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Title:      Winnowed Wisdom (1926)
Author:     Stephen Leacock
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A Project Gutenberg of Australia eBook

Title:      Winnowed Wisdom (1926)
Author:     Stephen Leacock


Author's Preface

I.  The Outlines of Everything

Volume One--The Outline of Shakespeare

Volume Two--The Outline of Evolution

Volume Three--The Business Outline of Astronomy

Volume Four--Outline of Recent Advances in Science

II.  Brotherly Love Among the Nations

The Next War

International Amenities

French Politics for Beginners

The Mother of Parliaments

New Light from New Minds

An Advance Cable Service

Back from Europe

III.  Studies in the Newer Culture

A Little Study in Culture from Below Up

The Crossword Puzzle Craze

Information While You Eat

The Children's Column

Old Proverbs Made New

IV.  In the Good Old Summer Time

The Merry Month of May

How We Kept Mother's Birthday

Summer Sorrows of the Super-rich

How My Wife and I Built Our Home for $4.90

The Everlasting Angler

Have We Got the Year Backwards?

Our Summer Convention

V.  Travel and Movement

All Aboard for Europe

The Gasoline Goodbye

Complete Guide and History of the South

The Give and Take of Travel

VI.  Great National Problems

The Laundry Problem

The Questionnaire Nuisance

This Expiring World

Are We Fascinated with Crime?

VII.  Round Our City

At the Ladies Culture Club

Our Own Business Barometer

My Pink Suit

Why I Left Our Social Workers' Guild

VIII.  The Christmas Ghost

The Christmas Ghost

Author's Preface

An Appeal to the Average Man

It is the especial aim of this book to make an appeal to the
average man.  To do this the better, I have made a study of the
census of the United States and of the census of Canada, in order
to find out who and what the average man is.

In point of residence, it seems only logical to suppose that the
average man lives at the centre of population, in other words, in
the United States he lives at Honkville, Indiana, and in Canada at
Red Hat, Saskatchewan.

In the matter of height the average man is five feet, eight inches,
decimal four one seven, and in avoirdupois weight he represents 139
pounds, two ounces, and three pennyweights.  Eight-tenths of his
head is covered with hair and his whiskers if spread over his face
could cover it to the extent of one-tenth of an inch.  This ought
to be a promising sign to a reader.

The average man goes to church six times a year and has attended
Sunday School for two afternoons and can sing half a hymn.

Although it thus appears that the average man is rather weak on
religion, in point of morals the fellow is decidedly strong.  He
has spent only one week of his whole life in the penitentiary.
Taking an average of theft and dividing it by the population it
appears that he has stolen only two dollars and a quarter.  And he
never tells a lie except where there is some definite material

The average man is not, by statistics, a great traveller.  The poor
fellow has been only sixty-two miles away from his own home.  He
owns nine-tenths of a Ford car, punctures a tire once every twenty-
two days, and spends, in the course of his whole life, a month and
a half underneath his car.

The education of the average man cost $350.  But it didn't get him
far.  He stopped--according to the educational statistics--within
one year of being ready for a college.  Most of the things he
learned had no meaning for him.  He gave up algebra without yet
knowing what it was about.

By the time I had got to this point of the investigation I began to
realize what a poor shrimp the average man is.  Think of him with
his mean stature and his little chin and his Ford car and his fear
of the dark and his home in Honkville, Indiana, or Red Hat,
Saskatchewan.  And think of his limited little mind!  The average
man, it seems, never forms an opinion for himself.  The poor nut
can't do it.  He just follows the opinions of other men.

I would like ever so much to start a movement for getting above the
average.  Surely if we all try hard, we can all lift ourselves up
high above the average.  It looks a little difficult mathematically,
but that's nothing.

Think how fine it would be to get away from the average--to mingle
with men seven feet high and women six feet round; to consort with
people who wouldn't tell a lie except for big money, and to have
friends who could solve cross-word puzzles without having to buy
the Encyclopaedia Britannica!

But the only trouble with such a movement is that if I did really
start it, and if I could, with great labor and persuasion, get it
going and it began to succeed, then who would come flocking into it
but the darned little average man himself.  As long as it was
unsuccessful, he'd keep out of it.  But let it once succeed and in
he'd come.  That's exactly his dirty little nature.

In short, now that I think of it I am not so keen on appealing to
the average man.  Nothing ever does appeal to him, until it has
made a terrible hit somewhere else.

I had just brought my investigation to this point when I realized
that I had forgotten about the average woman.  What about her?
Where does she come out?

So I picked up the census volumes again and took another little run
through them.

The average woman, it seems, does not live at Honkville, Indiana,
or at Red Hat, Saskatchewan.  The percentage of women in the
population being much greater in the eastern part of the country,
the average woman lives one hundred and five miles east of the
average man.  But she is getting nearer to him every day.  Oh, yes,
she is after him, all right!

It is also clear that the average woman is about half an inch
taller than the average man.  Women, taken individually, are no
doubt not so tall as men, but, on the average, a woman is just a
little taller.  Men will find it a little difficult to understand
how this can be, but any woman can see it at once.

In point of personal appearance, it may be estimated that women,
taken as an average, wear their hair just below their shirt collar
and have their skirts, at an average, always two inches higher than
they were a year before.

The average woman gets married at twenty-seven, has two children
and a quarter, and is divorced once in every eight years.

In morals the average woman is away ahead of the man.  Everybody
knows this in a general way, but it is very pleasing to see it
corroborated by cold, hard statistics.

The man as we have seen above, spends a week in the penitentiary.
But the woman is there only half a day.  In her whole life she
consumes only one and a half gills of whiskey, but, on the other
hand, she eats, according to the director of the census, four tons
of candy.  She is devoted to her two and a quarter children, but
she makes more fuss over the quarter of a child than she does over
the two whole ones.

In point of intellect, the average woman cannot reason and cannot
think.  But she can argue.  The average woman, according to the
educational section of the census, only got as far in arithmetic as
improper fractions.  Those stopped her.

And yet, take her as she is--even with her hair bobbed round her
ears and her skirt higher than it was, and her inability to add or
to reason--she is all right.  The average man comes out of the
investigation as a poor insignificant shrimp.  But with the average
woman, the more you think about her, the better she appears.

Perhaps on second thoughts I might dedicate this book to the
average woman.  But then, unfortunately, the average woman reads
nothing--or nothing except love stories.


McGill University



The Outlines of Everything

Designed for Busy People at Their Busiest

A Preface to the Outlines

Within recent years it is becoming clear that a university is now a
superfluous institution.  College teaching is being replaced by
such excellent little manuals as the "Fireside University Series,"
the "World's Tiniest Books," the "Boys Own Comic Sections," and the
"Little Folks Spherical Trigonometry."  Thanks to books such as
these no young man in any station of life need suffer from an
unsatisfied desire for learning.  He can get rid of it in a day.
In the same way any business man who wishes to follow the main
currents of history, philosophy and radio-activity may do so while
changing his shirt for dinner.

The world's knowledge is thus reduced to a very short compass.  But
I doubt if even now it is sufficiently concentrated.  Even the
briefest outlines yet produced are too long for the modern business
man.  We have to remember that the man is busy.  And when not busy
he is tired.  He has no time to go wading through five whole pages
of print just to find out when Greece rose and fell.  It has got to
fall quicker than that if it wants to reach him.  As to reading up
a long account, with diagrams, of how the protozoa differentiated
itself during the twenty million years of the pleistocene era into
the first invertebrate, the thing is out of the question.  The man
hasn't got twenty million years.  The whole process is too long.
We need something shorter, snappier, something that brings more
immediate results.

From this point of view I have prepared a set of Outlines of
Everything covering the whole field of science and literature.
Each section is so written as to give the busy man ENOUGH and just
exactly enough of each of the higher branches of learning.  At the
moment when he has had enough, I stop.  The reader can judge for
himself with what accuracy the point of complete satiety has been

Volume One--The Outline of Shakespeare

Designed to make Research Students in Fifteen Minutes.  A Ph.D.
degree granted immediately after reading it.

1.  Life of Shakespeare.  We do not know when Shaksper was born nor
where he was born.  But he is dead.

From internal evidence taken off his works after his death we know
that he followed for a time the profession of a lawyer, a sailor
and a scrivener and he was also an actor, a bartender and an
ostler.  His wide experience of men and manners was probably gained
while a bartender.  (Compare:  Henry V, Act V, Scene 2.  "Say now,
gentlemen, what shall yours be?")

But the technical knowledge which is evident upon every page shows
also the intellectual training of a lawyer.  (Compare:  Macbeth,
Act VI, Scene 4.  "What is there in it for me?")  At the same time
we are reminded by many passages of Shakspere's intimate knowledge
of the sea.  (Romeo and Juliet.  Act VIII, Scene 14.  "How is her
head now, nurse?")

We know, from his use of English, that Shagsper had no college

His Probable Probabilities

As an actor Shicksper, according to the current legend, was of no
great talent.  He is said to have acted the part of a ghost and he
also probably took parts as Enter a citizen, a Tucket sounds, a Dog
barks, or a Bell is heard within.  (Note.  We ourselves also have
been a Tucket, a Bell, a Dog and so forth in our college dramatics
days.  Ed.)

In regard to the personality of Shakespere, or what we might call
in the language of the day Shakespere the Man, we cannot do better
than to quote the following excellent analysis done, we think, by
Professor Gilbert Murray, though we believe that Brander Matthews
helped him a little on the side.

"Shakespere was probably a genial man who probably liked his
friends and probably spent a good deal of time in probable social
intercourse.  He was probably good tempered and easy going with
very likely a bad temper.  We know that he drank (Compare:  Titus
Andronicus, Act I, Scene I.  "What is there to drink?"), but most
likely not to excess.  (Compare:  King Lear, Act II, Scene I.
"Stop!" and see also Macbeth, Act X, Scene 20.  "Hold!  Enough!")
Shakespere was probably fond of children and most likely of dogs,
but we don't know how he stood on porcupines.

"We imagine Shakespeare sitting among his cronies in Mitre Tavern,
joining in the chorus of their probable songs, and draining a
probable glass of ale, or at times falling into reverie in which
the majestic pageant of Julius Caesar passes across his brooding

To this excellent analysis we will only add.  We can also imagine
him sitting anywhere else we like--that in fact is the chief charm
of Shakesperian criticism.

The one certain thing which we know about Shakespere is that in his
will he left his second best bed to his wife.

Since the death of S. his native town--either Stratford upon Avon
or somewhere else--has become a hallowed spot for the educated
tourist.  It is strange to stand today in the quiet street of the
little town and to think that here Shakespeare actually lived--
either here or elsewhere--and that England's noblest bard once
mused among these willows--or others.

Works of Shakespeare

Our first mention must be of the Sonnets, written probably,
according to Professor Matthews, during Shakesbur's life and not
after his death.  There is a haunting beauty about these sonnets
which prevents us from remembering what they are about.  But for
the busy man of today it is enough to mention, "Drink to Me Only
With Thine Eyes," "Rock Me to Sleep Mother," "Hark, Hark the Dogs
do Bark."  Oh, yes, quite enough.  It will get past him every time.

The Historical Plays

Among the greatest of Shakespeare's achievements are his historical
plays,--Henry I, Henry II, Henry III, Henry IV, Henry V, Henry VI,
Henry VII and Henry VIII.  It is thought that Shakespeare was
engaged on a play dealing with Henry IX when he died.  It is said
to have been his opinion that having struck a good thing he had
better stay with it.

There is doubt as to authorship of part, or all, of some of these
historical plays.  In the case of Henry V, for example, it is held
by the best critics that the opening scene (100 lines) was done by
Ben Jonson.  Then Shakespeare wrote 200 lines (all but half a line
in the middle) which undoubtedly is Marlowe's.

Then Jonson, with a little help from Fletcher, wrote 100 lines.
After that Shakespear, Massinger and Marlowe put in 10 lines each.
But from this point the authorship is confused, each sticking in
what he could.

But we ourselves are under no misapprehension as to what is
Shakespeare's and what is not.  There is a touch which we recognize
every time.  When we see the real Shakespeare, we know it.  Thus,
whenever it says "A Tucket Sounds, Enter Gloucester with Hoboes,"
we know that Shakespeare, and only Shakespeare, could have thought
of that.  In fact Shakespeare could bring in things that were all
his own, such as:--"Enter Cambridge followed by An Axe."  "Enter
Oxford followed by a Link."  His lesser collaborators could never
get the same niceness of touch.  Thus, when we read, "Enter the
Earl of Richmond followed by a pup," we realize that it is poor

Another way in which we are able to test whether or not a
historical play is from Shakespeare's own pen is by the mode of
address used by the characters.  They are made to call one another
by place designations instead of by their real names.  "What says
our brother France?" or "Well, Belgium, how looks it to you?"
"Speak on, good Burgundy, our ears are yours."  We ourselves have
tried to imitate this but could never quite get it; our attempt to
call our friends "Apartment B, the Grosvenor," and to say "Go to
it, the Marlborough, Top Floor No. 6" has practically ended in

The Great Tragedies

Every educated person should carry in his mind an outline idea of
the greatest of Shakespeare's tragedies.  This outline when reduced
to what is actually remembered by playgoers and students is not
difficult to acquire.  Sample:

Hamlet (not to be confused with Omelette which was written by
Voltaire).  Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, lived among priceless
scenery and was all dressed in black velvet.  He was deeply
melancholy.  Either because he was mad, or because he was not,
Hamlet killed his uncle and destroyed various other people whose
names one does not recall.

The shock of this drove Ophelia to drown herself, but oddly enough
when she threw herself in the water she floated, and went down the
river singing and shouting.  In the end Hamlet killed Laertes and
himself, and others leaped into his grave until it was quite full
when the play ends.  People who possess this accurate recollection
rightly consider themselves superior to others.

Shakespeare and Comparative Literature

Modern scholarship has added greatly to the interest in
Shakespeare's work by investigating the sources from which he took
his plays.  It appears that in practically all cases they were old
stuff already.  Hamlet quite evidently can be traced to an old
Babylonian play called Humlid and this itself is perhaps only a
version of a Hindoo tragedy, The Life of William Johnson.

The play of Lear was very likely taken by S. from the old Chinese
drama of Li-Po, while Macbeth, under the skilled investigation of
modern scholars, shows distinct traces of a Scottish origin.

In effect, Shakespeare, instead of sitting down and making up a
play out of his head, appears to have rummaged among sagas, myths,
legends, archives and folk lore, much of which must have taken him
years to find.

Personal Appearance

In person Shakespeare is generally represented as having a pointed
beard and bobbed hair, with a bald forehead, large wide eyes, a
salient nose, a retreating chin and a general expression of
vacuity, verging on imbecility.


The following characteristics of Shakespeare's work should be
memorized--majesty, sublimity, grace, harmony, altitude, also
scope, range, reach, together with grasp, comprehension, force and
light, heat and power.

Conclusion:  Shakespeare is a very good writer.

Volume Two--The Outline of Evolution

Specially Revised to Suit Everybody, and Particularly Adapted for
the Schools of Tennessee.

It seems that recently there has been a lot of new trouble about
the theory of evolution in the schools.  Either the theory is being
taught all wrong or else there is something the matter with it.
For years it had seemed as if the doctrine of Evolution was so
universally accepted as to lose all its charm.  It was running as a
close second to Spherical Trigonometry and Comparative Religion and
there was no more excitement about it than there is over

Then suddenly something seems to have happened.  A boy in a Kansas
public school threw down his book and said that the next time he
was called a protozoon he'd quit the class.  A parent in Ostaboola,
Oklahoma, wrote to the local school board to say that for anyone to
teach his children that they were descended from monkeys cast a
doubt upon himself which he found intolerable.  After that the wave
of protest swept through the colleges.

The students marched in processions carrying banners with the motto
"Are we baboons?  Rah, Rah, Apes!"  The Rotary Clubs of town after
town voted by a standing vote that they were unable to support (or
to understand) the doctrine of biological biogenesis, and they
wanted it taken away.

The Woman's Culture Club of Winona, Utah, moved that the name of
Charles Darwin be changed in the text books of the state to that of
W. J. Bryan.  The Anti-Saloon League voted that the amount of
Darwinianism that should be licensed in the schools should not be
more than one-half of one per cent.

It is to meet this difficult situation that the present outline of
Evolution has been prepared.  It is intended so to revise and
modify the rigid character of the theory as to make it acceptable
to everybody.

The obvious beginning of the matter is to present the theory of
evolution as it stood before the trouble began in Tennessee.  Each
of us at that time carried in his head an outline, a little bit
hazy, but still usable, of the Doctrine of Evolution as we
remembered it from our college training.

Outline of Evolution as Dimly Recalled from College Education

We are all descended from monkeys.  This descent, however, took
place a long time ago and there is no shame in it now.  It happened
two or three thousand years ago and must have been after and not
before the Trojan war.

We have to remember also that there are several kinds of monkeys.
There is the ordinary monkey seen in the street with the hand organ
(communis monacus), the baboon, the giboon (not Edward,) the
bright, merry, little chimpanzee, and the hairy ourang-outang with
the long arms.  Ours is probably the hairy ourang-outang.

But the monkey business is only part of it.  At an earlier stage
men were not even that.  They probably began as worms.  From that
they worked up to being oysters; after that they were fish, then
snakes, then birds, then flying squirrels, and at last monkeys.

The same kind of change passed over all the animals.  All the
animals are descended from one another.  The horse is really a
bird, and is the same animal as the crow.  The differences between
them are purely superficial.  If a crow had two more feet and no
feathers it would be a horse except for its size.

The whole of these changes were brought about by what is called the
Survival of the Fittest.  The crookedest snake outlived the others.
Each creature had to adapt itself or bust.

The giraffe lengthened its neck.  The stork went in for long legs.
The hedgehog developed prickles.  The skunk struck out an
independent line of its own.  Hence the animals that we see about
us--as the skunk, the toad, the octopus, and the canary--are a
highly selected lot.

This wonderful theory was discovered by Charles Darwin.  After a
five-year voyage in the Beagle as a naturalist in the Southern
Seas, Darwin returned to England and wrote a book called Sartor
Resartus which definitely established the descent of mankind from
the avoirdupois apes.

One must admit that in this form the theory does not seem
calculated to give any great offense to anybody.  One must
therefore suppose that the whole of the present bitter controversy
arose out of what Darwin himself must have written.  But this is
obviously not so.  I have not actually before me the text of
Darwin's own writings, but I recall the general run of what he
wrote with sufficient accuracy to reproduce it here.

Darwin's Own Statement

Personal Recollection of the Work of the Great Naturalist

"On the Antilles the common crow, or decapod, has two feet while in
the Galapagos Islands it has a third.  This third foot, however,
does not appear to be used for locomotion, but merely for
conversation.  Dr. Anderson of H.M.S. Unspeakable during his visit
to the Galapagos Islands in 1834 saw two crows sitting on a tree.
One was, apparently, larger than the other.  Dr. Anderson also saw
a lizard at Guayaquil in Ecuador which had lost one toe.  In fact,
he had quite a good time.

"It would be too much to say that the crow and the lizard are the
same bird.  But there seems little doubt that the apex cervicus of
the lizard is of the same structure as the rudimentary dorsal fin
of the crow.  I put forward this statement however with the modesty
which it deserves and am only led to it with deep reluctance and
with a full sense of its fatal character.

"I may say that I myself while off the Oesophagus Islands in H.M.S.
Impossible in the year 1835 saw a flock of birds of the kind called
by the sailors "bum-birds," which alighted on the masts and held on
by their feet.  In fact, I saw a lot of interesting things like

"While I was in the Beagle, I recall that on one occasion we landed
on the Marquesas Islands where our captain and his party were
entertained by the chief on hams and yams.  After the feast a group
of native women performed a hula-hula dance during which I wandered
out into the woods and secured a fine collection of toads.

"On the next island--while the captain and his officers were
watching a hitchi-kitchi dance--I picked up some admirable
specimens of lizards and was fortunate enough to bring back a
pocketful of potato bugs."

After reading this plain account as quoted, or at least as
remembered, direct from Darwin, one must admit that there is no
reason to try to rob him of his discoveries.

But to make the case still plainer, let us set alongside of this a
clear simple statement of the Theory of Evolution as it is now held
by the scientists in our colleges.  I have before me the
enunciation of the doctrine as stated at the request of the press
by a distinguished biologist during the height of the present
controversy.  What he says runs, as follows--or very nearly as

"All controversy apart, we must at least admit the existence of a
continuous morphological protoplasmic differentiation--"

That seems to me a fair, manly statement of a plain fact.

"Cytology is still in its infancy--"

This is too bad, but it will grow.

"But at least it involves the admission of a primitive conformity
which removes any a priori difficulty in the way of evolution."

So there we are.  After that one would think that the Tennessee
schools would have no further difficulty about the thing.

The Time of Evolution

But even if we reach a definite conclusion as to the nature of the
process by which life gradually appeared and assumed higher and
higher forms, the question still remains--over how great a period
did the process last?  What time element must be interposed?  In
other words as Henri Bergson once stated it with a characteristic
flash of genius, "How long did it take?"

The earlier estimates of evolutionary scientists placed the age of
man at about 500,000 years.  This was ridiculously low.  You can't
evolve any kind of real man in that time.  Huxley boldly raised the
figures to 1,000,000.  Lord Kelvin, amid unusual applause, put it
up to 2,000,000 years.  The cheers had hardly died away when Sir
Ray Lankester disturbed the whole universe by declaring that man
was 4,000,000 years old.  Two years later a professor of the
Smithsonian Institute raised it to 5,000,000.  This estimate was
seen and raised to 10,000,000 years.  This again was raised from
year to year amid universal enthusiasm.

The latest advices are that a student in Schenectady Technical High
School places the age of man at 100,000,000 years.  For a rough
working estimate, therefore, the business man will not be far wrong
in assuming (for practical purposes) that the age of man is
anything from 100,000,000 to 1,000,000,000.  Night watchmen are
perhaps a little older.

Postscript: Up-to-Date Corrections of the Darwinian Theory

A still more cheerful light is thrown on the evolution controversy
by the fact that modern biologists do not entirely hold with the
theory of Charles Darwin.  I find on inquiry that they are prepared
to amend his evolution doctrine in a variety of points.

It seems that Darwin laid too much stress on what he called natural
selection and the survival of the fittest.  The modern biologist
attaches no importance to either of these.  It seems also that
Darwin overestimated very much the part played by heredity.  He was
moreover mistaken in his idea of the changes of the species.  It is
probable, too, that his notion of a monkey is inadequate.  It is
doubtful also whether Darwin ever actually sailed on the Beagle.
He may have been in the Phineas Q. Fletcher of Duluth.  Nor is it
certain that his name was Darwin.

Volume Three--The Business Outline of Astronomy

The world or universe in which we do our business consists of an
infinite number, perhaps a hundred billion, perhaps not, of blazing
stars accompanied by comets, dark planets, asteroids, asterisks,
meteors, meteorites and dust clouds whirling in vast circles in all
directions and at all velocities.  How many of these bodies are
habitable and fit for business we do not know.

The light emitted from these stars comes from distances so vast
that most of it is not here yet.  But owing to the great distance
involved the light from the stars is of no commercial value.  One
has only to stand and look up at the sky on a clear starlight night
to realize that the stars are of no use.

Practically all our efficient light, heat and power comes from the
sun.  Small though the sun is, it gives out an intense heat.  The
business man may form some idea of its intensity by imagining the
entire lighting system of any two great American cities grouped
into a single bulb; it would be but little superior to the sun.

The earth revolves around the sun and at the same time revolves on
its own axis, the period of its revolution and the rising and
setting of the sun being regulated at Washington, D.C.  Some years
ago the United States government decided to make time uniform and
adopted the system of standard time; an agitation is now on foot--
in Tennessee--for the lengthening of the year.

The moon, situated quite close to the earth but of no value,
revolves around the earth and can be distinctly seen on a clear
night outside the city limits.  During a temporary breakdown of the
lighting plant in New York city a few years ago the moon was quite
plainly seen moving past the tower of the Metropolitan Life
building.  It cleared the Flatiron building by a narrow margin.
Those who saw it reported it as somewhat round but not well shaped,
and emitting an inferior light which showed that it was probably
out of order.

The planets, like the earth, move around the sun.  Some of them are
so far away as to be of no consequence and, like the stars, may be
dismissed.  But one or two are so close to the earth that they may
turn out to be fit for business.  The planet Mars is of special
interest inasmuch as its surface shows traces of what are evidently
canals which come together at junction points where there must be
hotels.  It has been frequently proposed to interest enough capital
to signal to Mars, and it is ingeniously suggested that the signals

Volume Four--Outline of Recent Advances in Science

Specially Designed for Members of Women's Culture Clubs, and
Representing Exactly the Quantity of Information Carried Away From
Lectures on Scientific Progress

Einstein's Theory of Relativity:  Einstein himself is not what one
would call a handsome man.  When seen by members of the Fortnightly
Women's Scientific Society in Boston he was pronounced by many of
them to be quite insignificant in appearance.  Some thought,
however, that he had a certain air of distinction, something which
they found it hard to explain but which they FELT.  It is certain
that Einstein knows nothing of dress.  His clothes appear as if
taken out of the rag bag, and it is reported by two ladies who
heard him speak at the University of Pennsylvania on the
measurement of rays of light that he wore an absolutely atrocious
red tie.  It is declared to be a matter of wonder that no one has
ever told him; and it is suggested that some one ought to take hold
of him.

Einstein is not married.  It has been reported, by members of the
Trenton (New Jersey) Five O'clock Astronomical Investigation Club
that there is a romance in his life.  He is thought to have been
thrown over by a girl who had a lot of money when he was a poor
student, and it was this that turned his mind to physics.  It is
held that things work that way.  Whether married or not he
certainly behaved himself like a perfect gentleman at all the clubs
where he spoke.  He drinks nothing but black coffee.

Einstein's theories seem to have made a great stir.

Madame Curie's Discoveries in Radio-Activity:  Madame Curie may be
a great scientist but it is doubted whether she is a likeable woman
or a woman who could make a home.  Two members of the Omaha Woman's
Astronomical and Physical Afternoon Tea Society heard her when she
spoke in Washington on the Radiation of Gamma Particles from
Helium.  They say that they had some difficulty in following her.
They say she was wearing just a plain coat and skirt but had quite
a good French blouse which certainly had style to it.  But they
think that she lacks charm.

Rutherford's Researches in the Atomic Theory:  Ernest Rutherford,
or rather Sir Ernest Rutherford as it is right to call him because
he was made a knight a few years ago for something he did with
molecules, is a strikingly handsome man in early middle age.  Some
people might consider him as beginning to get old but that depends
on the point of view.  If you consider a man of fifty an old man
then Sir Ernest is old.  But the assertion is made by many members
of various societies that in their opinion a man is at his BEST at
fifty.  Members who take that point of view would be interested in
Rutherford.  He has eyes of just that pale steely blue which
suggest to members something powerful and strong, though members
are unable to name it.  Certainly he made a perfectly wonderful
impression on The Ladies Chemico-Physical Research and Amusement
Society in Toronto, when he was there with that large British body.

Members of clubs meeting Sir Ernest should remember that he won the
Nobel Prize and that it is not awarded for character but is spelled


Brotherly Love Among the Nations

The Next War

From everything which I read in the press, I feel certain that it
is coming.  There doesn't seem the slightest doubt about it.  It
may not come for a month and it might be a year in coming, but
there is no doubt the Next War is already looming in sight.  I have
gathered together all the documents that prove it--interviews and
discussions with the leading men concerned in it, who simply must
know what they are talking about.  Let me lay some of them before
the reader and he can see for himself, on the very best authority,
the situation that confronts us:

Document No. 1

The Alignment in the Next War

New York, July 25:  Colonel The Honourable Fizzle Bangspark of the
British General Army Staff, who arrived in New York on the
Megalomania, expressed his views to the representatives of the
press on the prospects of the Next War.  The Colonel is confident
that in the Next War, which he thinks may begin at any time, it is
most likely the alignment will be that of Great Britain, France,
and the United States against Germany and Russia.

But he may think it equally likely that it may be fought as between
Great Britain, Russia, and Germany against France, the United
States, and Portugal.  Colonel Bangspark states, however, that
though the war is certain the exact alignment of the nations will
be very difficult to foresee.

He thinks it possible that England and Switzerland, if they get a
good opportunity, may unite against France and Scotland.  But it is
altogether likely that in a war of magnitude, such as Colonel
Bangspark hopes to see, the United States and China will insist on
coming in, either on one side or the other.  "If they do,"
continued Colonel Bankspark, "it will be hard to keep them out."

