Puslapio vaizdai

at first sight to suit the fine cloud of discriminations in which he moves, and the ample limits which he allows it, none the less, his operations are, in fact, rigidly directed at every point by the law of economy which forbids the smallest waste of words on anything unrelated to the centre. Nothing is on any pretext to be admitted which does not address itself to the business in hand, and the business in hand must demand no more in the way of development and adornment than it exactly requires to make its point. Mr. James himself confesses, with the suspicion of a chuckle, that his tendency is not in the direction of undertaking his idea; yet, exhaustive in their explorations as his characters show themselves, they never utter an aimless word, they never waste a meaningless glance. All cheap effects are forbidden them; they must not turn aside for a moment to raise a laugh or excite sympathy; they are expected to work intelligently and unremittingly for their places in the story. Mr. James will meanwhile in return work for them, and will see to it that full justice is done to their beauty or their quaintness or their charm. They certainly have small reason to complain. The cloud of discriminations, with all it does for their intelligences, does not blur their outward lines, their features and gestures, their personal grace. Their cleverness is not cold, their subtlety not colorless. It is very seldom, only at the rarest crises, that they are permitted to show in simple form the forces which agitate them; they may not crudely talk about such things; they are concerned almost entirely with their remote and indirect manifestations.

But we are not likely to forget how much is implied by the light dimpling and quivering of the ever-moving surface. If they do not become mere disembodied faculties of thought and crit

icism, there is another besetting danger which they do not, perhaps, so invariably escape. Cut off as they are from following any thread which would lead them beyond the covers of the book, bidden to revolve intently around the point prescribed, they are no doubt exposed to the risk of unconsciously drifting away from life. There is, after all, another relation, beyond their relation to the story, which they have to maintain. They are in and of the story and the story is self-contained; but the whole complete orb has its general relation to life, and it must be owned that we at times seem to see it spin on its course regardless of any other consideration whatsoever. We do not refer to the fact, in itself undeniable, that the actors in Mr. James's books appear to have the world entirely to themselves, that there is no suggestion or sense that other lives are being lived round them. Our point is rather that within their own secure circle they sometimes have a way of extending a particular line of action until all unawares it has become fantastic. A situation, say, which would normally end in a certain amount of half-humorous discomfiture we may suddenly see ending in murder and suicide, It is, of course, not by itself a valid objection to say of a story that things do not as a matter of fact happen as it shows them happening; it all depends on whether the author makes good his implied declaration that they ought to. But it would be curious, if there were space, to take certain of Mr. James's shorter stories, where the bargain always struck in any work of art between symbolical and actual truth presses hardly upon the actual, and to defend our notion that it is the symbolical which pays. Here it can but be noted that it is in this direction only that a certain divorce from life is sometimes to be felt.

We have at least indicated, it may

be hoped, that Mr. James's work cannot be approached from outside, that criticism must burrow as best it may into the foundations of the structure to find the motive of the woven color-shot beauty of the surface. For all its intensely personal manner, that beauty is also simply and broadly organic; and if the subtlety cannot be missed, the breadth and simplicity may more easily be. It is impossible to doubt that Mr. James's influence, already conspicuously marked, will more and more dominate, so thoroughly has he expounded and so deeply stamped the art of fiction. It is the more important to keep in view the distinction between what is of the substance and what of the strictly personal touch. At the same time it is, of course, this, the personal touch, that makes us turn again and again to these great, quiet, spacious books, with their controlled grace, their high composure, their perfection of tone; it is this that makes a perpetual delight of the thousand fine strokes of the language which Mr. James has had, we may say, to invent The Times.

for himself, finding no previous vehicle nearly sensitive enough for his purpose. We commit ourselves to the rare windless atmosphere and fall in at once with the exacting standards of thought and conduct which obtain there. We shovel our old crude estimates out of sight and joyfully agree to waste no more time on the stupid or the obvious. The stupid and the obvious have small place in the long series of significant cases which Mr. James has found generated by the impact of forces crowding to meet each other, at so many different angles and with such inexhaustible effects of contrast, from the two sides of the Atlantic. That impact must lose, and perhaps has lost, its first sharp freshness. If this is so it would be hard to say which is the more fortunate-that a talent so distinguished and so penetrating should have been placed, by circumstances of time and place, in relation to such a subject, or that such a subject should have found a Henry James.


