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so spontaneous on the lips of the Mr. Cobb regarded him with the players has been hammered and en restrained temper of one who has ex. graved with finer strokes and de- plained who he was (and is) to the stroyed and built up again, so that British War Office three days in sucthe result is a modern play with the cession. best traditions of English comedy, “I am not an American officer," old and new.
corrected Mr. Cobb.
“Oh, I see," said the fitter. “Reg.
ulation British it is, sir.” Devoted observers of that Dial
Mr. Cobb hated to distress him, so upon which the Sun (of New York)
he waited until the calf measurenever sets read the
ment, at full inhalation, had been Poetic other day upon its
noted down, whereupon he menArithmetic face these so Mar
tioned casually: quisian sentiments :
“I am not a British officer.” Christopher Morley says, in a piece he “Eh, what?” said the fitter, reclinwrote for one of the papers, that William ing on his heels. “What shall I make Rose Benet, Vachel Lindsay and the editor of the Sun Dial are the three best poets in
it, sir?” the country.
“God knows,” says Mr. Cobb, deChris is a good old scout and a darned jectedly. good poet himself, besides being four of
The measuring proceeded. After the twelve best critics in America, H. L. Mencken and James Huneker being the
the Sam Browne diagonal had been other eight.
secured by means of trigonometry and a ball of twine, Mr. Cobb pre
pared to leave. The fitter seemed Irvin Cobb, who has just sailed for bewildered and somewhat depressed. Europe to write a new series of Mr. Cobb had an inspiration.
articles and a book Irvin Cobb
"I have just been appointed a on war conditions, colonel on the staff of the Governor Achieves a
the following of Kentucky," he remarked, and was Uniform story about his
rewarded by an instant look of relief quisition of a correspondent's uni on the fitter's face. The atmosphere form:
seemed to have cleared immeasuraGoing to a military tailor he asked bly. to be measured for something ade "And do you know,” says Mr. quate to his figure and station. Cobb, “when I put that uniform on
“You want an American officer's and looked at myself in the glass I uniform, I suppose?” inquired the looked like a Field Marshal in the fitter briskly.
IN GREENWICH VILLAGE
BY ANNA ALICE CHAPIN
Just a step, and you're there in the old Child Land
You had thought not to retrieve;
In the World of Make Believe;
A world that is young and gay,
Where grown-up children play!
THE REVOLUTION ABSOLUTE
PART II. THE EPIPHANY OF POWER
BY CHARLES FERGUSON
It would not be difficult to show Nothing in the record of mankind by historical studies that nearly all is more remarkable than the general
aristocracies have gained their origi. assumption that goodness is natu
nal differential of power by their
virtues. The tradition of the beau rally opposed to power—that right and might are irreconcilable. It is
monde-patrician, gentry, Samurai relevant to my purpose here to show:
-begins generally with a superiority first, that this opposition is not nat
in courage, in skill with tools and ural, but factitious; second, that it
arms, and in practical understanding
and social sensitiveness-the feeling had its origin in the oriental mind. sickness that has afflicted the race
of the reality and importance of the from immemorial times; and third,
common life. that this morbidity cannot survive
But the experience of history is the higher development of modern
that this originating moral superitechnology.
ority of aristocracies does not last.
It stifles itself in settled privilege. I
Thus it appears that the qualifica
tions that preside at the origin of a Observe first, that the contrast be- ruling class are of a higher moral tween virtue and power is not much character than those that preserve its felt on frontiers and in new lands. later power. In Mr. Barrie's revealing drama Ruling classes have their begincalled The Admirable Crichton there nings in pioneering or revolutionary is an artistic exhibition of this truth. moments when the salutary law of The efficient butler of a ship-wrecked health and service breaks through English family, deploying in a crude the false tissues of social convenand savage environment his latent re tions. But as the social tissue knits sources of wisdom and valour, be again at the end of pioneering or comes the acknowledged head of the revolutionary episodes, it has never household. Thus, in a wilderness, yet failed, as a matter of historic natural rectitude coincides with so- fact, to develop a law unfavourable cial power. The case is different in to elemental virtue and offering proold cities, and the playwright does motion to ambitious men on terms not miss the clinching point of his quite other than those of natural demonstration. The family is res worth. Hence has arisen the literary cued and returns to London; and and popular assumption that no man there the butler's elemental domi- or class can be trusted with power nance does not save him from social unless another man or class is set to feebleness. In the last scene of the watch. It is falsely supposed that play he is presented in servile habit aristocracies decay because power, in as of old, gliding noiselessly over the its very nature, is corrupting. polished floors, in that hush of self Now the truth is that power effacement which is supposed to be cleanses and integrates the will, to becoming to the good.
the extent that it is derived from
courage and enterprise. The kind quite different and wholly incomof power that properly belongs to a mensurable institutions to cultivate man does not corrupt him. He is practicality as a specialty? Why are corrupted only when he consents to we scandalised by the idea that there exercise powers that are not his is a natural congruity between might that are merely imputed to him by and right? Why do we think of dea legal fiction. It is not characteris mocracy as a delicate flower of the tic of strong men to take the lead in spirit growing in a sheltered garden such inventions. Therefore it is in -a flower that can be nurtured only accurate to say that power is corrupt in happy times and that needs to be ing, without specifying the kind of walled and made safe by something power that is meant. The strong do that is not democracy? Why do we not corrupt the weak, but the weak imagine that the vital and definitive the strong. Society in the large cor power of a nation, the power of arms, rupts its élite. The vast tides of should be regarded as a peculiar cult, false social tradition have over superseding the arts and the humani. whelmed again and again, a thou ties in grave moments, and requiring sand times, the adventures of high that everybody in civil society should spirited men toward a happier order eat, sleep, work and think in unof linked power and virtue.
familiar moods and tenses? Why is
it that nothing but war itself—a war II
of such magnitude that it is in effect This literary and popular notion the sum of all wars—can make us that power necessarily tends toward understand that war-power is only a moral debasement, is evidently only by-product of creative power; and a special phase of the wider mental that the rule of the world belongs phenomenon we are dealing with, to to those who do not keep their wit: the age-old separation between creative imagination, their visions of the thought of what is right and the the right way to do things—in a thought of what is practical. Thus chamber of the mind that does not in setting out to discover why it is communicate with the common liv. that aristocracies make their en ing rooms? trances by one law and their exits by The answer to this question or to another, we are brought in face of these questions, for they are all one the question: Why is it so hard for and the same—is the key to the authe mass of men to believe in the thentic science of society. goodness of power, or in the poten The study of mass action and the tial strength and prevalence of what psychology of the crowd can never is right? Why this age-long wistful get beyond the refined empiricism of ness--this abstract and passive devo such writers as John Fiske and Gus. tion to the undoable, and this re tave Le Bon-can never become true signed engrossment in things that are science, furnishing a basis for enter. confessed to be of inferior interest prise and prophecy—until the hisand worth?
torical schism between the concepHow is it that Americans-even tive and the executive faculties of Americanst-have come to think that mankind, with its entail of futility the business by which people get and tragedy, is recognised by savants their living must of necessity be ac as the right point of departure. This tuated by lower motives than those is only another way of saying that that are supposed to obtain in we cannot begin to put order into churches and law courts? Why do our knowledge of what men in the we have institutions to cultivate mass have done or are likely to do idealism as a specialty, and other until we accept the fact that average