« PreviousContinue »
which of the two had the more indulgent, the ma-T turer attitude toward the other. “Where are you going?” he asked her. “For a ride in the park,” she replied. She wanted to be alone to think, to deal with the extraordinary fact of the power which appeared to be hers. She had been whirled along so far by the adventure, the dramatic climaxes, the transformations of life. The energy which she had expended in a series of visitations, conducted with anonymous mystery, to the bedsides of the very rich had left her physically weary, and this added to her impression that she did, indeed, give something vital of herself. A groom from the riding school met her at the gateway of the path leading a lean, sleek bay mare. She insisted on riding alone, and in spite of the heat urged her mare into a fast trot up the bridle path toward the north end of the park.
ARA allowed herself to forget her attachment to life. She became only a stranger, on horseback filling lungs with warm morning air, content with the sensations of temporary existence. She had learned the peace and the rest of this simple and childlike attitude, the joy and eternal youth of living in the moment. She had passed, on the way up, a shabby little boy, his absurdly small skirt filled with sand as he sat upon the edge of the bridle path playing alone—a runaway for a morning from the tenements. All that she could remember of him vividly was the two great round, beseeching eyes looking up in wonder as she rode by, as if she were a queen. of storybooks upon a charger from fairyland. When she came back he was still there. She pulled in her mare to speak to him. His mouth fell open, his eyes were still wide and brown and eloquent, and he reached toward her with his little fat, dirty hands. “Can't you speak to me?” she said. He made no sound; he was like a symbol of silent yearn
cold and hard externally, all alive internally, as she had known, with emotion and tenderness—had leaned over her as she had told him of herself. She knew that if he came near her now he might ask where she was living, what she was doing. He might have known of the results of that night with Carrie Miller, and question her. Their lives had been torn apart, and was this the time to bring them together? She remembered suddenly, with a flush of resentment rising to her cheeks, that he still thought she was a liar, an adventuress, who had tricked and deceived him. She turned the mare suddenly about and spurred her into a trot along the path she had come. Nara did not look behind. She rode on, with one arm clasping the little body of the child closer to her own, filled with the sense of defeat and loneliness and lost life, and, little by little, finding new, indescribable, fierce solace in the roundness, the flexibility, the warmth of this child. She came to the spot where she had picked him up, and there she quite startled him by turning him in her arms, bending over him, and kissing him upon the full moist lips again and again. “I wish you were mine,” she whispered as if to herself. He stood looking up at her, without speaking, without moving, his great brown eyes still filled with marveling and gratitude, telling her, perhaps, in his own way, that he understood only a little of why there were tears upon this strange young lady's cheeks.
HEN Nara had come back to the Du Bartas, she had found Connor Lee gone. He liked to go out, even by himself, to fashionable restaurants, to order special dishes in a grand manner, to pose to himself as a person of importance, of good taste, of the world. Nara supposed that he had gone on one of these excursions. It was, however, nearly midnight when he came in. He rapped on her door, and she hastily put on a
dressing gown to receive him. There could be no doubt of his good humor; the wreath of snowy white hair around his otherwise bald head was like a crown of well-being awarded to him for his smiles, the twinkle in his eyes, the rosiness of his complexion. “Ha,” said he. “We are, as Milton said, “surer to prosper than prosperity could have assured us.’” “You have a new case?” she asked, without much pleasure in her voice. “Yes,” he said. “Then you want me to dress. Is it an emergency?" E held out a hand in a calming gesture. “No. No. It is all right. Not now. Not now.” “You refused to take the case?” “We have to be careful.” “Careful! Careful? That is always the word. As if we were committing crime of some kind!” “No,” he said. “But there are certain things we must avoid. One is publicity. Another is anything which approaches the practice of medicine. If we prescribed drugs, for