The Contributors' Column

‘The Third Window,’ Anne Douglas Sedgwick’s (Mrs. Basil de Sélincourt) new story, will run through three numbers of the Atlantic. To William Beebe, Curator Emeritus of Ornithology at the New York Zoölogical Park, the National Academy of Sciences has recently awarded the Elliot Medal for 1918, on the completion of the first volume of his great work, A Monograph of the Pheasants. This distinguished honor is awarded annually, under the bequest of Daniel Giraud Elliot, to the author of the leading publication of the year in zoölogy or palæontology. In presenting Mr. Beebe to the Academy to receive the award, Professor Henry F. Osborn said, of the work in question: —

This is a profound study of the living pheasants in their natural environment in various parts of Eastern Asia. There are nineteen groups of these birds: eighteen were successfully hunted with the camera, with field-glasses, and when necessary for identification with the shotgun. The journey occupied seventeen months
. . . [and] extended over 52,000 miles. . . . The monograph has important bearings on the Darwinian theories of protective coloring and of sexual selection, and on the De Vries theory of mutation. . . . The haunts of the pheasant are shown in the author’s photographs, ranging from the slopes of the Himalayan snow-peaks, 16,000 feet above the sea, to the tropical seashores of Japan. ... It is not the magnificence of this monograph, not the superb illustrations, not the delightfully written text, but the truly Darwinian spirit which animated the author and which sustained him through seven years of continuous research and his arduous labors in its preparation.

Edward Yeomans, is a Chicago manufacturer. Regarding his last Atlantic paper we should like to say that many dwellers in ‘suburbs de luxe’ have written to inquire concerning their friend, the author. It is hardly necessary for the editor to respond by saying that Toppington — the background of the group-portrait — is a purely imaginary capital of the fortunate classes. In fact, through the editor’s sleight of hand, Toppington was inserted in place of the town of the author’s choice, which, by reason of an accidental similarity of name, would inevitably have been mistaken for a resort where too many Atlantic subscribers live to make such aspersions comfortable for the editor. John Galsworthy, eminent English poet, novelist, dramatist, and essayist, is a frequent contributor to these pages. Our readers will be glad to renew their acquaintance with Robert Haven Schauffler, who saw active service with the American Expeditionary Forces in France. After recovering from a severe wound, he served on the staff of General A. H. Smith in the Army of Occupation in Germany. ‘Fiddlers Militant’ is the first of a number of papers which he has written for the Atlayitic, describing his adventures with his ’cello during the war. They form a warlike sequel to his delightful paper ‘ Fiddlers Errant,’ which we printed in December, 1915. Fannie Stearns (Davis) Gifford a poet and essayist of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, is an Atlantic contributor of long standing.

Edwin Bonta, who ‘lived in Russian,’ with the American Y.M.C.A., and was attached to the North Russian Expeditionary Force at Archangel, contributed to the January number, the first of these novel ‘ Sketches in Peasant Russia ’ — ‘ Vinovát’ — of which we have others in hand. The author of ‘Intellectual America’ desires, for obvious reasons, to remain anonymous. Hascal T. Avery, a member of the New York Bar, has more than once drawn upon his legal recollections for the delectation of our readers. Country-wise as well as city-wise in law and politics, he can tell tales of county elections in the spacious days of David B. Hill, calculated to stir the roots of any young reformer’s hair.

Lisa Ysaye Tarleau, of New York, contributes the third of the present series of fanciful brief sketches — a genre in which she has achieved genuine distinction. Arthur E. Morgan is a distinguished engineer of Dayton, whose services in the protection of the Ohio Valley from flood had large public importance. To the Atlantic for March, 1918, he contributed a paper summing up his educational theories and experiments, which attracted such wide attention that it has been reprinted separately as one of the series of ‘Atlantic Readings.’ Ralph R. Perry, a recent graduate of Columbia, was on the staff of the Literary Digest when the United States declared war. He entered the naval service and served, first, in command of a submarine chaser, No. 58, and after the Armistice on a transport plying between Norfolk and Bordeaux, St. Nazaire, and Brest.

Grace Fallow Norton is an American poet, best known, perhaps, by her Little Gray Songs from St. Joseph’s, which first appeared in the Atlantic. ‘The Labor Policy of the American Trust’ deals with another phase of the subject to the study of which the late Carleton H. Parker’s efforts were largely devoted during his last years. The extraordinary public interest in Parker’s life and work occasioned by the publication of his biography makes these papers of timely importance.

Alfred L. P. Dennis was for many years Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin. On leave of absence from the University, he acted as assistant to the Military Attache of the American Embassy in London, and as liaison between that Embassy and the American Peace Mission in Paris. Last summer he made a special investigation of conditions in Ireland, of which the result appears in the present paper.

