The Contributors' Column
DEAN of Teachers College in Columbia University since 1927, William F. Russell (‘So Conceived and So Dedicated’) surveys the contemporary scene with the detachment of a vigilant observer whose conclusions are founded, not on emotion, but on philosophical scholarship.Lord Howard of Penrith continues the recollections of his adventurous youth in this account of ‘Great Men and Small’ whom he has known. He is remembered by all Americans as Sir Esme Howard, Ambassador from Great Britain in the twenties. ∆ No one is more competent to speak on railroads than the president of the Burlington Lines, Ralph Budd. We commend ‘ Railroading Moves Ahead to everyone awake to the possibilities of all that lightweight high-speed trains may accomplish.
A large public has been thrown into a retrospective mood by the recent death of one of America’s great men. His life has been pronounced full and significant. The large public glories in the acknowledgment of this. There are certain aspects of his character known perhaps only to his inner circle of friends. It is with the hope of revealing both the tenderness and the boyishness of the nature of Oliver Wendell Holmes that one of his long-time friends, Mrs. William E. Cushing, offers ‘ The Gallant Captain and the Little Girl.’ ∆ ‘Hard Times and the Author’ is a subject which an editor understands with even greater comprehensiveness than any individual author, and which Edward Weeks, editor of the Atlantic Monthly Press, has studied with constructive fervor. ∆ The J. N. H. who penned ‘Wartime Verses and Peacetime Sequel’ will be readily identified by friends of the Allantic.George E. Sokolsky has turned from the Far East to more intimate problems, of which ‘The Irresponsibility of Labor’ is one. He is at present touring the country collecting further data. ∆ ‘The Betrayal’ portrays another aspect of the labor problem, by Leane Zugsmith, a young writer who ‘hopes some day to see and really to know the West and the South and the East and the North of the United States, with New York City as the permanent address.’ Kenneth Horan (‘Design for Darkness’) is conductor of the book page in the Chicago Journal of Commerce. In response to a question in the Atlantic’s letter of acceptance came tin’s telegram: ‘AM IRISH WOMAN FORTY-FIVE STOP THEY NAMED ME KENNETH BECAUSE THEY WANTED A BOY.’ Later the mail brought, a note: ‘Your letter has opened the gates of Heaven to me. I have been through so much suffering and have touched such depths of despair, with the awful realization that I might be permanently blind, that your gentle and heartening words brought a new outlook to me for my life. More than that no human being can do for another.‘
No one except Bernard Shaw (who is an Irishman) writes so wisely about the English as a Frenchman, André Maurois, who, in celebration of His Majesty s jubilee, adds to his long list of English biographies ‘George V and the British Crown.’ ∆ Now that, our intrepid traveler, Glanville Smiih, is safe at home again in Cold Spring, Minnesota, we can only hope he is enjoying as pleasant weather in May as his ‘November Spring’ in New Zealand. John Holmes (‘Legend and Truth’) teaches courses in English composition and modern poetry at Tufts College, in addition to publishing Ids own distinguished verse.
Josephine W. Johnson is one of the Atlantic’s favorite authors. Her poems and stories, of which ’John the Six’ is her latest, have appeared regularly since 1931, when she was all of twenty-one years of age. George W. Gray (‘New Eyes on the Universe’) is another familiar name, his illuminating articles on science having enlightened lay readers for over a decade. ∆ ‘The Dear One’ concludes the latest series of English sketches by Henry Williamson, winner of the Hawthornden prize in 1927 for his novel, Tarka the Otter.Herbert Ravenel Sass describes himself as ‘a fickle person with three loves—human characteristics, Southern history, and natural history,’ all three the themes of various published books. In connection with ‘The Great Horned Serpent’ he adds, ‘all myths are true in a sense. For instance, the myth about the power of snakes to fascinate. They have always fascinated me.‘Arthur Pound (‘The Industrial Portfolio of Industry’) sustains in this unique series the reputation which he established a decade and a half ago with the publication of his ’Iron Man’ papers in the Atlantic.
