To Frank I. Cobb the New York World has owed for many years the reputation of printing the most vigorous and cogent editorial page in the United States. Dr. Joseph Fort Newton, called during the war to preach in the City Temple, the famous preaching pulpit in London, is minister of the Church of the Divine Paternity in New York City. Hans Coudenhove, a Dutchman who has spent most of his active life in Africa, sends this paper from Zomba, in Nyasaland. William McFee is at present chief engineer of the S. S. Toloa, under the British flag.
Fannie Steams Gifford, one of the most graceful and individual of American poets, lives in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Milton O. Nelson, formerly associate editor of the Minneapolis Journal, has lately joined the staff of the Portland (Oregon) Telegram. The story here told is, of course, a record from the author’s life. Indeed, it could not be anything else. The author was brought up in a household closely patterned after Old Testament ideals. Perhaps we may, without breach of confidence, publish a paragraph from a highly interesting letter of recollections.
Father [writes Mr. Nelson] was innately modest, even diffident. lie never pestered us much with taking daily inventories of our spiritual relations with the Infinite, as the elder Gosse bothered his afflicted son; nor did he ever presume to know the mind of God to a nicety. But the question uppermost in his thought always was: ‘ Are my children saved? ’ Evidence of this is given in his words when his first child — John Newton, aged 26, who went as a missionary to Peru, Brazil —died of yellow fever two months after his arrival. The first words father spoke after the shock of the tidings were: ‘One of my boys is safe.’
Frances Theresa Russell, a new contributor, is of the faculty of Leland Stanford Junior University. L. P. Jacks, Principal of Manchester College, Oxford, and editor of the Hibbert Journal, was for many years a familiar and affectionate friend of William James. Charles Bernard Nordhoff is living at Papeete, in the South Seas, Leonora Pease, a teacher in the public schools of Chicago, knows whereof she writes.
Ralph Barton Perry is Professor of Philosophy at Harvard. A. Edward Newton, now diverting himself in English auction-rooms, will return to America in time for the publication of his new volume in September. L. Adams Beck is an English scholar and traveler, now living in the Canadian West. Joseph Auslander is an American poet at present teaching at Harvard.
Alfred G. Gardiner, distinguished English journalist and essayist, for many years editor of the London Daily News, but now living in alert retirement, keeps his study window wide open on politics. Major-General William H. Carter, U.S.A., a West Point graduate of 1873, in the course of his service commanded the Hawaiian Department. Retired in 1915, he was recalled to active service in 1917. His article is in a large degree authoritative. Philip Cabot is a Boston banker, who has had long and successful experience in the conduct of public utilities. David Hunter Miller, a New York lawyer with a detailed knowledge of political and social conditions in Europe, served during the Peace Conference as technical adviser to the American Commission to Negotiate Peace. His article is, of course, a record at first hand.
Mr. Stewart’s entertaining paper has rallied to the Atlantic the support of foxhunters everywhere. An old hand at the sport writes us from Bloomington, Illinois, this interesting epistle.
DEAR ATLANTIC, —
Charles D. Stewart’s very interesting article in the June Atlantic, called ‘Belling a Fox,’sets down what he calls three facts. From experience in following the trails of foxes in the snow I can confirm the first two facts, but I am compelled to differ from Mr. Stewart regarding the third, which is, ‘you cannot approach within gunshot of a fox,'
Several years ago, in Funk’s Grove, McLean County, Illinois, while I was following the tracks of a fox in the snow, footprints indicated that another man had been following the same tracks. I met him later, on another trip. He was a young farm-hand named La Follette, and his boyhood home had been in Virginia. He carried a shotgun and said he was hunting foxes by following their tracks. I asked to be allowed to go with him. We skirted a piece of dense woods and came upon tracks leading into the woods, which he pronounced to be ‘long tracks,’ and explained that the fox was starting off on a long hunting-trip and it would be useless to follow. The tracks led straightaway through the woods.
Later, in a draw, or low place, we came upon what he called ‘short, trades,’ leading from the woods into open country. The tracks were zigzag and advantage was taken of bare pieces of ice and grass. La Follette stated that the fox was approaching a place to lie down, and was seeking to conceal its tracks. Within a few minutes we approached a fall-ploughed field, where the ridges were bare of snow, and there was a low hill.
