Puslapio vaizdai

worm which, having been knocked off the top of the shell, is cunning enough to take refuge inside, is as safe as the homicide in the City of Refuge. My own observation would incline me to suggest that the hours of sunset and sunrise are the periods of most marked activity with salamanders. It is so certainly in their artificial surroundings. Probably in natural surroundings also.

With Satan I am on the most easy terms. Hardly a day passes without my taking him out, and putting him on a piece of white blotting-paper while I examine his various points. That he is in excellent condition the glossiness of his skin, which shines like the surface of a well-polished boot, is a convincing proof. There is something singularly human about the hands, which are beautifully shaped, the joints and tips of the delicate fingers being clearly defined. The hand has three fingers and a thumb, but the foot is better equipped, there being a fifth though very small toe. Satan looks at his best when standing in an attitude of expectancy, with straightened elbows, and his attention fixed on some object below him. Then, as the prominent yellow eyebrows viewed from behind give the appearance of erect ears, he looks exactly like a cat uncertain whether or not to make a spring at a bird. The tail, generally straightened when the salamander is walking, but coiled round when the creature is at rest, is at once strong, elastic and prehensile. In his early attempts to escape from the aquarium Lucifer seemed to try to stand literally on the top of his tail, and came Blackwood's Magazine.

several egregious croppers in the attempt. But, judging from the strong grasp which he has more than once taken with the organ on my finger, I should be quite prepared to see him hanging like a monkey from the bough of a tree by the tail only, in the act of descent.

To the best of my belief, salamanders are absolutely mute. Perfectly gentle and tame with myself, in their relation to each other my salamanders are the most tolerant and easy-tempered of creatures. I have seen Lucifer, in one of his periodical fits of restlessness, walk over every other salamander in turn, squeezing a passage between Satan and the glass, planting an unceremonious foot on the end of Schiller's nose, and stopping to take a short nap with his head resting on Goethe's portly waist, and the tip of his tail almost in Schiller's eye. But none of the defendants in the action has entered the slightest protest. Not even food seems to suggest itself as a bone of contention, the distinction between "meum" and "tuum" being by tacit consent recognized.

In fine, the salamander is at once a very beautiful, a very cleanly, and a very interesting pet, easily fed, andso at least some naturalists say-a very useful as well as ornamental inmate of either fernery or greenhouse. The former seems to be more adapted to his habits, and if I ever have the good fortune to settle down again, and have a garden with a fernery, there my salamanders shall have a happy home and resting-place, and evil betide either gardener or stoat who attempts to meddle with them.


[Being the reflections of a pessimist on the unanimity shown by our leading statesmen in speeches delivered on the subject of National Defence before the Imperial Press Conference.]

"Ah God, for a man with heart, head, hand,
Like some of the simple great ones gone

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Jones was looking tired and that Miss Robinson was the tallest girl in the room, come as near as possible to the American ideal; and why they are not horsewhipped every day in this civilized country it is difficult to understand. No one seriously blames a woman journalist for this kind of work; she simply cannot help it. A great lady has a delightful story how she once addressed a meeting of lady journalists, begging them not to write so much about clothes; and a lengthy report of the assembly in next day's papers concluded with the words: "The Duchess of X-, who was dressed in gray with a black picturehat, then gave an address." But one wonders whether a more dreadful creature has ever been produced by modern civilization than a man, who knows the difference between chiffon and muslin, and writes about their wearers daily in a column of social paragraphs.

If you ask nine men out of ten what they mean by sensational journalism they will describe an article which is, in effect, merely a string of lies whirled about by a cataract of adjectives. In a speech on the subject the other day Dr. Macnamara showed that this was his idea of it; and, talking about it some time ago, a prominent Court official, part of whose duty it is to read a large number of newspapers, British and foreign, said that lying was the essential feature of sensationalism, and that no newspaper would ever be accused of being sensational if it took reasonable trouble to verify its statements. In every great institution in this country, he pointed out with much truth, political, social and religious, there was sure to be someone whose business it was to check and correct the news which, as the managers of the institution are wrathfully aware, has got to appear in newspapers nowadays about their affairs.

