Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 152, February 7, 1917 online

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VOL. 152.

February 7th, 1917.


To celebrate his birthday, the KAISER arranged a theatrical performance,
entitled _The German Blacksmith_, of which he was part author. It is not
yet known in what way his people had offended him.


It is feared that we have sadly misjudged Greece. They have saluted the
Entente flags, and it is rumoured that KING CONSTANTINE is even prepared to
put out his tongue at the KAISER.


Chancellor BETHMANN-HOLLWEG has been accused by the Junker Press of selling
his countrymen to the Allies. But, to judge from the latest German Note to
America, the fact appears to be that he has simply given them away.


As the result of the cold snap, wild boars have made their appearance in
Northern France. Numbers have already been killed, and it is reported that
the KAISER has agreed with an American syndicate to be filmed in the _rôle_
of their destroyer, the proceeds to be devoted to the furtherance of the
league to enforce peace.


Many German soldiers have, according to the Hamburg _Fremdenblatt_,
received slips of pasteboard inscribed, "Soldiers of the Fatherland, fight
on!" It is rumoured that several of the soldiers have written across the
cards, "Fight on what?"


After the 22nd of February, all enemy aliens engaged in business in this
country will be obliged to trade in their own names. With a few honourable
exceptions, like the great Frankfurt house of Wurst, our alien business men
have sedulously concealed their identity.


The patriotic Coroner for East Essex, who has erected a pig-sty in the
middle of his choice rose-garden, informs us that Frau Karl Druschki has
already thrown out some nice strong suckers.


"Cheddar cheese," says a news item, "is 1_s._ 6_d._ a pound in Norwich."
But what the public are clamouring to know is the price of Wensleydale
cheese in Ilfracombe.


The American gentleman who caused so much commotion in a London hotel, the
other day, by his impatience at dinner must, after all, be excused. It
appears the poor fellow was anxious to get through with his meal before a
new Government department commandeered the place.


The SPEAKER'S Electoral Reform Committee recommends that Candidates'
expenses shall not exceed 4_d._ per elector in three-member boroughs, and
several political agents have written to point out that it cannot possibly
be done in view of the recent increase in the price of beer.


The Shirley Park (Croydon) Golf Club has decided to reduce the course from
18 holes to 9; but a suggestion that the half-course thus saved should be
added to the Club luncheon has met with an emphatic refusal from the FOOD


A farmer in the Weald of Kent is offering 13_s._ 6_d._ a week, board and
lodging not provided, to a horseman willing to work fifteen hours a day. It
is understood that this insidious attempt to popularise agriculture at the
expense of the army has been the subject of a heated interchange of letters
between the War Office and the Board of Agriculture.


"The warmest places in England yesterday," says _The Pall Mall Gazette_,
"were Scotland and the South-West of England." We have got into trouble
before now with our Caledonian purists for speaking of Great Britain as
England, but we never said a thing like that.


A London doctor, says _The Daily Mail_, estimates that colds cost this
country £15,000,000 annually. If that is the case we may say at once that
we think the charge is excessive.


A gossip-writer makes much of the fact that he saw a telegraph messenger
running in Shoe Lane the other morning. We are glad to be in a position to
clear up this mystery. It appears that the messenger in question was in the
act of going off duty.


There seems to be no intention of issuing sugar tickets - until a suitable
palace can be obtained for the accommodation of the functionary responsible
for this feature.


The charge for cleaning white gloves has been increased, and it is likely
that there will be a return to the piebald evening wear so much in vogue in
Soho restaurants.


The 1917 pennies appear to be thinner than those of pre-War issues, and
several maiden ladies have written to the authorities asking if income tax
has been deducted at the source.

* * * * *


_Geordie (a trade-unionist)._ "AY. AA HEARD YOU; BUT AA'VE KILLED MA

* * * * *

"'The Land of Promise' ... was only withdrawn from the Duke of York's
in the height of its success owing to the declaration of War in
1894." - _The Stage_.

Is it _really_ only twenty-three years?

