THE thought and character of Mr. Pennyfeather leave no doubt of his distinctive New England origin. Mr. Pennyfeather was first introduced to us by Donald Moffat, the Boston author; as one comes to know him better it is possible to detect a rather delightful family resemblance to t he Autocrat of blessed memory. If Boston is a state of mind, says Mr. Pennyfeather, what would you call New York?

A Close student of labor conditions in the United Slates, George E. Sokolsky speaks with a knowdedge of character and a freedom from bias very different from proletarian or other pleading.

In the days of Kipling’s India, Mrs. Edmonia Hill lived at Allahabad, where her husband was Professor of Science at the Muir Central College of Allahabad University. The Mills knew young ’R. K.’ intimately. ‘ When we made a trip round the world,’writes Mrs. Hill, ‘our traveling companion was Kipling, and he used the “ Professor” as a mouthpiece for his theories in the “Sea to Sea” letters.‘

An Oxford graduate whose ‘second country’ is Spain, Geoffrey Household has lived for considerable periods in the Balkans, South America — and Manhattan. He is at present in Málaga, devoting three months’ concentration to the completion of his firsl novel — which, incidentally, will be published by the Atlantic Monthly Press.

The first American poet to hold the Charles Eliot Norton Lectureship, Robert Frost will be assured of Standing Room Only when he speaks in Cambridge. A collection of new poems by Mr. Frost, will appear in April under the title of A Further Range.

The children of James Abbe, international press photographer, Patience (age II), Richard (age 9), and Johnny (age 8), told something of their ‘ Eleven Years Around the World in the March Atlantic. But let their father speak: ‘Well, we five Abbes marched into Putnam’s, in New York City, the morning of the twentieth and bought our first copy of the March Atlantic with its ” I, Patience” leading the field. And of all the thrills Papa and Mamma ever had during fifteen years of thrills, this was the tops. To be perfectly honest, the three little authors caught sight of bound copies of “funnies,” sat down on Putnam’s floor, and buried their noses in Dick Tracy, Tarzan, et cetera. They may be well launched in the literary field, thanks to you, but I’m afraid they arec not intellectuals. They did, however, look over the Atlantic and satisfied themselves that it is “a good paper,”which should take a loud off your mind.

An invalid who for fifteen years has known no relief from heart trouble, Madame France Pastorelli writes with unquenchable courage. She is particularly intent on lightening the burden which the sick impose upon their sympathizers — and vice versa!

T. E. Lawrence was unquestionably the most glamorous figure to emerge from the Great War. At this time, when his Seven Pillars of Wisdom is fresh in mind, it is pertinent to detach the man from the legend, studying the views of two British officers, the Near View of F. Yeats-Brown, of the Bengal Lancers, who knew Lawrence well, and the Long View of A. W. Smith, late of the Gloucestershire Regiment.

Born in Boston and a graduate of the Baltimore Medical Gollege. Dr. G. L. De. Meritt has practised in New Jersey since 1900, being connected for most of that time with a well-known hospital where he was the attending urologist. ‘Besides keeping up with current literature on hospitals,’ he says, ‘I have had the experience of being intimately concerned with the financial and medical administrative problems of an average hospital, in a poorer than average community. During part of the World War, I served as surgeon in the merchant marine, under various flags, and it made me wish that hospitals could be run like ships.

Doctor, author, and resident of Kansas City, Logan Clendening has been a lifelong devotee of the Pickwick Papers, whose one-hundredth anniversary he wishes us to remember.

When we accepted Constance Cassady’s story we asked to see her credentials as a railroad engineer. And here is her reply: ‘As for the details of the story, I feel a little guilty to be obliged to confess that I’ve never actually been in an engine cab. All the authentic color of the story must be credited to my husband, who was a railroad man before the war, and whose reminiscences of railroading have always interested me. He maintains that the average railroad story does n’t ring true — that the writers of these tales tend to inject a kind of sentimentality which is entirely lacking in real railroad men, and that the much-publicized affection of the “hugger" for his locomotive is pure fancy. For a long time he has wanted me to. write something in the true spirit of railroading. I’m glad that you feel that I’ve Succeeded.‘

Each time that Mrs. Della Thompson Lutes tells us of the food her mother used to cook (on a farm in Southern Michigan) and her father used to eat, there are cries of ‘More! More!’ from hungry readers. Her book will be ready for allAmerican gourmets in the early autumn.

