« AnkstesnisTęsti »
obliged to have an object to be the recipient of her affection, a dog, a child, or a husband. If that torrent of love were turned back into herself, she would die. I had been nominated, and I decided to accept the nomination.
"Whereas up to now I have concentrated all my efforts on being a successful editor, and have done my darnedest to overcome the obstacles to success, I am now determined to become a successful husband. By seeking the responsibility of marriage I am in duty bound to devote my intelligence and good-will to that end, and, believe me, it is far more difficult to be a successful husband than to be a successful editorial writer. I am determined to concentrate my thought on this new goal with as much intelligent attention as I ever gave to becoming an editor. Next week I intend to resign from the "Republic," because a man cannot have two engrossing occupations. At forty-three, marriage is a damned serious business enterprise.
"To-day I love my wife more than when we were married. Perhaps one reason is that she has caused me so much pain-the real "mental anguish" that the legal term signifies. But if I had let resentment at the overturning of my little habits blind me to the inner joy of loving and being loved, I should have been a fool and without a sense of proportion. Personal convenience and tastes are good, and natural to foot-loose men, but whoever lets them weigh heavier in the balance than married love deserves all the loneliness of perdition. It took me a good while to learn this. When a man is following Merlin's gleam, he may step in a puddle; but if his soul would rather lose the gleam, to keep his boots unmuddied, let him keep his boots clean and pauperize his old-maidish soul.
"And it was a funny thing that even when I hated marriage worst, even when I was blind-mad at my wife's exactions, I not only loved her, but I knew that she loved me as I never deserved or expected to be loved. Even then I realized that it was the efflorescent excess of her postponed, middle-aged love that made her such a bore. She had a mental picture of what an ideal man should be down to the color of his gar
ters, and she wanted me to be perfect. Every good woman has so much of the maternal that she thinks of her husband as her creation, her child, whom she must mold and train and curb until he is a perfected creature. She cannot let him rest so long as he is sub-standard. She wants him to be happy, she 'd give her hand to insure his happiness; but, now you listen to this, Jim, she wants him to be happy in her way. Her love makes her blind to the fact that he, especially if he is past forty, wants to be happy in his way, in the way he has been happy for so many years that it is a surgical operation for his notions to change.
"When I used to walk around the block to cool down, in moments when Janet surpassed all reason, I would try to remember that she would do ten, no, twenty, times as much for me as she was asking. She would wear pink hats or green shoes or go on the stage or learn Hindustani-anything that she thought I really wished. Between ourselves, she was a little disappointed that I did not make difficult requisitions that would test her love. She would have liked to suffer for me. This is a secret between ourselves, Jim, but you remember it-women like to sacrifice themselves for their men. It gives them the glow of a martyr.'
"Well," concluded Daly, "Dave and I talked half the night, and I went to sleep with the twin feelings that he was a heroic figure of a lunatic and that marriage would never claim me. During the night I dreamed that I was in front of a parson. It was vague how they had carried me there, but the whole churchful of people could n't force me to say 'Yes.'
"Not until last summer, up at Goshen, where Dave has the most profitable farm in the county, did I hear the dénouement of the Gates's family story. At the time Dave and I talked in the Washington Square house, Janet had just succeeded in reducing her husband to a pulp. She had brought him to the stage where he no longer vigorously preferred anything, had no pet habits, did n't even claim his own soul. He had become neutral, mud in her fingers. That was the first stage of what mar
riage had done for him-to unmake all that fifteen years of self-sufficient selfishness had made. Janet returned him to the unformed, pliant youth he would have been at twenty-five, to the man he would have been then if she had netted him at that age.
"After the first step, which was destruction, getting him out of the newspaper game and out of his crusty habits, she opened her constructive program. She took him to agricultural experimental farms, they visited all the poultry shows, horse shows, cow shows, vegetable shows. She hid the political science monthlies and left farm literature on the library table where his hand would automatically fall upon it. She talked liquidly of horses, of wild, free rides in the dewy woods, of the bloom of springtime pastures, of the smell of plowed loam. A plastic man, without occupation and keen to please his wife, of course swallowed the bait. He became more enthusiastic than she. Dormant in him there had always been an attachment for the country and growing things. They pooled their fortunes, together with a legacy that came along just then, and moved up to Goshen. Now that she had unmade one man and remade another to her entire liking, and had maintained an increasing love between them during the operation, she was perfectly happy. She really had accomplished a remarkable feat, and she settled down into the rôle of a docile wife, with some children to divide the opulent love of which her husband had been sole target. So there they are to-day."
