The Contributors' Column

IT is an axiom of social history that during financial depressions labor troubles cease— until the clouds lift high enough for capitalist and worker to distinguish each from other and to resume traditional rôles on opposite sides of the economic equator. The rift in the clouds of despair which appeared in March of 1933,

then, was also a precursor of the rift in the lute of economic accord which March 1934 marked with the discontinuance of the C.W.A. Now there is a further division of accord caused by the dominating attitude of the American Federation of Labor, as George E. Sokolsky points out in ‘Labor’s Fight for Power. Mr. Sokolsky has long been noted as an authority on the Far East; since his return to America two years ago he has turned his mind to domestic problems, and has contributed a number of illuminating studies.

‘Remarks; None’ is the second story about line work we have published, the first being last month’s ’Just Plain Nuts.’ which was William Wister Haines’s first public appearance. ‘Most of my adult life,’he says, ’has been occupied wit h line work, and of course you can only write what you know. I intend to know more. For the time being, however, I am sick of the smell of ink. I have taken a job as a lineman and will go to work in the Newark interlocking next week. I have found before that a few weeks in a wire train makes the best vacation I know from this sedentary life.’ Slim, his vivid and virile novel about linemen, will be published August 3 by the Atlantic Monthly Press. Margaret Chanter’sRoman Spring, of which ‘Delightful People’ is the second delightful installment, will also be published by the Atlantic Monthly Press. Mrs. Chanler grew up in Rome as Margaret Terry, daughter of an American painter and half sister of Marion Crawford, the novelist. Her reminiscences combine both arts to draw an unforgettable picture of a way of living that is gone forever. Muriel Sperry, the Irish wife of the Dean of Harvard’s Theological School, takes up the shillalah for her native country in ‘Try Your Hap against the Irishmen. It will be a long day before any of her readers accept the invitation. Arthur Pound (‘These Coils of Debt’) combines detailed and practical knowledge of industry with a philosophic outlook. To reformers and manufacturers alike we commend him as a paradox of social, industrial, and common sense. Δ ’An Artifice of Dust’ is the first poem we have published by Lionel Wiggam, a nineteen-year-old student at Northwestern University, who has been supporting himself by writing blood-and-thunder stories for the pulps while gaining rapid recognition as a poet. Δ When, last April, we published the ‘Odyssey of a Sixty-Per-Center,’Major R. Raven-Hart found himself swamped with requests for further information about his canoeing adventures. ‘Paddling through Europe’ supplies some of the answers, and still further questions may be addressed to ‘ Les Lavandes.’ au Liouquet, La Ciotat (B-duR), France. The Major is happy to help beginners in his favorite sport, hut it is only lair to remind them that International Reply coupons are obtainable at any post office. A Do you recognize ‘ The Club Secretary ‘? Lord Dunsany may not be expected to name him; the necessary clue is given. We need scarcely add that His Lordship is eligible for membership—indeed, might even found a Club for Dramatists. Δ ‘ Pioneers of Silence’ is another response to appreciative readers, this time to Margaret Prescott Montague’s brothers and sisters the deaf. Her ’Lucky Lady’ brought many hundreds of requests hamore about her personal experience.

Before he settled down to the ’Winter in the Woods which he described so engagingly in a recent issue, Glanville Smith took some money given him by an aunt ‘such as one usually has only the pleasure of reading about’ and went traveling — among other places, to ‘Suffolk with a Porpoise.’ Now, he writes, ‘it is the busy season in the tombstone trade, but I find it hard to keep my mind on the epitaphs. I am learning that being an Atlantic author has its repercussions. For example, I have received from an unknown admirer a book on Barber-Shop Balladry written by himself. The possibility of more such repercussions makes the arrival each day of the noon mail train (two cars) a moment of emotion.’ Bradford k. Daniels (‘The Brook’) has also retired to the wilderness, in the Puget Sound countrv. where he lives ’among his cherry trees and white Leghorns.’ Δ ’The Birthday Tree is imbued with the same spirit of maternal devotion that one finds in Ann Bridge’sPeking Picnic, the Atlantic Prize Novel for 1932. A If the time has come for a ’Post-Obit for Post-Depressionists,’the form surely should be the classic form of satire that comes to us through Samuel Johnson’s London, straight from Juvenal’s rhetorical championship of ’the more sober virtues and ideas . . . of an educated but depressed . . . middle class.’ And Leonard Bacon, perhaps the only living author who ‘tends to think in couplets.’ is entitled to assume the toga. Δ Those who know Hilda Worthington Smith only in her various official capacities, including her recent appointment to the Federal Emergency Relief Administration, might never discover the Fairy Blossom of ‘A Post Office in Fairyland.’ Her friends recognize her, however, and know that, as Miss Smith says, ‘given a beautiful countryside, the garden in moonlight or a bit of mountain road at dusk could easily be peopled by an imaginative child with her fairy friends.

