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Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 156, Jan. 1, 1919 online

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PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI.

VOL. 156.

JANUARY 1, 1919.







TO AN UNKNOWN COLLEAGUE.

_(Inspired by the exchange of Minutes in Government Departments.)_

He was my friend - if friendship's proof
Be sympathy profound and sweet;
Eight months we toiled beneath one roof,
Yet somehow never chanced to meet.

So near and yet so far! I own
We may have passed upon the stair;
Yet, if we did, we passed unknown;
No tremor told me he was there.

He knew not it was I. Alas!
With such community of souls
That he and I should blindly pass
And live as sundered as the poles!

For I, when darkness sealed my eyes,
Would place my judgment in his hands,
Would ask him humbly to advise
And yield myself to his commands;

Just hinting what my view might be
(If asked) on this or that affair,
But never in undue degree
And with a deprecating air.

And he, thus modestly addressed,
Would wield an amicable pen
And say he thought my view was best
In full nine cases out of ten.

And so in deep harmonious flood
Our friendship flowed, and proved, I think,
Though water be less dense than blood,
Yet blood is far less dense than ink.
* * * * *
And now, when things are somewhat slow,
My leisure moments I beguile
By reading o'er with heart aglow
A certain old and dusty file -

One out of hundreds, kept to prove
A truth the world may oft forget,
That there can live pure trust and love
'Twixt persons who have never met.

Oh, sweet the trill of mating larks!
But sweeter, sweeter, I aver,
That soft appeal - "For your remarks,"
That gentle answer - "We concur."

* * * * *

CHARIVARIA.

A Fellow of the Royal Society states that, as a result of radium
activity, the end of the world, which had been estimated to arrive in a
few thousand years, may be postponed for a million aeons. It is hoped
that this will allay the anxiety of those soldiers who were nervous
about their chances of being demobilized.

***

It is reported that when asked his impression of President WILSON Mr.
BALFOUR remarked, "Gee! He's the top shout and the main squeeze. And
then some."

***

"How much water," asks a technical journal, "does it take to make a
gallon of Government ale?" We do not profess to be expert, but we should
say about a gallon.

***

There is no truth in the rumour that TROTSKY has written to President
WILSON offering to execute the Peace Conference at any time within the
next three months at half the usual rates.

***

A case which has been puzzling the medical authorities is reported from
Warwickshire. After acting strangely for several days a boy named TOMMY
SMITH asked his parents if he could have rice pudding instead.

***

"Great Britain," says an essayist, "has come out of the war with flying
colours." No blame, we understand, attaches to Mr. PHILIP SNOWDEN for
this.

***

A large marrow has been washed ashore at Lowestoft bearing a name and
address and the words, "Please write." It is not known why the marrow
left home.

***

A report comes from Berlin that Dr. SOLF has resigned. It is expected
that he will be succeeded by Dr. SOLF.

***

The greengrocer who deliberately attempted to spoil President WILSON'S
welcome by exhibiting American apples for sale on Boxing Day is
suspected of being a naturalised German.

***

A North of England widower would like to meet lady possessing in her own
right a bottle of whisky. Object, matrimony.

***

The largely increased number of unemployed politicians is causing the
country great concern.

***

Heavy falls of snow have occurred in the Midlands, where the people say
they have not had such a winter since last summer.

***

Described as the tallest soldier in Ireland, MICHAEL GRADY, of County
Mayo, who is seven feet two inches in height, hopes to settle down on a
farm. It is expected that he will shortly be measured for a village.

***

"To improve the appetite," says a Health Culture journal, "one should
salute the morn by throwing open the windows, lay on the bedroom floor
with the feet in the air and breathe deeply." This method of saluting is
not recommended to recruits.

***

The latest Sunday newspaper reminds us that it prints all the news.
It must do better than this if it is to keep pace with some of our
contemporaries.

***

Charged at Carmarthen with bigamy a soldier said he had no recollection
of his second marriage. Once again we feel compelled to point out the
advantage of keeping a diary.

***

It appears that one burglar has claimed his discharge from the Army
on the ground that he is a pivotal man and that several policemen are
waiting for him.

***

It is wrong to suppose, says the Coal Control Department, that
anthracite is injurious to health. The little ones all declare that its
flavour compares favourably with that of Brazil nuts.

***

Three cases of mince-pie shock are reported from the Westbourne Grove
district.

