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Title: Introducing the American Spirit
Author: Steiner, Edward A., 1866-1956
Language: English
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INTRODUCING THE
AMERICAN SPIRIT

  BY EDWARD A. STEINER

  THE CONFESSION OF A HYPHENATED
  AMERICAN
  12mo, boards      net 50c.

  INTRODUCING THE AMERICAN SPIRIT
  What it Means to a Citizen and How it Appears
  to an Alien.    12mo, cloth      net $1.00

  FROM ALIEN TO CITIZEN
  The Story of My Life in America.   Illustrated,
  8vo, cloth      net $1.50

  THE BROKEN WALL
  Stories of the Mingling Folk.     Illustrated,
  12mo, cloth      net $1.00

  AGAINST THE CURRENT
  Simple Chapters from a Complex Life.    12mo,
  cloth       net $1.25

  THE IMMIGRANT TIDE--ITS EBB
  AND FLOW
  Illustrated, 8vo, cloth      net $1.50

  ON THE TRAIL OF THE IMMIGRANT
  Illustrated, 12mo, cloth      net $1.50

  THE MEDIATOR
  A Tale of the Old World and the New.   Illustrated,
  12mo, cloth      net $1.25

  TOLSTOY, THE MAN AND HIS MESSAGE
  A Biographical Interpretation.     _Revised and
  enlarged._    Illustrated, 12mo, cloth      net $1.50

  THE PARABLE OF THE CHERRIES
  Illustrated,   12mo, boards      net 50c.

  THE CUP OF ELIJAH
  Idyll Envelope Series.   Decorated      net 25c.

[Illustration: THE AMERICAN SPIRIT

_Courtesy of The Survey V. D. Brenner_]



_Introducing The
American Spirit

By

Edward A. Steiner

Author of "From Alien to Citizen," "The
Immigrant Tide," etc._

[Illustration]

_New York Chicago Toronto
Fleming H. Revell Company
London and Edinburgh_

Copyright, 1915, by
FLEMING H. REVELL COMPANY

New York: 158 Fifth Avenue
Chicago: 125 North Wabash Ave.
Toronto: 25 Richmond Street, W.
London: 21 Paternoster Square
Edinburgh: 100 Princes Street

_To
Professor Richard Hochdoerfer, Ph. D.

erudite scholar and most lovable
friend, this book is dedicated_



_Introducing the Introduction_


"_Das ist ganz Americanish_." Whenever a German says this, he means that
it is something which is practical, lavish, daringly reckless or
lawless.

It means a short cut to achievement, a disregard of convention, an
absence of those qualities which have given to the older nations of the
world that fine, distinguishing flavor which is a fruit of the spirit.

Many attempts have been made to enlighten the Old World upon that point;
but in spite of exchange-professorships and some notable, interpretative
books upon the subject, we are still only the "Land of the Dollar."

We are not loved as a nation, largely because we are not understood, and
we are not understood because we do not understand ourselves, and we do
not understand ourselves because we have not studied ourselves in the
light of the spirit of other nations.

Coming to this country a product of Germanic civilization, knowing
intimately the Slavic, Semitic, and Latin spirit, the writer was
compelled to compare and to choose. Yet he would never have dared write
upon this subject; not only because it was a difficult task, but because
he had been so completely weaned from the Old World spirit that he had
lost the proper perspective. Moreover, of formal books upon this subject
there was no dearth.

During the last ten years, however, he has had the advantage of being
the _cicerone_ of distinguished Europeans who came to study various
phases of our institutional life, and they brought the opportunity of
fresh comparisons and also of new view-points in this realm of the
national spirit.

These unconventional studies, most of which received their inspiration
through the visit of the Herr Director and his charming wife, are here
offered as an Introduction to the American Spirit, not only to the Herr
Director and the Frau Directorin, but to those Americans who do not
realize that a nation, as well as man, "cannot live by bread alone;"
that its most precious asset, its greatest element of strength, is its
Spirit, and that the elements out of which the Spirit is made, are so
rare, so delicate, that when once wasted they cannot readily be
replaced.

As the sin against the Holy Spirit is the one sin for which the Gospel
holds out no forgiveness for the individual, so there seems to be no
hope for the nation which transgresses against this most vital element
of its higher life.

Inasmuch also as the Spirit is something which guides and cannot be
guided, these informal introductions appear in no geographic or historic
sequence, but are necessarily left to the leading of the spirit, of
which "no man knoweth whence it cometh or whither it goeth."

E. A. S.

_Grinnell, Iowa_.



CONTENTS

  I.     THE HERR DIRECTOR MEETS THE
           AMERICAN SPIRIT                          15

  II.    OUR NATIONAL CREED                         35

  III.   THE SPIRIT OUT-OF-DOORS                    58

  IV.    THE SPIRIT AT LAKE MOHONK                  74

  V.     LOBSTER AND MINCE PIE                      92

  VI.    THE HERR DIRECTOR AND THE
           "MISSOURY" SPIRIT                       112

  VII.   THE HERR DIRECTOR AND THE COLLEGE
           SPIRIT                                  129

  VIII.  THE RUSSIAN SOUL AND THE AMERICAN
           SPIRIT                                  147

  IX.    CHICAGO                                   166

  X.     WHERE THE SPIRIT IS YOUNG                 184

  XI.    THE AMERICAN SPIRIT AMONG THE
           MORMONS                                 199

  XII.   THE CALIFORNIA CONFESSION OF
           FAITH                                   216

  XIII.  THE GRINNELL SPIRIT                       237

  XIV.   THE COMMENCEMENT AND THE END              249

  XV.    THE CHALLENGE OF THE AMERICAN
           SPIRIT                                  262



I

_The Herr Director Meets the American Spirit_


The Herr Director and I were sitting over our coffee in the _Café
Bauer_, _Unter den Linden_. In the midst of my account of some of the
men of America and the idealistic movements in which they are
interested, he rudely interrupted with: "You may tell that to some one
who has never been in the United States; but not to me who have
travelled through the length and breadth of it three times." He said it
in an ungenerous, impatient way, although his last visit was thirty
years ago and his journeys across this continent necessarily hurried. I
dared not say much more, for I am apt to lose my temper when any one
anywhere, criticizes my adopted country or questions my glowing accounts
of it.

But I did say: "When you come over the next time, let me be your
guide."

"Why should I want to go over again?" he replied. "It's a noisy, dirty,
hopelessly materialistic country. You have sky-scrapers, but no beauty;
money, but no ideals; garishness, but no comfort. You have despatch, but
no courtesy; you are ingenious, but not thorough; you have fine clothes,
but no style; churches, but no religion; universities, but no learning.
No, I have been there three times. That's enough. I know all about it.
_Fertig!"_ And with that he dismissed me without giving me a chance to
relieve my feelings, of which there were many; although he took
advantage of a minute that was left and told me that I was an
_Unausstehlicher Americaner_ whose judgment had been warped by my great
love for my adopted country.

Evidently the Herr Director reversed his decision not to come to this
country; for the following spring I received a cablegram to meet him on
the arrival of his ship at the Hamburg-American dock, which of course I
promptly did. The Herr Director and the Frau Directorin stepped onto the
soil of the United States with a predisposition to be martyrs, to
endure the sufferings entailed by travel with as little grace as
possible, and to suppress to the utmost all pleasurable emotion.

On the other hand, I was determined to show off my United States from
its best side, to woo and win the Herr Director's and the Frau
Directorin's approval. In my laudable endeavor I seemed to be supported
by that divine providence which watches over the whole world in general,
but over the United States in particular. The weather was perfect, the
sky festooned in fleecy clouds, the air charged by a divine energy; and
when the sun shines upon the harbor of New York--well, even the most
taciturn European cannot resist it.

The Herr Director and the Frau Directorin greeted all the good Lord's
endeavor and mine, with an air of condescension as something due their
station. From force of habit they worried and fussed about their
baggage, although there was nothing to worry or fuss about, for it was
safe on its way to the hotel. They were shot under the river and the
busy streets of Manhattan and whirled up to the twenty-first story of
their thirty-two-storied hotel without having taken more than a dozen
steps to reach it.

The Herr Director and the Frau Directorin refused to be impressed by the
rooms assigned them, in which not a single comfort or luxury was
missing, and complained because they were not as big as barns and the
ceilings not as high as a cathedral. The Frau Directorin eyed the
bath-room almost in silence; but she did wonder why they put out a whole
month's supply of towels at once, instead of doing it in the provident
European way of one towel every other day.

The Herr Director and the Frau Directorin, like all Europeans who can
afford to travel, are exceedingly æsthetic, and at the same time fond of
good food, and their first approving smile was won at the breakfast
table, when they were each face to face with half a grapefruit of vast
circumference, reposing upon a bed of crushed ice. Their smiles
broadened when they had introduced their palates to an American
breakfast food, a crispy bit of nut-flavored air bubble, floating upon
thick, rich cream; and, although they had made up their minds that
American coffee was vile and they must not taste it, they could not
resist its aroma, and drank it with a relish.

When the Herr Director said: _"Der Kaffee ist gut,_" I knew that my
prayers were being answered, and that the good Lord still loves the
United States of America.

Most of us have shown off something--a baby, school-children, a
schoolhouse, a town, an automobile, a cemetery. You know that feeling of
pride which thrills you, that fear lest pride have a fall if it or they
fail to "show up." But have you ever tried to show off a country--a
country which you love with a lover's passion; a country whose virtues
are so many, whose defects are so obvious; a country whose glory you
have gloried in before the whole world, but whose halo has so many rust
spots that you wish you might have had a chance to use Sapolio on it ere
you let it shine before your visitors? A country of one hundred million
inhabitants, of whom every fourth person smells of the steerage, when
you wish that they all smelled of the Mayflower; a country where more
people are ready to die for its freedom than anywhere, and more people
ought to be in the penitentiary for abusing that freedom; a country of
vast distances, bound together by huge railways and controlled by
unsavory politicians; a country with more homely virtues, more virtuous
homes, than anywhere else, yet where the divorce courts never cease
their grinding and alimonies have no end?

Ah! to show off such a country, and to have to begin to do it in New
York, beats showing off babies, school-children, automobiles, and
cemeteries.

The Herr Director was sure he would hate our sky-scrapers; he had seen
them from the ship, and the assaulted sky-line looked to him like the
huge mouth of an old woman with its isolated, protruding teeth. Frankly,
I myself am not interested in sky-scrapers; I prefer the elm trees which
shade the streets of the quiet town where I live. I thank God daily for
the men who had faith enough to plant trees upon those wind-swept
prairies. They were mighty spirits who came to the edges of civilization
and drove the wilderness farther and farther back by drawing furrows,
sowing wheat, and planting trees--those men whom heat and a relentless
desert could not separate from that other ocean with its Golden Gate to
the sunset and the oldest world. Determining to have and to hold it till
time is no more, they proceeded to unite the two oceans in holy wedlock.
A task which involved another nation in hopeless scandal and bankruptcy,
they completed with as little ceremony as that which prevails at a
wedding before a justice of the peace. Those were the men who went among
savages, yet did not become like them; who for homes dug holes in the
ground among rattlesnakes, prairie-dogs, and moles, and made of such
homes the beginnings of towns and cities.

If I admire the sky-scrapers it is because they are an attempt on the
part of this same type of people to do pioneering among the clouds.
Public lands being exhausted, they proceed to annex the sky and people
it, now that the frontier is no more.

What the Herr Director and the Frau Directorin would say to the
sky-scraper meant to me, not whether they would say it is beautiful or
ugly, but whether they would discover in it the Spirit of America, the
daring spirit of the pioneers who built Towers of Babel, though
reversing the process; for they began with a confusion of tongues which
outbabeled Babel, and finished on a day of Pentecost when men said: "We
do hear them all speaking our own tongue, the mighty works of God."

We moved along Broadway, pressing through the crowds, the Herr Director
puffing and panting, the Frau Directorin doing likewise. The Flatiron
Building with its accentuated leanness lured them on until we came to
the open space of Madison Square and they were face to face with the
Metropolitan tower.

The Herr Director said: "_Gott im Himmel!_" The Frau Directorin said:
"_Um Gottes Himmels Willen!_" And then they gazed their fill in
silence.

I have never "done" Europe with a guide, nor have I ever had an American
city introduced to me through a megaphone, so I scarcely knew what to
say.

I did not know the exact height of that tower, nor how many tons of
steel support it, nor the size of the clock dial which tells the time of
day up there "among the dizzy flocks of sky-scrapers"; but I did know
that the tower represented some big, daring thing, an expression of the
spirit which could not be defined nor easily interpreted to another.

After his first outburst the Herr Director continued to say nothing--he
was stunned; so was the Frau Directorin. We walked on, looking up,
higher and higher still, until our eyes met another tower, the Woolworth
Building--a shrewd Yankee five-and-ten-cent enterprise, flowering into
purest Gothic.

The cathedrals of Europe are wonderful, undoubtedly. Master minds drew
the plans and master hands built them, slowly, by an age-long process.
They turned religious ideals into stone lace and lilies, hideous
gargoyles and brave flying buttresses, aisles and naves and rose
windows. Yes, they are quite wonderful. But to turn spools of thread,
granite-ware, and dust-cloths into this glory of steel and stone is, to
me, more marvellous still. The spirit of the pioneer cleaving the sky
has become beautiful as it has ascended.

We are worrying a great deal about our lack of sensitiveness to beauty
and form; we chide ourselves as being crude and unresponsive to art; we
rush madly into the study of æsthetics and buy Old Masters at the price
of a king's ransom; yet we are not truly fostering America's art sense.
It ought not to come in the Old World's way--by glorifying dogmas and
creeds, by petrifying religion into buttresses and incasing our dead in
tombs of beryl and onyx. It ought not to come with its mixture of
paganism and religion, its armless Venus and its headless Victory. It
should come first as it is coming--with the making of homes good to
live in, factories planned to work in, stores fit to do business in,
and schools built to teach in. It is coming--yes, it is coming.

But when our strong boys shall make filagree silver ornaments, carve
pretty things on bits of ivory, or exhaust their energy in painting a
lock of hair--when that time comes, we shall be an old people ready for
our ornamented tombs.

Next I took the Herr Director and the Frau Directorin through a portal
flanked by pillars worthy to crown any Athenian hill; I led them into a
Parthenon in which Athena herself might have joyed to be worshipped, and
we heard the echoing and reëchoing of a chant which lacked nothing but
incense and organ notes to make one think one's self in an Old World
cathedral. The chant was not a _Miserere_, but a call to entrust one's
self to the depths of the earth--to descend into tubes of steel, beneath
the river, and then travel to the fair cities of the living, throbbing,
thriving West. It was a railway terminal without choking smoke, blinding
dust, or deafening noise; also without that hideous mechanical ugliness
which Ruskin so hated. This was merely a place from which one started to
reach Oshkosh or Kokomo, Keokuk, Kalamazoo, or Kankakee. Yet more
beautiful portals never swung to mortals in their fairest dreams of
journeying to the abodes of bliss. The Spirit of America, at last
crowned by beauty.

We reached our hotel fairly exhausted by our morning's walk; but, after
being properly refreshed, the Herr Director ventured to criticize.

"Yes, you are a wonderfully resourceful people, keen and energetic, but
chaotic. You take an Italian _campanile_ and elongate it fifty times; or
a Gothic church, and attenuate it; or a Romanesque cathedral, and
support it by Ionic pillars; or a cigar box, and enlarge it a million
times. You put all these things side by side, and no one asks: Will they
harmonize, or will they clash?

"Each man builds as he pleases, although he may blot out the other man's
work and waste colossal energy merely to express himself. The result is
confusion. You can feel that unrest, that discord, in the air. My
nerves fairly ache! No, we shall not go out this afternoon. We must rest
our nerves."

The Herr Director always spoke for his wife as well as for himself, thus
expressing the collective spirit of the Old World. They both retired for
a long rest, while I was left wondering how to introduce New York to
them in the evening.

At five o'clock in the afternoon they emerged from their apartments,
their wearied Old World nerves rested, and, after being stimulated by a
cup of coffee, were ready for further adventures.

Broadway at that hour of the afternoon is bewildering. The shoppers have
almost deserted it, and it is crowded by the clerks who served them, the
cashiers who received their money, the girls who trimmed their hats, the
men who cut their garments, the bookkeepers and the floor-walkers.

Whole towns seem to pour out of the department stores and lofts; the
makers and menders of garments flee from the heart of the city, from
this pulsing machine which has been going at a dangerous speed. They go
from it eagerly, with a brave show of courage, as if the ten hours'
labor had not broken their spirits or wearied their energy. To count the
ants of a busy hill would be easier than even to estimate the numbers of
that throng.

They climb the steps of the elevated railway trains, and crowd them, and
cram the cars until they fairly bulge.

They lay siege to the surface cars, which merely crawl through the busy
streets, so heavy are they and so closely does one car follow the other.

They descend into the depths of the earth, and breathe the humid, human
air of those noisy catacombs. They walk by companies, regiments, and
great armies, dodging automobiles which infest the streets with their
speed and their stenches.

They accomplish it all with so little friction to each other's spirit,
with such a silent good nature, with such a sense of self-reliance, and
with so little official machinery to control them, that even the Herr
Director said:

"This is wonderful!" although he declared that he would suffocate in
that throng, and the Frau Directorin cried out every few minutes, "_Um
Gottes Himmels Willen!_"

There was an absence of politeness, but we saw little rudeness; there
were accidents, but the crowd did not lose its head; there were
discomforts, but little display of ill nature; each for himself, and yet
no clashing. The American crowd is more wonderful than the American
sky-scrapers.

At the Royal Opera in Vienna, the approach to the ticket office is
guarded by steel inclosures in which every prospective buyer is
separated from the other, and one has to zigzag between these pens until
he reaches the official's window. Crowding is rendered impossible, but,
to make the obviously impossible more actually impossible, there is the
usual number of uniformed guards.

Watch the American crowd--this group of unlike, self-centered
individuals; in a moment it is organized, it obeys itself--or rather, it
obeys its spirit, the American spirit of self-direction, with its
genius for organization.

To me, the American crowd is so wonderful because it shows this other
side of its spirit. It is heterogeneous, like the architecture of its
buildings, perhaps even more so--if that be possible.

Here are Jews from Russia's crowded Pale, where they had to slink along
with shuffling gait and dared go so far and no farther--so fast and no
faster.

There are the Slavic peasants, who on their native soil, prodded by the
goad, moved ox-like along an endless furrow, drawing the plow of
autocracy.

Next is the Italian, volatile and yet static with his age-long burdens,
with his fiery nature cramped into his diminutive frame.

Here is the Negro, the child-man, the shackles of whose slavery are
scarcely broken.

The Asiatic, too, comes with hardly courage enough to lift his softly
treading feet; while leading them all is this strident, giant child of
the Anglo-Saxon race whose wind-swept cradle was rocked by freedom, and
who with dominant will has spanned the oceans and crossed the mountains.

Of these myriads whom he leads, some will be a drag upon progress, and
detain the strong or perhaps retard the race; yet they are trying to
keep up, and by their efforts, by delving in the deep, by feeding with
their brute strength our huge enginery, may make the flowering of the
American spirit easier.

Yes, the Anglo-Saxon is leading them; but will he continue to lead, now
that he no longer travels in the prairie schooner, but in the
automobile--now that he wields the golf club and tennis racket, rather
than the spade and plow on the prairie?

Will he now lead them from the breakers of Newport as well as once he
led them from Plymouth Rock?

Will he lead them from the exclusive club as once he led them into the
inclusive home?

These were the doubts which filled my mind, but which I did not share
with my guests as I guided them; for we were to spend the evening
together, and one needs all one's faith in New York at night.

We spent the early evening hours travelling around the world. We went to
Arabia, where dusky children from the desert play in the gutters of
Bleecker Street; to Greece, where Spartan and Athenian youth dream of
the golden days of Pericles; to China, with its joss-house, its faint
odors of sandalwood, and its stronger odors wafted from the Bowery. We
visited Russia, and saw its ghetto-dwellers more numerous than Abraham
ever thought his progeny would become; we spent some time in Hungary,
with its _Gulyas_ and _Czardas_. We went to Bohemia, with its _Narodni
Dom_; to Italy, south and north, with its strings of garlic, its
festoons of sausages, its hurdy-gurdy, and its rich harvest of children.
We had glimpses of France, of its _table d'hôte_ and painted women;
travelled through darkest Africa, touched upon India, and then were back
again upon Broadway.

As in the sky above us the architectures of the world strive to blend
and fuse, making a mighty new impress; so below, these colonies to the
right and colonies to the left, like the huge limbs of some ill-shapen
monster, try to blend into America.

What is it all to be when blended?

Of course we went to the theater. We saw a German problem play made over
to please the American taste. The Herr Director knew the play almost by
heart, and he nearly jumped upon the stage in righteous indignation when
in the last act, where the author drops all his characters into a
bottomless pit and everything ends in confusion, the play ended in the
conventional "God-bless-you-my-children," "happy-ever-after" manner.

We walked the streets of New York until past midnight, and finally
looked down upon it from the roof of our hostelry. We could see the moon
creeping out and shedding its mellow glow over the gayly lighted city.
The noises were almost musical up there--like sustained organ notes--and
we talked about the play with its happy ending.

"You are right," I said; "that happy ending is foolish and childish.
Things do not always end happily; but this thing, this experiment in
making a nation out of torn fragments, this founding of cities in a day
out of second and third hand material, this experiment in man-making and
nation-building must end well; for, if it doesn't, God's great
experiment has failed. Shall I say, God's last experiment has failed?
You see we _mustn't_ fail--it _must_ end well."

The streets were all but silent. From the great clock on the
Metropolitan tower hanging in mid-air, came the flashes that marked the
morning hour. Thick mists floated in from the sea and filled the narrow,
chasm-like streets with weird, fantastic shapes.

The Herr Director said good-night. The Frau Directorin did likewise.
They said it very solemnly, as behooves those who have looked deep into
the heart of a great mystery who have felt the touch of a mighty spirit
striving, struggling, agonizing to shape a new nation out of the world's
refuse.



II

_Our National Creed_


The Herr Director and the Frau Directorin wished to go to church on
Sunday, and after eating a piously late breakfast I spread before them
New York City's religious bill of fare, bewildering in its variety and
puzzling in its terminology.

I gave them a choice between four varieties of Catholics: Roman, Greek,
Old and Apostolic; more than twice that number of Lutherans, separated
one from the other by degrees of orthodoxy and nearness to or farness
from their historic confessions.

There were Methodists who were free and those who were Episcopalian,
Episcopalians who were not Methodists but were reformed, and those who
made no such pretensions; all these invited us to worship with them.

Many varieties of Baptists announced their sermons and services,
offering a choice between those who were free and those who were just
Baptists, and between those who were Baptists on the Seventh Day and
those who did not specify the day on which they were Baptists.

We also had a chance to discriminate between Dutch Reformed, German
Reformed or Presbyterian Reformed, and United Presbyterians divided from
other Presbyterians (presumably unreformed) for reasons known to the
Fathers who died long since.

If we had been radically inclined we might have browsed among
Unitarians, Ethical Culturists, and could even have worshipped among
those who make a religion out of not having any.

The most interesting column to the Herr Director was that which
contained our exotic cults, those we have imported and those which prove
that we have not neglected our home industry.

It was disconcerting to me, who was trying to introduce our national
spirit, to realize how varied its religious expression is, and the Herr
Director got no little amusement out of the story I told him of the
student in one of our colleges who, it is said, came to the librarian
and asked for a book on "Wild Religions I have Met." When the librarian
suggested it might be Seton Thompson's book on Wild Animals, he said it
was not in the department of Zoölogy, but in Philosophy in which the
assignment for the reading was given. The book was then quickly found.
It was Prof. William James' "The Varieties of Religious Experience."

When we succeeded in rescuing the Frau Directorin out of the maze of
Sunday Supplements in which she was entangled, we started in pursuit of
a proper place of worship, in anything but a worshipful mood. I was bent
upon showing that which is vastly more difficult to interpret than
sky-scrapers, the Herr Director was doubtful that we had any religious
spirit at all, and the Frau Directorin mourned the fact that she had to
leave behind her so much paper which might have served such good
purposes if she had it at home.

Fifth Avenue recovers something of its departed exclusiveness on Sunday
morning; for although the cheaper stores are crowding upon those which
never descend to bargain counters, this is not true of the churches.
They still are in good repute, and await the stated hour of service on
Sunday morning without excitement, having advertised nothing, offering
no ecclesiastical bargains; content to live as the birds of the air,
whom the "Heavenly Father feedeth." The street was almost deserted; here
and there a taxicab darted on its way to or from the railway station;
the hour of the limousines had not yet come, and the people who strolled
along were evidently, like ourselves, unfashionable sojourners seeking a
tabernacle in Gotham's wilderness.

Sauntering along the street was less interesting than usual, for not
only were there no crowds, the shop-windows were all artistically
curtained and there was nothing to see. The Frau Directorin did not like
it at all, "for what good is it to walk along the shopping streets if
you can't look into the shops?"

"You see, my dear," the Herr Director remarked, "that is to help you
obey one of the ten commandments which womankind is especially prone to
break, 'Thou shalt not covet.' Incidentally it proves that we are in a
country in which you are allowed to do as you please every day and do
nothing on Sunday."

"No," I replied, "it merely proves that we are trying to save one day a
week from the contamination of our materialistic existence."

"It merely proves," he echoed, "that you have inherited from your
Anglo-Saxon ancestors the worst thing they could leave you: their
hypocrisy. I stepped behind a curtained bar this morning and found it
running at full blast. You evidently do your drinking in private on
Sunday and your praying in public. You know we in Germany do the
opposite."

"No, you do your praying and drinking both in public, and both seem to
be a part of your religion," I answered. "Very likely you are right.
There is about us this taint of hypocrisy; but that only shows that we
are a deeply religious people, conscious of the fact that our ideals
are upon a higher plane than our performance. We are not as eager as you
are to proclaim our frailties from the housetop.

