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BY BERNICE LESBIA KENYON
M he colorless thin voices of the dark
I Grow fainter as the moon begins to rise,
The hours move slowly toward their shining end,
WHAT'S THE MATTER ?
AN ESSAY BY IRVING BACHELLER BEGINNING WITH THE FABLE OF THE INDIA-RUBBER PARENTS
NCE upon a time I knew a dear and it was said that she had even grown beauty is openly discussed by her
"Well, mother,” said the young daughparents, and she used to say that if she The moral is obvious. A child must ter of a neighbor of mine, "if you do had any more she would be crazy. They honor its father and mother or it will not want us to play bridge on Sunday, were obedient and honored their son honor no one and speedily acquire the we'll go over to Thompson's. They'll and their daughter, and their days grew divorce habit.
stand for it." very long. Notmary's mother and There was a time, my friends, when “So," said the mother, “I let them father went with her regularly to the the average American home was the play just to keep them at home, and Chocolate Sundae School and the Movie wonder of the world because of its they played until two in the morning.” Academy. She was never tardy or product. It was a humble home, and what has become of the authority of guilty of inattention. To her, life was yet statesmen, poets, prophets, inven- the parent and the obedience of the ice-cream and Charlie Chaplin and Mary tors, scholars, scientists, came out of it. child? A new situation has arisen, and Pickford surrounded by chocolate and They had been made, too, at a small its menace lies chiefly in the fact that caramels. When the family was walk- expense out of cheap material-good many of us are disposed to make light ing in the street, people would often health, industry, humble environment. of it. “Don't worry," they say; "it is a turn and look at them and say, “What No patronage of wealth and influence, passing phase. Let us continue to eat, lovely parents Notmary has!" When no decorations and coronets, had been drink, and be merry." they went with her to a neighbor's employed. They had had no spur save We ought not deceive ourselves. house, they sat quietly and did not in an indefinite promise of public useful Folly is not so easily disposed of. It terrupt the conversation of their young- ness after years of struggle. The equal does not vanish at the waving of your ers. Indeed, people used to say that of that little plant the world had never hand. It can hide itself like rats and they would make their mark in the seen. Its raw material was like the breed faster. world-and they did, but it was all they five loaves of the desert which fed a In my youth a fool was a curiosity. made.
multitude. What was the secret of the There were three or four people in our She brought them up in the fear of old-time American home? I would say, village who were under suspicion. They Altman and Tiffany and often gave them first, organization. . It had laws and a were being watched. But there was a few pennies to spend just as they lawgiver. But the greater part of its only one man of proved capacity. He pleased; and now and then, if they were secret lay in the instruction it gave to had been seen going down the street very, very good, she would let them go the young. It taught obedience, mod- one day holding his hands before him, to one of her weddings. By and by esty, thrift, industry, the love of honor some three feet apart, and saying: they became so soft and limber that and of God.
"Folks, git out of my way. This is the people called them the India-Rubber
exact measure of a door, and I got to Parents. And a day came when Not I do not need to remind you that the keep it till I git to the carpenter's shop.” mary had outgrown them and saw that I old plant is out of order. It has been We thought him an asset, but he grew they were of no more account than a running down. Its product is inferior in in disgrace and folly until he started a penny whistle, so she got a divorce from quality and quantity. Youth no longer fire in his dooryard on a windy day that her father and mother and cast them submits to the wisdom of age. For nearly consumed the village. What a into the dooryard. Later she was · a year or more certain schools and col- testimonial were those smoldering heaps divorced from each of her many friends, leges have been reeking with scandal. of ashes! and by and by the property, which had The dance has been tending toward the It became apparent that one fool in been left to her by the dear old gentle- orgy in which the recklessness of the a town is too many. Also it signalized man who was her third husband, se boy and girl has been outdone by that the qualifications of a fool. He does cured a separation on the ground that of the chaperon.
