Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 158, 1920-03-31 online

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VOL. 158.

March 31, 1920.


We were glad to see that two of our most important Universities were again
successful in obtaining first and second places in this year's boat-race.
(As this was written before the race we crave the indulgence of our readers
if our prophecy should prove incorrect.)

* * *

Bradford Corporation is selling white collars to its citizens at sixpence
a-piece. How the Labour Party proposes to combat this subtle form of
capitalist propaganda is not known.

* * *

"I have been knocked down twice by the same bus, but fortunately have
sustained no serious injury," stated a plaintiff at a London police-court
the other day. The bus in question, we understand, will be given one more
try, and in the event of failure will be debarred from all further contests
of the same nature.

* * *

"Quite a lot of American bacon is being smoked in London," says a news
item. We are glad they have found a use for it, but at the risk of
appearing fastidious we must say we much prefer Havannah tobacco.

* * *

The Variety Artists' Federation has passed a resolution against the
engagement of Germans in the profession. With yet another avenue of
industry closed against him General LUDENDORFF is said to be contemplating
a dignified retirement.

* * *

"Should uglier husbands have heavier damages?" was a question raised in a
recent divorce action. The better opinion is that the fact that the ugly
man must have gone out of his way to get married should tell against him.

* * *

Signs of Spring are everywhere. A couple of telephone mechanics have made
their nest on the roof of a house in West Kensington.

* * *

At Question-Time in the House there was trouble over the pronunciation of
Bryngwran and Gwalchmai. One of the Welsh Members present said he could
have played them if he had had his harp with him.

* * *

Saturday afternoon funerals have been stopped at Bexhill. We are very
pleased to note this, because if there is one thing which mars the
enjoyment of the week-end it is being buried.

* * *

The Hon. JOHN COLLIER will shortly explain why he painted the famous
picture, "The Fallen Idol." If only some of our minor artists would be
equally frank.

* * *

A weekly paper is offering a prize to anybody who discovers the oldest
living fish. It is just as well that no prize is offered for the oldest
dead fish.

* * *

"Large dumps of valuable material which is slowly rotting are to be met all
along the main road in Northern France to-day," complains a morning paper.
A responsible Government official now admits that whilst motoring in that
district last week he noticed that the road was bumpy in places.

* * *

There is some talk of the Americans having a League of Notions of their

* * *

M. CHARLES NORDMANN states that the world will end in ten thousand million
years. It will be interesting to see if America will refuse to take part in
this as well.

* * *

Our horticultural expert informs us that during the next two or three weeks
all wooden houses should be carefully pruned.

* * *

The rumour that Mr. MALLABY-DEELEY, M.P., will be asked to design a new
uniform for the Royal Air Force is without foundation.

* * *

It is feared that, owing to the sudden appearance of Summer weather last
week, the POET LAUREATE will once again be obliged to hold over his Spring

* * *

It seems a pity that eight of the nine bricklayers who entered for the
recent brick-laying contest should have collapsed, allowing the ninth an
easy walk-over with seven bricks to his credit.

* * *

Statistics show a remarkable increase in the Welsh birthrate as compared
with previous years. As usual, nothing is being done about it.

* * *

There are several ways, says Sir JAMES MACKENZIE, the eminent specialist,
of tracing heart weakness. One way is to charge the owner of the heart
seven-and-six for a pound of butter. If he faints he has a weak heart; if
he pays he is merely weak in the head.

* * *

A Bill has been introduced in the New York Legislature to confine the
headlines in murder cases to thirty-six points. The limit for international
headliners is still fourteen points.

* * *

The Government, says a contemporary, is about to start growing tobacco in
Norfolk. Whether it is to be sold as Coalition Mixture or Carlton Club has
not yet been decided.

* * *

The Royal Academy have issued a notice that frames other than gilt will be
admissible this year. Many people, it is thought, who never felt attracted
by the old-fashioned gilt frames will now visit the exhibition.

