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change of work. Most people rest their sight worse than when you came out.” I minds too much; and it is a significant advise all such men to go right on playing. and highly interesting fact—which I The advice is superfluous. They cannot might easily make the subject of a whole let it alone. article—that the least active minds seem Physicians differ curiously here. One to require the most rest. The motion- doctor will tell you that violent explosions picture houses and the musical-comedy of rage and noisy imprecations cause theatres are filled with people who are changes in the tissue that will result in resting their minds, when what these cancer or in insanity; in other words, you minds need is a tonic. The excitement of must control yourself if you wish to regolf is its greatest blessing to a tired busi- main in bodily health. Other physicians ness man or a nervous brain-worker. It say that these rages are extremely beneis like a change of air.
ficial; they are like a magnificent internal I shall never be able to decide whether massage. There are many scientific men explosions of wrath or self-control are bet- who are studying daily the effect of anger ter for the golf-player. There can be no on the body; I am glad I am not one of the doubt that control is better for his game animals on which they are experimenting. and more agreeable for his partner; and Nearly all men are merely grown-up the lack of it is better for his opponent. children when it comes to games. I
supThe moment a player begins to rave and pose the truly rational man would not curse and roar about his bad luck, that care whether he won or lost, so long as he moment his antagonist begins to improve. had the exercise, the open air, and good But how about the condition of the play- company. But there is no rational man. er's physical and mental system? 'I How eager we are to win, how we hate to know men who curse outrageously and be beaten! One day in 1913, as I was yet the game seems to do them good. On dressing in the locker-room after a game the other hand, I remember an excellent of golf, in came the most good-natured man who never lost his temper while play- man in the world, the Honorable William ing, and never used heated language. I Howard Taft. He never uses profane saw him repeatedly in a foursome, where language; but on this occasion he hurled one of the men, putting first and putting his bag of clubs to the floor and emitted badly, let out a stream of curses, for, as a snort of rage. 'What's the matter?” the undergraduate said, “I find that in I inquired;“ did you get licked?” “Yes,” golf sailors have nothing on college pro- said he, “and I played a rotten game.” fessors in fluency of speech”; whenever “Why,” I said innocently, "you seem to this happened, my friend would say feel worse about losing to-day's golf game quietly, "Now it is my turn to putt; sup- than you did at losing the Presidential pose you say nothing until I have fin- election." "Well, I do now," he replied ished. Then you may roar all you like." emphatically. Which was absolutely true, And his shot was followed by no comment. and it would be true of most men. The You could not tell from his face or his sting of defeat does not last very long; voice what had happened. I admired his but while it lasts it is bitter. For this self-control immensely, and respected the reason, a man who has just won a hole in sublimity of his character; but he after- golf should never call his opponent's atward became incurably insane. So that tention to the beauty of the natural scennow I wonder; I wonder if perhaps he had ery; at that moment he is in no proper released his disappointment in a torrent attitude to appreciate such things. Perof curses ?—but with his iron self-control fectly respectable men, after making a he kept all the poison in his system, and poor shot in golf, will leap up and down eventually it was too much for him. in a frenzy of rage, use words that would
There are those whose bad playing and astound some of their acquaintances, and resulting disappointment overweigh the smash an expensive club. At one course pleasure of the game. As one man put it, where there was a water-hole, a good citi"you come out at three o'clock with a zen drove his ball into the lake; he teed headache, you are tired and nervous; then up another and drove that also into the you play eighteen holes in the glorious lake. Then he threw each one of his open air, and go home feeling a blank clubs into the lake, finally the bag, and then went home. Now did that explo- ing blood? If you have not, the general sion improve or injure his general health? excitement over sport and one's own chaA man told me that on one golf course he grin at defeat are both alike ridiculous and saw a bank president, an admirable per- irrational. But if you have sporting son and one whose judgment in business blood, you can no more reason yourself was universally respected—he saw him into an attitude of indifference to athletics foozle a shot with his brassie. Then the or into indifference to defeat than you can bank president broke the implement and, reason yourself into another kind of aniholding the mutilated remainder, he bit it mal. For sporting blood is an animal inwith insane violence.
