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tria nor Hungary ever seriously regarded herself as at war with Great Britain, France, or the United States. The troops of these nations practically never came into conflict with one another, and the pre-war personal relations between the wealthier and betterclass families in Great Britain, for example, and Austria-Hungary had been in many cases very cordial and intimate. It was, then, often very awkward for an Englishman, Frenchman, or American to find himself being invited to luncheons and dinners and dances with unfeigned friendliness, during a time when the Allied representatives in Paris were preparing — in the treaties of Saint-Germain and Trianon — settlements infinitely more disastrous to Austria and to Hungary than was the Treaty of Versailles to Germany. Sometimes, in fact, the situation became intolerable, and some virulent outburst against our newest European allies compelled one to remind one's very hosts that, after all, they had begun the war by their ultimatum to Serbia.
There is no fear of any of the Allies being similarly embarrassed in Germany. Not long ago some of the Berlin correspondents gave prominence to a 'house law' of the von der Golz family, the members of which bound themselves to enter into no friendly relations with their ex-enemies, but to confine their dealings with them to strictly official matters. There was, as a matter of fact, nothing remarkable about this. A German baron to whom I mentioned this 'house law,' and with whom, as another old Cambridge man, I had fancied myself on tolerably good terms, bluntly told me that there was nothing extraordinary in this family pact, which was being observed in many houses. His avowal confirmed my own observations and experience. Exceptions may be made, for reasons of policy, in the
case of recognized Germanophiles of influence; but the ordinary ex-enemy will have no opportunity, even if he has the desire, to mingle in the intimate home life of any German family of good extraction. This may be bad Christianity, but it is understandable amour propre, and human nature.
But if, in the case of the other Allies, there has been a certain German external correctness, there has been, and is to-day, one great exception. If Great Britain was the most hated enemy during the war, France is now loathed with a deadly hatred of which no secret is made. Before the war Germany certainly did not hate France so much as France hated Germany; and even during the war the German press often expressed its admiration for the bravery of the French poilus. All such admiration has long vanished. Not long ago an American to whom I was speaking of this bitter hatred had a simple yet striking example of the truth of these words. He was inclined to be skeptical, so I rang the bell for the waiter and asked him what he thought of the French. The man's eyes literally blazed, as he declared that he would willingly march against the French again to-morrow because, he said, 'they wish to make a nation of slaves of us.' When he had gone out of the room, I rang for the chambermaid, and she was equally outspoken in her detestation of the French.
People in railway-carriages speak quite openly about this hatred, and canvass the time—it may be twentyfive years, it may be longer — when the final reckoning with France is to come. 'We want,' the Germans say, 'no allies. We ask only to be left alone with the French, and we are sure that the next time France will not have England and America on her side.' Such remarks I have heard literally scores of times, and they undoubtedly represent the average German's views and wishes. Time will, of course, do something toward softening down these feelings; but it is an undeniable fact that many Germans of my personal acquaintance are systematically training up their children to hate France, and, above all, are teaching them that they must avenge the alleged wrongs done to German women by the French black troops in the occupied area.
Meanwhile, such is the actual hatred for France that, no matter how distinctly the Allied press proclaims that this or that decision was a joint decision of the Allies, the whole blame is invariably put upon France. Every rebuff administered to Germany is due to French cruelty and revenge. The inculcation of this spirit of hatred against France is, of course, the more easy since France is the country in whose name the Allied Missions here act, and thus the French have the perhaps not always congenial task of pulling the chestnuts out of the fire for their partners.
At the same time, the French appear hardly to have grown accustomed to their victory, and scarcely to realize that after forty-four years of shivering under the German menace, they have won for themselves a freedom which, if rightly used, will enable them to pursue, as long as one can reasonably foresee, a policy of national dignity commensurate with the position to which France is entitled by the valor, charm, industry, and intelligence of her population.
The temptation to repay all at once the many indignities from which they suffered after 1871 has been too strong for many Frenchmen. Not only
are the professional journalists too often unbridled in their remarks, but men such as M. Poincare are losing no opportunity of keeping French feeling against Germany at white heat.
The still dangerous question of Upper Silesia is exceptionally deplorable. The French representatives on the InterAllied Mission have made virtually no pretense of impartiality, and their attitude is resented the more in that Silesia is so closely bound up with the traditions of Frederick the Great; while the Poles are not only despised by the Germans for their lack of business capacity, but are hated by them with the hatred that the oppressor always feels for his victim. Not even the loss of AlsaceLorraine could move Germany to such fierce hatred for France as the surrender of Upper Silesia to the Poles, after what would be eternally proclaimed as tampering with the results of a gerrymandered plebiscite.
