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In the city-broadcloth and satin.
THE NEW BOOKS
Allen. Doubleday, Page & Co., New York.
BOOKS FOR YOUNG FOLKS
by Marguerite Buller Allan. The John Lane
and Year Book of American Poetry.
, we are sorry to say, continues his peculiar system of grading poetry as of first, second, and third rate distinction. The inexactness and insufficiency of such a system do not need extended comment.
Among the poems which he selects for inclusion in his volume are many of noteworthy quality. His selection as a whole forms a surprisingly good record of the achievements of American poets. It seems, however, that Mr. Braithwaite's tendency toward indiscriminate enthusiasms has in several instances led him far astray. Somehow we cannot conceive of Miss Lowell as occupying a place important enough to warrant the number of pages which he devotes to one of her rhapsodic prose poems, and we certainly cannot see why Mr. Braithwaite took the trouble of including in his anthology the following example of socalled modern poetry. The lines which we quote are from Wallace Gould's “ Children
O with the paper you se
lect for your booklet,
Stop Eating Foods That Explode!
of the Sun;"
" Ain't a ?" munching the bean.
"Certainly is," I said, turning my head to blow the smoke away from her. She watched the smoke vanish.
" Blow your cussed old smoke this way!" she commanded, mumbling, munching the bean. “You know very well how I like it. I haven't smoked since the time—" and the poppies caught her eye....
Soon, I arose and gathered some poppiesnine scarlet poppiesand gave them to her and blew a whiff in her face and she laughed and went home to warm over
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Poor Wordsworth! Critics condemned him for using the homely word “por
The New Books (Continued) ringer.” At least Wordsworth's porringer did not contain warmed-over soup.
RELIGION AND PHILOSOPHY Nationalism. By Sir Rabindranath Tagore. The
Macmillan Company, New York. $1.25. Tagore has a rare power of putting great truths in small compass. We pick three of these diamond sentences from two pages:
“Beauty is the signature which the Creator stamps upon his works when he is satisfied with them.''
"The true distinction of man from animals is in his power and worth, which are inner and invisible."
Man is reducing himself to his minimum in order to be able to make amplest room for his organizations."
But Tagore is abler in indicting the wrongs of society than in prescribing any well-defined remedy ; better in awakening in his reader spiritual aspirations than in pointing out any practical method for their realization. His lectures are well worth reading, but they do not furnish leadership. The abolition of nationalism would no more lead to internationalism than the abolition of the family would lead to the brotherhood of man.
WAR BOOKS Campaigns and Intervals. By Lieutenant
Jean Giraudoux. Translated by Elizabeth S. Sergeant. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. $1.50. This is a book which even in its English translation one can perceive is written by a master of French style. The author was a novelist and diplomat before the war; he has been in America as an instructor of the Harvard Regiment Officers' Training Camp,and one of his chapters is written from Lake Asquam. His impressions of the war are intimate, subtle, and keenly intelligent. Challenge of the Present Crisis (The). By
Harry Emerson Fosdick. Association Press, New York. 50c. “ In what mood shall a Christian, or for that matter an idealist of any kind, face the catastrophe (the European war? With what considerations and insights can he support his faith and hope?" This question the author answers by describing it as a challenge to our manhood. He writes with the terseness of style and the courage of faith which we should expect from the author of “ The Manhood of the Master and "The Meaning of Prayer." The book of not a hundred pages is to be recommended to the thoughtful consideration of any reader who finds it difficult to reconcile participation in the war with the teaching and example of Jesus Christ. On the field of Honor (Au Champ d'Hon.
neur). By Hugues Le Houx. Translated by Mrs. John Van Vorst. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. $1.50. An anusual war book. The father of a young French lieutenant who was inortally wounded reaches his son in time to take down the stricken soldier's story. The tragedy of war has rarely been more appealingly presented. If every member of the peace conference that will end the war could read this most affecting book, the dawn of universal peace would surely be near-or nearer. Six Women and the Invasion. By Gabrielle
and Marguerite Yerta. Preface by Mrs. Humphry Ward. The Macmillan Company, New York, $2. A thoroughly readable and moving account of life under German rule in occupied French territory. Mrs. Ward rightly says of these six Frenchwomen: “ The tale of their courage, their gayety, their resources under the endless difficulties and petty oppressions of their lot, lights up the miserable scene, kindling in the reader the same longing for retribution and justice on a barbarian race as burnt in their French hearts.”
