Benjamin Stolberg, who gives us his portrait of the most famous unknown man in America, is a sociologist and close student of labor conditions, now living and writing in New York City. Many readers will remember his biography of Samuel Gompers which we published in the Atlantic for March 1925. ¶One must be constantly reminded that, incredible as it may seem, Carl Christian Jensen’s autobiography is true to the very last detail. The story began in our October issue, but, like life, can be picked up at any point with significance. ¶After playing a game with consistent skill for forty years, A. Edward Newton may be trusted to exhibit its fine points. Nowadays he talks of taking to the side lines, but we know that to be only the modesty of champions the world over. ¶An observer with alert and arrowy opinions, it is a native boast to say that Agnes Repplier lives in Philadelphia. Keene Abbott comes of pioneering stock, and his stories and books have been chiefly written out of the traditions of his home state, Nebraska. The present narrative, he tells us, was inspired by an incident told him by an old plainsman. ¶In this memorial year Humbert Wolfe, the English poet, pays tribute to the best-beloved of Saints.
If geography is in a name, Henderson Daingerfield Norman will surely be spotted for a Virginian. At home and abroad she is best known by her translations of Rostand’s plays. ¶Characteristic and full of unexpected information are the letters of Ruskin to a young governess which come to us from the careful hands of Leonard Huxley, editor of the Cornhill Magazine. ¶The wife of a distinguished Dutch banker, Madame T. van Houten has traveled to the far corners of the earth, the last being Batavia, Java, where, in ‘Oriental splendor,’ she and her husband resided for three years. ¶Professor of English literature at Wellesley, Margaret Sherwood is known to many an Atlantic audience. Conspicuous among her books are Daphne and The Worn Doorstep.Margaret Pond’s poem was sent us from Otowi, New Mexico. Her muse, it would seem, visits unconcerned in the midst of houseand baby-keeping. Archer Butler Hulbert is Director of the Stewart Commission on Western History. It was while working through a famous American newspaper collection that he took the opportunity of concocting his distillation of the ages. ¶After sabbatical leave abroad, Margaret Lynn has returned to her post at the University of Kansas, firmly convinced that all Americans should stay away from Europe for the next two years. Absence may make the heart grow fonder. ¶A consulting engineer, graduate of Lehigh, Morris Llewellyn Cooke has held many important appointments, among them the directorship of the Giant Power Survey in Pennsylvania in 1923.
William Stix Wasserman, of Philadelphia, has just returned from a four months’ survey of economic and social conditions in Russia, where during his stay he was in constant contact with the leading state officials, traveled down the Volga and through the Caucasus, and on one occasion made a three-hundred-mile trip on horseback. ¶Assistant Oriental Secretary to Lord Allenby, Captain Owen Tweedy was delegated to act as British Aide-de-Camp to Ras Taffari and Princess Menem of Abyssinia during their visits to Cairo in 1923 and 1924. Charles Johnston’s experience in the British Civil Service has heretofore borne fruit for readers of the Atlantic.
For the benefit of those who will wish to know whether they passed ‘The Test’ of Dr. Witherow in the October Atlantic, we are able to announce that Mr. Stern, the donor, would have desired the spirit rather than the letter of accomplishment, and that, according to the author, the award would have been given to Mr. Brookfield. Dr. Witherow adds: —
But I hope I have brought out the point that Mr. Daly deserved the prize if Mr. Stern was a mere martinet, a mere drill sergeant, or a pettifogging attorney; also that Mr. Hamlet deserved the prize if Mr. Stern took delight only in a man’s best service, the putting forth to the utmost of all that the brain of man can furnish in insight, originality, and industry.
This view of Mr. Stern and his test was a higher and truer view than Mr. Daly’s, and the author confesses that he has a warm spot in his own mind for gallant Mr. Hamlet. Mr. Brookfield, however, saw what Air. Hamlet saw and something more which Mr. Hamlet missed. There was a hungering in the rich man’s heart for gratitude. The Test was all that Mr. Daly and Mr. Hamlet found in it, but it was also a call of spirit to spirit and Brookfield alone heard and responded to that note.
In defense of divorce this reader has cited the hard facts of experience.
One reads, with a sense of amazement and irritation, the article on marriage by Bishop Charles Fiske in the September number of the Atlantic. It amazes us because its views seem so unconscious of the real facts of life; it irritates us because parts of it are grossly unfair to those who, like myself, after years of agony and meditation, finally decided to become divorced.
