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LETTERS AND ART.
capacity is higher than in the higher fields of politics. In journalism, whether literary or political, the proportion of leaders
who have had the advantage of college training is noteworthy. COLLEGE EDUCATION AS A TRAINING FOR
Of the eight leading New York dailies we find that seven of the
editors-in-chief are college men. Of the fifteen most important LIFE.
monthly magazines, fourteen of the editors have been graduated HE antagonistic views held by many as to the practical
from colleges. These may seem to be the higher intellectual
walks in which others do not strive. Such is not the case. The value of a college education have lately been prominently
others do strive, but they appear not to get up as high as the exemplified in the case of Mr. Charles M. Schwab, president of
men who have had the four years at college. Recently a very the new steel trust, who counsels boys who aim at success in useful and interesting book has been compiled, 'Who's Who in business to avoid the colleges, and Mr. Andrew Carnegie, who America.' This compilation was intended to include all living values colleges so highly that he has recently startled the world Americans that had done things so notable as to make it interby his great gift to the Scottish universities. Neither of these is
esting for the public to know about their achievements, their
personality and history. But the title is more descriptive than a college man. From the standpoint of the latter, Mr. Gilmer
any elucidation of it. Now this book includes 8,602 names, and Speed, the well-known American writer and a grand-nephew of
these are presumably the present men and the women of distincJohn Keats, treats the subject at some length in Ainsley's Maga- tion in the country in all the fields of endeavor. Of these, 3,237 sine (June). After referring to the fact that of the twenty-four were graduated from colleges, 271 were graduated from West men who have reached the office of President of the United Point and Annapolis, 733 attended college but were not graduStates, fifteen were college men and only three without what may
ated, 693 went to academies and seminaries, and 171 to high
schools. That strikes me as an enormous proportion, if we grant be called academic training, while all of the non-graduates save
that to get into this book is to indicate success already achieved. two were members of a learned profession, he continues :
There are only a trifle over 25,000 college men turned out into "Suppose we leave this field of speculation, which leads back
the fields of practical work every year, while the total sum of
new workers is largely in excess of 500,000--that is, as twenty to to the beginning of our national life, and confine ourselves to the
Yet, when we make up the roll of persons of distinction, present. In the present Cabinet of President McKinley there are
we find that one out of two and a third of the men of note are eight members. Six of these are college men; one, himself a
college-bred; while if we make the exclusion a little less rigid non-graduate, was a professor in a college when he entered the Cabinet. The remaining eighth man finished his education at
and include all those mentioned above as having had the advan. an academy which likely as not ranked in scholarship with many
tages of college training, we shall see that more than half of the of the colleges that confer degrees in all the dignity of a Latin
distinguished persons in the country are within the inclusions. text that many a recipient would be stumped to put into literal
The figures seem to me to make a very plain story so far as what
we call the higher walks of life are concerned. English. The administration of Mr. McKinley, himself not a college man, tho the graduate of a law school, is mainly con
“As to practical affairs, it has been impossible for me to gather ducted by men of college training. There is probably no man
data anywhere nearly so comprehensive as that which I have in the country, not a crank, who will say it is any the worse for
presented. . . . I selected what seemed to me the half hundred
most considerable railway companies in the country, and began a being so. At the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, where the legislative and judicial coordinate branches of the Government
canvass of the presidents. I learned that eighteen of these were do business, let us see what is the collegiate condition of the
college men. That is largely in excess of the proportion of bankjudges and legislators. The judges are as follows, with the col
ers, and proves, mayhap, that railroading is more intricate than lege of each opposite his name:
cent per cent. While speaking of men of affairs there are some
who loom so large that there is no indelicacy in mentioning them. Chief Justice Fuller.. .... Bowdoin.
The names of J. Pierpont Morgan, Andrew Carnegie, John D. Mr. Harlan.. Center.
Rockefeller, William Rockefeller, James J. Hill, James Stillman, Gray. .Harvard.
