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than that of any other still surviving as a nation, and records a contribution to mankind surpassed by none.
I have suggested some of the measures that can be enacted by the conference as a beginning toward undoing the evils that have been done in the past and laying a foundation for stability and peace in the future. They are measures of lesser importance. Those which are of decisive importance are beyond the enactment of any conference. They are the test of time. The conference may declare that there shall be no more seizures of territory, no more spheres of influence, no more encroachments on China's rights, and the like, but by the spirit in which that is declared will it be determined whether there will be or not. Time only will reveal the spirit.
All of which is not a unique situation in the affairs of men, and is only to say that there is no royal road to peace. There is no road save by the will to peace. The will to peace is no stronger than the sacrifices men stand ready to make for it. If the powers
are willing to renounce the advantages that have come to them in the past by aggression in the Far East, they can have peace, and only if they are willing so to renounce. If they are not, they will not have peace. They will continue in the ways of aggression, each driven by competition to go further than the other, Japan driven by habitude and momentum to go further than all, America driven by precedent to stand in Japan's path and block it— until the collision. Naturally, it will be America colliding with Japan. For the powers in conference assembled at Washington it is to choose: renunciation or war; and if renunciation, to give concrete tokens of good faith now and to set down for record compacts by which men may test their good faith in the future. A slender pillar for the shaken peace of the Pacific, I grant, but I know no other. As I said early in this article, we come to Washington, we who rule the world, not to solve problems, but to build a new morality. The conference is a beginning, not an end.
By T. S. STRIBLING
Drawings by F. LUIS MORA
HE brown man turned briskly out amid the religious implications of the
Tinto the hot afternoon sunshine, dark green aisles.
down the mean, semicircular street, where piccaninnies were kicking up clouds of dust. Siner hurried through the dusty area, and presently turned off a by-path that led over the hill, through a glade of cedars, and down to the white village, where he would meet Henry Hooker at the bank.
The glade was gloomy, but warm, for the shade of cedars somehow seems to hold heat. A carpet of needles hushed Siner's footfalls and spread a Sabbatical silence through the grove. The upward path was not smooth, but was broken with outcrops of the same reddish limestone that marked the whole stretch of the Tennessee River. Here and there in the grove were circles eight or ten feet in diameter, brushed perfectly clean of all needles and pebbles and twigs. These places were crap-shooters' circles, where black and white men were accustomed to squat to shoot dice.
Under the big stones on the hillside, Peter also knew, was cached illicit whisky, and at night the boot-leggers carried on a brisk trade among the gamblers. More than that, the glade on the Big Hill was used for still more demoralizing ends. It became a squalid grove of Ashtoreth; but now, in the autumn evening, all the petty obscenities of white and black sloughed away
The sight of a white boy sitting on an outcrop of limestone with a strap of school-books dropped at his feet rather surprised Peter. The negro looked at the hobbledehoy for several seconds before he recognized in the lanky youth a little Arkwright boy whom he had known and played with in his pre-college days. Now there was such an exaggerated wistfulness in young Arkwright's attitude that Peter was amused. He stopped in the path behind the preoccupied boy.
"Hello, Sam," he called. "What you doing out here? Why aren't you at school to-day?"
The Arkwright boy turned with a start.
"Aw-is that you, Siner?" Before the negro could reply, he added: "Was you on the Harvard foot-ball team, Siner? Guess the white fellows have a pretty gay time in Harvard, don't they, Siner? Geemenettie! but I get tired of this dern town. D' reckon I could make the foot-ball team? Looks like I could if a nigger like you could, Siner."
None of this juvenile outbreak of questions required required answers. Peter stood looking at the hobbledehoy without smiling.
"Are n't you going to school?" he asked.
1 Synopsis of Part I in "Among Our Contributors."
Arkwright shrugged his shoulders. "Aw, hell!" he said self-consciously. "We got marched down to the protracted ago-whole meeting while ago whole school did. My seat happened to be close to a window. When they all When they all stood up to sing, I crawled out and skipped. Don't mention that, Siner." "I won't."
"When a fellow goes to college he don't get marched to preaching, does he, Siner?"
"I never did."
"We-e-ll," mused young doubtfully, "you 're a nigger.' "I never saw any white men marched in, either."
"Oh, hell! I wish I was in college." "What are you sitting out here thinking about?" inquired Peter of the ingenuous youngster.
"Oh-foot-ball and-women and God and how to stock cards. You think about ever'thing in the woods. Damn it! I got to git out o' this little jay town. D' reckon I could git in the navy, Siner?"
"Don't see why you could n't, Sam. Have you seen Tump Pack anywhere?" "Yeh; on Hobbett's corner. Say, is Cissie Dildine at home?"
"I believe she is."
"She cooks for us," explained young Arkwright, "and mammy wants her to come and git supper, too."
The phrase "get supper, too" referred to the custom in Hooker's Bend of negresses cooking only two meals a day at white homes, breakfast and the twelve-o'clock dinner, with a hot supper optional with the mistress.
Peter nodded, and passed on up the path, leaving young Arkwright seated on the ledge of rock, a prey to all the boiling, erratic impulses of adolescence. The negro sensed some of the innumer
able difficulties of this white boy's life, and once, as he walked on over the silent needles, he felt an impulse to turn back and talk to young Sam Arkwright, to sit down and try to explain to the youth what he could of this hazardous adventure called life. But then, he reflected, very likely the boy would be offended at a serious talk from a negro. Also he thought that young Arkwright, being white, was really not within the sphere of his ministry. He, Peter Siner, was a worker in the black world of the South. He was part of the black world, which the white South was so meticulous to hide away, to keep out of sight and out of thought. Very well, he would remain out of sight and out of thought.
