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Title: Keeping Up with William - In which the Honorable Socrates Potter Talks of the Relative - Merits of Sense Common and Preferred
Author: Bacheller, Irving
Language: English
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In Which the Honorable Socrates Potter Talks of the Relative Merits of
Sense Common and Preferred

By Irving Bacheller

Author of Keeping Up With Lizzie. The Light In the Clearing, Etc.

With Cartoons by Gaar Williams


[Illustration: 0008]

[Illustration: 0009]




The new year of 1918 was not a month old the day I went up to
Connecticut to see the Honorable Socrates Potter. I found the famous
country lawyer sitting in the very same chair from which, seven years
ago, he had told me the story of keeping up with Lizzie. His feet rested
peacefully on a table in front of him as he sat reading a law book.
Logs were burning in the fireplace. A spaniel dog lay dozing on a rug in
front of it. What a delightful flavor of old times and good tobacco was
in that inner office of his--with its portraits of Lincoln and his war
cabinet, of Silas Wright and Daniel Webster and Rufus Choate and Charles
Sumner, with its old rifle and powder horn hanging above the modest
mantel and its cases of worn law books! Beyond the closed door were busy
clerks and clicking typewriters, for Mr. Potter’s business had grown
to large proportions, but here was peace and the atmosphere of
deliberation. There was never any haste in this small factory of

“Hello! Have you come for another book?” he asked.

“Always looking for another book,” I answered. “It’s about time that you
got into this big fight between Democracy and--”

“Deviltry,” he interrupted with a stern look. “By thunder I’ve offered
to take up the sword but they say I’m too old to fight. I don’t believe
it. My great grandfather fought at Lexington when he was sixty-four.”

“You can do more good with some conversation than you could with a
sword or a gun,” I urged. “I’ve come up here to touch the button and now
you’re expected to say something for the boys at the front and the folks
at home. Just turn your search-light on the general situation.”

“Well, I have quite a stock of shrapnel and liquid fire for the rear
line of the Germans,” he began. “My searchlight is a modest kind of a
lantern but we’ll see what we can do with it.

“This time we’ll talk on the subject of keeping up with William.

“The other day, in the rooms of the Connecticut Historical Society, I
was reading the diary of one Abigail Foote written in 1775. This, as I
remember it, was an average day in her life: Mended mother’s hood, set a
red dye, hetchelled flax with Hannah, spun four pounds of whole wool,
spun thread for harness twine, worked on a cheese basket, read a sermon
of Doddridge’s, scoured the pewter, milked the cows, carded wool, got
supper ready, went to bed at nine.

“I wish you to note that she went to bed at nine. Do you think that a
modern girl would knock off at nine? Not at all. She sticks to her task
until midnight and even longer. Abigail had only to be an ordinary human
being with nothing to do but work. The modern girl must have the beauty
of a goddess, the grace of a gazelle, the digestion of an ostrich, the
endurance of a horse and the remorse of a human being. It is a large
contract. “We are all familiar with the diary of a modern girl. Its
average day would be about as follows: Got up. Neck felt like a string
on a toy balloon. Had some toast and coffee. Had my hair dressed and
nails manicured. Put a new ribbon on my dog and walked him around the
block. Went to meeting of the charity committee. Learned that there
were many people out of work. Went to see the doctor who warned me about
overeating and late hours. Same old chestnut! Lunched with Mabel. Ate
half a pound of chocolates and so much cake that the butler had a
frightened look. Home again. Dressed. Went with mama to a lecture on the
insane. Mama woke me at five. It was all over. Went to Gladys’s tea.
Danced half an hour. Home again. Dressed. Spent fifteen minutes with
papa and my dog. Went with Harry and mama to Gwendolyn’s party. Danced
until midnight. Home at one. Nearly frozen. Talk about long hours and
poor pay and insufficient clothing; this reminds one of the story of
Washington’s army in the worst winter of the revolution.

“Now, both of these girls toiled.

“The one in productive work with the wool and the flax. It was done
mostly for the comfort of others. The modern girl wears herself out
supering. Do you know what it means to super? It is to follow the
exacting industry of being superior.”

“Superior to what?” I asked.

“To productive work,” he went on. “Their toil is all in the service of
themselves and in pursuit of their own pleasure.

“That’s what’s the matter with this old earth. For many years more
than half its people have been supering--wasting their time in busy
idleness--on the high road to deviltry. You don’t have to think twice
to decide that it is about the most dangerous of all crimes, my friend,
because it is the straight way to all crime. It leads direct to deceit,
theft, adultery and murder. It kills the sense of brotherhood in the
heart of man. It kills the spirit of Democracy. The world is being
strafed for it, in my opinion.

“Now the center and headquarters of all supering is Prussia--the home of
the superman--and Bill Hohenzollern, the Godful, is the head and front
of the whole push.

“There are two kinds of superiority--real and assumed. Real superiority
is largely unconscious of itself. It can never be inherited--there’s the
important fact about it. You will recall that there are only three cases
on record of a great father begetting a great son. The son is apt to
have a sense of inherited superiority. It destroys everything worth
while in him.

“Of all the defects that flesh is heir to, a sense of inherited
superiority is the most deplorable. It is worse than insanity or idiocy
or curvature of the spine. There are millions of acres of land in Europe
occupied by nothing but a sense of inherited superiority; there are
millions of hands and intellects in Europe occupied by nothing but
a sense of inherited superiority, while billions of wealth have been
devoted to its service and embellishment. A man who has even a small
amount of it needs a force of porters and footmen to help him tote it
around, and a guard to keep watch for fear that some one will grab his
superiority and run off with it when his back is turned.

“A full equipment of inherited superiority, decorated with a title, a
special dialect, a lot of old armor and university junk, stuck out so
that there wasn’t room for more than one outfit in a township. Most
of the bloodshed has been caused by the blunders or the hoggishness
of inherited superiority. It is the nursing bottle of insanity and the
Mellin’s Food of crime.

“Now hot air has been the favorite dissipation of kings. James the First
was one of the world’s greatest consumers of hot air; enough to put
him into business with the Almighty. To be sure, it was not a full
partnership. It was no absolute Hohenzollern monopoly of mortal

“There are two kinds of sense in men--common and preferred, plain and
fancy. The common has become the great asset of mankind; the preferred
its great liability. Our forefathers had large holdings of the common,
certain kings and their favorites of the preferred. The preferred
represented an immense bulk of inherited superiority and an alleged pipe
line leading from the king’s throne to Paradise, and connected with the
fount of every blessing by the best religious plumbers. It always drew
dividends, whether the common got anything or not. The preferred holders
ran the plant and insisted that they held a first mortgage on it. When
they tried to foreclose with military power to back them, some of our
forefathers got out.

“We, their sons, are now crossing the seas to take up that ancient issue
between sense common and preferred and to determine the rights of each.
We are fighting for the foundations of Democracy--the dictates of common

“For the sake of saving time, I hope you will grant me license to resort
to the economy of slang. A man might do worse these days. There is one
great destroyer of common sense. It is hot air. I remember how scared of
it the Yankees used to be. They were most economical with their praise.
I never heard a word of it in my youth. It came to me after some travel
now and then--never to my face. They knew the deadly power of it--those

[Illustration: 0025]

“Now hot air has been the favorite dissipation of kings. James the First
was one of the world’s’ great consumers of hot air. He and his family
and friends took all that Great Britain could produce--never, I am glad
to say, a large amount, but enough to put James into business with the
Almighty. To be sure, it was not a full partnership. It was no absolute
Hohenzollern monopoly of mortal participation. It was comparatively
modest, but it was enough to outrage the common sense of the English.
After all, divine partnerships were not for the land of Fielding and
Smollett and Swift and Dickens and Thackeray. Too much humor there. Too
much liberty of the tongue and pen. Too great a gift for ridicule. Where
there is ridicule there can be no self-appointed counselors of God, and
handmade halos of divinity find their way to the garbage heap.

“Now, if we are to have sound common sense, we must have humor, and if
we are to have humor we must have liberty. There can be no crowned or
mitered knave, no sacred, fawning idiot, who is immune from ridicule; no
little tin deities who can safely slash you with a sword unless you give
them the whole of the sidewalk. Humor would take care of them; not the
exuberance that is born in the wine-press or the beer-vat--humor is no
by-product of the brewery---but the merriment that comes when common
sense has been vindicated by ridicule.

“Solemnity is often wedded to Conceit, and their children have committed
all the crimes on record. You may always look for the devil in the
neighborhood of some solemn and conceited ass who has inherited power
and who, like the one that Balaam rode, speaks for the Almighty. So,
when the devil came back, he steered for the most solemn and perfect ass
on the face of the earth--Bill Hohenzollern.

“In his soul the devil began to destroy the common sense of a race with
the atmosphere of hell--hot air. We have seen its effect. It inflates
the intellect. It produces the pneumatic, rubber brain--the brain that
keeps its friends busy with the pump of adulation; the brain stretched
to hold its conceit, out of which we can hear the hot air leaking in
streams of boastfulness. The divine afflatus of an emperor is apt to
make as much disturbance as a leaky steam-pipe. When the pumpers cease
because they are weary, it becomes irritated. Then all hands to the
pumps again. Soon there is no illusion of grandeur too absurd to be
real, no indictment of idiotic presumption which it is unwilling to

“By and by it breaks into the realm of the infinite and hastens to
the succor of God, for, to the pneumatic brain, God is slow and
old-fashioned. Thereafter it infests the heavenly throne and seeks to
turn it into a plant for the manufacture of improved morals, and, so as
to insure their popularity, every agent for these morals is to carry
a sword and a gun and a license to use them. The alleged improvement
consists in taking all the nots out of the ten commandments. Nots are
irritating to certain people who have plans for murder, rape, arson, and

“Hohenzollern and Krupp had taken the Lord into partnership and begun
to give Him lessons in efficiency. Moreover, they were not to be free
lessons. The lessons were to be paid for, but they were willing to give
Him easy terms, for which they were to show Him how to hasten the slow
process of evolution. Evolution was hindered and delayed by sentiment
and emotion.

