Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 156, April 30, 1919 online

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VOL. 156.

APRIL 30, 1919.


An alarming rumour is going the rounds to the effect that Printing House
Square refuses to accept any responsibility for the findings of the
Peace Conference.


"Mystery," says a news item, "surrounds the purchase of fifty retail
fish shops in and about London." The Athenaeum Club is full of the
wildest rumours.


The statement of the Allied Food Commission, that there are more sheep
in Germany to-day than in 1914, has come as a surprise to those who
imagined that the loud bleating noise was chiefly Herr SCHEIDEMANN.


"Get your muzzle now!" says _The Daily Mail_. It is felt, however, that
the PRIME MINISTER scored a distinct hit by saying it first.


"There is absolutely no reason," says a Health Culture writer, "why
Members of Parliament should not live to be one hundred." We think we
could find a reason if we were pressed.


To-morrow a man in the North of England is to celebrate his hundredth
birthday. He will be the youngest centenarian in the country.


At Ealing it appears that a rabid dog dashed into a pork butcher's shop
and snapped at a sausage. The sausage was immediately shot.


The War Office, says a contemporary, is to have another storey built.
In order that the work shall not cause any sleepless days it is to be
undertaken by night.


It is reported that a burglar who has been drawing unemployment pay has
decided to return to work.


The New Zealand Government has decided to check the introduction of
influenza, and every passenger arriving there is to be examined. All
germs not declared are liable to be confiscated by the Customs.


Nearly all the Bank Holiday visitors to Hampstead Heath, it is stated,
chose a silver-mounted bridge-marker in preference to nuts.


Two days before his wedding a man at Uxbridge was summoned to Wales by
his wife for desertion. It is said that his second wedding went off


It is understood that the Home Office does not propose to re-arrest DE
VALERA. The official view is that in future the Irish must provide their
own entertainment.


We hear that all imprisoned Sinn Feiners have been instructed to give a
day's notice in future before escaping, so that nobody shall do it out
of his proper turn.


Citizens of Clarkson, Washington, U.S.A., have appealed to the
Government to protect them against a plague of frogs. The Federal
authorities have informed the Press that these insidious attempts to
distract the Government from its Prohibition programme must not be taken


From an American newspaper we gather that a New York plutocrat has by
his will cut his wife off with twelve million dollars.


"Is the Kaiser Highly Strung?" asks a weekly paper headline. We shall be
able to answer this question a little later.


The report that an early bather was seen executing the Jazz-dance on
the beach at Ventnor on Easter Monday seems to have some foundation. It
appears that his partner was a large crab with well-developed claws.


We hear that visitors at a well-known London hotel, who have patiently
borne the extension of the gratuity nuisance for a considerable time,
now take exception to the notice, "Please tip the basin," which has been
prominently placed in the lavatory.


On many golf-links nowadays the caddies are expected to keep count of
the number of strokes taken for each hole. One beginner whom we know is
seriously thinking of employing a chartered accountant for this purpose.


What cricket needs, says a sporting contemporary, is bright breezy
batting. The game should no longer depend for its sparkle on impromptu
badinage between the umpire and the wicket-keeper.


People who think they have heard the cuckoo before the first of May,
declares a well-known ornithologist, are usually the victims of young
practical jokers. The conspicuous barring of the bird's plumage should,
however, make any real confusion impossible.

* * * * *


* * * * *
"Striking testimony as to the popularity of the Cataract Cliff
Grounds - when it is remembered that the period embraces the complete
term of the war - is the fact that during the past five years an
aggregate of 428,390 persons was bitten by a snake."

_Tasmanian Paper._

The snake may be fairly said to have done his bit.

* * * * *


[The public are being passionately warned against the threatened
crush at watering-places in August of this year of Peace.]

Stoutly we bore with April's icy blizzards;
"The worst of Spring," we said, "will soon be through;
Summer is bound to come and warm our gizzards
And we shall gambol by the briny blue."

But even as we put the annual question,
"Where shall we water? on what golden strand?"
Warnings appear of terrible congestion,
Of lodgers countless as the local sand.

