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Title: Mother Earth, Vol. 1 No. 3, May 1906 - Monthly Magazine Devoted to Social Science and Literature
Author: Various
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Mother Earth, Vol. 1 No. 3, May 1906 - Monthly Magazine Devoted to Social Science and Literature" ***

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|Transcriber's note:                              |
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|Obvious typographical errors have been corrected |
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Vol. I.                     MAY, 1906                   No. 3

MOTHER EARTH


[Illustration]


P. O. Box 217        EMMA GOLDMAN, Publisher      10c. a Copy



CONTENTS

                                                               PAGE

Tidings of May                                                    1

Envy    WALT WHITMAN                                              2

Observations and Comments                                         3

"This Man Gorky"    MARGARET GRANT                                8

Comrade    MAXIM GORKY                                           17

Alexander Berkman    E. G.                                       22

Poem    VOLTAIRINE DE CLEYRE                                     25

The White Terror                                                 25

Paternalistic Government    THEODORE SCHROEDER                   27

Liberty in Common Life    BOLTON HALL                            34

Statistics    H. KELLY                                           35

Gerhart Hauptmann with the Weavers of Silesia    MAX BAGINSKI    38

Disappointed Economists                                          47

Vital Art    ANNY MALI HICKS                                     48

Kristofer Hansteen    VOLTAIRINE DE CLEYRE                       52

Fifty Years of Bad Luck    SADAKICHI HARTMANN                    56



10c. A COPY    $1 A YEAR


MOTHER EARTH


Monthly Magazine Devoted to Social Science and Literature
           Published Every 15th of the Month

EMMA GOLDMAN, Publisher, P. O. Box 217, Madison Square Station,
                     New York, N. Y.

Vol. I                   MAY, 1906                        No. 3



TIDINGS OF MAY.


The month of May is a grinning satire on the mode of living of human
beings of the present day.

The May sun, with its magic warmth, gives life to so much beauty, so
much value.

The dead, grayish brown of the forest and woods is transformed into a
rich, intoxicating, delicate, fragrant green.

Golden sun-rays lure flowers and grass from the soil, and kiss branch
and tree into blossom and bloom.

Tillers of the soil are beginning their activity with plough, shovel,
rake, breaking the firm grip of grim winter upon the Earth, so that the
mild spring warmth may penetrate her breast and coax into growth and
maturity the seeds lying in her womb.

A great festival seems at hand for which Mother Earth has adorned
herself with garments of the richest and most beautiful hues.

What does civilized humanity do with all this splendor? It speculates
with it. Usurers, who gamble with the necessities of life, will take
possession of Nature's gifts, of wheat and corn, fruit and flowers, and
will carry on a shameless trade with them, while millions of toilers,
both in country and city, will be permitted to partake of the earth's
riches only in medicinal doses and at exorbitant prices.

May's generous promise to mankind, that they were to receive in
abundance, is being broken and undone by the existing arrangements of
society.

The Spring sends its glad tidings to man through the jubilant songs
that stream from the throats of her feathered messengers. "Behold," they
sing, "I have such wealth to give away, but you know not how to take.
You count and bargain and weigh and measure, rather than feast at my
heavily laden tables. You crawl about on the ground, bent by worry and
dread, rather than drink in the free balmy air!"

The irony of May is neither cold nor hard. It contains a mild yet
convincing appeal to mankind to finally break the power of the Winter
not only in Nature, but in our social life,--to free itself from the
hard and fixed traditions of a dead past.

[Illustration]



ENVY.

By WALT WHITMAN.


     _When I peruse the conquered fame of heroes, and the victories of
         mighty generals, I do not envy the generals,
     Nor the President in his Presidency, nor the rich in his great
         house;
     But when I hear of the brotherhood of lovers, how it was with them,
     How through life, through dangers, odium, unchanging, long and long
     Through youth, and through middle and old age, how unfaltering, how
         affectionate and faithful they were,
     Then I am pensive--I hastily walk away, filled with the bitterest
         envy._



OBSERVATIONS AND COMMENTS.


A young man had an Ideal which he cherished as the most beautiful and
greatest treasure he had on earth. He promised himself never to part
with it, come what might.

His surroundings, however, repeated from morn till night that one can
not feed on Ideals, and that one must become practical if he wishes to
get on in life.

When he attempted the practical, he realized that his Ideal could never
become reconciled to it. This, at first, caused him deep suffering, but
he soon conceived a pleasant thought: "Why should I expose my precious
jewel to the vulgarity, coarseness and filth of a practical life? I will
put it into a jewel case and hide it in a secluded spot."

From time to time, especially when business was bad, he stole over to
the case containing his Ideal, to delight in its splendor. Indeed, the
world was shabby compared with that!

Meanwhile he married and his business began to improve. The members of
his party had already begun to discuss the possibility of putting him up
as a candidate for Alderman.

He visited his Ideal at longer intervals now. He had made a very
unpleasant discovery,--his Ideal had lessened in size and weight in
proportion to the practical opulence of his mind. It grew old and full
of wrinkles, which aroused his suspicions. After all, the practical
people were right in making light of Ideals. Did he not observe with his
own eyes how his Ideal had faded?

It had been overlooked for a long time. Once more he stole over to the
safety vault containing his Ideal. It was at a time when he had suffered
a severe business loss. With great yearning in his breast, he lifted the
cover of the case. He was worn from practical life and his heart and
head felt heavy. He found the case empty. His Ideal had vanished,
evaporated!--It dawned upon him that he had proven false to the Ideal,
and not the Ideal to him.

[Illustration]

Pity and sympathy have been celebrating a great feast within the last
few weeks. When they look into the mirror of public opinion they find
their own reflex touchingly beautiful, big, very human. Want was about
to commit self-destruction in abolishing poverty, tears and the despair
of suffering humanity forever.

The "heart" of New York, the "heart" of the country, the "heart" of the
entire world throbs for San Francisco. The press says so, at least.

No doubt a large amount in checks and banknotes was sent to the city of
the Golden Gate. Money, in these days, is the criterion of emotions and
sentiments; so that the pity of one who gives $10,000 must appear
incomparably greater than the pity of one who contributes a small sum
which was perhaps intended to buy shoes for the children, or to pay the
grocery bill. A large sum is always loud and boastful in the way it
appears in the newspapers. The delicate tact and fine taste of the
various editors see to it that the names of the donors of large sums be
printed in heavy type.

After all, can not one every day and in every large city observe the
same phenomenon that has followed the disaster in San Francisco? Surely
there were homeless, starved, despaired, wretched beings in San
Francisco before the earthquake and the fire, yet the public's pity and
sympathy haughtily passed them by; and official sympathy and compassion
had nothing but the police station and the workhouse to give them.

And now,--what is really being done now? Humanitarianism is exhibiting
itself in a low and vulgar manner, and superficiality and bad taste are
stalking about in peacock fashion.

The newspapers are full of praise for the bravery of the militia in
their defense of property. A man was instantly shot as he walked out of
a saloon with his arms full of champagne bottles, and another was shot
for carrying off a sack of coffee, etc. How strange that the "brave
boys" of the militia,--who, by the way, had to be severely disciplined
because of their beastly drunkenness,--showed so much noble indignation
against a few clumsy thieves! During the strikes and labor conflicts it
is usually their mission to protect the property of skillful
thieves,--legal thieves, of course.

Finally what is going to be the end of the great display of superficial
sentimentality for the stricken city? An all-around good deal: Moneyed
people, contractors, real estate speculators will make large sums of
money. Indeed it is not at all unlikely that within a few months good
Christian capitalists will secretly thank their Lord that he sent the
earthquake.

[Illustration]

As an employer, the United States Government is certainly tolerant and
liberal, especially so far as the highly remunerative offices are
concerned.

The President, for instance, loves to deliver himself of moral sermons.
Recently he spoke of the people who criticise government and society and
breed discontent. He considers them dangerous and entertains little
regard for them. He ought not be blamed for that, since, as the first
clerk of the State, it is his duty to represent its interests and
dignity.

The most ordinary business agent, though he may be convinced of the
corruption of his firm, will take good care to keep this fact from the
public. Business morals demand it.

Besides, no one will expect or desire that the President should become a
Revolutionist. This would certainly be no gain of ours, nor would the
State suffer harm. Surely there are enough professional politicians who
do not lack talent for the calling of doorkeepers on a large scale.

As to the moral sermons against the undesirable and obnoxious element,
all that can be said, from a practical standpoint, is, that their
originality and wisdom are in no proportion to the salary the sermonizer
receives. Competition among preachers of penitence and servility is
almost as great as among patent medicine quacks. Four or five thousand a
year can easily buy the services of a corpulent, reverend gentleman of
some prominence.

[Illustration]

The dangers of the first of May, when France was to be ruined by the
"mob" of socialists and anarchists, was very fantastically described by
the Paris correspondents of the American newspapers. These gentlemen
seem to have known everything. They discovered that the cause of the
threatened revolution was to be found in the irresponsible good nature
and kindness of the French government.

Just show "Satan" Anarchy a finger, and straightway he will seize the
entire arm. Especially M. Clemenceau was severely censured as being
altogether too good a fellow to make a reliable minister. There he is
with France near the abyss of a social revolution! That is the manner in
which history is being manufactured for boarding-school young ladies.

The social revolution may come, but surely not because of the kindness
or good nature of the government. France needed a newspaper boom for her
elections: "The republic is in danger; for goodness' sake give us your
vote on election day!"

In order that the citizens might feel the proper horror, trade-union
leaders, anarchists and even a few royalistic scare-crows were arrested;
at the same time the sympathy and devotion of the government for its
people manifested itself in the reign of the military terror in the
strike regions.

The real seriousness of the situation, the correspondents failed to
grasp. How could they? since they got their wisdom in the ante-chamber
of the ministry.

The revolutionary labor organizations care little for the good will or
the Jesuit kindness of the authorities. They continue with their work,
propagate the idea of direct action, and strengthen the anti-military
movement, the result of which is already being felt among the soldiers
and officers.

The officer who jumped upon the platform at the Bourse du Travail,
expressing his solidarity with the workers and declaring that he would
not fire on them, was immediately arrested; but this will only influence
others to follow the good example.

[Illustration]

In the old fables the lion is described as supreme judge and not the
mule or the wether.

In Cleveland things are different. Several weeks ago Olga Nethersole
gave a performance of Sappho there. Whereupon the police felt moved to
perform an operation on the play, for moral reasons, of course. The
staircase scene was ordered to be left out altogether.

Ye poor, depraved artists, how low ye might sink, were the police and
Comstock not here to watch over the moral qualities of your productions!

If one observes one of these prosaic fellows on the corner, terribly
bored, and with his entire intellect concentrated on his club, and how
out of pure ennui he is constantly recapitulating the number of his
brass buttons, one can hardly realize that such an individual has been
entrusted with the power to decide the fate of an artistic production.

[Illustration]

1792 the French people marched through the streets singing:


     O, what is it the people cry?
     They ask for all equality.
         The poor no more shall be
         In slavish misery;
         The idle rich shall flee.

     O, what is it the people need?
     They ask for bread and iron and lead.
         The iron to win our pay,
         The lead our foes to slay,
         The bread our friends to feed.


The soldiers at Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania, who were ordered by their
superiors to fire into a crowd of strikers and wounded and killed
innocent men and women, do not sing the Carmagnole; they sing:


     "My country, 'tis of thee,
     Sweet land of Liberty!"


If the ruling powers continue to maintain peace and order with iron and
blood it may happen that the meaningless national hymn may be drowned by
the Carmagnole, pealing forth like thunder from the throats of the
masses.

[Illustration]

To the credit of human nature be it said, it is not altogether hopeless.
Since tyranny has existed, human nature has ever rebelled against it.

Real slavery exists only when the oppressed consider their fate as
something normal, something self-evident.

There is greater security for tyranny in slavish thoughts, indifference
and pettiness than in cannons and swords.

[Illustration]



"THIS MAN GORKY."

By MARGARET GRANT.


THE women of America are aroused as never before. They always are
aroused to the defense of their firesides. Even those women who live in
flats are awake to the need for defending their radiators or their gas
stoves; it is inherent in the nature of woman, it seems.

Most of the women's societies and clubs have spoken in no uncertain
terms concerning the outrage that has been put upon the civilization of
this great country by the conduct of this man Gorky. And, in fact, it is
a thing not to be borne.

As for me, I belong to the Woman's Association for the Regulation of the
Morals of Others, a society which is second to none in its activity and
usefulness, but which has seen fit to defer its own discussion of this
man Gorky's conduct until most of the other women's societies have
spoken.

We have just had our meeting, and I think that if this man Gorky should
read an account of our proceedings, he would certainly get out of this
outraged country with all the celerity of which he is capable. But, of
course, he is only a foreigner after all and probably will not
comprehend the exquisite purity of our morals.

I want to say that in our meetings we do not slavishly follow those
parliamentary rules which men have made for their guidance, but allow
ourselves some latitude in discussion. And we do not invite some man to
come and do all the talking, as is the case in some women's clubs.

Mrs. Blanderocks was in the chair. We began with an informal discussion
of the best way of preventing the common people from dressing so as not
to be distinguished from the upper classes, but there was no heart in
the talk, for we all felt that it was only preliminary. It was my friend
Sarah Warner who changed the subject.

"The Woman's State Republican Association held its annual meeting at
Delmonico's yesterday," she said, quietly drawing a newspaper clipping
from her pocket-book.

