The Project Gutenberg eBook of Punch, Or the London Charivari, Volume 148, January 6th, 1915

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Title: Punch, Or the London Charivari, Volume 148, January 6th, 1915

Author: Various

Editor: Owen Seaman

Release date: September 10, 2014 [eBook #46829]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Malcolm Farmer, Wayne Hammond and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at





The Whitefriars Press.

Bradbury, Agnew & Co.,


London and Tonbridge.


Punch, Or the London Charivari
Volume 148, January 6th, 1915


By a Cynic.

The news that fills our daily files
From special correspondents—miles
Behind the Front—perchance beguiles
The simple, but the sceptic riles.
The news from Rott- or Amst-erdam
Has German powder in its jam.
The news from Petrograd, when fine
And large, 'tis wiser to decline
Without the Grand Duke's countersign.
The Russian news that comes from Rome
Is as romantic as a pome.
The news that comes from Austrian sources
Münchhausen's shade alone endorses.
The news from Nish upon Vienna
Acts somewhat like the tea of senna.
News from Vienna wakes in Nish
The exclamation "Tush!" or "Pish!"
On Turkish telegrams, qua fiction,
We may bestow our benediction;
They match (their humour is so tireless)
The exploits of the German Wireless.
In fine, the cautious type eschews,
As wholly prejudicial
To his enlightenment, all news
Save the Allies' official.

"The National Gallery had an unwonted experience. Quite a number of people, among them a church dignitary in garters, were inspecting its masterpieces."—Evening News.

No mention is made of ourselves—a Press dignitary in sock-suspenders. 2


[The recent boom in the export of copper from America to the neutral nations is very significant. If the enemy's supplies of this article—an essential in the manufacture of cartridges, etc.—were cut off, the war would come to a speedy end. The figures for September and October, 1914, show an increase of nearly 400 per cent. over the corresponding figures for 1913.]

O Britain, guardian of the seas,
Whose gallant ships (may Heaven speed 'em)
Defend the wide world's liberties
Against the common foe of Freedom;
Doubt not where our true feelings lie;
We would not have you come a cropper,
Although it suits us to supply
That common foe with copper.
Dear Land of Hope, in which we trust,
Beneath whose ample wings we snuggle,
Safe from the Kaiser's culture-lust
And free to live and smile—and smuggle;
Devoted to the peaceful arts,
We keep our conduct strictly proper,
Yet all the time you have our hearts
(And Germany our copper).
Although the crown is theirs alone
Who crush the tyrant's bold ambitions,
Peace hath her profits, all her own,
Derived from contraband munitions;
And you who fight for Freedom's aims
Will surely shrink to put a stopper
Upon our bagmen's righteous claims
And burst the boom in copper.
Once more we swear our hearts are true
And, like the tar's connubial token,
"It doesn't matter what we do"
If we but keep that pledge unbroken;
So while we pray for Prussia's fall,
And look to your stout arm to whop her,
We mean to answer every call
She makes on us for copper.

O. S.


I found him gazing intently at the framed Bill of Fare by the main door of the Restaurant Furioso, where I had often lunched at his table.

"Hullo, Fritz!" I exclaimed. "What are you doing out here? Have you been sacked?"

"Ach, Mein Herr," he answered, "there has of the German waiters what you call an up-round been. I prove myself Swiss; I invoke the memory of Wilhelm Tell and the Alpine Club, but the proprietor say that he take no risk, and out I go. But no matter. I myself was myself to have sacked, but he spoke too quick."

I said I was sorry and asked whether he meant to go back to Switzerland. Fritz winked and tapped his breast pocket.

"Perhaps," he said. "I am rich, I have money. But first I buy new clothes and then I lunch at my own table at the Furioso."

"Come where you can tell me all about it," said I, scenting a story, and he led me to a quiet tavern in a back street.

"Beer," was his answer to my first question. "English beer. I have done with Germany."

"I thought you said you were Swiss," I remarked.

"That is so," he replied; "but I have served Germany, and, ach! she have the thankless tooth of the serpent's child. I have read your Shakspeare. But you shall know all," he went on. "Already the police know all, and they laugh in my face. They call me fool, but I have money, and the Kaiser has missed his chance.

"Listen, Mein Herr! I have been one of Steinhauer's spies. He is the Master Spy and came over to England with the Kaiser, and he stayed, I am told, at Buckingham Palace. But Steinhauer is a fool, and I tell him so in my last letter. One day, a month ago, a gentleman dine at my table: he speak good English and wear London clothes, but I suspect him German, and when I see him eat I know. Some English officers also dine in the room, and he look at them—ach! as there were sour apples in his stomach. So I speak in German to Hans at the next table, and, when I give the bill, the gentleman point out a too-much charge for the butter he have not; I bend my head to read, and he whisper in my ear in German."

"Ah!" I said. "I can guess the next part about the secret meeting and the false name and so on. But tell me how the Kaiser missed his chance."

"Well," he resumed, "I become a spy. My duty was to listen to English officers who dine at the Furioso, and to send reports to Steinhauer through a cutter of hairs in Soho, who call himself Ephraim Smiley, but his right name is Johann Schnitzelbrod. One night three young officers dine at my table and talk much about the British Army. One say the Arsenal is weak, another that the Rangers cannot shoot for nuts, and the third that the Palace is sure to go down next Saturday. 'Aha!' I say to myself, 'the Army is bad, and they fear Zeppelins or revolution.' Steinhauer will know which, and I shall get the five-pound note. So I send my report; but Steinhauer is stupid and the five-pound note come not, and I say, 'Better luck on the following occasion.'

"A week later a cavalry officer dine at my table alone, and he talk to me for company. He ask me if I follow horses, and I say, 'Yes, formerly, when they drew the bus.' Then he laugh, and ask whether I ever have what he call a flutter on a dead snip. I scratch my head, but Hans interpret, and so, as you English say, I tumble. I tell him I would like, but for me the dead snip have not yet deceased. He say, 'Put all your tips on Mutton Chop for the Cookingham Stakes,' and he give me a shilling. Presently Hans tell me that Mutton Chop is not an English food, but a horse. He say he know of what he call a bookie who is not a Welshman, and if Mutton Chop win, I multiply my savings one hundert times.

"So I write to Steinhauer in haste: he must advise the Kaiser to put one hundred million marks on Mutton Chop, and the war will be paid for and something left over for poor Fritz. Then I take my savings from the bank and pawn my clothes, and much money goes to the bookie to back Mutton Chop. Well, the good Mutton Chop roll home—that is what Hans call it, and he is a racing-instructed; he has been waiter at Ascot, and once he go to see the City and South London. The same day come a letter from Steinhauer that I am a Schweinkopf, and he shall advise the Kaiser no such thing; and he dismiss me with notting.

"But I go to the bookie, who laugh and pay me one tausend pound. He did not care; he make ten tausend from the many fools who back German Sausage. So I write one last letter to Steinhauer and say, 'Schweinkopf yourself! Stew in your own Sauerkraut!' He get another spy to denounce me, but I find the police have opened all my letters, and they laugh in my face. But the superintendent say, 'Much obliged, Herr Fritz! Thanks to you, I also make my bitchen on Mutton Chop. When you get another dead snip, pass it on.'"

Then I ordered Fritz another English beer, and gave him an introduction to my own tailor. 3


(An Unrehearsed Effect.)



