The Project Gutenberg eBook of Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 159, October 13, 1920

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Title: Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 159, October 13, 1920

Author: Various

Editor: Owen Seaman

Release date: September 26, 2006 [eBook #19382]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Stephanie Maschek, Jonathan Ingram and the
Online Distributed Proofreading Team at



Vol. 159.

October 13, 1920.

[pg 269]


Mr. Riazanov, the successor to Kameneff, is now residing in Grosvenor Street. Several readers have written to ask us how his name is pronounced. Wrongly, we believe, in nine cases out of ten.

We have been given to understand that that versatile pair, the Two Bobs, are contemplating a tour of the music-halls in the mining district, where they are sure to be given a rousing reception.

According to The Evening News two miners recently played a quoit match for a hundred pounds. In all probability they are now agitating for the two shillings' increase to enable them to have a little side bet.

"We cannot choose how we will be born," says a medical writer. No; some are born poor and others are born into a miner's family.

"Where stands England to-day?" we are asked. While travelling in the Tube we have often thought that most of it was standing on our feet.

"With the outgoing of September we face once more the month of October, with its falling leaves and autumn gales," states a writer in a daily paper. This, we understand, is according to precedent.

A Glamorgan collier, summoned for income-tax, stated that he earned eleven pounds a week and wanted every penny of it. It is said that he is saving up to buy a strike of his own.

A live frog is reported to have been found in a coal seam at a Monmouthshire colliery. It seems to have been greatly concerned at having missed the previous strike ballot.

With reference to Mr. Spender's interview with Mr. Lloyd George we regret that no mention is made of the exact date when the Prime Minister will declare the New World open.

Since it has been so well advertised we understand that the banned poster, "The Unknown," is shortly to be renamed "The Very Well Known."

The ex-Kaiser is reported to have made his will. He has bequeathed his trial to his youngest grandson.

It is proposed to make Poole a first-class port, at a cost of £3,750,000. We cannot help thinking that hidden away in some Government office is a man who could do it at treble the cost.

A London firm of pastrycooks have purchased two obsolete tanks from the Disposal Boards. They are said to make excellent utensils for flattening pancakes.

A dainty little invention has just been tried by the Bolshevists, which consists of a method whereby boiling water from the ship's boiler can be pumped on to sailors who do not obey their officers. It is said to be just the thing to keep their minds off the idea of mutiny.

"I have all the qualifications for a post in some Government office," writes an Unemployed Ex-Soldier in a contemporary. It is to be hoped that this drawback will be overlooked if his other disqualifications are satisfactory.

Washable hats for boys is one of the new inventions at the Leather and Shoe Trade Exhibition. Small boys are now going about in fear that the next discovery will be a washable neck.

Six bandits entered the Central Café, New York, the other day and took one thousand pounds from the diners. The ease with which they did it suggests that they were mistaken for waiters.

A plumber in Aberdeen is giving lessons to a women's class in knitting. It is said that his treatise on How to Crochet a Burst Bath-Pipe is likely to become a standard work.

In taking away a safe containing six thousand pounds from a Fenchurch Street office, burglars broke down a door with a thick glass panel. The profession is of the opinion that the blame for this lies with the firm. They had locked the door.

The Daily Chronicle informs us that a New York couple who were engaged in 1868 have just been married. But surely the wonder is that they were not married long before.

A woman has told the medical officer of Burnham that rats so like the poison being used that they come out of their holes for it while it is being put down. We always make our rats stand up and beg for it.

A domestic servant was recently blown out of her mistress's house through the too liberal use of paraffin whilst lighting fires. Luckily, however, it was her day out, so no complications ensued.

On being asked his recipe for keeping young, a well-known physician refused to reply. In view of the increasing number of precocious authors, the question again arises, "Should a doctor tell?"

The Daily Express states that there is "very little demand for champagne to-day." We fancy this is due to the fact that a number of people are saving up to buy coffee at Messrs. Lyons'.


"Oh, look, Mummy! There's Wilfred doing his hair from memory."

"The Passionate Spectator."

We are asked to say that the above title of a book written by Miss Jane Burr and published by Messrs. Duckworth (it is described on the wrapper as "an entirely unconventional novel founded on original and ultra-modern views concerning life and marriage") has nothing to do with our respected contemporary.

"Government's Striking Attitude. Waiting till the Car Jumbs?"

Nigerian Pioneer.

Personally we always try to get out when this seems to be imminent.

[pg 270]


[The Daisy and The Crossing, which both dealt with the life after death, have come to an untimely end; and, in deference to public feeling, the heroine of Every Woman's Privilege has been furnished with a fresh fiancé.]

When in my stall at eve I sit

(And these remarks would still apply,

Perhaps with greater force, were I

Accommodated in the Pit)—

Worn with the long day's dusty strife,

I ask a brief surcease of gloom;

I want a mirror held to life,

But not the life beyond the tomb.

The views of parties who have "crossed"

(Meaning to Jordan's further shore),

Those, as they say, who've "gone before,"

But not (unhappily) been "lost"—

They make me ill; they decompose

My vital essence at its fount

(Excepting Barrie's Mary Rose,

But then, of course, he doesn't count).

Give me the life that quick men lead,

Of which I know the hopes and fears

Better than those of shadier spheres;

And, if at first you don't succeed,

If you should hear the critics croak,

"As to your heroine's choice, you err,"

Just hand her to the other bloke—

That's what they did with Marie Löhr.

So shall creative art suggest

A world where people may revise

Their silly past, and realise

Those second thoughts which are the best;

Where, having seen the larger light,

A perfect liberty to hedge

And swap the wrong man for the right

Is "Every Woman's Privilege."

O. S.


Feeling rather lonely because almost everybody had entered for the great Irish Problem Competition in the morning and evening press except myself, I sat down and wrote the following solution, which I posted immediately to the Editors of The Times and of The Westminster Gazette:—

"Sir"—I began indignantly, for I noticed all the best competitors begin like that. In these Bolshevistic days I should have preferred of course to have started off with "Comrade" or "Brother," or even, since I was writing from the heart of the country, have opened with "Eh bor," as people do in dialect novels, but, fearing I might be disqualified, I began, as I say, "Sir," and went on, much as the other statesmen did:—

"In all the lengthy annals of this Government, vacillation between weakness and tyranny has never proved so disastrous as it is proving in Ireland to-day, and the conduct of that unhappy country's affairs is now plunged in a chaos so profoundly chaotic that it has become a gross misuse of language to call them affairs at all. Out of all this welter and confusion two salient facts are seen to emerge:—

"(1) No two Englishmen are agreed upon a settlement that will at the same time satisfy the just aspirations of Ireland and preserve the integrity of the British Empire.

"(2) No two Irishmen are either.

"At the same time the number of sane and carefully considered plans for the government of Ireland was never so great as it is to-day. When will our incompetent Cabinet perceive that the only way of warding off the stain of perfidy which dogs their footsteps and threatens to overwhelm them is to make use of all these plans? I put aside for the moment the most violent proposals of the extremists on either side, such as that of the annexation of England by the Sinn Fein Empire and that of the deportation of all Irishmen to the Andaman Islands and the re-colonisation of the country with correspondents to the daily press; but between these two extremes there surely lie innumerable solutions which both can and ought to be employed. I will only name here a few of them:—

Asquith autonomy.

Dominion Home Rule.

Dunraven autonomy.

Grey autonomy.

Red autonomy.

Government by Dhail Eireann.

Government by Dhail Ymaill.

Administration by the L. C. C.

Clan warfare.

"And there are infinite shades and variations of all these.

"Every one of the policies I have named, and as many more as possible, should now be adopted at once, one after the other, I suggest, for quarterly periods and in alphabetical order.

