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by changing the subject; no one can by a child himself that is convincing, better discern the deep dyed contempt The Diary of Plupy Shute". That of the older brother for his adoring one small urchin should have been able sister who has aspirations to be to think of so many diabolical things to apprenticed to his gang.

And yet,

do taxes our credulity somewhat when all his books are read, one still but it reads like an honest-to-goodness feels that he has skirted over the diary for all that! Unfortunately, surface of childhood and forgotten, when Judge Shute tried to recapture perhaps, that there are deeper depths its charm in “Plupy and Old J. Alto plumb.

bert”, he proved again that it is always "Skippy Bedelle", written about wiser to let well enough alone. Lawrenceville in the Nineties when Joseph Anthony, in “The Gang", collars were worn standing and skirts has succeeded most satisfactorily in trailing, is as true of boys today as it catching the vernacular of the East Side is of that time. Though Owen Johnson kid, and his psychology too. Against a gives us much to chuckle over, he never background of the Hebrew-Hibernian lets us forget the great solemnity of feuds of uppermost Park Avenue, he life in the teens, the tremendous seri- has etched in an amusing collection of ousness of many things which to our credible Jews, any one of whom you purblind souls may seem unimportant. will recognize the next time you travel

Children in themselves are so amus- on a Madison Avenue car - northing that it is no wonder they tempt bound. But the most interesting thing the professional humorist. But just he has done is to show how a high I-Q because they are, sui generis, so funny and the family's expectations can and because they are the most natural conspire to make a student out of a boy creatures in the civilized world, their whose greatest joy is to read Horatio chronicling requires no artifice. Chil- Alger and whose real ambition is to be dren do not make a good theme for the Kid Diamond, Leader of the Twennies stylist - florid language and children and dread foe of the Park Avenooers. are a contradiction in terms. If you do An outstanding book in this collecnot agree with me, see what happened tion, to my mind, is "One Little Boy" when Irvin Cobb, one of our best by Hugh de Sélincourt, a book which comedians of the pen, tried to write a all parents should read together to book about boys. In "Goin' on remind them never to regard a child's Fourteen" you find, not a wise man action with an adult's sophistication. interpreting childhood, but an author It is a poignant study of a little boy's trying to maintain a reputation for groping for the truth and of a mother, humor.

bewildered and helpless in her lack of Similarly, when Edgar Lee Masters understanding. We have here that starts out to write a book about boys simplicity of style with which all books and puts it into the vernacular of "the dealing with children ought to be kids”, he loses the value of the narra- written. I have read no more lucid intive because he has sacrificed its terpretation of the questionings about plausibility. I defy anyone to find a life which must arise even in the most twelve year old boy who can report the wholesome little minds and which cry proceedings of a court trial as Skeets out to be answered honestly by their Kirby does in “Mitch Miller". I know elders. There is much beauty here, but one story purporting to be written and much wisdom.

And for a fine description of friend- remain. If once the clanging gates of ship between boys, I commend you to the town shut upon a youth, he is “David Blaize" and “David Blaize of banished for ever. From afar he may King's", stories of English boarding peer over the walls at the games inside, school life filled with real young people. but he may not be of them. Let him E. F. Benson and Hugh Walpole are to try to join them and lo, the games beme the masters of the boy story (yes, come a mockery and he finds that he is even more so than Kipling!). I can cavorting still outside the walls, while only stand awed before their talent the good citizens inside are making sly and exclaim: “How do these men

sport of him.” remember what it was like to be a If this be true, then Bertram Smith child?” For, surely, it is memory and and Edmund Lester Pearson had X-ray insight they must depend upon; con- eyes of memory or powerful telescopes fidences cannot be wrested from the of sympathy with which to penetrate inarticulate creature which is a boy, this stronghold when they wrote, the and observation alone cannot suffice. former "The Days of Discovery" and But they do know, and they make you "Running Wild", and the latter “The suffer and rejoice and discover the Believing Years". Like Kenneth world anew with the children of their Grahame, these two authors have an creation. And what is more, they almost uncanny power of recalling the succeed in depicting many wholesome activities and the experience of childlittle fellows who are not prigs, yet hood. And how delightfully they recall who are not everlastingly getting into them to us who are so likely to have scrapes like the Penrods and Varmints forgotten! They seem to know just and the Plupy Shutes! There is a what is the secret zest of taking risks certain dignity of purpose and behavior and dares; the impulse to "talk big" in these English boys which makes our and the joys of getting as near a good young Americans seem rather like swear as the school law will allow. Do hoodlums. Is it, perhaps, the influence you know what it is like to be “the of a discipline which is a tradition, and child in the middle" — one who bethe effect, on the other side of the longs neither to the bigs nor the littles? ocean, of substituting more freedom Do you remember how you vacillated for discipline in home as well as school? in your ambition between the profesWell, there's this consolation - the sions of pirate and lion tamer, and then Britishers aren't one tenth as funny! decided to make it a plumber, thereby

