Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 156, April 9, 1919 online

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VOL. 156.

April 9, 1919.


A Brass-hat employed at the Air Ministry recently requested that
his salary might be reduced on the ground that there was now very
little work for him to do. As no other symptoms developed, the close
observation kept upon him has now been relaxed.


To what extent the habit of war economy is embedded in the minds of
the British public was illustrated at Woodford Green on March 29th,
when a lady entered the local Post Office and endeavoured to purchase
some Daylight Saving Certificates.


The War Office Staff, it was stated in the House of Commons, has been
reduced from 21,807 to 19,510 since the Armistice. It is only fair
to point out that the vast bulk of them were not asked whether they
wanted an Armistice.


The War Office talks of re-issuing to the Volunteers the rifles and
equipment which were long ago called in. This threat is likely to
discourage many of them from volunteering for the next Peace.


Experiments are being conducted with the view of discovering the best
use to which obsolete army tanks can be put. Attached to a piece of
cheese they are said to make excellent mouse-traps.


"The police," says _The Irish Times_, _à propos_ of the escape
of twenty Sinn Feiners from Mountjoy prison, "are pursuing active
inquiries." This is much simpler than pursuing active Sinn Feiners.


"Ever since the snowdrop gave the first hint of Spring," burbles
a contemporary, "we have watched the miracle of the young year
unfolding." It certainly _was_ a miracle in the weather we had last


The suggestion is being put forward in certain quarters that, in order
to save time, the Commission to fix the responsibility for the Peace
should begin to sit at once.


It is not known definitely how many ex-munition workers in this
country are at present in Government unemployment.


In connection with the recent report that the Sittinghurst Vermin Club
had killed 1,175 mice in one day, we are asked to say that the number
should be 1,176. It appears that one mouse made its way in a state of
collapse to the Club headquarters and gave itself up.


From the newspapers we gather that a sample of water analysed by the
Essex County Analyst contained seven per cent. of milk.


A man charged with burglary in Hoxton Street was captured in a
meat-storage ice-house. It is said that, remembering a well-known
precedent, he tried to evade capture by making a noise like a frozen
Canterbury lamb.


Sir SAMUEL SCOTT says that the odds are that a quack will kill
you quicker than a qualified doctor. All the same we prefer the
slow-and-sure method.


According to the Bishop of MANCHESTER there is a shortage of curates.
A spinster writes to say that she is not surprised, considering how
quickly they get snapped up.


With reference to the burglar who made off with the jewels of ex-Queen
AMELIE, it is said that the fellow contemplates in future styling
himself on his visiting-cards as "Housebreaker to the ex-Queen of


A weekly paper states that if every soldier who served in France
during the War would place all the letters he had received in a line
they would reach a little more than once round the world. We hear,
however, that, as the present addresses of several demobilised men
are unknown, the feat will not be attempted.


"Between ten and fifteen thousand years ago," says Professor KEITH,
"Scotland became fit for habitation." We ourselves should not have
assigned so remote a date to the introduction of whisky into that


"There is no place like home," says a gossip-writer. This seems to
indicate that spring cleaning has started at his residence.


"It isn't every year we celebrate peace," says a correspondent in a
weekly paper. The usual custom, of course, is to celebrate peace about
once every war.


"A Pretty Way to Pat Butter" is the heading of one of a contemporary's
"Household Hints." They will never improve on the old-fashioned custom
of slapping it heartily on the bread.


"People will be able to have their strawberries and cream this
summer," said an official of the Food Ministry the other day.
Still, for association's sake it is thought that the conventional
description, "Marrows and Milk," will be retained on the menus.


Professor LEONARD HILL says that people working in gas factories who
have to breathe poison fumes suffer less from influenza than anyone
else. It is thought that this opinion may give a serious set-back to
the Garden City movement.


"Hens like artificial light," says Professor RICE, of Cornell
University, "and if provided with it will lay through the winter." One
enterprising gas company, we understand, is already advertising that
no fowl-house can be regarded as adequately furnished without its
egg-in-the-slot meter.

