Puslapio vaizdai
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cries, and man listens to that weeping and that laughter without knowing the cause. When the branch of the tree inclines it self under the weight of the wind, it speaks, it sings, or it cries. When the water of the forest runs murmuring, it tells a story; and its voice may be accordingly either a whisper or a harsh accent.

"Listen to the legend of the forest; listen to it as sung by the birds, the breezes, the waters! The hunters have arrived. The forest is full of the thunder of their cries, and the mountain repeats from echo to echo those shouts which threaten peace and happiness. Our ancestors, the Aztecs, loved the hunt because it was the counterpart of war.

"Camatzin has given the signal to begin. His dart traverses the air and, trembling, buries itself in the heart of the stag, which falls without life. Only the great hunter Camatzin can wound in this manner; only from his bow of ebony can spring the arrows that carry certain death. At the running of the first blood the fury of the hunters is kindled. All at one time draw their bows, and a thousand arrows traverse the air, covering as a cloud of passage the brilliant face of the sun. The slaughter has begun, the fight between the irrational and man, between force and cunning."

Alas! the sonorous imagery of those well-remembered phrases loses much in my attempt to render them in sober English. Hasten we, then, to the encounter between Camatzin and the lioness, which, with its cub, the hunter has pursued to its lair.

"She raises the depressed head, she opens the mandibles, armed with white and sharp teeth. Her red tongue cleans hastily the black snout. She contracts her members of iron, and prepares to launch herself upon him who approaches.

"Camatzin is valiant. He trembles not before death, but he understands the danger of the fight with the ruler of the forest. Woe to him if he misses his aim!

"The gaze of the lioness finds that of Camatzin. Two clouds meet; they clash, and give forth a ray which strikes death. The dart sings from the bow, and nails itself in the body of the cub. Roars this for the last time-"

"Ruge éste por la vez postrera," as it rolled out in my grandmother's voice, the

éste signifying that ill-fated cub, for which I always wept. I render the construction literally because it seems to carry more of the perfume that came with those phrases as I heard them by the blue-tiled fountain.

"Roars this for the last time, and the mother roars with sorrow and anger. She sniffs at the blood that issues from the body of her young. She crouches, and so launches herself outside of the cave.

"Shines the solar ray in her red pupils! Moves suavemente her tail, which strikes her sides! Walks her gaze all around her!"

How expressive, in the mouth of mamagrande, was that desperate reconnoiter, and how plainly I could see the beast's yellow gaze yellow gaze "walking" from object to object!

"She straightens her members, as if to assure herself that they will not relax. She crouches with all her weight on her rear feet, and throws herself at Camatzin. He, without retreating, aims his bow, and the wild beast falls with its loins to earth, wounded in the right eye.

"Roars she, and the forest trembles to her roaring. She recovers, she rises, and so rapid is her movement that Camatzin cannot aim in time. The arrow falls without point at the foot of the rock. The bow is useless, brave Camatzin; take the macana! He lifts his great saber of wood edged with sharp flint, and the lion receives a well-aimed blow in the center of the forehead. Now the attack is body against body! Falls the macana, but already the beast has driven its potent claw in the muscular arm of Camatzin. He wishes to show his force, which has made him respected by all; but the beast continually tears his flesh, and he grows weaker."

But in mercy to the reader I'll leave the end of that ferocious conflict to the imagination, and turn to the fortunes of the beloved and blessed Coatlicue.

"Now, Camatzin had a wife," my grandmother would continue softly, after I had supplied her with a fresh cigarette, "of noble lineage, like himself. She was called the loving wife, the saintly woman, by the hearth and in the temple; and her name was Coatlicue.

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the husband delays longer than usual. The wind moans in the forest, and the branches bend as in prayer. When the hunters return at last, their arrival startles Coatlicue, as they had not announced their coming with the usual cries of victory. On their shoulders they bring the spoils of the day-the torn body of Camatzin! Coatlicue embraces the corpse of Camatzin, and her children gaze with tear-blurred eyes at the relic that death has sent them."

After a moving description of that first. night of bereavement -a description in which the mystic voices of nature sounded their significant notes, my grandmother would proceed to recite in measured rhetoric the spiritual stages by which Coatlicue found consolation in religion. For the Aztecs, apart from and above their hero demigods, to one of whom this saintly widow was destined to give birth, worshiped an invisible Ruler of the Universe.

