Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 159, December 8, 1920 online

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VOL. 156.

December 8, 1920


LORD RIDDELL, in giving his impression of President WILSON, says that
his trousers and boots were not in keeping with the smartness of
his appearance above the table. This is where the trained habits of
journalistic observation come in.

* * *

In answer to many inquiries we are unable to obtain confirmation of a
rumour that Mr. CHARLIE CHAPLIN'S contemplated retirement is connected
with an invitation from Mr. HORATIO BOTTOMLEY to enter the arena of
British politics.

* * *

According to an evening paper the lady who has just become Duchess of
Westminster has "one son, a boy." On the other hand the DUKE himself
has two daughters, both girls.

* * *

Over two million Chinese pigtails have been imported into the United
States, where they will be used for straining soup, declares a
Washington correspondent. The wartime curtailment of the moustache, it
appears, has done away with the old custom of straining the soup after
it comes to table.

* * *

A police magistrate of Louisville, Kentucky, has been called upon to
decide whether a man may marry his divorced wife's mother. In our view
the real question is whether, with a view to securing the sanctity of
the marriage tie, it should not be made compulsory.

* * *

"This morning," says a recent issue of a Dublin paper, "police visited
_Young Ireland_ office and placed arretssssshrrr rr rr r h bfad mb shs
under arrest." Suspicion was apparently aroused by his giving his name
in the Erse tongue.

* * *

Enormous damage, says a cable, has been done by a water-spout which
struck Tangier, Morocco, on Saturday. We note with satisfaction, on
the other hand, that the water-spout which recently struck Scotland
had no ill effects.

* * *

Every hotel in London taken over by the Government has now been given
up. The idea of keeping one as a memento was suggested, but Sir ALFRED
MOND decided to throw in his hand.

* * *

Asked his profession last week a man is reported to have answered,
"_Daily Mail_ Reader."

* * *

While a fire was being extinguished at Boston, Mass., recently the
hose burst into flames. A country where that sort of thing occurs can
afford to take Prohibition lying down.

* * *

A Constantinople message states that a Turk named ZORN MEHMED is one
hundred and forty-six years of age. This is said to be due to the fact
that for the last century or so he has kept a pet thyroid which he
takes about on a chain.

* * *

We have no wish to cast any reflection on the courage of the
Prohibitionists, but we can draw our own conclusions from the fact
that we haven't noticed them rushing to Ireland.

* * *

A Denver newspaper points out that the "Wild West bandit" has died
out. Our own impression was that he had got a job as a waiter in

* * *

Things are settling down in America. A news report states that WILLARD
MACK, the actor, has only been divorced three times.

* * *

"We have an innate modesty about advertising ourselves," said Sir
ROBERT HORNE at the International Advertising Exhibition. A certain
colleague of his in the Ministry is reported to have said that Sir
ROBERT can speak for himself in future.

* * *

We understand that the idea of producing a filmed version of Mrs.
ASQUITH'S Diary has been shelved for the present, owing to the
difficulty of procuring actors for the more dangerously acrobatic

* * *

An old lady writes to us with reference to wild-cat taxation that
she has always advocated it, but that she has understood that the
difficulty was to determine the ownership of these unfortunate

* * *

The new houses when ready, says a North of England Town Clerk, will
only be let to those people who are married. We have felt all along
that there was some catch about Dr. ADDISON'S housing scheme.

* * *

To a discreditable alien source has been traced the scandalous rumour
that the disappearance of the summit of Mont Blanc is due to certain
admirers of Mr. LLOYD GEORGE, who wished to present their hero with
something in the nature of a permanent peroration.

* * *

As a partial remedy for the overcrowding at Oxford, it is suggested
that the University should come into line with Battersea by making a
rule that lost causes will not be kept longer than three days before
being destroyed.

* * *

"I was the anonymous person who walked down Harley Street and counted
the number of open windows," confesses Sir ST. CLAIR THOMSON, M.D. So
now we can concentrate on JUNIUS and the Man in the Iron Mask.

* * *
Motorists are becoming much more polite, we read. They now catch
pedestrians sideways, instead of full on.

* * *

According to an official of the R.S.P.C.A., as _Punch_ informed us
last week, dogs do not possess suicidal tendencies. Yet the other day
we saw an over-fed poodle deliberately loitering outside a sausage

* * *

"The number of curates who seem to be able to find plenty of time
for golf is most surprising," writes a correspondent. We suppose the
majority of them employ vicars.

