Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 146, March 25, 1914 by Various
PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.
Edited By Owen Seaman.
March 25, 1914.
The attention of the AMERICAN AMBASSADOR has been called to the danger of after-dinner speaking. There is many a true word said in digestion--and the truth is apt to hurt sensitive nations.
* * *
Art circles continue to seethe with indignation over the National Gallery outrage. Even the Post-Impressionists have now no sympathy with the Suffragettes, for they realise that, while in this instance it was only a Velasquez which was injured, next time it might be a sublime Bomberg or a transcendent Wyndham Lewis.
* * *
Sir HIRAM MAXIM has addressed an open letter to Mrs. PANKHURST containing a number of questions, and asking for certain definite information before he joins her party. Nothing, we believe, would please that party better than to be able to add a Maxim to its armament.
* * *
A number of Liverpool women, many of whom are Suffragettes, have formed a Women's Church. A feature of this Church will no doubt be the institution of frequent Fasts with a view to training the worshippers to cope with the difficulties of every-day life.
* * *
A fire brigade composed entirely of girl students successfully fought a fire last week at Wellesley College, a famous American educational institution. A strongly-worded protest against their unwomanly conduct has, we understand, been sent from the headquarters of the W.S.P.U.
* * *
After much wordy warfare between our contemporary's readers, the proprietors of _The Saturday Westminster Gazette_ have now decided definitely that it shall be printed on white paper, on the ground that this is better for the eyesight, and the White-and-See party has thus gained a notable victory over the Green-and-Bear-It party.
* * *
Mr. ROY HORNIMAN has become chairman of the Committee for the Prevention of Cruelty to Stage Animals. There is good work to be done here. We have always understood that the hind-legs of the Pantomime dragon suffer terribly while on the stage, owing to the closeness of the atmosphere.
* * *
Rumours reach us of trouble between _The Daily Mail_ and its enterprising young _protége_, _The Times._ It is all on account of the former possibly being compelled to modify its announcement, "Daily net sale six times as large as that of any penny London morning journal," and charges of ingratitude are flying about.
* * *
From the North-West Frontier of India comes the news that the station-master has been kidnapped from Shahkat station by raiders. It is now proposed that, with a view to preventing the recurrence of such a theft, every station-master shall in future wear a collar with a bell attached to it which would give the alarm.
* * * * *
[Illustration: SIR VAVASOUR, HAVING DRAGGED THE NOW ALMOST UNCONSCIOUS MAIDEN TO THE EDGE OF THE CLIFF, WAS ABOUT TO THROW HER OVER, WHEN ...
[Illustration: THE ARTIST CHANGED HIS MIND AND TURNED THEM INTO A COUPLE DANCING THE TANGO.]
* * * * *
At a dinner to Mr. RAMSAY MACDONALD, the chairman referred to "the two wings of the Labour movement." Two wings, unfortunately, do not make an angel.
* * *
Some pigeons, it is stated, have built their nests and are rearing their young at the very point of the Tower Bridge bascules. The S.P.C.A., always alert, is presumably moving in the matter with a view to the bridge being closed until the little family is out in the world.
* * *
The expression, "The Theatre of War," gets more apt every day. During the Balkan War the Servians and Montenegrins used a rattle to imitate machine-gun fire, and a machine has now been devised for imitating the noise of an aeroplane engine, with the object of alarming hostile troops.
* * *
"We like the stories of men who joked on their death-beds," says _The Times_ in a leader. Now that _The Times_ has signified its approval we shall never be surprised to see this become Society's latest hobby.
* * *
The Duke of DEVONSHIRE has sold a portion of his library, consisting of early editions of SHAKSPEARE and CHAUCER, to an American dealer for £200,000. His Grace is said to have calculated that, if he replaced these books by the nice handy little editions which are now to be obtained for sixpence and a shilling a-piece, the transaction would mean a considerable profit for him.
* * *
A skeleton, which is computed to be 150,000 years old, has been discovered by a German professor. From the position in which it was found it is conjectured that the man was drowned, and the police will no doubt take the matter up, and the relatives will, if possible, be communicated with.
* * *
In an age when cheapness seems to be most persons' ideal, it is refreshing to note that there has been placed on the market a musical instrument which frankly calls itself the Dea Piano.
* * * * *
IN the sunshine went the bee Busily, O busily; White birds flashed upon the sea, White cliffs mounted dizzily; There a shepherd tuned his reed For the maiden of his need: "Shepherdess," he piped, "give heed!" Long ago in Sicily.
"As the sky your eyes are blue," He continued wittily (When he said this it was new-- Just come south from Italy); And she let her lids downfall (This was then original) At the marvel of it all-- Prettily, O prettily.
So the milch-goats went astray-- That's the short and long of it; While they laughed the hours away-- That's the right and wrong of it; Till the white wings ceased to strive, Till the brown bee sought the hive; "Wonderful!" they said--and I've Made a silly song of it.
* * * * *
"Is it a bad one?" I said.
"It's just one of my headaches," said the lady of the house.
"But some of your headaches," I said, "are different from others. Some----"
"This," she said, "is one of the different ones."
"Is it like those you have when Mrs. Martlet comes to collect on behalf of the Chimney-Sweeps' Aid Society? I mean, will it yield to treatment in about an hour?"
"No," she groaned; "it's even worse than those. It's all over my head."
"Oh, but if that's the sort I'm all sympathy. Only tell me what I can do. Are cold compresses any good? Or the doctor? It might be measles, you know. All the best people have measles now. Real measles, I mean; not the German sort. Shall I start isolating you? They tell me I'm a first-class isolater."
"No," she said, "don't do that. It sounds so heartless."
"Well," I said, "if there's anything else in reason I'm your man."
"I want you," she said, "to go to London."
"To London?" I said. "Of course I'll go. It's the very place I'm wanting to go to. In fact, I was going there anyhow; only when you said you'd got a headache I thought I'd stay here and help to cool your brow."
"But why," she murmured, "were you going to London anyhow?"
"Because," I said, "I've bought a season ticket. When the ticket-collector comes round I shan't fumble in all my pockets, or scrabble on the floor, or get red and nervous. I shall just sit tight without looking at him and whisper 'Season' from behind my penny _Times._ I've always wanted to be like that, and now I am it."
"But will you get your money's worth out of it?"
"Yes," I said, "if I have to travel up and down three times a day to do it."
"And will you be an angel?" she said.
"I am. My wings are fully grown."
"Then I want you to fly for me to Jobson's."
"To Jobson's?" I said in a voice of vague alarm.
"Yes, Jobson's. The great Stores in the Bothwell Road."
"But I shall get lost," I said. "I haven't got a head for Stores. Perhaps if I sew my address into the back of my waistcoat I might venture, but it's an awful undertaking. And how does one dress for Stores?"
"Oh, anyhow," she said. "And when you get there I want you to order some stockings for the girls--about four pairs each--and three warm undervests for John."
"But what about the size?" I said.
"You won't have any difficulty. Mention their ages, or take up a few old sample stockings and an undervest with you. They won't be heavy to carry. Now leave me to my headache."
Not long afterwards I was in London, having travelled up gently but firmly as a season-ticket holder. With a beating heart I made my way to the imposing block of buildings known as Jobson's and entered its portals. As I did so I realised in a flash of shame that I had left my parcel of samples in the train. I had known it would be so. I am not accustomed to carry brown paper parcels in railway carriages, and of course I had forgotten it. As I failed afterwards to get it back I have the satisfaction of knowing that someone has been badly disappointed. To carry off a parcel and then to find that it contains three stockings, all with holes in the toes and knees, and one small undervest buttonless and torn into strips up the back, must be a bitter blow.
Jobson's, when I entered it, was a scene of great animation. Crowds of customers, nearly all women, were standing about or moving purposefully in various directions. Brisk and harassed attendants, male and female, were rushing hither and thither. Confusion and purchase reigned supreme. Keeping a tight hold on myself I wandered on until, by some mistake, I found myself in the Ladies' Dress department.
"Yes, Sir?" said one of the girls in a tone of surprised interrogation.
"Can I order a dress?" I said nervously. "A lady's dress, you know. For my wife," I added hastily, for a look of cold disapproval had shown itself on the attendant's face. "She has a bad headache or she would have come herself. Or is there an Ironmongery department?"
"Second floor. You can go in the lift," said the girl.
The Ironmongery department was attractive beyond description. Fire-irons glittered, fenders gleamed, and there was a lawn-mower which gaped so pathetically that I was all but forced to buy it.
"Is anyone looking after you, Sir?" said a gentleman with the air and manners of a diplomatist.
"No," I said; "I want a stocking or two."
"Hosiery department on the ground floor. You can go in the lift;" and he too left me.