“Sentiment and emotion were a needless inheritance. Hohenzollern and
Krupp proposed to cut them out of life and abolish tears. Tears consumed
the time and strength of the people. They were factors of inefficiency.
What was the use of crying over spilled milk and dead people? Tears were
in the nature of a luxury. The poor could not afford them. Life was not
going to be lived any longer--it was to be conducted. It was to be a
kind of a hurried Cook’s tour. Nobody would have to think or feel. All
that would be attended to by the proper official. Life was to be reduced
to a merciless iron plan like that of the beehive--the most perfect
example of efficiency in nature, with its two purposes of storage and
race perpetuation.

“No one ever saw a bee shedding tears or worrying about the murder of a

“The ideal of Germany was to be that of the insect. To the bee there is
nothing in the world but bees, enemies, and the nectar in flowers; to
the German there was to be nothing in the world but Germans, enemies,
and loot With no wall of pity and sentiment between them and other races
they could rain showers of bursting lyddite on the unsuspecting, and
after that the will of the Kaiser and God would be respected. The firm
would prosper. It is not the first time that conceit and Kultur have
hitched their wagon to infinity. It is the old scheme of Nero and
Caligula---the ancient dream of the pneumatic prince. He can rule a
great nation, but first he must fool it. First he must induce his people
to part with their common sense and take some preferred--a dangerous
quality of preferred. This he can do in a generation by the systematic
use of hot air.

“You may think that this endangered the national morals, but do not be
hasty. The morals were being looked after.

[Illustration: 0035]

“Every school, every pulpit, every newspaper, every book, became a
pumping-station for hot air impregnated with the new morals. Poets,
philosophers, orators, teachers, statesmen, romancers, were summoned to
the pumps: Rivers of beer and wine flowed into the national abdomen and
were converted into mental and moral flatulency.

“For thirty years Germany had been on a steady dream diet.
Every school, every pulpit, every newspaper, every book, became a
pumping-station for hot air impregnated with the new morals. Poets,
philosophers, orators, teachers, states’ men, romancers, were summoned
to the pumps.

“Morning hate with its coffee and prayers, its hourly self-contentment
with its toil, its evening superiority with its beer and frankfurters.
History was falsified, philosophy bribed, religion coerced and
corrupted, conscience silenced--at first by sophistry, then by the iron
hand. Hot air was blowing from all sides. It was no gentle breeze. It
was a simoom, a tornado. No one could stand before it--not even a sturdy
Liebknecht or an unsullied Harden.

“Germany was inebriated with a sense of its mental grandeur and moral
pulchritude. Now moral pulchritude is like a forest flower. It can not
stand the fierce glare of publicity; you can not handle it as you would
handle sausages and dye and fertilizer. Observe how the German military
party is advertising its moral pulchritude--one hundred per cent, pure,
blue ribbon, _spurlos versenkt_, honest-to-God morality!--the kind that
made hell famous.

“I don’t blame than at all. How would any one know that they had it if
they did not advertise it?

“It is easy to accept the hot-air treatment for common sense--easy even
for sober-minded men. The cocaine habit is not more swiftly acquired
and brings a like sense of comfort and exhilaration. Slowly the Germans
yielded to its sweet inducement. They began to believe that they were
supermen--the chosen people; they thanked God that they were not like
other men. Their first crime was that of grabbing everything in the
heaven of holy promise. It would appear that those clever Prussians had
arranged with St. Peter for all the reserved seats--nothing but standing
room left Heaven was to be a place exclusively for the lovers of
frankfurters and sauerkraut and Limburger cheese.

“God was altogether their God. Of course! Was He not a member of the
firm of Hohenzollern & Krupp? And, being so, other races were a bore and
an embarrassment. Would He not gladly be rid of them? Certainly. Other
races were God’s enemies, and therefore German enemies. So it became the
right and duty of the Germans to reach out and possess the earth and its
fulness. The day had arrived. There was nothing in the world but Germans
and enemies and loot.

“Their great leader, in their name, had claimed a swinish monopoly of
God’s favor. His was not the contention of James the First, that all
true kings enjoy divine-right--oh, not at all! Bill had grown rather
husky and had got his feet in the trough, and was going to crowd the
others out of it. He was the one and only. And as he crowded, he began
to pray, and his prayers came out of lips which had confessed robbery
and violated good faith and inspired deeds of inhuman frightfulness. His
prayers were therefore nothing more nor less than hot air aimed at the
ear of the Almighty and carrying with them the flavor of the swine-yard.
In all this Church and people stood by him. It would seem that the devil
had taken both unto a high mountain and showed them the kingdoms of the
earth and their glory, and that they had yielded to his blandishments.

“Now the thing that has happened to the criminal is this. In one way
or another, he loses his common sense. He ceases to see things in their
just relations and proportions. The difference between right and wrong
dwindles and disappears from his vision. He convinces himself that he
has a right to at least a part of the property of other people. Often he
acquires a comic sense of righteousness.

[Illustration: 0045]

“I have lately been in the devastated regions of northern France. I
have seen whole cities of no strategic value which the German armies had
destroyed by dynamite before leaving them to a silence like that of the
grave--the slow-wrought walls of old cathedrals and public buildings
tumbled into hopeless ruin; the châteaux, the villas, the little houses
of the poor, shaken into heaps of moldering rubbish. And I see in it
a sign of that greater devastation which covers the land of William
II--the devastation of the spirit of the German people; for where is
that moral grandeur of which Heine and Goethe and Schiller and Luther
were the far-heard compelling voices? I tell you it has all been leveled
into heaps of moldering rubbish--a thousand times more melancholy than
any in France.

“Behold the common sense of Germany become the sense that is common
only among criminals! The sooner we recognize that, the better. They are
really burglars in this great house of God we inhabit, seeking to rob it
of its best possessions--Hindenburglars! In this war we must give them
the consideration due a burglar, and only that. We must hit them how and
where we may. We are bound by no nice regard for fair play. We must kill
the burglar or the burglar will kill us.

“When I went away to the battle-front, a friend said to me:

“‘Try to learn how this incredible thing came about and why it
continues. That is what every one wishes to know.’

“Well, hot air was the cause of it. Now why does it continue? My answer
is, bone-head--mostly plumed bone-head.

“Think of those diplomats who were twenty years in Germany and yet knew
nothing of what was going on around them and of its implications! You
say that they did know, and that they warned their peoples? Well,
then, you may shift the bone-heads on to other shoulders. Think of the
diplomatic failures that have followed!

“I bow my head to the people of England and to the incomparable valor
of her armies and fleets. My friendly criticism is aimed at the one and
only point in which she could be said to resemble Germany, viz., in a
certain limited encouragement of supermen.

“Now, if the last three years have taught us anything, it is this: the
superman is going to be unsupered. Considering the high cost of up-keep
and continuous adulation, he does not pay. He is in the nature of a
needless tax upon human life and security. His mistakes, even, to use no
harsher word, have slaughtered more human beings than there are in the
world. The born gentleman and professional aristocrat, with a hot-air
receiver on his name, who lives in a tower of inherited superiority and
looks down at life through hazy distance with a telescope, has and can
have no common sense. He is a good soldier, he knows the habits of the
grouse and the stag, he can give an admirable dinner, he understands the
principles of international law, but when international law turns into
international anarchy he is not big enough to find the way of common
sense through the emergency. He has not that intimate knowledge of human
nature which comes only of a long and close contact with human, beings.
Without that knowledge he will know no more of what is in the other
fellow’s mind and the bluff that covers it in a critical clash of wits
than a baby sucking its bottle in a perambulator. He fails, and the cost
of his failure no man can estimate. He stands discredited. As a public
servant he is going into disuse and his going vindicates the judgment of
our forefathers as to like holders of sense preferred.

“Now is the time when all men must choose between two ideals:
Behold the common sense of Germany become the sense that is common only
among criminals! The sooner we recognize that, the better. They are
really burglars in this great house of God we inhabit, seeking to rob it
of its best possessions--Hindenburglars! the proud and merciless heart
on the one hand, that of the humble and contrite heart on the other;
between the Hun and the Anglo-Saxon, between evil and good. Faced by
such an issue I declare myself ready to lay all that I have or may have
on the old altar of our common faith.

“My friend, be of good cheer. The God of our Fathers has not been
Kaisered or Krupped or hurried in the least. There is no danger that
Heaven will be Teutonized.

“The shouting and the tumult dies--The captains and the kings depart--!
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice.

“An humble and a contrite heart Lord God of hosts, be with us yet.

“Lest we forget--lest we forget

“Lest we forget the innumerable dead who have nobly died, and the host
of the living who with a just and common sense and love of honor have
sent them forth to die. Lest we forget that we and our allies have not
been above reproach; that there were signs of decadence among us--in the
growing love of ease and idleness, in the tango dance of literature and
lust, in the exaltation of pleasure, in a very definite degeneration of
our moral fiber.

“Lest we forget that our spirit is being purified in the furnace of war
and the shadow of death. Do you remember the protest of those poilus
when some unclean plays were sent to the battle front for their

“‘We are not pigs’--that was the message they sent back.

“Lest we forget that the spirit of man has been lifted up out of the
mud and dust of the battle lines, out of the body tortured with pain and
weariness and vermin, out of the close companionship of the dead into
high association on the bloody altar of liberty and sacrifice.

“Lest we forget that the spirit of our own boys shall be thus lifted up,
and our duty to put our house in order and make it a fit place for them
to live in when they shall have returned to it from battle-fields swept,
as a soldier has written, by the cleansing winds of God.”


Truth is a great teacher but she often quarrels with the cook,” said
Mr. Potter, while looking at his watch.

He went to the telephone and called his home and presently began to
address his wife as follows:

“Hello, Betsy! Say, don’t expect me ‘till I come. I’m in trouble. A
feller came in here and started the war all over again and there’s no
tellin’ when it’ll end. I do not want an inconclusive peace.”

As he hung up the telephone his stenographer came in to say good night.
Mr. Potter took his old rifle off the wall, dusted It with a desk cloth
and said:

“My great grandfather used that in the battle of Lexington.”

