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Volume 158, Jan-Jul 1920

MAY 26, 1920

* * * * *

[Illustration: _Sportsman._ "WHAT ON EARTH'S HAPPENED TO THE

_The Jonah Man._ "I PUT SOME MONEY ON HIM."]

* * *


Bohemia has decided to have a Coalition Government. Several London
morning papers are prepared to offer them one in good going condition,
providing they pay cost of transit.

* * *

According to a contemporary, "rabbits are worth less when they are
skinned by the shopkeeper." So is the customer.

* * *

"It is of greater advantage to know the Welsh language," says
Professor TROW, "than to know French." That is, of course, if you wish
to use it for defensive purposes.

* * *

Sir GORDON HEWART has declined to "make any attempt to consider what
is to happen after the next election." The fact of the matter is that
_The Daily Mail_ itself has not yet decided.

* * *

It is reported that an opposition League of Nations is to be started
among countries addicted to war. The League will take cognisance of
all outbreaks of peace.

* * *

A peculiar incident is reported from a large town in the South of
England. It appears that one day last week a bricklayer lost count of
the number of bricks he had laid, with the result that a recount had
to be made to enable him to ascertain whether he had finished for the
day or not.

* * *

The Post Office Workers' Union Conference at Morecambe declared last
week that the Government was "without capacity, courage or principle."
Apart from these defects they have no fault to find with it.

* * *

Sir JAGADIZ CHUNDER BOSE, lecturing at Westminster School, said that
plants, like human beings, are sensitive to pain. Some of the war-time
allotment marrows we heard so much of must have suffered badly from

* * *

Most actors, in the opinion of an official of the Actors' Association,
are better off than they used to be. But what we want to see is an
improvement when they are on.

* * *

American shipping circles deny the rumour that they are building a
liner measuring thirteen hundred feet in length. We felt at the time
that this vessel must have been a Canarder.

* * *

Although a heavy safe was bodily removed from a small house in
Wolverhampton during the night, not one of the four persons sleeping
in the next room was awakened by the burglars. Such thoughtfulness on
the part of the intruders deserves the greatest credit.

* * *

"A single greenfly," declared a speaker at a meeting of the
R.S.P.C.A., "may have fifteen thousand descendants in a week." This
almost equals the record of the Chicago millionaire who recently died

* * *

A motor-cyclist who was thrown from his machine as a result of
colliding with a car near Birmingham was asked by the occupants of the
latter why he did not look where he was going. This in our opinion
is a most difficult thing to do, as one's destination is so uncertain
until the actual landing takes place.

* * *

On being sentenced to six months' imprisonment at a London Police
Court last week a burglar threw his boot at the magistrate and used
insulting language towards him. We understand that in future only
law-abiding criminals will be allowed inside the court.

* * *

A Hackney boy has dug up a Queen Anne shilling. We understand that, on
hearing the price of sugar, the shilling asked to be put back again.

* * *

The old gentleman who, after reading in the daily papers that all
hairy caterpillars should be destroyed at sight on account of their
destructive powers, tried to crush a Society lady's pet Pekinese in
Hyde Park with his foot is now supposed to be short-sighted.

* * * * *


(_as illustrated by an American sample of missionary zeal_).

In Europe's hour of darkest night
That daunts the faith of sage and seer
I long to share the morning light
Diffused in yonder hemisphere;
There all is joy and radiance (just
As when on Eden first the sun rose),
Thanks to the Power that holds in trust
That legacy of Colonel MONROE'S.

But out of those so halcyon skies
Chill blasts of disillusion blow
When I observe with pained surprise
The state of things in Mexico;
And "Why," I ask, "in Heaven's name,
Can't 'God's own country' (U.S.A.) go
And, by the right none else may claim,
Put it across the dirty Dago?"

Then I reflect: "'Tis not so strange;
Some virtues best begin at home,
But others, of superior range,
Prefer to start beyond the foam;
There are who mend the ills at hand,
But those whose aims are even bigger
Seek out a far and savage land
There to convert the godless nigger.

