Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 147, August 5th, 1914 online

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AUGUST 5th 1914.

Edited by Owen Seaman

* * * * *



* * * * *


SIR ROBERT LORIMER has been appointed architect for the restoration of
Whitekirk church, East Lothian, which was burnt down by Suffragettes
last February. There is a feeling among the militants that, since it is
owing to the exertions of women that the work has to be done, it ought
to have been given to a woman architect.


Two Suffragettes who were charged, last week, at Bow Street with
obstructing the police, refused to give their ages. Presumably the
information would have shown that they were old enough to know better.


A committee of the Metropolitan Water Board reports that Thames water is
purified at least 1,000 times before delivery to consumers. It looks as
if there may, after all, be something in the complaints which reach the
Board from time to time as to its water being absolutely flavourless.


The London Fire Brigade Committee has decided to ignore a demand from
the Corporation Workers' Union for the reinstatement of a fireman who
refused to obey an order on the ground that it involved too great a
danger to him. For ourselves we are surprised at the moderation of the
Union. We should have expected them to insist also on a medal for
life-saving being bestowed on the man.


Dr. IGNATIUS MOERBECK, an engineer living on the Amazon, asserts that
the river which Mr. ROOSEVELT claims to have placed on the map had long
since been surveyed by him. The prettiest touch in Dr. MOERBECK'S
statement is to the effect that the real name of the river is Castanha,
which means Chestnut.


Furs worth about £3,000 were stolen from a Chiswell Street firm last
week. This gives one some idea of the intensity of the recent cold snap.


Mr. LYN HARDING, it is announced, has acquired a new play in four Acts
entitled _Bed Rock_. Surely the lullaby touch in the title is a mistake?
Audiences are quite prone enough to fall asleep without these soporific


"I am not," says M. PAUL BOURGET, "responsible for the words I put into
the mouths of my characters." We await a similar declaration from Mr. B.


Another impending apology! Extract from the official Report of the
Annual General Meeting of a Company that publishes certain illustrated
papers: - "Our stock of published original black-and-white drawings, made
by many of the foremost artists of the day, stand at nothing in our


A legacy of £10,000 has been left to a clerk in the Ashton-under-Lyme
Waterworks Office by a gentleman who had intimated that he "would
remember him in his will." We are so glad that this pretty old custom is
not dying out.


It is rumoured that a daring attempt to rob the Zoological Gardens has
been foiled. Plans, it is said, have been disclosed whereby burglars
after dark were to scale the loftiest peaks of the new Mappin terraces
and to fish for animals by means of highly-spiced joints attached to
ropes. It was hoped to secure a number of valuable bears, to be disposed
of to furriers.


We have been favoured with the sight of a circular issued by a Dutch
bulb grower and printed in English. The fatherly interest which he takes
in his creations does credit to his heart. "All bulbs who are not
satisfied," he says, "we take back and pay the carriage ourselves, even
if cheque has accompanied order."

* * * * *


The brown bee sings among the heather
A little song and small -
A song of hills and summer weather
And all things musical;
An ancient song, an ancient story
For days as gold as when
The gods came down in noontide's glory
And walked with sons of men.

A merry song, since skies are sunny -
How in a Dorian dell
Was borne the bland, the charméd honey
To young Comatas' cell;
Thrice-happy boy the Nine to pleasure
That they for hours of ill
Did send, in love, the golden measure,
The honey of their hill.

Gone are the gods? Nay, he who chooses
This morn may lie at ease
And on a hill-side woo the Muses
And hear their honey-bees;
And haply mid the heath-bell's savour
Some rose-winged chance decoy,
To win the old Pierian favour
That fed the shepherd-boy.

* * * * *


[_Lines composed on what looks like the eve of a general European war;
and, designed to represent the views of an average British patriot._]

_To Servia._

You have won whatever of fame it brings
To have murdered a King and the heir of Kings;
And it well may be that your sovereign pride
Chafes at a touch of its tender hide;
But why should I follow your fighting-line
For a matter that's no concern of mine?

_To Austria._

You may, if you like, elect to curb
The dark designs of the dubious Serb,
And to close your Emperor's days in strife -
A tragic end to a tragic life;
But why in the world should I stand to lose
By your bellicose taste for Balkan coups?