* * * * *


* * * * *

"£5. - Church, nicely situated Gothic structure, sliding
roofs. No ground-rent. Pulpit, Font, Lectern, Organ, Parson,
Choir Boys, Bells; fully seated; electric light, bells,
&c." - _Provincial Paper_.

It seems a nice cheap lot. The parson alone must be worth the money.

* * * * *


[On reading the heavy attack made by the "Political"
Correspondent of _The Times_ in Paris on the Peace Conference
leaders, "and in particular the British Prime Minister."]

How like the talk at Babel's Tower
This interchange of tedious chat!
War can be made in half-an-hour
And why should Peace take more than that?
All this procrastination, worst of crimes,
Annoys the Paris Politician of _The Times_.

Had _he_ been summoned to construct
New Heavens and a brand-new Earth,
To cope with Cosmos and conduct
The business of its second birth,
He would have finished months and months ago;
Why, the Creation only took a week or so!

He (while the Moving Spirit wired
Instructions from the South of France)
Would have dispatched, like one inspired,
A thousand details at a glance,
Built corridors for Poland while you wait,
And at a single sitting fixed the Bolshies' fate.

No _seance_ of the secret sort,
Had barred the Truth with bolts and keys;
The Press, encouraged to report.
_Verbatim_ his soliloquies,
Would have exposed to all men near and wide,
(The Hun included) what was going on inside.

Is it too late to start again?
At this eleventh hour depose
A Council whose united brain
Apparently is comatose?
Replace the Big Four with a Monstrous One,
And hand the whole show over to _The Times_ to run?


* * * * *


PEAS. - Have you planted your early peas yet? If not you should do
so at once. Select a piece of well-tilled ground running North and
South. To find the North go out at twelve o'clock and stand facing
the direction you think the sun would be in if it were visible. Turn
smartly about bringing up the left foot on the word "Two." If you
guessed right the first time you will now be facing North. Without
taking your eye off it, drill your peas into the ground in columns of
fours. Don't forget to soak them in prussic acid or any simple poison
(this is done more easily before they are sown) to prevent them being
eaten by mice. A less effective precaution is to sit up all night near
the vegetable garden and miaow.

Here is a good recipe for cooking peas. Shell the peas. Take a piece
of butter as big as a nut, two ducklings, six ounces sage and onions
and three drops of mushroom catsup. Roast together briskly for twenty
minutes. Boil the peas for fifteen minutes. Serve together.

ONIONS. - The big, gentle onions seen in the shops can only be brought
to maturity on very warm sandy soil. Most of them come from Portugal.
How the natives can bear to part with them is a mystery. The small
high-powered onions, on the other hand, are easily cultivated. The
best varieties are Eau de Jazz, Cook's Revenge, Sutton's Saucepan
Corroder and Soho Violet. Sow in rows and beat the soil flat with the
back of a spade. Your neighbour's spade is as good as any other for
this purpose. Goats are said to be very fond of onion tops, but many
people hesitate to keep both.

PARSNIPS. - To get big parsnips plant a single row twenty feet long.
Thin out to ten feet apart. The crop you will get will last you until
the following year. Placed in a quiet corner of the potting-shed and
covered with sand it will last for several years. To get the best out
of parsnips stew them in a _bain-marie_ for eight hours. Remove the
undissolved portion of the parsnips and set the liquid on the stone
floor of the larder to cool. Prepare a nice thick stock, adding
seasoning to taste. Cut up three carrots. Place the carrots in the
saucepan in which the parsnips were cooked, being careful to wash it
out first. Add the stock, bring to a boil and serve.

