Puslapio vaizdai

of fine gauze. The boat slowed until her bows merely marked the apex of an advancing triangle of ripples, and the sinuous reflections of her masts, cord age, and thick, stained funnel became almost as steady as herself. Nearer and nearer she crept, swerving to a spin of her wheel till parallel with her berth, the blackest thing in the picture, except that uncommonly black hole where Tom leaned against a rusty waste-pipe and gazed at her. Already her men had removed the great tarpaulins from her hatches and uncovered the cranes; on the granite coping stood others, neither sailors nor landsmen, blue-jerseyed, waiting for the flung ropes. These flew across, uncoiling in mid-air, and with shouts and hoarse orders were hauled in until the heavy, many-plied cable came dripping ashore. The weighty bights were carried along and made fast; a few feet farther glided the great tramp-steamer, then, with a surly backward swish of her screw, she came to rest.

A little waif, the kind of boy that haunts all waterside localities of large towns, had also watched the arrival from his post on the top of a pile of timber, and now, clambering down, came shambling aimlessly along the quay. His rough, light hair-he wore no cap was fluttered about his eyes by the evening breeze; every now and then he brushed it back with a hasty movement of a dirty little hand. Clothes, in the sense which a well-to-do person assigns to that word, he had none; it would have puzzled a tailor to dissect or to name the conglomeration of shoddy material hanging round the poor little chap. His shoes gaped, and held together with string; his coatsince one must give it some designation-would most certainly never pass on to anyone else after he had discarded it, it almost settled the question by dropping to pieces; his trousers were masterpiece of patchwork. Tom


Burton transferred his attention to the unkempt, grimy little mortal as it moved here and there in front of him, picking up stray bits of stick and rubbish, alert for other people's leavings. The boy was happy, it seemed, for he whistled as he wandered; brave blue eyes he owned, too; they shone finely when he faced the sunlight, although his cheeks were pinched.

From the deck of the tramp a stoker -come up for a breather before he started on donkey-engine duty, unloading-also watched the boy, contemplatively. Presently a banana shot over the intervening strip of water and skidded at the youngster's feet. He dodged after it and made short work of devouring it, peering across and laughing, the merry little imp, when he caught sight of the form that leaned carelessly over the rail of the steamer.

"Hungry, sonny?" called the stoker, his face wrinkling into a cheerful, encouraging grin.

"Yas," answered the boy, his eyes glistening.

"Catch, then!"

Over flew another ripe banana. The boy rushed forward to catch it, slipped and fell . . . there was a splash, and a shrill cry. There were two bigger splashes immediately after, and numberless whirls of grime and dirty bubbles, and dark, liquid lanes, marking where the two men had plunged in and the black mud of the bottom been disturbed.

Tom emerged first, then the stoker, and, treading water, they both looked round for the scrap of humanity at whose call, without a moment's conscious thought, they had taken the leap. Something was floating out helplessly past the end of the stone pier, turning slowly in circles with eddies of the receding tide. Both men swam for that pale, pitiful little gleam of yellow hair, and Tom, reaching the boy first, pushed him towards the slippery,

green-coated steps that led down to the water near the end of the jetty; the other man came up in time to help, and fortunately, for Tom, being portly, was a bit blown. Together they brought the boy to the boiler-house, and there were many encouraging shouts from those on board the steamer who had heard the splashes and crowded to the side.

His wet hair

Bedraggled and panting they were, but their burden looked half dead and very white. He had not been in the water more than a minute, perhaps, but his reserve of life-force was too evidently very scanty. shone like clear gold in the deepening rays of the sun, and the water that trickled from his shapeless garments traced bright lines and formed little pools among the coal-dust that lay thickly over the cobbles of the quay. The men looked anxious as they laid him on a bench. Tom kicked open the furnace-doors of one of the boilers, and dragged the bench in front of it, wrapping a sack tenderly round the quiet form. The rich, strong glow of the huge fires beat straight on the boy, making his soaked odds-and-ends steam steadily, betraying, as the men went through the necessary movements to restore him, the pitiful thinness of his arms, the leanness of his poor body.

His face, which had shown a false ruddiness in that warm illumination, by and by was tinged with a shade of real color from within, and he opened his eyes. Just then there was a sound of running feet, and a woman, hardfaced, untidy, stood silhouetted in the doorway against the outside radiance.

"O, my Gawd!" she cried, seeing them bending over the listless form. "O, my Gawd! is he dead?" And she reeled to a heap of coal in the corner, sat there, plaining, repeating her exclamation, wringing her miserable hands. The two men took but little notice of her, striving to fan the tiny, flickering

life-flame into a steadier burning. Tom's tea-can had been placed in a corner of the furnace close to the door; in two minutes its contents were nearly boiling; the hot liquid revived the boy, and he came round quickly...

