Puslapio vaizdai

Nothing more was said for a while. Dimas put an edge on his machete with a broken file, and then said:

"It wants to rain. See, the black ants are thick in the path."

"They are thick," said Ana.

Dimas went off to the corn-field, and Ana went to the water-hole in the rock and drew the water in a bucket of chucum bark to water the aërial garden in the canche, to wash the corn and cook it, and then for the nightly bath of warm water when Dimas came back from the cornfield.

The seasons seemed to bring to them their voices, as they did to the animals and the birds. When the crop was ready to be gathered, then they went to the field and worked together. At this time the tongues of both were loosened, and when near together, they kept up a kind of constant twittering in a curious minor key that made their words so strangely sounding that none, though close by them, could tell what they were saying to each other. When separate in the field and filling their xuxacs, or woven back-baskets, the constant vocal interchange was in long-drawn, high-keyed sounds, more like the clear, sweet cries of the wild forest creatures than like human words.

When the crops were housed for safety, each after the needs of its kind, the unhusked corn packed in the three-forked tree-trunk as closely as Nature herself could pack the kernels on the cob, and the black beans packed and sealed with ashes in the large gourds, then side by side the two crouched on the ground outside the door in the clear moonlight, picking out the flat, edible seeds of the field pumpkin, the calabasa. At these times they kept up a never-ending conversation in a monotonous undertone. What were they talking about? What did he say, and what did she answer? As well ask what the coon says when it whimpers to its mate as they work on the field corn in the husk. One is as easy to answer as the other.

At other times they were silent, almost mute. The venturesome hunters who from time to time passed through the valley and called at their door for water or rest never saw a candle lighted or one hanging from the beams, as in other, even the poorest, homes. When the dusk of evening came on, the evening quietness of the

day-birds' nests was over the little hut of Dimas and Ana. Only the red star-gleam of the embers in the three-stone fireplace gave sign that human life was there.

ONCE a year there came to Dimas and Ana the fluttering excitement that must be upon all migrating creatures when they leave for a while their old haunt behind them. For several weeks ahead they had been planning for it. Dimas had gone to his bank for a blank check, and they both set their hands and seals upon it to make it good and valid. In other words, he had gone to the ruined homes of the ancient ones close by, and torn from the massive walls a handsome, fine-grained, smoothworked block of stone. Then they picked and picked at this with sharp-edged pieces of steel, and with the industry of a squirrel opening nuts, until the perfect ká, or native mill, and its symmetrical roller were lying before them.

The bleached squash-seeds were wrapped up into two well-made, compact bundles, covered with palm-leaf and tied with vines. One was for Ana to carry, while the other, crowned by the heavy mill and its roller, was for Dimas and his foreheadband.

At last they reached the nearest little pueblo, to them a wonderful place, with many people. They went up to the door of the one little store and looked timidly in. The proprietor saw them coming, as he had seen them coming for several years before. He was the great man of the village. Some villages have great men, and the villagers curse them,-curse them quietly, but with feeling, but this village's great man had a heart as great as his position was thought to be by those under him. More than this no man can be, and his fellow-villagers respected and feared him as they did the village cura.

He bought the handsome, hand-made mill at a price that made him a handsome profit afterward, for he was shrewd, this village great man. He sold them cottoncloth, a new flint for Dimas, and powder for his gun, and so made another handsome profit.

The next time they came to the village they brought, beside the mill of hard, red stone, a large sack of rich, golden, yellow, nancene fruit, and the great man of the village bought both the mill and the fruit, the

mill to sell in his store, while his wife preserved the part of the fruit that the children did not eat while she was making the preserving-syrup.

Ana and Dim made their usual purchases of rock-salt, sugar, a few yards of unbleached cotton-cloth for their next season's clothes, and packed them into at neat, compact bundle for easy carrying. Then they went out to look at the strange sights and the many people.

All the people seemed to be moving in one direction, and they followed slowly. They came to two lines of great iron rails, and many strange men were putting more rails down with great bustle and much talking in a strange tongue and harsh voices. Dim and Ana stood silently looking at these things, wondering what it was all about; but they did not ask of any one. Ana was a little afraid, and stood behind Dim, with one hand picking at the seam of his sleeve.

