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Title: Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 153, Dec. 5, 1917
Release Date: March 3, 2004 [eBook #11425]
Character set encoding: iso-8859-1
***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI, VOL. 153, DEC. 5, 1917***
The announcement of Mr. Justice BRAY that bigamy is rampant at the present time has been drawn to the notice of the FOOD-CONTROLLER, who wishes it to be clearly understood that under no circumstances will the head of a family be allowed a sugar ration for more than one wife.
"I have in my possession," writes a correspondent of The Evening News, "a loaf of bread made by my husband's mother in 1821." This should dispose of the popular belief that nobody anticipated the War except Mr. BLATCHFORD.
Lug-worms are being sold at Deal for five shillings a score. They are stated to form an agreeable substitute for macaroni.
"In China," says The Daily Express, "a chicken can still be purchased for sixpence." Intending purchasers should note, however, that at present the return fare to Shanghai brings the total cost a trifle in excess of the present London prices.
A recent applicant to the Warwickshire Appeal Tribunal claimed that he had captured the German shell-less egg trade. He denied that the enemy had purposely allowed it to escape.
A tramp charged at Kingston with begging was wearing three overcoats, two coats, two pair of trousers and an enormous pair of boots. It seems strange that this man should not have realised that he was in a position to earn a handsome salary as a music-hall comedian.
Owing to a cow straying on the line at Acton Bridge last week a goods train was derailed. It seems that the unfortunate animal was not aware that cow-catchers had been abolished.
It is reported that the two thousand taxi-drivers still on strike have decided to offer their services to Sir AUCKLAND GEDDES for munition work. Suitable employment will be found for them in a high-expletive factory.
In New York a club has been started exclusively for golfers. The others insisted on it.
A notice exhibited in the window of a Bermondsey public-house bears the words, "There is nothing like Government Ale." Agreed.
"Shrimps," says a Southern Command Order, "should not be purchased where a long train journey is involved." For soldiers, however, who require this kind of diet little excursions to the seaside can always be arranged for with the C.O.
At Aberavon the other day the son of an interned German was bitten by a dog which he had kicked by accident. The dog of course did not know it was an accident.
We are the first to record the fact that a dear old lady, the other morning, went up to the Tank in Trafalgar Square and offered it a bun.
We should like to deny the rumour that when he heard of Lord ROTHERMERE's appointment to the Air Ministry Lord NORTHCLIFFE muttered, "Alas! my poor brother."
More bread is being eaten than ever, says the FOOD CONTROLLER. It appears that the stuff is now eaten by itself, instead of being spread thinly on butter, as in pre-war days.
The largest telescope in the World has just been erected at the Mount Wilson Observatory in California. Enthusiasts predict that the end of the War will be clearly visible through it.
Owing to scarcity of petrol several fire-brigades have had again to resort to horses. In consequence people who have fires are requested to place their orders at once, as they can only be dealt with in strict rotation.
The prisoner who escaped from the Manchester Assize Court, after being sentenced to three years' imprisonment, has explained that he was just pretending to be a German prisoner.
An awkward situation has arisen through Mr. GEORGE BERNARD SHAW and Mr. GEORGE MOORE having solved the Irish problem in the same week, as one or the other of them is certain to claim the credit of having his solution rejected.
"Blasting" for tin is being carried on in an experimental station in Cornwall. Similar operations are said to be used in searching for sugar.
"Gentlewoman, with tame snake, wants quiet home, suburban family, small garden; no others; no animals."—Melbourne Argus.
"Mrs. —— wishes to recommend a boy (15) who has done well in the pantry."—Eastern Daily Press.
But would Sir ARTHUR YAPP approve?
"Will any generous soul save and buy up a young scholar, foreign (British) aristocracy, by helping him in his first struggle (legal profession)? acceptable only on returnable condition."—Manchester Guardian.
Before starting to save for the above purpose, we should like to know more about this scion of the "foreign (British) aristocracy." We don't want to find ourselves trading with the enemy.
"Canon —— made a strong comment on the Proposal to use the Ulley water for public consumption during his sermon on Sunday morning."—Provincial Paper.
The rev. gentleman cannot believe that his sermons are so dry as all that.
"The undersigned begs to inform the public that a very superior cow will be slaughtered on the 20th evening and exposed on the morning of the 21st for sale."—Madras Mail.
That ought to stop her swanking.
"All the newspapers print long accounts of the new offensive, under the heading, 'Great British Victory,' and all agree in assigning the chief honours attack, and the new British method of organ-attack, and the new British method of arganising the offensive in secret."—Provincial Paper.
And very well camouflaged, too.
A highly-placed official tells me that the discovery that a number of people move about from place to place, that servants sometimes leave their situations, and that households are consequently liable to variation in their personnel, is due to a very smart member of the Sugar Commission, who will be suitably decorated. This discovery, on the very eve of compulsory rationing in other commodities, will mean an immense saving of national funds. Instead of billions, only a few millions of cards will need to be destroyed—a very useful economy.
A Great Mayfair Effort.
The Mayfair Tableaux Association will shortly hold a Fancy Dress Exhibition of Really Beautiful War-workers. The subjects represented will range from CLEOPATRA to BOTTICELLI'S "Primavera," and from SALOME to the Sistine Madonna. Preliminary photographs are about to appear in the Society Press. The particular object of this great sacrifice in the cause of charity has not yet been determined upon, but will be announced in due course.
The Submarine Menace.
No significance should be attached to recent statistics of torpedoed ships in view of public announcements to the effect that the submarine menace has been practically scotched.
The British Parliamentary Branch of the International Bolo Club indignantly deny that they have received a single pony, or any less sum, from German sympathisers in support of Pacifist propaganda. They generously recognise that Germany's economical straits are even greater than ours, and they would not willingly, even for the sake of a common cause, put a strain upon the resources of their German friends.
The other day I consulted an old friend on the Imperial Staff as to the pronunciation of Mahenge, the scene of our latest victory in East Africa. From the evasive character of his reply I gathered that my inquiry was of the nature of an indiscretion.
The Cabinet and the "Vicious Circle."
Several members of the Cabinet—the one that doesn't meet—have informed me of their conviction that, in the event of the War lasting on into 1920, there is every prospect of establishing an elementary co-ordination between the various Government departments. Meanwhile they ask me to correct a confusion in the public mind by which the "Vicious Circle" is regarded as a synonym for themselves.
Manhood and Moral.
