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TABLE OF FOREWORD BY WHIT BURNETT XI I THE MAN'S STORY Theodore Dreiser story The Hand Ernest Hemingway story The Short Happy Life of Francis ...

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TABLE OF

FOREWORD BY WHIT BURNETT

XI

I THE MAN'S STORY Theodore Dreiser

story

The Hand

Ernest Hemingway

story

The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber

John Steinbeck

story

Henry L. Mencken Stephen Leacock Conrad Aiken Morley Callaghan George Ade

The Leader of the People

22 53

autobiog. The Days of the Giants

69

sketch

My Remarkable Uncle

77

story

Strange Moonlight

85

story

Two Fishermen

98

essay

The Joy of Single Blessedness

108

II THE AMERICAN DREAM Archibald MacLeish

poetry

America Was Promises

Willa Cather

story

Neighbour Rosicky

Sinclair Lewis

novel unit Dinner with the Babbitts

James Truslow Adams

essay

The American Dream

Mark Van Doren

poetry

America's Mythology

Bernard De Voto

biography Mark Twain: The Artist as American

195

Dorothy Parker

story

The Standard of Living

206

Wolcott Gibbs

profile

The Customer Is Always Wrong

212

123 133 164 176 191

III A GOODLY HERITAGE Stephen Vincent Benet

story

The Devil and Daniel Webster

Van Wyck Brooks

biography Hawthorne in Salem

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231 247

TABLE OF CONTENTS

vm Mary Ellen Chase

aut*

The Lord's Day in the Nineties

271

Robert Frost

poetry

Sixteen Poems

277

Robert Nathan

novel unit Central Park Maine Is a Perpetual Poem poetry

293 310

Edmund Wilson

novel unit The Night on the Cobble The Old Stone House autt

Erskine Caldwell

story

Henry Seidel Canby

autohiog. Home in the Nineties novel unit Last Days of a Bostonian

Robert P. Tristram Coffin Dorothy Canfield Fisher

John P. Marquand

Country Full of Swedes

Ellen Glasgow

305 324 333 349 359 372

novel unit The Deep Past Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings autobiog. Hyacinth Drift Jesse Stuart Another April story

393

Conrad Richter

415

William Allen White

Upton Sinclair James T. Farrell Richard Wright Elmer Rice

novel unit Lutie editorial Mary White IV THE JUNGLE novel unit The Slaughter of the Pigs story Studs essay How "Bigger" Was Born drama scene The Adding Machine

407 420

429 440 448 459

E. B. White

sketch

Quo Vadimus?

479

Louis Adamic

story

Girl on the Road

483

Langston Hughes

poetry

Poems of American Negro Life

511

Maxwell Anderson

drama scene Mio and Miriamne

514

William Faulkner

story

That Evening Sun Go Down

522

Katherine Anne Porter

story

Flowering Judas

539

John Dos Passos

novel unit Escape to the Proletariat

553

Frank Sullivan

sketch

The Jukes Family

566

Booth Tarkington

story

Bridewater's Half Dollar

573

THE DUST WHICH IS GOD Edna St. Vincent Milky poetry Fifteen Sonnets William Rose Benet poetry The Dust Which Is God

597

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606

TABLE OF CONTENTS

IX

Louis Untermeyer

poetry

Christopher Morley

615

poetry

Three Poems A Song for Eros

Qames) Branch Cabell

poetry

Dedications in Acrostics

622

Robinson Jeffers

poetry

Tamar Dancing

631

William Carlos Williams

poetry

641

Marianne Moore

poetry

Some Flower Studies What Are Years?

Muriel Rukeyser

poetry

Song from "Mediterranean"

647

H. D.

poetry

The Islands

648

Wallace Stevens

poetry

Domination of Black

652

618

645

VI

THE MASTERS Agnes Repplier

essay

Horace

657

Edgar Lee Masters

poetry

Tomorrow Is My Birthday

671

Carl Van Doren

biography Swift and Vanessa

683

Hendrik Willem Van Loon biography Beethoven Joseph Wood Krutch

essay

697 The Second Part of "Don Quixote" 709

VII THE DRAMA George Jean Nathan

essay

Eugene O'Neill

Aesthetic Jurisprudence drama scene The Great God Brown

727 738

Robert E. Sherwood

drama scene The Election of Lincoln

743

Stark Young

criticism

Thornton Wilder William Saroyan Clifford Odets E. E. Cummings

Mei Lan-Fang

757

The Happy Journey to Trenton and Camden 762 A Preface preface 777 drama scene Rocket to the Moon 786 drama scene Speech from a Play 812 play

VIII KITCHEN BOUQUET Irvin S. Cobb

essay

'' Speaking of Operations-

821

Cornelia Otis Skinner

sketch

The Body Beautiful

846

Robert Benchley

sketch

The Treasurer's Report

854

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TABLE QF CONTENTS

Ogden Nash

verse

S. J. Perelman

sketch

Two and One Are a Problem Kitchen Bouquet

James Thurber

story

The Night the Chost Got In

867 872

Ludwig Bemelmans

story

Sacre du Printemps

878

860

IX

THEY WEREN'T GOING TO DIE Irwin Edman Pierre Van Paassen

essay

M. Platon reportage The Street of Our Lady

889

Louis Bromfield

novel unit The Rains Came

913

Pearl Buck

story

The Old Demon

931

John Gunther

reportage The Outbreak of International

Vincent Sheean

Gangsterism reportage The Thirteen Bus

Lillian Hellman

diary

The Little War

Edna Ferber

story

No Room at the Inn

Kay Boyle

story

They Weren't Going to Die

William L. Shirer

reportage Hitler at Compieene

897

943 962 989 997 1005 1012

X THE REALM OF BEING Allan Nevins

essay

In Defense of History

1021

Paul de Kruif

essay

The People's Death-Fight

1044

Stuart Chase

essay

The Economy of Abundance

1070

Donald Culross Peattie

essay

The Hours

1083

Joseph Hergesheimer

autobiog.

From an Old House

1093

John Dewey

essay

Democracy and America

1099

Carl Sandburg

poetry

. . . The People, Yes

1116

Biographies and Bibliographies of Authors

1119

Acknowledgments

1171

Index by Authors

1177

Index by Titles

1179

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Foreword

I

N THIS book ninety-three American authors have chosen the particular work of their own that is closest to their heart. Thus while THIS IS MY BEST is an anthology, it is more than the simple personal preference of any one man, which is the usual anthology —it is a book by the leading living authors in America, each one of whom has, in a sense, "edited" his entire lifetime output to select the one unit which in his own, uninfluenced opinion represents him at his best creative moment. It is a book without precedent in America: a book composed over many years, the focussing of many lifetime viewpoints, a public revelation of the private opinions of our best authors on how they look upon themselves, and what, in their writings, they most value. For the choice of the authors, the editor gratefully acknowledges, at the very outset, the help of the public. The names of 169 representative authors were sent in ballot form to many readers of books and magazines. Polls were taken among subscribers of The Atlantic

Monthly, Harpers' Magazine, and The New Yor\er, and ballots were sent to librarians, literary critics and persons professionally connected with reading, writing, teaching or publishing. These individuals were asked to vote on those living American authors they deemed most fitted to be included in THIS IS MY BEST. The response was serious, intelligent, discriminating. And while the editor has not followed slavishly the results of the voting, he has been guided immeasurably by this response. It is interesting to note that on the first fifty authors receiving the most votes for inclusion, the editor, public and publishers were all in agreement. In a book so essentially the work of many, any long comment by one editor must seem superfluous. It was the editor's job to get in touch with the authors—no mean task in wartime—and, once the authors were picked, to let them have free rein. And if the editor has had a rewarding time, with seemingly nothing to do but gather in the pieces, he seems to have had even less fun in the job than the authors themselves. An author is an author: he is familiar with his own work; why didn't someone think of asking him before? They were, in general, delighted. For this was the first time in their author-

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FOREWORP

lives so many diverse, important American writers had ever been asked to say, without influence or qualification (there was a minor one of relative length): "This is myself in my very best manner." The task was full of odd surprises—that Cabell was tired of being anthologized for his famous essays in Beyond Life; that when someone dislikes a poem of Robert Frost's, it takes the poet a long time to regain his original affection for it; that Mr. Hemingway has been represented so many times for some of his things that now he can hardly bear to look at what every high-school student, through the usual anthologies, thinks is his only mood. It was interesting to learn that neither the publishers nor the author thinks the much anthologized "Paul's Case" by Willa Cather is either her best or her most representative work—she is here represented by a more rounded work, "Neighbour Rosicky"; and one was to learn that some authors cannot read their old works, or that when they do, they do so with the utmost pain and difficulty; and that still some others think the work they did twenty years ago is as good or better than their present writing. There are, of course, some omissions in the book. T. S. Eliot and Gertrude Stein were in Europe and unavailable. And there are many authors in America not included who are equal to the stature, no doubt, of many here included. One book cannot hold all the good writing in America; a limit had to be set somewhere. And the editor and his advisors can console themselves with the hope that if an author has been omitted, a reader will find that another and perhaps even more representative writer in the same field has been included. Choice is an anthologist's eternal dilemma, and anthologists notoriously make more enemies than friends, since for twenty chosen, forty must needs be left out. For the sin of omission, we can only pray. Some of our best friends, heaven knows, are authors; and even some of those are not here with us. . . . The editor has not in every case agreed on the author's own selection. But as this is a book of the authors', not the editor's, he has avoided influencing an author's choice. In shaping up the volume, he has likewise tried to avoid arbitrary groupings. He has meandered with the writers, following the main body of writing as the banks of a river follow the course of the stream. And even the divisions of the

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FOREWORD

X1U

book have taken their titles from the substance of the authors; there are no artificial dams in the stream. The book is frankly not intended as the best short stories, the best plays, the best essays, and the best bits of humor. Here is rather a panorama of time and place, presented to us by the best guides we have in America, the creative writers of our time. And it is more than a passingly contemporary view. For here are writers as long seasoned with us as Agnes Repplier, George Ade, John Dewey and Theodore Dreiser. And others as young as Clifford Odets, William Saroyan and Conrad Richter. What these authors see and what they write is as various as they themselves are various. And if a great novelist chooses to like himself at his best in poetry, that, indeed, is his prerogative. In this book we are privileged to return with the "known" and public figure back to the quiet of his study where he is with himself and writing was what it started out to be, his selfcommunion with his deepest experience. And sometimes the picture an author chooses as his favorite may not be the same the public has come to recognize but, since this is so, that very choice of the author, uninfluenced, may sometimes tell us more about the author than a dozen posed portraits. And so, too, these selected writings, springing as they do from the best moments of the best minds in our contemporary literature, should tell us more than anything else about the environment of those authors, the country we are living in. In no small, single way, this book is America. America in its many moods, its various colors, its many aspects. It is the New England of Frost and Coffin and Mary Ellen Chase; and the South of Glasgow, Stuart, Rawlings and Faulkner; the Middle West of Tarkington and Ade; and the Far West of Steinbeck's old pioneer, stopped and baffled forever at the Pacific Ocean and the end of the frontier, in a later day. It is dinner with the Babbitts, a scared Negro washerwoman in Mississippi, the stockyards of Chicago. It is a preface to a Saroyan fantasy, an editor in Kansas writing an editorial on the death of his daughter and projecting a wisp of a girl into a kind of immortality. . . . It is the goodly heritage of a more leisurely past, home in the nineties, the old coal furnace in the Hergesheimer home in Pennsylvania, and back as far as Hawthorne in Salem and Jefferson in Virginia. It is another side, less lovely, but exerting its power always throughout

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FOREWORD

the land, the America of the jungle, of wasted lives and lost illusion; it is America Was Promises, the American Dream, and contrastingly it is Studs and Bigger in the black slums of Chicago. It is the Old World and 'the old masters viewed here in contemporary essays distilling the values of the classics for our times and minds. It is poetry, drama, humor, history, biography, philosophy . . . and Europe at this moment in an upset world when all values have taken to hiding and a free survey of the life of the mind, by those who like these authors have spent their own lives distilling values, is more than a matter of super* ficial interest. The editor does not think it accidental that such a book, by such authors, appears at this particular time. And so, the editor steps aside for those more qualified than he, the tellers of tales in The Man's Story . . . the broad viewers of America, and those who have particularized their love in a special place, or mood, or form, and the poet next the prose writer, the dramatist in the jungle. . . . Here is something serious, something light . . . Nobel prize and Pulitzer prize winners, and winners of all the other awards the country offers. And as these authors have their favorites, doubtless you have your favorite author. One way to read the book would be to start at the beginning and wind up at the end, for in such a way you would follow a kind of loose but interesting course, the way the editor followed it. But a simpler way is just to pick your favorite writer and find out what his favorite writing is. . . . And from there you go either to the rest of his books you missed till now . . . or on to the next author in the anthology. Good reading! W H I T BURNETT

New York, N. Y. August 17, 1942.

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I THE MAN'S STORY

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THEODORE DREISER Why he selected T h e

HAND

The piece which I would like to be used is "The Hand" a short story of mine published some time ago in a volume entitled Chains. I look upon "The Hand" as illustrative as well as representative of the diversity of my subject matter and my psychological interests. Hollywood, Cal. THEODORE DREISER June, 1942

D

AVIDSON could distinctly remember that it was between two and three years after the grisly event in the Monte Orte range— the sickening and yet deserved end of Mersereau, his quondam partner and fellow adventurer—that anything to be identified with Mersereau's malice toward him, and with Mersereau's probable present existence in the spirit world, had appeared in his life. He and Mersereau had worked long together as prospectors, investors, developers of property. It was only after they had struck it rich in the Klondike that Davidson had grown so much more apt and shrewd in all commercial and financial matters, whereas Mersereau had seemed to stand still—not to rise to the splendid opportunities which then opened to him. Why, in some of those later deals it had not been possible for Davidson even to introduce his old partner to some of the moneyed men he had to deal with. Yet Mersereau had insisted, as his right, if you please, on being "in on" everything—everything! Take that wonderful Monte Orte property, the cause of all the subsequent horror. He, Davidson—not Mersereau—had discovered or heard of the mine, and had carried it along, with old Besmer as a tool or decoy—Besmer being the ostensible factor—until it was all ready for him to take over and sell or develop. Then it was that Mersereau, having been for so long his partner, demanded a full half—a third, at 3

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least—on the ground that they had once agreed to work together in all these things. Think of it! And Mersereau growing duller and less useful and more disagreeable day by day, and year by year! Indeed, toward the last he had threatened to expose the trick by which jointly, seven years before, they had possessed themselves of the Skyute Pass Mine; to drive Davidson out of public and financial life, to have him arrested and tried—along with himself, of course. Think of that! But he had fixed him—yes, he had, damn him! He had trailed Mersereau that night to old Besmer's cabin on the Monte Orte, when Besmer was away. Mersereau had gone there with the intention of stealing the diagram of the new field, and had secured it, true enough. A thief he was, damn him. Yet, just as he was making safely away, as he thought, he, Davidson, had struck him cleanly over the ear with that heavy rail-bolt fastened to the end of a walnut stick, and the first blow had done for him. Lord, how the bone above Mersereau's ear had sounded when it cracked! And how bloody one side of that bolt was! Mersereau hadn't had time to do anything before he was helpless. He hadn't died instantly, though, but had turned over and faced him, Davidson, with that savage, scowling face of his and those blazing, animal eyes. Lying half propped up on his left elbow, Mersereau had reached out toward him with that big, rough, bony right hand of his—the right with which he always boasted of having done so much damage on this, that, and the other occasion—had glared at him as much as to say: "Oh, if I could only reach you just for a moment before I go!" Then it was that he, Davidson, had lifted the club again. Horrified as he was, and yet determined that he must save his own life, he had finished the task, dragging the body back to an old fissure behind the cabin and covering it with branches, a great pile of pine fronds, and as many as one hundred and fifty boulders, great and small, and had left his victim. It was a sickening job and a sickening sight, but it had to be. ' Then, having finished, he had slipped dismally away, like a jackal, thinking of that hand in the moonlight, held up so savagely, and that look. Nothing might have come of that either, if he hadn't been inclined to brood on it so much, on the fierceness of it.

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THE HAND

J

No, nothing had happened. A year had passed, and if anything had been going to turn up it surely would have by then. He, Davidson, had gone first to New York, later to Chicago, to dispose of the Monte Orte claim. Then, after two years, he had returned here to Mississippi, where he was enjoying comparative peace. He was looking after some sugar property which had once belonged to him, and which he was now able to reclaim and put in charge of his sister as a home against a rainy day. He had no other. But that body back there! That hand uplifted in the moonlightto clutch him if it could! Those eyes. II—JUNE, 1905 Take that first year, for instance, when he had returned to Gatchard in Mississippi, whence both he and Mersereau had originally issued After looking after his own property he had gone out to a tumbledown estate of his uncle's in Issaqueena County—a leaky old sloperoofed house where, in a bedroom on the top floor, he had had his first experience with the significance or reality of the hand. Yes, that was where first he had really seen it pictured in that curious, unbelievable way; only who would believe that it was Mersereau's hand? They would say it was an accident, chance, rain dropping down. But the hand had appeared on the ceiling of that room just as sure as anything, after a heavy rain-storm—it was almost a cyclone—when every chink in the old roof had seemed to leak water. During the night, after he had climbed to the room by way of those dismal stairs with their great landing and small glass oil-lamp he carried, and had sunk to rest, or tried to, in the heavy, wide, damp bed, thinking, as he always did those days, of the Monte Orte and Mersereau, the storm had come up. As he had listened to the wind moaning outside he had heard first the scratch, scratch, scratch, of some limb, no doubt, against the wall—sounding, or so it seemed in his feverish unrest, like some one penning an indictment against him with a worn, rusty pen. And then, the storm growing worse, and in a fit of irritation and self-contempt at his own nervousness, he had gone to the window, but just as lightning struck a branch of the tree nearest the window

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and so very near him, too—as though some one, something, was seeking to strike him—(Mersereau ?) and as though he had been lured by that scratching. God! He had retreated, feeling that it was meant for him. But that big, knotted hand painted on the ceiling by the dripping water during the night! There it was, right over him when he awoke, outlined or painted as if with wet, gray whitewash against the wretched but normally pale-blue of the ceiling when dry. There it was—a big, open hand just like Mersereau's as he had held it up that night—huge, knotted, rough, the ringers extended as if tense and clutching. And, if you will believe it, near it was something that looked like a pen—an old, long-handled pen—to match that scratch, scratch, scratch! "Huldah," he had inquired of the old Black mammy who entered in the morning to bring'him fresh water and throw open the shutters, "what does that look like to you up there—that patch on the ceiling where the rain came through?" He wanted to reassure himself as to the character of the thing he saw—that it might not be a creation of his own feverish imagination, accentuated by the dismal character of this place. " 'Pears t' me mo' like a big han' 'an anythin' else, Marse Davi'son," commented Huldah, pausing and staring upward. "Mo' like a big fist, kinda. Dat air's a new drip come las' night, I reckon. Dis here ole place ain' gonna hang togethah much longah, less'n some repairin' be done mighty quick now. Yassir, dat air's a new drop, sho's yo' bo'n, en it come on'y las' night. I hain't never seed dat befo'." And then he had inquired, thinking of the fierceness of the storm: "Huldah, do you have many such storms up this way?" "Good gracious, Marse Davi'son, we hain't seed no sech glow en— en come three years now. I hain't seed no sech lightnin' en I doan' know when." Wasn't that strange, that it should all come on the night, of all nights, when he was there? And no such other storm in three years! Huldah stared idly, always ready to go slow and rest, if possible, whereas he had turned irritably. To be annoyed by ideas such as this! To always be thinking of that Monte Orte affair! Why couldn't he forget it? Wasn't it Mersereau's own fault? He never would have killed the man if he hadn't been forced to it.

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And to be haunted in this way, making mountains out of molehills, as he thought then! It must be his own miserable fancy—and yet Mersereau had looked so threateningly at him. That glance had boded something; it was too terrible not to. Davidson might not want to think of it, but how could he stop? Mersereau might not be able to hurt him any more, at least not on this earth; but still, couldn't he? Didn't the appearance of this hand seem to indicate that he might? He was dead, of course. His body, his skeleton, was under that pile of rocks and stones, some of them as big as wash-tubs. Why worry over that, and after two years ? And still That hand on the ceiling! Ill—DECEMBER, 1905

Then, again, take that matter of meeting Pringle in Gatchard just at that time, within the same week. It was due to Davidson's sister. She had invited Mr. and Mrs. Pringle in to meet him one evening, without telling him that they were spiritualists and might discuss spiritualism. Clairvoyance, Pringle called it, or seeing what can't be seen with material eyes, and clairaudience, or hearing what can't be heard with material ears, as well as materialization, or ghosts, and table-rapping, and the like. Table-rapping—that damned tap-tapping that he had been hearing ever since! It was Pringle's fault, really. Pringle had persisted in talking. He, Davidson, wouldn't have listened, except that he somehow became fascinated by what Pringle said concerning what he had heard and seen in his time. Mersereau must have been at the bottom of that, too. At any rate, after he had listened, he was sorry, for Pringle had had time to fill his mind full of those awful facts or ideas which had since harassed him so much—all that stuff about drunkards, degenerates, and weak people generally being followed about by vile, evil spirits and used to effect those spirits' purposes or desires in this world. Horrible! Wasn't it terrible ? Pringle—big, mushy, creature that he was, sickly and stagnant like a springless pool—insisted that he had even seen clouds of these spirits about drunkards, degenerates, and the like, in

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street-cars, on trains, and about vile corners at night. Once, he said, he had seen just one evil spirit—think of that!—following a certain man all the time, at his left elbow—a dark, evil, red-eyed thing, until finally the man had been killed in a quarrel. Pringle described their shapes, these spirits, as varied. They were small, dark, irregular clouds, with red or green spots somewhere for eyes, changing in form and becoming longish or round like a jellyfish, or even like a misshapen cat or dog. They could take any form at will— even that of a man. Once, Pringle declared, he had seen as many as fifty about a drunkard who was staggering down a street, all of them trying to urge him into the nearest saloon, so that they might re-experience in some vague way the sensation of drunkenness, which at some time or other they themselves, having been drunkards in life, had enjoyed! It would be the same with a drug fiend, or indeed with any one of weak or evil habits. They gathered about such an one like flies, their red or green eyes glowing—attempting to get something from them, perhaps, if nothing more than a little sense of their old earth-life. The whole thing was so terrible and disturbing at the time, particularly that idea of men being persuaded or influenced to murder, that he, Davidson, could stand it no longer, and got up and left. But in his room upstairs he meditated on it, standing before his mirror. Suddenly—would he ever forget it—as he was taking off his collar and tie, he had heard that queer tap, tap, tap, right on his dressing-table or under it, and for the first time, which Pringle said, ghosts made when table-rapping in answer to a call, or to give warning of their presence. Then something said to him, almost as clearly as if he heard it: "This is me, Mersereau, come bac\ at last to get you! Pringle was just an excuse of mine to let you \now I was coming, and so was that hand in that old house, in lssaqueena County. It was mine! I will be with you from now on. Don't thinly I will ever leave you!" It had frightened and made him half sick, so wrought up was he. For the first time he felt cold chills run up and down his spine—the creeps. He felt as if some one were standing over him—Mersereau, of

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course—only he could not see or hear a thing, just that faint tap at first, growing louder a little later, and quite angry when he tried to ignore it. People did live, then, after they were dead, especially evil people— people stronger than you, perhaps. They had the power to come back, to haunt, to annoy you if they didn't like anything you had done to them. No doubt Mersereau was following him in the hope of revenge, there in the spirit world, just outside this one, close at his heels, like that evil spirit attending the other man whom Pringle had described. IV—FEBRUARY, 1906

Take that case of the hand impressed on the soft dough and plaster of Paris, described in an article that he had picked up in the dentist's office out there in Pasadena—Mersereau's very hand, so far as he could j udge. How about that for a coincidence, picking up the magazine with that disturbing article about psychic materialization in Italy, and later in Berne, Switzerland, where the scientists were gathered to investigate that sort of thing? And just when he was trying to rid himself finally of the notion that any such thing could be! According to that magazine article, some old crone over in Italy— spiritualist, or witch, or something—had got together a crowd of experimentalists or professors in an abandoned house on an almost deserted island off the coast of Sardinia. There they had conducted experiments with spirits, which they called materialization, getting the impression of the fingers of a hand, or of a whole hand and arm, or of a face, on a plate of glass covered with soot, the plate being locked in a small safe on the center of a table about which they sat! He, Davidson, couldn't understand, of course, how it was done, but done it was. There in that magazine were half a dozen pictures, reproductions of photographs of a hand, an arm and a face—or a part of one, anyhow. And if they looked like anything, they looked exactly like Mersereau's! Hadn't Pringle, there in Gatchard, Miss., stated spirits could move anywhere, over long distances, with the speed of light. And would it be any trick for Mersereau to appear there at Sardinia, and then engineer this magazine into his presence, here in Los Angeles? Would it? It would not. Spirits were free and powerful over there, perhaps.

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There was not the least doubt that these hands, these partial impressions of a face, were those of Mersereau. Those big knuckles! That long, heavy, humped nose and big jaw! Whose else could they be?— they were Mersereau's, intended, when they were made over there in Italy, for him, Davidson, to see later here in Los Angeles. Yes, they were! And looking at that sinister face reproduced in the magazine, it seemed to say, with Mersereau's old coarse sneer: "You see? You can't escape me! I'm showing you how much alive I am over here, just as I was on earth. And I'll get you yet, even if I have to go farther than Italy to do it!" It was amazing, the shock he took from that. It wasn't just that alone, but the persistence and repetition of this hand business. What could it mean? Was it really Mersereau's hand? As for the face, it wasn't all there—just the jaw, mouth, cheek, left temple, and a part of the nose and eye; but it was Mersereau's, all right. He had gone clear over there into Italy somewhere, in a lone house on an island, to get this message of his undying hate back to him. Or was it just spirits, evil spirits, bent on annoying him because he was nervous and sensitive now? V—OCTOBER,

1906

Even new crowded hotels and new buildings weren't the protection he had at first hoped and thought they would be. Even there you weren't safe—not from a man like Mersereau. Take that incident there in Los Angeles, and again in Seattle, only two months ago now, when Mersereau was able to make that dreadful explosive or crashing sound, as if one had burst a huge paper bag full of air, or upset a china-closet full of glass and broken everything, when as a matter of fact nothing at all had happened. It had frightened him horribly the first two or three times, believing as he did that something fearful had happened. Finding that it was nothing—or Mersereau—he was becoming used to it now; but other people, unfortunately, were not. He would be—as he had been that first time—sitting in his room perfectly still and trying to amuse himself, or not to think, when sud-

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denly there would be that awful crash. It was astounding! Other people heard it, of course. They had in Los Angeles. A maid and a porter had come running the first time to inquire, and he had had to protest that he had heard nothing. They couldn't believe it at first, and had gone to other rooms to look. When it happened the second time, the management had protested, thinking it was a joke he was playing; and to avoid the risk of exposure he had left. After that he could not keep a valet or nurse about him for long. Servants wouldn't stay, and managers of hotels wouldn't let him remain when such things went on. Yet he couldn't live in a house or apartment alone, for there the noises and atmospheric conditions would be worse than ever. VI—JUNE, 1907 Take that last old house he had been in—but never would be in again!—at Anne Haven. There he actually visualized the hand—a thing as big as a washtub at first, something like smoke or shadow in a black room moving about over the bed and everywhere. Then, as he lay there, gazing at it spellbound, it condensed slowly, and he began to feel it. It was now a hand of normal size—there was no doubt of it in the world—going over him softly, without force, as a ghostly hand must, having no real physical strength, but all the time with a strange, electric, secretive something about it, as if it were not quite sure of itself, and not quite sure that he was really there. The hand, or so it seemed—God!—moved right up to his neck and began to feel over that as he lay there. Then it was that he guessed just what it was that Mersereau was after. It was j ust like a hand, the fingers and thumb made into a circle and pressed down over his throat, only it moved over him gently at first, because it really couldn't do anything yet, not having the material strength. But the intention! The sense of cruel, savage determination that went with it! And yet, if one went to a nerve specialist or doctor about all this, as he did afterward, what did the doctor say? He had tried to describe how he was breaking down under the strain, how he could not eat or sleep on account of all these constant tappings and noises; but the

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moment he even began to hint at his experiences, especially the hand or the noises, the doctor exclaimed: "Why, this is plain delusion! You're nervously run down, that's all that ails you—on the verge of pernicious anemia, I should say. You'll have to watch yourself as to this illusion about spirits. Get it out of your mind. There's nothing to it!" Wasn't that just like one of these nerve specialists, bound up in their little ideas of what they knew or saw, or thought they saw? VII—NOVEMBER, 1907

And now take this very latest development at Battle Creek recently where he had gone trying to recuperate on the diet there. Hadn't Mersereau, implacable demon that he was, developed this latest trick of making his food taste queer to him—unpalatable, or with an odd odor ? He, Davidson, knew it was Mersereau, for he felt him beside him at the table whenever he sat down. Besides, he seemed to hear some• thing—clairaudience was what they called it, he understood—he was beginning to develop that, too, now! It was Mersereau, of course, saying in a voice which was more like a memory of a voice than anything real—the voice of some one you could remember as having spoken in a certain way, say, ten years or more ago: "I've fixed it so you can't eat any more, you

"

There followed a long list of vile expletives, enough in itself to sicken one. Thereafter, in spite of anything he could do to make himself think to the contrary, knowing that the food was all right, really, Davidson found it to have an odor or a taste which disgusted him, and which he could not overcome, try as he would. The management assured him that it was all right, as he knew it was—for others. He saw them eating it. But he couldn't—had to get up and leave, and the little he could get down he couldn't retain, or it wasn't enough for him to live on. God, he would die, this way! Starve, as he surely was doing by degrees now. And Mersereau always seeming to be standing by. Why, if it weren't

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for fresh fruit on the stands at times, and just plain, fresh-baked bread in bakers' windows, which he could buy and eat quickly, he might not be able to live at all. It was getting to that pass! VIII—AUGUST, 1908

That wasn't the worst, either, bad as all that was. The worst was the fact that under the strain of all this he was slowly but surely breaking down, and that in the end Mersereau might really succeed in driving him out of life here—to do what, if anything, to him there ? What ? It was such an evil pack by which he was surrounded now, those who lived just on the other side and hung about the earth, vile, debauched creatures, as Pringle had described them, and as Davidson had come to know for himself, fearing them and their ways so much, and really seeing them at times. Since he had come to be so weak and sensitive, he could see them for himself—vile things that they were, swimming before his gaze in the dark whenever he chanced to let himself be in the dark, which was not often—friends of Mersereau, no doubt, and inclined to help him just for the evil of it. For this long time now Davidson had taken to sleeping with the light on, wherever he was, only tying a handkerchief over his eyes to keep out some of the glare. Even then he could see them—queer, misshapen things, for all the world like wavy, stringy jellyfish or coils of thick, yellowish-black smoke, moving about, changing in form at times, yet always looking dirty or vile, somehow, and with those queer, dim, reddish or greenish glows for eyes. It was sickening! IX—OCTOBER, 1908

Having accomplished so much, Mersereau would by no means be content to let him go. Davidson knew that! He could talk to him occasionally now, or at least could hear him and answer back, if he chose when he was alone and quite certain that no one was listening. Mersereau was always saying, when Davidson would listen to him at all—which he wouldn't often—that he would get him yet, that he would make him pay, or charging him with fraud and murder.

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"I'll cho\e you yet!" The words seemed to float in from somewhere, as if he were remembering that at some time Mersereau had said just that in his angry, savage tone—not as if he heard it; and yet he was hearing it of course. "I'll choice you yet! You can't escape! You may thinly you'll die a natural death, but you won't, and that's why I'm poisoning your food to weaken you. You can't escape! I'll get you, sic\ or well, when you can't help yourself, when you're sleeping. I'll cho\e you, just as you hit me with that club. That's why you're always seeing and feeling this hand of mine! I'm not alone. I've nearly had you many a time already, only you have managed to wriggle out so far, jumping up, but some day you won't be able to—see? Then " The voice seemed to die away at times, even in the middle of a sentence, but at the other times—often, often—he could hear it completing the full thought. Sometimes he would turn on the thing and explain: "Oh, go to the devil!" or, "Let me alone!" or, "Shut up!" Even in a closed room and all alone, such remarks seemed strange to him, addressed to a ghost; but he couldn't resist at times, annoyed as he was. Only he took good care not to talk if any one was about. It was getting so that there was no real place for him outside of an asylum, for often he would get up screaming at night—he had to, so sharp was the clutch on his throat—and then always, wherever he was, a servant would come in and want to'know what was the matter. He would have to say that it was a nightmare—only the management always requested him to leave after the second or third time, say, or after an explosion or two. It was horrible! He might as well apply to a private asylum or sanatorium now, having all the money he had, and explain that he had delusions—delusions! Imagine!—and ask to be taken care of. In a place like that they wouldn't be disturbed by his jumping up and screaming at night, feeling that he was being choked, as he was, or by his leaving the table because he couldn't eat the food, or by his talking back to Mersereau, should they chance to hear him, or by the noises when they occurred.

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They could assign him a special nurse and a special room, if he wished—only he didn't wish to be too much alone. They could put him in charge of some one who would understand all these things, or to whom he could explain. He couldn't expect ordinary people, or hotels catering to ordinary people, to put up with him any more. Mersereau and his friends made too much trouble. He must go and hunt up a good place somewhere where they understood such things, or at least tolerated them, and explain, and then it would all pass for the hallucinations of a crazy man—though, as a matter of fact, he wasn't crazy at all. It was all too real, only the average or so-called normal person couldn't see or hear as he could— hadn't experienced what he had. X—DECEMBER, 1908

"The trouble is, doctor, that Mr. Davidson is suffering from the delusion that he is pursued by evil spirits. He was not committed here by any court, but came of his own accord about four months ago, and we let him wander about here at will. But he seems to be growing worse, as time goes on. "One of his worst delusions, doctor, is that there is one spirit in particular who is trying to choke him to death. Dr. Major, our superintendent, says he has incipient tuberculosis of the throat, with occasional spasmodic contractions. There are small lumps or calluses here and there as though caused by outside pressure and yet our nurse assures us that there is no such outside irritation. He won't believe that; but whenever he tries to sleep, especially in the middle of the night, he will jump up and come running out into the hall, insisting that one of these spirits, which he insists are after him, is trying to choke him to death. He really seems to believe it, for he comes out coughing and choking and feeling at his neck as if some one has been trying to strangle him. He always explains the whole matter to me as being the work of evil spirits, and asks me to not pay any attention to him unless he calls for help or rings his call-bell; and so I never think anything more of it now unless he does. "Another of his ideas is that these same spirits do somediing to his food—put poison in it, or give it a bod odor or taste, so that he can't

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eat it. When he does find anything he can eat, he grabs it and almost swallows it whole, before, as he says, the spirits have time to do anything to it. Once, he says, he weighed more than two hundred pounds, but now he only weighs one hundred and twenty. His case is exceedingly strange and pathetic, doctor! "Dr. Major insists that it is purely a delusion, that so far as being choked is concerned, it is the incipient tuberculosis, and that his stomach trouble comes from the same thing; but by association of ideas, or delusions, he thinks some one is trying to choke him and poison his food, when it isn't so at all. Dr. Major says that he can't imagine what could have started it. He is always trying to talk to Mr. Davidson about it, but whenever he begins to ask him questions, Mr. Davidson refuses to talk, and gets up and leaves. "One of the peculiar things about his idea of being choked, doctor, is that when he is merely dozing he always wakes up in time, and has the power to throw it off. He claims that the strength of these spirits is not equal to his own when he is awake, or even dozing, but when he's asleep their strength is greater and that then they may injure him. Sometimes, when he has had a fright like this, he will come out in the hall and down to my desk there at the lower end, and ask if he mayn't sit there by me. He says it calms him. I always tell him yes, but it won't be five minutes before he'll get up and leave again, saying that he's being annoyed, or that he won't be able to contain himself if he stays any longer, because of the remarks being made over his shoulders or in his ear. "Often he'll say: 'Did you hear that, Miss Liggett? It's astonishing, the low, vile things that man can say at times!' When I say, 'No, I didn't hear,' he always says, 'I'm so glad!'" "No one has ever tried to relieve him of this by hypnotism, I suppose?" "Not that I know of, doctor. Dr. Major may have tried it. I have only been here three months." "Tuberculosis is certainly the cause of the throat trouble, as Dr. Major says, and as for the stomach trouble, that comes from the same thing—natural enough under the circumstances. We may have to resort to hypnotism a little later. I'll see. In the meantime you'd better caution all who come in touch with him never to sympathize, or even

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to seem to believe in anything he imagines is being done to him. It will merely encourage him in his notions. And get him to take his medicine regularly; it won't cure, but it will help. Dr. Major has asked me to give especial attention to his case, and I want the conditions as near right as possible." "Yes, sir." XI—JANUARY, 1909

The trouble with these doctors was that they really knew nothing of anything save what was on the surface, the little they had learned at a medical college or in practise—chiefly how certain drugs, tried by their predecessors in certain cases, were known to act. They had no imagination whatever, even when you tried to tell them. Take that latest young person who was coming here now in his good clothes and with his car, fairly bursting with his knowledge of what he called psychiatrics, looking into Davidson's eyes so hard and smoothing his temples and throat—massage, he called it—saying that he had incipient tuberculosis of the throat and stomach trouble, and utterly disregarding the things which he, Davidson, could personally see and hear! Imagine the fellow trying to persuade him, at this late date, that all that was wrong with him was tuberculosis, that he didn't see Mersereau standing right beside him at times, bending over him, holding up that hand and telling him how he intended to kill him yet—that it was all an illusion! Imagine saying that Mersereau couldn't actually seize him by the throat when he was asleep, or nearly so, when Davidson himself, looking at his throat in the mirror, could see the actual finger prints,— Mersereau's,—for a moment or so afterward. At any rate, his throat was red and sore from being clutched, as Mersereau of late was able to clutch him! And that was the cause of these lumps. And to say, as they had said at first, that he himself was making them by rubbing and feeling his throat, and that it was tuberculosis! Wasn't it enough to make one want to quit the place ? If it weren't for Miss Liggett and Miss Koehler, his private nurse, and their devoted care, he would. That Miss Koehler was worth her weight in gold, learning his ways as she had, being so uniformly kind, and bear-

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ing with his difficulties so genially. He would leave her something in his will. To leave this place and go elsewhere, though, unless he could take her along, would be folly. And anyway, where else would he go ? Here at least were other people, patients like himself, who could understand and could sympathize with him,—people who weren't convinced as were these doctors that all he complained of was mere delusion. Imagine! Old Rankin, the lawyer, for instance, who had suffered untold persecution from one living person and another, mostly politicians, was convinced that his, Davidson's, troubles were genuine, and liked to hear about them, just as did Miss Koehler. These two did not insist, as the doctors did, that he had slow tuberculosis of the throat, and could live a long time and overcome his troubles if he would. They were merely companionable at such times as Mersereau would give him enough peace to be sociable. The only real trouble, though, was that he was growing so weak from lack of sleep and food—his inability to eat the food which his enemy bewitched and to sleep at night on account of the choking— that he couldn't last much longer. This new physician whom Df. Major had called into consultation in regard to his case was insisting that along with his throat trouble he was suffering from acute anemia, due to long undernourishment, and that only a solution of strychnin injected into the veins would help him. But as to Mersereau poisoning his food—not a word would he hear. Eesides, now that he was practically bedridden, not able to jump up as freely as before, he was subject to a veritable storm of bedevilment at the hands of Mersereau. Not only could he see—especially toward evening, and in the very early hours of the morning—Mersereau hovering about him like a black shadow, a great, bulky shadow—yet like him in outline, but he could feel his enemy's hand moving over him. Worse, behind or about him he often saw a veritable cloud of evil creatures, companions or tools of Mersereau's, who were there to help him and who kept swimming about like fish in dark waters, and seemed to eye the procedure with satisfaction. When food was brought to him, early or late, and in whatever form, Mersereau and they were there, close at hand, as thick as flies, passing over and through it in an evident attempt to spoil it before he

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could eat it. Just to see them doing it was enough to poison it for him. Besides, he could hear their voices urging Mersereau to do it. "That's right—poison it!" "He can't last much longer!" "Soon he'll be wea\ enough so that when you grip him he will really die!" It was thus that they actually talked—he could hear them. He also heard vile phrases addressed to him by Mersereau, the iterated and reiterated words "murderer" and "swindler" and "cheat," there in the middle of the night. Often, although the light was still on, he saw as many as seven dark figures, very much like Mersereau's, although different, gathered close about him,—like men in consultation— evil men. Some of them sat upon his bed, and it seemed as if they were about to help Mersereau to finish him, adding their hands to his. Behind them again was a complete circle of all those evil, swimming things with green and red eyes, always watching—helping, probably. He had actually felt the pressure of the hand to grow stronger of late, when they were all there. Only, just before he felt he was going to faint, and because he could not spring up any more, he invariably screamed or gasped a choking gasp and held his finger on the button which would bring Miss Koehler. Then she would come, lift him up, and fix his pillows. She also always assured him that it was only the inflammation of his throat, and rubbed it with alcohol, and gave him a few drops of something internally to ease it. After all this time, and in spite of anything he could tell them, they still believed, or pretended to believe, that he was suffering from tuberculosis, and that all the rest of this was delusion, a phase of insanity! And Mersereau's skeleton still out there on the Monte Orte! And Mersereau's plan, with the help of others, of course, was to choke him to death, there was no doubt of that now; and yet they would believe after he was gone that he had died of tuberculosis of the throat. Think of that. XII—MIDNIGHT OF FEBRUARY 10, 1909

{bending over Davidson): "Softly! Softly! He's quite alseep! He didn't think we could get him—that I THE GHOST OF MERSEREAU

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could! But this time,—yes. Miss Koehler is asleep at the end of the hall and Miss Liggett can't come, can't hear. He's too weak now. He can scarcely move or groan. Strengthen my hand, will you! I will grip him so tight this time that he won't get away! His cries won't help him this time! He can't cry as he once did! Now! Now!" A CLOUD OF EVIL SPIRITS {swimming about) : "Right! Right! Good! Good! Now! Ah!" DAVIDSON (waging, choking, screaming, and feebly striking out): "Help! Help! H-e-l-p! Miss—Miss—H-e—l-p!" Miss LIGGETT {dozing heavily in her chair) : "Everything is still. N o one restless. I can sleep." (Her head nods.) T H E CLOUD OF EVIL SPIRITS: "Good! Good! Good! His soul at last! Here it comes! He couldn't escape this time! Ah! Good! Good! Now!" MERSEREAU {to Davidson): "You murderer! At last! At last!" XIII—3 A.M. OF FEBRUARY 17, 1909

Miss KOEHLER {at the bedside, distressed and pale) : "He must have died some time between one and two, doctor. I left him at one o'clock, comfortable as I could make him. He said he was feeling as well as could be expected. He's been very weak during the last few days, taking only a little gruel. Between half past one and two I thought I heard a noise, and came to see. He was lying just as you see here, except that his hands were up to his throat, as if it were hurting or choking him. I put them down for fear they would stiffen that way. In trying to call one of the other nurses just now, I found that the bell was out of order, although I know it was all right when I left, because he always made me try it. So he may have tried to ring." {turning the head and examining the throat) : "It looks as if he had clutched at his throat rather tightly this time, I must say. Here is the mark of his thumb on this side and of his four fingers on the other. Rather deep for the little strength he had. Odd that he should have imagined that someone else was trying to choke him, when he was always pressing at his own neck! Throat tubercuolsis is very painful at times. That would explain the desire to clutch at his throat." DR. MAJOR

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Miss LIGGETT: "He was always believing that an evil spirit was trying to choke him, doctor." DR. MAJOR: "Yes, I know—association of ideas. Dr. Scain and I agree as to that. He had a bad case of chronic tuberculosis of the throat, with accompanying malnutrition, due to the effect of the throat on the stomach; and his notion about evil spirits pursuing him and trying to choke him was simply due to an innate tendency on the part of the subconscious mind to join things together—any notion, say, with any pain. If he had had a diseased leg, he would have imagined that evil spirits were attempting to saw it off, or something like that. In the same way the condition of his throat affected his stomach, and he imagined that the spirits were doing something to his food. Make out a certificate showing acute tuberculosis of the esophagus as the cause, with delusions of persecution as his mental condition. While I am here we may as well look in on Mr. Baff."

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ERNEST HEMINGWAY Why he selected

The S H O R T

HAPPY

LIFE of FRANCIS MACOMBER

Referring to the many kinds of stories in his collection, The Fifth Column and the First 49 Stories, Ernest Hemingway listed "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber" first in the seven stories of his own he liked the best. . . . A laconic man, Mr. Hemingway wrote on May 12 to the editor of this anthology: "If you want to print a selection of my work, I would suggest your reprinting 'The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber' and simply say that Mr. Hemingway thought that this was as reprintable as any other of his stories." Cuba ERNEST HEMINGWAY June, 1942

I

T WAS now lunch time and they were all sitting under the double green fly of the dining tent pretending that nothing had happened. "Will you have lime juice or lemon squash?" Macomber asked. "I'll have a gimlet," Robert Wilson told him. "I'll have a gimlet too. I need something," Macomber's wife said. "I suppose it's the thing to do," Macomber agreed. "Tell him to make three gimlets." The mess boy had started them already, lifting the bottles out of the canvas cooling bags that sweated wet in the wind that blew through the trees that shaded the tents. "What had I ought to give them?" Macomber asked. "A quid would be plenty," Wilson told him. "You don't want to spoil them." 22

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"Will the headman distribute it?" "Absolutely." Francis Macomber had, half an hour before, been carried to his tent from the edge of the camp in triumph on the arms and shoulders of the cook, the personal boys, the skinner and the porters. The gunbearers had taken no part in the demonstration. When the native boys put him down at the door of his tent, he had shaken all their hands, received their congratulations, and then gone into the tent and sat on the bed until his wife came in. She did not speak to him when she came in and he left the tent at once to wash his face and hands in the portable wash basin outside and go over to the dining tent to sit in a comfortable canvas chair in the breeze and the shade. "You've got your lion," Robert Wilson said to him, "and a damned fine one too." Mrs. Macomber looked at Wilson quickly. She was an extremely handsome and well-kept woman of the beauty and social position which had, five years before, commanded five thousand dollars as the price of endorsing, with photographs, a beauty product which she had never used. She had been married to Francis Macomber for eleven years. "He is a good lion, isn't he?" Macomber said. His wife looked at him now. She looked at both these men as though she had never seen them before. One, Wilson, the white hunter, she knew she had never truly seen before. He was about middle height with sandy hair, a stubby mustache, a very red face and extremely cold blue eyes with faint white wrinkles at the corners that grooved merrily when he smiled. He smiled at her now and she looked away from his face at the way his shoulders sloped in the loose tunic he wore with the four big cartridges held in loops where the left breast pocket should have been, at his big brown hands, his old slacks, his very dirty boots and back to his red face again. She noticed where the baked red of his face stopped in a white line that marked the circle left by his Stetson hat that hung now from one of the pegs of the tent pole. "Well, here's to the lion," Robert Wilson said. He smiled at her again and, not smiling, she looked curiously at her husband. Francis Macomber was very tall, very well built if you did not mind that length of bone, dark, his hair cropped like an oarsman, rather

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thin-lipped, and was considered handsome. He was dressed in the same sort of safari clothes that Wilson wore except that his were new, he was thirty-five years old, kept himself very fit, was good at court games, had a number of big-game fishing records, and had just shown himself, very publicly, to be a coward. "Here's to the lion," he said. "I can't ever thank you for what you did." Margaret, his wife, looked away from him and back to Wilson. "Let's not talk about the lion," she said. Wilson looked over at her without smiling and now she smiled at him. "It's been a very strange day," she said. "Hadn't you ought to put your hat on even under the canvas at noon? You told me that, you know." "Might put it on," said Wilson. "You know you have a very red face, Mr. Wilson," she told him and smiled again. "Drink," said Wilson. "I don't think so," she said. "Francis drinks a great deal, but his face is never red." "It's red today," Macomber tried a joke. "No," said Margaret. "It's mine that's red today. But Mr. Wilson's is always red." "Must be racial," said Wilson. "I say, you wouldn't like to drop my beauty as a topic, would you ?" "I've just started on it." "Let's chuck it," said Wilson. "Conversation is going to be so difficult," Margaret said. "Don't be silly, Margot," her husband said. "No difficulty," Wilson said. "Got a damn fine lion." Margot looked at them both and they both saw that she was going to cry. Wilson had seen it coming for a long time and he dreaded it. Macomber was past dreading it. "I wish it hadn't happened. Oh, I wish it hadn't happened," she said and started for her tent. She made no noise of crying but they could see that her shoulders were shaking under the rose-colored, sunproofed shirt she wore.

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"Women upset," said Wilson to the tall man. "Amounts to nothing. Strain on the nerves and one thing'n another." "No," said Macomber. "I suppose that I rate that for the rest of my life now." "Nonsense. Let's have a spot of the giant killer," said Wilson. "Forget the whole thing. Nothing to it anyway." "We might try," said Macomber. "I won't forget what you did for me though." "Nothing," said Wilson. "All nonsense." So they sat there in the shade where the camp was pitched under some wide-topped acacia trees with a boulder-strewn cliff behind them, and a stretch of grass that ran to the bank of a boulder-filled stream in front with forest beyond it, and drank their just-cool lime drinks and avoided one another's eyes while the boys set the table for lunch. Wilson could tell that the boys all knew about it now and when he saw Macomber's personal boy looking curiously at his master while he was putting dishes on the table he snapped at him in Swahili. The boy turned away with his face blank. "What were you telling him?" Macomber asked. "Nothing. Told him to look alive or I'd see he got about fifteen of the best." "What's that? Lashes?" "It's quite illegal," Wilson said. "You're supposed to fine them." "Do you still have them whipped?" "Oh, yes. They could raise a row if they chose to complain. But they don't. They prefer it to the fines." "How strange!" said Macomber. "Not strange, really," Wilson said. "Which would you rather do? Take a good birching or lose your pay?" Then he felt embarrassed at asking it and before Macomber could answer he went on, "We all take a beating every day, you know, one way or another." This was no better. "Good God," he thought. "I am a diplomat, aren't I?" "Yes, we take a beating," said Macomber, still not looking at him. "I'm awfully sorry about that lion business. It doesn't have to go any further, does it? I mean no one will hear about it. will they?"

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"You mean will I tell it at the Mathaiga Club?" Wilson looked at him now coldly. He had not expected this. So he's a bloody four-letter man as well as a bloody coward, he thought. I rather liked him too until today. But how is one to know about an American? "No," said Wilson. "I'm a professional hunter. We never talk about our clients. You can be quite easy on that. It's supposed to be bad form to ask us not to talk though." He had decided now that to break would be much easier. He would eat, then, by himself and could read a book with his meals. They would eat by themselves. He would see them through the safari on a very formal basis—what was it the French called it? Distinguished consideration—and it would be a damn sight easier than having to go through this emotional trash. He'd insult him and make a good clean break. Then he could read a book with his meals and he'd still be drinking their whisky. That was the phrase for it when a safari went bad. You ran into another white hunter and you asked, "How is everything going?" and he answered, "Oh, I'm still drinking their whisky," and you knew everything had gone to pot. "I'm sorry," Macomber said and looked at him with his American face that would stay adolescent until it became middle-aged, and Wilson noted his crew-cropped hair, fine eyes only faintly shifty, good nose, thin lips and handsome jaw. "I'm sorry I didn't realize that. There are lots of things I don't know." So what could he do, Wilson thought. He was all ready to break it off quickly and neatly and here the beggar was apologizing after he had just insulted him. He made one more attempt. "Don't worry about me talking," he said. "I have a living to make. You know in Africa no woman ever misses her lion and no white man ever bolts." "I bolted like a rabbit," Macomber said. Now what in hell were you going to do about a man who talked like that, Wilson wondered. Wilson looked at Macomber with his flat, blue, machine-gunner's eyes and the other smiled back at him. He had a pleasant smile if you did not notice how his eyes showed when he was hurt. "Maybe I can fix it up on buffalo," he said. "We're after them next, aren't we?" "In the morning if you like," Wilson told him. Perhaps he had

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been wrong. This was certainly the way to take it. You most certainly could not tell a damned thing about an American. He was all for Macomber again. If you could forget the morning. But, of course, you couldn't. The morning had been about as bad as they come. "Here comes the Memsahib," he said. She was walking over from her tent looking refreshed and cheerful and quite lovely. She had a very perfect oval face, so perfect that you expected her to be stupid. But she wasn't stupid, Wilson thought, no, not stupid. "How is the beautiful red-faced Mr. Wilson? Are you feeling better, Francis, my pearl?" "Oh, much," said Macomber. "I've dropped the whole thing," she said, sitting down at the table. "What importance is there to whether Francis is any good at killing lions? That's not his trade. That's Mr. Wilson's trade. Mr. Wilson is really very impressive killing anything. You do kill anything, don't you?" "Oh, anything," said Wilson. "Simply anything." They are, he thought, the hardest in the world; the hardest, the crudest, the most predatory and the most attractive and their men have softened or gone to pieces nervously as they have hardened. Or is it that they pick men they can handle? They can't know that much at the age they marry, he thought. He was grateful that he had gone through his education on American women before now because this was a very attractive one. "We're going after buff in the morning," he told her. "I'm coming," she said. "No, you're not." "Oh, yes, I am. Mayn't I, Francis?" "Why not stay in camp?" "Not for anything," she said. "I wouldn't miss something like today for anything." When she left, Wilson was thinking, when she went off to cry, she seemed a hell of a fine woman. She seemed to understand, to realize, to be hurt for him and for herself and to know how things really stood. She is away for twenty minutes and now she is back, simply enamelled in that American female cruelty. They are the damnedest women. Really the damnedest.

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"We'll put on another show for you tomorrow," Francis Macomber said. "You're not coming," Wilson said. "You're very mistaken," she told him. "And I want so to see you perform again. You were lovely this morning. That is if blowing things' heads off is lovely." "Here's the lunch," said Wilson. "You're very merry, aren't you?" "Why not ? I didn't come out here to be dull." "Well, it hasn't been dull," Wilson said. He could see the boulders in the river and the high bank beyond with the trees and he remembered the morning. "Oh, no," she said. "It's been charming. And tomorrow. You don't know how I look forward to tomorrow." "That's eland he's offering you," Wilson said. "They're the big cowy things that jump like hares, aren't they?" "I suppose that describes them," Wilson said. "It's very good meat," Macomber said. "Did you shoot it, Francis?" she asked. "Yes." "They're not dangerous, are they?" "Only if they fall on you," Wilson told her. "I'm so glad." "Why not let up on the bitchery just a little, Margot," Macomber said, cutting the eland steak and putting some mashed potato, gravy and carrot on the down-turned fork that tined through the piece of meat. "I suppose I could," she said, "since you put it so prettily." "Tonight we'll have champagne for the lion," Wilson said. "It's a bit too hot at noon." "Oh the lion," Margot said. "I'd forgotten the lion!" So, Robert Wilson thought to himself, she is giving him a ride, isn't she? Or do you suppose that's her idea of putting up a good show? How should a woman act when she discovers her husband is a bloody coward? She's damn cruel but they're all cruel. They govern, of course, and to govern one has to be cruel sometimes. Still, I've seen enough of their damn terrorism. "Have some more eland," he said to her politely.

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That afternoon, late, Wilson and Macomber went out in the motor car with the native driver and the two gun-bearers. Mrs. Macomber stayed in the camp. It was too hot to go out, she said, and she was going with them in the early morning. As they drove off Wilson saw her standing under the big tree, looking pretty rather than beautiful in her faintly rosy khaki, her dark hair drawn back off her forehead and gathered in a knot low on her neck, her face as fresh, he thought, as though she were in England. She waved to them as the car went off through the swale of high grass and curved around through the trees into the small hills of orchard bush. In the orchard bush they found a herd of impala, and leaving the car they stalked one old ram with long, wide-spread horns and Macomber killed it with a very creditable shot that knocked the buck down at a good two hundred yards and sent the herd off bounding wildly and leaping over one another's backs in long, leg-drawn-up leaps as unbelievable and as floating as those one makes sometimes in dreams. "That was a good shot," Wilson said. "They're a small target." "Is it a worth-while head?" Macomber asked. "It's excellent," Wilson told him. "You shoot like that and you'll have no trouble." "Do you think we'll find buffalo tomorrow?" "There's a good chance of it. They feed out early in the morning and with luck we may catch them in the open." "I'd like to clear away that lion business," Macomber said. "It's not very pleasant to have your wife see you do something like that." I should think it would be even more unpleasant to do it, Wilson thought, wife or no wife, or to talk about it having done it. But he said, "I wouldn't think about that any more. Any one could be upset by his first lion. That's all over." But that night after dinner and a whisky and soda by the fire before going to bed, as Francis Macomber lay on his cot with the mosquito bar over him and listened to the night noises it was not all over. It was neither all over nor was it beginning. It was there exactly as it happened with some parts of it indelibly emphasized and he was miserably ashamed at it. But more than shame he felt cold, hollow fear in him, The fear was still there like a cold slimy hollow in all the empti-

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ness where once his confidence had been and it made him feel sick. It was still there with him now. It had started the night before when he had wakened and heard the lion roaring somewhere up along the river. It was a deep sound and at the end there were sort of coughing grunts that made him seem just outside the tent, and when Francis Macomber woke in the night to hear it he was afraid. He could hear his wife breathing quietly, asleep. There was no one to tell he was afraid, nor to be afraid with him, and, lying alone, he did not know the Somali proverb that says a brave man is always frightened three times by a lion; when he first sees his track, when he first hears him roar and when he first confronts him. Then while they were eating breakfast by lantern light out in the dining tent, before the sun was up, the lion roared again and Francis thought he was just at the edge of camp. "Sounds like an old-timer," Robert Wilson said, looking up from his kippers and coffee. "Listen to him cough." "Is he very close?" "A mile or so up the stream." "Will we see him?" "We!U have a look." "Does his roaring carry that far ? It sounds as though he were right in camp." "Carries a hell of a long way," said Robert Wilson. "It's strange the way it carries. Hope he's a shootable cat. The boys said there was a very big one about here." "If I get a shot, where should I hit him," Macomber asked, "to stop him?" "In the shoulders," Wilson said. "In the neck if you can make it. Shoot for bone. Break him down." "I hope I can place it properly," Macomber said. "You shoot very well," Wilson told him. "Take your time. Make sure of him. The first one in is the one that counts." "What range will it be?" "Can't tell. Lion has something to say about that. Won't shoot unless it's close enough so you can make sure." "At under a hundred yards?" Macomber asked. Wilson looked at him quickly.

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"Hundred's about right. Might have to take him a bit under. Shouldn't chance a shot at much over that. A hundred's a decent range. You can hit him wherever you want at that. Here comes the Memsahib." "Good morning," she said. "Are we going after that lion?" "As soon as you deal v/ith your breakfast," Wilson said. "How are you feeling?" "Marvellous," she said. "I'm very excited." "I'll just go and see that everything is ready," Wilson went off. As he left the lion roared again. "Noisy beggar," Wilson said. "We'll put a stop to that." "What's the matter, Francis?" his wife asked him. "Nothing," Macomber said. "Yes, there is," she said. "What are you upset about?" "Nothing," he said. "Tell me," she looked at him. "Don't you feel well?" "It's that damned roaring," he said. "It's been going on all night, you know." "Why didn't you wake me," she said. "I'd love to have heard it." "I've got to kill the damned thing," Macomber said, miserably. "Well, that's what you're out here for, isn't it?" "Yes. But I'm nervous. Hearing the thing roar gets on my nerves." "Well then, as Wilson said, kill him and stop his roaring." . "Yes, darling," said Francis Macomber. "It sounds easy, doesn't it?" "You're not afraid, are you?" "Of course not. But I'm nervous from hearing him roar all night." "You'll kill him marvellously," she said. "I know you will. I'm awfully anxious to see it." "Finish your breakfast and we'll be starting." "It's not light yet," she said. "This is a ridiculous hour." Just then the lion roared in a deep-chested moaning, suddenly guttural, ascending vibration that seemed to shake the air and ended in a sigh and a heavy, deep-chested grunt. "He sounds almost here," Macomber's wife said. "My God," said Macomber. "I hate that damned noise." "It's very impressive." "Impressive. It's frightful."

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Robert Wilson came up then carrying his short, ugly, shockingly big-bored .505 Gibbs and grinning. "Come on," he said. "Your gun-bearer has your Springfield and the big gun. Everything's in the car. Have you solids?" "Yes." "I'm ready," Mrs. Macomber said. "Must make him stop that racket," Wilson said. "You get in front. The Memsahib can sit back here with me." They climbed into the motor car and, in the gray first daylight, moved off up the river through the trees. Macomber opened the breech of his rifle and saw he had metal-cased bullets, shut the bolt and put the rifle on safety. He saw his hand was trembling. He felt in his pocket for more cartridges and moved his fingers over the cartridges in the loops of his tunic front. He turned back to where Wilson sat in the rear seat of the doorless, box-bodied motor car beside his wife, them both grinning with excitement, and Wilson leaned forward and whispered, "See the birds dropping. Means the old boy has left his kill." On the far bank of the stream Macomber could see, above the trees, vultures circling and plummeting down. "Chances are he'll come to drink along here," Wilson whispered. "Before he goes to lay up. Keep an eye out." They were driving slowly along the high bank of the stream which here cut deeply to its boulder-filled bed, and they wound in and out through big trees as they drove. Macomber was watching the opposite bank when he felt Wilson take hold of his arm. The car stopped. "There he is," he heard the whisper. "Ahead and to the right. Get out and take him. He's a marvellous lion." Macomber saw the lion now. He was standing almost broadside, his great head up and turned toward them. The early morning breeze that blew toward them was just stirring his dark mane, and the lion looked huge, silhouetted on the rise of bank in the gray morning light, his shoulders heavy, his barrel of a body bulking smoothly. "How far is he?" asked Macomber, raising his rifle. "About seventy-five. Get out and take him." "Why not shoot from where I am?"

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"You don't shoot them from cars," he heard Wilson saying in his ear. "Get out. He's not going to stay there all day." Macomber stepped out of the curved opening at the side of the front seat, onto the step and down onto the ground. The lion still stood looking majestically and coolly toward this object that his eyes only showed in silhouette, bulking like some super-rhino. There was no man smell carried toward him and he watched the object, moving his great head a little from side to side. Then watching the object, not afraid, but hesitating before going down the bank to drink with such a thing opposite him, he saw a man figure detach itself from it and he turned his heavy head and swung away toward the cover of the trees as he heard a cracking crash and felt the slam of a .30-06 220-grain solid bullet that bit his flank and ripped in sudden hot scalding nausea dirough his stomach. He trotted, heavy, big-footed, swinging wounded full-bellied, through the trees toward the tall grass and cover, and the crash came again to go past him ripping the air apart. Then it crashed again and he felt the blow as it hit his lower ribs and ripped on through, blood sudden hot and frothy in his mouth, and he galloped toward the high grass where he could crouch and not be seen and make them bring the crashing thing close enough so he could make a rush and get the man that held it. Macomber had not thought how the lion felt as he got out of the car. He only knew his hands were shaking and as he walked away from the car it was almost impossible for him to make his legs move. They were stiff in the thighs, but he could feel the muscles fluttering. He raised the rifle, sighted on the junction of the lion's head and shoulders and pulled the trigger. Nothing happened though he pulled until he thought his finger would break. Then he knew he had the safety on and as he lowered the rifle to move the safety over he moved another frozen pace forward, and the lion seeing his silhouette now clear of the silhouette of the car, turned and started off at a trot, and, as Macomber fired, he heard a whunk that meant that the bullet was home; but the lion kept on going. Macomber shot again and every one saw the bullet throw a spout of dirt beyond the trotting lion. He shot again, remembering to lower his aim, and they all heard the bullet hit, and the lion went into a gallop and was in the tall grass before he had the bolt pushed forward.

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Macomber stood there feeling sick at his stomach, his hands that held the Springfield still cocked, shaking, and his wife and Robert Wilson were standing by him. Beside him too were the two gunbearers chattering in Wakamba. "I hit him," Macomber said. "I hit him twice." "You gut-shot him and you hit him somewhere forward," Wilson said without enthusiasm. The gun-bearers looked very grave. They were silent now. "You may have killed him," Wilson went on. "We'll have to wait a while before we go in to find out." "What do you mean?" "Let him get sick before we follow him up." "Oh," said Macomber. "He's a hell of a fine lion," Wilson said cheerfully. "He's gotten into a bad place though." "Why is it bad?" "Can't see him until you're on him." "Oh," said Macomber. "Come on," said Wilson. "The Memsahib can stay here in the car. We'll go to have a look at the blood spoor." "Stay here, Margot," Macomber said to his wife. His mouth was very dry and it was hard for him to talk. "Why?" she asked. "Wilson says to." "We're going to have a look," Wilson said. "You stay here. You can see even better from here." "All right." Wilson spoke in Swahili to the driver. He nodded and said, "Yes, Bwana." Then they went down the steep bank and across the stream, climbing over and around the boulders and up the otlier bank, pulling up by some projecting roots, and along it until they found where the lion had been trotting when Macomber first shot. There was dark blood on the short grass that the gun-bearers pointed out with grass stems, and that ran away behind the river bank trees. "What do we do?" asked Macomber. "Not much choice," said Wilson. "We can't bring the car over.

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Bank's too steep. We'll let him stiffen up a bit and then you and I'll go in and have a look for him." "Can't we set the grass on fire?" Macomber asked. "Too green." "Can't we send beaters?" Wilson looked at him appraisingly. "Of course we can," he said. "But it's just a touch murderous. You see we know the lion's wounded. You can drive an unwounded lion—he'll move on ahead of a noise— but a wounded lion's going to charge. You can't see him until you're right on him. He'll make himself perfectly flat in cover you wouldn't think would hide a hare. You can't very well send boys in there to that sort of a show. Somebody bound to get mauled." "What about the gun-bearers?" "Oh, they'll go with us. It's their shauri. You see, they signed on for it. They don't look too happy though, do they?" "I don't want to go in there," said Macomber. It was out before he knew he'd said it. "Neither do I," said Wilson very cheerily. "Really no choice though." Then, as an afterthought, he glanced at Macomber and saw suddenly how he was trembling and the pitiful look on his face. "You don't have to go in of course," he said. "That's what I'm hired for, you know. That's why I'm so expensive." "You mean you'd go in by yourself? Why not leave him there?" Robert Wilson, whose entire occupation had been with the lion and the problem he presented, and who had not been thinking about Macomber except to note that he was rather windy, suddenly felt as though he had opened the wrong door in a hotel and seen something shameful. "What do you mean?" "Why not just leave him?" "You mean pretend to ourselves he hasn't been hit?" "No. Just drop it." "It isn't done." "Why not?" ' "For one thing, he's certain to be suffering. For another, some one else might run onto him." "I see."

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"But you don't have to have anything to do with it." "I'd like to," Macomber said. "I'm just scared, you know." "I'll go ahead when we go in," Wilson said, "with Kongoni tracking. You keep behind me and a little to one side. Chances are we'll hear him growl. If we see him we'll both shoot. Don't worry about anything. I'll keep you backed up. As a matter of fact, you know, perhaps you'd better not go. It might be much better. Why don't you go over and join the Memsahib while I just get it over with?" "No, I want to go." "All right," said Wilson. "But don't go in if you don't want to. This is my shauri now, you know." "I want to go," said Macomber. They sat under a tree and smoked. "Want to go back and speak to the Memsahib while we're waiting?" Wilson asked. "No." "I'll just step back and tell her to be patient." "Good," said Macomber. He sat there, sweating under his arms, his mouth dry, his stomach hollow feeling, wanting to find courage to tell Wilson to go on and finish off the lion without him. He could not know that Wilson was furious because he had not noticed the state he was in earlier and sent him back to his wife. While he sat there Wilson came up. "I have your big gun," he said. "Take it. We've given him time, I think. Come on." Macomber took the big gun and Wilson said: "Keep behind me and about five yards to the right and do exactly as I tell you." Then he spoke in Swahili to the two gun-bearers who looked the picture of gloom. "Let's go," he said. "Could I have a drink of water?" Macomber asked. Wilson spoke to the older gun-bearer, who wore a canteen on his belt, and the man unbuckled it, unscrewed the top and handed it to Macomber, who took it noticing how heavy it seemed and how hairy and shoddy the felt covering was in his hand. He raised it to drink and looked ahead at the high grass with the flat-topped trees behind it. A breeze was blowing toward them and the grass rippled gently in the wind. He

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looked at the gun-bearer and he could see the gun-bearer was suffering too with fear. Thirty-five yards into the grass the big lion lay flattened out along the ground. His ears were back and his only movement was a slight twitching up and down of his long, black-tufted tail. He had turned at bay as soon as he had reached this cover and he was sick with the wound through his full belly, and weakening with the wound through his lungs that brought a thin foamy red to his mouth each time he breathed. His flanks were wet and hot and flies were on the little openings the solid bullets had made in his tawny hide, and his big yellow eyes, narrowed with hate, looked straight ahead, only blinking when the pain came as he breathed, and his claws dug in the soft baked earth. All of him, pain, sickness, hatred and all of his remaining strength, was tightening into an absolute concentration for a rush. He could hear the men talking and he waited, gathering all of himself into this preparation for a charge as soon as the men would come into the grass. As he heard their voices his tail stiffened to twitch up and down, and, as they came into the edge of the grass, he made a coughing grunt and charged. Kongoni, the old gun-bearer, in the lead watching the blood spoor, Wilson watching the grass for any movement, his big gun ready, the second gun-bearer looking ahead and listening, Macomber close to Wilson, his rifle cocked, they had just moved into the grass when Macomber heard the blood-choked coughing grunt, and saw the swishing rush in the grass. The next thing he knew he was running; running wildly, in panic in the open, running toward the stream. He heard the ca-ra-wongl of Wilson's big rifle, and again in a second crashing carawongl and turning saw the lion, horrible-looking now with half his head seeming to be gone, crawling toward Wilson in the edge of the tall grass while the red-faced man worked the bolt on the short ugly rifle and aimed carefully as another blasting carawongi came from the muzzle, and the crawling, heavy, yellow bulk of the lion stiffened and the huge, mutilated head slid forward and Macomber, standing by himself in the clearing where he had run, holding a loaded rifle, while two black men and a white man looked back at him in contempt, knew the lion was dead. He came toward Wilson,

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his tallness all seeming a naked reproach, and Wilson looked at him and said: "Want to take pictures?" "No," he said. That was all anyone had said 'until they reached the motor car. Then Wilson had said: "Hell of a fine lion. Boys will skin him out. We might as well stay here in the shade." Macomber's wife had not looked at him nor he at her and he had sat by her in the back seat with Wilson sitting in the front seat. Once he had reached over and taken his wife's hand without looking at he) and she had removed her hand from his. Looking across the stream to where the gun-bearers were skinning out the lion he could see that she had been able to see the whole thing. While they sat there his wife had reached forward and put her hand on Wilson's shoulder. He turned and she had leaned forward over the low seat and kissed him on the mouth. "Oh, T say," said Wilson, going redder than his natural baked color. "Mr. Robert Wilson," she said. "The beautiful red-faced Mr. Roberr Wilson." Then she sat down beside Macomber again and looked away across the stream to where the lion lay, with uplifted, white-muscled, tendonmarked naked forearms, and white bloating belly, as the black men fleshed away the skin. Finally the gun-bearers brought the skin over, wet and heavy, and climbed in behind with it, rolling it up before they got in, and the motor car started. No one had said anything more until they were back in camp. That was the story of the lion. Macomber did not know how the lion had felt before he started his rush, nor during it when the unbelievable smash of the .505 with a muzzle velocity of two tons had hit him in the mouth, nor what kept him coming after that, when the Second ripping crash had smashed his hind quarters and he had come crawling on toward the crashing, blasting thing that had destroyed him. Wilson knew something about it and only expressed it by saying, "Damned fine lion," but Macomber did not know how Wilson felt

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about things either. He did not know how his wife felt except that she was through with him. His wife had been through with him before but it never lasted. He was very wealthy, and would be much wealthier, and he knew she would not leave him ever now. That was one of the few things that he really knew. He knew about that, about motor cycles—that was earliest—about motor cars, about duck-shooting, about fishing, trout, salmon and big-sea, about sex in books, many books, too many books, about all court games, about dogs, not much about horses, about hanging on to his money, about most of the other things his world dealt in, and about his wife not leaving him. His wife had been a great beauty and she was still a great beauty in Africa, but she was not a great enough beauty any more at home to be able to leave him and better herself and she knew it and he knew it. She had missed the chance to leave him and he knew it. If he had been better with women she would probably have started to worry about him getting another new, beautiful wife; but she knew too much about him to worry about him either. Also, he had always had a great tolerance which seemed the nicest thing about him if it were not the most sinister. All in all they were known as a comparatively happily married couple, one of those whose disruption is often rumored but never occurs, and as the society columnist put it, they were adding more than a spice of adventure to their much envied and ever-enduring Romance by a Safari in what was known as Darkest Africa until the Martin Johnsons lighted it on so many silver screens where they were pursuing Old Simba the lion, the buffalo, Tembo the elephant and as well collecting specimens for the Museum of Natural History. This same columnist had reported them on the verge at least three times in the past and they had been. But they always made it up. They had a sound basis of union. Margot was too beautiful for Macomber to divorce her and Macomber had too much money for Margot ever to leave him. It was now about three o'clock in the morning and Francis Macomber, who had been asleep a little while after he had stopped thinking about the lion, wakened and then slept again, woke suddenly, frightened in a dream of the bloody-headed lion standing over him, and listening while his heart pounded, he realized that his wife was

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not in the other cot in the tent. He lay awake with that knowledge for two hours. At the end of that time his wife came into the tent, lifted her mosquito bar and crawled cozily into bed. "Where have you been?" Macomber asked in the darkness. "Hello," she said. "Are you awake?" "Where have you been?" "I just went out to get a breath of air." "You did, like hell." "What do you want me to say, darling?" "Where have you been?" "Out to get a breath of air." "That's a new name for it. You are a bitch." "Well, you're a coward." "All right," he said. "What of it?" "Nothing as far as I'm concerned. But please let's not talk, darling, because I'm very sleepy." "You think that I'll take anything." "I know you will, sweet." "Well, I won't." "Please, darling, let's not talk. I'm so very sleepy." "There wasn't going to be any of that. You promised there wouldn't be." "Well, there is now," she said sweetly. ' "You said if we made this trip that there would be none of that. You promised." "Yes, darling. That's the way I meant it to be. But the trip was spoiled yesterday. We don't have to talk about it, do we?" "You don't wait long when you have an advantage, do you?" "Please let's not talk. I'm so sleepy, darling." ' I ' m going to talk." "Don't mind me then, because I'm going to sleep." And she did. At breakfast they were all three at the table before daylight and Francis Macomber found that, of all the many men that he had hated, he hated Robert Wilson the most. "Sleep well?" Wilson asked in his throaty voice, filling a pipe. "Did you?"

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"Topping," the white hunter told him. You bastard, thought Macomber, you insolent bastard. So she woke him when she came in, Wilson thought, looking at them both with his flat, cold eyes. Well, why doesn't he keep his wife where she belongs ? What does he think I am, a bloody plaster saint ? Let him keep her where she belongs. It's his own fault. "Do you think we'll find buffalo?" Margot asked, pushing away a dish of apricots. "Chance of it," Wilson said and smiled at her. "Why don't you stay in camp?" "Not for anything," she told him. "Why not order her to stay in camp?" Wilson said to Macomber. "You order her," said Macomber coldly. "Let's not have any ordering, nor," turning to Macomber, "any silliness, Francis," Margot said quite pleasantly. "Are you ready to start?" Macomber asked. "Any time," Wilson told him. "Do you want the Memsahib to go?" "Does it make any difference whether I do or not?" The hell with it, thought Robert Wilson. The utter complete hell with it. So this is what it's going to be like. Well, this is what it's going to be like, then. "Makes no difference," he said. "You're sure you wouldn't like to stay in camp with her yourself and let me go out and hunt the buffalo?" Macomber asked. "Can't do that," said Wilson. "Wouldn't talk rot if I were you." "I'm not talking rot. I'm disgusted." "Bad word, disgusted." "Francis, will you please try to speak sensibly?" his wife said. "I speak too damned sensibly," Macomber said. "Did you ever eal such filthy food?" "Something wrong with the food?" asked Wilson quietly. "No more than with everything else." "I'd pull yourself together, laddybuck," Wilson said very quietly. "There's a boy waits at table that understands a little English." "The hell with him." Wilson stood up and puffing on his pipe strolled away, speaking a few words in Swahili to one of the gun-bearers who was standing

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waiting for him. Macomber and his wife sat on at the table. He was staring at his coffee cup. "If you make a scene I'll leave you, darling," Margot said quietly. "No, you won't." "You can try it and see." "You won't leave me." "No," she said. "I won't leave you and you'll behave yourself." "Behave myself? That's a way to talk. Behave myself." "Yes. Behave yourself." "Why don't you try behaving?" "I've tried it so long. So very long." "I hate that red-faced swine," Macomber said. "I loathe the sight of him." "He's really very nice." "Oh, shut up" Macomber almost shouted. Just then the car came up and stopped in front of the dining tent and the driver and the two gun-bearers got out. Wilson walked over and looked at the husband and wife sitting there at the table. "Going shooting?" he asked. "Yes," said Macomber, standing up. :'Yes." "Better bring a woolly. It will be cool in the car," Wilson said. "I'll get my leather jacket," Margot said. "The boy has it," Wilson told her. He climbed into the front with the driver and Francis Macomber and his wife sat, not speaking, in the back seat. Hope the silly beggar doesn't take a notion to blow the back of my head off, Wilson thought to himself. Women are a nuisance on safari. The car was grinding down to cross the river at a pebbly ford in the gray daylight and then climbed, angling up the steep bank, where Wilson had ordered a way shovelled out the day before so they could reach the parklike wooded rolling country on the far side. It. was a good morning, Wilson thought. There was a heavy dew and as the wheels went through the grass and low bushes he could smell the odor of the crushed fronds. It was an odor like verbena and he liked this early morning smell of the dew, the crushed bracken and the look of the tree trunks showing black through the early morning mist, as the car made its way through the untracked, parklike country.

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He had put the two in the back seat out of his mind now and was thinking about buffalo. The buffalo that he was after stayed in the daytime in a thick swamp where it was impossible to get a shot, but in the night they fed out into an open stretch of country and if he could come between them and their swamp with the car, Macomber would have a good chance at them in the open. He did not want to hunt buff with Macomber in thick cover. He did not want to hunt buff or anything else with Macomber at all, but he was a professional hunter and he had hunted with some rare ones in his time. If they got buff today there would only be rhino to come and the poor man would have gone through his dangerous game and things might pick up. He'd have nothing more to do with the woman and Macomber would get over that too. He must have gone through plenty of that before by the look of things. Poor beggar. He must have a way of getting over it. Well, it was the poor sod's own bloody fault. He, Robert Wilson, carried a double size cot on safari to accommodate any windfalls he might receive. He had hunted for a certain clientele, the international, fast, sporting set, where the women did not feel they were getting their money's worth unless they had shared that cot with the white hunter. He despised them when he was away from them although he liked some of them well enough at the time, but he made his living by them; and their standards were his standards as long as they were hiring him. They were his standards in all except the shooting. He had his own standards about the killing and they could live up to them or get some one else to hunt them. He knew, too, that they all respected him for this. This Macomber was an odd one though. Damned if he wasn't. Now the wife. Well, the wife. Yes, the wife. Hm, the wife. Well he'd dropped all that. He looked around at them. Macomber sat grim and furious. Margot smiled at him. She looked younger today, more innocent and fresher and not so professionally beautiful. What's in her heart God knows, Wilson thought. She hadn't talked much last night. At that it was a pleasure to see her. The motor car climbed up a slight rise and went on through the trees and then out into a grassy prairie-like opening and kept in the shelter of the trees along the edge, the driver going slowly and Wilson looking carefully out across the prairie and all along its far side. He

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stopped the car and studied the opening with his field glasses. Then he motioned to the driver to go on and the car moved slowly along, the driver avoiding wart-hog holes and driving around the mud castles ants had built. Then, looking across the opening, Wilson suddenly turned and said, "By God, there they are!" And looking where he pointed, while the car jumped forward and Wilson spoke in rapid Swahili to the driver, Macomber saw three huge, black animals looking almost cylindrical in their long heaviness, like big black tank cars, moving at a gallop across the far edge of the open prairie. They moved at a stiff-necked, stiff-bodied gallop and he could see the up-swept wide black horns on their heads as they galloped heads out; the heads not moving. "They're three old bulls," Wilson said. "We'll cut them off before they get to the swamp." The car was going a wild forty-five miles an hour across the open and as Macomber watched, the buffalo got bigger and bigger until he could see the gray, hairless, scabby look of one huge bull and how his neck was a part of his shoulders and the shiny black of his horns as he galloped a little behind the others that were strung out in that steady plunging gait; and then, the car swaying as though it had just jumped a road, they drew up close and he could see the plunging hugeness of the bull, and the dust in his sparsely haired hide, the wide boss of horn and his outstretched, wide-nostrilled muzzle, and he was raising his rifle when Wilson shouted, "Not from the car, you fool!" and he had no fear, only hatred of Wilson, while the brakes clamped on and the car skidded, plowing sideways to an almost stop and Wilson was out on one side and he on the other, stumbling as his feet hit the still speeding-by of the earth, and then he was shooting at the bull as he moved away, hearing the bullets whunk into him, emptying his rifle at him as he moved steadily away, finally remembering to get his shots forward into the shoulder, and as he fumbled to re-load, he saw the bull was down. Down on his knees, his big head tossing, and seeing the other two still galloping he shot at the leader and hit him. He shot again and missed and he heard the carawonging roar as Wilson shot and saw the leading bull slide forward onto his nose. "Get that other," Wilson said. "Now you're shooting!"

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But the other bull was moving steadily at the same gallop and he missed, throwing a spout of dirt, and Wilson missed and the dust rose in a cloud and Wilson shouted. "Come on. He's too far!" and grabbed his arm and they were in the car again, Macomber and Wilson hanging on the sides and rocketing swayingly over the uneven ground, drawing up on the steady, plunging, heavy-necked, straightmoving gallop of the bull. They were behind him, and Macomber was filling his rifle, dropping shells onto the ground, jamming it, clearing the jam, then they were almost up with the bull when Wilson yelled "Stop," and the car skidded so that it almost swung over and Macomber fell forward onto his feet, slammed his bolt forward and fired as far forward as he could aim into the galloping, rounded black back, aimed and shot again, then again, then again, and the bullets, all of them hitting, had no effect on the buffalo that he could see. Then Wilson shot, the roar deafening him, and he could see the bull stagger. Macomber shot again, aiming carefully, and down he came, onto his knees. "All right," Wilson said. "Nice work. That's the three." Macomber felt a drunken elation. "How many times did you shoot?" he asked. "Just three," Wilson said. "You killed the first bull. The biggest one. I helped you finish the other two. Afraid they might have got into cover. You had them killed. I was just mopping up a little. You shot damn well." "Let's go to the car," said Macomber. "I want a drink." "Got to finish off that buff first," Wilson told him. The buffalo was on his knees and he jerked his head furiously and bellowed in pig-eyed, roaring rage as they came toward him. "Watch he doesn't get up," Wilson said. Then, "Get a little broadside and take him in the neck just behind the ear." Macomber aimed carefully at the center of the huge, jerking, ragedriven neck and shot. At the shot the head dropped forward. "That does it," said Wilson. "Got the spine. They're a hell of a looking thing, aren't they?" "Let's get the drink," said Macomber. In his life he had never felt so good.

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In the car Macomber's wife sat very white faced. "You were marvellous, darling," she said to Macomber. "What a ride." "Was it rough?" Wilson asked. "It was frightful. I've never been more frightened in my life." "Let's all have a drink," Macomber said. "By all means," said Wilson. "Give it to the Memsahib." She drank the neat whisky from the flask and shuddered a little when she swallowed. She handed the flask to Macomber who handed it to Wilson. "It was frightfully exciting," she said. "It's given me a dreadful headache. I didn't know you were allowed to shoot them from cars though." "No one shot from cars," said Wilson coldly. "I mean chase them from cars." "Wouldn't ordinarily." Wilson said. "Seemed sporting enough to me though while we were doing it. Taking more chance driving that way across the plain full of holes and one thing and another than hunting on foot. Buffalo could have charged us each time we shot if he liked. Gave him every chance. Wouldn't mention it to any one though. It's illegal if that's what you mean." "It seemed very unfair to me," Margot said, "chasing those big helpless things in a motor car." "Did it?" said Wilson. "What would happen if they heard about it in Nairobi?" "I'd lose my license for one thing. Other unpleasantnesses," Wilson said, taking a drink from the flask. "I'd be out of business." "Really?" "Yes, really." "Well," said Macomber, and he smiled for the first time all day. "Now she has something on you." "You have such a pretty way of putting things, Francis," Margot Macomber said. Wilson looked at them both. If a four-letter man marries a five-letter woman, he was thinking, what number of letters would their children be? What he said was, "We lost a gun-bearer. Did you notice it?" "My God no," Macomber said. "Here he comes," Wilson said. "He's all right. He must have fallen off when we left the first bull."

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Approaching them was the middle-aged gun-bearer, limping along in his knitted cap, khaki tunic, shorts and rubber sandals, gloomy-faced and disgusted looking. As he came up he called out to Wilson in Swahili and they all saw the change in the white hunter's face. "What does he say?" asked Margot. "He says the first bull got up and went into the bush," Wilson said with no expression in his voice. "Oh," said Macomber blankly. "Then it's going to be just like the lion," said Margot, full of anticipation. "It's not going to be a damned bit like the lion," Wilson told her. "Did you want another drink, Macomber?" "Thanks, yes." Macomber said. He expected the feeling he had had about the lion to come back but it did not. For the first time in his life he really felt wholly without fear. Instead of fear he had a feeling of definite elation. "We'll go and have a look at the second bull," Wilson said. "I'll tell the driver to put the car in the shade." "What are you going to do?" asked Margaret Macomber. "Take a look at the buff," Wilson said. "I'll come." "Come along." The three of them walked over to where the second buffalo bulked blackly in the open, head forward on the grass, the massive horns swung wide. "He's a very good head," Wilson said. "That's close to a fifty-inch spread." Macomber was looking at him with delight. "He's hateful looking," said Margot. "Can't we go into the shade?" "Of "course," Wilson said. "Look," he said to Macomber, and pointed. "See that patch of bush?" "Yes." "That's where the first bull went in. The gun-bearer said when he fell off the bull was down. He was watching us helling along and the other two buff galloping. When he looked up there was the bull up and looking at him. Gun-bearer ran like hell and the bull went off slowly into that bush."

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"Can we go in after him now?" asked Macomber eagerly. Wilson looked at him appraisingly. Damned if this isn't a strange one, he thought. Yesterday he's scared sick and today he's a ruddy fire eater. "No, we'll give him a while." "Let's please go into the shade," Margot said. Her face was white and she looked ill. They made their way to the car where it stood under a single, widespreading tree and all climbed in. "Chances are he's dead in there," Wilson remarked. "After a little we'll have a look." Macomber felt a wild unreasonable happiness that he had never known before. "By God, that was a chase," he said. "I've never felt any such feeling. Wasn't it marvellous, Margot?" "I hated it." "Why?" "I hated it," she said bitterly. "I loathed it." "You know I don't think I'd ever be afraid of anything again," Macomber said to Wilson. "Something happened in me after we first saw the buff and started after him. Like a dam bursting. It was pure excitement." "Cleans out your liver," said Wilson. "Damn funny things happen to people." Macomber's face was shining. "You know something did happen to me," he said. "I feel absolutely different." His wife said nothing and eyed him strangely. She was sitting far back in the seat and Macomber was sitting forward talking to Wilson who turned sideways talking over the back of the front seat. "You know, I'd like to try another lion," Macomber said. "I'm really not afraid of them now. After all, what can they do to you?" "That's it," said Wilson. "Worst one can do is kill you. How does it go? Shakespeare. Damned good. See if I can remember. Oh, damned good. Used to quote it to myself at one time! Let's see. 'By my troth, I care not; a man can die but once; we owe God a death and let it go which way it will he that dies this year is quit for the next.' Damned fine, eh?"

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He was very embarrassed, having brought out this thing he had lived by, but he had seen men come of age before and it always moved him. It was not a matter of their twenty-first birthday. It had taken a strange chance of hunting, a sudden precipitation into action without opportunity for worrying beforehand, to bring this about with Macomber, but regardless of how it had happened it had most certainly happened. Look at the beggar now, Wilson thought. It's that some of them stay little boys so long, Wilson thought. Sometimes all their lives. Their figures stay boyish when they're fifty. The great American boy-men. Damned strange people. But he liked this Macomber now. Damned strange fellow. Probably meant the end of cuckoldry too. Well, that would be a damned good thing. Damned good thing. Beggar had probably been afraid all his life. Don't know what started it. But over now. Hadn't had time to be afraid with the buff. That and being angry too. Motor car too. Motor cars made it familiar. Be a damn fire eater now. He'd seen it in the war work the same way. More of a change than any loss of virginity. Fear gone like an operation. Something else grew in its place. Main thing a man had. Made him into a man. Women knew it too. No bloody fear. From the far corner of the seat Margaret Macomber looked at the two of them. There was no change in Wilson. She saw Wilson as she had seen him the day before when she had first realized what his great talent was. But she saw the change in Francis Macomber now. "Do you have that feeling of happiness about what's going to happen?" Macomber asked, still exploring his new wealth. "You're not supposed to mention it," Wilson said, looking in the other's face. "Much more fashionable to say you're scared. Mind you, you'll be scared too, plenty of times." "But you have a feeling of happiness about action to come?" "Yes," said Wilson. "There's that. Doesn't do to talk too much about all this. Talk the whole thing away. No pleasure in anything if you mouth it up too much." "You're both talking rot," said Margot. "Just because you've chased some helpless animals in a motor car you talk like heroes." "Sorry," said Wilson. "I have been gassing too much." She's worried about it already, he thought.

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"If you don't know what we're talking about why not keep out of it?" Macomber asked his wife. "You've gotten awfully brave, awfully suddenly," his wife said contemptuously, but her contempt was not secure. She was very afraid of something. Macomber laughed, a very natural hearty laugh. "You know I have," he said. "I really have." "Isn't it sort of late?" Margot said bitterly. Because she had done the best she could for many years back and the way they were together now was no one person's fault. "Not for me," said Macomber. Margot said nothing but sat back in the corner of the seat. "Do you think we've given him time enough?" Macomber asked Wilson cheerfully. "We might have a look," Wilson said. "Have you any solids left?" "The gun-bearer has some." Wilson called in Swahili and the older gun-bearer, who was skinning out one of the heads, straightened up, pulled a box of solids out of his pocket and brought them over to Macomber, who filled his magazine and put the remaining shells in his pocket. "You might as well shoot the Springfield," Wilson said. "You're used to it. We'll leave the Mannlicher in the car with the Memsahib. Your gun-bearer can carry your heavy gun. I've this damned cannon. Now let me tell you about them." He had saved this until the last because he did not want to worry Macomber. "When a buff comes he comes with his head high and thrust straight out. The boss of the horns covers any sort of a brain shot. The only shot is straight into the nose. The only other shot is into his chest or, if you're to one side, into the neck or the shoulders. After they've been hit once they take a hell of a lot of killing. Don't try anything fancy. Take the easiest shot there is. They've finished skinning out that head now. Should we get started?" He called to the gun-bearers, who came up wiping their hands, and the older one got into the back. "I'll only take Kongoni," Wilson said. "The other can watch to keep the birds away." As the car moved slowly across the open space toward the island of brushy trees that ran in a tongue of foliage along a dry water

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course that cut the open swale, Macomber felt his heart pounding and his mouth was dry again, but it was excitement, not fear. "Here's where he went in," Wilson said. Then to the gun-bearer in Swahili, "Take the blood spoor." The car was parallel to the patch of bush. Macomber, Wilson and the gun-bearer got down. Macomber, looking back, saw his wife, with the rifle by her side, looking at him. He waved to her, and she did not wave back. The brush was very thick ahead and the ground was dry. The middle-aged gun-bearer was sweating heavily and Wilson had his liat down over his eyes and his red neck showed just ahead of Macomber. Suddenly the gun-bearer said something in Swahili to Wilson and ran forward. "He's dead in there," Wilson said, "Good work," and he turned to grip Macomber's hand and as they shook hands, grinning at each other, the gun-bearer shouted wildly and they saw him coming out of the bush sideways, fast as a crab, and the bull coming, nose out, mouth tight closed, blood dripping, massive head straight out, coming in a charge, his little pig eyes bloodshot as he looked at them. Wilson, who was ahead, was kneeling shooting, and Macomber, as he fired, unhearmg his shot in the roaring of Wilson's gun, saw fragments like slate burst from the huge boss of the horns, and the head jerked, he shot again at the wide nostrils and saw the horns jolt again and fragments fly, and he did not see Wilson now and, aiming carefully, shot again with the buffalo's huge bulk almost on him and his rifle almost level with the on-coming head, nose out, and he could see the little wicked eyes and the head started to lower and he felt a sudden white-hot, blinding flash explode inside his head and that was all he ever felt. Wilson had ducked to one side to get in a shoulder shot. Macomber had stood solid and shot for the nose, shooting a touch high each time and hitting the heavy horns, splintering and chipping them like hitting a slate roof, and Mrs. Macomber, in the car, had shot at the buffalo with the 6.5 Mannlicher as it seemed about to gore Macomber and had hit her husband about two inches up and a little to one side of the base of his skull. Francis Macomber lay now, face down, not two yards from where

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the buffalo lay on his side and his wife knelt over him with Wilson beside her. "I wouldn't turn him over," Wilson said. The woman was crying hysterically. "I'd get back in the car," Wilson said. "Where's the rifle?" She shook her head, her face contorted. The gun-bearer picked up the rifle. "Leave it as it is," said Wilson. Then, "Go get Abdulla so that he may witness the manner of the accident." He knelt down, took a handkerchief from his pocket, and spread it over Francis Macomber's crew-cropped head where it lay. The blood sank into the dry, loose earth. Wilson stood up and saw the buffalo on his side, his legs out, his thinly-haired belly crawling with ticks. "Hell of a good bull," his brain registered automatically. "A good fifty inches, or better! Better." He called to the driver and told him to spread a blanket over the body and stay by it. Then he walked over to the motor car where the woman sat crying in the corner. "That was a pretty thing to do," he said in a toneless voice. "He would have left you too." "Stop it," she said. "Of course it's an accident," he said. "I know that." "Stop it," she said. "Don't worry," he said. "There will be a certain amount of unpleasantness but I will have some photographs taken that will be very useful at the inquest. There's the testimony of the gun-bearers and the driver too. You're perfectly all right." "Stop it," she said. "There's a hell of a lot to be done," he said. "And I'll have to send a truck off to the lake to wireless for a plane to take the three of us into Nairobi. Why didn't you poison him ? That's what they do in England." "Stop it. Stop it. Stop it," the woman cried. Wilson looked at her with his flat blue eyes. "I'm through now," he said. "I was a little angry. I'd begun to like your husband." "Oh, please stop it," she said. "Please, please stop it." "That's better." Wilson said, "Please is much better. Now I'll stop."

