Imatges de pàgina
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above the surface, express something V

that shall illustrate its sense of obligaWhen you take the liberty of criticiz- tion, ‘of wonder, love, and praise.' In ing a thing, you can properly be asked other words, the man must be essento specify something constructive, too, tially religious — not theologically reliand to quit working exclusively with the gious, but intellectually and emotionhatchet.

ally religious. And he must in some way The worst thing you can do, however, prove his kinship with big things and is to follow the advice of the Mayor of permanent things and beautiful things. Chicago and get a horn.' That is what Now, maybe this is something large he has got, and there is ample evidence enough to fill in some of the space which that he has even two.

educational institutions leave between Therefore I take the liberty of march- the subjects of their curricula; that a ing quite by myself, perhaps, in the pro- man must be more consciously and volcession of disputants who shall consider untarily related to those very calm and this question at the suggestion of the contemplative things, and less a prey, editor — with a transparency, having therefore, to the fevers and infections of on it certain words.

his particular day and generation, — Maybe you think from what you have his political party, his social ritual, and heard already that one of those words his religious creed, — and relate himself is ‘Excelsior'; but you are mistaken, for to cosmic processes spiritually, before he the lifeless but beautiful' rôle is not has been physically returned to them, congenial to this writer at all.

suddenly and ostentatiously, in the The first thing, then, that I might cemetery. fondly hope would catch the piercing And the other word is Discriminaeyes of such educators as may be stand- tions. There is no educational process ing on the curb as we shuffle past, is the worth our admiration which does not word ‘Relationships' — relationships produce people who are on the way to with the inorganic as well as the organic appraise life fairly, who will know the world.

difference between first class and second Is n't it fair to ask that a man living class which does not, in other words, on this planet shall have more regard establish a scale of values that will for it, and for the processes which, from stand some scrutiny. This is where our the condensation of a swirling nebula education breaks down most deplorinto planets and a sun, and by the cool- ably. We cannot choose intelligently ing of one of the smallest of these, at between fine ideas and purposes and in a living cell? For, by that means, what is worth doing and what is not, and that only, could all this dramatic considering the shortness of life; beprodigality of time, space, and causal- tween Beauty and the pretense of Beauity arrive at an adequate conclusion. ty, or the total lack of it. Looking back upon the way it has come, This sort of thing has to begin, perthis cell, arrived at homo sapiens, ar- haps, with grandfathers, or, at any rate, rived at articulate speech, and reason in elementary schools, and carry on very and memory and dexterity of every sort, actively in preparatory schools, and armental and manual — looking back rive at some fruition, or promise of it, upon the magnificence of the process in colleges. If neither the elementary that from the nebula evolved Christ, school, nor the preparatory school helps this cell must, in the minute allowed it the college in that direction any more

than they are doing now, we cannot are looking on with an increasing sense blame the college too much. But, on of the disparity involved. the other hand, the college makes it These bakers and boilers and scullerydifficult for the lower schools to get any folk somewhat impudently push up and of these 'value scales' going, because and peer in, with their sweaty faces and it confuses the issues terribly with its greasy garments, and go back to the ‘examination’ matters. It sets up a kitchen muttering - very naturally, hurdle at its gate, and almost all the don't you think? time of the lower schools must be em- On the whole far too many voyages ployed in training to jump it. Great are started from colleges without a numbers do learn to jump it; and is it compass that points north. The metal any wonder that the colleges find in around it has deflected it; and on a voytheir pasture too large a proportion of age among the boisterous winds blowgood jumpers who keep right on jump- ing off our huge industrial continent, ing examination after examination, un- — with newspapers for lighthouses, – til they finally jump out, with a certifi- what assurance can you give that you cate for jumping? But this is not just will not become a mere menace to navithe kind of man they want, is it? Why, gation? then, do they paralyze education in the I submit one of the oldest and best lower schools with the Board Exami- exhibits in this connection. It is a picnation? Why don't they indicate that ture of a man, the greatest master of the what they want is a certain quality - art of discrimination the world has ever a certain heliotropic instinct - upon seen; a rough man, not at all like the which they can base what they have to sentimental pictures, who lived all his give, with some assurance that their life, probably, in a little one-story mud

a time will not be as much wasted as it is house; who worked with his hands and now? I don't know the answer to that walked much alone along the solitary question except on one hypothesis, and ways of a remote and silent country that is, that these boys are to be more under the tropic sun and stars. On this or less creatures of privilege anyhow, occasion you see him handing back a and somewhat immune from the laws of penny to some very crafty gentlemen gravitation. They are to be ‘little Jack surrounding him and pressing upon him Horners,' and in their various corners, the ancient and modern question of alamong other 'big boys,' pull out plums legiance, and, in his penetrating, and from the pie.