"And had some men there to amuse them and to tell them what to do," said
Mrs. Blanderocks with cutting irony.

We all laughed heartily. We meet at Mrs. Blanderocks' house, and she
always provides a beautiful luncheon.

"But Mrs. Flint said some things that I would like to read to you," said
Sarah. "It won't take long. I cut this out of the 'Times' this morning."

"What is it about?" some one asked.

"Gorky," Sarah answered, closing her eyes in a way to express volumes.

You could hear all the members catch their breath. This was what they
had come for. I broke the oppressive silence.

"I foresee," I said, "that in the discussion of this subject there will
be said things likely to bring a blush to the cheek of innocence, and I
move that all unmarried women under the age of twenty-five be excluded
from the meeting for as long as this man is under discussion."

A fierce cry of rage rose from all parts of the crowded room. I did not
understand. I could see no one who would be affected by the rule. Mrs.
Blanderocks raised her hand to command silence and said coldly:

"The motion is out of order. By a special provision of our constitution
it is the inalienable right of all unmarried women to be under
twenty-five. We will be as careful in our language as the subject will
permit. Mrs. Warner will please read the words of Mrs. Flint."

I was shocked to think I had made such a mistake. Sarah rose and read in
a clear, sharp voice from the clipping:

"Should not we as women take some action against this man? People of
such character should not be allowed in this country. Of course when he
arrived it was not known how he was living, but he came here and
expected to be received; and I think he should be deported. Gorky is the
embodiment of Socialism."

Everybody applauded violently. I was puzzled and asked a question as
soon as I could make myself heard.

"Suppose Gorky is a Socialist," I said; "what has that to do with his
morals?"

"Everything," replied Mrs. Blanderocks, haughtily.

"Socialists don't believe in marriage," said Sarah Warner, taking
another clipping from her pocket-book and reading: "'Mrs. Cornelia
Robinson said: When the question of uniform divorce law is taken up, we
shall find that the Socialists are against it as a body. It is not that
they are opposed to divorce, but they do not believe in marriage.'"

"And does she know?" I asked.

"Would she say it publicly if it were not true?" demanded Mrs.
Blanderocks, glaring disapprovingly at me.

I rose to my feet. I will say for myself that my desire for knowledge is
greater even than my shyness, and usually overcomes it.

"I want to make a motion," I said, "that this man Gorky be deported--"
(loud applause)--"but before doing so I would like some one to explain
in as plain words as the nature of the subject will permit, just what he
has been guilty of." Dead silence broken by a voice saying: "He's a
foreigner."

"I'll tell you what he has done," cried Sarah Warner; "he came into this
country pretending that the woman who was with him was his wife; he
allowed her to be registered at the hotel as his wife; he permitted her
to sleep under the same roof with pure men and women--"

"I would like to ask Mrs. Warner," said a lady in a remote corner of the
room, "if she will vouch for the purity of the men?"

"Perhaps," said Mrs. Blanderocks, gravely, "it will be better if the
word men be stricken from the record. Do you object, Mrs. Warner?"

"It was a slip of the tongue," Sarah answered, "and I am grateful to the
member who called attention to it; though I will say that I think there
are some pure men."

"We are discussing Gorky now," said Mrs. Blanderocks with an indulgent
smile.

"True," answered Sarah, beaming back at the chairwoman; "and I was
saying that he had subjected the pure women of the hotel to the
unspeakable indignity of having to sleep under the same roof with the
woman he called his wife."

"I would like to ask," I interposed timidly, "if it is right for a
woman to sleep under the same roof with an impure man, or is it only an
impure woman who is injurious?"

"A woman has to sleep under some roof," came in the voice of the woman
in the corner.

"I think Mrs. Grant would show better taste if she did not press such a
question," said another voice. "Will Mrs. Warner be good enough to
describe the exact status--I think status is right--of the woman he
tried to pass as his wife?"

"She was his----" Sarah had a fit of coughing, "she was not his wife. I
do not care to be more explicit."

"Perhaps," I said, groping for light, "it would be better if I made my
motion read that she should be deported from the country, since it is
her immorality that counts."

"And let those Republican Association women stand for more morality than
we do?" cried Mrs. Blanderocks. "No, you cannot make your motion too
strong."

"Oh, then," I said, with a sigh of relief, "I will move that Gorky and
all other men, immoral in the same way, shall be deported from the
country."

"Then who is to take care of us women?" demanded the voice in the
corner.

"Do be reasonable, Margaret," said Sarah Warner, "we can't drive all the
men out of the country, and don't want to, but we can fix a standard of
morals to astonish the world, and there could be no better way than by
making an example of this man Gorky. Don't you see that he is a
foreigner and can't very well know that our men are just as bad as he
is? Besides, isn't he a Socialist? We would have been willing to condone
his relations with that woman if only he'd hid them respectably as our
men do, but to come here with his free ideas---- Well, I'm willing to
let the Russians have all the freedom they want, and I would have given
my mite toward stirring up trouble over there, but we have all the
freedom we want over here, and a little more, too, if I know anything
about it."

"Very well," I replied, "I will withdraw the motion and make one to have
a committee appointed to investigate the matter and find out the whole
truth about it."

"What is there to find out?" demanded Sarah, aghast.

"Well, you know he insists that she is his wife. Maybe she is by
Russian law or custom."

"Perfectly absurd! His own wife and he separated because they couldn't
be happy together. Was ever anything more ridiculous?"

"As if happiness had anything to do with marriage!" said the voice from
the corner.

Everybody laughed and applauded as if something very funny had been
said.

"Well, anyhow," I insisted, for I can be obstinate when a thing isn't
clear to me, "if they both thought they were justified in calling
themselves man and wife, and if the people in Russia thought so, too,
why should we make any fuss about it?"

"Pardon me, Mrs. Grant," said Mrs. Blanderocks, suavely, "if I say that
your words are very silly. In the first place, the Russians are
barbarians, as we all know; and, in the next place, the law is the law,
and the law says that a man may not have two wives. A man who does is a
bigamist. A man who has a wife and yet lives with another woman is an
adulterer. Pardon me for using such a word, but it was forced from me.
Now, this man Gorky, who may be a very great genius for all I know--I
never read any of his stuff--but he isn't above the law: not above the
moral law anyhow, and the moral law is the same all over the world. He
says he and his wife parted because they were unhappy together, which is
a very flimsy excuse for immorality. Then he says that his wife is
living now with a man she loves and is happy with."

"Which makes a bad matter worse," interposed Sarah Warner. "No one has
any business to be happy in immorality."

"What is morality for," demanded the voice from the corner, "if it isn't
to make people unhappy?"

Everybody screamed with laughter over that, and Mrs. Blanderocks went so
far as to raise her eyebrows at Sarah Warner, who bit her lip to keep
from smiling.

"But," said I, for I had been reading the papers, too, "he says the
reason they were not divorced was because the Church would not permit
it."

"If the laws of his country were opposed to this divorce," said Mrs.
Blanderocks, triumphantly, "all the more reason why he should be
ashamed of living with this actress in such an open, defiant way."

"The Church has nothing to do with divorces in this country," I said,
"yet many of our best people are divorced."

"The law permits it," said Mrs. Blanderocks curtly.

"Who makes the law?" I asked, determined to get at the bottom of the
thing if I could.

"The people through the Legislature," was the prompt answer.

"Well," I said, very timidly, not knowing but I was quite in the wrong,
"it seems that the people of Russia not being able to make laws
nevertheless recognize the separation of a man and his wife as proper,
and permit them to take other husbands and wives without loss of
standing."

"A law's a law," said Sarah, sternly; "and a law should be sacred. The
very idea of anybody pretending to be above the law like this man Gorky!
I would like to know what would become of the holy institution of
matrimony if it could be trifled with in such a fashion?"

"You want Russia to be free from the rule of the Tsar, don't you?" I
asked.

"Certainly, he is a tyrant and an irresponsible weakling, unfit to
govern a great people. Of course, we want Russia to be free. The people
of Russia are entitled to be free, to govern themselves."

"Do you think they ought to be allowed to make their own laws?" I asked.

"Of course."

"Then, why do you say that Gorky is not properly divorced from his first
wife and married to his second? The people of Russia approve."

"Margaret Grant!" cried Sarah, outraged and voicing the horror of the
other members, "I sometimes wonder if you have any respect at all for
the law. How can you speak as you do? If men and women could dispense
with the law in that way what would become of society?"

"But this state used to permit men and women to live together without
any ceremony and so become man and wife," I said.

"Well, we don't permit it now," retorted Sarah, grimly.

"If they want to live together now," cried the voice from the corner,
"they must pretend they don't, even if everybody knows they do."

Some of the members laughed at that, but Mrs. Blanderocks thought that
was going too far and said so in her coldest manner.

"I see nothing funny in that. We cannot change the natures of men, but
we can insist upon their hiding their baser conduct and the degraded
portions of their lives from our view."

"But," said I, "Gorky evidently considers this woman his wife, and had
no idea that anybody would think otherwise."

"The point is," said Sarah Warner, in exasperation, "and I think I voice
the sentiments of this organization, that he was not legally divorced
from his first wife and that, therefore, he cannot be legally married to
this woman. A law is a law, no matter who makes it. The law is sacred
and must not be tampered with."

"How about the Supreme Court on divorces in Dakota?" demanded the voice
from the corner.

A dead silence fell on the meeting. Some of the members looked at each
other and showed signs of hysterics. Mrs. Blanderocks flashed a
withering glance at the corner, but rose to the occasion.

"Ladies," she said in a solemn tone, "I deeply regret that this subject
has been touched upon in a spirit of levity. It was my intention, at the
proper time, to introduce a resolution of sympathy for those ladies who
have been so summarily and I may say brutally unmarried by the unfeeling
wretches who sit upon the bench of the Supreme Court. It is awful to
think that our highly respected sisters, whose wealth alone should have
protected them, have been told by the highest court in the land that
they have been living in shame all this time, and that their children
are not legitimate. Ladies, I call your attention to the fact that many
of our own members are thus branded by those judges. It is infamous. It
is more than infamous--it is a reason why women should sit on the
judicial bench."

"Yes," I said, "it seems impossible for men to comprehend the mental or
emotional processes of women."

"True, too true," murmured our President, giving me a look of gratitude.
"I remember how the men of this country cried out against us a few
years ago because they could not understand why we send flowers and
tender letters to a poor, handsome negro who had first outraged and then
murdered a woman."

"Yes," I said, "and no doubt they will pretend not to understand our
indignation against this man Gorky, who thinks the customs of his own
country justify him his terrible conduct. But we must be careful how we
word our condemnation of this man lest he should somehow learn of what
our Supreme Court has so wickedly done and retort on us that these, our
wealthiest and most respected citizens, not being legally divorced and
hence not being legally married again, are no better than he and his
so-called wife."

The ladies looked at each other in consternation. Evidently the thought
had not suggested itself to them. Mrs. X. Y. Z. Asterbilt (née Clewbel)
rose and in a voice choked with emotion said:

"Speaking for myself as well as for some of the other ladies, members of
this organization, who are temporarily déclassée, so to speak, by this
decree of the Supreme Court, I beg that you will do nothing to call
undue attention to us, until we have arranged matters so that our wealth
will enable us to have that legislation which is necessary to make us
respectable women again."

"Is it true," I asked, "that you have sent an invitation to Madame
Andreieva to meet you to discuss the steps to be taken to reinstate
yourselves?"

"It is true, but the extraordinary creature returned word that as a lady
of good standing in her own country she did not feel that she could
afford to associate with women whom the courts of this country held to
be living in shame."

"Did you ever!" cried Mrs. Blanderocks. "But it shows us that we must be
careful. Mrs. Grant, you have had experience in such matters, suppose
you retire and draw up a set of resolutions that will not expose us to
the ribald and unseemly comments of the light-minded."

Of course I accepted the task, fully realizing its gravity, and
following is the resolution I brought back with me:

"_Whereas_, Maxim Gorky, recognized in the world of letters as a man of
genius, and in the world at large as a man of great soul, high purpose
and pure nature, having come to this country accompanied by a lady whom
he considers and treats as his wife; and

"_Whereas_, The wealthy, and therefore the better classes, tumbled all
over themselves in order to exploit him as a lion; and

"_Whereas_, He had not the wisdom and craft and sense of puritanical
respectability to pretend that he did not know the lady he believed his
wife, and to whom he believes himself united by a law higher than that
of man; and

"_Whereas_, He was guileless enough to believe he had come to a free
country where purity of motive and of conduct would take precedence of
hollow and rotten forms; and

"_Whereas_, He did not know that the American people practise polygamy
secretly, while condemning it in words, and that the United States
Senate has been nearly two years in pretending to try to find a
polygamist in their midst; and

"_Whereas_, He was so injudicious as to come here with a defective
divorce just at a time when our Supreme Court was making the divorce of
some of us, the gilded favorites of fortune, defective; and

"_Whereas_, He had the audacity to proclaim himself a Socialist, which
is the same thing as saying that he is opposed to special privilege, and
is in favor of the abolition of property in land and in the tools of
labor--in other and plainer words, is against Us; and

"_Whereas_, He is only a foreigner, anyhow, and no longer available as a
toy and plaything for us; therefore be it

"_Resolved_, That this man, Gorky, be used as a means of proclaiming our
extraordinary virtue to the world at large, as a robber cries stop thief
in order to direct attention from himself; that accordingly he be
treated with the utmost outrageous discourtesy and hounded from hotel to
hotel on the ground that such places by no chance harbor men and women
unless they have passed through the matrimonial mill; that we withdraw
our patronage from the revolution in Russia--not being seriously
interested in it anyhow--and that we will show our contempt for
revolutionary patriots by entertaining the rottenest grand duke in
Russia if only he will come over to us, bringing his whole harem if he
wish; that he is a reproach to us while he remains in this country, and
that it is the sense of this great organization that he and the lady who
is his wife in the highest sense shall be deported."

