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knotted boughs, as you note their manner of swarming for a brief and wasted gaiety, they seem to ask to be praised only by a cheerful shepherd and the oaten pipe."

There is real charm here, but your confirmed Jamesite will spurn it as uncharacteristic.

It is rumoured that Henry James is about to take Daisy Miller and others of his earlier works and recast them in his later labyrinthine manner, but I have been unable to verify the rumour.

And I cannot help thinking that however we little insects may try to sting James, the truth intrudes every now and then that in spite of his obsession in favour of fogginess of expression, the self-expatriated American who has come back to fall in love with the landscape of his birth and to make fun of the figures in that landscape is a man who by virtue of his best work must ever loom large in English literature.

Charles Battell Loomis.


O doubt the animal story has many uses. In the way of "awakening an interest in nature," and in teaching "pity and sympathy for animals" it has done all its friends and disciples claim it has. In a word, if one considers the animal story as a tract, it is a very good thing indeed. Mr. Burroughs has shown that it has very little relation with natural history, and it is fair to say that many of these stories have as little relation with good story telling. We have suppressed an undue amount of sentimentality in our fiction of late years. The reading public has not shown a partiality for death-bed scenes. The old-fashioned sentimentality and attitudinising over children has been done away with. It is the poor animals who are catching it now. In the nature books of the moment one may find the humble cow written about in such terms as would cause that honest animal to blush. And if we are not harrowed by the untimely death of little Joe any more, we can follow the death throes of the mink, raccoon, skunk, woodchuck, jackrabbit or coyote, from the first strangling gasp to the last agonised kick. We can weep over the dying tortures of most birds; in fact, the taste for the gruesome survives in spite of all that is said about the "wholesome tendencies of modern fiction."


Come, let us have a good cry. Here is Along Four-Footed Trails, by Miss Ruth A. Cook. Let us shudder over the death agonies of some innocent animals. Mr. William T. Lang, Mr. C. G. D. Roberts or Mr. Seton will show us how they suffer, and as the picture of mere physical anguish is not enough, they will heighten the effect by showing the creature to have emotions as poignant as those of human beings.

If these painful stories are written to serve as auxiliary S. P. C. A. work, well and good; otherwise there is no excuse for piling on so much agony.

Was it Mr. Seton who said that the story of every animal was a tragedy? Well, so is the story of every human being, if old age and pain, and finally death, are tragedies. But the writer of fiction does not deem it necessary to describe Archibald's ultimate death of liver trouble, not omitting to describe each bilious groan. No, we leave Archibald happy with Arabella, nor do we watch them until their teeth fall out, as we generally have to when we read a story about Woo-Woo the Bear. Why not for once let the story of Cock-a-Doodle Doo, the Rooster, end at the triumphant moment when he is enjoying a good meal, or, for a change, let Bow-Wow the Dog be found by his master instead of the dog snatcher.

M. H. Vorse.


The paid reader in Havana cigar factories who receives $50 or $60 a week to read three hours daily.-Books preferred and how, with the reader himself, they are chosen by ballot.A practice that has left its impress upon the history of Cuba.

NTO the sunlit patio of a Havana cigar factory there pours all day long an echoing tide of talk and laughter-soft Spanish talk and the tenor laughter that goes with gesture. It begins at dawn and ends only with dusk, for true Havana invencibles and especiales finos cannot be fashioned by artificial light. The tabaquero utilises every moment of the tropical day. Only his sensitive fingers and his exact eye are busy, however, so while he works he talks, and the chorus from five hundred of him flows from the galera, and down the wide marble stairways of what has once been a palace, perhaps, and out through iron-studded doors that would admit four horses abreast, into the bright plaza, to mark that place afar off as one of the centres of Cuba's chief manufacturing industry.

Only in the afternoon does this babel cease. Then a hush, and there rises in the galera a single voice, pitched above the ordinary tone, animated and frequently dramatic in its lighter Latin timbre, punctuated now and then by a burst of general merriment. This is the voice of the tabaqueros' paid reader, translating war news from a New York paper or declaiming the latest Spanish socialistic novel.

He is a singular figure, this paid reader, found in virtually every one of the large Havana cigar factories and many of the smaller galeras. When an American corporation acquired one of the famous Havana brands some time ago and housed it in a great new building at 10 Zulueta, it was decided that no reader would be permitted to practise his calling in the galeras. Within a few months all the cigarmakers in this readerless factory became mutinous and went upon a strike, and as soon as the difficulty was settled the readers were admitted. The factory at 10 Zulueta now has three of them.

"It keeps the tabaqueros quiet," explains the Spanish foreman. The American superintendent adds that cigarmakers in Cuba cannot talk unless they use their hands, so reading increases the output of the plants. But the tabaquero works wholly by the piece, so that time wasted is his own loss. Reading is "quieting" in that it gives active minds something wholesome to think about.

