Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 156, May 7, 1919 online

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Celebration Committee have unanimously resolved that in these hard
times, when (as the curate pointed out) food is not too plentiful, it
would be better if KING ALFRED cooked the cakes properly and they were
afterwards distributed.

So many watering-places claim CANUTE as their own that he may be
expected to be multiplied exceedingly in the approaching Peace revels;
but from more than one Pastoral Letter it may be gathered that the
Episcopal Bench is very wisely in favour of the King's retirement from
the margin of the ocean before his shoes are actually wet. It is held
that in these days of leather-shortage and the need for economy no
risks should be run with footwear.

Other laudable efforts in the direction of economy are to be made,
again through the earnest solicitude of the Establishment, in
connection with the impersonation of Sir WALTER RALEIGH and KING JOHN.
With the purpose of saving Sir WALTER'S cloak from stain and possible
injury the puddle at QUEEN ELIZABETH'S feet will be only a painted
one, while, owing to the exorbitant price of laundry-work at the
moment, it has been arranged that only a few of KING JOHN'S more
negligible articles shall be consigned to the Wash.

* * * * *


"Count von Brockdorff-Rantzau replied simply, pointing to
Herr Dandsbery and saying: 'I present to you Herr
Landsberg.'" - _The Star_.

* * * * *


How oft I tried by smart intrigue
To do the British Army,
And dodge each rightly-termed Fatigue
Which nearly drove me barmy.
In vain! Whoever else they missed
My name was always on the list.

And so, while other minds were set
On smashing Jerry Bosch up
With rifle, bomb and bayonet,
I chiefly learned to wash-up,
To peel potatoes by the score,
Sweep out a room and scrub the floor.

Thus, now that I have left the ranks,
The plain unvarnished fact is
That through those three rough years, and thanks
To very frequent practice,
I, who was once a nascent snob,
Am master of the menial's job.

To-day I count this no disgrace
When "maids" have gone to blazes,
But take our late Eliza's place
And win my lady's praises,
As she declares in grateful mood
The Army did me worlds of good.

* * * * *


"So," said Albert Edward, "I clapped him on the back and said, 'You
were at Geelong College in 1910, and your name's Cazenove, isn't it?'"

"To which he made reply, 'My name's Jones and I never heard of
Geewhizz,' and knocked you down and trod on you for your dashed
familiarity," said the Babe.

"Nothing of the sort. He was delighted to meet me again - de-lighted.
He's coming to munch with us tomorrow evening, by the way, so you
might sport the tablecloth for once, William old dear, and tell the
cook to put it across Og, the fatted capon, and generally strive to
live down your reputation as the worst Mess President the world has
ever seen. You will, I know - for my sake."

Next morning, when I came down to breakfast, I found a note from him
saying that he had gone to the Divisional Races with his dear old
college chum, Cazenove; also the following addenda: -

"P.S. - If William should miss a few francs from the Mess Fund tell him
I will return it fourfold ere night. I am on to a sure thing.

"P.P.S. - If MacTavish should raise a howl about his fawn leggings,
tell him I have borrowed them for the day as I understand there will
be V.A.D.'s present, and _noblesse oblige_."

At a quarter past eight that night he returned, accompanied by a
pleasant-looking gunner subaltern, whom we gathered to be the Cazenove
person. I say "gathered," for Albert Edward did not trouble to
introduce the friend of his youth, but, flinging himself into a chair,
attacked his food in a sulky silence which endured all through the
repast. Mr. Cazenove, on the other hand, was in excellent form. He had
spent a beautiful day, he said, and didn't care who knew it. A judge
of horseflesh from the cradle, he had spotted the winner every time,
backed his fancy like a little man and had been very generously
rewarded by the Totalizator. He was contemplating a trip to Brussels
in a day or so. Was his dear old friend Albert Edward coming?

His "dear old friend" (who was eating his thumb-nails instead of his
savoury) scowled and said he thought not.

The gunner wagged his head sagely. "Ah, well, old chap, if you
will bet on horses which roar like a den of lions you must take the

Albert Edward writhed. "That animal used to win sprints in England; do
you know that?"

Mr. Cazenove shrugged his shoulders.

"He may have thirty years ago. All I'd back him to win now would be an
old-age pension. Well, I warned you, didn't I?"