This chance, no doubt, distracts the Yank
From sinners at his very door;
No local cure, he feels, can rank
With efforts on a distant shore;
His heart to Sinn Fein's gospel wed,
And by its beauty deeply bitten,
He sends his dollars forth to spread
The fear of hell in heathen Britain."

O. S.

* * * * *


Let me see. I must have been battling my way through the Galleries
step by step for an hour and three-quarters, and I haven't yet decided
which is the best picture.

But then it's no easy matter to make up one's mind when there are so
many, many pictures - and so many, many people....

And some of them, I'm sorry to say, are not quite so considerate
as they might be. For instance, I had nearly chosen Mr. CLAUSEN'S
_Shepherd Boy: Sunrise_. I was imagining the hush, the solitude.
Suddenly two inexorable hats were thrust between me and the canvas,
while two inexorable voices carried on a detailed discussion
about what Doris (whoever Doris may be) was wearing at the wedding

It wasn't fair to me; and it wasn't fair to the _Shepherd Boy_. I know
he hasn't got a face, poor fellow. But is that a reason for putting
ideas into his head?

It seems to me the crush is fiercer than ever in front of the picture
over there. Probably I shall find that to be the best of all; _No.
274_: Mr. J. J. SHANNON'S _Sir Oswald Stoll_. Ah, I see. These ladies
are simply using the unfortunate gentleman as a looking-glass to tidy
their hair in.

But oh, Sir OSWALD, do I really look as tired as all that? Yes, you're
right; I _am_ tired. I'll go and sit down.

Not a vacant seat anywhere.... Yes, there is - quick! At the far end
of the Galleries. Now isn't it just like the _Supreme War Council_ to
have left that one chair empty for me at their table?

No, it's a trick! The artist knew I should never have the effrontery
to sit there, right under the PRIME MINISTER'S nose. Very well, Mr.
OLIVIER, exhausted though I am, I shall not vote for you either.

There's a dull pain all down my spine. My feet are like lead. Give it
up? Never! I will not leave until I have found the masterpiece.

But I can stem the tide no longer. I surrender myself to the mob and
let it bear me whither it wills....

Where am I? Oh, the Architectural Room. Thronged this afternoon,
like all the others. And yet, once upon a time, before I grew old and
weary - heavens, how weary! - I remember this room with only one other
person in it, and she - -

Why, here! Right in front of me; _No. 1235: London County Westminster
and Parr's Bank, Ltd.: Brondesbury branch_. That's it. That's the best
picture in the Academy!

Not so much because of its chiaroscuro, not because of its romantic
associations, but because, immediately opposite that branch-bank,
there's a place where at last, at long, long last - ah! - I can sit

* * * * *


Stung to the quick by the accusation of secrecy hurled at him by a
portion of the Press in connection with the conference at Lympne, Mr.
LLOYD GEORGE has arranged with M. MILLERAND, we understand, to make
the next encounter, on French soil, a vastly different affair. As a
delicate compliment to the Welsh blood shared by the PRIME MINISTER
and the greatest of our Tudor kings, and through the courtesy of Sir
PHILIP SASSOON who has kindly promised to defray the whole of the
expenses, the _mise en scène_ will be arranged to resemble, almost to
the minutest detail, the Field of the Cloth of Gold.

* * * * *

The place of meeting will be between Ardres and Guisnes. Hundreds
of skilful workmen, if they do not happen to be on strike, will
be employed in erecting the pavilions that are to lodge the two
statesmen, who will meet in open field, but not be allowed, either of
them, to visit the camp of the other lest they be suspected of secret
diplomacy. M. MILLERAND and Mr. LLOYD GEORGE will first meet riding
on horseback, and each wearing as much cloth of gold and silver as can
possibly be put upon their backs. Mimic jousts and mock combats
will be held. Lord DERBY, Lord RIDDELL and Mr. PHILIP KERR will all
encounter chosen French champions. Six days will be given to tilting
with the lance, two to fights with the broadsword on horseback, two to
fighting on foot at the barriers. Mr. LLOYD GEORGE will wrestle with

