Punch or the London Charivari, Vol. 147, September 23, 1914 online

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Vol. 147.

September 23, 1914.

* * * * *

Illustration: THE ALIEN.


* * * * *


The KAISER, we are told, travels with an asbestos hut. We fancy,
however, that it is not during his lifetime that the most pressing need
for a fire-proof shelter will arise.

* * *

"The Germans," said one of our experts last week, "are retreating to
what looks like a bottle-neck exit." Their fondness for the bottle is,
of course, well known and may yet be their undoing.

* * *

_The Times_, one day, gave a map showing "The Line of Battle in
Champagne." It was, as might have been expected, a very wobbly line.

* * *

A somewhat illiterate correspondent writes to say that he considers that
the French ought to have allowed the Mad Dog to retain Looneyville.

* * *

The German papers publish the statement that a Breslau merchant has
offered 30,000 marks to the German soldier who, weapon in hand, shall be
the first to place his feet on British soil. By a characteristic piece
of sharp practice the reward, it will be noted, is offered to the man
personally and would not be payable to his next of kin.

* * *

With one exception all goods hitherto manufactured in Germany can be
made just as well here. The exception is Lies.

* * *

We have been requested to deny the rumour that Mr. A. C. BENSON'S
forthcoming Christmas book is to be a Eulogy of German Culture and is to
bear the title, _Some Broken Panes From a College Window_ (_in

* * *

A Corps of Artists for Home Defence is being formed, and the painter
members are said to be longing for a brush with the enemy.

* * *

Cases have been brought to our notice by racing men of betting news
having been delayed on more than one occasion owing to the wires being
required for war purposes. We are confident that if a protest were made
to Lord KITCHENER he would look very closely into the matter.

* * *

Another item reaches us from the dear old village of Pufflecombe this
week. The oldest inhabitant met a stranger. "'Scuse me, Zur," he said,
"but be you from Lunnon town?" The visitor nodded. "Then maybe, Zur,"
said the rustic, "you can tell me if it be true, as I have heerd tell,
that relations 'tween England and Germany be strained?"

* * * * *

"If every man and woman in the country were mated, the number of
men who would still remain bachelors would more than equal the
entire population." - _Daily News._

The Press Bureau cannot guarantee the truth of this.

* * * * *

Germans on board, who were arrested, stated that reports circulated
in Hamburg declared that the British troops had been annihilated
and Paris was in flames.

"Sixty-two British ships lie at Hamburg."

They must have caught it from the Germans.

* * * * *


(_To a King's Recruit._)

Now is your time of trial, now
When into dusk the glamour pales
And the first glow of passion fails
That lit your eyes and flushed your brow
In that great moment when you made your vow.

The Vision fades; you scarce recall
The sudden swelling of the heart,
The swift resolve to have your part
In this the noblest quest of all
By which our word is given to stand or fall.

Your mother's pride, your comrades' praise -
All that romance that seemed so fair
Grows dim, and you are left to bear
The prose of duty's sombre ways
And labour of the long unlovely days.

Yet here's the test to prove you kin
With those to whom we trust our fate,
Sober and steadfast, clean and straight,
In that stern school of discipline
Hardened to war against the foe within.

For only so, in England's sight,
By that ordeal's searching flame
Found worthy of your fathers' fame,
With all your spirit's armour bright
Can you go forth in her dear cause to fight.

O. S.

* * * * *


No. 1.

(_From Herr Von Bethmann Hollweg._)

MAJESTY, - Though you will never receive this letter, I feel that I must
write it if only to relieve my mind of an intolerable burden. There is
no doubt about it, things are not going well with us, and we shall soon
be in a situation of a most deplorable kind. Our armies have been driven
back in France - this is what VON STEIN means when he declares that we
have had "partial successes" - and Paris, which was to be captured weeks
ago, seems to be as strong and as defiant as ever. The English are still
unbroken and are pouring new armies into France. In Galicia the wretched
Austrians are running like sheep; even Servia has beaten them and is
invading Hungary and Bosnia; and our wonderful fleet, which cost so much
good money, is bottled up. Soon we shall have the Cossacks on our backs,
and then the dance will begin in earnest.