stinct, like jealousy; it is hard to control Why do we care so much? The
it by reason. fessionals set us an example here that Knowing my love of literature, the fine none of us duffers can follow. Although arts, and everything that makes for culsuccess and failure in the game mean ture and the life of the mind, a lady asked everything to them, for it is their means me an extremely awkward question. of livelihood, they almost never give way “You have been teaching at Yale for to passion. In the first place, they know many years. You have devoted your life that passion spoils their accuracy; and in to developing the minds of your pupils. the second place, men never show as much Now tell me honestly: which would you outward irritation over important as over rather see, one of your pupils make a brilunimportant things. Had this bank liant recitation in the classroom or make president who bit his club been told of the a touch-down against Harvard?” The sudden failure of his bank, he would not love of truth that I try to inculcate in my have bitten anything.
students forced me not to flinch. I re
plied: “Well, I am deeply gratified when The late Professor William Dwight one of my students makes a brilliant reciWhitney, who was the foremost Sanskrit tation, only I do not smash my hat." scholar in the world, and who was a To those who are interested in golf and model of courtesy and dignity, was for- the human nature revealed by the game, bidden by his physician to play any game let me heartily recommend Sandy Herd's whatever, croquet, cards, checkers, or autobiography, called “My Golfing Life," anything else; because he was so downcast with a preface by Field-Marshal Earl by defeat that the doctor was sure he was Haig. This is not a manual for the beinjuring his health. Such a situation ginner or for the expert; it is not a manual gives one plenty of material for prolonged at all. Sound elementary advice is given reflection. What is there in mere victory in the last chapters; but the book follows or defeat that excites us so ? And why is its title. It is the story of Sandy Herd's the whole Anglo-Saxon world crazy about rise from caddie to champion. It is filled competitive sport?
with entertaining anecdotes, giving intiMany years ago Wilkie Collins wrote a mate portraits of Harry Vardon, J. H. long novel against athletics, called “Man Taylor, and other stars; he describes his and Wife.” He did everything he could two journeys to America, with many obto attack “the athletic craze” in the Eng- servations on our national characteristics. lish universities; in his account of a four- But it is the history of his own life that mile running race between two men, he captivates the reader-his ambition to said with utter contempt that thousands excel even when he was a child. His of spectators were gathered to see which personality is peculiarly attractive. One of two men-neither of whom was of any feels acquainted with him. As a profesimportance—could run faster than the sional teacher of other things, I can estiother. His book, though well written and mate his own skill as a teacher, and I can filled with unanswerable arguments, pro- see why he has been so successful. Best duced no impression. Look at the inter- of all is the fact that although he makes est in university athletics fifty years after his living by golf, there is no amateur in his fulminations! It all gets down to the the world who loves it more. It is fine to point made by ex-President Arthur T. see such enthusiasm. It seems clear from Hadley-have you or have you not sport- this book that Sandy Herd has never played a match mechanically or given a unwritten? Why are so few happy relesson without giving himself with it. torts made in conversation? Why does His interest in golf is infectious; no player the after-dinner speaker always make his can read Herd's account of close contests most brilliant speech on the way home without feeling a thrill. And how com- from the banquet? forting to the mediocre golfer to hear of It seems that, after all, the happiest peothe short putts missed by professionals! ple may be those who have no ambition;
There is a whole philosophy of life in a who are merely content to live in obscurmissed short putt, and it makes for pessi- ity, taking only what the day provides, mism. One does not need to know what satisfied with simple things. Many hard a putt is to understand what I mean. For words have been said against ambition, by what I mean is this. It is strange that Shakespeare, Milton, and others; the atmen and women should be so constituted tack on ambition is based on the loss of that they can do things easily when the happiness resulting from the disparity bedoing of them is of no importance; whilst tween dream and reality. For in this the moment it becomes essential to do world the ambitious man must struggle that very thing the doing of it becomes a not only against the ordinary obstacles in thousandfold harder. To knock a golf- the way of success; he must struggle ball into a hole two feet away is so easy against the scheme of things, like a swimthat the ordinary man or woman, while mer against the current. practising alone, could probably do it two Success is the