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JOHN STEINBECK The LEADER of the PEOPLE

• John Steinbeck, a reticent man and one who frankly says he is sorry to say he cannot make a choice of his favorite writing, and insists that he has no particular fondness for any special piece, is represented by a short story from his collection, Long Valley. Its selection was made by Pascal Covici, for many years Mr. Steinbeck's closest literary advisor and, from the beginning until the present, his editor and publisher. From Mr. Covici has come the following comment: The outstanding qualities that make John Steinbeck, at least as far as I am concerned, a significant writer are his command of the vernacular, his poetic rhythms, and his greatest intuitive social sympathies. I find these qualities in Tortilla Flat, Of Mice and Men, The Moon Is Down and, best of all, in The Grapes of Wrath. If I had to choose a single short passage to show Steinbeck at his best I would choose Chapter III from The Grapes of Wrath, "The Story of the Turtle." If it is a short story, I would recommend "The Leader of the People," the last story in Long Valley. New York, N. Y. PASCAL COVICI April 23, 1942

O

N SATURDAY afternoon Billy Buck, the ranch-hand, raked together the last of the old year's haystack and pitched small forkfuls over the wire fence to a few mildly interested cattle. High in the air small clouds like puffs of cannon smoke were driven eastward by the March wind. The wind could be heard whishing in the brush on the ridge crests, but no breath of it penetrated down into the ranch-cup. The little boy, Jody, emerged from the house eating a thick piece of buttered bread. He saw Billy working on the last of the haystack. Jody 53

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tramped down scuffing his shoes in a way he had been told was destructive to good shoe-leather. A flock of white pigeons flew out of the black cypress tree as Jody passed, and circled the tree and landed again. A half-grown tortoise-shell cat leaped from the bunkhouse porch, galloped on stiff legs across the road, whirled and galloped back again. Jody picked up a stone to help the game along, but he was too late, for the cat was under the porch before the stone could be discharged. He threw the stone into the cypress tree and started the white pigeons on another whirling flight. , Arriving at the used-up haystack, the boy leaned against the barbed wire fence. "Will that be all of it, do you think?" he asked. The middle-aged ranch-hand stopped his careful raking and stuck his fork into the ground. He took off his black hat and smoothed down his hair. "Nothing left of it that isn't soggy from ground moisture," he said. He replaced his hat and rubbed his dry leathery hands together. "Ought to be plenty mice," Jody suggested. "Lousy with them," said Billy. "Just crawling with mice." "Well, maybe, when you get all through, I could call the dogs and hunt the mice." "Sure, I guess you could," said Billy Buck. He lifted a forkful of the damp ground-hay and threw it into the air. Instantly three mice leaped out and burrowed frantically under the hay again. Jody sighed with satisfaction. Those plump, sleepy, arrogant mice were doomed. For eight months they had lived and multiplied in the haystack. They had been immune from cats, from traps, from poison and from Jody. They had grown smug in their security, overbearing and fat. Now the time of disaster had come; they would not survive another day. Billy looked up at the top of the hills that surrounded the ranch. "Maybe you better ask your father before you do it," he suggested. "Well, where is he? I'll ask him now." "He rode up to the ridge ranch after dinner. He'll be back pretty soon." Jody slumped against the fence post. "I don't think he'd care." As Billy went back to his work he said ominously, "You'd better ask him anyway. You know how he is." Jody did know. His father, Carl Tiflin, insisted upon giving per-

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mission for anything that was done on the ranch, whether it was important or not. Jody sagged farther against the post until ke was sitting on the ground. He looked up at the little puffs of wind-driven cloud. "Is it like to rain, Billy?" "It might. The wind's good for it, but not strong enough." "Well, I hope it don't rain until after I kill those damn mice." He looked over his shoulder to see whether Billy had noticed the mature profanity. Billy worked on without comment. Jody turned back and looked at the side-hill where the road from the outside world came down. The hill was washed with lean March sunshine. Silver thistles, blue lupins and a few poppies bloomed among the sage bushes. Halfway up the hill Jody could see Doubletree Mutt, the black dog, digging in a squirrel hole. He paddled for a while and then paused to kick bursts of dirt out between his hind legs, and he dug with an earnestness which belied the knowledge he must have had that no dog had ever caught a squirrel by digging in a hole. Suddenly, while Jody watched, the black dog stiffened, and backed out of the hole and looked up the hill toward the cleft in the ridge where the road came through. Jody looked up too. For a moment Carl Tiflin on horseback stood out against the pale sky and then he moved down the road toward the house. He carried something white in his hand. The boy started to his feet. "He's got a letter," Jody cried. He trotted away toward the ranch house, for the letter would probably be read aloud and he wanted to be there. He reached the house before his father did, and ran in. He heard Carl dismount from his creaking saddle and slap the horse on the side to send it to the barn where Billy would unsaddle it and turn it out. Jody ran into the kitchen. "We got a letter!" he cried. His mother looked up from a pan of beans. "Who has?" "Father has. I saw it in his hand." Carl strode into the kitchen then, and Jody's mother asked, "Who's the letter from, Carl?" He frowned quickly. "How did you know there was a letter?" She nodded her head in the boy's direction. "Big-Britches Jody told me." Jody was embarrassed.

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His father looked down at him contemptuously. "He is getting to be a Big-Britches," Carl said. "He's minding everybody's business but his own. Got his big nose into everything." Mrs. Tiflin relented a little. "Well, he hasn't enough to keep him busy. Who's the letter from?" Carl still frowned on Jody. "I'll keep him busy if he isn't careful." He held out a sealed letter. "I guess it's from your father." Mrs. Tiflin took a hairpin from her head and slit open the flap. Her lips pursed judiciously. Jody saw her eyes snap back and forth over the lines. "He says," she translated, "he says he's going to drive out Saturday to stay for a little while. Why, this is Saturday. The letter must have been delayed." She looked at the postmark. "This was mailed day before yesterday. It should have been here yesterday." She looked up questioningly at her husband, and then her face darkened angrily. "Now what have you got that look on you for? He doesn't come often." Carl turned his eyes away from her anger. He could be stern with her most of the time, but when occasionally her temper arose, he could not combat it. "What's the matter with you?" she demanded again. In his explanation there was a tone of apology Jody himself might have used. "It's just that he talks," Carl said lamely. "Just talks." "Well, what of it? You talk yourself." "Sure I do. But your father only talks about one thing." "Indians!" Jody broke in excitedly. "Indians and crossing the plains!" Carl turned fiercely on him. "You get out, Mr. Big-Britches! Go on, now! Get out!" Jody went miserably out the back door and closed the screen with elaborate quietness. Under the kitchen window his shamed, downcast eyes fell upon a curiously shaped stone, a stone of such fascination that he squatted down and picked it up and turned it over in his hands. The voices came clearly to him through the open kitchen window. "Jody's damn well right," he heard his father say. "Just Indians and crossing the plains. I've heard that story about how the horses got driven off about a thousand times. He just goes on and on, and he never changes a word in the things he tells."

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When Mrs. Tiflin answered her tone was so changed that Jody, outside the window, looked up from his study of the stone. Her voice had become soft and explanatory. Jody knew how her face would have changed to match the tone. She said quietly, "Look at it this way, Carl. That was the big thing in my father's life. He led a wagon train clear across the plains to the coast, and when it was finished, his life was done. It was a big thing to do, but it didn't last long enough. Look!" she continued, "it's as though he was born to do that, and after he finished it, there wasn't anything more for him to do but think about it and talk about it. If there'd been any farther west to go, he'd have gone. He's told me so himself. But at last there was the ocean. He lives right by the ocean where he had to stop." She had caught Carl, caught him and entangled him in her soft tone. "I've seen him," he agreed quietly. "He goes down and stares off west over the ocean." His voice sharpened a little. "And then he goes up to the Horseshoe Club in Pacific Grove, and he tells people how the Indians drove off the horses." She tried to catch him again. "Well, it's everything to him. You might be patient with him and pretend to listen." Carl turned impatiently away. "Well, if it gets too bad, I can always go down to the bunkhouse and sit with Billy," he said irritably. He walked through the house and slammed the front door after him. Jody ran to his chores. He dumped the grain to the chickens without chasing any of them. He gathered the eggs from the nests. He trotted into the house with the wood and interlaced it so carefully in the woodbox that two armloads seemed to fill it to overflowing. His mother had finished the beans by now. She stirred up the fire and brushed off the stove-top with a turkey wing. Jody peered cautiously at her to see whether any rancor toward him remained. "Is he' coming today?" Jody asked. "That's what his letter said." "Maybe I better walk up the road to meet him." Mrs. Tiflin clanged the stove-lid shut. "That would be nice," she said. "He'd probably like to be met." "I guess I'll just do it then." Outside, Jody whistled shrilly to the dogs. "Come on up the hill,"

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he commanded. The two dogs waved their tails and ran ahead. Along the roadside the sage had tender new tips. Jody tore off some pieces and rubbed them on his hands until the air was filled with the sharp wild smell. With a rush the dogs leaped from the road and yapped into the brush after a rabbit. That was the last Jody saw of them, for when they failed to catch the rabbit, they went back home. Jody plodded on up the hill toward the ridge top. When he reached the little cleft where the road came through, the afternoon wind struck him and blew up his hair and ruffled his shirt. He looked down on the little hills and ridges below and then out at the huge green Salinas Valley. He could see the white town of Salinas far out in the flat and the flash of its windows under the waning sun. Directly below him, in an oak tree, a crow congress had convened. The tree was black with crows all cawing at once. Then Jody's eyes followed the wagon road down from the ridge where he stood, and lost it behind a hill, and picked it up again on the other side. On that distant stretch he saw a cart slowly pulled by a bay horse. It disappeared behind the hill. Jody sat down on the ground and watched the place where the cart would reappear again. The wind sang on the hilltops and the puff-ball clouds hurried eastward. Then the cart came into sight and stopped. A man dressed in black dismounted from the seat and walked to the horse's head. Although it was so far away, Jody knew he had unhooked the check-rein, for the horse's head dropped forward. The horse moved on, and the man walked slowly up the hill beside it. Jody gave a glad cry and ran down the road toward them. The squirrels bumped along off the road, and a road-runner flirted its tail and raced over the edge of the hill and sailed out like a glider. Jody tried to leap into the middle of his shadow at every step. A "stone rolled under his foot, and he went down. Around a little bend he raced, and there, a short distance ahead, were his grandfather and the cart. The boy dropped from his unseemly running and approached at a dignified walk. The horse plodded stumble-footedly up the hill and the old man walked beside it. In the lowering sun their giant shadows flickered darkly behind them. The grandfather was dressed in a black broadcloth suit and he wore kid congress gaiters and a black tie on a short,

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hard collar. He carried his black slouch hat in his hand. His white beard was cropped close and his white eyebrows overhung his eyes like moustaches. The blue eyes were sternly merry. About the whole face and figure there was a granite dignity, so that every motion seemed an impossible thing. Once at rest, it seemed the old man would be stone, would never move again. His steps were slow and certain. Once made, no step could ever be retraced; once headed in a direction, the path would never bend nor the pace increase nor slow. When Jody appeared around the bend, Grandfather waved his hat slowly in welcome, and he called, "Why, Jody! Come down to meet me, have you?" Jody sidled near and turned and matched his step to the old man's step and stiffened his body and dragged his heels a little. "Yes, sir," he said. "We got your letter only today." "Should have been here yesterday," said Grandfather. "It certainly should. How are all the folks?" "They're fine, sir." He hesitated and then suggested shyly, "Would you like to come on a mouse hunt tomorrow, sir?" "Mouse hunt, Jody?" Grandfather chuckled. "Have the people of this generation come down to hunting mice? They aren't very strong, the new people, but I hardly thought mice would be game for them." "No, sir. It's just play. The haystack's gone. I'm going to drive out the mice to the dogs. And you can watch, or even beat the hay a little." The stern, merry eyes turned down on him. "I see. You don't eat them, then. You haven't come to that yet." Jody explained, "The dogs eat them, sir. It wouldn't be much like hunting Indians, I guess." "No, not much—but then later, when the troops were hunting Indians and shooting children and burning teepees, it wasn't much different from your mouse hunt." They topped the rise and started down into the ranch-cup, and diey lost the sun from their shoulders. "You've grown," Grandfather said. "Nearly an inch, I should say." "More," Jody boasted. "Where they mark me on the door, I'm up more than an inch since Thanksgiving even." Grandfather's rich throaty voice said, "Maybe you're getting too

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much water and turning to pith and stalk. Wait until you head out, and then we'll see." Jody looked quickly into the old man's face to see whether his feelings should be hurt, but there was no will to injure, no punishing nor putting-in-your-place light in the keen blue eyes. "We might kill a pig," Jody suggested. "Oh, no! I couldn't let you do that. You're just humoring me. It isn't the time and you know it." "You know Riley, the big boar, sir?" "Yes, I remember Riley well." "Well, Riley ate a hole into that same haystack, and it fell down on him and smothered him." "Pigs do that when they can," said Grandfather. "Riley was a nice pig, for a boar, sir. I rode him sometimes, and he didn't mind." A door slammed at the house below them, and they saw Jody's mother standing on the porch waving her apron in welcome. And they saw Carl Tiflin walking up from the barn to be at the house for the arrival. The sun had disappeared from the hills by now. The blue smoke from the house chimney hung in flat layers in the purpling ranch-cup. The puff-ball clouds, dropped by the falling wind, hung listlessly in the sky. Billy Buck came out of the bunkhouse and flung a wash basin of soapy water on the ground. He had been shaving in mid-week, for Billy held Grandfather in reverence, and Grandfather said that Billy was one of the few men of the new generation who had not gone soft. Although Billy was in middle age, Grandfather considered him a boy. Now Billy was hurrying toward the house too. When Jody and Grandfather arrived, the three were waiting for them in front of the yard gate. Carl said, "Hello, sir. We've been looking for you." Mrs. Tiflin kissed Grandfather on the side of his beard, and stood still while his big hand patted her shoulder. Billy shook hands solemnly grinning under his straw mustache. "I'll put up your horse," said Billy, and he led the rig away. Grandfather watched him go, and then, turning back to the group,

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he said as he had said a hundred times before. "There's a good boy. I knew his father, old Mule-tail Buck. I never knew why they called him Mule-tail except he packed mules." Mrs. Tiflin turned and led the way into the house. "How long are you going to stay, Father? Your letter didn't say." "Well, I don't know. I thought I'd stay about two weeks. But I never stay as long as I think I'm going to." In a short while they were sitting at the white oilcloth table eating their supper. The lamp with the tin reflector hung over the table. Outside the dining-room windows the big moths battered softly against the glass. Grandfather cut his steak into tiny pieces and chewed slowly. "I'm hungry," he said. "Driving out here got my appetite up. It's like when we were crossing. We all got so hungry every night we could hardly wait to let the meat get done. I could eat about five pounds of buffalo meat every night." "It's moving around does it," said Billy. "My father was a government packer. I helped him when I was a kid. Just the two of us could about clean up a deer's ham." "I knew your father, Billy," said Grandfather. "A fine man he was. They called him Mule-tail Buck. I don't know why except he packed mules." "That was it," Billy agreed. "He packed mules." Grandfather put down his knife and fork and looked around the table. "I remember one time we ran out of meat—" His voice dropped to a curious low sing-song, dropped into a tonal groove the story had worn for itself. "There was no buffalo, no antelope, not even rabbits. The hunters couldn't even shoot a coyote. That was the time for the leader to be on the watch. I was the leader, and I kept my eyes open. Know why? Well, just the minute the people began to get hungry they'd start slaughtering the team oxen. Do you believe that? I've heard of parties that just ate up their draft cattle. Started from the middle and worked toward the ends. Finally they'd eat the lead pair, and then the wheelers. The leader of a party had to keep them from doing that." In some manner a big moth got into the room and circled the hanging kerosene lamp. Billy got up and tried to clap it between his hands.

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Carl struck with a cupped palm and caught the moth and broke it. He walked to the window and dropped it out. "As I was saying," Grandfather began again, but Carl interrupted him. "You'd better eat some more meat. All the rest of us are ready for our pudding." Jody saw a flash of anger in his mother's eyes. Grandfather picked up his knife and fork. "I'm pretty hungry, all right," he said. "I'll tell you about that later." When supper was over, when the family and Billy Buck sat in front of the fireplace in the other room, Jody anxiously watched Grandfather. He saw the signs he knew. The bearded head leaned forward; the eyes lost their sternness and looked wonderingly into the fire; the big lean fingers laced themselves on the black knees. "I wonder," he began, "I just wonder whether I ever told you how those thieving Piutes drove off thirty-five of our horses." "I think you did," Carl interrupted. "Wasn't it just before you went up into the Tahoe country?" Grandfather turned quickly toward his son-in-law. "That's right. I guess I must have told you that story." "Lots of times," Carl said cruelly, and he avoided his wife's eyes. But he felt the angry eyes on him, and he said, " 'Course I'd like to hear it again." Grandfather looked back at the fire. His fingers unlaced and laced again. Jody knew how he felt, how his insides were collapsed and empty. Hadn't Jody been called a Big-Britches that very afternoon? He arose to heroism and opened himself to the term Big-Britches again. "Tell about Indians," he said softly. Grandfather's eyes grew stern again. "Boys always want to hear about Indians. It was a job for men, but boys want to hear about it. Well, let's see. Did I ever tell you how I wanted each wagon to carry a long iron plate?" Everyone but Jody remained silent. Jody said, "No. You didn't." "Well, when the Indians attacked, we always put the wagons in a circle and fought from between the wheels. I thought that if every wagon carried a long plate with rifle holes, the men could stand the plates on the outside of the wheels when the wagons were in the circle and they would be protected. It would save lives and that would

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make up for the extra weight of the iron. But of course the party wouldn't do it. No party had done it before and they couldn't see why they should go to the expense. They lived to regret it, too." Jody looked at his mother, and knew from her expression that she was not listening at all. Carl picked at a callus on his thumb and Billy Buck watched a spider crawling up the wall. Grandfather's tone dropped into its narrative groove again. Jody knew in advance exactly what words would fall. The story droned on, speeded up for the attack, grew sad over the wounds, struck a dirge at the burials on the great plains. Jody sat quietly watching Grandfather. The stern blue eyes were detached. He looked as though he were not very interested in the story himself. When it was finished, when the pause had been politely respected at the frontier of the story, Billy Buck stood up and stretched and hitched his trousers. "I guess I'll turn in," he said. Then he faced Grandfather. "I've got an old powder horn and a cap and ball pistol down to the bunkhouse. Did I ever show them to you?" Grandfather nodded slowly. "Yes, I think you did, Billy. Reminds me of a pistol I had when I was leading the people across." Billy stood politely until the little story was done, and then he said, "Good night," and went out of the house. Carl Tiflin tried to turn the conversation then. "How's the country between here and Monterey? J've heard it's pretty dry." "It is dry," said Grandfather. "There's not a drop of water in the Laguna Seca. But it's a long pull from '87. The whole country was powder then, and in '61 I believe all the coyotes starved to death. We had fifteen inches of rain this year." "Yes, but it all came too early. We could do with some now." Carl's eye fell on Jody. "Hadn't you better be getting to bed?" Jody stood up obediently. "Can I kill the mice in the old haystack, sir?" "Mice? Oh! Sure, kill them all off. Billy said there isn't any good hay left." Jody exchanged a secret and satisfying look with Grandfather. "I'll kill every one tomorrow," he promised. Jody lay in his bed and thought of the impossible world of Indians and buffaloes, a world that had ceased to be forever. He wished he

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could have been living in the heroic time, but he knew he was not of heroic timber. No one living now, save possibly Billy Buck, was worthy to do the things that had been done. A race of giants had lived then, fearless men, men of a staunchness unknown in this day. Jody thought of the wide plains and of the wagons moving across like centipedes. He thought of Grandfather on a huge white horse, marshaling the people. Across his mind marched the great phantoms, and they marched off the earth and they were gone. He came back to the ranch for a moment, then. He heard the dull rushing sound that space and silence make. He heard one of the dogs, out in the doghouse, scratching a flea and bumping his elbow against the floor with every stroke. Then the wind arose again and the black cypress groaned and Jody went to sleep. He was up half an hour before the triangle sounded for breakfast. His mother was rattling the stove to make the flames roar when Jody went through the kitchen. "You're up early," she said. "Where are you going?" "Out to get a good stick. We're going to kill the mice today." "Who is 'we'?" "Why, Grandfather and I." "So you've got him in it. You always like to have someone in with you in case there's blame to share." "I'll be right back," said Jody. "I just wanted to have a good stick ready for after breakfast." He closed the screen door after him and went out into the cool blue morning. The birds were noisy in the dawn and the ranch cats came down from the hill like blunt snakes. They had been hunting gophers in the dark, and although the four cats were full of gopher meat, they sat in a semi-circle at the back door and mewed piteously for milk. Doubletree Mutt and Smasher moved sniffing along the edge of the brush, performing the duty with rigid ceremony, but when Jody whistled, their heads jerked up and their tails waved. They plunged down to him, wriggling their skins and yawning. Jody patted their heads seriously, and moved on to the weathered scrap pile. He selected an old broom handle and a short piece of inch-square scrap wood. From his pocket he took a shoelace and tied the ends of the sticks loosely together to make a flail. He whistled his new weapon

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through the air and struck the ground experimentally, while the dogs leaped aside and whined with apprehension. Jody turned and started down past the house toward the old haystack ground to look over the field of slaughter, but Billy Buck, sitting patiently on the back steps, called to him, "You better come back. It's only a couple of minutes till breakfast." Jody changed his course and moved toward the house. He leaned his flail against the steps. "That's to drive the mice out," he said. "I'll bet they're fat. I'll bet they don't know what's going to happen to them today." "No, nor you either," Billy remarked philosophically, "nor me, nor anyone." Jody was staggered by this thought. He knew it was true. His imagination twitched away from the mouse hunt. Then his mother came out on the back porch and struck the triangle, and all thoughts fell in a heap. Grandfather hadn't appeared at the table when they sat down. Billy nodded at his empty chair. "He's all right? He isn't sick?" "He takes a long time to dress," said Mrs. Tiflin. "He combs his whiskers and rubs up his shoes and brushes his clothes." Carl scattered sugar on his mush. "A man that's led a wagon train across the plains has got to be pretty careful how he dresses." Mrs. Tiflin turned to him. "Don't do that, Carl! Please don't!" There was more of threat than of request in her tone. And the threat irritated Carl. "Well, how many times do I have to listen to the story of the iron plates, and the thirty-five horses? That time's done. Why can't he forget it, now it's done?" He grew angrier while he talked, and his voice rose. "Why does he have to tell them over and over? He came across the plains. All right! Now it's finished. Nobody wants to hear about it over and over." The door into the kitchen closed softly. The four at the table sat frozen. Carl laid his mush spoon on the table and touched his chin with his fingers. Then the kitchen door opened and Grandfather walked in. His mouth smiled tightly and his eyes were squinted. "Good morning," he said, and he sat down and looked at his mush dish.

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Carl could not leave it there. "Did—did you hear what I said?" Grandfather jerked a little nod. "I don't know what got into me, sir. I didn't mean it. I was just being funny." Jody glanced in shame at his mother, and he saw that she was looking at Carl, and that she wasn't breathing. It was an awful thing that he was doing. He was tearing himself to pieces to talk like that. It was a terrible thing to him to retract a word, but to retract it in shame was infinitely worse. Grandfather looked sidewise. "I'm trying to get right side up," he said gently. "I'm not being mad. I don't mind what you said, but it might be true, and I would mind that." "It isn't true," said Carl. "I'm not feeling well this morning. I'm sorry I said it." "Don't be sorry, Carl. An old man doesn't see things sometimes. Maybe you're right. The crossing is finished. Maybe it should be forgotten, now it's done." Carl got up from the table. "I've had enough to eat. I'm going to work. Take your time, Billy!" He walked quickly out of the diningroom. Billy gulped the rest of his food and followed soon after. But Jody could not leave his chair. "Won't you tell any more stories?" Jody asked. "Why, sure I'll tell them, but only when—I'm sure people want to hear them." "I like to hear them, sir." "Oh! Of course you do, but you're a little boy. It was a job for men, but only little boys like-to hear about it." Jody got up from his place. "I'll wait outside for you, sir. I've got a good stick for those mice." He waited by the gate until the old man came out on the porch. "Let's go down and kill the mice now," Jody called. "I think I'll just sit in the sun, Jody. You go kill the mice." ! "You can use my stick if you like." "No, I'll just sit here a while." Jody turned disconsolately away, and walked down toward the old haystack. He tried to whip up his enthusiasm with thoughts of the fat juicy mice. He beat the ground with his flail. The dogs coaxed and

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whined about him, but he could not go. Back at the house he could see Grandfather sitting on the porch, looking small and thin and black. Jody gave up and went to sit on the steps at the old man's feet. "Back already? Did you kill the mice?" "No, sir. I'll kill them some other day." The morning flies buzzed close to the ground and the ants dashed about in front of the steps. The heavy smell of sage slipped down the hill. The porch boards grew warm in the sunshine. Jody hardly knew when Grandfather started to talk. "I shouldn't stay here, feeling the way I do." He examined his strong old hands. "I feel as though the crossing wasn't worth doing." His eyes moved up the side-hill and stopped on a motionless hawk perched on a dead limb. "I tell those old stories, but they're not what I want to tell. I only know how I want people to feel when I tell them. "It wasn't Indians that were important, nor adventures, nor even getting out here. It was a whole bunch of people made into one big crawling beast. And I was the head. It was westering and westering. Every man wanted something for himself, but the big beast that was all of them wanted only westering. I was the leader, but if I hadn't been there, someone else would have been the head. The thing had to have a head. "Under the little bushes the shadows were black at white noonday. When we saw the mountains at last, we cried—all of us. But it wasn't getting here that mattered, it was movement and westering. "We carried life out here and set it down the way those ants carry eggs. And I was the leader. The westering was as big as God, and the slow steps that made the movement piled up and piled up until the continent was crossed. "Then we came down to the sea, and it was done." He stopped and wiped his eyes until the rims were red. "That's what I should be telling instead of stories." When Jody spoke, Grandfather started and looked down at him. "Maybe I could lead the people some day," Jody said. The old man smiled. "There's no place to go. There's the ocean to stop you. There's a line of old men along the shore hating the ocean because it stopped them." "In boats I might, sir."

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"No place to go, Jody. Every place is taken. But that's not the worst —no, not the worst. Westering has died out of the people. Westering isn't a hunger any more. It's all done. Your father is right. It is finished." He laced his fingers on his knee and looked at them. Jody felt very sad. "If you'd like a glass of lemonade I could make it for you." Grandfather was about to refuse, and then he saw Jody's face. "That would be nice," he said. "Yes, it would be nice to drink a lemonade." Jody ran into the kitchen where his mother was wiping the last of the breakfast dishes. "Can I have a lemon to make a lemonade for Grandfather?" His mother mimicked— "And another lemon to make a lemonade for you." "No, ma'am. I don't want one." "Jody! You're sick!" Then she stopped suddenly. "Take a lemon out of the cooler," she said softly, "Here, I'll reach the squeezer down to you."

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HENRY

L.

M E N C K E N why he

selected The DAYS of the GIANTS

After earnest prayer, I come to the conclusion that it would spoil "The Days of the Giants" if I attempted to do a foreword to it, however small. The thing is self-contained as it stands. It tells its story as well as I'll ever be able to tell it. Baltimore, Md. H. L. MENCKEN June 26, 1942

N

O T infrequently I am asked by young college folk, sometimes male and sometimes female, whether there has been any significant change, in my time, in the bacchanalian virtuosity of the American people. They always expect me, of course, to say that boozing is now at an all-time high, for they are a proud generation, and have been brought up to believe that Prohibition brought in refinements unparalleled on earth since the fall of Babylon. But when I speak for that thesis it is only to please them, for I know very well that the facts run the other way. My actual belief is that Americans reached the peak of their alcoholic puissance in the closing years of the last century. Along about 1903 there was a sudden and marked letting up—partly due, I suppose, to the accelerating pace and hazard of life in a civilization growing more and more mechanized, but also partly to be blamed on the lugubrious warning of the medical men, who were then first learning how to reinforce their hocus-pocus with the alarms of the uplift. In my early days as a reporter they had no more sense of civic responsibility than so many stockbrokers or policemen. A doctor of any standing not only had nothing to say against the use of stimulants; he was himself, nine times out of ten, a steady patron of them, and 69

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argued openly that they sustained him in his arduous and irregular life. Dr. Z. K. Wiley, our family practitioner, always took a snifter with my father when he dropped in to dose my brother Charlie and me with castor oil, and whenever, by some unusual accident of his heavy practise, he had any free time afterward, he and my father gave it over to quiet wrestling with the decanters. His favorite prescription for a cold was rock-and-rye, and he believed and taught that a shot of Maryland whiskey was the best preventive of pneumonia in the R months. If you object here that Dr. Wiley was a Southerner, then I answer at once that Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes was a Yankee of the Yankees, and yet held exacdy the same views. Every schoolboy, I suppose, has heard by this time of Dr. Holmes's famous address before the Massachusetts Medical Society on May 30, 1860, in which he argued that "if the whole materia medica, as now used, could be sunk to the bottom of the sea, it would be all the better for mankind—and all the worse for the fishes"; but what the pedagogues always fail to tell their poor dupes is that he made a categorical exception of wine, which he ranked with opium, quinine, anesthetics and mercury among the sovereign and invaluable boons to humanity. I was thus greatly surprised when I first heard a medical man talk to the contrary. This was in the Winter of 1899-1900, and the place was a saloon near a messy downtown fire. I was helping my betters to cover the fire, and followed them into the saloon for a prophylactic drink. The doctor, who was a fire department surgeon, thereupon made a speech arguing that alcohol was not a stimulant but a depressant, and advising us to keep off it until the fire was out and we were relaxing in preparation for bed. "You think it warms you," he said, sipping a hot milk, "but it really cools you, and you are seventeen point eight per cent more likely to catch pneumonia at the present minute than you were when you came into this doggery." This heresy naturally outraged the older reporters, and they became so prejudiced against the doctor that they induced the Fire Board, shortly afterward, to can him—as I recall it, by reporting that he was always drunk on duty. But his words made a deep impression on my innocence, and continue to lurk in my mind to this day. In consequence, I am what may be called a somewhat cagey drinker. That is to say, I never touch the stuff by daylight if I can help it, and I employ it of an evening, not to

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hooch up my faculties, but to let them down after work. Not in years have I ever written anything with so much as a glass of beer in my system. My compositions, I gather, sometimes seem boozy to the nobility and gentry, but they are actually done as soberly as those of William Dean Howells. But this craven policy is not general among the literati, nor was it to be noted among the journalists of my apprentice days. Between 1899 and 1904 there was only one reporter south of the Mason & Dixon Line who did not drink at all, and he was considered insane. In New York, so far as I could make out, there was not even one. On my first Christmas Eve on the Herald but two sober persons were to be found in the office—one of them a Seventh Day Adventist office-boy in the editorial rooms, and the other a superannuated stereotyper who sold lunches to the printers in the composing-room. There was a printer on the payroll who was reputed to be a teetotaler—indeed his singularity gave him the nickname of die Moral Element—but Christmas Eve happened to be his night off. All the rest were full of what they called hand-set whiskey. This powerful drug was sold in a saloon next door to the Herald office, and was reputed to be made in the cellar by the proprietor in person—of wood alcohol, snuff, tabasco sauce, and coffin varnish. The printers liked it, and got down a great many shots of it. On the Christmas Eve I speak of its effects were such that more than half the linotype machines in the composing-room broke down, and one of the apprentices ran his shirt-tail through the proof-press. Down in the press-room four or five pressmen got hurt, and the city edition was nearly an hour late. Nobody cared, for the head of the whole establishment, the revered managing editor, Colonel Cunningham, was locked up in his office with a case of Bourbon. At irregular intervals he would throw a •wad of copy-paper over the partition which separated him from the editorial writers, and when this wad was smoothed out it always turned out to be part of an interminable editorial against General Felix Agnus, editor of the American. The General was a hero of the Civil War, with so much lead in his system that he was said to rattle as he walked, but Colonel Cunningham always hooted at his war record, and was fond of alleging—without any ground whatsoever—that he had come to America from his native France in the pussy-like char-

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acter of a barber. The editorial that he was writing that Christmas Eve was headed, in fact, "The Barber of Seville." It never got into the paper, for it was running beyond three columns by press-time, and the night editor, Isidor Goodman, killed it for fear that its point was still to come. When the Colonel inquired about it two or three days afterward he was told that a truck had upset in the composing-room, and pied it. The hero of the Herald composing-room in those days was a fat printer named Bill, who was reputed to be the champion beer-drinker of die Western Hemisphere. Bill was a first-rate linotype operator, and never resorted to his avocation in working-hours, but the instant his time was up he would hustle on his coat and go to a beer-house in the neighborhood, and there give what he called a setting. He made no charge for admission, but the spectators, of course, were supposed to pay for the beer. One night in 1902 I saw him get down thirty-two bottles in a row. Perhaps, in your wanderings, you have seen the same—but have you ever heard of a champion who could do it without once retiring from his place at the bar} Well, that is what Bill did, and on another occasion, when I was not present, he reached forty. Physiologists tell me that these prodigies must have been optical delusions, for there is not room enough in the coils and recesses of man for so much liquid, but I can only reply Pfui to that, for a record is a record. Bill avoided the door marked "Gents" as diligently as if he had been a debutante of the era, or the sign on it had been "For Ladies Only." He would have been humiliated beyond endurance if anyone had ever seen him sling through it. In the year 1904, when the Herald office was destroyed in the great Baltimore fire, and we had to print the paper, for five weeks, in Philadelphia, I was told off to find accommodation for the printers. I found it in one of those old-fashioned $l-a-day hotels that were all bar on the first floor. The proprietor, a German with goat whiskers, was somewhat reluctant to come to terms, for he had heard that printers were wild fellows who might be expected to break up his furniture and work their wicked will upon his chambermaids, but when I told him that a beer-champion was among them he showed a more friendly interest, and when I began to brag about Bill's extraordinary talents his doubts disappeared and he proposed amiably that some Philadelphia foam-jumpers be invited in to make it a race. The first heat was rue

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the very next night, and Bill won hands down. In fact, he won so easily that he offered grandly to go until he had drunk twice as much as the next best entry. We restrained him and got him to bed, for there had been some ominous whispering among the other starters, and it was plain that they were planning to call in help. The next night it appeared in the shape of a tall, knotty man from Allentown, Pa., who was introduced as the champion of the Lehigh Valley. He claimed to be not only a beer-drinker of high gifts, but also a member of the Bach Choir at Bethlehem; and when he got down his first dozen mugs—the boys were drinking from the wood—he cut loose with an exultant yodel that he said was one of Bach's forgotten minor works. But he might very well have saved his wind, for Bill soon had him, and at the end of the setting he was four or five mugs behind, and in a state resembling suffocation. The next afternoon I saw his disconsolate fans taking him home, a sadder and much less melodious man. On the first two nights there had been only slim galleries, but on the third the bar was jammed, and anyone could see that something desperate was afoot. It turned out to be the introduction of two superchampions, the one a short, saturnine Welshman from Wilkes-Barre, and the other a hearty blond young fellow from one of the Philadelphia suburbs, who said that he was half German and half Irish. The Welshman was introduced as the man who had twice drunk Otto the Brewery Horse under the table, and we were supposed to know who Otto was, though we didn't. The mongrel had a committee with him, and the chairman thereof offered to lay $25 on him at even money. The printers in Bill's corner made up the money at once, and their stake had grown to $50 in forty minutes by the clock, for the hybrid took only that long to blow up. The Welshman lasted much better, and there were some uneasy moments when he seemed destined to make history again by adding Bill to Otto, but in the end he succumbed so suddenly that it seemed like a bang, and his friends laid him out on the floor and began fanning him with bar-toweis. Bill was very cocky after that, and talked grandiosely of taking on two champions at a time, in marathon series. There were no takers for several nights, but after that they began to filter in from the remoter wilds of the Pennsylvania Dutch country, and the whole Herald staff was kept busy guarding Bill by day, to make sure that he did not waste any of his libido for malt liquor in the afternoons. He knocked

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off twenty or thirty challengers during the ensuing weeks, including two more Welshmen from the hard-coal country, a Scotsman with an ear missing, and a bearded Dunkard from Lancaster county. They were mainly pushovers, but now and then there was a tough one. Bill did not let this heavy going interfere with the practise of his profession. He set type every night from 6 p.m. to midnight in the office of the Evening Telegraph, where we were printing the Herald, and never began his combats until 12.30. By two o'clock he was commonly in bed, with another wreath of laurels hanging on the gas-jet. To ease your suspense I'll tell you at once that he was never beaten. Germans, Irishmen, Welshmen and Scotsmen went down before him like so many Sunday-school superintendents, and he bowled over everyday Americans with such facility that only two of them ever lasted more than half an hour. But I should add in candor that he was out of service during the last week of our stay in Philadelphia. What fetched him is still a subject of debate among the pathologists at the Johns Hopkins Medical School, to whom the facts were presented officially on our return to Baltimore. The only visible symptom was a complete loss of speech. Bill showed up one night talking hoarsely, the next night he could manage only whispers, and the third night he was as mute as a shad-fish. There was absolutely no other sign of distress. He was all for going on with his derisive harrying of the Pennsylvania lushers, but a young doctor who hung about the saloon and served as surgeon at the bouts forbade it on unstated medical grounds. The Johns Hopkins experts in morbid anatomy have never been able to agree about the case. Some argue that Bill's potations must have dissolved the gummy coating of his pharyngeal plexus, and thus paralyzed his vocal cords; the rest laugh at this as nonsense savoring of quackery, and lay the whole thing to an intercurrent laryngitis, induced by insufficient bedclothes on very cold nights. I suppose that no one will ever know the truth. Bill recovered his voice in a couple of months, and soon afterward left Baltimore. Of the prodigies, if any, that marked his later career I can't tell you. He was but one of a notable series of giants who flourished in Baltimore at the turn of the century, bringing the city a friendly publicity and causing the theory to get about that life there must be delightful. They appeared in all the ranks of society. The Maryland Club had its champions, and the cops had theirs. Some were drinkers pure and

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simple; others specialized in eating. One of the latter was an old man of easy means who lived at the Rennert Hotel, then the undisputed capital of gastronomy in the terrapin and oyster country. But for some reason that I can't tell you he never did his eating there; instead, he always took dinner at Tommy McPherson's eating-house, six or eight blocks away. He would leave the hotel every evening at seven o'clock, elegantly arrayed in a long-tailed black coat and a white waistcoat, and carrying a gold-headed cane, and would walk the whole way. Tommy's place was arranged in two layers, with tables for men only alongside the bar downstairs, and a series of small rooms upstairs to which ladies might be invited. The cops, goaded by vice crusaders, had forced him to take the doors off these rooms, but he had substituted heavy portieres, and his colored waiters were instructed to make a noise as they shuffled down the hall, and to enter every room backward. The old fellow I speak of, though there were tales about his wild youth, had by now got beyond thought of sin, and all his eating was done downstairs. It consisted of the same dishes precisely every night of die week, year in and year out. First he would throw in three straight whiskeys, and then he would sit down to two double porterhouse steaks, w,ith two large plates of peas, two of French fried potatoes, two of cole-slaw, and a mountain of rye-bread. This vast meal he could eat to the last speck, and not infrequently he called for more potatoes or bread. He washed it down with two quarts of Burgundy, and at its end threw in three more straight whiskeys. Then he would light a cigar, and amble back to the Rennert, to spend the rest of the evening conversing with the politicoes who made their headquarters in its lobby. One day a report reached the Herald office that he was beginning to break up, and Max Ways sent me to take a look. He had, by then, been on his diet for no less than twelve years. When I opened the subject delicately he hooted at the notion that he was not up to par. He was, he told me, in magnificent health, and expected to live at least twenty years longer. His excellent condition, he went on to say, was due to his lifelong abstemiousness. He ate only a sparing breakfast, and no lunch at all, and he had not been drunk for fifteen years—that is, in tlie sense of losing all control of himself. He told me that people who ate pork dug their graves witii their teeth, and praised the Jews for avoiding it. He also said that he regarded all sea-food as poisonous, on die ground that it contained too much phosphorus, and that fowl

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was almost as bad. There was, in his view, only one perfectly safe and wholesome victual, and that was beef. It had everything. It was nourishing, palatable and salubrious. The last bite tasted as good as the first. Even the bones had a pleasant flavor. He ate peas and potatoes with it, he said, mainly to give it some company: if he were ever cast on a desert island he could do without them. The cole-slaw went along as a sort of gesture of politeness to the grass that had produced the beef, and he ate rye-bread instead of wheat because rye was the bone and sinew of Maryland whiskey, the most healthful appetizer yet discovered by man. He would not affront me by presuming to discuss the virtues of Burgundy: they were mentioned in the Bible, and all humanity knew them. The old boy never made his twenty years, but neither did he ever change his regimen. As the uplift gradually penetrated medicine various doctors of his acquaintance began to warn him that he was headed for a bad end, but he laughed at them in his quiet way, and went on going to Tommy's place every night, and devouring his two double porterhouses. What took him off at last was not his eating, but a trifling accident. He was knocked down by a bicycle in front of the Rennert, developed pneumonia, and was dead in three days. The resurrection men at both the Johns Hopkins and die University of Maryland tried to get his body for autopsy, and were all set to dig out of it a whole series of pathological monstrosities of a moral tendency, but his lawyer forbade any knifeplay until his only heir, a niece, could be consulted, and when she roared in from Eufaula, Ala., it turned out chat she was a Christian Scientist, with a hate against anatomy. So he was buried without yielding any lessons for science. If he had any real rival, in those declining years of Baltimore gastronomy, it must have been John Wilson, a cop: I have always regretted that they were never brought together in a match. Once, at a cop party, I saw John eat thirty fried hard crabs at a sitting—no mean feat, I assure you, for though the claws are pulled off a crab before it is fried, all the bodymeat remains. More, he not only ate the crabs, but sucked the shells. On another occasion, on a bet, he ate a ham and a cabbage in half an hour by the clock, but I was not present at that performance. When, a little later, he dropped dead in the old Central station-house, the police surgeons laid it to a pulmonary embolus, then a recent novelty in pathology.

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STEPHEN LEACOCK Why he selected

MY

REMARKABLE

UNCLE I have suggested the selection of this example of my writing because, with all becoming modesty, I am proud of it. It is only after long practice and much interest in the work that one can set down plain truth, without over-embellishment or wandering from the point. When this is done the writing takes on an inevitable aspect, as if there were no other way to say what is said. In other words it looks as easy as Shakespeare. When this is done even the truth itself sounds a little better than true, which is the basis of what is called literature. Any depiction of life as it is, is depressing reading. Orillia, Canada STEPHEN LEACOCK July, 1942

A PERSONAL DOCUMENT

T

HE most remarkable man I have ever known in my life was my uncle Edward Philip Leacock—known to ever so many people in Winnipeg fifty or sixty years ago as E. P. His character was so exceptional that it needs nothing but plain narration. It was so exaggerated already that you couldn't exaggerate it. When I was a boy of six, my father brought us, a family flock, to settldton an Ontario farm. We lived in an isolation unknown, in these days of radio, anywhere in the world. We were thirty-five miles from a railway. There were no newspapers. Nobody came and went. There was nowhere to come and go. In the solitude of the dark winter nights the stillness was that of eternity.

Into this isolation there broke, two years later, my dynamic Uncle 77

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Edward, my father's younger brother. He had just come from a year's travel around the Mediterranean. He must have been about twentyeight, but seemed a more than adult man, bronzed and self-confident, with a square beard like a Plantagenet King. His talk was of Algiers, of the African slave market; of the Golden Horn and the Pyramids. To us it sounded like the Arabian Nights. When we asked, "Uncle Edward, do you know the Prince of Wales?" he answered, "Quite intimately"—with no further explanation. It was an impressive trick he had.

In that year, 1878, there was a general election in Canada. E. P. was in it up to the. neck in less than no time. He picked up the history and politics of Upper Canada in a day, and in a week knew everybody in the countryside. He spoke at every meeting, but his strong point was the personal contact of electioneering, of barroom treats. This gave full scope for his marvellous talent for flattery and make-believe. "Why, let me see"—he would say to some tattered country specimen beside him glass in hand—"surely, if your name is Framley, you must be a relation of my dear old friend General Sir Charles Framley of the Horse Artillery?" "Mebbe," the flattered specimen would answer. "I guess, mebbe; I ain't kept track very good of my folks in the old country." "Dear me! I must tell Sir Charles that I've seen you. He'll be so pleased." . . . In this way in a fortnight E. P. had conferred honours and distinctions on half the township of Georgina. They lived in a recaptured atmosphere of generals, admirals and earls. Vote? How else could they vote than conservative, men of family like them ? It goes without saying that in politics, then and always, E. P. was on the conservative, the aristocratic side, but along with that was hailfellow-well-met with the humblest. This was instinct. A democrat can't condescend. He's down already. But when a conservative sfcops, he conquers.

The election, of course, was a walk-over. E. P. might have stayed to reap the fruits. But he knew better. Ontario at that day was too small a horizon. For these were the days of the hard times of Ontario

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farming, when mortgages fell like snowflakes, and farmers were sold up, or sold out, or went "to the States," or faded humbly underground. But all the talk was of Manitoba now opening up. Nothing would do E. P. but that he and my father must go west. So we had a sale of our farm, with refreshments, old-time fashion, for the buyers. The poor, lean cattle and the broken machines fetched less than the price of the whisky. /But E. P. laughed it all off, quoted that the star of the Empire glittered in the west, and off to the West they went, leaving us children behind at school.

They hit Winnipeg just on the rise of the boom, and E. P. came at once into his own and rode on the crest of the wave. There is something of magic appeal in the rush and movement of a "boom" town— a Winnipeg of the 80's, a Carson City of the 60's. . . . Life comes to a focus; it is all here and now, all present, no past and no outside—just a clatter of hammers and saws, rounds of drinks and rolls of money. In such an atmosphere every man seems a remarkable fellow, a man of exception; individuality separates out and character blossoms like a rose.

E. P. came into his own. In less than no time he was in everything and knew everybody, conferring titles and honours up and down Portage Avenue. In six months he had a great fortune, on paper; took a trip east and brought back a charming wife from Toronto; built a large house beside the river; filled it with pictures that he said were his ancestors, and carried on in it a roaring hospitality that never stopped. His activities were wide. He was president of a bank (that never opened), head of a brewery (for brewing the Red River) and, above all, secretary-treasurer of the Winnipeg Hudson Bay and Arctic Ocean Railway that had a charter authorizing it to build a road to the Arctic Ocean, when it got ready. They had no track, but they printed stationery and passes, and in return E. P. received passes over all North America.

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But naturally his main hold was politics. He was elected right away into the Manitoba Legislature. They would have made him Prime Minister but for the existence of the grand old man of the province, John Norquay. But even at that in a very short time Norquay ate out of E. P.'s hand, and E. P. led him on a string. I remember how they came down to Toronto, when I was a schoolboy, with an adherent group of "Westerners," all in heavy buffalo coats and bearded like Assyrians. E. P. paraded them on King Street like a returned explorer with savages. Naturally E. P.'s politics remained conservative. But he pitched the note higher. Even the ancestors weren't good enough. He invented a Portuguese Dukedom (some one of our family once worked in Portugal)—and he conferred it, by some kind of reversion, on my elder brother Jim who had gone to Winnipeg to work in E. P.'s office. This enabled him to say to visitors in his big house, after looking at the ancestors—to say in a half-whisper behind his hand, "Strange to think that two deaths would make that boy a Portuguese Duke." But Jim never knew which two Portuguese to kill. To aristocracy E. P. also added a touch of peculiar prestige by always being apparently just about to be called away—imperially. If some one said, "Will you be in Winnipeg all winter, Mr. Leacock?" he answered, "It will depend a good deal on what happens in West Africa." Just that; West Africa beat them.

Then came the crash of the Manitoba boom. Simple people, like my father, were wiped out in a day. Not so E. P. The crash just gave him a lift as the smash of a big wave lifts a strong swimmer. He just went right on. I believe that in reality he was left utterly bankrupt. But it made no difference. He used credit instead of cash. He still had his imaginary bank, and his railway to the Arctic Ocean. Hospitality still roared and the tradesmen still paid for it. Any one who called about a bill was told that E. P.'s movements were uncertain and would depend a good deal on what happened in Johannesburg. That held them another six months.

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It was during this period that I used to see him when he made his periodic trips "east," to impress his creditors in the West. He floated, at first very easily, on hotel credit, borrowed loans and unpaid bills. A banker, especially a country town banker, was his natural mark and victim. He would tremble as E. P. came in, like a stock dove that sees a hawk. E. P.'s method was so simple; it was like showing a farmer peas under thimbles. As he entered the banker's side-office he would say: "I say. Do you fish? Surely that's a greenhart casting-rod on the wall?" (E. P. knew the names of everything.) In a few minutes the banker, flushed and pleased, was exhibiting the rod, and showing flies in a box out of a drawer. When E. P. went out he carried a hundred dollars with him. There was no security. The transaction was all over. He dealt similarly with credit, with hotels, livery stables and bills in shops. They all fell for his method. He bought with lavish generosity, never asking a price. He never suggested pay till just as*n afterthought, just as he was going out. And then: "By the way, please let me have the account promptly. I may be going away," and, in an aside to me, as if not meant for the shop, "Sir Henry Loch has cabled again from West Africa." And so out; they had never seen him before; nor since.

The proceeding with a hotel was different. A country hotel was, of course, easy, in fact too easy. E. P. would sometimes pay such a bill in cash, just as a sportsman won't shoot a sitting partridge. But a large hotel was another thing. E. P., on leaving—that is, when all ready to leave, coat, bag, and all—would call for his bill at the desk. At the sight of it he would break out into enthusiasm at the reasonableness of it. "Just think!" he would say in his "aside" to me, "compare that with the Hotel Crillon in Paris!" The hotel proprietor had no way of doing this; he just felt that he ran a cheap hotel. Then another "aside," "Do remind me to mention to Sir John how admirably we've been treated; he's coming here next week." "Sir John" was our Prime Minister and the hotel keeper hadn't known he was coming—and he wasn't. . . . Then came the final touch—"Now, let me see . . . seventy-six dollars . . . seventy-six. . . . You give me"—and E. P. fixed his eye firmly on the hotel man—"give me twenty-four dollars, and

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then I can remember to send an even hundred." The man's hand trembled. But he gave it.

This does not mean that E. P. was in any sense a crook, in any degree dishonest. His bills to him were just "deferred pay," like the British debts to the United States. He never did, never contemplated, a crooked deal in his life. All his grand schemes were as open as sunlight—and as empty.

In all his interviews E. P. could fashion his talk to his audience. On one of his appearances I introduced him to a group of college friends, young men near to degrees, to whom degrees mean everything. In casual conversation E. P. turned to me and said, "Oh, by the way you'll be glad to know that I've just received my honorary degree from the Vatican—at last!" The "at last" was a knock-out—a degree from the. Pope, and overdue at that!

Of course it could not last. Gradually credit crumbles. Faith weakens. Creditors grow hard, and friends turn their faces away. Gradually E. P. sank down. The death of his wife had left him a widower, a shuffling, half-shabby figure, familiar on the street, that would have been pathetic but for his indomitable self-belief, the illumination of his mind. Even at that, times grew hard with him. At length even the simple credit of the barrooms broke under him. I have been told by my brother Jim—the Portuguese Duke—of E. P. being put out of a Winnipeg bar, by an angry bar-tender who at last broke the mesmerism. E. P. had brought in a little group, spread up the fingers of one hand and said, "Mr. Leacock, five!" . . . The bar-tender broke into oaths. E. P. hooked a friend by the arm. "Come away," he said. "I'm afraid the poor fellow's crazy! But I hate to report him."

Presently even his power to travel came to an end. The railways

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found out at last that there wasn't any Arctic Ocean, and anyway the printer wouldn't print.

Just once again he managed to "come east." It was in June of 1891. I met him forging along King Street in Toronto—a trifle shabby but with a plug hat with a big band of crape around it. "Poor Sir John," he said. "I felt I simply must come down for his funeral." Then I remembered that the Prime Minister was dead, and realized that kindly sentiment had meant free transportation.

That was the last I ever saw of E. P. A little after that some one paid his fare back to England. He received, from some family trust, a little income of perhaps two pounds a week. On that he lived, with such dignity as might be, in a lost village in Worcestershire. He told the people of the village—so I learned later—that his stay was uncertain; it would depend a good deal on what happened in China. But nothing happened in China; there he stayed, years and years. There he might have finished out, but for a strange chance of fortune, a sort of poetic justice, that gave to E. P. an evening in the sunset.

It happened that in the part of England where our family belonged there was an ancient religious brotherhood, with a monastery and dilapidated estates that went back for centuries. E. P. descended on them, the brothers seeming to him an easy mark, as brothers indeed are. In the course of his pious "retreat," E. P. took a look into the brothers' finances, and his quick intelligence discovered an old claim against the British Government, large in amount and valid beyond a doubt. In less than no time E. P. was at Westminster, representing the brothers. He knew exactly how to handle British officials; they were easier even than Ontario hotel keepers. All that is needed is hints of marvellous investment overseas. They never go there but they remember how they just missed Johannesburg or were just late on Persian oil. All E. P. needed was his Arctic Railway. "When you come out, I

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must take you over our railway. I really think that as soon as we reach the Coppermine River we must put the shares on here; it's too big for New York. . . . " So E. P. got what he wanted. The British Government are so used to old claims that it would as soon pay as not. There are plenty left. The brothers got a whole lot of money. In gratitude they invited E. P. to be their permanent manager; so there he was, lifted into ease and affluence. The years went easily by, among gardens, orchards and fishponds old as the Crusades. When I was lecturing in London in 1921 he wrote to me: "Do come down; I am too old now to travel; but any day you like I will send a chauffeur with a car and two lay-brothers to bring you down." I thought the "lay-brothers" a fine touch—just like E. P. I couldn't go. I never saw him again. He ended out his days at the monastery, no cable calling him to West Africa. Years ago I used to think of E. P. as a sort of humbug, a source of humour. Looking back now I realize better the unbeatable quality of his spirit, the mark, we like to think just now, of the British race. If there is a paradise, I am sure he will get in. He will say at the gate—"Peter? Then surely you must be a relation of Lord Peter of Tichfield?" But if he fails, then, as the Spaniards say so fittingly, "May the earth lie light upon him."

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C O N R A D A I K E N Why he selected

STRANGE MOONLIGHT This little story is largely autobiographical, as will be at once obvious to anyone, and that may be one reason why the author has always been fond of it. But there is another reason as well. For 1 think when a writer makes over, or partly makes over, his experience into a poem or story, he will then tend to forget the experience itself. Somehow, in the act of thus formalizing and externalizing a memory, he has also lost his power to evoke it—it's as if he had put it into cold storage. Thereafter, when he wants to revisit that particular glimpse of the moon, he will find it more accessible, and far vivider, in the artifact than in his own recollection. "Strange Moonlight," thus, for me, constitutes the best memory I can command of a moment in childhood which had for me a very special magic. Brewster, Mass. CONRAD AIKEN June, 1942

I

T HAD been a tremendous week—colossal. Its reverberations around him hardly yet slept—his slightest motion or thought made a vast symphony of them, like a breeze in a forest of bells. In the first place, he had filched a volume of Poe's tales from his mother's bookcase, and had had in consequence a delirious night in inferno. Down, down he had gone with heavy clangs about him, coiling spouts of fire licking dryly at an iron sky, and a strange companion, of protean shape and size, walking and talking beside him. For the most part, this companion seemed to be nothing but a voice and a wing—an enormous jagged black wing, soft and drooping like a bat's; he had noticed veins in it. As for the voice, it had been singularly gentle. If it was mysterious, that was no doubt because he himself was stupid. Certainly it had sounded placid and reasonable, exactly, in fact, like his father's, ex-

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plaining a problem in mathematics; but, though he had noticed the orderly and logical structure, and felt the inevitable approach towards a vast and beautiful or terrible conclusion, the nature and meaning of the conclusion itself always escaped him. It was as if, always, he had come just too late. When, for example, he had come at last to the black wall that enclosed the infernal city, and seen the arched gate, the voice had certainly said that if he hurried he would see, through the arch, a far low landscape of extraordinary wonder. He had hurried, but it had been in vain. He had reached the gate, and for the tiniest fraction of an instant he had even glimpsed the wide green of fields and trees, a winding blue ribbon of water, and a gleam of intense light touching to brilliance some far object. But then, before he had time to notice more than that every detail in this fairy landscape seemed to lead towards a single shining solution, a dazzling significance, suddenly the infernal rain, streaked fire and rolling smoke, had swept it away. Then the voice had seemed to become ironic. He had failed, and he felt like crying. He had still, the next morning, felt that he might, if the opportunity offered, see that vision. It was always just round the corner, just at the head of the stairs, just over the next page. But other adventures had intervened. Prize-day, at school, had come upon him as suddenly as a thunderstorm—the ominous hushed gathering of the entire school into one large room, the tense air of expectancy, the solemn speeches, all had reduced him to a state of acute terror. There was something unintelligible and sinister about it. He had, from first to last, a peculiar physical sensation that something threatened him; and here and there, in the interminable vague speeches, a word seemed to have eyes and to stare at him. His prescience had been correct—abruptly his name had been called, he had walked unsteadily amid applause to the teacher's desk, had received a small black pasteboard box; and then had cowered in his chair again, with the blood in his temples beating like gongs. When it was over, he had literally run away—he didn't stop till he reached the park. There, among the tombstones (the park had once been a graveyard) and trumpet-vines, he sat on the grass and opened the box. He was dazzled. The medal was of gold, and rested on a tiny blue satin cushion. His name was engraved on it—yes, actually cut into the gold; he felt the incisions with his fingernail. It was an experience

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not wholly to be comprehended. He put the box down in the grass and detached himself from it, lay full length, resting his chin on his wrist, and stared first at a tombstone and then at the small gold object, as if to discover the relation between them. Humming-birds, tombstones, trumpet-vines, and a gold medal. Amazing! He unpinned the medal from its cushion, put the box in his pocket, and walked slowly homeward, carrying the small live gleaming thing between fingers and thumb as if it were a bee. This was an experience to be carefully concealed from mother and father. Possibly he would tell Mary and John. . . . Unfortunately, he met his father as he was going in at the door, and was thereafter drowned, for a day, in a glory without significance. He felt ashamed, and put the medal away in a drawer, sternly forbidding Mary and John to look at it. Even so, he was horribly conscious of it—its presence there burned him unceasingly. Nothing afforded escape from it, not even sitting under the peach-tree and whittling a boat. II

The oddest thing was the way these and other adventures of the week all seemed to unite, as if they were merely aspects of the same thing. Everywhere lurked that extraordinary hint of the enigma and its shining solution. On Tuesday morning when it was pouring with rain, and he and Mary and John were conducting gigantic military operations in the back hall, with hundreds of paper soldiers, tents, cannon, battleships and forts, suddenly through the tall open window, a goldfinch flew in from the rain, beat wildly against a pane of glass, darted several times to and fro above their heads, and finally, finding the open window, flashed out. It flew to the peach-tree, rested there for a moment, and then over the outhouse and away. He saw it rising and falling in the rain. This was beautiful—it was like the vision in the infernal city, like the medal in the grass. He found it impossible to go on with the Battle of Gettysburg and abandoned it to Mary and John, who instantly started to quarrel. Escape was necessary, and he went into his own room, shut the door, lay on his bed and began thinking about Caroline Lee. John Lee had taken him there to see his new air-gun and a bag of

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BB shot. The strange house was dim and exciting. A long winding dark staircase went up from near the front door, a clock was striking in a far room, a small beautiful statue of a lady, slightly pinkish, and looking as if it had been dug out of the earth, stood on a table. The wall-paper beside the staircase was rough and hairy. Upstairs, in the play-room, they found Caroline sitting on the floor with a picturebook. She was learning to read, pointing at the words with her finger. He was struck by the fact that, although she was extraordinarily strange and beautiful, John Lee did not seem to be aware of it and treated her as if she were quite an ordinary sort of person. This gave him courage, and after the air-gun had been examined, and the bag of BB shot emptied of its gleaming heavy contents and then luxuriously refilled, he told her some of the words she couldn't make out. "And what's this?" she had said—he could still hear her say it, quite clearly. She was thin, smaller than himself, with dark hair and large pale eyes, and her forehead and hands looked curiously transparent. He particularly noticed her hands when she brought her five-dollar goldpiece to show him, opening a little jewel-box which had in it also a necklace of yellow beads from Egypt and a pink shell from Tybee Beach. She gave him the gold-piece to look at, and while he was looking at it, put the beads round her neck. "Now I'm an Egyptian!" she said, and laughed shyly, running her fingers to and fro over the smooth beads. A fearful temptation came upon him. He coveted the goldpiece, and thought that it would be easy to steal it. He shut his hand over it and it was gone. If it had beeen John's, he might have done so but, as it was, he opened his hand again and put the gold-piece back in the box. Afterwards, he stayed for a long while, talking with John and Caroline. The house was mysterious and rich, and he hadn't at all wanted to go out of it, or back to his own humdrum existence. Besides, he liked to hear Caroline talking. But although he had afterwards for many days wanted to go back to that house, to explore further its dim rich mysteriousness, and had thought about it a great deal, John hadn't again suggested a visit, and he himself had felt a curious reluctance about raising the subject. It had been, apparently, a vision that was not to be repeated, an incursion into a world that was so beautiful and strange that one was permitted of it only the briefest of glimpses. He had almost to reassure himself

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that the house was really there; and for that reason he made rather a point of walking home from school with John Lee. Yes, the house was there—he saw John climb the stone steps and open the huge green door. There was never a sign of Caroline, however, nor any mention of her: until one day he heard from another boy that s"he was ill with scarlet fever, and observed that John had stayed away from school. The news didn't startle or frighten him. On the contrary, it seemed just the sort of romantic privilege in which such fortunate people would indulge. He felt a certain delicacy about approaching the house, however, to see if the red quarantine sign had been affixed by the door, and carefully avoided Gordon Square on his way home from school. Should he write her a letter? or send her a present of marbles? For neither action did there seem to be sufficient warrant. But he found it impossible to do nothing, and later in the afternoon, by a very circuitous route which took him past the county jail—where he was thrilled by actually seeing a prisoner looking out between the grey iron bars—he slowly made his way to Gordon Square and from a safe distance, more or less hiding himself behind a palmetto tree, looked for a long while at the wonderful house and saw, sure enough, the red sign. Three days later he heard that Caroline Lee was dead. The news stunned him. Surely it could not be possible ? He felt stifled, frightened and incredulous. In a way, it was just what one would expect of Caroline; but none the less he felt outraged. How was it possible for anyone, whom one actually \new, to die} Particularly anyone so vividly and beautifully remembered! The indignity, the horror of death, obsessed him. Had she actually died ? He went again to Gordon Square, not knowing precisely what it was that he expected to find, and saw something white hanging by the green door. But if, as it appeared, it was true that'Caroline Lee, somewhere inside die house, lay dead, lay motionless, how did it happen that he, who was so profoundly concerned, had not at all been consulted, had not been invited to come and talk with her, and now found himself so utterly and hopelessly and for ever excluded—from the house, as from her ? This was a thing which he could not understand. As he walked home, pondering it, he thought of the five-dollar gold-piece. What would become of it? Probably John would get it and, if so, he would steal it from him. . . . All the same, he was glad he hadn't taken it.

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To this reflection he came back many times, as now once more with the Battle of Gettysburg raging in the next room. If he had actually taken it, what a horror it would have been! As it was, the fact that he had resisted the temptation, restored the gold-piece to the box, seemed to have been a tribute to Caroline's beauty and strangeness. Yes, for nobody else would he have made the refusal—nobody on earth. But, for her, it had been quite simple, a momentary pang quickly lost in the pleasure of hearing her voice, watching her pale hands twisting the yellow beads, and helping her with her reading. "And what's this?" she had said, and "Now I'm an Egyptian!" . . . What was death that could put an end to a clear voice saying such things? . . . Mystery was once more about him, the same mystery that had shone in the vision of the infernal city. There was something beautiful which he could not understand. He had felt it while he was lying in the grass among the tombstones, looking at the medal; he had felt it when the goldfinch darted in from the rain and then out again. All these things seemed in some curious way to fit together. in

The same night, after he had gone to bed, this feeling of enormous and complicated mystery came upon him again with oppressive weight. He lay still, looking from his pillow through the tall window at the moonlight on the white out-house wall, and again it seemed to him that the explanation for everything was extraordinarily near at hand if he only could find it. The mystery was like the finest of films, like the moonlight on the white wall. Surely, beneath it, there was something solid and simple? He heard someone walk across the yard, with steps that seemed astoundingly far apart and slow. The steps ceased, a door creaked. Then there was a cough. It was old Selena, the negro cook, going out for wood. He heard the sticks being piled up, then the creak of the door again, and again the slow steps on the hard-baked ground of the yard, zons apait. How did the peach tree look in the moonlight ? Would its leaves be dark, or shiny? And the chinaberry tree? He thought of the two trees standing there motionless in the moonlight, and at last felt that he must get out of bed and look at them. But when he had reached the hall, he heard his mother's voice from downstairs.

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and he went and lay on the old sofa in the hall, listening. Could he have heard aright? His mother had just called his father "boy!" "But two parties in a week, Tom—surely that's not excessive?" "It's two parties every week, and sometimes three or four, that's excessive. You know it is." "Darling, I must have some recreation!" His father laughed in a peculiar angry way that he had never heard before—as strange, indeed, as his mother's tone had been. "Recreation's all right," he said, "but you're neglecting your family. If it goes on, I'll have another child—that's all." He got off the sofa and went softly down the stairs to the turn of the railing. He peered over the banisters with infinite caution, and what he saw filled him with horror. His mother was sitting on his father's knee, with her arms about his neck. She was kissing him. How awful! . . . He couldn't look at it. What on earth, he wondered as he climbed back into bed, was it all about? There was something curious in the way they were talking, something not at all like fathers and mothers, but more like children, though he couldn't in the least understand it. At the same time, it was offensive. He began to make up a conversation with Caroline Lee. She was sitting under the peach-tree with him, reading her book. What beautiful hands she had! They were transparent, somehow, like her forehead, and her dark hair and large pale eyes delighted him. Perhaps she was an Egyptian! "It must be nice to live in your house," he said. "Yes, it's very nice. And you haven't seen half of it, either." "No, I haven't. I'd like to see it all. I liked the hairy wall-paper and the pink statue of the lady on the table. Are there any others like it?" "Oh, yes, lots and lots! In the secret room downstairs, where you heard the silver clock striking, there are fifty other statues, all more beautiful than that one, and a collection of clocks of every kind." "Is your father very rich?" "Yes, he's richer than anybody. He has a special carved ivory box to keep his collars in." "What does it feel like to die—were you sorry?" "Very sorry! But it's really quite easy—you just hold your breath and shut your eyes."

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"Oh!" "And when you're lying there, after you've died, you're really just pretending. You keep very still, and you have your eyes almost shut, but really you know everything! You watch the people and listen to them." "But don't you want to talk to them, or get out of bed, or out of your coffin?" "Well, yes, at first you do—but it's nicer than being alive." "Why?" "Oh, I don't know! You understand everything so easily!" "How nice that must be!" "It is." "But after they've shut you up in a coffin and sung songs over you and carried you to Bonaventure and buried you in the ground, and you're down there in the dark with all that earth above you—isn't that horrible?" "Oh, no! . . . As soon as nobody is looking, when they've all gone home to tea, you just get up and walk away. You climb out of the earth just as easily as you'd climb out of bed." "That's how you're here now, I suppose." "Of course!" "Well, it's very nice." "It's lovely. . . . Don't I look just as well as ever?" "Yes, you do." There was a pause, and then Caroline said: "I knew you wanted to steal my gold-piece—I was awfully glad when you put it back. If you had asked me for it, I'd have given it to you." "I like you very much, Caroline. Can I come to Bonaventure and play with you?" "I'm afraid not. You'd have to come in the dark." "But I could bring a lantern!" "Yes, you could do that." . . . It seemed to him that they were no longer sitting under the peach tree, but walking along the white shell road to Bonaventure. He held the lantern up beside a chinquapin tree, and Caroline reached up with her pale small hands and picked two chinquapins. Then they

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crossed the little bridge, walking carefully between the rails on the sleepers. Mossy trees were all about them; the moss, in long festoons, hung lower and lower, and thicker and thicker, and the wind made a soft seething sound as it sought a way through the grey ancient forest. IV

It had been his intention to explore, the next morning, the vault under the mulberry tree in the park—his friend Harry had mentioned that it was open, and that one could go down very dusty steps and see, on the dark floor, a few rotted boards and a bone or two. At breakfast he enlisted Mary and John for the expedition: but then there were unexpected developments. His father and mother had abruptly decided that the whole family would spend the day at Tybee Beach. This was festive and magnificent beyond belief. The kitchen became a turmoil. Selena ran to and fro with sugar-sandwiches, pots of devilled ham, cookies, hard-boiled eggs and a hundred other things; piles of beautiful sandwiches were exquisitely folded up in shining clean napkins; and the wicker basket was elaborately packed. John and Mary decided to take their pails with them, and stamped up and down stairs, banging the pails with tin shovels. He himself was a little uncertain what to take. He stood by his desk, wondering. He would like to take Poe's tales, but that was out of the question, for he wasn't supposed to have the book at all. Marbles, also, were dismissed as unsuitable. He finally took his gold medal out of its drawer and put it in his pocket. He would keep it a secret, of course. All the way to the station he was conscious of the medal burning in his pocket. He closed his fingers over it, and again felt it to be a live thing, as if it were buzzing, beating invisible wings. Would his fingers have a waxy smell, as they did after they'd been holding a June-bug, or tying a thread to one of its legs? . . . Father carried the basket, Mary and John clanked their pails, everybody was talking and laughing. They climbed into the funny, undignified little train, which almost immediately was lurching over the wide green marshes, rattling over red iron bridges enormously complicated with girders and trusses. Great excitement when they passed the grey stone fort. Fort Pulaski. They'd seen it once from the river, when they were on the steamer

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going to the cotton islands. His father leaned down beside Mary to tell her about Fort Pulaski, just as a cloud-shadow, crossing it, made it sombre. How nice his father's smile was! He had never noticed it before. It made him feel warm and shy. He looked out at the interminable green marshes, the flying clouds of rice-birds, the channels of red water lined with red mud, and listened intently to the strange complex rhythm of the wheels on the rails and the prolonged melancholy wail of the whistle. How curious it all was! His mother was sitting opposite him, very quiet, her grey eyes turned absently toward the window. She wasn't looking at things—she was thinking. If she had been looking at things her eyes would have moved to and fro, as Mary's were doing. "Mother," he said, "did you bring our bathing-suits?" "Yes, dear." The train was rounding a curve and slowing down. They had suddenly left the marshes and were among low sand-dunes covered with tall grass. He saw a man, very red-faced, just staggering over the top of one of the dunes and waving a stick. . . . It was hot. They filed slowly off the train and one by one jumped down into the burning sand. How strange it was to walk in! They laughed and shrieked, feeling themselves helpless, rah and jumped, straddled up the steep root-laced sides of dunes and slid down again in slow warm avalanches of lazy sand. Mother and father, picking their way between the dunes, walked slowly ahead, carrying the basket between them—his father pointed at something. The sunlight came down heavily like sheets of solid brass and they could feel the heat of the sand on their cheeks. Then at last they came out on to the enormous white dazzling beach with its millions of shells, its black and white striped lighthouse, and the long, long sea, indolently blue, spreading out slow soft lines of foam, and making an interminable rushing murmur like trees in a wind. He felt instantly a desire, in all this space and light, to run for miles and miles. His mother and father sat under a striped parasol. Mary and John, now barefooted, had begun laborious and intense operations in the sand at the water's edge, making occasional sallies into the sliding water. He began walking away along the beach close to the waves, keeping his eye out for any particularly beautiful shell,

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and taking great care not to step on jelly-fish. Suppose a school of flying-fish, such as he had seen from the ship, should swim in close to the beach and then, by mistake, fly straight up onto the sand! How delightful that would be! It would be almost as exciting as finding buried treasure, a rotten chest full of gold-pieces and seaweed and sand. He had often dreamt of thrusting his hand into such a sea-chest and feeling the small hard beautiful coins mixed with sand and weed. Some said that Captain Kidd had buried treasure on Tybee Beach. Perhaps he'd better walk a little closer to the dunes, where it was certainly more likely that treasure would have been hidden. . . . He climbed a hot dune, taking hold of the feathery grass, scraping his bare legs on the coarse leaves, and filling his shoes with warm sand. The dune was scooped at the top like a volcano, the hollow all ringed with tall whistling grass, a natural hiding-place, snug and secret. He lay down, made exquisitely smooth a hand's breadth of sand, then took the medal out of his pocket and placed it there. It blazed beautifully. Was it as nice as the five-dollar gold-piece would have been? He liked especially the tiny links of the little gold chains by which the shield hung from the pin-bar. If only Caroline could see it! Perhaps if he stayed here, hidden from the family, and waited till they had gone back home, Caroline would somehow know where he was and come to him as soon as it was dark. He wasn't quite sure what would be the shortest way from Bonaventure, but Caroline would know—certainly. Then they would spend the night here, talking. He would exchange his medal for the five-dollar gold-piece, and perhaps she would bring, folded in a square of silk, the little pink statue. . . . Thus equipped, their house would be perfect. . . . He would tell her about the goldfinch interrupting the Battle of Gettysburg.

The chief event of the afternoon was the burial of his father, who had on his bathing-suit. He and Mary and John all excitedly laboured at this. When they had got one leg covered, the other would suddenly burst hairily out, or an arm would shatter its mould, and his father would laugh uproariously. Finally they had him wholly buried, all except his head, in a beautiful smooth mound. On top of this they put

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the two pails, a lot of pink shells in a row, like the buttons of a coat, and a collection of seaweed. Mother, lying under her parasol, laughed lazily, deliciously. For the first time during the day she seemed to be really happy. She began pelting small shells at father, laughing in an odd delightful teasing way, as if she were a girl; and father pretended to be furious. How exactly like a new grave he looked! It was singularly as Caroline had described it, for there he was all alive in it, and talking, and able to get up whenever he liked. Mary and John, seeing mother throw shells, and hearing her teasing laughter, and father's comic rage, became suddenly excited. They began throwing things wildly—shells, handfuls of seaweed, and at last sand. At this, father suddenly leapt out of his tomb, terrifying them, scattered his graveclothes in every direction, and galloped gloriously down the beach into the sea. The upturned brown soles of his feet followed him casually into a long curling green wave, and then his head came up shaking like a dog's and blowing water, and his strong white arms flashed slowly over and over in the sunlight as he swam far out. How magnificent! . . . He would like to be able to do that, to swim out and out and out, with a sea-gull flying close beside him, talking. Later, when they had changed into their clothes again in the saltysmelling wooden bath-house, they had supper on the verandah of the huge hotel. A band played, the coloured waiters bowed and grinned. The sky turned pink, and began to dim; the sea darkened, making a far sorrowful sound; and twilight deepened slowly, slowly into night. The moon, which had looked like a white thin shell in the afternoon, turned now to the brightest silver, and he thought, as they walked silently towards the train, of which they could see the long row of yellow windows, that the beach and dunes looked more beautiful by moonlight than by sunlight. . . . How mysterious the flooded marshes looked, too, with the cold moon above them! They reminded him of something, he couldn't remember what. . . . Mary and John fell asleep in the train, his father and mother were silent. Someone in die car ahead was playing a concertina, and the plaintive sound mingled curiously with the clacking of the rails, the rattle of bridges, the long lugubrious cry of the whistle. Hoo-ol Hoo-oo! Where was it they were going—was it to anything so simple as home, the familiar house, the two familiar trees, or were they, rather, speeding like a fiery comet

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toward the world's edge, to plunge out into the unknown and fall down and down for ever? No, certainly it was not to the familiar. . . . Everything was changed and ghostly. The long street, in the moonlight, was like a deep river, at the bottom of which they walked, making scattered thin sounds on the stones, and listening intently to the whisperings of elms and palmettoes. And their house, when at last they stopped before it, how strange it was! The moonlight falling through the two tall swaying live-oaks, cast a moving pattern of shadow and light all over its face. Slow swirls and spirals of black and silver, dizzy gallops, quiet pools of light abruptly shattered, all silently followed the swishing of leaves against the moon. It was like a vine of moonlight, which suddenly grew all over the house, smothering everything with its multitudinous swift leaves and tendrils of pale silver, and then as suddenly fading out. He stared up at this while his father fitted the key into the lock, feeling the ghostly vine grow strangely over his face and hands. Was it in this, at last, that he would find the explanation of all that bewildered him? Caroline, no doubt, would understand it, she was a sort of moonlight herself. He went slowly up the stairs. But as he took the medal and a small pink shell out of his pocket, and put them on his desk, he realized, at last, that Caroline was dead.

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MORLEY CALLAGHAN Why he selected

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When I wrote this story, I found I was liking the material because there was a certain grim contrast between the nice human and warm relationship of the young fellow and the hangman and the actual vocation of the hangman. Also I liked the hangman's rather wistful attachment to his despised job and his realization that it gave him an opportunity to get around the country and enjoy himself as a human being and a fisherman. And then after I had written it I saw that it had a certain social implication that I liked. The hangman, a necessary figure in society, a man definitely serving the public and the ends of justice, was entitled to a little human dignity. In fact he saw himself as a dignified human being. But of course as an instrument of justice he became a despised person, and even his young friend, who understood his wistful humanity, betrayed that humanity when the chips were down. If I had started out to write the story with that in mind it might have become very involved but I wrote it very easily and naturally and without any trouble at all. At the time I wrote it, I let the editor of Esquire, who published it, know that I thought it was one of my best stories. He was very dubious about it. I find looking back on it that the story seems to stand up well and I was right in my judgment of it. Toronto, Canada August 9, 1942

MORLEY CALLAGHAN

T

H E only reporter on the town paper, the Examiner, was Michael Foster, a tall, long-legged, eager young fellow, who wanted to go to the city some day and work on an important newspaper. The morning he went into Bagley's hotel, he wasn't at all sure 98

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o£ himself. He went over to the desk and whispered to the proprietor, Ted Bagley, "Did he come here, Mr. Bagley?" Bagley said slowly, "Two men came here from this morning's train. They registered." He put his spatulate forefinger on the open book and said, "Two men. One of them's a drummer. This one here, T. Woodley. I know because he was through this way last year and just a minute ago he walked across the road to Molson's hardware store. The other one . . . here's his name, K. Smith." "Who's K. Smith?" Michael asked. "I don't know. A mild, harmless looking little guy." "Did he look like the hangman, Mr. Bagley?" "I couldn't say that, seeing as I never saw one. He was awfully polite and asked where he could get a boat so he could go fishing on the lake this evening, so I said likely down at Smollet's place by the power house." "Well, thanks. I guess if he was the hangman, he'd go over to the jail first," Michael said. He went along the street, past the Baptist church to the old jail with the high brick fence around it. Two tall maple trees, with branches drooping low over the sidewalk, shaded one of the walls from the morning sunlight. Last night, behind those walls, three carpenters, working by lamplight, had nailed the timbers for the scaffold. In the morning, young Thomas Delaney, who had grown up in the town, was being hanged: he had killed old Mathew Rhinehart whom he had caught molesting his wife when she had been berrypicking in the hills behind the town. There had been a struggle and Thomas Delaney had taken a bad beating before he had killed Rhinehart. Last night a crowd had gathered on the sidewalk by the lamp post, and while moths and smaller insects swarmed around the high blue carbon light, the crowd had thrown sticks and bottles and small stones at the out of town workmen in the jail yard. Billy Hilton, the town constable, had stood under the light with his head down, pretending not to notice anything. Thomas Delaney was only three years older than Michael Foster. . Michael went straight to the jail office, where Henry Steadman, the sheriff, a squat, heavy man, was sitting on the desk idly wetting

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his long black mustaches with his tongue. "Hello, Michael, what do you want?" he asked. "Hello, Mr. Steadman, the Examiner would like to know if the hangman arrived yet." "Why ask me?" "I thought he'd come here to test the gallows. Won't he?" "My, you're a smart young fellow, Michael, thinking of that." "Is he in there now, Mr. Steadman?" "Don't ask me. I'm saying nothing. Say, Michael, do you think there's going to be trouble? You ought to know. Does anybody seem sore at me? I can't do nothing. You can see that." "I don't think anybody blames you, Mr. Steadman. Look here, can't I see the hangman? Is his name K. Smith?" "What does it matter to you, Michael? Be a sport, go on away and don't bother us any more." "All right, Mr. Steadman," Michael said very competently, "just leave it to me." Early that evening, when the sun was setting, Michael Foster walked south of the town on the dusty road leading to the power house and Smollet's fishing pier. He knew that if Mr. K. Smith wanted to get a boat he would go down to the pier. Fine powdered road dust whitened Michael's shoes. Ahead of him he saw the power plant, square and low, and the smooth lake water. Behind him the sun was hanging over the blue hills beyond the town and shining brilliantly on square patches of farm land. The air around the power house smelt of steam. Out on the jutting, tumbledown pier of rock and logs, Michael saw a little fellow without a hat, sitting down with his knees hunched up to his chin, a very small man with little gray baby curls on the back of his neck, who stared steadily far out over the water. In his hand he was holding a stick with a heavy fishing line twined around it and a gleaming copper spoon bait, the hooks brightened with bits of feathers such as they used in the neighborhood when trolling for lake trout. Apprehensively Michael walked out over the rocks toward the stranger and called, "Were you thinking of going fishing, mister?" Standing up, the man smiled. He had a large head, tapering down to a small chin, a birdlike neck and a very wistful smile. Pucker-

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ing his mouth up, he said shyly to Michael, "Did you intend to go fishing?" "That's what I came down here for. I was going to get a boat back at the boat house there. How would you like if we went together?" "I'd like it first rate," the shy little man said eagerly. "We could take turns rowing. Does that appeal to you?" "Fine. Fine. You wait here and I'll go back to Smollet's place and ask for a row boat and I'll row around here and get you." "Thanks. Thanks very much," the mild little man said as he began to untie his line. He seemed very enthusiastic. When Michael brought the boat around to the end of the old pier and invited the stranger to make himself comfertable so he could handle the line, the stranger protested comically that he ought to be allowed to row. Pulling strongly at the oars, Michael was soon out in the deep water and the little man was letting his line out slowly. In one furtive glance, he had noticed that the man's hair, gray at the temples, was inclined to curl to his ears. The line was out full length. It was twisted around the little man's forefinger, which he let drag in the water. And then Michael looked full at him and smiled because he thought he seemed so meek and quizzical. "He's a nice little guy," Michael assured himself and he said, "1 work on the town paper, the Examiner." "It is a good paper. Do you like the work?" "Yes. But it's nothing like a first class city paper and I don't expect to be working on it long. I want to get a reporter's job on a city paper. My name's Michael Foster." "Mine's Smith. Just call me Smitty." "I was wondering if you'd been over to the jail yet." Up to this time the little man had been smiling with the charming ease of a small boy who finds himself free, but now he became furtive and disappointed. Hesitating, h$ said, "Yes, I was over at the jail. I didn't think you knew. I tested the trap. I went there first thing this morning." "Oh, I just knew you'd go there," Michael said. They were a bit afraid of each other. By this time they were far out on the water which had a millpond smoothness. The town seemed to get smaller, with

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white houses in rows and streets forming geometric patterns, just as the blue hills behind the town seemed to get larger at sundown. Finally Michael said, "Do you know this Thomas Delaney that'? dying in the morning?" He knew his voice was slow and resentful. "No. I don't know anything about him. I never read about them. Aren't there any fish at all in this old lake? I'd like to catch some fish," he said rapidly. "I told my wife I'd bring her home some fish." Glancing at Michael, he was appealing, without speaking, that they should do nothing to spoil an evening's fishing. The little man began to talk eagerly about fishing as he pulled out a small flask from his hip pocket. "Scotch," he said, chuckling with delight. "Here, take a swig." Michael drank from the flask and passed it back. Tilting his head back and saying "Here's to you, Michael," the little man took a long pull at the flask. "The only time I take a drink," he said still chuckling, "is when I go on a fishing trip by myself. I usually go by myself," he added apologetically as if he wanted the young fellow to see how much he appreciated his company. They had gone far out on the water but they had caught nothing. It began to get dark. "No fish tonight, I guess, Smitty," Michael said. "It's a crying shame," Smitty said. "I looked forward to coming up here when I found out the place was on the lake. I wanted to get some fishing in. I promised my wife I'd bring her back some fish. She'd often like to go fishing with me, but of course, she can't because she can't travel around from place to place like I do. Whenever I get a call to go some place, I always look at the map to see if it's by a lake or on a river, then I take my lines and hooks along." "If you took another job, you and your wife could probably go fishing together," Michael suggested. "I don't know about that. We sometimes go fishing together anyway." He looked away, waiting for Michael to be repelled and insist that he ought to give up the job. And he wasn't ashamed as he looked down at the water, but he knew thataMichael thought he ought to be ashamed. "Somebody's got to do my job. There's got to be a hangman," he said. "I just meant that if it was such disagreeable work, Smitty." The little man did not answer for a long time. Michael rowed steadily with sweeping, tireless strokes. Huddled at the end of the boat,

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Smitty suddenly looked up with a kind of melancholy hopelessness and said mildly, "The job hasn't been so disagreeable." "Good God, man, you don't mean you like it?" "Oh, no," he said, to be obliging, as if he knew what Michael expected him to say. "I mean you get used to it, that's all." But he looked down again at the water, knowing he ought to be ashamed of himself. "Have you got any children?" "I sure have. Five. The oldest boy is fourteen. It's funny, but they're all a lot bigger and taller than I am. Isn't that funny?" They started a conversation about fishing rivers that ran into the lake farther north. They felt friendly again. The little man, who had an extraordinary gift for story telling, made many quaint faces, puckered up his lips, screwed up his eyes and moved around restlessly as if he wanted to get up in the boat and stride around for the sake of more expression. Again he brought out the whiskey flask and Michael stopped rowing. Grinning, they toasted each other and said together, "Happy days." The boat remained motionless on the placid water. Far out, the sun's last rays gleamed on the water line. And then it got dark and they could only see the town lights. It was time to turn around and pull for the shore. The little man tried to take the oars from Michael, who shook his head resolutely and insisted that he would prefer to have his friend catch a fish on the way back to the shore. "It's too late now, and we may have scared all the fish away," Smitty laughed happily. "But we're having a grand time, aren't we?" When they reached the old pier by the power house, it was full night and they hadn't caught a single fish. As the boat bumped against the rocks Michael said, "You can get out here. I'll take the boat around to Smollet's." "Won't you be coming my way?" "Not just now. I'll probably talk with Smollet a while." The little man got out of the boat and stood on the pier looking down at Michael. "I was thinking dawn would be the best time to catch some fish," he said. "At about five o'clock. I'll have an hour and a half to spare anyway. How would you like that?" He was speaking with so much eagerness that Michael found himself saying, "I could try. But if I'm not here at dawn, you go on without me."

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"All right. I'll walk back to the hotel now." "Good night, Smitty." "Good night, Michael. We had a fine neighborly time, didn't we?" As Michael rowed the boat around to the boat house, he hoped that Smitty wouldn't realize he didn't want to be seen walking back to town with him. And later, when he was going slowly along the dusty road in the dark and hearing all the crickets chirping in the ditches, he couldn't figure out why he felt so ashamed of himself. At seven o'clock next morning Thomas Delaney was hanged in the town jail yard. There was hardly a breeze on that leaden gray morning and there were no small whitecaps out over the lake. It would have been a fine morning for fishing. Michael went down to the jail, for he thought it his duty as a newspaperman to have all the facts, but he was afraid he might get sick. He hardly spoke to all the men and women who were crowded under the maple trees by the jail wall. Everybody he knew was staring at the wall and muttering angrily. Two of Thomas Delaney's brothers, big, strapping fellows with bearded faces, were there on the sidewalk. Three automobiles were at the front of the jail. Michael, the town newspaperman, was admitted into the courtyard by old Willie Mathews, one of the guards, who said that two newspapermen from the city were at the gallows on the other side of the building. "I guess you can go around there, too, if you want to," Mathews said, as he sat down slowly on the step. White-faced, and afraid, Michael sat down on the step with Mathews and they waited and said nothing. At last the old fellow said, "Those people outside there are pretty sore, ain't they?" "They're pretty sullen, all right. I saw two of Delaney's brothers there." "I wish they'd go," Mathews said. "I don't want to see anything. I didn't even look at Delaney. I don't want to hear anything. I'm sick." He put his head back against the wall and closed his eyes. The old fellow and Michael sat close together till a small procession came around the corner from the other side of the yard. First came Mr. Steadman, the sheriff, with his head down as though he were crying, then Dr. Parker, the physician, then two hard-looking young

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newspapermen from the city, walking with their hats on the backs of their heads, and behind them came the little hangman, erect, stepping out with military precision and carrying himself with a strange cocky dignity. He was dressed in a long black cutaway coat with gray striped trousers, a gates ajar collar and a narrow red tie, as if he alone felt the formal importance of the occasion. He walked with brusque precision till he saw Michael, who was standing up, staring at him with his mouth open. The little hangman grinned and as soon as the procession reached the door step, he shook hands with Michael. They were all looking at Michael. As though his work were over now, the hangman said eagerly to Michael, "I thought I'd see you here. You didn't get down to the pier at dawn?" "No. I couldn't make it." "That was tough, Michael. I looked for you," he said. "But never mind. I've got something for you." As they all went into the jail, Dr. Parker glanced angrily at Michael, then turned his back on him. In the office, where the doctor prepared to sign a certificate, Smitty was bending down over his fishing basket which was in the corner. Then he pulled out two good-sized salmon-bellied lake trout, folded in a newspaper, and said, "I was saving these for you, Michael. I got four in an hour's fishing." Then he said, "I'll talk about that later, if you'll wait. We'll be busy here, and I've got to change my clothes." Michael went out to the street with Dr. Parker and the two city newspapermen. Under his arm he was carrying the fish, folded in the newspaper. Outside, at the jail door, Michael thought that the doctor and the two newspapermen were standing a little apart from him. Then the small crowd, with their clothes all dust-soiled from the road, surged forward, and the doctor said to them, "You might as well go home, boys. It's all over." "Where's old Steadman?" somebody called. "We'll wait for the hangman," somebody else shouted. The doctor walked away by himself. For a while Michael stood beside the two city newspapermen, and tried to look as nonchalant as they were looking, but he lost confidence in them when he smelled whiskey. They only talked to each other. Then they mingled with the crowd, and Michael stood alone. At last he could stand there no longer

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looking at all those people he knew so well, so he, too, moved out and joined the crowd. When the sheriff came out with the hangman and two of the guards, they got half way down to one of the automobiles before someone threw an old boot. Steadman ducked into one of the cars, as the boot hit him on the shoulder, and the two guards followed him. The hangman, dismayed, stood alone on the sidewalk. Those in the car must have thought at first that the hangman was with them for the car suddenly shot forward, leaving him alone on the sidewalk. The crowd threw small rocks and sticks, hooting at him as the automobile backed up slowly towards him. One small stone hit him on the head. Blood trickled from the side of his head as he looked around helplessly at all the angry people. He had the same expression on his face, Michael thought, as he had had last night when he had seemed ashamed and had looked down steadily at the water. Once now, he looked around wildly, looking for someone to help him as the crowd kept pelting him. Farther and farther Michael backed into the crowd and all the time he felt dreadfully ashamed as though he were betraying Smitty, who last night had had such a good neighborly time with him. "It's different now, it's different," he kept thinking, as he held the fish in the newspaper tight under his arm. Smitty started to run toward the automobile, but James Mortimer, a big fisherman, shot out his foot and tripped him and sent him sprawling on his face. Mortimer, the big fisherman, looking for something to throw, said to Michael, "Sock him, sock him." Michael shook his head and felt sick. "What's the matter with you, Michael?" "Nothing. I got nothing against him." The big fisherman started pounding his fists up and down in the air. "He just doesn't mean anything to me at all," Michael said quickly. The fisherman, bending down, kicked a small rock loose from the road bed and heaved it at the hangman. Then he said, "What are you holding there, Michael, what's under your arm? Fish. Pitch them at him. Here, give them to me." Still in a fury, he snatched the fish, and threw them one at a time at the little man just as he was getting up from the road. The fish fell in the thick dust in front of him, sending up a little cloud. Smitty seemed to stare at the fish with his mouth

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hanging open, then he didn't even look at the crowd. That expression on Smitty's face as he saw the fish on the road made Michael hot with shame and he tried to get out of the crowd. Smitty had his hands over his head, to shield his face as the crowd pelted him, yelling "Sock the little rat. Throw the runt in the lake." The sheriff pulled him into the automobile. The car shot forward in a cloud of dust.

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GEORGE ADE Why he selected

T h e J O Y of S I N G L E

BLESSEDNESS I selected "The Joy of Single Blessedness" to appear in your anthology because I thought it was rather entertaining and also because it told the truth about bachelors and married men. I tried to avoid sparing either one of them. I tried to be absolutely neutral. I read the article to a Woman's Club in Miami last year and most of it was received in grim silence. I certainly laid an egg. They could not take what I said about the married people or about the women who are captivated by bachelors. I find that bachelors who read the article resent some of the things I say about them. It is often dangerous to tell the truth. However, I still stand by my guns. You may print the article in the anthology and I am sure that many people of both sexes and in all stations of life will be pleased with what I have written. Brook, Ind.

