Sunday, September 23, 2012

Ashley Sterne Mixed Grill December 1924


Ashley Sterne caught his second wind in these December 1924 installments of Mixed Grill, and the humor is more sprightly (it seems to me) than in the two months earlier.



Mixed Grill  (Malaya Tribune, 1 December 1924)

By Ashley Sterne

The American National Restaurant Association—a sort of Society of Bright Young Waiters, I imagine—has pronounced that "no restaurant patron may be permitted to gorge himself without caution from the waiter."

If the Association ever opens a branch over here I see the City stockbrokers and other heavy feeders having a thin time.  As witness:

"George!  Bring me a dozen oysters, with a centre cut of turbot to follow, and tell chef to put me on a nice point-steak with plenty of fat."

"Sorry, sir, but I can't allow you steak if you have turbot!"

"But dash it!  I'm famishing.  I've been doing contangoes all morning!"  [A contango is a market condition involving futures contracts.]

"Very sorry, sir, but the Association is very strict about gorging."

"Well, never mind about the steak.  I'll have a cut from the joint and two veg."

"Pardon me, sir, but that also I cannot permit.  Now, if you'd be content with six oysters and a soused herring, may be I could allow you a small cutlet to follow—"

But the stockbroker has rushed angrily out to seek a "Good Pull Up for Carmen." [a working class cafe, frequented by carmen—that is, drivers of vans]

**         **          **          **

"When cooked (runs an article entitled Country Cookery in a contemporary) young stinging-nettles can hardly be distinguished from spinach."  Except, of course, by the fact that young stinging-nettles don't rhyme with "Greenwich."

A newspaper correspondent (I deduce a young lady) suggest that young men, instead of always sending the object of their affections flowers, might occasionally send fruit.  Buy why not make it vegetables?  There is no "language of fruit" as there is of flowers, but several vegetables speak for themselves.  In this wise:

Go, lovely spud!
Tell her that wastes her time and me
My heart's no dud,
And she may reasonably infer,
When she's in safe receipt of thee,
I'm mashed on her.

Go, haricot! [bean]
Tell her whom I'd espouse
I love her; though,
If wedded, she indulge in "scenes"
And other coarse connubial rows,
I'll give her beans!

**         **          **          **

Great interest has been evoked in archaeological circles by the announcement of Mr. Cecil Firth's discovery, near Cairo, of two stone tombs-chapels erect 6,400 years ago—the earliest stone buildings known.  Naturally that eminent Egyptologist, Professor Pifflinger Rottenbleiter, whose biography I publish this week, has found a good deal to say, chiefly of a controversial nature, upon the matter.  In the current number of the Plumber's and Gasfitter's Weekly he openly expresses his scepticism that the above are the oldest stone buildings known.  He feels certain that many of the boarding-houses in which he has stayed during his visits to London showed unmistakable signs of being of much earlier date, as also did the food—especially the eggs and the shepherd's pie.

Coming from so erudite a specialist this contention cannot be lightly dismissed.  It is to the patient research of Prof. Rottenbleiter that we owe the discovery of the eye of Cleopatra's needle [an Egyptian obelisk taken to London and erected in 1878], a discovery worth its weight in gold; and until the learned gentleman has been afforded opportunity to visit the tomb-chapels and examine the pew-holders' register the matter of their antiquity should be regarded as sub judice [under judgment].

**         **          **          **

I have been greatly interested in reading how a canary breeder in Bremerhaven, Germany, teaches canaries to sing like nightingales.  From the moment they are hatched the young birds are subjected to the strains of a gramaphone reproducing the notes of genuine nightingales.  When they are fledged they are then placed near a cage of live Philomels [Philomel, in Greek myth, was a princess turned into a nightingale], with the result that the canaries eventually warble the only bird-notes which their little ears have ever heard.  This ingenious idea, however, is not new.  Several years ago that famous zoologist, Professor Barmion Crumpett, F.Z.S., made the experiment of teaching cuckoos to moo, and to this end engaged a cow, recently bereft of her calf, to come daily and lament over a clutch of eggs he had secured.  Unfortunately, the Professor overlooked the remarkable ornithological fact that cuckoos only lay the eggs of other birds.  Hence when the sitting at length hatched out he was not a little annoyed to find he had been wasting his and the cow's time over a brood of ostrich-birds that are unhappily songless.

