Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 152, February 14, 1917 online

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VOL. 152.

February 14th, 1917.


"We will hold up wheat, we will hold up meat, we will hold up
munitions of war and we will hold up the world's commerce," says Herr
BALLIN. Meanwhile his countrymen on the Western front are content to
hold up their hands.


It is reported from German Headquarters that the KAISER intends to
confer on Count BERNSTORFF the Iron Cross with white ribbon. This has,
we understand, caused consternation in official circles, where it is
felt that after all the Count has done his best for Germany.


"We are at war," says the _Berliner Tageblatt_, a statement which only
goes to prove that there is nothing hidden from the great minds of


The report that Mr. HENRY FORD has offered to place his works at the
disposal of the American authorities seems to indicate that he is
determined to get America on his side, one way or the other.


Mr. S.F. EDGE, the famous motorist, now on the FOOD CONTROLLER'S
staff, has given it as his opinion that a simple outdoor life is best
for pigs. We are ashamed to say that our own preference for excluding
them from our drawing-room has hitherto been dictated by purely
selfish motives.


America is making every preparation for a possible war, and Mexico,
not to be outdone, has decided to hold a Presidential election.


It is true that Mr. GEORGE BERNARD SHAW has visited the Front, but too
little has, we think, been made of the fact that he wore khaki - just
like an ordinary person, in fact.


A sensational story reaches us to the effect that a new journalistic
enterprise in Berlin is being devoted to the "reliable reporting of
news." We have always maintained that to be successful in business you
must strike out on original lines.


An exhibition of Zeppelin wreckage has been opened in the Middle
Temple Gardens. The authorities are said to be considering an offer
confidentially communicated to them by the German Government to add
Count ZEPPELIN as an exhibit to the rest of the wreckage.


Members of the Honor Oak Golf Club are starting a piggery on their
course, and an elderly golfer who practises on a common near London is
about to write to _The Spectator_ to state that on Saturday he started
a rabbit.


The American Association for the Advance of Science decided at a
recent convocation that the ape had descended from man. This statement
has evoked a very strong protest in monkey circles.


The tuck-shops of Harrow have been loyally placed out of bounds by
the boys themselves, though of course these establishments, like the
playing fields of Eton, had their part in the winning of Waterloo.


One of our large restaurants is printing on its menus the actual
weight of meat used in each dish. In others, fish is being put on the
table accompanied by its own scales.


We are requested to carry home our own purchases, and one of the
firms for whom we feel sorry is Messrs. FURNESS, WITHY & COMPANY, of
Liverpool, who have just purchased Passage Docks, Cork.


Australia by organising her Commonwealth Loan Group, once again lives
up to her motto, "Advance, Australia."


The Coroner of East Essex having set the example of keeping pigs in
his rose garden, it is rumoured that _The Daily Mail_ contemplates
offering a huge prize for a Standard Rose-Scented Pig.


To be in line with many of our contemporaries we are able to state
definitely that the War is bound to come to an end, though we have not
yet fixed on the exact date.

* * * * *



_Spinster_ (_reads_). "Dearest, meet me by the scarecrow in Hyde

* * * * *


When I grow up to be a man and wear whate'er I please,
Black-cloth and serge and Harris-tweed - I will have none of these;
For shaggy men wear Harris-tweed, so Harris-tweed won't do,
And fat commercial travellers are dressed in dingy blue;
Lack-lustre black to lawyers leave and sad souls in the City,
But I'll wear Linsey-Woolsey because it sounds so pretty.
I don't know what it looks like,
I don't know how it feels,
But Linsey-Woolsey to my fancy
Prettily appeals.

And when I find a lovely maid to settle all my cash on,
She will be much too beautiful to need the gauds of fashion.
No tinted tulle or taffeta, no silk or crêpe-de-chine
Will the maiden of my fancy wear - no chiffon, no sateen,
No muslin, no embroidery, no lace of costly price,
But she'll be clad in Dimity because it sounds so nice.
I don't know what it looks like,
I do not know its feel,
But a dimpled maid in Dimity
Was ever my ideal.