Every day brings me a sheaf of correspondence in which I am asked to give my opinion as to our prospects of victory in the near future. I have one formula for reply. I refer my correspondents to a recurrent paragraph in The Times under the heading "News in Brief." It runs as follows: "At the close of play yesterday in the billiard match of 16,000 points up, between Inman and Stevenson, at the Grand Hall, Leicester Square, the scores were," etc., etc. After all, the deciding features in the Great World-Struggle will be manhood and moral.
Trotsky's Peace Overtures.
From private sources, which corroborate the information given to the public, I hear that the Spanish Chargé-d'Affaires at Petrograd is the only member of the Diplomatic Corps in that capital who has taken cognisance of TROTSKY'S overtures (which, of course, must be distinguished from TSCHAIKOWSKY'S). I very much doubt if KING ALFONSO had a hand in this, though he has more than once intimated to me his desire for peace.
Lansdowne and Lenin.
What with the aircraft strike at Coventry and the activities of Lord LANSDOWNE, LENIN and others, this has been a great week for Pacifists and Pro-Bosches. In Germany, where the Press has eagerly followed The Daily Telegraph in giving prominence to Lord LANSDOWNE'S views, it is felt that our EX-FOREIGN SECRETARY ought to receive a step in the peerage, with the title Duke of Lansdowne and Handsup.
The Premier Abroad.
In conversation with Mr. LLOYD GEORGE on the occasion of one of his flying visits to England, I learned how much he regretted that pressure of time prevented him while in Italy from running over to Venice and ascending the restored Campanile. While in residence in Paris, however, he had had the pleasure of renewing his acquaintance with the Eiffel Tower.
Browning and Swinburne.
During the dark hour of trial through which Italy has been passing, my thoughts have often strayed to Asolo in the Trevisan, the scene of Pippa Passes, by the late ROBERT BROWNING (whom I knew well). "Italy, what of the night?" wrote my old friend SWINBURNE. "Morning's at seven!" replies Pippa. Those brave words have heartened me a good deal.
[About the precise nationality of whose remote progenitor—whether Danish, Flemish, or British through the old English Turnspit—the writer will not stay to argue.]
My faithful Peter, mount upon my knee,
And shame me with the patience of your eyes,
Till I for divers patriots that be
Not for the street-boy—him you had for years
And, knowing, make allowance for his ways,
If hoots of ignorance and stones and jeers
Martyr your latter days;
But for such shoddy patriots as join
The street-boy's manners to a petty mind,
And dealing little in true-minted coin
Tender the baser kind.
For instance, Smith (till lately Gründelhorn),
Who meets you with your mistress all alone,
And growls a "German beast" with senseless scorn
In a (still) guttural tone.
And Jones, who owes his mansion to the War
And loves to drown great luncheons in champagne,
But who, to prove he loves his England more,
Strikes at you with his cane.
The while Miss Podsnap, who in dogs can brook
No name that smacks of Teuton, snatches up,
Lest you contaminate it with a look,
Her Pomeranian pup.
Forgive them, Pete! We are not all well-bred,
Not all so wise, so sensible as you;
Not all our sires, for generations dead,
To British homes were true.
Yet, prizing steadfast love and fealty, some
The gulf of their deficiencies may span,
And learn of you the virtues that become
An English gentleman.
We wish Russia wouldn't wash her dirty LENIN in public.
DAVID. "I'M OFTEN AWAY FROM HOME. HOW DO I GET SUGAR?"
THE MAD GROCER. "YOU DON'T; YOU FILL UP A FORM."
DAVID. "BUT I HAVE FILLED UP A FORM."
THE MAD GROCER. "THEN YOU FILL UP ANOTHER FORM."
Friend (to Cinema Commissionaire, who has received notice). "I'M SERPRISED YOU'RE LEAVIN'. I THOUGHT YOU WAS A FIXTURE 'ERE."
Commissionaire. "IS ANYBODY A FIXTURE IN THESE TIMES? LOOK AT THE TSAR OF RUSSIA, TINO, TIRPITZ, AND THE REST OF 'EM."
Millie is a "daily help." Who it is that she helps—whether herself or her employer—I am not in a position to say, for I am only temporarily a lodger in the house where Millie helps, and she doesn't help me much. But to-day I have made her hear and understand one whole sentence. It is the first time during the six days that we have known each other that I have conveyed anything to her except by graphic gesticulation and grimace.
I accepted the fact at the outset that my soft and seductive tones could never penetrate Millie's stone-deafness. Only the loudest and angriest remarks are audible to Millie, so I preserve an attitude of silent facial amiability in all my relations with her.
BALAAM could not have looked more surprised than did Millie this evening when, in the act of clearing away my latest meal, she heard me say, "Leave the matches."
She stopped dead and looked at me over the tray of dirty crockery. Her expression was not unfriendly.
"But I got t' look after myself," she explained; "I'd be all done up if I hadn't they matches in the morning to light the fire and all. You wouldn't get no bath-water."
"I want to smoke," I said obstinately.
She kept her hand over the box of matches. She had not heard. I made intelligent signs illustrative of the lighting of a cigarette. Millie told me, in pure Cornish:
"You can only get a box at a time now, and half-a-pound o' sugar I gets when I shows my card, and they do say we won't get that—only quarter soon. I'd like to get at that KAYSER! I'd smash him up, I would!" She said this in the kindest, most benign way, with a smile as nearly caressing as a smile without front teeth can be. "He'd come short off if I got to him! And he deserves it, I'm sure," she concluded, as she departed—with the matches....
A long walk over the Cornish cliffs in the gusty North wind from the Atlantic had made me drowsy, and as I sat before the fire my thoughts wandered from Russian politics and the Italian situation to Millie—and the "KAYSER": Millie, who was short of stature and round-backed, who showed her fifty-odd years unflinchingly to the world; Millie with her felt slippers and her overall and coarse hands; Millie, the possessor of a sugar-card—and the mighty War Lord, stern and implacable, trying to subdue the world to his will. And Millie only wished she could get near him to smash him up—"the KAYSER would come short off."...
The lamp-lit cottage room faded; the sound of November winds and swirling leaves outside died away. For a moment I peered through a greyish-blue moving mist—it might have been cigarette smoke; gradually I distinguished forms and colours beyond; then the fog lifted and I looked upon an electrically-lighted room, with the aspect of an office de luxe. There were telephones and file cases, typewriters and all the appurtenances of business operations; the furniture was massive and handsome, and carpets and hangings had every appearance of magnificence and costliness.
