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VOL. 150

FEBRUARY 9, 1916

[Illustration: _Tommy._ "'Ere, Ted, what's the matter?" _Ted_
(_ex-plumber_). "Wy, I'm goin' back for me baynet, o' course."]

* * * * *


The German claim that as the result of the Zeppelin raid "England's
industry to a considerable extent is in ruins" is probably based on the
fact that three breweries were bombed. To the Teuton mind such a
catastrophe might well seem overwhelming.

* * *

A possible explanation of the Government's action in closing the Museums
is furnished by the _Cologne Gazette_, which observes that "if one
wanted to find droves of Germans in London one had only to go to the
museums." But if the Government is closing them merely for purposes of
disinfection it might let us know.

* * *

Irritated by the pro-German conversation of one of the guests at an
American dinner-party the English butler poured the gravy over him. The
story is believed to have greatly annoyed the starving millionaires in
Berlin. They complain that their exiled fellow-countrymen get all the

* * *

Is the Office of Works feeding Germany? We have lately learned that no
bulbs are to be planted in the London parks this season; and almost
simultaneously we read in the _Frankfurter Zeitung_ a suggestion that,
as bulbs are so cheap owing to the falling-off in the English demand,
they should be used as food by the German housewife. What has Mr.
Harcourt to say about this?

* * *

Mr. Ted Heaton, a noted Liverpool swimmer, is acting as
sergeant-instructor to the Royal Fusiliers at Dover, and is expected to
have them in a short time quite ready for the trenches.

* * *

A London magistrate has ruled that poker is a game of chance. He was
evidently unacquainted with the leading case in America, where, on the
same point arising, the judge, the counsel and the parties adjourned for
a quiet game, and the defendant triumphantly demonstrated that it was a
game of skill.

* * *

In an article describing the wonders of modern French surgery Mrs. W. K.
Vanderbilt mentioned that she had watched an operation in which a part
of a man's rib was taken out and used as a jawbone. "Pooh!" said the
much-married general practitioner who read it, "that's as old as Adam."

* * *

A man who applied recently to be enlisted in the Royal Flying Corps as a
carpenter was medically rejected because he had a hammer toe. If he had
lost a nail we could have understood it.

* * *

The following letter has been received by the matron of an Indian
hospital: -

"Dear and fair Madam,-I have much pleasure to inform you that my
dearly unfortunate wife will be no longer under your care, she
having left this world for the next on the 27th ult. For your help
in this matter I shall ever remain grateful. Yours reverently,
- - ."

* * *

A correspondent, anxious about etiquette, writes: - "Sir, - The other day
I offered my seat to the lady-conductor of a tramcar. Did I
right? - Yours truly, Noblesse Oblige."

* * *

It is stated that one of the principal items of discussion during the
new Session of the Prussian Diet will be a Supplementary War Bill. Some
of the members are expected to protest, on the ground that the present
War is quite sufficient, thank you.

* * * * *


[The annual expenses that will be saved by the closing of the London
Museums and Galleries amount to about one-fifth of the public money
spent on the salaries of Members of Parliament.]

Fetch out your padlocks, bolt and bar the portals,
That none may worship at the Muses' shrine;
Seal up the gifts bequeathed by our Immortals
To be the birthright of their ancient line;
At luxury if you would strike a blow,
Let Art and Science be the first to go.

Close down the fanes that guard the golden treasure
Wrung by our hands from Nature's hidden wealth;
Treat them as idle haunts of wanton pleasure,
Extremely noxious to the nation's health;
Show that our statesmanship at least has won
A vandal victory o'er the vandal Hun.

And when her children whom the seas have sent her
Come to the Motherland to fight her war,
And claim their common heritage, to enter
The gate of dreams to that enchanted store,
To other palaces we'll ask them in,
To purer joys of "movies" and of gin.

But let us still keep open one collection
Of curiosities and quaint antiques,
Under immediate Cabinet direction -
The finest specimens of talking freaks,
Who constitute our most superb Museum,
Judged by the salaries with which we fee 'em.
O. S.

* * * * *


"Tell us," said Phyllis laboriously, "about diploma - - " and there it

"Tistics," added Lillah in a superior manner.