4 5


Young Officer (back from the trenches, on ninety-six hours' leave). "Ugh! This is horrible—having to take all your clothes off and get between cold sheets!"


Germany, it is stated, has promised to pay Turkey a fifth of the war indemnity, when she gets it. This looks as if she didn't expect to win.


At last, we hear, the enemy has found a song which is becoming as popular as "It's a long way to Tipperary." We refer to "Stop your nibbling, Joffre."


The Sultan of Turkey is reported to be suffering from a severe heart attack, and the Kaiser, it is said, has written to him telling him not to be nervous, and pointing out how soon he himself recovered after his heart had bled for Louvain.


"There is no room in Germany to-day for soft-hearted humanitarians," says Die Post. We had not suspected that the Fatherland was inconveniently crowded with this type.


The production of King Albert's Book is said to have caused many pangs of jealousy to the Kaiser. He must, however, have patience. His army's achievements in Belgium are now being investigated, and Kaiser Wilhelm's Book will appear in due course, and should also cause a sensation.


The Turkish Army despatched "to deliver Egypt" has begun its march to the Suez Canal, but the Egyptians remain calm, being convinced that there is no real danger of their being delivered.


Discontent with their Government's inaction increases among the Italians day by day, and the Tiber has risen.


The report that the Emperor Francis Joseph is seriously ill is denied. As a matter of fact our information is to the effect that His Majesty has not yet been told about the War, as it was feared that it might worry the old gentleman.


On Christmas Eve a bomb was planted by an enemy aeroplane in a Dover garden. This must be a case of intensive culture.


The Crown Prince of Germany is reported to have sent a special emissary to this country in order to report whether The New Clown at the New Theatre is, as he suspects, a disrespectful attack on His Royal Highness.


"The English," says the unspeakable Dr. Karl Peters in the Münchener Neueste Nachrichten, "believe our natural kindness to be mere weakness." Certainly we have never looked upon kindness as being their strong point.


It is announced from Berlin that the Government intends to issue a new set of stamps for use in Belgium. Germany is evidently trying to attach to herself the sympathy of philatelists—a class of men well known for their adhesive propensities.



Daily Mail.

We think it a mistake, not to say unpatriotic, to praise illegal transactions in this way.


In describing the wonderful escape of the Newcastle express the other day when the engine left the rails, The Evening Standard reported that "The passengers contained many soldiers returning home on leave." While we have realised that there might be a danger of some of our heroes being 6 killed by kindness, this news frankly shocks us, and we are sorry that it should have been passed by the Censor.


Mr. Rudyard Kipling entered his fiftieth year last week. He did it quietly, without an ode from the Poet Laureate.


The Vorwärts reports that there is a shortage of braces among the German soldiers at the Front. Ostend, evidently, is not "so bracing" after all.


The Sultan of Turkey has issued a rescript announcing that the Sultan of Egypt will be tried by a court-martial of the 4th Army Corps, which is now operating against Egypt. They were wrong who alleged that the Turks are wanting in humour.


The French Government has prohibited the exportation of butter. Curiously enough the day after the prohibition our provision merchant informed us that he was quite unable to supply us with our "real Devonshire butter" as usual.


The latest recruiting poster at Hastings runs:—

"FALL IN! SOUTHDOWNS." But this does not necessarily mean cheaper mutton.


"Reuter's New York correspondent wires that Mr. Eugene Zimmerman, whose death was announced the other day, was the railway magnate, and not the noted caricaturist popularly known as 'Zim.'" This news, when conveyed to the latter, was very well received.




At first we hoped that the police had come for Keir Hardie.


From Craven House, Northumberland street, W.C., there has been issued a pamphlet entitled 'British Trade with Russia,' compiled from consular reports, by Mr. Malcolm Burr, M.A., D.Sc., etc., the object of the work, which is published at sixpence, being to indicate the colossal potentialities of the Russian market, and to supply some data to the British merchant or manufacturer who contemplates entering it."—Kentish Mercury.

We have no fault to find with the above, except that it is placed under the general heading "Literature and Art," being actually neither.


I came across Crawshaw in the road unexpectedly. I would rather meet a rate-collector than Crawshaw. He is the most dangerous beggar in England. He could induce a blind crossing-sweeper to guarantee half-a-crown a week to a Belgian Relief Fund. If only he were Chancellor of the Exchequer people would almost like paying income-tax.

"Good morning, old man," I said, trying to dash past him.

"Just the man I was looking for," said Crawshaw. "I want you."

"My dear fellow," I began, "I can't possibly afford——"

"I don't want your money," interrupted Crawshaw.

"Well, you've got all my spare blankets, underclothing and old novels."

"I want you to come to a little dinner I'm giving on Monday. Just a bachelor festival."

I looked at him suspiciously. "You intend to entice me into your house and produce a subscription list."

"My dear fellow, I'll do nothing of the sort. It's just that I want a few of my friends to have a good time. Look in about 7.30. You'll come? That's good."

I found a genial company assembled when I arrived.

"Now we're all here," said Crawshaw. "Come in to dinner, you men."

Two or three guests confided to me on the way that Crawshaw owed us a good dinner after all he had got out of us. We seated ourselves at the table, and then I noticed an empty bowl in the middle. It bore this inscription, "Any one desiring to make a remark about the War will drop a shilling in for the Soldiers' Comforts Fund."

"My idea," said our smiling host. "We want a nice convivial dinner with an evening off from The Subject. We shall return to it to-morrow with fresh intelligence and enthusiasm after a brief relaxation."

I turned to my neighbour, Spoor, and carefully selecting a safe topic began on the weather. "Bit windy, isn't it, to-night?"

"Good anti-Zeppelin weather, I call it," said the incautious Spoor.

"A shilling, please, Spoor," remarked Crawshaw.

Rogers was across the table. I could see him fiddling with knives and salt-cellars. All at once he broke out: "In our platoon to-day there was a man missing, and in consequence a blank file. Now in such a case——"

"You pay a shilling," interposed Crawshaw.

For a moment an awful silence prevailed. I could think of nothing except the War. All at once Williams threw a five-shilling piece into the bowl.

"I met an officer on leave from the Front to-day," he began, "and he was telling me just what Joffre is up to."

Now Chapman is nothing if not a strategist. He listened with impatience to the exposition of Joffre's idea, and then, hurling half-a-sovereign into the bowl, proved conclusively that Williams' informant was absolutely in the wrong.

It was at this point that I remembered an interesting fact I had just heard about Italy's mobilisation. I could not keep it back. "Crawshaw," I appealed, "will you compromise? A sovereign each for the dinner?"

"Done," said Crawshaw.

"Good. I always mistrusted you. I came without a penny. Lend me a sovereign."

"I'm not in this compromise," cried Chapman. "I've said all I've got to say. You'll run me in for nothing more."

It was at the end of the meal that Crawshaw rose. "Thanks awfully, you fellows. There's twelve pounds twelve in the bowl. Eleven of us have given 7 a sovereign and Chapman there, bless his generous heart, thirty-two shillings."

"Crawshaw," grumbled Chapman, "I know you've a family. I know you're too old. I know you're physically disqualified. But you ought to go to the Front. Not only would it raise the spirits of the poor people you leave behind here, but your very presence in the trench with a subscription list would make the enemy run."

"Porter, Porter! Stop the train! I've left my wool in it!"

Belated Reveller. "Here, switch off, Gov'nor. I'm not a Zellerpin!"


