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wonder. His fingers were closed: a smoke: a dab of potato on the side. He good sign. Then he braced himself and rambles genially: a sprinkling of salt threw back his head:
and pepper, a dash of paprika
What's that? (How casually it drifts O little town of Bethlehem,
into the perspective!) It seems he How still we see thee lie! Above thy deep and dreamless sleep ...
drives a Buick, the new model, a
wonderful car. The pièce de résistance His big beautiful voice reverberated lurks no longer among parsley foliage through the abri. Hardly one of us but or in potato shade. It is always there: knew that hymn by heart. It is the it could never be mistaken. It is only hymn of all Christmas.
its clientele and its carefully culinaried
cloaks of disguise that vary from man The hopes and fears of all the years
to man. The epicure soon uncovers Are met in thee to-night.
them. We would have stopped him had we ‘Hard-boiled!' he mutters, tapping been able. Goose flesh came on our the Buick vices and virtues, and discheeks. Those who as children have closing therein those of its lord and heard their mothers sing will know master. how we felt. Tom sang every verse. “Stuffed!' he explodes a week later.
We blew out the candles and drew 'Bantam's a cousin of Mandrake, the the blankets up to our ears. “Good big Dairy Man, knows him well, in night, Tom.'
fact. You've seen the name of course?
Yes, you've seen it. You've seen it!' We heard Tom sing these same And the others: one Bird, he of the words in church this morning. His big Bird family, Sparrow — that's his hands were closed on the pew in front, name! Will he ever have done quoting and his wife reached nearly to his that wife of his? She's very common; shoulder. Hearing him singing so, we everyone knows it; née English, we thought on those other times seven understand, but she belongs to Sparyears since, and had hardly finished by row — she's his. And his daughters! the close of the sermon.
High-fliers, higher than most, to his thinking. Coddled is Sparrow, cod
dled to a turn. THE EGG OF THE EGO
And Pigeon: he chatters on every ‘MEET my friend, name of Bantam, street-corner, every curb, every market: says my friend Duck; ‘charming chap, how he picked up his fortune. It was excellent fellow.'
his judgment that advised heavy buyHe vanishes. Bantam eyes me as I ing in the Featherbloom Underwear him. Our corporal presences are as stock — and where is it now? Forty platters to each other; we look be above par, gentlemen, if it is one per yond the background of china, willow- cent. He knew from the first that the patterned, gold-rimmed, Panamaed, or Nest Egg securities were scoundrels, knickerbockered, to the substance un all of 'em. He knew, he knew! Did n't mistakable lying beneath.
he tell you all the time? Oh, impossi•What sort of concoction have we ble, that Pigeon! Messy mind, messy here?' we murmur, mutually poking way of thinking — scrambled, badly about a bit with knife and fork. Surely scrambled. that ingratiating smile is mere garnish, And others, still others: what could a sprig of parsley, say. He offers a one call them? They are more than
dropped, much more. A trifle déclassé, from Tallinn to help to celebrate the perhaps? Yes, more than déclassé — fiftieth anniversary of the Archimandecadent! There you have it. They drite, the head of the monastery. Then reek of brimstone — nay, further, of there were three gay strolling musisulphur, of hydrogen sulphide, of the cians, a lad in a bright-blue peasant nether region. Let us consign them to blouse with a great shock of yellow it; let us, indeed.
hair, playing a huge accordion, a tall And what of ourselves, gentlemen, youth in a red blouse and a broadwhat of ourselves? Egos all, believe me. brimmed hat who fiddled, and a deb
You egg!' rips out the murderer of onair half-drunken one who called the Macduff heir apparent (I have not out maudlinly to us, for Americans verified the quotation), and the child were unknown sights and attracted dies.
more attention than the Bishop. ‘You ego!' shrieks one wildly to one's Two old priests, sitting with as much inner self; but stabs and stabs in vain. dignity as they could command on the The egg of the ego is not thus easily top of a pile of hay, came rattling over done to death. It is there, it is there; the cobblestones in a crude cart. We behold, even in the germ of the proto sat by the road and watched the proplasm — it is there. In the words of cession straggle by, more picturesque, the immortal Burke, we cannot change more gorgeously Russian than we it, we cannot prosecute it as criminal, ever imagined Russia could be. Tall but what, in the name of Heaven, can peasant men in linen blouses with gay we do with it? Gentlemen, we can do girdles, barefooted old women with nothing. As the Atlantic Monthly would kerchiefs on their heads, half-naked have it (vide August issue, A.D. 1922, children rolling hoops crookedly over Contributors' Column), we can only the rough cobblestones. We crossed a ‘leave it lay'!
river where naked boys were bathing L'État, c'est moi!
and women were washing clothes by Cogito — ergo sum.
beating them with paddles. And then,
over low hills, we saw the blue and OLD RUSSIA OVER THE BORDER
green domes of the monastery.