"But let there be no mistake. They must be strictly enforced. It must be impossible for Irishmen to come to England in the future and say to her, as they have so often said in the past, 'You made us promises which, when we leant on them, proved a broken reed and turned to dust and ashes in our mouths.'

"One of the bitterest reproaches that is hurled, and hurled justly, at British maladministration is that through all the seeming variations of misgovernment there has been in fact no change. Dublin Castle remains where it did. This must be altered at once. The site of Dublin Castle must be moved every three months. There must be infinite change, and it must be infinitely thorough and infinitely systematic, so that, side by side with the continuous grievances of all dissatisfied parties, will be the certain assurance that those grievances will in strict rotation be remedied.

"The objection will, of course, be raised that these continual changes of government will involve a certain amount of disorder; that one system will scarcely be working before it is superseded by another; that the rapid alterations in the personnel of the judicature, civil service and police will be inconvenient; that everything, in fact, will be in a muddle. But by how much is not well-organised muddle to be preferred to unsystematic anarchy? And as each type of government recurs in due course will it not be found to work more simply and satisfactorily?

"To those who shrug their shoulders and say that a series of kaleidoscopic changes in Irish administration would never be approved by the good sense of the British electorate I can only urge that it is precisely this attitude of intolerance towards and ignorance of Irish psychology which has rendered our behaviour to Ireland for so many centuries a by-word not only throughout Europe but the whole civilised world and the United States of America.

"I am, Sir, yours, etc."

Through some accident or other, either because I have not followed exactly the prescribed rules of the competition, such as writing on one side of the paper only, or addressing it from the National Liberal Club, or obtaining the signature of five witnesses, my solution has not yet appeared in The Times or in The Westminster Gazette either. Feeling it a pity, however, that any helpful suggestion should be lost at a time when never in the annals of Irish misgovernment has vacillation vacillated so vacillatingly as it does to-day, I have repeated my strong but simple proposals here.


"Clever forgeries of Fisher notes are in circulation in St. Pancras.

Last night, during the busy period, a number of publications in the Kentish Town district were victimised."—Evening Paper.

We had no idea that Kentish Town was such a literary centre.

"Even Paris seems willing this season to add a few inches to the length of skirts, and six to eight inches is becoming the accepted length for street wear. This is an excellent length, not so long as to endanger the chic of the costume, nor so short as to be unbecoming in either sense of the word."—Fashion Paper.

We refrain from any speculations as to the previous length of these skirts before the "few inches" were added.

[pg 271]



[pg 272]

Willium (having at critical stage in four-handed game undertaken to spot the red). "'Tis all over, Gearge—my hand be stuck in the pockut."


"An' when I dies they give me fifteen pounds on the nail an' no waitin'," said Elizabeth triumphantly, as she explained her latest insurance scheme.

"On what nail?" I asked distrustfully. I could not understand why Elizabeth felt justified in paying sixpence per week for a benefit fraught with so little ultimate joy to herself. But she is the sort of girl that can never resist the back-door tout. She is constantly being persuaded to buy something for which she pays a small weekly sum. This is entered in a book, and the only conditions are that she must continue paying that sum for the rest of her natural lifetime.

On these lines Elizabeth has "put in" for many articles in the course of her chequered career. She has had fleeting possession of a steel engraving of Queen Victoria, a watch that never would go—until her payments ceased—a sewing-machine (treadle), a set of vases and a marble timepiece. The timepiece, she explained, was destined for "the bottom drawer," which she had begun to furnish from the moment a young man first inquired which was her night out.

As all these things were taken from her directly her payments fell off, I thought I had better give her the benefit of my ripe judgment. "I shouldn't buy anything on the instalment plan, if I were you," I advised. "Some people seem to be made for the system, but you are not one of them."

"But I 'aven't told you wot I'm buyin' now," she said excitedly, putting a plate on the rack as she spoke. I ought to say she meant to put it on the rack; that it fell two inches short wasn't Elizabeth's fault.

"It was cracked afore," she murmured mechanically as she gathered up the fragments. "Yes, I pays a shillin' a week an' I gets a grammerfone."

"A what?" I gasped.

"A grammerfone—to play, you know."

"Where will it play?" I asked feebly.

"'Ere," she said, waving a comprehensive hand; "an' it won't 'arf liven the place up. My friend 'as 'ers goin' all day long."

I stifled a moan of horror, for I am one of the elect few who loathe gramophones, even at their best and costliest.

"Elizabeth," I cried, tears of anguish rising to my eyes, "let me implore you not to get one of those horr—I mean, not to be imposed on again."

"I've got it," she announced. "I meantersay I've paid the first shillin' an' it's comin' to-morrow. I 'ave it a month on trial."

The month certainly was a trial—for me. Ours is not one of those old-fashioned residences with thick walls that muffle sound, and where servants can be consigned to dwell in the bowels of the earth. Every noise which arises in the kitchen, from Elizabeth's badinage with the butcher's boy to the raucous grind of the knife-machine, echoes through the house viâ the study where I work.

Thus, although Elizabeth kept the kitchen-door shut, I found myself compelled for one-half of the day to consider an insistent demand as to the ultimate destination of flies in the winter-time. The rest of the day the gramophone gave us K-K-K-Katie. (Elizabeth had only two records to begin with.)

[pg 273]

I became unnerved. My work suffered. It began to trickle back to me accompanied by the regrets of editors; and to writers the regrets of editors are the most poignant in the world.

The situation was saved by the most up-to-date tout of the whole back-door tribe. He persuaded Elizabeth to go in for Spiritualism. Do not misunderstand me. You can be a Spiritualist and also keep a gramophone, but, if you are Elizabeth, you cannot keep the two running at the same time if you must pay a shilling per week for each. When she sought my opinion I strongly advised the séances, which I said were cheap at the price; indeed I thought they were when the gramophone departed.

It was now Elizabeth's turn to become unnerved. She has a mind that is peculiarly open to impressions, and communion with the spirits unbalanced her. She justified her expenditure of a shilling weekly by placing the utmost faith in them.

"I 'ad a message from them there spirits larst night," she informed me one day, "an' they tell me I must change my 'abitation."

"What do you mean?" I asked, startled.

"I put a message through, arskin' them when I should get a settled young man, an' they told me that the fates are agen me in my present dwellin', so if you'll please take my notice from—"

I will not go through the sickening formula. Every housewife must have heard it several times at least in the past year or so. I accepted Elizabeth's resignation and began to concentrate on newspaper announcements. But I took an utter dislike to the spirits and listened with cold aloofness when Elizabeth began, "I was talkin' to the spirit of my young man larst night—"

"I didn't know you had the spirit of any young man," I interrupted.

"Yes, I 'ave. I mean Ned Akroyd, 'oo was drownded."

Now I have never believed in the alleged drowning of the said Ned. The news—conveyed to Elizabeth by his mate—that he had fallen from a ferry-boat near Eel Pie Island seemed unconvincing, especially as it happened shortly after Elizabeth had lent him fifteen-and-six.

"I 'ad quite a long talk with 'im," she went on. "Next time I'm goin' to arst 'im about the fifteen-and-six 'e borrowed, an' see if I can't get it back some'ow."

How the spirit would have considered this proposition is still uncertain, for Elizabeth never returned to the séances. She came to me one day in a state of violent agitation. "I see Ned Akroyd when I was out larst night," she began, "an' would you believe it, 'e's no more dead than I am, the wretch!"

"Well, aren't you glad?" I inquired.

"Glad, an' 'im with another girl an' pretendin' all the time not to see me! Men are 'ounds, that's what they are. An' I'll go to no more seeonces. They're a swindle."

"They were wrong about telling you to change your habitation too, weren't they?" I suggested insinuatingly.

"Course they were." Suddenly her face brightened. "I'll be able to 'ave the grammerfone back now," she said.