As to the connection of Ulster with the various projects of Home Rule for Ireland, Professor Dennis writes: —

These pledges were first given prior to the war; they were renewed in part by Lloyd George’s pledge against the ‘ coercion ’ of Ulster, and even Asquith was willing to exclude, at least temporarily, six counties of Ulster from the operation of the Home Rule Act of 1914. But the position of the Ulster Unionists has been somewhat modified: for, whereas originally they were opposed to any grant of Home Rule, many of them have shown signs of accepting a partition which would preserve either six counties or all of Ulster from the effect of a new Home Rule or Dominion act for Ireland. In the meantime the old Nationalist party had been almost wiped out; the historical Liberal partyinGreat Britain had beenswamped; the attention of the Labor party was concentrated on domestic matters; the abstentionist Sinn Fein party had swept the polls in three quarters of Ireland, and the present Coalition Cabinet was practically dependent on a Unionist majority which was elected on war issues. The result was the apparent political impasse due to differences serious enough in themselves, which have been exaggerated and inflamed by party division and rancor outside as well as inside of Ireland.

F. W. Foerster, formerly of the faculty of the University of Vienna, now Professor of Philosophy and Pedagogy at the University of Munich, is the author of a long list of educational works. During the war his courageous and independent attitude brought him into collision with his colleagues and with public opinion in Germany because of his accusations against the German ‘Might-policy,’ which he alleged to be chiefly responsible for the war. In 1916 he published an article against the policies of Bismarck and Treitschke, which brought forth a solemn protest against his views from the professors. A volume entitled Weltpolitik und Weltgewissen is to appear in an English translation in the spring. ‘I will try to put down my essay in English,’ he writes; ‘but as I am out of practice since years, it must be translated into true English.’ But to the editor it has seemed best to retain the individuality of his style. Alfred Franzis Pribram, a well-known Austrian historian, was delegated by the Republican authorities to search the Imperial archives, with a view to the preparation of a history of the Triple Alliance, including the secret, treaties and the negotiations leading to them. Professor A. C. Coolidge of Harvard chanced to meet Professor Pribram in Vienna last summer, and made with him personal arrangements for an English edition of the work, which will shortly be issued by the Harvard University Press. The importance of the article speaks for itself.

Gino C. Speranza, formerly attaché of the American Embassy at Rome, and Chairman of the Committee on Crime and Immigration of the American Institute of Criminal Law, was a special correspondent in Italy during the war. Frances Parkinson Keyes, author of the widely commented ‘Satisfied Reflections of a Semi-Bostonian,’ in the Atlantic for December, 1918, is the wife of the present junior United States Senator from New Hampshire.

We need hardly say that, in publishing ‘Written, but Never Sent,’ we neither knew nor sought to know to whom the letters were addressed. Our interest was based on the human situation involved — the mesh of difficulties in which the world’s inequalities, fair as well as unfair, entangle men and women. To us the letters seemed equally interesting, whether one accepted the point of view of the writer or that of the persons written to. We expected discussion, but what we did not expect was the following letter, which we print not without admiration for a tone and temper in trying circumstances rarely found in this irritating and irritated world.

It is seldom that an unsent letter reaches its destination. As this one was received through your columns, may it not be answered in the same way ? For your information, may I say that I am the wife of the ‘ Very Rich Neighbor’ ?

I agree with you that we are not intimate friends, though friends I had felt we were. I do not agree with you, however, as to the cause.
Your ‘Rich Neighbor’ gives ten months of the year unreservedly to the task of administering his stewardship, to the end that the wealth entrusted to his care may bring enlarged opportunity, health, happiness, and comfort to his fellow men. His wife is his ardent supporter and feeble imitator.
The two months which he spends as your neighbor give him his only opportunity for play. During this time his aim is to become intimate with his children, to read the books he longs to read, to exercise out of doors, to get near to Nature, to have time to think, to meditate, to plan; in other words, to refresh his spirit. At such a time it is not that one does not want to see one’s friends; it is simply that to be worth while to one’s friends and the cause of righteousness, one must — so to speak — retire into the wilderness.
Moreover, during this vacation there are duties which interfere with a greater interchange of social visits, such as an enormous mail which persists in coining and must be answered. Under the circumstances, the mere fact that your ‘ Rich Neighbor’ prefers to spend his mornings chopping wood or riding and playing tennis with his boys, his afternoons driving or walking, — he and I together, — his evenings with the children, inevitably results in but little time remaining. It may seem selfish, but it has nothing to do with money.
Admiring your husband immensely, we sought for our boys his companionship. To offer compensation for his added responsibility seemed only fair.
Why iny husband did not sell you the strip of land, I do not remember. I suspect, being mere man, he simply did n’t want to. It was entirely impersonal.
Most rich people seem unresponsive, but it is not entirely their fault; they are not treated naturally. My husband and I were once asked to a simple home where I knew they had delicious baked beans; we were treated to poor roast chicken. The rich are given what they are expected to want, both intellectually and gastronomically. It may be flattering, but it is not stimulating or wholesome. A sense of humor and a good mind may be hidden beneath a tiara.
To their faces the rich arc often accorded a respect that is not felt, and behind their backs a contempt that is not deserved.
Please, dear neighbor and dear reader too, help the deserving rich by not taking us too seriously and by forgetting that surplus money.
Sincerely, MRS. ‘ARISTOS.’

