The Work of Greg Clark and Jimmie Frise

Tag: 1933 Page 1 of 4

Be My Turpentine!

All this business, factories, offices, miles of streets – everything started because somebody was in love with somebody else
“This isn’t him,” she said to the big fellow. “Put on your dressing gown”

By Gregory Clark, Illustrated by James Frise, February 11, 1933.

“Us non-conformists,” said Jim Frise, “are funny. We have thrown over all the saints except a few that are of commercial value.”

“Such as?” I inquired.

“Santy Claus and St. Valentine,” said Jim. “I think I’ll suggest to the government that they restore all the saints again and make a commercial hook-up with each of them, so that every day of the year we would have to send something to our friends. If that wouldn’t revive business, what would?”

“Pardon me,” said I, “for my brains. But, as a matter of fact, Jimmie, St. Valentine’s day1 is a lot older than any of the several St. Valentines. The custom of sending valentines and flowers and candies to your love on February 14 was in full swing long before the Christian era.”

“How?” asked Jim.

“February 14 was the day,” I went on proudly, “in ancient Rome when all the boys drew lots for their girls, in preparation for the next day, February 15, when Rome celebrated the arrival of spring. It was the day of Juno Februaria2, if you know what that means, because I don’t. It was a day of dancing and feasting. It was a day of rejoicing, love making.3

“Whoopee,” said Jim.

“Hotcha,” said I. “They killed nanny goats and threw hunks of meat at the girls, for luck.”

“Just like the elections in Toronto,” said Jim.

“You can’t think up anything new,” I said. “Rome went wawa4 for a couple of days. All in honor of spring. Bands marching up and down the main street, all the old men slightly pickled, all the old ladies in the kitchen roasting chickens, and all the young people galloping up and down, arm in arm, singing and hollering at each other.”

“You make it seem almost modern,” said Jim. “Except for the setting, it might be to-day.”

“No,” said I, “business interferes nowadays. All we’ve got is the shadow of the old customs. We mail a few valentines, and a few people give valentine parties. But on February 14, you won’t see any jubilee in this country.”

“Yes,” said Jimmie, sentimentally, dreaming out the window, “but love remains.”

“Does it?”

“Sure,” said Jim. “The outward customs may have changed, but love is just as strong as it ever was. All this great city, jammed full of love. All the men in all these tall buildings, all in love; all the pretty girls pretending to be working, but first of all in love. All the houses side by side, in a thousand streets, each one thinking it is hiding a secret, but every house a monument to love!”

“That’s swell, Jim!”

“Yeah, and out in the country, all the fields plowed, what for? For love. All the young men leaning on the rail fences, looking across the country at some house, some hillside, for love. Love is at the bottom of it all. Maybe they get lost, as time goes on. But love started everything. All this business, these factories, offices, miles of streets, everything started because somebody was in love with somebody else, and wanted to make things for her. Make her a fortune. Make her a living. Make her dreams come true. Every skyscraper a valentine, every mansion, every cottage, every shop counter, work bench, a valentine to some unknown, perhaps forgotten love!”

“Not bad, Jim.”

In Quest of Love

“So don’t let’s be cynical. St. Valentine’s day is the day for the celebration of love, and when we look at all this hustle and bustle, we ought to give love her due.”

“Then why not have our modern St. Valentine’s day,” I asked, “on October first, the beginning of the fiscal year?”

“There you go!” cried Jim. “You are cynical about love. You don’t think love is what it used to be?”

“I think we have reduced love to a pretty small potato in relation to life as a whole, to business, labor, success, progress or whatever it is we are trying to do these days.”

“All nonsense!” stated Jim. “I could take you out and show you more love in one evening than you could have seen in the whole of Rome, even in the midst of their whoopee.”

“Where?”

“Anywhere,” said Jim. “Any street, any village.”

“It might make a story,” I admitted. “You take me to-night and show me.”

After dinner I walked around to Jim’s and, telling his family that he was going to a political meeting with me (it’s great to be newspapermen!), he led me forth in quest of love.

“An apartment house,” said Jimmie, “is a regular love nest. I am taking you to an apartment where a couple of my friends live. They are, to my mind, the most joyously loving couple I have ever heard of. I just love to visit them. They know everybody else in the apartments, and they all visit each other, and the halls are filled with happy laughing people, young and middle-aged and old, every night. The place rings with happiness. Talk about ancient Rome! Why, that apartment house is just one big Roman festival all year long.”

“Oh, I admit,” I said, as we drove through the night, “I admit there are spots here and there. But on the great average love doesn’t cut much figure in the life of people nowadays.”

“These are average!” cried Jim. “This apartment house is just a cross section of humanity. You wait. Just because blinds are drawn and houses are detached, you needn’t think your house is the only abode of love in the whole world!”

We drove up Avenue road and came to a pleasant district where apartment houses cast their communal radiance into the night. We pulled up in front of a very handsome one and Jim led me into the foyer. It was Roman. Rich gilding and bright colors and Roman tile floor. A self-serve elevator carried us up three floors.

A number of muffled radios could be heard as we walked along the carpeted corridor past numbered doors. We heard a child crying. At another door we heard a lay5 screaming. At still another, as we marched along, we heard a man yell:

“Oh, is zat so!”

I plucked Jim’s coatsleeve and hinted with a head-movement that we scram.

“Just radio,” said Jim. “Listening to mystery dramas.”

“It sounded awfully life-like to me,” I replied.

Around a turn in the corridor we marched. This was a big cross section of humanity, this one. A door opened ahead of us and a young man holding a bowler hat tightly on his head, with his face very pale and set, came bouncing out and rushed past us in the hall, nearly knocking me down.

“You Home-Breaker!”

We paused outside the door. But inside was absolute silence. Not even a radio.

“H’m,” said I. “Well, lead on. Where’s your friend?”

“That was my friend!” said Jim. “He didn’t recognize me.”

I wanted to laugh, but Jim’s face deterred me.

“Why not let’s go in and see the lady?” I suggested. “Maybe what we saw was misleading.”

Jim rapped softly with his knuckles on the apartment door.

“Go way!” screamed a feminine voice within. “I hate you!”

So Jimmie and I went away. We walked down that long carpeted hall slowly, listening as we passed each door to the muffled radios, the tapping of heels on hardwood floors, the snatches of words, the silences.

“I tell you,” said Jim, “the last time I was here my friends took me upstairs to see the nicest middle-aged couple, the Gabwins. Let’s drop in on them while we’re here.”

“This is a bad night,” I said.

But Jim got me into the automatic elevator again, a queer, slow-moving, menacing thing with buttons to push. And up we went.

Again we started along a padded hall, Jim looking at the doors.

“I think,” he said, “it was either 24 or 34.”

We paused outside 24 and just as Jim was about to knock there was a terrific crash inside the door and a male voice roared:

“Pick up your feet!”