* * *

Spanish toreadors are on strike for a higher wage. There is talk, we
understand, of a six bull week.

* * * * *


* * * * *


(_Being reflections on the pre-press period._)

[In _The Times_ of December 2nd Lord NORTHCLIFFE traces the
history of the English Press from the appearance of the first
newspaper uttered in English - "A Corrant out of Germany,"
imprinted at Amsterdam, December 2nd, 1620 - and finds some
difficulty in understanding how civilisation got on as well as it
did through all those preceding centuries.]

To-day (December 2) we keep, with cheers,
The Tercentenary of the Press!
Probing the darkness of the previous years
I try, but try in vain, to guess
How anybody lived before the birth
Of this the Very Greatest Thing on Earth.

You'd say it must have been a savage life.
Men were content to eat and drink
And spend the intervals in carnal strife
With none to teach them how to think;
They had no Vision and their minds were dense,
Largely for lack of True "Intelligence."

When a volcano burst or floods occurred
No correspondent flashed the news;
It came by rumour or a little bird,
Devoid of editorial views;
No leader let them know to what extent
The blame should lie upon the Government.

And yet, when no one knew in those dumb days
Exactly what was going on,
Without reporters they contrived to raise
The Pyramids and Parthenon;
CONFUCIUS preached the Truth, and so did PAUL,
Though neither of them got in print at all.

It sounds incredible that, when in Greece
The poets sang to lyre or pipe,
When HOMER (say) threw off his little piece,
Nobody put the thing in type;
Even in days less barbarously rude
VIRGIL, it seems, was never interviewed.

And how did DANTE manage to indite
His admirable tale of Hell,
Or BUONARROTI sculp his sombre "Night"
Without the kodak's magic spell -
No Press-photographer, a dream of tact,
To snap the artist in the very act?

Poor primitives, who groped amid the gloom
And perished ere the dawn of day,
Ere yet Publicity, with piercing boom,
Had shown the world a better way;
Before the age - so good for him that climbs -
Now culminating in the NORTHCLIFFE times.

O. S.

* * * * *

How to Brighten the Weather Forecasts.

"Mild and hazy conditions with increasing haze and cloudiness for
an unfavourable change in the weather of heliotrope georgette over
pale blue." - _New Zealand Paper._

We commend this to our own Meteorological Office.

* * * * *

Of the Bishop-designate of Manchester: -

"Head master of an important public school while yet in his teens
... a permanent figure in social and religious movements ... the
author of 'Men's Creatrix.'" - _Provincial Paper._

We knew Canon TEMPLE had had a remarkable career, but confess that
these details had hitherto escaped us.

* * * * *


Further and final particulars of the drawings from the Lucky Bag at
the Purple City are replete with illustrations of the extraordinary
congruity between the prizes and the age, sex and station of the

Mrs. Sarah Boakes, who received the colossal equestrian bronze statue
of Lord THANET, weighing three hundred tons and valued at five
thousand guineas, told our representative that the idea of getting one
of the big prizes never entered into her head, and added, "I did not
sleep a wink last night; the statue was in my mind the whole time."
Mrs. Boakes, an attractive elderly lady of some seventy-five summers,
is engaged at a laundry at East Putney. The haulage of the statue to
her home at 129, Arabella Road, S.W. 15, is likely to be a costly
affair; but Mrs. Boakes has made an application for a grant-in-aid to
the Ministry of Health and has received a sympathetic reply from Dr.
ADDISON. The cost of reconstructing her house to enable the statue to
be set up in her parlour is estimated at about £4,500.

Mr. Jolyon Forsyth, who won the African elephant, is a stoker on the
South Western Railway and lives at Worplesdon. He applied to the
Company for a day's leave in order to ride his prize home; but his
request was most unwarrantably refused, and the matter is receiving
the earnest attention of the N.U.R. Mr. Forsyth informed our
representative that his wife keeps a small poultry run, and hopes that
she will be able to make room for the new visitor without seriously
incommoding her fowls. Failing that, he thinks that employment may be
found for the elephant on the Worplesdon Links, either in rolling the
greens or irrigating them with its trunk. The claims of the animal to
an unemployment allowance are being considered by Dr. MACNAMARA.