Albert Edward lost control. "When I'm reduced to taking advice on
racing form from a Tasmanian I'll chuck the game and hie me to a
monkery. Why, look at that bit of bric-à-brac you were riding to-day;
a decent God-fearing Australian wouldn't be seen dead in a ten-acre
paddock with it."

Mr. Cazenove spluttered even more furiously. "That's a dashed good
horse I'll have you know."

"I am not alluding to his morals, but to his appearance," said Albert
Edward; "I've seen better-looking hat-racks."

"I'd back him to lick the stuffing out of anything you've got in this
unit, anyway," Cazenove snorted.

"Don't be rash, Charlie," Albert Edward warned; "your lucky afternoon
has gone to your head. Why, I've got an old mule here could give that
boneshaker two stone and beat him by a furlong in five."

The gunner sprang to his feet. "Done with you!" he roared. "Done with
you here and now!"

Albert Edward appeared to be somewhat taken back. "Don't be silly,
man," he soothed. "It's pitch dark outside and cut up with trenches.
Sit down and have some more of this rare old port, specially concocted
for us by the E.F.C."

But Mr. Cazenove was thoroughly aroused. "You're hedging," he sneered;
"you're scared."

"Nonsense," said Albert Edward. "I have never known what fear is - not
since the Armistice, anyhow. I am one of the bravest men I have ever
met. What are you doing with all that money?"

"Putting it down for you to cover," said Cazenove firmly.

Albert Edward sighed. "All right, then, if you will have it so.
William, old bean, I'm afraid I shall have to trouble you for a trifle
more out of the Mess Fund. _Noblesse oblige_, you know."

MacTavish and the Babe departed with the quest to prepare his mount
for the ordeal, while Albert Edward and I sought out Ferdinand and
Isabella, our water-cart pair. Isabella was fast asleep, curled
up like a cat and purring pleasantly, but Ferdinand was awake,
meditatively gnawing through the wood-work of his stall. With the
assistance of the line-guard we saddled and bridled him; but at the
stable door he dug his toes in. It was long past his racing hours, he
gave us to understand, and his union wouldn't permit it. He backed
all round the standings, treading on recumbent horses, tripping
over bails, knocking uprights flat and bringing acres of tin roofing
clattering down upon our heads, Isabella encouraging him with ringing
fanfares of applause.

At length we roused out the grooms and practically carried him to the

"You've been the devil of a time," William grumbled. "Cazenove's been
waiting for twenty minutes. See that light over there? That's where
MacTavish is. He's the winning-post. Keep straight down the mud-track
towards it and you'll be all right. Don't swing sideways or you'll get
bunkered. Form line. Come up the mule. Back, Cazenove, back! Steady.

The rivals clapped heels to their steeds and were swallowed up in
the night. I looked at my watch, the hands pointed to 10.30 exactly.
William and I lit cigarettes and waited. At 10.42 MacTavish walked
into us, his lamp had given out and he wanted a new battery.

"Who won?" we inquired.

"Won?" he asked. "They haven't started yet, have they?"

"Left here about ten minutes ago," said William. "Do you mean to say
you've seen nothing of them?"

At that moment two loud voices, accompanied by the splash of liquid
and the crash of tin, struck our ears from different points of the

"Sounds to me as if somebody had found a watery grave over to the
left," said the Babe.

"Sounds to me as if somebody had returned to stables over to the
right," said I.

We trotted away to investigate. 'Twas as I thought; Ferdinand had
homed to his Isabella and was backing round the standings once more,
trailing the infuriated Albert Edward after him, sheets of corrugated
iron falling about them like leaves in Vallombrosa.

"Bolted straight in here and scraped me off against the roof," panted
the latter. "Suppose the confounded apple-fancier won ages ago, didn't

"He's upside down in the Tuning Fork trench system at the present
moment," said I. "The Babe and the grooms are digging him out. If you
hurry up you'll win yet."

We roused out the guard, bore the reluctant Ferdinand back to the
course and by eleven o'clock had restarted him. At 11.10 William
returned to report that the digging party had salved the Cazenove pair
and got them going again.

"Too late," said I; "Albert Edward must have won in a walk by now. He
left here at..."

The resounding clatter of falling sheet-iron cut short my words.
Ferdinand had, it appeared, returned to stables once more.

Suddenly something hurtled out of the gloom and crashed into us. It
was the Babe.

"What's the matter now? Where are you going?" we asked.

