Puslapio vaizdai

"The Old Man in Leather," who, upon closer inspection, is really clothed in "gold-figured black shagreen," — accompanies the poet to his bachelor quarters, occupies the arm-chair, makes himself at home. Grave eyes, filled with love and pity, gaze steadfastly at his new acquaintance. Then from the drift of hopes and dreams his identity emerges: incarnation of youth's ideals and early manhood's imaginings, "Just as a child had pictured once, just as a fool had will'd":

No need was there to tell his name, no need to speak his meaning,

I recognized him through the mists of ages intervening,

This was the Ghost which in my dreams the Future show'd to me:

Myself! that never was; alas, myself! that could not be.

World traveler, the poet contemplates the Sphinx, buried in burning sands, once overtopped by the image of earthly omnipotence. But now the nations have forgotten his very name, and the desert broods o'er the broken god,

While on so much of its base that stands
Worn by the tides of men's lips, and the

This is inscribed, in a cockney's scrawl,
Last and bloodiest gibe of all:


We are made acquainted with the unhappy history of "The Old Woman under the Hill," once a fair young lassie, beguiled by a demon lover who led her into Shadowland, where she lost her youth and beauty:

A queer little body, all shrivelled and brown, In her earth-colour'd mantle and rain

colour'd gown, Incessantly fumbling strange grasses and weeds,

Like a ricketty cricket, a-saying its beads.

In "Curly Locks" we find new treatment of a text that has often tempted the rhyme-makers. In "Cock-a-doodle-do!" dame and master struggle home, bedraggled, through the thick silence and ghastly dawn that follow upon carnival. Cock-adoodle-do! In the uncertain glow of the

red-eyed street lamps we see them trudging through the storm:

Tame goblins, sleepy sprites,
Glum ladies, rueful knights,

Pale slender angels in drabbled gowns,
Plump devils in ravell'd tights.

And, arm in arm, God wot!
The sorriest of the lot,

My master, as an old Volkslied,
My dame, as a Gavotte.

"Willy Winkie," intrusted with the care of all baby-kind,

From the mud-lark, fast asleep On bare curbstone,

To the puppet, plump and pink, Heir to the throne,

is an inspiration. We follow him eagerly as he goes his rounds with lanthorn and staff, ministering in all manner of queer ways to his sleeping charges, until day comes, and off he flies to blow out the stars. "The Beggars Come to Town," and King Cophetua no longer pines. "Little Blue Betty," with her good ale, and her own notions about kissing, fades away with the inn that a railroad buffet has invaded; in her place a proper young person in pink, selling ale which he has n't the heart to drink. "Burnie Bee" is exhorted to take her wings and fly away from the poison-flowers of art and song, gorgeous blossoms, but, to him who ventures near, laden with a fever no physic can allay.

And his soul-fire-crown'd and shod-
Will go sorrowing like a god
Fallen from the stars astray-
Take your wings and fly away.

The reader, let us hope, has been enabled to perceive that Daniel Henry Holmes is indeed a "find," for American poets who "in lighter vein" have sung with ease and elegance are all too few. In England, only Owen Seaman lingers on the scene. Behind him, in almost unbroken procession, are Locker, Praed, and Gilbert, Calverley, Lang, and J. K. Stephen. Linked with the names of these is Thackeray himself, who could turn from an 'Esmond" and the essays on the Georges to the production in light-footed rhyme of

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verses which he himself described, in a letter to Locker, as "small beer, but the right brew." Each one of them wrote, in his own style, certain things that approximate what we call poetry, assuming even, in some instances, a gossamer singing robe cut close to the pattern of Euterpe's.

Here, in the United States, the genre has not been sedulously cultivated. Dr. Holmes, Bret Harte more especially, Lowell, and Stedman least of all, intermittently wore the motley or piped in minor key. Bayard Taylor, author of our greatest pure lyric, took his ease in the critical parodies of "The Echo Club." Yet we hardly think of any one of these great masters in his own métier as brothers to the band of minor poets.

He who seeks for sterner stuff may look askance at the poet crowned with the fool's cap. Yet somehow his trade is not of the overcrowded-I mean in master craftsmen. For mastery in this craft means a metrical utterance that is not alone prosody, with perfection of accent, rhyme attuned to the modern exacting ear; not merely mellifluous fluting to some pretty conceit or threadbare theme, but verse charged as well with feeling, thought, and sincerity. Passion, pity, sentiment, imagination, a perception of life as it is lived to-day, not in the time of the Greeks, enter into the composition of that "cap-andbells" poetry for which, in its more significant forms of expression, we have no truly descriptive name. But whether it registers a lighter mood alone, touches, though with raillery, the fringe of emotion, or deftly indicates an episode or experience or impression too fluid for the medium of prose, too fanciful or too tripping for the trumpet tones of the wholly serious poet, it must somehow be adorned with that unmistakable, but quite inexplicable, "touch" which distinguishes the literary and lasting, however "slight," from the unliterary and ephemeral performance.