A LADY-FRIEND sends me the following instructions for growing
vegetable marrows: In the sunniest part of the garden - the middle of
the tennis-court is as good as anywhere else - dig a trench ten feet
deep and about six wide, taking care to keep the top soil separate
from the subsoil. Into this trench tip about six hundredweight of
a compost made up of equal parts of hyperphosphate of lime, ground
bones, nitrate of soda and basic-slag. The basic-slag should be
obtained direct from the iron-foundry. That kept by the chemist is
not always fresh. Add one chive, one cardamon, two cloves, half a
nutmeg and salt to taste. Replace the top-soil. Top-soil and sub-soil
can easily be distinguished in the following way. If it is on your
whiskers it is top-soil, if on your boots sub-soil. In the middle of
the bed set a good strong marrow seedling, root downwards. As it grows
remove all the marrows except the one you wish to develop. When it
stands about two hands high, thread a piece of worsted through it,
allowing the end of the worsted to hang in a pail of water. Some
gardeners recommend whisky-and-water. If the marrow is intended for
exhibition a half-inch pipe connected with the water main may be
substituted for the worsted as soon as the marrow is about six feet
long. Make a muslin bag out of a pair of drawing-room curtains and
enclose the marrow in it. This will protect it from mosquitoes.
As soon as the marrow ceases growing or if it becomes sluggish and
exhibits loss of appetite it is ready for the table. Marrows grown
in this way make delicious orange-marmalade.

HOW TO GET RID OF SLUGS. - Take a piece of hose-pipe about forty feet
long. Lay one end anywhere and the other on the lawn. At the latter
end place some cabbage leaves fried in bacon fat. The slugs will be
attracted by the cabbage leaves and, having eaten their fill, will
enter the hose-pipe to rest. Now hold the hose-pipe perpendicularly
over a pail of water and pour into it a few drops of chloroform. This
will cause the slugs to faint and relax their hold. They will then
fall through the pipe into the water and be drowned. ALGOL.

* * * * *


"Summer time commences to-morrow morning at 2 o'clock, and it
will be necessary for people to put their clocks by one hour
before retiring to bed to-night. In Southport the Cambridge
Hall clock, which governs the clocks for the municipal
buildings, will be put one hour at midnight." - _Provincial

* * * * *

"The - - Society has a large selection of literature tracing
the origin and development of Bolshevism, and exposing its
miseries and horrors, of which samples will be forwarded on
application." - _Times_.

We are not applying; it is bad enough to read about them.

* * * * *

From a General Routine Order: -

"_Shoeing_. - G.R.O. No. - - /d 23/10/18. With the exception
of Pack and Draught Mules ..., all animals proceeding to
join Units in the forward area must be shot all round without

That should save the farriers a lot of trouble.

* * * * *




* * * * *

[Illustration: _War Profiteer_. "AH, THAT'S BEAUTIFUL - GOT ME TO THE

* * * * *



In spite of oft-repeated warnings - in spite of the fact that I
personally explained to each sentry that all he had to remember was
that there were only seven different kinds of military passes, each
one of different colour and all with dates, stamps and signatures,
and that there was no difficulty in recognising its validity if a
pass had the right British official stamp and so long as the signature
underneath was one of the twenty-four people authorised to sign
(a list of which would be kept in every sentry-box and constantly
revised), and if the number of the pass, the name of the person, his
address, destination, habits, hobbies and past life tallied exactly
with the information on his "personal Ausweis," which must be produced
except in the case of a licence to proceed by bicycle, which differed,
of course, in colour, shape, size and other small details (which would
have to be learnt by heart) from the licence to carry foodstuffs - in
spite, also, of the fact that all necessary details of the
examination of passes were typewritten in not more than three pages
of the clearest official language and were posted up in every
sentry-box - even then that ass Nijinsky let the whole company down by
passing a member of the Intelligence Police through the line on his
giving his word of honour that it was all right.

The result was, of course, that I received official intimation that
our line could apparently be broken at any time and that "steps must
be taken," etc., etc. I took steps in the direction of Nijinsky.

Nijinsky is a Polish Jew (from Commercial Road, E.) and has long been
the despair of his platoon sergeant. He is fat where there is no
need to be fat, his clothes bulge where no clothes are expected to
bulge, and he is the kind of man who loses a cap-badge once a week,
preferably just before the C.O. comes round. There is only one saving
grace about him. He can always be trusted to volunteer for a dull
lecture or outing to which nobody else wants to go, but to which
certain numbers have to be sent. His invariable reply to the question
is, "Yiss, I'll ger-go, it's ser-something for ner-nothing."