"Wire-cutters, quick!" he gasped and hurtled onwards towards the

"Hello there!" came the hail of MacTavish from up the course. "I
s-say, what about this blessed race? I'm f-f-rozen s-s-tiff out here.
I'm about f-f-fed up, I t-tell you."

William groaned. "As if we all weren't!" he protested. "If all the
Mess Funds for the next three weeks weren't involved I'd make the
silly fools chuck it. Here, you, run and tell Albert Edward to get a
move on."

I found Ferdinand rapidly levelling the remainder of the standings,
playing his jockey at the end of his reins as a fisherman plays a

"This cursed donkey won't steer at all," Albert Edward growled.
"Sideslips all over the place like a wet tyre. Has Cazenove won yet?"

"Not yet," said I. "He's wound up in the Switch Line wire
entanglements now. The Babe and the wrecking gang are busy chopping
him out. There's still time."

"Then drag Isabella out in front of this brute," said he. "Quick, man,

At 11.43, by means of a brimming nose-bag, I had enticed Isabella
forth, and the procession started in the following order: First,
myself, dragging Isabella and dangling the bait. Secondly, Isabella.
Thirdly, the racers, Ferdinand and Albert Edward, the latter
belting Isabella with a surcingle whenever she faltered. Lastly, the
line-guard, speeding Ferdinand with a doubled stirrup-leather. We
toiled down the mud. track at an average velocity of .25 m.p.h.,
halting occasionally for Isabella to feed and the line-guard to rest
his arm. I have seen faster things in my day.

Then, just as we were arriving at our journey's end we collided
with another procession. It was the wrecking gang, laden with the
implements of their trade (shovels, picks, wire-cutters, ropes,
planks, waggon-jacks, etc.), and escorting in their midst Mr. Cazenove
and his battered racehorse. Both competitors immediately claimed the
victory: -

"Beaten you this time, Albert Edward, old man."... "On the contrary,
Charles, old chap, I won hands down."... "But, my good fellow, I've
been here for hours."... "My dear old thing, I've been here _all
night_!"... "Do be reasonable."... "Don't be absurd."

"Oh, dry up, you two, and leave it to the winning-post to decide,"
said William.

"By the way, where is the winning-post?"

"The winning-post," we echoed. "Yes, where is he?"

"Begging your pardon, Sir," came the voice of the Mess orderly,
"but if you was referring to Mister MacTavish he went home to bed
half-an-hour ago."


* * * * *

[Illustration: _Potential President of the Royal Academy._ "AND HERE,


* * * * *


"A sub-department of Scotland Yard ... which looks after Kings
and visiting potentates, Cabinet Ministers and Suffragettes,
spies, anarchists, and other 'undesirables.'" - _Daily Paper._

* * * * *

"The custodian smothered the ball, and after a Ruby scrimmage
the City goal escaped." - _Provincial Paper._
A much prettier word than the other.

* * * * *

"Teacher (juniors); £1 monthly." - _Advt. in Liverpool Paper._

Who says there are no prizes in the teaching profession?

* * * * *



When I had seen ten thousand pass me by
And waved my arms and wearied of hallooing,
"Ho, taxi-meter! Taxi-meter, hi!"
And they hied on and there was nothing doing;
When I was sick of counting dud by dud
Bearing I know not whom - or coarse carousers,
Or damsels fairer than the moss-rose bud -
And still more sick at having bits of mud
Daubed on my new dress-trousers;

I went to dinner by the Underground
And every time the carriage stopped or started
Clung to my neighbour very tightly round
The neck till at Sloane Square his collar parted.
I saw my hostess glancing at my socks,
Surprised perhaps at so much clay's adherence
And, still unnerved by those infernal shocks,
Said, "I was working in my window-box;
Excuse my soiled appearance."

But in the morn I found a silent square
And one tall house with all the windows shuttered,
The mansion of the Marquis of Mayfair,
And "Here shall be the counter-stroke," I muttered;
"Shall not the noble Marquis and his kin
Make feast to-night in his superb refectory,
And then go on to see 'The Purple Sin'?
They shall." I sought a taxi-garage in
The Telephone Directory.

"Ho, there!" I cried within the wooden hutch;
"Hammersmith House - a most absurd dilemma -
His lordship's motor-cars have strained a clutch,
And taxis are required at 8 pip emma
(Six of your finest and most up-to-date,
With no false starts and no foul petrol leaking),
To bear a certain party of the great
To the Melpomene at ten past eight.
Thompson, the butler, speaking."