Early on Sunday morning M. Blériot, a French engineer, in a comparatively small and inexpensive aeroplane driven by an engine of low power, flew across the Channel in about half an hour. Two of his countrymen awaited him in a meadow near Dover Castle, and in spite of a breeze he managed to bring his machine, somewhat heavily it is true but with no injury to himself, within easy distance of the indicated spot. To M. Blériot thus belongs the honor of being the first to accomplish a feat which has long fired the imagination of all for whom aviation has any sort of interest. On Tuesday M. Latham, the first actually to attempt

the Channel flight, made a second effort, and again fell into the sea, this time within a mile or two of the Admiralty Pier at Dover. Other flights are foreshadowed, and one or more may have been carried out by the time these lines are in print. But already two or three essential facts have been established. The Channel has been "flown"; there is more than one type of aeroplane with which this can be done; the triumph has been achieved by private enterprise; and that enterprise, with its attendant skill, patience, perseverance, and pluck, had its origin not on this but on the further side of the "silver streak." This last circum

stance does not discount our sportsmanlike admiration of the exploits of M. Blériot and M. Latham, nor does it imply any reflection on the ingenuity and courage of such of our own countrymen as are preparing to follow in the track of the two Frenchmen mentioned. But there is no question that our national pride has suffered something of a shock from the conspicuous lead given by Continental aviators in a matter so closely touching our insularity.

Scientifically speaking, there is much in the flights of both M. Blériot and M. Latham to inspire interest and excite speculation. The distance travelled does not of course constitute anything approaching a record. In fact it was doubled in the wonderful "official trial" flight carried out in the United States on Tuesday evening by Mr. Orville Wright, who flew fifty miles without a mishap, remaining in the air for nearly an hour and a quarter. On this occasion, too, the aviator carried with him a passenger. But the "records" hitherto made by others besides M. Blériot and M. Latham have been over land, where the same conditions apparently do not prevail as over water. It is understood that the Wright brothers have from the first been fully alive to this fact, and have been steadily preparing for the more difficult operation, partly by study of the problems involved and partly no doubt by obtaining in their overland journeys a sufficient margin of safety, power, and endurance to render an oversea flight less of an adventure than it actually is. Precisely what the trouble in the latter case is it is not easy to say. Some talk of the attraction exercised by a great expanse of water, others seem to regard the air-currents at a certain height above the sea as more baffling than those met with in the ordinary way by the aviator who flies with the firm earth beneath him. But

there is no question that, apart from the risk, the art of Channel and à fortiori of ocean flying is yet more distinctly in its infancy than that of what is becoming everyday aeroplane work. As to the risk again, the ease with which both M. Blériot's and M. Latham's machines outstripped the fast torpedo-boat which had been detailed to follow the experiments makes it clear that there must be periods in almost any ocean flight when a descent into the sea may render the aviator's chances of being picked up alive quite ethereal.

But, apart from all this, we have today to consider the crude fact that the Channel flight has been accomplished, and that in the near future the process will probably be repeated until the experiment has become monotonous. The next step will be the crossing of the North Sea both by aeroplanes and by Zeppelin and other dirigibles, and then, at last, as a nation we may be gradually awakened to a sense of what is indicated by these performances.


is not seriously contended that per se even M. Blériot's achievement has any direct naval or military significance. Probably at no point of his journey could he have blown his nose with complete equanimity, much less have hurled a bomb at a warship, or dropped high explosives into an arsenal. But the time when such things can and will be done during war by skilled and intrepid men has been brought appreciably nearer, and of all the world's nations we are absolutely the most vulnerable to the new and terrible form of attack thus indicated. Nor is the manner in which we are meeting the grave contingencies involved in any way reassuring. It is much to be feared that the institution of the Aerial Navigation Advisory Committee, and even the progress of the Morning Post National Airship fund, have if anything served to put back the clock

at any rate as far as any practical effort on the part of the Government is concerned. The measure of our present rulers' anxiety to do their duty in this matter is to be found apparently in Mr. Haldane's genial willingness to accept anything as a gift, and professed inability to produce or procure any practical results in which any but a most niggardly expenditure is involved. Even such progress as was faintly observable a few months ago seems to have been checked, in the hope that public subscriptions and private enterThe Outlook.

prise will at some fortunate juncture enable our War Department to make up for lost time. Such hopes are not only unworthy of a great nation, but they are practically certain to prove illusory. Unless in the immediate future something is done in the way of actual construction on an adequate scale, the real lesson of the Channel flight may be brought home to us with a suddenness and completeness to which only the tragic history of dead nations that shirked their final responsibilities can show parallels.