I knew without thought that this was the private room of WILHELM of Prussia. He himself, standing with his back to the roaring log fire in the deep grate, was too like the cartoons in the English papers to be mistaken. The iron-grey hair and upturned moustache, the cold eyes and sardonic mouth were all there "as per invoice." He was even wearing an aggressively Prussian uniform, and kept his spiked helmet on his head and his sword hanging at his side.
The CROWN PRINCE was in evidence, disguised as a Death's Head Hussar, and HINDENBURG was easily recognisable as he bristled with the nails which the admiring populace had hammered into him; the rest of the company were unknown to me. They were all engaged in a heated discussion when suddenly there came a knock at the door, a knock which, to me, was curiously familiar.
During the silence that ensued Millie walked into the room. She was still wearing her overall and felt slippers, and she had not waited to put on a hat or even to straighten her hair. She came forward unhesitatingly, with her short, shuffling steps and, disregarding the furious demand of a Bavarian General as to who she was and how she dared to enter there, she addressed herself to the KAISER himself. She spoke in her normal tones, but to me there seemed something sinister about them at this moment, and I noticed that in her right hand she carried a coal-hammer.
Now above all things Millie hated breaking coal and filling scuttles, and I knew that she would not be carrying a coal-hammer without a very special reason. Her words revealed it.
"You, KAYSER, I've been wanting to get near you and smash you up, I have. You've gone a bit too far, you have ... No sugar without a card, and then only half-a-pound, and they do say it'll only be a quarter soon. And matches!—only one box at a time, and they don't strike, and how's a body to light a fire at all?"
With this she lifted her coal-hammer and brought it down with all her force on the KAISER'S head. Involuntarily I flinched; it was a terrible blow.
Several Generals, their iron crosses jingling, rushed forward and seized Millie, uttering guttural sounds of horror and indignation. But the KAISER stood unmoved—yes, unmoved. Millie gaped at him. He ordered his satellites to release her and, as they reluctantly did so, Millie nodded her head at them.
"You leave me where I'm to! He can take up his own part," she told them.
The KAISER addressed her sternly.
"Presumptuous woman," he said, "it is not written that you shall be the cause of my death. There is something much higher in store for me. You deserve worse than death at my hands; but since you are from England I will squeeze from you all the information I require and bend you to my uses."
All this was obviously wasted on [pg 379] Millie, who heard nothing. Having waited politely until his lips stopped moving in speech, she again cracked him on the head with the coal-hammer.
The KAISER ignored this uncivil retort and spoke again.
"You shall go back to your matchless country and tell them there that we have plenty of matches in Germany; that we have kept on good terms with Stockholm, and our matches are made in Sweden. We have all we need to kindle every fire in hell. Now are you convinced that you are beaten?"
He was interrupted by another blow from the coal-hammer, which made him bite his tongue, for Millie was becoming exasperated and put all her strength into the stroke. The KAISER stepped back.
"Poor fool! You are wasting your strength, even as HAIG wastes his in blow after blow on the Western front."
But even as he uttered the lying boast he tottered and fell back unconscious into the arms of LITTLE WILLIE.
The Generals and Statesmen gathered round their stricken master, gabbling purest Prussian.
Millie appeared satisfied at last, although the CROWN PRINCE had scarcely glanced at her, for she was not his type. She took advantage of the commotion to procure two boxes of matches which had been thrown carelessly on the table. These she bestowed mysteriously beneath her overall.
"He deserved it too!" she muttered contentedly as she hobbled to the door; "and I don't believe so much about all his matches either. You can only get two boxes at a time even here." With this reflection she unostentatiously departed.
Again that familiar knock....
I was back in my little sitting-room in Cornwall and Millie entered with my candle, which she put down on the table rather noisily. I gave her the usual grin and nod of acknowledgment, and she wished me good-night and went.
In the tray of the candlestick there was a box of matches. I picked it up and turned it over curiously. Could my dream have been true? Or was it only a coincidence that in blatant red letters on that match-box were the words:—
"MADE IN SWEDEN."
"Spokane (Washington), Monday.
"Troops raided the I.W.W. headquarters and arrested James Rowan (leader) and 2½ others on the eve of threatened disturbances."—Toowoomba Gazette (Australia).
Unfortunately in such cases half-measures are rarely successful.
"THE AUTUMN MEETING of the WISBECH LOCAL PEACE ASSOCIATION will be held on WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 28th, 1917.
"Being full moon, a good attendance is expected."—Isle of Ely Advertiser.
The Gothas would see that it was a peace-meeting and leave it alone.
"The tanks crossed the deep gulf of the Hindenburg main line, pitching nose downwards as they drew their long bodies over the parapets and rearing up again with their long forward reach of body and heaving themselves on to the German paradise beyond."—Yorkshire Evening Post.
That is not what the Germans called it.
"IF CAMBRIA FALLS—
"The possibilities in the New Battle."—Dublin Evening Herald.
No wonder Mr. LLOYD GEORGE hurried off to France.
"On the earth, the broken acres; In the heaven, a perfect ground."—The Canadian Churchman.
Of course Canada is before everything an agricultural country, and we feel sure that BROWNING would be the last man to object to any adaptation of his lines which would make them more suited to the needs of the people and the times.
From G. Sheridan Smith, author, to Sir James Benfield, actor-manager.
Dear Sir,—Herewith I am forwarding a copy of an original three-act comedy, entitled, Men and Munitions. As the interest is largely topical I should he much obliged if you could let me have your verdict upon it with as little delay as possible.
G. SHERIDAN SMITH.
From the Same to his friend, Buskin Browne, actor.
Dear B.B.,—By this post I am sending my new comedy, Men and Munitions, to your manager, whom I believe it should suit. If an occasion served for you to put in a word about it without too much trouble, I should be eternally grateful.
Yours ever, G.S.S.
From Buskin Browne, in answer.
My Dear Man,—With all the pleasure in life. I fancy we're changing our bill shortly, and, as farce is all the rage just now, I'll boom your Munition Mad directly I get a chance. Best of luck.
From G. Sheridan Smith, in reply. A telegram.
Thousand thanks play called men and munitions comedy not farce.
From the Same to the Same, six weeks later.
Dear B.B.,—I hate to trouble you, but as I've heard nothing yet from the management about my comedy I am writing to ask if you can give me any idea of Sir J.B.'s intentions regarding it. Did he say anything that you dare repeat?
From Buskin Browne, in answer, a fortnight later.
Dear old Boy,—No chance as yet, as the chief has been away ill. But he comes back on Saturday, when I will mention the farce to him without fail.
Yours "while this machine is to him," BEE-BEE.
From G. Sheridan Smith, to Sir James Benfield, a month later.