* * * * *

"Residents early astir on Sunday morning had an unpleasant surprise. A
sharp frost over-night had converted the road surfaces into glassy ice,
which made walking impossible without some assistance. A walking-stick,
without some sort of boot covering, was of little avail." - _Oxford

That was our own experience with a walking-stick which was absolutely

* * * * *


Our mess was situated on the crest of a ridge, and enjoyed an uninterrupted
view of rolling leagues of mud; it had the appearance of a packing-case
floating on an ocean of ooze.

We and our servants, and our rats and our cockroaches, and our other
bosom-companions slept in tents pitched round and about the mess.

The whole camp was connected with the outer world by a pathway of
ammunition boxes, laid stepping-stone-wise; we went to and fro, lepping
from box to box as leps the chamois from Alp to Alp. Should you miss your
lep there would be a swirl of mud, a gulping noise, and that was the end of
you; your sorrowing comrades shed a little chloride of lime over the spot
where you were last seen, posted you as "Believed missing" and indented for
another Second-Lieutenant (or Field-Marshal, as the case might be).

Our mess was constructed of loosely piled shell boxes, and roofed by a tin
lid. We stole the ingredients box by box, and erected the house with our
own fair hands, so we loved it with parental love; but it had its little
drawbacks. Whenever the field guns in our neighbourhood did any business,
the tin lid rattled madly and the shell boxes jostled each other all over
the place. It was quite possible to leave our mess at peep o'day severely
Gothic in design, and to return at dewy eve to find it rakishly Rococo.

William, our Transport Officer and Mess President, was everlastingly piping
all hands on deck at unseemly hours to save the home and push it back into
shape; we were householders in the fullest sense of the term.

Before the War, William assures us, he was a bright young thing, full of
merry quips and jolly practical jokes, the life and soul of any party, but
what with the contortions of the mess and the vagaries of the transport
mules he had become a saddened man.

Between them - the mules and the mess - he never got a whole night in bod;
either the mules were having bad dreams, sleep-walking into strange lines
and getting themselves abhorred, or the field guns were on the job and the
mess had the jumps. If Hans, the Hun, had not been the perfect little
gentleman he is, and had dropped a shell anywhere near us (instead of
assiduously spraying a distant ridge where nobody ever was, is, or will be)
our mess would have been with Tyre and Sidon; but Hans never forgot himself
for a moment; it was our own side we distrusted. The Heavies, for instance.
The Heavies warped themselves laboriously into position behind our hill,
disguised themselves as gooseberry bushes, and gave an impression of the
crack of doom at 2 A.M. one snowy morning.

Our mess immediately broke out into St. Vitus's dance, and William piped
all hands on deck.

The Skipper, picturesquely clad in boots (gum, high) and a goat's skin,
flung himself on the east wing, and became an animated buttress. Albert
Edward climbed aloft and sat on the tin lid, which was opening and shutting
at every pore. Mactavish put his shoulder to the south wall to keep it from
working round to the north. I clung to the pantry, which was coming adrift
from its parent stem, while William ran about everywhere, giving advice and
falling over things. The mess passed rapidly through every style of
architecture, from a Chinese pagoda to a Swiss châlet, and was on the point
of confusing itself with a Spanish castle when the Heavies switched off
their hate and went to bed. And not a second too soon. Another moment and I
should have dropped the pantry, Albert Edward would have been sea-sick, and
the Skipper would have let the east wing go west.

We pushed the mess back into shape, and went inside it for a peg of
something and a consultation. Next evening William called on the Heavies'
commander and decoyed him up to dine. We regaled him with wassail and
gramophone and explained the situation to him. The Lord of the Heavies, a
charming fellow, nearly burst into tears when he heard of the ill he had
unwittingly done us, and was led home by William at 1.30 A.M., swearing to
withdraw his infernal machines, or beat them into ploughshares, the very
next day. The very next night our mess, without any sort of preliminary
warning, lost its balance, sat down with a crash, and lay littered about a
quarter of an acre of ground. We all turned out and miserably surveyed the
ruins. What had done it? We couldn't guess. The field guns had gone to
bye-bye, the Heavies had gone elsewhere. Hans, the Hun, couldn't have made
a mistake and shelled us? Never! It was a mystery; so we all lifted up our
voices and wailed for William. He was Mess President; it was his fault, of

At that moment William hove out of the night, driving his tent before him
by bashing it with a mallet.

