« AnkstesnisTęsti »
do not follow knowledge, and our County Councils do not follow beauty, but still the country has some touch of that personal freedom, that versatility of mind and body, that sunny tolerance, and a readiness to submit everything to public discussion. We had rather prided ourselves on these qualities, and hoped they were admirable or even advantageous.
count of his country's greatness given, to fulfilling it. To be sure, our people not by a poet, but by the Athenian statesman. One remembers how in that model of restrained and accurate eloquence, Pericles spoke of the beauty and elegance of Athenian life, the splendor of the public holidays, the peculiar freedom of intercourse in which no one scowled or looked back at his neighbor, the open-hearted tolerance for all foreigners, and the sympathy with the poor, whom no one despised, though, to be sure, if a man could save himself from poverty, so much the better. And then the speaker dwelt upon his countrymen's freedom from barracks and all the boredom of mechanical and compulsory exercises, and showed how they made up for the absence of drill-sergeant discipline by retaining their quickness and versatility of body and mind, so that, in whatever situation an Athenian was placed. he could always give a good account of himself. In a word, he said, the whole country, following beauty without extravagance, and knowledge without effeminacy, had become, as it were, a liberal education for the rest of Greece.
It was an Imperial State of which he was speaking. He himself had expanded her Empire, and firmly drawn its limits. Yet it was not on the glories of arms and conquest and Imperial power that he insisted, but on his country's daily freedom, her sunny tolerance, and her way of submitting everything to open discussion, in the confidence that the heart and brain of her people would go right on the whole. Such an ideal of ordinary life and freedom of government, no matter how short-lived, was the finest inheritance that even Athens, with all her sculpture, drama, and eloquence, has left the world; and, without undue boasting, we should have hoped that among succeeding nations our own country had come as near as any
But now, bald and inharmonious as a Spartan invasion, up comes Mr. Kipling with his "City of Brass" in last Monday's "Morning Post," and pours contempt on all our pride. Exultant with savage joy, almost as though he were the Barbarian himself, he foretells the speedy destruction of our land and Empire. We are not here concerned with the particular means of our approaching ruin. That Sign out of the Sea, that Terror out of the Heaven-we know all about the German sea-serpent with ten 12-inch mouths vomiting fire and the Terror that flieth by night over the Norfolk Broads. But the causes of our impending overthrow are interesting, because they are just the things on which in our hearts we rather flattered ourselves, thinking we deserved something of the eulogy of Pericles.
When Mr. Kipling affects the prophet, no one can ever be quite sure what he means; but, with some hesitation, we take it that he traces the ruin of our country to our tolerance in daily life, our pleasure in public festivals, our objection to drill-sergeant discipline, our love of personal freedom, our belief in the general heart and brain of our people, and our desire to believe in the same powers of selfgovernment in others. To show that our doubts as to the exact meaning are well founded, let us recall a few typical lines from the effusion:
As for their kinsmen far off, on the skirts of the nation,
They harried all earth to make sure none escaped reprobation, They awakened unrest for a jest, in their newly-won borders, And jeered at the blood of their brethren betrayed by their orders, They instructed the ruled to rebel, the ruler to aid them;
And since such as obeyed them not fell, their Viceroys obeyed them.
To the second line we can attach no meaning whatever, but we hope there is one that escapes us. The third and fourth lines appear to contain a shameless misrepresentation of the South Africans; the fifth and sixth, almost beyond question, contain a libel on Lord Minto. And so, through seven indefinite stanzas, the thing goes onan obscure and unmusical outpouring of jargon, directed against this country, and especially against those particular qualities of freedom and tolerance and kindliness which we believe to be our country's noblest distinctions in history.
But worse than the obscurity and the hideous style, worse even than the attack upon England's highest ideals of life, is the temper of the attack. We know the mood of the poet who loves his country with a passion far beyond the common patriot's, and whose heart is torn with indignation at the sight of her errors, at his knowledge that she is departing from the great conception of her which his mind has formed. We know the proud scorn of Dante, and Milton's sorrow refusing comfort. There is a closer case in Wordsworth when he traced what he believed to be the signs of his country's corruption, because in her boundaries plain living and high thinking were no more, and peace, and fearful innocence, and pure religion had gone; and because men changed swords for ledgers, and deserted the student's bower for gold. Yet consider to what a passion of repentant love the thought of such reproaches drove him, with the anguish of one who for one moment
has dared to detect a single fault in the beauty of his beloved's soul; "Now when I think of thee," he cries:
Now when I think of thee, and what thou art,
Verily, in the bottom of my heart,
In thee a bulwark for the cause of men:
Felt for thee as a lover or a child.