* * * * *


"To-day is one of the great moments of history. Germany's last
card is on the table. It is war to the knife. Either she starves
Great Britain or Great Britain starves her."

_Mr. Curtin in "The Times."_

Mr. CURTIN has lost a great chance for talking of "War to the
knife-and-fork." Possibly he was away in Germany at the time when this
_jeu d'esprit_ was invented.

* * * * *

"The Canadian papers are unanimous that the German peace proposals
are premature, and will be refused saskatoon."

_Examiner_ (_Launceston, Tasmania_).

We had not heard before that Germany had asked for Saskatoon, but
anyway we are glad she is not going to get it.

* * * * *

From a schoolgirl's essay: -

"The Reconnaissance was the time when people began to wake up ...
Friar Jelicoe was a very great painter; he painted angles."

Probably an ancestor of the gallant gentleman who recently had a brush
with the enemy.

* * * * *


Were I a burglar in the dock
With every chance of doing time,
With Justice sitting like a rock
To hear a record black with crime;
If my conviction seemed a cert,
Yet, by a show of late repentance,
I thought I might, with luck, avert
A simply crushing sentence; -

I should adopt, by use of art,
A pensive air of new-born grace,
In hope to melt the Bench's heart
And mollify its awful face;
I should not go and run amok,
Nor in a fit of senseless fury
Punch the judicial nose or chuck
An inkpot at the jury.

So with the Hun: you might assume
He would exert his homely wits
To mitigate the heavy doom
That else would break him all to bits;
Yet he behaves as one possessed,
Rampaging like a bull of Bashan,
Which, as I think, is not the best
Means of conciliation.

For when the wild beast, held and bound,
Ceases to plunge and rave and snort,
The Bench, I hope, will pass some sound
Remarks on this contempt of court;
The plea for mercy, urged too late,
Should prove a negligible cipher,
And when the sentence seals his fate
He'll get at least a lifer.


* * * * *


(_The KAISER and Count BERNSTORFF._)

_The Kaiser_ (_concluding a tirade_). And so, in spite of my
superhuman forbearance, this is what it has come to. Germany is
smacked in the face in view of the whole world - yes, I repeat it, is
smacked in the face, and by a nation which is not a nation at all, but
a sweeping together of the worst elements in all the other nations,
a country whose navy is ludicrous and whose army does not exist; and
you, Count, have the audacity to come here into my presence and tell
me that, with the careful instructions given to you by my Government
and by myself, you were not able to prevent such an end to the
negotiations? It is a thing that cannot be calmly contemplated. Even
I, who have learnt perhaps more thoroughly than other men to govern my
temper - even I feel strangely moved, for I know how deplorable will be
the effect of this on our Allies and on the other neutral Powers.
Our enemies, too, will be exalted by it and thus the War will be
prolonged. No, Count, at such a moment one does not appear before
one's Emperor with a smiling face.

_Count B._ God knows, your Majesty, that it is not I who have a
smiling face. At such a moment there could be no reason for it. But
your Majesty will remember, in justice to myself, that I have not
ceased to warn your Majesty from the very beginning that unless
something actual and definite was conceded to the feeling of the
United States trouble would surely come. First there was the treatment
of Belgium -

_The Kaiser_. Bah! Don't talk to me of Belgium and the Belgians. No
more ungrateful race has ever infested the earth. Besides, did I not
say that my heart bled for Louvain?

_Count B._ The Americans, your Majesty, had the bad taste not to
believe you. It was in vain that I spread those gracious words of
yours broadcast throughout the land. They only laughed at your

_The Kaiser_. Yes, I know they did, curse them.

_Count B._ Then there came the deplorable sinking of the _Lusitania_.

_The Kaiser_. Oh, don't speak to me of the _Lusitania_. I'm sick to
death of the very name. Besides, how do you dare to call her sinking
deplorable? I authorised it; that ought to be enough for you and for
everybody else.

_Count B._ I beg your Majesty's pardon. When I said "deplorable" I was
alluding not so much to the act itself as to its effect on opinion in
the United States. From that moment the Americans stiffened in their
attitude towards us and became definitely and strongly unfavourable.
I warned your Majesty of this over and over again, but your Majesty
preferred to disregard what I said.