Charles Schwab, and William C. Whitney are all household Brewer.. Yale.
words, and have been ever since the consolidation of those huge Brown. :: Yale. Shiras. ..Yale.
industrial enterprises that almost baffle the imagination in their White. ..Georgetown.
immensity of inclusion. Of these only one--the last named-is Peckham... Albany Academy.
a college man in the sense that we ordinarily use the term. Mr. McKenna.. . Bonica Collegiate Institute.
Morgan went through the Boston High School and then attended
lectures at the University of Göttingen in Germany. Likely as "Here we see that the members of our highest court do not
not he is as much a college man as he would have been if he had rank any higher as college men than the members of the Cabi
stayed at home and gone through Harvard or Yale. And quite net, though they are appointed and confirmed to office in large
rightly he should be set down as such. The rest of them are not measure by reason of their great and sound information in a
college men at all, tho Mr. Hill and Mr. Schwab each went to an branch of learning that has been called the sum of all knowledge.
academy. But Mr. Schwab, who is at the head of the largest Indeed, the magazine editors of the country, and the newspaper engineering works the world has ever dreamed of, has acquired editors of New York City, as will presently be seen, in proportion
his technical knowledge mainly by his own efforts and by study have had greater early scholastic advantages. The Supreme in practical work, rather than in schools of theoretical instruction. Court justices, however, presumably on account of the nature of
The others in the list, Mr. Carnegie, the two Rockefellers, and their work, are hard students all their lives, and some men com
Mr.'Stillman, had but common.school advantages. . . paratively illiterate in the beginning of their career on this
“In this era of big things it is interesting to consider the cost exalted bench have become ripe scholars long before the
of college instruction. That may enable us to make up our minds end of their service. Judges, however, have better opportu
as to whether or not it pays. The grounds and buildings are nities for self-improvement than almost any other men in active
appraised at $133,000,000; the productive funds at $138,000,000 ; life..
the scientific apparatus at $14,000,000; the benefactions at $21,“It has been difficult to determine exactly the collegiate status
000,000, while the total income of them all is $21,000,000. That of the members of Congress. As well as I could make it out, it
is a great sum, even greater than the $16,000,000 the poor people stands thus: Out of 86 members of the Senate, 44 are college
of the city of New York annually pay into the policy shops of the men; out of 360 members of the House of Representatives 168
metropolis in a game in which they have no chance to win. Here were graduated from college. ... I confess that I was surprised is an illuminating contrast. The whole country pays $21,000,000 at the showing, and I do not hesitate to say to the youth who
annually for its highest education; the metropolitan city alone would go to Congress that he will further his chances enormously puts $16,000,000 yearly in a game that only preys on the ignoif he will go through college and bear a proud sheepskin to his rant. I fancy no college man ever played policy except in the home, even tho he never be able to read its Latin text.
pursuit of knowledge and by way of experiment. When igno“I suspect that in the professions of medicine and law the pro- rance is so costly, higher education can not be very dear at twice portion of college men who reach distinction and high earning what is now spent on it."
