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metaphor seemed to me perfectly just. RESTORING THE DESERTED VILLAGE To-day I am not so sure, and even if I
MR. EDWARD PAGE GASTON, who had been with your friends in Geneva
three years ago proposed to the Bishop I might not have been of much as
of London that the condemned churches sistance.'
of the City be removed and reërected in Soret himself then ventured the sug
the colonies and the United States, has gestion that the spiral motion of prog- recently proposed to President Cosress was due to the exercise upon the
grave that the Irish Free State unhuman mind of two kinds of pressure,
dertake to restore the rectory and the one binding it to earth and to con
garden at Lissoy in County Westmeath tented acceptance of things as they are,
where the poet Goldsmith was born the other inciting it to aspire starward.
'the village preacher's modest mansion' If these two forces were equal, human
and the enclosure 'where once the garity would move in a continuous and
den smiled,' as he described it under the vicious circle; it moves spirally only be
name of Auburn. Mr. Gaston
gests cause the elevating force is the stronger. "There you have it,' answered Goe- guest-house for tourists, and that, as
that the rectory might be used as a the 'we should reach perfection too
Ireland is trying to attract more visiquickly if we marched straight toward
tors, Goldsmith's country might bethe goal. My conception was a little
come a place of pilgrimage. He also less mathematical than yours, and if I
recommends that a Goldsmith window am not mistaken I applied it only to
be placed in the church at Lissoy, which individuals; but I see no reason why it
is itself badly in need of repairs. cannot be extended to the whole human race. But you remind me that there was a corollary idea in my mind that is itself not a bad one. That spiral
THE PROVINCIAL PROVINCES was not a simple abstract curve; “They cannot get away from Tosti's luckily for you mathematicians, I
mathematicians, I “Good-bye,” “Down in the Forest,” thought of it as a real object, and com- and that awful song, “The Jewel Song" pared it in my mind to the spring of a from Faust,' said Dame Nellie Melba watch, stretching and contracting it recently to a representative of the self in response to all kinds of acciden- Observer. No progress at all in musical tal pressures. Now you see how well taste has been made in the English the idea applies to all imaginable cases, provinces for forty years, she declares, especially if we make it take in all though London has made great strides, humanity. Some revolutions seem to and Manchester and Leeds are in adplunge nations into barbarism, as when vance of the other cities, thanks to their in the Middle Ages a thick cloud over- orchestral concerts. cast the sunlight of antiquity: it is only Madame Melba's concert farewell in my spring contracting, and, though the London will take place at the Albert curved line moves upward, it does so Hall in May, and she will appear in too slowly to be easily detected. Then opera for the last time at Covent Garall at once the pressure is removed, and den. 'I am having a farewell at the the progress that has been going on in Paris Opera House in the spring, and in the dark seems enormous to us.'
the autumn at the Théâtre de la At that point, reports Soret, the con- Monnaie in Brussels, where I made my versation took a metaphysical turn, but début. After that I am going to live in we hear nothing more of it in detail. Paris and have a jolly good time.'
national life. Naturally more imporGREEK PLAYS ON SUNDAY
tant as well as more beloved in country ANOTHER London organization for
for districts, the yellow coach, with dashspecial theatrical undertakings on Sun- ing steeds and wild horn-blower, is a day is the Greek Play Society, a group favorite figure in the landscape paintbrought together recently on the ing hanging on every parlor wall. initiative of people like Mr. W. S. 'For some time past one has noticed Kennedy of the Stage Society, Miss with a pang that the votive paintings Sybil Thorndike, and Professor Gilbert in Catholic-pilgrimage churches comMurray. The Scala Theatre will be memorating some dreadful accident used for productions, and these will be show more electric trams in a medley under the direction of Mr. Robert of broken legs and commiserating Atkins, formerly of the Old Vic. The saints than post-coaches, whose day first play to be presented was the has been gradually declining for some Edipus Tyrannus of Sophocles, and years past. Yet all over Germany every effort was made to approximate regrets are heard; what Berlin does the conditions of the Greek stage itself. to-day, other towns will do to-morrow. 'In our endeavor to come into line with Writers on the use of horns on the road the Greek theatre,' says Mr. Atkins, recall that in the Middle Ages the 'we are placing the proscenium half- privilege of announcing arrival in this way back on the stage of the Scala, more or less regal way was held in and using the fore stage as the orches- Germany by the cattle-dealers, who tra. Following also the Greek tradi- were also the butchers of that day.' tions, the actors will wear masks and the cothurnus or high boots. All the female rôles, as in the Dionysian Theatre, will be taken by men.'
