Agnes Repplier (‘ Americanism ’) is known wherever essays are read. Of late years Miss Repplier has published in the Atlantic a succession of papers in vigorous defense of various concepts long associated with the American Idea and now subjected to popular onslaughts. Her redoubtable use of what military men term the ’offensive-defensive’ has won the keen respect, if not always the kind regard, of her admirers, and the Editor’s mail is automatically enlarged by the publication of one of Miss Repplier’s essays.
In speaking of Miss Repplier we should like to correct an error which appeared in her paper on ‘ Waiting ’ in the Atlantic for November, 1915. It was not the Superintendent of Schools in Passaic, New Jersey, who composed the new air for our national hymn, ’America.’ The credit should go to another educational musician.
L. P. Jacks (' Our Drifting Civilization’), who has recently become Principal of Manchester College, Oxford, enjoys a three-fold reputation as essayist, philosopher, and editor of the Hibbert Journal. To readers susceptible to the imaginative suggestion of everything Professor Jacks writes we should like especially to commend his Mad Shepherds, a little volume published some years ago by Henry Holt & Company. Professor Jacks has three sons at present in His Majesty’s service.
Abraham Mitrie Rihbany (‘ The Syrian Christ’), who has told his own story at length in the Atlantic, offers a significant illustration of the career of an immigrant whose American ‘success’ is measured in intellectual and spiritual, rather than in material, terms. ‘ The Bible,’ says Mr. Rihbany, always sounds to him ’like a letter from home’; and the words of the Scripture bring to his mind such natural pictures of the Syrian life which he knew as a boy that the Atlantic feels his interpretations are not likely to be forgotten by those who know and love the Bible.
Richard M. Hallet (‘Archæology for Amateurs’), since he graduated from the Harvard Law School in 1911, has lived what a journalist might term ’the life of a shock-absorber.' When he left the school, to be sure, he went conventionally enough to be private secretary to a judge; but soon discovering an inborn passion for the sea, he shipped before the mast on a ’windjammer’ bound from New York to Australia. On the trip he learned a good deal of the sort of education he had skipped at college; and at Sydney, determining to continue his adventures, he left the ship and with a single pal tramped across the Australian continent, through sheepman’s country and no man’s country, supporting himself on the trail as best he could. From Australia Mr. Hallet shipped for London as stoker on a P. & O. boat, and worked his passage through.
From the first Mr. Hallet had had a craving to write. Some of his pieces had already been accepted, and when he called on a London editor he was amused to find himself regarded as a stoker with an odd talent for literature. When the editor advised him to give up his profession for letters, he took the advice with a smile and has been following it ever since. One of his books, filled with material from his own life, has been published by Small, Maynard & Company, under the title of The Lady Aft, and another, Trial by Fire, dealing with his life as a stoker, is shortly to appear.
John Burroughs (’The Still Small Voice’) sent his first manuscript to the Atlantic in 1860. Published anonymously, it was generally ascribed to Emerson, whose virile and independent philosophy had won Mr. Burroughs as a boy and has held him ever since. Mr. Burroughs has spent his declining years in the Catskills, writing now on nature, now on philosophy, which in his view of life are an indissoluble whole. No living American, perhaps, has been more amply privileged to live his life just as he wished to live it, or fill it with the interests which absorb him most, and to give of the best so freely as Mr. Burroughs.
C. William Beebe (’The Gates of the East’) is an ornithologist by profession, with headquarters at Bronx Park, New York. Much of his time, however, is spent searching remote corners of the earth for new specimens and new lore of beasts and birds. At present Mr. Beebe is in Guiana, working, with government help, at the interesting experiment of creating a zoo in which all the imprisoned creatures will enjoy their natural habitat and can be studied with scientific accuracy in familiar surroundings.
Fannie Stearns Gifford (‘ For a Child ’) is a New England poet of melody and fancy whom Atlantic readers have known well for many years.
Henry Dwight Sedgwick (‘ A Forsaken God’) is serving temporarily as headmaster of the Brearly School for Girls in New York. Mr. Sedgwick is an essayist and historian who has contributed to the Atlantic for twenty years past.
Thomas Whitney Surette (‘Music for Children’) gives in this series of articles the musical creed which he has preached so effectually from the lecture platform. As our readers know, Mr. Surette is an oldtime resident of Concord, who has of late years served as an extension lecturer at Oxford University.
E. Nelson Fell (‘A Copper Kettle’) is an American mining engineer long resident in the Kirghiz Steppes of Russia, where he was directing important smelting and mining operations and where he made close acquaintance with the two classes of inhabitants who mingle but do not mix — the Kirghiz folk and the Cossacks.
Laura Spencer Portor Pope (‘Guests’) is an editor on the staff of the Woman’s Home Companion and author of many books and essays.
Bernard Iddings Bell (‘ Women and Religion’) is Dean of the Cathedral of Fond du Lac, and a vigorous exponent of orthodoxy in the church and socialism in the state.
Hortense Flexner (‘Remembrance’), a niece of Dr. Simon Flexner of the Rockefeller Institute, corresponds with the Atlantic from her home in Louisville.
