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By Thomas Walsh
Silent the mountain; on the plains below
The morning broke in silent waves afar; And in the heart of Francis, late aglow
With prayer and passion, silence like a star. For there had passed an angel in the night
Bearing to heaven his last surrender up: "Useless and worthless am I in His sight,
But yet His servant!" He had drained the cup Of ultimate sacrifice, when sudden shone
An orb spread sunlike on the morning skies; Xearer it flashed and nearer—Seraph-Son
Of God, wast Thou Thyself revealed unto his eyes? The six great wings spread cross-wise round the form
Of Christ upon the Tree before him bent; There was a voice celestial sounding warm
Secrets of heaven unto his soul attent. There was the glory and the anguish twined
On those immortal brows; while darts of fire From fiands and feet and side on his inclined,
Meeting half-way the urge of his desire. His side—ah, torment mixed with joy!—what wound
Of love has pierced? Through either hand there goes A_ hallowed, grievous nail; unto the ground
His feet are clenched as with Love's iron blows. So were his hands God-sealed, and so his feel
Imprinted on God's way, and so his sideLaid open blooming in Love's fire-heat.
That to the little griefs of earth he died.
HE still breathes, the "man with soul so dead" that he can say. not only to himself but publicly: "What was good enough for my father is good enough for me." Mercifully for human progress there are signs abroad that give us the hope of his ultimately becoming extinct. He will be survived for a time, but not indefinitely, by his mate whose marvellous prehensile tenacity leads her to believe—and act accordingly—:that what was good enough for her great-grandmother is good enough for her. Undoubtedly the least'violent modernist would be willing to deal the blow that should rid us of them, but there is a strange resilience in both the male and female of this species that makes them rise unscathed after the sharpest attacks on their benighted tenets. We shall have to wait the slower end that must befall them. Evolution by exclusion, or the killing off of those who persistently go the wrong way is a sure process if not a swift one. So. knowing him to be doomed, let us not waste energy in hopeless argument with him.
Yet, if this vanishing man could be brought to believe in an amendment of his doctrine, he could win a right to live. If he would proceed backwardly only so far as to say, "Some things that were good enough for my father are surely good enough for me," he might pn ve a valuable restraining influence on the extremists of this generation who are too apt to look upon all that our forebears held dear as of no more use to us than most vestigial remains. Such radicals are hardly less of a bar to progress than the sententious stand-patter who prates of his father's day as though it were the Golden Age. Now and again we may meet with a counsellor who, standing well between these two extremes, can say to us that, while it fares better with our intellects if we accept nothing merely because it is a legacy from the past, it may'fare sadly with our humanness if we are not impelled to cling to a few relics solely on that ground. It has dawned on us only recently that there is no irreverence in challenging the manners, Vol. LXII.—78
morals, and belongings of our fathers. If they are sound they can bear our scrutiny. Intoxicated with this discovery, we are developing a ruthlessncss in analysis that threatens to run amuck and to produce a social environment that stimulates our mental powers but wages a war of attrition upon our affections.
How can they survive the prevailing spirit of the day? We are being taught that a concrete personal affection is a small thing compared to the dawning sense of the larger brotherhood of man; that we should strive for the will to power, not the will to tenderness; and that efficiency works miracles that love could never compass. Woman, particularly, has had this brought home to her with a swiftness that has kept pace with her emancipation. For her new freedom she has paid with many of her old untutored affections, and the Moloch of progress cries out foe more. She may in the end pay with all the institutions and habits that nourished those qualities which, if they made the world no wiser, perhaps added something to the sum of "human delight." The social economist is storming woman's last outpost —the home. She is being forced to agree that she has been inefficient even in that, her own province, and that if the world's work had advanced as slowly as hers we would still be in sight of the Stone Age. She is urged to give up her personal domestic endeavors in favor of some group scheme where organization will accomplish what well-meaning blundering could never do.