**         **          **          **

The labour market just now is showing a demand for women workers.  This should be a great relief for the working man who has well nigh tired himself to death looking for a job for his missus.

**         **          **          **

A weather expert has, I see, already forecasted a wet summer for next year.  Somehow I cannot think that this sort of prophecy calls for an expert.

**         **          **          **

A tramp, I see, was recently sentenced at a London Police Court to fourteen days' hard labour for sleeping in a dog-kennel.  I can only hope that this will be a lesson to him to engage a bed at the Savoy in future.

**         **          **          **

As threatened in another paragraph I present you this week with the salient features in the life of: —

V. Professor Pifflinger Rottenbleiter

Born 1835 in Potztausend, in the Duchy of Donner and Blitzen.  At age of 2 astonished his parents by talking hieroglyphics instead of his native tongue.  This, coupled with the insistence with which he called for "mummy", determined the choice of a career for him, and in 1850 he was sent to Egypt in the charge of a trustworthy Scarab to study Egyptology on the spot.  In his zeal he dug up the whole Sahara in his search for the original bull-rushes which sheltered Moses, and was subsequently recommended for deportation.  His discover, however, of the mummified big toe of Ho-Ki-Po-Ki II in the boot-cupboard of Shepheard's Hotel re-instated him in the favour of the Egyptian Government, and he was thereafter allowed to pursue his investigations under medical observation.  To the literature of Egyptology he has contributed largely, his principal works being The Worship of Isis: Strawberry and Vanilla (1864); Osiris of the Liver: Its Treatment and Cure (1869); Cat-Embalming for Beginners (1885).

Returning to his native town on his retirement in 1907 he was presented by the inhabitants with a piece of plate, half a tea-cup, and the freedom of the public wash-house. 

x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x


Mixed Grill  (Malaya Tribune, 9 December 1924)

By Ashley Sterne

Some of our more elderly dancing men, I read, are deploring the fact that the modern craze for jazz has completely ousted the waltz from the ball-room, and are urging that this "poetry of motion" (as one enthusiast calls it) should be reinstated.  I, personally, am in favour of keeping the waltz out, partly because I should have to learn it all over again, and partly because I prefer the noisier music of jazz to the soft and dreamy melodies of the waltz.  It prevents me from going to sleep while on duty.  I remember once gyrating with a lady to the soporific strains of "Pansy Faces" and falling peacefully asleep on her shoulder while in the very act of executing my celebrated turning movement, technically known as revoking, I believe.  My partner, under the impression that I was merely employing the new "hesitation" step, did not rouse me until the band stopped, when I gave the whole show away by waking with a start and calling for my shaving-water.

Jazz music, however, prevents the possibility of such a contretemps, and I defy the Seven Sleepers of Ephesus [legendary Christian youths who slept for 300 years] to rest tranquilly when once the soprano saxophone gets his second wind.

**         **          **          **

Being of a somewhat meek and retiring disposition, I put up with any amount of inconvenience rather than make myself conspicuous in public.  If a taxi-driver questions my tendered fare, I don't argue with him—I merely say: "Take this well-filled purse," and fade unobtrusively away.  If I go into a tea-shop and order crumpets and the waitress brings me cracknels [crisp biscuits], I don't throw them about and make a scene, I just eat them, and breathe at Hobe the potent sevenfold curse which we Sternes have used in the family for generations.  Hence my sympathies are entirely with the mild and patient little man, who, while I was eating cracknels yesterday, sat at a table for twenty minutes unattended.  Eventually, he managed to attract the supervisors' attention.

"Excuse me," he faltered, in subdued, henpecked accents, "but is there anybody waiting at this table besides me?"

**         **          **          **

I am distressed to hear that in Leningrad rain has fallen on 270 days out of the last 365.  They must have had a rotten cricket season.