very final way, requiring them to decide How strangely unconscious these for themselves where payments to boys seem to be that this great dining- Cæsar stopped. There is the crux of all room of ours, called the United States, debates on education. Until the 'eduis becoming more and more crowded cated' man knows the answer to that every year, and that a very large ma- question, whether he goes by it or not, jority of the crowd, having done the he is uneducated, and, in the history work in the kitchen and made the pies, of man, he is marked Zero.

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SOUTH SEA MOONSHINE

BY CHARLES BERNARD NORDHOFF

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THE late Mr. William Churchill re- ness; refugees from the arid portion of marked, in the opening chapter of one North America in search of wassail; of his distinguished works on Polynesian steerage passengers in search of a land philology: ‘About the islands of the where food and work are not akin. To central tract of ocean, romance has cast watch them come ashore at the quay its charm; its power remains even in is at once ludicrous and pathetic these later days. Sensitive natures have study in the childishness of grown-up counted the world well lost for the en- humanity. Some bristle with weapons joyment of its delights; ignorant men to repel the attacks of cannibals; others, have yielded to the same compulsion when their luggage is opened at the and have found a dingy pleasure in set- custom-house, display assortments of tling down as beach-combers.... The beads and mirrors for barter with the people have won those who came to savages. One almost envies them, for seek them; they have been treated as the radiance of the first landfall has gentlefolk.

not yet faded from their eyes, still Even in the days of Spanish explora- dazzled with a vision the pilgrims have tion, Europeans recognized the tran- traveled far to seek. quil charm of these islands; and now - I have often speculatedon the motives after six years of war, economic crisis actuating these men and women –

, and social upheaval - a great many most of them of a class neither advenpeople are finding relief from gloomy turous nor imaginative. Why have they and alarming thoughts in dreaming of left home at all, and why have their the South Seas. Late in the eighteenth wanderings led to a place so insignificentury, fashionable France rhapso- cant and remote? In some cases, of dized over the beauty of a life freed course, the motives are not complex. I from restraint, in Bougainville's Nou- remember a middle-aged Californian, velle Cythère; one hundred and fifty who did not hesitate to be frank. We years later, the sudden recognition of were sitting on the hotel verandah, wastGauguin's genius caused a ripple which ing an afternoon in idle talk. has crossed two great oceans and is “Why did I come to Tahiti?' he said; breaking gently, at last, on a score of 'that's simple – I wanted to live in a lonely coral reefs.

place where I could have a drink withEvery mail-boat arriving at Tahiti out breaking the law. I reckon I'm a nowadays brings its quota of an extra- good American, but I like to be let ordinary pilgrimage — painters and lit- alone. The French are great fellows to erary men in search of atmosphere; mind their own business; I found that scholars in search of folk-lore; weary out during the war. Yes, I was there men of affairs in search of forgetful- over age, but I got into the National

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Guard at the start. When I got home, Musing on the ancient and costly bit I took a look around and then made

my of sentiment, we sat for a moment in partner a proposition to buy me out. silence - a silence broken by a sepulWe had a nice little business; my share chral voice. of it, turned into bonds, brings in about 'I'd give more than that to bury three thousand a year. When the deal mine!' was fixed, I got a map and hunted up It was the orderer of rum-punches the nearest French colony - I reck- who spoke, addressing the company for oned it would be quieter there than in the first and last time. He said it withFrance. I guess I'll leave my bones on out a shadow of humor - so earnestly, Tahiti. My house will be finished in so convincingly, that several seconds another month; it's close to the water, elapsed before any of us smiled. He with a big shady verandah where you had placed himself. Curiosity regardcan sit and look out across the lagoon ing him was at an end; if he chose to to Moorea. I don't want any women, spend the rest of his days in the South or servants, or newspapers, or planta- Seas, gossip would pass him by, to tions, or business of any kind — I just whisper of others less communicative want to be let alone; but any man who the ever-present rumored murderdoes n't talk politics will be welcome er or defaulting financier. For all we to drop in for a drink.'

