Punch or the London Charivari, Vol. 147, October 7, 1914 online

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Transcriber's note: In the article "THE HELPMEET", various words and
phrases have been struck through in the printed version. These passages
are marked thus:- ~Maybe love was~


VOL. 147

OCTOBER 7, 1914.


General VILLA has now declared war on President CARRANZA. Everybody's
doing it.

* * *

Is there, we wonder, a single unfair weapon which the Germans have not
used? It is now said that not infrequently a German band is made to play
when the enemy's infantry advances to attack.

* * *

A regrettable mistake is reported from South London. A thoroughly
patriotic man was sat upon by a Cockney crowd for declaring that the
KAISER was a Nero.

* * *

Servia, _The Times_ announces, will in future be called Serbia in our
contemporary's columns. We would suggest that in the same way Bavaria
might be called Babaria.

* * *

All German soldiers are close-cropped. To show, apparently, that they
have the courage of the conviction they deserve.

* * *

The German officers in France are said to be extremely careful as to
what they eat, betraying a great fear of being poisoned. It is, of
course, a fact that one grain of vermin-killer would dispose of any one
of them.

* * *

It has been suggested that the explanation of the KAISER may be that he
is a "throw-back." His parents were gentlefolk, but his ancestor,
FREDERICK WILLIAM I., was a well-known undesirable.

* * *

It is now stated that the reason why the German troops destroyed the
historic edifices of Louvain and Rheims was the KAISER'S order that no
stone was to be left unturned to prove that the Germans are the apostles
of Culture.

* * *

It has been decided, after all, that SHAKSPEARE may be played in
Germany; and the proposal that the name of the bard should be changed to
Wilhelm Säbelschüttler has been dropped in deference to the wishes of
the KAISER, who thought it might lead to confusion.

* * *

It has, we are glad to see, been denied that CARPENTIER, the famous
boxer, has been wounded. This reminds us, by-the-by, of one more
miscalculation that the German War Party made. In choosing their date
for the outbreak of war they relied on the fact that CARPENTIER was not
yet liable for service.

* * *

The Germans have had a bright new idea, and are calling us a nation of
shopkeepers. Certainly we have been fairly successful so far in
repelling their counter attacks.

* * *


Sound policy this. The enemy cannot fight without his commissariat.

* * *

A well-known Floor Polish firm has issued a notice declaring that it is
entirely a British concern. However, we shall not complain of their
dealing with an alien enemy if they care to supply a little of it for
the benefit of German manners.

* * *

Dr. KARL VOLLMÖLLER, who is chiefly notable for his spectacle "The
Miracle," has, _The Express_ tells us, been acting for the past month as
Germany's head Press agent in Rome, and has now sailed for New York. One
would have thought that there was greater need for him in Germany, where
only a miracle can save the situation.

* * *

Publishers seem to be realising that books, to sell nowadays, must have
warlike titles. Mrs. KATE DOUGLAS WIGGIN'S new volume is, we note,
called _A Summer in a Cañon_.

* * *

By the way, _The Price of Love_ is announced. It is six shillings.

* * * * *

Illustration: Hawker. "THIS AIN'T MY USUAL WAY O' GITTIN' A LIVIN',



* * * * *


The dramatic critic of _The Daily Chronicle_, speaking of the first
performance of _Mameena_, observes, "Mr. Oscar Asche, jutting,
preponderant and softly corrugated, was a splendid Zulu chief."

Following this distinguished example, we have endeavoured to express the
histrionic inwardness of some of our leading actors and actresses on
similar lines: -

Sir GEORGE ALEXANDER, dolicocephalic, fimbriated and supra-lapsarian,
interpreted the _rôle_ of the archdeacon with consummate skill.

Sir HERBERT BEERBOHM TREE, goliardic, tarantulated and pontostomatous,
invested the character of the great financier with a fluorescent charm.

Mr. AINLEY, prognathous, salicylic and partially oxydised, made a superb

Miss GLADYS COOPER, lambent, pyramidal and turturine, fully realized the
polyphonic cajoleries of _Seraphina_.