The distinguished officer considers it difficult to say what part
Japan will play in the Next War, but he is sure that it will get
into it somewhere.  When asked about the part that would be played
by the races of Africa in the coming conflict, Colonel Bangspark
expressed a certain amount of doubt.  "It is hard to say," he
stated, "whether they can get in in time.  They number of course a
great many millions, but the question really turns on whether they
have had a training sufficient to let them in.  As yet their armies
would be hardly destructive enough, and it would be very poor
policy to let them in if they do not turn out to be deadly enough
when they get in.

"The black," said the colonel, "is a good fellow and I like him.
If he were put under first class European officers, he might prove
fairly murderous.  But I am not as yet prepared to say that we can
make a profitable use of him in the Next War."

Asked if the Chinese would play a large part in the coming
struggle, the distinguished officer again hesitated.  "The
Chinaman," he claims, "has not yet had enough contact with European
civilizations.  The Chinaman is by nature a pacifist and it will be
hard to get him away from the idea of peace."

Asked finally if the South Sea Islanders would be in the struggle,
Colonel Bangspark spoke warmly and emphatically in their favor.
"They will be in it from the start," he said.  "I know the
Polynesians well, having helped to organize native troops in the
Marquesas Islands where I was quartered at Popo Popo for two years,
and in the Friendly Islands and in the Society Islands and in the
Paradise Group, where I was the first man to introduce gunpowder.

"The Marquesas Islander," the colonel went on, "is a splendid
fellow.  In many ways he is ahead of us Europeans.  His work with
the blowpipe and the poison dart antedates the use of poison in
European warfare and compares favorably with the best work of our
scientific colleges."

When questioned as to which side the Marquesas Islanders would come
in on, the colonel stated that he did not regard that as a matter
of prime importance.  He was convinced, however, that a place would
be found for them and he hoped to see them in the front trenches
(on one side or the other) on the first day.

Colonel Bangspark expressed himself as delighted with all that he
has seen on this side of the water.  He says that he was immensely
pleased with the powder works on the Hudson, and though he had not
yet seen the powder works on the Potomac, he was convinced that
they were just as delightful.

The colonel, whose sojourn in our country is to last for some
weeks, will shortly leave New York to visit the powder works at
South Chicago.  He is accompanied on his journey by his wife and
little daughter, both of whom he expects will be blown up in the
Next War.

Document No. 2

The Peril From The Air

New York, July 25:  General de Rochambeau-Lafayette, Director-in-
Chief of the French Aerial forces, was interviewed yesterday at the
Ritzmore Hotel as to the prospects of world peace.  The General,
whose full name is the Marquis de Rochambeau-Lafayette de Liancourt
de la Rochefoucauld, belongs to the old noblesse of France, and is
a cultivated French gentleman of the old school.  He is himself a
veteran of seven wars and is decorated with the croix militaire,
the croix de guerre, the nom de plume, and the cri de Paris.

The Next War will, the count thinks, be opened, if not preceded, by
the bombing of New York from the air.  The hotels, which the count
considers comfortable and luxurious above anything in Europe, will
probably be blown up on the first day.  The Metropolitan Museum of
Art which General de Rochambeau visited yesterday and which he
regards as equal to anything in the south of France, would
undoubtedly afford an admirable target for a bomb.

The general expressed his unbounded astonishment at the size and
beauty of the Pennsylvania and the Grand Central stations.  Both,
he said, would be blown up immediately.  No air squadron could
afford to neglect them.

"And your great mercantile houses," the count continued
enthusiastically, "are admirable.  Combining as they do, a wide
superficies with an outline sufficiently a pic to make it an
excellent point de mire, they could undoubtedly be lifted into the
air at one bombing."

Document No. 3

The Coming Conflict On The Sea

New York, July 25:  Admirable Breezy, who represents the jolliest
type of the hearty British sailor and who makes a delightful
impression everywhere, is of the opinion that the Next War will be
fought not only on land but on the sea and in the sky and also
under the sea.

"It will be fought all over the shop," said the Admirable, "but I
do trust that the navy will have its fair share."  The big
battleship, he says, is after all the great arm of defense.  "We
are carrying guns now forty feet long and with an effective range
of twenty-five miles."  "Give me a gun ten feet longer," said the
Admirable, "and I will stand off New York and knock down your bally
city for you."

He offered further, if given a gun sixty feet long, to reach
Philadelphia, and that if he were given the right gun platform he
could perhaps hit Pittsburgh.

"I don't despair even of Chicago," said the Admirable.  "We are
moving forward in naval gunnery every year.  It is merely a matter
of size, length, and range.  I could almost promise you that in ten
years I could have a smack at St. Louis and Omaha.  Canada,
unfortunately, will mostly be on our side; otherwise, one might
have had a bang at Winnipeg."

Admirable Breezy said that while he was warmly in favor of peace,
he felt that a sea war between England and the United States would
certainly make for good fellowship and mutual understanding between
the two navies.  "We don't know one another," he complained, "and
under present circumstances I don't see how we can.  But if our
fellows could have a smack at your fellows, it would make for a
good understanding of all round."

The Admiral is to speak in Carnegie Hall tonight on "What England
Owes to the United States."  A large attendance (of financial men)
is expected.

Document No. 4

The New Chemical Terror

New York, July 26:  Professor Gottlos Schwefeldampf, the
distinguished German chemist, who is at the head of the German
Kriegschemiefabrik at Stinken in Bavaria, arrived in New York
yesterday on the Hydrophobia and is at the Belmore Hotel.  The
professor, who is a man somewhat below middle stature, is extremely
short-sighted, and is at present confined to his room from the
effects of a fall down the elevator.  He speaks with the greatest
optimism on the prospects of chemical warfare.

He considers that it has a wonderful future before it.  "In the
last war," he declared, sitting up in bed as much as a rheumatic
infliction of long standing enabled him to do, "we were only
beginning.  We have developed now a gas which will easily
obliterate the population of a whole town.  It is a gas which is
particularly destructive in the case of children, but which gives
also very promising results with adults."

The professor spoke to the members of the press of the efficiency
of this new discovery.  Half a pint of the gas let loose in
the room, he said, would easily have annihilated the eight
representatives of the press who were present with him.  He
regretted that unfortunately he had none of the gas in a condition
for instant use.

"But we shall not rely alone on gas," continued Professor
Schwefeldampf.  "In the Next War we expect to make a generous use
of poison.  Our poison factories are developing methods whereby we
can poison the crops in the ground a hundred miles away.  If our
present efforts reach a happy conclusion, we shall be able to
poison the livestock of an entire country.  I need not dilate," he
said, "on the favorable results of this--"

The Professor was interrupted by a violent fit of coughing, after
which he sank back so exhausted that the members of the press were
unable to prod any more copy out of him and left.

There!  That's about the picture, not a bit exaggerated, of where
we are letting this poor old world drift to.  Can we manage, my
dear people, to do something to stir up a little brotherly love all
round?  We ought to do it even if we have to send hundreds of
people to jail to get it.  As for me, I intend to start towards it
right away.  The very next time I see on the street a Russian
Bolshevik with black whiskers like an eclipse of the sun, I shall
go right up to him and kiss him and say, "Come, Clarence, let us
forget the past and begin again."

International Amenities

Can We Wonder That It's Hard To Keep Friends?

I have been much impressed lately by the way in which the habit of
"scathing denunciation," back and forward across the Atlantic, is
growing in the press.  Every time when international news gets a
little slack somebody lands off a steamer and says something about
British Education or about American women that sets the whole press
into a flame.  The people who say the things are of no possible
importance.  They are for the most part people of whom nobody ever
heard before and never will again.  But that doesn't matter.  The
newly arrived visitor stands up on the deck of his steamer, gets
the reporters all grouped around him in a ring and then begins to
"denounce."  As a result next morning the newspapers of the entire
continent carry news items such as the following, and the public
seethes with indignation.

Denounces American Education

New York, April --:

"Mr. Farquhar McSquirt, who holds a high position in the
Kindergarten Department of the Scottish Orphans Asylums at
Dumfoolish, landed yesterday from the Aquitania on a tour of
inspection of the American and Canadian schools and at once uttered
a scathing denunciation of education on this continent.  He
considers that the whole educational system of America is punk.  He
admits that a great many pupils attend school on this continent but
denies that they learn a thing.  He considers that the average boy
of twelve in the Orkney Islands knows more than a graduate of
Harvard and Yale.  The American student, he says, has never learned
to THINK; whereas the Scottish boy begins to think very soon after
he learns to talk.  Mr. McSquirt considers that the principal cause
of the defect of American education is the utter lack of qualified
teachers.  He claims that the average American school teacher is a
complete nut.  Few of them stay more than ten years in the
profession whereas in Scotland the average period is well over
fifty years."

As soon as this kind of thing has been spilt all over the map of
North America, the next thing to do is to mop it up.  The
newspapers send out enquiries to ten heads of ten great
universities, and they all answer that while they have not the
pleasure of knowing Mr. McSquirt personally--which means that they
hope they never will know him--they emphatically deny his
strictures on our education.  They claim that the average American
boy, while he may not have such long ears as a Scotch boy, is more
receptive.  He may not know as much as a Scottish student but what
he knows he has digested, a thing the Scottish student has little
chance to do.  After this the public is soothed and the affair dies

Of course it must not be supposed that these "denunciations" are
all in one direction.  I don't mean for a moment that they are
always directed against this continent.  Not at all.  That merely
depends on which direction the traveller is going in.  If he is
headed the other way and is standing on British soil the
denunciation is turned around and it runs something after this

Denounces Oxford

London, April --:

"Mr. Phineas Q. Cactus, T.Q., P.F., Principal of the Texas Normal
Institute for Feeble Minded Navajo Indians, has just attracted wide
attention here by a letter to the Morning Post in which he utters a
scathing denunciation of the University of Oxford.  He claims that
at Oxford a student learns nothing.  He admits that they go there
and they stay there, but he says that during the whole time in
Oxford no student ever thinks.  In the schools of Texas no student
is admitted unless he has passed an examination in thinking and
during his entire course thinking is made compulsory at every step.
Principal Cactus considers that Oxford dulls a man's mind.  He says
that after a course at Oxford the student is fit for nothing except
the Church or the bar or the House of Lords.  He claims that the
average Oxford professor would make but a poor showing as a cowboy
in Texas."

Education is a splendid topic for this kind of business.  But
perhaps an even better one is found in getting after our women and
girls and denouncing them across the Atlantic.  This is always good
for ten days excitement.  The sample press notice is as follows:

Denouncing American Girls

New York, April --:

"Lady Violet Longshanks, a direct descendant of Edward I, in the
male line, landed yesterday morning in New York from the Rule
Britannia.  Lady Violet has at once excited widespread comment by
an interview which she gave on the dock to a representative of the
press.  Her ladyship, who represents the haut ton of the oldest
noblesse and who is absolutely carte blanche, gave expression to a
scathing denunciation of the American girl.  She declares that the
American girl of to-day is without manners.  No American girl, the
Countess claims, knows how to enter a room, still less how to get
out of one.  The American girl, according to Lady V. does not know
how to use her voice, still less how to use her feet.  At the same
time the countess expressed herself fascinated with the size of the
United States which she considers is undoubtedly a country of the
future.  Lady V. thinks it probable that many of the shortcomings
of the American girl may be due to her habit of chewing tobacco."

And so, of course, as soon as Lady V. has said all this it has to
be "mopped up" just like the other stuff.  The press sends people
to interview five heads of five women's colleges and they all
declare that the American girl is as gentle as a lamb, and that if
Lady V. really gets to know the American girl she will find that
the American girl can use her feet, and will.  As to the question
of chewing tobacco they need only say that perhaps Lady V. is
unaware that in all the first class women's colleges chewing
tobacco is expressly forbidden not only on the campus, but in the

This reassures the public and gradually the trouble subsides and
everybody cools off and the American girl gets right back to where
she was.  And then some American lady takes a trip over to England
and starts the whole trouble again in a reversed direction, like

Denounces English Girls

London, April --:

"Mrs. Potter Pancake of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, President of the
American Women's International Friendship League, has just jarred
English society off its hinges by a sweeping condemnation, handed
out from the window of her hotel, directed against English girls.
Mrs. Pancake claims that the English girl is absolutely without
grace and that her movements are inferior to those of a horse.
Mrs. Pancake states further that the English girl moves like an
alligator and is unable to sit down.  She considers that these
defects are mainly caused by drinking gin in inordinate

Whereupon trouble breaks out all over the British press from
Cornwall to the Orkney Islands.  The Archbishop of Canterbury is
consulted and issues a statement to the effect that in his opinion
the English girl is MORE graceful than a cow and that he has yet to
see an English girl of the cultivated class take what HE considers
too much gin.  This eases things up a bit, and the good effect is
presently reinforced by a letter to the Times from the professor of
Arthopedic Surgery at the Royal College of Physicians who says that
he has made anthropometric measurements of over a thousand English
girls and that their shapes suit HIM down to the ground.  After
that the trouble blows over and international friendship is just
getting settled again and there is every prospect of the payment of
the British debt and the scrapping of both navies and the rise of
the pound sterling away over par, when someone starts it all off
again with this:

Thinks Americans Crooked

"Mr. Joseph Squidge, M.P. Labor member for the mining district of
Hiddaway-under-the-Sea, has just returned from a three weeks tour
of America.  Mr. Squidge, who visited the entire United States from
New York to Yonkers, has just given an interview to the local paper
at Hiddaway in which he says that public honesty is extinct in
America.  He considers that the entire population of the United
States, not excepting the criminal classes, is crooked.  He says
that in America a man's word is never taken and that even in hotels
a guest is required to sign his name."

This of course is too much--more than any decent people can stand,
and as a consequence some one is at once sent over to England,
either by accident or by design with the result that in a week or
two the whole American press carries a despatch as follows:

Thinks British Dishonest

New York, April --:

"Edward Angle Eye, a journalist representing five thousand American
Farmers Newspapers, has just cabled from London to Coffin Creek,
Idaho, to say that the British are all liars.  He says that with
the possible exception of the Prince of Wales and Queen Mary, it is
impossible to trust anybody in the British Isles.  Public morality
he claims has reached its lowest ebb and is washing away.  He
attributes the trouble to the large influx of Chinese in London."

And after that, can you wonder if we find it a little hard to keep
peace and good will across the Atlantic.

French Politics for Beginners

As Explained in a Series of Cables From our Own Special
Correspondent in Paris

Paris, 10.30 a.m.

Nothing this morning intimated the imminence of a cabinet crisis.
The sky was of spotless serenity, and the whole aspect of the city
one of brightness and gayety.  The hotels were full of tourists,
the shops were crowded, the fountains were running, Punch and Judy
was playing in the Champs Elysées, and the French franc which had
shown signs of restlessness the day before had passed a quiet

The Chamber of Deputies, however, had hardly met at 10 o'clock in
the Palais Bourbon when Mr. Painlevé rose in his seat and asked the
premier if he knew what time it was.  Mr. Briand replied that his
watch had stopped.  Mr. Painlevé rushing on to the floor in front
of the tribune, demanded from the chamber whether a man whose watch
had stopped was fit to be the premier of France.  Instantly the
chamber was in an uproar.  Shouts of "A Bas, Briand!"--were mingled
with cries of "Attaboy, Aristide!"

Mr. Briand, who preserved throughout the most complete calm, then
asked for a vote of the chamber.  The vote at once showed that not
only was the whole of the Left side against Mr. Briand but also a
bit of the Center and the East and South and some of the North-
West.  Mr. Briand immediately resigned and the great government
which had presided over the destiny of France and weathered every
storm for six days, went out of office.

Paris, 12.30 p.m.

It has now been learned that on the news of Mr. Briand's
resignation the President of the Republic summoned Mr. Painlevé to
the Palace of the Elysées and asked him if he could form a cabinet.
On Mr. Painlevé asking for time the President said that he could
have twenty minutes.  Mr. Painlevé drove at once to the Chamber of
Deputies and, crossing the floor of the house where Mr. Briand sat,
kissed him on both cheeks and asked him if he would join his
government.  Mr. Briand, having thrown his arms around Mr.
Painlevé, announced his willingness to join him.  Within a few
moments the chamber was informed of the formation of the Painlevé-
Briand ministry, the news being greeted with acclamation.

The Painlevé-Briand Ministry

The president of the session having announced a ten minutes
adjournment to allow the new ministry to make a budget, it became
clear that the Painlevé-Briand ministry would find itself in a
position of great strength.  It will have the support of the whole
radical bloc, together with a chunk of Socialists and about half a
bloc of conservatives.  No French government, for the last six
months, has been in such a position of power.  Briand, it is said
with great satisfaction, will be virtually a dictator over the
destinies of France.  As soon as the news was disseminated on the
Bourse the franc humped itself up two and a half points.

Paris, 11.45 a.m.

Mr. Briand and Mr. Painlevé, entering the chamber with their arms
round one another's waists, read out their budget to a breathless
house.  The aim of the new government will be to put the finances
of France on a basis of absolute stability.  To do this they will
at once borrow 4,000,000,000 francs.  The loan, however, will be
offset and made good by a credit with the Bank of France, which
will then float a loan with the public, who will then be
authorized, by a decree, to borrow from the bank.  The entire
credit thus created will be added up and declared extinguished.
The announcement of the budget policy was received with a salvo of
enthusiasm, the entire left embracing the whole of the right.

Fall of the Government

Paris, 12.30 p.m.

The Briand-Painlevé government has fallen.  Entrenched in power as
it seemed behind a solid parliamentary support, it fell suddenly
and unexpectedly on an interpellation during the budget debate.
Mr. Raymond Poincaré, who is generally regarded as the master mind
of French politics, rose during the discussion of budget and asked
whether the government intended to retain the tax on beer.  On Mr.
Briand's saying that it was proposed to keep this tax, Mr. Poincaré
declared that the true national policy would be to let the Germans
drink enough beer to pay taxes for both nations.  If they couldn't
do it they should be made to.  The whole chamber seethed with
enthusiasm, during which Mr. Briand and Mr. Painlevé announced that
their government was at an end.  The president of the chamber,
calling for order amid the tumult, asked if there was any gentleman
present who could form a new government.  Mr. Poincaré offered to
do so if the president would let him talk with Mr. Painlevé and Mr.
Briand outside for a few minutes.  The permission being given the
three statesmen shortly afterward reentered the chamber and
announced that they had succeeded in combining themselves into a
ministry to be called the Poincaré-Painlevé-Briand Ministry.

Poincaré-Painlevé-Briand Ministry

Mr. Poincaré said, however, that they would only do this if they
could be assured of a block behind them.  If there was no block
they wouldn't be a ministry.  The enthusiasm of the Left together
with part of the Right and a little bit of the Top, made it clear
that the new ministry will receive an ample support.  An
adjournment was made with universal congratulations.

Fall of the French Ministry

Paris, 3.30 p.m.

The new French government, which was formed by Mr. Poincaré with
the support of Mr. Painlevé and Mr. Briand fell right after lunch.
Details are yet lacking.  Apparently it came into the chamber after
lunch and fell.  There is a general consternation.  The Bourse is
wildly excited and all the exchanges reacted sharply.  It is said
that the Governor of the Bank of France will be arrested and
perhaps the Archbishop of Paris.  It is whispered that the fall of
the ministry was occasioned by Mr. Joseph Caillaux, who seated
himself in the chamber and looked at the ministry with that
inscrutable look which he has, till it fell.

The Caillaux-Poincaré-Painlevé-Briand Ministry

Paris, 4.15 p.m.

A certain measure of calm has been restored in Paris by the
announcement that an entirely new ministry has been formed by the
union of Mr. Caillaux--Mr. Poincaré--Mr. Painlevé and Mr. Briand.
In a statement to the press Mr. Briand said that the old government
had outlived its usefulness and that he welcomed the addition of
Mr. Caillaux.  A new budget would be made at once and would
constitute, he said, the best budget of the last three weeks.  This
budget, which will absolutely ensure the stability of French
finance will be based on a vote of National Credit supported by a
Universal Loan and guaranteed by a Public Debt.  Mr. Caillaux,
whose financial genius never shone more brightly, is working out a
tax, to replace the proposed capital levy and the income tax, and
to be called the Tax on Somebody Else.

It is said in well-informed circles that if the government can be
widened to include a royalist element and to take in a few
communists and a bloc of socialists, its success will be assured.
If it can then pursue a policy which will be sufficiently clerical
and conservative while at the same time strongly socialist, with a
touch of opportunism, it may last till Saturday.

Meantime the theatres are all open, work is plentiful, everybody is
happy, Paris is bright with spring flowers, the hotels are full of
Americans dripping with money, the new fashions are said to be
simply charming, the skirts don't reach anywhere, the watering
places are wetter than ever--so what does a little thing like a
government matter?

The Mother of Parliaments

But What has Lately Gone Wrong With Mother?

"The House of Commons," says the well known Guide Book to London of
Today, "not inaptly called the Mother of Parliaments, is
undoubtedly the most august, as it is the most venerable, of the
great representative assemblies of the world.  It is with something
like awe that we penetrate into the stillness of Westminster
Palace, and find ourselves presently looking down from our
privileged place in the gallery upon the earnest group of men whose
measured tones and dignified formalities are deciding the fate of
an empire."

That is what the Guide Book has been saying about the House of
Commons for some two hundred years.  But in reading over the press
reports of the debates of the House within the last year or so as
they come across the Atlantic, one is inclined to wonder whether
the cold dignity of the dear old place is not getting a little
thawed out in the warm times in which we live.

The proceedings in the later days sound a little too suggestive of
the Cowboys Convention of Montana, or the meeting of the Literary
Philosophical Society of Dawson City, Yukon.  Take in illustration
the following report of the proceedings of one day some months ago,
taken verbatim from the London Times and the London Morning Post or
the Labor Herald--I forget which.  At any rate, those who read the
debates of the house will recognize it at once as genuine.

"The House of Commons resumed its session yesterday at three
o'clock.  The Prime Minister in rising from the Treasury Benches to
present his bill for the introduction of Buckwheat into the
Tanganyika district of Uganda, stated that he would like first to
refer to the fact that some member of the House had just thrown a
banana at the Speaker.  He would ask members to realize that
throwing bananas at the Speaker impeded the business of the House.
He would go so far as to say that it was bad manners.

"At the word 'manners' the House broke into an uproar.  Cries arose
from the labor benches, 'Manners!  Yah!  Manners!'

"Lady Luster at once leapt to her feet and said that there were
members in the House whose manners were not fit for a stable.

"Joseph Dockside, M.P. for the Buckingham Palace district, asked if
she meant him.  Lady Luster called out that she did.  The Speaker
rose to a ruling against personal mention quoting a precedent under
Henry VIII.  But another banana hit him and he sat down.

"Mr. Dockside began to cry.  He asked the House if it was fair to
let an idle woman like Lady Luster tell him that he had no manners.
He was only a poor man and had no schooling, and how could he even
get a chance to pick up manners, even fit for a stable.  Here he
broke into sobs again while the labor benches resounded with the
cries of 'Shame!' and the blowing of horns.

"Lady Luster then said that she had gone too far.  She would take
back the word stable.  She meant 'Garage.'

"The Speaker, quoting a precedent from Edward the Confessor, said
that the debate might go on--a pineapple hitting him in the
waistcoat just before, and as, he sat down.

"The Prime Minister then said that as quiet had been restored (loud
cries of 'Rah!  Rah!  Quiet!,') he would resume his speech on the
proposal of the government to subsidize the growing buckwheat--and,
he would add, buckoats--in the Tanganyika district.

"At this point he was interrupted by Colonel MacAlpin MacFoozle,
independent member for the East Riding of the West Hebrides.  The
Colonel wanted to know how the Prime Minister could speak of
Tanganyika if he was fully aware of the condition of Scotland.  Did
he know of the present distress among the crofters?  Was he aware
of what was happening to the Scottish gillies, and the laddies and

"Did he know that three more men had left the Hebrides?  The
Colonel, who spoke with violent passion, to the great delight of
the House, said that he didn't give a curse for buckwheat or for
Tanganyika and that personally he could lick the whole cabinet.

"At this, loud shouts of 'Attaboy!  You're the hot stuff,' were
mingled with cries of 'Put him out!'  Lady Luster called out that
if the Scots would quit drinking Scotch whiskey they would all save
enough money to leave Scotland.

"For the moment, the transaction of public business was seriously
threatened when Lord Pintop Daffodil rose and asked the Speaker's
leave to tell a funny story.  Lord Pintop, who is rapidly gaining
the reputation of being the third funniest member of the House, was
greeted with encouraging laughter and applause.

"The Speaker having ruled that a funny story had been told under
Queen Anne, Lord Pintop then related a story of how a Pullman car
passenger was put off at Buffalo by the porter.  The House, which
is easily moved from anger to merriment and which enjoys nothing
(except its lunch) so much as a good joke, was convulsed with

"The Speaker, in thanking the honorable member for the story, said
that he believed that it was the same story as was told under Queen

"The Prime Minister then said he would resume his speech on
buckwheat.  He was about to do so when Mr. Ilyitch Halfoff, member
for the Russian district of Westminster, said that he would like
first to rise and present a resolution for the immediate
introduction of communism into England.  The House was in a turmoil
in a minute.

"Cries of 'Russia for ever!' were mixed with the singing of the
'Marseillaise' and the countersinging of 'Scots Whoo Hoo!'  It was
said afterwards that the singing was the best ever heard in the
House this month.

"At this point in the debate the yeoman usher of the Black Stick
rushed into the House and called--'Hurry out, boys, there is a
circus procession coming down Whitehall!'  The whole House rushed
out in a body, only the speaker remaining behind for one minute to
adjourn the session."

New Light from New Minds

A Study in International Interviews

People who read the newspapers regularly must have noticed that the
reported Interviews are getting to be much brighter and more
interesting than they used to be.  Till recently, when the press
interviewed travellers, distinguished visitors and political
emissaries, they talked to each of them about his own particular
line of life and the things about which he was supposed to know
something.  The result was fearful dullness.  A director of the
Bank of England was interviewed about currency, an actor was
interviewed about the stage and a bishop about religion.  As a
consequence every one of them got prosy and unintelligible.

Nowadays the thing is done in exactly the other way.  Each
distinguished visitor is asked questions about something that is
outside of his own line of life.  A vaudeville comedian gives his
impressions of French politics and an English bishop gives his
views of women's skirts.  The result is a freshness and a charm
which lends a new attraction to our newspapers on both sides of the
Atlantic.  Here are a few examples taken from the current press and
drawn, as appears at once, indifferently from England and America.

Ball Player Visits St. Paul's

London, Friday:  Ed Lanigan, star outfielder and manager of the
Tuscaloosa Base Ball Nine, passed through London this morning and
expressed himself as delighted with it.  After he had had a run
round town, Ed gave his views, on some of the things he had seen,
to a crowd of assembled admirers at the Hotel Cecil.  "What did you
think of St. Paul's, Ed?" asked one of the boys.  "It's certainly
big stuff," said Ed, "and it gets me.  Those old geysers certainly
knew how to build.  And I want to tell you boys that there's
something about that building that you don't get everyday.  I doubt
if there are a dozen men in New York to-day who could duplicate

"How does the political situation in England strike you," he was
next queried.  "Fine!" answered the big man.  "They've sure got a
lot of taxes here.  But then mind you there's a lot of wealth too.
Of course things are pretty bad, but you've got to remember they
were bad before, and anyway they're not so bad."

Movie Star Sees Riviera

Menton, Monday:  Gus Phinn, the well-known movie star who is said
to command a salary of anywhere from half a million dollars,
was a recent visitor at Menton.  Gus is enthusiastic over the
Mediterranean sea.  "I want to tell you right now," he said to a
representative of the press, "that there is absolutely nothing
wrong with the Mediterranean."  "What did you specially notice
about it, Gus?" asked the pressman.  "Why, what gets me hardest is
the colour of the water.  Say, I don't think you can beat that blue
anywhere.  You might try but you can't do it."  "Do you think,"
asked another of the group, "that the tone of English Social Life
is deteriorating?"  "No, I don't," Gus replied.  "I think the tone
is good.  I think it A.1."

"What about the relations of England and France, Gus?" was another
question.  "They're all right," the star answered.  "We met a lot
of French boys on the boat and certainly nicer boys you wouldn't
want to meet.  Well, they're gentlemen that's what they are.  The
French are gentlemen."

"What about Germans, Gus?" one of the reporters ventured.