At the moment I am writing to the sounds of K-K-K-Katie, which, I fear, is giving me rather a syncopated style. But if the Editor is k-k-k-kind he will not banish me from P-P-P-Punch for this reason, as anyone can see my intentions are g-g-g-good.

Stay! K-K-K-Katie has ceased and I can think lucidly. An inspiration has come to me. Has not Elizabeth in her time wrought havoc among my crockery? The hour is ripe for me to retaliate.

To morrow at dawn I shall examine the gramophone records and—they will come in two in my hands.

It will be the first time I have broken any record.

Wife (to husband being bundled in as train moves off). "Did ye get return tickets?"

Husband. "Noa (puff)—didn't 'ave time."


By Professor ——, F.R.S."

Sunday Paper Poster.

We refuse to believe it.

[pg 274]



My dear Charles,—Essential to that millennium which our restless revolutionaries are after is your head on a charger and my head on a charger; provided both heads are present it may be the same charger for all they care. When you think of the importance which we of the detested middle classes attach to our heads and the regrettable violence we might exhibit towards whoever called at our houses to collect them, then it seems to me you must confess to a sneaking admiration for the bravery of the turbulent minority in attacking so big a problem.

But when you get the inside details of their schemes you find that discretion is not only the better part but the whole of their valour. For arms you find incendiary speeches; for ammunition, viperish propaganda, and for epoch-making action you have nothing. In that "nothing" lies their main ingenuity and strong hope. If they can prevail on the masses to do nothing, at the right moment, and to go on doing nothing till there is nothing left, then, say they, they will have civilisation under; and if our heads don't fall off of their own accord then a thousand willing hands will be stretched forward to pull them off.

You ask me how I know all this. Close the doors so that we cannot be overheard, and I will tell you. I buy their continental newspaper—"organ" they prefer to call it, being rather proud of the noise—and there I read all that I want to know. It costs a halfpenny a day, runs to six pages, is well printed and brightly composed and contains no advertisements. There is generally a picture in thick black lines in the centre of the first page. Blood being the easy thing for the printer to "feature," the picture generally deals with the cutting off of heads. If it refers to the past, you and I are cutting off the worker's head, severing from a fine muscular body a noble head with a halo to it. If it refers to the future, the worker is having our heads off, severing from a fat and uncontrolled corpus a most unpleasant excrescence in a very shiny top-hat.

To run a daily newspaper of that "make-up," without advertisements and for subscribers of whom the larger number, like myself, omit to pay their half-penny, is not easy business. In fact it is not business at all. The question being raised as to where the money came from, the producers tried to allay our suspicion by making a great show of an appeal for help. The published results, which I give you in their English equivalent, were much as follows:—

£ s. d.
B. de M. 6 0
Z. X. 5 0
Idealist 5 0
U. W. K. 5 0
A Frenchman who is ashamed of France 4 6
Young Communist 4 0
Three young Communists 3 6
"Great Britain" (collection) 3 3
Disgusted 2 6
Association of Women Fighters for Justice 2 3
O. F. 1 0
Down with Capital 9
One Who will stick at Nothing 3
2 3 0
Previous lists 14 6 8-3/4
£16 9 8-3/4

The grand total of sixteen pounds, nine shillings and eight-pence three-farthings shows a magnificent spirit, but wouldn't keep much more than a couple of square inches of the front page alive for more than one day. Reverting, then, to the more pressing question of the removal of our heads, who is paying for the operation?

He is a heavy-built octopus sort of man of about forty-seven; a red cheery complexion, rather more fat than muscle, long grey hair tending to curl at the extremes, and followed about by a lady who acts as his secretary, calls him "Master" and adores the ground he walks on. They are married, but not, I should hasten to add, to each other; none of your dull orthodox practices for them. About his profile there is an undeniable something which makes his head a suggestive model for sculpture. It is framed in a large, white, soft silk collar, which falls gracefully over the lapels of the coat and is, I am told, of a mode much worn among the élite of the anarchist and atheist world.

I've a friend here in the law-and-order business who thought that, having reported all the movements of this Master of the Black Arts, he might find it worth while to make his acquaintance in the flesh. Indirect enquiry elicited that the desire to get into touch was reciprocated, the attentions of the police being insufficient to satisfy his sense of importance. So the meeting was arranged, and I was allowed to come along too.

We were received in great state in a special suite of the local hotel de luxe. The Lady Secretary was there, overflowing with "Masters" and "Sirs," and obsessed by the fear that her idol might not do himself justice in our presence. A very touching instance of human devotion: the fifth instance in his case, I believe.

This is the gentleman who finances the propaganda of destruction; we asked him if that was not so, and he answered, "Why, of course." Had we any fault to find with his protégé, the admirable halfpenny daily? We had noticed that its news was punctual and exact. Then of what did we complain?

"Of a certain exaggeration in the leading articles," said I, rubbing the back of my neck and wondering how long it would be there to rub and I to rub it.

"But what newspaper leaders are not exaggerated?" he asked.

"Your editors should not be paid to twist everything into an irritant," I protested.

"Of which of your great English dailies is the editor not paid to twist, as you put it?" he asked.

I knew that I had right on my side and he had not. But still somehow I seemed to be in the wrong all the way.

So my friend took the matter in hand. He didn't argue. He just drew his chair up to the Master's and asked him to tell us all about himself, how he came by his great ideals, what was the future of the world as he foresaw it and how he meant to arrange the universe when at length he took over?

The Master, gently smiling his appreciation of this recognition of his Ego, gave voice.

To the lady it was all, of course, above criticism: sublime, adorable. To me the frankness of it and the impudence of it was, I confess, amusing.

The world is out of joint; how good 'twill be

When Heaven is sacked and leaves the job to me!

An agreeable, if wrong-headed, crank, was my summary.

And this or something like it was my friend's:—"b. U.S.A. of Eng. parents, 9.5.78; tinned meat business, Chicago; 6 months' h.l. for frauds in connection with packing; went to Mexico, but left to avoid prosecution for similar frauds on larger scale; prison in Belgium, France and England in connection with illegal dealings in rifles (? for Germany); apparently liable to more prison in U.S.A. for crime unknown, if returns there; won't say where he gets his money from, but doesn't seriously pretend it is his own."

And when I came to go back over the Master's two hours' chat about himself, those are about the facts it all boiled down to.

Yours ever, Henry.

(To be continued.)

"£40.—Handsome Black Silk Golf Goat (large size)."—Irish Paper.

The very thing for the butting-green.

[pg 275]


The Amateur Championship.

Mr. Pott-Hunter, who failed to survive the first round.

The East of France Championship.

Mr. Pott-Hunter in fatal difficulties in the second round.

The Championship of Central Switzerland.

Mr. Pott-Hunter, defeated in the third round.

The Sicilian Championship.

Mr. Pott-Hunter, who reached the fourth round.

The Championship of Mozambique.

Mr. Pott-Hunter, a fifth round victim.

The Spitzbergen Championship.

Mr. Pott-Hunter, one of the semi-finalists.

The Championship of Upper Senegal.

Mr. Pott-Hunter, beaten in the final by Mr. Hunt-Pott.

The Tierra del Fuego Championship.

The winner, Mr. Pott-Hunter.

[pg 276]

"Never you mind if 'e did say you'd got a neck like a camel. 'Tain't nearly as long as all that."


[Korban—"It is a gift"—Hebrew (or some such language).]

With some reluctance I return to the subject of baths. I went into the matter of bathrooms pretty carefully a few months ago, but since I have been in this hotel I see that there are one or two aspects of hotel bathing which still require attention.

