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Since I live where all good things from the States come late, I have only now had the opportunity to read Mr. McFee's piquant article in the March BOOKMAN anent "The Lady and the Carpet". The remoteness of the date, I hope, will not rule my comments out of court.

I am surprised that a man of Mr. McFee's own cultural attainments can view any attempt to acquire culture, however superficial, as less than laudable. The milieu in which the average life is passed is so preponderantly commercial and acquisitive that any sign of dissatisfaction in that milieu ought to be heralded abroad with joy instead of ridiculed by the superior ones who inhabit a higher plane.

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But the main theme really seems to be a disgruntled feeling toward women class. That is probably to be accounted for by the age old, instinctive war between the sexes of which we hear less and less in these psychoanalyzed times. However, let me call Mr. McFee's attention to a few masculine types who are always among those present on every ship that sails the seas. Opposites ever prove excellent foil. Possibly with this little reminder he may be able to revise his pronunciamento regarding the worthlessness of the feminine pursuit of culture overseas when he has compared it with the persiflage and dalliance per se which seem to be the chief reason why men travel.

Who has not observed the Adonis-like married man off for a holiday alone, his successful efforts to convince a soulful but guileless young woman that he is a fancy free young bachelor longing to be appropriated, his careful avoidance of all conversation which would incriminate himself with reference to wife and children? Then on the last day but one before landing someone's inconvenient memory wrecks the foundations of the castle built by his suppressions; the end is disillusionment and estrangement, if nothing more.

One's sporting spirit is less outraged only by the spectacle of the insouciant young blood of much means and no scruples whose one ambition is to add to his belt the heart of every personable woman aboard, only to toss aside the cumbersome load for the beautiful houri who waits on the dock. What gnashing of teeth and bitter enmities are left behind him!

Just one more example out of the myriads which might be cited that of the fatuous and luxury loving bachelor no longer young

who never could induce a rich woman to take him seriously, but who still has hopes. It is tragic to see him staying up over-late at night, pathetically determined that even the least comely of the reputed young heiresses shall not escape him. But even these heartlessly and mockingly leave him for younger fortune hunters, and he is obliged to plod the deck alone, wearily trying to puzzle out how he may continue to make ends meet and still live like a king.

Can anyone honestly say that these masculine types are more worthy than the women who frankly and avowedly desire culture and who go after it? Truly yours,


B. B. L.

In your issue for June "The Londoner" quotes a letter of mine to the London "Daily News" regarding Jane Austen's "Sanditon", calls me, among other things, a literary protectionist", and counsels me to patience.

I am amazed to find this kind of viewpoint not only being exported to America but getting reproduced there as representative of English literary thought. Far from welcoming the resurrection of fourth rate "classical" oddments, the average English author, like the average English reader, most probably deplores such ill considered enterprise, and would be prepared to admit, in his more candid moments at least, the shrewdness of a definition once propounded by your own deep thinker, Mark Twain himself a good, honest, wholesome hater of humbug in general and Jane-Austenism in particular to the effect that "a classic is a book everybody praises and nobody reads".

"The Londoner" further observes that in England every book has the circulation it deserves. The English public had already returned its verdict on "Sanditon" by according the book an extremely cool reception. But that was not enough for the Jane-Austenists. One of them filled an entire literary column of the London "Daily News" with an attempt to flog up interest in this inferior fragment which the public so evidently didn't want, and no doubt several living writers had their hard work crowded out of the public notice in consequence. Hence my protest.

I suggest that it is the Jane-Austenists

who are for "protection", not we, the younger generation of present day authors. All we ask is a fair field and no favor, every book to be judged on its intrinsic merits, a resurrected "classical" oddment not to benefit by all the cant-praise that may have been lavished on its author since he or she died. And when "The Londoner" advises me to possess my soul in patience, I can only quote Kipling to him:

The toad beneath the harrow knows
Exactly where each tooth-point goes;
The butterfly upon the road

Preaches contentment to that toad.


Faithfully yours,


DEAR STMr. J. A. Steuart's recently pub

lished work "Robert Louis Stevenson", issued by Messrs. Little, Brown and Co. and reviewed in your January issue, an error occurs on page 275 of the second volume relative to the portrait of R. L. S. by Count Nerli.

The author says: "One such visitor was Signor Nerli, the Italian artist who painted Stevenson's portrait and was himself made the subject of a set of comic verses.

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In a footnote he says: "The Nerli portrait came into the possession of Mr. J. R. Tyrell of Sydney who sold it to the late Sir Thomas Anderson Stuart."

It was recently sold at the Stuart sale in Sydney. It is now in the National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh."