They came. And I at the appointed hour
Watched them arrive before the muted dwelling
And heard some speeches full of pith and power
And saw them turn and go with anger swelling;
Save only one who, spite his rude dismay,
Like a whipped Hun, made traffic of his sorrow
And shouted, "Taxi, Sir?" I answered "Nay,
I do not need you, jarvey, but I may
Be disengaged to-morrow."


* * * * *


"Large quantity of new Block Chocolate offered cheap; cause
ill-health." - _Manchester Evening News._

* * * * *

"Miss M. Albanesi, daughter of the well-known singer, Mme.
Albanesi." - _Daily Paper._

Not to be confused with Mme. ALBANI, the popular novelist.

* * * * *

"The Portuguese retreated a step. His head flew to his
hip-pocket. But he was a fraction of a second too late." - _The

Many a slip 'twixt the head and the hip.

* * * * *


* * * * *


_Tuesday, April 29th._ - When the House of Commons re-assembled this
afternoon a good many gaps were noticeable on the green benches. They
were not due, however, to the New Year's Honours, which made a belated
appearance this morning, for not a single Member of Parliament has
been ennobled. The notion that not one of the seven hundred is worthy
of elevation is, of course, unthinkable. But by-elections are so

Mr. JEREMIAH MACVEAGH still has some difficulty in realising that the
Irish centre of gravity has shifted from Westminster to Dublin. He
indignantly refused to accept an answer to one of his questions from
little Mr. PRATT, and loudly demanded the corporeal presence of the
CHIEF SECRETARY. Mr. MACPHERSON, however, considers that his duty
requires him to remain in Ireland, where Mr. MACVEAGH'S seventy Sinn
Fein colleagues are keeping him sufficiently busy.

In explaining the swollen estimates of the Ministry of Labour, Sir
ROBERT HORNE pointed out that it is now charged with the functions
formerly appertaining to half-a-dozen other Departments. He has indeed
become a sort of administrative _Pooh-Bah_. Unlike that functionary,
however, he was not "born sneering." On the contrary, he made a most
sympathetic speech, chiefly devoted to justifying the much-abused
unemployment donation, which accounts for twenty-five out of the
thirty-eight millions to be spent by his Department this year. But let
no one mistake him for a mere HORNE of Plenty, pouring out benefits
indiscriminately upon the genuine unemployed and the work-shy. He has
already deprived some seventeen thousand potential domestics of their
unearned increment, and he promises ruthless prosecution of all who
try to cheat the State in future.

Criticism was largely silenced by the Minister's frankness. Sir F.
BANBURY, of course, was dead against the whole policy, and
demanded the immediate withdrawal of the civilian grants; but his
uncompromising attitude found little favour. Mr. CLYNES thought it
would have been better for the State to furnish work instead of doles,
but did not explain how in that case private enterprise was to get
going. France's experience with the _ateliers nationaux_ is not
encouraging, though 1919, when "demobbed" subalterns turn up their
noses at £250 a year, is not 1848.

_Wednesday, April 30th._ - Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN, returning to the
Exchequer after an interval of thirteen years, made a much better
Budget speech than one would have expected. It was longer, perhaps,
than was absolutely necessary. Like the late Mr. GLADSTONE, he has a
tendency to digress into financial backwaters instead of sticking to
the main Pactolian stream. His excursus upon the impracticability of
a levy on capital was really redundant, though it pleased the
millionaires and reconciled them to the screwing-up of the
death-duties. Still, on the whole, he had a more flattering tale to
unfold than most of us had ventured to anticipate, and he told it
well, in spite of an occasional confusion in his figures. After all,
it must be hard for a Chancellor who left the national expenditure
at a hundred and fifty millions and comes back to find it multiplied
tenfold not to mistake millions for thousands now and again.

[Illustration: _Budget Victims._ "YOU MAY HAVE WON THE WAR, BUT WE'VE

On the whole the Committee was well pleased with his performance,
partly because the gap between revenue and expenditure turned out to
be a mere trifle of two hundred millions instead of twice or thrice
that amount; partly because there was, for once, no increase in the
income-tax; but chiefly, I think, for the sentimental reason that in
recommending a tiny preference for the produce of the Dominions and
Dependencies Mr. CHAMBERLAIN was happily combining imperial interests
with filial affection.