Being an uncle, I can never give my brain a rest. It is the easiest
thing in the world to be found out by a child of seven.

"You mean," I said, "diplomatists?"

"Yes," said Phyllis in a monotone. "Daddy said they-weren't-any
earthly-blast-them and - - "

"Yes, yes!" I said hastily. I can imagine what George said about
diplomatists. He held a good deal of Balkan stock.

"Well, are they?" asked Lillah innocently.

"Diplomatists," I said, "are people in spats and creased trousers, and
the truth is not in them."

"What is spats?" asked Phyllis.

"Spats," I answered, "are what people wear when they want to get a job
and their boots are shabby."

"Are diplomatists shabby?" queried Lillah.

"Not a bit," I answered rather bitterly.

"Do they want jobs?"

"They want to keep them," I said.

"So they have spats," said Phyllis, completely satisfied.

"Exactly," I said. "Then they go into an extremely grand room together
and talk."

"What about?" said Lillah.

"Oh, anything that turns up," I answered - "the rise in prices or the
late thaw; or if everything fails they simply make personal remarks."

"Like clergymen," said Phyllis vaguely.

"Exactly," I said. "And all round the building are secret police
disguised as reporters, and reporters disguised as secret police. And
then each of the diplomatists goes away and writes a white paper, or a
black paper, or a greeny-yellow paper, to show that he was right."

"And then?" Phyllis gaped with astonishment.

"Then everybody organises, and centralises, and fraternises, and
defraternises, and, in the end, mobilises."

Phyllis and Lillah simply stared.

"Why?" they both gasped.

"Oh, just to show the diplomatists were wrong," I said airily.

"And then?" said Lillah breathlessly.

"The ratepayers pay more."

"What is a ratepayer?" asked Phyllis.

"A notorious geek and gull," I said, borrowing from a more distinguished

Lillah stared at me with misgiving.

"But why don't the diplomists say what's true?" she asked.

"Because," I said, "they'd lose their money and nobody would love them."

"But," said Phyllis, "Mummie said if we were good everyone would love

"Your mother was quite right," I answered, with a distinct twinge of
that thin-ice feeling.

"Well, but you said nobody would love diplomists if they were good,"
said Phyllis.

"So good people aren't loved," added Lillah, "and Mummie said what
wasn't true."

I fought desperately for a reply. This could not be allowed to pass. It
struck at the roots of nursery constitutionalism.

"Ah," I said, without any pretence at logic, "but the poor diplomatists
don't know any better."

"Like the heathen that Mummie tells us about on Sunday?"

"Between the heathen and a diplomatist," I said, "there is nothing to

Phyllis sighed. "I wish I didn't know any better," she said yearningly.
Lillah looked at me dangerously from the corner of her eye.

"And got money for it," she added.

"Would you like to play zoo?" I said hastily.

They were silent.

"I'll be a bear," I said eagerly - "a polar one."

No answer. I felt discouraged, but I made another effort. "Or," I said,
"I can be a monkey and you can throw nuts at me, or" - desperately - "a
ring-tailed lemur, or an orangoutang, or an ant-eater...." My voice
tailed away and there was silence. Then the small voice of Phyllis broke

"Uncle," she said, "why aren't you a diplomist?"

At that point Nurse came in and I slid quietly off. As I was going out
of the door I heard the voice of Lillah.

"Nannie," she said, "tell us about diplomists."

"You leave diplomatists alone, Miss Lillah," said Nurse; "they won't do
you no harm if you don't talk about them."

Now why couldn't I have thought of that? It's just training, I suppose.

* * * * *

An Impending Apology.

"Lieut.-Col. - - is out of the city in the interests of

_Winnipeg Evening Tribune._

* * * * *

"Nevertheless a strong Bulgarophone and Turkophone feeling prevails
in Greece, especially in military circles."

_Balkan News_ (_Salonika_).

"Master's Voice," we presume.

* * * * *

"'Theodore Wolff says: - 'Other peace orators have followed Lord
Loreburn and Lord Courtney in the House of Lords. One must not
awaken the belief that such prophets can accomplish miracles of
conversation in a day.'" - _Winnipeg Evening Tribune._

We think Herr Wolff underestimates Lord Courtney's powers in this


First Philistine. "I'm All With the Government Over This Closing Of
Museums. I Never Touch 'em Myself."