"The average American wants you to believe him to be a pretty decent
fellow till you find him out to be different; while you Germans make a
virtue of a certain kind of brutal frankness, which is worse than
hypocrisy, since you try to make it an excuse for all sorts of private
and national sins. The real criminal is never a hypocrite."

I do not know what would have happened to me if at that moment we had
not reached St. Patrick's Cathedral. The full, rich organ notes seemed
to soothe the Herr Director's ruffled spirit, and our discussion ended
as we entered the welcoming portal.

In a church which in all places and all ages remains the same, there was
nothing for my guests to see or hear to which they were not accustomed.
There was the priest, alone with the great mystery which he was
enacting, and by his side the diminutive ministrants. The crowd which
filled every available space in that huge interior was silent and
reverent. Now the tinkling of a bell, like a command from Heaven, bade
all kneel, and now the same bell bade them rise. The incense, the
stately chant, and then the hushed, expectant throng going forward to
partake from the priest's hand of the means of grace, which he alone
could offer in the name of the one Holy Catholic Church--all this could
not fail to impress us.

Into the august and solemn atmosphere there came from a near-by church
the chimed notes of a hymn-tune such as the people once sang defiantly
when they proclaimed their religious freedom. It was a spiritual war
tune which soldiers could sing, and strangely enough it seemed to fit
into this atmosphere as if it were the one thing which the service
needed. It recalled the self-assertion of the people before their God,
their man God, who was born in a stable, who worshipped as He worked,
and worked as He worshipped, hurling His anathemas at those who blocked
the gates of the kingdom to them who would enter, yet did not enter
themselves.

Evidently the Herr Director felt as I felt; for he whispered to me, "The
Reformation." When I nodded my approval, he said: "But see how unmoved
she is, this rock-founded church. It will take something more than
hymn-tunes to disturb her."

We left the Cathedral while the hungry multitude was being fed with the
Sacrament of our Lord, and our spirits, too, had been fed, although we
were not of that fold.

While the Roman Catholics were finishing their worship, the Protestants
were making ready to begin. The first bells had chimed appealingly, not
commandingly, and a thin stream of worshippers appeared on the Avenue,
growing thinner as it divided, entering one or the other of those
edifices where men were to worship according to the dictates of their
conscience, their taste, or their social position.

Many strangers, like ourselves, were looking critically at the church
bulletins as yesterday we had looked into the show windows, and it was
the Frau Directorin who said she felt as if she were going shopping for
religion.

The Herr Director said that he had no objection to our inventing or
importing as many religions as we pleased; but he did object to our
exporting any, for we were making the task of regulating and controlling
them very difficult. Moreover he did not see how we could develop any
kind of common, national ideals with such a confusion of religions. "You
have, or pretend to have, a democratic government, and your strongest
church is monarchic to the core."

I had to admit that religiously we are a very chaotic people, and that
we are daily adding to that chaos; yet these facts might prove what I
had been trying to make clear to him: That this is fundamentally a
religious country, and that as a whole we are the most religious people
in the world. I supported this statement by quoting a good German
authority, the late Prof. Karl Lamprecht, who thinks we have a great
future as a people, because we are "capable of religious improvement."

"Improvement!" The Herr Director sniffed derisively. "Wherever I look I
see improvements: churches turned into theaters, theaters into churches,
and residences which are still perfectly good turned into sky-scrapers.
Chaos is not an improvement upon order. Nothing is finished, nothing
complete, not even your religion."

Just then we were compelled to pass along a wooden walk from which we
looked into a canyon blasted out of the rock, upon which still stood the
foundation of the house which was being turned into a sky-scraper.

"You see, that is the way we improve; we go deeper each time," I
remarked.

"But in religion," the Herr Director retorted, "you do not go deeper,
you go higher, and that is no improvement."

For the second time the chimes were pealing, and we entered a sanctuary
of friendly yet dignified English Gothic. An usher, who looked very
American and well fed and out of place, guided us to a pew in the more
than half empty church, from which nothing was missing in the way of
ecclesiastical furnishings. One thing it lacked and that no architect
can build and no money can buy--Spirit.

The organ was played by a master, the processional was splendidly
staged, the rector looked prosperously pious, prayers were read and
confessions uttered without any disquieting, spiritual agony, and the
anthems were correctly sung by the picturesque boys' choir. The curate
preached a sermon on manliness; a sermon so thin and emasculated that
even the Frau Directorin, whose English is limited, could understand it,
and said she would like to come again "for the good English."

I left the church deeply disappointed, and to the Herr Director's taunts
about "improvements" I did not reply, realizing more than ever how
difficult and dangerous is this task of introducing the _Spirit_,
especially when one goes to church in the spirit of pride, rather than
in the spirit of meekness.

No clergyman can spoil the whole of Sunday, for there is always the
dinner, and having found a _table d'hôte_ in harmony with the Herr
Director's national and religious ideals, we continued our discussion
somewhat fitfully, if, at times, rather vehemently.

One of the things the Herr Director missed in the church where we tried
to worship was reverence. He missed it everywhere and thought it due to
the fact that we do not teach religion in the public schools.

This was rather amusing to me, for just prior to that statement he had
told me of one of his nephews who, upon approaching his final
examinations, said: "If it were not for this accursed religion I could
get through without trouble;" and I called his attention to the fact
that although I had no difficulty with my "exams" in religion,
invariably having an "_Ausgezeichnet_" which is equivalent to an A, I
was always "_Schlecht_" in conduct.

I had found religious instruction a very irreligious procedure, for the
man who taught it was irreligious enough to whip me so that I could not
lie upon my back for a week, the cause being that I would not say yes
to his credo. Moreover I told the Herr Director I thought all religious
instruction irreligious which did not teach the child its whole duty to
society, but taught religion from only the narrowing racial or sectarian
standpoint.

Religion, I pointed out to him, can after all not be taught; it has to
be caught. It is a contagion which comes from a spiritual personality,
and our public schools are not religious or irreligious because certain
subjects are found or not found in their curricula, but because the
teachers have this spiritual personality or lack it. I am convinced that
this ethical quality predominates in our public schools, not only
because so many of our teachers are women, but because we are
fundamentally a religious people.

At this point I became conscious that the attention of the Herr Director
and the Frau Directorin had flagged; for their response to my homily was
an eloquent tribute to the tenderness of the breast of a Long Island
duck, which they had been enjoying while I talked. As they were
consequently in a lenient mood towards the whole world and therefore
the United States, I renewed my laudable and difficult effort, and, as
is often best, through the medium of a story.

At the time the elective system was introduced into Harvard University,
attendance upon chapel was made voluntary. "I understand," said a severe
critic of this procedure, "that you have made God elective in your
college."

"No," replied the astute president, "I understand that God has made
Himself elective everywhere."

The point of my story was lost upon both my guests. When I paused, the
Frau Directorin asked me how it was possible to serve so lavish a bill
of fare for so little money, and the Herr Director asked the waiter why
they called this a Long Island duck when the portions were so short.
Thus the conviction was forced upon me that our environment was not
conducive to the discussion of the American Spirit and that I must await
a more auspicious occasion.

Late in the afternoon that occasion came; not on Fifth Avenue but on one
of those streets where churches are fewest and humanity thickest; where
Sunday brings liberation from toil, where cleanliness and godliness have
an equally difficult task in coming or abiding; where nations and races
must mingle and cannot easily blend, where the America which is to be is
in the making, and where the Spirit must manifest itself if we are to be
a nation with common ideals.

I like to take my friends to the East Side of New York City. I glory in
its self-respect, its brave struggle against poverty and disease, its
bright children filling all the available space and asserting their
childhood by playing in the busy street, defying its noisy traffic. They
make of each hurdy-gurdy the center of a great festival, dancing as the
elves are said to dance, because it is their nature to.

I like to point out the faces of Patriarchs, Prophets and
Madonnas--faces seamed by care and sorrow, yet lighted by a divine
radiance and as unconscious of it as were those upon whom it shone in
such fullness on that great East Side of the Universe which we now call
the Holy Land.

I like to have my friends meet my East Side friends, the young working
girls, who dress in good taste, help support a family, and maintain an
unstained character in spite of small wages and the temptations of a
great city. I like them to meet the growing boys who are hungry for the
best the city holds, and who dream the dream of making the East Side in
particular, and New York in general, a better place in which to live.

I am never ashamed to take my friends into the tenement houses, except
as I am ashamed that they exist at all, with their stenches and the
dearly bought space with twenty-four hours of darkness and no free
access of air. Of the people who live within I am never ashamed, for
they are the brave ones, to whom labor is prayer, and living a
sacrifice. I like best to show off the East Side of New York on Sunday,
for here it is most welcomed with its respite from labor, its chance at
clean clothes, its opportunity to visit and be again something more than
a machine.

On Fifth Avenue the Sabbath is made for the few, on the East Side it is
made for the many; on Fifth Avenue God seems hard to find, on the East
Side He comes down upon the street. They are indeed worse than infidels
who do not feel His Spirit brooding over the crowd, and His guardian
angels watching over those children--else how could they survive? Best
of all I know where those Angels live, and it is there I took the Herr
Director and the Frau Directorin; I was sure they would never leave the
place doubting that we are a religious people. Evidently the children
also knew where their Angels live for the place was in a state of siege.
It is not strange that they knew, for their ancestors had walked and
talked with angels, and they were not yet old enough to have lost the
faith of their fathers. Troops of children there were; mere children
carrying children, and where there was an only child, which is rare on
the East Side, it was brought by a grandfather and grandmother, children
themselves now, and old enough to again believe in angels.

There were flowers in the room and they were for the children; bowers
of roses, red roses, wafting their incense and driving out the mouldy,
tenement house air which clung to the little ones. There was music, and
they sang--sang as I know God wanted them to sing--gay, happy songs,
which seem to be denied the children who sing in the churches.

How I wished that the picturesque little choir boys on Fifth Avenue, who
sang sixteenth century music and Augustinian theology, might have had a
chance to sing as those East Side children sang--full throated, lustily,
joyously; songs which made them shiver from very joy, and which made the
Frau Directorin weep copiously.

How I wished that the priest who chanted Psalms in Latin, and the other
priest who intoned them in English as dead as Latin, could have been
there and have heard those children recite the same Psalms, in East Side
English. Yes, I have often wished that David himself might hear them; I
am sure he would be proud that he had a share in writing them, even as
the priests might be ashamed that they had never known just what
precious reading they are.

No one preached to the children although they heard the good tidings,
and no one told them to be good although they were given a chance to
know how good God is, when men give Him a chance.

There was a sacrament, a holy one; roses were given the children, and
the Angels who gave them shed their blood, for the roses had thorns. The
next week the children were to be taken where the roses grew, and they
would see that

    "A garden is a lovesome thing, God wot!
     Rose plot,
     Fringed pool,
     Fern'd grot--
     The veriest school
     Of Peace:--"

But they would not have to see the garden to know that God is.

We broke bread with the Angels and looked into their joyously weary
faces, and then we talked about the very thing I wanted my guests to
know, namely: That underneath all our religious or rather credal chaos,
we have a national creed if not a national religion.

The Herr Director suggested that the fundamental doctrine of our creed
is "in gold we trust," and then he began a dissertation upon our
national materialism.

Perhaps so, I conceded; but I doubted that we are more materialistic
than the people of the older world, in fact I was inclined to believe
that we are less so; which of course the Herr Director stoutly denied,
and I as stoutly affirmed. In justice to myself I must say that when my
country's honor is not at stake I am less dogmatic.

"Perhaps we are equally materialistic," I continued, "but we are
certainly more generous. We make money faster than the people of the Old
World, but we also give it away faster, and I believe that there is no
country in which there is such a contempt for the merely rich man."

"I suppose the second article in your national creed," the Herr Director
interrupted, "is that you are the biggest country and the best people
under the Sun.

"If I were suggesting a motto for a new coinage I would put on one side
of it 'In Gold We Trust,' and on the other 'The Biggest and The Best.'"

Ignoring this somewhat merited slur I said: "The first and only doctrine
of our national creed which we have as yet formulated is that we have a
great national destiny."

At that the Herr Director jumped excitedly from his seat, and said
somewhat sneeringly, "Oh, you mean you have a place under the Sun. All
nations have such a creed, but when we Germans try to realize it, you
call us a menace to civilization."

It was a tense moment in my relationship to my guests, but I ventured to
say: "We have a better reason for the faith which is in us than most
other nations, for we are trying to realize it without killing off other
people. In fact we are trying to realize it at a greater hazard than
that of being conquered by an alien enemy. We are keeping open these
doors which have swung both ways freely, for nearly three hundred years,
and your Old World weary ones have been coming; bringing their
traditions, their ideals, their worn out faiths and their heaped up
wrath. We did not forbid them; they have come to our towns, our schools,
our homes, they are here for better for worse, and we cannot divorce
them, or drive them away.

"Yes," I continued, much to the discomfiture of the Herr Director, "we
_have_ a meaning to the Old World, a larger meaning than you think. We
have a place under the Sun, not to satisfy national ambitions; but to
keep alive faith in humanity."

The Angels around the table were disquieted by our vehemence, the Frau
Directorin urged that it was growing late, and we left that center of
quiet which we had so disturbed, to return to our hotel. We entered a
street car crowded beyond its capacity by burly Irishmen the worse for
liquor, good-natured Slavs none the better for it, aggressive looking
Russian Jews and sleek Chinamen. There were mothers with their crying
babies, and thoughtless boys and girls chewing gum most viciously.
After the Herr Director and the Frau Directorin had been jostled
unmercifully, we left the uncomfortable car, and when we were again
breathing unpolluted air the Herr Director asked quizzically:

"Do you still believe in humanity?"

Boldly and bravely I answered: "Yes, I believe," and lifting my face to
the stars I whispered: "Lord, help my unbelief."



III

_The Spirit Out-of-Doors_


Much to my regret the Herr Director did not sleep well that second night
in the United States. His nerves had suffered from those first thronging
impressions, he looked pale and was decidedly irritable; "for how could
a man sleep or be expected to sleep in this business canyon, loud from
the thunder of the elevated, and bright from the flashing of illuminated
signs?" Together they had the effect of an electric storm upon him.

When he did fall asleep he dreamed that the Metropolitan Tower, the
Woolworth Building and St. Patrick's Cathedral were dancing Tango upon
his chest.

This nightmare may have been due to the fact that just before retiring
we witnessed an exhibition of this modern madness, which seemed to be
indulged in everywhere except in the churches and possibly the barber
shops. Partly also, perhaps, because the Herr Director insisted upon
eating lobster shortly before midnight, in spite of the fact that I
warned him against that indulgence. It was one of those generous, United
States lobsters, and not the diminutive shell-fish with which cultured
Europeans merely tickle their palates.

The Herr Director had repeatedly pointed out our bad habit of leaving a
great deal of food on our plates, and to impress upon me his better
manners, he had eaten the entire lobster.

I had not slept well that night either, in spite of the fact that I had
eaten sparingly. I think it was the Herr Director himself who had "got
on my nerves," and I was finding this task of "showing off" my beloved
United States difficult and exacting.

That morning we were to leave New York and I would introduce my guests
to the great American out-of-doors, and the prospect added to my already
uncomfortable frame of mind.

If only we might start from that marvellous Central Station in the heart
of the city; but in order to reach our destination, which was Lake
Mohonk, we had to cross the West Side where it is irredeemably tawdry
and ugly, and take one of the ferry-boats to Weehawken. This somewhat
inconvenient procedure made the Herr Director doubly critical.

The Fates were against us, for it was a hot, humid day, the car was
crowded, and the start from Weehawken anything but auspicious.

In Europe the Herr Director travels second class when he travels
officially (the first, as is well known, being reserved for Americans
and fools), and third when he travels _incognito_, for he is a thrifty
soul. Nevertheless, he did not like our cars, they were "obtrusively
decorated," and privacy was impossible. Why should he have to look at a
hundred or more human heads variously "_frisired_"?

I suggested that we take seats in front, which we succeeded in doing,
and then he found that if he wished to take off his collar, he would
have to do it with two hundred or more human eyes fastened upon him,
when the hundred people possessing them had no business to see what he
was doing.

I have already confessed how sensitive I am to criticism of anything
American, no matter how just the criticism may be. So sensitive am I,
that had he reflected upon the good looks of my wife, he could scarcely
have hurt me more than when he reflected upon the beauty and arrangement
of an American railway car.

And yet I have often wondered why our American genius seems to have
exhausted itself when it evolved the present type of car, having done
nothing to it except adding or taking away some of its "gingerbread."
Nevertheless I lost my patience and told him that if he liked to travel
cooped in with seven other passengers, four of whom he must face and two
of whom might at any moment poke their elbows into his ribs; if he
preferred to breathe air polluted by seven other people, and have a
fresh supply of ozone only at periods and in quantities regulated by
law, I did not admire his taste. As far as I was concerned I preferred
to travel in this big room on wheels, rather than in a jail-like box to
which the conductor alone had the key. Anyway this represented American
democracy with its unpartitioned space; but if he really wanted it, I
could get him a stateroom in the Pullman, and he could ride in isolated
splendor and be aristocratically stuffy and uncomfortable.

When the Frau Directorin in typical German phraseology complained about
the draft: "_Um Gottes Willen ein Zug!_" I decided to save the day, and
we retreated to the Pullman stateroom.

There they rested themselves back and looked tolerably happy while I,
silently but fervently, prayed that this particular train would not
disgrace itself by "committing" an accident.

The big, American out-of-doors, even where it is old and its waste
spaces are cultivated and hedged about, has something which is
characteristically American. Of course nature knows no political
boundary; the grass is green everywhere, the sky is blue, cattle and
sheep, like man, have a long and honorable ancestry. Yet there is a
difference which may not be due to what nature is, but to man's attitude
towards her and his treatment of her.

I have noticed this in passing through Europe; how unerringly one knows
where Germanic boundaries end and those of the Slav begin. German fields
and forests are trim and orderly; Slavic territory so ill kept and ill
used that when one has a glimpse of a village even from the swift moving
train, the difference is obvious.

Sometimes I am inclined to believe that this attitude of man affects his
environment as much as we know the environment affects him. I wonder
just how much of the American out-of-doors, with its generous but not
gentle aspect, its subdued but untamed spirit, is due to those valiant
men who came from across the sea, and in so doing restored a bit of
their long-lost courage, and made masters of men who so long had been
serfs and knaves.

I had hoped that the sudden burst of the Hudson upon my guests' vision
would thrill them; but if they were thrilled, they were careful to
conceal it. When I suggested the likeness of the Hudson to the Rhine,
the Herr Director took it as a personal affront and said you might as
well compare St. Patrick's Cathedral and that of Cologne. They are both
churches and Gothic; the Hudson and the Rhine are two rivers, and both
are big.

Nevertheless I insisted that there is an evident resemblance which would
be complete if the Hudson had a ruined castle here and there, or a
picturesquely cramped village huddling against the hillside.

"Yes, and beside castles and picturesque villages," the Herr Director
replied tartly, "you need a thousand years of culture and the same
traditions which make the shores of the Rhine sacred to us; you also
need generations of patiently plodding peasants who have made a
sacrament of their toil. One glance at your rotting boats lying along
the shore, at the untilled, gaping spaces and glaring, inartistic
sign-boards which disfigure it, is sufficient to distinguish the two
rivers or perhaps even the two countries."

Having thus forcefully delivered himself, he scornfully pointed out the
waste places and the unkempt-looking fields, asking me whether I still
dared compare anything in this out-of-doors with the fine economy and
splendid supervision of the natural resources of his own country.

Shamefacedly I acknowledged my country's guilt, and the guilt which was
evident on the majestic shores of the Hudson. We are wasteful,
extravagant and reckless--great defects in our national spirit, and most
in evidence in our treatment of nature's beauty and wealth. We shall
have to remedy that, in fact we are just beginning to do it; if not from
any sense of guilt, from the same sheer necessity which makes the
nations of the Old World careful of their national wealth.

"The Conservation of our National Resources" is a fine phrase; it
represents not only an economic, but a spiritual gain--this feeling of
responsibility for the next generation. It is a new and most valuable
asset of our national spirit; yet I must confess that I fear the coming
of a day when we, too, shall have to practice the sordid little
economies of the Old World and think with anxiety about the to-morrow.

It has always seemed to me that here the miracle of the loaves and
fishes might be performed indefinitely, and that there always would be
left over the baskets full of fragments. Somehow, in common with the
rest of mankind, I have associated generous plenty with the American
spirit, and I trust we shall never have just our dole and no more.

I recall walking one evening with the Herr Director and the Frau
Directorin through the well-regulated, officially trimmed and "_Streng
Verboten_" forest which encircles his native city. My children were with
us--young, vigorous, American savages, who have a superabundance of the
American spirit although they have not a drop of American blood in their
veins. We passed a small mound of freshly mown hay and they promptly
jumped into it, tossing a few handfuls as an offering to their
aboriginal deity, the wind. If they had dashed into the plateglass
window of a jeweler's shop or had desecrated the most holy shrine, they
could not have caused greater consternation.

"_Um Gottes Himmels Willen die Polizei!_" cried the Herr Director and
the Frau Directorin echoed: "_Die Polizei!_"

Although this happened about ten years ago, my children have not
forgotten their fright.

I suppose we still lack this virtue of economy, and yet I hope we may
not lose that certain largeness of nature and that generosity of spirit
which have characterized us.

I love the generous spaces, the unfenced lawns, which make of the whole
village one common park; the grass and clover free to the touch of our
children's feet, the fragrant flowers wasting their bloom, and berries
and cherries enough for the wild things of the woods. May the future not
bring more high walls and narrow lanes, big game preserves for the rich,
and scant patches of soil for the poor; castles for capital and
tenements for labor. And may we never see written over every blade of
grass: "_Streng Verboten_."

I realized that the Herr Director spoke truly when he said that what we
lack over here is a healthy class spirit, which the German farmer has. A
sort of pride in his calling which makes him care for the soil and
nourish it with a lover's passion. To him robbing the soil is as great a
crime as it would be to rob his children. It is not only the Emperor who
regards himself as a partner with God, and sometimes the senior partner;
the commonest, poorest peasant is apt to say as he drenches his field
with the accumulated compost: "_Ich und Gott_."

Speaking of the farmer, the Herr Director admitted that in Germany as
elsewhere there is a trend to the city; but the tide is held back by the
pride of the German farmer, who glories in having his traditions, his
folksongs, and, above all, this sense of partnership with God.

We scarcely have such a thing as a farmer class; we have merely
merchandizers in dirt who sell not only the products of the soil, but
unhesitatingly the soil itself.

The land which we see from the car window, which the pioneers won from
this boundless space, these houses and sheltering groves, the homesteads
in which a great race was cradled, are all for sale, now that the soil
is robbed of its fertility and the robbers have moved on to repeat the
process elsewhere. We are doing something, he admitted, to stem the tide
to the cities; we are introducing agricultural training into our public
schools and are making the raising of corn and wheat a science, but not
as yet a sacrament.

We stayed over night in one of the half-asleep towns on the shores of
the river, a town whose history is written upon the headstones in the
cemetery, in the center of which the stately meeting-house stands. We
met the descendants of those who sleep there, whose pride lies in the
fact that their forefathers were the pioneers who fought the Indians,
the fevers and each other. Their houses are full of old furniture
shipped from England and Holland, and we ate their food and drank their
tea from costly silver and exquisite china which they have inherited.

We looked upon the portraits of their ancestors and were told of their
virtues and their fame; we saw fine memorials to the past in churches
and town halls and rode in their automobiles, to see the farms
bequeathed to them. One thing, alas! they have not and never will
have--descendants.

On one of the farms we saw a swarthy Italian with a bright red rose
behind his ear. His wife and children were working with him in the
field, and they were doing this strange thing as they pulled weeds from
the onion beds--they were singing. The Herr Director said significantly,
"These are the heirs to all this," and I think he was a true prophet.

It is a wonderful thing to invent agricultural machinery and to discover
new methods by which two blades of grass can be made to grow where but
one grew; yet if only some one could tune our dull American ears, so
that our farmers might catch the melody of the singing land and sing
with it; if our boys and girls would love wild roses well enough to wear
them--if, and that is a very big if--some one could teach us Americans
to be proud of having descendants, we might add a new note to the great
American out-of-doors, and keep it American.

That night we sat upon a wide verandah, overlooking a valley through
which the Hudson rolled majestically; we saw populous cities,
picturesque villages and bounteous farms; we looked into the heart of
the out-of-doors and I was proud of it and of its free people, who ought
to be a grateful people. There was deep silence everywhere; no sound
except that of the birds, and they did not sing jubilantly as birds
ought to sing in so blessed a place and on so glorious an evening. No
one sang except the same Italian who was coming home with his wife and
numerous progeny. He still wore the rose behind his ear, although it had
faded. Those who sat with us had every luxury and more money than they
knew how to spend; but they could not sing, for they were old, children
there were none, and if there had been, they would not have been
singing--they would have had a victrola.

After the Italian had eaten his frugal but pungent fare he came to the
big verandah to get his orders for the next day, and the Herr Director
spoke Italian to him and he replied in that language which in itself is
almost a song. His mistress asked him to bring his wife and children to
sing for us. His wife did not come but the children came. They would not
sing an Italian song, it is true--that was just for themselves, in the
fields where only God heard. They sang some sentimental thing they had
heard in the "movies"--chewing gum the while. I asked them to sing
something their teacher taught them but they knew nothing except "My
Country 'tis of Thee" and the "Star Spangled Banner," both of which they
sang joylessly and not understandingly. How and why should they
understand when the Americans did not?

