Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 159, 1920-11-17 online

. (page 1 of 4)
Online LibraryVariousPunch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 159, 1920-11-17 → online text (page 1 of 4)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Produced by Lesley Halamek, Jonathan Ingram and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at


VOL. 159.

November 17th, 1920.


It is rumoured that a gentleman who purchased a miniature two-seater
car at the Motor Show last week arrived home one night to find the cat
playing with it on the mat.

* * *

It appears that nothing definite has yet been decided as to whether
_The Daily Mail_ will publish a Continental edition of the Sandringham

* * *

The matter having passed out of the hands of D.O.R.A., the Westminster
City Council recommend the abolition of the practice of whistling for
cabs at night. Nothing is said about the custom of making a noise like
a five-shilling tip.

* * *

We shall not be surprised if Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN becomes the
Viceroy of India, says a gossip-writer. We warn our contemporary
against being elated, for it is almost certain that another Chancellor
of the Exchequer would be appointed in his place.

* * *

During the Lord Mayor's Show last week we understand that the LORD
MAYOR'S coachman was accompanied by the LORD MAYOR.

* * *

The licensee of a West Ham public-house has just purchased a parrot
which is trained to imitate the bagpipes. The bird's life will of
course be insured.

* * *

Ireland will have to be careful or she will be made safe for
democracy, like the other countries.

* * *

Upon hearing that Mr. WILLIAM BRACE had accepted a Government
appointment several members of the Labour Party said that this only
confirmed their contention that his moustache would get him into
trouble one day.

* * *

Mrs. STACKPOOL O'DELL warns girls against marrying a man whose head
is flat at the back. The best course is to get one with a round head;
after marriage it can be flattened to taste.

* * *

A man who persistently refused to give any information about himself
was remanded at the Guildhall last week. He is thought to be a British
taxpayer going about _incognito_.

* * *

The cackle of a hen when she lays an egg, says a scientist, is akin to
laughter. And with some of the eggs we have met we can easily guess
what the hen was laughing at.

* * *

The National Collection of Microbes at the Lister Institute now
contains eight hundred different specimens. Visitors are requested not
to tease the germs or go too near their cages.

* * *

A large spot on the sun has been seen by the meteorological experts
at Greenwich Observatory. We understand that it will be allowed to

* * *

Mr. RAYMOND FORSDIK, of Chicago, states that twelve times more murders
are committed in Chicago than in London. But, under Prohibition, Satan
is bound to find mischief for idle hands.

* * *

Canon F. J. Meyrick, of Norwich, is reported to have caught a pike
weighing twenty-five pounds. In view of the angler's profession we
suppose we must believe this one.

* * *

A curate of Bedford Park has had his bicycle stolen from the church,
and as there were a number of people in the congregation it is
difficult to know whom to blame.

* * *

"Shall Onkie Live?" asks a _Daily Mail_ headline. We don't know who he
is, but he certainly has our permission. We cannot, however, answer

* * *

With reference to the complaint that a City man made about his
telephone, we are pleased to say that a great improvement is reported.
The instrument was taken away the other day.

* * *

Discussing the remuneration of Cabinet Ministers a contemporary doubts
whether they get what they deserve. This only goes to prove that we
are a humane race.

* * *

Hatters say that the price of rabbit skins is likely to ruin the
trade. Meanwhile the mere act of getting the skins is apt to ruin the

* * *

"Mine," says General TOWNSHEND, "was a mission which NAPOLEON would
have refused." We doubt, however, if Lord NORTHCLIFFE is to be drawn
like that.

* * *

Dr. E. HALFORD ROSS, of Piccadilly, is of the opinion that coal
contains remarkable healing powers. Quite a number of people
contemplate buying some of the stuff.

* * *

"What does milk usually contain?" asks a weekly paper. We can only say
it wouldn't be fair for us to reply, as we know the answer.

* * * * *

[Illustration: _Small Boy at Tailor's (to father, who seems to be
impressed with "Jazz" tweed_). "I SAY, DAD, GO SLOW. REMEMBER WHO'S

* * * * *

=An Indomitable Spirit.=

"Mr. - - 's tank held only - - Spirit during the whole climb and
not satisfied with climbing _up_ Snowdon Mr. - - then drove down
again." _Motoring Paper_.