Down I went again, plunged head-first through the Ladies' Dress department, and came to an anchor amongst the pipes, cigars, cigarettes and tobacco. Here I bought two pipes, a cigar-cutter, and five match-stands of a very novel design. Having thus paid my footing, I addressed the salesman.
"Take me," I said, "to the Hosiery department."
"Straight on, Sir," he said, "and turn to the right before you get to the musical instruments."
"No, no," I said, "that won't do. I have been trying to get there all day by myself and have failed. I am so very musical. If I go alone I shall be drawn in among the flutes and harmoniums. Conduct me to the hosiery or I shall return the match-stands."
Moved by my appeal he conducted me, and at last reached my haven and made my purchases. When I got home, the headache was gone, and in its place there was a critical spirit which prophesied that all the stockings would certainly be of the wrong size and quality, while the undervests would be equally useless. About the pipes, cigar-cutter and the match-stands I preferred to say nothing at all.
On the whole the visit to Jobson's was a failure. R. C. L.
* * * * *
THE BEST POLICY.
(_Addressed to either pioneer of journalistic insurance._)
GREAT PAPER (with the booster circulation), I much admire your latest enterprise; I positively cheer with acclamation When, daily, lines like these arrest my eyes: "ANOTHER OF OUR READERS BREAKS HIS NECK; PHOTO OF RELATIVES RECEIVING CHEQUE."
Yes, yes, I _know_ you meet more claims and vaster Than does your noisy rival on the press; Methinks the Furies, plotters of disaster, Intend your scheme to be the true success; And, of the pair, 'tis you appear to be The surer passport to eternity.
So, sighing not for realms that are infernal, I'll buy the meaner sheet, the over-matched; Or, better still, some nice old-fashioned journal To which no startling terror is attached; Let others read you, heroes who can brave The instant peril of a bloody grave!
* * * * *
[Illustration: LIGHTENING THE DARKNESS.
[The LORD MAYOR has opened a fund to assist the National Institute for the Blind in its endeavour to increase and cheapen the supply of BRAILLE literature.]]
* * * * *
IN THE BRAVE 3D. DAYS.
In these times of change and stress I have been remembering with much relief a curious character who haunted the British Museum Reading Room a quarter of a century ago. He cannot be there still, for he was elderly then: a military-looking man with a very upright, almost corsetted, form, a reddish face and a gingery moustache that in its prime might have graced a major. His eye however, was not martial, but blue and mild, watery and wandering, its quest being, I fancy, a convivial acquaintance with enough money and generosity for two instalments of refreshment. His hair, which was scanty, was carefully brushed, and parted at the back even to his collar, and upon it was perched at a slight angle a tall hat ironed beyond endurance. His erect body was encased in a tightly-buttoned frock-coat so shiny that it glistened, and as for his boots, no really softhearted observer could bear to look twice at them, so inadequate were they to our city of rain.
Such was this jaunty thread-bare scholar; but what was his special branch of learning I never discovered, nor did he make the discovery easy, for, though he had a desk, it seldom had books upon it, and he was rarely there: drifting instead about the vast room, exchanging a few words with this or that crony, and too often leaving it with them on brief expeditions across the road. He may merely have been a sermon-copyist, busy only towards Sunday. He may have been a loafer pure and simple. I say I don't know; but he was a landmark of the place, idiosyncratic enough to be stamped indelibly on at any rate one retina.
One other touch is needed to complete his appearance. He always wore gloves, which my memory inclines me to believe had once been pale yellow, and he was always accompanied by a copy of _The Times._ This, however, he did not carry in his hand, but he tucked it between the first and second buttons of his frock-coat, so folded that the title was visible, thus guaranteeing to the world that he was one who went to the fountain-head for his politics and foreign information. By this sign-mark, in spite of the wear and tear which were only too visible in his clothes, he became a man apart, for few regular readers among us could afford such an organ, even if we were attracted by anything so august and severe. But naturally we all thought the more of him for his journal. The suggestion of poverty became merely eccentricity.
And then one day, standing by him closely, I made the humiliating discovery--as humiliating to me as to him--that the date of the protruding copy of _The Times_ was a year or so past, and, looking more narrowly at the paper itself, I realised that it had been folded thus for months and months and months ...
Innocent deception! I wish I had never detected it, and I am glad to think that the gallant old gentleman never knew that it was pierced. But how comforting it is to know that he was well in his grave before the great revolution of this month set in, to reduce his proof of gentility to a penny, and thus reducing it, to render it invalid evermore!
* * * * *
"IS THAT RIGHT, CHARLIE, 'AS YOUR MISSUS 'ITS YOU WIV A FLAT-IRON?"
"ER--YUS--BUT ONLY WITH THE BLUNT END OF IT."]
* * * * *
"General Bakery and Confectionery. We carry a large stock in both lines. Get the Richardson Bread habit. It will tickle you."
_Daily News (Port Arthur, Canada)._
* * * * *
"ITALIAN WAR MEDALS.
(From Our Own Correspondent).
War vessels were distributed to the troops to-day in the Piazza Pledisato."
_Standard of Buenos Aires._
Much better to have stuck to the first idea and given them medals.
* * * * *
The Oxford Ducks.
"Going up a good water they rowed a minute at 32, but otherwise were only waddling."--_Yorkshire Evening Post._
* * * * *
[Illustration: _Recruiting Sergeant._ "NOW, I CAN TELL CHARACTER WHEN I SEE IT, SO MARK MY WORDS. IF YOU JOIN NOW YOU'LL BE A SWANKIN' GENERAL IN FIVE YEARS."]
* * * * *
["Lord Northcliffe rarely sees and never reads a letter, being mainly nowadays engaged in golf and travel."--_Daily Mail._]
Nothing is more curious in the journalistic world than the widespread illusion which prevails as to the nature of Mr. Larvin's editorial activities. The common view is that he writes nineteen columns in every issue of the _Sunday Swerver_, besides contributing a leading article, seven leaderettes, three reviews and a "special" political manifesto to each number of the _Pale Mail Gazette._ As a matter of fact nothing could be wider of the mark. Mr. Larvin for many years has taken a detached and dispassionate view of politics, devoting the greater part of his time to collecting Egyptian papyri, and playing squash racquets, at which he is remarkably proficient. Although he occasionally inspires a paragraph in one or other of the papers mentioned, he hardly ever comes to either office, and is not even known by sight to the office boys.
Another instance of the wide discrepancy between fact and popular belief is furnished by the case of Mr. Murbidge, the manager of Garrod's Stores. Mr. Murbidge is commonly supposed to be an omniscient and ubiquitous administrator, who holds all the strings of Garrod's in his hands, and to whom all questions are referred for immediate decision. No one is more amused at this extraordinary hallucination than Mr. Murbidge himself. Nowadays he is almost entirely occupied in tarpon fishing, running a plovers' egg farm on Romney Marsh, and playing the pianola.
Sir James Lignum's appearances at Queen's Hall have led to a host of misconceptions as to his real interests and accomplishments. It is true that he wields the _bâton_ on those occasions, but he never sees the orchestra at any other time or hears a note of music, being entirely occupied with philately and teaching a boys' club boxing in the East-end. The band are absolutely independent of his control, while acquiescing in his presence as a valuable spectacular asset, owing to the extreme whiteness of his hands, the exquisite cut of his frock-coat, and the capillary attraction exerted on the audience by his glossy and luxuriant chevelure.
We understand that Mr. Larry Cawdor is deeply incensed by the widespread prevalence of the erroneous impression that he still appears in the music-halls. For many years he has been replaced by an imitator who bears the same name and has modelled himself, both vocally and histrionically, on his illustrious namesake. But the real Larry Cawdor never sets foot inside a music-hall nowadays, being mainly engaged on an exhaustive commentary on the _Talmud_ and devoting his scanty leisure to the collection of entomological specimens for his private museum.
It is strange that so many people believe that the finances of the country are still controlled by Mr. LLOYD GEORGE. Nominally of course he is still Chancellor of the Exchequer, but he never goes near the Treasury, never reads a State Paper or troubles his head with facts or figures. When he is not inspiring our Foreign Policy--for which Sir EDWARD GREY so unfairly gains the credit--he is generally to be found playing piquet with Mr. T. P. O'CONNOR, or four-ball foursomes with Mr. MASTERMAN, Mr. DEVLIN and the Baron DE FOREST.
Some misguided people have formed the odd habit of thinking of Sir Treebohm Herr as an actor. But how far from the truth this is will be ascertained in a moment when we say that he devotes himself almost wholly to studying his brother's facetious drawings and attempting to improve on them. Any histrionic reputation that he may have made has been the work of understudies while the principal was busy with his _quasi_-comic pencil.
