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THEY DON'T HANKER AFTER US Shall the United States take over the French and British West Indies in part payment of war-debts to us? It is a live question, now, the affirmative hotly supported by a member of Congress, whose insistence has attained front-page prominence in the newspapers.
Almost unknown to us, it has long been the subject of debate in the islands themselves, as Harry A. Franck found, when "Roaming Through the West Indies." In that book he makes it clear that the proposal to come under our flag would be received with highly mingled and by no means unanimous feelings. It would be passionately opposed by the French, by many of the British, and not overwhelmingly popular even among those who have some good words to say for it. There are those who would rather like to see it come about, but nevertheless are dubious and lukewarm. The reason? The great, big, important, Prohibition! final reason?... We are about as popular with those who love the easy joys of life, just now, as an aggressively puritanic missionary on a South Sea Island.
is odd to see how close kin the man seems to the French savants and thinkers of his day, and yet how different he is. . . . Franklin salted their philosophy with sound American used it for the most part only upon the objects it was really suited to elucidate . . . and left its vagaries to the French who invented them."
He also calls attention to the fact that the Autobiography, "essentially self-laudatory" as such a project must be, "has not the low tone of conceit . . . but is flavored to the taste of the most critical and judicious. The salt of Franklin's own good sense keeps the matter sound and untainted."
DARE WE DISARM?
Professor Walter B. Pitkin, author of "Must We Fight Japan?" does not assume the thankless rôle of prophet, but he asserted many weeks ago, when his recently published book was still in preparation, that Japan would gladly accept an offer from the United States to consider a program of naval disarmament. Now, at this writing, the papers are full of Japan's urging of this very subject upon our attention.
It is Professor Pitkin's belief that we ought to have taken the initiative in the matter, in order to prove to Japan that we are not in imperialistic mood, and do not threaten Japan's natural development in the East. He hopes that we shall soon consent to enter on a program of disarmament with Great Britain and Japan, and it is clear that the nation that has ruled the waves for centuries is more than ready at least to discuss the question.
But, as his book sets forth, neither good will among men nor the financial burden and economic waste of huge naval establishments is the chief reason Professor Pitkin sees for advocating a propitiatory attitude toward Japan. He has carefully looked into the probabilities of a war with that nation, his facts being to a large extent derived from documents in our own War Department, and he is convinced that we cannot inflict a decisire defeat upon the island empire without a quite inordinate expenditure of treasure and time,
to say nothing of blood. Japan's navy is greatly inferior to our own, but she holds a wonderfully strong strategic position. Her islands lie along the far coast of Asia in such a way that she could easily maintain a food transport from the mainland; her waters are capable of being mined so that a fleet operating there might be destroyed piecemeal if it attempted any aggressive attack on the islands, without being able to provoke any major sea battle. Neither could Japan ever conceivably conquer the United States. Then why multiply such useless threats as more and more naval armament? Since each nation must be insane to attack the other, why not find a modus vivendi?
Professor Pitkin finds it in some rather startling suggestions, which become steadily less and less startling the more one examines the background of fact upon which he bases his conclusions and suggestions.
"The way I came to write the book," he says, "was almost accidental. I had been asked for some articles on the JapaneseCalifornia question, and when I began to look into the material available, I found it was all propaganda. Positively, everything I touched in my search for facts, was pro- or anti-Japanese in character. I made up my mind to get behind all this, and started for Japan, via California and Honolulu. I found so much right on our own Pacific coast which the American people ought to know now, without any delay, that I began to think of my book, and to prepare it. I shall carry out my plan of going to Japan, though, next spring or early summer, and if I find facts as important and as little known or appreciated as I did in California, there may be another book."
BETWEEN CANCER AND CAPRICORN Frederick O'Brien, author of "White Shadows in the South Seas," has finished overseeing the filming of that grown-up fairy book (which has so satisfied the avid dreamlife of our over-civilized day that it is now in
its eleventh large printing), and will soon go to the South Seas again. He will join the yacht Wisdom II and a party of young scientists who are on a three-year cruise around the world between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, to observe the customs, folk-ways and speech of little-known
peoples in out-of-theway islands. They expect to enter the harbor of Los Angeles, from which they sailed, in time for Christmas, 1923.
Professor Pitkin does not believe we should admit any more Japanese to the United States, but he sees other ways in which we can help them solve their really desperate over-population problem.
AN AUTHOR OF DISTINCTION
Enid Bagnold, author of "The Happy Foreigner," has been in this country recently. with her husband, Lord Roderick Jones. She was married some six months ago, in England. Her book is the reflection of an extremely rare personality, and the result of impressions acquired in actual war work, like that done by her unconsciously daring and undefiantly challenging heroine.
KALEEMA'S EAR-RINGS WOULD
The hair-dressers of America, massing and meeting as a national organization in Boston. have decided and therefore decreed that hoop ear-rings shall be worn in this land of the brave and the fair; also that the ears shall be left, at least partly, uncovered by the hair. Poor "Kaleema," the heroine of Marion McClelland's recent stage novel of the same name, was, in the author's imagination, born too soon; for one of her passions which intervened between her and her husband was that very one of wearing hoop ear-rings. She did n't think them stylish, and he thought them devilish, but she just liked them.