"Daily, when the afternoon falls, Coatlicue burns incense in the temple to the god of her ancestors, at the feet of whose image her beloved Camatzin had deposited a thousand times the laurels of his victories in the hunt and in war. Religion is the consolation unique in these afflictions. When cries the soul, only one balsam exists to cure its wound. Pray, souls that cry, if you wish that your pains be diminished!

"Arrived the autumn, and the afternoons became painted with rich reds, the nights tepid and clear. The first night of full moon bathed in its pale light the temple and Coatlicue, who prayed there. That night she felt a certain pleasure in her weeping. It was no longer that which tears the heart in order to come forth; no, it was the sweet balsam that cures a wound. When her children saw her coming in, they felt themselves happy, because for the first time they saw her smile."

My grandmother would dwell significantly on that smile, which seemed to mark a vague annunciation in the legend of miraculous birth, to be followed in the morning by a miracle of conception narrated with a naïve brevity which always took my breath away.

"Then came the aurora, and it was the first day that the heavens had beautiful color and light since the first day of orphanage. Ran Coatlicue to the temple,

and censed the idol and cleaned the floor carefully, according to her custom. The sun was ascending when a white cloud concealed the radiant face of the king of the heavens.

"Lifts Coatlicue her eyes, and fixes them in space. With all the colors of the rainbow appears one brilliant little cloud that, tearing itself from heaven, reaches the temple: it was a ball of plumes; not more brilliant have the birds of the earth. It rolled over the altar, and fell to the floor. Coatlicue, with respectful gesture, took the plumes and guarded them in the bosom of her white robe. She censed the idol anew, prayed, and started for home. Before descending the last step of the temple she looked in her bosom for the plumes, but they had vanished!"

Such was the conception of the Mexican god of war, and it brought strife into the home of Coatlicue. All ignorant of the miracle that had been wrought, the children of Camatzin presumed to be scandalized at the ineffable happiness that had descended upon their mother, and to conspire against her life. Her own daughter was the malignant ringleader, taunting her two brothers with cowardice, and invoking vengeance in the name of the dead father's honor. And she, with her younger brother, sealed a pact of blood. Their mother felt a change in their regard, and trembled with fear before them, and marveled greatly at the remembrance of the celestial token that had disappeared in her bosom. Meditating on her unworthiness, she deemed it impossible that she should have been chosen by the divinity to engender a god, and she went to the temple to pray for light.

In sharp whispers, with narrowed eyes, my grandmother would go on to describe how the two conspirators followed their mother furtively into the gloom of the temple. Armed with a knife, the son fell upon her as she prayed. A terrible cry filled the space.

'Son of mine, stop thy hand! Wait! Give heed!"


She feared not death, but wished to pray for the assassin, whose fate, she knew, would be more dreadful than his crime. But now sounded a new voice, a stentorian voice which made the temple quake:

"Mother, fear not! I will save thee!" How it thrilled, the voice of mamagrande, as she repeated the first words of the god! And how it thrilled the little heart of the never-wearied listener! And then:

"The hills repeat the echo of those words. All space shines with a beautiful light, which bathes directly the face of Coatlicue. The assassin remains immobile, and the sister mute with terror, as from the bosom of Coatlicue springs forth a being gigantic, strange. His head is covered with the plumage of hummingbirds; in his right hand he carries the destructive macana, on his left arm the shining shield. Irate the face, fierce the frown. With one blow of the macana he strikes his brother lifeless, and with another his sister, the instigator of the crime. Thus was born the potent Huitzilopochtli, protector-genius of the Aztecs."

And Coatlicue, the gentle Coatlicue of my childish love? Throned in clouds of miraculously beautiful coloring, she was forthwith transported to heaven. Once I voiced the infantile view that the fate of Coatlicue was much more charming than

that of the Virgin Mary, who had remained on this sad earth as the wife of a carpenter; but mamagrande was so distressed, and signed my forehead and her own so often, and made me repeat so many credos, and disquieted me so with a vision of a feathered Apache coming to carry me off to the mountains, that I was brought to a speedy realization of my sin, and never repeated it. Ordinarily mamagrande would conclude pacifically:

"Such, attentive little daughter mine, is the legend narrated to the Aztec priests by the forests, the waters, and the birds. And on Sunday, when papacito carries thee to the cathedral, fix it in thy mind that the porch, foundation, and courtyard of that saintly edifice remain from the great temple built by our warrior ancestors for the worship of the god Huitzilopochtli. Edifice immense and majestic, it extended to what to-day is called the Street of the Silversmiths, and that of the Old Bishop's House, and on the north embraced the streets of the Incarnation, Santa Teresa, and Monte Alegre. I am a little fatigued, chiquita. Rock thy little old one to sleep."





