Puslapio vaizdai

spaces of the earth; its goal was Bulawayo, not the streets of Paris.

How far the world has gained or lost by a century of British expansion there is no need to appraise. The process of expansion is undoubted, and the beliefs behind it have the simple collective title of imperialism. In its later stages the advance became a shade less confident. Where once the world had seen a bold series of annexations, and frontiers had advanced quite unashamed, it began to observe the more apologetic method of the sphere of influence, of suzerainty, of politely concealed protectorates. No more the proclamation in the awed circle of natives, the flag fluttering on the tropic air, and the pounding salute. Now frontiers advance more delicately, a little in the manner of the lamented Agag. For imperialism was becoming less sure of itself, less certain of the blessings of good government and ordered commerce; and its tone became almost apologetic.

I may be wrong; but in the latest devices of American policy I seem to detect a further shading of the bold imperialistic design, a method of approach to the desired objective more delicate than Agag's. For methods vary with the march of time, and their variations are all in the direction of an increasing gentleness. The modern statesman annexes almost with a gesture of motherhood. His sterner predecessors, confronted with a prize, incontinently grabbed it-his grandfather by simple annexation, his father by a rigmarole about spheres of influence. But the softer trend of our contemporaries disdains such brutal footsteps. It advances under cover of a vigorous

protestation of belief in the essential independence of the coveted object— and to lend it money. An occasional landing-party of marines may keep a watchful eye on the security, but always with a stern insistence that it is no property of theirs.

As the game develops, the object of desire may be impelled (with perfect freedom of action, but one eye on the marines) to enter a treaty of perpetual friendship and dependence with and upon the absorbing power. There will be no vulgar annexation. That is precisely where the method of Naboth's vineyard differs from that of Wall Street.

Is this delicate technique the latest variation of the Old-World theme of imperialism? I wonder and am half inclined to think so. If so, I trust that the stern judge of the New World will be a trifle less severe upon the historical shortcomings of the Old. For they seem to be heirs to one, at least, of its vices in an attenuated form. Kid-glove imperialism is no more defensible on abstract principles of human justice than the full-blooded variety; can we be sure that the United States, after a brief experiment in annexation, has not entered upon a more insidious form of concealed imperialism? Such outspoken critics of the world must not complain if they occasionally attract a touch of comment from a politely interested world. For what is more delightful to a convicted sinner than to detect at least a mote in his critic's eye? And the Old World is left with a slightly irreverent wonder whether the purities of the Monroe Doctrine are not lightly dusted over with the faintest film of imperial ambition. If so, there is room for hope that its

adherents will be less critical of ambition in others. Others, at any rate, rejoice to see the young man following in his father's footsteps and trust that in the future he will be a trifle less severe on father.

Those were the thoughts, the halfformed doubts, that rose as the reporter told a traveler the news from Nicaragua and China, and the big ship slid up the Narrows toward the tall, unlikely towers.



We heard them like besiegers down the street.
Dark foot by foot they fought the stolid rock,
Until the houses shook beneath our feet
And window-panes were rattled with the shock
Of muffled batteries of dynamite:

All day they fought the hard earth, bone to bone.
Much like machine-guns through the noisy night
We heard their sharp drills biting in the stone;
Then great trucks thundered off when they were filled.
One morning, as men battled underground,

The beaten earth struck back; and some were killed,
When rock fell on them with an angry sound.
Yet others struggled with the sullen loam;
And love and hunger and the fear of death
Were dim things in a half-forgotten home

As they struck earthward with each deep-lunged breath.
They sought the finish like a lunging knife,
And felt the great joy that all fighters feel;
For they had tunneled through the muck of life
To lay the stern, straight cleanliness of steel.




WOULD be exceedingly difficult for me, even if it were anybody's business, to attempt to explain the nature of the emotions which warm this unyouthful heart of mine as I sit here on the sunny dunes with the old dog Meg beside me, gazing out to sea and waiting, waiting for the return of the fair Patricia. I am, I suppose, an incurable romantic, and I think most people would misunderstand. For I am turned fifty and not unaware of hollow cheeks, a tendency to stoop a little, increasing absent-mindedness, and a widening spot of nudity in the midst of graying hair, while Patricia is young and slender and lovely with liquid eyes that can still see mystery; and life, though she has felt its ruder buffetings all too soon, still lies before her. If once I allowed myself to fall under the spell of a sweet illusion, if once I permitted a foolish dream partially to possess me, I never wholly lost my grip on the realities, and I settled all that with myself out here on these very dunes one moonlight night long ago. No, I am quite sane, quite reconciled. And yet my feeling for Patricia is not quite that of father, uncle, or elder brother.

It amuses me to hope sometimes that the seagulls understand as they flash and wheel out there above the dancing waters, so free, so unencumbered by human inhibitions and


preconceptions. Surely they have watched me often enough walking here with Patricia and, since she went away, sitting here watching the horizon. Doubtless they have heard me talking to old Meg about her. Meg, I know, understands something of it all, only Meg is a dog and a female dog at that, whose grand passion is loyalty and not romance. Meg is true; within certain limits she is sagacious; but she lacks imagination.