* * *

An auctioneer's clerk has been summoned for throwing a bun at a railway
buffet waitress. It was a thoughtless thing to do. He might have broken it.

* * *

We have just heard of a Scottish engineer who has decided to strike out
along novel lines. Although only twenty-two years of age he has arranged to
settle down in Scotland.

* * * * *

[Illustration: _Taxi-Driver_ (_who has been paid the correct fare_).

_Fare._ "WHAT IS IT?"


* * * * *

From a fashion-advertisement: -


_American Paper._

But it is believed that the young man's strong right arm will succeed in
rediscovering it.

* * * * *


(_with some moral reflections_).

To-day I left my downy lair
An hour before my wont;
But do I consequently wear
An unctuous smile? I don't.
If with the early lark's ascent
I soared from out my bed, it
Is to an Act of Parliament
That I must give the credit.

When I escape, in butter's dearth,
The fault of waxing fat,
Calmly I view my modest girth
And take no praise for that;
Not mine the glory when my soul
Abjures its ruling passion;
'Tis his, the lord of Food-control,
Who fixed my sugar-ration.

Hampered by regulations for
The chastisement of crime -
Arson and theft and marrying more
Than one wife at a time -
I like to feel some sins there be
For which the law can't hurt you,
In whose regard your heart is free
To follow vice or virtue.

Of one temptation I rejoice
Especially to think,
That leaves me loose to take my choice -
My reference is to DRINK;
Here, where as yet no rules apply
By Pussyfeet dictated,
The merit's mine whenever I
Am not inebriated.

O. S.

* * * * *


Not to be outdone by Olympia we have just held a motor show in our
provincial Town Hall. What though the motoring magazines, obese with the
rich diet of advertisement, grew no fatter in its honour, it was at least
the most successful social function we have known since the War began. The
Town Hall externally was magnificent with flags by day and coloured lamps
by night, and within was a blaze of bunting and greenstuff. The band of the
Free Shepherds played popular music, and the luncheon and tea rooms were
the scene of most delightful little gatherings. Besides all this, quite a
number of cars were to be found amongst the decorations.

Nearly every demobilised officer in the county seems to have taken up an
agency for a car or two, and bought himself spats on the strength of a
prospective fortune. Jimmy Wrigley and I are amongst them. Wrigley in the
Great War was M.T., R.A.S.C., and knows so much about cars that he can tell
the make of lamps from the track of the tyres; while I was a cavalryman and
know so little that I judge Jimmy's cleverness only by other people's
incredulity. On our stand at the show we exhibited two cars, which, as I
carefully learned beforehand from the book of the words, were a Byng-Beatty
and a Tanglefoot, these being the cars for which we are what they call
concessionaires. (The _bât_ is tricky, but one picks it up loafing about

As a rule Jimmy and I do the correspondence between us - Jimmy contributing
the technique and I the punctuation; but for the three days of the show his
cousin Sheila volunteered to preside at a dainty little table and make
jottings of our orders. Sheila is always ornamental, and as we had the
stand draped to tone with her hair, and she wore a dress which harmonized
like soft music with the pale heliotrope of the Tanglefoot's body-work, our
display was a magnet from the word "Go."

And then on the morning of the opening day Jimmy went down with his Lake
Doiran malaria and left me to it!

I am as brave as most people, but this calamity unmanned me. "Sheila," I
said to a pair of pitying grey eyes, as the crowd, having heard the show
declared open, massed about our stand - "Sheila, the situation is desperate.
These people will ask me about the cars. They will expect me to answer them
intelligently, and it's no use in the world talking horse to them - I can
see that from their sordid looks. I shall disappear. You can say I have
gone out on a trial run, which won't be a lie, only an understatement. And
you can just hand them out the little books and let them paw the varnish.
Silence will be better than anything I could say. Probably it is better
than what any conscientious man could say about the Tanglefoot."

"I'll carry on, Nobby," said Sheila. "You go and buy buns for Miss
Hurdlewing, and be happy. Fly! here's a purchaser."