***

A woman has been fined ten shillings at Birmingham for putting cold tea
in bottles and selling it as whisky. One of the purchasers, it appears,
had his suspicions aroused by the peculiar taste of the liquid.

***

The KAISER'S health, says a contemporary, is still a cause of anxiety.

Not to us.

***

"SHOOTINGS WANTED.

"Woman (middle-aged, respectable) would give services for home and
small wage."

_Scottish Paper_

She would probably be quite effective at ordinary ranges.

***

"Would the Party who removed Petticoat from the Railway Fence,
between 11th and 12th, kindly return same and save further
exposure." - _Provincial Paper._

In the interests of propriety we trust this appeal has been responded
to.

* * * * *

ANOTHER HISTORIC INTERVIEW.

BY OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT.

_Incited to great efforts by the interview in "The Times" with President
WILSON, wherein so much is said (by the interviewer), Mr. Punch sent
forth one of his most energetic and Napoleonic young men to attempt
a similarly incredible feat and obtain an interview with that most
unapproachable of men - President not excluded - the Editor of "The
Times." The word "failure" being absent from the Bouverie Street
lexicon, it follows that the impossible was achieved, and the
electrifying result is printed below. In the wish that readers in vaster
numbers than usual may peruse the winged words of the illustrious
journalist, Mr. Punch offers the freedom of the article to all editors
the world over._

The office of _The Times_ is situated in a busy quarter of the great
city of London and is built of brick and stone. Light enters the
numerous rooms through windows made of glass. Outside is the roar of
traffic; inside, the presses groan, not always without reason.

My appointment with the august and retiring controller of the great
English journal - the Jupiter who directs its thunderbolts, determines
the size of type appropriate to every correspondent, and latterly has
added to the gaiety of nations by offering a tilting-space to the
ATTORNEY-GENERAL and Mr. GIBSON BOWLES - my appointment being at three
o'clock I was careful to reach the office a few minutes before that
hour, because I like to have time to look around and collect those
little details of environment and atmosphere which are so valuable in
themselves as to make it almost immaterial whether the person I am to
interview speaks at all.

Entering the offices, which can be described only as palatial, I was
struck by the thoughtfulness - no doubt appertaining to the head of the
establishment who was so soon, for the first time in history, to grant
me an audience - which had provided a parallelogram of some fibrous
material for the purpose of removing the mud from one's boots. A minute
later I was again delighted by the discovery of an ingenious contrivance
in the shape of a kind of peg or hook on which a hat and coat could
be placed. It is by just such minutiae as these that one place is
distinguished from another and character indicated.

Punctually to the minute I was shown into the Editor's room, where again
I was struck by the imaginative adequacy of the surroundings. Before
coming to the man himself let me say something of these. The floor was
not bare or even sprinkled with sawdust, as it might easily have been,
but it was covered by a comfortable carpet, probably from Axminster.
Comfort was indeed the note. The desk was neither pitch pine nor teak,
but mahogany. Upon it were scattered papers - lightly scattered, although
no doubt each was of the most momentous, even tragical import, some
bearing the signatures of the most eminent publicists in the land. Yet,
such is the domination of this man, they lay there like circulars or
election addresses. In the ink-pot was ink. A date rack was proof that
the Editor is not superior to the artificial divisions of time.

As I entered, his back was towards me, but none the less I was conscious
of power, distinction, a man apart. I have seen many backs, but none
more notable than this. Turning he revealed to the full the wonder and
mystery of his famous frown - the frown of Jupiter Tonans. Much has been
said of this frown, but since no analysis has yet appeared in print I
must be permitted to offer one. To begin with, the frown is not only on
his face, but (one instinctively knows) all over him. It suffuses him.
Could one see, for instance, his knee, one is sure that it would be
frowning too.

The effect was terrifying, but I stood my ground. As for the face,
where the frown concentrates, it is most curiously divided. Below the
masterful nose the frown may be said to be merely threatening; above the
firm upper lip it assumes a quality of such dourness as to resemble a
scowl. The forehead is corrugated. The ears twitch, especially the left.
The eyes emit sparks.

Hitherto he had not spoken; but now he began to unburden himself of
those opinions, hopes, fancies and idealistic meditations for which I
had come so far to see him. In order that there shall be no ambiguity I
have arranged for them to be set up in larger type than the rest of the
article. After all, any type will suit my own poor setting, but the
jewels, the jewels must be seen.

