Punch, or the London Charivari, May 27, 1914 online

. (page 1 of 4)
Online LibraryVariousPunch, or the London Charivari, May 27, 1914 → online text (page 1 of 4)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Produced by Malcolm Farmer and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team at



VOL. 146.

May 27, 1914.


We hear that the news of the defeat of Messrs. Travers, Evans ("Chick")
and Ouimet in the Amateur Golf Championship was received by President
Huerta's troops with round upon round of cheering. Frankly, we think it
rather petty of them.


The statement in _The Daily Mail_ to the effect that about two million
pounds have been sunk in the new German liner _Vaterland_ is apt to be
misconstrued, and we are requested to state that the vessel is still


There was a fire at the Press Club off Fleet Street last week, but we
refuse absolutely to credit the rumour that this was the work of a
member anxious that his paper should have first news of the


We came across a flagrant example, the other day, of an advertisement
that did not speak the truth. Seated on the top of an omnibus were six
persons with most regrettable faces. Underneath them was an inscription,
which ran the length of the knife-board: -

"Things we'd like to know."


Persons who are hesitating to visit the Anglo-American Exposition may
like to know that the representation of New York there is not so
realistic as to be unpleasant.


Mr. A. Kipling Common writes to _The Daily Mail_ deploring England's
lack of great men. We are sorry that _The Times_ should be so shy in
using its power to remedy this defect. Letters from the great are always
printed by our contemporary in large type. A few promotions might surely
be distributed now and then among the small-type men?


A friendly intimation is said to have been conveyed by the Royal Academy
to a restaurant in the immediate neighbourhood which advertises an
Academy luncheon that its name might with advantage be changed to one of
a nature less inciting to Suffragettes. We refer to Hatchett's.


Is cannibalism to be Society's latest fad? We notice that somebody's
Skin Food is being advertised pretty freely.


The Criterion Restaurant, we see, is advertising a "_Souper Dansant_."
Personally we dislike the kind of supper which, when eaten, will not lie
down and rest.


It looks, we fear, as if in _Break the Walls Down_ the Savoy Theatre has
not found a play which will _Bring the House Down_.


The proposal that a "full blue" should be awarded at Cambridge to those
who represent the University at boxing was recently considered but not
adopted. We should have thought that a "black and blue" would have been
the appropriate thing.


Some idea of the heat last week may be gathered from the following order
issued by the Cambridge University Officers' Training Corps: -


Dress: - Two pouches will be worn on the right.


A translation is announced of a book by August Strindberg, entitled
"Fair Haven and Foul Strand." Those of us who remember the Strand of
twenty years ago, with its mud baths, will not consider the epithet too


There is, we hear, considerable satisfaction among the animals at the
Zoo at the result of a recent competition open to readers of _The
Express_. It has been decided that the ugliest animal in the collection
is the orang-utan, who resembles a human being more closely than any
other animal.


Meanwhile it has been decided, humanely, not to break the news to the
orang-utan himself until the weather gets cooler.

* * * * *

[Illustration: _The Patriarch._ "I don't believe this 'ere about tellin'
a man's character just by lookin' at 'is face. It ain't possible."]

* * * * *


Lines dedicated to the outraged memory of Keats.

[Two pretty poor sonnets by Keats have been exposed by a Mr. Horner and
exploited in facsimile, twice over in one week, by _The Times_. In its
_Literary Supplement_, where they made their second appearance, we are
told with cynical candour that "afterwards, when he had become ashamed
of his crowning" (the foolish episode which is the subject of these two
sonnets) Keats "kept them from publication; and Reynolds" (the friend to
whom he confided them), "knowing the story, respected his feelings after
his death."]

What is there in the poet's human lot
Most beastly loathsome? Haply you will say
An influenza in the prime of May?
Or haply, nosed in some suburban plot,
The reek of putrid cabbage when it's hot?
Or, with the game all square and one to play,
To be defeated by a stymie? Nay,
I know of something worse - I'll tell you what.
It is to have your rotten childish rhymes
(Rotten as these) dragged from oblivion's shroud
Where, with the silly act that gave them birth,
They lay as lie the dead in sacred earth,
And see them, twice in one week, boomed aloud
To tickle penny readers of _The Times_.

