The Contributors' Column
Katherine Keith of Chicago is best described in her autobiography.
L. Ames Brown is a newspaper correspondent who throughout this Administration has ‘ covered ’ the White House and enjoyed exceptional opportunities for an understanding of the President’s policies. To the Atlantic it has always seemed extraordinary that criticism of the Administration’s Mexican policy almost never takes into consideration the essential fact that it is part and parcel of the large policy of this country toward South America.
Alter Brody was born in his sweet-sounding Kartúshkiya-Beróza, in the Province of Grodno, Russia, some twenty years ago. At the age of eight he came to this country, got his groundwork from the public schools, completed his education in the circulating libraries of the East Side, and is now an associate editor of East and West, a magazine founded for the purpose of introducing Yiddish literature to English-speaking readers.
Of Margaret Sherwood our bitter criticism is that she writes so seldom. George E. Woodberry, as everybody knows, has given his life to the love of poetry and the inspiration of young men.
C. William Beebe, curator of ornithology in the American Museum of Natural History, is now in Guiana creating there a zoölogical garden wherein animals in captivity shall live amongst conditions practically identical with those of their native lairs.
Herbert Tolan has a history, and we are sorry to say that Herbert Tolan’s story has a history, too. We received the manuscript many months ago and were struck by the bold imagination of the plot, but remained dissatisfied with many details. We sent it back for revision, and in the final form accepted it. The story was in page proof and the date too late to make any alteration in the magazine when the Atlantic heard from a proof-reader who, by a curious coincidence, read this story during her last day in the service of the Press. In her mind the story conjured up a puzzling remembrance. For two or three weeks she searched her memory, and then telephoned, advising us to read a certain passage in Frank Norris’s early story, ‘Blix.’ Never was a more definite inspiration. Not only the idea, but the words, were transplanted wholesale. As may be imagined, Mr. Herbert Tolan, who had been writing us many letters from the National Press Club at Washington, no longer replies. Very likely this is a pseudonym, for the gentleman in question obviously is in need of an alias. We trust, however, that we shall publish his full name later.
The incident is mortifying, but, perhaps, not altogether so. It is an unique instance. We are sorry never to have read a story so good as ‘ Blix,’ but we are glad to feel that when a good story came along we recognized it, and we are amused to find that all other offerings from Mr. Tolan (of which, possibly, he himself was the author) were found wanting.
John Finley, poet, pedagogue, and friend of young men, has been successively Professor of Politics at Princeton University and President of the College of the City of New York. At present he is Commissioner of Education at Albany. Mr. and Mrs. Follett each had a share in this, their first published essay, which is the outgrowth of years of affectionate association with the long line of Jacobean novels, essays, stories, and prefaces. Mr. Follett is an instructor at Brown University.
John Hay. This Sonnet, dedicated to President Roosevelt, by his brilliant Secretary of State, was written on Christmas Eve, 1902. Whatever divergence of opinion there may be as to the panegyric of the sestet, of the justice of the tribute in the first eight lines there can be no question. It is interesting to recall Mr. Roosevelt’s own feelings for his father. We quote from his Autobiography: —
‘ My father, Theodore Roosevelt, was the best man I ever knew. He combined strength and justice with gentleness, tenderness, and great unselfishness. He would not tolerate in us children selfishness or cruelty, idleness, cowardice, or untruthfulness. As we grow older, he made us understand that the same standard of clean living was demanded for the boys as for the girls; that what was wrong in a woman could not be right in a man. . . . My father worked hard at his business, for he died when he was forty-six — too early to have retired. He was interested in every social reform movement, and he did an immense amount of practical charitable work himself.’
E. Morlae. The stir occasioned by Sergeant Morlae’s story in the February number has spread both here and abroad. The reader will remember his graphic pictures of his fellow soldiers in the Legion. They were a motley crew, and Morlae wrote of them not unkindly. One with his comrades in his restlessness, in his passion for adventure, and in taking the world as he found it, he was grateful to the men who saved his life at the imminent risk of their own and did not hold it against a comrade who had greater need of money than he because he borrowed it from his belt. We have already said, perhaps, that we have talked much with Morlae personally, that we have seen his medal, and examined his passport permitting him to leave France; but the attacks on him have been so sharp that it may interest our readers to see portions of one or two letters which have recently reached us. The first comes from California: —
Anent the article by Morlae, I was charmed and also made homesick, for I was in the Legion from August to February, having been discharged as Reformé No. 2 at the hospital in Roanne.
Morlae was for a time my officer and an excellent soldier. At one time he had the confidence of most of our section. Being a strong, efficient, ambitious man, he was not universally popular, and I regret to say we had men with us who were narrow enough to mistake petty jealousy as a reason for imputing such serious offenses as have been charged to Morlae’s account in the New York Times.
I regret most sincerely that men have so little honor, so little loyalty to their Legion that they seek to dishonor one of their comrades. Notice that no one lent his name to the attack on Morlae’s reputation.
Morlae’s article filled me with joy; also with regret that I could not be in such a splendid fight. His remarks on his comrades showed their characteristics as I remember them. I received a note from Chatkoff the other day, acknowledging a little packet. Don’t you think that instead of wrangling about an individual soldier’s character, it would be well for the newspapers to start a subscription to provide the American soldiers in France with tobacco, chocolate, and little comforts?
I was one of five Harvard men in our section. My class is 1892. I was over the age limit as a volunteer, but I got out to the front, and Brother Morlae remembers aiding me to get coffee for our squadron under fire — a common occurrence, but one which touches the depths.