**         **          **          **

An American firm of engineers has just received an order to construct a water-plane to carry eight passengers [possibly the Sikorsky S-36].  The Old Country, however, can still keep her end up.  At a railway buffet the other day I heard eight passengers each give an order for a whisky plain.

**         **          **          **

Dr. Edwin E. Slosson of Washington [American chemist and editor, 1865-1929] claims that, by administering certain glandular preparations, he is able to control a person's dreams.  No more nightmares—Hurrah!  No longer will lobster suppers hold any nocturnal terrors for us!  All we need do is to take, on retiring, a small glandular liquor, and our usual vision of the purple rhinoceros chasing us down Piccadilly, the while our legs are shackled with cannonballs and the only weapon we possess is an unripe cucumber, will be well and truly dissipated.  In course of time, I imagine, Dr. Slosson will so far have developed his discovery that he will be able to give us any dream we care to select.  In this event I shall order quite a lot of my favourite, the "King of England" dream.  Already I have had great fun with it.  You ought to have seen Lord Birkenhead's face when I offered him the M.B.E!  And you would have laughed if you had seen me going to open Parliament, clad in a tennis blazer and a billycock [a felt hat with a rounded crown], seated in a four-wheeler reading John Bull!

**         **          **          **

In response to several requests I have much pleasure in giving a few more data under the heading of: —

THINGS WE OUGHT TO KNOW

The holes in dog-biscuits are for the purpose of ventilation.

Goldfish are left-handed.

Bricklayers in China spread the mortar underneath the brick and then turn it over.

Elijah's mantle was not an incandescent one.

Giraffes will not moult if a rusty anvil be placed in their drinking-water.

To tell a good cheque from a bad one, bite it.

If all the coins taken in one day at Wembley were piled one on top of another the column thus formed would probably topple over.

**         **          **          **

At a recent dinner of the delegates to the International Congress of Esperantists, the poultry course had the imposing and resonant title of "Rotitaj kerkedoloj kaj salato oranga frititaj terpomoj."

At first sight it looks as if the Bolshevik delegate had attempted to blow up the alphabet.

**         **          **          **

That much abused London Suburb, Camden Town, has at last found a Champion.  A well-known author states that he finds the environment most stimulating, and in many respects an ideal spot for the creative worker.

As I happen to indulge at times in a little light creative working, I think Camden Town must be the spot I've been looking for for years, and so (with apologies to Mr. W. B. Yeats) —

I will arise and go now, and go to Camden Town,
And get a lot of wattles and a hefty lump of clay,   [see "wattle-and-daub"]
And build a little cabin of a pleasing shade of brown,
Where the road winds off to Belsize Park which lies up Hampstead way.

And there I'll keep a bee or tow, and row nine rows of beans,
And live alone and listen for the beat of linnett's wings;
Or else I'll grow potatoes, carrots, beet-root, winter greens,
And listen to the song that Christopher (my cricket) sings.

And I shall have some peace there; (in Brixton I have none,
For what with the noise of bus and tram I'm fairly off my bun);
There is the purple twilight, when daily work is done,
Me and the beans and the bee and the clay and the carrots and the cricket, old Uncle Tom Cobley and all, will probably go to the pictures.

**         **          **          **

A shipbuilding magnate, when opening a recreation room which he had presented to his employees, advised his audience to remain teetotallers until they had become millionaires.  Most folks, I fancy, would elect to remain millionaires until they have become teetotallers.

x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x


Mixed Grill  (Malaya Tribune, 13 December 1924)

By Ashley Sterne

If, young men of Malaya, you should find yourselves at a loose end one day in the near future, and decide to become engaged, remember to do the fashionable thing and give your fiancee a single pearl engagement ring.  If the lady objects on the ground that pearls are symbolical of sorrow, tell her from me that that superstition was washed out last month, and that all our best fiancees have decided that the single pearl (provided that it is big enough and expensive enough) carries no ill-luck with it.

I must admit to feeling a trifle surprised on learning that there could be a fashion in such intimate things as engagement rings.  I should have thought that they were far too personal and sacred to be subject to the dictates of fashion.  But apparently there is no limit to the activities of the fashion-setter, and I shall never be amazed to hear one day that it is the correct thing to be buried in a round coffin.