Dear Sir,—I was profoundly grieved to learn from a mutual friend that you had been so long on the sick list. Now, however, that you are at work again, and (I trust) fully restored to health, may I hope for a verdict upon my comedy, Men and Munitions, at your earliest convenience?
With warmest congratulations,
I am, Faithfully yours,
G. SHERIDAN SMITH.
From Sir James Benfield's Secretary, in answer, a week later.
Dear Sir,—Sir James Benfield desires me to acknowledge your letter, and to inform you that he has been away ill, and unable to attend to any correspondence.
From Buskin Browne to G. Sheridan Smith.
Dear old Man,—I heard unofficially last night that your farce has had a quite top-hole report from the reader, and might be put on almost at once. Ça marche! Anything for me in it?
From Basil Vyne-Petherington to G. Sheridan Smith, by same post as above.
Dear Sir,—In answer to your inquiry we can trace no record of the receipt of any MS. from you. If you will kindly let me have particulars, name of play, date when forwarded, etc., the matter shall receive further attention.
From G. Sheridan Smith, in answer. A telegram.
Men and munitions comedy fourteen weeks ago kindly wire reply paid.
Reply to above. A telegram.
No trace comedy entitled fourteen weeks suggest inquire post-office.
Reply to above.
Name of comedy men and munitions reply paid urgent.
Reply to above.
Your play returned last week.
Reply to above.
Nothing arrived here please look again.
From Basil Vyne-Petherington to G. Sheridan Smith.
Dear Sir,—In returning herewith your blank-verse tragedy, Hadrian, I am desired by Sir James Benfield to thank you for kindly allowing him the opportunity of reading it.
From Buskin Browne to G. Sheridan Smith.
Dear old Boy,—The A.S.M. told me to-day that our backers won't look at farce, though the chief simply loves yours. So I'm afraid we can only say better luck next time.
From Basil Vyne-Petherington to G. Sheridan Smith, five weeks later.
Dear Sir,—Sir James Benfield has been interested to learn that you have written a comedy of topical interest, called (he understands) The Munitioneer. Should you care to forward it for his consideration he would be pleased to read it, and, if suitable, to arrange for its production at this theatre.
From G. Sheridan Smith, in reply. A telegram.
Where did you get a name like that?
From Basil Vyne-Petherington, in final answer, a month later.
Sir,—I am requested by Sir James Benfield to state that he has been compelled to make a rule never to send his autograph to strangers.
Blind folk see the fairies,
Oh, better far than we,
Who miss the shining of their wings
Because our eyes are filled with things
We do not wish to see.
They need not seek enchantment
From solemn printed books,
For all about them as they go
The fairies flutter to and fro
With smiling, friendly looks.
Deaf folk hear the fairies
However soft their song;
'Tis we who lose the honey sound
Amid the clamour all around
That beats the whole day long.
But they with gentle faces
Sit quietly apart;
What room have they for sorrowing
While fairy minstrels sit and sing
Close to their listening heart?
Extract from a French account of the tanks in action in the battle for Cambrai:—
"Les chars d'assaut curent aussi leur cri de guerre. Peu avant l'attaque, le long de leur ligne courut un message répétant, en le modifiant légèrement, celui de Nelson à Trafalgar:
"'L'Angleterre compte que chaque tank fera aujourd'hui son devoir sacré.'"—Havas.
We had often wondered what the French was for "Do your damnedest!" Now we know.
O butcher, butcher of the bulbous eye,
That in hoarse accents bidst me "buy, buy, buy!"
Waving large hands suffused with brutish gore,
Have I not found thee evil to the core?
The greedy grocer grinds the face of me,
The baker trades on my necessity,
And from the milkman have I no surcease,
But thou art Plunder's perfect masterpiece.
These others are not always lost to shame;
My grocer, now—last week he let me claim
A pound of syrup—'twas a kindly deed
To help a fellow-townsman in his need,
Though harsh the price, and I was feign to crawl
About his feet ere I might buy at all.
But thou—although a myriad flocks may crop
By Sussex gorse or Cheviot's grassy top,
A myriad herds tumultuously snort
From Palos Verdes eastward to Del Norte,
Or where the fierce vaquero's bold bravado
Resounds about the Llano Estacado;
Though every abattoir works overtime
And every stall in Smithfield groans with prime
Cuts, from thy lips the ready lie falls pat,
How thou art sold clean out of this and that,
But will oblige me, just for old time's sake,
With half a shin bone or some hard flank steak;
Or (if with mutton I prefer to deck
My festive board) the scraggy end of neck.
And once, when goaded to a desperate stand,
I wrung a sirloin from thy grudging hand,
Did not thy boy, a cheeky little brute
With shifty eyes, mislay the thing en route,
Depositing at my address the bones
Intended for the dog of Mr. Jones?
I sometimes think that never runs so thin
The milk as when it leaves the milkman's tin;
That every link the sausageman prepares
Harbours some wandering Towser unawares.
And Binns, the baker (whom a murrain seize!),
Immune from fraud's accustomed penalties,
Sells me a stuff compound of string and lead,
And has the nerve to name the substance bread.
But deafer far to the voice of conscience grown
The type that cuts me off a pound of bone
Wherefrom an ounce of fat forlornly drops,
And calls the thing two shillings' worth of chops;
More steeped in crime the heart that dares to fleece
My purse of eighteen-pence for one small piece
Of tripe, whereof, when times were not so hard,
The price was fourpence for the running yard!
Wherefore I hate thee, butcher, and would pass
Untempted of thy viands. But, alas!
The spirit that essays in master flights
To sip the honey from Parnassus' heights,
That daily doth his Pegasus bestride
And keeps the War from spoiling on the side,
Fails to be fostered by the sensuous sprout
Or with horse carrots blow its waistcoat out.
So, though I loathe thee, butcher, I must buy
The tokens of thy heartless usury.
Yet oft I dream that in some life to come,
Where no sharp pangs assail the poet's tum,
Athwart high sunburnt plains I drive my plough,
Untouched by earth's gross appetites, and thou,
My ox, my beast, goest groaning at the tugs,
And do I spare thy feelings? No, by jugs!
With tireless lash I probe thy leaden feet,
And beat and beat and beat and beat and beat.
Monday, November 26th.—Rather a jolly day in the House of Commons. It was pleasant to hear Lord WOLMER, ingenuous youth, explaining, on behalf of the War Trade Department, that there was no danger of an unusually large consignment of rubber bathing-caps finding their way from Switzerland to the heads of German Fraüleins. To Colonel YATE belongs the credit of pointing out that people do not bathe in Switzerland in the winter.
