Puslapio vaizdai

secure a more facile limb and, what with the high cost of living, had found it impossible to obtain the desired end unaided. Remembering that beggars may be messengers of Zeus, I contributed, and then watched, almost through tears, the timber-toed Mercury punch out another series of holes to the gate.

But there is hardly a day that does not bring or at least threaten disaster. We have an Airedalenot really ours, but a sort of nephew -who loves our place and loves company, and who entertains by preference here. Have you ever seen an Airedale romp? Ruggs's friends include another Airedale, a Boston terrier, and a young collie. These, you may say, make up the Gang, and it is wonderful what they can do. After a truly successful party, after a really good time, an examination of the grass would seem to indicate that dogs have talons and that they are a great deal bigger and heavier than they look. I have learned now to view all paleontological reconstructions from footprints and other like traces as probably false. I know now that they need not have been produced by monsters, by dinosaurs or mammoths; they may just as likely have been produced by Airedales.

The trouble is with the wetness. This summer the ground has been fairly soaked. And here comes another thought. Will all my painfully gathered experience profit me another year? Next summer may Next summer may be parched and dry, and my neatly laid plans will then go agley. When I started in, I proposed to keep a book, a sort of general log and account book; but the book petered

out, as I expected. I have been thinking of writing an essay to be entitled, ironically, and with apologies to Mr. Newton, "The Amenities of Book-keeping." This would tell, not of that effort which strives to prevent "ugly gashes" and bleeding gaps on one's shelves, which endeavors to maintain the happy balance between the recommending of a book and the lending of it; it would tell of more intricate and recondite matters, of figures, and additions, and estimates, and bills, and checkstubs. But, as I have said, I did start an account-book, and, having a canny appreciation of my weakness, I did not buy a new one. I found an old one, one nearly blank, the abandoned minute-book of a girls' clubthe Jolly Fifteen-and after the page headed "Moves Passed," I began my record. The second month shows no entries. If next summer should be dry, however, it will not matter. To-day I know will be dry. The Weather Bureau says, "Probably showers"; but look at these fairy-cambric webs lying here and there on the grass and hedges. You cannot fool a spider; he has inside information.

Literary men with wooden legs, dogs, ants, yes, and moles. I suppose that the condition of the soil has kept these last near the surface. There was great excitement among the maids one morning when I first discovered a sprung trap and proceeded to dig out the furry rooter. I wondered at their interest until I found that the chauffeur had informed them that a mole was about the size of Ruggs, the aforementioned Airedale. Our cook, it seems, was planning for a new coat.

You see,

we all, even the maids, are city bred. But I have been thinking about that mole. Here I have killed in defense of order, my order. I have killed for an ideal, my ideal. What is an ideal? Is it not simply our own conception of the desirable? We get so wrapped up in our own mores and habits that these come to have moral values, and with these as material we then erect altars. "Democracy is an ideal." What does this mean? Simply that having been born to this political practice and having become adjusted to it we now believe it to be the best. Not a very weighty judgment that, is it? But this is all there can be to it, for otherwise one cannot well explain why democracy should be an ideal, when heaven, to which we all surely we all surely aspire, is itself an absolute monarchy.

But if an ideal is such a thin matter, what then is an idealist? Idealism has been identified as vision, an unusual perception of a distant and desirable goal. I cannot accept this. Vision is not limited to idealists. Other people can see as far-further! The test, to my mind, would be rather how one would go about attaining to one's vision, or indeed whether one would make any such effort at all. Does a man rush precipitately toward his desire, his picture, ignoring all obstacles and getting himself into a mess; or does he sit down and dream about it, doing nothing? In either case he will qualify; he is an idealist. I do not like to be unpleasant, but it seems to me that these idealists are either blind to the present, their far-sightedness being pathological and excluding that which is near, or they

are just lazy, abhorrers of routine, haters of work. This would explain why their homes are so often disorderly and uncomfortable. This would explain why they cannot make lawns. For a lawn must be plodded with. One must weed endlessly on, admitting no vain thoughts of perfection. One must, as it were, let a lawn unfold, advancing one's standard only as each new step is actually accomplished.