Each season adds many to the list of winter sports enthusiasts. For lovers of skiing, snow-shoeing, tobogganing, skating, and the like, the list of resorts to choose from, where these sports may
be found, grows yearly and now includes Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado; Yosemite National Park in California; Mount Hood in Oregon; and resorts in New England, Pennsylvania, and Canada. We shall be glad to send Outlook readers information about these resorts without charge.
TRAVEL AND RECREATION BUREAU
THE OUTLOOK COMPANY, 381 FOURTH AVE., N. Y.
THE OLD LADY TALKS
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The Old Lady came in with her cheeks as rosy as winter apples.
“ Cold, mother?" her daughter-in-law asked.
“Now look here, Mary, don't you say anything to me about being cold or about anything in the nature of a hardship! Course I know you don't mean it the way some do, but, I declare to goodness, I just can't stand any more talk of that sort ! Everybody I met up street either asked me if there was any coal at our house or said something about the scarcity o' things or the price of 'em, till I just out and out lost my patience! Land's sakes! I don't know what folks are coming to, when they are afraid o' what they call hardships ! That's just what I up and told 'em, too, right there in Hines's store !”
“Why, mother! How outrageous of you!" Mary laughed.
“Well, I don't care,” said the Old Lady. “They needed it said to 'em, and I said it. 'Look here,' says I, do you know that this country of ourn wouldn't" 'a' found a place on the map at all, not had a boundary it could call its own, nor grown into a leading nation of the world, if it hadn't 'a' been for the blessing of hardships? Do
times your kin and mine come and tried to settle on this Atlantic coast before they could get foothold enough to enable 'em to stay? Do you know how many years folks lived in log cabins, with the wind howling through the chinks and the wolves howling elsewhere, before the West was built
aud won? Do you know what those poor shivering creatures at Valley Forge had to eat and to wear, or what they didn't have, before they won your freedom as well as theirs? Do you know what 'twas like in the sixties, or do any of you remember it the way I do? Do you know all that and more, and what come of it? And do you know how 'twas all won? Through hardships. You got a country, and a fine big .rich country, and plenty of education in it and plenty of good times and prosperity and room for your children to grow up safe in ; and you got it because your
forefathers weren't afraid of a little bit of hardening. And what's come of it is that this generation is downright afraid of hardening: You're afraid of the cold! You want the fat of the land all time and every time, because you've been having it to waste and throw away! You're afraid of doing without something, or of learning to put something else in its place! Shucks! I'm ashamed of every mother's child of you! Time you got a little good healthy harvlening, seems to me! Why, hardships are as healthful as beans or baked apples, if you know how to take 'em! I wouldn't be willing to bring up a child o' mine, no, nor even a grandchild, without some good old-fashioned hardships to give 'em backbone. And there you men over by the stove there are fussing because Tommy Hines hasn't coal enough to keep the stove going red hot! And you knowing there's hundreds o' miles o' trenches over there with men standing up to their knees in ice-water, and all so you won't have to come up against the hardships of war!' That's what I said to 'em ; and I got so excited over it, Mary, that I plumb forgot to bring home your pound of sugar!"
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My query is this : “Why am I a schoolteacher?"
Or, better perhaps : “What are the public schools through the medium of the teachers attempting to do?”
Whenever I tell people that I am teaching school they remark, “ How wonderful a thing it is to be leading the youth of the country in thought and shaping the course of young lives !Or other such platitudes as that. If that could be done, and done successfully, it would undoubtedly be a very wonderful thing. But is it being done now: adays? That is the thing which is causing me concern at the present moment.
When a pupil has finished his course of training in a public high school, what is the result ? Is he fitted to take his place in the political, social, or commercial life of to-day, with all its complex elements ? Has he really learned anything which will make him able to become a useful part of society?
He may know a few of the rules of grammar,
but he can hardly express himself either in conversation or on paper to good advantage. Perhaps he can tell you the date of the discovery of America or of the first battle of Bull Run, but what about a real historical perspective of America's past and present life? Does he know the first thing about that? Possibly he may be able to discuss the theory of the “
pons asinorum.” More likely he cannot. But if he can, does it help him to be a more useful citizen? And so on.