A MOZART MUSEUM Edipus at Colonus and Aristophanes' The old eighteenth-century house in The Frogs are promised for early Smichov, a suburb of Prague, which production.
was the residence of Mozart's friends the Duscheks, and in which the great
composer completed his opera, Don THE LAST POSTILION
Juan, is to be made into a Mozart With the New Year,' writes a Berlin museum by the Mozart Society of correspondent to the Observer, 'one of Prague. Two rooms overlooking the the very last memories of romantic garden were turned over to the comGermany has vanished from Berlin. poser by Madame Duschek at a time The last of the bright-yellow horse- when he was living in the Old Town of driven coaches with drivers and out- Prague, and Mozart used every day to riders, complete with horn, has been walk over from his lodgings across the taken from the road, and motor- river Vltava to take advantage of this coaches supplied for parcel post have hospitality. The last owner of the taken its place. The German postilion house died in the summer of 1925, and runs through fifty years of poetry and left the place to the Salzburg Mozart song as one of the outstanding figures of Society.
Six Prisons and Two Revolutions, by Oliver
Baldwin. London: Hodder and Stoughton; Garden City: Doubleday, Page and Company. $3.00.
(New Statesman) The arithmetical precision of the title of Mr. Baldwin's book is characteristic of his method. He has kept careful count of his prisons and revolutions for the same reason that he has remembered the facts. It would have been excusable, after his experiences, if he had declared that two and two make five, an exaggeration that is often shouted from the housetops by returned travelers with the vehemence of the discoverer of a new religion. To judge from some of their books, it must be easier to keep cool in the midst of danger than when telling the world about it afterward. Mr. Baldwin reserves what warmth of feeling he has for the politicians whose broken promises led to the betrayal of Armenia. He reminds us that in 1920 the words of Lord Curzon had been circulated all over Armenia: 'I created Armenia's independence and will always stand by her'; and that in 1922–23 the same Lord Curzon refused to see an Armenian representative and left the people to their fate.
Whether or not Lord Curzon was one of those who suppose that Armenians were created solely to be victims of massacre, Mr. Baldwin certainly is not. He has seen them at close quarters, and knows them as a nation instead of as objects of pity in the appeals of relief societies. Armenia to him is not merely the birthplace of Mr. Michael Arlen. He can not only vouch for the existence of that almost mythical country, but he has even been a lieutenant-colonel in the Armenian army. At one time that statement would have implied that he was a white-moustached veteran; but in these days it shows his youth.
No one, indeed, much more than twenty would have put his head into a noose as Mr. Baldwin did when in 1920 he took on the job of infantry instructor in the Armenian army. Armenia's war with Turkey began in 1914, and, reinvigorated with British assistance, was then nearing its last disaster. The army was falling back in disorder and, with the Turkish cavalry twenty miles off, Mr. Baldwin's first piece of work was to drill the town guard and organize the defense of the capital. It was his first piece of work and his last; for one morning it was found that a Bol
shevist army had come down like a wolf on the fold, that the Government had been turned out, that a Soviet had been declared, and that the enemy was no longer the Turks to the West, but the Russians within the gates.
Mr. Baldwin, with the leading Armenians, was soon imprisoned. After that, apart from one brief interval of liberty and a short-lived counterrevolution, his story is a record of prison life in an atmosphere of terrorism. It was fortunate that his first release took place before the counter-revolution, or he would have fallen a victim in the wholesale massacre of prisoners that was the last act of the Bolsheviki before their temporary flight. As it was, he narrowly escaped death, and when later, in an attempt to leave the country, he fell into the hands of the Turks he was for months on end expecting to be the next one to be taken out and shot. Life now in England with its possibilities of week-ends at Chequers must seem to him wildly exciting in comparison with that long-drawn-out ordeal of hunger and dread; for, though it is sensational enough to read about, the monotony of it must have been deadening. It is Mr. Baldwin's way, however, to give us the facts and to leave us to draw such inferences for ourselves.