All hail to the Minnesota Magellan!
Dear Atlantic, —
Glanville Smith is calmly torturing us landlocked souls with his shining stories of the antipodes. I must retrace many, many steps to find anything that I have enjoyed so much — yes, half so much. May he never be obliged to take to drumming! Let him wander on, discovering the world anew.
We read here and there that only insignificant portions of the globe remain ‘ undiscovered.’ Hewing to our self-appointed duty to ‘the lesser races’ to carry to them the wisdom of the Book, the trial balance, and the Kingdom of Hollywood, we count our bathtubs, telephones, and bank clearings and urge tho world to look and learn. Alas for Philadelphia and Wall Street, we succor them not.
Glanville Smith, Magellan out of Minnesota, is rediscovering the world we live in. May he cruise on!
CHESTER P. HOLWAV
The quenching of a firebrand.
The verses entitled ‘ Revolt’ by Mary Helen Dohan in the February Contributors’ Club recalled the following lines which I ran across some thirty years ago and committed to memory :
pered it by stealth,
He wrote whole miles of stuff against the awful curse
He shouted for the poor man and he howled the rich
He roasted every king and queen who dared to wear
To exterminate the millionaires, to sweep them from
He yelled against monopolies, look shots at every
And he swore he’d he an anarchist to grind them in
rich men wince —
But an uncle left him money and he has n’t shouted
C. L. KNIGHT
Demos speaks quite loud.
Dear Atlantic, —
A voice from the ‘Neolithic Mass’ asks for a hearing!
We are not really a mass, you know. There are so many of us, — one or two thousand million, and no two alike, - and we move about so at our lowly level in our struggle to maintain physical existence, that we just seem like a mass to the ‘psychical’ man looking down upon us, it may surprise Albert Jay Nock to know that some of our crowd read the Atlantic and enjoyed his ‘Quest of the Missing Link.’
I used the word ‘enjoyed’ because it gave us such pleasure to watch a philosopher running up a blind alley.
If these thinkers (?) can only count up to two, and therefore divide mankind into that number of sharply defined groups, I suggest that they come and see us sometime.
It has been said that Cod created man in his own image; that was a rather good start and brings up the question of family resemblance. Was Adam like God and like Dr. Cram, or may we presume to say he was like God and like our hoys down here in the neolithic mass?
No, my good thinkers, you are not a separate species - just accidents in the procreation process of the mass. You sometimes bob up in great numbers and create an epoch in art, in letters, or in science, You commonly rise singly and reach various levels of attainment. Be assured we admire you, and value your services (and usually pay for them). Wore you a species, you would continue your psychical kind; but you must confess that you do not, and that your children or your children’s children flop back into our eternal neolithic mass,
New York City
From a young gentleman of the new school.
I had read and sympathetically enjoyed the article ‘What a Gentleman Was,’ by Henry Dwight Sedgwick, in the March Atlantic. But I fell that it would he interesting to get a youthful opinion on the matter. I gave the article, in lieu of the weekly composition, to one of my high-school seniors. I thought that you might be interested in reading his paper handed in to-day.
IRENE F. NEUMANN
Otney High School
‘WHAT A GENTLEMAN WAS’
In the current issue of the Atlantic Monthly, one Henry Sedgwick boldly steps forward and puts his foot down. In the manner of a district attorney, he points an accusing linger at the world and declares its moral deterioration. He comes, in his article, ‘to say good-bye to the Guild of Gentlemen, not to praise it.’ Mr. Sedgwick, like Mr. Anthony, proceeds to praise that which he at first admits is not his purpose. Also, as in Mr. Anthony’s famous eulogy, the purpose is attained indirectly .