Mr. Seldom Gorfridge, the great American shopkeeper whose advertisements are so highly esteemed by the London Press, is popularly believed to be interested in his business. This is, of course, a foolish misconception. Mr. Gorfridge has but one consuming passion and that is pigeon flying. Week in and week out he is absorbed by this pursuit at his magnificent home in Cornwall, and all that he knows of Oxford Street and millinery he learns from the evening papers.
* * * * *
FOOD--NOT MERELY FOR THOUGHT.
["Brick tea in Mongolia not only acts as food, but is used as currency and generally as a means of exchange. It is a very ancient custom, and house rent in Urga is often computed on so many bricks of tea."]
_From "With the Russians in Mongolia."_
* * * * *
The introduction of a food currency on more extensive lines into this country might produce such results as the following:--
TRY THE NEW "VAR-RAY" MASHIE.
Price One Sausage.
* * * * *
WHITE'S COLD COMPLEXION CREAM.
Price 12 Strawberries.
* * * * *
COMPANION WANTED.--Apply, stating Celery required, E. A. T. GREEN, Vegetarian Mansions, S.W.
* * * * *
IRISH LINEN CO., OCH, IRELAND.
Write to-day for Catalogue, enclosing pat of butter to cover postage.
* * * * *
GENTS' TOILET SALOON, Oxford St., W. Shave ... One Cut from the Joint. Hair-cut, Shampoo, etc. One Sheep's Head.
* * * * *
WHY PAY MORE? THE LIFE OF LLOYD GEORGE. By Bertie Du Porke.
In side boards, price One Welsh Rarebit. In half-calf, price One Pound (of Veal).
* * * * *
SHEEPSHANKS & CO., GENTS' OUTFITTERS.
Gents' ready-to-wear Cycling and Golf Knickers.
Usual price, Two Legs of Lamb. Sale price, Two Legs of Mutton. Cycling Hose, to clear--Two Calves Foot Jellies per pair. Gents' White Spats, clearance price--One Bag of Nuts.
SHEEPSHANKS & CO., Poultry, E.C. Lists sent Paste Free.
* * * * *
CLERK WANTED.--The successful applicant would be enabled to earn his bread and butter daily.--Apply, T. POTTER & CO., E.C.
* * * * *
To-morrow at Three.
Vocalist ... Miss Lottie Teathe. At the Mouth Organ. M. Grubbe. Prices:--Boxes, Three Gross Sardines. Body, One Pig's Heart.
* * * * *
[Illustration: SOME OF THE LARGE STORES ARE GIVING EXHIBITIONS OF HOW TO CHOOSE A SUITABLE HAT. ABOVE WE SHOW A TRAGEDY IN SIX ACTS OF THE CUSTOMER WHOM NO HAT WILL SUIT.]
* * * * *
THE CHIMES AND THE CHUBE.
As when a solemn bell Sounds from a little spire The smock-frocked villagers to tell "'Tis church time," and they heed the summons well, Gaffer, and Jarge and Kate, and tiny Nell, And last of all comes Squire--
So have I heard afar And pondered on my crimes, Reader of many a flashy par. While travelling in the subterranean car, A voice that murmured, "What a fool you are Not to take in _The Chimes_!"
I said, "It costs three d.," But lied about the cause; I feared the toils of destiny, I felt those stately columns close on me, I shuddered as I rattled like a pea Citywards without pause.
_Tuppence_! The fearful sound Pealed like an organ crash; Once more the mesh was drawing round, But still I cried, "Economy!" and drowned The still small voice, and in the Underground Flaunted _The Daily Flash._
Short shrift for those that err! Jove has rebuked my sin: Now, helpless and without demur, You shall behold me where the tube-lifts purr Pale captive to the penny _Thunderer_ With supplements heaved in.
Only one thing I cry, With tears and laughter mixed, That those who speed or far or nigh The swift-winged wains of the Electric Ry., And furnish them with little thongs whereby The passengers are fixed.
Shall heed the altered price, Shall change with changing times, And run some trains more slow than mice, Stopping between each station once or twice, Fitted with lecterns of a fair device To help me read my _Chimes._
* * * * *
"THE ORGANIZER, MARCH, 1914.
TROUBLE always follows misunderstanding. The worst kind of trouble comes from failure to realize the extent of one's capacity.
LEARN YOUR REAL VALUE.
Even this doesn't encourage us.
* * * * *
ORANGES AND LEMONS.
The villa was high up on the hill, having (as Simpson was to point out several times later) Mentone on its left hand and Monte Carlo on its right. A long winding path led up through its garden of olives to the front door, and through the mimosa trees which flanked this door we could see already a flutter of white aprons. The staff was on the loggia waiting to greet us.
We halted a moment out of sight of the ladies above and considered ourselves. It came to us with a sudden shock that we were a very large party.
"I suppose," said Archie to Simpson, "they do expect all of us and not only you? You told them that about half London was coming?"
"We're only six," said Myra, "because I've just counted again, but we seem about twenty."
"It's quite all right," said Simpson cheerfully. "I said we'd be six."
"But six in a letter is much smaller than six of us like this; and when they see our luggage----"
"Let's go back," I suggested, suddenly nervous. To be five guests of the guest of a man you have never met is delicate work.
At this critical moment Archie assumed command. He is a Captain in the Yeomanry and has tackled bigger jobs than this in his time.
"We must get ourselves into proper order," he said. "Simpson, the villa has been lent to _you_; you must go first. Dahlia and I come next. When we arrive you will introduce us as your friends, Mr. and Mrs. Mannering. Then turning to Myra you say, 'Mr. Mannering's sister; and this,' you add, 'is her husband.' Then--er--Thomas----"
"It will be difficult to account for Thomas," I said.
"Thomas comes at the end. He hangs back a little at first; and then if he sees that there is going to be any awkwardness about him, he can pretend he's come on the wrong night, and apologise and go home again."
"If Thomas goes, I go," said Myra dramatically.
"I have another idea," I said. "Thomas hides here for a bit. We introduce ourselves and settle in, and have lunch; and after lunch we take a stroll in the garden, and to our great surprise discover Thomas. 'Thomas,' we say, '_you_ here? Dear old chap, we thought you were in England. How splendid! Where are you staying? Oh, but you must stop with _us_; we can easily have a bed put up for you in the garage.' And then----"
"Not after lunch," said Thomas; "before lunch."
"Don't all be so silly," smiled Dahlia. "They'll wonder what has happened to us if we wait any longer. Besides, the men will be here with the luggage directly. Come along."
"Samuel," said Archie, "forward."
In our new formation we marched up, Simpson excited and rehearsing to himself the words of introduction, we others outwardly calm. At a range of ten yards he opened fire. "How do you do?" he beamed. "Here we all are! Isn't it a lovely----"
The cook-housekeeper, majestic but kindly, came forward with outstretched hand and welcomed him volubly--in French. The other three ladies added their French to hers. There was only one English body on the loggia. It belonged to a bull-dog. The bull-dog barked loudly at Simpson in English.
There was no "Cook's homme" to save Simpson this time. But he rose to the occasion nobly. The scent of the mimosa inspired him.
"_Merci_," he said, "_Merci. Oui, n'est ce pas_? Delightful. Er--these are--_ces sont mes amis._ Er--Dahlia, come along--er, _Monsieur et Madame Mannering_--er--Myra, _la soeur de Monsieur_--- er--where are you, old chap?--_le mari de la soeur de Monsieur._ Er--Thomas--er----" (he was carried away by memories of his schoolboy French), "_le frère du jardinier_--er----" He wheeled round and saw me; introduced me again; introduced Myra as my wife, Archie as her brother, and Dahlia as Archie's wife; and then with a sudden inspiration presented Thomas grandly as "_le beau-père du petit fils de mes amis Monsieur et Madame Mannering._" Thomas seemed more assured of his place as Peter's godfather than as the brother of the gardener.
There were four ladies; we shook hands with all of them. It took us a long time, and I doubt if we got it all in even so, for twice I found myself shaking hands with Simpson. But these may have been additional ones thrown in. It was over at last, and we followed the staff indoors.
And then we had another surprise. It was broken to us by Dahlia, who, at Simpson's urgent request, took up the position of lady of the house, and forthwith received the flowing confidence of the housekeeper.
"Two of us have to sleep outside," she said.
"Where?" we all asked blankly.
We went on to the loggia again, and she pointed to a little house almost hidden by olive-trees in a corner of the garden below us.
"Oh, well, that's all right," said Archie. "It's on the estate. Thomas, you and Simpson won't mind that a bit, will you?"
"We can't turn Samuel out of his own house," said Myra indignantly.