President of the Provident Mutual Life Insurance Company of Philadelphia, M. Albert Linton was one of the four actuarial consultants associated with the work of the Committee on Economic Security when the social security programme was being developed.

Playwright at large, — his R. U. R. was produced by the Theatre Guild within recent memory. — Karel Čapek is a Czechoslovakian whose talent also finds expression in essays, skillfully translated by Dora Round. The American edition of his delightful papers will be published in May.

James Norman Hall is one of the Atlantic’s twin favorites in the South Seas. Readers of the Bounty trilogy and The Hurricane will enjoy this passage from a recent letter: ’I’ve spent a good part of this past month on a voyage to Christmas Island, which lies about 1200 miles from Tahiti, just north of the Equator, and about midway between here and the Hawaiian Islands. No shipwrecks this time, thank the Lord! Christmas is a wonderful place for its bird life. Sea fowl actually darken the skies above their nesting grounds, tens of thousands of them. I’ve never seen anything like it, except on some of the rocky bird islands of the Marquesas. I wish I might have spent a month on Christmas, but I was lucky to have file chance to go at all and am duly thankful for it. On the way I had an opportunity to visit two other islands, uninhabited: Malden and Vostok. I don’t suppose there are two lonelier islands in all the Pacific, or a less-traveled sea route than that between Tahiti and Christmas. Christmas hadn’t had a shift in the past eight months, and the people were longing for food other than coconuts and fish. We brought them a good supply and carried away more than three hundred tons of copra.’

Lawrence Sullivan’s scrutiny of Washington is close and well informed. For ten years he has served there as correspondent and White House reporter for press associations and — more recently —for Forbes Business Magazine. His paper, ‘Our New Spoils System,’ which appeared in the February issue, provoked wide discussion.

When the Atlantic. published ‘Our New Spoils System,’ its prime purpose was to call national attention to the fact that upwards of two hundred thousand persons have been added to the fulltime payroll of the Federal Government, without making them subject to the rules of Civil Service. That there was urgent need for such an article, presenting a rounded, documented study of the abuses of the merit system, — abuses experienced by a great many individuals, — was apparent. Editorials appeared in hundreds of newspapers. Letters and telegrams flowed into the offices of the Atlantic, many of them relating further outstanding eases in which ‘career’ employees of long standing were removed to make way for political appointees. Of special interest to the editors — and to readers — were three lengthy communications from the Commissioners of the United States Civil Service Commission, Harry B. Mitchell, Lucille Luster MeMillin, and Leonard D. White. These communications were too detailed to summarize here, although their general import was that Mr. Sullivan’s article gave ‘a one-sided, imperfect and misleading impression of the merit system at the present time.’ In view of the evidence to the contrary, the editors took considerable pains to answer the Commissioners point by point from official documents. Nowhere have we seen a more poignant expression of the position in which many Federal employees found themselves during the ’housecleaning’ of 1933, shortly after the advent of the present Administration, than in the address of Luther C. Steward, President of the National Federation of Federal Employees, before his annual convention at Kansas City, September 4, 1933, He said in part: —

Orders have been issued, only to be countermanded, altered or postponed. Naturally, with the atmosphere of uncertain!y in high official places, the rank am! file of the Federal employees have been in a state of well-nigh panic. That their morale has not been completely shattered, and the great mass of them have stood staunch and steadfast under the most adverse conditions, is due simply and solely to their strength of character and long habit of giving the best possible service to the job, regardless of external conditions. There have been many casualties, however; menial arid physical breakdowns, premature deaths and suicides have been tragic incidents. (From The Federal Employee, Vol. XVIII, No. 10, October 1933, p. 5.)

A further sidelight upon ‘Our New Spoils System’ is found in the annual report of the National Civil Service Reform League, dated June 15, 1933: —

The President has appointed to the United States Civil Service Commission Harry B. Mitchell, of Montana, and Mrs. Lucille Foster McMillin of Tennessee, in place of Governor Campbell and Miss Dell. The select ion of the new commissioners was dictated in large measure by political considerations and neither Mrs. McMillin nor Mr. Mitchell has had any particular experience in personnel work (p. 12).

Our correspondence with the Commissioners would fill many pages, but we wish to be entirely fair and shall recur to the subject again.

