A WAR OFFICE ENQUIRY.
Punch, April 15, 1903
Sir, Mr. Punch, the following is true.
Peruse my story written in blank verse,
For such a tragic metre seems to me
Peculiarly adapted to the subject.
From earliest years had I been singled out
As one whose talents leaned to feats of arms,
In view of which to Sandhurst I repaired,
Whence, in the second year from my arrival,
Steeped to the eyes in military lore,
I passed with honours.
Straightway did I speed
To the War Office, all agog to learn
The date when I might look to be gazetted.
Quickly arriving, I produced my card,
And to the nearest minion thus: “Good Sir,
In me a budding Kitchener you see,
Who, at your leisure, would be glad to learn
The date when he may look to be gazetted.”
“They’ll tell you,” quoth the knave, “at M.S. One.”
To M.S. One, whatever that might mean,
I turned my steps. And, on arriving, “Sir,
To be succinct, I pant to ascertain
The date when I may look to be gazetted.”
“Ah,” said the minion blandly, “I should think
Colonel O’Mauser is the man you want.
He’ll give you information on the topic.
Call, therefore, on this noted son of Mars
At Number Thirty-seven, Bayonet Buildings,
I thanked him kindly, and departed.
Colonel O’Mauser, I regret to say,
His servant, having heard my errand,
Genially bade me “Ask at M.S. Two.”
Bracing myself together (for by now
Faint did I feel with hunger and fatigue),
I called at M.S. Two, to be directed
With some asperity to Cox’s Bank,
Where, I was told, I might expect to find
Major de Forpoint-Sevening’s address.
He, they surmised, could tell me in a trice
The date when I might look to be gazetted.—
Shrewd man, the Major.
Cox’s Bank was shut.
I tried to find him at the Foreign Office
Without success. And when a person there
Gave me instructions, which, I saw, would lead
Once more by devious routes to M.S. One,
I hailed a passing hansom, and returned,
Full of strange oaths, to my ancestral home—
And to this day, for all I’ve toiled and fretted,
I’ve no idea when I’m to be gazetted.
Unsigned verse as printed; credited to P. G. Wodehouse in the Index to Vol. 124 of Punch.