Obrázky stránek

bers, and as soon as this issue of SCRIB- tant biography of our day—“Carlyle Till NER'S MAGAZINE begins to circulate, will Marriage," by David Alec Wilson. Mr. rapidly gather accretions. Miss Reding- Wilson has spent thirty years collecting ton writes: “We came to it as Browning material about Carlyle, and this initial pilgrims, but we love it for itself, and tome is to be the first of five. Upon the think Browning's affection for it more conclusion of the work Thomas Carlyle than natural-it was inevitable. Once will emerge more completely than Johnvisited, Asolo must always remain in one's son from the pages of Boswell. Mr. Wilmemory as the most adorable hill town in son has a genius for detail and a passion the world. Of course you will be Presi- for accuracy. Many legends are discreddent of the Asolo Club. That is our one ited, and every statement of fact is carestipulation. We take it for granted that fully and elaborately documented. If the motto of the Fano Club, as you an- Carlyle met a girl on the street and smiled nounced it in Los Angeles that July morn- at her, the fact is supported by three footing—no dues, no initiation fees, no as- notes. Does this meticulous method sessments'—will hold good in this sister make the book dull? On the contrary, I society. ... No Browning enthusiast have yet to find a single dull sentence, can afford not to make this pilgrimage either in the pages or in the fine print at which, incidentally, is not a difficult one, their feet. Mr. Wilson writes with such even if the little town is off the railway. gusto that he keeps up his own and his A good public motor bus from Castel- reader's courage; his style is such a comfranco solves the problem of transporta- pound of enthusiasm, shrewdness, cynition for the tourist who is not travelling cism, and humor that I find myself led in his own car, and an excellent Italian inn captive. If he lives to finish this vast (Albergo al Sole) makes his stay a com- undertaking, I predict that he will take fortable and well-fed one.'

his place among the great biographers of

all time. Elizabeth N. Case, the accomplished literary critic of the Hartford Courant, not The year 1923 should be memorable only joins the Faerie Queene Club, but for an astonishing number of “autobiognominates emphatically for the Ignoble raphies,” “recollections,” and “reminisPrize Carlyle's “French Revolution.” cences. I cannot remember any previous She has made five valiant attacks upon it, twelvemonth that can be compared with and been repulsed five times with severe it. Here are a few of them: “From Immilosses. The Manchester Guardian, com- grant to Inventor," by Michael Pupin, menting on my September article in which first appeared in the pages of SCRIBSCRIBNER's, thinks I am mistaken in be- NER'S MAGAZINE, and which is assuredly lieving that Carlyle's works are to-day a valuable contribution to human nature widely read; that admirable journal be- in general and to Americanization in parlieves the world is far more interested in ticular. It is an extraordinary record. reading about Carlyle than in reading “Remembered Yesterdays,” by Robert him. Which may be true; yet very few Underwood Johnson, poet, editor, diplopersons can graduate from Yale without mat, is crowded with interesting anecreading him, for it is compulsory in the dotes and good stories; the author's long English course of freshman year. I will service as editor of the Century Magazine now confess that I have never read and his connection with the American through the “French Revolution"; I well Academy made him the intimate friend of remember beginning to do so, and the late distinguished men and women in every Professor Ralph Catterall of Cornell-one land. "From Pinafores to Politics,” by of the best teachers of history in America Mrs. J. Borden Harriman, copiously illus-telling me that I should never finish it. trated, is full of good talk and exciting inNo one does,” said he.

cidents. “Tales of Travel,” by the MarBut the personality of Carlyle is as com- quess Curzon, and "The Story of My pellingly interesting as ever. There has Life,” by Sir Harry H. Johnston, are just been published the first volume of crowded with thrilling adventures. “My what I believe will be the most impor- Windows on the Street of the World,"


two thick volumes, by Professor James longing to a certain group of families with Mavor, will hold the attention of all in- pedigree and certain traditions. A gentelligent readers, and will make others tleman can be a criminal and yet remain