But you don't care - not a bit of it. You've been prancing about and
making speeches and showing yourself on balconies and congratulating God
on being such a good German. Do for Heaven's sake give us all a rest. We
are in for a frightful war, and untold miseries are sure to fall upon
us. Do you suppose that we shall be helped to bear them if you continue
to act like an inebriated madman in the sight of the whole world?

Of course I shall have to bear the responsibility. I know that well
enough. So, while I still have the liberty to use my pen, I mean to make
my protest and throw back the burden you want to put upon me. Let me
tell you this: you can't go on bragging and trampling on others and
glorifying your splendid and immaculate self without rousing anger
somewhere. Other people have their feelings - I've got some left
myself - and in the long run they're bound to get tired of being exposed
to your insolence. We may be miserable worms, but we don't want to be
told so every day.

And then how wanton and silly the whole management of the affair has
been. Think of our Empire so gloriously won, so magnificently
established. France, no doubt, brooded over the possibility of a
_revanche_, but no other country envied us our success or desired either
to damage our _prestige_ or to interfere with our growing commerce.
Everybody was glad to hail us as friends. And now nearly the whole of
Europe has been brought about our ears. Almost all countries wish for
our destruction and are trying to bring it about. Italy deserts us. Even
America, though you cringe to her, dislikes us and mentions Louvain when
we speak of culture. What a masterpiece of folly and miscalculation and
wasted opportunity it has all been. And the truth is that there's nobody
to thank for it except your sublime self. Others have made mistakes, but
you alone were capable of constructing this colossal monument of
detestable blunders. Our fault has been that we did not attempt to check
you when you pulled on your jack-boots and mounted your high-horse to
ride rough-shod over the world, and that we pretended to believe you
when you assured us that all was well because you had taken in the
Almighty as a sleeping-partner in the business of governing a State.
That fault in all conscience is big enough, but it becomes a mere speck
when it is measured against yours.

I could add more, but what I have said is enough. At any rate I am now
feeling better.

Yours, with all deference,


* * * * *


I have found favour in the sight of God;
From all His servants He selected Me
To take His gospel, "God and Germany,"
To Belgian heretics. Lo, I have trod
Through Belgium terribly, and taught the pack;
I put their ancient cities to the sack,
I gave their men and women to the sword,
I took their Belgian babes upon my knee
And broke them to the glory of the Lord.

It may be that one Belgian kennel stands,
One Belgian dog, not trampled into dust,
Still battles on beside these hosts of Hell
Who think to question the Most High's commands -
God will forgive me one, for He is just;
The blood of many thousands lights my feet;
Calmly I step before the Judgment Seat -
"_Have I done well, O Lord, have I done well?_"

A. A. M.

* * * * *


A Suffolk Sportsman, wandering out with his Gun to get what he could,
once brought down a Pigeon.

It was a fine Bird, and he popped it in a Pie and made a hearty Meal of

And then he began to feel most horribly ill in his Stomach.

The Moral is that one should not eat German homers, for Evil
Communications Corrupt Good Digestions.

* * * * *

"Who has not read the humorist W. W. Jacobs? who has not spent many
an enjoyable hour over his books, such as 'Three Men in a
boat'?" - _Timaru Herald._

Obviously the writer of the above paragraph.

* * * * *

Illustration: NOTHING DOING.



* * * * *

Illustration: _Territorial Sentry_ (_by profession a telephone
operator_). "ARE YOU THERE?"

* * * * *


I found my old cheerful active friend in the depths of woe.

"What is it?" I asked.

"Well," he said, "I'm done for, useless. You see I'm forty-six, and
that's a devil of an age just now. You're as fit as you ever were in
your life, but of course the War Office won't look at you. Forty-six is
impossible! 'But I can walk thirty miles a day,' I tell them. 'Not with
all the accoutrements,' they say. 'I'm a member of the Alpine Club,' I
tell them. 'You're over age,' they say. 'I'm stronger than any of your
twenty-year-old recruits,' I tell them. 'You're forty-six,' they say.
And it's true!"