"Be seated, pray," he said. "The world," he added after a long silence,
"is in an unusual state. The Versailles Conferences may effect great
changes."

"Everyone hopes," he remarked after another pause, "that the weather
will improve; recently it has been far from invigorating."

I give his exact words with scrupulous minuteness.

"A permanent peace," he continued, "based upon equity, cannot but be
desired. The Election results," he added as an afterthought, "are
interesting."

Asked what he thought of the PRIME MINISTER, he pondered deeply for a
while and then replied, in carefully measured tones, "I think him an
exceptional man."

Pressed as to the League of Nations, he considered the matter for some
minutes and then said, "It is a fine notion. We might all be the happier
if it came."

My time being now up he bowed me to the door and the interview was over.
The knob was of brass and had been, recently polished.

His last words were, "Mind the step."

* * * * *

[Illustration: RECONSTRUCTION; A NEW YEAR'S TASK.]

* * * * *

[Illustration: _Bore_. "I HAVE BEEN MAKING A VERY INTERESTING
CALCULATION. NOW, JUST HAVE A GUESS. IF ALL THE WOUND-STRIPES WERE
PLACED END TO END HOW FAR DO YOU THINK THEY WOULD REACH?"

_Weary Wounded._ "DUNNO, GUV'NOR. STEP IT OUT AND SHOW US."]

* * * * *

[Illustration: _Officer (to whom private has given three ardent
love-letters, addressed to different persons, to censor)._ "WELL, WHAT
ARE YOU WAITING FOR?" _Private._ "'SCUSE ME, SIR, BUT I JUST WANTED TO
SEE YOU DIDN'T MAKE NO MISTAKE ABOUT THE ENVELOPES."]

* * * * *

THE ANTI-PICADORS.

A conference of subscribers and contributors to the correspondence
columns of _The Times_ was held at Caxton Hall on Saturday last, to
discuss the situation created in the issue of December 21st by the
printing of the interview with President WILSON in larger type than
had ever been used previously in the body of the paper. Amongst those
present were "Scrutator," "Bis Dat Qui Cito Dat," "Judex," "Vindex,"
"Palmam Qui Meruit Ferat," "Rusticus Expectans," "Old Etonian," "Anxious
Parent," "Anti-Jacobin," "Puzzled," "Octogenarian," "Quousque Tandem,"
and "The Thin End of the Wedge."

The Chair was taken by a "Subscriber of Fifty Years' Standing," who
prefaced his remarks by observing that neither he nor any of those
present was animated by the faintest antagonism to President WILSON.
Their gratitude to him for his services in the War was so great that,
in the abstract, they could have no objection to his being accorded the
distinction of the largest possible type, so long as proper distinction
was made typographically between the remarks of the PRESIDENT and the
comments of the interviewer - as for example that Mr. WILSON's bedroom
is "strictly First Empire," or that "there seems to be some kind of
competition between the upper and the lower halves of his features,"
or that his "grey lounge suit" was "well cut into his body." But there
ought to be some harmony between the size of the type and the importance
of the views expressed. He had himself contributed many letters to _The
Times_ on subjects of the greatest urgency, but had never attained
the dignity even of long primer. (Sensation.) He thought that in the
circumstances they were entitled to address a modest protest to the
Editor, to the effect that the use of "pica" should be reserved for the
rarest occasions and not be allowed to prejudice the claims of those who
were entitled to exercise the indefeasible privilege of "writing to _The
Times_." (Cheers.)

"Scrutator," who followed, disclaimed any personal grievance. His
letters had always appeared in large type and on the best pages. But
he drew the line at "pica"; it looked too like an advertisement and
destroyed the balance of the page. In old days an editor controlled the
"make-up" of his paper. Now he was at the mercy of his "maker-up."

"Judex," speaking from the body of the hall, said that he had heard
the interview in question spoken of as a "splendid scoop." He was not
certain what the phrase meant, but he did not like the sound of it, and
dreaded the prospect of President WILSON being made the subject of a
typographical competition between our daily papers. While the paper
shortage lasted this might lead to very serious results in the way of
restricting the space available for the ventilation of the views of
those present.

An "Anxious Parent" pointed out that the use of "pica" was unfortunate,
as it irresistibly suggested "picador," one who participated in a cruel
sport, whereas President WILSON was a most humane and compassionate man
and had never assisted at a bull-fight.