GEORGE ADE

June 16, 1942

' I ""HE bachelor is held up to contempt because he has evaded the J. draft. He is a slacker. He has side-stepped a plain duty. If he lives in a small town he is fifty per cent joke and fifty per cent object of pity. If he lives in a city, he can hide away with others of his kind, and find courage in numbers; but even in the crowded metropolis he has the hunted look of one who knows that the world knows something about him. He is led to believe that babies mistrust him. Young wives begin to warn their husbands when his name is mentioned. He is a chicken hawk in a world that was intended for turtle doves. It is always taken for granted that the bachelor could have married. Of course, he might not have netted the one he wanted first off. It is possible that, later on, circumstances denied him the privileges of 108

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selection. But it is always assumed by critics of the selfish tribe, that any bachelor who has enough money in the bank to furnish a home, can, if he is persistent, hound some woman into taking a chance. Undoubtedly the critics are right. When we review the vast army of variegated males who have achieved matrimony, it seems useless to deny that the trick can be turned by any man who is physically capable of standing up in front of a preacher or whose mental equipment enables him to decide that he should go into the house when it rains. If Brigham Young, wearing throat whiskers, could assemble between thirty-five and forty at one time, how pitiful becomes the alibi of the modern maverick that he has never managed to arrive at any sort of arrangement with a solitary one! We know that women will accept men who wear arctic overshoes. Statistics prove that ninety-eight per cent of all those you see on station platforms, wearing "elastics" on their shirt-sleeves, have wives at home. The whole defense of bachelorhood falls to the ground when confronted by the evidence which any one may accumulate while walking through a residence district. He will see dozens of porch-broken husbands who never would have progressed to the married state if all the necessary processes had not been elementary to begin with, and further simplified by custom. Even after he is convinced, he wiil stubbornly contend as follows: "Possibly I am a coward, but I refuse to admit that all these other birds are heroes." At least, he will be ready to confess that any one can get married at any time, provided the party of the second part is no more fastidious and choosey than he is. These facts being generally accepted, the presumption of guilt. attaches to every single man beyond the age of thirty. And if, as the years ripen, he garners many dollars, and keeps them in a hiding place which is woman-proof, he slowly slumps in public opinion until he becomes classified with those granite-faced criminals who loot orphan asylums or steal candlesticks from an altar. Finally he arrives at a state of ostracized isolation. He has every

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inducement to be utterly miserable, and probably would be so, except for frequent conversations with married men. At this point we get very near to the weakest point in the general indictment against bachelors: Is it generally known that bachelors privately receive encouragement and approbation from married men? Not from all married men, it is true. Not, for instance, from the husband of a woman who happens to read these lines. But they do receive assurances from married men, of the more undeserving varieties, that matrimony is not always a long promenade through a rose bower drenched with sunshine. The word "lucky" is frequently applied to them by the associate poker players who are happily married. The difficulty in rescuing the hardened cases of bachelorhood is that the unregenerate are all the time receiving private signals from those supposed to be saved, to lay off and beat it, and escape while the escaping is good. Many of them would have fallen long ago except for these warnings. There are times when the most confirmed, cynical, and self-centred celibate, influenced by untoward circumstances and unfavourable atmospheric conditions, believes that he could be rapturously content as A married man, and that he is cheating some good woman out of her destiny. Conversely, the Darby who wants the world to know that his Joan is a jewel and his children are intellectual prodigies and perfect physical specimens—even this paragon, who would shudder at mention of a divorce court, tells his most masonic friends that it must be great to have your freedom and to do as you darn please. No matter which fork of the road you take, you will wonder, later on, if the scenery on the other route isn't more attractive. The bachelor, being merely a representative unit of weak mankind, isn't essentially different from the Benedict. Probably at some time or other he wanted to get married and couldn't. Whereas, the married one didn't want to get married and was mesmerized into it by a combination of full moon, guitar music, and roly-boly eyes. A poor wretch who had lived under the stigma of bachelorhood for years once confided to several of us that he was ready to be married at Columbus, Ohio, in 1892, and then learned that it would cost at least eight dollars to put the thing over. Bachelors are willing to be segregated or even separately taxed,

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but they don't wish to be branded with too hot an iron. They come to regard themselves as potential married men who never received notice of their inheritances. Married men are merely bachelors who weakened under the strain. Every time a bachelor sees a man with an alpaca coat pushing a perambulator, he says, "There, but for the grace of God, goes me!" Whatever excuses the bachelor may secrete in his own mind, the following definite counts have been drawn against him: 1st. It is the duty of every good man to become the founder of a home, because the home (and not the stag boarding-house) is the cornerstone of an orderly civilization. 2d. It is the duty of every high-minded citizen to approve publicly the sacrament of marriage, because legalized matrimony is the harbour of safety. When the bachelor ignores the sacrament, his example becomes an endorsement of the advantages offered to travellers by that famous old highway known as "The Primrose Path." 3d. It is the duty of every student of history and economics to help perpetuate the species and protect the birth rate. These are the damning accusations. Any representative woman's club, anywhere, would bring in a verdict of "guilty" against a notorious bachelor, in two minutes, without listening to witnesses. The moment a man marries, the indictment is quashed. For the time being, he is snow white. A little later, after the divorce proceedings, he may become speckled, but he never sinks quite back to the degraded estate of bachelorhood. He tried to be a good citizen. Having an altruistic and almost Chautauquan regard for home and the marriage sacrament, and feeling that someone had to step forward and save the birth rate, he put aside all considerations of personal convenience and, like a sun-kissed hero, stepped to the edge and jumped over the precipice. Yes, he did! You know he did! Here is what happened: The dear old goof found himself in immediate juxtaposition to The Most Wonderful Woman in All the World. When she smiled at him, his blood pressure went up twenty points. When she appeared to forget that he was among those present, he wanted to rush into the

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street and lie down in front of a taxicab. He hovered near her, every night, until ordered out. Then he reeled back to his den, stepping from one cloud to another. He sat up in the still hours of the morning to write notes which elected him even if, later on, he had wanted to welch. He arrived at his office without remembering what had happened since he left home. He tried to dictate letters, and nothing came from him except gurgles. He wondered what was happening to Her. In the telephone booth—only about eight cubic feet of air— partial asphyxiation after twenty minutes. But who wouldn't be willing to die, with the sound of that Voice strumming in the ears, like an .^Eolian harp hanging in the gateway of Paradise? Now, when Waldo finally got married, does any one really insist that he did it because he was prompted by a sense of his duty to provide food and lodging for a member of the opposite sex? Did he calmly decide to give his endorsement to the sacrament of marriage and to help protect the birth rate? Did he? Lay the bride's curse on the bachelor, if you will, and let his name become a byword and hissing at every bridge party, but don't hang any medals on Waldo until you have all the facts in his case—which will prove to be a carbon copy of a million other cases. Waldo got married because he needed sleep. It was a toss-up between Sweeties and a sanitarium, and he selected the easier way. He could not picture an existence which did not include the radiomagnetic presence of Honey. He was governed by sex impulse and not by what he had read in books on sociology. Not until weeks later, emerging from the honeymoon trance, did he discover that he had honorably discharged his obligations to Society and had become a member of the Matrimonial Legion of Honour. What happened to Waldo might have happened to any petrified hermit now hiding at a club. And if Waldo, on a certain occasion, had happened to meet merely Another Flapper, instead of The Most Wonderful Woman in the World, he might now be camped at a hotel instead of being assistant manager of a nursery. We are all wisps, and the winds of chance blow in many directions. Just because a man gets married is no sign that he has a high and holy and abiding regard for womanhood. Visit any court room and

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hear the sufferer go into details: He threw a meat platter at her— squeezed her arm until it was black and blue—tore the feathers off her new hat—kicked the Pomeranian into the fireplace—made her sleep on the lounge, etc., etc., etc. It isn't usually a lack of intense regard and reverence for womanhood that keeps the bachelor single. Often enough, it is a lack of regard for himself as a fit companion for "die goddess up there above him on the pedestal. One of the most highly despised bachelors I ever knew once said that if he ever asked a woman to marry him and she said, "Yes," he'd begin to have his suspicions of her. And yet he was supposed to be a woman-hater! The rooming-houses are packed with mature single men, each of whom looks up to Class A women with such worshipful adoration that he never has felt worthy of possessing one of the angelic creatures. Charley Fresh—who regards himself as the irresistible captivator— googles his way among the girls for six nights a week and is known as a "lady's man." The marooned and isolated males who watch his performance refuse to enter into any contest which features Charley Fresh as a formidable rival. If he is what the women want, they cannot qualify. They accept the inevitable, and decide that by habit and circumstances they are debarred from the matrimonial raffle, and they might as well make the best of it. They know that they lack the peacock qualities of the heartbreaker, as they have studied him in Robert W. Chambers and the movies. They never could live up to the specifications. TNTot one of them wants to compromise by grabbing a third-rater. They want a topnotcher, or nothing; and they haven't the financial rating, the parlour training, the glib vocabulary, the babyblue eyes, the curly hair and the athletic shoulders to make them real mates for the distant Dianas of their day dreams. Some are restrained by caution, some by diffidence, and some are put out of the running by Fate. Is it not true that the bachelor uncle is always a hot favourite with the children? And doesn't he often tell Minnie, his brother's wife, that he would give a thousand shares of Steel Common if he could have one of his own? Of course, if he had one he wouldn't know

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what to do with it; but it just shows that the parental instinct can often be aroused by a good home-cooked dinner. This defense of bachelors is getting to be pretty wobbly; but it still has a few guns in reserve. For instance, if the birth rate languishes, shall no part of the blame be put on the modernized young woman who is ring-shy until he can show her a five-thousand-dollar automobile? How about the great armies of salaried women who have come into financial independence in the office buildings and don't wish to exchange it for the secluded dependency of the flat buildings? There are oodles of reasons why the bachelors have not married. Let there be general rejoicing that many of them have remained single. Special congratulations to the might-have-been children! They will never know what they have escaped. Who knows but your old friend Bill was made a bachelor by Divine decree, so that some poor, frail woman wouldn't have to sit up until two or three o'clock every morning? And now for some pointed advice and inr.ide information: If you believe that grown-up males who refuse to marry are, in the aggregate, a menace to society, don't base your propaganda on the assumption that bachelors live in a care-free Paradise, which they are loath to exchange for the harrowing responsibilities of the family circle. Try to convince the bridegroom that he is winning a prize instead of surrendering a birthright. If you want to keep a line waiting at the marriage license window, preach to the wandering sheep that they should come in from the bleak hills, and gambol in the clover pastures of connubial felicity. Arrange with the editors to suppress all detailed reports of divorce trials; also to blue-pencil the shoddy jokes which deal with mothersin-law and rolling pins. Fix it with theatrical producers so that the stage bachelor will not be a picturesque hero, just a trifle gray about the temples, who carries a packet of dried rose leaves next to his heart, while the husband is a pale crumpet who is always trembling and saying, "Yes, my dear." Try to induce department stores to remove those terrifying price tags from things worn by women. Many a wavering bachelor has iooked in a show window and found, by an easy mental calculation,

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that his full salary for one month would supply My K,ady with sufficient wardrobe to take her past the morning tub, but not enough to carry her into the street. The two lone items of hats and shoes would spell bankruptcy to a fellow of ordinary means, and he knows* that there must be countless other intermediate items connecting up the $60 hats with the $22 shoes. At least, give him credit for always picturing his phantom wife as being extremely well dressed. Married men may be tight with the checkbook and moan over the bills; but the intangible, make-believe wife of the secluded bachelor always wears the most chic and alluringconfections shown by the shops. He has no intention of giving up the two-room snuggery which has been his home for eight years, but if he should become adventurous it any time and go sailing the uncharted seas, he knows that his travelling companion will be a queen in royal garb. She will sit in the rear of the boat, bedecked with pearls and wearing a coronet. He never meets her, but his intentions are generous, up to the last. "I wouldn't get hooked up unless I could give my wife the best of everything." How often have we heard those words, spoken by some brave outlaw. The inference being that he has passed up a sacred privilege for fear that he could not supply Her with all of the costly luxuries she deserved. Whereas, his associates know that he has become encased with a hard crust of habits and could never adapt himself to the give-andtake conditions of married life. They can't be taught new tricks aftet they begin* to moult But they continue to explain, and even in the deepest recesses of the most funereal reading-room of the most masculine club, you cannot find one so fussy and crabbed but that he will insist that he is "fond of children." The lexicon of the unyoked is full of Old Stuff. The most hopeless misogynist (see dictionary) can always hang the blame on someone else and give himself a clean bill. The point now being made is that the information agencies, by which the credulous public is influenced, seem to aid and abet the bachelors. Newspapers, magazines, picture plays, novels, current

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anecdotes—all have fallen into the easy habit of making it appear that the bachelor is a devil of a fellow; that the spirit of youth abides with him after it has deserted the stoop-shouldered slaves commonly depicted as mowing lawns or feeding furnaces. The bachelor, as an individual, may sell very low in his immediate precinct; but the bachelor, as a type, has become fictionalized into a fascinating combination of Romeo and Mephistopheles. You never, saw a bachelor apartment on the stage that was not luxurious and inviting. Always there is a man servant: It is midnight in Gerald Heathcote's princely lodgings. Gerald returns from the club. Evening clothes? Absolutely! He sends Wilkins away and lights a cigarette. There is a brief pause, with Gerald sitting so that the fireplace has a chance to spotlight him. It is a bachelor's apartment and midnight. Which means that the dirty work is about to begin. If, at any time, you are sitting so far back in a theater that you cannot distinguish the words, and you see a distinguished figure of a man come on R. U. E., self-possessed, debonair, patronizing—no need to look at the bill. He is a bachelor, and the most beautiful lady in the cast is all snarled up in an "affair" with him. If she ever crosses the threshold of his voluptuous "lodgings," unaccompanied by a private detective or a chaperon, her reputation won't be worth a rusty nickel. That's the kind of a reputation to have! Never too old to be wicked! Lock up the debutantes—here come the bachelors. Now, if you persistently represent single blessedness as seated in a huge leather chair, with Wilkins bringing whisky and soda, and a married woman of incredible attractiveness waiting to call him on the 'phone, you need not be surprised if, in time, the whole social organization is permeated with a grotesque misconception of the true status of the bachelor. For years I have been compelled to observe large flocks at close range. Only about one half of one per cent have lodgings which could be used effectively for a Belasco setting. Only a very few, mostly east of Buffalo, employ English manservants to "do" for them. Those who like to refer to "my man" are compelled to get new ones every few weeks. Probably the lonesomest job in the world, next to

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taking care of a lighthouse, is to valet an unmarried man who has gone in for dancing. Bachelors do not habitually wear evening clothes. To get one of them into the extreme regalia may involve the use of chloroform. Nearly every bachelor knows a few married women; but these women are not pursuing him—that is, not all of the time. Once in a while they pursue him in order to find out what has become of their husbands. If one of these charming matrons visited a bachelor apartment, it would be to throw a bomb. She has him down on her list as poison ivy. The bachelor is a polite outcast, and he knows it. The married folks tell stories about him, and it is all for the best that he never hears them. For instance: "I helped him off with his overcoat when he came in. We wondered why he didn't follow us into the living-room. I went back and found him standing in the hallway. Yes, indeed, waiting for his check! When the children came in to meet him, he trembled like a leaf—thought they were going to kiss him. When he sat down for dinner he inspected the knife and then wiped the plate with his napkin. After dinner the maid found a quarter on the tablecloth." The idealized bachelor of fiction may be a super-gallant, but the real article is a scared fish the moment he swims out of his own puddle. Possibly you expected from me a wordy attempt to prove that a man may acquire happiness by avoiding matrimony. Well, you cannot secure contentment by a mere avoidance of anything. The only worth-while days are those on which you sell a part of yourself to the brotherhood of mart and go to the mattress at night knowing that you have rendered service to some of the fellow travellers. The more you camp by yourself the more you shrivel. The curse and the risk of bachelorhood is the tendency to build all plans around the mere comforts and indulgences of the first person singular. Sometimes a bachelor gets to taking such good care of himself that he forgets that some day or other he will need six friends to act as pallbearers. Next to solitaire, probably the most interesting single-handed pastime is trying to visualize one's own funeral. The bachelor often wonders if it will be an impressive function.

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No use talking, when a transient undertakes the journey alone, he is compelled to be in doubt as to terminal facilities. His friendships are insecure and all the arrangements unstable. He has a lot of liberty, but he doesn't know what to do with it. No man can cheat the game by merely hiding in a hotel and having: his meals served in his room. He can run in the opposite direction from matrimony until he is all out of breath, but he will never travel far enough to get away from himself. When he flees from the responsibility of family life he is incidentally leaving behind him many of the experiences which belong to a normal career. He cannot get away from the double-entry system of accounts revealed in Doctor Emerson's essays on Compensation. The books must balance. No man can take twelve months' vacation each year. A vacation is no fun except when it comes as a release from the regular routine. Each July the married man is supposed to sing: "My wife's gone to the country. Hurrah! Hurrah!" Thereby he gets an edge on the bachelor. He has a chance to throw his hat in the air at least once a year. When does the bachelor pull his "Hurrahs"? Think it over. If the locked-up hubbies believe that the boys still at large are raising Cain seven nights a week and fifty-two weeks in the year, let them cease to be envious. It can't be done. The most fatiguing activity in the world is that of roystering. It is terrible to be fed up on roystering. Almost any group of case-hardened bachelors would rather row a boat than sit around a table and sing. Bachelors do not regard their respective caves and caverns as modified cabarets. Their so-called home life is merely a recognition of the physical fact that no one can entirely dispense with slumber. The "jolly bachelor" in his own retreat is often just as jolly as a festoon of crape. He is not discontented. He is calmly reconciled. But not celebrating. He has been saved from the shipwreck by miraculous intervention, but he finds himself on a lonely island and not a sail in sight. The bachelor doesn't have to watch the clock, and no one is waiting to ask him where he has been; but how about that rapidly

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approaching day when he will not find—in all the world—ham and eggs that are cooked just right or coffee fit to drink? As the autumn days grow shorter, and each milestone begins to look more like a tombstone, the bachelor becomes less and less declamatory regarding the joys of single blessedness. He doesn't weaken, mind you. He can explain why it would have been manifestly impossible for him, at any time, to undertake such a crazy experiment. His training, his temperament, the conditions enforced by his employment, the uncertainty of his financial outlook—these and thirty other good reasons made it utterly impossible for him even to think of playing such a ghastly joke on a nice woman. He is there with a defense; but when you ask him to add up the net blessings and benefits which accrue to the bachelor, his discourse becomes diffuse and unconvincing. If he is past forty, he doesn't brag at all. If he is past fifty, he begins to talk about the weather. And now, having received all of this secret information from the camp of the enemy, you know as much as we do regarding the joys of single blessedness.

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II THE AMERICAN DREAM

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ARCHIBALD MACLEISH why he selected AMERICA Was PROMISES

The meaning of the title of the poem is this: that America from the very beginning—from the first knowledge men had of it—was promises. It was a promise of wealth, of well-being, of escape, of freedom, of new beginnings. It was such a promise to all men who heard of it, whether by signs at sea or by discovery along its coasts, or by water and grass as they went west across it. And like all promises, it was a promise which men believed would come true of itself. Like the promises in the fairy tales. This is the meaning of the title of the poem. And the meaning of the poem itself is that the promises do not come true of themselves—that they must be made to come true—that they must be made to come true by men. To say this, the poem tells of those to whom the promises were made. There was Columbus first who saw the promise made by the floating branch upon the sea-water, the birds, the rain. There were the Spaniards of Cortes, landing on the coast, moving westward toward Mexico, toward Colua, toward the promise of the silver moon and the golden sun, sent them from beyond those mountains. There was Thomas Jefferson who saw the spiritual promises of a new world of the human spirit, and thought they were promises made to the idea, the ideal of MAN. There was John Adams who saw the fat farms, the busy trade, of the new Republic, and thought their promises were made to the well-to-do and the intelligent—the Aristocracy of Wealth and Talents. There was Tom Paine who saw the wild American shore and the vast American forests and thought the promises of those high American horizons were promises made to all men everywhere. The poem tells of these men and how the promise did not come true of itself for any of them. And it tells of us and of what we have learned about the promises in our time—what we have learned in Austria and Czechoslovakia 123

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and Poland and Spain and Norway and Holland and France—that unless the people of a country, the whole people of a country, make the promises come true for the sake of the people, others will make them come true. And not for the sake of the people. For the sake of others. It is a poem about America. But more about ourselves. Washington, D. C. ARCHIBALD MACLEISH June 25, 1942

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H O is the voyager in these leaves? Who is the traveler in this journey Deciphers the revolving night: receives The signal from the light returning? America was promises to whom?

East were the Dead kings and the remembered sepulchres: West was the grass. The groves of the oaks were at evening. Eastward are the nights where we have slept. And we move on: we move down: With the first light we push forward: We descend from the past as a wandering people from mountains. We cross into the day to be discovered. The dead are left where they fall—at dark At night late under the coverlets. We mark the place with the shape of our teeth on our fingers. The room is left as it was: the love Who is the traveler in these leaves these Annual waters and beside the doors Jonquils: then the rose: the eaves

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Heaping the thunder up: the mornings Opening on like great valleys Never till now approached: the familiar trees Far off: distant with the future: The hollyhocks beyond the afternoons: The butterflies over the ripening fruit on the balconies: And all beautiful All before us

America was always promises. From the first voyage and the first ship there were promises'the tropic bird which dots not sleep at sea' the great mass of dark heavy clouds which is a sign' 'the drizzle of rain without wind which is a sure sign' 'the whale which is an indication' 'the stick appearing to be carved with iron' 'the stalk loaded with roseberries' 'and all these signs were from the west' 'and all night heard birds passing.'

Who is the voyager on these coasts? Who is the traveler in these waters Expects the future as a shore: foresees Like Indies to the west the ending—he The rumor of the surf intends?

America was promises—to whom? Jefferson knew: Declared it before God and before history: Declares it still in the remembering tomb. The promises were Man's: the land was his— Man endowed by his Creator: Earnest in love: perfectible by reason:

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Just and perceiving justice: his natural nature Clear and sweet at the source as springs in trees are. It was Man the promise contemplated. The times had chosen Man: no other: Bloom on his face of every future: Brother of stars and of all travelers: Brother of time and of all mysteries: Brother of grass also: of fruit trees. It was Man who had been promised: who should have. Man was to ride from the Tidewater: over the Gap: West and South with the water: taking the book with him: Taking the wheat seed: corn seed: pip of apple: Building liberty a farmyard wide: Breeding for useful labor: for good looks: For husbandry: humanity: for pride— Practising self-respect and common decency. And Man turned into men in Philadelphia Practising prudence on a long-term lease: Building liberty to fit the parlor: Bred for crystal on the frontroom shelves: Just and perceiving justice by the dollar: Patriotic with the bonds at par (And their children's children brag of their deeds for the Colonies). Man rode up from the Tidewater: over the Gap: Turned into men: turned into two-day settlers: Lawyers with the land-grants in their caps: Coon-skin voters wanting theirs and getting it. Turned the promises to capital: invested it.

America was always promises: 'the wheel like a sun as big as a cart wheel with many sorts of pictures on it the whole of fine gold'

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'twenty golden ducks beautifully worked and very natural looking and some like dogs of the kind they keep' And they waved us west from the dunes: they cried out Colua! Colua! Mexico! Mexico! . . . Colua!

America was promises to whom? Old Man Adams knew. He told us— An aristocracy of compound interest Hereditary through the common stock! We'd have one sure before the mare was older. "The first want of every man was his dinner: The second his girl." Kings were by the pocket. Wealth made blood made wealth made blood made wealthy. Enlightened selfishness gave lasting light. Winners bred grandsons: losers only bred! And tne Aristocracy of politic selfishness Bought the land up: bought the towns: the sites: The goods: the government: the people. Bled them, Sold them. Kept the profit. Lost itself. The Aristocracy of Wealth and Talents Turned its talents into wealth and lost them. Turned enlightened selfishness to wealth. Turned self-interest into bankbooks: balanced them. Bred out: bred to fools: to hostlers: Card sharps: well dressed women: dancefloor doublers: The Aristocracy of Wealth and Talents Sold its talents: bought the public notice: Drank in public: went to bed in public: Patronized the arts in public: pall'd with Public authors public beauties: posed in

.

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Public postures for the public page. The Aristocracy of Wealth and Talents Withered of talent and ashamed of wealth Bred to sonsinlaw: insane relations: Girls with open secrets: sailors' Galahads: Prurient virgins with the tales to tell: Women with dead wombs and living wishes. The Aristocracy of Wealth and Talents Moved out: settled on the Continent: Sat beside the water at Rapallo: Died in a rented house: unwept: unhonored.

And the child says I see the lightning on you. The weed between the railroad tracks Tasting of sweat: tasting of poverty: The bitter and pure taste where the hawk hovers: Native as the deer bone in the sand O my America for whom? For whom the promises? For whom the river "It flows west! Look at the ripple of it!" The grass "So that it was wonderful to see And endless without end with wind wonderful!" The Great Lakes: landless as oceans: their beaches Coarse sand: clean gravel: pebbles: Their bluffs smelling of sunflowers: smelling of surf: Of fresh water: of wild sunflowers . . . wilderness. For whom the evening mountains on the sky: The night wind from the west: the moon descending? Tom Paine knew. Tom Paine knew the People. The promises were spoken to the People.

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History was voyages toward the People. Americas were landfalls of the People. Stars and expectations were the signals of the People. Whatever was truly built the People had built it. Whatever was taken down they had taken down. Whatever was worn they had worn—ax-handles: fiddle-bows: Sills of doorways: names for children: for mountains. Whatever was long forgotten they had forgotten— Fame of the great: names of the rich and their mottos. The People had the promises: they'd keep them. They waited their time in the world: they had wise sayings. They counted out their time by day to day. They counted it out day after day into history. They had time and to spare in the spill of their big fists. They had all the time there was like a handful of wheat seed. When the time came they would speak and the rest would listen.

And the time came and the People did not speak.

The time came: the time comes: the speakers Come and these who speak are not the People.

These These Leads These What These

who speak with gunstocks at the doors: the coarse ambitious priest by the bloody fingers forward: who reach with stiffened arm to touch none who took dared touch before: who touch the truth are not the People.

These the savage fables of the time Lick at the fingers as a bitch will waked at morning: These who teach the lie are not the People.

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The time came: the time comes Comes and to whom? To these? Was it for these The surf was secret on the new-found shore? Was it for these the branch was on the water?— These whom all the years were toward The golden images the clouds the mountains?

Never before: never in any summer: Never were days so generous: stars so mild: Even in old men's talk or in books or remembering Far back in a gone childhood Or farther still to the light where Homer wanders— The air all lucid with the solemn blue That hills take at the distance beyond change. . . . That time takes also at the distances. Never were there promises as now: Never was green deeper: earth warmer: Light more beautiful to see: the sound of Water lovelier: the many forms of Leaves: stones: clouds: beasts: shadows Clearer more admirable or the faces More like answering faces or the hands Quicker: more brotherly: the aching taste of Time more salt upon the tongue: more human Never in any summer: and to whom?

At dusk: by street lights: in the rooms we ask this.

We do not ask for Truth now from John Adams. We do not ask for Tongues from Thomas Jefferson.

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We do not ask for Justice from Tom Paine. We ask for answers.

And there is an answer.

There is Spain Austria Poland China Bohemia. There are dead men in the pits in all those countries. Their mouths are silent but they speak. They say "The promises are theirs who take them.'

Listen! Brothers! Generation! Listen! You have heard these words. Believe it! Believe the promises are theirs who take them!

Believe unless we take them for ourselves Others will take them for the use of others!

Believe unless we take them for ourselves All of us: one here; another there: Men not Man: people not the People: Hands: mouths: arms: eyes: not syllables— Believe unless we take them for ourselves Others will take them not for us: for others!

Believe unless we take them for ourselves Now: soon: by the clock: before tomorrow: Others will take them: not for now: for longer!

Listen! Brothers! Generation! Companions of leaves: of the sun: of the slow evenings:

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Companions of the many days: of all of them: Listen! Believe the speaking dead! Believe The journey is our journey. O believe The signals were to us: the signs: the birds by Night: the Dreaking surf.

Believe America is promises to Take!

America is promises to Us To take them Brutally With love but Take them.

O believe this!

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WILLA CATHER NEIGHBOUR ROSICKY Willa Gather, one of the most distinguished American writers of fiction, has at no time been a commentator on her own work. Even in a book such as This Is My Best Miss Cather preferred to continue her custom of allowing her work to speak for itself. Accordingly, "Neighbour Rosicky" is presented without benefit of any interpretation by her. It is a long story, first published in 1932.

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H E N Doctor Burleigh told neighbour Rosicky he had a bad heart, Rosicky protested. "So? No, I guess my heart was always pretty good. I got a little asthma, maybe. Just a awful short breath when I was pitchin' hay last summer, dat's all." "Well now, Rosicky, if you know more about it than I do, what did you come to me for? It's your heart that makes you short of breath, I tell you. You're sixty-five years old, and you've always worked hard, and your heart's tired. You've got to be careful from now on, and you can't do heavy work any more. You've got five boys at home to do it for you." The old farmer looked up at the Doctor with a gleam of amusement in his queer triangular-shaped eyes. His eyes were large and lively, but the lids were caught up in the middle in a curious way, so that they formed a triangle. He did not look like a sick man. His brown face was creased but not wrinkled, he had a ruddy colour in his smoothshaven cheeks and in his lips, under his long brown moustache. His hair was thin and ragged around his ears, but very little grey. His forehead, naturally high and crossed by deep parallel lines, now ran all the way up to his pointed crown. Rosicky's face had the habit of looking interested—suggested a contented disposition and a reflective

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quality that was gay rather than grave. This gave him a certain detachment, the easy manner of an onlooker and observer. "Well, I guess you ain't got no pills fur a bad heart, Doctor Ed. I guess the only thing is fur me to git me a new one." Doctor Burleigh swung round in his desk-chair and frowned at the old farmer. "I think if I were you I'd take a little care of the old one, Rosicky." Rosicky shrugged. "Maybe I don't know how. I expect you mean fur me not to drink my coffee no more." "I wouldn't, in your place. But you'll do as you choose about that. I've never yet been able to separate a Bohemian from his coffee or his pipe. I've quit trying. But the sure thing is you've got to cut out farm work. You can feed the stock and do chores about the barn, but you can't do anything in the fields that makes you short of breath." "How about shelling corn?" "Of course not!" Rosicky considered with puckered brows. "I can't make my heart go no longer'n it wants to, can I, Doctor Ed?" "I think it's good for five or six years yet, maybe more, if you'll take the strain off it. Sit around the house and help Mary. If I had a good wife like yours, I'd want to stay around the house." His patient chuckled. "It ain't no place fur a man. I don't like no old man hanging round the kitchen too much. An' my wife, she's a awful hard worker her own self." "That's it; you can help her a little. My Lord, Rosicky, you are one of the few men I know who has a family he can get some comfort out of; happy dispositions, never quarrel among themselves, and they treat you right. I want to see you live a few years and enjoy them." "Oh, they're good kids, all right," Rosicky assented. The Doctor wrote him a prescription and asked him how his oldest son, Rudolph, who had married in the spring, was getting on. Rudolph had struck out for himself, on rented land. "And how's Polly? I was afraid Mary mightn't like an American daughter-in-law, but it seems to be working out all right." "Yes, she's a fine girl. Dat widder woman bring her daughters up very nice. Polly got lots of spunk, an' she got some style, too. Da's nice,

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for young folks to have some style." Rosicky inclined his head gallantly. His voice and his twinkly smile were an affectionate compliment to his daughter-in-law. "It looks like a storm, and you'd better be getting home before it comes. In town in the car ?" Doctor Burleigh rose. "No, I'm in de wagon. When you got five boys, you ain't got much chance to ride round in de Ford. I ain't much for cars, noway." "Well, it's a good road out to your place; but I don't want you bumping around in a wagon much. And never again on a hay-rake, remember!" Rosicky placed the Doctor's fee delicately behind the desk-telephone, looking the other way, as if this were an absent-minded gesture. He put on his plush cap and his corduroy jacket with a sheepskin collar, and went out. The Doctor picked up his stethoscope and frowned at it as if he were seriously annoyed with the instrument. He wished it had been telling tales about some other man's heart, some old man who didn't look the Doctor in the eye so knowingly, or hold out such a warm brown hand when he said good-bye. Doctor Burleigh had been a poor boy in the country before he went away to medical school; he had known Rosicky almost ever since he could remember, and he had a deep affection for Mrs. Rosicky. Only last winter he had had such a good breakfast at Rosicky's, and that when he needed it. He had been out all night on a long, hard confinement case at Tom Marshall's—a big rich farm where there was plenty of stock and plenty of feed and a great deal of expensive farm machinery of the newest model, and no comfort whatever. The woman had too many children and too much work, and she was no manager. When the baby was born at last, and handed over to the assisting neighbour woman, and the mother was properly attended to, Burleigh refused any breakfast in that slovenly house, and drove his buggy—the snow was too deep for a car—eight miles to Anton Rosicky's place. He didn't know another farm-house where a man could get such a warm welcome, and such good strong coffee with rich cream. No wonder the old chap didn't want to give up his coffee! He had driven in just when the boys had come back from the barn, and were washing up for breakfast. The long table, covered with a

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bright oilcloth, was set out with dishes waiting for them, and the warm kitchen was full of the smell of coffee and hot biscuit and sausage. Five big handsome boys, running from twenty to twelve, all with what Burleigh called natural good manners—they hadn't a bit of the painful self-consciousness he himself had to struggle with when he was a lad. One ran to put his horse away, another helped him off with his fur coat and hung it up, and Josephine, the youngest child and the only daughter, quickly set another place under her mother's direction. With Mary, to feed creatures was the natural expression of affection —her chickens, the calves, her big hungry boys. It was a rare pleasure to feed a young man whom she seldom saw and of whom she was as proud as if he belonged to her. Some country housekeepers would have stopped to spread a white cloth over the oilcloth, to change the thick cups and plates for their best china, and the wooden-handled knives for plated ones. But not Mary. "You must take us as you find us, Doctor Ed. I'd be glad to put out my good things for you if you was expected, but I'm glad to get you any way at all." He knew she was glad—she threw back her head and spoke out as if she were announcing him to the whole prairie. Rosicky hadn't said anything at all; he merely smiled his twinkling smile, put some more coal on the fire, and went into his own room to pour the Doctor a little drink in a medicine glass. When they were all seated, he watched his wife's face from his end of the table and spoke to her in Czech. Then, with the instinct of politeness which seldom failed him, he turned to the Doctor and said slyly: "I was just tellin' her not to ask you no questions about Mrs. Marshall till you eat some breakfast. My wife, she's terrible fur to ask questions." The boys laughed, and so did Mary. She watched the Doctor devour her biscuit and sausage, too much excited to eat anything herself. She drank her coffee and sat taking in everything about her visitor. She had known him when he was a poor country boy, and was boastfully proud of his success, always saying: "What do people go to Omaha for, to see a doctor, when we got the best one in the State right here?" If Mary liked people at all, she felt physical pleasure in the sight of them,

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personal exultation in any good fortune that came to them. Burleigh didn't know many women like that, but he knew she was like that. When his hunger was satisfied, he did, of course, have to tell them about Mrs. Marshall, and he noticed what a friendly interest the boys took in the matter. Rudolph, the oldest one (he was still living at home then), said: "The last time I was over there, she was lifting them big heavy milkcans, and I knew she oughtn't to be doing it." "Yes, Rudolph told me about that when he come home, and I said it wasn't right," Mary put in warmly. "It was all right for me to do them things up to the last, for I was terrible strong, but that woman's weakly. And do you think she'll be able to nurse it, Ed?" She sometimes forgot to give him the title she was so proud of. "And to think of your being up all night and then not able to get a decent breakfast! I don't know what's the matter with such people." "Why, Mother," said one of the boys, "if Doctor Ed had got breakfast there, we wouldn't have him here. So you ought to be glad." "He knows I'm glad to have him, John, any time. But I'm sorry for that poor woman, how bad she'll feel the Doctor had to go away in the cold without his breakfast." "I wish I'd been in practice when these were getting born." The doctor looked down the row of close-clipped heads. "I missed some good breakfasts by not being." The boys began to laugh at their mother because she flushed so red, but she stood her ground and threw up her head. "I don't care, you wouldn't have got away from this house without breakfast. No doctor ever did. I'd have had something ready fixed that Anton could warm up for you." The boys laughed harder than ever, and exclaimed at her: "I'll bet you would!" "She would, that!" "Father, did you get breakfast for the doctor when we were born?'' "Yes, and he used to bring me my breakfast, too, mighty nice. I was always awful hungry!" Mary admitted with a guilty laugh. While the boys were getting the Doctor's horse, he went to the window to examine the house plants. "What do you do to your geraniums to keep them blooming all winter, Mary? I never pass this house that from the road I don't see your windows full of flowers."

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She snapped off a dark red one, and a ruffled new green leaf, and put them in his button hole. "There, that looks better. You look too solemn for a young man, Ed. Why don't you git married ? I'm worried about you. Settin' at breakfast, I looked at you real hard, and I seen you've got some grey hairs already." "Oh, yes! They're coming. Maybe they'd come faster if I married." "Don't talk so. You'll ruin your health eating at the hotel. I could send your wife a nice loaf of nut bread, if you only had one. I don't like to see a young man getting grey. I'll tell you something, Ed; you make some strong black tea and keep it handy in a bowl, and every morning just brush it into your hair, an' it'll keep the grey from showin' much. That's the way I do!" Sometimes the Doctor heard the gossipers in the drug-store wondering why Rosicky didn't get on faster. He was industrious, and so were his boys, but they were rather free and easy, weren't pushers, and they didn't always show good judgment. They were comfortable, they were out of debt, but they didn't get much ahead. Maybe, Doctor Burleigh reflected, people as generous and warm-hearted and affectionate as the Rosickys never got ahead much; maybe you couldn't enjoy your life and put it into the bank, too. II

When Rosicky left Doctor Burleigh's office he went into the farmimplement store to light his pipe and put on his glasses and read over the list Mary had given him. Then he went into the general merchandise place next door and stood about until the pretty girl with the plucked eyebrows, who always waited on him, was free. Those eyebrows, two thin India-ink strokes, amused him, because he remembered how they used to be. Rosicky always prolonged his shopping by a little joking; the girl knew the old fellow admired her, and. she liked to chaff with him. "Seems to me about every other week you buy ticking, Mr. Rosicky, and always the best quality," she remarked as she measured off the heavy bolt with red stripes.

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"You see, my wife is always makin' goose-fedder pillows, an' de thin stuff don't hold in dem little down-fedders." "You must have lots of pillows at your house." "Sure. She makes quilts of dem, too. We sleeps easy. Now she's makin' a fedder quilt for my son's wife. You know Polly, that married my Rudolph. How much my bill, Miss Pearl?" "Eight eighty-five." "Chust make it nine, and put in some candy fur de women." "As usual. I never did see a man buy so much candy for his wife. First thing you know, she'll be getting too fat." "I'd like dat. I ain't much fur all dem slim women like what de style is now." "That's one for me, I suppose, Mr. Bohunk!" Pearl sniffed and elevated her India-ink strokes. When Rosicky went out to his wagon, it was beginning to snow,— the first snow of the season, and he was glad to see it. He rattled out of town and along the highway through a wonderfully rich stretch of country, the finest farms in the county. He admired this High Prairie, as it was called, and always liked to drive through it. His own place lay in a rougher territory, where there was some clay in the soil and it was not so productive. When he bought his land, he hadn't the money to buy on High Prairie; so he told his boys, when they grumbled, that if their land hadn't some clay in it, they wouldn't own it at all. All the same, he enjoyed looking at these fine farms, as he enjoyed looking at a prize bull. After he had gone eight miles, he came to the graveyard, which lay just at the edge of his own hay-land. There he stopped his horses and sat still on his wagon seat, looking about at the snowfall. Over yonder on the hill he could see his own house, crouching low, with the clump of orchard behind and the windmill before, and all down the gentle hill-slope the rows of pale gold cornstalks stood out against the white field. The snow was falling over the cornfield and the pasture and the hay-land, steadily, with very little wind,—a nice dry snow. The graveyard had only a light wire fence about it and was all overgrown with long red grass. The fine snow, settling into this red grass and upon the few little evergreens and the headstones, looked very pretty.

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It was a nice graveyard, Rosicky reflected, sort of snug and homelike, not cramped or mournful,—a big sweep all round it. A man could lie down in the long grass and see the complete arch of the sky over him, hear the wagons go by; in summer the mowing-machine rattled right up to the wire fence. And it was so near home. Over there across the cornstalks his own roof and windmill looked so good to him that he promised himself to mind the Doctor and take care of himself. He was awful fond of his place, he admitted. He wasn't anxious to leave it. And it was a comfort to think that he would never have to go farther than the edge of his own hayfield. The snow, falling over his barnyard and the graveyard, seemed to draw things together like. And they were all old neighbours in the graveyard, most of them friends; there was nothing to feel awkward or embarrassed about. Embarrassment was the most disagreeable feeling Rosicky knew. He didn't often have it,—only with certain people whom he didn't understand at all. Well, it was a nice snowstorm; a fine sight to see the snow falling so quietly and graciously over so much open country. On his cap and shoulders, on the horses' backs and manes, light, delicate, mysterious it fell; and with it a dry cool fragrance was released into the air. It meant rest for vegetation and men and beasts, for the ground itself; a season of long nights for sleep, leisurely breakfasts, peace by the fire. This and much more went through Rosicky's mind, but he merely told himself that winter was coming, clucked to his horses, and drove on. When he reached home, John, the youngest boy, ran out to put away his team for him, and he met Mary coming up from the outside cellar with her apron full of carrots. They went into the house together. On the table, covered with oilcloth figured with clusters of blue grapes, a place was set, and he smelled hot coffee-cake of some kind. Anton never lunched in town; he thought that extravagant, and anyhow he didn't like the food. So Mary always had something ready for him when he got home. After he was settled in his chair, stirring his coffee in a big cup, Mary took out of the oven a pan of kplache stuffed with apricots, examined them anxiously to see whether they had got too dry, put them beside his plate, and then sat down opposite him.

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Rosicky asked her in Czech if she wasn't going to have any coffee. She replied in English, as being somehow the right language for transacting business: "Now what did Doctor Ed say, Anton? You tell me just what." "He said I was to tell you some compliments, but I forgot "em." Rosicky's eyes twinkled. "About you, I mean. What did he say about your asthma?" "He says I ain't got no asthma." Rosicky took one of the little rolls in his broad brown fingers. The thickened nail of his right thumb told the story of his past. "Well, what is the matter ? And don't try to put me off." "He don't say nothing much, only I'm a little older, and my heart ain't so good like it used to be." Mary started and brushed her hair back from her temples with both hands as if she were a little out of her mind. From the way she glared, she might have been in a rage with him. "He says there's something the matter with your heart? Doctor Ed says so?" "Now don't yell at me like I was a hog in de garden, Mary. You know I always did like to hear a woman talk soft. He didn't say anything de matter wid my heart, only it ain't so young like it used to be, an' he tell me not to pitch hay or run de corn-sheller." Mary wanted to jump up, but she sat still. She admired the way he never under any circumstances raised his voice or spoke roughly. He was city-bred, and she was country-bred; she often said she wanted her boys to have their papa's nice ways. "You never have no pain there, do you? It's your breathing and your stomach that's been wrong. I wouldn't believe nobody but Doctor Ed about it. I guess I'll go see him myself. Didn't he give you no advice?" "Chust to take it easy like, an' stay round de house dis winter. I guess you got some carpenter work for me to do. I kin make some new shelves for you, and I want dis long time to build a closet in de boys room and make dem two little fellers keep dere clo'es hung up." Rosicky drank his coffee from time to time, while he considered. His moustache was of the soft long variety and came down over his mouth like the teeth of a buggy-rake over a bundle of hay. Each time

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he put down his cup, he ran his blue handkerchief over his lips. When he took a drink of water, he managed very neatly with the back of his hand. Mary sat watching him intently, trying to find any change in his face. It is hard to see anyone who has become like your own body to you. Yes, his hair had got thin, and his high forehead had deep lines running from left to right. But his neck, always clean shaved except in the busiest seasons, was not loose or baggy. It was burned a dark reddish brown, and there were deep creases in it, but it looked firm and full of blood. His cheeks had a good colour. On either side of his mouth there was a half-moon down the length of his cheek, not wrinkles, but two lines that had come there from his habitual expression. He was shorter and broader than when she married him; his back had grown broad and curved, a good deal like the shell of an old turtle, and his arms and legs were short. He was fifteen years older than Mary, but she had hardly ever thought about it before. He was her man, and the kind of man she liked. She was rough, and he was gentle,—city-bred, as she always said. They had been shipmates on a rough voyage and had stood byeach other in trying times. Life had gone well with them because, at bottom, they had the same ideas about life. They agreed, without discussion, as to what was most important and what was secondary. They didn't often exchange opinions, even in Czech,—it was as if they had thought the same thought together. A good deal had to be sacrificed and thrown overboard in a hard life like theirs, and they had never disagreed as to the things that could go. It had been a hard life, and a soft life, too. There wasn't anything brutal in the short, broad-backed man with the three-cornered eyes and the forehead that went on to the top of his skull. He was a city man, a gentle man, and though he had married a rough farm girl, he had never touched her without gentleness. They had been at one accord not to hurry through life, not to be always skimping and saving. They saw their neighbours buy more land and feed more stock than they did, without discontent. Once when the creamery agent came to the Rosickys to persuade them to sell him their cream, he told them how much money the Fasslers, their nearest neighbours, had made on their cream last year.

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"Yes," said Mary, "and look at them Fassler children! Pale, pinched little things, they look like skimmed milk. I'd rather put some colour into my children's faces than put money into the bank." The agent shrugged and turned to Anton. "I guess we'll do like she says," said Rosicky. in

Mary very soon got into town to see Doctor Ed, and then she had a talk with her boys and set a guard over Rosicky. Even John, the youngest, had his father on his mind. If Rosicky went to throw hay down from the loft, one of the boys ran up the ladder and took the fork from him. He sometimes complained that though he was getting to be an old man, he wasn't an old woman yet. That winter he stayed in the house in the afternoons and carpentered, or sat in the chair between the window full of plants and the wooden bench where the two pails of drinking-water stood. This spot was called "Father's corner," though it was not a corner at all. He had a shelf there, where he kept his Bohemian papers and his pipes and tobacco, and his shears and needles and thread and tailor's thimble. Having been a tailor in his youth, he couldn't bear to see a woman patching at his clothes, or at the boys'. He liked tailoring, and always patched all the overalls and jackets and work shirts. Occasionally he made over a pair of pants one of the older boys had outgrown, for the little fellow. While he sewed, he let his mind run back over his life. He had a good deal to remember, really; life in three countries. The only part of his youth he didn't like to remember was the two years he had spent in London, in Cheapside, working for a German tailor who was wretchedly poor. Those days, when he was nearly always hungry, when his clothes were dropping off him for dirt, and the sound of a strange language kept him in continual bewilderment, had left a sore spot in his mind that wouldn't bear touching. He was twenty when he landed at Castle Garden in New York, and he had a protector who got him work in a tailor shop in Vesey Street, down near the Washington Market. He looked upon that part of his life as very happy. He became a good workman, he was indus-

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trious, and his wages were increased from time to time. He minded his own business and envied nobody's good fortune. He went to night school and learned to read English. He often did overtime work and was well paid for it, but somehow he never saved anything. He couldn't refuse a loan to a friend, and he was self-indulgent. He liked a good dinner, and a little went for beer, a little for tobacco; a good deal went to the girls. He often stood through an opera on Saturday nights; he could get standing-room for a dollar. Those were the great days of opera in New York, and it gave a fellow something to think about for the rest of the week. Rosicky had a quick ear, and a childish love of all the stage splendour; the scenery, the costumes, the ballet. He usually went with a chum, and after the performance they had beer and maybe some oysters somewhere. It was a fine life; for the first five years or so it satisfied him completely. He was never hungry or cold or dirty, and everything amused him: a fire, a dog fight, a parade, a storm, a ferry ride. He thought New York the finest, richest, friendliest city in the world. Moreover, he had what he called a happy home life. Very near the tailor shop was a small furniture-factory, where an old Austrian, Loeffler, employed a few skilled men and made unusual furniture, most of it to order, for the rich German housewives up-town. The top floor of Loeffler's five-storey factory was a loft, where he kept his choice lumber and stored the odd pieces of furniture left on his hands. One of the young workmen he employed was a Czech, and he and Rosicky became fast friends. They persuaded Loeffler to let them have a sleeping-room in one corner of the loft. They bought good beds and bedding and had their pick of the furniture kept up there. The loft was low-pitched, but light and airy, full of windows, and good-smelling by reason of the fine lumber put up there to season. Old Loeffler used to go down to the docks and buy wood from South America and the East from the sea captains. The young men were as foolish about their house as a bridal pair. Zichec, the young cabinet-maker, devised every sort of convenience, and Rosicky kept their clothes in order. At night and on Sundays, when the quiver of machinery underneath was still, it was the quietest place in the world, and on summer nights all the sea winds blew in. Zichec often practised on his flute in the eve-

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ning. They were both fond of music and went to the opera together. Rosicky thought he wanted to live like that for ever. But as the years passed, all alike, he began to get a little restless. When spring came round, he would begin to feel fretted, and he got to drinking. He was likely to drink too much of a Saturday night. On Sunday he was languid and heavy, getting over his spree. On Monday he plunged into work again. So he never had time to figure out what ailed him, though he knew something did. When the grass turned green in Park Place, and the lilac hedge at the back of Trinity churchyard put out its blossoms, he was tormented by a longing to run away. That was why he drank too much; to get a temporary illusion of freedom and wide horizons. Rosicky, the old Rosicky, could remember as if it were yesterday the day when the young Rosicky found out what was the matter with him. It was on a Fourth of July afternoon, and he was sitting in Park Place in the sun. The lower part of New York was empty. Wall Street, Liberty Street, Broadway, all empty. So much stone and asphalt with nothing going on, so many empty windows. The emptiness was intense, like the stillness in a great factory when the machinery stops and the belts and bands cease running. It was too great a change, it took all' the strength out of one. Those blank buildings, without the stream of life pouring through them, were like empty jails. It struck young Rosicky that this was the trouble with big cities; they built you in from the earth itself, cemented you away from any contact with the ground. You lived in an unnatural world, like the fish in an aquarium, who were probably much more comfortable than they ever were in the sea. On that very day he began to think seriously about the articles he had read in the Bohemian papers, describing prosperous Czech farming communities in the West. He believed he would like to go out there as a farm hand; it was hardly possible that he could ever have land of his own. His people had always been workmen; his father and grandfather had worked in shops. His mother's parents had lived in the country, but they rented their farm and had a hard time to get along. Nobody in his family had ever owned any land,—that belonged to a different station of life altogether. Anton's mother died when he was little, and he was sent into the country to her parents. He stayed

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Wth them until he was twelve, and formed those ties with the earth and the farm animals and growing things which are never made at all unless they are made early. After his grandfather died, he went back to live with his father and stepmother, but she was very hard on him, and his father helped him to get passage to London. After that Fourth of July day in Park Place, the desire to return to the country never left him. To work on another man's farm would be all he asked; to see the sun rise and set and to plant things and watch them grow. He was a very simple man. He was like a tree that has not many roots, but one tap-root that goes down deep. He subscribed for a Bohemian paper printed in Chicago, then for one printed in Omaha. His mind got farther and farther west. He began to save a little money to buy his liberty. When he was thirty-five, there was a great meeting in New York of Bohemian athletic societies, and Rosicky left the tailor shop and went home with the Omaha delegates to try his fortune in another part of the world. rv Perhaps the fact that his own youth was well over before he began to have a family was one reason why Rosicky was so fond of his boys. He had almost a grandfather's indulgence for them. He had never had to worry about any of them—except, just now, a little about Rudolph. On Saturday night the boys always piled into the Ford, took little Josephine, and went to town to the moving-picture show. One Saturday morning diey were talking at the breakfast table about starting early that evening, so that they would have an hour or so to see the Christmas things in the stores before the show began. Rosicky looked down the table. "I hope you boys ain't disappointed, but I want you to let me have de car tonight. Maybe some of you can go in with de neighbours." Their faces fell. They worked hard all week, and they were still like children. A new jackknife or a box of candy pleased the older ones as much as the little fellow. "If you and Mother are going to town," Frank said, "maybe you could take a couple of us along with you, anyway."

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"No, I want to take de car down to Rudolph's, and let him an' Polly go in to de show. She don't git: into town enough, an' I'm afraid she's gettin' lonesome, an' he can't afford no car yet." That settled it. The boys were a good deal dashed. Their father took another piece of apple-cake and went on: "Maybe next Saturday night de two little fellers can go along wid dem." "Oh, is Rudolph going to have the car every Saturday night?" Rosicky did not reply at once; then he began to speak seriously: "Listen, boys; Polly ain't lookin' so good. I don't like to see nobody lookin' sad. It comes hard fur a town girl to be a farmer's wife. I don't want no trouble to start in Rudolph's family. When it starts, it ain't so easy to stop. An American girl don't git used to our ways all at once. I like to tell Polly she and Rudolph can have the car every Saturday night, till after New Year's, if it's all right with you boys." "Sure it's all right, Papa," Mary cut in. "And it's good you thought about that. Town girls is used to more than country girls. I lay awake nights, scared she'll make Rudolph discontented with the farm." The boys put as good a face on it as they could. They surely looked forward to their Saturday nights in town. That evening Rosicky drove the car the half-mile down to Rudolph's new, bare little house. Polly was in a short-sleeved gingham dress, clearing away the supper dishes. She was a trim, slim little thing, with blue eyes and shingled yellow hair, and her eyebrows were reduced to a mere brushstroke, like Miss Pearl's. "Good evening, Mr. Rosicky. Rudolph's at the barn, I guess." She never called him father, or Mary mother. She was sensitive about having married a foreigner. She never in the world would have done it if Rudolph hadn't been such a handsome, persuasive fellow and such a gallant lover. He had graduated in her class in the high school in town, and their friendship began in the ninth grade. Rosicky went in, though he wasn't exactly asked. "My boys ain't goin' to town tonight, an' I brought de car over fur you two to go in to de picture show." Polly, carrying dishes to the sink, looked over her shoulder at him. "Thank you. But I'm late with my work tonight, and pretty tired. Maybe Rudolph would like to go in with you." "Oh, I don't go to de. shows! I'm too old-fashioned. You won't feel

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so tired after you ride in de air a ways. It's a nice clear night, an' it ain't cold. You go an' fix yourself up, Polly, an' I'll wash de dishes an' leave everything nice fur you." Polly blushed and tossed her bob. "I couldn't let you do that, Mr. Rosicky. I wouldn't think of it." Rosicky said nothing. He found a bib apron on a nail behind the kitchen door. He slipped it over his head and then took Polly by her two elbows and pushed her gently toward the door of her own room. "I washed up de kitchen many times for my wife, when de babies was sick or somethin'. You go an' make yourself look nice. I like you to look prettier'n any of dem town girls when you go in. De young folks must have some fun, an' I'm goin' to look out fur you, Polly." That kind, reassuring grip on her elbows, the old man's funny bright eyes, made Polly want to drop her head on his shoulder for a second. She restrained herself, but she lingered in his grasp at the door of her room, murmuring tearfully: "You always livetl in the city when you were young, didn't you? Don't you ever get lonesome out here?" As she turned round to him, her hand fell naturally into his, and he stood holding it and smiling into her face with his peculiar, knowing, indulgent smile without a shadow of reproach in it. "Dem big cities is all right fur de rich, but dey is terrible hard fur de poor." "I don't know. Sometimes I think I'd like to take a chance. You lived in New York, didn't you?" "An' London. Da's bigger still. I learned my trade dere. Here's Rudolph comin', you better hurry." "Will you tell me about London some time?" "Maybe. Only I ain't no talker, Polly. Run an' dress yourself up." The bedroom door closed behind her, and Rudolph came in from the outside, looking anxious. He had seen the car and was sorry any of his family should come just then. Supper hadn't been a very pleasant occasion. Halting in the doorway, he saw his father in a kitchen apron, carrying dishes to the sink. He flushed crimson and something flashed in his eye. Rosicky held up a warning finger. "I brought de car over fur you an' Polly to go to de picture show, an' I made her let me finish here so you won't be late. You go put on a clean shirt, quick!"

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"But don't the boys want the car, Father?" "Not tonight dey don't." Rosicky fumbled under his apron and tound his pants pocket. He took out a silver dollar and said in a hurried whisper: "You go an' buy dat girl some ice cream an' candy tonight, like you was courtin'. She's awful good friends wid me." Rudolph was very short of cash, but he took the money as if it hurt him. There had been a crop failure all over the county. He had more than once been sorry he'd married this year. In a few minutes the young people came out, looking clean and a little stiff. Rosicky hurried them off, and then he took his own time with the dishes. He scoured the pots and pans and put away the milk and swept the kitchen. He put some coal in the stove and shut off the draughts, so the place would be warm for them when they got home late at night. Then he sat down and had a pipe and listened to the clock tick. Generally speaking, marrying an American girl was certainly a risk. A Czech should marry a Czech. It was lucky that Polly was the daughter of a poor widow woman; Rudolph was proud, and if she had a prosperous family to throw up at him, they could never make it go. Polly was one of four sisters, and they all worked; one was bookkeeper in the bank, one taught music, and Polly and her younger sister had been clerks, like Miss Pearl. All four of them were musical, had pretty voices, and sang in the Methodist choir, which the eldest sister directed. Polly missed the sociability of a store position. She missed the choir, and the company of her sisters. She didn't dislike housework, but she disliked so much of it. Rosicky was a little anxious about this pair. He was afraid Polly would grow so discontented that Rudy would quit the farm and take a factory job in Omaha. He had worked for a winter up there, two years ago, to get money to marry on. He had done very well, and they would always take him back at the stockyards. But to Rosicky that meant the end of everything for his son. To be a landless man was to be a wage-earner, a slave, all your life; to have nothing, to be nothing. Rosicky thought he would come over and do a little carpentering for Polly after the New Year. He guessed she needed jollying. Rudolph was a serious sort of chap, serious in love and serious about his work.

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Rosicky shook out his pipe and walked home across the fields. Ahead of him the lamplight shone from his kitchen windows. Suppose he were still in a tailor shop on Vesey Street, with a bunch of pale, narrow-chested sons working on machines, all coming home tired and sullen to eat supper in a kitchen that was a parlour also; with another crowded, angry family quarrelling just across the dumbwaiter shaft, and squeaking pulleys at the windows where dirty washings hung on dirty lines above a court full of old; brooms and mops and ash-cans. . . . He stopped by the windmill to look up at the frosty winter stars and draw a long breath before he went inside. That kitchen with the shining windows was dear to him; but the sleeping fields and bright stars and the noble darkness were dearer still.

On the day before Christmas the weather set in very cold; no snow, but a bitter, biting wind that whistled and sang over the flat land and lashed one's face like fine wires. There was baking going on in the Rosicky kitchen all day, and Rosicky sat inside, making over a coat that Albert had outgrown into an overcoat for John. Mary had a big red geranium in bloom for Christmas, and a row of Jerusalem cherry trees, full of berries. It was the first year she had ever grown these; Doctor Ed brought her the seeds from Omaha when he went to some medical convention. They reminded Rosicky of plants he had seen in England; and all afternoon, as he stitched, he sat thinking about those two years in London, which his mind usually shrank from even after all this while. He was a lad of eighteen when he dropped down into London, with no money and no connexions except the address of a cousin who was supposed to be working at a confectioner's. When he went to the pastry shop, however, he found that the cousin had gone to America. Anton tramped the streets for several days, sleeping in doorways and on the Embankment, until he was in utter despair. He knew no English, and the sound of the strange language all about him confused him. By chance he met a poor German tailor who had learned his trade in Vienna, and could speak a little Czech. This tailor, Lifschnitz,

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kept a repair shop in a Cheapside basement, underneath a cobbler. He didn't much need an apprentice, but he was sorry for the boy and took him in for no wages but his keep and what he could pick up. The pickings were supposed to be coppers given you when you took work home to a customer. But most of' the customers called for their clothes themselves, and the coppers that came Anton's way were very few. He had, however, a place to sleep. The tailor's family lived upstairs in three rooms; a kitchen, a bedroom, where Lifschnitz and his wife and five children slept, and a living-room. Two corners of this livingroom were curtained ofl for lodgers; in one Rosicky slept on an old horsehair sofa, with a feather quilt to wrap himself in. The other corner was rented to a wretched, dirty boy, who was studying the violin. He actually practised there. Rosicky was dirty, too. There was no way to be anything else. Mrs. Lifschnitz got the water she cooked and washed with from a pump in a brick court, four flights down. There were bugs in the place, and multitudes of fleas, though the poor woman did the best she could. Rosicky knew she often went empty to give another potato or a spoonful of dripping to die two hungry, sad-eyed boys who lodged with her. He used to think he would never get out of there, never get a clean shirt to his back again. What would he do, he wondered, when his clothes actually dropped to pieces and the worn cloth wouldn't hold patches any longer? It was still early when the old farmer put aside his sewing and his recollections. The sky had been a dark grey all day, with not a gleam of sun, and the light failed at four o'clock. He went to shave and change his shirt while the turkey was roasting. Rudolph and Polly were coming over for supper. After supper they sat round in the kitchen, and the younger boys were saying how sorry they were it hadn't snowed. Everybody was sorry. They wanted a deep snow that would lie long and keep die wheat warm, and leave the ground soaked when it melted. "Yes, sir!" Rudolph broke out fiercely; "if we have another dry year like last year, there's going to be hard times in this country." Rosicky filled his pipe. "You boys don't know what hard times is. You don't owe nobody, you got plenty to eat an' keep warm, an'

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plenty of water to keep clean. When you got them, you can't have it very hard." Rudolph frowned, opened and shut his big right hand, and dropped it clenched upon his knee. "I've got to have a good^deal more than that, Father, or I'll quit this farming gamble. I can always make good wages railroading, or at the packing house, and be sure of my money." "Maybe so," his father answered dryly. Mary, who had just come in from the pantry and was wiping her hands on the roller towel, thought Rudy and his father were getting too serious. She brought her darning-basket and sat down in the middle of the group. "I ain't much afraid of hard times, Rudy," she said heartily. "We've had a plenty, but we've always come through. Your father wouldn't never take nothing very hard, not even hard times. I got a mind to tell you a story on him. Maybe you boys can't hardly remember the year we had that terrible hot wind, that burned everything upon the Fourth of July ? All the corn an' the gardens. An' that was in the days when we didn't have alfalfa yet,—I guess it wasn't invented. "Well, that very day your father was out cultivatin' corn, and I was here in the kitchen makin' plum preserves. We had bushels of plums that year. I noticed it was terrible hot, but it's always hot in the kitchen when you're preservin', an' I was too busy with my plums to mind. Anton come in from the field about three o'clock, an' I asked him what was the matter. " 'Nothin',' he says, 'but it's pretty hot, an' I think I won't work no more today.' He stood round for a few minutes, an' then he says: 'Ain't you near through? I want you should git up a nice supper for us tonight. It's Fourth of July.' "I told him to git along, that I was right in the middle of preservin', but the plums would taste good on hot biscuit. 'I'm goin' to have fried chicken, too,' he says, and he went off an' killed a couple. You three oldest boys was little fellers, playin' round outside, real hot an' sweaty, an' your father took you to the horse tank down by the windmill an' took off your clothes an' put you in. Them two box-elder trees was little then, but they made shade over the tank. Then he took off all his own clothes, an' got in with you. While he was playin' in the water with you, the Methodist preacher drove into our place to

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say how all the neighbours was goin' to meet at the schoolhouse that night, to pray for rain. He drove right to the windmill, of course, and there was your father and you three with no clothes on. I was in the kitchen door, an' I had to laugh, for the preacher acted like he ain't never seen a naked man before. He surely was embarrassed, an' your father couldn't git to his clothes; they was all hangin' up on the windmill to let the sweat dry out of 'em. So he laid in the tank where he was, an' put one of you boys on top of him to cover him up a little, an' talked to the preacher. "When you got through playin' in the water, he put clean clothes on you and a clean shirt on himself, an' by that time I'd begun to get supper. He says: 'It's too hot in here to eat comfortable. Let's have a picnic in the orchard. We'll eat our supper behind the mulberry hedge, under them linden trees.' "So he carried our supper down, an' a bottle of my wild-grape wine, an' everything tasted good, I can tell you. The wind got cooler as the sun was goin' down, and it turned out pleasant, only I noticed how the leaves was curled up on the linden trees. That made me think, an' I asked your father if that hot wind all day hadn't been terrible hard on the gardens an' the corn. " 'Corn,' he says, 'there ain't no corn.' "'What you talkin' about?' I said. 'Ain't we got forty acres?' " 'We ain't got an ear,' he says, 'nor nobody else ain't got none. All the corn in this country was cooked by three o'clock today, like you'd roasted it in an oven.' " 'You mean you won't get no crop at all?" I asked him. I couldn't believe it, after he'd worked so hard. " 'No crop this year,' he says. 'That's why we're havin' a picnic. We might as well enjoy what we got.' "An' that's how your father behaved, when all the neighbours was so discouraged they couldn't look you in the face. An' we enjoyed ourselves that year, poor as we was, an' our neighbours wasn't a bit better ofl for bein' miserable. Some of 'em grieved till they got poor digestions and couldn't relish what they did have." The younger boys said they thought their father had the best of it. But Rudolph was thinking that, all the same, the neighbours had managed to "get ahead more, in the fifteen years since that time. There must

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be something wrong about his father's way of doing things. He wished he knew what was going on in the back of Polly's mind. He knew she liked his father, but he knew, too, that she was afraid of something. When his mother sent over coffee-cake or prune tarts or a loaf of fresh bread, Polly seemed to regard them with a certain suspicion. When she observed to him that his brothers had nice manners, her tone implied that it was remarkable they should have. With his mother she was stiff and on her guard. Mary's hearty frankness and gusts of good humour irritated her. Polly was afraid of being unusual or conspicuous in any way, of being "ordinary," as she said! When Mary had finished her story, Rosicky laid aside his pipe. "You boys like me to tell you about some of dem hard times I been through in London?" Warmly encouraged, be sat rubbing his forehead along the deep creases. It was bothersome to tell a long story in English (he nearly always talked to the boys in Czech), but he wanted Polly to hear this one. "Well, you know about dat tailor shop I worked in in London? I had one Chirstmas dere I ain't never forgot. Times was awful bad before Christmas; de boss ain't got much work, an' have it awful hard to pay his rent. It ain't so much fun, bein' poor in a big city like London, I'll say! All de windows is full of good t'ings to eat, an' all de pushcarts in de streets is full, an' you smell 'em all de time, an' you ain't got no money,—not a damn bit. I didn't mind de cold so much, though I didn't have no overcoat, chust a short jacket I'd outgrowed so it wouldn't meet on me, an' my hands was chapped raw. But I always had a good appetite, like you all know, an' de sight of dem pork pies in de windows was awful fur me! "Day before Christmas was terrible foggy dat year, an' dat fog gits into your bones and makes you all damp like. Mrs. Lifschnitz didn't give us nothin' but a little bread an' drippin' for supper, because she was savin' to try for to give us a good dinner on Christmas Day. After supper de boss say I can go an' enjoy myself, so I went into de streets to listen to de Christmas singers. Dey sing old songs an' make very nice music, an' I run round after dem a good ways, till I got awful hungry. I t'ink maybe if I go home, I can sleep till morning an' forgit my belly. "I went into my corner real quiet, and roll up in my fedder quilt.

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But I ain't got my head down, till I smell somet'ing good. Seem like it git stronger an' stronger, an' I can't git to sleep noway. I can't understand dat smell. Dere was a gas light in a hall across de court, dat always shine in at my window a little. I got up an' look around. I got a little wooden box in my corner fur a stool, 'cause I ain't got no chair. I picks up dat box, and under it dere is a roast goose on a platter! I can't believe my eyes. I carry it to de window where de light comes in, an' touch it and smell it to find out, an' den I taste it to be sure. I say, I will eat chust one little bite of dat goose, so I can go to sleep, and tomorrow I won't eat none at all. But I tell you, boys, when I stop, one half of dat goose was gone!" The narrator bowed his head, and the boys shouted. But little Josephine slipped behind his chair and kissed him on the neck beneath his ear. "Poor little Papa, I don't want him to be hungry!" "Da's long ago, child. I ain't never been hungry since I had your mudder to cook fur me." "Go on and tell us the rest, please," said Polly. "Well, when I come to realize what I done, of course, I felt terrible. I felt better in de stomach, but very bad in de heart. I set on my bed wid dat platter on my knees, an' it all come to me; how hard dat poor woman save to buy dat goose, and how she get some neighbour to cook it dat got more fire, an' how she put it in my corner to keep it away from dem hungry children. Dey was a old carpet hung up to shut my corner off, an' de children wasn't allowed to go in dere. An' I know she put it in my corner because she trust me more'n she did de violin boy. I can't stand it to face her after I spoil de Christmas. So I put on my shoes and go out into de city. I tell myself I better throw myself in de river; but I guess I ain't dat kind of a boy. "It was after twelve o'clock, an' terrible cold, an' I start out to walk about London all night. I walk along de river awhile, but dey was lots of drunks all along; men, and women too. I chust move along to keep away from de police. I git onto de Strand, an' den over to New Oxford Street, where dere was a big German restaurant on de ground floor, wid big windows all fixed up fine, an' I could see de people havin' parties inside. While I was lookin' in, two men and two ladies come out, laughin' and talkin' and feelin' happy about all dey been

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eatin' an' drinkin', and dey was speakin' Czech,—not like de Austrians, but like de home folks talk it. "I guess I went crazy, an' I done what I ain't never done before nor since. I went right up to dem gay people an' begun to beg dem: 'Fellow-countrymen, for God's sake give me money enough to buy a goose!' "Dey laugh, of course, but de ladies speak awful kind to me, an' dey take me back into de restaurant and give me hot coffee and cakes, an' make me tell all about how I happened to come to London, an' what I was doin' dere. Dey take my name and where I work down on paper, an' both of dem ladies give me ten shillings. "De big market at Covent Garden ain't very far away, an' by dat time it was open. I go dere an' buy a big goose an' some pork pies, an' potatoes and onions, an' cakes an' oranges fur de children,—all I could carry! When I git home, everybody is still asleep. I pile all I bought on de kitchen table, an' go in an' lay down on my bed, an' 1 ain't waken up till I hear dat woman scream when she comes out into her kitchen. My goodness, but she was surprise! She laugh an' cry at de same time, an' hug me and waken all de children. She ain't stop fur no breakfast; she git de Christmas dinner ready dat morning, and we all sit down an' eat all we can hold. I ain't never seen dat violin boy have all he can hold before. "Two three days after dat, de two men come to hunt me up, an' dey ask my boss, and he give me a good report an' tell dem I was a steady boy all right. One of dem Bohemians was very smart an' run a Bohemian newspaper in New York, an' de odder was a rich man, in de importing business, an' dey been travelling togedder. Dey told me how t'ings was easier in New York, an' offered to pay my passage when dey was goin' home soon on a boat. My boss say to me: 'You go. You ain't got no chance here, an' I like to see you git ahead, fur you always been a good boy to my woman, and fur dat fine Christmas dinner you give us all.' An' da's how I got to New York." That night when Rudolph and Polly, arm in arm, were running home across the fields with the bitter wind at their backs, his heart leaped for joy when she said she thought they might have his family come over for supper on New Year's Eve. "Let's get up a nice supper, and not let your mother help at all; make her be company for once."

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"That would be lovely of you, Polly," he said humbly. He was a very simple, modest boy, and he, too, felt vaguely that Polly and her sisters were more experienced and worldly than his people. VI

The winter turned out badly for farmers. It was bitterly cold, and after the first light snows before Christmas there was no snow at all,— and no rain. March was as bitter as February. On those days when the wind fairly punished the country, Rosicky sat by his window. In the fall he and the boys had put in a big wheat planting, and now the seed had frozen in the ground. All that land would have to be ploughed up and planted over again, planted in corn. It had happened before, but he was younger then, and he never worried about what had to be. He was sure of himself and of Mary; he knew they could bear what they had to bear, that they would always pull through somehow. But he was not so sure about the young ones, and he felt troubled because Rudolph and Polly were having such a hard start. Sitting beside his flowering window while the panes rattled and the wind blew in under the door, Rosicky gave himself to reflection as he had not done since those Sundays in the loft of the furniture-factory in New York, long ago. Then he was trying to find what he wanted in life for himself; now he was trying to find what he wanted for his boys, and why it was he so hungered to feel sure they would be here, working this very land, after he was gone. They would have to work hard on the farm, and probably they would never do much more than make a living. But if he could think of them as staying here on the land, he wouldn't have to fear any great unkindness for them. Hardships, certainly; it was a hardship to have the wheat freeze in the ground when seed was so high; and to have to sell your stock because you had no feed. But there would be other years when everything came along right, and you caught up. And what you had was your own. You didn't have to choose between bosses and strikers, and go wrong either way. You didn't have to do with dishonest and cruel people. They were the only things in his experience he had found terrifying and horrible; the look in the eyes of a dishonest and crafty man, of a scheming and rapacious woman.

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In the country, if you had a mean neighbour, you could keep off his land and make him keep off yours. But in the city, all the foulness and misery and brutality of your neighbours was part of your life. The worst things he had come upon in his journey through the world were human,—depraved and poisonous specimens of man. To this day he could recall certain terrible faces in the London streets. There were mean people everywhere, to be sure, even in their own country town here. But they weren't tempered, hardened, sharpened, like the treacherous people in cities who live by grinding or cheating or poisoning their fellow-men. He had helped to bury two of his fellow-workmen in the tailoring trade, and he was distrustful of the organized industries that see one out of the world in big cities. Here, if you were sick, you had Doctor Ed to look after you; and if you died, fat Mr. Haycock, the kindest man in the world, buried you. It seemed to Rosicky that for good, honest boys like his, the worst they could do on the farm was better than the best they would be likely to do in the city. If he'd had a mean boy, now, one who was crooked and sharp and tried to put anything over on his brothers, then town would be the place for him. But he had no such boy. As for Rudolph, the discontented one, he would give the shirt off his back to anyone who touched his heart. What Rosicky really hoped for his boys was that they could get through the world without ever knowing much about the cruelty of human beings. "Their mother and me ain't prepared them for that," he sometimes said to himself. These thoughts brought him back to a grateful consideration of his own case. What an escape he had had, to be sure! He, too, in his time, had had to take money for repair work from the hand of a hungry child who let it go so wistfully; because it was money due his boss. And now, in all these years, he had never had to take a cent from anyone in bitter need,—never had to look at the face of a woman become like a wolf's from struggle and famine. When he thought of these things, Rosicky would put on his cap and jacket and slip down to the barn and give his work-horses a little extra oats, letting them eat it out of his hand in their slobbery fashion. It was his way of expressing what he felt, and made him chuckle with pleasure. The spring came warm, with blue skies,—but dry, dry as a bone. The boys began ploughing up the wheat-fields to plant them over in

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corn. Rosicky would stand at the fence corner and watch them, and the earth was so dry it blew up in clouds of brown dust that hid the horses and the sulky plough and the driver. It was a bad outlook. The big alfalfa field that lay between the home place and Rudolph's came up green, but Rosicky was worried because during that open windy winter a great many Russian thistle plants had blown in there and lodged. He kept asking the boys to rake them out; he was afraid their seed would root and "take the alfalfa." Rudolph said that was nonsense. The boys were working so hard planting corn, their father felt he couldn't insist about the thistles, but he set great store by that big alfalfa field. It was a feed you could depend on,—and there was some deeper reason, vague, but strong. The peculiar green of that clover woke early memories in old Rosicky, went back to something in his childhood in the .old world. When he was a little boy, he had played in fields of that strong blue-green colour. One morning, when Rudolph had gone to town in the car, leaving a work-team idle in his barn, Rosicky went over to his son's place, put the horses to the buggy-rake, and set about quietly raking up those thistles. He behaved with guilty caution, and rather enjoyed stealing a march on Doctor Ed, who was just then taking his first vacation in seven years of practice and was attending a clinic in Chicago. Rosicky got the thistles raked up, but did not stop to burn them. That would take some time, and his breath was pretty short, so he thought he had better get the horses back to the barn. He got them into the barn and to their stalls, but the pain had come on so sharp in his chtst that he didn't try to take the harness off. He started for the house, bending lower with every step. The cramp in his chest was shutting him up like a jack-knife. When he reached the windmill, he swayed and caught at the ladder. He saw Polly coming down the hill, running with the swiftness of a slim greyhound. Iri a flash she had her shoulder under his armpit. "Lean on me, Father, hard! Don't be afraid. We can get to the house all right." Somehow they did, though Rosicky became blind with pain; he could keep on his legs, but he couldn't steer his course. The next thing he was conscious of was lying on Polly's bed, and Polly bending over him wringing out bath towels in hot water and putting them on his

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chest. She stopped only to throw coal into the stove, and she kept the tea-kettle and the black pot going. She put these hot applications on him for nearly an hour, she told him afterwards, and all that time he was drawn up stiff and blue, with the sweat pouring off him. As the pain gradually loosed its grip, the stiffness went out of his jaws, the black circles round his eyes disappeared, and a little of his natural colour came back. When his daughter-in-law buttoned his shirt over his chest at last, he sighed. "Da's fine, de way I feel now, Polly. It was a awful bad spell, an* I was so sorry it all come on you like it did." Polly was flushed and excited. "Is the pain really gone? Can I leave you long enough to telephone over to your place?" Rosicky's eyelids fluttered. "Don't telephone, Polly. It ain't no use to scare my wife. It's nice and quiet here, an' i£ I ain't too much trouble to you, just let me lay still till I feel like myself. I ain't got no pain now. It's nice here." Polly bent over him and wiped the moisture from his face. "Oh, I'm so glad it's over!" she broke out impulsively. "It just broke my heart to see you suffer so, Father." Rosicky motioned her to sit down on the chair where the tea-kettle had been, and looked up at her with that lively affectionate gleam in his eyes. "You was awful good to me, I won't never forgit dat. I hate it to be sick on you like dis. Down at de barn I say to myself, dat young girl ain't had much experience in sickness, I don't want to scare her, an' maybe she's got a baby comin' or somet'ing." Polly took his hand. He was looking at her so intently and affectionately and confidingly; his eyes seemed to caress her face, to regard it with pleasure. She frowned with her funny streaks of eyebrows, and then smiled back at him. "I guess maybe there is something of that kind going to happen. But I haven't told anyone yet, not my mother or Rudolph. You'll be the first to know." His hand pressed hers. She noticed that it was warm again. The twinkle in his yellow-brown eyes seemed to come nearer. "I like mighty well to see dat little child, Polly," was all he said. Then he closed his eyes and lay half-smiling. But Polly sat still, thinking hard. She had a sudden feeling that nobody in the world, not her

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mother, not Rudolph, or anyone, really loved her as much as old Rosicky did. It perplexed her. She sat frowning and trying to puzzle it out. It was as if Rosicky had a special gift for loving people, something that was like an ear for music or an eye for colour. It was quiet, unobtrusive; it was merely there. You saw it in his eyes,—perhaps that was why they were merry. You felt it in his hands, too. After he dropped off to sleep, she sat holding his warm, broad, flexible brown hand. She had never seen another in the least like it. She wondered if it wasn't a kind of gypsy hand, it was so alive and quick and light in its communications,—very strange in a farmer. Nearly all the farmers she knew had huge lumps of fists, like mauls, or they were knotty and bony and uncomfortable-looking, with stiff fingers. But Rosicky's was like quicksilver, flexible, muscular, about the colour of a pale cigar, widi deep, deep creases across die palm. It wasn't nervous, it wasn't a stupid lump; it was a warm brown human hand, with some cleverness in it, a great deal of generosity, and something else which Polly could only call "gypsy-like,"—something nimble and lively and sure, in the way that animals are. Polly remembered that hour long afterwards; it had been like an awakening to her. It seemed to her that she had never learned so much about life from anything as from old Rosicky's hand. It brought her to herself; it communicated some direct and untranslatable message. When she heard Rudolph coming in the car, she ran out to meet liim. "Oh, Rudy, your father's been awful sick! He raked up those thistles he's been worrying about, and afterwards he could hardly get to the house. He suffered so I was afraid he was going to die." Rudolph jumped to the ground. "Where is he now?" "On the bed. He's asleep. I was terribly scared, because, you know, I'm so fond of your father." She slipped her arm through his and they went into the house. That afternoon they took Rosicky home and put him to bed, though he protested that he was quite well again. The next morning he got up and dressed and sat down to breakfast widi his family. He told Mary that his coffee tasted better than usual to him, and he warned the boys not to bear any tales to Doctor Ed when he got home. After breakfast he sat down by his window to do some patching and asked Mary to thread several needles for him

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before she went to feed her chickens,—her eyes were better than his, and her hands steadier. He lit his pipe and took up John's overalls. Mary had been watching him anxiously all morning, and as she went out of the door with her bucket of scraps, she saw that he was smiling. He was thinking, indeed, about Polly, and how he might never have known what a tender heart she had if he hadn't got sick over there. Girls nowadays didn't wear their heart on their sleeve. But now he knew Polly would make a fine woman after the foolishness wore off. Either a woman had that sweetness at her heart or she hadn't. You couldn't always tell by the look of them; but if they had that, everything came out right in the end. After he had taken a few stitches, the cramp began in his chest, like yesterday. He put his pipe cautiously down on the window-sill and bent over to ease the pull. No use,—he had better try to get to his bed if he could. He rose and groped his way across the familiar floor, which was rising and falling like the deck of a ship. At the door he fell. When Mary came in, she found him lying there, and the moment she touched him she knew that he was gone. Doctor Ed was away when Rosicky died, and for the first few weeks after he got home he was hard driven. Every day he said to himself that he must get out to see that family that had lost their father. One soft, warm moonlight night in early summer he started for the farm. His mind was on other things, and not until his road ran by the graveyard did he realize tHat Rosicky wasn't over there on the hill where the red lamplight shone, but here, in the moonlight. He stopped his car, shut off the engine, and sat there for a while. A sudden hush had fallen on his soul. Everything here seemed strangely moving and significant, though signifying what, he did not know. Close by the wire fence stood Rosicky's mowing-machine, where one of the boys had been cutting hay that afternoon; his own work-horses had been going up and down there. The new-cut hay perfumed all the night air. The moonlight silvered the long, billowy grass that grew over the graves and hid the fence; the few little evergreens stood out black in it, like shadows in a pool. The sky was very blue and soft, the stars rather faint because the moon was full. For the first time it struck Doctor Ed that this was really a beauti-

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ful graveyard. He thought of city cemeteries; acres of shrubbery and heavy stone, so arranged and lonely and unlike anything in the living world. Cities of the dead, indeed; cities of the forgotten, of the "put away." But this was open and free, this little square of long grass which the wind for ever stirred. Nothing but the sky overhead, and the many-coloured fields running on until they met that sky. The horses worked here in summer; the neighbours passed on their way to town; and over yonder, in the cornfield, Rosicky's own cattle would be eating fodder as winter came on. Nothing could be more undeathlike than this place; nothing could be more right for a man who had helped to do the work of great cities and had always longed for the open country and had got to it at last. Rosicky's life seemed to him complete and beautiful.

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SINCLAIR LEWIS DINNER with the BABBITTS

Sinclair Lewis wished he could choose something "that I particularly favor in my own writing . . . I'd have to pass such a job over," he wrote the editor, "to Carl Van Doren, Harrison Smith or possibly Professor Joseph Warren Beach of the University of Minnesota. . . ." The following letters are self-explanatory: Dear Mr. Burnett: It seems to me that Sinclair Lewis should be represented in your anthology not by one of his short stories but by an extract from a novel. His novels, of course, are pretty close-knit and depend a good deal on cumulative effect, so that few extracts do him justice. But there is one chapter in Babbitt that I have always liked very much. It is Chapter XV, which contains the brilliant account of a class reunion and the ironic, sensitive record of the two dinners the Babbitts give in consequence,. Along with plenty of satiric force, here is also a fine example of the humane insight that is one of Lewis's strongest qualities. This chapter would not suffer by being excerpted, and Lewis could easily furnish you a tide for it. New York, N. Y. April 15, 1942

CARL VAN DOREN

Dear Mr. Burnett: I am glad that Carl Van Doren made that choice. I approve of it, and of the title "Dinner with the Babbitts." All I can add for my own introduction—for I hope that you will use Carl's comment, the one you sent me, and the fact that he did the choosing for me—is: For myself, I have no favorite passages among my books because I never re-read them, never open them after the pleasant first five minutes when they come new from the publisher. By the time I have finished one of them, I have put so much toil and fury—and probably self-adulation—into it that I don't want to be reminded of that labor. I am reserving my perusal of the 164

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opera of Mr. Sinclair Lewis for my old age, just after I shall have finished Dante and Sir Hall Caine and a manual of the wild flowers. Excelsior, Minnesota April 19, 1942

SINCLAIR LEWIS

H

IS march to greatness was not without disastrous stumbling Fame did not bring the social advancement which the Babbitts deserved. They were not asked to join the Tonawanda Country Club nor invited to the dances at the Union. Himself, Babbitt fretted, he didn't "care a fat hoot for all these highrollers, but the wife would kind of like to be Among Those Present." He nervously awaited his university class-dinner and an evening of furious intimacy with such social leaders as Charles McKelvey the millionaire contractor, Max Kruger the banker, Irving Tate the tool-manufacturer, and Adelbert Dobson the fashionable interior decorator. Theoretically he was their friend, as he had been in college, and when he encountered them they still called him "Georgie," but he didn't seem to encounter them often, and they never invited him to dinner (with champagne and a butler) at their houses on Royal Ridge. All the week before the class-dinner he thought of them. "No reason why we shouldn't become real chummy now!" II

Like all true American diversions and spiritual outpourings, the dinner of the men of the Class of 1896 was thoroughly organized. The dinner-committee hammered like a sales-corporation. Once a week they sent out reminders: TICKLER NO. 3 Old man, are you going to be with us at the livest Friendship Feed the alumni of the good old U have ever known? The alumnae of '08 turned out 60% strong. Are we boys going to be beaten by a bunch of skirts? Come on, fellows, let's work up some real genuine enthusiasm and all boost

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together for the snappiest dinner yet! Elegant eats, short ginger-talks, and memories shared together of the brightest, gladdest days of life. The dinner was held in a private room at the Union Club. The club was a dingy building, three pretentious old dwellings knocked together, and the entrance-hall resembled a potato cellar, yet the Babbitt who was free of the magnificence of the Athletic Club entered with embarrassment. He nodded to the doorman, an ancient proud negro with brass buttons and a blue tail-coat, and paraded through the hall, trying to look like a member. Sixty men had come to the dinner. They made islands and eddies in the hall; they packed the elevator and the corners of the private dining-room. They tried to be intimate and enthusiastic. They appeared to one another exactly as they had in college—as raw youngsters whose present mustaches, baldnesses, paunches, and wrinkles were but jovial disguises put on for the evening. "You haven't changed a particle!" they marveled. The men whom they could not recall they addressed, "Well, well, great to see you again, old man. What are you-— Still doing the same thing?" Some one was always starting a cheer or a college song, and it was always thinning into silence. Despite their resolution to be democratic they divided into two sets: the men with dress-clothes and the men without. Babbitt (extremely in dress-clothes) went from one group to the other. Though he was, almost frankly, out for social conquest, he sought Paul Riesling first. He found him alone, neat and silent. Paul sighed, "I'm no good at this handshaking and 'well, look who's here' bunk." "Rats now. Paulibus, loosen up and be a mixer! Finest bunch of boys on earth! Say, you seem kind of glum. What's matter?" "Oh, the usual. Run-in with Zilla." "Come on! Let's wade in and forget our troubles." He kept Paul beside him, but worked toward the spot where Charles McKelvey stood warming his admirers like a furnace. McKelvey had been the hero of the Class of '96; not only football captain and hammer-thrower but debater, and passable in what the State University considered scholarship. He had gone on, had captured the construction-company once owned by the Dodsworths, best-known

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pioneer family of Zenith. He built state capitols, skyscrapers, railway terminals. He was a heavy-shouldered, big-chested man, but not sluggish. There was a quiet humor in his eyes, a syrup-smooth quickness in his speech, which intimidated politicians and warned reporters; and in his presence the most intelligent scientist or the most sensitive artist felt thin-blooded, unworldly, and a little shabby. He was, particularly when he was influencing legislatures or hiring labor-spies, very easy and lovable and gorgeous. He was baronial; he was a peer in the rapidly crystallizing American aristocracy, inferior only to the haughty Old Families. (In Zenith, an Old Family is one which came to town before 1840.) His power was the greater because he was not hindered by scruples, by either the vice or the virtue of the older Puritan tradition. McKelvey was being placidly merry now with the great, the manufacturers and bankers, the land-owners and lawyers and surgeons who had chauffeurs and went to Europe. Babbitt squeezed among them. He liked McKelvey's smile as much as the social advancement to be had from his favor. If in Paul's company he felt ponderous and protective, with McKelvey he felt slight and adoring. He heard McKelvey say to Max Kruger, the banker, "Yes, we'll put up Sir Gerald Doak." Babbitt's democratic love for titles became a rich relish. "You know, he's one of the biggest iron-men in England, Max. Horribly well-off. . . . Why, hello, old Georgie! Say, Max, George Babbitt is getting fatter than I am!" The chairman shouted, "Take your seats, fellows!" "Shall we make a move, Charley?" Babbitt said casually to McKelvey. "Right. Hello, Paul! How's the old fiddler? Planning to sit anywhere special, George? Come on, let's grab some seats. Come on, Max. Georgie, I read about your speeches in the campaign. Bully work!" After that, Babbitt would have followed him through fire. He was enormously busy during the dinner, now bumblingly cheering Paul, now approaching McKelvey with "Hear you're going to build some piers in Brooklyn," now noting how enviously the failures of the class, sitting by themselves in a weedy group, looked up to him in his association with the nobility, now warming himself in the Society

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Talk of McKelvey and Max Kruger. They spoke of a "jungle dance" for which Mona Dodsworth had decorated her house with thousands of orchids. They spoke, with an excellent imitation of casualness, of a dinner in Washington at which McKelvey had met a Senator, a Balkan princess, and an English major-general. McKelvey called the princess "Jenny," and let it be known that he had danced with her. Babbitt was thrilled, but not so weighted with awe as to be silent. If he was not invited by them to dinner, he was yet accustomed to talking with bank-presidents, congressmen, and clubwomen who entertained poets. He was bright and referential with McKelvey: "Say, Charley, juh remember in Junior year how we chartered a sea-going hack and chased down to Riverdale, to the big show Madame Brown used to put on? Remember how you beat up that hick constabule that tried to run us in, and we pinched the pants-pressing sign and took and hung it on Prof. Morrison's door? Oh, gosh, those were the days!" Those, McKelvey agreed, were the days. Babbitt had reached "It isn't the books you study in college but the friendships you make that counts" when the men at head of the table broke into song. He attacked McKelvey: "It's a shame, uh, shame to drift apart because our, uh, business activities lie in different fields. I've enjoyed talking over the good old days. You and Mrs. McKelvey must come to dinner some night." Vaguely, "Yes, indeed -" "Like to talk to you about the growth of real estate out beyond your Grantsville warehouse. I might be able to tip you off to a thing or two, possibly." "Splendid! We must have dinner together, Georgie. Just: let me know. And it will be a great pleasure to have your wife and you at the house," said McKelvey, much less vaguely. Then the chairman's voice, that prodigious voice which once had roused them to cheer defiance at rooters from Ohio or Michigan or Indiana, whooped, "Come on, you wombats! All together in the long yell!" Babbitt felt that life would never be sweeter than now, when he joined with Paul Riesling and the newly recovered hero, McKelvey, in:

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Baaaaaattle-ax Get an ax, Bal-ax, Get-nax, Who, who? The U.! Hooroo! in The Babbitts invited the McKelveys to dinner, in early December, and the McKelveys not only accepted but, after changing the date once or twice, actually came. The Babbitts somewhat thoroughly discussed the details of the dinner, from the purchase of a bottle of champagne to the number of salted almonds to be placed before each person. Especially did they mention the matter of the other guests. To the last Babbitt held out for giving Paul Riesling the benefit of being with the McKelveys. "Good old Charley would like Paul and Verg Gunch better than some highfalutin' Willy boy," he insisted, but Mrs. Babbitt interrupted his observations with, "Yes—perhaps— I think I'll try to get some Lynnhaven oysters," and when she was quite ready she invited Dr. J. T. Angus, the oculist, and a dismally respectable lawyer named Maxwell, with their glittering wives. Neither Angus nor Maxwell belonged to the Elks or to the Athletic Club; neither of them had ever called Babbitt "brother" or asked his opinions on carburetors. The only "human people" whom she invited, Babbitt raged, were the Littleflelds; and Howard Littlefield at times became so statistical that Babbitt longed for the refreshment of Gunch's, "Well, old lemon-pie-face, what's the good word?" Immediately after lunch Mrs. Babbitt began to set the table for the seven-thirty dinner to the McKelveys, and Babbitt was, by order, home at four. But they didn't find anything for him to do, and three times Mrs. Babbitt scolded, "Do please try to keep out of the way!" He stood in the door of the garage, his lips drooping, and wished that Littlefield or Sam Doppelbrau or somebody would come along and talk to him. He saw Ted sneaking about the corner of the house. "What's the matter, old man?" said Babbitt. "Is that you, thin, owld one? Gee, Ma certainly is on the warpath!