"All right!" answered the movie man heartily.  "We had a German at
our table in the hotel and they're all right.  Mind you I think we
were perfectly right in crushing them because they needed to be
crushed.  But they're all right."

Copper King Looks at Oxford

Oxford, Tuesday:  E. J. Slagg, the multimillionaire owner of mines
and president of Slagg Consolidated Copper, visited Oxford
yesterday and was shown round the colleges.  The big copper man
whose quiet taciturnity and power of silence has made him the
terror of the stock exchange, looked about him at everything with
the same keen shrewdness with which he detects a vein of copper
under a hundred feet of trap rock.  Only now and then he darted a
shrewd question or let fall a short comment.

"This place," he said, "is old."  On the threshold of the Bodleian
Library he paused a moment as if rapidly measuring the contents
with his eye.  "Mostly books?" he asked.  The copper king also
paused a moment before the monument erected to the memory of
Latimer and Ridley.  "What's the idea?" he asked.

But--as I said up above this new and brilliant flood of light is
not only turned on Europe.  By a similar process it is let loose on
the American continent too.

British Lord Sees Jersey Tugs

New York, Wednesday:  Lord Tinklepin who arrived from England on
the Aquitania yesterday was taken for a trip up and down the harbor
in a fast tug.  His lordship expressed himself as amazed at the
commerce of New York.  "I had no idea of it," he said.  Passing by
one of the car ferries of the Erie Railway, Lord Tinklepin
expressed the keenest interest.

"What the devil is that?" he asked.  On being told what it was, the
distinguished visitor who is well known for his interest in
physical science, at once asked "Why doesn't it upset?"

Lady Visitor Discusses American Banking

New York, Thursday:  Lady Mary Messabout, President of the Women's
Federation for Universal Mutual Understanding, was shown round
financial New York yesterday as the guest of the Bankers
Association.  Lady Mary expressed the greatest wonder at the Sub-
Treasury of the United States.  "Is it possible" she said, "that
it's full of money?"  Lady Mary was questioned by representatives
of the press as to her opinion of the American banking system.  "It
is really excellent," she answered, "so little delay and such
civility everywhere."  "Do you think,"--it was asked by a member of
the press--"that the deflation of American currency would check the
expansion of business."  "Oh, I hope not," Lady Mary answered
warmly, "surely it would never do that."

French Baron Visits West

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Friday:  The Baron de Vieux Chateau, who
is visiting Saskatchewan with a view to seeing whether the richer
parts of Canada would be suited for the poorer class of Frenchmen,
was taken yesterday on a tour of inspection of the grain elevators
of Saskatoon.  "But they are marvellous!" the Baron said to a
member of the press on his return to his hotel.  "They seem to me
absolutely--how shall I say it--enormous."  In further discussion
the Baron said the whole system of distributing the wheat seemed to
him excellent.  When asked what his impression of the Farmer's
Cooperative movement was, the distinguished visitor again spoke
with enthusiasm.  "But your farmers," he said, "they are wonderful!
What courage!  What tenacity!  To have come here and stayed here!
It is wonderful."

An Advance Cable Service

International News a Month Ahead

It has recently become the habit to send out and circulate all
sorts of special information in the form of "services."  The
schools of commerce send out "financial services" with a forecast
of business conditions six months before they happen and some times
even six months before they don't happen.  The departments of
agriculture send out crop reports even before the grain is planted.
The meteorologists keep at least a fortnight ahead of the weather.
Political forecasts are now ready for all the elections up to 1928.
The hard winter that is going to begin about Xmas time has been
definitely prophesied, in fact promised by the squirrels, the
groundhogs and the makers of fur garments and by the West Indian
Steamship agents.

It has occurred to me that a useful extension might be made to
these "services" by adding an Advance European Cable Service.  By
this means all readers of newspapers, instead of having to read the
cables day by day, could get them in a lump a month at a time.
Anybody who has studied the newspapers of the last three or four
years recognises at once that the cables run in a regular round,
quite easy to prophesy.  In the modest little attempt appended
below, I have endeavoured to put in merely the ordinary routine of
European public life for one month without prophesying anything of
an exceptional or extreme character.

German Revolution Coming

Berlin, Monday 1:  A monarchical wave is reported as having swept
over Germany.  The wildest excitement prevails.  A hundred persons
were trampled to death in Berlin the other day.  The return of His
Imperial Majesty the Kaiser is expected at any moment.

And Going

Berlin, Tuesday 2:  A republican wave has swept over Germany in the
place of the monarchical wave of yesterday.  Another hundred people
were trampled to death.  William Hohenzollern is reported as still
at Doorn in Holland.

And Has Gone

Berlin, Wednesday 3:  Germany is quiet.  Christmas shopping is
beginning already.  Everywhere there is cheerfulness and optimism.
Nobody was trampled to death all day.

Frenzied Finance in France

Paris, Thursday 4:  Following on the sensational statement of
Monsieur Caillaux that France would pay her debts to the last
penny, the wildest excitement prevailed on the Bourse.  The franc
which had been fairly steady all yesterday, rose to its feet, and
staggered right across the street where it collapsed in a heap.
Gloom prevails in financial circles.

Paris, Friday 5:  Monsieur Caillaux has issued a supplementary
statement to the effect that France will pay all her debts but it
may take her a million years to do it.  This assurance has restored
universal confidence and Monsieur Caillaux is hailed everywhere as
having redeemed the honor and credit of France.  A tremendous
ovation was given him today when eating a sandwich at the lunch
counter.  It is now said that Caillaux, who is recognised
everywhere as the financial saviour of France, is working out a
plan for wiping out the whole debt of France by borrowing it from

Home Life in England

London, Saturday 6:  England is face to face with a coal strike of
such magnitude that in twenty-four hours every fire in England will
go out.  If the transport workers and the public house keepers join
the strike the whole industrial life of the nation will come to a
full stop.  Meantime the Archbishop of Canterbury says that if he
can't get a satchelful of nut coal tonight he must close the

London, Monday 8:  The coal strike was called off at five minutes
before midnight--one of the closest shaves of a total collapse of
England that has been reported in the last six months.  Meantime
with cloudless skies and bright sunshine the whole attention of the
nation today is riveted on the champion football game between the
Huddersfield and Hopton-under-Lime.  The Archbishop of Canterbury
will kick off the ball.

Italian Upheaval Heaving Up

Rome Tuesday 9:  The Italian Fascisti have broken loose again.
Yesterday a man climbed up to the top of the Duomo at Milan and
waved a black shirt, shouting EVIVA ITALIA!  The whole nation is in
a ferment.  Anything may happen.

Rome, Wednesday 10:  It is all right.  It transpires that the shirt
was not black, it was merely very dirty.

Austria in Chaos

Vienna, Thursday 11:  Mr. Edward Edelstein, vice-president of the
Canned Soup Company of Paterson, New Jersey who is making a ten day
tour in central Europe to study business conditions, describes the
situation of Austria as one of utter chaos.  Trade is absolutely
stagnant.  Business is almost extinct while the currency is in
entire confusion.  In Vienna unemployment is everywhere, even the
rich are eating in soup kitchens; the theatres are closed and
social life is paralyzed.

Complete Revival of Austria

Vienna, Friday 12:  Mr. John Smithers of Smitherstown, who is
taking a five days vacation in Europe reports that the economic
situation of Austria has been reestablished on a sound basis.  The
restoration of the currency this morning by the establishment of a
new and easier mark, is working wonders.  The factories are running
on full time, the shops are crowded with visitors, the hotels are
bursting with guests and the theatres are offering Shakespeare,
Grand Opera, and Uncle Tom's Cabin.

Vienna, Saturday 5:  Austria has collapsed again.

Dear Old Russia

Petrograd (otherwise Leningrad or Trotskiville), Monday 15:
Reports from the Caucasus say that Red forces made a drive at the
Caucasians yesterday.  The latter just got out of the road in time.

Tuesday 16:  Word has been received that the Reds made a fierce
drive at Semipalatinsk.  They only got half of it.

Wednesday 17:  Wireless despatches say that the Reds are preparing
for a drive against the Persians.  Most of the Persians have
already climbed up Mount Ararat.

Thursday 18:  It is reported that the Council of Workmen's Soviets
of Moscow have passed a resolution declaring that universal peace
has come.

International Goodwill

Tokyo, Friday 19:  Viscount Itch is reported in the Japanese Daily
Hootch as saying that the time has come when Japan can not tolerate
the existence of the United States on the other side of the
Pacific.  It will have to be moved.  Wild excitement prevailed
after the delivery of the speech.  Enormous crowds paraded the
streets of Tokyo, shouting "Down with America!"  An American
missionary was chased into a Chinese restaurant.

Tokyo, Saturday 20:  Viscount Itch has issued a statement to the
effect that Japan and the United States are sisters.  Wild
enthusiasm prevails.  Great crowds are parading the streets,
shouting "Attaboi Coolidji!"  The missionary has come down again.

Yokohama, Monday 22:  The business section of Yokohama was
destroyed yesterday by an earthquake.

Yokohama, Tuesday 23:  The business section of Yokohama has been
propped up again and nailed into position.

From the Far Away South Seas

London, Wednesday 24:  Cable advices received via Fiji and
Melbourne report the Marquesas Islanders in a plebiscite have voted
for prohibition, direct legislation, proportional representation
and the abolition of cannibalism.  Some more votes will be taken
next week.

Back from Europe

The Reaction of Travel on the Human Mind

There comes a time every year when all the hundreds of thousands of
people who have been over to Europe on a summer tour get back
again.  It is very generally supposed that a tour of this kind
ought to have a broadening effect on the mind, and this idea is
vigorously propagated by the hotel companies at Schlitz, Bitz,
Biarritz, and picturesque places of that sort.

It is not for me to combat this idea.  But I do know that in
certain cases at least a trip to Europe sets up a distinct
disturbance of the intellect.  Some of these afflictions are so
well defined that they could almost be definitely classified as
diseases.  I will quote only a few among the many examples that
might be given.


Aristocropsis, or Weakening of the Brain from Contact with the
British Aristocracy

There seems to be no doubt that a sudden contact with the titled
classes disturbs the nerve cells or ganglions of the traveler from
America, and brings on a temporary enfeeblement of mind.  It is
generally harmless, especially as it is usually accompanied by an
extreme optimism and an exaggerated sense of importance.

Specimen Case.  Winter conversation of Mr. John W. Axman, retired
hardware millionaire of Fargo, Dakota, in regard to his visit to

"I don't know whether I told you that I saw a good deal of the Duke
of Dumpshire while I was in England.  In fact, I went to see him at
his seat--all these dukes have seats, you know.  You can say what
you like about the British aristocrats, but when you meet one like
the Duke of Dumpshire, they are all right.  Why, he was just as
simple as you or me, or simpler.  When he met me, he said, 'How are
you?'  Just like that.

"And then he said, 'You must be hungry.  Come along and let's see
if we can find some cold beef.'  Just as easy as that.  And then he
said to a butler or someone, 'Go and see if you can find some cold
beef.'  And presently the butler came back and said, 'There's some
cold beef on the table, Sir,' and the Duke said, 'All right, let's
go and eat it.'  And he went and sat right down in front of the
beef and ate it.  Just as you or I would.

"All the time we were eating it, the Duke was talking and laughing.
He's got a great sense of humor, the Duke has.  After he'd finished
the beef, he said, 'Well, that was a darn good piece of beef!' and
of course we both roared.  The Duke's keen on politics, too--right
up to date about everything.  'Let's see,' he said, 'who's your
President now?'  In fact, he's just as keen as mustard, and looks
far ahead too.  'France,' he said to me, 'is in for a hell of a


Nuttolingualism, or Loss of One's Own Language after Three Weeks
across the Sea

Specimen No.  1.  Verbatim statement of Mr. Phin Gulch, college
student from Umskegee College, Oklahoma, made immediately on his
return from a three weeks athletic tour in England with Oklahoma
Olympic Aggregation.  "England certainly is a ripping place.  The
chaps we met were simply topping.  Of course here and there we met
a bounder, but on the whole one was treated absolutely top hole."

Specimen No.  2.  Information in regard to French restaurants
supplied by Miss Phoebe McGinn, winner of the Beauty Contest Ticket
to Europe and Back from Boom City, Montana.  "The Paris restaurants
are just charming and ever so cheap if you know where to go.  There
was one we used to go to in a little rue close to the gare where we
got our dejeuner with croissants and cafe au lait for soixante-
quinze centimes.

"Of course we used to give the garcon another quinze centimes as a
pourboire.  And after dejeuner we'd sit there half the matinee and
read the journaux and watch the people go past in the rue.  Always,
when we left, the garcon would say, 'Au revoir.'  Regular French,
you know."


Megalogastria, or Desire to Talk about Food

Specimen Case.  Mr. Hefty Undercut, of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan,
retired hotel man, talks on European culture.

"I don't mind admitting that the English seem to me away ahead of
us.  They're further on.  They know how to do things better.  Now
you take beefsteak.  They cut it half as thick again as we do, and
put it right on a grid over hot coals.  They keep the juice in it.
Or take a mutton chop.  The way they cook them over there, you can
eat two pounds to one that you eat here.  You see they're an older
people than we are.

"Or take sausages--when I travel I like to observe everything; it
makes you broader;--and I've noticed their sausages are softer than
ours, more flavoring to them.  Or take one of those big deep meat
pies--why, they eat those big pies at midnight.  You can do it
there.  The climate's right for it.

"And, as I say, when I travel I go around noticing everything and
sizing everything up--the meat, the lobsters, the kind of soup they
have, everything.  You see, over there there's very little sunlight
and the air is heavy and you eat six times a day.  It's a great


Introspexosis, or Seeing in Other People What is Really in Yourself

It appears that many people when they travel really see nothing at
all except the reflection of their own ideas.  They think that what
they are interested in is uppermost everywhere.  They might just as
well stay at home and use a looking glass.  Take in witness:

The evidence of Mr. Soggie Spinnage, Secretary of the Vegetarian
Society of North, Central, and South America, as given after his
return from a propaganda tour in England:

"Oh, there's no doubt the vegetarian movement is spreading in
England.  We saw it everywhere.  At Plymouth a man came right up to
me and he said, 'Oh, my dear Brother, I wish we had a thousand men
here like you.  Go back,' he said, 'go back and bring over a
thousand others.'  And wherever I spoke I met with such enthusiasm.

"I spoke, I remember, in Tooting-on-the-Hump--it's within half an
hour of London itself.  And when I looked into their dear faces and
told them about the celery in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and about the
big cabbages in the South Chicago mud flats, they just came
flocking about me!  'Go back,' they said, 'go back and send those

"I heard a man in a restaurant one day say to the waiter, 'Just
fetch me a boiled cabbage.  I want nothing else.'  I went right up
to him, and I took his hand and I said, 'Oh, my dear friend, I have
come all the way from America just to hear that.'  And he said, 'Go
back, he said, 'go back and tell them that you've heard it.'

"Why, when you go to England you just see vegetables, vegetables,
everywhere.  I hardly seemed to see anything else.  They say even
the King eats vegetables now.  And they say the Bishop of London
only eats beans.  I heard someone say that the Bishop seemed full
of beans all the time.

"Really I felt that the cause was just gaining and growing all the
time.  When I came to leave, a little group of friends come down to
the steamer to say good-bye.  'Go back,' they said, 'go back and
send someone else.'

"That seemed to be the feeling everywhere."


Studies in the Newer Culture

A Little Study in Culture From Below Up

About fifteen years ago somebody invented the word Attaboy.  At
first it was used only by the urchins on the baseball bleachers.
Presently it was used by the college students.  After that it was
taken up by business men, lawyers, judges and congressmen and it
spread all over the world.

It was said that when King George of England welcomed home General
Allenby after his conquest of Palestine, he put his hands on
Allenby's shoulders and said with deep feeling, "Attaboy!"

The General, profoundly touched, was heard to murmur in return,
"Some King, what!"

This story may or may not be true.  It is possible that King George
used merely some such dignified English phrase as "Not half bad at
all!"  But the story at any rate illustrates the tremendous change
that has been creeping over our language.

I am not here referring to the use of slang.  That of course is as
old as language itself.  The man who uses a slang word and, let us
say, calls a man's hat his "lid" or calls a woman a "skirt," is
unconscious of using a metaphor and of trying to be funny or
peculiar.  But the man who uses attaboy language in speech or
writing is really trying to say something; he really thinks he is
using English.  It is not merely the words that he uses but the way
in which he uses them.

Let me give you an instance--that is much quicker business than
trying to explain the whole thing in a methodical fashion.

Attaboy Letter of Invitation

Here, for example--to illustrate the old style of writing and
speaking--is a letter which I received almost thirty years ago
inviting me to attend a gathering of my college class.  In point of
dignity and good form the letter speaks for itself.

TORONTO, Feb. 1st, 1896.


I beg to inform you that a reunion of the graduating class of 1891
will be held on the 5th of February in the form of a dinner at the
Queen's Hotel.  The guest of honor on the occasion will be
Professor Baxter, who has kindly consented to deliver an address to
the class.  It is confidently expected that all the members of the
class will take this opportunity to renew old friendships.  The
price of the dinner, including wines, will be seventy-five cents.
May I ask you to send a reply at your earliest convenience.

With sincere personal regards,
I have the honor to be
And to remain being,
Yours very faithfully,


Now it happened that just the other day I received a letter from
the same old classmate inviting me to attend a similar gathering of
the class--thirty years later.  But here is how he has expressed
the invitation--

Mr. He-Man from College!

This is You!

Say! what do you think?  The real old He-Boys of 1891 are going to
gather in for a feed at the Queen's on February 5th.  Songs!
Speeches!  Fireworks!  And who do you think is going to be the main
Big Talk!  You'd never guess--why old Prof Baxter--old nutsey
Baxter!  Come and hear him.  Come along right now!  The whole feed--
songs, fun and smokes included--is only six bucks.  So get down in
your pants and fork them out.

Yours, Attaboy!  Hooroo!

Rev. John Smith,

(Canon of the Cathedral)

An Attaboy Dictionary

Let it be noted that the great point of the Attaboy system is the
terrific desire for emphasis.  A man is not called a man.  He is
called a he-man.  Even that is not enough.  He has to be 100 per
cent he-man.  And in extreme cases he must be called a "100 per
cent, full blooded, bull-chested, big-headed, great-hearted man,"--
all of this to replace the simple old-fashioned word gentleman.

Indeed, one could write quite a little dictionary of Attaboy terms
like this--

Gentleman--(See above.)

Lady--a big-hearted, wide-eyed, warm-chested woman, a hundred per
cent soul, and built square.

Friend--a he-man with a hand-grip and a jaw that means that as soon
as you see him in front of you, you know that he is back of you.

Senator--far-sighted, frog-eyed, nation-making he-man.

Criminal--no such word.  Try "hold-up man"--"yegg"--"thug"--"expert
safe-cracker," etc., etc., etc.

In the same way when the attaboy language turns from the nouns to
the verbs there has to be the same vital emphasis.  The fatal step
was taken when someone invented the word punch.  Since then every
form of action has to be described as if it occurred with a direct
physical shock.  A speaker has got to hit his audience with a
punch, he must lift them, throw them, in short fairly kick them out
of the room.

A book is said to be arresting, gripping, compelling.  It has got
to hold the reader down so that he can't get up.  A preacher has
got to be vital, dynamic; he must put his sermon over; he must
pitch it at the audience; in short, preaching becomes a form of
baseball with the clergyman in the box.

In other words the whole of our life and thought has got to be
restated in terms of moving things, in terms of electricity, radio
and all the crackling physical apparatus of the world in which we

Macaulay and Gibbon in Attaboy

It is quite clear that if this attaboy tendency goes on all the
books of the past will have to be rewritten or nobody will
understand them.  Somebody will have to re-edit them so as to put
into them the necessary "pep" and "punch" to make them readable by
the next generation.

We can imagine how completely unintelligible will be the stately
pages of such dignified writers as Macaulay or Gibbon.  Here, for
example, is a specimen of the way in which Gibbon's Decline and
Fall of the Roman Empire will be revised.  I take as an
illustration a well-known passage describing the action of a heroic
matron of Rome in rallying the wavering citizens after a retreat.
It runs:

"A Roman matron of imposing appearance and striking countenance
stepped forth before the hesitating citizens--"


"A pre-war blonde who was evidently a real peach skipped out in
front of the bunch--"

"At the sight of her the citizens paused--"


"As soon as they put their lamps on her all the guys stood still--"

"Reluctant cries of admiration arose from the crowd--"

"'Some doll!' said the boys."

"'Cowards!' she exclaimed."

"'You big stiffs,' she snorted."

"'And would you leave the defense of your homes at such a time as

"'Do you mean to say that you are going to fly the coop?'"

"'To your posts all of you!' she cried."

"'Beat it,' she honked."

"Inspired by her courage the citizens with shouts of 'Long Live
Sempronia!' rushed to the ramparts."

"Full of pep they all shouted, 'Attaboy, Lizzie!' and skipped up
the ladders."

Rome was Saved

Epitaph on an Attaboy

Even the epitaphs on the grave stones will have to be altered.  The
old style used to run, "Here lies the body of John Smith, who was
born on February 1, 1802 and departed this life on December 1,
1861.  He was a loving son, a fond parent, a devoted husband and a
patriotic citizen.  This stone has been erected by his mourning
widow to commemorate his many virtues and in the expectation of his

But that kind of thing will have to be replaced by an epitaph with
more "punch" in it, something more "gripping," more compelling.
Try this:

"Mr. Passerby!  Stop!  This is for you--you careless HOG.

"Read it.

"Here lies a cuckoo, John Smith, one of the real boys.  He opened
his lamps first on February 1, 1802.  He stepped off the big plank
into the dark stuff on December 1, 1861--But when the big Horn
calls 'ALL UP,' oh, say, ATTABOY!"

The Crossword Puzzle Craze

"I beg your pardon," said a man sitting opposite to me in the
smoking end of a Pullman car.  "Do you happen to know the name of
an Arabian Feudal Ruler in five letters?"

"Yes," I said, "a sheik."

He wrote down the word in a notebook that was spread out upon his
knee.  Then he said,

"And what's the Hottentot house on the move in five letters?"

"A Kraal," I answered.

"Oh--yes, Kraal!" he said.  "I could only think of a bungalow; and
here's another that's a regular bowler, what is an extinct
graminiferous lizard in thirteen letters?"

"Ichthyosaurus," I said.

"How's that?" he asked.  "My, I wish I'd had a college education--
let me write it down--wait now--I-c-h-t--say, I believe it's going
to get it--yes, sir, it's getting it--By Gee!  It's got it.  It all
fits in now except there's a dirty little hitch in this corner.
Say, could there be any word in three letters that would be e-k-e?"

"Yes," I said, "'eke,' it means 'also.'"

"Then I've got the whole thing--just in time--here's my station.
Say, I'm ever so much obliged.  I guess I will have one on the wife
when I show her this.  That's a peach, that ichthy-what d'ye call
it.  Good-bye."

He left me and I knew that I had been dealing with another of the
new victims of the crossword puzzle mania.  I knew that as soon as
he got into his house he would work the ichthyosaurus on his wife;
indeed he would probably find her seated with a paper and pencil
trying to figure out whether the Icelandish skol will fit in with a
form of religion called "Tosh."  The thing generally runs in

This crossword puzzle is said to have originated in Tibet.  From
there it was transferred to the Mongolians who introduced it to the
Hairy Ainus of Japan, who were delighted with it, as they naturally
would be.  From them it crossed the ocean to the Siwash Indians who
passed it on to the Dog Ribs and to the Flat Heads, and in this way
it got to the American Colleges.

The mania has now assumed international dimensions.  It is
estimated that if the crossword puzzle solvers were stood up in
line (either horizontally or vertically, they wouldn't care which),
they would reach half way to Havana.  Some might even get there.

But the greatest thing about the crossword puzzle is the way in
which it is brightening up our language.  Old words that had been
forgotten for five hundred years are being polished up as bright as
new.  A man no longer says, "Good morning.  How are you?" he says,
"Good morn.  How fare you?"  And the other man answers that he
feels yardly and eke his wife, especially as they expect eft soon
to take a holy day and make a cast to Atlantic City.

Before this thing began there were lots of people so ignorant that
they didn't know what "Yost" meant, or what a "farrago" is, or
which part of a dog is its "withers."  Now these are family words.
Anyone would say quite naturally, "Just give that dog a kick in the
farrago and put him out."

I notice especially the general improvement in exact knowledge for
the names of animals and parts of animals.  Who used to know what a
marsupial was?  Who could have told where the dewlap of an ox is?
How many people had heard of the carapace of the mud turtle, or
knew how to give a proper name to the east ear of an elephant?

Many crossword puzzle experts go further.  When engaged in
conversation they don't even need to use the very words they mean.
They merely indicate them in crossword puzzle fashion and the
expert listening to them can solve their conversation at once.
Here is a sample of the new--

Crossword Puzzle Conversation

"Good morning, Short-for-Peter."

"Hullo, Diminutive-of-William.  How do you experience-a-sensation
in four letters this morning?"

"Worse than a word in four letters rhyming with bell and tell."

"Oh, I am sorry to hear it.  What is the substance, body or cubic
content of space in six letters with you?"

"Cold in the bronchial tunnels, passages, or English name for a

"Possessing or exhibiting grace with the personal adjective!  Who
is treating you?"

"Only the woman in four letters bound to me by law for life!"

"Indeed!  Surely you ought not to be an adverb in three letters in
this weather."

"No, I ought to be a preposition in two.  But I have to go to my
effort, energy or mental or bodily exertion undertaken for gain in
four letters."

"Well, take good care of yourself.  Good remain with you as a form
of exclamation used in parting in seven letters."

There are evidently large possibilities in this form of speech.  I
think that a lot of our literature could be brightened up with the
words of romance and mystery by putting it into crossword puzzle

Crossword Poetry

Even our poetry would be none the worse for it.  Here, for example,
is a once familiar bit of Longfellow's verse turned into this kind
of dialect:

     Under the spreading chestnut tree,
     The village smithy remains erect, upright or in a vertical
       position common to man and the apes but not seen in other
     The smith, a mighty man, is a personal pronoun
     With large and sinuous extremities of his limbs in four letters,
     And the muscles of his brawny arms
     Are as strong as a company of musicians.

Admirable!  Isn't it?  It only needs a little industry and we can
have the whole of our classical literature translated in this way.

But unfortunately the results of the new craze are not always so
happy.  I heard last week of a rather distressing case of the ill
effects of puzzle solving.  A man of my acquaintance was at an
evening party where they were solving crossword puzzles and he was
brought, with the rest of the company, to an absolute full stop by
one item: what would you rather be out of than in, in twelve
letters?  The thing absolutely beat him.

He thought of it all night but with no result.  He was still
thinking of it as he drove his car down town next morning.  In his
absolute preoccupation he ran into a man on the street and shook
him up quite badly.  He was arrested and tried for criminal

The judge said to him:  "I regret very much to have to impose a
prison sentence on a man of your standing.  But criminal negligence
cannot be tolerated.  I sentence you to six months in the

On this the puzzle-solver threw up his hands with an exclamation of
joy and cried, "Penitentiary, of course, penitentiary!  Now I've
got it!"

He was scribbling on a little bit of paper when they led him away.

Information While You Eat

Some Reflections on the Joys of the Luncheon Clubs

Now that the bright tints of autumn are appearing on the trees, the
season for the luncheon clubs is opening up again.  Personally I
think our luncheon clubs are one of the most agreeable features of
modern city life.  I have belonged to several luncheon clubs in our
town ever since they started, and I never miss a lunch.

When I look back to the time when men used to be satisfied to sit
down all alone in front of a beefsteak and a bottle of Budweiser
with only just some apple pie and a cup of coffee and a cigar after
it, and without singing a note all through--I don't see how we did
it.  Now, if I can't sing a little as I eat, and call "hear, hear"
every now and then, I don't feel as if I could digest properly.  So
when I offer a few suggestions about our luncheon clubs, I don't
want to be misunderstood.  I am not criticizing but merely pointing
out how we can make them brighter and better still.

Take the singing.  After all, quite frankly, do we need to sing
at lunch?  Our clubs--and, I think, the clubs in most other towns,
too--generally sing very slow, dragging melodies such as,
"The . . . day . . . is . . . past, . . . the . . . sun . . .
is . . . set. . . ."  The effect of that kind of tune as intoned
by a hundred men with a pound and a quarter beefsteak adjusted in
each of them (125 lbs. total dead-weight of music) is, very frankly
mournful.  It sounds to me like the last of the Tasmanian Islanders
leaving home.

