Vanity Fair (UK), September 15, 1904
[See attribution note on Vanity Fair menu page]

In the Stocks.

A  CONTUMACIOUS prisoner at Salford has been remanded “until his manners improve.” It is a neat retort to those who insist that the English have no initiative in business that several publishing firms have sent books of etiquette to him, care of the prison authorities.

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A mutiny having broken out the other day among the prisoners of the gaol at Szabadka, it seemed good to the authorities to call out the fire brigade—their never-failing habit on all occasions of crisis. The brigade were equal to the emergency. On fire that glowed with heat intense, they turned the hose of commonsense, with the result that what the mutineers asked for at the end of five minutes was not Liberty but a few towels. A request on their part that this may be considered as their official bath for the week ending September 10th is being considered by the governor of the prison.

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The only occasion on which Madame Pacifique, of Paris, belied her name was when she discovered that her pet goat had taken a roll of bank-notes from her pocket, and was busily engaged in keeping the wolf from the door. Before the animal could deposit the whole roll in this novel bank, Madame Pacifique presented a check in the shape of a carving-knife. Expert assistants then broke into the bank, and some of the notes were found still undigested. A narrow escape. As was only appropriate in the case of a goat, it was all but.

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The invading army in the Essex manœuvres was violently sea-sick during its journey up the Channel on Tuesday last. It is perhaps the only known case of men attacked by that malady being in transports. Usually mal de mer has a depressing effect.

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[“I was not drunk. I am not a young man, you know.”—Prisoner at London Police Court.]

It is hard in these days, when cosmetics
 The beauty of mortals enhance,
These wonderful days of ingenious stays,
 To tell a man’s age at a glance.
But if he’s laid up with a headache,
 Or complains of the state of his tongue,
If inspection reveals that he hiccoughs and reels,
 You can tell that he’s still very young.

Your hair may be white ’neath your toupée,
 Your walk may be feeble and slow,
You may have to rest much on a stick or a crutch,
 Wherever you happen to go;
You may suffer from aches and rheumatics,
 You may have a defect in your lung;
But if soda and whiskey can make you feel frisky,
 It’s a sign that you’re still very young.

Dull age ever nearer approaches,
 When we take our three bottles a day,
When we tipple our fill of whatever we will,
 With never a headache to pay;
And we think of the times that are vanished,
 That age of which poets have sung,
When the mildest of bowls knocked us over in shoals,
 And we feel that it’s good to be young.

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What Burgess remarked at the end of his recent Channel swim: “No Moore for—Burgess.”

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Partridge-shooting in England is in a sense an undeveloped sport. We shoot the birds, and think of nothing else. In France, on the other hand, more vim, more electricity, as it were, is infused into the business. One sportsman recently discharged one barrel at a bird, and “thinking that the ‘beast’ was wounded, ran up to it, dragging the gun by the muzzle behind him.” He is expected to recover. Another marksman, seeing something moving beyond the top of a hedge, loosed off and brought down a cyclist. The casualty list is now in three figures all told. This is sport as it should be.

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Hull is rapidly becoming uninhabitable. Last week we mentioned the case of the pianist of that town who played for seventeen hours without a pause. His record has just been broken by a rival who kept it up for eighteen hours. The knowledge that someone else—possibly more than one—is certain to have a dash at a nineteen hours orgie, is turning the hair of Hull grey. It is pathetic to see the inhabitants start and cower when a piano strikes up. And their relief when the player stops after rendering “Bill Bailey” and “Hiawatha” brings tears to the eyes of the soft-hearted.



Printed unsigned in Vanity Fair; entered by Wodehouse as “In the Stocks” for this date in Money Received for Literary Work. It is possible that not all individual items are by Wodehouse.


FIREMEN SUPPRESS CONVICTS’ MUTINY.  A mutiny which broke out among the prisoners of the gaol at Szabadka in Hungary, was suppressed by the fire brigade. They turned a hose on to the prisoners through a window, as the door had been barricaded against the warders. The cold water soon cooled the mutineers’ spirits. (Evening Telegraph, September 10, 1904)

Mme. Pacifique, a Paris lady, discovered her pet goat chewing a roll of bank-notes which it had abstracted from her pocket. The goat was killed and two of the notes were found almost intact in its stomach. (Exeter and Plymouth Gazette, September 9, 1904.)