The Contributors' Column--August Atlantic
Lawrence Pearsall Jacks, Principal of Manchester College, Oxford, has been editor of the Hibbert Journal from its foundation. Agnes Repplier, whose home is in Philadelphia, has been a contributor to the Atlantic for more than thirty years of essays upon many and diverse themes. The versatility of her talent and the wide range of her interests have never been more manifest than in the papers we have printed since the war began. The last was ’ ‘Woman Enthroned,’ in the number for March of this year. Anne Douglas Sedgwick. (Mrs. Basil de Sélincourt), one of the most acceptable writers of fiction in English, is of American birth, but has spent most of her life abroad. Of late she has been doing hospital work in France.
Ordway Tead is an active member of the Bureau of Industrial Research, ‘a voluntary group, independently committed to the impartial study and accurate publicity of labor problems; at this time making a special point of keeping in close touch with the government relations with organized labor.’ Samuel Scoville, Jr., a practising lawyer of Philadelphia, finds his relaxation in a sympathetic and understanding study of Nature in all her varying aspects. John Jay Chapman, a writer skilled in every form of literary art, is the father of Victor Chapman, the American aviator, whose death in France last year inspired the noble lines ‘May, 1917,’ in the Atlantic for August last.
Gordon Snow is Recorder of Salt Lake City, and secretary of Local Draft Board No. 3, in that district. Virginia Baker, an occasional contributor, lives in Warren, R. I. Notwithstanding the whimsical cast of many of her stories, the discerning reader notes the nice accuracy of her observation. Abbé Ernest Dimnet, Professor at the Collège Stanislas, Paris, has done much, by virtue of his familiar acquaintance with English and American life and manners, and his mastery of the English idiom, to strengthen the bonds of international friendship. In March, 1915, the Atlantic published his study of General Joffre.
Amy Lowell, poet, critic, and close student of the art of modern poetry, lives in Brookline, Massachusetts. Alfred G. Gardiner is the editor of the Liberal London Daily News, whose attitude, like that of the Manchester Guardian, is critical of the present British government. Mr. Gardiner is the accomplished master of pen portraits, as all will know who have read his Pillars of Society and has lengthening list of Atlantic papers. Chauncey B. Tinker, who has been Professor of Chemistry at Yale since 1913, is a welcome new contributor.
Lieutenant-Colonel Charles a’Court Repington is a retired British officer, with a distinguished record of service in Afghanistan, the Soudan, and the Boer War, having been ‘mentioned in despatches’ four times, and as many times decorated for gallant conduct. Upon his retirement from the army, he became military correspondent of the Times, and during his service of fifteen years in that capacity held a position of great authority and influence. Since the war began he has been the leading protagonist of the ‘theory of the Western Front,’ and his preponderant influence in support of that theory was discussed by M. Chéradame in his paper in the April Atlantic, to which Colonel Repington’s article is, in part, a reply. He has now entered the service of the Morning Post, having severed his connection with the Times for reasons which he himself describes. Dr. M. P. Rooseboom, a thoughtful and well-informed student of affairs, is a resident of The Hague. The editor invited this contribution, knowing that Dr. Rooseboom had lived in the United States for several years, and had had every opportunity to become familiar with our point of view as well as that of the Netherlands, which he naturally and warmly supports. Charles Bernard Nordhoff, a brilliant Californian aviator, who has graduated from the Eseadrille Lafayette, and is now an officer in the American service, continues the narrative of his adventures in the air, the earlier portions of which we printed in October, January, and April last. Of the late Major Lufbery, to whom he refers enthusiastically in these pages, he writes in a recent letter: ‘Major Lufbery, greatest of American fighting pilots, is gone ; I saw him fall, while I paced helplessly around my “bus,”laid up with a broken magneto.’ Henry P. Talbot is a distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is now giving much of his time to government service. M. Cheradame’s papers continue to arouse extraordinary interest. In this number he discusses from a new standpoint and with new insistence his thesis of the overshadowing menace of PanGermany.
As evidence of the widespread effect that is being produced by M. Chéradame’s arguments, we quote the following from a letter of the pastor of a Presbyterian church in Washington: —
June 18, 1918.
To THE EDITOR OF THE ATLANTIC.