The reader sits aloft in a small railed box resembling a pulpit, placed at the centre of the workroom, so that his voice may carry to all parts of the galera. He reads three hours daily, commonly in the afternoon. By long custom half of this time is given up to newspapers, chiefly those of Havana, though some readers of more than average education read from American papers, translating as they go. The remaining hour and a half is given up to novels, and the character of those selected speaks much for the taste of the tabaqueros.

Choice of reading is not left to the reader, but is governed by an elaborate ballot system. The tabaqueros elect among themselves a president, secretary and treasurer. Each cigarmaker pays into the funds kept by the latter fifteen cents a week, creating a revenue of $50 to $75 weekly where 300 to 500 cigarmakers are employed. When one of the tabaqueros fails to pay this small assessment the reading is stopped until he is in good standing, or if he delays it more than a day the factory superintendent is asked to discharge him. This fund goes to pay the reader's salary, which ranges from $30 to $60 a week, as well as to purchase books and newspapers. Each day the president and secretary go over daily papers with the reader, marking what is to be read aloud. The choice gives a considerable range of current news, both Cuban and general, with editorials and sometimes "Sunday stories" from papers like the New York Herald.

Selection of novels is a more deliberate


process. The reading of a book like Quo Vadis takes about three weeks, while shorter works may be finished in two weeks or ten days. The reader judges the period required for a given book with great nicety, and a few days before he is to finish one the secretary holds an election to determine what novel shall be taken up next. Not all of the tabaqueros can read themselves. But each learns of certain books through friends, or sees them in one of the bookshops, so that upon the day of election each has a preference. As many as fifty different novels may be proposed at one of these elections, but the choice usually centres on three or four of wide note. Quo Vadis was elected by 180 votes in one of the Cabañas factory's galeras recently, defeating Père Goriot by 30 ballots. The choice falls oftenest on modern novels, and those of Spain are preferred because a wider range is possible. Perez Galdós is a favourite author, and each new Spanish celebrity in fiction quickly gets his hearing in the Havana factories. Among English novels read are Vanity Fair, Oliver Twist, A Tale of Two Cities and others of greater melodramatic interest, as the books of Wilkie Collins and Hugh Conway. Señor Muñoz, chief reader in the Cabañas factory, had never heard of Hall Caine or Marie Corelli, and said that only such English works as are to be had in Spanish come up for choice. Some of the English poets are favourites, Byron in particular being read repeatedly. Poetry is a staple in the reading, long poems frequently being chosen instead of novels. Shakespeare is not unknown. Only one American book has ever had the honour of repeated reading in Havana cigar factories, the readers say, and that fell into disuse about ten years ago. It was Uncle Tom's Cabin. Some books are elected and re-elected, just as favourite plays are revived. Victor Hugo is an unfailing favourite, while no year passes in any Havana cigar factory, it is said, without a reading of Don Quixote.

Not only the novel, but the reader himself, is chosen by ballot. When it becomes known that a certain galera is without a reader, all the men of that calling seeking a place come and occupy the reader's box for a short test period, usu

ally an hour. The trial period lasts a week, and as each candidate presents himself the president gives him a novel marked at the place where the last aspirant left off. At the stroke of a bell he ceases and steps down, to be replaced by another candidate. Many of the Havana readers are men of note in their singular profession, and have been identified with one galera for years, gaining reputation for their superior rendition. Others rise out of the ranks of the tabaqueros, first as candidates, then as readers, often sinking back again ignominiously. At the end of the week's test a reader is chosen by general ballot from all the candidates. When the tabaqueros are dissatisfied with their reader, a petition signed by at least ten men may be handed to the president, who then causes the box to be vacated and a new reader chosen. The outgoing reader is never told that his rendition has been unsatisfactory, however. With Spanish delicacy the president informs him that it has been decided to have no more reading for a time, and thus his feelings are spared. All books and newspapers purchased are subsequently sold at half price to tabaqueros who may want them. No library is maintained.

The institution of reading was established about 1878 by Señor Saturnino Martinez, then a tabaquero and now a distinguished Cuban poet. It arose from two conditions-the high prices of books then and the inability of many of the cigarmakers to read. Some of the readers found in Havana factories to-day are men of meagre education, but others are of marked intelligence and ability. Secretary Morua, of the Cuban Senate, was formerly a reader, and Señor Ambrosio Borges, one of the orators of the Cuban House, was sent to the legislature from the reader's box. Señor Victor Muñoz is not only a reader in the Cabañas factory, but one of the editors of El Mundo, a Havana daily paper, and head of the information bureau of the Cuban Senate. He has read in Havana sixteen years. The reader's position has natural advantages for an ambitious man capable of making opinion, even though choice of reading is so largely in the hands of the cigarmakers. Señor Muñoz controls more than 100 votes among the tabaque

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