“We who are passing ‘through the effecting a happy compromise? Do wilderness of this world’find it difficult you think your children are silly when to realize what an impenetrable wall they whisper secrets about nothing-atthere is around the town of Boyville", all behind doors and chairs and fat writes William Allen White in his relatives' backs? Didn't you? preface to “The Court of Boyville", Do you remember how the first a collection of short stories which try, parlor car looked to you? The first nevertheless, to penetrate this wall. hotel? “In the days when the world "Storm it as we may with the simulation was ‘so full of a number of things', of light-heartedness, bombard it with before any film of indifference had come our heavy guns, loaded with fishing- to cloud one's eyes, every new deparhooks and golf-sticks and skates and ture had about it an element of unbase-balls and butterfly-nets, the walls reality”, writes Bertram Smith in "Running Wild”. "Nothing ever Seven Ages of Childhood” by Ella looked the same the second time; every Lyman Cabot deserves a word because new door that one encountered was the it offers a cross section of child life and threshold of an enchanted castle. gives us a tremendous assurance that Soon enough, it is true, we were caught whatever our children are doing now up by the lagging atmosphere of every- that annoys us is only a stage of their day (which we had left behind) development, and that in three or four dispelling rosy mists, lopping off battle- months they will have outgrown this ments, filling up moats, making our particular pestiferousness and grown castle a very ordinary affair."

into another which may be better or I wish there were space to quote at worse. Give them but time and the length from this book or to read to you various phases will all be outlived! the whole chapter about the Fourth of The other is a tiny book of verse July in Pearson's book. You will be which is a veritable sun of illuminatempted to do the same to any con

tion into the secret soul of nursery intemporary within earshot, for to enjoy habitants “When We Were Very a good reminiscence one must have Young" by A. A. Milne. You may good company. These books consti- buy it for your children but you will tute a corking reminiscence full of keep it for yourself. If it reforms you tidbits that will be a revelation about in no other particular, it must help you yourself when young -- and so, a to remember that, when you reprove dissolvent of your obtuseness regarding Johnny for dawdling at his dressing, your children.

To understand one you may be disturbing him in the generation is to understand all.

midst of a momentous decision: In conclusion, I want to call atten- Shall I go off to South America? tion to two books which do not really

Shall I put out in my ship at sea ?

Or get in my cage and be lions and tigers? belong here but which should. "The Or— shall I be only Me?


By Letta Eulalia Thomas


WORLD of crystal, burning with multicolored flame

Lighted by arrows from the golden sun
That fall in shattered beauty
Against the shining, silver armor of the earth.
The soft winds touch to music,
Millions of tinkling bells of ice;
There is a whisper of the coming spring
In the light clashing of the branches,
Silver-chained and striving to be free;
Dropping long strips of silver on the mottled snow;
And from the sky, the high, blue, cloud-flecked sky,
Spring laughs down at the crystal world;
And plays upon the cloudy heights with rosy winds.


Autobiographical Disclosures in the Informal Manner

By Robert Benchley

With Sketches by Herb Roth

INCOURAGED by around in the back yard. He takes

the form and sub- it down on the back of an envelope or ject matter of the an old laundry list and, when he comes Mark Twain auto- into the house at night, puts these biography, I have notes away in a big box which he decided to write keeps for the purpose. As soon as mine now. There this box is full of old envelopes with are fifteen or notes on them, it is to be locked and twenty minutes placed in the cornerstone of the new each day when I Merchants' National Bank Building,

have nothing to do, along with a copy of the New York and I might as well be writing an au- Times" of even date. When, in tobiography as shaving. In fact, I the course of seventy or eighty years, find that I can shave and write an the Merchants' Bank Building is torn autobiography in the Mark Twain down to make room for an apartment fashion, all in the same fifteen or twenty house, the box is to be opened and the minutes.

manuscript given to the world in My method is as follows: I sit by an book form. If it causes any hard open window in my farmhouse at feeling then, I shall be up in Maine Lexington Ave. and 49th St., smoking, trout fishing and won't hear about it. reading, shaving anything. Then, Material for the first volume has when something occurs to me that I already accumulated, and is herewith think might possibly go into my auto- printed for private circulation in biography, I shout it out the window THE BOOKMAN. Readers are placed at my brother-in-law who is puttering on their honor not to divulge the plot.




Stewart told me that he had just come THE STEWART DICTATIONS

from Brooks Brothers where he had

been having a terrible time about a (Dictated about seven o'clock)

golf suit that they had sold him. It 'HE first time I ever saw Donald seems that the coat didn't fit very well

Ogden Stewart he was eating and he had taken it back to have it lunch with Edmund Wilson, Jr. They altered, but the people at Brooks had were having Yankee pot roast (.85). said that all alterations, except for


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I shout it out the window at my brother-in-law'

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