Mr. Sedgwick deplores the lack of manners of the present generation and the condition that pophpoohs all signs of niceness and refinely. He. bewails the fact that we have lost the eye of our fathers for style, for the appreciation not only of beautiful curves and modules in architecture but also of subtle expression and thought in literature. He decries the fact that our taste is blunted by the list towards democracy, that the demand for equality has dulled all our former sensitivity, that the fall of the leisure aristocracy has dragged with it all culture, that we now live only for ball games, movies, bere, and sleep. He laments the loss of privacy and the incroachment of publicity. And so, after reading the good gentleman’s essay, since I have no sensitivity, no feeling, no appreciation. I ask: ‘So what? 1
The author’s words, sadly I must admit, are all too true. I should argue with him over his ideas of the had results of this trend toward equality. He feels that equality has blunted the fine points of aloofness, of solitude, and of privacy; that it has reduced all thoughts to the vernacular of the general. Whereas I feel that the breaking don a of the barriers of society, the reducing of thoughts to simple, understandable terms, has opened the world to progress. It certainly has led to the modern view that beauty is simplicity, and to die devaluation, if not the ridicule, of the pomposity of expression of our lathers. However, I do no I wish to argue longer on this point, for not only is it generally admitted, but there are also sadder circumstances worthy of greater note.
Thoughtful people realize that the social and political upheavals of the last century have left us still in the ruins. It is unfair to make so sweeping a generalization that all the world is boorishly cireusing. There are, Mr. Sedgwick, some gentlemen remaining. Furthermore, recent educational analyses show the increasing thoughtfulness of the undergraduate. Many of the things which, as you say, should be cherished are sadly neglected. Certainly there is an awful hiatus between the vulgarity of the masses and the uncestral niceties which we so admire. You say that the leisure brought about by modern specialization and machinery should be spent in acquiring manners, taste, a feeling for beauty, and a love for solitude. The old aristocracy of which you speak had all these handed down to them by heritage and drilled into them day after day. To spread this culture to the masses lakes time and is a noble undertaking. This is no time for aloofness, for subtlety, for privacy. It is the time for equality, for simplicity, for fraternity. We are starting, if I may use a racing term, from scratch. How much finer the results will be! Instead of a cultured few, there will be many. I would not worry so, Mr. Sedgwick. I see a world full of gentlemen.
In air-conditioned houses there is no regulation against the snuffbox.
I was much interested in the March Contributor’s remarks about air-conditioned houses, because my fondest dream, after Venetian blinds for summer and a sun lamp for winter, has long been an airconditioned house. But if it is going to eliminate sneezing - well, I don’t know. I can I get over his saying, ‘I do not like to sneeze, myself.’ I thought everybody liked to sneeze. I love it.
When I feel a sneeze coming, my first sensation is pleasant anticipation. Next comes the guilty thought that I ought to press my linger under my nose and try to stop it, but unless I am at the theatre or a eoneerl or can I possibly get at my handkerchief, this, feeling is soon overwhelmed by the delicious tickling in back of my nose. ’Next comes ‘ A-a-a-h,’ prolonged to the Iasi possible moment, and then ‘Choo!‘ Ha!
My brand of sneeze is eminently satisfactory, at least to the sneezer neither very violent nor very splattery. Not like my sister’s, which sounds like a hose suddenly turned on full force. Nor like my mother’s, which is politely suppressed to a sort of ‘skxxx,’ like twisting a tight cork in a bottle neck most unsatisfactory for both performer and audience. Nor, thank heaven, like my father’s, which explodes with a roar and a boom that make you leap violently several rooms away, and when you are in the same room hi! you square in the breastbone, penetrating in and down to the pit of your stomach.
Often our dog, who likes to sleep curled up in Father’s lap when he is reading in the evening, will be violently wakened by a sneeze which brings him to his feet with a startled look and a half-uttered bark, ready to leap to the defense of home and master. When he recovers sufficiently to realize what hit him, he jumps down and stalks off in injured dignity to continue his dream in a more peaceful spot.