Nautical readers of theAtlantichave been quick to point out the inconsistency in the opening sentence of ‘The Salvation of Pisco Gabar,’ by Geoffrey Household. The author is as quick to apologize: —

Dear Atlantic, —
I spotted the howler in the opening sentence of ‘Pisco Gabar’ just too late to gel the correction to you in time, though I managed to have it altered in the English magazine edition.
I know what I would write to you myself: that if these writers can’t take the trouble to check their nautical terms, they ought to lay off them.
As a matter of fact I do know my nautical terms, but in the first draft of ’Pisco Gabar’ the Santa Juana was sailing south from the Canal and had the coast of Ecuador to port. I wrote and rewrote the opening sentence and made, as I thought, all the neccessary alterations. But, alas, I never altered ‘port’ to ‘starboard.’
I’m awfully sorry.
Málaga, Spain

Peering through the mist of words.

Dear Atlantic, —
In the February Atlantic, Albert Jay Nock cites as impostor-terms the words honor, glory, and dignity. used to beat up enthusiasm for the Mexican and Spanish wars, declaring that the wars in question were really imperialistic undertakings’, freebooting enterprises, sheer brigandage. Thus he uses a live set of impostor-terms to knock over a dead set.
I mention this embarrassment only to bring out the difficulties of achieving the honest language which he desires. All good writing is thick with metaphor, and metaphor always is employed for the particular purpose of gaining an effect stronger than the facts warrant; it is used to summon preconceptions and prejudices from the subconscious. And even writing which avoids metaphor is almost as difficult to reform, since the same end is gained by variation in the arrangement of the simplest words — that is, by style.
So to make our language honest we must cut it away until there is none left. Then, when we stand naked of words, we at last shall be able to express a completely frank opinion concerning one another, and concerning affairs in general, by the old device of putting a finger to the nose.
Portland, Oregon

Said Professor William Orion in the March Atlantic: ‘The United Press and the International News Service now sell their news reports direct to advertisers, and the news thus enters, along with crooners and jazz bands, the field of commercial sponsorship.’ To which the international News Service offers this qualifiestion: —

International News Service does not sell its news reports direct to advertisers. It makes its news reports available only to radio stations in the same relation that it makes them available to newspapers. International News Servicestaunchly maintains its independence as a news-gathering organization in this respect. If, however, the radio stations seek commercial sponsorship for their news casts, they are privileged to do so in the same manner and in the same relation that newspapers seek support through advertising revenues.

Small town versus the city.

Dear Atlantic, —
I am a New Yorker, bred if not born, and like many another, probably, I have been roused to violent wrath by Mr. Calkins’s article ’Small Town:’
He says, ‘It is obvious that practically everything which can be bought with money is as accessible to the small-towner as to the big-city man.’ What does Leigh do when he wants to go to the theatre, opera, dinner, club? He drives one hundred miles to Chicago, which is as acceessible to him as the Berkshires to the New Yorker. But is n’t it a bit strenuous and unnecessary to drive one hundred miles for such attractions when the small town is so full of city advantages that it might easily compete with Chicago?
’There is something in us that demands contact with elemental forces earth, sky, wind, sun.’ Has Mr. Calkins ever walked down Riverside Drive on a winter’s day? Has he ever stood al the Battery and watched skx and water? Has he ever noticed the setting sun reflected in the myriad windows of the Empire State? Has he ever watched the Chrysler Tower change color with the passing of huge clouds in the blue sky?
‘ Neighborliness’! I have been to the same shoemaker, delicatessen, laundry, tailor, for eighteen years, and when, after an absence of two years, I returned to New York with my own baby, I went as a matter of course to each and every one to show them my child. We were exclaimed over by Italian, Jew, German, and Swede alike, and I was asked by each to remember the days when I was four years old and came in with my mamma, ’and is n’t Mamma looking well? But how she has missed you!’
‘For a boy, at least, a big city is a barren waste beside the unfailing attractions and diversions of the country,’ I am not a boy, but I think that most boys would enjoy exploring the waterfront, days on Brighton Beach, fishing in Sheepshead Bay, hours in the Museum of Natural History, and perhaps the theatre, an opera, or even the Philharmonic!

