« AnkstesnisTęsti »
diers call them, can do to win a war. Had the experiment failed, Churchill's career would have been utterly blasted. His opponents would have accused him of squandering public money on a foolish enterprise; he could not have hoped for mercy. But the tanks were a triumphant success, though the very soldiers who had jeered at them as "Winston's folly" became so anxious to employ them that they were prematurely risked in battle before a sufficient number was ready. Fortunately the German command was equally slow in recognizing their importance, and the premature disclosure had no serious result.
It is a tribute to Churchill's value as a statesman that, after he had been absent from Westminster for a few months, he was urgently called home. A Dardanelles commission was in existence, and this made it impossible for him to enter the Government. For some time he may be said to have acted as an unofficial member of the Government, but at last the ban was lifted and in the summer of 1917, Lloyd George made him minister of munitions. His work in that capacity is known to every person intimately concerned with the conduct of the war. Under his energetic control the output of munitions of every kind miraculously increased. More and more responsibilities were thrown upon him. The United States Government gave him almost carte blanche to equip its armies in Europe. He was able also to make good from his surplus, the enormous Italian. losses of equipment after the disaster of Caporetto. In the pursuit of his duties he spent much time at the
front. He used to work in Whitehall during the morning and, at noon, fly to Flanders. More than once he watched a battle from an aëroplane precariously perched over the battlefield.
The end of the war found him once more a leader of the nation. The ministry of munitions went into liquidation, and Churchill took charge of both the war ministry and the air ministry, as if one office was not enough to absorb his abundant energies. At the War Office he had to arrange the demobilization of the vast British armies-a process which, begun in confusion, was transformed. under his sympathetic handling, into an orderly process. At the air ministry it was his congenial task to control the latest and greatest fighting force of the country. He remained a minister until 1922 when Lloyd George fell from power, and the Coalition Government, which had carried the country to victory, was disintegrated into its component parts. Once again Churchill's political career was eclipsed. He shared with Lloyd George the obloquy of the reaction from the war.
In his enforced leisure he turned to authorship as a solace. He was no novice for, ever since his first campaign as a subaltern, he had earned a competence as author and journalist; he wrote the standard books on the Malakand and Nile campaigns, and his life of his father, published in 1906, is admittedly one of the finest political biographies in the language. He was now to surpass his former successes; the four volumes of his study of the war, "The World Crisis," written after the fall of the Coalition, will forever take their
place among the chief authorities on the great upheaval.
The lure of politics soon re-awoke. He stood as an independent candidate for Parliament, and was elected. When Mr. Baldwin returned to power in the winter of 1924, following the fall of the unpopular minority premiership of Mr. Ramsay MacDonald, he appointed Churchill as his chancellor of the exchequer a choice which reflects as much credit on the vision of the prime minister as on the ability of his new colleague. Thus Churchill, twice fallen and twice restored, returned at last to his father's party, assumed his father's chancellor's robes, which had been carefully preserved by his mother against this day, and disclosed himself as the holder of more ministerial offices than any other British statesman of our time.
Nor has he yet reached the zenith of his career. He is to-day only fiftytwo, an age at which very many men in England are only entering politics.
Is it possible that the American press-agent's prophecy will now come true and that Churchill will become prime minister? No one can say for certain. The path to the British premiership is beset by accident. The rise of Mr. Baldwin, for example, from obscurity to Downing Street in a few months, demonstrates how strange are the workings of the political fates in England. But Churchill is to-day still young; he is at the height of his intellectual and physical powers; he has indomitable energy and endless courage; he has overcome the earlier unpopularity against which he had to fight. You cannot keep a good man down; and I fail to see how, barring amazing illluck, he can fail to succeed in what undoubtedly is and has always been, the supreme ambition of his life. When he becomes prime minister, America may well consider his success as in large measure due to his moiety of American blood, the workings of which have already been so evident.
JOB OR JOY RIDE
It Is Harder Work To Be a Mother Than a Daughter
BLANCHE BATES CREEL
T MUST be that the truths of life have a certain burrlike quality, sticking fast until they win recognition. There are so many things my mother told me, things without meaning at the time-in one ear and out the other-that now come back to me with perfect clarity.
She was an actress, as was her own mother before her, and with my father as co-star, toured the country from coast to coast. I was born "on the road," and must have been nursed between acts, for I never play any of the old Western theaters that I do not meet some ancient stage-hand who claims to have held me while mother went on as Juliet, Queen Elizabeth or Lady Macbeth.
A roving life, of course, but never were children given greater love and care. John McCullough was once her leading man, Edwin Booth and Modjeska were her friends and admirers, but when my little sister and I were of school age, mother put away brilliant offers, and settled down in San Francisco to the drudgery of stockwork that we might have a home and proper training. A play a week for fifty-two weeks in the year!
Victorian to her marrow, as were so many of those old-time strolling
players, my sister and I were subjected to an iron discipline that ordered our lives at every turn, often in violent contradiction to our own wishes. Once I accused her of not wanting me to have a "good time," and it is her answer to that childish accusation that now comes back to me with such clearness and force:
"What about my good times?" she asked. "Don't you think I'd have a much happier life if I let you run loose and do just as you pleased? But you don't happen to be responsible for yourself, my dear. All of the responsibility is mine. Some day you'll find out that being a mother is a whole lot harder than being a daughter. It's work."
