a very tangible piece along with me. New friendships significant to both countries may follow.

'One film a year in America, one in Germany - this should widen the international significance of the cinema. American artists should come to Ger

many, for I believe there are things they might learn here. I know that over there we are spoken of with great respect.

'An exchange of creative power between Germany and America, the two chief moving-picture countries, seems useful. The only question is how to begin. Douglas Fairbanks told me very enthusiastically that he wished to work in Germany, and Chaplin is said to plan the same thing. This is perfectly possible, if it is earnestly desired.

'I am very curious about America. People will talk to me in a strange language, and perhaps their soul will seem strange too. But that is not important. The film is an international language, the true spiritual Esperanto. Whether German or American, Eskimo or Chinese, everyone understands the language of the heart. That is all we want, and all we can do enough.'

The Year Zero

and that is

WHETHER the year 1930 or the year 1931 A.D. is the two-thousandth anni

versary of the year 70 B.C. is a subject that has been agitating the British press. The Times says 1930, but one of its correspondents, Dr. Glover by name, maintains that it is 1931. The latter view is based on the theory that, among their other errors, historians have mistakenly omitted the year zero in their computation of time on an A.D. and B.C. basis. The system now is that the morning after December 31 B.C. was January 1 A.D. But astronomers know better, and insist on insert

ing a zero year at this point. Having tried in vain to give a clearer explanation than the following turgid letter from the Observer supplies, we throw up our hands and pass it on for whatever it may be worth:

chronological problem as to how many The simplest method of solving the

years have elapsed between a B.C. date and an A.D. date, suggested by the disagreement between the Times and Dr. Glover as to whether 1930 or 1931 A.D. is the twothousandth anniversary of 70 B.C., is to adopt the astronomical method of intercalating a zero year (0) between A.D. 1 and B.C. 1, instead of making B.C. 1 precede A.D. 1. To make ordinary arithmetical rules apply there must be this year 0, as two ones are not consecutive integers. The interval between the commencement of the A.D. era to any date in 70 B.C. is clearly 69 years plus a fraction, and 1929 years plus a fraction to the same date in 1930, the two fractions amounting to 1. That gives only 1999, one less than 2000, which the Times evidently arrived at by subtracting 70 from


The right method is to decrease all B.C. dates by 1, in which case 69, and not 70, must be subtracted from 2000 to find the A.D. year in which the two-thousandth anniversary of an event in 70 B.C. should be celebrated. And that is 1931, as Dr. Glover rightly said.

Needless to say, this strange suggestion did not pass unchallenged. Mr. H. Maurice Palmer said it was like

inserting an entire zero hour in the middle of each day and, for all we know, in the middle of each night too. Or again, he says, when we measure miles eastward and westward from a

given point, we do not try to squeeze 1760 yards into that one point in a vain attempt to crowd a zero mile between our eastward and our westward reckonings. His letter ends as follows:

If one of the years is B.C. and it is necessary to add instead of to subtract, we should

say that from 10 B.C. to A.D. 30 is really 9 years added to 29 years (or 94 added to 293); that is 39 years.

This appears logical, but if we recognize a year 0 why should we not have a day 0 as well? Also which is century 0, and to which century does year 0 belong? It would be interesting to know if the astronomical practice now brought to light is of modern origin, or whether it is a relic from the Dark Ages.

doctors therefore gave various estimates, varying from fifteen to forty minutes. Whether they should have allowed more for the small residue of good oxygen exhaled from the lungs, or whether M. Heuzé himself possesses cataleptic gifts that he scorns in others, we cannot say. One thing only is certain the doctors were all off.

A French Houdini

LAST Summer an enterprising French journalist, Paul Heuzé by name, decided that these Oriental fakirs had gone about far enough. To show how much they were good for, he proceeded to stick pins and needles through various parts of his body, without serious damage. But when he heard that some of them spent long periods of time in tightly sealed trunks, his blood boiled. If these dusky vaudevillians could do it, so could he. A zinc-lined coffer was soon constructed, and was examined by a group of witnesses that included several doctors. They pronounced it air-tight, and M. Heuzé hopped in. At 10.30 the lid was sealed, and not until 11.45 did the investigating committee hear a faint tapping sound indicating that the prisoner was becoming uncomfortable. When he crawled out his breathing was congested for a short time, and he inhaled air forty to forty-five times a minute.