* * * * *

A Coincidence.

_Thursday._ - The Kaiser distributes 30,000 iron crosses.

_Friday._ - Great Britain declares pig-iron contraband of war.

* * * * *

"Members of the Tooloona Rifle Club have collected 1,000 fat sheep
as a gift to the British troops. The price of butter has been
reduced to £4 per ton, and the wheels of the export trade will be
immediately set in motion."

_Daily Chronicle._

How fortunate that the price of lubrication fell just in time.

* * * * *


[_"The Times" of October 1st vouches for the following Army Order
issued by the German KAISER on August 19th: "It is my Royal and
Imperial Command that you concentrate your energies, for the
immediate present, upon one single purpose, and that is that you
address all your skill and all the valour of my soldiers to
exterminate first the treacherous English and walk over General
French's contemptible little Army."_]

WILHELM, I do not know your whereabouts.
The gods elude us. When we would detect your
Earthly address, 'tis veiled in misty doubts
Of devious conjecture.

At Nancy, in a moist trench, I am told
That you performed an unrehearsed lustration;
That there you linger, having caught a cold,
Followed by inflammation.

Others assert that your asbestos hut,
Conveyed (with you inside) to Polish regions,
Promises to afford a likely butt
To Russia's wingéd legions.

But, whether this or that (or both) be true,
Or merely tales of which we have the air full,
In any case I say, "O WILHELM, do,
Do, if you can, be careful!"

For if, by evil chance, upon your head,
Your precious head, some impious shell alighted,
I should regard my dearest hopes as dead,
My occupation blighted.

I want to save you for another scene,
Having perused a certain Manifesto
That stimulates an itching, very keen,
In every Briton's best toe -

An Order issued to your Army's flower,
Giving instructions most precise and stringent
For the immediate wiping out of our
"Contemptible" contingent.

Well, that's a reason why I'd see you spared;
So take no risks, but rather heed my warning,
Because I have a little plan prepared
For Potsdam, one fine morning.

I see you, ringed about with conquering foes -
See you, in penitential robe (with taper),
Invited to assume a bending pose
And eat that scrap of paper!

O. S.

* * * * *


No. III.


MY VERY DEAR BROTHER AND BEST FRIEND, - I seize a few moments of leisure
to write and congratulate you, as I congratulate myself, on this
constant succession of almost incredible victories that have brought new
laurels to your arms. Your presence in Paris at the head of the splendid
troops whom you have conducted from triumph to triumph places the
coping-stone on your life's work. Oh, that it had been possible for your
dear old grandfather - I did not always value him as he deserved - to have
lived to see this glory. But, then, I suppose your part in the work
would have been less brilliant and prominent, so, perhaps, all is for
the best as it is.

To have captured the whole French army; to have driven the English army
into the sea and drowned them in what they call their own element (by
the way, when are you going to make your triumphal entry into London?);
to have brought the ungrateful Belgians to recognise you not merely as
their conqueror but also as their benefactor - all this is really almost
enough of honour for one man. But in addition you have made the plans
which have kept so many of the disgraceful Russians cooped up in their
own country, and you will soon, I am sure, lead your troops to Moscow
and on to Petersburg. My own brave fellows shall march shoulder to
shoulder with them. Nothing will be impossible to these armies thus
united and thus led.

What my noble soldiers have hitherto done has been tremendous and
overwhelming. You have, of course, read the bulletins issued by our War
Office. These, however, give an inadequate idea of what has taken place,
and you will, I am sure, forgive me if with the natural pride of an old
man I relate to you these matters in their true proportions. We have
made a military promenade through Montenegro and Servia and have annexed
both these troublesome countries. Only ten Servians and four
Montenegrins have been left alive, so that in future, it may be hoped,
we shall not be vexed by any of their conspiracies. In the Adriatic, we
have made mincemeat of the combined British and French fleets, and have
thus removed from the wretched Italians any temptation to join in the
war against us. It was a magnificent victory, quite equal to that in
which your grand fleet sunk the whole of the British fleet in the North
Sea. Finally, as you know, we have driven the Russians before us like
chaff before the wind. Many hundred thousand Russians, with guns,
ammunition and battle flags, have been taken prisoners and are interned
here in Vienna. All these mighty deeds have been performed by our
soldiers and sailors at an infinitesimal cost. I doubt if we have had
two hundred men killed and wounded. Surely it is a great thing to be
alive in these glorious days.