"We aren't turning him; he wants to go. But, of course, if you and your young man would like to live there instead----"
Myra looked at me eagerly.
"It would be rather fun," she said. "We'd have another little honeymoon all to ourselves."
"It wouldn't really be a honeymoon," I objected. "We should always be knocking up against trippers in the garden, Archies and Samuels and Thomases and what not. They'd be all over the place."
Dahlia explained the domestic arrangements. The honeymooners had their little breakfast in their own little house, and then, joined the others for the day at about ten.
"Or eleven," said Thomas.
"It would be rather lovely," said Myra thoughtfully.
"Yes," I agreed; "but have you considered that---- Come over this way a moment, where Thomas and Simpson can't hear, while I tell you some of the disadvantages."
I led her into a quiet corner and suggested a few things to her which I hoped would not occur to the other two.
_Item_: That if it was raining hard at night it would be beastly. _Item_: That if you suddenly found you'd left your pipe behind it would, be rotten. _Item:_ That if, as was probable, there wasn't a proper bathroom in the little house, it would be sickening. _Item_: That if she had to walk on muddy paths in her evening shoes, it would be----
At this point Myra suddenly caught the thread of the argument. We went back to the others.
"We think," said Myra, "it would be perfectly heavenly in the little house; but----" She hesitated.
"But at the same time," I said, "we think it's up to Simpson and Thomas to be English gentlemen. Samuel, it's your honour."
There was a moment's silence.
"Come along," said Thomas to Simpson, "let's go and look at it."
* * * * *
After lunch, clean and well-fed and happy, we lay in deck-chairs on the loggia and looked lazily down at the Mediterranean.
"Thank you, Samuel, for bringing us," said Dahlia gently. "Your friends must be very fond of you to have lent you this lovely place."
"Not fonder than we are," said Myra, smiling at him. A. A. M.
* * * * *
[Illustration: "THE COMPLEAT POLICEMAN."]
(_A new schedule has, we understand, been issued to the Force, entitled "Hints for Police employed on Traffic Duty."_)
"THE REGULATION OF TRAFFIC, SO AS TO PREVENT OBSTRUCTION OR ACCIDENT, REQUIRES TACT."
[Illustration: "NEVER GET FLUSTERED OR ANNOYED," AND]
[Illustration: "KEEP A LOOK-OUT FOR THE CARRIAGES OF PRIVILEGED PERSONS]."]
* * * * *
_The Daily Sketch_, in its search for a White Hope, says:--
"Who will be the next world's champion?"
The writer must wait till he gets to the next world; we hope he is in no hurry.
* * * * *
"Ex (Exmouth).--There is an easy way to tell if a diamond is genuine. Make a small dot on a piece of paper with a lead pencil and look at it through the diamond. If it shows but a single dot the diamond is genuine."--_Tit-Bits._
We cordially invite the writer to come and look at dots through our Bouverie Street windows. We will then sell him the lot for a million pounds.
* * * * *
"Oxford rowed a bridge trial from Barnes to Hammersmith yesterday morning on a fast ebb. It was good, but not good enough considering the conditions, for everything was in their favour, the amount of land water in the river making the tide a fast one and the wind being at their backs."--_Daily Mail._
Our contemporary must make up its mind which way the crew sits before the day of the race.
* * * * *
"This was Inman's last opportunity, as Reece, in his next hand, ran to his points with a great break of 202. He failed at an easy red winner, and after Inman had missed a simple shot Reece ran out."
_REECE (after reaching his points with a great break of 202)_: Have another shot, INMAN, old man. Hard luck! Now I really _must_ go. [_Exit at a run._
* * * * *
DEAR MR. PUNCH,--While idly looking over _Chambers' Dictionary_ I came across the Christian name "Herbert," and noticed that it meant "The Glory of the Army." This aroused my curiosity, and I thought I should pursue the matter further by looking up the meaning of his other name. You may judge my surprise when I found that "Henry" meant "Home Ruler," and was given in these exact words. After this Mr. ASQUITH'S dogged determination to carry Home Rule is readily understood. He is a child of destiny.
I am, etc., KISMET.
* * * * *
[Illustration: _Doctor (to old Appleby dame whose son his been eaten by cannibals in the South Sea Islands)._ "I AM SO VERY SORRY TO HEAR THIS BAD NEWS ABOUT YOUR SON. CAN YOU TELL ME WHERE IT HAPPENED?"
_Dame._ "NAY, A DON'T RIGHTLY KNAA. IT WAS SOOMWHAR BELOW KENDAL."]
* * * * *
DANCERS DAY BY DAY.
_March 18._--A telegram from Tipperusalem, Oklahoma, states that Madame Titipoff, as the result of partaking of tinned oysters at supper, is suffering from acute ptomaine poisoning, and will, at the most favourable estimate, be unable to dance for another six months.
_March 19._--Authoritative cables from Sydney convey the distressing intelligence that M. Gordkin is suffering from a complete nervous breakdown. His temperature has never been below 117 for the last week, and his pulse varies from 240 to 260. The doctors take a serious view of his case, and all his engagements have been cancelled.
_March 20._--At Dundee last night, Mlle. Stchortskirtsoff, while dancing at the Corybantic Music Hall, slipped on a patch of marmalade which had been inadvertently allowed to remain on the stage, and fractured both her kneecaps. It is feared that the famous _ballerina_ will not be able to fulfil her engagements in Aberdeen next month.
_March 21._--Latest advices from Tipperusalem give a reassuring account of Madame Titipoff's progress. On Thursday she was allowed to sit up for half an hour, and she ate a beefsteak with evident zest. On learning that the canned oyster vendor had been tarred and feathered, Madame Titipoff at once announced her intention of dancing on the following night.
_March 22._--A despatch just received from M. Gordkin's agent at Sydney announces that the famous artist's temperature is now normal and his pulse steady at 60. The cause of his recent trivial indisposition was a hostile criticism in a local paper, but with the dismissal of the critic the incident is now regarded as closed, and M. Gordkin will resume his saltatorial activities in a day or two.
_March 23._--The news of Mlle. Stchortskirtsoff's accident happily turns out to have been exaggerated. Her kneecaps were not fractured, but two hairpins became detached from her chevelure while she was performing a protracted pirouette. The famous _danseuse_ is rehearsing a new galvanic dance, and marmalade shares are again firm.
* * * * *
"It is learned officially that Their Excellencies are delighted with the climate, which appears to agree with Lady Chalmers, as well as with the scenery."
_The Ceylon Morning Leader._
Of course it has known the scenery longer.
* * * * *
STANZAS WRITTEN IN DEJECTION BEFORE MATRIMONY.
(_A complaint has been voiced in the Press that uncommon wedding presents are getting much too common._)
We fixed our hymeneal day, Bespoke our nuptial cates And summoned to the solemn fray The necessary glum array Of kin and intimates.
And the more part in their degree Gave gladly gifts of pride, Tall silver ships, complete with sea, And birds of aureate filigree, Pearl-winged and opal-eyed.
Sheffield they gave, a grievous load, And Chelsea, flower'd and spruce, And antique thingummies in spode; The only thing that none bestowed Was anything of use.
Fled is the hope we built too soon Of some sub-tropic trek; Farewell, O azure honeymoon, The dull but necessary spoon Claims the paternal cheque.
* * * * *
Our Latest Cinema Poster.
"WHEN THE EARTH TREMBLED For six days at great expense."
The longest earthquake on record.
* * * * *
[Illustration: NEPTUNE'S ALLY.
(_The FIRST LORD OF THE ADMIRALTY calls in a new element to redress the balance of the old._)
* * * * *
[Illustration: ULSTER, DAY BY DAY: MONDAY.
"Now, gents, what offers for this really prime Irish pig? Guaranteed by Mr. DEVLIN. You may examine its points as soon as you've bought it." [No business.]]
* * * * *
ESSENCE OF PARLIAMENT.
(EXTRACTED FROM THE DIARY OF TOBY, M.P.)
_House of Commons, Monday, March 16._--The WINSOME WINSTON, sauntering in from behind SPEAKER'S Chair when Questions had advanced some way, startled by strident cheer from Ministerialists and Irish Nationalists. Opposition angrily replied. FIRST LORD, faintly blushing, found anchorage on Treasury Bench. Unpremeditated outburst of enthusiasm meant as welcome back from Bradford, where he reviewed political situation with force and frankness that recalled his father's platform speeches delivered in his prime. Demonstration repeated when later he rose to answer question concerning his department. Fresh storm of cheering from Ministerialists responded to by defiant shouts from Opposition.
WINSTON evidently the man of the moment.