He was a saturnine-looking man with a distinctly anti-social suggestion; but after a while he began to talk. We discussed one thing and another, and casually he remarked that he was connected with the motor industry—as indeed all men whom one cannot immediately place now are.

He did not build cars, he said, or design them, or sell them. What then did he do?

"My task is a peculiar one," he said, "and you might never guess it. It is wholly concerned with taxi-cabs. I am an inspector of taxi-cab windows."

He looked at me as with a challenge.

"It is your duty," I inquired, with a horrible feeling that I could not congratulate him on his efficiency, "to inspect the windows and see that they are in good order?"

"To inspect the windows—yes," he replied; "but not for the purpose you name."

"Then why inspect them?" I asked warmly. "What is wanted is some one to see that the wretched things can be manipulated. I would bet that out of every ten cabs I am in not more than two have windows that will work."

"Two!" he mused. "That's a very high percentage. I must see to that."

"High!" I exclaimed.

"Yes, high," he repeated. "You see, my duty is to visit the garages all over London before the cabs go out and see that the windows won't work. If they do work I disarrange them. That's my job."

"But why?" I gasped.

"Haven't you noticed how much worse they have been lately, and that, when you take a cab off the rank, the windows are always down when you get in, however bad the weather?"

"Yes," I said, "Everyone must have noticed it."

"Well," he continued, "that's my doing. That's my job."

"But why?" I repeated.

"Just a part of the general scheme of getting the War into people's minds," he said. "The darkening of London, the closing of the public-houses, the defective cab windows—they're all of a piece. Only the cab-window trick is the most useful."

"How?" I asked.

"Well, it hardens you," he said. "It accustoms you to cold and wet, and that's all to the good."

So now I know.

"Around Souraine there have been violet combats.... We have made considerable progress in the region."—French communiqué, as reported in The Western Evening Herald.

We know that Battles of Flowers are a speciality of our comrades of France, and we are not surprised to hear that the enemy was beaten at this exchange of gallantries. 8


The word "schedule" always bothers me; when I see it on an income-tax paper I lose my head. In my confusion I sign my name lavishly. I confess to profits from trades, professions, employments and vocations; I reveal the presence of unsuspected gas-works, quarries, salt-springs, alum mines, streams of water, ferries, cemeteries and "other concerns of the like nature within the United Kingdom"; no secret is made of my colonial and foreign possessions. Wherever I see an inviting gap I slip in a few figures.... Then the assessor looks at my paper and tells me what I ought to give him.

This year things went worse than ever. I got some noughts in the wrong place; a whole lot of gaps headed "Claim for Relief in Respect of Earned Income," which I had supplied with particular liberality, went by the board, all because I hadn't noticed in the preambulation some foolish date "before which any claim must be preferred." Those two accidents practically doubled my little tax ... and then Lloyd George went and doubled it again. It began to look as if it would be cheaper to pay income on my income-tax instead of the other way round.

"Celia," I said, "we're ruined. Cancel any orders for potted salmon; we shall have to live simply in future." And I told her just what the tax-gatherer had asked for.

"But why do we have to pay so much?" she asked.

"Partly because of the Kaiser, and partly because of me. History will apportion the blame."

Celia seemed prepared to anticipate History.

"Don't forget," I went on hastily, "that the money will be well spent. If I had to make a fool of myself, I would sooner have done it this year than any other. It is a privilege to pay for a war like this."

Celia looked thoughtful.

"How much does the war cost England?" she asked.

"Oh, lots. I think it mentioned the exact figures in The Times this morning. They'll be only too glad of my little contribution."

She retired in search of The Times.

The stars denote Celia at work. I can imagine her with her head on one side and the tip of her tongue just peering out to see how she is getting on, the paper in front of her a mass of figures. The ink is creeping up her pen; her forefinger is nervous and bids her hurry.

She has finished, and she comes into the room, trying to look grave. My letter to the Assessor, "Sir and Friend,—By the beard (if any) of your ancestor, I beseech you——" is abandoned, and I turn to her.


"I've worked it out," she said. "Do you know how long you'll be paying for the war?"

"Oh, quite a long time."

"Eleven seconds."

It was a little disappointing.

"Eleven seconds," repeated Celia. "One—two—three—four——"

"That's too fast. Begin again."


"That's better."

She counted eleven. It seemed much longer now. One——two—— three——four....

And all the time my brave army was fighting in Flanders, my navy was sweeping the North Sea, my million recruits were growing into soldiers. In Yorkshire my looms were busy, Armstrong's were turning out my guns, Northampton was giving my gallant boys their boots. Did an aeroplane shoot up into the sky, did a submarine dive into the deep, mine was the supporting hand. Was I not a god among men?

"Ten," said Celia—"eleven. What are you thinking about?"

I pitched my letter to the Assessor in the fire.

"I've been thinking about my war," I said. "Every shot that was fired while you were counting I paid for; I paid for the food of every soldier and sailor; for the separation allowances of their wives; for hospitals and ambulances and doctors."

"How lovely it sounds. I hadn't thought of it like that. It makes eleven seconds seem an age."

"It is an age. For eleven seconds French and Jellicoe were my men."

"Then I think you might have warned me," said Celia reproachfully, "so that we could have shared them."

"I'm sorry," I said. Then I had an idea. "It's all right," I said. "I made a mistake. Those weren't our eleven seconds at all; Carnegie or somebody paid for those. We'll have ours together later on."

"Well, let's see that they are good ones ... when we're having a victory. We might tell people that the last eleven seconds off the Falkland Islands were ours."

"But I hadn't paid then. Anyway, I don't think they begin to use my money till April 5th ... I say, Celia, let's do our eleven seconds in style. Let's make an occasion of it."

"Oh, do let's." She looked at her diary. "What about April 15th? I'm not doing anything then."

"But why the 15th?"

"I thought perhaps the King might like the first few days for himself. Or doesn't he pay income-tax? Anyhow, the 15th is a Thursday, which is a nice day."

So we have decided on Thursday, April 15th. Starting at 1.30 (because we want to pay for as much bully beef and jam as possible), for eleven seconds we shall support alone the British Empire.... And, when those fateful moments are over, then we shall raise a glass in gratitude to the men who have served us so well.

Oh, you lucky millionaires, who may be gods, perhaps, for half-an-hour—have you filled in your income-tax forms? If not, fill them in properly this time. Leave out no quarry, no alum mine, no stream of water. Who knows? That salt spring which you were forgetting may well be the deciding second of the war.

A. A. M.


Le Menu.

Consommé Chiffon de Papier.
Purée Barbare.

Anguilles de la Marne.

Bulletins Variés.
Sauce Crème de Menteur.

Petites Vérités à la Dentiste.

MOI en Dégringolade.
Ôtages Fusillés à la Croix d'Enfer.
Langue de Boche à la Kultur.

Suprême de Dégoût Américain.
Incendies à l'Amour de Dieu.

Bombe Visée à la Cathédrale.
Saucissons Cent Soucis.
Amendes en Milliards.


Le Menu.

Consommé aux Gueux Pochés.
Purée de Renforts.

Filets de Sol Natal.
Sauce Balayage.

Petites Tranchées à la Baïonnette.
Soixante-Quinze en Surprise.

Aloyau Français à la Loyauté.
Concours Anglais à la French.

Timbales de Progrès à la Rongeur.
Obus en Autobus.