Tom picked up the queer little shape in his strong, hairy arms, and turned to the woman.


"Now then, missis, you'd better take him home quick, an' keep him warm," he said, gruffly, for he did not like the look of her. "Wait a minute." gave his burden to the other man, and picking up a dry sack, slashed with his pocket-knife a large hole through its bottom, holding it and turning it for a minute in front of the roaring fires. Then, slipping it deftly over the head of the boy, who looked on wonderingly, he pressed the warm, coarse folds comfortably round the dank, drowsy figure. "Now, mum, can you carry him?"

Apparently she could not, for even as she stood waiting she swayed ominously, her eyes staring, her lips muttering unintelligible words. So the boy was set upon his feet, a quaint, sad little spectacle, to take the woman's hand. The two men stood at the doorway watching, comprehending dimly a tragedy of life that might be worse than the averted tragedy of death. She led him off. Her words came back to them thickly and indistinctly as she jerked him along by the wrist.

"Ah, you little devil, youboy began to cry quietly.

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Tom and the stoker of the tramp exchanged understanding glances, and stood for a while talking, frowning, following with their eyes the two who shuffled along in the sunshine. The snarling syllables gradually became unrecognizable as words.

A bell jangled in the boiler-house behind. Tom disappeared in the gloom to slice his fires, to open his dampersfor it was seven o'clock-and to change his steaming overalls; while his com

panion, glancing thoughtfully at the red sails of a trawler that was running out on the freshening wind, lit a short, shabby pipe. Presently he turned, facing inwards, hands in pockets.


"Hello!" answered Tom, pausing and looking up in the act of clearing out the The Academy.

clinkers, bathed in the fierce heat. "Better 've let the kid drown, p'raps." "Shouldn't wonder," shouted Tom, slicing away vigorously. The other, with a brief nod, sauntered round the edge of the silent dock-head back to his ship.



The recent curious reminiscences of Mr. John D. Rockefeller has set some people asking a natural question. The great Trust millionaire, the Napoleonic financier, who was long the moving spirit and controlling brain of that remarkable concern the Standard Oil Company, is revealed in these pages in an unexpected light. He appears as a kindly, good-natured, and exceedingly religious person. His religion is his strong point, next to his domestic morals. He came of the old New England Puritan stock, and apparently he carried through life quite changed the rigorous principles of private ethics and the simple Calvinistic faith which he imbibed in the nursery and the schoolroom. In private indeed, he seems to be an amiable man, affectionate, simple in his tastes, temperate in his habits, extraordinarily generous, and unimpeachably upright. When one looks at Mr. John D. Rockefeller's picture of himself on his own estate, quietly amusing himself with golf and tree-planting, endowing churches, founding colleges, and helping the poor, one finds it a little difficult to turn to that other picture of the money-making machine which ploughed through American finance and industry with a ruthless unity of purpose, carrying ruin and devastation in its train. The man who in his country home could not pass a beggar without relieving his wants, in his of

fice must have reduced many thousands to beggary without giving them a thought. Whatever may be urged in defence of the operations of the Standard Oil Company, no one can say that they worked in the spirit of Christian ethics, or that Mr. John D. Rockefeller himself acted up to the tenets of a creed which bade him take no thought for the morrow, and find. his treasure in incorruptible things. Like many other successful business men in the United States, he apparently kept his commercial and private morality in watertight compartments, and it puzzles some observers to understand how he managed to perform the operation. In other words, how can a deeply religious man occupy himself during his hours of activity in


manner which is often irreligious and sometimes anti-religious?

The truth, perhaps, is that religious and ethical conceptions exercise less influence upon conduct than is commonly attributed to them. Life is not so much a science as an art, a matter of practice, temperament, knowledge, and training. Men have excelled in that art, as they have in others, with all religions and with none. In any practical operation-say the driving of a motor car or the command of an army-everyone must recognize that the practitioner's conception of the universe is of less importance than his skill and expertness in his business.

Even his character is of value chiefly in so far as it affects these qualities. Nobody would willingly employ a drunken chauffeur, because drunkenness would interfere with his steadiness of hand and quickness of judgment; but the man might be an atheist, a free-lover, or a gambler, and still a reasonably good chauffeur. On the other hand, he might be a saint or a philosopher, and a particularly bad one. Take the case of great military and naval leaders. Collingwood, with his lofty and intelligent devotional zeal was assuredly not a better sailor than Nelson, who was dominated by a rather confused amalgam of sentiment, caprice, sheer personal vanity, and idealistic patriotism. Was he, all things considered, a better man? Wellington's narrow Anglicanism certainly does not seem to have done much for a character in many respects unpleasant-harsh, illiberal, grasping, and coldly self-indulgent. But the Duke had the temperament and the intellect of the soldier, developed by much practice, and he became a very good general: not, however, so good a general as Napoleon, who believed in nothing except his own strength and the weakness of others. If we carry the survey from these special pursuits to the general art of living, the result is really the same. A man may have a very bad creed and be a very good father, husband, friend, or citizen; he may be lamentably defective in each of these capacities, in spite of a high ethical and religious ideal. This is because our social activities are very little dependent on theory, but are, in fact, controlled and conditioned by character and habit. The main principles of morality, though their application varies infinitely according to custom and convention, are common to most schools of thought. I am prepared to assert that the first man who passes me as I walk down the street