The resolution was not passed.

I have been expelled from the association.

[Illustration]



COMRADE.

By MAXIM GORKY.

Translated from the French translation by S. PERSKY, published in
"L'Aurore," Paris.


ALL in that city was strange, incomprehensible. Churches in great number
pointed their many-tinted steeples toward the sky, in gleaming colors;
but the walls and the chimneys of the factories rose still higher, and
the temples were crushed between the massive façades of commercial
houses, like marvelous flowers sprung up among the ruins, out of the
dust. And when the bells called the faithful to prayer, their brazen
sounds, sliding along the iron roofs, vanished, leaving no traces in the
narrow gaps which separated the houses.

They were always large, and sometimes beautiful, these dwellings.
Deformed people, ciphers, ran about like gray mice in the tortuous
streets from morning till evening; and their eyes, full of covetousness,
looked for bread or for some distraction; other men placed at the
crossways watched with a vigilant and ferocious air, that the weak
should, without murmuring, submit themselves to the strong. The strong
were the rich: everyone believed that money alone gives power and
liberty. All wanted power because all were slaves. The luxury of the
rich begot the envy and hate of the poor; no one knew any finer music
than the ring of gold; that is why each was the enemy of his neighbor,
and cruelty reigned mistress.

Sometimes the sun shone over the city, but life therein was always wan,
and the people like shadows. At night they lit a mass of joyous lights;
and then famishing women went out into the streets to sell their
caresses to the highest bidder. Everywhere floated an odor of victuals,
and the sullen and voracious look of the people grew. Over the city
hovered a groan of misery, stifled, without strength to make itself
heard.

Every one led an irksome, unquiet life; a general hostility was the
rule. A few citizens only considered themselves just, but these were the
most cruel, and their ferocity provoked that of the herd. All wanted to
live; and no one knew or could follow freely the pathway of his desires;
like an insatiable monster, the Present enveloped in its powerful and
vigorous arms the man who marched toward the future, and in that slimy
embrace sapped away his strength. Full of anguish and perplexity, the
man paused, powerless before the hideous aspect of this life: with its
thousands of eyes, infinitely sad in their expression, it looked into
his heart, asking him for it knew not what,--and then the radiant images
of the future died in his soul; a groan out of the powerlessness of the
man mingled in the discordant chorus of lamentations and tears from poor
human creatures tormented by life.

Tedium and inquietude reigned everywhere, and sometimes terror. And the
dull and somber city, the stone buildings atrociously lined one against
the other, shutting in the temples, were for men a prison, rebuffing the
rays of the sun. And the music of life was smothered by the cry of
suffering and rage, by the whisper of dissimulated hate, by the
threatening bark of cruelty, by the voluptuous cry of violence.

In the sullen agitation caused by trial and suffering, in the feverish
struggle of misery, in the vile slime of egoism, in the subsoils of the
houses wherein vegetated Poverty, the creator of Riches, solitary
dreamers full of faith in Man, strangers to all, prophets of seditions,
moved about like sparks issued from some far-off hearthstone of justice.
Secretly they brought into these wretched holes tiny fertile seeds of a
doctrine simple and grand;--and sometimes rudely, with lightnings in
their eyes, and sometimes mild and tender, they sowed this clear and
burning truth in the sombre hearts of these slaves, transformed into
mute, blind instruments by the strength of the rapacious, by the will of
the cruel. And these sullen beings, these oppressed ones, listened
without much belief to the music of the new words,--the music for which
their hearts had long been waiting. Little by little they lifted up
their heads, and tore the meshes of the web of lies wherewith their
oppressors had enwound them. In their existence, made up of silent and
contained rage, in their hearts envenomed by numberless wrongs, in their
consciences encumbered by the dupings of the wisdom of the strong, in
this dark and laborious life, all penetrated with the bitterness of
humiliation, had resounded a simple word:

Comrade.

It was not a new word; they had heard it and pronounced it themselves;
but until then it had seemed to them void of sense, like all other words
dulled by usage, and which one may forget without losing anything. But
now this word, strong and clear, had another sound; a soul was singing
in it,--the facets of it shone brilliant as a diamond. The wretched
accepted this word, and at first uttered it gently, cradling it in their
hearts like a mother rocking her new-born child and admiring it. And the
more they searched the luminous soul of the word, the more fascinating
it seemed to them.

"Comrade," said they.

And they felt that this word had come to unite the whole world, to lift
all men up to the summits of liberty and bind them with new ties, the
strong ties of mutual respect, respect for the liberties of others in
the name of one's own liberty.

When this word had engraved itself upon the hearts of the slaves, they
ceased to be slaves; and one day they announced their transformation to
the city in this great human formula:

I WILL NOT.

Then life was suspended, for it is they who are the motor force of life,
they and no other. The water supply stopped, the fire went out, the city
was plunged in darkness. The masters began to tremble like children.
Fear invaded the hearts of the oppressors. Suffocating in the fumes of
their own dejection, disconcerted and terrified by the strength of the
revolt, they dissimulated the rage which they felt against it.

The phantom of Famine rose up before them, and their children wailed
plaintively in the darkness. The houses and the temples, enveloped in
shadow, melted into an inanimate chaos of iron and stone; a menacing
silence filled the streets with a clamminess as of death; life ceased,
for the force which created it had become conscious of itself; and
enslaved humanity had found the magic and invincible word to express its
will; it had enfranchised itself from the yoke; with its own eyes it had
seen its might,--the might of the creator.

These days were days of anguish to the rulers, to those who considered
themselves the masters of life; each night was as long as thousands of
nights, so thick was the gloom, so timidly shone the few fires scattered
through the city. And then the monster city, created by the centuries,
gorged with human blood, showed itself in all its shameful weakness; it
was but a pitiable mass of stone and wood. The blind windows of the
houses looked upon the street with a cold and sullen air, and out on the
highway marched with valiant step the real masters of life. They, too,
were hungry, more than the others perhaps; but they were used to it, and
the suffering of their bodies was not so sharp as the suffering of the
old masters of life; it did not extinguish the fire in their souls. They
glowed with the consciousness of their own strength, the presentiment of
victory sparkled in their eyes. They went about in the streets of the
city which had been their narrow and sombre prison, wherein they had
been overwhelmed with contempt, wherein their souls had been loaded with
abuse, and they saw the great importance of their work, and thus was
unveiled to them the sacred right they had to become the masters of
life, its creators and its lawgivers.

And the lifegiving word of union presented itself to them with a new
face, with a blinding clearness:

"Comrade."

There among lying words it rang out boldly, as the joyous harbinger of
the time to come, of a new life open to all in the future;--far or near?
They felt that it depended upon them whether they advanced towards
liberty or themselves deferred its coming.

The prostitute who, but the evening before, was but a hungry beast,
sadly waiting on the muddy pavement to be accosted by some one who would
buy her caresses, the prostitute, too, heard this word, but was
undecided whether to repeat it. A man the like of whom she had never
seen till then approached her, laid his hand upon her shoulder and said
to her in an affectionate tone, "Comrade." And she gave a little
embarrassed smile, ready to cry with the joy her wounded heart
experienced for the first time. Tears of pure gaiety shone in her eyes,
which, the night before, had looked at the world with a stupid and
insolent expression of a starving animal. In all the streets of the city
the outcasts celebrated the triumph of their reunion with the great
family of workers of the entire world; and the dead eyes of the houses
looked on with an air more and more cold and menacing.

The beggar to whom but the night before an obol was thrown, price of the
compassion of the well-fed, the beggar also heard this word; and it was
the first alms which aroused a feeling of gratitude in his poor heart,
gnawed by misery.

A coachman, a great big fellow whose patrons struck him that their blows
might be transmitted to his thin-flanked, weary horse, this man imbruted
by the noise of wheels upon the pavement, said, smiling, to a passer-by:
"Well, Comrade!" He was frightened at his own words. He took the reins
in his hands, ready to start, and looked at the passer-by, the joyous
smile not yet effaced from his big face. The other cast a friendly
glance at him and answered, shaking his head: "Thanks, comrade; I will
go on foot; I am not going far."

"Ah, the fine fellow!" exclaimed the coachman enthusiastically; he
stirred in his seat, winking his eyes gaily, and started off somewhere
with a great clatter.

The people went in groups crowded together on the pavements, and the
great word destined to unite the world burst out more and more often
among them, like a spark: "Comrade." A policeman, bearded, fierce, and
filled with the consciousness of his own importance, approached the
crowd surrounding an old orator at the corner of a street, and, after
having listened to the discourse, he said slowly: "Assemblages are
interdicted ... disperse...." And after a moment's silence, lowering his
eyes, he added, in a lower tone, "Comrades."

The pride of young combatants was depicted in the faces of those who
carried the word in their hearts, who had given it flesh and blood and
the appeal to union; one felt that the strength they so generously
poured into this living word was indestructible, inexhaustible.

Here and there blind troops of armed men, dressed in gray, gathered and
formed ranks in silence; it was the fury of the oppressors preparing to
repulse the wave of justice.

And in the narrow streets of the immense city, between the cold and
silent walls raised by the hands of ignored creators, the noble belief
in Man and in Fraternity grew and ripened.

"Comrade."--Sometimes in one corner, sometimes in another, the fire
burst out. Soon this fire would become the conflagration destined to
enkindle the earth with the ardent sentiment of kinship, uniting all its
peoples; destined to consume and reduce to ashes the rage, hate and
cruelty by which we are mutilated; the conflagration which will embrace
all hearts, melt them into one,--the heart of the world, the heart of
beings noble and just;--into one united family of workers.

In the streets of the dead city, created by slaves, in the streets of
the city where cruelty reigned, faith in humanity and in victory over
self and over the evil of the world grew and ripened. And in the vague
chaos of a dull and troubled existence, a simple word, profound as the
heart, shone like a star, like a light guiding toward the future:
COMRADE.

[Illustration]



ALEXANDER BERKMAN.

By E. G.

ON the 18th of this month the workhouse at Hoboken, Pa., will open its
iron gates for Alexander Berkman. One buried alive for fourteen years
will emerge from his tomb. That was not the intention of those who
indicted Berkman. In the kindness of their Christian hearts they saw to
it that he be sentenced to twenty-one years in the penitentiary and one
year in the workhouse, hoping that that would equal a death penalty,
only with a slow, refined execution. To achieve the feat of sending a
man to a gradual death, the authorities of Pittsburg at the command of
Mammon trampled upon their much-beloved laws and the legality of court
proceedings. These laws in Pennsylvania called for seven years
imprisonment for the attempt to kill, but that did not satisfy the
law-abiding citizen H. C. Frick. He saw to it that one indictment was
multiplied into six. He knew full well that he would meet with no
opposition from petrified injustice and the servile stupidity of the
judge and jury before whom Alexander Berkman was tried.

In looking over the events of 1892 and the causes that led up to the act
of Alexander Berkman, one beholds Mammon seated upon a throne built of
human bodies, without a trace of sympathy on its Gorgon brow for the
creatures it controls. These victims, bent and worn, with the reflex of
the glow of the steel and iron furnaces in their haggard faces, carry
their sacrificial offerings to the ever-insatiable monster, capitalism.
In its greed, however, it reaches out for more; it neither sees the
gleam of hate in the sunken eyes of its slaves, nor can it hear the
murmurs of discontent and rebellion coming forth from their heaving
breasts. Yet, discontent continues until one day it raises its mighty
voice and demands to be heard:

Human conditions! higher pay! fewer hours in the inferno at Homestead,
the stronghold of the "philanthropist" Carnegie!

He was far away, however, enjoying a much needed rest from hard labor,
in Scotland, his native country. Besides he knew he had left a worthy
representative in H. C. Frick, who could take care that the voice of
discontent was strangled in a fitting manner,--and Mr. Carnegie had
judged rightly.

Frick, who was quite experienced in the art of disposing of rebellious
spirits (he had had a number of them shot in the coke regions in 1890),
immediately issued an order for Pinkerton men, the vilest creatures in
the human family, who are engaged in the trade of murder for $2 per day.

The strikers declared that they would not permit these men to land, but
money and power walk shrewd and cunning paths. The Pinkerton
blood-hounds were packed into a boat and were to be smuggled into
Homestead by way of water in the stillness of night. The amalgamated
steel workers learned of this contemptible trick and prepared to meet
the foe. They gathered by the shores of the Monongahela River armed with
sticks and stones, but ere they had time for an attack a violent fire
was opened from the boat that neared the shore, and within an hour
eleven strikers lay dead from the bullets of Frick's hirelings.

Every beast is satisfied when it has devoured its prey,--not so the
human beast. After the killing of the strikers H. C. Frick had the
families of the dead evicted from their homes, which had been sold to
the workingmen on the instalment plan and at the exorbitant prices usual
in such cases.

Out of these homes the wives and children of the men struggling for a
living wage were thrown into the street and left without shelter. There
was one exception only. A woman who had given birth to a baby two days
previous and who, regardless of her delicate condition, defended her
home and succeeded in driving the sheriff from the house with a poker.

