« ElőzőTovább »
told us that in another year she may walk. The news made us all as happy as if it had been our own Dorothy or our own Mary. There are a number of little Marys on our street and a corresponding number of little Johns. We have no Gwendolyns or Percys.
On Saturday afternoons our young assistant professors and engineers work on our lawns and our gardens. They all wear khaki when they do it, and haul out their old puttees or boots. For every man on our street spent his allotted time in Uncle Sam's service, and each had a shoulder decoration. Some of the decorations extended to the left pocket-flap before they returned home. We are as proud of these as if the right were ours, individually, to stow them away in our cedar chests. And we are as proud of Mr. Towner in his olivegreen-and-red triangle as we are sympathetic of his fading sight that debarred him from more active service.
We share three or four 'by-the-day' women, to help us over the hard places, and, aside from a schoolgirl or two to help with the babies once in a while afternoons, we are servantless. Our husbands operate their own boot-black kits and pressing-boards. They boast about the shine on their boots and the lack of shine on their clothing.
We save our pleasure pennies for the movies, Galli-Curci, football, and Sir Oliver Lodge. We browse about the bookstalls for Einstein and Lansing, Kipling, de Maupassant, 'Opal,' and Peter B. Kyne. We all fliwered down to watch the bulletin-board report of the July bout, and came back with the thought predominant that peace with Germany had been consummated.
Are we some of the 'wild young people' John F. Carter, Jr., wrote about last September? Should n't wonder if we were. Our men were at Armageddon. One or two of our women were there. Most of us have an easy time
convincing our parents, when they park their Packard and Peerless plutocracy out in front of our houses and come in to romp with the children, that'this is the life.' Our particular form of 'wildness' seems to be a reversion to lace-paper valentine days, to old-fashioned gardens, old-fashioned religion, and oldfashioned marriage days.
We're pretty happy on our street.
AN IMPULSIVE ODE TO A PICTURE
OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN ON
A BOX OF SUGAR
(On or about his 215th birthday)
Great Benjamin! I cheerfully concede
That loaf of baker's bread.
— That is, your face —
And afterwards in France,
— Those demoiselles —
As with your gracious spells
Benjamin, you were great
Its precepts terse and many,
Teaching a spendthrift nation
The art of conservation
And how to save the Penny.
And from that teeming brain
Came forth a streaming train
Of wonderful inventions;
And it was thought a pity
If, in (nearly) every city,
You were not head of each committee
At all conventions.
But You and Sugar! O Good Benjamin,
What juxtaposition does this put you in!
What but the brain of some young profiteer
Would e'er have thought to start on
A scheme to paint the features of a seer
Upon a sugar carton?
When at my daily task in kitchen, cooking,
To sugar-box I go,
Your countenance seems to me severely looking,
As if to say, 'Go slow.'
As in I dip, you seem to be a-calling,
'Go slow — go slow — go slower —
Market reports that sugar's still a-falling;
Wait till it gets still lower.'
And now when early strawberries are needing sweeting,
And rhubarb clamors for the sugar-box,
Your lips reproachful seem to be entreating,
'Cease sugaring,' and then to be repeating
Your adage, meant the prodigal to move,
'Who dainties love, you know, will beggars prove.'
('Twas writ to touch the conscience of . the cook —
The fourteenth page in his 'Poor Richard' book.)
And when it comes to cake and lemon pie
(With all that rich meringue),
Your presence there upon my sugarbox,
Your disapproving scowl — it fairly mocks;
No matter what I try;
I fain would say, 'Go 'lang.'
'T is true, of sugar cooking takes a mint;
Yet with all due respect to Richard's thrift,
I do maintain it is a wondrous gift
To make good stuff to eat
And make it sweet
Yet put no sugar in't.
I'm glad, Good Benjamin, to gaze on
thee Hanging in state-house and the halls of
Your homely features, lit with charity,
say — Say, Epicurus.
THE CONTRIBUTORS' COLUMN
Cornelia J. Cannon, wife of the distinguished biologist, Professor Walter B. Cannon, will be remembered as the author of the striking paper, 'Can our Civilization Maintain Itself?' in the Atlantic for November, 1920. E. Barrington is a British traveler and scholar. That passionate pilgrim, A. Edward Newton, sends us a post-card announcing the consummation of his pious journey to Wales, where he has just placed a memorial nosegay on the grave of his 'Light-Blue Stocking,' Mrs. Thrale. Warren K. Moorehead, an archaeologist of long experience and of recognized authority in his chosen field, and member of the National Board of Indian Commissioners, is Curator of the Department of Archaeology at Phillips Academy, Andover.