Lucky the man, the hardened strap-suspender,
Who with a first-class ticket, there and back,
Finds a precarious seat upon the tender,
A rocky berth upon the baggage-rack.

Should he arrive, the breath of life still in him,
His face will be repulsed from door to door;
He'll get no lodging, not the very minim,
Save under heaven on the pebbly shore.

In vain he pleads for stall-room in the stable;
The cellars are engaged; 'tis idle talk
To ask for bedding on the billiard-table -
Two families are there, each side of baulk.

Next morn he fain would wash in ocean's spray (there's
Balm in the waves that helps you to forget),
And lo! the deep is simply stiff with bathers;
He has no chance of even getting wet.

He starves as never in the age of rations;
The fishy produce of the boundless sea
Fails to appease the hungry trippers' passions
Who barely pouch one shrimp apiece for tea.

"I came," he says, "to swallow priceless ozone
Under Britannia's elemental spell;
She rules the waves, as all her conquered foes own;
I wish she ruled her seasides half as well.

"I don't know what the beaten Bosch may suffer
Compared with us who won the late dispute,
But if it equals this (it can't be tougher),
Why, then I feel some pity for the brute."

So by the London train upon the morrow
From holiday delights he gets release,
Conspuing, more in anger than in sorrow,
The pestilent amenities of Peace.


* * * * *


Where do men go when, they want to grow beards? This is a question
as yet unanswered, and the whole subject is shrouded in impenetrable

One sees thousands of men with beards, but one never sees anyone growing
a beard. I cannot recall, in a life of varied travel, having ever
encountered a man actually engaged in the process of beard-cultivation.
The secret is well kept, doubtless by a kind of freemasonry amongst
bearded men, but there can be little doubt that somewhere there are
nurseries where a _bonâ-fide_ beard-grower who is in the secret can
retire until he is presentable.

I have frequently been annoyed by the way in which these men flaunt
their beards at one; their whole manner seems to convey an air of
superiority; they seem to say, "Look at my beard. You can't grow a beard
because you haven't the moral courage to appear in public while it's
growing. Wouldn't you like to know the secret? Well, I won't tell you."

Determined to suffer these contemptuous glances no longer, I set out
on a voyage of discovery to unravel the mystery of England's

I asked bearded men if they knew of anywhere in the country where one
could slip away in order to grow a beard, but they always gave me
evasive replies, such as: "Why not have an illness and stay in bed for
three months?" But when I went on to ask where they had grown theirs,
they either made an excuse to leave me or said evasively, "Oh, I've
always had mine."

I once went to the enormous expense of making a bearded Scotch
acquaintance intoxicated in order to drag the secret from him, but
the question as to where he grew his beard instantly sobered him, and
nothing would induce him to touch another drop.

I have bribed barbers without success. I have vainly shadowed men for
a month who looked as if they intended growing beards. I even took
advantage of Armageddon to join the Navy, where beards are permitted;
but when I tried to start growing one I was instantly reprimanded for
not shaving by a bearded Commander, who had the same triumphant gleam of
superiority which I had noticed ashore.

In the Old Testament there was no secrecy on the subject. Somebody said,
"Tarry in Jericho until your beards be grown." But I am quite satisfied
in my own mind that modern beard-growers do not go to Jericho; I have
established this fact. No, there are in England properly organised
beard-nurseries, and the secret of their whereabouts is jealously
guarded; but I have by no means relaxed my determination to discover
them, and to give to the world the results of my research.

* * * * *


At the private reception the night before Miss CARNEGIE'S wedding, "the
ironmaster," so we read in our _Daily Mail_, "entertained his guests
with numerous reminiscences of his life, and it was observed that
he interrupted a story concerning King EDWARD and Skibo to whisper
something in his daughter's ear concerning her dowry. He was telling the
guests how the King offered to make him a Duke if he would bring about a
coalition between England and the United States. 'I told King EDWARD,'
said Mr. CARNEGIE, 'that in these United States every man is King. Why
should I be a Duke?'"

It is pleasant to read of the heroic refusal of the staunch Republican
to compromise the principles which he so eloquently vindicated in his
_Triumphant Democracy_; but it is only right to add that this is not an
isolated case.

