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Punch, or the London Charivari, July 1, 1914   By:

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VOL. 147.

July 1, 1914.




["Giving evidence recently before a Select Committee of the House of Commons, Miss C. E. Collet, of the Home Office, said the commercial laundry was killing the small hand laundry." Evening News. ]

The little crafts! How soon they die! In cottage doors no shuttle clicks; The hand loom has been ousted by A large concern with lots more sticks.

The throb of pistons beats around; Great chimneys rise on Thames's banks; The same phenomena are found In Sheffield. (Yorks) and Oldham (Lancs).

No longer now the housewife makes Her rare preserves, for what's the good? The factory round the corner fakes Raspberry jam with chips of wood.

'Tis so with what we eat and wear, Our bread, the boots wherein we splosh 'Tis so with what I deemed most fair, Most virginal of all the Wash.

'Tis this that chiefly, when I chant, Fulfils my breast with sighs of ruth, To think that engines can supplant The Amazons I loved in youth.

That not with tender care, as erst By spinster females fancy free, These button holes of mine get burst Before the shift comes back to me;

That mere machines, and not a maid With fingers fatuously plied, The collars and the cuffs have frayed That still excoriate my hide;

That steam reduces to such states What once was marred by human skill; That socks are sundered from their mates By means of an electric mill;

That not by Cupid's coy advance (Some crone conniving at the fraud), But simply by mechanic chance, I get this handkerchief marked "Maud."

This is, indeed, a striking change; I sometimes wonder if the world Gets better as the skies grow strange With coils of smoke about them curled.

If the old days were not the best Ere printed formulas conveyed Sorrow about that silken vest For all eternity mislaid;

Ere yet the unwieldy motor van Came clattering round the kerbstone's brink, Its driver dreaming some new plan To make my mauve pyjamas shrink.



There are warm days in London when even a window box fails to charm, and one longs for the more open spaces of the country. Besides, one wants to see how the other flowers are getting on. It is on these days that we travel to our Castle of Stopes; as the crow flies, fifteen miles away. Indeed, that is the way we get to it, for it is a castle in the air. And when we are come to it Celia is always in a pink sun bonnet gathering roses lovingly, and I, not very far off, am speaking strongly to somebody or other about something I want done. By and by I shall go into the library and work ... with an occasional glance through the open window at Celia.

To think that a month ago we were quite happy with a few pink geraniums!

Sunday, a month ago, was hot. "Let's take train somewhere," said Celia, "and have lunch under a hedge."

"I know a lovely place for hedges," I said.

"I know a lovely tin of potted grouse," said Celia, and she went off to cut some sandwiches. By twelve o'clock we were getting out of the train.

The first thing we came to was a golf course, and Celia had to drag me past it. Then we came to a wood, and I had to drag her through it. Another mile along a lane, and then we both stopped together.

"Oh!" we said.

It was a cottage, the cottage of a dream. And by a cottage I mean, not four plain rooms and a kitchen, but one surprising room opening into another; rooms all on different levels and of different shapes, with delightful places to bump your head on; open fireplaces; a large square hall, oak beamed, where your guests can hang about after breakfast, while deciding whether to play golf or sit in the garden. Yet all so cunningly disposed that from outside it looks only a cottage or, at most, two cottages persuaded into one... Continue reading book >>

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