He squinted down its long barrel while he gave these instructions to his

“Joe, send down to The Sign of the Flapjack, née Child’s, and order
corned beef hash and poached eggs and apple pie and coffee for two.”

He turned to me and asked:

“Any amendments to propose to that ticket?”

“None,” I answered.

“Then we will consider it elected. Have the table spread here by the
fire, if you please.”

He filled and lighted his pipe, settled down in an easy chair and began
again, with his gun resting across his knees: “The superors try to
square themselves by giving to the poor. It doesn’t work. Often we do
more harm than good by giving to the poor. Kindness, sympathy, loving
counsel and the brotherly hand can accomplish much. But the charily of
cold cash is a questionable thing. The girl who knits a pair of socks
accomplishes a larger net result to the good than the one that gives
ten pairs to charity. The girl who did the knitting really produced
something. She had made the world better off by one pair of socks. There
is no doubt about that. The girl who has bought and given away ten pairs
has produced nothing. She has made the world in general no better off.
She is a slacker. She is trying to make her money do her work for her.

“The time has come when the world in general has to be considered by
each of us. Civilized humanity has been compacted into a unit. It is
threatened by famine and tyranny. All the money there is can not save
us from these perils unless a lot of people get busy who are now doing
nothing but eat and play. Money has become a very cheap and vulgar
thing--almost every one has money these days.

“The time of the great assessment has come and the Lord God is taking
His inventory. Everything is being measured and valued; even your
usefulness, my friend. What are you producing? Is it enough to feed and
clothe yourself and family, even? Corn and potatoes and wheat and wool
are more than money these days. If you don’t help to produce them, you
are, more or less, a dead weight.

“The idle lands in America ought to get busy. How? The rich men should
begin to cultivate them. I know one such man who is growing two hundred
and fifty acres of potatoes in Florida where nothing has grown before,
and it is estimated his yield will be at least fifty thousand bushels.
Now, that man is doing a real service to Democracy.

“When the monster of war is devouring the fruitfulness of the earth and
stopping the labor of those who produce it, there is only one remedy.
We must increase that fruitfulness so that there shall be enough to feed
the monster and the people at home. If this is to be done, every one
must work. In such a situation, the idleness of the able-bodied becomes
a disgrace, and his dinner the food of remorse.

“Get busy. I do not mean that we should never play. I do mean that every
day we should do a fair day’s work with our hands and brain for the good
of the world at large.

“The war has established two brotherhoods, my friend--that’s the big
thing about it. A brotherhood of democracy and a brotherhood of slaves.

“This brotherhood of slaves has been created by the leprous soul of Bill
Hohenzollern. He has broken down the will of the average man in Germany
and established his own in place of it. He has yoked his people with the
slaves of Turkey and Bulgaria, and with them has overawed the will of
the Austro-Hungarians, mostly a decent people. The will of the Kaiser
has spread over middle Europe like a plague. The name of the plague is
Williamism. We have caught it in America.”

“In America!” I exclaimed.

“In America,” Mr. Potter went on. “The quarantine officer has been
bribed. He has left the door open and the plague has come in. The name
of that officer is Human Conscience. Williamism can make no progress
save through the carelessness or neglect of the human conscience.

“Long ago the German people turned over their consciences to the Kaiser
and the Bundesrath with a license to use them as they thought best. The
people said to themselves: ‘The Kaiser enjoys the special protection and
favor of the Lord. He is an intimate friend with a pull. He ought to
be able to make a more expert use of our consciences than we could
ourselves. Therefore, we will appoint him our representative and
proxy at the Court of Heaven. If he and his friends decide, after due
consultation with God, that we had better violate good faith and break
our treaties and seize the property of other races and indulge in
murder, rape, arson and piracy, we will do it. To be sure such action
would seem to be wrong, but that is only because we are common cattle.
We are the best herd of common cattle there is, but we are not supermen.
The Bundesrath, the Kaiser and God ought to know what is right.

“Now that, in effect, is exactly what they said to themselves. A people
may prosper and come to no violent trouble under such a plan. But the
fact is, they are living around the crater of a moral Vesuvius.

“For two generations all seemed to be going well with the Germans.
William I was a fairly decent-minded man. Bismarck was unscrupulous but
careful. He stepped softly after he had bitten a chunk out of France. He
held the throne in restraint until William, the Godful, jumped upon it
with a wild yell of heavenly inspiration that startled the world. He was
going to take no advice from Mr. Bismarck--not a bit! Right away he
appointed himself secretary of war and attorney general of the Almighty.
No such astonishing familiarity with omnipotence had been seen since the
time of Moses.

“There is an ancient legend which says that, when Cæsar invaded Gaul,
an old bowman of the north, having been captured and brought to the
headquarters of the great Consul, said:

“‘Hello, Julius! I am with you.’

“It was like Bill Hohenzollern, only Bill didn’t say ‘Hello, Julius!’
The whole world stood aghast.

“Bismarck stepped down and out. He must have seen what was coming.

“Now this young lunatic should have been examined and condemned and sent
to an asylum as a paranoiac. Instead of that, he was given full power
and allowed to endow and develop a school of bribed historians and
lunatic philosophers to justify his plans---Treitschke, Nietzsche,
Bernhardi, backed by the throne and all the supermaniacs that surrounded
it. They created the new morality of Williamism in which all human
decency was disemboweled and God and the devil exchanged crowns. Gosh
almighty! It seems incredible now that we look back upon it.

“From the beginning there has been a flavor of the little tin god about
these Hohenzollern fellers. Frederick the Great had a menacing rattle of
self-assertion, like that of a Ford car going to a country picnic.
His favorite dissipation was kicking soldiers. It was a way he had of
advertising his superiority.

“Macaulay tells us that he needed proximity and not provocation to kick
a soldier. What a brave Captain he was! Funny, isn’t it, how the
great Captains have managed to take care of themselves. Died on
hair mattresses, every one of them except two, Gustavus Adolphus and
Stonewall Jackson.

“The only man who ever insulted me by just shaking my hand was a
mule-eared Hohenzollern chap known as Prince Heinrich of Prussia. I can
never forget that you-to-hell air of his as he took my hand as if it was
a clod of dirt, without even a look at me. I have always been sorry that
I didn’t invite him to the sidewalk.

“William II began to strut in the military and hot-air game as soon as
he ascended the throne, and lost no opportunity to tighten his hold upon
the consciences of his people.

“Let me tell you the story of


“I used to know a feller here of the name of Sam Hopkins. He worked for
a client of mine who ran a lock factory. Sam had been a poor lad--sold
newspapers on the street night and morning. My client liked him and took
him over to the big shop and taught him the trade of making locks
and paid his board until he was able to earn it. Sam became an expert
mechanic and shoved money into his coffers every Saturday night. By and
by he had a wife and three children and a comfortable home and a goodly
amount of spondoolix earning interest. Now for the chance to accomplish
all that he was indebted to my friend and client.

“By and by Sam joined the Trade Union. Nobody could find any fault
with Sam for uniting with his fellow workers to accomplish any fair and
reasonable purpose. But Sam had given to the Trade Union exactly what
the Germans had given to the Kaiser and the Bundesrath. He had,
in effect, turned his conscience over to the Union, which had full
authority to do as it thought best with this sacred piece of property.
Sam didn’t realize what he had done until the Union ordered him to

“To be sure it was a limited proprietorship over his conscience which
Sam had given to the Union. He could keep and use it until the Union
called for it. He had given a kind of note payable in the use of his
conscience _on demand_.

“Sam had no quarrel with the works--no more quarrel than the Germans had
with the Belgians--not a bit. He was more than satisfied with his wages
and his hours and his general treatment His conscience told him that
his duty was to keep at work. But he discovered suddenly that he had no
right to the use of his own conscience. He had deeded it, on demand,
to the Union--lock, stock and barrel. Sam had become a kind of German

“War was declared. Some of the faithful servants of the big shop were
slain. Others were injured; a part of the properly was wrecked. Sam
tried to do the right thing, but couldn’t. He went with the German army.

“Now, a man’s conscience is given to him for his own use--exclusively
for his own use. There’s nothing truer than this: A man’s conscience
is like his tooth-brush--it should have but one proprietor. You can not
leave it lying around like an old pair of shoes. Your umbrella is not
as easily lost. It is like your right hand. You can not lay it away--you
can not lend it, and the more you use it the better it is and the less
you use it the weaker it is. Either disuse or misuse will injure it and
possibly deprive you of its service.

“Now, Sam’s conscience got mislaid in the shuffle. He suddenly
discovered that he hadn’t any. I guess it was rather small at best. It
was through this loss that I came to know about him. He was out of work
for seven months and got to drinking. Idleness and regret and the loss
of friends turned him toward the downward path of women, wine and
song. He is now in a Federal prison for counterfeiting--the victim of

“Now just what had happened to Sam had happened to every man in the
German army. In that deal with the Kaiser his conscience had got
mislaid. He was ready to cut off the hands of a child or torture a
wounded man or shoot an inoffensive civilian. His officers encouraged
him to do it and his conscience was not on duty. It had been turned over
to the Kaiser and the Bundesrath. It had got lost in the shuffle.

“I have told you that William had made the ideal of Germany that of the
insect. Let me be sure that you get my meaning.

“Have you watched a hive of bees in bright summer weather? Well, you
will find that the workers wear out their wings in two weeks and die.
The hive has only two purposes--storage and race perpetuation.

[Illustration: 0065]

These purposes are carried out with ruthless and perfect efficiency.

The drones are stung to death as soon as they are discovered. The worker
will starve and die for the queen. The welfare of the hive is the main
thing--that of the individual of no account whatever. The ants live and
die on the same general plan.

“So I say that the ideal of Williamism is that of the insect. The hive
is the empire. Its main purposes are storage and race perpetuation.
Its chief aim is efficiency. The nation is everything; the individual
nothing. The individual is to work and store and is not even to take the
time to cry if he feels like it.

“The hive has only two purposes--storage and race perpetuation. These
purposes are carried out with ruthless and perfect efficiency. The
drones are stung to death as soon as they are discovered.

“In Berlin fifty-three per cent, of the workers live with their
families in two rooms.