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I told her Rone and I would jus' soon not be let in on the fiesta to-night, and she bit me. She says I got to take a bath, too. But, say, the Babbitt men will be some lookers to-night! Little Theodore in a dress-suit!" "The Babbitt men!" Babbitt4iked the sound of it. He put his arm about the boy's shoulder. He wished that Paul Riesling had a daughter, so that Ted might marry her. "Yes, your mother is kind of rouncing round, all right," he said, and they laughed together, and sighed together, and dutifully went in to dress. The McKelveys were less than fifteen minutes late. Babbitt hoped that the Dopplebraus would see the McKelveys' limousine, and their uniformed chauffeur, waiting in front. The dinner was well cooked and incredibly plentiful, and Mrs. Babbitt had brought out her grandmother's silver candlesticks. Babbitt worked hard. He was good. He told none of the jokes he wanted to tell. He listened to the others. He started Maxwell off with a resounding, "Let's hear about your trip to the Yellowstone." He was laudatory, extremely laudatory. He found opportunities to remark that Dr. Angus was a benefactor to humanity, Maxwell and Howard Littlefield profound scholars, Charles McKelvey an inspiration to ambitious youth, and Mrs. McKelvey an adornment to the social circles of Zenith, Washington, New York, Paris, and numbers of other places. But he could not stir them. It was a dinner without a soul. For no reason that was clear to Babbitt, heaviness was over them and they spoke laboriously and unwillingly. He concentrated on Lucille McKelvey, carefully not looking at her blanched lovely shoulder and the tawney silken band which supported her frock. "I suppose you'll be going to Europe pretty soon again, won't you?" he invited. "I'd like awfully to run over to Rome for a few weeks." "I suppose you see a lot of pictures and music and curios and everything there." "No, what I really go for is: there's a little trattoria on the Via della Scrofa where you get the best fettuccine in the world." "Oh, I— Yes. That must be nice to try that. Yes." At a quarter to ten McKelvey discovered with profound regret that

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his wife had a headache. He said blithely, as Babbitt helped him with his coat, "We must lunch together s*ome time, and talk over the old days." When the others had labored out, at half-past ten, Babbitt turned to his wife pleading, "Charley said he had a corking time and we must lunch—said they wanted to have us up to the house for dinner before long." She achieved, "Oh, it's just been one of those quiet evenings that are often so much more enjoyable than noisy parties where everybody talks at once and doesn't really settle down to—nice quiet enjoyment." But from his cot on the sleeping-porch he heard her weeping, slowly, witliout hope. rv For a month they watched the social columns, and waited for a return dinner-invitation. As the hosts of Sir Gerald Doak, the McKelveys were headlined all the week after the Babbitts' dinner. Zenith ardently received Sir Gerald (who had come to America to buy coal). The newspapers interviewed him on prohibition, Ireland, unemployment, naval aviation, the rate of exchange, tea-drinking versus whisky-drinking, the psychology of American women, and daily life as lived by English county families. Sir Gerald seemed to have heard of all those topics. The McKelveys gave him a Singhalese dinner, and Miss Elnora Pearl Bates, society editor of the Advocate-Times, rose to her highest lark-note. Babbitt read aloud at breakfast-table: 'Twixt the original and Oriental decorations, the strange and delicious food, and the personalities both of the distinguished guests, the charming hostess and the noted host, never has Zenith seen a more recherche affair than the Ceylon dinner-dance given last evening by Mr. and Mrs. Charles McKelvey to Sir Gerald Doak. Methought as we—fortunate one!—were privileged to view that fairy and foreign scene, nothing at Monte Carlo or the choicest ambassadorial sets of foreign capitals could be more lovely. It is not for nothing that Zenith is in matters social rapidly becoming known as the choosiest inland city in the country. Though he is too modest to admit it, Lord Doak gives a cachet to our smart quartier such as it has not received since the ever-memorable visit of

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the Eari of Sittingbourne. Not only is he of the British peerage, but he is also, on dit, a leader of the British metal industries. As he comes from Nottingham, a favorite haunt of Robin Hood, though now, we are informed by Lord Doak, a live modern city of 275,573 inhabitants, and important lace as well as other industries, we like to think that perhaps through his veins runs some of the blood, both virile red and bonny blue, of that earlier lord o' the good greenwood, the roguish Robin. The lovely Mrs. McKelvey never was more fascinating than last evening in her black net gown relieved by dainty bands of silver and at her exquisite waist a glowing cluster of Aaron Ward roses. Babbitt said bravely, "I hope they don't invite us to meet this Lord Doak guy. Darn sight rather just have a nice quiet little dinner with Charley and the Missus." At the Zenith Athletic Club they discussed it amply. "I s'pose we'll have to call McKelvey 'Lord Chaz' from now on," said Sidney Finkelstein. "It beats all get-out," meditated that man of data, Howard Littlefield, "how hard it is for some people to get things straight. Here they call this fellow 'Lord Doak' when it ought to be 'Sir Gerald.'" Babbitt marvelled, 'Is that a fact! Well, well! 'Sir Gerald,' eh? That's what you call um, eh ? Well, sir, I'm glad to know that." Later he informed his salesmen, 'It's funnier 'n a goat the way some folks that, just because they happen to lay upa big wad, go entertaining famous foreigners, don't have any more idea 'n a rabbit how to address 'em so's to make 'em feel at home!" That evening, as he was driving home, he passed McKelvey's limousine and saw Sir Gerald, a large, ruddy, pop-eyed, Teutonic Englishman whose dribble of yellow mustache gave him an aspect sad and doubtful. Babbitt drove on slowly, oppressed by futility. He had a sudden, unexplained, and horrible conviction that the McKelveys were laughing at him. He betrayed his depression by the violence with which he informed his wife, "Folks that really tend to business haven't got the time to waste on a bunch like the McKelveys. This society stuff is like any other hobby; if you devote yourself to it, you get on. But I like to have a chance to visit with you and the children instead of all .this idiotic chasing round." They did not speak of the McKelveys again.

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It was a shame, at this worried time, to have to think about the Overbrooks. Ed Overbrook was a classmate of Babbitt who had been a failure. He had a large family and a feeble insurance business out in the suburb of Dorchester. He was gray and thin and unimportant. He had always been gray and thin and unimportant. He was the person whom, in any group, you forgot to introduce, then introduced with extra enthusiasm. He had admired Babbitt's good-fellowship in college, had admired ever since his power in real estate, his beautiful house and wonderful clothes. It pleased Babbitt, though it bothered him with a sense of responsibility. At the class-dinner he had seen poor Overbrook, in a shiny blue serge business-suit, being diffident in a corner with three other failures. He had gone over and been cordial: "Why, hello, young Ed! I hear you're writing all the insurance in Dorchester now. Bully work!" They recalled the good old days when Overbrook used to write poetry. Overbrook embarrassed him by blurting, "Say, Georgie, I hate to think of how we been drifting apart. I wish you and Mrs. Babbitt would come to dinner some night." Babbitt boomed, "Fine! Sure! Just let me know. And the wife and I want to have you at the house." He forgot it, but unfortunately Ed Overbrook did not. Repeatedly he telephoned to Babbitt, inviting him to dinner. "Might as well go and get it over," Babbitt groaned to his wife. "But don't it simply amaze you the way the poor fish doesn't know the first thing about social etiquette? Think of him 'phoning me, instead of his wife sitting down and writing us a regular bid! Well, I guess we're stuck for it. That's the trouble with all this classbrother hooptedoodle." He accepted Overbrook's next plaintive invitation, for an evening two weeks off. A dinner two weeks off, even a family dinner, never seems so appalling, till the two weeks have astoundingly disappeared and one comes dismayed to the ambushed hour. They had to change the date, because of their own dinner to the McKelveys, but at last they gloomily drove out to the Overbrooks' house in Dorchester.

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It was miserable from the beginning. The Overbrooks had dinner at six-thirty, while the Babbitts never dined before seven. Babbitt permitted himself to be ten minutes late. "Let's make it as short as possible. I think we'll duck out quick. I'll say I have to be at the office extra earl}' to-morrow," he planned. The Overbrook house was depressing. It was the second story of a wooden two-family dwelling; a place of baby-carriages, old hats hung in the hall, cabbage-smell, and a Family Bible on the parlor table. Ed Overbrook and his wife were as awkward and threadbare as usual, and the other guests were two dreadful families whose names Babbitt never caught and never desired to catch. But he was touched, and disconcerted, by the tactless way in which Overbrook praised him: "We're mighty proud to have old George here to-night! Of course you've all read about his speeches and oratory in the papers—and the boy's good-looking, too, eh?—but what I always think of is back in college, and what a great old mixer he was, and one of the best swimmers in the class." Babbitt tried to be jovial; he worked at it; but he could find nothing to interest him in Overbrook's timorousness, the blankness of the other guests, or the drained stupidity of Mrs. Overbrook, with her spectacles, drab skin, and tight-drawn hair. He told his best Irish story, but it sank like soggy cake. Most bleary moment of all was when Mrs. Overbrook, peering out of her fog of nursing eight children and cooking and scrubbing, tried to be conversational. "I suppose you go to Chicago and New York right along, Mr. Babbitt," she prodded. "Well, I get to Chicago fairly often." "It must be awfully interesting. I suppose you take in all the theaters." "Well, to tell the truth, Mrs. Overbrook, thing that hits me best is a great big beefsteak at a Dutch restaurant in the Loop!" They had nothing more to say. Babbitt was sorry, but there was no hope; the dinner was a failure. At ten, rousing out of the stupor of meaningless talk, he said as cheerily as he could, " Traid we got to be starting, Ed. I've got a fellow coming to see me early to-morrow." As Overbrook helped him with his coat, Babbitt said, "Nice to rub up on the old days! We must have lunch together, P.D.Q."

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Mrs. Babbitt sighed, on their drive home, "It was pretty terrible. But how Mr. Overbrook does admire you!" "Yep. Poor cuss! Seems to think I'm a little tin archangel, and the best-looking man in Zenith." "Well, you're certainly not that but— Oh, Georgie, you don't suppose we have to invite them to dinner at our house now, do we?" "Ouch! Gaw, I hope not!" "See here, now, George! You didn't say anything about it to Mr. Overbrook, did you?" "No! Gee! No! Honest, I didn't! Just made a bluff about having him to lunch some time." "Well. . . . Oh, dear. . . . I don't want to hurt their feelings. But I don't see how I could stand another evening like this one. And suppose somebody like Dr. and Mrs. Angus came in when we had the Overbrooks there, and thought they were friends of ours!" For a week they worried, "We really ought to invite Ed and his wife, poor devils!" But as they never saw the Overbrooks, they forgot them, and after a month or two they said, "That really was the best way, just to let it slide. It wouldn't be kind to them to have them here. They'd feel so out of place and hard-up in our home." They did not speak of the Overbrooks again.

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JAMES TRUSLQW ADAMS why he selected

The A M E R I C A N D R E A M

An author is not always the best judge of his own work, and I was somewhat puzzled when asked to suggest some article or passage of about five thousand words from the twenty volumes or so of history, biography, and collected essays of which I have been guilty in the past twenty-five years. On the whole I decided upon the Epilogue to my Epic of America, here titled "The American Dream." For one reason, this book is best known of my works, still selling widely in America after more than ten years, used in schools in England, and translated into eight foreign languages in Europe and South America. But, another reason, I have a special affection for it. When I wrote it I had for some years had in mind trying to tell the wonderful story of America as the saga of the common man, and I was so full of my theme that, when I finally set myself before the little portable typewriter which I bought when in the army in 1918 and on which I have done all my work since, I spilled the whole book out in three months. It is primarily the story of "the American Dream" (a phrase since very current), and of how all sorts of men and women were lured by that dream from all lands and helped to make it a reality. It was a great dream and, in spite of bits of nightmare, is today a great reality. It was the biggest and finest subject I ever had to write about, and I let myself go. I still believe in it. Southport, Conn. JAMES TRUSLOW ADAMS June 17, 1942

W

E HAVE . . . traced . . . the course of our story from that dateless period when savages roamed over our continent, coming from we know not where. We reached time and dates with the records of the rich but cruel civilization of Mexico and Central America. We

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have seen the surprise with which the first white men were greeted when they landed on our islands and coasts, coming thereafter with increasing frequency and in larger numbers. We have seen the strivings and conflicts of French and English and Spanish. We have seen the rise of our own nation from a handful of starving Englishmen in Virginia to a people of 120,000,000* made up of all the races of the world. Beginning with a guard scarce sufficient to defend the stockade at: Jamestown against a few naked Indians, we grew until we were able to select from nearly 25,000,000 men of military age such millions as we would to hurl back at our enemies across the sea, only nine generations later. A continent which scarce sufficed to maintain a half million savages now supports nearly two hundred and fifty times that number of as active and industrious people as there are in the world. The huge and empty land has been filled with homes, roads, railways, schools, colleges, hospitals, and all the comforts of the most advanced material civilization. The mere physical tasks have been stupendous and unparalleled. Supplied at each important stage of advance with new implements of science which quickened our pace; lured by such rewards for haste and industry as were never offered to man before; keyed to activity by a climate that makes expenditure of nervous energy almost a bodily necessity, we threw ourselves into the task of physical domination of our environment with an abandonment that perforce led us to discard much that we had started to build up in our earliest days. Even so, the frontier was always retreating before us, and sending its influence back among us in refluent waves until almost yesterday. In the eighteenth century we had an established civilization, with stability of material and spiritual values. Then we began our scramble for the untold wealth which lay at the foot of the rainbow. As we have gone ever westward, stability gave place to the constant flux in which we have lived since. Recently a distinguished English man of letters complained to me at dinner that we made too much of the frontier as an excuse for everything. It is not an excuse, but it is assuredly an explanation. We let ourselves be too much deflected by it from the building of the civilization of which our forefathers laid the foundations, and the frontier has stretched from our doors until my own childhood. When my great-grandmother, an old lady with whom I * Census of 19.3-.

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frequently talked as a young man, was born, the United States extended only to the Mississippi, without including even Florida and the Gulf Coast. Both my grandfathers were children when Thomas Jefferson, who carried our bounds out to the Rockies, died. When my father was a baby, the entire country south of Oklahoma and from the Rockies westward was still Spanish territory. When I was born, the Sioux and the Nez Perces were still on the warpath. I was five when the Southwest was first spanned by the Southern Pacific, and twelve when the frontier was officially declared closed. While thus occupied with material conquest and upbuilding, we did not wholly lose the vision of something nobler. If we hastened after the pot of gold, we also saw the rainbow itself, and felt that it promised, as of old, a hope for mankind. In the realm of thought we have been practical and adaptive rather than original and theoretical, although it may be noted that to-day we stand preeminent in astronomy. In medicine we have conferred discoveries of inestimable value on the world, which we have also led along the road of many humanitarian reforms, such as the treatment of debtors and the insane. Until the reaction after the World War, we had struggled for a juster law of nations and for the extension of arbitration as a substitute for war in international disputes. If in arts and letters we have produced no men who may be claimed to rank with the masters of all time, we have produced a body of work without which the world would be poorer and which ranks high by contemporary world standards. In literature and the drama, to-day, there is no work being done better anywhere than in the United States. In the intangible realm of character, there is no other country that can show in the past century or more two men of greater nobility than Washington and Lincoln. But, after all, many of these things are not new, and if they were all the contribution which America had had to make, she would have meant only a place for more people, a spawning ground for more millions of the human species. In many respects, as I have not hesitated to say elsewhere, there are other lands in which life is easier, more stimulating, more charming than in raw America, for America is still raw, and unnecessarily so. The barbarian carelessness of the motoring millions, the littered roadsides, the use of our most beautiful scenery for the advertising of products which should be boycotted for

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that very reason, are but symptoms of our slipping down from civilized standards of life, as are also our lawlessness and corruption, with the cynical disregard of them by the public. Many of these matters I have discussed elsewhere, and may again. Some are also European problems as well as American. Some are urban, without regard to international boundaries. The mob mentality of the city crowd everywhere is coming to be one of tlie menaces to modern civilization. The ideal of democracy and the reality of the crowd are the two sides of the shield of modern government. "I think our governments will remain virtuous . . . as long as they are chiefly agricultural; and this will be as long as there shall be vacant lands in. any part of America. When they get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, they will become corrupt as in Europe," wrote Jefferson in the days of the Bourbons. If, as I have said, the things already listed were all we had had to contribute, America would have made no distinctive and unique gift to mankind. But there has been also the American dream, that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for every man, with opportunity for each according to his ability or achievement. It is a difficult dream for the European upper classes to interpret adequately, and too many of us ourselves have grown weary and mistrustful of it. It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of a social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position. I once had an intelligent young Frenchman as guest in New York, and after a few days I asked him what struck him most among his new impressions. Without hesitation he replied, "The way that everyone of every sort looks you right in the eye, without a thought of inequality." Some time ago a foreigner who used to do some work for me, and. who had picked up a very fair education, used occasionally to sit and chat with me in my study after he had finished his work. One day he said that such a relationship was the great difference between America and his homeland. There, he said, "I would do my work and might get a pleasant word, but I could never sit and talk like this. There is a difference there between social grades which cannot be got over. I would not talk to you there as man to man, but as my employer."

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No, the American dream that has lured tens of millions of all nations to our shores in the past century has not been a dream of merely material plenty, though that has doubtless counted heavily. It has been much more than that. It has been a dream of being able to grow to fullest development as man and woman, unhampered by the barriers which had slowly been erected in older civilizations, unrepressed by social orders which had developed for the benefit of classes rather than for the simple human being of any and every class. And that dream has been realized more fully in actual life here than anywhere else, though very imperfectly even among ourselves. It has been a great epic and a great dream. What, now, of the future ? From the material standpoint, it is probable that the extreme depression will pass in a year or two, barring social and political overturn in some countries, which might delay recovery. I am not here concerned with the longer economic problems raised by the relations of world distribution and consumption under mass production. The problems, fundamental and of extreme seriousness, have been amply discussed elsewhere and by those more competent. But whether, in the next decade, we shall have again to face a furious economic pace or whether we shall be confronted by a marked slowing down of our economic machine, the chief factor in how we shall meet either situation is that of the American mind. One of the interesting questions with regard to that is whether our long subjection to the frontier and other American influences has produced a new type or merely a transient change. Can we hold to the good and escape from the bad? Are the dream and the indealism of the frontier and the New Land inextricably involved with the ugly scars which have also been left on us by our three centuries of exploitation and conquest of the continent? We have already tried to show how some of the scars were obtained; how it was that we came to insist upon business and money-making and material improvement as good in themselves; how they took on the aspects of moral virtues; how we came to consider an unthinking optimism essential; how we refused to look on the seamy and sordid realities of any situation in which we found ourselves; how we regarded criticism as obstructive and dangerous for our new communities; how we came to think manners undemocratic, and a culti-

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vated mind a hindrance to success, a sign of inefficient effeminacy; how size and statistics of material development came to be more important in our eyes than quality and spiritual values; how in the ever-shifting advance of the frontier we came to lose sight of the past in hopes for the future; how we forgot to live, in the struggle to "make a living"; how our education tended to become utilitarian or aimless; and how other unfortunate traits only too notable to-day were developed. While we have been absorbed in our tasks, the world has also been changing. We Americans are not alone in having to search for a new scale and basis for values, but for several reasons the task is more essential for us. On the one hand, our transplantation to the New World and our constant advance over its empty expanse unsettled the old values for us> to a far greater extent than in Europe; and, on the other, the mere fact that there were no old things to be swept away here made us feel the full impact of die Industrial Revolution and the effect of machinery, when we turned to industrial life, to a far greater extent than in Europe, where the revolution originated. It would seem as though the time had come when this question of values was of prime and pressing importance for us. For long we have been tempted and able to ignore it. Engaged in the work of building cities and developing the continent, values for many tended to be materialized and simplified. When a man staked out a clearing, and saw his wife and children without shelter, there was no need to discuss what were the real values in a humane and satisfying life. The trees had to be chopped, the log hut built, the stumps burned, and the corn planted. Simplification became a habit of mind and was carried into our lives long after the clearing had become a prosperous city. But such a habit of mind does not ignore values. It merely accepts certain ones implicitly, as does our most characteristic philosophy, the Pragmatism of William James. It will not do to say that we shall have no a priori standards and that the proof of the value of a thing or idea shall be whether it will "work." What do we mean by its "working"? Must we not mean that it will produce or conduce to some result that strikes us as desirable—that is, something that we have already set up in our minds as something worth while? In other words, a standard or value? We no longer have the frontier to divert us or to absorb our

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energies. We shall steadily become a more densely populated country in which our social ideals will have to be such as to give us civilized contentment. To clear the muddle in which our education is at present? we shall obviously have to define our values. Unless we can agree on what the values in life are, we clearly can have no goal in education, and if we have no goal, the discussion of methods is merely futile. Once the frontier stage is passed—the acquisition of a bare living, and the setting up of a fair economic base—the American dream itself opens all sorts of questions as to values. It is easy to say a better and richer life for all men, but what is better and what is richer ? In this respect, as in many others, the great business leaders are likely to lead us astray rather than to guide us. For example, as promulgated by them, there is danger in the present popular theory of the high-wage scale. The danger lies in the fact that the theory is advanced not for the purpose of creating a better type of man by increasing his leisure and the opportunity for making a wise use of it, but for the sole and avowed purpose of increasing his powers as a "consumer." He is, therefore, goaded by every possible method of pressure or cajolery to spend his wages in consuming goods. He is warned that if he does not consume to the limit, instead of indulging in pleasures which do not cost money, he may be deprived not only of his high wages but of any at all. He, like the rest of us, thus appears to be getting into a treadmill in which he earns, not that he may enjoy, but that he may spend, in order that the owners of the factories may grow richer. For example, Ford's fortune is often referred to as one of the "honestly"' obtained ones. He pretends to despise money, and boasts of the high wages' he pays and the cheapness of his cars, yet, either because his wages ate still too low or the cars too high, he has, accumulated $1,000,000,000 for himself from his plant. This would seem to be a high price for society to pay even him for his services to it, while the economic lives of some hundreds of thousands of men and women are made dependent on his whim and word. Just as in education we have got to have some aims based on values before we can reform our system intelligently or learn in what direction to. go, so with business and the American dream. Our democracy cannot attempt to curb, guide, or control the great business interests and powers, unless we have clear notions as to the purpose in mind when

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we try to do so. If we are to regard man merely as a producer and consumer, then the more ruthlessly efficient big business is, the better. Many of the goods consumed doubtless make man healthier, happier, and better even on the basis of a high scale of human values. But if we think of him as a human being primarily, and only incidentally as a consumer, then we have to consider what values are best or most satisfying for him as a human being. We can attempt to regulate business for him not as a consumer but as a man, with many needs and desires with which he has nothing to do as a consumer. Our point of view will shift from efficiency and statistics to human nature. We shall not create a high-wage scale in order that the receiver will consume more, but that he may, in one way or another, live more abundantly, whether by enjoying those things which are factory-produced x>r those which are not. The points of view are entirely different, socially and economically. In one important respect America has changed fundamentally from the time of the frontier. The old life was lonely and hard, but it bred a strong individualism. The farmer of Jefferson's day was independent and could hold opinions equally so. Steadily we are tending toward be-, coming a nation of employees—whether a man gets five dollars a day or a hundred thousand a year. The "yes-men" are as new to our national life as to our vocabulary, but they are real. It is no longer merely the laborer or factory hand who is dependent on the whim of his employer, but men all the way up the economic and social scales. In the ante-bellum South the black slave knew better than to express his views as to the rights of man. To-day the appalling growth of uniformity and timorousness of views as to the perfection of the present economic system held by most men "comfortably off" as corporation clerks or officials is not unrelated to the possible loss of a job. Another problem is acute for us in the present extreme maladjustment of the intellectual worker to the present economic order. Just as the wage earner is told he must adjust his leisure pursuits to the advantage of business in his role of consumer, so there is almost irresistible economic pressure brought to bear on the intellectual worker to adjust his work to the needs of business or mass consumption. If wages are to go indefinitely higher, owing to mass-production possibilities for raising them, then the intellectual worker or artist will have

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to pay the price in the higher wages he himself pays for all services and in all the items of his expenses, such as rent, in which wages form a substantial element. His own costs thus rising, owing to the rising wage scale, he finds that a limited market for his intellectual wares no longer allows him to exist in a world otherwise founded on mass-production profits. He cannot forever pay rising mass-production costs without deriving for himself some form of mass-production profit. This would not be so bad if mass consumption did not mean for the most part a distinct lowering in the quality of his thought and expression. If the artist or intellectual worker could count on a wide audience instead of a class or group, the effect on his own work would be vastly stimulating, but for that tlie wide audience must be capable of appreciating work at its highest. The theory of mass production breaks down as yet when applied to the things of the spirit. Merging of companies in huge corporations, and the production of low-priced products for markets of tens of millions of consumers for one standard brand of beans or cars, may be possible in the sphere of our material needs. It cannot be possible, however, in the realm of the mind, yet the whole tendency at present is in that direction. Newspapers are merging as if they were factories, and daily, weekly, and monthly journals are all becoming as dependent on mass sales as a toothpaste. The result is to lower the quality of thought as represented in them to that of the least common denominator of the minds of the millions of consumers. If the American dream is to come true and to abide with us, it will, at bottom, depend on the people themselves. If we are to achieve a richer and fuller life for all, they have got to know what such an achievement implies. In a modern industrial State, an economic base is essential for all. We point with pride to our "national income," but the nation is only an aggregate of individual men and women, and when we turn from the single figure of total income to the incomes of individuals, we find a very marked injustice in its distribution. There is no reason why wealth, which is a social product, should not be more equitably controlled and distributed in the interests of society. But, unless we settle on the values of life, we are likely to attack in a wrong direction and burn the barn to find our penny in the hay. Above and beyond the mere economic base, the need for a scale of

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values becomes yet greater. If we are entering on a period in which, not only in industry but in other departments of life, the mass is going to count for more and the individual less, and if each and all are to enjoy a richer and fuller life, the level of the mass has got to rise appreciably above what it is at present. It must either rise to a higher level of communal life or drag that life down to its own, in political leadership, and in the arts and letters. There is no use in accusing America of being a "Babbitt Warren." The top and bottom are spiritually and intellectually nearer together in America than in most countries, but there are plenty of Babbitts everywhere. "Main Street" is the longest in the world, for it encircles the globe. It is an American name, but not an American thoroughfare. One can suffocate in an English cathedral town or a French provincial city as well as in Zenith. That is not the point. The point is that if we are to have a rich and full life in which all are to share and play their parts, if the American dream is to be a reality, our communal spiritual and intellectual life must be distinctly higher than elsewhere, where classes and groups have their separate interests, habits, markets, arts, and lives. If the dream is not to prove possible of fulfillment, we might as well become stark realists, become once more class-conscious, and struggle as individuals or classes against one another. If it is to come true, those on top, financially, intellectually, or otherwise, have got to devote themselves to the "Great Society," and those who are below in the scale have got to strive to rise, not merely economically, but culturally. We cannot become a great democracy by giving ourselves up as individuals to selfishness, physical comfort, and cheap amusements. The very foundation of the American dream of a better and richer life for all is that all, in varying degrees, shall be capable of wanting to share in it. It can never be wrought into a reality by cheap people or by "keeping up with the Joneses." There is nothing whatever in a fortune merely in itself or in a man merely in himself. It all depends on what is made of each. Lincoln was not great because he was born in a log cabin, but because he got out of it—that is, because he rose above the poverty, ignorance, lack of ambition, shiftlessness of character, contentment with mean things and low aims which kept so many thousands in the huts where they were born. If we are to make the dream come true we must all work together,

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no longer to build bigger, but to build "better. There is a time for quantity and a time for quality. There is a time when quantity may become a menace and the law of diminishing returns begins to operate, but not so with quality. By working together I do not mean another organization, of which the land is as full as was Kansas of grasshoppers. I mean a genuine individual search and striving for the abiding values of life. In a country as big as America it is as impossible to prophesy as it is to generalize, without being tripped up, but it seems to me that there is room for hope as well as mistrust. The epic loses all its glory without the dream. The statistics of size, population, and wealtii would mean nothing to me unless I could still believe in the dream. America is yet "The Land of Contrasts," as it was called in one of the best books written about us, years ago. One day a man from Oklahoma depresses us by yawping about it in such a way as to give the impression that there is nothing in that young State hut oil wells and millionaires, and the next day one gets from the University there its excellent quarterly critical list of all the most recent books published in France, Spain, Germany, and Italy, with every indication of the beginning of an active intellectual life and an intelligent play of thought over the ideas of the other side of the world. There is no better omen of hope than the sane and sober criticism of those tendencies in our civilization which call for rigorous examination. In that respect we ate distinctly passing out of the frontier phase. Our life calls for such examination, as does that of every nation to-day, but because we are concerned with the evil symptoms it would be absurd to forget the good. It would be as uncritical to write the history of our past in terms of Morton of Merrymount, Benedict Arnold, "Billy the Kid," Thaddeus Stevens, Jay Gould, P. T. Barnum, Brigham Young, Tom Lawson, and others who could be gathered together to make an extraordinary jumble of an incomprehensible national story, as it would be to write the past wholly in terms of John Winthrop, Washington, John Quincy Adams, Jefferson, Lincoln, Emerson, Edison, General Gorgas, and others to afford an equally untrue picture. The nation to-day is no more all made up of Babbitts (though there are enough of them) than it is of young poets. There is a healthy stirring of the deeps, particularly among the younger men and women, who are growing determined that they are not to function solely as

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consumers for the benefit of business, but intend to lead sane and civilized lives. When one thinks of the prostitution of the movingpicture industry, which might have developed a great art, one can turn from that to the movements everywhere through the country for the small theatre and the creation of folk drama, the collecting of our folk poetry, which was almost unknown to exist a generation ago, and other hopeful signs of an awakening culture deriving straight and naturally from our own soil and past. How far the conflicting good can win against the evil is our problem. It is not a cheering thought to figure the number of people who are thrilled nightly by a close-up kiss on ten thousand screens compared with the number who see a play of O'Neill's. But, on the otfier hand, we need not forget that a country that produced last year 1,500,000 Fords, which after their short day will in considerable numbers add to the litter along our country lanes as abandoned chassis, could also produce perhaps the finest example ol sculpture in the last half century. We can contrast the spirit manifested in the accumulation of the Rockefeller fortune with the spirit now displayed in its distribution. Like the country roads, our whole national life is yet cluttered Tip with the disorderly remnants of our frontier experience, rand all help should be given to those who are honestly trying to clean up .either the one or die other. But the frontier also left us our American dream, which is being wrought out in many hearts and many institutions. Among the latter I often think that the one which best exemplifies the dream is the greatest library in this land of libraries, the Library dE Congress. I take, for the most part, but little interest in the great gifts and Foundations of men who have incomes they cannot possibly spend, and investments that roll like avalanches. They merely return, not seldom unwisely, a part of their wealth to that society without which they could not have made it, and which too often they have plundered in the making. That is chiefly evidence of maladjustment in our economic system. A system that steadily increases the gulf between the ordinary man and the super-rich, that permits the resources of society to be gathered into personal fortunes that afford their owners millions of income a year, with only the chance that here and there a few may be moved to confer some of their surplus upon the public in ways chosen wholly by themselves, is assuredly a wasteful and'unjust system.

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It is, perhaps, as inimical as anything could be to the American dream. I do not belittle the generosity or public spirit o£ certain men. It is the system that as yet is at fault. Nor is it likely to be voluntarily altered by those who benefit most by it. No ruling class has ever willingly abdicated. Democracy can never be saved, and would not be worth saving, unless it can save itself. The Library of Congress, however, has come straight from the heart of democracy, as it has been taken to it, and I here use it as a symbol of what democracy can accomplish on its own behalf. Many have made gifts to it, but it was created by ourselves through Congress, which has steadily and increasingly shown itself generous and understanding toward it. Founded and built by the people, it is for the people. Anyone who has used the great collections of Europe, with their restrictions and red tape and difficulty of access, praises God for American democracy when he enters the stacks of the Library of Congress. But there is more to the Library of Congress for the American dream than merely the wise appropriation of public money. There is the public itself, in two of its aspects. The Library of Congress could not have become what it is to-day, with all the generous aid of Congress, without such a citizen as Dr. Herbert Putnam* at the directing head of it. He and his staff have devoted their lives to making the four million and more of books and pamphlets serve the public to a degree that cannot be approached by any similar great institution in the Old World. Then there is the public that uses these facilities. As one looks down on the general reading room, which alone contains ten thousand volumes which may be read without even the asking, one sees the seats filled with silent readers, old and young, rich and poor, black and white, the executive and the laborer, the general and the private, the noted scholar and the schoolboy, all reading in their own library provided by their own democracy. It has always seemed to me to be a *In 1939 Dr. Putnam retired after more than forty years' service, becoming Librarian Emeritus. He left as his monument a complex, highly co-ordinated and unique institution, far different from the ordinary idea of a library as a depository for books, manuscripts, maps, etc. The appointment by the President of his successor came as a surprise. Mr. Archibald MacLeish had had no library experience, and was known only as a minor poet of high distinction, a writer for Fortune and other magazines, and as a lecturer. He continues his writing and public speaking, and has also been made head of one of the war bureaus—the Office of Facts and Figures. It is too early as yet to judge of his work as Librarian, but all who know and understand what the Library of Congress had become under Dr. Putnam assuredly wish him all success.

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perfect working out in a concrete example of the American dream— the means provided by the accumulated resources of the people themselves, a public intelligent enough to use them, and men of high distinction, themselves a part of the great democracy, devoting themselves to the good of the whole, uncloistered. It seems to me that it can be only in some such way, carried out in all departments of our national life, that the American dream can be wrought into an abiding reality. I have little trust in the wise paternalism of politicians or the infinite wisdom of business leaders. We can look neither to the government nor to the heads of the great corporations to guide us into the paths of a satisfying and humane existence as a great nation unless we, as multitudinous individuals, develop some greatness in our own individual souls. Until countless men and women have decided in their own hearts, through experience and perhaps disillusion, what is a genuinely satisfying life, a "good life" in the old Greek sense, we need look to neither political nor business leaders. Under our political system it is useless, save by the rarest of happy accidents, to expect a politician to rise higher than the source of his power. So long also as we are ourselves content with a mere extension of the material basis of existence, with the multiplying of our material possessions, it is absurd to think that the men who can utilize that public attitude for the gaining of infinite wealth and power for themselves will abandon both to become spiritual leaders of a democracy that despises spiritual things. Just so long as wealth and power are our sole badges of success, so long will ambitious men strive to attain them. The prospect is discouraging, to-day, but not hopeless. As we compare America to-day with the America of 1912 it seems as though we had slipped a long way backwards. But that period is short, after all, and the whole world has been going through the fires of Hell. There are not a few signs of promise now in the sky, signs that the peoples themselves are beginning once again to crave something more than is vouchsafed to them in the toils and toys of the mass-production age. They are beginning to realize that, because a man is born with a particular knack for gathering in vast aggregates of money and power for himself, he may not on that account be the wisest leader to follow nor the best fitted to propound a sane philosophy of life. We have a long and arduous road to travel if we are to realize our American dream in

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the life of our nation, but if we fail, there is nothing left but the old eternal round. The alternative is the failure of self-government, the failure of the common man to rise to full stature, the failure of all that the American dream has held of hope and promise for mankind.* That dream was not the product of a solitary thinker. It evolved from the hearts and burdened souls of many millions, who have come to us from all nations. If some of them appear to us to have too great faith, we know not yet to what faith may attain, and may hearken to the words of one of them, Mary Antin, a young immigrant girl who came to us from Russia, a child out of "the Middle Ages," as she says, into our twentieth century. Sitting on the steps of the Boston Public Library, where the treasures of the whole of human thought had been opened to her, she wrote, "This is my latest home, and it invites me to a glad new life. The endless ages have indeed throbbed through my blood, but a new rhythm dances in my veins. My spirit is not tied to the monumental past, any more than my feet were bound to my grandfather's house below the hill. The past was only my cradle,, and now it cannot hold me, because I am grown too big; just as the little house in Polotzk, once my home, has now become a toy of memory, as I move about at will in the wide spaces of this splendid palace, whose shadow covers acres. No! It is not I that belong to the past, but the past that belongs to me. America is the youngest of the nations, and inherits all that went before in history. And I am the youngest of America's children, and into my hands is given all her priceless heritage, to the last white star espied through the telescope, to the last great thought of the philosopher. Mine is the whole majestic past, and mine is the shining future." * This was written in 1931. Americans have been through much since then—the Depression, the New Deal, and now World War II. It is a very different America in many ways from that which I was then writing about and trying to forecast. Our type of civilization, the American way of life, the American Dream are all at stake. I cannot go into details of prophecy here, and the entire world will be different when the war is over. Life will be altered in countless ways, but I believe that the .cause of fret men will prevail, and that the American Dream is so deeply rooted in the American heart that it, too, will survive, translated into perhaps a greater reality than ever. It con be lost only by us Americans ourselves, and I do not believe we want to forget -it or cease striving to make it real.

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MARK VAN DOREN why

hc

AMERICA'S MYTHOLOGY

I choose these poems because they have a single theme, and because this theme—the beliefs of a people—seems important to me at present. New York, N . Y.

MARK VAN DOREN

July, 1942

AMERICA'S MYTHOLOGY A MERICA'S great gods live down the lane; JT~\. Or up the next block blend their bulk with stone; Or stand upon the ploughed hills in the rain; Or watch a mountain cabin left alone. Gigantic on the path, they never speak. Unwitnessed, they are walked through every hour. They have an oHer errand; or they seek New sweets beyond the bound of mortal sour; Or love the living instant, and so minded, Bestride the lesser lookers—who can say? There is no man has siea them but was'blinded; And none has ever found them far away. America's tall gods are veteran here: Too close for view, like eagles in the eye: Like day itself, impalpable and clear; Like absolute noon's air, unflowing by. 191

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They are the first of all. Before the grey, Before the copper-colored, they were moving Green-brown among the deep trees: deep as they, As curious of the wind, as tempest-loving; As shaggy dressed, as head-proud; and in summer. As lazy. So they lived. And so they still Live everywhere, unknown to the newcomer, Whom genially they watch. And so they will To earth's end, feeding on their ancient grain, Wild wheat tips, and barbed rice tops, and the meat Of mast whereover richest leaves have lain; Aldiough they pick the tame fields too, and eat With fathers at the heads of merry tables; And sleep on beds for change, and sit with talkers. Whence all their lore; for man's least deeds are fables To these old-natured gods, these ancient walkers. STRANGE T O W N GOD

H

E IS the one that meets us where the first Small houses, dark and poor, lead into light; And tells us how the features, best and worst, Make something like a face in country night.

He is the only townsman who would know. For the lean rest it is familiar chaos. His love is older; is a breath to blow Strict lines from curb to roof till patterns stay us: Till pausing by the dusk hotel, we count Street lamps, store fronts, red jail; and farther on, The first white house again, where the maples mount That high east hill our road goes up—has gone

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Each night like this since who knows when? Who'll say? The sprawled god never answers in his pride. The question is enough. And shows the way To hot hamburgers, coffee, and thin fried. CHERRY LEAF GOD

A

DARK sky, the wind waiting; L Ladders motionless, and heels O£ pickers vanishing, house-high, among the leaves;

Pails dangled, cherries dropping; Twigs snapped; and there a limb Bent low to breaking as a boy, too bold, forgets. So seems it from the ground; so goes it Here in the long grass whither he, Never descending, peers between the green, the red: The hanging leaves, the dripping hearts He flutters while he swings beyond— Huge picker, yet he lies, more light than robin's leg; Lies; leans over Johnny there; Swings over Nell; and topmost now, Swings up and out, heigh ho, as seven pickers climb. COMPASS GOD

W

H I C H way this forest faces; How sharp we angled there; When the wind struck us, came it Slantwise or square? At home now is it certain— The hay door—perfect west?

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MAKK VAN DOEEN

Our cousin in the spare room: Will he rest? He said he had it backwards: Due south for simple north: Turned full around, no matter How he went forth.



There is a tall one watches And pities our poor eyes: Except that some are knowing; Are needle-wise; Were eastward set when Phosphor Whitened the oldest dawn; And are the eyes he blesses, In babe or fawn.

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BERNARD DEVOTO

Why he selected

MARK TWAIN: The ARTIST as AMERICAN Dear Mr. Burnett: If I have been slow in answering you it is because I lack practice at taking myself as seriously as your letter encourages me to. I sympathize with the purpose of your book and am glad to contribute to it, but I have never spent much time wondering what my best work is or what it stands for. I think of myself as a professional writer, a journalist if you will, and have never thought of myself as an artist. I suppose it follows that my pride is a professional's. I know my limitations better than anyone else has yet pointed them out. I attempt only such jobs as I know to be within my compass. I do them as intelligently as I can and with such craftsmanship as I possess. I observe my private code of professional ethics, I avoid literary behavior and literary ideas both from taste and from conviction—and the rest I leave to editors and the reading public. The result of unfamiliar introspection is a conclusion that you had better take the chapter of Mar\ Twain's America. The book is ten years old, it would be a different book if I were to write it now, and it certainly is not my best work. But I don't know what my best work is. The only person who, so far as I know, ever undertook to say is Garret Mattingly. He chose two pieces, "The Life o£ Jonathan Dyer," in Forays and Rebuttals, and "Passage to India," in Minority Report. I don't agree with him but at least he gets the emphasis away from my ventures into literary criticism, which I do not feel to be the center of my work, if it has any center. The book of mine which I enjoy most is a novel and I see no way in which part of a novel can be satisfactory carved out for reprinting. The biggest and most completely achieved job I have ever done is a book now in page proof, called The Year of Decision, but it is disqualified 195

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since it will not be out till after your book. So you had better use "The Artist as American." When I read it over last week a certain lushness in the writing vaguely offended me but I'm willing to stand on it. I don't think that I can usefully say much about it that it does not say for itself. The book was frankly polemic. It was intended to repair what I felt was an injustice done to Mark Twain by the popular literary criticism of the time. It was also intended to attack a basic idea of that criticism which I held to be idiotic, the idea that American life and culture were hostile to art. Probably more people would agree with me now in thinking that idea idiotic than agreed with me when the book was published; perhaps the book is one reason why there are more of them now. Since I wrote it I have had a better opportunity to study the facts of Mark Twain's life and works than anyone before me ever had. I have found a number of places in which my book did not go far enough, but none in which its assertions or interpretations were wrong. I take a certain satisfaction in that fact. Cambridge, Mass. BERNARD DEVOTO

July 30, 1942

r

T " * H E 1920's chose to think of Mark Twain not as a writer of X books but as a man who either betrayed something sacred or was betrayed by something vile. During that decade, it appears, some facts were, for the literary, too plain to see and some roads too plain to take. If the opinions of the literary during that time truly stand for the opinions of others instead of for their own wish fulfillments, a proposition which might be agreeably debated, then it is possible that countless thousands have mourned because the author of "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" did not write "The Revolt of Islam," "Das Kapital," and "Men Like Gods." Literary opinion during the 1920's preferred to take that road rather than consider a fact so plain that even the steerages of westward-bound liners are aware of it. The fact that the author of "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" gave to American literature its two immortal characters. Since Tom Sawyer was first seen hiding in a closet and

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since Huckleberry Finn came down a lane in St. Petersburg with the intention of curing a wart, they have exercised the conviction of belief over more kinds and conditions of intelligence than any other persons who have been imagined in American books. What is creation ? What is art ? The second question may profitably be ignored if anything realistic can be said about the first. It would seem that to bring to the material of literature in America new areas of life and experience is creation. To inform these areas with character so vivid that it produces the illusion of experience is creation. To erect where there was nothing a world at once unique and universal, to give that world an organic structure, and to people it with inhabitants who live as themselves and as an embodiment of the American race is creation. To stamp upon that world an impression of oneself so vivid and so inimitable that it can never possibly be mistaken for the seal of any one else is creation. To fructify a waste place so that dozens of writers who come after may thoughtfully reap the excess of one's sowing is creation. And finally, to add to the slender number of imagined people who are forever themselves in the minds of readers, two more so true, so inevitable, so universal that they join the world's legends—if this is not creation, then nothing is. In the presence of such facts as these, questions of form become a mere catechism from the classroom and definitions of art mere conversation in a salon. For it is the final authority of these two boys that they have become the possession of every one. So simple a clue as a moment's honesty suggests their importance: any one may ask himself who, of all the characters in American literature, has the greatest vitality in his mind. . . . Barrett Wendell, writing about what passes as the importance of Harvard College in what passes as literature, had a curious instant of recognition. After devoting 450 pages to the obligations of Doctor Holmes, he asked leave to treat America in fifty pages. In those fifty pages, Mark Twain had, of natural right, three sentences. Mr. Wendell alluded to "a book which in certain moods one is disposed for all its eccentricity to call the most admirable work of literary art as yet produced on this continent . . . that Odyssean story of the Mississippi to which Mark Twain gave the grotesque name of 'Huckle-

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berry Finn?."1 He has suffered some deprecation ever since for implying that an American Odyssey was possibly unsajjctified by a Harvard degree. Yet the adjective Odyssean does convey the plain truth about the two boys, not in the obvious sense that Hack Finn made a journey by water bat in the fundamental sense that his life is something which the whole world shares. He and Tom have enriched the experience of those who read' books everywhere. They are universal in that they have become legends,, not as the expression of something fanciful or fantastic, but as the embodiment of something forever true. In them America' has made: incomparably its greatest communication to world literature. One of the finest passages of "Huckleberry Finn" appears not in that book but ia "Life on the Mississippi." In the same way, some of the truest presentation of Tom, Huck, and Jim is to be encountered in "Tom Sawyer Abroad" and "Tom Sawyer, Detective." The latter is a trivial story psychologically related to the burlesques of detective fiction that amused Mark at the time, but as if by accident it expresses a native quality of the frontier. In this casual improvisation, Tom Sawyer is utilizing the shrewdness which proceeds from the woodscraft that the frontier found necessary for survival. It is a shrewdness peculiarly and indigenously American. It was created by wilderness life, derived from the chief skill of the Indians, and imposed as a condition of success by the westward exploration. It attained its highest phase among the trail makers of the far West, so that Samuel Parker, adventuring with Jim Bridger, Fitzpatrick, and Kit Carson, encountered the foremost practitioners of a great craft. But it was a craft essential to every one who participated in frontier life, and 1

In Barrett Wendell's time the aristocratic tradition had not yet been debauched, A Professor Paul Shorey, who writes in the house organ of Phi Beta Kappa, exhibits the invective by means of which Humanism has become, by 1932, mere logorafaoesr: "The question I submit to you [the American Scholar] is whether those who think so shall have the courage to unite in saying that the high culture, the sobriety, the common sense, the patriotism, the decency, the sober optimism of Longfellow, Emerson, Holmes, and Lowell and their immediate disciples, while we are waiting for something greater, more nearly represent the true American tradition and ideal than do the wilfutness, the incoherence; the inconsequences, and the fitful flashes of genius of Thoreau, Melville, Whitman, Mark Twain, or the trivial vocabulary, the pseudo-science, the Freudism, the anti-patriotic bias, the affected cosmopolitanism, the thumb-sucking Weltschmerz, the sex «lbsessicin,. the un-American tragedies, of the spokesmen of the generation' at the second remove from the older culture." Such an aspect as this of the thinking that calls itself decorum is just vulgar.

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belongs to the very center of the American experience. It must be recognized as native to the frontier mind.2 Most of Mark Twain's characters exhibit it as instinctively and unconsciously as they assume the presence of slavery. In this anecdote of Tom Sawyer it becomes explicit. Elsewhere Tom casually identifies a dog by the individuality of its baying or knows where to find embers protected from a cloudburst; here he concentrates this sharp and cunning sagacity on the analysis of a situation. The decorations of the story and its set piece at the end are trivial inventions or mere repetitions of effects Mark had previously proved reliable, but die process of identification and proof is forged from something basic in America. When Tom observes a flaw in Jake Dunlap's sickness, interprets the shadows at the foot of sycamores, and identifies the pattern a finger makes on a cheek, many thousand inhabitants of our history nod assent, for they have found a voice. Cornstalks have moved when all breeze is dead, marauding hoofs have chipped a stone by night, and, in the month when the willows redden, die color of dusk above a mountain creek has showa a wisp of smoke where no smoke should be. The Dunlaps are squatters and they with all the other personages of the anecdote share the careless fecundity of Mark Twain, so that not even the absurdity of the ghosts diminishes them. That fecundity is freely expended in the much more ambitious companion piece. If "Pudd'nhead Wilson" had not been selected to typify the paradox of Mark Twain's invention, "Tom Sawyer Abroad" could stand symbol for it. The fictional framework, the balloon and its inventor, is not only fantastic, it is anachronistic in the troubled sense that threatens much else of Tom's biography. Yet the statement of the backwoods mind is here elaborated on an equality with anything that the tws principal books contain. It cannot be spared from the whole «f -which 2

The interpretation of observed circumstance—what Poe called ratiocination—is an interest of American literature that seems to be inseparably bound up with frontier life. Leatherstocking and "Nick o' the Woods" may be instanced. The realistic humor of the southwestern frontier has many tales devoted to this theme. The best of .them has never, so far as I know, been alluded to in print. I therefore take pleasure in calling to the attention of anthologists a remarkable short story, one which of right would be an American classic, the tale Uncle Billy tells of the murder of Charley Birkham and the identification of his murderer in Philip Paxton's "A Stray Yankee in Texas." (See Appendix A.)

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the others are larger parts. It has, even, superiorities to them, since its serene, almost loving exploration of ignorant thought is more detailed, and since Nigger Jim is given more to do that reveals him. The sketch is, in fact, an elaborate exposition of St. Petersburg trying to grapple with an enlargement of its thinking, and in this exposition Jim is the pivot. There can be no doubt that Mark's deliberate effort was to explore the mentality of the common man. Metaphor breaks across Jim's skull quite in vain. It is not the welkin they are in but a balloon, and an explanation fails because when Tom asserts that birds of a feather flock together, Jim falls back on the unassailable logic of experience, inquiring whether Tom has ever observed a bluebird in the company of a jaybird. Jim cannot applaud the method of Zadig, because the tale neglects to reveal what became of the camel. His theory of the Sahara as deity's waste heap after creation, triumph's over its competitors by instancing the Milky Way as the scraps of stars, and to that argument no answer is possible. When the lake proves to be a mirage, clearly it is a ghost, for Jim had seen it with his own eyes—and "forty thousand million people seen the sun move from one side of the sky to the other every day." An exquisite gradation carries the slave's thinking into the larger intelligence of Huck Finn. Huck takes pride in Tom's wide information but is obliged to correct it steadily by reference to common sense. He admires the reasoning that enables Tom to go direct to the dervish's enchanted hill and infallibly recognize the ruin of Joseph's granary. Nevertheless he must agree with Jim that two days cannot exist at the same time, for there would then be no day of judgment in England, and he enjoys the elation of proving by the map that no two States have the same color. Tom's tribute to fleas convinces him and he manages to form the idea of longitude, but is scandalized by the story of a bronze horse that flies. In an analysis that catches backwoods America in the very act of vindicating its intelligence, he demonstrates that a pyramid can't burn and a horse can't fly. Such contexts give life to provinciality and ignorance. The thing itself is in them. The pattern, the very rhythm of thought is communicated in a realism that extends to the basis and conditions of the mind. The crossroads forum, the groggery and the steamboat

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wharf, swallowed in the isolation of a continent, have spoken in the way instinctive to them. A society is made articulate. Inquiry has sometimes concerned itself with the origin of "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer." Aldrich's "Story of a Bad Boy" has been suggested and one inquirer has wondered if "Sut Lovingood" may not have been an influence. The latter idea may now be given a further persuasion for classrooms, beyond the partial coincidence of themes, by mentioning Sut's acquaintance with a doctor who desires cadavers for dissection. Either inquiry seems idle, for when he came to write "Tom Sawyer," Mark Twain at last arrived at the theme that was most harmonious with his interest, his experience, and his talents. If anything may be confidently said about the processes of creation, one may confidently say that this book, with its companion, was inevitable. Foreordination is probably a fact: if it is, Mark Twain was predestined to this work. That is one source of its finality. The sun shines on Tom's St. Petersburg. The simplest description of his book is this: the supreme American idyll. It is also an idyll of boyhood; such incidents as the whitewashing of the fence are, like a familiar landscape, so intimate to our experience that their importance is easily forgotten. Yet, even in the century that brought childhood to the attention of literature, it had no other expression quite so true. Tom Sawyer's morality, his religion, his black avengers, his rituals and tabus, his expeditions for glory or adventure, his trafficking with buried treasure, his exaltation, his very terror—are, for childhood, immortal. That fact carries its own weight: whatever achievement resides in writing a book eternally true about children, a book so expressive of them that they accept it as themselves, is Mark Twain's achievement. Yet these are American boys and the book they live in has a validity beyond their presence for the nation to which they are native. For in "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" exists, as nowhere else, the since polluted loveliness of a continent. That it is now defiled, that successive generations have seen the assault on natural beauty made more effective, gives this embodiment of it a greater evocation, a greater nostalgia, for the inheritors of wasteland. Americans would

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oot have kept its innumerable editions streaming from the press3 unless it expressed some emotion and satisfied some need at the very taproot of American life. One need not venture very far into mysticism, or into history or literature, to find that fundamental reality. In whatever mood of poetry or psychological curiosity one examines the passage upland from the Atlantic, with whatever instrument of precision one tries to test its nature, one at once perceives that the symbolism of the Westward journey is tremendous. It has given the commonplace word "frontier" a meaning for the Americans that it has had for no bdier people. Inseparable from that meaning and immediate in the symbolism, is the beauty of the land across which the journey passed. Whatever else the word means, it has also meant water flowing in clear rivers, a countryside under clean sun or snow, woods, prairies and mountains of simple loveliness. It is not necessary to think the literature of America a very noble literature in order to recognize the fact that one of its principal occupations has been the celebration of that beauty. Layer after layer of experience or frustration may come between but at the very base of the American mind an undespoiled country lies open to the sun. St. Petersburg stands between the untouched forest and die endlessly flowing river—symbols in which every American will find what import he may but all of us will find some import. That still, blue shadow and that movement underlie passion, desire, and fantasy: they are the landscape as truly of. our sleep, as, now that they are mostly vanished, of our reverie. So much, hesitantly, for what happens below the threshold when Tom Sawyer goes down the far slope of Cardiff Hill into forest, or at midnight shoves a raft into the Mississippi bound for Jackson's Island. Above the threshold, there is a drowsy town in a season that is always summer. Time, with the westward journey, has halted. For this moment, between forest and river, America is gracious and kind. Between those immensities the village is untroubled. It gossips around the pump or lounges a Sunday morning away at church, exalted only by temperance parades or the fantastic 8

It is a safe assertion, even if one impossible Mark Twain's books are bought annually than of is, quite simply, what is wrong with them to some Tom Sawyer" stands second in the list of sales. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn."

of verification, that more ,copie", of those by any other American. That aspiring minds. "The Adventures of The leader is, appropriately, "The

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Benton's oration on the Fourth of July, vivified only by the steamboats that tie up to its wharves. Nothing touches this serenity. The steamboats bring pageantry, not pressure from the. world outside. The village is ignorant of that world—which is hardly a rumor, hardly a dream. Life is unhurried, amidst this simple plenty of the folk. If detachment can be tender, then Mark's is when he deals with these folk. He was as aware of Aunt Polly as any one who has come after him. The sum of pettiness is in the notabilities of St. Petersburg or in the concerns of the Sunday school—and yet they are affirmed to be a part of this enduring peace. They are disarming. They compose the living town through which the boy's enchantment makes its way, over which the cloud shadows drift toward Cardiff Hill. They are recognized as a necessary condition of the idyll that is Tom Sawyer's summer. The pastoral landscape, however, is a part not of cloudland but of America. It is capable of violence and terror. The episodes at the core revolve around body-snatching, murder, robbery, and revenge. The term melodrama must be here used with caution. The lore of buried treasure, specifically the loot of John A. Murrell's clam, was a daily possession of the villagers. Half-breeds were common to their experience and, being of the dispossessed, were charged with crime as a matter of course—'and some accuracy. Revenge, a motive of infrequent validity for most people, was axiomatic in the Indian nature. When Injun Joe addresses Doctor Robinson across the blanketed corpse and alludes to an affront put upon him, his language comes close to the thrillers of the itinerant stage, but his emotions are genuine. Nor, to boys whom slaves had instructed in darkness, was there anything unreasonable in the powers exerted in graveyards by ghosts or witches. The idyll is fulfilled in terms that belong uniquely to itself: its native horror is part of its ecstasy. These belong to the multitudes that Mark Twain contains—that find expression through him. It is wise to remember that they are multitudes. Behind these white men and Negroes is the history of a race. Whether Muff Potter remembers the good fishin' places he has shown to boys or Mr. Dobbins studies anatomy with the vision of practicing medicine, something speaks from the native soul. In the terrors that afflict the boys, quite as much as in the beauty that solaces

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them, are recorded generations who traveled darkness in the fear of the unseen. Engraftments from Africa, England, and the Apocalypse, sufficiently noticed earlier in this book, are part of the American experience here, as nowhere else, given existence in literature. Tom and Huck, shuddering in the moonlight when a dog's howl is the presage of death, are carriers of a truth struck from a whole population. The dark world of the slaves has made this gift. Yet Tom and Huck are merely actors in the foreground, behind whom the frontier community lives. There is no fumbling. The community is true. There is that particular kind of truth. Sometimes literature forms out of the flux something realized to be a whole truth about a time or a people. Whether this literature shall or shall not be called art must depend on the caprice of its assayer: whatever else it is, it is finality. The St. Petersburg of Tom Sawyer is a final embodiment of an American experience many layers deep, from the surface to whatever depths one may care to examine, each layer true. What finds expression here is an America which every one knows to be thus finally transmuted into literature, which every one knows has never since Mark Twain had existence in type and never will again. In the presence of such a finality, technical defects, here freely acknowledged, are trivialities. It does not matter much that some of the artist's inventions are weak, that some of the situations and dialogue fail rather dismally, or that, by some canon of abstract form, the book lacks a perfect adjustment of part to part. It does matter that here something formed from America lives as it lives nowhere else. It matters, too, that the boys and villagers of this landscape not only contain an age in which the nation shared but also record and evoke emotions unattached to that age. It is injudicious to examine the idea of universality in literature, for that also is a phrase which means merely what any critic uses it to mean. Still, Tom and Huck have been universal in this: that for half a century their adventures have fed the hunger of millions. Whether cowering in the shadows by an open grave or swimming at daybreak off Jackson's Island or digging for treasure near the haunted house, they have had authority over the belief of readers—over an audience probably more varied and widespread than any other American has addressed. On the authority of a poet whom Washoe told to hold his yawp it is asserted that a boy's

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will is the wind's will and the thoughts of youth are long, long droughts—where else have they had a tongue? Whitewashing a fence, prodding a tick with a pin or dying in the greenwood to rhythms from the border balladry, Tom speaks as competently for his millions as in passages that go deeper into the untranslatable. Into that obscurity it is not necessary to follow him. He accompanies Huck Finn to the graveyard; he is not quite sane at night, remembering that horror; he swims the Mississippi on an errand; he wanders through a cave from which he can find no way into the light. During more than fifty years his summer has had, over the world, a necessity that belongs only to what is great in literature. It seems something more than unlikely that he will lose, hereafter, any of that necessity.

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D O R O T H Y P A R K E R Why she selected

The STANDARD of LIVING

Now what is .a writer to say about a sample of his own work? If he takes one course, he's simpering. If he goes the opposite way, he's Saroyaru There seems to be left open for him only that most ignohle route, the middle of the road. I think that this story of mine is the nicest bit of writing, the most careful, that I have ever done. The story, of course, is not half what I meant it to be; it never is. It was supposed to tear your heart out, and it does not. But as to workmanship, it is my best. That is why I chose "The Standard of Living" for this anthology. At least, I think that is why I chose it. It may be that I felt a certain maternal obligation to say a few words in its favor. Nobody else did. Pipersville, Pa. DOROTHY PARKER July 20, 1942

A NNABEL and Midge came out of the tearoom with the arrogant / i slow gait of the leisured, for their Saturday afternoon stretched ahead of them. They had lunched, as was their wont, on sugar, starches, oils, and butterfats. Usually they ate sandwiches of spongy new white bread greased with butter and mayonnaise; they ate thick wedges of cake lying wet beneath ice cream and whipped cream and melted chocolate gritty with nuts. As alternates, they ate patties, sweating beads of inferior oil, containing bits of bland meat bogged in pale, stiffening sauce; they ate pastries, limber under rigid icing, filled with an indeterminate yellow sweet stuff, not still solid, not yet liquid, like salve that has been left in the sun. They chose no other sort of food, nor did they consider it. And their skin was like the petals of wood 206

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anemones, and their bellies were as flat and their flanks as lean as those of young Indian braves, Annabel and Midge had been best friends almost from the day that Midge had found a job as stenographer with the firm that employed Annabel. By now, Annabel, two years longer in the stenographic department, had worked up to the wages of eighteen dollars and fifty cents a week; Midge was still at sixteen dollars. Each girl lived at home with her family and paid half her salary to its support. The girls sat side by side at their desks, they lunched together every noon, together they set out for home at the end of the day's work. Many of their evenings and most of their Sundays were passed in each other's company. Often they were joined by two young men, but there was no steadiness to any such quartet; the two young men would give place, unlamented, to two other young men, and lament would have been inappropriate, really, since the newcomers were scarcely distinguishable from their predecessors. Invariably the girls spent the fine idle hours of their hot-weather Saturday afternoons together. Constant use had not worn ragged the fabric of their friendship. They looked alike, though the resemblance did not lie in their features. It was in the shape of their bodies, their movements, their style, and their adornments. Annabel and Midge did, and completely, all that young office workers are besought not to do. They painted their lips and their nails, they darkened their lashes and lightened their hair, and scent seemed to shimmer from them. They wore thin, bright dresses, tight aver their breasts and high on their legs, and tilted slippers, fancifully strapped. They looked proud and cheap and charming. Now, as they walked across to Fifth Avenue with their skirts swirled by the hot wind, they received audible admiration. Young men grouped lethargically about newsstands awarded them murmurs, exclamations, even'—the ultimate tribute—whistles. Annabel and Midge passed without the condescension of hurrying their pace; they held their heads higher and set their feet with exquisite precision, as if they stepped over the necks of peasants^ Always the girls went to walk on Fifth Avenue on their free afternoons, for it was the ideal ground for their favorite game. The game could be played anywhere, and, indeed, was, but the great shop windows' stimtriated the two players to their best form.

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Annabel had invented the game; or rather she had evolved it from an old one. Basically, it was no more than the ancient sport of whatwould-you-do-if-you-had-a-million-dollars. But Annabel had drawn a new set of rules for it, had narrowed it, pointed it, made it stricter. Like all games, it was the more absorbing for being more difficult. Annabel's version went like this: You must suppose that somebody dies and leaves you a million dollars, cool. But there is a condition to the bequest. It is stated in the will that you must spend every nickel of the money on yourself. There lay the hazard of the game. If, when playing it, you forgot, and listed among your expenditures the rental of a new apartment for your family, for example, you lost your turn to the other player. It was astonishing how many—and some of them among the experts, too— would forfeit all their innings by such slips. It was essential, of course, that it be played in passionate seriousness. Each purchase must be carefully considered and, if necessary, supported by argument. There was no zest to playing wildly. Once Annabel had introduced the game to Sylvia, another girl who worked in the office. She explained the rules to Sylvia and then offered her the gambit "What would be the first thing you'd do?" Sylvia had not shown the decency of even a second of hesitation. "Well," she had said, "the first thing I'd do, I'd go out and hire somebody to shoot Mrs. Gary Cooper, and then . . ." So it is to be seen that she was no fun. But Annabel and Midge were surely born to be comrades, for Midge played the game like a master from the moment she learned it. It was she who added the touches that made the whole thing cozier. According to Midge's innovations, the eccentric who died and left you the money was not anybody you loved, or, for the matter of that, anybody you even knew. It was somebody who had seen you somewhere and had thought, "That girl ought to have lots of nice things. I'm going to leave her a million dollars when I die." And the death was to be neither untimely nor painful. Your benefactor, full of years and comfortably ready to depart, was to slip softly away during sleep and go right to heaven. These embroideries permitted Annabel and Midge to play their game in the luxury of peaceful consciences. Midge played with a seriousness that was not only proper but extreme. The single strain on the girls' friendship had followed an aa-

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nouncement once made by Annabel that the first thing she would buy with her million dollars would be a silver-fox coat. It was as if she had struck Midge across the mouth. When Midge recovered her breath, she cried that she couldn't imagine how Annabel could do such a thing—silver-fox coats were common! Annabel defended her taste with the retort that they were not common, either. Midge then said that they were so. She added that everybody had a silver-fox coat. She went on, with perhaps a slight loss of head, to declare that she herself wouldn't be caught dead in silver fox. For the next few days, though the girls saw each other as constantly, their conversation was careful and infrequent, and they did not once play their game. Then one morning, as soon as Annabel entered the office, she came to Midge and said that she had changed her mind. She would not buy a silver-fox coat with any part of her million dollars. Immediately on receiving the legacy she would select a coat of mink. Midge smiled and her eyes shone. "I think," she said, "you're absolutely right." Now, as they walked along Fifth Avenue, they played the game anew. It was one of those days with which September is repeatedly cursed; hot and glaring, with slivers of dust in the wind. People drooped and shambled, but the girls carried themselves tall and walked a straight line, as befitted young heiresses on their afternoon promenade. There was no longer need for them to start the game at its formal opening. Annabel went direct to the heart of it. "All right," she said. "So you've got this million dollars. So what would be the first thing you'd do?" "Well, the first thing I'd do," Midge said, "I'd get a mink coat." But she said it mechanically, as if she were giving the memorized answer, to an expected question. "Yes," Annabel said, "I think you ought to. The terribly dark kind of mink." But she, too, spoke as if by rote. It was too hot; fur, no matter how dark and sleek and supple, was horrid to the thoughts. They stepped along in silence for a while. Then Midge's eye was caught by a shop window. Cool, lovely gleamings were there set off by chaste and elegant darkness.

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"No," Midge said, "I take it back. I wouldn't get a mink coat the first thing. Know what I'd do ? I'd get a string of pearls. Real pearls." Annabel's eyes turned to follow Midge's. "Yes," she said, slowly. "I think that's a kind of a good idea. And it would make sense, too. Because you can wear pearls with anything." Together they went over to the shop window and stood pressed against it. It contained but one object—a double row of great, even pearls clasped by a deep emerald around a little pink velvet throat. "What do you suppose they cost?" Annabel said. "Gee, I don't know," Midge said. "Plenty, I guess." "Like a thousand dollars?" Annabel said. "Oh, I guess like more," Midge said. "On account of the emerald." "Well, like ten thousand dollars?" Annabel said. "Gee, I wouldn't even know," Midge said. The devil nudged Annabel in the ribs. "Dare you to go in and price them," she said. "Like fun!" Midge said. "Dare you," Annabel said. "Why, a store like this wouldn't even be open this afternoon," Midge said. "Yes, it is so, too," Annabel said. "People just came out. And there's a doorman on. Dare you." "Well," Midge said. "But you've got to come too." They tendered thanks, icily, to the doorman for ushering them into the shop. It was cool and quiet, a broad, gracious room with panelled walls and soft carpet. But the girls wore expressions of bitter disdain, as. if they stood in a sty. A slim, immaculate clerk came to them and bowed. His neat face showed no astonishment at their appearance. "Good afternoon," he said. He implied that he would never forget it if they would grant him the favor of accepting his soft-spoken greeting. "Good afternoon," Annabel and Midge said together, and in like freezing accents. "Is there something—" the clerk said.

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"Oh, we're just looking," Annabel said. It was as if she flung the words down from a dais. The clerk bowed. "My friend and myself merely happened to be passing," Midge said, and stopped, seeming to listen to the phrase. "My friend here and myself," she went on, "merely happened to be wondering how much are those pearls you've got in your window." "Ah, yes," the clerk said. "The double rope. That is two hundred and fifty thousand dollars, Madam." "I see," Midge said. The clerk bowed. "An exceptionally beautiful necklace," he said. "Would you care to look at it?" "No, thank you," Annabel said. "My friend and myself merely happened to be passing," Midge said. They turned to go; to go, from their manner, where the tumbrel awaited them. The clerk sprang ahead and opened the door. He bowed as they swept by him. The girls went on along the Avenue, and disdain was still on their faces. "Honestly!" Annabel said. "Can you imagine a thing like that?" "Two hundred and fifty thousand dollars!" Midge said. "Why, that's a quarter of a million dollars!" "He's got his nerve!" Annabel said. They walked on. Slowly the disdain went, slowly and completely as if drained from them, and with it went the regal carriage and tread. Their shoulders dropped and they dragged their feet; they bumped against each other, without notice or apology, and caromed away again. They were silent and their eyes were cloudy. Suddenly Midge straightened her back, flung her head high, and spoke, clear and strong. "Listen, Annabel," she said. "Look. Suppose there was this terribly rich person, see? You don't know this person, but this person has seen you somewhere and wants to do something for you. Well, it's a terribly old person, see? And so this person dies, just like going to sleep, and leaves you ten million dollars. Now, what would be the first thing you'd do?"

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WOLCOTT GIBBS

Why he selected

The CUSTOMER Is always WRONG Of all the illegitimate children of the arts, the theatrical pressagent is generally held in the lowest esteem. He is paid to exploit producers, trained seals, and actors; he is a parasite on a parasite. The interesting thing (to me) about Richard Maney is that he represents a distinct reversal in the normal order of things. In life, it is not usual for the hired publicist to maintain an ironical attitude about the thing publicized, any more than it is usual for the average flea to be superior and detached about a dog. Mr. Maney is also unique in his odd calling in that he tells the truth as often as not. New York, N . Y. WOLCOTT GIBBS July, 1942

(A PROFILE)

J

UST as the advance agent for a circus is not likely to be disturbed by even the largest elephant, so his metropolitan equivalent, the Broadway press agent, can look on the most succulent actor and still remain composed. This is a natural condition, since both actors and elephants, observed for any length of time at close range, are apt to seem no better than anybody else. It is remarkable only when the publicity man, who after all is paid to exploit these phenomena, makes no attempt to hide his good-natured derision. There are a good many press agents in New York who operate on a sort of man-to-man basis with their clients; Richard Sylvester Maney, the most prosperous gnome of the lot, is the only one who persistently treats them with the genial condescension of an Irish cop addressing a Fifth Avenue doorman. This comparison isn't altogether arbitrary. 212

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Most doormen are more ornamental than cops, and practically all actors are more beautiful than Maney, but fundamentally, like the cop, he is a more impressive figure and they know it. A few conspicuously highclass performers, such as Maurice Evans and Noel Coward, have reached a state of precarious equality with their employee, but the rest are kept strictly in their places. Mr. Maney's manner toward his inferiors is firm, though not unkind. Playing with them in one of those interminable games of chance that serve to keep him from being even richer than he is, he seldom bothers with their actual names. "All right, actor, it's your turn," he will shout impatiently when some Thespian appears to him to be dawdling, and "actor" in his mouth is an Elizabethan word, with low and foolish connotations. Being a gentleman, he is more restrained on the whole with the ladies of the profession and even greets them from time to time with what he probably imagines are terms of endearment. "Thanks for the baubles, my peculiar witch," he once said politely to Miss Grace Moore, for whom he was working at the time and who had given him some pretty cuff links in a timid effort to melt his spectacular indifference. Miss Moore was enchanted. He has a little more respect for producers, perhaps on the ground that they are occasionally men of some slight substance, though even here his admiration can hardly be called slavish. His notorious love affair with Billy Rose, who once recklessly employed him to exploit his vast and quite incomprehensible enterprises, has been discussed in print far too often to be repeated now, but many other producers have paid handsomely to be insulted both in the newspapers and privately. "Mr. Harris has finally combed the last Cossack out of his curls," Mr. Maney remarked genially in the Tribune by way of announcing that Jed Harris, after a series of noble but discouraging experiments with the Russian drama, was again prepared to grapple with our native product. He was also impolite to his sombre young master during office hours. Like many another man of large affairs, Mr. Harris lived with the dream of eventually getting a little order into things, and for this purpose he introduced an elaborate system of interoffice memoranda for the use of his staff. These were supposed to constitute a dignified ana"

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permanent record of what went on in trie Harris organization, but for some reason Mr. Maney found this idea irksome. Memoranda began to appear bearing such messages as "To: Mr. Harris. From: Mr. Maney. Re: What time is it?" and presently the whole system collapsed from sheer overproduction. A sign also turned up one day on the door behind which Mr. Harris dreamed his majestic and turbulent dreams. "Where the grapes of wrath are stored," Maney had printed neatly. Insofar as he was capable of admiring anything except a mirror, however, Mr. Harris cherished his queer employee. Once, during one of Maney's several operations with Herman Shumlin, he watched with disgust while his usually sensible colleague labored with the production of a spectacle called "Sweet Mystery of Life," in which the actors fumbled about in the bloom, dwarfed by acres of scenery. It flew closed like a door, as Maney sometimes describes this occupational mishap, and Mr. Shumlin turned to his press agent for consolation. He made a mistake. " 'Sweet Mystery of Life,' indeed!" retorted that rough diamond. "It was the triumph of lumber over art." Another producer to suffer from Maney's basic inability to disguise his feelings was Courtney Burr, who once asked him whether a simple dinner coat or tails would be more appropriate for one of the Burr openings. "You better wear your track suit," said Maney, and this, it turned out, was a prophecy. Even Gilbert Miller, a famous cosmopolite, failed to awe Maney or shake his lofty integrity. One day, in a proud but misguided moment, Mr. Miller offered his hired man a shapely little announcement for the press which he had framed with his own cultivated hand. Maney read it through impassively and gave it back. "It isn't English," he said. Meekly, Mr. Miller made it English. The problem of why so many sensitive and arrogant people continue to employ a man who is almost certain to hurt their feelings sooner or later is an interesting one. It would be easy to say that Maney is the best press agent in town and let it go at that, but somehow it seems too simple. He isn't indispensable. There are other boys in the business capable of handling publicity with about the same competence and

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doing it much more politely and quietly, without nearly so much wear and tear on delicate egos. The secret lies somewhere in the complex and difficult riddle of personality. It is profitable to be associated with Maney, but it is also quite an experience in its peculiar way—perhaps not unlike drinking a very dry Martini, which is rather shocking at first but develops its own special glow as you go along. Almost all producers who have worked with Maney find it hard to put on a show without the curious extra flavor he adds to their lives. This is by no means a triumph of sheer physical charm. Maney is not a handsome man. His wide face is pure Celt. He look: like a tough Irish altar boy who has grown up to be a popular Second Avenue bartender. He has no eyebrows worth mentioning and forgotten fights —invariably lost—have blurred the classic detail of his nose. Usually, as the evening wears on, he has a tendency to settle inside his clothes, like a turtle in its shell, and his eyelids come down to hood his eyes. A habit of having his dusty hair cut very short makes his head seem even rounder than it is. His body has the solid, humorous rotundity of a Teddy bear's. Last year Time, in a rare spasm of felicity, called him a "roustabout George M. Cohan." Maney's social behavior ranges from a wild truculence, when he lowers his head and bellows like a bull, to an equally furious gaiety, when community singing seems to charm him most. He particularly admires a noisy anthem called "My Dream of the U.S.A.," which involves banging glasses on the table, usually breaking them. At the match game, the standard entertainment at a restaurant called Bleeck's Artists' and Writers' Club and mathematically the most absurd form of gambling ever invented, Maney's vehement offer to play anybody for twenty fish can easily be heard in the Herald Tribune editorial rooms next door. There is seldom a dull moment and, in spite of all the tumult, almost never one when people feel like getting up and moving to another table. By contrast, it is always a little startling to meet Maney in polite evening dress, supervising one of his own openings. Courtesy sits on him like a shroud, and for some reason he seems a good deal smaller than usual. Even on these grim occasions, however, the basic Maney isn't totally absent. He gets as many terrible shows as the next man and,

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while he doesn't enjoy them economically, he takes a certain sardonic interest in their effect on the public. "How do you like it?" he asked a tactful but honest young woman during the first-act intermission at one such night not long ago. "Well, that act seemed a little slow, Dick," she answered reluctantly, "but I'm sure the others are much better." "That was supposed to be the good one, my deluded squaw," said Mr. Maney, and chuckled like a ghoul. Meeting one of the authors of this same sad misadventure after the final curtain, Maney offered his fatherly comfort and advice. "Take to the hills," he muttered hoarsely. The most fascinating thing about Maney, however, lies in something rich and strange he has done to the English language. This curious form of speech is one of the small miracles of the town and was once even imbedded in a play when Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur transplanted its author intact to the stage in "Twentieth Century." The probabilities are that it was born in the first place as a form of compensation. Maney was properly brought up by a devout mother to whom blasphemy was as shocking as second-story work. To spare her pain, the child throttled his vocabulary, but as he grew older, the natural fury and exasperation in him mounted and, although his speech remained as pure as a radio announcer's, his fundamental outlook on life got to be as blasphemous as hell. An outlet was necessary before the little boy blew up and so there gradually came into existence a system of invective that sounded like swearing but was in fact as innocent as Mother Goose. Robert Louis Stevenson was operating on the same principle when he created the most satisfactory gang of pirates in literature and never permitted one of them to say anything that couldn't safely be read to an eight-year-old boy. This theory is probably as good as any, but however it happened, Maney today is the world's greatest master of disinfected epithet. While other and lesser men monotonously employ such cliches of displeasure as "son of a bitch" and "bastard," his range is practically infinite. His clients and acquaintances escape the stigma of illegitimacy, but few other qualities or conditions are spared them. He is surrounded by Comic Spaniards, Unfortunate Aztecs, Foul Turtledoves, Penthouse

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Cagliostros, and even more fascinating compounds. He seldom repeats himself. The well is deep and undefiled. People who really know Maney submit to these caresses without resentment and usually with a certain amount of pleasure and admiration, although now and then a touch of bewilderment creeps into things, too. A young man who had been wanting to meet him for some time finally got his wish, but his report of his experience was a little plaintive. "I can't seem to understand anything Mr. Maney says," he confessed. "Is this usual?" It is only when Maney gets outside his own circle, however, that the real fuss is likely to begin. One night, in the company of an actor and some other negligible character, he set out on a tour of the drinking places in a strange and forbidding section of the town. Time passed agreeably, but at last, although nobody was prepared to go home, it began to look as i£ everything else was closed up. Maney approached a native of the district, a colored citizen, conceivably on his way to work. "Where can we get a drink around here, my vile Corsican?" he asked amiably. The dark stranger, though appearing more baffled than annoyed, swung nervously and Mr. Maney bounced on the pavement. This was clearly an occasion when simple blasphemy would have been less provocative, and there have been several others, so that for the most part Maney confines his night life to places where he is known and understood. With the enthusiastic co-operation of their proprietors, he has banned himself for varying lengths of time from many resorts, including the Stork Club and Twenty-One, where he feels that the average customer doesn't appreciate fancy rhetoric even when it comes up and spits in his eye. In one case, the coolness between Maney and a certain fashionable pump room arose because he referred to its proprietor as an inflated busboy; in another, he approached an unknown but stylish icicle in a white tie and advised him to stop tossing his money around like a drunken sailor, a remark generally felt to be in restraint of trade. He reached the depths, however, as the result of a sincere effort to be polite. Entering a restaurant one day at the cocktail hour, he stopped to speak to a rich and beautiful young matron seated near the door. What

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he said was merely jocular, but it was misunderstood, and when Maney got to the bar his companions urged him to go back and apologize. He agreed and started out on this courteous errand, but somewhere along the way Dr. Jekyll began to fade and the man who reached her table was unmistakably Mr. Hyde. "Listen, my painted Jezebel," he began. The late Percy Hammond sometimes said with awe that his friend Maney had a distinctly voodoo personality. Maney's talent is by no means confined to calling peculiar names. His most casual pronouncement has an air about it, a quality of invention and balance and study. "Dames who put ginger ale in Scotch highballs should be submitted to the bastinado and reduced to moccasins," he remarked offhand one night on this important subject, and visitors to his untidy headquarters over the Empire Theatre are greeted with pleasant extravagance. "Ah," the proprietor will shout warmly, "a spent runner staggers into the blockade, a Blackfoot arrow protruding from his back!" In "Twentieth Century," Hecht and MacArthur put a pretty line into the mouth of the character representing Maney. There is some talk about a Mr. and Mrs. Lockwood, who are occupying Drawing Room A. "Mr. and Mrs., hell," says the pseudo-Maney. "It's Romeo and Juliet, hacking away at the Mann Act." While not genuine, this is an almost perfect example of Maney's verbal technique, being balanced in structure, florid in conception, and containing a useful classical reference. So fascinated was Billy Rose with some of his employee's remarks that gradually he came to appropriate them as his own. In a recent and rather unaccountable address to the Harvard Business School, Mr. Rose described his feelings at the opening of "Jumbo." "I stood on the Rubicon, rattling the dice," he told the enchanted students, who couldn't be expected to know that this comment had originally appeared in Maney's program notes some five years before. Mr. Rose has also quoted himself as having observed that "Jumbo" would either make Rose or break Whitney, another mot that was born elsewhere. The literary bas-relief that ornaments Maney's speech, incidentally, is quite authentic. He is a formidable student, especially of Shakespeare and other antiquities. On an "Information Please" program last spring, he delivered a good part of the prologue to "The Canterbury Tales" and would have been delighted to furnish the rest if he hadn't been

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restrained by the master of ceremonies. At his most typical, Mancy sounds a good deal like a circus barker with an LL.D. The repository of all this charm and learning and fury was born forty-nine years ago in Chinook, Montana, a whistle stop on the Great Northern with a population in those days of some five hundred. Today he describes it nostalgically as "a nest of mangy Crees," and adds that it has the reputation of being the coldest damn place in the United States. From saying so a good many times, Maney has almost come to believe that he was the first white child born there and also that up to the age of twelve he preferred to converse in the Indian tongues. These things, however, seem rather unlikely. His father owned the local hardware store, but his heart was really in politics and he ran doggedly for everything, finally winding up as a trustee in the public-school system. His other innocent ambition was to make a musician, specifically a cornet player, out of his smoldering offspring. Maney blew the cornet from the time he was seven until he was twelve without developing much except a tendency to have a rather lopsided face. His mother finally put a stop to that. "I'll have no monster on this ranch," she said, and the musician laid down his instrument without regret. In 1906, Maney's father set out in a box car containing his family, his furniture, and eight horses for Seattle, where he took up contracting and his son went through high school and entered the state university. In the summer, Maney drove a dump truck for his father and in winter he studied, admiring the liberal arts and graciously tolerating everything else. Nothing in particular has survived from this period. Maney was not an athlete and his social life appears to have been placid. From time to time he made fifty cents working as an usher at the Moore Theatre, owned by John Cort, and after he was graduated with a B.A. in 1913, he persuaded Mr. Cort to give him a job. A mist obscures the next thirteen years, and our glimpses of the principal actor are dim and intermittent. He was one of four advance agents for Anna Held in her "All-Star Jubilee," though not the man who thought up tlie celebrated milk bath. In fact, as he remembers it, the tour progressed through such backward country, that nobody got any baths at all, including Miss Held. At one time he lived with, and

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on, an enterprising associate who had collected $3,000 in damages for falling down an elevator shaft. At another he operated an electric baseball Scoreboard in a saloon and at still another he was manager of a theatre on upper Broadway at which the leading attraction was a nervous performer who held a fork in his mouth and tried to catch potatoes thrown from the gallery. Both Maney and this unusual artist lasted exactly a week. Once, for a brooding moment, he found himself back under his father's roof in Seattle. When everything else failed, he turned to a humiliating trade. "Whenever I couldn't eat any other way, I looked around for a door to guard," he says. There were a good many doors. He was visible to his fashionable friends taking tickets at various theatres, but particularly at the Morosco, where he wore a Cossack uniform weighing fourteen pounds. He was rescued from this public degradation by Bronco Billy Anderson, a star of the silent pictures, who, dreaming of better things, put on an opera called "The Frivolities of 1920" and employed Maney to publicize it for him. Accompanying this dubious charade to Boston, he fell in with a Shubert press agent fantastically christened A. Toxen Worm and through him at last entered the more or less respectable fringes of the profession. Sponsored by Mr. Worm, he was soon associated with the firm of Jones & Green, producers of "The Greenwich Village Follies," and finally, in 1927, he went to work for Jed Harris, succeeding S. N. Behrman and Arthur Kober, neither of whom found himself able to cope with that small, dark man about whose head the lightning played. In this fashion, by way of many strange back doors, Mr. Maney came to Broadway. Before he did, however, he had been through one of the most singular experiences of his life. Back in 1919, when he was living an idle, carefree life with the man who fell down the shaft, Maney spent some of his abundant leisure contributing odds and ends to a sports column run by a friend. These compositions were informed as well as sprightly, for Maney knows almost as much about baseball as he does about Shakespeare, and at length the word got around that he was a weighty expert on all matters dealing with recreation. Almost before he knew it, and certainly without any particular volition on his own part, he found himself the forty-dollar-a-week editor and staff of a highly specialized publication known as the American Angler.

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Up to then all the fish that Maney had known intimately had been cooked; he neither knew nor cared how they got from the stream to the kitchen, and his opinion of anglers was low. Nevertheless, he was a conscientious man and he did his best. "Keep your flies in the water— trout don't live in trees," he advised his readers in one early issue, and a little later he wrote thoughtfully, "It has always been my contention that in a piano tuner, to a greater degree than in any other artisan, is concealed—possibly congealed—that quality which marks the successful fly-fisherman. Did you ever watch a piano tuner plying his painstaking if promiscuous art? No? Then do so at your first opportunity." Maney went on for quite a while in this vein, to the confusion of the innocent fishermen. The Great Trout-Fly Symposium, however, was a tremendous success. Looking for something to fill his yawning columns, Maney hit on a very nice problem for his single-minded readers. "If you were condemned to go through life with but three trout flies, regardless of weather, season, or locality, what three would you choose?" he asked them provocatively. The response was immediate and almost overwhelming. Dr. Henry Van Dyke wrote from Princeton, "If I were required to limit my trout-fly book to three flies (which upon the whole would not be an altogether bad thing) I should choose (1) Queen of the Water. (2) March Brown, and (3) Royal Coachman." The Doctor was remarkably brief. Most of Maney's readers spread themselves happily. "To limit myself to three flies is unthinkable," wrote one O. W. Smith, "though I might get along with five if allowed several sizes, for, in my judgment, size is a more determining factor than pattern. When the water is clear and low, as is often the case in August, a tiny 'Professor' will take the fish, whereas . . ." This rhapsody filled an entire page and was accompanied by a photograph of the author, his hat bristling defiantly with flies of every conceivable size and shape. Several of Mr. Maney's correspondents were appalled at the idea of trying to get through life so grotesquely handicapped, but with one exception they all agreed that it was a good, interesting question. The solitary dissenter was a Mr. Louis Rhead. "I think the question very foolish," he replied crossly. After a while the atmosphere around the American Angler, with its strangely possessed visitors and the almost tangible memory of dead

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fish haunting the corridors, began to get on the editor's nerves, and the breaking point came one day when a meek but persistent contributor drifted in looking for an assignment. "Go interview a successful trout, you under-water Boswell!" roared Mr. Maney, the veins rather unpleasantly corded in his neck. The writer vanished, but he was back again in a couple of days, and to Maney's amazement and horror he had done exactly what he was told. "An Interview with a Successful Trout," purporting to be a submarine conversation with a bright fish, appeared in the American Angler for April, 1919, and it is one of the most nerve-racking specimens of prose in the language. A brief sample of the hero's remarks is certainly enough: "My friend Gorumpp, the bullfrog, keeps me pretty well informed about current events out of the water. He sits on a log and makes observations all day long, but at times he comes down here below for a visit. I love him as a companion although I would devour him were he conveniently smaller. You think it strange that I would like to dispose of a friend? As a matter of fact, I wonder how long I could be powerful and handsome unless I were to catch something a good many times a day. The minnows—a principal part of my diet—are engaged all day long in capturing ephemerids and cyclops, and various other kinds of things which in turn are catching something else. "I suppose that right is might, and if it were not right for me to be here I might be lost altogether. I asked Rulee [the local fairy] about it, and she says that one thing catches another, clear down to the microbes, and that microbes catch each other. Your Moliere or Shaw might have written about the sentimental features of the subject." There was something about this educated talk that convinced Mr. Maney that he had had about enough, and when the anglers invited their lovable old editor to judge a fly-casting tournament in Chicago, he quietly turned in his resignation and returned to Broadway, where fish are sensibly kept in iceboxes and don't talk. Once he was established as a New York press agent, Maney's progress was rapid. By the end of his third year he had represented such solid and memorable productions as "Broadway," "Coquette," "The Royal Family," "The Front Page," "Serena Blandish, and "Fifty Million Frenchmen." He had also perfected his attitude toward the theatre

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and the press. For the most part, Maney avoids the traditional milkbath, tanbark, and stolen-jewelry approach to his trade, although he once abetted Ben Hecht and Gene Fowler when those two relentless elves announced that they were going to lie in separate coffins in a funeral parlor to celebrate the decease of an exhibit called "The Great Magoo," and he was responsible for an advertisement calling for one hundred genuine noblemen ("Bogus counts, masqueraders, and descendants of the Dauphin will get short shrift") to act as dancing partners at Billy Rose's Fort Worth Frontier Centennial. At the instigation of Mr. Rose, who never felt that he was quite sufficiently in the public eye, he even announced that an elephant would be shot out of a cannon as the first-act finale of "Jumbo." This was meant to be facetious, and it was taken that way by everybody except the editor of Vanity Fair, who sent a reporter around to get a blueprint explaining how this prodigy was to be accomplished. Such elementary pranks as these, however, haven't had much to do with Maney's success. He manages to get practically everything he writes—about six thousand words a week—printed somewhere or other, partly because it is invariably accurate, partly because it is written a* good deal better than most of the material an editor would be likely to get from members of his own staff, but mostly because it sounds so little like publicity. This isn't altogether intentional. Maney tries to turn out rich and beautiful prose about the work of the performers whom he genuinely admires—Helen Hayes, Maurice Evans, Ethel Barrymore, Tallulah Bankhead, and a few others—but there is a stubborn block between his enthusiasm and his typewriter, and what comes out is almost invariably tinged with derision and a suggestion that the theatre is a pretty comic business at best. Miss Hayes is his darling, but she is just as likely to find herself described as a scampering Columbine as the next girl. This frivolous tone, while a little dismaying to actors who dream of themselves as serious artists, is a relief to dramatic editors, who spend most of their days ploughing through thinly disguised advertising matter, and they print it gratefully. The same flavor is evident in the capsule biographies which turn up in the programs of Maney attractions. Other press agents approach this routine task without much spirit, confining themselves to simple lists of the plays in which their subjects have previously appeared. Maney's

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notes, however, are a nice blend of the irrelevant, the scurrilous, and, with an air of reluctance, the foolish facts in the case. At one time or another he has written, "Brenda Forbes has a scar on her left wrist, weighs 120 pounds, and emerged from her cocoon to play the serving wench in 'The Taming of the Shrew.'" , . . "Frances Comstock was born during a blizzard in 1913, has sung in many of our toniest bistros, and over the air has given her lyric all for assorted toothpastes, lubricants, and juices." . . . "Alfred Drake sprouted as a baritone when the Steel Pier at Atlantic City was supporting a vagrant opera company. He was billed below the cinnamon bears." . . . "Donald Cameron got under way as a Roman rowdy, with spear, when Margaret Anglin came to grips with the Bard at the Hudson." . . . "Nadine Gay is a fugitive from a Fanchon and Marco unit." . . . "George Lloyd was last season understudy to a corpse." Maney has also commented from time to time on the theatre in general. "Producing is the Mardi Gras of the professions," he once wrote sourly in the Times, "Anyone with a mask and enthusiasm can bounce into it." Somewhere else he paid his indignant respects to actresses. "All female stars have one thing in common: after you stand on your head to arrange an interview, they break the date because they have to go and get their hair washed." Of his own part in all these goings-on, he says, "The press agent is part beagle, part carrier pigeon, and part salmon (the salmon only goes home to die)." In fact, of all the people connected with the trade, the critics are about the only ones who have escaped his sinister attention. For obvious reasons, Maney treats these peevish but powerful men with mittens on, and if it remains a mystery to him how most of them got where they are, he keeps it politely to himself. He is an expert on all the curious feuds and phobias that afflict them and he is careful to seat them (fifty on first nights, seventyfive on second nights) where they will be as nearly happy as their twisted natures will permit. "It is not always possible for the first night press list to embrace the reviewer for Racing Form or the Princeton Tiger," he once remarked when pushed a little too far, but he is usually a model of discretion. It is doubtful if this irascible behavior would work for everybody, but it has paid Maney handsome dividends. During the past five years he has handled the publicity for an average of eleven shows a season,

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out of which four could be described as hits. Considering that the total Broadway output during this period ran to something like eighty offerings a year, of which about fifteen were hits, and that some fifteen agents (there are fifty all told) were passionately competing for the business, it is evident that Maney has been doing all right. For the information of posterity, his exact record has been as follows : In the season that opened in the fall of 1936, he had four hits out of six productions; in 1937, a discouraging year, only one out of eleven; in 1938, five out of thirteen; and in 1939, five out of fourteen; and, last year, out of the ten shows he handled, five were definitely successful, including "Arsenic and Old Lace," and the two winners of the Drama Critics' prizes, "Watch on the Rhine" and "The Corn Is Green," al! three of which are still doing very well. So far this season, Maney's average is exactly .500. A dismal vehicle called "The More the Merrier" came and went, causing no more than a slight local irritation, but "The Wookey," although not conspicuously admired by the critics, seems assured of a substantial run, largely for patriotic reasons. His further plans include a Maurice Evans production of "Macbeth," in which there are rumors that Maney himself will play the Third Witch; "Clash by Night," by Clifford Odets, with Tallulah Bankhead; and "Anne of England," with Flora Robson, which was due to arrive this week. It isn't easy, even for Maney himself, to figure out exactly what income all this represents. Press agents are paid from $150 to $300 a week for each play, and Maney's salary is usually up near the top. Thus, at the peak of last season, with six shows running simultaneously, his office was taking in at least $1,200 a week, and throughout the season the average was probably around $800. Maney doesn't get all this wealth himself, however. In 1937, after a period of bickering of no conceivable interest to anybody except another press agent, the less prosperous members of the trade, already weakly banded together in something known as T.M.A.T. (Theatre Managers, Agents, and Treasurers), affiliated themselves with the tough and powerful Teamsters' Union of the American Federation of Labor. While not openly directed against Maney or anybody else, this maneuver was designed to prevent any man from representing more than one show at a time without employing qualified assistants—men,

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that is, who had themselves been active press agents on Broadway within the preceding three years. Maney, who up to then had been getting along handsomely without assistance, offered a certain amount of resistance to their demands. With a few almost equally fortunate colleagues, he retained Morris Ernst, an attorney not without his own grasp of publicity values, to preserve as much as possible of the status quo. Mr. Ernst went raging into battle. "I shall never deliver this little group to the tender mercies of the teamsters," he promised his clients at a luncheon at the Algonquin, and they went away reassured. Some four weeks later, however, Maney and his friends were slightly dismayed to find themselves good and regular members of T.M.A.T. and very much at the mercy of the merry teamsters. "I have a dim suspicion that somebody may have sold me out," said Maney upon being informed of this shotgun wedding, but on the whole he accepted his defeat philosophically. By the terms of the final agreement, he was obliged to hire one assistant at $75 a week as soon as he had two plays; to raise this salary to $100 when he got three; to employ a second man at $75 for his fourth, raising him to $100 for the fifth; and to hire still a third at $75 for the sixth. This was as far as it could go, since the union ruled arbitrarily that no agent should be allowed to represent more than six shows simultaneously. While Maney's payments to his staff have run up to the limit of $275 a week, they probably average $100, so that organized labor costs him about $5,000 a year. Nevertheless, the chances are that the season of 1940-1941 netted him at least $25,000, or approximately twice the amount made by his nearest competitor. His remarkable preeminence in his field was demonstrated in a backhand sort of way once last year in the cooking column conducted by Lucius Beebe in the Herald Tribune. Mr. Beebe published a picture of Maney solely on the ground that all that week he hadn't phoned. Maney hasn't any private life in particular. He is married and lives with his wife and stepson in a house in Westport, but he isn't there much. When he isn't on the road, engaged in preliminary tub-thumping, he gets to his office at ten in the morning, even on those occa-

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sional days when he feels as if he had eaten a bomb, and works grimly through until five or six. After that he has dinner somewhere and then, after calling professionally at a box office or two, he drops into Bleeck's or one of its equivalents, looking for a match game or perhaps just somebody to shout at. When he gets home, either to Westport or his room at the Pare Vendome in town, it is usually somewhere between two and six and he goes to bed. Sometimes it is even later than that. Coming in one morning from an especially merry gathering several years ago, he was astonished to find his stepson, Jock, neatly dressed and about to go out. "Where do you think you're going at this ungodly hour?" asked Maney sternly. "To school," said the child. The weekends, in fact, are about the only time his wife really has much chance to observe him, and he spends them lying around in his pajamas, either reading about Napoleon, whom he admires even more than Helen Hayes, or else simply licking his wounds. In spite of the Westport homestead, he loathes the country and avoids it whenever he can. This is partly because he has hay fever and partly because people keep trying to include him in their futile and dangerous games. This rather restricted program, not to mention the continual association with actors and other inferior and disreputable companions, might depress another man, but Maney has no wish to change his lot. He has had offers from Hollywood and at least one enterprising publisher has tried to extract a book of reminiscences from him, but he has turned them all down. Scornful, indignant, frequently beside himself with rage, he is at the same time in a state of almost perfect inward adjustment. Just as Joe Louis can go into cold transports of fury in the ring while still finding there the whole explanation and justification of his existence, life in the theatre irritates Maney to the border of insanity, but perversely he loves every minute of it and he couldn't conceivably exchange it for anything else. He is doing precisely what he wants to. In spite of all the thrashing around, he may well be the most contented man in New York. It is only fair to add that he denies this base charge even more passionately than he denounces fish.