What pleases me, I may say, as much as anything else, is the wonderful
example of generosity and humanity which your army and mine have been
able to offer to the world. I shudder to think what would have happened
to Belgium, to Germany and to ourselves, had the French, the Russians
and the English been victorious. Villages would have been burnt,
civilians with their women and children would have been massacred,
churches and cathedrals would have been laid in ruins, and whole
countries would have been devastated. It is to our glory that nothing of
this sort has happened; but, after all, we need not take credit for
having acted as Christians and gentlemen. We could do no other.

I am arranging for a _Te Deum_ in St. Stephen's church to thank God for
all the blessings He has vouchsafed to our arms. I wonder if you would
consent to attend. I would arrange the date to suit you. And I hope you
will bring with you some of those fine upstanding fellows of yours who
have fought through the war. Some foolish persons consider them stiff
and hard, but, for myself, I like to see their soldierly pride. Pray
give my regards to your gracious Empress, and my love to the little
princes. But, of course, they must be quite grown up by now.

Your devoted Brother and Friend,


P.S. - I have just heard that a large number of Russians are approaching
Vienna. No doubt they are sent to sue for peace.

* * * * *

How to be Useful in War Time.

"The usefulness of the map is increased by its giving weights in
mètres." - _Morning Post._

* * * * *


_New Arrival at the Front._ "WHAT'S THE PROGRAMME?"



* * * * *

Illustration: _Very proper Cook_ (_horrified at reports of German

* * * * *



I HAVE said that our motto is "Soldier and Civilian Too." That is our
strength and our weakness; our weakness because it leaves us a little
uncertain as to how we stand in matters of discipline.

I happened to be Corporal of the Guard the other evening - a delightful
position. For the first time I had a little authority. True I sometimes
give the man next to me a prod in the wind and whisper, "Form fours,
idiot," but it is an unofficial prod, designed to save him from the
official fury. Now for the first time I was in power, with the whole
strength of military law behind me. So of course I got busy. As soon as
the first guard had been set, and the rest of them, with their
distinguished corporal and commonplace sergeant, were in the guard tent,
I let myself go.

"Now then, my lad," I said to one, "look alive. Just clear this tent a
bit, and then fetch some straw for my bed to-night. When you've done
that, I'll think of something else for you. We've all got to work these
days. Bustle up."

Without looking up from the paper he was straining his eyes to read, he
murmured lazily, "Oh, go and boil your head," and bent still lower over
the news. The others sniggered.

For a moment I was taken aback. Then I saw that there was only one
dignified thing to do. I went out and consulted my solicitor.

"James," I said, as soon as I had found him, "I desire your advice.
Free," I added as an afterthought.

"Go on," said James, sitting up and putting the tips of his fingers

"It is like this. I am Corporal of the Guard." James looked impressed.
"Corporal of the Guard," I repeated; "a responsible position.
Practically the whole safety of the camp depends upon me. In the
interests of that safety I found it necessary to give some orders just
now. The reply I received was, 'Go and boil your head.' What ought I to

James was thoughtful for a little.

"It depends," he said at last.

"How depends?" I asked indignantly. "He told me to go and boil my - - "

"Exactly. So that it depends on who told you. If it was the Sergeant of
the Guard whom you accidentally addressed - - "

"Help!" I murmured, struck by a horrible fear.