BROWNING'S PROFOUNDEST POEM. tribute to the spell, as woven by Browning Life's supreme
mystery,--that is the Dark Tower. It is the scene of each
man's problem, the point to which all the paths of his life for the Wentworth Higginson. In a recent article he pronounces time converge, the concentration of the soul upon its own crisis, Browning's short and not very widely read poem, “Childe Ro- its own conflict. It is rarely that any one else knows precisely land to the Dark Tower came," to be among the greatest of im- what his neighbor's Dark Tower is. Even the time of his apaginative works, and “Browning's profoundest attempt to touch
proach to it is very likely unknown to his dearest friend. In a
long life, or one long in emotion, if not in years, he may even the mystery of life.” In Poet-Lore (April-May-June), he
pass through several such towers in succession : he never forgets writes:
how he felt when he approached them; but, strange to say, he
forgets his exit from them. When he passed through one and “Childe Roland' ranks with the great imaginative works,
has turned round, the Dark Tower has disappeared : even Brownwith 'Christabel' and 'The Ancient Mariner,' and so unspeak
ing provides no outlet from it; but, fortunately, life does very ably above Poe's 'Raven'that one is surprised to have heard it mentioned in the comparison ; but the poet himself has left us no
often, and we emerge. Browning's hero naturally sees for the
moment in imagination all previous adventurers as lost. Yet key to it outside of his own lines. And the criticism of others
each may, without his knowing it, have lived through the day, stops before it, mainly because of its supreme excellence. We
and conquered his tower by facing it; and each commonplace see on reflection that there is really a Dark Tower in every
friend by his side, did he but know it, may have survived a thoughtful person's life, and that consequently the tower differs
greater peril than his own. for each person. The power symbolizes the supreme aim of one's
“I know of nothing in literature outside of Browning which is life at any moment, --something which may be a secret to one's
pitched upon the same key with his poem or carries us a step next-door neighbor, to one's husband, wife, or children, and,
into the same world." very likely, to oneself, since we are as often guided by unconscious temperament as by deliberate purpose. At least, the tower stands for some controlling action to which all events and purposes have led up,—some experience never, perhaps, to be MR. FREDERIC HARRISON'S IMPRESSION OF estimated at its full value until the leisure of the future life, -if
LITERARY AND ARTISTIC AMERICA. that be leisure, which I doubt, at least for New England souls. Nor are we ever sure that heaven will afford us on a larger scale AST expansion, collective force, inexhaustible energy”— the delights of mutual investigation, altho I once heard my elo
these are the impressions made on Mr. Frederic Harrison quent cousin, William Henry Channing: predict that we should
by the physical and commercial characteristics of the United spend much of eternity in unraveling the strange secrets of one another's lives. Alas! it is doubtful whether we shall ever un
States during his recent trip to this country. Unlike most Britravel even those of our own.
ish travelers, he found very much in America to commend in the “The poet Keats in classifying nature places at the head realm of art and general culture; and on the whole a more 'things real, as sun, moon, and passages of Shakespeare,' thus friendly appreciation of this country by a foreign visitor has not piacing all else in a secondary and subordinate position. For appeared in several years than is to be found in his recent artiBrowning the tower of 'Childe Roland' was a thing as real, as
cle. Its value is by no means lessened by the fact that it is comclearly to be dealt with, as little to be evaded, as a moonrise or an earthquake. It was a fact in the universe. You observe that
bined with some discriminating criticism. After giving what he takes Edgar's first line by itself, and attributes the ‘Fie, foh,
may almost be termed an enthusiastic survey of the material and and fum' to the wandering mind. This gives a key to the whole political development of America, Mr. Harrison turns to the insituation. Childe Roland's quest symbolizes the whole struggle tellectual and social side. Writing in The Nineteenth Century and achievement of man. As to the details, every man interprets and After (June) he says: the tower for himself, every man has his own definition: no two persons can have the same tower. The visible materials of the “Of course, for the American citizen and the thoughtful visipicture are, after all, not so very remarkable. As our associate, tor, the real problem is whether this vast prosperity, this boundMr. Latimer, has said, 'There is nothing in it that does not be- less future of theirs, rests upon an equal expansion in the social, long to our New England scenery,'—not an item except the intellectual, and moral sphere. They would be bold critics who tower itself; and that is the most real thing about it, precisely should maintain it, and few thinking men in the United States because we can not see it, except in imagination. As another of do so without qualifications and misgivings. As to the univerour associate members, Mrs. Marean, has said: “This is a poem sal diffusion of education, the energy which is thrown into it, in which every reader may legitimately find his own meaning, and the wealth lavished on it from sources public and private, no just as he may in any other tale of a quest; but its descriptive doubt can exist. Universities, richly endowed, exist by scores, power is of an order not dependent on the significance of the colleges by many hundreds, in every part of the Union. Art Round Tower at which it leaves us.'
