Слике страница
PDF

like you we'd win any strike we tackled," he replied.

"What would you have done if you hadn't been married?"

"Seen 'em in hell first," was his reply. And Saxon answered:

"Then it doesn't make any difference being married. I've got to stand by you in everything you stand for. I'd be a nice wife if I didn't."

There was rioting, and Saxon's baby was born dead. They lost their furniture, could buy no more food, and BUly was jailed. Still Saxon stood by. All the parasite in her, handed down through the ages when woman's best if not only means of support was her sex, cultivated by custom as something to be cherished, slipped away from her. She become the matewoman, mother, as well as wife, of her man; and, when Billy was released from jail, homeless and penniless they tramped over California till, together, they earned a home for themselves in the "Valley of the Moon."

There might be a considerable amount of human folly prevented and human misery saved if every girl, and every woman could read with open mind the "Valley of the Moon."

Dede Mason, heroine of "Burning Daylight," is another of London's mate-women. Co-worker in all things, all heart and all brain, she will not marry the man she loves—because he is wealthy; because she would cease to be a fellow worker of his in the office, and become the kept" plaything of his leisure hours. To become the wife —and therefore the kept woman—of the man she has loved for years is to her unthinkable. She is very wise, and she knows that to place a woman in a position where in order to live she must calculate, "How much will my husband give me?" is to begin to destroy that woman's love for her man. She is wise enough to know that a real woman loves a man more for what she gives to him than for what he gives to her. When he is financially ruined she comes to him freely and gladly.

The Little Lady of the big house, and Labiskwee who starved herself on the long trail by the Yukon, that Smoke Bellew might eat and live, are both mate-women— very much alike for all the difference in race and environment. They are wonder-women, and like Lizzie Connolly in "Martin Eden," they take no thought for themselves. Their business is to battle side by side with their men for bread, for life, if need be; to give rest and content, joy and happiness; to bind up the wounds which'civilization has inflicted on her children.

To one who knew the Londons, these women of his books seem to be vivid incarnations of Charmian Kittredge. Mate-woman was one of the names by which he called his wife, and well did she deserve it. Always, everywhere, she was his companion and co-worker; always all that man could expect of woman. No one can read his "Cruise of the Snark" without realizing that the portraits he has drawn of these other women are based on his life with Charmian. When their boat leaked and all were sick; when they were becalmed for weeks on end and they had no longer strength to steer their frail craft and the boat floated for days an inert mass; when the tropic sun caused Jack's white skin to peel off in silvery scales, ultimately sending him to an Australian hospital—then he realized to the full the meaning of the word mate-woman. Charmian came back and wrote the cheerful, optimistic "Log of the Snark;" Jack wrote the "Cruise of the Snark," laying bare the tale of their struggles and privations, and dedicated it to the woman who wept when the voyage had to be given up.

As for London's other women characters, most of them seem to bear a close resemblance to a lady who came intimately into his life soon after he began to write. To the discerning reader, his Ruth of "Martin Eden," is a shining example of the purely parasitic woman. Martin interests her; she imagines she loves him; but she thinks he can't make money enough to keep her properly and throws him over. Her psychology is identical with that of the dance hall girl who picks as a partner a man who will spend much money on her before the night is past in preference to a better man who has less means. Ruth is very good, very refined and very virtuous; but she must marry a man abundantly able to keep her. Her father and mother have trained her to look on her sex as the most valuable, most marketable, commodity she possesses. Her mother is a real lady; she knows nothing of vice, and the ways of the underworld. But all the same, she has an attractive daughter for sale, and intends to get the best possible price— or husband—for the girl. Martin is successful; he makes money, and they wish to resume acquaintance with him; he now has the means of buying Ruth.

And what about Maud, that most artificial lady of the "Sea Wolf?" Alone on an uninhabited island with a man who has saved both her honor and her life, with a man she loves and who loves her, she does not dream of giving him a caress, or sign of love till they are rescued, months later, by a passing ship. Love is of no consequence to her unless it can be publicly advertised amongst strangers as well as friends, with suitable clerical ceremonies. She was looking to see what she could get out of marriage — not trying to see of how much comfort she might be to the man she loved. And there was nothing to be gotten from such a connection on a lonely island.