PRIME MINISTER, happily refreshed by week-end holiday, finds himself faced by crowd wanting to know all sorts of things that might happen concurrently with, or subsequent to, proposed temporary exclusion of parts of Ulster from operation of Home Rule Bill. There were twenty-six Questions. Assuming minimum number of Supplementaries, there would have been at least one hundred.
To amazement and vexation of earnest seekers after truth, the twenty-six querists discovered that they were being bowled over faster than commonplace nine-pins. As NORMAN CRAIG breathlessly complained, the PREMIER, having answered a question, did not, as is his custom of an afternoon, resume his seat, and thus provide opportunity for supplementary questioner.
This was his method: Taking in hand a sheet of manuscript he recited, "Number 45. This is a hypothetical question. Indeed, it involves no fewer than three hypotheses. Numbers 57, 64 and 72 are in the same category."
Before you knew where you were, bang went four questions. Member after Member rose to protest. The PREMIER babbled on like the brook.
"The answer to number 46 and to the first part of 70 is in the negative. The answer to number 48 is in the affirmative. Number 49 in the negative. I proceed to number 52."
Members held their breath. What could he say about 52? Evidently he meant to treat it in different fashion.
"Number 52," he continued in the same level voice, as if he were reading catalogue at picture sale, "refers to a small matter which can easily be provided for."
Here was batch of another five questions disposed of in barely more than as many seconds. And to think of all the industry and ingenuity bestowed upon the preparation of this succession of pitfalls designed for the engulfing of a ruthless Minister and the dislocation of an iniquitous Bill!
Situation capped by PREMIER'S refusal to be drawn into minute description of adjustments, financial and administrative, consequent on adoption of his proposed amendment of Home Rule Bill. If general principle were accepted, the rest would follow. If not, why waste time and divert discussion from main issue to subsidiary and incidental details? After beating in vain against the indomitable rock standing at the Table, BONNER LAW, on behalf of enraged Opposition, gave notice of vote of censure. What day will be given for discussion? he asked.
"The earliest possible date," replied the imperturbable PREMIER.
Here episode ended. Its eruption made it clear that hope of settlement on grounds prepared a week ago to-day has vanished.
_Business done._--Notice from Front Opposition Bench of vote of censure on Ministers.
_Tuesday._--POLE-CAREW had rather a bad time of it. Attacked in sharp succession by land and sea. Began at Question time. He merely asked whether two divisions and the cavalry brigade in Ireland, which took part in manoeuvres last year, weren't rather a scrubby lot of immature boys unfit for public service. To quote exact phrase--"whether the physical appearance of the men was unsatisfactory; and whether the effect of the trooping season was to increase the number of immature boys unfit for active service?"
SEELY wrathfully replied in the negative.
"I must," he added, "profess my astonishment that the hon. and gallant gentleman should seek by means of suggestions such as are contained in this question to discourage and belittle the British soldier, to whom he owes so much."
A loud cheer sent home this rebuke.
Worse still when POLLY put out to sea and came athwart the FIRST LORD. All he sought was information as to whether the FIRST SEA LORD, having publicly alluded to the danger of relying exclusively on the fleet to protect the country from invasion, "subsequently went back on his word."
"A most insulting and unfair remark," said WINSTON. "It will," he continued, "do nothing but harm if the Navy think the Chiefs whom they honour and respect are to be subjected to offensive personal attacks of this character directed against them by ex-military men who have gone into politics."
"Only let me have five minutes with him, Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER," said the ex-military man nervously turning up his coat cuffs.
[Illustration: A TRIFLE THIN.
_WINSTON takes refuge behind REGINALD._]
[On several points connected with the Navy Estimates Mr. CHURCHILL claimed that the responsibility rested with his predecessor at the Admiralty.]]
Getting dangerously close to eleven o'clock, at which hour debate, if continued, must automatically close. WINSTON punctilious in leaving the five minutes demanded. POLE-CAREW'S retort perhaps scarcely up to occasion.
[Illustration: ON THE WARPATH AGAINST THE CHARTERED COMPANY.
Alarming outbreak in MacNeilliland.]
"I can only say," he remarked, "that the SECRETARY FOR WAR and the FIRST LORD OF THE ADMIRALTY are worthy to sit on the same bench as the CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER."
_Business done._--FIRST LORD explained his Naval policy.
_Thursday._--SWIFT MACNEILL introduces new Parliamentary formula. Discussing on Civil Service Vote state of things in Rhodesia as dominated by the Chartered Company he was interrupted by remark from ORMSBY-GORE.
Throwing back his head with lofty scorn, and making a few windmill passages with his arms, Member for Donegal said, "I am not going to be interrupted by any gentleman of the House of Cecil."
Had this determination been announced by ordinary Member it would not have possessed importance likely to affect future course of debate. But SWIFT MACNEILL is justly recognised as one of the highest authorities on the science and practice of Parliamentary procedure. If he is able to support his contention, that a Member may of his free will, in exercise of his mature judgment, divide the House into groups of families (as if they were counties of Ulster) and say, "I will not be interrupted by this one or that," whilst it would have useful effect in curtailing proceedings would obviously require nice discrimination.
There are in the present House several family names represented by various Members, not all sitting on same side of House. To take a single example, there are the WILSONS. Like the family of the child with whom WORDSWORTH conversed, they are seven. If SWIFT MACNEILL'S precedent be established, a Member rising to continue debate might, by way of preface, remark, "I am not going to be interrupted by any gentleman of the House of Wilson."
In this particular case A. S. WILSON, whose contributions to debate are exclusively interjectionary, would be cut off from the exercise of a talent that frequently enlivens a sitting.
SWIFT MACNEILL'S own case is not free from difficulty. The SPEAKER is "a gentleman of the House of Cecil." Is he henceforward to be debarred from interrupting the Member for Donegal by calls to order?
[Illustration: ULSTER DAY BY DAY: THURSDAY.
Sir EDWARD CARSON. "My train leaves Euston in thirty minutes. We meet at Philippi."]
_Business done._--BONNER LAW, master of Parliamentary tactics, obliged Government by moving vote of censure. Challenge hilariously accepted. Great muster of Ministerialists. On division what was meant as vote of censure was practically turned into vote of confidence, carried amid enthusiastic cheering by majority of 93 in House of 597 Members.
* * * * *
"Can any reader say whether a coloured attached ribbon (6ft. of 1/2in. red) is allowable by the game, merely as an aid in locating the flying ball."--_English Mechanic._
_Answer._ Yes. So is a gramophone (2ft. by 3ft.), and it is more certain.
* * * * *
"A red or black sash round the waist, and a navy blue straw hat with ribbon to match, would be a most attractive little frock for a warm spring day."--_Manchester Guardian._
But it must be a _warm_ spring day.
* * * * *
A TRIUMPH OF THINNESS.
HERBERT is one of those troublesome men who are always asking why I don't what he calls "buckle to" and make some money. But his latest suggestion was his maddest, and I think that I got out of it rather neatly. For Herbert is a determined fellow from whom you can't escape until you have promised quite a lot and sometimes even had actually to do something.
"Do you want two hundred pounds?" he bounced in upon me and said.
"Who doesn't?" I replied.
"Well, here you are then. It's as easy as falling off a ladder. Only a little industry required;" and he threw a paper on to my table.
I spread it out and saw: "One Thousand Cash Prizes amounting to £1,000. First Prize £200. All you have to do is to make as many words as you can out of 'JENKINS' GLORIOUS GUM.'"
"Thanks," I said; "this isn't intended for really thoughtful people."
At this, however, he merely sniffed and pulled a fountain-pen from his pocket.
"I'll make a start," he said; "'gin' one; 'niggle'--that's rather good--two; 'mug' three." But after that his mind seemed to wander, and he added rather feebly, "and so on. It's ridiculously easy when you have a dictionary. Will you try?"
"No," I replied, and a fierce argument followed.
But just as he was getting really angry my eye fell upon a condition that I had overlooked. "Ten pounds," I saw, "will be awarded to the competitor whose envelope is opened first."
"I'll go in," I said, and Herbert replied, "Good egg, I'll bet you win. Don't forget 'mug.'"
"No, I won't forget 'mug'," I assured him as he left, for his last word had given me an idea.
Solemnly I sat down in front of "JENKINS' GLORIOUS GUM" and saw at once that my word would do. In two minutes "Juggins" had been put into a very large envelope all by himself, and I was out of work again.
But the part that you won't believe has to come.
I won the £10--I did really. Among the multitude of fat envelopes bulging with words, my thin "Juggins" simply insisted upon being opened first. The thousands of chartered accountants assembled for the counting almost fought for him, he was nearly torn in two in their desire to begin with what looked like an easy one--or so I like to imagine the scene. But Herbert is insufferably proud of himself.