A certain vague sense of triumph trickled through some obscure corner of Peter's mind. It was so subtle that Peter himself would have been the first, in all good faith, to deny it and to affirm that all his motives were altruistic. Once he looked back through the cedars. He could still see the boy hunched over, chin in his fist, staring at the mat of needles.
As Peter turned the brow of the Big Hill he saw at its eastern foot the village church, a plain brick building with a decaying spire. Its side was perforated by four tall, arched windows. Each was a memorial window of stained glass, which gave it a black look from the outside. As Peter walked down the hill toward the church he heard the confused and somewhat nasal singing of uncultivated white voices.
When he reached Main Street, Peter found the whole business portion virtually deserted. All the stores were closed, and in every show-window stood a printed notice that no business
would be transacted between the hours of 2 and 3 P. M. during the two weeks of revival then in progress. Beside this notice stood another card, giving the minister's text for the current day. On this particular day it read:
GO YE INTO ALL THE WORLD Come hear Rev. E. B. Blackwater's great Missionary address on
Eloquent, profound, heart-searching. Illustrated with slides.
Half a dozen negroes lounged in the sunshine on Hobbett's corner as Peter came up. They were amusing themselves after the fashion of blacks by mock fights, feints, sudden wrestlings. They would seize one another by the head and grind their knuckles into one another's wool. Occasionally, one would leap up and fall into one of those grotesque shuffles called "breakdowns." It all held a certain rawness, an irrepressible juvenility.
As Peter came up, Tump Pack detached himself from the group and gave a pantomime of thrusting. He was clearly reproducing the action which had won for him his military medal. Then suddenly he fell down in the dust and writhed. He was mimicking the death-throes of his four victims with a ghastly realism. His audience howled with mirth at this dumb show of the bayonet-fight and of killing four men. Tump himself got up out of the dust with tears of laughter in his eyes. Peter caught the end of his sentence:
"Sho put it to 'em, black boy. Fo' white men-”
His audience roared again, swayed around, and pounded one another in an excess of mirth.
Siner shouted from across the street two or three times before he caught Tump's attention. The ex-soldier looked around, sobered abruptly.
"Wha' che want, niggah?" His inquiry was not over-cordial.
Peter nodded him across the street.
The heavily built black in khaki hesitated a moment, then started across the street with the dragging feet of a reluctant negro. Peter looked at him as he came up.
"What's the matter, Tump?" he asked playfully.
"Ain't nuthin' mattah wid me, niggah."
Peter made a guess at Tump's surliness.
"Look here, are you puffed up because Cissie Dildine struck you for a ten?"
Tump's expression changed. "Is she struck me fuh a ten?" "Yes; on that school subscription." "Is dat whut you two niggahs was a-talkin' 'bout ovuh thauh in yo' house?"
"Exactly." Peter showed the list, with Cissie's name on it. “She told me to collect off of you."
Tump brightened up.
"So dat was whut you two niggahs was a-talkin' 'bout ovuh at yo' house." He ran a fist down into his khaki, and drew out three or four one-dollar bills and about a pint of small change. It was the usual crap-shooter's offering. The two negroes sat down on the ramshackle porch of an old jeweler's shop, and Tump began a complicated tally of ten dollars.
By the time he had his dimes, quarters, and nickles in separate stacks, services in the village church were finished, and the congregation came filing up the street. First came the
Tump and Peter walked on up to the entrance of the Planter's Bank and there awaited Mr. Henry Hooker, the cashier. Presently a skinny man detached himself from the church crowd and came angling across the dirty street toward the bank. Mr. Hooker wore somewhat shabby clothes for a banker; in fact he never could recover from certain personal habits formed during a penurious boyhood. He had a thin hatchet face which just at this moment was shining as if from some inward glow. Although an unhandsome little man, his expression was that of a man at peace with man and God and was pleasant to see. He had been so excited by the minister that he was constrained to say something even to two negroes. So as he unlocked the little one-story bank, he told Tump and Peter that he had been listening to a man who was truly a man of God. He said Blackwater could touch the hardest heart, and, sure enough, Mr. Hooker's rather popped and narrowset eyes looked as if he had been crying.
All this encomium was given in a high, cracked voice as the cashier opened the door and turned the negroes into the bank. Tump, who stood with his hat off, listening to all the cashier had to say, said he thought so, too.
The shabby interior of the little bank, the shabby little banker, renewed that sense of disillusion that
pervaded Peter's home-coming. In Boston the mulatto had done his slight banking business in a white marble structure with tellers of machine-like briskness and neatness.
Mr. Hooker strolled around into his grill-cage; when he was thoroughly ensconced he began business in his high voice.
"You came to see me about that land, Peter?"
"Sorry to tell you, Peter, you are not back in time to get the Tomwit place." Peter came out of his musing over the Boston banks with a sense of bewilderment.
"How's that? Why, I bought that land-"
"But you paid nothing for your option, Siner."
"I had a clear-cut understanding with Mr. Tomwit—”
Mr. Hooker smiled a smile that brought out sharp wrinkles around the thin nose on his thin face.
"You should have paid him an earnest, Siner, if you wanted to bind your trade. You colored folks are always stumbling over the law."
Peter stared through the grating, not knowing what to do.
"I'll go see Mr. Tomwit," he said, and started uncertainly for the door. The cashier's falsetto stopped him. "No use, Peter. Mr. Tomwit surprised me, too, but no use talking about it. I did n't like to see so important a thing as the education of our colored people held up myself. I 've been thinking about it."
"Especially when I had made a fair square trade," put in Peter, warmly. "Exactly," squeaked the cashier. "And rather than let your project be delayed, I 'm going to offer you the