Puslapio vaizdai

people do eat at night and, if not, whether they will be willing to make an exception of this night-a concession to the weakness of American stomachs. We wonder if some one, prompted by our desires, may not suggest eating, just suggest it as a diversion.

And then we sip the third cup. We are very dry and very warm and very comfortable. We had never dreamed of such comfort this side of featherbed civilization. We finish the third cup. And through its magic a most inexplicable thing has happened, although we are unaware of it. We have forgotten about eating! Our thoughts are occupied with it no longer. We are even listening to scrap-ends of conversation between the men. We are amazed to see a mere mountaineer petting his little son in the most doting and civilized fashion. We see the mother drop a kiss on the yellow hair of her squirming baby. An uncle puts his arm over the shoulders of a young nephew. These people like one another.

§ 2

Other guests arrive, three or four from the village or from a neighboring village. Business, good-will, or curiosity has brought them. Place is made for them by the fire. Ceremonious phrases and gestures pass between them and their hosts. Coffee goes on the fire again. The evening is under


And we have forgotten, quite and absolutely, that the evening meal has not been.

Suddenly we are brought back to these barbaric matters. Just after we had so unconsciously and so successfully relegated our body and its de

mands to their proper and subordinate place in the world of realities, some one has whispered to some one else, and our guide is asking us whether we would like to have a kid "cut." "Why? Oh, yes; it sweeps over us. Then we remember. Nobody has had supper. Why, we ourselves have not eaten, and here we are forgetting all about it. So they do eat at night, these fascinating people. And we even remember to be glad they do. "Akid!"

The kid is captured and brought in squealing for our inspection in much the same way that the waiter at a smart hotel exhibits your chicken before he carves it.

We surmise the black pot of boiling water hanging over the fire is part of the meal's preparation. Somewhere in the distance the meat is carved, and at length we see it merrily boiling before us.

"Can you eat pork?" They do not wish to offend us if our faith prohibits it. The pork is fried, the lean and fat separately, in chunks. Also eggs are fried, a sort of mountain omelet that is delicious.

By this time the stool has tired us, and we have sunk to the natural sitting position of the human animal-on a blanket, over straw for luxury. The anticipation of supper suffuses us with a pleasant glow. The table is brought in, and our party, four in number, arranges itself easily about the circular top. And this table, two feet in diameter, is all top; its legs are abortive, quite. They raise it to the height of the human knee from the floor, but that is all. We sit cross-legged about it, or better, as the women sit, with one knee up under the chin, than which there is no position more utterly comfortable.

The family and other guests have no part in this feast. One marvels at their supreme indifference to nourishment. The hour is surely ten.


contemplate the scrubbed wooden circle that presents itself to our enraptured gaze. Suddenly some goat's cheese is set down in the middle of it. Some one proffers a glass of the native brandy-rakia. Our impulse is to fall on the cheese for the sake of feeling something between our teeth. But the key-note of this civilization is self-control of the most superb and lofty variety. The cheese is ignored, and the appropriate phrases and responses are gone through before and after and during this glass of rakia: "For good!" "May you find good!" "Long life to you!" "Thank you-and smooth peace upon you!" "May your sons live to be old men!" "God prosper your life!" "May only good come to your house!" "God be with you!"

By this time the glass is empty and is refilled for our next neighbor, who starts in on a brand-new set of blessings and responses, and this after we had convinced ourselves there were no more such phrases to be got out of any language.

We nibble the cheese, daintily; nobody appears ravenous. The rakia goes around again and again. It is fatal to empty one's glass; it is only refilled. Refusal is the politest form of acceptance. I have yet to discover how to refuse in Albanian. Cheese and rakia-this is the more ceremonial part of the meal. It endures a long time; the night is before us.

At length the cheese is removed. Before each one is laid a slab of coarse corn-bread, ground in the tiny mill before the house, mixed in the semidarkness of the kitchen side of the

room, and bearing, as all Christian bread must bear, the sign of the cross on its under side.