Where Russia is concerned Mr. BALFOUR declines to be included among the prophets; all he knows is that that unhappy country has not yet evolved a Government with which he can negotiate. He was more explicit regarding the German tale of a Privy Council in 1913, presided over by the KING, at which Mr. ASQUITH and Lord KITCHENER conspired with Sir EDWARD GREY and Lord MORLEY (whose "Reminiscences" are strangely silent on the subject) to declare war upon Germany. Who after this shall dare to say that the Germans have no imagination?
Mr. WILL THORNE considers that compulsory rationing ought to be postponed until the menus at the hotels and clubs are cut down to two courses. Somebody ought to invite Mr. THORNE, who from his appearance I should judge to have a healthy appetite, to partake of one of these (alleged) Gargantuan feasts and see what he thinks of it. His comment would probably be, "Can't we go and have a steak somewhere?"
When is a leaflet not a leaflet? "When it is an election address," says Sir GEORGE CAVE. At the same time he warned Mr. KING that if he thought to get round the new regulations by embodying his peculiar views in the form of electioneering literature he might still collide with "Dora." The warning was surely superfluous. The last thing any Pacifist M.P. wishes to do is to submit himself to the judgment of his constituents.
Tuesday, November 27th.—Mr. MACPHERSON'S statement that officers with the Expeditionary Force are supplied with whisky at prices varying from 3s. 6d. to 6s. a bottle may have horrified the teetotalers, but has intensified the patriotic desire of some of our Volunteers to share the hardships of these gallant fellows in the trenches.
There was another long-drawn-out duel between Mr. HOUSTON and Sir LEO CHIOZZA MONEY on the subject of shipping freights. The House always enjoys these encounters, although the opponents, like the toy "wrestlers" of our youth, never get much "forrader." The Member for West Toxteth has probably forgotten more about the shipping trade than his opponent ever knew. But for all that Sir LEO keeps his end up, though his assertion that the consumer would not benefit if the Government charged "Blue-book rates" for ordinary cargo does not convince everybody. But then everybody does not understand Blue-books.
Wednesday, November 28th.—The Peers were surprised to hear from Lord COURTNEY that he was not of the creed of the conscientious objector. They had been under the impression that his public career had been one long orgie of conscientious objection to everything that did not emanate from his own capacious brain. Even his hat and his waistcoat proclaim his defiance of conventional opinion.
For weeks past the House of Commons has been invited to believe that German "pill-boxes" were composed of British cement; and the case seemed clear when a British officer wrote from Flanders the other day that he had discovered in the German lines a label plainly marked "Artificial Portland." Members were relieved to learn that the label came from a Belgian factory taken over by the Germans. "If those pill-boxes had really been made of our cement," said a Medway representative, "we should be hammering at them still."
Thursday, November 29th.—Question-time would be much more amusing if Ministers and Members were more accomplished in the art of repartee. A few are quick enough. When Mr. LEES SMITH complained that one of his statements had been described by the FOREIGN SECRETARY as a mare's nest Lord ROBERT CECIL swiftly replied that he did not remember the incident, but had no doubt that if his right hon. friend used the term it was justified.
Under the Redistribution scheme as arranged by the Boundary Commissioners the name West Birmingham would have disappeared from the roll of constituencies. In graceful tribute to the memory of JOSEPH CHAMBERLAIN the House unanimously agreed to its reinstatement. It also changed the name of the Woodstock division to the Banbury division; but the idea that this was done as a compliment to the junior Member for the City of London is, I am told, erroneous.
"This, of course, brings up the almighty question—Who wrote Shapespeare?"—Mr. George Moore in "The Observer."
A short answer to this almighty question is—Either Mr. GEORGE MOORE or the writer who determined "to call a spade a spape."
"Cook-General, good (26), Wanted immediately, or by December 6th, for three months, in Exeter. Wages 50s. per mouth."—Express and Echo (Exeter).
We confidently hope that she has only one.
Mother. "GOOD GRACIOUS! THAT'S NOT YOUR NEW BEST HAT?"
Child. "WELL, MOTHER, YOU KNOW I TOLD YOU WHEN WE GOT IT THAT IT WOULDN'T WEAR WELL."
Mother. "I DON'T REMEMBER YOUR SAYING SO."
Child. "YES, MOTHER. SURELY YOU REMEMBER I SAID, 'THE FIRST TIME THAT HAT'S SAT ON IT'S DONE FOR'?"
Although he had been rendered absolutely dumb by shell-shock the soldier was able to earn a little extra money by doing odd jobs. But nothing could get his speech back. It was a very stubborn and perplexing case. For eighteen months he had not succeeded in uttering a word, though understanding everything that was said to him. All the usual devices had failed; every kind of sudden surprise to startle him into articulation had been attempted; electricity had been passed through the muscles of the tongue and larynx; doctors had discussed him with a volubility only equalled by his own silence. But he remained dumb. It seemed hopeless.
Last week the mistress of the house where he was mostly employed sent him to the grocer's with, as usual, a slip of paper. The paper was addressed to the grocer, and it said, "Please do your utmost to give the bearer some sugar and tea. Even the smallest quantity will be gratefully welcomed."
Entering the shop the soldier laid the message on the counter, prepared to wait patiently for the harassed tradesman to attend to him. He had often been there before and knew what it meant; but on this occasion the grocer instantly advanced to meet him, took the paper smilingly and read it.
"Certainly," he replied. "I suppose four pounds of each would be enough to go on with?"
"Four pounds!" said the soldier. "Strike me pink, she'd think herself the Queen with four ounces!"
From a recent novel:—
"... Then the gong went, and she followed it into the dining-room ..."
"Class A (fit for general service) is subdivided as follows:—1—Men actually fit for general service in any theatre in all respects. 2—Recruits who should be fit for A1 as soon as trained. 3—Men who have previously served with an expeditionary force who should be fit for £1 as soon as 'hardened.'"—Scots Paper.
They must be well worth it, even in a soft state.
"BUTCHER.—Wanted, Second Hand."—Manchester Evening News.
"Southport. Mrs. ——, Homely Apts.; sea view; piano: mod."—Daily Paper.
We approve Mrs. ——'s candour about the piano, which accords with our own experience in seaside boarding-houses.
"Germany recently began calling up Class 19120."—Western Mail.
The end of the War may be in sight, but it still seems to be some distance off.