**         **          **          **

Wednesday evening next will find me in the back garden burning Roman candles to the memory of the late G. Fawkes—a man for whom I have always entertained feelings of the greatest respect.  Why this noble idealist should have been the object of public opprobrium for so long I can never understand.  After all is said and done, he only tried to abolish the House of Lords, and three hundred years later men alive and honoured to-day tried to do the same thing!  And yet we still allow our youth to trundle Mr. Fawkes (disguised in father's recently discarded 1896 model) about the streets, and sing ribald rhymes about him just as if he were merely some ordinary unpopular statesman of the day.

Of course, it was very tactless of Guy to attempt to achieve his end with gunpowder.  The band would probably have seriously startled many innocent people who weren't Lords, and broken quite a lot of innocent windows.  A far better and simpler way would have been to creep into the House when the Lords were sitting and smother them in their sleep.  Alternatively, Guy might have left them to die of old age.  But there!  These people with Spanish onions in their veins are so awfully hot-headed and impulsive.

**         **          **          **

Are you anaemic?  If so, I am sure you will be pleased to hear that at the London Medical Exhibition a few weeks ago I saw a new cure for it: colloidal salt of inosital-hexaphosphoric acid.  It's almost worth while becoming anaemic in order to be treated with an imposing-sounding drug like that.  Imagine the effect you would create at, say, an afternoon tea-party—a favourite medium for the discussion of bodily ailments.

Lady Burble:  "Do have another doughnut, Mrs. Stimp!  And now tell me all about your anaemia.  What are you taking for it?"

Mrs. Stimp:  "Just a little iron three times a day."

Lady Burble: "And you, dear Mrs. Goop?  You don't look very much redder.  What do you use?"

Mrs. Goop:  "I am just on a plain, nourishing diet.  May I take another meringue?"

Lady Burble:  "And you, Mr. Sterne—how's your anaemia?"

Me:  "Absolutely top-hole, thanks."

Lady Burble:  "Really!  And what are you taking for it?"

Me:  "COLLOIDAL SALT OF INOSITOL-HEXAPHOSPHORIC ACID!!!"

(Sensation:  Lady Burble nose-dives into the muffin-dish, Mesdames Stimp and Goop collapse on to the cakestand, and the curate swallows an Apostle spoon.)

**         **          **          **

I note that the Exchequer has just received a postal order for 4s. as conscience money.  So now, perhaps, we shall at last get something appreciable knocked off the income tax.

**         **          **          **

A trunk telephone cable was recently severed in error by some workmen.  It is rumoured that the only man who ever got a trunk connection before collapsing from exhaustion has sent a letter of sympathy to the Controller.

**         **          **          **

I see that a scheme is on foot to build a modern hotel and restaurant on the crater of a volcano near Etna.  If the proprietors are in need of an advertising slogan, I would respectfully suggest:  STOP HERE FOR A GOOD BLOW-OUT.

**         **          **          **

I am seriously troubled about the mosquito plague, which seems to be assuming alarming proportions.  Nearly every time I open my daily newspaper I see letters from correspondents giving harrowing details of how the mosquitos have pushed them out of bed by sheer weight of numbers, held them down on the floor, opened their veins, and then made Roman holiday over them.  Clearly, something must be done quickly to cope with the menace, and to that end I have been in communication with my learned friend, Professor Barmion Crumpett, F.Z.S., as to the best method of exterminating the pest.  He tells me there are several effective ways: the Peruvian method, for example, is to fry the mosquitos in beef dripping; the Cingalese drown them in a mixture of copying-ink and still hock [non-sparkling German white wine]; the Mexicans tickle them under the wing, and, when the insects are helpless with laughter run the garden-roller over them; while the Patagonians watch the mosquito until it yawns, and then squirt strychnine down its throat.  The Professor himself, however, practises a more ingenious method.  He anoints his face, ears, and neck with strong sulphuric acid—a lure which no mosquito can resist—and when the House Full notice goes up he plunges his head into a bucket of boiling tar.

