A Hull House Play

ONE fall, when we were fishing, I met a man who had never heard of Stevenson, bookplates, nor Hull House. It did something for my catholicity to find that he could make enthralling a number of subjects which I had not thought luminous. It seemed, as he told it, to be a matter of nice science, and the infinite delights of art, to select meats for the great hotels of the country. There is something in a man and an occupation that can keep three fishermen talking meat for six hours.

But the great round world usually hitches up its chair at the words Hull House; there is a mean temptation to use it as conversational copy at dinner parties. It is entertaining to see what it means to different people. There is the bestplace-for-a-girl-is-at-home type of man, who says “odd and dangerous” to himself when you mention it, and picks up The Wild Flowers of California on the table near at hand. To many people it typifies, apparently, a kind of tempered Bohemianism which the layman may stomach, — somewhat more elegant than Mam Gali’s, and less literary than the Little Room. “ Oh, did you go to that fool-party to which the pleasure of your company was especially requested ? ”

There are many people to whom Hull House means simply Miss Addams. “ Law sakes,”—they would say, like the poor lady from Milwaukee, — “ain’t there no more of her?” It means the headquarters of the Arts and Crafts movement to some people, and a beautiful, vaulted room in the model flats. And some are all for goodness, and in a breath you find yourself posed like a European tomb, with the upward eye and your hands in a V. This isanawful thing, when, as a matter of fact, a guilty soul knows itself to be following well after its own delights, and far off the path of filial obedience. Parents never approve of Hull House; I have seen three or four of them in a knot, a gang, a pack, discussing it ominously. They have it that this is a place where one catches smallpox, and does other things which cannot be countenanced.

It is probable that there are many people to whom Hull House means but a single club. I forever condemn myself that I cannot see over the heads of fou rteen Jewish girls and boys to the larger ideals of social service for which a settlement stands. I was told, when I took the Lincoln Club, that it was one of the nicest clubs in the house; but such as this may be always the excuses of bigotry.

It is a club of fourteen Jewish girls and boys, which meets every Saturday night. Their parents are the people of the Ghetto; not the sweat-shop Yiddish of Libin, — they are not so intense and suffering as Libin’s Jew, not so piteous, rather more smug and bourgeois, with the ear-marks upon them of the established and respected element of a community. They all work, the girls as well as the boys, or “are employed,” as they say; it expresses itself as a passive situation. The girls help in their fathers’ stores; some of them are stenographers or book-keepers; two of them work in a factory which manufactures artificial flowers. The boys work in the big wholesale houses; one is office boy for a well-known law firm. Several of them study at night in the law school or at Lewis Institute. The boys are more intellectual than the girls; perhaps this is why the Jews have such placid family lives.

Human affairs are what engage the mind of the Jew; sociology and the drama are his passions. These girls and boys read two newspapers a day, and so do I, since I took the Lincoln Club, — or, it may be better said, since the Lincoln Club took me. We discussed the New York and Chicago mayoralty elections endlessly. All the boys in the club are single-taxers except one; there is one socialist.

One night I had under my arm, when I went upstairs, a volume of Yeats; it lay on the piano, and I saw one of the boys turning it over, as it seemed to me, with a familiar hand. Presently we fell into talk about it; he had seen Mrs. Le Moyne in The Land of Heart’s Desire, and had come under the spell of the Irish Man of Dreams; he had read everything Yeats had written, and knew about the poet’s work, the Irish Literary Theatre, and the circle which Yeats has gathered about him in Dublin. Last winter we all saw Duse in the same week, and the Saturday night after, we sat and talked of her for an hour, in a narrowing, excited circle. They compared Duse’s Francesca with Otis Skinner’s presentation of Stephen Phillips’s drama; they liked the latter better, and insisted again and again upon the swift, unforecast climaxes in d’ Annunzio’s version, —it was too quick, they said. They had all read a translation of the play, and what William Winter had to say about it in the American, and Mr. Bennett in the Record-Herald ; one of the boys said that he was sorry Lyman G lover was not writing, — he liked Glover’s criticisms better than anybody else’s. These boys follow the world of the stage closely. They saw Mary Shaw’s Ghosts; and Eleanor Robson in In a Balcony; and Mansfield! — their eyes wait upon him all winter. Four of them were in the Julius Caesar mob for a week.

