Charles H. Grasty, a journalist of long and varied experience, represented the New York Times abroad throughout the war and at the Peace Conference. The writer of the ‘Javanese Letters,’ Raden Adjeng Kartini, was the daughter of Raden Mas Adipati Sosroningrat, Regent of Japara, Raden Adjeng being the title of an unmarried noblewoman in Java. As to the island itself, of which not many persons have intimate knowledge, it may interest our readers to be reminded of what the famous Venetian traveler, Marco Polo, wrote in the thirteenth century.
When you sail From Chambra fifteen thousand miles on a course between south and southeast, you come to a great island called Java. And experienced mariners of those Islands who know the matter well say that it is the greatest Island in the world and has a compass of three thousand miles. It is subject to a great King and tributary to no one else in the world. The people are idolaters. The Island is of surpassing wealth, producing black pepper, nutmegs, spikenard, galingale, cubebs, cloves, and all other kinds of spices.
This Island is also frequented by a vast amount of shipping, and by merchants who buy and sell costly goods from which they reap great profit. Indeed, the treasure of this Island is so great, as to be past telling.
Of the writer of ‘ Up from Insanity ’ we need hardly say that his life has been precisely as described in his revealing narrative. He could not be so frank and sign his name; but that name is known to the editor. The paper has been the subject of much correspondence, and with the author’s consent pains has been taken to verify many of the facts. The Atlantic has entire confidence that the story is genuine down to the smallest detail. Lisa Ysaye Tarleau, a New York writer, will be remembered as the author of a number of charming little sketches contributed to the Atlantic in the summer of 1917. Walter Lippman was one of the founders of the New Republic, and has ever since been an editor of that journal. His Drift and Mastery and Stakes of Diplomacy have earned for him an attentive hearing.
Mr. and Mrs. Haldeman-Julius, who, between them, combine the pursuits of journalist, banker, and breeders of fine stock, write us of life and literature on a. Kansas farm: —
August 3, 1919.
You would have been amused if you had known, when you wrote us, of the chaos in which your letter was to arrive. As we were opening it, word came that our barn Bolshevik had flown up at a new helper whom he was supposed to instruct, and had departed with his wife and a boy, leaving more than half of the cows unmilked. As we supply probably a third of the town, you may visualize the flurry. After the first quick glance that told us ‘ Caught' was taken, we had no chance to read further until the milk was cooling in the big tanks. There in the cellar, both of us dripping sweat, between turns at the stirring and bottling, we read and discussed every sentence, and later there was a pleasant but spirited family altercation as to whether the letter should go in ‘Daddy’s’ pocket to the office, or with ‘Muddie’ on the milk truck. ‘Muddie’ won. . . .
It was certainly gratifying to graduate from Mr. MacGregor Jenkins’s ‘vexatious “one-story writers"' to the comforting heights of the comebackers. The warm satisfaction of having our first story accepted by the first editor to train a basilisk stare on it was soon chilled by the horrible, haunting fear that we might be forced to include ourselves in Mr. Jenkins’s annihilating classification.
We take our stories very seriously, giving them complete concentration. Writing is a high joy with us — crammed with the toil of love and the pulsating ecstasy of battle, for we pounce on each other’s ideas and characterizations with almost wolfish wantonness and maul about with literary hatchets until the underbrush is cleared away and clogging branches pruned. Sometimes we become positively brutal as one slashes the other’s pet paragraphs, or modifies a scheme of continuity. It does n’t seem as if we ever could run out of ideas &emdashthough some of them are much better than others, and we shall probably blunder along with many stumbles and false starts.
Very cordially yours,
EMANUEL and MARCET HALDEMAN-JULIUS.
Margaret Prescott Montague is, so to speak, an intimate contributor to this magazine. Of the late Clyde L. Davis, the managing editor of the World’s Work has written: —
He came into a group of people who had come to accept the restraining and subduing influence, upon speech and action, of the congested and sophisticated East. He brought into that atmosphere the fresh, free air of the prairie, its expressiveness of mood, its humorous and leisurely philosophy, its habits of thinking about folks instead of things. He had the Middle Western hunger for knowledge and reverence for learning — he said of his Harvard career that it had given him access to books and time to consume them, and he look a humorous but genuine pride in saying, ‘ When I got through, I had rend ’em all. If it s in a book, I know it.’ . . . To such a mind old things were perennially new; and he made them new to those about him. Life was a perpetual adventure or discovery, which he greeted with delight or grin or chuckle.