These extracts from Mr. Steuart's book are incorrect. The Nerli portrait of R. L. S. mentioned above was sold by the artist himself to Messrs. Angus and Robertson of Sydney some 25 years ago; it then passed into the possession of Prof. Sir Thomas Anderson Stuart of the Sydney University, from whose widow I purchased both portrait and the journal of the artist containing the verses written by R. L. S. about Nerli.

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The New Yorker in the May BookMAN says there is only praise for "The Constant Nymph". For its craftsmanship, yes but it is so delightful that one is impatient with it for not being convincing. It deals cleanly with the unclean; it makes the racy usual, quite in the best French way. But unlike great French work it is not content with this, for the author sneers subtly at everything that is ordered or moral.

In her description of life at the Karindehütte Miss Kennedy comes near achieving an impersonal attitude toward her characters, giving the reader's sympathies plenty of rope. You can like the Sanger group or not as you please. But the moment Florence who resembles the wife in "If Winter Comes"-enters, the author begins to tighten the cord inch by inch till by the time the group are fairly settled in England you are attached to the Sanger interests. You despise Millicent who is merely catty, and sympathize with Lewis who is so much a cad that any virile man would want to boot him for the good of his soul. He seems to be an emotional moron. He is represented as loving Tessa to the point of eloping with her, yet apparently feels no passion, and no tenderness beyond a few vague impulses.

The author is at great pains to depict all the cold discomfort of Florence's orderliness but fails even to suggest the flies and vermin and nauseating smells that are wont to attend upon such a ménage as the Sangers' even among Alpine breezes.

Again, the author makes Florence's weaknesses seem unpardonable because of her superior environment, yet makes a similar environment an excuse for Lewis's early lapses. Miss Kennedy's rulings always seem to be in favor of the Sangers. And in the last of the book some of the situations seem rather constructed than inevitable. All this makes for a good yarn, but is it sincere art?

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and provide the advertising that sustains the magazines. I suppose in an ideal world, the people who write could sustain each other, much as the inhabitants of the Scilly Islands do, by taking in each other's washing, but till that golden age arrives I am afraid the contemned business man must be tolerated, and might be treated with kindness. After all, not every business man prefers Eddie Guest to Amy Lowell. But the sad thing is that no business men can admire each other with the unadulterated pride that young writers do.

Yours very truly,


ment of life true that only gives one half the truth, and leaves the uninformed with a false impression of the world war as a whole? Half truths have been ranked as worse than lies, as being harder to refute. Is anything a work of art that deals in half truths?

The acting in "They Knew What They Wanted", with Bennett in the leading rôle, was superb, but as before stated, we are weary of the exploitation of the drab experiences of the low life of near morons.

Give us something appetizing for a change, and stop feeding us husks, they are too strong for a steady diet.




called "Naughty Mr. Belasco" led the DEAL May issue of THE BOOKMAN

writer, when on a recent visit to New York, to see the three plays therein lauded ("Candida", "They Knew What They Wanted", and "What Price Glory?").

If these three plays are the best New York can offer, it is a sad commentary on New York. They all deal with illicit love, and while they may be true to the segment of life with which they deal, audiences must be weary of looking at these unpleasant segments microscopically delineated by the plays of today.

Do we not get enough of the sordid and commonplace in the newspapers and life generally? Why must we be compelled to grovel in it? This does not apply to "Candida", which like many of Bernard Shaw's plays is food for the intellect, appreciated better in the reading than on the stage. It is incongruous, as it is acted. The poet, who causes the minister-husband such anguish, in the play seemed crazy enough to be locked up, and too absolutely unattractive to ensnare any sane woman.

We have heard "What Price Glory?" mentioned as by far the best play in New York. All through it, we waited for something to lift it out of the purely sordid, to get a glimpse of the other side of the picture, but we left disappointed. There is another side to the picture. Is any detached seg

Simon Pure quotes the English nurseryman and points out the highly colored language in which he presents his wares to the public. These quotations have eloquence and beauty, and the style might well be adapted to some of our American advertising which runs too frequently to "cliché" and convention.

The florist, however, whose advertising appeared in Chicago some time ago cannot be accused of the commonplace or the "cliché". His street car cards are little gems of poetic beauty. Here is one:


The windows of the Master Florist now ablossom with the beauty of the earth, give each day to the passer-by a little hint of heaven.