_To Russia._

No doubt the natural course for you
Is to bid the Austrian bird "Go to!"
He can't be suffered to spoil your dream
Of a beautiful Pan-Slavonic scheme;
But Britons can never be Slavs, you see,
So what has your case to do with me?

But since Another, if you insist,
Will be cutting in with his mailèd fist,
I shall be asked to a general scrap
All over the European map,
Dragged into somebody else's war,
For that's what a _double entente_ is for.

Well, if I must, I shall have to fight
For the love of a bounding Balkanite;
But O what a tactless choice of time,
When the bathing season is at its prime!
And _how_ I should hate to miss my chance
Of wallowing off the coast of France!

O. S.

* * * * *


"Do you notice anything particularly queer about this house, Charles," I
asked him, "now that Araminta has been forced to fly from it?"

(Araminta had gone home to visit her parents, not so much, as I
explained to Charles, because she was tired of living with me as because
I had invited him to come on a visit. She was to return on the following
day after a fortnight's absence, and I had promised faithfully to evict
him before she came).

"Except," said Charles, "that it is usual to offer one's guests the most
comfortable arm-chair in the messuage and not to eat all the fattest
strawberries oneself, I can't say that I do;" and he fluffed a second
mashie pitch with his cigar ash well short of the drawing-room fender.

"You don't," I insisted, "remark any unusual hiatus in the household
arrangements - anything that obviously betrays the absence of the
feminine touch? I suppose you know what this is?" and I took from the
mantelpiece a tall slender silver object.

"It seems to be a tin trumpet," replied Charles, "and why on earth you
can't keep my godson's toys in the nursery, instead of littering them
about - - "

"Tin trumpet," I said cleverly, "be blowed! It is a vase - variously
pronounced to rhyme with 'parse' or 'pause,' according to one's
pretensions to gentility. It is a flower-vase, Chawles, and, what is
more, there ought to be flowers in it. The whole house, let me tell you,
should be a very garden of fragrant and luscious blooms. Instead of
which it is full of mocking cenotaphs such as this. When Araminta went
away she flung over her shoulder a parasol and a Parthian taunt. She
said, 'I'm certain there'll be no flowers in the house while I'm away,'
and now it seems she was jolly well right."

"Why ever can't the servants attend to the flowers?" said Charles
lazily. "They seem to be fairly competent people. There were four
match-boxes and _The Return of Sherlock Holmes_ in my bedroom."

"There you touch one of the deeper mysteries," I explained to him.
"Probably in the most expensive and luxurious mansions they have a
flower-maid. A kind of Persephone who comes up from the underworld with
her arms full of gerania and calceolarias. 'Housemaid,' she would put it
in the advertisements, 'upper (where manservant kept); tall, of good
appearance; free; several years' experience; understands vawses.' And in
houses such as these the cinerarias would never wither or die. Every
what-not would be a riotous profusion of et-ceteras from week's-end to
week's-end. But with Jane it is different. Jane has her limitations. She
comprehends match-boxes and detective fiction, but Araminta does the

"Well, what do you want me to do about it?" said Charles, bunkering his
cigar-stump badly to the right of the coal-scuttle.

"I want you to help me," I told him, "because I shan't have time to
attend to the matter myself. When I go out to-morrow I want you, before
you leave, to fill all the vases all over the house. Pink roses will be
the best, I think, and you can buy them at that little flowermonger's
across the road."

"But there are pink roses in the garden," he objected.

"Only a kind of double dog-rose," I told him. "We never allow the
dog-roses in the house: they haven't been properly trained. Besides you
would certainly pick all the puppies and scratch yourself to death.
There's no dog-rose without its tooth. You want the big ones that are
grown exclusively on short stalks without any roots. And Araminta will
never know that they haven't been there for several days at least."

"All right," said Charles, "I'll tackle the flower-smith for you."