Dallas Lore Sharp, a familiar contributor to the Atlantic, is Professor of English at Boston University, and a ceaseless speculator on the art of successful living. Richardson Wright is the editor of House and Garden, published in New York. Charles Nicholls Webb sends his first contribution to the Atlantic from Lancaster, Wisconsin. Frank F. Beirne, a Rhodes Scholar and Oxford B.A. of some years standing, is a journalist of Richmond, Virginia. Chauncey B. Tinker is a humanist and Professor of English for whom Yale men have reason to be thankful. Anne Douglas Sedgwick (Mrs. Basil de Sélincourt) will be represented in the Atlantic in 1920 by the first serial novel we have printed in a number of years.
Herbert Sidebotham, now military correspondent of the Times, long acted in the same capacity for the Manchester Guardian. His favorable estimate of the Premier is particularly interesting, coming, as it does, from an important member of the staff of a paper quite bitterly hostile to the agile son of Wales. Thomas H. Dickinson is now in Paris, in the service of the American Relief Administration. Kenneth Scott Latourette is Professor of History at Denison University, Granville, Ohio.
This note carries its own comment. DEAR SIRS —
Your article ‘Can Such Things Be?’ in the September Atlantic is interesting. It may amuse you to hear that I am using the title for a little article of mine that will shortly appear in a leading Turkish weekly of Stamboul. Only the text will be different. I shall simply reprint, word for word, in Turkish translation, the account of half a dozen recent lynchings and race riots — amongst them the account of an innocent negro woman, burned on the stake by a howling mob of Christians, although she was about to give birth to a child — which I have culled from a number of daily papers, sach as the Sun, Globe, Transcript, World, Herald, et cætera. I shall not even give a single line of commentary. Simply the account, translated, without changing a word, and— by your courtesy — the most telling title: —
CAN SUCH THINGS BE?
I may possibly add just one quotation from the New Testament — something about the beam in one’s own eye.
What do you think? Would you care — or dare — to print this letter in your Contributors’ Column? Surely you will — you are a race and faith and nation famous for your broad humanity and fairness and tolerance.
An understanding commentary on Mr. Bradford’s delicate picture of Emily Dickinson comes from Connecticut, from one of our older readers.
Having read, reread, and re-reread the charming portrait of Emily Dickinson in the August Atlantic, I find it difficult to realize that more than a half century has passed since — in a way — she dominated my fancy; and I wonder how many who have a vivid memory of her will read the article by Mr. Bradford.
The memory is as alive as anything that has passed can be, but the vision itself was always as vague as the moonlight of which it seemed a part.
My memories of her as I saw her many times are vague, shadowy, almost supernatural: a slender, white-robed figure, gliding back and forth, slowly, in the twilight, or transfigured by moonlight on the piazza of her home; often standing in the shadow of a column if voice or step betrayed the presence of a possible observer. And always the front door stood open, waiting to receive her in case of possible intrusion; a contingency that never became a reality, I fancy, as the pensive moods of the ethereal maid were comprehended and respected.
Other Massachusetts towns retain traditions of remarkable young women of that era. Northfield recalls Delphia Davis, a teacher of the Margaret Fuller order, who as a teacher made a brilliant record, if soon cut short by death; and Sarah Allen, the gifted daughter of Samuel Clesson Allen, Member of Congress, who shone in society in Boston and Washington, and when stricken by illness at the family home, Bennett’s Meadow, Northfield, refused to submit to the dread messenger, affirming that it was impossible that she should die, as she was born to astonish the world! In what way are these isolated recipients of rare mental gifts explainable?
ANNIE A. PRESTON.