* * *
Mrs. A. Devereuz (Cornelia N.) writes to the editor from Albany that the experiences described in these letters befell her
on the exact road which is now the Union Pacific R.B. The engineers who were so kind to us were part of the 1st Corps [commanded] by Maj. Gen. Dodge, sent out to survey the ground for the Union Pacific. The date of my husband's going out on 'the Plains,' [she adds] ... is fixed in my memory, definitely, because he was all ready to put his horses in the wagon ... on Saturday, when, a last errand taking him to the business part of town, he learned of the death of Abraham Lincoln; and as he was Pastor of the Congregational Church in Council Bluffs at that time, he said he must wait to start on his vacation excursion, reopen the church, and preach a sermon to lead his people in their intense grief.
At ninety-three, she writes as vigorously
as if the habit of correspondence were still
strong upon her.
» » *
Charles H. Grandgent, for many years Professor of Romance Languages at Harvard, is a Dantean of wide reputation. Stuart P. Sherman, critic and philosopher, is Professor of English at the University of Illinois. Edgar J. Goodspeed is a professor of Biblical lore in the University of Chicago, who seasons his patristic learning with the love of strictly contemporary life. Emma Lawrence (Mrs. John S. Lawrence, of Boston) is a new writer, several of whose stories
will appear in the Atlantic during the winter. Amy Lowell, critic, scholar, and poet, lives in Brookline, Massachusetts. Joseph Fort Newton is pastor of the Church of the Divine Paternity, in New York City. Lieutenant-Commander Kenneth Chafee Mcintosh, U.S.N., is stationed at the Naval Air Station at Pensacola, Florida. Cary Gamble Lowndes is a banker of Baltimore, a sportsman, and an adventurer in letters.
* * *
L. J. S. Wood, the Rome correspondent of the well-known British Catholic weekly, the Tablet, has lived in Rome for many years, and lias devoted serious study to the politics of both the Quirinal and the Vatican. Dr. A. Shadwell, the veteran Labor editor of the London Times, after practising medicine in his early days, has given himself up to the study of sociological and industrial questions. He has traveled widely and has investigated conditions in Canada and the United States, as well as in Russia, Germany, and England. Any personal characterization of Dr. Shadwell should mention the list of his amusements as he gives them in Who's Who. 'Recreations: being taken out by his dogs, fishing, music' — the pastimes of a philosopher. Arthur E. Suffern, head of the Department of Economics at Beloit College, is the author of 'Conciliation and Arbitration in the Coal Industry of America,' which took the first prize in the Hart, Schaffner and Marx Economic Essay Contest in 1913. In 1914 he was made Special Investigator of the Coal Industry by the U.S. Commission on Industrial Relations. Russell Robb is a member of the famous Boston firm of Stone and Webster.
* * *
Here are answers to questionings perhaps more frequent than any others, regarding the 'new' education.
Antioch College, Ohio, July 15, 1921. Dear Atlantic, —
Nothing constitutes me a spokesman for the progressive school movement except, inspired thereto by the communication of M. T. H. in the July Contributors' Column, my insistent desire for expression. If you will humor me so far, I will limit myself to two points.
It is unnecessary to leach a child obedience: that is instinctive. Every parent can testify to the beautiful, implicit obedience that children yield — sometimes. In other words, it is not respect for authority which is needed, for one cannot help respecting it when one meets it. What we need to teach is, how to recognize authority and how to tell the spurious from the genuine. Now, the trouble with the conventional school is too often that the teacher, though but a scribe, as Dallas Lore Sharp points out, attempts to exercise authority. Of course, when the children find it out, — as they do, — they resent it, and thus definitely learn rfwrespect for authorityclaimants in general. In the new schools, no one claims the respect due authority, but everyone, teacher and pupil alike, strives to earn it.
