« PreviousContinue »
They are of the curious religious sects “Uncle Sam Needs a Wife" by Ida which inhabit Lancaster County, the Clyde Clarke, the brilliant writer Amish, for instance, with clothes on of editorials for "Pictorial Review", which it is sacrilegious to wear buttons, opened my eyes to many things. I with habits of intermarriage which are have known Mrs. Clarke for some as rigorous as they are alarming, with years, and found her a charming and faces serene and sometimes beautiful. forceful woman, but I shall from now Motoring out through their country, on be exceedingly timid in her presence. along rolling fields of wheat (winter She is certainly a feminist. Why not, wheat just then covering the brown you ask? My reply is — why not? with tender green), tobacco not yet Nevertheless I shall be timid. Among in evidence, one sees houses, two other things she writes a piece called doored, twin doored rather, for the “Sauce for the Goose": two entrances are side by side. Why?
What do we women really want? What No one could answer. The window would satisfy our feminine unrest, end our shades are bright blue; some of the hectic seeking, and cool our feverish enerhouses themselves violet; and the
gies so that we could settle down to the busi
ness of living richly and fully our individual gates painted in bright colors different lives and contributing our maximum to our from all the rest. Mennonites there are,
communities as citizens? In other words,
what is the touchstone of our desire, now and Dunkards. Descendants, all, of
that public opinion has conceded that South Germans come here in pre- women, as well as men, have those "certain Revolutionary times. Returning to
natural and inalienable rights” mentioned
in the Declaration of Independence? town we passed Franklin and Marshall Before we can answer that question we College, and President Buchanan's have got to purge the whole situation of home. I was told of the tomb of
waste matter, of those unsound and non
constructive theories that have so long Rebecca Gratz, a friend of Sir Walter glutted and congested our main channels of Scott who “lives in Ivanhoe”,
thought. When the woman movement was as
still young, and when only a few people had Mary Warfel remarked, “although she taken the time and the trouble to think is buried in Lancaster". Then there things through clearly and thoroughly, any was Miss Warfel's harp, one of the
semblance of an argument was seized and
held fast — echoed in rhythmic phrases, loveliest ever manufactured, on which adopted as a slogan, and passed along down she renders charming minuets, modern
the line to be repeated by the ever-swelling
chorus of raw recruits. French or old English. Her brother plays the violin, and there are few Among other things,
Among other things, Mrs. Clarke lovelier combinations in music than attempts to answer this all-important violin and harp. Lancaster is a place question. Hers is a book with many which has not yet found adequate ideas well worth considering, if they interpretation in literature. Elsie Sing- are, to a mere male, at times a trifle master, nearby in Gettysburg, has upsetting. written delightful stories of the simple Pennsylvania folk; and Mrs. Fiske of Among the visiting English novelists course immortalized Helen R. Martin's
this season there have been few “Barnabetta”, dramatized as “Erst- tragedies.
tragedies. So far they have been while Susan”; but there is still a great liked, and have been gracious enough story waiting the right hand. Joseph to appear to like us. James Stephens Hergesheimer is not far away in West arrived with his lilt and his dramatic Chester.
method of reciting his own verses, and Who knows?
captured everyone. “The Crock of
Gold" is almost universally known, the eve of the publication of “The and his latest book, “The Land of Painted Veil", W. Somerset Maugham Youth”, has a quality that appeals sailed for England to see rehearsals strongly to all lovers of fantasy. The of the English production of "Rain". Macmillan Company, just as they had moved into their large marble building
or is it granite? - on Fifth Avenue, gave Mr. Stephens a dinner at which Professors Thorndike and Cross, Ernest Boyd, Padraic Colum, Don Marquis and others paid glowing and sincere tributes to the genius of this gay Irishman. I almost forgot the Irish Consul, who also seemed impressed by the entertainment. Mr. Stephens is a dark little man, with a face lined but jovial. He turns the ordinary events of life into little quips and oddities of humor. He makes of New York a place filled with romance and curious happenings, and his stories of trips on the street cars are almost as good as his
James Stephens recital of the parodies of Oliver Gogarty. Then came Michael Arlen, of He had arrived from Mexico and South “The Green Hat” and “These Charm- America, which he found too moderning People", preceded by legends
by legends ized to offer much material for writing. which made him out to be a rather Mr. Maugham is a dignified and quiet special young man, perhaps a rather gentleman whose wit is staggering when snobbish young man.