schools, training colleges, technical schools, laboratories, poly"The Childe Roland' poem is simply Browning's profoundest technics, and libraries are met with in every thriving town. The attempt to touch the mystery of life. The Dark Tower stands impression left on my mind is that the whole educational machifor the supreme secret of each man's existence: we follow up nery must be at least tenfold that of the United Kingdom. That streams, tread mountains, and reach only this at last. Friends open to women must be at least twentyfold greater than with us, and foes help to guide us to it; but we must go alone. The last and it is rapidly advancing to meet that of men, both in numbers finger extended may even be that of a malicious enemy. We and in quality. Nor can I resist the impression that the educamay so shrink from it that the sky looks dark, the whole sur- tion in all grades is less perfunctory, amateurish, and casual than roundings repulsive. All our early memories come back upon is too often our own experience at home. The libraries, laboraus, veiled in a shadowy mist; yet we go forward. This is the tories, museums, and gymnasia of the best universities and colpoem. The critics exhaust their variety of conjecture to show leges are models of equipment and organization. The 'pious what it all means. Dr. Furnivall states that he asked Browning founder' has long died out in Europe. He is alive in America, three times whether the poem was an allegory, and that Brown- and seems to possess some magic source of inexhaustible munifiing had said each time that it was simply dramatic -as if any human being could tell where ‘dramatic' ends and 'allegory' “Libraries, of course, are not learning; museums and laborabegins! Given what is dramatic enough, and every human tories are not knowledge; much less is an enormous reading being may draw its own allegory from it. Mr. Kirkman and Mr. public literature. And, however much libraries may be crowded Sears Cook think the tower means death ; Mrs. R. Gratz Allen with readers, however spacious and lavish are the mountings of interprets the moral as lying in sin and punishment; Mrs. Orr technical schools, and tho seventy millions of articulate men and and Mrs. Drewry find that it stands for life and truth; Prof. women can pass the seventh standard of a board school, the Arlo Bates 'can think of nothing more heroic, more noble, more question of the fruit of all this remains to be answered. The inspiring,' than the whole poem. As I said, every man finds in passing visitor to the United States forms his own impression as it his own tower; and, the more towers suggested, the greater to the bulk and the diffusion of the instruinents of education; but
he is in no better position than any one else to measure the product. The sight of such a vast apparatus of education, such demand for education, and that emphatically by both sexes, must create a profound impression. The Cooper Institute of New York, one of the earliest of these popular endowments, still managed and developed by three generations of the same family from its venerable founder, the Jeremy Bentham of New York, is a typical example of a people's palace where science, art, and literature are offered absolutely free to all comers. But what is the result? Few Americans pretend that, with all the immense diffusion of elementary knowledge of science in the United States, the higher science is quite abreast of that of Europe. Of scholarship, in the technical sense of the word, in spite of the vast numbers of 'graduates,' the same thing may be said. And no one pretends that American literature rivals that of France in its finer forms-or indeed that of England.
“The reason for this is not obscure, and it is hardly covered by the ordinary suggestion that the American people are absorbed in the pursuit of gain and material improvement. However much this may react on the intellectual world, the numbers of the American people are so great that numerically, if not proportionately, those who are devoted to science, art, and literature are at least as many as they are in England. The vast development of material interests is rather a stimulus to the pursuit of science than a hindrance, as the vast multiplication of books is a stimulus to authorship. But why suppose that a general interest in practical science conduces to high scientific culture, or that millions of readers tend to foster a pure taste in letters? The contrary result would be natural. Practical mechanics is not the same thing as scientific genius. And the wider the reading public becomes, the lower is the average of literary culture. But other things combine to the same result. The absence of any capital city, any acknowledged literary center, in a country of vast area with scattered towns, the want of a large society exclusively occupied with culture and forming a world of its own, the uniformity of American life, and the little scope it gives to the refined ease and the graceful dolce far niente of European beaux mondes, all of these have something to do with a low average of original literature. The lighter American literature has little of the charm and sparkle that mark the best writing of France, because, apart from national gifts of esprit, American society does not lend itself to the daily practise of polished conversation. After all, it is conversation, the spoken thought of groups of men and women in familiar and easy intercourse, which gives the aroma of literature to written ideas. And where the arts of conversation have but a moderate scope and value, the literature will be solid but seldom brilliant.