Δ ‘The Oxford Group Movement: An Appraisal’ concludes the discussion of Buchmanism which Henry P. Van Dusen, Dean of Students at Union Theological Seminary, opened last month.

P. O. for a Porpoise.

Dear Atlantic, —
I have just got a letter from my friend Douglas Bird, who tells me that the post office I saw in Woodbridge in 1929 was last year supplanted by a shiny new one; perhaps Atlantic readers who are prospective pilgrims to Woodbridge should be warned about this. He also says, — and it sounds strangely like an echo from my essay, proving that I write with some truth, eh? — ‘Both Mother and I often talk about you, and especially during April when the daffodils are out.’
Cold Spring, Minnesota

Individual or group ‘individualism’?

Dear Atlantic, —
I read with interest Mrs. Madeira’s article on ‘Our Burden of Choice,’ in the June number. Her thesis seems to me debatable. If we are yielding authority to a dictator, as in Germany, or to a corporate body of dictators, as in Russia, simply because we wish to avoid the responsibility of making choices and governing our lives ourselves, it seems deplorable, nothing less than a neurotic regression to infantilism, a repudiation of the adult attitude to life. If, on the other hand, individualism is being modified in such a way as to extend the sense of personality from the individual to the group, if we are learning to think less of the importance of the individual and more of the importance of the nation or of mankind as a whole, I think it is a change for the better.
Norristowen, Pennsylvania

‘You made us what we are to-day.‘

Dear Atlantic,
What a vast field of missionary work lies before Pringle Barret! For if there is truth iu the old adage, ’The hand which rocks the cradle rules the world,’ then the mothers of the race are responsible for instilling into the male mind its insufferable superiority complex; we superior males are under female domination from the cradle to college. ‘You made us what we are to-day.’
Berkeley, California

Ananias in Virginia.

