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

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War? Or is the whole thing a malignant invention of LLOYD GEORGE to save
a tottering Government? But then again - (most terrible of all
doubts) - is there a LLOYD GEORGE?

* * * * *


From a German pamphlet quoted by the _Ipswich Evening Star_: -

"With German energy we are determined to win, and we invite
Italians to gin with us?"

* * * * *


It was his vest-slip which chained my eye. Spats and the lesser niceties
are common among the altruists who strive to set us to rights just by
the Marble Arch, but a vest-slip was a new note.

His voice was like his hair, in that it was thin, undecided, not really
assertive enough to be impressive ... Ah, now I had the range of him.

"You may call 'im a beneffercent despot. I _don't_. You may 'ave a tiste
for aristocrercy, plootocrercy, ortocrercy. I _'aven't_. You may prefer
to 'ave a iron-shod 'eel ground on your fices. _I don't._

"There was a professor at Kimebridge, some years ago, who said to me,
when I 'come-up,' as they say, after tikin' my degree, 'My boy,' 'e
says, 'when you git out into the world, when you desert these 'ere
cloistered 'alls, these shidy lawns, these venerable cryp's, never you
eat no dirt! Not for nobody, my boy! Remember your ol' collidge, think
of your _awmer-miter_, think of 'istoric Trinity 'All, an' the pelloocid
Isis, and never eat no dirt!'

"Yes, gents, they was 'is larst words to me, one of 'is fivourite
pupils, if I may say so; 'is Pawthian shots. An' if that there estimable
ol' man could look down on me now, as I stand 'ere fice to fice in front
of you, 'e would candidly admit that I 'ave always bore in mind 'is
fawtherly adjuritions.

"I'll tell you what it is, gents. If you was to walk quietly into
Buckin'am Pellis at this moment, an' 'ave a friendly word with 'Is
Mejisty, do you kid yourselves 'e would igspress any what I may call
cuzzen like feelin' for this - this perisite? Do you fan your ducks, in
vulgar pawlence, that if the KING'S 'ands was free 'e would not 'asten
to be the first to pluck the bauble from 'is cuzzen's fat 'ead?

"If there are any Germans present, is there one among them who will 'ave
the 'ardi'ood to step forward now and say a word, one little word,
gentlemen, one single bloomin' ''_Och!_' on be'alf of 'im? _Naow_,
gents, _naow_! Ten thousing times _naow_!

"'Eaven forbid that I should talk above your 'eads, my friends, but I
say, an' I maintain, that this insolent upstawt, this pestilenshul
braggadosho, this blood-suckin', fire-eatin', spark-spittin',
sausage-guzzlin', beer-swillin' ranter, this imitashun eagle, with a
cawdboard beak an' a tin 'elmet, this 'ypercritical 'umbug, 'as
forfeited the larst shred of the respec' of any but the mos'
sooperfishul stoodent of international affairs, or _welt-politik_, as
the French would put it.

"I know what I'm talkin' abaout, gents. I can call for my seven-course
dinner, my little 'alf-bottle, my Larranaga or Corona, my corfy, my
lickewer _an'_ my tooth-pick, in the language of every capital in

"Well, gents, where did I get my information, my insight, my instinc',
on these things? 'Ow came it to be that I can walk into the private
offices of the biggest bankers in Europe, knowin' full well what they
would understand if I so much as suggested a pinch of snuff, or said it
looked like rain, or asked if they 'ad seen the Shaw of Persha litely?

"You don't suppose I got my intimercy with questions what 'ave brought a
Continent, ay, an' 'alf a world, to grips, by 'angin' round Embassies
an' Consulates, and Chawncelleries, do you?

"There is always somethink _subrowsa_, somethink be'ind the scenes,
somethink suttle, some unsuspected inflooence, what the outer world
'ardly ever 'ears of.'