Everyone stood aghast at such brutality, at such inhumanity to man, in
this great free republic of ours. It seemed as if the cup of human
endurance had been filled to the brim, as if out of the ranks of the
outraged masses some one would rise to call those to account who had
caused it all.

And some one rose in mighty indignation against the horrors of wealth
and power. It was Alexander Berkman!

A youth with a vision of a grand and beautiful world based upon freedom
and harmony, and with boundless sympathy for the suffering of the
masses. One whose deep, sensitive nature could not endure the barbarisms
of our times. Such was the personality of the man who staked his life as
a protest against tyranny and iniquity; and such has Alexander Berkman
remained all these long, dreary fourteen years.

Nothing was left undone to crush the body and spirit of this man; but
sorrow and suffering make for sacred force, and those who have never
felt it will fail to realize how it is that Alexander Berkman will
return to those who loved and esteemed him, to those whom he loved so
well, and still loves so well,--the oppressed and down-trodden
millions--with the same intense, sweet spirit and with a clearer and
grander vision of a world of human justice and equality.



UT SEMENTEM FECERIS, ITA METES.

By VOLTAIRINE DE CLEYRE

(To the Czar, on a woman, a political prisoner, being flogged to death
in Siberia.)


     _How many drops must gather to the skies
       Before the cloud-burst comes, we may not know;
       How hot the fires in under hells must glow
     Ere the volcano's scalding lavas rise,
       Can none say; but all wot the hour is sure!
       Who dreams of vengeance has but to endure!
     He may not say how many blows must fall,
       How many lives be broken on the wheel,
     How many corpses stiffen 'neath the pall,
       How many martyrs fix the blood-red seal;
     But certain is the harvest time of Hate!
       And when weak moans, by an indignant world
       Re-echoed, to a throne are backward hurled,
     Who listens hears the mutterings of Fate!_

[Illustration]



THE WHITE TERROR.

_I.--The Flogging of a Student._

(BY AN EYE-WITNESS--M. KIRILOV, OF THE "RUSS.")


December 18th. Near the Gorbaty Bridge, Moscow. A group of soldiers of
various arms and an officer. Great animation, jokes, cries,
gesticulation, contented faces. A student has fallen into their hands.

"Well, boys, make room," says the officer. "The performance begins!"

"Take off your trousers," says the officer, turning to the student. The
latter is pale, silent, and does not move.

"Trousers off!" cries the officer, in rage; but the student, without a
drop of blood in his face, whiter than the snow, does not move, but only
looks around in silence with horrified eyes and meets everywhere the
triumphant faces of his tormentors. He drops his head and remains silent
as before.

"Well, then, boys, we must assist our dear student; his hands, poor
thing, are frost bitten and do not obey."

The voice of the officer changes; it becomes sweet and smooth. He looks
at the student with pleasure.

"Take off his dear little trousers!" he orders his soldiers. The latter
unbutton and tear down his trousers. The student does not resist. Then
he is thrown on the ground.

"Give him beans, boys!"

Two powerfully-built soldiers step forward, holding whips in their
hands.

The flogging begins. It lasts a long time, accompanied by loud laughter,
jokes and noise. The student is silent all the time and lies with his
face buried in the snow. He is constantly being asked whether he feels
allright, and is kicked with the boots on his head.

"Halt!" cries the officer at last, when the whole body of the student
has been covered with blood. The excited soldiers do not leave off at
once, but continue for some time. At last they stop.

"Please, sir, won't you allow us, too, to have a little game?" smilingly
ask a couple of artillery soldiers, saluting the officer.

"Well, have a go at him," says the officer kindly.

The second shift gets to work, and turning up their sleeves, takes over
the bloody whips and resumes the flogging of the student, who still, as
before, is lying in the snow without uttering a word. Only his body
still thrills instinctively as the soldiers get more and more excited
and the blows become more and more frequent.

"Sir, we, too, want some of the lark," impatiently interfered some of
the dragoons, and having received the permission of the officer,
substituted themselves for the artillery men and with new force and zeal
began to flog the student, who still lay strictly as before, only his
body scarcely moving.

"Well, here you are, you got your higher education--all the three
faculties!" somebody joked as the flogging at last stopped and the
student lay motionless in the snow.

But he was not flogged to death. He was taken to the other side of the
river and there shot.


_II.--Lieutenant Schmidt, of the Sevastopol Mutiny, after being
captured._

(From a letter received by Prof. Miliukov from a lady correspondent who
saw Schmidt in the Fortress and had the tale from his own lips.)

....He only remembers how the officers of the "Rostislavl" posted him
naked, with a broken leg, between two sentries in their mess-room and
approached him in turns, shaking their fists in his face and abusing him
in the vilest terms. Schmidt's son, who, for some unaccountable reason,
had been kept in fortress for two months, said to me: "I cannot tell you
how they abused my father, the terms are unpronounceable." Schmidt
himself spoke to me sobbingly of the painful treatment meted out to him
by the officers.... For twenty-four hours the two of them, father and
son, were kept stark naked and without food, under a fierce electric
light, on the open deck. They lay together, pressing against each other
so as to warm themselves, and everyone who passed looked at them, and
those who wanted, abused them. When Schmidt, being wounded, asked for a
drop of water, the senior officer shouted at him: "Silence, or I'll stop
your gullet with my fist."

[Illustration]



PATERNALISTIC GOVERNMENT.

By THEODORE SCHROEDER.


HISTORY serves no purpose to those who cannot, or do not avail
themselves of it as a means of learning helpful lessons, for present
use. From a few sources not readily accessible to the masses, I have
copied a partial summary of paternalistic legislation which even the
most devout devotees to mass or ruling class wisdom would now decline to
defend.

It is helpful, perhaps, to look back to the persistent fallacious
assumption that men can be made frugal and useful members of society by
laws and edicts. Every thoughtful student feels sure that future
generations will look upon our present efforts to regulate the
self-regarding activities of humans with the same cynical leer as that
which now flits over our faces as we read the following:--

The earliest sumptuary law was passed 215 B. C., enacted that no woman
should own more than half an ounce of gold or wear a dress of different
colors, or ride in a carriage in the city or in any town or within a
mile of it, unless on occasion of public sacrifices. This law was
repealed in twenty years. In 181 B. C. a law was passed limiting the
number of guests at entertainments. In 161 B. C. it was provided that at
certain festivals named the expense of entertainments should not exceed
100 asses, and on ten other days of each month should not exceed 10
asses. Later on it was allowed that 200 asses, valued at about $300, be
spent upon marriage days.

A statute under Julian extended the privileges of extravagance on
certain occasions to the equivalent of $10, and $50 upon marriage
feasts. Under Tiberius, $100 was made the limit of expense for
entertainments. Julius Cæsar proposed another law by which actual
magistrates, or magistrates elect, should not dine abroad except at
certain prescribed places.

Sumptuary laws, that is to say, laws which profess to regulate minutely
what people shall eat and drink, what guests they shall entertain, what
clothes they shall wear, what armor they shall possess, what limit shall
be put to their property, what expense they shall incur at their
funerals, were considered by the Early and Middle Ages as absolutely
necessary for the proper government of mankind.

Tiberius issued an edict against people kissing each other when they met
and against tavern keepers selling pastry. Lycurgus even prohibited
finely decorated ceilings and doors. In England the statutes of
laborers, reciting the pestilence and scarcity of servants, made it
compulsory on every person who had no merchandise, craft or land on
which to live, to serve at fixed wages, otherwise to be committed to
gaol till he found sureties. At a latter day, all men between twelve and
sixty not employed were compelled to hire themselves as servants in
husbandry; and unmarried women between twelve and forty were also liable
to be hired, otherwise to be imprisoned. All this, of course, was to
compel people of modest wealth to remain among the laboring class purely
for their own good. (?) But they were quite impartial in enforcing
benefits, since the Star Chamber also assumed to fine persons for not
accepting knighthood.

Compulsion was also used at the time of the Reformation, to uphold the
Protestant faith and keep people in the right way. Refusing to confess
or receive the sacrament was first made subject to fine or imprisonment,
and a second offense was a felony punishable by death, and involved
forfeiture of land and goods. Those who, having no lawful excuse, failed
to attend the parish church, in the time of Elizabeth, were fined twelve
pence--at that time a considerable sum. This penalty was afterwards
altered to twenty pounds a month, but those were exempted who did not
obstinately refuse. The penalty on all above sixteen who neglected to go
for a month was abjuration of the realm; and to return to the realm
thereafter was felony. And two-thirds of the rent of the offender's
lands might also be seized till he conformed.

An ordinance of Edward III., in 1336, prohibited any man having more
than two courses at any meal. Each mess was to have only two sorts of
victuals, and it was prescribed how far one could mix sauce with his
pottage, except on feast days, when three courses, at most, were
allowable.

The Licinian law limited the quantity of meat to be used. The Orcian law
limited the expense of a private entertainment and the number of guests.
And for like reasons, the censors degraded a senator because ten pounds
weight of silver plate was found in his house. Julius Cæsar was almost
as good a reformer as our modern Puritans. He restrained certain classes
from using litters, embroidered robes and jewels; limited the extent of
feasts; enabled bailiffs to break into the houses of rich citizens and
snatch the forbidden meats from off the tables. And we are told that the
markets swarmed with informers, who profited by proving the guilt of all
who bought and sold there. So in Carthage a law was passed to restrain
the exorbitant expenses of marriage feasts, it having been found that
the great Hanno took occasion of his daughter's marriage to feast and
corrupt the Senate and the populace, and gained them over to his
designs.

The Vhennic Court established by Charlemagne in Westphalia put every
Saxon to death who broke his fast during Lent. James II. of Arragon, in
1234, ordained that his subjects should not have more than two dishes,
and each dressed in one way only, unless it was game of his own killing.

The Statute of Diet of 1363 enjoined that servants of lords should have
once a day flesh or fish, and remnants of milk, butter and cheese; and
above all, ploughmen were to eat moderately. And the proclamations of
Edward IV. and Henry VIII. used to restrain excess in eating and
drinking. All previous statutes as to abstaining from meat and fasting
were repealed in the time of Edward VI. by new enactments, and in order
that fishermen might live, all persons were bound under penalty to eat
fish on Fridays or Saturdays, or in Lent, the old and the sick excepted.
The penalty in Queen Elizabeth's time was no less than three pounds or
three months' imprisonment, but at the same time added that whoever
preached or taught that eating of fish was necessary for the saving of
the soul of man, or was the service of God, was to be punished as a
spreader of false news. And care was taken to announce that the eating
of fish was enforced not out of superstition, but solely out of respect
to the increase of fishermen and mariners. The exemption of the sick
from these penalties was abolished by James I., and justices were
authorized to enter victualing houses and search and forfeit the meat
found there. All these preposterous enactments were swept away in the
reign of Victoria.

Of all the petty subjects threatening the cognizance of the law, none
seems to have given more trouble to the ancient and mediæval
legislatures than that of dress. * * * Yet views of morality, of
repressing luxury and vice, of benefiting manufacturers, of keeping all
degrees of mankind in their proper places, have induced the legislature
to interfere, where interference, in order to be thorough, would require
to be as endless as it would be objectless.

Solon prohibited women from going out of the town with more than three
dresses. Zaleucus is said to have invented an ingenious method of
circuitously putting down what he thought bad habits, namely, by
prohibiting things with an exception, so that the exception should, in
the guise of an exemption, really carry out the sting and operate as a
deterrent. Thus he forbade a woman to have more than one maid, unless
she was drunk; he forbade her to wear jewels or embroidered robes, or go
abroad at night, except she was a prostitute; he forbade all but panders
to wear gold rings or fine cloth. And it was said that he succeeded
admirably in his legislation. The Spartans had such a contempt for
cowards that those who fled in battle were compelled to wear a low
dress of patches and shape, and, moreover, to wear a long beard half
shaved, so that any one meeting them might give them a stroke. The
Oppian law of Rome restricted women in their dress and extravagance, and
the Roman knights had the privilege of wearing a gold ring. The ancient
Babylonians held it to be indecent to wear a walking stick without an
apple, a rose, or an eagle engraved on the top of it. The first Inca of
Peru is said to have made himself popular by allowing his people to wear
ear-rings--a distinction formerly confined to the royal family. By the
code of China, the dress of the people was subject to minute regulation,
and any transgression was punished by fifty blows of the bamboo. And he
who omitted to go into mourning on the death of a relation, or laid it
aside too soon, was similarly punished. Don Edward of Portugal, in 1434,
passed a law to suppress luxury in dress and diet, and with his nobles
set an example. In Florence a like law was passed in 1471. And in
Venice, laws regulating nearly all the expenses of families, in table,
clothes, gaming and traveling. A law of the Muscovites obliged the
people to crop their beards and shorten their clothes. In Zurich a law
prohibited all except strangers to use carriages, and in Basle no
citizen or inhabitant was allowed to have a servant behind his carriage.
About 1292, Philip the Fair, of France, by edict, ordered how many suits
of clothes, and at what price, and how many dishes at table should be
allowed, and that no woman should keep a cur.

The Irish laws regulated the dress, and even its colors, according to
the rank and station of the wearer. And the Brehon laws forbade men to
wear brooches so long as to project and be dangerous to those passing
near. In Scotland, a statute enacted that women should not come to Kirk
or market with their faces covered, and that they should dress according
to their estate. In the City of London, in the thirteenth century, women
were not allowed to wear, in the highway or the market, a hood furred
with other than lamb-skin or rabbit-skin. In the Middle Ages, it was not
infrequent to compel prostitutes to wear a particular dress, so that
they might not be mistaken for other women. And this was the law in the
City of London, as appears from records of 1351 and 1382.