“Now I deny that the main purposes of human life are storage and race
perpetuation and efficiency. If that were true, the man that had the
most cash and wives and children would be the greatest man in the world.

“A few years ago a man died in England. He had only a few books and
about five hundred dollars in money. Yet he was called one of the
greatest men in the world. Every one took off his hat to that man
because he had _Character_, He was Cardinal Newman.

“Lincoln died poor and he was about the homeliest, awkwardest man
in America, and yet the whole world mourned for him because he had
accumulated _Character._

“That is the great thing, and the main purpose of life is to develop
character in _individuals_. That development comes mostly through
failure. Success is the worst of teachers.

“If one were to estimate the greatness of a people he would disregard
its armies and navies and the splendor of its cities and the deposits in
its banks, and go out to that people and appraise the character of its
_average man_,--his respect for honor and decency and especially his
respect for that great, world embracing unit known as human rights.

“Right here I must tell you the story of


“There was once a man who was born successful. He inherited success and
for many years kept it coming his way. Did you ever hear of a man of the
name of Shote? Of course not. Neither did I. That’s one reason why I am
going to call him Shote--John Shote, if you please. My story is
strictly true, but I would ask no one to believe the name of its leading

“John was a great success. Some people called him a great man. Indeed,
everybody took off his hat and said: ‘How do you do, Mr. Shote?’ or
words to that effect when he came along.

“I suppose you will think that Mr. Shote only nodded and passed on, but
he was not so bad as that. No, he answered: ‘Very well, thank you,’ and
went about his business. He failed to return your solicitude but did not
wonder at it.

“He lived in a neighboring town--let us call it Shoteville--and was
soon, indeed, the principal Shote of Shoteville. The business was there.
It had always prospered. When his father died, John took the crown and
became a swearing, rantankerous tyrant.

“He inaugurated a system of efficiency. He trusted nobody. There was an
indicator at the entrance of the big building and every worker great and
small had to touch a button on this indicator when he left or entered
the place. He had a kind of guillotine in the office and every day heads
fell into the basket. But when a man left Mr. Shote it was a point to
his credit in Shoteville. It showed that he was above being sworn at. It
was a kind of recommendation--a thing to boast of. Every one in the shop
was sooner or later called by Mr. Shote “a damn leather head.” It was a
kind of initiation. If he accepted the classification and remained
Mr. Shote decided that he was amenable to discipline and thought him a
promising man. Outsiders looked down upon him. The men who stayed year
after year and endured the insults of Mr. Shote were known in that
community as ‘the damn leatherheads.’

“Every worker was a wheel or a shaft or a lever in the big machine.
When, worn or broken, he was cast aside.

“It will be seen that Mr. Shote was one of the followers of William.
In his office were busts of Julius and Augustus Caesar and portraits
of Napoleon and Frederick the Great. He worshiped power and kicked the
common soldier.

“While he was in America, I am glad to say he was not an American--not
really. To be sure he was born here and voted here, but he was really a
Prussian and his shop was a little kingdom in the midst of a democracy.

“Mr. Shote really thought himself one of the noblest men that ever
lived. He was a great success even as a thinker. A man can think himself
into anything he pleases from a lobster to a saint. Just where he got
off I leave the reader to judge.

“Unfortunately, Mr. Shote believed his own thoughts--all of them. It is
a dangerous habit to acquire--that of believing oneself--believe me. If
there’s any one that requires careful corroboration it’s yourself. Mr.
Shote could not help believing his own thoughts--they were so commanding
and imperious.

“Whatever else we may say of him he was honest, as men go. He paid his
debts promptly and kept his credit high and even gave large sums to

“His great lack was common sense; his great failing an uncontrolled
temper. When you become the pivot around which the whole world revolves
you are apt to get hot and noisy. The world bears down rather hard. So
Mr. Shote squeaked and roared with anger every day of his life.

“His great vice was too much efficiency. No man in the plant had any
power of initiative, due to the fact that Mr. Shote had no faith in any
one but himself. The plant proceeded on an iron plan.

“Now, every big thing that was ever accomplished has been the work of
some individual who at a critical moment has broken away from plans and
made his own orders and acted on them--the kind of thing that Grant
did at Appomattox; the kind of thing that Lincoln did in his great
proclamation. Bill Hohenzollern would have called it inefficiency.

“Just that kind of thing would have saved Mr. Shote in the critical
moment of his career. That moment fell upon him like a thunderbolt out
of a dear sky one day.

“If you sow Williamism you are bound to reap it Mr. Shote’s lavish crop
ripened suddenly.

“The ‘Leatherheads’ decided one day to meet efficiency with
_efficiency_. They were right Mr. Shote had been running a little
kingdom in America and the ‘Leatherheads’ founded one of their own. They
had started a union and appointed an emperor and told him to go ahead
and outkaiser the king. They struck for higher wages and fewer hours.
Mr. Shote was away at one of his palaces in the South.

“Now all the trouble might have ended in a decent compromise that day if
the boss of the ‘Leatherheads’ on duty at the time had had the power and
courage to act on his own judgment and do a really big thing for once in
his life. He didn’t have it. The wheels stopped.

“The king returned. His irritation was heard in distant places. He would
never yield. His men were no longer ‘Leatherheads.’ They were inversely
promoted. It was a critical time in the business. The plant went into
default on its contracts. The king stood firm; so did the workers.

“The plant was idle for months. It was the beginning of the end of Mr.
Shote’s prosperity. His rivals captured his best men and his customers
and most of the good will he had enjoyed. The business went down like a
house of cards.

“We often say that business is business here in America. It isn’t so.
Business is more, much more than mere business here in America. It is
friendship, it is personality, it is credit--the credit for good sense
and square dealing and high character--a character that is shared in
some measure by every servant of the enterprise, be he manager or errand

“That cohesive power that flows out of a great personality into the
whole structure of a business was not in the warp and woof of Mr.
Shote’s commercial ramifications. They came to grief. So did Mr. Shote.

“Then we discovered suddenly that Mr. Shote had two wives and two
families. As a husband and a father he had enjoyed a success at once
unusual and unsuspected. A superman is generally super married. He had
acquired imperial morals. The second wife appealed to the courts in a
wild yell for her stopped allowance and the result was that, in a short
time, Mr. Shote stood alone and universally despised between two family
fires. His efficiency had gone too far.

“Again I say, success is the worst of teachers--save to those who sit in
the grand stand while it is working out its failure. Unfortunately, it
gave the laboring men of this country a lesson in Williamism which has
spread over America. I wish the workers all success in getting their
just share of the fruits of commerce, but let it be done by fair,
democratic methods and not through Williamism.

“Above all no man should hitch his conscience to a post as if it were a
mule or a nanny-goat and go off and leave it.

“It is to be hoped that the patriotic Samuel Gompers will not abandon
his pursuit of Williamism even after the war ends.

“The big point of the whole thing is this: One day the Leatherhead
Monarch, came into this office, closed the door behind him, sat down
beside me and said:

“‘Mr. Potter, I see that I have the intellect of an idiot. What shall I
do to be saved?’

“At last he had learned something--a really serviceable and important
fact--and he had learned it not by success but by failure.”

As he approached his climax, Mr. Potter had shown a little annoyance
at the arrival of the waiter and the hash and the eggs and the pie. Mr.
Potter rose, stood his rifle in a corner and said:

“I regret that my climax and this wandering Ganymede with his load of
hash should have arrived at the same moment.”

The waiter spread the table in front of the fireplace. Mr. Potter put a
coin in his hand and pointing at the door said:

“Go hence and come not back until to-morrow.”

He placed chairs by the table and we sat down.

“Is this pie, apple, that I see before me the handle toward my hand?” he
playfully remarked, as he lifted a firm built piece of pie in his hand
and began to eat it in the old fashion. “Bread may be the staff of life,
but pie is the light in its windows. I don’t want to be hurried by its
invitation, so I guess I’ll get it out of the way.”


Our dinner over, Mr. Potter put a new log on the fire. Then we set the
table aside and lighted our cigars.

“There is another sector in the line of the Williamites that is pretty
thoroughly dug in,” said the Honorable Socrates, as he put his feet upon
the fender and leaned back comfortably in his chair. “Let me tell you
the story of


“She was a Williamistic widow--the relict of the late Samuel Butters.

“She was also a Shrimpstone, of Kalamazoo. My friend, why do you sit
there in cold indifference when I mention a fact so inspiring?”

“Who were the Shrimpstones?” I inquired.

“The Shrimpstones! Jiminy crickets! Is it possible that you are not
familiar with the fame of Joshua Shrimpstone?”

“I have to plead guilty,” was my answer.

“To tell you the truth, so do I,” he went on, “but my own ignorance
never surprises me. There is so much of it that a little more or less
does not matter. It is the ignorance of so many of my fellow
countrymen regarding this important subject that fills me with pity and
astonishment. I have never met a man who could give me the slightest
information regarding the Shrimpstones.

“It would seem that Mrs. Butters enjoys an arrogant and heartless
monopoly of all knowledge about them. One does not feel like asking her
to dispel his ignorance when she speaks the word ‘Shrimpstone’ as if it
opened vistas of incomparable splendor and inspiration. No, there are
things which even a lawyer can not do. There is a special look
in her eye and a lyrical note in her voice when she says ‘my
grandfather, the late Joshua Shrimpstone.’ I imagine that Bill
Hohenzollern looks like that when he says: ‘My grandfather, Frederick
the Great’ But I imagine, too, that Bill’s manner is a bit more casual.

“I had done some business for Mrs. Butters now and then, and one day she
came to get my advice on a strictly personal matter. Her son, John
Shrimpstone Butters, was just out of college. She had expected Butters &
Bronson, of the great corset factory, in which she had a considerable
interest, to take him into the firm and give him a commanding position
in the office. As they had not come forward with an invitation, she had
asked them for that favor. They had refused--actually and firmly
refused--and what do you think they had offered John--a great grandson
of Joshua Shrimpstone? Why, they had offered him a place as errand boy
at five dollars a week. They actually expected him to begin at the
bottom of the ladder and work his way up as if he were nothing more than
the ambitious son of a ditch digger. Mrs. Butters lost her self-control
and sobbed as she confided the distressing fact to me.

