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A Russian recently arrived in America sent to two old school-friends and his father a surprise package of ‘smokes.' We print here the translation of the reply, as afford
ply as afford. ing a more illuminating glimpse of conditions in domestic Russia than many a consular report.
Russia. DEAR MANUEL
A few days ago I received your package. To be sure I am very thankful for your thoughtfulness of D and me (your Father will of course write to you himself); but do us a favor — never send any more such gifts until we ask you ourselves.
You cannot imagine, my little pigeon, what I suffered for a whole week for the sake of your package.
Only members of Professional Unions, Soldiers of the Red Army, those dependent on the State, and so forth, have the right to receive packages duty free. Fortunately I am a member of such a union, but I had not paid my dues for three months (no money). You see my finances up to now have been unworthy of mention. It might be possible to drag something to the pawnshop; but before the pawnshop is a terrific line; more over, because of the small capitalization, they give loans only to members of a professional union in good standing. The loans are pitiful; for instance, a gold ten-ruble piece of Nicholas's vintage brings only a loan of two Soviet rubles; old money is valued as an ordinary object, not a
will send it back or sell it at public auction.'
I ached to know what you had packed there, so I considered for a moment and agreed. We take it out, oper it out, open it. Behold! pipes, tobacco, cigarettes!! Fathers, here is treasure!
But he, turning the pipe in his fingers, wails: 'Listen, citizen: my family starves. What have
I you done to me? I look at you, you look like a real gentleman; I think to myself, to be sure his relations will send to him a couple of suits or shoes — we will divide. But you — you, it is a disgrace to say it — pipes!! What are they worth in this land of Makorka (execrable native tobacco]!'
I was filled with confusion. Particularly when I read 'for Father' on some of the packages, and realized I was near dividing what my friend had sent through me to his father. Such a situation! I led him away (but I was carrying the box). I showed him my office, which inspired him with a little faith. I swore that in two days I would return double. He was crushed; his outlook was especially bad as he does not smoke. But he said with a sigh, 'I trust you.'
And so, my pigeon, two days I crept among my friends again. I began about the weather and I finished asking to borrow fifteen rubles, came down to ten, five; and got one, or the promise from someone to get to-morrow from somebody else three rubles more.
I found a customer and sold one of the pipes with tears, because it was mine (it was somehow awkward to sell D 's). I squeezed from this chap six rubles.
To make a long story short, I paid my 'good little man,' and he said, putting ten rubles in his pocket, 'Sometimes it is even worse.'
Another time, when I am rich, I will ask you to send us a package, but now, for Heaven's sake,
Et voilà — to receive your package, I had to run among my acquaintances to extract fifteen rubles and get my pass book receipted. Besides they asked me for a 'written explanation of my unseasonable payments, with reasons for my delinquencies worthy of consideration. This all took two of my days.
This finished, I set off to the Custom House to receive a package from America.' But there & shock awaited me. I must pay eight rubles and seventy-five kopecks for some expense or other, 'a donation to an unprotected child, help for the sufferers of contra-revolution intervention, contribution to the air forces, and so forth.'
What could I do? Borrow? Nobody to borrow from. Sell? Except a 'noble but poor exterior'I have nothing left.
I am standing and scratching my head in deep deliberation
There happens along a good little man (as I learned later, you can meet one at this place any day). He sees I am in trouble, approaches and says, 'From America?' 'Yes.' 'How much does it weigh?' 'I don't know.' 'Ahem, let me redeem it; we will arbitrate somehow. If you don't, they
We have been witness to a vigorous epistolary debate on Latin America. Of the writers, Mr. Chapman is the most conciliatory.
ENGLEWOOD, N. J. DEAR ATLANTIC,
To paint a truthful picture of our LatinAmerican relations would require a palette set with many colors; the author of 'Imperialistic America' in your July issue uses but one - a very muddy black. May I suggest that his sketch would have been a more convincing and faithful representation of his subject if he had employed at least some of the brighter tones which exist in the original.
And so I was no less surprised than delighted to see that the contributor of the readable and 'authentic' (I like that word) article on 'Limericks' in the July Atlantic referred in such complimentary terms to another of my contributions to the Lampoon — the one regarding the 'amorous M.A.'
De gustibus non est disputandum! The anonymous contributor of 'Limericks' in your July number expressed a preference for the limerick he quoted. The compiler of Vest Pocket Limericks evidently preferred another, which ran like this:
I wonder in how many of the countries he mentions, your contributor is familiar with the political, financial, and hygienic conditions which prevailed prior to the appearance of the North American influence he so deplores? The story is too long to tell here, but those who knew Cuba under Spanish rule, Haiti before the occupation, Panama before the Canal, Guayaquil when it was a pesthole, who have seen disease-breeding jungles, from Mexico to Colombia, become productive and habitable under wisely directed banana cultivation, realize that no just estimate can be made of the present without due consideration of the past.
Nor could any fair-minded person who knew, for example, how much of character building and the establishing of new moral standards goes into the work of naval missions doubt for a moment the desirability of this kind of international contact. They possess the educational value of exchange professorships, plus an influence born of community of interest and professional pride.
Critics of our international relations often do not realize the extent to which prejudiced, onesided arraignments are used by our enemies abroad. The jingo is not confined to North America, and articles such as the one under consideration are accepted by the Anti-'Yanqui' Latin American as an admission of the sins with which he charges us, and used as the basis for still more unfair attacks on all things North American.