To begin with, there is the question of the Korban or free bath. It is, of course, a scandal that a bath should be an extra, and an eighteen-penny one at that. After all, what is the bathroom for? We are not charged extra for smoking in the smoking-room or drawing in the drawing-room; why should we be bled for bathing in the bathroom? At the same time this practice does provide the visitor with the wholesome sport of Korban bathing. The object of the game is, of course, to have as many baths as possible which are not put down in your bill; and many are the stratagems which are employed.

The true sportsman attempts the feat just before dinner, because at that time there are sentries posted in every corridor. Ostensibly they are maids waiting to assist any lady who has a crisis while dressing, but no real pretence is made that they are there for any other purpose than to charge you for as many baths as possible. On my corridor there is a post of no fewer than three sentries, and it is extremely difficult to evade them. The only thing to do is to get to know three nice ladies on the same floor and arrange for them to have a dressing crisis simultaneously and go on having it for about a quarter-of-an-hour.

This needs a good deal of organisation. However smoothly the operation begins, one of the dressing crises nearly always collapses too soon, and the sentry catches you on your return journey.

For the lady visitor the problem is comparatively simple. I should mention that it is a perfectly legitimate manœuvre to get your bath put down to somebody else if you can do it; and the crack lady-player usually wraps herself in an unobtrusive bath-wrap, shrouds her head, modestly conceals her face, slips into a friend's room to borrow some Crème-Limon and, after an interval, rushes noisily out of the friend's room to her bath, which, with any luck, is charged to her friend's account.

The beginner at the game contents himself with less complicated ruses. Sometimes he has his bath late at night, when the sentries have been taken off; but, as the lights go out en masse at eleven, even this operation has to be carefully timed. There is nothing much gloomier than a bath by candle-light, except perhaps a bath in the dark. Hundreds, however, of both sorts are endured in this hotel.

The more brazen or the more timid simply walk into the bathroom fully dressed during the day, carrying a number of dirty golf-balls in their hands, and towels in their pockets and sponges up their sleeves, and issue later fully dressed with clean white golf-balls in their hands. It is generally thought, however, that this device is just a little—I mean it's not exactly—you know what I mean.

The Korban Bath Rules will probably remain unwritten for many a day, but I earnestly hope that before next summer the traditions and etiquette of bath-warfare as between individual hotel-visitors will be codified and issued in an intelligible form. At the moment the most extraordinary confusion prevails, and no one can tell whether any particular stratagem will be hailed with applause as a bold and legitimate operation of war or universally condemned as a barefaced piece of bath-hoggery. Recently, for example, an extremely courteous, not to say gallant, old gentleman was severely lectured by a lady for digging himself in on the mat and maintaining his position there till she emerged. She stated with, I think, considerable force that she had passed the age when a lady likes to be seen coming out of a bathroom with disordered locks; she also said that he was ruining her chance of a Korban bath by drawing attention to the fact that there was somebody inside.

He replied with equal force that, whenever he considerately withdrew from the mat in order to let a lady escape unseen, some less scrupulous combatant (usually one of his own daughters) immediately rushed the position, and he was not going to be had in that way again, though as a matter of fact, while they were arguing the matter out, somebody actually did this, so he was.

Now what is the way out of this dilemma? The only solution I see is the Sponge System, by which every competitor puts down a sponge, as one puts down a ball at the first tee. In this way definite claims can be staked out in rotation without congestion of the avenues of approach. I hope this system will be generally adopted next summer and, if it is used in conjunction with my Progress Indicator (which shows by a moving needle what stage the person bathing has reached), it ought to work very smoothly. But there must be no hanky-panky, no sharp practice with caddies; every sponge must be put down by one of the players in person. And there must be none of that regrettable collusion between husband and wife which has brought such discredit on the present system.

There was a very bad case of this the other day. A certain wife used to entrench herself in the bathroom early and remain in it till her husband—a heavy and persistent sleeper—arrived. When you rattled angrily at the door-knob she said very sharply, "Who is that?"—in itself a sufficiently disturbing thing. Even in the present days of shamelessness and crime there are few men who care to confess openly that they have angrily rattled at the bathroom door. If you said sheepishly, "It is Smith" or "Thompson" or "Lord Bumble," a heavy silence fell, broken only by those gentle watery sounds which it is so maddening to hear from without. When her husband arrived and answered the challenge with "It is I, Arthur," sounds of feverish activity [pg 277] were heard within, and a new bath was immediately turned on.

Casting all scruples to the winds, seven desperate men rehearsed the password, "It is I, Arthur;" seven desperate men presented themselves in a single morning and murmured lovingly, "It is I, Arthur." None of them had a bath. Seven times the good lady opened the door and beheld Smith or Thompson or Lord Rumble or nobody. And seven times she bolted back into the burrow again. She remained undefeated. Her husband got his bath.

I wonder what devilry she would be up to under the Sponge System.

A. P. H.

A Novelty from the Past.

"Antique, over a hundred years old, oak sideboard, brand new ... Apply after 6.30."

Evening News.

Surely after this candour there is no help to be got out of the twilight hour.

"Mr. Robert ——, who is now manager, entered his late employer's service three or four months after he commenced, and remained with him until he gave up."

Local Paper.

"They have their exits and their entrances"—the former in this case being the more satisfactory.

Intending Purchaser (to Artist, who is selling his house.)"Did you put those figures on the walls?"

Artist (modestly, though regarding them as a strong asset.) "Oh, yes—I—"

Intending Purchaser. "Well, they don't really matter. A coat of whitewash would soon put that right."


(It is rumoured that Mr. Balfour is shortly going to the House of Lords.)

When Balfour goes to the Lords—

For the Upper Chamber's adorning—

The Lower House, if it has any nous,

Will have solid reason for mourning;

For he has no axes to grind;

His strategy injures no man,

And his keen sword play in the thick of the fray

Is a joy to friend and foeman.

When Balfour goes to the Lords,

To strengthen that gilded muster,

'Twill be sad and strange if he has to change

The name he has crowned with lustre;

For already there's "B. of B.,"

A baron of old creation;

And Whittingehame is an uncouth name

For daily pronunciation.

If Balfour goes to the Lords,

Will the atmosphere, I wonder,

With the placid balm of its dreamful calm

Bring his nimble spirit under?

Or will he act on the Peers

Like an intellectual cat-fish,

Or startle their sleep with the flying leap

Of a Caribbean bat-fish?

If Balfour goes to the Lords—

But can the Commons spare him?

Besides I'm sure that a coronet's lure

Is the very last thing to ensnare him;

And I'd rather see him undecked

With the gauds that merely glister,

In the selfsame box with Pitt and Fox

And Gladstone—a simple Mister.

Still if he goes to the Lords,

Whatever, his style and title,

For the part he has played in his country's aid

'Twill be but a poor requital;

For he never once lost his nerve

When the outlook was most alarming,

And always remained, with shield unstained,

Prince Arthur, the good Prince Charming.

"Mrs. Hawke would be glad to employ a Wren for domestic work."

Advt. in Daily Paper.

Will she have to "live in"?

"If it be true, as Shelley said, that 'a thing of beauty is a joy for ever,' the good people of Roydon are to be congratulated on the new bridge over the River Stort."

Local Paper.

But, supposing Keats, for instance, said it, will that make any difference?

[pg 278]

Enlightened Minister. "I canna understand your objection to dancing, Mr. McTavish. We have biblical authority for it. David himself danced."

Elder. "Ay, but no wi' a pairtner."


"So it runned out of its little grassy place and went all round the garden," said Priscilla, emerging suddenly in pink from under the table.

"What are you playing at now, Priscilla?" I inquired.

"I'm a little pussy-cat."

"And what is this?" I asked, pointing to the waste-paper basket which she had planted beside my chair.

"It's the pussy-cat's basket of milk. It's to drink when she's firsty," she explained.