“I told her that I would have a talk with Bill Bronson, the head of the
firm, and see what could be done about it, and she left me.

“In my talk with him, Bill said:

“‘We should like to do anything we can for Mrs. Butters’s boy but all
we can do is to give him a chance--the same chance that my own boy will
have. He can begin at the bottom and we will push him along from one
department to another as rapidly as he can master its details. He must
learn every process from the making to the delivery of the goods. Above
all, he must learn to be a good salesman. After a few years he might
become the Butters of Butters & Bronson if he were willing to work

“I wired Mrs. Butters to call again at my office. She called. I told her
what Bill Bronson had said to me.

“‘What!’ she exclaimed. ‘He expects my son to become a common drummer
and travel around selling goods to little shopkeepers! Impossible!’

“‘Why?’ I asked.

“‘Because he does not have to. My grandfather, the late Joshua
Shrimp-stone, left us enough so that we do not have to do that kind of
thing. Besides. I do not think it is necessary. My son has intelligence
enough to learn those menial pursuits without having to do them.’

“‘You are wrong,’ I said. ‘The American way is to begin at the bottom.
It’s a very good way--the only way by which one may be thoroughly
prepared for management. In that way he gets hold of the sense that is
common in the rank and file of his army, and knowing that, he will know
what to do in every emergency.’

“‘If that is true, John might as well have been born poor. Does his
position and the fact that I have five thousand shares of stock count
for nothing?’

“‘Well, you get dividends on the stock. If you expect to get dividends
also on the position that you got from your grandfather you are wrong.
In this country we have no crown princes who begin at the top. Inherited
superiority is an amusing thing to look at but a poor foundation for
credit. In this country we bank on demonstrated superiority.’

“Mrs. Butters rose and haughtily withdrew from my office with the pride
of the Shrimpstones glittering in her eye.

“Now, John Butters was a good fellow. He was over-mothered. Indeed, the
word for it is smothered. He was like a man cast into the sea with a
Shrimpstone tied around his neck. He would have done well with half a
chance. I never saw a man so badly in need of poverty, so damned with
affectionate, gilded, comfortable female despotism. She bought one
business after another for him and put him in at the top. He has failed
in all these undertakings. His way is littered with broken crowns and
the wreckage of little kingdoms.

“Now his youth is gone and he is the same useless, ineffective good
fellow that he was in the beginning. For years he and his mother have
been sitting on that high horse of hers and galloping around to the
amusement of all beholders. He has got tired of it and jumped off and
settled down as the clerk of a wife who takes him lightly.

“He is the victim of assumed superiority which is nothing more or less
than Williamism.”


The Honorable Socrates Potter went to the typewriter and got some oil
and a cloth and began to clean the gun of his great grandfather as he

“You see, William says: To hell with the common man. Let him do the work
and the fighting. We’ll take the product of toil and the loot of war and
enjoy ourselves. We will not have a thing to do but super. If we glut
the officers of the army and our leading citizens with, the product and
the loot, they’ll stand by us.

“Is it not significant that the number of plutocrats in Germany has
doubled since the war began? William proposes to make human slaughter a
business. He is running a giant butcher shop.

“Every idler, every superer is an ally of William and an enemy of

“But they seem to get the best of it--these superers,” I suggested.
“They have a lot of fun.”

“They seem to, but, soon or late, they learn it hasn’t paid. They come
to grief or insanity--these slackers in the game of life. Let me tell
you the little story of


“She had the most curious and painful brainful of sense preferred in the
whole show.

“When I was a small boy my pocket was one day dispossessed of some green
apples, a quantity of horse nails and lead sinkers, a squirt gun, a
bird’s nest; a piece of beeswax and a hawk’s wing. This collection would
rank high as an exhibit of eccentric assets, but the contents of this
lady’s mind belongs in the same alcove.

“It is to be credited to Alabama where she was born about sixty years
before I met her in Paris last summer. She had a charming southern
accent. It was the best thing she had. I liked it. I like all those
little provincialisms which have the flavor of their native air and
soil. Why shouldn’t the manner of decent men and women grow in the way
of nature out of their environment? I love the drawl that is the natural
product of New England, the quaint, indolent slur of Dixieland, the
breezy dialect of the Far West. If they all talked alike what a dull
country we should have!

“Certain of the schools are trying to force a common method of speech.
It is the dialect of Mayfair and Fifth Avenue. It would seem that they
wish to turn us into human bricks of the same size, grade and color.
Under the encouragement of Mr. Henry James, whose slender Americanism
perished at last in formal expatriation, our New York and New England
girls have begun to talk like Duchesses. But among women of the South
and the Far West, you may still hear the real, genuine American talk. To
me it is refreshing.

“At least this may be said for The Wedding Tourist--she was no
school-made, rococo Duchess. She was as real and unaffected as a bale of

“Sometimes I call her The Grasshopper Widow because she was always
on the move. She had hopped twice around the world and back. When she
needed a husband she reached out and grabbed one and hastened away on
another wedding tour as if nothing had happened.

“To her, life was a series of wedding tours. She had jumped from one
honeymoon to another in the most casual and engaging fashion. She was,
indeed, a kind of professional honey-mooner who from the beginning of
her matrimonial career had enjoyed the pseudonym of Baby. Inns, table
d’hôtes, ruins, art galleries, theaters, scenery and honey-fuglement had
filled her life.

“She had explored the capitals of the world with real feminine
curiosity. She had loved their music and doted upon their art and tasted
their religion and rustled in their silks and generally beat the bushes
to see what would run out.

“When we first met, a remark of hers suggested my query:

“‘Was your husband a Yale man?’

“‘Which one? I’ve had two an’ a half.’

“‘Two and a half I I never heard of a fractional husband before.’

“‘My first husband was only half a man, suh. I married my guardian when
I was sixteen. He nevah would do a thing between trips but sit around
an’ eat an’ drink mint juleps. We went on our wedding tour and I kept
him going for two years, but it was hard work. Nearly wore me out. He
was like one of those toys that you have to wind up before it will go.
Always had a pain in his feet--nevah could dance or do a thing but just
sit, or ride on the cars or in a spring wagon. Lordy, girls! don’t evah
marry a man ‘til you’ve tried his feet an’ have confidence in ‘em. Now,
you hear me! He nevah did do a thing to please me but call me “Baby.”

“The next man I married had a sistuh with a weak mind by the name of
Peggy. I had to look after her an’ she’d take out her mind, like, an’
open it an’ show it to everybody that came into the house, an’ turn it
inside out as if she was right proud of it. Honestly, it reminded me of
my boy when he got his first watch--how he’d open it an’ show you the
works an’ then hold it up to your ear so you could hear it tick. That’s
what Peggy was always doing with her mind, recitin’ poetry or showin’
you pearls of thought taken out of the clam beds of her intellect. It
certainly was awful!

“Tercy Higginbottom had a wooden leg an’ limped some, but the worst
thing about him was Peggy. I have erected a monument a mile high to that
man in the graveyard of my memory. He was right good to me. He would
stump around all day lookin’ at sights and take me to the theater in the
evening and to supper afterwards and nevah murmured. Sometimes his leg
got sore but he kept up.

“‘I married him in Paris. We started off on our weddin’ tour an’ it
lasted about fifteen years. We traveled an’ traveled all that time. We
played we was just married and on our honeymoon.

“‘He used to say: “Baby, what a wonderful time we are having on this
wedding tour.”’

“‘We had two children--a boy and a girl. Once a year we’d come back to
Paris and spend two or three months with them.’

“‘You didn’t take them with you?’

“‘We left them with Mr. Higginbottom’s mothah an’ a nurse an’ governess.
Peggy, the sistuh with a weak mind, went with us--she was all the care
we needed. She knew enough to hook an’ button my dresses an’ help me
pack. She was the only black spot in all those happy years.

“‘Percy took care o’ my jewels. It was all he had to do.’

“‘A tender husband and a watch dog of the jewels!’ I remarked.

“‘And there were hours when it kept him mighty busy--you hear me. I
can’t help laughin’ whenever I think of it.

“‘Once we missed one of my rings. We thought it had been stolen. The
hotel manager had every maid and bell boy brought into our room and
searched. Suddenly Percy found it in a waistcoat pocket.

“‘One evening we were gettin’ off a steamer. Suddenly I slapped my hand
on my breast and yelled:

“‘“My sunburst! Lord o’ mercy! it’s gone!”’

“‘I was suah that I had put it on. We ran back up the gangway. We had
only five minutes. Peggy fainted away--she was that weak-minded. You
didn’t dare sneeze for fear she would faint away. Percy grabbed her. I
ran for the stateroom an’ found the sunburst where I had left it under
my pillow. We were all in, believe me--it nearly killed us. When
we moved Percy always called the roll like: “The ruby ring,” an’ I
answered, “Here.”’

“The jade necklace.”

“Here.” Like that, until we knew that we had them all. That evening we
didn’t have time.

“‘But we certainly did see the world until we lost something better than
all the jewels. Lordy! Lordy! what a world it is!’

“‘The boy died when he was eight. We were in Cairo. We hurried back to
Paris. Mr. Higginbottom was nevah the same after that. I nevah could get
him out of Paris again. He died there.

“‘My next husband was the dearest and best man that evah did live. I met
him here in Paris. His name was Horton. Weighed three hundred and fifty
pounds. Some man! I says to myself: Now here’s a man that’ll las’ me as
long as I live. He drank too much, but I soon cured him o’ that. He gave
it up entirely an’ our weddin’ tour lasted ‘til he died.’

“‘Perhaps it wore him out,’ I suggested.

“‘No, he liked it and we were just as happy as two turtle doves. When
I asked him to do anything, he would always say: “Well, Baby, you know

“‘But he couldn’t walk much. Weight was his great weakness. If you were
jus’ to think of him as a husband he was a little heavy; but no man is

“‘We had a big limousine an’ he toted me around in that an’ hired a maid
to climb stairs an’ go to the churches an’ theaters an’ art galleries
with me.’