The Lincoln Club is not a class; it has no purpose of culture; the public always asks of a Hull House club what it is studying. The club is such a one as hundreds of sociable people in Chicago join; Hull House offers it a pleasant room for its meetings, and a director who devises some things which its members could not devise for themselves. Once a month there is a business meeting. These business meetings suggest themselves first to the mind. I have grown to think that all Jews are debaters; the Lincoln Club has an idea of parliamentary law, and uses it. If a motion has ever been made which failed to bring half the club to its feet, I did not hear it. No office is ever filled except over the nominee’s head; that is part of the game. After a stormy evening, when it seemed as if everybody must be the sworn enemy of every one else forever after, each member gesticulating, shouting, fierce, the debate peppered with invective, — after such a meeting, they go off in a laughing, friendly group; and leave me exhausted, astounded, pondering over the exuberance of this wonderful race. One of the most pleasant things in the club is the real friendship among the members; every Sunday afternoon for several years these boys have spent together, playing cards at intervals, and, for the serious business of their pleasure, discussing, with the heat of which I have spoken, those things — politics, books, and plays — of which they think.

Once a month there is a literary programme. The club has a paper, in which a serial work of fiction is running; there are debates; two of the boys have been on the debating team of the Medill High School. There is music; but I doubt that the Jews are a musical people; this seems to be a case of the right hand knowing not what the left hand doeth. Sometimes there are addresses, as they are called; there is one boy who likes to attack large, sweeping subjects, like evolution; he comes with an armful of books and pictures, and with an enthusiasm and freshness of standpoint which sends one home to read up on evolution all the next day. Sometimes there are masquerade balls or crochinole tournaments, and at intervals an evening of games. Once a year comes the “reception,”—engraved invitations in double envelopes, a supper, and music for dancing.

It is the practice of the club to give each year, beside its regular meetings, one entertainment which becomes a public occasion, and lends prestige to a club so small that it would otherwise remain obscure. Twice this entertainment has been a little farce. They like a play better than “running a dance.” It is plain that a play is of Fortune’s cap the very button. Yet a play is always opposed, because it injures the club within itself; those who are not in the cast lose that vital loyalty which makes the Lincoln Club what it is. Last fall, after something between a business meeting and a series of epileptic fits, a motion was carried in favor of a play.

During the following week, chance let fall in the way of the Lincoln Club such an opportunity as comes only occasionally, even to those who have gone a-hunger. It was suggested that the Lincoln Club should give The Merry Wives of Windsor. This play, so seldom seen, had been revived in London the summer before by Beerbohm Tree, Ellen Terry, and Mrs. Kendal. A famous school of acting in Chicago was to use it for the work of the fall term; there would be five performances, and each member of the Lincoln Club should see one. An artist who became interested in the project would design the costumes. The cast could be cut to a number which would just include all the members of the club. They took to the idea like wildfire; Shakespeare is a fetich among the Jew’s. One of the boys, who had been hurt early in the fall in a football game, read all the plays during his week at home. All the plays! — from one cover to another of an old leather book. Dowden says that whenever he hears a man posing for a Shakespeare critic, he asks if the gentleman has read Cymbeline.

They talked of The Merry Wives all evening; when the meeting was called to order, the motion was carried with only one dissenting voice; one of the cleverest boys in the club eyed the plan with open suspicion. He never favored “ what other men begin.” This boy became later a serious problem; he grew reproachful if two weeks passed without a rehearsal of his scenes, — something which often happened, as he had been cast for Shallow, a part much cut. He asked endless questions, and I think he meditated hugely on the part. It was funny, he said, the way Shakespeare did these things; a man came in and said a good deal, and then that was the end of him. After he had mastered the situation, he advised a recutting.

Invitations had been sent out a week before for a masquerade ball; a motion was made that these invitations be recalled, — that the bidden guests should be “ uninvited,” — so that rehearsals could begin at once. Some devotees of the conventional took a stand, however, against this motion; and it was lost. In another week the play was cut and cast. The work of making The Merry Wives of Windsor over into something presentable is a case of “ invention and distraction;” it is a lesson in regeneration. The play as presented was two hours long.