* * * * *
According to the Ladies' Press, Who would be really smart must dress
In crimson puce or purple hair: My Phyllis doesn't leave it there,
But less than ever doth she seem Content with Nature's colour-scheme.
Her brow is scarlet; week by week New tints bedeck her maiden cheek.
(To-day they wear the pleasing hue Which Fashion calls "electric" blue,
And, when their owner's startled, show A healthy blush of indigo.)
Her sense of artistry appears In what she does about her ears;
With colours of the naval sort She marks the starboard from the port.
Her lips are lemon; underneath Appear her willow-pattern teeth.
* * * * *
But when, to serve another end, She threatened to adopt a blend
Of tints with which I cannot cope-- The green and white and heliotrope,
"You know," said I, "your business best; Myself, I lose all interest.
In other words, it may be said, My love for you is frankly dead."
"Alas," she answered, "and alack!" ... Her nose is now in mourning (black).
* * * * *
[Illustration: "TRUTH IS STRANGER THAN FICTION."]
* * * * *
NEW FEUILLETON. BEGIN IT TO-DAY.
By CLEVER MAURICE.
CHARACTERS IN THE STORY.
THE DUCHESS OF KIMBERLEY (Ruby), a svelte aquiline-nosed woman of some forty summers, with green hair and two aigrettes. She has been a widow for a lonely decade.
THE EARL OF JOBURG, her son Guy, aged thirteen, who is about to go to a public school, where he will be kidnapped for ransom.
LORD ARTHUR BOOBITRAPP, his uncle, who discusses the question of the school with the Duchess. Lord Arthur is in favour of Eton, as he wishes Guy to be a wet Bob and captain the cricket eleven; whereas the Duchess, having a penchant for yellow stockings, favours Christ's Hospital. In the end they compromise, and the boy is sent to a small private school in Bermondsey, where the chief usher is
JOSEPH LATE, a superb creature with a wonderful personality. Joseph not only ushes the school but loves the Duchess with a consuming love, and a year after Guy has been at the school and defied all efforts to kidnap him he tells the Duchess of the inflamed state of his cardiac penumbra. No sooner has he done this than he trembles all over at the presumption of a poor usher thus daring to address a Duchess; but the Duchess falls in his arms, for beneath her aigrettes she is woman too.
MR. VERTIGO applies for the post of science master at the school, and, having seen Late kill a man many years before and escape punishment, gets it. Every time you see Vertigo's name you may expect trouble.
DICK BOOBITRAPP is a kidnapper and a confederate of Vertigo.
DR. SAUNDERSON is a kidnapper under the guise of a writer of prescriptions.
In spite of all precautions, such as employing only detectives as servants of the school, Guy is kidnapped. The Duchess and Joseph Late hurry to Spain to seek him, not because they know him to be there, but because Spain is a likely romantic country.
* * * * *
"Tell me the worst," said the Duchess in strong ringing tones, all the mother coming out in her anguish.
But the reply came in unfamiliar tones.
Looking up, she observed that her usher had disappeared, and in his place was the detested Vertigo.
_To be continued--but not here._]
* * * * *
AT THE GATES OF THE WEST.
SCENE--_The New York landing pier of the Ocean Palace Line, crowded with passengers and their luggage from the R.M.S. "Gargantuan."_
TIME--_About five and a-half hours earlier than ours._
_Mr. Horace Rutherford Penfold (the last thing in novelists, surrounded by New York pressmen)_: "Glad to see you, boys! Delighted to see you! _What!_ Was I hiding from you behind my luggage? What an absolutely absurd idea! The whole way across I've been eagerly looking forward to meeting you gentlemen of the most go-ahead, most enlightened Press on earth! Yes, it's my first visit to your great country. The dream of my life is now realised. Yes, of course I'm rejoiced that my novel, _The Love of a Hop-Picker_, has taken its place among the 'best sellers' on this side. Yes, people are good enough to say I've broken quite new ground in making the hop-fields the scene of a novel; the critics say my word-pictures of the hop-poles are 'absolutely luscious'; and they pronounce _Ozias_, the hop-picker, 'a giant of artistic creation.' Yes, my novel is one of the twenty which in the last six months have been called 'epoch-making' and have been said to 'stand quite alone in modern fiction.' No doubt the hop-field will now be exploited by other writers, until in time it will become as hackneyed as the desert.
"Yes, this is my first visit to your wonderful country. I am here to superintend the rehearsals of the dramatised form of _The Love of a Hop-Picker._ Naturally I am a little nervous, for to please a New York audience is the playwright's dream of heaven. And then, of course, _The Love of a Hop-Picker_ is not only utterly English in atmosphere, but also peculiarly _Kentish_. Still, with such a brilliantly intelligent, marvellously sympathetic public as yours, I don't despair of bringing the hop-poles over the footlights, so to say.
"Yes, gentlemen, I have a wife, and I've not forgotten to bring her sworn affidavit that my coming without her is quite regular and in order, because, though Ellis Island's a delightful place, no doubt, still, I want to go into your great Empire city 'right away,' as you say. Here it is: 'I declare that I, Agatha Mary Rutherford Penfold, and my dear husband, Horace Rutherford Penfold, are a perfectly united and affectionate couple; that his journey to the United States is taken with my entire approval, and that I should have accompanied him but for being an extremely bad sailor and afraid of storms at sea. (Signed) AGATHA MARY RUTHERFORD PENFOLD. Sworn to in the presence of--' and so forth. Yes, certainly, gentlemen, copy it by all means.
"No, I never heard of any literary talent showing itself in our family before. My father was interested in the retail meat industry; _his_ father was interested in the retail bread industry; and _his_ father turned his attention to the making of candlesticks.
"My impressions as I crossed? Well, I couldn't help remarking, ill as I felt, that, as we neared the shores of the New World, the waves took on better and more imposing shapes, the wind blew more smartly, and at night the stars seemed brighter and more numerous, and the clouds appeared to form themselves into stripes! Yes, this is my first experience of a zero temperature. The air is deliciously fresh: one seems to breathe in freedom with it. Well, perhaps I am a little cold, but that is because I have been waiting an hour and a-half _en queue_ for a permit allowing me to have my luggage examined; and then, you see, gentlemen, I haven't the fur coat I bought specially for this visit; the Customs people have taken it away, and also the evening clothes I had made by Pond just before I left; so that I'm afraid I shan't be able to accept the very kind invitations I received by wireless to dine with the Brainy Broadway Boys to-night, and to-morrow night with the Chocktaw Club.
"What do I think of feminine New York? Why, of course, I think her the prettiest, cleverest, best-dressed portion of feminine humanity, and with an added charm--a New Yorkiness which is absolutely indescribable. No, I haven't met any of her yet, my knowledge of New York being at present limited to this wonderful landing pier, your greatly gifted Customs officials, and the brilliantly intelligent subordinates of your world-renowned Express Company.
"What do I think of Mexican affairs? Well, gentlemen, it seems to me that only _Mexicans_ can make themselves really at home in Mexico, and that other people had better not try to live there--if living is their object.
"Yes, here is my photo and my wife's photo; my father's photo; my grandfather's daguerreotype; a black profile of my great-grandfather--certainly, gentlemen, I shall be only too pleased and proud to have them all reproduced in your scintillating, pulsating journals. So long, boys! Delighted to have met you."
* * * * *
[Illustration: _Distressed Mother._ "'E'S BEEN AN ORFUL TRIAL TO ME EVER SINCE THEM PITCHER PALACES BEGAN. FIRST 'E WAS SHOOTIN' AT THE FOWLS, AN' NOW 'E'S PINCHIN' MY WOOLLY MATS TER PUT ON 'IS LEGS."]
* * * * *
A Mirdite Melody.
[The Mirdite Chief Prenk Bib Doda has joined the first Albanian Cabinet.]
Great is the Gaeckwar of BARODA; Great too was MARCHAND at Fashoda; Great is good brandy blent with soda; But, as a culminating _coda_, Greater by far is PRENK BIB DODA.
* * * * *
From a list of work for Trials at Eton:--
"Acts xxi--xxvii (_not_ Ch. xxviii)."
So Smith _mi._ had already guessed, but none the less the prohibition came as a great disappointment to him.
* * * * *
"The country between the Gamana and Katsena Rivers was inhabited by Zumperi pagans, who were cannibals and lived on hill tops."--_Times._
Thus differing from some of the inhabitants of Golders Green, who are vegetarians and live on turnip-tops.
* * * * *
["Caroline Cloan clawed suddenly at Slew's eyes. But for a quick movement on his part it might have been very serious. He had only one eye, and could not afford to lose the sight of it."--"_Daily Mirror" Serial._]
Keen are the claws of _Carrie Cloan_, Rampant her mood. The eye of _Slew_ Is one in number; she alone, Blinded by passion, makes it two.