"Then the new regiment of Sportsmen came along," he continued, "and I
tried them. No good. Forty-five is their maximum. So there you are! I'm
done - useless. No one wanted to help more than I did, and I can do
absolutely nothing."

"I'll bet you've done a lot," I said, "if you would only confess."

"I tell you I've done absolutely nothing," he repeated testily. "I'm no

"But surely you're on a dozen committees?" I said.

"No," he said, "not one."

"Then you have started a Fund? Some minor fund guaranteed not to divert
any money from the big ones?"


"But of course you've written to the papers?" I went on.


"Not about anything? Not to make the Government buck up about blankets
or squashing German lies, or allowing Correspondents at the Front, or
anything like that?"


"But surely you have views as to the better management of things? The
Press Bureau, for instance. Haven't you pitched into that?"


"Not even clamoured for all Germans in this country, even the
naturalised ones, to be shot? Surely you've harried MCKENNA a bit?"


"Well, you must at least have published a scheme for the partition of
Europe after the war?"

"No; I never wrote to the papers in my life."

I shook his hand.

"Good heavens!" I said, "and this is the man who grumbles because he
has done nothing for his country."

* * * * *


[The most fashionable and eminent German theologians have
enthusiastically endorsed the official view of Germany as the
hierophant of Peace and Concord reluctantly forced into a defensive
war by the perfidy of England. As worshippers in the new Temple of
Teutonic Truth they may be imagined to express themselves much as

"As the ghostly adviser
Of WILHELM our Kaiser
I think this erection
Is simply perfection.
No censure can dim it,
Because it's the limit
In massive proportions
And splendid distortions.
To compare it with Ammon,
Whose temple's at Karnak,
Is the veriest gammon,"
Exclaims Dr. HARNACK.

"Since the days of my youth
I have laboured for Truth,
And, though keenly assailed
By the arrows of slander,
She has mostly prevailed.
But now that she's nailed
To our counter for aye,
Neither black, white nor Grey
Shall have power to withstand her."

(Signed) Dr. DRYANDER.

* * * * *



DEAR CHARLES, - I hope you haven't been worrying yourself to death
because you haven't heard from your Territorial for a fortnight. The
Germans haven't got us yet, and what is more we haven't yet shot each
other. There is a private who comes down into the butts under my charge
who ought to be especially grateful to Providence on this account, for I
cannot induce him to make use of the red "Cease Fire!" flag before he
ascends from the safety-pit; even when he does, he drags it out behind
him so that the first thing those on the firing-point see is himself,
and the second thing is the flag. I think he must have been an
ammunition-monger in private life and mixed with bullets in their less
dangerous moods.

We complain of the work and we complain of the food, but really we are
very happy. The great thing about our life is that there is nothing to
bother about; someone is looking after us all the time, that is from 5
A.M. to 10 P.M. They fetch you out of bed, they exercise your muscles,
they put food into you, tell you where to go, when to come back, how to
fold up your kit, and when to go to sleep. The only thing they don't do
is to come round the last thing and tuck you up in your little valise.
You can strap yourself in, all but the head, and as to that there is a
flap which anybody with a little gum could fasten down as an envelope.
If, Charles, you hear a rumour that my battalion has been sent across
Germany to join the Russians on the other side _by parcel post_, don't
be too ready to dismiss it as an absurdity.