**         **          **          **

A WORD TO THE WISE

(On reading that in a recent lecture an eminent scientist
declared that he could not discover any physiological
purpose served by the chin.)

Poor, misguided scientist!
Why on earth do you persist
In o'erlooking what is patent?
Making your pronouncements wild
(Which would not deceived a child)
In a manner bold but blatant?

O most sapient! O most wise!
Where (I ask you) are your eyes,
That you make so rude a statement?
Look about you—think again!
Your assertion gives me pain,
And, I think, requires abatement.

See that ancient over there
With that hefty growth of hair,
Which appears as if it's smeared on?
Tell me, learned paladin,
If the poor chap had no chin,
What the deuce he'd grow his beard on?

x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x


Mixed Grill  (Malaya Tribune, 26 December 1924)

By Ashley Sterne

Do you like snails?  Not as friends, but as an article of diet, I mean.  If not, now is your chance to acquire the taste.  The snail season has never been better (according to the published opinion of the chef in a well-known Soho restaurant), and the consignments of the game which are now reaching England are in admirable condition.  All the same, I am not tempted.  Snails may be more luscious than the most succulent bivalve, but I dislike the idea of relentlessly pursuing snails from wall to wall with the help of fierce snail-hound dogs trained from birth to hunt these flaccid molluscs and, at long last, forcing them, panting and exhausted, to waggle their feeble antennae in the air with the plaintive cry of "Kamerad!  Kamerad!"  I feel that unless the game has a fair chance of escape it is most un-British to capture and eat him.  No sportsman would dream of shooting a pheasant with only one wing; while cannibal tribes have consistently refused to consume a missionary handicapped by a cork leg.  At any rate, they have declined to eat the cork leg.

**         **          **          **

I am really awfully sorry for the man who has been complaining at the Police Court that the practising of the church-bellringers on Fridays nights seriously interferes with his slumbers.  The magistrates award him sympathy, but nothing else.  Of course not; the complainant went to the wrong Court.  He should have gone to the Court of Appeal.

**         **          **          **

Song to the old English Fog


Spring may arrive, no swallow in her train,
Song-birds be mute upon the tardy spray;
Summer may come in no more fine array
Than dismal panoply of ceaseless rain.
Autumn, in turn, may enter; and in vain
For one brief glimpse of sunshine we may pray—
One little surcease from the pall of grey—
One little hour of brightness to attain.

See how the fickle seasons let us down!
But you, dear pal, are constant as the day;
Your loyalty shall e'er be borne in mind,
Nor give us cause to mould the transient frown.
Whatever else may loiter on its way,
When winter comes Fog won't be far behind!

**         **          **          **

A prominent head-line in a London contemporary recently announced—

DANCER LOSES A 200,000 POUND SUIT

When, then, I confide to you that I paid Sir H. Mallaby-Deeley precisely a fiver for the one I'm wearing at the moment, you may rightly infer that I'm no dancer.

**         **          **          **

A fortnight ago I told you the story of the meek gentleman who, after languishing in a tea-shop for twenty minutes without attention, ventured upon a mild protest.  Yesterday I chanced to be the witness of an even more distressing incident.  A customer in a fawn overcoat and a violent hurry, seated himself at an adjacent table, and, after waiting with ill-concealed impatience for ten minutes, energetically thumped the bell, obviously labouring under the not uncommon delusion that the bell was placed there to summon the waitress.  Nothing happened, however, except that a startled old lady inhaled a macaroon whole, and had to be led away.  The waitresses, for their part, were more absent than before (if possible).  Probably they mistook the ringing of the bell for the discharge of the automatic fire-alarm, and were busy leading out the helpless eggs and sardines to a place of safety.  Anyhow, after a brief interval the impatient gentleman again rendered a pleasing carrillon without visible result.  Eventually, he rose from his seat and made his way over to me, who had been watching his proceedings with much interest.

"Excuse me," he began, "but I am a stranger to London.  Can you tell me for what obscure purpose those bells are placed upon the tables?"