FRANK M. CHAPMAN.
Your correspondent, Mr. Lancaster, in the September Atlantic, 'with all modesty' (sic) quotes a limerick of his own composition, which he has the shocking taste to call a'masterpiece.' And he so far forgets the ethics of good sportsmanship as to‘question the umpire's decision' in awarding the palm for its class to my little brainchild. I await with equanimity the verdict of posterity!
My own pet limerick, for reasons which every magazine editor will understand it has an unhappy ending), has hitherto escaped publicity:
* * *
Posterity may have the job. Very respectfully we decline to award the palm. Better to judge babies at a fair or smell hams for their flavor.
New York City. DEAR ATLANTIC, —
The late Professor Barrett Wendell once referred to some unintended humor in an examination paper as appealing to that peculiar characteristic of mine which I sometimes mistake for a a sense of humor.' Limericks have always appealed to a similar characteristic of my own; and I have whiled away many an idle hour in composing them.
I think it was in 1902 that I sent a few to the Harvard Lampoon with my compliments. Several years later I was presented with a copy of Vest Pocket Limericks, in which (much to my surprise) I discovered one of those which I had sent to the Lampoon. This was the first intimation I had received that my contributions (or one at least) had been accepted — but you know how proverbially irresponsible college men are!
The discussion of limericks has inspired many readers to send us their ‘household pets.' Chosen from the many, these two are recommended to posterity: —
There was a young curate of Kidderminster
Because on the ice
She said something not nice When he quite inadvertently slid against her.
Perhaps you will call me pedantic-
Printing tales full of slang
With a plebeian tang Makes one of its friends almost frantic!
Homely is as homely does.
MARSHFIELD Hills, Mass. DEAR ATLANTIC,
Being happily married but apparently surrounded by a world of discontented couples, my wife and I have studied our case with some curiosity to find why we are so eccentric.
The articles in the Atlantic have therefore been of special interest. But, why have none of the writers claimed that divorce is largely due to too beautiful wives?
Of five cases we know intimately, and of many we know indirectly, the wife is unusually attractive, young, beautiful. In no case of a 'homely
What drug is so potent as the spiritual refreshment that floods one's being but for the asking? Could there be statistics compiled from the prayers of petition for the sick, would not the answers to prayer seem commensurate with the medical prognoses which are so frequently utterly wrong? If prayers of petition are no longer said for the clemency of the weather, are we to believe that scientific prophecy relating to the weather has become so faultless as to render it useless to petition, were we so disposed?
Human nature is innately reticent about experience in prayer, perhaps because the most sacred and mysterious part of our being, which is SO unexplainable, shrinks from the denuding process that leaves it open to the shafts of the skeptic. Let us hope petition for the needs of
Out of the abundant response to the Atlantic's discussion we select this brief for Petition in Prayer.
ALBANY Co., N. Y. DEAR ATLANTIC, —
Perhaps I should preface this effort in support of petition in prayer by a frank confession of the intellectual inferiority of the writer and the consequent temerity in taking issue with so brilliant a scholar as Kirsopp Lake. Be it therefore understood that this refutation is based on personal experience and the urge of self-expression in justice to a firm belief that prayers are answered.
That petition in prayer is but mummery that cannot live side by side with science in the generations to come, is far from the belief of many of us. He who claims that science is and will be incompatible with this form of prayer must first prove the infallibility of science, it would seem to the humble and lay mind of the writer. The medical world is constantly shaken to its foundations by the almost daily discovery of contradictory and faulty theories which have been practised upon mankind. Mr. Einstein is responsible for a complete bôuleversement of the cherished theories of many eminent scientists. Who can say that science is not fallible?
estate,' will be retained in the churches by the sheer belief in the answer to prayer which comes to those of us whose lives would be utterly empty and useless without the infinite stimuli of something better, craved, asked for, and granted every day of our lives.
That we may have prayers of petition so long as the churches live is the earnest prayer of the writer.
G. N. W.
* * * An ancient applelogue.
Los ANGELES, CALIFORNIA. DEAR ATLANTIC,
A fairly inclusive applelogue of Lucy Elliot Keeler's delightful 'Solace of Apples,' in your August number, may be compiled from a source more ancient than she has drawn upon.
'Comfort me with apples,' Solomon's Song ii. 5, paraphrases her title. The same, rendered literally, 'strew me with apples,' suggests the 'hail of sweet apples' shaken from the museum tree by ‘Martin Pippin.'
'I raised thee up under the apple tree,' Song viïi. 5, is plainly prophetic of that more than century-old tree planted by Johnny Appleseed.'
The apple-tree ... withered,' Joel i. 12, may, at a stretch, stand for the 'core-tree' after 'strong young teeth' had worked their will of it.
“Keep ... my law as the apple of thine eye,' Proverbs vii. 2, is peculiarly fitted to hurl at the marauder who, at dawn, jiggled a pole among the finest apples in the very top of the tree.'
And now summing up. ‘A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver,' Prov. erbs xxv. 11. Leaving out the supplied words, “A word fitly spoken - apples of gold in pictures of silver.' There you have the whole content and style - in a nutshell; or say an apple-shell, fitted, as of old, with mast and paper sail.
MARY E. GROFF.