We hurried away down the hall.

“That wasn’t Gabwin’s voice,” said Jim.

“Try 34,” said I.

“We found 34 and after listening cautiously for a moment and hearing nothing Jim rapped delicately on 34.

The door jerked open.

A big man in a purple silk dressing gown, a big man with a purplish face and the most glaring eyes, stood before us.

His gaze fastened on me and he bared his teeth.

“So!” he said, through his nose, and crouching down slightly.

I backed up.

“So!” snarled the big man, treading with catlike steps toward me, “you brought a big friend with you, eh!”

With one grab, he took me by both coat-lapels and with a yank such as you see only in the movies he hoisted me through the air and hurled me inside his apartment, where I fell in a heap on the hardwood hall floor.

“Here!” I could hear Jimmie crying beyond, “a mistake! Excuse me! The wrong apartment! Just a minute! Hey!”

But dimly, as in a dream, I felt myself picked up again and yanked this way and that, and again I was hurled and this time I lit on a large, soft chesterfield.

“Hey!” I could hear Jim. “Hey! Just a minute!”

But a door slammed and Jimmie I could hear no more.

I removed my hat so as to see, and there standing before me was this large, bluish man, with his jaw stuck out.

“I,” he said, “am going to bust every bone in your body! Thought I was out of town, did you? Ha, ha!”

He laughed like Fu Manchu.

“Home-breaker!” he bellowed. “A little squirt like you daring to come hanging around my home, heh! I’ll –“

And in a blur of purple and blue fury he whipped off his dressing gown and started to roll up his sleeves.

“Love!” I croaked, hollowly.

“Annhh?” snarled the big man, stopped in mid-air.

“I said love,” said I, tucking my feet under me and drawing my neck down into my coat collar.

An Off-Night For Sentiment

The big man looked about to burst. His forehead, his neck and his stomach all appeared about to explode. He gasped staggered back.

“You – you –” he stammered, speechless.

There was a wild thumping on the door. Voices could be heard howling. A key scraped in the door and in burst Jimmie and a man with a dirty face whom I immediately recognized as the janitor, and a beautiful young lady.

“Are you hurt?” gasped Jim.

“I dared him to touch me,” said I.

The big man made a lunge for me, but the pretty girl thrust him aside lightly.

“This isn’t him,” she said to the big fellow. “Put on your dressing gown.”

“Isn’t him!” said the big man. “Then who is it?”

“He is my friend,” said Jim, heatedly, “and we are looking for Mr. Gabwin’s apartment. And we rapped at your door and this bird grabbed my little friend and whirled him through the air –“

The big fellow said:

“Well, I feel better anyhow!”

“My husband,” said the girl, “is very jealous of my men friends.”

The janitor beckoned Jim and me out. “The Gabwins,” said the janitor, as we got out in the hall, “aren’t living here anymore.”

“Why, it was only New Year’s I was here,” said Jim.

“Yes,” said the janitor. “It was very sudden.”

“Dead!” cried Jim.

“No,” said the janitor. “No, a little domestic trouble. She’s gone back to her mother and he’s living in a boarding-house down town.”

“Love nest,” said I.

“I beg your pardon?” asked the janitor.

“It is nothing,” said I.

We got in the elevator and softly, creepily, slowly descended to the street.

“Well?” said I.

“It’s an off night,” said Jim. “An off night. How would you like to go to a movie? There’s a swell love story down at the Uptown6.”

“How,” I asked, “about going to your place and letting me see all those old Birdseye Centre originals you’ve got. You said I could pick a few out for framing some time.”

“Well,” said Jim, “as a matter of fact, I’d rather not to-night. You see, we had a little row just before I came out over the children using my studio room for a play house — Let’s go to your place and look at trout flies. It’s only ten weeks to the first of May.”

“Not to-night,” I said. “My wife didn’t want me to go out to-night, it was my turn to stay home and mind the house. So, we – I — you see?”

“That’s too bad,” said Jim. “However, it will be Valentine’s Day on Tuesday.”

“And everything will be hunky-dory then,” said I.


Editor’s Notes:

  1. Valentine’s Day history. ↩︎
  2. Specific details on Juno Februata. ↩︎
  3. “Love making” pre-1960s or so, meant courting or flirting, or perhaps a little kissing. ↩︎
  4. “Going wawa” meant acting all crazy. ↩︎
  5. I have no idea. This just might be a typo. Perhaps they meant “baby”. ↩︎
  6. The Uptown Theatre opened in 1920 and was demolished in 2003. ↩︎

Do You Believe It or Not?

February 11, 1933

These drawing went with a story by Cyrus Leger about particular myths or urban legends. Other myths mentioned in the article that were not illustrated included “a child is influenced by what its mother sees or thinks before it is born”, “In old days people lived longer than they do now”, “hairy arms or chest indicates the person is very strong”, or that “those with a square jaw have great willpower”.

February 11, 1933
February 11, 1933

Hello to Arms

All the time the doctor kept shaking his head more and more

By Gregory Clark, Illustrated by James Frise, November 18, 1933.

“I suppose,” said Jimmie Frise, “you have had your old tin hat and uniform out of the moth balls?”

“As a matter of fact, I have,” I confessed. “The world is very uneasy.”

“If they are going to have a war,” said Jim, “I wish they would pull it off soon, while us old birds are still eligible, instead of waiting until our kids are grown up.”

“That’s just what I felt,” I said, “when I went up to the attic and got out the old tunic and Sam Browne belt.”

“How did they fit?” asked Jim.

“Terrible,” I said. “The tunic won’t come within five inches of meeting across my stomach. My breeches don’t fit at all. Anywhere. I’ve used up all my old khaki shirts long ago, of course, fishing and hunting. But I’d have to get a whole new outfit.”

“The tin hat still fits, though,” suggested Jimmie.

“Even the tin hat felt funny,” I admitted.

“Well,” said Jim, “I tried on my old uniform the other night, and I must say I used to be a far better man than I am now.”

“Jimmie,” I reminded him, “you must remember it’s nearly twenty years ago!”

“Oh, no!” cried Jimmie. “Not twenty!”

“In less than one year,” I said, “it will be twenty years since the night you and I stood out in front of the old Star office looking at the bulletin boards, with the crowd jammed right across the road to the old red brick Bank of Commerce building, and out to Yonge St.”

“Twenty years,” breathed Jimmie. “It seems like the year before last.”

“There are young men,” I went on, “who are to-day just the age you and I were that night when we were watching the bulletins announce the declaration of war, who weren’t even born that night!”

“My goodness,” whispered Jim.

“And they’d be the ones to go tearing up University Ave. to enlist,” I said. “And they don’t know a bayonet stud1 from a breech bolt2.”