"An' what is it, in 'undreds of cises? Gents all, I will tell you, in
the words of the gallant defenders of Leege - _Shurshy-lar-fam_! That
little phrise, gents, in cise you may 'ave forgot your French or
Belgian, as the cise may be, means 'Look for the woman,' gents.

"I may not look it now, my frien's, an' you may larf with scorn to 'ear
an ol' feller speak the words, but there _was_ a time, shortly arfter I
come-up from the Varsity, an' just before I took my commishun in the
dear ol' Tin-Bellies, when there was no man more popular than me in the
_salongs_ of Europe.

"Take my word for it, gents! Young, wealthy, not undistinguished in the
matter of learnin', well-bred, nurchured in the lap of luxury, tolerably
good-lookin', if not actually 'andsome, my way was easy, gents. It was
child's play for me to get at the inside of things, to get under the
surface, to see what was agitatin' the boorses of 'alf the Continent, to
understand why big financiers was orderin'-in 'ams by the 'alf-'undred,
religious scruples not-withstandin'. Why, if I was to sit down an' put
pen to piper I could sell my memo'rs of them days for a fabulous sum - if
the biggest publishers in the land was not too bloomin' chicken-'earted
to publish anythink so 'ot, gentlemen!

"Your ears would wag, my friends, if I told you one 'alf of the spells
what some of them Continental society sirens wielded, an' but for my
mastery over their 'earts what might we not have igsperienced years
agow? An' this, gentlemen, at the biddin' or the innuendoes of vile
bein's not fit to 'arthstone the door-step of the po'rest workin'-man
what plods 'is 'eart-broken way acrost this Pawk to-night!

"You 'ave no idear, I assure you, gents, what might not 'ave 'appened,
what cruel, what damn ..."

B2471, who had gradually edged toward the stool on which he stood,
stepped up to him and spoke softly. "That's bloomin' well _torn_ it,
matey," said B2471. "You've 'ad a good time all to your little self, but
we 'ave to dror the line. You'll 'ave to _'op_ it, old sport!"

And, just, as we were getting into his confidence, he of the vest-slip
'opped it, and we were left behind, without further clues to

The woman still remains a mystery.

* * * * *


"Everybody's doing it," I said, "so as to have more for the Funds. Also
for other reasons. The only question is what?"

"Well," said Ursula, "let's make a beginning." She produced a silver
pencil and some celluloid tablets that are supposed to look like ivory.
"What first?" she asked, frowning.

I reflected. "Clearly the superfluities ought to go first. What about my
sacrificing sugar-cakes for afternoon tea? And burnt almonds?"

"M' yes," said Ursula. "I was thinking myself about giving up cigars."

"Heroine! But let us be temperate even in denial."

"As a matter of fact," she said, "I'm getting to detest almonds."

"And I simply loathe - I mean, I'm sure pipes are ever so much better for
one than cigars."

"Good!" observed Ursula. "Cigars and almonds go out. Only if you have
your pipe there ought to be some cheap and filling substitute for my

"Turkish delight," I suggested, "supposing it turns out all right about
the _Goeben_."

"And, if not, I could get along with Russian toffee. That settles tea.
How about other meals?"

"We're at the end of that Hock."

"I'm glad of it," said Ursula. "Nasty German rubbish. I wonder it didn't
contaminate the cellar. Now we must drink something patriotic instead."

"What about good old English water?"

"My dear! With all those spies simply picnicing round the reservoirs!
Goodness knows what they've put in. My idea was a nice, not
too-expensive, champagne, like what they get for the subscription

"Dearest! Ask me to go out into the road and sing the _Marseillaise_.
Ask almost anything of me to display my pride and affection for our
brave allies, but do not, do not ask me to drink sweet champagne at

"You shall choose it yourself," said Ursula, "and it isn't for lunch,
but dinner. At lunch you will continue to drink beer. Only it will be
English, not German."

"Glorious beer! _C'est magnifique!_"

"_Mais ce n'est pas lager!_" said Ursula quickly.