Dear Atlantic, —
Being a native of Tennessee, I have always experienced something between pride and a wince when I have heard that state spoken of as holding the palm in producing great liars. Recently, however, I was thrilled to hear the following account from the lips of a man of this, my adopted state of Virginia. I think it surely eclipses anything a Tennesseean ever even thought.
I noticed my friend was wearing a watch charm of a most unusual nature. It was made up of nine wild turkeys’ toes. When I asked him about it, his reply was something like this: —
’Well, sir, I wuz once ’most put to it to know whal to do. I never did like the idea of wastin’ anything, and this-here problem I faced wuz just that — how to git the most out o’ what was a real good stroke o’ fortune.
’I wuz out huntin’ one mornin’. My luck had n’t been nothin’ extra, and it’d begun to rain; so I turned round, called my dog. and faced toward home kind o’ disgusted like, when what d’ you think? I heared a sound I knowed mighty well, and, lookin’ up in the direction it come from, I seen what appeared to be more wild turkeys than ever I seen before. They wuz all on one. branch of-a while oak tree, about thirty feet from the ground. There they sot — nine of ’em, all in a row.
’Well, when my breath finally come back, I begun to consider what my duty wuz. I knowed right well I could kill one all right, maybe two; but if wuz a downright pity to let all the others git away. Natur’ly I thought o’ gittin’ off and tryin’ a shot right through all nine o’ them turkeys’ heads, but I knowed mighty well nobody d b’lieve me if I told ’em I got ’em that way. We’ve all heared that tale, but it’s too gol-darned unthinkable! I wanted to come at a method folks’d b’lieve. I’ve always been knowed as a truthspeakin’ individual, and I did n’t want to ruin my repitation with no high-sound’in tale like that.
‘It wuz rainin’ harder by now. and I thought it wuz high onto time for me to arrive at some conclusion. The turkeys had all quieted down, and there they sot, nine o’ the prettiest young birds you ever seen, on a right straight limb, their toes all grippin’ the branch jist alike three loes over the front and one over the back of it. ’Well, sir, I calc’lated to git ’em all. So, after I’d took my bearin’s a bit, I backed off up on a little rise and got a good bead on that limb. I wuz n’t aimin’ to hit none o’ the turkeys, but jist the limb. When I thought I had it pretty well in line, I fired.
‘Well, sir, il did n’t give me no disappointment whatever. The bullet had hit centre and split that limb right down the middle, and every turkey on it had dropped his hind toe in that split. Then, quicker’n you know, the limb had closed back up, jist as I figgered it would, and there hung them birds all in a row. It wuz a mighty pretty sight. You understand they wuz n’t dead; they wuz all jist caught by the toe. I calc’lated this would be a right pretty sort o’ thing to take home and show my friends. It ain’t everybody comes in with a branch o’ nine livin’ wild turkeys. So I dumb up with my hatchet and chopped off that limb, kind o’ careful like to keep from losin’ any o’ the fruit: and then I carried it down with me and put it in the buggy.
‘I go I in and give the word to go. when what d’ you think? The horse started off like he always does when he’s goin’ home; but that buggy sot right there where it wuz! I could n’t make out at first what the matter wuz. But then I seen it all. I had put some new traces in before I left home — a pair o’ rawhide ones I’d got from a mail-order house.
‘I want to tell you, never git rawhide traces. The rain had got them traces wet and they wuz jist stretchin’ somethin’ awful. As fast as the horse wuz goin’, all he could do wuz to take up the slack in them traces, they wuz stretchin’ so fast. It wuz kind o’ uncanny like to sit there and see that horse gallopin’ right off from me, when all the time he wuz hitched to the buggy. All I could do wuz sit there and jist think how I’d been done by that mail-order house. The horse by now must’ve got all the way home and put hisself in the stable.
‘But while I wuz sittin’ and thinkin’, somethin’ else happened. It quit rainin’, and the sun suddenly come out and dried those traces. They dried so fast that that buggy-load o’ turkeys and me wuz jerked with one almighty jerk all the way home. I never hope to travel as fast as we done that time! I did n’t see nothin’ pass. All I knowed wuz when we got there. We hit the barn so hard that I wuz plumb spilt out o’one side o’ the buggy. But the worst wuz. when we come through the gate that limb must’ve scraped the gatepost with consid’ble force. All them turkeys wuz scraped off of it as clean as soap! When I looked up. they wuz all flyin away. I looked at the limb, and all there wuz left wuz the nine hind toes.
‘Well, that’s how I come by ’em. You wuz askin’ me how I got ’em, and now I’ve told you.
At the time, there seemed to he no visible point of attack on so lucid an account of the origin of the watch charm, and I parted from my friend, nominally a believer. But some day I hope to meet him again. I want to ask him a question. I want to ask him why just nine hind toes. There should have been eighteen!
Lynchburg, Virginia

A further word to the deaf.

To supplement her article in this issue, Miss Montague writes: —

’If you must be deaf, or are interested in some deaf child, let me suggest that you get in touch with the Volta Bureau, 1537 35th Street, N.W., Washington, D. C. It welcomes letters of inquiry. sends out innumerable pamphlets, publishes the Volta Review, and in every way seeks to give information and encouragement both to the hard of hearing and to the congenitally deaf. Its service is national and is free.

’Among other helpful things. the Volta Bureau will tell you of the new vibratory method of teaching the congenitally deaf lately developed by Miss Sophia Alcorn. By this method, to quote from te Auditory Outlook: “ Deaf children . . . are able to understand speech by merely placing one hand against the teacher’s cheek. Through recognizing speech movements by touch, they learn to recognize them by sight, and they develop into phenomenal lip readers. They become so familiar with the movements of the check muscles that they can understand a person whose whole mouth is covered. I have no idea how they do it. It seems to me they develop a faculty which is dormant in the rest of us.‘