The editor of the Idaho Statesman, published at Boise, writes to the Atlantic in protest against certain statements in Mrs. Greenwood’s ‘ Letters from a Sage-Brush Farm' in the September number, particularly the paragraph regarding the publication in the Statesman of a signed statement ‘from 60 boys in the army protesting against the voting of the Non-partisan ticket.’ The statements, he says, are not true and, in addition, they ‘put the Statesman in the light of aiding in a shady political trick ’
As to the last clause quoted, we can only say that Mrs. Greenwood makes no other reference to the newspaper than to say that the statement was printed on its front page on election morning, which the editor admits.
But his letter is devoted mainly to refuting the charge that the signatures in question were obtained by a ‘certain reverend gentleman from Boise,’ who ‘was sent to France at the expense of the politicians, supposedly as a Red Cross worker, but really to get these signatures.'
Of the identity of the reverend gentleman we know nothing; but our correspondent informs us that he is the Reverend Willsie Martin, who, he says, was sent to France to see conditions at first hand, whereby ‘his value as a war-worker would be greatly enhanced’; that his expenses were defrayed by popular subscription, and that he did not reach Angers, whence the resolutions emanated, until after they had been mailed to this country.
Our correspondent then quotes from one Mark A. Shields of the ll6th Engineers, to the effect that the resolutions were prompted by suspicion of the loyalty of the leaders of the League; that that regiment refused by one vote to adopt them, and that they were signed voluntarily by such members of the regiment as chose to sign them, absolutely without pressure from any source, and without promise of reward.
We are unable to follow our correspondent’s reasoning when he says that the sequence of Mrs. Greenwood’s paragraphs would lead readers to think that the Statesman was also a party to political deals like that which resulted in the creation of Jerome County, as to the iniquity of which, he says, Mrs. Greenwood has not told half the truth, and which the Statesman condemned without reserve.
As we go to press, we are in receipt of a letter from Governor Davis of Idaho, denying the truth of the statement of Mrs. Greenwood concerning an agreement between himself and 'a big banker,’ in connection with the making of Jerome County from parts of three other counties.
Professor Goodspeed’s gay little paper on week-ending touched, you remember, upon the tradition that once upon a time camels were used in the American army. The legendary episode becomes historic in the light of the following letter.
‘Week-Ender’ may be interested in the following yarn, which I heard round a campfire in western Texas in the early eighties. The story of the War Department’s bringing camels to the Western deserts for the use of the army had been told, followed by the statement that some of them escaped and for years roamed the more unfrequented parts.
An old teamster spoke up and said he remembered meeting one. Me was with a large wagon outfit which stopped, late one night, to camp in the desert, in a place where there were boulders and outcropping ledges of rock scattered around. There was some moonlight. As they were settling down, suddenly, right in their midst, a large boulder rose up and moved silently and swiftly away. He admitted that he lost his nerve. Also that the stampede among the partially unharnessed horses and mules, which immediately ensued, was the worst he had ever seen. It took all that night and most of the next day to round up the animals and mend the broken harness.
I have fortunately forgotten his remarks about the camel.
R. BRENT KEYSER
Several of the letters which we have received vouch for the truth of this picturesque incident.
The plight of the bookseller still occupies the attention of our readers.
EDITOR OF THE ATLANTIC,-
Mr. Arnold’s painfully interesting article in your August number, on the book trade, brings the following in a letter from a bookseller brother, formerly a traveling newspaper agent in Western Pennsylvania, West Virginia, etc., and a bookman by nature and habit: —
'It only confirms what I have heard for years and over a wide stretch of territory. There is a college town and county seat in Pennsylvania, of some 6000 people [name given], — no manufacturing, a refined, pretty, and handsomely kept town, seemingly the very place to sell high-grade literature, — in which the one bookseller is a Harvard man formerly in a great public library; an ideal town for a bookstore and an ideal man for a bookseller. He told me that he did not now sell a good set of the English classics (meaning Thackeray, Dickens, etc.) from year’s end to year’s end, where formerly he would sell many sets in a season. But this is not new, and seems to go deeper than lack of return privileges, though that must help. Forty years ago,--of Cornhill, Boston, told me that foreigners were far and away the best buyers of books — bought the highest grade of subject-matter.’
Would a favorite story of mine sully the Atlantic’s dignity?
‘Patsy, Micky Doolan called me a liar: what would yez do if ye was me?’