Alexander and Three Small Plays, by Lord
Dunsany. London and New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons. $1.75.
[Morning Püst] DECIDEDLY Lord Dunsany is one of the beaut esprits of the age. There is not only a poetical imagination, but an individuality, about his work that is singularly stimulating. One never knows what he will find next, but it is always something out of the comm
amonplace. Those who remember The Gods of the Mountain' and “The Glittering Gate' will know Lord Dunsany's gift for stirring the sense of mystery and fear. In this new volume there is nothing comparable to those dramatic pieces, though there is something equally characteristic in ‘Alexander' mocking tragedy written on the theme of the world-conquering hero. It is written in prose, but such prose as only a poet could write, and it touches unfailingly the heroic mood. How it would play on the stage it would be unsafe to predict, but it is impossible to read it without feeling its effect:
The play is the tragedy Man;
The hero, the conqueror, Worm. There is the same mocking of the vanity of human wishes in 'The Old King's Tale'. mere trifle beside the four acts of 'Alexander,' but bearing the authentic Dunsany water-mark in its climax. Of 'The Evil Kettle,'- a fantasy about the youth of James Watt, with its disquieting suggestion that the invention of steam was the inspiration of the Devil, — and of “The Amusements of Khan Kharuda,' it is impossible to say much as dramatic pieces. They are really short stories, and would be more effective in the narrative form. As to the latter, it was perhaps hardly worth including with the others. It misses its effect, in spite of an overelaboration of the means for attaining it.
terribly astute in his love for her, nags and taunts her into a confession that surprises herself. The sick outpourings of the man's heart make us feel for him a mingled scorn and compassion; but Priscilla, for all his denunciations, rises from the pages serene, intrinsically honest, courageous to the last. In the end, driven to desperation by his hysterical attempts to exterminate he 'most hideous sin,' she leaves him and goes to the man she cares for.
We may wonder what she sees in Crab to let him break her life with such glory and suffering. Don't we often wonder that when a woman sacrifices everything for a man whose charm is not obvious to the outside world? Crab Willing is more or less a shadow in the narratives of both Tweedle and Simon; neither knew him well. ‘No one knew him; nobody, that is to say, in the country was his intimate, and few people in the world. But we are told: “There was about him, not in him physically, but existing somewhere, lurking in his being, usually hidden, a beauty that flashed now and then like a steel blade catching the light.'
The minor characters are peculiarly vivid and alive, especially Priscilla's mother, Lady Agatha; “ignorant, comic, sublime,'Tweedle calls her, and finds her the most pathetic figure of them all. These people work out their destinies in a dignified manner, poignantly at variance with their emotions, against a background as typically English as they themselves are typically English. They belong to old county families whose 'idea is to present to the world a passably decent exterior that has as little resemblance as possible to the self within. It is a story of inward fires that burst at last through the crust of conventionalism and burn themselves out to the gray ashes of tragedy; a strong and vitally truthful piece of work - - as one would expect from the author of Jane — Our Stranger.
Jericho Sands, by Mary Borden. London:
Heinemann; New York: Alfred A. Knopf. $2.50.
(Bookman) ONLY an author confident of her powers would have attempted this searching self-revelation of a mystic, torn between a frenzied devotion to God and his love for a woman who has pity and tenderness to give him but not the greater gift for which he hungers. In other, less competent hands the theme might have been sordid and commonplace, but Miss Borden, tempering realism with an exquisite reticence, exalts the love of Priscilla Birch and Crab Willing to a higher plane, and makes the jealousy of the husband a painfully real and soul-wrecking passion. When he challenges her with sinfulness she answers simply, 'It seemed beautiful to me'; and that note of beauty runs through all the torrent of his own version of the calamity. For the story is told by Simon Birca, – that is, the kernel of the story, — a prelude and epilogue being contributed by William Tweedle, an old friend of all the parties concerned, presenting a fairer delineation of Priscilla and explaining to some extent her point of view. Simon's raging jealousy is the book's bitter core. Yet even through his eyes we see Priscilla struggling against her longing for Crab, innocent of her own feelings till Simon,
BOOKS MENTIONED CARTER, HUNTLY. The New Spirit in the Euro
pean Theatre. London: Benn; New York: George H. Doran Company. $7.50.