Second Philistine. "Same Here. Waiter, Get Me a Couple of Stalls for The


_Devoted Stall-holder._ "I hardly like to ask you, Mr. Thrush, but the
Committee would be so grateful if you would write one of your sweet
verses on each of these eggs for wounded soldiers!"]

* * * * *


I have always been very fond and proud of my niece Celia. With an
exceptionally attractive appearance and a personal fascination that is
irresistible she combines the sweetest and most unselfish nature it has
ever been my good fortune to meet. Indeed, she has so excessive a
consideration for the feelings of everybody but herself that she drifts
into difficulties which she might have avoided by a little more
firmness. As, for example, in the case of Jillings. Celia and Jack have
been married six years; he is about twelve years older than she, and a
capital good fellow, though he is said to have rather a violent temper.
But he has never shown it with Celia - nobody could, had left the Army on
his marriage and settled down in a pretty little place in Surrey, but of
course rejoined the Service as soon as the War broke out. So long as he
was in training with his regiment she took rooms in the neighbourhood,
but when he was ordered to the Front about a year ago she and the
children returned to the Surrey home, and it was then that Celia engaged
Jillings as parlourmaid. I saw her shortly afterwards when I went down
to stay for a night, and was struck by the exuberant enthusiasm with
which she waited - not over efficiently - at table. Celia remarked
afterwards that Jillings was a little inexperienced as yet, but so
willing and warm-hearted, and with such a sensitively affectionate
disposition that the least hint of reproof sufficed to send her into a
flood of tears.

I had no idea then - nor had Celia - how much inconvenience and
embarrassment can be produced by a warm-hearted parlour-maid. Jillings'
devotion did not express itself in a concrete form until Celia's
birthday, and the form it took was that of an obese and unimaginably
hideous pincushion which mysteriously appeared on her dressing-table.
Old and attached servants are in the habit of presenting their employers
on certain occasions with some appropriate gift, and no one would be
churlish enough to discourage so kindly a practice. But Jillings, it
must be owned, was beginning it a bit early. However, Celia thanked her
as charmingly as though she had been longing all her life for exactly
such a treasure. Still, it was not only unnecessary but distinctly
unwise to add that it should be placed in her wardrobe for safety, as
being much too gorgeous for everyday use. Because all she gained by this
consummate tact was another pincushion, not quite so ornate perhaps, but
even cruder in colour, and this she was compelled to assign a prominent
position among her toilet accessories.

These successes naturally encouraged Jillings to further efforts. Celia
had the misfortune one day to break a piece of valuable old porcelain
which had stood on her drawing-room mantelpiece, whereupon the faithful
Jillings promptly replaced the loss by a china ornament purchased by
herself. Considered merely as an article of _vertu_ it was about on a
par with the pincushions, but Celia accepted it in the spirit with which
it had been offered. And, warned by experience, she did not lock it up
in the obscurity of a cabinet, nor contrive that some convenient
accident should befall it, wisely preferring "to bear those ills she had
than fly to others," etc. And so it still remains a permanent eyesore on
her mantelshelf.

Then it seemed that Jillings, who, by the way, was not uncomely, had
established friendly relations with one of the gardeners at the big
house of the neighbourhood - with the result that Celia found her
sitting-rooms replenished at frequent intervals with the most
magnificent specimens of magnolia, tuberose, stephanotis and gardenia.
Unfortunately she happens to be one of those persons whom any strongly
scented flowers afflict with violent headache. But she never mentioned
this for fear of wounding Jillings' susceptibilities. Luckily, Jillings
and the under-gardener fell out in a fortnight.

As was only to be expected, the other servants, being equally devoted to
their mistress, could not allow Jillings to monopolize the pride and
glory of putting her under an obligation. Very soon a sort of
competition sprang up, each of them endeavouring to out-do the other in
giving Celia what they termed, aptly enough, "little surprises," till
they hit upon the happy solution of clubbing together for the purpose.
Thus Celia, having, out of the kindness of her heart, ordered an
expensive lace hood for the baby from a relation of the nurse's at
Honiton, was dismayed to discover, when the hood arrived, that it was
already paid for and was a joint gift from the domestics. After that she
felt, being Celia, that it would be too ungracious to insist on
refunding the money.

