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A wren reaches its home after hundreds of miles of fast aerial travel; a hermit crab achieves a new lease with a flip of his tail. Between these extremes, and in no less strange a fashion, I moved. A great barge pushed off from the Penal Settlement, piled high with my zoological Lares and Penates, and along each side squatted a line of paddlers—white-garbed burglars and murderers, forgers and fighters—while seated aloft on one of my ammunition trunks, with a microscopic case and a camera close under his watchful eye, sat Case, King of the Warders, the biggest, blackest, and kindesthearted man in the world.
Three miles up river swept my moving-van; and from the distance I could hear the half-whisper-which was yet a roar-of Case as he admonished his children. "Mon," he would say to a shirking, shrinking coolie second-story man, “mon, do you t’ink dis the time to sleep? What toughts have you in your bosom, dat you delay de Professor's household?” And then a chanty would rise, the voice of the leader quavering with that wild rhythm which had come down to him, a vocal heritage, through centuries of tom-toms and generations of savages striving for emotional expression. But the words were laughable or pathetic. I was adjured to
“Blow de mon down with a bottle of rum,
Or the jungle reëchoed the edifying reiteration of
Sardines—and bread, Sardines and bread-AND! Sardines
The thrill that a whole-lunged chanty gives is difficult to describe. It arouses some deep emotional response, as surely as a military band, or the reverberating cadence of an organ, or a suddenly remembered theme
As my aquatic van drew up to the sandy landingbeach, I looked at the motley array of paddlers, and my mind went back hundreds of years to the first Spanish crew which landed here, and I wondered whether these pirates of early days had any fewer sins to their credit than Case's convicts-and I doubted it.
Across my doorstep a line of leaf-cutting ants was passing, each bearing aloft a huge bit of green leaf, or a long yellow petal, or a halberd of a stamen. A shadow fell over the line, and I looked up to see an anthropomorphic enlargement of the ants—the convicts winding up the steep bank, each with cot, lamp, table, pitcher, trunk, or aquarium balanced on his head-all my possessions suspended between earth and sky by the neck-muscles of worthy sinners. The first thing to be brought in was a great war-bag packed to bursting, and Number 214, with eight more years to serve, let it slide down his shoulder with a grunt—the selfsame sound that I have heard from a Tibetan woman carrier, and a Mexican peon, and a Japanese porter, all of whom had in past years toted this very bag.
I led the way up the steps, and there in the doorway was a tenant, one who had already taken possession, and who now faced me and the trailing line of convicts with that dignity, poise, and perfect self-possession which only a toad, a giant grandmother of a toad, can exhibit. I, and all the law-breakers who followed, recognized the nine tenths involved in this instance and carefully stepped around. When the heavy things began to arrive, I approached diffidently, and half suggested, half directed her deliberate hops toward a safer corner. My feelings toward her were mingled, but altogether kindly,
-as guest in her home, I could not but treat her with respect—while my scientific soul reveled in the addition of Bufo guttatus to the fauna of this part of British Guiana. Whether flashing gold of oriole, or the blinking solemnity of a great toad, it mattered little-Kartabo had welcomed me with as propitious an omen as had Kalacoon.
FREE TRADE VS. PROTECTION IN
SAMUEL McCHORD CROTHERS
Samuel McChord Crothers, since 1894 Unitarian clergyman at Cambridge, Massachusetts, and preacher to Harvard University, is one of the few living constructive critics of life and literature. Dr. Crothers was born at Oswego, Illinois, June 7, 1857. Wittenberg College, Princeton, Union Theological Seminary, and Harvard Divinity School supplied his education, and he has since received honorary degrees from several universities. As a clergyman he has had charge of churches in three western states and of two in New England. He is a contributor to various magazines, and since 1893 has been author of at least fifteen books, all of them revealing wisdom, ethical purpose, wit, humanity, and a distinctive style. His third volume, The Gentle Reader, instantly placed him in the forefront of living American essayists, and still stands as his best book. The knowledge, the humor, and the characteristic sanity of this book, together with its attractive style, will, no doubt, cause it to continue to be one of the most widely read groups of essays of the early twentieth century in America. An Essay on "How to Know the Fallacies” in a later volume, The Pardoner's Wallet, is a deliciously humorous and yet thoughtful analysis of the field of logic and argumentation suggested by its title. Dr. Crothers' books are an inspiration, a stimulus, and a guide to those who read them; and their readers are many. He stands apart from the momentary opposing tendencies of criticism to-day, and therefore is more likely to survive in influence than the majority of his belligerent critical contemporaries. Dr. Crothers writes in a leisurely, quiet manner, with the sure touch of the scholar, and the discriminating taste of the fine artist.
In the old-fashioned text-book we used to be told that the branch of learning that was treated was at once an art and a science. Literature is much more than that. It is an art, a science, a profession, a trade, and an accident. The literature that is of lasting value is an accident. It is something that happens. After it has
1 Reprinted by special permission of the author.
happened, the historical critics busy themselves in explaining it. But they are not able to predict the next stroke of genius.
Shelley defines poetry as the record of "the best and happiest moments of the best and happiest minds." When we are fortunate enough to happen in upon an author at one of these happy moments, then, as the country newspaper would say, “a very enjoyable time was had.”
After we have said all that can be said about art and craftsmanship, we put our hopes upon a happy chance. Literature cannot be standardized. We never know how the most painstaking work may turn out. The
The most that can be said of the literary life is what Sancho Panza said of the profession of knighterrantry: "There is something delightful in going about in expectation of accidents."
After a meeting in behalf of social justice, an eager, distraught young man met me in the streets of Boston and asked:
"You believe in the principle of equality ?” “Yes.”
"Don't I then have just as much right to be a genius as Shakespeare had?"
It is with this chastened sense of our limitations that we meet for any organized attempt at the encouragement of literary productivity. Matthew Arnold's favorite bit of irreverence in which he seemed to find endless enjoyment was in twitting the unfortunate bishop who had said that "something ought to be done” for the Holy Trinity. It was a business-like proposition that involved a spiritual incongruity.