The Contributors' Column
FOR a quarter of a century William Bayard Hale’s interview with the Emperor William II of Germany has been an international mystery. Historians have known the bare fact that the document existed and have referred to it in their accounts of the pre-war period, but many attempts to bring it to light have till now proved futile. It is here made public for the first time (‘Thus Spoke the Kaiser’). William Bayard Hale enjoyed a varied career as an Episcopal minister, magazine editor, journalist, and author. A close friend of the twentysixth President, he published, in 1908, A Week in the White House with Theodore Roosevelt, which gave him the opening for his meeting with the Kaiser. After the interview was suppressed by the German Foreign Office, Hale felt himself honor-bound not to reveal its contents, and he died in 1924 without divulging his important secret. His son, William Harlan Hale, discovered the original version of the interview, together with all the notes and letters relating to it, among his father’s papers. In editing the material for publication, he has presented the uncensored text. For the next issue of the Atlantic he has prepared a sequel relating the extraordinary story of what happened to the interview to bury it for so many years, and of how it was at last unearthed.
Lifelong friends and companion men of letters were Owen Wister and John Jay Chapman. If ‘plain-speaking Jack ’ could have been consulted and asked to name the man best qualified by sympathetic understanding to write this memorial, the result would have been precisely what it is. ∆ He who reads ‘A Spinster I’ and compares it with other recent magazine articles on the problems of being a lone, lorn woman’ may conclude that there are spinsters and spinsters. The present author, one gathers, belongs to the more representative but hitherto less vocal group among the sisterhood. Toshio Shiratori (‘The Reawakening of Japan’) has long been an influential factor in Japanese politics. Americans will remember him as the vigorous and extremely candid spokesman of Japan’s Foreign Office during the difficult days when the Stimson policies were being pressed. Mr. Shiratori is at present Minister to Sweden. ∆ The young poet Theodore Roethke (‘Genius’) is an instructor in English at Lafayette College. Dorothy Thomas is a Middle-Western novelist whose talents are being increasingly recognized. She writes: ‘The morning’s mail tells me that my twenty-first and twentysecond stories are sold. For the first time in a long time I have not a single story out.’ Even though her name were not signed to ‘First Love,’ one would have guessed that it came from the same pen as her widely appreciated ‘Apple Wood’ (Atlantic for November 1933). ∆ It is said of Albert Jay Nock — and it sounds like a quip of his own — that once he voted for Jefferson Davis, on the principle that a first-rate dead man is better than a secondrate live one. However that may be, it was certainly somebody else who observed that ‘a little Knock is a dangerous thing’: drink deep perhaps in his new book, A Journal of These Days — or else be numbered among those who never learn ‘The Value of Useless Knowledge.’ ∆ Co-author with Charles Nordhoff of Mutiny on the Bounty and Men Against the Sea, James Norman Hall is safe home again in Tahiti after escaping from the ‘Wreck of the Pro Patria.’ ∆ Although he is a physician and Senator of the Irish Free State, Oliver Gogarty (‘The Mill at Naul’) is best known as a poet. He is a leading spirit among the illustrious men of letters who make up the Dublin group.
Ask the good citizens of Emporia, Kansas, what their town is famous for, and with one voice they will reply — William Allen White (‘Good Newspapers and Bad’). Through four decades his Emporia Gazette has been known the country over as a model of what the independent, small-town newspaper ought to be.
∆ As director of relief activities in the state of Wisconsin, Florence Peterson drew upon firsthand observation to write ‘CWA — A Candid Appraisal.’ ∆ America lost a biographer and essayist of the lirst water, tiie Atlantic an old and valued contributor, when Gamaliel Bradford died in 1932 (‘Personal Letters’). J. Allan Dunn has a score of books to his credit; ‘The Crazy Man’ has the ring of an authentic youthful episode remembered across the years. ∆ Since 1917, Francis Vivian Drake (‘A New Era in Speed’) has been closely identified with American aviation. An experienced pilot with whom riding the winds has been an absorbing hobby, he has flown over almost every mile of North American air lines, to say nothing of those in South America and Europe. Josephine W. Johnson (‘Year’s End’) is a young American writer who possesses an unmistakable gift of style whether she composes in prose or verse. ∆ Anyone can ask ‘Who’s Wrong with the Law?’ but only a lawyer like Mitchell Dawson, with twenty years of practice before the Chicago bar, can answer. ∆ Not all who have had interesting experiences can write, but everyone who writes must borrow from experience. Thus George Cornell (‘Service, Ma’am ): ‘It is rather difficult for a man of fifty years to put his life into one or two paragraphs. This is just what one reads on tombstones. I’m a carpenter, not a marble-worker. Born in London, one of a family of eleven, I left school at the fourth grade to earn my living. I have since made the world my school. I went to Canada to better my condition, joined the Canadians in the World War, and had thirteen months in France as a private. The rank of private has been mine all my life — and f have enjoyed it.’
Pitcairn as it is.
An Atlantic reader sends us the following letter just received from a resident of Pitcairn Island: —
Dear Mrs. ——,
Mrs. Stella Young received your letter dated December I , 1933, and has requested me to write a short account of life on our little island of Pitcairn.
I am an Englishman, by name Richard Bently Fairelough. My widowed sister. Mrs. Jessie Westall, also lives here. I have been six years, seven months on Pitcairn. We came here from New Zealand.
Pitcairn Island lies in South Pacific Ocean in Latitude 25° 4′ South. Longitude 130° 8′ West, on the track of ships from Panama to New Zealand.
Pitcairn was first reported in 1765 and called Pitcairn after the midshipman who sighted it. Afterwards, in 1790, the mutineers of the Bounty, under Fletcher Christian, came, bringing with them native men and women from Tahiti. The people of Pitcairn are descended from the British sailors and the native women. Since that time other British and Americans have come here and intermarried with the Pitcairners.
