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DEFTLY to mingle the best and most appropriate of the old with the best and most appropriate of the new
what task is really of more cultural significance than this? For a period of sixty-two years the Atlantic Monthly has had as its salient aim the gathering together in each succeeding issue the varied thoughts and emotions of those men and women who have lived through interesting human experiences and processes, and have had the literary power to make those experiences and processes real to others.
After the lapse of so many years of this continuing endeavor on the part of the Atlantic, it is, of course, natural that we should find in the files of the magazine many selections which make a peculiarly distinct appeal to young readers. Our aim in compiling and editing this book is to assemble in an attractive library volume such Atlantic prose and poetry as will be of compelling interest to this younger group of pupils. The best of the old and the best of the modern are here represented. Thus are fittingly intermingled old traditions with the new and varied conceptions that are born with the coming of each significant event.
We feel confident that one result of this reading will be the realization in the minds of the young people that in each successive issue of the Atlantic Monthly there will be found many messages that will interest and stimulate those who have previously been under the delusion that the magazine existed only for those of ma
THE SPIRIT OF '17
BY MARY HERRICK SMITH
EN ROUTE from Fort Ethan Allen, Vermont, to Detroit, whither my husband was ordered to join his base hospital, we were delayed in Ithaca, New York. While waiting in the hotel lounge, I chanced to overhear an interesting conversation.
I had noticed a fine-looking man near me, reading the morning paper: he was distinctly the very prosperous city business man; his well-kempt appearance bespoke culture, money, and intelligence. While I was occupied with my speculations about him, a young man, just a boy, in fact, came in. He was a well-set-up chap, with the fresh healthy skin and clear-eyed eagerness of a country lad. He had never been far from the up-country farm where they raised the best breeds of livestock. He could n't have given a college yell to save his life, and he was innocent of fraternity decorations and secrets. Just the kind of boy I would like to have call me “mother.” His clothes were good, but evidently from the general store of the small town. He carried a good-sized box, which he put across his knees as he seated himself. I knew that it was his luncheon which mother had packed, and that it included fried chicken and cold home-made sausages, cakes, sandwiches, fried cakes, crullers, mince pie and cheese, apples and winter pears; and a few relishes besides. Why, I could smell
the luncheon that my mother had put up for my brother forty years ago.
The Boy gazed all around, took in each detail of the room and its furnishings, with all the quiet dignity and interest of a well-born American country youth. You know a real Yankee country boy is n't like any other; there is a balance, an understanding, that is natural. It is inborn to be at home in any surrounding, however new and strange, so long as it is real.
After the Boy had surveyed the room, he looked over at the man reading. He sat perfectly still a few minutes, then “Oh, hummed," and waited again, and fidgeted a bit; but nobody spoke. I could see that he was fairly bursting with news of something. Finally, to the man, “Can you tell me how far it is to Syracuse, sir?"
“Well,” — lowering his paper, — “not exactly, but three or four hours, I'd say. Going to Syracuse?”
“Yes, I've enlisted. I passed one examination, but I'm going to Syracuse for another, and then I'm going to Spartansburg. Senator Wadsworth says, and it looks that way to me, that it is just as much our fight as theirs, and we ought to have been in it three years ago; they are getting tired over there. I'd hate to be drafted. I'd feel mean to think I had to be dragged in; besides I want to do my part. Every fellow ought to get into it."
“What part of the service did you elect?”
“The infantry, sir. I'm going to Spartansburg to the training-camp.” Silence for some moments; then, showing that his bridges were burned, “I've sold my clothes; sold 'em for four dollars and I'm to send 'em right back soon's I get my uniform. I hope I don't have to wait for the soldier clothes. I think I got a good bargain and