“But all these conditions, if they tend in the same direction, are perhaps of minor importance. The essential point is that literature of a high order is the product of long tradition and of a definite social environment. Millions of readers do not make it, nor myriads of writers, tho they read the same books and use the same language and think the same thoughts. A distinctive literature is the typical expression of some organized society, cultivated by long use and molded on accepted standards. It would be as unreasonable to look for a formed and classical style in a young, inorganic, and fluid society, however large it may be and however voracious of printed matter, as to look in such a land for Westminster Abbeys and Windsor Castles. America will no doubt in the centuries to come produce a national literature of its own, when it has had time to create a typical society of its own and intellectual traditions of its own.
"Literature, politics, manners, and habits all bear the same impress of the dominant idea of American society-the sense of equality. It has its great side, its conspicuous advantages, and it has also its limitations and its weakness, It struck me that the sense of equality is far more national and universal in America than it is in France, for all the peans to equality that the French pour forth and their fierce protestations to claim it. ‘Liberty, equality, and fraternity' is not inscribed on public edifices in the United States, because no American citizen-or, rather no white citizen-can conceive of anything else."
tations of European types and some wonderful constructive des vices. A walk along the Broadway and Fifth Avenue of New York leaves the impression of an extraordinary medley of incongruous styles, highly ingenious adaptations, admirable artistic workmanship, triumphs of mechanics, the lavish use of splendid materials, and an architectural pot-pourri which almost rivals the Rue des Nations at the Paris Exhibition of 1900. There are some excellent copies of European buildings, such as the Giralda of Seville, Venetian palaces, châteaux from Touraine, Palladian loggie, and here and there a German schloss. There are some beautiful revivals of fine art, such as the thirteenth-century Gothic St. Patrick's, the Italian palaces of the Metropolitan and University clubs, the Renaissance palaces of the Vanderbilts. Facing the Central Park, each millionaire seems to have commissioned his architect to build him a mansion of any ancient style from Byzantine to the last French empire, provided only it was in contrast to the style of his neighbors. So commissioned, the artist has lavished skilful carving, singular ingenuity, and noble material in stone, marble, and mosaic. Many of these are interesting experiments and some are beautiful; but the general effect of such rampant eclecticism is rather bewildering.
“In constructive novelties the American builder is consummate. Amongst these are the Brobdingnagian piles of twenty stories, the substitution of lifts for staircases, the construction of edifices of steel, the profuse use of stone and marble as ornaments rather than as material, the multiplication of baths, heating apparatus, electric and other mechanical devices, and the intensely modern and up-to-date contrivances which put to shanie the clumsy conservatism of the Old World. Nothing in Europe since the fall of old Rome and Byzantium, not even Genoa in its prime, has equaled the lavish use of magnificent marble columns, granite blocks, and ornamental stone as we see it to-day in the United States. The Illinois Trust Bank of Chicagoma vast marble palace-is, I suppose, the most sumptuous and one of the most beautiful commercial edifices in the world, and its safety-deposit vaults are among the sights of that city. The reckless use of precious marbles seems to threaten exhaustion of the quarries, but one is assured that they are ample for all demands. Why more use is not made in Europe of the magnificent marbles of America is not very obvious. But we certainly might easily adopt some of the constructive devices of their builders. Not, one trusts, the outrageous towers of Babel, in twenty or twenty-four floors and five hundred rooms, built of steel, and faced with granite as a veneer, which are seen in New York and Chicago, and liopelessly disfigure both cities. If these became general, the streets would become dark and windy canons, and human nature would call out for their suppression. But the British architect has much to learn from modern American builders. In matters of construction, contrivance, the free use of new kinds of stone and wood, of plumbing, heating, and the minor arts of fitting, the belated European in America feels. himself a Rip van Winkle, whirled into a new century and a later civilization."
