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sity, dazed for twenty-four hours by the phenomenon of a president publicly opposing anything, then rallied strongly to his support. Of the alumni half were stupefied by the audacity of the university, but the rest were electrified and, rushing into battle against the bill, beat it.

Fear therefore is not a completely effective deterrent of the formation. and expression of an opinion by a university. Experience, indeed, indicates that the danger of punishment is commonly overestimated. From a collision with the taboos a university often emerges, as this one did, stronger, instead of weaker. Punishment inflicted upon it multiplies its friends.


However, there is a deterrent much more effective than fear, and that is indifference. Who is interested in the opinion of a university on any matter not directly affecting its own fortunes? The conspicuous peculiarity of American politics in the twentieth century has been the numerous and various soi-disant moral crusades that have characterized it. The religious element has saturated all politics. Theodore Roosevelt made "Onward, Christian Soldiers," a political campaign song. Woodrow Wilson aspired to, and momentarily established, the moral hegemony of the world. The Methodist Episcopal Church appropriates two hundred and fifty thousand dollars to maintain an organization of lobbyists in Washington, as part of the ordinary expenses of the church organization. The livest issue in national politics to-day is prohibition, argued, not as an economic policy, but as a moral issue. At the mo

ment the moralist is, by long odds, the most effective political leader in the country.

But the moralist is of all people least open to argument. He is not a debater; he is an evangelist. He doesn't argue with the public; he tells it. With him

"To doubt would be disloyalty, To falter would be sin." Therefore he has no use for expert opinion, unless it agrees with his preconceived notion. But he has been setting the tone of American politics for at least a quarter of a century. Is it any wonder, then, that that tone implies superb contempt for the qualifications and hesitations of expert opinion?

Now this is the curious quality of Old Siwash: she doesn't know.

That discovery is the real achievement of my second course in college. Nowhere else in the world have I encountered so many men so blithely certain of their own ignorance as there were on that university campus. It was disconcerting at first, but the explanation soon became plain: the men were specialists, surrounded by other specialists, and thus constantly reminded of the extreme narrowness of their own fields. Let one risk an opinion outside of his own department, and there would be an expert in the subject at his elbow to riddle any cocksure deliverance. In the lecture-room the specialist may impress his classes tremendously by his erudition in his one field; but outside he is constantly reminded of his deficiencies in everything else. Therefore he acquires the habit of making cautious, tentative declarations.

But to a nation enamoured of certainties, this sort of opinion is unspeakably objectionable. Educated men tend to regard the faculty humorously, anyhow. Uneducated men dislike the skeptic intensely. They are unable to distinguish between the skeptic and the cynic, and almost invariably set down skepticism as cynicism. Suppose a moral issue were rampaging through the land, and some incautious soul should inquire, "What does the university think?" If he got an honest answer what would it be? Ten to one the university would think that the evil under assault is an evil and that the remedy proposed will not cure it, being led to that conclusion by its knowledge that the evil has been recognized for generations and that every possible remedy has been employed in vain. But that answer would offend both sides. The university would be set down as cynical, whereas it was merely skeptical, and its opinion would be disregarded by all the combatants.

The practical result is that the university has no opinion on any controversial topic. It is inadvisable for it to formulate a declaration that would be regarded with humorous scorn by the alumni and with virtuous scorn by the rest of the citizenry. So the brain-power of the institution is unavailable for the conduct of public affairs. Hundreds of minds, toughened by years of intensive training and sharpened by daily con

tact with minds equally well trained, are impotent to bring to bear any collective influence upon questions of public importance. They are completely out of touch with the mature minds of the community, with which they should be able to deal to most effect, and must spend their force on callow youths whose very youth insures their incapacity to grasp more than the rudiments of the subject.

Old Siwash, in other words, is very largely wasted. Partly, no doubt, it is wasted by its own fault. After all, brains are not the sole requisite of leadership. Courage and ruthless energy have carried to the front many a man whose brains constituted little more than a chemical trace. But courage and ruthless energy are not conspicuously characteristic of American colleges.

Primarily, though, the waste is due to a national philosophy that classifies every variety of mankind except the mountebank. Him we do not recognize, and when he appears we gravely list him under some other genus-perhaps as a philosopher, perhaps as a statesman, perhaps as a priest. But as mountebankery is commonly more spectacular and amusing than sense, when it is put forth as philosophy, statecraft, or religion by a sort of intellectual Gresham's Law it tends to drive sense out of circulation.

And what is to be done about it you can guess at least as well as I.




N A cross-street of the riant fifties stands the Club Levering, an old brownstone building in a brave new coat of tan plaster, with wrought iron lamps by its doors and an imposing uniformed figure to bow you out politely, or with the force of a strong arm, in nice accordance to the decorum or lack of it that you preserve within the precincts which he guards.

The Club Levering is not a club; it is a cabaret, a dance-hall, and a theater, with a strong attraction for Broadway luminaries. They drop in after the theater to hear Hal Levering sing his new songs and to watch the swells, strayed from up town East, dance and enjoy themselves. And they love Hal. "He's a great boy," they say. "An artist. Some kid. Listen to that now. Boy, how he can put it over!"

Levering, born Lipwitz, had been driven to this place by a dim dream. There was struggle behind him, years of the unbelievable struggle of the poor man, of the immigrant Jew, against a relentless city. He could remember dimly a night in southern Russia, the pogrom, flames and the sounds of shots in the dark, driving out the Jew. He had been held up by his mother, crying, on the deck of an immigrant ship to see the Promised City blazing tall and splendid in the sunlight. They had all been held

up to see it, he and Lena and Roziska and Leo and little Moses, even though Moses was too young to know what it was all about-and the promised land, as it materialized, a tenement in the crowded ghetto, too hard on the little Moses, who died in a few months.