* * * * *

On the last day there will be a gorgeous masque, at which the PRIME
MINISTER will appear accoutred as Hercules, wearing a shirt of silver
damask, with a garland of green damask cut into vine and hawthorn
leaves on his head, and in his hand a club with fourteen spikes. His
Nemean lion skin will be of cloth of gold, and his buskins of the same
material. Fountains of French wine will play in the British marquee.
M. MILLERAND'S chief pavilion will have a magnificent dome, sustained
by one huge mast, covered with cloth of gold and lined with blue
velvet, with all the orbs of heaven worked on it in gold, and on the
top outside a hollow golden figure of St. Michael. All the Press, but
particularly those representing Lord NORTHCLIFFE'S papers, will be
not only allowed, but entreated and cajoled, to go everywhere and
see everything, to play about with the ropes of the tents and take
snippets of cloth of gold for souvenirs.

* * * * *

Oh, how different from Lympne (pronounced "mph")!

* * * * *

[Illustration: HIS OWN BUSINESS.


* * * * *

[Illustration: _Magistrate (to incorrigible vagrant on his thirteenth


* * * * *


The trouble about Hampstead is that it is so very much further from
Kensington than Kensington is from it. Every day, I believe, there
pass between Kensington and Hampstead telephone conversations
something like this: -

_Kensington._ When are you coming to see us?

_Hampstead._ Why don't _you_ come _here_ instead?

_Ken._ It's such a fearfully long way.

_Hamp._ I like that. Do you know that a bus runs the whole way from
here to Kensington?

_Ken._ I don't blame it. But I'm jolly sure it doesn't go back again.

Then Hampstead rings off in a rage and nothing is done about it.

Mr. RUDYARD KIPLING must surely have known of this regrettable
estrangement or he would never have sung -

"North is North and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,
Except in the Tube at Leicester Square or the corner of Oxford

Anyhow you will find that people living in Hampstead tend more and
more to regard themselves as dwellers in the mountains, and take
defiantly to wearing plaid shawls and big hobnail brogues, and carry
alpenstocks in the Underground with them. They acquire, moreover,
the keen steady gaze of those who live in constant communion with the
silent hills, so different from the Oriental fatalism in the eyes of
the Kensingtonite, which comes from the eternal contemplation of the
posters of _Chu Chin Chow_.

It is possible, however, to visit Hampstead, if you are sufficiently
venturous, by bus, tube, tram or train. If you are very rich the best
way is to take a taxi-cab as far as Chalk Farm, where London's milk
supply is manufactured. You cannot go further than Chalk Farm by
taxi-cab, because the driver will explain that he is afraid of turning
giddy, having no head for heights. You have then the choice of two
courses, either to purchase the cab outright and drive it yourself, or
to finish your journey by the funicular railway.

Let us suppose that you have done the latter and emerged on the final
peak which surmounts the Hampstead range. On your way upwards you will
have been charmed by the number of picturesque houses which seem to
have been thrown at the side of the hill and to have stuck there, and
also by the luxuriant groves of cocoanut palms and orange and banana
trees which the L.C.C. has thoughtfully planted to provide sustenance
for London on its Whitsuntide Bank Holiday. It is indeed a pleasant
thought that so many hard-working people are able on this day to
snatch a little leisure in the good old English fashion on the swings
and roundabouts and forsake the weary routine of watching American
films. These great crowds picnic also on the greensward, bringing
their food in paper wrappers, so that a student of such matters can
easily gauge the proportionate circulation of our principal morning
dailies by taking a walk round Hampstead Heath early on Whit-Tuesday

When you have reached the last summit you will find yourself
confronted by a frowning Gothic pile known as Jack Straw's Castle, and
a large flagstaff on which the flag is only flown when the castellan
is in residence. There is also a pond where the inhabitants of
Hampstead, both old and young, swim their dogs after sticks and float
a great variety of boats. On fine mornings there is such a confusion
of boats and sticks and barking dogs that, if you are lucky, you can
come up with an Irish terrier and an ash plant and go down rather
proudly with a Newfoundland and the latest model of _Shamrock XIV_.

Looking downwards from the top you will discern on the open slopes and
twinkling amongst the vegetation a vast multitude of white poles.
On Saturday afternoons, I believe, there are more poles on Hampstead
Heath than in the whole of Kieff. Each pole is attached to a boy
scout, and it has been calculated that, if all the boy scouts in
Hampstead were to set their poles end to end in a perfectly straight
line from the flagstaff, pointing in a south-easterly direction, they
would be properly told off by their scout-masters for behaving in such
an idiotic manner.