will be theoretically aware that he ought not to beat his wife, though he be a Calvinist, a Roman Catholic, a Swedenborgian, a Socialist, or a Tariff Reformer. Whether he does or will beat his wife I have not the slightest idea; nor would precise information upon his religious or political views help me to form an opinion. I should be better able to judge if you told me that he was addicted to alcohol, or that he had been brought up by a maiden aunt. Most of our difficulties in conduct are concerned with the choice between motives of nearly equal force or with the subordination of one set of emotions to another. And here an instinctive grasp of realities, rapidity of decision, the control of the lower appetites by the higher impulses, tact, temper, and firmness are of more avail than any synthesis of thought. After all, the chariot of life is driven, much as the motor car is driven, by knowledge of the machinery and adeptness in handling it. If you go into the bathroom and turn on the hot-water tap instead of the cold douche you will scald yourself, though you are as wise as Solomon and as virtuous as St. Francis.

What, then, is the true value of ethics and religion? Can man go through life without any synthesis at all? Surely not. Faith is needed not to make a man live better, but to make him feel better. And a theory of the universe is required not to direct his conduct, but to sanctify him in the successes and fortify him in the failures of action.

That is what one feels in reading Mr. Rockefeller's confessions. His remarkably successful and entirely absurd career has just missed being used as a text for sermons. If his mediocre talents and his exceptional luck had happened to have been displayed on a less conspicuous stage, we should have been freely invited to admire him. We

should have him exhibited as a shining example of that old-fashioned Biblical Christianity which has made America and Great Britain what they are. We might have books written about him by excellent persons like Mr. Samuel Smiles, holding him up for the instruction of the young, to show what can be done by industry, perseverance, and intense application, fortified by sound religion and austere morality. It would have been explained that he would not have become so great unless he had been so good. have heard too much about Mr. Rockefeller to be able to say that about him. The millionaire-manufacturing process has been laid open too plainly to the world in his case; the Mammoth Trust is too big; we know too well what it has cost to make the fortunes of its "magnates." I do not think that even one of Mr. Rockefeller's own professors, in one of his own universities, would care to lecture on his patron from this standpoint.


I suppose many thousands or millions of people envy "John D."; I do not imagine that even in the United States there are many who venture to admire him openly. With the best will in the world it is difficult to attribute his success to high abilities and hard work based on Christian ethics. We cannot say that, because he is clearly not very able, and he tells us himself that he was not particularly industrious or persevering. He went through the greater part of his active life comfortably and easily, taking plenty of holidays, enjoying himself blamelessly, and occupying himself in his business hours in scheming, financing, borrowing, intriguing, and organizing. did very little work himself; he was clever and lucky enough to make other people work for him. He can seldom have put in as sound a day of steady labor as most of his own clerks. His


puritanical New England upbringing can neither be credited with his success in money-making nor with the means by which he made it. His real achievements as an organizer of distribution and economizer of production had no relation to the teaching he received in the chapel and the schoolroom; those other exploits which have made him famous stand equally apart from the religion in which he believes. The New Testament does not suggest that it is desirable to pile up riches by the methods and devices which the Oil Trust sometimes employed. There is no relation, so far as one can see, between Mr. Rockefeller's creed and his conduct in commercial life; and the fact that out of business hours he is affectionate, moral, and lavish in giving away his plunder makes the contradiction all the more striking.

It is clear that Mr. Rockefeller's practice of what he calls "the difficult art of getting," was not determined by his religion. He would have acted much the same as he did, and probably with much the same results, if he had not been a devoted member of his church. But he would not have felt nearly so comfortable; he would have lacked that inner glow which makes him a happy man in spite of his wealth, his weariness, his narrowness, his crudity. He would not have found consolation in the thought that the world which has made John D. Rockefeller its richest inhabitant, is divinely ordered. He would not have been so sure of his own righteousness, or so callous to the sufferings of his victims. He would not have been able to decree the massacre of his enemies in much the same spirit as that which inspired Godfrey of Bouillon, or a sergeant of Cromwell's Ironsides, or Gustavus Adolphus, or any other entirely devout destroyer. Like them he had faith, which not only casts out fear, but gives its possessor power to sus

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