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PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.

VOL. 156.

FEBRUARY 12, 1919.







CHARIVARIA.

"Officers," says a recent A.C.I., "may use their public chargers for
general purposes." Army circles regard this as a body blow at the
taxi-sharks.

***

"I had a thrill the other night," writes a correspondent of _The Daily
Mail._ "I encountered a badger on Hampstead Heath." We hesitate to
think what he would have encountered if he had had two or three
thrills.

***

The United States Immigration Bill now before Congress provides that
"an alien resident may be joined by his grandfather if over
fifty-five years of age." A proposal to extend the privilege to
great-grandfathers who have turned their sixtieth year appears to have
met with no success.

***

"It is highly probable," says the chief medical officer of the Local
Government Board, "that masks and goggles will be necessary to ensure
freedom from infection from influenza." People who refuse to adopt
this simple preventative should be compelled by law to breathe
exclusively through their ears.

***

The sensational report that the new Director-General of Housing has
already found a house turns out to be unfounded. It is no secret,
however, that the Department is on the track of several.

***

"There is a Members' cloak-room," says a contemporary in "Hints
to M.P.'s," "where an attendant will take your coat and hat." So
different from those other political clubs where another member
usually takes them.

***

SHAKSPEARE on Glasgow: "For this relief much tanks.".

***

The salute, says a correspondent, is being reintroduced into the
German Army. Kicking an officer on the parade-ground for other than
political reasons is also forbidden.

***

The Consumers' Council urge, _inter alia,_ "that the Food Ministry
ought to be retained so long as there is any need of food control."
This view is regarded as entirely too narrow by officials of the
Ministry, who feel that the public is just beginning to love them for
themselves alone.

***

A sale of ninety specially-selected mules is announced to take place
at Tattersall's to-morrow. In the technical language of the live-stock
trade a "specially-selected" mule is one which has a clear reach of
six feet at either end.

***

"The Government must say what it will do," states _The Daily Mail_.
Waiting for _The Daily Mail_ to say it first must not be allowed to
degenerate into a mere mechanical habit.

***

For impersonating a voter a carpenter of Gloucester has just been
sentenced to a month's imprisonment. Where he succeeded in obtaining
the disguise from is not known.

* * * * *

[Illustration: WHEN TAKING A NEW HOUSE ALWAYS EMPLOY A PROFESSIONAL
DRAUGHT DETECTOR.]

* * * * *

A LOVE TRAGEDY.

He was a smart new clinical thermometer. She was a pretty nurse in
an influenza ward. His figurings were clear and his quicksilver
glittered. Her eyes were blue and a little curl peeped from under her
cap. He fell madly in love with her; and when her dainty fingers toyed
with him his little heart swelled to bursting and he registered all he
could.

So when she took her morning temperatures her patients were
desperately high, and when the other nurse took them in the evening
they were three degrees lower; and the doctors were much perplexed.

They put the love-struck thermometer in a tumbler of warm water with
two others to test him; and, freed from her influence, he recorded
correctly. Learned authorities on medical research meditated
pamphlets, on the new variation of the universal plague.

Then came a morning when the pretty nurse, after too many cigarettes
the night before, took her own temperature. For the adoring
thermometer the supreme moment had arrived. In rapturous ecstasy at
the touch of her dear lips he rose to heights of exaltation that left
his other efforts far behind. "Drat the thing," exclaimed the pretty
nurse, putting him down nastily, "I've got it myself now," and went
off to bed. He, broken-hearted, rolled off the table and died.

* * * * *

LONG MEMORIES.

"I remember," said a veteran of nineteen, "when there was a hansom at
the stand at the corner."

"Oh, that's nothing," said a venerable spinster of twenty-one. "I've
been, to dances with a female chaperon where there was no smoking on
the stairs, and some people danced a thing they called a 'tango.'"

"When I was working on the land," resumed the first speaker, "I had a
day off and went to lunch with people close by. The man who sat next
me was a judge and asked me what an 'old bean' meant."

"Oh, cut it out!" interposed an aged matron who had not hitherto taken
any part in the conversation. "When I was born there was no _Daily
Mail,_ when I went to school I was taught to play the piano with my
fingers, and when I married people hadn't begun to 'jazz.'"