Gladys Gilkes, a bright-eyed child of six, living with her parents
at 345, Beaverbrook Avenue, Harringay, who received a Sandringham
opera-hat, is enduring her felicity with fortitude. "I have never been
to the opera yet," she naïvely remarked to our representative, "but my
brother Bert plays beautifully on the concertina."

Great interest has been excited in the neighbourhood of Tulse Hill
by the success of Mr. Enoch Pegler, the winner of the three-manual
electric cathedral organ with sixty-four stops, the most sonorous
instrument of its type yet constructed by Messrs. Waghorn and Fogg,
the famous organ-builders of Penge. A special piquancy is lent to the
episode by the fact that Mr. Pegler, who is seventy-nine years of age
and has long been a martyr to rheumatoid arthritis in both hands,
belongs to the sect of the Silentiary Tolstoyans, who discountenance
all music, whether sacred or profane. Mr. Pegler, it should be
explained, authorised his grandniece, Miss Hester Wigglesworth, to put
in for the Lucky Bag in his name, but, on the advice of the family
physician, Dr. Parry Gorwick, the result has not yet been broken to
him. Meanwhile, thanks to the tactful intervention of Sir ERIC GEDDES,
the instrument has been temporarily housed in the Zoological Gardens,
where daily recitals are given at meal-times by Dr. CHALMERS MITCHELL
and other powerful executants. Unfortunately the organ was not yet
installed at the time of the recent encounter between a lion and a
tigress, otherwise the fatality would, in the opinion of Sir FREDERICK
BRIDGE, have almost certainly been avoided.

* * * * *

When that my Judith sticks her slender nose
In things whereon a lass doth ill to trench,
An ever-widening breach my fancy shows,
For this is but the thin end of the wench.

* * * * *

[Illustration: LABOR OMNIA VINCIT.


_HENRY V._, I. i. 46.]

[Illustration: _The Girl._ "I DON'T THINK YOUR FRIEND CAN BE MUCH





I cannot help it, but this article has got to begin with a short
historical disquisition. Many people are puzzled to know why Lord HUGH
CECIL wears that worried look, and why Lord ROBERT also looks so
sad. Yet the explanation is simple enough. It is because nobody can
pronounce their surname. "Cessil," says the man in the street (and
being in a street is a thing that may happen to anybody) as he sees
the gaunt careworn figures going by. And when they hear it the
sensitive ear of the CECILS is wrung with torture at the sound. They
wince. They would like to buttonhole the man in the street and explain
to him, like the _Ancient Mariner_, all about David Cyssell, the
founder of their line. David Cyssell, it seems, though he didn't quite
catch the Norman Conquest and missed the Crusades, and was a little
bit late for the Wars of the Roses, was nicely in time to get a place
in the train of HENRY VIII., which was quite early enough for a young
man who firmly intended to be an ancestor. When he died his last words
were, "Rule England, my boys, but never never, never let the people
call you 'Cessil,'" and his sons obeyed him dutifully by becoming
Earls and Marquises and all that kind of thing, so that the trouble
did not arise.

But, of course, if you don't happen to be the eldest son, the danger
is still there. And it is this danger which has led Lord HUGH CECIL
to withdraw himself more and more into the company of ecclesiastical
dignitaries, who are accustomed to pronounce quite hard words, like
_chrysoprasus_ and _Abednego_ without turning a hair, if they have
one, and Lord ROBERT CECIL to confine his attention to the League of
Nations, where all the people are foreigners and much too ignorant to
pronounce any English name at all.

Personally I hold that, if it were not for this trouble about hearing
their name said all wrong by people on omnibuses and even shouted
all wrong by newspaper sellers, one of the CECILS might become Prime
Minister some day. As it is they wear a look of sorrowful martyrdom,
as if they were perfectly ready for the nearest stake; and this look,
combined with their peculiar surname, has caused them to be not
in-aptly known as _The Sizzles_. How very much better would it have
been, my dear reader, if their great ancestor had been simply called
"David," so that they could have had a sunny smile and not so many

It is customary in speaking of the Sizzles to include some mention of
their more famous relative, Mr. ARTHUR BALFOUR. Very well, then.


Born in 1873 the future Vice-President of the Sheffield Chamber of
Commerce, Master Cutler and Chairman of the High-Speed Alloys Company,
Limited, Widnes - -

[_Editor._ What the deuce are you talking about?