Thus it is a literally open secret that when a famous ventriloquist was
offered the O.B.E. for his services in popularising the Navy, he refused
the coveted distinction on the ground that it would be derogatory to a
Prince to accept it.

When Sir HENRY DUKE retired from the Chief Secretaryship of Ireland he
was offered a Viscounty, but declined the proffered distinction, wittily
observing that as he was born a Duke he did not see why he should
descend to a lower grade of the peerage.

Then there is the notorious case of Mr. KING who, on being offered a
peerage if he would desist from his criticisms of Mr. LLOYD GEORGE and
his Ministry, pointed out that other monarchs might abdicate, but that
those who thought _he_ would do so clearly knew not JOSEPH.

As for the titles, decorations and distinctions offered by the EX-KAISER
to Mr. HAROLD BEGBIE if he would bring about a _rapprochement_ between
England and Germany, and patriotically declined by the eminent
publicist, their name is legion.

* * * * *

[Illustration: THE MENACE OF MAY.


* * * * *

[Illustration: _Charlady (on the subject of appearance)._ "OF COURSE I

* * * * *


"You're late," said Millie, as John entered the hall and shook himself
free of his flying coat.

"Yes, dear; missed the 5.40 D.H. from the Battersea Park Take-off by a
minute to-night. Jones brought me home on that neat little knock-about
spad he's just bought. Small two-seater arrangement, you know. Then I
walked from the 'drome just to stretch myself. They don't give you too
much move space in those planettes."

"Oh, I'd just love to have an aeroplanette like that!" exclaimed Millie.
"Mrs. Smith says she simply couldn't do without hers now; it makes her
so independent. She can pop up to town, do her shopping and get back in
a short afternoon."

"Um - yes," calculated John. "Less than seventy miles the double
journey - she'd manage that all right."

"And that pilot of theirs," went on Millie, "seems just as safe with the
'pup' as he is with that great twin-engined bus her husband is so keen

"Yes," said John; "must be quite an undertaking getting Smith's
tri-plane on the sky-way. It's useful for a family party, though. I
hear he packed twenty or thirty on to it for the picnic they had
at John-o'-Groat's last week. By the way," added John, as he moved
upstairs, "aren't the Robinsons coming to dinner?"

"Yes, you'd better hurry up and change," advised Millie.

The Robinsons were very up-to-date people, John decided as they sat
down to the meal a little later. He hadn't met them before. They were
Millie's friends.

"Very glad to know such near neighbours," he said cordially. "Why, it's
under forty miles to your place, I should think."

"Forty-seven kilos, to be exact," Robinson volunteered, "and I should
say we did it under twenty minutes."

"Quite good flying," said John.

"We came by the valley route, too," put in Mrs. Robinson. "John was
good enough to consider my wretched air-pocket nerves rather than his

"It's a couple of miles further," explained Robinson, "but my wife isn't
such a stout flier as her mother, though the old lady is over seventy.
My pilot was bringing her from Town one afternoon last week - took the
Dorking-Leith Hill air-way, you know, always bumpy over there - and I
suppose from all accounts he must have dropped her a hundred feet plumb,
side-slipped and got into a spinning dive and only pulled the old bus
out again when the furrows in a ploughed field below them had grown
easily countable."

"Yes, it makes me shivery to think of," ejaculated Mrs. Robinson; "but
mother really has extraordinary nerve. She wasn't in the least upset."

"No, not a little bit, by Jove!" added Robinson. "The old sport just
leaned forward in her seat and, when James had adjusted his head-piece,
she coolly reprimanded him for stunting without orders. Of course she
doesn't know anything about the theory of the thing, you see."

With the dessert came letters by the late air post.

"Oh, please excuse me," said Millie, as she took them from the maid,
"I see there's a reply from Auntie - the Edinburgh aunt, you know,"
she explained. "I wrote her this morning, imploring her to come over
to-morrow for the bazaar. She's so splendid at that sort of thing."

"What my wife's aunt doesn't know about flying isn't worth knowing,"
remarked John with finality. "Why, she qualified for her ticket last
year, and she'll never see forty again. How's that for an up-to-date

"I doubt if she'll fly solo that distance, though," said Millie; "I
don't think she ought to, either."