It is one thing to take a class of fifty and pick from it a cast of fourteen, and quite another thing to take a cast of fourteen, and a club of fourteen members, and give each person a part. A few fell naturally into certain parts; and for the rest there were the people, — and the parts. However these two were juggled about, there seemed to be always one person and one part remaining; no recasting altered the situation for the better. The part of Mistress Page fell to Miss Warsash, not because she had any affinity for it, but because—whatever possible adjustment was made of the other characters — Mistress Page and Miss Warsash were always left. Miss Warsash was a sweettempered young girl, without manner, without temperamental force, as it seemed, without characteristics. I thought of her as Mark Twain did of the woman, — not refined and not unrefined, —the sort of woman who keeps a parrot. She had never acted. It shall be seen what a sweet temper, and unexpected persistence and capacity for hard work may do, unassisted by the more heaven-born gifts.

Observe the postage stamp !
Its usefulness consists in its ability
To stick to one thing until
It gets there!

Rehearsals began on the 15th of November. We rehearsed the play all winter,— every Saturday night, and, twice a week, extra rehearsals of special scenes. I grew in a few weeks to feel that seventeen people were giving this play. At the first rehearsal Falstaff knew all his lines and cues. Nobody during the winter ever failed a special rehearsal, except on one terrible winter night when two girls did not come; it was one of the scenes of Falstaff and the two wives, and Falstaff the Incorruptible came alone. We put a dish of salted peanuts on the piano bench, and worked for three hours on “What! have I lived to be carried in a basket, and to be trown into de Temes!” Sometimes they came through blizzards, sometimes so weary that my heart grew heavy within me at the sight of them; they do not get away from work until six; it was nine when they came. We rehearsed until eleven o’clock, and then sometimes we sat and talked of the play until midnight. It was an endless delight to talk of it, especially of the costumes. At these times I learned the meaning of “kosher;” it is not “kosher ” to eat milk within six hours of meat, and so neither milk nor butter could go into our suppers on the hearth. They used to tell me, too, of the Feast of Passover, of the Yiddish marriage rites, and the customs of the synagogue, —that most socialized of the houses of God.

It was soon seen that there had been no mistake in the casting of Falstaff and Ford. I how much work they did on their parts, I do not know; but from week to week these lines slipped into smoothness. I never told them to read the notes and commentaries, but they did; there came this hunger to understand. Slender was funny from the first rehearsal; a hint made him comic; his voice alone was a comedy, — a thin, high tone, belonging to “a little, yellow beard, — a Cain-colored beard.” After a time everybody laughed at Slender’s scenes so that all idea of rehearsal was abandoned; indeed, we were reduced to a row of shouting dummies. These scenes were Shallow’s best, and he shone in them,—jovial, big-voiced, and pompous; dragging, pushing, bracing poor Slender to his wooing. Soon, like those of William and Robin, they were not rehearsed, but rather attended.

It must not be thought that all the parts went so easily. Fenton had to make a voice. —“My friends even yet are asking me if I have a cold,” he said, with some naïveté, in the following summer. Like the Prioresse, he “ devised everything in his nose ful semely.” He was a stately, serious boy, and could never attain the gallant spezzatura of manner which one wishes for Fenton. I always think of him as I often saw him, standing before a Mucha poster of Bernhardt’s Hamlet, of which he had been told that he should be an exact copy when en grande toilette, his arms folded across his breast, his chin sunk between his shoulders, — a cross between Henry Irving, the Mucha Bernhardt, a composite, perhaps, of many stage villains, and a nice young Jew taking himself somewLat heavily. With Anne Page one contended ad infinitum, —to the end of patience, — that strolling tendency which seems to go nowhere and come nowhere, that moonligh!-walk-bydaylight manner of exit and entrance which will make any scene lag.

But Mistress Page was the problem of the play, and its triumph. It seemed, at one time, as if this part must be recast; nothing looked possible, and the letter scene, as we grew to call it, seemed like one of the bright dreams which come between dawn and waking. Poor Miss Warsash, — it is cold-blooded murder, as many an amateur knows, trying to laugh out of dead seriousness. But what is Mistress Page with out laughter! Since Miss Warsash could not laugh, she always talked; she explained that she did not feel well, that she could do it at home, that she would do it the night the play was given, or, flatly, and with some trembling of the lip, that she just could n’t laugh. But never that she would not try. Often she was very near to tears; always nearer to tears than laughter. Every Saturday night, and always at one special rehearsal a week, we went through the letter scene.

