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LIFE, LETTERS, AND THE ARTS
THE LEANING TOWER OF PISA IN
in the cavity thus left and formed a well, which did not add to the stability.
LONDON is not the only city of the Old
A CROSSWORD FAILURE World that is having trouble with its historic structure. Of late Pisa has been The London Morning Post prints this seriously concerned for the future fate sad, sad story of a crossword puzzle of its celebrated leaning tower. The that was never solved: most alarming rumors gained credence *The other day in a public library,' writes as a result of an article by Mario Cana- a correspondent, 'I picked up a copy of a vari, Professor of Geology in the Uni- periodical in which some reader had been versity of Pisa, in the Grande Illus- attempting to solve the crossword puzzle. trazione d'Italia, last January. Besides
One clue was, “a bird which never flies,” being a geologist, who might reasonably The solver had triumphantly written down
and the word had to consist of seven letters. be supposed to know all about rock
OSTRA G E, and then abandoned the foundations, subsoils, and other topics puzzle as a bad job.' of importance when ancient structures are under consideration, he had been a member of the commission appointed FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY OF 'CARMEN' to examine the tower in 1923. At that ITALIAN papers are devoting special attime the report was, 'No change since tention to the fiftieth anniversary of 1914.' Professor Canavari, however, Bizet's Carmen, which was first prorefused to believe the tower was safe. duced on March 3, 1875. The com
The town fathers of Pisa promptly poser's letters show, however, that he appointed another commission. Com- had been thinking about the opera for petent authorities in Pisa assert that three years previously, ever since the although the tower has probably never unfavorable reception of his Djamileh, been quite safe since it first began to in which strict critics professed to dislean, in the eleventh century, it is as cern traces of the influence of that safe now as it ever was. The 1925 ex- iconoclastic fellow, Richard Wagner. perts confirm this by declaring there is Bizet took the matter to heart and no immediate danger, but they advise decided to be conservative in the draining off the water which now fills future; but, strange as it may seem to the soil and favors further sinkage. The modern ears, even dear old Carmen at top of the tower is now fourteen feet first appeared too much of an innovaout of the perpendicular.
tion. Concern about the leaning tower French critics found a Wagnerian seems to be almost as periodical as taint in it, too, and Du Locle, the seventeen-year locusts. About a cen- director of the Opéra Comique, had tury ago someone in Pisa grew uneasy, moral scruples about the libretto, which and excavations were made at the base led him to advise a Cabinet Minister to of the tower to permit examination of attend a rehearsal to make sure it was its foundations. Water promptly rose fit for family parties to witness! That
same prudish M. Du Locle - not all One man wanted 'The Lass with the prudes are Anglo-Saxon – described
described Delicate Air’included; another wanted the music as 'cochinchinoise,' and 'Old Hundred.' A Scotchman asked averred that he could n't for the life of for ‘Loch Lomond,' and the Welshman him make head or tail of it.
of the quartette patriotically deCarmen did not reach its hundredth manded ‘Aberystwyth.' Still another performance until 1883. The first per- asked for Haydn's 'Austrian Hymn,' formance met with an icy reception, and one unfortunate individual, who and there was no real triumph until was covered with derision, asked for December 1883. Between that date two of Verdi's melodies. and 1920 there have been 1006 per- We all loved Verdi,' said B. T., 'and formances in Paris alone.
because we loved and respected him, we could not subject him to competition
with Handel and Mozart.' THE HALF-DOZEN BEST TUNES An enterprising Englishman, who con
THE RETURN OF THE SICILIAN NATIVE ceals his identity behind the initials B. T., - doubtless because he fears the Two Sicilian dramatists, Savarino and wrath of contemporary composers,
Sclafani, have made a great success has made up a list of the 'Half-dozen
with a new play, Mister John, which Best Tunes.' Whoever he is, this daring
narrates the adventures of a prosperous individual is clearly a lover of melody, immigrant returning to his Sicilian
home. 'Mister John,' the hero, began who looks upon harmony as a mere musical sidetrack. He complains bit
life as simple Giovanni in a little hamterly in the columns of T. P.'s Weekly let, but urged by ambition he emithat 'tunes are to-day out of fashion grated to America, married his emamong the younger composers,' and ployer's daughter as all successful points out that 'all the music that has young men used to do, and became a lived is melody,' while experiments in
prosperous family-man. orchestration and cacophony, valuable
The fun starts when wealthy Mr. though they may be to musicans, are
John conceives the unhappy idea of perilously mortal.
taking his family to visit his old father And so B. T. has been trying an ex
and mother, Sicilian peasants who have periment. He went to four London not grown any less conservative with literary men, none of them blessed with advancing years. His daughters are musical gifts, and asked each inde
now marriageable young ladies. His
wife is still attractive. All three have pendently to make up a list of the six best tunes in the world. The strange
been brought up to American standthing is that the replies were fairly ards, whose application to Sicily ends unanimous. From all four men he got
in turning the heads of a number of only twelve titles, of which the follow
honest husbands and innocent youths, ing, in the order named, were the most
and transforming the village into a
hornets' nest. popular: Aria on the G string - Bach
The gossip at length reaches Mr. Ombra ma fui Handel
John, who endeavors to put his foot Londonderry Air - Anon.