According to William there was one, "Sunny Jim," a morbid transport mule,
inside the tent, providing the motive power. "Sunny Jim" had always been
something of a somnambulist, and this time he had sleep-walked clean
through our mess and on into William's tent, where the mallet woke him up.
He was then making the best of his way home to lines again, expedited by
William and the mallet.

So now we are messless; now we crouch shivering in tents and talk lovingly
of the good old times beneath our good old tin roof-tree, of the wonderful
view of the mud we used to get from our window, and of the homely tune our
shell-boxes used to perform as they jostled together of a stormy night.

And sometimes, as we crouch shivering in our tents, we hear a strange sound
stealing up-hill from the lines. It is the mules laughing.

* * * * *



Goddess, hear me - oh, incline a
Gracious ear to me, Lucina!
Patroness of parturition,
Pray make this a special mission;
Prove a kind inaugurator
Of my votive incubator!

Seventy eggs I put into it -
Each a chick, if you ensue it.
Pray you, let me not be saddled
With a single "clear" or addled.
See! the temperature is steady.
Now then, Goddess, _are you ready?_

Hear me, Goddess, next invoking
You to keep the lamp from smoking,
And, the plea so humbly voiced, you're
_Sure_ to regulate the moisture?
Oh, Lucina, 'twill be ripping
When we hear the eggs all pipping!

When no chick the shell encumbers,
Goddess, hear their tuneful numbers!
Then, O patroness of hatches,
We will try some further batches.
Goddess, hear me! - oh, incline a
Gracious ear to me, Lucina!

* * * * *

"MATRIMONY. - Two young, respectable fellows wish to meet two
respectable young girls, between the ages of 20 and 30, view
above. - T.S.R. and E.C.P., Clematis P.O., Paradise." - _Melbourne

If marriages are made in heaven these respectable young fellows have
selected a really promising postal address.

* * * * *

"Nine petty officers were landed from the damaged German destroyer V69
and brought to the Willem Barrentz Hotel, Ymuiden, to-night. My
correspondent engaged them in conversation at a late hour. After some
Dutch Bock beer they rapidly recovered their spirits and began to sing
Luther's well-known hymn, 'Ein Feste Bung.'" - _Provincial Paper._

Very appropriate too, but wouldn't a loose "Bung" have pleased them even

* * * * *

[Illustration: A PLAIN DUTY.


* * * * *

[Illustration: "STICK TO HIM - STICK TO HIM!"


* * * * *



MY DEAR JERRY, - I am writing this from my position on top of a small hill,
while my devoted band of followers sits round me and waits for me to speak.
I always sit here, because if I wanted to go somewhere else I should have
to climb down this hill and then up another one. I hate hills. So does the
devoted band.

Behind another little hill a hundred yards away we believe there lurks an
army corps of Bulgars, but we are afraid to look and see. Instead, we fix
and unfix bayonets every ten minutes and make martial noises. This, we
hope, affects the enemy's _moral_, and having your _moral_ affected every
ten minutes is no joke, I can tell you.

The spirit of our troops remains excellent. You can see that this is true
from the fact that my joke still works. Every night for the last three
months, while administering quinine to my army, I have exhorted them not to
be greedy and not to take too much. They still laugh heartily, nay
uproariously. We are a wonderful nation.

Our chief source of combined instruction and amusement is still the antheap
beside us, and in this connection, Jeremiah, I must introduce to you
Herbert, a young officer in the ant A.S.C.

When we first knew Herbert (or "'Erb" as he was known in those days), he
was an impudent and pushful private. When his corps were engaged in
removing the larger pieces of straw out of their hole in the hill, many a
time I have seen him staggering manfully towards the entrance with an
enormous piece on his slender shoulders, against the tide of his comrades;
for he never could resist the temptation to replace the really big stalks
in the hole. As he knocked against one and another the older ants would
step aside, lay down their loads, and expostulate with him, always ending
by giving him a good clip on the ear; but 'Erb was never dismayed.