We ignore the corn-bread. A wooden bowl of lean pork is set in the center. Our impulse is to grab one of the crisp brown pieces. We do nothing of the kind. We converse. Food is food, but conversation is stuff of the spirit. No one attacks food in the mountains. One approaches it gracefully, nonchalantly. It is merely food. Incidentally, where fingers are forks, hot food is better for waiting. At length we select casually a crisp brown piece. We bite it, and alternating with the bread with which we sop up some of the juice from our side of the bowl, we eat and take a conscious American delight in eating. No one disturbs us; our little circle is set apart and happy.

The mother serves us. The next bowl contains huge cubes of fat white pork. We amaze ourselves by eating it with relish.

Eggs come next. A glass of water is set near us for our common use. If you have never eaten scrambled eggs without knife or fork, you do not yet appreciate a truly scrambled egg.

Then our kid arrives in a very much decimated state; the art of the butcher is an Anglo-Saxon art, perhaps. But this is a delicious kid. The edge is gone from our appetite; more than that, we are stuffed; we feel stuffed. We look at the poor starving people around us who have not eaten yet. They are talking unconcernedly. We are urged and urged again and urged again and again to partake of more kid. kid. We refuse first in Albanian, which is useless, and then we are driven to refuse in American. They are sorry the meal is no better; they are not rich; it was all they had. We

praise the food; we are in the mood for praising, and as the housewife carries off the pork, we say with heartfelt gratitude, "Glory be to your hands!" She beams, for she has prepared it.

We accept a proffered cigarette, rolled and stuck. We take refuge in the protection of our long wooden holder and smoke it gladly.

The housewife removes the table. She returns with a brush-broom and sweeps crumbs and débris into the fire. We are ready for the evening.


We watch the table being set in exactly the same style, with just the same deliberation, with quite the same ceremonial, for the second set of guests. The children's eyes are heavy; they are catnapping now and then, but no one of them clamors to be fed, though the baby is nibbling a piece of cheese.

After the second set of guests is fed, the family seats itself some distance off and eats what is left.

At length every one is through. It is certainly close on midnight, but evidently merely the shank of the evening. The circle around the fire settles back comfortably. The cigarettes are offered, and "Long life to you!" is given in return.

A song! Some one is sure to be present who is known for his memory and erudition. He gracefully volunteers entertainment. With eyes closed and his two hands at his ears, he opens his mouth and sings—a high, ringing falsetto that fills the room and shocks at first our unaccustomed ear-drums. The music is unvaried. A line has variations of slipping and sliding tones, certainly a minor wail, but the next

line with different words is the same, and so is the next and the next. We are under the spell of it: the dim room; the glowing, red ashes; the circle of faces splashed sharply with the firelight; the smoke from a dozen cigarettes and the faint fire smoke going straight upward; the murmurings of quiet animals. The song stops with a slightly different cadence at the end. Congratulations overwhelm the singer. "Thank you, thank you-long life to you! Glory be to your mouth!" He smiles modestly, and accepts with pride this evidence of his success.

And songs are in order. They sing in twos and threes; they sing antiphonally, one taking the song where the other drops it. The children nod; the mother tucks some of them away in the corner to sleep.

Midnight and after midnight. The songs recede and advance in our halfsleeping consciousness. At length good nights are being said. Some guests have gone, taking their guns from the wall as they leave. Some seem to be staying the night. The goodman locks the door with a huge wooden bar. The window, which has no glass, is closed tight with a little wooden shutter. Blankets are spread on the earth floor, and the men gather about the fire for a last cigarette.