* * * * *

A NEW GAME OF BAWL.

"An open howling handicap will be held at Talleres, F.C.S., next
Sunday."

_Standard (Buenos Ayres)_.

* * * * *

"At a meeting of the newly-formed British and Allied Waiters',
Chefs' and Employees' Union the president said that one of
their main objects was to stop enemy aliens from spoiling their
business. They must do this themselves." - _Daily Paper_.

And some of them, it must be admitted, have been making considerable
efforts in this direction.

* * * * *

EDENTULOUS PERSONS.

It happened a long time ago. Higgins, Mackenzie and I, three
irresponsible subalterns, had been lent to the Government of India
for famine relief work. One Sunday we foregathered in the cool of the
evening at a dak bungalow, near the point where our three districts
met, to compare notes and to swap lies.

"How are you getting on?" I asked Higgins.

"I'm not getting on at all. I'm just stagnating. I do all my work and
draw my pay, and there's the end of it. I'm sure the regiment has
forgotten all about me, and in fact no one seems to be aware of my
existence."

"Why not write to the Government of India about it?" remarked
Mackenzie.

"Yes, I'm sure that's the best thing to do," I agreed. "The Collector
in my district is always writing to the Government of India, and the
Government prints all he writes and sends it round with remarks and
decisions. He will get all sorts of honours and rewards out of this
famine."

"Yes. But what shall I write?" asked Higgins. "If I simply say there
is a chap called Higgins who is terribly bored and wants some notice
taken of him, they won't print that sort of tosh."

"Not that particular kind of tosh, perhaps," agreed Mackenzie. "You've
got to write about your work and ask for a decision on some point or
other. Then they'll remember your existence; and if you write often
enough you will gradually crawl out of obscurity into the limelight.
Almost anything will do to start with."

"Well, I found an old woman to-day in one of my camps who could not
eat her ration, because she had no teeth. Can you make anything out of
that?" asked Higgins.

"We'll have a shot at it anyway," replied Mackenzie. He pulled a sheet
of note-paper and a pencil out of his pocket and wrote the following
draft: - "There are in the famine camps in my area some toothless old
people who cannot eat the ordinary ration. What shall I do about it?"

"The gist of the letter is all right," I said, "but the style wants
polishing. Higgins's education will be gauged by our style. Cross out
'some toothless old people' and write 'certain edentulous persons.'
Put 'masticate' instead of 'eat.' Then you must not say, 'What shall I
do about it?' That sounds too helpless. You, or rather Higgins, must
appear as a man of unbounded initiative and resource. You must write,
'I suggest that a special ration of soft food be issued to such
persons.' That will help the Government of India to solve a very
difficult problem, and Higgins will earn its eternal gratitude."

The amendments were passed unanimously. Higgins copied out the letter
in his best handwriting and sent it off through the long and winding
channels by which subalterns on famine duty communicate with the
heaven-born ones who sit on the far-off hills.

We separated next day, and I forgot all about the matter until three
weeks later, when, going through my official mail, the name Patrick
Aloysius Higgins caught my eye. There was our letter printed in full,
and below it was the epoch-making decision of the Government: "A
special ration of soft food may be issued to edentulous persons in
famine camps."

Higgins's success evidently provoked Mackenzie to emulate it. Some
time later I received another printed document. After the usual
official opening, with its reference numbers, etc., it ran as follows:
"There are in the famine camps in this area certain persons who,
though not edentulous, are yet unable to masticate the ordinary
ration. Though they have some teeth, the teeth are all in one jaw.
May such persons be considered as edentulous for the purposes of the
decision referred to above? Signed, JAMES DOUGLAS MACKENZIE." The
Government was again pleased to record its approval.

The letter roused my jealousy. Higgins and Mackenzie, by the use of
my distinguished literary style, had both got well along the road to
fame, whilst I was still languishing in obscurity. Something must be
done about it. I took a pen and wrote: "There are in the famine camps
in this area certain persons who, though they are not edentulous and
though they have some teeth in both jaws, are yet unable to masticate
the ordinary ration because the teeth in the upper jaw correspond
with the gaps in the lower, and _vice versa_. May such persons
be considered as edentulous for the purposes of the two previous
decisions?"