I remember one afternoon when a fluttery middleaged spinster dropped in to call, and as she was leaving I went with my mother into the hall to see her out. Suddenly from the living room came that ear-splitting, heart-rending bellow. The poor lady started visibly and one hand clutched at her jabot. When she could speak. ‘My!’ she breathed, ‘I forgot to say good-bye to Mr. Perry.’ As she bravely went back to do her social duty, my sister and I quickly retired, doubled over with uncontrollable giggles.
To the anti-sneezer, all of this would probably be com incing argument in favor of universal air conditioning. I defy him. though, to approve anything that would deprive the world of the savoir-faire and charm which characterize the sneezes of my kitten and my baby.
ISABEL T. PERRY KURTZ
Staten Island, New York
Work for band and brain.
William Heilman’s account of the therapeutic effect of handwork, in the February issue, should awaken many to its value. Although I have never been in the depths which Mr. Heilman describes. I can testify to the merits of manual work as an equalizer and preventive.
Of the many things I have made in my basement workshop, nothing has given me so much pleasure as my first homemade telescope. The fun of making it caused me to forget myself, and the fun of using it almost caused me to forget, the depression.
A good Newtonian telescope is not very difficult to make, and I recommend it as an exercise for anyone who has leisure or is out of a job. The mirror is the most difficult part, but that is not out of reach of the amateur. Main a young man under twenty has made a better telescope than Galileo ever possessed. A wooden tube, a small bit of silvered glass for a diagonal, the lens from a cheap microscope for an eyepiece, an assembly of standard pipe fillings for a mount, together with the mirror and a lew minor accessories, make the complete instrument in its simplest form.
With my first telescope — a six-inch New tonian with a spherical mirror I could easily see the satellites of Jupiter and the craters on the moon, and was able to resolve some double stars. With my second an eight-inch parabolic I was able to see two moons of Saturn, as well as its rings, and to resolve many double and multiple stars, including Epsilon Lyræ, the famous ‘double double.’
WILBUR F. DECKER
A point for the jury.
The importance of emphasis upon words in sentences was brought home to me in the recent Hauptmann trial. In addressing the jury, the judge mentioned a piece of evidence brought in by the defense and he said: ’Do you believe that?’
Did he say: I Do you believe that ?’ (If you do, you must weigh that evidence carefully in making your decision.)
Or did he say: ’Do you believe that?‘ (If so, you are more gullible than I take you to be.)
The printed page fails to reveal whether the judge was open to the charge of influencing the jury.
RUTH G. WOOD
A compromise with Death.
All of us in our thinking must come to some working agreement with death. We fear it less as life advances, mostly because its inevitableness is accepted less with despair, more with tranquil confidence. May it not be true that we fear death because we fear life? We have not, the courage to imagine life stripped of that sense of security which the life of our loved ones gives it. Whether we are conscious of it or not, we relive our lives in the lives of those who form the inner circle of our affections, and that this should be taken from us by death is a condition we fear to face. We weave a pattern of file around our inner circle, and our great fear is that this pattern may be broken.
If is only those who have been very near death who find it gentle, not ruthless, relentless, but friendly and strangely beautiful. ‘Why fear death? It is the most wonderful adventure in life.’ Surely this is the acme of philosophical courage and tranquillity. Death a stranger? Why should it be? All that is beautiful in nature dies year after year to be reborn, re-created into new beauties each spring, more soul-salisfying for all their familiarity.
No, I do not think it is death we fear, for ourselves or for others, but file shorn of those souls into which we have woven the very pattern of our being. That life would be unbearable without them is the fear that haunts us. But they, because their lives are part of us who five, must survive. We shall find this conviction not in the word of the world’s religions, nor in the intellectual proof of the scientific investigator, but in the assurance that love is that one thing more powerful than death. Love lends through life to death, through death to life again.
Englewood, New Jersey
The original Jack of all trades.
Referring to unusual signs, an old copy of the Bloodless Phlebotomist states that ’the following signboard was discovered in a Cornish village. England, and is now in the possession of the Horniman Museum, London.’