sweeter on those rare ochundred times successively; but when a casions when it comes, because it is a vicchampionship depends upon sinking a tory over the conditions of life. We do two-foot putt, there is not a man or well to honor those who reach the top. woman in the world who is not in danger There are only a very few "consistent of missing it. There seems to be a curse performers” in any line of intellectual, aron humanity, which lessens ability when tistic, or athletic effort; only a very few it is most needed. Why should the in- who do their best when their best is most tense desire to do a thing reduce a man's essential. Look back over the history of ability to do it? In a perfect world, it the world, and think, out of all the milwould be just the other way around; the lions of speeches that have been delivered, more important the crisis, the greater how few survive and how small a proporwould be the performer's skill. But tion each one of those bears to its speakamong the children of men, a consuming er's total. We are right therefore in payeagerness to accomplish something-no ing tribute to genius; and the old writer matter what it may be usually makes its in the Apocrypha said a fine thing finely accomplishment far more difficult. This when he said, “Let us now praise famous is why“Casey at the Bat” is at once one men." of the most pessimistic poems in the language and one of the truest to human na- I am glad that William Butler Yeats reture. Why do the most skilful surgeonsceived the Nobel prize. He is a man of refuse to operate on members of their own genius, and a noble character. He has family? Why do the greatest orators excelled in poetry, drama, and criticism. only seldom rise to an occasion? Why is He is not only one of the foremost of livit that in the complete works of Words- ing poets, he is unquestionably the greatworth, only a fourth part is good? Why est lyrical poet Ireland has ever produced. is it that Shakespeare, who had a com- So long as the Nobel prize is to be given mand of language so marvellous that he only to those who have "arrived," and a seemed to be able to find the right word glance over the list of the twenty-three without effort-why is it that only about recipients demonstrates that such has seven of his plays are generally read and been the policy, Mr. Yeats richly deserves about thirty neglected? Why is it that it. Gerald Stanley Lee has suggested that the greatest humorists cannot be funny the prize should be given only to young when they most strenuously wish to be? writers of promise, in order that the attenWhy did Richter say that every great tion of the world might be drawn to them poet goes to his grave with his best poems and that they might be encouraged. As it is now, the Nobel prize is merely a ratifi- mine in the dining-room sits George Ade, cation of popular opinion. This is un- national humorist, playwright, and phiquestionably the safer method of award. losopher; his “Fables in Slang" are pun
gent criticisms of human nature. I am In a previous article, I wrote of my glad that he has at last arranged to have pleasure in reading Oscar Browning's au- his complete dramatic works published; tobiography. One of my correspondents they will appear early in 1924. E. W. sends me the following tribute to Mr. Howe, the exponent of common sense and Browning's girth, written by a Cambridge shrewd sincerity, has lived here for many undergraduate:
winters. Briggs, by all odds the fore"O. B., oh be obedient
most cartoonist in America, is here. To Nature's stern decrees,
Yesterday afternoon, December 29, For though you be but one O. B., some of us went to a large lawn-party You may be too obese!”
and musical recital at the beautiful home Librarians have developed faster than of William Jennings Bryan. The lawn booksellers. Years ago, in the Society slopes down to the sea; some hundred peoLibrary on University Place, New York, ple, in light summer clothing, sat in chairs there was an assistant librarian who was placed on the grass and listened to the puzzled by the frequent inquiries for a piano played in the open air by a young book called Shakespeare. He could never gentleman of nineteen, Schuyler Aldrich, find out who wrote this book, so he finally whom my friend Aldrich of the New York asked a lady member—who seems analo- Times would be glad to claim as a relagous to the lady from Philadelphia and tion. The boy played Liszt, Rachmanithe Peterkin family: "Who wrote Shake- noff, Moszkowski, Debussy, and other speare?”. A correspondent informs me composers, and played so exquisitely that that this is an absolutely true incident. perhaps some day we shall all be talking But I think it is fortunate that the about him. The surroundings were harlady was not a Baconian. This happened monious; the iridescent sea of Florida, years ago; but only the other day, so a the blue sky, the balmy air, and the setclergyman writes me, he inquired in a ting sun made up a magnificent accombook-shop for Addison's Essays, and the paniment. Mr. Bryan gracefully introclerk said, “You mean Thomas Edison ?” duced the musician and added to the "No," said the man of God, “Joseph Ad- pleasure of the company. I will say nothdison, Addison and Steele, you know,” ing of his views on politics and theology. and the clerk, catching the name of Addi- But I will say two things. He is unquesson's collaborator, and thinking it to be tionably the foremost of living American a common noun, directed the purchaser orators, and in the political history of to the technical books. He bought a vol- America there have been only three men ume of Ruskin and left. I think he made with so large a personal following—they a double error. He should have bought are Henry Clay, James G. Blaine, and nothing in such a shop; and he should not Theodore Roosevelt. Mr. Bryan has surhave gone away without giving the clerk vived three defeats for the Presidency, some elementary instruction in his job. and every form of attack, ranging from
