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An Open Letter to Century Readers
By W. MORGAN SHUSTER
The May issue of THE CENTURY will, we believe, mark the beginning of another significant epoch in its long and distinguished history as a magazine of American life and letters.
The May issue will come to you in a wholly new and satisfyingly beautiful form, which will be the physical symbol of a program of enlargement and enrichment that will make it more than ever a journal of superb diversion, authentic information, and illuminating interpretation-in short, an indispensable magazine for intelligent America.
A word about the new form. The page size remains the same, the "standard" size used throughout the fiftyone years of THE CENTURY'S existence. But the number of pages of reading matter will be increased to one hundred and sixty. Hereafter the cover of THE CENTURY will remain the same month after month. The new cover will be of heavy and durable texture, a rich brown in color, and resembling nothing so much as a soft and flexible leather. Its beauty is that of simplicity, strength, and dignity. We have experimented extensively with types and with paper in preparation for this
Copyright, 1921, by THE CENTURY Co. All rights reserved.
new CENTURY series. We have chosen a paper, to be specially manufactured for us, that combines the best qualities of the best book papers. The paper is soft, beautiful, and restful to the eye. The new CENTURY type will be slightly larger than the old type, the spacing a bit more open, giving a delightfully readable page.
As you open your May CENTURY you will feel not so much that you are opening a magazine as that you are opening an exquisite book.
But what of illustrative art? In its earlier days, through the taste and tireless energy of Richard Watson Gilder and Alexander W. Drake, THE CENTURY held a very intimate relation to the arts of design and was a notable means of diffusing correct judgments and sound principles. In particular did THE CENTURY revolutionize the art of wood-engraving. But that is history, and you are more interested in seeing history made than in hearing it related. Briefly, this is what we have in mind respecting illustrative art.
THE CENTURY will hereafter be illustrated throughout with the art of the pen-draftsman. We believe, not only that this way lies the possibility of a beautiful and distinctive magazine, but that THE CENTURY can render another valuable service to American art by giving, perhaps, a fresh impetus to the art of pen-drawing, of which the most has not been made in the last few years.
We agree with Joseph Pennell, despite his far from lovely estimate of the intelligence of magazine editors and publishers, that the time is ripe for a renaissance of pen-drawing.
We hesitated long before saying anything about this particular part of our program, for this is not a thing that can be achieved in a day or a month. It will require time and patience. The number of excellent pen-draftsmen now available must be increased, and will be as
magazines come more and more to see the rich possibilities in this field of illustration. But why should n't we take our readers into our confidence and tell them something even of distant goals we have set?
But all this has to do with the body of THE CENTURY. The soul of THE CENTURY must always be its policy. In this the magazine happily rests upon long-established and eternally vital principles. Its first editor, Dr. Josiah G. Holland, and its first publisher, Roswell Smith, conceived THE CENTURY as a magazine that should do two things: first, present the best of American letters in story, essay, and verse, and, second, give stimulation, interpretation, and leadership to American life in article and editorial.
Our present program purposes only a fresh effort toward excellence in the achievement of THE CENTURY'S original purpose.
We shall, as before, print fiction, both serials and short stories; essays from the most vital minds and practised pens here and abroad; the best poetry available from the old and the new schools; articles of a comprehensive and informative sort dealing with the insistent issues of domestic and foreign politics, business, labor, religion, education: in short, the whole round of political, social, and economic life; articles of a provocative character that start things in the reader's mind; and an editorial department that will be marked by freedom and liberality of opinion.
As far as may be humanly possible, we shall know neither race nor sect nor creed nor color nor party. In so far as we can make it that, THE CENTURY will be a liberal, a progressive journal, ready always to break a lance with hypocrisy, unreality, and injustice whether in the haunts of politicians, diplomats, employers, labor leaders, or venders of Utopias. Our pages will carry
the ideas of men with whom we may profoundly disagree. THE CENTURY is not our personal organ. feel a little of the relation of trustee to the American public. We want you to turn to THE CENTURY not to find our point of view alone, but to see the best minds of the world--minds perhaps as wide apart as the poles, at work on the issues that underlie our health, our happiness, our prosperity, and our honor as a nation.