The views and objects of English legislators as to the general subject
of dress, however preposterous in our eyes, were grave and serious
enough. They were so confident of their ground that it was recited that
"wearing inordinate and excessive apparel was a displeasure to God, was
an impoverishing of the realm and enriching other strange realms and
countries, to the final destruction of the husbandry of the realm, and
leading to robberies."

The Statute of Diet and Apparel in 1363, and the later statutes,
minutely fixed the proper dress for all classes according to their
estate, and the price they were to pay; handicraftsmen were not to wear
clothes above forty shillings, and their families were not to wear silk
or velvet. And so with gentlemen and esquires, merchants, knights and
clergy, according to graduations. Ploughmen were to wear a blanket and a
linen girdle. No female belonging to the family of a servant in
husbandry was to wear a girdle garnished with silver. Every person
beneath a lord was to wear a jacket reaching to his knees, and none but
a lord was to wear pikes to his shoes exceeding two inches. (1463.)
Nobody but a member of the royal family was to wear cloth of gold or
purple silk, and none under a knight to wear velvet, damask or satin, or
foreign wool, or fur of sable. It is true, notwithstanding all these
restrictions, that a license of the king enabled the licensee to wear
anything. For one whose income was under twenty pounds, to wear silk in
his night-cap was to incur three months' imprisonment or a fine of ten
pounds a day. And all above the age of six, except ladies and gentlemen,
were bound to wear on the Sabbath day a cap of knitted wool. These
statutes of apparel were not repealed till the reign of James I.

Sometimes, though rarely, a legislature has gone the length of suddenly
compelling an entire change of dress among a people, for reasons at the
time thought urgent.

In China a law was passed to compel the Tartars to wear Chinese clothes,
and to compel the Chinese to cut their hair, with a view to unite the
two races. And it was said there were many who preferred martyrdom to
obedience.

So late as 1746, a statute was passed to punish with six months'
imprisonment, and on a second offense with seven years' transportation,
the Scottish Highlanders, men or boys, who wore their national costume
or a tartan plaid, it being conceived to be closely associated with a
rebellious disposition. After thirty-six years the statute was repealed.
While the act was in force it was evaded by people carrying their
clothes in a bag over their shoulders. The prohibition was hateful to
all, as impeding their agility in scaling the craggy steeps of their
native fastnesses. In 1748 the punishment assigned by the act of 1746
was changed into compulsory service in the army.

Plato says it is one of the unwritten laws of nature that a man shall
not go naked into the market-place or wear woman's clothes. The Mosaic
law forbade men to wear women's clothes, which was thought to be a mode
of discountenancing the Assyrian rites of Venus. The early Christians,
following a passage of St. Paul (1 Cor. xi.), treated the practice of
men and women wearing each other's clothes as confounding the order of
nature, and as liable to heavy censure of anathema.

There was formerly rigorous punishment of persons poaching game with
blackened faces. Those who hunted in forests with faces disguised were
declared to be felons. And as disguises led to crime, and mummers often
were pretenders, all who assumed disguise or visors as mummers, and
attempted to enter houses or committed assaults in highways, were liable
to be arrested and committed to prison for three months, without bail.

The Mosaic law prohibited the practice of using alhenna, or putting an
indelible color on the skin, as was done on occasions of mourning, or in
resemblance of the dead, or in honor of some idol. And two fashions of
wearing the beard and hair were prohibited, as has been supposed, on
account of idolatrous association. Even Bacon said he wondered there was
no penal law against painting the face.

(_To be Continued._)



LIBERTY IN COMMON LIFE.

By BOLTON HALL.


IT seems to me that none of us see how far-reaching freedom will be.

The Socialists have abundantly shown that if only the wastes of
production and distribution were saved, two or three hours' labor per
day would produce all that we produce now. If, in addition to this
saving, the land, including all the resources of nature, were opened to
labor, so that all workers would use the best parts of the earth to the
best advantage, wealth would be so abundant that interest would
disappear.

Even now, with increased production, and notwithstanding the
restrictions on the issue of money and our crazy banking system,
interest is decreasing so that we find it hard to get 4 per cent. here.

Suppose to-day the mortgages and railroad bonds, which are forms of
ownership of land, were taken out of the market, what interest could we
get? Certainly not one per cent.

Were the restrictions on production of the tariff, taxes on products of
labor, patent monopolies, hindrances to the making of money through
franchise privileges done away with, and above all were private
appropriation of rent abolished, wealth would not be so abundant and so
easy to obtain that it would not be worth anyone's while to keep account
of what he had "lent" to another. With the disappearance, at once, of
interest and of the fear of poverty the motive for accumulations of more
than would be sufficient to provide against disability or old age will
disappear, while such small but universal accumulations made available
by a system of mutual banking will provide ample capital for all needed
enterprises.

Co-operation will spring up as a labor-saving device, and the great
abilities of the trust managers will be turned to public service instead
of public plunder.

Henry George is wrong in thinking that the increased demand for capital
due to free opportunities for labor would increase interest. If it did,
it would perpetuate a form of slavery. He omits to notice that the very
use of the capital would reproduce wealth and capital so much more
abundantly that it would destroy the motive for accumulation.

The time will come--it is even now at hand--when dollars and meals and
goods will be given to those who ask these as freely as candies or water
or cigars are offered to visitors. If I am wrong in this, then I am
wasting my efforts, as far as sincere efforts can be wasted.

If Socialism or Anarchism is needed to insure voluntary communism of
goods, then it is for Socialism or Anarchism that we should work; and
for me, if I could see, I would turn from single tax to either of them
as readily as I would turn down hill if I found that up hill was the
wrong road.

At present, hardly any one favors these views--of course, not
plutocrats, because the doctrine is dangerous; not Socialists, because
they think that its words turn Socialists into land reformers; nor
Anarchists, because they regard compulsory payment of a fair price for
the land one uses as a form of tax; not even single taxers, as yet,
because they are wedded to the theory of Henry George.

My only fear, if there be room for fear, is that the new liberty and
leisure will come too soon for the sordid people to make a wise use of
it. Yet such a fear is like that of a man who should fear that his jaw
would grind so hard as to destroy his teeth.

The world is moved by one Spirit, which everlastingly adjusts action
against reaction, so that all is and always must be well.

Do not shy at truth for fear of its logical consequence.

[Illustration]



STATISTICS.

By H. KELLY.

(_Special Cable Despatch to "The Sun."_)


"LONDON.--The result of the first organized census of the British Empire
is issued in a Blue Book. It shows that the empire consists of an
approximate area of 11,908,378 square miles, or more than one-fifth of
the entire land area of the world.

"The population is about 400,000,000, of whom 54,000,000 are whites. The
population is roughly distributed as follows: In Asia, 300,000,000;
Africa, 43,000,000; Europe, 42,000,000; America, 7,500,000, and
Australasia, 5,000,000.

"The most populous city after London is Calcutta. The highest
proportion of married persons is in India, Natal, Cyprus and Canada. The
lowest is in the West Indies. Depression in the birth rate is general
almost everywhere, but is most remarkable in Australasia. The proportion
of insane persons in the colonies is much below that in the United
Kingdom. Insanity is markedly decreasing in India, despite
consanguineous marriages. Indeed, the theory that such marriages produce
mental unsoundness is little supported by these statistics."

To those who read without preconceived notions, the figures given above
show how history repeats itself. The British Empire is decaying at the
centre, and the census just taken proves it conclusively. The proportion
of insane in the colonies, even in poor famine-stricken India, is "much
below" that in the United Kingdom. Striking as these figures on insanity
are, they convey but a part of the truth as to the real condition of the
people of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, as all reference to
their material well-being (if we were Christians we would add and
spiritual, for over one million people in these countries never heard of
God) is carefully omitted. Charles Booth, author of that truly great
work, "Life and Labor in London," seventeen volumes, estimates that 30
per cent. of the population of the United Kingdom live in a state of
poverty, and Seebohm Rowntree, author of "Poverty, A Study of Town
Life," puts it at 27.84 per cent. Mr. Rowntree also states that an
average of one person in five, or 20 per cent. of the population, die in
some public institution, i. e., prison, poor-house, hospital or insane
asylum. These statements are depressing enough as they are, but they
become worse when we learn that the standard of living upon which they
are based are those enjoyed--we use the word advisedly--by poor-house
inmates. Think of this, ye Pharisees, Christian and otherwise, 30 per
cent. of the population of the British Isles living under such
conditions! These are not the idle statements of long-haired reformers
or yellow journalists, but of two very estimable Christian gentlemen,
both of them manufacturers and successful business men. They are
different from the ordinary exploiter only in the sense of being honest
and humane enough to recognize that something is radically wrong with
modern civilization and make an earnest attempt to remedy it.

In this connection it is worthy of note that when the proprietors of the
London "Daily News" had a systematic canvas and investigation made into
the housing conditions in London, some six or seven years ago, it was
found that 900,000 people, one-fifth of the population, were living in
violation of the law. This was the case notwithstanding that the law
says 400 cubic feet of air space for each adult and 200 cubic feet for
each child must be provided, whereas Professor Huxley, who at one time
was a physician in the East End of London, said at least 800 cubic feet
for an adult and 400 cubic feet for a child was absolutely necessary to
keep the air in a fair state of purity.

It was and is the proud boast of millions of people that they are
co-inheritors of this glorious empire, an empire the greatest the world
has ever seen: 400,000,000 souls and an area so vast that the sun never
sets on all its parts at one time. Pete Curran, the Trade Unionist and
Socialist, once remarked he knew parts of the empire upon which the sun
never shone, and Pete knew.

Glory and aggrandizement based upon injustice brings its own reward, and
when a people subjugate and exploit another, they must inevitably pay
the price of their own brutality and injustice. The handwriting is on
the wall in the shape of the present census report. Decaying at the
centre, the British Empire is rapidly going the way of the Persian,
Greek and Roman Empires, and her name will be synonymous with injustice
as theirs are. Nations no more than individuals can thrive, expand and
develop their best faculties unless their lives are based upon freedom
and justice. Not freedom to exploit a weaker person or people, not
justice before the law which is a mockery and a sham, but freedom for
each to live his own life in his own way, and justice to all in the
shape of equal opportunity to the earth and all it may contain.

This lesson applies equally to America, and if any of my countrymen are
so blind as not to see it, they deserve pity rather than censure, and it
is to be hoped their awakening will not long be delayed.



GERHART HAUPTMANN WITH THE WEAVERS OF SILESIA.

By MAX BAGINSKI.


WHEN I look at the last engraving in the illustrated edition of
"Hannele," at the Angel of Death with the impenetrable brow, over whom
Hannele passes into the region of beauty, I have the consciousness, that
that is Gerhart Hauptmann, such is the inexhaustible wealth of his inner
world.

The stress of the life effort and the certainty of death, groping forth
from delicate intimacies, ripened the fineness and sweetness of this
man's soul. The picture contains transitoriness, finiteness, yet also a
vista of new formation, new land.

Of Gerhart Hauptmann one can say, his art has given meaning to the idea
of human love, which in this period is looked upon with suspicious eyes
as a bad coin, a new impetus, the reality and symbolic depth of which
grips the heart. Out of his books one can draw life more than
literature. A strong soul-similarity with Tolstoi might be observed, I
think, if Hauptmann were a fighting spirit.

I met the poet among the weavers of the Eulengebirge, Silesia, in the
districts of greatest human misery, February, 1891, in Langenbielau, the
large Silesian weaving village. One evening, on my return from a
journey, I was informed that a tall gentleman in black had inquired for
me. The name of the stranger was Gerhart Hauptmann, who came to study
the conditions of the weaving districts. The visitor had taken lodgings
in the "Preussischen Hof," where I called on him the same evening, with
joyous expectation. The name of Gerhart Hauptmann in those days seemed
to contain a watchword, a battle call: not only against the unimportant
thrones of literature at that time but also against social oppression,
prejudices and moral crippling. Hauptmann's first drama, "Vor
Sonnenaufgang," had just appeared and been produced by the Free Stage in
Berlin; and had operated like an explosive. It was followed by a flood
of vicious and vile criticism. The literary clique little imagined that
the future held great success for such "stuff" both in book form and on
the stage.

This lamentable lack of judgment misled the various pot-boiler writers
to attack the new tendency with the most repulsive arguments. One
leading paper of those days wrote of Hauptmann as an individual of a
pronounced criminal physiognomy, of whom one could expect nothing else
but dirty, appalling things.

Such literary highway assaults made one feel doubly happy over the fact,
that together with Hauptmann were a few splendidly armed fighters, like
the aged Fontane, with his great poise and fine exactness.

The first impression of Hauptmann was that he was not a man of easy
social carriage, rather discreet, almost shy, and uncommunicative. An
absorbed, deep dreamer, yet a keen observer of the human all too human,
not easily led astray, not Goethe, rather Hoelderlin.

The guest room of the "Preussischen Hof" contained many empty benches.
The keeper thereof had ample time to meditate over the mission of the
strange gentleman, in the weaving districts. I learned the next morning
that he had quite decided that Hauptmann was some government emissary,
intrusted with examining the prevailing distress of the weavers. One
thing, however, appeared suspicious, the man associated with the "Reds,"
who, according to the government newspaper, only exaggerated the need
and poverty to incite the people for their own political ends.