* * * * *

"WHY I DIDN'T GO TO THE BAR. By Horatio Bottomley." "_John Bull_"

Perhaps it was after hours.

* * * * *

"This upset Mr. Chesterton, a patriotic, beer-eating
Englishman." - _Sunday Paper_.

We deplore the modern tendency to pry into the details of an author's

* * * * *

"What the word 'Democracy' was intended to mean was that every
man should have to betrTcOshrdluesthafaodfabadofgarfaf." _Local

We have long suspected this.

* * * * *

"MILWAUKEE. - Fourteen cases of whiskey, a large quantity of
brandies, gin and wines were found stored in a bathhouse. It will
be presented to the federal grand jury for action." _Canadian

Not the obvious form of "direct action," we trust.

* * * * *


_A hint of what might be done by following the example of the Press_.

["More than one actor-manager during the past few months has been
searching round frantically in his efforts to find a new play."
_The Times_.]

Oh, have you marked upon the breeze
The wail of hunger which occurs
When starved theatrical lessees
Commune with hollow managers?
"Where is Dramatic Art?" they say;
"Can no one, _no one_, write a play?"

I cannot think why this should be,
This bitter plaint of sudden dearth;
To write a play would seem to me
Almost the easiest thing on earth.
Sometimes I feel that even I
Could do it if I chose to try.

What! can this Art be in its grave
Whose form was lately so rotund,
Whose strength was as a bull's and gave
No sign of being moribund?
I'm sure my facts are right, or how
Do you account for _Chu Chin Chow_?

As for the gods, their judgment shows
No loss of _flair_ for grace or wit;
We see the comic's ruby nose
Reduce to pulp the nightly pit,
Whose patrons, sound in head and heart,
Still love the loftiest type of Art.

Nor should the playwright fail for lack
Of matter, if with curious eyes
He follows in our Pressmen's track,
Who find the source of their supplies
In Life, that ever-flowing font,
And "give the public what they want."

If authors, moving with the times,
Would only feed us, like the Press,
On squalid "mysteries," ugly crimes,
Scandals and all that carrion mess,
I see no solid reason why
Dramatic Art should ever die.

O. S.

* * * * *



If it be urged that a few trifling inaccuracies have crept into the
sketch which is here given of a great statesman's personality I can
only say, "_Humanum est errare_," and "_Homo sum: humani nihil alienum
a me puto_." These two Latin sentences, I find, invariably soothe all
angry passions; you have only to try their effect the next time you
stamp on the foot of a stout man when alighting from an Underground

Of all the present-day politicians, and indeed there are not a few,
upon whose mantelpieces the bust of NAPOLEON BONAPARTE is displayed,
Mr. WINSTON CHURCHILL is probably the most assiduous worshipper at the
great Corsican's shrine. How often has he not entered his sanctum at
the War Office, peering forward with that purposeful dominating look
on his face, and discovered a few specks of dust upon his favourite
effigy. With a quick characteristic motion of the thumb resembling a
stab he rings the bell. A flunkey instantly appears. "Bust that dust,"
says the WAR MINISTER. And then, correcting himself instantly, with a
genial smile, "I should say, Dust that bust."

But NAPOLEON'S is not the only head that adorns Mr. WINSTON
CHURCHILL'S room. On a bookshelf opposite is a model of his own head,
such as one may sometimes see in the shop windows of hatters, and
close beside is a small private hat-making plant, together with an
adequate supply of the hair of the rabbit, the beaver, the vicuna and
similar rodents, and a quantity of shellac. Few days pass in which the
WAR MINISTER does not spend an hour or two at his charming hobby, for,
contrary to the general opinion, he is far from satisfied with the
headgear by which he is so well known, or even with the Sandringham
hat of _The Daily Mail_, and lives always in hopes of modelling the
ideal hat which is destined to immortalise him and be worn by others
for centuries to come. The work of a great statesman lives frequently
in the mindful brain of posterity, less frequently upon it.

Other mementos which adorn this remarkable room at the War Office are
a porcelain pot containing a preserve of Blenheim oranges, a framed
photograph of the Free Trade Hall at Manchester, a map of Mesopotamia
with the outpost lines and sentry groups of the original Garden of
Eden, marked by paper flags, and a number of lion-skin rugs of which
the original occupants were stalked and killed by their owner on his
famous African tour. In his more playful moments the WAR MINISTER has
been known to clothe himself completely in one of these skins and
growl ferociously from behind a palm at an unwelcome intruder.

