Puslapio vaizdai

pain, ignoring him as they would your stuff was awful. We wouldn't always ignore him.


They were talking about some one named Coperbesby. He heard Constance Corthwaite's clear voice say: "He has the most intense sense of A fierce and proud belief in the Jew, and if you don't understand that he is a Jew, that everything he does is racial and unsullied, you can't understand his music at all." Somebody laughed and laughed and said: "Shush! Your other Jew friend will hear you."

Levering turned and, blundering against the door, went slowly out of the sun, through the big quiet hall and upstairs. His room had been put in order, and he hated to disarrange it, but he had to hurry, hurry so that he could go quickly, and when you pack in a hurry things get mussed up in spite of you.


The first thing his cronies at the club asked him was if he had had a good time at the Corthwaite place. Bennie Bernstein, the orchestra leader, Mimi Deland, the specialty dancer, and her lean effeminate partner, surrounded him as soon as he appeared that Monday night. "Did you have a good time?" they asked him.

"Sure, fine, fine."

Mimi Deland looked at him curiously. “Well, you don't look it." He turned on her her furiously. "What do you mean, I don't look it? What do you want me to do? Sing a song about it?"

keep open a week with him around." "Pretty bad, huh?" pleased. "Lousy!"

It was time for his first song. As he stepped to the door that led him to the spot-lights and the applause, he said over his shoulder, "Don't worry about me getting the weekend habit; I won't."

"Gee," remarked Deland as he slammed the door on them, "I wonder what they did to him. He's back early too."

He finished his song, and Bennie dipped his violin to his orchestra, and they began the opening bars of "Abie's an Irisher Now."

At the sound of the first notes, Levering stiffened as though he had been stung; then, turning on his heel, he called harshly, "Don't play that song to-night-or ever again." After which he walked stiffly off the floor, refusing his encore, while the music stopped in the middle of a bar, jarred to a silence that held until Bennie shattered it with his music. again.


It was several weeks before Constance Corthwaite came again to the Club Levering. She was quite sure, of course, when Hal Levering fled from her house without a word to any of them, that he had somehow realized his position; but that was not what had kept her from the club. She had been away. Now, to-night she was in town again and a little. bored, and as Hal Levering had once

She shrugged. "No," simply. "But amused her she came to his place in don't chew my ear off."

"Say, don't get the week-end habit," said Bennie jovially. "That bird you had here last night doing

the hope that he might again. He was a hired performer; if she had hurt his feelings, well-she was sorry, but she had no intention of staying away

as long as he could give her a moment's entertainment.

The club had not been doing well for the last few weeks. Even Bennie Bernstein's saucy music did not hold the crowds. The reason, of course, was that another man was in Hal Levering's place.

Constance Corthwaite listened to one of his colorless offerings, and then called him to her table. "Where," she asked, "is Levering? Isn't he going to be to-night?"

"Nope, he's left for good."



how disappointing!

Where has he gone?"

"Say, lady, you'll never believe me when I tell you; it's the funniest thing you ever heard! You know the money he was getting herefifteen hundred a week and a rakeoff, and he part owner at that"Really?"

"Sure. Well, he came in here one day, nobody expecting it at all, and told 'em he was through-just like that. Through. Told 'em he was going back and be a real Jew, going to give his talent to his people. Can you beat it? They thought he had gone crazy, of course. Fifteen hundred a week and a rake-off—and do you know what he's done?" The objectionable young man paused dramatically. "Say, he's studying to be a cantor in a synagogue-can you beat that?-can you?"

[ocr errors][merged small]

but soon the rumors died away, and all that was left of Levering at his old stamping-ground was the flashing red and green sign of the club. Business had fallen off; new places had each in turn engaged the fickle attentions of the city's night-lovers, and the Club Levering was patronized by only a few stragglers. And then the management decided to make one more bid for popular favor with a new revue.

Bennie Bernstein labored at his piano just as he had the afternoon of Levering's greatest triumph a year before, but the other performers were new. No one now tried to fill Hal's shoes; they had to depend on a speeding chorus to cover up a palpable lack. And as Bennie sweated to get the rehearsal into full swing, the servicedoor opened and a familiar voice sang out: "Hel-lo, Bennie, how've you been? Making the grade O.K., huh?" It was Hal Levering.

"My God-Hal!" and Bennie leaped from his stool and seized Levering by the shoulders. The other performers gathered around, and to Hal again was given the once so sweet chorus of praise.

"Cut it out-cut it out. Let's get to work here. We gotta give 'em something to knock 'em off their chairs!"

Bennie looked at Levering in astonishment. Was he really coming back? It was too good to be true, but here he was, and Bennie ran over to the piano joyfully. His nimble fingers flew up and down the keyboard, and then, triumphantly, he hammered out the first bars of "Abie's an Irisher Now." Levering, who had been chatting with the chef, who had come running from the

kitchen, whirled about with a white the Song of Solomon, set to a wail


"Bennie!" His voice stopped the music with the player's hands suspended in the air, such was its savage earnestness. "Never again that number, Bennie. Levering's a Jewisher now. Don't forget that, hey?" Hal patted his friend on the shoulder. "S'all right, Bennie, but there's been some changes made."