instance, it might get us into hot water. You have noticed that I have often asked you to say nothing in the way of claiming powers of any kind. That is to be sure that no charge of false representation may be brought against us.” Nara said impatiently: “I can’t bear this atmosphere of fear and caution. I can’t bear this eternal talk of the money we are making. I can’t see why we are not able to give relief to the suffering of some persons who are poor and miserable and need me the most.” “There! There!” he replied, beaming upon her. “Not so impatient. The immortal bard said: ‘’Tis all men's office to speak patience.” Be calm, my dear Nara Alexieff. Neither of us has anything to fear. The only man in the world I fear in connection with us is that old devil, Haith Claveloux. He is the archenemy of all those (Continued on page 19)
ing. “One word,” she begged. He said nothing. “Would you like to ride?” He got up, spilling the sand from his absurd little calico skirts. For Nara this appeal was too much. She lifted him on to the saddle before her and, with one arm around the little, warm body, galloped northward again. The child said nothing. At intervals he managed to turn his head so that his great eyes looked up into hers with their marveling and their gratitude and their understanding of her. When, at last, after five minutes, they had come to the other gate, he sighed because of relief from too much joy. For a moment the two conspicuous contrasts, affluence and smartness, poverty and pathos, sat together on the panting mare, both gazing out at the motor traffic whirring past them on the avenue. There were pedestrians on the far side of the asphalt, and in this moment Nara's attention was caught by one who had stopped suddenly and was gazing from afar at her. She knew him at once, and in the first flash of recognition the astonishment of coincidence at seeing Emlen Claveloux made the moment appear dramatic and of tremendous consequence. Only as she saw him wave his hand and start across the street did she realize that she had ridden many times in the park and for months walked up the avenue without a glimpse of him. There came flashing back to her the memory of sitting before an open fire in a garret,
when he—all strength without and all isolation within, all
forty miles an hour in the car tracks. I saw an obviously prosperous citizen drive on a flat tire four blocks to a garage. It cost him $91. I wondered how he stayed prosperous. I saw drivers clamp on their brakes so suddenly that the wheels locked and the cars slid along on their tires over the gritty road. I passed the door of a private garage and saw the floor nicely siruped with a mixture of gasoline, oil, and water. As prussic acid to your throat, so is that mixture to your tires. Like anything else, tires are not foolproof. In a former article I cheerfully admitted that for years I regarded the innards and the diseases of all the cars I drove with the same naive unconcern with which I now regard the Einstein theory. And I regarded tires the same way, or more so. Joe Metcalf cured me. Joe drove out on a hurry
grooves in your tires,
and a switch cuts a neat monogram
had been the right rear tire. The red inner tube was lying in fragments, like curly lengths of smoked salmon. The shoe, with a jagged hole in it, was leaning in the position in which death had come to it, half on the road, half over the brake drum. “Yes,” I said, feelingly. “It blew out. Rotten tire.” “It is not a rottentire,” Joe retorted. “It’s one of the best made. I see ten reasons why that tire blew out, but the main reas on is that you bumped curbs with it.”
The camera is quicker than the eye. Here is what
call one night, and found me—seven miles east of White Plains—fighting mosquitoes on the front seat of a touring car with the right-hand rear tire blown out, and no spare. One flash of Metcalf's trouble lamp, and the verdict came with a grunt: “Humph! Been bumpin curbs again! You guys are great drivers.” “What are you talking about? I can drive as well as—” “Look!” And Joe sprayed the light over what once
“I did not,” I remonstrated (unlike the father of our country), knowing there were no telltale marks on the outside of the shoe. “No” queried Joe, with ironically rising inflection. “Then what did that? And that? And that?” Where Joe pointed were three nice long smooth cuts, clean through the fabric on the inside. “Well?” I stammered. “This car weighs over a ton,” said Joe. “Every time you back into a curb you squeeze the rear tires between that moving weight and the sharp curb which has the weight of the whole world behind it.