Of the man himself perhaps the most distinguishing characteristic is
dynamic energy. Whether other people's energy is ever dynamic I do not
know, but undoubtedly Mr. WINSTON CHURCHILL'S is; he dominates, he
quells. He is like one of those people in the papers with zig-zags
sticking out all over them because they have been careful to wear an
electric belt. He exudes force. Sometimes one can almost hear him

As a politician it is true he has not yet tried every office; he
has not, for instance, been Chancellor of the Exchequer, though his
unbounded success in the Duchy of Lancaster amply shows what his
capabilities as a Chancellor are. But as a soldier, a pig-sticker and
a polo-player he is rapidly gaining pre-eminence, and as an author and
journalist his voice is already like a swan's amongst screech-owls.
(I admit that that last bit ought to have been in Latin, but I cannot
remember what the Latin for a screech-owl is. I have an idea that it
increases in the genitive, but quite possibly I may be thinking of

Anyhow, to return to Mr. CHURCHILL'S room: whilst the floor is
littered with volumes that have been sent to him for review, his
desk is equally littered with proofs of essays, sermons, leaders and
leaderettes for the secular and Sunday Press. As a novelist he has
scarcely fulfilled his early promise, but it is on record that he
was once introduced to a stranger from the backwoods, who asked
ignorantly, "Am I speaking to the statesman or the author?"

"Not _or_, but _and_," replied the SECRETARY OF STATE FOR WAR, with a
simple dignity like that of ST. AUGUSTINE.

To poetry he is not greatly attached, preferring to leave this field
of letters to his staff. When asked for his favourite passage of
English verse he has indeed been known to cite a single line from Mr.
HILAIRE BELLOC'S _Modern Traveller_ -

"That marsh, that admirable marsh!"

which is far from being Mr. BELLOC'S most mellifluous effort.

We feel bound to ask what is most likely to be the next outlet for
Mr. CHURCHILL'S ebullient activity. Remembering that bust upon his
mantelpiece it is hard to say. There are some who consider that,
prevented by the sluggishness of our times from the chance of
commanding an army in the field, he may turn his strategic mind at
last to the position of Postmaster-General. If he does there can be no
man better fitted than he to make our telephones hum.


* * * * *

"A. - Comme vous voudrai. - P."

_Agony Column in Daily Paper_.

Taking advantage of "P.'s" kindness we may say that we prefer

* * * * *


Lady - - is surprising everyone with her skill as an angler and a
shot. Last Friday, I am told, she caught two trout weighing 2-3/4
lb. and 3-1/4 lb. And on the same afternoon she got a right and a
left hit at a roebuck with a small four-bore gun!" - _Daily Paper_.

Not caring to believe that she mistook a roebuck for an elephant,
we are glad to note that the epithet "true" is only applied to the
"fishing" part of the story.

* * * * *

[Illustration: =THE ABYSMALISTS.=





* * * * *

[Illustration: _French Visitor_ (_inspecting artificial silk
stockings_). "SOIE?"

_Shopman_ (_formerly of the B.E.F., resourcefully_). "WELL, SCARCELY,

* * * * *



[The following folk-song is believed to be a local (and adult)
version of the ballad which, according to _The Times_, is now
being sung by Communist children in the Glasgow Proletarian
Schools, with the refrain: -

"Class-conscious we are singing,
Class-conscious all are we,
For Labour now is digging
The grave of the Boorzh-waw-ze."

The metre is a bit jumpy, and so are the ideas, but you know what
folk-songs are.]

