« VorigeDoorgaan »
the moral element squarely in the face and abide by the fact of its tremendous proportion in the scheme of things. The moral element, it cannot be denied, predominates enormously in the human drama. The moral struggle, the creation of character, the moral ideal, failure and success in reaching it, anguish and ecstasy in missing or gaining it, the instinct to extend the appreciation of moral beauty and to worship its Eternal Source-these exist wherever human being does. The whole magnificent play of the moral nature sweeps over the human stage with a force, a splendor, and a diversity of effect which no artist can deny if he would, which the greatest artist never tries to withstand, and against which the smallest will protest in vain.
Strike "ethicism" out of life, good friends, before you shake it out of story! Fear less to seem "Puritan" than to be inadequate. Fear more to be superficial than to seem "deep." Fear less to point your moral than to miss your opportunity. It is for us to remind you, since it seems to us that you overlook the fact, that in any highly formed or fully formed creative power the "ethical" as well as the "esthetical sense is developed. Where "the taste" is developed at the expense of "the conscience" the artist is incomplete. He is, in this case, at least as incomplete as he is where the ethical sense is developed at the expense of the æsthetic. Specialism in literary art, as in science, has its uses, but it is not symmetry; and this is not a law intended to work only one way.
It is an ancient and honorable rule of rhetoric, that he is the greatest writer who, other things being equal, has the greatest subject. He is, let us say, the largest artist who, other things being equal, holds the largest view of human life. The largest view of human life, we contend, is that which recognizes it in the greatest way.
In a word, the province of the artist is to portray life as it is, and life is moral responsibility. Life is several other things, we do not deny. It is beauty, it is joy, it is tragedy, it is
comedy, it is psychical and physical pleasure, it is the interplay of a thousand rude or delicate motions and emotions, it is the grimmest and the merriest motley of phantasmagoria that could appeal to the gravest or the maddest brush ever put to palette; but it is steadily and sturdily and always moral responsibility. An artist can no more fling off the moral sense from his work than he can oust it from his private life. A great artist (let me repeat) is too great to try to do so. With one or two familiar exceptions, of which more might be said, the greatest have laid in the moral values of their pictures just as life lays them in; and in life they are not to be evaded. There is a squeamishness against "ethicism" which is quite as much to be avoided as any squeamishness about "the moral nude in art" or other debatable question. The great way is to go grandly in, as the Creator did when he made the models which we are fain to copy. After all, the Great Artist is not a poor master; all His foregrounds stand out against the perspective of the moral nature. Why go tiptoeing about the easel to avoid it?
By Elizabeth Stuart Phelps.
Thy reef of war across our seaboard
Fortress and arsenal against us storedTrust not in them! the awful summons blown,
High o'er the long sea-blaze and battle
Or from the great Capes to the utter- Thy sea-flown brood, and bulwarked
Parts of the North like ocean meteors
states hath wrought
Far as the loneliest wave of ocean
Thy children's love with
veneration into oblivion, though it was faintly remembered when William Gordon and
Shall warm thy hearthstone from their John Pickering made the inquiry which million homes.
By G. E. Woodberry.
From The New England Magazine. THE FIRST "CAUCUS." The finance debate of the forties, when the Land Bank tried a hand at the issue of paper money, occasioned the word caucus, which has become a part of the English language. To express confidence in the bills of the Land Bank, Sam Adams, the father of the patriot, organized a labor meeting. The mechanics of those days were generally paid in what we call store orders. get their wages in money, if only in paper bills, seemed attractive. So the calkers formed a labor union and trust -the word trust is theirs-binding themselves "under a penalty for the performance of their agreement," which was to the effect that they would take wages in merchandise or money only, money to include the notes of the Land Bank.
