Puslapio vaizdai

School in Paris, and our exhibitions as a rule are less attended, our pretensions to everlasting glory (except in the American Academy of Arts and Letters, perhaps) less sanctimonious. But who will say that we have not an officialdom quite as powerful in its smaller sphere, and none the less vicious for having less art to deal with? Who will say that the sacred regard for "old masters," so astutely kept aflame by the art dealers and antiquarians, is not fair target for a little bomb-throwing?

If we do not have Dada, it will more likely be because it cannot flourish in a prohibition country. Or it may be that our ears have become so used to jazz that the noise made by the Dadaists won't sink in deep enough to register. But not need Dada? Don't let us fool ourselves. Which brings me to the answering of my title-question, "Why Dada?"

Because, poverty-stricken as we are for a robust art of our own, we are far too rich in imported works of art, foreign-absorbed knowledge of art, pale native reflections of decadent European culture. Our art life is tacitly a thing of museums and special pilgrimages, and our museums are less places where one goes to respond to the peculiar, penetrating ecstasy of living emotion than places for study of dead civilizations and cultural curiosities.

Over all of it is the smug sense of officialdom, of works chosen to a standard of what people ought to be allowed to see, as examples in the traditional, the sacred, the profound course of "culture." Ah, Dada, there is work for you here!

Outside the museums-for there are rare industrial art societies and arts and crafts associations, which avowedly

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neckties are improving, a thousandth part of our pottery is well designed, not all our furniture comes from massproduction factories, and some of our bookmaking begins to take on something more than a reflectively historical interest. But the great mass of craftswork, where it might touch every man day in and day out, still ranges from the flashy "art-shop" sort of thing to the slick department-store imitation.

Outside our museums, what other art? Concerts. Yes, but for whom? Concerts, and in half a dozen communities out of several thousands

opera-for whom? And the theaters, what of price there? To what caste must one belong to go there? And, yes, there is architecture, beautiful buildings to be enjoyed free by every one. Beautiful, yes, if one has been steeped in Greek and Roman tradition or Beaux Arts neo-imitation design. But architecture creatively beautiful, expressive of either the architect's immortal soul or the times and country we live in, what per cent. of our total building? Except where the engineer has for the moment triumphed, it is, in its perfectly polished achievement, the smuggest, most academic, most gentlemanly, most competent business art of them all. A few Dada ruins here, please, if only to show that there is something different from perfect rearrangements of Greek and Roman columns, Renaissance ornaments, and Beaux-Arts formulas.

But, after all, it is in no one of these directions that Dada, the destroyer of the gods of buncombe, will find most to do. It is rather in the whole organ ization of art in relation to society. For art is no longer an expression of life; it has become a theocracy and a priesthood, cultivated like a religion,

the conformist glorified and the bearer of new truths crucified. The petty flatterer, the pasticheur, the manufacturer of magazine-cover girls, may catch on with the public; but in our society, as organized at present, the man who dares to seek out new forms of beauty and express them nakedly is made an example and an outcast.

No, it is not so much that we need Dada and its ruins in the field of art; it is rather that we need a Dada to destroy our whole mechanized system, which has blindly clamped the acquisitive supply-and-demand principles of business down over the realms of art and spiritual life, and- But, like those serious people I mentioned, I become too heated, I exaggerate, which is good enough Dada; but I do not care, like Dada, to be always laughing.

This is Dada's virtue, that it goes beyond all other iconoclasts. Destroying images is not enough; it is necessary to go on and destroy iconoclasm, for with our self-conscious culture that in itself has become an image. And when that is destroyed, Dada will destroy Dada, hell will be plumbed, and then the light again.


The Enemy


Ou must get awful' lonely up there," the girl said.

Y awful

Blaine was staring at the motion of her dark braid on plaid cambric between her shoulders. He did not answer, then hopelessly wondered what she'd said. He murmured, "Yes 'm," and wondered if that was right. She turned her eyes from the shelf of tinned meats and smiled at him.

"You ought to come down here more nights."

He was a tall young man, whiteskinned. His large and drowsy blue eyes moved to and fro, staring at the stretched rocks, the lusterless brushwood, the inclosing cliffs. He fanned his bleached hair with a newspaper and stopped thinking of the girl to think, "This is hot for May." Then he brooded that last speech again. A girl with a lot of suitors should n't care whether a fellow came four miles down the valley at night. On the other hand, it was nice that she noticed. He paused to regard a rattlesnake coiling lazily on a flat rock. His conscience forced him to fling a

"But I could n't. Fact is, I ought n't to come away from the bridge at all; only, of course, I got to get things to eat." "Is that all you come down here pebble at its grim beauty. The snake for?"

He hesitated. Some miners in gray shirts came in, stamping. The girl slung Blaine's purchases into a floursack and dropped this rattling on the counter. He walked out, pondering her last remark. He would have to He would have to think about it. He stared up at the sign of her father's store, "J. Coe, Provisions and United States Mail." Her mother, a New England woman, as familiar as wild carrot, was washing her hair at a window. She gave Blaine a sour nod. He blushed and tramped off to his tethered mule. The handsome brute was tired of sun, and stamped as Blaine loosed its head. It strolled promptly off up the valley. Blaine followed it, thinking.

shot off into a bush. Blaine said aloud, "Run, you son of a gun!" and laughed. The laughter returned to his ears in a spreading whisper from the cliffs. the cliffs. The mule jerked its head about. Blaine walked on, relieved of the sun by shadow as the path turned and the cliffs swelled in toward the creek. Now he saw the bridge as a blue web strung between green rocks. The brilliant water passed under its height in a violent wavering of silver.