. wish they were intelligent. “The World a gentleman, because he can't help it. Crisis,” by the Right Honorable Winston The notion of a nature's gentleman seems S. Churchill, is as lively and irritating as to me to represent an attempt to steal the its author. “My Note-Book at Home prestige that hangs around the name of and Abroad,” by Harry De Windt, who gentleman and to apply it incorrectly to says he has travelled over a million miles, the possessor of certain moral and intelabout ten thousand without steam, and lectual qualities. Why not call the latter has lived in every capital of Europe, is a 'good' or a 'clever' man and remain exactly what one might expect from the true to the proper use of language?” All author's preface. “Myself Not Least, I can say is, "Golly ! what a book !” It Being the Personal Reminiscences of X,” sounds as though it had been written beis a succession of good stories told by fore the year 1789. an expert. “Memories of the Russian I am amused to read such language Court," by Anna Virobova, is as enter- from an indubitable swell. But it is not taining as it is something else, and it is as- particularly amusing to read what he says suredly both. “Celebrities: Little Stories on one of the greatest statesmen and About Famous Folk,” by Coulson Kerna- noblest characters in modern history, han, is charming in its candor, modesty, John Morley, whose integrity matched and naiveté. His account of the Edwin his intellect. It is, however, significant; Drood trial, where the judge was G. K. because it shows that a chronic consciousChesterton, and Bernard Shaw foreman ness of high birth may produce petrifacof the jury, is unforgettable; and I shall tion of the brain. It hardly seems possinot forget the conversation between the ble that John Morley, whom Henry James beloved Ian Maclaren and an Italian called the most distinguished of living peasant woman. She asked him if he Englishmen, could be the object of such never prayed to the Mother of God, and an appraisal as this: “Another politician, on receiving a courteous negative reply, at one time intimate with my uncle, was she said: “Ah, sir, I understand that, but Mr. John Morley (now a Viscount, as all you are a man, and you don't know how a good Radicals should be). Morley had

" Protestant clergyman immediately and question, and thereby made sure of his humbly asked the peasant's forgiveness. peerage and higher office. It was a pubOne of the most light-hearted of all these lic calamity when he was made secretary biographies is that by Douglas Ainslie, of state for India. I have it from a forcalled “Adventures Social and Literary,” eign diplomatist, now an Allied ambassain which the author tells the story of his dor, who had much state business at the youth and of his diplomatic career. Here India Office, that the whole of his policy is a man who has always moved, by right was disastrous to the maintenance of of birth, breeding, and education, in the British authority in that great country.” best circles.” He is such a snob that his Well, honesty is sometimes disastrous both frankness is disarming; his assurance adds to authority and to greed. considerably to the amusement of the When he is not talking about gentlemen reader; and he himself seems to have had or politics, Mr. Ainslie is often more enterno end of fun. He hates democracy, and taining. He adds some excellent stories says so candidly. He believes that no to the vast number already encircling the one has the right to be called a “gentle- figure of Oscar Wilde. Here is one, which man” unless—but let him talk, for such despite the narrator's howling blunder, is words make a strange accompaniment worth remembering. It happened when to the scream of the American eagle. Wilde was an undergraduate at Oxford, "What is a gentleman? The significance taking his oral exam. “He was put on of the word seems to vary with the to construe from the Greek of the New speaker. I cling to the old acceptation Testament, at the verse of St. Matthew that it should and does mean a man be- which records the sale of the Saviour for thirty pieces of silver by Barabbas. (SIC!) Their wit and tunefulness are imperishaWilde, who got a First in Greats and ble; and their reproduction would make taught Mrs. Langtry Latin, construed a our musical comedies seem almost as few

verses rapidly and correctly. The ex- inane as they actually are. aminer interrupted: ‘Very good, that will do, Mr. Wilde.' 'Hush, hush,' replied Burns Mantle, the accomplished drathe candidate, raising an admonitory matic critic, has recently issued his fourth finger, ‘let us proceed and see what hap- annual volume, “The Best Plays of 1922– pened to the unfortunate man.”” 1923." I advise lovers and students of