I sent the letter off to the Government of India. The reply came by
return of post: -

"The Government of India, in response to representations, has
authorised the issue of a special ration of soft food to edentulous
persons in famine camps. In the interpretation of the term
'edentulous' considerable latitude may be permitted, and is indeed
desirable, so that it may in practice be applied to many individuals
who, according to meticulous physiological standards, should not be
so classified. The determining factor in the application of the
term should be the inability of the individual concerned to extract
sufficient nutriment from the normal ration, owing to imperfect
mastication. Such persons will invariably exhibit symptoms of
mal-nutrition or cacotrophy.

"The Government is confident that the foregoing general ruling will
enable junior and inexperienced officers, temporarily employed
on famine duty, to classify appropriately and with facility as
denticulate or edentulous all individuals afflicted with dental
hiatus, mal-conformation and labefaction, without further reference to
higher authority."

As I read the letter with the help of a dictionary, it dawned upon me
that the Government of India had won the game beyond all doubt and
peradventure.

* * * * *

TO SAINT VALENTINE.

Patron of hearts and darts and smarts
(Which, I suspect, you stole
From Cupid, when the Pagan arts -
Which only edified in parts -
Took on an aureole),

And patron of the robins, who
Select your day to mate
(An act, from any point of view,
Considering what March can do,
Rash and precipitate),

We seek no boon for any friend
(Or lover, if you like);
We only ask that you will send,
If saintly powers so far extend,
On day without its strike.

* * * * *

THE DRUG HABIT - ALARMING DEVELOPMENT.

"The old-fashioned doctor is scandalised at the trade union
movement in the profession. In extreme cases he is said to be
taking his own medicines." - _Provincial Paper_.

* * * * *

Extract from _The London Customs Bill of Entry_, January 25th: -

"Import, s. @ Rotterdam, of Holland, 175 bdls baskets containing
700 strikes."

We always suspected they were of foreign origin; and here we have
"manifest" proof.

* * * * *

From a report of Col. F.B. MILDMAY'S speech: -

"Just as an accomplished horseman exercised ideal control over the
strongest horse with the lightest hand, so Mr. Lowther had shown
such tactful skill in handling them that those who had sat under
him had bus-consciously been disposed to accept his guidance."

_Provincial Paper_.

A praiseworthy effort of the printer to keep up the metaphor.

* * * * *
[Illustration: THE VICTIM.]

* * * * *

THE PATRIOT PIG.

Last Spring I was discussing food with our local doctor. Last Spring
it was quite a favourite topic.

"Now," I said, "we can manage to scratch along somehow. But next
year..."

The Doctor, a hearty man, gave me a smashing blow on the shoulder. "I
have it!" he trumpeted. "We'll start a Patriot Pig Club."

Before he left I found myself an important pillar of the scheme.
Pillars, you know, are the parts of an edifice that bear the weight.
Their function is to be sat upon by the arches. In this case the
arches were Jones the doctor and Perkins the butcher.

The Committee began sitting. I put five pounds into the preliminary
pool and promised them all my pig-swill. I know I did, because the
Doctor came straight from the meeting to my house to tell me I had,
and to collect the cheque.

The pigs arrived. I myself and a number of other enthusiasts turned
out to welcome them. The Doctor, I remember, made a happy little
speech, and we all laughed a lot. The Committee were very pleased with
themselves. They _were_ dear little chaps - the pigs, I mean - very
small, of course, but that gave me the opening for what was
undoubtedly the most successful sally of the afternoon. Someone said
they weighed five pounds apiece. "One pound per pound," I remarked.

A week later the Doctor called for my second instalment. "Pig going
strong," he chattered gaily while I wrote out the cheque; "best of a
good litter - bust its pink ribbon yesterday; twice the weight it was
when it came."

It was on the tip of my tongue to repeat my witticism, which was still
true, but I refrained.

I paid the first dozen five-pound instalments without comment. Up till
then I had been fully occupied in studying how FOCH was getting on
with the other sort of pig over there. But now I began to think.