Or else we sing Negro melodies.  But why should we?  Or we sing
"Annie Laurie."  Who was she, anyway?  In fact, to be quite candid,
I can eat lunch splendidly without asking to be carried back to
Tennessee, or offering to lay down and die, either on the banks of
the Doon or anywhere else.

Without the singing there could be a pleasant atmosphere of quiet
which is now missing.

Take as another slight point of criticism the chairman's speech,
introducing the speaker.  There I do think a decided improvement
could be made by cutting out the chairman's remarks altogether.
They are misleading.  He doesn't state things as they are.  He
always says:

"Today we are to have a rare treat in listening to Mr. Nut.  I need
not offer any introduction to this audience for a man like Mr. Nut.
When we learned that Mr. Nut was to address us, we felt that the
club was fortunate indeed."

Now if the man told the truth what he would say would be this:

"Gentlemen, I am sorry to announce that the only speaker we have
been able to secure for today is this poor simp who is sitting
beside me, Mr. Nut.  You never heard of him before, gentlemen, but
then neither did your committee.  But we have hunted everywhere for
a speaker, and we simply can't get any except this guy that you see
here.  He is going to talk to you on 'Our Trade Relations with

"I am well aware, gentlemen, that this subject seems utterly
without interest.  But it appears to be the only subject about
which this poor shrimp knows anything.  So I won't say any more--
I'll let you judge for yourselves what you are going to get.  Mr.

Then, of course, there is the vital question of whether, after all,
a luncheon club needs to listen to speeches.  Could it not perhaps
fulfill its functions just as well if there was no address at all?
The trouble is that one never gets time to study up the question
beforehand and the recollection that is carried away by what the
speaker said is too vague to be of any use.

I will give as an example my own recollection, as far as it goes,
of the address that we had at our club last week, to which I have
just referred, on the subject of our "Trade Relations with

Let me say at the start that I am not quite clear whether it was
Nicaragua or Nigeria.  The chairman seemed to say Nicaragua, but I
understood the speaker once or twice to say Nigeria.

I tried to find out afterwards from other members of the club
whether it was Nigeria or Nicaragua.  But they didn't seem to care.
They hear so many people lecture on so many queer places that it
runs off them like water.  Only a few meetings before they had
heard a man talk on "Six Weeks in Bangkok," and right after that
another man on "Seven Weeks in Pongo Pongo" and the very next week
after that the address was called "Eight Weeks in Itchi-Itchi."

But let it go at Nicaragua, because it is really just about the
same.  Before the speaker began to say anything about Nicaragua
itself, or Nigeria itself as the case may be, he went through a
sort of introduction.  All the speakers seem to go over about the
same ground in beginning.  I tried to write this particular
introduction down from memory but I am not sure that I have it
correctly.  It seemed to run as follows:

"I feel very much honored in being asked to address this club.  It
is an honor to address this club.  And I feel that addressing this
club is an honor.  When I was invited to address this club I tried
to think what I could address this club about.  In fact I felt very
much like the old darky.  This old darky--"  Here follows the story
of an old darky, which has been told to our club already by six
explorers, seven professors, and two clergymen.

It will just about stand repeating in print, but not quite.  We
always know that when the speaker looks round and says, "There was
an old darky--" we are going to get it again.  Some of the members
can still laugh at it.

But even leaving out the introduction, there are other troubles.
The addresses are, no doubt, full of information.  But you can't
get it.  There's too much of it.  You can't hold it.  Here is what
I got, listening as hard as I could, from the address of which I am

"Probably very few of us realize what a vast country Nicaragua, or
Nigeria, is.  It extends from latitude (I didn't catch it) to
latitude--I'm not quite sure, and it contains a quarter of a
million or half a billion square miles.  The principal product is
either logwood or dogwood--it may have been deadwood.  Sugar either
grows excellently or doesn't grow at all--I didn't quite catch

"The inhabitants are either the mildest or the wildest race known on
the globe.  They are polygamous and sell their wives freely to
travelers for a few glass beads (we all heard that as plainly as
anything).  The whole of the interior of Nigeria or Nicaragua is
dense mud.  All that Nicaragua or Nigeria needs is richer soil, a
better climate, a decent population, money, civilization, women,
and enterprise."

So upon the whole, I am much inclined to doubt whether the speeches
are worth while.  It is so hard to carry away anything.

And anyway, having speeches means getting too big a crowd.  A
hundred men is too many.  A group of fifty would be far better.

As a matter of fact, a more compact luncheon of, say, twenty would
be better still.  Twenty men around a table can all converse, they
can feel themselves in actual personal contact with one another.
With twenty men, or say, fifteen men, you feel you are among a
group of friends.  In fact, I am not sure but what ten, or eight,
would be a cosier crowd still.

You get eight or six men together and you can really exchange
ideas.  You get a real mental friction with six men that you can't
get with a large number.  And moreover with six, or four, men
sitting down like this day after day you get to know one another
and in point of service and comfort there is no comparison.

You can have a luncheon served for four, or three, men that is
really worth eating.  As a matter of fact, if it comes to that, two
is a better number still.

Indeed the more I think of it the better I like two--myself and a
darned good waiter.

The Children's Column

As Brought Up To Date

I suppose that everybody who reads the newspapers is aware of the
change that is coming over the thing called the Children's Column,
or the Children's Corner, or the Children's Page.  Forty years ago
it was made up of such things as letters to little boys about how
to keep white mice, and letters to little girls about making
crochet work in six stitches.  But now, what with the radio and
progress and the general rapid movement of the age, it is quite
different.  Here are some samples that are meant to illustrate the

Anno Domini 1880

Letter to little Willie Weakhead telling him how to make a Rabbit


So you want to know how to make a rabbit hutch for your white
rabbit?  Well, it is not very difficult if you will follow the
directions carefully.  Get from the nearest joiner a large empty
box and some boards about 4 inches wide.  (You know what an inch
is, do you not?)  Then lay the boards across the open side of the
box with a space of about two inches between each and nail them in
this position.  Good nails can be bought in any drugstore but see
that you are given ones with good points on them.

If you find it hard to nail on the boards, get your father or your
uncle to help you.  Be careful in using the hammer not to hit
yourself on the thumb, as a blow with a hammer on the thumb is
painful and is often followed by a blow on the fingers.  Remember,
if it starts to rain while you are working on your hutch, come in
out of the wet.

Let us know how you get on and whether your bunnies like their new

Your's etc.

UNCLE TOBY (Editor: Children's Column)

But contrast with this the modern thing which in these days of
radio and modern science has taken the place of the rabbit hutch

Anno Domini 1926

Letter from the Editor to little Willie Wisebean, grandson of the
above, in regard to the difficulties which he is finding with his
radio apparatus.


You write that the other night in attempting to call up Arizona KQW
on your radio, you found an inordinate amount of static on your
antennae.  We quite agree with you that the trouble was perhaps due
to purely atmospheric conditions causing a fall in the potential.
You can easily find out if this is the case by calculating the
differential wave length shown by your variometer.

As you rightly say your apparatus may have been put out of order by
your allowing your father and your grandfather into your workshop.
If you are wise you will keep them out.  As you say yourself, they
are too old to learn and they may meet some injury in handling your
machine.  You say that your grandfather used to be very fond of
carpentry and once made a rabbit hutch.  Why not let him set to
work now and make a rabbit hutch to put your father in?

By the way, if it turns out that your trouble is in your magnetic
coils, we advise you not to try to remedy them but to buy new ones.
You can get excellent coils from Messrs. Grabb and Gettit, for $100
a coil, or even more.  On this your father might come in useful.
With thanks for your interesting letter,


Oxon, Harvard, Oklahoma.

Or let us turn to another part of the same field--the feminine
side.  The change is even more striking.  Compare the two following
letters to the Lady Editor, making enquiries in each case about the
way to arrange a children's party for little girls.

Anno Domini 1880

Letter to Dollie Dollhouse, aged 14, who has asked for advice about
a party.


I am so glad to hear that you are going to give a party to your
little girl friends for your fourteenth birthday.  Of course you
must have strawberries, great big luscious ones with lots of cream
all over them.  And of course you must have a lovely big cake, with
icing all over the top of it, and you must put fourteen candles on
it.  Do you see the idea of the candles, dear?  No, perhaps not at
first, but if you will think a minute you will see it.  It means
that you are fourteen years old and that there is a candle for
every year.  Isn't it a pretty thought, once you understand it?  I
got it out of an old Norwegian book of fairy stories and thought it
so sweet.

You had better not try to light the candles yourself, but get your
papa or your mama to come and do it, if they do not like to, then
send for a man from the hardware store.

You say that after all the girls have eaten all they can you would
like to have some games and ask what you can play.  There are
really such a lot of games that it is hard to advise, but among the
best of the new games is one called Hunt the Slipper, which I am
sure you would like.  All that you need for playing it with is an
old slipper, one without any tacks sticking out of it being the
best.  One of the girls sits on the slipper and then the player who
is chosen to begin has to go round and roll over all the girls and
see where the slipper is.  You see it is quite a clever game and
can easily be learned in half an hour.  But remember that your play
must never be rough.  In rolling over the girls pick them up by the
feet and roll them over in a ladylike way.

After the game if you can get your papa to come into the room and
read a selection of poetry, such as a couple of cantos from
Paradise Lost, the girls will go away delighted.  With best love
and good wishes for your party,


Lady Editor Children's Column.

Here is the other sample which is the same thing, brought up to

Anno Domini 1926

Letter to Flossie Fitz Clippit, aged 14, granddaughter of Dollie
Dollhouse, in answer to her request for advice about a party.


The right number of covers for a luncheon to your girl friends is
certainly eight.  Ten, as you yourself seem to think, is too large
a number to be cosy, while eight gives exactly the feeling of
cameraderie without too much formality.  Six, on the other hand, is
a little too intime, while seven rather carries the idea of oddity,
of something a little louche, or at least gauche, if not hootch.

For table decorations I find it hard to advise you, as I do not
know the tinting of your room, nor the draperies or the shape and
shade of your table and the complexion of your butler.  But if not
unsuitable for some special reason what do you say to great bunches
of scarlet ilex thrown all over the table?  Either that or large
masses of wisteria and big bunches of Timothy hay?

I don't think that if I were you I would serve cocktails before
lunch, as some of your friends might have views about it, but a
delicious coupe can be made by mixing half a bottle of old rum with
shredded wheat and then soaking it in gin.

For the menu, you will want something light and dainty, appealing
rather by its exquisite taste than by sheer quantity.  What do you
say to beginning with a canapé of paté de fois gras, followed by a
puré of mushrooms and leading up to a broiled lobster followed by a
porterhouse beefsteak.  I think that is the kind of thing your
little friends would like.  And if you have after it a soufflé, and
a few quarts of ice cream with angel cake it will be found quite

I quite sympathize with what you say about not wanting your mother.
There is no doubt that the presence of a mother at any kind of
entertainment gives a touch of coldness, a lack of affection.  Your
father, of course, is quite impossible; though I think it would be
all right to let him shake hands with the girls as they pass out.
At a recent luncheon where I was present I saw both the father and
the mother brought into the drawing room for a few moments and
introduced to the guests.  The effect was really very sweet, with
quite an old world touch to it.  But I would not try to imitate it
if I were you.  Better be content with having the butler take up
half a gallon of the coupe to your father in his library.

You will of course want to know about cigarettes.  I should
particularly recommend the new Egyptian Dingos, or, if you have not
yet tried them, the new Peruvian Guanos.  They seem to be the last
word in tobacco.

With regards and good wishes,

Man-Lady Editor

Children's Adult Column.

Old Proverbs Made New

It has occurred to me that somebody in one of the English
departments of our colleges ought to get busy and re-write our
national proverbs.  They are all out of date.  They don't fit any
longer.  Indeed, many of them are precisely the converse of
existing facts.

Our proverbs have come down to us from the days of long ago; days
when the world was very primitive and very simple and very
different; when people never moved more than a mile and a half from
home and were all afraid of the dark; and when wisdom was handed
out by old men with white whiskers called PROPHETS, every one of
whom would be "retired" nowadays by any first class board of
trustees as past the age-limit of common sense.

But in those days all the things that were said by these wise old
men, who had never seen a motor car, were gathered up and called
proverbs and repeated by all the common people as the last words of
wisdom.  The result is that even today we still go on repeating
them, without realizing how hopelessly they are off the track.

Take as a first sample the proverb that is perhaps the best known
in our language:

Birds of a Feather Flock Together

But they don't.  Ask any first class naturalist.  If the wise old
men had taken another look they would have seen that the last thing
birds ever want to do is to flock together.  In ninety-nine cases
out of a hundred they keep away from their own species, and only
flock when it is absolutely necessary.  So much for the birds.  But
the proverb is really supposed to refer to people and then it is
wrong again.  People "of a feather" do not flock together.  Tall
men fall in love with little women.  A girl with a beautiful fair
skin and red hair marries a man who looks like a reformed orang-
outang.  A clergyman makes a friend of an auctioneer and a banker
would rather spend a day with an Adirondack fishing guide than with
a whole vaultful of bankers.  Burglars during the daytime go and
swim in the Y.M.C.A. pool.  Forgers in their off time sing in the
choir, and choirmasters when they are not singing shoot craps.

In short, there is nothing in the proverb whatsoever.  It ought to
be revised under the modern conditions to read:

Birds of any particular feather and persons of any particular
character or occupation show upon the whole a disposition rather to
seek out something dissimilar to their own appearance and nature to
consort with something homologous to their own essential entity.

In that shape one has a neat workable proverb.  Try another:

A Rolling Stone Gathers No Moss

Entirely wrong again.  This was supposed to show that a young man
who wandered from home never got on in the world.  In very ancient
days it was true.  The young man who stayed at home and worked hard
and tilled the ground and goaded oxen with a long stick like a
lance found himself as he grew old a man of property, owning four
goats and a sow.  The son who wandered forth in the world was
either killed by the cannibals or crawled home years afterwards
doubled up with rheumatism.  So the old men made the proverb.  But
nowadays it is exactly wrong.  It is the rolling stone that gathers
the moss.  It is the ambitious boy from Honkville, Indiana, who
trudges off to the city leaving his elder brother in the barnyard
and who later makes a fortune and founds a university.  While his
elder brother still has only the old farm with three cows and a
couple of pigs, he has a whole department of agriculture with great
sheds-full of Tamworth hogs and a professor to every six of them.

In short, in modern life it is the rolling stone that gathers the
moss.  And the geologists--outside of Tennessee--say that the moss
on the actual stone was first started in exactly the same way.  It
was the rolling of the stone that smashed up the earth and made the
moss grow.

Take another proverb:

All is not Gold that Glitters

How perfectly ridiculous!  Everybody in the days in which we live
knows--even a child knows--that all IS gold that glitters.  Put on
clothes enough, appearance enough and you will be accepted
anywhere.  Just do a little glittering and everybody will think you
are gold.  Make a show, be a humbug, and you will succeed so fast
that presently, being very wealthy and prominent, you will really
think yourself a person of great merit and intellect.  In other
words, the glitter makes the gold.  That is all there IS to it.
Gold is really one of the most useless of all material objects.
Even now we have found no REAL use for it, except to fill our
teeth.  Any other employment of it is just GLITTER.  So the proverb
might be revised to read:

Every thing or person may be said to stand in high esteem and to
pass at a high value provided that it or he makes a sufficient
show, glitter, or appearance, the estimation being in inverse ratio
to the true quantitative measurement of the reality of it, them or
her.  That makes a neat workable proverb, expressed with up-to-date

Or here is another famous proverb that is exactly the contrary of

People Who Live in Glass Houses Ought Not to Throw Stones

Not at all.  They are the very people who ought to throw stones and
to keep on throwing them all the time.  They ought to keep up such
a fusillade of stones from their glass house that no one can get
near it.

Or if the proverb is taken to mean that people who have faults of
their own ought not to talk of other people's faults, it is equally
mistaken.  They ought to talk of other people's faults all the time
so as to keep attention away from their own.

But the list of proverbs is so long that it is impossible to do
more than make a casual mention of a few others.

One Swallow Does Not Make a Summer

Perhaps not.  But there are ever so many occasions when one
swallow--just one single swallow--is better than nothing to drink
at all.  And if you get enough of them they DO make a summer.

Charity Begins at Home

Perfectly ridiculous.  Watch any modern city householder when a
beggar comes to his door.  Charity begins with the Federated
Charities Office, or with the Out of Work Mission, or with the City
Hall, or if need be, with the Police Court--in short, ANYWHERE but
at home.  Our whole effort is now to keep charity as far from home
as possible.

It is a Wise Child that knows its Own Father

Not at all.  Alter this and make it read:  It is a very silly boy
who isn't on to his old man.

Even a Worm Will Turn at Last

Wrong.  It turns at once, immediately.  It never waits.

A Bird in the Hand is Worth Two in the Bush

Yes, but a bird in a good restaurant is worth ten of either of

There--that's enough.  Any reader of this book may go on having fun
with the other proverbs.  I give them to him.


In the Good Old Summertime

The Merry Month of May

As Treated in the Bye-Gone Almanacs

The part of the year known in ballad poetry as the Good Old Summer
Time begins with what is popularly called the Merry Month of May.
The winter is then over except in the City of Quebec, in Butte,
Montana, and in the Back Bay regions of Boston.  The gathering
warmth of the sun calls all nature to life.

The Heavens in May

In the older almanacs of the kind that used to be made for farmers,
the first items under this month always dealt with the aspect of
the heavens.  The farmer was told that in May the sun, passing out
of the sign of Taurus, moved into the constellation of Gemini; that
the apparent declination of the sun was 15 degrees and 4 minutes
and that the neap tides fell on the thirteenth and twenty-seventh
of the month.  He was also informed that Mars and Mercury during
May are both in opposition and that Sirius is the dog star.

In the city this information is now useless.  Nobody can see the
heavens even if he wants to; the open space between the skyscrapers
formerly called the sky is now filled with electric lights,
pictures of motor wheels turning round, and men eating breakfast
food with a moving spoon.

We doubt also if the up-to-date farmer is really concerned with the
Zodiac.  We will therefore only say that in this month if the
farmer will on any clear night ascend to the cupola of his pergola
with his binoculars and with his radio plug in his ears and his
insulators on his feet and view the heavens from midnight till
three in the morning, he will run a first class chance of getting

The Garden in May

For those to whom gardening--even in the limited restrictions of a
city back yard--is a hobby and a passion, the month of May is the
most enticing month of the year.  It seems strange to think that so
many men with a back yard at their disposal--a back yard let us
say, twenty feet by fifteen--should nevertheless spend the long
evenings and the Saturday afternoons of the month of May striding
up and down the golf links or wandering along a trout stream.  How
much better to be out in the back yard with a spade and hoe,
pickaxe and sledge hammer and a little dynamite preparing the
exuberant soil for the luxuriant crop.

In the amateur garden in the back yard no great technical knowledge
is needed.  Our citizen gardener who wishes to begin should go out
into his back yard and having stripped himself to his waist, all
but his undershirt, should proceed first to dig out his ground.

He must excavate a hole ten by fifteen, by ten by two; of course,
the hole won't be as big as that, but it will SEEM to be.  He must
carefully remove on his back all large boulders, volcanic rocks,
and other accumulated debris.  These if he likes he may fashion
tastefully into a rockery or a rookery, or also, if he likes, he
may throw them over the fence into his neighbor's back yard.  He
must then proceed to fill the hole half full of sweet-smelling

This will almost complete his first evening's work.  In fact, he
will be just about filling in his stuff when the other men come
past on their way home from golf.  He will then finish his task by
putting back a fourth of the soil, which he will carefully
pulverize by laying down and rolling in it.  After this he can then
take a bath (or two baths) and go to bed.

The ground thus carefully prepared, the amateur gardener should
wait a day or so and then, proceeding to his back yard, should draw
on his overalls up to his neck and proceed to plant his bulbs and

The tulip is a favorite flower for early planting owing to its fine
raucous appearance.  Excellent tulip bulbs may be had of any
florist for one dollar, which with proper care will turn into a
flower worth thirty cents.  The dahlia, the most handsome of the
ganglions, almost repays cultivation, presenting a splendid
carboniferous appearance with unsurpassed efflorescence.  The
potato is not bad, either.

When the garden plot is all filled up with buried bulbs and seeds,
the gardener should roll the dirt down flat, by rolling it, and
then for the rest of the month of May, sit and look at it.

A Cool Drink for May

The month of May is the time of year when dandelion wine, owing to
the presence of dandelions, is perhaps easier to make than at any
other time.  An excellent recipe is as follows:

1.  Pluck, or pick, a small basketful of dandelion heads.

2.  Add to them a quart of water and leave the mixture to stand for
five minutes.

3.  Pour off the water, remove the dandelions, and add as flavoring
a quart of 1872 champagne.

4.  Drink it.

The Countryside in May

It is in the month of May that the countryside, for the true lover
of nature, is at its best.  For one who knows by name and can
distinguish and classify the flora of the lanes and fields, a
country walk among the opening buds is a scene of unalloyed joy.
The tiny hibiscus is seen peeping out from under the grass
while everywhere in the spring air is the sweet scent of the
ornithorhyncus and the megalotherium.  One should watch in this
month for the first shoots of the spiggot, while the trained eye
will easily distinguish the lambswart, the dogsfoot, and the

Nor are the birds, for anyone who knows the names, less interesting
than the flowers.  The corvex americanus is building its nest in
the tall timber.  The sharp whistling notes of the ilex and the
pulex and the index are heard in the meadows, while the marshes are
loud with the song of the ranunculus.  But of course for those who
do not know these names nothing is happening except that a lot of
birds are singing and the grass is growing.  That, of course, is
quite worthless and uninteresting.

Great Events in May

May 1.  Birth of Shakespeare.

May 5.  End of the Trojan war.

May 10.  Beginning of the Trojan war.

May 15.  Birth of Shakespeare.

May 20.  Shakespeare born.

May 25.  Trojan war ends again.

May 30.  Death of Shakespeare and beginning of the Trojan war.

How We Kept Mother's Birthday

As Related by a Member of the Family

Of all the different ideas that have been started lately, I think
that the very best is the notion of celebrating once a year
"Mother's Day."  I don't wonder that May the eleventh is becoming
such a popular date all over America and I am sure the idea will
spread to England too.

It is especially in a big family like ours that such an idea takes
hold.  So we decided to have a special celebration of Mother's Day.
We thought it a fine idea.  It made us all realize how much Mother
had done for us for years, and all the efforts and sacrifice that
she had made for our sake.

So we decided that we'd make it a great day, a holiday for all the
family, and do everything we could to make Mother happy.  Father
decided to take a holiday from his office, so as to help in
celebrating the day, and my sister Anne and I stayed home from
college classes, and Mary and my brother Will stayed home from High

It was our plan to make it a day just like Xmas or any big holiday,
and so we decided to decorate the house with flowers and with
mottoes over the mantelpieces, and all that kind of thing.  We got
Mother to make mottoes and arrange the decorations, because she
always does it at Xmas.

The two girls thought it would be a nice thing to dress in our very
best for such a big occasion, and so they both got new hats.
Mother trimmed both the hats, and they looked fine, and Father had
bought four-in-hand silk ties for himself and us boys as a souvenir
of the day to remember Mother by.  We were going to get Mother a
new hat too, but it turned out that she seemed to really like her
old grey bonnet better than a new one, and both the girls said that
it was awfully becoming to her.

Well, after breakfast we had it arranged as a surprise for Mother
that we would hire a motor car and take her for a beautiful drive
away into the country.  Mother is hardly ever able to have a treat
like that, because we can only afford to keep one maid, and so
Mother is busy in the house nearly all the time.  And of course the
country is so lovely now that it would be just grand for her to
have a lovely morning, driving for miles and miles.

But on the very morning of the day we changed the plan a little
bit, because it occurred to Father that a thing it would be better
to do even than to take Mother for a motor drive would be to take
her fishing.  Father said that as the car was hired and paid for,
we might just as well use it for a drive up into hills where the
streams are.  As Father said, if you just go out driving without
any object, you have a sense of aimlessness, if you are going to
fish, there is a definite purpose in front of you to heighten the

So we all felt it would be nicer for Mother to have a definite
purpose; and anyway, it turned out that Father had just got a new
rod the day before, which made the idea of fishing all the more
appropriate, and he said that Mother could use it if she wanted to;
in fact, he said it was practically for her, only Mother said she
would much rather watch him fish and not to try to fish herself.

So we got everything arranged for the trip, and we got Mother to
cut up some sandwiches and make a sort of lunch in case we got
hungry, though of course we were to come back home again to a big
dinner in the middle of the day, just like Xmas or New Year's Day.
Mother packed it all up in a basket for us ready to go in the

Well, when the car came to the door, it turned out that there
hardly seemed as much room in it as we had supposed, because we
hadn't reckoned on Father's fishing basket and the rods and the
lunch, and it was plain enough that we couldn't all get in.

Father said not to mind him, he said that he could just as well
stay at home, and that he was sure that he could put in the time
working in the garden; he said that there was a lot of rough dirty
work that he could do, like digging a trench for the garbage, that
would save hiring a man, and so he said he'd stay home; he said
that we were not to let the fact of his not having had a real
holiday for three years stand in our way; he wanted us to go right
ahead and be happy and have a big day, and not to mind him.  He
said that he could plug away all day, and in fact he said he'd been
a fool to think there'd be any holiday for him.

But of course we all felt that it would never do to let Father stay
home, especially as we knew he would make trouble if he did.  The
two girls Anna and Mary, would gladly have stayed and helped the
maid get dinner, only it seemed such a pity to, on a lovely day
like this, having their new hats.  But they both said that Mother
had only to say the word, and they'd gladly stay home and work.
Will and I would have dropped out, but unfortunately we wouldn't
have been any use in getting the dinner.

So in the end it was decided that Mother would stay home and just
have a lovely restful day round the house, and get the dinner.  It
turned out anyway that Mother doesn't care for fishing, and also it
was just a little bit cold and fresh out of doors, though it was
lovely and sunny, and Father was rather afraid that Mother might
take cold if she came.

He said he would never forgive himself if he dragged Mother round
the country and let her take a severe cold at a time when she might
be having a beautiful rest.  He said it was our duty to try and let
Mother get all the rest and quiet that she could, after all that
she had done for all of us, and he said that that was principally
why he had fallen in with this idea of a fishing trip, so as to
give Mother a little quiet.  He said that young people seldom
realize how much quiet means to people who are getting old.  As to
himself, he could still stand the racket, but he was glad to
shelter Mother from it.

So we all drove away with three cheers for Mother, and Mother stood
and watched us from the verandah for as long as she could see us,
and Father waved his hand back to her every few minutes till he hit
his hand on the back edge of the car, and then said that he didn't
think that Mother could see us any longer.

Well--we had the loveliest day up among the hills that you could
possibly imagine, and Father caught such big specimens that he felt
sure that Mother couldn't have landed them anyway, if she had been
fishing for them, and Will and I fished too, though we didn't get
so many as Father, and the two girls met quite a lot of people that
they knew as we drove along, and there were some young men friends
of theirs that they met along the stream and talked to, and so we
all had a splendid time.

It was quite late when we got back, nearly seven o'clock in the
evening, but Mother had guessed that we would be late, so she had
kept back the dinner so as to have it just nicely ready and hot for
us.  Only first she had to get towels and soap for Father and clean
things for him to put on, because he always gets so messed up with
fishing, and that kept Mother busy for a little while, that and
helping the girls get ready.

But at last everything was ready, and we sat down to the grandest
kind of dinner--roast turkey and all sorts of things like on Xmas
Day.  Mother had to get up and down a good bit during the meal
fetching things back and forward, but at the end Father noticed it
and said she simply mustn't do it, that he wanted her to spare
herself, and he got up and fetched the walnuts over from the
sideboard himself.

The dinner lasted a long while, and was great fun, and when it was
over all of us wanted to help clear the things up and wash the
dishes, only Mother said that she would really much rather do it,
and so we let her, because we wanted just for once to humor her.

It was quite late when it was all over, and when we all kissed
Mother before going to bed, she said it had been the most wonderful
day in her life, and I think there were tears in her eyes.  So we
all felt awfully repaid for all that we had done.

Summer Sorrows of the Super-rich

In the course of each summer it is my privilege to do some visiting
in the class of the super-rich.  By this I mean the class of people
who have huge estates at such fashionable places as Nagahucket, and
Dogblastit, and up near Lake Owatawetness, where the country is so
beautifully wild that it costs a thousand dollars an acre.