Of such mood there is no trace in Mr. Kipling's "City of Brass." There can be no trace, because, as it appears to us, the Imperialist poets, of whom Mr. Kipling was the genius and, together with Henley, the originator, have loved England for her weakness and not for her strength. Other poets have sung a country dear for her reputation through the world. "Rule Britannia!" is not a great poem, but it was written to sustain our own freedom when we were at issue for its existence. Campbell's battle-odes have the splendor of a contest against almost overwhelming power. Tennyson's "Bury the Great Duke" was a grave incitement to maintain the stern ideal of duty and honor and devotion along whose paths the poet loved to think of our country moving. But with the Imperialist poets of fifteen years ago came the degrading note of brag and swagger-the spirit that cried in its own applause, "Judge, are we men of The Blood?"-that thought it virile to trample on the weak, and delighted in the conquest of little peoples because England's "whelps wanted blooding."
Henley, with his "Storm along, John!" was bad enough, no matter how bravely he made the bugles of England blow. Mr. Edgar Wallace is a true soldier-poet on his own line, and
he has the advantage of writing on soldiers and war from the inside and not as a spectator; but when he imitates Mr. Kipling in his patriotism and not in his dialect only, he descends to such bathos as the conclusion of "The Sea-Nation":
For us the seven seas in one: For landlocked hordes-oblivion. Even Davidson, in his posthumous book of "Fleet Street," must needs end his varied and unequal struggle after poetry with an Imperialist ode that is of a piece with any Jingo's swaggering doggerel:
Sea-room, land-room, ours, appointed
ours, Conscious of our calling and the first among the Powers! Our boasted Ocean Sovereignty, again and yet again!
Our Counsel, and our Conduct, and our Armaments and Men!
Professor George Herbert Palmer's address on "Self-Cultivation in English," originally delivered at commencement at the University of Michigan, is published by Thomas Y. Crowell & Co. in a cheap and convenient form which adapts it for use as a kind of tract for the dissemination of sound and sensible ideas on this highly important subject.
BOOKS AND AUTHORS
A "prize mystery story" is the definition affixed to the title of Miss Stella M. During's novel, "Love's Privilege," and a note on the cover informs the reader that of 35,000 readers only 106 correctly guessed the solution of the mystery, indubitable evidence of the author's skill. The story is, however, something better than a tale of murder by some unknown person or persons, for it presents three remarkably
One of our leading wits has lately compared the Imperialist to the cuckoo, because, among other obvious reasons, he always sings the same note. That note has now become a danger and degradation to our country, besides being an intolerable bore. But we all know of the cuckoo that, as the time approaches when, according to the country-people's saying, "in Augúst Go he must," his note begins to fail and he can only get through one-half of it. May we not hope that the sound of failure and querulous disappointment in "The City of Brass" is a sign that the poetic August is also coming and the Imperialist monotony will at last cease dinning in our ears?
well studied types of feminine character. The villain is unmanly beyond credibility, but he soon disappears from the story and the other two men are fine fellows if not especially remarkable as detectives. J. B. Lippincott Co.
The second volume of Friedlander's "Roman Life and Manners Under the Early Empire," translated by Messrs. J. H. Freese and L. A. Magnus, covers new matter in the seventh and enlarged edition of the original. Its subjects are the spectacles, the amphitheatre, the theatre, Roman luxury, the arts, the artists and music. The scope of the work includes information, making it possible to compare the ancient Romans under the Empire with other nations and with the Romans of other days, and there is a great quantity of detail.
The Index, like the author's excursus and notes, is postponed until the fourth volume, but even as it stands the work is valuable to students of Roman history, and indispensable to the growing number of students who rebel against the drudgery of using the lexicon and biographical dictionary. E. P. Dutton & Co.
Mr. Winthrop Packard's "Wild Pastures" is a sheaf of eleven papers written apparently for no other purpose than to keep the No-eyes family in the state of humiliation to which they were long ago reduced by the good Anna Laetitia. Mr. Packard manages not only to see but to hear fascinating things in the most unpretentious places; and he goes forth in pursuit of elusive odors of flower, leaf and leaf bud and finds their source although he plunge thoro' brake, thoro' briar, as in the ancient catch. He is SO agreeably sensitive to delicate gradations of color that his pages furnish a pleasant contrast to the perfer-vid glow of some similar works and leave one with a hope of some day enjoying experiences similar to his. The No-eyes person will indeed be abashed by his achievements, but the humble seeker after the vision will find him most encouraging. Twelve delightful pictures by Mr. Charles Copeland illustrate the sketches, and it is a quaint instance of the whimsicality of the book that the most interesting picture represents the skunk "who doesn't know where he is going, and isn't even on his way." The furtive, sinister aimlessness of the creature as he gazes straight at nothing is a thing to remember. Small, Maynard & Co.