She's out for eyes, and cannot tarry To ponder arithmetic laws. And what is the result? Miss _Carrie_ Claws _Slew_; _Slew_ slews; Miss _Carrie's_ claws
Miscarry, and the eye is his. Rough on poor _Caroline_, no doubt; But there--the moral of it is, First count your eye, then have it out.
* * * * *
[Illustration: ACT I. _"Guvnor" (dismissing office-boy)_. "YOU'VE NEGLECTED YOUR WORK," ETC. ETC. "THAT'S MY MOTTO AND EVIDENTLY NOT YOURS. TAKE A WEEK'S NOTICE."]
[Illustration: ACT II. (_a week elapses_). THE OFFICE-BOY'S FAREWELL.]
* * * * *
LONDON'S LINKS WITH THE PAST.
When I was a child I had the signal honour of being seated upon the knee of an old lady whose great-great-great-great-uncle once shook hands with a man whose grandfather remembered seeing green fields at the spot which is now covered by Carmelite House. How short is the history of the Metropolis!
Everybody, of course, is aware that Professor Joff committed one of his notorious "howlers" when he derived "Carmelite"--in the street name--from "Cromwell's Heights." The latter, needless to say, must have been a deal nearer the South Kensington Museum than Whitefriars, famed for its sanctuary. CROMWELL _may_ have wandered in the meadows (if they still existed in his day) where the 6.30 _News_ now leaps from its machines every afternoon about half-past five; he may even (as Plip and Johnstone surmise, in their ponderous tomes, _Odd Corners in London_ and _More and Odder Corners in London_) have supped at the Pig and Mortarboard, which stood on what is now the site of the Ludgate Hill station booking-office (Plip, by-the-by, wrongly says not the booking-office, but the "book_stall_," an amazing error in one usually so careful). But whatever else CROMWELL did or did not do, he certainly never gave his name to any district further east than Knightsbridge.
I flatter myself that Professor Joff's preposterous surmises were finally silenced by my monograph, _A Hundred Queer Things about Bouverie Street._ Curiously enough I wrote this with a pencil borrowed from a friend whose aunt once caught sight, as a girl, of a prisoner being taken to the Old Bailey to be tried for murder. That prisoner was the notorious Budgingham. And now comes the interesting part of the story. Budgingham, as transpired at the trial, had bigamously married the step-daughter of a man whose godfather's mother's cousin's great-grandmother remembered hearing the bells of Bow Church tolling on the day when Henri de Bouverie landed in England to attend the funeral of his niece, the beautiful Mrs. Coop.
London's history is indeed crowded, though (to the antiquarian) oddly short in its perspective. Next week, having sketched the romantic career of Henri de Bouverie (concerning whom Professor Joff has made several incredible mistakes), I shall give a still more startling example of the links which lead us so abruptly to the antechambers of what we might have supposed to be the dim and distant past. The Metropolis, to anyone who appreciates historical research and can write as easily as I can, is a gold-mine; fortunately few pressmen realise its possibilities, and that of an _Index Rerum_, as I do. If, as I anticipate, this article is printed and paid for with the usual eagerness and a series ordered, nothing can stop me---- [Wait and see.--ED.]
* * * * *
Our Gallery of Happy Phrases. I.
"Mr. Tooth, whose name was in everybody's mouth a generation or so ago."
_Dublin Daily Express._
* * * * *
POINTS OF VIEW.
If you are the sort of person who likes detail and accuracy, who can always tell where the north is even in a strange house (there _are_ people like this; I met one the other day), and--this generally goes with it--are good at geography, you had better skip this article. It might annoy you. But if you like DEBUSSY, and like watching the sun shine through a mist, and have no bump of locality, and hate being shown over ruins, you are the sort of person I am, and you will sympathise with me.
My trouble is this. Whenever I go to stay in the country I am always sooner or later taken a walk, generally a long one, to the highest hill they happen to have, and there I am shown a view. Not that I would mind if they left it at that, but they don't. One's host generally seems to have an absurd pride in some distant church, or gap in a hill "through which on fine days you can see the sea"; but even if he hasn't he will _always_--if you happen to be in the south of England--point out a patch of trees like a small piece of black sticking-plaster and tell you that that is Chanctonbury Ring. I never escape Chanctonbury Ring, though I have often gone far, even refused invitations, to avoid it. Once in Yorkshire--but nobody ever will believe that story, though I never pretended it was the same Ring. What I said was that there may be two of the same name, or even more: like Richmond, for instance.
"Do you see that hill over there?" he begins. I look where he is pointing and see three. "No, not that one," and he comes behind me and points over my shoulder. "Follow my finger," he says, and I follow it and see a perfectly flat field. But he has to be humoured, and anyhow there is lunch to be thought of.
"Yes, yes, _I_ see," I reply hastily, with a touch of "How stupid of me!" in my voice.
"Well, carry your eye along the valley on its left, over the white house"--this is the only place where there is no white house for miles--"and along the strip of road. See the strip of road?" ("See the strip of road!" I've been lost in a bog for ages.) "Well, right up as far as you can see, following that road and a little to the right, do you see a patch of trees?"
When he says "patch of trees," I know.
"Chanctonbury Ring," I say brightly. At any rate, _that's_ finished.
"Yes; how did you know?" he asks disappointedly.
Brute that I am! Why didn't I let him say it?
Only once, as far as I can remember, was I wrong. It was in the Cotswolds and we were in a garden, on the side of a hill. From the terrace outside the house was a magnificent view. My host strolled up. "Pity it's so misty," he said. (I had just been thinking how lovely it looked.) "On a fine day, you know, we can see----"
"_Not_ Chanctonbury Ring?" I said pleadingly.
He looked puzzled.
"Tewkesbury,", he said rather coldly, and soon afterwards strolled away again.
There are only a very few people whose sympathy one feels sure of when one confides troubles to them such as this Ring-finding one of mine. Of the very few I feel surest of my Uncle Edward, so I thought I would tell him about it when I went to stay with him a little while ago.
"By the by," I said, as we laboured breathlessly up a hill--he lives in Surrey--"have you ever noticed ... when you're staying with people anywhere in the South of England ... and they take you for a walk ... they always, sooner or later----"
"Just wait a minute," he said as we reached the top. "Ah yes, I thought you could"--he was smiling happily at something. "I wanted to show you before we went on--just over there----" I waited. Somehow the words seemed familiar. "See that dark patch right over there, on the furthest hill? Well, that's Chanctonbury Ring."
"Yes, you can only see it on a fine day," I replied bitterly.
* * * * *
["Professor Karl Pearson delivered a public Galton Memorial Lecture at the Francis Galton Laboratory for National Eugenics, University College, on "The Handicapping of the First-born." There was, he showed, a tendency for the first-born child to be lighter and smaller than later-born children. On the whole there was a very sensible bias against the first-born."--_Morning Post._]
Pearson I sing of, eugenic and brainy, Iconoclastic and fearless to dare. Once I thought "eugenist" = "zany," Now I know better and raise high in air Bumpers Falernian, "Looking towards you." Great be the glory the future awards you, You that have given the first-born a cropper, Bay-leaves immortal encircle your topper; Though you're a scientist, you are no dry ass-- I take off my hat to you, KARL, for I share Your "very sensible bias."
Long were we "minors" oppressed by our "major" All our lives through since we started at school; His was the limelight on every stage, or His was the fire side and ours was the cool; He got the ease of our ancestors' acres, We had to haggle with butchers and bakers, We had their bills to pay--his all the money; Ours was but gall to drink--his tipple honey; He was the "Purbeck" and we were the "Lias." So we against Primogeniture's rule Held very sensible bias.
Fallen the idol, destroyed the oppressor! Always we felt we were good as the rest, Now from the mouth of K. PEARSON, Professor, Hear we the truth that the younger are best. Vanished the halo that shone round the first-born Now that Eugenics proclaim him the worst born. Praise, Younger Sons, our great KARL, who, new seas Voyaging, found, like the old Portuguese, Capes of Good Hope--our BARTHOLOMEW DIAZ. Shout till the whole world hears clearly expressed _Our_ very sensible bias.
* * * * *
More Commercial Candour.
From an advertisement in _The Writers' and Artists' Year Book_, 1914, announcing a forthcoming publication:--
"PHOTOGRAPHS FOR THE PAPERS HOW TO TAKE AND PLACE THEM
BY JOHN EVERARD
ROBABLE PRICE 1s. NET."