ROGER GILES SURGIN
PARISH CLARK & SKULEMASTER. GROSER & HUNDERTAKER RESPECTABLY INFORMS LADYS & GENTLEMAN THAT HE DRORS TEEF WITHOUT WATEING A MINIT. APPLIES LACHES EVERY HOUR. BLISTERS ON THE LOWEST TARMS. & VIZICKS FOR A PENNY A PEACE. HE SELLS GODFATHER’S KORDALES. KUTS KORNS. BUNYONS. DOCTORS HOSSES. CLIPS DONKIES WANCE A MUNTH & UNDERTAKES TO LUKE ARTER EVERY BODIES NAYLS BY THE EAR JOES-HARPS. PENNY WISSELS BRASS KANDELSTICKS, FRYINPANS & OTHER MOOZIKAL HINSTRUMENTS HAT GRATELY REYDOOSED FIGERS. YOUNG LADYS & GENTLEMEN LARNES THERE GRAMMUR AND LANGEUDGE IN THE PURTIEST MANNAR. ALSO GRATE CARE TAKEN OFF THERE MORRELS & SPELLIN. ALSO ZARM-ZINGING TAYCHING THE BASE VIAL. & OLL OTHER ZORIS OF FANCY WORKS QUADRILS POKERS WEAZEL, & ALL COUNTRY DANCES TORT AT HOME & ABROAD AT PERFESHUN PERFUMERY AND SNUFF IN ALL ITS BRANCHES AS TIMES IS CRUEL BAD I BEGS TO TELL EE THAT I HAS JUST BEGINNED TO SELL ALL SORTS OF STASHONARY WARE. COX. HENS. VOULS. PIGS AND ALL OTHER KINDS OF POULTRY. BLACKINBRISHES. HERRINS. COLES. SCRUBBlIN-BRISHES. TRAYKEL AND GODLEY BOKES & BIBLES. MISE TRAPS BRICK DIST. WHISKER-SEEDS. MORREL POKKERANKERCHERS. AND ALL ZORTS OF SWATEMAITS INCLUDING TATERS SASSAGES AND OTHER GARDENSTUFF. BAKKY ZIGARS. LAMP OYLE. TAV KITTLES AND OTHER INTOXZIKATIN LIKKERS. A DALE OF FRUIT. HATS. ZONGS. HAREOYLE. PATTINS. BUKKITS. GRINDSTONES AND OTHER AITABLES. KORN AND BUNYON ZALVE AND ALL HARDWARE. I HAS LAID IN A LARGE AZZORTMENT OF TRYPE, DOGS _MATE. LOLLIPOPS. GINGER BEER MATCHES AND OTHER PICKELS. SUCH AS HEPSOM SALTS HOYSTERS. WINZER SOPE. ANZETRAR. OLD RAGS BORT AND ZOLD HERE AND NOWHERE ELCE. NEWLAYD HEGGS BY ME ROGER GILES ZINGING BURDES KEEPED SICH AS HOWLS DONKIES PAYROX. LOBSTERS. CRICKETS. ALSO A STOCK OF A CELERBRATED BRAYDER. I TAYCHES GOGRAPHY RITHMETIC COWSTICKS JIMNASTICKS & OTHER CHYNEES TRIX.
GODE SAVE YE KINGE.
C. E. STODDARD
Washington, D. C.
More and more signs of the times.
Dozens of letters reporting odd signs to be met with on highways and byways ronlinne to arrive in every mail. We print the best in this month’s collection.