not worry about consequences. Now as she had been associating with certain In most of the homes I know children I look back upon the village, familiar disreputable oil shares. Then her do about as they please. There is no with the story of forty years, I recoghealth left her in a heartless fashion voice of authority. The young lady's nize that he was the most harmless fool
in its history. There were others who a wonderful lot. There were four of gathered and began whispering I got set the town afire. They started the them. Miranda had three distinguished ashamed and went out and hid in the hidden, creeping, inextinguishable fires sons. Isabel raised a boy who was a bushes. Think of that! The boys aren't that travel through generations of famous poet. Mary Ann had a daughter quite as timid these days. human life. They were the eminent, who became the wife of a President. “If any of us ran away from school respected, intermittent, deliberate fools. The foundations for all that were laid or cut up badly, there was that inevitaWhat heaps of ashes lie along their under the torn and tumbling roof you ble hour of reckoning with the master pathway!
see yonder. It was a home. These days of the ship. He was stern but kindly. It is so much better to be a fool all we have many houses but few homes. It was a memorable hour back in a the time—an out-and-out, reliable idiot- That home had a master.
lonely part of the grove or the orchard. than one who is now and then knocking “Now, you know, a home is a kind of The purpose of the school was explained off, so to speak. We don't know where ship. It cannot stand still. It is ever to us. We were made to see and acto place him. The certified fool is not moving in one direction or another; and knowledge our error, but that was not so hard to get along with. The harm he on every side are perils. So it must enough. My grandfather would then ask, can do, at most, is only physical. But have a master, and it must steer for ‘How am I going to make you remember when one of a trained, respectable in some port. The ship must make head that you are not to do it again?' There tellect turns to folly he becomes the way. It must not drift. There are was a moment of calm discussion. most dangerous individual that society perils in the sea-reefs and icebergs and “A man down in the village once has to deal with. He has influence. hurricanes. The main fact is that it asked my grandfather what he raised
It is folly which smooths and adorns must have a master who knows where up there on the hill. the way to disaster. Not that I think he wants to go and about how to steer “`Mostly boys and girls and just it possible or even desirable that it to get there. The port of wealth was about enough wheat and corn and sheep should be put out of the world, but only not on my grandfather's chart. It never and cattle to feed and clothe 'em, he that it should be looked after, for it is entered his reckoning. It was a little answered. ever striving for greater freedom. Crime out of his course. I do not need to tell "The boys and girls were the main is comparatively a matter of slight im- you what port he was steering for. I thing; and what a crop this old farm portance. I remember once when a am sure that he arrived. If he was sick sent out into the world! young fellow was convicted of a revolt or away for a season, his wife knew how "Things are different now. Here in ing crime a wise man said: “Bill is no to steer the ship.
New England the farms are mostly longer important save as a lesson to you "What a home it was! Ten children, dead. The work of the men is no longer boys. He has shot his bolt. He has and not one servant! How often, now, at home. It takes them away to done about all the harm he can do. we see ten servants and not one child! the mill, the shop, the store, and the What is really worth knowing about The ship was well organized. Every office. I am almost persuaded that boys Bill is the kind of folly which made him boy and girl had some share of the work and girls are not now the main thing. a criminal."
to do. When the day ended, they gath. It would seem to be business. It may When a man turns rogue, we have got ered around the evening lamp for play almost be said that the American home him placed. He is no longer a force in or study, or to listen while some one is, and has been for some years, without the community. His influence is gone. read aloud. Immortal guests entered a master. Its government is largely in He may do more harm, but that will not that humble home those winter nights the hands of women. There is yet anbe important.
--Dickens, Thackeray, Hawthorne, other factor in the change; it is the reSo I beg to remind you that the great Holmes, Tennyson, Longfellow. I re- volt of women against the government danger of society is not crime, but folly. member a night when I lay on the of men, in home and state. Are not our It is that which produces crime. We lounge and heard the story of Enoch men almost wholly absorbed by the are apt to laugh at folly as a temporary, Arden. It made an imperishable im- problem of getting rich? Are they not trifling matter. It is nothing of the pression upon my mind-that picture of mostly money dopes-given over to a kind. It swiftly develops into a disease the lonely man standing in the darkness consuming thirst like that for cocaine of which crime is only a symptom. We and peering in at his own windows or opium? I wonder if men, spent day hear much complaint of burglars and while the 'cups and silver on the bur by day in the pursuit of wealth, have highwaymen. They seem to be trying nished board sparkled and shone. not been glad to give up the job of the to establish a new industry. That is “The story was founded on the stead ship's master. Women took the helm bad, but the thing to correct is the fast faithfulness of men and women and unprepared for such responsibility, and growing disrespect for law which has so their capacity for self-immolation. I naturally so. It was a new task, for the increased their number. I suppose it wonder if Enoch's wife would be waiting duties of which they had had little is true that one honest, respected per- around these days, year after year, to training. Moreover, nature had not son can do more harm than half a dozen learn of the fate of her husband.
given them the strong hand of authorhighwaymen.