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Ill A GOODLY HERITAGE

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STEPHEN VINCENT BENET why he selected The D E V I L and D A N I E L

WEBSTER "The Devil and Daniel Webster" is the kind of story I had wanted to write for a good many years. We have our own folk-gods and giants and figures of earth in this country—I wanted to write something about them. But often you do not see your way clear as to how to deal with a subject. I wrote a series of American stories in 1927 and had an old man, called, I fear, the Oldest Inhabitant, telling the stories. I liked writing them, though they weren't as good as they should have been. The Country Gentleman published most of them and seemed to like them, too—at least the editors did. As far as I can remember the response from the readers of The Country Gentleman was absolute or mathematical zero. So the series died a natural death. But ten years later or so, after a good many other things had happened, I still wanted to write that sort of story. So I started all over again. Only this time I dropped the convention of the Oldest Inhabitant and made the story tell itself. New York, N. Y. June, 1942

STEPHEN VINCENT BENET

I

T'S a story they tell in the border-country, where Massachusetts joins Vermont and New Hampshire. Yes, Danl Webster's dead—or, at least, they buried him. But, every time there's a thunderstorm around Marshfield, they say you can hear his rolling voice in the hollows of the sky. And they say that if you go to his grave and speak loud and clear, "Dan'l Webster—Dan'l Webster!" the ground'll begin to shiver and the trees begin to shake. And, after a while, you'll hear a deep voice, saying, "Neighbour, how stands the Union?" Then you better answer the Union stands as she 231

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stood, rock-bottomed and copper-sheathed, one and indivisible, or he's liable to rear right out of the ground. At least, that's what I was told, when I was a youngster. You see, for a while he was the biggest man in the country. He never got to be President but he was the biggest man. There was thousands that trusted in him right next to God Almighty—and they told stories about him and all the things that belonged to him that were like the stories of patriarchs and such. They said when he stood up to speak stars and stripes came right out in the sky—and once he spoke against a river and made it sink into the ground. They said when he walked the woods with his fishing-rod, Killall, the trout would jump out of the streams right into his pockets, for they knew it was no use putting up a fight against him—and, when he argued a case, he could turn on the harps of the blessed and the shaking of the earth underground. That was the kind of man he was, and his big farm up at Marshfield was suitable to him. The chickens he raised were all white meat down through the drumsticks, the cows were tended like children and the big ram he called Goliath had horns with a curl like a morning-glory vine and could butt through an iron door. But Dan'i wasn't one of your gentlemen-farmers—he knew all the ways of the land and he'd be up by candlelight to see that the chores got done. A man with a mouth like a mastiff, a brow like a mountain and eyes like burning anthracite—that was Dan'l Webster in his prime. And the biggest case he argued never got written down in the books, for he argued it against the Devil, nip and tuck and no holds barred. And this is the way I used to hear it told. There was a man named Jabez Stone, lived at Cross Corners, New Hampshire. He wasn't a bad man to start with, but he was an unlucky man. If he planted corn, he got borers, if he planted potatoes, he got blight. He had good enough land but it didn't prosper him— he had a decent wife and children, but the more children he had, the less there was to feed them. If stones cropped up in his neighbour's field, boulders boiled up in his—if he had a horse with the spavins, he'd trade it for one with the staggers and give something extra. There's some folks bound to be like that, apparently. But, one day, Jabez Stone got sick of the whole business.

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He'd been ploughing that morning and he'd just broke the ploughshare on a rock that he could have sworn hadn't been there yesterday. And, as he stood looking at the ploughshare, the off horse began to cough—that ropy kind of cough that means sickness and horse-doctors. There were two children down with the measles, his wife was ailing, and he had a whitlow on his thumb. It was about the last straw for Jabez Stone. "I vow," he said, and he looked around him kind of desperate, "I vow it's enough to make a man want to sell his soul to the Devil! Aod I would, too, for two cents!" Then he felt a kind of queerness come over him, at having said what he'd said, though naturally, being New Hampshire, he wouldn't take it back. But, all the same, when it got to be evening and, as far as he could see no notice had been taken, he felt relieved in his mind, for he was a religious man. But notice is always taken, sooner or later, just like the Good Book says. And sure enough, next day, about suppertime, a soft-spoken, dark-dressed stranger drove up in a smart buggy and asked for Jabez Stone. Well, Jabez told his family it was a lawyer, come to see him about a legacy. But he knew who it was. He didn't like the looks of the stranger, nor the way he smiled with his teeth. They were white teeth and plentiful—some say they were filed to a point, but I wouldn't vouch for that. And he didn't like it when the dog took one look at the stranger and ran away howling with his tail between his legs. But, having passed his word, more or less, he stuck to it, and they went out behind the barn and made their bargain. Jabez Stone had to prick his finger, to sign, and the stranger lent him a silver pin. The wound healed clean but it left a little white scar. After that, all of a sudden, things began to pick up and prosper for Jabez Stone. His cows got fat and his horses sleek, his crops were the envy of the neighbourhood and lightning might strike all over the valley but it wouldn't strike his barn. Pretty soon he was one of the prosperous people of the county—they asked him to stand for selectman and he stood for it—there began to be talk of running him for State Senate. All in all, you might say the Stone family was as happy and contented as cats in a dairy. And so they were, except for Jabez Stone.

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He'd been contented enough, the first few years. It's a great thing when bad luck turns—it drives most other things out of your head. True, every now and then, especially in rainy weather, the little white scar on his finger would give him a twinge. And once a year, punctual as clockwork, the stranger with the smart buggy would come driving by. But the sixth year the stranger lighted, and, after that, his peace was over for Jabez Stone. The stranger came up through the lower field, switching his boots with a cane—they were handsome black boots, but Jabez Stone never liked the look of them, particularly the toes. And, after he'd passed the time of day, he said, "Well, Mr. Stone, you're a hummer! It's a very pretty property you've got here, Mr. Stone." "Well, some might favour it and others might not," said Jabez Stone, for he was a New Hampshireman. "Oh—no need to decry your industry!" said the stranger, very easy, showing his teeth in a smile. "After all, we know what's been done— and it's been, according to contract and specifications. So when—ahem —the mortgage falls due, next year, you shouldn't have any regrets." "Speaking of that mortgage, Mister," said Jabez Stone, and he looked around for help to the earth and the sky, "I'm beginning to have one or two doubts about it." "Doubts?" said the stranger, not quite so pleasantly. "Why, yes," said Jabez Stone. "This being the U.S.A. and me always having been a religious man." He cleared his throat and got bolder. "Yes sir," he said, "I'm beginning to have considerable doubts as to that mortgage holding in court." "There's courts and courts," said the stranger, clicking his teeth. "Still—we might as well have a look at the original document," and he hauled out a big black pocket-book, full of papers. "Sherwin— Slater—Stevens—Stone," he muttered. "I, Jabez Stone—for a term of seven years—oh, it's quite in order, I think " But Jabez Stone wasn't listening, for he saw something else flutter out of the black pocket-book. It's something that looked like a moth but it wasn't a moth. And as Jabez Stone stared at it, it seemed to speak to him in a small sort of piping voice, terrible small and thin but terrible human. "Neighbour Stone!" it squeaked. "Neighbour Stone! Help me—for God's sake, help me!"

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But, before Jabez Stone could stir hand or foot, the stranger whipped out a big bandanna handkerchief, caught the creature in it, just like a butterfly, and started tying up the ends of the bandanna. "Sorry for die interruption," he said. "As I was saying " But Jabez Stone was shaking all over like a scared horse. "That's Miser Stevens' voice!" he said, in a croak. "And you've got him in your handkerchief!" The stranger looked a little embarrassed. "Yes, I really should have transferred him to the collecting box," he said, with a simper, "but there were some rather unusual specimens there and I didn't want them crowded. Well, well, these little contretemps will occur " "I don't know what you mean by contertan," said Jabez Stone, "but that was Miser Stevens' voice! And he ain't dead! You can't tell me he is! He was just as spry and mean as a woodchuck, Tuesday!" "In the midst of life," said the stranger, kind of pious. "Listen!" Then a bell begun to toll in the valley and Jabez Stone listened, with the sweat running down his face. For he knew it was tolled for Miser Stevens and that he was dead. ' "These long-standing accounts," said the stranger, with a sigh. "One really hates to close them. But business is business." He still had the bandanna in his hand and Jabez Stone felt sick as he saw the cloth struggle and flutter. "Are they all as small as that?" he asked hoarsely. "Small?" said the stranger. "Oh, I see what you mean. Why, they vary." He measured Jabez Stone widi his eyes and his teeth showed. "Don't worry, Mr. Stone," he said. "You'll go with a very good grade. I wouldn't trust you outside the collecting box. Now, a man like Dan'l Webster of course—well, we'd have to build a special box for him, and even at that, I imagine the wing-spread would astonish you. He'd certainly be a prize—I wish we could see our way clear to him! But, in your case, as I was saying " "Put that handkerchief away!" said Jabez Stone, and he begun to beg and to pray. But the best he can get at the end is a three-years' extension, widi conditions. But till you make a bargain like that, you've got no idea of how

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fast four years can run. By the last months of those years, Jabez Stone's known all over the State and there's a talk of running him for Governor —and it's dust and ashes in his mouth. For every day, when he gets up, he thinks, "There's one more night gone," and every night when he lies down, he thinks of the black pocket-book and the soul of Miser Stevens and it makes him sick at heart. Till, finally, he can't bear it any longer, and, in the last days of the last year, he hitches up his horse and drives off to seek Dan'l Webster. For Dan'l was born in New Hampshire, only a few miles from Cross Corners, and it's well known diat he has a particular soft spot for old neighbours. It was early in the morning when he got to Marshfield, but Dan'l was up already, talking Latin to the farmhands and wrestling with the ram, Goliath, and trying out a new trotter and working up speeches to make against John C. Calhoun. But, when he heard a New Hampshireman had come to see him he dropped everything else he was doing, for that was Dan'l's way. He gave Jabez Stone a breakfast that five men couldn't eat, went into the living history of every man and woman in Cross Corners, and, finally, asked him how he could serve him. Jabez Stone allowed that it was a mortgage-case. "Well, I haven't pleaded a mortgage-case in a long time, and I don't generally plead now, except before the Supreme Court," said Dan'l. "But, if I can, I'll help you." "Then I've got hope, for the first time in ten years," said Jabez Stone and told him the details. Dan'l walked up and down as he listened, hands behind his back, now and then asking a question, now and then plunging his eyes at the floor, as if they'd bore through it like gimlets. When Jabez Stone had finished, he puffed out his cheeks and blew. Then he turned to Jabez Stone and a smile broke over his face, like the sunrise over Monadnock. "You've certainly given yourself the Devil's own road to hoe, Neighbour Stone," he said. "But I'll take your case." "You'll take it?" said Jabez Stone, hardly daring to believe. "Yes," said Dan'l Webster. "I've got about seventy-five other things to do and the Missouri Compromise to straighten out—but I'll take

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your case. For if two New Hampshiremen ain't a mjftch for the Devil, we might as well give the country back to the Indians." Then he shook Jabez Stone by the hand and said, "Did you come down here in a hurry?" "Well, I admit I made time," said Jabez Stone. "You'll go back faster," said Dan'l Webster and he told 'em to hitch up Constitution and Constellation to the carriage. They were matched greys with one white forefoot, and they stepped like greased lightning. Well, I won't describe how excited and pleased the whole Stone family was to have the great Dan'l Webster for a guest, when they finally got there. Jabez Stone had lost his hat on the way, blown off when they overtook a wind, but he didn't take much account of that. But, after supper, he sent the family off to bed, for he had most particular business with Mr. Webster. Mrs. Stone wanted them to sit in the front-parlour—but Dan'l Webster knew front-parlours and said he preferred the kitchen. So it was there they sat, waiting for the stranger, with a jug on the table between them and a bright fire on the hearth— the stranger being scheduled to show up on the stroke of midnight, according to specification and whereas and therefore. Well, most men wouldn't have asked for better company than Dan'l Webster and a jug. But with every tick of the clock Jabez Stone got sadder and sadder. His eyes roved round the room, and, though he sampled the jug, you could see he couldn't taste it. Finally, on the stroke of eleven-thirty, he reached over and grabbed Dan'l Webster by the arm. "Mr. Webster, Mr. Webster!" he said, and his voice was shaking with fear and a desperate courage. "For God's sake, Mr. Webster, harness your horses and get away from this place while you can!" "You've brought me a long way, neighbour, to tell me you don't like my company," said Dan'l Webster, quite peaceable, pulling at the jug"Miserable wretch that I am!" groaned Jabez Stone. "I've brought you a devilish way—and now I see my folly. Let him take me if he wills—I don't hanker after it, I must say, but I can stand it. But you're the Union's stay and New Hampshire's pride! He mustn't get you, Mr. Webster! He mustn't get you!"

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Dan'l Webstef- looked at the distracted man, all grey and shaking in the firelight, and laid a hand on his shoulder. "I'm obliged to you, Neighbour Stone," he said gently. "It's kindly thought of. But there's a jug on the table and a case in hand. And I never left a jug or a case half-finished in my life." And, just at that moment, there was a sharp rap on the door. "Ah," said Dan'l Webster, very coolly, "I thought your clock was a trifle slow, Neighbour Stone." He stepped to the door and opened it. "Come in!" he saidThe stranger came in—very dark and tall he looked in the firelight. He was carrying a box under his arm—a black, japanned box with little air-holes in the lid. At the sight of the box Jabez Stone gave a low cry and shrank into a corner of the room. "Mr. Webster, I presume," said the stranger, very polite, but with his eyes glowing like a fox's deep in the woods. "Attorney of record for Jabez Stone," said Dan'l Webster, but his eyes were glowing, too. "Might I ask your name?" "I've gone by a good many," said the stranger, carelessly. "Perhaps Scratch will do for the evening. I'm often called that in these regions." Then he sat down at the table and poured himself a drink from the jug. The liquor was cold in the jug, but it came steaming into the glass. "And now," said the stranger, smiling and showing his teeth, "I shall call upon you, as a law-abiding citizen, to assist me in taking possession of my property." Well, with that the argument began—and it went hot and heavy. At first Jabez Stone had a flicker of hope—but when he saw Dan'l Webster being forced back at point after point he just sat scrunched in his corner with his eyes on that japanned box. For there wasn't any doubt as to the deed or the signature—that was the worst of it. Dan'l Webster twisted and turned and thumped his fist on the table—but he couldn't get away from that. He offered to compromise the case—the stranger wouldn't hear of it. He pointed out the property had increased in value and State Senators ought to be worth more—the stranger stuck to the letter of the law. He was a great lawyer, Dan'l Webster—but we know who's the King of Lawyers, as the Good

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Book tells us—and it seemed as if, for the first time, Dan'l Webster had met his match. Finally, the stranger yawned a little. "Your spirited efforts on behalf of your client do you credit, Mr. Webster," he said. "But if you have no more arguments to adduce—I'm rather pressed for time," and Jabez Stone shuddered. Dan'l Webster's brow looked dark as a thundercloud. "Pressed or not, you shall not have this man!" he thundered. "Mr. Stone is an American citizen—and no American citizen may be forced into the service of a foreign prince! We fought England for that in '12 and we'll fight all Hell for it again!" "Foreign?" said the stranger. "And who calls me a foreigner?" "Well I never yet heard of the Dev—of your claiming American citizenship," said Dan'l Webster, with surprise. "And who with better right?" said the stranger, with one of his terrible smiles. "When the first wrong was done to the first Indian—I was there. When the first slaver put out for the Congo—I stood on her deck. Am I not in your books and stories and beliefs, from the first settlements on? Am I not spoken of still, in every church in New England? 'Tis true the North claims me for a Southerner and the South for a Northerner—but I am neither. I am merely an honest American like yourself—and of the best descent—for, to tell the truth, Mr. Webster, though I don't like to boast of it, my name is older in this country than yours." "Aha!" said Dan'l Webster, with the veins standing out in his forehead. "Then I stand on the Constitution! I demand a trial for my client!" "The case is hardly one for an ordinary court," said the stranger, his eyes flickering, "and, indeed, the lateness of the hour " "Let it be any court you choose, so it is an American judge and an American jury!" said Dan'l Webster in his pride. "Let it be the quick or the dead—I'll abide the issue!" "You have said it," said the stranger and pointed his finger at the door. And with that, and all of a sudden, there was a rushing of wind outside and a noise of footsteps. They came clear and distinct, through the night. And yet, they were not like the footsteps of living men.

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"In God's name, who comes by so late?" cried Jabez Stone, in an agony of fear. "The jury Mr. Webster demands," said the stranger, sipping at his boiling glass. "You must pardon the rough appearance of one or two— they will have come a long way." And, with that, the fire burned blue and the door blew open and twelve men entered, one by one. If Jabez Stone had been sick with terror before, be was blind with terror now. For there was Walter Butler, the loyalist, who spread fire and horror through the Mohawk Valley in the times of the Revolution —and there was Simon Girty, the renegade, who saw white men burned at the stake and whooped with the Indians to see them. His eyes were green, like a catamount's, and the stains on his huntingshirt did not come from the blood of the deer. King Philip was there, wild and proud as he had been in life, with the great gash in his head that gave him his death-wound, and cruel Governor Dale who broke men on the wheel. There was Morton of Merry Mount, who so vexed the Plymouth Colony, with his flushed, loose, handsome face and his hate of the godly—there was Teach, the bloody pirate, with his black beard curling on his breast. The Reverend John Smeet, with his strangler's hands and his Geneva gown, walked as daintily as he had to the gallows. The red print of the rope was still around his neck but he carried a perfumed handkerchief in one hand. One and all, they came into the room with the fires of hell still upon them, and the stranger named their names and their deeds as they came, till the tale of twelve was told. Yet the stranger had told the truth— they had all played a part in America. "Are you satisfied with the jury, Mr. Webster?" said the stranger, mockingly, when they had taken their places. The sweat stood upon Dan'l Webster's brow but his voice was clear. "Quite satisfied," he said. "Though I miss General Arnold from the company." "General Arnold is engaged upon other business," said the stranger, with a glower. "Ah, you asked for a justice, I believe." He pointed his finger once more, and a tall man, soberly clad in

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Puritan garb, with the burning gaze of the fanatic, stalked into the room and took his judge's place. "Justice Hathorne is a jurist of experience," said the stranger. "He presided at certain witch-trials, once held in Salem. There were others who repented of the business later, but not he." "Repent of such notable wonders and undertakings?" said the stern old justice. "Nay, hang them—hang diem all!" and he muttered to himself in a way that struck ice into the soul of Jabez Stone. Then the trial began, and, as you must expect, it didn't look anyways good for the defence. And Jabez Stone didn't make much of a witness in his own behalf. He took one look at Simon Girty and screeched, and they had to put him back in his corner, in a kind of swoon. It didn't halt the trial, though—the trial went on, as trials do. Dan'l Webster had faced some hard juries and hanging judges in his t i m e but this was the hardest he'd ever faced, and he knew it. They sat there, widi a kind of glitter in their eyes, and the stranger's smooth voice went on and on. Every time he'd raise an objection, it'd be, "Objection sustained," but whenever Dan'l objected, it'd be "Objection denied." Well, you couldn't expect fair play from a fellow like this Mr. Scratch. It got to Dan'l in the end, and he began to heat, like iron In the forge. When he got up to speak, he was going to flay that stranger widi every trick known to the law, and the judge and jury, too. He didn't care if it was contempt of court or what would happen to him for it. He didn't care any more what happened to Jabez Stone. He just got madder and madder, thinking of what he'd say. And yet, curiously enough, the more he thought about it, the less he was able to arrange his speech in his mind. Till, finally, it was time for him to get up on his feet, and he did so—all ready to bust out with lightnings and denunciations. But before he started he looked over the judge and jury for a moment, such being his custom. And he noticed the glitter in their eyes was twice as strong as before, and they all leaned forward. Like hounds just before they get the fox, they looked—and the blue mist of evil in the room thickened as he watched them. Then he saw what he'd been about to dc

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and he wiped his forehead, as a man might who's just escaped falling into a pit in the dark. For it was him they'd come for—not only Jabez Stone. He read it in the glitter of their eyes and in the way the stranger hid his mouth with one hand. And, if he fought them with their own weapons, he'd fall into their power—he knew that, though he couldn't have told you how. It was his own anger and horror that burned in their eyes—and he'd have to wipe that out or die case was lost. He stood there for a moment, his black eyes burning like anthracite. And then he began to speak. He started off in a low voice, though you could hear every word. They say he could call on the harps of the blessed when he chose. And this was just as simple and easy as a man could talk. But he didn't start out by condemning or reviling. He was talking about the things that make a country a country, and a man a man. And he begun with the simple things that everybody's known and felt—the freshness of a fine morning, when you're young and the taste of food when you're hungry and the new day that's every day when you're a child. He took them up and he turned them in his hands. They were good things for any man. But, without freedom, they sickened. And when he talked of those enslaved, and the sorrows of slavery, his voice got like a big bell. He talked of the early days of America and the men who had made those days. It wasn't a spreadeagle speech but he made you see it. He admitted all the wrong that had ever been done. But he showed how, out of the wrong and the right, the suffering and the starvations, something new had come. And everybody had played a part in it, even the traitors. Then he turned to Jabez Stone and showed him as he was—an ordinary man who'd had hard luck and wanted to change it. And, because he'd wanted to change it, now he was going to be punished for all eternity. And yet there was good in Jabez Stone—and he showed that good. He was hard and mean, in some ways—but he was a man. There was sadness in being a man but it was a proud thing, too. And he showed what the pride of it was till you couldn't help feeling it. Yes, even in hell, if a man was a man, you'd know it. And he wasn't pleading for any one person any more—diough his voice rang like an organ. He was telling the story and the failures and die endless journey of mankind. They got tricked and trapped and bamboozled, but it

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was a great journey. And no demon that was evej foaled could know the inwardness of it—it took a man to do that. * The fire began to die on the hearth and the wind before morning to blow. The light was getting grey in the room when Dan'l Webster finished. And his words come back at the end to New Hampshire ground—and the one spot of land that each man loves and clings to. He painted a picture of that—and, to each one of that jury he spoke of things long-forgotten. For his voice could search the heart, and that was his gift and his strength. And to one his voice was like the forest and its secrecy, and to another like the sea and the storms of the sea; and one heard the cry of his lost nation in it, and another saw a little harmless scene he hadn't remembered for years. But each saw something. And, when Dan'l Webster finished, he didn't know whether or not he'd saved Jabez Stone. But he knew he'd done a miracle. For the glitter was gone from the eyes of judge and jury, and, for the moment, they were men again, and knew they were men. "The defence rests," said Dan'l Webster, and stood there like a mountain. His ears were still ringing with his speech and he didn't hear anything else till he heard Judge Hathorne say, "The jury will retire to consider its verdict." Walter Butler rose in his place and his face had a dark gay pride on it. "The jury has considered its verdict," he said, and looked the stranger full in the eye. "We find for the defendant, Jabez Stone." With that the smile left the stranger's face, but Walter Butler did not flinch. "Perhaps 'tis not strictly in accordance with the evidence," he said. "But even the damned may salute the eloquence of Mr. Webster." With that, the long crow of a rooster split the grey morning sky, and judge and jury were gone from the room like a puff of smoke and as if they had never been there. The stranger turned to Dan'l Webster, smiling wryly. "Major Butler was always a bold man," he said. "I had not thought him quite so bold. Nevertheless—my congratulations, as between two gentlemen." "I'll have that paper first, if you please," said Dan'l Webster and he took it and tore it into four pieces. It was queerly warm to the touch.

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"And now," he said, "I'll have you!" and his hand came down like a bear-trap on the stranger's arm. For he knew that once you bested anybody like Mr. Scratch in fair fight, his power on you was gone. And he could see that Mr. Scratch knew it, too. The stranger twisted and wriggled but he couldn't get out of that grip. "Come, come, Mr. Webster," he said, smiling palely. "This sort of thing is ridic—ouch!—is ridiculous. If you're worried about the costs of the case—naturally, I'd be glad to pay " "And so you shall!" said Dan'l Webster, shaking him till his teeth rattled. "For you'll sit right down at that table and draw up a document, promising never to bother Jabez Stone nor his heirs or assigns nor any other Newhampshireman till Doomsday! For any Hades we want to raise in this State, we can raise ourselves, without assistance from strangers." "Ouch!" said the stranger. "Ouch! Well, they never did run very big to the barrel but—ouch! I agree!" So he sat down and drew up the document. But Dan'l Webster kept his hand on his coat-collar all the time. "And now—may I go?" said the stranger, quite humble, when Dan'l's seen the document's in proper and legal form. "Go?" said Dan'l, giving him another shake. "I'm still trying to figure out what I'll do with you. For you've settled the costs of the case, but you haven't settled with me. I think I'll take you back to Marshfield," he said, kind of reflective. "I've got a ram there named Goliath that can butt through an iron door. I'd kind of like to turn you loose in his field and see what he'd do." Well, with that the stranger began to beg and to plead. And he begged and he pled so humble that finally Dan'l, who was naturally kind-hearted, agreed to let him go. The stranger seemed terrible grateful for that and said, just to show they were friends, he'd tell Dan'l's fortune, before leaving. So Dan'l agreed to that, though he didn't take much stock in fortune-tellers ordinarily. But, naturally, the stranger was a little different. Well, he pried and peered at the lines in Dan'l's hands. And he told him one thing and another that was quite remarkable. But they were all in the past.

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"Yes, all that's true, and it happened," said Dan'l Webster. "But what's to come in the future?" The stranger grinned, kind of happily, and shook his head. "The future's not as you think it," he said. "It's dark. You have a great ambition, Mr. Webster." "I have," said Dan'l, firmly, for everybody knew he wanted to be President. "It seems almost within your grasp," said the stranger. "But you will not attain it. Lesser men will be made President and you will be passed over." "And, if I am, I'll still be Daniel Webster," said Dan'l. "Say on." "You have two strong sons," said the stranger, shaking his head. "You look to found a line. But each will die in war and neither reach greatness." "Live or die, they are still my sons," said Dan'l Webster. "Say on." "You have made great speeches," said the stranger. "You will make more." "Ah!" said Dan'l Webster. "But the last great speech you make will turn many of your own against you," said the stranger. "They will call you Ichabod—they will call you by other names. Even in New England some will say you have turned your coat and sold your country, and their voices will be loud against you till you die." "So it is an honest speech, it does not matter what men say," said Dan'l Webster. Then he looked at the stranger and their glances locked. "One question," he said. "I have fought for the Union all my life. Will I see that fight won, against those who would tear it apart?" "Not while you live," said the stranger, grimly. "But it will be won. And, after you are dead, there are thousands who will fight for your cause, because of words that you spoke." "Why, then, you long-barrelled, slab-sided, lantern-jawed, fortunetelling note-shaver!" said Dan'l Webster with a great roar of laughter, "be off with you to your own place before I put my mark on you! For, by the Thirteen Original Colonies, I'd go to the Pit itself to save the Union!" And with that he drew back his foot for a kick that would have

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stunned a horse. It was only the tip of his shoe that caught the stranger, but he went flying out of the door with his collecting-box under his arm. "And now," said Dan'l Webster, seeing Jabez Stone beginning to rouse from his swoon, "let's see what's left in the jug, for it's dry work talking all night. I hope there's pie for breakfast, Neighbour Stone." But they say that whenever the Devil comes near Marshfield, even now, he gives it a wide berth. And he hasn't been seen in the State of New Hampshire from that day to this. I'm not talking about Massachusetts or Vermont.

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V A N W Y C K B R O O K S Why he selected

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There was much in common—more than I thought when I wrote the chapters—between these two New Englanders of adjoining generations: Hawthorne and Emily Dickinson. Both remained aloof from the characteristic life of their time, but this life was, if not reflected, vividly present in their work. Both had long thoughts about it, though they watched it from the outside, as Hawthorne watched the Brook Farmers and Miss Dickinson watched from her Amherst window. As recluses or semi-recluses, they seem to me in line with many other American writers and artists, Eakins, Ryder, Henry Adams, Melville, and even Walt Whitman, who also withdrew from the foreground of the American scene. For three generations our dominant life, a life of instinctive and strenuous action, failed to afford a function for sensitive men. At least one may fairly say that it did not invite their cooperation. Many were forced into obscurity, or felt they were, such as Henry Adams, and proud men chose to be obscure. This was especially true in New England, which, with the growth of the West, lost in large measure its share of the control of the Union. New Englanders, always introspective, tended to grow more so, and numbers of them cultivated the "private life." This explains, in part at least, some traits these writers have in common. In our extroverted American world, I feel that this New England strain must have a very special importance and value. Westport, Conn. June, 1942

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W

HILE Boston and little Concord were moving forward, Salem, like most of the other seaports, stricken by the War of 1812, had lapsed into quietude and decay. Beside its dilapidated wharves, where! grew the fat weeds, the windlass chanty and the caulker's maul no longer broke the silence. The water-side streets were no longer thronged with sailors, "all right" for shore, with their blue jackets and checked shirts, their well-varnished hats and flowing ribbons, with bundles under their arms from the cannibal isles, or from India or China. One seldom heard the lively "Cheerily, men!" while all hands joined in the chorus. The grass choked the chinks of the cobblestones over which the drays had clattered. An occasional bark or brig discharged its hides. One saw some Nova Scotia schooner, drawn up at Derby's Wharf, unloading a cargo of firewood. A few idle seafaring men leaned against the posts, or sat on the planks, in the lee of some shabby warehouse, or lolled in the long-boats on the strand. But the great days of the port were a tale that was told, over and over, by the ancient skippers, who dozed away their mornings at the custom-house, with their chairs tilted against the wall. Salem had an immemorial air, the air that gathers about a town which, having known a splendid hour,, shrinks and settles back while its grandeurs fade. But Salem was old in spirit, aside from its faded grandeurs. The past that hovered there had much in common with that of the ancient ports of northern Europe, where the Gothic fancies of the Middle Ages have not been dispelled by modern trade. Salem was still Gothic, in a measure. In its moss-grown, many-gabled houses, panelled with worm-eaten wood and hung with half-obliterated portraits, dwelt at least the remnants of a race that retained the mental traits of a far-away past. In its isolation from the currents of worldthought and feeling, it seemed to be only a step removed from the age of the Dance of Death. In the mansions of Chestnut Street and Federal Street, one found the traces of a livelier culture, the books that were read in Boston, together with the Oriental spoils brought home by the Salem navigators. But over the quiet lanes and leafy side-streets, where the graveyards lay, brooded the hush of many generations. Queer old maids with turbaned heads peered from behind the curtains, quaint old simple-minded men hobbled along under the sweeping elms, "pixilated" creatures, many of them, as they said at Marble-

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head,—bewildered by the fairies,—half dead and buried in their houses, or buried in the morbid family pride that flourishes where life runs low. There was vigour enough in Salem, there were plenty of stout merchants and politicians. One saw swarms of boys and little girls, in blue, yellow, green and crimson dresses, bursting from church and schoolhouse, like garden-beds of zinnias or water-colours of Maurice Prendergast. It was only in comparison with Lynn and Lowell, those'near-by towns whose enterprising burghers, faced with the decline of shipping, had built their factories for internal trade, that Salem seemed somehow grey and sad. The Prescotts, Story, Pickering, Choate and Bowditch, the great circle of earlier days, had long since departed. At a stone'sthrow from the Essex Institute, one almost heard the silence. One caught the tinkling of the bell at the door of some little cent-shop, even the quiver of the humming-birds darting about the syringa bushes. The rattling of the butcher's cart was the only event of the day for many a household, unless perhaps one of the family hens cackled and laid an egg. Spiders abounded in these houses, eluding the vigilant spinster's eye. Indeed, there were so many cobwebs that it might have occurred to a doctor,—some old Salem doctor, as odd as the rest,—to gather the webs together and distil an elixir of life from the dusty compound. In the burying-ground in Charter Street, where the Gothic emblems flourished,—death's-heads, cross-bones, scythes and hourglasses, such as one found in Diirer's woodcuts,—the office of gravedigger passed from father to son. Just so passed the household legends, behind the bolted doors, grimmer with each generation. Beside the kitchen fires, old serving-women crouched as they turned the spit and darned the stockings, always ready to tell the children stories. Some of them seemed to remember the days of the witches. Their stories were as dusty as the cobwebs. For Salem, like the whole New England sea-coast, bristled with old wives' tales and old men's legends. No need to invent stories there: one heard them in the taverns, from the sailors, from charcoal-burners who looked like wizards, from the good-for-nothings on the waterfront. One heard of locked closets in haunted houses where skeletons had been found. One heard of walls that resounded with knocks where there had once been doorways, now bricked up. One heard of

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poisonous houses and blood-stained houses, old maids who lived in total darkness, misers who wallowed naked in heaps of pine-tree shillings. One even heard of Endicott's dreary times, when the stocks and the pillory were never empty. One heard of the magistrates who awoke each morning to the prospect of cropping an ear or slitting a nostril, stripping and whipping a woman at the tail of a cart, or giving her a stout hemp necklace or a brooch in the form of a scarlet letter. One heard of the grey champion who emerged from nowhere to rebuke the tyrannies of the British king, of children who had sprung from the loins of demons, of the wastrels of Merry Mount and the grizzled saints who had stamped out their light and idle mirth, clipping their curls and love-locks. Would they not have stamped out the sunshine and clipped all the flowers in the forest in order to clear a path for their psalms and sermons? In these quiet towns, where nothing happens—except an occasional murder—to agitate the surface of existence, history is ever-present, lying in visible depths under the unstirred waters; and who could have known in Salem what to believe or not? However it might have been on Chestnut Street, the fringes of Salem society were superstitious. If the ring that Queen Elizabeth gave to Essex had appeared in a collection-box on Sunday, it would not have seemed surprising to some of the people. There were plenty of old souls in the lanes and side-streets who never knew where to draw the line. They half believed the tales they told the children. Were there not hollows in the hills close by where the Devil and his subjects held communion ? Were there not ill-famed men in the western mountains who were condemned to wander till the crack of doom? All these tales had their truth, and so did the Indian legends, which the farmers repeated. There was an element of fact behind them. Was there a carbuncle in the Crystal Hills that gleamed like the westering sun, as the Indians said? Or was it the sun itself? There were men still living down in Maine who had never settled the question. Carbuncle or not, they had certainly seen it. At least, they had caught its "adiance, far up the valley of the Saco. Salem was a centre for these legends. The mediaeval mind had lingered there, in the absence of recent enterprise; and, while the town as a whole was sufficiently modern, there were odd corners and shadowy households where symbols and realities seemed much the

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same. The young men and women knew the difference, but sometimes it amused them to ignore it. They did not believe in ghosts, but mesmerism had become the fashion: they let their fancies play on the border-line. They sat up at night and told tales of ghosts, largely in default of mundane gossip. Occasionally, they even thought they saw one. The Hawthornes, who lived in Herbert Street, under the shadow of a family curse, were often troubled by an apparition that seemed to haunt their yard. The only son of the household, Nathaniel Hawthorne, who lived like a ghost himself, haunting a little chamber under the eaves, appearing only at nightfall, could not count the times he had raised his head, or turned towards the window, with a perception that somebody was passing through the gate. He could only perceive the presence with a sidelong glance, by a certain indirection; if he looked straight at the dim thing, behold, it was not there. As no one ever passed through the Hawthornes' gate, it may have been Elizabeth, his sister, who also appeared only when dusk had fallen. In fact, one could live for two years under the same roof with this spectral sister and see her only once. That was the way with the Hawthornes. The father, a Salem skipper, had died of yellow fever, years ago, in far-off Surinam; and no mortal eye had penetrated, or was to penetrate for forty years, the Castle Dismal on the second floor where the mother of the family had taken refuge on the day she heard the news. Her meals were brought up and left outside the door, as they were at Elizabeth's door, and Louisa's door,—at least, as often as not,—and, one flight further up, at Nathaniel's door. When twilight came, one heard the sound of footsteps echoing on the stairs, and a door that must have been opened was certainly shut. Elizabeth went out for a little walk. Then Nathaniel went for a walk, alone, in another direction. All day long, every day, or almost every day, for twelve years, he had sat in his flag-bottomed chair in his little room, beside the pine table, with a sheet of foolscap spread out before him. He was writing stories that rose in his mind as mushrooms grow in a meadow, where the roots of some old tree are buried under the earth. He had no love of secrecy or darkness, uncanny as he seemed to the handful of neighbours who knew that he existed; he was merely following the household pattern. His family, prominent once, had been almost forgotten, even in Herbert Street. No one came to see him. He had few friends,

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aside from the circle of his Bowdoin class-mates, with whom he had almost ceased to correspond. As a boy, he had often said he was going to sea and would never come back again; and he sometimes remarked to an acquaintance that he thought of disappearing, changing his name, escaping from the orbit of the postman, as if he had not sufficiently disappeared merely by staying at home. He had lapsed into this solitary life, half through a kind of inertia, and half,—he had always known he was going to write,—as if to protect a sensibility that was not yet ready to yield its fruits. His nickname had been Oberon at college, a reference to his shy, elusive ways. He had a massive head; his eyes were black and brilliant; he walked with the rolling gait of a sailor; he had a somewhat truculent voice and presence. Standing, he could leap shoulder-high. He liked to look at himself in the upright mirror and make up stories about the image he found reflected there. This image was dark and picturesque, tall and rather imposing. There was something vaguely foreign in its aspect. He felt like a man under a spell, who had somehow put himself into a dungeon and could not find the key to let himself out. He had seated himself by the wayside of life, and a dense growth of shrubbery had sprung up about him, and the bushes had turned into saplings and the saplings into trees. Through the entangling depths he could find no exit. His style, his personality, his habits had been formed as far back as he could remember. At six he had read the Pilgrim's Progress. The first book he had bought was the Faerie Queene. To see the world in terms of allegory, or in the light of symbols, was second nature with him. At twelve, in a note-book his grandfather had given him, urging him to write out his thoughts—a few every day—he had described a child named Betty Tarbox as "flitting among the rosebushes, in and out of the arbour, like a tiny witch"—phrases that might have occurred in the tales he was writing now. At sixteen, he had written a poem, precisely in the vein of some of these tales, about a young man dying for love of a ghost. He had certainly not acquired from Godwin's novels, however they intensified the taste, the feeling for romantic mystery that had sprung, for him, out of the Salem air. The novels of Scott had only excited further what seemed to be an inborn predilection for the history and the scenery of New England. All he knew was that these habits of mind, already formed in Salem, had been

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fostered in Maine, where he had spent a year, during his boyhood, on a lonely farm in a border hamlet. He had heard all sorts of stories from the farmers, tales of the supernatural, tales of ghosts, legends of the old colonial wars. He had heard the story of Father Moody of York, who had worn a black veil over his face. In summer, he had seen the Indians, on the Penobscot River, in their birch canoes, building their wigwams by the mill-dams. Round about stood the pine forests, bordering the northern lakes. He had skated all winter in the moonlight, alone and silent. He loved the black shadows cast by the frozen hills. He might well have been thought uncanny. He was certainly "deep," as the country people said, deep as a night-scene by Albert Ryder. His mind was bathed in a kind of chiaroscuro that seemed to be a natural trait; and yet it was a trait that he cultivated, half by instinct, half by deliberation. He had a painter's delight in tone. He liked to throw a ghostly glimmer over scenes that he chose because they were ghostly. It was a taste like Claude Lorrain's for varnish. He liked to study chimneys in the rain, choked with their own smoke, or a mountain with its base enveloped in fog while the summit floated aloft. He liked to see a yellow field of rye veiled in a morning mist. He liked to think of a woman in a silvery mantle, covering her face and figure. A man's face, with a patched eye, turning its profile towards him; an arm and hand extended from behind a screen; a smile that seemed to be only a part of a smile seen through a covering hand; a sunbeam passing through a cobweb, or lying in the corner of a dusty floor. Dissolving and vanishing objects. Trees reflected in a river, reversed and strangely arrayed and as if transfigured. The effects wrought by moonlight on a wall. Moonlight in a familiar sitting-room, investing every object with an odd remoteness—one's walking-stick or a child's shoe or doll—so that, instead of seeing these objects, one seemed to remember them through a lapse of years. Hawthorne could never have said why it was that, after spending an evening in some pleasant room, lighted by a fire of coals, he liked to return and open the door again, and close it and re-open it, peeping back into the ruddy dimness that seemed so like a dream, as if he were enacting a conscious dream. For the rest, he was well aware why he had withdrawn to this little chamber, where there was nothing to measure time but the progress of the shadow across the floor. Somewhere, as it were beneath his feet, a

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hidden treasure lay, like Goldthwaite's chest, brimming over with jewels and charms, goblets and golden salvers. It was the treasure of his own genius, and it was to find this precious treasure that he had sat at his desk through summer and winter. The snow-flakes pelted against the window-panes, the casement rattled in the December gusts, clouds of dust blew through the open window. Seasons and years rolled by. He had his doubts. Was he tearing down the house of his mind in order to find the treasure? In the end, when the house was destroyed, for all he could say, there might be nothing in the chest but rubbish. Sometimes, in summer, on a Sunday morning, he stood by the hour behind the curtain, watching the church across the way. The sunrise stole down the steeple, touching the weather-cock and gilding the dial, till the other steeples awoke and began to ring. His fancy played about this conversation carried on by all the bells of Salem. At twilight, he would still be standing there, watching the people on the steps after the second sermon. Then, as dusk set in, with a feeling of unreality, as if his heart and mind had turned to vapour, he ventured into the street. Sometimes, he was out all day, for the sake of observation. He would spend an hour at the museum, looking at the black old portraits that brought back the days of Cotton Mather. These portraits explained the books that he was reading, histories of Maine and Massachusetts, the History of Haver hill, Felt's Annals of Salem. Or he walked over to Marblehead and Swampscott, where the old salts gathered in the store, in their red baize shirts and oilcloth trousers, enthroned on mackerel barrels. He felt a natural bond with all these Yankees, fishermen, cattle-drovers, sailors, pilots. Some of them could steer with bandaged eyes into any port from Boston to Mount Desert, guided by the sound of the surf on every beach, island or line of rocks. He liked to sit with them in the bar-rooms, alive with curiosity, over a steaming hot whiskey-punch. He studied the coloured prints on the tavern walls. He noted the gateways in the crooked streets, the whales' jaw-bones set like Gothic arches, the bulging windows in the little shop-fronts, filled with needles, fishhooks, pins and thimbles, gingerbread horses, picture-books and sweetmeats. He stood at the toll-house on the Beverly bridge, watching the procession of carts and sulkies that rolled over the timber ribbon under which the sea ebbed

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and flowed; or he strolled on to Browne's Hill and traced out the grassgrown hollows, the cellars of Browne's Folly. Occasionally, he spent a day in Boston, haunting the public-houses in Washington Street. He penetrated behind the sober shop-front that masked the old Province House. Oftener, setting out at dawn, he rambled over Endicott's Orchard Farm, over the witchcraft ground and Gallows Hill, or perhaps Phillips's Beach, exploring the coast from Marblehead to Gloucester. He would bathe in a cove, overhung with maples and walnuts, pick up shells on the water's edge, skip pebbles on the water and trail the seaweed after him, draw names and faces in the sand. He would sit on the top of a cliff and watch his shadow, gesturing on the sand far below. Occupations worthy of a poet who knew the value of reverie. These idle, whimsical movements absorbed his body while his mind pursued its secret operations. One had to be bored in order to think. Passivity was Hawthorne's element, when it was not curiosity. Usually, in the summer, dressed in his blue stuff frock, he undertook a longer expedition, to Maine or the Berkshires, perhaps, or to Martha's Vineyard, or along the Erie canal, as far as Detroit, where the old Connecticut poet, John Trumbull, was spending his last years. Nothing escaped him then; he had resumed his habit of keeping a note-book. He would stop for commencement at some country college, at Williams, so like his own Bowdoin, and mingle with the sheepish-looking students, half scholar-like, half bumpkin, fidgeting in their black broadcloth coats. He would spend a day at a cattle-fair, among the ruddy, roundpaunched country squires who, with their wonderful breadth of fundament, waddled about, whip in hand, discoursing on the points of the sheep and oxen. He fell in with big-bellied blacksmiths, essencepedlars chattering about their trade, old men sitting at railway stations, selling nuts and gingerbread, oblivious of the rush and roar about them, wood-choppers with their jugs and axes who had lived so long in the forest that their legs seemed to be covered with moss, like tree-trunks, pedlars of tobacco, walking beside their carts—green carts with gaily painted panels—conjurors, tombstone-carvers, organ-grinders, travelling surgeon-dentists, the queer confraternity of the road. He would exchange a word with a tavern-keeper, reading his Hebrew Bible, with the aid of a lexicon and an English version. If it was a rainy day, the

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toddy-stick was in active use and the faces gleamed about the barroom fire. He would stop at a farm for a glass of milk or linger in the market-place at Pittsfield, among the buckboards and the farmers' wagons, while the stage-coach discharged its passengers. Opening his note-book in the evening, he jotted down his observations. Why these trivial details ? He had seen a tame crow on the peak of a barn. A half-length figure had appeared at a window, with a light shining on the shrouded face. A little boy had passed him on the road, lugging a basket of custard-cups. An intrusive reader, looking over his shoulder, might have wondered why it was worth his while to record such trifling items. To Hawthorne they were anything but trifling. Every one of these notes possessed for him a golden aureole of associations. Traits of New England life, aspects of New England scenery: a stone wall covered with vines and shrubs and elm-trees that had thrust their roots beneath it, a valley like a vast bowl, rilled with yellow sunlight as with wine, the effect of the morning sun on dewy grass, sunlight on a sloping, swelling landscape beyond a river in the middle distance, an afternoon light on a clump of trees, evening light falling on a lonely figure, perhaps a country doctor on his horse, with his black leather saddle-bags behind him. Dark trees, decaying stumps, a cave in the side of a hill, with the sunlight playing over it. How like the human heart, this cave, with the glancing sun and the flowers about its entrance! One stepped within and found oneself surrounded with a terrible gloom and monsters of divers kinds. Once, before turning homeward, he pressed on to Crawford's Notch. This was the artery over the mountains through which the groaning 'vagons from the seaports carried the goods of Europe and the Indies to northern New Hampshire and Vermont. There stood the Great Stone Face. One dined on bear's meat in these northern woods, echoing with the notes of horn and bugle. Under some avalanche an ambitious guest, a young story-teller, for example, might have been crushed at Crawford's Notch. Who would ever have heard of him then, his history, his plans, his way of life? Or suppose this young writer had frozen to death on the summit of Mount Washington? The mountain would have been a pedestal, worthy of a story-teller's statue. Hawthorne roamed up and down the Connecticut Valley. He fell in with a group of vagabonds, on their way to the camp-meeting at Stamford,

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3 book-pedlar with the usual stock—a handful of gilded picture-books and ballads, a Life of Franklin, Byron's Minor Poems, Webster's Spelling-book, the New England Primer—a degenerate Indian with his bow and arrows, willing to turn a penny by shooting at it, an Italian conjuror with a merry damsel attired in all the colours of the rainbow. A travelling puppet-show had joined the troupe. The grave old showman, in his snuff-coloured coat, turned the crank of the organ, and all the little people on the miniature stage broke into lively movement. The blacksmith's hammer fell on the anvil, the tailor plied his needle, the dancers whirled about on their feathery tiptoes, the soldiers wheeled in platoons, the old toper lifted his bottle, the merry-andrew shook his head and capered. Prospero entertaining his island crew! It was a masque of shadows that seemed as real as any other world that Hawthorne lived in. Would it not have been a good idea for a young story-teller to join this group and become an itinerant novelist, like the Oriental story-tellers, reciting his extemporaneous fictions at campmeetings and cattle-fairs, wherever two or three were gathered together ? Most of Hawthorne's journeys, to be sure, were journeys autour de sa chambre. He was never away from Salem long. His note-books, however, filled along the road with incidents and casual observations, were precious memorabilia. They gave his ideas a local habitation. One saw this in the stories he was writing, sketches of actual life, historical tales and allegories. He thought of these as "twice-told" tales because, in several cases, he had heard them first before he had worked them out himself. How did he feel about his work ? It seemed to him easier to destroy it than to court an indifferent public. He had thrown into the fire the Seven Tales of My Native Land, for which he had failed to find a publisher, and he had burned every available copy of his little published novel, Fanshawe. There was a devil in his manuscripts! He saw it laughing at him as the sparks flew upward. As for his recent stories—the annual magazines had begun to accept them, the Souvenir and Peter Parley's To\en—they seemed to him to have an effect of tameness. They had, he felt, the pale tint of flowers that have blossomed in too retired a shade. If they were read at all, they should be read in the twilight in which they were written. They had been concocted from thin air; but it was this that gave the tales their

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magic. Some of them were really insubstantial, dim as ghosts basking in the starlight; in others, the apparently insubstantial was a new and original substance. In Tieck's and Hoffmann's Germany, where the Gothic mind had reawakened, in harmony with this mood of spectral Salem, even in Poe's New York, one found similar tales of the listening dead, of graves and flitting shadows and lovers knocking at each other's tombs. Processions of mourners passed with measured tread, trailing their garments on the ground. One saw figures melting in mist. Black veils, boys with bandaged eyes, bridegrooms dressed in shrouds. Pools paved with marble and mosaic. Images shimmering in water. One heard the cries of children lost in the woods. Young men slept in the road-side shade, oblivious of the fates that might have been theirs if they had been awake; for fortune, crime and love hovered about them. They were tales like evening moths or butterflies, light as clouds or flowers of early May, blooming in a woodland solitude. Out of them rose, when they were gathered together, an opalescent world that was strangely old, yet fresh and unfamiliar; it was like Prospero's island, half terrestrial, half an ethereal fabric. It was a new creation, this world of Hawthorne, with a past in Merry Mount and the Province House, in Howe's Masquerade and Esther Dudley, a present in pedlars and Shakers, in vagabonds and white old maids, in sunny Connecticut valleys and forest hollows, in snowstorms and ambiguous lime-burners, a future in little puckish boys and girls at play in the flickering sunshine. All very simple, it appeared, simple as the brightly coloured leaves that drift over a sedgy stream, only that too often, before one's eyes, the stream sang its way out of the meadow and carried its bright burden into the forest, where all grew dark and baleful. Such was Hawthorne's world, as it rose in the minds of his readers. No other American writer had revealed such a gift for finding his proper subjects; no other had so consciously pursued his ends. Hawthorne had jotted down four rules of life: to break off customs, to meditate on youth, to shake off spirits ill-disposed, to do nothing against one's genius. He had shaped a poetic personality as valid and distinct as Emerson's; but the "spirits ill-disposed" were not easily conquered. He was drifting towards a cataract, he felt. "I'm a doomed man," he wrote to a friend, "and over I must go." He was threatened witii

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melancholia, and he knew it. Out of this fear had sprung, or were to spring, the themes of many of his other stories, Wakefield, The Man of Adamant, Ethan Brand, tales of the unpardonable sin that consists in losing one's hold of the human chain. The Man of Adamant turns to stone, Ethan Brand forfeits, in his lonely bleakness, the key that unlocks human nature, Wakefield, who leaves his family and lives for twenty years in a neighboring street, makes himself an outcast from the world without being admitted among the dead. Hawthorne repeated this note in twenty stories, tales of minds and hearts like chilly caverns, hung with glittering icicles of fancy. Tales of hyper-sensitive recluses who find themselves in white-washed cells. Tales of diabolical intellects—Rappaccini's Daughter and The Birth-marl^—which, in the name of some insane abstraction, destroy the life that they have ceased to feel. Tales like that of Lady Eleanore who, wrapped in pride as in a mantle, courts the vengeance of nature. Tales of diseased self-contemplation, of egoists who swallow serpents and sleepers who have missed their destiny. What traits, or, rather, what predicament, what fears did these tales reveal in the mind that conceived them? Hawthorne had lived too long in this border-region, these polar solitudes where the spirit shivered, so that the substance of the world about him hung before his eyes like a thing of vapour. He felt as if he had not lived at all, as if he were an ineffectual shadow, as if, having stepped aside from the highway of human affairs, he had lost his place forever. One night he had a dream that told him this. He seemed to be walking in a crowded street. Three beautiful girls approached him and, seeing him, screamed and fled. An old friend gave him a look of horror. He was promenading in his shroud. Luckily, Hawthorne had another self, a sensible double-ganger. This other Hawthorne, this prosaic Hawthorne, the son of a Salem skipper, was interested in his own self-preservation; and, while he would never have taken too much trouble to keep himself afloat, he was glad to listen to his friends in matters of worldly wisdom. Eleven years were enough in a haunted chamber, filled with thoughts of suicide and madness. In 1836, this other Hawthorne entered die publishing house of Peter Parley, wrote his Universal History for him and edited his American Magazine. Then, having broken the spell and gone to

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Boston, this matter-of-fact, substantial, physical Hawthorne accepted a position at the custom-house. To the end of Hawthorne's life, these separate personalities dominated his destiny in turn. When one of them came to the front, as fishes, in pursuit of oxygen, rise to the surface of the water, the other vanished or concealed himself behind the nearest curtain. The storyteller scarcely knew the practical man of business who worked on the steaming docks, amid the coal-dust. Was this resolute, forcible being really himself, or was it someone who assumed his aspect and performed these duties in his name? Which was the true Hawthorne, which the phantom? The story-teller lived in a trance as long as the automaton carried on. His writing was accomplished in the happy seasons when the automaton was packed away, in the box where he belonged, when custom-houses, ships and offices lay like dreams behind him.

2: EMILY DICKINSON ' I ''HE Dickinsons lived in the principal house in Amherst. A large, JL square, red-brick mansion that stood behind a hemlock hedge, with three gates accurately closed, it was a symbol of rural propriety and all the substantialities of western New England. Edward Dickinson, the lawyer, had always had his office in the village, and four times a day, in his broadcloth coat and beaver hat, with a gold-headed cane in his hand, he had passed through one of the gates, going or coming. A thin, severe, punctilious man who had once been a member of Congress, a friend of Daniel Webster in his youth, a Calvinist of the strictest persuasion, he was a pillar of Amherst College until his death in 1874. The college had been, founded, largely by his father, to check the sort of errors that were spreading from Harvard, and he never abated his rigour in the interests of pleasure. He was said to have laughed on one occasion, but usually he was as cold and still as the white marble mantel in his parlour. The story was told in Amherst, however,

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that once he had rung the church-bell, as if to summon the people to a fire. The whole town came running, for he rang the bell excitedly. He wished to call attention to the sunset. Next door, behind the hemlock hedge, another ample dwelling stood, suggesting in its style an Italian villa. Here lived the Squire's son Austin, once his partner, who kept open house for the college. While the Dickinson mansion was somewhat forbidding, with the stamp of the Squire's grim ways and his invalid wife, the villa was a centre of Hampshire hospitality that shared its rolling lawns and charming garden. Olmsted had visited there, when he was planning Central Park to examine the shrubs and trees, the plants and flowers, and distinguished guests at the college commencements and lecturers during the winter season were received and welcomed there as nowhere else. Emerson, Phillips, Beecher and Curtis had stayed in this house next door, and Samuel Bowles of the Springfield Republican was an intimate friend of all the Dickinsons. In an age when the newspaper was largely taking the place of the pulpit, Samuel Bowles was known all over the country as one who fought for honest politics. He had joined with Carl Schurz in the movement for reform that was also the cause of Henry Adams. The Republican was a school for journalists, known far and wide, and travellers—Dickens and Kingsley among them— constantly stopped at Springfield in order to have a chat with Samuel Bowles. His paper was a sovereign authority in Amherst, and he often drove over for a call at the villa or the mansion, sometimes bringing manuscripts by well-known authors to show the Dickinson daughters before they were published. His favourite was Emily, who was older than Lavinia, but Emily usually "elfed it" when visitors came. She was always in the act of disappearing. Through the blinds of her western windows, overlooking the garden, she observed the hospitalities of the villa, and snatches of whatever was current in the books and talk of a college town, in the politics and thought of the moment, reached her when the guests had gone away. But even her oldest friends seldom saw her. While sometimes, in the evening, she flitted across the garden, she never left the £lace by day or night. To have caught a fleeting glimpse of her was something to boast of, and a young girl across the way who watched at night for a light at her window was thrilled if Miss Emily's shadow appeared for a moment.

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There were nurse-maids who thought she was a witch. They frightened the children by uttering her name, as i£ there were something malign in Miss Dickinson's queerness. While her friends seldom saw her, and almost never face to face— for she spoke from the shadows of the hallway, as they sat in the parlour, or sometimes down the stairs—they were used to receiving little letters from her. These letters were also peculiar. Miss Dickinson rarely addressed the envelopes. Some other hand, perhaps her sister's, performed this office for her. More often the names of the person and town had been clipped from a printed paper and pasted together, as if it were a sort of violation to expose the strokes of her pen to the touch of the postman. The letters themselves were brief and cryptic, usually only a line or two: "Do you look out tonight?" for example. "The moon rides like a girl through a topaz town." Or "The frogs sing sweet today—they have such pretty, lazy times—how nice to be a frog." Or "Tonight the crimson children are playing in the West." Or "The lawn is full of south and the odours tangle, and I hear today for the first the river in the tree." Now and again, some fine phrase emerged from the silvery spray of words—"Not what die stars have done, but what they are to do, is what detains the sky." Sometimes her notes had a humorous touch: "Father steps like Cromwell when he gets die kindlings," or "Mrs. S. gets bigger, and rolls down the lane to church like a reverend marble." But her messages often contained no words at all. She would lower baskets of goodies out of the window to children waiting below. At times, instead of a letter, she sent a poem, an odd little fragment of three or four lines, with a box of chocolate caramels or frosted cakes and a flower or a sprig of pine on top, heliotrope, perhaps, or an oleander blossom or a dandelion tied with a scarlet ribbon. Her letters were rhythmical, they scanned like the poems, and they were congested with images—every phrase was an image; and the poems themselves suggested nursery-rhymes or Dr. Watts's hymns, broken up and filled with a strange new content. They might have struck unsympathetic readers as a sort of transcendental baby-talk. It was evident that Miss Dickinson had lost the art of communication, as the circle of her school-friends understood it. She vibrated towards them, she put forth shy, impalpable tentacles, she instantly signalized with a verse or a note every event in their lives. But she did not speak

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the language of the world outside her, and one gathered that she did not wish to touch it. She was rapt in a private world of sensations and thoughts. It was even observed that her hand-writing went through three distinct phases and that towards the end the letters never touched. Each character, separately formed, stood quite alone. She had been a recluse since the early sixties, and her family surmised the reason. She had fallen in love with a married man, a Philadelphia clergyman, and had buried herself at home by way of refuge. When her supposed lover supposedly pursued her there, her sister dashed across to the house next door and exclaimed to their brother Austin's wife, "Sue, come! That man is here. Father and mother are away, and I am afraid Emily will go away with him." Such was the family legend, which may have been apocryphal. Undoubtedly, the clergyman came to see her, but probably only to call. Was he in love with Emily ? Probably not. In any case, she did not go away. She withdrew from all activities outside the household, and her mind turned in upon itself. She had hitherto been eminently social, or as much so as her little world permitted. Born in 1830, in the red-brick mansion, she had grown up a lively girl who was always a centre of attention. She was a capital mimic. She travestied the young-lady pieces, the "Battle of Prague" and others, which she played on the mahogany piano, and her odd and funny stories enthralled her friends. Later they remembered that she placed bouquets of flowers in the pews of those she liked best, at church. Helen Hunt Jackson, now a well-known writer, had been her favourite playmate in early childhood. Dancing and card-playing were not allowed in Amherst, but Noah Webster's granddaughter, who lived there, evaded the prohibition on behalf of her circle. She held "P.O.M." meetings for the Poetry of Motion, and Emily Dickinson excelled in this branch of learning. She joined in picnics and walks over the Amherst hills with groups of boys and girls from the town and the college. They had "sugaringoff" parties and valentine parties, and they often climbed Mount Norwottuck where they found ferns and ladyslippers; and sometimes they met at a brookside in the woods, where the boys went fishing and the girls made chowder. Emily was an ardent botanist. She knew the haunts of all the wild flowers in the region, and sometimes she scrambled alone through the forest, perhaps with her big dog Carlo. She was an expert cook. At home she baked the

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bread and boiled her father's puddings, but her father was difficult to please. He read "lonely and rigorous books," she said, on Sunday afternoons, fearing that anything else might "joggle the mind"; and Shakespeare, the Bible and Dr. Watts's hymns were the reading that he chose for his daughter. He did not like her to work in the garden, or to make visits without him, and when she was too witty he left the table. At fifteen she could not tell the time; her father supposed he had taught her, but she had not understood him, and she did not dare to ask him again or ask anyone else who might have told him. Now and again, she rebelled. She smashed a plate or a tea-cup and her friends and her brother found ways to provide her with books, hiding them in the box-bush that stood beside the front door or on the parlour piano, under the cover. In one way or another, she contrived to read most of the current authors, especially the Brontes and the Brownings, with Hawthorne, Coleridge, Irving, Keats and Ruskin. One of her special favourites was Sir Thomas Browne, and she loved the drollery of. Dickens. For the rest, she read Heine in German and Emerson's poems, and Frank B. Sanborn's letters in the Springfield Republican kept her in the literary current. She was by no means passive in this house of duty. Once, at a funeral in Hadley, whither she had gone with her father in the family barouche, she ran away for several hours with a young cousin from Worcester and drove back to Amherst in his buggy. At school, she declared her independence. She had been sent as a boarding-pupil to Mary Lyon's seminary, where she had written her themes on the nature of sin. She had listened to lectures on total depravity as if, like most of the other girls, she had meant to be a missionary's wife; but when, one day, Miss Lyon asked all the girls to rise, all who wished to be Christians, Emily alone refused to do so. She had found that she could not share the orthodox faith. Otherwise her life went on, with a few journeys here and there, like that of any country lawyer's daughter. As a young girl, she had visited Boston. She remembered the concerts and Bunker Hill, the Chinese Museum and Mount Auburn; and later, on two occasions, she stayed in Cambridge, to receive some treatment for her eyes. When her father was serving his term in Congress in 1854, she spent seven weeks in Washington with him. Her father's friends were struck by her charm and

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her wit. It was on her way home that she stopped at Philadelphia and received the sudden shock that had changed her life. This was the whole of Miss Dickinson's story, so far as outward events were concerned, when Thomas Wentworth Higginson entered the picture. Higginson had written an appeal in The Atlantic, addressed to the rising generation. Remembering the days of The Dial, when the hazel wand, waved over New England, had indicated hidden springs of talent in many a country town, he said that to find a "new genius" was an editor's greatest privilege. If any such existed who read The Atlantic, let him court the editor—"draw near him with soft approaches and mild persuasions." Higginson added a number of admonitions : "Charge your style with life . . . Tolerate no superfluities . . . There may be years of crowded passion in a word, and half a life in a sentence." This appeal was anonymous, but many of the Amherst people knew who wrote the articles in The Atlantic, for Sanborn's literary gossip kept them posted; and presently Colonel Higginson, who was living in Worcester, received an odd little letter. The letter was unsigned, but the writer sent four poems, and she placed in a separate envelope the signature "Emily Dickinson." She begged this distant friend to be her "master." The poems puzzled Higginson. While he felt a curious power in them, he was not prepared for a "new genius" who broke so many rules as this lady in Amherst, who punctuated with dashes only and seemed to have small use for rhyme and merely wished to know if she was "clear." She did not ask him to publish the poems, and he did not pass them on to the editor, but he wrote her a sympathetic letter that was followed by a long correspondence. She continued to send him poems at intervals, signing her notes "your gnome" and "your scholar," but, although she asked him again if he would be her "preceptor," and he offered her a number of suggestions, she never changed a line or a word to please him. In one note she said, "If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can ever warm me, I know that is poetry. If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry. These are the only ways I know it. Is there any other way?" And once she replied, when he asked her for a photograph, "I have no portrait now, but am small, like the wren; and my hair is bold, like the chestnut burr; and my eyes like the sherry in the glass that the guest leaves." This

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feminine mystification piqued the colonel. He wrote, "You enshroud yourself in this fiery mist and I cannot reach you, but only rejoice in the rare sparkles of light." When she told him that her companions were the hills and the sundown, he replied that she ought to come to Boston; she would find herself at home at Mrs. Sargent's. At last, in 1870, he went to Amherst. After a brief delay, while he waited in the parlour, he heard a faint footstep in the hallway and a shy, little childlike creature glided in. She carried two day-lilies, which she placed in his hand, saying, in a soft, breathless voice, "These are my introduction," adding in a whisper, "Forgive me if I am frightened. I never see strangers and hardly know what to say." She spoke of her household occupations and said that "people must have puddings," and she added a few detached, enigmatic remarks. She seemed to the amiable Higginson as unique and remote as Undine or Mignon or Thekla. But he was disturbed by the tension in the air and was glad he did not live too near this lady. There was something abnormal about her, he felt. He had never met anyone before who drained his nerve-power so much. At that time, Miss Dickinson was forty years old and had long since withdrawn from the world; and the friends who came to see her sister were used to the "hurrying whiteness" that was always just going through a door. She sometimes swept into the parlour, bowed and touched a hand or two, poised over the flowered Brussels carpet, and vanished like a ghost or an exhalation; but even these appearances had grown rarer and rarer. Only the neighbours' children really saw her. She had given up wearing colours and was always dressed in diaphanous white, with a cameo pin that held the ruching together. She was decisive in manner, anything but frail. Her complexion was velvety white, her lips were red. Her hair was bound with a chestnutcbloured snood, and when it was chilly she wore a little shoulder-cape crocheted of soft white worsted run through with a ribbon. She often had a flower in her hand. She moved about in a sort of revery, flitting "as quick as a trout" when she was disturbed. This was one of her sister Lavinia's phrases. The children knew her "high, surprised voice." They knew her dramatic way of throwing up her hands as she ended one of the stories she liked to tell them. She made them her fellowconspirators. They followed her upstairs and heard her comments on

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the guests she had left in the parlour. She would say, with finger on lip, as feminine callers left, "Listen! Hear them kiss, the traitors!" Or, peeping down the stairs, she would say of some man, "Look, dear, his face is as pretty as a cloth pink," or "His face is as handsome and meaningless as the full moon." She remarked, apropos of some scholarly person, "He has the facts, but not the phosphorescence of learning." She said that her own ideal caller was always just going out of sight, and that it made her shiver to hear people talk as if they were "taking all the clothes ofT their souls." She called herself the "cow-lily," because of the orange lights in her hair and her eyes, and she observed that the housemaid moved about "in a calico sarcophagus." Once she said to her little niece, who was puzzled by her shy ways, "No one could ever punish a Dickinson by shutting her up alone." Meanwhile, her life went on with her flowers and her sister. She had a small conservatory, opening out of the dining-room, a diminutive glass chamber with shelves around it; and there she grouped the ferns and the jasmine, the lilies and the heliotrope and the oxalis plants in their hanging baskets. She had a little watering-pot, with a long, slender spout that was like the antenna of an insect, and she sat up all night at times in winter to keep her flowers from freezing. The garden was her special care, and occasionally one saw her at dusk through the gate fluttering about the porch like a moth in the moonlight. When it was damp, she knelt on an old red army blanket that she had thrown on die ground, to reach the flowers. Usually, on summer evenings, she sat for a while with Lavinia on the side piazza, overlooking the flagged path that led to the villa. There stood the giant daphne odora, moved out from the conservatory, and the two small oleanders in their tubs. Meanwhile, since 1862, Miss Dickinson had been writing poems, although there were very few of her friends who knew it. They all knew the little rhymes she sent them with arbutus buds, but they did not know how seriously she pursued her writing, at night, beside the Franklin stove, in the upstairs corner bedroom, in the light that often glimmered over the snow. From her window she had caught suggestions that gave her a picture, a fancy, an image. Perhaps a boy passed whistling, or a neighbour on her way to church, or a dog with feet "like intermittent plush"; or perhaps she knew that a travelling circus was going to pass in the early morning, and she sat up to watch the

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"Algerian procession." A dead fly on the window-pane stirred her imagination, and once in the glare of a fire at night she saw a caterpillar measuring a leaf far down in the orchard. She saw the bluebirds darting round "with little dodging feet," The motions of the dipping birds, The lightning's jointed road; and all these observations went into her verses. She wrote on sheets of note-paper, which she sewed together, rolling and tying die bundles with a thread or a ribbon and tucking them away in the drawers of her bureau; although sometimes the back of an envelope served her as well, or a scrap of the Springfield Republican. But, casual in this, she was anything but casual—she was a cunning workman—in her composition. Poetry was her solitaire and, so to speak, her journal, for, like Thoreau in Concord, she watched the motions of her mind, recording its ebbs and flows and the gleams that shot through it; and she laboured over her phrases to make them right. Were they all her own ? Were there echoes in them, or anything of the conventional, the rhetorical, the fat? Were they clear, were they exact, were they compact? She liked the common hymn-metres, and the metres of nurseryjingles, which had been deeply ingrained in her mind as a child, and she seemed to take a rebellious joy in violating all their rules, fulfilling the traditional patterns while she also broke them. She was always experimenting with her rhymes and her rhythms, sometimes adding extra syllables to break up their monotony, sometimes deliberately twisting a rhyme, as Emerson did, for the sake of harshness, to escape the mellifluous effect of conventional poems. Many of her pieces were like parodies of hymns, whose gentle glow in her mind had become heatlightning. For Emily Dickinson's light was quick. It was sudden, sharp and evanescent; and this light was the dry light that is closest to fire.* The visible setting of these poems was the New England countryside, the village, the garden, the household that she knew so well, a * Why did not Miss Dickinson publish her poems ? This question is insoluble and idle. One can only say that, if she had published them, the poems would have been quite different in their total effect. If she had seen her work in proof, she would have arranged the poems in some reasonable order, she would have rectified the punctuation, etc. Her work would have seemed less arbitrary and less eccentric. The poems as they stand abound in misprints; and Miss Dickinson's collected work consists of serious poems, fragments and trivialities confusedly shuffled together.

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scene, the only scene she knew, that she invested with magic, so that the familiar objects became portents and symbols. Here were the hills, the changing seasons, the winter light, the light of spring, the bee, the mouse, the humming-bird, the cricket, the lonely houses off the road, the village inn, the lamp-post that became, in the play of her fancy, sublime or droll; and with what gifts of observation she caught the traits of her birds and insects, of everything that crept or ran or flew— the snake "unbraiding in the sun," the robin's eyes, "like frightened beads," the umbrella of the bat that was "quaintly halved." She often seemed a little girl, amusing herself with childish whimsies, and, in fact, as the ward of her father, she remained in some ways adolescent; and, as she dressed to the end in the fashion of her early youth, so she retained the imagery of the child in the household. But her whimsies sometimes turned into bold ideas that expressed an all but fathomless insight or wisdom. She saw the mountain, like her father, sitting "in his eternal chair"; her ocean had a "basement," like the house in Amherst, and her wind and snow swept the road like the brooms that she had been taught to use—the brooms of the breeze swept vale and tree and hill. A journey to the Day of Judgment struck her as a "buggyride," and she saw a "schoolroom" in the sky. She domesticated the universe and read her own experience into the motions of nature and the world she observed. The sun rose in the East for her "a ribbon at a time," and the "housewife in the evening West" came back to "dust the pond." Clouds for her were "millinery," mountains wore bonnets, shawls and sandals, eternity "rambled" with her, like her dog Carlo; the wind had fingers and combed the sky, and March walked boldly up and knocked like a neighbour. Volcanoes purred for her like cats, and she saw the planets "frisking about," and her Providence kept a store on the village street, and she thought of death as coming with a broom and a dustpan. The moon slid down the stairs for her "to see who's there," and the grave for her was a little cottage where she could "lay the marble tea." One could not "fold a flood," she said, and "put it in a drawer," but she rolled up the months in moth-balls and laid them away, as she had swept up the heart and put away love; and she saw hope, fear, time, future and past as persons to rally, tease, flee, welcome, mock or play with. The turns of fancy that marked these poems were sharp and un-

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predictable, and yet they were singularly natural—nothing was forced. Miss Dickinson lived in a world of paradox, for, while her eye was microscopic, her imagination dwelt with mysteries and grandeurs. Ribbons and immortality were mingled in her mind, which passed from one to the other with the speed of lightning, though she sometimes took a mischievous pleasure in extravagant combinations of thought, uniting the droll, and the sublime, the trivial and the grand. There was in this an element of the characteristic American humour that liked to play with incongruities, and Miss Dickinson maintained in the poems of her later years the fun-loving spirit she had shown as a schoolgirl. To juxtapose the great and the small, in unexpected ways, had been one of her prime amusements as the wit of her circle, and this, like the laconic speech that also marked the Yankee, had remained an essential note of her style as a poet. "Shorter than a snake's delay," her poems were packed with meaning; and, swiftly as her images changed, they were scarcely able to keep the pace with which her mind veered from mood to mood, from faith to mockery, from mysticism to rationalism, through ecstasy, disillusion, anguish, joy. These poems were fairylike in their shimmer and lightness, they moved like bees upon a raft of air; and yet one felt behind them an energy of mind and spirit that only the rarest poets ever possessed. Was not Emily Dickinson's idiom the final proof that she possessed it? Her style, her stamp, her form were completely her own.

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MARY ELLEN CHASE why she selected T h e L O R D ' S D A Y in

the NINETIES I have selected portion of a chapter from A Goodly Heritage partly because I like it as well as I like any portion of my books, largely because it is characteristic of what through many years I have tried to do for my native state of Maine: to put into words as accurately as possible those attributes and qualities which made life in rural Maine of the "nineties" unique and interesting. The memory of those Sundays, now so changed even in Maine, still supplies me with humorous gratitude; and I hope the description of them may give pleasure to my readers. Millbridge, Me.

MARY ELLEN CHASE

July 8, 1942

T

O ALL Protestant communities in rural New England during the nineties (and in the State of Maine there was almost no distinctly rural community which was not wholly Protestant) Sunday was unmistakably the Lord's Day. That we were glad and rejoiced therein cannot be claimed with the same degree of certainty. Foretaste, perhaps even foreboding, of Sunday began with our Saturday dinner, which was invariable. It consisted of salt fish boiled in a cloth bag and in a pot well filled with potatoes. This sustenance, commonly known in New England as "Cape Cod turkey," was served with a generous supply of hot pork scraps floating in a bowl of equally hot grease. Strangers to Maine ways who came to our table often had to be shown how to shred the fish on their plates, how to mash their potatoes, how to pour upon the mixture the pork gravy. Under my mother's cooking the result was not only palatable but delicious. This meal had originated many years before because it made possible the Sunday dinner with271

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out undue labour on that day. In the afternoon the large remainder was made into fish-balls and set in a cool place to await the morrow. Another foretaste of Sunday came, in our large family, immediately after dinner was cleared away. By two o'clock the weekly bathing began. Before the turn of the century no house in Blue Hill possessed a bath-room. Ours, the first in town, was installed when I was seventeen, and its exciting installation followed a law-suit of several years' standing in which we became involved because of our inordinate desire for a water supply of our own. There was no town water supply; indeed, there is not to this day; and one paid dearly both financially and emotionally for any rebellion against wells, cisterns, or pasture springs. The weekly bath, therefore, was fraught with inconvenience and difficulty; nevertheless, in all well-regulated families, the omission of it was inconceivable. Although in warmest weather the sea proved helpful, a salt water bath by tacit consent of all the "best people" was looked upon with suspicion as not fulfilling the requirements either of cleanliness or of moral and religious duty. Custom and time alike had prescribed a washtub by the kitchen stove; and time and custom in the nineties were not lightly set aside. One by one we scrubbed ourselves or were scrubbed, the odour of the warm soap-suds mingling with the smell of the beans in the oven. One by one we arrayed ourselves or were arrayed in clean underwear and fresh, well-mended stockings. If we finished early, we were encouraged to play at temperate games, to spend an hour at a neighbour's house, or to read quietly in our corners of the library. Riotousness on late Saturday afternoons was frowned upon; it was too much like jocularity after the performance of a sacred rite. On Saturday evenings it was with a sense of corporate decency and order that we gathered around the supper table—a sense which modern plumbing with all its comforts cannot produce. Sundays in all seasons dawned soberly. Toys of all kinds had been put away in closed drawers or in the corners of the stable. To allow a sled or a cart in the driveway was unthinkable. After a somewhat later breakfast of warmed-over beans and brown bread, we prepared for church and Sunday school, warned of such necessity by the nine o'clock bells which pealed alternately from the two white steeples on opposite

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hills. In our earlier years my mother, for the sake of family integrity, forsook her Baptist heritage and accompanied her husband, motherin-law, and children to the Congregational church. Our family left the house shortly after 10:15 as we must be ascending the church steps by the time the sombre tolling of the last bell began just before the half hour. My father always walked a bit ahead of the rest of us. In all seasonable weather he wore a top hat and a black frock coat, and he carried a gold-headed cane. My mother, often flurried a bit by her morning's undertaking, always had very pink cheeks as she brought up the rear. The appearance of us children varied only with the change from fall and winter to late spring and summer. We each had one best costume and we wore it. My father having a passion for blue serge, which he bought by the bolt, our winter dresses were often fashioned from this material, my mother cleverly disguising one frock from another by bands, braids, pipings, and divergence in pattern. In the summer we wore white or sprigged muslins and wide leghorn hats. The blue serge of my brothers did not change with any season although occasionally it was alleviated by trousers of white duck. We went silently down the country road, skirting a wide field on the right filled with violets, or daisies, or goldenrod, and climbed the hill to the church. At the door we met my grandmother, whose sedate and solitary progress had been accomplished earlier since she liked to confer with her friend, the sexton, over the morning lesson assigned to the minister's Bible class. Our pew was taxed to its capacity to hold us in the nineties, and as years elapsed we spilled over into another. We had certain rules which we followed in regard to occupation and behaviour during the long morning service. Children up to the age of six were encouraged to sit on crickets throughout the sermon and draw or look at pictures; from six to ten years they might read their Sunday-school books; from ten on they must sit quietly and at least pretend attention. During the hymns, the responsive reading, and the long prayer all of whatever age must listen and participate in so far as each was able. My father not infrequently annoyed my mother after the sermon had gone on for three-quarters of an hour by turning in his corner seat at the outside of our pew to look at the great circular clock which hung below the

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choir gallery; but if we perchance followed his bad example, we were admonished by a shake of her head or, for that matter, of his own. Although church provided in the nineties no such dramatic possibilities as it had promised in the days of the Reverend Jonathan Fisher, it was not entirely bereft of excitement. Once my brother Edward, deep in his Sunday-school book, and forgetful of his surroundings, laughed aloud in the midst of the sermon. This act, however, which my father singularly enough allowed to go unreproved, was as nothing compared to the consternation and embarrassment which he caused us all on one memorable day. Seized by a spirit of defiance and of rebellion unknown among us, he had on the morning in question purposely hitched himself in his white duck trousers around on the grass of the lawn until their seat was a sight to behold. Our hearts stood still as my father, issuing from the house, beheld this proof of insurrection. But instead of the swift retribution which we expected, my brother was forced to walk to church and to stand, during the Doxology and the hymns, on the highest cricket, his pants in full view of the congregation. The mortification which we as a family experienced on that devastating occasion can never be minimized or forgotten! Surely one cannot pay singly for his own transgressions! My grandmother also afforded drama, now amusing to recollect but then embarrassing to undergo. As she grew older and the deafness which crept early upon her became more acute, a certain practice of hers was a source of no little confusion. Since she contributed fifty dollars yearly to the support of the minister, an amount almost unheard of in those days and equalled only by a certain well-to-do parishioner, Mrs. Harriet Morton by name, she made it an unchangeable rule to place no offering at all in the contribution plate. Her generosity and her habit alike being well and favourably known to the entire community, she was upheld by public sentiment. Imagine then her distress when her rival in good works developed suddenly and without fair warning the custom of giving also some coin as the plate was passed. Not to be outdone, my grandmother prepared with reluctance but with commendable spirit to do the same; her refusal, however, to give one jot or tittle more than her neighbour was destined sorely to test the ingenuity and the peace of mind of the grandchild who sat next her.

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Mrs. Morton sat across the aisle and one pew ahead of our own. The task of the child next my grandmother was to ascertain the amount of the coin which she drew from her black reticule and placed upon the plate and to communicate its size to my grandmother before the arrival of the deacon who collected the alms on our side of the church. This information was not so difficult to procure as it might have been in view of the fact that our respective pews were at the extreme front; but the conveying of it required no little ingenuity. It was usually given by signs, one finger signifying a nickel, two a dime, the full hand (a gesture very rarely displayed!) a quarter. But as my grandmother grew older and more hard of hearing, the nervousness engendered by this trying situation increased until, forgetting her deafness, she would say in a voice perfectly audible to the entire congregation, though unheard by herself, "How much did Hattie Morton give this morning?" I regret to say, moreover, that neither her voice nor her intonation was strictly in keeping with the ideal atmosphere of a Christian edifice. After all, the most unalloyed, if less exciting, drama occurred every Sunday morning when my father made his contribution. This was a never failing source of pride to us; for as coins were drawn from pockets and from purses, my father invariably procured from one small pocket at the bottom of his waistcoat a new one-dollar bill and laid it upon the plate. The amount and the occasion alike were too momentous to allow comment at any time. We should have liked to know how he obtained always a new note, how he managed to afford such a prodigious offering. But we never asked, only remained secure in social and financial distinction which his weekly act conferred upon us. I do not know that the church service itself engendered much religion within us. The sermons were long and abstruse, and, even as I grew older, I do not recall any which meant much to me. But the solemnity of the occasion, the observance together of a custom, the sense of well-being and of well-doing—memories of these I would not be without. Details, too, impressed themselves on my mind and in my imagination to bring later their longer, richer consequences: the black shadows of birds passing and repassing behind the coloured glass of a memorial window; the sunlight lying in bright, precise figures across the pulpit steps; the order and beauty of the white panelled pews with their polished, mahogany railings; the words and the imagery of old

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hymns. Most of all I remember verses of the Bible as they were read by the singularly beautiful voice of the old pastor whom I knew throughout my childhood. Sometimes the sonorous quality of the words themselves quite apart from their sense stayed long with me: "Wherefore, seeing we also are encompassed about by so great a cloud of witnesses . . ." "The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus. . . ." "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Once when I was hardly ten I was startled, aroused from my wandering thoughts, by the awful discovery, the stupendous announcement, that someone had actually seen the Lord. This was the prophet Isaiah in the year that King Uzziah died; but for the moment, so convincing was his voice, I felt sure it was our minister himself—that in his black coat and white linen necktie he, the Reverend Ebenezer Bean, had been before that great throne, high and lifted up r in that train which filled the temple. As he read, I felt a tingling sensation down my back, the tiny hairs rising in my excitement. In one of those inexplicable feats of memory, the words were stamped henceforth indelibly upon my mind. "Above it stood the seraphim; each had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet; and with twain he did fly. "And one cried to another saying, 'Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord . of hosts. The whole earth is full of His glory.'"

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ROBERT FROST Why he selected S I X T E E N

POEMS

It would be hard to gather biography from poems of mine except as they were all written by the same person, out of the same general region north of Boston, and out of the same books, a few Greek and Latin, practically no others in any other tongue than our own. This was as it happened. To show that there was no rule about place laid down, I may point to two or three poems reminiscent of my ten years as a child in San Francisco and a few others actually written in California at the time of the Olympic games. More than a few were written in Beaconsfield and in Ryton, England, where I farmed, or rather gardened in a very small way from 1912 to 1915. My first two books were published in England by the Scotch and English, to whom I am under obligations for life for my start in life. This too was as it happened. I had on hand when I visited England the material of those two books and more than half of another. I had had poems in American magazines, but not many, and my relative unsuccess with magazines had kept the idea of a book from ever entering my head. It was perhaps the boldness of my adventure among entire strangers that stirred me up to try appealing from the editors of magazines to the publishers of books. I have made this selection much as I made the one from my first book, A Boy's Will, and my second book, North of Boston, looking backward, over the accumulation of years to see how many poems I could find towards some one meaning it might, seem absurd to have had in advance, but it would be all right to accept from fate after the fact. The interest, the pastime, was to learn if there had been any divinity shaping my ends and I had been building better than I knew. In other words could anything of larger design, even the roughest, any broken or dotted continuity, or any fragment of a figure be discerned among the apparently random lesser designs of the several

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poems ? I had given up convictions when young from despair of learning how they were had. Nevertheless I might not have been without them. They might be turned up out of the heap by assortment. And if not convictions, then perhaps native prejudices and inclinations. I took thirty poems for A Boy's Will to plot a curved line of flight away from people and so back to people. For North of Boston I took group enough to show the people and to show that I had forgiven them for being people. The group here given brings out my inclination to country occupations. It began with a farm in the back yard in San Francisco. This is no prejudice against the city. I am fond of several great cities. It is merely an inclination to country things. My favorite implements (after the pen) are the axe and the scythe, both of which besides being tools of peace have also been weapons of war. The Hungarian peasantry under Kossuth carried the scythe into battle in their attempt at independence from Austria, and the axle of an ancient war chariot was prolonged into a scythe at either end. In three of the poems I celebrate the axe, in one the scythe. Ripton, Vt.

ROBERT FROST

July 26, 1942

THE NEED OF BEING VERSED IN COUNTRY THINGS r

| "'HE house had gone to bring again X To the midnight sky a sunset glow. Now the chimney was all of the house that stood, Like a pistil after the petals go. The barn opposed across the way, That would have joined the house in flame Had it been the will of the wind, was left To bear forsaken the place's name. No more it opened with all one end For teams that came by the stony road

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To drum on the floor with scurrying hoofs And brush the mow with the summer load. The birds that came to it through the air At broken windows flew out and in, Their murmur more like the sigh we sigh From too much dwelling on what has been. Yet for them the lilac renewed its leaf, And the aged elm, though touched with fire; And the dry pump flung up an awkward arm; And the fence post carried a strand of wire. For them there was really nothing sad. But though they rejoiced in the nest they kept, One had to be versed in country things Not to believe the phoebes wept. COME IN

A

S I came to the edge of the woods, L Thrush music—hark! Now if it was dusk outside, Inside it was dark. Too dark in the woods for a bird By sleight of wing To better its perch for the night, Though it still could sing. The last of the light of the sun That had died in the west Still lived for one song more In a thrush's breast.

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Far in the pillared dark Thrush music went— Almost like a call to come in To the dark and lament. But no, I was out for stars: I would not come in. I meant not even if asked; And I hadn't been. T H E ONSET

A

LWAYS the same, when on a fated night L At last the gathered snow lets down as white As may be in dark woods, and with a song It shall not make again all winter long Of hissing on the yet uncovered ground, I almost stumble looking up and round, As one who overtaken by the end Gives up his errand, and lets death descend Upon him where he is, with nothing done To evil, no important triumph won, More than if life had never been begun. Yet all the precedent is on my side: I know that winter death has never tried The earth but it has failed: the snow may heap In long storms an undrifted four feet deep As measured against maple, birch and oak, It cannot check the peeper's silver croak; And I shall see the snow all go down hill In water of a slender April rill That flashes tail through last year's withered brake And dead weeds, like a disappearing snake. Nothing will be left white but here a birch,* And there a clump of houses with a church.

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STOPPING BY WOODS ON A SNOWY EVENING

W

HOSE woods these are I think I know. His house is in the village though; He will not see me stopping here To watch his woods fill up with snow. My little horse must think it queer To stop without a farmhouse near Between the woods and frozen lake The darkest evening of the year. He gives his harness bells a shake To ask if there is some mistake. The only other sound's the sweep Of easy wind and downy flake. The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep. ON A TREE FALLEN ACROSS T H E ROAD (To

HEAR U S TALK)

T

H E tree the tempest with a crash of wood Throws down in front of us is not to bai Our passage to our journey's end for good, But just to ask us who we think we are Insisting always on our own way so. She likes to halt us in our runner tracks, And make us get down in a foot of snow Debating what to do without an axe.

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And yet she knows obstruction is in vain: We will not be put off the final goal We have it hidden in us to attain, Not though we have to seize earth by the pole And, tired of aimless circling in one place, Steer straight off after something into space. T H E WOOD-PILE

O

UT walking in the frozen swamp one grey day, I paused and said, 'I will turn back from here. No, I will go on farther—and we shall see.' The hard snow held me, save where now and then One foot went through. The view was all in lines Straight up and down of tall slim trees Too much alike to mark or name a place by So as to say for certain I was here Or somewhere else: I was just far from home. A small bird flew before me. He was careful To put a tree between us when he lighted, And say no word to tell me who he was Who was so foolish as to think what he thought. He thought that I was after him for a feather— The white one in his tail; like one who takes Everything said as personal to himself. One flight out sideways would have undeceived him. And then there was a pile of wood for which I forgot him and let his little fear Carry him off the way I might have gone, Without so much as wishing him good-night. He went behind it to make his last stand. It was a cord of maple, cut and split And piled—and measured, four by four by eight. And not another like it could I see. No runner tracks in this year's snow looped near it.

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And it was older sure than this year's cutting, Or even last year's or the year's before. The wood was grey and the bark warping off it And the pile somewhat sunken. Clematis Had wound strings round and round it like a bundle. What held it though on one side was a tree Still growing, and on one a stake and prop, These latter about to fall. I thought that only Someone who lived in turning to fresh tasks Could so forget his handiwork on which He spent himself, the labour of his axe, And leave it there far from a useful fireplace To warm the frozen swamp as best it could With the slow smokeless burning of decay. WILFUL HOMING

I

T IS growing late and time he drew to a house, But the blizzard blinds him to any house ahead. The snow gets down his neck in a chilly souse, That sucks his breath like a wicked cat in bed. The snow blows on him and off him, exerting force Downward to make him sit astride a drift, Imprint a saddle, and calmly consider his course. He peers out shrewdly into the thick and swift. Since he means to come to a door he will come to a door, Although so compromised of aim and rate; He may stumble wide of a latch a yard or more, And to those concerned he may seem a little late.

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A BLUE RIBBON AT AMESBURY

S

UCH a fine pullet ought to go All coiffured to a winter show, And be exhibited, and win. The answer is this one has been— And come with all her honors home. Her golden leg, her coral comb, Her fluff of plumage, white as chalk, Her style, were all the fancy's talk. It seems as if you -must have heard. She scored an almost perfect bird. In her we make ourselves acquainted With one a Sewell might have painted. Here common with the flock again, At home in her abiding pen, She lingers feeding at the trough, The last to let night drive her off. The one who gave her ankle-band, Her keeper, empty pail in hand, He lingers too, averse to slight His chores for all the wintry night. He leans against the dusty wall, Immured almost beyond recall, A depth past many swinging doors And many litter-muffled floors. He meditates the breeder's art. He has a half a mind to start, With her for Mother Eve, a race That shall all living things displace.

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Tis ritual with her to lay The full six days, then rest a day; At which rate barring broodiness She well may score an egg-success. The gatherer can always tell Her well-turned egg's brown sturdy shell, As safe a vehicle of seed As is vouchsafed to feathered breed. No human spectre at the feast Can scant or hurry her the least. She takes her time to take her fill. She whets a sleepy sated bill. She gropes across the pen alone To peck herself a precious stone. She waters at the patent fount, And so to roost, the last to mount. The roost is her extent of flight. Yet once she rises to the height, She shoulders with a wing so strong She makes the whole flock move along. The night is setting in to blow. It scours the windowpane with snow, But barely gets from them or her For comment a complacent chirr. The lowly pen is yet a hold Against the dark and wind and cold To give a prospect to a plan And warrant prudence in a man.

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T W O TRAMPS IN MUD TIME

O

U T of the mud two strangers came And caught me splitting wood in the yard. And one of them put me off my aim By hailing cheerily 'Hit them hard!' I knew pretty well why he dropped behind And let the other go on a way. I knew pretty well what he had in mind: He wanted to take my job for pay.

Good blocks of beech it was I split, As large around as the chopping block; And every piece I squarely hit Fell splinterless as a cloven rock. The blows that a life of self-control Spares to strike for the common good That day, giving a loose to my soul, I spent on the unimportant wood. The sun was warm but the wind was chill. You know how it is with an April day When the sun is out and the wind is still, You're one month on in the middle of May. But if you so much as dare to speak, A cloud comes over the sunlit arch, A wind comes off a frozen peak, And you're two months back in the middle of March. A bluebird comes tenderly up to alight And fronts the wind to unruffle a plume His song so pitched as not to excite A single flower as yet to bloom. It is snowing a flake: and he half knew Winter was only playing possum.

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Except in color he isn't blue, But he wouldn't advise a thing to blossom. The water for which we may have to look In summertime with a witching-wand, In every wheelrut's now a brook, In every print of a hoof a pond. Be glad of water, but don't forget The lurking frost in the earth beneath That will steal forth after the sun is set And show on the water its crystal teeth. The time when most I loved my task These two must make me love it more By coming with what they came to ask. You'd think I never had felt before The weight of an ax-head poised aloft, The grip on earth of outspread feet. The life of muscles rocking soft And smooth and moist in vernal heat. Out of the woods two hulking tramps (From sleeping God knows where last night, But not long since in the lumber camps). They thought all chopping was theirs of right. Men of the woods and lumberjacks, They judged me by their appropriate tool. Except as a fellow handled an ax, They had no way of knowing a fool. Nodiing on either side was said. They knew they had but to stay their stay And all their logic would fill my head: As that I had no right to play With what was another man's work for gain. My right might be love but theirs was need.

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And where the two exist in twain Theirs was the better right—agreed. But yield who will to their separation, My object in living is to unite My avocation and my vocation As my two eyes make one in sight. Only where love and need are one, And the work is play for mortal stakes, Is the deed ever really done For Heaven and the future's sakes. A PRAYER IN SPRING

O

H, GIVE us pleasure in the flowers today; And give us not to think &o far away As the uncertain harvest; keep us here All simply in the springing of the year. Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white, Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night; And make us happy in the happy bees, The swarm dilating round the perfect trees. And make us happy in the darting bird That suddenly above the bees is heard, The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill, And off a blossom in mid air stands still.* MOWING

T

HERE was never a sound beside the wood but one, And that was my long scythe whispering to the ground. What was it it whispered? I knew not well myself; Perhaps it was something about the heat of the sun, Something, perhaps, about the lack of sound—

• The last (fourth) stanza has here been omitted at the request of the author. W. B.