Silences Assortis de Journalistes en Bandeau.

Piou-Pious en Bonbonnière.
Accueil de Glace aux Correspondants.



The Middlesex County Council is reported to have sent half a ton of peppermint drops to the soldiers of the Middlesex Regiment at the Front as a Christmas gift. The enemy is here seen adapting himself to these novel conditions.


Somewhere in ——.

Active service is like oratory in that one of its biggest ideas is action. Being ostensibly on active service ourselves we felt we ought to see a little before going home; and now we have. We make no boast about it. Like the simple English soldiers we are we merely state the fact for what it is worth.

You ask, you who lead the sheltered life, what we felt like under fire; how you swim from one trench to another; what we ate and drank; and what a bayonet charge is really like. Let me answer your questions one by one.

(1) We were such a long way under fire that some doubt existed as to whether the Germans were merely trying to frighten us, or were engaged in testing new rifles and fired high and in no particular direction for fear of hitting somebody. We only had one casualty and he wanted to walk across to the German trenches and insist on an apology and a new pair of boots, the right heel being practically torn off. But we convinced him that it was futile for an Englishman to argue with Germans, especially when ignorant of their language. If a German has made up his mind to be careless nothing will stop him. To return to the question, we didn't feel under fire at all.

(2) You aren't allowed to leave a trench; and a man who was allowed to and then went to another shouldn't be allowed out at all.

(3) The soldier is not particular about his "tack"—as he calls his food. Bacon and eggs, sausages, chicken, washed down with hot coffee, are good enough for him to fight on. Failing even such humble comestibles he will, when pressed by hunger, open a tin of bully beef and decide he is not hungry after all.

(4) Bayonet charges are getting rather cheap, so we didn't have one.

We were opposed to the flower of the German army, the Kaiser's beloved Prussians. This we were told on our arrival. Next day we learned that a prisoner taken turned out to be one of the Kaiser's beloved Bavarians. We subsequently discovered—well, to save time you might just take a map of the German Empire and pick where you like.

If anyone tells you that our heroes live in trenches like tessellated boudoirs in an atmosphere of sybaritic luxury you might just put him right. Our Edward had got hold of some such idea from diagrams in the illustrated papers. When we reached the crumbling ruins we were to defend, an officer was so impressed by Edward's air of woebegone disgust that he observed brusquely that, in the trenches, comfort was a matter of minor importance.

This assurance pulled Edward together for the moment; and he had just settled down to a placid expectation of the evening meal when we learned that our commissariat had stuck in the mud some miles back. However, as a second officer cheerfully observed, in the trenches food is a matter of minor importance. Edward, who had pinned all his faith on the commissariat, relapsed into a resigned melancholy.

Just as he was making his poor but ingenious preparations for slumber in a dug-out that looked like a badly drained pond a third officer came along. A digging fatigue was wanted for the 10 night. We were it. Edward moaned, not mutinously, you understand, but expressively. The third officer turned on him sharply. "In the trenches," he observed epigrammatically, "sleep is a matter of minor importance."

Edward and I returned at 3 A.M. As he flopped wearily down I heard him murmur judicially: "In the trenches soldiers are matters of minor importance."

Edward never got really fond of the trenches.

Newly-made Lance-Corporal. "On the command 'fix' you don't fix. But when I sez 'baynit' you grab un by the 'and, whips un out, an' wops un on—an' there you lets un bide awhile."


Dear Mr. Punch,—Hurrah! I am so excited and my paw shakes so that I have to use my teeth to keep the pen steady. My mistress has received a letter from my master at the Front—at least it isn't a letter but a postcard. I know it's from him because she gave it to me to smell, and I nearly swallowed it in my anxiety to make quite sure. I should have got a beating for my foolish behaviour, but luckily my mistress was crying at the time and could not see what I was doing. When we were both calmer she told me what was on the card; and there was nothing whatever about me! My master merely said that he was quite well. I kept my ears cocked for some time waiting for more, but that was all.

I need hardly tell you, Mr. Punch, how disappointed I felt. It is true there was nothing about my mistress either, but she was so happy she didn't seem to mind. I could not understand it. And then I suddenly remembered something I had heard from a dog who had actually been out at the Front taking care of his regiment. He told me that Lord Kitchener had invented a special postcard for the use of soldiers out there. They are not allowed to write anything on these cards except their names, but there are several sentences printed on them and the sentences that are not suitable are struck out by the soldiers. My master had evidently found them all unsuitable except the one that said he was quite well.

Now I readily admit that these postcards are an excellent idea of Lord Kitchener's, but I do not think that he has carried out the scheme as thoroughly as he should. Where would be the harm in putting at the end of the card, "Give my love and a bone to ——"? It would only take up one line and would mean such a lot to us. I expect the truth is Lord Kitchener has not got a dog of his own, so the point did not occur to him, and it merely needs a hint from you, Mr. Punch, to get the matter put right. I only hope he won't be annoyed when he finds what a slip he has made.

Yours expectantly,
A Sad Dog.

P.S.—Perhaps you had better not publish this as it rather shows him up, and I should not like to think that I had made people lose confidence in him.

We take this breathless story of adventure from a Suez Cinema synopsis:—

"This play is historian & so touching. It is Containing 3rd classes. Its length is 1200 metres. Its subject that was John General, the engineer in a small village the was a simple labour the became very skilful in making ironships. Therefore he became a rich man the had a wife, called Ima. Her conduct was extremely good. When he found himself very rich, the left his wife at all. One day he accompagned his wife & rode a motor car while they were walking, he saw a womens, called baron Nellie Dow. At last this man was mending an iron ship. It was broken out, the became blind. Baron Nellie Dow, left him at once. But his life came in as an assistant doctor. She was observing him untel he was cured. He found her by him. He know that his wife well & was very sorry about the bad entreatment, that he had done with her."




12 13


"What-ho, Charlie! Bit showery, ain't it?"


Amberry Parva certainly existed before Shakspeare's time, but I doubt if Shakspeare ever saw it. For which he was so much the poorer, seeing that Amberry is a faithful microcosm of much of England.

Thomas Fallow, Aaron West and George Hangar are all friends of mine. Though still comparative youthful, they are the shining lights of the Amberry Rural Council, self-trained to face a crisis or an emergency with calm and steady bearing. When I came upon them last week they were seated about the bench outside the door of "The Three Cups." A fourth man—a small hairy stranger—was addressing them.

Thomas Fallow motioned me to halt.

"We're consultin'," he explained, "with Mr. Chittenden as keeps the baccy-shop in Wream."

Now Wream is a shade—the merest shade—more important (in its own esteem) than Amberry. It sits astride the same high road that the Romans carved seawards a thousand-odd years ago, and supplies us with newspapers, telegrams and gossip. While we score in the possession of two tin chapels to their one, we writhe inwardly over a Diamond Jubilee Fountain which we cannot hope to surpass.

"Mr. Chittenden," pursued Thomas, "brings noos."

"Good news?" I asked.

Mr. Chittenden, like the Eldest Oyster, shook his heavy head.

"I 'eard it from a natteralized German two days ago. It seems that they're goin' to make a fresh dash with invisible Zeppelins. Once they can e-vade the ships that's watchin'——"

He left the sentence unfinished.