_Author._ I like that. It comes straight out of _What's Which?_

_Editor._ Well, you must have got the wrong page.

_Author._ Why, you don't mean to say there are two ARTHUR BALFOURS,
do you?

_Editor._ I do.

_Author._ Aren't you thinking of the two WINSTON CHURCHILLS?

_Editor._ No, I'm not.

_Author._ Well, perhaps I'd better begin again.


Born, as one might say, with a silver niblick in his mouth and
possessed of phenomenal intellectual attainments, Mr. ARTHUR BALFOUR
(the one on the other page) was not long in settling down to his main
life-work, which has been the laying out of University golf curricula.

[Is that better? - _Editor._ Much.]

In spite of this preoccupation he has found time for a remarkable
number of hobbies, such as politics, music and the study of
refrigerating machines, though the effect of all these various
activities is sometimes a little confusing for those with whom he
works. When consulted on a burning topic of the hour he may, for
instance, be on the point of inventing a new type of ice-bucket, so
that the interviewer is forced to go out quickly and fetch his fur
overcoat before he can talk in comfort. Or he may be playing, like
_Sherlock Holmes_, on his violin, and say, "Just wait till I've
finished this sonata." And by the time it's finished the bother about
Persia or Free Trade is quite forgotten. Or, again, Mr. BALFOUR may be
closeted with Professor VARDON, Doctor RAY or Vice-Chancellor MITCHELL
at the very moment when the Nicaraguan envoy is clamouring at the

It is for this reason that Mr. ARTHUR BALFOUR has sometimes been
called Mr. Arthur Baffler. Puzzling, however, though he may be in many
of his political manifestations, his writings are like a beacon in the
gloom, and some day these simple chatty little booklets will surely
gain the wide public which they deserve. "The Foundation of Bunkers,"
"A Defence of Philosophic Divots" and "Wood-wind and Brassies" should
be read by all who are interested in _belles lettres_. And his latest
volume of essays deals, I believe, with subjects so widely diverse and
yet so enthralling as "Booty and the Criticism of Booty," "Trotsky's
View of Russian World Policy," "Quizzical Research" and "The Freedom
of the Tees."

The real pity is that with all his many and wonderful gifts Mr. ARTHUR
BALFOUR has never felt the fiery enthusiasm of his Hatfield cousins.
He remains, in fact, a salamander among the Sizzles.


* * * * *

[Illustration: _Retired Dealer in Pork._ "HOW MUCH DO YOU WANT FOR

_Artist._ "FIFTY POUNDS."


* * * * *


[A writer in _The Athenæum_, discussing modern songs, observes
that in the happy days of the eighteenth century "even the vulgar
could not achieve vulgarity; to-day vulgarity is in the air, and
only the strongest and most fastidious escape its taint." The
accompanying lines are submitted as a modest protest against this
sadly undemocratic and obscurantist doctrine.]

In days of old, when writers bold
Betrayed the least disparity
Between their genius and an age
When frankness was a rarity,
An odious word was often heard
From critics void of charity,
Simplicity or clarity,
Or vision or hilarity,
Who used to slate or deprecate
The vices of vulgarity.

But now disdain is wholly slain
By wide familiarity
Which links the unit with his age
In massive solidarity;
No more the word is used or heard,
No, no, we call it charity,
Simplicity or clarity,
Or vision or hilarity,
But never slate or deprecate
The virtues of vulgarity.

* * * * *

=An Object Lesson.=

"Nothing is so suggestive of a faulty education than a lack of
grammar." - _Fiji Paper._

"The Vicar was born in Ireland, and lived there many years, and
the problems of the Irish are no difficulty to him."

_New Zealand Paper._

That's the man we want over here.

* * * * *


Unrehearsed dramatic dialogue comes quite easily to some people, and
so does a knowledge of the ways of the fairy world, but I am not one
of those people. Also I was supposed to have a headache that afternoon
and to be recovering from a severe cold. Also I was reading a very
exciting book. I cannot help thinking therefore that the fairy
Bluebell was taking a mean advantage of my numerous disabilities in
appearing at all. She rattled the handle of the door a long time, and
when I had opened it came in by a series of little skips on her toes,
accompanied by wagglings of the arms rather in the fashion of a
penguin. Every now and then she gave a slightly higher jump and
descended flatly and rather noisily on her feet. She wore a new frock,
with frills.