It was nonsense, added the speaker, to talk of the editor being unwilling to trouble such folk with questions every time an item of news was sent about their affairs; it was almost sure to be someone's business to attend to the newspaper questions; and in any case nothing could be more trouble to everybody concerned than the storm created by false information, with all its ensuing contradictions and explanations.

But this careless inaccuracy, as I pointed out to my companion, was stupidity on the part of the journal, not sensationalism; and stupidity of a kind which carried with it the quickest and most complete punishment. There is nothing more certain in the newspaper world than that a succession of apologies and contradictions will reduce your circulation (and your advertisement revenue with it) to vanishingpoint in a very few months. People change their newspapers much more readily now than in old days. One penny paper only differs from another in its leading articles and in the slightly varying amount of space which it accords to the political speeches of its private or public friends and enemies; the halfpenny papers differ not at all, either in their news or in their fashion of writing about it. If it amuses you to say one morning, "This paper is becoming sensational," and to change it for another, you do it without the sentimental regrets which your grandfather would have felt in similar circumstances. Therefore when a man has been made a fool of by an exciting statement in his paper on Monday morning, which he proceeds to discuss with his friends in all its bearings, till he reads in the "Westminster Gazette" that "the Press Association is authorized to state that there is no truth in" the narrative which has filled his. mind the whole day; and when tris process is

repeated twice in the course of the following fortnight-such a person has no hesitation in ordering something else; and the first newspaper may repent in dust and ashes and tell the truth solidly for ten years without inducing its former reader to stop describing it as "a sensational rag."

As for "scare" headlines and a hailstorm of thrilling adjectives, which constitute one of Dr. Macnamara's ideas of sensational journalism, I presume there were days when, as he graphically expressed it, such a newspaper article would "make a motor-bus shy at it." To-day it would not hurry the pulse of a schoolboy. It must be remembered that this sort of thing when it appears in the "yellow press" of New York is loaded up with personalities, with plain, straightforward statements that So-and-so stabbed his father and poisoned his aunt and forged his brother's name to a cheque, which can hardly fail to tickle the most jaded palate, especially if you happen to be a friend of the gentleman concerned. Failing this, what could be more monotonous than the "descriptive" writing of a man who has hysterics one day about an earthquake, and the next day about a "society" divorce, and the next about a new cancer "cure"?

Resting under the disabilities imposed on him by the British libel law, the "yellow" journalist in this country has in fact invented a sensational journalism of his own which requires some intelligence, a quality by no ineans necessary in New York. The essence of it is brevity and simplicity in the body of the narrative and brevity and power in its headlines. Above all things the story must be true; and must, if possible, introduce some of the purely human emotions and incidents of everyday human life which assure you that the actors in it are fellow mortals. I remember, for in

stance, a story told in some English newspaper of a hill outside Port Arthur on which the fighting and slaughter had been so frightful that the whole hill was discolored and soaked to a depth of five or six inches with blood; the newspaper man described himself and a companion walking up it, encountering on it only one living person, a Japanese soldier who was sitting on his knapsack putting a new lace into one of his boots. The story was told without one superfluous word, without an emotional adjective or comment of any description; also I have reason to believe that it was perfectly true. It was not news in any ordinary sense of the word. It was a piece of pure, first-class sensational journalism of the English variety which the most polished word-painter on the "Figaro" might envy, and the most hideous word-squanderer on the "New York World" could not hope to rival in his most sensational effort. Personally, I do not buy a London daily paper to read that kind of thing; moreover, the constant search for such sensational pictures and straining after effect while writing about them occasionally leaves me (and, I gather, the correspondent too) in some considerable doubt as to who has won the battle in which it is an incident.

The English "yellow" press has not yet gone nearly far enough on its evil way to be irreclaimable; and, with constant "nagging" from friends and enemies, it may keep straight for a good many years more. With one or two exceptions the papers of this class, morning and evening, tell the truth whenever they know it, behave with decency to all opponents except a few of their owners' pet private enemies. keep their advertisement columns fairly clean, and publish some very prompt and good reports of all home matters. If they could be persuaded to realize the intolerable impudence of

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