"Consequence o' which," said George Hangar, "we've gone an' made ourselves into an Informal Committee o' Defence, same as sits night an' day in the War Office in London. An' the question before the meetin' is, what's to be done if some fine day we wakes up to find a couple o' thousand black 'elmets marchin' down the main road?"

"Ambush 'em," said Thomas Fallow definitely. "Told you so afore. Lie be'ind the 'edges an' pick 'em off. My old rook-rifle'd roll 'em over proper. Shoot straight an' keep on shootin'."

Aaron made a scornful noise in his throat.

"An' them as did get in the village'd punish us for them as didn't! Burnin', killin' an' worse."

"Then outflank 'em," insisted Thomas doggedly. "Let 'em 'ave their fill of advancin', same as old Joffer done, an' then ketch 'em in the side an' discriminate 'em."

"You're not agoin' to do that with the men left in Amberry," said Aaron. He was a market-gardener by trade. "'Twould be like a dozen sparrers tryin' to outflank a steam-roller. Trenchin's the thing. Dig deep, an' lay the soil loose 'long the far edge. There's a decent bit o' shelter by Whemmick's Cottages."

"The best bein' opposite Number Five," added Fallow, whereat there was a bellow of laughter, and Aaron flushed magnificently, for at Number Five lives Molly Garner, wooed by Aaron, but as yet hesitating between him and the Wream plumber.

George Hangar, who up to the present had scarcely spoken, intervened. He has a bass voice, which on Sundays makes the little roof of the United Bunyans quiver; for the other six days of the week he works at a carpenter's bench in an open-fronted shed. He has a sound knowledge of timber, and is no ignoramus concerning the values of Hepplewhite and Sheraton.

"You're wrong," he roared. "Silly-minded an' wrong! This ain't the 14 Aisne. What do a village do when it's attacked? Answer me that."

No one answered; to say the wrong thing would exasperate him, to say the right would exasperate him still more.

"They puts up barrycades," continued Hangar. "An' for why? 'Cause it's only them that can hold off horse, foot an' 'tillery. Barrycades made o' seasoned oak, same as I got stored at the back o' my shed, sunk a good two feet, with bolted cross-pieces an' spurs, an' maybe a trifle o' barbed wire in front."

"An' where's this contraption to be set up?" demanded Mr. Chittenden with sudden suspicion.

"End o' village."

"Meanin' that the enemy may march through Wream, with nothin' to stop 'em wreckin' the Fountain? An' this was to be a meetin' for the consideration o' mutual defence!"

"The question afore the members," said Aaron hastily, "is, which place 'as most strategetical value? Thing is to stop 'em quick an' for good."

"An' where'll you beat a rook-rifle for doin' that?" demanded Thomas Fallow. "If I'm willin' to take the risks——"

"'Tain't a question o' willingness, but tatties," said Mr. Chittenden, still unappeased.

"Then put the case afore the sergeant as is stayin' at the police-station," said George.

There was a moment's pause, then Aaron spoke.

"The motion is carried," he said, "an' the meetin' stands adjourned sinny die."

I did not meet any of the members for several days afterwards; then chance took me in the direction of George Hangar's workshop. I found him engrossed in the unheard-of task of arranging and packing his tools.

"Well?" I asked.

He rasped his chin pensively with a chisel.

"Did the interview with the Sergeant take place?"

"Ay; the feller's more brains than the rest of us put together. Reckon it's trainin'."

"What happened?"

"What 'appened? 'If you barrycades, entrenches, enfilades or outflanks 'em outside Amberry,' says 'e, 'the enemy'll wait for reinforcements, an' then smash you with bigger guns. 'Twill be the same at Wream, Bewchester, Lydhirst, Lower Thettley, an' Capper'am.'"

"Which brings us to the sea?"


"Where it's the Fleet's job."

"'Twould seem so. But, as the Sergeant pointed out, the Germans is by birth an' natur' land-fighters, an' must so be met, trained man to trained man. Meaning Territorials."

"Then your plans came to nothing?"

"Only in a manner o' speakin', Sir. In fact, the resolution put afore the meetin' would 'a' been carried nem. con. but for the unsatisfactoriness o' Jacob Chittenden's chest-measurement. As it is, 'e's eatin' b'iled bread an' practising three hours a day on the horizontal-bar."

I was a little bewildered.

"What resolution?"

He took a paper from his apron pocket and read as follows:—

"That it be 'ereby decided, in the joint int'rests of Wheam, Amberry Parva, Great Britain and 'is Majesty's Dominions beyond the Seas, that the undersigned, bein' between the age limits, sound in wind an' limb, an' not needed at 'ome as much as they thought they was, do 'ereby join the Territorial Army at the earliest possible date. Thomas Fallow, Aaron West, Geo. Hangar. Also, when 'is chest-measurement do allow of it, Jacob Chittenden."

Thus is the burden of the Empire borne by her sons when once they get the idea of it into their heads.


[If a Special Constable finds himself outnumbered he may have recourse to stratagem.]

"Look out, Bill! Here's a Special Constable. He'll cop us with the swag in our 'ands."

"I don't mind 'im, 'Arry. 'E's only a little un."

"But 'e 's got a big un with 'im."


"And what do you do with yourself on your half-holidays?"

I had taken courage to address the office-boy who keeps his eye on me while I wait humbly in the vestibule of my Financial Adviser.

"Pitchers," he replied affably.

"I beg your pardon," I said.

"Movin' pitchers," he explained; and I knew that the cinema had another slave.

And this too I knew, that a youth who breathed, as he did, the pure atmosphere of High Finance, would never commit a crime and blame the pitchers for it, as so many of our young criminals do. So many, in fact, that in my mind's eye I see the following reports in the papers:—

A boy of five was brought yesterday before the Darlington Bench charged with the bombardment of a street. Evidence showed that the prisoner established a machine-gun in the back garden of his father's house and systematically fired it at his neighbours' walls, doing considerable damage. The boy pleaded guilty, but explained that he had been to see some war-pictures at the cinema. The magistrate ordered the cinema to be kept under observation, and awarded the boy a shilling from the poor-box.

A girl of eight was charged at the Guildhall with causing an obstruction. Evidence was to the effect that she stood in the middle of Cheapside holding out her hands and a block resulted which disorganised the traffic for some hours. The child's excuse was that she had been witnessing the Lord Mayor's Show at the cinema.

"The pictures again!" exclaimed the magistrate. "When will this nuisance be stopped?"

Two boys of seven were charged at the Thames Police Court yesterday with kidnapping a young lady. Evidence showed that on the evening 15 before, they first obtained possession of a motor car from the window of a shop in Long Acre, drove it at a great pace (one constable said forty miles an hour, and another sixty-one) to a house in Park Lane, where, while one boy remained outside, the other drew a revolver and forced the resident heiress into the car. At this point they were arrested. The boys said that they were very sorry, but that the spectacle of an abduction romance on the films had been too strong for them.

The magistrate: "What is the cinema censor about? Nothing is more deplorable than that the imaginations of young boys should be excited by these lurid dramas." The boys were discharged.

Three boys of six, seven and eight respectively were charged at Sheffield with stealing a railway train. It appears that while the driver of a Scotch excursion, which was in a siding, was oiling the wheels, the three boys sprang to the footboard and started the train. The driver pursued it, but was at once shot by one of the boys, who was armed to the teeth with pea-shooters. Asked to explain their conduct the boys said that they had seen so many train robberies on the local cinemas that they felt bound to do something in that line themselves. The magistrate said he did not wonder, and directed that the proprietors of the cinemas should have their licence cancelled.

