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DANZIG AND THE POLISH CORRIDOR
have an abundant crop of grievances. plan works so smoothly that the mixed To-day it is because their letter-boxes tribunal set up under the chairmanship are mysteriously spirited away by un- of Herr Koch, the Danish Consul-Genknown parties. Another day all foreign eral at Danzig, to settle any disputes correspondence is opened and censored under the Convention has not received by a Black Cabinet. Rarely, I am told, a single complaint during the last two does a newspaper containing an article
years. favorable to Poland reach a Danzig Statistics show that the number of subscriber.
people and the amount of freight movAfter all, it is a tempest in a teapot, ing by land between Berlin and East for Danzig, with its 190,000 inhabit- Prussia are larger to-day than before ants, is no Berlin. The offices of these 1914. More than that, Danzig is probwrangling contestants are close ably the only port in the world whose together that the respective champions traffic has doubled since before the war. pass each other on the streets a dozen Practically one fourth of all the trade of times a day. Moreover, they are all Poland passes through that city, and cultivated, correct gentlemen, whom in ninety-five per cent of the merchandise private life you cannot help liking: that crosses its wharves either comes President Sahm, the terrible Prussian from or is destined for Poland. But giant; Herr Ferber, his foreign-affairs the Danzigers argue that in the good specialist - a very learned man; the old days they had not only Poland Polish General Commissioner, who but also Russia, the Ukraine, Czechohappens to bear the Teutonic name of slovakia, and Rumania for their hinterStrassburger and is a gentleman of land. They say that if they were left the delicate, insinuating, cardinalesque alone they would do very well. In type; Admiral Berovsky, an old sea- fact, political passions are so excited wolf whom we knew in the Russian that I question if the people of Danzig navy at Port Arthur and only a few would not prefer poverty without the years ago commanded at KronstadtPoles to wealth bestowed by Polish but now wears the uniform of a Polish hands. They imagine that the Poles officer; and last of all, the Swiss Colonel will seize the first favorable opportunity de Reynier, a shrewd administrator, to curtail their liberties and to reduce impartial, desperately endeavoring to them to a Polish autonomous municilet in a little light of good sense, civi- pality. The mere thought of this makes lization, and European rationality upon a Danzig citizen furious. this dusty scrimmage of fanatics.
I have not told the whole story, but I Are the Germans, whose pride is un- have told enough to show how serious doubtedly wounded and whose Pan- the situation is. As long as both parties German aspirations are blocked by the to the controversy continue to look at existence of the Corridor, seriously it from the purely self-centred point of injured materially? I am told that they view that governed Europe up to 1914, are not. Uninterrupted communication there is no solution but that of force. between Germany and East Prussia is As long as the Polish Corridor fully guaranteed by a Convention signed exists, Germany, which is cut in two by at Paris in April 1921. This provides it, will dream of restoring her territorial for the free transit of passengers and unity. On the other hand, any device merchandise, even military convoys for giving Germany a corridor would and munitions, between the main part cut directly across Polish territory and of Germany and East Prussia. The defeat at a single stroke Poland's
ambition to have a seaport of her own. Until some new and higher principle Assume that, as a measure of concilia, controls the European mind, that tragic tion, a plan should be devised to give outcome is inevitable. I speak emphatGermany a single road under her own ically and bluntly, because it is well for sovereignty through the Corridor. us to see things just as they are; for That narrow line, that tiny ribbon, Frenchmen may be called upon to sacriwould make Poland's aspirations un- fice ourselves yet again in order to realizable. It would separate her, not enable the Slavic race to achieve its only from Danzig and the mouth of the complete enfranchisement. Vistula, but also from Gdenia, the new Is there a new and higher principle port that she is building with French through which this can be avoided? assistance west of Danzig as the begin- What principle is there that, while ning of a naval base.