This good-night smoke is the proper and ceremonious ending of the evening. A guest never omits it. The women and children have retired to the corners or even into a sort of twigwoven upper berth arrangement. The host has built up the fire for the night. Blankets are spread and ready. There are several hours to dawn, and these men have not been using up nervous energy with the harrassing worry of our Occidental culture. Eight hours

sleep is an enormous superfluity for a mountaineer. Four or five is his idea of a good night's sleep. So the men sit over their last cigarette. Some of them have unwound the long colored girdles or even removed their jackets in preparation for sleep. They have been royally feasted and entertained. They puff slowly and silently at their long cigarette-holders, silver ones with huge amber beads at the end to which the smoker sets his lips. Chillibar is their musical word for amber. There is not much talking over this last cigarette. Talking is over. The women and children are asleep. If the men speak, they speak in undertones. Even the fire crackles quietly. The host is completing his long night of hospitality. This all redounds to his glory. A man rich enough to feast and house so many! A man to be respected, surely. He puffs slowly, ruminatively.

One by one they stretch themselves out, feet to the fire, for despite the shut door and window, it will be cold before dawn. Sleep overcomes them. The fire sinks lower and lower. The host, not forgetting his hospitality, rises once or twice in the night to replenish it.

The night wears on. We sleep, and wake suddenly to the thick darkness. The fire is very low. We are aware of sleeping forms, and less of the forms

than of their presence. The sound of sleeping is all about us. The goats stir behind the wicker barrier. Something disturbs them; a fearful cackling, bleating, and squawking begins, and, what is more terrible, continues. No one stirs. The noise increases. The whole place is vocal with all the sounds of all imaginable animals and still other sounds of unimaginable animals. One of the men rolls over, sleeping soundly, noisily. Suddenly we comprehend the deep peace of being a mountaineer. mountaineer. We realize that this unholy din, this sleep-destroying horror, exists only for us; that we only of all these people are awake, tired, and angrily impatient for quiet again. For the rest, they sleep deeply, solidly, imperturbably. And so will they sleep till dawn, the legitimate waker of men, disturbs them.

Gradually the tumult subsides. We forget. There are no dreams. Only once cold wakes us, and we pull around us the blanket so scornfully discarded at bedtime.

Dimly across our consciousness we hear a bolt slipped; the door opens; morning enters-gray dawn. Every one stirs, yawns, stretches. Girdles are wound on again. Coffee is tucked against the embers.

"Good morning!" "May good come to you!"

Day has begun.


Education Old and New

A Study in Comparative Values


DUCATION and Organic Life -Education is older than man, older than the animal. It is at least as old as organic matter. Organic matter has a peculiar combination of properties which inorganic matter has not, or at least not to such a pronounced degree. Organic matter is both static and dynamic; it has inertia and plasticity; it both accepts and retains change. Thus all organic life is educable; it can learn: for learning, from the learner's point of view, is accepting the new and retaining the old.

In the cruder forms of organic life, however, the lessons of myriad experiences have been learned so thoroughly that little perceptible change takes place in the equipment and behavior of the individual from the time it enters upon its earthly career to its conclusion. There is, therefore, virtually no learning, no education, in the course of the individual life.

This changes among the higher organisms with a more complicated and centralized nervous apparatus, leading up to the vertebrates and, of these, particularly the birds and mammals.

Education among Animals-Notwithstanding considerable experimentation and observation, we are by no means sure just how much canned knowledge the young animal brings

with it into the world and how much its personal experience contributes. It is certain, however, that it does learn something for itself, both through contact with its parents in the earliest period and later through the experiences of life. On the other hand, it is obvious that animals are not made, but born; that is, the preponderating mass of their equipment for life is congenital. Instinct does not wholly take the place of individual experience, but the function of the latter may be compared to that of a metal plug which, when inserted into a complex mechanism of an electrical apparatus, completes the circuit and transforms the whole into a functioning unit. Therefore, dependence on parents is brief, childhood is short. With the animal, maturity is close to the cradle, and wisdom is in it.

So much for the wild animal in its natural setting. The facts of domestication add an illuminating chapter to our knowledge of animal educability. It can be taught, educated to do many things, to respond to numerous situations foreign to its original wild environment. Many acts and habits it is thus being taught are useless, absurd, partake of the nature of mere stunts; education becomes human.


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