This was rightly held to constitute one trick to her, and we resumed.

"About clothes," I said.

"There was an article I read in some paper," observed Ursula, "pointing
out that if everybody did without them no one would mind."

"Still, even in war time - - "

"Of course I meant new clothes and fashionable things."

"An alluring prospect!" I agreed wistfully. "Fancy reading in the
frock-papers that 'Ursula, Mrs. Brown, looked charming in a creation of
sacking made Princess fashion, the _chic_ effect being heightened by a
bold use of the original trade-mark, which now formed a striking _décor_
for the corsage.'"

Ursula did not smile. "No man can be amusing about clothes except by
accident," she said coldly. "The article went on to advise that if new
things were bought they should be specially good. It called this the
truest economy in the long run."

When Ursula had sketched out a comprehensive wardrobe on truest economy
lines, and I had mentally reviewed my pet shades in autumn suitings,
there was a pause.

"What about the green-house?" I asked suddenly. "Do we need a fire there
all winter just that John may swagger about his chrysanths?"

John, I should explain, is the gardener who jobs for us at seven-and-six
weekly, and "chrysanths" is a perfectly beastly word that we have
contracted from him. In summer John mows the lawn (_fortissimo_ at 6.30
A.M.) and neglects to weed the strawberries. In winter he attends to
what auctioneers would call the "commodious glass."

"M'yes," said Ursula reflectively. "But what about John himself?"

"My dear girl, surely it is obvious by the simplest political
science - - "

"Sweetheart!" interposed Ursula anxiously, "John isn't going to have
anything to do with the Moratorium or hoarding gold, is he? Because, do
remember how cross you got trying to explain that!"

"I remember nothing of the sort!"

"And, anyhow," she continued, "now we're saving in so many other things,
I intend to pay John an extra half-crown, in case food goes up."

There was obviously only one thing to do, and I did it. I retired in
fair order, abandoning to Ursula the task of preparing the schedule of
our domestic retrenchment. At lunch she produced it.

"The bother is," she observed, "that what with truest economy clothes
and champagne, and John, and some other things, it seems to work out at
about two pounds a week more than we spend now."

"That," I said cuttingly, "is at least a beginning!"

However, since then I have discovered an article in another paper
denouncing panic economies as unpatriotic. So we shall probably return
to the old _régime_, plus John's half-crown. Even with this, it will
mean a distinct saving of thirty-seven-and-six on Ursula's proposals. It
is not often that one gets a chance of serving one's country on such
easy terms.

* * * * *

Illustration: _Father_ (_who has been stung by a wasp on the back of

* * * * *


Bright loves and tangled flowers
Adorn your china face;
You beat out silver hours
Within your golden case.

Still rings old Time's denial
Of respite in your tone,
But o'er your painted dial
Is built a little throne -

A throne so neat and narrow
Where, heedless of your chime,
Poising his gilded arrow
Sits Cupid killing Time!

* * * * *


(_By Mr. Punch's Staff of Learned Clerks._)

I suppose that never in the history of this nation did we harbour quite
so many military experts. From the Service Clubs to the street corner
their voice goes up daily in unceasing hortation. Therefore the moment
seems specially apt for me to call your attention to a volume by a
military man who really was expert, in other words to a new edition of
PASLEY'S _Military Policy of the British Empire_ (CLOWES), brought up to
date by Colonel B. E. WARD, R.E. I blush to think of the number of
civilian readers to whom the name of PASLEY conveys nothing. I blush
still more to reflect that I have myself only just ceased to belong to
them. But, quite honestly, if you are at all concerned with the science
and policy of arms (as who nowadays is not?), you will find this book of
extreme interest. A few chance quotations will be enough to prove that
the gallant Captain was a man who knew what he was writing about. In the
year 1810, for example, he could look ahead far enough to say, "Germany
may become so powerful as to act the same part in Europe which France
now does." It is perhaps on the ethical side of war that he is most
impressive. Fair play, we all know, is a jewel; but many of us may have
secreted an uneasy suspicion that the side that practises it suffers
from a certain handicap. All those unpleasant persons whose names have
become so uncomfortably familiar lately - CLAUSEWITZ, BERNHARDI, and
their professional crew - have so vociferously preached the gospel of
Might as Right, that it is refreshing to read here such maxims as "It is
an advantage in war to show moderation and justice," and "A scrupulous
adherence to the law of nations is the only sound policy." This is the
sort of sermon - from an authoritative source - that we do well to lay to
heart just now; while still retaining a fixed determination to exact for
future assurance the uttermost penalty from an enemy that has broken
every law of God and man.