Next perhaps in interest to the boy scouts, both because of their
quaint mediæval costume and the long lances which they carry in their
hands, are the rangers of Hampstead Heath. Feudal retainers of the
L.C.C., they sally ever and anon from their lairs with lances couched
to spear up the pieces of paper which the people of London have left
behind; and this paper-sticking is really the best sport to be enjoyed
now on Hampstead Heath, unless one counts fishing for dace in the
ponds, which I take to be the most contemplative recreation, except
coal-mining, in the British Isles.

Amongst the very many famous people who either live or have lived
at Hampstead may be mentioned Mr. GERALD DU MAURIER, CONSTABLE, Lord
RICHARD TURPIN, the last of whom, I believe, bequeathed his spurs to
the borough in grateful memory of all that it had done for him. There
are no highwaymen to be met at Hampstead Heath now, but the
solicitor and house-agent of the man from whom I am trying to lease
Number - - but there, perhaps I had better not go into that just now.
I cannot however omit to say a few more words about KEATS, because
the nation is trying to buy his house, although it has not yet been
decided which of them is to live in it if they get it. In the garden
of this house the poet is said to have written his celebrated "Ode to
a Nightingale," and the nightingale may still be heard on Hampstead
Heath in June. Presumably it is the same bird, and the lines,

"Thou wast not born for death, immortal bird;
No hungry generations tread thee down,"

must be taken as a remarkable instance of literary foresight, for
crowds of people have for years been trying in vain to trample the
brave bird down and have evidently been hungry, or they would never
have left so much sandwich-paper about.

Oh, and there is yet one more notable resident of Hampstead, as you
have doubtless just gathered, and that is myself, or will be if those
accurséd - - but another time, perhaps.


* * * * *

[Illustration: _Conductor (to alighting passenger, who has rung
the bell several times)._ "THAT'LL DO, MY BANANA QUEEN. ONE RING IS

* * * * *


Less gifted souls may seek an earthly mate;
Lonely for ever I am doomed to be,
For all my life to Art is dedicate;
Yea, Art for mine or (speaking English) me.

I've put away the commonplace delights
Of humbler folk to brood on things sublime;
Rapt and aloof I ever tread the heights,
Thinking great thoughts and getting words to rhyme.

Maidens have passed before me, but no bride
Among them all have I essayed to choose;
Sternly I've put the thought of love aside,
An austere poet "wedded to the Muse."

But now of one small guerdon I am fain
(A poet's solace for the love he lacks) -
That this may qualify me to attain
The married man's relief from income-tax.

* * * * *

Commercial Candour.



_Advt. in Daily Paper._

We know this kind of shoe.

* * * * *

"Parrot, splendid talker, South African grey, in
perfect condition; good reason for selling; does not
swear." - _Provincial Paper._

Tastes differ, of course; but personally we should not call this a
"good" reason.

* * * * *


She was staying at a Finnish hydro near Helsingfors. I asked for her
on the telephone and her old mother answered.

"Is it you, Monsieur Anatole? Fancy ringing up so early - twelve
o'clock! Of course Tatiana is in bed. One can see you have been away
from your native country a long time. We left Petersburg three months
ago. Come and see us at a reasonable time - say three o'clock - and
we'll tell you all about it."

My two years' sojourn in England had accustomed me to English ways.
I had certainly committed an indiscretion in ringing up my former
clients (I was their legal adviser in Petersburg) at such an
unconscionable time.

I found Tatiana, in a smart black glacé gown, reclining on a sofa
and smoking a cigarette in a dull sitting-room, surrounded by other
Russian _émigrés_. She jumped up when she saw me.

"At last, Monsieur Anatole," she said. "You remember when you left
Petersburg in 1918 I told you that you would be submarined, but here
you are back again safely. I'm _so glad_." Her eyes shone and she held
out her little white hand. "You have brought it with you?"

"What with me?"

"The soap, of course. Surely you remember. I asked you to buy me some
Savon Idéal in Paris. It is the only kind that suits my skin."