DEAR SIR:— For several months past I have noted with much interest the series of articles appearing in the Atlantic Monthly by M. Andre Cheradame. These seem to me Lo be the most illuminating and valuable discussions that have appeared anywhere. M. Chéradame is doing a magnificent work for the Allies and for our own country. I am glad that you have put these articles in book form.
The object of my letter is to urge that you continue this fine work, on a larger scale, with M. Cheradame as collaborator. I suggest that, if possible, you secure from among your patrons same one toko may be wealthy and patriotic, who would finance the publication and distribution of a million or more copies of the seventh chapter of M. Cheradame’s book on Pan-Germaoism: the Disease and Cure, that chapter being entitled ‘The Best Way to Crush Pan-Germany.’ Many people do not read magazines or books, and a tract of this kind might reach a large number. This chapter is especially appropriate now. . . .
M. Chéradame is right: we are obsessed with the theory of the Western front. The press of the country has not yet got the fundamental ideas of the European situation. Some editors have got the idea, and are speaking in ringing tones.
I am doing what I can along this line, and my object in writing is not to secure any publicity; rather. I want to help and want you to help, on a big scale. Will you do it?
Yours for smashing the Ilapsburgs,
JAMES H. TAYLOR.
The following judicious comment comes to us from the Department of Justice in Washington, uncut the celebrated discussion between Mr. Scully and Colonel Roosevelt concerning the characteristics of the ostrich: —
EDITOR OF THE ATLANTIC MONTHLY: -
DEAR Sir:—It lias been a pleasant relief to turn aside for a moment from the regulation of alien enemies, and observe the havoc wrought when Colonel Roosevelt’s ostrich-laden train of thought overtook and telescoped that of Mr. Scully. The suggestion of a prone position as an effective defense to the attack of an infuriated ostrich has a somewhat humorous connotation. One can well imagine the solemn joy of the ostrich Which encountered the Colonel thus defensively recumbent. It might not be able to hurt him, but by walking over him and sitting on him, it would exercise privileges never accorded to his political opponents. Perhaps, though, we should compare the Colonel to the ostrich and Mr. Scully to the surprised wayfarer. If Mr. Scully accepts the Colonel’s strictures lying down, he may escape great harm; while if he stands up and hits back, the resultant combat will be most painful. 1 hope, however, that he will hit back.
One thing I miss in both the original article and the commentary. That is, the ostrich of my youth, a timid creature, accustomed to flee from an enemy and effect what it fondly assumed to be total concealment by burying itshead in the sand. Certainly this is not the fiery, intelligent bird discussed by Mr. Scully. Is it perhaps extinct? Its conduct seemed an invitation to destruction. Yet even here protective coloring might accomplish much. The sand-colored female, after thrusting her head into a desert sand-pile, should be nearly indistinguishable. The only proper refuge for the black male would be the nearest coal-bin. With the demand for fuel at its present pitch, it would hardly seem discreet for a bird to seek concealment by imitating a heap of coal.
Another point in the discussion is illuminated in the following letter:—
GLENDALE, OHIO, July 3, 1918
EDITOR OF THE ATLANTIC: &emdash
Theodore Roosevelt, in his criticisms, in the June Atlantic, of Mr. Scully’s paper ‘The African Ostrich,’appears to have tripped up on one point, lie writes: ‘ Mr. Scully says that the ostrich is the only animal man has domesticated because of “sheer loveliness, as distinguished from utility.” Surely Mr. Scully has forgotten that the peacock has been domesticated for a far longer time than the ostrich.’
It is true that the peacock has been domesticated from times beyond record but Mr. Scully was not speaking of the dates of domestication: he was speaking of ‘sheer loveliness, as distinguished from utility,’ Mr, Roosevelt was wrong in suggesting that the peacock was domesticated for its beauty. Everything we know about it indicates that it was domesticated for utility, for food. Easily accessible information on this point can be obtained in the article ‘ Peacock in the Encyclopœdia Britannica. ‘Classical authors contain many allusions to its high appreciation at the most sumptuous banquets; and mediæval bills of fare, on state occasions, nearly always include it. In the days of chivalry one of the most solemn oaths was taken “on the peacock,” which seems to have been served up garnished with its own gaudy plumage. . . . Though in earlier days highly esteemed for the table, it is no longer considered the delicacy it was once thought; the young of the wild birds, however, are still esteemed in the East.’