There came a time, after some three months of rehearsals, when a new girl came into the club, a brilliant, effective girl, whose laughter was as quick as water from a tilted bottle. Miss Warsash was imploring to give up the part. It was the part Terry had taken in London; it seemed as if the play would hardly be able to stand if it failed. But, since everything has two sides, it seemed also as if such an acceptance of failure might do this young girl infinite harm; the play was for the club, not the club for the play; and if she could once do something which she was so sure she could not do, she must believe in herself more ever after. And as long as one improves and time lasts, why may one not hope? And Miss Warsash did improve. We went over pages of her copy, marking words to be inflected, marking climaxes; the marked words were always inflected at the next rehearsal, at first blindly, with a suddenly recollected ardor, and then with a growing sense of meaning. It was plain that she studied; I often wondered when, in that hurried life of factory and sleep.

Miss Warsash was one of those conscientious people who will always sit down on the exact word at which it has been suggested that she should sit down; or, if she forgets until ten lines later, will stop blankly and say, “Oh, kind teacher, I forgot to sit down at ‘fat Knight,’” and then go and do it over. She had a way, too, of backing about the stage, like a naughty Shetland pony, and of making preparation for her business, —hanging out a sign; Boswell might have said of her that she had a look that expressed that a good thing was coming, and then a look that expressed that it had come. She never walked across the stage; she edged over through twenty lines to be ready to drop into a chair on some inevitable word. But all this was nothing to the lack of understanding.

The months went on; from time to time there were bright spots; and suddenly, one night, Mistress Page arrived. It was quite unexpected to every one. A beautiful studio in the Fine Arts Building had been thrown open to the club for a rehearsal, and, with the contrariety of human nature, the rehearsal was going very badly. It was the first rehearsal with a stage and footlights; people lolled dully in the dark corners, on the couches which ran about the room; and the scenes waited while the stage manager hunted up those whose cues had been given. I was gathering up my powers for the letter scene, when Mistress Page came dancing on; I sat up and looked at her; before she had said two lines the room was all ears. There was, of course, nothing great, nothing even remarkable in her manner, but there was a kind of rollicking pleasure; whatever that part was to you, it was a great deal to her, you saw that; there was the fire and the comprehension which carries an audience with it, the sincerity of the actor without which all his art is futile. From that night, we saw no more of Miss Warsash at rehearsals; she had brought her mind into the part; she was Mistress Page,— an adventure,—a new world. She has never been quite the same girl since then; mental exploits always leave their stamp, and Lazarus is not the only one who has come back into his old world wide-eyed and aloof. I shall not soon forget the look on her face the night of the first performance, when she came off the stage at the end of her first scene; it was as if something in her had taken fire. “They laughed; they laughed!” she said, prancing back and forth in front of me, with glittering eyes. That was her test; a comedy is a success if people laugh.

It was splendid to see the play unfolding itself from month to month, and entering into their speech; conversation could be conducted only in terms of The Merry Wives. After a time everybody began to want to understand; they read the notes, and asked such questions as the day would quake to look on.

At the regular Saturday night rehearsal we could get through with only one quarter of the play, and it was arranged that there should be two Sunday afternoon rehearsals, when the whole play would be rehearsed. The girls in the factories do not work on Saturday afternoon; they keep the ancient Sabbath, and make up their time on Monday night and Sunday morning. Sunday afternoon was the only time when the whole cast could be brought together for a time long enough to rehearse the entire play. Thus there were two rehearsals on Sunday afternoons, from one until half past five.

There comes in everything tremendous, I suppose, the “dim lulls of uneventful growth,” when every one simply clings doggedly, and works away. Perhaps none of us had known, when we began, what a tremendous thing we were undertaking; aside from the acting, which, as a play is noble, demands more nobility, more temperament, more subtle understanding,— beside this matter of study, there is the simple, overpowering question of length, — of numbers of characters, of numbers of scenes. After that first long Sunday afternoon, I confronted as dashed looking a group of girls and boys as I have ever seen. There had been two scenes that Shakespeare did not write. One boy was tired, he wanted his supper, and he took his hat and overcoat to go home; I had seen him backed into a corner, with three irate Jewish boys shaking their fists in his face, and shrieking imprecations in his ear; in a few moments he came around, shamefaced and apologetic.