‘America is rapidly becoming a land of Mormons. The law forbids continuous polygamy, but we are substituting for it consecutive polygamy.’ In these words Bishop Fiske commences his remarks. The emphasis of the Church, based upon Bible teaching, has always been on the side of the spiritual union of marriage. And since our spirits are eternal we believe that happy marriages on earth persist through eternity, even though one of the partners may die before the other. Has any Christian sect been known to brand a widower as a polygamist for marrying again? If marriage is a union of souls, as well as of bodies, what essential difference exists between the two cases of a man who remarries with his first wife living, to whom he is bound by no ties of either the spirit or the body, and of a man who remarries, with his first wife dead, to whom he may have been bound by the most compelling spiritual bonds? Is not the second man logically more guilty of polygamy than the first?
Proceeding further, ‘After the arguments for divorce have all been presented, the presence of one child effectually confutes them.’ There is a wide difference of opinion as to what happens to a child’s nature in an unhappy household. Scientists are unearthing evidence which may be embarrassing to the Bishop’s point of view. Most of a child’s character is crystallized by the age of seven and much of its later happiness and usefulness can be impaired by the ugly repressions it develops during these early formative years. If a child is reared in an atmosphere of unloveliness, whether it be physical or psychical, the resulting repressions are bound to persist in later life and do irremediable harm. Is not, then, the undivided love of a single parent sometimes better for the health and happiness of a child than the corroding atmosphere of an unhappy house?
There is apparently a conviction in Bishop Fiske’s mind that all we need in this distressing situation is the magic of legislation. The real permanency of marriage cannot be a matter of laws. And it is better so. For, in the long run, how much does society gain by forcing a union to be permanent that is permanent only in name? Instead, divorce may be a powerful, alleviating agent in the fight of society against the hypocrisy and sanctimoniousness that go far toward poisoning individual and community life. What we desire, and desperately so, is real evidence to tell us without bias what mode of life will be best to adopt — best for society, for our children, and for ourselves.
Several ‘poets — new style’ have arisen to greet Minch Pith, Ellis Parker Butler’s protégé in the October Atlantic. We print their offerings for the interpretation of all imaginative readers.
E. Parker Butler (Was he s?)
Tells of Minch Pith’s devices odd,
A poet of the.
For any change I’d thank my * * *
But oh, for joy I’d nearly drop
If it should come to a.
a ‘soulyearn’ by pinch mith
i met her only yesterday
our courtship has been brisk
i d like to send her wild flowers but
i dare not*
she boasts of charms a myriad
and slender 2 enhance
the costumes of the.
yet 1 to feast the soul on
in winter i 11 recall its warmth
instead of putting :
her papa or her mamma
to still my beating heart and make
my nerves a trifle ,
in matrimonys bark
i should consult the stock exchange
& last ”
with this ’
you 11 know my # & i ll find
out where i m @ you see
These truths from Canada may serve to cool certain heated arguments on Prohibition.
FREDERICTON, N. B.
DEAR ATLANTIC, —
In the readable article in your October issue by Mr. William E. Dever there are one or two errors of statement which I think are important enough to call for correction.
Mr. Dever states rather incidentally that Canada and Sweden are nations of homogeneous population. With respect to Sweden there can be little doubt that this is correct, but so far as regards Canada, the heterogeneity of its population is probably more pronounced than that of any other considerable political unit in the world since the Austro-Hungarian monarchy was destroyed at Versailles.
From one quarter to one third of the people of Canada are totally different in origin, in language, civil law, customs, ambitions, ecclesiastical arrangement, and so forth, from the English-speaking majority of that country. Montreal, the largest city of the country and probably the fifth in size in North America, is nine tenths French and this proportion holds roughly true of the entire population of the province of Quebec. In the adjoining province of New Brunswick, the same race now constitutes nearly one third of the population, while in the distinctively English-speaking province of Ontario there are some two hundred thousand French.
In addition to this, in the prairie provinces (Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta) is a very considerable number, relative to the total population, of races from almost every country in Europe and as yet by no means largely assimilated to Anglo-Saxon ideals. In fact, so far as heterogeneity is concerned, Canada in proportion to its population is more decided than the United States, even taking into consideration the presence of the Negro people in the latter country.
In the same sentence Mr. Dever says that Canada has tried and abandoned the experiment of national prohibition.