leaving each nation free to work out its No way out of the difficulty presents own destiny, to cultivate its hereditary itself. As long as we persist in discuss- gifts, will gradually remove this bitter ing international questions on a basis jealousy, this fierce enmity that threatof our age-old nationalist scholastics ens Europe with destruction? I borrow and appeal to history, that automatic the formula of a German genius who progenitor of wars, the German plan certified to his own Polish descent. and the Polish plan cannot be simul- Friedrich Nietzsche wrote: 'Europe taneously realized. The Poles cannot wishes to become one. Every man of control their great river, the Vistula, any depth and breadth of mind who has and the descendants of the Teutonic lived during our century has yearned Order simultaneously rule over the Bal- for this great spiritual achievement, tic Coast. So long as European nations has sought to open a way to this new insist upon perpetuating the rivalries of synthesis, has striven to realize in himthe past, there will of necessity be wars. self the European of the future.'
BY HUMBERT WOLFE
LIE easy, harebell; do not wither
MR. GLADSTONE PREPARES TO MEET
BY J. E. C. BODLEY
'MRS. LANGTRY is going to publish her waited. Now nobody needs this glossy memoirs. This announcement, recent reparation, because silk hats are not ly made in the newspapers, recurred to worn, except by hunting men, whose my memory the other day, during one damaged headpieces are not repaired of my very rare visits to London, when with a simple coup de fer, and by bishnoting the progress of the wave of dem- ops, whose strings have to be removed olition of ancient houses in St. James's before the iron can be applied. Street. The connection of the two Lock's bow-window, which still conideas does not seem to be obvious, so tains a faded relic of the sporting efforts some explanation is necessary. On the of Albert the Good when he devised a eastern side of that historic thorough- crimson headdress for the beaters at fare the tide of demolition seems to Windsor, had for next-door neighbor have stopped for the moment at Lock's, on the north a well-known druggist's waiting perhaps for the not distant shop, which survived until the other time when the last tall silk hat shall day. On its wall was a plaque which have been sold and ironed by that time- told that the house was once the habihonored firm, which is said to have been tation of Byron. In the early eighties converted into a limited liability com- the upper part was the last restingpany! Such a conversion would have place of an aged man of letters who was saddened the hearts of the three aged old enough to have seen Byron and to men who used to coiffer (we have no have been the associate of men far English equivalent for this most use senior to the poet, such as Sam Rodgers, ful term) the most illustrious heads in who also lived in St. James's parish. the Empire. The most venerable of This old fellow, whose energetic ranthe elders sat silent at an antique desk cors were unabated though their obcasting up figures neatly in an ances- jects had mostly disappeared, was tral ledger, which were presently to be Abraham Hayward, pamphleteer, histranscribed on blue invoices of archaic torian (in a small way), Quarterly Reform. Unlike all other tradesmen's ac- viewer of the great days of Quarterly counts, these bills were a joy to receive, Reviewing, when all the articles were being in those happy days very moder- anonymous, yet such was their weight ate, not enclosed in vulgar envelopes, or vigor that the authorship of each was but simply folded and sealed with known or conjectured; and for a very wafers, as was the custom when George brief moment, near the end of his life, III was king. The other ancients, of he was dramatic critic of the Times subaltern rank, were in shirt-sleeves, newspaper' - as he used to call it. and their chief occupation was to iron In this capacity he came into contact the hats of customers while they with Mrs. Langtry just at the time 1 From Manchester Guardian (Independent
when I made his acquaintance. In Liberal daily), February 28