We stopped at a thatch-roofed cotJust over the border from the new tage to ask for something to eat, and Russia, and so out of reach of Soviet were cordially ushered into a low, pinkiconoclasm, lies the monastery of Pet- walled room, one corner hung with chory, a bit of the Middle Ages so per- icons, the floor covered with gay handfect and so untouched by the rush of woven rugs. A crude bench ran along our modern world that we who made a three sides of the room, and on the pilgrimage there have difficulty to con- . fourth, half hidden by a cotton curtain, vince ourselves that what we found was was the great white-plastered stove, not a dream of another world.
with room for three to sleep on top and From the moment we stepped off the one on a shelf built along its side. Our little train we were part of a pageant, a hostess, a barefooted peasant woman in long procession winding over the hills a flowered kerchief, set earthen plates, to the village of Petchory. First, in a large wooden spoons, a pitcher of fresh grand carriage, drove the Metropolite, milk, hunks of black bread, new butter the Russian Orthodox Bishop of Estho- and honey, on a great brown table nia, in a tight black robe and high decorated with gay painted figures. hat with flowing veil, come on the train Two tiny yellow-haired boys stood in one corner and watched us with wonder Ivan feared the power of Cornelius, its in their eyes. One by one the rest of the head, and came himself to Petchory. family came in to gaze at the strange And when Cornelius came to meet him, Americans — a bent old grandmother, and knelt to give him bread and salt, the tall white-haired grandfather in Ivan the Terrible slew him. high boots and a Russian blouse, a wee The bells were ringing for the evegirl in a red apron. The grandmother ning service. First a great bell tolled told the one of us who understood slowly, then others joined one by one Russian that several years ago two until there were fifteen, vibrant, exother Americans had come to Petchory, cited, filling the valley with their clamso she had seen our like before. orous chimes. One by one the monks
They offered us new-mown hay to in their long black robes filed up the sleep on for the night, so we left our long shady stairway to the church. packs in a corner and started out to the The Archimandrite in his golden headmonastery. In a little shop in the vil dress stopped to speak with us. We lage we found Gospozha, a beautiful could not understand what he said, but Russian woman with golden hair and his face was old and kind. large coral earrings, a gray-blue dress The steps of the old Russian church the color of her eyes, short-vamp shoes, are wide and white. Little yellow and bare ankles as beautifully kept as leaves dropped on them from high trees her hands. 'I am rather a pet of the and the fragrance of incense floated out Archimandrite,' she said, tossing her through the great doors. For two hours head. 'I will take you to him and to the we stood with reverent peasants and service.' Russians are communicative, watched the old priests move slowly and we soon learned that she and her through the formal ceremonies; listened husband had been in the household of to the deep-voiced chanting of the the Tsar and had fled during the rev. ritual and the choir singing strange olution to this tiny Esthonian village. delightful music. All the priests were She spoke beautiful French and Ger- old and had soft hair falling to their man, but ‘Bah,' she said, 'I would not shoulders and long soft beards. They learn Esthonian. It is so very ugly. wore silver-blue brocaded robes, and
Over the little village the turrets of the Metropolite had a great stiff gown of the monastery gleamed blue and green purple and silver and a high gold and and golden in the sunshine. We went jeweled crown. under an arched gate, through a dim Most of the worshipers were hushed passage, and past a tiny shrine into the peasants in gay old Russian dress, sunlit cloister gardens. Through great bearded men in embroidered-linen old trees we saw the buildings of the blouses and high boots, and women monastery, pale pink, salmon, cream, with white kerchiefs, scarlet headand white, under roofs the color of bands and girdles, and much crimson green willow leaves. Sometime in the embroidery on their full sleeves and fourteenth century the first monk had aprons. Their flat feet stood solid come to Petchory. First he and his and unshifting and their wide hands followers lived in the forest, then in reached often to make the sign of the catacombs under the ground, and grad- cross, from forehead to heart, from ually there grew up this beautiful one strong shoulder to the other. Some place which seems not to have changed brought yellow candles and lighted since the Middle Ages. In the days of them before the pictures of their faIvan the Terrible it grew so strong that vorite saints and kissed the glass that
Shution to this had fled de household her
beasants in gay old Rus
old trees we saw thes. Through great
A young ded, sans him a
guards the pictures from their lips. An church, and for most of that time we old stooped woman pushed me aside wandered around the cloister gardens, so she could kneel to kiss the robe of watching the people who had come to a priest who passed, swinging a silver spend the day, to worship for a little in incense-pot. A young man beside me, the church and wander out again to sit tall and thickly bearded, sang softly on the grass in the sunshine and gossip with the choir. And next to him a with their neighbors. Besides the Rusyoung girl held the knot of her white sians in their beautiful old costumes kerchief under her chin while she knelt there were a few 'half believers,' so to pray. There were beauty and true called because they are members of the reverence at Petchory.