The moral of much of the latest fiction is that anybody may be anybody, and the reader must go softly, making no rash decision as to the shape which the creature before him may next assume, but eyeing it carefully to catch
the first sign of its next transformation. This ensures attention to the author, but lately two or three writers have gone further and have presented heroes who are two persons at once, like "the jollies, Her Majesty's jollies," and one of them is the chief character in Mr. Anthony Partridge's "The Kingdom of Earth." The "Kingdom" is like Belgium rather than any other land, but the hero is hardly to be supposed to be a portrait, inasmuch as he is both Crown Prince of Bergeland, and the mainspring of the conspiracy against its reigning house. He is made fairly credible and his adventures are not too wild to be accepted, and the heroine also may be accepted, in these days when Russian ladies of title deliberately plunge into infamy, calling their behavior work performed in behalf of liberty. This heroine stops short of degradation and murder, although she foolishly permits herself to join in a conspiracy, and the thread of her adventures and those of the Crown Prince become entangled so effectually that one is rather surprised to find both of them alive in the very satisfactory last chapter. "The Kingdom of Earth" is a very agreeable romance. Little, Brown & Co.
Do the same vampires, harpies, sirens, parasites, robbers of sorts lie in wait for every son of a rich father, especially if he be left an orphan? One must so believe or reject the theory of Mr. George Randolph Chester's very clever "The Making of Bobby Burnit," and the gay good nature with which the tale is related makes the thought of Bobsuch rejection very unpleasing, by's father not only constructed an exceedingly shrewd will, but he entrusted one of his business subordinates with a series of letters, each to be given to his son when the contingency described upon its gray envelope should arise, and although Bobby's career for the next
four years was anything but commonplace, letters exactly adapted to the occasion regularly appeared. One after another, various scoundrels, weaklings, and fools attempted to guide him, and one after another each taught him the lesson that no other species could teach, and little by little he changed from an honest, trustful simpleton into an honest, sagacious leader, and when this apparent impossibility was effected, the last of the series of letters was found to begin, “I know you'ld do it, dear boy." The doing is the story, and all innocent folk not too wise to learn from fiction may learn something from Bobby's failures, but instruction is not the end for which a novel is constructed, and "The Making of Bobby Burnit" excellently fulfils its actual end, amusement. Bobby is a delightful acquaintance and young women who read of him will echo Desdemona's wish when Othello was autobiographical. Bobbs-Merrill
showing the medium floating in the air, looks in its half tone reproduction like a picture of a gentleman standing on a step ladder but half concealed in a cabinet behind him, and partly supporting himself by resting his left hand on the knee of one member of the circle and his right hand on the arm of another member. It would need no ghost to supply the very slight agility necessary for such "floating." Any able-bodied hanger of wall paper, any upholsterer, any householder wont to put up stovepipes, any housemaid accustomed to wash windows could perform far more wonderful feats with no help from the dead-alive or otherwise. B. W. Dodge & Co.
The Spiritualist acceptance and utilization of the work done by the Society for Psychical Research is one of the most amusing performances of the century to all persons not belonging to the society, for it is exactly in line with the tactics which they have pursued from the beginning. That such a book as Mr. Fremont Rider's "Are the Dead Alive?" should have a title page and preface insinuating that the S. P. R. is in some way responsible for it is not strange, and that its title should attract many credulous readers too wise to accept the New Testament evidence still standing after nineteen centuries of test and attack was to be expected. The contents include fragments from a large number of serious works of serious investigators arranged in a confusing fashion and mingled with other fragments conspicuous for bad logic. The title page, said to be "One of the most Remarkable Pictures of Levitation Ever Published," and described as
When one examines the stories told of type-writing women by their sisterone wonders whence a girl gathers courage to enter the business, and when one meets the strong, clever, excellent women who follow it one wonders how the novelists dare to write of them as belonging to the class which men fancy that they may insult. That they should, almost from the moment when the type-writing machine became a necessary piece of office furniture, have been virtually informed that they must not expect respectful treatment gave a startling evidence of the lowering of the standard of manly decency caused by immigration from countries in which no girl remains alone with a man for an hour and retains her good reputation. That they nevertheless followed their calling, and both demanded and obtained proper treatment showed that both the native and the immigrant girls were determined that the native theories of decency should not be abrogated, and their general success in carrying their point is equally creditable to their tact and their resolution, but, in spite of both, there are still men and women stupidly prejudiced against the type writer,