knew, the morose gentleman might Here was one accounted for. A few have been quite capable of building a moments later, on the same verandah, second Taj Mahal. another man told his story in eight One quiet and pleasant Englishman, words, pregnant as they were brief. who might have passed for an elderly There was an Englishman with us clerk, spending the savings of a lifetime a traveler, who was stopping over a on his first real holiday, gave the gossteamer in the course of an eastward sips of Papeete a shock when he aptour around the world. He had been peared at the bank to draw money on in India, and was showing us his col- a letter of credit for a million dollars. lection of photographs of that land. Another man came here not long ago, While the pictures were passed about, traveling to his former home in the I noticed an elderly American, of mo- States an old trader who has put in rose and corpulent mien, sitting at some forty years in the Western islands, and distance from the rest of the company carries with him two heavy cedar chests and taking no part in the conversation, in which the tales of eye-witnesses though he uttered from time to time a vouch for the presence of four hundred series of nasal sounds vaguely suggestive thousand dollars in American gold. of French and correctly interpreted by By far the greater number of adventhe native girl to mean: ‘One rum- turers, unfortunately, reach the South punch.' In time we came to the inevi- Seas without worldly goods of any kind table picture of the Taj Mahal; and - victims of a delusion, fostered by while we gazed at it, marveling anew, nearly everything printed about this the tourist spoke of the vast expense of part of the world, that in these blissful raising such a monument. When he isles one need not work in order to enhad finished, the man who wanted to joy the customary three square meals. be let alone was the first to speak. There are said to be islands, far off and

'Just think of that guy,' he remarked, inaccessible, in the Paumotu group, spending ten million dollars to bury his where the good-natured brown man wife!'

will not let a stray white starve; but, as a rule, the islands of the Pacific are un- Iti is one island out of many score, and happy places in which to find one's self he who seeks to eat of the lotus in that destitute. It is true that a rapid depop- distant sea will be reminded of the ulation should make living easy for the Kingdom of Heaven, the Camel, and survivors; but the land is closely held, the Needle's Eye. and the surplus, which once supported There is a Frenchman at present on far greater numbers, is now devoted to Tahiti, - a retired shoemaker with a the articles of luxury for which a cen- comfortable balance at the bank, tury of intercourse with Europeans who has been trying for nearly a year has created a demand. Every steamer to get to Rapa. He is a quaint and unloads one or more enthusiasts whose agreeable fellow, with a streak of ecpurses have been emptied to buy pas centricity which renders interesting an sage south, and whose heads are filled otherwise commonplace man. Long with dreams of slumberous ease in a ago, in the Norman village of his birth, palm-thatched hut, where the tradi- a seafaring friend told him of the lonely tional dusky maidens, of surpassing island south of the Austral group; and amiability and charm, ply the fan or since that day Rapa has been the obprepare savory repasts of the food ject of his life -- to be dreamed of as that nature provides in superfluity. And he stitched and pegged through the the fact that such dreams are not en- monotonous day, or in the evening, tirely baseless makes them all the while he sipped a chopine of cider at more deceptive.

the inn. Last year he sold his property, Only last year, a boat's crew from a closed his shop, bade his relatives fareshipwrecked vessel managed to reach well, and started on the voyage which Rapa Iti, a lonely southern outlier of was to take him half-way around the Polynesia, visited by a chance schooner world. But schooners for Rapa are at intervals of a year or two. The men rare, and the French authorities, made of Rapa, brought up from infancy to wise by past experience, do not enthe ways of the sea, are in demand as courage white settlers to establish sailors, and the result is that on the themselves on the more remote islands. island the females outnumber the males As things go, the cobbling dreamer, in a proportion said to be seven to one. with his tools and seeds and store of When, after many months, a vessel clothing, may end his days on Tahiti arrived at Rapa to rescue the stranded his quest unfulfilled to the last. mariners, the work of rescue had to be Unlike the majority of white strays, carried on almost violently; for the he would probably make a harmless least popular member of the boat's and contented settler. He is practical, crew was provided with half-a-dozen knows what he wants, and indulges in brown ladies, who hovered about anx- no absurd visions of becoming a saviously, not even permitting their lord age; a generation among sa vages works so simple a task as raising the food to little change in such a man. his own lips. The parting was a melancholy one; the girls stood weeping on

II the beach, while the sailors protested that they had no desire whatsoever The thought of him brings to mind to leave the island — far from it, they another, almost at the opposite extreme asked nothing better than to be left un- of the human scale, whose experiment in disturbed in the enjoyment of a life solitude is already proving a success. they found full of charm. But Rapa This one is an American of thirty

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