When I came home on the following evening, before going upstairs, I
peeped timidly into the dining-room and found to my delight that Charles
had been as good as his word. All the vases had burst as though by a
miracle into radiant blossom. Taking courage I went up to the
drawing-room, found Araminta and saluted her, and then looked round with
a smirk of conscious self-satisfaction. Charles had chosen pink
carnations for the drawing-room, and the place was as starry as the
final chapter of a _feuilleton_.

"What do you think of the flowers?" I said proudly.

"They're simply _lovely_," she replied. "But - - "

"But what?" I asked with a sudden vague qualm. "Don't you like pink

"I adore them," she said. "I was just going to ask how long they'd been
there, that's all."

"These particular ones?" I said airily. "Oh, two or three days, I think,
at most; not more than that."

"I see," she replied with a little smile. "That makes it more wonderful

"How do you mean?"

"Well, there isn't any water, you see, in the vases."

* * * * *

Illustration: COOL STUFF.


[The above is prospective. No sensible person desires a dissolution
during the present crisis abroad.]

* * * * *


[Boxing champions receive almost as much pay for losing as for winning.]

_Manager_ (_to applicant for position of traveller_). "AND WHAT SALARY

_Applicant._ "£600 A YEAR IF I GIVE SATISFACTION; £400 IF I DON'T."

* * * * *


I have a telephone - a simple unpretentious toy, just like the next one.
Sometimes I think it must be exceptional, but anon I hear other
telephoners talking, and I realise that theirs too have the same
repertory of pretty mannerisms.

Especially I found matter for complaint _re_ Wilmer. Especially Wilmer
found matter for complaint _re_ me. Wilmer and I are friends and
neighbours. No doubt the people at the exchange had made a note of it.
For, if ever I rang up Wilmer, he, they told me, answered not. And, if
ever Wilmer rang up me, I, they told him, was engaged. To discover that
these things were not so, it was only necessary for the ringer to step
across the road; nay, even a shout from the garden was sufficient.

Having matter for complaint, we complained. After that nothing could
redeem us in the ears of our exchange. Formerly we got through to each
other once in four shots. Thereafter the blockage was complete.

So we laid our plans.

One evening at half-past eight I rang up the exchange. "I want 4792
Marble Arch," I began.

An interval. Then, "Sorry; there's no answer."

I made a bad-tempered noise, full of incredulity and baffled urgency.
And yet I was not wholly surprised; 4792 makes wall-papers up to 7 P.M.,
and then puts up the shutters.

I rang up the exchange.

"I want 5921 B City, please."

Again there was no answer. This was Wilmer's office. Wilmer, who was
standing behind me, made them ring it up twice again to make sure. Then
I went on to the other eight impossible numbers we had fixed on. They
were unresponsive to a man.

Ten rings, and not a single answer!

Then we crossed to Wilmer's house.

Wilmer rang up the exchange. Bitter experience has assured us that we
share the same operator.

"I want 4792 Marble Arch," he began.

4792 was still mute. So was 5921 B City. So were no fewer than all the
eight further numbers prearranged.

Then I went back again and rang up 4792. This precipitated the crisis.

"I'm sorry, Sir, but I'm nearly sure I can't get them. Would you let me
have a list of the numbers you want, and I'll get them when I can."

"The number I _really_ want," I said, "is Mr. Wilmer's, 729 Lane, but
I've given up trying to get _that_."

I was through to Wilmer like lightning; and a little later he rang me up
by the same strategy.

Nowadays, if Wilmer or I have any trouble in getting one another, we
have only to whisper 4792 Marble Arch, and we're through before we've
thought of what to say.

* * * * *


I met him first three summers ago when he arrived from Baltimore with a
letter of introduction from a mutual American friend. He was a tall thin
clean-shaven man, a typical American of the inquiring rather than
commanding type - and not a millionaire, not indeed rich at all, and
rather nervous among waiters and wine lists: preferring a boarding-house
in Bayswater to a caravanserai (as the newspaper men always call the big
hotels). He had culture and desired more, and one way of getting it (one
way, I mean, of making sure that it should be gotten) was to talk with
every one he met. This I believe is an American custom.