O. S.

* * * * *


This income of mine, in which the world has suddenly become so
interested, must be calculated from the following returns of past years,
being the figures supplied privately to Phyllis: -

(1) guineas. £
1911-1912. By fees as specialist 113 By occasional papers
in Medical Journals 35
1912-1913. ditto 152 ditto 42
1913-1914. ditto 203 ditto 37

(2) My capital is invested in Ordinary Stock, and brings in anything
from £50 to £100 a year, in accordance with the varying moods of the

(3) Lastly, I have now bought, out of my earnings, the freehold of the
premises in which I carry on my practice. In making out a Balance Sheet
this item must be regarded either as a liability or as an asset
accordingly as one takes the dark or the bright view of the position.
Either I owe myself so much a year for rent of the premises, in which
case it is a liability: or else myself owes me so much for rent, in
which case it is an asset. Practically speaking it doesn't much matter,
because it is a bad debt either way.

Those amongst my (apparently) most intimate friends, who are
money-lenders, do not ask for details. They are content to assume the
worst and hope for the best. Sir Reginald Hartley and Mr. Charles
Dugmore, Assessor of Taxes, the most interested enquirers, are not,
however, money-lenders.

Sir Reginald is not naturally an inquisitive man, and his concern for
me, in spite of my frequent appearance at his table, had hitherto been
limited to my services in getting the port decanter round its circuit.
It was I who, when one evening we were doing this alone, led up to the

"Sir Reginald," said I.

He passed the port again, hoping thus to damp down my conversational
powers. I, hoping to stimulate them, helped myself.

"Well, what do you want now, my boy?" he asked reluctantly, noting my
unsatisfied air.

"I'll tell you what I should like, Sir," said I, "and that's a
father-in-law. Would you care for the job?"

Not, I think, entirely with a view to what he himself was likely to get
out of this suggestion, he asked me outright what I was worth. "I don't
think," he suggested, "that I could very well let my Phyllis marry
anyone with less than five hundred a year, eh?"

I got out paper and pencil, puckered up my brow, and worked out a sum.
"I am happy to announce," I said eventually, "that we may put my income
on the other side of that figure."

To show my _bona fides_, I set out my sum: -

MY INCOME ('14 to '15): £
(1) _Fees._ (To estimate this item it is necessary to take actual
figures of last three years, which show an annual
increase at the rate of about 33%. The '13 to '14
figure is 203 guineas; add 33% and you get total
for '14 to '15, 284 pounds, say 300
(2) Add annual value of professional premises, which is 50
(3) _Occasional literature._ This is practically a regular
stipend, at the fixed figure of (_circa_) £40. But
a happy marriage should promote inspiration.
Allowing for same, put this figure at, say. 51
(4) Interest on Investments, say 100
- - -
Grand Total. (E. & O. E.) £501

These, however, were not the figures I quoted to Charles Dugmore, A.T.

There was no port about him, and still less did he wait for me to
introduce the subject. He sent me a sharp note and gave me twenty-one
days to answer, in default of which he said he would have the law on me.
Still, there is a certain rough kindness even about your Assessor of
Taxes; this one enclosed a slip of paper, which he hoped I wouldn't
read, but which, when I did read it, suggested to me my middle course of
safety. "Work out your income, on lines consistent with honesty, at less
than £160, and you've won," it said. With the assistance of the advice
it gave, I had no difficulty in doing this; thus: -

MY INCOME ('14 to '15):. £
(1) _Trade, Vocation or Profession, A Specialist._ (To estimate
this item it is necessary to take actual figures
of last three years, which show an average of
164 pounds. It is difficult to say how much of
this will be net profit after making allowance
for estimated rental of professional premises
and other liabilities, but let us give the Inland
Revenue the benefit of the doubt and say 50%.
50% of 164 is 82
(2) _Ditto, Occasional literature_. (This is a fluctuating
stipend, at the figure of (_circa_) 35. But one's
inspiration gets exhausted. Allowing for same,
and for pens, ink and paper, put this figure at 27
(3) Interest on Investments, say 50
- -

Ulster may fight and Mexico may be right; nevertheless these things are
apt to be forgotten when conversation reverts, as it always does, to My

The sordid subject came up again for discussion when Phyllis and I went
to have a preliminary chat with the house-agent.