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And that was why it whispered and did not speak. It was no dream of the gift of idle hours, Or easy gold at the hand of fay or elf: Anything more than the truth would have seemed too weak To the earnest love that laid the swale in rows, Not without feeble-pointed spikes of flowers (Pale orchises), and scared a bright green snake. The fact is the sweetest dream that labor knows. My long scythe whispered and left the hay to make. A DRUMLIN WOQDCHUCK

O

NE thing has a shelving bank, Another a rotting plank* To give it cozier skies And make up for its lack of size. My own strategic retreat Is where two rocks almost meet, And still more secure and snug, A two-door burrow I dug. With those in mind at my back I can sit forth exposed to attack As one who shrewdly pretends That he and the world are friends. All we who prefer to live Have a little whistle we give, And flash, at the least alarm We dive down under the farm. We allow some time for guile And don't come out for a while Either to eat or drink. We take occasion to think.

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And if after the hunt goes past And the double-barrelled blast (Like war and pestilence And the loss of common sense), If I can with confidence say That still for another day, Or even another year, I will be there for you, my dear, It will be because, though small As measured against the All, I have been so instinctively thorough About my crevice and burrow. SITTING BY A BUSH IN BROAD SUNLIGHT

W

H E N I spread out my hand here today, I catch no more than a ray To feel of between thumb and fingers; No lasting effect of it lingers.

There was one time and only the one When dust really took in the sun; And from that one intake of fire All creatures still warmly suspire. And if men have watched a long time And never seen sun-smitten slime Again come to life and crawl off, We must not be too ready to scoff. God once declared he was true And then took the veil and withdrew, And remember how final a hush Then descended of old on the bush.

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God The One The

once spoke to people by name. sun once imparted its flame. impulse persists as our breath; other persists as our faith. SAND DUNES

S

EA waves are green and wet, But up from where they die, Rise others vaster yet, And those are brown and dry. They are the sea made land To come at the fisher town, And bury in solid sand The men she could not drown. She may know cove and cape, But she does not know mankind If by any change of shape, She hopes to cut off mind. Men left her a ship to sink: They can leave her a hut as well; And be but more free to think For the one more cast off shell. A SOLDIER

H

E IS that fallen lance that lies as hurled, That lies unlifted now, come dew, come rust, But still lies pointed as it plowed the dust. If we who sight along it round the world, See nothing worthy to have been its mark, It is because like men we look too near, Forgetting that as fitted to the sphere,

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Our missiles always make too short an arc. They fall, they rip the grass, they intersect The curve of earth,, and striking, break their own; They make us cringe for metal-point on stone. But this we know, the obstacle that checked And tripped the body, shot the spirit on Further than target ever showed or shone. T H E GIFT OUTRIGHT

T

HE land was ours before we were the land's. She was our land more than a hundred years Before we were her people. She was ours In Massachusetts, in Virginia, But we were England's, still colonials, Possessing what we were still unpossessed by, Possessed by what we now no more possessed. Something we were withholding made us weak Until we found out that it was ourselves We were withholding from our land of living, And forthwith found salvation in surrender. Such as we were we gave ourselves outright (The deed of gift was many deeds of war) To the land vaguely realizing westward, But still unstoried, artless, unenhanced, Such as she was, such as she would become.

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ROBERT

N A T H A N Why he selected

CENTRAL PARK The artist works either through the macrocosm, or the microcosm; which is to say that he either sees the whole world and its oceans, its vast landscapes, down to the smallest drop of dew—or he sees the dew, and the world inside it. The first is a method of definition, the other of suggestion; in one the full chord is struck, in the other, only a few notes. But to work within the smaller limits does not necessarily imply an indifference to what lies outside. In this landscape, I have tried to picture one small corner of the earth, and to suggest rather than to define the world beyond. To catch the feel and flavor of the city, I chose to recreate its park rather than its multiplicity of streets, because the park is whole, and the streets are many. And so, too, in One More Spring, I tried to suggest slantwise, the spirit of the early 'thirties, the depression years. Where—or if—I have in any sense succeeded, it is in striking a note, not too big nor too loud, whose overtones, heard within the ear of the listener, produce the authentic hum of life. New York, N. Y. ROBERT NATHAN May, 1942

' I "'HAT was the year business failed, and many families, investors, X and business houses were ruined. In the country, farmers plowed their fields under, rather than harvest the wheat or cotton they were unable to sell; and in the cities, people starved, or sold apples on the streets. Everywhere was misery and apathy, for no one could see any hope for the future. As a result, a tragic calm, induced by surprise, by despair, and aided by the weather, filled everyone's heart. It was autumn, a season of skies as blue as cornflowers, of yellow sunlight, of warm, unmoving air. The poor stood in lines, waiting for their cup of soup and piece of bread; they sat on the park benches and, warming themselves in the last sun of summer, or breathing the cool, kind air of autumn, turned 293

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their faces with a certain trust to the sky, in which were the sun and the stars, just as always. Their fate was of interest to no one but themselves. Even the poets did not write about them, because the poets also were poor, and their nature made them indignant. They no longer wished to write poetry; on the contrary, they wished to fight; they threw themselves into the coal wars in the south, and were sent home with broken heads, like the heroes of antiquity. Their foes wasted no time in calling them atheists, hypocrites, and communists. And they replied by silence, or in prose which did not cause anyone's heart to beat any faster. In the larger cities, there was not a street without its auction, or clearance sale in some little shop which was obliged to go out of business. As a result, each day there were more poor people than before, and each day the bread-lines grew longer. Among the failures was the shop of Jared Otkar, Antiques. Nothing that Mr. Otkar had been able to do could stave off his ruin. The chairs and tables bought for high prices a few years before, had remained on his hands, while their values steadily declined. To pay the rent of his business, to save the few old pieces which he loved, and also because he hoped for better times, Mr. Otkar had sold his own few belongings and gone to live in his shop. It was all in vain; in the end his debts caught up with him, and he lost everything. Now, as he stood in the doorway, gazing mildly out at the street which he felt he was seeing for the last time, an auctioneer's red flag, inscribed with the words "Sale Today," obscured the window on which was painted the sign: "Otkar, Antiques." The little storeroom behind him was already empty, for the auction had been held the day before. Of all his cherished possessions, only an old bed remained; scrolled with the flowers and cupids of the eighteenth century, and too large for comfort, it did not seem like the sort of bed anyone would wish to buy. When Mr. Otkar realized that the bed was to be left to him, he was delighted. If one has a bed, he thought, then at least one knows where one will sleep at night. And wishing to feel grateful on that account, he turned back into the shop again. The bare interior smelt, of dust, of glue, and broken wood. Mr.

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Otkar went to a closet in the rear, and drew forth a small bottle of milk, an egg, half a loaf of bread, and a little stove made of aluminum and heated by alcohol. Then, while he waited for the water to boil, he sat himself down on the bed, to think things over. He had been willing, honest, and industrious all his life. But, like everybody else, he had expected too much of those virtues. And he was too old now to change his ways. Perhaps, if he had his life to live over again, he might do better for himself. His youth, for instance; what strange ideas he had had when he was young. Had he really expected to find love and joy in the world? And justice? Love and joy were for the young; and wisdom and justice for the old. Well, there were many old men in the world; what had they done for themselves? He had to admit they had done themselves no good, for no 'one believed any longer in justice and wisdom. And as for joy and love, no one believed in those any more, either. When he arrived at this point in his reflections, he decided to take stock of himself, to make a statement of his position, like any business man. With this intention, he took a sheet of paper and wrote down first of all the word "Liabilities/' Next to that he put a zero. Then came his assets. These consisted of his bed, with its mattress; the stove; a few books; a clean shirt; an extra handkerchief or two; and a few pieces of silver in his pocket. Under plans and expectations, he was obliged to write: "None." And under faith: "None." It was this last item which troubled him most of all. For the old faiths were gone; and he had nothing to put in their places. That innocence of mind with which, in the past, men had clung to their beliefs, no longer existed in the world. In the midst of the most dreadful disasters, they had perished happily for the sake of God, for the East India Company, science, the divine right of kings, or the dawn of democracy. Now they were obliged to die for no other reason than starvation. Mr. Otkar was not a very religious man; at the same time he was neither a scientist nor a democrat. He saw God divided up year after year like a meatball among the pious; and he had learned that among the pigs there is also a democracy. As for science, it must be remem-

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bered that Mr. Otkar was only a small dealer in antiques, whose business had been ruined. It made no difference to him that the physicists had decided that space was curved, and that the universe was exploding, like a balloon. What he wanted was something to believe in. At the same time he was obliged to consider where and how he was to live. The water in the little aluminum pot was boiling by now, and Mr. Otkar put in his egg. A moment later a shadow darkened the shop, and he looked up to see a young man standing in the doorway. "The shop is closed," said Mr. Otkar shortly, because he was still vexed by what he had been thinking. The young man paid no attention to him. Instead, he advanced through the litter left over from the auction. He was pale and thin; in one hand he carried a coat with a fur collar, and in the other a shabby violin-case. ''There is nothing for sale here," repeated Mr. Odcar, without looking up. "I did not come to buy anything," replied the young man. Mr. Otkar shrugged his shoulders. "I have nothing to give you, either," he said. There was no reply to this. Mr. Otkar, who had been watching his egg dancing about in the pot of hot water, let his glance travel upward as far as the stranger's knees, which he saw were trembling. He was surprised and for a moment did not say anything. But after a while he remarked in more kindly tones: "Sit down, young man. I do not know why you are here, or what you want; but you can rest a few minutes, before you go further." Still holding his coat and his violin, the young man sat down on the bed and gave a deep sigh. "The weather, anyhow, is perfect," he said wearily. "It is indeed," agreed Mr. Otkar. "It is very good weather to be out of doors." And he added gently: "Have you been walking far?" The other replied with a loud sigh; after which he sat back and gazed around him in silence. "So," he said at last; "it is quite empty here. Then you also are poor, and will not be able to help me." He did not seem to doubt that Mr. Otkar would help him if he could. Already, in advance, and for no reason, his pale thin face took

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on a look of gratitude. "I do not want anything in the way of money," he said proudly, "because I am not a beggar. What J would like is to give some concerts. If people could hear me play, they would go crazy over me. "You understand, also, with me," he continued, "it is not like a beginner or an amateur. I have already had a great success in Europe, and in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania." And taking from his pocket a much creased circular, he presented it to Mr. Otkar. MORRIS ROSENBERG. CONCERT VIOLINIST. LESSONS. MASTER CLASSES. CONCERTS. FIRST PRIZE PARIS CONSERVATORY. SOLOIST WITH THE PITTSBURGH SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA, PITTSBURGH, PA.

"Mr. Rosenberg is a genius on the violin." Oswego Press. "Morris Rosenberg was the violinist of the evening." Galesburg Democrat. "Mr. Rosenberg was adequate." Pittsburgh Times. MANAGEMENT, ROSE MORRIS, 1 4 6 7 MARKET STREET, PITTSBURGH, PA.

"That was myself," he said, leaning over and pointing to the management. "Because, naturally, I had no money to hire a manager. That was a good idea, I think." • And, sitting back again, he favored Mr. Otkar with an anxious smile. "Very good indeed," said Mr. Otkar. "But why, in that event, did you decide to leave Pittsburgh, which seems in your case to have been, the land of opportunity?" Mr. Rosenberg sighed. "There was no money any more in Pittsburgh," he said. "There was nothing to do there at all, no lessons, nothing. It is not a musical city. So I thought, if I go to a big city like New York, perhaps I can get some work to do. But the truth is, I do not seem ahle to begin. Perhaps here, also, they do not want concerts?" And he looked at Mr. Otkar as though to say: I cannot beliey.e.sod* a thing.

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Mr. Otkar looked back at him; he saw how hungry and tired he was. "Be sensible,1' he said; "stop talking about concerts. When did you eat last?" Mr. Rosenberg looked away. "Oh well," he said; "as long as you ask; two days ago I had something." Mr. Otkar took a deep breath. Then he pushed the egg and the milk over to Mr. Rosenberg. "Eat it slowly," he said, "or it will give you indigestion." "Well, perhaps—if you say so—just a bite—" said Mr. Rosenberg, in a voice which trembled with eagerness, with despair, and with the desire not to express either of these emotions. While the concert violinist devoured the egg, Mr. Otkar thought to himself: when farmers and bankers cannot get along any more, what is the good of music? This young man is starving; but all he thinks about is playing on a fiddle. One must admire such singleness of mind, in view of the fact that nobody wants to hear him. "Besides," he went on, continuing his thoughts aloud, "what is there left to make music about? The artist cannot forget that he is starving, and that the entire world is probably coming to an end. Should he try to overlook such things ? That is not very good for the artist. Or should he try, on the contrary, to express in art his anxiety and his indignation ? That is not very good for art. You can see that there is no peace for him, either way." The young man, who had paid no attention to this discourse and whose mouth was full of bread, attempted to make a slight sound of assent. "For that reason," concluded Mr. Otkar, "what I say is: sell your violin, and start up at some corner in the apple business." Mr. Rosenberg swallowed hastily. "The man is crazy," he exclaimed, staring at Mr. Otkar. "How could I give a concert without my violin ? All that I have left in the world is what you see here; my violin to play on, and my coat with the fur collar, so that nobody can think I have not made a success. "Everything else is gone—my watch, my hat, everything. What you see is all there is. I have no longer even a bed to sleep on; last night I slept on a bench in the park. Early in the morning the birds woke me, singing out of tune."

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He added simply: "I hadn't eaten for two days. So the birds were out of tune. It was my ears, not the birds.': His eyes suddenly filled with tears. "What is the matter with everybody," he cried, "that a man cannot find work to do any more ? Is that a way to run the world? Did I study all my life in order to walk up and down the streets like a beggar? I tell you, there is something wrong, there is something rotten in all this. I am grateful to you for feeding me." Mr. Otkar sat still, thinking. The shop was silent, and smelt of dust; it seemed to fall gently and without a sound from the ceiling, and to dance a little in the air. How quiet it was, and empty—just like himself, he thought, waiting as he was waiting, for whatever was to come. And what, after all, was to come ? He, too, was homeless and penniless; and he did not believe that a knowledge of antiques would help him very much in the new life. What he needed was to believe in something. And he envied Mr. Rosenberg, who believed in his art and in the hearts of men and women, before whom he hoped to play. It was a beginning, it was something; it left out a great deal, but it was better than nothing. And Mr. Otkar had nothing. "As you see," he said to Mr. Rosenberg, "I have nothing to offer you. The egg you have already eaten; what more there is you can see for yourself; a bed, for which there are slats and a mattress; a few books; a little stove; and my own company. After today I am as homeless as yourself. And so it occurs to me that we might, perhaps, be homeless together. At all events, we have neither of us much to lose by such an arrangement. What do you say?" And he held out his hand, which the young man took in his strong fiddler's ringers. "Why not?" said Mr. Rosenberg, who had nothing more to lose in the world. With these words they became partners. Mr. Rosenberg helped Mr. Otkar to take the bed apart; then Mr. Otkar went next door to see if he could borrow some sort of wagon on which to carry it. In a short time he returned with a little pushcart, which they loaded with the bed, the coat, the fiddle, and the alcohol stove; then shutting behind them the door of the shop, which now looked dark and empty, the two men started down the street together. "Where are we going?" asked Mr. Rosenberg, not unreasonably.

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"For a long while," replied Mr. Otkar, "I have had a longing to be in the country. There is still grass in the park; let us go there and find a place to put our bed. After the uncertainties of the last few weeks it will seem like heaven to me, or at least until the cold sets in." And, with a serene expression, he headed the pushcart toward the park. It was already cold in the park when the sun went down, which Mr. Otkar had not expected. They chose a hollow among some trees and within sight -of the dark waters of a pond; it was impossible not to see at the same time the road with its motors going by, but Mr. Otkar determined to ignore it. There, upon grass turned dry and brown and under trees from whose branches the leaves had already fallen, Mr. Otkar and Mr. Rosenberg put up their bed garlanded with cupids. Above them was the empty sky; and they could smell faintly through the vapors of the city the meager earth under their feet. Around them stretched in miniature the landscape for which Mr. Otkar had longed, already in the shadow of evening. All was quiet; no frogs or crickets sang with a sound of country in the air, in which only the far-off hum of the city made a murmur like wind or water. No dew fell, yet the breeze turned colder. Lamps were lighted along the avenues and in the park; but in the little hollow where they had placed their bed the blue of evening deepened. Mr. Otkar gazed about him with an air of satisfaction; he was hungry, and he wished to hide it even from himself. "What we need," he said, "is a fire. It would keep us warm and help us to feel that this hollow of ground belongs to us." "It doesn't belong to us," objected Mr. Rosenberg. "That is true," replied Mr. Otkar, "but only because the police will put us out of it; which is all the more reason to enjoy it while we can. So let us have a fire by all means; and afterwards you can play on your fiddle in the firelight." But Mr. Rosenberg shook his head. "What do you think I am," he asked; "a gypsy? My fiddle would catch a cold in the night air. And if a string goes, I have no money to buy another." Nevertheless Mr. Otkar had set his heart on having a fire and

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began to gather a few twigs and sticks. "We'll be arrested," said Mr. Rosenberg, helping him. Mr. Otkar hoped not. He was cold and hungry, but he was enjoying a feeling of freedom. "The jails are already full," he said; "perhaps they will leave us alone. After all, we are not doing very much harm." "We are breaking the law," said Mr. Rosenberg, in hollow tones. But Mr. Otkar, whose conscience was clear, was convinced that they would be forgiven. "You are a sentimentalist," said Mr. Rosenberg, with regret. • "Perhaps I am," agreed Mr. Otkar. "But I am surprised to learn that you are not." "A musician has as much chance to be a sentimentalist," replied Mr. Rosenberg, "as a lion or a tiger." Returning to the bed, he placed his violin on the ground under the mattress, in order to protect it. Then he sat down and gave a yawn. "To be a musician," he remarked, "is to fight, every day, for your life." Mr. Otkar agreed that a musician's life was full of pain and difficulty. "It is also," he added, "filled with the choicest consolations, and with the most glorious rewards. It is true that the rewards do not as a rule occur until some time after death." "It is a life," said Mr. Rosenberg gloomily, "of toil. The work of a musician is never finished; every day he must start all over again, from the beginning. And in the end what has he got? A few notices which say: 'Mr. Rosenberg was adequate.'" "Give it up," urged Mr. Otkar, stooping to add a twig tc the fire; "go into the apple business." "Listen to him," cried Mr. Rosenberg bitterly; "there it is again— the apple business. I have a great career in music ahead of me. . . . But, as I was saying, it is only because I am not a sentimentalist; and because I know every moment what I am doing. "Now I am going to bed." The evening was growing darker. Already in the east, night rolled like thunder in the sky. Mr. Otkar's little fire winked yellow in the hollow; he bent over and warmed his hands above it. The fiddler is right, he thought; one must not be too tender if one is to get along in

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the world. Perhaps the trouble with me is that I am too fond of everything. What weakness it is to be fond! Mr. Rosenberg went to bed, as he said he would; he wrapped his coat around him and soon fell asleep. Lying beside him, his face turned to the remains of the little fire, Mr. Otkar thought sadly about himself. It is true, he mused, that I am no eagle. I do not struggle like a hawk to live. Well, that is a serious fault, after all. For I am not a vegetable either, and I cannot live on dampness alone. And remembering the egg and the milk he had given away, he gave a dry swallow in his throat. "What will become of me?" he said aloud. Mr. Rosenberg stirred at his side. "Go to sleep," he murmured drowsily; "tomorrow there is work to do." And he hummed a scale under his breath: do re me fa sol. But in the restless chill of the city night, Mr. Otkar found it hard to sleep. What is the good of talk ? he asked himself. As it is, there are too many opinions in the world. Everybody has his own idea, and wants to profit by it. Some want money and others want a seat in heaven, or some other comfort. The wise man lives like an eagle, or Mr. Rosenberg; he wraps himself up in his own coat and says nothing of any importance. Then, when the time comes, he can act without having to give any reasons; he can hurl himself down from the sky upon his dinner and make away with it while the others are still talking about what they intend to do. In the midst of these reflections Mr. Otkar fell asleep. And as the night deepened about him, he dreamed that he was a child again, in the little mid-west town in which he had been born. It was a warm summer's day, and he had gone down to the mill-pond, to sit in the cool grass and watch the dragon-flies darting over the water or listen to the frogs croaking among the reeds. . . . He opened his eyes with a start; for he thought that he had really heard a frog croaking near by. Was he at home again, in the sun, by the mill-pond? For a moment his heart beat with joy. But no—it was still night; he had been asleep in the park without a cover; and what he had thought to be a frog was only a pigeon, ruffling her feathers, and cooing to herself. The embers of the fire still glowed before him. In their faint light he

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lay still and watched the bird. What a piump pigeon she was. And not at all wild—fed by die children upon popcorn and peanuts. A ward of the city, innocent and free. . . . Under those gray feathers beat a very small heart, but the meat above it was firm and tender. Roasted, it would give off an appetizing fragrance. . . . "I am not an eagle," said Mr. Otkar to himself. Nevertheless, the very next moment, without meaning to, but with a muffled cry, he threw himself upon the bird. After that it was necessary to gather more wood for the fire. When the fire was bright again, he set himself to prepare his dinner. He took off as many feathers as he could; after which he placed the pigeon on a spit made of wood, and held it out over the flames. At once an odor of roasting flesh and burning feathers filled the air, very acrid and disagreeable. His eyes smarting from smoke, Mr. Otkar held on to the pigeon and tried to turn the spit above the fire. In the meanwhile he could see, out of the corner of one eye, that Mr. Rosenberg had awakened and was sitting up, staring at him in surprise. "What have you got?" asked Mr. Rosenberg at last; "a chicken?" "A pigeon," said Mr. Otkar shortly. Mr. Rosenberg sniffed the air. "What are you doing to it?" he asked. Mr. Otkar replied that he was cooking it. "With all its feathers on?" asked Mr. Rosenberg. There was no reply to this remark; for Mr. Otkar felt that he was doing the best he could. The fiddler leaned over to look. "Yes," he said in wondering tones; "it is a pigeon. Well . . . who gave it to you?" Mr. Otkar replied with dignity: "While you were asleep, I went hunting. Like an Indian, or an explorer, I found this bird and threw myself upon it." "What," cried Mr. Rosenberg, "you killed it?" "I did," said Mr. Otkar. Mr. Rosenberg uttered a groan. "Then," he declared, "we shall all be arrested." But Mr. Otkar, whose knees hurt from being pressed to the hard ground, and whose face was too hot from the fire, waved him away.

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"Go back to sleep again," he said. "You know nothing about all this. You are guiltless; and I will eat the pigeon all by myself." At these words Mr. Rosenberg became more unhappy than ever. "Do you mean to say you wouldn't give me any?" he exclaimed. "As you like," replied Mr. Otkar. "But," he added, rising to his feet, "then we must both be ready to go to jail—because we are both guilty." Mr. Rosenberg hesitated; he was afraid, but he was hungry. "Very well," he said at last; "I am with you." And his hand closed over the bird. As it turned out, the pigeon was almost too tough to be eaten at all. But it was better than nothing. "Save the bones," said Mr. Otkar; "We will make a stew out of them." Then he lay down again, next to Mr. Rosenberg. "One must not be too tender in this world," he said. And he took part of the fiddler's coat, to cover himself. He felt warm and at peace; and he fell asleep before dawn. But Mr. Rosenberg did not sleep any more that night. He was cold; and he was waiting for the police to find him. He lay awake, thinking of what he would say to them when they came to arrest him.

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ROBERT P. TRISTRAM COFFIN Why he selected M A I N E

Is 8L

PERPETUAL POEM

I

HAVE favorites among my poems, of course. There are some poems that came to me sudden, out of the blue. I did not have to do anything about them. They were alive and came. One was a humming-bird that called on my morning-glories. Another was a hawk who was my friend and flew two feet over my head and let me see the translucent amber stones set each side of his head.

HUMMING-BIRD It would take an angel's eye To see the humming-bird's hot wings, He stands raptly on thin air At his banquetings. He flies so fast he is at rest, His vibrant body poises still, His wings into the crystal light Melt invisible. A bobbin winding off the threads Of sunlight from the spools of flowers, His hunger is a weightless thing And holier than ours. 305

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Saints and lovers bathed in flame Know far less of flame than he As he hovers pinionless, A minute ecstasy. GOLDEN FALCON He sees the circle of the world Alive with wings that he Was born to rend; his eyes are stars Of amber cruelty. God lit the fires in his eyes And bound swords on his feet, God fanned the furnace of his heart To everlasting heat. His two eyes take in all the sky, East, west, north, and south, Opposite as poles they burn; And death is in his mouth. Death because his Maker knew That death is last and best, Because he gives to those he loves The beniscn of rest. Golden, cruel word of God Written on the sky! Living things are lovely things, And lovely things must die. One poem that came to me fierce and alive was a buck deer pursued by hounds across a bay. They swam right past my boat, near enough for me to reach out and touch them with an oar. But I did no such foolish thing, for though I was young then, I knew a poem when I saw one going by that close.

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MAINE IS A PERPETUAL POEM

CRYSTAL MOMENT Once or twice this side of death Things can make one hold his breath. From my boyhood I remember A crystal moment of September. A wooded island rang with sounds Of church bells in the throats of hounds. A buck leaped out and took the tide With jewels flowing past each side. With his high head like a tree He swam within a yard of me. I saw the golden drop of light In his eyes turned dark with fright. I saw the forest's holiness On him like a fierce caress. Fear made him lovely past belief, My heart was trembling like a leaf. He leaned towards the land and life With need upon him like a knife. In his wake the hot hounds churned, They stretched their muzzles out and yearned. They bayed no more, but swam and throbbed, Hunger drove them till they sobbed. Pursued, pursuers reached the shore And vanished. I saw nothing more.

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So they passed, a pageant such As only gods could witness much, Life and death upon one tether And running beautiful together. But the best sudden poem that ever came to me came to me as a light in my father's big hands. I was nine, and I was desperately ill, in a high fever, and lying on my bed in the dead of the night, half awake, half asleep. My father came in to see how I was, and he struck a match and stood at the foot of my bed, looking down. His face, lit Up by the sudden fire in his hands, was one of the most beautiful sights I ever saw. My father did not know I was looking at him from under my eyelids, or he would never have looked at me that way. Again, though I was a boy, I knew a poem when I saw one at the foot of my bed. I thought I would always remember that poem. But I didn't. The memory faded from my mind. I should never have recalled that poem if it hadn't been that a few years ago I found myself in that same situation, when my own small son lay ill in his room, in the dead of the night, in a fever, too, and I went in to see how he did. I went in the gloom and struck a match. In the spurt of the flame the old poem of my father's face came back to me, and all I had to do was write it down: T H E SECRET HEART Across the years he could recall His father one way best of all. In the stillest hour of night The boy awakened to a light. Half in dreams he saw his sire With his great hands full of fire. The man had struck a match to see If his son slept peacefully.

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MAINE IS A PERPETUAL POEM

He held his palms each side the spark His love had kindled in the dark. His two hands were curved apart In the semblance of a heart. He wore, it seemed to his small son, A bare heart on his hidden one. A heart that gave out such a glow No son awake could bear to know. It showed a look upon a face Too tender for the day to trace. One instant, it lit all about, And then the secret heart went out. But it shone long enough for one To know that hands held up the sun.

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DOROTHY CANFIELD FISHER why she selected T h e

NIGHT

on

the

COBBLE This chapter is the turning-point of the novel Seasoned Timber. Timothy Hulme, middle-aged Principal of an old Vermont Academy, has fallen whole-heartedly in love with Susan, a teacher young enough to be his daughter. She feels for him a warm, admiring affection, which, in her ignorance of life and herself, she is beginning to think may be love. While she is way from town on a short vacation, a younger-generation member of Timothy Hulme's family connection, Canby Hunter, in his twenties, comes breezing back to the little Vermont town where, a decade before, he was prepared for college under Timothy's care. He is restlessly footloose, on the rebound from an unsatisfactory engagement, emotionally electric. From his long experience, Timothy recognizes in the younger man the qualities which, because of his maturity, he himself lacks, and which make an irresistible appeal to other youth—reckless, exuberant power and dashing physical magnetism. He is also a decent and likable, although undistinguished fellow. When he arrived, Canby had intended to make a visit of but a day or two. But he casually decides to stay on for a time in Clifford. Timothy is instantly and instinctively impelled to send him packing before Susan returns. He knows that it would be easy for him to do this because of the authority and personal prestige which his years and success as an educator have brought him. Canby has always from his boyhood looked up to his old teacher, and has no special reason for staying on in a sleepy country town. With a few cold, wounding words, Timothy could sting the young man into resentful departure. And this would leave Timothy's ripe, kind, self-controlled, protective, selfless love for young 310

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Susan safe from any comparison with the younger man's capacity to sweep a girl off her feet with sheer youthful vitality. But has he the right to do this? Would it be fair play to Susan thus to allow her no chance to make her own choice, even to know that a choice is possible? Scrupulous, brought up in a strict family tradition of honorable conduct, with fastidiously civilized standards, he hesitates in an anguish of uncertainty for a few days, making first one decision and then its opposite, hour after hour. Finally, in an anguish of effort to live up to the ideal of personal honor which has been the basis of his inner life, he decides to do nothing to send Canby away; and at once becomes more than ever aware, by a premonitory dread, of the power of Canby's hot young masculine vitality. But he cannot go counter to his life-long loyalty to the principle of not taking advantage of others for his own profit. The meeting between Canby and Susan, so much feared by the older man, takes place in a storm, in the midst of an alarming accident which throws them together for some hours on a lonely road. The circumstances, their common youth, their readiness for love, make a dramatic effect on both the young people. Canby falls violently and openly in love with Susan and she soon knows what, in her ignorance of life she did not before divine—the difference between affection and love. The half-god goes, the god arrives. Timothy is carelessly pushed to one side. The young man, the girl in love, see no one but themselves. They do not even glance at the older man, to whom they are both sincerely attached, long enough to perceive that he is suffering. But he is suffering. Intolerably. What he cannot endure is the thought that except for what now seems like a hair-splitting scruple, he might have saved himself from this pain, almost beyond his power to endure. His every waking moment is poisoned by a corroding doubt of the standards of honorable action, by which he has charted his life. He feels that he has simply made a fool of himself. At this point the following chapter begins. Following an old local

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custom, Timothy has gone up with the boys of the Academy on a moonlit night in June, to sleep on a rocky ledge, (called The Cobble) on the side of the mountain, from which there is a fine view of sunrise. With the group goes the very old chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Academy, an ancient Vermonter, Mr. Dewey, whose presence on this annual mountain expedition is part of the school tradition. One of the students is Jules, a Jewish, French, half-orphan from New York, musical, high-strung, more sensitive and impressionable than his Yankee school-mates. Timothy has admitted him to the student body against the angry protests of a rich New York Trustee, who is a bitter anti-Semite and who is—although Timothy and Mr. Dewey have no idea of this—to die in the city, by apoplexy, that very night, leaving a will in which he bequeaths a million dollars to the Academy, now desperately poor, on condition that they exclude all Jewish students. During the night on The Cobble, Timothy Hulme has no faintest idea that a second ordeal, another searching test of his honor, looms before him in the days and weeks immediately to follow. Will he use his great influence in the Academy and town to have this bequest accepted ? This decision will put him at the head of a prosperous, wellendowed school, suitable for his personal distinction and. providing him with an ample income and an easy life. Or, confronted by this temptation not to play perfectly fair, not to act in a perfectly honorable way, not to exploit others for his own profit, will he stick by that principle of delicately accurate honor which has always given his life moral elevation, but which is now costing him so tragic a price in unhappiness ? His whole conscious attention focussed on his own misery, his subconscious spirit, painfully tearing at his heart, struggles to free itself from the personal, and to lift itself into the spacious serenity of the universal. An exalting conviction of healing oneness comes to him, after the bodily exhaustion of his sleepless vigil, frees his spirit for a mystic flight beyond what words can express, what the senses or the mind can grasp. This chapter is thus not only a solvent of the sorrow and pain just

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behind him in his individual personal life. It is a spiritual preparation for what is just before him—a fiery test of his character in his role as a member of civilized human society. Arlington, Vt. DOROTHY CANFIELD FISHER June, 1942

H

E HAD known at that moment all that was to be, and he might as well—he thought, leaning forward to drop a dry stick on the sober little June watch-fire—he might as well have yielded at once to the first intimation, as to resist for these last three months of misery. The white-hot core of the fire, tiny but ardently alive, throbbed as it seized with passion on the new food for flames. A column of murky smoke rose into the still night air, and then, as the blaze burned clear, thinned to an airy plume. Timothy sat back on his granite ledge, his eyes fixed on the bowing of the little plume of smoke towards the west, where, long hours ago, the sun had gone down. Often enough he had noticed that smoke-drift in other Junes, up here at night on the Cobble. In those other years, rational years, he and Mr. Dewey and the boys sitting around the fire had sometimes speculated about the reason for this, wondering whether on still nights the warmed lightness of the air around the setting sun created everywhere on the globe this soft almost imperceptible steady breathing towards the west of the night wind. At the other end of the Cobble, a shower of sparks, rising in the darkness, showed that old Mr. Dewey too had put fresh wood on his watch-fire. Between the two, stretched rows of dark forms, rolled in blankets. They lay motionless in the trancelike sleep of youth, still as the great rock that was their bed; but just below, where the granite crest of the Cobble softened into upland pasture, the sheep, uneasy at the invasion of their solitude, moved restlessly. Sometimes a bell tinkled. Sometimes a ewe called with a low bleating and was answered by a thudding of little hoofs on sod and stones. Timothy held his watch to the glow of the fire. Past midnight. In an hour the moon would be up. By the traditional routine of this yearly expedition on the mountain with the Senior boys, he was to

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waken the sleepers to see the moon rise over The Wall. He knew what would happen when he did: yawns, grunts, momentary openings of an eye, the blankets re-rolled more tightly around motionless forms. The teacher's life, he had often thought—continually waking sleepers to see beauties or 'meanings they cared nothing about, and watching them sink back to apathy. Enough light fell from the sky, thick sown with stars, to show him that Mr. Dewey now stood up from his fire, and followed by his old dog, picked his way among the sleepers, along the Cobble. When he reached Timothy, "Do you feel like sleeping, T. C ? " he asked in a low voice. "If you do, turn in for an hour or so. I'll keep watch." "Thank you, Mr. Dewey, I don't believe I will," said Timothy in the carefully natural voice he had been using for three months. "How about you?" Mr. Dewey smiled, looked around him from the dusky stretch of the Crandall Pitch pasture to the mountains brooding under the glittering black sky, looked back at Timothy and shook his head. "No, I'm not sleepy," he said in a peaceful voice, and went back to his own small fire. Timothy was not sleepy either, although he was very tired. He gave a rough animal-like shudder, as if to shake off a gadfly, and dropped his head between his hands. The night breeze, so mild as almost to be stillness, blew gently on one cheek, tilting the immaterial column of the smoke ever so little towards where the sun had last shed its warmth. Later Mr. Dewey stood up again and picked his way along the rock to the other fire. "Moon's due to rise in three four minutes," he said. Wrenching himself away from his hypnotized glare back on the past, Timothy remembered where he was, got to his feet and stepped with the old man from one to another of the sleeping boys, giving each shoulder a shake, saying clearly in their ears, "The moon will soon be up. If you want to see the moon rise, now's the time." They grunted, nodded, and sat up, or propped themselves unsteadily on one elbow and looked around sleepily. All but Eli Kemp. He said clearly, although his eyes continued tightly closed, "What of it!" and pulled

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his blanket over his head to shut out the light. But Eli had been conditioned by his poverty never to think of anything but how to make another penny and keep from spending it, thought Professor Hulme, going back to his fire. By the time he had sat down again beside it, he had forgotten Eli and the other adolescents, his eyes fixed in anguish on the slow thinning of the black velvet back of The Wall. Just so—how many times had he thought it—love had brought light to his darkness. Just so, instant by instant, his loneliness and apathy had been suffused with tenderness and hope. He began to tremble with the violence of sorrow repressed, clenching his hands hard in his pockets as he had clenched them before when shaken by the first gusts of passion. "Fine, isn't it?" said Mr. Dewey dreamily, watching with heart unwrung. After a pause, "Yes, it's very fine," said Timothy, correctly. The dark globe spun fast and smoothly under the feet of the watchers. The eastern mountains sank. The great disk, white with its heatless fire, swam up to its triumph. The twilight dimness of the pasture below the rock turned to silver. The sheep, as if the light had been a sound, stood up, drifted aimlessly about, talking to each other in sleepy, secret voices. Every weather-worn knob and ridge of the Cobble's granite wave emerged from darkness to visible strength, transfigured from strength to beauty. Mr. Dewey mused, "Doesn't seem possible—up here—now—tomorrow's newspapers will tell about the same old hellish goings-on of humans, does it?" Timothy knew what he meant. He had been for months increasingly horrified by the statements of Nazi ideals in the news, and the evening before as they talked around the fire, he had asked the boys, "Don't it kind of make you wonder what General George Washington would ha' said? The history books tell us he swore his head off at the battle of Monmouth. What cuss-words could he ha' found for Hitler!" Timothy thought drearily, "Oh, he's trying to start that up again!" Wanting only one thing, to have the old man leave him alone in his pain, he made no rejoinder.

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Mr. Dewey waited a moment, and then went back to his own fire, his dog stepping gravely at his heels. Timothy sat rigid, horribly impervious to the night's apotheosis of peace. His mind tiptoed up timidly to remind him to look at the beauty around him, and shrank back, appalled by his suffering. But presently his professional conscience, reaching him on a reflex of habit, bade him make sure that all was well with those entrusted to his protection. He turned his head to look and saw that, as he had thought, the boys had collapsed again into stone-sound sleep. No, one of them was stirring. Bending his eyes more intently, Timothy saw that the blanketed form nearest him was stirring. He rose to his feet, he took the two or three steps that brought him to the boy, stooped, put his hand on his shoulder. It was Jules. Wide awake, he lay looking out over the silvered upland pasture and across the valley brimming with white. Timothy asked, "Something the matter, Jules?" The boy clutched at Timothy's arm and sat up. "Oh, Professor Hulme, I can't stand it!" He pulled the teacher down to sit beside him. "It's like that swell place in the Kreutzer—w-where the octaves . . ." He choked and rubbed his sleeve back and forth over his nose. Timothy pulled out his handkerchief and passed it to the boy, who blew his nose, handed back the handkerchief and pointing to a scraggly small bush near him said, his voice cracking grotesquely from treble to bass and back again, "Professor Hulme, maybe I'm crazy, but when that bush—when the light came—when that bush came out of the darkness, it c-came singing] Honest! Do you think I'm crazy? Oh, gosh, I wish my darn voice would get through changing." "You probably weren't quite waked up, Jules," suggested the teacher calmingly. "Sounds to me as though you were dreaming. Rather a nice dream!" The boy leaned against Timothy's shoulder, turning his head back and forth to look from the luminous bulk of the mountain above them to the'valley where a river of white mist marked the course of the Kecronsett. . . . He whispered dreamily, "D'you suppose that mist hangs over

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the river like that every night, when we're asleep?" And dropping his voice to an even lower murmur, "D'you hear those sheep, Mr. Hulme ? They don't .sound like that in the daytime. They sound as though they'd put their mutes on to go with the moonshine, they're—Oh, why did papa have to die!" The insensitive sleepers had the best of it, thought Timothy, those with open eyes found only sorrow in their waking, the old man to see his ideals down under the hobnailed boots of Storm Troopers, the boy in the memory of his irreparable loss, he himself—"Well, Jules, I think you'd better lie down again," he said. "Perhaps you can get to sleep now. Here, I'll leave my handkerchief with you, in case you get the sniffles again." He tucked the blanket around the thin shoulders and stood for a moment watching with envy how the enormous peacefulness of the night flowed over the child, emptied now of his wonder and his sorrow; looking around him with envy at the other sleepers, not one of whom had wakened. The fire burned low. He crossed two sticks over the coals and sat down, his eyes on the delicate column of smoke, bowing slightly in the faint breath of the night-breeze which so faithfully followed the setting sun, all around the world. Well, it was over again—for this time. To live through it exhausted him, each time, to blessed apathy. He looked around at the lyric poem of the night and could not have told where he was. The moon was high now, straight over his head. It had blotted out all the stars which earlier filled the darkness with the pride of their glittering. Every twig, every bush, every commonplace pebble, every tree and blade of grass had put off the shifting many-coloured mortality of daylight and stood transfigured in white peace. All but the man keeping his dark watch. From his anger and stubborn misery the light fell away, bathing the weather-beaten granite of the rock in glory. There was no glory in the world where Timothy sat, holding hard to all he had left—for he had something left, he had found that out. He had the ability to make Susan unhappy with a blighting look, to undermine her confidence with well-chosen insinuation wrapped in a pleasant phrase she associated with good will. He could still tarnish

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with doubt the brightness of her response to the torch held up by Canby. He could whirl over her head like a club that ignorant unsuspecting young trust of hers in his wisdom and good faith, and bring it down with all its shattering impact on her unawareness. He could do it! He hardened his heart, blacking out all its light, he trod resolutely down the path from one circle of his inferno to a lower, to a lower, to the lowest, and planned how he could do it. It had not been honourableness but middle-age that had betrayed him into the mawkishness of that dark hour of indecision in his office when like an idiot gentleman bowing and scraping and holding open the door to a caveman intruder—would Canby in his place have invited disaster with that bloodless elderly weighing of civilized standards against the timeless savage hunger of the heart? Never! Never! Never! Canby was no such fool! And he was young. Canby would have struck out with those great fists of his, heedless if they battered down honour, rejoicing in the letting of blood. Well, it was not too late for him to batter down scruples. It was not too late to do something! He had piled up, had he not—he knew he had—an enormous influence with Susan. He weighed in his memory like unexploded bombs, one after another, the hours with her that made him sure of this. She might not be in love with him—the breath went out of his chest as though he had been struck a blow— and came in again hot and swollen with the certainty that she loved and trusted him. Well, he could wield the power given him by that love and trust, he could stamp out as he would stamp out a treason, that damnable radiance in her face of which she was not yet conscious. He shaded his eyes with his hands from another radiance, hating the moonlight, detesting the stillness and peace around him, and took out from its dark hole his dearest, surest grievance, pressing its thorn deep into his outraged sense of justice—there was no sense, no meaning in all this. It did not come from the nature of things, but from blank idiot chance. It need not have happened. There was no inner logic or Tightness in it, nothing but bad luck. He ran through his fingers the familiar rosary of chance sequence of chance events—if Susan had not happened to be away that week, if she had not chanced to come back earlier from her vacation—if Canby had not taken up

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ski-running, if he had not chanced to remember there on the Schenectady viaduct, or wherever it was, that Clifford existed—why, if Downer as a boy had not chanced to go to work in that office where he met the girl who was Canby's aunt, Canby never would have been sent to the Academy, never would '"What's on your mind, T. C ? " Mr. Dewey was saying. "I been isking you for the last five minutes what time your watch says. Mine's stopped." "Oh, I beg your pardon. It's"—he looked—"half-past one." Mr. Dewey set his watch, but did not at once turn away. He poked meditatively at the coals with the toe of his thick, lumberjack boot. "What were you thinking about so hard?" he asked again. Timothy said bitterly, "I was thinking about luck—about chance, hazard—whatever you want to call it. I was thinking how imbecile we are to try to plan life, or make any sense of it, when everything in it is decided by mere brute chance. Something happens—or it doesn't happen. And that's all there is to it!" Mr. Dewey sat down on the ledge to consider this. Don came around in front of him and with a sigh of happiness laid a grizzled head on his knee. Caressing it absently, Mr. Dewey remarked after a time, "Wa-al, that's only the way it looks to young folks. When you're my age, you'll have found out that there's no such thing as luck. Nothing ever just happens to anybody." Timothy looked sidelong at him with a hostile eye, resentful of the dreamy quiet of his voice, as a man in great bodily pain is resentful of the cheap cheerfulness of good health. The old man lifted off his battered felt hat, laid it on his knee, and looked around him gravely. The moonlight, which took the warring chaos of colour out of the world, replacing it by a patterned harmony of silver and delicate black, took the grey out of his thick hair and turned it to a line of shining white around his head. "What I mean is, I guess," he advanced, "that nothing can really happen to a person till he lets it happen. That's been my experience." "I don't know what you mean, Mr. Dewey," said Timothy coldly. "Wa-ai," said the old countryman meditatively, "I'm not exactly sure what I mean, myself." He put his hat back on, stood up, and said

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very earnestly, "But I mean something]" and turned to walk towards his end of the rock. He had not taken three steps before he came back to say, "Now you try to get some sleep, T. C. You look to me as though you needed it! Unroll your blanket and lie down anyhow. I took my nap earlier." "I must think about what to do. I must come to some decision about what I am to do\" Timothy told himself desperately. He could not have told what the old man had said. He thought he had not heard it. He thought he had forgotten it. But from his body, battered by the chaotic swirling of its deepest instincts, hurled back from rocky barriers it could not recognize, came now a muffled warning that it was about at the limit of its power to endure. The echo in his outer ear of the old man's compassionate counsel, although it did not reach his brain, stretched out his arm to unroll his blanket. The instant he lay down on it, his fatigue-poisoned muscles, the watchful weary nerve-centres which had kept those muscles taut, his very bones, abandoned themselves to that unheard, unremembered suggestion to rest. His sinews loosened, let his flesh sink down to the support of the granite; even his proud pulse that was to know no truce with effort till the grave, slackened speed, beat low and murmured mildly as in a dream along the avenues still echoing to the roll of its loud insistent drumming. His eyelids, their lining inflamed with the long vigil, drooped over his eyes. Yet he did not sleep. Or did he? His vesture of decay lay heavy on the stone, gathering strength from old mysterious reservoirs of bodily renewal for the next bout with living. It lay so still, so rapt in unconsciousness, that his spirit, at the summons of the old man's other unheard, unremembered suggestion, floated free from the body—for the first time, the only time in his life—and, in careless effortless victory over time and space and death and mystery, went searching for its own old reservoirs of renewal, went looking for the meaning of meaningless chance. It was in the past, the future, among the living, the dead, the forgotten, the remembered—it was everywhere at once in all that Timothy had ever known, as when the moon rose the light had been everywhere at once. His mother, his father, lived again before the man's

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eyes as they had lived before the little boy's—a year of their life no longer than one beat of his heart; and the man, living all those years at once, saw what the child had taken for granted, the great tree of honour spreading its shelter over their heads, its roots struck deep into a tradition ancient beyond the memory of man, the old honourable human tradition of protection due to the weak from the strong, due to youth from maturity. Noblesse oblige—how could he have taken the old motto as a silly expression of caste-vanity! Like all things that survive, it was the expression of a law of nature, the unbreakable law which enjoins upon those whom experience has taught, upon those who know what they do, who know where a step will take them and what a gesture will cost them, not to exploit but to stand guard over helplessness and ignorance—like that of youth, holding out its hands heaped with gold of which it does not dream the value. From every corner of his child-world—from all the hours of all his life, incidents, sayings, expressions, voices, happenings of which he had never spoken and others he had forgotten, came singingly together in a rhythmic whole. It was the significance of things he saw in that hour, the weary, inflamed, flesh-and-blood of his closed eyelids transparent as crystal. All that he had ever known, *een, felt or been, emerged from the darkness of mere fact into the ineffable claiity of its true meaning. Yes, yes, he saw how nothing ever just happens, to anyone. He pushed open again the door to the dirty, disordered hall bedroom, he was the adolescent beaten down by more than he could endure, and he was the man of forty-five staggering under more than was bearable—and there was Aunt Lavinia again, beautiful and vital as an angel in tweeds; but now the man saw her in the glory of universal light that gave meaning to her individual sacrifice: Timothy's poor father Jiad not lived up to the debt of honour of the strong to the weak, of the experienced and mature to the unprotected defencelessness of youth. Well, that was a debt that must be paid. Lavinia would throw her heart away and pay it, since someone must. All its turbulence stilled in exhaustion, all its demands silenced in sleep, Timothy's body unloosed its troubled hold on the spirit, ranging far and weightless in its search for strength and understanding. His eyes were open, were they not—or was it only by glimpses that he

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watched the frail column of smoke rising from his fire and bowing itself towards where the sun had set, that he saw Mr. Dewey coming and going, noiselessly feeding the little flames? The old man was no more real than Susan, who came and went and stood there, silently begging him not to stamp out that radiance on her face of which she yet knew nothing. Or was that Canby, saying humbly, proudly, with his brown eyes clear as peat-water, that moneyless, futureless, nobody in particular though he was, he must be allowed to give Susan and take from her, what youth alone can give and take, what youth has a right to demand that maturity protect, since it is the core of life? You are of no mean race—the proud challenge to which he had been brought up rang in his ears—what race ? Humanity. From where his spirit soared, high above the body annihilated by fatigue, it had the one vision of wholeness without which no mortal should go down to death, saw the oneness of all and his part in that oneness—and burst into song, as a bird does when night ends and day begins. It was a bird's song. From a stunted oak tree, clutching its roots into a crack of the granite, a white-throated sparrow was singing in his very ear. For a moment he lay listening with his spiritual and with his fleshly ear to the two songs blending, before he thought that if a bird were singing, dawn must be at hand. He sat up and looked to the east. Yes, back of The Wall the sky was grey. The bird, in a tranquil ecstasy for life renewed, swelled its tiny feathered breast and sang again. In the west, the moon hung low where the sun had gone down. But it gave off no light. The earth had spun its great bulk all around its axis since light had come from the west. Not from there, from the east brightness sprang to the zenith with one bound, paling the moon to silver. # Timothy looked at his fire. Night was no more. The night wind held its breath. The grey column of smoke, released from the nightlong pressure, stood straight in the still of the dawn. Over the mountain wall the sky brightened from grey to mauve to pink to scarlet. Timothy kept his eyes on the omen of the faery column of smoke. He did not breathe. The sun thrust one fiery shoulder over the mountain, and all the world gave a shout of colour. Oh,

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what was peace with its pallor compared to the many-coloured confusion of light! The new day began. The day wind woke. The column of smoke slowly, gently, bowed itself to the rising sun. "So be it," said Timothy Hulme, and got stiffly up to go on with the teacher's work of arousing those who sleep.

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EDMUND

WILSON

Why he selected

The OLD STONE HOUSE

"The Old Stone House" simply means to me one of those of my shorter pieces that came out best. Wellfleet, Mass. EDMUND WILSON June, 1942

A

S I go north for the first time in years in the slow, the constantly L stopping, milk train, which carries passengers only in the back part of the hind car and has an old stove to heat it in winter, I look out through the dirt-yellowed double pane and remember how once, as a child, I had felt thwarted till I had gotten the windows up so that there should be nothing between me and the widening pastures, the great boulders, the black and white cattle, the rivers, stony and thin, the lone elms like feather dusters, the high air which sharpens all outlines, makes all colors so breath-takingly vivid, in the clear light of late afternoon. The little stations again: Barneveld, Stittville, Steuben—a tribute to the Prussian soldier who helped drill our troops for the Revolution. The woman behind me in the train talks to the conductor with a German accent. They came over here for land and freedom. Boonville: that pale boxlike building, smooth gray, with three floors of slots that look in on darkness and a roof like a flat overlapping lid— cold, dark, clear air, fresh water. Like nothing else but upstate New York. Rivers running easily among stones, or deeper, stained dark with dead leaves. I used to love to follow them—should still. A fresh breath of water off the Black River, where the blue closed gentians grow. What forests, what hillsides, what distant falls! There was never any train to Talcottville. Our house was the center 324

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of the town. It is strange to get back now: it seems not quite like anything else I have ever known. But is this merely the apparent uniqueness of places associated with childhood? The settlers of this part of New York were a first westward migration from New England. At the end of the eighteenth century they drove ox-teams from Connecticut and Massachusetts over into the wild northern country below Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence, and they established here an extension of New England. Yet an extension that was already something new. I happened last week to be in Ipswich, Massachusetts, the town from which my grandfather's family emigrated; and, for all the pride of white houses with green blinds, I was oppressed by the crampedness of Boston. Even the House of the Seven Gables, which stimulated the imagination of Hawthorne, though it is grim perhaps, is not romantic. It, too, has the tightness and self-sufficiency of that little provincial merchant society, which at its best produced an intense little culture, English in its concreteness and practicality—as the block letters of the signs along the docks make Boston look like Liverpool. But life must have hit its head on those close and low-ceilinged coops. That narrowness, that meagerness, that stinginess, still grips New England today: the drab summer cottages along the shore seem almost as slit-windowed and pinched as the gray twin houses of a milltown like Lawrence or Fall River. I can feel the relief myself of coming away from Boston to these first uplands of the Adirondack wilderness, where, sustained by the New England religion, still speaking the language of New England, the settlers found limitless space. They were a part of the new America, now forever for a century on the move. They moved on before they had been able to build here anything comparable to the civilization of New England. The country, magnificent and vast, has never really been humanized as New England has: the landscape still overwhelms the people. But this house, the only one of its kind among farms and wooden towns of later periods, was an attempt to found a civilization. And it blends in a peculiar fashion the amenities of the eastern seaboard with the rudeness and ioughness of the frontier. It was built at the end of the eighteenth century: the first event recorded in connection with it is a memorial service for General Wash-

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ington. And it took four years in the building. The stone had to be quarried out of the river. The walls of the house were a foot and a half thick, and the plaster was applied to the stone without any intervening lattice. The beams were secured by enormous nails, made by hand and some of them eighteen inches long. Solid and simple as a fortress, the place has also the charm of something which has been made to order. There is a front porch with white wooden columns which support a white wooden balcony, running along the second floor. The roof comes down close over the balcony, and the balcony and the porch are draped with vines. Large ferns grow along the porch, and there are stone hitching posts and curious stone ornaments, cut out of the quarry like the house: on one side, a round-bottomed bowl in which red geraniums bloom, and on the other, an unnamable object, crudely sculptured and vaguely pagodalike. The front door has real beauty: the door is dark green with a brass knocker, and the woodwork which frames it is white: it is crowned by a wide fanlight and flanked by two narrow panes of glass in which a white filigree of wood makes a webbing like ice on winter ponds. On one of the broad sides of the house, where the mortar has come off the stone, there is a dappling of dark gray under pale gray like the dapping of light in shallow water, and the feathers of the elms make dapplings of sun among their shadows of large lace on the grass. The lawn is ungraded and uneven like the pastures, and it merges eventually with the fields. Behind, there are great clotted masses of myrtle beds, lilac bushes, pink phlox, and other things I can't identify; pink and white hollyhocks, some of them leaning, fine blue and purple dye of larkspur; a considerable vegetable garden with long rows of ripe gooseberries and currants, a patch of yellow pumpkin flowers, and bushes of raspberries, both white and red—among which are sprinkled like confetti the little flimsy California poppies, pink, orange, white and red. In an old dark red barn where the hayloft is almost collapsing, I find spinning wheels, a carder, candle molds, a patent bootjack, obsolete implements of carpentry, little clusters of baskets for berry-picking, and a gigantic pair of scales, such as is nowadays seen only in the hands of allegorical figures. The house was built by the Talcotts, after whom the town is

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named. They owned the large farm in front of the house, which stretches down to the river and beyond. They also built a grist-mill, but were thought—I learn from the county history—to have "adopted a policy adverse to the building up of the village at the point where natural advantages greatly favored," for they "refused to sell village lots to mechanics, and retained the water power on Sugar River, although parties offered to invest liberally in manufactures." In time, there was only one Talcott left, an old maid. My great-grandfather Baker, who lived across the street and had been left by the death of his first wife with a son and eight daughters, came over and married Miss Talcott. She was kind to the children, and they remembered her with affection. Great-grandfather Baker owned the quarry on the river just a little way from the house. Most of the daughters, of whom my grandmother was one—"six of them beauties," I am told—got married and went away. There was only one left in the house when I first remember Talcottville, my great-aunt Rosalind, the spinster daughter who was invariably included in the big old-fashioned families and whose role was to stay home and take care of her parents. Aunt "Lin" had devoted her life to her father. When I knew her, she was very old. It was impressive and rather frightening to call on her—you did it only by special arrangement, as she had to prepare herself to be seen. She would be beautifully dressed in a lace cap, a lavender dress and a white crocheted shawl, but she had become so bloodless and shrunken as dreadfully to resemble a mummy and reminded you uncomfortably of Miss Haversham in Dickens's "Gre&t Expectations." She had a certain high and formal coquetry and was the only person I ever really knew who talked like the characters in old novels. When she had been able to get about, I am told, she had habitually treated the townspeople with a condescension almost baronial. According to the family legend, the greatgrandmother of great-grandmother Baker had been a daughter of one of the Earls of Essex, who had eloped with a gardener to America. Another of my Baker great-aunts, whom I found one of the most interesting members of the family, had married and lived in the town and known tragic disappointments. Only intellectual interests and a mind capable of philosophic pessimism had maintained her through the wreck of her domestic life. She used to tell me how, as a young

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married woman, she had taught herself French by the dictionary and grammar, sitting up at night alone by the stove through one of their cold and dark winters. She had read a great deal of French, subscribed to French magazines, without being able to pronounce a word. She had rejected revealed religion and did not believe in immortality; and when she considered that she had been relieved of the last of her family obligations, though her hair was now beginning to turn gray, she came on to New York City and lived there for years alone, occupying herself with the theater, books, visits to her nephews and nieces, and all the spectacle and reading of the great world which she had always loved so much and from which she had spent her life removed. When she died, only the youngest of the family was left, the only son, my great-uncle Tom. His mother must have been worn out with child-bearing—she died after the birth of this ninth child—and he had not turned out so well as the others. He had been born with no roof to his mouth and had to wear a gold palate, and it was difficult to understand him. He was not precisely simple-minded—he held a small political job under Cleveland and he usually beat you at checkers— but he was childlike and ill-equipped to deal with life in any very effective way. He sold the farm to a German and the quarry to the town. Then he died, and the house was empty, except when my mother and father would come here to open it up for a month or two in the summer. I have not been back here in years, and I have never before examined the place carefully. It has become for me something like a dream —unreal with the powerful impressions of childhood. Even now that I am here again, I have to shake off the dream. I keep walking from room to room, inside and out, upstairs and down, with uneasy sensations of complacency which are always falling through into depression. These rooms are admirably proportioned; the white mantelpieces are elegant and chaste, and each is ornamented with a different design of carving. The big living-room seems a little bare because the various members of the family have claimed and taken away so many things; and there are some disagreeable curtains and carpets, for which my great-uncle Tom is to blame. But here are all the things they have in

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the antique stores: "How like an antique store!" I keep thinking. Red Bohemian glass decanters; a rusty silver snuff-box; a mirror with the American eagle painted at the top of the glass. Little mahogany tables with slim legs; a set of curly-maple furniture, deep seasoned yellow like satin; a yellow comb-backed rocker, with a design of green conchshells like snails. A small bust of Dante with the nose chipped; a little old-fashioned organ stored here years ago by the church and never afterwards reclaimed. Large engravings of the family of Washington and of the Reformers Presenting their Famous Protest before the Diet of Spires; a later engraving of Charles Dickens. Old tongs and poker, impossibly heavy. A brown mahogany desk inlaid with yellow birdwood, with a pair of old steel-rimmed spectacles and a thing to shake sand on wet ink. Daguerreotypes in fancy cases: they seem to lasr much better than photographs—my grandmother looks fresh and cunning—I remember hearing that when my grandfather first saw her. she was riding on a load of hay—he came back up here to marry her as soon as he had gotten his medical degree. An old wooden fluteoriginally brought over from New England, I remember my greatuncle's telling me, in one of the ox-team loads—he used to get a lonely piping out of it—I try it, but cannot make a sound. Two big oval paintings in gold frames, of landscapes mountainous and romantic: they came from the Utica house of great-grandfather Baker's brother —he married a rich wife and invented excelsior and was presented with a solid silver table service by the grateful city of Utica. Wall-paper molded by the damp from the stone; uninviting old black haircloth furniture. A bowl of those enormous upcountry sweetpeas, incredibly fragrant and bright—they used to awe and trouble me—why? In the dining-room, a mahogany china-closet, which, in the days when letters were few and great-grandfather Baker was postmaster, used to be the village post-office. My grandmother's pewter tea-service with its design of oak-leaves and acorns, which I remember from her house in New Jersey. Black iron cranes, black pipkins and kettles, for cooking over the hearth; a kind of flat iron pitchfork for lifting the bread in and out when they baked at the back of the fireplace. On the sideboard, a glass decanter with a gilt black-letter label: "J- Rum." If there were only some rum in the decanter!—if the life of the house

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were not all past!—The kitchens that trail out behind are almost too old-smelling and deserted—in spite of the wonderful big brown crocks with blue long-tailed birds painted on them, a different bird on each crock. In the ample hall with its long staircase, two large colored pictures of trout, one rising to bait, one leaping. Upstairs, a wooden pestle and mortar; a perforated tin box for hot coals that people took- to keep their feet warm on sleigh-rides or in church; a stuffed heron; a horrible bust of my cousin Dorothy which her mother had had done of her in Germany, larger than life and with the hair-ribbon and ruffles faithfully reproduced in marble—Cousin Dorothy, who got to detest it, took it out and threw it into the pond, but Uncle Tom worked hard to dredge it up and quietly replaced it^pn its pedestal. An ugly chair with a round rag back; an ugly bed with the head of Columbus sticking out above the pillows like a figurehead. Charming old bedquilts with patterns of rhomboids in softened brown, greens and pinks, or of blue polka-dotted hearts that ray out on stiff phallic stalks. A footstool innocently covered in white, which, however, when you step on a tab at the side, opens up into a spittoon. (There used to be a musical chair, brought back from Germany along with the bust, but it seems to have disappeared.) A jar of dried rose leaves, and a jar of little pebbles and shells that keep their bright colors in alcohol. The old panes up here have wavy lines'in the glass. There are cobweb-filthy books, which I examine: many religious works, the annals of the state legislature, a book called "The Young Wife, or Duties of Women in the Marriage Relation," published in Boston in 1838 and containing a warning against tea and coffee, which "loosen the tongue, fire the eye, produce mirth and wit, excite the animal passions, and lead to remarks about ourselves and others, that we should not have made in other circumstances, and which it were better for us and the world, never to have made." But there is also, I noticed downstairs, Grant Allan's "The Woman Who Did," from 1893. I come upon the History of Lewis County and read it with a certain pride. I say to myself tiiat it is an excellent piece of work— admirably full in its information on flora and fauna, geology and politics; diversified with anecdotes and biographies never over-flattering

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and often pungent; and written in a sound English style. Could anyone in the county today, I wonder, command such a sound English style? I note with gratification that the bone of a prehistoric cuttlefish, discovered in one of the limestone caves of the river, is the largest of its kind on record, and that a flock of wild swans was seen here in 1821. In the eighties, there were still wolves and panthers. There are still bears and deer today. I also look into the proceedings of the New York State Assembly. My great-grandfather Baker was primarily a politician and at that time a member of the Assembly. I have heard that he was a Jacksonian Democrat and that he made a furious scene when my grandmother came back from New Jersey and announced that she had become a Republican: it spoiled her whole visit. There is a photograph of him in an oval gilt frame, with his hair sticking out in three great spikes and a wide and declamatory mouth. I look into the record of the Assembly to see what role great-grandfather Baker played. It is the forties; the Democrats are still savage about the United States Bank. But when I look up great-grandfather Baker in the index, it turns out that he figured solely, though repeatedly, as either not being present or as requesting leaves of absence. They tell me he used to go West to buy cattle. That sealed-up space on the second floor which my father had knocked out—who did they tell me was hidden in it?—a soldier? I see by one of the new historical road-signs that there are caves somewhere here where slaves were hidden. Maybe it was part of the underground route for smuggling Negroes over the border.—Is the attic, the "kitchen chamber," which is always so suffocating in summer, still full of carpetbags and crinolines and bonnets and beaver-hats in the old cowhide-covered trunks ? We used to dress up in them for charades. It was the custom for the married Baker daughters to bring their children back in the summer; and their children in time brought their children. In those days, how I loved coming up here! It was a reunion with cousins fom Boston and New York, Ohio and Wisconsin; we fished and swam in the rivers, had all sorts of excursions and games.— Later on, I got to dislike it: the older generation died, the younger ceased to come back. I wanted to be elsewhere, too. The very fullness with life of the past, the memory of those many families of cousins and uncles and aunts, made the emptiness of the present more oppres-

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'

EDMUND WILSON

sive.—Isn't it still?—didn't my gloom come from that, the night of my first arrival?—Wasn't it the dread of it that kept me away?—I am aware, as I walk through the rooms, of the amplitude and completeness of the place—the home of a large old-fashoned family, which had to be a city in itself. And not merely did it house a clan: the whole life of the community passed through it. Situated in the corner of the crossroads, it has been post-office and town hall—at one time greatgrandfather Baker put up travelers on the Albany post-road. And now for five-sixths of the year it is nothing but a shell full of antiques, with no intimate relation to the community. The community itself today is half the size of the community of those days, and its condition is very much changed. It is now merely one of the clusters of houses that people shoot through along the state highway; and there will presently perhaps be little left but our house confronting the hot-dog stand and the gas station.

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ERSKINE CALDWELL Why he selected C O U N T R Y

FULL

of

SWEDES "I like to write about people. I put them into the traditional form of the short story or novel merely because they happen to be ideal means of expression for me. However, I do not write short stories and novels and people them with characters. I fit people into fiction, not fiction around people. At least, these are the things I try to do; sometimes I succeed to some extent, sometimes fail. There is nothing unusual about the fact that "Country Full of Swedes," for example, is a story of people in the State of Maine. I have written many stories about people in the South merely because it happened that I spent more time in Georgia than anywhere else. I have written a few stories about people in northern New England because I lived there for a short time. If I had lived in Montana, Wyoming, or Utah, I would have written about people I lived among there. There is more than one way of skinning a rabbit. I found that out early in life when one rabbit skinner told me to do it in such-and-such a manner, and another one told me to do it differently. I tried both, but either the rabbit's legs slipped off the knob on the barn door, or I could not get the jacket down over the shoulders. After that I did it my own way, and I've been doing it that way ever since. Darien, Conn. ERSKINE CALDWELL

June, 1942

T

HERE I was, standing in the middle of the chamber, trembling like I was coming down with the flu, and still not knowing what god-awful something had happened. In all my days in the Back Kingdom, I never heard such noises so early in the forenoon. 333

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It was about half an hour after sun-rise, and a gun went off like a coffer-dam breaking up under ice at twenty beiow, and I'd swear it sounded like it wasn't any farther away than my feet are from my head. That gun shot off, pitching me six-seven inches off the bed, and, before I could come down out of the air, there was another roar like somebody coughing through a megaphone, with a two weeks' cold, right in my ear. God-helping, I hope I never get waked up like that again until I can get myself home to the Back Kingdom where I rightfully belong to stay. * I must have stood there ten-fifteen minutes shivering in my nightshirt, my heart pounding inside of me like a ram-rod working on a plugged-up bore, and listening for that gun again, if it was going to shoot some more. A man never knows what's going to happen next in the State of Maine; that's why I wish sometimes I'd never left the Back Kingdom to begin with. I was making sixty a month, with the best of bed and board, back there in the intervale; but like a God damn fool I had to jerk loose and come down here near the Bay. I'm going back where I came from, God-helping; I've never had a purely calm and peaceful day since I got here three-four years ago. This is the damnedest country for the unexpected raising of all kinds of unlookedfor hell a man is apt to run across in a lifetime of traveling. If a man's born and raised in the Back Kingdom, he ought to stay there where he belongs; that's what I'd done if I'd had the sense to stay out of this down-country near the Bay, where you don't ever know, God-helping, what's going to happen next, where, or when. But there I was, standing in the middle of the upstairs chamber, shaking like a rag weed in an August wind-storm, and not knowing what minute, maybe right at me, that gun was going to shoot off again, for all I knew. Just then, though, I heard Jim and Mrs. Frost trip-trapping around downstairs in their bare feet. Even if I didn't know what god-awful something had happened, I knew things around the place weren't calm and peaceful, like they generally were of a Sunday morning in May, because it took a stiff mixture of heaven and hell to get Jim and Mrs. Frost up and out of a warm bed before six of a forenoon, any of the days of the week. I ran to the window and stuck my head out as far as I could get it, to hear what the trouble was. Everything out there was as quiet and

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peaceful as midnight on a backroad in middlemost winter. But I knew something was up, because Jim and Mrs. Frost didn't make a practice of getting up and out of a warm bed that time of forenoon in the chillish May-time. There wasn't any sense in me standing there in the cold air shivering in my night-shirt, so I put on my clothes, whistling all the time through my teeth to drive away the chill, and trying to figure out what God damn fool was around so early shooting off a gun of a Sunday morning. Just then I heard the downstairs door open, and up the steps, two at a time, came Jim in his breeches and his shirt-tail flying out behind him. He wasn't long in coming up the stairs, for a man sixty-seven, but before he reached the door to my room,, that gun went off again: BOOM ! Just like that; and the echo came rolling back through the open window from the hills: Boom! Boom! Like fireworks going off with your eyes shut. Jim had busted through the door already, but when he heard that Boom! sound he sort of spun around, like a cock-eyed weathervane, five-six times, and ran out the door again like he had been shot in the hind parts with a moose gun. That Boom! so early in the forenoon was enough to scare the day-lights out of any man, and Jim wasn't any different from me or anybody else in the town of East Joloppi. He just turned around and jumped through the door to the first tread on the stairway like his mind was made up to go somewhere else in a hurry, and no fooling around at the start. I'd been hired to Jim and Mrs. Frost for all of three-four years, and I was near about as much of a Frost, excepting name, as Jim himself was. Jim and me got along first-rate together, doing chores and haying and farm work in general, because neither one of us was ever trying to make the other do more of the work. We were hitched to make a fine team, and I never had a kick coming, and Jim said he didn't either. Jim had the name of Frost, to be sure, but I wouldn't ever hold that against a man. The echo of that gun-shot was still rolling around in the hills and coming in through the window, when all at once that god-awful coughlike whoop through a megaphone sounded again right there in the room and everywhere else, like it might have been, in the whole town of East Joloppi. The man or beast or whatever animal he was who

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hollered like that ought to be locked up to keep him from scaring all the women and children to death, and it wasn't any stomach-comforting sound for a grown man who's used to the peaceful calm of the Back Kingdom all his life to hear so early of a Sunday forenoon, either. I jumped to the door where Jim, just a minute before, leaped through. He didn't stop till he got clear to the bottom of the stairs. He stood there, looking up at me like a wild-eyed cow moose surprised in the Sheriff's corn field. "Who fired that god-awful shot, Jim?" I yelled at him, leaping down the stairs quicker than a man of my years ought to let himself do. "Good God!" Jim said, his voice hoarse, and falling all to pieces like a stump of punk-wood. "The Swedes! The Swedes are shooting, Stan!" "What Swedes, Jim—those Swedes who own the farm and buildings across the road over there?" I said, trying to find the buttonholes in my shirt. "Have they come back here to live on that farm?" "Good God, yes!" he said, his voice croaking deep down in his throat, like he had swallowed too much water. "The Swedes are all over the place. They're everywhere you can see, there's that many of them." "What's their name, Jim?" Tasked him. "You and Mrs. Frost never told me what their name is." "Good God, I don't know. I never heard them called anything but Swedes, and that's what it is, I guess. It ought to be that, if it ain't." I ran across the hall to look out a window, but it was on the wrong side of the house, and I couldn't see a thing. Mrs. Frost was stepping around in the downstairs chamber, locking things up in the drawers and closet and forgetting where she was hiding the keys. I could see her through the open door, and she was more scared-looking than Jim was. She was so scared of the Swedes she didn't know what she was doing, none of the time. "What made those Swedes come back for, Jim?" I said to him. "I thought you said they were gone for good, this time." "Good God, Stan," he said, "I don't know what they came back for. I guess hard times are bringing everybody back to the land, and the Swedes are always in the front rush of everything. I don't know what brought them back, but they're all over the place, shooting and yelling and raising hell. There are thirty-forty of them, looks like to me, counting everything with heads."

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"What are they doing now, Jim, except yelling and shooting?" "Good God," Jim said, looking behind him to see what Mrs. Frost was doing with his things in the downstairs chamber. "I don't know what they're not doing. But I can hear them, Stan! You hurry out right now and lock up all the tools in the barn and bring in the cows and tie them up in the stalls. I've got to hurry out now and bring in all of those new cedar fence posts across the front of the yard before they start pulling them up and carrying them off. Good God, Stan, the Swedes are everywhere you look out-doors! We've got to make haste, Stan!" Jim ran to the side door and out the back of the house, but I took my time about going. I wasn't scared of the Swedes, like Jim and Mrs. Frost were, and I didn't aim to have Jim putting me to doing tasks and chores, or anything else, before breakfast and the proper time. I wasn't any more scared of the Swedes than I was of the Finns and Portuguese, anyway. It's a god-awful shame for Americans to let Swedes and Finns and the Portuguese scare the day-lights out of them. God-helping, they are no different than us, and you never see a Finn or a Swede scared of an American. But people like Jim and Mrs. Frost are scared to death of Swedes and other people from the old countries; Jim and Mrs. Frost arid people like that never stop to think diat all of us Americans came over from the old countries, one time or another, to begin with. But there wasn't any sense in trying to argue with Jim and Mrs. Frost right then, when the Swedes, like a fired nest of yellow-headed bumble bees, were swarming all over the place as far as the eye could see, and when Mrs. Frost was scared to death that they were coming into the house and carry out all of her and Jim's furniture and household goods. So while Mrs. Frost was tying her and Jim's shoes in pillow cases and putting them out of sight in closets and behind beds, I went to the kitchen window and looked out to see what was going on around that tall yellow house across the road. Jim and Mrs. Frost both were right about there being Swedes all over the place. God-helping, there were Swedes all over the country, near about all over the whole town of East Joloppi, for what I could see out the window. They were as thick around the barn and pump and the woodpile as if they had been a nest of yellow-headed bumble bees strewn over the countryside. There were Swedes everywhere a

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man could see, and the ones that couldn't be seen, could be heard yelling their heads off inside the yellow clapboarded house across the road. There wasn't any mistake about their being Swedes there, either: because I've never seen a man who mistakes a Swede or a Finn for an American. Once you see a Finn or a Swede you know, Godhelping, that he is a Swede or a Finn, and not a Portugee or an American. • There was a Swede everywhere a man could look. Some of them were little Swedes, and women Swedes, to be sure; but little Swedes, in the end, and women Swedes too, near about, grow up as big as any of them. When you come right down to it, there's no sense in counting out the little Swedes and the women Swedes. Out in the road in front of their house were seven-eight autos and trucks loaded down with furniture and household goods. All around, everything was Swedes. The Swedes were yelling and shouting at one another, the little Swedes and the women Swedes just as loud as the big Swedes, and it looked like none of them knew what all the shouting and yelling was for, and when they found out, they didn't give a damn about it. That was because all of them were Swedes. It didn't make any difference what a Swede was yelling about; just as long as he had leave to open his mouth, he was tickled to death about it. I have never seen the like of so much yelling and shouting anywhere else before; but down here in the State of Maine, in the down-country on the Bay, there's no sense in being taken-back at the sights to be seen, because anything on God's green earth is likely and liable to happen between day and night, and the other way around, too. Now you take the Finns; there's any God's number of them around in the woods, where you least expect to see them, logging and such. When a Finn crew breaks a woods camp, it looks like there's a Finn for every tree in the whole State, but you don't see diem going around making the noise that Swedes do, with all their yelling and shouting and shooting off guns. Finns are quiet about their hell-raising. The Portuguese are quiet, too; you see them tramping around, minding their own business, and working hard on a river dam or something, but you never hear them shouting and yelling and shooting off guns at five-six of a Sunday morning. There's no known likeness to the

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noise that a houseful of Swedes can make when they get to yelling and shouting at one another early in the forenoon. I was standing there all that time, looking out the window at the Swedes across the road, when Jim came into the kitchen with an armful of wood and threw it into the woodbox behind the range. "Good God, Stan," Jim said, "the Swedes are everywhere you can look out-doors. They're not going to get that armful of wood, anyway, though." Mrs. Frost came to the door and stood looking like she didn't know it was her business to cook breakfast for Jim and me. I made a fire in the range and put on a pan of water to boil for the coffee. Jim kept running to the window to look out, and there wasn't much use in expecting Mrs. Frost to start cooking unless somebody set her to it, in the shape she was in, with all the Swedes around the place. She was so up-set, it was-a downright pity to look at her. But Jim and me had to eat, and I went and took her by the arm and brought her to the range and left her standing there so close she would get burned if she didn't stir around and make breakfast. "Good God, Stan," Jim said, "those Swedes are into everything. They're in the barn, and in the pasture running the cows, and I don't know what else they've been into since I looked last. They'll take the tools and the horses and cows, and the cedar posts, too, if we don't get out there and put everything under lock and key." "Now, hold on, Jim," I said, looking out the window. "Them you see are little Swedes out there, and they're not going to make off with anything of yours and Mrs. Frost's. The big Swedes are busy carrying in furniture and household goods. Those Swedes aren't going to tamper with anything of yours and Mrs. Frost's. They're people just like us. They don't go around stealing everything in sight. Now, let's just sit here by the window and watch them while Mrs. Frost is getting breakfast ready." "Good God, Stan, they're Swedes," Jim said, "and they're moving into the house across the road. I've got to put everything under lock and key before " "Hold on, Jim," I told him. "It's their house they're moving into. God-helping, they're not moving into your and Jim's house, are they. Mrs. Frost?"

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"Jim," Mrs. Frost said, shaking her finger at him and looking at me wild-eyed and sort of flustered-like, "Jim, don't you sit there and let Stanley stop you from saving the stock and tools. Stanley doesn't know the Swedes like we do. Stanley came down here from the Back Kingdom, and he doesn't know anything about Swedes." Mrs. Frost was partly right, because I've never seen the things in my whole life that I've seen down here near the Bay; but there wasn't any sense in Americans like Jim and Mrs. Frost being scared of Swedes. I've seen enough Finns and Portuguese in my time in the Back Kingdom, up in the intervale, to know that Americans are no different from the others. "Now, you hold on a while, Jim," I said. "Swedes are no different than Finns. Finns don't go around stealing another man's stock and tools. Up in the Back Kingdom the Finns are the finest kind of neighbors." "That may be so up in the Back Kingdom, Stan," Jim said, "but Swedes down here near the Bay are nothing like anything that's'ever been before or since. Those Swedes over there across the road work in a pulp mill over to Waterville three-four years, and when they've got enough money saved up, or when they lose it all, as the case may be, they all move back here to East Joloppi on this farm of theirs for twothree years at a time. That's what they do. And they've been doing it for the past thirty-forty years, ever since I can remember, and they haven't changed none in all that time. I can recall the first time they came to East Joloppi; they built that house across the road then, and if you've ever seen a sight like Swedes building a house in a hurry, you haven't got much else to live for. Why! Stan, those Swedes built that house in four-five days—just like that! I've never seen the equal to it. Of course now, Stan, it's the damnedest-looking house a man ever saw, because it's not a farm house, and it's not a city house, and it's no kind of a house an American would erect. Why! those Swedes threw that house together in four-five days—just like that! But whoever saw a house like that before, with three storeys to it, and only six rooms in the whole building! And painted yellow, too; Good God, Stan, white is the only color to paint a house, and those Swedes went and painted it yellow. Then on top of that, they went and painted the barn red. And of all of the shouting and yelling, at all times of the day and

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night, a man never saw or heard before. Those Swedes acted like they were purely crazy for the whole of four-five days, and they were, and they still are. But what gets me is the painting of it yellow, and the making of it three storeys high, with only six rooms in the whole building. Nobody but Swedes would go and do a thing like that; an American would have built a farm house, here in the country, resting square on the ground, with one storey, maybe a storey and a half, and then painted it lead-white. But Good God, Stan, those fool Swedes had to put up three storeys, to hold six rooms, and then went and painted the building yellow." "Swedes are a little queer, sometimes," I said. "But Finns and Portuguese are too, Jim. And Americans sometimes " "A little queer!" Jim said. "Why! Good God, Stan, the Swedes are the queerest people on the earth, if that's the right word for them. You don't know Swedes, Stan. This is the first time you've ever seen those Swedes across the road, and that's why you don't know what they're like after being shut up in a pulpwood mill over to Waterville for four-five years. They're purely wild, I tell you, Stan. They don't stop for anything they set their heads on. If you was to walk out there now and tell them to move their autos and trucks off of the town road so the travelers could get past without having to drive around through the brush, they'd tear you apart, they're that wild, after being shut up in the pulp mill over to Waterville these three-four, maybe four-five, years." "Finns get that way, too," I tried to tell Jim. "After Finns have been shut up in a woods camp all winter, they make a lot of noise when they get out. Everybody who has to stay close to the job for threefour years likes to act free when he gets out from under the job. Now, Jim, you take the Portuguese •" "Don't you sit there, Jim, and let Stanley keep you from putting the tools away," Mrs. Frost said. "Stanley doesn't know the Swedes like we do. He's lived up in the Back Kingdom most of his life, tucked away in the intervale, and he's never seen Swedes " "Good God, Stan," Jim said, standing up, he was that nervous and up-set, "the Swedes are over-running the whole country. I'll bet there are more Swedes in the town of East Joloppi than there are in the rest of the country. Everybody knows there's more Swedes in the State of

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Maine than there are in the old country. Why! Jim, they take to this State like potato bugs take to " "Don't you sit there and let Stanley keep you back, Jim," Mrs. Frost put in again. "Stanley doesn't know the Swedes like we do. Stanley's lived up there in the Back Kingdom most of his life." Just then one of the big Swedes started yelling at some of the little Swedes and women Swedes. I'll swear, those big Swedes sounded like a pastureful of hoarse bulls, near the end of May, mad about the blackflies. God-helping, they yelled like they were fixing to kill all the little Swedes and women Swedes they could get their hands on. It didn't amount to anything, though; because the little Swedes and the women Swedes yelled right back at them just like they had been big Swedes too. The little Swedes and women Swedes couldn't yell hoarse bull bass, but it was close enough to it to make a man who's lived most of his life up in the Back Kingdom, in the intervale, think that the whole town of East Joloppi was full of big Swedes. Jim was all for getting out after the tools and stock right away, but I pulled him back to the table. I wasn't going to let Jim and Mrs. Frost set me to doing tasks and chores before breakfast and the regular time. Forty dollars a month isn't much to pay a man for ten-eleven hours' work a day, including Sundays, when the stock has to be attended to like any other day, and I set myself that I wasn't going to work twelve-thirteen hours a day for them, even if I was practically one of the Frosts myself, except in name, by that time. "Now, hold on a while, Jim," I said. "Let's just sit here by the window and watch them carry their furniture and household goods inside while Mrs. Frost's getting the cooking ready to eat. If they start taking off any of you and Mrs. Frost's things, we can see them just as good from here by the window as we could out there in the yard and road." "Now, Jim, I'm telling you," Mrs. Frost said, shaking all over, and not even trying to cook us a meal, "don't you sit there and let Stanley keep you from saving the stock and tools. Stanley doesn't know the Swedes like we do. He thinks they're like everybody else." Jim wasn't for staying in the house when all of his tools were lying around in the yard, and while his cows were in the pasture unprotected, but he saw how it would be better to wait where we could hurry

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up Mrs. Frost with the cooking, if we were ever going to eat breakfast that forenoon. She was so excited and nervous about the Swedes moving back to East Joloppi from the pulp mill in Waterville that she hadn't got the beans and brown bread fully heated from the night before and we had to sit and eat them cold. We were sitting there by the window eating the cold beans and brown bread, and watching the Swedes, when two of the little Swedes started running across Jim and Mrs. Frost's lawn. They were chasing one of their big yellow torn cats they had brought with them from Waterville. The yellow torn was as large as an eight-months collie puppy, and he ran like he was on fire and didn't know how to put it out. His great big bushy tail stuck straight up in the air behind him, like a flag, and he was leaping over the lawn like a devilish calf, newborn. Jim and Mrs. Frost saw the little Swedes and the big yellow torn cat at the same time I did. "Good God," Jim shouted, raising himself part out of the chair. "Here they come now!" "Hold on now, Jim," I said, pulling him back to the table. "They're only chasing one of their torn cats. They're not after taking anything that belongs to you and Mrs. Frost. Let's just sit here and finish eating the beans, and watch them out the window." "My crown in heaven!" Mrs. Frost cried out, running to the window and looking through. "Those Swedes are going to kill every plant on the place. They'll dig up all the bulbs and pull up all the vines in the flower bed." "Now you just sit and calm yourself, Mrs. Frost," I told her. "Those little Swedes are just chasing a torn cat. They're not after doing hurt to your flowers." The big Swedes were unloading the autos and trucks and carrying the furniture and household goods into their three storey, yellow clapboarded house. None of them was paying any attention to the little Swedes chasing the yellow torn over Jim and Mrs. Frost's lawn. Just then the kitchen door burst open, and the two little Swedes stood there looking at us, panting and blowing their heads off. Mrs. Frost took one look at diem, and then she let out a yell, but the kids didn't notice her at all.

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"Hey," one of them shouted, "come out here and help us get the cat. He climbed up in one of your trees." By that time, Mrs. Frost was all for slamming the door in their faces, but I pushed in front of her and went out into the yard with them. Jim came right behind me, after he had finished calming Mrs. Frost, and telling her we wouldn't let the Swedes come and carry out her furniture and household goods. The yellow torn was all the way up in one of Jim's young maple shade trees. The maple wasn't strong enough to support even the smallest of the little Swedes, if he should take it into his head to climb to the top after the cat, and neither Jim nor me was hurting ourselves trying to think of a way to get the feline down. We were all for letting the cat stay where he was, till he got ready to come down of his own free will, but the little Swedes couldn't wait for anything. They wanted the torn right away, then and there, and no wasting of time in getting him. "You boys go home and wait for the cat to come down," Jim told them. "There's no way to make him come down now, till he gets ready to come down of his own mind." But no, those two boys were little Swedes. They weren't thinking of going back home till they got the yellow torn down from the maple. One of them ran to the tree, before Jim or me could head him off, and started shinnying up it like a pop-eyed squirrel. In no time, it seemed to me like, he was up amongst the limbs, jumping around up there from one limb to another like he had been brought up in just such a tree. "Good God, Stan," Jim said, "can't you keep them out of the trees?" There was no answer for that, and Jim knew there wasn't. There's no way of stopping a Swede from doing what he has set his head on doing. The boy got almost to the top branch, where the yellow torn was clinging and spitting, when the tree began to bend towards the house. I knew*what was coming, if something wasn't done about it pretty quick, and so did Jim. Jim saw his young maple shade tree begin to bend, and he almost had a fit looking at it. He ran to the lumber stack and came back dragging two lengths of two-by-fours. He got them set up against the tree before it had time to do any splitting, and then we

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stood there, like two damn fools, shoring up the tree and yelling at the little Swede to come down out of there before we broke his neck for being up in it. The big Swedes across the road heard the fuss we were making, and they came running out of that three-storey, six-room house like it had been on fire inside. "Good God, Stan," Jim shouted at me, "here comes the Swedes!" "Don't turn and run off, Jim," I cautioned him, yanking him back by his coat-tail. "They're not wild beasts; we're not scared of them. Hold on where you are, Jim." I could see Mrs. Frost's head-almost breaking through the windowglass in the kitchen. She was all for coming out and driving the Swedes off her lawn and out of her flowers, but she was too scared to unlock the kitchen door and open it. Jim was getting ready to run again, when ne saw the Swedes coming toward us like a nest of yellow-headed bumble bees, but I wasn't scared of them, and I held on to Jim's coat-tail and told him I wasn't. Jim and me were shoring up the young maple, and I knew if one of us let go, the tree would bend to the ground right away and split wide open right up the middle. There was no sense in ruining a young maple shade tree like that, and I told Jim there wasn't. "Hey," one of the big Swedes shouted at the little Swede up in the top of the maple, "come down out of that tree and go home to your mother." "Aw, to hell with the old lady," the little Swede shouted down. "I'm getting the cat by the tail." The big Swede looked at Jim and me. Jim was almost ready to run again by that time, but I wasn't, and I held him and told him I wasn't. There was no sense in letting the Swedes scare the day-lights out of us. "What in hell can you do with kids when they get that age?" he asked Jim and me. Jim was all for telling him to make the boy come down out of the maple before it bent over and split wide open, but I knew there was no sense in trying to make him come down out of there until he got good and ready to come, or else got the yellow torn by the tail. Just then another big Swede came running out of that three-storey, six-room house across die road, holding a double-bladed ax out in

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front of him, like it was a red-hot poker, and yelling for all he was worth at the other Swedes. "Good God, Stan," Jim said, "don't let those Swedes cut down my young maple!" I had lots better sense than to try to make the Swedes stop doing what they had set their heads on doing. A man would be purely a fool to try to stop it from raining from above when it got ready to, even if he was trying to get his corn crop planted. I looked around again, and there was Mrs. Frost all but popping through the window-glass. I could see what she was thinking, but I couldn't hear a word she was saying. "It was good and plenty though, whatever it was. "Come down out of that tree!" the Swede yelled at the boy up in Jim's maple. Instead of starting to climb down, the little Swede reached up for the big yellow torn cat's tail. The torn reached out a big fat paw and harried the boy five-six times, just like that, quicker than the eye could follow. The kid let out a yell and a shout that must have been heard all the way to the other side of town, sounding like a whole houseful of Swedes up in the maple. The big Swede covered the distance to the tree in one stride, pushing everything behind him. "Good God, Stan," Jim shouted at me, "we've got to do something!" There wasn't anything a man could do, unless he was either a Swede himself, or a man of prayer. Americans like Jim and me had no business getting in a Swede's way, especially when he was swinging a big double-bladed ax, and he just out of a pulp mill after being shut up making paper four-five years. The big Swede grabbed the ax and let go at the trunk of the maple with it. There was no stopping him then, because he had the ax going, and it was whipping around his shoulders like a cow's tail in a swarm of black-flies. The little maple shook all over every time the ax-blade struck it, like wind blowing a corn stalk, and then it began to bend on the other side from Jim and me where we were shoring it up with the two-by-fours. Chips as big as dinner plates were flying across the lawn and pelting the house like a gang of boys stoning telephone insulators. One of those big dinner-plate chips crashed through the window

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where Mrs. Frost was, about that time. Both Jim and me thought at first she had fallen through the window, but when we looked again, we could see that she was still on the inside, and madder than ever at the Swedes. The two-by-fours weren't any good any longer, because it was too late to get to the other side of the maple in time to keep it from bending in that direction. The Swede with the double-bladed ax took one more swing, and the tree began to bend toward the ground. The tree came down, the little Swede came down, and the big yellow torn came down on top of everything, holding for all he was worth to the top of the little Swede's head. Long before the tree and the boy struck the ground, the big yellow torn had sprung what looked like thirty feet, and landed in the middle of Mrs. Frost's flowers and bulbs. The little Swede let out a yell and a whoop when he hit the ground that brought out six-seven more Swedes from that three-storey, sixroom house, piling out into the road like it was the first time they had ever heard a kid bawl. The women Swedes and the little Swedes and the big Swedes piled out on Jim and Mrs. Frost's front lawn like they had been dropped out of a dump-truck and didn't know which was straight up from straight down. I thought Mrs. Frost was goings to have a fit right then and there in the kitchen window. When she saw that swarm of Swedes coming across her lawn, and the big yellow torn cat in her flower bed among the tender plants and bulbs, digging up the things she had planted, and the Swedes with their No. 12 heels squashing the green shoots she had been nursing along—well, I guess she just sort of caved in, and fell out of sight for the time being. I didn't have time to run to see what was wrong with her, because Jim and me had to tear out behind the torn and the Swedes to try to save as much as we could. "Good God, Stan," Jim shouted at me, "go run in the house and ring up all the neighbors on the line, and tell them to hurry over here and help us before the Swedes wreck my farm and buildings. There's no telling what they'll do next. They'll be setting fire to the house and barn the next thing, maybe. Hurry, Stan!" I didn't have time to waste talking to die neighbors on the telephone line. I was right behind Jim and the Swedes to see what they were going to do next.

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"I pay you good pay, Stan," Jim said, "and I want my money's worth. Now, you go ring up the neighbors and tell them to hurry." The big yellow torn made one more spring when he hit the flower bed, and that leap landed him over the stonewall. He struck out for the deep woods with every Swede on the place behind him. When Jim and me got to the stonewall, I pulled up short and held Jim back. "Well, Jim," I said, "if you want me to, I'll go down in the woods and raise hell with every Swede on the place for cutting down your young maple and tearing up Mrs. Frost's flower-bed." We turned around and there was Mrs. Frost, right behind us. There was no knowing how she got there so quick after the Swedes had left for the woods. "My crown in heaven," Mrs. Frost said, running up to Jim and holding on to him. "Jim, don't let Stanley make the Swedes mad. This is the only place we have got to live in, and they'll be here a year now this time, maybe two-three, if the hard times don't get better soon." "That's right, Stan," he said. "You don't know the Swedes like we do. You would have to be a Swede yourself to know what to tell them. Don't go over there doing anything like that." "God-helping, Jim," I said, "you and Mrs. Frost aren't scared of the Swedes, are you?" . "Good God, no," he said, his eyes popping out; "but don't go making tliem mad."

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HENRY SEIDEL CANBY

why he

selected HOME in the N I N E T I E S

When, in 1934, I wrote The Age of Confidence from which this chapter "Home in the Nineties" is reprinted, I stated in the introduction and the conclusion of the book what it was I had tried to do. I prefer in short to contribute to history (for the most modest memoir is a contribution to history) rather than to write it. History, as I shall repeat later in this volume, deals with the present in terms of the future. The tendencies of a period, for a historian, may be more significant than the period, but that is not how those who lived then felt. For them, the present was naturally more important than posterity, and the present of one era (the late eighties, the nineties, the earliest nineteen hundreds) I have tried to recapture as a rather ill-educated, but sensitive, person saw and felt it. No era lives on its tendencies, though it has to live with them. It lives for itself, and can only be so rightly understood, and its own values estimated before the historian approves or discards them. Memory—and I have trusted to memory entirely-—is bound to be narrow, to be unduly selective, to be prejudiced by the accidents of experience, to be intensely personal, to be occasionally inaccurate. But documents also are equally certain to lend themselves to wrong interpretation, to get detached from the emotions or the ideas that made them significant, to be colored by the prejudices of the historian, and to become more fact than truth. And memory and documents make a bad mixture, in which both are falsified. I have therefore chosen to write of what I knew and saw,—a scene unimportant if it had not been a significant part of America; unaware, generally speaking, of me, who was only a youth in what was still the youth of America; a 6mall city in the East, much loved, possessing perhapt more of the faults and more of the virtues of its era than others; an authentic part of the soil from which our troublous civilization of the nineteen thirties sprang. But in writing this book I have been neither a laudator tempores acti nor a disillusioned critic of my native town—but, so far as possible, both. I believe that there were values in that period called the nineties, and scandalously misdescribed in current films and novels, which were as worthy (greatness aside) as any cultural period has ever developed, and which 349

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are now lost, perhaps irrevocably. I have tried to describe them, because nothing is really irrevocable except one's own youth. But I believe also that no one living in the distressed thirties and writing of this past Age of Confidence, can fail to see in looking back the seeds of dissolution, the shams, the animated corpses of belief, the diseases of culture, which were also coexistent with this pausing time in our American history, when there was such real content, and such a complacent yet enviable and sometimes splendid trust in the future; when, if I may quote from myself in a subsequent chapter, for the last time in living memory everyone knew exactly what it meant to be an American. I had thought at one time of calling this book "Nostalgia," but realized before I had written a chapter that this title would be utterly false. If the opportunity were given to me to choose between youth then and youth in the era of my own sons I think I would probably choose the present. Choose it with an almost agonized memory of the struggles in the early nineteen hundreds to break away from that strong pattern of confident convention, to get through that friendly atmosphere into something that was a more vital reality, to escape from the dominance of a narrow code of morals and an inflexible impulsion toward a drab business life. This book is neither praise nor dispraise, unmixed and undefined, of the past. It is a study in values, and my own summary is a simple one. Our confidence was illusion, but like most illusions it had many of the benefits of a fact. Because of our confidence there were values in living in the nineties which are simply unpurchasable now. They are, in a true sense of the word, historical, and I have tried to describe them here because soon they will be discoverable only by research and then without the emotional margin which gave proportion and emphasis to the text. As experience, they are, I am sure, irrevocable, or at least not likely to occur again in our cycle; and youth of our day, whatever else it may enjoy and profit by, will not have them, and will live differently because of the loss. For I believe that while the age of mobility may be better or worse than the age of confidence, there have been these definite, describable losses to check against our gains. We can put our children on wheels to see the world, but we cannot give them the kind of home that any town provided in the nineties,—not at any price. In 1942, with the United States in the midst of social and economic changes so rapid as to be dizzying, this study of values in a remembered American past seems to me more worthy of reprinting than other, and perhaps more pretentious, writings of my own. The edge of criticism rusts and blunts with time, but autobiography freely handled as a contribution to remembered history has at least this merit, that it is evidential and a part of the record of that American

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tradition which is now our best guarantee that America will stay what we call American. New York, N. Y. HENRY SEIDEL CANBY April 14, 1942.