Does that sound like drudgery? Well, that depends. Drudgery is an attitude, not a fact. A pirate may get bored to extinction, and the village dressmaker may throb with romance. And there is, too, always the unexpected to cope with. Take two or three days of a heavy rain, for instance. Where is your routine now? After one of these downpours, a path of ours, running down to the woods, took its destiny into its own hands and actually did run! Here was a problem. So far, my experience in the filling of cavities had been limited to the part of passive sufferer; but no knowledge, I find, is ever really wasted. I first drilled and gouged out round the edges until I reached healthy tissue, then I shaped the cavity in most approved fashion, and finally I filled with stones from the brook and polished off the surface. It was a good filling too, and still holds, its original, painfully amalgam-like conspicuousness now softened to a more pleasing tone.

Did you notice where I got the stones? I am surprised that I have not told you sooner of this brook of ours. We generally take people down to see it before we have quite finished saying our welcome.

Not that it is so unusual among brooks—indeed I have sometimes detected an expression of disappointment as its slender stream bubbled into the view of the expectant sightseer-but the interesting thing about it is that it is there at all. A brook, like a baby, is a wonderful thing in itself. What man is so atrophied in memory and sentiment that the word does not recall some beauty of the past? Upon a mind burdened with commerce and finance, the word gently knocks-then enters. You start with surprise. You only half recognize it. Then suddenly there comes a recollection, a visiona brook, some brook, which flowed somewhere, sometime, and that brook was your brook, and you loved it. What wonderful associations come dancing into consciousness now! Down in our brook we have overhanging ferns, and sweet clear water, and well rounded pebbles. The birds know all about it and have small use for the bird-bath on the lawn. No artificial plumbing for them with this cool offering at hand! It is only the occasional vis ting city sparrow who is so unn ural as to prefer the modern tub.

Alas, I cannot tell you all, my subject is too rich. And how hard it is "being in the midst of the cariere of a discourse to stop cunningly, to make a sudden period, and to cut it

off." I should have followed Pliny rather than my lord of Montaigne; I should have paused more often to remember my title.

But let me say just a word of this place at night. Do you recall Teufelsdröckh's wonderful view of his city? This place, too, is a city. Only instead of five hundred thousand two-legged animals, all horizontal and in nightcaps, we have here a population of many millions of fourand six-legged creatures, and night finds them in all manner of queer positions and places. Some are busy and some quiet. Some are serenading their loves, some sleeping; some are foraging and thieving, some murdering. There is the mysterious stir in the trees, the strange rustle in the bushes; there are silently swerving black things. There is contentment and repose, there are uneasy dreams, and there are nightmares. And there is wretchedness, and pain; here, too, maimed soldiers drag their weary way homeward, to homes where they will not be welcome. How weird it all is! The folks of the human city are not more real than is this tenantry of mine, nor, facing infinity, are they, it may be, much more important.

Truly a lawn in the country is a wonderful place. One turns from it only with the profoundest regret. One looks forward to the morrow only with the happiest anticipation.



And the End of His Long and Toilsome Course WILLIAM E. Dodd

WAS the third winter of the war. Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd were still in the White House. The doors of the fashionable capital, so long closed, opened now and then. The dean of Washington bankers, W. W. Corcoran, his slaves unwilling to abandon so noble a master, gave his first great reception, wild radicals of the new régime modestly elbowing their ways about. Then George Washington Riggs, not to be outdone, opened his "baronial estate and house," all the semi-secessionists there, Gideon Welles of the cabinet duly received if not lionized. And Kate Chase, a marvel for the daughter of an abolitionist, now married to a master of mills in Rhode Island and an honored senator, gave dinners to match those of the former wonderworking Mrs. Clement C. Clay, Paris gowns and crinolines as handsome on the figures of rich New Englanders as they had formerly looked on the slender mistresses of plantations. Nor did Mrs. Lincoln really milk her cow on the White House lawn every evening at twilight. Gentle Washington, abandoning hope that Lee would ever return in force, learned to look upon life with a little more indulgence.