Sheila's whisper dispersed me into the crowd and I strolled away, while she
bestowed a smile and a specification pamphlet on the first of the crowd to
step on to our stand.

I found it impossible to keep away for long. Sheila looked so well against
the heliotrope Tanglefoot limousine that I had to go back to look at her.

The stand was surrounded by a throng, hushed and breathless with interest.
Sheila was talking volubly. Hardened motorists listened with their mouths
open; zealots, feverish to expend their excess profits on motoring because
it was a novelty and expensive, stood spell-bound; a rival agent drank in
her words with tears in his eyes - tears for his old innocence - and his
cheek flushed with a sudden and splendid determination to amalgamate with
our firm.

"This chassis, gentlemen," Sheila was saying, with a glance towards the
Byng-Beatty, "has the most exclusive features. The torque-tube being fitted
with an automatic lighter, it is possible to change tyres without leaving
your seat; while by a simple adjustment of the universal joint the car will
take any reasonable obstacle gracefully and without any inconvenience to
the occupants. The clutch is of the Alabama type. This new pattern created
a great sensation at Olympia, owing to the ease with which it permits even
the amateur driver to convert the present body into a _char-à-banc_ or a
tipping-waggon. The hood is reversible, so that passengers may be sheltered
from the wind when the car runs backwards. In the rear of the boot,
concealed by a door flush with the panels, is an EINSTEIN parachute, by
means of which a passenger may leave the car before an imminent accident or
when tired of the company."

I could not move; I did not want to either; and I certainly dared not

"The Tanglefoot," continued Sheila, while a sigh of sheer rapture rose from
the crowd, "is pre-eminently the car for a medical man or pushful
undertaker. No horn is supplied, though this will be fitted if desired. The
car is not cheap, but properly used will soon repay itself. Amongst the
accessories supplied with the standard chassis I should like to call your
attention to the collapsible game-bag and landing-net."

This went on for a long, long time, and I stayed till a man in the crowd
recognised me and showed symptoms of coming out of his trance. I fled, and
returned only at the luncheon interval.

"Sheila," I said - "Sheila, this may be fun for you, but James Wrigley and I
may sing in the streets to pay for it."

"You great stupid" - her eyes were sparking as she spoke - "I've booked more
orders than you will be able to carry out before you've learned wisdom.
Look!" It was practically a nominal roll of the local capitalists that she
showed me. "Nobody believes what you say about a car, so you can say what
you like. The thing is to get it noticed."

"Did they study these cars much before they let you take their names?"

Sheila looked into my eyes and laughed happily.

W. K. H.

* * * * *

Our Eccentric Advertisers.

"Youth Wanted to Strike."

_Provincial Paper._

* * * * *

[Illustration: THE DACHSWOLF.

FRITZ (_doubtfully_). "GOOD DOG - IF YOU STILL _ARE_ A DOG."]

* * * * *




* * * * *


Of all the beautiful things which are to be seen in shop windows perhaps
the most beautiful are those luxurious baths in white enamel, hedged round
with attachments and conveniences in burnished metal. Whenever I see one of
them I stand and covet it for a long time. Yet even these super-baths fall
far short of what a bath should be; and as for the perfect bathroom I
question if anyone has even imagined it.

The whole attitude of modern civilisation to the bathroom is wrong. Why,
for one thing, is it always the smallest and barest room in the house? The
Romans understood these things; we don't. I have never yet been in a
bathroom which was big enough to do my exercises in without either breaking
the light or barking my knuckles against a wall. It ought to be a _big_
room and opulently furnished. There ought to be pictures in it, so that one
could lie back and contemplate them - a picture of troops going up to the
trenches, and another picture of a bus-queue standing in the rain, and
another picture of a windy day with some snow in it. Then one would really
enjoy one's baths.

And there ought to be rich rugs in it and profound chairs; one would walk
about in bare feet on the rich rugs while the bath was running; and one
would sit in the profound chairs while drying the ears.