Some of his parasite women wear the cloak of respectability and some do not. London realized the truth of Kipling's line about the Colonel's lady and Judy O'Grady; they are both the same as far as morals are concerned. Training, economic circumstances, environment, personal taste, cause the seeming differences to appear. He found parasite women in the Klondike and in the London slums, and he found them amongst the working class and the cultured homes of Berkeley. At times he idealized them,

endowed them with attributes they did not possess, imagined them to be nest builders, mate-women, when they were not. Such a composite type is Margaret in "The Mutiny of the Elsinore." More convincing, but still a composite type growing out of his own longing, is Avis, in the "Iron Heel."'

He had always an ideal, as most men have, of what a woman ought to be; but in the first few years of his writing he could only describe the ideal; he had not intimately known the reality. Consequently the woman characters of his earlier writings seem and are, more or less artificial. But they are no whit more artificial than their prototypes in real life. He drew them better than he knew; the world is full of women of their kind—artificial products of an artificial social system, crippled daughters of a soul destroying civilization. He drew their portraits without bitterness; none knew better than he that society had made them what they were, commercialized in body and in mind. They were good, too, but Jack London realized that no woman can be quite as bad as a thoroughly good woman; that none can rise to the heights so well as those who have plumbed the depths.

London is often spoken of as a "man's author," because apparently more men that women admire his writings. Some women understand and admire; many realize subconsciously, that the parasite type is a portrayal of themselves, and are resentful; many more have been so overcultured by civilization and have been weighted down by the forces of custom and petty superstition and mentally and morally stunted by economic pressure that the race instincts which all women once had in common are either dormant or dead. Artificial themselves, London's mate-women seem to them artificial.

His popularity among men is not altogether due to the fact that he writes of the mine and the trail, of the open road and the sea, of labor and ranch. It is due as much to the fact that most men have searched for their mate-women, and searched in vain, and have married without finding them, as to the virile character of his stories. Contrary though the idea may be to popular opinion, which is usually wrong, most men have more sentiment and less commercialism, as far as love is concerned, than have most women. Far more so than wo

men, they have retained the healthy normal mating instincts. London's mate-woman—his ideal—is the ideal woman consciously or unconsciously in the minds of millions of men. That such a woman, such an ideal relationship, is for most men unattainable, and remains forever an ideal, causes London's women to possess a lasting attraction for the men who read his works.

Queer Korean Superstitions

By Matt Smith

Ifrnj HILE sojourning as a missionIll ary in far-off Korea during the first four years of the present century, the most difficult part of my task was to eradicate from the minds cf my pupils the many strange superstitions and ideas which prevailed among all classes of the natives.

Like their Chinese cousins, the Koreans prefer to follow the moon rather than the sun in their division of the year, and the most important moon in the year is the silver sickle that they see suspended by an invisible cord, the first night of the first month in the year. All the natives made a new beginning, with the advent of the new moon, and it is celebrated as a time for restitution. Debts are paid, old scores are adjusted, and, most important of all, a complete suit of new clothes is donned.

The Korean holiday season begins on the first day of the first moon and ends on the fifteenth, at which time the natives keep busy, and none but the most indifferent and inexcusably careless will neglect to attend to the various little matters whereby the spirit of disease, trouble and famine must be appeased or bribed.

Their special dread and greatest imaginary foe is one old fellow whom they call "Au Wangi," since on the fifteenth day of the first moon in the year this malicious spirit descends

from ether space to earth and goes the rounds of all villages, trying on the straw shoes before each door. Koreans, like all other dwellers of the Orient, who wear sandals, slip them off before the door, never entering the house with their shoes on. Those whose shoes he finds are sure to receive from "Au Wangi" some gift not desired nor longed for, but objectionable and dreadful, for this evil spirit's gifts come in the form of malignant, hideous disease, famine and pestilence. To avoid his gifts and puzzle the old fellow, the shoes are usually taken within and a light kept burning through the night. But those who fear even that this precaution is insufficient seek to attract his attention by placing a common wire seive on the straw thatched roof of the little home, with the hope that he has such a mania for counting little holes he will be kept occupied that he will fail to note the flight of time. When midnight comes; his power to scatter pestilential gifts passes away, and he is compelled to depart and leave that house in peace. Poor ignorant Koreans, from year to year they live in constant dread of the approach of the fifteenth day of the first moon of the year, when they expect "Au Wangi" to promptly return to earth, accompanied by countless myriads of other evil spirits which they believe fill ethereal space.