Canada has not had at any time national prohibition, and it is at least a debatable question whether the Federal Government of Canada has any authority to enact national prohibition as the term is now generally understood. Regulation of the use of intoxicating liquor as a beverage lies not with the Federal legislature but with those of the provinces individually, and while it is true that some of these provinces have enacted what may be termed prohibitory laws as respects alcohol, and have afterward rescinded them, the important province of Quebec has not at any time enacted a provincial prohibitory law, using that term, as before, in its general signification.
GEORGE G. MELVIN
How to drive out evil spirits.
One is in a hospital bed, and parody-ridden. Tossing and turning for the relief that does not come, the thought of the Atlantic is like a cool hand on fever. Would it, perhaps, drive out the little demons by taking them between its own calm covers?
Whose low descending sun
Views not with thee
Some doctor having fun.
That to be hated, needs but to be seen.
Seen too oft, familiar with your cot,
You first endure, then vow you’ll leave it not.
Were merely toothaches sitting there;
Just upper sets and lower rows,
To which he murmured, ‘Open,’ ‘Close.’
As a postscript to his letter in reply to Dr. Parrish’s paper, ‘From Authority to Experience,’ in the September Atlantic, the Reverend Carl Shoemaker writes that in the midst of the parochial work of a city parish ‘one doesn’t get much time to question either experience or authority; one just does.’
CHURCH OF THE ANNUNCIATION
DEAR ATLANTIC, —
A feeling of sadness fills one as one reads of a Church official frankly confessing a lost cause. And the reason for this tragedy seems to be that we are ‘ in a period of transition from authority to experience.’ And then one’s memory turns back and we see a small band of men, unlettered certainly and assuredly not of the best families; a little handful of men who had an experience — an experience extending over three years and culminating one Sunday. And that experience led them to accept the authority of Him with whom they had that experience. And then one reads that these ignorant and unlearned men turned the world upside down. It is remarkable what experience will do.
If I mistake not, ‘the whole cosmic trend* has been from experience to authority. The young child accepts the authority of parents because it has learned by experience that their plans are best. The parents’ authority is weak or strong in proportion as the child’s experience has shown them to be wise or unwise. Later on the child moves on to college, where new and confusing experiences are met; as these new experiences work out, they lead on to the acceptance of a higher authority.
I recall one January night. The doctor said that one of my boys was critically ill of pneumonia; his mother had been up with him two nights and must be relieved. I accepted his authority because of his experience. I said I would watch that night. The house was a flimsy affair far outside the town. For several days the thermometer had been hovering about twenty-five degrees below zero and bid fair to beat itself that night. For long hours I sat by the bedside giving medicine at regular intervals. Hour after hour the thermometer dropped. The windows were wide open. At three in the morning a change came over the lad. I feared the end. Just as I was, with heavy ulster pulled up about my ears, with arctics buckled to knees, with no stole, with no candle, with no smoke except that of the rising breath, I offered the Holy Sacrifice and gave the lad the Body and Blood of his Lord. In five minutes he was fast asleep. When the doctor came in the morning he was on the road to recovery. From that time on that lad bowed to the Authority. He had an experience; it led the way.
Likewise I recall putting the Stations of the Cross in one church. A woman of pronounced opinions moved her seat rather than sit beside one of them. Later on came the great sorrow of her life. When the clouds finally lifted, she moved her seat to Station Twelve. Experience drew her to the Great Authority. I have seen children complete the Stations with tears in their eyes — an experience which led to obedience at home and in church. After one has followed God along the Way of Sorrows, there is no more questioning His authority — ‘surely this was the Son of God.’
This world, standing at the crossroad, wants a tested experience, and when it finds that, it will accept the authority as we accept the authority of the throat and nose specialist. There can be no revealed truth which is contrary to discovered truth; both truths are discovered, but discovered in different ways — yet both truth, and so part of the great Truth.
It seems so futile to belittle it all. It. is so real, so actual, so powerful. One is called from bed at midnight to take the Sacrament to a dying man; a young lad must be anointed as the doctors hurry him off to the pest hospital; the mother of five children must be advised and strengthened because her husband has run off with his soul male; a good and sorely tempted man feels his thirst getting the best of him, so one wrestles with and for him during trying hours; this lad has tried the experience of another lad and one must try to heal the torn and bruised soul; and this girl took the authority of another girl and one sits dumbly by while the whole sordid tale is sobbed forth. And so, flay and night, with all conditions and under all conditions, the experience of the Church is applied. And somehow it does work. It has worked for centuries. It will always work.