The bridge had been finished in March, and already the raw cedar caught a polish from rain and heat. The brush below and on the edges of the gulf cast on it a blue shadow. At dawn the great pillars and cross-beams were gray and natural. They changed

in fifty shades by day. At night, from Blaine's hut by the creek, his ward was a permanent black cloud against the stars. He had volunteered to guard the bridge on the day it was done, and had contracted to stay here all summer. They had given him a mule and the hut. He was paid a hundred dollars a month, an astonishing sum, as he wrote to his father, "for doing nothing."

Now, walking under the bridge, he dropped back his round head and stared up ninety feet at the trestles. It was a good job. It should last a long time, unless the company ran up an iron bridge to replace it. Blaine was a carpenter, son of a carpenter, and grandson of a shipwright. Iron annoyed him. Wood was the proper material for bridges and ships. He had helped to build the bridge. A train rolled over the beams he had planed; a definite thunder filled the gulf. He strode out into the sun and stood waving his hat at the pink freightcars bound north to Denver. From the caboose a shirtless man waved down, and a magazine fell, fluttering twenty yards wide. It struck the gravel before the mule.

He went to pick up the magazine, while the offended mule paced off to drink at the creek. Blaine stood turning the glazed leaves, and beheld a girl in a plaid dress printed there. Suddenly, he was lonesome; his mouth dropped open. He sat on the sill of the hut and examined the picture. The girl was most unlike the storekeeper's daughter, more like a girl he knew in Gloucester. He crossed his legs and sat gazing up at the bridge until the water was vermilion in sunset. His loneliness continued. Long after dark a passenger train crossed

the gulf in a fleet shimmer of lighted windows. Blaine ran out of the hut At each end and gazed after the cars. of the bridge deep cuts in the rock swallowed trains; the guardian could see no distance north or south. He sighed and went back to bed, where he lay writing a letter to his mother. He wrote:

The night sleeping-cars just went over, so I went out and looked at them. It looked like a pretty big train. I wish you would tell Cale he is a skunk not to write me. If he was pushed off somewheres taking care of a bridge, I would write him. I was at the settlement to-day and got some grub. Mr. Coe that keeps the store is from Newburyport. He has a girl and three boys.

These facts brought him to the bottom of his paper. He reached for another leaf, and found that he 'd come to the end of the pad. Immediately, it became important that he should get a fresh pad, for letters must be written. He jumped, whistling, from his cot and began to pull on his clothes.

$ 2

The girl was playing checkers with one of her young brothers when Blaine came into the store. She sat stooped over a table before the post-office window and raised her black brows together, frowning. She said:

"My! I thought the bridge could n't get along nights without you were there to look after it!"

"But I wanted some writin'-paper." She drawled cruelly:

"Supposin' a wolf came and chewed the bridge down? I'd think you'd be scared to go off and leave it."

Her young brother said thoughtfully, swinging his brown feet:

"A wolf ain't got a mouth big enough, this, and so tucked the pad inside his Hattie."

Blaine had been wondering what her name was; Hattie was all right for a name. He said:

"One of those kind of pads with lines on it, please," and watched her walk about the counter. Then he was frightened because the small motion of her skirt receding thrilled him. It was safer to think about women at a distance. She handed him the red-covered pad across the counter. Blaine grinned vacantly, piling three dimes one on the other near her dark hand.

"Twenty cents is all."

"I thought it was thirty." "Just twenty," she said and laughed. The storekeeper's wife came ambling out of a shadow and bitterly nodded to Blaine. All her gestures were burdened and sorrowful, although the store must pay well, and Blaine knew she had a half-breed cook. She said:

"I been makin' some sarsparilly, Mr. Blaine, if you 'd like to set and have some."

"He's got to run home and see the bridge is still standing, Mama," the girl jeered.

However, Blaine sat on the counter and drank a mug of sarsaparilla. He felt reckless. Some one made thin and precise music on the piano in the saloon over the way. The storekeeper's wife said:

"I take notice you never come dancin'.”

"I dunno how."

"I thought Gloucester was a great place for dancin'," said the girl.

"My brother Cale 's an awful' good dancer," Blaine murmured.

"And one in the family 's enough?" He could not think of an answer to

shirt. The smooth chill of the cover made him sneeze. The mother formally crossed her hands on her apron and sighed.

"Well, come again, Mr. Blaine," she said.

"Yes 'm."

He walked down the street between four saloons and dark houses, aware of moonlight, in which his shadow preceded him. The sky was a lavender space of glory. At the village boundary he saw boneset flowers in the glow on their sprawling bushes. He had been six months in Colorado without noticing a flower. Funny that boneset, which grew in swamps at home, should bloom in this high valley. Blaine saw a queer likeness to himself in the blooming brush. He belonged to the sea-shore, and here he was getting along well eight thousand feet in air. He smiled as he lit his pipe. Something rattled on the pebbles behind him, and, turning, he saw the girl, holding out his hat.

"You were in such a hurry to see the wolves had n't eaten the bridge up,' she said.

"Thanks a lot," he replied.
"You 're gettin' real Western."
"How's that?"

The girl laughed.

""Thanks a lot.' That's the way folks talk out here."

"Well, we 're livin' out here, ain't we?"

"Not for long. Papa aims to sell the store and go home pretty quick."

Blaine ran his thumb about the full rim of the hat and said: "Well, the company's got me on contrack until September first. Guess I'll go home after then. This ain't ain't " His complaint finished in wonder at him

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