"In that case," went on James, "it would be your duty to obey orders.
Obtaining a large saucepan of fresh water, you would heat it to,
approximately, 212 degrees Fahrenheit, at which point bubbles would
begin to appear upon the surface of the pan. Then, immersing the head
until the countenance assumed a ripe beetroot colour, you would return
it to the Sergeant of the Guard, salute, and ask him if he had any
further instructions to give you ... No," added James, "I think I am
wrong there. It would not be necessary for you to salute. Only
commissioned officers are saluted in the British Army."

I had been thinking furiously while James was speaking.

"It _wasn't_ the sergeant," I said eagerly. "I'm sure it wasn't. I
noticed him particularly when we were forming up. No, James, it was an
ordinary private."

"In that case the position is more complicated. On the whole I think it
would be your duty to convene a court-martial and have the fellow shot."

I looked at my watch.

"How long does it take to convene a court martial?" I asked. "I've
never convened one before."

"What matter the time!" said James grandly. "The mills may grind slowly,
but they grind exceeding small."

"Quite so. But in about an hour and a quarter the guard is changed; and
if, as is probable, the man who insulted me is then on guard himself,
_he_ will have the rifle. And if he has the rifle, I don't quite see how
we are going to shoot him."

"You mean he mightn't give it up?"

"Yes. It would be rank insubordination, I admit, but in the
circumstances one would not be surprised at his attitude."

"That is a good point," said James. "It had escaped me." He was silent
again. "There's another thing, too, I was forgetting," he added. "If he
were shot, his wife might possibly object and make a fuss. The affair
would very likely get into the papers - you know what the Press is. It
might give the Corps a bad name."

We were both silent for a little.

"Suppose," I said, "the death penalty were not enforced, and he were
merely given three days in cells?"

"But he has to get back to his work on Monday."

"True. Really, it's very hard to see how discipline _can_ be maintained.
I almost wish now that I wasn't a temporary non-commissioned officer. As
a private one simply has the time of one's life, telling corporals all
day long to go and boil their heads. I wish I were a private again."

"There's one thing you can do," said James. "You can report him to the
Sergeant of the Guard."

"And what's the good of that?"

"Only that it's probably your duty," said James austerely. "And I should
think it's also your duty to get back to the guard-tent as soon as

I rose with dignity.

"I do not consult my solicitor simply to be told my duty," I said
stiffly. "All I want to know is, can I bring an action against him?"

"No," said James.

"In that case I will return. Good evening."

I went back to the guard-tent. The mutineer was still reading, but now
there was a light to read by. He looked up as I came in. I had had that
uneasy feeling all along, and now I knew. It _was_ the Sergeant.

I saluted. It may be wrong, as James says, but a salute or two thrown in
can't do any harm.

"May I speak to you, Sergeant?" I said respectfully, yet with an air
which implied that the Germans were upon us and that the news must be
kept from the others.

We went outside together.

"Awfully sorry," I said; "it was rather dark. I'm an ass."

"My dear man, that's all right," he said. "By the way you'd better see
about getting some straw in. I've got to see the Adjutant." He went off,
and I returned to the tent.

"I want one of you to help me get some straw," I said mildly.

Three of them jumped up at once. "You stay here," they said, "_we_'ll
get it."

So there you are; there's nothing wrong with the discipline. At the same
time if it _were_ necessary to shoot anybody, I am not quite sure how we
should proceed.

A. A. M.

* * * * *


Dear Mr. Punch, - Having recently dropped into several London theatres
and halls of variety I have been struck by the numerical strength,
agility and apparently abounding vitality of the young men forming the
chorus. These gallant fellows sing and caper with the utmost spirit
throughout the whole evening, both in musical comedy or revue; and in
London alone, where revues are now being postponed at many of the
outlying halls, there must be more than a thousand of them. Now and then
they even go so far as to impersonate recruits - the chorus to the
recruiting songs which have crept into more than one programme - and they
make, I can assure you, Sir, a very brave show with their rifles and
their military paces, a little accelerated perhaps by the exigencies of
the tune, but a marvel of discipline none the less.