It was not until I was staying with her last Spring that I heard of all
these excesses. But at breakfast on Easter Sunday not only did Celia,
Tony and the baby each receive an enormous satin egg filled with
chocolates, but I was myself the recipient of one of these seasonable
tokens, being informed by the beaming Jillings that "we didn't want
_you_, Sir, to feel you'd been forgotten." By lunch-time it became clear
that she had succeeded in animating at least one of the local tradesmen
with this spirit of reckless liberality. For when Celia made a mild
inquiry concerning a sweetbread which she had no recollection of having
ordered Jillings explained, with what I fear I must describe as a
self-conscious smirk, that it was "a little Easter orfering from the
butcher, Madam." I am bound to say that even Celia was less scrupulous
about hurting the butcher's feelings - no doubt from an impression that
his occupation must have cured him of any over-sensitiveness.

As soon as we were alone she told me all she had been enduring, which it
seemed she had been careful not to mention in her letters to Jack. "I
simply can't tell you, Uncle," she concluded pathetically, "how wearing
it is to be constantly thanking somebody for something I'd ever so much
rather be without. And yet - what else can I do?"

I suggested that she might strictly forbid all future indulgence in
these orgies of generosity, and she supposed meekly that she should
really have to do something of that sort, though we both knew how
extremely improbable it was that she ever would.

This morning I had a letter from her. Jack had got leave at last and she
was expecting him home that very afternoon, so I must come down and see
him before his six days expired. "I wish now," she went on, "that I had
taken your advice, but it was so difficult somehow. Because ever since I
told Jillings and the others about Jack's coming home they have been
going about smiling so importantly that I'm horribly afraid they're
planning some dreadful surprise, and I daren't ask them what. Now I must
break off, as I must get ready to go to the station with Tony and meet
dear Jack...."

Then followed a frantic postscript. "I know _now_! They've dressed poor
Tony up in a little khaki uniform that doesn't even fit him! And, what's
worse, they've put up a perfectly terrible triumphal arch over the front
gate, with 'Hail to our Hero' on it in immense letters. They all seem so
pleased with themselves - and anyway there's no time to alter anything
now. But I don't know what Jack will say."

I don't either, but I could give a pretty good guess. I shall see him
and Celia to-morrow. But I shall be rather surprised if I see Jillings.

F. A.

* * * * *

[Illustration: _Old Lady_ (_quite carried away_). "How nice it is to
have the ticket proffered, as it were, instead of thrust upon one!"]

* * * * *


(_With acknowledgments to the back page of "The Referee."_)

Bertram Brazenthwaite, Basso-Profondo (varicose veins and flat feet),
respectfully informs his extensive _clientèle_ that he has a few vacant
dates at the end of 1917. Comings-of-Age, Jumble Sales and Fabian
Society Soirees a specialité.

Sir Sawyer Hackett, M. D., writes: "The physical defects which
prevent Mr. Brazenthwaite from joining the colours have left his
vocal gifts and general gaiety unimpaired."

* * * * *

Do you want your Christening to be a _succès fou_? Then send for Hubert
the Homunculus, London's Premier Baby-Entertainer (astigmatism, and
conscientious objections).

"Hubert the Homunculus would make a kitten laugh." - Hilary Joye, in
_The Encore_.

High-art pamphlet from "The Lebanons," New North Road, N.

* * * * *

Jolly Jenkin, Patriotic Prestidigitator (Group 98). Nominal terms to the
Army, Navy and Civic Guard. Address till end of week, The Parthenon,
Puddlecombe. Next, Reigate Rotunda.

_The Epoch_ says: "Jolly Jenkin has the Evil Eye. In the Middle
Ages he would have been burnt.".

* * * * *

"Men who are physically fit can be released from clerical duties
and replaced by hen only fit for sedentary occupations." - _Daily

Broody, in fact.

* * * * *


The Truth about Wilson.

On Saturday, January 22nd, I arrived in Washington from Seattle. The
Seattle part is another story.

What I have to tell to-day, here, now, and once for all, is what I saw
of the President at close quarters outside and inside the White House
and what happened at the historic dinner-party, at which I was the only
representative of a belligerent country present.