“Or a bridoon3 from a snaffle,” cut in Jimmie, always butting in with some artillery stuff.

“Imagine them having to learn all over again what we learned,” I said. “And this modern young crowd so cool and sarcastic and nice. They’d hate it.”

“We were kind of innocent at that age,” mused Jimmie.

“And sort of yessir, nossir,” I said. “It was easy to make soldiers out of us. They wouldn’t find it so easy with the twenty-year-olds of to-day.

Getting Ready For the Next War

“If they’re going to have a war,” said Jim, angrily, “let them have it now while we’re still good. It takes two years to learn how to pull on a drag rope4. Why put it up to our kids to have to go through all of that again?”

“Or how to work a patrol in No Man’s Land,” I cut in. “Or how to sleep in a barn, without even straw. Or how to carry a man with his leg off.”

“Or how to build a funk hole5,” came Jimmie, “or make a gun platform on soggy mud, with nothing solid for miles around.”

“Or how close to walk behind a rolling barrage,” I said. “There’s a thing! It takes years to teach the boys how close to walk behind their own barrage, and it costs thousands of lives just to learn that one thing.”

“They ought to have their war now, if they are going to have it,” cried Jimmie, “so that those of us who know the tricks can use them.”

“Jimmie,” I said, “let’s get going. Let’s rejoin the militia and get in shape.”

“What will we join?” demanded Jim. “You were an officer in the infantry and I was only a gunner in the artillery. Let’s go together to this next one.”

“Right!” I cried. “We’ll both join the infantry.”

“We will like the dickens!” exclaimed Jim. “Why should a man want to spend his life sitting in the mud? The artillery’s the thing, with horses to ride, and great big shiny guns slamming in the dark, and interesting things to do every minute of the day and night. I’d die of inaction in the infantry, just sitting around.”

“Where do you get that stuff about sitting around!” I demanded heatedly. “Boy, if it’s action you want….”

“Now listen,” pleaded Jimmie. “If we go back to the infantry, you will be a major or colonel, and I’d have to start at the bottom as a buck private.”

“I’ve got it,” I cried. “You be my batman6!”

“If you are honest about wanting to take part in a war to end war,” said Jim, levelly, “if you wish to make the world safe for democracy, a world fit for heroes to live in, just to use a few phrases of a former and almost forgotten nobility, then you will be willing to start at bottom again. And you’ll join the artillery with me as a gunner.”

“I suppose it would be only fair,” I confessed. “But I’ll be surrendering a lot of ground I gained in the last war.”

“The last war,” snorted Jimmie. “What a fizzle you made of that! I should think you would be glad to start at the bottom again.”

“All right,” I said, “I’ll join the artillery with you, and you can teach me how to polish a horse.”

“There’ll be a lot of things I can teach you,” said Jimmie, darkly.

For the Good of the Corps

So Jim found out what night the local artillery units would be parading, and taking on men if any.

And about 8 p.m. we went down to the armories on University Ave. One or two infantry regiments were also holding parades that night, and I held Jimmie back while we stood inside the huge wooden paved drill hall and watched the boys forming up.

“Aren’t they splendid, Jimmie?” I cried. “Oh, it’s a shame we are not going into the infantry.”

We watched a company form up. We saw the sergeants and then the lieutenants inspecting.

“There is a slight sort of I-don’t-know-what missing,” I said to Jim. “They haven’t quite got a sort of something that my boys used to have. I can’t say what it is.”

“Wait till you see us gunners,” said Jim.

The officer commanding the company took over and gave a few drill commands.

“Ah,” I said, “now if I were out there in his place, you would hear commands. You would hear a voice. Like a bomb. It would make this place ring.”

“Come on,” said Jimmie, “let’s get on down to the artillery barracks if it’s style you want.”

We walked around the corridors and came to a room with some mystical numbers on the door which Jimmie said meant Field Artillery. Two young men in uniform were sitting at a desk reading some documents. They did not look like infantry. They had a clean, tidy look, and they had white cords over their shoulders that gave them an appearance of chastity, nobility, which is not part of the disposition of infantry. You could not imagine either of these gentlemanly young men charging a stuffed sack with a bayonet and the proper facial expression.

“Good evening,” said Jim.

The two lads looked up at us pleasantly.

“My friend here and I,” said Jim, “are a couple of old soldiers and we thought we would like to join up again. Are you taking any men on?”

“Were you artillery?” asked one of them.

“I was,” said Jim, proudly. “My friend here was infantry, but he is anxious to switch.”

The two high school boys smiled at us and at each other.

“Well,” said the better looking youth, “as a matter of fact, we are fairly well up to strength just now.”

“What we were thinking,” said Jim, sitting down on the corner of their desk, “was that the militia would be rather keen on getting some of us old timers back into harness. For the good of the corps. We know the ropes. It wouldn’t be like taking on new recruits.”

Everything To Unlearn

The two lads looked at us solemnly.

“For instance,” went on Jimmie, earnestly, “you chaps are no doubt thoroughly trained on theory and gunnery. But what do you know about active service conditions? Did either of you ever haul on a drag rope?”

“Which war were you in?” asked one of the slim young men. “The South African or the 1914-1918 affair?”

Jim and I were both astonished.

“The great war,” we said.

“Ah, things have changed a lot since those days,” said the first youth. “You would have to unlearn everything you learned in that old war. Nothing is the same. For example, I suppose you used to fool around with horses?”

Jim nodded speechlessly.

“Of course nowadays,” went on the young man, “everything is mechanized. Guns are drawn by tractors. The personnel travel in fast trucks. Are you a good mechanic?”

Jimmie slid off the corner of the desk.

“Well, well!” he breathed.

I felt extremely sorry for Jim.

“I can’t imagine artillery,” said he, “without horses. Without the stables, the trumpets sounding. Now I suppose you toot the horn on the truck for the boys to fall in. No more ‘stables,’ no more trumpets sounding hoarsely, no more horse lines, pickets, all the romance gone, all the thrill of driving the guns into action, the night roads, the pack trains of ammunition going up the line.”

The two lads smiled pityingly.

“Oh, there’s romance in the guns,” they said. “I suppose you old boys who did your courting in a buggy can’t imagine a modern youth doing any courting worth while in a fast roadster, huh?”

“Jim,” I said quietly, “I told you before you should come into the infantry. Nothing changes there. It is the same to-day as it was in Caesar’s time, or the Duke of Marlborough’s.”

“How fast,” asked one of the bright youths, “did your machine gun shoot in that 1914-1918 show?”

“Sir,” I said, with dignity, taking Jim by the arm, “our Vickers guns fired upwards of four hundred a minute!”

“Well,” laughed the first youth, “even the Vickers is stepped up to 800 a minute now, but modern infantry will be using the new Farquhar-Robertson gun that fires 2,400 shots a minute, air cooled, and you can change a barrel in three seconds!”