It was a day full of dismal failure in my attempt to impress upon my
guests the American spirit, and the failure of it was "rubbed" in by
the Herr Director, who, as he bade me good-night, quoted as a parting
shot this bit of German verse:

    "Und wo Man singt
     Da las dich froelich nieder,
     Denn boese Menchen haben keine Lieder."

The rub was in his inference that we have no song because we have no
noble spirit.



IV

_The Spirit at Lake Mohonk_


Many years ago the Herr Director and I were tramping through the Hartz
Mountains in northern Germany. He had not yet achieved portliness and
fame; while to me, America was still the land of Indians and buffaloes,
and I had never dreamed of going there. We were climbing the Brocken,
and that which thrilled me more than its granite steeps and deeply
mysterious pines was, the hundreds of school-boys and girls we met,
singing as they climbed, and who, when they rested, listened to their
teachers who stimulated their imagination and their patriotism by
telling them the stories which had woven themselves around those
mountains.

The Catskills are not unlike the Hartz, and I remarked upon it as the
Herr Director and I were climbing the Walkill Range. Our destination
was Lake Mohonk, the scene of the Conference for International
Arbitration, organized and supported by that noble Quaker, Albert K.
Smiley; and now after his death continued by his able and generous
brother Daniel Smiley, and his gracious wife.

The Frau Directorin, with hundreds of other guests, had been met at the
railroad station by carriages, this being one of the few places left
upon earth where the automobile is excluded.

The Herr Director was not climbing as easily as he climbed thirty years
ago, and neither was I, although I made a brave show and led the way,
frequently leaving him in the rear, much to his disgust.

"Yes," he said, mopping his brow and looking about critically, "this is
somewhat like the Hartz," and my heart gave a joyous leap at his
admission; "but several things are missing: Good company, merry songs
and, above all, places of refreshment."

Of course I could offer him no better company than I was, as there are
not many people in America who climb when they can ride for nothing;
and the only refreshment available was clear water from a shaded spring.
As we drank he recalled laughingly how, when we stopped at one of those
nature's fountains in the Hartz, a man who had watched us, came running
out of his house and warned us that we might catch cold in our stomachs,
at the same time politely offering to guide us to a place where we would
get something not so dangerously cold, and with tempting foam at the
top.

I have long ago been weaned from the German custom of mixing
refreshments and scenery; but one does miss the boys and girls, the
merry, happy throngs, their sentimental songs and their fervent, poetic
patriotism. Involuntarily my mind reverted to a scene the Herr Director
and I witnessed after we had finally reached the summit of our mountain
in the Hartz. It was nearly evening, and we could look far and wide
above the forest into the happy and beautiful country. On the very
topmost peak stood a corpulent German, surrounded by his genial group.
He was reciting with fervor and genuine passion, in the broadest
Berlinese dialect, one of their treasured poems which begins with these
lines:

    "High upon the hilltops of thy mountains stand I,
     Thou beautiful and mighty Fatherland."

If this should happen over here, of which there is no danger, he would
be laughed at, if noticed at all; over there he was treated like a high
priest who called the faithful to prayer.

As a people we lack not only poetic imagination, we lack also this
identification of our country with the best in nature. Our youth may be
to blame for that, or perhaps we have so much of nature and so much
which is beautiful that we have not been able to encompass it. Yet there
must be something very important lacking in such Americans as the one
whom I met very recently. He had just returned from a "Seeing America
First" tour, and had seen everything from Niagara to the Big Tree groves
of California. When I asked him what he thought of it all he said,
coolly, "Oh! it's a big country." Naturally I did not tell this nor the
following to the Herr Director.

A few years ago I went with a group of Americans to see one of the
famous ice caves in the Alps. The accommodating guides had lighted
candles in the labyrinth and the sight was enchanting. One of my party,
a dry-goods dealer, said with genuine enthusiasm: "My! I wish I could
get such a shade of silk in New York." The other said: "Too bad; so much
perfectly good ice going to waste." He belonged to the much maligned
tribe of ice-men. The rest of the men said nothing, although one of them
did remark when we reached our hotel: "This only shows how slow they are
over here. In the good old United States we would light that show with
electricity." He belongs to the tribe whose name is legion.

The Herr Director, as my readers have found, was very chary of his
praise, in fact thus far I had not heard a good word from him for my
United States; but that evening as we looked from the Mountain House
down upon the dark, deep lake, the rock gardens and the quaint bowers
on every promontory, granite walls broken and scattered, and the rich
valley between us and the Catskills, he did say: "This is the most
beautiful spot I have ever seen!"

Of course his generous mood was partially gendered by the unequalled
hospitality of our host and hostess and by the sight of his fellow
guests, who represented not only the entire United States, but the
United States at its best. Moreover, he and his wife had received a more
than cordial welcome because they were representative foreigners and
spoke English with a "cute accent."

I almost felt a slight touch of jealousy upon that point although I am
not of a jealous nature. But I have noticed this: to the degree that my
English has improved, to that degree I have become less interesting to
my American friends, so that I have sometimes been tempted to wish that
I too might speak English with a "cute accent."

The happy day was almost spoiled for me by the discovery that our trunks
had not arrived. The Herr Director worked himself into a frenzy and the
Frau Directorin had dire forebodings of having to spend the three days
in the same shirt-waist. Telegrams were sent in all directions, while
the Herr Director called our much boasted of baggage system hard names;
my "best laid schemes" seemed about to "gang agley" when much to my
relief the trunks arrived, and I felt once more assured of the divine
favor in my most strenuous efforts to "boost" my United States.

The Herr Director had come to this country to take part in the Mohonk
Conference, and being a prudent man, he submitted his address to me. It
was written with Teutonic thoroughness and as void of places of
refreshment as the Sahara Desert or the Walkill Range we had climbed.

I suggested a thorough revision, the cutting out of many statistics and
resting his case, not upon pure business, but upon the higher plane of
pure justice. He insisted upon retaining his statistics and also his
appeal to the selfish and materialistic side of his audience; for he
knew "something about Americans" and still doubted their idealism.

The next morning after breakfast we attended prayers, which is a part of
the daily program of this hostelry, and presided over by the host, who
usually reads the Scriptures, announces a hymn and then leads in prayer.
It is as impressive as it is simple and dignified, and the Herr Director
and his wife did their first singing in America when they joined in a
hymn whose tune is an old German folk-song.

The program which followed the prayer service was dominated by
specialists in International Law and they were dry and concise enough to
suit even the Herr Director; while the dreamers and agitators, whom he
expected to hear, were almost altogether unrepresented. In fact they
have grown less in this assembly each year, largely because it is
thought that the whole subject has reached the point when it is a
practical question to be discussed by men of affairs. No one knew better
than the Herr Director how inevitable was the next great war and how far
we were from the practical Court of International Arbitration.

The epilogue to that great world drama had been spoken in the Balkan,
and spoken with vehemence, passion and fierce cruelty, and he knew its
bearing upon the whole tense situation in Europe. Yet I am sure that
even he did not know how many nations would be involved, nor how costly
and deadly would be the conflict. He did foreshadow in his own
condemnation of England and of England's foreign policy the element of
hate between the two related nations, which was to play so important a
part in the present war.

The afternoon is playtime at Lake Mohonk, and most generous are the
provisions for recreation; but the Herr Director did not ride or drive,
nor play golf or tennis. He stayed in his room rewriting his paper,
having sensed something of the Spirit of Lake Mohonk.

It is a very dignified room in which the problem of International
Arbitration is discussed, and although it never loses its hospitable,
home-like air, one always has the feeling of being before a high
tribunal, where anything but the most serious mood seems out of place;
although a jest sometimes relieves the discussion.

An audience of about four hundred people gathered that evening, men and
women in varied walks of life, coming from all the states in the Union
and from many foreign countries.

There were captains of industry and of infantry, admirals of fleets and
presidents of colleges, statesmen and politicians, ministers, lawyers
and journalists. Their views ranged from those who believe that war is
an unavoidable event in human history, and that a little blood letting
now and then is necessary for the best of men, to those who teach that
war is a curse and that a certain warrior who compared it to the worst
place which human imagination can conceive, might be sued for libelling
his Satanic Majesty who presides over that place or state. On the whole,
they represented the men of action and men without illusions although
with high ideals. The Herr Director's paper, minus its statistics, and
keenly critical rather than laudatory, was received with applause, and
he stepped from the platform in the best humor in which I had seen him
since he reached the United States.

The real joy of the Lake Mohonk Conference, and of all conferences, is
the human touch, and after the long evening session the Herr Director
became the center of an interesting group of men who, while smoking
their cigars, lost some of their American reserve and became
sufficiently animated to hear and tell stories; so it was long past
midnight when the informal session ended.

Frequently the Herr Director asked questions about things which he could
not understand, and it was at such times that I sought to enlighten him,
or have him enlightened by others; for he had become sceptical as to my
own ability to inform him regarding anything American.

He could not understand, for instance, that all this lavish
entertainment was free, and suggested that it must be a sort of gigantic
American advertising scheme, carefully concealed. When he was told that
to secure a room during the season one must apply long in advance, and
most likely have fair credentials before being accepted as a guest, he
merely shook his head and murmured something about these "inexplicable
Americans."

He also did not see how an hotel could flourish in any civilized country
without permitting the accepted social diversions, such as card playing,
dancing, and drinking something stronger than the mild beverages served
at the soda fountain.

He wanted to know how it was that three or four hundred Americans would
take three days of their time to discuss a theme which had little or
nothing to do with profits. All the Americans he had known about were
void of ideals, and had no time for anything but business or poker. In
fact he was astonished not to see poker chips littering the sidewalks.

I told him that while it is true that the average American business man
is always in a hurry, and gives little time to wholesome recreation, it
is also true that in no country with which I am familiar do men of
business give their time so generously to the consideration of the
common welfare as here. They do this, not having the incentive
constantly held out to the European business man, namely: Recognition by
the state and the reward which sovereigns may bestow, in much coveted
titles and decorations. The average well-inclined American business man
is incredibly patient, sitting through tedious meetings, listening to
reports of various philanthropies, and earns a martyr's crown attending
those interminably long banquets with their assault upon his digestion
and their appeal to his sympathies.

At Lake Mohonk the Herr Director met business men employing thousands of
clerks to whom they grant vacations and holidays without legal
compulsion, and for whom they have inaugurated welfare plans of
far-reaching importance. It was certainly a revelation to him that the
number of Americans who are something more than animated money bags is
growing larger every day.

The still more difficult thing to explain to him was the frank and open
discussions of national policies and the evident international
view-point of those who took part in them. In all the discussions the
most striking note was: "The United States wants not territory, not
unfair advantage over other nations nor aggrandizement at the expense of
lesser peoples, nor war, certainly not for conquest."

The Herr Director intimated that in the exalted mood induced by being
members of this conference, we could afford to be generous; but that at
a time of national excitement we are no better than other people, taking
what we can get and asking no questions.

"Uncle Sam was not wholly disinterested in Cuba, was he? and as far as
Mexico is concerned, who fermented the trouble there but this same Uncle
Sam, that you might have an excuse to swallow as much of Mexico as you
wanted?"

Instantly my mind travelled to the time of the Spanish-American war,
when I was in Europe, and the Herr Director was editing an influential
German newspaper. He wrote an editorial, accusing the United States of
beginning the war with Spain for the sole purpose of annexing the "Pearl
of the Antilles," and when I disputed his theory we nearly severed our
"diplomatic relations."

I now again vigorously pressed my point, to the great amusement of my
friends and the chagrin of the Herr Director, who could not easily
refute my statements; for while I acknowledged being an
"_Unausstehlicher Americaner_," I happen to know the Old World policies
as well as he does.

I mentioned Austria-Hungary, and its taking over of Bosnia and
Herzegovina, without so much as "by your leave"--and Germany which, to
salve its hurt, sent a fleet of warships to China and helped the German
eagle bury its beak in the Yellow Dragon's tail. I mentioned France in
Algeria, and England everywhere--"and Uncle Sam in the Philippines," he
interrupted.

I took full advantage of that interruption to remind him that Uncle Sam
is the only power which ever paid for anything gained by that right
which in Europe seems to be the only right;--the right of might.

It was a difficult task which I had undertaken, to convince the Herr
Director that the American Spirit is different from that of the Old
World, and in spite of me he insisted that we are not a bit better than
other people, but only so situated that we can afford to be generous. I
assured him that I preferred to boast of our fair dealing with lesser
peoples than of our victorious battles, and that I am never so loyally
and enthusiastically American as when I think of our being just, rather
than mighty.

I have since been at Lake Mohonk at a time when national passions were
aroused, and when those who had prophesied the early passing of the
battle fever were discredited prophets. While there, a letter reached me
from the Herr Director, in which he sent greetings to his host and
hostess and the members of the conference, and in which he recalled his
former accusation that we are no better than other people; for "are you
not pro-Ally and filling your pockets with the proceeds from the sale of
war munitions? Where now is your boasted fairness?"

My reply was that I in common with many others wish we could wash our
hands of this bloody business of selling ammunition, and that I still
firmly believe that the American people will retain their poise during
this dreadful upheaval.

Yes, even to-day I can say with no less pride than usual that I believe
in the American Spirit, in its sense of fairness and its love of
justice, and while I trust that this country may be kept from so great a
catastrophe as war, and I be kept from so severe a trial of my loyalty
as having to choose on which side to fight, I know I would freely and
unhesitatingly be on the side of my country, the United States of
America.

Three glorious days had passed at Lake Mohonk and when the guests left
that mountain top no one went more reluctantly than the Herr Director
and his wife, and all the way back to the great city they felicitated
upon their delightful experiences, while I rejoiced in my country and
its spirit. When the Herr Director wrote his book I found that he
acknowledged having discovered four things at Lake Mohonk. First, an
unparallelled hospitality. Secondly, that the leading men of America are
soberly practical, unemotional, somewhat self-centered; but, at the same
time, men of high ideals. Thirdly, that its military men attend
conferences for international arbitration, that they do not rattle their
sabers, and in appearance cannot be distinguished from mere civilians.
Finally, that the American man boasts most and loudest of his sense of
fairness; and while I write these lines, I am hoping and praying that
this may indeed be not an empty boast, but an integral part of the
American Spirit.



V

_Lobster and Mince Pie_


If I were gastronomically inclined I would study New York's cosmopolitan
population and its progress towards Americanization from the standpoint
of its restaurants; for the appetite is most loyally patriotic. A man
may cease to speak his mother tongue and have forsworn allegiance to
Kaiser and to King, but still cling to his ancestral bill of fare.

If I were an absolute monarch and wished my alien people quickly
assimilated, I would permit them to speak their native tongue and cling
to the faith of their fathers; but I would close all foreign
restaurants, and as speedily as possible obliterate from their memory
the taste of viands "like mother used to make."

I fear that it is neither Goethe nor Schiller, nor Bismarck nor Kaiser
Wilhelm who has kept the memory of the Fatherland alive in the minds and
hearts of many German people in America. Dare I say that possibly much
of their patriotism and loyalty is due to the taste of rye bread and
sweet butter, _Rindsbrust_ and _Pell Cartoffel_, not to mention a
certain frothy amber fluid?

Be that as it may, when I discovered that the Herr Director and the Frau
Directorin were homesick, I took them to a German restaurant to assuage
their pangs; just as if, did I detect the same symptoms in an American
whom I wished to make thoroughly at home in a foreign country, I would
take him where a meal could be properly concluded with apple pie and
cheese or ice-cream.

The restaurant I selected lent itself particularly well to my purpose,
for everything was imported, from the Bavarian architecture to the
_Frankfurter_ sausages. The _menu_ card was adorned by illuminated,
medieval lettering, and on the smoked rafters were painted pious and
impious verses, which gave the room a literary atmosphere.

It was as crowded and full of tobacco smoke and the odors of savory
meats as the most loyal German could desire, and my guests were
thoroughly at home. They ate their food happily, praised it
discriminatingly, and studied the familiar environment carefully. As
usual, certain things were lacking; for the Herr Director is a keen
critic and never accepts anything as perfect.

I agreed with him that the orchestra was too noisy and on the whole
superfluous, and that the native American dining there could be easily
recognized by the indifference with which he ate. We heard no loud
complaining, and little or no quarrelling with the waiters. The food was
accepted in a humble sort of way whether it was satisfactory or not;
bills were paid, tips were given in the spirit of meekness, and accepted
in the opposite way, and the guests left without any ceremony except
that of paying their toll to the keepers of their hats and coats, a form
of extortion quite unparallelled abroad.

In striking contrast to our mere eating was my guests' enjoyment of
every morsel of the food which they had selected, not simply because it
was food, but because it was a note fitting into the gastronomic
harmony. The head waiter and all his minions hovered about them with due
reverence, and woe to him who by pose or gesture disturbed the perfect
accord.

A friend from Nebraska who was staying at our hotel had joined us at
dinner. When the waiter handed him the bewildering bill of fare, he
waved it aside saying: "Just bring me a big lobster stewed in milk, with
a dish of pickles and a mince pie."

The waiter turned pale, the Herr Director gasped, almost strangling on
the salad he was eating, and the Frau Directorin looked at me
despairingly. The waiter was the first to recover his composure, and
cautiously suggested that the gentleman might like some Lobster à la
Newburgh.

"Nix," said the Nebraskan, "I want lobster à la Milkburgh, and don't
forget the pickles."

The waiter retreated and after a long conference with his superior,
informed the gentleman that he could have his lobster stewed in milk,
but that it would cost him one dollar and fifty cents.

"Hustle it along," was the curt reply, and in about fifteen minutes he
was deep in his bowl of lobster stew, flanked on either side by pickles
and mince pie, while the rest of us were eating our way leisurely and
artistically through a _menu_ which began with _caviar_ and ended with
_Camambert_ and _demitasse_.

After dinner, American men, manners and ideals became the subject of a
discussion into which my Western friend good-naturedly entered, although
he was made a horrible example of the fact that we are ill-mannered. The
Herr Director insisted that our nation is too young to have any except
bad manners, and while no doubt we had improved in the years since he
first made our acquaintance, the improvement had not yet permeated the
masses.

That which I called the American Spirit was the spirit of the few
cultured, academic persons I knew, but the majority of the people was as
alien to it as was our Nebraska friend's lobster and mince pie to our
delicious and dietetically correct dinner.

"I don't give a hang for your 'dietetically correct dinner.' I want what
I want, when I want it!" the Nebraskan said, smiting the table with his
fist, and evidently suppressing stronger language with an apologetic
glance at the ladies of our party.

"That is exactly it; you want what you want, when you want it," the Herr
Director repeated, "whether or not it is on the bill of fare, or in the
statute book, or among the laws of the Universe. In that I suppose you
Americans all agree; that is your _American Spirit_." He uttered the
last phrase with special emphasis, and with no attempt to hide the
sneer.

I admitted that my friend's demand for the thing he wanted, regardless
of the bill of fare and in defiance of a dietary law (of which he was
not as yet conscious), was a manifestation of our individualism, a
rather wide-spread characteristic. I was fain also to admit that our
individualism is not always as harmless to others as in the case under
discussion. It is an attitude of mind which has developed into a system
to which we are committed for better or worse, and is in striking
contrast to the German ideal of submission to an accepted order.

"Yes," from the Herr Director with evident pride. "That which makes
Germany great and strong is our willing submission to authority; but
remember it must be intelligent authority, and at the same time it must
be efficient. To be sure," he acknowledged, "we are often chagrined by
the '_Streng Verboten_' to the right of us and the '_Nicht Erlaubt_' to
the left of us. We are much governed but we are well governed, and you,
too, will some day discover that the common weal has to be above the
individual's caprice. Your evident disrespect of laws and conventions
results from the lack of intelligence back of them, and you have no
respect for your lawmakers because they do not deserve it."

At this point the Nebraskan astonished us by saying that he had recently
been in Europe on business, selling grindstones, that he knew something
about Germany, and he never was gladder to get back to God's country
than when he finally set foot upon his native soil. He had many
adventures, and as an example of what he had to suffer from one of
Germany's well enforced laws, he told a story which proved his sense of
humor, though the "laugh was on him."

"When I was in Berlin I made out a small bill for some goods I had sold,
and the man told me that I must affix to it some revenue stamps. I
didn't want to bother with it, and told him so. The thing was too
trifling anyway.

"I never thought of that bill again till I was forcibly reminded of it
in Hamburg as I was about to sail for home. I was haled before the
court, and the judge fined me fifty _marks_. Of course I knew I had to
pay it, so I handed him the money and told him in good English to take
it and go to the hot place with it. I didn't dream that he understood,
but he replied in as good English as I gave him: 'Officials of my rank
travel first-class. I must therefore have fifty _marks_ more.' That
little joke cost me a lot of money. I wouldn't want to live in a
country where I couldn't tell anybody I pleased what I felt like
telling him."

The Herr Director doubted the accuracy of the story because "no German
official would show so little dignity." I, too, doubted it; but on the
ground that no German official would have so keen a sense of humor.

There followed an animated argument between the Nebraskan and the Herr
Director as to which is of more importance, the individual or the state.
The Nebraskan insisted that the state being the creation of individuals,
they are of supreme importance, while the Herr Director persisted in his
theory that the state is supreme and that it is the business of the
individual to make it dominant and powerful, to which end the state must
make him effective.

"An ineffective individual is a menace to the state, and a state which
cannot impress its will upon the individual and make him submissive and
effective will be vanquished in the great competitive struggle
constantly going on."

"I suppose you're effective enough, but you're as slow as molasses in
January."

"Oh, yes, we are slow, but we are thorough; we take our time to do a
thing well, while your hurry is as wearing as it is useless. When we
came down here this evening we were in a hurry. We were rushed to your
crowded subway to take a certain train, although the next one would have
done as well. In about three minutes we were pushed out of that train
into another, because it went faster, and we reached here breathless. We
saved time, but for what purpose? To see you eat your lobster and mince
pie?" And he looked contemptuously at the Nebraskan.

"What are we going to do now with the two or three minutes we saved?"

This was a question I could not answer, for I did not know why I had
hurried. Perhaps because of the excess of ozone in the air, or possibly
because every one else was hurrying.

"You see," he continued, "we Germans never make the mistake of
confounding hurry with efficiency. We hurry, too, when we must, or when
we have a rational purpose. We know that great things cannot be
accomplished in a hurry. We lay our foundations not only patiently, but
thoroughly and cheerfully.

"You work like slaves who are eager to finish the job, as you call it.
We cherish towards our job a sentiment of love and loyalty which we call
'_Pflichttreue_,' a word for which you have no equivalent, proving of
course that you have not the thing itself."

I translated the word as loyalty to duty.

"Yes, that may be correct, but it does not ring true. _Pflichttreue_ has
an ethical significance which your translation does not convey.

"I have noticed that your conductors shed their uniforms the instant
they leave their trains, as if they were ashamed of their job. With us,
any uniform, whether a railroad conductor's or a general's, is gloried
in, and honored because of the work it represents."

The Nebraskan thought us too democratic for uniforms, which is the
reason we do not value them more than we do.

"It is not the uniform, it is our work in which we glory. A shoemaker
with us is as proud of his job as the Emperor is of his. He is Emperor
by the grace of God, because he believes it is a God-given task to which
he must be faithful, and we once had a shoemaker who called himself with
equal pride, 'Shoemaker by the grace of God.'

"This pride spiritualizes the simplest and commonest work by making
every man a conscious part of the state, and he works for its glory and
power. It is a glory shared by his wife and family," and the Herr
Director pulled from his pocket a German newspaper. "Look at this
funeral notice. The widow signs herself not only as the widow of a
particular man, but as the widow of a man who did something of which she
is still proud. While she remains a widow she will sign herself _Amalia
Henrietta Schmidt Koenigliche Hof Opern Obo Spieler's Wittwe_."

"How can we be proud of our jobs," queried the Nebraskan, after his
hearty laugh at _Amalia Henrietta Schmidt_, "when we never have a job
which we expect to hold permanently? I started out with school teaching,
then I got hold of a good thing in the way of Carborundum and made
grindstones. That's what took me to Europe. When that business went bad,
I bought out the livery stable in my town, and now I am in the moving
picture business. If I could sell out at a good price I'd do it and take
up any old thing as long as there is money in it."

He was right. Our work is not sacred to us, for too often it is only the
means to an end, and frequently a very selfish end. Because Germany has
had centuries of carpenters and tinkers and shoemakers who planed boards
and mended pots and shoes "by the grace of God," and swung the hammer as
if it were a sword, they are now wielding the sword as if it were a
hammer.

In some way we must get this spiritual appeal of the job, which means
not only that we shall have to dedicate ourselves to our task in a
manner worthy of its significance, but that the state must have this
spiritual attitude towards the worker, and treat him as though worthy of
his place in the economy of the nation. It is this wise provision for
the workers' efficient education, the state's recognition that the
well-being of the individual is its concern, which has given to Germany
the unfailing devotion of all her people.

I was roused from these meditations by hearing the Nebraskan's voice.

"You see I never had a chance to learn just one thing. I can do many
things tolerably well, for I had to do them. I can splice a rope, repair
a machine, shingle a house and if necessary build a barn. I can play
ragtime on the piano, throw a steer or ride a bucking broncho. I can
even make soda biscuits. I am the child of the pioneers, and in order to
survive, they had to be jacks of all trades.

"I bought a tool in a department store the other day," and he drew it
from his pocket. "It can do sixteen things tolerably well, but it isn't
worth shucks for any one job, if you want to do it right. That's me."

The Herr Director wanted to know what "shucks" meant, and after I
laboriously explained it to him and he had handled the patent tool he
said:

"Your travelling men have come over to Germany and tried to sell us this
kind of thing, but they found no market. When we want a gimlet, or a
saw, or a coat-hanger we want that one thing and want it as good as it
can be made. We marvel at your adaptability, but we are too thorough to
be adaptable, and we do not need to be. You Americans will never be able
to compete with us until you learn to specialize and do one thing well."

