *

While reading _"Q" Boat Adventures_ (JENKINS) I kept on telling myself
that it ought to be read in small doses if the greatest enjoyment
was to be got from it; but all the same I could not let it out of my
hands. "The 'Q' boat," says Lieutenant-Commander AUTEN, V.C., "was a
'stunt' possible only to a nation of sailors. Officers might be found
for 'Q' boats in any country with a seaboard; but men--no;" and I
imagine that few Englishmen will be found to deny this statement.
Elizabethan days for all their spaciousness contained nothing more
incredibly brave than the exploits of these decoy boats, exploits
which could only be carried out if absolutely every man taking part in
them played his role to perfection. And it cannot be too widely noted
that after the Huns had become suspicious the "Q" boat had to invite
a torpedo as a preliminary to real business. Officers and men alike
deserve all the gratitude their nation can give them, not only for
their courage in action, but also for their patience when spending
dreary months without getting to grips with the enemy. Few things are
more demoralizing than to wait to be attacked and to find no one kind
enough to accommodate you; but even during all these long periods
of inaction the discipline and keenness of the "Q" boat crews never
relaxed. Lieut.-Commander AUTEN has done a great service in telling us
of these astounding achievements and of the infinite difficulties in
the way of their successful accomplishment. We may be a nation of
short memories, but it is impossible to believe that our "Q" boats
will ever be forgotten.

       *       *       *       *       *

Anything more Pettridgian than _The Bustling Hours_ (METHUEN) cannot
be conceived and cannot certainly be written. That means that Mr. PETT
RIDGE'S latest book will be heartily welcomed and thoroughly enjoyed
by the large circle of his readers. Mr. PETT RIDGE is as good as a
tonic in these depressing days, and without any effort he keeps at a
high level of sane cheerfulness. His heroine is a certain _Dorothy
Gainsford_, who has the gift of turning up at exactly the right moment
and of getting exactly the right thing done, or more often of doing it
herself. She really is a marvel and the last word in efficiency. There
is only one thing at which I hint a doubt or hesitate dislike. She
takes a banjo with her to a picnic on the Upper Thames.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Professor (who has inadvertently pulled the
shower-bath handle)._ "TYPICAL APRIL WEATHER!"]

       *       *       *       *       *

  There was a young man who said, "How,
  With the minimum sweat of my brow,
        Can I find jobs to do
        For a maximum screw?"
  So they said to him, "Why not try Slough?"



***END OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI, VOL.
156, APRIL 16, 1919***


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