Watching these brisk and efficient male choruses at work, the thought
has come to me - in fact has often been forced upon me by the martial
nature of the musical number which they were engaged in rendering with
so much capability and cheerfulness - that at a time when England is
particularly in need of her young men in the field, the audiences of
London might consent to forgo a little of the pleasure that comes from
watching athletic youths covered with grease-paint and gyrating in the
limelight, and, by expressing their readiness to see those necessary
evolutions carried out by older men, liberate so much good material to
join the Army. Such is the power of the make-up (I am told) that a man
of fifty could easily be arranged to look sufficiently like a man of
half his age, at any rate without imperilling the success of the
entertainment from the point of view of the spectator. And of course the
girls will remain in all their charm, since girls cannot enlist.

The point may be worth considering. The decision, I feel sure, rests
entirely with the public. If the public says: "Let the young men go, and
give us more mature choristers for a while, and we will patriotically
endeavour to endure the privation" - then all the young men will, of
course, enlist as one. But unless the public says this they must remain
in the choruses against the grain.

I am, Sir, Yours gratefully,


* * * * *

The Censor at Work.

Beneath a photograph of a naval officer _The Daily Mirror_ says: -

"A daring raid has just been made by Commander Samson ... The small
picture shows the commander."

Beneath the same photograph _The Daily Mail_ says: -

"A famous British naval airman (nameless by order of the Censor)."

But the order of the Censor came too late. _The Mirror_ had given the
great secret away to the KAISER, and the whole course of the war was

* * * * *

Illustration: _Recruiting Officer._ "WHAT'S THE GOOD OF COMING HERE AND

* * * * *


* * * * *


[_It has been decided, we gather, to go on playing SHAKSPEARE in Berlin,
because SHAKSPEARE is so closely connected with the German race._]

This was so good of you, so like your grace,
Ye on whose brows the brand of Rheims is graven,
To spare the poet of our common race
And find forgiveness for the Bard of Avon;
And all the little lore he feebly guessed,
Phantasy, rhetoric, and trope and sermon,
To clasp politely to your mailéd breast,
Refine, transmute and render wholly German.

Seeing in _Henry V._ a Prussian King,
Tracing in _Hamlet_ a more moody KAISER,
You put new might into the master's wing,
He seems more wonderful to us, and wiser;
Not as he dimly sang in ages gone
He warbles to us now, but wild with culture,
Exchanging for the mere parochial Swan
The full-mouthed war notes of the Potsdam Vulture.

So shall he live, and live eternally
(In humble homage to the War Lord's mitten)
"This precious stone set in the silver sea,"
Heligoland, of course, and not Great Britain:
A thousand carven saints are lain in dust
In lands the Prussian Junker sets his boot on,
But WILHELM SHAKSPEARE and his honoured bust
Shall save themselves by being partly Teuton.

And when the hooves of those imperial swine
Leap, as of course they will, the ocean's borders,
And England's trampled down from Thames to Tyne,
And Wells is burnt, and Winchester, by orders,
It may be tears shall start into the eyes
Of helméd colonels in our Midland valleys,
And they shall spare the tomb where SHAKSPEARE lies;
He was a German (_Deutschland über alles_).

Almost I seem to see the Uhlans stand,
Paying their pious sixpences to enter
That little homestead of the Fatherland
That housed the dramatist in Stratford's centre;
A trifle flushed, maybe, with English beer,
But mutely reverent and not talking chattily,
They write beneath their names: "A friend lives here;
Not to be ransacked. Signed, _The Modern ATTILÆ_."

A glorious scene. The voice of KRUPP is dumb;
Not pining now for Frankfort or for Münich,
The sub-lieutenant slides with quivering thumb
A picture-postcard underneath his tunic.
Till then, if any dawn of doubt creeps in
How best to judge the Bard and praise him rightly,
Let me implore the actors of Berlin
To play _Macbeth_ to crowded houses nightly.


* * * * *


"May I go into the village to get my hair cut?" asked Sinclair of my
wife. "I'll promise to be back for tea."

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Online LibraryVariousPunch or the London Charivari, Vol. 147, October 7, 1914 → online text (page 1 of 3)