Vanity Fair (UK), August 18, 1904
[See attribution note on Vanity Fair menu page]

In the Stocks.

THE Express should really be more careful. On Monday last it startled its readers with the headline “Tree’s double life.” A sigh of relief arose on the discovery that the Tree was merely an apple, not a Beerbohm.

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According to a morning paper, “Russian opinion is in a highly sensitive condition towards England.” This is bad news. We do not particularly mind them sinking one or two of our ships; but it would not be pleasant to think that they were cross with us.

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A neat snub was administered to the mourners at a native funeral near Karikal the other day. No sooner had it been placed on the pyre and ignited, than the corpse, with a look of cold displeasure at their familiarity, climbed down and walked to the nearest hospital. It is significant of the modern spirit of “hustle” that a corpse no longer waits until it is a ghost before taking to pedestrianism.

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A daily paper contains an article headed, “Australia’s Capital.” Many people who have been there have returned with the same flattering opinion.

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Bishop Potter, of New York, having got his model public-house started, doubtless considered his troubles at an end. But he had not allowed for Mrs. Carrie Nation. That lady has bought a new hatchet and a through ticket to New York, and the employés at the “Potter and Pot” may now be seen bolting doors and windows with thoughtful frowns on their faces. The worst of it is that the other proprietors of public-houses in the Bowery will insist on treating the Bishop as an old professional chum, who is likely to see bad days. He finds their well-meant sympathy a little trying at times.

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My excellent child,
I know you are wild,
Mr. Rigg’s kindly efforts of course you’ve reviled:
But consider, before your annoyance you vent, all
The good you will gain, both of body and mental.

Hitherto you have been,
Thanks to fell nicotine,
—You’ll pardon me?—undersized, scraggy, and lean;
A thing calculated to pain and surprise, or,
To put it more crisply, a regular eyesore.

But now, thanks to Rigg,
You’ll grow hardy and big;
You won’t get bald early and take to a wig.
Your muscles will cease to be softer than putty,
When you drop your cheroots and abandon your cutty.

Cease, therefore, to fret
For your cheap cigarette;
It’s idle to hanker for what you can’t get:
Till years of discretion the weed you must lack. A
Cane chair, by the way, smokes not unlike tobacca.

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When a haughty stranger entered the village shop of Atessa, in Italy, and opened conversation with the remark that he was the Emperor of China, the proprietor dusted a chair and treated him as the Distinguished Guest. Two minutes later the German Kaiser strolled in, accompanied by Alexander the Great and Napoleon Bonaparte, and he began to have vague doubts. When Garibaldi and a gentleman who professed to be an eight-day clock turned up, arm in arm, he thought the time had come to make enquiries. It appeared that a local lunatic asylum had been closed owing to lack of funds, and all the inmates turned loose on the world. The people of Atessa are asking one another whether it was a kindred feeling that made the lunatics come to their town, or whether they chose it simply because it chanced to be near.

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To the accompaniment of a flourish of motor-horns, General Booth started his tour last Tuesday. It is too late now to offer advice on the subject, but we trust the General will not exceed the legal speed limit. At present, according to him, people say, “Here’s General Booth. Is your soul saved?’ It would never do if they were to substitute for this, “Here’s General Booth. Jump for your life!”

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The infant prodigy discovered for the week ending Saturday, August the 13th, was Miss Lanosta Janetta.

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The meeting of Colonel Younghushand and the Thibetan Lamas was enlivened by the appearance of one gentleman in a bowler hat, and others in yellow motor-caps. This tactful concession to British prejudices looks as if there was an entente cordiale in the air.


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.




“It may tend to smooth the outraged feelings of boy and girl smokers to know that the Bill which has been introduced into the House of Commons for the suppression of juvenile smoking has been brought in by Mr. Rigg, who is one of the youngest of our legislators. So many authorities are agreed on the harm which nicotine does to the juvenile constitution that there can no longer be any dispute as to the desirability of preventing smoking among the young. Another provision of Mr. Rigg’s Bill prohibits smoking by persons under 16 years of age. This promises lively work for the police. Constables chasing small boys who, as they run, puff hastily at their cigarettes will add to the gaiety of our streets.” (Northampton Mercury, August 12, 1904)

John Dawson   


Tree: actor Herbert Beerbohm Tree (1852–1917)
Bishop Potter: Henry C. Potter (1835–1908), Episcopal Bishop of New York, was known for his interest in social reform. His model Subway Tavern was an attempt to improve the lot of the working man whose “club” was the saloon. It failed, but not because of any attack by prohibitionist Carrie Nation.
William Booth (1865–1912) was the founder and first General of the Salvation Army.
Lt. Col. Francis Younghusband (1863–1942) led the British military expedition in Tibet in 1903–04. Unfortunately the outcome was not as cordial for Tibet as this item portrays it.