Much the same reasoning applies to the discipline in doing what you do not want to do, which is thought so necessary. The only true and useful discipline is that which is self-imposed. And that sort of discipline is abundantly present in the progressive school. Does anyone think that the sometimes elaborate projects get miraculously done without tiresome details and hard work? Can it be imagined that a school which deliberately seeks to keep its pupils under real life-conditions could or would eliminate the ' irksomeness of the steady grind'? Drudgery it does virtually eliminate, for drudgery is a state of mind, due to being compelled to labor without illumination and without understanding and without joy. The pupil in the progressive school knows full well the 'weariness of routine'; has learned what the pupil in the conventional school rarely learns, that'the world's work must be done somehow' — what has the orthodox curriculum got to do with the 'world's work'? But he learns also why it must be done, and how it may be made a thing of joy because of some underlying purpose. The curse of our age is that so many are asking whether the world's work is worth doing. Is this because so many are more — not better —• educated? The aim of education for life is to send the child forth to do the work of the world, even the weary routine (no longer unintelligible drudgery, however) with eager zest, because the ad venture of life is worth while. Horace B. English.
So. Pasadena, Cal., June 28, 1921. Dear Atlantic, —
Does the following incident suggest that there is 'culture' in Pasadena like unto Chicago and Boston?
A few days ago I made some purchases in a grocery; the clerk who served me offered to carry my packages to my automobile, and as we walked to it, he waved his hand toward the many automobiles parked along the street and said, "These more than anything fulfill the words of the prophet.'
'How is that?' I asked.
And he replied;' "The chariots shall rage in the streets, they shall jostle one against another in the broadways; they shall seem like torches and they shall run like the lightnings."'
I did not know what prophet said it, and I was so amazed I had not the wit to ask; but on reaching home I found it in the second chapter of Nahiiin. Could there be a more apt description of of the ways and appearance of the modern chariot? Very truly,
Grace C. Simons.
There will be cramps in the nation's 'innards' before the last Jew is assimilated. That we have always thought, and here is proof of it.
New York City, July 1, 1921. Dear Atlantic, —
A Jew of Jews, like the undersigned, stands aghast before the present-day flood of articles on the Jewish question. 'T is a veritable pogrom in printer's ink. And inky pogroms are deadlier than bloody ones, and blacker.
As a Super-Jew, I feel at any rate grateful for the sympathetic tone of Paul Scott Mowrer's disquisition on "The Assimilation of Israel.' But how weak in its argument! The Jew, forsooth, does not assimilate: he refuses to intermarry, and occasionally attends the synagogue. Ergo, his is a double allegiance! And this in the same breath with the statement that the Jew has given evidence during the great war of his loyalty to America. In what way, then, does religious loyalty interfere with political allegiance?
And the solution of the problem? Intermarriage — Q.E.D. But this is no solution of the Jewish question; rather, a dissolution of the Jewish people. It means, let the Jew cease to be a Jew, and he will have no trouble.
Mr. Mowrer's article Ls an illustration of the greatest of all sins — the Sin of Being Different. Life is a monstrous rubber-stamp affair. Liking depends on likeness. The I'nlike must be annihilated. The sympathetic ones, like Mr. Mowrer, would kill the Jew with kindness. Euthanasia —•
To many a thinking Jew, as to a few thoughtful Gentiles, the remedy seems to be, not in the Jews ceasing to be Jews, but in the Christians becoming Christians.
All this is said with no malice, and with a painful consciousness of the nearness of the wastebasket to the editorial desk. But I feel that there is a great deal of amateurishness in all these discussions of the Jewish problem. The expert has not yet been heard from. The undersigned does not claim to be an expert. But he proudly proclaims himself a Jew of Jews, and a Pharisee. And while everybody has something unbecoming to say about the Pharisee, why should not the Pharisee be given a chance to state his own case?
If ever we showed disrespect toward the art of Charlie Chaplin, may we be forgiven! Here's matter worth reading.
Arlington, Fla., July 12, 1921. Editor Of The Atlantic Monthly
Dear Sir, —
The interesting article on the movies in the current number of your magazine omits what seems to me to be a very important feature of the film pictures. People leading the monotonous lives that the largest numbers of our population do — and it is the same all over the world — are patronizing these shows for the hypnotic effect produced. Charlie Chaplin is not merely a great artist, but he is a careful student of psychology, and he has proved that it is the gliding movements of his feet and entire figure which carry the minds of his guests along with the smoothly flowing current of a pleasant dream. He carefully avoids changing the focus of the eyes of the spectators by forcing them to read any inserts, and keeps cleverly devised scenes moving swiftly across the screen. The audiences are lulled into rest and f orgetf ulness of the incidents of everyday life, and are unconscious of the lapse of time.