As the economist demands her home, as it stands at present, so the experimental psychologist has designs upon her children. They can be developed into finer citizens if she will intrust them to trained experts. Her inept devotion is hampering. She may even, unless she loves too wisely to-be demonstrative, produce in her sons a "mother complex" which is now generally understood to accord with such strange perversions as those of (Edipus and Hamlet.
So one by one all her old softnesses are being challenged and she is yielding them
with a surprising readiness. Let us hope she will not strip herself of them all until time has added perspective to her suddenly acquired new vision and she is able to see clearly that there may be a few things from the past that while they will not stand the acid test of the intellect are yet quite worth keeping.
The ruthless iconoclasm of to-day is submitting our inheritances to this test to an extent that makes it a happy surprise when one meets with some soul who has clung to a belief out of loyalty to those who labored to make it his. It would be a positive relief to find a home here and there where in full knowledge that disagreeable Great-uncle George's desk is a delight to the artistic sense and Great-aunt Martha's "what-not" a distress, the what-not had been chosen just because Aunt Martha was such an old dear.
Is no home more beautiful because it contains something as rich in association as it is poor in aesthetic value? Is nothing better for being done lovingly than efficiently? Is no life richer for holding to something that has not been sifted through the intelligence but has been enshrined in the heart?
Just as philosophies that exclude the metaphysical world must be in a degree unsatisfying, so the modernist whose platform allows nothing for the affections is surely building up for us a bleak and cheerless social structure.
WANT Matilda to like her work, but I don't on any account want her to be a grind!" said an "alumna mother," as she confided her freshman daughter to the general mercies of our college and to my special fostering. She had saved for the The " Grind" 'ast this her word of most anxious Peril in a Girls' solicitude. I had been bidden to Collegc remove Matilda to a better dormi
tory if she should feel herself not quite congenially placed. If she should find German too taxing, I was to arrange for the substitution of something easier—literature, for example. If I should judge her to be getting worn as the term advanced, I must see that she went home earlier for the Christmas holidays. But as my good old friend, wistful in noble planning for her daughter's perfect womanhood, went questing back among the traditions of twenty years ago to be sure that no precaution had been omitted, a large-looming fear took a certain shape of resolve. Whatever happened, Matilda should never be a "grind."
I reflected, as I listened, with some ruefulness and more amusement, that the child is mother of the woman, in prejudice at least. And here was surviving a venerable prejudice from the clutch of which no one of us could claim exemption. If I should send out among my academic contemporaries a questionnaire to ascertain the number among them of unqualified "grinds" such as our undergraduate fancy conceived, I should discover that every one would "rather see than be one." And as for myself I would as soon hear that in scholarship I am a "grind" as that in morals I mean well.
For, however our definitions of the creature used to differ in detail, we all agreed that she was a most unpleasant person. In appearance she was untouched by the graces. We used to call her, with a fine scorn of which we were very proud, "an earnest student." You could tell her by her. unconscious gait, which "moved altogether if it moved at all," by her disregard for the straggling lock, by her dull superiority to the niceties of trimncss, to the romance of fabric color. "Her collar" was traditionally "unhooked, her shoe untied, and her whole aspect denoting a careless desolation."
In mental calibre too she was of the type which never would be missed—intellectual repository of perfectly classified and perfectly useless information, of the sort which it is never quite good form for a girl of spirit to retain exactly. She was not only "up in dates." She could identify every geological specimen from a glyptodont to the hipparionex proximus. She knew the irregular verbs of all the languages and never had to lower her voice when she approached a French subjunctive. She knew who wrote "Gorboduc" and "Handlyng Synne" and the "Testament of Cresseid." She could recite the names of all the kings of Israel. She wore her days out nosing in the library like the toad within the stone, careless of the sun, and could be lured from her researches neither by senior elections nor by a May morning. She gave more offense to the innocent than Aristides by her unmitigated excellence.