those days there was a very charming and cultivated woman who had a little The only ornament in the room that I house in Belgravia, Mme. du Quaire recollect was a fine bust of Byron, which or 'Fanny du Quaire,' as she was known Hayward said had belonged to ‘Laura to her friends, of whom Matthew Bell'— Mrs. Thistlethwaite. So her Arnold was one of the most intimate. friendship with Mr. Gladstone led at An invitation to dine at her hospitable once, and naturally, to the subject on table always meant that the fortunate which he wished to talk. guests would be sure of meeting two or Half a dozen years previously Mrs. three people of unusual interest. So Langtry had captured London society one day she invited me to meet Abra- with her beauty. Sir Allen Young, the ham Hayward and Lowell, to whom she Arctic explorer, who had failed to disadded at my suggestion A. W.Kinglake, cover the North Pole, had discovered rarely seen in London society, whom I the 'Jersey Lily' when yachting and particularly wished to meet, as at that had presented her to the Prince of time I knew Eothen by heart as well as Wales — his late Majesty. I well rethe delusive rhetoric of the chapter on member one night, when an undergradthe Coup d'Etat in his Crimean War. uate, I was leaving with Oscar Wilde, Lowell was then American Minister, demy of Magdalen, the Vaudeville the United States Government still Theatre, where the play, Our Boys, was holding that to convert the Legation running for years to prove to foreigners into an Embassy would be an aristo- that we could produce masterpieces of cratic backsliding. He was best as a comedy. Oscar had to hurry away, expublic after-dinner speaker or in the plaining enthusiastically that he was intimacy of tête-à-tête conversation. going to meet the loveliest woman in But on this occasion he did not shine. Europe in the Chelsea studio of Frank Neither did the other two lions. We Miles, who had a pretty talent for all know from Bombastes the vexatious drawing pretty faces — ‘I've Been effect produced on one lion by the roar Roaming,' 'The Gardener's Daughter,' ing of another, and here was the case of and others which reproduced them were three elderly lions, all expected to roar sold by the hundred at Oxford and in the limited space of a small dinner- Cambridge. This was the first I heard party. Hayward especially felt the of Mrs. Langtry before the famous ball constraint. He had no opportunity of at Grosvenor House where guests stood firing off the ammunition he had pre- on chairs to stare at the new beauty pared as a proficient old diner-out. So and before the Eton and Harrow match after dinner, mellowed with wine, he where she was mobbed by the fashionasked me to call to see him. Our host- able crowd. ess, after his departure, exclaimed: A few years passed, and Mrs. Lang"Well, you have made a conquest. try resolved to profit from her excepNever before have I seen Hayward pay tional gifts and to go on the stage. The the least attention to a young man. It Haymarket was the theatre and She will be well worth your while to go and Stoops to Conquer was the piece chosen have a talk with him.'
for her debut. For some reason Hay* So the next day I called at Byron's ward was employed by the Times to whilom house, of which the old gentle chronicle this unusually interesting man occupied the upper chambers. first night. This brought him into conThe little first-floor room was extremely tact with the new leading lady, and neat. There was no litter of papers to also drew the attention of Mr. Gladmark the residence of a man of letters. stone to her appearance, as he and
Hayward were on terms of curious in- should like to make her acquaintance.' timacy. No two men were more dis- In a later letter Mr. Gladstone desimilar; but they had one bond of scribes how he is fitting himself for the union they were both Peelites. The privilege of knowing Miss Hardcastle. way to rouse Hayward's indignation With sedulous earnestness he gets a was to suggest that he was a Whig. 'I copy of She Stoops to Conquer and was never a Whig,' he used to cry. studies the text with the minuteness of ‘Like Gladstone, I was a Peelite.' So a philologist. He finds to his surprise Mr. Gladstone read attentively Hay- that Goldsmith uses the term “cantanward's essay in dramatic criticism, and kerousness.' He looks it up in a dictionthis induced a correspondence which ary, which gives as the only authority led to some agreeable incidents. Hay- for the use of the word the Times newsward sat beneath the shadow of Byron's paper. 'This I consider,' wrote Mr. bust and read to me Mr. Gladstone's Gladstone, ‘a detestable authority.' letters - a singular, shriveled little Abraham Hayward lived only a few figure he was, with his crinkled white months after this episode; but Mr. hair and pronounced features. In one Gladstone survived long enough to be of the earliest letters Mr. Gladstone lui twice again Prime Minister. It is to be tint à peu près ce langage: ‘What you hoped that Mrs. Langtry may be able tell me about this admirable lady inter- to publish some details of his unofficial ests me much. Is she married, and is life which are not contained in his her husband an agreeable man? I official biography.
BY WILFRID GIBSON
(The Nation and the Athenæum]
The clicking of the latch,
But the match went out, alack!
Return to haunt the faithless once a year.