By a fortunate coincidence Mr. Wilson arrived at the railway depôt on
his return from a game of golf with his secretary, Mr. Tumulty, as I was
loitering at the bookstall. I had never seen either of them before, but
intuitively recognised them in a flash. Mr. Tumulty looked exactly as a
man with so momentous a name could only look. The President was garbed
in a neutral-tinted lounge-suit and wore a dark fawn overcoat and
dove-coloured spats.

How did the President look? Well, his face was obviously the face of a
changed man. Not that he is changed for the worse. He seemed in the pink
of condition, and his clean-cut profile and firm jaw radiated inflexible
determination at every pore. No signs of a moustache are yet visible on
his finely-chiselled upper lip.

I had no introduction, and no time was to be lost, so without a moment's
hesitation I strode up to the President and said, "Permit me, Sir, as
the accredited representative of a neutral nation, to offer you this
token of respect," and handed him a small Dutch cheese, a dainty to
which I had been informed he was especially partial. The President
smiled graciously, handed the offering to his secretary, and said, "I
thank you, Sir. Won't you join us at the White House at dinner
to-night?" I expressed my acceptance in suitable terms, bowed and passed

The dinner took place in the famous octagonal dining-room of the White
House, which was profusely decorated with the flags of the Scandinavian
Kingdoms, Spain, Greece, China, Chile, Peru, Brazil and the Argentine.

The band of the Washington Post Office Rifles was ensconced behind a
trellis of olive branches and discoursed a choice selection of soothing
music. Flagons of grape-juice and various light and phosphorescent
beverages stood on the sideboard. It was a memorable scene and every
detail was indelibly impressed on my mind. The President greeted his
guests with the calm dignity proper to his high office. He does not
affect the high handshake of English smart society, but a firm yet
gentle clasp. In repose his features reminded me of Julius Cæsar, but
when he smiles he recalls the more genial lineaments of the great
Pompey. The general impression created on my mind was one of refined
simplicity. As the President himself remarked, quoting Thucydides to one
of his Greek guests, [Greek: philukalonmen meht ehuteleias].

It is quite untrue that the conversation was confined to the English
tongue. On the contrary all the neutral languages, except Chinese, were
spoken, the President showing an equal facility in every one, and
honourably making a point of never uttering two consecutive sentences in
the same tongue. War topics were rigorously eschewed, and so far as I
could follow the conversation - I only speak five of the neutral
languages - the subjects ranged from golf to hygienic clothing, from
co-education to coon-can.

I do not propose here and now to state the circumstances in which, on
leaving the White House, I was kidnapped by some emissaries of Count
Bernstorff, and ultimately consigned to the Tombs in New York on a false
charge of manslaughter; how I narrowly escaped being electrocuted, and
was subsequently deported to Bermuda as an undesirable alien. What I saw
and endured in the Tombs is another story. What really matters is the
Bill of Fare of the President's dinner, which was printed in Esperanto
and ran as follows: -

Turtle Dove Soup.
Norwegian Salmon Cutlets.
Iceland Reindeer Steak.
Tipperusalein Artichokes and Spanish Onions.
Chaudfroid à la Woodrow.
Irene Pudding.
Dutch Cheese Straws.
Brazil Nuts.

After dinner Greek cigarettes were handed round with small cups of China
tea and, as an alternative, Peruvian _maté._

* * * * *


I thought - being very old indeed, "older," as a poem by Mr. Sturge Moore
begins, "than most sheep" - I thought, being so exceedingly mature and
disillusioned, that I knew all the worries of life. Yet I did not; there
was still one that was waiting for me round the corner, but I know that
too, now.

I will tell you about it.

To begin with, let me describe myself. I am an ordinary quiet-living
obscure person, neither exalted nor lowly, who, having tired of town,
took a little place in the country and there settled down to a life of
placidity, varied by such inroads upon ease as all back-to-the-landers
know: now a raid on the chickens by a fox, whose humour it is not to
devour but merely to decapitate; now the disappearance of the gardener
at Lord Derby's coat-tails; now a flood; and now and continually a
desire on the part of the cook to give a month's notice, if you please,

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Online LibraryVariousPunch, Or The London Charivari, Vol 150, February 9, 1916 → online text (page 1 of 3)