* * * * *
"As he spoke the Congress hushed its breathing, growing so still that the flutter of a paper interrupted harshly."--_The Daily News._
But this of course could not go on for long, and you should have heard it when it unhushed its breathing.
* * * * *
"O'Gara proved the saviour of Widnes, for, gathering the ball, he kicked at least half a dozen players before he booted the ball."
The bidding for O'GARA by the clubs of the English League, when this news gets about, should be sensational.
* * * * *
[Illustration: THE PLOT THAT FAILED.
_Dear Old Lady._ "MY GOOD MAN, WHAT ON EARTH ARE YOU DOING ON MY LAWN?"
_Crafty Old Fraud._ "BLESS YER, KIND LADY! I'M THAT 'UNGRY I GOT TO EAT GRASS."
_Dear Old Lady._ "IF YOU GO ROUND TO THE BACK YOU'LL FIND THE GRASS GROWS MUCH LONGER AND THICKER THERE."]
* * * * *
(_By Mr. Punch's Staff of Learned Clerks._)
Murders, divorces, by-elections and new insurance schemes from time to time occupy the most conspicuous columns of the daily Press and receive our deep attention, but these things occur suddenly and are soon forgotten. Civil war in Mexico preceded and outlives them all as a matter of sensation, and the psychological moment in the career of that other "distressful country" is interminable. How the revolutions began, in what manner they continue and when they are likely to end, are questions which agitate the minds of men when they read their morning papers at breakfast, their evening papers after dinner and their reviews over the week-end. It was obvious that some qualified student of affairs should forget the events of the moment, visit Mexico at whatever risk to himself, personally witness the internecine squabbles in progress, and, if he was lucky enough to survive the experience, write up the matter in a compact and entertaining volume for our better understanding of the whole. Having regard to the present condition of the country as I now understand it, I should say there was no rush of applications for the job; certainly if my Editor should ask me to go out there and test the accuracy of Mr. H. HAMILTON FYFE'S observations, as expressed in _The Real Mexico: a Study on the Spot_ (HEINEMANN), I should at once discover an important engagement to prevent my accepting his kind invitation. Mr. FYFE'S narrative is, however, too graphic and his description too real to admit of doubt; I am glad that there was no competition and his subject has been left to be dealt with by the best man for the purpose. Given the title of the book and the name of the author, there is no more need of recommendation to the English public; but I beg Messrs. WILSON and BRYAN (of the U.S.A.) to read, mark, learn and, if their physique is capable of the feat, inwardly digest it. They should know, in glaring detail, the ills general and individual resulting from what the American resident in Mexico calls their "grape-juice" policy.
* * * * *
Four imprisonments of varying lengths, one of them including forcible feeding, presumably give Lady CONSTANCE LYTTON a right to record her experiences, and the chronicle she presents in _Prisons and Prisoners_ (HEINEMANN) is telling through its very simplicity and directness. Such a tale would be hardly likely to prove other than "an indictment of our existing prison system" (as orators have it); but Lady CONSTANCE LYTTON is careful to punctiliousness in her recognition of the kindness and natural sympathy of many of the officials, even while she condemns the rules and regulations which tend to cramp and stifle the gentler side of human nature. Still, our prison system has had to stand a good deal of attack before this. We should most of us be thankful to change it if we knew how, and I need never despise hints in this direction. The interest of the book, however, is by far the greatest when it is regarded as a running commentary on the modern feminist movement. It is impossible to read such a book seriously without feeling a strong admiration for the courage, self-sacrifice and resolution it reflects, and at the same time a quite appalling sense of waste. When a way has been found to apply to the needs of our bewildered country the powers of such women as form the heroines of Lady CONSTANCE LYTTON'S book, I for one shall not be surprised if things begin to happen. But at present the results that they have achieved, even upon their own showing and apart from all criticism of methods, seem quite incommensurate with the amount of trouble and pain.
* * * * *
In _The Custody of the Child_ (HUTCHINSON) Mr. PHILIP GIBBS has chosen a difficult theme--the story of a broken home, told from the child's point of view, and he has handled it like an artist. Of the three books into which this biography of _Nicholas Barton_ is divided, the first is so much the best that the second seems a little tame. This was, of course, inevitable, for the first book is the thunderstorm, the second the gentle rain which follows it. I have another reason for deriving particular pleasure from the opening book, and that is that the scene is laid in a Battersea Park flat. I have long since marked down Battersea as one of London's most romantic neighbourhoods. To a child, the curiously mingled intimacy and exclusiveness of life among the cliff-dwellers of that long road facing the Park, where you drop your toys out of your front garden (which house-agents call a balcony) and see them impounded as legitimate gifts that have dropped from Heaven by a perfect stranger in the front garden of the ground-floor flat, must be a perpetual wonder. Mr. GIBBS has brought this out so persuasively that I have shaken hands with him after each sentence. There is not an incident in Book I. that is not exactly right. The rest of the story, with its courageous avoidance of unmitigated happiness in the ending, never fails to arrest, unless for a moment or so in the middle; but for me at least the real charm of the volume lies in Book I.
* * * * *
"Let us try to avoid the detestable trick of sentimentality when dealing with this beloved, presuming, gallant, unhappy man." So Mrs. EVAN NEPEAN adjures us and herself; and it must be confessed that the warning was needed. For the man was JAMES, Duke of MONMOUTH, a study of whom she has written under the title of _On the Left of a Throne_ (LANE); and of all the Stuarts he is the one about whom it is most difficult to avoid being sentimental. Mrs. NEPEAN has perhaps just succeeded, but only just; and we will agree, therefore, to call her style vividly enthusiastic. She is quite frankly in love with MONMOUTH throughout. That wonderful, dangerous beauty fascinates her; and who, looking at the delightful portraits with which the book abounds, is going to blame her or anyone else for yielding to its charm? One fortunate result of this attitude is that the Fairy Prince of the seventeenth century lives again in the pages of this fervent admirer as he would never have lived in those of a colder historian. Dancing, riding, hunting, raking and fighting, we are bound to feel about him much as old PEPYS did, who called him, in a memorable and picturesque phrase, "skittish and leaping," and, for all his righteous disapproval, admired with the best. "How he would have loved flying!" is Mrs. NEPEAN'S very characteristic comment upon a record of her hero's graceful activities. For one thing especially does the writer of this study deserve gratitude. She dwells purposely as little as possible upon the details of the rebellion; but she has made it her duty to win back for MONMOUTH some of the credit for personal courage of which popular history has been too ready to deprive him. Here you may read how, after the short agony of nerves was over, he faced death with a placid and untheatrical bravery, than which the long records of the scaffold show nothing finer. It is a profoundly moving end to a fascinating story.
* * * * *
[Illustration: OUR CURIO CRANKS.
THE MAN WHO TAKES IMPRESSIONS OF THE FOOTPRINTS OF FAMOUS AUTHORS.]
* * * * *
After reading _Two Women_ (METHUEN) I hope to avoid "girl bachelors" for a very long time. They are, Mr. MAX PEMBERTON says, curious products of the century, and I am not disposed to contradict him. In _Gertrude Wynne's_ flat, "Debussy's music was open upon a miniature grand, and a volume of Anatola France stood upon the marquetry table near the fireplace"; but in _Doris Holt's_ room "an open piano had a song from a revue upon it, while a translation of one of Paul de Koch's novels lay upon the window-seat." That ought to give the key to their characters, but if it does not, let me boldly add that _Gertrude_ was clever and sedate, while _Doris_ was a queen of minxes. _Doris_, indeed, got herself into a pretty mess with a vulgar philanderer called _Lord Raymore_, and was justly punished by marrying him. This _Raymore_ man despised politics, but all the same he had made up his mind to "win a place in the Tory Cabinet, and to pose there as the new Disraeli," which makes me think that Mr. PEMBERTON is occasionally funnier than he means to be. Not until we get away from the girl bachelors and are off on a spying expedition to Germany with _Captain Ainsworth_ does the story grip. Then, however, things begin to happen, and the flight from the German fortress, in which _Ainsworth_ had been imprisoned, is really thrilling. In his next book I hope Mr. PEMBERTON will leave "curious products" alone and let us have an extra dose of adventure to make up for the meagre allowance contained in _Two Women_.
* * * * *
"It is far more important to have the right style in the country than in town. Men don't want their women to wear something that will frighten the birds away. Nothing cheap or badly cut ought ever to be worn in the country."
_Vanity Fair and Hearth & Home._
_The birds_: "We really cannot stay to be shot to-day, the women are wearing such cheap clothes."
* * * * *
Close of an essay by a small girl on CHARLES I.:--"Had Charles the First been more strong minded and sincere, he would have been a better king; as it was, he was more suited for a clergyman."
* * * * *