G

OD bless our home," which I can just remember in worsted tapestry, framed in jig-saw "walnut, and hung on a spare-room wall, never meant "God make our home a happy one." The blessing was asked upon virtue.s which were often more conducive to moral conduct and material success than happiness. And indeed it was not a superior quality of happiness that distinguished the pre-Ford, preradio, pre-boarding school home from our perches between migrations. Those who read their social history in fiction will remember how many nineteenth century novels deal with unhappy homes—tyrannical or stuffy homes, homes that were prisons or asylums for the suppressed and inhibited. Toward the end of the century parents, like Jehovah as the churches preached him, began to soften. Homes were happier then, I believe, than in the previous generation, for the gradual democratizing of life had worked itself indoors and was subtly changing the atmosphere of both sitting room and kitchen. There was more give and take between parents and children, more liberty, and more cheerfulness. It was confidence, however, not happiness, that made the great difference between then and now, a confidence that reached down below comfort or pleasure into stability itself. My cousins, who tiptoed around the chair of an old-fashioned, self-willed father, never knew from day to day what his authority might require of them. Their manners and their careers were both whipped into them. Yet they had this same confidence, and would be sure as I, with a memory of a happy and easy-going home, that something solid and valuable has been lost by our children. In our town, and I think in the American nineties generally, home was the most impressive experience in life. Our most sensitive and our most relaxed hours were spent in it. We left home or its immediate environment chiefly to work, and neither radio nor phonograph brought the outer world into its precincts. Time m(^red more slowly

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there, as it always does when there is a familiar routine with a deep background of memory. Evening seemed spacious then, with hour upon hour in which innumerable intimate details of picture, carpet, wall paper, or well-known pointing shadow were printed upon consciousness. When bicycles came in and flocks of young people wheeled through twilight streets past and past again the porches where the elders were sitting, it was the first breakaway from home, a warning of the new age, but then more like a flight of May flies round and round their hatching place. The home came first in our consciousness and thus in our culture, clubs, civic life, business, schools, society being secondary, and success there, except in money making, a work of supererogatory virtue. The woman who could not make a home, like the man who could not support one, was condemned, and not tacitly. Not size, nor luxury, nor cheerfulness, nor hospitality made a home. The ideal was subtler. It must be a house where the family wished to live even when they disliked each other, it must take on a kind of corporate life and become a suitable environment for its diverse inhabitants. Hence a common tragedy in our town, often noted, though seldom traced to its causes, was the slow crushing of a family by its home. The sprawling house, such as they built in the early eighties, grew and grew until parents, aunts, grandparents, children all had their districts and retiring places in its wings and stories. Though the family might quarrel and nag the home held them all, protecting them against the outside world and each other. Deaths came, children migrated, taxes went up, repairs became numerous, yet still the shrinking remnant of the family held on from use and wont, or deep affection, until in a final scene of depleted capital or broken health, the hollow shell of the home collapsed on a ruined estate and fiercely quarreling heirs. So often tragedy at the end, the home of the nineties was quite as often idyllic, if not ideal, in its best years. It had a quality which we have lost. We complain today of the routine of mechanical processes, yet routine in itself is very persuasive to the spirit, and has attributes of both a tonic and a drug. There was a rhythm in the pre-automobile home that is entirely broken now, and whose loss is perhaps the exactest index of the decline of confidence in our environment. Life seems to be sustained Uy rhythm, upset by its changes, weakened by its loss.

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An apartment house with a car at the door, though comfort summarized, has no rhythm, except for a broken, excited syncopation, or the spondaic movement of boredom. Our houses moved with felt rhythms, not set, nor identical, yet so sensible that what one felt first in a strange home was the tempo of life there. We were away for brief intervals only, at home long enough to be harmonized, and even the heads of families, whose working hours were incredible in their length, seemed never to lose their conditioning by the home. If business and the home lived by different ethical standards, as was commonly said, it may be because the worker was a different man outside the rhythm of the house. And women lived almost exclusively within. It was this familiar movement, this routine with a certainty of repetition, that inspired a confidence in a patterned universe missing today. (Our love of nature helped too—more of this in a later chapter.) The European peasant got it from the cycles of the soil, and this also made him a different creature from the artifacts of industrialism. There was a slur upon boarders in our town and upon the strays who lived in hotel suites or the transients who moved from rent to rent. They were not quite like us, even though sometimes more cheerful; they had no home. We could have said, with equal truth, that they lacked something of confidence in tomorrow and in circumstance, which, in spite of the common incidence of misfortune or disaster, we held with a tenacity not easily explained by religion or philosophy. Most of us in the late eighties and the nineties still lived in squarish houses of red or painted brick, heavily corniced with wood at the top, or mansarded, with porches at front and back, and painted iron fences between the lawns and the brick sidewalks with their rows of buttonwoods or Norway maples. There were a few old houses of lovelier lines, and many bizarrities of Italian, Greek, Queen Anne, and Egyptian inspiration, or of bastard Gothic pointed with gray slate. All, except the very oldest, had spacious, high-ceilinged rooms, hung with chandeliers recently converted to electricity, and trimmed with dark, polished walnut which also spiralled down giant stairways, and were upholstered wherever possible. Golden oak in the very latest houses relieved the gloom by substituting the frivolous for the dignified. It is possible to describe what that generation would have called,

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say about 1890, an ideal home. The hall was broad and deep, a waiting place hung with steel prints and furnished with benches, stiff chairs, and a hat rack. It was Main Street, meant for traffic. On the right the parlor, on the left the sitting room. The parlor was for decorum. It was the largest room in the house, and the least used, with the most massive tables, the biggest pictures, and the showiest chairs. Mirrors at each end gave it an illusion of still greater spaciousness, and between them the piano which, when used for practising, admitted the only disorder allowed in that room. On the center table were the more pretentious gift books, for show, not reading. Indeed there is a whole literature of gift books, all illustrated and bound in stamped leather, the only reason for whose existence was the parlor table. They came in and went out with it and many a childish knuckle has been rapped for opening them with smutty fingers. It was a sign of change in the times when in thousands of homes parlors were made over into "living rooms." The date, which was the late nineties, is more significant than many better remembered. Across the hall was the sitting room, smaller, cosier, with easier chairs, bookcases, a tall brass lamp, a gas stove in the corner (fireplaces had not yet come back except as tiled ornaments for the hall where of course no one ever used them), and an air of comfort and usability. Here the family sat and friends were entertained (company went into the parlor). Here were the magazines, the books to be read, the cat, the dog, and the children studying after supper. This was the heart of the home. The dining room, again, was formal, family portraits on the wall, a china cupboard out of which glinted what never was used even on the grandest occasion. Morning sun in the dining room was one of the specifications, as important as the sideboard and the serving table. The pantry was built up to the high ceilings in tiers of shelves and closets on and in which were kept that incredible clutter of household china and glass which every family seemed to accumulate. There was a drawer labelled "cake," another "bread," and a lead-lined sink with cockroach poison on the edges. The kitchens sprawled—coal stoves, laundry tubs, tables for baskets, tables for rolling dough, hooks and closets for a forest of tinware, and so on out into the shed with its

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tables and bins and closets. And in the cellar more bins, more shelves, a cold room, and a bricked in furnace as big as a funeral vault. The main stairs followed a curving serpent of black walnut to a long upstairs hall off which opened vast bedrooms. The bath room was here (often the only one) with doors in at least two directions, accessible to all. The parents' room would be an upstairs sitting room also, with a desk somewhere spilling with small change and account books, and at the further end a vast walnut bed whose back rose to the ceiling, a cliff of polished veneer topped by a meaningless escutcheon. Other monumental pieces of black walnut flanked it at either side, and at the foot was a crib for the smallest child, or a green plush sofa for naps. Across the hall would be the spare rooms, usually "blue" and "red," as in the White House, very bleak and usually shrouded in sheets. On their walls the outmoded pictures collected: "Old Swedes' Church," by Robert C , "Scene on the Brandywine," "Pauline" on glass. Guests in those days usually went home at night. The stair banister to the third floor was scratched by children's slidings. This was where freedom began. There was the boy's room and the girl's room, indistinguishable in furnishing (cast-offs mostly) but differing in the kind of disorder, and an alcove at the end of the hall for doll houses, and mineral or birds' eggs collections. On the other side of the hall, last relic of the self-contained age of our grandparents, a "lumber room," with its bench, tools, oddments for repairs and plumbing, the rest of the floor space carrying a massif of family trunks piled up on each other in buttes and mesas. Last of all a cubicle where the visiting sempstress slept and some drawers for her scanty clothes. (She came of the good "plain people," and kept up her tiny remnant of gentry by gifts of big red apples to the children.) Here freedom ended, since the next door led to the servants' quarters (white only, the black slept outside) and no one, not even a parent, was supposed to trespass there except on monthly inspections of die sanitation. Such was the house, which lived by a rhythm in which all these familiar backgrounds had their part. Morning was "early, in the winter dark and cold, with faint gurglings from the radiators and faint breaths of warmth from the registers, too late for comfortable dressing. Earlier, in bed, one heard the slender rattle of chains on the heavy storm door,

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the distant whisk-whisk as Isaac, the waiter, swept the front porch— or, if it were an old-fashioned Quaker house, the soft slop-slush of wet cloths over the marble steps which had to be polished each morning. The faint joyous barks of the dog released, the first street cars banging down the hill—then, through the open window, sunlight pale on the far away river, then bright on the carpet—the double gong ringing .stridently—seven struck high and clear on the old dock far below— and a rush downstairs for breakfast. A meal that, no snack. No fruit then, until strawberries, cantaloupes, or peaches were ripe, then in vast platters—but oatmeal and milk tiiat was still foamy from the milkman's crook-necked cans, hot rolls or beaten biscuit, chops or scrapple or sausages with hashed potatoes, eggs as a side dish, waffles three times a week. A Quaker blessing first, heads down but no word spoken. A full meal to all, then a scurry of children for coats and hats, the buggy at the door for father, hardtired bicycles bumping down the pavement, green bags of school books swung against the trees. Quiet in the home when the mother left with her basket to join the housewives of all the first families shopping down the long row of wagon tilts backed against the curb of the street market, and spilling with greens, vegetables, ducks, chickens, and bunches of wild flowers. When she had gone the child left behind heard the faint moaning spirituals of Isaac in the pantry polishing the silver, "O Lo—ad, O my Lo—ad," more distant and fainter the creak of the cook's laughter. The house was a personality, inscrutable, like God. It was the other half of ego, without which the ego was only a sense of existence, it was external reality familiarly incarnate. It was something so embracing yet so intimate that a word could name it only by .indirection and overtones. It was home. And while the slow synthetic beat of the house pulsed in a tempo so well known that the senses responded subconsciously, knowing the hours of the day or night, the dawn hours being different appreciably from those near midnight or in the sleepiest afternoon, many subsidiary rhythms joined or separated their quicker or slower motions. In the yard at afternoon tlie children had their moments of idle wandering or dreamy meditation, or sudden impulses to frenzied play, or hours of quiet industry in the sand pile or on die bending branches of the

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cherry trees. Sounds from within sank to the squeak of a cleaning cloth or the polite laugh of a guest in the parlor, then rose, crescendo, until by supper at six the whole house was again alive with activity. As night deepened the tempo gently slackened. Children's feet dragged upward to bed, the street noises sank to quiet, murmurs above stairs drowsed down until the clocks rang the hour through a silent house, and the head of the household, bolting the shutters, chaining the storm door, locking the front door, side door, back door, climbed the stairs, and set the silver basket on its shelf with the revolver and the watchman's rattle, a ritual act (since burglaries were most rare) celebrating the inviolability of the home. I once rose at dawn and. tiptoeing out into the silent street, saw those familiar houses relaxed and off their guard. There was no human life about, no dogs even were stirring; it was still dusky but clear. The slant light from the brightening East shone on the brick facades and overhanging cornices as upon faces, glinting with windows like eyes. And each one of those houses became the individual it was, an organism, hunched and humorous, or with open arms and serene forehead, a personality which recalled the family it sheltered and yet seemed to have its own life, dominating theirs. I was seeing, with that irrational and fleeting clairvoyance peculiar to youth, an environment incarnate in contorted brick and mortar, feeling in those crouching house people a grudging security offered to inmates who shaped their spirits accordingly. And in that moment the insipid smile of the Judge's mansard across the way, the reticent severity of the doctor's wooden mansion behind its trees, the brutal simplicity of the brick cube that housed the iron master and his "brother, the coquettish insincerity of the minister's turrets of fin de siecle, and the toothy grin of the talkative widow's cornice, seemed more real than the sleeping inmates, so real that they mocked those that they sheltered, and were indeed grotesque symbols of the power of Things protecting and coercing the impressionable spirit of Life. Then the sun rose, looking up at our own house, bland, familiar, welcoming, surcharged with secret comforts. I shrugged away philosophy. That feeling of a daily rhythm, in which each hour had its characteristic part, in a house where change came slowly and which was always home, nourished, if did not create, the expectancy of our genera-

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tion that the norm of life was repetition and therefore security. Our house, with the tall two-hundred year old clock ticking at its heart, sank into the subconsciousness and became a sense of stability and permanence. It was a proof of a friendly universe, to which memory could always return. When a home was closed on our street, its shutters flapping, its blinds pulled awry to show empty floors and bare walls, we pitied the family that had lost their external self. The homeless, like the landless men of the Middle Ages, seemed to have no country. The family made the home, yet the home, when it was made, had its own laws. Thus while the relaxing of family ties in the present era has had its powerful effect upon the home, the auto, the radio, commuting, boarding school, and apartment life have struck direct at the laws which made the laws of the home and on through to the family. It is the latter cause which seems more fundamental. Confidence is a habit which must be acquired young and from an environment that is constant and rhythmically continuous. The kaleidoscopic patterns of life today are more exciting and probably liberate the intelligence when there is an intelligence to be liberated; but the pattern they make is seldom realized by youth which turns and twists and darts in an environment which to its seeing never once makes a whole. Home life in the nineties could be very sweet, and often profoundly dull, and sometimes an oppressive weight of routine inescapable; security was often bought at a ruinous price; yet what conditioned reflexes it set up! The peace movement of the early nineteen hundreds, naively confident amidst a world in arms, was an attempt to make that world our home, our American home. Nor was heaven -exempt from the homemaking activities of the American family. We sang lustily in church— There we shall rest, There we shall rest, In Our Father's House, In Our Father's House. The Age of Confidence got the habit of security in its homes.

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JOHN P. MARQUAND Why he selected L A S T

DAYS

of a BOSTONIAN A discovery has recently been made by certain highly successful editors that nearly everything which has been written may readily be condensed. The enthusiasm engendered by this discovery has even caused certain of these gentlemen to say and perhaps honestly to believe that a condensed version of nearly anything which has been written is clearer and better than the original. They have found that any novel may be condensed and still be comprehensible, so that we now see works of a hundred thousand or more words compressed into the space of five, forming what is known in the editorial trade as a "one shot" or "bookette." Needless to say, the energy and the pain saved the reader by these methods is enormous. My only quarrel with the whole system is that the impression produced by these abbreviated efforts can never be the impression which the original author of the original work intended to convey. Words at best are a difficult artistic medium of expression for they present a different picture to every mind which encounters them, and yet to make this medium at all successful time and space must play an important part. The leisurely approach and the opportunity for digression which are permitted in the novel, have an importance in creating a final result since a reader's impression of atmosphere and character is created almost entirely by the cumulative effect of words. This is lost in condensation. It is lost also in the selections for an anthology. I only make this point so that a reader may understand that the following chapters from a novel I once wrote were never intended to stand alone. They are the end of a book in fact and before reading them, the reader is supposed to have gained a definite idea of the character and the environment of the man about whom they are written. Nevertheless, standing by themselves, these chapters give a picture of an attitude of mind or a way of life—to use a current phrase—which 359

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may have a certain value simply because it is so different from what we usually observe today or may see in the future. Newburyport, Mass. JOHN P. MARQUAND August 9, 1942

LAST PILGRIMAGE Rome Through the Eyes of an Enthusiast, Although in Failing Health

I

N T H E autumn of 1929 we find a pleasant interlude in Apley's life, for at this time he took a much needed rest from his great activities and we see him embarking from Boston upon a trip to Europe and particularly for an extended visit to Rome, a city of his dreams which he had never visited. There were two reasons for this decision. The first largely concerned the important post which was given that year to a distant cousin, Horatio Apley, in the United States Embassy at Rome. Although George Apley had only met Horatio Apley once, at a football game many years before, this lack of acquaintance did not dim his interest in this relative's unexpected success. He speaks affectionately of Horatio Apley in a letter to his son. Dear John:— You have doubtless heard the news about your Cousin Horatio and the Embassy. This is one of the reasons why we are all going to Rome for some months. I think we owe it to Horatio as well as to others to show him that the family is squarely behind him in his spectacular success. Not since your Cousin Applegate married Sir George, the baronet, has such a really worthwhile tribute been paid the family. We must do our part, even though I have never approved of Horatio from what I have heard of him. Besides this, it will give Eleanor an opportunity to see something of the gay cosmopolitan world where it is pleasant to know a place is always reserved for us. I have sent Horatio a cable telling him that we are coming and asking that we be included in some of the more exclusive social functions for the coming months. I have explained to him that I should prefer not to meet His Holiness. As for that remarkable man, Mussolini, who

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seems to have had the courage to stamp out radicalism, that is quite another matter. Of course, Horatio will be glad to attend to all of this. We do not wish to stay at his house, but in some near-by hotel. Between you and me, I greatly hope that all this may turn Eleanor's mind in another direction. I have asked you before what you think of this man William Budd, and you were noncommittal. I for one am not. How my daughter, my own little girl, should be able to abide such a man is more than I can imagine. Though I may not have always shown it, Eleanor has always seemed to me one of the most delicate, sweet, and sensitive flowers in our family. That this blossom which has cheered me so often should be plucked by the fingers of a penniless journalist, none of whose work is even familiar to me, fills me with a very honest indignation. When Budd called to see me last week, I was frankly too ill to receive him. He is obviously an adventurer, utterly unfamiliar with the world which he is trying to enter. He is obviously marrying Eleanor for her money and position. I cannot for the life of me see why Eleanor should be delighted, nor can I see, speaking to you frankly, why you have not taken a more definite stand. Surely you must dislike this man, Budd, as intensely as I do, because Eleanor is, after all, your sister. . . . This allusion will be almost sufficient for what was to Apley, and is still to nearly all the family, a sad example of infatuation. It was thus that Apley was absent from America at the time of the stock market crash which, has caused such deserved and undeserved misfortune, the end of which is not yet. His absence from home, however, did not remove his thoughts from home. He recognized that we were facing another real crisis. Dear John:— I am just back from a very interesting walk with Clara Goodrich on the Palatine Hill where there are so many interesting foundations of imperial palaces. Your mother and Eleanor and the Chickerings elected to go to an Embassy tea party as did Mr. Goodrich, so that Clara and I had the palaces quite to ourselves, except for a very loquacious guide who charged me ten lire more than was correct—I still do not know quite how. On my return, I found that the worst has happened; the market has collapsed. I am sending you a list of certain friends who I believe may be seriously involved through their own carelessness. Tell them I am standing ready to help them, but I wish nothing to be said about it. Good always comes out of these panics and this one should show our working people how necessary it is to save in good times instead of buying worthless odds and ends and becoming softened by a new mode of living. They must get back to basic principles; we all must.

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Rome is really a delightful place, particularly when one brings one's own group with one. Having a group does away with a great deal of what I consider the danger of travel. The danger is that travel always gets one a little bit out of touch with home; the sight of new faces and the reception of •new ideas is sometimes a little bit unsettling to the best of us, and makes for the restlessness which you felt when you returned from the War. I am too old to be restless now. To-day Rome only teaches me the beauties of the place I live in. It seems to me that Mrs. Gardner has brought back to us all that is really best of Rome and Italy and has considerately left the rest behind. A visit to her Fenway Palace really suffices to show one everything. The head of Aphrodite in our Museum is superior to anything I have seen in the Vatican. I also think that we have by far the better half of the so-called Ludovici Throne. I wish the Coliseum was situated in a more open space as is our Harvard Stadium, so that one could view its proportions at a single glance. I have been, of course, to see the grave of Keats, but that burying ground does not seem to me as interesting as our own Granary burying ground which one can see so comfortably from the upper windows of our own Athenaeum. I know that you will laugh at me for all this, but I really mean it, in a way. Of course Rome is the Eternal City; its yellow bricks, its masses of old construction, its old tombs in the Campagna give a great sense of antiquity. Rome has been loved by everyone. That is why we have brought so much of it home. I suppose I am getting old. I suppose this is why so much of it makes me homesick. I see in it the ruins of so many hopes greater than any of mine. Personally, I long to get back, but I think that the change is doing Eleanor a great deal of good. Although Horatio is very busy, he is doing what he can for us, a luncheon and two teas where we have met nearly everyone who is worth while. Yet I still feel a little out of touch with things. Will you please, if you can spare the time, go up to Boston and see if the roof at Hillcrest, near the angle by the Terrace, is still leaking. I have been having great difficulty with the carpenter about this. I should also like to know what is being done about the family of squirrels which has invaded the attic. I do not want them killed, but I do want them put out of the attic. This worries me very much. Eleanor sends her love. As far as I know she has not written to Budd for the last three days. Your mother and I both think that she is getting over it, and that is reason enough for the sacrifice we make in being here. I picked up a flea yesterday, I think in one of the small churches. That is one thing which we have not got at home. . . . Dear John:— I have just been to the Villa at Frascati. As I looked at the numerous fountains, I could not for the life of me remember whether or not the

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plumbing has been turned off at Hillcrest. Will you please wire about this? Also the cypresses reminded me that the evergreen hedge in the family lot has not been cut back at the cemetery. Will you please see about this, too? I cannot go away without neglecting a great deal. Eleanor has met a young man in the Guarda Nobile, and I do hope he will take her mind off Budd. He seems to be making the effort. I have bought several pictures for little John. Will you please get him the very best rocking horse that you can find for his Christmas present? I am counting the days when I can get home; so is Clara Goodrich. Your mother keeps wishing to remain. Believe me, I am only here on account of Eleanor. If Rome is beautiful, the food is not good. Will you please see that the locks are secure on the wine cellar at Beacon Street? . . . Dear John:— I have been very ill for the last three weeks, one of the first times that I have been ill in my life. It started with a cold I contracted from looking too long at the sunset. It developed into influenza. I still am very weak. The only good that has come out of all this trip is what it may do for Eleanor. She and your mother have been with me constantly. The thing which worries me, as your mother «nay have written, but you must not believe too much of it, is something one of the doctors has said about my heart. Please do not say anything about this to anyone. My heart has always been all right, and after all I am not so old. At any rate these Italian doctors have not improved since the days of Benvenuto Cellini, and they are all unsanitary. I shall not be in the least worried until I get an overhauling at home, and I don't want you to be. Clara Goodrich has been reading me the "Marble Faun." I do think Hawthorne has hit off the spirit of this place excellently. Again I caution you not to tell anyone about my heart because it is all bosh. . . . Thus we have the first intimation ever conveyed that Apley's health was failing. That he faced this failing in health with the gallantry of his kind is natural, and part of his tradition. Though he treated the matter lightly this opinion was not shared by his wife or daughter, and doubtless he himself secretly knew that there was reason to fear. This may account for his activities in the last years of his life and for his anxiety to set his mind and his house in order. Ever after this illness, one receives the very definite impression that Apley is taking leave of something, that he is balancing accounts with himself, that he is living more and more in a world of memory. He was more and more the spectator watching the world pass by. Even the marriage of his daughter Eleanor with William Budd, a New York journalist from Lan-

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caster, Pennsylvania, did not disturb him as it might have in former years. Apley's only comment was that he had done his best. I have done my best [he writes to his friend Walker]. And that is all anyone can do. It is now time for someone else to try. The doctors, who seem to me to be painfully ignorant men, are keeping me very still at Hillcrest this summer, but I have insisted on my Saturday bird walk with Clara Goodrich, and Catharine and the doctors can't stop that. As for Eleanor I am glad to say that I have never in any way tried to influence my children. She must lead her own life. I have led mine. The wedding, of course, was an important one, and I think at last my new son-in-law understands what he is getting into. He seemed quite shaken when I gave Eleanor away. At the reception, he appeared to do his best to pull himself together, but his manner was distrait. He and Eleanor are now somewhere on the West Coast. Of course, I am telling everyone that I am greatly pleased with Budd, and we shall let it go at that. This seems to me the definite end of a chapter. I am glad that my little grandson is here widi me, now able to walk. I seem to have more in common with him than I have with most people. He has the Apley eyes and the same yellow hair. His nurse, both his grandmother aniif I feel, neglects him shamefully, but he seems to survive it. My real reason for this letter is to ask you to come up to see me. I have not seen you for a long while, Mike. I really think you have been away from Boston long enough so that there would be no great flutter of gossip if you came back here on a little visit. I should see that only our own crowd met you, and we could have some good talks about the old days. I really do not think it would do any harm if you came up now on the grounds of seeing an old friend who is not well, although this ialk of my not being well is largely bosh. There are many reasons against the inclusion of the following lettea-, as it was written quite obviously at this time when Apley's health was failing. When one remembers the gallantry with which he faced as an active man the impairment of his physical faculties, for medical examination had proved only too clearly the existence of serious constitutional organic defects, the publication of this letter may seem unsportsmanlike; yet despite the depression of mood which it illustrates it contains an inherent soundness and is besides such an exposition of his philosophy that it cannot but be included. Dear John:— I have a good deal of time on my hands these days, more than I ever remember having. Except for two hours in the morning managing corre-

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spondence with Miss Fearing from the office I seem to spend most of my time on the porch watching John, Jr., playing in the sand pile we have built for him. I have been impressed to-day that he seems to do the same thing over and over again. He has definite limitations of activity and thought, but then that is true with most of us. We all do the same things over and over again. I have been amusing myself to-day by reading Emerson's essay on SelfReliance. There is a brave ring to the words. There is a courage about them which I like to think that Emerson and the rest of us, in a lesser measure, have drawn from the rocky soil and from this harsh climate. I like to think we are all self-reliant in a way, but sometimes Emerson leads one's thoughts along disturbing channels. Emerson disturbed me this afternoon. He made me do something which I have never really done. He made me examine my life objectively, and I cannot say that I liked it very much; however, I could see myself as perhaps you and some others see me. It seems to me that, although I have tried, I have achieved surprisingly little compared with my own father and his father, for instance. I repeat that this negative result has not been for want of trying. The difficulty seems to have been that something has always stepped in the way to prevent me. I have always been faced from childhood by the obligation of convention, and all of these conventions have been made by others, formed from the fabric of the past. In some way these have stepped in between me and life. I had to realize that they were designed to do just that. They were designed to promote stability and inheritance. Perhaps they have gone a little bit too far. When I stopped to think of it, I had the unpleasant conviction that everything I have done has amounted almost to nothing. I tried to think of the things which I have cared about most. In all conscience they have been simple things. They have been the relaxation after physical weariness—the feel of wind on the face, the feel of cold water on the body. I may say parenthetically that the doctors will no longer permit me to take my daily cold tub. Now and then something has come to me in unexpected moments when I have been near the woods or water at sundown. I have felt at such odd times a peace and happiness amounting to a belief that I was in tune with a sort of infinity. It has been like moments I have had with you and Eleanor when you were growing up. I have known the joys of companionship now and then, and I have known the deep satisfaction of friendship. I have known the satisfaction of accomplishing something on which I have centred all my energies and hopes. I have known the feeling of warm earth. I have heard the sleigh bells sound in winter. All this has been very good. Yet somehow I seem to have enjoyed very little of these pleasures, for I have never seemed to have had the time to enjoy them.

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More than this, I will tell you frankly I have sometimes deliberately tried not to enjoy them. I have turned away from them because I have believed that most of these were pleasures of the senses rather than of the intellect. I have been taught since boyhood not to give way to sensuality. I think this afternoon, now that it is almost too late, that this viewpoint may be a little wrong. There has been too much talk in my life. There has been too little action. These thoughts were still in my mind when I came in here to the library to write this letter, and now that I am here, I feel very much better. The family portraits are all around me. There is my grandfather painted on one of his visits to Paris. There is my own father when he was a young man. There are the Chippendale chairs and the tall clock and the gate-legged table. All these objects are very consoling this afternoon. I can realize now that these are the things which make people like you and me behave, the exacting tyrants from which we cannot escape, but there is something beneficial in their rule. Memory and tradition are the tyrants of our environment. You cannot be very radical or very wrong when you see Moses Apley's face. He made me think of some other things on the favorable ledger of my life. I have always told the truth. I have never shirked standing by my convictions. I have tried to realize that my position demanded and still demands the giving of help to others. I have tried in my poor way to behave toward all men in a manner which might not disgrace that position. Now I can feel a humble sense of pride that I have done go. I have not had a very good time in doing it. There is a great deal of talk in these days about happiness. An English woman named Mrs. Bertrand Russell, whose life in many ways has not been the same as mine, has written a strange book entitled "The Right To Be Happy" which has disturbed even your mother's admirable sense of balance. It seems to me to-day in all this unhappy country there is a loud, lonely cry for happiness. Perhaps it would be better if people realized that happiness comes only by indirection, that it can never exist by any conscious effort of the will. I think this is a mistake that you and Eleanor and all the rest of you are making. When the hour comes for you to balance your accounts I wonder if you will have had any better time than I. I doubt it. At any rate, I feel that I have been the means of continuing something which is worth more than happiness. I have stood for many things which I hope will not vanish from the earth. I am only one of many here who have done so. The world I have lived in may be in a certain sense restricted but it has been a good world and a just world. Much of it may have been built on a sense of security which is now disappearing but it has also been built on certain elements of the spirit which will always be secure: on honour and on courage and on truth. I have been engaged during the past two weeks in going over the details of my will. I am very anxious that certain small possessions go to the

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right people and that you and Eleanor will not quarrel over my wishes. I have sent the bronzes to the Art Museum yesterday, where they will be exhibited on the Apley side of the large wing. I, for one, am very glad to have them out of the house. The silver is being carefully listed and so is the furniture. I want you to take particular care to look after Norman Rowe at Pequod Island. There is also a fund being set aside for the servants. Do you want your great-grandmother's locket with your great-grandfather's hair inside it? If you don't I shall give it to the Historical Society. I am very much puzzled about what to do with certain family letters. I do not think there is anything in them which will do much harm and I do not wish to burn them. They are in five tin boxes on the left-hand side of the attic stairs. As you know, most of the Apley letter books are on loan at the Essex Institute, where I imagine you will be willing to leave them. For the rest you must come up here to see me. Copies of my own letters, pamphlets, and papers I am having arranged in suitable boxes marked and documented. A great many people are coming to call on me every afternoon, all sorts of younger members of the family and many older friends. I had not realized that I was so popular. , , , A HOUSE IN ORDER The Final Arrangements For a Pilgrim's Departure

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EAR John:— This letter may seem a gloomy one to you but it is not to me. It is prompted by a conversation I had with my doctor, Minot Wingate. I am convinced that he is an alarmist, as in many ways I have never felt better in my life or more appreciative of everything which is going on around me. Yet it is necessary at a certain time to make certain arrangements. These requests and suggestions I am making to you are in no sense urgent but will stand for a number of years. In the event of my death a good deal of pressure will be brought to bear on you to have an elaborate funeral. All the societies to which I belong and also the philanthropic organizations will in the nature of things send representatives, who will in all probability seek positions as honorary pallbearers. In this way the church aisle is apt to become very crowded and uncomfortable and this tendency seems to be growing, according to my observations of the funerals which I have attended recently. For myself I do not want anything of the sort. I simply want places reserved in the middle of the church for these representatives. The elaborate floral wreaths which they will present I want placed to one side as inconspicuously as is compatible with politeness. The order in which the family are to sit may be somewhat confusing to you. As you may not be as conversant with the various

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branches as I am, I am giving you a memorandum and a diagram. I am also giving a list of pallbearers and their order. You notice that I include Norman Rowe and our old coachman, if he is still alive, and also according to custom one representative to be chosen among the workers of the Apley Mills. This I think will give the necessary simplicity of tone. I need not tell you that these men must be treated with the same courtesy and respect which is accorded to the other pallbearers. After the funeral you will have special refreshments served to these three in the small servants' dining-room, either at Beacon Street or Hillcrest. My only reason for this is that I do not wish them to be embarrassed by the weight of the other company. I want you to spend at least fifteen minutes with them yourself and to take a personal interest in seeing that all their wants are satisfied. Also, you are to give each of them a twenty-dollar gold piece as coming directly from me, with my kindest regards. I want you to be especially careful to see that the secretary and officers of my Harvard class are made comfortable and are treated cordially. There must be whisky and cigars for these and a few others in the library, including of course the executors. I want you to be particularly careful that any friends of mine who may attend the church and whose dress and appearance may cause them embarrassment are looked out for with every possible attention and are thanked by you or by some other representative of the family personally for their thoughtfulness in attending. You may add, in speaking to them, that this was my particular wish. A word about the family will be enough. In my experience these occasions are apt to be the source of friction and ill feeling which may last over a period of years. There is apt to be a certain amount of jealousy displayed by those who wish to show themselves as having stood high in the regard of the deceased. Your mother and my sister Amelia will help you in estimating exactly the degree of attention which you must show to everyone. The Douglas Apleys will be apt as always to be somewhat officious and pushing. It may be as well to put them in one of the pews farther back. I shall hope that your Aunt Jane, if she is alive, may be able to attend but you must leave this decision to the doctors o£ the institution. In other words, I want everything to go as smoothly as though I were here myself to oversee it. The arrangements about the stone have been already made. I do not want any verse or inscription added. These few words with the memoranda I am giving you will cover the whole matter, except for a few afterthoughts I may have from time to time that will relieve you of considerable responsibility. There is one task which I am leaving up to you and which I want you to oversee personally in such a way that no gossip may be connected with it. I have put together a few odd articles, including some books which I owned in college. These I want you to bring yourself to a Mrs. Monahan O'Reilly, whose address you will find in my address book. I want you to

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see her personally and to tell her that it was my wish that she should have these things and my wish also, which you will agree to fulfill, that she shall come to you for your assistance in any time that she may be in any difficulty. I shall not say anything more about this matter but shall lely on your tact and your good judgment. If I .do not get around to it myself I wish you to remember that the joists in the cellar beneath the old laundry at Hillcrest are in very bad condition. They all have dry-rotted and should be replaced. If you attend to this I want you to get a new carpenter. The one I have has taken advantage of me of late in his bills. You must learn to watch this sort of person very carefully. I do not need to recommend to your care the four dogs on the place and the horses, because you have always been very fond of animals. Jacob the groom has been drinking heavily lately. You must wink at this as much as you possibly can. Jacob in many ways has been a fine fellow and has taught you to ride, himself. Somehow horses and liquor have a way of going together. Perhaps it is not for either of us to reason why. Things have been very gay and cheerful around here during the last few weeks. I have never had so many callers. A special dinner is being given for me at the Province Club and two old salts from the Apley Sailors' Home who remember your grandfather have come up especially to see me. Your great-uncle's gardener from Pachogue Neck has come up also and Norman Rowe has come down from Maine. Cousins of yours come in every day to see me. I think they are fine young people. Their ideas may be slightly different from mine but on the whole the family traits are about the same, and I am very proud to be related to them. Preparations are on foot already for the customary Thanksgiving party which will be a large one this year as I wish every possible member of the family to be included. I shall want, if it can be arranged, you and Louise to come up a week in advance. Your ideas are needed for the pencil and paper games and I am composing a small family pageant. You, of course, are to take the part of the first John Apley. I have found some of his old clothes in the attic, which I hope will fit you. It is high time for you to enter into the spirit of this occasion rather more assiduously than you have in the past. During the last week I have been working on several plans to rid the attic of those gray squirrels. I think now the only thing to do is to keep watch near the limb of the elm tree and to shoot them as they enter by that hole under the gutter. If the hole is stopped up they simply gnaw another. I should rather have you shoot them than one of the hired men. I really think it would look better. . . . My dear boy:— I cannot tell you how deeply your last letter, with its budget of good news, has moved me. You must give me credit for always knowing that

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you had the "right stuff" in you. If the War put some odd notions in youi head, you cannot be blamed for that. In many ways it made me a little bit eccentric myself. I have always known in the back of my mind that eventually you would settle down and that you would find that New York, though it may be agreeable in a way, is not the right place to raise children. Your acquaintances there may be more sprightly and amusing but they are not the same as old friends here. What makes me happier than anything else is the knowledge that you have come to this decision without my urging. I have told you more than once that there are certain things you cannot get away from and now you know it. You have had your fling and now you are coming back, as one of our flesh and blood inevitably must, to take up your responsibilities. I cannot be thankful enough that I have lived to see the time when all this "bosh" and nonsense is over with. You will understand, of course, that your long absence from Boston will be a considerable loss to you always. You and Louise will find difficulties and annoyances in taking up the position which was always waiting for you here. As you say that Louise is really the person who is obliging you to take this step, perhaps she will understand these difficulties better than you. Your mother is already writing to her and is taking steps to have her made a member of the Sewing Circle suitable to her age. By the time she arrives she will also find herself a member of the Thursday Afternoon Debating Club, which has given your mother and your Aunt Amelia such pleasure always. If she comes up a month from now she will have the opportunity of discussing "Is True Happiness Derived from Work Rather Than from Play?" The ladies all like these questions very much. Perhaps you and I can think of something more amusing, in the library, over a good cigar. The doctors still allow me one cigar a day. I shall take two on the day you come. Be sure to bring up some of the latest stories with you. It goes without saying that you will face many problems on your return among us. I am planning to resign from several boards, nominating you in my place. You will of necessity be the next president of the Apley Sailors' Home but a membership on the Lending Library is a different matter. I do not think you had better attempt this until your views on literature are a little bit more sound. Here, by the way, is something which I wish to advance to you confidentially. I have heard from very good authority that there may be a vacancy in the Harvard Corporation. Certain of us are looking for a younger man and one of the right sort. There is altogether too much sentiment here lately for getting outsiders and so-called "new blood" into Harvard. The traditions of the place must not be spoiled. There is actually some talk about a new president, about whom no one seems to have heard. Needless to say, this is only one of the wild rumours which circulate at such a time. Harvard will be Harvard, just as Harvard was old Harvard when Yale was but a pup. Seriously, I think you might be fitted to take your

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place on the corporation. It is true you have never been a scholar but now that you are actually going to live in Boston this does not really make much difference. I shall have some of the right people meet you and we shall see what can be done. There will be a good deal of hard work ahead for you at both the Province and the Berkley Clubs. Though you have been a member of both for some years you have not really identified yourself with either. This will take a long time because there are certain cliques in each with which one must cope very carefully. I do think, however, given the requisite amount of patience, you may be able to do rather well. There is one thing you must remember. Although you must show yourself at both these places as often as possible, even at the expense of other social obligations, you must try on the whole to be silent and observing. Do not above anything else, until you have been in Boston for at least five years, become involved in discussions with any of the regular members. This sort of thing creates a very bad general impression. The Berkley Club, which is founded on a more informal spirit, you must never treat too lightly. Although you must unbend there as much as possible be sure to unbend in a friendly way. You will doubtless be called upon, on one of the regular evenings, to tell some sort of story or perhaps to sing a song. Be sure that you pick out a very good story indeed because you will be largely identified by this first venture and you will frequently be called upon to repeat the same story. I have noticed that you are interested in certain social questions. Be sure to deal with these very lightly, if at all—better not at all. You must understand that the Berkley Club and the Province Club are both havens of refuge where no one wishes to be emotionally disturbed. But I am getting very far afield. I am speaking very prosily, out of sheer joy at having you come back. We can talk about all these matters together much more sensibly than I can ever put them down on paper. My mind and my heart are both too full for writing. I repeat I always knew that you had the right stuff in you and now we will have a chance to get to know each other. What I want particularly is to have a great many small men's dinners. There is so much to say. There is so much to talk about. God bless you. . . . George Apley died in his own house on Beacon Street on the thirteenth of December, 1933, two weeks after John Apley returned to Boston.

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E L L E N G L A S G O W Why she selected

The DEEP PAST I select this chapter from The Sheltered Life because it deals, in a way I like, with my favorite theme, the reflections of a civilized mind in a world that is virtually, and perhaps essentially, barbarian. Richmond, Va.



ELLEN GLASGOW

May 15, 1942

Y

OU look tired, Father," Mrs. Archbald remarked, when she had studied the old general for a moment. "Hadn't you better lie down?" "No, I like to feel the sun on me, and so does William. We'll sit in the park awhile and then walk up to the hospital." "Jenny Blair will go with you. She can wait downstairs while you are in Eva's room. The child is so distressed. She has always adored Eva." "Every one adores her." "Well, try not to worry. Something tells me that she will come through. Doctor Bridges feels very hopeful." "He would naturally—but maimed for life—" his voice trembled. "We must try not to think of that. If only she comes through it well." Then after a moment's thought, she added cheerfully, "It isn't as if she were a younger woman and still hoped to have children. She is forty-two, and has been married almost twenty years. One would never suspect that to look at her." After she finished, he lingered a moment, hoping and fearing that she might, if only by accident, become more explicit. Was she shielding Eva's modesty from him, an old man, who would have loved her had she been stripped bare not only of modesty but of every cardinal virtue? Or was such evasion merely an incurable habit of mind? Would George tell him the truth? Or was it conceivable that George did not know? 372

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"Will Jenny Blair come in time?" he asked, pricked by sudden fear. "I should not like to be late." "Why, you've at least two hours, Father, and if Jenny Blair isn't back in time, I'll go with you myself." "But I don't need anybody. I am able to go alone." No man needed protection less; but because he had lived a solitary male among women, he could never escape it, and because these women depended upon him, old General Archbald had remained at their mercy. It was impossible to wound the feelings of women who owed him the bread they ate and the roof over their heads, and so long as he did not hurt their feelings, they would be stronger than he was. Always, from his earliest childhood, he mused, with a curious resentment against life, he had been the victim of pity. Of his own pity, not another's. Of that doubleedged nerve of sympathy, like the aching nerve in a tooth, which throbbed alive at the sight of injustice or cruelty. One woman after another had enslaved his sympathy more than his passion, and never had she seemed to be the woman his passion demanded. Well, it is over, he thought, and knew that it would never be over. Again this secret hostility swept through his nerves, surprising him by its vehemence. Was it possible that he was beginning to break in mind before the infirmities of the flesh had attacked a single physical organ? Only yesterday, Bridges had told him that a man of sixty might be proud of his arteries. Only yesterday! And today he was annoyed by this queer tingling in his limbs, by this hollow drumming which advanced along his nerves and then receded into the distance. "Let us sit down a bit, William," he murmured, walking very erect, with a proper pride in his straight back and thighs and his well-set-up figure for a man of his eighty-three years. "I suppose this bad news about Eva has disturbed me. I'd rather lose my right arm than have anything happen to her." Dropping down on a green bench in the park, beneath a disfigured tulip tree, which was putting out into bud, he tried to imagine her ill, suffering, and waiting calmly for that dreaded hour under the knife. But no, she chose, as always capriciously, her own hour and mood to return to him. Never had he seen her cast aside her armour of gaiety. Never, among all the women he had known, had she asked him for sympathy. Never once had she tried to take care of him. For all her

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loveliness, she was, he found himself thinking aloud to William, curled up on the grass by the bench, a strong soul in affliction. A strong soul, still undefeated by life, she came to him now. She came to him out of the pale green distance, out of the flying clouds, out of the April bloom of the sky. Even to-day, he mused proudly, there wasn't a girl in Queenborough who was worthy to step into her shoes. Not one of them. Not Jenny Blair, a vivid little thing, but lacking in queenliness. Resting there, with his tired old hands clasped on the crook of his stick, he told himself that Eva Birdsong in her prime, before misfortune had sapped her ardent vitality, would have to put to shame all the professional beauties of Paris or London. Why, he had seen Mrs. Langtry, and had considered her deficient in presence. "Eva would have had all London at her feet," he meditated, without jealousy, since his devotion, at eighty-three, was of the mind alone. Or was this deception? Did one go down into the grave with the senses still alive in the sterile flesh? Well, no matter. The thread had snapped, and the question had floated out of his thoughts. Airy and fragile as mist, he watched it blown away into the April world, into that windy vastness which contained the end of all loving and all living. At least she had had, he pondered, sitting beside a triangular flowerbed, beneath the pale buds on the tulip tree, what she believed that she wanted. True, her life might have been easier if they hadn't been poor. Yet being poor, which kept her from parties where she once shone so brilliantly, had saved her also from brooding, from that fatal introspection which is the curse of women and poets. She had not had time to fall out of love. She had not had time to discover that George was unworthy. Or was it conceivable, as Cora suspected, that Eva knew the truth, and was merely preserving appearances? No, he could not believe this, he mused, poking the end of his stick into a tuft of young dandelions. Yet, while he rejected Cora's suspicion, he admitted that life would be more agreeable if women could realize that man is not a monogamous animal, and that even a man in love does not necessarily wish to love all the time. Certainly, there would be less unhappiness abroad in the world if good women could either accept or reject the moral nature of man. Over and over, he had seen the faith-

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ful lover lose to the rake in an affair of the heart. Over and over, he had seen a miracle of love that failed to make a conversion. Yet he knew, having much experience to build on, that even loose-living men are not all of one quality. It was not a simple question of merit. The diversity went deeper, far down through the nature of man into nature itself. George had lived according to life; his very faults were the too lavish defects of generosity. He was generous with himself always, and with his money whenever he was affluent. Not without a pang, the General remembered that long ago, when he was caught on the verge of financial ruin, George alone among his sympathetic friends had offered him help. The year before George had inherited his father's modest estate, and he would have sacrificed this fortune to save a friend from disaster. Later on, to be sure, he had speculated unwisely and lost his inheritance—but it was not of this that the General was thinking while he poked at the dandelions. He saw George, with his thick wind-blown hair, his smiling eyes, his look of virile hardness, of inexhaustible energy. Well-favoured enough if you judged by appearances, and did women, or men either for that matter, ever judge by anything else? But it was more than George's fine features, ruddy skin, and friendly grey eyes that made one reluctant to blame him. Yes, there was something more, some full-bodied virtue, some compensating humanity. "But I am human too," thought old General Archbald, "and what good has it done me?" . . . As a child, at Stillwater, they had called him a milk-sop, because he saw visions in the night and wanted to be a poet. The sight of blood sickened him; yet his grandfather assured him. with truth, that hunting had given greater pleasure to a greater number of human beings than all the poetry since Homer. Pity, said the men who had none, is a woman's virtue; but he had known better than this. A poet's virtue, it may be. He was not sure. So much virtue passed into a poet when he was dead; when his immortal part was bound in English calf and put into a library. Little girls, however, were not pitiful. Little girls were as savage as boys, only weaker. They had never failed to torment him. They had laughed when he was made sick; they had mocked at his visions; they had stolen his poems and used them for curl-papers. Strange, the images that were dragged up like bits of shell, in a net

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of the memory! All his life curl-papers had remained, for him, the untidy symbol of an aversion. No, little girls were not gentle. And even his tender-hearted mother, who nursed her servants in illness, and had never used the word "slave" except in the historical sense— even his mother was incapable of the pity that becomes a torment to the nerves. She accepted meekly, as an act of God's inscrutable wisdom, all the ancient wrongs and savage punishments of civilization. . . . Again General Archbald sighed and prodded the dandelions. Again the thread snapped and a flock of unrelated images darted into his mind. . . . "Where did the boy get his tomfool ideas?" his robust grandfather inquired sternly. "Was he born lacking?" "Not lacking, Father," his mother protested, "but different. Some very nice people," she added, with an encouraging glance at her peculiar child, "are born different. He may even turn out to be a poet." "Do you think," his father asked in a troubled tone, "that we had better try changing his tutor ? Is it possible that Mr. Davis has infected him with newfangled ideas?" His mother shook her head in perplexity, for it distressed her that one of her sons should be deficient in manliness. "But the other boys are all manly. Even if Mr. Davis has talked of abolition, after giving us his word that he would treat the—the institution with respect, I have never heard that New Englanders disliked bloodshed. I thought, indeed, it was exactly the opposite. Don't you remember I opposed your engaging Mr. Davis because I had always heard the Puritans were a hard and cruel people? Perhaps," she confessed bravely, "he may inherit his eccentric notions from me. Though I try to be broadminded, I can't help having a sentiment against cock-fights." "Pooh! Pooh!" his grandfather blustered, for he belonged to the Georgian school of a gentleman. "Would you deprive the lower classes of their favourite sport? As for this young nincompoop, I'll take him deerhunting tomorrow. If he is too much of a mollycoddle to kill his buck, we'll try to scare up a fawn for him." A famous hunter in his prime, the old gentleman still pursued with hounds any animal that was able to flee. Fortunately, game was plentiful and game laws unknown in the fields and forests of Stillwater. For nothing escaped his knife or his gun, not the mole in

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the earth, not the lark in the air. He could no more look at a wild creature without lusting to kill than he could look at a pretty girl without lusting to kiss. Well, it was a pity he had not lived to enjoy the war; for the killing nerve, as his grandson had once said of him, was the only nerve in his body. Yet he had fallen in love with a woman because of her fragile appearance; and when she had gone into a decline after the birth of her fifth child, and had lost her reason for a number of years, he had remained still devoted to her. Against the advice of his family and his physician, he had refused to send her away, and had kept her, behind barred windows, in the west wing of the house. To be sure, when she died, he had married again within seven months; but only his first wife, though he had buried two others, had given him children, and through her the strain of melancholy had passed into the Archbald blood. . . . From his father, with filial patience, "For my part, I try not to kill a doe or a fawn." "Fiddlesticks, sir! You talk like an abolitionist. Didn't the Lord provide negroes for our servants and animals for our sport? Haven't you been told this from the pulpit? I hope, sir, I shan't live to see the day when every sort of sport is no longer welcome at Stillwater." Even the field hands in the quarters, General Archbald remembered, had their "coon or possum dawgs," and went rabbit chasing on holidays when there were no cock-fights. High or low, good or bad, manners at Stillwater were a perpetual celebration of being alive. No other way of living had ever seemed to him so deeply rooted in the spirit of place, in an established feeling for life. Not for happiness alone, not for life at its best only, but for the whole fresh or salty range of experience. There was, too, a quality, apart from physical zest, that he had found nowhere else in the world, a mellow flavour he had never forgotten. Naturally, as a child, he did not hunt or shoot with his grandfather; but several weeks later, on a brilliant November morning, he watched a buck at bay pulled down by the hounds in a rocky stream. He could not remember how it happened. By accident, probably, when he was out with his tutor. At first, watching the death, he had felt nothing. Then, in a spasm, the retch of physical nausea. For the eyes of the hunted had looked into his at the end; and that look was to

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return to him again and again, as a childish fear of the dark returns to the grown man when his nerves are unstrung. In how many faces of men, women, children, and animals, all over the world, had he seen that look of the hunted reflected? A look of bewilderment, of doubt, of agony, of wondering despair; but most of all a look that is seeking some God who might, but does not, show mercy. All over the world! North, South, East, West. On the heights, in the desert. With blood on his hands and a savage joy inflaming his face, his grandfather strode over to smear stains on a milksop. "If you don't like the taste of blood better than milk, you'll have to be blooded. Hold still, sir, I say, and be blooded." Then, as the blood touched him, the boy retched with sickness, and vomited over the anointing hand and the outstretched arm. "Damn you, sir!" the old gentleman bellowed, while he wiped away the mess with his silk handkerchief. "Go back to the nursery where you belong!" Still retching, furious and humiliated because he had been born a milksop, the boy rode home with his tutor. "I don't love people!" he sobbed passionately. "I don't love people!" Was it fair to blame him because he had been born different? Was anybody to blame for the way God had let him be born? How close that day seemed to him now, that day and others at Stillwater. The more distant a scene, the clearer it appeared in his vision. Things near at hand he could barely remember. Even yesterday was smothered in fog. But when he looked far back in the past, at the end of seventy years or more, the fog lifted, and persons and objects started out in the sunken glow on the horizon. Instead of diminishing with time, events in the deep past grew larger, and the faces of persons long dead became more vivid and lifelike than life itself. "It is old age," he thought wearily. "It is a sign of old age to lack proper control." Or was the cause deeper still? he mused, while the shadow of a bird flitted over the grass and was gone. Was this second self of his mind, as variable as wind, as nebulous as mist, merely the forgotten consciousness of the poet who might have been? Sitting here in the spring sunshine, was he living again, was he thinking again, with that long buried part of his nature? For his very words, he realized, were the words of that second self, of the self he had always been in dreams and never been in reality. Again

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the bird flitted by. He did not know. He could not tell. No matter how hard he tried, it was impossible to keep his thoughts from rambling back into the past. It was impossible to trace a connection between the past and present. Was he growing in his old age, like poor Rodney, who had surrendered to shadows? Better let the past disappear and hold firmly to the bare structure of living. For an instant his look wandered from the trees in the park to the few carriages and many motor cars in Washington Street. Yes, the world was changing rapidly, and he wondered what was waiting ahead. He could remember when Queenborough had the charm of a village; but now, wherever he looked, he found ugliness. Beauty, like every other variation from type, was treated more or less as a pathological symptom. Did Americans, especially Southerners, prefer ugliness ? Did ugliness conform, he pondered fancifully, to some automatic aesthetic spring in the dynamo ? But even if the scientific method destroyed beauty, there would be no more great wars, only little wars that no one remembered, said John Welch. What, indeed, would be left to fight about when people thought alike everywhere, and exact knowledge had spread in a vast cemetery for ideals all over the world ? So John Welch, being very advanced in opinion, would argue for hours; but when argument was ended, old General Archbald could not see that human nature was different from what it had been in his youth. To be sure, idealism, like patriotism, appeared to diminish with every material peace between conflicts; but^ie was near enough to the Spanish War, and indeed to the Civil War, to realize that the last battle has never been fought and the last empty word has never been spoken. Not that it mattered. All he knew now was that he was too old to bother about life. He was too old to bother about cruelty, which he had seen all over the world, in every system invented by man; which he had seen in a velvet mask, in rags, and naked except for its own skin. Yes, he was too old to suffer over the evils that could not be cured. Only, whenever he listened to John Welch assailing the present order, he was reminded of his own revolt against slavery in the eighteen fifties. The reformers of that age had believed that all the world needed was to have negro slavery abolished. Yet negro slavery was gone, and where it had been, John said, another system had ushered in the old evils with a clean, or at least a freshly wiped

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face. What the world needed now, cried the modern reformers, like John Welch, was the new realism of science. For one confirmed habit had not changed with the ages. Mankind was still calling human nature a system and trying vainly to put something else in its place. But a world, made, or even made over, by science was only a stark and colourless spectacle to old David Archbald. A thin-lipped world of facts without faith, of bones without flesh. Better the red waistcoats and the soulful vapouring of early Romanticism. Better even the excessive sensibility of mid-Victorian aesthetics. Since he belonged to the past, if he belonged anywhere, his mental processes, it seemed, were obliged to be disorderly. When he said, "I am more than myself," when he said, "Life is more than living," when he blundered about "the nature of reality," he was still, or so John Welch declared, harping on a discredited idealism. "Transcendental!" John would snap when he meant "Nonsense!" Glancing from the street to the sky, while the thread broke again, General Archbald reflected that it was easy to be an idealist in this pleasant spring of the year 1914, and to look with hope, if not with confidence, to the future. It was true that the familiar signs of uneasiness were abroad in the world. There was trouble not only in China and Mexico, where one naturally expected trouble to be, but among a part at least of the population of Europe. Power everywhere was growing more arrogant, and unrest more unrestful. Socialism was springing up and tfrking root in soil that appeared sterile. In Great Britain, Ulster and the suffragettes were disturbing a peace that turned in its broken sleep and dreamed of civil war. Nearer home, pirates had deserted the seas and embarked afresh as captains of industry. But in the realm of ideas, where hope reigned, the prospect was brighter. There the crust of civilization, so thin and brittle over the world outside, was beginning to thicken. Religion and science, those hoary antagonists, were reconciled and clasped in a fraternal embrace. Together, in spite of nationalism, in spite even of nature, they would build, or invent, the New Jerusalem for mankind. In that favoured province, smooth, smiling, well-travelled, there would be neither sin nor disease, and without wars all the ancient wrongs would be righted. Nobody, not even the old sunning themselves on green benches, would be allowed to ramble in mind.

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Well, perhaps. . . . No harm could come, he supposed, of a sanguine outlook. Only—only, did not that outlook approach a little too close to a formula? Were material ends all the world needed to build on? Was passion, even in the old, a simple problem of lowering your blood pressure and abandoning salt ? Could a man discard his thinking self as lightly as he discarded the doctrine of an ultimate truth ? When John said, "A green bench is only a green bench," was he wiser than old David Archbald, who replied, "A green bench is not the green bench I touch"? True, men no longer wrangled in public halls over the nature of reality. But he could not see that exact knowledge and precision of language had improved the quality of mankind. Well, the wonder in every age, he supposed, was not that most men were savage, but that a few men were civilized. Only a few in every age, and these few were the clowns in the parade. . . . Suddenly, while he meditated, it seemed to him that the shape of the external world, this world of brick and asphalt, of men and women and machines moving, broke apart and dissolved from blown dust into thought. Until this moment he had remembered with the skin of his mind, not with the arteries; but now, when the concrete world disappeared, he plunged downward through a dim vista of time, where scattered scenes from the past flickered and died and flickered again. At eighty-three, the past was always like this. Never the whole of it. Fragments, and then more fragments. No single part, not even an episode, complete as it had happened. In each hour, when he had lived it, life had seemed important to him; but now he saw that it was composed of things that were all little things in themselves, of mere fractions of time, of activities so insignificant that they had passed away with the moment in which they had quivered and vanished. How could any one, he asked, resting there alone at the end, find a meaning, a pattern? Yet, though his mind rambled now, he had walked in beaten tracks in his maturity. His soul, it is true, had been a rebel; but he had given lip-homage, like other men all over the world, to creeds that were husks. Like other men all over the world, he had sacrificed to gods as fragile as the bloom of light on the tulip tree. And what was time itself but the bloom, the sheath enfolding experience? Within time, and within

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time alone, there was life—the gleam, the quiver, the heart-beat, the immeasurable joy and anguish of being. . . . The trail plunged straight and deep into the November forest. There was the tang of woodsmoke far off in a clearing. Frost was spun over the ground. The trees were brilliant with the yellow of hickory, the scarlet of sweet gum, the wine-red of oaks. Why was he here? How had he come? Was he awake or asleep? Ah, he knew the place now. A forest trail at Stillwater. But they had left Stillwater fifty years ago. Well, no matter. No matter that he was a boy and an old man together, or that the boy wanted to be a poet. It was all the same life. A solitary fragment, but the same fragment of time. Time was stranger than memory. Stranger than his roaming again through this old forest, with his snack and a thin volume of Byron tucked away in his pocket. Here was the place he had stopped to eat his snack, while his pointer puppies, Pat and Tom, started game in the underbrush. Then, as he stood with his head up and his eyes on the westering sun through the trees, he knew that he was watched. He knew that there were eyes somewhere among the leaves, and that these eyes, the eyes of the hunted, were watching him. It was the look in the eyes of the dying buck, but now it was everywhere. In the trees, in the sky, in the leaf-strewn pool, in the underbrush, in the very rocks by the trail. All these things reflected and magnified to his quivering nerves the look of the hunted. Because of the fear in his nerves, he cried out, expecting no answer. But before his call ended, there was a stir in the woods; the leaves scattered; and through the thick branches, he met the eyes of a runaway slave. Ragged, starved, shuddering, a slave crouched on the forest mould, and stared at the bread and meat in the boy's hand. When the food was given to him, he gulped it down and sat watching. Haggard with terror and pain, a dirty rag wrapping his swollen jaw, his clothes as tattered as the shirt of a scarecrow, he had been driven by hunger and cold up from the swamps. His breath came with a wheezing sound, and his flesh shed the sour smell of a wild animal. (A sour smell and a filthy rag after nearly seventy years!) For weeks—for months, even, he may have lain hidden; but the deep swamps were far away, and he was the first fugitive slave to come within the boundaries of Stillwater. Beyond speech, beyond prayer,

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nothing remained in his eyes but bewilderment. "Nobody will hurt you," the boy said, emptying his pockets of the cornbread he had brought for the puppies. "Nobody will hurt you," he repeated, as if the creature were deaf or inarticulate. While he gave the promise, a wave of courage, of daring, of high adventure, rushed over him. For the second time in his young life he was defying the established order, he was in conflict with the moral notions of men. Is it true, he asked himself now, that man's pity and man's morality are for ever in conflict ? Is it true that pity is by nature an outlaw ? Well, he liked to think that he had not hesitated; no, not for an instant. Again that day he had returned to the hidden place in the forest. He had brought clothes taken from the old garments in his father's and his grandfather's closets, food that he had found put away in the pantry, and a little wine that had been left over in the glasses at lunch. From his own bed he had stolen a blanket, and from his grandfather's "body servant" he had borrowed, as if in jest, the "ticket" that permitted Abram Jonas to visit his wife in another county. "When it is over, they will have to know," the boy thought, as he trudged back into the forest with the help he had come to fetch. "When it is over." And then what had happened? His memory faded, died down to ashes, and shot up more brightly. Two mornings later, he had set out in an old buggy, with a decently clothed servant on the seat at his side. Miles away, screened from the turnpike, he had put a knapsack of food and the money he was saving to buy a colt into the hands of the runaway. "Your name is Abram Jonas. This is a paper that says so. You belong to Gideon Archbald, and you are going to visit your wife in Spottsylvania. Do you remember that? What is your name? Say it once more." "Abram Jonas, marster." "You'd better repeat it as you go along. I am Abram Jonas. Here is the paper that says so." "I'se Abram Jonas, marster. Dis heah is de paper." The fugitive looked up at him, first with the fear of the hunted, then with a dawning intelligence. "Thanky, marster," and turning, he had limped away from the turnpike into a forest trail. What had become of him? Had he escaped? Was he caught? Did he drop down like an animal and die of the shuddering misery of life? After all these years General Archbald was still curious. But no

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word had come. Only silence. Only silence, and the feeling that he had taken his stand against the forces men about him called civilization. He had defied not only the moral notions of his age and his place, but the law and the Constitution and the highest court in the land. The truth came out at last when the real Abram Jonas asked for the return of his "ticket"; and, as a measure of discipline, David's father sent his youngest son abroad to be educated. He was sixteen then; and years afterwards, when he left Oxford, he had lived in Paris and London. Ironically, he had begun to think of himself as a stranger in his world and his age. Yet when the war came, he was drawn back to his own. He was drawn back to fight for old loyalties. After the war he had endured poverty and self-denial and, worst of all, darned clothes for a number of years. Then, while he was still burdened by defeat, he had compromised Erminia and proposed to her the next morning. Well, the past was woven of contradictions. For eighty-three years he had lived two lives, and between these two different lives, which corresponded only in time, he could trace no connection. What he had wanted, he had never had; what he had wished to do, he had never done. . . . A fog clouded his mind, and he heard a voice like his own remark testily, "Rambling is a sign of age, but I can't keep hold of the present." He couldn't keep hold of yesterday, of last month, of last year, of the faces he knew best, of the features even of his wife, which had grown vague since her death. Now, at the end, all faces of women, even the faces of women he had slept with, looked alike to him. All faces of women, except, perhaps—he wasn't sure—the face of Eva Birdsong. "No, I can't remember," he repeated, while this suppressed irritation clotted his thoughts. "I'm too old to remember that anything, especially any woman, made a difference in life." Then, softly, while he was thinking this, the fog in his mind dispersed, and the crowd of women's faces melted to air, and reassembled in a solitary face he had not forgotten. Fifty years—nearer sixty years now—since he had lost her. What was the use, he pondered resentfully, in dragging back that old memory, that old passion? Why couldn't the dead stay dead when one had put them away? Half a century of dust! Yet she came to him, unspoiled by time, out of the drifting haze of the present. Was it because he had loved her alone? Or did she shine there, lost, solitary, unforgotten, merely because she

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was farther away than the others? Not that it mattered. The cause was unimportant beside the vast significance of that remembrance. But why, after all, had he loved her? Even when he had fallen in love with her that April in England, he could not point to a single perfection and say, "I love her because she is beautiful, or brilliant, or gifted." There was nothing unusual about her, his friends had remarked wonderingly. Dozens of women he knew in London were handsomer, or wittier, or more conspicuously good. Small, shy, pale, she was utterly lacking in the presence so much admired by English society in the eighteen fifties. When he first met her, she was married to the wrong man, and was the mother of two delicate children. Had he fallen in love with a veiled emptiness, a shadow without substance ? Yet her blue eyes, as soft as hyacinths, had promised joy that was infinite. Or had he loved her because he had seen in her face the old fear and bewilderment of the hunted? Had her memory endured because it was rooted not in desire but in pity? Happier loves, lighter women, he had forgotten. No matter what people say, he thought moodily, it takes more than going to bed with a woman to fix her face in one's mind. For this woman alone he had loved and lost without wholly possessing. Yet she was there when he turned back, clear, soft, vivid, with some secret in her look that thrilled, beckoned, and for ever eluded him. Her tyes were still eloquent with light; the promised joy was still infinite; the merest glimmer of a smile had outlasted the monuments of experience. Yet like everything else in his life, important or unimportant, his passion seemed, when it occurred, to come at the wrong moment. He had intended to leave London; his ticket to Paris was in his pocket; his bags were packed. Then a tooth had begun to ache—a tooth he had lost only last year—and he had decided to stay over a day or two and consult an English dentist who had once treated him for an abscess. Not an act of God, he told himself (unless a twinge of pain were an act of God), but a toothache had decided his destiny. Had the pain come a day later, just one sunrise and one sunset afterwards, he might have escaped. But falling as it did in that infinitesimal pin point of time, his fate had been imprisoned in a single luminous drop of experience. Looking back, he had often wondered why there had been no

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suspicion of danger, no visible or invisible warning that he was approaching the crossroads. Even the voice of his old friend was not ruffled when she met him on his way to the dentist and asked him to dinner. Some one had dropped out at the last moment. Tony Bracken (he had not forgotten that it was Tony Bracken) had been summoned to the deathbed of his great-uncle, and since Tony was the heir, he was obliged, naturally, to go when he was summoned. So, in spite of an occasional twinge, young David had braced himself with whiskey, applied laudanum to his tooth, and set out on an adventure beside which all the other occasions of his life were as flat as balloons that are pricked. Even then, if she had not stood alone in that particular spot, between a lamp and a window, he might never have noticed her. "I wonder who she is," he thought, observing her loneliness; and then, as she raised her lowered lashes and he met her gaze, "She looks frightened." Was he called or driven when he went straight to her through the crowded room? Was it pity or the compulsion of sex that awakened while he watched her hesitate, bite her lip with a nervous tremor, and try in vain to think of something to say ? "What can have frightened her?" he thought, as his hand closed over hers. Her eyes held him, and he asked, "Are you alone?" She shook her head, "No. my husband is with me." Her husband! Well, most women had husbands, especially most women one met at dinner in London. It was too late after that first look to think of a husband. It was too late to think even of children. In the end her marriage had won, as dead sounds inevitably win over living voices; but while he stood there and looked into her upturned face, that sulky, well-set-up sportsman and his two vague children had no part in the moment. Nothing mattered to him but the swift, tumultuous, utterly blissful sense of recognition—of now, here, this is my hour. Not the indefinite perhaps, to-morrow, some day in the future. The world, so colourless an instant before, had become alive to the touch. People and objects, sights, sounds, scents even, were vibrating with light. And now, after sixty years, he could see that moment as clearly and coldly as if it were embedded in crystal. What is memory, a voice asked on the surface of thought, that it should outlast emotion?

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For he remembered, but he could feel nothing. Nothing of the old rapture, the wildness, the illusion of love's immortality. He still mused with remorseful sympathy of Erminia, whom he had never loved, whose death had brought him release; but the burning ecstasy of desire had left only emptiness. Only emptiness, and the gradual chill of decay. Why had it happened? What was the meaning of it all? he demanded, caught within the twisting vision of age. Why had passion strong enough to ruin his life forsaken him while he lived? Why had it left only two diminished shapes, performing conventional gestures in a medium that was not time—that was not eternity? Did they still exist, those diminished shapes, in a timeless reality? Were they blown off from time into some transparent substance superior to duration? Did he survive there and here also? Which was the real David Archbald, the lover in memory, or the old man warming his inelastic arteries in the April sunshine ? Or were they both merely spirals of cosmic dust, used and discarded in some experimental design ? . . . For an hour, a single hour, of her love he would have given his life when he was young. Her death had left a jagged rent in the universe. Yet if she returned to him now, he knew that it would mean only an effort—only the embarrassment that comes to persons who have loved and separated when they were young, and then meet again, unexpectedly, after they have grown old apart. Strangely enough, if any woman were to return from the dead, he preferred that she should be Erminia. Were the dead like that to the old? Were the intenser desires obliterated by the duller sensations? Joy, longing, disappointment, personalities that impinged upon one another, and then, separating, left only a faint outline of dust. Life was not worth the trouble, he thought. Life was not worth the pang of being, if only that faint outline remained. For the passion of his youth had ended as swiftly as it had begun, and at first he had not even suspected that the vehement craving was love. Helpless, bewildered, he had struggled blindly in the grasp of a power he could not resist and could not understand. All he knew was that her presence brought the world into beauty, that his whole being was a palpitating ache for her when she was absent. Inarticulate, passive, without the compelling ardour of sex, she had exercised that ruthless tyranny over desire. Or was it true, as he had sometimes imagined, that he himself was a rare, or

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perhaps a solitary, variation from sex ? Were his deeper instincts awakened only by pity ? As the generations went on, would there be others and still others of his breed born into an aging world? Was he more civilized than the average race of males, or simply more white-livered, as his virile grandfather believed? Well, he was too old, he repeated stubbornly, and life was too long over, to bother about what couldn't be helped. All he asked now was to sit in the April sunshine and wait for death with William beside him. But was it really long over? What if it were true that some fragment of his lost ecstasy still survived there, burning with its own radiance, beyond that dim vista of time? What if it were true that such bliss, such agony, such unavailing passion, could never end? All that spring and a part of the summer they had met secretly and joyously; and their secret joy had overflowed into the visible world. The landscape in which they moved borrowed the intense, quivering brightness of a place seen beneath the first or the last sunbeams. Spring was as fair as it looks to a man about to be hanged. Never again were the fields so starry with flowers, the green so luminous on the trees, the blue of the April sky so unearthly. Years afterwards (sometimes as a young man in a strange bed, or again in the long fidelity to a wife he had never desired) a flitting dream of that English spring would flood his heart with an extraordinary delight. For a moment, no longer, since he invariably awoke while the joy flickered and died. Always, except in dreams, the past had escaped him. The anguish alone had stayed by him in the beginning, closer than the flesh to his bones or the nerves to his brain. And even in sleep, his bliss, when it returned, was only the tremor of light before a dawn that never approached. Would it have been different if she had lived? For she had not lived, and he could never know what his life might have been without that ugly twist in the centre. They had planned to go away together, he devoured by love and longing, she fearful, passive, yielding mutely to that implacable power. In July, they would go to Venice and begin life over in Italy. The tickets were bought; her few boxes were at the station; the compartment was reserved; and then the merest accident had detained them. In the middle of that last night, while she was destroying her letters, one of the children had awakened

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with a sore throat. The nurse had come for her; she had sat till dawn beside the crib in the nursery; and when morning came she had lost the courage for flight. Fear, the old fear of life, of the unknown, had triumphed over them both. For an eternity, it seemed to him, he walked the station platform. The guard shut the doors fast; the train drew out slowly. Still he watched with an intolerable ache of desolation while the engine was sliding over the straight track to the gradual curve in the distance. Then, turning away, he wandered, distraught with misery, out into the street. Why? why? why? he demanded of a heaven that seemed as unstable as water. Overhead, low, flying clouds scudded like foam driven by wind. In the country, he walked for hours through rain vague as suspense, soft, fine, slow as mist falling. Afterwards, she wrote that the struggle was over; she could not give up her children —and in the early autumn he heard from a stranger that she had drowned herself in a lake. Lost, vanished, destroyed by the fear for which he had loved her in the beginning! When he knew that she was dead, he went alone into the country, to the secret places where they had met and loved in the spring. In his memory, these places shone out suddenly, one after another, as scattered lights come out in a landscape at dusk. The woods, the fields, the stream where cowslips bloomed, the grey bench with its blurred marking, the flowers, the bright grass. Now it was spring, but in this flickering scene, he walked there in autumn. Everything returned to him; the falling leaves, the trail of autumn scents in the air, everything but the vital warmth in his agony. Yet he knew, while this light flashed out and moved on again, through the encompassing darkness, that the form, if not the essence, of his passion had lain hidden somewhere beneath the surface of life. In his anguish, he had flung himself beyond time, beyond space, beyond the boundaries of ultimate pain. A panic stillness was in the air; the whole external world, the blue sky, the half-bared trees, the slow fall of the leaves, the grass sprinkled with bloom,—all this was as hollow as a bubble blown from a pipe. Nothing remained alive, nothing but his despair in a universe that was dead to the touch. Again and again, he had cried her name in this panic stillness. He had cried her name; but she was gone; she could never return. Not though he

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waited for ever in the place she had left, could she return to him. In the end, she had escaped the terror of life. She had escaped his love and his pity. She had escaped into hollowness. But while the light shone in that vacant place, every twig on the trees, every blade of grass stood out illuminated. Then this also had passed. Anguish, he discovered, was scarcely less brief than joy. The light went out and moved on again. Days, weeks, months, years passed, and a thick deposit of time hardened into a crust of despair over his wound. "I do not wish to forget," he said, and in forming the thought had already begun to forget and to recover. Yet, though he enjoyed life again, he never lost entirely the feeling that he was crippled in spirit, that there was a twisted root, an ugly scar, at the source of his being. The poet had died in him, and with the poet had died the old living torment of pity. When he sailed home to fight with his people, he found that the hunted buck, the driven slave, the killing of men in battle, left him more annoyed than distressed. Nothing, not even death, not even dying, seemed important; yet it was amazing to discover how much pleasure could come after one had ceased to expect happiness. Little things began to matter supremely. A smile, a kiss, a drink, a chance encounter in love or war. Appetite, he told himself, with gay cynicism, had taken the place of desire; and it was well that it should be so. There was much to be said in favour of living if only one were careful not to probe deeply, not to touch life on the nerve. If only one were careful, too, not to shatter the hardened crust of despair. Even so, there were moments, there were hours when he was visited by the old sensation of something missing, as if he were part of a circle that was bent and distorted and broken in pieces. Life, as well as himself, seemed to be crippled, to have lost irrevocably a part of the whole. Still, in the solitude of the night, he would awake from his dream of a bliss that hovered near but never approached, and think, with a start of surprise, "If I awoke and found her beside me, would all the broken pieces come together again? Should I find that life was simple and right and natural and whole once more?" Then the dream, the surprise, the pang of expectancy, would fade and mingle and dissolve into emptiness. Like a man hopelessly ill who realizes that his malady is incurable, he would distract his mind with those

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blessed little things of life that bear thinking about. Well, he was used to it now, he would repeat again and again; he was used to the ache, the blackness, even to the stab of delight which pierced him in sleep. He had accepted the sense of something missing as a man accepts bodily disfigurement. After the first years of his loss, he was prepared, he felt, for all the malicious pranks grief can play on the memory. He was prepared even for those mocking resemblances that beckoned him in the street, for those arrowy glimpses of her in the faces of strange women, for that sudden wonder, poignant as a flame, "What if the past were a delusion!" "What if she were within reach of my arms!" No, it had been many years, thirty, almost forty years, since life had so mocked him. He had fought through the war. Strange, how insignificant, how futile, any war appeared to him now! He could never, not even when he took an active part in one, understand the fascination war exercised over the human mind. Then, when it was over, he had let life have its way with him. Though the poet in him was lost, he became in later years a prosperous attorney, and a member in good standing, so long as one did not inquire too closely, of the Episcopal Church. . . . Sitting there in the pale sunshine, so carefully brushed and dressed by his man Robert, he told himself that, in spite of the ugly twist in the centre, he had had a fair life. Nothing that he wanted, but everything that was good for him. Few men at eighty-three were able to look back upon so firm and rich a past, upon so smooth and variegated a surface. A surface! Yes, that, he realized now, was the flaw in the structure. Except for that one defeated passion in his youth, he had lived entirely upon the shifting surface of facts. He had been a good citizen, a successful lawyer, a faithful husband, an indulgent father; he had been, indeed, everything but himself. Always he had fallen into the right pattern; but the centre of the pattern was missing. Once again, the old heartbreaking question returned. Why and what is human personality? An immortal essence? A light that is never blown out? Or a breath, a murmur, the rhythm of molecular changes, scarcely more than the roving whisper of wind in the tree-tops? A multitude of women people the earth: fair women, dark women; tall women, short women; kind women, cruel women; warm women,

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cold women; tender women, sullen women—a multitude of women, and only one among them all had been able to appease the deep unrest in his nature. Only one unit of being, one cluster of living cells, one vital ray from the sun's warmth, only one ripple in the endless cycle of time or eternity, could restore the splintered roots of his life, could bring back to him the sense of fulfilment, completeness, perfection. A single personality out of the immense profusion, the infinite numbers! A reality that eluded analysis! And yet he had been happy as men use the word happiness. Rarely, since his youth, had he remembered that something was missing, that he had lost irrevocably a part from the whole, lost that sense of fulfilment not only in himself but in what men call Divine goodness. Irrevocably—but suppose, after all, the loss were not irrevocable! Suddenly, without warning, a wave of joy rose from the unconscious depths. Suppose that somewhere beyond, in some central radiance of being, he should find again that ecstasy he had lost without ever possessing. For one heart-beat, while the wave broke and the dazzling spray flooded his thoughts, he told himself that he was immortal, that here on this green bench in the sun, he had found the confirmation of love, faith, truth, right, Divine goodness. Then, as swiftly as it had broken, the wave of joy spent itself. The glow, the surprise, the startled wonder, faded into the apathetic weariness of the end. He was only an old man warming his withered flesh in the April sunshine. "My life is nearly over," he thought, "but who knows what life is in the end?" A cloud passed overhead; the changeable blue of the sky darkened and paled; a sudden wind rocked the buds on the tulip tree; and in the street, where life hurried by, a pillar of dust wavered into the air, held together an instant, and then sank down and whirled in broken eddies over the pavement.

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Marjorie KINNAN RAWLINGS Why she selected

HYACINTH

DRIFT

I believe that the chapter in my last book, Cross Cree\, titled "Hyacinth Drift," expresses my feeling for a natural background, which to me must always stand like a back-drop behind any study of human relations. Hawthorn, Fla.

MARJORIE KINNAN RAWLING'S !

May 19, 1942

O

NCE I lost touch with the Creek. I had had hardships that seemed to me more than one could bear alone. I loved the Creek, I loved the grove, I loved the shabby farmhouse. Suddenly they were nothing. The difficulties were greater than the compensations. I talked morosely with my friend Dessie. I do not think she understood my torment, for she is simple and direct and completely adjusted to all living. She knew only that a friend was in trouble. She said, "We'll take one of those river trips we've talked about. We'll take that eighteen-foot boat of yours with a couple of outboard motors and put in at the head of the St. John's River. We'll go down the river for several hundred miles." I agreed, for the Creek was torture. Men protested. "Two women alone? The river runs through some of the wildest country in Florida. You'll be lost in the false channels. No one ever goes as far as the head of the river." Then, passionately, betraying themselves, "It will be splendid. What if you do get lost? Don't let any one talk you out of it." The river was a blue smear through the marsh. The marsh was tawny. It sprawled to the four points of the compass; flat; interminable; meaningless. 393

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I thought, "This is fantastic. I am about to deliver myself over to a nightmare." But life was a nightmare. The river was at least of my own choosing. The St. John's River flows from south to north and empties into the Atlantic near the Florida-Georgia line. Its great mouth is salt and tidal, and ocean-going vessels steam into it as far as Jacksonville. It rises in a chain of small lakes near the Florida east coast, south of Melbourne. The lakes are linked together by stretches of marsh through which, in times of high water, the indecisive course of the young river is discernible. Two years of drought had shrunken the stream and dried the marshes. The southernmost sources were overgrown with marsh grass. Water hyacinths had filled the channels. The navigable head of the St. John's proved to be near Fort Christmas, where the highway crosses miles of wet prairie and cypress swamp between Orlando and Indian River City. There is a long high fill across the marsh, with a bridge over the slight blue twisting that is the river. We drove car and trailer down an embankment and unloaded the small boat in the backwaters. The bank was of black muck, smelling of decay. It .sucked at our feet as we loaded our supplies. We took our places in the boat and drifted slowly into midchannel. Water hyacinths began to pass us, moving with a faint anxiety in their lifted leaves. The river was no more than a path through high grass. We swung under the bridge and the boy at the wheel of our car lifted his hand in parting and shot away. Something alive and potent gripped the flat bottom of the boat. The hyacinths moved more rapidly. The river widened to a few yards and rounded a bend, suddenly decisive. Dess started the outboard motor. I hunched myself together amidships and spread the U. S. Coast and Geodetic Survey river chart on my knees and clicked open my compass. I noticed disconsolately, "Lights, Beacons, Buoys and Dangers Corrected for Information Received to Date of Issue." There would be neither lights, beacons nor buoys for at least a hundred miles. Bridge and highway disappeared, and there was no longer any world but this incredible marsh, this unbelievable amount of sky. Half a mile beyond the bridge a fisherman's shack leaned over the

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river. For sociability, we turned in by the low dock. The fisherman and his wife squatted on their haunches and gave us vague directions. We pointed to Bear Island on our chart. He said, "You won't never see Bear Island. Where they got a channel marked on your map it's plumb full o' hyacinths. Down the river a ways you'll see a big oF sugar-berry tree stickin' up in the marsh. That's your mark. You keep to the left. The next mark you'll get is a good ways down the river. You go left by a pertickler tall piece o' grass." The woman said, "You just got to keep tryin' for the main channel. You'll get so you can tell." The man said, "I ain't never been as far as you-all aim to go. From what I hear, if you oncet get through Puzzle Lake, you got right clare river." The woman said, "You'll some kind of enjoy yourselves. The river life's the finest kind of life. You couldn't get you no better life than the river." We pushed away from the dock. The man said, "I'd be mighty well obliged if you'd send me a postcard when you get where you're goin'. That-a-way I won't have to keep on worryin' about you." Dess cranked the motor and they waved after us. Dess began to whistle, shrilly and tunelessly. She is an astonishing young woman. She was born and raised in rural Florida and guns and campfires and fishing-rods and creeks are corpuscular in her blood. She lives a sophisticated life among worldly people. At the slightest excuse she steps out of civilization, naked and relieved, as I should step out of a soiled chemise. She is ten years my junior, but she calls me, with much tenderness, pitying my incapabilities, "Young un." "Young un," she called, "it's mighty fine to be travelling." I was prepared for marsh. It was startling to discover that there was in sight literally nothing else. Far to the west, almost out of sight to the east, in a dark line like cloud banks was the distant swamp that edged this fluid prairie. We may have taken the wrong channel for a mile or so, for we never saw the sugar-berry tree; nothing but river grass, brittle and gold, interspersed, where the ground was highest, with butter-yellow flowers like tansy. By standing up in the boat I could

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see the rest of the universe. And the universe was yellow marsh, with a pitiless blue infinity over it, and we were lost at the bottom. At five o'clock in the afternoon the river dissolved without warning into a two-mile spread of flat confusion. A mile of open water lay ahead of us, neither lake nor river nor slough. We advanced into the center. When we looked over our shoulders, the marsh had closed in over the channel by which we had come. We were in a labyrinth. The stretch of open water was merely the fluid heart of a maze. Channels extended out of it in a hundred directions—some shallow, obviously no outlets; others as broad as the stream we had left behind us, and tempting. We tried four. Each widened in a deceptive sweep. A cirling of the shore-line showed there was no channel. Each time we returned to the one spot we could again identify—a point of marsh thrust into the water like a swimming moccasin. Dess said, "That map and compass don't amount to much." That was my fault. I was totally unable to follow the chart. I found later, too late for comfort, that my stupidity was not entirely to blame., for, after the long drought, half die channels charted no longer existed. The sun had become a prodigious red disc dropping into a distant slough. Blue herons flew over us to their night's quarters. Somewhere the river must continue neatly out of this desolation. We came back once more to the point of land. It was a foot or two out of water and a few square yards of the black muck were comparatively dry. We beached the rowboat and made camp. There was no dry wood. We carried a bag of fat pine splinters but it occurred to me desperately that I would save them. I laid out a cold supper while Dess set up our two camp cots side by side on the open ground. As the sun slid under the marsh to the west, the full moon surged out of it to the east. The marsh was silver and the water was steel, with ridges of rippled ebony where ducks swam in the twilight. Mosquitoes sifted against us like a drift of needles. We were exhausted. We propped our mosquito bar over the cots on crossed oars, for there was no bush, no tree, from which to hang it. We did not undress, but climbed under the blankets. Three people had had a hand in loading our cots and the wooden end-pieces were missing. The canvas lay limp instead of taut, and our feet hung over one end and our heads over the other, so that we were disposed like

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corpses on inadequate stretchers. The crossed oars slid slowly to the muck, the mosquito bar fluttered down and mosquitoes were about us in a swarm. Dess reached under her cot for her light rifle, propped it between us, and balanced the mosquito bar accurately on the end of its barrel. "You can get more good out of a .22 rifle than any other kind of gun," she informed me earnestly. I lay on my back in a torment of weariness, but there was no rest. I had never lain in so naked a place, bared so flatly to the sky. The moon swung high over us and there was so sleeping for the brightness. Toward morning dewdrops collected over the netting as though the moonlight had crystallized. I fell asleep under a diamond curtain and wakened with warm full sunlight on my face. Cranes and herons were wading the shore near me and Dess was in the rowboat a few hundred yards away, casting for bass. Marsh and water glittered iridescent in the sun. The tropical March air was fresh and wind-washed. I was suddenly excited. I made campfire with fatwood splinters and cooked bacon and toast and coffee. Their fragrance eddied across the water and I saw Dess lift her nose and put down her rod and reel. She too was excited. "Young un," she called, "where's the channel?" I pointed to the northeast and she nodded vehemently. It had come to both of us like a revelation that the water hyacinths were drifting faintly faster in that direction. From that instant we were never very long lost. Forever after, where the river sprawled in confusion, we might shut off the motor and study the floating hyacinths until we caught, in one direction, a swifter pulsing, as though we put our hands close and closer to the river's heart. It was very simple. Like all simple facts, it was necessary to discover it for oneself. We had, in a moment, the feel of the river; a wisdom for its vagaries. When the current took us away that morning, we gave ourselves over to it. There was a tremendous exhilaration, an abandoning of fear. The new channel was the correct one, as we knew it should be. The river integrated itself again. The flat golden banks closed in on both sides of us, securing a snug safety. The strangeness of flowing water was gone, for it was all there was of living. In midmorning, solid land made its way here and there toward us,

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and then in time withdrew. For a mile we had a low rolling hill for company, with traces of ancient habitation at its peak: a few yards of rotting fence, a crepe myrtle, an orange tree. We passed a lone fisherman hauling his seine. His legs were planted cranelike in the water. His long arms looped up folds of the gray net with the rhythm of a man swinging a sickle. We told him our origin and our destination. Because we were now a part of the river he offered us a fish. His catch was meager and we refused it. We passed cattle, wild on the marsh. They loomed startlingly above us, their splotched black and brown and red and white luminous against the blue sky, like cattle in Bonheur pictures hung high above the eye-level. The river dissolved into shallow pools and was interspersed with small islands, palm-crowded and lonely. It was good to see trees, lifting the eyes from so many miles of flatness. The pools gathered themselves together and there was under us again a river, confined between obvious banks. Sometimes the low-lying land was dry for a great distance, specked with soapberry bushes, and the wild cattle cropped a short grass that grew there. We had Puzzle Lake and then Lake Harney, we knew, somewhere ahead of us. We came out from a canal-like stretch of river into a body of open water. Dess and I stiffened. She shut off the motor. Far away across the marsh there was a long white rolling as though all the sheep in the world were being driven through prehistoric dust clouds. The mad thought came to me that we had embarked on the wrong river and had suddenly reached the ocean, that the vast billowing in the distance was surf. But something about the thing was familiar. That distant line was a fill, a forty-foot sand embankment across the marsh between the St. John's River and the east coast town of Mimms, and I had driven its one-rut grade two weeks before. The marsh had been even more desolate from the height of that untravelled, unfinished roadway. The fill ended, I remembered, in a forty-foot drop to a decrepit ferry that crossed the river. The billowing we now saw was loose white sand moving along the embankment ahead of a high wind. I ran my finger along the chart. There was no ferry mapped for the far side of Puzzle Lake. A ferry was indicated, however, on the far side of Lake Harney.

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I said, "Dess, we've come through Puzzle Lake and didn't know it. We've reached Lake Harney." She did not question my surety. She spun the motor. "All right, young un. Which way across?" I compared chart and compass. I pointed. She headed the boat as I directed. I split nautical points to keep our position exactly. I took her across water so shoal we had to pole through it; under overhanging banks and through dense stiff sedge, when often a plainly better channel swung a few feet away in another direction. The extreme low water, I called, had evidently dried Lake Harney to this confused alternating of open lake and maze. Dess whistled dubiously but asked no questions. We struck deep water at last and were at the ferry I had indeed remembered. The old ferryman peered from his hut and came down to meet us, shading his eyes. He seemed to find us very strange indeed. Where had we come from ? "We put in yesterday at Fort Christmas," I answered him, "and I'm glad to say we've just finished navigating Lake Harney." He stared in earnest. "Lady," he said, "you haven't even reached Lake Harney. You've just come through Puzzle Lake." The ferry here simply was not charted, and the episode proves anything one may wish it to prove. I felt contentedly that it proved a harmony with the river so complete that not even the mistaking of whole lakes could lose us. Others of more childish faith were sure it proved the goodness of God in looking after imbeciles. I know only that we were congratulated by fishermen the entire length of the river on navigating Puzzle Lake successfully. "I brought our boat through Puzzle Lake," I told them with simple dignity, "by the sternest use of chart and compass." And it was only in Dess' more evil moments that she added, "—in the firm belief that she was crossing Lake Harney." Lake Harney itself was four miles long, unmistakably broad and open. We crossed it in late afternoon with the westerly sun on our left cheeks and a pleasant March wind ruffling the blue water. Passing out of the lake we bought roe shad, fresh and glistening from the seine. The current quickened. The hyacinths plunged forward. The character of the river changed the instant the lake was left behind. It was

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deep and swift, the color o£ fine clear coffee that is poured with the sun against it. It was mature. All its young torture was forgotten, and its wanderings in the tawny marsh. The banks had changed. They were high. Tall palms crowded great live oaks and small trees grew humbly in their shadows. Toward sunset we swung under the western bank at one of those spots a traveller recognized instinctively as, for the moment, home. If I could have, to hold forever, one brief place and time of beauty, I think I might choose the night on that high lonely bank about the St. John's River. We found there a deserted cabin, gray and smooth as only cypress weathers. There was no door for its doorway, no panes or shutters for its windows, but the roof was whole, with lichens thick across the shingles. Dess built me a fire of red cedar. She sat on the sagging steps and whittled endpieces for our cots, and I broiled shad and shad roe over fragrant coals, and French-fried potatoes, and found I had the ingredients for Tartar sauce. Dess nailed a board between low rafters in the cabin from which to hang the mosquito bar over our cots, and said, "Young un, Christopher Columbus had nothing on us. He had a whole ocean to fool around in, and a what-do-you call it:—a continent, to come out on. Turn that boy loose in the St. John's marsh, and he'd have been lost as a hound puppy." We had hot baths out of a bucket that night, and sat on the cabin steps in pajamas while the fire died down. Suddenly the soft night turned silver. The moon was rising. We lay on our cots a long time wakeful because of beauty. The moon shone through the doorway and windows and the light was patterned with the shadows of Spanish moss waving from the live oaks. There was a deserted grove somewhere behind the cabin, and the incredible sweetness of orange bloom drifted across us. A mocking-bird sang from a palm tree at sunrise. We found by daylight that the cabin sat among guava trees higher than the roof. The yard was pink and white with periwinkles. Dess shot a wild duck on the wing with the .22 and I roasted it in the Dutch oven for breakfast. We lay all morning on the bank in the strong sunlight, watching the mullet jumping in the river. At noon we went reluctantly to the water's edge to load the boat and move on. The boat was half filled

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with water and was resting with an air of permanence on the river bottom. My first thought was of pure delight that it was no longer necessary to leave this place. But Dess was already stepping out of her sailor trousers. I too removed superfluous clothing. We bailed the boat and found two streams of water gushing in steadily under bow and stern seats. We managed to drag the boat on shore and turn it upside down, We found that the caulking had worked loose out of two seams. Dess donated a shirt, and for two hours with pocket knives we stuffed strips of cloth into treacherous cracks. When we put the boat in the river again, the caulking held. I begged to stay another night, but Dess was restless. We pushed on for the few hours left of daylight. The shore line narrowed to thin strips of sand with tall twisted palms along them. The clear brown river was glassy in the windless evening. The palms were mirrored along both banks, so that when white ibises flew over in a rosy sunset, the river might have been the Nile. We camped that night in comparative comfort under an upturned tree root. The spot was not tempting from the water, but once we were snugged down, it proved cavelike and cozy. A moccasin slithered from under my feet at the edge of camp and went harmlessly about his business. Dess cut down a young palmetto and we had swamp cabbage for dinner. I cooked it with a piece of white bacon and baked corn sticks in the Dutch oven to go with it. In the morning we watched the hyacinth drift closely to be sure of taking the cut to Prairie Landing instead of wandering into Lake Jessup. A highway crossed the river here and folk waved down to us. In the cut a woman was running a catfish line. She was gaunt and suntanned, ragged and dirty. She pulled in the line, hand over hand, with a quick desperate accuracy. She lifted a shaggy head when we called "Howdy" and said "Hey," and bent again to her line with a terrifying absorption. Something about her shamed all soft, clean women. We cut across the south end of Lake Monroe and found that it was Sunday in the city of Sanford. We had reached the outpost of largevessel traffic on the St. John's, and we put-putted under the bow of an incoming freight steamer. We had meant to bathe and put on clean shirts and slacks that morning, but there had been no landing place

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among the marshes. Dess strapped around her waist the leather belt that held her bowie knife at one hip and her revolver at the other, and felt better prepared for Sanford than if we had been clean. She landed us neatly at the city dock, in the lee of an immaculate pleasure yacht from Long Island Sound. The owner, trim in double-breasted blue, came to the rail and looked down at us. We had also intended to do a better job of stowing. The bow end of our boat was piled untidily with our supplies, our folded cots, our extra outboard motor and our gasoline tins. Dess stood up in the stern and stretched and shifted her armored belt. She called up to the yacht owner, "Safe to come into this town?" "That depends on what you are coming for," he said, and smiled. "Not a thing but gasoline. Where's the nearest place a fellow can fuel up?" "All the filling stations near the docks are closed this morning. But I'm having my yacht refuelled, and a station is opening for me. How much do you need?" Dess checked out tins with her eye. "Five gallons is about right." He smiled again. "I'm sending my car to the station. If you will bring your tins up, I'll be very happy to have my man take you along and bring you back." "Thanks, fellow," Dess said. "You're a white man." There was a sound inside the yacht. There simmered up the companionway a woman, magnificent in pink spectator sports costume. The crew j umped almost to attention and escorted her down the yacht's gangplank. The woman snapped over her shoulders, "I must have the car at once. I cannot be late to church for this nonsense." Our white man turned rosy and made a comradely gesture to us. He leaned over and whispered, "The car will be back in just a moment. If you don't mind waiting—. Please wait." "O.K., fellow," Dess said. The pink spectator sports swept into a limousine. In a few minutes the car had returned. We were driven in style to a filling station and our tins filled with gasoline. We bought the New York Sunday, papers. The

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yacht crew brought the tins down to us and helped us re-stow our duffle. Dess outlined our trip briefly to the owner. She cranked up and we were off again. "Good luck!" called the yacht owner. "The very best of good luck!" He waved after us as far as we could see him, as though reluctant to break a mystic thread. His face was wistful. "The poor b—," Dess said pityingly and indignantly. "I'll bet he'd give his silk shirt to go down the river with us instead of with Pink Petticoats." We used the gasoline and forgot to read the papers. Out of Lake Monroe we began to see fishermen pulling seines every few miles along the river. Here and there was a camp. Once a palmetto thatching made a tip-tilted shelter and a startlingly pretty girl in overalls looked out with a placid face. We passed an old fisherman and a little girl in a boat. The child was rowing. We encountered a tall lumber steamer in mid-stream. The book of Pilot Rules on my lap provided that the boat in our position should swing to starboard, passing to port, and should give two short distinct blasts on the boat's whistle to signify its intention. Two lusty blasts on my dog whistle brought no answering blow from the steamer, but the cook, paring potatoes in the open stern, waved to us as we angled to cross their wake. We had "right clare river" now, the river life was indeed the finest of lives, and there was no hurry left in the world. We put up a goldenbrown deep creek and fished all afternoon. A white egret fished companionably with us a few yards away, and water turkeys flapped their wings lazily from high cypresses. A water moccasin arched his six feet of magnificent mottled hide between a spider lily and a swamp laurel. The laurel was in full bloom and the sunny creek was a wedge of fragrance. We found a white sand bar and had a swim in water clear as amber. Camp that night was on a pine bluff, very high and dry and decent after the tree root and the moccasin. Storm threatened for the first time and we stretched a tarpaulin between slash pines to make a shelter. We were on the east bank. The moon and sun rose behind us. In the morning we found that small animals had dug holes all about us while we slept.