Asking that I remain behind, La Follette cautiously followed the tracks and stopped frequently to examine the ground with an old-fashioned spyglass. Two red foxes were approached within gunshot as they were apparently asleep on the top of the hill and were not aware of the hunter’s presence. They were not seen until they jumped up to run, and both were crippled in two shots.
We followed the more seriously crippled fox for about two miles, but spent three hours in covering this distance. After examining the tracks, La Follette said the fox would lie down if not pursued too closely; and we sat down for over an hour to let it ‘get stiff’ before the final careful advance was made which resulted in the fox being killed. We then took up the trail of the second fox, but lost it later when the snow melted.
La Follette told me that the fox killed that day was the eighth killed by him that winter, and made a total of about thirty foxes killed by him in the same manner. He always hunted alone and found the foxes by tracking them in the snow.
Very truly yours,
FRANK W. ALDRICH.
Horrors as might be pale, as usual, before horrors as is.
DEAR ATLANTIC, —
A ‘ Contributor’ to the June issue writes an amusing article which opens with these words; ‘If “that blessed word Mesopotamia” were in practical use to-day, it would doubtless suffer the horror of becoming Meso or Ma.’
If it were in practical use to-day! Is it not, perhaps, to many thousands of British soldiers and sailors? At any rate one of them, sending a batch of snapshots, writes as follows: ‘ so now you know what Mespot looks like! ’
This sounds quite ‘practical,’ and moderately descriptive!
MARY KELLOGG SHERRILL.
Vernon Kellogg’s papers on Life and Death have moved many people to break through the artificial reticences with which we hedge ourselves in.
DEAR ATLANTIC, —
I find it impossible to refrain from sending a few words in an attempt to express a little of the intense interest and satisfaction I have just had in reading ‘The Biologist Speaks of Death’ in the June Atlantic. While I have always secretly felt myself to be an ‘ agnostic’ — if so ignorant a being as I dare call herself anything — yet, since the death of the person dearer to me than all others, I have read here and there, listened here and there to things that have made me waver —* particularly taken in conjunction with many startling and impressive dreams of my lost dear one. But the condition of mind I have been in since meeting with this loss has been made a thousand times more agonizing than before by these half-doubted, agitating, distracting, uncomfortable theories and testimonies that have appeared in articles and books dealing with spiritism; and now, after reading this clearly expressed, authoritative essay, I feel more at ease, — more at peace, — more nearly satisfied on this terrible yet inevitable problem than ever before; and so grateful to the author who wrote it that I felt impelled to try to express, however clumsily and inadequately, my indebtedness to him. The part of the article that means perhaps more to me than any other begins, ‘Sadly he answers, “I can give you no comfort ” —ending with the words ‘He does not know.’ But every word of the article has been interesting and valuable to me, in my perplexity and sorrow. However undesirable, flat, stale, and unprofitable life seems—at least I have the comfort of reading the Atlantic Monthly! And this article I have found so enlightening, convincing, and — compared with all else I’ve read on the subject — so satisfying.
With gratitude unspeakable,
Believe me, sincerely yours,
Was ever self-confession more essentially complete than this, since Dogberry wrote himself down an ass?
PHILADELPIHA, June the Tenth, 1921.
DEAR ATLANTIC, —
That vacuous article entitled ‘What Constitutes an Educated Person To-Day,’ which you admitted to your columns for June, in which it is stated that no man can fairly be called educated who lacks the power to use his native language correctly, impels me to respond.
In the first place I am the fortunate holder of a degree of A.B., with Honors in my chosen field; I also am a Master of Arts, a Master of Science and a Doctor of Philosophy, the two latter degrees having been granted by Harvard University. I have taught at Harvard and have the Professorial title from teaching in a Western University. I am a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a member of, among others, two scientific societies, membership in which is by invitation only and is considered as recognition of a certain ability to put to good use a so-called education. I am also a member of Sigma Xi, concerning which you probably know nothing and for your elucidation I will state that it is the equivalent in Science of the Phi Beta Kappa in the arts. Moreover I enjoy good music, paintings and sculpture; am fairly conversant with good literature and am able to differentiate to some extent the wheat from the chaff. In addition I am an Associate Editor of a scientific journal. Notwithstanding this humorously imposing list of accomplishments I lack the power to use my native language correctly — and what is probably more awful, I don’t give a damn, and if I lack education according to the standard set by your contributor I am tickled to death that I lack the feeble and theoretical intelligence that goes with such education that gives rise to the inane sneers such as your Contributor is allowed to publish in the Atlantic. If I admitted such drivel to the columns of my journal I would be fired from my job at the next annual meeting.