By the night of the dress rehearsal, a panic possessed the club; they were thoroughly frightened. One of the hardest things for the Lincoln Club to learn is the necessity of keeping appointments; that night they arrived some time within the hour; rehearsal began at nine, and there seemed time to do only the worst scenes. Could they stay, then, and go through the whole play ? So the last rehearsal of the Merry Wives began at ten o’clock, and ended after one. I like to tell this story, because it shows that the Lincoln Club, if it cannot keep appointments, can at least stay by them when it gets there.

I have often wondered what part Shakespeare played in the minds of the various players, and what part costumes. The costumes were such an infinite delight. We had pictures of Terry and Kendal and Tree; the fat knight in buff and orange, with high boots, a tasseled stick, and an Elizabethan hat, — a mountain of pillows, — “A knight he was fid fat and in good point.” And Mistress Page and Mistress Ford, with wonderful mediaeval head-dresses, horned and fluttering with veils! The gowns for these two characters, and several beautiful doublets, were loaned to the club by artists who had worn them to a Florentine ball. Mistress Ford’s was a Morris cloth-of-gold over a salmon petticoat, with mink and topazes; Mistress Page’s was pale blue brocaded satin, with sable, and a girdle of the emeralds and pearls which one may buy by the dozen at Siegel, Cooper’s. The color schemes of scenes are not the least of the study which goes into a play.

The other costumes were designed from a good costume book, such as artists have. The boys wore doublets of various styles, and long hose; the latter with some concern at first, and presently with a tremendous zest. Rugby and Robin were taken by two girls; they were irresistible, with their peaked hats made by wetting ancient Knox’s and pulling the crowns to points; with their mousquetaire leggings and their gay little smocks. As far as could possibly be managed, each member of the cast made his own costume or superintended the making of it,—only one girl in the club could sew when we began. They made shoes, hats, girdles, boots; anything can be made from a piece of denim, if it is large enough, and the right color. We had a shoe night for the boys; they made shoes with long, tapering toes, and square-toed, slashed ones, and some with high, pointed uppers; it is something gained when five boys learn to “baste.”

It was great fun prowling about among the cheap stores to make the twenty dollars that had been allowed for the costumes pay for them; we used burlap and denim, which we found in charming colors; and felt and furniture brocade which were soiled in spots that did not come into the pattern. The hose alone made a hole in our funds so terrible that it could scarcely be rescued; and it was a triumph to hand in an expense account of $18.73. It was the “gentlemen,” as they say at the horse show, who made us most concern, for they must be magnificent, and the artist doublets did not go around. We found some rose-colored brocade for Dr. Caius, which did not show, at night, how window-soiled it was. It was to be a long doublet, with a narrow waist and flaring hips, something like the frock coat of to-day. Our practice in cutting out a costume had been to pin a sheet of paper on the person who was to wear the finished product, and make a rough draft; when the costume had been cut from this draft, it was basted on the subject. I had often seen Fenton observing these reckless proceedings with an expression of real distress,—a line of tailoring forbears speaking strongly in his blood. The pink brocade, — such fine “goods”! — proved too much for him, and he burst into speech. He was given a room, Dr. Caius, and the implements of tailoring; after two hours, he reappeared among us with the finished article, and the shining morning face. He was the only person, I am sure, who attacked, during the making of the costumes, anything which he knew how to do.

There is no telling what funny things happened. The panic of the boys over the hose passed away; but when it came to a Lincoln Club girl without a pompadour, we seemed for a time to have attempted the impossible. Again and again they went through Racinet, and searched for pompadours. Poor sweet Anne Page! I can see her now, as she leaned against the door of the dressing-room, on the night of the dress rehearsal, two large, crystal tears coursing down her nose to the destruction of her makeup, wailing that she could not go down looking like that, and still charming, with a pink ribbon acroes her brow and pink roses tied in the braids of dark hair on her shoulders. I hardly know how she came on the stage; everybody talked at once, and somehow she was swept along. I have heard people say that they cannot see a funny thing in The Merry Wives. Then there was the poor child who knew she could n’t act in that dress; she had a new dress with a hand-made yoke, — it was a beautiful thing, — could she wear that instead? Oh, mighty Brahma! think of a costume àla mode, even one with a handmade yoke, in the pleasant old town of Windsor, in the times of Prince Hal.