Now and again, during a temporary slackness in the stream, he would
disappear triumphantly into the hole, his log trailing behind him; but his
triumph was always short-lived. I would seem to hear a scuffle and two
bumps, and 'Erb would shoot gracefully upwards, followed by his burden, and
fall in a heap beside the door. However, as soon as he recovered he would
try again. On one sultry afternoon I noticed he succeeded in effecting an
entrance after twenty-three successive chuck-outs.

His persistence piqued my curiosity. I wondered why he should so
obstinately try to do a thing which was obviously distasteful to all his
seniors. And then, yesterday, there was a change.

'Erb was resting after his eighth chuck-out under a plank when a venerable
ant, heavy with the accumulated wisdom and weakness of years, approached
the exit from within and tried to get out, but in vain. He swore and
struggled in a futile sort of way, while his attendant subordinates stood
about helplessly. 'Erb saw his opportunity. He seized his plank, dashed
forward - you may not believe me, Jerry, but it is the gospel truth - saluted
smartly, and laid down his plank as a sort of ladder. Supporting himself
upon it the veteran crawled out. Then he spoke to 'Erb, and I think I saw
him asking someone the lad's name.

That is why Second Lieutenant Herbert is to-day in charge of a working
party. He is now engaged in clipping the ear of a larger ant. I imagine
there must have been some lack of discipline. Possibly his inferior had
addressed him as "Erb."

Well, all our prospects are pleasing and only Bulgar vile. I must now make
a martial noise, so _au revoir._


* * * * *




* * * * *

"_The Motor Cycle_ says over 165,000 magnates have been made in Britain
for war purposes." - _Provincial Paper_.

And the New Year Honours List (political services) has yet to appear.

* * * * *

"We owed all this more to our splendid navy and its silent virgil than
to anything else." - _Provincial Paper_.

We suppose the CENSOR won't let him narrate the epic exploits of the Fleet,
but he might have allowed him a capital initial.

* * * * *

"Surbiton residents have supplied for British prisoners in Germany 800
waistcoats made from 2,100 old kid gloves." _Manchester Evening

A notable instance of large-handed generosity.

* * * * *


(_To the makers of journalese, and others, from a fastidious reader._)

When I see on a poster
A programme which "features"
Delectable creatures,
I feel just as if
Someone hit me a slam
Or a strenuous biff
On the mid diaphragm.

When I read in a story,
Though void of offences,
That somebody "glimpses"
Or somebody "senses,"
The chord that is struck
Fills my bosom with ire,
And I'm ready to chuck
The whole book in the fire.

When against any writer
It's urged that he "stresses"
His points, or that something
His fancy "obsesses,"
In awarding his blame
Though the critic be right,
Yet I feel all the same
I could shoot him at sight.

But (worst of these horrors)
Whenever I read
That somebody "voices"
A national need,
As the Bulgars and Greeks
Are abhorred by the Serb,
So I feel toward the freaks
Who employ this vile verb.

* * * * *

"Some of the public men of Rawmarsh have high ambitions for their
township, and at the Council meeting on Wednesday there was
considerable industrial developments immediately after the war."
_Botherham Advertiser_.

Happy Rawmarsh! In our part of the country it is not over yet.

* * * * *

"NAVY Pram. for Sale, good condition." _Provincial Paper_.

Just the thing to prepare baby for being "rocked in the cradle of the

* * * * *


SCENE. - _A square in Kensington. At every other door is seen the lady
of the house at work with pail, broom, scrubbing-brush, rags,
metal-polish, etc._

_Chorus of Ladies._

In days before the War
Had turned the world to Hades
We did not soil
Our hands with toil -
We all were perfect ladies;
To scrub the kitchen floor
Was _infra dig._ - disgusting;
We'd cook, at most,
A slice of toast
Or do a bit of dusting.

But those old days are flown,
And now we ply our labours:
We cook and scrub,
We scour and rub,
Regardless of our neighbours;
The steps we bravely stone,
Nor care a straw who passes
The while we clean
With shameless mien
Quite brazenly the brasses.