Before submitting to this test M. Heuzé had asked his medical friends how long a man could live on the four hundred cubic litres of air that his coffer contained with him in it. They estimated that at the rate of sixteen breaths to the minute he could last fifty minutes. This, however, was pure theory. As a matter of actual practice the bad air breathed out contaminates the oxygen and makes it necessary for the prisoner to breathe faster. The

The Crusades and America DOCUMENTS in the Vatican dating back to the thirteenth century show that the War to End War was not the first conflict in which Europe turned to America for financial assistance. In 1261 King Haakon of Norway dispatched a bishop from Iceland to Greenland with instructions to keep the Norse colonies both there and in America in better touch with the old country. Being a good Christian, the bishop also made use of the opportunity to preach the Crusades with such success that in 1276 the Pope dispatched to Greenland a commission, headed by a Scotchman, to help swell the war-chest funds. One member of this group, whose name is not preserved, hopped on a vessel to America in 1279, returning three years later to Norway with a cargo of sealskins, walrus tusks, and whalebone. Embarrassed by the strange nature of this contribution, the Scotchman asked Pope Martin IV what he should do with it, and was advised to sell it in the best market. This was done, and the sum realized sent to Italy.

Whether or not the Vinland colonists suffered from a period of disillusionment after this magnificent offering is not known, but there is no record of their shores having been touched again until 1325, when a load of walrus tusks arrived in Greenland. This cargo was bought by a Flemish merchant, and the money again forwarded to Rome.

From these authentic records it is

clear that the Scandinavians had established a colony of some importance somewhere along the North Atlantic seaboard. From the size of the contributions, Discovery estimates that several hundred thousand colonists must have settled in America, but when one stops to think of the extent to which the inhabitants of this part of the world have shelled out to Europe since, the figure seems a little excessive.

Wise Sheep and Simple Maiden To the legends of talking animals has been added a new instance from Poland which seems in direct line of descent from the prophecies uttered by Balaam's ass. Poland is a land where statues of the Madonna have been known to wink, if not to perform miracles as great as that of Max Reinhardt's recent production. But a wonder of a more ingenious sort recently occurred which confounded numbers of the simple, if not the wise, until it was, in due course of time, followed by its natural explanation. A shepherdess, eleven years old, in a country village, declared that an angel had given her valuable information, speaking through the mouth of a sheep that told the girl the whereabouts of a buried treasure. But before the treasure could be safely exhumed a number of animals which the angel would specify must be slaughtered and roasted for a feast. Pigs, fowls, and finally cows, were daily nominated for destruction by the oracle's voice, and the village, its eleven-year-old prophetess included, rejoiced in an unusual period of high living. At last their flocks and herds began to be seriously thinned out, and search was made for the buried treasure. But at this juncture either the power of invention failed the hitherto

inspired girl or she had a moment of unusual candor, for she confided to the police that she was tired of seeing grazing flocks and of never eating meat, and that her scheme was an effort to provide a happy diversion from this tiresome routine.

Kippered Kipling

WHEN the late lamented Imperial Conference gathered in London, the New Leader, one of those radical papers that take class war seriously but treat the Empire as a joke, printed the following sarcastic lines:

Far-flung the sons of Empire heard

The far-flung call again,

Which the Far-flung Mother flung afar,

Nor ever flung in vain.

Have we not bled where our fathers bled
When the cry went up 'How long?'
When the chiefs had no zenanas,

And all the clokhs were wrongh?
When the drums of Oudh fetched 2d. a pood
And the thin red line grew fat,
Where blood flowed free from sea to sea

And the colonel lost his hat?
For if I had held my head bent low

As I have held it high,

Or turned my waistcoat inside out
And taken off my tie,
The sniders in the jungle

Had putu in the sooph,
And the OOmbalongh from the pukka tongh
Dingh wokka tumphti tooph.

Novel Writing in Bed

BIBLIOPHILES, especially lovers of books which have the value of association, and more especially still lovers of Thomas Hardy's novels, would all, no doubt, be glad to acquire the copy of A Laodicean recently announced for sale by an English dealer. On the flyleaf the author has written: 'A great part of this story was dictated from a sick bed; and the original conception was but partially carried out.'