Dear Atlantic,
’Small Town.’ in the February Atlantic, is of special interest to me, for I have recently returned to such a place after residence in a large city for a number of years. There are certainly many features of life in a small community that are appealing, but I cannot agree with Mr. Calkins that the cost of living is one of them. It is his contention that in the average Mid-Western town or city of five to forty thousand inhabitants the ‘necessities of life are cheaper’ than in a metropolis. I do not find it so. My experience in one of these ‘ordinary small Western towns’ is that the cost of food is now, at least , as high as in a big city, if not higher. The same holds true of some other things properly included in a list of ‘necessities,’ Of course if the author’s arguments are directed only to people having incomes of $25,000 or more a year, as would appear from the income comparisons he makes, that is entirely different. One can gel ‘as much of living,’ or at least as much as is good for him, most anywhere, with that much money at his disposal.
Junction City, Kansas

In his biographical paper on Father Coughlin, which appeared in the December Atlantic, Mr. Forrest Davis had occasion to analyze certain Papal Encyclicals. With Mr. Davis’s interpretation a Catholic authority now lakes issue.

Dear Atlantic,—
Permit me to comment on that part of Mr. Forrest Davis’s article on Father Coughlin in the December Atlantic which attempts to analyze Pope Leo XIII’s Encyclical. The Condition of Labor, of 1891, and Pope Pius XI’s Encyclical. Forty Years After, of 1931.
Mr. Davis tries to show that Forty Years After, which adapts The Condition of Labor to present-day economic life, virtually advocates fascist dictatorship. He writes that Pope Pius XI in Forty Years After ‘outlined as his formula for a regenerated society a state scarcely distinguishable from the syndicalism of Mussolini’s corporative pattern.’ Of the entire Encyclical he says: ‘In the main, it was sound Fascist, as well as Catholic, doctrine,’ Moreover, he objects: ’ It was silent on the means of enforcing the “just” wage, stewardship, and public ownership.’
To support his criticisms the writer resorts to misstatements regarding both Encyclicals, and in one quotation from Forty Years After to a mutilation of the text (p. 663, paragraph beginning, ‘Economic interests,’ sentence beginning, ‘Free competition’).
The simple truth is that Pope Leo XIII and Pius XI both teach that men are free to decide the form of political government, and the form of economic organization they are to live under. (Forty Years After, p. 28.)
In 1891 The Condition of Labor listed as the first of the four causes of social injustice the destruction, in the preceding century, of workers’ organizations, and the fact that ‘no other organization took their place’ (p. 2). It affirmed that the right to organize-in free unions is ‘natural’ (p. 31); that unions ‘should be adapted to the requirements of the age in which we live,’and that it is ‘greatly to be desired that they should multiply and become more effective’ (p. 30). Workers are not, without their free and uncoereed consent, to be compelled, as they are under the typical company union, to select their representatives exclusively from the company payroll, and above all are not to be obliged to accept as ‘representatives’ those whom a dictator appoints for them.
In urging free economic organization Forty Years After is, if possible, even more emphatic than The Gondition of Labor. It exhorts workers, employers, farmers, and professional persons to organize in occupational associations which, through freely chosen and not state-appointed representatives of the rank and file, would administer and adjust wages, hours, salaries, prices, profits, and interest rates (pp. 2628). Social reconstruction would be effeted through voluntary organization of economic groups, with the government playing the necessary, though relatively lesser, rôle of guide, referee, or chairman (p. 26). The evils of economic dictatorship over and through the state which the financially powerful now exercise would, according to Forty Years After, be corrected, not, as Mr. Davis says, through ‘a rigidly controlled state.’ On the contrary, the Encyclicals hold in ellect that, assuming such is the will of the people, the state is to be ‘rigidly controlled’ by all the people who make it up and not by one individual, a Fascist dictalor.
Mr. Davis’s criticism that Pius XI’s programme fails to suggest means to secure just wages and other social-just ire measures is likewise directly a I variance with the facts, ‘Right to organize,’ ‘unions,’ and ‘occupational organization’ are the bone and sinew of both Encyclicals. Clearly the charges of Fascism, even in attenuated form, and of absence of enforcement machinery are entirely without foundation.
St. Francis Seminary, St. Francis, Wisconsin

When Life was young.