"Since then what a change has come ity. If the strong hand is needed any. Folly has become general, and even over the spirit of the young! I went to where, it is with those semi-barbaric respectable. We are all having a good the old school down there in the valley people we call children, who are learntime with no thought of what is to come one winter. There was an invisible bar ing the difference between right and of it. That's what's the matter.
between the boys and girls. The boys wrong. It should be gentle, never tyranI was walking one delightful summer regarded the girls with a kind of awe. nical, but it must be strong, for strength day with a wise friend. We had sat We were just a little afraid of them. is the thing they respect above all down on a fine natural terrace overlook. If a boy had misbehaved, the teacher others. Is it not true that mainly ing a valley which for years had been would make him go and sit with one of women had not learned to reckon with regrowing wild. Near where we sat, and the girls, and after that he was careful. mote consequences, and possibly because visible through the tree columns, were “I fell in love with one of those girls they had had little chance to learn? the bent, broken, leaning walls of a -she was so pretty! I got to the “Again, nobody will stay at home ruined farmhouse. My friend filled his schoolhouse early one morning and these days. We have become a restless, pipe and began talking.
looked at her books. It thrilled me to wandering tribe. We have money to
handle them. I wrote with my pencil carry us, and we go. We strive to outdo " M y grandfather used to live here," on the fly-leaf of her grammar this our neighbors in a search for strange M he said. "He had ten children. tender message:
lands and curious peoples and odd adThey grew up and scattered. One became
“The rose is red, the violet blue,
rentures. We take the whole family a governor, one a congressman of great . Both are beautiful, so are you.
and we go. We lead a public life. Disinfluence, one the mayor of a big city;
cipline is largely and necessarily cut one died on the battlefield of Gettys “What a courageous act! I was out of it. We like to think that we are Iorg-a renowned hero. The girls were scared about it. At noon when the girls broadening our vision. Possibly we are,
but our great need is intense, not broad,
STEPHEN LEACOCK notoriously a nation of fun chasers rac
Next week's Outlook will contain Mr. Leacock's “Stories and Story. ing around the world. It is one of the
Tellers.” It is a delightful comparison between the divergent methods things that is killing our home life. (We
of spinning a yarn in Canada and the United States and in the land from should learn that he who has a home
which our American culture sprang. Whether we have improved on the and sticks to it gets farthest in the race
British methods we leave to readers of Mr. Leacock's article to decide of life.)
"We like to believe that we are independent, and in a sense we are, but as ingenuity of Henry Ford. Think of the the street respected him. Every day we have prospered the graces and man- non-skid rubber footprints in the sands he was going from house to house. He ners of the Old World have had an in of time! Almost every day for years knew all the young people by name. creasing power over us. We have bor- the American home has been packed Most of them he had baptized. He kept rowed our fashions from France and our into a flivver and vigorously shaken up watch of them. He knew what they manners from England. Now under and dumped into the nearest village and had been doing in and out of school. Edward VII the manners and morals of electrified with sundry exhibitions of in- He was the shepherd of the flock. If England underwent a serious change. genious crime and amusing violence and one of them had committed a folly. He had, I think, overvalued commercial high-volted love-making, and packed up somehow he had found it out. He would success—a good thing in its way, but again and returned to the hated quiet graciously invite the foolish one to his not a big one. It bulks large, but it is of the countryside. Now the dooryard study; when the culprit arrived, no really a thing of small importance. has a hundred square miles in it. All hard words would be spoken. Edward was much impressed by it. the allurements of the town and the vil- “ 'My child,' he would say, 'I am your Iron-makers, railway presidents, bank- lage are as handy as the croquet ground shepherd. I love you. I cannot let you ers, brewers, oil magnates, mine develop and the swimming-hole. No more read go astray. It is my duty to watch over ers, became baronets and lords. It was ing under the evening lamp! Often you. I want you to know that you can their reward for making England pre- after the day's end the house is silent, bring your