I cannot think, without a quicker pulse and a kind of mental gasp, of the night of the first performance. A spring blizzard was abroad, one of those late storms which keep people indoors. The auditorium was not filled, but I do not think the Lincoln Club cared. The night had come when they were to do this thing that they had been getting ready for six months to do, and be those people whom they had been getting ready to be. The play was the thing. The stage was their world; the footlights and the wings enclosed it; there were seventeen people in it. They looked out from the curtain at the empty seats with indifferent eyes.

In the first scene, it was seen that things were really happening; it was as if a door opened upon a little of the past and closed again. The audience felt this sincerity and responded to it; it became “ one vast, substantial smile.” Notes came up to the actors from Shakespeare critics; and a great man came behind the scenes to praise them. The cast was in a glee as it responded to curtain call after curtain call; at the end of each act they embraced each other and shook hands. During the scenes, they stood in silent, excited groups at the wings, listening; there was no waiting for cues, and little prompting. If any one was cut out of his best lines, he said, “Oh, wasn’t it too bad! But nobody saw it, did they?” Every one worked for the play! When Mistress Page and Falstaff said good-night to us all, their eyes were wide and bright; they looked stirred to the deeps; they had come near to a great man, and done something great nobly, and they felt it. As one of the boys said afterwards, they felt that they knew Shakespeare down to the ground. And so they did, as far as that play and they themselves went; it is not alone Hazlitt and Coleridge who may sit at the Mermaid. Books, we know, are —

The poor man’s wealth, the prisoner’s release,
The indifferent judge between the high and low.

I love to think of that night, of how dark it was behind the scenes and how everybody fell over the props of the wings; how the curtain man’s smile grew broader and broader; how Shallow lost one shoe, no one knew where, and had to wear Sir Hugh’s, while Sir Hugh had a hem let out of his parson’s gown to cover his twentieth-century patent leather boots; how the elegant, swarthy Ford, cavalier nonpareil, in red velvet doublet and cap and hose to match, improvised speeches so that every one on the stage was at sea; and how Falstaff, distracted, it is true, by the fact that his beard had been tied to his ears, —the “spirits of gum”having been lost, — was still able to help the culprit out; even of the dire mistakes, — all the lines that had been rehearsed a thousand times and popped out wrong at the last moment.

And after it was all over, I tried to think just what I should like to have come out of this winter’s work which would make those who had done it more equal to the world. It is surely splendid to know Shakespeare at least nearly down to the ground. And it is splendid to work on anything keenly, and better yet to do well what you thought you could not do at all. But best of all was the esprit de corps with which they came to line up about their play, — this working for a common ideal which was without themselves. I take it that an office boy who feels that he is part of the firm is in step to become the firm itself ; and, more to the heart of the matter, he is getting all out of his work that there is in it for him at that time. Any one who gets a big horizon has surely “come into a great land.”

There is a body of thoughts which gathers about a Hull House club. There is no stability to it; one is continually getting a new attitude in the matter, shifting to a new way of looking at it. But however little he has of a large general understanding of social service in theory, the director of a settlement club gets to see certain things clearly at times, even though he may see the opposite thing just as clearly on the next Saturday night. I have suffered some harassment from the nuncios of a brilliant young socialist,— whatever that may be, — who appears continually upon my horizon, vague and terrible. He is one of those people whose thoughts live in other people’s mouths; the man beside whom one sits at dinner quotes him; he turns up as a prophet in a talk with the wisest of one’s friends. With such a disturbing frequency has he been quoted to me that I have come to regard his sentiments as a kind of mental punching-bag, which I call my Peter Willoughby problem. This uncomfortable person says that settlements are the efforts to heal over social evils which should be kept active; that only a change of condition, a chance

For rest and time to feel alive in,

can help the poor; that, in such a club as the Lincoln Club, one spends time, which should be put to some good use, teaching people who know more about life than you do, things that have no value to them; and that your pleasure in it all is the gentle art of patronizing raised to the nth power.