In addition to these just mentioned, contemporary drama to buy this book, and to those on which I commented in and its three predecessors, for they form previous issues of SCRIBNER'S MAGAZINE, a complete and accurate history of the one should particularly read Walter Dam- American stage during the period covrosch's “My Musical Life”; it is not only ered. The present theatrical season in an excellent autobiography, it shows New York—there is none elsewhere in clearly how New York has become the America—is particularly brilliant. The world's musical capital. Observe also outstanding event is the revival of “Cyrthe “Memoirs of Alexander Herzen," the ano de Bergerac," by Walter Hampden. great Russian critic, whose complete auto- The greatest drama of modern times, probiography is now for the first time being duced and acted by one of the most gifted made available in English. "A Mid- and impressive artists in the world, makes Victorian Pepys," being the letters and a combination that has been received with memoirs of Sir William Hardman, anno- tremendous enthusiasm. It is a glorious tated and edited by S. M. Ellis, is steadily performance, worth travelling across the entertaining, most so when not meant to continent to see. The translation was be, as will be seen from the following, un- made especially for this production by the der date of January, 1862: “So we are to American poet Brian Hooker, and seems have no war with these infernal Yankees to be admirably adapted for the voice. this time. I am sorry for it, and in this I Other plays that adorn this season are find my feelings are not unusual, for the “The Changelings," by Lee Wilson Dodd, prevailing views among all with whom I an original, thoughtful, challenging, brilam brought into contact are, that we liant American comedy, produced to the could not do better than give Yankeedom absolute satisfaction of eye and ear by a thorough licking, and that such a fight Henry Miller. Associated with him are must come off sooner or later. I remark Blanche Bates, Laura Hope Crews, Ruth that our strenuous preparations for war Chatterton, and others, whose intelligence have rather smitten the Jonathans with a and enunciation make the dialogue as exsort of abject terror. There is no doubt citing as action in a melodrama. The about it, we put them in a precious funk. tempo of the play is perfectly sustained. It has put us to great expense in perfect- “The Swan,” a romantic comedy by Moling our military and naval condition, but nar, has captured New York, and deserves it has enabled us to throw a compact its success. It is a charming piece, and army of 10,000 men into Canada.” the acting of the cast is on a level with

Finally there is “The Garden of Mem- that of the best stock companies of Euory,” an autobiography by the late Kate rope. Not so much can be said of the Douglas Wiggin.

Theatre Guild's choice and production of In addition to all these autobiographies, Galsworthy's “Windows." I am an enI am filled with feverish expectancy by a thusiastic member of the Guild, and an book that has just arrived: “W. S. Gil- enthusiastic admirer of Galsworthy; but bert. His Life and Letters, by Sidney nothing can disguise the fact that “WinDark and Rowland Grey.” Is the motley dows" is a feeble play, indifferently acted. in the authorship symbolical? It has Jane Cowl, emboldened by the immense many illustrations and, best of all, an success of her interpretation of Juliet, has enormous number of verses. Why can- had the courage to produce Maeterlinck's not we have a revival of the complete “Pelléas and Mélisande," and indeed it cycle of the Gilbert and Sullivan operas? took courage, because the play has appall