I sighed. It did not appear to me that the child's education was proceeding upon proper lines. I had been reading portions of the diary of Miss Opal Whiteley, written when she was seven years old, a work which has just lifted for America the Child-authoress Cup. I had hoped to find in Priscilla some faint signs that the laurels lost by Miss Daisy Ashford might be wrested back. The latest feature in nursery autobiography, so far as I could gather, was to have a profound objective sympathy with vegetables and a faculty for naming domestic animals after the principal figures in classical mythology. If you have these gifts you get published by The Atlantic Monthly, with a preface by Viscount Grey. But I doubted whether Priscilla had them. I thought I would try.

"Priscilla," I said, "be a little girl again and tell me what flower you like best."


"What do the roses say to each other when you aren't there?"

"Oh, they don't say anyfing," she said with great contempt.

This was bad.

"Priscilla," I continued, "what do you call the dog next-door?"

"Bill," she said; "but it's runned away."

"There you are!" I exclaimed, turning to the child's mamma. "Bill, indeed! If she were being properly educated she would be calling it Jupiter Agamemnon Wilcox by now. Does she ever speak to you at all of the star-gleams amongst the cabbage-leaves?"

"I don't think there are any star-gleams amongst the cabbages in this garden," she replied. "Only slugs."

"I don't care," I said; "the fact remains that Priscilla ought to be constantly wondering what the cabbages do say to each other when they have lonesome feels at night."

"Priscilla," I began again, "in about three years you will be seven years old and quite a big girl. What will you play at then?"

"Oh, I san't play at all," she said. "I sall go visiting and sopping."

"Anything else?"

"Oh, yes, I sall have a knife."

"A pocket-knife?"

"No, not a pocket-knife, a knife to cut meat wiv, of course."

I had forgotten this goal of maidenly desires.

"And won't you go long walks in the big woods with me and tell me the names of all the flowers and what they are thinking about?"

"Yes," she replied rather doubtfully. "Are there beasts in the woods?"

"Only rabbits, I think."

"We must be very careful, then, 'cos they're very wild creatures, aren't they?"

"Oh, not very wild."

"Will you buy a gun at the gun-sop and soot them and we take them home and eat them?"

Bless the child, I thought, there seems to be no getting her away from this eating business.

"Priscilla," I began again, "in the woods there is a great big lake, with [pg 280] trees and rushes all round it, and there are water-lilies floating about and forget-me-nots at the edge."

Now, I thought, we shall perhaps have something about the lullaby songs of the trees and the willow that does sing by the creek.

"Are there fiss in the lake?" inquired Priscilla.

"Yes," I said, "beautiful shining fish."

"And sall we catch the fiss and put them on the fire?"

"I suppose we might," I admitted.

"And will they sizzle?"

"Araminta," I said, "the child is hopeless. She has no soul. She will never be a great authoress. The Cup must remain in Oregon, and Priscilla will never tell the world how the wind did go walking in the field, talking to the earth voices, with a preface by Sir Auckland Geddes or Lord Reading. She thinks about nothing but her food."

"Perhaps you had better try again after she's said her prayers," suggested Araminta. "She may be feeling a little more soulful then."

I attended the ceremony, which was performed with the utmost decorum and gravity. When it was ended Priscilla looked up.

"I said them very somnly and in rarver a low voice, didn't I?" she announced, and then went off into gurgles of laughter.

I determined to make one last despairing effort.

"Priscilla," I asked, "which of your books do you like the best?"

"The Gobbly Goblin," she said.

"Araminta," I cried, "I give it up. She has no bent for literature. There can never have been any great authoress, young or old, who started with such a materialistic mind."

"You forget Mrs. Beeton," she replied.


[pg 279]






(It is stated that M. Kameneff, on his return to Russia, having fallen out of favour with the Soviet Government, has been appointed Commissar at Taganrog.)

Upon the mighty wheels of life

I'm but a very little cog,

And, when engaged in active strife,

Always the under-dog.

No honours yet have come to me

(My name is Ebenezer Blogg);

I haven't got an O.B.E.

Nor yet the Dannebrog.

A taxi-man the other night

Called me a measly little frog;

It's true that in respect of height

I can't compare with Og.

At school I was the whipping-boy

Whom every master used to flog,

Although I took no stealthy joy

In pipes or cards or grog.

The only time that I bestrode

A horse, like Gilpin all agog,

The creature bolted from the road

And plunged me in a bog.

I never learned to sing or dance,

To bowl or bat, to stick or slog;

The only time I crossed to France

I struck a Channel fog.

I'm old and poor and rather deaf;

I'm often very short of prog;

Yet still I grudge not Kameneff

His post at Taganrog.

First Bookie. "I must 'ave taken two 'undred quid to-day. Marvellous! I can't think where the money comes from."

Second Bookie. "From me mostly."

Our Modest Advertisers.

"To be Sold, small unexceptionally attractive gentleman's Residential Estate."

There was an American "Daisy"

Whose Diary set people crazy;

Some called it a fake—

A most venial mistake,

For Opals are apt to be hazy.

[pg 281]

Humble Guest (at Profiteer's castle). "What the deuce is this?"

Magnificent Flunkey. "The temperature of your bath-water, Sir."


January 1st, 1920.

To the Ministry of Pensions.

When demobilised on 5th November last I applied for a disability pension. Having received no official communication on the subject, may I inquire, please, how the matter stands?

M. C. Broke, Capt.

February 1st, 1920.

To Lieut. C. M. Broke.

I am to acknowledge receipt of your letter of 1/1/20, and to say that you will receive a further communication from this Department in due course.

Cuthbert Rutt,

for Ministry of Pensions.

March 1st, 1920.

To the Ministry of Pensions.

Re your letter of February 1st, may I inquire how the matter now stands, please? (My rank, by the way, is captain, and my initials are "M. C." not "C. M." I hope you won't mind me mentioning it.)

M. C. Broke, Capt.

April 1st, 1920.

To Mr. M. Brake.

I am to acknowledge receipt of your letter of 1/3/20 and to request that you will be good enough to state the date upon which you last received a payment on account of your pension.

Cuthbert Rutt,

for Ministry of Pensions.

April 2nd, 1920.

To the Ministry of Pensions.

Replying to your inquiry of yesterday, I have not received any payment—not a bond, not a rouble, not a bean. That, between ourselves, was my idea in initiating this interesting correspondence.

May I direct your attention to my signature?

M. C. Broke, Capt.

May 10th, 1920.

To Second-Lieut. J. Brooke.

Your letter dated 2/4/20 has been duly received. I am to ask whether you are (a) demobilised; (b) disembodied; or (c) still serving?

Cuthbert Rutt,

for Ministry of Pensions.

May 11th, 1920.

To the Ministry of Pensions.

I was so glad to hear yesterday that my letter of the 2nd of last month had been duly received. I was beginning to get quite anxious about it. In reply to your inquiry I have the honour to state (again) that I was (a) demobilised. I mentioned this, you know, last January. But perhaps you have forgotten? It is rather a long while ago.

M. C. Broke, Capt.

P.S.—I don't mind a bit how you spell my name and all that. But our postman is getting wild. And you know what workers are.

June 30th, 1920.

To Mr. C. Bink.

I am directed to acknowledge your letter of 11/5/20. In order to facilitate this Department's investigations into your claim, please say if you are in possession of Army Form Z.3.

Cuthbert Rutt,

for Ministry of Pensions.

July 1st, 1920.

To the Ministry of Pensions.

Yes, I am in possession of Army Form Z.3. I do hope this will facilitate your Department's investigations. Not for my sake. But I enclose last quarter's accounts from my landlord, butcher, baker, etc. Perhaps you will be good enough to guarantee my credit? You know how impatient these vulgar fellows are.