Never mind the boy in this picture. He can take care of himself—but the uncovered tire is committing suicide
Every time you do it, it leaves an inside bruise or cut which is bound to blow out sooner or later.” Talk about Sir Oliver's Lodge and messages from the spirit world! For all I know, that murdered tire is still hurling its maledictions at boob motorists in easily understandable language. I saw it a week later when I called at Joe Metcalf's garage and accessory store to pay my bill. Propped up in the center of the display space was the busted shoe. In front of it was the fragmentary cadaver of the tube. In numerous places on both were pasted little red disks of paper from which strips of red ribbon-trailed away to a dozen neatly lettered cards that exposed me to the gaping populace:
See These Deep Grooves Around the Whole Tire!
See These Side Walls Worn Down! He Drove in Ruts: See This Nail! It's Been in the Tread for a Week!
See This Tube! All Torn to Pieces from Running - Without Air!
See This Worn Spot in the Tube. It Would Have
I read all of these counts in the indictment of an inefficient motorist, carefully, twice. Then I went back to the car, drove home slowly and sent Joe a check by mail. Probably that was the most valuable lesson I received in eight years of darn-fool motoring.
I have since learned to beware of cheap tires. The “cut-rate,” “bargain” tire has probably brought more pure woe into the lives of motorists than any other one thing in the realm (Continued on page 24)
during the last three years he had become as thoroughly a part of their class as Champ—Angel's bull pup—and if there was anything about Yale which Jimmy did not know it was not worth writing home about! Why, he had even sold a paper once to Sid Corliss, Curly's older brother, and Sid Corliss was what the local papers referred to as “one of the more prominent younger graduates.” In other words, the splendor of his football fame still survived the tarnishing effects of the outside world! Jimmy made no bones at all about it to “At” Corliss, the youngster of the family beginning his freshman year over on York Street. “There ain't a thing about it I don’t know,” Jimmy would assure him. “You ask your brother if it ain't so. I tell ya, I got it all doped out—” “You mean, stick with you and I'll wear diamonds!” At used to laugh at him. At all events, Jimmy knew all about costumes, and he had seen enough of his two young men throughout their career to know that when they turned their minds to revelry something peculiarly edifying might be expected. They were awfully prominent in the college, those two roommates, captain of the football team and president of the Glee Club, editor of this and manager of that—but just for that reason they would be even more brilliantky nonsensical. Among all the other things that he knew, Jimmy had learned that the more important personages seniors were, the more prone they were to act in an altogether diverting and supremely idiotic manner. It was just one of those collegiate paradoxes. . . . And Jimmy was not to be disappointed. “Let's pull off a party in costume,” said Angel one afternoon, sitting over in “Sparrow” Scott's room in Connecticut Hall. “Ham” Leonard and “Dandy” Baxter and a crowd of others were there, and Angel had just been restrained with difficulty from singing “The Cats in the Alley, They Go Myow, Myow, Myow—” Sparrow contended that it made the plaster fall off the ceiling.
“That's Jimmy, dad,” Curly Corliss said.
“Pull away,” said Ham. “What’ll it be?” “I know!” Sparrow exclaimed. It was usually something worth while when Sparrow said I know. “Let’s get the Whiffenpoofs together and a lot of ringers from the class as supes, and tear off something out at the field on the day of the Brown game —you know, between the halves—” “Sure,” laughed Dandy. “Stir up a little interest in Corliss's bunch of pigskin wonders, now that the big games are coming around. I never saw such a gang—they go around all day with long faces wondering whether by any chance anybody'll score on them l’” “Shut up, Baxter,” put in Ham. “Sparrow's got a good hunch—let's dope out something. Come on, Benson, shake up the old bean and slip us an idea— you're a Whiffenpoof founder.”