The movies take the place of alcoholic stimulants or drugs, and are so much cheaper that they would be used to a much greater extent if the scenarios were only written in the proper way, without any attempt to transpose literature. Old and young, rich and poor, alike enjoy a pleasant dream while harmlessly hypnotized. In my opinion there should not be a line of script; there should not be the slightest attempt to instruct or elevate or degrade — just scenes from life and action. Music can be introduced if the musicians are kept out of sight, and if it is of the same soft and low and sweet kind that comes to us in pleasant dreams. Nothing must be allowed to happen in the theatre to arouse us from our hypnotic state.
There is no telling what pleasure may be given to a world-weary race by the development of this new discovery of a practical method of sending us off into those wonderful regions which Shakespeare alone could describe. If he could only have had this new medium, instead of the crude genre of language, we should now be reveling in visions such as we have no conception of in the dull lives we are now leading, amid the confusing noises and ugly surroundings of our so-called civilization. The newest art may easily become the greatest of all, and its development cannot proceed too rapidly if it only moves along the right lines; and so far Charlie Chaplin is the true pioneer who is pointing the way to better days. Yours very truly,
R. S. Howland.
And, speaking of movies, here is another letter with a different story.
Dear Atlantic, —
Katharine Fullerton Gerould's discerning and thought-provoking article on 'Movies,' in the July issue, seems to me of not quite the even excellence of most of her papers. In the second and more academic section, on what the movies might be, her analysis is penetrating. In the first section, on what they are, she tends to illustrate her opening remark that there is a lot about movies she does n't know. On any such ignorance, however, she is to be, in some ways, congratulated.
Incidentally, there are a number of irresponsible statements or implications: that Aristotle ordained three 'sacred' unities; that an epic need have no unity of action; that movies can be justified if they keep their patrons from something worse; and that the notion that saloons were vicious is a joke.
The assertion that the peril of the moving-picture is sensationalism and cheap sentimentalism. rather than salaciousness, is eminently true. Life once had a picture of the front rows of children watching wholesale murder on the screen, with the title, 'Passed by the National Board of Censorship.' Annette Kellerman sans everything is wholesomeness itself, compared to such free play of jealousy, hate, and murder.
But I cannot agree that 'motion-picture producers are much more scrupulous than theatrical managers.' The salaciousness which is, to a considerable extent, kept out of films by the censors is worked for all it is worth in uncensored advertisements. The movies have made 'vamp' (a savage euphemism for' courtesan') a word lightly used by young girls, have familiarized patrons with low dance-halls and dens of crime, and, if 'they have closed up' any 'literary red-light district,' it was only to reopen it under new management.
The one fault, sex-appeal, which has been partly checked in moving-pictures, is, except for an occasional undesirable crook play, about the only positive moral charge which can be brought against the regular stage. (Even here the sometimes under-dressed chorus is balanced by the bathing-girls so featured in the movies, and the most undressed revues are often quite free from vulgar lines.) On the other hand, moving-pictures have evil contacts with many more phases of life. They are at their worst when they take themselves seriously, and they do preach incessantly. The movies have taken over the problemplay and are always attacking marriage, divorce, or birth-control — championing some supposed reform which will give them license to portray what may be advertised, and to some extent filmed, pruriently, or in some other sensational manner.
The film comedies have this much of palliation, however: they do not insist on being taken seriously. No wonder Mrs. Gerould is not proud of Charlie Chaplin as American Ambassador-atLarge. But this much can be said for the stock characters of slap-stick comedy (those of the old Italian farce, Punchinello, Mutt and Jeff, Charlie Chaplin): the whole point of them is their indestructibility, though they 'die daily,' and their lack of amenability to moral sanctions, — that is, their unreality. It is not Mutt or Charlie (or the characters of the real stage, for that matter) whom romantic youngsters pattern after and so get into trouble — as in the last of the 'Juvenile Court Sketches' in the June Atlantic; it is the characters of the movie 'dramas,' for they seem convincing and real.
A last serious charge against the pictures is that they disregard the laws of physical and moral cause and effect, except for a few yards of hasty, hypocritical reconciliation with them at