Mr. Arlen has he chooses to employ it. In my had much publicity since his arrival. opinion, “The Painted Veil" is his It is perhaps unnecessary for me to finest performance since “Of Human describe him here except to say that Bondage". Technically perfect and he is pleasant, kindly, witty, hard- emotionally true, it seems to me one of working, and, moreover, modest. He the great short novels of our time. is twenty eight years old and successful, There are those who disagree; in fact, and the way he carries his success there is disagreement over many might well be a model for many a current novels. Some find “The Conyoung American author. There were stant Nymph" less charming than do I. many people in this town of quickly Others have said that "Soundings" by made and lost reputations ready to A. Hamilton Gibbs is sentimental dislike Michael Arlen. He gave them trash, while still others consider it one in wit and sally as good as they sent, of the best stories of the spring. At and they found themselves conquered any rate, Mr. Maugham does not need not only by his verbal dexterity but to read his critics, because he is a great by his friendliness. When he returns writer and he must know it. He is in the autumn to a house on Madison busy now on several plays. A story Avenue in which he plans to live next he tells of one of our great authorities year, he will find warm friends. On on the drama is worth repeating. This gentleman is a solemn authority, Well, after all, a play can be written well known throughout academic and any day, while only a certain number of theatrical circles. He proceeded to children arrive in a lifetime; and the invite Mr. Maugham, with much gran- first is undoubtedly deserving of much deur and praise, to luncheon. “I attention. Having no flowers to send must be perfectly frank with you, Mr. young Miss Howard this spring day, I Maugham”, he said. “Many of your call on my child familiar for aid; and plays seem to me slight, and not since young Miss Benét is over a year entirely successful. However, I am old and I have never presented her glad to say that I can praise one of with anything but a doll from whose them without reservation as a great head she promptly licked the paint, piece of dramatic composition. You proving its cheapness, I must include should live on that alone." Mr. her. Maugham, naturally flattered and
FOR STEPHANIE AND CLARE eager, asked which of his plays it was. “The Mollusc'', replied the reverend To poets' daughters one should bring professor. “It was the most embar- The most exclusive things, rassing moment of my life", Mr. Camellias and turquoises Maugham told me. “What could I And ivory teething rings. say? You see, I didn't write The Mollusc'; it was written by Hubert
Their rattles should be diamonded,
Their little pins of pearls —
Their heads should rest on eiderdown,
They should be queenly girls. There is one experience which is as
Ten footmen clad in brilliant green delightful for a bachelor as a movie
Should serve them as they wish show: i.e., listening to his friends
And they should have ten nurses, too, discuss their babies. Stephanie Jane
With velvet trains to swish. Benét and Clare Eames Howard are two young misses of literary and artistic
Soft trumpets should awaken them, parents who came in for a great deal
And perfumes guard their ease, of comparison yesterday. Their fa
Their waking hours should know the thers, usually vastly interested in
strains discussions of theatrical and magazine
Of fairy symphonies. enterprises, found themselves at one on the fact that babies look mighty But if they only knew it, angry when they have been in the
Their most amazing bliss world only a short time, yet are, after Is their father's admiration all, fine additions to the complexities of And their mother's good night kiss. life. Now, I happen to know that Mr. Benét had just signed a contract for another novel, and that his new book From Edward Laroque Tinker (he of verse, “Poems and Legends”, is in who wrote the recent biography of the presses; also that Mr. Howard was Lafcadio Hearn) comes an account of about to go to sign a contract for a new the New Orleans carnival that has play to follow “They Knew What They entirely spoiled my day. Perhaps Wanted"; but never a word of that it will set you dreaming of southern did one hear over the coffee cups.
Here it is:
A series of really brilliant masked balls go on for six weeks. Then come street parades on floats at night lit by flaring torches carried by coons in Ku Klux robes who are constantly in motion doing fancy steps to the music of the bands. Fat bank presidents, leading doctors, prominent lawyers, and business men ride the floats under mask, disguised as courtiers, kings, queens, and varlets, Japanese, Chinese, Indians, and nondescript characters such as were never seen before. The whole city turns out to greet them and the maskers throw candy, beads, and trinkets to thousands of upturned faces and outstretched hands. The climax comes on Mardigras day. The city goes wild. Your friends, all under mask, load up on huge trucks early in the morning and go riding all over the city, dancing, to the jazz band which always accompanies them, and stopping now and then at friends' houses to get up "steam”. Half the populace dress themselves up in the most fantastic of costumes, even the children of three, and parade around on foot. The other half stands on the curb to watch them. Good nature, laughter, and waves of wild, unthinking, hectic joy sweep the crowds. Rex in royal robes and impressive whiskers (in real life a staid middle aged bank president) advances up the street perched 15 ft. in the air on the first float with 20 or 30 more following. He graciously bows and waves a rhinestoned sceptre to right and left. In pre-prohibition days he is known to have indulged so often at the various stops before the clubs that one of his low obeisances has carried him clean off the float in a terrible tumble onto the side walk — by the grace of God uninjured.