This is the test you may safely apply to Daniel Henry Holmes (1851-1908), who, striking the strings in troubadour fashion, left to poets more pretentious the pursuit of that "grand manner" which has been many a bard's undoing.

My own first impressions of his songs remain with me: I would not willingly exchange them for some poems I acknow

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He who had caught a whisper of your song Whispered to Echo-Echo to the throng.

Dullards are we that only drink of sorrow, Plodders are we perceiving only painWooing our woe that greater hearts do borrow,

Gray with our grief to master minds a gain.

You whom Misfortune passed so lightly by

You had divined the meaning of our sigh. Dear dilettante! Idle was your singingIdyl your song in those idyllic days: Harlequin-Orpheus! Hear the harebells ringing

Columbine coyly listening to your lays. Little Boy Blue! Sad Ruth amid the corn Ravished of ruth, had she but heard your


Horn of a Roland-yet somehow refashioned:

Wound for the runes of rhythmic revelry.

Proteus of poets! with new notes impassioned,

Showing us shapes of World-old poesyWordsworth, had he but let the gods go by, Still might have caught the music of your


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Author of "The Messenger," "White Roses," etc.

WENDOLEN, my daughter-in-law, sharply. "I wonder you dare ask it. Eliza

ing March morning to take me to the folk-song recital at the Signers'. Somehow it rasped me a little to see her trail in looking so gracious and serene. It was a raspy morning, anyway, for I was in the midst of a fretting wrangle with Winifred, my son Norton's little girl. Ever since Gertrude, my son's wife, died, his two daughters have made their home with me. They 're dear children, but for some reason they 're harder to manage than all five of my own ever were. Maybe I'm too easily worried. When you 're seventy-six, you just can't stand contention. It makes you limp and trembly all over.

"But, Granny, it's so tiresome to have Eliza forever tagging," whined Winifred. "Why can't Lila Elliott's maid take both of us?"

"But Eliza is so faithful, Winifred," I began, with my usual quavering apology. However, Gwendolen came to my rescue. I'm just a harmless, necessary grandmother, but Aunt Gwen is quite another story. Both little girls stand in admiring awe of her, her tall, withdrawn beauty, her marvelous clothes. I stand a little in awe of her myself, though I would n't let her know it. Not for untold gold.

"Eliza is acting as Winifred's maid, Mother?" Her delicate brows arched

younger maids go about with the girls." Winifred's small, discontented face was a study.

"It is imposing on Eliza, but I feel so safe about Winifred-"

"Feel safe about Winifred! I should hope you might. Of all the admirable-"

"I think I'll go on, Grandmother," Winifred piped up meekly. "I don't want to keep Eliza waiting."

She bobbed two demure curtsies, and sped away. Gwendolen sighed.

"Winifred is twelve now, and Louise ten. How Norton's children are growing up! Norton asks a great deal of you, Mother. I wonder if he appreciates what you do for them."

"Norton always appreciates everything," I flared. "N-no, he has n't said

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"We women can't. There's only the one nesting-time for us. But they say, no matter how shattered his life may be, a man can forget. He can begin anew. If Norton would marry again-if he only could! But he never will. There is nothing left to build with." She stood looking down at the snowy park. I don't think she knew how every word was stabbing me. "Norton's life is like a burned-out world, for Gertrude wrecked everything long before she died-all his courage, all his faith, all that splendid, gay ambition of his. No, it would be a dismal joke for poor old Norton to try to build again."

mals. That our basic needs are just as sovereign as they were in the gray mornings, a thousand centuries ago, when we women stood on the ledges before our caves, with our babies on our backs, and watched our men paddle away down the roaring cañon-river, and cried them good hunting. And that these needs are today what they were then-a safe, quiet hiding-place for the little ones; work for the woman to do for her own, with her own hands; warmth and food and comfort for the man when he comes home tired and cold from the day's hunt. Well, Gwen's artless scientist was indubitably correct. I knew all that when he was

I must have put my hands up over my ears, for Gwendolen stopped short, then cutting his milk-teeth. So did every other cried out in quick self-reproach:

"O Mother! Oh, I did not mean to hurt you so!"

"It does n't matter; I 've long since known that, Gwendolen."

Yet her words had hurt, and sorely, although every thought of my dear, good younger son is like a thorn in my heart because of the long, thorny road that he has trodden.

"It is time for the recital, Mother. Of course you 're going?"

"I suppose so, though I'd rather go to that new Scotch comedy."

"But there's so much more to the music, Mother!" Gwen's voice fluted with angelic patience toward the cantankerous. old lady. True; there 's so much more to the music that I 'd rather stay away. It rouses too many aching thoughts, it stirs the ashes of old, frustrated hopes and dreams. Better to go to the comedy, and laugh, and come away.

"Well, I'll go. I may as well."

After all, the recital did not make much difference. All the old, harsh memories were awake. The music could neither evoke nor quell. Through the long program I sat there in the great rose room, my old brain toiling away on its eternal round, like a stumbling old horse on its treadmill.