E. Morlae (‘ A Soldier of the Legion ’) has in his own phrase ‘ followed the scrap around the world.’ He has seen service in the Philippines and been in more than one ‘mix-up’ in Mexico. His father was a sergeant in the French service in ’70, and the American-born son could only bring himself to wait forty-eight hours after war was declared before starting from Los Angeles for Paris. After a year’s service he is back again, with the médaille militaire on his breast, a piece of shrapnel in his neck, another in his knee, and the record of having gone as far in the Legion (he was promoted to be first sergeant) as it is possible for a foreigner to go. In the Legion he ranked all but a Frenchman born. The picturesque story which he tells was the result of a good many hours’ talk in the Atlantic office. It lent reality to his story to see among other mementos taken from his pocket a golden bracelet charmingly chased and enameled, once worn by a Belgian lady. A German captain had filched it from her arm, and, as Sergeant Morlae put it, ‘ I got him in Champagne.’
James N. Hall (‘ Kitchener’s Mob ’) is a young Iowan, a graduate of Grinnell College, who with his bicycle for company was enjoying a rare holiday among the Welsh mountains when the war broke out. Cycling into a little town on the memorable 3d of August, 1914, Mr. Hall saw a great crowd, caught the fire of its enthusiasm, hurried to London, joined the mob which paraded tumultuously through Trafalgar Square, and next morning enlisted. The story of his service in the British army, which will be told in some detail in these articles, came to be written through a pleasant acquaintance which the Atlantic formed with Mr. Hall in Boston.
Vernon L. Kellogg (‘ The Belgian Wilderness ’) is a professor of biology in Stanford University, who has just returned to America after spending six months in the work, in Europe, of the Commission for Relief in Belgium, which also conducts the food-relief work in the part of France occupied by the German forces. Professor Kellogg was for the first part of his stay the assistant director of the Commission in charge of the relief work in France, and for the latter part the director, in Brussels, of the work in both Belgium and France. He writes this article at the request of the Atlantic and by permission of the Commission.
Any friend of the Atlantic who after reading Professor Kellogg’s clear and able summary wishes to do his bit for Belgian Relief —a work unparalleled in the history of human charity — may be sure that any cheque sent in care of the Atlantic will be at once turned over to the New England Branch of the Society for Belgian Relief, with which the editor is in constant communication. The society ships all supplies in absolute conformity with suggestions made by Mr. Hoover’s organization.
Ray Morris (‘Business After the War’), formerly the editor of the Railway Age Gazette, and for some years a partner in the firm of White, Weld & Company, has a reputation for well-considered economic judgment.
M. Leon Mirman, the Prefect of the Department of Menthe et Moselle, with headquarters at Nancy, France, who in a recent number of the Atlantic described the tremulous work of rehabilitation which he has undertaken, has written repeatedly in acknowledgment of generous gifts of money sent him through the magazine. These, he tells us, have gone to provide a certain number of families with agricultural and household implements, to enable them to begin life afresh.
Many critics of Mr. Koren’s article write us passionate and often touching letters of the cruel results of drunkenness. What alcohol means to the world under the present conditions we know only too well, and it is precisely because we know, that we have instituted this discussion of methods more apt in our opinion to help the cause of temperance than the prohibitory legislature demanded with so much earnestness and often with so little knowledge.
The preparation of Mr. Koren’s final paper, which deals with Prohibition and Government, has involved so much work that its appearance must be postponed until the April issue.
We find to our regret that in the first paragraphs of Mr. Fell’s Russian story, ‘ Loans and Discounts,’ which were necessarily condensed from the author’s material, certain errors of fact were made. Since these stories are accurately descriptive of a curious and interesting country, we are glad to print the following passages from Mr. Fell’s own correct version.
The scene of these stories is the Kirghiz Steppes, a portion of the Central Asiatic plateau. Villages are scattered sparsely through it, some settled by Russian peasants, others by Cossacks; the two classes are not mixed. The Cossacks are partially self-governed, more independent than the peasants, and proportionately better off. Their system of land-tenure is interwoven with the privileges of caste, which are passed down from father to son with care and pride.
The peasant is in a class rigidly defined by law. Once a peasant always a peasant. He is one of a community whose members own their land in common. Each man has the use of a certain plot of land for a few years and then exchanges it with some one else. Under this deadening system the land is doomed to inevitable impoverishment. In spite of the fatherly solicitude with which the peasant is treated by the Imperial government, his lot is not likely to improve.
The Kirghiz are a nomadic people who roam at will over the Steppes. In the brief summer they lead a life of enchantment. In winter they live in filthy, unventilated, one-room subterranean hovels ; yet, strange to say, they are scrupulously clean, never eating without first washing the hands and always removing their outer boots on entering a tent or house.
The Atlantic has been unusually fortunate in its collection of personal narratives of the Great War. We are so remote from the colossal spectacle of European agony that to most of us it seems almost as unreal as the convulsions of ancient history. The realization of what such a struggle means in human terms seems to the Atlantic of the utmost importance to Americans, and we are very glad indeed to be able to announce the early appearance of other first-hand pictures in keeping with those by Sergeant Morlae and Mr. Hall in this issue.