Whether or not the misery of the weavers that winter had reached such a
point as to warrant an official investigation, had been the topic of
discussion for weeks. The State Attorney, too, had taken an active part
in the matter. The criticism in the labor paper, "The Proletarian," of
which I was the editor, that the exorbitant profit-making methods of the
manufacturers, which left the workers nothing to live on, were met with
a number of indictments against the paper on the following grounds: "It
was indictable to incite the public at the moment when the prevailing
poverty was in itself sufficient to arouse the people and cause danger;
that this was criminal, and therefore punishable. The distress was
thereby officially acknowledged; was that not sufficient? Why then hold
the conditions up before the special attention of the people?"

We mapped out a tour through the home-weaving settlements. At
Langenbielau, the textile industry had to a large extent been carried on
in mills and factories and at a higher wage. Misery was not so appalling
and hopeless there, as in the huts of the home weavers.

The following days unrolled a horrible picture before the eyes of the
poet. The figures of Baumann and Ansorge from his play "The Weavers"
became real.

With mute accusation on their lips, they moved before the human eye in
tangible shape; yet one longed to believe they were only phantoms. They
lived, but how they lived was a burning shame to civilization. Huts,
standing deep in the snow, like whitened sepulchres, and despair staring
from every nook, in these days of paternal care, just as at the time of
the famine that swept across the district in 1844.

Strewn among the hills and valleys lay bits of industry that had been
passed by technical progress, as so many damned, spooklike spots; and
yet those, who vegetated, worked and gradually perished here, were
compelled to compete with the great productive giants of steel and iron
machinery.

The poet entered these homes not with the spirit of a cool observer, nor
as a samaritan,--he came as man to man, with no appearance of one
stooping to poor Lazarus. Indeed, it seemed as though Hauptmann walked
with a much steadier gait in the path of human misery, than on the road
of conventionality.

Steinseifersdorf, situated beyond Peterswaldau. A bare snow field,
spread about huts of clay, shingles and branches, without a sign of
life. Neither a cat, dog nor sparrow, not even chimney smoke, to
indicate the activity of the inhabitants. Heated dwellings in this
stretch of land are luxuries, difficult of achievement; and how is one
to prepare a warm meal out of nothing?

We attempted to enter one of the huts to the right; there was no path
leading to it, so that we were compelled to work our way through the
deep snow. Was it possible that human beings breathed within? The old
weather-worn shanty looked as if the slightest breeze would tumble it
over. The few wooden steps, leading to the entrance, creaked underneath
our steps, and our knock was met with dead silence. We knocked again,
and this time heard a faint step slowly moving toward the door; a heavy
wooden bolt was moved aside, and we perceived a human face, with the
expression of a wounded, frightened animal. Like a delinquent, caught at
the offense, the human being at the door stared at the invaders. Not a
ray of hope enlivened the dead expression. No doubt the man had long
ceased to expect amelioration of his needs from his fellow beings. The
figure was covered with rags, and what rags! Not the kind of rags, that
tramps wear and which they throw off when luck strikes them, but eternal
rags, that seemed to have grown to the skin, to have mingled with it so
long that they had become part of it,--disgustingly filthy, but the only
cover he had and that he could not throw away.

The man, about fifty years of age, was silent and led us through a
dirty, cold gray entry into a room. In front of the loom we observed the
drooping figure of a woman, a cold oven, four dirty, wet walls, at one
of them a wooden bunk also covered with rags that served as bedding;
nothing else. The man murmured something to the woman, she rose; both
had inflamed eyes, water dripping from them with the same monotony as
from the walls.

Hauptmann began to speak hesitatingly, depressed by the sight of such
misery. He received a few harsh replies. The last piece of cloth had
been delivered some time since; there was neither bread, flour,
potatoes, coal nor wood in the house; in fact, no food or fuel of any
sort. This was said in a subdued, fearful voice, as if they expected
severe censure or punishment. Hauptmann gave the woman some money. The
thought of going without leaving sufficient for a supply of food at
least for the next few days, was agony.

On the widening of the road stood the village inn. The guest room showed
little comfort, the innkeeper looked worn and in bad spirits. No trade.
Innkeepers of factory towns are better off. They can afford guest rooms
of a higher order, since they enjoy the patronage of bookkeepers, clerks
and teachers. In Steinseifersdorf one had to depend on the weavers, and
that did not bring enough for a square meal, especially in the winter.
The wife of the innkeeper assured us that the misery in Kaschbach, a
neighboring village, was even greater, even more awful. It was getting
late, so we decided to go there the following day.

Our conversation on our ride homeward dwelt on the fate of these
unfortunates, condemned by modern industrialism to a life of the
Inferno. I asked Hauptmann what an effect an artistic, dramatic
representation of such a fate could possibly have. He replied that his
inclinations were more for summernight's dreams toward sunny vistas, but
that an impelling inner force urged him to use this appalling want as an
object of his art. As for the hoped-for effect, human beings are not
insensible; even the most satisfied, the most comfortable or rich must
be gripped in his innermost depths when pictures of such terrible human
wretchedness are being unrolled before him. Every human being is related
to another.

My remark that the right of possession has the tendency to blind those
who are part of it, Hauptmann would not accept as generally true. He was
anxious to bring the sympathies of the wealthy into energetic activity;
sympathies that would, of course, bring to the poor real relief from
their hideous conditions. He added that the poverty of the masses had at
times tortured him to such an extent that he was unable to partake of
his meals, which were meager enough, especially during his student life
in Zurich; yet he had felt ashamed of partaking of such a luxury as a
cup of coffee even. I had to admit that I could not share his hopes of
the influence of an artistic portrayal of the sufferings of the weavers
upon the people of wealth. Self-satisfied virtue is hard to move. Rather
did I believe that a great work of art, treating of the life of the
masses, was bound to rouse their consciousness to their own conditions.

At that time, I believe, Hauptmann had already completed his "Weavers."
His journey into the weaving district was not to collect material for
the structure of that tremendous play, rather than it was devoted to
details, localities and landscapes. He had already drawn up the outline
for his other play, "College Crampton," portraying a genial and joyous
man, of whom narrowness and miserableness of surroundings make a
caricature and who is finally wrecked.

Langenbielau, after our journey through the Golgatha of poverty, seemed
a place of relief. The mills, with the increasing noise of machines that
dulls the ears and racks the nerves, are by no means an elevating sight,
but they bring the workingmen together and awaken their feeling and
understanding of solidarity and the necessity for concerted action.
Here, in spite of sunken chests, great fatigue, poor nourishment, one
felt the breeze of the struggling proletarian mind that indicated a new
land of regeneration, beyond the misery of our times.

For one of the evenings a gathering of the older weavers was arranged.
Hauptmann had a plate set for each one. During the meal a lively
discussion developed. There was one weaver, Mathias, very bony, and with
a skin like parchment, very poor, but blessed with many children. He
related of a bet he had won. The owner of the tavern where we were
having our feast had expressed doubt as to the ability of Mathias to
consume three pounds of pork at once. He volunteered to do it, if the
meat would be paid for and a quantity of beer added to it. A neighbor
was intrusted with the preparation of the roast. At the appointed hour
Mathias appeared, together with two other men as witnesses of the
contest. The prize eating began, when Mathias was confronted by an
obstacle: Five children belonging to the neighbor surrounded the table,
with their eyes widely opened at the unusual sight of a roast. Their
little faces expressed great desire and their mouths began to water. The
prize eater felt very uncomfortable before the longing look of the
children. He imagined himself a hard-hearted guzzler, only concerned
about his own stomach. He forgot the bet, cut up some of the meat and
was about to place it before the children, when a howl of protest arose.
This was not permitted, if he wanted to win he would have to eat the
entire roast himself. Mathias submitted, but dropped his eyes in shame
before the children. Time and again he involuntarily passed portions of
meat to them, but his attempts were frustrated by renewed protests. He
could not continue, however, until the little ones were taken out into
the cold. There was no other place, since the only room was taken up by
the parties concerned in the contest. They might have been put into the
cold, dark garret, but that would have been too cruel and would have
made Mathias unable to carry out the feat. The undertaking was
finished, but the winner felt quite wretched; he was conscious of having
committed a great sin against the simplest of human demands.

The conversation turned to the uprising of the weavers in 1844. Many
incidents of those days were related. Various legend-like and fantastic
stories told. Also names of people of the neighborhood who had
participated in that historic event.

The entire affair was very informal and simple, and not an atom of the
oppressive atmosphere one feels in the relations between the members of
the upper and lower stations of life.

The next morning we started for Kaschbach. The place looked even more
dismal than the one we had visited the day previous. In one of the huts
a weaver, with a swollen arm in a sling, led us into a corner of the
room. On a bunk covered with straw and rags lay a woman with a little
baby near her. Its body was covered with a terrible rash, perfectly
bare, almost hidden within the floor rags. The shy father, himself in
pain, stood near, the personification of helplessness. If only there
were food in the house! The district physician? He would have been
compelled to prescribe food, light, warmth and sanitation for every hut
he visited, if he did not wish his science to prove a mockery. He could
not do that, so he came but rarely. Humanitarianism, thus far your name
is impotency! All that could be done was to leave money and hurry out
into the air.

The next abode might be considered pleasant compared with the previous
one. Two elderly people, not so worn and wan, and not so ragged. The man
was weaving, still having some work at times; his wife, very pleasant
and amiable, was almost ready to praise the good fortune of their home.
"We are better off than our neighbors," she said with some pride. She
pointed to a freshly cut loaf of bread, to the fire in the oven, to a
table and a real bed--a great fortune, indeed. The walls were covered
with some colored prints, representing virtue, patience, endurance to
the end. One picture showed the return of the prodigal son, one the
ejection of Hagar from the house of Abraham. Our hostess could boast of
the luxury of a coffee mill even, and, after she had ground and brewed
the coffee, we were invited to partake of it, which we gratefully did.
Local and general affairs were talked over; the man, quite talkative,
but careful and reticent in his remarks, especially when religious and
political questions were approached. His remarks were kept within
careful lines so as not to offend. Hauptmann said afterwards that he had
noticed such cautiousness in all weavers. No doubt it had grown out of
the great poverty that often brought out diffidence and reticence toward
strangers.

Hauptmann sat on a low stool, and, while we were sipping our coffee, the
woman petted him tenderly on the brow. "Yes, yes, young man, Want, the
awfulness of Want, but we cannot complain." At our departure, she
pointed to a hut nearby and said: "The people in there are nearly
starved." It was not exaggerated. When we entered, we saw a woman in the
dismal gray of the room, surrounded by a number of crying children. Two
or three of the maturer girls, thin and pale and drawn out by the
Procrustean bed of poverty, secretly wiped the last drops of tears from
their suffering faces. Hunger reigned supreme within these walls. The
woman, in the last stage of pregnancy, suffered the keenest under the
lamentations of the younger children, to whom she could give no food.
The husband had been gone two days on a begging tramp. He would surely
bring home something, though it was very difficult to get anything in
this neighborhood. One must tramp a long distance for a piece of bread.
Yesterday they could still obtain a few potatoes, but to-day she had
nothing more to give, nor did she know what to tell the children. She
had implored the minister to let her have something to eat, if only a
few morsels, but he had nothing himself, he said. The tightly pressed
lips of the older girls trembled violently, every breath of the family
was despair. Our presence had silenced the cries of the children with
the frost-bitten faces, but when we left, they again would tear the
heart of their mother, their weak little voices calling for bread.

No one could expect such fatalism from these starving little ones, that
they should coolly and philosophically analyse the "economic necessity"
that condemned their parents to a desperate battle with hunger. The only
thing that could perform miracles here was a coin. The poor woman did
not dare to believe that she actually held one in her hand. That which
was to secure these unfortunates relief from death, at the same moment
fostered elsewhere conceit, corruption and extravagance, and is being
used for the conversion of heathen to brotherly love. The terrible sight
of this mother and her little ones conjured up the heartlessness and
emptiness of all philanthropy and charity for dumb misery. Greatest of
all social crimes, that makes the possibility of stilling the hunger of
the little children dependent on money.

One morning Hauptmann and I went on foot to Reichenbach, where I
introduced him to an old weaver, a Socialist, who had participated in
the co-operative scheme proposed by Bismarck. The old man had much of
interest to relate of this venture, that had been very meagerly assisted
by the government. He said that the association could have survived, had
it not been for the conspiracy of the manufacturers, who had a large
capital at their disposal. The result of this, for the co-operative
movement, was the closing of the market. At one time all the weaving
products sent to the Leipzig Fair had to be transported back; a
clandestine but effective boycott had made the sale thereof impossible.
With much more gusto he related the days of Lassalle's agitation--that
had brought life into the still limbs of the masses, a great change had
seemed to be at hand. The wife of our old friend, too, had hoped for the
change; but now, she remarked somewhat resigned, "we old people would
rejoice if we were confident that the young generation would live to
bring about the change."

In this house we met a widow with a thirteen-year-old daughter.
Hauptmann found the child very striking. She had beautiful, soft,
golden-blond hair, deep-set eyes and a very delicate, pale complexion. I
learned later that he sent her occasional gifts. And when I read
"Hannele" I could not rid myself of the thought that the vision of this
child from Reichenbach must have haunted him when he created this drama.

That was my last outing with Hauptmann in the textile regions. A few
months later I visited him at his home, located in the woods, close to
the edge of a mountain.