We sat long into the night comparing the German and the American Spirit,
but there was one phase of the former which the Herr Director clearly
demonstrated. There was a religious fervor in his patriotism which the
average American lacks. To him his country was not only above himself
but beyond everything else on Earth or in Heaven. There often seems
something sordid about our patriotism, something connected solely with
the individual's well-being. I glory in our sense of liberty, in the
opportunity to live unmolested, and in every man's chance to be himself;
but I fear we have as yet not learned to value our duty to this country
as much as we do our privilege.

I am sure there will be no lack of fighters if the country is in danger;
but shall we be able to fight the long, exhausting battle which
presupposes discipline and subordination?

The United States gives much to the individual, more, I think, than any
other country; but she has not given intelligently, she has nearly
pauperized us all by her beneficence, and has demanded nothing in
return, nor even taught us common gratitude.

Our children are told that they must love their country, but what that
means beyond fighting when it is in danger they know not. That it means
to do their work thoroughly, that they must learn to do things well, and
exalt the nation by becoming efficient workmen that they may help win
their country's battles in the factory, or behind the counter, they do
not yet know; and what we have not learned, we cannot teach.

This questioning mood of mine is never gendered as I contemplate the
mob, the many who are driven to revolt either by their unbridled
passions or by the unbearable conditions under which they have to
labor; my fear is strongest when I look into the schools and when I face
our youth which comes out of them, inefficient, but above all,
undisciplined. They do not lack physical courage, nor yet devotion to
the country, in a sort of abstract way; they do lack the submission to
intelligent authority.

In this latter-day test of different ideals of the state, through the
cruel, undecisive test of war, we may learn from Germany to instill this
"_Pflichttreue_," this loyalty to the job. We may also learn the more
difficult lesson for us individualists--submission to authority which we
must make intelligent, as well as conscientious.

Necessity will soon teach us to be thorough, and thoroughness
presupposes patience. Add these qualities and this discipline to the
enterprise, the love of fair play, the courage, the faith in God and
man, which we possess, and we too may ultimately develop a patriotism
which will stand the test of adversity, and emerge from it purified and
strengthened.

When we stepped out of the restaurant and its German atmosphere into
the unmistakably American Broadway, my German guests felt that my
rampant Americanism had been thoroughly subdued. However they had
literally "reckoned without their host." My protracted silence had
misled them, but I could contain myself no longer.

"We are now walking in the streets of the second largest city in the
world, its population thrown together and blown together from every
quarter of the globe, and the most of these people, if not the worst of
them, have come here in the last thirty-five years. They brought neither
love of their new country nor knowledge of its language and
institutions; they all came to make money, and to-morrow morning four
millions of people will begin again the competitive battle from which
they are resting to-night.

"The laws which govern them are illy made, but they have made them, or
at least had a chance to select those who did make them. They have not
always chosen well; the officers who govern them are often not good men;
frequently they are only the most cunning politicians and one has but
scant respect for them. Yet in spite of it all, this is a fairly well
governed city and it is quite remarkable that these four million people
live together in comparative peace and order. Neither is there any ill
from which this great city or any group of its individuals suffers for
which there is not some help or healing or some attempt to heal.

"If I were an absolute stranger without money, knowing neither the
language of the people nor their ways, I would rather be on the streets
of the city of New York than anywhere else."

"How do you account for it?" the Frau Directorin ventured to ask,
although the Herr Director had been violently expressing his dissent.

"We have several things to count on here, even when conditions seem
intolerable. Let me name them.

"We are all human beings; some of us have inherited the Old Testament
righteousness and the passion for justice, and many of us have the New
Testament desire for service. These together make a very effective
combination, and go a great way towards the glorious results we shall
ultimately achieve."

For once the Herr Director was silent, and as we had reached our hotel,
I think I might have slept peacefully that night had not the Nebraskan
triumphantly remarked as we were being shot up to the topmost floor:
"Say, I did get that lobster à la Milkburgh with pickles and mince pie,
didn't I? I always get what I want when I want it."



VI

_The Herr Director and the "Missoury" Spirit_


The anteroom of the editor's office was crowded when the Herr Director
and I arrived to meet the men of the staff at luncheon.

The Herr Director is a publicist himself, and has edited one of the best
known German newspapers. Having called on him when he was trying to
mould an already moulded public opinion I made some interesting
comparisons which he did not approve. I could not forbear reminding him
how, when I once called on him in his office, I had to wait in a similar
anteroom over an hour, that I had to pass through a number of other
rooms with a longer or shorter period of waiting in each, and was
finally admitted to his august presence as if he were a king on his
throne.

As editor in chief, he was a more or less cloistered mystery, and not
the man of affairs one is likely to be over here. Whatever comparisons I
made in spite of the Herr Director's protest, were not entirely fair;
for editors are scarcely a species anywhere, and the particular one upon
whom we were calling was an uncommon editor of an uncommon journal.
Neither he nor it has a counterpart in Germany if anywhere in the world;
they are both products of our Spirit and have had no small share in
shaping it and giving it expression.

While I was explaining to the Herr Director the functions of this
journal and how intelligently it interprets current events, and was
extolling the virtues of its editors who, in spite of being persons of
national reputation and great importance, have retained their simple,
democratic ways, they emerged from the inner sanctum.

After a vigorous hand-shake all around to which the Herr Director
visibly braced himself, the first contact was made, and we were taken to
a handsomely appointed dining-room in the same building, where luncheon
was served.

Beneath all the outer simplicity and democratic demeanor of our host,
beneath his smoothly shaven, well groomed, correctly tailored exterior,
the Herr Director recognized a dignified reserve and consciousness of
power, which made him whisper to me, "His Majesty and suite," at the
same time soothing with his left hand his aching right hand, just
released from the vise-like grip of the editor.

Although I assured him that to me they were all just the editors of my
favorite journal and after that plain, American citizens, I too am often
impressed by that sense of dominance and power emanating from these men
and others in similar positions. The feeling is not unrelated to that I
have experienced the few times I have been in the presence of royalty.

In our public men of exalted position there may be lacking the mystical
element by which monarchs are surrounded; but the sovereign American has
more physical energy and force.

Should the thrones of Europe suddenly become vacant, I know dozens of
our men who could occupy them, without their subjects becoming conscious
of much change; and as far as queens are concerned we could easily
furnish a surplus.

The Herr Director and I had been chosen to sit in the places of honor,
and we (or at least I) forgot to eat, and spent my time studying these
superb types of Americans.

The Herr Director, being more sophisticated, absorbed both the food and
the company, and in his lectures on "_Die Leitenden Maenner in Den
Vereinigten Staaten_," which he has delivered since returning to
Germany, there are evidences that he remembered the minutest details of
the _menu_, as well as every word which fell from the lips of the editor
in chief.

Of course we spoke of many, if not all, the perplexing problems which
vex this problem-ridden age, and each of us had a proprietary interest
in one or more of them which we hoped to solve. The editor as a man of
affairs knew our particular problems as well as we knew them, and had
read all that any of us had written; so the conversation was animated
enough, and certainly illuminating.

My specialty being immigration, and having just returned from the
Pacific coast where I had studied the problem as it concerns the
Oriental, the conversation was finally dominated by that interesting and
somewhat delicate theme.

Can we assimilate all these varied elements which come to us? Can we
make of them one people, and eliminate all those ethnic, national and
religious inheritances which are frequently at variance with our own?

The editor believed we can assimilate all or most of them with the
exception of the Oriental, "Who, having separated from the ethnic root
in the Pleistocene period, represents too varied a physical and mental
type to be assimilated by the Occidental." I think I am quoting him
correctly, although not word for word.

As I did not quite agree with him, I expressed my views, and so did the
Herr Director. I said I thought I noticed among the Chinese and even
among the Japanese the influence of this new environment, and could
tell of conversations with groups of graduates of our colleges, in which
not only the influence of this country was noticeable, but the influence
of the particular institution from which they graduated. Anecdotes are
not easily accepted as scientific proof; but this being an informal
luncheon, I ventured a few of them which every one seemed to relish
except the Herr Director, and he is not to blame for that, as anecdotes
are rarely international. I do blame him, however, for telling me that
he had never heard stupider jokes in his life. One of these ethnic
anecdotes I told upon the authority of the Bishop of the Yangtsze
district. Perhaps like all anecdotes it may have grown in the telling.

The Bishop had picked out an unusually bright Chinese lad to have
educated in the United States and then become his curate. When he
returned to China, after having attended both a college and a
theological seminary, he was assisting the Bishop. Evidently he had not
thoroughly mastered the ritual of the church; for this Oriental, who
had "separated himself from the ethnic root," moved close to the Bishop,
poked his elbow into the ecclesiastical ribs of his superior and asked:
"Say, Bishop, where do I butt in?"

Our host wanted to know whether I was sure that he did not say: "Bish";
I thought to reach the point of being able to express himself so briefly
and directly the Oriental would need at least another geologic period.

One of the staff asked whether that anecdote was not my invention; to
which I took the liberty of replying that if I could invent such good
stories he might offer me an editorship. How imperfectly, after all, the
Oriental may absorb the spirit of our language, I told in the story
which is supposed to have its origin at the University of Michigan;
although like all such stories it may be claimed by innumerable
birthplaces.

A Hindoo student, who had not quite finished his academic career and had
to return home on account of illness in his family, wrote back to his
faculty adviser, notifying him of the death of his mother-in-law, in
this characteristic, brief, Occidental way: "Alas! the hand which
rocked the cradle has kicked the bucket."

The Herr Director thought this anecdote funny enough, but it proved the
opposite from that for which I was contending. "Who but an Oriental
could invent such highly picturesque figures of speech?"

The conversation drifted into soberer channels when our host took up the
question as to what constitutes the American, who after all is hybrid
and frequently so mixed that he does not know just how he is ethnically
constituted.

"For instance," he said, "I am part German, part revolutionary Yankee
stock" (it seemed to me that he put the emphasis upon the
revolutionary), "part French, part Scandinavian, part Irish."

I have forgotten just how many racial strains he said were running in
his veins, but a variety large enough to be exceedingly useful to him in
claiming kinship with all sorts of folk, and in making political
speeches. That the ancestors of the average American belong to the
great fighting stocks of humanity may explain if not excuse his love for
physical combat. Each guest around the table followed the editor's
example and accounted for his ancestry, showing that all but two of the
Americans were mixtures, ranging from three to eight more or less
greatly differentiated races, using that term in its broadest sense.

One of these unmixed Americans gave the outlines of his family tree, all
of it growing out of the rugged New England soil; but every one of his
daughters had married a man of foreign birth, or of foreign parentage.
His sons-in-law are German, Polish, French and Jewish. He added: "My
German and French sons-in-law are great chums."

The other pure American was myself, although of course my ancestors did
not come over in the _Mayflower_, and I have never been in New England
long enough for my family tree to take root in its historic soil.

After all, though, the best thing a nation or race has to bequeath to
its children is not always handed down upon the racial channel. I think
it is the Apostle Paul who discovered this long ago, and his missionary
propaganda among the Gentiles is based upon his belief that they are not
all Israelites who are of the circumcision. His converts became
Israelites through adoption, through their appreciation of the Jewish
Spirit which came to its full fruitage in Jesus of Nazareth.

I once heard Max Nordeau say: "_Es gibt zweierlei Juden: auch Juden und
Bauch Juden;_" which freely translated means: "There are two kinds of
Jews: those of the spirit and those of the stomach." The taste for
_Kosher Wurst_ and _Gefülte Brust_ is inheritable to the tenth
generation; but one is not always born with the passion for
righteousness, the love of justice and the thirst for God. To these one
must rather be born again, and the same thing is true of the American.
There are Americans who have thrown overboard their spiritual
inheritance, who have expatriated themselves because they could not live
in the Puritan atmosphere of New England; but to whom a Sunday in the
_Riviera_ is not fully radiant, unless upon the rose-laden atmosphere
there comes wafted the fragrance of codfish balls.

The Herr Director reminded the company of the fact that I was the most
"_Unausstehlicher Americaner_" he had ever met; to which the editor
responded that he knew one who was if anything worse than myself--a
newspaper man, Jacob Riis.

"Can a nation feel secure, having to put the keeping of its Spirit into
the hands of aliens?" some one asked; and what would happen in case of a
conflict between the United States of America and the native country of
even such thorough Americans as Jacob Riis and myself? At that time the
answer was not as difficult as it is now, since there has been the
possibility of such a conflict, and slumbering love of native country
has been awakened by the roar of cannon and the noisier and deadlier war
carried on by the press.

It has been a very trying time for those of us who have been called
"hyphenated Americans"; but I doubt that the German or Austrian hyphen
has been more in evidence than that which we are pleased to call
Anglo-Saxon.

I can say that in spite of the fact that my native country precipitated
the conflict, I felt no thrill of patriotism when Austrian troops
invaded Serbia, and frequently wonder whether I have not suffered some
moral deterioration, because through all these stirring times I have
remained fairly rational. I have never condoned Austria's treatment of
the Slavs, nor Germany's invasion of Belgium; I have not gloried in
their victories, but I have suffered alike for all my fellow mortals who
are involved in this most disastrous conflict. I know myself always
human first, and a loyal American next. In fact, never before have I
loved my adopted country as much as now, never did I have for it so
profound a respect, nor a deeper realization of the blessing of our
democracy, imperfect as it is.

The Herr Director insisted that we could not count on the loyalty of our
immigrated citizens in case of war with their respective countries,
especially as they are so frequently dealt with unjustly by our courts
and exploited by our industries. The editor thought that the danger to
the United States did not lie in the lack of loyalty in our new
citizens, but rather in the general smugness of the average American,
and in our unpreparedness for war.

The conversation drifted into a discussion of militarism, a subject
which has become painfully familiar since, and he said that although the
American is a fighter he is not a militarist, nor in danger of becoming
one; and that personally, he, in common with all sane Americans,
believed that the country ought to be prepared to protect itself and
defend its national honor.

"That's what we all say," the Herr Director remarked. When the whole
company laughed, he felt hurt, and it took me a long time to explain to
him that he had accidentally stumbled onto a bit of American slang,
which he had used most innocently, but aptly.

I wanted to know just what the editor meant by preparedness for war and
just when a nation's honor was so damaged that nothing but war would
restore it. There seemed to be no time left to have this question
answered, and as there was some danger that we would separate with this
important subject upon our minds and perhaps interfering with our
digestion, I asked whether in conclusion I might tell another
ethnological anecdote, which would illustrate my need of light upon that
question of preparedness for war. To this they all assented if I could
vouch for its being as good as the others. I thought it was better
because I was sure it was true, and the joke was on me. Every one
settled down expectantly except the Herr Director who never relishes my
stories, having a fine collection of his own which he tells remarkably
well.

I had to wait at a small station in the West for one of those
periodically late trains, and was reading the only fiction available,
the railroad time-table. A train which came from the opposite direction
brought a gang of working men who had been shovelling the snow which
had blocked the road. As they were all immigrants I had no further use
for my time-table and went among them, guessing at their nationality,
sorting them according to the shape of their heads, delighting my soul
by talking to them as much as I could of their native country, and
quizzing them about their experience in the United States.

I had succeeded splendidly with all of them and there was but one man
left. As soon as I saw him I said to myself, "He is a Russian, not a
common Russian, but of the Velko Russ variety which is still rare or
comparatively rare among our immigrant population." I walked up to him
and saluted him with the pious greeting of his class. There wasn't the
slightest indication that he understood me, so I concluded that I was
mistaken; but knowing that he was a Slav, I tried a greeting in Polish,
and again the great, shaggy Slav seemed not to understand. When Bohemian
failed, I decided that my error was merely geographical and this was a
Southern, not a Northern Slav. I used all the Serbic I knew without
getting anything but a stare from my victim, and then decided that he
might be an Albanian. Knowing only two words of that language I tried
them with the same negative result. Finally, disgusted with myself I
resorted to English. Feeling sure that he would not understand, I
shouted at him, "Are you a Greek?" Then a ray of intelligence passed
over his stolid face. Deliberately taking his pipe out of his mouth, he
laconically replied: "No, I am from Missoury."

A shout of laughter followed my story; but the Herr Director's face grew
darker and darker. When we were in our taxicab going back to the hotel,
he said: "One of the most remarkable things I have learned to-day about
the American people is that they are very young, almost childlike."

"Why, how did you learn that?" I asked.

"Oh," he answered, "who but a childlike, _naïve_ people would laugh over
such a stupid joke as yours? Anyway, how did you dare bring such a silly
story into so serious a conversation?"

"Yes," I replied; "that is as you say a sign of our youth. The more
complex and seasoned jokes belong to the older civilizations, and the
love of a simple story and the ready response to it, even though it be a
poor story, are a sign of our youthful health; but you know," I added,
"that story I told was not so _mal apropos_ after all." And the rest of
the day I struggled mightily to convince the Herr Director that being
"from Missoury" is one of the most hopeful things about the American
Spirit.



VII

_The Herr Director and the College Spirit_


"Take us out of New York," the Herr Director said after a wearing day of
sightseeing, "or we will go home on the next steamer. My neck aches from
looking at the sky-scrapers, my nerves are all on edge, and," glancing
at the Frau Directorin who had hugely enjoyed every moment and showed no
sign of weariness, "we must have rest."

I was reluctant to leave New York, because, after all, it holds those
great thrills with which we like to startle our foreign friends. I
feared the change from those daily surprises which thus far I had been
able to give them. Lake Mohonk, the only place outside of New York City
which we had visited, is unique in many ways and its experiences were
not likely to be duplicated; so it was somewhat heavy heartedly that I
started them on a new adventure, praying to Him who "holds the nations
in the hollow of His Hand" to aid me in my praiseworthy endeavors.

I was not very sanguine that my prayer would be answered, for we were
beginning a tour of the Eastern educational institutions, than which
there is nothing more difficult to interpret. This, not only because
they have no counterpart anywhere in Europe, and the line between our
university and college is so indistinct, but because I hoped to reveal
their Spirit, which no mere outsider can comprehend, and which even the
man on the inside finds it difficult to understand.

I drew into the conspiracy dear friends, _alumni_ of the different
institutions, who knew every blade of grass on each respective campus,
over which they walked proudly and reverently. To find one university
tucked away in a village, another defying the grime and noise of a
growing city which crowded upon it; one still retaining its air of
exclusive dignity in spite of its garish surroundings, while a fourth
was nearly swamped by the culture-hungry children of immigrants, yet
remained triumphantly American, was new enough and startling enough to
keep my guests on the heights.

The pleasant walks, shaded by tall, graceful elms, and the presence of
distinguished Americans, acted soothingly upon the Herr Director; while
the gracious attention paid to the ladies convinced the Frau Directorin
that she had reached the feminine paradise. She could not understand,
however, why, when the ladies were permitted to go everywhere, and were
even allowed to gaze at American students in athletic undress, they were
barred from sharing with us the rare privilege of seeing a thousand or
more of them being fed in one of those Gothic dining halls. There,
surely, one might expect nothing worse than medieval piety tempering the
appetite. Probably this tradition of no ladies in the galleries is the
only thing beside the architecture which is left us from that hoary age.

There are certain definite points which the enthusiastic _alumnus_
always tries to impress upon visitors, and one of them is the past, in
which every college glories, and as youth seems to be unpardonable,
history begins when as yet it "was not."

In most of the places we visited, no such historic license was
necessary, for many of them were respectably old, one of them being
contemporaneous with the history of our country, and others belonging to
that eminently respectable period, "before the Revolution."

Some have important battles named after them, and several were
"Washington's headquarters," a distinction freely bestowed upon many
places by that ubiquitous and much beloved "Father of our Country." At
present the most important thing seems to be the buildings; dormitories,
laboratories, libraries and usually most prominent of all, the gymnasium
and the athletic field.

The president of one of the lesser universities, having such a million
dollar plaything, became our _cicerone_, and while he took us hastily
through everything else, lingered fondly there, showing us in detail
the expensive apparatus. With classic pride he stood upon the athletic
field, looking as some Cæsar must have looked when he showed visitors to
Rome his arena, the "largest," and at that time the "costliest in the
world."

It was interesting to find that the buildings which pleased the Herr
Director most were neither new nor Gothic, a fact easily explained by
his dislike for everything which is English. He marvelled that we had
chosen to imitate English college architecture, with its heaviness and
gloom, its hideous gargoyles, its useless, and here meaningless,
cloisters, rather than to continue our fine inheritance, with its
severely classic lines, its wide windows inviting the light, and its
generous, broad doors, so much in harmony with our educational ideals.

Of course no one had an answer ready; yet personally while I do not
"_hasse_" England nor the things which are English, I vastly prefer, let
us say Nassau Hall at Princeton, to anything which that glorious campus
holds, not even excepting the graduate college with its massive and
impressive Cleveland Memorial Tower.

The Herr Director shook his head many a time at the external glory of
our universities and even more at the comfort and luxuries of the
dormitories and fraternity houses. We were the guests of one fraternity
at dinner. About twenty young men were living under one roof, having
chosen each other by some mysterious, selective process, and I was
tempted to think that it was their negative rather than their positive
qualities which drew them together. We were shown the house from cellar
to garret, much to the dismay of the Herr Director who does not like
climbing stairs, but to the joy of the Frau Directorin who, woman-like,
not only loves to peep into closets, and see pretty rooms, but having
discovered the American standard for feminine grace, wanted to lose some
of her "meat" as she expressed it in her quaint English.

Each of these young men occupied a suite of three rooms. The hangings
were heavy and not in the best taste, the chairs all invited to
leisure, and the most conspicuous piece of furniture was a smoking set
with a big brass tobacco bowl in the center; while innumerable pipes
hung from a gaudily painted rack. In keeping with the furniture were the
pictures which were decently vulgar, and of books there were no more
than necessary.

The Herr Director was asked regarding student life in Germany, and he
contrasted their surroundings with his own cold, inhospitable
_Gymnasium_, the relentless examinations, and the freer but responsible
life in his university. He described the rooms of the present Emperor of
Germany when he was a student at the University of Bonn, remarking that
they looked like barracks in comparison with these. "How can you study
in such luxurious rooms?" he asked, and naïvely and frankly came the
answer: "We don't."

On the whole, the Herr Director liked the looks of the boys he saw, and
the Frau Directorin quite fell in love with them. They were so frank,
so clean looking, and what above all amazed them most, so altruistic in
their outlook upon life; they looked so healthy and well groomed and
were so altogether wholesome. But that boys could graduate from colleges
and not have studied--that was beyond their comprehension.

The German student's social standing and his future depend upon his
"exams." There is only one prime thing, and that is study. When the Herr
Director learned the multiplicity of our outside activities which divide
the attention of the students, he knew why they do not study. He was
aghast at the scant reverence paid members of the faculty. When walking
with the president of one of these universities, we met groups of
students who did not salute the head of their institution and barely
made way for him to pass, he grew quite wrathy, and it took the combined
efforts of the president and myself to keep him from telling the young
men what boors they were. I think he discovered later that it was mere
thoughtlessness, and that there is something really fine about the
average American student; that he is usually a gentleman at heart, but
that he has not yet learned to value the grace which comes from that
sacrament of the common life--lifting his hat to his superiors.

When I told him that one of my students came to me one morning in haste,
with "Say, Prof, where is Prexy?" he did not laugh as I expected; but
when I remembered that I did not laugh either, when it happened, I
forgave him his lack of perception.

It is of course true, that the average college professor would rather be
called Jimmy or Jack or some other pet name than to have his academic
degrees pronounced every time a student speaks to him; but there still
remains the fact that the ordinary American youth lacks this sense of
respect for personality, and that an education, even a college
education, does not remedy the defect.

It is a very exciting moment in the life of the undergraduates of at
least one university when they try to discover if the preacher can make
himself heard above their coughs, which is their way of challenging his
message; but it does not help him to believe that he is in the presence
of men who know what reverence means.

I do not deny that the undergraduate honors achievement, but even in
that he lacks proper discrimination. How much education can do to
instill this common and deplorable lack of reverence for personality I
do not know; for it lies far back, too far back to be reached by mere
academic training.

During our tour, the Herr Director had a chance to see one university
come out of its incoherence and inexplicable confusion into unity. He
heard it roar like the "Bulls of Bashan," fling its flaring colors to
the wind, hoot its defiance to the enemy, dance, dervish-like, around
the battle flames; he saw ten thousands of young men suffering the war
fever, and an equal number of young women shrieking in wild delirium; he
saw embankments of automobiles struggling to reach the seat of the
conflict, armies of men trying to storm the ramparts, and newspaper
correspondents mad from haste; while in the center of it all,
twenty-two disguised men struggled for a chalk-line. Unfortunately, no
friendly guide was near us to explain it all, and as I am still an
un-Americanized alien to a football game, its meaning was lost to my
guests.

When two men were carried from the field limp, and seemingly lifeless,
the Frau Directorin promptly fainted. The Herr Director was beside
himself, for there was no way to extricate ourselves from the maddened
mass of humanity; but while he was wildly and vainly calling for water,
she revived, and we stayed to the finish. I wished I had not brought
them, for to appreciate a football game one must be born in America, and
no explanation I offered could convince the Herr Director that we are
not more cruel than the Spaniards, whose opponents in their deadly games
are bulls, not men. The Frau Directorin still sheds tears at the
remembrance of how badly we use our "perfectly nice young men."

The fierceness back of this conflict, the vast amount of money spent
upon properly playing the game, the primary place it occupies in the
imagination of the American youth, its deadening influence upon
scholarship, and all the multitudinous pros and cons, are over-shadowed
by the fact that, as far as the community at large is concerned, it
expects this Roman holiday, and a college or university is considered
good or poor, to the degree that it caters to this desire. One thing I
can say for it: it is thoroughly American, bringing into the lime-light
some of our virtues and most of our faults.