"I believe," I replied, "that they are put there so that when a customer dies of starvation the others may show their sympathy by tolling them."

**         **          **          **

I hear it rumoured that shortly telephone subscribers will be offered the option of being installed on the "automatic system."  In case the reader does not understand the meaning of the term, let me explain that the automatic telephone enables a subscriber to get on to the wrong number without the assistance of the girl at the exchange.

**         **          **          **

"No captain of industry," writes a prominent economist, "invests his money for to-day, but always for to-morrow."  To which I would add that if he propose to invest his money in house-property at the present suicidal rentals, the doughty captain may soon find himself with a left tenant.

**         **          **          **

I mightily approve of the London County Council's (Public Parks Committee) custom of giving away its surplus plants every autumn.  At the recent distribution which took place in the Park I patronise, I saw one gentleman coming away with enough surplus vegetation to start a jungle.  He fairly bulged with bulbs, bristled with begonias, jutted with geraniums, protruded with polyanthi; and as I watched him staggering off laden with his horticultural show I thought what an admirable thing it would be if the Bank of England, for example, were to follow the L.C.C's lead.  I understand that when a Bank note has been presented for payment at the Bank it is the custom to destroy it—a dog-in-the-manger action, in my opinion.  If the Bank has no further use for their notes, it would be a kindly and humane act to give them away to someone who has; and if the officials are too busy with the Bank Rate and Bullion and bills to bother about distributing their surpluses, I hereby present my compliments to the Governor, the Chaplain, and the wardens, and volunteer to come along with a sack any day they choose and do the distributing myself.

**         **          **          **

I read with much interest that a certain "beauty-specialist" undertakes to supply ladies with artificial freckles.  This suggests to me an entirely new branch of the "beauty" business, and I am serious contemplating opening a "beauty-parlour" to supply other blemishes.  My advertising circular will contain, inter alia, such items as the following: —

Warts.  A very large selection kept on the premises, or special designs submitted on request.  Send for my shade-card of 24 different tints.

Red noses.  Cultivated under my personal supervision.  All the latest hues in stock, from shell-pink to crimson-lake.  Postal customers should send for my self-measurement form, stating thereon brand of whisky preferred.  A six months' guarantee given with every nose.

Birthmarks.  My unique stock of strawberry marks in fast colours, suitable for cheek, forehead, or shoulder-blade is unrivaled.  Durable and portable.  Will not come off in the wash.

Knock-knees, Bow-legs, Club-feet, &c.  A visit to my showrooms displaying all the latest Paris models is cordially solicited; or orders executed with customer's own material.

**         **          **          **

From time to time some apostle of hygiene arises and condemns the ancient and honourable custom of kissing as unsanitary.  By a strange coincidence these would-be abolitionists usually prove to be most unkissable people—men with bristly beards like disordered haystacks and women with neat little flights of double chins, incipient moustaches, and jaws like rat-traps—people whom one would only kiss for a heavy bet or when one is under the influence of hashish.  The latest addition to the apostolic ranks, however, is not an individual but a constitution, the Russian Soviet, which has placed a ban on kissing on the ground that it is unhealthy.  Let me, then, at once retaliate on behalf of the International Federation of Kissers by declaring a ban on the Russian Soviet, on the ground that it, too, is unhealthy, only more so.  Once admit the principle that kissing in unhygienic and we shall quickly revert to the barbaric practice of rubbing noses, licking hands, and other loathly forms of demonstrating affection.  I don't know what the penalty for infringing the Soviet's ban may be, but I shouldn't like to be a Russian child caught playing kiss-in-the-ring or postman's knock.  It would probably spend the rest of its life in Siberia converting cold tapioca pudding into caviar.

**         **          **          **

A propos of the modern habit which ladies have acquired of performing their toilet at the tables of public restaurants, I was the witness of a pleasing incident a few days ago.  A fluffy damsel, who had performed practically every beauty-stunt during her lunch, save only that of having a rosewater bath in the finger-bowl, was in the act of sallying out of the room when a gentleman who had been lunching at the next table hastened after her and handed her a dainty box, saying—

"Pardon me, but you left your repair-outfit behind."