If Mr. Roosevelt had said that the peacock, long ago domesticated for utilitarian purposes, is to-day, in general, bred only for its beauty, his statement would have been correct. But that statement would not have invalidated Mr. Scully’s assertion that the ostrich is the only animal man has domesticated because of ‘sheer loveliness, as distinguished from utility.’
CALVIN DILL WILSON.
It seems that the chronicler of Illustrious Illiterates in the June Club did but iinperpect justice to the Iowa lady of whom he made agreeable mention. A zealous partisan of hers writes us the complete account:
In all fairness to the old lady from Iowa quoted in ‘ The Illustrious Illiterate’ in the June number, I should like to give the full text of her classic remarks, there quoted only in part. ‘If I’d ’a’ knowed I could ’a’ rode,’ she said. ‘I would ’a’ went; but if I had ’a’ went, I could n’t have et nothin’.’
We have had numerous other appreciative letters in further explication of American practices in the arts of speech, for which we regret that we have not space.
Offers of heip are always gratefully received. We record the two following:—
I am a story writer and I understand you are in the Market for same, on what subject would you prefer to a have a love, Jokes, or a detective, stories. I am writeing Every night and nearly all the time. Yours Resptfully.
DEAR SIR, I hear you buy Stories if so pleas Rite me and tell me the terms and Price and what find you want funny or sad and How long or short I can rite all einds I can Rite songs to. do you know of some Company that buys songs I got a lot of war songs Rote and would like to sell them Rite soon and Oblidge me.
Closer readers of the Atlantic will perhaps recall Private Knickerbocker’s touching appeal for soldiers’ copies of the magazine. That appeal was not neglected, and a Memphis friend sends us this quotation from a grateful letter received from this exponent of the literary taste of the 8th Cavalry.
‘Flie troopers of G Troop, 8th Cavalry, stationed here, will not let the duplicate copies of the Atlantic be wasted, by any means. It is surprising to see how popular that reputedly highbrow paper is with the indubitably low-brow soldier, whom, here on the border, only the burro is beneath.
This letter from a friend much admired by the Atlantic will interest our readers.
NANCY, 27 May, 1918
DEAR MR. EDITOR: —
Since the first months of 1915, the Atlantic Monthly and its readers have given many precious tokens of sympathy to my dear and poor people of refugees in Nancy. Then I am glad to tell you and I am sure you shall be glad to know, that the Académic des Sciences Morales et Politiques has just honoured with one of its highest prizes our common ‘Revue des Refugiés Lorrains a, Nancy.’ If you are so kind as to publish this information in the Atlantic, your many readers who from afar were my staunch associates will be happy to think that our enterprise has been carried out in a serious way.
I enclose here a copy of my official report to the Conscil Général de Meurthe-etMoselle about the valuable services of the American Red Cross and the American Fund for French Wounded in this department; perhaps you will be pleased to publish the full text, if not of the report, at least of the resolutions voted by the whole assembly and printed on the first page.
Everyone in France feels that the U. S. are now wholly in the war, with their muscles, their brain and their heart. Therefore we must win, on two conditions: at first, that we shall be able to find a suitable method for organizing the high commands —a method which, of course, takes into serious account the justifiable pride of each nation and which will be urged by a just estimate of the present needs. Next, that we swiftly create a powerful army — a fleet — of ‘avioiis,’ not by the hundreds, but by dozens of thousands. That is not a dream, it is quite possible, and it is necessary if we will win before the full ruin and starvation of the half of civilized humankind. As to me, how gallant soever your soldiers may be, I would rather prefer thirty thousand American flying machines and flying men, than three hundred thousand soldiers, so much it is difficult,I dare say, perilous, to handle an army without staffs trained and experienced enough.
If, before the end of this year 1918, the great Allied nations have not crushed the whole German aviation, if they have not in the field several dozens of thousand ‘avions’ for bombing the cities far from the front, and also every day, every night, every hour of the day and the night, the quartered bodies just behind the front, — it would be a bankruptcy at once for our industries and our races, the Italian, British, French and American. I stand strongly hoping.
I beg you, dear Mr. Editor, to believe me
Yours truly L. MIRMAN.
Prefect of Meurthe-et-Moselle.
The ‘resolutions’ referred to by M. Mirman follow, being a record of the proceedings of the Conseil Général at its session of April 23, 1918.