"In Germany," again the Herr Director, "where things are not permitted
to grow merely because they grow elsewhere, it was found that for
military preparedness your sports are of little or no value, especially
if engaged in vicariously; and that teaching men to dig trenches and
serve cannon, to obey implicitly a command and carry it out effectively,
is of more use, not only to the individual's well-being, but also for
the great, collective purpose of national defense."

It seems very strange to me that nearly all foreigners whom I have
helped introduce to our academic life have been so gratified by its
evident democracy, and that their satisfaction was greatest when their
own aristocratic lineage was highest. That a man's career in our
institutions of learning is not made impossible because he does manual
labor to help him through, and that he may do such femininely menial
tasks as waiting on table or washing dishes, while taxing their
credulity, is always unstintingly praised.

I have, however, good reason to believe that while our foreign visitors
find the democracy of our colleges interesting and praiseworthy, we are
losing the thing itself to a large degree, and my conscience has not
always been at ease when I finished a panegyric on college democracy. In
fact what I fear is its defeat just there, where it is most needed,
where we are supposed to train the leaders who, whether they become
leaders or not, are the men who will give tone to our national life and
will control its expression.

In travelling from one of the universities to the other, we came upon a
group of college men in the train. The Herr Director recognized them at
once, whether instinctively or because he had discovered the type, I do
not know. I knew them because of the fit of their garments, or the lack
of it, and by the fact that they smoked cigarettes incessantly.

The Herr Director, as a distinguished foreigner, had no difficulty in
opening a conversation with them, and I think he got much illuminating
amusement out of them. They had just finished their semester "exams,"
and one of them said that the question upon which he flunked was a
comparison between the two English authors, Dickens and DeQuincy. Though
he did not know the difference between these two, he showed his classic
training by differentiating between a Rameses II and an Egyptian Deity
cigarette merely by the color of the smoke.

I was not drawn into the conversation until the Herr Director needed me
to interpret some campus English. One of the lads undertook to inform us
regarding the social life of his university and more especially the
fraternities, with particular emphasis upon his own, which excluded not
only certain well-defined races, but also put a ban upon certain
classes. "We don't admit anybody into our fraternity whose people are
not somebody in their communities."

I asked him his name and he gave it to me with a French pronunciation.

I thought he was Bohemian, and recognized the name as such, in spite of
its French disguise. I told him so, and pronounced it for him in the
hard, Slavic way, all gutturals and consonants. I also told him its
meaning: "A very common hoe such as the peasants use, and it means that
your ancestors in Bohemia earned their living honestly, which I am sorry
to say cannot always be said about 'people who are somebody' in our
communities."

The Herr Director thought I was very hard upon the poor fellow, and
later I had a good talk with him. I tried to show him that his Bohemian,
peasant origin ought to be a source of pride to him. That the very fact
that he and his people had come out of the steerage, and by virtue of
our democratic institutions could rise to the point where they could
send him to college, should make him a guardian of the American Spirit
and not its foe. I do not know that he profited by what I said; for I
often find myself talking to the wind and the tide, and they are both
against me.

I have only pity for the gilded youth who go to an American college with
its vast opportunities of human contact, yet fail to see any one outside
their own social boundaries. After all, the chief glory of our
educational institutions is that their best things are still democratic.
No man is kept from the Holy of Holies, from sound learning, from the
contact with scholarly minds, from good books, and enough of rich
fellowship to make going to college worth while.

We heard one delightful story which is so typically American and so
reveals the American Spirit at its best, that the Herr Director embodied
it in his book. The president of a Quaker college told us that just as
he found there was some danger that the men who had to work their way
through, were losing caste, one of the upper classmen opened a boot and
shoe mending and cleaning shop. As he was a man of means, whose standing
in his group was unquestioned, his action took from common labor its
ever renewing curse.

In many of the colleges we met groups of men so full of this spirit, so
concerned with fostering it, that all the snobberies of which we had
heard seemed even smaller than they were in their own right. We met
those who gave their leisure hours to that most difficult and worthy
task of Americanizing the immigrants who, in many instances, almost
encroached upon the campus. The students visited them in the box-cars
where they lived, or in the hovels where they reared children; they
taught them English and the elements of good citizenship, and every one
of them had some particular Antonio to whom he was devoted, and whom he
was trying to lift to his level.

Although the general testimony was that the students had gained more
from the contact than the immigrants had, I know how immeasurably much
it means to these strangers to have leaning up against their own lonely
souls men of culture, and sweet, clean breath, and brotherly heart.

It is this idealism in our college youth which is so precious an asset
that to lose it would mean bankruptcy to our educational institutions.

Although the Herr Director did not tell me, I knew that this excursion
into the universities of the East had been a success; for thus far he
seemed to have enjoyed everything; at least he did not complain about
anything. He seemed in an especially happy mood when we were talking it
over in the home of one of the presidents, whose guests we had become.
"Yes, I like your colleges very much, and if I should want my boy to
have four years of more or less organized happiness, I would send him to
an American college. He would have a good time, I think his morals would
be safe," and he added with a smile, "his intellect would be safe
also."



VIII

_The Russian Soul and the American Spirit_


New York is geographically misplaced for such a purpose as mine. It
ought to lie somewhere west of Niagara Falls, so that one might be able
to take strangers to that wonderful cataract without their having
previously exhausted all the emotions which they are capable of
expressing.

The day journey between New York and Buffalo is never commonplace,
especially when it furnishes such euphonious names as Susquehanna,
Wilkes Barre, Mauch Chunk, etc. From the hilltops we had glimpses of
great valleys below, valleys which are mined and furrowed and channelled
by a great industrial host whose crowded dwellings resemble the hives of
bees and are as monotonously alike.

I could make these glimpses interesting enough, for I could tell by the
shape of the church steeples and by the style of cross which crowned
them, what faiths were there contending with each other. With equal
certainty, and by the same signs, I knew the nationality of the people
who worked there, and had faith enough to build steeples in the shadow
of mine shafts and coal breakers. It was an atmosphere tense from the
labor of seven unbroken days, and heavy from noxious gases in which
trees languish and die, fish perish in the murky rivers, birds fear to
nest, and man alone, immigrant man, lives and works and worships.

The Herr Director, like all Germans, has a natural contempt for the
Slavs, and when I proposed that before we visited Niagara Falls we
should see some of the Slavic settlements, he demurred; but when the
Frau Directorin added her plea to mine, he reluctantly yielded. I was
able to promise them an interesting meeting with an idealistic, young
Russian priest, who had voluntarily taken a mission among these miners.
He was earnestly striving to guard their souls, and also that which
seems quite as precious to their church, their Russian nationality.

The Greek Orthodox Church is the most nationalistic church in existence,
and where-ever those bulbous towers with their slanting crosspieces
dominate the sky, it is equivalent to the raising of the national flag.
The Slavic soul is thoroughly Christian in its quality of patient
endurance, in which it has had long and hard tutelage. At the same time
it is tenacious and unyielding of its particular dogma, having been
taught from its earliest consciousness that its salvation lies in strict
adherence to the national faith.

The city where we tarried is one of the best in which to study the
Slavic Soul, and its relation to the American Spirit, being large enough
to express that Spirit in its varied manifestations; yet not so large
that the articles it manufactures hide or crush the articles of its
faith.

I knew my guests would like the place, for while it is a busy town in
the very heart of Pennsylvania's industrial region, it has retained a
sort of homelike atmosphere. Situated midway between the large cities
and the small towns which we had thus far visited, it has all the usual
bustle, and is full of vigorous rivalry with other like cities in the
same valley. Whatever one city does, whether building ambitious
sky-scrapers or a commodious Y. M. C. A., promoting a revival, or
bringing in new industries, this little city endeavors to duplicate upon
a still larger scale.

My guide for the day was the town's chief "hustler," the secretary of
the Y. M. C. A., who is an embodiment of the American Spirit, being both
body and spirit. He made a splendid foil to the Russian priest who is
all soul, Russian soul and as little at home in the United States as the
Czar's double eagle would be, floating from the city's court-house which
stood in typical court-house fashion in the center of the town square.

The Y. M. C. A. secretary met us at the station, needless to say, in an
automobile, as there is nothing the average American would rather do
than "show off" his town. He gave his time unstintingly for that
purpose, beginning the process by taking us through his institution
which is American enough to have challenged the Herr Director's
attention. In great good humor he, with the rest of us, followed the
secretary from the bowling alley to the roof garden, looked into the
dormitories and class rooms, and protested only when our zealous guide
gave us long statistics as to how many people took baths, how many men
were converted, and how much of the mortgage had been paid off during
his incumbency.

I had to explain to the Herr Director the meaning of mortgage and its
relation to our religious institutions; for the two seemed related in
some mysterious way.

He was duly impressed; for this practical side of religion, this
combination of saving souls and giving baths was new to him. Newer and
more interesting still was the clerical machinery with its card indices,
its numerous secretaries, stenographers, and its clock-like regularity
and efficiency.

The secretary is undoubtedly a religious man; but he is a business man
first, and his soul has had no small struggle in an atmosphere which
demands that he attract new members, raise a generous budget, pay off a
mortgage and at odd moments look after his own business; for besides
being secretary of this great institution, he dabbles in Western lands,
has an interest in a canning factory, and helps "boom" the town.

I could assure the Herr Director that, nevertheless, his soul survives;
for the average American is remarkably adaptable, and while this
secretary may permit his religion to suffer before his business, I know
he does not "lose his own soul"; although in that respect as in
everything else he does run frightful risks.

When we left the palatial lobby of the Y. M. C. A., having had bestowed
upon us its annual report, souvenir postal cards, and incidentally a
prospectus of the Western Land Co., the secretary insisted upon
accompanying us. As he put his automobile at our disposal, and the
Slavic settlements were out of reach by the ordinary means of
locomotion, we reluctantly accepted his kind offer, the Herr Director
having previously confided to me that he did not like the secretary's
"hustle," and that his "efficiency" made him nervous.

There were two things which the Frau Directorin found everywhere and in
which her soul delighted: marked and courteous attention to the
ladies--and automobiles. We took just one street car ride in New York
City, having been fairly showered by offers of automobile rides, one
form of hospitality of which we have grown quite prodigal.

It was well that we had both the secretary and the automobile; for
although I thought I knew where the Russian parish was located I did not
reckon with the fact that it was three years since I had last visited
it. During that interval the town had so altered that the landscape was
quite unrecognizable.

It is the peculiarity of this and neighboring towns that they change
their topography over night. What was a hill becomes a hollow, and the
reverse process also takes place though more slowly, because of the
huge culm piles which accumulate.

The mining of coal being carried on under the town has been so thorough
in later years that intervening coal props have been removed, and houses
and churches which formerly were above the level are now below it.

We finally found the Russian church and its adjoining parsonage in as
uninviting an environment as I have ever seen. The three years since I
visited them had not only let them down from their eminence, but had
developed a stagnant pool on one side, while refuse from the mines had
encroached upon the other. All the glory of red and yellow paint had
departed, leaving only a drab dinginess, the prevailing tone of the
landscape.

The priest received us in his study, which, besides the _Icons_ and a
_Samovar_ had no ornaments. The musty air was full of cigarette smoke,
and most diminutive stumps of these "_Papirosy_" were lying about,
adding to the general untidiness. A parish register lay upon the desk.
It contained the names of more than a thousand souls with the chronicle
of their coming into this world and their going out of it, and also that
most important item, when they had attended Holy Communion, the one
visible sign of their allegiance to the true faith.

The Holy Father had a strange history. The son of a priest, he naturally
was destined for the same calling. Caught by the ever moving tide of
revolt he had "sown his wild oats," which consisted of disseminating
revolutionary literature. He was imprisoned, then like many good
Russians repented, and, as a penance, came to Pennsylvania.

In desolation and distance from home his parish was not unlike Siberia.
It was even worse, for it was an exile from like-minded men, and his
suffering on that score was acute. I have watched the manifestation of
national or racial characteristics in individuals, and I feel certain
that the Russian reflects those characteristics most intensely, whether
he be peasant, priest or noble.

Not without reason does he call his country "Mother Russia." He has for
her just that kind of affection, and it is as different from the violent
love of the Herr Director for his Fatherland as is the matter-of-fact
sentiment of the American for his.

The Russian completely reflects his country, and as both her virtues and
her faults are feminine, there is in him something gentle and yielding
towards external authority, and yet something unconquerable and defiant.
There is a capacity for suffering and sacrifice of which no other people
seem to be capable. There is also a confidence in the goodness of
humanity, no matter how bad it may seem, which reminds me of the
confidence of the woman who is beaten by her drunken husband, yet knows
that in his sober moments he is not a bad man.

The predominance of the spiritual quality may or may not be feminine,
but it certainly is Russian, and one may indeed speak of the soul of a
people in relation to the Slavs in general, and the Russians in
particular.

The priest possessed all these characteristics; he was the Russian Soul,
and this soul quality became even more apparent in contrast with the
complex spirit of the American secretary, in whom Teuton and Celt were
blended, and with the Herr Director, whose soul had hardened under the
discipline which Germany had given him.

He lost no time in beginning an argument with the priest as to the
relations of their respective countries, and when it threatened to
become acrimonious, the secretary, hoping to create a diversion, asked
the priest why he did not encourage his parishioners to come to the Y.
M. C. A. At that point I threw myself into the breach, and with
considerable difficulty directed the conversation into safer channels.

I asked the priest to show us his mission, and he took us into the
church, much poorer than any I have ever seen in Russia, and then into
the schoolroom, where the children of the miners received their
religious instruction and as much of secular education as they craved.
The teacher was a lean youth who looked as if he had suffered moral,
spiritual and physical bankruptcy before coming to America. He and the
whole equipment seemed hopelessly inadequate and out of place.

The secretary did not know that hundreds of children were growing up in
an American community, yet completely isolated from it, and the Herr
Director remarked that in Germany this would be regarded as treason to
the state. The priest declared that it was his mission in America not
only to keep his people and their children loyal to the national church,
but to inject into our Westernized materialism this true Slavic faith
and its leaven.

He believed that in America we lack soul. We worship science and money
and business. The Russian alone lives in intimacy with God and regards
that relation of the supremest importance. "The American," he continued,
"believes in developing natural resources, the German develops the mind,
the Russian alone develops the soul."

I have always had the greatest reverence for the Russian Soul. I have
learned something the Herr Director could not see, on account of the
natural, political antagonism between his own country and Russia;
something the secretary could not comprehend on account of his
provincialism, and the priest would not admit because of his official
position, namely: that neither the Russian State nor the Russian Church
represents the Russian Soul. Its common people, although nearly crushed
by the one and confused by the other, are still Christian souls and as
such have a mission to America; but I could not see how that mission
would be fulfilled by locking up a few hundred children in a filthy
schoolroom and teaching them their national catechism.

The Spiritual Russia, as it is incorporated in its common people and as
it is interpreted by Tolstoy and Dostoyewsky, has reached us and taught
us the greatest lesson which we self-righteous Americans needed to
learn: the impossibility to judge our peers or to be judged by them.

It was Tolstoy and Dostoyewsky who compelled some of us to see our own
guilt, and they, not the Russian Church, united our voices with those of
the Russian people in the chief note of their Mass, "Lord have mercy! O
Lord have mercy!" The Russian peasant always knew that men are stricken
by crime as by a disease; and when he passed those consigned to prison,
he cried out incessantly: "Lord have mercy! O Lord have mercy!" And for
the man who escaped, he never hunted with the bloodhound's passion, as
we do; he put a crust of bread upon the window, to help him on his way.

It was news to the secretary that Judge Lindsay, the "Kid's Judge," as
he is affectionately called, received his inspiration from Tolstoy, and
that the tendency to change our prisons into Social Clinics was
originally suggested by Dostoyewsky, a name quite unfamiliar to him.

The Herr Director spoke of the inadequacy of these same Russians when
they try to put their theories into practice, and what prosaic,
impossible preachers they make. To which I replied that their failures
are due to their preponderance of soul and their lack of the practical
spirit with which we are so super-abundantly endowed.

The secretary could scarcely believe that his practical, matter-of-fact,
card-indexed, efficient-from-top-to-bottom, result-bringing, tabulated,
report-making, American Y. M. C. A. might be benefited by an infusion of
Russian Soul. He almost doubted that the delving miners whom we saw
coming home from the mines, sooty and begrimed, possessed that soul. Nor
did the Herr Director realize that all his Germanic searching and
classifying, all his minute, painstaking investigation into the
innermost of everything, left him where the Russian had long ago
preceded him: in the holy presence of the unknowable, unsearchable
wisdom of God.

The American has great reverence for results, and it is hard for him to
be patient with failure. The German respects authority, and has scant
respect for the individual. The Russian respects man and knows what it
means to love him in his weakness, and to be humble in the presence of
another's failure.

I had a long, intimate talk with my friend the priest, who has never
spent a happy day since he has been in America which he hates, or
rather, despises, and so hurts me more than he knows.

Throwing open the well-thumbed, poorly kept register, in such striking
contrast to the Y. M. C. A. secretary's card index, he said: "Look how
many I have buried this month," and he counted them, and there were
eighteen, "all of them slain in that dreadful mine, and no one in the
Company or in the town cares how they were buried. These Americans have
no souls. They send an undertaker who wants to bury them like dogs, and
the quicker the thing is done the better. They sent me notice shortly
after I came here that the funerals lasted too long and kept the men
from work. Look how those men walk! My _mujiks_, who walked like
princes, now bend their backs before your dirty coal, and walk like
slaves."

His complaint was not altogether unreasonable. In some things he was
right, in many things he was wrong; but to argue with a Russian is as
hopeless as to try to argue with Niagara Falls. I did tell him that
while the Russian here must bend his back over his work, he does not
have to bend it at every corner before the _icon_ or before every
policeman he meets; that here, by virtue of the American Spirit, his
soul may be freed from superstition and his mind from darkness.

When in parting the priest embraced and kissed me, he said: "No, even
you don't understand the Russian Soul."

The Herr Director suffered his embrace with good grace, but when the
secretary's turn came he fled. To be kissed by a man is a sentimentality
which the American cannot endure.

"We don't understand the Russian Soul," I said to him, "neither you nor
I, but one thing I do know. When the coal has been dug out of these
hills and these cities shall have gone the way of Sodom and Gomorrah,
and your churches and Y. M. C. A. may have vanished because it did not
pay to keep them going, this Russian Soul will endure; and the sooner we
learn to understand it the better for us and for them and for our
country."

When we left the Russian church and its faithful priest, the Frau
Directorin told us that the children were incredibly filthy, and that
she had spent the time we wasted in argument cleaning them up, good
_hausfrau_ that she is. The secretary was thinking deeply, and when he
deposited us at the hotel, he thanked me for revealing something which,
although so near, he would never have discovered. The Herr Director kept
me up until midnight talking about the Slavic menace to Germany, and the
intellectual poison of its modern literature.

We reached Niagara Falls the next afternoon, and, as I had feared,
neither of my guests showed any surprise nor felt any thrill. I could
understand the Herr Director's coolness towards our natural wonder, for
he had seen it thirty years before; but his wife's attitude was
inexplicable, until she told me what I had all along anticipated. Her
capacity for receiving impressions had been exhausted by the city of New
York, and after seeing the "high-scraps" nothing astonished her.

As we stood at the bottom of the American Falls, watching the Maid of
the Mist making her journeys into their very spray and returning, only
to begin her journey again, I suggested that it was like the American
Spirit in its daring; but the Herr Director, with truer insight, said
that it was "like the Russian Soul, mystical, elusive, on the verge of
destruction always, but of little practical service."

That same day we were in a power-house, which looked more like a temple
than the utilitarian thing it is, and peered into the depths of a shaft
which creates power enough to move the street railways of half a dozen
cities, and change the night of a million people into day. As we
listened to the engineer's account of almost miraculous achievement, I
said triumphantly, "_This is the American Spirit!_" and the Herr
Director replied deliberately, and without sarcasm, "This is the one
time when you are right."



IX

_Chicago_


What the foreigner thinks of the American Pullman, if he has to spend a
night in it, may be found in any volume of the extremely voluminous and
interesting literature upon the United States, written by visitors to
this country; but more interesting still would be what they have not
written about it, and that I have had frequent chances of hearing. The
most picturesque and exhaustive comments I ever heard were those made by
the Herr Director the evening we left Buffalo, and as he finally
determined not to retire at all, we spent the greater part of the night
in the smoking-room, much to the dismay of the porter who had no
prejudice against sleeping on a Pullman, and whom we cheated out of his
irregular but necessary naps.

One of the chief diversions of travellers the world over is to complain
against the particular transportation company over whose road they have
the ill luck to be going; so it happened that the Herr Director had
plenty of company during part of his vigil, and an opportunity to come
in touch with one phase of the American Spirit, where it was closely
related to his own; for "one 'kicker' makes the whole world 'kick.'"

The small room was so crowded that some of the men were sitting on the
wash-stands, and the rest were so close to each other as to make
conversation easy and general. This was an extra fare train supposed to
be unusually comfortable and speedy; although thus far it had been
losing time. It was natural under those conditions that the railroad
should come in for its share of blessings, couched in language such as
is often heard in smoking compartments of Pullman cars. Had all the
pious wishes expressed that night been fulfilled, that railroad and our
particular train would have travelled much more swiftly, but to a
destination not indicated in the time-tables.

The question under discussion was, which is the worst railroad in the
United States, and as some of the men were stock-brokers they knew our
roads from their most vulnerable side. The tales they told of the
manipulation of stocks and the fleecing of the public, with their
consequent effect upon the service, were as startling as they were
humiliating; because, in the last analysis, the railroads reflect the
general business ethics of the country.

I kept out of the discussion, for not only have I but a hazy notion of
economics; my mind was busy classifying the passengers' racial origin, a
very diverting exercise and one which always brings me in touch with
people on their really human side.

It happened that two of the men were Polish Jews from Cleveland, who had
risen from poverty to where they could travel in Pullman cars, and who
confessed that they knew as little of railroad stocks as I, although
they were engaged in as risky a business as stocks, that of
manufacturing women's cloaks. They were not far removed from the Ghetto
either in speech or ideals, and so were of little interest to me.

A third fellow traveller, who bore the hallmarks of the average
American, both in dress and behavior, told me his business without much
urging. "I am not selling stock, nor manufacturing women's cloaks, and I
am not a gambler. I have a sure thing; I am a bookie." Forced to confess
myself ignorant as to what "a bookie" is, he explained to me the
intricacies of his calling, the problems of evading the law, and if it
cannot be evaded, how it may be bought; incidentally showing what an
inveterate gambler and what an easy mark the average American is.

The Herr Director was all attention, to my great consternation; for the
conversation was as different from that which he had heard at Lake
Mohonk, or in our rounds of the Eastern colleges, as one could conceive.
As one by one the passengers sought their berths, the Herr Director
thanked me for arranging this uncomfortable night journey, saying that
though he was sure he could not sleep, he was "so glad to have come in
contact with the American Spirit as it is," and not as I had tried to
make it appear. With that kindly thrust he too retired, and I was at
liberty to do likewise.

It was not long before I had auricular evidence that the Herr Director
was asleep, so I was very much astonished to hear him say the next
morning that he had not slept a wink, and that the engineer must bear
him a grudge; for he tried to jerk the berth from under him, and "_Gott
sei dank_" that the most uncomfortable night of his life was over. I
certainly was as grateful as he. It was with no small satisfaction,
though, that upon reaching Chicago two hours late, I collected four
dollars from that much abused railroad, and handed the same to the Herr
Director, assuring him that even in a railroad office the American
Spirit of fairness is operative.

In Chicago as everywhere else the friend who owned an automobile was at
my command, and on a glorious May day when wind and sun had cleared the
air, and a night's rain had washed the streets, we were taken from
South Shore to North Shore and away out where the American city is at
her best, and Chicago is striving to excel them all in her wonderful
suburbs.

The Herr Director had seen Chicago over thirty-three years ago--a young,
thriving, daring, ambitious city in the making; he found her still
young, thriving, daring, and in the making. Unchastened by her great
disasters, undismayed by her vexing problems, defying the lake, she
reaches out into it and into neighboring states, leading and controlling
the whole Middle West. Babylon, Capernaum, Rome, her older sisters, her
ideal, and perchance her destiny. She is _par excellence_ the merchant
city, and the merchant princes rule her, although that rule is not
unchallenged.

While the Herr Director saw the city changed in many respects, larger,
and in places beautiful, her dirt not so apparent, her wickedness
subdued, and her rough corners rubbed off, she is still Chicago, a
synonym for boastful bigness and ostentatious wealth.

If it had not been for the Frau Directorin, I would not have taken them
where every man, woman and child is taken who visits Chicago, into the
largest department store in the world.

She entered with the joyful anticipation of engaging in that most
exciting occupation--shopping--aided and abetted by my wife. The Herr
Director followed with the martyr's air common to husbands who go along
to pay the bill.

That type of store is no longer a novelty to city dwellers anywhere, but
this one because of its size, the variety and quality of goods
displayed, the courtesy to customers and, above all, the provisions for
their comfort and convenience, were remarkable enough to call forth even
the Herr Director's commendation. The Frau Directorin was in the
seventeenth Heaven, the Biblical seventh not being an elevation high
enough to be used as a simile when she was shopping in a Chicago
department store.

Obliging clerks showed her plates which cost three hundred dollars
apiece, cut and etched glass at more fabulous prices; she walked
through miles of costly gowns, coats and millinery, and having made a
few purchases to her entire satisfaction--we were about to leave the
store with flying colors, figuratively speaking, when pride had a fall.
Unluckily remembering that a certain small boy needed summer underwear,
my wife led our party to the basement. When we left the elevator a
polite floor man directed us to aisle 16, Wabash Building. As we were on
the State Street side the cavalcade moved past what seemed like miles of
commonplace merchandise and commonplace buyers to aisle 16, Wabash
Building. At last we had reached our "Mecca."

"I should like to see boys' union suits," my wife said.

"Certainly. How old?"

"Twelve years."