Even people who had never had the opportunity of moving about way
up in this class know more or less the sort of establishment I
mean.  When you visit one of these houses you always pass a "lodge"
with a bright bed of flowers in front of it, which is a sign that
the house itself is now only three miles away.

Later on the symptoms begin to multiply.  You see a log cabin
summer-house made to imitate a settler's home and built out of
cedar imported from the Fiji Islands.  Then presently there is a
dear little waterfall and a dam of great slabs of rock, built for
only a hundred and fifty thousand dollars and supplying electric
light worth forty cents an evening.

After that you pass Scotch gardeners planting out little fir trees
and go through a zone of woodsmen cutting birch billets for open
fires, and chauffeurs, resting, and there you are all of a sudden
in front of Dogblastit House, standing beside its own lake, with
its own mountains and ten thousand acres of the finest natural
woods ever staged by landscape gardeners.

Now would you think that the people who live in these great places
are happy?  They are not.  They have troubles of which you and I
and the ordinary people never dream.  They come out of the
wilderness to rough it, and to snatch a brief four months' vacation
between the strain of the Riviera and the pressure of New York, and
then right in the happiest season of the summer, they come up
against desperate problems.

The particular ones that follow were related to me at Dogblastit.
But I gather that the same difficulties are met in all establishments
of the sort.  They are discussed in all the conversation among hosts
and guests, just as we discussed them last summer around the birch
fires in the lounge at Dogblastit.

Problem No. 1:

What to do to amuse the butler in the evening?  It seems that he
doesn't play bridge.  The butler who was here last year was always
quite content if he could be provided with a game of bridge, and
except for a run to New York now and then and a trip to see his
brother in Vancouver in the middle of the summer, he stayed on the
place without a break and seemed quite satisfied.

But the new man Jennings doesn't care for cards.  He says quite
frankly that it is not a matter of conscience and that he doesn't
mind cards in the house, but they simply don't interest him.  So
what can one do?

Problem No. 2:

How to get the chauffeur's collars starched?  It appears that there
have been very great difficulties at Dogblastit about this.  It is
very hard to get the kind of gloss that Ransome likes on his
collars.  There is, of course, an electric laundry in the basement
of Dogblastit itself, but unfortunately the laundry maids who do
all the work in it will not undertake any collars over eleven
inches long.  They say they simply won't undertake them.

The experiment was made of bringing up a laundress from Boston, but
it was found that she wouldn't undertake to starch anything at such
a high altitude.  She can only do her work at from 500 to 800 feet
above sea level.  Beyond that, she said, she could do nothing.

They tried also sending Ransome's collars by express to New York,
but this was quite unsatisfactory, because the express people threw
them about so roughly.  More than once they were seen actually
throwing the packet of Ransome's collars right from the platform of
Dogblastit station into the express car.  The only feasible thing
up to now has been to have Ransome take one of the cars and drive
his collars either to New York or to Philadelphia.  The objection
is that it takes up so much of his time, especially as he always
likes to drive his boots over to Burlington, Vermont, once a week,
where he can get them properly treated.

Problem No. 3:

What to get for the cook to read on Sunday?  The trouble is, she
doesn't care for fiction.  She evidently is a woman of literary
culture, because she said one day that she had read the whole of
Shakespeare and thought it very good.  In the library of Dogblastit
itself, which is a really beautiful room done in Japanese oak with
leaded windows to represent the reading room of a settler's cabin,
there are practically no books that suit the cook.  In fact, there
is nothing but the Blue Book (one needs that to look up people in)
and the Pink Book and the Red Book, and of course the Automobile
Road Book and then some Guide Books such as The Perfect Bartender,
and the Gentleman's Cellar and Cocktails for all Occasions.

Beyond that there are, of course, all the new books--the new
fiction--because there is a standing order with Spentano to send up
fifty pounds of new fiction by express once a week.  None of the
guests of the house ever care to read any book more than three
weeks old, as they are quite worthless for conversation.

An order was sent to Boston for the Harvard Classics but the cook
says she doesn't care for the way they are selected.  The only
compromise so far is to get her books about the South Seas.  She
says she is just crazy over the South Sea literature.  So we have
given her Six Weeks in the Marquesas Islands and Four Days in Fiji,
Half Hours in Hoo-Poo.  But all that will only last her less than
seven weeks, and after that we don't know what to do.

Problem No. 4:

What to do with the governess when she is not working?  This has
proved up to the present a quite insoluble problem.  It is so hard
to know just what to do with Mademoiselle after she has finished
governing the children.  We can't, so it is felt, have her in the
drawing room and yet what can one do with her?  We have tried
shutting her up in the garage, but that is dull.  In open weather
we can lock her out on the piazza, but she is apt to get from there
into the billiard room where the guests are.  The only plan seems
to be to give her somewhere a cosy, little wee room for herself,
either at the back of the ash-house, or else underneath the

The problems I have named are the principal ones--the ones that
always recur in any large house of real class and standing.  But
there are a lot of others as well that I need not treat in detail.
For example, there is the difficult question of how to keep Robert,
the under-gardener, out of the kitchen.  Robert would never have
been engaged if it had been known that he was a dangerous man.  But
this was only reported by the house-keeper after Robert had been
brought up and had been in the house a week.  When you bring a man
up you can't bring him down.

And who is it that is stealing all the jewelry?  We don't like to
make any fuss or disturbance.  But another diamond ring went last
night and one feels that something ought to be done.

My visits with my fashionable friends have been so much disturbed
by perpetual conversation on these problems that I have decided to
give them up altogether and to get back into my own class of
society.  I have some friends, real ones, who have a wooden house
on an island where there is no electric light within twenty miles
and where they use rainwater out of a barrel.

They have coal-oil lanterns to see by; they wear flannel collars
and they pass the soap from one room to another as it is needed.
The men cut the firewood, as required, and never keep more than
half an hour's supply on hand, and the girls do all the work
because help can't be got and they know ten different ways of
cooking canned salmon.

I am going back there.  For me that is the only real old summer
stuff that is worth while.  I was brought up on it and have never
grown out of it.  Anybody who likes may have my room and my tiled
bath at Dogblastit.

How My Wife and I Built Our Home for $4.90

Related in the Manner of the Best Models in the Magazines

I was leaning up against the mantelpiece in a lounge suit which I
had made out of old ice bags, and Beryl, my wife, was seated at my
feet on a low Louis Quinze tabouret which she had made out of a
Finnan Haddie fishbox, when the idea of a bungalow came to both of
us at the same time.

"It would be just lovely if we could do it!" exclaimed Beryl,
coiling herself around my knee.

"Why not!" I replied, lifting her up a little by the ear.  "With
your exquisite taste--"

"And with your knowledge of material," added Beryl, giving me a
tiny pinch on the leg--"Oh, I am sure we could do it!  One reads so
much in all the magazines about people making summer bungalows and
furnishing them for next to nothing.  Oh, do let us try, Dogyard!"

We talked over our project all night, and the next morning we
sallied forth to try to find a site for our new home.  As Beryl
(who was brimming over with fun as the result of talking all night)
put it, "The first thing is to get the ground."

Here fortune favored us.  We had hardly got to the edge of the town
when Beryl suddenly exclaimed, "Oh look, Dog-yard, look, there's
exactly the site!"  It was a piece of wasteland on the edge of a
gully with a brickyard on one side of it and a gravel pit on the
other.  It had no trees on it, and it was covered with ragged heaps
of tin cans, old newspapers, and stones, and a litter of broken

Beryl's quick eye saw the possibilities of the situation at once.
"Oh, Dogyard!" she exclaimed, "isn't it just sweet?"  We can clear
away all this litter and plant a catalpa tree to hide the brickyard
and a hedge of copernicus or nux vomica to hide the gravel pit, and
some bright flowers to hide the hedge.  I wish I had brought some
catalpa seed.  They grow so quickly."

"We'd better at least wait," I said, "till we have bought the

And here a sudden piece of good fortune awaited us.  It so happened
that the owner of the lot was on the spot at the time--he was
seated on a stone whittling a stick while we were talking, and
presented himself to us.  After a short discussion he agreed to
sell us the ground for one dollar in cash and fifty cents on a
three years' mortgage.  The deed of sale was written out on the
spot and stamped with a two-cent stamp, and the owner of the lot
took his departure with every expression of good will.  And the
magic sense of being owners of our own ground rendered us both

That evening Beryl, seated on her little stool at my feet, took a
pencil and paper and set down triumphantly a statement of the cost
of our bungalow up to date.  I introduce it here as a help to
readers who may hope to follow in our footsteps:

Ground site ................ $1.50
Stamp for mortgage..........   .02
Car fare ...................   .10
Total ...................... $1.62

I checked over Beryl's arithmetic twice and found it strictly

Next morning we commenced work in earnest.  While Beryl cleared
away the cans and litter, I set to work with spade and shovel
excavating our cellar and digging out the foundations.  And here I
must admit that I had no light task.  I can only warn those who
wish to follow in our footsteps that they must be prepared to face
hard work.

Owing perhaps to my inexperience, it took me the whole of the
morning to dig out a cellar forty feet long and twenty feet wide.
Beryl, who had meantime cleaned up the lot, stacked the lumber,
lifted away the stones and planted fifty yards of hedge, was
inclined to be a little impatient.  But I reminded her that a
contractor working with a gang of men and two or three teams of
horses would have taken a whole week to do what I did in one

I admitted that my work was not equal to the best records as
related in the weekly home journals, where I have often computed
that they move 100,000 cubic feet of earth in one paragraph, but at
least I was doing my best.  Beryl, whose disappointment never
lasts, was all smiles again in a moment, and rewarded me by
throwing herself around my neck and giving me a hug.

That afternoon I gathered up all the big stones and built them into
walls around the cellar with partition walls across it, dividing it
into rooms and compartments.  I leveled the floor and packed it
tight with sand and gravel and dug a drain ten feet deep from the
cellar to the gully about thirty feet away.

There being still a good hour or so of daylight left, I dug a
cistern four feet wide and twenty feet deep.  I was looking round
for something more to dig by moonlight, but Beryl put her foot down
(on my head while I was in the drain) and forbade me to work any
more for fear I might be fatigued.

Next morning we were able to begin our building in good earnest.
On our way we stopped at the fifteen-cent store for necessary
supplies, and bought one hammer, fifteen cents; a saw, fifteen
cents; half a gallon of nails, fifteen cents; a crane, fifteen
cents; a derrick for hoisting, fifteen cents; and a needle and
thread, for sewing on the roof, fifteen cents.

As an advice to young builders, I may say that I doubt if we were
quite wise in all our purchases.  The fifteen-cent derrick is too
light for the work, and the extra expenditure for the heavier kind
(the twenty-five-cent crane) would have been justified.  The
difference in cost is only (approximately) ten cents, and the
efficiency of the big crane is far greater.

On arriving at our ground we were delighted to find that our
masonry was well set and the walls firm and solid, while the
catalpa trees were well above the ground and growing rapidly.
We set to work at once to build in earnest.

We had already decided to utilize for our bungalow the waste
material which lay on our lot.  I drew Beryl's attention to the
fact that if a proper use were made of the material wasted in
building there would be no need to buy any material at all.  "The
elimination of waste," I explained, "by the utilization of all by-
products before they have time to go by, is the central principle
of modern industrial organization."

But observing that Beryl had ceased to listen to me, I drew on my
carpenter's apron which I had made out of a piece of tar-paper, and
set to work.  My first care was to gather up all the loose lumber
that lay upon and around our ground site, and saw it up into neatly
squared pieces about twenty feet long.  Out of these I made the
joints, the studding, the partitions, rafters, and so on, which
formed the frame of the house.

Putting up the house took practically the whole morning.  Beryl,
who had slipped on a potato bag over her dress, assisted me by
holding up the side of the house while I nailed on the top.

By the end of the afternoon we had completed the sides of our
house, which we made out of old newspaper soaked in glue and rolled
flat.  The next day we put on the roof, which was made of tin cans
cut open and pounded flat.

For our hardwood floors, mantels, etc., we were fortunate in
finding a pile of hardwood on a neighboring lot which had
apparently been overlooked, and which we carried over proudly to
our bungalow after dark.  That same night we carried over
jubilantly some rustic furniture which we had found, quite
neglected, lying in a nearby cottage, the lock of which oddly
enough, was opened quite easily with the key of Beryl's suitcase.

The rest of our furniture--plain tables, dressers, etc.--I was able
to make from ordinary pine lumber which I obtained by knocking down
a board fence upon an adjacent lot.  In short, the reader is able
to picture our bungalow after a week of labor, complete in every
respect and only awaiting our occupation on the next day.

Seated that evening in our boarding house, with Beryl coiled around
me, I calculated the entire cost of our enterprise--including
ground site, lumber, derricks, cranes, glue, string, tin-tacks and
other materials--as four dollars and ninety cents.

In return for it we had a pretty seven-roomed house, artistic in
every respect, with living-room, bed-rooms, a boudoir, a den, a
snuggery, a doggery--in short, the bungalow of which so many young
people have dreamed.

Seated together that evening, Beryl and I were full of plans for
the future.  We both have a passionate love of animals and, like
all country-bred people, a longing for the life of a farm.  So we
had long since decided to keep poultry.  We planned to begin in a
small way, and had brought home that evening from the fifteen-cent
store a day-old chicken, such as are now so widely sold.

We put him in a basket beside the radiator in a little flannel coat
that Beryl had made for him, and we fed him with a warm mash made
of breakfast food and gravel.  Our printed directions that we got
with him told us that a fowl eats two ounces of grain per day and
on that should lay five eggs in a week.  I was easily able to prove
to Beryl by a little plain arithmetic that if we fed this fellow 4
ounces a day he would lay 10 eggs in a week, or at 8 ounces per day
he would lay 29 eggs in a week.

Beryl, who was seized at once with a characteristic fit of
enthusiasm, suggested that we stick 16 ounces a day into him and
begin right now.  I had to remind her laughingly that at 8 ounces a
day the fellow would probably be working up to a capacity, and
carrying what we call in business his peak load.  "The essential
factor in modern business," I told her, "is to load yourself up to
the peak and stay there."

In short, there was no end to our rosy dreams.  In our fancy we saw
ourselves in our bungalow, surrounded by hens, bees, cows and dogs,
with hogs and goats nestling against our feet.  Unfortunately our
dreams were destined to be shattered.  Up to this point our
experience with building our bungalow had followed along after all
the best models, and had even eclipsed them.  But from now on we
met a series of disasters of which we had had no warning.  It is a
pity that I cannot leave our story at this point.

On arriving at our bungalow next day we found notices posted up
forbidding all trespassers, and two sour-looking men in possession.
We learned that our title to the ground site was worthless, as the
man from whom we had bought it had been apparently a mere passer-
by.  It appeared also that a neighboring contractor was making
serious difficulties about our use of his material.  It was
divulged further that we had been mistaken in thinking that we had
taken our rustic furniture from an empty cottage.  There were
people living in it, but they happened to be asleep when Beryl
moved the furniture.

As for our hen--there is no doubt that keeping fowls is enormously
profitable.  It must be so, when one considers the millions of eggs
consumed every day.  But it demands an unremitting attention and
above all--memory.  If you own a hen you must never forget it--you
must keep on saying to yourself--"How is my hen?"  This was our
trouble.  Beryl and I were so preoccupied with our accumulated
disaster, that we left our one-day-old chick behind the radiator
and never thought of him for three weeks.  He was then gone.  We
prefer to think he flew away.

The Everlasting Angler

The fishing season is now well under way.  Will soon be with us.
For lovers of fishing this remark is true all the year round.  It
has seemed to me that it might be of use to set down a few of the
more familiar fish stories that are needed by any one wanting to
qualify as an angler.  There is no copyright on these stories,
since Methuselah first told them, and anybody who wishes may learn
them by heart and make free use of them.

I will begin with the simplest and best known.  Everybody who goes
fishing has heard it, and told it a thousand times.  It is called:


The Story of the Fish That Was Lost

The circumstances under which the story is best told are these.
The fisherman returns after his day's outing with his two friends
whom he has taken out for the day, to his summer cottage.  They
carry with them their rods, their landing net and the paraphernalia
of their profession.  The fisherman carries also on a string a
dirty looking collection of little fish, called by courtesy the
"Catch."  None of these little fish really measures more than about
seven and a half inches long and four inches round the chest.  The
fisherman's wife and his wife's sister and the young lady who is
staying with them come running to meet the fishing party, giving
cries of admiration as they get a sight of the catch.  In reality
they would refuse to buy those fish from a butcher at a cent and a
half a pound.  But they fall into ecstasies and they cry, "Oh
aren't they beauties!  Look at this big one!"  The "big one" is
about eight inches long.  It looked good when they caught it but it
has been shrinking ever since and it looks now as if it had died of
consumption.  Then it is that the fisherman says, in a voice in
which regret is mingled with animation:

"Yes, but say, you ought to have seen the one that we lost.  We had
hardly let down our lines--"

It may be interjected here that all fishermen ought to realize that
the moment of danger is just when you let down your line.  That is
the moment when the fish will put up all kinds of games on you,
such as rushing at you in a compact mass so fast that you can't
take them in, or selecting the largest of their number to snatch
away one of your rods.

"We had hardly let down our lines," says the fishermen--"when Tom
got a perfect monster.  That fish would have weighed five pounds--
wouldn't it, Tom--"

"Easily," says Tom.

"Well, Tom started to haul him in and he yelled to Ted and me to
get the landing net ready and we had him right up to the boat,"
"Right up to the very boat," repeat Tom and Edward sadly.  "When
the damn line broke and biff! away he went.  Say! he must have been
two feet long, easily two feet!"

"Did you see him?" asks the young lady who is staying with them.
This of course she has no right to ask.  It's not a fair question.
Among people who go fishing it is ruled out.  You may ask if a fish
pulled hard, and how much it weighed but you must not ask whether
anybody SAW the fish.  "We could see where he was," says Tom.

Then they go on up to the house carrying the "string" or "catch"
and all three saying at intervals--"Say! if we had only landed that
big fellow!"

By the time this anecdote has ripened for winter use, the fish will
have been drawn actually into the boat (thus settling all questions
of seeing it) and will there have knocked Edward senseless, and
then leaped over the gunwale.


Story of the Extraordinary Bait

This is a more advanced form of fishing story.  It is told by
fishermen for fishermen.  It is the sort of thing they relate to
one another when fishing out of a motor boat on a lake, when there
has been a slight pause in their activity and when the fish for a
little while--say for two hours, have stopped biting.  So the
fishermen talk and discuss the ways and means of their craft.
Somebody says that grasshoppers make good bait: and somebody else
asks whether any of them have ever tried Lake Erie soft shell crabs
as bait, and then one--whoever is lucky enough to get in first--
tells the good old bait story.

"The queerest bait I ever saw used," he says, shifting his pipe to
the other side of his mouth, "was one day when I was fishing up in
one of the lakes back in Maine.  We'd got to the spot and got all
ready when we suddenly discovered that we'd forgotten the bait--"

At this point any one of the listeners is entitled by custom to put
in the old joke about not forgetting the whiskey--

"Well there was no use going ashore.  We couldn't have got any
worms.  It was too early for frogs, and it was ten miles to row
back home.  We tried chunks of meat from our lunch, but nothing
doing!  Well, then, just for fun I cut a white bone button off my
pants and put it on the hook.  Say! you ought to have seen those
fish go for it.  We caught, oh, easily twenty, yes thirty--in half
an hour.  We only quit after we'd cut off all our buttons and our
pants were falling off us!  Say, hold on boys, I believe I've got a
nibble!  Sit steady!"

Getting a nibble of course will set up an excitement in any fishing
party that puts an end to all story telling.  After they have got
straight again and the nibble has turned out to be "the bottom" as
all nibbles are--the moment would be fitting for anyone of them to
tell the famous story called:


Beginner's Luck, or The Wonderful Catch Made by the Narrators
Wife's Lady Friend

"Talking of that big catch that you made with the pants button,"
says another of the anglers, who really means that he is going to
talk of something else--"reminds me of a queer thing I saw myself.
We'd gone out fishing for pickerel, 'dorés,' they call them up
there in the lake of Two Mountains.  We had a couple of big row
boats and we'd taken my wife and the ladies along--I think there
were eight of us, or nine perhaps.  Anyway it doesn't matter.
Well, there was a young lady there from Dayton, Ohio, and she'd
never fished before.  In fact she'd never been in a boat before.
I don't believe she'd ever been near the water before."

All experienced listeners know now what is coming.  They realize
the geographical position of Dayton, Ohio, far from the water and
shut in everywhere by land.  Any prudent fish would make a sneak
for shelter if he knew that a young lady from Dayton, Ohio, was
after him.

"Well, this girl got an idea that she'd like to fish and we'd
rigged up a line for her, just tied on to a cedar pole that we'd
cut in the bush.  Do you know you'd hardly believe that that girl
had hardly got her line into the water when she got a monster.  We
yelled to her to play it or she'd lose it, but she just heaved it
up into the air and right into the boat.  She caught seventeen, or
twenty-seven, I forget which, one after the other, while the rest
of us got nothing.  And the fun of it was she didn't know anything
about fishing; she just threw the fish up into the air and into the
boat.  Next day we got her a decent rod with a reel and gave her a
lesson or two and then she didn't catch any."

I may say with truth that I have heard this particular story told
not only about a girl from Dayton, Ohio, but about a girl from
Kansas, a young lady just out from England, about a girl fresh from
Paris, and about another girl, not fresh--the daughter of a
minister.  In fact if I wished to make sure of a real catch, I
would select a girl fresh from Paris or New York and cut off some
of my buttons, or hers, and start to fish.


The Story of What Was Found in the Fish

The stories however do not end with the mere catching of the fish.
There is another familiar line of anecdote that comes in when the
fish are to be cleaned and cooked.  The fishermen have landed on
the rocky shore beside the rushing waterfall and are cleaning their
fish to cook them for the midday meal.  There is an obstinate
superstition that fish cooked thus taste better than first class
kippered herring put up in a tin in Aberdeen where they know how.
They don't, but it is an honourable fiction and reflects credit on
humanity.  What is more, all the fishing party compete eagerly for
the job of cutting the inside out of the dead fish.  In a
restaurant they are content to leave that to anybody sunk low
enough and unhappy enough to have to do it.  But in the woods they
fight for the job.

So it happens that presently one of the workers holds up some
filthy specimen of something in his hand and says "Look at that!
See what I took out of the trout!  Unless I mistake it is part of a
deer's ear.  The deer must have stooped over the stream to drink
and the trout bit his ear off."

At which somebody says--whoever gets it in first--says,

"It's amazing what you find in fish.  I remember once trolling for
trout, the big trout, up in Lake Simcoe and just off Eight Mile
Point we caught a regular whopper.  We had no scales but he weighed
easily twenty pounds.  We cut him open on the shore afterwards, and
say, would you believe it, that fish had inside him a brass buckle--
the whole of it--and part of a tennis shoe, and a rain check from
a baseball game, and seventy-five cents in change.  It seems hard
to account for it, unless perhaps he'd been swimming round some
summer hotel."

These stories, I repeat, may now be properly narrated in the summer
fishing season.  But of course, as all fishermen know, the true
time to tell them is round the winter fire, with a glass of
something warm within easy reach, at a time when statements cannot
be checked, when weights and measures must not be challenged and
when fish grow to their full size and their true beauty.  It is
such stories as these, whether told in summer or in winter, that
the immemorial craft of the angler owes something of its continued

Have We Got the Year Backwards?  Is Not Autumn Spring?

Once a year with unfailing regularity there comes round a season
known as Autumn.  For a good many hundred years the poets have been
busy with this season as they have with all the others.  Around
each of them they have created a legend.  And the legends are
mostly untrue and need correcting.

For example, in spring there is supposed to be a tremendous gayety
let loose.  The young lamb is said to skip and play; and the young
man's fancy is supposed to turn towards thoughts of love.  Anybody
who has seen a young lamb humped up and shivering in April rain for
want of an overcoat knows just how false this lamb idea is; and
anybody who has seen a young man of today getting smoothed up for a
winter evening party knows just when the real season of the lovers

There are hawthorns in blossom in the lanes in the spring, and in
the winter there are rubber trees in the restaurants with no
blossoms at all.  But the rubber tree sees more of love in one
evening than the hawthorn does in its whole life.

The same kind of myth has gathered round the summer.  The poets
have described it as rich, luscious, glorious, crowned with flowers
and drowsy with the hum of the bee.  In reality, summer is the dead
time.  It is the time of the sweltering heat and the breathless
nights, when people sleep upside-down with their feet on the rail
of the bed; when there is no one in the city but the farmers and no
one on the farms but the city people; in short when life is all
disturbed, deranged, and out of sorts; when it is too hot to think,
too late to begin anything, and too early to start something; when
intellect dies, oratory is dumb, and national problems slumber.  At
such a time there is nothing of current interest except the
expeditions to the North Pole and the rescue parties sent out to
drag away the explorers.

Then comes autumn.  The poet describes it as the decline of the
year.  The leaf withers.  The russet woods shiver in the moaning
wind.  The poet on his lonely autumn walk talks with the shepherd
on the mutability of life and all is sadness.

Now it occurs to me all this stuff about Autumn, as applied here
and now, is nonsense.  No doubt it was all true when men lived in
woods and caves, shivered in the rain, and counted the days until
the return of the sun.  But in our own time the thing doesn't fit
at all.  Autumn is the real beginning of the year, the new start
after the dead season.  Witness, in illustration, some of the glad
signs that mark the oncoming of the Autumn season.

The Return of the Oyster:

I can imagine no more pleasing sight to the true lover of nature
than the first oyster peeping out of its half shell.  How dainty is
its coloring!  How softly it seems to lie upon its little dish!
All through the dull, dead summer it has been asleep in its bed of
mud, but now Nature has burst forth again and the oyster is back
with us.

The Young Lamb:

And alongside of the oyster, look who is here too!  The lamb, not
the poor ungainly thing that humped up itself in the springtime in
a feeble attempt to jump, but the true lamb, valued at a dollar a
portion, and eaten along with autumn cauliflowers, Jerusalem
artichokes, and October asparagus.  With what eager eyes it is
regarded by the people who have spent the summer in the country
where there are no fresh meat and no vegetables.  For the true
aspect of the bounty of Nature, give me every time the sight of a
butcher shop in autumn, with the pink lobsters nestling in the
white celery, pure as snow.  When the poet wanted inspiration he
went and talked with a shepherd.  I'd rather talk with a chef.

And the flowers!  Ah, there now is something worth seeing.  Look at
these autumn chrysanthemums right out of the hothouses, and the
gladioluses, or the gladiolalula--if that is the right plural.
Even the beautiful big blue violets will soon be with us, at five
dollars a bunch.

And no wonder we need the flowers, for with autumn the glad season
of happiness is beginning again.  Witness as the principal sign of

The Re-opening of the Vaudeville Season:

All through the dull dead summer we have not seen a single "act."
We were away from town, or it was too hot, or the theatres in our
vicinity were closed.

But now we are all back in our seats again watching The Seven
Sisters--can they really be sisters--pounding out music from wine
glasses, from sticks of wood, from cowbells--from anything they
have handy.  Here are again the two wonderful trapeze performers
who hurl themselves through the air.  So far we have never seen
them break their necks.  But, courage, a new season is beginning.

Here is the Magician with his cards, and the Strong Man with his
dumb-bells, and the Trained Dog that actually sits on a stool.
They are all back with us for the opening of another happy season.

The only trouble is to find time to go to see them.  So many things
are starting up into life all at once in this glad moment of the
year.  Not only Vaudeville is beginning but Football has opened up
again.  Here we are crowded into the stadiums--or rather, the
stadiora--in tens of thousands, covered with college colors and
chrysanthemums, in the bright autumn sunshine, with splendid seats
only a quarter of a mile from the game.

Football having started means, of course, that the colleges are all
reopening and when that happens we can feel our intellectual life
that has been dormant in the dead heat of summer, come back again
with a throb.  Soon we shall be going again to popular lectures on
Social Dynamics, and Intellectual Hydraulics--the kind of thing
that brings learning right to the people and leaves it there.

And not only the colleges.  The clubs--culture and brotherhood
clubs--are all beginning a new season.  There are the men's
luncheon and speaking clubs and the Ladies Fortnightly, and the
Morning Musical, all starting in at once.  All through the summer
we have never heard a single address.  Now in one week we can hear
a talk on Mexican Folk Music, or on Two Weeks in Mongolia, or Ten
Years in Sing Sing.