* * * * *

In ordinary life it would be a distinct advantage for a man to become
possessed of a spell which rendered him immune from death, pain or
restraint, enabled him to pass through walls and floors and generally
freed him from all those little restrictions which make life the
tiresome and precarious thing it is. A man so constituted would conduct
himself after the manner of his fellows from day to day and would resort
to the use of his peculiar powers only when the necessity arose. But the
hero of fiction has his duty always to perform, and he may well find
that such transcendental gifts are apt to become a burden. He must for
ever be turning them to account and finding new material to work upon.
That the scope is limited anyone will at once discover who reads _The
Great Miracle_ (STANLEY PAUL). He may never do the same thing twice;
once he has disappeared through a floor at a critical moment, floors are
off. Each feat must be more astounding than the last: when he has worked
his way through a prison wall it would be an anticlimax to do a job with
the wall of a mere dwelling-house, and, of course, he is absolutely
precluded from the common use of doors. I am afraid Mr. T. P. VANEWORD'S
primary conception has been too much for him: he lacks the nice
imagination of a WELLS to carry it off. Also he fails to deal with the
humour of the position, whether in the madhouse, the court of justice,
the manager's office or the palace, an elementary mistake which the most
amateur conjurer will always avoid. It is rather the author's misfortune
than his fault that his incidental picture of war, introduced only as a
new field of operation for his prodigy, is rendered almost fatuous by
the actual conditions at present existing.

* * * * *


* * * * *

When the father of _Patience Tabernacle_ (MILLS AND BOON) suddenly left
his books at the bank in a state of regrettable inaccuracy and went off
to borrow the wig and other equipment of his elderly maiden sister I
thought I was to have one of those jolly, naive detective stories which
the feminine hand can best weave. But I was deceived, nor do I consider
quite fairly. For how was I to know that such an incident had no
essential relation to any other in this quiet story of the love affairs
of _Patience_ and the wrong boy rejected, and the right man discovered,
in time; that it wasn't even introduced so as to throw light on the
character of any one concerned? Now I would ask Miss SOPHIE COLES what
she would think of me if I began my (projected) Sussex village epic with
the blowing up of the local public-house by anarchists and contented
myself with merely casual references to the matter, never really making
it part of any design or letting it modify any of my characters? And
wouldn't it aggravate, not lessen, my artistic crime if I made the
anarchists related to my heroine? Of course it would. Very well, then.
And I am afraid our author can't claim the privileges of a lawless
realism, for she distinctly doesn't belong to the photographic school.

* * * * *


[_It is stated that the Germans have forsworn the use of all words
borrowed from the English, including "gentleman."_]

The Germans all English expressions eschew,
And on "gentleman" place an especial taboo;
Well, the facts of the case their decision confirm,
For they've clearly no more any use for the term.

* * * * *

"Harrods have exported their Chocolate to all parts of the universe
and are now forwarding large consignments to the forces on active
service." - _Advt._

France is no distance after Mars.

* * * * *

A benevolent old lady writes to enquire whether any Relief Committee has
been formed to deal with unemployment among those ambassadors who have
been thrown out of work by the war.

* * * * *

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