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George Orwell made several references to articles and cartoons from Punch that I was going to research. Anyway, I came across some snippets that I thought I would include from 1931...


We gather from the results of the recent campaign that drinking milk is a cure for almost everything except the milk-drinking habit.

"What is wrong with the modern novel?" asks a reviewer. One of its worst faults is that the covers are too far apart.

It is complained that on one housing estate in Staffordshire the rats go into the houses at night for food. The remedy seems to be to take it out to them.

Pupils at a London infants' school learn the alphabet with lettered balls with which they play. One little girl shows promise of being a telephone operator by the way she rolls her r's.

In Moscow, we learn, three roubles is the price of a coffee "with coarse black bread thrown in." We don't like even refined bread thrown into our coffee.

"When a man runs a hundred yards in eleven seconds he expends as much energy as if he were to jump twice the height of St. Paul's," says a professor. Anyone who doubts this should try the experiment.

Pianos, says a music publisher, are often bought as furniture, just to help fill a room. On the other hand, they often help to empty one.

At a gymnastic display in London a boy scout threw thirty somersaults in fifty-three seconds. There should now be no need for him to do another good turn for a month.

We receive with caution a rumour that at a smart seaside resort a young woman has caused a sensation by appearing on the beach in a skirt.

The wife of an American archaeologist renowned for his researches in Mongolia has obtained a divorce on the ground that his prolonged absences amounted to desertion. It is a moving thought that among the martyrs of science must be recognised the pathetic figure of the fossil-widow.
A schoolmaster writing in a morning paper says the modern father rarely boxes his son's ears. The modern father wouldn't dare.

We learn that, in proportion to its size, a fly walks thirty-five times as fast as a human being. This is why so few flies are run down by charabancs.

"The Soviet is run on very fair and methodical lines," declares a writer. We understand that outspoken critics are executed in strict rotation.

A daily paper has received a communication from a plumber protesting against jokes about plumbers. It is to his credit that he remembered to post the letter.

The Wimbledon umpires and linesmen are an interesting body of men, we are told. Yet the attention of spectators is too often monopolised by the players.

A glove-fight between two clever middle-weights was described as watching a game of chess. Ringside spectators are apt to exhibit impatience while boxers are thinking out their moves.

Complaint has been made of the number of Government Commissions being appointed. There is some talk of appointing a Government Commission to consider their limitation.

It now appears that a number of saxophonists play by ear. We always suspected they couldn't make all that noise with their mouths.

"English people should be careful in using American slang," says a writer. For instance, a visiting lawn-tennis player would be pardonably annoyed if somebody called him a racketeer.


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