Puslapio vaizdai

these sailors have the throat of youth. We must once have had such a race in our cow-boys and Texas rangers-level-eyed, careless men who know no masters, only equals. The force of gravity is heavy on an old man. But marins are not weighted down by their equipment nor muffled with clothing. They go bobbing like a cork, as though they would always stay on the crest of things. And riding on top of their lightness is that absurd bright-red button in their cap. The armies for five hundred miles are sober, grown-up people, but here are the play-boys of the western front.

From Ghent they trooped south to Dixmude, and were shot to pieces in that "Thermopyla of the North."

"Hold for four days," was their order. They held for three weeks, till the sea came down and took charge. During those three weeks we motored in and out to get their wounded. Nothing of orderly impression of those days remains to me. I have only flashes of the sailor-soldiers curved over and snaking along the battered streets behind slivers of wall, handfuls of them in the hôtel de ville standing

around waiting in a roar of noise and a bright blaze of burning houses—waiting till the shelling fades away.

Now for twelve months they have been holding wrecked Nieuport, and I have watched them there week after week. There is no drearier post on earth. One day in the pile of masonry thirty feet from our cellar refuge the sailors began throwing out the bricks, and in a few minutes they uncovered the body of a comrade. All the village has the smell of desolation. That smell is compounded of green ditchwater, damp plaster, wet clothing, blood, straw, and antiseptics. The nose took it as we crossed the canal, and held it till we shook ourselves on the run home. Thirty minutes a day in that soggy wreck pulled at my spirits for hours afterward. But those chaps stood up to it for twenty-four hours a day, lifting a cheery face from a stinking cellar, hopping about in the tangle, sleeping quietly when their "night off" comes. As our chauffeur drew his camera, one of them sprang into a bush entanglement, aimed his rifle, and posed. I recollect an afternoon when we had


Breton sailors ready for their noon meal in a village under daily shell-fire.

At the right stands

Dr. Casper Warren Burton of Cincinnati, who came from Dr. Grenfell in Labrador

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Breton sailors and Algerian Zouaves in a street in ruined Nieuport

word of an attack. We were grave, because the Germans are strong and fearless.

"Are they coming?" grinned a sailor. "Let them come. We are ready."

We learned early that it is not wise to treat a marin treacherously. He will wade through a machine-gun to wipe it out. Once the Germans near Nieuport made a sudden sortie and overtook a marin doctor, wounded, but still caring for his wounded. They gave him and his patients the bayonet.

Then the sailors, reinforced, came back with a counter attack, and reached the Red Cross post. There they found their favorite doctor dead. They swept on, surrounded the German detachment, and bayoneted the men and the officer who had ordered the murder. One man they spared, and they sent him back to the German lines to tell what marins do to an enemy that strikes foully.

We had known that doctor. Later, at Nieuport, we learned to know many of the Fusiliers Marins and to grow fond of them. How else could it be when we went and got them, sick and wounded, dying and dead, two, six, ten of them a day, for many weeks, and brought them in to the Red Cross post for a dressing, and then on to the hospital? I remember a young man in our ambulance. His right foot was shot away, and the leg above was wounded. He lay unmurmuring for all the tossing of the road over the eight miles of the ride. We lifted him from the stretcher, which he had wet with his blood, into the white cot in "Hall 15" of Zuydcoote Hospital. The wound and the journey had gone deeply into his vitality. As he touched the bed, his control ebbed, and he became violently sick at the stomach. I stooped to carry back the empty. stretcher. He saw I was going away, and said, "Thank you." I knew I should not see him again, not even if I came early next day.

There is one unfading impression made on me by those wounded. If I call it good nature, I have given only one element in it. It is more than that: it is a dash of fun. They smile, they wink, they accept a light for their cigarette. It is not stoicism at all. holding on, the jaws dark, but enduring.