_The Kaiser_. And have you any complaint to make? Is your opinion of
yourself so high that one may not without sacrilege disregard your

_Count B._ Your Majesty is pleased to jest. I am not infallible, not
being an Emperor, but I happen in this case to have been right. And
then on the top of all the other things comes the Note announcing the
new under-sea policy, and the ridiculous offer to allow the Americans
to be safe in one ship a week, provided she is painted in a certain
way. No, really, with a proud nation -

_The Kaiser_. Proud! A race of huckstering money-grubbers.

_Count B._ With a proud nation - I must repeat it, your Majesty - such
a course must lead straight to war. But perhaps that was what your
advisers wanted, though I cannot see why they should want it. But for
myself I must ask your Majesty to remember that I foretold what has
come to pass. There is perhaps yet time to undo the mischief.

_The Kaiser_. No, it is too late.

* * * * *


The General Officer Commanding, as he appears to:

(1) _His Chief of Staff_. - The one insuperable obstacle to tactical
triumphs such as CÆSAR and NAPOLEON never knew.

(2) _His youngest A.D.C._ - A perpetual fountain of unsterilized

(3) _Certain Subalterns_. - The greatest man on earth.

(4) _Tommy Atkins_. - A benevolent old buffer in scarlet and gold who
periodically takes an inexplicable interest in Tommy's belt and brass
buttons. An excuse for his sergeant's making him present arms.

(5) _The British Public_. - A name in the newspapers.

(6) _Himself_. - (_a_) Before dinner: An unfortunate, overworked and
ill-used old man. (_b_) After dinner: England's hope and Sir WILLIAM
ROBERTSON'S right hand.

(7) _His Wife_. - A very lovable, but helpless, baby.

* * * * *

From an Indian teacher's report on the progress of his school: -

"A sad experience. Spirits for a time were very high. Our menials
talked of exploits and masters of glory in store. But soon the
famines set in. The treachery of the elements ravished the hopes
of agriculturists, the major portion of the supporters of the - -
school. The puffs of misery bleached white the flush of early and
latter times; dinner-hours grew few and far between; and with the
Sun of Loaf sank all wakefulness to light and culture."

This last feature sounds a little like Berlin.

* * * * *

[Illustration: RATIONAL SERVICE.


* * * * *


* * * * *


(_Being a tragedy of the moment and incidentally a guide to the art of
handing out correspondence to the typist._)


There are, of course, as many styles of dictating letters as there
are of writing them; but three stand out. One is the Indignant
Confidential; one the Hesitant Tactful; and one the No-Nonsense
Efficient. Bitter experience in three orderly London houses only a day
or so ago chances to have led to such complete examples of each of
these styles that the reader has the felicity of acquiring at the same
time a valuable insight into business methods and a glimpse of what
Nature in the person of Jack Frost can do with even the best regulated
of cities.

We will take first the Hesitant Tactful, where the typist is not
merely considered as a human being but invited to become an ally. The
dictator is Mr. Vernon Crombie.

"Oh, Miss Carruthers, there's a letter I want to dictate and get off
by hand at once, because my house isn't fit to live in through burst
pipes. The plumbers promised to send yesterday, but didn't, and to-day
they can't come, it seems, and really it's most serious. Ceilings
being ruined, you know. The bore is that there aren't any other
plumbers that I know of, and one is so at the mercy of these people
that we must go very delicately. You understand. We mustn't say a word
to set their backs up any higher than they already are. Anger's no
good in this case. Here we must be tactful, and I want you to help me.
I knew you would.