"You have spoken with eloquence and conviction about reception-rooms,
out-houses, railway stations, golf courses, and h. and c.," said I, "but
sooner or later some one must rise and say a few pointed words about

"That all depends on what you are prepared to give," he replied. "The
rough-and-ready rule is to fix one's rent at a tenth of one's income."

"Yes, but which income?" I asked. "For I have two incomes and I can't
afford a separate house for each."

He had no formula for my case and I left him a little later under a
cloud of suspicion. Your house-agent is an ill judge of the subtler
forms of humour.

* * * * *


[Illustration: _Preparing To receive By-election Cavalry._

Front Rank (_to Rear Rank_). "I DON'T KNOW WHAT THE ENEMY MAY THINK OF

* * * * *

[Illustration: "Very sorry, Sir; But I'm afraid I've made a small cut on
your chin."

"Ah! It must have been a sharp patch on the razor."]

* * * * *


The great hunter and explorer received us with profound affability.
Thinner he may be, but his terrible privations in the perilous back
blocks of Brazil have left his dazzling bonzoline smile unharmed. Every
one of the powerful two-and-thirty extended a separate welcome.

"Sit right down," he said.

We sat right down.

"Say, Colonel," we began in the vernacular, "tell us about the river.
Some river, ain't it?"

"You are right, Sir," he replied. "It's a river. The Thames, according
to your great statesman, Colonel Burns, is 'liquid history;' my river
is - - "

"According to Savage Landor," we interrupted, "'liquid mystery.'"

The explorer's face fell. "I will deal with him later," he said.
"Meanwhile let me tell you, Sir, that this is no slouch of a river. It
has all the necessary ingredients of a river. It has banks, and a
current. There are fish in it. Boats and canoes can progress on its
surface. Twenty-three times did I risk my valuable life in saving boats
and canoes that had got adrift. It has rapids. Twenty-eight times did I
nearly drown in negotiating them. It has some ugly snags. The ugliest I
have called 'Wilson,' the next ugliest, 'Bryan.'"

He stopped for applause and we let him have it.

"It was a great discovery of yours," we said, after he had bowed several

"No, Sir," he replied, "let us get that right. It is not my discovery.
It is the discovery of Colonel Rondor."

"Well, you keep it among the colonels anyway," we said.

"In America, Sir," replied the modern Columbus - "in G. O. C., by which I
mean God's Own Country - we keep everything among the colonels. But to
proceed - it is not my discovery. All that I did was to trace it to its
source in order to put it on the map. That is my ambition - the crowning
moment of my _ex-officio_ life - to put this river on the map. It will
mean a boom in South America at last. They are all out-of-date and new
ones must be made."

"And what will you call the river?" I asked.

"I am not sure," he said. "Some want it to be known as the 'Roosevelt,'
but that does not please me. The 'Rondor' would be better, or 'The Two
Colonels.' Can you suggest anything?"

"Why not 'The Sixty-five'?" we said, "since you lost sixty-five pounds
in your travels."

"Good," he said. "I will put the point to Kermet."

"And is that your only triumph," we asked - "the river?"

"Oh, no," he said. "There is a bird too. A new bird, about the size of a

"Turkey in Europe or Turkey in Asia?" we asked.

He pulled a gun from his belt and stroked it lovingly. There are moments
when even an interviewer' recognises the dangers of importunity, and
this was one.

* * * * *


An Interview.

It was naturally not without difficulty that I won my way to the
presence of so busy and influential a publicist. A man who spends his
whole time in instructing the readers of so many different papers in the
delicate art of discerning the best and ignoring the rest cannot have
much margin for inquisitive strangers.