I suppose the most modern of us have a tolerably safe assurance that the "grind" among college girls is an extinct monster superseded by the improvements of evolution. Any apparent recurrence of the type we take for the phantom of a preserved specimen escaped for a bit from her alcohol to act as a warning among real people. But we can't be sure. At least the story of live "grinds" is still used to frighten children. For my talk with Matilda's mother was not my first on the subject.
Such a pretty girl came to call upon me one day in my office. I had been warning her of pitfalls ahead in the primrose path. She blew in like a fresh spring wind, beamed engagingly upon me, and explained: "You see, I study just as hard as I can without being a grind. And I don't want to be a grind 1" The situation was familiar enough, but her attitude toward it was significant. She had come not to seek my help, nor to deprecate my wrath—just to make me feel easy, to show that there was no fault of mine, or indeed of hers, and that we must both just be cheerfully resigned to her delightful limitations. And as I looked at her daintiness and pictured in contrast the dingy wraith which she feared to resemble, I could not blame her. I did not argue.
Still I wished that she would risk it and study just a little harder. The chance seemed remote indeed that she would develop any undue rigors of scholarly austerity. And meanwhile one could not hope to tell her of certain lights shining in darkness which her vision could not comprehend, of a mental zest which could so easily reinforce the pleasure of her days—even of an added prettiness which might well grow in her pretty eyes with growing intellectual grace behind them. Or if the unlikely danger were not negligible—that she might from overstudy become a specially developed monster, turn through scholarly application into a temporary dragon, the prince of all good fairy-talcs would be at hand, there was no manner of doubt, to disenchant her back to beauty, if there is any precedent at all in fairy-tales. What need had there been to scare her?
And there came a twinge of compunction for my own irresponsible share in floating the fiction of the "grind" peril. The danger-signal had been set by ourselves, the college girls of yesteryear. That fashionable aversion to obvious studiousness, so lightly conceived and more than half assumed to fit the occasional levities of the last generation, had swollen into an active tyranny. Perhaps my caller had an "alumna mother."
For it is a quaint paradox, if we come to think of it, that the ascription of frightful
ness to the passionate student of books among their number comes as often as not from the college-bred women. "Grinds" of a sort are still within our ranks in the middle of life's journey, real scholars of increasing efficiency, who do not look at all like our conventional definition of the type and would give quite another account of their unpretentious activities. But they must be on the defensive. They must hide their attainments under a specious exterior of charm or gracious manner. In olden times the dread of feminine erudition emanated most frequently from some masculine apprehension—that the nicety of the delicate female might take blight from vulgar intellectual contact, or worse—that the housekeeper's knack for the perfect berry-pie might lapse before the new nonsense. Today it is as likely to be the college woman of the world, zealous to secure the just poise of well-rounded character in her Matilda, who holds to the dictum or at least the affectation of Bacon—that "to spend too much time in studies is sloth."
We do not use the word "grind" for one another now that we are grown up. We have developed a more opprobrious term. A scholar among us of mature years, especially if she have the additional stigma of association with some college faculty, we call "an academic person." I can't describe to you how you look, you who are women of the world—the patronage that twists your mouths and tilts your noses when you say that So-and-so used to be very clever but that she has grown frightfully academic. Apparently you divide womankind according to Mr. Chesterton's classification of humanity into "poets, people, and professors," throwing in with professors, as a semi-fossilized formation, all devotees of bookish labor. Even the college girl will often say very kindly of her scholarly teacher: "Why, she is human after all, isn't she?" But when you are an alumna woman of the world you conceive that your scholarly sister settles, in the course of ten years, into a vegetable condition, and thereafter, through about ten more, imperceptibly hardens into mineral. • So she dries away among her books and her circulation gradually slows down. If you prick her, she will not bleed. If you tickle her, she will not laugh. Like the Lady of Shallott, shewatches the life of real men and women reflected in a mirror. She knows only "the