"Of course," said Robinson, "it's a bit of a strain for a woman of
middle age to negotiate three hundred odd miles, even with a couple of
landings for a cup of tea _en route_."

Millie rose. "Now, don't you men sit here for an hour discussing 'flying
speeds,' 'gliding angles,' and all that sort of thing. I object to
aero-maniacs on principle. I - " At that moment a peculiar noise,
evidently in the near vicinity of the house, arrested the attention of
the party.

"Sounded like something breaking," said Millie, going to the window,
which overlooked the garden and a good-sized paddock beyond. John had
already gone out to investigate.

In a minute or two he reappeared ushering in a very jolly-looking old
gentleman in a flying suit.

"A thousand pardons, Mrs. Smith," said the new arrival; "John collected
me in the paddock. Ha! ha! You know my theory about the paddock."

The guests having been introduced, explanations followed.

"You know my theory," began old Mr, Brown.

"Yes, rather; I should think we do," interrupted Millie, leading him
to the most comfortable armchair "But," she quoted, "you are old, Mr.
Brown; do you think at your age it is right?"

"Well, the theory's smashed, anyhow," said John decisively, "and so's my

"No! no! I won't hear of it," laughed Brown; "I admit the fence, but not
the theory. You see," he went on, turning to Mrs. Robinson, "I've always
insisted, as Smith knows, that there's plenty of landing space in his
paddock, provided you do it up wind. The fact is I glided in to-night
from east to west. Thought I should be dead head on; but I believe I was
a couple of points out in my reckoning and so failed to bring the old
'bus to a stand short of the fence. You know, Smith," he added, with an
injured air, "you ought to have a wind-pointer rigged up so's there'd be
no doubt about it."

"Just to encourage reckless old gentlemen to smash up my premises, I
suppose," retorted John. "But I admit I found some consolation for my
smashed fence when I observed the pathetic appearance of your under
carriage, after your famous landing."

"And now," said Millie to Mr. Brown, "all will be forgotten and forgiven
if you'll come into the drawing-room and let Mr. and Mrs. Robinson hear
you sing that jolly song about

"'Come and have a flip
In a big H Pip,' etc.

"You know."

* * * * *

"The egg shortage notwithstand, the Easter egg rolling carnival at
Preston, which dates back to mediaeval times, was, after a lapse of
four years, celebrated with great musto."

_Midland Paper._

Pre-war eggs, apparently.

* * * * *



"Mrs. - - desires to thank all who voted so splendidly, placing her at
the top of the pole."

_Provincial Paper_.

* * * * *

"The queue at one part of the morning extended from the booking
office, past the Midland Station entrance, into City Square,
along the front of the Queen's Hotel, to the top of
yesterday." - _Yorkshire Paper_.

Better than the middle of next week, anyhow.

* * * * *


_Flapper_. "YES."


_Flapper_. "NO, I'M THE GOODS."]

* * * * *

[Illustration: _The Village Oracle._ "YOU MARK MY WORDS - THESE 'ERE

* * * * *



Chippo Munks is a regular time-serving soldier, as distinguished from
the amateurs who only joined the Army for the sake of a war. His company
conduct-sheet runs into volumes, and in peace-time they fix a special
peg outside the orderly-room for him to hang his cap on. At present he
systematically neglects the functions of billet-orderly at a Base town
in France.

A month or two ago he came across Chris Jones.

"Fined fourteen days' pay," said Chippo; "an' cheap it was at the price.
But the financial embarrassment thereby followin' puts me under the
necessity of borrowing the loan of a five-spotter."

"How did it happen?" said Chris, playing for time.

"'Twas this way," said Chippo. "The other night I was walking down the
Roo Roobray, thinking out ways of making you chaps more comfortable in
the billet, as is my custom. Suddenly out of the gloom there looms a Red
Indian in full war-paint.

"'Strange,' thinks I. 'Chinks an' Portugoose we expects here, likewise
Annamites and Senegalese an' doughboys; but I never heard that the
BUFFALO BILL aggregation had taken the war-path.'