“‘My daughtah had married an’ settled in Chicago. One Decembah we
thought it would be nice to go and spend Christmas with her. I just
thought I’d stop beating around and get acquainted with my own family.
We left Paris on the tenth and reached Chicago on the twenty-second. I
called my daughtah on the telephone from our hotel.’

“‘“My goodness! Is that you?” she said.

“‘“Yes,” I said, “we have come all the way from Paris to spend Christmas
with you.”

“‘I’m awfully sorry, mothah,” she says. “The house will be full
Christmas Day, but we’ll have you for New Yeah’s.”

“She stopped and wiped the tears from her eyes.

“‘Say, I felt as if I had been hit with an axe. My husband said:

“‘Well, Baby, I guess they don’t want us. Don’t you mind. We’ll have a
good Christinas dinner here at the hotel and then we’ll go and spend a
month in New York.”

“‘I stopped traveling and went to thinking. Poor Mr. Horton didn’t live
long. Now he’s gone an’ I haven’t anybody. No, my daughtah does not
care for me. Her ol’ nurse lives with her--an ignorant French woman. I
offered to work hard if she would send that nurse away an’ take me to
live with her. She wouldn’t do it--no, suh! She loves that nurse an’
doesn’t care for me--not the snap of her fingah. I have been trying to
get a chance to work for the Red Cross. My money is about gone. They
say money talks but all it evah says to me is “good-by.” My daughtah’s
husband has offered me a small allowance, but I will not take their
money--no, suh! One wants affection from her daughtah--not charily!
Lordy! what a world it is an’ what fools we are!’

“‘You’ve been playing ever since you were a little girl, and you’re

“‘Yes, I’m tired. I remember how my big brother used to come an’ plague
me an’ break my toys. That is what Death has been doing to me. Wouldn’t
let me alone. I reckon he saw how foolish I was. I’ve seen about
everything but I think the grandest sight in the world would be some one
who was glad to see _me_. You can’t make friends an’ be always on the

“I suppose she had come back to Paris to comb the beach for another
wreck. But her beauty was gone--so was her occupation of Baby.

“Often, I wonder just how the story is to end--the story of that
pathetic woman who was reaping what she had sown--the harvest of the
childless mother.

“Well, anyhow, at last, common sense had landed in her intellect. She
had never given it a chance before. Hadn’t stood still long enough.”


Mr. Potter had got through with the gun. He rose and went to the wash
basin as if intending to wash his hands. He turned suddenly as if he
thought Germany were more in need of a washing. He strode toward me with
a new idea gleaming in his eye and said:

“Darn it, I ain’t got time to wash now. These Germans claim that they
are the freest people in the world, and they are right.”

He thumped the table with a shut fist as he resumed his talk.

“One kind of liberty thrives under the Hohenzollerns: license is the
precise word for it--not liberty--license to eat and drink and be sorry-
-to satisfy the appetites of the flesh. The great crowd will stand a lot
of tampering with its rights if you give it a good time--a broad
privilege of self-indulgence. The Germans were a great people when Bill
Hohenzollern took the reins of power--good-natured, industrious, God-
fearing. The young men were encouraged to found their happiness on the
sands of women, wine and song.

“The wine press and the beer vat are the indispensable adjuncts of
Hohenzollerism. Alcohol is the balm of the mislaid conscience, the
nourishment of the big-head and the pneumatic brain. These things lead
to worse things. Swinish indulgence leads to the morals of the

“The church began to lose its power. The clergy were treated as
Frederick treated the common soldier. They were kicked into servility.
At first this kicking was politely done. Often the sore part was salved
by the gift of a hundred marks. They were treated like hired men. They
were to understand that they were just humble servants and that the
Kaiser needed none of their advice. He knew all about the plans of God.
Of course, in a little while, no man of brains and character would go
near a pulpit. The priests of God became servile sycophants. The people
ceased to respect them. The church had lost its power. To Germany it was
an immeasurable loss.

“In France I found good evidence of the utter depravity of the German
soldier. God knows I would not have thought it possible--the raping,
the maiming of children, the daughters of whole communities carried into
bondage. I would have thought that the decency common among dogs, even,
in a Christian country, these days, would have shielded the helpless
from such cruelty. It is evident that the officers gave countenance and
encouragement to these crimes, or they could not have been accomplished.
At the knowledge of these things, a cry of shame for their brothers in
Germany has risen from the lips of all civilized men the world over.

“The infamy goes back to the men higher up--to Bill Hohenzollern and his
gang of pirates and highwaymen. They have slain the soul of Germany.

[Illustration: 0101]

“I am told by men who have lived there that in certain provinces a
chaste woman is a thing unknown. Let us hope this exaggerates the truth.
As to that I have no knowledge. But that the land of the Kaiser has lost
its chivalry I have no doubt whatever. The loss of chivalry stands for
the loss of conscience--for moral degradation. A man’s value as a man
may be accurately measured by his respect for women. A man who has no
respect for women will have respect for your rights only because he has
to. He would steal your purse if he dared. He is rotten to the core.
Moreover, unless women are pure there can be no purity because they have
the tender soul of childhood in their keeping.

“We ought to establish a moral quarantine here and save ourselves from
the peril of German leprosy. It has arrived. It is spreading. You will
find its symptoms in our theaters, now largely in the hands of the

“I have traveled much these late years and have failed to find an
American city in which there was not one or more plays or moving
pictures which reflected the morals of the swine-yard. There I have
found girls and boys and children who are to make the life of America,
drinking at the fountain of pollution, cleverly designed by the sex
maniacs who live in the white lights of Broadway. On every sort of
specious pretext--mostly that of warning the young--spaniel youths
and porcelain-faced daughters of iniquity are paraded in libidinous
enterprises. The cabarets and brothels of New York, with their fist
fights between young women, their desperate, bull-dog encounters between
sex maniacs, their ogling, besotted degenerates, sometimes with a
lame pretense of a moral and sometimes without it, are shown for the
entertainment of young America.

“The Huns have already invaded America, my friend. They are armed with
things more deadly than guns and bullets. Their gun is the camera, their
ammunition, the moving picture. That picture penetrates to the heart
and soul of the young and no surgery can remove it. To them, seeing is

“A man is mostly the sum of his memories. Think back and tell me what
you remember of your childhood. It’s the pictures you saw. I think the
first thing I remember is the picture of a cat which my mother drew on a
slate for me--a highly benevolent cat it was. The one I have remembered
best is that of my mother standing in the morning sunlight among the
hollyhocks by the open door and waving her handkerchief to me the day I
went away to school. How often it has flashed out of my memory in these
last forty years. There is no power like that of a picture for good or
evil in the life of a child. Pictures are, indeed, the universal
language of childhood.

“Now what is there in this special claim of the sex mongers that the
truth about life--however hideous and revolting it may be--would best
be known of all? Just this--it should be made known but not publicly in
books and theaters. It should not be made a familiar thing--sitting at
meat and lying down in bed with the sensitive imagination of the young.
That will be sure to make it the one great truth of life. I prefer
the privacy of home and the loving caution of a mother, taking care to
impart the whole truth with its setting of perils and with no glamour
of romance about it. I would as soon have my daughter’s feet enter a
brothel as her brain. She might shake the dust from her feet.

“What were the fruits of this home method in old New England? I would
remind these European Americans who provide our amusements for us that
the world has never seen a civilization like that of old New England.
I am not saying that it had no faults, but its human product has justly
excited the wonder and admiration of the world. There was not much of
it. You could pick up those six little states and set them down within
the boundaries of Minnesota and have 19,200 square miles to spare. Yet
they gave to the world in the space of forty years, men of the stamp of
Daniel Webster, Silas Wright, Charles Sumner, William Lloyd Garrison,
William M. Evarts, George F. Edmunds, James G. Blaine, E. J. Phelps,
Rufus Choate, Henry Ward Beecher, Dr. Channing, Lyman Abbott, Ralph
Waldo Emerson, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Henry W. Longfellow, John G.
Whittier, James Russell Lowell, Edmund C. Stedman, the Dwights, the

“Wouldn’t that seem to be doing fairly well?

“Now the fact is, men and women long for inspiration to a nobler life.
There are those who will tell you that the crowds who go to hear Billy
Sunday, do it simply to be amused. It is not true. It is a deeper thing.
They go, driven by soul hunger. They long for wholesome food for
the spirit. They wish to be stirred to nobler action and feel the
inspiration of better ideals. They come by tens of thousands.

“There never was a clean, uplifting, noble work of fiction that did not
number its readers by the million. There never was a strong inspiring
play--like _Peter Pan_ or _Shore Acres_--that failed to play to the full
capacity of the house in which it was presented for years.

“Why then, ask us to wallow in all uncleanness--in the swine-yard of

“It is because uncleanness is cheaper and easier to get and is sure of
an audience equally large and less discriminating; it is because these
Huns care only for their own pockets and not a fig for the public good.

“Now, here is a work for the women of America. Here is a battle front on
which they can fight the Huns. Men can help and will help, but they are
busy with the more obvious and commonplace problems. This is a job of
housecleaning. It is primarily a woman’s job--that of setting in
order the great house of America and looking after the welfare of its
children. There is no greater work to be done than that of regenerating
the theater. They can do it if they will.”


The Honorable Socrates Potter hung up the old rifle and washed his
hands. There was a very gentle look in his eyes as he began pacing the
floor. I saw: that another mood was coming.

“We must learn that wealth is no excuse for idleness or pride,” he went
on. “Every one must find his work and do it, or come to grief--that is
the conclusion of the whole matter. We have our European Americans--our
Mislaid Consciences, our Leatherhead Monarchs, our Smothered Sons, our
Shrimpstones, our Wedding Tourists. We must use the slipper with a firm
but kindly hand, and remind them that they are of the Hohenzollern
breed and request them to fall in line and get the pace and spirit of

“With all our faults we are, in the main, sound and healthy. Our average
man can be relied upon. He is our heart and sinew. We need not boast of
him. He is willing to give all rather than see the spirit of man yield
an inch of the progress it has made. That is enough to say of him. If
any European country can match him, we are glad and he is glad--not

“Our average man would enjoy a drink now and then, but in many of our
states he has said: ‘If the good of humanity demands it, let there be
prohibition--anyhow we will give it a trial.’