argument to ridicule. There is probably I am writing in Miami, in the most no man in the United States who has half glorious winter climate in the world. This so many personal followers as he. The is not an advertisement, for I am paying reason for this leads one into various inmy own hotel bill. Other "winter re- teresting speculations; but I think it sorts” can be cold; I shall return to this comes down in the end to sincerity and subject in a later essay. But Miami has kindness of heart, backed by the mysterieternal summer, and the visitor can be ous genius of Personality. There are milcertain of finding it here. I came hither lions who would not vote for Mr. Bryan, for the climate, but there are many dis- but there are not a score who hate him. tinguished people who are brought here There is something in his temperament and for the same reason that brings ordinary character that is the essence of America. pilgrims like me. At the next table to There is one thing he ought to do, and he ought to begin doing it now. He ought tell the world his own life-story from boyto write his autobiography. If he would hood to the present day, tell of the various tell in simple, natural language the story incidents in his campaign, of the persons of his life, leaving out all propaganda on he has known in Europe and in America, politics and theology, he would I think from Tolstoi to the most humble of his write a book that would live forever. He supporters, it would be a permanent recwould have to eschew the oratorical style ord of a phase in American political and and, what would be more difficult, the social life, and a contribution to the litmoralizing manner. If he would simply erature of the world.
AM tempted, for once, to talk about the old masters, and appreciation of that an exhibition without seeing it, to fact is deepened when you grasp the
visualize a collection of paintings be- instinctive nature of his power as a craftsfore it is hung upon the walls. My excuse man. He had extraordinary talent when, is that it promises to be in some ways the as a young man, he entered the studio of most interesting affair of the season and, Carolus-Duran, and it took him hardly besides, it wakes old and delightful memo- any time at all to outstrip his master. ries. I refer to the retrospective exhibi- Probably our hypothetical Frenchman tion of the works of John S. Sargent which would fall in a fit if you told him that. is now being organized by the manage- The fact is that the French have their ment of the Painters and Sculptors' Gal- doubts about Sargent. I gather that lery and will be on view at the Grand when the exhibition of water-colors by Central when this number of SCRIBNER'S Winslow Homer, Sargent, and Dodge MAGAZINE is published. I write in con- Macknight was held in Paris last summer fident anticipation of its brilliance, for, the indifference of the public to our great if Sargent is not the greatest of living painter was marked. Of course it is pospainters, then who is ?
sible that this was due in part to the inA Frenchman, I dare say, would be roads that modernism has made in French quick enough with a reply to that ques- taste. People there, quite as much as peotion. He would cite Besnard (who, by ple in New York, are heavily oppressed the way, is going to visit America in the by bandwagonomania, and they are so spring), and he could make out a pretty afraid of not being “in the movement" good case for his man as a formidable that they slacken in old fidelities. I wonrival. He might also have something der what the French will do about the suggestive to say about Claude Monet. “Carmencita," which they bought years But in neither instance, I think, could the ago and placed in the Luxembourg. It challenge to Sargent's supremacy be was moved along with the other foreign maintained if the argument be confined works in that museum when those works to the core of the matter, which is an were established in a home of their own artist's command over his instruments. in the famous Salle de Jeu de Paume in Of all the elements constituting a great the gardens of the Tuileries. Will it be painter there is none more potent, there is left there indefinitely or will it in due none so indispensable, as just the ability to course migrate to the Louvre? Naturally paint. Sargent has that ability in a that question cannot be answered now. measure recalling the miraculous days of A picture is not supposed to enter the