The Capitol at Washington impressed Mr. Harrison as being "the most effective mass of public buildings in the world,” especially when viewed at some distance, and in spite of some wellknown constructive defects. “As an effective public edifice of a grandiose kind, I doubt if any capital city can show its equal," he continues. “This is largely due to the admirable proportions. of its central dome group, which I hold to be, from the pictorial point of view, more successful than those of St. Peter's, the cathedral of Florence, Agia Sophia, St. Isaac's, the Panthéon, St. Paul's, or the new cathedral of Berlin.” And Mr. Harrison has no liesitation in saying that the site of the Capitol at Washington is “the noblest in the world.” “Washington, the youngest city in the world,” he adds, “bids fair to become, before the twentieth century is ended, the most beautiful and certainly the most commodious. It is the only capital which has been laid out from the first entirely on modern lines, with organic unity of plan, unencumbered with any antique limitations and confusions."
For Chicago, where Mr. Harrison spent a large part of his visit, he has some very appreciative words:
"Chicago struck me as being somewhat unfairly condemned as devoted to nothing but Mammon and pork. Certainly, during
Mr. Harrison has much to say of the artistic side of American life, particularly of the architecture. He writes:
“America is making violent efforts to evolve a national architecture; but as yet it has produced little but miscellaneous imi
iny visit, I heard of nothing but the progress of education, university endosyments, people's institutes, libraries, museums, art schools, workmen's model dwellings and farms, literary culture, and scientific foundations. . I saw there one of the best equipped and most vigorous art schools in America, one of the best Toynbee Hall settlements in the world, and perhaps the most rapidly developed university in existence. My friends of the Union League Club, themselves men of business proud of their city, strongly urged me to dispense with the usual visit to the grain elevators and the stockyards, where hogs and oxen are slaughtered by millions and consigned to Europe, but to spend my time in inspecting libraries, schools, and museums. No city in the world can show such enormous endowments for educational, scientific, and charitable purposes lavished within ten years, and still unlimited in supply."
Å NATION OF POETS.
tional system of China-principles dominant to this day -be made no reference to the educational trinity of our forefathers, reading, writing, and arithmetic, but presented a trinity of his own: “Let poetry," he said, “be the beginning, manners the middle, and music the finish.” The Chinese are accordingly a nation of poets, lyrical poets. The educated Chinaman not
only celebrates all important events of his life in verse, but even the most ordinary occurrences call forth the lyric strain. When he escorts a guest, for instance, to some pretty pavilion or hillside, the ready pencil comes forth from his book and an impromptu poem is produced. All this may be somewhat artificial, writes Dr. W. A. P. Martin, presi
dent of the ImREV. DR. W. A. P. MARTIN.
perial University, Peking, but it has its root in national sentiment; and he adds: “Of China it is true to-day as of no other nation that an apprenticeship in the art of poetry forms a leading feature in her educational system. . . No youth who aspires to civil office or literary honors is exempted from composing verse in his trial examination. To be a tax-collector he is tested not in arithmetic but in prosody-a usage that has been in force for nearly a thousand years."
Epic poetry, Dr. Martin tells us, is wholly wanting in China, and dramatic poetry, tho abundant, is very primitive. But of didactic and lyric poetry there is an enormous quantity, and the lyrical verse is of a high quality. Official proclamations are frequently thrown into the form of didactic poetry, and there is a popular encyclopedia, in forty volumes, composed entirely in verse.
Dr. Martin deals chiefly, however, with Chinese lyrical poetry and reproduces (in The North American Review, June) a number of charming specimens. Here are stanzas written by Kia Yi, a minister of state who was banished about 200 B.C., which are strongly suggestive of Poe's “Raven":
Betwixt moss-covered, reeking walls,
An exiled poet lay
On his bed of straw reclining,
And seemed inclined to stay.
That would not go away.
But where, it did not say.
Where is my future way?"
But breathed a "Well-a-day!"
That on my spirit lay.
That is what it seemed to say
By that simple "Well-a-day," The Sappho of China was Pan Tsi Yu, born about 18 B.C.. The best known of her poems is the following ode inscribed on a fan and presented to the Emperor :
Of fresh, new silk, all snowy white,
And round as harvest moon;
A small but welcome boon.