Do these subjects which we are teaching our pupils really prove of any worth to them? We have heard so much about the theory of formal discipline and its value to the mind of the student; but is he profiting by any of that discipline to-day? Do the pupils know how to vote properly? Can they discriminate between the good and the bad in the world of to-day?
The other day a parent was lamenting in my hearing that his son had been dropped from the rolls of the school because his work had been too low to be of any use whatever. He couldn't understand, he said, why the school wasn't able to deal with his son properly.
“My boy,” said the parent, “is not a bail boy at all. He doesn't do much studying, I know, but there must be some way to handle that in the school.”
“ He does not take the slightest interest in anything connected with the school,” was the reply.
The conversation continued and turned to the Christmas vacation, which was then
“ William is enjoying his vacation, all right,” said the fond parent. “Why, he has been to five dances this week, and on New Year's Eve he has been invited by girls to the same sorority hop!"
What a popular fellow William is on the ball-room Hoor, and with the young ladies! Why not? That is just what William is living for these days. They are far moje important than algebra, English, history, or even the European war.
But the fault does not lie with the schools, you remark. William's father should be compelled to take a course in how to bring up his son. I think so too; but is there anything lacking that the school is answerable for in William's lack of interest ?"'
"I cannot compel my pupils to do any work just before or just after a holiday, one teacher complained. " Their heads are so filled with the thought of the good times
subscriber of The Outlook who sends us the names and addresses of a
dozen friends who may be interested in The Outlook and who are not now subscribers, we will send in acknowledgment a free copy of "The Man Without a Country," by Edward Everett Hale. It is especially appropriate at this time. The book is cloth-bound, illustrated, and well worth a place in any library. The Outlook Company, 381 Fourth Avenue, New York
Miserable CornsHow to end them
A Query (Continued) that they are going to have or have had that they will not put their minds on school work.”
Why won't they? That's what I want to know.
I actually know of one school which decided to lengthen the Christmas vacation because it was impossible to count on the attendance of many of the scholars during the holiday dance season. Marvelous !
The public schools of to-day are not compelling the attention or the interest of the youths as they used to. Of that I am convinced. It
be that this is caused by our National trait of mental indifference, or it may be the effect of the teaching received in the schools. It is harder to put a finger on the reason than it is to discover the fault.
The members of the “ When I Went To School Club” will probably agree that something is missing that they were wont to receive in their training. There undoubtedly is ; but what is it?
Take the schedule of a high school today.
One or two sessions, five or six hours, it matters not. The same thing is evident in them all. Hustle, hustle, hustle, from the bell opening the session until the dismissal. One thing Hies in the ear, and is pushed out by the next pellet of information which is hurled at the pupil. At the end of a day he has a composite picture which resembles a futurist drawing. There is nothing there worth while to digest mentally, and, anyway, there is not time to do it if there were. To-morrow crowds onto to-day, and before long the brain is a hopeless jumble of unrelated facts and misguided information. Out of this chaos the student, if I may be permitted to use that conventional term, emerges at the end of four years with a diploma to prove to the world that he is educated.
The large majority of high school pupils are eager to brandish their diplomas in the face of the world and demand a job. A job at what? Anything. No position is too difficult for the newly educated optimist from the high school mill to undertake. And how many of them are really fitted to undertake any position at all? Very few.
When they can't "land” the job for which they apply, because they don't know enough to handle it or anything else, they immediately begin to rail-or their parents do, for almost always they themselves don't care a hang—at the school and its training.
And why shouldn't they?
Oughtn't the school to fit for jobs”? Most of the pupils leaving high school each year are looking for a
job” and nothing else.
I heard a business man say recently, regarding a certain high school, that the graduates of its commercial department couldn't even write a reputable letter applying for a position. Several, he suspected, got other people to write theirs for them, for they domonstrated their utter inability to handle correspondence after they had been hired.
The high schools are not by any means wholly at fault. We get the boys and girls from the grammar schools much earlier than used to be the case, and they certainly do show a decided lack of almost every: thing. Their training is not thorough, and they have to start all over again to learn how to study and to learn their lessons.
“Oh, what a good-for-nothing pessimist!" I hear some one remark.
“ Try it for yourself,” is all I can say ;
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