This book is made up from my contributions to Punch — a casual selection from the four hundred or so which have appeared in the last nine years. It is offered to the American public as a sample of that Punch humour (and perhaps, therefore, British humour) which Americans so often profess not to understand. According to whether they like it or do not like it, I hope they will consider it a representative or an unrepresentative sample.
When Margery was three months old I wrote a letter to her mother:
— If you have a copy in Class D at 1/10d. net, I shall be glad to hear from you.
The Baby’s Uncle
On Tuesday I got an answer by the morning post:
— In reply to yours: How dare you insult my child? She is in Class A1, priceless and bought in by the owner. Four months old (and two days) on Christmas Day. Fancy!
The Baby’s Mother.
Margery had been getting into an expensive way of celebrating her birthday every week. Hitherto I had ignored it. But now I wrote:
— Automatically your baby should be in Class D by now. I cannot understand why it is not so. Perhaps I shall hear from you later on with regard to this. Meanwhile I think that the extraordinary coincidence (all but two days) of the baby’s birthday with Christmas Day calls for some recognition on my part. What would Margery like? You, who are in constant communication with her, should be able to tell me. I hear coral necklaces well spoken of. What do you think? I remember reading once of a robber who “killed a little baby for the coral on its neck” — which shows at any rate that they are worn. Do you know how coral reefs are made? It is a most fascinating business.
Then there is a silver mug to be considered. The only thing you can drink out of a mug is beer; yet it is a popular present. Perhaps you, with your (supposed) greater knowledge of babies, will explain this.