The next few years are going to be critical for the future of Europe. France above all is walking to-day
per ignes Suppositos cineri doloso,
and, no less than Germany, has temporarily forgotten the wise old dictum of Bismarck, that in politics there is no room for either hatred or love. Mankind, it is to be hoped, will eventually achieve a higher level than these words connote. But to-day we are not even on that humble plane, and the superficial observer, who eats his dinner in Berlin to the strains of the latest English or American musical comedy, is making a great mistake if he thinks that the German will-to-power has been finally crushed, and that there is no longer a steady, relentless national purpose behind the cheap veneer of the nco-Teutonic republicanism.
THE CONTRIBUTORS' CLUB
THE SIMPLE SPELLERS
An anaemic youth in horn goggles has called on me in the interests of the Simple Spellers. He shamelessly appropriated to himself and his cause two good hours of my time, seeking by processes which, for want of a better name, must pass for argumentation, to enlist me in his army. I suppose someone pays him for his time. I wish someone would pay me for mine; it was the best I had, and it is gone where I cannot recover it. And the gist of his shameless argument was that simplified spelling saves time!
He seemed to be obsessed with the naive theory that we save time if we don't spend it; whereas everyone who uses time knows that to spend it before it spends itself is the only way to save it. Accordingly I could get no real information from him as to whose time the simplification of spelling would save, or how. The idea seems to be that every time you write thru instead of through you save a second; and if you write it often enough, you might in the course of some years accumulate time enough for a vacation in Italy or an appendicitis operation. It appears to be based on the fatuous notion that time is money, and can be kept in the savings bank at compound interest till you need it. Suppose you write ten thousand simply spelled words a day, saving a second on each, or two hours and fortytwo minutes on the day's work. Then you write for two hours and forty-two minutes and save three quarters of an hour more —and so on to infinity. It is subject to diminishing returns, but it goes on forever, and when you get down
to split seconds you can take a fresh start. It is a beautiful theory, but it does n't apply to me. I could never save time by writing thru; I should spend infinitely more time trying to remember to write it, and in hating it after I had written it, than I could save were it briefer than the very soul of wit.
I suppose I am an exception in that I am still old-fashioned enough to do my own writing; I am not yet incorporated and speeded up by means of multiple dictaphones and typists. If I were, I suppose I should get five cents a word no matter how they were spelled, and should be glad of simple spelling as a saving in 'overhead.' I should gloat over the thought that my stenographer, by using simple spelling (if she succeeded in leaming'it), would increase my profit by a hundred dollars a day. She might save time; a few of her would. But if I know anything about her, she would add it to her recreation periods, and devote it to gazing out of the window. So she will do, anyway. She will have her simple pleasures, nor need I purchase them for her at the cost of seeing my perfectly good English translated into the syncopations of Josh Billings or Ring Lardner.
But how about the children? Must their little minds be burdened with superfluous letters? or shall they be freed by an Emancipation Proclamation of the Simple Spellers? 'If it were done when 't is done, then 't were well it were done quickly.' But I do not recall any burden of superfluous letters that weighed heavily on my infant mind. My observation tells me that there are two kinds of people, those who learn to spell, and those who do not; and neither kind worries about 'meaningless combinations of letters' — no one does that but the Simple Spellers. Indeed, I question whether learning to spell is a question of memorizing sequences of letters, any more than drawing is a matter of memorizing sequences of lines, curves, and angles. I do not believe that through is seven letters; it is a fact, like a maple leaf that I know when I see it, and with slight training I can draw it with my pencil. With pen or typewriter I make the symbol for the word by a series of reflex motions; I do not count the letters. If you ask me how I know through from though, I should probably mention the difference of the r, but the fact is I know them as I know Uncle Jim from Uncle Peter without consciousness of the distinguishing features. I know that is Uncle Jim because he looks like Uncle Jim; you need n't simplify him on my account; I never burdened my mind with details in learning him.