Now we'll begin. _To Messrs. Morrow & Hope. Dear Sirs, - I hate_ - no,
that's a little too strong, perhaps - _I much dislike_ - that's
better - _I much dislike to bother you at a time when I know you must
be overworked in every direction_ - you see the idea, don't you? What
we've got to do is to get on their soft side. It's no use bullyragging
them; understanding their difficulties is much better. You see that,
don't you? Of course; I knew you would. Now then. Where was I?
Oh yes - _overworked in every direction; but if, as you promised
yesterday, but unfortunately were unable_ - I think that's good, don't
you? Much better than saying that they had broken their promise - _to
manage, you could spare a man to attend to our pipes without further
delay_ - I think you might underline _without further delay_. Would
that be safe, I wonder? Yes, I think so - _I should be more than
grateful._ And now there's a problem. What I have been pondering is if
it would be wise to offer to pay an increased charge. I'd do anything
to get the pipes mended, but, on the other hand, it's not a sound
precedent. A state of society in which everyone bid against everyone
else for the first services of the plumber would be unbearable. Only
the rich would ever be plumbed, and very soon the plumbers would be
the millionaires. Perhaps we had better let the letter go as it is?
You think so and I think so. Very well then, just _Believe me, yours
faithfully_, and I'll sign it."

And now the Indignant and Confidential. Mr. Horace Bristowe is
dictative: "Ah, here you are, Miss Tappit. Now I've got trouble with
the plumbers, and I want to give the blighters - well, I can't say it
to you, but you know what I mean. There's my house dripping at every
pore, or rather pouring at every drip - I say, that's rather good; I
must remember that to tell them this evening. Just put that down on a
separate piece of paper, will you. Well, here's the place all soaked
and not a man can I get. They promised to send on Tuesday, they
promised to send yesterday, and this morning comes a note saying that
they can't now send till to-morrow. What do you think of that? And
they have worked for me for years. Years I've been employing them.

"Let's begin, anyway. _To Messrs. Tarry & Knott. Dear Sirs_ - No, I'm
hanged if I'll call them dear. Ridiculous convention! They're not
dear - except in their charges. I say, that's not bad. No, just put
_Gentlemen_. But that's absurd too. They're not gentlemen, the swine!
They're anything but gentlemen, they're blackguards, swindlers, liars.
Seriously, Miss Tappit, I ask you, isn't it monstrous? Here am I, an
old customer, with burst pipes doing endless damage, and they can't
send anyone till to-morrow. Really, you know, it's the limit. I know
about the War and all that. I make every allowance. But I still say
it's the limit. Well, we must put the thing in the third person, I
suppose, if I'm not to call them either 'dear' or 'gentlemen.' _Mr.
Horace Bristowe presents his comp_ - Good Heavens! he does nothing of
the kind - _Mr. Horace Bristowe begs to_ - Begs! Of course I don't beg.
This really is becoming idiotic. Can't one write a letter like an
honest man, instead of all this flunkey business? Begin again: _To
Messrs. Tarry & Nott. Mr. Horace Bristowe considers that he has been
treated with a lack of consideration_ - no, we can't have 'considers'
and 'consideration' so near together. What's another word for
'consideration'? - _treated with a lack of - a lack of_ - Well, we'll
keep 'consideration' and alter 'considers.' Begin again: _Mr. Horace
Bristowe thinks_ - no, that's not strong enough - _believes_ - no. Ah,
I've got it - _Mr. Horace Bristowe holds that he has been treated by
you with a lack of consideration which_ - I wonder if 'which' is better
than 'that' - _a lack of consideration that, considering his long_ - no,
we can't have 'considering' just after 'consideration' - _that_ - no,
_which - which - in view of his long record as_ - What I want to say is
that it's an infernal shame that after all these years, in which I've
put business in their way and paid them scores of pounds, they should
treat me in this scurvy fashion, that's what I mean. The swine! I tell
you, Miss Tappit, it's infamous. I - (and so on).

The No-Nonsense Efficient businessman, so clear-headed and capable
that it is his continual surprise that he is not in the Cabinet
without the preliminary of an election, handles his correspondence
very differently. He presses a button for Miss Pether. She is really
Miss Carmichael, but it is a rule in this model office that the typist
takes a dynastic name, and Pether now goes with the typewriter, just
as all office-boys are William. Miss Pether arrives with her pad and
pencil and glides swiftly and noiselessly to her seat and looks up
with a face in which mingle eagerness, intelligence, loyalty and
knowledge of her attainments.