“The trouble with Russia lies in the fact that among its people there
are no individuals--no men trained in the use of the intellect and the
conscience. Its people are like bricks, all of the same shape, size
and color--all two inches wide and six inches long. They have a common
denominator of material and a common numerator of ignorance. Between
them and their rulers there has been no average man to speak for them,
so the people are helpless. They know not what to say or do. They have
been Kerenskyed and Trotskyfied and driven about like cattle.

“The Germans have an average man, but he has suffered himself to be
Williamized. His conscience has been mislaid.

[Illustration: 0117]

“Since 1860 this average man of ours has given of his blood and
substance for the ideals of Democracy and with not the remotest hope of
gain. His God is the father of the whole human family--a God of progress
whose aim is not the selfish enjoyment of a favored few, but the welfare
of all men the world over. His aim is, in short, common sense--a common
sense of honor and decency and brotherhood in the great family.

“Again we fight for this ideal--driven to it by the hateful conduct of
our brothers in Germany.

“I wish you would say for me to the folks at home that there is a great
opportunity in this big common purpose of ours--an opportunity to drop
all outworn and unessential differences of creed and get together. Let
us inaugurate the Ismless Sunday and cut out the waste--the waste of
rent and interest and coal and light and energy. Let us cut out the
empty seats and the empty preachers and the quarrelsome brothers and
sisters and get together in the biggest meeting-house in town on a
basis of common sense--the common sense of the fatherhood of God and the
brotherhood of man with Christ as the great example. Let us not worry
and quarrel as to whether Christ was God or man. He was the first
and greatest Democrat and would have us work together in peace for
Democracy. That is the important thing.

“Tell those ladies who sit around the fireplace knitting sweaters and
indulging in delicious chills of pessimism, to quit. There should be
an asylum for the misery lovers who sit in snug security and dream of
misfortunes--Zeppelin raids, submarine bombardments and the end of the
world. They grab at every straw of pessimism. Nothing pleases them so
much as to find fault with the Government, which is doing its best with
a difficult problem, and mighty well at that.

“Tell them to stop shooting at the pianist. He is the only one we have.
All faces to the front! The spirit of Democracy is _confidence_ in the
justice and the success of its cause. Let there be no discordant voices
in our chorus.

“That reminds me of the story of


“In the town of my birth there lived a hen-pecked farmer of the name of
Amos Swope. He was a peaceful and contented soul without any good excuse
for it. His wife, Ann Maria, was a scold and a fault finder. She had
pecked upon Amos for years. When she got tired her sister came and
helped her. My father used to say that they reminded him of Philo
Scott’s pet crane. Philo used to lead him around with a big cork stuck
on the end of his bill.

“‘What is that cork on his bill for?’ my father asked.

“‘So’s ‘t he can’t peck,’ said Philo.

“‘Can he peck?’

“‘Tolerable severe, an’ when he hits anything he calcallates to put a
hole in it, an’ he ain’t often disapp’inted. One day my dog, Christmas,
tackled him and the old crane fetched Christmas a peck on the forward
an’ I ain’t seen that dog since. He’s just naturally mean an’ he ain’t
never learnt how to control himself.’

“So it was with Ann Maria and her sister. But Amos used to sit as quiet
and unconcerned as an old tree with a pair of wood-peckers knockin’ away
at it. He never pecked back but once.

“They had gone up to the St. Lawrence to camp out an’ fish for a week or
so--Amos and his boy, Bill, and Ann Maria and her sister. One day when
they were landing a big fish they got into the stiff current above the
Long Sault. Something had to be done right away. Amos dropped his tackle
and began pulling on the oars. Bill went to work with his paddle. The
women began to complain an’ move around and rock the boat. They knew
they were going to be drowned. They insisted upon it with loud cries.
Amos, in the midst of heroic efforts, tried to quiet them. They
continued to cry out and when the boat shipped water they dodged. It was
a bad situation.

“Amos fetched Ann Maria a cuff and told her to dry up an’ sit still. The
women obeyed him. When they were out of danger he said:

“‘It ain’t fair to expect a man to rassle with a strong current an’ run
an insane asylum all in the same minute. If ye can’t help, don’t hinder.
You two have been rockin’ the boat for years an’ I guess it’s about time
ye quit.’

“People used to say that Ann Maria turned over a new leaf and behaved
herself proper after that.

“There’s some folks that are pecking at the country these days. We’re
in the current of the Long Sault and Uncle Sam has the oars. We should
remember that if we can’t help we mustn’t hinder. We can help William a
lot by just yelling and rocking the boat.

“I wish you would say to the boys in camp on both sides of the ocean
that I should like to go and share their work and perils. Last autumn
I crossed the French and British lines where hostile shells were
bursting--sometimes uncomfortably near me--and went within ninety feet
of the German trenches. I have tried the perils which our boys will have
to suffer, but, unfortunately, I am too old to fight with them.

“It is a great privilege they enjoy--that of going out to battle for
honor and decency and the good of the world. They have entered the great
university of common sense. There is no other like it. What a school
is that comradeship of the camp and the trenches! For the first time in
history the whole civilized world stands shoulder to shoulder.”

“Do you think our boys are likely to profit by their experience?” I

“It all depends on the boy.

“Let me tell you a story just as I heard it from the lips of an American
soldier lad. I would call it:


“He was a big, broad shouldered, brawny man with a rugged manner of
speech. He described himself very well when he said to me: I can think
as pure white as anybody but I want to talk like a he man.’

“He had been wounded by a burst of shrapnel and was not badly hurt,
although one side of his face looked as if it had been raked by the
claws of a leopard. He had told me that for a day after the accident
he had heard a sound in his head ‘like two skeletons rassling on a tin

“Who but an American soldier in France would talk like that? Indeed
I found that he was from Kansas City and had the mixed dialect of the

“‘Do you think it makes ye better or worse--this game of war?’ I asked.

“‘Well, sir, I’d say better,’ he answered. ‘Ye get things measured up
right, over here. Ye learn how to use yer thinker. Nobody knows what
peace and home and friends are worth ‘til they’re gone and ye don’t know
whether you’re ever going to see ‘em again or not It ain’t a bad thing
to live the all he life a while and see the family in dreams. They look
so gol durnably different. I reckon it’s helped me. Maybe I better
tell ye a little story and you’ll see what I mean. It’ll be a Christmas

“‘We were in the ruined city of Peronne that Christmas Day. My friend
and I were homesick and had tramped across country from the camp of our
engineering corps to send a message to our wives in Kansas City, and
to blow ourselves to a good dinner with a bottle of wine and cigars if
money could buy ‘em. We were a little over beaned and tea!--gosh! we
were soaked in it, and that French tobacco reminded me of my father’s
cure for the epizootic. We had been gander-dancing on a new railroad for
weeks. We were shovel tired and kind o’ man weary. By thunder! we hadn’t
seen a woman in three months.

“‘You who see women every day don’t realize that they’re a pretty
necessary part of the scenery. Oh, you don’t miss ‘em for a week or
so, but by and by you begin to find out there’s something wrong. Things
don’t look right. The hole in the doughnut is too big. You’d be kind
o’ glad to hear what somebody said at the Woman’s Club, and all about
Betsey Baker’s new pink silk, and how shabby that one old dress of
your wife’s was getting to be. You’d like to see a set o’ skirts come
along--I _guess._ It would kind o’ comfort you. If you didn’t have
pretty good self-control you’d get up and wave your hat and holler.

“‘Then--_children_--that’s another thing you miss. We don’t see ‘em on
the battle front--ne’er a one! What a hole they make in the world when
you take ‘em out of it!--especially if you’ve got some of your own. They
come to me in my dreams--the wife and babies! I’ll bet ye there’s
more’n a thousand of ‘em crowding into that big camp every night, about
dream-time, and looking for theirs.

“‘Oh, I wouldn’t have ye get the idea that we set and sob and talk mush
and look sorrowful there. If you just grabbed a look at us and went on
you’d say we were no Hamlets. Gosh, no! We play cards and joke and laugh
and tell stories a plenty. You wouldn’t get what’s down under it all
unless some feller kind o’ confessed and turned state’s evidence. No,
sir--I don’t believe you would.

“‘I’m just telling ye enough to make ye understand why We went out to
Peronne that Christmas Day and what happened to us there. I speak
French pretty glib--that’s another reason why we went. My mother was
a Louisiana French woman. I got it from her when I was a little
chap--never forgot it--and I bossed a gang of Frenchmen for two years.

“‘We found a man who ran a little grocery shop and restaurant down in
one of the old cellars. He had had a fine big café up-stairs before the
German army swatted the town with dynamite. He was a sad little man who
lived down there in the lamplight with his wife. The Huns had carried
their two daughters away with them. He had cleaned the litter out of his
cellars and repaired their walls and so they had a home and something to

“‘I asked him if he could get up a good dinner for us.

“‘“Oui, Monsieur,” he answered promptly. “I can get you a fine duck and
celery and preserved strawberries, and I could make a little pastry.”

“‘“How much for the dinner?”

“‘“Thirty francs--I can not make it less.”

“‘“Make it forty and we’ll call it a bargain,” I urged.

“‘You should have seen the smile on his face then.

“‘“Les Americans! They always talk like that--God be with them!” he
said. “Trust me, Monsieur. I will make you happy.”

“‘Dinner would be ready in two hours and we went out for a walk and
a look at the waste of ruins. It seemed as if there were miles of
them--honestly! You see they loaded every basement with dynamite and
wired the whole place and then touched the button. Down it came. There
isn’t a roof standing. We tramped about looking for relics. It was a
pretty day and warm in the sunlight.

“‘Suddenly a woman, dressed in black, with a little girl about six years
old--spick and span and pretty as a picture--came along. They looked
like angels to us. Didn’t seem so they was exactly human. We stood
watching ‘em.