HEY were an extraordinary organization, the Whiffenpoofs! As Ham had said, Angel was one of the founders. Not content with being a Hogan and a Growler, he had gathered some others around him—Sparrow and Ham and Dandy—and started the Whiffenpoofs, consisting of five men, a manager, and a trainer, whose purpose it was to meet every Monday night at Mory's in the sophomore room—why the sophomore room nobody knew —and sing. Oh, of course, with Angel and Sparrow you always had to sing ! Each man in turn paid for the supper and they wrote an “anthem” which they chanted with great solemnity, always standing with one foot on the table. It was characteristic of that era in college that Monday nights became definite fixtures in the college social calendar. Just as there were Thursday night, and Tuesday night, and Saturday night, when certain specified things took place, so there was Monday night—Whiffenpoof night. After the football season Curly Corliss, who could sing as well as any of them, was appointed Perpetual Guest—and in the spring they took to singing in the Oval around the sundial—to the official annoyance of the proctor,
“You know our newsie I told you about—the orphan”
who secretly shared in the delight at hearing them expressed by the rest of the Oval in the tribute of silently raised windows. People would turn out their lights and sit on their window seats to listen to them singing “Vilia” and “Shall I, Wasting in Despair?” . . . and the proctor would pretend that it was much earlier in the evening than the clock said. . . . But back there in November it was costumes they were thinking about. The conclave in Sparrow's room must have come to some decision, for mysterious notices concerning the Arctic Club began to appear in the “News”—and finally, an hour or so before the Brown game, as extraordinary a gathering of apparitions as could be imagined began to collect in Vanderbilt Court, where the seniors lived. When they were all there they held a preparatory parade around the Campus, and if the college laughed, then there is no word for Jimmy's manifestations of hilarity. First, a drum, a bass drum—always a bass drum on such occasions—and some fish-horn sort of instruments performed upon by an assortment of hoboes. Dandy nearly got killed for saying: “Oh, see the hoboes playing the oboes!” Then—ah, then ' Mr. Ham Leonard, the tallest man in the senior class, dressed all in white with strips of red around him like a barber's pole—and on his head a pointed hat with a gilt cardboard weather vane! On his chest, moreover, a sign setting forth that he was “The North Pole”! On one side of him, in a blond wig and a pink ballet skirt, Mr. Dandy Baxter announcing to all the world that he was “Aurora Borealis, the Spirit of the North !” And on the other side, walking along arm in arm with the pole in easy familiarity, a full-fledged Polar Bear! Judging from the harmonious sounds which proceeded from his interior, and also from the briar pipe which he was somewhat incongruously smoking, this visitor from the zoo was Mr. Angel Benson —and it did not take Champ long to find it out
two silk hats and frock coats! Sparrow was ear
nestly searching for the Pole with a magnifying
glass. . . . With each expedition came a sled bearing a barrel marked “Gum Drops for the Eskimos.” . . . It was all amazingly funny to watch. . . .
But the Pole and his Bear did not stay to watch! The two expeditions were due to meet at any moment in the center of the field—and Ham bolted for the Brown grand stand! At the same time Angel kissed his bearish paw to Aurora and departed solemnly on all fours for a distant corner. . . . So that when the “race for the Pole” arrived at its destination they were confronted with the altogether delightful spectacle of Dandy doing a toe dance all by himself in the middle of the field. This feature of the program was a purely spontaneous offering on Dandy's part, and it appeared to please the audience so much that the two rival expeditions forgot the terrific battle which should have been staged between them. . . .
It seemed as though the people in the stands could not possibly laugh any more—Jimmy had given up trying to long ago—but in a moment another gale of laughter swept the field. . . .
Angel was enthusiastically trying to climb up the north goal post. . . . The north goal post. . . . His whole attitude was eloquent of the fact that others might look for the Pole all they wanted to, but he had found the real North Pole. . . . He finally got down and scratched his back on it, and the climax of the afternoon’s entertainment was reached at that point. . . .