My chief interest is in the spiritual side of the war. I see the regeneration of men and nations. Society will be on a new basis. All the time I was in service my soul was thrilling like a man in love, and, truly, it was so, because I touched the soul of France, and in it I saw a deep, deep love. It was a joy to serve under such a mistress.
Here I am trying to get back my health when my heart is in the conflict. I thank you truly for digging up Morlae. His article was an inspiring breath to me.
JOSEPH WHITNEY GANSON.
And here is another from ‘somewhere in France’: —
DEAR SIR: —
I have just seen in the New Orleans Picayune an article questioning the bravery of Sergeant Edward Morlae, formerly of the Foreign Legion. As a sergeant in the same regiment and as an American who has served since the first day of the war, I should like to say something on this subject which I hope you may be able to publish.
I, and others here, know Morlae and have had opportunities to observe him in action. There is no braver man in the Legion than Morlae was. He was daring and intrepid, and his work as Chef de Patrouille (one of the most dangerous duties of a soldier and a wholly voluntary service) was recognized as courageous in the extreme, yet duly cautious. He was known all through the Legion as ‘the nerviest of the bunch.’
An example. During the Champagne attack, when the chief of his section was badly wounded, Morlae leaped to the front of the section and led the men with a spirit that was widely commented upon. Two or three nights later, when we were in temporary trenches, only a hundred yards from the German lines, Morlae was buried by the explosion of a Torpille Aerienne. When dug out at great personal danger by Bob Soubiron, though badly hurt and bleeding, Morlae refused to be carried to the rear, saying, ‘Take that damned stretcher away. Just find me my spectacles!’
It is perfectly true that Morlae has been decorated, as reference to French army records will prove. He deserves a dozen decorations. The facts given here are of my own personal knowledge and observation and can be substantiated by Leon Lammens, Bill Thoran, Elow Nilson, John Bowe, or any American in the Legion who knew Morlae. Morlae was very frank and outspoken, and, naturally, made some enemies, and anything ever said against his personal courage may be accepted as an attempt at petty revenge, and not the truth.
Morlae is brave, and the Legion knows it; and many Germans learned it to their cost.
EDGAR J. BOULIGNY,
Sergeant, Légion Étrangère,
Depot 4e Cie,
Camp de la Valbonne, France.
Lewis R. Freeman, a correspondent very friendly to the Atlantic, secured the facts regarding Mücke’s Odyssey from a variety of German sources. The translations in the paper were made by Mrs. Milly Scheel.
Ellen Key, descended from a Scotch Highlander, Colonel M’Key, who fought under Gustavus Adolphus,was born in 1849 in the Swedish province of Smaland, on a country estate of her father. As a young girl, she was marked by a passionate love for nature, music, and books. In her earlier years she traveled much, but after 1880, when her father lost his property, she was compelled to work for her living and began to teach, first at school, and then at the University of Stockholm, where she occupied the Chair of the History of Civilization in Sweden. Believing with all her soul in what she taught, her radicalism in regard to the duties and rights of women led finally to the loss of her position. Since then she has written and lectured widely, and perhaps there is not a woman in Europe to-day whose influence has been more potent than hers. The last years of her life she is spending at a little house of her own building in one of the loveliest districts in Sweden.
Bouck White was graduated from Harvard in 1896. Ordained as a Congregational minister, he soon found that his steadily mounting radicalism created a barrier between him and many of his brother clergy, while the cleavage between him and many of his lay friends grew marked. In his autobiographical note in Who’s Who, Mr. White speaks of himself as having been ‘ dismissed from Trinity House, Brooklyn, on account of his socialism.’ Certainly, his fighting gospel of a new order on earth has led to violent collision with existing conditions. A year or two ago, Mr. White was forcibly and violently removed when in the presence of a large New York congregation he interrupted the service with a denunciation of the attitude of the church toward the comfortable classes. He was convicted of a breach of the peace and for a time was confined. Some time since, he has organized ‘ the Church of the Social Revolution,’ to which he now ministers. The present article, summing up the observations made by Mr. White during a trip to many fronts during the war, seems to the Atlantic to invite very serious consideration.
A British captain sends us this pleasant compliment from Saloniki, penciled in haste: —
Saloniki, 27th March, 1916.
DEAR EDITOR: —
The March Atlantic has come. 1 nearly stand on my head when I see it. At 5 this morning I was in what the newspapers call an ‘Air-raid.’ Bombs going off all round, broken glass tumbling on my head, the patter of shrapnel, etc. And then comes the Atlantic to tell me I am in the world I knew and loved before the war. . . . I have just read ‘Kitchener’s Mob.’ It is first class — absolutely true.
The mail from Saloniki also brings us copies of The Balkan News, a daily edited and printed by his Britannic Majesty’s Troops on Foreign Service. On the front page appearing conspicuously among telegrams from the battle fronts is ‘The Pathos of America,’ by Henry Osborn Taylor, reprinted from the February Atlantic.
Our audience is widening.
It may be worth while to reprint the following, which is not the only clergyman’s letter we have received that takes a positive stand on behalf of Mr. Koren’s contention.
GENTLEMEN: — I wish to express my deep appreciation of the series of articles on the general subject of constructive temperance reform by Mr. John Koren. I am convinced that these articles are of inestimable value at the present time. I wish there were some way of getting such ideas into general discussion among the people. We have at present no way, as the Anti-Saloon League through its domination of the churches has, of getting sane temperance ideas constantly before the masses. All that most of the people now see is merely a fight between the prohibitionist and the saloon-keeper, in which good men are very much confused as to which is the better side to take.
Will not Atlantic authors send $1.00 each to the Authors’ Fund, State St. Trust Co., Boston, and so express their sympathy and admiration for the Soldiers of Liberty now lying wounded in France ?