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NOTES ON NEWS. i. "

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IIN LIGHTER VEINI

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I IN LIGHTER VEIN I By THOMAS JAY. ILLUSTRATED BY J. B. LUNN. There is no doubt that Pliny of ancient memory could, to use a common term, tell the tale, and, indeed, he has been guilty of cjuite a number of real whoppers. But the whoppers Pliny used to tell pale before the tales that are told to-day which we are ex- pected to believe. The newspapers have been printing J stories of giant potatoes, ponder- ous parsnips, ccr- pulent cabbages, and monster mar- rows. Now, I am prepa-red t 0 believe a 11 these stories in much the same way as I believe the stories told by anglers of all the big fish they have caught in the train coming home. But I am going to FBIDE OF THE GARDEN. I take off my hat to Mr. Boyce, of Wood Green, who writes to a contemporary to tell about his marrow. Indeed, I would like to take off my hat and my coat. This is what Mr. Boyce's marrow has been up to. "It has grown up an iron frame ten feet high, run along a rope into t an apple tree, knocked off the apples, climbed to the top of the tree, and down again/" In fact, I am quite prepared to agree that this marrow of Mr. Boyce's can do r almost everything except go to work. A soldier correspondent bursts in with the following: "When a man is embedded in several thicknesses of British mud, and the railway service is distinctly slow, the ser- geant-major has to ring his bell a bit before handing out week-end leaves. It appears that the Select Committee had decided to give me my first week-end leave as a slight token of their appreciation of my past ser- vices. I was in the midst of fatigue duty when the sergeant-major told me to having a good time and hep off home. I mused! If I was having a good time, what a rollicking old time those early Greek martyrs used to have playing about with thumbscrews and racks and swallowing bits of barbed wire. "You have no idea how slow railway trains are when you are going on leave. When I got to the station I walked over to the inquiry officer, and he moved away. He is a busy man, being ticket-collector, station-master, porter, and a few other things. I asked him what trains he had, and he swore. A clergyman pointed out that the wages of sin was death, and he muttered that the wages on that line were a jolly 6ight woree." "The clergyman cheered me by saying he distinctly saw a train come into the station some time ago. Indeed, from all I hear it is not unknown for a train to leave that station and never be heard of again. How- ever, a train did try to sneak in without being noticed. It was going so fast that I didn't think they would be able to stop it. However, having found a place to sit down, I thought it was a nice train. I sat in the corner until it started. We had not gone far before it stopped again and waited. The guard said there was a block on the line. The guard came in with a pack of cards and asked me to make a two-handed game with him. We did. We had not played very long before the train started again. 4 Leave the cards on the seat,' said the guard, I'll be back again in a minute.' He was. "There was another block later en. The clergyman hoped it'wouldn't be a long stop, because he had an engagement on Wednes- day week. Just then we started off at a good sl)ecd. I pointed out that we were going rather fast and it didn't seem safe. The guard said we weae just rounding Dead Man's Corner. I looked out, expecting to find the track strewn with dead and dying. I was disappointed. She slowed up again, and I tried to flick an insect off my car. Stop that,' said the guard; you musn't hurt Sydney. Sydney's the company's germ. He's been on this line for thirty odd years' "My symptrtbies were with Sydney, always dashing about on that line. We started off again, and then I noticed that a woman was walking along the countryside near the lines. It was evident she was keeping up with the train. Just then the engine-driverâwho had just stopped to pick up a tobacco-box he had droppedânoticed the woman. His sporting instinct was up. He pulled away at his levers. Yard by yard the train 'gained on the woman, who stopped to pay calls on THE RACK various friends. It looked a s though the engine would win, out eventually the woman got ahead, and the engine driver wiped his fore- head and ad- mitted him- self beaten. When the guard came along I offered to buy the train to sead home for the kiddies to play with. The guard started to fold up the train and put it in his pocket. What are you going to do with it?' I asked. A porter with red whiskers poked his head in at the window and answered Swisslem.' 'Swisslem?' I said. **Yes,' he shouted, opening the door. Ain't you get- ting out at Swisslem, or do you want to have your beauty sleep out?' I got out. It was a good sleep. But trains are always slow on feave. -Yours, Albert." There are items of news which come as a soothe and a baLm, Such an oae is the news that the footban season has started, though I am told there is a shortage of referees. I have no doubt that many referees have sought safer jobs in the Flying Corps. The football referee naturally has always appre- ciated the manifold advantages of being able to fly. It is much better than taking a cab with half the'visiting team with heavy sticks running after it. The referee's life is not a happy one, and few of them ever live any longer than is absolutely necessary. But there is no doubt that quite a number of last year's referees are not quite past re- pairing, and they should be inyited to come forward, while those past repairing can be put out to grass. The referee is a meek-looking man whose face indicates that he is motatning a long- lost friend. Referees sho-uid, of course, be used whole, for when they have lost any lih. bs they arc apt to be partial. It is not I now considered gentlemanly for a player to jump on a referee, and spectators are re- minded that it is illegal to rush froin the grand stand across the fieldllnd to hack at the referee with a chopper. Few referees can keep up an interest in the game while they arc being chopped. Many referare j agitating for larger separation allowances while they are in hospital. Owing to the excessive rains of late, we understand that the Royal Lifeboat Society are prepared, on receipt of a rocket, to scud out a lifeboat to a 11 v referee in distress. The plaiting of the if'f-roe's legs in a lockstitch by the spec- tators \e net now permitted.

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IBOOKS AND -MAGAZINES.

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