"_To Messrs. Promises & Brake_, says the business man, - _Gentlemen
comma the pipes at my house were not properly mended by your man
yesterday comma and there is still a leakage comma which is causing
both damage and inconvenience full stop Please let me have comma in
reply to this comma an assurance that someone shall be sent round at
once dash in a taxi comma if necessary full stop. If such an assurance
cannot be given comma I shall call in another firm and refuse to
pay your account full stop. Since the new trouble is due to your
employee's own negligence comma I look to you to give this job
priority over all others full stop. My messenger waits full stop. I am
comma yours faithfully comma._ Let me have it at once and tell the boy
to get a taxi."


None of the plumbers sent any men.

* * * * *


* * * * *

"In some courts the carrying of matches has been regarded as a
light offence, but this will not be the case in future." - _Irish

We note the implied rebuke to the jester on the Bench.

* * * * *



Mustard-and-Cress in Mayfair,
Belgravia's Winter Greens;
None so nicely as _they_ fare
Save Cox's Kidney Beans;
Mustard-and-Cress in boxes,
Greens in the jardinière,
And a trellis of Beans at Cox's,
Facing Trafalgar Square.

Lady Biffington's daughters
Are mulching the Greens with Clay;
Lady Smiffington waters
The Mustard-and-Cress all day;
And Cox's cashiers (those oners!)
Are feeling extremely rash,
For they're pinching the tips of the Runners
As they never would pinch your cash.

Mighty is Mayfair's Mustard,
The Cress is hardy and hale;
Belgravia's housemaids dust hard
To keep the dust from the Kale;
But Cox's cashiers look solemn,
For their Beans (which sell by the sack)
Would cover the Nelson Column
If they didn't keep pinching them back.

* * * * *


Sunshine. Max. Min. Weather.
Felixstowe 0.0 22 29 Some snow."

_Morning Paper._

And some thermometer.

* * * * *



I hadn't had a letter-writing bout with Petherton for some time, and,
feeling in need of a little relaxation, I seized the opportunity
afforded by Petherton's installing a very noisy donkey in his paddock
adjoining my garden, and wrote to him as follows: -

DEAR MR. PETHERTON, - I do not like making complaints against a
neighbour, as you know, but the new tenant of your field does not seem
to argue a good selection on your part, unless his braying has a more
soothing effect on you than it has on me.

Yours sincerely,

I was evidently in luck, as I drew Petherton's literary fire at once.

SIR (he wrote), - I should have thought that you would have been the
last person in the world to object to this particular noise. Allow
me to inform you that I purchased the donkey for several family and
personal reasons which cannot possibly concern you.

Faithfully yours,

I translated this letter rather freely for my own ends, and replied: -

DEAR PETHERTON, - I apologise. I had no idea that the animal was in any
way connected with your family. If it is a poor relation I must say
you are fortunate in being able to fob him (or should it be her?)
off so easily, as he (or she) appears to live a life of comparative
luxury, at little cost, I should imagine, to yourself. I shall be glad
to know whether the animal, in exercising its extraordinary vocal
powers, is calling for his (or her) mate, or merely showing off for
the amusement of your fascinating poultry who share its pleasaunce.

Can't you possibly fit the brute with a silencer, as the noise it
makes is disturbing, especially to me, my study window being very
close to the hedge?

Yours sincerely,

P.S. - I am thinking of laying down a bed of poisoned carrots for early
use. Perhaps with your chemical knowledge you can suggest an effective
top-dressing for them.

Petherton rose to the bait and wrote - the same night - as follows: -

SIR, - In your unfortunate correspondence with me you have always shown
yourself better at rudeness than repartee. Did you not learn at school
the weakness of the _tu quoque_ line of argument? You speak of your
study window being near my field. The name "study" suggests literary
efforts. Is it in your case merely a room devoted to the penning of
senseless and impertinent letters to unoffending neighbours, who have
something better to do than waste their time reading and answering
them? I hope this letter will be the last one I shall find it
necessary to write to you.

_Re_ your postscript. Try prussic acid, but pray do not confine it to
the toilets of your carrots. A few drops on the tongue would, I am
sure, make you take a less distorted view of things, and you would
cease to worry over such trifles as the braying of a harmless animal.

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Online LibraryVariousPunch, or the London Charivari, Volume 152, February 14, 1917 → online text (page 1 of 3)