"In districts where a number of shops were serving the same people and streets, they would be asked to co-operate so that butcher, baker and grocer would use the same vans. Traders who refused to comply with the scheme would be dealt with."—Evening Paper.
But surely such unpatriotic shopkeepers should not be dealt with.
"Lost, on or about September 30 last, a Gold Bar Brooch, with chaste Scotch terrier in centre."—Manchester Evening News.
We are glad to see that at least one of our dumb friends has not been affected by the wave of bigamy that has been sweeping over the country.
As ordered, we marched the Battery to B 35d 45.25. Reader, have you ever lived in, or on, an unfurnished map-reference in Flanders? If not, permit me to inform you that this group of letters and numerals represented a mud-flat pocked with ancient shell-craters, through which loafed an unwholesome stream under a bilious-looking sky. The Junior Subaltern, fresh from home, asked where the billets were. We could but bless his happy innocence and remind him that as Army Field Artillery we were nobody's children, the orphan bravoes of the Western Front, and that for us a bunch of map co-ordinates was considered ample provision.
The horses, having with proper pride sneered at the stream, were silenced with their nosebags, and then we asked our cook what about it? That dauntless artist in bully-beef promptly brought our far-travelled mess-table into action in the open, and thus publicly we sat round it on our valises and drank Vichy water until the novelty palled. Then the rain began and the men once more united in wishing themselves in Tennessee.
The Captain was now driven from the bosom of the mess to find a Camp Commandant, and to tell him, with the Major's compliments, that even the personnel of Army Brigades were liable, in the words of the book, to deteriorate rapidly if unprotected from damp. The officer, whom he found lurking in a neighbouring Nissen hut, was tall and stately, but admitted, under pressure, that to him was entrusted the stewardship of our mud-flat and the adjacent camps, and that he could give us a mess. Through the insistent drizzle this person, smiling now very pleasantly, led us to a depressed wooden building that suggested a derelict Noah's Ark with a sinister look about the windows. The bad-tempered sky scowled between the planks of the roof; the querulous wind whined up through the floor; rats backed snarling into the corners on our entrance.
"This is the place," said the C.C. "You'll soon make yourselves very comfortable."
That night I dreamed I was a "U" boat, and started up, snorting, to find myself under a cascade, while the felt upon the roof banged and rasped and flapped. It sounded as if the ark were trying to fly, but found its wings rusty. At dawn we sent the Captain out, and refused him breakfast till by some resource of ingenuity or crime he obtained certain sausages of new felt. These our fearless batmen unrolled and nailed upon the roof. After his porridge we pushed him out again with a strong party under orders to carry the nearest R.E. dump by force or fraud, and secure large quantities of timber, nails, canvas and, if possible (the up-to-date R.E. dump secretes many unexpected commodities), Turkey carpets, wall-paper, sofa-cushions and bedroom-slippers.
The batmen were sent out with a limbered cart, some smoke shell and the total establishment of billhooks, and forbidden to return without sufficient material for bedsteads, window-shutters, bookshelves and chairs. By evening the place began to feel habitable, and the C.C., when he looked in to borrow a horse, endeared himself to us all by his obvious pleasure in our comparative comfort. We lent him the best horse in the battery.
The Major's batman devoted the following day to the construction of a species of retiring-room at one end of the hut, wherein the modest members of the mess might bathe and splash at ease. The remainder of the servants went out armed and returned with (1) a zinc bath, (2) a stove, (3) a cuckoo clock, (4) a large mirror, (5) a warming-pan. "Once let us make a home for ourselves," we said, "and our energies will be free to finish the War." We devoted every cunning worker in the battery to this great end. Drill was abandoned, stables forgotten. We installed bookshelves, bootjacks, a sideboard, hat racks, a dumb waiter, a stand for the gramophone and a roll-top desk for the Major. The walls were tapestried with canvas, hung with pictures, scalps, and the various decorations won by members of the mess. The original building, disreputable and hateful, was hidden and forgotten.
And then the C.C. called again, and, after a minute and admiring inspection of our abode, informed us that to his bitter sorrow he had to turn us out; [pg 387] umteen battalions of infantry were coming in and had to be accommodated—this being an infantry camp....
That night, as I walked about in the rain, I looked in at the open door of our lost home. Two N.C.O.'s were sitting over our stove, lost, lonely in the elongated emptiness; longing, I knew, to be with their comrades bellowing in an adjacent hut. And so I understood and knew at length how Camp Commandants manage the maintenance and improvement of their domain. I devote myself now to warning the simple-hearted gunner against unfurnished huts and the hospitality of Camp Commandants. And some day I hope to be in a position to lend that particular C.C. another horse.
We deeply regret to learn that Lieutenant GEORGE L. BROWN, Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, who contributed sketches to Punch before the War, has died of wounds.
We are very glad to say that Captain A.W. LLOYD, Royal Fusiliers, is making a good recovery from the severe wound which he received in East Africa.
She. "OH, WAS THAT A BOMB?"
He. "YES, I THINK IT WAS. BUT IF IT WAS AS NEAR AS IT SOUNDED IT WOULD HAVE BEEN VERY MUCH LOUDER."
MARGARINE—the prefix "oleo-"
Latterly has been effaced,
Though no doubt in many a folio
Of the grocer's ledger traced—
Once I arrogantly rated
You below the cheapest lard;
Once your "g" enunciated,
With pedantic rigour, hard.
How your elements were blended
Naught I knew; but wild surmise
Hinted horrors that offended
Squeamish and fastidious eyes.
Now this view, unjust, unfounded,
I recant with deep remorse,
Knowing you are not compounded
From the carcase of the horse.
Still with glances far from genial
I beheld you, margarine,
And restricted you to menial
Services in my cuisine.
Still I felt myself unable,
Though you helped to fry my fish,
To endure you at my table
Nestling in the butter-dish.
Now that I have clearly tracked your
Blameless progress from the nut,
I proclaim your manufacture
As a boon, without a "but."
Now I trudge to streets far distant,
Humbly in your queue to stand,
Till the grocer's tired assistant
Dumps the packet in my hand.
Though you lack the special savour
Of the product of the churn,
Still the difference in flavour
I'm beginning to unlearn.
Thoughts of Devonshire or Dorset
From my mind have vanished quite,
Since the stern demands of war set
Limits to my appetite.
Butter is of course delicious;
But when that is dear and scant
Welcome, margarine, nutritious
"The undersigned, who has just returned from the Front, begs to inform the Public that he has opened a Barber's Shop on the ground floor of Miss ——'s house in Great George Street, where he is prepared to give CUTS in any style required."—Dominion Chronicle.