The new life is on the move.  The dead leaves have been swept up
and burnt.  The trees no longer spoil the view.  The motoring is
fine.  If the poet on his Autumn walk, sunk in reverie, gets in the
way, let him look out or we'll sink him where he'll never come

Autumn, crowned with its wreath of celery and lobsters, is with us

Our Summer Convention

As Described by One of its Members

Our summer convention--the first annual convention of Peanut Men--
has just been concluded and has been such a success that I feel I'd
like to set down a little account of it in print.

The way it began was that a few of us--all peanut men--got talking
together about every other business except ours having conventions
and ours not being represented in this way at all.  Everybody knows
there are now conventions of the electrical men and the pulp and
paper men, and even of professors and psychologists and
chiropodists.  And as everybody knows, too, these conventions are
not merely for business and social purposes, but they are educative
as well.  People who go to a convention and listen to the papers
that are read will learn things about their own business that they
never would have thought of.

Anyway, we got together and formed an association and elected
officers--a Grandmaster of the Nuts, and a Grand Kernel, and seven
Chief Shucks and a lot of lesser ones--and decided to hold a
convention.  We restricted the membership--because that is always
found best in conventions--and made it open only to sellers,
roasters, buyers, importers and consumers of peanuts.  Others might
come as friends but they couldn't appear as Nuts.  To make the
thing social it was agreed that members might bring their wives, as
many as they liked.

We thought first of New York or Chicago as the place for us, but
they always seemed too crowded.  Then we thought of Montreal and a
whole lot of members were all for it, partly because of the
beautiful summer climate.  But our final choice was Lake
Owatawetness in the mountains.

It was a great sight the day we opened up the convention.  We had
flags across the street and big streamers with Welcome to the Nuts
and things like that on them and all the delegates rode in open
hacks and pinned on each was a big badge with the words I Am a
Complete Nut.  Underneath this motto was his name and his town and
his height and weight and his religion and his age.

Well, we all went to the town hall and we had an address of welcome
from the Grand Master.  They said that it was one of the best
addresses ever heard in the town hall and lasted just over two
hours.  Personally I can't speak for it because I slipped out of
the hall a little after it began.  I had an idea that I would just
ease off a little the first morning and wait till the afternoon to
begin the real educative stuff in earnest.  There were two other
fellows who slipped out about the same time that I did and so we
went down to the lake and decided we'd hire a boat and go down the
lake fishing so as to be ready for the solid work of the afternoon.
One of the fellows was from Wichita, Kansas, and was a Presbyterian
and weighed 168 pounds, and the other was from Owen Sound, Ontario,
not classified, and weighed 178 pounds and was five feet, nine and
a half inches high.

We took some lunch with us so as not to need to get back till two,
when the first big conference opened.  We had a printed program
with us and it showed that at the two o'clock session there was to
be a paper read on The Application of Thermodynamics to the
Roasting of Peanuts and we all agreed that we wouldn't miss it for

Well, we went clear down the lake to where we understood the best
fishing was and it was a longer row than we thought.  We didn't
really start fishing till noon--not counting one or two spots where
we just fished for twenty minutes or so to see if any fish were
there but there weren't.  After we got to the right place we didn't
get a bite at all, which made us want to stay on a while, though it
was getting near the time to go back, because it seemed a shame to
quit before the fish began to bite, and we were just thinking of
leaving when a Methodist from Oshkosh, Wisconsin, who was nearby,
caught a black bass, a real peach.  There seemed to be a good many
other boats coming down, too, and quite near us there was a
Catholic delegate from Syracuse (five feet, eight inches) who
caught a catfish and two Episcopalians (150 pounds each) from
Burlington, Vermont, who seemed to be getting bites all the time.

So we decided to stay.  We didn't get so many fish but we all
agreed that an afternoon on the water for health's sake was a fine
thing to put a man into shape for the convention work.  We knew
that in the evening Professor Pip of the State Agricultural College
was to read a paper on The Embryology of the Nut and we wanted to
be right on deck for that.

Rowing back just before supper time some one of us happened to
mention cards, just casually, and the delegate from Owen Sound who
was unclassified asked me if I ever played poker.  I told him that
I HAD played it, once or twice, not so much for any money that
might be in it, but just for the game itself, as you might say.
The man from Wichita said that he had played it that way, too, and
that if you took it like that it was a fine game: in fact for a
quiet evening's amusement there was nothing like it.  We all three
agreed that if it hadn't been for wanting to hear Professor Pip's
talk on The Embryology of the Peanut we could have had quite a
little game, a three-handed game, or, perhaps, get in one or two of
the other boys after supper in one of the rooms.

Anyway, after supper we went upstairs and began throwing down hands
just to see what would turn up while we were waiting for the
lecture time and the first thing we knew we got seated round the
table and started playing and it seemed a pity to quit and go to
the lecture.  For my part I didn't care so much because I am not so
much interested in The Embryology of the Nut as in the selling of

Later on I saw a delegate (from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, a
Universal Christian, six feet high) who said that he had spoken
with a man who had heard the lecture and that it was fine.  It
appears there was only a small turn-out, smaller even than in the
afternoon, but those who were there and stayed--some couldn't stay--
said that it was all right.  They said it was too long--a lecture
is apt to be too long, and that the professor spoke pretty low, in
fact you couldn't exactly hear him, and that you couldn't
understand the subject matter but the lecture itself was good.  It
was all right.

By the next morning we had the convention pretty well in full swing
and you could see that the crowd were getting to know one another.
This second morning was to be the big morning of the convention
because the state governor was to give an address and everybody
felt that it was a great honor to have him come.  They had put up a
sort of arch for him to drive under, with a motto Welcome You Big
Nut.  They say the governor was awfully pleased with it and still
more when they made him a Chief Grand Nut at the morning ceremony.

I didn't hear his address myself, not more than a few sentences.  I
couldn't stay.  He had just begun a survey of the history of the
development of the arable land of the state (he had it all in his
hand and was reading it) when I had to go.  I had said something to
some of the boys the night before about golf--and it appeared that
the privileges of Watawetness Golf Club had been extended to us--
and I felt that I mustn't go back on it.  It was disappointing, but
there was no use worrying over it.

They said the governor's address was great.  It was too long,
everybody admitted, and a few took exception to it because it was
not exactly connected with the convention, and some criticized it
because it was the same address that he had given to the Skiers and
Snowshoemen Convention last February.  But still it was good.

Playing golf cut me clean out of the afternoon session, too, as I
didn't get back till it must have been started.  In this session
the programme was to divide the convention up into little groups
for intensive study of the peanuts, organized by Miss Mutt of the
Botany Section of the State Teachers Association.  Each study group
was to take some topic under a special speaker and exhaust it.  But
quite a lot of the delegates had gone fishing, and some were
playing pool and some were scattered round.  It seems they couldn't
make up the groups except just the speaker in each group and Miss
Mutt herself of course.  So Miss Mutt gave them a talk on the
Botany of Selling Peanuts.  They said it was fine.  It was too
long, they thought, and would have been much better, ever so much
better, if it had been shorter--quite short; but it was good.

That night was the big banquet.  The governor stayed for it, and
there was to be his speech and the Secretary of Agriculture and
speeches from the Grand Master, and from Clergymen, and Teachers.
In fact it looked pretty good and from all I heard it was
considered a big success.  The only thing against it was that some
of the delegates had brought in some stuff into the hotel (I don't
know where they got it from), and a lot of them were slipping out
of the banquet room and slipping up to the rooms where they had
this stuff.

Some didn't come down.  They said quite a lot didn't come down.  I
went up there for a while but I didn't stay long, or not so very
long, and when I got back to the door of the banquet room, one of
the guests, a minister, was talking on the moral aspect of
Importing Peanuts.  So I didn't stay, as I am more interested in
the selling aspect.

The next morning I left early.  There was to be another whole day
and some mighty interesting papers to be read.  But I felt I would
be needed badly in my business at this time; in fact I felt pretty
keen to get back to it.  I saw many other delegates come away on
the same train, a lot of them.  They had taken off their badges, so
I couldn't tell their names and their religions but they all agreed
that the convention had been a wonderful success and a great
educative influence in our business.


Travel and Movement

All Aboard for Europe

Some Humble Advice for Travellers

Every summer thousands and thousands of our people in America go
across to Europe.  They say that about fifty thousand people leave
on the steamers every week.  It's either fifty thousand or five
hundred thousand, or five thousand--I forget which.  Anyway, there
are a great many people travelling every year.

Some of them go because they need a change of air; some to improve
their minds; some because they were tired of making money, and
others because they were tired of not making money.  And some again
go to see Europe, before it all falls to pieces: and others go
simply and plainly for a vacation because they want for a few weeks
to be really happy.

It is especially for this last class that these few words of advice
are written.  If you want to be happy when you start off on a sea
voyage you have got to be prepared to face a lot of disillusionment.
You are going to find all through the trip the most striking
difference between travel as it is pictured in the Guide Book and
travel as it is in fact.

The difference begins at the very moment of embarkation.  Here is
what is said in the attractive Steamship Guide Book--done up in
colors with a picture of two girls walking on a promenade deck, and
swaying in the wind like rushes, while a young man goes past in
flannels and a straw hat.

"What," asks the Guide Book, "is more delightful than the
embarkation on an Atlantic voyage?  The size of the great steamer,
its spotless decks, its commodious cabins, its luxurious saloon and
its cozy library, thrill us with a sense of pleasure to come.  As
we step on board and look about us at the dancing waters of the
harbor ruffled under the breeze from the open sea beyond, we feel
that now at least we are entering on the realization of our

Yes.  Exactly.  Only unfortunately, my dear reader, it is just at
the very moment of embarkation that you are certain to discover
that your black valise is missing.  Your steamer trunk is there all
right in your stateroom and the brown valise and the paper parcel
that your aunt has asked you to deliver in Aberdeen when you land
at Liverpool.  But the black valise apparently is clean gone.

You certainly had it in the Pullman car and your sister remembers
seeing it in the taxicab--but where is it?  Talk about embarkation
on the ruffled harbor and the unrealized dream!  Who can think of
these things with a valise missing and the huge whistle of the
steamer booming out the time of departure?

No use asking that man in uniform; apparently he's only one of the
officers.  Don't try to fight your way up to the bridge and
challenge the captain.  He doesn't know.  Round the purser there
are twenty people in the same condition as yourself, over one thing
or another, all trying to get at him and bite him.  There seem to
be lots of stewards running up and down, but all they can do is ask
you what number is your stateroom and say that the valise ought to
be there.  A conspiracy, evidently, the whole thing.

The result is that you are fussing up and down for half an hour and
when at last the valise is found (in the next stateroom, owing to
the simple fact that you wrote the wrong number on it), you are
already far out at sea and have never seen the embarkation at all.

Never mind, there's lots of the trip left yet.  After all, listen
to what the Guide Book says about our first morning at sea--

"There is an extraordinary exhilaration," it prattles on, "about
the first day at sea.  From the lofty deck of the great liner our
eye sweeps the limitless expanse.  All about is the blue of the
Atlantic, ruffled with the zephyrs of a summer morning.  We walk
the deck with a sense of resilience, a fullness of life unknown to
the dweller upon terra firma, or stand gazing in dreamy reverie at
the eternal ocean."

Oh, we do, do we?  But I guess not.  On our first morning at sea we
have too much else to think of, even in the calmest weather, than
mere reverie on the ocean.  What is troubling us, is the question
of deck chairs--how do we get one?--are they free, or do we have to
pay?--and if we pay now, do we have to tip the man?--and which man
is it that gives out our chairs?--and if we want to get our chairs
next to Mr. Snyder from Pittsburgh, whom do we see about it?

There is room enough in this problem to keep us busy all morning;
and even when we have got it straight, we start all over again with
the question of what we do to get the seat that we want at the
table.  We would like to get ourselves and Mr. Snyder and Mr. and
Mrs. Hopkins from Alberta all at the same table.  Somebody has said
to somebody that there's a steward giving out seats or going to
give out seats somewhere in one of the saloons or somewhere.
That's enough for us.  That keeps us hot and busy all morning.

And you will find, alas my dear reader, that no matter what the
Guide Book says about it, that kind of worry is going to haunt you
all the way.  When you have done with the valises and the deck
chairs and the seats at the table you still have plenty of other
problems to fret over, such as--

The English customs officers--what do they do?  Do they examine
everything?  Will they say anything about those canvas slippers
that your aunt has asked you to deliver to her cousin in Nottingham
(close to London)?  If you explain that she made the slippers, does
that make any difference?  Or, at any rate, can you say to the man,
"Oh very well, I'll send them back to America rather than pay a
cent on them?"  In short, the English customs officers--what do
they do?  Travelers lie awake at night and think of that.

And along with that--

At what hour will you land at Liverpool and will you be able to get
the 11.30 train to London or will you have to wait for the 12.30?
That's an excellent one.  Many travellers have thought so hard
about that and talked so much about it on deck, that they never
even noticed the blue of the sea, and the rush of the flying fish
or the great dolphins that flopped up beside the ship.

But even allowing that you can perhaps get a train--some train--
from Liverpool, more intense worries set in as we near the other

The question of letters, telegrams and marconigrams.  When the
purser says that he has no messages for you and no letters for you,
is he not perhaps getting your name wrong.  He may have made a
mistake.  Might it not be better to go to him again (the fourth
time) and ask him whether he has got your name quite right?  By all
means, and let Mr. Snyder go too, and you can both stand in line at
the purser's window and fret it out together and thus never see the
Norwegian sailing ship under full canvas two hundred yards away.

But there is worse yet--

The ocean is crossed, the trials are over and the land is in sight.
And again the little Guide Book breaks out in ingenuous joy!

"Land in sight!  With what a thrill we go forward to the front of
the ship and look ahead to catch a glimpse of the white cliffs of
old England rising from the sea.  All the romance of history and of
exploration rises to the mind with this first view of the old land.
We stand gazing forward, as might have stood a Columbus or a Cabot
filled with the mystery of the New Land."

Do we?  No, we don't.  We've no time for it.  As a matter of fact,
we don't get any such first glimpse at all.  We are down below,
wrestling with the problem of how much we ought to tip the bath
room steward.  Is eight shillings what he gets, or is six enough?
We feel we need information, light, knowledge.  We must try to find
Mr. Snyder and learn what he thinks the bathroom steward ought to

And then, somehow, before we know it, and while we are still
worrying and fretting over stewards and tips and baggage, our
voyage is all over--the time is gone--and we are saying goodbye to
the passengers and Mr. Snyder and Mr. and Mrs. Hopkins of Alberta,
and the stewards and the purser--noble fellows they all seem now.
But we have a queer sense of loss and disillusionment as if our
voyage had not yet begun, and a strange longing that we might have
it all over again and this time know enough not to spoil it with
our poor meaningless worries.

My friend, this is a parable.  As is the Atlantic voyage, so is our
little pilgrimage in life, a brief transit in the sunshine from
shore to shore, whose short days are all too often marred by the
mean disputes and the poor worries that in the end signify nothing.
While there is still time, let us look about us to the horizon.

The Gasoline Goodbye

And What Would Have Happened to the Big Moments of History If the
Motor Had Taken a Hand in Them

In the days before the motor car, when a man said goodbye he shook
hands and he was gone.  If he was to ride on horseback, he made a
brief farewell to each person present, shook hands, leaped upon his
horse and was off.

Now that the motor car has come into use as the general instrument
of visiting, this no longer happens.  The people say goodbye, get
into their motor car, and are NOT gone.  They make an affectionate
farewell and then sit looking out of their glass windows, while the
car goes "Phut, phut--bang,"--and sticks there.

The more dramatic the goodbye, the more touching the farewell, the
more determined the car always is to say "Phut, phut--bang," and
refuse to move.

Witness the familiar scene of the goodbye of the Joneses to the
Smiths at 6 P.M. on any Sunday evening at any rural place where
city people spend their vacation.  The Joneses have motored over in
their own car--a real peach, tin all over--and have spent Sunday
afternoon with the Smiths, who have a cottage for the summer which
they call OPEN HOUSE, and where they take care that nobody gets in
at meal times.

When the time has come for the Joneses to go, they all mingle up in
a group with the Smiths and everybody says goodbye to everybody
else, and shakes hands with each one, and they all say, "Well, we
certainly had a grand time."  Then they all climb into the car with
Mr. Jones himself at the wheel and they put their heads out of the
windows and they say, "Well, goodbye, goodbye!" and wave their

And then the car goes--"Whr-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r--phut, bang!"

A wisp of thin blue smoke rolls away and when it has gone the
Joneses are seen sitting there, absolutely still.  The car hasn't
moved an inch.

Jones at the wheel sticks his head down among the grips and
clutches and says--"I guess she is a little cold," and the Smiths
say--"Yes, it often takes a little time to start them."  Then
there's a pause and nothing seems to be happening and then very
suddenly and cheerfully the engine of the car starts making a loud--


On this, all the Joneses and all the Smiths break out into goodbyes
again.  All talking together:

"Well, come back soon--We certainly will--We sure had a great time--
Remember us all to Alf--We certainly will--You certainly have a
nice cottage here--We certainly enjoyed that lemonade--well--
goodbye, goodbye, goodbye!"

And then the car goes--"Whir-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r--phut, bang!"

And there is another puff of blue smoke, and when it clears away,
what is behind it?  Why, the Joneses, right there in their car.

When the machine goes "bang!" all the Joneses in the car and all
the Smiths standing beside the road are knocked into silence for a
few seconds.  Then Jones mutters--"Seems to be something wrong with
the ignition"--and somebody else says--"She doesn't seem to be
feeding right"--and there's a little chorus of--"Oh, she is just a
little cold, they take a little warming up"--"she'll start in a

And then again the machine begins, this time at a terrific speed,
about a million revolutions to the minute--


At this happy sound the goodbyes break out all over again in a

"Goodbye--Look after yourselves--Tell Min we'll see her Friday--
goodbye--We certainly had a--"


All stopped again.

This time Jones is determined that when the engine starts he'll
keep it started.  There shall be no false alarms this time.  "Let
her get going good," some of them advise him.  And so when the
engine next starts Jones doesn't throw in his clutch but just lets
her go on humming and roaring till everybody feels assured that
this time the start is actually going to happen and the goodbyes
erupt all over again.

The noise gets louder and louder, the conversation rises into
shouts mixed with the "phut, phut, phut" of the machine, and then
all of a sudden there's a tremendous "bang!" and a volume of blue
smoke and when it clears away--where are the Joneses?

Gone--clean gone, they seem to have vanished off the earth!  At
last you catch a glimpse of their car already two hundred yards
away, disappearing in a cloud of smoke.

"They're off!" murmur the Smiths, and the painful scene is over . . .

Thinking over all this, I cannot but reflect how fortunate it has
been for mankind that the motor car was not invented earlier in our
history.  So many of the great dramas of history have turned upon
farewells and departures that some of the most romantic pages of
the past would have been spoiled if there had been any gasoline in

Take for example the familiar case of Napoleon saying goodbye to
his officers and soldiers at Fontainebleau before going into exile.
The fallen emperor stood beside the steed he was about to mount,
turned a moment and addressed to his devoted comrades words that
still echo in the ears of France.  But suppose that he had said the
same thing while seated in a little one-seater car with his head
stuck out of the window.  How inadequate it would have sounded:--

"Farewell, my brave comrades--phut, phut--together we shared the
labor and the burden of a hundred campaigns--phut, bang, phut--we
must forget that we have conquered Europe--whir-r-r, phut--that our
eagles have flown over every capital--bang--I leave you now for
exile, but my heart forever will remain--whir-r-r, phut--buried in
the soil of France, bang!"

Or take as a similar case in point the famous farewell to the
nation spoken by George Washington as his last service to the
republic that he had created.

General Washington, supposing there had been gasoline in those
days, would have been reported as leaning out from the window of
his sedan car and speaking as follows:--

"Let America cultivate and preserve the friendship of the world--
phut, phut--let us have peace and friendship with all--whir-r-r--
and entangling alliances with none--bang!  I have grown old in the
service of this country and there is something wrong with my
ignition.  To each and all of you I bid now a last farewell--



"Phut, phut, phut, phut.



Complete Guide and History of the South

Based on the Best Models of Traveler's Impressions

In setting down here my impression of Southern life, Southern
character, Southern industry, and what I am led to call the soul of
the Southern people, I am compelled to admit that these impressions
are necessarily incomplete.  The time at my disposal--twenty-four
hours less fifteen minutes while I was shaving--was, as I myself
felt, inadequate for the purpose.

I could have spent double, nay treble, nay quadruple the time in
the South with profit, and could have secured twice, nay three
times, nay four times as many impressions.  At the same time I may
say in apology that my impressions, such as they are, are based on
the very best models of travelers' impressions which are published
in such floods by visitors to this continent.

To one who has the eye to see it, the journey south from New York
to Washington, which may be called the capital of the United
States, is filled with interest.  The broad farm lands of New
Jersey, the view of the city of Philadelphia, and the crossing of
the spacious waters of the Susquehanna, offer a picture well worth
carrying away.  Unfortunately I did not see it.  It was night when
I went through.  But I read about it in the railroad folder next

After passing Washington the traveler finds himself in the country
of the Civil War, where the landscape recalls at every turn the
great struggle of sixty years ago.  Here is the Acquia Creek and
here is Fredericksburg, the scene of one of the most disastrous
defeats of the northern armies.  I missed it, I am sorry to say.  I
was eating lunch and didn't see it.  But the porter told me that we
had passed Fredericksburg.

It is however with a certain thrill that one finds oneself passing
Richmond, the home of the Lost Cause, where there still lingers all
the romance and glory that once was.  Unluckily our train didn't go
by Richmond but straight south via Lynchburg Junction.  But if it
had I might have seen it.

As one continues the journey southward, one realizes that one is in
the South.  The conviction was gradually borne in on me as I kept
going south that I was getting South.  It is an impression, I
believe, which all travelers have noted in proportion as they
proceed south.

I could not help saying to myself, "I am now in the South."  It is
a feeling I have never had in the North.  As I looked from the
train window I could not resist remarking, "So this is the South."
I have every reason to believe that it was.

One becomes conscious of a difference of life, of atmosphere, of
the character of the people.  The typical Southerner is courteous,
chivalrous, with an old-world air about him.  I noted that on
asking one of my fellow travelers for a match he responded, "I am
deeply sorry, I fear I have none.  I had a match in my other pants
yesterday, but I left them at home.  Perhaps I could go back and
get them."

Another gentleman in the smoking room of whom I ventured to ask the
time replied, "I am deeply sorry, I have no watch.  But if you will
wait till we get to the next station, I will get out and buy a
clock and let you know."  I thanked him, but thought it the part of
good taste to refuse his offer.

Every day one hears everywhere reminiscences and talk of the Civil
War.  Nearly everybody with whom I fell into conversation--and I
kept falling into it--had something to say or to recall about the
days of Lee and Jackson and of what I may call the Southern

One old gentleman told me that he remembered the war as if it were
yesterday, having participated in a number of the great episodes of
the struggle.  He told me that after General Lee had been killed at
Gettysburg, Andrew Jackson was almost in despair; and yet had the
Southerners only known it, there was at the time only a thin screen
of two hundred thousand union troops between them and Washington.

In the light of these conversations and reminiscences it was
interesting presently to find oneself in Georgia and to realize
that one was traversing the ground of Sherman's famous march to the
sea.  Unluckily for me, it was night when we went through, but I
knew where we were because during a temporary stoppage of the
train, I put my head out of the curtains and said to the porter,
"Where are we?" and he answered "Georgia."  As I looked out into
the profound darkness that enveloped us, I realized as never before
the difficulty of Sherman's task.

At this point, perhaps it may be well to say something of the women
of the South, a topic without which no impression would be worth
publishing.  The Southern women, one finds, are distinguished
everywhere by their dignity and reserve.  (Two women came into the
Pullman car where I was, and when I offered one of them an apple
she wouldn't take it.)  But they possess at the same time a charm
and graciousness that is all their own.  (When I said to the other
woman that it was a good deal warmer than it had been she smiled
and said that it certainly was.)

The Southern woman is essentially womanly and yet entirely able to
look after herself.  (These two went right into the dining car by
themselves without waiting for me or seeming to want me.)  Of the
beauty of the Southern type there can be no doubt.  (I saw a girl
with bobbed hair on the platform at Danville, but when I waved to
her even her hair would not wave.)

On the morning following we found ourselves approaching Birmingham,
Alabama.  On looking at it out of the car window, I saw at once
that Birmingham contains a population of 200,000 inhabitants,
having grown greatly in the last decade; that the town boasts not
less than sixteen churches and several large hotels of the modern

I saw also that it is rapidly becoming a seat of manufacture,
possessing in 1921 not less than 14,000 spindles, while its blast
furnaces bid fair to rival those of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and
Hangkow, China; I noticed that the leading denomination is
Methodist, both white and colored, but the Roman Catholic, the
Episcopalian and other churches are also represented.  The town, as
I saw at a glance, enjoys exceptional educational opportunities,
the enrollment of pupils in the high schools numbering half a

The impression which I carried away from Birmingham enabled me to
form some idea (that is all I ever get) of the new economic growth
of the South.  Everywhere one sees evidence of the fertility of the
soil and the relative ease of sustenance.  (I saw a man buy a whole
bunch of bananas and eat them right in the car.)  The growth of
wealth is remarkable.  (I noticed a man hand out a fifty-dollar
bill in the dining car and get change as if it were nothing.)

I had originally intended to devote my time after leaving
Birmingham to the investigation and analysis of the SOUL of the
South, for which I had reserved four hours.  Unfortunately I was
not able to do so.  I got called in to join a poker game in the
drawing room and it lasted all the way to New Orleans.

But even in the imperfect form in which I have been able to put
together these memoirs of travel I feel on looking over them that
they are all right, or at least as good as the sort of stuff that
is handed out every month in the magazines.

The Give and Take of Travel

A Study in Petty Larceny, Pro and Con

I have recently noted among my possessions a narrow black comb and
a flat brown hairbrush.  I imagine they must belong to the Pullman
Car Company.  As I have three of the Company's brushes and combs
already, I shall be glad to hand these back at any time when the
company cares to send for them.

I have also a copy of the New Testament in plain good print which
is marked "put here by the Gibbons" and which I believe I got from
either the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Montreal or the Biltmore in New
York.  I do not know any of the Gibbons.  But the hotel may have
the book at any time, as I have finished with it.  I will bring it
to them.

On the other hand, I shall be very greatly obliged if the man who
has my winter overshoes (left on the Twentieth Century Limited)
will let me have them back again.  As the winter is soon coming I
shall need them.  If he will leave them at any agreed spot three
miles from a town I will undertake not to prosecute him.

I mention these matters not so much for their own sake as because
they form a part of the system of give and take which plays a
considerable part in my existence.

Like many people who have to travel a great deal I get absent-
minded about it.  I move to and fro among trains and hotels
shepherded by red-caps and escorted by bell boys.  I have been in
so many hotels that they all look alike.  If there is a difference
in the faces of the hotel clerks I can't see it.  If there is any
way of distinguishing one waiter from another I don't know it.
There is the same underground barber surrounded by white marble and
carrying on the same conversation all the way from Halifax to Los
Angeles.  In short I have been in so many towns that I never know
where I am.

Under these circumstances a man of careless disposition and absent
mind easily annexes and easily loses small items of property.  In a
Pullman car there is no difficulty whatever, if one has the
disposition for it, in saying to a man sitting beside you, "Good
morning, sir.  It looks like a beautiful day," and then reaching
over and packing his hair brush into your valise.  If he is the
right kind of man he will never notice it, or at best he will say
in return, "A beautiful morning," and then take away your necktie.

There is, let it be noticed, all the difference in the world
between this process and petty larceny.

The thing I mean couldn't possibly be done by a thief.  He wouldn't
have the nerve, the quiet assurance, the manner.  It is the
absolute innocence of the thing that does it.  For example, if a
man offers me a cigarette I find that I take his cigarette case and
put it in my pocket.  When I rise from my hotel dinner I carry away
the napkin.  When I leave my hotel room I always take away the key.

There is no real sense in this: I have more hotel keys than I can
use as it is.  But the fault is partly with our hotels.  So many of
them put up a little notice beside the door that reads, "Have You
Forgotten Anything?"  When ever I see this I stand in thought a
minute and then it occurs to me, "Why of course, the Key!" and I
take it with me.