OUR OWN BOOKSHELF
The Life and Letters of Thomas Jefferson, by
Francis W. Hirst. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1926. $6.00.
and it is easy to believe him, if only on the ground that a prose anthology must be made up of 'bits,' whereas a verse anthology may be made up of complete pieces. But this is the only serious limitation that can have operated on the making of this book. Beginning with Chaucer's contemporary, John de Trevisa, and ending with Rupert Brooke, it sweeps the field of English prose with a fine binocular gesture, bringing into our range of vision the smooth lowlands of Addison and Adam Smith and H. G. Wells as sharply as the rockier elevations of Donne and Johnson and Emily Brontë – to take representatively incongruous names. On the whole, a skillfully managed and how an exciting book.
The State of England, by a Gentleman with a
Duster. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1925. $1.75.
BEING the first English biographer of Thomas Jefferson, Mr. Hirst perhaps felt it was incumbent upon him to praise his subject to the skies. Or it may have been the influence of Lord Morley, who suggested the book in the first place. At all events, the job has been done thoroughly, competently, and faithfully — the book is exactly what one feels a 'Life and Letters of So-and-So' should be. Its only fault is that one occasionally has difficulty in distinguishing the forest from the trees, and to an American reader it seems that too much time is spent in the relation of more or less elementary historical facts. But Mr. Hirst's good nature and good manners, his lack of condescension so rare in Britishers of any creed or party, make one loath to find fault. Just as Lord Morley was the last aristocratic Liberal, so Jefferson was the first democratic gentleman. But Jefferson, like all first-rate men, owed his success much less to his philosophical formulas than to his natural character, intelligence, and horse sense. Although Mr. Hirst would probably not agree with either of these verdicts, any more than he would be willing to admit that Jefferson's political philosophy is a back number, still he is such a thorough Liberal that anyone who wishes to do so can draw such conclusions from his book. At a time when democracy is so very unpopular as it is to-day, it is just as well to be reminded that a mind as fine as Thomas Jefferson's reached quite different conclusions from those arrived at by Machiavelli, Mussolini, and Mencken.
This Gentleman bases his gloomy prophecy of England's imminent collapse on the mental futility and social licentiousness which he sees all about him. How it happens that the United States, which exhibits many of the same phenomena, is abnormally prosperous does not seem to worry him. It is impossible to escape the conclusion that the author does not understand basic economics and is peculiarly unfortunate in his circle of acquaintances. That England's economic policy has been and still is to a certain degree vacillating, and that her social structure is very vulnerable, cannot be denied; but this diagnosis is worse than imperfect.
The Oxford Book of English Prose. Chosen
The American's London, by Thomas Hunt
Martin. Hartford, Conn.: Edwin Valentine Mitchell, 1925.
and edited by Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch. New York: Oxford University Press, American Branch, 1925. $3.75.
FOR twenty-five years, The Oxford Book of English Verse has been to other anthologies of poetry what Baedeker has always been to travelbooks and Webster to dictionaries. Now, on the twenty-fifth anniversary of its publication, Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, who was responsible for it, has brought out a companion volume of English prose. He protests, in a preface, that the second task was infinitely the more difficult,
An informing and chatty little book that hosts of American tourists in England will enjoy. Mr. Martin has combed the history books to find the incidents and personalities who have a joint connection with England and America, and his material is arranged to provide a commentary on most of the buildings, monuments, or what not, that the visitor may see. He is rarely dull, and often entertaining, and has rescued from obscurity many a thing of which even Londoners born are ignorant.