HE next outburst was in the spring, on Omega
Lambda Chi Night, when the entire senior class
came out in costume, and Jimmy nearly ran his feet off in his efforts not to miss anything. This was an annual celebration purporting to commemorate the abolition of freshman societies, and took its name from a mythical society which, never having existed, could not be abolished 1 Traditionally it was the occasion for a parade of the entire college, ending in a tug of war between the freshmen and the sophomores, and such other minor interclass encounters as discretion might dictate—but when Sparrow Scott put his hand to it, it became primarily a Senior Masquerade!
The outstanding feature of it was the baseball game on the Campus between the Whiffenpoofs and
the Mohicans, won by the Whiffenpoofs “on points,”
whatever that might mean—in the course of which Curly distinguished himself by stealing home—from first! That was one of the “points” the Whiffenpoofs made so much noise about! The fact that when the scorer went off to see about the band the score was forty-two to nothing in favor of the Mohicans did not seem to enter into their calculations. There was some truth, of course, in the Whiffenpoofs' contention that the score would not have been so great if, every time a Mohican got on base, at least three others had not run around the diamond with him. And, as Angel said to Ham, who was pitching for the Whiffenpoofs theoretically: “Look here, Leonard, are you with us or against us?” The parade was led by Dandy dressed as Salome— with a mortar-board cap perched on top of his wig' No one but Baxter could possibly have conceived the note struck by that mortar board! It simply made the costume. . . . And later on, on the Campus, he danced . . . and the dean laughed. . . .
T was when they were getting ready to go to bed that night that the thought came to Angel. He had not considered it particularly before—but now all of a sudden the reality faced him starkly. “Oh, Curly!” he called from his bedroom. “Yeah?” came the answer. “Do you know this is our last party? over—” “What's all over?” asked Curly. “Senior year,” Angel said. “In a month or so we'll be gone—our next costumes will be caps and gowns on Class Day.” “Don’t be such a gloom!” growled Curly, and put out his light. But a little later he called to Angel in the dark: oAngel—” “Yeah?”—very sleepily. “They all seem to get over it—” “Over what?” “The fellers who have graduated,” Curly explained. “I guess they all feel pretty poor when they leave—but they get (Continued on page 17)
EXT Monday is a holiday. It will be filled with tributes, as it N should be, to the men who met the crisis of 1861 and paid the price of a united nation with their sacrifice. But the best tribute that each of us can pay these men is to make sure that the United States is kept worthy of the price they paid. Flowers on the grave are sweet. There is more to give than flowers: there is a tribute that will endure when the band music has died away. Suppose that each of us makes up his mind to honor the men of 1861 and of 1898 and of 1917 next Monday by doing a little clear, individual thinking about the United States. Suppose that we all agree that extravagance in hoping and extravagance in talking are just as big a menace as extravagance in spending. For fifteen years before the war we were all engaged in a contest of wholesale generalization and exaggeration. Its evil influences plague us still. All railroads were robbers; so were all trust officers, members of boards of directors, and lawyers. All labor leaders were selfish and corrupt; all members of labor unions were banded together with the sole purpose of avoiding work. The war came along, adding its increment of convenient characterizations. All Germans were murderers; all Englishmen doughty, courageous muddlers; all Frenchmen utterly unselfish, with no motive but a transcending love of France. It will be a long step forward when we can all agree that such generalizations are always false. The world is made up, not of Germans and Englishmen and Frenchmen, not of capitalists and laborers, but of human beings all passengers in the same boat with a common harbor at life's end. All struggling to make a living; all facing conditions that make the struggle hard; all trying to pay their debts; all with the same hopes and fears, the same nobility and baseness; all resenting criticism and responding in wonderful fashion to kindness and praise. If, beginning next Monday, we were all to quit talking extravagantly about each other and hurting each other's feelings, and were to try for a week or a year to understand each other as fellow creatures of the same human clay—that would be the first and greatest tribute we could pay to the men who cared enough for the United States to die in its defense.