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We pushed the motor that day. The river was deep and narrow. The banks were dense swamp, black with undergrowth. A landing would have been, for the most, impossible. We ate a cold lunch as we travelled. Beyond Deland Landing we called at a houseboat tethered to the bank. Its owner had been captain of the old Clyde River Line, and he received our request for advice on crossing Lake George with the old-school graciousness of large craft meeting small. He took my compass well forward of the houseboat, away from its metal stanchions, to chart our course across the fourteen-mile lake the more precisely. I made the mental note that perhaps I had better move the cast iron Dutch oven from under my seat. He gave us a set of distance cards and a choice of courses. The more sporting course was the main channel used by large steamers. In a boat as small as ours we should be out of sight of land for nearly an hour. The west channel never entirely lost the land, but if it came on to blow, we would do best by taking neither, and hugging the west shore. He bowed us courteously on our way. We planned to camp as close as possible that night to the Volusia bar. We wanted to cross Lake George in the early morning before the wind rose. Beyond the village of Astor the scrub reared high against the west. Cypress swamp bordered the river. There was scarcely a patch of ground large enough to step out on. We pushed on to a cluster of fishing huts at the junction of lake and river. Hyacinths moved here in vast green flexible sheets. The huts were on stakes over the river and were not inviting. Only one stood on enough ground to offer camping facilities. We poled through the hyacinths and called from the rickety small dock. A sullen-faced woman spoke curtly from the doorway. We could see the interior of the shack. There were pallets on the floor; a table; a chair or two. A dirty chile! peered from her skirts. We were not wanted here, it was plain, but she was a squatter, with no right to refuse us. Dess and I debated the matter in low voices. The woman, the place, seemed to me preferable to the dark swamp to which we must return. But the -wind was freshening from the west. Even now, hyacinths were piling in behind us. Dess said, "I'd rather sleep with a moccasin over each shoulder than get caught in a hyacinth block."

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We swung about to turn back up the river. As we pushed away, the child dropped to the doorsill and began to pat his hands together. He chanted with shrill delight, "They're going away! They're going away!" I wondered what life had done to this woman and this child, diat, among a friendly fisher-folk, they should know such fear and hate of strangers. When the sun dropped behind the scrub, swamp and river were in darkness. At twilight we had retraced several miles. When we landed at the only promising opening, we found a comfortable square of high ground. As we were making camp three fishermen hailed us excitedly. Were we the women who had put in at Fort Christmas nearly a week before? If so, they must know. Word had been sent down the river from other fishermen to watch for us and to report our safety. The three were camped across the river from us. They had a trail cut into the swamp to a spot of sound dry earth. Their campfire flickered sociably all night. The course for the main channel was, simply, north by east. But there was fog at daylight, and when the fog lifted a little the wind came freshly from its week-long westerly quarter. Boats twice our size had been in trouble on Lake George. Its squalls were notably dangerous. It seemed needlessly heroic to deny ourselves the comfort of the sight of land. We had no intention of hugging the safe shore, so we compromised on the west channel. We left the great channel markers behind and a gust of wind twisted our stern. There was a half hour when the haze threatened to obscure all visible shore lines. Then Drayton's Island lifted ahead. Midway, the wind was blowing the whitecaps off the waves, but it was helpfully behind us. With both arms braced against the steering handle of jhe motor, Dess kept the boat headed when water that rolled like surf lifted our stern. The propeller churned high out of the water. When it dropped again the boat lunged and turned. I called, "She's slueing badly!" Dess shouted, "Young un, if you had this wind under your stern, you'd slue, too!" The distant shore seemed stationary. We passed the north point of Drayton's Island, where the main channel joined the west, with the lake boiling after us. At the first sheltered dock we stopped to rest and

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an old Negro gave us fresh drinking water. We had been some two and a half hours in crossing the lake. The river resumed its broad quiet way as though it had left no tumult behind it. It had the dignity of age, was not now in that dark hurry to reach the sea. At Welaka one afternoon we left the hyacinths swirling leisurely; and turned up our home river, the Ocklawaha. I thought in a panic, I shall never be happy on land again. I was afraid once more of all the painful circumstances of living. But when the dry ground was under us, the world no longer fluid, I found a forgotten loveliness in all the things that have nothing to do with men. Beauty is pervasive, and fills, like perfume, more than the object that contains it. Because I had known intimately a river, the earth pulsed under me. The Creek was home. Oleanders were sweet past bearing, and my own shabby fields, weed-tangled, were newly dear. I knew, for a moment, that the only nightmare is the masochistic human mind.

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J E S S E S T U A R T Why he selected

ANOTHER APRIL It is very strange how a man whose life has been filled with hard work and the associations of many human beings would in his declining days start talking to a terrapin. Maybe there is an understanding between an old man and an old terrapin when each knows his time to be alive is very limited. This sort of a thing haunts me when a ruthless dynamic sort of a human being, who has been as tough as the tough-butted white oaks on the rugged mountain slopes, is calmed enough by the passing of time to sit down and talk with a wrinkledneck terrapin, who is and has been quite willing to live half-buried in the dry dirt under the smokehouse floor during the cold winter months and to eat tomatoes in the garden during the summer. Maybe it is because I am partial to this material—the reason I like this story— the reason why I am willing to put it forward as the representative of my best work. Furthermore there is something to man's associations with earth and the living creatures upon the earth and his fight with the elements—his cutting trees, plowing the rugged soil for a scanty livelihood—these are enduring things. There is not a tint of false propaganda in this type of thing; it is as solid and substantial as stone. It took me less than two hours to write this short story; it happened to be one of two short stories I wrote the same day. The other story, too, sold to a reputable magazine. I knew every detail in this story, "Another April," before I sat down at the typewriter. Two days after I had written this story, I sat down and added another paragraph. Strange that the editor of Harper's Magazine, Frederick Allen, asked that this paragraph be removed. I wrote him to remove it—that made the story published just the way I wrote it. The story wrote itself. My mind was only a medium to put it on paper. This is one of Nature's own stories, that Nature and Life have worked out together, dealing with three generations of people and a terrapin. I cannot say this is a great story; I rather doubt that it is. I cannot say it is the best story I 407

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have written. It all depends on the judge's tastes for a short story and his standards for judgement. Riverton, Ky.

JESSE STUART

August 9, 1942

N

OW, Pap, you won't get cold," Mom said as she put a heavy wool cap over his head. "Huh, what did ye say?" Grandpa asked, holding his big hand cupped over his ear to catch the sound. "Wait until I get your gloves," Mom said, hollering real loud in Grandpa's ear. Mom had forgotten about his gloves until he raised his big bare hand above his ear to catch the sound of Mom's voice. "Don't get 'em," Grandpa said, "I won't ketch cold." Mom didn't pay any attention to what Grandpa said. She went on to get the gloves anyway. Grandpa turned toward me. He saw that I was looking at him. "Yer Ma's arputtin' enough clothes on me to kill a man," Grandpa said, then he laughed a coarse laugh like March wind among the pine tops at his own words. I started laughing but not at Grandpa's words. He thought I was laughing at them and we both laughed together. It pleased Grandpa to think that I had laughed with him over something funny that he had said. But I was laughing at the way he was dressed. He looked like a picture of Santa Claus. But Grandpa's cheeks were not cherry-red like Santa Claus' cheeks. They were covered with white thin beard—and above his eyes were long white eyebrows almost as white as percoon petals and very much longer. Grandpa was wearing a heavy wool suit that hung loosely about his big body but fitted him tightly round the waist where he was as big and as round as a flour barrel. His pant legs were as big round his pipe-stem legs as emptied meal sacks And his big shoes, with his heavy wool socks dropping down over their tops, looked like sled runners. Grandpa wore a heavy wool shirt and over his wool shirt he wore a heavy wool sweater and then his coat over the top of all this. Over his coat he wore a heavy overcoat and about his neck he wore a wool scarf.

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The way Mom had dressed Grandpa you'd think there was a heavy snow on the ground but there wasn't. April was here instead and the sun was shining on the green hills where the wild plums and the wild crab apples were in bloom enough to make you think there were big snowdrifts sprinkled over the green hills. When I looked at Grandpa and then looked out at the window at the sunshine and the green grass I laughed more. Grandpa laughed with me. "I'm a-goin' to see my old friend," Grandpa said just as Mom came down the stairs with his gloves. "Who is he, Grandpa?" I asked, but Grandpa just looked at my mouth working. He didn't know what I was saying. And he hated to ask me die second time. Mom put the big wool gloves on Grandpa's hands. He stood there just like I had to do years ago, and let Mom put his gloves on. If Mom didn't get his fingers back in the glove-fingers exactly right Grandpa quarreled at Mom. And when Mom fixed his fingers exactly right in his gloves the way he wanted them Grandpa was pleased. "I'll be a-goin' to see 'im," Grandpa said to Mom. "I know he'll still be there." Mom opened our front door for Grandpa and he stepped out slowly, supporting himself with his big cane in one hand. With the other hand he held to the door facing. Mom let him out of the house just like she used to let me out in the spring. And when Grandpa left the house I wanted to go with him, but Mom wouldn't let me go. I wondered if he would get away from the house—get out of Mom's sight—and pull off his shoes and go barefooted and wade the creeks like I used to do when Mom let me out. Since Mom wouldn't let me go with Grandpa, I watched him as he walked slowly down the path in front of our house. Mom stood there watching Grandpa too. I think she was afraid that he would fall. But Mom was fooled; Grandpa toddled along the path better than my baby brother could. "He used to be a powerful man," Mom said more to herself than she did to me. "He was a timber cutter. No man could cut more timber than my father; no man in the timber woods could sink an ax deeper into a log than my father. And no man could lift the end of a bigger saw log than Pap could." "Who is Grandpa goin' to see, Mom?" I asked.

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"He's not goin' to see anybody," Mom said. "I heard 'im say that he was goin' to see an old friend," I told her. "Oh, he was just a-talkin'," Mom said. I watched Grandpa stop under the pine tree in our front yard. He set his cane against the pine tree trunk, pulled ofl his gloves and put them in his pocket. Then Grandpa stooped over slowly, as slowly as the wind bends down a sapling, and picked up a pine cone in his big soft fingers. Grandpa stood fondling the pine cone in his hand. Then, one by one, he pulled the little chips from the pine cone—tearing it to pieces like he was hunting for something in it—and after he had torn it to pieces he threw the pine-cone stem on the ground. Then he pulled pine needles from a low hanging pine bough and he felt of each pine needle between his fingers. He played with them a long time before he started down the path. "What's Grandpa doin'?" I asked Mom. But Mom didn't answer me. "How long has Grandpa been with us?" I asked Mom. "Before you's born," she said. "Pap has been with us eleven years. He was eighty when he quit cuttin' timber and farmin'; now he's ninety-one." I had heard her say that when she was a girl he'd walk out on the snow and ice barefooted and carry wood in the house and put it on the fire. He had shoes but he wouldn't bother to put them on. And I heard her say that he would cut timber on the coldest days without socks on his feet but with his feet stuck down in cold brogan shoes and he worked stripped above the waist so his arms would have freedom when he swung his double-bitted ax. I had heard her tell how he'd sweat and how the sweat in his beard would be icicles by the time he got home from work on the cold winter days. Now Mom wouldn't let him get out of the house for she wanted him to live a long time. As I watched Grandpa go down the path toward the hog pen he stopped to examine every little thing along his path. Once he waved his cane at a butterfly as it zigzagged over his head, its polkadot wings fanning the blue April air. Grandpa would stand when a puff of wind came along, and hold his face against the wind and let the wind play with his white whiskers. I thought maybe his face was hot under his beard and he was letting the wind cool his face. When he reached

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the hog pen he called the hogs down to the fence. They came running and grunting to Grandpa just like they were talking to him. I knew that Grandpa couldn't hear them trying to talk to him but he could see their mouths working and he knew they were trying to say something. He leaned his cane against the hog pen, reached over the fence, and patted the hogs' heads. Grandpa didn't miss patting one of our seven hogs. As he toddled up the little path alongside the hog pen he stopped under a blooming dogwood. He pulled a white blossom from a bough that swayed over the path above his head, and he leaned his big bundled body against the dogwood while he tore each petal from the blossom and examined it carefully. There wasn't anything his dim blue eyes missed. He stopped under a redbud tree before he reached the garden to break a tiny spray of redbud blossoms. He took each blossom from the spray and examined it carefully. "Gee, it's funny to watch Grandpa," I said to Mom, then I laughed, "Poor Pap," Mom said, "he's seen a lot of Aprils come and go. He's seen more Aprils than he will ever see again." I don't think Grandpa missed a thing on the little circle he took before he reached the house. He played with a bumblebee that was bending a windflower blossom that grew near our corncrib beside a big bluff. But Grandpa didn't try to catch the bumblebee in his big bare hand. I wondered if he would and if the bumblebee would sting him, and if he would holler. Grandpa even pulled a butterfly cocoon from a blackberry briar that grew beside his path. I saw him try to tear it into shreds but he couldn't. There wasn't any butterfly in it, for I'd seen it before. I wondered if the butterfly with the polka-dot wings, that Grandpa waved his cane at when he first left the house, had come from this cocoon. I laughed when Grandpa couldn't tear the cocoon apart. "I'll bet I can tear that cocoon apart for Grandpa if you'd let me go help him," I said to Mom. "You leave your Grandpa alone," Mom said. "Let 'im enjoy April." Then I knew that this was the first time Mom had let Grandpa out of the house all winter. I knew that Grandpa loved the sunshine and the fresh April air that blew from the redbud and dogwood blossoms. He loved the bumblebees, the hogs, the pine cones, and pine needles. Grandpa didn't miss a thing along his walk. And every day

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from now on until just before frost Grandpa would take this little walk. He'd stop along and look at everything as he had done summers before. But each year he didn't take as long a walk as he had taken the year before. Now this spring he didn't go down to the lower end of the hog pen as he had done last year. And when I could first remember Grandpa going on his walks he used to go out of sight. He'd go all over the farm. And he'd come to the house and take me on his knee and tell me about all that he had seen. Now Grandpa wasn't getting out of sight. I could see him from the window along all of his walk. Grandpa didn't come back into the house at the front door. He tottled around back of the house toward the smokehouse and I ran through the living room to the dining room so I could look out at the window and watch him. "Where's Grandpa goin'?" I asked Mom. "Now never mind," Mom said. "Leave your Grandpa alone. Don't go out there and disturb him." "I won't bother 'im, Mom," I said. "I just want to watch 'im." "All right," Mom said. But Mom wanted to be sure that I didn't bother him so she followed me into the dining room. Maybe she wanted to see what Grandpa was going to do. She stood by the window and we watched Grandpa as he walked down beside our smokehouse where a tall sassafras tree's thin leaves fluttered in the blue April wind. Above the smokehouse and the tall sassafras was a blue April sky—so high you couldn't see the sky-roof. It was just blue space and little white clouds floated upon this blue. When Grandpa reached the smokehouse he leaned his cane against the sassafras tree. He let himself down slowly to his knees as he looked carefully at the ground. Grandpa was looking at something and I wondered what it was. I just didn't think or I would have known. "There you are, my good old friend," Grandpa said. "Who is his friend, Mom?" I asked. Mom didn't say anything. Then I saw. "He« playin' with that old terrapin, Mom," I said. "I know he is," Mom said. "The terrapin doesn't mind if Grandpa strokes his head with his hand," I said.

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"I know it," Mom said. "But the old terrapin won't let me do it," I said. "Why does he let Grandpa?" "The terrapin knows your Grandpa." "He ought to know me," I said, "but when I try to stroke his head with my hand, he closes up in his shell." Mom didn't say anything. She stood by the window watching Grandpa and listening to Grandpa talk to the terrapin. "My old friend, how do you like the sunshine?" Grandpa asked the terrapin. The terrapin turned his fleshless face to one side like a hen does when she looks at you in the sunlight. He was trying to talk to Grandpa; maybe the terrapin could understand what Grandpa was saying. "Old fellow, it's been a hard winter," Grandpa said. "How have you fared under the smokehouse floor?" "Does the terrapin know what Grandpa is sayin'?" I asked Mom. "I don't know," she said. "I'm awfully glad to see you, old fellow," Grandpa said. He didn't offer to bite Grandpa's big soft hand as he stroked his head. "Looks like the terrapin would bite Grandpa," I said. "That terrapin has spent the winters under that smokehouse for fifteen years," Mom said. "Pap has been acquainted with him for eleven years. He's been talkin' to that terrapin every spring." "How does Grandpa know the terrapin is old?" I asked Mom. "It's got 1847 cut on its shell," Mom said. "We know he's ninetyfive years old. He's older than that. We don't know how old he was when that date was cut on his back." ' "Who cut 1847 on his back, Mom?" "I don't know, child," she said, "but I'd say whoever cut that date on his back has long been under the ground." Then I wondered how a terrapin could get that old and what kind of a looking person he was who cut the date on the terrapin's back. I wondered where it happened—if it happened near where our house stood. I wondered who lived here on this land then, what kind of a house they lived in, and if they had a sassafras with tiny thin April

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leaves on its top growing in their yard, and if the person that cut the date on the terrapin's back was buried at Plum Grove, if he had farmed these hills where we lived to-day and cut timber like Grandpa had—and if he had seen the Aprils pass like Grandpa had seen them and if he enjoyed them like Grandpa was enjoying this April. I wondered if he had looked at the dogwood blossoms, the redbud blossoms, and talked to this same terrapin. "Are you well, old fellow?" Grandpa asked the terrapin. The terrapin just looked at Grandpa. "I'm well as common for a man of my age," Grandpa said. "Did the terrapin ask Grandpa if he was well?" I asked Mom. "I don't know," Mom said. "I can't talk to a terrapin." "But Grandpa can." "Yes." "Wait until tomatoes get ripe and we'll go to the garden together," Grandpa said. "Does a terrapin eat tomatoes?" I asked Mom. "Yes, that terrapin has been eatin' tomatoes from our garden for fifteen years," Mom said. "When Mick was tossin' the terrapins out of the tomato patch, he picked up this one and found the date cut on his back. He put him back in the patch and told him to help himself. He lives from our garden every year. We don't bother him and don't allow anybody else to bother him. He spends his winters under our smokehouse floor buried in the dry ground." "Gee, Grandpa looks like the terrapin," I said. Mom didn't say anything; tears came to her eyes. She wiped them from her eyes with the corner of her apron. "I'll be back to see you," Grandpa said. "I'm a-gettin' a little chilly; I'll be gettin' back to the house." The terrapin twisted his wrinkled neck without moving his big body, poking his head deeper into the April wind as Grandpa pulled his bundled body up by holding to the sassafras tree trunk. "Good-by, old friend!" The terrapin poked his head deeper into the wind, holding one eye on Grandpa, for I could see his eye shining in the sinking sunlight. Grandpa got his cane that was leaned against the sassafras tree trunk and hobbled slowly toward the house. The terrapin looked at him with first one eye and then the other.

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CONRAD

RICHTER

Why he selected

LUTIE This short fragment has been chosen for inclusion here because it gives, if faintly, the feeling the writer had for a place and person. As a rule, life and nature are so much more real and vivid than the reflection that finds its way on paper. Many times, in my case at least, the attempted transfer fails. Here, I hope, it has more nearly succeeded. This fragment is from The Sea of Grass and was written in Albuquerque in 1936. Pine Grove, Pa. CONRAD RICHTER August 21, 1942

F

OR a long time I lay awake that night in the bunk that had once been my uncle's, listening at intervals to the faint bawling of a calf for its mother in some dim, starlit Canada. And when I fell asleep I dreamed that something vaguely beautiful had gone put of this massive ranch house like the kernel of life out of a prairie seed, and all that remained was the brown shell of adobe walls staring from its empty sockets. And everywhere about the house in my dream, the sand was endlessly blowing, burying the print of the coyote and lizard, rattling in the vibora seed, drifting close to the ground like barren snow so that the whole earth seemed to be moving, a restless gray ghost of itself trying to find those full, lusty prairie breasts, fertile as a woman and flowing with milk and wild honey, that used to be. At the first sound of morning I was up pulling on my clothes in the darkness and drinking coffee in the kitchen to escape the breakfasttable, and lending a hand in the starlight to the hitching of the teams. And when I came back to the long dark hall, I glimpsed in a candlelighted room, framed like a picture by the heavy doorway, Lutie Brewton, suited, hatted, and one hand gloved, sitting with three sleepy youngsters in their nightgowns about her. And I heard her promising

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in that clear, delightful, fun-loving voice she always used to children, that she would see them all sooner than soon and would have a double present for each one that Black Hetty should say had been a little lady or gentleman. Old Jeff helped me to carry out her trunk to the sagging buckboard. And soon Lutie Brewton came, a slender, almost jaunty figure in the dim, blue-black light, answering the children's good-by before my uncle helped her up into the top buggy. Before the horses started, she answered again. And from somewhere down beyond the spring I heard her voice a last time, high and clear above the thud of hoofs and rattle of spokes, like some incredibly sweet and lingering bell. Old Jeff had waited by one of the buckboard wheels, never saying a word, but I could hear him draw hard and furiously on his pipe until the sounds of the buggy grew faint on the night air. Still saying nothing, he moved grimly into the house while I climbed into the rig and my horses without urging followed those that had gone before. To the newcomer in our Southwestern land it seems that the days are very much alike, the same blue sky and unchanging sunshine and endless heat waves rising from the plain. But after he is here a year he learns to distinguish nuances in the weather he would never have noticed under a more violent sky; that one day may be clear enough, and yet some time during the night, without benefit of rain or cloud, a mysterious desert influence sweeps the heavens. And the following morning there is air clearer by half than yesterday, as if freshly rinsed by storm and rain. It was such a morning that I hauled Lutie Brewton's trunk through the crystal air to Salt Fork, with horses and buckboard moving at first under the swinging lamp of the morning planet, and then through a green, velvet twilight that was half-way between stars and sun, and finally in the early purple light that poured over the plain like wine, until it seemed that with every breath I could taste it, and even the stolid cattle feeding beside the trail seemed to lift their heads to stare at it. And when the sun shook the earth finally clear, I saw a wave of antelope flowing inquisitively toward the buggy far ahead, a wave rusty as with kelp, rising and falling over the grassy swells and eventually turning in alarm, so that a thousand white rumps, whirled sud-

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denly into view, were the breaking of that wide prairie wave on some unseen reef of this tossing upland sea. Most of the way across the vegas I could have reached out my hand and touched the fragrant rows of bee balm starting to bloom on either side of the trail. But all I could smell was the perfume of violets rising from Lutie Brewton's trunk. And all I could see now was a faint, distant column of black smoke hanging in the sky, little more than a smudge in that illimitable air, yet already it threw a shadow over buckboard and trail. The sun was a branding iron on the back of my neck when we* came at last to the edge of the sand hills and I saw the cottonwoods standing already cool in shadow in the river valley below. My spent horses plowed the floury dust of the long street. And the red-faced station agent himself came bustling out to oversee the careful lifting of Lutie Brewton's trunk to the steel-protected baggage truck slatted like a buckboard and trundled like a barrow. Not until then did I look up and see with relief that everything about the station was normal and everyday, the groups of passengers through the open door of the waiting-room, the loafers playing mumbletypeg on the plank platform, and out near the tracks a circle of friends surrounding Lutie Brewton, laughing and chattering as always, wishing her a pleasant visit to St. Louis and promising gay times when she returned. I could smell the calm unhurried redolence of ties lately simmering in the sun, could hear down in their whitewashed shipping pens the monotonous baas of a flock of lambs. And nearer, the white dust floated from a car of flour being unloaded in sacks to a dusty wagon. Then I glimpsed Lawyers Henry McCurtin and Archie Meade talking together in low, grave tones beyond the baggage barrow, and was slowly conscious that all was not quite what it seemed. And when I glanced around again, I was aware that the loafers kept peering up stealthily from under their brows, and a group of passengers whispered from the waiting-room doorway. And now I was sure that all those happy friends were frantically playing a part and that they really had no more belief that Lutie Brewton was going to St. Louis than I had. And when I stumbled by as if I noticed nothing, I saw that for all her gay animation, her high

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lace collar was a pale branch whip-sawing in the pounding stream of blood at her throat and that the veins on one of my uncle's hands stood out like long-suppressed whipcords of blue lightning. . . . The train was whistling now by the small river ranchos and finally through the cottonwood bosque where of a summer afternoon the town boys played Jesse James. Some of the silent crowd, I saw, tried not to look up the street, but it was plain that everyone was standing there in a kind of strained expectancy, waiting for Chamberlain's creamy Western hat and brown-checked Eastern suit to appear. Only Lutie Brewton refused to be still, throwing herself into saying good-by to her friends with an animated gayety that was almost incoherence, laughing to this one and chattering to that, hugging Myra Netherwood and dabbing quick kisses on Cora Holderness's cheeks, while her hands fluttered and flew and drew back like a pair of white falcons on the leash. Some of the ladies were crying, although when Lutie Brewton turned to say good-by to me, I stood deaf and stony to hide everything I felt. "Thank you for bringing my trunk," she said brightly, but when I was kissed, with the scent of violets swimming about me, she whispered in my long hair: "Say nice things about me to my babies till I send for them, Hal!" And now without a sign as yet of Brice Chamberlain, the train was in, with black smoke drifting from the bulging smokestack, and with woman passengers staring curiously at Lutie Brewton as their full skirts rustled to the train. My uncle himself carried her valises into the palace car, where I could see him standing by her seat as she gracefully chatted and laughed at her open window to her friends outside on the raised plank platform, her modulated voice clear and charming as if nothing had happened or could happen and she might be only taking a flying trip to Santa Fe. Even after the conductor, who had waited respectfully for my uncle to alight, gave the signal for the train to start, and when she and everybody else knew that the man who was to be United States district attorney in Colorado had not appeared from that tangle of emigrant canvas to join her, Lutie Brewton sat there alone and gallant

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as I had ever seen her, leaning from the window to wave gayly and throw kisses to us all. "Good-by! Good-by!" For a moment the air was filled with eager cries. Then she was gone. And suddenly the platform was silent and most curiously empty, and everyone stood there looking after the train that was already just a retreating door with a narrow window on either side and a streak of dark smoke drifting above it. Only my uncle refused to look at it. With his head up and his dark eyes a warning to all he met, he walked toward the hotel, a lone, powerful figure to whom no one at the moment dared to speak. . . . Long after, I watched him in the bright June moonlight that was almost like day, standing motionless on the gallery facing the big vega. And that night as I lay in my sleepless bunk staring into the white haze that entered my deep window, I fancied that in the milky mist I could see the prairie as I had seen it all my life and would never see it again, with the grass in summer sweeping my stirruped thighs and prairie chickens scuttling ahead of my pony; with the ponds in fall black and noisy with waterfowl, and my uncle's seventy thousand head of cattle rolling in fat; with the tracks of endless game in the winter snow and thousands of tons of wild hay cured and stored on the stem; and when the sloughs of the home range greened up in the spring, with the scent of warming wet earth and swag after swag catching the emerald fire, with horses shedding and snorting and grunting as they rolled, and everywhere the friendly indescribable solitude of that lost sea of grass.

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WILLIAM ALLEN WHITE

why

he

selected M A R Y W H I T E If I have ever written anything charged with emotion, it is this short editorial on my daughter. It was written the day after her funeral. I tried to transfer to paper what I felt. It has been copied in thirty-four books to be read in high schools and colleges. It is often reprinted elsewhere. Probably nothing I ever have written has traveled so far and so wide. Mary thus has an immortality in the hearts of the young, where she would rather live than any other place on earth. I suppose that if I ever have any fame half a decade after my funeral I shall come into that fame with Mary leading me by the finger. Emporia, Kan.

WILLIAM ALLEN WHITE

August, 1942

* I "'HE Associated Press reports carrying the news of Mary White's J_ death declared that it came as the result of a fall from a horse. How she would have hooted at that! She never fell from a horse in her life. Horses have fallen on her and with her—"I'm always trying to hold 'em in my lap," she used to say. But she was proud of few things, and one was that she could ride anything that had four legs and hair. Her death resulted not from a fall, but from a blow on the head which fractured her skull, and the blow came from the limb of an overhanging tree on the parking. The last hour of her life was typical of its happiness. She came home from a day's work at school, topped off by a hard grind with the copy on the High School Annual, and felt that a ride would refresh her. She climbed into her khakis, chattering to her mother about the work she was doing, and hurried to get her horse and be out on the dirt roads for the country air and the radiant green fields of the spring. As she rode through the town on an easy gallop she kept waving at passers-by. She knew everyone in town. For a decade the little figure with the long pigtail and the red hair ribbon has been 420

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familiar on the streets of Emporia, and she got in the way of speaking to those who nodded at her. She passed the Kerrs, walking the horse, in front of the Normal Library, and waved at them; passed-another friend a few hundred feet further on, and waved at her. The horse was walking and as she turned into North Merchant street she took off her cowboy hat, and the horse swung into a lope. She passed the Tripletts and waved her cowboy hat at them, still moving gaily north on Merchant street. A Gazette carrier passed—a High School boy friend—and she waved at him, but with her bridle hand; the horse veered quickly, plunged into the parking where the low-hanging limb faced her, and, while she still looked back waving, the blow came. But she did not fall from the horse; she slipped off, dazed a bit, staggered and fell in a faint. She never quite recovered consciousness. But she did not fall from the horse, neither was she riding fast. A year or so ago she used to go like the wind. But that habit was broken, and she used the horse to get into the open to get fresh, hard exercise, and to work off a certain surplus energy that welled up in her and needed a physical outlet. That need had been in her heart for years. It was back of the impulse that kept the dauntless, little brown-clad figure on the streets and country roads of this community and built into a strong, muscular body what had been a frail and sickly frame during the first years of her life. But the riding gave her more than a body. It released a gay and hardy soul. She was the happiest thing in the world. And she was happy because she was enlarging her horizon. She came to know all sorts and conditions of men; Charley O'Brien, the traffic cop, was one of her best friends. W. L. Holtz, the Latin teacher, was another. Tom O'Connor, farmer-politician, and Rev. J. H. J. Rice, preacher and police judge, and Frank Beach, music master, were her special friends, and all the. girls, black and white, above the track and below the track, in Pepville and Stringtown, were among her acquaintances. And she brought home riotous stories of her adventures. She loved to rollick; persiflage was her natural expression at home. Her humor was a continual bubble of joy. She seemed to think in the hyperbole and metaphor. She was mischievous without malice, as full of faults as an old shoe. No angel was Mary White, but an easy girl to live widi, for she never nursed a grouch five minutes in her life.

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With all her eagerness for the out-of-doors, she loved books. On her table when she left her room were a book by Conrad, one by Galsworthy, "Creative Chemistry" by E. E. Slossen, and a Kipling book. She read Mark Twain, Dickens and Kipling before she was 10—all of their writings. Wells and Arnold Bennett particularly amused and diverted her. She was entered as a student in Wellesley in 1922; was assistant editor of the High School Annual this year, and in line for election to the editorship of the Annual next year. She was a member of the executive committee of the High School Y. W. C. A. Within the last two years she had begun to be moved by an ambition to draw. She began as most children do by scribbling in her school books, funny pictures. She bought cartoon magazines and took a course—rather casually, naturally, for she was, after all, a child, with no strong purposes—and this year she tasted the first fruits of success by having her pictures accepted by the High School Annual. But the thrill of delight she got when Mr. Ecord, of the Normal Annual, asked her to do the cartooning for that book this spring, was too beautiful for words. She fell to her work with all her enthusiastic heart. Her drawings were accepted, and her pride—always repressed by a lively sense of the ridiculousness of the figure she was cutting—was a really gorgeous thing to see. No successful artist ever drank a deeper draught of satisfaction than she took from the little fame her work was getting among her schoolfellows. In her glory, she almost forgot her horse—but never her car. For she used the car as a jitney bus. It was her social life. She never had a "party" in all her nearly seventeen years—wouldn't have one; but she never drove a block in the car in her life that she didn't begin to fill the car with pick-ups! Everybody rode with Mary White— white and black, old and young, rich and poor, men and women. She liked nothing better than to fill the car full of long-legged High School boys and an occasional girl, and parade the town. She never had a "date," nor went to a dance, except once with her brother, Bill, and the "boy proposition" didn't interest her—yet. But young people— great, spring-breaking, varnish-cracking, fender-bending, door-sagging carloads of "kids"—gave her great pleasure. Her zests were keen. But the most fun she ever had in her life was acting as chairman of the committee that got up the big turkey dinner for the poor folks at the

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county home; scores of pies, gallons of slaw; jam, cakes, preserves, oranges and a wilderness of turkey were loaded in the car and taken to the county home. And, being of a practical turn of mind, she risked her own Christmas dinner by staying to see that the poor folks actually got it all. Not that she was a cynic; she just disliked to tempt folks. While there she found a blind colored uncle, very old, who could do nothing but make rag rugs, and she rustled up from her school friends rags enough to keep him busy for a season. The last engagement she tried to make was to take the guests at the county home out for a car ride. And the last endeavor of her life was to try to get a rest room for colored girls in the High School. She found one girl reading in the toilet, because there was no better place for a colored girl to loaf, and it inflamed her sense of injustice and she became a nagging harpy to those who she thought could remedy the evil. The poor she had always with her, and was glad of it. She hungered and thirsted for righteousness; and was the most impious creature in the world. She joined the Congregational Church without consulting her parents; not particularly for her soul's good. She never had a thrill of piety in her life, and would have tooted at a "testimony." But even as a little child she felt the church was an agency for helping people to more of life's abundance, and she wanted to help. She never wanted help for herself. Clothes meant little to her. It was a fight to get a new rig on her; but eventually a harder fight to get it off. She never wore a jewel and had no ring but her High School class ring, and never asked for anything but a wrist watch. She refused to have her hair up; though she was nearly 17. "Mother," she protested, "you don't know how much I get by with, in my braided pigtails that I could not, with my hair up." Above every other passion of her life was her passion not to grow up, to be a child. The tom-boy in her, which was big, seemed to loathe to be put away forever in skirts. She was a Peter Pan, who refused to grow up. Her funeral yesterday at the Congregational Church was as she would have wished it; no singing, no flowers save the big bunch of red roses from her Brother Bill's Harvard classmen—Heavens, how proud that would have made her—and the red roses from the Gazette force—in vases at her head and feet. A short prayer, Paul's beautiful essay on "Love" from the Thirteenth Chapter of First Corinthians,

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some remarks about her democratic spirit by her friend, John H. J. Rice, pastor and police judge, which she would have deprecated if she could, a prayer sent down for her by her friend, Carl Nau, and opening the service the slow, poignant movement from Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata, which she loved, and closing the service a cutting from the joyously melancholy first movement of Tschaikowski's Pathetic Symphony, which she liked to hear in certain moods on the phonograph; then the Lord's Prayer by her friends in the High School. That was all. For her pallbearers only her friends were chosen; her Latin teacher, W. L. Holtz; her High School principal, Rice Brown; her doctor, Frank Foncannon; her friend, W. W. Finney; her pal at the Gazette office, Walter Hughes; and her brother Bill. It would have made her smile to know that her friend, Charley O'Brien, the traffic cop, had been transferred from Sixth and Commercial to the corner near the church to direct her friends who came to bid her goodbye. A rift in the clouds in a gray day threw a shaft of sunlight upon her coffin as her nervous, energetic little body sank to its last sleep. But the soul of her, the glowing, gorgeous, fervent soul of her, surely was flaming in eager joy upon some other dawn.

ONE W H O HAS This week the graduating exercises are being held at Wellesley college, Wellesley, Mass., and Emporia people may have an interest in that graduation. Seven years ago, when Mary White was in the Emporia high school, she was entered by her parents as a student in Wellesley college, to go there in 1922 and graduate in 1926. She was preparing her work in high school to pass the Wellesley examination when she died in May, 1921. An editorial published in The Gazette the day after her funeral has been reprinted in many textbooks and collections of essays since that time. The textbooks are used in many colleges and high schools, and Mary has the immortality which would delight her—to live in the heart of youth. One of the textbooks in which the editorial was printed is used in Wellesley college. In reading the article, the girls in the Wellesley class of 1926 saw that Mary had

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been entered at Wellesley so they enrolled her as a member of the class of 1926 and have kept her with them through the four years. Mr. and Mrs. White do not know a member of the class and for years did not know that the girls of Wellesley were considering Mary among them. This spring they notified her parents in Emporia that the class annual, The Wellesley Legenda, had been dedicated to the memory of Mary White, and this week sent a number o£ copies of the annual to her parents. So her parents have paid Mary's class assessment and her name will be entered as a contributor to the memorial which the class will leave in Wellesley upon its graduation. Thus the commencement has a local interest to her friends in Emporia. This is her graduating year, but she will remain for many years immortal among students in colleges and high schools where her story is read in the textbooks. So she will never grow up even after her graduation.

TWENTY YEARS AGO Twenty years ago today, Mary White died. She had been registered in Wellesley college and was preparing to graduate from high school so that she could enter Wellesley in 1922 and join the class d£ 1926. By 1926, a short editorial about her having appeared in The Gazette, had been included in half a dozen books and college and high school textbooks, including Woolcott's Reader, Christopher Morley** Anthology and other similar collections of essays. On that basis, (he Wellesley class of 1926 dedicated the annual at Wellesley to Mary White. Since then all together 34 different high school and college class texts and other collections of school reader pieces have published the Mary White editorial between book covers and this year the class o£ '26 at Wellesley at its fifteenth reunion, which is accumulating a loan, fund called the Daughters' fund of '26, changed the name of their fund to the Mary White Daughters' fund. Twenty years is a long time for a girl to live in the immortality she would choose above all others—a bright, gay glow in the heart o£ youth.

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IV THE JUNGLE

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U P T O N S I N C L A I R Why he selected

The Jungle: The SLAUGHTER of the PIGS Anyone who reads these five thousand words will have his imagination stimulated, his sympathies widened, and his understanding of the world he lives in increased. At least, that is why the book* (from which this excerpt was taken) was written, and if it doesn't happen there is something wrong with either you or with the author. Pasadena, Cal.

UPTON SINCLAIR

June, 1942

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I ""HEY passed down the busy street that led to the yards. It was J_ still early morning and everything was at its high tide of activity. A steady stream of employees was pouring through the gate—employees of the higher sort, at this hour, clerks and stenographers and such. For the women diere were waiting big two-horse wagons, which set off at a gallop as fast as they were filled. In the distance there was heard again the lowing of the cattle, a sound as of a far-off ocean calling. They followed it, this time, as eager as children in sight of a circus menagerie—which, indeed, the scene a good deal resembled. They crossed the railroad tracks, and then on each side of the street were the pens full of cattle; they would have stopped to look, but Jokubas hurried them on, to where there was a stairway and a raised gallery, from which everything could be seen. Here they stood, staring, breathless with wonder. There is over a square mile of space in the yards, and more than half of it is occupied by cattle-pens; north and south as far as the eye can reach there stretches a sea of pens. And they were all filled—so many cattle no one had ever dreamed existed in the world. Red cattle, • From The Jungle, 1906.

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black, white, and yellow cattle; old cattle and young cattle; great bellowing bulls and little calves not an hour born; meek-eyed milch cows and fierce, long-horned Texas steers. The sound of them here was as of all the barnyards of the universe; and as for counting them—it would have taken all day simply to count the pens. Here and there ran long alleys, blocked at intervals by gates; and Jokubas told them that the number of these gates was twenty-five thousand. Jokubas had recently been reading a newspaper article which was full of statistics such as that, and he was very proud as he repeated them and made his guests cry out with wonder. Jurgis too had a little of this sense of pride. Had he not just gotten a job, and become a sharer in all this activity, a cog in this marvellous machine? Here and there about the alleys galloped men upon horseback, booted, and carrying long whips; they were very busy, calling to each other, and to those who were driving the cattle. They were drovers and stock-raisers, who had come from far states, and brokers and commission-merchants, and buyers for all the big packing-houses. Here and there they would stop to inspect a bunch of cattle, and there would be a parley, brief and business-like. The buyer would nod or drop his whip, and that would mean a bargain; and he would note it in his little book, along with hundreds of others he had made that morning. Then Jokubas pointed out the place where the cattle were driven to be weighed, upon a great scale that would weigh a hundred thousand pounds at once and record it automatically. It was near to the east entrance that they stood, and all along this east side of the yards ran the railroad tracks, into which the cars were run, loaded with cattle. All night long this had been going on, and now the pens were full; by to-night they would all be empty, and the same thing would be done again. "And what will become of all these creatures?" cried Teta Elzbieta. "By to-night," Jokubas answered, "they will all be killed and cut up; and over there on the other side of the packing-houses are more railroad tracks, where the cars come to take them away." There were two hundred and fifty miles of track within the yards, their guide went on to tell them. They brought about ten thousand head of cattle every day, and as many hogs, and half as many sheep— which meant some eight or ten million live creatures turned into food

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every year. One stood and watched, and little by little caught the drift of the tide, as it set in the direction of the packing-houses. There were groups of cattle being driven to the chutes, which were roadways about fifteen feet wide, raised' high above the pens. In these chutes the stream of animals was continuous; it was quite uncanny to watch them, pressing on to their fate, all unsuspicious—a very river of death. Our friends were not poetical, and the sight suggested to them no metaphors of human destiny; they thought only of the wonderful efficiency of it all. The chutes into which the hogs went climbed high up—to the very top of the distant buildings; and Jokubas explained that the hogs went up by the power of their own legs, and then their weight carried them back through all the processes necessary to make them into pork. "They don't waste anything here," said the guide, and then he laughed and added a witticism, which he was pleased that his unsophisticated friends should take to be his own: "They use everything about the hog except the squeal." In front of Brown's General Office building there grows a tiny plot of grass, and this, you may learn, is the only bit of green thing in Packingtown; likewise this jest about the hog and his squeal, the stock in trade of all the guides, is the one gleam of humor that you will find there. After they had seen enough of the pens, the party went up the street, to the mass of buildings which occupy the centre of the yards. These buildings, made of brick and stained with innumerable layers of Packingtown smoke, were painted all over with advertising signs, from which the visitor realized suddenly that he had come to the home of many of the torments of his life. It was here that they made those products with the wonders of which they pestered him so—by placards that defaced the landscape when he travelled, and by staring advertisements in the newspapers and magazines—by silly little jingles that he could not get out of his mind, and gaudy pictures that lurked for him around every street corner. Here was where they made Brown's Imperial Hams and Bacon, Brown's Dressed Beef, Brown's Excelsior Sausages! Here was the headquarters of Durham's Pure Leaf Lard, of Durham's Breakfast Bacon, Durham's Canned Beef, Potted Ham, Devilled Chicken, Peerless Fertilizer! Entering one of the Durham buildings, they found a number of other visitors waiting; and before long there came a guide, to escort

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them through the place. They made a great feature of showing strangers through the packing-plants, for it is a good advertisement. But ponas Jokubas whispered maliciously that the visitors did not see any more than the packers wanted them to. They climbed a long series of stairways outside of the building, to the top of its five or six stories. Here was the chute, with its river of hogs, all patiently toiling upward; there was a place for them to rest to cool off, and then through another passageway they went into a room for which there is no returning for hogs. It was a long, narrow room, with a gallery along it for visitors. At the head there was a great iron wheel, about twenty feet in circumference, with rings here and there along its edge. Upon both sides of this wheel there was a narrow space, into which came the hogs at the end of their journey; in the midst of them stood a great burly negro, bare-armed and bare-chested. He was resting for the moment, for the wheel had stopped while men were cleaning up. In a minute or two, however, it began slowly to revolve, and then the men upon each side of it sprang to work. They had chains which they fastened about the leg of the nearest hog, and the other end of the chain they hooked into one of the rings upon the wheel. So, as the wheel turned, a hog was suddenly jerked off his feet and borne aloft. At the same time the ear was assailed by a most terrifying shriek; the visitors started in alarm, the women turned pale and shrank back. The shriek was followed by another, louder and yet more agonizing— for once started upon that journey, the hog never came back; at the top of the wheel he was shunted off upon a trolley, and went sailing down the room. And meantime another was swung up, and then another, and another, until there was a double line of them, each dangling by a foot and kicking in frenzy—and squealing. The uproar was appalling, perilous to the ear-drums; one feared there was too much sound for the room to hold—that the walls must give way or the ceiling crack. There were high squeals and low squeals, grunts, and wails of agony; there would come a momentary lull, and then a fresh outburst, louder than ever, surging up to a deafening climax. It was too much for some of the visitors—the men would look at each other laughing nervously, and the women would stand with hands clenched, and the blood rushing to their faces, and the tears starting in their eyes.

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Meantime, heedless of all these things, the men upon the floor were going about their work. Neither squeals of hogs nor tears of visitors made any difference to them; one by one they hooked up the hogs, and one by one with a swift stroke they slit their throats. There was a long line of hogs, with squeals and life-blood ebbing away together; until at last each started again, and vanished with a splash into a huge vat of boiling water. It was all so very businesslike that one watched it fascinated. It was pork-making by machinery, pork-making by applied mathematics. And yet somehow the most matter-of-fact person could not help thinking of the hogs; they were so innocent, they came so very trustingly; and they were so very human in their protests—and so perfectly within their rights! They had done nothing to deserve it; and it was adding insult to injury, as the thing was done here, swinging them up in this cold-blooded, impersonal way, without a pretense of apology, without the homage of a tear. Now and then a visitor wept, to be sure; but this slaughtering-machine ran on, visitors or no visitors. It was like some horrible crime committed in a dungeon, all unseen and unheeded, buried out of sight and of memory. One could not stand and watch very long without becoming philosophical, without beginning to deal in symbols and similes, and to hear the hog-squeal of the universe. Was it permitted to believe that there was nowhere upon the earth, or above the earth, a heaven for hogs, where they were requited for all this suffering? Each one of these hogs was a separate creature. Some were white hogs, some very black; some were brown, some were spotted; some were old, some were young; some were long and lean, some were monstrous. And each of them had an individuality of his own, a will of his own, a hope and a heart's desire; each was full of self-confidence, of self-importance, and a sense of dignity. And trusting and strong in faith he had gone about his business, the while a black shadow hung over him and a horrid Fate waited in his pathway. Now suddenly it had swooped upon him, and had seized him by the leg. Relentless, remorseless, it was; all his protests, his screams, were nothing to it—it did its cruel will with him, as if his wishes, his feelings, had simply no existence at all; it cut his throat and watched him gasp out his life. And now v/as one to believe that there was nowhere a god of hogs, to whom this hog-personality

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was precious, to whom these hog-squeals and agonies had a meaning? Who would take this hog into his arms and comfort him, reward him for his work well-done, and show him the meaning of his sacrifice? Perhaps some glimpse of all this was in the thoughts of our humbleminded Jurgis, as he turned to go on with the rest of the party, and muttered: "Dieve—but I'm glad I'm not a hog!" The carcass hog was scooped out of the vat by machinery, and then it fell to the second floor, passing on the way through a wonderful machine with numerous scrapers, which adjusted themselves to the size and shape of the animal, and sent it out at the other end with nearly all of its bristles removed. It was then again strung up by machinery, and sent upon another trolley ride; this time passing between two lines of men, who sat upon a raised platform, each doing a certain single thing to the carcass as it came to him. One scraped the outside of a leg; another scraped the inside of the same leg. One with a swift stroke cut the throat; another with two swift strokes severed the head, which fell to the floor and vanished through a hole. Another made a slit down the body; a second opened the body wider; a third with a saw cut the breast-bone; a fourth loosened the entrails; a fifth pulled them out—and they also slid through a hole in the floor. There were men to scrape each side and men to scrape the back; there were men to clean the carcass inside, to trim it and wash it. Looking down this room, one saw, creeping slowly, a line of dangling hogs a hundred yards in length; and for every yard there was a man, working as if a demon were after him. At the end of this hog's progress every inch of the carcass had been gone over several times; and then it was rolled into the chilling-room, where it stayed for twenty-four hours, and where a stranger might lose himself in a forest of freezing hogs. Before the carcass was admitted here, however, it had to pass a government inspector, who sat in the doorway and felt of the glands in the neck for tuberculosis. This government inspector did not have the manner of a man who was worked to death; he was apparently not haunted by a fear that the hog might get by him before he had finished his testing. If you were a sociable person, he was quite willing to enter into conversation with you, and to explain to you the deadly nature of the ptomaines which are to be found in tubercular pork; and while he was talking with you you could hardly be so ungrateful as to

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notice that a dozen carcasses were passing him untouched. This inspector wore an imposing silver badge, and he gave an atmosphere of authority to the scene, and, as it were, put the stamp of official approval upon the things which were done in Durham's. Jurgis went down the line with the rest of the visitors, staring open-mouthed, lost in wonder. He had dressed hogs himself in the forest of Lithuania; but he had never expected to see one hog dressed by several hundred men. It was like a wonderful poem to him, and he took it all in guilelessly—even to the conspicuous signs demanding immaculate cleanliness of the employees. Jurgis was vexed when the cynical Jokubas translated these signs with sarcastic comments, offering to take them to the secret-rooms where the spoiled meats went to be doctored. The party descended to the next floor, where the various waste materials were treated. Here came the entrails, to be scraped and washed clean for sausage-casings; men and women worked there in the midst of a sickening stench, which caused the visitors to hasten by, gasping. To another room came all the scraps to be "tanked," which meant boiling and pumping off the grease to make soap and lard; below they took out the refuse, and this, too, was a region in which the visitors did not linger. In still other places men were engaged in cutting up the carcasses that had been through the chilling-rooms. First there were the "splitters," the most expert workmen in the plant, who earned as high as fifty cents an hour, and did not a thing all day except chop hogs down the middle. Then there were "cleaver men," great giants with muscles of iron; each had two men to attend him—to slide the half carcass in front of him on the table; and hold it while he chopped it, and then turn each piece so that he might chop it once more. His cleaver had a blade about two feet long, and he never made but one cut; he made it so neatly, too, that his implement did not smite through and dull itself—there was just enough force for a perfect cut, and no more. So through various yawning holes there slipped to the floor below—to one room hams, to another forequarters, to another sides of pork. One might go down to this floor and see the picklingrooms, where the hams were put into vats, and the great smokerooms, with their air-tight iron doors. In other rooms they prepared salt-pork—there were whole cellars full of it, built up in great towers

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to the ceiling. In yet other rooms they were putting up meat in boxes and barrels, and wrapping hams and bacon in oiled paper, sealing and labelling and sewing them. From the doors of these rooms went men with loaded trucks, to the platform where freight-cars were waiting to be filled; and one went out there and realized with a start that he had come at last to the ground floor of this enormous building. Then the party went across the street to where they did the killing of the beef—where every hour they turned four or five hundred cattle into meat. Unlike the place they had left, all this work was done on one floor; and instead of there being one line of carcasses which moved to the workmen, there were fifteen or twenty lines, and the men moved from one to another of these. This made a scene of intense activity, a picture of human power wonderful to watch. It was all in one great room, like a circus amphitheatre, with a gallery for visitors running over the centre. Along one side of the room ran a narrow gallery, a few feet from the floor; into which gallery die cattle were driven by men with goads which gave them electric shocks. Once crowded in here, the creatures were prisoned, each in a separate pen, by gates that shut, leaving them no room to turn around; and while they stood bellowing and plunging, over the top of the pen there leaned one of the "knockers," armed with a sledge-hammer, and watching for a chance to deal a blow. The room echoed with the thuds in quick succession, and the stamping and kicking of the steers. The instant the animal had fallen, the "knocker" passed on to another; while a second man raised a lever, and the side of the pen was raised, and the animal, still kicking and struggling, slid out to the "killing-bed." Here a man put shackles about one leg, and pressed another lever, and the body was jerked up into die air. There were fifteen or twenty such pens, and it was a matter of only a couple of minutes to knock fifteen or twenty cattle and roll them out. Then once more the gates were opened, and another lot rushed in; and so out of each pen there rolled a steady stream of carcasses, which the men upon the killing-beds had to get out of the way. The manner in which they did this was something to be seen and never forgotten. They worked with furious intensity, literally upon the run—at a pace with which there is nothing to be compared except a football game. It was all highly specialized labor, each man having

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his task to do; generally this would consist of only two or three specific cuts, and he would pass down the line of fifteen or twenty carcasses, making these cuts upon each. First there came the "butcher," to bleed them; this meant one swift stroke, so swift that you could not see it—only the flash of the knife; and before you could realize it, the man had darted on to the next line, and a stream of bright red was pouring out upon the floor. This floor was half an inch deep with blood, in spite of the best efforts of men who kept shovelling it through holes; it must have made the floor slippery, but no one could have guessed this by watching the men at work. The carcass hung for a few minutes to bleed; there was no time lost, however, for there were several hanging in each line, and one was always ready. It was let down to the ground, and there came the "headsmen," whose task it was to sever the head, with two or three swift strokes. Then came the "floorsman," to make the first cut in the skin; and then another to finish ripping the skin down the centre; and then half a dozen more in swift succession, to finish the skinning. After they were through, the carcass was again swung up; and while a man with a stick examined the skin, to make sure that it had not been cut, and another rolled it up and tumbled it through one of the inevitable holes in the floor, the beef proceeded on its journey. There were men to cut it, and men to split it, and men to gut it and scrape it clean inside. There were some with hose which threw jets of boiling water upon it, and others who removed the feet and added the final touches. In the end, as with the hogs, the finished beef was run into the chillingroom, to hang its appointed time. The visitors were taken there and shown them, all neatly hung in rows, labelled conspicuously with the tags of the government inspectors—and some, which had been killed by a special process, marked with the sign o£ the "kosher" rabbi, certifying that it was fit for sale to the orthodox. And then the visitors were taken to the other parts of the building, to see what became of each particle of the waste material that had vanished through the floor; and to the pickling-rooms, and the salting-rooms, the canning-rooms, and the packing-rooms, where choice meat was prepared for shipping in refrigerator-cars, destined to be eaten in all the four corners of civilization. Afterward they went outside, wandering about among the mazes of buildings in which was

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done the work auxiliary to this great industry. There was scarcely a thing needed in the business that Durham and Company did not make for themselves. There was a great steam-power plant and an electricity plant. There was a barrel factory, and a boiler-repair shop. There was a building to which the grease was piped, and made into soap and lard; and then there was a factory for making lard cans, and another for making soap boxes. There was a building in which the bristles were cleaned and dried, for the making of hair cushions and such things; there was a building where the skins were dried and tanned, there was another where heads and feet were made into glue, and another where bones were made into fertilizer. No tiniest particle of organic matter was wasted in Durham's. Out of the horns of the cattle they made combs, buttons, hair-pins, and imitation ivory; out of the shin bones and other big bones they cut knife and tooth-brush handles, and mouth-pieces for pipes; out of the hoofs they cut hair-pins and buttons, before they had made the rest into glue. From such things as feet, knuckles, hide clippings, and sinews came such strange and unlikely products as gelatin, isinglass, and phosphorus, bone-black, shoe-blacking, and bone-oil. They had curled-hair works for the cattletails, and a "wool-pullery" for the sheep skins; they made pepsin from the stomachs of the pigs, and albumen from the blood, and violin strings from the ill-smelling entrails. When there was nothing else to be done with a thing, they first put it into a tank and got out of it all the tallow and grease, and then they made it into fertilizer. All these industries were gathered into buildings near by, connected by galleries and railroads with the main establishment; and it was estimated that they had handled nearly a quarter of a billion of animals since the founding of the plant by the elder Durham a generation or more ago. If you counted with it the other big plants—and they were now really all one—it was, so Jokubas informed them, the greatest aggregation of labor and capital ever gathered in one place. It employed thirty thousand men; it supported directly two hundred and fifty thousand people in its neighborhood, and indirectly it supported half a million. It sent its products to every country in the civilized world, and it furnished the food for no less than thirty million people! To all of these things our friends would listen open mouthed—it seemed to them impossible of belief that anything so stupendous could

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have been devised by mortal man. That was why to Jurgis it seemed almost profanity to speak about the place as did Jokubas, sceptically; it was a thing as tremendous as the universe—the laws and ways of its working no more than the universe to be questioned or understood. All that a mere man could do, it seemed to Jurgis, was to take a thing like this as he found it, and do as he was told; to be given a place in it and a share in its wonderful activities was a blessing to be grateful for, as one was grateful for the sunshine and the rain. Jurgis was even glad that he had not seen the place before meeting with his triumph, for he felt that the size of it would have overwhelmed him. But now he had been admitted—he was a part of it all! He had the feeling that this whole huge establishment had taken him under his protection, and had become responsible for his welfare. So guileless was he, and ignorant of the nature of business, that he did not even realize that he had become an employee of Brown's, and that Brown and Durham were supposed by all the world to be deadly rivals—were even required to be deadly rivals by the law of the land, and ordered to try to ruin each other under penalty of fine and imprisonment!

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JAMES T. FARRELL Why he selected

STUDS

I have not undertaken the task of selecting from my published work that story, or that fragment of a novel, which I consider, absolutely, to be "my best" piece of writing: rather, I have chosen a story which I consider to be highly representative of the content and character of my writing up to date. This story, "Studs," was originally written for a composition course conducted at the University of Chicago by the late Professor James Weber Linn in the spring of 1929. It was first published in the magazine This Quarter in the summer of 1930. I made minor changes in this story for its publication in my book, Guillotine Party and Other Stories: it is here reprinted with these changes. However, in all essential matters the story remains as it was originally written. "Studs" describes the original experience which led me to write what eventually became my trilogy, Studs Lonigan: it is the germ of that work. As such, it became a prediction of what I was to write, what types of character and environment I was to be interested in, what direction I would take in my first years as a novelist and short story writer. It is one of my first stories in which I attempted to use the kind of dialogue that I have since relied upon so extensively. Furthermore, this story embodies my original approach to my material. In the course of writing Studs Lonigan this approach was altered, expanded, refined. A strong reaction to the patterns of experience with which I had been familiar since my boyhood was here a starting point: it was a guiding chart (so to speak) directing me into certain avenues of the American way of life as that life is lived concretely by a great number of Americans. From this beginning I was led forward in a search for what this particular way of life meant to those who have lived it. The results of such effort are embodied in Studs Lonigan, and in various of my other published works. But this story constitutes one of the beginnings of that effort. Thus, I include it in this anthology, rather than any later writing of mine. New York, N . Y. July 12, 1942

JAMES

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I

T IS raining outside; rain pouring like bullets from countless machine guns; rain spat-spattering on the wet earth and paving in endless silver crystals. Studs' grave out at Mount Olivet will be soaked and soppy, and fresh with the wet, clean odors of watered earth and riowers. And the members of Studs' family will be looking out of the windows of their apartment on the South Side, thinking of the cold, damp grave and the gloomy, muddy cemetery, and of their Studs lying at rest in peaceful acceptance of that wormy conclusion which is the common fate. At Studs' wake last Monday evening everybody was mournful, sad that such a fine young fellow of twenty-six should go off so suddenly with double pneumonia; blown out of this world like a ripped leaf in a hurricane. They sighed and the women and girls cried, and everybody said that it was too bad. But they were consoled because he'd had the priest and had received Extreme Unction before he died, instead of going off like Sport Murphy who was killed in a saloon brawl. Poor Sport! He was a good fellow, and tough as hell. Poor Studs! The undertaker (it was probably old man O'Reedy who used to be usher in the old parish church) laid Studs out handsomely. He was outfitted in a sombre black suit and a white silk tie. His hands were folded over his stomach, clasping a pair of black rosary beads. At his head, pressed against the satin bedding, was a spiritual bouquet, set in line with Studs' large nose. He looked handsome, and there were no lines of suffering on his planed face. But the spiritual bouquet (further assurance that his soul would arrive safely in Heaven) was a dirty trick. So was the administration of the last sacraments. For Studs will be miserable in Heaven, more miserable than he was on those Sunday nights when he would hang around the old poolroom at Fifty-eighth and the elevated station, waiting for something to happen. He will find the land of perpetual happiness and goodness dull and boresome, and he'll be resentful. There will be nothing to do in Heaven but to wait in timeless eternity. There will be no can houses, speakeasies, whores (unless they are reformed) and gambling joints; and neither will there he a shortage of plasterers. He will loaf up and down gold-paved streets where there is not even the suggestion of a poolroom, thinking of Paulie Haggerty, Sport Murphy, Arnold Sheehan and Hink Weber, who are possibly in Hell together because there was no priest around to play a dirty trick on them.

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I thought of these things when I stood by the coffin, waiting for Tommy Doyle, Red Kelly, Les, and Joe to finish offering a few perfunctory prayers in memory of Studs. When they had showered some Hail Marys and Our Fathers on his already prayer-drenched soul, we went out into the dining room. Years ago when I was a kid in the fifth grade in the old parish school, Studs was in the graduating class. He was one of the school leaders, a light-faced, blond kid who was able to fight like sixty and who never took any sass from Tommy Doyle, Red Kelly, or any of those fellows from the Fifty-eighth Street gang. He was quarterback on the school's football team, and liked by the girls. My first concrete memory of him is of a rainy fall afternoon. Dick Buckford and I were fooling around in front of Helen Shires' house bumping against each other with our arms folded. We never thought of fighting but kept pushing and shoving and bumping each other. Studs, Red O'Connell, Tubby Connell, the Donoghues, and Jim Clayburn came along. Studs urged us into fighting, and I gave Dick a bloody nose. Studs congratulated me, and said that I could come along with them and play tag in Red O'Connell's basement, where there were several trick passageways. After that day, I used to go around with Studs and his bunch. They regarded me as a sort of mascot, and they kept training me to fight other kids. But any older fellows who tried to pick on me would have a fight on their hands. Every now and then he would start boxing with me. "Gee, you never get hurt, do you?" he would say. I would grin in answer, bearing the punishment because of the pride and the glory. "You must be goofy. You can't be hurt." "Well, I don't get hurt like other kids." "You're too good for Morris and those kids. You could trim them with your eyes closed. You're good," he would say, and then he would go on training me. I arranged for a party on one of my birthdays, and invited Studs and the fellows from his bunch. Red O'Connell, a tall, lanky, cowardly kid, went with my brother, and the two of them convinced my folks that Studs was not a fit person for me to invite. I told Studs what had

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happened, and he took such an insult decently. But none of the fellows he went with would accept my invitation, and most of the girls also refused. On the day of the party, with my family's permission, I again invited Studs but he never came. I have no other concrete recollections of Studs while he was in grammar school. He went to Loyola for one year, loafed about for a similar period; and then he became a plasterer for his father. He commenced going round the poolroom. The usual commonplace story resulted. What there was of the boy disappeared in slobbish dissipation. His pleasures became compressed within a hexagonal of whores, movies, pool, alky, poker, and craps. By the time I commenced going into the poolroom (my third year in high school) this process had been completed. Studs' attitude toward me had also changed to one of contempt. I was a goofy young punk. Often he made cracks about me. Once, when I retaliated by sarcasm, he threatened to bust me, and awed by his former reputation I shut up. We said little to each other, although Studs occasionally condescended to borrow fifty or seventy-five cents from me, or to discuss Curley, the corner imbecile. Studs' companions were more or less small-time amateur hoodlums. He had drifted away from the Donoghues and George Gogarty, who remained bourgeois young men with such interests as formal dances and shows. Perhaps Slug Mason was his closest friend; a tall, heavyhanded, good-natured, child-minded slugger, who knew the address and telephone number of almost every prostitute on the South Side. Hink Weber, who should have been in the ring and who later committed suicide in an insane asylum, Red Kelly, who was a typical wisecracking corner habitue, Tommy Doyle, a fattening, bull-dozing, halfgood-natured moron, Stan Simonsky and Joe Thomas were his other companions. I feel sure that Studs' family, particularly his sisters, were appalled by his actions. The two sisters, one of whom I loved in an adolescently romantic and completely unsuccessful manner, were the type of middleclass girls who go in for sororities and sensibilities. One Saturday evening, when Studs got drunk earlier than usual, his older sister (who the boys always said was keen) saw him staggering around under the Fifty-eighth Street elevated station. She was with a young man in an

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automobile, and they stopped. Studs talked loudly to her, and finally they left. Studs reeled after the car, cursing and shaking his fists. Fellows like Johnny O'Brien (who went to the U. of C. to become a fraternity man) talked sadly of how Studs could have been more discriminating in his choice of buddies and liquor; and this, too, must have reached the ears of his two sisters. Physical decay slowly developed. Studs, always a square-planed, broad person, began getting soft and slightly fat. He played one or two years with the corner football team. He was still an efficient quarterback, but slow. When the team finally disbanded, he gave up athletics. He fought and brawled about until one New Year's Eve he talked out of turn to Jim McGeoghan, who was a boxing champ down at Notre Dame. Jim flattened Studs' nose, and gave him a wicked black eye. Studs gave up fighting. My associations with the corner gradually dwindled. I went to college, and became an atheist. This further convinced Studs that I wasn't right, and he occasionally remarked about my insanity. I grew up contemptuous of him and the others; and some of this feeling crept into my overt actions. I drifted into other groups and forgot the corner. Then I went to New York, and stories of legendary activities became fact on the corner. I had started a new religion, written poetry, and done countless similar monstrous things. When I returned, I did not see Studs for over a year. One evening, just before the Smith-Hoover election day, I met him as he came out of the I. C. station at Randolph Street with Pat Carrigan and Ike Dugan. I talked to Pat and Ike, but not to Studs. "Aren't you gonna say hello to me?" he asked in friendly fashion, and he offered me his hand. I was curious but friendly for several minutes. We talked of Al Smith's chances in an uninformed, unintelligent fashion and I injected one joke about free love. Studs laughed at it; and then they went on. The next I heard of him, he was dead. When I went out into the dining room, I found all the old gang there, jabbering in the smoke-thick, crowded room. But I did not have any desire or intention of giving the world for having seen them. They were almost all fat and respectable. Cloddishly, they talked of the

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tragedy of his death, and then went about remembering the good old days. I sat in the corner and listened. The scene seemed tragi-comical to me. All these fellows had been the bad boys of my boyhood, and many of them I had admired as proper models. Now they were all of the same kidney. Jackie Cooney (who once stole fifteen bottles of grape juice in one haul from under the eyes of a Greek proprietor over at Sixty-fifth and Stony Island), Monk McCarthy (who lived in a basement on his pool winnings and peanuts for over a year), Al Mumford (the good-natured, dumbly well-intentioned corner scapegoat), Pat Carrigan, the roly-poly fat boy from Saint Stanislaus high school—all as alike as so many cans of tomato soup. Jim Nolan, now bald-headed, a public accountant, engaged to be married, and student in philosophy at Saint Vincent's evening school, was in one corner with Monk. "Gee, Monk, remember the time we went to Plantation and I got drunk and went down the alley over-turning garbage cans?" he recalled. "Yeh, that was some party," Monk said. "Those were the days," Jim said. Tubby Connell, whom I recalled as a moody, introspective kid, singled out the social Johnny O'Brien and listened to the latter talk with George Gogarty about Illinois U. Al Mumford walked about making cracks, finally observing to me, "Jim, get a fiddle and you'll look like Paderwooski." Red Kelly sat enthroned with Les, Doyle, Simonsky, Bryan, Young Floss Campbell (waiting to be like these older fellows), talking oracularly. "Yes, sir, it's too bad. A young fellow in the prime of life going like that. It's too bad," he said. "Poor Studs!" Les said. "I was out with him a week ago," Bryan said. "He was all right then," Kelly said. "Life is a funny thing," Doyle said. "It's a good thing he had the priest," Kelly said. "Yeh," Les said. "Sa-ay, last Saturday I pushed the swellest little baby at Rosy's," Doyle said.

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"Was she a blonde?" Kelly said. "Yeh," Doyle said. "She's cute. I jazzed her, too," Kelly said. "Yeh, that night at Plantation was a wow," Jim Nolan said. "We ought to pull off a drunk some night," Monk said. "Let's," Nolan said. "Say, Curley, are you in love?" Mumford asked Curley across the room. "Now, Duffy," Charley said with imbecile superiority. "Remember the time Curley went to Burnham?" Cardigan asked. Curley blushed. "What happened, Curley?" Duffy asked. "Nothing, Al," Curley said, confused. "Go on, tell him, Curley! Tell him! Don't be bashful now! Don't be bashful! Tell him about the little broad!" Carrigan said. "Now, Pat, you know me better than that," Curley said. "Come on, Curley, tell me," Al said. "Some little girl sat on Curley's knee, and he shoved her off and called her a lousy whore and left the place," Carrigan said. "Why, Curley, I'm ashamed of you," Al said. Curley blushed. "I got to get up at six every morning. But I don't mind it. This not workin' is the bunk. You ain't got any clothes or anything when you ain't got the sheets. I know. No, sir, this loafin' is all crap. You wait around all day for something to happen," Jackie Cooney said to Tommy Rourke. "Gee, it was tough on Studs," Johnny O'Brien said to George Gogarty. Gogarty said it was tough, too. Then they talked of some student from Illinois U. Phil Rolfe came in. Phil was professional major-domo of the wake; he was going with Studs' kid sister. Phil used to be a smart Jewboy, misplaced when he did not get into the furrier business. Now he was sorry with everybody, and thanking them for being sorry. He and Kelly talked importantly of pall-bearers. Then he went out. Some fellow I didn't know started telling one of Red Kelly's brothers what time he got up to go to work. Mickey Flannagan, the corner drunk, came in and he, too, said he was working.

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They kept on talking, and I thought more and more that they were a bunch of slobs. All the adventurous boy that was in them years ago had been killed. Slobs, getting fat and middle-aged, bragging of their stupid brawls, reciting the commonplaces of their days. As I left, I saw Studs' kid sister. She was crying so pitifully that she was unable to recognize me. I didn't see how she could ever have been affectionate toward Studs. He was so outside of her understanding. I knew she never mentioned him to me the few times I took her out. But she cried pitifully. As I left, I thought that Studs had looked handsome. He would have gotten a good break, too, if only they hadn't given him Extreme Unction. For life would have grown into fatter and fatter decay for him, just as it was starting to do with Kelly, Doyle, Cooney and McCarthy. He, too, was a slob; but he died without having to live countless slobbish years. If only they had not sent him to Heaven where there are no whores and poolrooms. I walked home with Joe, who isn't like the others. We couldn't feel sorry over Studs. It didn't make any difference. "Joe, he was a slob," I said. Joe did not care to use the same language, but he did not disagree. And now the rain keeps falling on Studs' new grave, and his family mournfully watches the leaden sky, and his old buddies are at work wishing that it was Saturday night, and that they were just getting into bed with a naked voluptuous blonde.

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R I C H A R D W R I G H T Why he selected

HOW l 'BIGGER" WAS BORN

The basic symbols and images that went into the writing of Native Son were born of my living as a Negro in the United States. "How 'Bigger' Was Born" states how those symbols and images, over a long period of time, came to exercise a certain meaningful fascination over my mind and feelings. Here are fear, hate, guilt, murder, rape, brutality, deception, misguided kindness, and fumbling helpfulness. I don't think I ever enjoyed writing anything more than this preface and it was my first attempt to account publicly for the genesis of my attitude toward life. If I were asked what is the one, over-all symbol or image gained from my living that most nearly represents what I feel to be the essence of American life, I'd say that it was that of a man struggling mightily to free his personality from the daily and hourly encroachments of American life. Bigger represents that to me. Of course, Native Son is but one angle of what I feel to be the struggle of the individual in America for self-possession. If I am lucky, I hope to depict many more, from varied angles and other planes. Brooklyn, N . Y.

RICHARD WRIGHT

July, 1942

I

AM not so pretentious as to imagine that it is possible for me to account completely for my own book, Native Son. But I am going to try to account for as much of it as I can, the sources of it, the material that went into it, and my own years' long changing attitude toward that material. Acknowledgment is made to The Saturday Review of Literature and Harper & Brothers, for permission to reproduce those parts of this article which appeared in the Review issue of June 1, 1940.

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In a fundamental sense, an imaginative novel represents the merging of two extremes; it is an intensely intimate expression on the part of a consciousness couched in terms of the most objective and commonly known events. It is at once something private and public by its very nature and texture. Confounding the author who is trying to lay his cards on the table is the dogging knowledge that his imagination is a kind of community medium of exchange: what he has read, felt, thought, seen, and remembered is translated into extensions as impersonal as a worn dollar bill. The more closely the author thinks of why he wrote, the more he comes to regard his imagination as a kind of self-generating cement which glued his facts together, and his emotions as a kind of dark and obscure designer of those facts. Always there is something that is just beyond the tip of the tongue that could explain it all. Usually, he ends up by discussing something far afield, an act which incites skepticism and suspicion in those anxious for a straight-out explanation. Yet the author is eager to explain. But the moment he makes the attempt his words falter, for he is confronted and defied by the inexplicable array of his own emotions. Emotions are subjective and he can communicate them only when he clothes them in objective guise; and how can he ever be so arrogant as to know when he is dressing up the right emotion in the right Sunday suit? He is always left with the uneasy notion that maybe any objective drapery is as good as any other .for any emotion. And the moment he does dress up an emotion, his mind is confronted with the riddle of that "dressed up" emotion, and he is left peering with eager dismay back into the dim reaches of his own incommunicable life. Reluctantly, he comes to the conclusion that to account for his book is to account for his life, and he knows that that is impossible. Yet, some curious, wayward motive urges him to supply the answer, for there is the feeling that his dignity as a living being is challenged by something within him that is not understood. So, at the outset, I say frankly that there are phases of Native Son which I shall make no attempt to account for. There are meanings in iny book of which I was not aware until they literally spilled out upon the paper. I shall sketch the outline of how I consciously came into possession of the materials that went into Native Son, but there will be

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many things I shall omit, not because I want to, but simply because I don't know them. The birth of Bigger Thomas goes back to my childhood, and there was not just one Bigger, but many of them, more than I could count and more than you suspect. But let me start with the first Bigger, whom I shall call Bigger No. 1. When I was a bareheaded, barefoot kid in Jackson, Mississippi, there was a boy who terrorized me and all of the boys 1 played with. If we were playing games, he would saunter up and snatch from us our balls, bats, spinning tops, and marbles. We would stand around pouting, sniffling, trying to keep back our tears, begging for our playthings. But Bigger would refuse. We never demanded that he give them back; we were afraid, and Bigger was bad. We had seen him clout boys when he was angry and we did not want to run that risk. We never recovered our toys unless we flattered him and made him feel that he was superior to us. Then, perhaps, if he felt like it, he condescended, threw them at us and then gave each of us a swift kick in the bargain, just to make us feel his utter contempt. That was the way Bigger No. 1 lived. His life was a continuous challenge to others. At all times he too\ his way, right or wrong, and those who contradicted him had him to fight. And never was he happier than when he had someone cornered and at his mercy; it seemed that the deepest meaning of his squalid life was in him at such times. I don't know what the fate of Bigger No. 1 was. His swaggering, personality is swallowed up somewhere in the amnesia of my childhood. But I suspect that his end was violent. Anyway, he left a marked impression upon me; maybe it was because I longed secretly to be like him and was afraid. I don't know. If I had known only one Bigger I would not have written Native Son. Let me call the next one Bigger No. 2; he was about seventeen and tougher than die first Bigger. Since I, too, had grown older, I was a little less afraid of him. And the hardness of this Bigger No. 2 was not directed toward me or the other Negroes, but toward the whites who ruled the South. He bought clothes and food on credit and would not pay for them. He lived in the dingy shacks of the white landlords and refused to pay rent. Of course, he had no money, but neither did we. We did without the necessities of life and starved ourselves, but

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he never would. When we asked him why he acted as he did, he would tell us (as though we were little children in a kindergarten) that the white folks had everything and he had nothing. Further, he would tell us that we were fools not to get what we wanted while we were alive in this world. We would listen and silently agree. We longed to believe and act as he did, but we were afraid. We were Southern Negroes and we were hungry and we wanted to live, but we were more willing to tighten our belts than risk conflict. Bigger No. 2 wanted to live and he did; he was in prison the last time I heard from him. There was Bigger No. 3, whom the white folks called a "bad nigger." He carried his life in his hands in a literal fashion. I once worked as a ticket-taker in a Negro movie house (all movie houses in Dixie are Jim Crow; there are movies for whites and movies for blacks), and many times Bigger No. 3 came to the door and gave my arm a hard pinch and walked into the theater. Resentfully and silently, I'd nurse my bruised arm. Presently, the proprietor would come over and ask how things were going. I'd point into the darkened theater and say: "Bigger's in there." "Did he pay?" the proprietor would ask. "No, sir," I'd answer. The proprietor would pull down the corners of his lips and speak through his teeth: "We'll kill that goddamn nigger one of these days." And the episode would end right there. But later on Bigger No. 3 was killed during the days of Prohibition: while delivering liquor to a customer he was shot through the back by a white cop. And then there was Bigger No. 4, whose only law was death. The Jim Crow laws of the South were not for him. But as he laughed and cursed and broke them, he knew that some day he'd have to pay for his freedom. His rebellious spirit made him violate all the taboos and consequently he always oscillated between moods of intense elation and depression. He was never happier than when he had outwitted some foolish custom, and he was never more melancholy than when brooding over the impossibility of his ever being free. He had no job, for he regarded digging ditches for fifty cents a day as slavery. "I can't live on that," he would say. Ofttimes I'd find him reading a book; he would stop and in a joking, wistful, and cynical manner ape the antics of the white folks. Generally, he'd end his mimicry in a

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depressed state and say: "The white folks won't let us do nothing." Bigger No. 4 was sent to the asylum for the insane. Then there was Bigger No. 5, who always rode the Jim Crow streetcars without paying and sat wherever he pleased. I remember one morning his getting into a streetcar (all streetcars in Dixie are divided into two sections: one section is for whites and is labeled— FOR WHITES; the other section is for Negroes and is labeled—FOR COLORED) and sitting in the white section. The conductor went to him and said: "Come on, nigger. Move over where you belong. Can't you read?" Bigger answered: "Naw, I can't read." The conductor flared up: "Get out of that seat!" Bigger took out his knife, opened it, held it nonchalantly in his hand, and replied: "Make me." The conductor turned red, blinked, clenched his fists, and walked away, stammering: "The goddamn scum of the earth!" A small angry conference of white men took place in the front of the car and the Negroes sitting in the Jim Crow section overheard: "That's that Bigger Thomas nigger and you'd better leave 'im alone." The Negroes experienced an intense flash of pride and the streetcar moved on its journey without incident. I don't know what happened to Bigger No. 5. But I can guess. The Bigger Thomases were the only Negroes I know of who consistently violated the Jim Crow laws of the South and got away with it, at least for a sweet brief spell. Eventually, the whites who restricted their lives made them pay a terrible price. They were shot, hanged, maimed, lynched, and generally hounded until they were either dead or their spirits broken. There were many variations to this behavioristic pattern. Later on I encountered other Bigger Thomases who did not react to the locked-in Black Belts with this same extremity and violence. But before I use Bigger Thomas as a springboard for the examination of milder types, I'd better indicate more precisely the nature of the environment that produced these men, or the reader will be left with the impression that they were essentially and organically bad. In Dixie there are two worlds, the white world and the black world, and they are physically separated. There are white schools and black schools, white churches and black churches, white businesses and black

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businesses, white graveyards and black graveyards, and, for all I know, a white God and a black God. . . . This separation was accomplished after the Civil War by the terror of the Ku Klux Klan, which swept the newly freed Negro through arson, pillage, and death out of the United States Senate, the House of Representatives, the many state legislatures, and out of the public, social, and economic life of the South. The motive for this assault was simple and urgent. The imperialistic tug of history had torn the Negro from his African home and had placed him ironically upon the most fertile plantation areas of the South; and, when the Negro was freed, he outnumbered the whites in many of these fertile areas. Hence, a fierce and bitter struggle took place to keep the ballot from the Negro, for had he had a chance to vote, he would have automatically controlled the richest lands of the South and with them the social, political, and economic destiny of a third of the Republic. Though the South is politically a part of America, the problem that faced her was peculiar and the struggle between the whites and the blacks after the Civil War was in essence a struggle for power, ranging over thirteen states and involving the lives of tens of millions of people. But keeping the ballot from the Negro was not enough to bold him in check; disfranchisement had to be supplemented by a whole panoply of rules, taboos, and penalties designed not only to insure peace (complete submission), but to guarantee that no real threat would ever arise. Had the Negro lived upon a common territory, separate from the bulk of the white population, this program of oppression might not have assumed such a brutal and violent form. But this war took place between people who were neighbors, whose homes adjoined, whose farms had common boundaries. Guns and disfranchisement, therefore, were not enough to make the black neighbor keep his distance. The white neighbor decided to limit the amount of education his black neighbor could receive; decided to keep him off the police force and out of the local national guards; to segregate him residentially; to Jim Crow him in public places; to restrict his participation in the professions and jobs; and to build up a vast, dense ideology of racial superiority that would justify any act of violence taken against him to defend white dominance; and further, to condition him to hope for little and to receive that little without rebelling.

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But, because the blacks were so close to the very civilization which sought to keep them out, because they could not help but react in some way to its incentives and prizes, and because the very tissue of their consciousness received its tone and timbre from the strivings of that dominant civilization, oppression spawned among them a myriad variety of reactions, reaching from outright blind rebellion to a sweet, other-worldly submissiveness. In the main, this delicately balanced state of affairs has not greatly altered since the Civil War, save in those parts of the South which have been industrialized or urbanized. So volatile and tense are these relations that if a Negro rebels against rule and taboo, he is lynched and the reason for the lynching is usually called "rape," that catchword which has garnered such vile connotations that it can raise a mob anywhere in the South pretty quickly, even today. Now for the variations in the Bigger Thomas pattern. Some of the Negroes living under these conditions got religion, felt that Jesus would redeem the void of living, felt that the more bitter life was in the present the happier it would be in the hereafter. Others, clinging still to that brief glimpse of post-Civil War freedom, employed a thousand ruses and stratagems of struggle to win their rights. Still others projected their hurts and longings into more naive and mundane forms—blues, jazz, swing—and, without intellectual guidance, tried to build up a compensatory nourishment for themselves. Many labored under hot suns and then killed the restless ache with alcohol. Then there were those who strove for an education, and when they got it, enjoyed the financial fruits of it in the style of their bourgeois oppressors. Usually they went hand in hand with the powerful whites and helped to keep their groaning brothers in line, for that was the safest course of action. Those who did this called themselves "leaders." To give you an idea of how completely these "leaders" worked with those who oppressed, I can tell you that I lived the first seventeen years of my life in the South without so much as hearing of or seeing one act of rebellion from any Negro, save the Bigger Thomases. But why did Bigger revolt? No explanation based upon a hard and fast rule of conduct can be given. But there were always two factors psychologically dominant in his personality. First, through some quirk of circumstance, he had become estranged from the re-

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ligion and the folk culture of his race. Second, he was trying to react to and answer the call of the dominant civilization whose glitter came to him through the newspapers, magazines, radios, movies, and the mere imposing sight and sound of daily American life. In many respects his emergence as a distinct type was inevitable. As I grew older, I became familiar with the Bigger Thomas conditioning and its numerous shadings no matter where I saw it in Negro life. It was not, as I have already said, as blatant or extreme as in the originals; but it was there, nevertheless, like an undeveloped negative. Sometimes, in areas far removed from Mississippi, I'd hear a Negro say: "I wish I didn't have to live this way. I feel like I want to burst." Then the anger would pass; he would go back to his job and try to eke out a few pennies to support his wife and children. Sometimes I'd hear a Negro say: "God, I wish I had a flag and a country of my own." But that mood would soon vanish and he would go his way placidly enough. Sometimes I'd hear a Negro ex-soldier say: "What in hell did I fight in the war for? They segregated me even when I was offering my life for my country." But he, too, like the others, would soon forget, would become caught up in the tense grind of struggling for bread. I've even heard Negroes, in moments of anger and bitterness, praise what Japan is doing in China, not because they believed in oppression (being objects of oppression themselves), but because they would suddenly sense how empty their lives were when looking at the dark faces of Japanese generals in the rotogravure supplements of the Sunday newspapers. They would dream of what it would be like to live in a country where they could forget their color and play a responsible role in the vital processes of the nation's life. I've even heard Negroes say that maybe Hitler and Mussolini are all right; that maybe Stalin is all right. They did not say this out of any intellectual comprehension of the forces at work in the world, but because they felt that these men "did things," a phrase which is charged with more meaning than the mere words imply. There was in the back of their minds, when they said this, a wild and intense longing (wild and intense because it was suppressed!) to belong, to be identified, to feel that they were alive as other people were, to be caught up forget.

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fully and exultingly in the swing of events, to feel the clean, deep, organic satisfaction of doing a job in common with others. It was not until I went to live in Chicago that I first thought seriously of writing of Bigger Thomas. Two items of my experience combined to make me aware of Bigger as a meaningful and prophetic symbol. First, being free of the daily pressure of the Dixie environment, I was able to come into possession of my own feelings. Second, my contact with the labor movement and its ideology made me see Bigger clearly and feel what he meant. I made the discovery that Bigger Thomas was not black all the time; he was white, too, and there were literally millions of him, everywhere. The extension of my sense of the personality of Bigger was the pivot of my life; it altered the complexion of my existence. I became conscious, at first dimly, and then later on with increasing clarity and conviction, of a vast, muddied pool of human life in America. It was as though I had put on a pair of spectacles whose power was that of an x-ray enabling me to see deeper into the lives of men. Whenever I picked up a newspaper, I'd no longer feel that I was reading of the doings of whites alone (Negroes are rarely mentioned in the press unless they've committed some crime!), but of a complex struggle for life going on in my country, a struggle in which I was involved. I sensed, too, that the Southern scheme of oppression was but an appendage of a far vaster and in many respects more ruthless and impersonal commodity-profit machine. Trade-union struggles and issues began to grow meaningful to me. The flow of goods across the seas, buoying and depressing the wages of men, held a fascination. The pronouncements of foreign governments, their policies, plans, and acts were calculated and weighed in relation to the lives of people about me. I was literally overwhelmed when, in reading the works of Russian revolutionists, I came across descriptions of the "holiday energies of the masses," "the locomotives of history," "the conditions prerequisite for revolution," and so forth. I approached all of these new revelations in the light of Bigger Thomas, his hopes, fears, and despairs; and I began to feel far-flung kinships, and sense, with fright and abashment, the possibilities of alliances between the American Negro and other people possessing a kindred consciousness.

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As my mind extended in this general and abstract manner, it was fed with even more vivid and concrete examples of the lives of Bigger Thomas. The urban environment of Chicago, affording a more stimulating life, made the Negro Bigger Thomases react more violently than even in the South. More than ever I began to see and understand the environmental factors which made for this extreme conduct. It was not that Chicago segregated Negroes more than the South, but that Chicago had more to offer, that Chicago's physical aspect—noisy, crowded, filled with the sense of power and fulfillment—did so much more to dazzle the mind with a taunting sense of possible achievement that the segregation it did impose brought forth from Bigger a reaction more obstreperous than in the South. So the concrete picture and the abstract linkages of relationships fed each other, each making the other more meaningful and affording my emotions an opportunity to react to them with success and understanding. The process was like a swinging pendulum, each to and fro motion throwing up its tiny bit of meaning and significance, each stroke helping to develop the dim negative which had been implanted in my mind in the South. During this period the shadings and nuances which were filling in Bigger's picture came, not so much from Negro life, as from the lives of whites I met and grew to know. I began to sense that they had their own kind of Bigger Thomas behavioristic pattern which grew out of a more subtle and broader frustration. The waves of recurring crime, the silly fads and crazes, the quicksilver changes in public taste, the hysteria and fears—all of these had long been mysteries to me. But now I looked back of them and felt the pinch and pressure of the environment that gave them their pitch and peculiar kind of being. I began to feel with my mind the inner tensions of the people I met. I don't mean to say that I think that environment metres consciousness (I suppose God makes that, if there is a God), but I do say that I felt and still feel that the environment supplies the instrumentalities through which the organism expresses itself, and if that environment is warped or tranquil, the mode and manner of behavior will be affected toward deadlocking tensions or orderly fulfillment and satisfaction. . . . I don't know if Native Son is a good book or a bad book. And I

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don't know if the book I'm working on now will be a good book or a bad book. And I really don't care. The mere writing of it will be more fun and a deeper satisfaction than any praise or blame from anybody. I feel that I'm lucky to be alive to write novels today, when the whole world is caught in the pangs of war and change. Early American writers, Henry James and Nathaniel Hawthorne, complained bitterly about the bleakness and flatness of the American scene. But I think that if they were alive, they'd feel at home in modern America. True, we have no great church in America; our national traditions are still of such a sort that we are not wont to brag of them; and we have no army that's above the level of mercenary fighters; we have no group acceptable to the whole of our country upholding certain humane values; we have no rich symbols, no colorful rituals. We have only a money-grubbing, industrial civilization. But we do have in the Negro the embodiment of a past tragic enough to appease the spiritual hunger of even a James; and we have in the oppression of the Negro a shadow athwart our national life dense and heavy enough to satisfy even the gloomy broodings of a Hawthorne. And if Poe were alive, he would not have to invent horror; horror would invent him.

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ELMER

RICE

Why he selected

The ADDING MACHINE The Adding Machine has for me a peculiar interest because of the rather extraordinary circumstances in which it was written: quite unlike anything else in my life as an author. In the summer of 1922 I was sitting up late one night working on a play which in theme and in treatment was as unlike The Adding Machine as possible. Suddenly, without any premonition or any reason that I have been able to discover, The Adding Machine popped into my mind complete: title, characters, scenes, situations and even a lot of the dialogue. It was really a rather startling experience. After a while I went to bed but couldn't sleep and at daybreak got up again, went to my desk and started to write the play! I kept at it for seventeen days and then, as far as I was concerned, the play was finished. Except for the omission of one entire scene, the play was produced practically as it was originally written. It was given an excellent presentation by the Theatre Guild in the spring of 1923 with an impressive cast which included Dudley Digges, Margaret Wycherly, Helen Westley, Edward G. Robinson and the late Louis Calvert. But it met with anything but a warm reception. It got two or three good notices but most of the critics pooh-poohed or ridiculed it and it just managed to eke out a run of nine weeks. Later it was produced with considerable success by Gaston Baty in Paris and Barry Jackson in London, and, in the twenty years that have elapsed since it was written, it has been produced by practically every art theatre or repertory theatre in the United States and the British Empire and in a considerable number of non-English-speaking countries. People have often asked me what I was trying to do when I wrote The Adding Machine. The plain truth is that I was not trying to do anything. I know now what the place of the play is (and it is an important one) in the development of my own psychic life, but while I was writing it I had very little control over the material. As I have indicated, it sprang straight from my unconscious 459

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and its composition was as close to automatic writing as I ever expect to get. Stamford, Conn.

ELMER RICE

July 31, 1942

SCENE ONE

[SCENE: A bedroom. A small room containing an "installment plan" bed, dresser, and chairs. An ugly electric light fixture over the bed with a single glaring naked lamp. One small window with the shade dra