Look, we are digging a large round hole,
_With a Hey and a Ho and a Hee-haw-hee!_
To put the abominable tyrant in -
The Minister, the Master, the Mandarin;
And never a bloom above shall blow
But scarlet-runners in a row to show
_That this is the grave of the Boorzh-waw-ze,
With a Hi-ti-tiddle-i! ... Honk, honk!_

Who do we put in the large round hole,
_With a Hey and a Ho and a Hee-haw-hee?_
The blackcoat, the parasite, the keeper of the laws,
Who works with his head instead of with his paws;
The doctor, the parson, the pressman, the mayor,
The poet and the barrister, they'll all be there,
_Snug in the grave of the Boorzh-waw-ze,
With a Hi-ti-tiddle-i! ... Honk, honk!_

Dig, dig, dig, it will have to be big,
_With a Hey and a Ho and a Hee-haw-hee!_
One great cavity, and then one more
For the bones of the SECRET'RY OF STATE FOR WAR;
The editor, the clerk and, of course, old THOMAS,
We wring their necks and we fling them from us
_Into the grave of the Boorzh-waw-ze,
With a Hi-ti-tiddle-i! ... Honk, honk!_

Peace and Brotherhood, that's our line,
_With a Hey and a Ho and a Hee-haw-hee!_
But nobody, of course, can co-exist
In the same small planet with a Communist;
Man is a brotherhood, that we know,
And the whole damn family has got to go
_Plomp in the grave of the Boorzh-waw-ze,
With a Hi-ti-tiddle-i! ... Honk, honk!_

Too many people are alive to-day,
_With a Hey and a Ho and a Hee-haw-hee!_
Red already is the Red, Red Sea
With the blood of the brutal Boorzh-waw-ze,
And that's what the rest of the globe will be -
_Believe me!_
We'll stand at last with the Red Flag furled*
In a perfectly void vermilion world
With the citizens (if any) who have _not_ been hurled
_Into the grave of the Boorzh-waw-ze,
With a Hi-ti-tiddle-i ... Honk, honk!_

A. P. H.

[* NOTE. - In the Somerset version the word is
"_un_furled," which makes better sense but scans even worse
than the rest of the song. I have therefore followed the
Gloucestershire tradition.]

* * * * *


"It will have to be a great deal funnier than that before it's funny,"
said George.

This represented the general opinion, though Edna, who has a good
heart, professed to find it diverting already. Unfortunately she has
no sense of humour.

Jerry, the writer, claimed exemption on the ground of being the
writer, though he did not see why his article should not remove
gravity (as they say in _The Wallet of Kai Lung_) from other people
quite as effectually as the silly tosh of A. and B. and C., naming
some brilliant and successful humorists.

The company then resolved itself into a Voluntary Aid Detachment.

When they met again at tea Edna made the suggestion of a sprinkling of

"We've got rather beyond that, I think," said the victim with dignity.

"I'm not so sure," said George cruelly, "that you can afford to
neglect any means. Some people laugh at them even now, in this
twentieth century, in this beautiful England of ours."

"And I can tell you why," broke in Raymond eagerly. He took from his
pocket a well-known Manual of Psychology and whirled over the pages.

"Meanwhile," said George learnedly, "BERGSON may be of some assistance
to you. He knows all about laughter. He analysed it."

"Why couldn't he leave it alone?" said Allegra uneasily.

"He defines laughter," said George, "as 'a kind of social gesture.'"

"It isn't," said Allegra rashly. "At least," she added, "that sort of
thing isn't going to help Jerry. Do give it up."

"Well, then, here's something more practical," said George. "Listen.
'A situation is always comical when it belongs at one and the same
time to two series of absolutely independent events, and can at the
same time be interpreted in two different ways.'"

"I should think," said Edna brightly, "that might be very amusing."

She remarked later that it made it all seem very clear, but even she
showed signs of relief when Raymond interrupted, having found his

"Here we are!" he exclaimed. "The book says that the reason a pun
amuses you - - "

"It doesn't amuse me," said most of the company.

"But it does - it must amuse you. It's all down here in black and
white. Listen. The reason a pun amuses you is as follows: 'It impels
the mind to identify objects quite disconnected. This obstructs the
flow of thought; but this is too transient to give rise to pain, and
the relief which comes with insight into the true state of the case
may be a source of keen pleasure. Mental activity suddenly obstructed
and so heightened is at once set free, and is so much greater than the
occasion demands that - - '"

"And is that why we laugh at things?" said Allegra sadly.

The heavy silence which followed was broken by the voice of Mrs.
Purkis, the charlady, who "comes in to oblige," and was now taking
a short cut to the front gate, under Cook's escort, by way of the
parsley bed. This brought her within earshot of the party, who were
taking tea on the lawn.