_I._ What are you doing, Priscilla?

_She._ I'm the Fairy Bluebell dancing. Don't you like my dancing?

_I._ It's beautiful.

_She_ (_rapidly_). And you were a very poor old man who had a lot of
nasty work to do and you were asleep.

_I_ (_feeling it might have been much worse and composing myself to
slumber in my chair_). Honk!

_She_ (_pinching my ear and pulling it very hard_). And you woke up
and said, "I do believe there's a dear little fairy dancing."

_I_ (_emerging from repose_). Why, I do believe I heard a fairy
dancing, or (_vindictively_) can it have been another ton of coal
coming in?

_She_ (_disregarding my malice_). And you said, "Alack, alack! I do
want somefing to eat."

_I._ Alack, alack! I _am_ so hungry.

_She_ (_fetching a large cushion from the sofa and putting it on the
top of me_). Lumpetty, lumpetty, lumpetty.

_I._ What's that, Priscilla?

_She._ Bitatoes pouring out of a sack. (_Fetches another cushion and
puts it on the top of the first._) Lumpetty, lumpetty, lumpetty.

_I._ And this?

_She_ (_opening her eyes very wide_). Red plums. (_Fetches another
cushion._) Limpetty, limpetty, limpetty.

_I._ What's that?

_She._ Lovely honey.

_I_ (_affecting to simulate the natural gratification of a poor old
man suddenly smothered in vegetables, fruit and liquid preserve_). How
perfectly delicious!

_She._ And you want to go to sleep again. [_I go._

_She_ (_pulling my ear again_). And you sawed a dragon coming up the
drive, and the sofa was the dragon.

_I._ Alack, alack! I see a dragon coming up the drive. What shall I
do? I must telephone to the police.

_She_ (_quickly_). Did the police have a tuncheon?

_I._ Yes, he did.

_She._ Shall I be the police?

_I_ (_cautiously, because a "tuncheon" necessitates making a long
paper roll out of "The Times"_). I am afraid the telephone had broken
down, so the police didn't hear. How I wish the Fairy Bluebell was

_She._ And so the Fairy Bluebell came and cut off the dragon's head
and gave it to you.

[_Fetches a fourth large cushion and adds it to the pile._

_I._ But why should I have the dragon's head?

_She_ (_enigmatically_). You had to have it.

[_The poor old man resigns himself to his increasingly glutinous

_She_ (_fetching a waste-paper basket and returning to the sofa_).
Limpetty, limpetty, limpetty.

_I_ (_faint but inquisitive_). Whatever are you doing now, Priscilla?

_She._ Poisoning the dragon's body.

_I._ Poisoning it?

_She._ Yes, wiv a can.

_I._ How?

_She._ Down its neck.

_I_ (_feeling that the immediate peril from the dragon's assault is
now practically over and wishing to return the fairy's kindness_).
Shall we pretend that the sofa is where the Fairy Bluebell lived, and
I built her a little home with flowers, and these cushions were the
flowers, and (_rather basely_) she went to sleep in it?

_She_ (_with sparkling eyes_). Yes, yes.

[_I remove the potatoes, the plums, the honey and the head of the
dragon and manufacture a grotto in which the Fairy Bluebell reclines
with closed eyes. It appears to be a suitable moment for returning to
my book._

_She._ And suddenly the Fairy Bluebell woke up, and what do you think
she wanted?

_I_ (_disillusioned_). I can't think.

_She._ She wanted to be readen to.

_I_ (_resignedly_). And what did I do?

_She._ You said, "I'll read about Tom and the otter."

_I_ (_hopefully_). I don't know where it is.

_She._ I think it's in the dining-room, and the Fairy Bluebell
couldn't get it herself because she was only a _little_ girl really.

As I say, there are a lot of people, and many of them, doubtless,
readers of this paper, who understand all about fairies. I want to ask
them, as one poor old hard-worked man to another, whether this is
the proper way for a fairy to behave. There seems to be a lack of
delicacy - and shall I say shyness? - about it.


* * * * *

[Illustration: _Mrs. McNicol._ "FOUND A POUN' NOTE IN THE STREET,

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Online LibraryVariousPunch, or the London Charivari, Volume 159, December 8, 1920 → online text (page 1 of 4)