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me happened to be "Jude the Obscure," and he began to talk about it, recalling the hue and cry that was raised over the shocking immorality of that novel when it was first published. He didn't speak in the tone of a man who has been vindicated and is enjoying his triumph, but wistfully. The recriminations that were thrown at him over "Jude" got deeply under his skin, and were never entirely forgotten. It was largely that piece of cruel stupidity that made him decide never to write another novel, and I suspected that he regretted the decision.

But Hardy was far from wanting anybody's sympathy. Suddenly he leaned forward in his chair and asked me whether I had ever been to Christminster, the town which figures so largely in "Jude." Off my guard, I replied that I hadn't. He switched the conversation, and a minute later we were talking about The Golden Cross at Oxford. Remembering that Oxford and the Christminster of the book were one and the same place, I smiled. Hardy's face wore the satisfied smile of a countryman who has stumped a neighbor with a new conundrum.

Hardy talked on, and it was golden talk, tinged with reminiscence and a keen humor in which malice had no part. He was faintly ironical about the publishers of his younger days, who loved to regard themselves as patrons of letters and who, he felt, looked upon authors as a necessary evil in the conduct of their business. He was surprisingly well versed in what the newer writers were doing, on both sides of the water.

A week earlier, Hardy told, a party of American tourists had

crashed in on him unannounced. Just as I was getting ready to hear the familiar plaint of the English Olympian whose seclusion is disturbed by aggressive visitors, he continued to say that they were a delightful group, and that their enthusiasm had made him feel younger. He did, however, ask me not to write about my visit to him lest a flood of interviewers should descend upon Max Gate—a pledge which is now sadly released.

It was as a poet that Hardy wanted to be remembered, he said; the novels didn't matter. But I couldn't help feeling that this was only a protest, perhaps an unconscious one, against the indignities that had been heaped upon him in connection with "Jude." He had forgiven all that, but hadn't forgotten it. Not long afterwards, an English writer who had paid a call on the great old man told me one of the most touching stories I have heard. Hardy, he said, had been trimming his rose-bushes one morning when there suddenly surged into his mind, complete with characters, plot and theme, the idea for a most alluring novel. He had continued tinkering in the garden, absorbed in the flow of the tempting new story. Then, tired out, he had gone upstairs for a brief nap-and when he awoke, story and people were gone. But it will be a long, long time before the story and the people of "The Return of the Native" and "The Mayor of Casterbridge" are gone.

Undoubtedly the world owes a good deal of Hardy's later work to the intelligent devotion of Mrs. Hardy, his former secretary. She guarded him well from interruptions

and worries, but without trying to edit life for him. For all his philosophical pessimism, Hardy gave the conviction of being a happy man, and the reason for that must lie close to home.

Having started these paragraphs from the point of view of the villagers of Dorchester, I'll end with them as well. On my way to the train for London, I stopped in at a local pub. Somehow the word had gotten round that I had been to Max Gate, and one of the old farmers stopped a game of darts to ask me how I had found "old Tom 'Ardy." Presently I was having a mug of beer with them and I told them that I had found "old Tom 'Ardy" well and in good spirits. But one of the group decided that a single glass of "bitter" wasn't enough for a visitor who had been entertained at Max Gate. He worked in the local brewery, he told me, and he would be glad to take me there and get me a long drink out of the vat. But alas, it was time for that train for London.

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With his rather long dark hair and intense eyes, he might be accused of looking poetical, if not for the matter-of-factness of his manner. He is brimming over with energy, and I have seen him stop in the middle of a conversation to dash off a business letter with such speed as I had thought writers used only in the films. But he is essentially a reposeful personality, with the easy manner in crowds that is possessed only by people who know how to live in solitude.

A harassed newspaper man, trying hard to get a new "lead" for his story, accused Ludwig of being commercial-because he begged to be excused from answering several questions on the ground that they were to be covered in a lecture. This, to Ludwig's way of thinking, came under the head of courtesy to his audience. If the reporter wanted a real side-light on Ludwig's practicality, he could have found it in the fact that Ludwig always gets more information from his interviewers than he gives them. The truth of the matter is that he is greedy for only one thing-knowledge of people, things, places.


Zona Gale wrote to Elizabeth Corbett concerning her article in the November CENTURY:

I thought your "Moral Equivalent of Whisky" was a strong and fundamental thing and I rejoiced with you that you wrote it in just this way and got it across.

My dear Editor,

While addressing this letter to you to THE CENTURY that is-I am, nevertheless, aware that a more proper recipient might perhaps be the author of a certain short story in the October CENTURYMr. Lyle Saxon. It is solely from the emotion experienced on reading this story, "The Long Furrow," that my impulse to write derives. Let me explain that I am not a regular reader of THE CENTURY. The October number was brought in during a recent illness by a neighbor who has my welfare at heart. Heretofore, my impression, gained from the cover announcement, that its contents were chiefly of a sociological or political or mildly scientific character, dissuaded my interest. This belief might still exist but for the accidental fortune just mentioned.