Let me say right now that I have found it out. Heaven knows I make no pretension to being one of these 100 per cent parents-certainly my two youngsters will never give any impression of having stepped out of the pages of a "Little Elsie” book— but I do assert a full acceptance of my responsibilities, however unintelligently I may have discharged them. And after fifteen years of it, I freely admit that my mother was right. It is work.
It is this feeling, I imagine, that puts me so out of patience with these
excited discussions about the modern girl-the way she dresses, her rougepot and lip-stick, her reckless choice of amusements and associates, her "petting parties," and her alleged lack of respect for the orders, admonitions and counsels of her elders. Where is there any point or justice in blaming the girls? If they are not what we would have them, how is it their fault? At their age I would have been doing all sorts of silly, hurtful things but for my mother's constant watchfulness and loving care, and I haven't the least doubt that she herself would have run just as wild if her own mother had been less vigilant in enforcing orderly, wholesome rules of life and conduct.
Despite an immense amount of rubbish that is being written and talked to-day, the modern girl is in no sense of the word a new creation, a miracle of self-development, a purely twentieth century product. As any sane biologist will admit, the baby born this very morning does not differ in any vital essential from the infant of a hundred or a thousand years ago.
No indeed! It is not the child that has changed. The young ones of to-day are as much the products of parental training, or the lack of it, as any born in the very heart of Queen Victoria's smug reign, and if the modern girl is different in any way from the countless millions that have gone before, she herself has nothing to do with it. The responsibility for her development rests, as it has always rested, squarely on the shoulders of her parents.
That is why all this impassioned discussion of the modern girl as a
novel and original problem, something that has never been encountered before, seems to me to be so dishonest, so ostrichlike. To prove the absurdity of the crazy theory, all that any mother has to do is to recall her own childhood. At thirteen I was firmly convinced of my omniscience, saw no reason at all why I should not be treated as a grown woman, resented my early bed hour with intense bitterness, and secretly regarded my mother as a dear, sweet but incredibly ancient fossil out of touch with modern thought, and utterly incapable of understanding a bold, free spirit like my own.
Instead of being new, this alleged "revolt of youth" is about the oldest thing in the world. I have no doubt the cave boy and the cave girl felt that their parents were back numbers, and whenever discipline interfered with desire told each other they "didn't mean to stand it." Children have always rebelled against parental authority, bucking their intensities against discipline, ceaselessly trying to "put something over." The only difference between to-day and dead yesterday is, that our mothers were on the job and did not let us get away with it.
Even while I contend that wholesale condemnation of the girls of to-day, lumping them all together as a target for attack, is stupid and unjust, there is exactly as much stupidity, it seems to me, in the wholesale defenses that refuse to admit a single imperfection. It is all very well for sale-seeking novelists and near-scientists to exult in the "independence" of modern youth, and glorify its "rebellion," but decent people cannot blind themselves to
soul-sickening things that are facts of newspaper report and court record. Admitting that these tragedies of youth are exceptions, what guarantee is there that they will not become the rule? The modern home is not the high walled affair that it used to be, by any means, and the intensification of human association gives evil communications an opportunity never enjoyed before. So much of to-day's existence is lived in public that it is no longer possible to guard a girl; the one hope lies in forming her character in such fashion that she will guard herself.
As there are many and various problems presented by flaming youth, where, then, is there fairness or point in centering discussion on the modern girl? For after all, she is about as self-directing as an arrow shot into the air. If we are to get anywhere, and I presume that is the purpose of all the talk, the intelligent thing is to lay the poor young dears to one side, and devote a little consideration to the modern mother. That is where the trouble lies, and by reason of a recent and rather painful experience, the "trouble" is far from imaginary.
Several months ago, stirred to indignation by the sight of small girls "made up" until they looked like clowns, I let my feelings override my caution, and voiced a somewhat vigorous protest. Nothing could have been clearer than that I referred to girls of thirteen and fourteen, but before the newspaper campaign had spent its rage, I found myself accused of having deplored the use of cosmetics by girls of any age, and was being roundly attacked
for my "assault" on the "young womanhood" of the city. It hurt, of course, but this misrepresentation was not the important feature of the incident by any means.
For weeks afterward I received a flood of letters, letters from mothers of every class and condition. I am absolutely honest when I say that never in my life have I read anything half so sad, or more astounding. Each recited a long list of worries in connection with a growing daughter, running all the way from disrespect and disobediences to hectic parties and hip flasks, and closing with pathetic protestation of "helplessness." As if my protest to the Board of Education had installed me as a kind of domestic mother-confessor, these women told of their trials and troubles with growing girls, asking me for advice and counsel as gravely as though I were distinguished as a specialist in such
All ran along the same general lines. I was "blessed" for my courage, and urged to "keep up the fight." It was "terrible" to see their thirteen year old daughters "made up" like Indians, but "what could be done?" All of their little friends "had compacts," and if a girl did not do as others did, "it sets her apart and cuts her off from her crowd." Nothing would have pleased these mothers more than to see their girls in bed every night by nine o'clock, but when they were invited to an evening party, refusing to let them go only made them "wretched and unhappy."
Not one of these mothers had any doubt that thirteen or fourteen was too young for boys and the movies,