Well, his customers can't complain that they weren't warned.
With all eyes so focussed on the great deeds of our men in France, in Palestine and on the sea, there is a possibility of losing sight now and then of the constant and devoted efforts of the women and girls at home, without whose co-operation the War could not be successfully waged at all. We are the debtors not only of the munition workers who, in their hundreds of thousands, are toiling for victory, but of women and girls in myriad other employments, which they have cheerfully attacked and mastered; and any little thing that we can do for them should, Mr. Punch holds, be done. A practical and very simple way of adding to their happiness and well-being is to contribute a mite to the funds of the Girls' Friendly Society, an organisation with the finest traditions, which is doing its best to build rest and recreation huts all over England, for the purpose of conserving the health and spirits of our great feminine army. A moment's thought will show how vitally and nationally important such help is. Contributions should be sent to the Secretary, War Emergency Committee, Girls' Friendly Society, 39, Victoria Street, S.W.1.
"It's too bad," said Francesca, "it really is. It'll spoil Christmas."
"The question is," I said, "that this House do accept my Aunt Matilda's invitation of herself to stay in it for an uncertain period at or about Christmas. I think the Ayes have it."
"The Noes have it," shouted Francesca.
"Francesca," I said, "it's no use struggling, and you know it. We've got to have Aunt Matilda, and there's an end of it."
"There isn't an end of it at all. It's only just beginning, and it'll go on getting worse and worse."
"You do not seem to realise," I said, "what the possession of an aunt like Aunt Matilda means. She is like all the aunts you've ever read about in novels, only more so. She's so true to type that you can hardly believe in her existence. To be related to her is to have a Stake in the Country and to be part of the British Constitution, which she ardently believes in without knowing anything about it. She's been a widow for fifteen years, and—"
"Poor old thing," said Francesca, "so she has."
"—for fifteen solitary years she has battled against the world, and managed her business affairs extraordinarily well; and yet she believes that women are perfect fools, and pities them from the bottom of her heart for being women."
"As far as I'm concerned," said Francesca, "she may pity all the other women if she'll only not pity me. If I have a headache she not only pities me, but despises me as a weakling utterly unfitted to manage a household. No, my dear, I can't face it. Your Aunt Matilda's too much for me."
"I admit," I said, "that she's a good deal."
"And of course she'll bring her maid."
"And her pug."
"Whose name is 'MacLachlan,' and you mustn't call him 'Mac' because it's disrespectful."
"And the children won't be allowed to shout about the house when she takes her nap. And of course they will shout about the house, and then there'll be trouble.".
"And the children will be compared with other children who are much better behaved."
"It's a queer thing, but the children don't seem to mind her."
"She bribes them with chocolates."
"Well, she won't do it any more, because there are no chocolates in the world. Chocolates are a luxury."
"So's your aunt," said Francesca. "She's the biggest luxury I ever heard of. She's rare—I might almost say unique. She's expensive, and she can be done without. Obviously she's forbidden by the Defence of the Realm Act. We shall be fined and imprisoned if we conceal her here."
"Well, you'd better sit down and tell her so, and get it off your chest."
"I suppose I must play the humbug."
"Yes, do. She'll see through you all right, though."
"Oh, I say," said Francesca, "there's a P.S. to her letter. She says she's saved two pounds out of her sugar ration, and she's sending it to us as a Christmas present. Isn't she an old topper?"
"Yes," I said, "I forgive her everything. Is two pounds a lot?"
"It's generally supposed to be just two pounds," said Francesca. R. C. L.
I never liked the man at Number Nine,
But now my breast is bursting with its wrongs,
For when we had a few old friends to dine
And crowned our feasting with some gentle songs,
Instead of simply drinking in the glamour,
The charm of it, he had the cheek to hammer
The party-wall with pokers and with tongs.
Ah, me! that Art should suffer such disdain!
But what can one expect in time of war?
Mayhap our minstre'sy had given pain
To some tired patriot in bed next-door—
Some weary soul that all day fashions fuses,
To whom his sleep is more than all the Muses—
And so, for England's sake we sang no more.
No longer now the hideous truth is hid:
The man is nothing but a Pacifist;
And, what is worse, he draws four hundred quid
For representing views which don't exist,
Although in Parliament, without his poker,
I'm glad to see they would not hear the croaker,
But when he talked they only howled and hissed.
And now all Hammersmith with zeal prepares
To make a night of it when next we sing;
We shall not waste our soft romantic airs,
But the glad street with warlike strains shall ring
Of blood and armaments and Fritz's whacking,
And he shall hammer till the walls are cracking,
And the whole suburb joins us in "The King."
"The unfrequented coral harbour was an ideal spot for this operation. The 60 odd men and women on the Seeadler were landed, and the natives, avid for change of diet, welcomed them."—The Times.
"A distinctive uniform will be given the new Air Service when the old is worn out, Major Baird announces."—Daily Mail.
An officer in the R.F.C. writes to say that the old Air Service has no intention of wearing out.
"The coroner said people would be wise to carry electric torches or newspapers, and ladies should wear something white—a pocket handkerchief would be better than nothing."—Sunday Observer.
Certainly "better than nothing," but a newspaper would make a more showy costume.
At this date "The Junior Sub" fortunately needs no introduction to a public that has long gathered him and his to its appreciative heart. I should not like to guess how many people read and enjoyed The First Hundred Thousand; they all, and more, will delight in the appearance of Carrying On (BLACKWOOD), in which the exploits of the famous regiment, of Major Wagstaffe and Captain Bobby Little and the rest of them are continued. What the precise war position of IAN HAY may be by now I am unaware, but I should emphatically suggest his appointment to the post of Official Cheerer-Up. Perhaps (how shall I put it?) the eye-pieces of the writer's mask are a trifle too rose-coloured for strict realism; great-hearted gentlemen as we know our heroes to be, are they always quite so merry and bright as here? One can but hope so. In any case, as special propaganda on the part of the O.C.U., the stories could hardly be bettered. One, called "The Push that Failed," I would order to be read aloud to the workers in every munition factory in the land; its heartening tale of how the British people had, to the paralysed astonishment of Brother Bosch, "delivered the goods" to such effect that his projected spectacular attack under the eyes of WILLIAM the Worst was smashed before it began, is of a kind to strengthen the most weary arm. While I was yet upon the final page the bells in a famous abbey tower close by broke into grateful clamour for the news of victory. But IAN HAY does not wait on victory; he has his joy-bells ringing always in our hearts.