They turned to go back, and heard one of the townsmen say to another that these strange workmen had brought el vomito to the village. They wondered what the vomito was, but did not ask any one. These people are so.

Then they went back home. Dim kindled the new fire for the year with his new flint and broken file, and Ana got the first meal. After that they unpacked. their purchases and stowed them safely away. Dim went to his milpah, while Ana took up the grinding of the corn, the washing of the clothes, the sewing, and the bringing of the water from the waterhole, as she used to do.

One day Dim came home early, sick. He had a terrible pain in the back of his neck, and his head ached as though it would split apart. Ana's head ached, too, and she felt sick, but did not speak of it. She made him some tea of herbs, and he lay down in his hammock. He seemed to sleep mostly, but it was hot and he was thirsty. He remembered calling for water once, and Ana gave it to him, and then he called for more, and she gave it to him; and then she fell down, so it seemed to him, though he went to sleep before he had time to think over it. When he woke up, he tried to lift his head, but could not; so he turned it to one side, and saw Ana on the floor, sleeping. He tried to call out to her, but could not raise his voice

above a whisper, and the flies were buzzing about her so that she could not hear him. He wished to tell her that he wanted some water and that the fire was out; but he could not, and then he fell asleep again.

He buried Ana under the great yax-tree, and spent most of his time for many days sitting by her grave. His tongue was loosened as it was when they seeded the calabasas together, and he talked to her in the same crooning minor key as if she was sitting right before him.

The working instinct moved Dim still, and at the appointed time he made his milpah, burned it, and gathered the crop.

As usual, Dim went to the pueblo. The storekeeper was there as before; but he did not see Ana, and surely the bent form and little, old, wrinkled face was not Dim.

The good man was shocked that Ana had been buried as the animals are laid away, and that night the village cura said mass for the soul of her whose body lay under the boughs of the great yax-tree in the distant little valley.

That same night Dim wandered alone, fell into evil hands, got drunk, and was rescued from the calabosa by his good friend the storekeeper, who had him sleep off the liquor behind the counter in his


By daybreak the next morning Dim was already far on his way homeward to the lonely little hut in the valley and the grave under the great yax-tree.

THERE were many leaves on the floor of the little hut, blown in through the hole in the roof. The roof was sagging, and the bep-vine had found its way through in many places. Since Ana's death Dim had not even thought to repair it, and was content with the little corner space yet free from holes.

One night Dim took to his hammock with a strong fever, and the hot blood coursed through his shriveled veins with throbbing force.

Dim was happy. The big bep-vine that had grown through the hole in the roof had suddenly burst into great bunches of snow-white blossoms, and these blossoms had become Ana.

As the wind blew, he could see her white dress moving about the room. Soon she would get his bath ready, and he could

cool his hot body; then she would make him his hot atole. Oh, how good was the hot atole when his Ana made it!

He wanted nothing more, and would sleep a while until his bath was ready.

GREAT masses of morning-glory, green vines, and white bep-flowers grew over the little hut until it was a rounded mound of verdure. An inquisitive jaguar sought to

pull open the unlatched door, but the sturdy branch of the thorny bep-vine said "No," and meant it, so the jaguar went on.

Unclean birds sought entrance from the roof, but again the thorny bep-vine said "No," and hundreds of little, buzzing, bright-eyed creatures with cunning stings. said "No," too; so the birds went away, and left the little hut and the little grave to the care of kind old Mother Nature.


EARTHLY GLORY TO GOOD USES of government. It was the scene in West

POMP and circumstance, unequaled

perhaps by anything known to modern history, were features of the coronation of King George and Queen Mary, on the 22d of June. Such splendor lavishly decked out, and such evidences of wealth and organization made obvious to the eye, are beyond compare for lack of accurate standards. They suggest some of the aspects of Roman triumphs, as known in part through records, but mainly realized in fancy. Yet the mastery of Rome was as a handful of provinces to a whole atlas of countries when compared with the belt of British dominion now girdling the world. The sturdy legions of Rome must have been vastly impressive in fighting masses and in holiday array, but as exponents of potential force they hardly could have matched the varied detachments from the great fleets, from the home countries, and from distant lands and continents, which lined up for review by the new king and the old, grizzled marshals of the empire; while all the galley fleets of Rome would but poorly fill the places of the barges and tenders of the thirty miles of submarines, destroyers, armored cruisers, dreadnoughts, and auxiliaries, which saluted in real earthquake tones the new monarch of the seas.

