Nothing is said about the employer who grows old before his time in a vain attempt to get frowsy ne'er-do-wells to do intelligent work; and his long, patient striving with "help" that

does nothing but loaf when his back is turned. In every store 5 and factory there is a constant weeding-out process going on.

The employer is constantly sending away "help" that have shown their incapacity to further the interests of the business, and others are being taken on.

No matter how good times are, this sorting continues, only 10 if times are hard and work is scarce, the sorting is done finer

but out and forever out the incompetent and unworthy go. It is the survival of the fittest. Self-interest prompts every employer to keep the best—those who can carry a message to Garcia.

I know one man of really brilliant parts who has not the 15 ability to manage a business of his own, and yet who is abso

lutely worthless to anyone else, because he carries with him constantly the insane suspicion that his employer is oppressing, or intending to oppress him. He cannot give orders; and he will

not receive them. Should a message be given him to take to 20 Garcia, his answer would probably be, “Take it yourself !”

Tonight this man walks the streets looking for work, the wind whistling through his threadbare coat. No one who knows him dare employ him, for he is a regular firebrand of discontent.

Of course I know that one so morally deformed is no less 25 to be pitied than a physical cripple; but in our pitying, let us

drop a tear, too, for the men who are striving to carry on a great enterprise, whose working hours are not limited by the whistle, and whose hair is fast turning white through the struggle to hold

in line dowdy indifference, slipshod imbecility, and the heartless 30 ingratitude which, but for their enterprise, would be both hungry and homeless.

Have I put the matter too strongly? Possibly I have; but when all the world has gone a-slumming I wish to speak a word

of sympathy for the man who succeeds—the man who, against 35 great odds, has directed the efforts of others, and having succeeded, finds there's nothing in it—nothing but bare board and clothes. I have carried a dinner pail and worked for day's wages, and I have also been an employer of labor, and I know

there is something to be said on both sides. There is no excel5 lence, per se, in poverty; rags are no recommendation; and all

employers are not rapacious and high-handed, any more than all poor men are virtuous.

My heart goes out to the man who does his work when the "boss” is away, as well as when he is at home. And the man 10 who, when given a letter for Garcia, quietly takes the missive,

without asking any idiotic questions, and with no lurking intention of chucking it into the nearest sewer, or of doing aught else but delivering it, never gets "laid off.” Civilization is one long,

anxious search for just such individuals. Anything such a man 15 asks shall be granted. His kind is so rare that no employer can

afford to let him go. He is wanted in every city, town, and village-in every office, shop, store, and factory.

The world cries out for such; he is needed, and needed badly -the man who can carry A MESSAGE TO GARCIA.

NOTES AND QUESTIONS Biographical and Historical Note. Elbert Hubbard (1859-1915), a native of Bloomington, Illinois, was an author and lecturer, his message being the joy of work well done. He founded the Roycroft Shop, in East Aurora, New York, which is devoted to the making of fine editions of books. Mr. Hubbard was one of the ill-fated passengers on board the Lusitania when it was sunk during the World War.

The author tells us that this "literary trifle,” “A Message to Garcia," was written February 22, 1899, after supper, in a single hour, and after a particularly trying day. It was suggested to him by a discussion, over the teacups, of the Spanish-American War, his son maintaining that Rowan was the real hero of the war. The day after “A Message to Garcia” was published, the New York Central Railway ordered reprints of it, distributing over a million copies among its employees. The story has been translated into all written languages, and the author estimated that during his lifetime, “Thanks to a series of lucky accidents,” forty million copies had been printed.

Garcia (1836-1898) was a Cuban patriot who gave valuable aid to the American forces during the Spanish-American War. At the close of the war he was made chief of a commission to discuss with President McKinley the future of Cuba. Andrew Rowan (1857- ), a West Point Graduate, was promoted to the office of lieutenant colonel of the United States army for the service described in this sketch.

Discussion. 1. Discuss whether or not, in your opinion, the author is too hard on "help.” 2. Why do you think the New York Central Railway distributed copies among its employees? 3. What resolve might you well make after reading “A Message to Garcia"? 4. Are you one of the “Rowans” in your school? 5. How does Rowan's devotion differ from that of the hero in the "Incident of the French Camp”? 6. Which is of more value to a country, devotion to a cause or to a leader? 7. What other story on efficiency in work have you read? 8. Point out sentences in this selection that show the author's belief in the importance of the coöperation discussed in the Introduction on page 336. 9. Find in the Glossary the meaning of: Insurgents; traversed; vertebrae; appalled; imbecility; memorandum; accountant; maudlin; denizens; missive. 10. Pronounce: horizon; encyclopedia; rapacious.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

Class Reading. Make a list of passages to be read aloud in class.

Questions for Testing Silent Reading. Make a list of questions to bring out the main thought of the story.

Magazine Reading. Make a report in class on the most interesting article, on efficiency and faithfulness to duty, that you have read in The American Magazine, The World's Work, or in any other periodical.



"Build me straight, O worthy Master!

Stanch and strong, a goodly vessel,
That shall laugh at all disaster,

And with wave and whirlwind wrestle!"

5 The merchant's word

Delighted the Master heard;
For his heart was in his work, and the heart
Giveth grace unto every Art.

A quiet smile played round his lips, 10 As the eddies and dimples of the tide

Play round the bows of ships
That steadily at anchor ride.
And with a voice that was full of glee,

He answered, “Ere long we will launch 15 A vessel as goodly, and strong, and stanch

As ever weathered a wintry sea!”

And first with nicest skill and art,
Perfect and finished in every part,

A little model the Master wrought, 20 Which should be to the larger plan

What the child is to the man,
Its counterpart in miniature;
That with a hand more swift and sure

The greater labor might be brought 25 To answer to his inward thought.

And as he labored, his mind ran o’er
The various ships that were built of yore,

And above them all, and strangest of all,
Towered the Great Harry, crank and tall,
Whose picture was hanging on the wall,
With bows and stern raised high in air,
5 And balconies hanging here and there,

And signal lanterns and flags afloat,
And eight round towers, like those that frown
From some old castle, looking down

Upon the drawbridge and the moat;
10 And he said, with a smile, "Our ship, I wis,

Shall be of another form than this!”

It was of another form, indeed;
Built for freight, and yet for speed,

A beautiful and gallant craft; 15 Broad in the beam, that the stress of the blast,

Pressing down upon sail and mast,
Might not the sharp bows overwhelm;
Broad in the beam, but sloping aft

With graceful curve and slow degrees, 20 That she might be docile to the helm,

And that the currents of parted seas,
Closing behind, with mighty force,
Might aid and not impede her course.


In the shipyard stood the Master,

With the model of the vessel, That should laugh at all disaster,

And with wave and whirlwind wrestle!

Covering many a rood of ground,

Lay the timber piled around;
30 Timber of chestnut, and elm, and oak,

And scattered here and there, with these,
The knarred and crooked cedar knees,
Brought from regions far away,

« ForrigeFortsett »