Readers of this Column have long since noted our alert interest in non-professional ideas concerning the theory and practice of therapeutics. Here is a pleasing suggestion which is sent to the Atlantic under the comprehensive title, ‘What Parents Should Think Over.’

Dr. Dio Lewis is regarded by many as one of the greatest men of the last generation. Finding that the less medicine he gave his patients, the quicker they got well, he quit drugging and confined himself to surgery. Thereafter he told all applicants for drugs to cure their dyspepsia, insomnia, despondency, tuberculosis, etc., to reduce their obesity, and to prevent disease by toughening themselves with wrestling, fun games (laughter-compelling athletic games), and to play at least twenty minutes a day all winter. He prescribed these exercises as the best builders of bright eyes, moulders of manly men and women able to suckle twins.

Especially to the men upon whom the responsibility for the rising generation rests under the new order, the Atlantic offers this encouraging suggestion.

The pensive lyric published in the December Column finds echo in the following quatrain from a poet-critic in Jersey: —


We have waited long and laughingly to read your explanation;
But even ‘higher critics’ may have traveled fairly far;
And though we would not willfully cause further perturbation,
Europe and the natives place the accent on the ‘Spa.’

To which, as one poet to another, we would make rejoinder: —

Thanks for the sounding of this last alarum!
But will it not on ears prosodic jar,
Throughout the critical orbis terrarum,
To find a rhymer rhyming Spa with far ?

We frequently refer appreciatively to the offers of help which come to us in bewildering profusion. Here is one which, our readers will admit, is, to say the least, suggestive.

I am trying to find vent for a series of articles. These are a serious discussion of the fundamental principles upon which the important institutions of our present order are founded, of principles upon which our reconstruction ought to be founded, and of the fundamental principles of Socialism, one of the bidders for the new.
My deductions conspire to undermine Socialism, Prussianism, Materialism, Damnation and Total Depravity, Creeds (but not liberal Christianity), and the penchant for that pestiferous legislation based on the assumption that most of us are depraved and need the stewardship of militant goodness.
My devil is human ignorance, and my heaven is a continuous growth towards perfection. Therefore I am not a hater of any class; not a radical but an evolutionist. Of course I condemn some, to us, very ‘respectable’ things; but if we do not condemn, will not the future ages, studying our murderous, banal order, condemn us? Our deeds indict our theories. I see that what our social machine (and this involves all humanity) needs is not a screw tightened, a little putty, a little paint, but that something, somewhere is fundamentally wrong!
The ‘fatal question’ upon which I build my articles are such as these: Shall we organize for the material or spiritual welfare of Man? Shall we found our institutions and constitutions on the hypothesis that some natures are good and others bad, and that therefore the good are the keepers of the bad? Shall we foster individuality, or is it a lawless, evil thing to be subjected to state custom or society? That different views upon these would lead to [a] vastly different course in our present attempt at reconstruction no intelligent man need be told.
Yours very truly,

SIR, -
Lord Dunsany’s article in the September Atlantic reminded me of a fanciful explanation I recently heard concerning mirages of oriental cities, with elephants moving through the streets, which are sometimes seen in the vicinity of Muir Glacier. The old chief engineer who told me about these strange mirages said that they might be due to the following cause: The Muir Glacier, in the course of its movement for thousands of years, has no doubt passed entirely around the earth. While on this journey it passed within sight of several, perhaps many, oriental cities. The images of these cities were caught, and by a sort of photographic crystallization imprisoned in the ice. When, thousands of years later, the rays of the sun melted the ice, the images were left suspended in mid-air and thus formed a mirage.
Yours very truly, WM, J. DEAN.

Is this, we wonder, Science — or Dunsany?

To many friends the Atlantic offers its heartiest thanks for the generous response to the appeal made in these columns for the important work of Abbé Ernest Dimnet in the city of Lille. Both Abbé Dimnet and the Atlantic trust that each individual has before this received an acknowledgment and a word of special thanks.

Quite the nicest thing of all is the growing intimacy between the Atlantic and its readers. But like other satisfactions, intimacy has its responsibilities, and the delicate attunement of heart to heart is something for which it behooves the editor to develop any natural aptitude he may have. Witness the following dramatic (and anonymous) request for advice which has come to us: —

If a lone married woman has a ‘ billiard-room’

man sneaking into her home about 10 P.M. on many an evening, and the lights are immediately extinguished. If the man sometimes passes the house, puffs on his cigar as a signal for her to come out walking real late, and she slips out and walks up and down the street, and the pool-room gambler comes hurrying back after her, and they disappear together in the dark. If he has a private telephone in his gambling-place (but not published in the telephone directory) for such as she to use. If she pulls her window-shade down when she has other company, and that gaming man lurks around in the dark outside.

Would you tell her husband?