“I don’t believe you!” I said.

“Fact,” said both the young soldiers.

“I don’t believe it,” I shouted.

Jim and I stalked from the room.

“Which infantry units will we join?” I asked, as we strode along the corridors filled with striplings.

“Any one at all,” said Jim. “My gosh, going into action in a motor truck in low gear! You can tell an artilleryman in the dark by the smell of gasoline instead of horse!”

“Jimmie,” I said, “it is a soulless machine age, and it was foolish of us not to foresee that in twenty years there would be dynamic chances in such a thing as artillery. But infantry, now! No matter what new inventions they may make in the art of war, they still have to have the foundation, the infantry! The good old gravel crushers. Come on!” From the corridor we emerged into the huge echoing drill shed.

There was the good old infantry!

In mass!

“Shun!” shouted an officer.

“Standat-ICE!” he yelped. “Shun!”

“Slow-ope-UPPS!” he barked.

“Come on, Jimmie,” I cried breathlessly, “the same old stuff! Duke of Wellington! King Canute! Nothing changes. Let’s get into it, the changeless and unchanging…”

We hastened around the walls of the echoing vasty drill hall. We went into an open door.

There were two or three young lieutenants standing, in the room.

“Is this an infantry unit?” I cried.

“Yes,” said they, poising their cigarettes.

“All right,” I exclaimed. “Show us where to sign up. Where’s the orderly room7?”

“I’m in charge of the orderly room,” said the tallest of the lieutenants coolly. “What is it you want?”

“We want to sign on,” I said. “We’re going to get into the game again. We’re two old soldiers and we think it high time we were back in uniform. Give us a couple of attestation blanks8.”

“Hold on,” said the tall lad. “How old are you boys?”

“Pardon me,” said Jim, standing stiffly. “You are talking to an ex-major!”

He indicated me. I stood at attention, but my stomach seemed to be in a different place from where it was the last time I stood at attention. I shifted it around here and there, but I realized the effect was not good.

The three lieutenants put their heads together. They were mere cadets.

“So you want to join up,” said the tall one. “Aren’t you on the reserve?”

“I wish to go in with my friend here,” I said. “And I am going to start at the bottom, again. With him.”

“We will rise together,” said Jim.

Just Two Decrepit Old Men

They put their heads together again. “I think,” said the tall one, “a medical examination might be arranged to-night. If you will just wait, I will go and see if I can locate the medical officer.”

He left us with the two young lieutenants and they chatted with us pleasantly, asking us about the Great War, and we told them various stories that would show how important it is that an army should be filled with old veterans. They seemed very impressed with us, and they both said it would certainly be a comfort to have men of our experience in their regiment.

The tall young officer returned with a fat officer who told us to follow him. The other three lieutenants followed, too.

We went into a small bare room and the medical officer ordered us to strip. It was a chilly little room and we both had the goose flesh by the time we got our shirts off, and I am afraid we made a poor impression on these younger men who had youth on their side. The doctor measured us longways and across, he listened to our hearts, lungs; asked us to cough, made us read printing at ten feet; and all the time he kept shaking his head more and more.

“Both of you have flat feet,” he said, at last. “Your hearts are full of murmurs, your chest expansion is practically gone, your eyesight is defective, you have got fallen diaphragms, one of you is overweight, and the other is underweight, I can see every sign of high blood pressure and hardening of the arteries. Your King and country may want you, boys, but they don’t want you bad.”

They all helped us dress. They assisted us out the door. They saluted us ceremoniously as we staggered out into the drill hall heading for the main exit.

They saluted us ceremoniously as we stalked out into the drill hall heading for the main exit

Down University Ave. we moved, with leaden feet, Jimmie helping to hold me up by my elbow. By the time we got to Queen St. we were just two decrepit old men, with our backs bowed, our cheeks fallen in and our legs bent at the knee so that our poor old feet slid along the pavement, instead of lifting.

“Jimmie,” I said, and my voice was thin and quavering, “even if we could go to war, I don’t think we would enjoy it any more.”

“Not with caterpillars pulling the guns,” said Jim, in a cracked old voice.

“And machine guns,” I whined, “shooting at the rate of 2,400 a minute, not for me!”

“It sounds like a game for younger men,” said Jim.

“They’ve taken all the pleasure out of it,” I yammered.

“Let these young squirts find out about war for themselves,” squeaked Jimmie.

And two old veterans, holding themselves very stiff and marching in step, held a parade all by themselves along Queen St. to the City Hall, where our car was parked.


Editor’s Notes: There were a few of these types of stories, just before the Second World War, where they spoke of signing up again. This is very early, from 1933 rather than others that appeared in 1939 or 1940.

  1. A Bayonet stud is the metal mount that either locks the bayonet onto the weapon or provides a base for the bayonet to rest against, so that when a bayonet cut or thrust is made, the bayonet does not move or slip backwards. ↩︎
  2. A Breech bolt or breech block is the part of the firearm action that closes the breech of a breech loading weapon before or at the moment of firing. ↩︎
  3. A bridoon is a bit (for horses) designed specifically for use in the double bridle, while a snaffle is a simple bit used with a single set of reins. ↩︎
  4. A drag rope is a rope with a short chain and a hook that is attached to an artillery carriage and used in emergencies in dragging it or locking its wheels. ↩︎
  5. A funk hole is another name for a dugout, a concealed place where one can hide in safety. ↩︎
  6. A batman was a soldier assigned to a commissioned officer as a personal servant. These disappeared before World War 2, except for only the most senior officers (so Greg is out of touch here as well). ↩︎
  7. The orderly room is a room used for regimental or company business. ↩︎
  8. Attestation blanks are the forms used to give personal details when signing up. ↩︎

!– !!- !!! — !!! — !

September 9, 1933

Dog Gone Radio

Here are Greg and Jimmy and Rusty, the centre of the experiment to coax some music out of the air on a canine receiving set

By Gregory Clark, Illustrated by James Frise, July 1, 1933.

“There are some things,” said Jimmie Frise, “I can hardly believe.”

“There’s lots like you,” I admitted.

“Now this item,” said Jim, “about the man in Jersey City who claims his dog is a radio receiving set.”

“It’s not long,” said I, “since people wouldn’t believe that even a receiving set was a receiving set. I remember the time The Star put on the first demonstration of radio, and crowds attended a great public meeting to hear radio transmitted ten city blocks.”

“But this guy,” said Jimmie, “his name is Frank G. Kerk. His address is given, too. He lives at 20 Linden Ave., Jersey City. One day he had trouble with his aerial. And he was up fixing it. He had his dog up with him. A Great Dane, named Frederick the Great.”

“A sort of consul model radio,” I said.

“Well, the aerial happened to get in Frederick’s way,” went on Jimmie, “and it touched his collar, which had a lot of metal on it. The dog instantly stiffened. Its hair stood on end. And a far-away look came into its eyes.”