 **         **          **          **

"One of the greatest curses of modern life," says a writer on economics, "is the multiplication of public officials."  I've just been checking my income tax assessment and feel constrained to add that another great curse is their compound addition.

**         **          **          **

At the recent Dairy Show at Islington there was exhibited a little machine, driven by an oil engine, for milking cows.  How romance is being ousted from every walk of life!  I did think the picturesque dairy-maid would have been left alone in the relentless march of progress, but ere long we shan't be able to tell her from a motor-mechanic.  No trim-waisted Phyllis in flowered kirtle and sunbonnet will trip down to the byre with yoke, milk-pails, and three-legged stool.  Instead, a shapeless figure in dingy blue dungarees, carrying an armful of spanners and oil-cans, will mouch listlessly down to the milking-shed, turn a crank, depress a lever, and to the chuff-chuff-chuff of clanging pistons persuade the lowing kine to disgorge their lactatory secretion.  Boy!  The office sackbut!

"Where are you going it, my pretty maid?"

"I'm going a-milking, sir," she said.

"What! with a spanner, a wrench-pin, a jack
A bottle of lubricant smelly and black,
A ten-inch screwdriver and hammer of lead?"

"That is the modern way," she said.

"How do you manage it, my pretty maid?"

"It's all very simple, kind sir," she said.
"I merely pour kerosene into this tank,
Turn on this tap, give a twist to this crank.
And I milk all the cows without turning my head—
It's a wonderful saving of time, sir," she said.

"Then I won't marry you, my pretty maid!"

"Won't you?  Well, right-o, kind sir!," she said.

"No! if I took a "new" milkmaid to wife,
She'd not be content with the old simple life;
She'd want to run me on an oil engine, too,
And so, pretty maiden, pip-pip! toodle-loo."

**         **          **          **

In some of our secondary schools, I see, it has been decided to give the boys elementary instruction in cookery.  Little Eric's first attempts at the omelette will probably come in very handy as pincushions.

**         **          **          **

As usual, I made one of the crowd who lustily cheered London's new Lord Mayor on the occasion of his triumphal procession to the Law Courts.  Not, I must admit, without a few feelings of envy playing cross-touch in my breast, for it has always been my ambition to be Lord Mayor myself.  Twice already I have written to the City Fathers volunteering for the job, but as I have never received any answer to either of my postcards I can only conclude that candidates for the post are required to possess other qualifications than an infinite capacity for eating turtle soup and looking noble and dignified in a fluffy hat.  Oh, it must be fine to ride through the City in a vehicle which is a cross between a Roman chariot and the Albert memorial, attended by my Sword Swallower, my Nutmeg Bearer, my Remembrancer, and my Chopstick-in-waiting; and afterwards to meet all the nobs at the Guildhall Banquet!  To have Mr. Asquith on one side of me and Mr. Baldwin on the other would be a thrilling experience, and I can just imagine how proud of me my folks would be when they saw me in friendly and intimate converse with them—"Do try the potatoe pie, Herberts, it's top-hole," and "After you with the Worcester sauce, Stan!" and other homely chatter designed to put them entirely at their ease.

**         **          **          **

Dear (and I hope by now constant) readers, I have a pleasant surprise for you.  Next week's "Mixed Grill" will contain the first instalment of a new and powerful serial story entitled, "Knock-Kneed Knora;" or, the "Girl Who Took the Wrong Umbrella", which, at enormous expense and considerable trouble, I have persuaded myself to write.  If I may say so, no more vivid picture of a young girl struggling with adversity, whooping-cough, burglars, Browning's poetry, and tight boots has ever been given to the public.  A prominent critic to whom I showed the MSS confessed to me that Zola himself could not have written the poignant scene where Knora, half-drunk with codliver oil, tries to garrot herself with her stay-lace in the cellar of the raspberry-vinegar distillery where she works.

So order your copy of this paper to-day in order that you may start reading this brilliant work next week.  Better still, order two; then you can read it twice.  You'll need to, I rather fancy.

 

 

No comments:

Post a Comment