The fact is, a bathroom ought to be equipped for comfort, like a
drawing-room, a good, full, velvety room; and as things are it is solely
equipped for singing. In the drawing-room, where we want to sing, we put so
many curtains and carpets and things that most of us can't sing at all; and
then we wonder that there is no music in England. Nothing is more maddening
than to hear several men refusing to join in a simple chorus after dinner,
when you know perfectly well that every one of them has been singing in a
high tenor in his bath before dinner. We all know the reason, but we don't
take the obvious remedy. The only thing to do is to take all the furniture
out of the drawing-room and put it in the bathroom - all except the piano
and a few cane chairs. Then we shouldn't have those terrible noises in the
early morning, and in the evening everybody would be a singer. I suppose
that is what they do in Wales.

But if we cannot make the bathroom what it ought to be, the supreme and
perfect shrine of the supreme moment of the day, the one spot in the house
on which no expense or trouble is spared, we can at least bring the bath
itself up to date. I don't now, as I did, lay much stress on having a bath
with fifteen different taps. I once stayed in a house with a bath like
that. There was a hot tap and a cold tap, and hot sea-water and cold
sea-water, and PLUNGE and SPRAY and SHOWER and WAVE and FLOOD, and one or
two more. To turn on the top tap you had to stand on a step-ladder, and
they were all very highly polished. I was naturally excited by this, and an
hour before it was time to dress for dinner I slunk upstairs and hurried
into the bathroom and locked myself in and turned on all the taps at once.
It was strangely disappointing. The sea-water was mythical. Many of the
taps refused to function at the same time as any other, and the only two
which were really effective were WAVE and FLOOD. WAVE shot out a thin jet
of boiling water which caught me in the chest, and FLOOD filled the bath
with cold water long before it could be identified and turned off.

No, taps are not of the first importance, though, properly polished, they
look well. But no bath is complete without one of those attractive bridges
or trays where one puts the sponges and the soap. Conveniences like that
are a direct stimulus to washing. The first time I met one I washed myself
all over two or three times simply to make the most of knowing where the
soap was. Now and then, in fact, in a sort of bravado I deliberately lost
it, so as to be able to catch it again and put it back in full view on the
tray. You can also rest your feet on the tray when you are washing them,
and so avoid cramp.

Again, I like a bathroom where there is an electric bell just above the
bath, which you can ring with the big toe. This is for use when one has
gone to sleep in the bath and the water has frozen, or when one has begun
to commit suicide and thought better of it. Apart from these two occasions
it can be used for Morsing instructions about breakfast to the
cook - supposing you have a cook. And if you haven't a cook a little
bell-ringing in the basement does no harm.

But the most extraordinary thing about the modern bath is that there is no
provision for shaving in it. Shaving in the bath I regard as the last word
in systematic luxury. But in the ordinary bath it is very difficult. There
is nowhere to put anything. There ought to be a kind of shaving tray
attached to every bath, which you could swing in on a flexible arm,
complete with mirror and soap and strop, new blades and shaving-papers and
all the other confounded paraphernalia. Then, I think, shaving would be
almost tolerable, and there wouldn't be so many of these horrible beards

The same applies to smoking. It is incredible that to-day in the twentieth
century there should be no recognised way of disposing of a cigarette-end
in the bath. Personally I only smoke pipes in the bath, but it is
impossible to find a place in which to deposit even a pipe so that it will
not roll off into the water. But I have a brother-in-law who smokes cigars
in the bath, a disgusting habit. I have often wondered where he hid the
ends, and I find now that he has made a _cache_ of them in the gas-ring of
the geyser. One day the ash will get into the burners and then the geyser
will explode.

Next door to the shaving and smoking tray should be the book-rest. I don't
myself do much reading in the bath, but I have several sisters-in-law who
keep on coming to stay, and they all do it. Few things make the leaves of a
book stick together so easily as being dropped in a hot bath, so they had
better have a book-rest; and if they go to sleep I shall set in motion my
emergency waste mechanism, by which the bath can be emptied in malice from

Another of my inventions is the Progress Indicator. It works like the
indicators outside lifts, which show where the lift is and what it is
doing. My machine shows what stage the man inside has reached - the washing
stage or the merely wallowing stage, or the drying stage, or the exercises
stage. It shows you at a glance whether it is worth while to go back to bed
or whether it is time to dig yourself in on the mat. The machine is
specially suitable for hotels and large country houses where you can't find
out by hammering on the door and asking, because nobody takes any notice.