"We have nothing here over eight years. You will find your size on the
sixth floor, Washington Street side."

I think it was the sixth floor; I know we walked (crestfallen) through
endless aisles and were shot up floor after floor. Landed finally, the
right counter was reached after numerous conflicting directions.

The Herr Director was puffing and panting, the Frau Directorin radiant
and happy, for she enjoys exercise, and my wife, her faith in the
efficiency of her favorite store not yet shaken, though wavering, asking
for "union suits for a twelve-year-old boy."

As the clerk reached for the desired article she asked: "Short sleeves
or long sleeves?"

"Short sleeves."

"Randolph Street side, second floor, for short sleeved union suits."

The Herr Director and I did not accompany the ladies on their further
voyage of discovery; we went to the rest room to avoid nervous
prostration.

My wife and the Frau Directorin, with the determination and endurance
which women alone possess, continued the chase to a victorious finish.

Fortunately an altogether satisfying luncheon followed this strenuous
experience, after which, rested and refreshed, we repaired to the Art
Institute.

The Chicago Art Institute, within a stone's throw of the most congested
business section, at the edge of its noise and rush, is by its very
being there a sort of triumph.

The Herr Director approached it somewhat condescendingly, expecting to
find it and its contents big, bizarre and "_nouveau richessque_." As
soon as he entered the building he felt the dignity and good taste of
its arrangement, and his manner changed. After he had looked critically
at some of the pictures and approved them, I knew myself for once on the
way to success; for his praise was as genuine as his criticism.

Knowing that money can buy both Old and New Masters, he expected to find
them; but he had not expected to see such discrimination as was shown in
choosing and hanging them. He was entirely unprepared for the excellent
work of our native artists, outside of that small but exalted sphere
occupied by Whistler, Sargent, Innes, etc.

My joy was complete when we were taken into the Art School by the
Director, Dr. French, whose death not long ago must always be deplored.
The rooms of the Art School were crowded by boys and girls of all ages
and varied nationalities and races, learning to develop their God-given
talents under the guidance of competent and sympathetic teachers. The
picture they made delighted me more than those they drew or painted; for
it seemed so thoroughly, generously, democratically and artistically
American.

I scored another victory for the American Spirit when I introduced my
guests to Lorado Taft, sculptor, and the guiding star in Chicago's
artistic firmament. In his rare personality, strength and purity,
idealism and practical good sense blend, and his art reflects the man.
He showed us some of his work and that of his pupils, and both elicited
unstinted praise from my guests.

The climax of our visit came when we returned to the entrance hall which
we found crowded by public school children, all listening to an
orchestra composed of certain of their number, and led by a young girl
about fourteen years of age. It seemed to me a remarkable and beautiful
combination. The marbles and pictures, the music, and, best of all, the
children happily wandering about the place. When the program ended there
was ice-cream for everybody, served by the teachers who accompanied the
children. It was a real party, an American party, and we might have
travelled long and far before I could have found anything which would
have better reflected for my guests the American Spirit at its best.

If I were an artist and a sculptor I should like to portray the spirit
of Chicago as one feels it in this museum. I would model a group, with
its central figure that same sculptor, the finely bred American, clean
and wholesome, who longs to create, not only the city beautiful, but the
city human. He should be surrounded by the children, happily looking at
pictures and listening to music as we saw them in the Art Institute that
day.

But there must be another prominent figure in my group: the heartless,
ruthless, twentieth century American, with clean-shaven face, jaws
strong as a vise, and a chin like the base of an anvil. He is the man
who "makes a good husband," and partly obeys the Scriptural injunction:
because he provides for his own. He too should be surrounded by
children; not his, but the children who work in his factories and have
to live in his rickety tenements. The two men would struggle mightily
for supremacy in the city's life; and I would set up my sculptured group
in the busiest place, where all who passed it by might see, and seeing,
help him who was struggling for beauty and for happiness.

Dr. French, the Herr Director and I had a long discussion about my
conception of the two natures contending within the city. The Herr
Director argued that the merchant spirit, so prevalent here, when
uncontrolled and uncurbed, is more dangerous to civilization and to our
democracy than the military spirit of Germany, and that it needs to be
overcome by a force greater and stronger than itself. The corrupting
element he said has always been this same merchant spirit, and where
ancient civilizations decayed, it was due to the fact that it debased
kings and enslaved them by luxuries.

"Business should not control, but be controlled, because business is
based entirely upon selfishness." When the Herr Director stopped for
breath, Dr. French, who was an ardent Christian and knew his Bible, took
from his pocket a New Testament, and pointed out a remarkable chapter in
the Book of Revelation (a chapter I was compelled to confess I had not
read) that bore out the Herr Director's statement.

"The kings of the earth committed fornication with her, and the
merchants of the earth waxed rich by the power of her wantonness.... And
the merchants of the earth weep and mourn over her, for no man buyeth
their merchandise any more; merchandise of gold, and silver, and
precious stones, and pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and
scarlet; and all thyine wood, and every vessel of ivory, and every
vessel made of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble;
and cinnamon, and spice, and incense, and ointment, and frankincense,
and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and cattle, and sheep; and
merchandise of horses and chariots and slaves; and souls of men."

We urged Dr. French to read the rest of the chapter, which he did.

"And they cast dust upon their heads, and cried, weeping and mourning,
saying: Woe, woe, the great city, wherein were made rich all that had
their ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is
she made desolate," and then the voice of the angel crying into the
thick of their lament, "Rejoice over her, thou Heaven and ye saints, and
ye apostles, and ye prophets; for God hath judged your judgment on her."
It seemed as though the prophet had written the epitaph of all cities in
which the merchant was master and not servant.

When he had finished I knew the inscription for my sculptured group: the
twentieth verse of the eighteenth chapter of Revelation.

Altogether it was a remarkable day to be experienced only in America,
perhaps only in Chicago. To shop in the largest store in the world,
visit a picture gallery well worth while, and see art students at work;
hear classical music played by a children's orchestra, and watch the
same children enjoying the party which followed; to meet one of the
leading sculptors of America who shared with us his plans and hopes, and
to have as our guide the Director of the Art Institute, was a colossal
experience worthy of the city in which it happened.

The next day was given to the Juvenile Court, Public Play Grounds, the
University, and, finally, Hull House. The one great disappointment of
the Chicago visit for me and my guests was Miss Jane Addams' absence in
Europe. But the House was there--big, neighborly, homelike,
hospitable--and the residents were there, those who do the neighboring,
the healing and the helping, who are friends of the friendless, and know
no creed or race--except humanity.

My faith in Chicago springs largely from my contact with Hull House, The
Commons and like places with their defiant spirit towards evil, their
broad-mindedness and their brave attempt at remedying the wrongs of our
commercialized civilization.

After dinner I "toted" my guests all over the House, from the
reading-room on the first floor to the Boys' Club on the third, and back
again. I have done it frequently, and always with zest and pride, in
spite of the fact that I have had no active share in the work.

In Bowen Hall we came upon a dancing party. Some one of the social clubs
had been gracious enough to invite its parents to come. We were
introduced to Mrs. Frankelstein from Roumania, and Mrs. Flynn from
Ireland, Mrs. Ragovsky from Russia, Mr. and Mrs. Feketey from Hungary,
Mr. and Mrs. Rocco from Italy, and many others whose picturesque names I
do not remember.

We also met a young business man, the son of a millionaire, with sundry
other young men and women of the type one likes to meet and introduce,
whom one would be proud to know anywhere. They had charge of the
affair. The Herr Director and the Frau Directorin caught the spirit of
the occasion and entered into it with zest. When the orchestra began to
play, he led the Grand March with Mrs. Rocco and she followed with the
young millionaire. At the close of the festivities, as we were leaving,
they vowed they had had the best time since they left home.

Chicago, big, blundering, materialistic Chicago had a new meaning to the
Herr Director. He praised everything and everybody, and as we parted for
the night, he said: "'Almost thou persuadest me to' believe in the
'American Spirit.'"



X

_Where the Spirit is Young_


To the average European there are two things American which have not yet
lost their romantic quality: The prairies and the West.

Anticipations of seeing both, filled the breast of the Frau Directorin
with mingled feelings of fear and pleasure, as she discussed with her
husband the fate of the children they had left behind them--in the event
of our being captured by the Indians. However, the probability of our
safe return and her consequent opportunity to tell envious friends her
experiences in the prairies and the West outweighed all fears.

Among her friends were those who had braved the perils of the ocean and
gone as far as New York; some of them had even been in Chicago--but
beyond, still hidden in the romance woven about them by Bret Harte (her
favorite American author), were those two things she was about to see,
and of which they had only dreamed.

The Herr Director, as he repeatedly reminded me, had crossed the plains
when I had known them only through Cooper's fascinating Indian stories,
and he was eager to throw off the leadership I had assumed, which, to a
dominant nature like his, proved exceedingly irksome.

He soon discovered that he was travelling through territory entirely new
to him. The little towns he had known had grown into cities, and the
further west we travelled, the greater and more impressive were the
changes.

Omaha and Kansas City he did not recognize at all. Not only was there
this new growth, "rank growth," he called it, of sky-scrapers,
post-offices and railroad stations with Doric pillars--the men and women
he met had a new outlook upon life. While they still boasted of this and
that thing in which their city was like Chicago or was unlike some
lesser city than their own, they were critical of themselves and eager
to learn; they had grown more masterful and at the same time were more
refined.

The prairies were not at all what the Frau Directorin had imagined them
to be. She was chagrined to find nothing but farm lands and great
fields, not so well groomed as those we had seen in the East, but with
no Indians or buffaloes, no wild horses or wilder looking men.

She saw no trace of the toil, the struggle and the brave resistance
through which these farms had been rescued from the prairies. She could
not know of the loneliness of women and the hardihood of men, of the
season's drought and famine, of bitter disappointment, the pangs of
bearing and rearing children in utter isolation, and the struggle for
education.

No trace of all this was apparent in the sort of settled, middle class
prosperity which stretched out in the unvaried, thousand mile panorama
through which we journeyed.

In a town of about four thousand inhabitants we stopped; the name of the
place is of no significance, for there are hundreds of just such towns
in the West. We were met by the superintendent of schools, himself a
product of the prairies. Having grown up among the cattle, he is
consequently shy of men. He drove his automobile as if it were a
broncho, and we all uttered a prayer of thanksgiving when he deposited
us, with no bones broken, at the hotel. In a short time we were ready to
go with him to his school, which was the objective point of our visit.

It goes without saying that the superintendent boasted of the youth of
the town, even as under like circumstances in the East, he would have
boasted of its age.

Ten years before it was nothing except a railroad station, miles of
sage-brush, rattlesnakes and prairie dogs. Now there are business
blocks, embryonic sky-scrapers, a pillared post-office, a
hundred-thousand-dollar hotel, a Grand Opera House, neither big enough
nor good enough to boast of, numerous churches and this schoolhouse. It
is not only a place in which boys and girls learn the "three R's," but
has a finely equipped gymnasium, a chemical laboratory and a Domestic
Science department. It is a center of education and recreation, not only
for that town, but for the surrounding country.

I had never seen the Herr Director as enthusiastic over anything as he
was over this cowboy school superintendent, with his program of reaching
every man, woman and child in the county through his educational and
recreational program, his annual budget of some seventy-five thousand
dollars, and a faculty of men and women college bred, and citizens of
the town. They are not merely educated tramps, but are there to stay,
and they take pride in the town in which they make their home.

The Herr Director was no less amused than I was when we were told by one
of the teachers that the superintendent, at one of the school board
meetings had pulled off his coat and threatened to thrash one of the
members who refused his vote on an important measure. As we looked at
this six foot three, erstwhile cowboy, his broad shoulders and strong
arms which seemed reluctantly confined in a coat, and as we saw his
square, determined jaw,--we knew that the unruly member voted _aye_.

Both the Herr Director and I were asked to speak to the boys and girls.
As soon as they entered the room the air became electric with their high
school yell; they "rah rahed" us individually and collectively, and
"what's the matter withed" everybody, and indulged in all those academic
and classical performances which every high school now seems to consider
an essential part of preparation for college.

The Herr Director told them that among all the things he had seen thus
far in America he liked their high school the best; which remark of
course elicited thunderous applause. This was most gratifying to him,
and all day he was in high spirits. He thought the most hopeful
characteristic of the American is this faith in education, the
practical, far-reaching methods employed, and the daring all sorts of
educational experiments. At the same time he severely criticized our
lack of unanimity, and the evident disadvantages of such communities as
have no cowboy superintendent to lick a conservative or stingy school
board member into conformity with his plans.

We visited an agricultural college where we were told of farmers who
came to study soil fertility, and farmers' wives who studied kitchen
chemistry, farmers' children who tested seeds, and to whom these
prairies, to which they were being bound by an intelligent knowledge of
their environment, were beginning to speak a new language.

We saw a teacher's college which one with the prophet's vision had
planted in the desert. The sage-brush ridden prairie had been
transformed into a glorious campus, and uncultured boys and girls into
enthusiastic teachers. More than twelve hundred of them come back each
year to get better equipment for their difficult task.

The cities in which we stopped interested the Herr Director less than
the towns, and we did not tarry long except in one of them, where we had
to stay because of an engagement I had made to address a certain club.
I did this because it gave me a fine chance to introduce that particular
American institution, a combination of eating and speaking club, which
meets once a month and whose program is as ambitious as are most things
Western.

We were met at the station by a committee of men and women in
automobiles of course, and found the finest rooms in the hotel reserved
for us. Big, high, generous rooms, in which the Herr Director and the
Frau Directorin openly rejoiced.

The committee awaited us in a private dining-room where luncheon was
served. There were three other guests who were to speak during the
evening. One of them, a most brilliant woman, a well-known social
worker. The second a United States Senator, and the third an explorer
who had just returned from a voyage into some less known parts of South
America.

The luncheon was sufficiently elaborate and artistically served to
satisfy both the Herr Director and the Frau Directorin, but he
protested when after the meal, without even a chance at a nap, we were
escorted to waiting motor cars, and a long cavalcade of us started on a
sight-seeing expedition.

The city was worth seeing, with its boulevards, parks and playgrounds;
its schoolhouse, churches, and clubs. We heard much of its prospects,
always so great an asset in the life of our Western cities.

Amusing and remarkable to the strangers was the evident pride of this
committee in the city, to which they had come from all parts of the
country if not of the world; yet they spoke of it with a lover's
affection.

The one thing underneath all this civic pride, and finer than anything
visible to us, was the fight for decency, law and order, and the health
and happiness of children, which has been waged there and is not yet
won. It is as exciting as, and more valorous than, many a battle in
which men fight with powder and bullets.

It was an exhilarating experience to shake the hand and look into the
face of a woman who had defied the monied interests of her state, who
had jeopardized her comforts and her position, even her life, to loosen
the hold of graft from the schools of the state.

It was inspiring to hear from a mild mannered, unaggressive looking man
how he had helped wipe out brothels and evil dance halls, broken up the
connivance of the police with the criminal element and put through a
positive program of rational, clean amusements for the people.

We visited a business plant, the architecture and equipment of which are
as unique as are its owner's business methods. We were told the story
(not by himself) of how a brave and good man, single handed, struggled
against bosses, political cliques and large financial interests in
league with them, and all but freed the city from its most dangerously
decent foes.

We were shown hills which the citizens had faith enough to remove and
the hollows into which they had cast them; a raging river which they
meant to control, and ugly, sickening slums which were doomed to go, and
that none too soon; the old things which were to become new, and
crooked things which were to be made straight.

Thirty-three years before the Herr Director had heard stories of
vanishing buffaloes and the last struggles with the Indians. He had met
scouts, hunters and soldiers. This was a new type of fighters, much less
picturesque, but fit successors to those valiant pioneers. I rescued my
guests from a visit to the stock-yards (why any one should care to show
off stock-yards I do not know), and the committee released its hold upon
us so that we might make our toilettes for the reception which preceded
the banquet.

If there is anything more conducive to creating a barrier to real human
contact than a reception, I have not seen it, unless it be a reception
with orchestral accompaniment; this was such an one, and its chief
function seemed to be to drown conversation.

The ladies of our party were happy because this was one of the few
occasions on our trip when they could wear evening gowns.

The Frau Directorin was astonished beyond measure when she heard that
some of the women on the reception committee of this club were mothers
(to a limited degree, it is true), that they had, at the most, two
servants, and that some of them had none; that they were interested in
Literary Clubs and civic affairs, served on school boards and church
committees, and were doing various other things to help the Creator
manage His universe.

The German woman, who has adhered to the program marked out for her by
the Emperor, the "three K's," "_Küche, Kirche und Kinder_" stands aghast
at the strenuous lives many of our women lead. The Frau Directorin, who
has servants for the kitchen and the children, upon whom the third K,
the Church, lays no burden in the way of missionary meetings, fairs and
suppers, who does not have to reduce her flesh to be in the fashion, and
whose social position is determined by her husband's station in life,
may well wear an unruffled smile and keep an unfurrowed brow.

At the banquet, the waiters and the orchestra vied with each other in
noise making, and it was a relief when, with the bringing of the black
coffee, they all disappeared, and the toast-master rose and began
unbottling his stock of stories. Nowhere in the world is there such a
thirst for stories as in America, and a group of men after a banquet has
an unlimited capacity for absorbing and enjoying them.

There were four scheduled speakers and a few who expected to be called
upon unexpectedly, among them the Herr Director; a Glee Club was to sing
before, between and after the speeches; so the toast-master did not stop
telling stories any too soon.

The first speaker of the evening was a woman who well deserved the
cheers which greeted her appearance. Her address on Workmen's
Compensation was so clear, so aptly put, so well reasoned through and so
within the limit of time assigned her, that when she finished, the
enthusiastic Herr Director shouted: "Bravo! bravo!" loud enough to be
heard above the less euphonious sound of hand clapping, in which form of
applause the American audience indulges.

The address was an eloquent but unemotional plea for fair play for the
working man, an arraignment of present practices, cruelly sickening in
detail, and frightful as a revelation of the attitude of large
industrial interests towards labor. It showed the fair-mindedness of the
men there, that they listened so approvingly, in spite of the fact that
a large number of them was in similar relationship to labor, and that
the proposed law for which she pleaded would be against their own
interests.

After the lady's address, the Glee Club sang and then the United States
Senator was introduced. I have forgotten his subject, but that does not
matter, for it had no relation to what he said. It was the kind of
address which could be delivered with equal propriety at a Grangers'
picnic or a political meeting.

There were two things which the senator did not know: First, that his
audience had outgrown that particular kind of address, and second, when
to stop. When his final finally was finally spoken, the Glee Club sang
again, after which the Herr Director was called upon to speak. He was
listened to most attentively as he told how German cities are built,
governed, provisioned and lighted.

There were at least four speeches beside my own, and it was long past
midnight when the Glee Club sang its last glee, and the club adjourned
to meet again the next month, when it would receive other more or less
distinguished guests, eat a six course dinner and listen to half a dozen
speakers, each one of them eager to right the wrongs of this universe.

When the Herr Director had said good-bye to the hundred or more people
who told him how much they enjoyed his address, he retired in a most
happy mood. I found him chuckling as he untied his cravat.

"It was lovely, perfectly lovely," he said; "but what children they
are."

"Yes," I replied, "they are children; and, like children, are eager to
learn."



XI

_The American Spirit Among the Mormons_


Both the Herr Director and his wife had a strange desire to see the
Mormons. They explained it by saying that besides the Indians whom they
had as yet not seen, and the Negroes whom they had seen everywhere, they
always thought of the Mormons as most American, that is most unlike
other people.

The Rocky Mountains, as I had expected, did not impress them. From the
car window they seemed more like elevated plains, with here and there a
restless chain of hills in the distance.

"As restless as the American people," quoth the Herr Director. "Your
plains and your mountains seem to be fighting with each other."

I hoped that the plains would win the fight and pointed out another,
more visible struggle--that of man with the desert. I admitted that the
Rocky Mountains which he had thus far seen were uninteresting from the
scenic standpoint, especially as compared with the beauty of the Alps,
those snow-capped mountains with meadows to the timber line, their
picturesque villages and herders' huts all as trim and neat and finished
as the carving one buys in Interlaken or Luzerne.

From the human standpoint, the Rockies are infinitely more interesting,
for there the elemental struggle is still going on. A giant race is
taming tumultuous rivers, and forcing their waters through flumes and
tunnels into mighty reservoirs on the mountainsides and in the valleys.
No indolent, unaspiring, uninventive, docile people could survive in the
Rockies.

In common with many Americans, my guests believed that this matter of
irrigation is as easy as turning water from a faucet into a basin; and
that all a man has to do is to drop his seed into the ground and watch
it grow. I showed them farms, desolate and forbidding, which men had to
level or lift, ditch and plow and harrow; a back-breaking, often a
heart-breaking task. In such an environment they built shacks which only
accentuated the loneliness--where women lived and children were born,
where hopes were cherished and God was worshipped.

It was an Old Testament environment, the wilderness. Compared with these
pioneers the Israelites had an easy task. They sent spies into the
Promised Land where they found and from which they brought back grapes
and pomegranates; but to stay in the wilderness, to drive back the
drought inch by inch, to kill coyotes and rattlesnakes one by one, to
contend with claim jumpers, real estate agents, water right privileges
and unscrupulous lawyers, and then raise grapes and pomegranates,
families, churches, schools and colleges--that seems to me the greater
and more heroic task. And it was done by men with the courage of
soldiers and the vision of prophets, who turned that land of drought,
alkali and sage-brush into one "flowing with milk and honey." Because in
a certain portion of that desert those who were the pioneers and
performed those tasks were Mormons, takes nothing from the glory of the
achievement.

As we neared Salt Lake City the Frau Directorin looked into every house,
eager to detect the numerous wives whom she expected to see surrounding
one man; while the Herr Director marvelled at the beauty of the vast
Salt Lake valley which, with its poplars and mountains and its
intensively cultivated farms, reminded him of Lombardy, that beautiful
stretch of country along the railway from Milan to Boulogna.

Salt Lake City is sufficiently different from other cities we had seen
to arouse interest; but as in Rome the Vatican overshadows everything
else, so here the Temple and the Tabernacle hold one's attention, and
work upon one's imagination.

We had scarcely put ourselves to rights in our rooms at the Hotel Utah,
as pretentious and comfortable as any in the country, before we were
out on the streets, looking for Mormons. There is a fairly defined type
and I thought I knew it, for I have lectured before Mormon audiences;
but out upon the busy city streets it was quite impossible for me to
gratify the curiosity of the Frau Directorin by pointing them out to
her. I did tell her that a third of the population was non-Mormon and
she looked curiously at two out of every three persons we met without,
however, being able to say definitely that she had seen a real, live
specimen.

Not wishing to join the crowd of tourists who were taken in relays
through the Tabernacle and other buildings open to the curious among the
Gentiles, we walked through the park, and stopping before the monument
to Joseph Smith I took the opportunity to enlighten my guests upon the
history of that singular personality, and the church of which he was the
founder.

Evidently my remarks were overheard, and before I realized it I was in a
discussion of Mormon doctrines with a woman, a zealous defender of her
faith, whose religious zeal shone out of her face, which was homely
enough to need this adornment to save it from repulsive ugliness.

Of course she believed implicitly in the Book of Mormon, the plates of
which were found, and translated from a language which the best informed
philologists have never known to exist; in a God who has body, parts and
passions, in spirits which fill Heaven, and clamor to be born onto the
Earth, in the baptism for the dead, and in that strange doctrine, that
no woman can be saved without being sealed to a man, upon which the
practice of polygamy rested.

The Herr Director did not quite understand, and I had to explain each of
these dogmas as well as I could, and then the Frau Directorin, not
understanding anything, begged to be told about the one thing in which
she was primarily interested, their belief in regard to marriage. I
asked the lady to explain this doctrine of the Mormons, to which she
replied that they are not Mormons, but Latter Day Saints. She was indeed
a saint, for she was not offended by our curiosity, nor the lack of
seriousness with which we were discussing the subject.

She addressed the Frau Directorin: "You are married to your husband."
The Frau Directorin understood and nodded comprehendingly; "but," the
saint continued, "you are married to him only for time."

"No, no, not for a time, not for a time!" the Frau Directorin cried,
clinging to her husband, who had jokingly threatened that when they
reached Utah he would improve the occasion and double his blessings.

"You could not be married to him any other way unless you are sealed
according to our rites; we alone marry for eternity."

"Oh!" said the facetious Herr Director, "you believe in eternal
punishment." When I translated that to the Frau Directorin she slapped
him playfully.

He asked our guide how many wives he could marry if he became a Latter
Day Saint and she said there would be no limit to the wives he could
have sealed to him; but according to the latest ruling of the church and
in conformity with the laws of the United States, only one to live with
here upon the earth; so he decided to "bear the ills he had," and not
"fly to others that he knew not of."

The saint could not have expected her teaching to take root in soil so
shallow, but she determined to sow a few more seeds, and showed us the
interior of the Tabernacle with its "largest organ in the world and its
perfect acoustics." The Frau Directorin tried her charming voice and
sang, much to the delight of the saint, who confessed to three consuming
passions. She loved to sing better than to eat, next in order came
dancing, which seems to be a specialty among Mormons, and evidently does
not interfere with their piety, and third, that of saving feminine souls
from destruction, on account of their unmarried state. To satisfy this
last passion she has had ten thousand of her female ancestors married to
well-known Mormons. To accomplish this, she had her genealogical tree
traced back to prehistoric times, and had spent her fortune upon that
pious extravagance. She told us that she was a plural wife, and living
with her husband merely in the celestial relationship: but she believed
polygamy to be in harmony with the will of God, and that the women as a
whole favor it.

As we returned to our hotel, the Frau Directorin amused herself by
asking each child she met: "How much brothers and sisters you are?" I
was profoundly thankful she did not stop the men to ask them about the
number of their wives.