After several other speeches it was ultimately resolved to form an
association, to be known as the "Anti-Picador League," and a small
committee was appointed to draw up an appeal to the principal Editors to
abstain as far as possible from typographical Jumbomania.

* * * * *

BOY (SECOND CLASS).

BOY (Second Class) John Simpkins, a bad 'un, you must know,
Was told to swab a plank one day by a First-Class C.P.O.,
Whose eagle eye, returning, on the deck espied a stain -
"Boy Simpkins, fetch your mop, me lad, and swab yon plank again."
Boy Simpkins (Second Class, too!) made as though he wouldn't go,
And distinctly muttered "Blast you!" to that First-Class C.P.O.

The splendid Petty Officer fell flat upon the deck;
They bore him to the Sick Bay just a weak and worthless wreck;
But an A.B. who was standing by had caught the wicked word
And told the Duty Officer exactly what occurred: -
"Boy Simpkins (Second Class, too!), which I think yer oughter know, Sir,
'Ad the lip ter mutter 'Blast you!' ter the Fust-Class C.P.O., Sir."

There is silence in the foc's'le, on the quarter-deck dismay,
And the lower deck is humming in a most unusual way;
The working-party pauses as it cleans a six-inch gun,
And tho Officer on Duty whispers hoarse to "Number One": -
"Boy Simpkins (Second Class, too!), I suppose you ought to know, Sir,
Had the cheek to mutter 'Blast you!' to a First-Class C.P.O., Sir."

Number One, his face is ashen and his knees knock as he runs
(A curious phenomenon quite rare in Number Ones);
But on he rushed until he saw the tall brass-hatted Bloke,
And, nervously saluting, incoherently he spoke: -
"Boy Simpkins (Second Class, too!), I'm afraid that you must know, Sir,
Had the nerve to mutter 'Blast you!' to a First-Class C.P.O., Sir."

The Bloke turned blue and shivered, then hysterically laughed,
And hurried, cackling shrilly, to the Owner's cabin aft;
There in that awful presence, with lips aghast and pale,
To the horror-haunted Owner he re-told the horrid tale: -
"Boy Simpkins (Second Class, too!), I regret to let you know, Sir,
Had the face to mutter 'Blast you!' to a First-Class C.P.O., Sir!"

You could almost hear the silence when the flags began to flap
And the Captain made the signal that destroyed the Admiral's nap;
And though I wasn't there myself beside the great man's bed
You all can guess as well as I just what the Owner said: - "SUBMITTED.
Boy Simpkins (Second Class, too!), it is thought you ought to know, Sir,
Has dared to mutter 'Blast you!' to a First-Class C.P.O., Sir!"

The Press Bureau won't let me mention how the Admiral went
And told Sir ERIC GEDDES, who informed the Government;
How the Cabinet, when summoned, found him far too bad to kill,
So packed him off to Weiringen to valet LITTLE WILL.
Boy Simpkins (Second Class, too!) down to history will go
As the first and last who dared say "Blast" to a First-Class C.P.O.

* * * * *

NOVEL RECONSTRUCTION.

Simmons is a writer of fiction and was a friend of mine.

I used to play billiards with Simmons, to talk to Simmons, but not to
read Simmons.

There are limits to friendship.

I met him the other day in a very depressed state.

"Look at these munition workers," he said. "See what the Government is
doing for them. Paying them wages all the time that they're out of work.
What about me?"

"Well, you weren't on munitions."

"I have been on intellectual munitions," replied Simmons. "And now all
my editors write to me, 'Get away from the War.' I have to transfer my
machinery to peace work. I have to turn away from the production of the
German spy. Think of it. I have almost lived on him for years. I have
created hundreds of him during the War. All my laboriously acquired
knowledge of German terms - like '_Schweinhund_,' you know - goes for
nothing. I shall have to make all my villains Bolsheviks. That will
require close study of Russia. All my old Russian knowledge goes for
nothing. They have abolished the knout and exile to Siberia. I have to
start afresh.

"Then look at my heroes. I have mastered the second lieutenant. My
typewriter almost automatically writes 'old top,' 'old soul,' 'old
bean,' 'old egg.' All my study of this type is thrown away. And
heroines - why, I shall have to study dress again. The hospital nurse is
done for; the buxom proportions of the land-girl avail me no more.
My dear fellow, it will be six months before I can deal with women's
costume competently.