We are going to do this pleasantly as well as earnestly. That is, we shall not take ourselves too seriously. Always the magazine will regard the discovery and sponsoring of new writers as one of its highest duties and most pleasant privileges.
This is what we, the publishers of THE CENTURY, feel we desire the magazine to be, what we desire it to mean to you.
These hopes of ours rest in the hands of the man we have asked to become the new editor of THE CENTURY, Mr. Glenn Frank. Readers of the magazine who have been following Mr. Frank's vigorous and illuminating comments in "The Tide of Affairs," the editorial department of THE CENTURY, during the last two years, will not ask for further introduction. As author, publicist, and lecturer he is known to a large and increasing audience.
Beginning with the May issue, Mr. Frank will assume complete editorial direction of the magazine. We commit THE CENTURY into his hands with confidence and high hopes.
By KARLE WILSON BAKER Illustration by George Avison
AN'T you mend the steps this morning, Eddy?" asked Delle as she automatically put back the clutching hand of the baby reaching for a black wisp of her hair. She carried him on her hip, which made a sort of shelf for him to sit on, she was so thin.
"No, I can't," said Eddy, throwing the answer back over his shoulder as he proceeded, at his driven, harassed trot, down the path. "Paw just sent for me to come and help him finish seedin' the pasture 'fore it rains."
Delle opened her lips to speak, but said nothing. She put the baby down on the floor, where he at once began to scream. Disregarding his cries, she plunged recklessly down the broken steps, where the children had often come to grief during the last month, and passed around the house to the woodshed, reappearing presently with hammer and nails. Laying them on the ground beyond the baby's immediate reach, she went off again in search of a board. The very sounds she made as she overhauled the pile of scrap lumber under the kitchen seemed angry and despairing. At last she came back with a clean board and a saw. While the baby still screamed and tugged to reach her, she went doggedly to work, measuring and sawing.
"Mawther!" came a fretful wail from within the house, penetrating the baby's screams. Delle had taught the children to call her "mother," though Eddy had laughed at her a little, and Paw Hutton had sniffed. "Maw" and "paw" were good enough, he thought, and "moma" and "popa" quite the permissible limit of innovation. Paw Hutton, though himself an old man of dignified appearance and pompous manner, had a great scorn for what he termed "refinement." Shade-trees in the front yard, for in
stance, were a refinement, as were most of the things in which women-folks were really interested; also the habit of calling in a doctor when people were sick. That was the most foolish and culpable refinement of all.
Delle heard Willie May's small bare feet strike the floor fretfully as the wail was repeated. In a moment she reappeared at the front door in her nightgown, a pathetic little wisp, sallow and hollow-eyed from illness, and sodden from uneasy sleep. She had had chills and fever for weeks, and no amount of quinine and chill tonic seemed to help. Delle had wanted to have a doctor, but Eddy, brought up on his father's ideas, did not encourage her.
"Mawther," whined Willie May, exasperatingly, "I want some meat an' biscuit."
"I did n't make any biscuit this mornin'. There's milk in a pan of water on the shelf, and corn-bread in the safe. You can climb up on a chair."
Willie May's whine turned into a weak, mechanical, determined crying.
"I don't want no milk! I don't want no corn-bread! I want some meat an' biscuit!"
"Well, you can't have it," said her mother, and shut her mouth tight.
Willie May went wandering back toward the kitchen, holding up her nightgown with one sallow little claw and rending the air systematically with her wails. The irruption of his sister had. wakened the next oldest, Buster, who now came out on the porch, and, seeing his mother, at once began to scramble down the dangerous steps.
Delle's eyes rested for a moment on this new apparition, round-eyed, goodnatured, in its dirty nightgown.
"Go put on your rompers, Buster, and wash your face and get your breakfast." Without a word Buster reversed him