Having promised her that I would introduce her to a real, live Mormon
who as yet had only one wife, she could hardly wait until dinner, to
which I had invited my Mormon acquaintance. He proved to be a very
normal sort of man whose face betrayed his European peasant ancestry,
his father and mother having emigrated from Switzerland, lured across by
the promise of land, and an all but perfect Zion. They had passed
through every hardship of the early persecutions, and the march across
the plains and mountains. He himself had grown up in the martyrs' faith,
which remained unshaken until he was sent to college.

Although his teachers were Mormons they could not explain away all the
inconsistencies of Mormon history and belief; doubts assailed him, and
when in due course he became a missionary and it fell to his lot to go
to Europe, instead of making converts, he became one. The six years
abroad were spent in the study of history, and, applying the methods to
his own church and its Book of Mormon, he began to doubt, and is a
doubter still. Yet so strong were the ties that bound him that he did
not formally sever his connection with the church, and unless he is
ejected from that communion he will doubtless remain within its fold.

He belongs to an increasingly large group of young Mormons who, while
they themselves have lost faith in the church and its doctrines, believe
that they must remain loyal to those whose belief is still unshaken,
help them to discard the crudest elements of their doctrine and so
gradually democratize the whole institution.

The growth of the church has been checked and the accession of foreign
converts has almost ceased, due to the prohibition of polygamy which
was a lure to the evil minded, and due also to the fact that immigration
is not being encouraged.

Mormonism would have continued to grow in alarming proportions if the
missionaries were still offering a husband, or a part of one, to every
woman, and to every man as many wives as he cared to take unto himself.

Within the church two forces are working towards its liberalization. The
influence of a strong, Gentile population, and the school; while neither
of them will destroy Mormonism, our informant believed that ultimately
it will prove no more formidable or dangerous to the nation than any
other religious denomination, whose government is strongly centralized.

After dinner he took us to his own home, and either from a recently
acquired habit, or from renewed curiosity, the Frau Directorin asked the
little son of the house, "How much brothers and sisters you are?" and I
am not sure she was convinced that his wife whom he introduced to us
was the only wife he had.

He was good enough to insist upon taking us into the country in his
machine to call on his father, his mother having died some years before;
which, however, according to Mormon usage of bygone days did not leave
the old man a widower.

His gnarled, wrinkled face shone when we greeted him in his native
tongue, and it was as pleasant as it was instructive to hear him tell of
the emigration of his people from Switzerland to Missouri, of the stormy
days there, the struggles against infuriated mobs, the long, dangerous
journey across the desert, and the pioneer days in Utah where he had
acquired lands, sheep and oxen, wives and children, in true Old
Testament fashion.

The Frau Directorin asked: "How much wives you are?"

When he told her that he had gone beyond the apostolic twelve, although
he lived with only a few of the number, she exclaimed: "_Um Gottes
Himmels Willen!_"

The Herr Director wanted to know how he managed so many of them when he
had difficulty in managing one.

"_Ach!_ in those days," he said, "the wives were subject to their
husband, knowing that without him they could not live comfortably here,
nor safely hereafter. They were docile enough, and it did not cost so
much to keep them as it does now."

With a shrewd smile playing around his almost toothless mouth he added:
"You know if polygamy had not been prohibited it would have died out
gradually, because these are different times. We couldn't afford it
now."

The old man said he had known Joseph Smith and, of course, Brigham
Young. He spoke of them with reverence and awe, as men of God who
received revelations and could work wonders. There seemed to be little
or nothing of the mystic in his makeup; his religion was of a hard,
materialistic, matter-of-fact kind to which he clung most tenaciously.
There was an unmistakable coarseness about him which revealed itself in
his conversation. It may have been due to his peasant origin, but during
all the years, a really ethical religion would have refined him. In a
sense he still did not belong to the United States--he was a Mormon
first and last, and the government in Washington was to him as Pharaoh's
rule was to the Jews.

His religion evidently had taught him submission. He paid his tithes
ungrudgingly, and had gone on a mission uncomplainingly. He was a cog in
a great wheel whose resistless force he did not question.

From his farm we were taken to others, and to neighboring towns. The
whole system in all its minute details was explained to us, and the Herr
Director was quite fascinated by its efficiency, although I am sure he
would not care to be governed by it. Everywhere we found prosperous
conditions and outward contentment, but underneath, especially among the
young people, a brooding discontent and smouldering rebellion; yet at
the same time much stolid ignorance and fanaticism.

Our final visit was to the University, built solidly against the rocks,
its great U in purest white marked upon the mountainside, its very
existence seeming a menace to the system which supports it.

There was a fine group of students, both Mormons and Gentiles. The
library in which I spent some time astonished me. I wondered, as I
looked at some of the books, if the church authorities knew what was
between the covers. Dynamite under the Temple walls could not be as
dangerous as those volumes.

Possibly the students are as ignorant of their contents as the leaders
are. There are books on Philosophy and Psychology which do not seem to
me so menacing as those on Economics and Sociology; for it is upon these
subjects that the questioning will come first, and also the discontent.

After long and confidential conferences with some of the professors who
told me their views, and how they are struggling to maintain their
academic freedom, and after long talks with bright, energetic boys and
girls who expressed themselves freely, I could assure the Herr Director
that some problems, which have so long vexed the United States and have
threatened certain ideals of the American Spirit, are in process of
solution.

They are being solved by virtue of the broad tolerance of that spirit,
than which nothing is so feared by the reactionary forces in the Mormon
Church.

One thing which that institution desires more than anything else is
renewed persecution; not too much of it, but enough to rally the
children of the martyrs to face new martyrdom and so perpetuate the
waning power of the church.

One must remember that Mormonism is not only a sect, but a strongly
knitted society, and that men who have long ago ceased to believe in its
doctrines still hold to it with a loyalty born of past suffering, which
will be fostered by any future injustice or persecution.

When we left Salt Lake City and were safe in the Pullman on our way to
the Pacific Coast, the Frau Directorin put her stock question to the
colored porter when he came to make up the berths.

"How much wives you are?"

When I interpreted the question for him he smiled his broadest smile,
but looked puzzled. I told him that the lady thought him a Mormon.

"_No, ma'am._ I's a Baptist. But I sho'd like to be one. I likes de
ladies poheful."

He was not a Mormon, certainly not a saint, but he rendered us loyal
service on that long, dusty journey to the Coast. Perhaps because he
"likes de ladies poheful," or it may have been because I gave him half
of a generous tip in advance.



XII

_The California Confession of Faith_


Since landing in New York the Herr Director and the Frau Directorin had
endured many a formal reception; she with angelic patience, and he with
the usual masculine aversion to formal social amenities.

When I announced that a reception was to be tendered us in San
Francisco, he cried with uplifted hands, "_Um Gottes Willen!_" He did
not object to really meeting people; but to stand in line an hour or two
shaking hundreds of outstretched hands, not knowing nor caring much to
whom they belonged, seemed to him a profitless exercise; while our
wafers and tea, or our punch--without those ingredients which give the
"punch" to punch--were gastronomic delusions to one accustomed to the
abundant meat and drink attendant upon social occasions in Germany.

This particular reception was to be given us by the Chinese, and a
committee of stately, solemn looking gentlemen called for us in
carriages; despite the Herr Director's reluctance, I am sure he was
delighted to have this chance of giving his jaded social appetite a new
sensation.

Chinatown, with its gay coloring, its tempting shops, its stolid-looking
men, its quaint women and cunning babies, was made doubly fascinating to
us, entering it officially conducted and riding in state.

I do not know to this day to just what facts or virtues or position in
life we owe the attentions we received; but it was all recorded upon
posters and handbills liberally distributed through Chinatown,
announcing our advent. Recorded upon them in those picturesque
characters with which the Chinese language puzzles its readers, were the
names and eulogies of certain members of our party. The character which
stood for the Herr Director looked like a top, a tree and a barrel,
while his nativity and manifold virtues were made known in other
artistic symbols.

I suspect that the man to blame for it all was a certain young American
whose mixed ancestry has created a rare and most effective personality.
He has inherited all the grace of his French ancestors, the tenacity (a
virtue in which he excels) of his Dutch or double Dutch progenitors, and
I am sure he can claim kinship with the first man who "kissed the
Blarney stone." He could pull the latch-string to any foreign colony in
that great conglomerate of peoples, and always be greeted as one of
them. The Young Men's Christian Association, in whose name he served,
could not have had a more worthy exponent of its social creed, and
America could not have projected against these foreigners a better
representative than Charles W. Blanpied.

The reception was held in the Chinese Presbyterian Church, and upon our
arrival we found it crowded by a solemn-looking company of Chinese. We
were conducted to the platform and introduced to his Excellency the
Consul-General, ministers of various denominations, and dignitaries of
Chinatown.

This was the first reception we attended where introductions were not
followed by vigorous hand-shaking. I am inclined to believe that the
softness of the Oriental palm is due to the fact that it is not
vigorously pressed every time two men meet each other.

The Herr Director was in ecstasy over the beautiful Chinese girls in the
choir. Doubtless he would have preferred sitting among them, rather than
where he was, between the Consul-General and the chairman of the
evening.

The reception opened with prayer, as if it were a church service; then
the choir sang an anthem, followed by four speeches of welcome. The
first by his Excellency the Consul-General lasted an hour and seemed
much longer, because it was in Chinese and unintelligible to us.

I was asked to respond, and, under the circumstances, my remarks were
brief. The clever interpreter made a good deal of them, judging by the
length of time it took him, and the tumultuous applause with which every
sentence was greeted.

The Herr Director told me it was the poorest speech he ever heard; but I
am inclined to believe that he was a little jealous because he was not
asked to speak; or perhaps he was merely trying to keep me humble, a
course which he had consistently pursued from the day I met him in New
York.

The reception closed with the benediction, and the dignitaries and
guests proceeded to a Chinese restaurant which was genuinely Oriental;
not one of those nondescript Chop Suey places which serve such varied
and often objectionable purposes. The entire establishment was reserved
for us. It was gayly decorated with the banners of the Youngest
Republic, an orchestra played vigorously and so unmelodiously that the
Herr Director was reminded of the ultra modern German compositions.

The menu was the most mysterious thing of the evening, ranging from tea
to broiled seaweed, and eggs which looked their age and were not ashamed
of it. There was fowl which was made unrecognizable to both the eye and
the palate, something which tasted like glue flavored with onion, and
something else which to my perverted Occidental palate seemed like
stewed Turkish towels. There were sweetmeats before and after and
between courses. Beside the mystery, the variety and novelty of the
banquet, it had one other virtue; it was not followed by after dinner
speeches, that common American practice which is an assault upon one's
digestion, and, not infrequently, upon good taste.

While there were no after dinner speeches, we had a chance to discuss
the problem of the Chinese in California, and their brave attempts to
become Americanized in thought and feeling, in spite of the unyielding
race prejudice they have had to meet; thus renewing our faith in our
common origin and destiny, regardless of our apparent differences. Never
before had I realized how gentle these Chinese are nor how altogether
likeable, and it was no surprise to find that some of the Californians
have made the same discovery, and are treating them accordingly.

We visited the Immigrant Station at San Francisco and I wished we had
not; for our treatment of the incoming Orientals lacks all those
elements of which I had boasted. We are neither humane, nor fair,
neither wise, nor decent. We found young Chinese women who had been
detained for more than a year, and were left without occupation or
suitable companionship or even a hope of early release. There were
Chinese boys who were herded with hardened, vicious-looking men, and the
station, although ideally situated, was little better than a prison.
What was done or was allowed to be done to make the lot of these people
more bearable was accomplished by outsiders. Conditions may have changed
since that time, and if they have, it is a cause for profound gratitude.

We also had an unusual opportunity to come in touch with the Japanese
all along the coast. In one city we met a young Japanese, a graduate of
my own college. He is now serving his countrymen there as a Buddhist
priest. He has brought to his sacred calling much of the practical
religion which he absorbed through his contact with the college Y. M.
C. A., and it is his ambition to make Buddhism efficient and
serviceable. He has put into the work all his patrimony and is eager to
build up an institution patterned after the Young Men's Christian
Association.

We had many a confidential talk, and if the soul of the Oriental is not
altogether inscrutable I have had a glimpse of it; although I cannot say
that I have fathomed his soul any more than he has mine. He seemed to me
to typify his race in a remarkable degree. His is a strong, unyielding,
definite kind of ethnos, and while we liked each other and tried to
understand one another, there seemed to be a place just before we
reached our Holy of Holies where we stood before a barred gate.

When he told me that the American soul is absolutely unemotional in
comparison with the Japanese, I knew he did not understand us; even as I
did not understand the Japanese when I told him that his people are cold
and unemotional in comparison with us.

He took us to his temple in the basement of a shabby looking American
tenement. He showed us his Sunday-school room, picture cards with Golden
Texts, club and class rooms, and many devices borrowed from us, applied
and perhaps improved upon by his Japanese genius. The day we left the
city he brought us an invitation to luncheon at the home of the most
prominent Japanese merchant in the place. Our hostess was a delightful
woman educated in a Methodist school in her native country, and of
course spoke English. Her husband, a conservative Buddhist, although he
had been in this country for twenty years, was still Japanese to the
core and spoke little or no English. There were several notables
present, whose English was more or less Japanned. They were keen, well
educated, and had absorbed enough of American culture to be baseball
"fans."

During luncheon, which in our honor was served à la Nippon, we discussed
the anti-Japanese legislation which at that time was menacing the
peaceful relationship of the two countries.

All the Japanese agreed that they had no right to demand unrestricted
immigration; but they were urgent that no crass distinction should be
made between them and other races, and that they too should have the
right to obtain citizenship when they had proved themselves fitted for
it.

During this discussion the Frau Directorin and our host were carrying on
a picturesque conversation; that is she did the talking and he smilingly
said "Yes" to everything she said. She felt highly flattered that he
understood her English, which was still about seventy-five per cent.
German, while his was ninety-nine per cent. Japanese.

That night as we were leaving the city a delegation met us at the
station to complete their Oriental hospitality by presenting us with
beautiful and valuable souvenirs.

After such brief and friendly relationships with these people it is easy
to come to very one-sided conclusions about the problem they present to
the people of California. The situation is serious, but not so serious
that, in order to try to meet it, we must cease to be gentlemanly in
our relation to them.

It is the peculiarity of all people who face race problems, to face them
irrationally and to think that in order to maintain racial dignity one
must insult, demean, and humble other races; and the people of the
United States in general, and those of the Pacific Coast in particular,
have not yet learned a better and more rational way.

Strong race prejudice is not necessarily a sign of race superiority, and
the people who constantly proclaim their superiority by humiliating and
persecuting others have a hard time proving it.

If what I was frequently told is true, that California "wants no
immigrants unless they are something between a mule and a man," then I
can understand their animosity towards the Japanese; for they are
altogether human and want to be so treated.

Beside the many racial varieties with which we came in contact on the
Pacific Coast, we found there all the types produced in the United
States, and while neither the Herr Director nor myself was able to
differentiate them by external variation, we discovered them by
different and contending ideals. From that standpoint they were even
more interesting than the Orientals. Every shade of political and
religious opinion, every kind of economic doctrine, every variety of
social standards we found, besides currents and cross currents not
easily discerned or classified. In spite of the difference in race,
class, religion and politics, we found three well defined ideas
expressed, upon which there is such an agreement that they might be
called the California Confession of Faith.

First and foremost is the belief in the climate and the resources of the
state. There is no religious doctrine in existence unless it be the
monotheism of the Jews, which is so dogmatically held as this faith,
that California is unsurpassed in climate, productiveness, in all those
opportunities for a leisurely existence (provided you have worked hard
elsewhere to get the necessary money) as are offered by its mountains
and sea, its luxuriant homes and all other factors which contribute to
the health and happiness of mankind. The only possible rival to
California is Heaven itself, and just because in these unbelieving and
unregenerate days so many people are not sure that there is such a
place, or if there is, are in doubt that they will have a mansion
reserved for them, they are leaving the farms and towns of the more
mundane Middle West and prosperous East to get a taste of Heaven in
California before they go to that "bourne from which no" wanderer has
returned.

The people of California forgive any heresy or unbelief except a doubt,
however faint, about its climate and resources. From the shadow of Mount
Shasta to the deepest depth of the Imperial Valley, whether we were so
cold in summer as to need furs, or were hot enough to melt, or were
choking from dust when we travelled through miles of unredeemed desert,
we found this faith in the climate and resources of California unshaken.

The Herr Director asked why there were so many cemeteries in the midst
of the most crowded streets, and only a nearer look convinced him that
they were "for sale" signs of rival real estate agents, who flourish
equally with the sage-brush and cactus.

The second idea upon which there is a common agreement is, that while
California in particular is perfect as to climate and resources, the
world in general is a dire place, and its wrongs need to be righted.

In spite of the fact that the climate invites to leisure, it has not as
yet tamed the fighting spirit of this fine, manly race, which is never
so happy as when it has something to do and dare. This state has
admitted women to the duties of citizenship, that all may have an equal
share in the fight. The issues at stake are worth battling for, and
nowhere else is the struggle more intense and dramatic. Organized labor
and capital have crippled each other in the desperate conflict, fierce
always, and often brutal. Protestantism, unorganized and frequently
inefficient, faces the Roman Catholic hierarchy, defending, as it
believes, the public schools and democratic government itself:
awakening, purified democracy is in deadly conflict with the demagogue
entrenched by special privilege while the prohibitionists are engaged in
most desperate conflict with the vinous industry of the state.

The third doctrine of the California Confession of Faith is, that here
on the Pacific Coast the white race has been providentially placed to
defend this country against the encroachment of the "Yellow Peril." It
was illuminating though painful to find that race prejudice is as
intense here as in the South, and as unreasoning, and that one is as
helpless against it as against a flood or fire. All one seems to be able
to do is to accept it as a fact, and treat it like a contagious disease.

If there is any danger to the white race at the Pacific Coast, it is not
the presence of the Japanese or Chinese in limited numbers; it is the
attitude of mind which has been created among Americans there, and that
may bring its own vengeance.

It was a great joy to introduce my guests to California, its orange
groves and vineyards, its marvellous cities and palatial homes. It is a
state to glory in; but strange to say I was somewhat depressed when I
left it. The Herr Director said he missed my "brag and bluster."

Everything was beautiful and bountiful, even as the real estate agents
have advertised; yet there were some things I found and some things I
missed which took the "brag and bluster" out of me.

Its pioneer spirit is weakened by the accession of a large, leisure
class, and how or where the next generation will find a grappling place
for vigor of body, mind and spirit, is still a great question. To eat
one's bread by the sweat of some ancestor's brow, to be challenged daily
by the luxury of a limousine rather than by the hardships of the prairie
schooner, to have as the end and aim of one's day the winning of a Polo
match, or the making of a golf score, must ultimately bring about a
decadence of spirit, even though one retains for a while litheness of
body and activity of mind.

The boasted democracy of California is threatened, not only by the
presence of a large leisure class and the necessary serving if not
servant class, but also by a lack of faith in humanity, without which no
democracy is safe and enduring. To California has been transferred all
that unfaith gendered by the advent of the negro, and if there were ever
a chance to revive the institution of slavery, that state might offer
some hope for its revival.

The Californians who fear for the white race because of the presence of
the Oriental, whom that fear has made vain, boastful, ungenerous and
reckless of the feelings of others, need to know that a greater danger
threatens the race--the decay of the democratic spirit, which languishes
and perishes unless it permits to all men free access to the best it
holds, regardless of "race, color, or previous condition of servitude."

Because I had lost my "brag and bluster" and wished to recover them, I
took my guests, who were now homeward bound, to the one place which
might fitly crown their experiences--the Grand Canyon, where one is apt
to forget humanity and its fretting problems.

I must confess that by this time I was quite worn out; for introducing
your country to a stranger is wearing business, especially when you are
dealing with _blasé_ globe-trotters, who have done all the big things,
from the Alps to the Dead Sea, and have had to crowd into a brief month
the best which lies between New York and California. To do this with a
lover's adulation, endeavoring more or less skillfully to hide defects
and make the bright spots brighter still, may well tax one's nerves.

I acted as a sort of shock absorber, for I determined that the journey
should be a joltless one for my guests; but in that I partially failed;
for not only did I receive the shocks myself, I could not keep them from
receiving some.

One of the worst of these jolts I suffered at the Grand Canyon of the
Colorado. I was very sure of the Canyon itself; I knew it would put a
thrill into the Herr Director, and force an expression of it out of
him. I never worried about the Frau Directorin. We reached the Canyon in
that happy mood gendered by a combination of Harvey meals and Pullman
berths, and the sight of the friendly inn at the brink of the big
surprise, and the cheer of the big log fire in the raftered room drew an
involuntary exclamation of pleasure from the Herr Director. He
registered, then asked the clerk for a room fronting the Canyon.

"Yes siree!" said the obliging young man as he attached a number to the
Herr Director's long and illegible signature; "I'll give you a room so
near that you can spit right into it."

Naturally I received the first shock; a minute later it communicated
itself to the Herr Director. It did not reach the Frau Directorin, for
her English fortunately was still limited; she kept on looking at the
bright Navajo rugs, while the clerk smiled at his own smartness. The
Herr Director commanded to have his bags taken to his room, and turning
from the desk said: "Young man, I am a German, and I want you to
understand that we do not spit in God's face."

The next morning the great Canyon was full of mist, and only faint
outlines of its titanic architecture were visible. As we stood at the
edge of the wondrous chasm, watching the last cloud being driven from
the depths as the moisture was absorbed by the dry, desert air, the Frau
Directorin was shaken by emotion as she gasped at intervals: "_Um Gottes
Himmels Willen!_" The Herr Director, his feelings better controlled,
said nothing; but after a long silence, muttered under his breath: "I
should like to throw that clerk down this abyss as a penalty for his
desecrating thought."

Every few minutes I heard him saying, as he shook his head: "Just think
of it! Just think of it!"

I did not disturb him or ask him what he thought of it for I knew he
could not tell, nor can any one. I think he felt as I felt, that all the
cities he had seen were as nothing compared with this wonder of nature;
that all the pillared post-offices and libraries which our cunning
hands have scattered over this broad land are trifling toys compared
with this templed miracle; that all our dreams of what we might paint or
fashion or carve, or build, are child's play compared with this, and
that we ourselves are mere nothings in the presence of what God hath
wrought here in stone and clay, in color and form.

Never before had I so wished that I could rearrange the geography of the
United States as when we turned eastward from the Grand Canyon. If I had
the power of Him who shaped this earth I would have put it within a mile
of the Atlantic Ocean and within a stone's throw of the Hoboken dock,
and having shown my guests the Canyon, I would have put them on board
their home-bound steamer, and as they sailed away I would have cried out
with ancient Simeon: "Now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace!"



XIII

_The Grinnell Spirit_


Between the Grand Canyon and the ship there might be "many a slip,"
especially as I was to conclude my guardianship of the travellers in my
own town, prosaically placed in the great Mississippi Valley, which
consists of two plains--one at the top and the other at the bottom,
filled with corn and hogs, and most prosperous and contented people.

The place towards which we journeyed holds two things which are the
biggest, most beautiful, and best things in the world--my home and my
work, both of which my guests wished to see. I was anxious that they
should; for there, if anywhere, they could come close to that I gloried
in most, the American Spirit.

After the barren plains, the monotonous miles of sage-brush, and the
long, straight stretches of railroad tracks, it was good to look upon
green meadows and commodious farmhouses sheltered by groves of maple and
elm, and surrounded by great fields of young corn just peeping above the
black, rich clods.

During the last few hours of the trip the Herr Director thought every
station at which the train stopped was our destination, and began
gathering his various belongings. When finally we reached it he jumped
out almost before the train stopped, so eager was he to see the place
where he was to spend at least a fortnight, and really see the American
home from the inside.

Again fortune favored me. It was early June. The air was soft from
recent rains, the grassy lawns were wonderfully green; peonies were
opening their buds, adding touches of color, snowballs hung thick upon
the bushes, and blooming roses filled the air with sweet odors.

It seemed as if our neighbors had conspired to make the town ready for
my distinguished visitors, and I could see that they enjoyed the peace
of it, the friendliness of the park-like streets, the sight of well-kept
homes set in gardens, and the cordial greetings of the people we met.

Their appreciation of all they saw before reaching the house, and their
evident delight in the rooms prepared for them, not to mention their
astonishment at finding their trunks awaiting them there, afforded me
not only pleasure, but a great sense of relief; I felt that the race was
won. I had faith to believe that they would be happy in our town of six
thousand inhabitants, which is not unlike other places of the same size.
It has its public park, two or three shopping streets, churches,
schoolhouses, a few factories large and small, clubs, lodges, and all
the things of which like towns may legitimately boast; yet it has a
background peculiarly its own.

It was founded by an intrepid pioneer who brought a colony of New
Englanders from the hills of Massachusetts to this treeless prairie, and
with the imperious will of his race said: "Let there be a town!" And
lumber was carted over miles of deep mud, cabins were built and there
was a town.

And again he said: "Let there be a railroad!" And he diverted the course
of a great railroad system miles out of its way, and there was a
railroad.

And he said: "There must be no saloon in this place!" So more than half
a century before strong drink was acknowledged to be a social and
physical foe, he had seen its true nature and put prohibition into every
deed of real estate, thus making it impossible for liquor to gain a
foothold.

Years passed and he said: "Let there be a college!" and he brought one
across the state, and there was a college; a young, infant thing just
started by Christian missionaries who had come from the East, each of
them to plant a church, all of them to plant a college.

This infant educational institution was put into its rude cradle in the
midst of an unshaded campus, and when it had grown to generous size,
with buildings to house it and trees to shade it, a cyclone swept the
campus bare, and instead of a joyous Commencement, which was but a few
days distant, there were funerals and desolation, wreck and ruin.