"But I haven't been to Paris."

"You haven't brought my soap! Why haven't you been to Paris?"

"I have been to London."

She pouted. "Why stay in London instead of Paris? What silliness!"

"And how did you get here?" I asked.

"By sledge. It was terribly exciting and illegal, of course, and
dangerous. Petersburg's awful. All the pipes have burst and there are
no Russians there."

"No Russians!" I exclaimed.

"Because the best people - I mean, of course, the people who won't
work - have all adopted other nationalities. We are - what are we,

"I think it's Adgans, my dear," the old lady chimed in.

"Adgans," I repeated.

"Something of that sort," said the Princess. "It doesn't matter about
the name, but it's more convenient. You are under the protection of
your Government and then your property benefits."

"Do you mean Azerbaijans?" I asked.

"Oh, I daresay."

"But what claim have you to become Azerbaijans?"

"Every claim," she answered with asperity. "Somebody had a property
there once - either one of our family or a friend. Why don't your
family become Esthonians? You'd find it much more convenient. Your
father could leave Petersburg."

"But he's never been to Esthonia."

"That's nonsense," said Tatiana; "he must have travelled through Reval
at some time, and besides I remember he went to Riga once to fight a
case for the Government."

"But Riga's in Latvia," I protested.

"What does that matter? Anyhow we escaped with two hundred thousand
roubles and one small trunk. The first few weeks we had a great time
here and spent all our money, but after that we had to 'put our teeth
on the shelf.'"

"But how did you manage without money?"

"Well, we sell our things - jewellery and clothes. I think you might at
least have come back through Paris; I can't understand how you forgot
about the soap. You've no idea what bad manicurists the Finns are;
they've torn my fingernails to bits."

"But when you've sold all your clothes and jewellery what do you
intend to do?" I asked.

Tatiana laughed. "Then there's the house in Petersburg that will fetch
quite a lot of money, and there are a number of people here who want

"How can you sell a house to people who can't get to it?" I asked.

Tatiana shrugged her shoulders. "Of course I can sell it all the
better because they don't know the state it's in. I think England must
have made you rather silly. You wrote and asked me to lunch without my
husband and you know it's not done in Petersburg; you've become quite

"But last time we met you were just divorcing the Count and I wasn't
quite sure of your relations with your new husband."

Tatiana kissed the tips of her fingers. "He's lovely!" she cried
enthusiastically. "A real Cossack officer. Why, there he is! Dmitré,
this is Monsieur Anatole, our family lawyer. He'll sell the house for
us, and he's promised me some Savon Idéal from Paris. You'll go to
Paris, won't you?" she said, putting a very seductive face close to

I parried. "It's difficult for Russians - - "

"Oh, that's all right; you can become a Czecho-Slovak. I can give you
a letter; you need only stay there half-an-hour when you're passing

I felt my cherished Russian nationality slipping away and my only
safety seemed to lie in an instant departure. I caught her hand
and kissed her polished finger-tips. She bent forward and kissed my

"Good journey," she said.

"A happy time at home," I answered, and, saluting her husband, I
hurried to the door.

"I'm glad there's a little bit of Russian left in you," she called
after me. "And by the way you might bring two boxes of the soap; it
doesn't last long."

* * * * *


You that I fancied my prey
(Mine was the blunder) -
Three pounds I'd back you to weigh,
Not an ounce under -
Are you, like prices to-day,
Rising, I wonder?

Triton were you among trout,
Jaw tough as leather;
I put it over your snout
Light as a feather -
Splash! and the line whizzing out
Linked us together;

Till, ere your fate I could seal,
Me you eluded;
Back came the line to the reel
(Cast not included);
Oft 'twixt the weed and the creel
Fish slip - as you did.

So, since all winter, alack!
I have bemoaned you,
Give me a chance to get back
Some of my own due
Interest earn'd on the black
Gnat that I loaned you.

Then we'll be for it, we two
(Luck to the winner!);
Meanwhile be careful what you
Take for your dinner;
Fancy confections eschew -

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Online LibraryVariousPunch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 158, May 26, 1920 → online text (page 1 of 3)