“Maybe the radio was playing ‘Trees’,” I suggested.

“So,” said Jim, “Mr. Kerk, who is an alert man, left the dog standing there in that frozen attitude and got a pair of earphones. He attached the aerial to the dog’s tail and plugged the earphones in on the dog’s collar. And to his astonishment, he heard Amos ‘n’ Andy!”

“I can hear Amos ‘n’ Andy without any attachments at all,” I said. “I can hear it now.”

“To prove it,” said Jimmie, “Mr. Kerk stayed, tuned in, and he heard a whole sequence of programs.”

“I supposed he dialed around by twisting the dog’s tail?” I suggested.

“You don’t seem to realize what this means,” said Jim, a little pettishly. “Can’t you see what a wonderful thing it will be if we can go fishing and take Rusty along, hook piece of wire on his tail and a pair of earphones on to him, and there we sit, fishing to the latest music.”

Rusty is Jimmie’s Irish water spaniel.

“I thought you said you could scarcely believe it?” I said.

“I don’t, but I am going to experiment at once,” said Jim. “This discovery may ruin the radio industry, but it will create a tremendous boom in the dog market. The lonely Eskimo listening in on his husky. The lonely spinster tuned in on her poodle.”

“And the dog shows,” I put in. “Think of the annual dog show, with crowds going along admiring the tone of the different breeds.”

“Every tramp in the country,” said Jim, “with his radio trotting happily along at his heels.”

“It’s a great thing if it’s true,” I said.

“Sure, it’s true,” cried Jim. “This man Kerk demonstrated it before thousands. Engineers and scientists and everybody. From the time of his discovery, poor old Frederick the Great led a dog’s life. Every time there was company, and when the news spread there was plenty of company, the poor old hound was dragged out, plugged in and used for a radio. Can’t you imagine Aunt Emily, at 63, down on the floor with a set of earphones attached to the dog, twisting his tail in an effort to get Rudy Vallee! The only trouble was that every time Frederick would sit down to have a nice comfortable canine scratch, the air was filled with static.

“Kerk,” said Jimmie, “who was an amateur electrical experimenter, having succeeded in getting the dog wired for sound, then turned his attention to human beings. He began to experiment with himself and others, and before long he had himself rigged up so that he could listen to a radio program from, or through, himself. He rigged up an aerial grounded to a lightning arrestor, and brought the waves through a wire which he connected to a tuning coil in his bedroom. Lying on the bed, he found that he could hold a small coil of copper wire in his hand, to which the earphones were attached, and immediately hear a radio program.”

“Everything is getting cheaper,” I said. “But I went through that experimenting stage ten years ago. I’m not going to go fiddling with wires and coils any more. Let the professors do it and then I’ll buy one for a quarter.”

“In Long Island,” said Jimmy, reading from a clipping, “there is a chimney in a house which gives out the programs whenever the station is in operation, while at another home there is a tea kettle, which, when heated to a certain temperature, sings, not in the good old-fashioned tea kettle style, but the latest jazz and vo-do-de-o-do.”

“But about that dog,” I said. “I should think dogs had done enough for man without us dragging them into this modern age of mechanical miracles.”

“The dog,” said Jim, “has got to compete in this modern age, or be left behind. I say it is a great thing for dogs, this discovery. It brings the dog in tune with the times.”

“I can’t see old Rusty running around with an aerial sticking up from his tail,” I said. “Emitting music. It stands to reason that different kinds of dogs will be tuned in on different wave-lengths. What a din with all the dogs in the neighborhood! A wire-haired terrier on CFCA. A Russian wolf hound on a New York station with a soprano squealing along the street. A police dog with one of those detective thrillers!”

Anyway, Jimmie called me after supper to come over while he wired up Rusty.

Rusty is one of those dogs. You know. A hunting breed born to have adventures with a man in the wilds. And imprisoned for the period of his natural life in a city. He has a lot of excess energy which he has never had much opportunity to employ.

Jim had two earphone sets and a coil of aerial wire which we attached to the aerial on Jim’s house. The head-phones we wired to Rusty’s collar the way you fix the electric iron when it wears out. Pare a lot of little copper wires and wrap them around a knob.

We got Rusty to stay still by Jim lying on top of him while I wound the wire around his tail. Then we put his collar on and adjusted the head-phones.

“I hope it’s a good program,” said Jimmie, excitedly.

We listened.

All was silence.

Rusty wagged his tail and yawned.

Neither was transmitted.

“Maybe the connections aren’t perfect,” said Jim, but you could see he was deeply disappointed.

“Maybe Rusty’s hair is too curly,” I said. We tinkered with the wires, re-attached the aerial, the head-phone wires, but nothing was to be heard. Just the deaf feel of head-phones.

“I think,” said Jim, “we ought to plug it into the electric light socket. Let’s go inside and I’ll get the cord for the electric iron.”

He was preparing to rig the cord to Rusty’s collar when the bare end of the wire came in contact with the strings of my headset which, fortunately, I had laid on the floor. There was a flash, Jim and I leaped back, and Rusty let out a wild yell and dashed for the door.

“Jim was preparing to rig the cord to Rusty’s collar, when the base end of the wire came in contact with the strings of my headset. There was a flash and Rusty let out a wild yell and dashed for the door”
“Police!” roared the tall, long-legged lady as Rusty went roaring past

Letting out a whoop at every jump, and with head-phones yanked from our heads, dangling, and half of Jim’s aerial trailing, he headed out the door, down the steps and up the street.

Jim and I followed. It is a respectable neighborhood. Very few people are ever to be seen in it. Nobody ever sits on their front steps. Nevertheless, one elderly lady, with a good deal of gimp in her yet, it seems, was out observing her flowers growing, and as Rusty went tearing past howling, with Jim and me in hot pursuit, this tall and elderly lady let out a hoarse yell and joined in the chase.

“Murder!” she shouted. “Thieves!”

A uniformed chauffeur and two boys on bicycles joined.

“Police!” roared this tall, long-legged lady of one of our choicest residential districts. I think she was of English descent, of the sporting aristocracy or something.

Half a dozen men, boys and a few swift-footed girls joined. Poor old Rusty was half a block ahead, with his head turned to look back reproachfully at us.

It was a hopeless chase. We weakened. The tall, elderly lady caught up to us first. “You brutes!” she said. “Tying cans to a dog’s tail. A boy’s trick. At your age.”

“It’s my dog,” stated Jimmie.

“I’ll see you jailed for this,” said the tall lady fiercely. “I am acquainted with two magistrates.”

The rest of the crowd joined us.

“Lady,” said Jim, “we were simply conducting a scientific experiment.”

“Vivisectionists!” sneered the lady.

The crowd growled their sympathy.