And the second tribute? Sixty years ago joyous tidings came to the negroes of the South. The Yankees were victorious, slavery abolished, work at an end! Astute gentlemen with no illusions traveled through the South as apostles of the new gospel of freedom from toil. All the land was to be taken away from the white people and divided equally among the blacks. Every colored man was to receive forty acres and a mule. He had merely to make his mark on the paper which the astute gentleman brought, and pay whatever cash he could raise as his registration fee. For a few care-free weeks the grand illusion held sway. Then came the awakening. The great day of the President's proclamation was unaccountably delayed; white men showed a disconcerting stubbornness in holding on to their land. Mules continued to be locked up at night in the stables of those who had previously owned them. Gradually came the realization that freedom's only real privilege is the privilege to work; and that freedom brings the hard necessity for a man's standing on his own feet, doing his own thinking and looking to himself rather than to any outside power for success.
The world does move.
Little by little we outgrow our illusions. Or, if we do not outgrow them, we at least translate them into more creditable terms. Not one of us was quite so sanguine as to expect that the end of the recent war would bring him forty acres and a mule. Yet many of us did cherish notions of post-war benefits that now are seen to have sprung from lazy hopes instead of clear, straight thinking.
And now, after more than two years of waiting around for prosperity to begin, for unrest to turn into rest, we, like our forbears, are rubbing eyes and discovering this handwriting on the wall:
War is the patron of extravagance; it is the patron of overorganization as well. The individual is destroyed in the mass; personal responsibility is swallowed up in organized effort; thinking is taboo; obedience is the supreme virtue. And these influences of war carry over into peace. We shrink from assuming again the responsibilities of grown-up human beings. We choose rather to carry on as members of employers' associations, as members of labor unions, members of chambers of commerce, members of this and of that.
Instead of thinking, we confer. Instead of acting, we mail out a questionnaire. Not ourselves but “conditions” are responsible for our misfortunes. Our cry is: “Put it up to Washington—they ought to pass a law about that!”
America was founded by men who had self-reliance enough to leare a civilization and make a place for themselves in a wilderness.
Independence was won by men who took down, each of them, his own weapon from over the fireplace, and fought battles over his own stone wall and his neighbor's pasture. Those days of complete individualism are gone. Back yards have shrunk and the world is a neighborhood. But the ancient truth stands—that men must look to themselves, not to some organization or paternal government, for success. *
The America of the future will be made and owned and governed by the individual Americans of the future, not by unions, leagues, corporate bodies, and other associations that purport to relieve the individual from the responsibilities of action and thought.
You can rededicate yourself next Monday. We can all rededicate ourselves to the saving and ennobling gospel of hard work. It is one of the most curious facts in human nature that those who have to work regard it as a curse; while those who do not have to work find in it their only real satisfaction. Lincoln might have led an easy life as a small-town lawyer, making all the money he could spend. He chose a road that led to exhaustion and to victory. “Work is the great thing!” he exclaimed. “I have worked twelve hours a day for more than fifty years,” said Webster. In Chicago a man left with a fortune works and is happy; in another city a man, also left with a fortune earned from the same industry, quits work and, finding no satisfaction in life, goes out as a suicide. “Only slaves die of hard work. Work a weariness, a danger, forsooth ! Those who say so can know very little about it,” wrote Martin Luther. “Labor is neither cruel nor ungrateful; it restores the strength we give it a hundredfold.” We are asking for many things in this reconstruction period. What we need most of all is somehow to translate the gospel of work into terms so simple, so rewarding, that even the wayfaring man will hear and understand. So that the man at the machine may somehow find the same satisfaction that ought to be enjoyed
by the man behind the mahogany desk. So that both may come
to see themselves, not as playing a game in which one wins only as the other loses, but as brothers in the great absorbing task of conquering and bettering the world. Less eagerness to blame and a greater desire to understand; less supine dependence upon our union, our board, our association, or our Government, and a much more sturdy self-reliance upon ourselves; less self-pity because we must work, and more satisfaction because we can—these are the best tributes of gratitude and reverence we can bring to this Memorial Day.