‘Well, Dinny, I t’ink I’d tell the trut’ oftener.’
Serena of the Wild Strawberries is evidently a heroine after the heart of many Atlantic readers. From many a pleasant comment we select this one.
September 7, 1919.
Serena has my sympathy; even so has it happened to me.
Five years ago I planted an infant peach tree in my garden — a slender, virginal thing, who did not seem to have grown at all when, last April, long before any of the other trees were out, and herself entirely nude of leaves, she blushed into her first blooming. I protected her then from the sparrows, who, knowing her shame, came to make a mock of her, and to peck at her buds with their cruel beaks; so that now, when her burden is almost more than her drooping limbs can bear, it has become my burden, too, and my pride. To me she is no longer a peach tree; she is the Spirit of All Growing Things, at once tremulous, eager, joyous; over-ambitious, perhaps, but all the lovelier for that. For now her glad green cannot any longer conceal those velvety globes, rosy and translucent in the light, and heavy with a magic distillation of sunshine and rain.
Comes a friend to whom I rashly proffer a fullblown fruit. She opens it callously with a silver knife, while I await her exclamations.
‘Ah,’ says she, after a moment, ‘it’s quite sweet, is n’t it? ’
Sweet! Sweet! O Serena, I would far rather she had remarked casually that my children were quite clean.
I had no blackberry vinegar in the house, and so she went in peace; but her soul, I felt, fairly shrieked for something of the sort — blackberry vinegar, or perhaps a mustard-plaster.
It were wiser, I believe, to keep one’s peaches, and one’s strawberries, too, in the family.
Madame Ponafidine’s letters have made a deep impression upon the Atlantic public, and we are in constant receipt of letters of inquiry concerning her fate. Various rumors have reached us, but none of them have we been able to authenticate. The following specific information, from a correspondent at Bar Harbor, is, however, of interest. Dr. Gates, President of Robert College at Constantinople, and a friend of Madame Ponafidine, reports that two of her sons have been killed; that, in view of her kindness to the peasants, her life and that of her blind husband were spared; but that they had been driven from their home; since when none of their friends have heard from them, and their present whereabouts is unknown.
The discussion recently conducted in the Contributors’ Club, regarding the sum of qualities which make up the perfect gentleman, has already advanced the social fortunes of many Atlantic readers. We are glad, therefore, to pass on a refined suggestion from Mr. Benjamin P. Bourland, of Cleveland, Ohio, who happily recalls an incident in his own early education. The shores of a pool, where he and his friends were wont to disport themselves on sunny afternoons, were discreetly veiled from passers-by by a fence, on which was blazoned the following legend, deserving to be graven on the polite imagination: —
The True Gentleman Is The Same In The Pool As In The Parlor.
THE RHODES SCHOLARS: DEFENSIO CONTRA DEFENSIONEM
To THE EDITOR OF THE ATLANTIC,-
I wish to thank you for the opportunity to see an advance proof of Mr. Beirne’s article. In his assumption that the American Rhodes Scholar has not held his own at Oxford, Mr. Beirne is, it seems to me, tilting against a man of straw. The assumption is not justified, and Dr. Parkin does not make it. What he and all our critics do say is that, as a body, the American Scholars are unequal, and this charge no one can successfully deny.
Probably few Rhodes Scholars would care to make Mr. Beirne’s defense for such shortcomings as they can fairly be charged with. It is as if the Harvard crew should ask for a handicap in a race with Oxford on the Thames. Mr. Beirne says, in the first place, that the American is compelled to meet the Englishman on his own ground and play the game according to English rules; in the second place, that the Rhodes Trust should not expect ‘all-round men’ to do too much in the way of scholarship. It is neither graceful nor necessary for an American to urge either of those considerations. American Rhodes Scholars have proved that they can meet the Englishman on his own ground, whether that ground be the playing-field or the examination school, and our best have been able to do it in both. We must send over more of our best. Those who wish the Scholarships well will not resent, criticism, will not be content to have our American record compared with anything short of the best at Oxford, and will welcome every stimulus to equal or surpass that best. We have in our American colleges and universities the men who can do it, and the opportunity offered by the Scholarships is worth their while.
I am, sir.
Yours very truly,