“Why, that’s my dear old hunting dog,” cried Jimmie. “My old Rusty. I wouldn’t hurt him for the world.”

“Indeed,” said the tall lady, with far more feeling than if she had said “Oh yeah.” Try it some time.

We tried to walk off.

“Someone call the police,” said the lady, menacingly.

We heard Rusty going down the next street, so, having our second wind, Jim and I made a break and went down a side drive, vaulted a wire fence and intercepted Rusty by stepping on the aerial which brought him up with a final yelp.

We whipped off the wires, head-phones and aerial. We hid them under our coats. And we scrammed, as they say. With Rusty coming joyously with us once more.

By a roundabout route, we got to my place and hid in the cellar until it was dark.

“You know,” I said to Jim, “that tall, emotional lady was right, though she didn’t know why.”

“I suppose,” said Jim, taking fistfuls of Rusty’s loose hide and hauling it the way good men do with good dogs.

“I mean, what is the good of experiments?” I said. “What the world needs is more dogs and less excitement. It needs a lot more people just sitting doing nothing with a dog.”

“I guess so,” said Jim.

“We’ve got enough,” I concluded. “A man and a dog. Just sitting down anywhere. That’s enough, isn’t it? No music. No speeches or detective dramas. No experiments. No eagerness. No curiosity. No seeking.”

“Just peace,” said Jim.

“Just peace,” said I.

And when it was dark, we went out with Rusty into the garden and sat on barroom chairs where a bed of verbenas lets go a sweety, musty scent in the night.


Editor’s Notes: This is one of the earliest stories, so it is shorter and not does not follow their usual format.

Trees” is likely the song by Eddie Harkness and His Orchestra from 1928.

Amos ‘n’ Andy was a very popular radio program from the United States that aired from 1928 to 1960. It is more known now for racist stereotyping.

Rudy Vallée is considered one of the first “crooners” and popular stars on the radio, thanks to the introduction of the microphone in the mid-1920s which resulted in more natural singing.

“Vo-do-de-o-do” was a meaningless refrain appearing in popular jazz songs of the 1920s and 1930s.

Super-powered

June 24, 1933

Pep Golf

As we started from the fifth bunker box, we had quite a following

By Gregory Clark, Illustrated by James Frise, May 27, 1933.

“How is it,” asked Jimmie Frise, “that you and me have never taken up golf?”

“Pah,” I replied contemptuously, “the most fruitless pastime in the world!”

“Even so,” said Jim, “there must be something in it, so many thousands of men play it. Men of our type.”

“I know of no sight more depressing,” I quoted some unknown philosopher, “than that of a golfer plodding hopelessly from shot to shot.”

“Do you think,” asked Jim, “there is something psychological in it? Is it possible these fellows, after failure at the office, disagreements at home and general despair with life, go out and defeat themselves at golf just to make the rest of their all-round licking seem less painful?”

“Listen, Jimmie,” I said, “don’t go into any of those complicated psychological theories of yours!”

“No, but look at history,” said Jim. “For ages, when none of us had turned easy-going, whenever we were filled with troubles, what did we do? We put on a hair shirt and turned hermit. That is like golf. A man goes out and suffers the torments of golf so as to make seem easier the troubles of business and home.”

“It might be,” I admitted admiringly. “But I would just as soon play postman as play golf. It’s the same sort of thing. Walking along, stopping and starting, going over familiar ground all the time. Give me fishing, where a fellow can visit new country every time he goes forth.”

I’m afraid you don’t know the rudiments of golf,” said Jim.

“I am thankful I don’t,” said I. “All I know is, I never heard of a golfer who won. If they don’t lose to their partner, they lose, anyway, by not doing as well as they did once before, about 1928. It is a gloomy game. A game of perpetual defeat.”

“Do you even know how they play it?” asked Jim.

“Sure,” said I. “They have a small hard rubber ball which they hit with different kinds of sticks with iron blades and knobs on the ends. They have half a dozen or more of these sticks, all different, so that no matter which one they use, they can believe it was the wrong one. If they used their birdie, they can always say, in a bitter voice, that they should have used their bunker or their giblet, I think they call it. It is a game with a bagful of alibis.”

“What is the object of the game?” asked Jim, slightly sneeringly.

“To play from hole to hole with as few shots as possible,” I replied. “Sometimes they play nine holes, and sometimes eighteen. The more holes they play, the greater is their defeat. I knew a fellow who once played twenty-seven holes on a Saturday and was so filled with grief he entirely forgot the depression.”

“My friends are always inviting me out to play golf,” said Jim. “I think some day we might try it, just to know what we are not missing.”

“The only reason I would ever visit a golf course,” I retorted, “would be to give it some new ideas, to introduce something to the game. For instance, I have often heard these old boys telling how they went around in eighty-four. But when I asked them how long it took them, they just stared. Do you know, Jimmie, they let them take all the time they like? Yes, sir, these old badgers go prowling around the golf course, pausing and thinking before every shot, taking all kinds of practice swings and figuring out every shot, every move, like chess players. Imagine hockey, in which every player was allowed to have the puck until he had figured out what to do with it? That’s what’s the matter with golf. It needs action. It needs some manly indecision about it. If these old guys could say, I went around in eighty-four in thirty-eight minutes, there would be something in it. But just to say they went around in eighty-four over the week-end is simply comical. That’s what it is, comical.”

Borrowing a Bag of Alibis

“Suppose I could get an invitation,” asked Jim, “would you come out and we would try a whirl at putting some speed into golf?”

“I imagine I would,” said I.

So Jim got in touch with a few friends and got an invitation for us to go out to a golf links on Thursday. The first few friends were overjoyed, and thought Jimmie meant he would come out with them. It is pathetic the way these golfers like to initiate a fresh sufferer. But Jim had to explain that he had an important friend up from New York, who was not only deaf and dumb, but was deformed and he hated mankind, and would only play with Jimmie. So one friend very gladly gave Jim a letter of introduction to his club. Jim borrowed a fellow artist’s outfit and I got a bag of alibis from my brother. There were nine balls and fourteen sticks in the bag, not to mention spare socks, small sponges, a raincoat that folded up about the size of a hankie and a whole lot of little things such as scoring gadgets and so forth, the meaning of which only amused me.

We arrived out at the club about two ‘clock, by which time there were several hundred people dotted all over the fields, all having that bowed, hopeless look that prisoners have on prison farms, as they go about their tasks.

We dressed up in the locker room in our ordinary fishing and shooting outfits and dragged our golf bags out to the starting place.

“You have to follow a certain course,” explained Jim in a low voice, as we waited for six men to start off. “These holes are numbered, and you must take them in proper order.”

“But we don’t even know that order,” I protested.

“We can ask as we go along,” said Jim.

“Nonsense,” I said. “How could we make any speed if we had to slow up all the time and say where do we go from here?”