Or folded on the breast,
And charm tiree to thy rest.
And Winter's winds blow cold,
'Twill lie in dust and moid.
Sad emblem of my lot-
Then speedily forgot. The culmination of Chinese lyric poetry was reached during the dynasty of Tang (620-907 A.D.). Tu Fu and Li Po were the Dryden and Pope of that age, we are told. The former had a long struggle with poverty, while the latter became early a court favorite, and after his death was adjudged “the brightest star that ever shone in the poetical firmament of China.” Dr. Martin reproduces two of his poems, one of which, a drinking-song, we reprint:
ON DRINKING ALONE BY MOONLIGHT.
Here are flowers and here is wine;
not be lieard. Of all the common errors, the hardest to correct, Mr. Ayres says, is in the sounding of a in such words as care, dare, swear. "The correct sound is made in the throat, the incorrect sound is nasal and is made in the roof of the mouth.”
“L'AIGLON" IN ENGLAND,
SLIPSHOD USE OF THE ENGLISH
R. Alfred Ayres has been for years belaboring actors and
actresses for their loose way of pronouncing common words, and he has published a number of popular little books, the latest of them entitled "Some 111-Used Words," designed to correct the more flagrant errors in speech and writing. In Harper's Magazine (July) he makes a plea for more care in the use of our mother-tongue, and indicts the English-speaking people as offenders beyond the people of any other of the civilized nations. He writes :
“From observation I know that in Germany and in France, and I am told that in Spain and in Italy, a critical knowledge of one's mother-tongue is reckoned the most desirable of all the polite accomplishments. Nor do I doubt that the like is true of other continental countries-Holland, Denmark, and Sweden, for example. In Berlin, where I once was quite well acquainted, in cultured circles, during an entire evening, no matter how many present, one would not hear a word mispronounced or a sentence wrongly constructed, complicated as the German grammar is. Nor would one hear anything that savored of dialect, except a slight missounding of the g. All the difficult-and gloriously sonorous-voirel sounds, which never by any chance are made by the lower orders, one would hear made by every one without exception in a cultured circle in all their purity. Never a slip in syntax, never a dative, for example, where the accusative is required, an error constantly made by the less educated.
"In France, one finds the cultured quite as fastidious in their speech as are the cultured Germans. There, too, one hears no mispronouncing, and no involuntary syntactical slips. Euphony with the Frenchman is paramount, and to avoid certain verbal terminations that are ear-offending, he will sometimes employ a construction not strictly grammatical; but aside from that the cultured Frenchman is always strictly grammatical.
“How different in the most cultured English-speaking circles ! True, one can not, without attracting attention, use seen for saw or saw for seen, done for did, or put two negatives in a sentence; but one can misuse the auxiliary verbs continually, misuse the tenses, use adverbs where adjectives are required, adjectives where adverbs are required, misuse the cases, use lay for lie, since for ago, without for unless, the indicative where the subjunctive is required, and so on and on, without attracting attention, unless there chances to be a stickler for purity present."
But in matters of orthoepy, Mr. Ayres thinks, the English and Americans are especially flagrant offenders. Go where one will, he says, one meets with college and seminary graduates that mispronounce at every breath. He continues :
“Within a month I have met a graduate of a New England college and a graduate of a Pennsylvania seminary that pronounced father fother: and daughter dot-er. It is quite safe to assert that fully twenty-five per cent of our educated people pronounce the little, much-used word very incorrectly. Instead of the vowel's being pronounced short and up in the teeth, it is pronounced in the throat, which is very objectionable, or it is so prolonged as to make it very like long a. One's mispronouncing comes, of course, from one's surroundings. If a child never hears any mispronouncing, it will never mispronounce-at the least, never any of the words in common use. This being true, how desirable it is to pronounce well, since to pronounce ill is evidence, as far as it goes, that one's surroundings have been of the unlettered sort! A gross error, orthoepical or grammatical, may quickly take the nap off the handsomest suit that ever came from the tailor.”