When Mrs. Purkis could contain her mirth so as to make herself
understood, her words were these: "I dunno why, but when I see
'im stand like that, staring like a stuck pig, I thought I'd died
a-larf'n. I dunno why, but it made me _larf_ - - "

She passed, like _Pippa_.

"Listen to her," said Allegra in bitter envy. "_She doesn't know

And Allegra burst into tears.

* * * * *

[Illustration: _The Fisherman._ "I SUPPOSE THIS RAIN WILL DO A LOT OF


* * * * *

What's in a Name?

"'A Recital' will be given by Miss H. E. Stutter (the well-known

_Local Paper._

* * * * *


The last time I was at Olympia - as everybody says at the door - it was
a Horse Show. But this time it is much the same. There they stand in
their stalls, the dear, magnificent, patient creatures, with their
glossy coats and their beautiful curves, their sensitive radiators
sniffing for something over the velvet ropes. Panting, I know they
are, to be out in the open again; and yet I fancy they enjoy it all
in a way. It would be ungrateful if they did not; for, after all, the
whole thing has been arranged for them. The whole idea of the Show is
to let the motors inspect the bloaters - and not what you think. (You
don't know what bloaters are? Well, I can't explain without being

All the year round they can study _ad nauseam_ their own individual
bloaters; but this is the only occasion on which they have the whole
world of bloaters paraded in front of them for inspection. Now only
can they compare notes and exchange grievances.

And how closely they study the parade! Here is a pretty limousine, a
blonde; see how she watches the two huge exhibits in front of her.
They are very new bloaters, and one of them - oh, horror! - one of them
is going to buy. He has never bought before; she knows his sort. He
will drive her to death; he may even drive her himself; he will stroke
her lovely coat in a familiar, proprietary fashion; he will show her
off unceasingly to other bloaters till she is hot all over and the
water boils in her radiator. He will hold forth with a horrible
intimacy and a yet more horrible ignorance on the most private secrets
of her inner life. Not one throb of her young cylinders will be
sacred, yet never will he understand her as she would like to be
understood. He will mess her with his muddy boots; he will scratch her
paint; he will drop tobacco-ash all over her cushions - not from pipes;
cigars only....

There - he has bought her. It is a tragedy. Let us move on.

Here is a little _coupé_ - a smart young creature with a nice blue
coat, fond of town, I should say, but quite at home in the country.
She also is inspecting two bloaters. But these two are very shy. In
fact they are not really bloaters at all; they are rather a pair of
nice-mannered fresh herrings, not long mated. The male had something
to do with that war, I should think; the _coupé_ would help him a good
deal. The lady likes her because she is dark-blue. The other one likes
her because of something to do with her works; but he is very reverent
and tactful about it. He seems to know that he is being scrutinised,
for he is nervous, and scarcely dares to speak about her to the groom
in the top-hat. He will drive her himself; he will look after her
himself; he will know all about her, all about her moods and fancies
and secret failings; he will humour and coax her, and she will serve
him very nobly.

Already, you see, they have given her a name - "Jane," I think they
said; they will creep off into the country with her when the summer
comes, all by themselves; they will plunge into the middle of thick
forests and sit down happily in the shade at midday and look at her;
and she will love them.

But the question is - - Ah, they are shaking their heads; they are
edging away. She is too much. They look back sadly as they go. Another

Now I am going to be a bloater myself. Here is a jolly one, though her
stable-name is much too long. She is a Saloon-de-Luxe, and she
only costs £2,125 (why 5, I wonder - why not 6?) I can run to that,
_surely_. At any rate I can climb up and sit down on her cushions;
none of the grooms is looking. Dark-blue, I see, like Jane. That is
the sort of car I love. I am like the lady herring; I don't approve
of all this talk about the _insides_ of things; it seems to me to be
rather indecent - unless, of course, you do it very nicely, like that
young herring. When you go and look at a horse you don't ask how its
sweetbread is arranged, or what is the principle of its liver. Then
why should you...?

Well, here we are, and very comfortable too. But why does none of
these cars have any means of communication between the owner and
the man next to the chauffeur? There is always a telephone to the

1 3 4

Online LibraryVariousPunch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 159, 1920-11-17 → online text (page 1 of 4)