The Druids follow with more floats, then various marching organizations such as the Jefferson City Buzzards — some screamingly funny – the thing goes on for hours and breaks up in groups, dancing, coonjinin', and skylarking on every corner,
Over in the back part of town the colored ape the whites. The King of the Zulus, black as night and dressed in a leopard skin, lands from a barge at the canal, and with his dusky queen parades at the head of his retainers. They end up at the “Bull Club" (the largest club for the American niggers). Here they have four bands, and a razor battle royal often takes place among the “Dukes” to determine which of the colored girls shall have the honor of being the *maids"
Little bands of Negroes wander through the quarter dressed as red devils, tramps, skeletons; the women often dressed in ballet skirts of "nigger pink" with bodices cut away in the back down to the waists, showing great areas of bronze or briqué colored skin. One big buck, 6 ft. 4 at least and
beautifully built, staggered along in a strange, graceful way, perfectly insulated from the outside world by an overdose of "Sammy-kick-yo-Mammy” wine. He was garishly dressed as a Spanish “Valentino" and clutched firmly to his bosom a large silver cup which he had won in a dancing contest. A weird crew came romping after him, all evidently under the influence of “Sweet Lucy”.
Prizes come and go, and many of them these days are for limericks and cross word puzzles. Do you ever win any? I have been so fortunate as to have a friend who won a word puzzle prize. Now young Robert Hillyer has won the prize offered by the “Garden Magazine and Home Builder" for the "best brief lyric of joyous mood with the Dahlia as its theme". All prizes should be awarded in a joyous mood, judged in a joyous mood, too, doubtless. These particular judges were Christopher Morley, John Erskine, and Frank Ernest Hill. It is said that nearly a thousand poems were submitted. Think of all that lyric inspiration arising from a mere dahlia. Mrs. W. E. Bingham won a prize of a year's subscription to THE BOOKMAN in the Ashland “Daily
(Wisconsin) “Book Thrills” contest. Her thrill was “Plumes". John Crowe Ransom, author of "Chills and Fever", was awarded the Caroline Senkler Prize for that volume as the best book of verse published by a southerner last season. This is prize awarded through the famous Poetry Society of South Carolina. "The Horn Book", published four times a year by the Bookshop for Boys and Girls in Boston, announces a hundred dollar prize for a good original play for children from 8 to 14 years of age. September the first is the date on which this contest closes and further particulars may be obtained by application to "The Play Contest", 270 Boylston Street, Boston. I have
heard rumors of a large prize soon to be offered for a full length play by an American, but apparently the time is not quite ripe for a definite announcement. Prize plays often fail, but what's the difference? The prize money is secure, anyway, and a production is a good deal. It is great fun to see your own plays produced, even if they do fail.
"A Reader's Guide Book”, by the May Lamberton Becker whose name is so well known to club women everywhere, is filled with good information
From "The Early Adventures of Peacham Grew" for the rambler in literary ways.
with a delicate fancy, a fancy which Countless persons all over the country have written her and asked her ques
should develop in future books into
something of really great importance. tions on one thing or another in connection with books, and she always replies.
His verses, too, are worth watching. Here is a section in which you can find
More and more we shall develop this
sort of writing in America, it is to be whether there is a novel about a musi
hoped. It has been done by a few among cian, or about gypsies, or dogs, or what
the natives: Henry Beston and, yes, not. Another section gives you side
Frank Baum; and in “Beggar on Horse lights on the drama. If you have ever
back", George S. Kaufman and Marc met Mrs. Becker, you know that she
Connelly. Satire and fantasy are just keeps more facts stored in her head
now playing hand in hand. We are than any other woman alive.
still a trifle afraid of allowing ourselves she has that happy faculty which
to indulge in the veriest day dreams. should be possessed by every good sec
“Peacham Grew" is realism touched retary, of being able to go quickly to
with fantasy, or perhaps vice versa. exactly the right place to find whatever information she does not carry in her
Occasionally Donald Ogden Stewart
writes fantasy. More often, it comes head. This is a gift possessed by all too few human beings. Occasionally There are others, but too few. It is
from the winged pen of Don Marquis. you will find a great librarian who has
not because the public is unwilling to it; there is one member of my own office force who is so gifted; and, of course,
read, it is more likely because we are
afraid to look into our hearts and see Mrs. Becker. Her book has just one
the reality of our dreaming. fault, which is perhaps not her own the index is totally inadequate.
Stewart Edward White has departed Occasionally there comes out of the for Africa, to discover some of its myswest a writer with a large frame and a teries. Of his former trip he tells the simple soul, a man of the Lincoln type. following story: In 1913, just before he Of such, apparently, is Roy Helton, al- sailed, a friend gave him an opera hat though I have never met him. He has to present to some native chief. Hats written in “The Early Adventures of are greatly prized by the chiefs, and Peacham Grew” the story of a boy these marks of civilization will work