ROM the kindergarten to the university, our present educational system is encountering searching criticism and undergoing radical readjustment. Few persons of liberal mind will fail to agree that the most auspicious aspect of this revolution is the wide-spread tendency to vitalize education by bringing it into closer contact with the actual life, present and future, of the student, a tendency of which the growth of industrial and agricultural, indeed of all forms of vocational training, is the most striking example. Education in America for the first time gives signs of becoming genuinely democratic. The very persons, however, who welcome these changes most enthusiastically should be the ones to insist

most strenuously that whatever was sound in the old education should not be lost. As one of the chief repositories of this education, the college, together with the department of liberal arts of the university, presents, therefore, a problem of peculiar interest. Two things about the college, at any rate, are certain: it still has a function of supreme importance; it is performing that function at present inefficiently.

What is wrong with the college? As I ask myself that question, I find my mind traveling back to a certain organization of which I was once a member. It was a small group of relatively insignificant persons; and yet, as I have listened in the last few years to reiterated indict

ments of our present collegiate education, I have found the conviction growing within me that that little organization, in its trivial way and on its restricted scale, had caught the secret which the American college has missed.

The wind bloweth where it listeth; the body of which I speak was nothing but a high-school debating-society. It was nothing but a debating-society, but it had got hold of a miraculous power, to define or even to describe which I shall not try. I can only put down a few of its results. It had the knack, somehow or other, of taking raw and callow high-school freshmen and sophomores and instilling into them, sometimes with a suddenness that was startling, a literally furious interest in all sorts of questions, political, social, and ethical, and an equally furious desire to discuss them endlessly. My memory may play me some tricks of exaggeration as I look back, but as I remember it, we boys came to reckon time in those days from one Friday night to the next. In their turmoil and fervor, the meetings themselves stand out in my mind as a sort of vivid contrast, especially in the matter of demands for the floor, with certain prayermeetings I have attended. Social functions, even dances, could not compete with them. If there was an athletic event on a Friday afternoon, the club did not adjourn in the evening to help celebrate the victory. The debate was held as usual, merely with added zest and an access of virtue. No January blizzard was severe enough seriously to impair the attendance. The meetings began on the dot, and ended when it was no longer possible to force or bribe the janitor to keep the building open. Most of my other high-school experiences, much even of my college life, fade into fog and haze compared with the vivid memories of that society. I have no doubt that, in any absolute sense, its meetings were as absurd, its debates as wild and whirling, as any that were ever held. The product, then and there, was useless; but the spirit back of it all! That was authentic. That was, and is, a living thing. I use the word "spirit." But no one word will do. It was a something in the air, an atmosphere, a tradition, a grip, a pressure, an urgency, an uplift, a quickening of the will, an intellectual enthusiasm, an esprit de corps. What one calls

it is of no account. The point is, it is what the American college of to-day is most in need of. And the question is, how is it to get it?


Now, the first fact to be grasped with regard to this spirit is that, like everything else that is alive, it can inhabit only a body where there is unity. It is no idle chance that the phrase "college spirit" has come in our day to have oftentimes an almost exclusively athletic connotation. The reason is that on the athletic-field we have team-work among the players and unity of interest on the part of all. The conditions for the emergence of an intellectual college spirit are the same. Whatever makes for the intellectual integrity of a college, renders more likely the appearance of this spirit. Whatever impairs that integrity, acts as a potent spell to keep it at a distance.

A normal boy or girl of college age, introduced into an atmosphere of high intellectual pressure, can no more resist it than a bit of coal can avoid incandescence in the furnace. He can no more resist it than a person can resist the hush that falls over an audience in the presence of eloquence, or the spirit of panic, once under way, in the burning theater. A tone and tradition of mental enthusiasm once firmly established in a college, thereafter the predominant set of the current will be from the whole to the parts. But in the meantime the problem is more complex, and calls for more drastic action.

In every college in the country there are at present a large number of students who are intellectually alert. Why, then, do not their individual enthusiasms fuse into that collective enthusiasm of which we speak? There are various reasons, but a fundamental one is the presence among them of a large number of students who have come to college for social reasons, or because, as the phrase runs, it is "the thing to do," or, vaguer still, for no reason at all. We all slip too easily into the feeling that the presence of these students in the college community, while not beneficial, to be sure, is at least not positively harmful. A more fatal blunder could not be committed. They are the intellectual non-conductors that break the circuit, that

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