I found him, as I expected, hanging round the cookhouse, and taxed
him with his neglect of duty.

"He ter-told me I ought to use my dis-cretion, Sir," he piped in his
high plaintive voice.

I told him severely that it was a trick, a very palpable trick, and
that he must ever be on the alert for all such kinds of evasion.
Finally, when I had informed him how badly he had let us all down, he
waddled away contrite and tearful, and fully under the impression,
I think, that I should probably lose my commission through his

I did not realise how deeply he had taken the matter to heart until
I found him at his post apparently reading the Riot Act to a crowd of
obsequious Huns, who were listening patiently to the written law as
expounded in Yiddish - that being a language in which he succeeds in
making himself partially understood. The incident passed, but I began
to have fears that the reformed rake might prove a greater danger than

The next day my worst fears were realised. In fact, during my
temporary absence Nijinsky surpassed himself. At eleven o'clock the
General, supported by his Staff, rolled up in his car and stopped at
Nijinsky's post on his way into "neutral" country. The General, the
G.S.O.1, the D.A.Q.M.G. and the A.D.C. got out, shining, gorgeous
and beflowered with foreign decorations, to chat to the sentry
(you've seen pictures of it; it's always being done), Nijinsky, who
had already turned back two innocuous Gunner Colonels (armed with
sporting guns) that morning, sauntered up, drunk with newly acquired
confidence, his rifle slung on his right shoulder and his hat over one

"All well here, sentry?" asked the General, towering over him in all
his glory.

"Pup-pass, please," said Nijinsky, ever on the look-out for some
cunning trick.

"Oh, that's all right; I'm General Blank."

The word "General" recalled Nijinsky to his senses. He unslung his
rifle, brought it to the order, brought it to the slope and presented
arms with great solemnity, and as only Nijinsky can.

"Oh - er - stand easy," said the General, when the meaning of these
evolutions was made manifest to him. "Wonderful days for you fellows
here - what? There have been times when the Rhine seemed a long way
away, didn't it? And now here you are, a victorious army guarding that
very river! It's a wonderful time for you, and no doubt you appreciate

"Ger-grub's short," said Nijinsky.

"Rations?" said the D.A.Q.M.G. "I've had no complaints."

"Yiss. No spuds - taters, I mean."

"We must see to that," said the General. "Well, we'll go on, I think;"
and they got into the car.

"Pup-pass, please," said Nijinsky, spotting the trick at once.

"Oh, that's all right, my good fellow. Drive on."

"N-n-no," said Nijinsky sternly; "you ker-can't ger-go without a

"Come, come, don't be ridiculous. I'm your General; you know me
perfectly well."


"Then let me through, do you hear? And let me have no more of this
infernal nonsense."

"It's ug-ug - "

"It's what?"

"Ug-against orders."

"_I_ know all about the orders, boy. I gave them myself."

"Yiss, and I'm ker-carrying them out, ain't I?" came with inexorable

"Well, now I give you orders to let me through. Do you see?"

"Yiss; but if I do they'll have me up for disobeying the fer-first
one. Pup-pass, please."

"Don't be ridiculous. We _must_ go through. Don't you realise we have
our duty to perform?"

"Yiss, Sir, so have I."

"'Pon my soul, this is too preposterous. My good boy, I'm very glad
you know how to obey an order, but you must use your discretion

At the word "discretion" Nijinsky started. Then he broke all records
and winked - winked at a perfectly good General at eleven o'clock in
the morning.

"Oh, no, you der-don't," he grinned; "I've been her-had before. The
Captain says I'm ner-not to use my discretion; it only ger-gets me
into a lot of terouble."

The General got out of his car. So did the G.S.O.1. So did the
D.A.Q.M.G. So did the A.D.C. But the spectacle was not so impressive
as before. They advanced in artillery formation upon the enemy. It was
enough. Perish the General Staff! They were mere phantoms of authority
beside the vision of the company officer and the words, "Escort and
accused - halt. Left - turn. Private Nijinsky, Sir." With his eyes
bulging with excitement Nijinsky leapt back and assumed the attitude
of warlike defiance known as "coming on guard."