Such physical aspects of earthly power and glory must fill a useful place in the endless task of steadying and governing the human world, but they are only the showy mantel of that authority which is the soul


minster Abbey, which is so simply and yet so massively pictured by Mr. Pennell on page 739, that embodied the real significance of the coronation. There, the newly crowned and anointed monarch, the heir of ancient forms and modern changes, sat in person on his throne and received the homage of his princes, his nobles, his people, and his subjects beyond the seas. On his head rested a crown of truly royal and imperial magnificence; in his hands were firmly held the insignia of a kingly sway broader and more benign than any other known to history. Yet of personal power there was no sign, save in the verbal forms, which were just as old, just as beautiful, and just as symbolic, as the ancient crown and scepter. All that vast, solemn ceremony was performed merely to consecrate and venerate a worthy prince in his function of human symbol of authority.

It is significant of the inherent strength of British institutions that such devotion to the old monarchical forms is given at a time when English government, so long representative, rests to an extent possibly never before experienced on the freehearted consent of the British people; when the last feudal branch seems about to wither on the decayed trunk of privilege; when the virile devotion of the people to progressive ideals is, as ever, on the upward trend; and when the courage and enterprise of commercial and industrial Britain has set no bounds to its ambition: in other words, at a time when the cohesion

and force of the British Empire are centered in the broadest love and respect for authority and progress.

In the largest sense the present attitude, power, and opulence of the British people are auspicious of world-wide happiness. They argue for permanence in the general tendency among the great powers toward alliances for peace. They invite, as a means of providing an invincible influence for good, a closer locking of hands between mother England and growing America: they not only invite it, they guarantee it, and all the broader views and deeper longings of both countries are working to that beneficent end. In both countries authority and progress are commissioned to rule for the glory and benefit of a free people.

And that they may endure to rule in unison-God save the King! God bless the President!



Expendence Day address, like most of

his considered public utterances, not only was full of thought, but provoked thought. If it be said that it raised many questions which it did not answer, the reply is that such is the function of all stimulating discussion. To show as pointedly as Dr. Eliot did how sharp is the change of emphasis, since 1776, in debating political liberty and its perils, the independence of the individual and what tends to impair it, is at least to remind us that our thinking must be kept in living contact with the shifting world about us. Each generation has to interpret the facts of life for itself; to carry the worn political coinage back to the mint and get it freshly issued.

Few will challenge the assertion of the former president of Harvard that if a Declaration of Independence were to be drawn up by the masses of the American people to-day, it would contain many doctrines of which our Revolutionary fathers were ignorant, and which they would look upon as more revolutionary than anything they professed. The peril of foreign domination has passed completely from our ken. The oppression or tyranny most often cried out upon at present is that which is seen in the organization of industry. New conditions give rise to the demand for new remedies. As an aid to

the individual, it is proposed to exalt enormously the power of the state. In order to break down the power of monopoly, every weapon is seized upon, and sufficient thought is not given to the question whether it may not hurt more than it will help those who seek to wield it. Upon this point Dr. Eliot spoke with admirable force, urging the need of thinking things through and seeing to it that any new Declaration of Independence should not invite large ultimate peril while grasping at an immediate seeming benefit.

In all these matters, every thoughtful and humane man must feel himself confronted by a dilemma. The emotional appeal of a society full of hardships is powerful. To sense it duly, one has only to read such a speech as that of the English Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr. LloydGeorge, on his bill for working-men's insurance. It eloquently and movingly pictures the distress in many a humble home when sickness disables the wage-earner, when the tiny savings are swept away, and

when they savings are

[ocr errors]

mother and children from misery vanishes. What nobler or more useful thing can the government do, asks Mr. Lloyd-George, than to step in and apply the public resources to the relief of such pitiful cases? What, indeed? will echo every man of sentiment. Yet if he is a man also of clear brain and steady vision, he will demand first to be assured that in dealing with these individual calamities we do not embark upon a course which will lead to a still greater and a general calamity. Lloyd-George pleaded for security for the worker: a temporary allowance while out of employment; insurance against sickness; a pension in old age. The ends aimed at will be decried by none except the hardhearted; but the question remains whether there is not something better than security and whether we may not be throwing it away.