For Margery to answer.
DEAR ATLANTIC, —
Last Saturday night I read ‘The Homing Instinct in Lost Objects,’ in your September number, and, just a trifle grimly, I pondered over all the many lost articles that I could wish would take unto themselves wings and fly home! But my skepticism has been rebuked — and 1 must acknowledge the error of my ways to Mr. Bouton via the Atlantic.
On Sunday morning I arose with a newborn zealous desire to take my children to Sunday School—and with a ‘start the fall right’ expression written plainly on my face I abjured my second cup of coffee and the morning crime wave and washed, dressed, and fed Jane and Paul and bundled them into the car At the last minute I borrowed Paul’s own purse for my change and off we started. On our return the purse was gone. I remembered getting into the car and dropping it in my lap during the drive home. We made a thorough search of the car. We shook everything and removed everything removable from inside the car — but no purse. The next day I went back to the church; I searched the gutter and even inquired at the homes adjacent to the church if anyone had picked up a change purse. I had a vain hope that my memory might have played me a trick and that I might have dropped it in the street. But no such luck — and I faced the task of diverting Paul’s single-track, three-year-old mind from purses to pudding!
To-day I drove home from shopping and, as I turned to leave the car, there in the middle of the back seat in plain view lay Paul’s purse. The ear had been in constant use since Sunday. I have no explanation, unless that little worn purse felt the urge to nestle once more in the warmth of a chubby hand. What say you?
JANE H. FUNKHOUSER
Egged on by ambition.
October 23, 1926
DEAR ATLANTIC, —
In the Contributors’ Club, October, the gentleman who wrote ‘Tappers and Swingers’ overlooked a few high points. ‘Egg time’ was invariably Easter. In my West Philadelphia neighborhood, in the 80’s, we prided ourselves on gathering in as many ‘Easter’ eggs — to be dyed — as possible.
In the first place, it was not ‘ Um-per ’ but ‘Up-per.’ Our mob cry was ‘Up-PURRR! UPPURRR! Pick yah UP-PURR.’ In other words, the challenger had the desirable or ‘upper’ advantage. The challenged was the ‘lower.’ The challenged would make a ring of first finger and thumb about the neck of the egg, exposing the least that he could expose, and the challenger would ‘pick’ deftly, awaiting the delicious crackle that evinced he had won by breaking the other fellow’s egg. Oftentimes the challenger’s egg succumbed.
Anticipating this season, I raised bantam chickens, the eggs of which fowl are notoriously thick-shelled. I could always win with a bantam egg if the others would ‘play.’ Usually they refused: ‘ Aw, I won’t pick against no banty egg.’ A youth in our rear alleys had much trickery. He would sneak over a porcelain egg, deftly hiding its glossy nature in his ‘picking’ hand. We finally apprehended him and, though he retaliated by swatting me (and I decorated him with a ‘busted’ egg), we drove him out of the ranks of respectables who played ‘Up-PURRS squarely. Infrequently a ‘scrap’ started over who was first to challenge. However, concessions were the rule.
Believe me, when that bold challenge resounded through the highways and the alleys, knights were abroad! And, ah, the ring of freckled noses watching breathlessly to see who wras winner, and the gulping joy of the winner. Fact was, when a youth gained possession of an egg with a really strong shell he ’d ‘ pick ’ a dozen and more eggs in a morning. To the ho usewife of to-day I offer that eggs were twelve cents a dozen, at most. We never could see how the hens produced them at that price.
Yours very truly,
THOMAS B. DONALDSON
‘The other evening,’ writes Judge Edward F. Waite of Minneapolis, ‘having just returned from a summer in England, and having there heard the Dean of St. Paul’s, I was appealed to as an authority on the mooted question of the pronunciation of his name, and promptly gave very positive misinformation. In the course of a rather wakeful night (not altogether due to chagrin at my blunder) the following jingle did itself.’
(The Dean with soul of sombre tinge),
And rhymed it not with sing but singe,
My conscience gives a dreadful twinge.
Low in the dust I fain would cringe
To humbly kiss your garment’s fringe,
And in abasement deep impinge
My brow upon your pedal hinge —
Because on Truth I did infringe
When I insisted upon ‘Inge.’
My mem’ry went woolgathering —
The Gloomy Dean’s sad name is INGE.