Three men of criminal appearance, against whom previous convictions were proved, who were charged at Vine Street with pocket picking, explained that it was entirely due to the effect produced upon them by Oliver Twist on the cinema. The magistrate dismissed the prisoners and ordered the cinema to be closed.


McTavish (to convalescent soldier). "I was hearin' ye had a bullet in ye yet. Are ye no gawn ta hae it taen oot?"

Soldier. "No the noo. Ye see, I'll be gawn back tae the fr-ront in a wee while, an' when I come back I'll just hae them a' oot thegither!"

From a speech reported in the Widnes Gazette:

"The character of this little nation is now what it was when Julius Cesar wrote 'De tous les peuples de la Gaule les Belges sont les plus braves.'"

It was in the same spirit of compliment to the country he was invading that Hannibal wrote "Longa est via ad Tipperariam" as he began to slide down the Alps.

"Mrs. Francis M. Cunliffe, writes from Southport:—To the unknown person or persons that sent three body belts. I beg to thank you most sincerely for your generous gift to the 9th (Reserve) Battalion Manchester Regiment. It will add greatly to the comfort of four men, and will be much appreciated by them."—Ashton-under-Lyne Reporter.

With three-quarters of a body-belt apiece they should do splendidly.

A French interpreter with the Expeditionary Force sends us the following notice which he saw, he says, on the office door of the A.S.C.:—

"The waiter is not allowed to be drunk unless boiled before."

But boiling before is not really so good as a cold douche after.

The following directions for the right use of the "Snapseal Patent" are printed inside the pass-book envelopes issued by Lloyds Bank:—

"First wet the gum, then insert the tongue into lock and draw until you hear it snap."

After doing this once you may prefer to let your tongue, after it has wetted the gum, return to its usual position within the mouth. 16


My name's "Scottie." I'm a collie and wear a box in which I collect contributions for the National Relief Fund. Probably you've met me—and, I hope, contributed. Not long ago, so Mabel told a friend the other day, a few of my early experiences were published in a book called Punch. I've had heaps more since then. I'm getting quite an old hand at the piteous "Won't-you-spare-me-something?" look. For one thing, I've learnt to let people put anything into my box. Once I got a penny (from a little girl) that turned out, when the box was opened, to be chocolate. A bit cocoa-y by then, but still eatable. But my best haul was during my—and Mabel's—weekend by the sea.

We went down in a corridor train, where I collected quite a lot of money. When the train stopped half-way there, I jumped out for a mouthful of air, and there, on the platform, was a black retriever wearing a collecting box like mine! I asked him what he meant by it, and, as he didn't explain himself, I went for him, and stood him upside down; and in the scrimmage half a crown fell out of his collecting box. Everybody thought that it had fallen out of mine; Mabel was sure it had; so it was given to me. You should have seen that retriever when I smiled at him from the carriage window.

We reached the sea at last. The Serpentine's a puddle by comparison. The very first morning I tore across the shingle with two two-shilling pieces in my box rattling like eighteen-pence in copper. Such a time I had, though my box was dreadfully heavy, being full of sand and sea water. Presently, joy! the bottom fell out. But the public later seemed quite satisfied, until a horrid nurse-girl gave the show away—and of course Mabel had it mended.

The very day we came away I met the millionaire man. It was a wild wet day, and I was draining in an alcove underneath the promenade when he appeared. He didn't look rich, and he was running and panting and glancing over his shoulder in a hunted manner. No sooner did he see me than he whispered, "Blimy, 'ere's a chance! Good dawg, then—'old yer 'ed up," and at once crammed a heap of "goblins" (Mabel's word) and lots of crackley paper into my box. He followed this up with about two yards of shiny chain and things that winked so that I had to wink as well. Then came lots of things like goblins with their middles bitten out; and hardly had he given me the last before two monstrous men in blue rushed round the corner. I don't remember exactly what happened, but the millionaire man said, Blimy, couldn't he run after his hat wot the wind blown off? and the blue men said why, yes he could, but they were sure he hadn't. Then he said, Blimy, they could "turn him over," straight they could, and they said straight they would. But they didn't. Instead they felt in all his pockets, and only found a clay pipe and some cheese wrapped up in newspaper. Then things became so uninteresting that I sauntered back to Mabel.

The day after our home-coming my box and I were marched to the committee. I've had some bad times there, but nothing quite so bad before. The way an old girl gushed about the "darlings" (whoever they were) parting with their jewellery simply wearied me. As soon as Mabel felt strong enough to walk we went home. She seemed to forget that the haul was entirely due to me. Yet she's a wonderful memory for some things. Ever since breakfast to-day she's done nothing but talk about a daring robbery at Winklebeach, and looks at me in the most extraordinary manner. I don't know what Winklebeach may be, but it's as clear as daylight that she's thinking of the six sweet biscuits that I stole behind her back at her last "At home." But how did she find out?


By Special Constable XXX.

You must understand that the work of the Special Constable is so utterly dreary that we heave sighs of envy on seeing one of our number, an L.C.C. employee, being allowed to clean the windows of a public building. The lucky dog!

Imagine, therefore, our joy at receiving a staff order to watch out for motor-cars with hoggish headlights, and report their numbers to headquarters. We were not to arrest them—even if we could.

Within half an hour of the staff order we registered Our First Capture. Myself, I received a fleeting impression of LL—8183; my colleague took it for LS—6163. An amicable discussion ensued. I pointed out that LS might mean London Scottish, who should be allowed to go scot free; he countered with the suggestion that LL might stand for Lloyd George, who should also be above the law. We tossed for it. I won. The honour fell to me to report the capture.

"Sergeant, oblige me by recording the following episode in your official notebook: Special Constable XXX has the honour to report that on or about the 15th instant, in the year of grace——"

"Is there much more like this?"

"Don't rob me of my hour of glory. I've had four blank months.... In the year of grace 1914, at the hour of 5.15, post meridian, at the corner of ---- Street, a motor-car contravening, traversing or otherwise infringing His Majesty's Regulations promulgated by the Secretary of State for Home Affairs, pursuant to an Order in Council——"

"What was its number?" demanded the Sergeant crudely.

"LL—8183, Sir. And I have the honour to suspect that it belonged to the Right Hon. David Lloyd George."

The Sergeant, who wears a yellow brassard, reported to the Sub-Inspector (red band), and from there the information will travel upwards and onwards to the Chief Sub-Inspector (light-blue band), the Inspector (dark-blue band), the Commander (white band), and the Chief Staff Officer, who resides in the west wing of New Scotland Yard and probably wears a cocked hat. From there it will cross the Bridge of Sighs to the east wing, occupied by the more ordinary police, and will trickle down in reverse order of precedence to a regular Constable, who will probably call on Mr. Lloyd George with an official blue paper in his hand:—

"Sir,—From information received, it transpires that on or about the 15th instant, in the year of grace 1914, ... head-lights contravening, traversing or otherwise infringing ... and should the offence be repeated.... In the name of our Sovereign Lord the King, Emperor of India, Defender of the Faith."

Lloyd George will humbly submit to the decree, will sign a promissory note of obedience (Moratorium barred), and the incident will close.

Think of the glory of putting all that in motion!

Yes, it was worth while joining the Force.