The rehearsal went on under Levering's direction, and when he was satisfied with it he turned to the piano and handed Bernstein several sheets of manuscript.

ing accompaniment, that died away to a whisper, rose, swelled, and died away again. It was thrilling, strange, but "Can even Hal Levering get away with that stuff in a nightclub?" wondered Bennie.

One or two jazz numbers followed, and Hal called off rehearsal. The word spread that Levering was back, and that night, when the lights were dimmed and the chorus twinkled through the opening number, the place was crowded beyond seating capacity.

There was no sight of Levering "Here's some new numbers that until after Buck and Wing, those I'm going to try," he said.

"Hot dog!" Bennie murmured, as he bent his expert gaze on the neatly written sheets. Then an expression of bewilderment spread over his face. What was this stuff Hal was pulling? He glanced sideways at Levering, who was standing at the edge of the platform, his back turned. With a shake of his head, Bennie played a few bars; then Levering joined in, a new softness, a thrilling timbre, in his rich voice. Again the few in the room stopped their chatter and listened with puzzled expressions, which changed into real wonder and reluctant admiration as Hal sang: "Set me as a seal upon thine heart,

[ocr errors][merged small]

whirling cloggers, had done their turn. Then he appeared, and a burst of applause, punctuated by the staccato click of the little wooden hammers on the tables, showed that he still had a loyal following.

Bennie, at the piano, nervously settled himself, waiting for the noise to cease. Then Hal broke into one of his new songs, those songs that are as famous now as "Eli, Eli." The reaction of the crowd was amazing. Some wept, some applauded, others sat silent, wondering. It was so unexpected, so sudden, that before they realized it Hal had bowed quietly and left the room.

Later he sang several jazz songs, but after the applause he did not join his patrons at their tables; he left the room in spite of clamorous shouts of "C'mere, Hal," "Have a lil one with us, Hal?" "Draw up a chair, Hal."

Sitting at one of the tables were Lord and Lady Greville, Nancy Bromley, and John Taylor. If Levering had noticed the presence of these companions of his week-end

[merged small][ocr errors]

The others were silent; then Taylor spoke: "That's not the man we knew though. Don't you get the difference? Those first songs were superb. The man who wrote that music is a genius."

"Changed, nothing! That's the same old Levering. I'll prove it to you." Nancy called a waiter and told him to ask Mr. Levering if he would speak to Miss Bromley.

"What are you going to do?" asked Greville.

"Never mind; you'll see when he comes," answered Nancy.

In a few moments Levering appeared and walked through the aisles of tables to where the party was sitting. He did not cross the floor in his old swaggering manner, receiving homage as he went; but with dignity he walked and, reaching the table, bowed quietly to the four people.

"Pull up a chair and have a drink,” invited Taylor.

"No, thank you, just the same. Is there anything I can do for you?”

"I am having some people down over the week-end of the twentythird, Mr. Levering," said Nancy. "I should like very much to have you come."

"That is very kind of you, Miss Bromley," replied Levering quietly; "I should be very glad to come on Saturday evening and entertain your guests. My charge for such an affair is one thousand dollars. I presume you will not want me after eleven-thirty. I must be back in town early, for I sing in a concert Sunday afternoon."

Nancy's face was crimson as she answered, "That will be all right, Mr. Levering." Hal bowed and, turning, walked away.

John Taylor looked with amusement at the discomfited Nancy and then at the proud set of the head of the Jew who was now a Jew, a Prince of Israel, and a verse that he had learned as a child came to him: "For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour."


Psychology of the American People Concerning National Defense



ILITARY legislation had to take the place of military action." In these pregnant words the late General Emory Upton of Civil War fame sums up the disadvantages under which we labored at the outbreak of the war of 1812-15.

The sentence epitomizes the history of the opening months of every war we have fought, including the World War. Despite the consequent risk of defeat and inevitable excessive expenditures and the long period of high taxation, apparently we have learned nothing. General Upton's statement would fit the case should we have war to-day, or in the near future.

The National Defense Act of 1920, our first and only military policy, the 5-5-3 Navy ratio established by the Washington Arms Conference treaties, and the five-year aviation building program resulting from the Morrow Board recommendations and Colonel William Mitchell's charges and trial, furnish definite, well considered standards as to what constitutes adequate national defense. They eliminate all necessity for discussion as to what we mean to-day by the word "adequate."

We are not, however, living up to these three standards of defense.

Public indifference, which has in the past been the principal reason for peace-time neglect of our armed forces, is only one of the reasons. There are to-day new and dangerous factors.

One is the business man who considers questions of national defense outside his province, at the time when, more than ever before in our history, necessities compel us to engage in the fierce competition of overseas trade and finance. Such competition has always been a fruitful cause of war.

The World War taught foreign nations our peculiar susceptibility to sentimental propaganda, with our resultant tendency, when in pursuit of what we think right, to grasp eagerly at pleasant theories and overlook disagreeable facts.

As a consequence, too many politicians, seeing the indifference of business men, harried by organized groups of sentimentalists, and urged on, only too often, by foreign propagandists, have joined in or remained indifferent to the attacks which have resulted in failure to carry out the three adequate national defense programs.

With a few distinguished exceptions, business men can be placed under one of two headings in con

« AnkstesnisTęsti »