I was thinking heavily when I put on my hat, but when I reached the
premises of the Patriot Pigs I was thinking things that I prefer not
to talk about. To begin with, they were housing the poor little beasts
in a place you wouldn't dream of inflicting on the poorest labourer.
And the overcrowding! And the dirt! And the pigs themselves! They were
positively uncanny. There was something almost human about them. They
were all heads and no bodies. It was just as though the other half of
the wits of the half-witted boy who looked after them had distributed
itself among the whole herd. I could have wept when I thought how
my purse and my swill-tub had been emptied to keep such puny
monstrosities in the land of the living.

I had my pig taken out and weighed. He turned the scale at forty-eight
pounds.

A week later I went and weighed him again; he had shrunk to forty.

I am a man of action. In a flash my mind was made up. I put him on a
string and led him home.

My wife seemed rather surprised when we entered the drawing-room, but
I hastened to explain.

"I paid five pounds," I said, "for a five-pound pig. Since then I 've
paid fifty-five pounds more, and I have been led to expect, that at
the very least the pig was keeping pace. But it isn't. The sterling
is increasing by leaps and bounds; the avoirdupois is not even
stationary. That's not counting several tons of swill that ought to
be inside him but aren't. It can't go on." I paused and added darkly,
"That pig shall not return."

"But surely you're not going to have him live with _us_, Henry?"

I controlled myself.

"No, Maria," I said, "I am not. At a late hour to-night we will take
him out into the country and lose him."

"Oh, Henry," she began, "supposing - "

I interrupted gently but firmly.

"My mind," said I, "like BERT COOTE'S, is made up. He is my pig and I
may do what I like with him. There is no law against one losing one's
pig. Besides, he is ruining me."

At 10 P.M. we set out _en famille_. It was July. I remember the date
rather particularly because it was just then that they ceased to
ration bacon altogether. At 10.30 the pig was safely lost. At 11 the
front-door closed upon us. At 11.1 little Willy Perkins, the butcher's
son, arrived with the pig and claimed something for restoring lost
property.

A man with a position to keep up simply can't afford to be caught in
the act of feloniously making away with pigs in war-time; besides
DORA was still alive and she might have something to say; so I had to
pretend how pleased I was, and I gave the scamp half-a-crown.

Now I know Perkins and Son well enough to realise that if the animal
had been worth more than half-a-crown they would have allowed me to
lose my pig free of charge. So I made another resolution. It was
pretty drastic, but in a crisis like this severe measures are often
the best. In short, it was murder I contemplated - nothing less.

I went to work carefully. I let four months slip by to allay any
possible suspicion. I paid my weekly cheque without being asked;
without a murmur I parted daily with my swill; in fact I comported
myself as though the unholy plot maturing in my breast was
nonexistent.

At length the night arrived. I took down my long magazine Lee Enfield
and my cartridge (I am not a Volunteer for nothing) and crept to the
Patriot Pig H.Q.

The once-crowded sty lay dark and still. I entered and switched on my
torch: it shone on the loathsome features that I knew so well. He was
all alone, so there could be no mistake. His head was as large
as ever, but his body seemed scarcely visible. I weighed him; he
registered fourteen pounds.:

I will not harrow you, my reader, with details. Suffice it to say my
nerve was sure, my eye true and my hand steady. I killed that pig with
a single shot and went home to bed.

The Doctor arrived next morning while I was shaving. He was white with
rage. He said:

"What the deuce do you mean by killing my pig?"

"_Your_ pig ?" I smiled. "No, _my_ Pig!"

"Stuff and nonsense!" he spluttered. "_Your_ pig died four months
ago - caught cold last July through being out so late at night and died
next day."

That roused me. "Do you mean to tell me," I asked coldly, "that I've
been paying five pounds a week for the last four months for a dead
pig?"

"Very kind of you, I'm sure," replied the Doctor, "but no one asked
you to, you know."

Adding together all my expenses - the weekly subscription for my pig;
a similar sum paid to the Doctor for his; the value of my swill; the
fine imposed (by DORA) for improper use of firearms; ditto (by the
Magistrate) for shooting game without a licence; alleged damage to the
P.P. premises and the remaining wits of their custodian; and finally,
the bill from Mr. Perkins for a pound of pork purchased in July, and
the account from Dr. Jones for professional attendance subsequent to
consumption of same - adding all these together I find that from first
to last I disbursed £385 5s. 5-1/2d. on the patriot.