M. C. Broke, Capt.

P.S.—I think I like "Bink" the least [pg 282] of my new names. But perhaps you will think of a better one for my next letter.

August 1st, 1920.

To Mr. M. Brooks.

Your letter of 1/7/20 has been duly received, and I am to inquire whether you submitted a claim for disability pension at the time of your demobilisation. If so, please state date.

Cuthbert Rutt,

for Ministry of Pensions.

August 2nd, 1920.

To the Ministry of Pensions.

With reference to your letter of yesterday, the answer is in the affirmative. By the way I think we went into that little matter too last January. But, of course, you can't think of everything. Excuse me mentioning it. Do you think you could get my pension through by the 30th inst? It is my birthday, and I would like to have my boots soled and heeled.

M. C. Broke, Capt.

August 30th, 1920.

To Mr. N. Brock.

With reference to your application for disability pension I am to request that you will furnish this Department with a full statement of the circumstances under which you were wounded, giving the following particulars:—Christian and surname (in block letters); regiment; whether (a) demobilised; (b) disembodied; or (c) still serving; whether (a) shot; (b) bayoneted; (c) gassed; (d) shell-shocked; or (e) drowned; Christian and surname (in block letters) of batman, stretcher-bearers and O.i/c hospital ship.

Cuthbert Rutt,

for Ministry of Pensions.

September 8th, 1920.

To the Ministry of Pensions.

Under medical advice I am to cease corresponding with your admirable Department. It seems a pity, since we have got to know each other so well. I have decided therefore to place the matter in the hands of the Miners' Federation. I do not think I have mentioned the fact before, but I was employed as a miner when I joined up in '14.

M. C. Broke, Capt.

September 9th, 1920.

To Captain M. C. Broke.

I am directed to inform you that you have been awarded a disability pension at the rate of five hundred pounds per annum. A draft for the amount due, including arrears from 5/11/19—date of disembodiment or demobilisation—was despatched to your address this morning per King's Messenger.

I have the honour to be, Sir,

Your humble and obedient Servant,

Cuthbert Rutt,

for Ministry of Pensions.


A bit of tobacco-ash in your eye, your reel jammed, one of your legs through a loop of your line and the biggest salmon you ever saw on the other end of it.


The Glow-worm.

The little glow-worm sits and glows

As brilliant as the stars,

But you are wrong if you suppose

That he will light cigars.

In fact, he seems to be exempt

From Nature's general plan;

He never makes the least attempt

To be of use to Man.

And if you think that it requires

A scientific brain

To understand his tiny fires

Then you are wrong again.

The meaning of his shininess

Is fairly clear to me;

It is intended to impress

The future Mrs. G.

No doubt you think it is his nose

Which gleams across the glen;

Well, it is not; the part that glows

Is on the abdomen.

And very likely that explains

Why all these millionaires

Buy such expensive shiny chains

To hang about on theirs.

* * * * *

The Editor who read these lines

Has quite a different tale;

He says it is the she that shines

To captivate the male.

He has a perfect right to doubt

The statements in this song,

But if he thinks I'll scratch them out

He's absolutely wrong.

A. P. H.

"Whatever will you do, grandpa, when you're too old for gardening?"

"I expect I'll start golf. But I hope I shan't live as long as that."

[pg 283]


Our hostess had taken us over to "Sheltered End," the pleasant country home of Mrs. Willoughby Brock, to play tennis. As however there was only one court and quite a number of young and middle-aged people were standing near it with racquets in their hands and an expression on their faces in which frustration and anticipation fought for supremacy, it followed that other beguilements had to be found. My own fate was to fall into the hands of Mrs. Brock, whose greatest delight on earth seems to be to have a stranger to whom she can display the beauties of her abode and enlarge upon the unusual qualities of her personality. She showed and told me all. We explored the estate from the dog-kennel to the loggia for sleeping out "under the stars;" from the pergola to the library; from the sundial to the telephone, "the only one for miles;" and as we walked between the purple and mauve Michaelmas daisies in her long herbaceous borders, with Red Admiral butterflies among the myriad little clean blossoms, she said how odd it was that some people have the gift of attracting friends and others not; and what a strange thing it is that where one person has to toil to make a circle others are automatically surrounded by nice creatures; and asked me if I had any views as to the reason, but did not pause for the reply.

It was a warm mellow day—almost the first of summer, according to one's senses, although nearly the last, according to the calendar—and Mrs. Brock was so happy to be in a monologue that I could enjoy the garden almost without interruption. For a two and a half years' existence it certainly was a triumph. Here and there a reddening apple shone. The hollyhocks must have been ten feet high.

"Ah! here comes the dear Vicar," said Mrs. Brock suddenly, and, rising up from a rose which I was inhaling (and I wish that people would grow roses, as they used to do years ago, nose-high), I saw a black figure approaching.

"He is such a charming man," Mrs. Brock continued, "and devoted to me."

"Good afternoon," said the Vicar. "How exquisite those delphiniums are!" he added after introductions were complete; "such a delicate blue! I should not have intruded had I known you had a party"—he waved his hand towards the single tennis-court, around which the wistful racquet-bearers were now (as it seemed) some thousands strong, "but it is always a pleasure"—he turned to me—"to be able to walk in this paradise on a fine day and appreciate its colour and its fragrance. I find Mrs. Brock so valuable a parochial counsellor too."

"I think," I said, not in the least unwilling to be tactful, "I will see what the rest of our party are doing."

"Oh, no," said the Vicar; "please don't let me drive you away. As a matter of fact, since there are so many here I won't stay myself. But I wonder," he addressed Mrs. Brock, "as I am here, if I might use your telephone for a moment?"

"Of course," said she.

"Thank you so much," he replied; "yes, I know where it is," and with a genial and courtly salutation he moved off in the direction of the house.

"Such a true neighbour!" said Mrs. Brock. "Ah! and here is another," she went on. And along the same path, where the Michaelmas daisies were thickest, I saw a massive woman in white, like a ship in full sail, bearing down upon us, defending her head from the gentle September sun with a red parasol. "This," Mrs. Brock hurriedly informed me, "is Lady Cranstone, who lives in the house with the green shutters at the end of the village. Such a dear person! She's always in and out. The widow of the famous scientist, you know."

I didn't know; but what does it matter?

By this time the dear person was within hailing distance, but she flew no signals of cordiality; her demeanour rather was austere and arrogant. Mrs. Brock hurried towards her to assist her to her moorings, and I was duly presented.

"I didn't intend to come in again to-day," said Lady Cranstone, whose features still successfully failed to give to the stranger any indication of the benignity that, it was suggested, irradiated her being.

"But you are always so welcome," said Mrs. Brock. "Lady Cranstone," she continued to me, "is kindness itself. She makes all the difference between loneliness and—and content."

Lady Cranstone picked a rose and pinned it in her monumental bosom. "I don't know that I had anything in particular to say," she remarked. "I chanced to be passing and I merely looked in; but since I am here perhaps you would allow me to use your telephone—"

Mrs. Brock beamed her delighted acquiescence and the frigate sailed on. "You've no idea," said Mrs. Brock, "what a friendly crowd there is in these parts. I don't know how it is, but this little place of mine, modest though it is, and unassuming and unclever as I am, is positively the very centre of the district. It's like a club-house. How strange life is! What curious byways there are in human sympathy!"

This being the kind of remark that is best replied to with an inarticulate murmur, I provided an inarticulate murmur; and I was about to make a further and more determined effort to get away when a maid-servant approached with a card.

Mrs. Brock took it and read the name with a little cry of satisfaction. "Lord Risborough," she said to me. "At [pg 284] last! How nice of him to call. They live at Risborough Park, you know. I always said they would never condescend to dignify 'Sheltered End' with their presence; but I somehow knew they would." She purred a little. And then, "Where is his lordship?" she asked; but the girl's reply was rendered unnecessary by the nobleman himself, who advanced briskly upon Mrs. Brock, hat in hand.