There was a pause as we heard the captain of the tug splitting wood and passing it below deck to the engineer. Evidently we were about to make a second start for Bjorko Island and the British fleet.
"Yes, but what connection has that psychological study of a soft-brained editor got to do with Bolshevism? I don't quite get it," drawled Harrington, in his soothing Mobile accent.
"Yes, perhaps I should make that plainer," agreed Daly. "I said that the
best explanation I could dope out as to what was in the Bolsheviks' mind in their plan for Russia was the case of Mrs. David Gates.
"Mrs. Gates took a man who had become settled in certain forms of life which she thought far from ideal, and reduced him to a plastic paste by pulverizing all of his habits and his forms of thought and work. She could not make the model of her ideal man until she had reduced the old man to malleable material. Her second step was to mold a new man out of the neutral human pulp which she had created.
"The Bolsheviks-to give them the benefit of the doubt as to their sincerity -took a nation which had become hardset in institutions and customs which they thought the opposite of an ideal society. Their first step was to have a wholesale pulverization, to grind up the habits, ideas of family life, trade, money, business, and government. Before they could rebuild the ideal state, they had to reduce the former state to a neutral mass of national pulp. That was the first step, which we have all observed, the destruction of the existing, as preparatory for the building of the future ideal state. In their first step you have got to admit that the Bolsheviks have been as successful as Mrs. Gates. They have smashed the forms of Russian national life to bits. They are ready for the second step, the building of the new and beautiful justice out of the unformed plastic medium which is under their hands."
"But Russia has not so much vitality as Gates," objected Harrington. "Russia is reduced to pulp all right; but then she died."
"Not at all," said I. "Russia is in pulp, but very much alive. The trouble is that Mrs. Gates died before she was able to complete the second part of her job."
"Well, there may be conflicts of interpretation if you press the analogy,” remarked Daly, dryly, "but I am a poet and I cannot be expected to be scientific. You have the story. Apply it as you will."
By HARRY A. FRANCK
NE cold June evening, with more than a hundred days and eight thousand miles of travel in Chile and the Argentine behind me, I took final leave of Buenos Aires. I had long looked forward to this as the beginning of my homeward journey after three years in Spanish America, yet when the time came I bade the place farewell with regret, for all its ostentatious artificiality. Or it may be that the pain came from parting with the good friends with whom I had been wont to gather every evening in the café across from the consulate for a "cocktail San Martín," one of whom at length volunteered to bear me company as far as Montevideo, just across the river, hundred and twenty miles away.
We rambled out the Paseo de Colón, past the Casa Rosada, to the Dársena Sud, ablaze with the lights of the halfdozen competing steamers, equal to the best on our Great Lakes, which nightly cross the mouth of the Plata. For traffic between the two cities is heavy. They are closely related socially and commercially; in summer Porteños flee to Montevideo's beaches; in winter the white lights of Buenos Aires attract many Uruguayans; the year round business men hurry back and forth.
On the Viena, of the Mihanovich Line, we watched the South American metropolis shrink to a thin row of lights spread unbrokenly for many miles along the edge of the receding horizon, like illuminated needle-points where sea and sky were sewed together, then retired to our truly luxurious cabin. Wide and shallow, exposed here to all the raging winds from the south, the Paraná Guazú, the "River like a Sea," often shows itself worthy of its aboriginal name in this winter season. I did not awake, however, until the red sun was rising over Montevideo and her Cerro,
and we were gliding up to a capacious wharf.