Come on, Atlantic, what is the matter with you? Are you so cloyed with your own self-assumed sweetness that you think the only educated persons are those who belong to your own little mutual admiration society? I fail to find in your pages any logical basis for the opinion that you are really high-brow. You have the patina only, not the substance. Where are your Leigh Hunts, your Hazlitts, your Charles Lambs, your Emersons? You don’t begin to come half-way up to those writers in what you publish, in so far as line writing goes.
Oh yes, I forgot to tell you that I have also published so far in my youthful career some thirty-six (36), count ’em, scientific articles as the results of my studies, and all of these have appeared in reputable scientific journals. They are not always in correct English, but they get the idea across.
AN UNEDUCATED PERSON.
P.S. I am not signing my name for the very obvious reason that I have no desire to toot my own horn except behind the scenes.
Behind the Scenes! But the curtain is mercifully drawn.
What the scholar learns is often overmatched by what the teacher is taught.
May 15, 1921.
DEAR ATLANTIC, —
In a recent examination of a group of boys who will next year be in college, I received the following answers: —
1. Who was Florence Nightingale? A singer.
2. Who was Huckleberry Finn? An Irish writer. He wrote ‘ Mark Twin.’
3. Who was Grover Cleveland? The fellow who put the fine tower on Princeton.
4. Explain the use of shall and will. Shall is used by polite people, will by all others.
5. Where is Tyre? Sidon? Parts of an automobile.
After receiving such answers, week in, week out, is it any wonder teachers forget all they ever knew? Is it any wonder teachers lose their sense of humor and their hair? Et clamor meus ad te veniat?
COLIN C. CLEMENTS.
The following elucidation of an unsolved Atlantic mystery of some months’ standing comes to us from the professor of Romance Philology in Columbia University.
DEAR ATLANTIC, —
The alluring chronicle which, under the title of ‘A Little Boy’s Utopia,’ appeared in your number for May, begins as follows: —
' My little nephew was three and a half when he began to talk about “the Stewart Country,” and between five and six when he gave us to understand that the subject was forever closed. The origin of the name was a mystery we never fathomed [italics mine]. Asked why it was called so, he would say, “That is its name,” with the patience born of answering many foolish questions, He described it as “that far land where I lived when Mulla was a little gayl, too little to be my Mulla”; and professed to be able to visit it at will.’
With the flair of a professional philologist, — who must needs also be something of a psychologist, — I continued, with mind gently alert, my reading of the article, in the hope of discovering the solution of the puzzle that had piqued for years the curiosity and ingenuity of the child’s family circle.
Internal evidence soon furnished the clue. About midway of the brief narrative occurs the preparation of the explanation, in the form of quotations from the child’s own entertaining testimony; and somewhat farther on in the story is given the complete though unconscious confirmatory evidence of the aunt who tells the tale.
‘“When I lived in the Stewart Country” — I can hear the change of tone that marked the familiar opening: it was a kind of half-sad droning. ... “I sat on the grass and my Stewart Country lamb climbed up into the tree and threw the oynges down to me.” . . . “My Stewart Country lamb” was the hero of many of those wonderful tales.’
Now for the aunt’s corroborative contribution: —
‘ One day a relic of some past era of domestic art was unearthed from the store-room — a huge pincushion of white canton flannel in the shape of an animal. But what animal? The question was being discussed in the language of the old primers. “ Is-it-a-cat? No-it-is-a-goat.” Someone was trying to lift it by an imaginary tail, to see if it was a guinea pig. The little boy sat gazing at the object in a kind of trance.
‘All at once his arms opened wide. “My Stewart Country lamb!”’
Is the demonstration sufficiently convincing?
‘One day a relic of some past era of domestic art was unearthed from the store-room. . . . “My Store-Room Country Lamb!’” (My Stowoom Tountwy lamb.)