COMMENTING upon "Those Americans,' in our issue of November 15, a veteran journalist of national reputation writes us:

'Your Irishman asks if "Blurb" was a creation. If my memory serves me, it was—an instantaneous outburst of creative genius in an editorial conference on the old Hampton's Magazine. Ben Hampton was there, and Ray Long, and, I think, Rex Beach. Certainly Art Young and Bill Young and Berton Braley were there. Lyon was told off to write a puff, and in disgust he emitted the new word, "Blurb." As quickly, Ray Long assigned him to write a piece about it, and he did. It was printed in one of the last issues of Hampton's.'

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My Unsentimental Journey, by Gilbert Frankau. London: Hutchinson and Company, 1926. 78. 6d.

[Daily Telegraph]

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THIS record of a three months' hustling trip through America, written in the form of a diary set down 'half in fun and half in seriousness,' makes entertaining reading. And if the author was obviously far too busy being entertained and interviewed, speaking at lunches and dinners and in broadcasting studios, - chiefly on politics and against Socialism, - to devote much quiet study to what the pompous might call the soul of America, he managed to gather up quite a harvest of information and impressions. He met an enormous number of people and enjoyed countless talks with chance acquaintances, as well as more reasoned conversations with the men and women prominent in all walks of life whom he met by arrangement. The gist of many such illuminating talks he has set down with a sprightly pen, as well as his own more personal impressions, sober and flippant. Nor has he omitted many apparently trivial details, understanding perfectly well that it is often these that are so helpful in building up a vivid picture of social conditions. We realize, for instance, that America is a land of queer contradictions, where, for all the boasted freedom of the sexes, Mrs. Grundy is by no means defunct, since a barber was sent to his hotel to act as chaperon to the manicurist whom the author had telephoned for one afternoon. After reading the lurid descriptions of some of the successful plays running in New York this seems somewhat unexpected, but perhaps it is really cause and effect.

Mr. Frankau found time to visit many industrial concerns, and point out, as was inevitable, the contrast between the flourishing state of American industry, between the prosperity of the worker and his willingness to work, and the parlous state of affairs in England. And as another Englishman, showing him the work being done on the grounds of an American Wembley, pointed out, 'We may like it or we may not like it, but people work over here. That is the main secret of their high wages. That's the main secret of the way they get things done.' An explanation as simple as it is unacceptable to some people. Mr. Frankau writes also of the Mormons, who made a deep and pleasant impression on him, and whom he found 'British of the

British.' Like most other visitors to America, he extols her preeminence in architecture and hygiene. And certainly in the showing and delivery of food no one will deny that England lags far behind. The sight of an unwrapped loaf falling out of a baker's handcart in all the mud of a London street, only to be thrown back among the other bread for delivery to some unsuspecting customer, is not one that we should care for American visitors to see.

But the author was not always inquiring into industrial and social conditions, and he had his moments of relaxation. He visited Hollywood (we are grateful to him for refraining from explaining that Charlie Chaplin yearns to play Hamlet), and was present at a great party of all the film stars. Among the guests was a 'tiny little woman, very raven black of hair and very powder white of face, with a mass of slave bangles on one slender arm, and round her shoulders, draping her almost entirely, the loveliest embroidered shawl.' But Raquel Meller was bored to death, and made no effort to conceal the fact, sitting like a nun at a secular feast. Only when Charlie Chaplin began to burlesque a violin virtuoso did she show a flicker of interest. Mr. Frankau describes the scene of the unsuccessful party and there are few more melancholy occurrences as graphically as another and vastly different one, the horrible and grim episode of a prison hanging.

A Greater than Napoleon, by Captain H. Liddell
Hart. London: Blackwood, 1926. 12s. 6d.
[Major-General Sir Frederick Maurice in the

CAPTAIN LIDDELL HART has taught us to expect from him thought and originality. In his latest book we have both. He has done the military world a service in rescuing Scipio Africanus from the comparative oblivion in which Napoleon plunged him when he omitted him from the list of the great commanders whose campaigns he told his generals to read and reread. Captain Liddell Hart begins with a paradox, and asserts that the road to failure is the road to fame.' He will have it that we are all sentimental and have, consciously or unconsciously, added more laurels to the crowns of Hannibal and Napoleon than are their due, because of the pathos of death in exile as the close of a great career. He will

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