I am aware that there is a class of persons--women mostly--who
carry away spoons and other things deliberately as souvenirs.  But
I disclaim all connection with that kind of thing.  That is not
what I meant at all.

I would never take a valuable spoon, unless I happened to be using
it at the table to open the back of my watch, or something of the
sort.  But when I sign my name on the hotel book I keep the pen.
Similarly and in all fairness, I give up my own fountain pen to the
telegraph clerk.  The theory works both ways.

As a rule, there is nothing more in all this than a harmless give
and take, a sort of profit and loss account to which any traveler
easily becomes accustomed.  But at the same time one should be
careful.  The theory may go a little too far.  I remember not long
ago coming home from a theatre in Trenton, New Jersey, with a
lady's white silk scarf about my neck.

I had no notion how it got to be there.  Whether the woman had
carelessly wrapped it about my neck in mistake for her own, or
whether I had unwound it off her, I cannot say.  But I regret the
incident and will gladly put the scarf back on her neck at any
time.  I will also take this occasion to express my regret for the
pair of boots which I put on in a Pullman car in Syracuse in the
dark of a winter morning.

There is a special arrangement on the New York Central whereby at
Syracuse passengers making connections for the South are allowed to
get up at four and dress while the others are still asleep.  There
are signs put up adjuring everybody to keep as quiet as possible.
Naturally, these passengers get the best of everything and, within
limits, it is fair enough as they have to get up so early.  But the
boots of which I speak outclass anything I ever bought for myself
and I am sorry about them.

Our American railways have very wisely taken firm grounds on this
problem of property mislaid or exchanged or lost on the Pullman
cars.  As everybody knows when one of our trains reaches a depot
the passengers leave it with as mad a haste as if it were full of
smallpox.  In fact, they are all lined up at the door like cattle
in a pen ready to break loose before the train stops.  What happens
to the car itself afterwards they don't care.  It is only known to
those who have left a hair brush in the car and tried to find it.

But in reality, the car is instantly rushed off to a siding, its
number-placard taken out of the window so that it cannot be
distinguished, after which a vacuum cleaner is turned on and sucks
up any loose property that is left in it.  Meantime the porter has
avoided all detection by an instantaneous change of costume in
which he appears disguised as a member of the Pittsburgh Yacht
Club.  If he could be caught at this time his pockets would be
found to be full of fountain pens, rings and current magazines.

I do not mean to imply for a moment that our railways are acting in
a dishonest way in the matter.  On the contrary, they have no
intention of keeping or annexing their passengers' property.  But
very naturally they do not want a lot of random people rummaging
through their cars.  They endeavor, however, through their central
offices to make as fair a division of the lost-and-found property
as they can.  Anyone applying in the proper way can have some of
it.  I have always found in this respect the greatest readiness to
give me a fair share of everything.

A few months ago for example I had occasion to send to the Canadian
National Railway a telegram which read, "Have left gray fedora hat
with black band on your Toronto-Chicago train."  Within an hour I
got back a message, "Your gray fedora hat being sent you from
Windsor, Ontario."  And a little later on the same day I received
another message which read, "Sending gray hat from Chicago," and an
hour after that "Gray hat found at Sheboygan, Michigan."

Indeed, I think I am not exaggerating when I say that any of our
great Canadian and American Railways will send you anything of that
sort if you telegraph for it.  In my own case the theory has become
a regular practice.  I telegraph to the New York Central, "Please
forward me spring overcoat in a light gray or fawn," and they send
it immediately; or I call up the Canadian Pacific on the telephone
and ask them if they can let me have a pair of tan boots and if
possible a suit of golf clothes.

I have found that our leading hotels are even more punctilious in
respect to their things than the railways.  It is now hardly safe
to attempt to leave in their rooms anything that one doesn't want.
Last month, having cut my razor strop so badly that it was of no
further use, I was foolish enough to leave it hanging in a room in
the Biltmore Hotel in New York.  On my return home I got a letter
which read:  "Dear Sir:  We beg to inform you that you have left
your razor strop in room 2216.  We have had your strop packed in
excelsior packing and await your instructions in regard to it."

I telegraphed back, "Please keep razor strop.  You may have it."
After which in due course I got a further letter which said, "We
are pleased to inform you that the razor strop which you so
generously gave to this Company has been laid before our board of
directors who have directed us to express their delight and
appreciation at your generous gift.  Any time you want a room and
bath let us know."


Great National Problems

The Laundry Problem

A Yearning for the Good Old Days of the Humble Washerwoman

A long time ago, thirty or forty years ago, there used to exist a
humble being called a Washerwoman.  It was her simple function to
appear at intervals with a huge basket, carry away soiled clothes,
and bring them back as snow-white linen.

The washerwoman is gone now.  Her place is taken by the Amalgamated
Laundry Company.  She is gone but I want her back.

The washerwoman, in fact and fiction, was supposed to represent the
bottom of everything.  She could just manage to exist.  She was the
last word.  Now the Amalgamated Laundry Company uses hydro-electric
power, has an office like a bank, and delivers its goods out of a
huge hearse driven by a chauffeur in livery.  But I want that
humble woman back.

In the old days any woman deserted and abandoned in the world took
in washing.  When all else failed there was at least that.  Any
woman who wanted to show her independent spirit and force of
character threatened to take in washing.  It was the last resort of
a noble mind.  In many of the great works of fiction the heroine's
mother almost took in washing.

Women whose ancestry went back to the crusades VERY NEARLY, though
never quite, started to wash when the discovery of the missing will
saved them from the suds.  But nowadays if a woman exclaimed, "What
shall I do?  I am alone in the world!  I will open an Amalgamated
Laundry!"--it would not sound the same.

The operation of the old system--as I recall it from the days of
forty years ago--was very simple.  The washerwoman used to call and
take away my shirt and my collar and while she washed them I wore
my other shirt and my other collar.  When she came back we changed
over.  She always had one and I had one.  In those days any young
man in a fair position needed two shirts.

Where the poor washerwoman was hopelessly simple was that she never
destroyed or injured the shirt.  She never even thought to bite a
piece out with her teeth.  When she brought it back it looked
softer and better than ever.  It never occurred to her to tear out
one of the sleeves.  If she broke out a button in washing, she
humbly sewed it on again.

When she ironed the shirt it never occurred to the simple soul to
burn a brown mark right across it.  The woman lacked imagination.
In other words, modern industrialism was in its infancy.

I have never witnessed at first hand the processes of a modern
incorporated laundry company using up-to-date machinery.  But I can
easily construct in my imagination a vision of what is done when a
package of washing is received.  The shirts are first sorted out
and taken to an expert who rapidly sprinkles them with sulphuric

Then they go to the coloring room where they are dipped in a
solution of yellow stain.  From this they pass to the machine-gun
room where holes are shot in them and from there by an automatic
carrier to the hydraulic tearing room where the sleeves are torn
out.  After that they are squeezed absolutely flat under enormous
pressure which puts them into such a shape that the buttons can all
be ripped up at a single scrape by an expert button ripper.

The last process is altogether handwork and accounts, I am
informed, for the heavy cost.  A good button-ripper with an expert
knowledge of the breaking strain of material, easily earns fifty
dollars a day.  But the work is very exacting, as not a single
button is expected to escape his eye.  Of late the big laundries
are employing new chemical methods, such as mustard gas, tear
bombs, and star shells.

Collars, I understand, are treated in the same way, though the
process varies a little according as the aim is to produce the
Fuzzled Edge Finish or the Split Side Slit.  The general idea, of
course, in any first class laundry, is to see that no shirt or
collar ever comes back twice.  If it should happen to do so, it is
sent at once to the Final Destruction Department, who put gun
cotton under it and blow it into six bits.  It is then labelled
"damaged" and sent home in a special conveyance with an attendant
in the morning.

Had the poor washerwoman kept a machine-gun and a little dynamite,
she could have made a fortune.  But she didn't know it.  In the old
days a washerwoman washed a shirt for ten-twelfths of a cent--or
ten cents a dozen pieces.  The best laundries, those which deny all
admission to their offices and send back their laundry under an
armed guard, now charge one dollar to wash a shirt, with a special
rate of twelve dollars a dozen.

On the same scale the washerwoman's wages would be multiplied by a
hundred and twenty.  She really represented in value an income of
fifty dollars a year.  Had it been known, she could have been
incorporated and dividends picked off her like huckleberries.

Now that I think of it, she was worth even more than that.  With
the modern laundry a shirt may be worn twice, for one day each
time.  After that it is blown up.  And it costs four dollars to buy
a new one.  In the old days a shirt lasted till a man outgrew it.
As a man approached middle life he found, with a certain
satisfaction, that he had outgrown his shirt.  He had to spend
seventy-five cents on a new one, and that one lasted till he was
buried in it.

Had some poor woman only known enough to pick up one of these
shirts and bite the neck out of it, she might have started
something really big.

But even when all this has been said there remains more yet.  In
the old days if you had a complaint to make to the washerwoman you
said it to her straight out.  She was THERE.  And she heard the
complaint and sneaked away with tears in her eyes to her humble
home where she read the Bible and drank gin.

But now if you have a complaint to make to an Amalgamated Laundry
Corporation, you can't find it.  There is no use complaining to the
chauffeur in livery.  He never saw a shirt in his life.

There is no use going to the office.  All you find there are groups
of lady employees sheltered behind a cast-iron grating.  They never
saw your shirt.  Don't ask them.  They have their office work and
in the evening they take extension lectures on the modern drama.
They wouldn't know a shirt if they saw it.

Nor can you write to the company.  I speak here of what I know for
I have tried to lay a complaint before a laundry company in
writing, and I know the futility of it.  Here is the letter I

To the Board of Directors,
The Amalgamated Universal Laundry Company


I wish you would try to be a little more careful with my shirt.  I
mean the pink one.  I think you put a little more starch in the
neck the last time than you intended and it all seems stuck

Very faithfully yours,--

But the only answer I got was a communication in the following

Dear Sir,

Folio 110,615.  Department 0412.  Received February 19th, 9.26 A.M.
Read March 19th, 8.23 A.M.  Sent down April 19th 4.01 A.M.  Sent up
May 19th 2 A.M.

We beg to inform you that your communication as above will be laid
before the shareholders at the next general meeting.  In answering
kindly indicate folio, department, street, age and occupation.  No
complaints received under names or in words.


Folio 0016.

After that I felt it was hopeless to go on.  My only chance for the
future is that I may get to know some beautiful rich woman and
perhaps her husband will run away and leave her weeping and
penniless and drinking gin, and then I will appear in the doorway
and will say, "Dry your tears, dear, dear friend; there is
prosperity for you yet; you shall wash my shirt."

The Questionnaire Nuisance

A Plan to Curb Zealous Investigators in Their Thirst for Knowledge

Everybody who manages an office or carries on a profession or
teaches in a college, is getting to be familiar with the thing
called "questionnaire."  It is a sheet of questions or inquiries
sent round broadcast and supposed to deal with some kind of social
investigation.  Some of these questions come direct from the insane
asylums, but others purport to come from students, investigators,
and social workers.  But wherever they come from, they are rapidly
developing into a first class national nuisance.

Here for example on my desk is a letter which reads:

"I am a graduate of the Myopia Woman's College of Agricultural
Technology, and I am making a special investigation of the
government ownership of cold storage plants.  Will you please write
me the history of any three governments which you know to possess
cold storage plants?  Will you also let me have your opinion on
coldness, on storage, and on plants?"

Here is another one that came in by the same mail:

"I am a social worker in Nut College, Nutwood on the Hum, and am
making out a chart or diagram to show whether the length of the
human ear is receding or going right ahead.  Will you kindly
measure your ears and let me know about their growth?  Keep me
advised if they start."

Along with these are letters asking me to give my opinion, with
reasons, whether or not elected aldermen are more crooked than
aldermen not even fit to be elected; asking where I stand on the
short ballot and what I think of prison reform and the union of the
Presbyterian churches.

I have come to the conclusion that something decisive has got to be
done about these questionnaires; so I have decided in the interests
of myself and other sufferers to write out a model answer for one
of them and afterwards to let that answer suffice for all the
others.  Here is the one that I have selected for answering.  I
didn't make it up.  It is the genuine article, as anyone used to
these things will recognize at once.

It runs as follows:

"Dear Sir:

"I am an American college student and I have been selected along
with Mr. John Q. Beanhead of the class of 1926, of whom you may
have heard, to represent the Bohunk Agriculture College in the
forthcoming debate against Skidoo Academy.  Our subject of debate
is to be on the question:  Resolved, that the United States should
adopt a parliamentary system of government.  Knowing that you have
the knowledge of these problems, and trusting that you will be
pleased to answer at once, I have selected the following questions
which I hope will not take too much of your valuable time to

"1.  How does the efficiency of the British government compare with
that of the United States?

"2.  Do you think the minority has too much power in the United

"3.  What is your opinion of a democracy?

"4.  What is a responsible government?

"5.  How would the adoption of the British system affect our
Supreme Court?

"I will sincerely appreciate any further suggestions which you may
care to make in answer to these questions or concerning any
advantage or defect of either system, or any other system.

"Yours truly.

"O. Y. KNOTT."

The answer which I prepared for Mr. Knott reads as follows:

"Dear Sir:

"As soon as I heard from your letter that the big debate is on
between Bohunk and Skidoo, I was thrilled with excitement.  Can we
win it?  Can we put enough international energy behind you and Mr.
Beanhead (Do I know of him?  How CAN you ask it?) to drive the
thing through?  I want to say at once that in this business you are
to regard my own time as absolutely valueless.  I may tell you
frankly that from now until the big debate is pulled off I purpose
to lay aside every other concern in life and devote myself to your
service.  I couldn't possibly answer your question in any other

"So now let me turn to your actual questions.  You ask first, 'How
does the efficiency of the British government compare with that of
the United States?'

"Here is a nice, straightforward, manly question.  You won't object
if my answer is of rather extended length, and you must not mind if
it takes me a week to get it ready for you.  I shall not only have
to handle a good deal of historical material, but I also propose to
cable to Mr. Stanley Baldwin and ask him how the efficiency of his
government is standing right now.

"Your next question asks whether the minority has too much power in
the United States.  Again a wonderfully shrewd inquiry.  How DO you
manage to think of these things?  Has it too much power?  Let me
think a little.  In order to answer your question, I'm afraid I
shall have to read over the history of the United States from the
Declaration of Independence.

"You ask next, What is my opinion of a democracy?  This I can
answer briefly.  It is the form of government under which you are
permitted to live.

"Your next question is, 'What is a responsible government?'  I
admit the keenness of the inquiry.  It is amazing the way you get
to the center of things.  But I am not prepared.  Give me a month
on this, if you possibly can.

"Your last question (for the present) reads 'How would the adoption
of the British System affect our Supreme Court?'  Here again I can
hardly answer without perhaps fatiguing you with details.  But I
will write to Justice Taft and to Lord Reading and while we are
waiting for their answers perhaps you would care to send me along a
few more questions.  I can be working on them in my spare time."

I had written the above letter and then on second thoughts I
decided not to send it.  What would be the use?  The kind of young
man who sends out the questionnaires is quite impervious to satire.

The only thing to do is to try to form a league of grown-up people
who refuse to be investigated.  I propose to be the first in it.
Henceforth I will answer no questions except to the census taker
and the income tax man.

If any college girl is investigating the upward trend of mortality
among mules or the downward movement of morality among humans, she
need not come to me.  If any young man is making a chart or diagram
or a graph to show the per capita increase of crime let him go to
the penitentiary.  My door henceforth is closed.

This Expiring World

I have just been reading in the press the agonizing statement that
there are only 4,000,000,000,000 cords of pulp wood left in the
world, and that in another fifty years it will be all gone.  After
that there will be no pulp.  Who is it that is consuming all this
pulp, I do not know.  I am sure that in my own home, apart from a
little at breakfast, we don't use any.

But the main point is that in fifty years it will all be finished.
In fifty years from now, where there used to be great forests of
pulp-trees reaching to the furthest horizon, there will be nothing
but a sweep of bare rolling rocks, lifeless and untenanted, where
nothing will be heard except the mournful cry of the waterfowl
circling in the empty sky over what was once the forests of North

Or no--I forgot.  It seems that there will be no waterfowl either.
In the very same newspaper I read that the waterfowl of America are
disappearing so fast that in another forty years they will be
extinct.  Parts of the country that only a few years ago were
literally black with black duck, teal, ptarmigan, and pemmican now
scarcely support one flamingo to the square mile.  In another
generation the whole continent will have turned into farms, fields,
motor roads, and the motor cars will have penetrated everywhere.

Motor cars, did I say?  I fear I am in error there again.  In forty
years there will be no motor cars.  Gasoline, it is certain, is
running out.  Professor Glumb of Midnight, Alaska, has just made a
calculation to show that at the rate at which we are using up the
world's gasoline, the supply will end in forty years.

He warns us that even now there are only 4,000,000,000,000,000
gallons in sight.  There may be just a little more, he thinks,
under the Red Sea; he has not been down, but he doubts if there are
more than a couple of million billion gallons.  In a little time it
will be all gone.  The motor cars will stand packed in rows and it
won't be possible to move them an inch.

And what is worse, it won't be any use trying to substitute coal.
There won't be any.  It is to run out the year before gasoline.
Our reckless use of it all through the nineteenth century has
brought us to the point where there are only 10,000,000,000,000
tons left.  Assuming that we go on consuming it, even at our
present rate, the last clinkers will be raked out of the last
furnace in 1964.  After that the furnace man will simply draw his
salary and sit in the cellar: there won't be a thing for him to do.

At first some of the scientists--such as Professor Hoopitup of Joy
College--were inclined to think that electricity might take the
place of coal as a source of power, heat, light, and food.  But it
appears not.  The electricity is nearly all gone.  Already the
Chicago drainage canal has lowered Niagara Falls the tenth of an
inch, and in places where there was once the white foaming cataract
leaping in a sheet of water a foot thick, there is now only eleven
inches and nine-tenths.

We may perhaps last on a little longer if we dam the St. Lawrence,
and dam the drainage canal, and dam the Hudson--in short, if we dam
the whole continent up and down.  But the end is in sight.  In
another forty years the last kilowatt of electricity will have been
consumed, and the electric apparatus will be put in a museum, and
exhibited as a relic of the past to the children of the future.

Children?  No, no, I forgot.  It is hardly likely there will be
any, forty years hence.  The children are disappearing as rapidly
as the gasoline and the waterfowl.  It is estimated that the
increase of the birth rate on this continent is steadily falling.
A few years ago it was 40 per thousand, then it sank to 20, then it
passed to 10, and now it is down to decimal four something.  If
this means anything it means that today we have an average of a
thousand adults to decimal four something of a child.  The human
race on this continent is coming to a full stop.

Moreover, the same fate that is happening to gasoline and coal
seems to be overtaking the things of the mind.  It is, for example,
a subject of universal remark that statesmen seem to be dying out.
There may be a few very old statesmen still staggering round, but
as a class they are done.  In the same way there are no orators:
they're gone.  And everybody knows that there is hardly such a
thing left now as a gentleman of the old school.  I think that one
was seen a month or so ago somewhere in a marsh in Virginia.  But
that's about the last.  In short, civility is dead, polite culture
is gone, and manners are almost extinct.

On the other side of the account I can find nothing conspicuous
except the very notable increase of the criminal class.  It has
recently been calculated by Professor Crook (graduate of Harvard
and Sing Sing) that within forty years every other man will belong
to the criminal class; and even the man who isn't the other man
will be pretty tough himself.

In other words, the outlook is bad.  As I see it, there is nothing
for it but to enjoy ourselves while we can.  The wise man will go
out, while it is still possible, and get some pulp and a pint of
gasoline and a chunk of coal and have a big time.

Are We Fascinated with Crime?

Most readers will agree with me that of late the newspapers have
been fine reading.  First there was the account of the new murder
in Cleveland where the body was sent away by express.  Then there
was the story of the bob-haired bandit--it didn't say whether man
or woman--who held up an entire subway station and got clean away
with the iron ticket office.  There was the man who killed his
mother-in-law and refused to give any reason, and the high-school
girl of fifteen who shot the teacher because he tried to teach her
algebra.  Along with this there were two kidnappings, three
disappearances of reputable citizens, two degeneracies and a little
sprinkling of bank robberies and train wrecking in Arkansas.  Take
it all in all it made the morning paper well worth reading.  With a
sheet of news like that the trip on the street car to one's work
passes like a moment.

There were of course the foreign murders, too.  But I generally
keep them for my lunch hour.  I find it hard to get up the same
interest when they murder Turks and Finns and Letts as when you
have the thing right at home.  One body packed in a trunk in
Cleveland and sent by express is better to me than a whole car-load
lot of Letts.  I get more out of it.  But taking them all together
and adding up the home and foreign crimes I found that yesterday's
paper was thirty per cent straight criminality.  That I think is
about a record and will compare very favorably with Soviet Russia
or with the Dark Ages.  Indeed I doubt if the Dark Ages, even in
equatorial Africa, had anything on us in point of interest in

My first feeling over this record was one of pride.  But afterwards
on reflection I began to feel a little bit disturbed about it, and
to wonder whether as a race and a generation we are not getting
morbidly fascinated with crime, and liable to suffer for it?

Our newspapers are filled with bandits, safe breakers, home
wreckers, crooks, policemen and penitentiaries.  The stories that
sell best are stories in which there is murder right straight off
on the first page.  The sneaking fascination of the daring criminal
has put the soldier and the patriot nowhere.  Stories of brave men
who give their lives for their country are now written only for
children.  Grown up people read about daring criminals, who talk
worse English than the first year class at a college and call a
trust company a "crib" and a bank manager a "stiff."  That is the
kind of literature that is making Shakespeare and Milton and
Emerson sound like a lecture on anthropology.

If a rich man is killed by his chauffeur in Tampa, Florida, and his
body hidden in the gasoline tank, why should you and I worry?  We
don't live in Tampa and we have no chauffeur and gasoline is too
expensive for us to waste like that.

Yet a whole continent will have to sit up and read a column of news
about such a simple little event as that.

I suppose that in a sense this hideous interest in crime and its
punishment is as old as humanity.  It must have created quite a
stir when Cain killed Abel.  On our own continent our oldest
knowledge of manners and customs is the story of the Indian's
delight in torture, feebly paralleled by the Puritan's pleasure in
throwing rotten eggs at a sinner in the stocks.  In what are now
called the "good old times" in England, say about the time of the
Tudors, people used to tramp long distances with a "lunch" in their
pockets to go and see a man burnt in a sheet of white flame.  One
reads stories of people taking little children to executions and
holding them up to see.  Even when the days of the burning were
over people still gathered in crowds of a morning round Newgate
jail in London to see the hangings.  Rare sport it must have been.
For a specially good show they were there the night before, sitting
up all night to hold the good places.

In what we call the civilized countries mankind has forbidden
itself the pleasure of inflicting tortures and watching executions.
But we are breaking out in a new spot.  The same evil instinct
finds another vent.  Since we are not allowed any longer to go to
executions and to take a personal part in crimes we like to read
about them.  And the vast apparatus of our press and our telegraph
can give us opportunities in this direction of which our ancestors
never dreamed.  Think what could have been made by a first class
New York newspaper organization, and by the moving picture people,
of the burning of Latimer and Ridley?  It seems like a lost

Under our conditions we don't have to confine ourselves, as the man
of two centuries ago did, to the crimes of our own neighbourhood.
We can gather them in from all the world.  He had to be content
with a hanging every now and then.  We can have a dozen or two
every day, and if we care to count Finns and Letts, easily a

But the moralist--that's me--is bound to ask where is it leading
us?  What is the result of it on our minds and characters, this
everlasting dwelling on crime.  Somebody wrote long ago that--

     Vice is a monster of such hideous mien,
     That to be hated needs but to be seen,
     But too oft seen, familiar with her face
     We first endure, then pity, then embrace.

The same is true of crime.  The everlasting depiction and perusal
of it corrupts the mind--not yours of course, my dear reader,
because you are strong minded.  But it corrupts the feeble mind.
Personally I admit that I found myself reflecting on the man that
killed his mother-in-law and gave no reason and wondering perhaps--
but let it go.

Everybody knows that this North American Continent--the people of
the United States, the Canadians, the Mexicans and the Eskimos--is
undergoing a wave of crime such as was never known before.  Some
people attribute this to one thing, some to another.  Some say it
is because of the decline of Presbyterianism, and some say it is an
effect of motor cars.  But my own idea is that the chief cause of
it is crime literature, crime news and universal outbreak of crime

One naturally asks what are we going to do about it?  Many people
would immediately suggest that the first thing to be done is to
amend the federal constitution of the United States so as to forbid
all morbid interest in crime; and then to pass a series of state
statutes for hanging anybody who takes too much interest in

I don't think that the evil can be cured that way.  That is a
method of doing things that has worn pretty thin.  In the United
States and Canada we have got so many prohibitive and preventive
statutes already that we are in danger of all being in jail before
we are done with it.  The only remedy is the slow but efficacious
force of public opinion of what used to be called, in days before
legislatures made statutes, the working of the spirit.

For social evils the first remedy is a social consciousness of the
evil.  If the community becomes conscious of its unwholesome morbid
interest in crime, that already will start the cure.  Sensible
persons here and there will begin to take the mote--or the motor--
out of their own eye--as a first step toward taking the beam out of
their neighbors.  Newspapers and magazine makers and moving picture
makers have no innate desire to foist crime news on the public.
They are probably sick of it.  Left to themselves they would rather
go fishing or dig in the garden.  The notion that a newspaper
reporter is half brother to the criminal is erroneous.  In point of
news, and amusements and pictures, the public always gets what the
public wants.  This is a pity, but it is so.

There is no need for anybody to start a "national movement" in this
matter.  Personally I refuse to join in it.  I have been dragged
into too many already--swatting flies, and going to see mother on
May 11th, and never spitting except at home--my time is all taken
up with them.

But anybody can start a movement by beginning with himself.  That's
what I mean to do.  Henceforth it is of no use for a newspaper
editor to hand me out stories of crime and violence.  I'm done with
them.  I want to read the quiet stuff--about how the autumn hoe
crop is looking, and about the latest lectures on paleontology and
how cold it has turned at Nome in Alaska.  That kind of thing
improves the human mind and does nothing but good.

But before I do start, I'd just like to have one little peep at
that news I see in today's paper about the man who murdered the
barber in Evansville because he was too slow in shaving him.  That
sounds good, but after that I'm done.


Round Our City

At the Ladies Culture Club

A Lecture on The Fourth Dimension

It has become a fixed understanding that with each approaching
winter there begins the open season for the various Ladies Culture
Clubs.  I suppose that this kind of club exists in everybody else's
town just as it does in mine.  We have one in my town that meets at
eleven (every other Tuesday), has just a small cup of coffee and
just a tiny sandwich, hears an hour's talk, usually on music or
art, and then goes home.

Then there's one that meets at lunch, every second Thursday and
every third Tuesday, quite informally, just eats a tiny beefsteak
with a nice dish of apple pie after it and listens to a speech on
national affairs, excluding of course all reference to political
parties or politics, or public opinion, and all references to
actual individuals or actual facts.

After that there's a club, mostly of older women, which meets at
three (without refreshments till after) and discusses social
problems such as how to keep younger women in hand.  This club
meets every first Monday in the month unless it falls at the
beginning of a week.

But the club that has most interested me recently is the Ladies
Culture Club because I had the honor of visiting it a little while
ago.  The club was founded two winters ago--as was explained to me
over the ice cream by the president--with the idea that it is a
pity that women know so little of science and that nowadays science
is really becoming a quite important thing, and when you think of
radio and electrons and atoms and things like that one ought to
know something about them for fear of your feeling ignorant.

So when the club was founded it was made absolutely and exclusively
a woman's club, men taking no part in it whatever, except that men
are invited to be the speakers and to sit on the platform and
attend the meetings.

The day I was there the meeting was held in the ballroom of the new
Grand Palaver hotel, because that is a simple place suitable for
science.  There were no decorations except flowers and no music
except a Hungarian orchestra which stopped the moment the lecture
began.  This is a rule of the club.

The attendance was so large that several of the ladies remarked
with pride that it would hardly have been possible to get an equal
number of men to come at three o'clock in the afternoon to listen
to a lecture on Four Dimensional Space.

The great mass of members were seated in chairs on the floor of the
ballroom with a certain number of men here and there among them;
but they were a peculiar kind of men.  The president and a group of
ladies were on a raised platform and they had in the middle of them
Professor Droon who was to lecture on Four Dimensional Space.  In
front of him they had put a little table with a glass and water,
enough water to last a camel for a four days' trip.  Behind
Professor Droon was a barricade of chairs and plants with spikes.
He couldn't escape.