Anyway, he arrived with his letter of introduction, and I did what I
could for him - asked him to lunch, told him about picture galleries,
adjured him not to see this play and that, and mentioned a few new
books. Our surest common ground being American men of letters, we
discussed them. We agreed that the early death of FRANK NORRIS was a
blow; that GEORGE W. CABLE had style; that JOHN FOX, Junior, could tell
a good story, but OWEN WISTER a better. My friend interested me greatly
by stating that he had been on intimate terms with that great man, MARK
TWAIN, and wondered if I had ever heard the story (which he used to tell
against himself) of the visitor to his house who, after a very
delightful stay, during which the humorist had been at the top of his
form, asked his daughter if her father was always like that? "Only when
we have company," she replied.

The next year my American friend turned up again, sending a letter in
advance to say that he would be at his old address in Bayswater at a
certain date, and again I wrote asking him to lunch with me, as before.
He was exactly the same, even to his clothes, and we talked of American
writers in what I remembered to be the identical terms of the previous
year. This is one of the disadvantages of annual meetings; there is no
advance. The familiar ground included our decision, reinforced, that
Mrs. WHARTON was a swell, but rather on the bitter side; that it was a
pity that MARY WILKINS had given up writing; that JOHN KENDRICK BANGS'
name, at any rate, was funny; that AMBROSE BIERCE was a man of genius,
and that OLIVER HERFORD'S continued residence in New York was a loss to

"_À propos_ of humorists," said my friend, "I wonder if you have heard
that story of MARK TWAIN which he often told against himself. A visitor
to his house who had been greatly entertained by a constant flow of wit
and satire asked MARK TWAIN'S daughter if he was always in the same good
spirits. 'Only when we have company,'" she said.

In August of last year I was doomed to London owing to the frivolous
holiday proclivities of certain fellow-workers, and again my Baltimore
migrant was here, and again we met for our single _tête-à-tête_. He
looked, he said, on a year as wasted, unless a part of it was spent in
London and Paris. He was exactly as he had been; his voice had the same
slow mirthlessness and it uttered the same flat definitive comments. He
could not be surprised or shocked or amused. He had taken the world's
measure and was now chiefly occupied in adding to his collection of fine
men and lovely-minded women. I made an effort to get the conversation to
other than American literary personages, but it was useless. To discuss
Mr. ROOSEVELT he was unwilling. The name of HEARST - I mean Mr.
HEARST - touched no live wire, as it does with a few of his countrymen.
He had merely heard of Mr. BRISBANE, but had no information. Mr. WILSON
was doing well, he thought, on the whole. Reaching books at last, we
agreed again that it was a pity that Mr. JAMES LANE ALLEN wrote so
little nowadays and that Mr. HOWELLS had become so silent. Mr. HOWELLS,
it seemed, had felt the death of his old friend, Mr. CLEMENS - MARK
TWAIN - very deeply. Had I ever heard, he wondered, that story of MARK
TWAIN about a reply made to one of his visitors by his daughter?

"Yes, I have," I said.

"The visitor," he went on, "had asked her if her father was always in
the jovial and witty vein in which he had been during his - the
visitor's - stay."

"Yes, I know," I said.

"MARK TWAIN'S daughter," he continued, "replied that he was always like
that - 'when they had company.'"

He looked remorselessly at me for his reward of laughter. Since he was
my guest he got it, but - -

And then last week he arrived again, on his 1914 trip, and he is here
now, or perhaps he is in Paris. In Europe, at any rate. He told me once
more that across the Atlantic Mr. HENRY JAMES is no longer thought of as
an American; that Mr. JACK LONDON, it seems, is becoming one of the most
popular of writers; that ELLA WHEELER WILCOX sells probably more copies
of her poetry than any English writer sells stories. He had had the
pleasure of meeting Sir ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE in New York recently, but
when Mr. ARNOLD BENNETT was there he missed him, to his great regret.
America was still feeling the loss of MARK TWAIN. By the way, that was a
good story which MARK TWAIN used to tell against himself. A visitor - -

But this time I was too clever for him. I gave a preconcerted signal to
a waiter, who hurried up to tell me I was wanted on the telephone. When
I returned it was to say good-bye.

And now I am safe till next summer; but last evening I met a lady who
had been taken in to dinner by the American a few days ago. "A little
bit pompous, perhaps," she said, "but he told me such a delightful story
about MARK TWAIN that I should like to meet him again."