Did Mr. Saxon's story not, in the opinion of the editors, justify its inclusion among the other (illustrious) titles on the cover? It has certain qualities which give it a claim to that privilege I think.

Mr. Saxon has brought to his story a sympathy, an understanding, that have a particular freshness at a time when the sentimental sociological attentions turned toward the negro begin to be somewhat oppressive, oppressive and perhaps more offensive than the former neglect and contempt accorded them. It is toward the type of which he treats that sentimentality has been notably directed. We have, in contemporary literature, enough evidence of a desire (actuated by motives possibly sincere enough) to understand and translate the consciousness of the elementary mind, i.e., negroes, farm-hands, etc. In too many of these endeavors, alas, it is the elementary character of the author's, not his subject's, mind that is indicated.

The post-impression of "The Long Furrow" is one of a peculiar beauty and harmony. Its restrained prose, its descriptive simplicity in the evocation of a Southern color, its vigorous unobtrusive idiom, create an atmosphere elemental, dramatic, poignant.

Mr. Saxon has given us generous proof of his control over the processes of the short story. His rhythm, proceeding from the selection of familiar elemental images, his simplicity in giving these images form and significance in relation to his characters, has vitality and the authenticity of serious scrupulous writing.

Seattle, Washington.

My dear Editor,

I am, Sir,
Your obdt. servant,

As it is the unexpected that is supposed always to turn up, you will hardly be surprised to get a letter from some one away down in the South Caribbean, on whose table a November copy of THE CENTURY MAGAZINE is lying—and in it are the two articles which have prompted me this communication. By chance I got the magazine from our local library for a week-end read.

Your articles on lynching and Chicago democracy caught my attention and repaid me for the reading. The first thought that struck me was your courage in printing two such grave strictures on American life-because they are so true. The next sentiment was one of pleasure and satisfaction at the thought that your great nation is so fortunate in having at least one Editor courageous and honest enough to help it to see itself as others see it.

I am a born and bred British subject, a native of Trinidad, and I studied medicine at Edinburgh University in the eighties, since when I have been in practice here. Why, then, you may justly ask, this interest in these two important aspects of American socio-political life? The first reason is that I am myself a colored man—not black, but a fair brown-occupying the midway position and so capable of judging from both standpoints, an advantage which is very helpful in forming estimates

of either side. Hence my interest in the lynching article. The other reason is that I have been mixed up in political life here for over thirty years, during ten of which I was a member of the Legislature, and cannot understand why America-as far as I know-is the only English-speaking country that throws law and order to the winds as in Chicago last year, when I happened to be in Canada. This accounts for my interest in Chicago democracy.

The thing that is both odd and interesting is that in lynching the encounter was between black and white; in the other case between white and white. What attractive material for a psychological study!

The methods of American democracy are fortunately both peculiar and local and require the vantage-ground of a foreigner to see them in their true light. Your article makes mention of the British West Indies, and rightly so. Here we are all British-meaning we are equal politically. But socially every man has a right to choose his friends and associates. Social distinctions there are, and always will be. But the jet black lawyer defends to the best of his ability his white client and the black magistrate administers justice with even hand to white and black alike. Public conveyances are free to all-since a man's money has no relation to his color. Fancy a white man in his Ford car feeling his dignity hurt because passed on the road by a black man in his Willys.

I must check my pen's course, for the subject interests me very deeply. I trust efforts like THE CENTURY'S will help to open the eyes of the American people to the blots which disfigure and lower their national life and reputation. The mills of the gods grind slowly. Retribution comes even to nations.

Thanking you for the pleasure given me by your magazine, and wishing you increased power of service to your nation.

Trinidad, B. W. I.

My dear Editor,

Sincerely yours,


As I read the closing lines of Mr. Julian Hawthorne's beautiful tribute to his mother in the December CENTURY-“She was a good woman and her goodness ennobled the lives of the daughters who saw her depart and have now rejoined her"memory brings to me a happening of thirty years ago.

A friend, desiring to interest me in the work, asked me to go to see a little refuge for cancer sufferers in Cherry Street that a daughter of

Nathaniel Hawthorne maintained there. I went, prompted more, I fear, by the desire to see Hawthorne's daughter than interest in the charity. I found a little, old house, pin-neat, crowded from roof to basement with beds in each of which lay a cancer patient who was "absolutely incurable and absolutely penniless."

In nun's garb, caring for the poor creatures, was Rose Hawthorne Lathrop who, with one assistant made up the corps of nurses. Now thirty years ago cancer was thought to be a contagious and disgraceful disease, and this frail, exquisite woman was doing something not far removed from Father Damien's work for the lepers when she dwelt here and with her own hands dressed the dreadful sores and tended all the needs of the guests in this sad House of Pain. I recall her more like a lovely spirit than human as we walked from bed to bed where face after face, riven with anguish, brightened to a welcoming smile for her.