On a pile of débris sat the same pioneer with a determined smile playing
upon his face, and at once, while the tears upon the mourners' cheeks
were still wet, he and others like him began rebuilding the town and the
college.

Those men now "rest from their labor" in that bit of rolling prairie
saved from the plowmen and the harvester, and consecrated to hold our
dead until the great day.

The morning after our arrival in Grinnell, the Herr Director and the
Frau Directorin, who, during our travels, had little opportunity to
indulge their fondness for exercise, walked out to the cemetery. It is a
beautiful, well-kept spot, but half spoiled by crowding headstones. From
it can be seen church steeples peeping through the elm trees which
shelter the town; the ugly stand-pipe and the tall chimney of our one
big factory. At our feet lay the little artificial lake where much
fishing is done, and sometimes fish are caught. As far as we could see
were prosperous farms with their comfortable homes, generous barns,
turreted silos, and wide meadows where calves and colts grazed.

One of our virtues, the Herr Director thought, was that we do not boast
about our dead. Whatever boasting we do, and we do not boast too much,
it ceases when the earth covers us. He saw no fulsome eulogies carved
upon the headstones; often nothing but a name and the two dates of birth
and death.

In the face of that great and last achievement we are very humble and
honest; although in our little cemetery lie buried men and women of whom
I should like to boast. They were the great, real Americans who worked
diligently, honestly and humbly, who left no huge fortunes to curse the
next generation; but built their modest homes, and before the roof tree
was lifted, had built a church and a schoolhouse. They put their tithes
into the Lord's treasury before they put money into a bank, and while
they were still wading through mud, anchored the college upon a rock,
making its growth and permanence their great extravagance.

They believed in an austere Christ, but believed in Him implicitly,
followed Him consistently and left a legacy of simplicity, temperance
and frugality.

Yes, I boasted of our dead to my guests. I boasted of that grim,
fighting man whose name the town bears, who was the personification of
the determined, American pioneer, the conqueror of mere circumstances.

I boasted of that firm, unyielding, controversial Calvinist, George F.
Magoun, who ruled the college in his own stern way. He was the last, but
not the least of his kind, who built deep and strong and straight upon
the foundations of morality and religion; so that others could build
loftily and boldly.

I led them to the grave where rests the body of his successor, the two
differing from one another in opinions and method at every point; for
the younger man was the forerunner of a new dispensation, its prophet,
disciple and martyr. Yet both men were made of the same stern,
unyielding stuff, and both rested their lives and the hope of life's
better things to come, upon the same foundation.

When the names of those Americans who prophesied the day of the Kingdom,
who worked for it and suffered for it, shall be placed upon the honor
roll, the name of George A. Gates, now carved upon a modest monument,
will be found imperishably written there.

Near by, under the shade of slender white birches, we saw the simple
shaft which marks the resting place of one of the Iowa Band, James J.
Hill, who holds his place in the annals of the college, not only because
he gave the first dollar to help found it, but because of the continued
loyalty of his sons.

I wished my guests could have come to us before we buried the man whose
life spanned the old and the new--the white-haired, ever youthful,
eloquent teacher, Leonard F. Parker, who smiled benignly upon us all
until his eyes closed forever, and with their closing, a benediction was
gone. He was the type of missionary teacher who began his career in a
log cabin, who, whether he taught in a country school or in a great
State University, taught with a passion for men. The impress of his
personality remained with his pupils long after they had forgotten his
erudite lore.

As great as these great Americans were their wives, and no one can ever
think of them as less than the equals of their husbands.

If the American woman occupies a unique place in the world, it is not
only because the American man has been more generous than his European
brother, but because she has proved her equality. She has attained the
measure of rights and privileges still denied to most of her sisters
elsewhere because she earned and deserved them.

We, the living, sons and daughters of these great teachers by birth and
by adoption, cannot hold in too high esteem the legacy they left us. We
do not know with as firm an assurance as we ought to know, how much we
owe to them, and that, if we waste our inheritance, we waste spiritual
forces which we cannot generate.

They were all, in the true sense, provincial, narrow men. They thought
of America and of the world and of the world to come, in the terms of
their creed, their town and their college; while we who have circled the
globe and think in world terms first, and boast of wider vision and
larger faith, may be in danger of overlooking the fact that in our small
place and places like it may be decided the fate of America, and through
America, the fate of the world.

The Herr Director was astonished and the Frau Directorin pained to find
that we lived in a servantless house and in practically a servantless
town; that we were our own cooks and housemaids, butlers and gardeners.
When the Herr Director saw me mowing my lawn in broad daylight he
wondered that I did not lose caste among my fellows.

The Frau Directorin was remarkably adaptable. She delighted in wielding
the dustless mop (to reduce "the meat"), she dusted the bric-à-brac, and
out of the kindness of her heart and in spite of our protests, became
"first aid" to my wife.

One morning, just as I was waking, I heard the rattle of a lawn-mower
under my window; not the quick, sharp, sustained noise which usually
arouses the neighborhood, but a slow, measured sound, by fits and
starts. In between I could hear puffing and panting, like that of a
small steam engine. When I looked out of the window I saw something
which my eyes could not believe. The Herr Director had begun mowing the
lawn, and I let him finish it. It pretty nearly finished him; but after
his bath and a generous American breakfast, he glowed from health and
happiness.

"I never knew," he said, "the elevating power of physical labor. I think
I will take a lawn-mower home with me."

The Frau Directorin put a damper upon his enthusiasm by reminding him
that he would have to take a lawn home with him too, and more than that,
the town itself; for in their environment he would not dare use the
lawn-mower even if he had one.

I am quite sure now that the Herr Director would have liked to take my
little town home with him, with the lawn-mower and the lawn. If he
could have done so, he might have changed the course of empires.

I urged him, if he really wished to annex us, to do it soon; for there
is no little danger that we, too, shall lose faith in the redemptive
power of labor, the sufficiency of little things, the grandeur of plain
living and high thinking, the exaltation of the humble, the inheritance
for the meek and the reward of the righteous. When we lose those, we
have lost that which, in our proud, provincial way, we call "The
Grinnell Spirit"--an integral part of the American--the World-spirit.



XIV

_The Commencement and The End_


There are some aspects of our American life which I tried to hide from
my guests. I kept as many of our national family skeletons as possible
in their closets, and made sure that the doors were securely locked.

I was glad that the Herr Director and the Frau Directorin were to leave
this country before our insane Fourth of July, which we are endeavoring
to make sane. I did not care to have them here on Thanksgiving Day from
which, through the superabundance of turkey and cranberry sauce, the
element of Thanksgiving has been almost eliminated. I was profoundly
grateful that during their visit there was no election day with its
sordid partisanship, its ballot box, not yet sacred enough to make
beautiful or place nobly in some civic temple; but we did urge them to
remain over Commencement day, that most happy, sweetly solemn occasion,
unspoiled as yet by rich display. It is the great festival of our
democracy, shared by town and gown, when we open the gates to rich and
poor, to common opportunity and duty.

We made no mistake in thus planning. The town wore its holiday air. From
farm and village, from many states, on every train, parents were
arriving, walking proudly beside their sons and daughters, in academic
garb.

"Old Grads" were being welcomed back by _Alma Mater_, grateful to her
for having helped make life rich, and sweet, and worth living. They
hoped to place under her care their children and their children's
children, whom they had brought there to give them a foretaste of joys
to come.

It was a wonderful experience for the Herr Director and the Frau
Directorin to meet them. They were fêted and feasted; they wore class
and college colors, and entered into the spirit of it all as if they,
too, had been the children of Grinnell College.

Among the graduates they met editors, lawyers and doctors who had come
back from the great cities; professors who had won academic renown, and
are serving the great universities; teachers who had carried into the
public schools the spirit of their college; preachers who have gained
prominence, and those who minister in humble places, faithful in their
obscurity and proud of their chance to serve. There were missionaries
who came back from the ends of the earth where they had started centers
of education, places of healing and temples of hope.

They listened to stirring messages from pulpit and platform, to the
young dreams of minor poets who sang the lay of their class; to
historians who reviewed the four college years as a great epoch closed;
to prophets who predicted failure and success, and a golden day of
jubilee to the whole weary world, when this particular class got back of
it.

On Commencement day they watched the dignified President conferring the
degrees of Bachelor, Master and Doctor.

At noon they attended the college banquet and suffered through the
after dinner speeches.

That night on the crowded campus they enjoyed the Glee Club's joyful
songs, and then, worn to the last shred of their highly emotional
natures, walked home with us while the last strains of the Alumni Song
faded away into the night.

The Herr Director talked until after midnight, telling of the many
things which pleased him. The religious dignity, the fine simplicity,
the natural, sweet, pure relationship between men and women; but above
all else, the democratic spirit from which these other things emanate.

He had an apt way of singing snatches of German song of which he seemed
to command an unlimited supply; and as he mounted the stairs to his room
he sang: "_Ach, wenn es nur immer so bliebe._" (Oh, if it would only
remain so always.) Then followed the sad note which is the major one of
the German lyric: "_Es war zu schön gewesen, es hatt nich sollen sein._"
(It was too beautiful and therefore could not be.)

I knew it might not remain so beautiful always; but if life is worth
while at all, it is worth while struggling to keep it so.

I do not know what share one person may have in influencing the current
upon which a nation is drifting; but I believe in the power of the
individual, and I shall "fight the good fight"--and a hard one it
is--and "keep the faith"--although it is not easy to keep it--faith in
God and men and in the American Spirit.

Four weeks after the Herr Director and the Frau Directorin left us I
received the following letter. I have had some difficulty in translating
the involved and rather lengthy epistle into straightforward English,
but have done so that I may share it with my readers.

MY DEAR FRIEND:

We arrived home in safety after a rather stormy and uneventful voyage.
On board the ship we met a number of Lake Mohonk acquaintances, and
therefore the atmosphere which you tried to create for me surrounded me
even in mid ocean, and consequently you ought to be happy and contented.

When we reached Washington half-cooked, for even your excellent
provisions for our comfort were unavailing against your terrific summer
heat, your friend and his automobile were at the station; just such a
friend and such an automobile as met us dozens of times before.

If anything, this friend was a little more persistent than the other
species, for we were taken up and down and in and out, to everything
within fifty miles of Washington. We shook hands with half your
congressmen some of them seem to be professional hand-shakers, and my
hand aches at the thought of it.

State Secretary Bryan received me most affably and talked about his
peace treaties. He didn't give me much chance to do any talking myself.
He seems so genuinely American; by that I mean simple and childlike in
many things, and complex and difficult to understand in others.

He is neither a humbug as some of your papers say, nor a prophet as he
thinks himself. His faith in humanity and in himself is pathetically
colossal.

It is amusing to find that you Americans, and you are the most American
of them all--you Americans who have invented cash registers and time
clocks, those symbols of unfaith in humanity, are so full of faith in
your relation to big, national and international problems.

Your optimism may, after all, be due to your ignorance, coupled with the
fact that you are living in a land vast and isolated, which has not
quite exhausted its resources and opportunities. The most materialistic
people on earth in your relationship to each other, you leap into
remarkable idealism in the sphere of politics and diplomacy. If it is
true that "God takes care of children and fools," then God is taking
wonderfully good care of you Americans, who seem to me to be both.

In our country we would put a man of Mr. Bryan's type in charge of an
orphan asylum, and feel that the children would be safe with him at
least till their twelfth year; and yet I know that he has done vigorous
fighting, and I shall give him a chapter in my book about America, which
as you know I intend to write and have already begun.

It was quite a change of atmosphere when I went from the Department of
State to the White House. The President's secretary seems to me a man of
large calibre, kind, yet firm. A man to like and yet to fear; just the
kind of person a great man needs as a buffer against his friends, and as
a guard against his enemies. The atmosphere of the White House is
dignified, yet not cold; democratic, yet reserved; you feel that it is a
place of power.

Above everything else you have done for me I want to thank you for
making it possible for me to meet President Wilson. He is not at all the
type of man I expected to find. There is nothing pedantic about him and
I do not know a man in any of our universities like him. He is not as
easy to analyze as Mr. Bryan, he is by far the greater, more complex
and stronger nature. He has the firmness which rulers should possess,
and may be too unyielding when once he has made up his mind to anything.
He knows more than Mr. Bryan but is not as dogmatic, not nearly as
friendly, and yet I came nearer to that which I sought in him, and I
think I understood him better. He let me do all the talking, but asked
all manner of questions; yet he told me more that way than Mr. Bryan,
who did all the talking.

If President Wilson is a politician, he is a new kind which I have never
met before. I think he has made many mistakes, which of course is
natural. There is only one of your presidents who never made mistakes,
and that was President Roosevelt. He made blunders, which he had the
pugnacity and the sheer physical courage to turn into political capital,
and then blundered again.

President Wilson was in the midst of the Mexican muddle when I saw him,
yet he seemed to me very well poised, and bearing his many burdens, not
like a martyr or a saint, but as a really strong man ought to bear
them.

Of course you do not believe that I took your eulogies of America "_fur
baare Muenze_" (at their face value). There are two Americas and you are
living in but one of them. Your America lies in the high altitudes of
Lake Mohonk, Hull House, and Grinnell College. The other America which
you tried to hide from me I saw, just because you tried to hide it. It
is sordid, base, selfish, and above all strong; but that you do not seem
to know.

You have _modified_ my view of America, but you have not _changed_ it.
You are still a big experiment as a nation, and I am not sure that it
will be a successful one. You have nothing to teach us in government,
business or education. Just one thing I envy you--your faith in your
unfinished country and in yourself as a force in its making.

As you know, I do not share your faith; especially do I not believe that
one individual or many individuals can change the course of empires.

You think yourself citizen, king and priest; but you are merely an
atom, a conscious atom of course, and in that and that alone, in that
you are conscious, and know yourself a part of the whole and believe
yourself an effective part of it, lies happiness. I enjoyed hearing you
talk about the American Spirit; you talked about the soul of a country
as if you had seen it and felt it and loved it.

My dear friend, you do not know your own soul, nor the stuff out of
which it is made, and yet in your American conceit you talk about the
soul of a country. It was an interesting psychological study to watch
you, and it gave me much amusement as well as something to think about.

I enjoyed you most of all in your own little town, your college and your
hospitable, beautiful home. I feared you would burst from pride and
complacency as you interpreted the "American Spirit" from that little
place; a speck, and not even a well-defined speck, on the map of your
country.

You, a world traveller, have at last become a really narrow provincial,
I should say a very happy one, as provincials always are. You wanted me
to see your country through the June atmosphere of your Commencement; a
democratic, peaceful, rose-laden America. I saw it through the smoke and
grime of Chicago, the crowded tenements of New York, the injustice of
your courts and the corruption of your politics.

Yet I am glad I saw _your_ America, and I want to thank you for your
ardent endeavor to show it to me as you want it to be, and not as it is.

My wife sends her thanks and greetings. She received more benefit out of
her visit than I. I have had to promise to remodel the house, and put in
another bathroom which is to be between our bedrooms. The new bathtub
must be porcelain and we are to have an instantaneous heater. She still
talks a good deal of the "_gute_ cornflecks" and "grep frut" which we
both enjoyed so much. Above all she remembers the courtesy of the men,
and if the servant did not place her chair for her at table, I fear I
should now have to do it.

America certainly is a Paradise for women, but it is "_Die Hoelle_" for
men.

Remember that when you and any of your family come to Berlin you are to
be our guests. I trust you will come soon, for conditions over here look
dubious, and the war, "_der grosse Krieg_," may come before we know it.

_Herzliche Gruesse von Haus zu Haus._
      _Auf Wiedersehen._



XV

_The Challenge of the American Spirit_


I am sure the Herr Director will not object if I have the last word; for
while he was with me that privilege was seldom mine and obtained only by
dint of strategy.

Since his departure, the great war which he prophesied has moved over
Europe and hides every bit of fair and peaceful sky like a storm-cloud;
its thunder and destructive lightning fill the air, leaving scarcely a
place safe and undisturbed.

Not a soul is unafraid, not a heart is without pain and sorrow, and the
Herr Director himself, although past middle age, has volunteered to
serve in the trenches, slippery from oozing blood and foul from the
spattered brains of men. The "fiddling, twiddling diplomats, the
haggling, calculating merchants of Babylon, the sleek lords with their
plumes and spurs" have had their way, and the poor, blind, ignorant
millions, made mad by hate, do their brutal bidding.

We, on this safer side, who as yet have not loosed the dogs of war, have
calculated the loss to Europe in the fratricidal slaughter of its most
virile men, in the loss of its arts and trades, in the wreck and ruin to
houses and homes and in the age-long poverty which awaits. Much counting
has been done as to what we shall make out of this sure bankruptcy that
is to come to the nations which are our competitors for the world's
trade, and what glory shall be ours when New York, and not London shall
be the new Babylon, with power to make the "Epha small and the Shekel
great."

With the incalculable loss to the European nations there has come to
some of them a gain in national unity upon which under no circumstances
we may count.

It has been with no small sense of pride that I have demonstrated to the
Herr Director and to others the fact that, in spite of our youth as a
nation, and the varied national, linguistic and religious rootage of
our population even in the Colonial period, we have grown to be one
people. Even the constant inflow of new and more varied human material
has not weakened us but indeed the sense of national unity has grown
stronger. I have watched with joy the processes by which this alien
element was becoming one with us, the fading away of animosities and
inherited prejudices, and the making of a new people out of the world's
conglomerate.

The war has brought about a retardation of this process, and we shall
have great cause for gratitude if no permanent damage is done to our
nation's spirit, a loss for which no possible gain in any direction
could compensate. The term "Hyphenated American," which has now come
into use, if it indicates anything more than the place of a man's
national or racial origin, and the very natural sympathies arising
therefrom, is an insult to the man to whom it is applied, and a
confession of divided allegiance, if voluntarily assumed.

It may be interesting to note that it was His Majesty, the Emperor of
Germany, who repudiated the hyphen when a German-American delegation
called on him on the occasion of some royal anniversary.

When the delegation was introduced in this hyphenated manner, he said:
"Germans I know, Americans I know, but German-Americans I do not know."

Although the hyphen has always existed, it has assumed new meaning in
these troubled days and is applied as a term of opprobrium, largely to
Americans of German birth; people who have always been loyal to the
country of their adoption, and, I think, are no less loyal now.

If there has been wavering in their devotion, if the process of yielding
themselves to the ideals and interests of this country has been
arrested, they are not altogether to blame, and we ourselves are not
altogether blameless.

It was thoroughly in harmony with the American Spirit that our
sympathies should go out to brave little Belgium, and turn from the
ruthless conqueror who was much nearer to us culturally and in greater
harmony with us spiritually. It was also natural for the German people
in this country to challenge the evident bias of the press, and the
resultant prejudices arising in the minds of their friends and
neighbors. Being German they knew what a German soldier is capable of
doing, and of what atrocities he is guiltless; although in the attempt
to defend their people they in turn became as unfair as we, condoning
every act of the Germans and besmirching their enemies.

How far this bias can carry one is illustrated by the German pastor in a
neighboring town, one of the gentlest souls I know, who, when told of
the destruction of the _Lusitania_, said: "Thanks be to God, let the
good work go on." He will not have to live very long to repent of this.

To match him I may quote a most lovable Quaker lady nearly ninety years
of age, who, with a violence in striking contrast to the Quaker
character, expressed as her dearest wish that she might be permitted to
kill the Emperor of Germany, and I am almost sure she was not alone in
that pious desire, even among the members of her family.

The German press and the German pulpit have fanned this reawakened
Germanic spirit, not always from lofty motives, and many an editor and
pastor have found this antagonism a source of revenue and a hope of
perpetuating their influence.

If the American press both in its news and editorial columns has been
painful reading to any one who loves fair play, it did not help him to
turn to the German press, whose utterances were made more distressing by
the fact that not infrequently they contained expressions bordering on
treason. Had their editors lived in Germany and spoken of the Emperor in
the same words which they applied to their President, their terms of
imprisonment, if combined, would reach into eternity.

Even after the war the attempt will be made to keep alive this
antagonism, and if possible to widen the breach. It will be a serious
challenge to our national spirit, for I doubt that we can maintain a
vital unity unless it represents one country, one people, and one
language.

I know of no way in which to meet this danger effectively; but I do know
that it is not through reprisals or punishments. Perhaps it is best to
hope that at the close of the war we shall all recover our sanity.
Certain it is that the American people have in the Germans in this
country too valuable and powerful an element to alienate, and the German
people who have made this country their home have too great a sense of
the value of it and its institutions, to them and their children, to be
willing to jeopardize the American Spirit, because of that which must be
but a passing phase in the history of our poor, misguided, human race.

Besides the threatened break in unity, the American Spirit is being
challenged by a call to arms, not merely to avert any momentary,
threatened danger, but to be permanently safeguarded, prepared against
its predatory neighbors all around the globe. Whether those who join in
this call know it or not, or wish it or not, it means militarism. When
just such arguments were used for Germany's preparedness, when that
gospel was being preached with all possible fervor, one of the wisest
Germans said: "_Wehrkraft wird immer Mehrkraft_" ("Defensive power
always becomes offensive power"), and I am sure that the average
American will say that, in the case of Germany, this has proved true.

If I were arguing for military preparedness, I would not be so insistent
upon the building of new fortresses, or the accumulation of ammunition.
I would insist upon training our children in obedience and reverence. I
would give them schoolmasters who know what they teach and who would
demand strict application to the curriculum. I would oppose the growing
pedagogic idea that the schoolroom is a playground, and that knowledge
may be acquired without hard work. I would restore the rod and banish
the coddler. I would call in our high school boys from the side lines,
from their vicarious athletics and their slavish imitation of college
customs, and teach them how to dig trenches and serve cannon, which
seem to be the chief need in modern military operations.

It is folly to believe that the _fiasco_ of the Russian armies was due
to the lack of ammunition or of sufficient fortresses; it was due to the
lack of good schools and to the lack of discipline among its educated
classes.

With the decay of our pioneer spirit, which is inevitable, with the
growth of a leisure class, with groups of men and women who know no
other way to justify their existence than to play bridge or go to Tango
teas; with a large class of people less unfortunately situated, who have
to work for their living, but from whom the state asks nothing in the
way of service except the payment of taxes which are easily evaded, it
is a great question how to keep our virility and how to foster a
patriotism which may be counted upon in the time of national danger. I
am fairly sure that some other way than the militaristic way ought to be
found. I am not sure that we shall find it; because only those who seek
shall find.

There are some things we may profitably learn from Germany, and one is
the maintenance of a state which by its very nature will compel
devotion. A state deeply concerned with the well-being of every
individual; a state which sees to it that impartial judgment shall be
meted out, and that the scales do not tip to those who weight them with
gold.

A state which eliminates graft and is able to train an efficient army of
public servants is more likely to gain and keep the loyalty of its
citizens than one which, although technically free, is shackled by
corruption and graft, and which, while giving each man the power to
become a king, places the major emphasis upon property rather than upon
person. Yes, we have a great deal to do to be properly prepared, besides
authorizing congress to spend millions for "reeking tube and iron
shard."

What I most fear for the American Spirit is the loss of that which makes
it really American and truly Spirit, the loss of its democracy. I am
confident that the form of our government is not endangered, and
whatever military success may come to monarchic governments we shall
not envy them their kings nor put ourselves in bondage to them. If this
republic is still an experiment then we shall see the experiment through
to the end as a republic.

I am also sure that we shall work out the problem which confronts us in
the relationship between capital and labor, and that we shall create
here an industrial democracy. The dissatisfaction with the present
system is growing daily, even among the so-called privileged classes,
and many a man, well favored by circumstances, is crying out with Walt
Whitman, "By God! I will not have anything which others cannot have on
the same terms."

What I most dread is, that we shall be increasingly unable to be
democratic in our spirit, in our relation to those who are in any marked
way differentiated from us racially. Our caste system is daily growing
in strength, the social taboos are increasing in number, the spirit is
barred from moving freely among all classes and races, and thus is bound
to perish.

The social boycott practiced against the Jews, and which is even more
thorough here than it is in Russia, may be followed by an economic
boycott, and what has but recently happened in Georgia makes such
occurrences on a larger scale not impossible. The attitude of the
American people both South and North towards the Negro is not growing
better, and it will take more than all the brave optimism of Booker T.
Washington to convince me that this is not true.

It is anything but the American Spirit which greets the Japanese and
Chinese at the Pacific Coast, and the decadence of that spirit is daily
creating for itself new victims for its prejudices and hates.

It seems to be a growing conviction that in order to foster our racial
integrity and self-respect we need to have contempt for other people and
make of them a sort of mental cuspidore.

I know the difficulty involved in this problem. I believe it is the most
serious challenge which the American Spirit has to meet, and here and
here alone I confess my doubt as to its ability to meet it.

This is no time, though, to turn doubt into despair, nor is it the time
for the calling of conventions and the organization of societies. It is
a time, however, for the strengthening of our faith in one another, for
renewed allegiance to humanity no matter how it is encased, for a
patriotism based upon something bigger than identity of race. It is a
time for mutual forbearance, for the divine gift to see ourselves as
others see us; for a supreme loyalty to our country, and a determination
stronger than death to make this country capable of winning the loyalty
of all its citizens.

It is a time to glory in being an American and to become desperately
sure we have something in which to glory. Now as never before should
there be serious self-examination to see whether we have not sinned
against the Spirit.

This is the time to accept the Challenge of the American Spirit and
prove that we are loyal enough to follow its guidance.

PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

       *       *       *       *       *

Typographical errors corrected by the etext transcriber:

he does now know=> he does not know {pg 119}

the progam marked out for her by the Emperor=> the program marked out
for her by the Emperor {pg 195}

had little opportuntiy=> had little opportunity {pg 241}

It is sorbid=> It is sordid {pg 258}

Unausstelicher=> Unausstehlicher {pg 88}

Unaustehlicher=> Unausstehlicher {pg 122}





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