However, I succeeded in penetrating to his sanctum and, while waiting
for the lion to appear, had an opportunity to look round. It was
severely furnished - obviously the room of a great thinker. I noticed on
the desk, which was covered with paper and note-books, a copy of Roget's
_Thesaurus_ and Taylor's _Natural History of Enthusiasm_. With two such
works one can, of course, go far. On the wall were the mottoes, "We
needs must love the highest when we see it," and (from _The Bellman_)
"What I tell you three times is true." I noticed two portraits also: one
was of a delightful grande dame who might have graced a pavane in the
days of Louis Quinze, inscribed to her "fellow-worker in the great
cause, from Madame de Boccage," and another was the photograph of a gay
young Frenchman in English clothes, signed "To mon cher colleague from
'is sincere friend Alphonse." There were also three telephones on the
table and several typewriters here and there.

A moment later the wizard came in - a tall scholarly-looking figure, with
all the stigmata of the great thinker beneath one of the highest brows
in Europe.

"And what," he asked, bowing with perfect courtesy, "can I do for you?"

"I have come hoping for the privilege of an interview," I said.

"But why," he replied with charming diffidence, "should you interview
me? Why am I thus honoured?"

"Because you are a very remarkable person," I replied. "You are the only
journalist who can contribute the same articles regularly to _The Pall
Mall_, _The Westminster_ and I don't know to how many other papers
besides. That is a feat in itself. You are the only journalist who
always has the same subject."

He admitted these fine performances.

"So I should like to ask you a few questions," I continued. "The public
is naturally interested in the personality of so widely read an author.
May I know how you obtained your amazing command of words? Your

"I have ever made a study of the finest writers," he said. "From Moses
to De Courville, I have read them all. These studies and constant
intercourse with the brainiest Americans I can meet have made me what I

"But your certainty in discrimination," I said - "how did you acquire
that? Most of us are so doubtful of ourselves."

"I never am," he replied; "I am sure. One thing at a time is my theory.
Concentrate on one thing and forget all the rest. In other words, trust
to elimination. That's what I do. Having found something that I know to
be good I instantly eliminate all thought of the existence of rival
claimants and concentrate on that discovery and its exploitation."

"Marvellous," I murmured. "And how do you think of all your variations
on the one stimulating theme?"

"Ah!" he said, "that is my secret." He tapped his massive forehead. "It
wants a bit of doing, but I think I may say that up to date I have
delivered the goods."

"You may," I said. "Have you no assistants?"

He flushed angrily and I changed the subject.

"In your spare time - - " I began.

"I have none," he said. "I want none."

"But surely now and then," I urged, "after office hours?"

"I never relax," he said. "If I am not writing I am worshipping. I walk
up and down on the other side of the street, gazing this way, wondering
and adoring."

What a man!

"Now and then," I said, "you puzzle me a little. The columns in the
evening papers go fairly straight to the point, but you are not always
so direct. One now and then has to search for the true purpose of the

He bent his fine brows in perplexity.

"As when?" he asked.

"Well," I said, "those third leaders in _The Times_, for example. I
often read them without making perfectly sure which department of the
great House you are recommending: to which of its varied activities you
are drawing particular attention."

He looked more bewildered. "The third leaders in _The Times_?" he asked.

"Yes," I said. "Don't you write those?"

"No," he replied with emphasis.

"Great Heavens!" I said, "I'm very sorry if I've hurt you. But I always
assumed that you did."

The simultaneous ringing of the three telephones warned me that my time
was up and I rose to go.

"Good-bye," he said, "Good-bye. You know where to go if you want
anything, don't you? No matter what it is - ties, socks, dress - suits,
scent, afternoon tea, civility, perfection. You know where to go?" - and
he bowed me out.

And that is how I met Callisthenes.

* * * * *

[Illustration: "'Arf a mo, Chawley; let's wait an' see 'im sit down."]

* * * * *


Mr. Rudyard Kipling's few remarks, made beneath the blue sky of the
Empire at Tunbridge Wells, have not yet lost their effect. The famous
orator's letter-bag is daily crowded with communications from total
strangers who have striven in vain to resist the impulse to tell him
what they think of him and his speech.