"He passes, and a little Geisha comes tripping by. I rubs my eyes an'
says, 'British Constitootian' correctly; but she was followed by a Gipsy
King and a Welsh Witch. Then I sees a masked Toreador coming along, and
I decides to arsk him all about it. The language question didn't worry
me any. I can pitch the cuffer in any bat from Tamil to Arabic, an' the
only chap I couldn't compree was a deaf-an'-dumb man who suffered from
St. Vitus' Dance, which made 'im stutter with his fingers.

"'Hi, caballero,' says I, 'where's the bull-fight?'

"'It isn't a bull-fight, M'sieur,' he replies. 'It's Mi-Carême.'

"'If he's an Irishman,' I says, 'I never met him; but if it's a kind of
pastry I'll try some.'

"Then he shows me a doorway through which they was all entering, and
beside it was a big yellow poster which said, '_Mi-Carême. Grand Bal
Costume. Cavaliers, 2 francs. Dames, 1 franc 50 centimes.'_

"'I'd love to be a cavalier at two francs a time,' I remarks. 'Besides,
I want to make the farther acquaintance of little Perfume of Pineapple
Essence who passed by just now.'

"'It will be necessary to 'ave a costume, M'sieur,' says Don Rodrigo.

"'Trust me,' I answers with dignity; 'I've won diplomas as a fancy-dress

"I goes to my billet and investigates the personal effects of my
colleagues. My choice fell on a Cameron kilt, a football jersey and a
shrapnel helmet. These I puts into a bundle an' hikes back to the Hall
of Dance.

"'May I ask what M'sieur represents?' said the doorkeeper as I paid my
two francs.

"'I haven't started yet,' I answers asperiously. 'I assumes my costume
as APPIUS CLAUDIUS in the dressing-room.'

"Well, when I'd finished my toilette - regrettin' the while that I
hadn't brought a pair of spurs to complete the costume - I entered the
ball-room. It was a scene of East-end - I mean Eastern - splendour.
Carmens an' Father Timeses, Pierrots an' Pierrettes, Pompadours an'
Apaches was gyrating to the soft strains of the orchestra, who perspired
at the piano in his shirt-sleeves.

"All of a sudden I saw my little Geisha, my Stick of Scented
Brilliantine, waltzing with the Toreador, an' my heart started beating
holes in my football jersey. When the orchestra stopped playing to light
a cigarette I sought her out.

"'O Choicest of the Fifty-seven Varieties,' I says, 'deign to give me
your honourable hand for the next gladiatorial jazz.'

"The Bull-fighter looked black, but she put her little hand in mine an'
we trod a stately measure. Every now an' then a shadow passed o'er the
ballroom, an' I knew it was the Toreador scowling. But I took no notice
of him, an' we danced nearly everything on the menu, Don Rodrigo only
getting an odd item now an' then to prevent him dying of grief.

"By-an'-by the Geisha said she must be going, so I offered to escort her
home. Don Roddy tried to butt in, and when he got the frozen face he
used langwidge more like a cow-puncher than a bull-fighter. I didn't
trouble to change my clothes, because it seemed to be the custom to walk
about like freaks at Mi-Carême, and we had a lovely promenade in the
pale moonlight.

"When I returned the revelry was nearly over an' the orchestra was
getting limp. I went into the cloak-room to change my clothes, but I
couldn't find 'em anywhere. What annoyed me most about it was that there
was five francs in my trouser pockets which I was saving to pay you back
the loan I borrered last week."

"I wondered when you were going to say something about that," said Chris

"It fair upset me," continued Chippo. "And then all at once I saw my old
pal the Toreador sneaking out of the door with a bundle an' the leg of
a pair of khaki trousers hanging out of it. I gave a wild whoop an' was
after him like the wind.

"Don Roddy was some runner. He doubled down the Roo Roubray, dodged
round a corner an' made for the Grand Pont. I was gaining on him fast
when I plunked into the arms of two Military Police.

"'What particular specie of night-bird do you call yourself?' said one
of 'em, holding my arm in a grip of iron.

"'I'm a Sergeant-drummer in the Roman-Legion,' says I, trying to get

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Online LibraryVariousPunch, or the London Charivari, Volume 156, April 30, 1919 → online text (page 1 of 4)