* * * * *



* * * * *

The Latest from the Schoolroom.

_Q._ (_put orally_). "Where do the following races live? Berbers,

_A._ Barbers are to be found in large towns, but they are also found
in some small places. They are the natives of the country, and their
profession is to shave different men, for which they are paid. The
Wottentots are animals that are found in the forests of England."

* * * * *

Illustration: _Seventy-miles-an-hour_ (_as he hurtles past
sixty-miles-an-hour_). "ARE YOU AWARE, SIR, THAT YOU _SLOW-MOVING_

* * * * *


(_A Bank Holiday Idyll._)

Sing me, I said, O Muse, and sound the trump
For him not least among our noble tars
Who first on tropic isle was made to jump
By reason of a pericranial thump
And prospect of a galaxy of stars.

And there in green retreat by coral chained
Beheld the vision of the fibrous nut,
And drank the nectar that its shell contained,
And knew the goal accomplished and disdained
The nasty skin-wound on his occiput.

He did not see the feathered palm-trees wave;
He did not see the beckoning yams beneath;
The turtle moaning for its soupy grave,
The sound of oysters asking for a shave
He heard not - he was back on Hampstead Heath.

For him no more the ocean seemed to croon
Its endless legend to the listless sands;
He walked abroad upon an English noon,
And "Ah!" he murmured, "what a heavenly boon
To rehabilitate our cock-shy stands!"

In vain Aunt Sarah with her spinster vows
Entreats the Cockney sport to try his skill;
Her charms are languishing, but nuts shall rouse
To sterner combats and with damper brows
For 'Arriet's kindly glances 'Erb and Bill.

"And ah, the little ones! With how much glee
Their eyes shall gaze upon the oily fruit!
I shall behold them scamper o'er the lea,
Their warm young lips, in part from ecstasy,
In part from palatable nut-meat, mute."

Such was the man, I said, and praised the worth
Of all who make the cocoanut their ploy;
And thought, "I too will have a round of mirth,"
And threw - and brought one hairy globe to earth.
And, turning round, beheld a ragged boy.

So smirched he was, so pitiful a lad
That when I saw the teardrop in his eye
I gave the nut to him. It made him glad;
He took it proudly off to show his dad -
His dad was the conductor of the shy.


* * * * *

The Latest Cinema Poster.

4,200 feet."

In any other profession they advertise for hands. It is a pleasant

* * * * *

From a circus advertisement in India: -

"It gives a great pleasure to all to see a goat, (1) riding on
another goat, (2) placing its neck against the neck of the other,
(3) walking on its knees, (4) pretending to lie dead, and many other
feats of men."

For the moment we cannot remember to have performed any of these manly

* * * * *


The conversation had turned, as it always does in the smoking-rooms of
golf clubs, to the state of poor old England, and Porkins had summed the
matter up. He had marched round in ninety-seven that morning, followed
by a small child with an umbrella and an arsenal of weapons, and he felt
in form with himself.

"What England wants," he said, leaning back, and puffing at his
cigar, - "what England wants is a war. (Another whisky and soda, waiter.)
We're getting flabby. All this pampering of the poor is playing the very
deuce with the country. A bit of a scrap with a foreign power would do
us all the good in the world." He disposed of his whisky at a draught.
"We're flabby," he repeated. "The lower classes seem to have no sense of
discipline nowadays. We want a war to brace us up."

* * * * *

It is well understood in Olympus that Porkins must not be disappointed.
What will happen to him in the next world I do not know, but it will be
something extremely humorous; in this world, however, he is to have all
that he wants. Accordingly the gods got to work.

In the little village of Ospovat, which is in the south-eastern corner
of Ruritania, there lived a maiden called Maria Strultz, who was engaged
to marry Captain Tomsk.

"I fancy," said one of the gods, "that it might be rather funny if Maria
jilted the Captain. I have an idea that it would please Porkins."

"Whatever has Maria - " began a very young god, but he was immediately

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Online LibraryVariousPunch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 147, August 5th, 1914 → online text (page 1 of 4)