down in the good old heavy-parent Voi che sapete Mozart
style, only to find his family laughing Ave Maria - - Schubert
in his face. To save that same face, Che faro — Gluck
exit John hastily in the Columbus
LIFE, LETTERS, AND THE ARTS
direction, taking family and his old ancient skulls and skulls of the eightparents with him. The old people eenth and nineteenth centuries. don't want to go, but they cannot leave The Morning Post gives the following their boy.
summary of his remarks: The Sicilian actor Angelo Musco is
Measurements made on living Englishsaid to have made a great success in the men led to the belief that the head-form had play.
changed and was changing, becoming slightly shorter and slightly wider. So far as con
cerned the brain-capacity of the skull, there A 'NEGRO' MONTHLY
was no evidence of increase, and from the A MONTHLY magazine devoted to the
limited data at one's disposal one must infer
that the people who occupied Western Negro is the latest appearance in the
Europe at the close of the Ice Age stood disParisian journalistic world. 'Negro,'
tinctly above their successors of to-day in however, let us hasten to explain, is not
the matter of brain-size. a term applied to French citizens of
Until ten years ago he had been of the African descent, but is Parisian slang opinion that the evidence from England phrase for unsuccessful writers who live showed that modern man had ceased to by selling their manuscripts to wealthy evolve. A minute comparison of a series of ignoramuses who want to appear
ancient skulls and of skulls of the eighteenth literary but don't know how to write.
and nineteenth centuries had convinced him
that evolution was now at work on our Organization being the watchword
bodies. The chief change was to be seen in of the day, even these pariahs of the
the size and shape of the palate; the roof of pen have made
their minds to conup
the mouth tended to become reduced in size solidate like the representatives of any and narrower. The bony entrance to the other profession. The monthly is re- nose showed alterations. It was getting plete with advertisements like the narrower, and its lower margin was rising following:
up so as to form a sharp bony sill. Author of five completely finished plays,
The jaws were receding and the bony
framework of the nose was becoming more ready for the stage, would sell same singly or together. Prices moderate. A business
prominent. The eye-sockets were changed proposition, especially suitable for
in form; the lower margin or sill of the orbit
tended to sink downward in the face, thus wealthy young man wishing to gain a name.
increasing the distance between the lower A writer in the Italian newspaper, La and upper margins of the orbit. The orbits Stampa, announces that he intends to were becoming narrower from side to side; find out whether the 'Negro’syndicate
the breadth across the upper part of the also furnishes themes for newspaper
face was becoming less; the cheek-bones articles – 'in which case,' he says, 'I
were losing their prominence, and there was am going to subscribe in a hurry.
a tendency for the face to grow narrower and longer.
These changes were confined to about
thirty per cent of the modern population, EVOLUTION AT WORK TO-DAY but the evidence he had gathered pointed THE skull of modern man
to an increasing frequency of these char
or at least of the modern Englishman - is chang
acters during recent centuries. ing, according to Sir Arthur Keith, the famous English anthropologist, who recently lectured at the Royal Institu
ROYALTY AND SCIENCE tion. Sir Arthur described the results A RUMPUS albeit a rumpus of the of comparisons between a series of decorous scientific sort — has been
stirred up in England by the news that
THE COOLIDGE PEDIGREE the Prince of Wales has accepted the presidency of the British Association
THERE are some people in England who for the Advancement of Science, which simply will not believe that President is to hold its 1926 meeting in Oxford. Coolidge's ancestors came over to EngThe British Association is, as every
nd with William the Conqueror.
Hence this from the Manchester Guarbody knows, one of the most famous
dian: scientific organizations in the world, and the annual address of its President High heraldic authorities here do not is always looked forward to as one of
seem to be impressed by the Paris story the important scientific pronounce
that after twelve years' labor Professor ments of the year. Almost invariably, President Coolidge's ancestors was among
Guy Coolidge has discovered that one of therefore, the President has been a
the knights of William the Conqueror, and scientific man of great eminence.
that the American Coolidges came from the Among the few exceptions have been
ancient family of Coolidge of Cambridgethe Prince's great-grandfather, Prince shire, who were settled in England before Albert, who presided over the Asso- the Conquest. 'You can count on your ciation on its Aberdeen meeting in fingers the families of all the English-speak1859. At another Oxford meeting Lord ing countries of the world authentically Salisbury presided. However, these
descended from before the Conquest,' said noblemen were not quite in the same
the authority consulted. By authentically
descended' he refers to those possessing position as the Prince of Wales. Prince Albert had some scientific pretensions, by the Heralds College, passed and signed
genealogies supplied at great cost and labor however mild. Lord Salisbury, assisted by the official Board of Examiners there. by Lord Rayleigh, actually did write The authority, after consulting the monster and deliver a scientific lecture. The volume wherein are prototypes of all the Prince of Wales, however, knows noth- legitimate armorial adornments, handed ing of atoms and electrons, or fossils or back the Coolidge coat of arms without insects, or anything of the sort, and pre
comment. tends to know nothing.