Last winter Gwendolen heckled me into attending a course of lectures on eugenics, given by a world-renowned, yet singularly artless, scientist. After dragAfter dragging us by our weary ears all around Robin Hood's barn, he won this ingenuous goal: that, for all our boasted civilization, we are at best only primitive ani

woman. Almost every other woman; for that was what Gertrude never knew, what Gertrude never could understand.

Perhaps there had been no real woman in Gertrude. Perhaps she was just a charming pink-and-white shell. All the big, powerful, vital instincts were shrunk. and withered in her. Her own home made no appeal. Her children always irritated her. Even when they were just tiny, soft armfuls, she left them to the nurse as much as she could. As for Norton, she had no more longing to protect him, to mother him, to shield him at his work, than would a pink-and-white butterfly. Like Professor Agassiz, Norton had no time. to make money. But Gertrude was minded to mend all that. The first years she coaxed and teased, with pretty beguilings. After that she grew plaintive, abused, and frequently wondered why Norton could not realize that she was young, pretty, and eager for all the things that money could buy. I dare say it never occurred to her that, given peace of mind and time, Norton might make some discovery that would give her all the luxuries she craved. But, as Charles Edward grimly said, Gertrude never wasted good gray matter in reasoning things out. Instead, she lived by one precept alone: let Norton do it.

And Norton did it, or tried to. Year after year he plodded on, teaching all day, keeping an eye on the little girls and their haphazard nurses, calming the perennial tempests in the kitchen, forever struggling against the tides of debt that forever menaced him. Silent, taciturn, never complaining-all that was Norton's way;

and concerning Gertrude his mouth was sealed with the double seal of love and shame.

When Winifred was five and Louise three, Gertrude's uncle died and left her all his money. At last, she jubilantly declared, she could go as far as she liked. She went far enough. Norton's hands were full that winter, for his senior professor had gone to Berlin for his sabbatical year. Gertrude managed very well without him. She was already popular among the rich, gay younger set. She had several devoted cavaliers. One, a handsome, reckless boy, heir to a great fortune, had made her conspicuous more than once by his flamboyant attentions. No, she did not need Norton; and Norton, fagged, angry, disheartened, held his tongue, and let her gang her ain gait.

It was all wrong of Norton, of course. He should have held her back. His was a strong nature; he could have ruled. But that was Norton all over. Never would he speak out. Always he kept silent, though the heavens should fall.

The black months that followed! Charles Edward and Gwendolen were conspiring to keep things from me, I well knew. But sinister echoes reached me. Only Norton's prestige, joined to an eloquent handful of Charles Edward's money, had availed to keep one or two of her exploits from the public eye. Norton never said anything. Yes, Gertrude was well. She was spending this week in the Berkshires, he believed. Next week she had planned a run to Washington in young Schoonover's private car. Some how he did n't care to see her accept so much from Schoonover. "But you know Gertrude." He stopped, with a wry laugh that sent the furious pulses leaping in my throat. Yes, I knew Gertrude.

Two weeks later I fled up to Boston, swept on a wind of mad, unknowing fear. I did not go out to Harbridge, though. Instead, I telephoned from the hotel.

Mr. and Mrs. Wentworth were out for the evening. Yes, both were well. Yes, the maid would give my message to Mr. Wentworth. Certainly.

"So much for your foresight, you flighty, old wild goose!" I scolded as I settled down with a book. night Norton came to me. burned into my soul.

But at midThat hour is

It was a rough, wet night, and Norton was in evening dress, but he 'd forgotten his overcoat. He blundered into my room at the heels of the page. In his arms he carried little Louise, sound asleep. Winifred toddled beside him. Norton stared at me. His face was drawn and ghastly, as hard as steel.

"Good evening, Mother. Sorry to come so late, but-it could n't be helped. I've brought you the kids. Do you remember, Mother, when we were little tads,"-his ashy face whitened, his lean hands twitched,-"when we were little tads, like my babies here, you-you saved us jolts? Well, that 's why I'm bring ing you the children. I"-he stopped; the veins swelled dark on his forehead"I don't want them to see their mother for a while. Do you-do you see?"

I took the children from him. They did n't seem to matter so much; but if only I could have taken my son in my arms and comforted him! He was not my grave, dignified young professor any longer; he was my little beaten, hurt boy. But I dared not touch him lest I unnerve him. I dared not say one word. This woman, this breathing shame, was his wife. I must hold silence. But the anger that swept me crushed out the last spark of youth in me. No, it is better not to remember.

I don't recall things very distinctly after that. Nobody ever mentioned Gertrude to me, and through those months I never mustered courage to ask one question. I waited, cowering, before the shadow of prescience that darkened with every hour.

When the blow fell, my children had not the heart to tell me. Instead, the news leaped out at me from flaming headlines.

Gertrude and Landon Schoonover had motored up to Pittsfield to the Aëro Club races. There, according to the newspapers, Norton would meet them later in the day. As it chanced, Norton was attending the Academy of Science meeting in Worcester, so the lying report carried conviction. Young Schoonover, it was well known, drove always at a reckless pace. Flying down a long hill, he had not seen the red flag at the culvert ahead. His heavy car crashed through the timbers and capsized in the gully below.

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