[ocr errors]

ing difficulties, and because Maeterlinck as so many actresses who essay Lady is just now extremely unpopular in Amer- Macbeth love to show off in the sleepica. He was a great name until he came walking scene, thus demonstrating that hither to lecture; after that disastrous ex- whoever may be asleep in the audience, perience the majority of Americans made the Lady is not, so actors who play Osup their minds that he was a writer of no wald love to put horror in their tones importance, and in America all such when its absence is most horrible. When things are settled by majority vote. I heard Antoine play the rôle in Paris, he That a failure in lecturing should destroy spoiled the final effect by saying pathetithe literary value of “Monna Vanna," cally, Donne-moi le soleil, like a child cry“Pelléas," "Sister Béatrice,” and “The ing for food. In Madame Duse's producBlue Bird” would seem incomprehensible tion, Oswald implored and besought his if it were not a fact. Most American mother to give him the sun, thus destroy"critics” simply repeat what it is fashion- ing the effect that Ibsen explicitly wished able to say: Maeterlinck is an old wind- to produce. Oswald in this instance was bag; Alfred Noyes never wrote a line of no crazier than the sun. Why have a poetry, and so on. Jane Cowl, however, sun? The increasing light of dawn is all has scored an artistic success in the Bel- that is necessary. But in the Duse progian play; whether it will hold the stage duction a roundish, yellowish ball came for a long run is not now discoverable. up jerkily in a heavily wrinkled sky; the

The Moscow players are with us again, men who were pulling it off stage lacked and are no less wonderful, delighting their the rudiments of team-play, for some audiences and satisfying the most difficult seemed to haul against determined oppocritics. They have added new plays to sition, so that the result looked like a tug their repertoire, and are apparently as suc- of war, with the sun for prize. The concessful in light comedy as in gray trag- servatives, who did not wish it to rise at edy. It is curious that out of all Ibsen's all, nearly got it once. Such a perverse works they should have chosen “An sun would have discredited a scratch team Enemy of the People,” but they certainly of players in a district school. I wish did well with it. Perhaps on their next David Belasco could have seen it. For visit they will take an American play. his production of "Mary, Mary, Quite

Eleonora Duse also came over, and Contrary” had the most marvellous light played to enormous and enthusiastic audi- ever seen on the stage. There were no ences. She gave the worst performance side-lights, spot-lights, or foot-lights; Mr. of Ibsen's “Ghosts” I have ever seen. Belasco has discovered a new method, Not one thrill did I receive from her that gives a diffused light indistinguishimpersonation of Mrs. Alving. She was able from the light of day. The sunmechanically perfect; her movements, ges- shine filtered through the trees exactly as tures, voice, all technically correct, and it would on a summer afternoon, and all lifeless.

the sky had no wrinkles; the only un

wrinkled sky I have ever seen in the “Faultily faultless, icily regular, splendidly null,

theatre. Dead perfection.” Not for one second was I under any illu- In New Jersey, the Burlington County sion, under any spell; I simply watched a Historical Society has done a fine thing well-oiled automaton. As for the others, in purchasing the house in the town of the only satisfactory one was Pastor Man- Burlington, 457 High Street, where on ders; the rest were either insignificant or September 15, 1789, James Fenimore bad. The conclusion was doubly ruined, Cooper was born. The house is filled first by the scene between Oswald and his with Cooperiana, the novelist's grandson mother, and secondly by the weirdest sun contributing a remarkable manuscript. that ever shone. As if to forestall future On November 23, the birthplace was elocutionists, Ibsen put in the stage direc- formally dedicated, and despite torrents tion that Oswald must speak in a dull, of rain there was a large attendance and toneless voice; by the lack of expression great fervor. I was not only deeply inexpressing horror unspeakable. But just terested in the Cooper home and in the

old Quaker meeting-house, but in the an extremely interesting letter from one building next door to Cooper's, where of McCabe's fellow soldiers, G. Nash Captain James Lawrence was born, Oc- Morton, who writes: tober 1, 1781. Let me recommend to motorists a visit to Burlington. Kenneth Gordon was a charming personality, a most enA. Robinson, of Dartmouth, writes me: tertaining and delightful companion. After Lee's “My grandfather was a graduate of Yale surrender, when a number of Lee's officers,


in one way or another had escaped capitulation, in the class of 1835, and I have often

were making our way to join General Johnston at heard him tell how he and some other stu- Greensboro, N. Ç., I came into the most intimate dents tried to get the Phi Beta Kappa touch with Gordon. Having been cut off from society there to bring, or at least invite, Lee on the night before the 9th of April by Sheri

dan's Cavalry, which had swung in between us Cooper to New Haven to lecture, only to and Lee's main army, marching on another road, have their proposal repeatedly rejected by at sunrise on the morning of the 9th we received the officers of the society on the ground word from Lee that he was about to surrender. that Cooper 'wrote novels.'