It was fitting that our sight-seeing should begin with the Cerro, that rocky little hill surmounted by an old Spanish fortress which is the first and last landmark of the traveling Uruguayan. To the Cerro, barely five hundred feet high, yet standing conspicuously above all the rest of the surrounding world, Montevideo owes both its name and its situation. When the Portuguese navigator Magalhães, whom we call Magellan, sailed up the Plata, thinking it might prove a passageway from the Atlantic to the Pacific, the sailor on lookout, catching sight of this little eminence, cried out "Monte vi 'eu!" "I see a hill!" On it was built the first fort against the Charrúa Indians; its value both as a point of refuge and as a stone quarry made it natural that the chief town of the region should have grown up about it. The part the Cerro has played in Uruguayan history is out of all keeping with its insignificant size; the poems that have been written about it are as legion as the facts and legends which hover over it; it holds chief place in the national coat of arms and in the hearts of homesick sons of Uruguay; never during all the rebellions and revolutions since its discovery has the Cerro been. taken by force of arms; never will the people of Montevideo tire of telling the haughty Porteños that Buenos Aires has nothing like it.
From the summit of the Cerro may be seen all Montevideo in picturesque detail and far-spread entirety, the point where the Plata, still deep brown to the last for all its sea-like width, and the Atlantic come together and flow away over the far horizon, and, swinging round the circle, the faintly undulating plains, broken here and there by low, purple hills of the "Purple Land." Yet it is a pity, as many a traveler has noted, that the Cerro, certainly no longer impreg
nable as a fortress, should not have been made a place of residence or, better still, transformed into such a park as Santa Lucía of Santiago. The fashionable The fashionable part of Montevideo, however, has moved in quite the other direction, leaving the famous hill, with its garrison-sheltering old Spanish fort and its lighthouse, to the squalor of squatters' shanties, rubbish heaps, and capering goats, not to mention the insistent odors of the saladero, where cattle are reduced to salt beef, just beyond.
The Uruguayan capital is in many ways the most attractive city of South America or, indeed, in the western hemisphere. Particularly in situation is it far better off than Buenos Aires. For one thing, it is much nearer the mouth of the river, making it a true ocean port and the most nearly a seaside resort of any national capital in Spanish-America, possibly in the world. Built on a series of rocky knolls which roughly suggest the fingers of a clumsy hand, the charm of its location is enhanced by undulations that recall by contrast the dead flatness of its rival across the river. The old town, all that existed up to two generations ago, is crowded compactly together in true Spanish fashion on what might be called the forefinger, though it had unlimited room to spread landward. On this rock peninsula the cross streets, little less narrow than those of Buenos Aires, fall into the sea at each end, for here it is only eight or ten short blocks from the Plata to the Atlantic. On one side is an improved harbor, usually filled with steamers of many nationalities; on the other, a bay lined with splendid beaches. Like that of its larger rival, the harbor of Montevideo requires frequent dredging, though it has more natural depth and plenty of stone near at hand for the building of protecting rompe-olas, for its problem, too, is quite the contrary of that in Valparaiso and most of the bottomless west-coast ports.
Along with its unfailing seascape, the situation of Montevideo gives it a most exhilarating air, especially in the winter season. Indeed, it is not merely exhilarating, but often penetratingly cold, and frequently so boisterous that it picks up with ease the most securely fastened hat and threatens to blow the hair away
with it. On the day of my landing a wind-storm caused several deaths and much property damage; among other things it picked the sheet-iron roof off a building down by the beach in which four fishermen had taken refuge, and as these ran away across the fields the roof followed and fell upon them. In the third story of the wooden hotel that housed me I often woke from a dream of being rocked in a ship at sea. Punta Brava in a far corner of Montevideo suburbs was indeed rightly named on windy days.