This novel trust was perfected on Sunday, February 8, 1740, old style, and duly announced in the papers of the time. The effect may be imagined. A labor union was a novelty in Boston; a labor trust occasioned some thing like consternation, particularly. as it undertook to sustain the ominous Land Bank. Under British law, such trust was a crime. To get rid of the Land Bank, which was at the bottom of all this offending, the Boston merchants appealed to Parliament for relief, and obtained it. Yet the calkers held together, and their cast-iron agreement became a by-word for any agreement from which there was no receding. The phrase "calkers' agreement" was carried into politics, and in 1760 we read of "the old and true Corcas," meaning the mechanics; also of "the new and grand Corcas," meaning a committee of merchants who had adopted the method of the calkers. By 1763 we find the present spelling of caucus, the origin of the term falling
they report. Both were competent students; both found that the caucus had something to do with the calkers; and the advertisement of the calkers' trust in 1740-41 appears to complete the chain of evidence. The Boston Gazette of May 5 and 12, 1760, uses the term in its modern sense. The etymology suggested by J. H. Trumbull is not tenable; in fact it is not supported by history.
To associate the caucus with mediæval Latin seems more daring than to identify the town pump with the matchless pomp of the Ancients and Honorables. Meanwhile the Boston word has passed into the statutes of Massachusetts, and figures in the politics of our kin beyond sea.
From "Words Coined in Boston." By C.W.Ernst.
On the evening of May 31, 1867, as I sat trying to draw a map in the little one-story log-house which served as the headquarters of the Siberian division, I was interrupted by the sudden and hasty entrance of my friend and comrade, Lewis, who rushed into the room, crying excitedly, "Oh, Mr. Kennan! Did you hear the cannon?" had not heard it, but I understood instantly the significance of the inquiry. A cannon-shot meant that there was a ship in sight from the beacon-tower at the mouth of the river. We were accustomed every spring to get our earliest news from the civilized world through American whaling-vessels, which resort at that season of the year to the Okhotsk Sea. About the middle of May, therefore, we generally sent a couple of Cossacks to the harbor at the mouth of the river, with instructions to keep a sharp lookout from the log beacon-tower on the bluff, and fire three cannon-shots the moment they should see a whaler or other vessel cruising in the Gulf.
In less than ten minutes the news that there was a vessel in sight from the beacon-tower had reached every house in the village, and a little group of Cossacks gathered at the landingplace, where a boat was being prepared to take Robinson, Lewis, and me to the seacoast. Half an hour later we were gliding swiftly down the river in one of the light skiffs known in that part of Siberia as "lodkas." We had a faint hope that the ship which had been signaled would prove to be one of our own vessels; but even if she should turn out to be a whaler, she would at least bring us late news from the outside world, and we felt a burning curiosity to know what had been the result of the second attempt to lay an Atlantic cable. Had our competitors beaten us, or was there still a fighting chance that we might beat them?
We reached the mouth of the river late in the evening, and were met at the landing by one of the Cossacks from the beacon-tower.
"What ship is it?" I inquired.
"We don't know," he replied. "We saw dark smoke, like the smoke of a steamer, off Matuga [Mah'-too-gal] Island just before we fired the cannon, but in a little while it blew away and we have seen nothing since."
"If it was a whaler trying-out oil," said Robinson, "we'll find her there in the morning."
Leaving the Cossack to take our baggage out of the lodka, we all climbed up to the beacon-tower with the hope that, as it was still fairly light, we might be able to see with a glass the vessel that had made the smoke; but from the high, black cliffs of Matuga Island on one side of the gulf, to the steep slope of Cape Catharine on the other, there was nothing to break the level horizon line except here and there a field of drifting ice. Returning to the Cossack barrack, we spread our bearskins and blankets down on the rough plank floor and went disconsolate to bed.
Early the next morning I was awakened by one of the Cossacks with the welcome news that there was a square
rigged vessel in the offing, five or six miles beyond Matuga Island. I climbed hastily up the bluff, and had no difficulty in making out with a glass the masts and sails of a good-sized bark, evidently a whaler, which, although hull down, was apparently cruising back and forth with a light southerly breeze across the Gulf. We ate breakfast hastily, put on our fur kukhlankas and caps, and started in a whaleboat under oars for the ship, which was distant about fifteen miles. Although the wind was light and the sea comparatively smooth, it was a hard, tedious pull, and we did not get alongside until after ten o'clock. Pacing the quarterdeck, as we climbed on board, was a good-looking, ruddy-faced, grey-haired man whom I took to be the captain. He evidently thought, from our outer fur dress, that we were only a party of natives come off to trade; and he paid no attention whatever to us until I walked aft and said, "Are you the captain of this bark?"