Spelling is not a craft by itself: it is a part of writing and reading, training of eye and hand. When a boy writes starboard martyr for Stabat Mater, or forehead for forward, he writes what he hears; the fault is not with his ear, but with his visual image of the words. It means that he is not a reader, and is not accustomed to the appearance of the words. To try to teach him the distinctions by lists of letters alone would be about as useless as to try to teach him to distinguish people he never saw by means of verbal descriptions. I doubt if the one system is really easier to learn than the other. I am still to be convinced that the burden of our present system would be sufficiently lightened by the change to compensate anyone for the burden it would certainly be on a generation or two of children to have to learn both systems; and I see no security that the change could be made with less effort.
The Simple Speller has his answer ready. The gain would be in logicality, and to become more logical in any department of life is, he is assured, worth any sacrifice. I have no such assurance. To make spelling logical would be only the first step toward making language logical. Now logic is a good tool where it fits, but it does not fit every contingency of life. It is a good thing in language up to a certain point — which nobody has discovered. If it had been the ruling principle of language from the starf, and if our splay-footed ancestors who first began to grunt with meaning could have looked down through the centuries and seen what they were letting us in for, language might have been logical, and we too. In that case we should probably have but one language in the world to-day, one of downright Prussian efficiency, fitted accurately to every service of life except that of imagination. Is that our ideal? If so we must change ourselves first; for if by a gesture of magic we could make our language overnight as logical as mathematics, how long would it stay so with our minds working as they do? The language of a people is like the skin of a man; as a rule, it fits snugly, and it is not often that we can better its fit by taking thought, except as by taking thought we better ourselves.
Indeed, the Simple Spellers are illadvised to seek more logic till they learn to use better what they have. The only arguments they have offered me are drawn from antecedent probability, which, if I remember my logic, is the weakest argument known, since it is built of inference before experience and buttressed with parabolic evidence. What we want to know about simplified spelling is whether it will simplify life for us and our children; what effect it would have on us as a nation; whether it is anything that would compensate us for the agony of the change. Why not look to those who have tried it? The Germans have simplified their spelling as far as a people could, and still use the old symbols. At this time it might be impossible to get a fair answer to the question what the effect of the system has been on the nation, how much time the people have saved by it, and how they have spent it. The French understand themselves pretty well; they have a fairly sure instinct for what they can and cannot make themselves do. In the Year One of the Age of Reason, which was 1792 by dead reckoning, they rationalized by fiat everything in France except human nature and spelling. Human nature then took its course, and before long everything was back where it was before, except for a few matters chiefly political.
Even so do spelling reforms come and go, leaving few traces. You can make a formal garden by rule and compass, but eternal vigilance and labor are the price of it; if you allow yourself the least interval of relaxation, the irregularities of nature will reassert themselves. Simple spelling cannot establish itself by decree, for it has no authority. It must win its place by consent of the governed, and it has not a winning personality. So far it has not learned to smile. And if it has a scintilla of imagination, its sponsors would do well to let it show. I do not find simplified spelling useful; I know it isn't beautiful; it isn't even funny. Therefore, my word for it is that of the king to the harper: —
Either ye serve me foot and hand.
Or lift my heart with glee;
Nor guerdon get from me.
When still I prefaced my name with 'Miss,' none but my intimates ever thought of engaging me in conversa
tion about the qualifications of my laundress and the amount of her weekly charge; acquaintances did not ask me if I found it well-nigh impossible to secure satisfying food at a reasonable price, and anyone would have blushed to inquire whether or not I made my own clothes. But once I had changed Miss for Mrs., the veriest strangers began to take a surprising interest in the domestic machinery of my life; commonplaces assumed astounding conversational importance. And it is not that I resent kindly inquiries about the brand of macaroni we prefer, or whether we burn soft coal or briquets, but that I deplore the passing of a time when people talked to me about interesting, impersonal things and I did not have to intrigue them into such conversation.
As I study what seems to be the circumscribed conversational opportunities of married women, I wonder: Does some mischievous fairy go to marriage feasts, and cast a spell upon the bride that robs her of all interest in, or ability for, real conversation? Or does the world only think so? Whatever the answer, there are hundreds of us who have escaped the wicked fairy's curse, escaped to protest and to plead.
I am quite sure that in both material and practice I am much better fitted for participation in worthy conversation than I was two years ago. But, unfortunately, I seem not only to have exchanged my name for that of my husband, but to have given my right to any ideas on any worth-while subjects 'to boot.' Do we have a chance caller, she settles herself with,'Dear me, how you've changed this house! Didn't you have a great deal of trouble getting help?' Then follow the usual questions about the butcher, the grocer, the laundress, the coal.
If John passes through the hall, and I ask him to come in and greet our neighbor, her face brightens and she