Uruguay claims 1,400,000 inhabitants, of whom all but the million are said to live in the capital, though the absence of a definite census makes guessing a popular pastime. The city is much larger in extent, however, than this number would imply. One can ride for hours on the lines of its two tramway companies without ever leaving town. A narrow main street follows the ridge of the rocky forefinger through several pleasant plazas, and turns at last into the chief artery of the city, the Avenida 9 de Mayo. Even in the older portion Montevideo is substantially and handsomely built, with frequent good modern monuments. Only a few old landmarks are left, such as the purely Spanish cathedral on the Plaza de la Constitución, for Uruguay seems to consider 1808 the beginning of her history and to make no effort to preserve the memories of her colonial or pre-Columbian days. For all that, however, the capital has retained a considerable atmosphere of old Spain along with its South-American style of up-to-dateness; compared with Buenos Aires it has a distinctly seventeenthcentury echo. Along its fine avenues the houses are mostly colonial, an almost Moorish style of one-story building with very high ceilings and capacious, spacedevouring patios. Especially in the many roomy suburbs do the dwellings stop abruptly at one story, so abruptly sometimes as to suggest that ruin, or at least a laborers' strike, has suddenly befallen the proprietor, though the real reason is probably that it would be hard to marry one's daughters if their "dragons" were compelled to begin their wooing by shouting up to the second or third story. Most house doors have
brass peepholes through which the resident can determine whether or not the man knocking is worth letting in; ironwork grilles as a protection against burglars, especially of the daughters' chastity, are universal. Gardens with subtropical plants are numerous, promenades under palm-trees by no means unusual; along the edge of the sea there are over-ornate quintas, alternating with washerwoman shanties. But there are few paupers or slums in Montevideo, and at the same time little of the ostentatious plutocracy so familiar across the river, a lack of contrast which perhaps adds to the monotonous sameness of many streets.
Out beyond the older town there are park improvements on an extensive scale. The Prado, with its great rose gardens, said to include hundreds of varieties, though with very few in bloom among the autumn-brown leaves of June, is an unmitigated joy, while the naturally rolling wooded hills make artificial, over-polished Palermo, with its deadly flatness, seem disagreeable by contrast. A part of the Montevideo of to-day covers the site of swamps in which a century ago partridges were shot-and sold at five cents a dozen, if we are to believe current stories. In the outskirts there are enough small, but real, hills to break the monotony of the landward vista and to make Buenos Aires envious. The tale goes that a group of rich Porteños once set on foot a movement to buy one of Uruguay's hills, carry it across the river, and set it up as a curiosity in one of their own plazas. No doubt they could have reimbursed. themselves by charging admission and rights of ascension, but, like so many good Latin-American plans, this one died prematurely.
about the modest, simpler Fluvenses, as the people of Montevideo call themselves, a term which we might translate as "rivereens." They have as a rule a native politeness, an unobstreperousness, a frank and open simplicity, all but unknown in Buenos Aires, a leisurely, contemplative philosophy that will not be broken down even by the decided material prosperity of the country that is making the most intelligent use of its situation and resources of all the republics of Latin-America.
As a place to live in, contrasted with a place in which to make a living, Montevideo is superior to most American cities, North or South. It has a peculiar quality of restfulness quite unknown to its large and hectic rival across the Plata, something distinctive which easily makes up for the drawback of being so near a world metropolis as to be overshadowed by it. Compared with the selfsufficient, ostentatious Porteños, there is something extremely pleasant, too,
Somewhere in South America I met a Dane who contended that a small country, like a man of modest wealth, is far better off than a great nation. Uruguay bears out the statement. We have long been accustomed to speak of the "A. B. C." countries of South America as the only progressive and stable governments in that continent. Only its slight size as compared with its gigantic neighbors has caused Uruguay to be overlooked in the formation of that list. As its near neighbor and relative, Paraguay, is perhaps at the bottom of the scale governmentally, so Uruguay, by its development of national spirit, its energetic character, its advanced legislation, is probably at the top, more nearly fulfilling the requirements of an independent state than any other nation south of the United States. Certainly, Uruguay is superior to both Chile and Brazil in anything but size; it is doubtful whether even the Argentine is governed with more educated intelligence and general honesty. The stability of its finances and the maintenance of public order alone give it a decided superiority over its neighbors. Once as troublous a state as any in Latin-America, Uruguay has settled down and developed her natural resources until her money tops world exchange, and revolutions are memories of earlier generations. Were she a large country instead of being merely a choice morsel smaller than many states of Brazil, there is little doubt that she would be greater even than the Argentine. Or would size, always an obstacle to good government in Latin-America, if not in all the world, give Uruguay all the faults of its larger neighbors?
It has been claimed that the Uruguayan came originally from the Basque