Puslapio vaizdai

some way, and happened to be determined by a war; a war which he looks back upon as terrible, but in connection with which he would never think of apologizing for the part his own people took in it. He thinks they were every whit as honest and as patriotic as the Unionists. Being rather better educated in constitutional law than men of his kind in the North are apt to be, and gifted in oral expression, he is quite ready to demonstrate the Confederate point of view in an argument; but he will tell you frankly that the theory would never have worked out in practise, and will certainly rejoice with you in the passing of African slavery. He thinks that Lincoln was a very great man, and that Lee was very great also. Stonewall Jackson he admires, but is not so enthusiastic over Davis. He is generally ready to give the great Union soldiers their due, although he is likely to think, with Grady, that General Sherman was sometimes "rather careless with fire."

He takes a broad outlook on the world to-day, knowing his New York as a matter of course, and probably reading a New York newspaper daily; but his interest is also keen in Liverpool and London, Bremen and Havre, and in the prospects for increased cotton trade with the Orient. He is likely to have more imagination than his corresponding type above the border, and to possess, quite unconsciously, an ingratiating social charm that manifests itself sometimes in a generosity bordering on extravagance. Rather than seem mean-a cardinal sin in his decalogue-he may occasionally spend more than his income. Very polite to the ladies, he gives up his seat in a crowded car without question, and shows great deference to his wife, although it is

perhaps to be doubted whether he exercises any greater alacrity than his Northerly neighbor in getting up on wintry mornings to start the fire.

He is a hard worker, and takes pride in his work; but is able to forget it more easily than the average American business man, tossing it lightly from his shoulders when enjoying a "day off," and letting the world go hang in a spirit of boyishness that always seems ready for summons. Self-confident and easy, he lacks to a relative degree what Owen Wister calls "the nervousness of democracy."

Writing of George Washington's simplicity, this brilliant author has expressed a pungent criticism of which Americans ought to take notice. "Our fathers," he said, "had more of it than we of today, and it would be well for us if we could regain it. The Englishman of to-day is superior to us in it; he has in general, no matter what his station [and this applies also to the typical Southerner], a quiet way of doing and of being, of letting himself alone, that we in general lack. We cannot seem to let ourselves alone; we must talk when there is nothing to say; we must joke-especially we must joke -when there is no need for it, and when nobody asks to be entertained. This is the nervousness of democracy; we are uncertain if the other man thinks we are 'as good' as he is; therefore we must prove that we are, at first sight, by some sort of performance. Such doubt never occurs to the established man, to the man whose case is proven; he is not thinking about what we think of him. So the Indian, so the frontiersman, does not live in this restlessness. Nor did Washington; and therefore he moved always in simplicity, that balanced and wholesome ease of the spirit, which when it comes

among those who must be showing off from moment to moment, shines like a quiet star upon fireworks." 3

And yet there is a certain "techiness" about your typical Southerner that he were very much better without. "Honor" is too much to the surface, with him, his skin is too thin, there are needless chips on his shoulders. You can usually stir him up easily, especially if you talk about race questions. As a matter of fact, he treats the negro not only fairly, but kindly; he is almost certain to have one negro friend who proudly claims him as a sort of feudal defender in time of trouble, and whom he would go to great lengths to help out of it. But "race equality" is meaningless to him unless it implies intermarriage, which of course is the final test of racial equality; and so when you touch on that topic, however remotely, he is likely to show irritation. Inclined to impatience with what he deems Northern presumptuousness, based, as he thinks, on crass ignorance, he resents patronage or condescension or even well-meaning apology for his "Southland", as he would a pestiferous plague. Yet nobody could hate more intensely than he does such books as "The Clansman," or such political diseases as Bleaseism. Acutely aware of the problems of the South, including the race problem, child labor, and illiteracy, what he is likely to call "Yankee meddling" irritates him profoundly, and he believes that the South will solve its own problems in time, and the less "meddling" the sooner will she solve them. Tender and reverent toward religion, albeit reserved to the point of shyness about it, he withal cherishes a fine sort of idealism that thus far, in spite of his new ab3 The Seven Ages of Washington: New York, 1907.

sorption in business, and a really surprising efficiency in it, has saved him from exalting money into an end in itself, and enabled him to treat it as "means."-Altogether, a fine type of man, lovable for some of his faults, and likely to outgrow the others. When he goes to live in New York or other large cities he almost always "makes good." But he should stay where he is. The South needs him.



THE race problem is, of course, the most deplorable relic of slavery. Some one has said that the Southern people are inside this fog, and cannot see out, while the Northerners, outside of it, cannot see in. A better understanding, however, is coming about with the facilitation of travel, which is profoundly educative, and with the emergence of race problems in other parts of the country, leading both sides to substitute intelligent sympathy for stupid recrimination. To men like the late Booker T. D.

Washington among negroes and William Weatherford among Southern white men the leaders of both races may look with bright hopes of the future. The Southern Sociological Congress, organized of white and black members "to study and improve social, civic, and economic conditions in the South"; "to enlist the entire South in a crusade of social health and righteousness" on a platform of "Brotherhood," has already held several annual meetings. Inaugurated by Governor Ben W. Hooper of Tennessee, founded by Mrs. Anna Russell Cole of Nashville, supported from the start by all Southern governors, except one who has since been repudiated by his people, this Congress investigates such questions as public health, courts and prisons, child welfare, organized charities, race problems, and "the Church and social service," in a spirit of

« AnkstesnisTęsti »