Almost casually the CHANCELLOR announced that the Land Values Duties,
the outstanding feature of Mr. LLOYD GEORGE'S famous Budget of 1909,
were, with the approval of their author, to be referred to a Select
Committee, to see if anything could be made of them. If only Mr.
ASQUITH had thought of that device when his brilliant young lieutenant
first propounded them! There would have been no quarrel between the
two Houses: the Parliament Act would never have been passed, and a
Home Rule Act, for which nobody in Ireland has a good word, would not
now be reposing on the Statute-Book.

In the absence of any EX-CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER the task of
criticism was left to Mr. ADAMSON, who was mildly aggressive and
showed a hankering after a levy on capital, not altogether easy to
reconcile with his statement that no responsible Member of the Labour
Party desired to repudiate the National Debt. Mr. JESSON, a National
Democrat, was more original and stimulating. As a representative of
the Musicians' Union he is all for harmony, and foresees the time
when Capital and Labour shall unite their forces in one great national
orchestra, under the directing baton of the State.

At the instance of Lord STRACHIE the House of Lords conducted a
spirited little debate on the price of milk. It appears that there
is a conflict of jurisdiction between the FOOD-CONTROLLER and the
MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, and that the shortage in the supply of this
commodity must be ascribed to the overlapping of the Departments.

_Thursday, May 1st._ - Sinn Fein has decreed that nobody in Ireland
should do any work on May Day. Messrs. DEVLIN and MACVEAGH, however,
being out of the jurisdiction, demonstrated their independence by
being busier than ever. The appointment of a new Press Censor in
Ireland furnished them with many opportunities at Question-time for
the display of their wit, which some of the new Members seemed to find
passably amusing.

Mr. DEVLIN'S best joke was, however, reserved for the Budget debate,
when, in denouncing the further burdens laid on stout and whisky, he
declared that Ireland was, "apart from political trouble," the most
peaceful country in the world.

The fiscal question always seems to invite exaggeration of statement.
The CHANCELLOR'S not very tremendous Preference proposals were
denounced by Sir DONALD MACLEAN as inevitably leading to the taxation
of food and to quarrels with foreign countries. Colonel AMERY, on the
other hand, waxed dithyrambic in their praise, and declared that
by taking twopence off Colonial tea the Government were not only
consecrating the policy of Imperial Preference, but were "putting the
coping-stone on it."

* * * * *

[Illustration: The Minister of Labour (anxious to find work for the
ex-munitionette drawing unemployment pay). "HERE, MODOM, IS A CHARMING

* * * * *


The continued domination of the Russians in the domain of the ballet
has already excited a certain amount of not unfriendly criticism. But
our Muscovite visitors are not to be allowed to have it all their own
way, and we understand that negotiations are already on foot with a
view to enabling the Irish Ballet to give a season at a leading London
theatre in the near future.

The Irish Ballet, which is organised on a strictly self-determining
basis, is one of the outcomes of the Irish Theatre, but derives in its
essentials directly from the school established by Cormac, son of Art.
That is to say it is in its aims, ideals and methods permeated by the
Dalecarlian, Fomorian, Brythonic and Firbolgian impulse. Mr. Fergal
Dindsenchus O'Corkery, the Director, is a direct descendant of
Cuchulinn and only uses the Ulidian, dialect. Mr. Tordelbach
O'Lochlainn, who has composed most of the ballets in the répertoire,
is a chieftain of mingled Dalcassian and Gallgoidel descent. The
scenery has been painted by Mr. Cathal Eochaid. MacCathamhoil, and the
dresses designed by Mr. Domnall Fothud O'Conchobar.

The artists who compose the troupe have all been trained during
the War at the Ballybunnion School in North Kerry, and combine in a
wonderful way the sobriety of the Delsartean method with the feline
agility of that of Kilkenny. Headed by the bewitching Gormflaith
Rathbressil, and including such brilliant artists as Maeve Errigal,
Coomhoola Grits, Ethne O'Conarchy, Brigit Brandub, Corcu and Mocu,
Diarmid Hy Brasil, Murtagh MacMurchada, Aillil Molt, Mag Mell and
Donnchad Bodb, they form a galaxy of talent which, alike for the
euphony of its nomenclature and the elasticity of its technique, has
never been equalled since the days of ST. VITUS.

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Online LibraryVariousPunch, or the London Charivari, Volume 156, May 7, 1919 → online text (page 2 of 4)