doubts and troubles to me eminent in the world's commerce. The dark, and deserted. It is a dead home. and I will do what I can to help you. King ate and drank with them and When the lights are aglow of an eve. That is my business. It may be a matpatted their backs. He was a most ning, you may hear the barbaric yawp ter of which you would not wish to popular King, but he had extended the of canned inebriacy and sex passion speak to your mother or father. Do not circumference of the circle of fashion sounding on the phonograph while the fail to bring it to me, because I am the until it embraced some of the most com- young dance. No more 'Pull for the shepherd of the flock, and I will be a mon clay in the Empire. The old aris- Shore, Sailor,' no more Watts and Bliss light to your feet, my child.' tocracy of England, which, say what and Moody and Sankey! Perhaps this "Where is the shepherd of the flock? else you may of it, had maintained a new condition is a part of the ruin of Perhaps it is my fault, but somehow high standard of manners and set its war. Some two million of our boys these days I do not see him-at least. face against all vulgarity, was now ap- lived a long time without law save that his flock would seem to have gone palled. They frowned upon the new of the soldier. Many of them brought astray. Has he, too, been tempted by comers and snubbed them. They shoved to tseir homes a reckless, dare-devil the rewards of business?" the hot stinger of their contempt into spirit and gave it to their sisters and 'the long-eared mule who was trying to brothers. In the most unexpected places Hall we allow commerce to monopobe a charger. The mule resented it. we find the lawless cruelty of No Man's N lize the heart and intellect of huHe started a revolt against the ancient Land. We find everywhere a growing manity? standards and conventions. It expressed disrespect for law and decency. I'think Let us not be misled. Your palaces itself in shallow wit and bold irrever it is due largely to the fact that women and mills and sky-scrapers are, after ence and sometimes through shocking have not been equal to the task they all, very little things. The real wealth indecency.
have lightly taken upon themselves in of the world is stored in the spirit of "But the change of manners and of assuming the reins of government at man. Is it not time to demand an acspirit which we have suffered cannot be home, and yet men are more at fault - counting which shall tell us how many wholly charged to our imitation of than women.
- - - great men we have and how many fools, cheap aristocracy, or to the indifference "In my youth we had a minister down and, above all, what is the mental and of our men, or the incapacity of our there in the village who was a man of moral condition of our average indi
man Wo muet rookon also with the great learning. Even the children of vidual?
THE LIFE OF HERMAN MELVILLE
he adds: "I'm rather sore, perhaps, in
this letter." A REVIEW BY LLOYD R. MORRIS
Being of an uncompromising turn of
mind, Melville did not write the "other TT was perhaps in a mood not alto
way;" instead, he wrote what is possibly gether devoid of prophetic insight
one of the least known books by any that Herman Melville, while seeing
American writer of importance, “Pierre; "Moby Dick" through the press, wrote
or, The Ambiguities," a novel roundly to his neighbor Nathaniel Hawthorne:
abused by the contemporary critics and "All fame is patronage. Let me be in
almost wholly forgotten by the posterity famous: there is no patronage in that.
of which Melville was so contemptuous. What 'reputation' H. M. has is horrible.
In "Pierre," Mr. Weaver tells us, “Mel. Think of it! To go down to posterity
ville coiled down into the night of his is bad enough, anyway; but to go down
soul to write an anatomy of despair." as a man who lived among the canni.
"The subtlety of the analysis," he conbals'! When I speak of posterity, in
tinues, "is extraordinary; and in its reference to myself, I only mean the
probings into unsuspected determinants babies who will probably be born in the
from unconsciousness it is prophetic of moment immediately ensuing upon my
some of the most recent findings in giving up the ghost. I shall go down to
psychology.... In the winding ambigui. some of them, in all likelihood. "Typee'
ties of Pierre' Melville attempts to rewill be given them, perhaps, with their
veal man's fatal facility at self-decepgingerbread. I have come to regard this
tion; to show that the human mind is matter of Fame as the most transparent
like a floating iceberg, hiding below the of all vanities."
surface of the sea most of its bulk; that Mr. Weaver's brilliant and vividly
from a great depth of thought and feelwritten biography of Melville makes a
ing below the level of awareness, long substantial contribution to our knowl.