But as we were cut off from him, he had not included us in his cartel, and that we could either

surrender with him or not, just as we pleased. I Americans are usually good story- set out immediately to join Johnston. In doing tellers, as distinguished from conversa- so I had to pass my home, “Gravel Hill," in Chartionists. I use the latter word on the lotte, the adjoining County to Appomattox. De

layed there a couple of days arranging a new horse prompting of Ernest Ingersoll, who sug- and valet to replace the one I had left behind, gests that it is a better form than con- Gordon and Maj. McGraw turned up with Lieut. versationalist. And so it is. I suppose

Hannah, my cousin. We all joined comthere never was a more entertaining teller pany and went in a body to Greensboro. It was of stories than the late Gordon McCabe, in all their brilliancy. Arriving at Greensboro,

there that Gordon's splendid qualities shone forth of Virginia, who during his life of eighty we reported for service to General Johnston, who years gave an immense amount of plea- told us that just then he had nothing for us to do, sure to an immense number of people. He rations. If he needed us, he would call on us.

but that we might camp near him, and draw our was my ideal of a Southern gentleman, We learned afterward that he was already negobrave, courteous, witty, kindly, with a tiating with Sherman for surrender. Gordon was nice sense of honor. His conversations our spokesman with Johnston. When the latter with Tennyson were particularly inter- asked him what was Lee's position at Richmond

and Petersburg before leaving them, and Gordon esting. He told the aged poet some of his had explained it to him, he said, “I am surprised best Southern anecdotes, which made him he stayed there so long." Whatever President a welcome guest in Tennyson's home. Davis and Congress might have wished or said, On one occasion Tennyson grew confiden- fate and have saved his army while there was an

Johnston would have left the two cities to their tial and told McCabe something about opportunity to save it. Lee, on the contrary, his own history, and then rather gruffly always bowed to the civic authorities. He knew remarked that he hoped McCabe would as well as Johnston when his position became unnot print this in any newspaper. McCabe tenable, and no doubt he had made it known to

the authorities. But Richmond not Petersburg, instantly replied that in the country in its mad whirl of pleasure and frolic, was blind whence he came such a remark would be to its fate, and believed that Lee could work mirregarded as an insult, and the poet im- acles and would never give up the capital. mediately apologized. Observing that incident which thrilled even such experienced sol

During our stay in Greensboro, we witnessed an Tennyson smoked all the time, McCabe diers as we were. A mob gathered around the asked him if he had ever tried Bull Dur- building where the quartermaster and commisham, the Old Reliable; he had not, but sary stores were housed. As the mob pressed liked the sample given him by the Vir- nearer and nearer and seemed more and more

threatening, the young soldier in charge whirled a ginian. Accordingly McCabe used to keg of powder to the door, smashed in the head send him a bale of Bull Durham every with a hatchet, called to his assistant to bring year, which the poet quickly consumed. him the poker which he had been heating in the Gordon McCabe, like the gallant young head,' he said, “You people had better get away

stove, and brandishing its glowing tip over his gentleman he was, fought in the Confed- from here. If you press any nearer, I will blow erate Army, and could not at first swallow up the house and everybody near it.” They saw the oath of allegiance to the United States that he meant business and retired.

One day General Johnston informed us that he after the war, for which I personally ad- intender surrender the next day. We bade mire him. Only the other day I received him good-by, mounted our horses and turned

« PředchozíPokračovat »