With pork at two shillings a pound my outlay should have produced a
pig that weighed 1 ton 14-1/2 cwt. Truly that would have been a very
Hindenburg of a pig. It was almost worth trying.

* * * * *

OUR EUPHEMISTS.

"General Servant wanted, by middle of February; no small
family."_ - Oxford Times_.

* * * * *

[Illustration: _Proprietor (to assistant recently released from the
Army)._ "WHY, WHATEVER MADE YOU OFFER TO SEND THE GOODS HOME FOR HER?
ANY FOOL COULD TELL YOU'VE BEEN OUT OF CIVILISATION DURING THE WAR."]

* * * * *

TO THE SPEAKER ON HIS RE-ELECTION.

Good Mr. SPEAKER, in this troublous time,
When it is hard to string a cheerful rhyme,
Your genial influence unshaken bides
Amid the flux of shifting sands and tides;
And, re-electing you by acclamation,
The Parliament has acted for the nation,
Which, while acknowledging the Members' _nous_,
Congratulates not you, Sir, but the House.

'Tis fourteen years since you were called to bear
The heavy burdens of your "perilous Chair" -
What years, what burdens! Yet your steadfast mien
Has never failed to dominate the scene.
Others have found the post a giant's robe
Or lacked the needful patience of a Job;
But you, by dint of fearless common sense,
Have won and held all Parties' confidence;
Firm as the rock and as the crystal clear,
When need arises righteously austere,
Ready, not eager, your advice to lend,
And not afraid in season to unbend.

Thus, tested by a strain that very few,
If any, of your predecessors knew,
You come at last, among the lesser fry,
To loom so largely in the public eye,
That, we regard you, greatest of your clan,
More as an institution than a man.

* * * * *

THE REST-CURE.

"Will young officer requiring rest help farmer catch rabbits for a
month?" - _Church Family Newspaper_.

THE RETURN.

It was at tea last Sunday that we met for the first time for
three-and-a-half years. He was sadly altered. To the casual observer
he may still appear his own attractive self; the change in him is
deeper.

He isn't what he was, but none the less it is wonderfully delightful
to have him among us again. A girl at the next table noticed him and
spoke smilingly to her companion. But I - I sat and looked at him and
never said a word.

Before the War I was fond of him, but I doubt if I could ever have
realised how much I should miss him; and nothing has brought home
to me so surely the astounding fact that at last it is over as his
return.

Sitting opposite to him here brought back the jolly memories of other
teas in that distant pre-war life of ours - memories of bright faces,
gentle clatter of cups, charm of soft clothes, strange forgotten sense
of comforts, and one particular smile; and, throwing off from me the
gathering gloom of the war-weary, I dug my fork joyously into his
brown bosom and raised the chocolate _éclair_ to my lips.

* * * * *

"By placing a lemon in the oven for a few minutes nearly the
entire pulp turns to juice. When next you want orange-juice try
this." - _Glasgow Citizen_.

But why not use an orange?

* * * * *

"As a woman married to an Army officer for nineteen years I do not
consider that I could possibly, on less than our present income,
provide my children and husband with the necessary education and
comfort." - _Letter in Daily Paper_.

Some husbands take a lot of educating.

* * * * *

[Illustration: _Assistant Paymaster_, "HOW LONG WERE YOU IN YOUR LAST
JOB?" _"Hostilities Only" Man_. "THREE MONTHS, SIR." _A.P._ "WHAT WERE
YOU DOING?" _H.O.M._ "THREE MONTHS."]

* * * * *

THE MAN WHO STAYED AT HOME

(A SOLILOQUY AFTER A DAY'S WORK AT THE MINISTRY OF FOOD).

[Sir JOHN FIELD BEALE, formerly First Secretary of the Ministry of
Food, has been in consultation with the Supreme Council for Supply
and Relief in Paris. Sir WILLIAM BEVERIDGE has just returned from
a mission of inquiry into the food situation in Austria.]

Let others speed to far Sequanian shores
To end the War that was to end all wars,
Where peace-pursuing Discord loud debates
And all hotels are packed with Delegates;


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Online LibraryVariousPunch, or the London Charivari, Volume 156, February 12, 1919 → online text (page 1 of 4)