Meg, I realize, is no sort of dog to be writing a story about. She is not of the heroic type, and it is the hero dogs that tale-writers love. Meg has been timid all her life, and only great love could ever make her brave because it made her self-forgetful. Meg is man-shy. She carries her tail low and slinks a bit. That is a trait that I detest in a dog, fond as I am of the race as a whole. It makes me impatient. And yet I do not despise Meg for it. It is inalienably a part of a dog I love both for herself and because of the mistress she adores. Even the frailties of a loved one may become objects of our affectionate regard.

Meg, I say, is not imaginative, and yet I think there is something of the mystic in her. Sometimes as we sit here on the dune, in the midst of this gold and blue world, or when the clouds have made land and sea all

gray and mysterious, I find her gaz

ing off toward the horizon with a rapt expression that has something unearthly in it. I speak her name softly, but she does not look up. What does she see? My anxious heart begs in vain for an answer.

Meg is an old dog now, older even than I, as dogs' lives are reckoned. It is my prayer that she may live to experience one more day of joy, when Patricia comes back.

It was fourteen years ago that Patricia first came to me here among the dunes. I think she had escaped from a mother who has never been quite competent to look after her. Spying me, she came running eagerly along the sands as though she had made a wonderful discovery. Then she stopped in sudden shyness.

"Hello,” said I.

"Hello," said she in a voice made little by embarrassment. She was dressed in play-clothes that left me in some doubt as to her sex.

"What's your name?" I inquired. "Patty," said she, drawing a little


"Oh, you're a little girl, then." Patty nodded vigorously. “O' course, "said she.

"Where do you live?" I asked. "There," said she, pointing vaguely with a small finger. "We came from Boston, but we live here now." "I see. Then we're neighbors. I live over there."

"What's your name?"

"Thornton Pymm Estabrook," said I. "I think you'll find it easiest to use the short one and call me Uncle Pymm."

"What you got there?" "This is a pad of paper to write on."

"Write what?"

"Oh, I write stories and things.'
"Fairy stories?"

"Perhaps you'd call some of them fairy stories."

"Good-by," said Patricia abruptly and disappeared around the dune.

It is unnecessary for me to relate in detail the progress of our growing intimacy. We became great friends. I think Patricia liked my kind of conversation, though perhaps she did not always understand it. Big words fascinated her, and she had a keen though undeveloped sense of humor. There were few children for her to play with, and her parents were always so busy. I think a common. loneliness drew us together.

"Is Mrs. Burroughs your mother?" she asked me one day.

"Oh, no," said I. "I have no mother living. Mrs. Burroughs comes over to look after me, to see that I don't starve or get lost in my rubbish."

"Haven't you any family?"
"Not any."

"Aren't you married?"

She was silent a moment, and then she looked up at me with a sidewise smile of the most seductive coquetry. "I'm glad of that," said she.


"Because I may want to marry you myself some day," said she.

"Very well," said I, "I will wait, though I fear by that time I shall be too old to be eligible."

I could not help being flattered, and I did my best to enhance the favorable impression I had made. I was guileful. I have never yet met a woman too young to be appealed to by an admiring interest in her ap

parel. I used that method and others to win her regard, and as the days passed I persuaded myself that I was succeeding. Besides, that was years ago when I was not so very old. It became a tacit and secret understanding between us that we were betrothed.

It was a year or so after that first meeting that Meg first came into our lives. There had been a storm in the night, and I was standing on the gleaming shore watching the windharried clouds scurrying away toward the horizon. Sunshine flashed on dancing whitecaps in the bay and on the wings of soaring gulls. It was one of those moments when I wished with all my soul that I had been born with the gifts of a painter. I was awakened from my reverie by a familiar treble voice.

"Uncle Pymm!"

I turned to see Patricia running toward me across the wet sand. In her arms she bore with some difficulty a burden.

is obviously very young. Perhaps she will acquire distinctive characteristics as time goes on."

It would have pleased Patricia if I could have been more enthusiastic, but to tell the truth this puppy seemed one of the poorest specimens of the canine species I had ever seen. She stood where Patricia had placed her, with drooping tail and ears and with a general look of hopelessness about her. I could find nothing in her eyes but a suggestion of idiocy. There was a gaunt look about her which suggested worms. I have a weakness for all animals, but it seemed to me that it would have been far better, from every point of view, if this pitiful pup had lost her life in the storm.

But to Patricia she seemed beautiful She took a little awkward step, and Patricia laughed gleefully. Who was I to set my judgment against Patricia's?

"When she grows up," said I, “I think she will resemble an Airedale "What in the world have you pointer. What do you propose to do there?" I asked.

"It's a dog!" she cried exultantly. "I found him down by the inlet. I asked the men down there whose dog it was, and they said it wasn't anybody's dog because it didn't have any collar on. So he can be my dog, can't he?"

She set the forlorn creature on the ground.

"In the first place, Patricia," said I, “I think I would apply the feminine pronoun if I were you. It's a she. And I think you are right in assuming it to be a dog and not a kitten or a monkey. A very rare kind of a dog, I should say. I have never seen one just like it. But she

with her?"

Patricia knelt down on the wet sand and fondled the bemused puppy, which seemed, strangely, to become thereby lovable.

"Why," said Patricia, "I'll take her home of course and have her for my dog forever."

"Did you ever have a dog before?" I asked.


"Or a cat?"

"I had a kitten once, but papa took it away."

"Aren't you afraid your father and mother will want to send this puppy away?"

All the joy went out of Patricia's

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