The General hesitated. He did not know Nijinsky, you see; he had
never seen him going sick before the battle, or heard him murmur
"ser-something for ner-nothing," as he took his medicine.

"Look here, my man, you are exceeding your duty and the consequences
will be very serious. I will _not_ be stopped in this outrageous
manner! There is a time to _obey_ orders and there is a time to _use
our discretion_. Confound it, we must _all_ of us use our discretion
at times."

"Then," said Nijinsky, "wer-will you per-please use yours, for. I
ker-can't let you through without a pup-pass."

The sun shone brightly on the car as it retired ignominiously, leaving
Nijinsky hot, happy and victorious, presenting arms faithfully to the
indignant Great Ones, and silence reigned on the battlefield.

He came and spluttered it all out to me afterwards, concluding with
"I der-didn't let the ker-company down this time, Sir, der-did I?" and
evidently expected a pat on the back for it.

Teams of infuriated artillery horses wouldn't drag from me whether
he got it or not, but from that day to this he has never looked back.
Indeed he has begun to take a pride in his personal appearance and
general smartness. I met him yesterday wearing a smile like a slice
of melon and with his boots, and buttons glistening in the sunshine.

"The General came through to-day, Sir," he said, beaming, "and he
her-had a pup-pass all right;" and he strutted on, making strange
noises in his throat, which I understand is the Yiddish for being
pleased with yourself.


* * * * *

[Illustration: _Alf_. "AIN'T YOU GOIN' TO EAT ANYFINK, 'ERBERT?"

_'Erbert_ (_four years in France_). "WELL, MY OLD FAM AIN'T TURNED UP

* * * * *

[Illustration: _Visitor to devastated area_. "JOHN CHINAMAN LIKEE


* * * * *

"General wanted; small family; cook wept; wages
£18-£20." - _Local Paper_.

We confess we should like to know the cause of cook's affliction. Was
it jealousy, or onions?

* * * * *


Now wherefore should you be dismayed
And in confusion fall,
Because I spied on you arrayed
In cap and overall,
And saw you for a moment stand
Clenching a duster in your hand?

The morning ardour of your face
Was like a summer rose;
One sooty smudge but seemed to grace
The challenge of your nose;
The gaudy thing that hid your hair
Performed its office with an air.

There is a time for stately tire,
For frills and furbelows,
When dainty humours should inspire
Such vanities as those;
So for stern hours of high intent
Behoves a fit habiliment.

Did not those gallants win our pride
And heroes stand revealed,
Who flung their fineries aside
For fashions of the field?
I, who have known campaigning too,
Salute a kindred soul in you.

* * * * *


"H.M.S. New Zealand, with Admiral Jellicoe on board,
arrived at Bombay on March 14, and left for Delhi on
the 15th." - _Scots Paper_.

* * * * *

[Illustration: COMRADES OF THE WAR.


* * * * *


John looked very gloomy.

"_Pourquoi triste_, John?" said I, knowing the language.

"Well, it's like this," said John, "the time has come when you and I
must look for a job."

"That's all right," said I cheerfully. "We'll go and see the Advisory
Committee. They'll put us up to a job in civil life. They're sitting
there bubbling over with advice. Employers in England are simply
falling over one another to find positions for brave young officers
who - "

"Yes, I don't think," remarked John very sceptically. "I went to see
the Advisory Committee two days ago. Perhaps I was rather unfortunate
in arriving at the same time as the English mail; anyhow I came away
with the following information and convictions: -

(1) That the easiest job in civil life is to sit on an Advisory

(2) That one is always either too old or too young for the Civil

(3) That I was a devil of a good fellow and I'd won the War (they
patted me on the back and told me so).

(4) That I was to fill up my A.Z.15 and trust in my stars (not the
things on my sleeve)."

"Well, what about it?" I continued.

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Online LibraryVariousPunch, or the London Charivari, Volume 156, April 9, 1919 → online text (page 1 of 4)