Observe that the child could not pronounce the letter r (witness ‘gayl’ and ‘oynge’) either in ‘store-room ’ or in ’Country ’ — which is precisely why the chronicler, unconsciously true to a well-recognized principle in the science of paléography, has inserted an imagined r in the imaginary word ‘Stewart,’ on the erroneous supposition that in view of the child’s lisp in the word ‘tountwy’ there ought to be an r in ‘Stewart..’ As for the final t in ‘Stewart,’ it is simply the initial t of the child’s pronunciation of ’tountwy,’
— The study, by the way, of childish mutilations or modifications of speech, and the possibility of their perpetuation in the vocabulary of adults, such as the childish reduplication of Old French ante (English aunt), ante-ante, modern French tante, is lately coming into its own.
But to return to the ‘ Stewart Country.’ This mysterious, fascinating Store-room Country of Aladdin’s lamps and Seven-League boots and all the untold wealth of quaint and curious discarded treasures, was what my own children used to call the Story-Room. The one-time children are now, alas, all flown from the parental roof-tree, but in the far-flung ends of the earth to which the Atlantic penetrates, they will doubtless all be proud to find themselves here immortalized in its classic columns.
HENRY ALFRED TODD.
Poetry is eternal, and — who knows?
— the poet may be, too.
OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA, May 14,1921.
I am herewith sending you a poem of mine for your magazine. Should you deem my poem worthy of publication, I should appreciate your sending some remuneration to me, in order that I might buy some more paper and ink for the purpose of sending you some more of my literary efforts. Yours truly,
Gradually the Atlantic is finding its niche.
HOPEWELL, VIRGINIA, June 10, 1921.
DEAR ATLANTIC, —
I am Employment Manager for a company that is hiring in fifty girls a week, and I have several times made trips through the State to get a line on girl-power.
I arrived the other night in a town about eleven o’clock at night, and found three hotels absolutely filled up. I had my Atlantic under my arm, as I had been reading it on the train. As I stood at the counter, wondering what to do, — as there was no Y. W. in the town, — the clerk asked me to come to one side as he wanted to speak with me. When I went over to him, he said, ’Are you with the “Y”?’ I said, ‘No.’ He said, ‘Well, I saw you with that magazine and I know you must be all right, so I wanted to let you know that I have a room here that the Travelers’ Aid takes by the month, and she is away for four days, so I’m going to let you have it.’
The same thing happened again, in another town; for drummers seem to be very busy hunting business these days and they fill up the hotels. When I found I could n’t get in a hotel, I telephoned to a dormitory run by a big cotton mill for their employees. It was a veritable palace of a dormitory. When I arrived, at twelve o’clock at night, the watchman let me in and the head worker of the dormitory politely greeted me and told me how to find my quarters. As she turned to go, she saw I had in my hand an Atlantic, and she said, ‘ We don’t usually take in strangers this way at this time of the night, but I judged from your voice over the telephone that you were a lady, and now I see you with your Atlantic. I know you are a person we will be glad to have with us.’
And this is Virginia, and not Massachusetts!
Hereafter, I shall always carry an Atlantic under my arm in my travels.
MARY L. MORRIS,
Woman Employment Supervisor.
Here is a letter which supplements admirably a recent Atlantic discussion.
AKRON, OHIO, June 28, 1921.
To your illuminating articles and letters on the foreign-born in America, permit me to add a letter which to me evidences the pathetic desire of the sender to be identified with his adopted country. Wladyslaw F. Meszkowski, a faithful soldier of Uncle Sam, writes: —
’Dec. 23, 1920.
‘Dear Mr. Captain C. Southworth,—
Have receiving your tip (Armistice Anniversary) card and glad to return enswer with fully thanks now captain I am I getting along mostly fine and working hard to keep my living so — I most, tell you captain when I got descharge I went to school for a while and after a took civil service court school which does help me and now I am working a little job in mashinerry work. I may be great successful some day latter on. I am single yet and wont decided to be a maried before I can eorining something or receive a batter position. . . . ‘Yours
‘This is my new address. This name I am using in working sociation. Meszkowski is known just as same.’
I am sure that many others who served during the late war could tell of many instances of the pride our foreign-born ex-soldiers, or at least some of them, have in their certificates of honorable discharge. Not that all of them were anxious to fight, — and after all, who were? — but having served, they feel that they are no longer ‘ Dagoes’ or ‘Hunkies.’ Surely all who love America will try to see that they are not disillusioned. Let us join Walter Frank in the hope that he may be ‘great successful some day,’ and in the meantime let us help some other Walter Frank maintain his new self-respect and pride.
Very truly yours,
CONSTANT SOUTH WORTH.