Russian church but are Esthonians and Gospozha took us to the Black Cat, not Russians, and little groups of solPetchory's restaurant, for supper, and diers, beggars in rags, and gay dirty then home to our log cottage. The gypsies who wanted to tell our forwatchdog of our peasant host barked tunes and heaped black curses on our loudly at us as we swung open the un- heads when we did n't give them money. painted door and came into the little After the service there was a great courtyard made by the peasant's home feast in honor of the Archimandrite, and and the three or four other huts, all huge iron kettles of borsch, a Russian log and with thatched roofs, that were soup of beets and sour cream, and trays used to house his horse and cow and of kalachi, a kind of bread, were carried pig and chickens. After washing in the across the courtyard to feed the multilittle river back of the house and drying tude. Two serving women carrying a on red-and-white hand-woven towels, long tray stumbled on the steps near us we found homespun blankets spread and a dozen kalachi fell to the ground. out for us in the hayloft and climbed in. An old monk coming along behind
The next day was Sunday, and the stooped to pick them up. sacred oil burned before the icon in our T hat afternoon a monk with auburn peasant's house. The samovar was hair led us, with lighted candles in our going when we went in for breakfast, hands, through the long damp passages and there were curds and black bread of the catacombs, and showed us the on the table. The grandmother was ancient cells and the chapel where the getting into her beautiful old peasant monks once met to worship and the dress to wear to church, and the mother tombs of all the monks who had died at had put shoes on her bare feet.
the monastery in six hundred years. Already carts were rolling over the We lingered so long listening to his cobblestones to the village, taking tales that we left too short a time to families to the church. For to-day was walk the long miles to the train that a great day at the monastery, and the was to take us back into the world Metropolite had come from Tallinn. again. So we bade a hurried farewell to After breakfast we followed them and our peasant family and hailed a passing found the gardens of the monastery cart. Gospozha bargained with the thronged with people who had come driver, cursing him roundly. 'Can't from miles around. I was glad to have you see they are Americans?' she said. seen it first in the stillness of the night And you robbing them like that!' before, for to-day it swarmed with the But they finally came to terms and we scarlet and black and white of the gayly joggled off, waving her good-bye and dressed peasants. For six long morning watching the turrets of the old world hours the service lasted in the great disappear beyond the river.
THE CONTRIBUTORS' COLUMN
NEVER was a case more fairly stated than Dr. L. P. Jacks's description of that black and blank mystery which each of us confronts. The ringing confidence of his last pages will carry hope far among people to whom such words are as life itself. Dr. Jacks is editor of the Hibbert Journal, and Principal of Manchester College, Oxford. Jane Littell draws from her own experience a solution of the economic problem of matrimony. gThrough the epistle of E. C. J. there gleams that temperament which abandons security, stakes the whole of life, and suffers despair that it may know the ecstasy of beauty. John Jay Chapman, a father of sons, pictures our American schools with their many symbols of sport, their ‘small Latin and less Greek,' in a manner painfully realistic to other ambitious parents. SThat in Kentucky 'pigs is pigs' with a vengeance, is the inimitable tale of Olive Tilford Dargan.
‘Visions' I wrote only of three of many like erperiences and chose them as being the most interesting and the most varied.
I am hoping that you will publish them and that as a result I will get from some of your readers ease from my puzzlement.
* * * Under one of his serviceable pseudonyms, 'Yussuf Effendi,' a former Intelligence Officer relates the true account of an excursion which possessed the adventure of our light opera without any of its reassuring makebelieve. QThe holidays would be incomplete without Margaret Prescott Montague, who has long delighted the Atlantic with her prose and verse. gThat Christmas is a reality in the Colombian wilderness is the moving narrative of Kenneth Irving Brown. For the comfort of these who are impatient or discouraged with the slow and errant programme of the world, a thoughtful woman has told the memories of her eighty-one years. GWith fond appreciation Percy Lubbock, English essayist and critic, remembers that luminous understanding between master and scholar which is so essential in fine schooling. gThe Adams-Jefferson letters have never before been published in their natural juxtaposition. In so arranging them Paul Wilstach was impressed by the deep friendliness of these two ex-Presidents, which had survived so many years of political enmity. Mr. Wilstach reminds us that John Adams's last words were ‘Jefferson still survives.' Alexander McAdie's whimsical description of the perplexities which clog our liquid measures may be trusted to excite mathematicians, metricians, and opponents of the Volstead Act.
Glenn W. Birkett, a dirt farmer of Wisconsin, denounces that paternalistic legislation which has sought to coddle him and his fellow farmers. Sin the English shires Conrad Aiken has found the ripening atmosphere for his pungent and imaginative verse. Every engineer will stand taller and straighter in his boots for having read Arthur D. Little's eloquent tribute to the members of the 'Fifth Estate.' Mr. Little will be remembered for his stimulating review of Physics and Civilization' which appeared in the July Atlantic. (From her home in Dublin Nora Connolly O'Brien comments on her ‘Visions’: —
They are real experiences of mine. . . . They came to me when I was awake; they were not like dreams – more like a play in which I had a part. I tried to reason them out in the light of memory, knowing how a sight, taste, or sound will awaken memories of things long forgotten. But they do not come within the range of living memories, as they seem to me when thinking of them to belong to far distant times. ... In
The article on the Irish boundary ques. tion speaks for itself. For the careful reader it is worth while to quote verbatim Article 12 of the 1921 Treaty between Great Britain and Ireland, since it is in