Are golfers becoming better-tempered? It sounds an admirable topic for discussion in the season which belongs to the sea-serpent and the giant gooseberry. It is suggested by a recent picture in Punch illustrating the old story of the Scotch elder who put a pebble in his pocket for each expletive he used during a round of the game, and who found that the most violent expletives needed, to supplement his pockets, a cart. But does not the story belong to the traditions, to the conventions of the game rather than to the plain facts of to-day? There are whole bundles of these stories of infuriated golfers in the back files of the illustrated papers; stories and pictures of choleric old gentlemen dancing on broken niblicks, of obese Colonels bursting with wrath in bunkers, of Scotch ministers gravely contemplating a misspent future. The Scotch minister is the type; he comes into the stories again and again; a batch of golf stories without a minister, or, rather, a "meenister," in them is as unthinkable as a harlequinade without a clown. And yet do the stories and pictures fit the facts any longer? The ordinary

man who meets a golfer finds him as often as not a person of a serene temper, unruffled by the changes and chances of the working lives which even golfers must lead. When he sees the habitual golfer play golf, or when, himself a golfer, he plays golf with other golfers, the round they play is not a storm of abuse, not an agony of self-reproach, not a concatenation of resonant expletives. The misfortunes which come by bunkers and hazards and bad lies and putts which will not run down are accepted with an equal mind which is less resignation than cheerfulness. Perhaps, in the twenty years in which golf in England has grown from a rare game almost into a national recreation, golf has schooled the golfer; perhaps the ebullient rages, the tempests of commination, belong already to a dim and storied past. Certainly there are other games which can try the temper quite as severely; other games at which tempers are lost every day they are played.

You come to some sort of an understanding as to why tempers are lost at this or that game if you consider the games which are more or less

marked with composure.

You may play cricket, for instance, for many years without coming across an infuriated cricketer. Of course, there are bowlers who are not able to regard with equanimity a batsman who hits them out of the ground four times in an over. Perhaps, if they are fast bowlers, they try to bowl a little faster; there have been bowlers who have bowled at the batsman instead of the wicket, and when those balls, too, go for four or six, the situation becomes worse. There are batsmen, again, who return glowering to the pavilion if they are given out leg-before-wicket, even in these days when it is fashionable to get in front of the wicket as soon as the bowler begins his run. Occasionally you may hear of batsmen of skill and conviction who attempt feats possible only to players filled with a noble rage. "Q," for instance, writes somewhere of a batsman who tried to kill a man fielding mid-on because he wore a pink shirt. Then there are fieldsmen who, in their turn, are sometimes unable to bear with gladness the remarks of the spectators; there was a county cricketer not long ago who, incapable of enduring longer the taunts of the multitude, turned round and shied the ball as hard as he could into the middle of the crowd. But these are the exceptions; the rule is even temper and acceptance of all the chances of the game. There are no traditions of furious cricketers in the back files of the illustrated papers. Football is a little different. The referee suffers at football, in all the stories. But it is the crowd who assault him, or who carry him away to drown him, not the players; and the kind of football in which referees are illtreated is not the kind which you think of first as a game. At school and at the Universities, where the best football is played, the game is friendly always, even if it can be pretty rough.

The Winchester game and the Eton wall-game are rough enough to test schoolboys; they would be too rough for professionals. The Rugby game can lend itself occasionally to private ends. There is a story of an Oxford Rugby blue, playing for his College against another College fifteen, who gave instructions to his team before the game began. He was a straightforward man of strong likes and dislikes, and the other team contained a player of whom he greatly disapproved. "If any of you fellows collars Blank," he cautioned them with emphasis, "hold him and wait till I come." But that game was played as amicably as any other.

Is it, perhaps, the sheer violence of the physical exercise which makes it possible for games like cricket and football to be played without loss of temper? Does the player find a vent for his fury in the extra amount of muscular strength he employs in running faster and hitting harder and charging with greater vehemence? The hockey-player whose stick is hooked, which is one of the most irritating things in the world, or the polo-player ridden off the ball, can each expend ap enormous amount of energy in hooking some one else's stick, or swiping at the ball, or riding off another man. You get to something like finality in the incapacity to feel rage in a rowing crew beaten in a race. Rowing, of course, is not a game, but rowing races illustrates the point. When a beaten crew, each member of which has utterly rowed himself out, is desperately struggling in the wake of another crew to the end of the course, how many of the eight could be angry about anything in the world? Take exactly contrary conditions for the game, and good temper not merely varishes, but a large number of people do not seem to think that there is any need even to keep up appearances.

« AnkstesnisTęsti »