It having been officially announced (in "Charivaria") that members of the O.B.C. (Old Boys Corps) object to being called the Old B.C.'s, an intolerable suggestion is now put forward that they should be known as the "Obese He's."

Rear-Admiral Schlieper says in the Berliner Lokal-Anzeiger that the Germans could never overcome a certain sentimental feeling of justice and delicacy with regard to England. We do not know how Scarborough regards this veracious statement, but our own motto is "Let Schlieping dogs lie." 17


I. The above professional criminal who recently broke into a house and stole a silver mustard-pot and a couple of spoons——

II. ——saw his act described in the paper next day as "a peculiarly mean and cowardly one, the occupier of the house being absent serving his country." When it was put to him like that——

III. ——he determined to make restitution. He could not return the identical articles he had taken. Alas! they were already melted. So he broke into another house, ascertaining first that the occupier was not serving his country——

IV. ——and then rebroke into the first house (silencing the cook who had been left in charge and was inclined to raise an alarm) and placed there the results of the second burglary. After that he felt much better, and could look patriots in the face.



"David Copperfield."

If it were a simple question of bulk, few authors would lend themselves to the process of compression so well as Charles Dickens; but the scheme of David Copperfield is too complex, and its interests too many and competitive, to be packed into a three-hours' play, even by Mr. Louis Parker, master of the tabloid. Of the main themes—the career of the hero himself, the machinations of Uriah Heep, the tragedy of Little Em'ly—only the last was at all effective in pillule form. The figure of David Copperfield—always pleasant if rather colourless—served to hold the play together; but the central experience of his life was treated with the extreme of haziness. We were informed of his engagement to Dora, his marriage, her illness, her death, all with the brevity of a French official communiqué; but as for the child-wife herself we never so much as set eyes on her. While again we gathered that the designs of Uriah Heep were ultimately confounded, nobody without the aid of memory or imagination could possibly have penetrated their obscurity.

On the other hand—whether with or without the connivance of Sir Herbert Tree I dare not conjecture—the person of Wilkins Micawber was given a prominence out of all proportion to his share in any one of the plots. Unlike the something that was to make his fortune, he was always "turning up," and, whenever he did, he practically had the stage to himself.

I am far from quarrelling with this arrangement, for I have never seen Sir Herbert in better form. His humour was of the richest, yet full of quiet subtleties, and merely to gaze upon his grotesque figure was a pure delight. That he should have permitted himself, in a spirit of creative irresponsibility, to deviate at times into the borderland of farce, and become an hilarious blend of himself and Mr. Henry James (I don't know why he suggested to me a burlesque of Mr. Henry James, for I have never known that most distinguished of writers to lapse from decorum) need not trouble anybody in a play where there was no pretence of insisting upon the letter of Dickens.

The transition from Falstaff to Micawber, from a bibber of sack to a bibber of punch, was an easy one for Sir Herbert; but not so easy were the constant changes from and into the part of Dan'l Peggotty. Here he gave us a really admirable character-sketch—for Peggotty belongs to the region of possibility, whereas Micawber is always a creature of incredible fancy—and I am not sure that his achievement as the old salt was not, for him, the greater of the two. Certainly in the scene where he tells of his search over the world for Little Em'ly he came nearer to simple pathos than I have ever known him to come. Even the strong Somerset accent of this East Anglian tar could not conceal his sincerity.

I shrink from the odious task of distinguishing between the merits of a most admirable cast, but I must mention the delightfully piquant drollery of Miss Sydney Fairbrother as Mrs. Micawber, and the too-brief excellence of Mr. Roy Byford as the Waiter of the "Golden Cross," and Mr. Gayer Mackay as Littimer. Mr. Quartermaine's Uriah Heep—a very careful study—seemed perhaps too obviously stamped from the start with the hallmark of villany. Conversely the Betsey Trotwood of Miss Agnes Thomas appeared to be lacking in austerity of mien.

One shared Mr. Nigel Playfair's enjoyment of the futility of Mr. Dick; but this freakish figure, so typical of Dickens, seemed always a little out of the picture.

Though Mrs. Gummidge, played with a sound restraint by Miss Ada King, insisted from time to time upon the fact that she was a "lone lorn creetur'," we were spared a good many of the author's reiterated tags, and I think it was not till his friends had guaranteed to lubricate his passage to the New World that Mr. Wilkins Micawber so much as alluded to his habitual expectation of something "turning up."

The popularity of the production promises to be exceptional, and with good reason, apart from the high quality of the performance. For with its human tenderness, and the relief of its gaiety, it offers just the right kind of distraction to the strain of public emotion in these times. And, though its matter bears no relation to the subject which absorbs our hearts, the very name of Charles Dickens makes immediate appeal to that national spirit which the War has reawakened.

O. S.


[In the scene of the emigration ship the entrance of Micawber follows with startling rapidity upon the exit of Dan'l Peggotty.]

Sir Herbert Tree (as Dan'l Peggotty) to Sir Herbert Tree (as Micawber). "Theer, I zed 'twould happen zo one of these vine days. You've turned up too zoon!"


Ye pundits who edit our papers,
How long will it take you to learn
That mere egotistical capers
Are not of the highest concern?
The writers who cut them for ages
In the nostrils of England shall stink,
Yet while able to hamper, you pet and you pamper
These slingers of poisonous ink.
In the stress of a conflict Titanic,
When personal sorrow is mute,
We see them beset with a panic
Of losing their chances of loot;
So they start with indecent endeavour,
On the flimsiest pretext and hint,
Criticising and squealing, but only revealing
Their passionate craving for print.
When they ask you to publish their sloppy,
Sophistical, impudent screeds,
Think, editors, less of "good copy"
And more of the national needs;
For whether they pontify sadly,
Or flout us in cap and in bells,
Pontifical patter and arrogant chatter
Are worse than the enemy's shells.
There's a saying that's frequently quoted,
And cannot be wholly ignored,
That the pen, when its force can be noted,
Is a mightier thing than the sword;
But the mightiness doesn't reside in
The pen, but the writer behind,
Who, if hostile to reason or bent upon treason,
No deadlier weapon can find.
In Peace, in the times that were piping,
When pacifists bade us disarm,
This smart intellectual sniping
Did less recognisable harm;
But now, in the hour of its peril,
The country is sick of its Shaws,
And hurls to the devil the sophists who revel
In pleading the enemy's cause.


Tommy (to his pal in middle of charge). "Look out, Bill. Your bootlace is undone!"


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

This paragraph will, I hope, catch your eye in time to be of use as a guide in the holiday fairy-tale traffic. But at worst there are always birthdays or, for nursery gifts, those even more apt occasions known as Nothing-in-particular Days. (Humpty-Dumpty, you remember, a recognised authority, used to call them un-birthdays.) Anyhow, if you should be looking about for something applicable to Kit or Ursula, you may take my word that you will find nothing better than The Dream Pedlar (Simpkin, Marshall). The letterpress—I beg your pardon, I should have said the "reading"—is by Lady Margaret Sackville, who has clearly a pretty taste in fairy matters, and the pictures are by Florence Anderson in colour, and Clara Shirley Hayward in black-and-white. I don't say that all these are of equal merit, but the best of them are delightful. Moreover, although in the modern sumptuous fashion the colour plates are introduced on brown-paper mounts, still they have the practical merit of being fixed, and not merely gummed at one corner, a fashion that simply results in litter for the nursery floor. The tales themselves are wholly charming, and about quite the right people, kings and woodcutters and dream-princesses and goblins. Perhaps now and again Lady Margaret falls to the temptation of being a thought too clever with an aside, so to speak, whispered in the ear of the reader-aloud. But the wise child will forgive her this for the compelling charm of her simplicities. For me, if I had a favourite in the tales, it was perhaps Martin's godmother, "an attractive old lady, short, with large fan-like ears, which she would wave to and fro when amused." There is an enchanting picture of her doing it. I have not yet known the nursery where that picture would not soon bear the thumb-marks of popularity.