Sacajaweah

By Frank A\. Vancil

N leaving their winter camp, April, 1805, among the Mandan Indians on the upper Missouri River, Lewis and Clark, the great Western explorers, employed a Canadian Frenchman, named Chaboneau, for a guide. His Indian wife and baby went with them. The woman whose name was Sacajaweah or "Bird Woman," was of the Snake or Shoshone tribe beyond the mountains. She had been captured in battle and taken more than a thousand miles down the river, where she became one of the three wives of the French trapper.

The early home of Sacajaweah was near the mountains, and her return with the party to the land of her birth and kindred was an event of great rejoicing. Through her influence, her brother being a chief of the tribe, the good will of the Indians was secured. She returned from the Pacific Coast with the explorers to her native land in the vicinity of Three Forks, Montana, where a suitable monument has been erected to her memory.

Much has been written about this "Bird Woman," but all that we know of her is given in the journal of Lewis and Clark who describe her as an ordinary and obedient Indian squaw. She was, however, of superior birth, the great chief, her brother, says Clark, "is a man of influence, sense, easy and reserved manners, and appears to possess a great deal of sincerity." Lewis gives this account: "Sah-car-gar-we-ah, our Indian woman

was one of the female prisoners taken at that time, though I cannot discover that she shows any emotion of sorrow in recollecting this event, or joy in being restored to her native country. If she has enough to eat and a few trinkets to wear, I believe she would be perfectly contented anywhere."

Rev. John Roberts, a Missionary among the Indians for many years, remembered Sacajaweah and officiated at her burial at the Shoshone Agency in April, 1884.

It appears that when Toussant Chaboneau, her French husband, became old and feeble, Sacajawea returned to her own people, the Shoshones, roaming from Idaho to Wyoming. Young Chaboneau was a well known guide to Bonneville and Fremont, and is often mentioned.

While Sacajawea was known as the "Bird Woman," in Dakota, in Wyoming she was "The Boat-Pus her." She was also called "Wadzewip," the Lost Woman. Those who knew her, describe her as short and small, lively and spry to the last, dying when she was 94 years old.

At the grave of Sacajawea on Wind River in Wyoming, the Daughters of the American Revolution have recently erected a concrete monument with a brass plate bearing the inscription: "Sacajaweah, died April 9, 1884. A guide with the Lewis and Clark Expedition, 1804-1806. Identified by Rev. J. Roberts, who officiated at her burial."

FAITH

I who have watched the opal in the

west The while it faded to the palest gray, Have seen the crimson on the linnet's

breast, And listened to the lark's inspiring

lay: Have seen the vineyard purple in the

sun, And watched the orange turn from

green to gold— I know, I know that there is only One Who could have wrought these wonders manifold.

Caroline Christie.

BY THE RIVER

The light is miraculous — golden and rare; The stream is a silken and shimmering flood. Swallows and orioles sport in the air, Ecstasy lives in their blood.

The trees rear their branches; leafage, sun-bright, Waves a bon voyage to the boats on the river. The gifts of the season are hearts brave and light, And strong as the hands of the Giver!

Arthur Powell.

REMEMBRANCE

Evening—a room with shaded light,
A rose whose perfume haunts the air,
Her song—a fairy, viol at night,
Her mystic presence everywhere.
R. R. Greenwood.

THE CALL OF THE WILD

The blue of the mystic mountains,

The call of the rushing stream,

The luring whine of the wind-swept

pine Awaken again the dream— Dream of the old-time freedom, Dream of the old-time thrills And I hear once more as in years

before
The call to return to the hills.

The sleeping spirits have wakened
And the heart of me is aglow.
A vision calls from the canon walls
And the soul of me says "Go!"
The trails stretch out before
Straight to the mountain's span,
Like a beckoning hand from some

fairy land,
And I'm off to the hills again.

Ford C. Frick.

HOPE

Wow glorious yonder in the eastern skies

Over the edge of night dawn's fountains rise!

Pure as the gold of youth and fair to see,

Even as hope is fair, diurnally.
Herbert Edward Mierow.

QUATRAIN

The winter hills, snow-softened,

through the pane, The leafless boughs in sober, quaker

guise, Within, the music of the leaping

flame, Her lyric laughter and her azure eyes. R. R. Greenwood.

[graphic]
« ПретходнаНастави »