The Tree of Heaven (CASSELL) spread its friendly branches over a pleasant corner of a roomy Hampstead garden. Matter-of-fact Anthony, the timber merchant, always would insist that it was a mere common ash; but the others, Frances, and the children, Dorothy, Michael, Nicky and adopted Veronica, knew better, as also, no doubt, did Jane-Pussy and her little son, Jerry, who was Nicky's most especial pal. Miss MAY SINCLAIR, without being a conscienceless sentimentalist, does us the fine service of reminding us that the world of men is not all drab ugliness, but that there are beautiful human relationships and unselfish characters, and wholesome training which justifies itself in the day of trial. She divides her charming chronicle into three parts—Peace, The Vortex, and Victory. The first deals with the childhood of the happy brood of Anthony and Frances, delicate studies subtly differentiated. Even the little cats have their astonishing individuality, and I don't envy anyone who can read of Jerry's death and Nicky's grief without a gulp. The Vortex is—no, not the War; that comes later—but the trials of a world which tests adolescence, a world of suffrage rebellions, of Futuristic art and morals. Then the real vortex of the War, the Victory which means ready (or difficult, unready) sacrifice and death for the boys and their friends and as great a sacrifice and as cruel a thing as death for the others, the women and the elders.... A novel, which is much more than a novel, packed with beauty and sincerity, setting forth its tragedy without false glamour or shallow consolations.
Since it is natural to expect that a much-heralded book will fail, when it does eventually appear, to fulfil the promise of its publishers, it is the more pleasant to find oneself agreeing with Messrs. HODDER AND STOUGHTON that bashfulness on their part would have been out of place in regard to Mr. JAMES W. GERARD'S memoirs, My Four Years in [pg 390] Germany. As read in their completed and collected form these papers are not only, as one could foresee, of historic importance, but they are moreover capital reading. There is a world of unaffected geniality and humour about them that forms a most admirable complement to such serious matters as the protracted negotiations over the U-boat campaign, or the now famous incriminating telegram addressed by the ALL-HIGHEST to President WILSON in the days before the Huns had quite decided with what lies to defend the indefensible. This document is reproduced in facsimile as the egregious sender of telegrams wrote it for Mr. GERARD to transmit, and is one link more in the thrice-forged chain of evidence. But even stronger witness to German guilt is to be found in the series of minor corroborations appearing incidentally in the course of Mr. GERARD'S narrative, whether the author is pretending to be in awe of Prussian Court Etiquette, or openly laughing at the Orders of the Many Coloured Eagles, or simply detailing his work at Ruhleben and the other prison camps. His devotion there has earned a gratitude throughout this country that it would be mere presumption to try to put into words.
Those of us who have loitered with Mr. DE VERE STACPOOLE by blue lagoons and silent pools know that he is a master of atmosphere, and so he proves himself again in The Starlit Garden (HUTCHINSON), though it takes him some time to get there. When a young American finds himself the guardian of an Irish flapper—a distant relation—and comes over to take her back with him to the States, it does not require much perspicacity to guess what will happen. Phyl Berknowles strongly objects to the intrusion of Richard Pinckney into the glorious muddle of her Irish ménage, and irritates him so successfully that he returns in a considerable tantrum to America, leaving her with some friends in Dublin. So far the tale is lively enough, but not until Phyl feels the call of her blood and goes to stay with her relatives in Charleston does the author find scope for his peculiar charm. Then we get a most delightful picture of a starlit garden in the south of America, where Phyl's experiences, without placing a tiresome strain upon our powers of belief, produce a sensation at once romantic and unusual. Memories of the past hang over this garden, and although Mr. STACPOOLE'S attempt to reconcile the period of which he writes with the years that are gone is not uniformly successful I am cordially glad that he made it.
The publishers of Mrs. ALICE PERRIN'S new volume, Tales that are Told (SKEFFINGTON), appear to be anxious that the public should have no hesitations on the score of measure supplied, as they explain that the chief of the tales is "a short novel of over 20,000 words." I am content to take their word for the figure, but I agree that they were well advised to focus attention upon "Gift of God," which, whatever its length, is an admirable and distinguished piece of writing. The subject of it is the old question of mixed-marriage, but treated from a new aspect. Kudah Bux (the Gift in question) is the son of an adoring Mohamedan father; he goes to England for education in the law, and there falls in love with and marries the brainless daughter of a London landlady. He is a very human and appealing figure. The debacle that follows his return to India with so impossible a bride is told in a way that convinces. Here Mrs. PERRIN is at her best. Some of the shorter tales also succeed very happily in conveying that peculiar Simla-by-South-Kensington atmosphere of retired Anglo-Indian society which she suggests with such intimate understanding. But, to be honest, the others (with the exception of one quaint little comedy of a canine ghost) are but indifferent stuff, too full of snakes and hidden treasure and general tawdriness—the kind of Orientalism, in fact, that one used to associate chiefly with the Earl's Court Exhibition. Mrs. PERRIN must not mingle her genuine native goods with such Brummagem ware.
My idea is that when Mr. H.C. BAILEY called his latest story The Young Lovers (METHUEN) he was doing it something less than justice. For the width and variety of the plot make it far more than a mere love-tale. Arma virique are quite as much Mr. BAILEY'S theme as Cupid, who indeed makes a rather belated appearance at the tag end. Before that we have a vast deal of agreeable adventuring. The scene is set in the period of the Peninsular War; all the characters, lovers, parents and hangers-on, are more or less involved in the fluctuating fortunes of my Lord WELLINGTON. There are spies of both sides, intrigues, abductions and what not. Mr. BAILEY has a pretty touch for such matters; his people move with an air; and, if at times their speech seems a trifle over-burnished, dulness is far from them. Moreover, the incidents of the campaign give scope for some vivid descriptions of war and battles, as such were in the old days before Mars put off his gold lace and sacrificed the picturesque. Sometimes, on the other hand, it is the similarity of conditions then and now that will strike you. For example, the passage telling how, despite apparent inactivity and home prognostications of stalemate, the confidence of the Army grew from day to day—impossible not to see the very obvious parallel there. In fine, Mr. BAILEY has given us another brisk and engaging romance, which, if it is not quite the kind you might expect from its title, is something a good deal better worth reading.
"Fort Worth, Texas.—Poolville, Parker county, near here, has raised $1,246.50 as a reward for the delivery of the German emperor into the hands of the American authorities."—Buffalo Courier.
On reading this item HINDENBURG is reported to have said that if Poolville would make it even money he would think about it.
***END OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI, VOL. 153, DEC. 5, 1917***
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