"I understand from the local paper that you're an author," writes one
correspondent from Haggerston; "if you can write like you can speak,
your books ought to sell in hundreds."

"Your speech was quite good," writes another, "so far as it went; the
only fault I have to find with it is that it was not strong enough, Sir,
not strong enough. The blackguards!"

An envelope of pale purple, gently perfumed, contained that well-known
work (now in its tenth thousand), "Gentle Words, and How to Use Them. By
Amelia Papp." We understand that the receipt of this famous pamphlet had
a tremendous effect upon Mr. Kipling.

The speech has put courage into the heart of a young literary man known
to us. "I have long yearned to break away from the weaklings who can do
no more than call a spade a spade," he said the other day. "I feel that
I now have a master's authority for doing so. In gratitude I can do no
less than send Mr. Kipling a copy of my new book, _The Seven D's_, when
it is ready."

"I cannot be too grateful for your impressive speech," wrote a lady from
Balham. "For many weeks now I consider that my butcher has been sending
joints that are perfectly disgraceful, and I have been quite at a loss
to know how to deal with him. But thanks to your great utterance I was
able to get together just the words I wanted, and on Tuesday last I sent
him _such_ a letter. You will be glad to know that Wednesday's shoulder
was excellent."

An anonymous correspondent, dating from a temporary address at
Limehouse, has written, "Why don't you come over on our side? You and I
together could do great things."

* * * * *

[Illustration: According to a scheme suggested by the Royal Statistical
Society everyone should be given a number and an index card at his
birth. This would help the police to trace missing persons, prevent
fraudulent marriages, etc. it would brighten the scheme if everybody was
compelled to wear his number in a conspicuous position, and if a
descriptive catalogue was issued.]

* * * * *


Get your summer smocks on, _ye_ little elves and fairies!
Put your winter ones away in burrows underground -
Thick leaves and thistledown,
Rabbit's-fur and missel-down,
Woven in your magic way which no one ever varies,
Worn in earthy hidey-holes till
Spring comes round!

Got your summer smocks on! Be clad no more in russet!
All the flow'rs are fashion-plates and fabrics for your wear -
Gold and silver gossamer,
Webs, from every blossomer,
Fragrant and so delicate (with neither seam nor gusset),
Filmily you spin them, but they will not tear!

Get your summer smocks on, for all the woodland's waking,
All the glades with green and glow salute you with a shout,
All the earth is chorussing
(Hear the Lady Flora sing! -
Her that strews the hyacinths and sets you merry-making),
Oak and ash do call you and the blackthorn's out!

Get your summer smocks on, for soon's the time of dances
Soon's the time of junketings and revellers' delights -
Dances in your pleasaunces
Where your dainty presence is
Dangerous to mortals mid the moonlight that entrances,
Dazzling to a mortal eye on hot June nights!

* * * * *

April 23, 1914.

350th Anniversary of the birth of William Makepeace
Shakespeare." - _Kostenaian._

Oliver Wendell Cromwell, the distinguished author-politician, was born
much later than the poet-novelist.

* * * * *


"Are you taking me to the Flower Show this afternoon?" asked Celia at

"No," I said thoughtfully; "no."

"Well, that's that. What other breakfast conversation have I? Have you
been to any theatres lately?"

"Do you really want to go to the Flower Show?" I asked. "Because I don't
believe I could bear it."

"I've saved up two shillings."

"It isn't that - not only that. But there'll be thousands of people
there, all with gardens of their own, all pointing to things and saying,
'We've got one of those in the east bed,' or 'Wouldn't that look nice in
the south orchid house?' and you and I will be quite, quite out of it."
I sighed, and helped myself from the west toast-rack.

It is very delightful to have a flat in London, but there are times in
the summer when I long for a garden of my own. I show people round our
little place, and I point out hopefully the Hot Tap Doultonii in the

1 3 4

Online LibraryVariousPunch, or the London Charivari, May 27, 1914 → online text (page 1 of 4)