Not a single word could be conveniently omitted from Friends and Memories (Arnold), but I could easily spare a great many of its notes of exclamation—nearly all superfluous—for Miss Maude Valérie White's style of writing needs no such advertisement. And having got rid of that grumble I feel at liberty to express, without restraint, my profound admiration of the book and its author. Never, then, has it been my good fortune to read so many pages that are filled with what I can only call the fragrance of life. Sorrows and troubles Miss White has known in abundance—one often sees her smiling through a veil of tears—but she steadfastly refuses to dwell upon anything but the joy of living, and the kindness of her many friends. This splendid way of regarding the world is one of the qualities that has made her welcome and more than welcome wherever she goes; it is also the quality that gives an almost unique distinction to her volume of reminiscences. One can scarcely think of her as an eminent composer whose songs have been heard throughout the world when the gift, which she obviously values most and would herself call "priceless," is that of being able to keep up a cheerful end whatever happens. Her book, therefore, is really both a tonic and a lesson, but it is a tonic that is as delightful as good champagne, and it is a lesson that is full of humour and of what is rarer than humour—good fun. Even in her reticences Miss White cannot save herself from being amusing, for on her first page she refuses to tell us her age, though afterwards she gives it away time and again to anyone inquisitive enough to use a little arithmetic. But she need have no fears, for she has the spirit of youth which can laugh at figures and defy the passing years. 20

Must I believe that the life of anybody, even the hardest worked and least attractive village girl, is as devoid of exhilaration and good cheer as was that of Chrismas Hamlyn? Maybe dismal events happen now and then to individuals which make them wish, with reason, that they were dead and had never been alive, and I will admit that it was so with Chrismas at the moment when her second lover proved to be entirely spurious and to have pretended passion in order to steal a purse. But I am asked to assume that, apart from and before this little tragedy, she was necessarily in a state of gloom by reason of the mere dulness and hardship of the existence of her sort. This is a proposition which, notwithstanding Mrs. Henry Dudeney's skilful pleading, I am reluctant to accept. I prefer to think that the girl found recreation in everyday events, or at least in every other day events, of her neighbourhood which would make no appeal to Mrs. Dudeney or myself; or, indeed, that the brooding over her unhappy lot in general, and her first love failure in particular, afforded some satisfaction for which credit has not been allowed. Undoubtedly the environment of the Hamlyns is studied rather from our view than from their own, and by that method of analysis a vast amount of human misery may be discovered which does not always in fact exist. Apart from that, What a Woman Wants (Heinemann) is a convincing study of the sordid side of things; but I would like to see the admirable gifts of the authoress directed to the emphasizing of the merrier side of the same sort of life, so that we might compare the two and form a more balanced opinion.

The Bed-Book of Happiness is a "Colligation or Assemblage of Cheerful Writings," colligated by Mr. Harold Begbie, and published by Messrs. Hodder and Stoughton. It is a second edition, entitled the Red-Cross Edition, and it offers itself as an anodyne for the pain and boredom of wounded heroes. Said heroes, of average British pattern, would, I think, receive a nasty shock on reading the title and might be tempted to thrust the volume privily away without more ado. But they need do no such thing; it is nothing like so bad as that. On the contrary it is stuffed with most excellent matter for the perceptive, in doses not long enough to tire and with sufficient variety to stimulate. Old favourites from Hood and Calverley; an odd Ingoldsby or two; whimsicality from Samuel Butler; absurdities from that other Samuel (Clemens); growls from that greatest of the tribe, Johnson; cheeriness from that best of poets and schoolmasters, T. E. Brown; a little Sterne, a little Dickens, a little Thackeray; Percy Anecdotes and snippets from Gronow; translated excerpts from those delightful allies, Daudet, Saint-Beuve, Anatole France; and so forth and on. Of course no two colligators of bed-books could agree upon their choice, but I do think Mr. Begbie might have bagged a little from R. L. S. That omission and the deplorable title are my chief grievances. It is a sound point that there is no unwholesome invalidy tone about this seasonable re-issue with additions.

Though I enjoyed Broken Shackles (Methuen) in a mild degree, I hardly think that Mr. John Oxenham has here given us of his best. So little do I think this that I am the prey of a suspicion—probably quite unfounded—that the tale is either early work, or has been hastily put together since the beginning of August. Anyhow, it's about a young man named de Valle, an officer in the Eastern Army of France, who is married but lives apart from his wife. The time is the winter of 1870, and when the great surrender comes, and the army is forced over into Switzerland, de Valle is so sick of military muddles that he determines to settle down as a Swiss civilian and never go back any more. This (fortune helping him) he is enabled to do. He changes his name to Duval, and starts the simpler life with some pleasant folk who run a saw-mill in the Brunnen Thal. He even goes so far as to marry the maid of the mill. Which was rash of him, since he was still legally tied to his French wife, and (in fiction at least) the course of bigamy never did run smooth. Inevitably, therefore, not only did he encounter his wife again, coming out of the casino at Interlaken (she too has not been idle, having meanwhile married a Russian Prince), but the villain of the story also saw them both, and looked to make a good thing by it. But you know how quick and deep the Aar runs at Interlaken? Duval accordingly pushed the inconvenient blackmailer into the water, and everyone, with this exception, lived happy. The real merit of the book lies not in this improbable plot, but in its moving chapters upon a little treated phase of the last Franco-German fighting. These are well done.

Many gentle readers will be well pleased to hear that Agnes and Egerton Castle are giving them more news of that engaging heroine, Lady Kilcroney. True, in the new book Kitty herself plays but a subordinate part, but as her dainty mantle of insolence and charm appeals to have fallen on the shoulders of a worthy successor no one need grumble upon that score. The new book is called The Ways of Miss Barbara (Smith Elder), and I daresay that having said so much I might spare myself the pains of telling precisely what those ways were. Do you need to hear how Mistress Barbara (who was a kind of eighteenth-century Becky Sharp without the sting) was befriended by Lady Kitty and her susceptible lord? How the noble carriage was waylaid on its journey from Paris to the coast? How the highwayman was eventually brought to hook by the wiles of Barbara, who in the long run marries a duke, and is left preparing for permanent prosperity? Whether this last expectation will be fulfilled without preliminary troubles I take leave to doubt. Indeed, the situation as regards Barbara and her ducal spouse is left so full of intriguing possibilities that I could not but suspect those clever campaigners, the Egerton Castles, of having artfully arranged it as a kind of concrete foundation from which to attack the public sympathy later on. This is as may be. Meanwhile here is a pleasantly sparkling comedy with which, I vow, you are like to find yourself vastly well pleased.


"Have visited Army and Navy Stores. Find British Forces being supplied with many useless articles calculated to embarrass their movements."

Transcriber's Note:

Inconsistent spelling and hyphenation are as in the original.