It is true that it is the better element, the one with more ideals, the people who do not need new thoughts so much, who are already progressive, who will find things anyway, that a settlement club reaches. That they are at Hull House at all proves that they have reached out for the best thing they knew. So as your work is successful, it comes to seem unneeded. But this is only a partial view. It is like keeping bread from a man who is hungry, and looking for one who has no appetite. No doubt the latter is the sicker man; he needs labor laws and sanitary commissions. But there is still the hungry man and the bread. The poor seem to me to be, not those who are without money, but those for whom, like poor Maggie Tulliver, life is too difficult. I have heard it said that this cry expresses George Eliot’s philosophy repeated through a shelf-full of novels,— that the individual cannot conquer, all mankind must rise together. This seems to be the standpoint of Peter Willoughby. But surely both are wrong. If life is too difficidt for many, it is each man that counts, and the struggle. Settlement clubs are to touch the single cases; not to give the mass of men better conditions under which to live, but to help a few to defy conditions.

Happiness alone helps; it is as old as Aristotle that happiness in itself is a kind of energy. Something golden and purple of which to think; what matters, if one is all glorious within ? And the director should have a fuller knowledge than the members of a Hull House Club of all the possibilities — the chances — in the world; that nothing is hopeless; — the more points there are at which you have yourself touched life, the better you know this. “The more you lif,” — a German philosopher says, —“the more you findt, by chimmeny, oudt.”

I cannot resist playing into the hands of that awful Peter with the beginning of my story, which comes, as one suspects all introductions of doing, at the last. The funniest thing which ever happens in a club may be told, since one abuses no friend in making fun of herself. You go to your work, fairly radiating culture; there is an enlarged halo of it enveloping you. It is not pride, you are not even stuck up, like the beetle on the wall, and you are really full of tender thoughts. But you want to help some one, and you wear your rue with a difference. You do not want any one to feel all this, and no one ever does. At the dancing class, a pock-marked young man, who sees that you are a stranger and alone, asks you to dance. If you are not of an affectionate disposition, you experience surprise.

“May he haf de honor to know yer name?” as politely as possible. “Will you come regular ? Where are you employed ? May he haf de honor uf de german ? ”

Hasty, but most respectful. Puff! something goes up in smoke; you shout to see the halo, — compounded of a few ancestors, a little travel, a few years at college, and a glimpse of the Parthenon and the British Museum, — to see the halo frizzling up. When the smoke clears away, it leaves you blinking, with a sobered mind and intent, new eyes upon yourself. If you are not one of themselves, you are the only person who is ever conscious of it; certainly these entirely human, worldtouching people on Halsted Street are not. The first months are like beginning at one end of the social telescope which you have set up, and coming down again and again to the other, — each time, be it said, with a less surprising jolt.

Perhaps all the best gains in settlement work come to the director; I sometimes think the residents get more inspiration from Hull House than the neighbors,and know it. If Miss Addams is a mediator between the rich and’the poor, it is the rich whom she teaches most; if she is an educator, it is the rich who learn most from her. In many ways beside that of social adjustment, one grows rich among the poor. It has often been pointed out that young men make the grand tour, and girls are sent abroad to school, for the sense of freshness, of a new view of life, which a settlement club gives. I know a journalist who takes a ride on the South Halsted St. cable whenever he finds himself going mentally stale.

Those who live near to their problems, with whom every thought and act is more or less urgent, do not keep each man to his own mountain peak; one gets very near to them. “Cultivation teaches repression,” says Opie Read. Fourteen people, who give one the best there is in them every Saturday night, are something to think about. The leader of such a club gets into a way of pulling himself up before a meeting, taking himself in hand, trying to be more courteous, more sincere; it is a course in decorum and ethics with fourteen professors. And who can say that the principle of give and take works only one way ? I heard Miss Addams expostulating one night with a girl who had spoken of Mrs. Humphry Ward’s settlement; Miss Addams was insisting that such an expression is a denial of terms; one person cannot have a settlement; a settlement is the interaction of a group of people and a community. Mrs. Humphry Ward cannot have a settlement, any more than Mr. Rockefeller can have a university. It is not Mr. Rockefeller’s university; it is not the faculty’s; it is not the students’; all these elements are necessary to make a university, and then the university is something outside themselves, which their cooperation has created.