It was pointed out to him that Professor
Coolidge had traced the evolution of the Consequently, controversies rage between one school of scientific men who
name from the reign of Edward I, when
William de Coulinge appeared in the rolls have a fine old crusty distaste for
as a Cambridgeshire landowner. He promamateurs, and the other party which
ised to look up the matter, but remarked has a very British and
with dignity, 'Here we cannot serve over liking for princes.
Fragment of a Novel, written by Jane Austen sent the author's final intention. This edition,
(January to March 1817). Now first printed printed as it is, is open to no such objection. It from the Manuscript. London & New York: is, for critical purposes, virtually a facsimile of Oxford University Press, 1925. 78. 6d.
all that Miss Austen wrote and did not erase.
Reading this Fragment, thus reprinted, cannot (Augustine Birrell in the New Statesman)
but have a solemnizing effect, despite the trivA Fragment of a Novel (Sanditon), though in no iality of its incidents. The misspellings, the sense juvenile, is not in the least joyful; and strange contractions, the capital letters, the odd though highly provocative of laughter, the mer- way of writing people's ages, ‘Miss Diana P. riment is not the laughter of either Pickwick or was about 4 & 30,' and many other quaintGargantua.
nesses, all produce the true effect — namely, To the lovers of Jane Austen, now to be found that we are handling not merely a Fragment, but scattered all over the English-reading world, the the rough draft of one. laughter this Fragment must provoke, and the None the less, it is the rough draft of a Fragadmiration it cannot fail to excite by the pun- ment from the hand that wrote Emma. With the gency of a familiar wit, and the inimitable hap- fate of Mr. Austen Leigh in 1871 before us, we piness of its phraseology, will be found to lie too will make no attempt to describe the dramatis near to the fountain of tears to make the reading personæ of Sanditon, or to give extracts from it; of it a cheerful pastime. Melancholy must of enough to say that, tiny as it is, it is full of necessity brood over its handful of pages. Yet inimitable wit, and here and there fills the we are glad it has been printed as it has been. reader's mind full to overflowing with that
Those of us who are old enough to recall the divine glow of complete satisfaction so rarely appearance in 1871 of Mr. Austen Leigh's bestowed upon the members of that longMemoir of his aunt (we procured our copy two suffering but still enduring tribe. years later in exchange for twenty-one pennies) will not need to be reminded that it contained,
Queer Fish, by John C. Goodwin. London: after the admirable Memoir, not only 'Lady Hutchinson, 1925. 188. Susan' and 'The Watsons,' but a sketch extending over nineteen pages, of the dramatis persona
(Daily Telegraph) of this very Fragment of a Novel, with copious Most people go through life seeing very little quotations from the manuscript itself.
that lies right before them; but it is the special It could never be easy to give a description of function of the journalist to have eyes for everya Fragment, proceeding from the pen or pencil of thing, both in the daylight and in the dark. such a writer as Jane Austen; and copious as the However 'queer' the catch, all is fish that comes quotations were, Mr. Austen Leigh failed, or to his net; and the wider the net is cast the more seemed to us in 1871 to fail, in presenting any competent the fisherman. Mr. John C. Goodtrue impression of the manuscript that in his win, for example, has a fine catholicity of symjudgment could not in its entirety be given to pathy, and his book is packed with the raw the public. He should, we think, have printed it material of human life. ‘By tramping London's as it was written, or left it altogether alone. We streets,' to use his own words, ‘her open spaces, have now the Fragment as it fell from the lap of her wharves, her alleys, and the haunts of the dying woman.
strange men; by hurrying with the hurriers and The editor is to be greatly commended for the loafing with the loafers, by talking with the taste that dictated to him the propriety of good, the not so good, and the good for nothing.' printing the author's manuscript ‘as nearly as he has gathered a very various harvest of underpossible in the last form it attained.' 'It may,' standing and interpretation. His eye is keen, his so he writes, 'be thought pedantic to reproduce heart is generous, and he writes uncommonly irregularities which the author would not have well. So well, indeed, that every now and then wished to retain, but it seemed more important he seems to be on the point of diving into the to avoid another danger. To have smoothed out golden waters of pure literature; and then some the manuscript into a specious semblance of desolating phrase, like ‘to ascertain my wishes in finality would have been to prejudice in some matters alcoholic,' or 'Lordy, how time flies,' degree the question how far it did in fact repre- suddenly bumps the imagination once more