How she gained the strength to do what she did I learned when she led me into a tiny oratory she had fashioned out of a dark, otherwise unusable, corner of the upper hall. The hinges of my heretic knees bent easily enough to prayer when our journey of inspection ended at the foot of the little cross. She strove to comfort me, weakly overcome as I was by what I had seen; she slipped her slim, work-worn hand in mine and whispered, "If they bear patiently their suffering here below, they will not be left long in Purgatory."

So gentle and pure she was I thought she might have been sweet Hilda who, stepping from between the leaves of "The Marble Faun," had shut those furiously threatening ancestors within its covers and harkened after all to the tender pleading of the Catholic Church.

She burns in my memory like the flame of a holy altar candle.

Very truly yours,

New York City.

My dear Editor,

We are giving a year's subscription to THE CENTURY MAGAZINE to our daughter who has married and has gone to live in New York City. There may be a news-stand in New York but it is nice to get the magazine by mail, fresh and crisp, untouched by human hands, unbreathed upon by the vendors of snappy stories, etc.

For more than thirty-seven years we have been reading THE CENTURY and it gets better and better. The December number is a peach. A list of the best things in it would simply be a copy of

the index. "Lady Isobel's Husband" might have been written by John Erskine himself, only the touch is lighter, the satire even more satisfactory. No man could have done it so right.

"Twilight Among the Authors"-"In Search of Sunshine"-"The American Scene and Character," how I would like to shake the hand of John Cowper Powys and thank him for understanding us so well and defending us so nobly! John Erskine, delightful in all his phases—Oh, all of it! "Gentleman, Gentleman"-how revealing!

Only one thing ails THE CENTURY. We are still torn between Camels and Chesterfields and obliged to recommend Fatimas to our younger set. Of course they pay well. There is the "heaping tablespoon of compromise absolutely necessary," as Professor Bollis said.

I was afraid our daughter might get to reading Mencken in New York. THE CENTURY is to be the antidote.

Elkhorn, Wisconsin.

My dear Editor,

Yours truly,

I have just finished reading the engaging article, "The Rustic Goes to School." With the conclusions I draw from the paper, I agree in the main; but a doubt or two exist in my mind. For instance, I am unwilling to believe that the education that the nieces had received was largely to blame for their crudity or that the higher standards of the aunt's taste could be attributed to her lack of schooling.

I wonder if the aunt had been exposed to the smattering of education, slightly absorbed by the nieces, whether she, too, would have turned out vulgar. I doubt it. Mass education, the only possible kind at the present time, has defects, as pointed out by the author, but its success or failure is determined in no small measure by the character of the subject on whom it is tried. For some time, moreover, we have realized in this country that an academic education is not intended for everybody; consequently, the form of education now prescribed in our secondary schools depends upon the natural gifts of the boy or girl to be educated. The system of mass education in America is hardly at fault if a student, through his own stupidity, follows an academic course when, as frequently happens, a vocational course has been recommended. Furthermore, these young English

nieces, presumably with slight possibilities, educationally, had come inevitably under the influence of powerful forces outside the school, forces that the school cannot combat, certainly in a day. (There is such a thing, too, as a crude, vulgar rustic.) Nor can we base our conclusions concerning mass education, or any other, upon one aunt and her three nieces. Natural endowment, I repeat, is a powerful factor and environment hardly less important in determining the human product, before education takes a hand in it.

My experience of twenty-five years as a teacher of English reveals serious defects in our American school system, but defects by no means incurable. If I were the doctor, I should apply the remedy first to the college requirements. I should order that they be made more simple and more sane. Thus secondary school work would record a gain in thoroughness; it would be less superficial, less pretentious. In that happy event, there would be more real teaching, thus awakening higher incentive in pupils. In other words, the solution of the problem of mass education, as I see it, consists mainly in less ground to be covered, hence less rush, in more simplicity, and in more definite and higher spiritual aims. Perhaps (I say it with all modesty and all kindliness) a Yankee, and a teacher at that, is as capable of understanding our American school system as an Englishwoman or an H. G. Wells.

Newark, New Jersey.

My dear Editor,

Educationally yours, LUCY E. SWETT

Since George Witten's story, "Guns for Ireland" appeared in the September number, I have anxiously awaited another story by him, so it was with a great deal of pleasure that I opened the January number and found his story, "The Open Road."

I feel that it would be an injustice, both to the author and the publisher, not to tell them how much I have enjoyed these two stories.

In your notes on your contributors, I notice that Mr. Witten was a participant in the Boer War. Can you not prevail upon him for some stories of this engagement?

With the hope that I may find another tale from Mr. Witten's pen in an early issue, I remain,

Buffalo, N. Y.

Cordially and sincerely, R. E. COREY



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