The President rose and made the regulation announcement that there
were a good many members who had not yet paid their fees this
season and it was desirable that they should do so owing to the
high cost of bringing lecturers to the club.

She then picked up a piece of paper and read from it as follows:

"The Pythagorean philosophers as well as Philolans and Hicetus of
Syracuse conceived of space as immaterial.  The Alexandrine
geometers substituted a conception of rigid coordinates which has
dominated all scientific thinking until our own day.  I will now
introduce Professor Droon who will address the members on Four
Dimensional Space if the ladies near the doorway will kindly occupy
the chairs which are still empty at the front."

Professor Droon, rising behind the water jug, requested the
audience in a low voice to dismiss from their minds all
preconceived notions of the spatial content of the universe.  When
they had done this, he asked them in a whisper to disregard the
familiar postulate in regard to parallel lines.  Indeed, it would
be far better, he murmured, if they dismissed all thought of lines
as such and substituted the idea of motion through a series of loci
conceived as instantaneous in time.

After this he drank half the water and started.

In the address which followed and which lasted for one hour and
forty minutes, it was clear that the audience were held in rapt
attention.  They never removed their eyes from the lecturer's face
and remained soundless except that there was a certain amount of
interested whispering each time he drank water.

When he mentioned that Euclid, the geometrician, was married four
times there were distinct signs of amusement.  There was a sigh of
commiseration when he said that Archimedes was killed by a Roman
soldier just as he was solving a problem in mechanics.  And when he
mentioned the name of Christopher Columbus there was obvious and
general satisfaction.

In fact, the audience followed the lecture word for word.  And when
at length the professor asked in a whisper whether we could any
longer maintain the conception of a discrete universe absolute in
time and drank the rest of the water and sat down, the audience
knew that it was the end of the lecture and there was a distinct
wave of applause.

The comments of the audience as they flowed out of the hall showed
how interested they had been.  I heard one lady remark that
Professor Droon had what she would call a sympathetic face; another
said, yes, except that his ears stuck out too far.

Another said that she had heard that he was a very difficult man to
live with; and another said that she imagined that all scientists
must be because she had a friend who knew a lady who had lived in
the same house all one winter with the Marconis and very often
Marconi wouldn't eat.  There was a good deal of comment on the way
the professor's tie was up near his ear and a general feeling that
he probably needed looking after.

There was a notice at the door where we went out which said that
the next lecture would be by Professor Floyd of the college
department of botany on The Morphology of Gymnosperms.  They say
there will be a big attendance again.

Our Own Business Barometer

For Use in Stock Exchanges and Stock Yards

Recently, with the assistance of a group of experts, I have been
going into the statistical forecast business.

I have been led to do this by noticing how popular this kind of
thing has come to be.  All over the country there are banks and
trust companies, and statistical bureaus and college departments
that send out surveys of business conditions and prophecies of what
good business is going to do.  In any good high school the senior
commercial class is prepared to work out a chart showing what
"world conditions" are going to be next month.

I note that this kind of literature is having a wonderful
popularity.  Many people are so busy nowadays that they have hardly
time to read even the latest crime news, such as how the bob-eared
bandit held up the Grand Central Station and got away with the
entire Information Stand.  But they can always find a few leisure
moments for reading about the probable effect of the failure of the
Siamese rice crop on the motor car industry.

In other words, this kind of literature has come to stay.  There is
henceforth a regular demand for a wide-eyed, clear-sighted survey
of the business field.  It is for this reason that I have been led
to go into it and with the aid of experts am prepared to offer for
the use of business men a brief survey of the prospects of the
globe for next month.

We decided, naturally, to begin with the discussion of export
wheat.  It is the custom of all survey makers to start with the
wheat situation and we follow their example.  We find that advices
from Argentine, from Turkestan and from Simcoe County, Ontario,
indicate that the wheat situation is easier than it was.  My
experts place the Russian output at about half a billion poods
while the Egyptian crop is not likely to fall below two hundred
million quids.  Add to this a Chinese autumn production of at least
a million chunks and a first impression is one of exuberance if not

But other factors are less reassuring.

There is a visible supply of 10,000,000 bushels of wheat in the
elevators at the head of the Great Lakes and 10,000,000 bushels in
transit to Liverpool, but on the other hand the Japanese
consumption of wheat bread has fallen 3.6 per cent in the last
month and the Chinese will hardly touch it.

Disturbed political conditions in the Argentine republic may result
in the cessation of Argentine export but on the other hand improved
conditions in Soviet Russia may result in the liberation of the
Russian supply.  The wheat crop in Hindoostan is said to be in
serious danger of destruction from rust but as against that the
wheat crop in Persia looks great.  Speculative buying on the
European exchanges may force the price up but on the other hand
speculative selling may force it down.  Our expert opinion
therefore is that we don't know.  Wheat may go up in price; but it
may not.

General business conditions, in our opinion, show distinct signs of
improvement but they also show unmistakable signs of getting worse.
There were 2,100 business failures reported last month in the
United States and Canada.  But in a way that's nothing.  There are
a great many people who deserve to fail.  Bank deposits, however,
increased from $21,161,482,936.84 to $22,668,931,056.48, or
something like that; we are speaking only from memory.

Sterling exchange in New York opened for the month at $4.84, rose
sharply to $4.84 26/32, reacted to $4.83 and then moved steadily up
to $4.89.  Why it did this we have been unable to find out.

Meantime the Brazilian revolution has focused financial attention
on the milreis.  As far as we can understand what the milreis did,
it seems to have risen upwards, fallen down, lain flat, tried to
get up, failed, raised itself again and then flopped.  Our experts
are not prepared to give any opinion as to what the milreis will do
next.  Some people think this is a good time to buy it, but if it
was ours we should sell it.  We wouldn't want it round the place.

The movement of prices has been in various directions, some up,
some down and some sideways.  There was a five per cent drop in
Portland cement, and a ten per cent fall in pig iron.  But we
ourselves are not using any just now and were more affected by the
rise of 2 cents a gallon in gasoline which hit us hard and
shortened our investigations by about ten miles a day.

During the same period under consideration there have been strikes,
lockouts, earthquakes, cloudbursts, insurrections and other
disturbing conditions beyond even the power of a senior commercial
class to calculate.

Taking all these factors into consideration our conclusion upon the
whole is that we don't know what business is going to do next
month, and we don't believe that anyone else does.  It is our
humble opinion that a problem which contains among its factors the
weather, earthquakes, snowstorms, revolutions, insurrections,
labor, the tariff, the wishes and desires of one and three quarter
billions of human beings and the legislation of over a thousand
legislatures is a little beyond us.

We will go a little further.  We incline to believe, and our
experts agree with us (they are paid to), that all this business
barometer, statistical forecast stuff means nothing more than the
age-long desire of the human race for prophecies.  There is no
doubt people like to listen to a good prophecy.  Children have
their fortunes read in the leaves of tea-cups.  Servant girls pay a
quarter to have a Negress do it with a pack of cards.  And
cultivated people pay five dollars to get a divination from a
Persian astrologer hailing from East Thirteenth Street, New York.

And so the business man has started up his own particular form of
divination in his new statistical forecast.  Our advice to our
business clients (as we do not propose to stay in the forecast
business) is this.  If you want a really good forecast don't bother
with all the statistics and the index numbers and the averages.  Go
and get your fortune told in the good old-fashioned way in words of
this sort:

"There is a fair woman coming into your life and there is also a
dark woman.  One of them will bring you great happiness but beware
of the other.  You are going to strike a great opportunity of
getting rich; but you are also in danger of getting poor.  You have
nerve but you lack confidence, but if you will cherish your belief
in yourself you will never know what a boob you really are.  One

That is the kind of forecast that has been going since the days of
the Pharaohs and is still the best known.  Stick to it.

My Pink Suit

A Study in the New Fashions for Men

This morning I put on my pink suit for the first time, and I must
say it looked too cute for anything.  I felt of course that it was
an innovation and a great change, but I was glad to be in it.

I suppose everybody has been reading all about the new fashions for
men and how over in London and Paris all the men are wearing suits
of pink and sky blue and chrome yellow.  All the London and Paris
papers that I have seen say that the new suits are a great success
and that the idea is all the rage.  But, as I say, everybody knows
about that and I don't need to explain it.  I only wanted to talk
about my own suit.

I had it made out of pink georgette undershot with a deep magenta
and crossed with an invisible slate blue so that the material
shimmers in the light with different colors, and when I walk up and
down in front of a long mirror (I bought the mirror at the same
time as the suit), the colors run up and down my back in ripples of
moving light.  The magenta color seems to suit my figure, though
several of my very best friends say that personally they think that
they prefer the slate.

I had two or three men over in the morning to sit up in my room and
watch me walk up and down in front of the glass.  Of course,
ordinarily at that time of the day they would be at their business,
but I just telephoned over to them and told them that my new suit
was such a darling that they simply MUST come over and see it.  So
they came over and we just sat around while I put on one part of
the suit after another and showed it off in the long glass.

They all agreed that the color was lovely and they said they were
just crazy to get a suit like mine.  One said that he thought that
for himself the color might be a little young and that for his age
he would rather have a bottle green or a peacock blue--something a
little older, but I told him that I was quite sure he could wear
anything just as young as anybody.  In fact, I know a man who is
past sixty, who can wear pink for evening wear, and who looks just
as young in it as anybody else would.

Perhaps I should explain, as I know a lot of my friends would like
to know about it, just how I had my suit cut.  The coat is made
rather full at the chest and then brought in at the waist line and
cut out again very full about the hips with gores and with ruffled
insertions of pleated chiffon at the point where the back falls to
the hips.

It has a ruching round the neck and is wattled around the collar
with an accordion frill brought round just below the ears and then
thrown back so as to show the back of the neck.  Some of my friends
thought that instead of a ruching they would rather have had a
little frill of lace so cut as to show the throat.  But I doubt
whether, with my throat, this would be so good.

The buttons are in a large size of mother-of-pearl and are carried
in a bold line edgeways from the shoulder to the waist with two
more buttons larger still, behind at the place where the back dips
in above the hips.

Everybody agreed that the buttons are very bold, but they thought
that they would be quieter on the street than in the house.

The waistcoat is cut very simply and snugly so as to show the curve
of the stomach as far as possible.  It has just one little pink bow
at the bottom, but beyond that it is quite plain.  One or two of my
friends thought that it might be a little too severe, but most of
us agreed that though it might seem severe indoors it wouldn't be
so at all out of doors, especially on high ground.

The trousers are cut very snug around the line of the hips with
gored insertion at each side so as to give free play for leaping or
jumping and then are flared out to the knee where they are quite
full and wide.  They end, absolutely, only a little way below the
knee and of course they need to be worn over clocked stockings or
else I have to have my legs tattooed.  They seem terribly short
when I put them on, but everybody says that it is the length they
are wearing in Paris and in London and that some of the men are
even cutting off their trousers half way between the waistcoat and
the knee.

I must say that I felt a little strange in my pink suit when I went
out presently on the street in it.  One of the men asked me to
lunch with him, so I went out in my suit with just a little straw
hat, half-size, and a bunch of violets in the lapel of my coat.  I
felt quite shy at first and quite different from my usual self, and
I think I even blushed when some one came across to my table at
lunch and told me he had never seen me look so well.

I went over to my office in the afternoon and the very first person
who came in to do business with me said he was delighted with my
suit, and so we sat and talked about it for a long time and he told
me of an awfully good shirtmaker that he could recommend if I
wanted to get some of the shirts they are wearing.  He said that
over in London they are all going in for fancy shirts to match the
new suits and that the colors they wear are the most daring you can
imagine.  He told me that a friend of his, quite an elderly man,
had just got back from the other side wearing a canary-colored
shirt with pussy willow tassels round his neck, and that it was
really quite becoming.

Other people came into my office later in the day and we did
nothing but talk about the new styles and how delicious it is going
to be for men to dress in all the colors they like to wear.

On my way home in the street car which was rather crowded, a man
got up and gave me his seat, and of course I thanked him with a
smile that showed all my teeth, but I didn't speak to him because I
wasn't sure whether I ought to speak to strangers in my pink suit.

Well, when I got home I first stood and looked at myself in the
long glass for quite a while.  And then--I don't know just why--I
went and took off my new pink costume and put on the old gray suit
that I had worn the day before.  It was made, as far as I remember,
about two and a half, or else four and a half, years ago.

It has no ruching, crocheting, or insertions in it, and it isn't
flared or gored or pleated, and it doesn't sweep boldly round the
hips or the neck or anywhere.  It has a bulge here and there where
I have sat on it or knelt in it or hung it on the electric light.
The pockets of it stick out a good deal from having been filled up
with pipes and tins of tobacco and fishing tackle.  There is more
or less ink on it, but nothing that really injures it for use.

Somehow I think I'll go back to it.

Why I Left Our Social Workers Guild

We recently started in our town--as I suppose most people would
have started in most towns--an organization called the Social
Workers' Guild.  Our idea was that we would try to do good in the
community around us.  We would send children from the slums down to
the sea, and bring children up from the sea to go to college.
Wherever we find a poor widow living in a basement with a string of
children and a new baby appearing every year, we would turn up on
the threshold with a great basketful of toys.  If the plumber was
out of work and nearly in despair, just then one of our agents
would drop a broken furnace in his lap.  Anybody who has ever felt
the fascination of that kind of thing, knows just what I mean.

And the best of it all was that all the cost of doing good was to
be met by the proceeds of entertainments and amusements organized
by the Guild, so that really we gave our money without knowing it
and had all the fun thrown in.

I don't want to say a single word against the general idea of such
Social Guilds as ours.  They are certainly very noble in intention.
But as I have been led to terminate absolutely and forever my own
membership of the Guild, I will explain the reason for my doing so
by publishing my correspondence with Mr. J. Brazil Nut, the
secretary of the league, or rather the series of letters sent by
Mr. Brazil Nut to me.

Letter No. 1

Dear Sir,

I beg to inform you that the Committee of the Guild has discovered
a very distressing case of a family who came here from Cyprus two
years ago and are anxious to return home but are unable to do so.
At the present time they are living in a small apartment of which
we need only to say that not a single window faces the south, that
there is no elevator although the place is three stories high, and
that the condition of the front steps is deplorable and the door
bell apparently PERMANENTLY OUT OF ORDER.  The landlord, we regret
to say, stubbornly refuses to knock the place down.

The father of the family is a good workman and only too willing to
work.  His trade is that of a camel driver and hitherto he has been
unable to find a camel.  But he says that if money could be found
he would go back to Cyprus where he knows of a camel.

Our Committee considering the case a deserving one, has decided to
hold a dance in the Social Workers' Hall on Saturday evening next.
It is proposed to engage Bimbasti's orchestra and, in view of the
distressing nature of the case, to serve a light supper for which
tables may be reserved by telephone.  The price of the tickets, of
which I am venturing to send you two, will be $10.00 each, the
ticket carrying with it the privilege of eating supper, or of
leaving without eating it, as may be preferred.

Yours very faithfully,

J. Brazil Nut

Secretary of the S.W.G.

Letter No. 2

Dear Sir,

I have much pleasure in thanking you for your very generous
subscription for two tickets for the dance and supper given last
week by the Guild in aid of a distressed family from Cyprus, and
informing you that the affair was organized and carried through
with great success and with great enjoyment by all concerned.  Some
fifty couples participated in the dancing, and the whole, or at
least seventy-five per cent, of the supper was eaten on the spot.

Unfortunately the expenses of the affair proved more heavy than was
expected.  Taking into account the fee for Bimbasti's orchestra and
the cost of bunting, flowers and supper, our Committee is faced
with a deficit of about five hundred dollars.  Some of the ladies
of the Committee have proposed that we give the entire deficit to
the family from Cyprus, or perhaps try to buy them a camel with it.

But the general feeling is in favor of carrying the deficit forward
and wiping it out by an informal vaudeville entertainment to be
held in the Hall of the Guild next Saturday evening.  In view of
the high cost of the talent to be engaged we have decided to place
the tickets at $25.00 or three for $100.00.  I am venturing to send
you five, which you are at entire liberty to keep, and send me the
money, or, if you prefer to do so, you may return the tickets with
the money.

Meantime I regret to say that our field committee has reported one
or two more very distressing cases.  We have on our hands the case
of a man, a master mechanic, by trade a maker of blow torches, who
appears hopelessly addicted to drink.  The man himself confesses
that he is quite unable to get along without alcohol.  Our workers
find it extremely difficult, under present conditions, to get him
any.  But they think, and the man himself agrees, that if they
could give this man a sea trip to South America he would need no
alcohol at least until his return.  Our Committee are also anxious
to obtain funds to buy a wooden leg, for a professional beggar who
needs it in his business.  It seems that he has inadvertently lost
the leg he had.  A week ago after his work he put his leg into his
valise and carried it home as usual.  But there in some way it

It is now proposed that all these cases shall be collectively
disposed of by our special vaudeville entertainment, and I trust
that you will undertake to take at least five tickets.

Very faithfully,

J. Brazil Nut

Secretary of the S.W.G.

Letter No. 3

Dear Sir,

In thanking you for your very generous subscription for five
tickets for the Guild Vaudeville entertainment of last Saturday
which you were not able to attend, I desire to inform you that the
performance was an unqualified success.  Although slightly delayed
in starting and not beginning until a quarter to eleven and briefly
interrupted later on by the going out of the electric lights for
half an hour, the whole affair was most enjoyable.  The amateur
performance of our treasurer Mr. Jones with the dumb-bells--quite
as heavy as anything seen on the stage--was voted extraordinary and
the Social Guild Girls Christian Chorus might have been mistaken
for regular music hall work.

Unfortunately the paid numbers cost us heavily and out of all
proportion to our receipts.  I regret to say that we are face to
face with a deficit of some two thousand dollars.

In order to avoid the heavy personal assessment represented by this
sum, our committee now proposes to hold, three weeks from today, an
indoor Kermesse or Bazaar to last for three days.  It is suggested
that we engage the armories building and have the floor divided up
into booths with little streets in between, with a restaurant and
dance floor.  The Kermesse will undertake the sale of a great
variety of goods which will be purchased in advance by funds
advanced by various members of the Guild who have been elected
Patrons and Associate Patrons.  It is understood that any Associate
Patron may advance $1,000, receiving it back out of the profits,
while a Patron has the privilege of advancing $2,000.  I am glad to
inform you that you have been elected unanimously to be a patron.

Our needs of the profits of this Kermesse are all the greater
insomuch as the cases reported by our field workers increase in
numbers and in gravity.  We have before us the cast of a family
from Honolulu who have recently arrived here and are sorry that
they came.  They think they would like to go to Tugugigalpa in
Honduras--either there or Winnipeg.  We have also a skilled
mechanic, very deserving, whose trade was making eye-pieces for the
periscopes of German submarines and who is unable to find work.

But we look confidently to the success of our forthcoming Kermesse
to put everything on a new footing.

Very faithfully yours,

J. Brazil Nut

Letter No. 4

Dear Sir,

In writing to inform you of the disastrous failure of the Kermesse,
held by this Guild, for which your name was put down as a Patron,
we feel it only proper to say that the failure was due to no lack
of interest or enthusiasm on the part of our members.  The careful
revision of our accounts by experts seems to show that the
financial failure arose very largely from the fact that the
articles disposed of were sold at a much lower price than what was
paid for them.  Some of our best experts agree that this would
involve a loss of money.  But others note that we lost money also
from the fact that we had to pay for rent, for heat, for light as
well as for illumination and warmth.

But all agree that there need have been no loss if the premises had
been bigger, the restaurant larger, the music louder, the crowds
greater and the deficit heavier.  I am now laying before our
committee a plan for holding a Winter Festival which is to last one
month.  It will be held in one of the larger hotels, the entire
building being taken over for our purpose.  We shall also take over
one of the railway stations and probably one of the abattoirs and
two or three of the larger provision houses.

As before we are nominating patrons who are entitled to underwrite,
or subscribe, or guarantee, any sum over $50,000 which they feel
disposed to offer.  All such sums will be paid back on the last day
of the festival.

Yours very faithfully,

J. Brazil Nut

Letter No. 5

(This time from the Honorary President of the Society--Mr. Tridout
Solidhead, one of our leading business men.)

Dear Sir,

In refusing to accept your very generous resignation from the
Social Workers Guild, I beg to inform you that we have decided to
suspend for the present the plan of a winter festival proposed by
Mr. Brazil Nut.  Instead of this we are accepting the resignation
of Mr. Nut from his position of secretary and we are proposing to
give him a gold watch with a chain and padlock as a mark of our
esteem.  The presentation will be made at a dinner which will be
given to Mr. Nut before he is taken away to where he is going.  I
am sure that you will be delighted to subscribe to the dinner (25
cents) and to the cost of the watch (10 cents per member).

Our new committee have looked into some of our urgent field cases
and disposed of them.  It appears that the family from Cyprus were
alluding to Cyprus, Ohio, and we have invited them to walk there.
The man from Honolulu we are having taught by a Negro to play the
Hawaiian ukelele, and we have got for the man with the wooden leg a
situation as a timber cruiser with a lumber company.

We have meantime put the question of the back deficit into the
hands of a group of business men.  They propose to wipe it out by
holding a small entertainment at which (by a special license from
the municipality) they will operate a roulette table, and a faro
bank, with the sale of cold drinks, selected by a business
committee, on the side.  They are now looking for a suitable place,
about twelve by fifteen, to hold this entertainment in.

Meantime we trust you will reconsider your resignation.  We are
having this matter of a public charity looked into by some of our
best business men.  Already they incline to the idea that if it is
carried on in the right spirit and with proper energy and self-
sacrifice, there may be money in it.

Very sincerely,

A. Tridout Solidhead


The Christmas Ghost

Unemployment in One of our Oldest Industries

The other night I was sitting up late--away after nine o'clock--
thinking about Christmas because it was getting near at hand.  And,
like everybody else who muses on that subject, I was thinking of
the great changes that have taken place in regard to Christmas.  I
was contrasting Christmas in the old country house of a century
ago, with the fires roaring up the chimneys, and Christmas in the
modern apartment on the ninth floor with the gasoline generator
turned on for the maid's bath.

I was thinking of the old stage coach on the snowy road with its
roof piled high with Christmas turkeys and a rosy-faced "guard"
blowing on a keybugle and the passengers getting down every mile or
so at a crooked inn to drink hot spiced ale--and I was comparing
all that with the upper berth No. 6, car 220, train No. 53.

I was thinking of the Christmas landscape of long ago when night
settled down upon it with the twinkle of light from the houses
miles apart among the spruce trees, and contrasting the scene with
the glare of motor lights upon the highways of today.  I was
thinking of the lonely highwayman shivering round with his clumsy
pistols, and comparing the poor fellow's efforts with the high
class bandits of today blowing up a steel express car with
nitroglycerine and disappearing in a roar of gasoline explosions.

In other words I was contrasting yesterday and today.  And on the
whole yesterday seemed all to the good.

Nor was it only the warmth and romance and snugness of the old
Christmas that seemed superior to our days, but Christmas carried
with it then a special kind of thrill with its queer terrors, its
empty heaths, its lonely graveyards, and its house that stood alone
in a wood, haunted.

And thinking of that it occurred to me how completely the ghost
business seems to be dying out of our Christmas literature.  Not so
very long ago there couldn't be a decent Christmas story or
Christmas adventure without a ghost in it, whereas nowadays--

And just at that moment I looked and saw that there was a ghost in
the room.

I can't imagine how he got in, but there he was, sitting in the
other easy chair in the dark corner away from the firelight.  He
had on my own dressing gown and one saw but little of his face.

"Are you a ghost?" I asked.

"Yes," he said, "worse luck, I am."

I noticed as he spoke that he seemed to wave and shiver as if he
were made of smoke.  I couldn't help but pity the poor fellow, he
seemed so immaterial.

"Do you mind," he went on, in the same dejected tone, "if I sit
here and haunt you for a while?"

"By all means," I said, "please do."

"Thanks," he answered, "I haven't had anything decent to work on
for years and years.  This is Christmas eve, isn't it?"

"Yes," I said, "Christmas Eve."

"Used to be my busiest night," the ghost complained, "best night of
the whole year--and now--say," he said, "would you believe it!  I
went down this evening to that dinner dance they have at the Ritz
Carlton and I thought I'd haunt it--thought I'd stand behind one of
the tables as a silent spectre, the way I used to in King George
III's time--"

"Well?" I said.

"They put me out!" groaned the ghost, "the head waiter came up to
me and said that he didn't allow silent spectres in the dining
room.  I was put out."  He groaned again.

"You seem," I said, "rather down on your luck?"

"Can you wonder?" said the ghost, and another shiver rippled up and
down him.  "I can't get anything to do.  Talk of the unemployed--
listen!" he went on, speaking with something like animation, "let
me tell you the story of my life--"

"Can you make it short?" I said.

"I'll try.  A hundred years ago--"

"Oh, I say!" I protested.

"I committed a terrible crime, a murder on the highway--"

"You'd get six months for that nowadays," I said.

"I was never detected.  An innocent man was hanged.  I died but I
couldn't rest.  I haunted the house beside the highway where the
murder had been done.  It had happened on Christmas Eve, and so,
every year on that night--"

"I know," I interrupted, "you were heard dragging round a chain and
moaning and that sort of thing; I've often read about it."

"Precisely," said the ghost, "and for about eighty years it worked
out admirably.  People became afraid, the house was deserted, trees
and shrubs grew thick around it, the wind whistled through its
empty chimneys and its broken windows, and at night the lonely
wayfarer went shuddering past and heard with terror the sound of a
cry scarce human, while a cold sweat--"

"Quite so," I said, "a cold sweat.  And what next?"

"The days of the motor car came and they paved the highways and
knocked down the house and built a big garage there, with
electricity as bright as day.  You can't haunt a garage, can you?
I tried to stick on and do a little groaning, but nobody seemed to
pay attention; and anyway, I got nervous about the gasoline.  I'm
too immaterial to be round where there's gasoline.  A fellow would
blow up, wouldn't he?"

"He might," I said, "so what happened?"

"Well, one day somebody in the garage actually SAW me and he threw
a monkey wrench at me and told me to get to hell out of the garage.
So I went."

"And after that?"

"I haunted round; I've kept on haunting round, but it's no good,
there's nothing in it.  Houses, hotels, I've tried it all.  Once I
thought that if I couldn't make a hit any other way, at least I
could haunt children.  You remember how little children used to
live in terror of ghosts and see them in the dark corners of their
bedrooms?  Well, I admit it was a low down thing to do, but I tried

"And it didn't work?"

"Work!  I should say not.  I went one night to a bedroom where a
couple of little boys were sleeping and I started in with a few
groans and then half materialized myself, so that I could just be
seen.  One of the kids sat up in bed and nudged the other and said,
'Say!  I do believe there's a ghost in the room!'  And the other
said, 'Hold on; don't scare him.  Let's get the radio set and see
if it'll go right through him.'

"They both hopped out of bed as brisk as bees and one called
downstairs, 'Dad, we've got a ghost up here!  We don't know whether
he's just an emanation or partially material.  We're going to stick
the radio into him--'  Believe me," continued the ghost, "that was
all I waited to hear.  Electricity just knocks me edgeways."

He shuddered.  Then he went on.

"Well it's been like that ever since--nowhere to go and nothing to
haunt.  I've tried all the big hotels, railway stations,
everywhere.  Once I tried to haunt a Pullman car, but I had hardly
started before I observed a notice, 'Quiet is requested for those
already retired,' and I had to quit."

"Well, then," I said, "why don't you just get immaterial or
dematerial or whatever you call it, and keep so?  Why not go away
wherever you belong and stay there?"

"That's the worst of it," answered the ghost, "they won't let us.
They haul us back.  These spiritualists have learned the trick of
it and they just summon us up any time they like.  They get a
dollar apiece for each materialization, but what do we get?"

The ghost paused and a sort of spasm went all through him.  "Gol
darn it," he exclaimed, "they're at me now.  There's a group of
fools somewhere sitting round a table at a Christmas Eve party and
they're calling up a ghost just for fun--a darned poor notion of
fun, I call it--I'd like to--like to--"

But his voice trailed off.  He seemed to collapse as he sat and my
dressing gown fell on the floor.  And at that moment I heard the
ringing of the bells that meant that it was Christmas midnight, and
I knew that the poor fellow had been dragged off to work.


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