"I trust," he said, "that you will pardon the informality of this visit. Lady Risborough is so sorry not to have been able to call yet, but—but—Yes, I was wondering if you'd be so very kind as to do me a little favour? The fact is, our telephone is out of order—most annoying—and I wondered if you would let me use yours. I hear that you have one."

"I will take you to it," said Mrs. Brock.

"Most kind, most kind!" his lordship was muttering.

There was no difficulty in making my escape now.

E. V. L.

"I do hope you'll be able to come to the Mothers' Welfare meeting on Wednesday. We've persuaded a famous chef to come and give us a lecture on 'The Decay of Cookery.' It should be most helpful."

"Not to me, Mum. I allus gives mine to the pigs when it gets that far."

Mr. Punch desires to express his sincere regret for an injustice done, though without malice, to the Publishers (Messrs. Sweet and Maxwell) and the Editor of Williams' Real Property, in an article that appeared in the issue of August 18th, under the title, "Blewitt on Real Property." The new edition of Williams' Real Property contains a large amount of fresh material and represents considerable labour spent over the careful revision of the previous edition.

"At 1 a.m., uninterrupted rifle fire and bomb explosions were audible. It is reported that a French officer was then addressing the crowd." Times of Malaya.

Our old sergeant-major must look to his laurels.


[A London paper learns from a West End tailor that many people in the North and Midlands now achieve a higher standard of dress than the "man about town."]

If perchance you would gaze upon those whose array's

Of impeccable texture and cut,

It is futile to go to Pall Mall or the Row,

Now the haunt of the second-rate nut;

Take a train (G.N.R.), for example, as far

As Cleckheaton or Cleethorpes-on-Sea,

Where each male that you meet, from his head to his feet,

Follows Fashion's most recent decree.

A legitimate claim to sartorial fame

Can be made by the locals at Leek,

Whose apparel is apt to be ruthlessly scrapped

After having been worn for a week;

Trousers bag at the knees in no town on the Tees,

And the Londoner has to admit

That he cannot compete against Bootle's élite,

And that Percy of Pudsey is it.

Wigan's well in the van, for her sons to a man

Are the ultimate word in cravats

And are said to outdo even Cheadle and Crewe

In the matter of collars and spats;

But the pick of the lot is the privileged spot

Where the smart set, the quite comme il faut,

Have a mentor and guide who is famed far and wide

As Bertie the Bridlington Beau.

[pg 285]


Alfred is dead and with him has gone John's last efforts at making and training pets. It has simply been one disappointment after another. There was Charles the monkey. Charles could write his own name with a pen and digest the creamiest shaving-stick without making a lather. There was Joey, the billy-goat, such an entertaining fellow, who could pick up and set down anything with his horns from a basket to a dustman. And then there was Livo—immortal Livo. There never was such a down-at-heel and unscrupulous young ruffian of a mongrel terrier as Livo, nor one that more completely convinced people that he was a gentleman of blood and a pure-souled spiritualist.

Of course there were heaps of other pets as well, but just as they seemed about to reach that stage of human intelligence so earnestly desired by their young master they all suddenly died, even as Alfred, the last of a long list, gave up the ghost yesterday.

Alfred was a trout. Not your ordinary fly-jumping kind of trout, because there is never anything ordinary about John's pets. Alfred, for instance, had not lived in water for three months. He simply had no use for the stuff, and, as for jumping at a fly, his nerves were far too good for that sort of thing.

His attachment to John was complete. He would take food from no one else and the presence of his eight-year-old master in the long grass was sufficient to bring him erect on his tail, where he would wag his fins and make strange noises in cordial welcome. In many respects he was the most superior pet John has ever had. He could affect boredom and his exhibition of the glad eye was considered by John's eldest sister to be positively deadly. It is, in fact, true to say that his keen desire to adopt as many human habits as possible often led us to mistake him for one of ourselves.

John, however, was not quite satisfied with his pupil until one bright morning last week when Alfred displayed the first signs of having acquired the Directional Wriggle. Strange as it may sound, this very human trout actually wriggled after John for a distance of five yards. Three days later he pursued his master to the village post-office and beat him by a short gill.

Yesterday, however, Alfred excelled himself. John had left early for the stream, and being in a hurry took advantage of the thin plank crossing. Now the plank is very slippery and had been placed over the spot where the stream is deepest. John crossed it carefully enough, but looking back for a second he suddenly noticed that Alfred was following him. Before he could raise his voice in protest the trout had mounted the plank and was wriggling across it. Then, horror of horrors! in the middle of the plank the wretched fish suddenly lurched, lost its footing, plunged into the water and was drowned.


What the Fairies Wear.

If only you walk with an open ear

And watch with an open eye,

There's wonderful magic to see and hear

By silently passing by;

In meadows and ditches, here and there,

You'll find the clothes that the fairies wear.

You can see each golden and silvery frock

In Lady's Mantle and Ladysmock;

There's Lady's Garter (which, I suppose,

They wear with the cowslips called Hose-in-hose);

The solemn fairies who ride on owls

Shroud their faces with Monkswood cowls;

And there's other things besides fairy dresses—

There's Lady's Mirror and Lady's Tresses.

Bachelors' Buttons must be for elves

Who have to do up their clothes themselves;

And the tailor fairies use Fairy Shears,

Long cutting-grasses that grow by meres;

And they mend their things with the Spider-stitches,

Faint white flowers that you find in ditches,

And Shepherd's Needle, which you'll see plain

In every meadow and field and lane;

And when they've used them they grow again.

If only you walk with an open ear

And watch with an open eye,

There's wonderful secrets to see and hear

By silently passing by;

In meadows and ditches, here and there,

You'll find the clothes that the fairies wear;

And if you look when they think you've gone

Perhaps you'll see them trying them on.

"The whole of the United States is intensely interested in a baseball scandal revealed a few days ago.

The Grand Judy, which is now investigating the charge, has already indicted eight of the leading players."—Evening Paper.

Mr. Punch wishes his old consort more power to her elbow.


There would seem to be some need for watchfulness in our Courts of Justice lest the customs and privileges which to so great an extent have made them what they are should be allowed to lapse.

A great sensation was caused throughout the legal profession the other day when it was reported in the Press that a witness, in giving evidence, made the following remark:—"It goes in one ear and out of the other. Perhaps that is because there is nothing to stop it." The report stated that laughter followed, and, if that was indeed the case, then we have no hesitation whatever in characterising it as a most unseemly outburst.

If witnesses are to be permitted with impunity to snatch out of the Judge's mouth the jokes which naturally arise out of their evidence, our whole judicial system will be imperilled. In offering an explanation as to why "it goes in one ear and out of the other," the witness committed a grave breach of etiquette. That explanation, if made at all, should have been made by the Judge in the first place. Or if, after due opportunity had been given, his Lordship showed no desire to avail himself of the opening, then the privilege should have fallen to the examining counsel. If he in turn waived it, it should have been open to counsel on the other side to snap up the chance.

We fail to understand how such a remark, coming from a witness, could have been allowed to pass without rebuke from the Judge or protest from the counsel, or some attempt at least to maintain order on the part of the usher.


Grey dust lies on his battered face;

The glories of his shield are dim;

Half vanished are the words of grace

Beseeching pity and peace for him

Along the Purbeck rim.

His hands are folded palm to palm

(Some fingers lacking on the right),

And at his peakéd feet the calm

Old lion shows he fell in fight,

As best became a knight.

The ivy shakes its tattered leaves

Where once he saw the painted pane;

The brooding, scurrying spider weaves

Where cloth of damask dyed in grain

Will never hang again.