Stoicism is a grim clenched, the spirit This is a thing of

wings. They will know I am not making light of their pain in writing these words. I am only saying that they make light of it. The judgment of men who are soon to die is like the judgment of little children. It does not tolerate foolish words. Of all the ways of showing you care that they suffer there is nothing half so good as the gift of tobacco. As long as I had any money to spend, I spent it on packages of cigarettes.

When it came my time to say good-by, my sailor friend, who had often stopped by my car to tell me that all was going well, ran over to see the excitement. I told him I was leaving, and he gave me a smile of deep-understanding amusement. Tired so soon? That smile carried a live consciousness of untapped power, of the record he and his comrades had made. It showed a disregard of my personal feelings, of all adult human weakness. That was the picture I carried away from the Nieuport line the smiling boy with his wounded arm, alert after his year of war, and more than a little scornful of one who had grown weary in conditions so prosperous for young men.

I rode away from him, past the Coxyde encampment of his comrades. There they were as I had often seen them, with the peddlers cluttering their camp-candy men, banana women; a fringe of basket merchants about their grim barracks; a dozen peasants squatting with baskets of cigarettes, fruit, vegetables, foolish, bright trinkets. And over them hovered the boys, dozens of them in blue blouses, stooping down to pick up trays, fingering red apples and shining charms, chaffing, dickering, shoving one another, the old loves of their childhood still tangled in their being.

So when I am talking about the sailors as if they are heroes, suddenly something gay comes romping in. I see them again, as I have so often seen them in the dunes of Flanders, and what I see is a race of children.

"Don't forget we are only little ones," they say. "We don't die; we are just at play."

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"The Pearl Necklace," by Jan van der Meer



O lift a melody of Wagner's from its harmony is not harder upon the composer than to take a detail out of the ensemble of color, light, and shade created by an artist like Jan van der Meer. But that is what has happened here to the little lady in the gray satin and canarycolored jacket, edged with ermine, who keeps her vigil before a hanging mirror in the Kaiser-Friedrich Museum of Berlin. Here, alas! the mirror has disappeared, and all but a little of the intervening mass of shadowed blue drapery heaped about. the gleaming blue of a large Oriental jar. Gone, too, is the slit of window through which soft sunshine plays upon a saffron curtain, and then spreads in a web of vibrating luminosity over the bare, gray wall. Not less lightly than one strand of floss-silk lies upon another, the luminosity envelops the girl's profile, the blonde. hair drawn back by a scarlet ribbon, and the fingers toying with the necklace of pearls. The face is homely, no shapeliness is wedded to the plumpness of her arms, no grace to her figure; yet there are few little ladies in art for whom exists such a unanimity of admiration.

She is part of one of her creator's choicest harmonies, a standing instance of the truth that beauty is not so much a positive as a relative thing, a product of values or qualities organized into a unity of harmonious relations. The values or tone qualities in this case are based upon the combi

nation of blue and yellow, a favorite color scheme of Meer's, whose preference in the works of his maturity, of which this is one, was for cool harmonies, saved from chillness by a little introduction of warm colors; in this picture, for example, the dull, dark red of the chair and the lively note of scarlet in the hair. Upon this simple base, by modulating the tones of the colors and the rhythms of greater and less degrees of light, in a dancing scale that runs from the opaque black of the frame of the mirror up to the white high lights of the ermine, the artist has created a harmony of relations that not only is completely unified, but also has the lifelike quality of vibration. The picture thrills as thrills a movement of music executed by a string quartet.

Meer had been forgotten even in his native city of Delft, and his few pictures -thirty in all-had been attributed to other painters, when early in the sixties of the last century his name and his fame were resuscitated by the French critic E. J. T. Thoré, better known by his penname, "W. Bürger." It was then recognized that the work of this artist, done during a comparatively short life of fortythree years (1632-1675) with exacting taste and a skill of craftsmanship marvelously accomplished, had anticipated with consummate realization the modern motives of painting. He was hailed as par excellence the painters' painter.

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