silent hands are ever reaching out, urg
LE GRANS edge of one of the most significant art
ing us to whims of the blood and tenists, and surely one of the most interest
sions of the nerves whose origins we ing figures, in American literature. It
never suspect. “In reserves men build is, moreover, fascinating reading; a
imposing characters,' Melville says; 'not book which has all the intellectual keen- utter night. Nearly forty years before in revelations.' 'Pierre' is not conspicuness and finely edged wit of Mr. his death he had come to be the most ous for its reserves." Strachey's "Queen Victoria” and is completely disenchanted of all consider Melville's disillusion reached a climax served besides by a quickened critical able American writers. From his youth, in "Pierre” which left him little to say insight.
Melville had felt the flagrant and stub- even on the subject of disillusion itself. Melville's career. viewed retrospec- born discord between aspiration and And he turned more and more comtively, is as beguiling in its unrealized fact. He was born with an imagination pletely to metaphysical speculation. potentialities as in its actual accomplish- of very extraordinary vigor and with a Mr. Weaver shows that Melville's in. ment. Before his twenty-fifth year Mel. constitution of corresponding vitality. terest in metaphysics had its genesis in ville had been a merchant-sailor in the In sheer capacity to feel, most Ameri- the Marquesas, where he came first to transatlantic trade, a whaler in the can writers look pale beside him. Fired speculate as to the possible advantages Pacific. had been for three months a by his rebellious imagination, and of conferring Christian civilization upon resident of the Marquesas Islands, had abetted by his animal courage, he sallied the “humane, gentlemanly, and amiable been a prisoner in Tahiti as the result forth in quest of happiness. Few men set of epicures" who constituted their of a mutiny, and returned to the United have ever compassed such a span of ex- population. The publication of “Omoo" States by way of South America as an perience as he crowded within the brought Melville into controversy with "ordinary seaman" on an American thirty-two years of his quest; few men the London Missionary Society over his man-of-war. In 1846 he published have lived with such daring, such in- plea for forbearance and charity to the “Typee." the record of his stay in the tensity. And one by one, as he put his islanders; later this controversy bore Marquesas. which brought him imme- illusions to the test, the bolts of his fruit in an ironic theory that in this diate popularity in the United States imagination, discharged against reality, world a wise man resigns himself to the and in England. This was followed by but blazed charred avenues to despair.” world's ways. “Resigned to the insight "Omoo." "Redburn." and "White Jacket." Melville himself seems to have had a that while on earth no man aims at and in 1851 by his finest work, “Moby premonition of waning power, for in the heaven except by a virtuous expediDick.” The following year brought letter to Hawthorne previously quoted ency,” says Mr. Weaver, "he accepted forth a much-misunderstood novel, he wrote: “The calm, the coolness, the the London Missionary Society as one "Pierre." and in 1857 Melville practi- silent grass-growing mood in which a of the evils inherent in the universe. cally renounced literature. From then man ought always to compose—that, I and, leaving it to its own fate, looked on until his death in 1891 he was the fear, can seldom be mine. Dollars damn prophetically forward to the Interwilling tenant of a remote corner of me; and the malicious devil is forever Church World Movement. In 'The Conoblivion.
grinning in upon me, holding the door fidence Man' he makes one the char"At the age of thirty-two,” says Mr. ajar. My dear Sir, a presentiment is acters say: 'Missions I would quicken Weaver. “so brilliant. So intense, so on me--I shall at last be worn out and with the Wall Street spirit. 'For if, concrowded. had been the range of experi perish, like an old nutmeg-grater, grated fessedly, certain spiritual ends are to be ence that burned through him, that at to pieces by the constant attrition of the gained but through the auxiliary agency . the period of his life when most men are wood, that is, the nutmeg. What I feel of worldly means, then, to the surer
just beginning to strike their gait, Mel- most moved to write, that is banned, — gaining of such spiritual ends, the exville found himself looking forward into it will not pay. Yet, altogether, write ample of worldly policy in worldly proj
the other way I cannot. So the product ects should not by spiritual projectors 1. Herman Melville: Mariner and Mystic. By is a final hash, and all my books are be slighted. In brief, the conversion of Raymond M. Weaver. The George H. Doran Company, New York. $3.50. botches.” And with a touch of humor the heathen, so far, at least, as depend