With missal propped upon his helm

For him no drowsy chantor pleads;

But blackbirds in the darkening elm

Sing plain-song, and the Abbey meads

Retell their daisy-beads.

D. M. S.

[pg 286]

Lady. "And why did you leave your last situation?"

Prospective Maid. "Well, that's a bit inquisitive, ain't it, Mum? I didn't ask you why your last girl left you."]


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

I am as a rule very strongly against the form of pedantry that hastens to cry "imitation" whenever a new writer finds himself impelled to a theme of the same character as that already associated with an old-established practitioner. But in the case of The Lost Horizon (Methuen) I find myself overwhelmed. Consciously or unconsciously Mr. G. Colby Borley has produced a story that in matter and treatment is so palpably a reflection of Joseph Conrad that the likeness simply refuses to be ignored. It is in its way a good story enough—an affair of adventure in South America and on the high seas, with a generous sufficiency of oaths and blood-letting; a tale moreover that gives evidence (in spite of that distressing echo) of being written by one who takes his craft with a becoming dignity of purpose. One peculiarity of the Master has not only been borrowed by Mr. Borley, but exaggerated to his own undoing: I mean the trick of introducing a character or group of characters so clogged and obscured by the adhesions of the uncommunicated past that not till this has been gradually flaked from them do they emerge as figures in whom it is possible to take an intelligent interest. In the present instance this process is delayed for more than half the book. As for the intrigue, that concerns a group of cut-throat Europeans, who, having been ruinously involved in a South American revolution, are now further plunged into the plots of a scoundrelly African magnate and his conspiratorial gang. For myself, I parted from them all with a feeling of regret that they had not explained themselves earlier as the entertaining villains that they turned out to be.

Manhood End (Hurst and Blackett) is the title, not very cheery, that Mrs. Henry Dudeney has given to her latest novel, a simple and quite human story of country vicarage life, told sympathetically, but in too many words for so slight a theme. The publishers are at the wholly superfluous pains of urging you as a preliminary to read the "turn-over of cover." Don't! All you will find there is a synopsis of the plot, just sufficient to destroy the slender thread of your interest in its development. And I must record a protest against the entirely unneeded Prologue, in which total strangers sit round at a churchyard picnic on the graves of the real protagonists, and speculate as to their history. The tale itself is placed in Sussex (why this invidious partiality of our novelists?), the actors being for the most part clerical. The main interest is centred in the matrimonial trials of the Rev. Frederick Rainbird, whose bride, having married him in haste, repented at leisure, eloped with the promising brother of a neighbouring parson, repented more, returned to domesticity, ran away again, and so on, da capo. Perhaps really these simple but not short annals have a flavour that I have failed to convey. Mrs. Dudeney writes easily, but should avoid the snares of originality. To say of her heroine's morning appearance at the breakfast table, that she "stood in the tangle of a delicious coffee smell," may convey an impression, but at a ruinous expense of style.

Michael Winter, hero of The Black Knight (Hutchinson), by Mrs. Alfred Sidgwick and Crosbie Garstin, had led a nice easy life till his father's nefarious schemes crashed, bringing down in a common ruin half the small investors in the country. Left penniless, he changes his disgraced [pg 287] name and goes out to Canada to make good. There, on the prairies, he puts in some hard honest work. But, in his haste to be rich, the Black Knight, as they do in chess, after moving straight, moved obliquely. In order to make a coup out of a Wall Street cinch he helped himself to the money of the bank of which he was cashier. Other people who shall be nameless have done this sort of thing before, and, after returning the "borrowed" cash, have enjoyed a stainless prosperity. But Michael, through a motor-car accident, just failed to put it back in time, and had to do two years. But he had made a fortune, and on emerging from prison returned to Europe to enjoy it. There he rescues an innocent English girl from a shady Parisian environment and marries her. By chance she learns the secret of the source of his wealth and leaves him. In order to appease her scruples and recover her he signs away his goods for the benefit of his father's creditors. What might have been a too sugary conclusion is saved by a pleasant touch of corrective irony in the very last line, where his wife expresses a very human satisfaction on finding that her best necklace was not included in the noble sacrifice. I hope I shall not be suspected of flattering Mr. Punch's "Patlander" if I admire the excellence of the Canadian section, obviously contributed by Mr. Crosbie Garstin, who has knocked about most of the world marked red on the maps. Here his humour and vitality are at their keenest. The rest of a well-told tale I attribute to Mrs. Alfred Sidgwick, with the exception of a pugilistic episode, for which I imagine that the male fist was called in to supplement her proper inexperience.

"My dear, I felt I ought never to have taken the holiday. Scarcely had I set foot in my apartments when I was handed a telegram from Sarah:—'Parrot laid an egg. Wire instructions.'"

I do believe that I have caught a detective napping; a real private detective, one of the great infallibles of fiction. Mr. J. S. Fletcher's Exterior to the Evidence (Hodder and Stoughton) is one of those thrills in which any of the characters might have committed the murder and there is every reason, at times, to suspect that they have all had a hand in it. Over the moorland there ran a path, and at a spot known as Black Scar it came perilously near the edge of a forty-foot drop, with rocks at the bottom. Over this precipice went Sir Cheville Stanbury at midnight, a very odd circumstance considering his life-long familiarity with the path. Weathershaw, the great detective called in to investigate the matter on behalf of one of the suspects, took a line of his own and eventually hit upon someone you and I would never have thought of. We have this excuse, that we had no idea of his existence until he was hit upon; but no more had Weathershaw. Now I am not going to give away the secret of this enticing affair, but I must dispute the detective's identification, on the last page but one, of the man responsible for Sir Cheville's death. If you compare the statement of fact on page 301, seven lines from the bottom, which corroborates that on page 279, also seven lines from the bottom, with Weathershaw's dramatic accusation, you will understand what I mean and you will be left in considerable doubt (as I was) of what the author means. Does he suggest that Sir Cheville was never murdered at all? After so much excitement that would be a sad pity.

The publishers of The Amorous Cheat (Chatto and Windus) generously label it "an enthralling story of domestic and stage life." To which my comment must be, that the domesticity supplied by the hero's family and their quite uninteresting hesitations between town and suburban residence are entirely nebulous and illusive, that the stage as background has no significance one way or other, but that the impropriety upon which (I must say frankly) the appeal of the book seems to depend is given without stint, in a measure that certainly may, for some readers, justify the publishers' epithet. You will understand therefore that I experience a little natural hesitation about suggesting the intrigue. It is certainly of the simplest—a mere question as to whether Edward and Vivian, casual acquaintances of a restaurant, shall or shall not spend a sequence of week-ends together. The lady is described as on the stage, but she might as well belong to a guild of art-needlework. Edward is the only question of importance, and the week-ends; if you ponder the significance of the title you can probably guess the rest. To be honest I ought to add that Mr. Basil Creighton wields an easy-flowing pen, and that at least one chapter certainly is wickedly entertaining, in the style of what we used to call "Continental" humour. To sum up, not a novel for family reading or for the fastidious. The others may even be enthralled.

The Diary of a Sportsman Naturalist in India (Lane) contains an excellent collection of sporting anecdotes, and dip where you may you will find none of them trivial or tiresome. Mr. E. P. Stebbing states that his purpose in selecting material from his note-books was "to emphasize the necessity which exists of affording protection to the game and other animals of India," and, shy as some of us are of purposeful books, there is no reason to be scared by this one. In the first place Mr. Stebbing's purpose is one which will generally be commended, and in the second he achieves it in an absolutely unobtrusive manner. To sportsmen, and especially to those who have enjoyed the good fortune of shooting in India, this volume will be extremely welcome. The only cumbrous thing about it is its title. Add that Mr. Stebbing is as profuse in his illustrations as he is happy in his choice of subjects.