_First Lady_. Lo! Who approaches? Some great dame of state?
_Second Lady_. Rather I think some walking fashion-plate.
_Third Lady_. What clothes! What furs!
_First Lady_. And tango boots! How thrilling!
They must have cost five guineas if a shilling.
_Second Lady_. Sh, dears! It eyes us hard. What can it be?
_Third Lady_. It would be spoke to.
_Second Lady_. Would it?
_First Lady_. Let us see!

_Enter the_ Super-Char.

_Super-char_. My friend the butcher told me 'e'd 'eard say
You 'adn't got no servants round this way,
And as I've time on 'and - more than I wish,
Seein' as all the kids is in munish -
I thought as 'ow, pervided that the wige
Should suit, I might be willin' to oblige.

_Chorus of Ladies._

O joy! O rapture!
If we capture
Such a prize as this!
Then we may become once more
Ladies, as in days of yore,
Lay aside the brooms and pails,
Manicure our broken nails,
Try the last complexion cream -
What a dream
Of bliss!

_Super-Char_. 'Old on! Let's get to business, and no kidding!
I'm up for auction; 'oo will start the bidding?
_First Lady. _I want a charlady from ten to four,
To cook the lunch and scrub the basement floor.
_Super-Char. _Cook? Scrub? Thanks! Nothink doin'! Next, please! You, Mum,
What are the dooties you would 'ave me do, Mum?
_Second Lady_. I want a lady who will kindly call
And help me dust the dining-room and hall;
At tea, if need be, bring an extra cup,
And sometimes do a little washing up.
_Super-Char_. A little bit of dusting I might lump,
But washing up - it gives me fair the 'ump!
Next, please!
_Third Lady_. My foremost thought would always be
The comfort of the lady helping me.
We have a cask of beer that's solely for
Your use - we are teetotal for the War.
I am a cook of more than moderate skill;
I'll gladly cook whatever dish you will -
Soups, entrées.
_Super-Char_. Now you're talkin'! That's some sense!
So kindly let me 'ave your reference,
And if I finds it satisfact'ry, Mum,
Why, s'elp me, I 'ave arf a mind to come.
_Third Lady_. My last good lady left six months ago
Because she said I'd singed the _soufflé_ so;
She gave me no address to write to -
_Super-Char_. What!
You've got no reference?
_Third Lady_. Alas, I've not!
_Super-Char_. Of course I could not dream of taking you
Without one, so there's nothing more to do.
These women - 'ow they spoil one's temper! Pah!
Hi! (_she hails a passing taxi_) Drive me to the nearest cinema.
[_She steps into the taxi and is whirled off._

_Chorus of Ladies._

Not yet the consolation
Of manicure and cream;
Not yet the barber dresses
Our dusty tousled tresses;
The thought of titivation
Is still a distant dream;
Not yet the consolation
Of manicure and cream.

Still, still, with vim and vigour,
'Tis ours to scour and scrub;
With rag and metal polish
The dirt we must demolish;
Still, still, with toil-bowed figure,
Among the grates we grub;
Still, still, with vim and vigour,
'Tis ours to scour and scrub.


* * * * *


"Coincidences," said the ordinary seaman, "are rum things. Now I can tell
you of a rum un that happened to me."

It said Royal Naval Reserve round his cap, but he looked as if he ought to
be wearing gold earrings and a gaudy handkerchief.

"When I was a young feller I made a voyage or two in an old hooker called
the _Pearl of Asia_. Her old man at that time was old Captain Gillson, him
that had the gold tooth an' the swell ma'ogany fist in place o' the one
that got blowed off by a rocket in Falmouth Roads. Well, I was walkin' out
with a young woman at Liverpool - nice young thing - an' she give me a ring
to keep to remember 'er by, the day before we sailed. Nice thing it was; it
had 'Mizpah' wrote on it.

"We 'ad two or three fellers in the crowd for'ard that voyage as would
'andle anything as wasn't too 'ot or too 'eavy which explains why I got

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Online LibraryVariousPunch, or the London Charivari, Volume 152, February 7, 1917 → online text (page 1 of 3)