The years had been long and dreary, and Lincoln's political family

had grown used to their unwonted tasks, though they did not exactly love their chief. Henry Halleck, a thick-headed translator of the famous Jomini, never a battle to his credit, was chief of staff, a vain pretentious strategist too incompetent to be retained, too powerful to be dismissed, ever at hand-teaching Lincoln the game of kings. Edwin M. Stanton, bald, ill tempered, and blustering, at loggerheads with half the generals in the field and distrustful of the rest, the "American Carnot" marshaling the forces of an unmilitary people, and keeping close counsels with the president's enemies, was secretary of war and contemptuous of Lincoln. If Halleck or Stanton failed the president, there was Salmon P. Chase, unruffled and complacent, the secretary of the treasury, improviser of loans that ran into the billions and sponsor for hundreds of millions of doubtful greenbacks, Salmon P. Chase, intriguing by day and by night to supplant the Illinois lawyer whom "mere accident" had elevated to exalted station. With a Washington grown a little more friendly and a cabinet as little united as ever, Lincoln faced the unfriendly Congress that his emancipation proclamation had done much to give him.

Congress assembled on the seventh

of December. Charles Sumner, unforgiving and magisterial, was the chief of all the senators, Benjamin F. Wade, his sawed-off gun at home in Ohio, chairman of the Committee on the Conduct of the War, worshipful follower-other commanding figures of that body: Lyman Trumbull, the upright; John P. Hale, the faultfinder; and Zachary Chandler, brusque and ruthless egotist, all bent upon purging a backslidden country of all its mortal sins. In the House of Representatives, Thaddeus Stevens, the weight of years and the plague of disease upon him, was master, a master of driving temper and relentless soul, an avowed enemy of Lincoln. Of equal importance was the young and handsome Henry Winter Davis of Maryland, a former slaveholder, now the scourge of all slaveholders, an ally of Stevens, a disappointed aspirant for the seat in the president's cabinet held by another Marylander, Montgomery Blair. Two of the most restless figures of all that tragic time. Lincoln had won the battle of Gettysburg. Would he win in the impending struggle with Congress?

On the first day of the session the president endeavored to secure a friendly speaker. Thaddeus Stevens and Winter Davis, perceiving the move, turned from their former candidate, Galusha A. Grow, to Schuyler Colfax, a Westerner, and beat the president's Western candidate on a big margin-defeat. On the eighth, the Louisiana plan of reconstruction, designed to make the South's return to the Union easier, a measure intended to bring about gradual emancipation and the earliest possible restoration of peace to

the country, was read by both houses, a proclamation issuing to the people at the same time. Members of Congress restrained for a few days the wrath that observant men saw on many faces that day. Lincoln knew a little of what lay ahead. He meant to guide the process of reconstruction in all the war-stricken region and allow no vindictive policy to prevail. Stevens and Davis, Sumner and Wade, Chase and Stanton, were of another mind. They would take no dictation from any president. Would they take it from Robert E. Lee?

Lest the latter alternative ensue, Lincoln laid his careful plan: he must secure his renomination against an unfriendly Congress; he must win a smashing military victory against Lee; and then he must secure his own reëlection.

A serious program, so much waiting upon circumstance. When Congress finished its organization, the great committees manned by opponents of the president, the Republicans organized a Republican National Executive Committee, the earnest and upright Samuel C. Pomeroy, of Massachusetts and Kansas, the chairman, Wade and Sumner, Stevens and Davis godfathers. The young and hopeful James A. Garfield of the pious Western Reserve wrote home: "We hope we may not be compelled to push Lincoln four years more.” It was the business of the committee to push the secretary of the treasury, and the work of the succeeding campaign began in a brisk hustling manner, little concern felt as to the consequences to a country torn by civil war. Horace Greeley, author of the cry "On to Richmond"

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