And for a poetic interpretation of the hackneyed "DO IT NOW", what can compare with the following:


Bathe now in their beauty. Bask in their brightness, for in a few short weeks they go, and with them goes some of life's sunshine. The Master Florist

No, neither of these "ads" told the passenger to "SAY IT WITH FLOWERS".





cently made some ridiculous assertions in the English press about Amy Lowell's death. With the instinct of a true journalist, he has found it probable that Edmund Gosse, J. C. Squire, and a few other English reviewers who did not feel, as most of us in this country do, that Miss Lowell's "John Keats" is a great biography, were active agents in bringing about the death of this heroic woman. Fortunately, editorial writers have come to Miss Lowell's defense. No more absurd conjecture has ever been made. Mr. Shorter claims to have had a letter from Miss Lowell which showed great bitterness concerning her English reviewers. The letter, a copy of which I have seen, shows only amusement, to my way of thinking! I talked to her about these same reviewers, and I can assure Mr. Shorter that had she lived to make the English excursion, he and the other gentlemen concerned would have found out how very little indeed any critic could affect Miss Lowell's health, or her poise, or her courage to accomplish the work she had apportioned to herself. Surely J. C. Squire could tell Mr. Gosse how wrong he was, for his own encounter with her must have convinced him that she was not a person to mope over her reviewers. If her friends have leaped to her defense and given Mr. Shorter the publicity which he must have known would result, it is only because they feared that someone who did not know her might have misunderstood personality that was always triumphant, and a genius that was constant and entirely


Sinclair Lewis has returned again to America. He is about to undertake a book which gives him a better chance than anything since "Main Street". I have not seen the subject announced, and I don't want to betray a confidence, so I shall let you guess as to the particular section of American buncombe he is about to attack. At any rate, under the circumstances I judge that he himself will be a character; if not the hero, certainly a close relative. Edna Ferber vanished suddenly from town. One day I heard she was going to Vermont, the next, her mother told me she had sailed for Europe. She writes from St. Jean-de-Luz, "I'm in Europe for some obscure reason. I'm more surprised than anyone to find myself on the other side of the ocean. I didn't in the least mean to go. ... The ocean is just below my window (don't you loathe letters that say that!), and the Pyrenees are purpling the horizon!" People are most kind to remember me in the heat. I hope Miss Ferber is working on the new novel now, or swimming on the delightful beach pictured at the top of her letter, or sailing in one of those silly little sailboats of the varicolors. Thomas Boyd writes from Woodstock, Vermont, that he has finished his new book, and that the scenery takes his breath away constantly. How could he help liking the scenery? You should have gone to Vermont, Miss Ferber. I remember the first time I ever saw the Pyrenees. True, they are lovely; but a trifle austere, don't you think? They cannot touch Escutney under a purple haze, or the Twin Peaks swirled around with early morning cloud. There are

those, too, who favor Connecticut: Genevieve Taggard, for example, who comes to town only once in a dog's age (she has just written a charming piece about cats). She arrived this morning with two manuscripts under her arm, one the "Masses and Liberator" anthology of poetry, over which she has been working for three years; the other, her own new volume of poetry, "Time Out". Taking care of her young child up in Connecticut has not changed her greatly. She is still one of the six beautiful American poetesses. Fast on her heels arrived Joseph Auslander and Leslie Nelson Jennings. Mr. Jennings, one of the members of the staff of the defunct "Current Opinion", has turned again to writing verses. Joseph Auslander has completed a play, and a volume of verses dealing with industrial subjects. He says that he is perfectly willing to be persuaded to lecture, if the occasion arises. Surely a poet with a mustache should be popular.

The Players Club revival of "Trelawney of the Wells" was marked by much gaiety as well as pomp, and John Drew's masterly performance was cheered to the echo! The success of this venture in the warmest week of the summer proves not only that the New York public is interested in revivals, but also that the Players Club has established its annual affair in a most creditable and profitable manner. Laurette Taylor made a beautiful Trelawney, and the cast was a jolly and a vigorous one in spite of the temperature. The lady behind me spent the entire evening saying, "It is much too hot to go to the theatre." Well, it was much too hot to stay at home! Talking about the heat seems to me to involve a certain principle of physics. You say "Isn't it hot?" and you relieve your

mind of a heat thought, which must necessarily be absorbed by the person who hears your remark. It isn't fair! This caricature of the president of the Players was made by Roland Young,

John Drew

and published in his book of caricatures, "Actors and Others". Young, I haven't seen in some time. His performance in "Beggar on Horseback" will long be remembered as one of grace and effectiveness. His caricatures are good, though of course they cannot touch those of Ralph Barton. Barton, by the way, has just returned from Paris, where he says that he can find more American celebrities to limn than is possible in New York City. I saw Joseph Hergesheimer give the artist, who was making pictures between acts at "Artists and Models", a crisp bill, and I couldn't make out what he did it for. Was he paying for the suppression of a caricature, had he bought a sketch of the lady he was with, or what? Perhaps it does not matter. It was a noble gesture. Hergesheimer gains in distinction as the years go by. He was one of the most impressive figures at the Winter Garden last night, not counting, of course, the Gertrude Hoffman girls. His book about his house in West Chester is going to ap

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