"And plots. How the War simplified everything. The Zep, a failure in
fact, was a splendid success in fiction. The awkward people could be
wiped out so simply. Then one's villains could die gallantly - a bit of
good in the worst of men, you know - whispering a hurried confession in
the ears of the Company Sergeant-Major in the front trenches.

"Then, again, all misunderstandings were explained when the V.C. looked
up from his hospital bed. 'Eric,' she gushed, 'you here!' And from that
moment he needed no more medicine. My dear fellow, we shall want new
plots now; real plots and new characters. It will be a long time before
I can return to my pre-war standard of strong, silent, masterful
millionaires from the backwoods. Haven't I a right to seek compensation
from the Government for checking my intellectual output?"

"I think the Government ought to pay you ten pounds for every week in
which you don't write," I said.

Simmons shook me warmly by the hand.

The next day he cut me dead. I believe that Simmons, though an author of
popular fiction, must have been thinking.

* * * * *

"THE FUTURE OF LYING.

"INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE TO BE CALLED."

_Northampton Dally Echo._

We should have thought it might quite safely be left to private
enterprise.

* * * * *

"The American troops on this side are already either in the States
or on their way." - _Letter in "Daily Express."_

The Germans will take this as convincing evidence of American duplicity.

* * * * *

THE HISTORY OF A JOKE.

[Illustration: BEFORE THE DAWN OF HISTORY IT WAS A UNIVERSAL FAVORITE.]

[Illustration: THE EGYPTIANS LOVED IT.]

[Illustration: THE ASSYRIANS NEVER GREW TIRED OF IT.]

[Illustration: THE GREEKS GRINNED AT IT.]

[Illustration: THE ROMANS REVELLED IN IT.]

[Illustration: HENGIST OFTEN TOLD IT TO HORSA.]

[Illustration: IT WAS RELISHED BY THE SAXONS.]

[Illustration: THE NORMANS KNEW IT WELL.]

[Illustration: IT NEVER LOST ITS FRESHNESS THROUGH THE MIDDLE AGES.]

[Illustration: HENRY VIII. MADE HIS REPUTATION BY IT.]

[Illustration: CHARLES II. REGALED HIS COURT WITH IT.]

[Illustration: IN THE GEORGIAN ERA IT REMAINED UNDIMMED.]

[Illustration: IT WAS POPULAR IN THE SIXTIES.]

[Illustration: AND ONLY LAST WEEK IT WAS THE HIT OF ALL THE NEWEST
REVUES.]

* * * * *

[Illustration: THE NEW DEMOCRACY.

_Telegraph Girl (at last finding addressee after marching down the
room, shouting, "Bullock! Bullock! Anybody here name o'
Bullock?" - contemplatively, as she awaits answer)._ "UMPH! NOT MUCH LIKE
A BULLOCK, ARE YER?"]

* * * * *

IN MEMORY OF DORA.

(_A JOYOUS ANTICIPATION_.)

Walk very softly here and very slowly;
Let no sound pass the barrier of your teeth;
Not that the spot whereon you tread is holy,
But lest you rouse her up that lies beneath.

She ruthlessly curtailed our golf and skittles;
She vetoed daily sprees and nightly jinks;
She doled our baccy and weighed out our victuals,
And watered (cruellest of all) our drinks.

Anathema (by order) were our races;
Joy-riding was taboo in car or train;
And when they ventured to kick o'er the traces
She strafed her victims till they roared again.

Now where she sleeps the sleep that knows no waking
A simply graven sentence marks the place
(The Latin's shaky but bears no mistaking): -
"_Hic jacet DORA and hic let her jace_."

* * * * *

AN UNHAPPY CHRISTMAS.

"A number of persons have booked dooms for Yuletide." - _Scottish
Paper._

* * * * *

THE BROTHER SERVICE.

MR. PUNCH, DEAR SIR, - I am still with the Q.M.A.A.C.'s at what used
to be called the Front. But do not imagine I am cut off from news.
Papers from home pour in by every mail. I read articles written by
People Who Know, and speeches of politicians to female electors, and
that is how I have learned that it is we Women of England who have
won the War.

Yet out here one cannot help noticing that the War was not waged
entirely by the lovelier sex. And so I am writing to ask you to say


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Online LibraryVariousPunch, or the London Charivari, Volume 156, Jan. 1, 1919 → online text (page 1 of 3)