Still later, when I was serving a term of imprisonment at the
Schweidnitzer prison for my sins in exercising too much freedom of the
press, I was overjoyed one morning by the news that Hauptmann had sent
me a box of books. Through his kindness, Gottfried Keller, Konrad
Ferdinand Meyer and other authors have illumined many dreary days of my
cell life.

All the books reached me safely but the "Weavers," which had just been
published at that time, and that I could not get hold of, in spite of
every effort. The inspector had strict orders to consider that book as
contraband.

Every time I went into the office to change one book for another, I saw
the "Weavers" on the table. The temptation to shove the book under my
jacket at an opportune moment was very great and trying, but
unfortunately the State Attorney had instilled the idea into the head of
the inspector that it was a very dangerous work; he never took his eyes
from it.

Gerhart Hauptmann remained to the Schweidnitzer prison administration
the most dangerous, prohibited author.

[Illustration]



DISAPPOINTED ECONOMISTS.


Teachers and economists represent the bees as models of diligence.
Behold how these little hard workers gather the honey together! Not a
sign of obstinacy. They never insist on a certain number of hours for
their workday, nor do they crave time for leisure, meditation or rest.
Indeed, they employ all their energies, so that the owner of the beehive
shall gain high profits.

No matter if they gather a thousandfold as much honey as they can
consume, they never seek iniquity. Man takes all their wealth from them,
and in the spring, in the beautiful month of May, when the flower cups
begin to fill, the little hustlers resume their work again without
complaint and without murmur.

Probably some economists regret that workmen are not endowed by nature
with such an instinct for work as would let them feel nothing else but
the desire to accumulate wealth for others.

It is too bad, indeed, that house builders, railroad workers, miners,
garment workers and farmers are creatures with thinking faculties. That
they should be able to analyze, to compare, to draw conclusions is
really very unfortunate for the "Captains of Industry."

Next to the bee, the Asiatic coolie is the favorite ideal of the
every-day economist. In one respect he surpasses the bee--he does not
destroy drones.

How smoothly everything might run along in this world of material
supremacy, if only the workers were made up of such a desirable mixture
as the bees and coolies.

Fortunately, Fate hath not willed it so.

[Illustration]



VITAL ART.

ANNY MALI HICKS.


IN order to estimate the value of any movement, whether social,
economic, ethical or esthetic, it must be studied in its relation and
attitude to general progress. Its effectiveness should be judged by what
it contributes to the growth of the universal conscience. That "no man
liveth unto himself alone" is never so true as now, because now it is
more generally realized. Therefore, any expression which concerns itself
solely with its own special field of action finds itself soon set aside,
and presently becoming divorced from reality, ends as a sporadic type.
Any expression, however, which responds to the larger life gains a
vitality which insures its continuance.

Thus, the effort to apply certain truths not new in themselves, is a
tendency to work in harmony with progress. The effort to apply
principle, however imperfectly expressed, is important, not because of
its results, but because of the desire to relate theory and action in a
conduct of life. Almost every type of expression is undergoing its phase
of application. Esthetics have somewhat aligned themselves to the
others, but at last there is a movement, known as the arts and crafts
movement, more properly called applied esthetics, which is the effort to
relate art to life. The old banality, "Art for Art's sake," is obsolete,
and the vital meaning of art is in a more rational and beautiful
expression of life, as it were, the continent art of living well.

This is the ideal and educational aspect of applied esthetics. Within
the limits of its exclusive circle and within the radius of its special
activities there is a trend to contentment with the production of
objects of "worth and virtue." The object of luxury, which in fact has
no vital meaning to either the producer or consumer. Were the production
of such things to be its only aim, it would soon defeat its own end. But
this movement has in reality wider and more democratic ideals. Because
of its power to stimulate self-expression and the creative impulses, its
greatest and most vital influence is more social than artistic. It
principally concerns itself with the desire of the worker to express in
his work whatever impulse for beauty may be his. There is no surer way
of feeling the pressure of present economic conditions. The value of
applied esthetics is as a medicine to stir up social unrest and
discontent. Its keynote is self-expression, and it is when men and women
begin to think and act for themselves that they most keenly feel social
and economic restrictions, and are made to suffer under them. But if
suffering is necessary to growth, let us have it and have it over with
by all means. No sane being will stand much of it without making an
effort to get at its cause. It has been said that the most important
part of progress is to make people think; it is vastly more important
that they should feel. The average individual is not discontented with
his surroundings, else he would go to work to change them. As a product
of them he is benumbed by their mechanical influence, and consequently
expresses himself within their limits. He is the mouthpiece of existing
conditions, and, accordingly, acts in law-abiding fashion.

The larger emotional life, or inner social impulse emanates from those
pioneers who, living beyond existing conditions, are the dynamics of
society. Through them life pushes onward. The inner impulse becomes
public opinion, public opinion becomes custom, custom crystallizes into
law. Now the fresh impulse is needed for new growth; where shall it be
sought if not in the expression of the emotional life? What form shall
the expression take unless it be the purest and most spontaneous form of
art, which is without purpose other than the expression of an impulse?
This alone fosters the growth of the emotions.

Art, like justice, has many crimes committed in its name, and much
called so that is merely a methodical and imitative performance. It is
in no wise that spontaneous expression of life which, coming simply and
directly as an impulse, takes a decorative or applied form. All the
beginnings of art grew up in this way. In primitive peoples it is the
first expression of emotional life, which comes after the material need
is satisfied. The savage makes his spade or fish spear from the
necessity of physical preservation. Thus from the joy of living he
applies to it his feeling for beauty.

The earliest forms of art were all applied. Stone carving was applied to
architecture, thus colored stones, called mosaics, as wall decorations;
from these to the fresco; from the fresco to the pictorial form of
painting. To-day the final degeneration of art is in the easel picture,
which as an object detached and disassociated from its surroundings,
takes refuge in the story-telling phase to justify its _raison d'être_.
But, alas for the easel picture! alas, also, for the usual illustration,
without which most literature would be so difficult to understand. In
each case the one is there to help out the other's deficiency. Two
important expressions of art, in a state of insubordination. It is the
opera over again, where music and drama keep up an undignified race for
prominence. Supposing an illustration were decorative in character
echoing in a minor manner the suggested theme, would that not be a
fitting background for the story-telling art? The Greeks knew very well
what they were about when they introduced the relatively subordinate but
decoratively important chorus into their dramas. This as well expresses
their sense of relative proportion as does their sculpture and
architecture.

What is decorative art, if not a sense of beauty applied to objects of
use? That these need the emotional element as well as their element of
service is as essential as the life breath in the body. It is the spark
of divine fire which relates the actual to the ideal, resulting in the
reality. It removes from our surroundings any influence which is solely
mechanical. Applied art is alike because of its association with that
which is necessary to life.

The test is necessity, not alone the physical, but likewise the
emotional necessity, for all sides of our nature must be developed if
life is to have full meaning and come to its maturity. The influence of
applied esthetics is more vital because it is unconsciously absorbed
through constant association. Imagine surroundings where everything
which did not have a distinct use were eliminated and where everything
else was distinctly fitted to its use. If this were put into practice in
the usual household, a certain simplicity would be the result, to say
the least. Most things with which we surround ourselves are neither
useful nor beautiful. They are either so absurdly over-ornamented as to
have their usefulness completely impaired, or else they are the usual
mechanical device equally complicated and hideous. Ornament is usually
an anomaly, added to cover structural defect. If the relation of the
parts to the whole is perfect, beauty is there. But being accustomed to
the over-ornamented and wholly mechanical, we do not resent their
presence. For what, indeed, is habit not responsible? Even such innocent
objects as pictures hang on our walls until they are scarcely noticed by
us. Why not change them to suit our moods? Why not, indeed? There are so
many of them, in the first place--and one remembers the time and
trouble, even the family dissension which it took to hang them. But no
one cares much, no one is alive enough to care much--the economic
struggle which deadens our other senses is responsible for this also.

No unit of the social body can disentangle itself from existing
conditions. Each is affected by all its influences. Some are more, some
less, some are so much a part that they are not conscious. These last
also suffer, but without knowing why. Vital education would show them.
But the factory system pervades the school and art school as well as the
factory.

What if the underlying force of education were spontaneous expression,
instead of the limited method or system? The cry of the teacher is
always, "It is very well to be spontaneous, but we must deal with the
child _en masse_." The remedy for that is simple, because there is no
real necessity to deal with children _en masse_. It is so much easier to
apply the same system to each varied unit of a mass than to discover and
help the individual expression of each. The basis of vital art, of vital
education, is self-expression; from it and through it comes
self-control. Self-repression is as socially uneconomic as jails and
standing armies. If, instead of building prisons where human life is
entombed, libraries where literature moulds, museums where art becomes
archaic, why not establish centers of education, where spontaneous
expression is encouraged, and where the soul, mind, and hand are
simultaneously developed.

Think of a state where each individual working out from its own
standpoint, truly without hypocrisy, would contribute his quota of
individual life to the life of the whole. Pleasing himself in his work
without fear. Then would come the true democracy, possible only under
just economic conditions, where each has equal opportunity for
self-expression. Then can the higher emotional life develop necessary to
all human growth.

[Illustration]



KRISTOFER HANSTEEN.

By VOLTAIRINE DE CLEYRE.


"OF the earth, unearthly--"

The sentence remained unfinished as I had written it two years and a
half ago when Disease laid its hand on me, and all my MSS. ended in a
dash. It was a description of Kristofer Hansteen, an explanation of his
work in Norway. And now that I am ready to pick up the thread of life
again, I read that he is dead--of the earth no more, he who hardly ever
belonged to it. At this moment the most insistent memory I have of that
delicate, half-aërial personality are the words: "When the doctors told
me that I might perhaps not live longer than spring, I thought: 'If I
die, what will become of Anarchism in Norway?'" He had no other idea of
his meaning in life than this.

Somewhere fluctuant in my memory runs broken music--you have heard
it?--"an ineffectual angel, beating his luminous wings within the
void,"--something like that,--words descriptive of Shelley--they haunt
me whenever I would recall Kristofer Hansteen. Perhaps to those who had
known him in his youth, before his body was consumed like a half-spent
taper, he might have seemed less spirit-like; but when I met him, three
years ago this coming August, his eyes were already burning with
ethereal fires, the pallor of waste was on the high, fine forehead, the
cough racked him constantly, and there was upon the whole being the
unnameable evanescence of the autumn leaf; only--his autumn came in
summer.

The utter incapacity of the man before the common, practical
requirements of life would have been irritating to ordinary individuals.
The getting of a meal or the clothing of the body with reference to the
weather, were things that he thought of vaguely, uncomfortably, only
with forced attention. What he saw clearly, entranced by the vision, was
the future--the free future. He had been touched by the wan wizard of
Olive Schreiner's Dream of Wild Bees, and "the ideal was real to him."
The things about him, other people's realities, were shadows--oppressive
shadows, indeed, but they did not concern him deeply. It was the great
currents of life he saw as real things, and among all the confusion of
world-movements he could trace the shining stream that ran towards
liberty; and with his hectic face and burning eyes he followed it, torn
by the cough and parched by the fever.

The Hansteens are a well-known family in Norway, clever and often
eccentric, Kristofer's aunt, Aosta Hansteen, at the time of my visit an
old lady over eighty, having fought many a battle for the equality of
woman both in Norway and America. Artist, linguist, and literary woman
of marked ability, but, after the manner of her cotemporaries, rather
outlandish and even outrageous in her attacks on masculine prerogative,
she is a target for satirists and wits, few of whom, however, approach
her virility of intellect. Her father, Kristofer's grandfather, was an
astronomer and mathematician. In his youth Kristofer had gone afoot
through the "dals" of Norway, and when he took me through the art
galleries of Kristiania he was a most interesting guide, through his
actual acquaintance with the scenes and the characters of the dalesmen
depicted. He knew the lights upon the snow and rocks, just what time of
the year shone on the leaves, where the wood-paths wound, the dim
glories of the mist upon the fjords, the mountain stairways in their
craggy walls, and the veiled colors of the summer midnight. And he knew
the development of Norwegian art life and literary life, as one who
wanders always in those paths, mysteriously lit.

Our hours of fraternization were few but memorable. He was a frequent
visitor at the house of Olav Kringen, the editor of the daily Social
Democrat, a big, kindly Norseman, who had remembered me from America,
and who had defended me in his paper against the ridiculous charge in
the ordinary press that I had come there to assassinate Kaiser Wilhelm.
Through the efforts of Hansteen and the kindliness and largemindedness
of Kringen and his Socialistic comrades, I spoke before the Socialistic
League of Youth in their hall in Kristiania. The hall was crowded, over
eight hundred being present, and there was some little money in excess
of expenses, which was given to me. I shared it with Hansteen, and he
looked up with a bright flash in his dark eyes: "Now," said he, "'Til
Frihet' will come out one month sooner." "Til Frihet" (Towards Freedom)
was his paper; and would you know how it came out? He set it up in his
free moments, he did the mechanical work; and then, being too poor to
pay for its delivery through the post, except the few copies that were
sent abroad, he took it from house to house himself, over the hills of
Kristiania!--he, a consumptive, the cough rending him!

There was a driving rain the night I left the city; he wore no rubbers
or gum-coat. I was in hopes that he might think the propaganda deserved
that its one active worker should get a pair of rubbers, since he must
carry papers through the rain. I reminded him that he should keep his
feet dry; he only glanced at them as if they were no concern of his,
and--"'Til Frihet' will come out one month sooner."