Dear Atantic, —
I’m plumb tickled to be able to add another Oliver Herford whimsey to Carolyn Wells’s priceless recollections.
As advertising manager of Life in the late ’90s, when Herford was running rings round his supposed competitors with his inimitable animal cartoons, I learned lo know him quite well, It was a question who could produce I lie most ridiculous , ’animile,’llerford or T. S. Sullivant, of the macrocephalic familiars of the barnyard both, doubtless, skyHootin’ through the Elysian Fields at this writing.
When Herford dropped in, with a drawing under his arm, it was an event. No one ever knew or could even guess what Herford was going to unlimber before the ‘General,’ as beloved John A. Mitchell, Life’s president and all-round dictator, was familiarly known to the office staff.
Mitchell never permitted anyone else to buy any drawings; that was his. particular job, which in no circumstance was he ever known to delegate to another. tom Masson could play with visiting manuscripts all over the lots. Jim Metcalfe was the ‘works’ in theatrical criticism, and Andrew or ‘Tiff’ Miller, Life’s secretary, signed checks when he could withdraw from Belmont Park or the Sheepshead Bay race track long enough to reach for a fountain pen. But drawings, cartoons, from Billiards’s ‘ worm’s-eye’ view to a Maxfield Parrish masterpiece — the General’s word was not only final; there was none other. Incidentally, he was personally fond of Herford.
One day Oliver blew blithely into the office with a two-horned rhinoceros for the General’s kindly consideration. The General liked it. And, following his usual procedure, he asked Herford the price of the drawing — this notwithstanding that those disturbing details had been long standardized with Herford’s product.
‘Thirty dollars, Mr. Mitchell, was Oliver’s suave reply.
‘Why, Herford what can you be thinking of? You know we have never paid more than fifteen dollars for any of these animal drawings of yours.’
‘Sorry, Mr. Mitchell, but that’s the price thirty dollars.’
Said the General, resuming, ‘Really, Herford, I don’t want to argue over a matter of this nature, that has been so thoroughly understood between us for so long a time. But — I will make all exception in this particular case: I’ll pay you twenty dollars and that’s the best I can do.’
‘What? Twenty dollars for a two-horned rhinoceros?’ was Harford’s amazed rejoinder. ‘Really. I cannot think of such a thing, Mr. Mitchell.’ Reaching for his beloved eraser, he expunged one horn and, handing the drawing back to the General, replied smoothly, ‘Now you may have it for twenty dollars. Mr. Mitchell,’ and left the office before the General could recover his composure.
The only ones left of that goodly company are Charles Dana Gibson and dear old E. S. Martin, for years Life’s editor and recently retired from active service at the ripe age of eighty. ‘Thim were th’good ol’ days.’
San Francisco, California

Hats for ‘the Gussies.‘

Dear Atlantic, —
The article, ‘The Gussies,’ in your Contributors’ Club for October, was immensely interesting to me, as I was the founder of the shop in 1907 which specialized in matron’s hats. I am not the mother of the young man, now middle-aged, who designed the models, but I do feel that my refined breeding and influential friends all contributed to its success — after the death of my husband in that, same year. Our last shop was on West 51 Street, which alas, through the depression, death of old patrons, and accumulating difficulties, went out of business last August. But for years we have had the reputation for smart matron’s hats. The only trouble was in duplicating the models. We had a very disastrous time when Dr. Satterlee was consecrated Bishop in Holy Trinity. Two of our very select customers ordered hats without our knowing where they were to be worn. And, strange to say. in that huge church they were put side by side in the same pew, with the very same models. They each turned and spoke to the other and then, as Mrs. B. said, her day was spoiled. But the consecration went on just the same. Only we had to take back the hat and make another model. After that I always asked which church the people attended who were buying a hat!
I think the name is delicious, and it will be a long time before just such a place will be found again.
New York City

Poets, Listen!

THE Editors believe that there are a good many poets in hiding among the Atlantic readers. To tempt them into the open it is proposed that an informal Bhyming Contest he held in these columns. ’The rules are simple: The candidate is asked to write a stanza of not less than six lines in which a rhyme or rhymes must he found for ‘chrysanthemum,’with which word the second line must end. Candidates are limited to three tries. All manuscripts must be submit tod to the Contributors’ Column, The Atlantic Monthly, 8 Arlington Street, Boston, on or before April 20, 1936.

To the poet whose verses besl fulfill the requirements we shall award a crisp ten-dollar hill. A subscription to the Atlantic will be conferred upon the also-rans (if they be fast enough). The winners will be published in the June issue

By way of demonstration we publish these sample verses: —

The parson mumbles to his cues,
He wears a small chrysanthemum,
His flock sit patiently in pews
And secretly this anthem ’um:
We’re here to help you praise the Lord,
But oh, my hat! we’re awful bored.