Everybody has got somebody to look after him here. There was an instance
on the range yesterday. The men were firing their standard tests and
there were rumours of an inspection. The N.C.O.'s in charge, being a bit
anxious themselves, were seeing to it that the privates did their duty.
Be sure we kept a relentless eye on the N.C.O.'s, and the Major in
charge of the whole Musketry Detachment did not deal gently with us.
Then the Adjutant loomed up, and the Major had to explain himself as
best he could; next came the Brigadier, and the Adjutant was on his
defence. Just as the Brigadier was getting into his stride, "The
General, Sir," whispered the Brigade-Major, and it was then for the
Brigadier to account for things being as they were and to promise that
very shortly they should be otherwise. You'd have thought that a man so
mature and beribboned as our Divisional Commander would be immune from
attack; but not so, for up rolled a motor which had come all the way
from London and the War Office and even the dear old General was found
to be capable of error. You may imagine that the five rounds which were
being shot all this while by a mere private were somewhat spasmodic,
especially as he was used by all parties as an illustration of their
particular meanings. Standing by myself all the time while this unhappy
man was severally instructed by N.C.O., Lieutenant, Major, Adjutant,
Brigadier, General and Permanent Staff, I was a little amused to note
that even so he failed to pass his test! And they all told him on no
account to be nervous about it.

You know the song, "Where the wind blows, we'll go"? It is a great
favourite on the march; and full marching kit, together with eighty
rounds of ball ammunition carried by each man, cannot stop it. It is not
a beautiful thing in itself, and it is not made more attractive by being
sung when the band is playing something else. But it takes little to
turn a bad thing into a good one. This morning Lieut. Wentworth, not
usually mounted, took out a party for a route march, borrowing the
Adjutant's horse for the purpose. As the party marched away at ease,
some of their friends asked them where they were going. They answered to
music: "Where the horse goes, we'll go." Wentworth tells me that this
opinion was not ill-founded.

Food is my strong subject at the moment, for I have happened to be
orderly officer once or twice lately; in other words I have been a sort
of detective housekeeper. The first thing I have to do is to see that
everybody gets up at reveille - a charity, Charles, which has to begin at
home. But it is at the cookhouse that I am supposed to have my most
deadly effect. You can see me paying visits _en surprise_, all the cooks
springing to attention and the very potatoes in the dixies trying to
look as if they weren't doing anything wrong! The pleasing sensation of
importance having passed off, it is then time for me to do something
intelligent. It is easy enough to tap a camp-kettle with a nonchalant
cane and commence the removal of the lid, but it is much more difficult
to cope with the pieces of boiled beef with which I am then confronted.
As a subject of conversation boiled beef is not, in my opinion, a
success: there are only two things to ask about it - "Is it beef?" "Is it
boiled?" There is no way of finding out its merits except by eating it,
and I simply cannot bring myself to steal my men's food! The temptation
is to prod it with the cane, but when you've done that once and the
Adjutant has happened to be looking you don't do it again. So I turn to
the "pontoon," a composite dish containing everything in the world which
is edible and savoury, and I ask the Cook-Sergeant why we cannot get
that sort of thing in peace time, pay what we will. Oh, yes, my boy, we
in the officers' mess have long abandoned our chefs and caterers, and
have taken to drawing out rations and, secretly, thanking Heaven for the

You want to know what is to become of us. I will tell you on absolutely
reliable information. We are going to Cherbourg to stand by as a reserve
force; to Paris to act as a protection against surprise attacks; to
Ostend to relieve the Casino; to Antwerp to resist Zeppelins; to the
French frontier to guard lines of communication; to Leicester to
supervise German prisoners; to Africa to conduct a show of our own; to
India, Malta, Gibraltar and Egypt for garrison duty; to the North of
Scotland to protect coast towns (which abound in that part); and to the
right of the Allies' first, the centre of the Allies' second, and the
left of the Allies' third fighting line. That, Charles, is our official
programme: when we have completed it we shall be getting near Christmas.
Then, of course, we proceed for rest and recreation to Berlin; our one
fear being that when we get there we shall be turned on to military
police duty, and the protection of German women and children against
their own men-folk.

Meanwhile to-morrow's programme is less dashing. It consists of Church
Parade. The Musketry Detachment is at some little distance from the main
body, so the Padre has arranged for a private parade of our own. An
officer is to read the lessons and has been instructed for the purpose.
"The Party," as we call him for convenience, "will move two paces
forward and, upon the word 'one,' will take the Book smartly in the left
hand. Upon the word 'two' he will raise his right thumb to his lower lip
and moisten the same, thus enabling it to turn over the page
efficiently. When this movement is complete, he will cut away the right
hand sharply and proceed to carry out his duties." Don't suppose we are
irreligious - far from it; but always we are disciplinarians. I believe
there is somewhere in the _Infantry Training_ a correct way laid down
for blowing your nose to numbers.