The government of the island consists of a Magistrate, two Assessors, a Secretary, and the Public Work Committee, who are elected every year on December 25. Both men and women have votes, but we come under control of the British High Commissioners for the Western Pacific at Seeva Figii. The most of the people belong to the Seventh-day Adventist Church. They observe the Sabbath from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset. There are no rates or taxes except six pence a year for gun license.
The people pay no rent, as they own their houses and land. There is no wage paid for public works, repairing roads, public buildings, or building and repairing the surf boats used for going out to passing ships. They belong to the community. There are a number of fishing canoes, which are private property.
There is a mistaken idea that everyone shares with everyone else the money earned selling baskets, shells, and so forth, to passing ships. What they earn is their own, but there is usually public fruit given to ships in exchange for stores. Those stores are divided among the householders.
We have no doctor. At limes of need we got a doctor from a ship to come ashore. We have no horses. The last one died last November. No cattle. No sheep. We have goats, chickens, turkeys, dogs and cats and rats. There are only a few wild birds. Scarcely any sea birds. There are no carts or ploughs. There are a large number of wheelbarrows which are an unusual shape, with sled runners which act as a brake coming down the steep pathways.
The dwelling houses are built of timber with corrugated iron roofs, with six or seven rooms in each house. The kitchen is usually built separate from the dwelling house. There are a few cooking ranges, but usually the oven is built of stone. A fire is made inside; when hot, the fire is drawn, food put in, the front closed with a sheet of iron, and the food left to cook. For kettles and pans, two iron bars are laid over the fire. Timber is our only fuel.
The highest point is about 1200 feet above the sea. The village stands on ground rising from about 150 to 300 feet above the sea. There are only a few small springs. Our main water supply is rain water caught in iron tanks, or stone cisterns lined with cement, about six feet square and six feet deep. The ground is very fertile. No manures used. Vegetables and all subtropical fruits grow in profusion. The climate is healthy, no swamps.
The village faces northeast and has the sun nearly all the day. Our summer season is the reverse to yours. Highest reading by thermometer this last summer was 85 degrees in the shade and 105 degrees in the sun. About 72 degrees through the night. The lowest reading I have seen was 59 degrees, which we thought rather cool.
There are about sixty houses. The church is a large, two-story building. There is a Court House, with Post Office, and a school, which has about thirty-two scholars. They attend school from six years to sixteen years of age. The present schoolmaster is an American named Roy Clarke, who has been here about twenty-five years. The inhabitants are about 200.
Our landing place at Bounty Bay is very small and often dangerous, with heavy surf. On November 3 last, the rudder of the ship Bounty was pulled up after being 143 years under sea. Last week we had a party of Americans on Pitcairn from the schooner Yankee, Captain Johnson owner. They were delighted with our little island.
So now I will close and I hope the account will interest you.
RICHARD B. FAIRCLOUGH
An answer to Macbeth’s question (Act V, Scene III).
May I take exception to the conclusions drawn by Dr. Grace Adams in her article, ‘The Rise and Full of Psychology,’ in your January number? After flouting the idea that psychologists can operate upon the mind as surgeons do upon the body, she says: ‘Psychology, for all its theories, has performed no miracles . . . has neither changed our habits nor rid us of our emotions.’
Five years ago an operation called psychoanalysis was performed upon my mind, with the result that a serious mental cancer was removed. I feel not the slightest hesitation in saying that this operation not only restored my health, which years of the best medical attention had failed to do, but saved my life; that, if the details of that process were not miracles, I have no clue to an understanding of the word; that it did change my habits; and that, though I should be the last person to wish to be ‘rid of my emotions,’ it has enabled me to utilize them more constructively.
As for the author’s survey of the rise and fall of psychology in the public prints, I found it most engaging. If the tumult and the shouting about psychology have indeed subsided, serious psychologists and psychiatrists ought to rejoice, for they will be the better able to stick to their lasts and avoid the impulse to engage in newspaper and magazine controversy something which I, who have experienced rather than theorized, cannot here withstand.
A GRATEFUL PATIENT
New York City
A musical beginner of fifty-nine.
Dear Atlantic, —
Mr. Drinker, in ‘ A Neglected Language in your February issue, has done us all a service in calling our attention to on avenue through which we may find pleasurable employment of leisure time.
At fifty-nine years of age I am beginning the study of the piano. My teacher is my daughter, a graduate of the Eastman School of Music at Boehester, New York. When I asked her, she ‘allowed as how’ I was probably old enough to begin. And when, after our first lesson, I asked her if she thought I had talent, she intimated that I might have inherited a little from her.
A. E. BRUCE
A young man’s Atlantic.
Dear Atlantic, —
In this family the father, forty-five, the mother. forty, and two sons, twenty and sixteen years of age, all read the Atlantic. The magazine’s coming is always eagerly awaited, more so, perhaps, by the younger son than by any other member of the family.
He is such an Atlantic enthusiast that in 1931, when but fourteen years old, he began collecting the items which especially pleased him, removing them from the magazines in preparation for binding into a book — which he has already done. In this first volume are articles and stories from three years’ Allantics, well set up and handbound into a book of quite some size, entitled Fifty-three Atlantic Stories.
A second edition from later issues of the Atlantic is now in preparation, and when sufficient material has been gathered together it too will he bound.
This young man is hoping to ply his bookbinding and art (for the books are well done) for others to whom preserving certain unbound literature is always a problem a problem turned joy when solved. It is an interesting and worth-while hobby at any rate.
A list of the items which caught my son’s fancy is too long to give here, but they are rather surprising.
EVA A. WATSON
Brooklyn, New York