“What do you suggest?” asked Jim.

“We play from one of these bunkers with the box on it, don’t we?” I demanded. “And we shoot for one of those little flags?”

“That’s it.”

“All right, starting here, we shoot for the nearest flag, and from there, we go to the nearest box, and in that way, work straight out, taking them as they come.”

“How will we know we haven’t done one hole before?” asked Jim.

“We simply won’t put the flag up,” I explained. “We will be working fast. The idea will be to see how small a score we can make in the shortest possible time. So after we do each hole, we’ll just leave the flag down and beat it for the next one.”

“What will all these gentlemen think of that?”

“They may be a little disturbed, if they notice it,” said I. “But they’re so engrossed in their game, they’ll never notice a little thing like a flag being up. Anyway, suppose they do get a little sore? When they realize what we are doing for the royal and ancient game of golf, when it comes out that we have revived, resuscitated, modernized a dying game, they will tell their grandchildren that they were actually on the links the very time Frise and Clark conducted their first experiment. Don’t worry about these people.”

Jim and I waited patiently while the six of them, two by two, leisurely gazed off into the distance, watched their slow-footed predecessors get out of range, and I think they all flattered themselves at that. Then we scratched our heads and repressed our feelings as they each one stood forth, leisurely laid their ball, waggled their sticks, waggled their nether anatomies, paused, thought, gazed, thought again, made a few cautionary swings, all in perfect style, and then, with no style at all, socked the ball off to one side.

Jim and I didn’t even nudge each other.

At last we stepped forth, by which time there were four other players ready behind us.

“Wait for those birds ahead to get out of range,” said Jim as I set the ball down.

“Nothing doing,” said I. “I have just taken the time as I set the ball down. The game is on. We’ll shoot for that flag right near there.”

I aimed at a flag down in a valley, only about 75 yards from us and off at an angle from which the others had played. I hit the ball high in the air and about half way to the flag, without any waggling whatsoever. Jim leaped up and laid the ball down without delay, socked it and we seized our bags and raced off on the first hole.

“Hey,” shouted one of the men who were coming next after us.

But there was no time to waste in explanations. We ran nimbly down the valley. I had the stick ready by the time I reached my ball, threw down the bag, socked it, picked up the bag and ran after it before Jim had even reached his ball.

Jim hit his beautifully and put it near the flag. I took three quick, short bats at mine before I laid it on the green, as they call it, although it was a kind of brown. holed in nine, Jim in fourteen, in exactly two minutes, fourteen seconds.

Just a little way to the side was one of those boxes on a bunker which is the starting place for each new hole, and we raced over to it. No silly dawdling. This was a contest not only of skill with the stick, but speed, endurance, strength, fortitude. We socked the balls away and dashed after them just as four men walked over a hillock and stood staring at us with some astonishment. But we rushed up to the balls, batted them a little way, and I found that if you did not lay the bag down but just hit the ball with a polo action, in your stride, you would hit it just as far and just as straight as some of those fellows who took five minutes to get at it. So Jim followed my style, and we dashed off the next hole in ten and sixteen, despite the fact that two men were near the hole and coming from the opposite direction.

“Are you ahead of us?” called one of these men, not at all snootily, but just sort of surprised to see us.

“We’re so far ahead you can’t imagine it,” I replied, as Jim and I dashed for the next box bunker.

“The flag?” shouted this man.

“Never mind the flag,” I called to Jim, “It’s this conversation and palavering that makes golf so slow.”

We made the next hole in nineteen and forty-one, Jim developing a bounding style, which did not send the ball far but at least did not delay us ten minutes looking for a lost ball. We passed through two parties of golfers, one going one way and one another, who stopped and held a discussion, probably about us, as it turned out. But we did this hole in three minutes flat, the whole score being on the first three holes, Jim 71, self, 38, with a time of only eight minutes and seventeen seconds.

Others Get the Idea

The nearest flag we could see on the fourth hole was quite a distance away, all of a hundred yards. We dashed up to the box, banged off the balls and were just getting into our stride, I with six strokes, Jim with eleven, when two elderly gentlemen in gray sweaters came over a rise and started running after us. Each held one golf club in his hand.

“It’s taking on!” I yelled to Jim. “Here’s two others have caught the idea.”

It developed into a race. We had the advantage of age, because both the old boys were staggering behind large, swaying stomachs. We finished the hole in a net score of Jim, 91, self, 50, time, eleven minutes, one second, when we saw, joining the elderly men, six or eight more, some of them younger and faster, and as far as I could see, they were not playing fair, because I could see no balls at all. I suspected them of kicking the ball ahead. Which was not a bad idea, and I tried it. You can get better distance kicking it, but not the direction.

Anyway, as we started from the fifth bunker box, the followers numbered twelve, and four of them were gaining rapidly on us.

“Experienced golfers,” I puffed to Jim. “We’d be better, too, if we spent half our lives on the golf links.”

We succeeded in getting away from the fifth start before the leaders caught us, but I had only got thirty yards before two of them, both twice my weight, caught up to me, and to my consternation, tackled me as if it were rugby we were playing and slammed me down.

“Foul, foul!” I yelled, and with some justice, as I was really the inventor of the game.

As they picked me up, I saw the other two catch up to Jim and grab him. By this time everybody had caught up, even the stout old men, who had gray moustaches and purple faces, and they were speechless. They just made gestures. Six men each carried Jim and me across the fields and down a little gully, where, I am sorry to admit, they threw us into a small muddy creek, without a single word. Not a word. They just carried us down, perspiring, and never a word out of them, and said one, two, three, and heaved us in.

“Now get out!” shouted one of the old men, who had a husky voice.

“Our clothes at the club house!” I called from the creek.

“Our golf bags, they’re borrowed,” called Jimmie, from the same place.

“Get out!” repeated the old gent. It was all he could think of to say.

They stood on the bank and watched us so we just waded out and up the bank and climbed a fence and signaled, as they say, a passing motorist who happened to be driving a truck, and for fifty cents he drove us home.

They carried Jim and me down a little gully and threw us into a muddy creek…. They stood on the bank and watched us, so we just waded out and up the bank and signaled a passing motorist

I explained to my brother about his clubs and my good clothes, and he just laughed and said a friend would pick up his bags.

I asked him what he thought of our idea, and he said it was an excellent one, but suggested we try it out some time when there were not many people on the links.

“When would that be?” I asked my brother.

“Well, say, the First of July; it’s a public holiday, and everybody will be away fishing.”

“But so will I,” I explained to him.

“Oh, well, then some other time,” he suggested.

May 25, 1940

Editor’s Notes: palavering means to talk unproductively and at length.

This story was repeated on May 25, 1940 as “Fruitless Pastime“.

One Moose Power!