Among the specifications which Mr. Ayres brings to support his indictment are: sounding the a short (as in can) in pronouncing such words as basket, dance, fast, half, etc., whereas the proper sound lies between that of a in fat and a in father; sounding the o in such irords as body, gone, on, song, as if it were an a; mangling final unaccented vowels in such words as peril, interim, judgment, chapel, Latin; giving the sound of o in nor to the same letter in the final syllable of words like pastor, castor, actor, whereas the o in such words is obscure and should
plays the dominant part, does not, naturally, appeal to the English playgoing public as it appealed to the French, nor even as it appealed to the American. And yet, when the critic of Literature (London. June 15) seeks for other plays with which to compare it, he does it the honor of choosing Shakespeare's “Hamlet” for the comparison. This critic, A. B. Walkley, writes of its recent production in London by Bernhardt as follows:
*Considered merely as a play, 'L'Aiglon' is essentially undramatic, because it lacks unity of theatrical impression, nor does it even present a series of definite and decisive actions. What unity it has is a unity of ideas; it raises the ghost of the Napo leonic legend; but, in the language of the spiritualistic séance, the ghost will not consent to 'materialize.' It may be said that the unity of some of Shakespeare's chronicle-plays (and ‘L'Aiglon' is a chronicle-play-the “tragicall historie’ of the education, futile aspirations, and premature death of the Duke of Reichstadt) is also a unity of idea only, but then there is no chronicleplay of Shakespeare which fails, as this play fails, to present a series of definite and decisive actions. It may also be said that indecision and inaction are of the very essence of the story, which is that of a Napoleonic Hamlet, a ‘Hamlet blanc,' as they call him. The answer is that 'Hamlet,'tragedy of irresolution tho it be at its core, does on its surface contrive to present much bustling and even violently melodramatic action. In lieu of action, M. Rostand gives us curious details, documentary' bricà-brac and literary' embroidery."
Mr. Walkley remarks further that there are "two really fine imaginative moments in the play”. one the mirror scene, where Metternich endeavors to show the Duke that he is his mother's child rather than his father's, and the other the scene of the imaginative reproduction of battle on the field of Wagram, when "one feels that John Bright's 'Angel of Death' has passed over the scene and you can almost hear the beating of his wings.'
"Max," writing in The Saturday Review (London, June 15) in the tone of raillery that seems to be the vogue with dramatic critics nowadays in England, and is being imitated to a considerable extent on this side, says:
“There are they who would encore eternity. Some of these folks, I make no doubt, were at the first night of 'L'Aiglon,' and felt, when the thing ceased, that they had been spending a very happy four-five-five hundred-and-five-how many hours, by the by, was it? Would that I could classify myself among these happy inexhaustibles ! But I can not; nor (it comforts me to believe) could the vast majority of my fellow first-nighters and of them who have seen the play since its production. You call us insular? We hang our heads, pleading in extenuation that we live on an island. Were we Frenchmen, probably we should enjoy ‘L'Aiglon’ very much. For this probability there are two reasons; Firstly, Frenchmen can listen with pleasure to reams of rhetoric in theaters. If the rhetoric be good in itself, they care not at all whether it be or be not dramatically to the point. Secondly, Frenchmen have an enthusiastic cult for Napoleon. Now, “L'Aiglon' is composed chiefly of reams of excellent but irrelevant rhetoric about Napoleon, and reams of details about him. Little wonder, then, that Paris took kindly to it. But how should London follow suit? Unless it be dramatic, rhetoric, however good, bores us: such is our fallen nature.”
THE new prominence of Mr. W. D. Howells in American critical literature has lately attracted attention. By the terms of his agreement with Messrs. Harpers, Mr. Howells now furnishes one article monthly for Harper's Magazine (“The Easy Chair"), for The Vorth American Review, and for the present for Harper's Bazar. He thus has a unique opportunity of reaching three numerous classes of readers, and of registering his views on American literature and drama.