Alice G. Keane (Fort Mitchell, Kentucky) reports this gem from darkest Darktown: —
WHITE WASHING DID IN EVERY COLOR
The window of a cabinet shop in Denver, according to Dr. A. R. Marsten (Wheat Ridge, Colorado), displays this sign:—
ANTIQUES MADE WHILE You WAIT
From Norfolk, Virginia, a friend writes of seeing in a wine shop in Bermuda: —
WATER Is FINE IF TAKEN IN THE RIGHT SPIRIT
Miriam Allen de Ford (Berkeley, California) observed this sign on Kalakaua Avenue, Honolulu:-
JOHNSON’S EMERGENCY SHOP WE SPECIALIZE IN BEDPRINGS PROBLEMS
A. G. Packard (Ashfield, Massachusetts) remembers this sign which used to adorn a gin distillery at Warehouse Point, Connecticut:-
IT CAN BE ONLY PREJUDICE THAT PREFERS FOREIGN INFERIORITY TO DOMESTIC SUPERIORITY
The same correspondent spotted this placard in the window of a grocery store in Tannersville, New York: —
FRESH EGGS FROM OUR OWN HENRY
Mary Reeve Dexter (Pacific Grove, California) copied following from the door of an old Mission: —
ADMISSION 25 CTS. FOR GOD’S SAKE, FOR HUMANITY’S SAKE FOR EDUCATION’S SAKE CHILDREN FREE
VISITORS TREATED WITH KINDNESS AND COURTESY EVERY DAY EXCEPT SUNDAYS AND HOLIDAYS
Mrs. Arthur C. Badger (Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts) saw this sign rudely lettered on a Negro cabin near Washington:-
GUTTERING AND SPOUTING DONE HERE
Dean Edward Ellery of Union College (Schenectady, New York) reports two signs found in Maine. He had just passed, he says, through the land of Canaan. Carmel, and Hermon. On the road from Skowhegan to Bangor, on the crest of a steep hill, he encountered a large sign: —
HILL - DANGEROUS GO INTO SECOND GEAR
A few feel farther on he came to a second and more startling caution:-
PREPARE TO MEET THY GOD
Columbus never heard of this egg trick.
Dear Atlantic, — I thought Mr. Stewart’s paper on ‘The Breath of Life1 one of the most interesting in the March number. I wonder if Mr. Stewart is familiar with the following experiment regarding submerged buoyancy. It may be performed without leaving the cosiness of his kitchen. Fill a tin berry pail with fresh water and drop in a barnyard hen’s egg. It will sink to the bottom. Now by gradually dissolving salt in the water a point will be reached where the egg can be made to float submerged in the most elegant style.
H. A. HAWTHORNE
Dear Atlantic, —By having a cupful of strong salt solution in one hand, and a cupful of plain water in the other, and adding a little of each alternately, the egg may be made to take up various positions, first resting an inch from the top, then going down and stopping an inch from the bottom, or again coming to a halt just hallway between. It may best be seen in a glass jar; and when the egg stands suspended there, like Mahomet’s collin halfway between heaven and earth, the experiment may be said to be an elegant In putting down salt pork for winter, with baked beans ultimately in mind, it is a rule to make the brine strong enough to float an egg. This demonstration of the textbook theme of ‘ submerged floating’ is a natural outcome of such work. I am glad the answer came out of a kitchen. It shows what may be accomplished by mixing brains with beans.It must be remembered, however, that a fish cannot change the saltness of the Atlantic every time it wants to rest at a dilferenl level, nor can it tamper with the weight of inland waters. It has rather got to change its own specific gravity; and that is why I tried to show the delicacy of it by experimenting with the object in suspension rather than with the watery medium itself. CHARLES D. STEWART
Our own ‘Ever-ready.’
Dear Atlantic, -
For years I have treasured that picture of the young lady who carried an Atlantic under her arm in order to give the impression of ‘literary culture,’ but not until last night did I find that the very appearance of the magazine was of great utility. The night was dark. In the lonely oil fields in the suburbs of Los Angeles I was waiting for the midnight trolley to carry me cityward. The swiftly moving electric car paid no attention to my pocket flashlight. As I saw that the car was not going to stop, I waved the redcoated Atlantic in the blinding rays of the headlight. Seeing this danger signal, the motorman brought his car to an emergency stop, throwing the passengers into confusion. So the brave-colored \ttanlie saved me a ten-mile walk.
FORD A. CARPENTER
Los Angeles, California