“‘I reckon I’d have give about a year o’ my life for a day’s use o’ that
kid--honestly. I’d just like to have got down on the ground and rolled
and hollered and tickled and tossed her just as I used to play with my
own kids. My hands itched to get hold of her. We followed along behind
‘em kind o’ hankerin’ and a wishin’. She was a pretty little thing as ye
ever looked at, with curly hair hanging down on her shoulders and shiny,
silver buckled slippers and white stockin’s. I just wanted to frame up
some kind of excuse to speak to ‘em, but I suppose they wouldn’t have
understood me.

“‘They stopped and looked around a minute and then the woman opened
an iron gate and they went into one of the old dooryards. When we came
along we saw that the woman was sitting amongst the rubbish and crying.

“‘“It’s her home--dummed if it ain’t,” I whispered.

“‘I reckon ‘twas natural for ‘em to come back to it on Christmas
Day--plumb natural to come back to where they had been happy once with
all the family around. What a place! You’d think that an earthquake
and a cyclone had gone into partnership for about a minute and done a
smashing business. About half the back wall was standing and there hung
a little corner of the attic floor and the wind had blown the dirt up
there and some flowers and grass all withered by the cold had sprung up
in it, and beyond that was an old baby carriage with a ragged top and a

“‘The little girl didn’t seem to notice her mother. She was running
around on the ruins and picking up broken dishes. I reckon that kid had
got used to the crying of men and women. The sight of grief didn’t worry
her any more--not a bit. She was flying around like a bird on the ruins.

“‘We sat down behind some bushes by the iron fence just to see what

“‘By and by I heard the little girl call in a voice that kind o’ made me
swaller--honest it was as sweet as the first bird song in the spring.

“‘“Mother! Mother!” she called.

“‘“What is it--little one!” the mother answered.

“‘“Dinner’s ready.”

“Talk about silver bells! Say, mister, never again! Honest, I never heard
a sound like the voice of that kid. It kind o’ floored me--sure thing!
Up there at the front we just hear the growling of cannon and the
whinnying of horses and the swearing of men day and night. Maybe that’s
why the kid’s voice took hold of us that way. I don’t know. After I had
heard it I felt as if I could walk to Kansas City. Honest Injun!

“‘We peeked through the bushes and saw that the little girl had dragged
a board between her and her mother and covered it with broken dishes.
Then she began to chitter-chatter.

“‘Here’s some lovely soup and there’s a fine goose and a great bowl full
of the best jelly that ever was and potatoes and celery and spinach and
everything that you like, mother. It’s a Christmas dinner you know.
Papa will sit here and Henri will sit there and we are going to have the
grandest time.”

“‘So the little chatter-box went on--good deal like a fine lady--and her
mother said:

“‘“Papa! Henri! They are not here! They will eat no more with? us.”


“’”_Mort pour la patrie_--both of them! my child!”

“‘“No, mother, they are here. I can see them just as plain! Come,
mother, they are waiting!”

“‘Oh, by thunder! If I only had a mind like that I said to myself--a
mind that hadn’t got so kind of stiff and sore and muscle bound--a mind
that was so clean and supple and that hadn’t forgotten how to believe in
the things I do not see. Or do ye suppose that the clear eyes of a kid
can realty see things that we can’t?

“‘“God bless you--nay little saviour! You know how to make me
happy--don’t ye?” said the mother with her handkerchief at her eyes.

“Then they both sat down there and began to eat that ghostly dinner with
the ghosts of the dead.

“‘Gosh all hemlock! I just shut my eyes and heard a sound like a wind
blowing in my head. I turned and whispered to my pal.’

“‘“You stay here. I’ll be back right away.”’

“Then I sloped on my tiptoes. Went to the cellar and found that man
and brought him with me. I told him to invite them to dinner and that I
would pay for it. I didn’t care if it took the last sous marquee in my

“When we got back they were both singing _The Marseillaise_, that
my mother taught me when I was a kid, as they sat at their Christmas

                   Amour sacré de la patrie

                   Conduis soutiens nos bras vengeurs

                   Liberté Liberté cherie,

                   Combats avec tes défenseurs!

“They heard us coming and stopped. Can ye beat it? Say, mister, the
boches might as well try to conquer the birds of the air.

“The man knew them. They had been well off and respectable folks in
Peronne before the war. Now they were refugees living on charity in a
distant village.

“‘We gave them a part of our dinner but I do not think they were as
happy in the cellar as they had been with the ghosts. They were very
glum but we--well, ye know, sir, I reckon they helped our Christmas a
lot. You bet I do.

“‘Ye know I had him put three extra plates at oar table--one for Mary
and one for little Kate and one for my roguish boy Bill. Say, I had
learned something from that kid--you bet. It isn’t necessary for me to
fall asleep to have ‘em with me now.

“The eats! Say, Fred Harvey wouldn’t be deuce high with that little

“‘We had _some_ dinner, don’t you doubt it, my friend, and forgot that
there was a war.

“‘And ye know the funny part of it is this: Mary wrote me of her dream
that she and the kids had dinner with me on Christmas Day.’

“I have told you this story because it gives you a day in the life of an
American soldier, with its psychological background and a glimpse of the
fatherless children. If you were one of the boys in khaki I would remind
you that, after all, there is only one great thing in the world--man.
What an extension of human sympathy and understanding is coming to you,
my bright young soldier lad! As it comes it will go out in some measure
to the duller fellows who share your thought and meat and perils.

“You will have a wiser brain, a nobler spirit and a stronger body. This
digging and marching and sweating in the open is the best thing that can
happen to you. I often thought that no wiser thing could be done for our
college boys than mobilize them every summer and send them to camp in
the wheat-fields for two or three months of hard work.

“What’s the matter with an army of peace, with its companies, regiments
and divisions, doing, under military discipline, constructive instead of
destructive work--doing the things that need most to be done, getting
in the harvests or building roads? It might give a part of its time each
day to military training, especially to rifle practise. It would be a
school of Democracy. Its best product would be spirit, its next best
brawn, and last of all the work done.

“You will encounter perils in France, my brave lad, and the least of
them will be those of the battle-field. It is when you go to Paris on
leave that I would have you look out for yourself.

“I’m not much of a preacher. I am not so foolish as to think that all
wisdom is in the Bible. To speak honestly, I am inclined to think that
there are many things in the Bible which oughtn’t to be there. The
Kaiser seems to me to be imitating the sanctified slayers of the Old
Testament. You will find chapters there which read like a report of the
German General Staff after a successful drive. It is there that crazy
Bill finds his warrant for disemboweling so many people and mistreating
his prisoners. That kind of history should be summarily deprived of the
odor of sanctity, in my humble opinion.

“But there is one sentence of Scripture that I would have you
remember--my brave, fine fellows who are to fight under this flag
of ours. Having lived some fifty years and been a somewhat careful
observer, I would call it the most impressive sentence ever written. It
is full of vital truth. Every young man ought to read it once a day and
think of it as often as he is tempted. It is from the book of Job and it

“‘His bones are full of the sin of his youth, which shall lie down with
him in the dust.’

“Think it over, boys. Think of that word ‘bones’ which indicates how
deeply it lays hold of you, and of the clause ‘which shall lie down with
him in the dust,’ which indicates that only death can break its hold.

“Don’t let the optimistic young doctors fool you. It is a serious
matter. You can get along with the mud and vermin of the trenches. They
will only afflict the outside of you. The main thing is to keep clean
inside. Don’t allow your life currents to be polluted. See that you
bring bade to your home a clean body.

“You will do this, unless, when you go to Paris or to some other city,
on leave, you fall for that French wine and lose your head in the
process. Let it alone, I beg of you, and remember that your greatest
peril is not on the battle-field.

“Do not for a moment lose faith in the issue. ‘The cause of Liberty
bequeathed from sire to son, though baffled oft is ever won.’

“I have seen how eagerly, how cheerfully the young men at the front
give their lives for something greater than they. It has filled me with

“I have a little farm out here on the hills. It has helped me to
understand the world I live in and especially these boys. How often
I have seen the winds of autumn strip the grove and garden of their
loveliness until nothing was left but dead stalks and bare branches.
The captains and the kings had departed. I have seen them returning--the
delicate green of the new leaves in spring, the grass, the violets, and
here are the familiar sprouts of the poison ivy. I thought that I had
tom the last of it out of the ground last summer, but here it is.

“Everything passes away but it returns, and the noxious ivy is the
most persistent returner of all. I am busy fighting it every spring and

“So it is with this world of men. Caesar dies, despotism is uprooted, as
we thought, and we discover that they have returned and are busy growing
and spreading their roots. Everything returns if you give it a chance.
Herod has returned and is slaying the male children. Pilate has returned
and is sitting in judgment.

[Illustration: 0141]

“Do you tell me that Jesus Christ will return? Nay, I tell you He has
already returned. He is in the camps and on the battle-fields of France
and Belgium. He is in the hearts of the young men who are dying as He
died to make men free.

“So, my young soldier lads of Great Britain, France, Italy and the
United States, I take off my hat and bare my gray head when you march by
me, for I know why you are so brave.”

It was near midnight when the country lawyer and I left his office and
headed up the main street of the village toward his home. After a moment
of silence we reached the public square and then he directed my eyes
toward the glowing lamp of Jupiter in the sky.

“When you get to wondering at God’s neglect of His duty, it’s a good
idea to go out and take a look at the stars riding up there in the
sunlight,” he said. “I guess this little world of ours has got to take
care of itself. Kind o’ looks to me as if God had enough of His own work
to do, especially when so many of us are loafing. I don’t see how we
can complain if we do have to ‘tend to our own business. We’ve been
depending a long time on prayer an’ indolence an’ good luck while we let
the weeds grow in the garden. I rather guess we’ll have to do our own
hoein’. Every man to his hoe! And let’s take care that the weeds don’t
get too far ahead of us again.

“If this planet is to be a safe and decent place to live upon, there
should be an International School Commission agreed as to one main
purpose--that of cultivating good will between the races which inhabit
it. Of course, no power could remove all the lies from history, but I
hope that the lies and also the truth of it could be so put as to rob
them of the seed of bitterness, even against the Germans.”


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