The Conseil Général, having listened to the report of the Prefect, setting forth the multifold services rendered to the civil population of Meurthe ct Moselle by the American Red Cross and by the American Fund for French Wounded, notably by the establishment at the Luxembourg barrack of a shelter for refugees, a children’s hospital, and a maternity department, and by setting up in numerous workingmen s centres dispensaries and clinics for women and children; and the majority of its members havinginspeeted, with the utmost interest, the perfect organization of the services installed in the Luxembourg barrack, and having come to realize with deep emotion the scope of the work undertaken by the American Red Cross, hereby requests the Prefect to present to Dr. Maynard Ladd and to all his collaborators, men and women alike, its sentiments of profound gratitude, and to inform them how deeply it is touched by the attentions, no less efficient than devoted, lavished by them upon the women and children of Lorraine.
At the same time the Conseil Général extends its fraternal greeting to I the valorous soldiers of the American Republic, who at this moment are displaying equal ardorpvith the soldiers of France in defense of the Lorraine front. It associates itself wholeheartedly with the action of the communes of the department in erecting, at the expense of all, a provisional monument in honor of the first sons of the United States who fell on the field of honor, and who rest in Lorraine soil; it engages to preserve this patriotic monument, which will endure through the ages as a goal of pilgrimage for all those who have it at heart to commemorate the great historic fact—the alliance of the two sister Republics against German imperialism.
Our readers will recall a letter recently printed in this column, written by a young wife fresh from the agony of parting with her soldier husband. We did not at the time think that an utterance so sensitive and so poignant could be read without instant sympathy, and we print the following comment after consideration. Many readers, we hope, will refer to the original letter, for the two exemplify, with almost perfect precision, the divergence between those whom William James used affectionately to call ‘sick souls’ and those who are, by wonderful gift of birth, ‘healthyminded.’ For either to understand the other is difficult; yet many of us cannot withhold our sympathy from the one or om esteem from the other. This spirited letter comes, it need hardly be said, from a wife of the Regular Army.
THE EDITOR, ATLANTIC MONTHLY,
DEAR SIR: — In the contributor’s column of the June Atlantic you publish a letter from a soldier’s wife to her mother, with the inference that it represents the best spirit of American youth. 1 should like to enter a vigorous protest against this. I too am a soldier’s wife; my husband enlisted a week after war was declared, and is now in France. I know very well all that that wife is suffering, for I have spent nearly eight years of perfect married happiness, and the separation and loneliness and uncertainty only grow with time. Nevertheless, if I had written that letter to my mother, I would consider myself a traitor. For a wife to send her husband forth, ‘not seeing how he can come back,’ is disgraceful; for her to allow him to go, feeling that he will not return, is a terrible failure in wifely duty. If all the wives and mothers felt that way, and let their men feel it, we would surely be defeated, for we would be a nation expecting the annihilation of our army, and our army would be looking forward to death instead of glorious victory,
I cannot imagine a man receiving his overseas orders with ‘tears streaming down his cheeks, and sobbing like a baby.’ I ’m afraid he’ll be mightly little help to the cause! I was living near my husband’s camp when the orders came for his regiment to go, and 1 never saw a happier crowd of men in my life than those officers were.
Along with most of the other wives I took the last meal with our men at the mess before the camp was closed to all civilians prior to the regiment’s leaving. Every one was jolly and cheerful and full of fun, and none of it was strained or forced, either. With one or two exceptions (which we all despised) I am sure we said our last goodbye with a smile on our faces, even though, when it was over, the whole world seemed veiled in a queer mist, that, for me, did not lift for a week.
If the daughter in your letter really believed in God, she would know that He would protect her husband. Each time we were together in those last weeks, my husband ami I read the 91st Psalm, and we really believe it. I read it every night still, and I am sure my husband does, too; and I feel absolutely certain that, if our whole army and the home folks behind only had a living working faith in God, ours would be an army protected by the Lord, and it would march to Victory almost unscathed, for nothing is impossible to God. No, your correspondent says God gives us faith, but hers is not worthy of I the name, and I hope and pray her letter is not a sample of the struggles in the million hearts of which you speak.
I write thus at length, for though the spirit of the officers and their wives in the camp I know best was wonderful and inspiring, there were many cases among the men where their families did everything to rouse fear and weaken morale, and I think a nation-wide campaign should be begun against such a state of mind.