As between security, meaning merely life guaranteed, and the indomitable struggle upward of independent citizens, democracy has so far chosen the latter. It should not change without good reason shown, and "godlike reason," we know, does not fail to look after.

In our own country we do not as yet face the problem in the precise form it takes on in England. With us it is not paternalism, kind-hearted but short

sighted, that most threatens the self-reliance and independence of those who toil, but activities and policies of the toilers themselves. Dr. Eliot dwelt upon the harmful spread of ideas which we associate with labor-unions, and which could not win adoption or even tolerance if people would observe accurately and think straight. Among these is the insistence upon the uniform and the minimum wage, hostility to extra pay for extra efficiency, and the exclusive right to work. The object is said to be to place working-men in a position to contend successfully with monopoly, but the method hit upon is the setting-up of a monopoly of their own more oppressive and more dangerous than any other.

No one denies the need of action by government to prevent avoidable industrial evils and to safeguard the health and equal opportunity of the workers. Nor do many challenge the right of working-men to combine for mutual advantage and protection. But neither government nor associations of laborers can be permitted to overlook or defeat the great ends of freedom, or to destroy those springs of personal initiative and the career open to talent upon which progress depends. In seeking to take care of the individual, we must not coddle him into helplessness. Nor is that associated power worth fighting for which involves the crushing out of personal striving and the dragging down of all grades of ability to one dead level of mediocrity.

Independence is hard to win, but easy to lose. Its price, too, is eternal vigilance. Dr. Eliot spoke only that which we all do know when he said that there had been a great shift in the emphasis with which men now speak of independence. But principles must be held fast to, despite their varying applications, from generation to generation; and the thing to which we have to cling is the great aim and hope of political society and free institutionsnamely, to produce constantly and to develop successfully independent human beings. When that beneficent purpose is interfered with, whether in the name of the duty of the state or of the rights of labor, it is for us to confront the question with as much foresight and courage as the men of 1776 displayed in fighting for national independence.


Tus divides itself naturally into two

HE never-ceasing lawlessness among

classes. When it is perpetrated as a means of livelihood, it is clearly crime; but when it is projected and carried out all in the way of lessening the tedium of life or of promoting the ease of living, it may be classed with the practical joke as belonging to a broad species of humor.

An authority among dictionaries defines humor as implying the "ludicrous or absurdly incongruous." In that idea is found the mainspring of more than half of the lawlessness now in vogue. Youth on gentle pleasure bent plucks relief from the humdrum journey in the trolley by mussing the fellow-passengers, terrifying the women, and decorating the faces of those who may try to apply the brakes. The college recluse, worn with mental toil, finds surcease of the carking cares of culture in the incongruous sport of devastation and the assumed tastes of a hoodlum.

The striking unionist who has found irksome his sworn obligation to advance the nobility of labor, turns with incongruous joy to the breaking of the heads of those who desire to work while he is resting, and to destroying the property which in the economy of nature it is his special function to create or to preserve. But the incongruous fun which pervades most strike riots is small humor compared with the practical joke of dynamiting the buildings and construction work of employers who are so unfortunate as to find themselves outside the pale of labor-union approval. Until recently that form of humor has been rather popular. It distributed itself by leaps back and forth over the country, and always the point of the joke exploded with the regularity of clockwork. The sense of the incongruous in these droll explosions has been heightened by laborunion spokesmen, who, without winking, have ascribed the explosions to the owners themselves, whose motive, of course, was to perpetrate a joke on the labor-unions by seeking to bring them into disrepute.

A discussion of the incongruous side of labor agitation is made timely by the recent activities of Mr. Gompers. As the head of the American Federation of Labor his efforts to advance the material welfare of American workmen are naturally con

« AnkstesnisTęsti »