It was in "Til Frihet" that he had been guilty of high treason. It
happened once that King Oscar, in temporary retirement from public
king-business, had left over to the Crown Prince the execution of
certain matters, which according to the "Ground Law" of Norway could not
be so left; whereupon Comrade Hansteen printed an editorial saying,
"Oscar has broken the ground-law, and there is no more a King in
Norway." For this he was charged with high treason, and to escape
imprisonment he went to England, where he remained about a year among
the London comrades. On his return, there was some threat of carrying
out the prosecution, but, probably to avoid wider publication of the
king's "treason," the matter was dropped. Previous to that Comrade
Hansteen had had experience of prison life. In a May-day procession,
ostensibly to include all labor reform or revolutionary parties, he,
declaring that Anarchists should be given place too, marched, carrying a
red flag. The chief of police directed a subordinate to take the flag
away from him. Easily enough done, but not, as an evidence of unwilling
submission, before he had struck the official in the face with his hand.
That little hand, weak and delicate as a woman's! An ordinary man would
have pushed it aside like a feather and thought no more of it; but the
official paid tribute to the big will behind the puny flesh by
sentencing him to seven months in prison.

My ignorance of Norwegian prevents my giving any adequate idea of his
work. I know he was the author of a little pamphlet, "Det frie samfund"
(Free Society), and that he had translated and published one of
Krapotkin's works (whether "The State" or "The Conquest of Bread," I do
not now remember), which he had issued in a series of instalments,
intended ultimately to be bound together. As I recall the deep
earnestness of his face in speaking of the difficulties he had had in
getting it out, and the unsolved difficulties still facing its
completion, I find myself wanting to pray that he saw that precious
labor finished. It was so much to him. And I prophecy that the time will
come when young Norwegians will treasure up those sacrificial fragments
as dearer than any richer and fuller literature. They are the heart's
blood of a dying man--the harbinger of the anarchistic movement in
Norway.

I cannot say good-bye to him forever without a word concerning his
personal existence, as incomprehensible to the practical as his social
dreams perhaps. He had strong love of home and children; and once he
said, the tone touched with melancholy: "It used to pain me to think
that I should die and have no son; but now I am contented that I have no
son." One knew it was the wrenching cough that made him "contented." A
practical man would have rejoiced to be guiltless of transmitting the
inheritance, but one could see the dreamer grieved. His eyes would grow
humid looking at his little daughters; and indeed they were bright,
beautiful children, though not like him. In his early wanderings he had
met and loved a simple peasant woman, unlettered, but with sound and
serviceable common sense, and with the beauty of perfect honesty shining
in her big Norse-blue eyes. It was then and it is now a wonder to me how
in that mystical brain of his, replete with abstractions,
generalizations, idealizations, he placed his love for wife and
children; strong and tender as it was, one could appreciate at once that
he had no sense of the burden of practical life which his wife seemed to
have taken up as naturally hers. The whole world of the imagination
wherein he so constantly moved seemed entirely without her ken, yet this
did not seem to trouble either. Nor did the fact that his unworldliness
doubled her portion of responsibility seem to cause him to reflect that
she was kept too busy, like Martha of old, to "choose that good part"
which he had chosen. Thinking of it now, still with some sense of
puzzlement, I believe his love for human creatures, and especially
within the family relation, were of that deep, still, yearning kind we
feel towards the woods and hills of home; the silent, unobtrusive
presence fills us with rest and certainty, and we are all unease when we
miss it; yet we take it for granted, and seldom dwell upon it in our
active thoughts, or realize the part it plays in us; it belongs to the
dark wells of being.

Dear, falling star of the northland,--so you have gone out, and--it was
not yet morning.

[Illustration]



FIFTY YEARS OF BAD LUCK.

By SADAKICHI HARTMANN.


EVERY occupant of the ramshackle, old-fashioned studio building on
Broadway knew old Melville, the landscape painter, who had roughed life
within its dilapidated walls for more than a score of years. In former
years the studio building had been quite fashionable and respectable;
there is hardly a painter of reputation in New York to-day who has not,
once in his life, occupied a room on the top floor. But in these days of
"modern improvements," of running water and steam heat, of elevators and
electric lights, it has lost its standing and is inhabited by a rather
precarious and suspicious clan of pseudo artists, mountebanks who
vegetate on the outskirts of art; "buckeye painters," who turn out a
dozen 20x30 canvases a day for the export trade to Africa and Australia;
unscrupulous fabricators of Corots and Daubignys, picture drummers who
make such rascality profitable, illustrators of advertising pamphlets,
and so-called frescoe painters, who ornament ceilings with sentimental
clouds, with two or three cupids thrown in according to the price they
extort from ignorant parvenues.

And yet, no matter on what by-roads these soldiers of fortune wandered
to earn their dubious livelihood, they all respected the white-bearded
tenant, in his shabby gray suit, a suit which he wore at all seasons,
and which time seemed to have treated just as unkindly as the bent and
emaciated form of its wearer. Old Melville gave offense to nobody, and
always had a pleasant word for everybody, but, as he was not talkative,
and the other tenants were too busy to bother an old man painting,
nobody knew much about his mode of living, the standard of his art, or
his past history.

Very few had ever entered his studio--he had neither patrons nor
intimate friends--and very likely they would not have enjoyed their
visit. A peculiar gloomy atmosphere pervaded the room, almost sickening
in its frugality, and as its skylight lay north, the sun never touched
it. It had something chilly and uncanny about it even in summer. The
floor was bare, furniture there was none, except an old worn-out kitchen
table and chair, an easel and an old box which served as a bookcase for
a few ragged unbound volumes. The comfort of a bed was an unknown luxury
to him; he slept on the floor, on a mattress which in daytime was hidden
with his scant wardrobe and cooking utensils in a corner, behind a gray
faded curtain. His pictures, simple pieces of canvas with tattered
edges, nailed to the four walls, leaving hardly an inch uncovered, were
the only decoration and furnished a most peculiar wall paper, which
heightened the dreariness of the room.

There was after all a good deal of merit to old Melville's landscapes;
on an average they were much better than many of those hung "on the
line"; the only disagreeable quality was their sombreness of tone. He
invariably got them hopelessly muddy in color, despite their resembling
the color dreams of a young impressionist painter at the start. He
worked at them so long until they became blurred and blotchy, dark like
his life, a sad reflection of his unprofitable career.

It was nearly thirty years ago that he had left his native town and had
come to New York as a boy of sixteen. He already knew something of life
then; at an early age he had been obliged to help to support his family,
and had served an apprenticeship as printer and sign painter. In New
York he determined to become an artist: a landscape painter, who would
paint sunshine as had never been done before; but many years elapsed
before he could pursue his ambition. Any amount of obstacles were put in
his way. He had married and had children, and could only paint in
leisure hours, all his other time being taken up in the endeavor to
provide for his family, by inferior work, inferior decoration, etc. Not
before years of incessant vicissitudes, heart-rending domestic troubles
and sorrow, not before his poor wife had died of consumption--that awful
day when he had to run about all day in the rain to borrow money enough
to bury her!--and his children had been put in a charitable institution,
he took up painting as a profession. Then the hard times, which are
proverbial with struggling artists without means, began; only they were
easier to bear, as he was suffering alone. In days of dispossess and
starvation he had at least his art to console him, and he remained true
to her in all those years of misery, and never degraded himself again to
"pot boiling." In hours of despair, he also tried his hand at it, but
simply "couldn't do it." Now and then he had a stroke of luck, a
moderate success, but popularity and fame would not come. His pictures
were steadily refused by the Academy. Every year he made a new effort,
but in vain.

One day, when one of his large pictures was exhibited in the show window
of a fashionable art store, a rich collector stepped out of his carriage
and, entering the store, asked, "How much do you want for the Inness you
have in the window?" The picture dealer answered, "It is no Inness, but
just as good a piece of work." "No Inness!" ejaculated the man who
wanted to buy a name, "then I don't want it," and abruptly left the
store. This event, trifling as it was, threw a pale halo over old
Melville's whole life and gave him strength to overcome many a severe
trial. He hoped on, persevering in his grim fight for existence, despite
failures and humiliation.

But the years passed by, and he still sat there in his studio, and in
its emptiness, its walls covered with his dark and unsold pictures,
whose tone seemed to grow darker with every year. He was one of those
sensitive beings who continually suffer from the harsh realities of
life, who are as naive as children, and therefore as easily
disillusionized, and nevertheless cannot renounce their belief in the
ideal. Not a day passed that he did not sit several hours before his
easel, trying to paint sunshine as it really is. Nobody in this busy
world, however, took notice of his efforts or comprehended the pathos of
old Melville's life, those fifty years of bad luck. And yet such
martyr-like devotion to art, such a glorious lifelong struggle against
fate and circumstances, is so rare in modern times that one might expect
the whole world to talk about it in astonished admiration.

And how did he manage to get along all this time, these twenty-five
years or more, since "pot boiling" had become an unpardonable crime to
him? Now and then he borrowed a dollar or so, that lasted him for quite
a while, as his wants were almost reduced to nothing. Of course he was
always behind in the rent, but as he sometimes sold a sketch, he managed
somehow to keep his studio. He did not eat more than once a day. "Too
much eating is of no use," he consoled himself, and in this respect he
had many colleagues in the fraternity of art, as more than one-half of
our artists do not manage to get enough to eat, which fact may explain
why many paint so insipidly.

A few days before his sudden death, an old gentleman, a chance
acquaintance, was talking with him about the muddy coloring of the
pictures. Old Melville's eyes wandered over the four walls representing
a life's work; at first he ardently argued in their favor, but finally
gave in that they, perhaps, were a little bit too dark. "Why do you not
take a studio where you can see real sunlight; there is one empty now
with Southern exposure, right in this building." Old Melville shook his
head, murmuring some excuses of "can't afford it," of "being used so
long to this one," but his visitor insisted, "he would pay the rent and
fix matters with the landlord." The good soul did not understand much
about painting, about tones and values, but merely wanted to get the old
man into a more cheerful room.

It was difficult for old Melville to take leave of his studio, in which
he had seen a quarter of a century roll by, which he had entered as a
man in the best years of his life, and now left as an old man; but when
he had moved into the new room, the walls of which were an agreeable
gray, he exclaimed, "How nice and light!" After arranging his few
earthly possessions, he brought out a new canvas, opened a side window,
sat down once more before his easel, and gazed intently at the sunshine
streaming in and playing on the newly painted and varnished floor.

For years he had wielded the brush every day, but on this day he somehow
could not paint; he could not find the right harmony. He at first
attributed it to a cold which he had contracted, but later on, irritated
and somewhat frightened, he mumbled to himself, "I fear I can't paint in
this room." And thus he sat musing at his easel with the blank canvas
before him, blank as once his youth had been, full of possibilities of a
successful career, when suddenly an inspiration came upon him. He saw
before him the orchard of his father's little Canadian farm, with the
old apple trees in bloom, bathed in the sweet and subtle sunlight of
spring, a scene that for years had lain hidden among the faint, almost
forgotten memories of his childhood days, but now by some trick of
memory was conjured up with appalling distinctiveness. This he wished to
realize in paint, and should he perish in the effort!

Feverishly he seized his palette and brushes, for hours and hours he
painted--the sunlight had long vanished from his studio floor, a chill
wind blew through the open window and played with his gray locks--and
when the brush at last glided from his hand he had accomplished his
lifelong aim--he had painted sunshine.

Slowly he sank back in his chair, the arms hanging limp at his sides,
and his chin falling on his chest, an attitude a painter might adopt
gazing at a masterpiece he had just accomplished--in this case old
Melville's painting hours were over for evermore, his eyes could no
longer see the colors of this world. Like a soldier he had died at his
post of duty, and serene happiness over this final victory lay on his
features. In every life some ideal happiness is hidden, which may be
found, and for which we should prospect all our days. Old Melville had
attained his little bit of sunshine rather late in life, but he had
called it his own, at least for however short a moment, while most of us
others, whom life treats less scurvily, blinded by foolish and selfish
desire, cannot even succeed in grasping material happiness, which
crosses our roads quite often enough and stands at times right near us,
without being recognized.

And the fate of old Melville's pictures? Who knows if they may not some
day, when their colors have mellowed, be discovered in some garret, and
re-enter the art world in a more dignified manner? True enough, they
will not set the world on fire, yet they may be at least appreciated as
the sincere efforts of a man who loved his art above all else, and,
despite deficiencies, had a keen understanding for nature and
considerable ability to express it. Whatever their future may be, his
work has not been in vain. It is the cruel law of human life that
hundreds of men must drudge their whole lives away in order that one may
succeed, not a bit better than they; in the same way in art, hundreds of
talents must struggle and suffer in vain that one may reach the
cloud-wrapped summit of popularity and fame. And that road is sure to
lead over many corpses, and many of the nobler altruistic qualities of
man have to be left far behind in the valley of unknown names.

Life was brutal to you, old Melville! But this way or that way, what is
the difference?

[Illustration]

There was a time when in the name of God and of true faith in Him men
were destroyed, tortured, executed, beaten in scores and hundreds of
thousands. We, from the height of our attainments, now look down upon
the men who did these things.

But we are wrong. Amongst us there are many such people, the difference
lies only here--that those men of old did these things then in the name
of God, and of His true service, whilst now those who commit the same
evil amongst us do so in the name of "the people," "for the true service
of the people."--_Leo Tolstoy._

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