February 18, 1933

Horse-drawn cars became a symbol of the Great Depression in Canada, derisively calling them “Bennett Buggies” after Prime Minister R.B. Bennett.

Alphonse Aristide Jules

The dog nearly waggered itself in halves. Mr. Shorty squatted down and fondled Alphonse Aristide Jules

By Gregory Clark, February 18, 1933.

“Pets shall not be kept by units in the forward area.” So said G.R.O. No. 7648.

But of course, that had nothing to do with a dog making a pet of a platoon of thirty-five men.

You take a bunch of farmers and teamsters and village storekeeper’s sons from Grey and Frontenac counties and the Maritimes, and sit them down along a hedge in the sun and then have a small, waggly dog come twisting and shimmying with its front end and its back end, with a kind of shy look on its face; and right away, that bunch of men is adopted.

It was near Bouvigny Huts that Alphonse Aristide Jules, aged about eight months, and, so the boys said, a Bouvigny duck hound, elected Sixteen Platoon as its pet.

The lieutenant of Sixteen Platoon, whom I knew very well, used to wear spurs in the front line, with ten centime silver pieces in the rowels, which jingled and jangled as he walked on the duck-boards, so as to let the boys always know, around the bays, who was coming.

This lieutenant, whom we will call Mr. Shorty for short, was always sneaking around his platoon’s billets. He used, even, to stand afar off at the other end of the village, with his field glasses and watch his platoon in their private lives, and it was doubtless by this method that he learned about Alphonse Aristide Jules.

The day they were warned to go up the line, Mr. Shorty called a kit inspection, and he went through all the pack sacks, unrolled all the blankets, kept the platoon standing easy while he went back into the billet alone and hunted high and low for Alphonse Aristide Jules. But he didn’t find him.

So Mr. Shorty, a nasty look on his face, after damning the men for losing so many mess tin covers and breech protectors and so forth, announced:

“I trust,” he says, “that all ranks understand that no pets are allowed in the forward area.”

And Sixteen stood there, very surprised-like.

“Pets?” they said to one another, with their astonished eyes. “Pets? Who has any pets?”

So they went up the line that night, starting at dusk, and it was No. 681565, L. Cpl. Beefy, J.H., who carried Alphonse Aristide Jules in his pack sack.

Thus Alphonse Aristide Jules arrived effectively at the front line and made his first acquaintance with dugouts and saps and trenches.

It was about eleven p.m. before he thought of barking, previously being entirely absorbed in investigating this marvellous place

Anyway, Alphonse Aristide Jules saw a rat and, letting out a snarl, he went for it, and then barked excitedly at the hole the rat went into, before anybody could reach him and shut him up.

And down the trench, clink, clink, came Mr. Shorty stepping very firmly and dangerously on the bath mats.

“Did I hear a dog?” demanded Mr. Shorty haughtily, as he came into each bay.

“Dog?” said the boys on the fire step.

Clink, clink, he went up the trench to the end of his platoon front, which you would think was at least a divisional front the way he paced it. And receiving no reply to his question, he went down the dugout.

It was one of those two entrance dugouts, and nobody could tell which stairs Mr. Shorty would come down, so the boys off duty sat around the walls of the dugout and hid Alphonse Aristide Jules by wedging him in between the backs of No. 681126, Pte. Harrington, J., and No. 129423, Pte. Oswald, E.F.

Mr. Shorty came down into the candle light and stood looking into the gloom. The boys were all talking excitedly, like a girl’s schoolyard at recess.

“Silence, men!” commanded Mr. Shorty. Everybody was silent.

And then Alphonse Aristide Jules whined.

Mr. Shorty strode over and, looking down behind the backs of the two escort, beheld the shiny eyes of Alphonse Aristide Jules.

“Let him out,” commanded Mr. Shorty.

All in silence, the little dog leaped out and went waggling and shimmying joyously around the dugout, running up to this man and that, anxiously, pleadingly, but everybody just sat there with heads hung pretending they did not know him. Alphonse Aristide Jules was puzzled at this coldness and he ran over and jumped up on Mr. Shorty’s legs.

“Parlez-vous francais?” demanded Mr. Shorty.

The dog nearly wagged itself in two halves. Mr. Shorty squatted down and hugged Alphonse Aristide Jules.

“Comment-vous appelez-vous?” asked Mr. Shorty.

“Alphonse Aristide Jules,” said No. 129441, Pte. Leduc, F-X.

“That’s a hell of a name,” said Mr. Shorty.

“He’s a French dog,” said Pte. Leduc.

“Can he speak any English?” asked Mr. Shorty.

“No,” said Pte. Leduc.

“We ought to teach him,” said Mr. Shorty. So everybody gathered around, and Alphonse Aristide Jules sat in the middle, while he was taught to say “Allo” and “Comm eer” and “Lie down.”

“Du lait?” said Mr. Shorty, picking up a can of condensed milk. “See? Du lait? Milk. They showed him rifles, bombs, bandoliers, boots, bayonets.

Then the captain called down the dugout and Mr. Shorty had to scatter out of there and he went for a walk in the night with the captain while the boys made a collar out of a piece of a rifle strap for Alphonse Aristide Jules and the string of a pull-through for a leash.

Alphonse Aristide Jules spent six days in the front line, six days in support and then went back to Bouvigny in L. Cpl. Beefy’s packsack.

Sixteen Platoon gave Alphonse Aristide Jules to a little French boy in a black smock who nearly went crazy when he saw the dog and the dog nearly went crazy too.

So they had another ceremony in Sixteen Platoon billet, the glorious and heart-swelling ceremony of the return of the troops from the war, when they presented Alphonse Aristide Jules back to the bosom of his little master.

And as usual Mr. Shorty had to come sneaking into the billet just as the thing got started, so L. Cpl. Beefy, after he had finished, called on Mr. Shorty for a speech. He made rather a good speech, if he does say so himself. He had tears in nearly everybody’s eyes, including his own. He talked about the Return of the Warrior.

That’s all there is to the story. I don’t know why I tell it, except that perhaps there are some old people who might like to hear it, and some young men, maybe, out in the country, out around Grey county and Frontenac, who might like to know about the war their fathers were in.


Editor’s Notes: Obviously, “Mr. Shorty” is Greg referring to himself.

Spurs are one of the instruments that riders use to direct horses. The spikes on the spur are set on a small wheel called a rowel.

A “bath mat” or “duck board” is a length of wood, pallet-like, used to line the floor of a trench in World War One to give the dirt/mud some stability, and something more or less more even to walk on.

A fire step is a step or platform dug into the front side of a military trench allowing soldiers to stand on it in order to fire over the parapet.

Christmas Funds!

December 16, 1933

This was part of a rare continuity where Wes Clipper, the barber, had a hair restorer that actually worked. Old Archie used it on foghorn, resulting in today’s strip.

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