Yours ever, HENRY.

* * * * *


We prefer to say (less familiarly), "Settling accounts with the

* * * * *


Some folk believe that wars commence
From greed of gain or self-defence;
But Austrian sages have divined
Incitements of a different kind.

The Servian Army (so 'tis said)
Has run completely out of bread,
And every day the hungry souls
Fight Austria for Vienna rolls.

The Austrian battles with the TSAR
Because he dotes on caviare,
And must that monarch's realm invade
Because he likes it freshly made.

The Russians cannot do without
The soul-sustaining _sauerkraut_,
And march their armies to the West
Because Berliners make the best.

The German confidently thinks
That absinthe is the prince of drinks,
And therefore must attack the land
That keeps the most seductive brand.

The Frenchman, tired of his _rago√їts_,
Covets the meat that Teutons use,
And charges like an avalanche
For German sausage, not _revanche_.

The Briton, vexed by rules austere,
Has heard the fame of German beer,
And nought his onward march can stop
While Munich holds a single drop.

The bold Italian stands prepared
With rifle loaded, sabre bared,
And to a questioning world replies,
"Who touches my _spaghetti_, dies!"

* * * * *


I have a friend who is a Special Constable. He has had an experience
which by no means casts any discredit upon him; but he would rather not
write about it himself, he says; so I take up the pen on his behalf.

My friend is an artist, and as such is accustomed to use his eyes. The
other day he saw a smartly dressed man whom he conceived to be a German
spy, for, besides wearing an alien aspect, he carried a walking-stick
which tapered suspiciously on the way down, and near the top of it was
an obvious little catch. "A sword stick!" said the Special Constable to

He followed the man. The man ultimately entered the purlieus of a police
station and joined a queue of exotics who were waiting to be registered.

The Special Constable then accosted a pukka Police Inspector who was
standing at the door and explained his suspicion as to the walking-stick
and its probable contents. The Police Inspector also thought there might
be something in it. He beckoned to the German. The alien enemy,
trembling palpably, came up to him.

"Any arms?" asked the Inspector.

"No," replied the alien enemy, still trembling.

"Undo the catch of that stick," commanded the Inspector. With fumbling
fingers the alien enemy did so - and drew forth a silk umbrella.

* * * * *

Illustration: _First Golfer_ (_to friend who has come from a distance
to play with him_). "BUT, MY DEAR CHAP, WHERE ARE YOUR CLUBS?"


* * * * *

Two consecutive advertisements in _The Portsmouth Evening News_: -

"Lost, Sunday, Ring, with G.H.E. stamped on it."

"Why Lose Articles? Name, or initials engraved, 6d."

"Dash it," said G.H.E., one of the first to pay his sixpence, "I've been

* * * * *


He knew, none better, how 'twould be,
And spoke his warning far and wide;
He worked to save us ceaselessly,
Setting his well-earnt ease aside.

We smiled and shrugged and went our way
Blind to the swift-approaching blow;
His every word proves true to-day,
But no man hears, "I told you so!"

* * * * *

From a Territorial's letter in _The Huddersfield Examiner_: -

"We wash in a bucket - one bucket for eight men. We fall in when the
bugle calls."

And then climb out again and look for the towel.

* * * * *


When the war broke out and Big Ben had boomed the hour which marked the
rejection of the ultimatum, Bates was full of fire. He had bought a
penny flag, and in a spirit of grim determination had walked the
streets, processing with the processionists. There was no brag or bounce
about him, no hideousness of noise or mafficking, no hatred of
foreigners or cruelty of uncharity, but a grim steadfastness of
determination which meant that, so far as he might, Bates would do or

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Online LibraryVariousPunch or the London Charivari, Vol. 147, September 23, 1914 → online text (page 1 of 3)