At the first word of English he' stopped as if transfixed, stared at me for a moment in silence, and then exclaimed in a tone of profound astonishment, "Well! Has the universal Yankee got up here?”
"Yes, captain," I replied, "he is not only here, but he has been here two years or more. What bark is this?" "The Sea Breeze, of New Bedford, Massachusetts," he replied, "and I am Captain Hamilton. But what are you doing up in this forsaken country? Have you been shipwrecked?"
"No," I said, "we're up here trying to build a telegraph line."
"A telegraph line!" he shouted. "Well, if that isn't the craziest thing I ever heard of! Who's going to telegraph from here?"
I explained to him that we were trying to establish telegraphic communication between America and Europe by way of Alaska, Bering Strait, and Siberia, and asked him if he had never heard of the Russian American Telegraph Company.
"Never," he replied. "I didn't know there was such a company; but I've
been out two years on a cruise, and I haven't kept up very well with the news."
"How about the Atlantic cable?" I inquired. "Do you know anything about that?"
"Oh, yes," he replied cheerfully, as if he were giving me the best news in the world, "the cable is laid all right."
"Does it work?" I asked with a sinking heart.
"Works like a snatch-tackle," he responded heartily. "The Frisco papers are publishing every morning the London news of the day before. I've got a lot of 'em on board that I'll give you. Perhaps you'll find something in them about your company."
I think the captain must have noticed, from the sudden change in the expression of our faces, that his news about the Atlantic cable was a staggering blow to us, for he immediately dropped the subject and suggested the propriety of going below.
The common garden-snail is a homing animal, and will always return to a particular spot after it has made an excursion in pursuit of food. In front of my dwelling there is a brick wall capped by a stone coping; the overhanging edge of this coping forms a moist, cool home in summer for hundreds of snails. Last summer I took six of these creatures, and, after marking their shells with a paint of gum arabic and oxide of zinc, set them free on the lawn some distance away from the wall. In the course of time four of them returned to their homes beneath the stone coping; the other two were probably destroyed by blackbirds, numbers of
From "How the Bad News Came to Siberia." By which I noticed during the day feeding George Kennan.
From Lippincott's Magazine. THE SIXTH SENSE.
After nine years of careful, systematic, and painstaking investigation, I am prepared to affirm that, besides the five senses, sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing, certain animals have yet another sense, the sense of locality, or of direction, commonly called the "homing instinct."
Evidences of this sixth sense are to be observed in animals of exceedingly low organization. On one occasion, while studying a water-louse, I saw the little creature swim to a hydra, pluck off one of its buds, then swim a short distance away and take shelter behind a small bit of mud, where it proceeded to devour its tender morsel. In a short while, much to my surprise, the louse again swam to the hydra, again procured a bud, and again swam back to its hiding-place; this occurred three times during the hour I had it under
on the lawn.
The centre of the sixth sense (sense of direction) in snails is located at the base of the cephalic ganglion; this ganglion lies immediately between and below the "horns," and is composed of several circumscribed and well-marked accumulations or corpuscles of nervecells and nerve-filaments. The centre of the sixth sense can easily be destroyed without inflicting injury on the circumjacent sense-centres. Whenever this is done the snail loses its sense of direction and locality, and cannot find its way back to its home when it is carried therefrom and deposited among new surroundings. It is not killed by the mutilation, for I have seen marked snails, in which the centre of the sixth sense had been destroyed, alive and apparently in good health several weeks after having undergone this operation; they found temporary homes wherever they chanced to be.
The limpet, a distant relation of the snail, is likewise a homing animal, and invariably returns to its home after journeys in search of sustenance. Lieutenant L, an officer in the En