When you have properly fitted out the bathroom on these lines all that
remains is to put the telephone in and have your meals there; or rather to
have your meals there and not put the telephone in. It must still remain
the one room where a man is safe from that.

A. P. H.

* * * * *

[Illustration: _Mistress._ "I SEE THE NEW CURATE HAS CALLED. WHAT IS HE

_Butler_ (_who had noticed that the Curate was dressed for golf_). "HE HAD

* * * * *


A great deal of nonsense is being talked about our coal-mines. I should
like therefore to throw a little helpful light on the subject of
nationalisation. Speaking as an owner and not as a miner (I have at the
present moment at least six coals and a pound or two of assorted mineral
rubbish), I want to consider some of the pros and cons of this debatable
proposition. I take it, first of all, that we shall pay for our coal along
with our taxes and in proportion to our income. This will come rather hard,
of course, on the kind of people who insist on warming their rooms with
three large electric vegetable marrows, or by means of a number of small
skeletons pickled in gas. But such people will no doubt be able to claim
rebates, and rebating is one of the most healthy and instructive of our
British parlour games. Let us pass on, then, to the means of distribution.

I greatly doubt whether under State organisation the practice of opening up
those romantic and circular caverns in the middle of the pavement and
suddenly filling our cellars with smoke, rain and thunder will be allowed
to continue. Rather, I expect, at the moment when John Postman pushes the
budget of bills through the slit in the front-door, William Coalman,
walking along the roof, will be dropping a couple of Derby Brights, in the
mode of Santa Claus, down the chimney. This will get over the basement
trouble, and deliveries of course will occur frequently, if irregularly,
throughout the day at such times as the Government consider them to be
necessary for making up the fire.

But whatever happens about deliveries the Inspector of Grates will be an
infernal nuisance. Nothing makes a man more unpopular than interference in
a quarrel between husband and wife, and I imagine that there will be many
little suburban tragedies like the following: -

SCENE. - _A Kensington drawing-room._ Mr. _and_ Mrs. Smith _are
discovered shivering over the fire_.

_Mr. Smith._ No, no. Not like that at all. You must break up that big lump

_Mrs. Smith_ (_coldly_). This is the way my mother taught me to make up

_Mr. Smith._ Your mother! Ha!

[_Snatches the poker from her hand._

_Mary_ (_entering_). The Coal Inspector has called.

_Enter_ Coal Inspector.

_Taking the poker from_ Mr. Smith's _nerveless grasp, with three
vicious thrusts he assassinates the already moribund fire. They watch
him with faces of horror. As he turns to go they glance at each other,
and with a simultaneous impulse seize the tongs and shovel and strike
him with all their strength on the back of the head._

Mr. Smith _rings the bell. Enter Mary._

_Mr. Smith._ Please sweep that up.

[_She does so. He takes up the poker and resumes the altercation._

But let us turn again to the brighter side of things. Nothing fills a
house-holder with such deep pleasure as a legitimate grievance against the
Government on minor counts, especially when such grievances are properly
ventilated in the daily Press. Thus: -






These are specimens of the headlines we may confidently expect, and little
forms like the following will be found in the more popular dailies: -


I protest against the continued refusal of my fire to burn up, for
which Government maladministration is responsible. I urge you to do
all in your power to see that a warm ruddy glow is cast continually
over my dining-room. The men, women and children of your constituency
will judge you at the next election by your action in this matter.

And then there is the question of the miscellaneous material which is now
being supplied in the name of coal, especially those large flat pieces of

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Online LibraryVariousPunch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 158, 1920-03-31 → online text (page 1 of 4)