Behind Hal were the years as a singing waiter in cheap cabarets as a "song plugger," small-time vaudeville, and then a revue; and now marvelously he was Hal Levering, star and part owner of the Club Levering, and packing them in at higher prices than any other nightclub dared charge.

He had done that single-handed. And he had carried the Lipwitz family with him. Lena was now a dancer, a good one; Isaac, a partner in a clothing-store. Rosie had married a doctor. Mama kept house for Lena, and if papa had been alive, Hal would undoubtedly have found something lucrative for him.

Always his dream had driven him. The dream of the artist, inarticulate, clumsy, hunting for the ultimate beauty. He sang jazz now and he wore fine clothes, while around him were the flash of jewels and the white faces of gaudy women and the throb of Bennie Bernstein's music. Everybody paid him homage, bowing, pounding on the table for Hal Levering, the artist, singing "Abie's an

Irisher Now," a song whose words were a cry of pain, written by a Jew in contempt of his race. He He sang it gorgeously, with exaggerated gestures, flexible hands, and when he did the part where Abie pretends to be the Irish plug-ugly, one saw the cringe of the homeless race that was ingrained in Abie in spite of the defiant throw of an Irish jaw. It was a beautiful bit of mimicking, and even though he was a Jew he did not mind the ugly words at all.

He had one song, "When My Little Baby Boy Says His Prayers to Me," that never failed to make his hearers cry. And there were tears in his own eyes, when he came off, not because of the song he knew hokum even when he sang it himself-but because he could "get them" with it. Hal Levering, the artist, his triumph ringing in his ears, clapped out by enthusiastic hands.

The grinding afternoon before his new summer show went on; he was in his element. About him were excited waiters arranging their tables, decorators at work on the flowers, Bennie Bernstein in his shirt-sleeves, sweating over the new songs, Lilian Liane begging help with the duet they were to sing. And then as Hal went over his new numbers alone, the waiters and the decorators, Lilian and song-wise Bennie himself, stopped to listen to him.

He had worked that day until his face was gray with fatigue, but when at last he went out for his dinner, he walked bravely, with his head up, a conqueror, Hal Levering of the Club Levering, a king on Broadway.

The opening of the summer show had been an enormous success. The

entrance was choked with disappointed people who could not get in, and at the door the page-boys battled with the crowd clamoring for tables, among which the lucky ones who had reservations battled their way. And Hal moved from table to table to welcome his guests and receive homage. This was his big night, his triumph, the end, he thought with a choke in his throat, of his struggle toward the ultimate beauty.


Constance Corthwaite came to the Club Levering that night. She had never been there before, but Hal Levering recognized her at once. She was as much a celebrity to Broadway as she was to Fifth Avenue. One saw her everywhere, a pirate of a woman with a face molded firm in lines of complete and terrible ennui, hunting for amusement, scattering her millions with a disdainful hand. She had been Constance Corthwaite for thirty-five years now, for she had never found a man to hold her interest long enough to marry him.

Levering had gone at once to her table, had been introduced, had accepted a glass of excellent champagne, had bragged, had strutted, had told jokes.

"Your place is quite amusing," Constance Corthwaite said, "I hear you sing very well."

Hal Levering laughed. "That's what they say. Have you ever heard me?"

She shook her head.

“Well, the stuff I do here is—well, no artist can put anything over in a restaurant, but I'm opening in a new act, just a side-line, you know, at the Palace next week, and that's where

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I knock 'em right out of their seats. We've tried it out, and it's great. Next week-come and see me.' Then in a magnificent burst of cordiality: "Come around during the show and see it from behind. How'd you like that, huh? See, I do a skit, new songs, new patter-it's a wow!"

She had favored him with a glance from her long eyes. "Thank you." "What would you like to have me sing for you now?" he asked.

"Try something good-I should like to see how it went here.'

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He sang "Sweet Siren" and "Pretty Little Mama" for her. She did not

applaud. He was disappointed. He had realized that she wasn't demonstrative, but he had hoped to win her.

Her friends seemed to enjoy themselves, and he took no more trouble with them. He noticed that they laughed, drank, and danced. Later there was an animated discussion; he could see that from the floor as he sang. Constance Corthwaite's friends were arguing with her. They leaned toward her, protesting. The attitudes were unmistakable. Apparently unmoved, she blew smoke from her nostrils and with a wave of her cigarette turned their attention back to him. They watched him, shrewdly, for a few seconds, and then went off into quiet laughter. Laughter at some joke which that long-eyed woman had designed. From the floor, singing, he saw all this, for his early training had made him observant.

As Constance was leaving she beckoned to him. She stood at the door, wrapped in her dark cloak. He went out at her nod, with alacrity. As he went he wondered what she

wanted and decided definitely that he did not like her. "Too damned ritzy," and he thought her ugly and badly dressed too, but after all she was Constance Corthwaite. Probably she had fallen for him. Most of 'em did.

She recognized his approach with the smallest possible nod.

"Thank you for the songs. We enjoyed them. As I can't watch you 'knock 'em off their seats' at the Palace, I suggest that you come down to my place in the country next week-end and knock us off our seats down there."

She was asking him to visit her. So she had fallen for him. They all did. He was inundated with female attentions. But a visit to the Corthwaite place! Well, he had arrived! He accepted blandly.

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