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under what strains, with what intent. Now it is the misconceived "Otho", now the melancholy measures of "To Autumn", now the jingling vagaries of "The Cap and Bells". Throughout the two volumes Miss Lowell has used letters gracefully and with telling effect. Some of them have hitherto been unpublished; but all of them seem fresh by their clever placement. Good letters they are, especially the poet's own: letters that are like diaries, or notes filled with zest and humanity, or blazing with strained and tormented love, silly jealousy, or oversweet emotion.
A rich book this, in more ways than one, flashing with beautiful sentences,
profound in human emotion, always intelligent. Seldom has a story of a literary man been so carefully planned, so brilliantly executed. Having secured her facts at great pains, Miss Lowell made them a part of herself and gave us Keats as she sees him, as we can scarcely fail to see him, having read her book. Her publishers have not failed in their part; binding, type, illustration, are in accord with the text. In every way it is a great piece of work, one in which we may take both pride and pleasure.
John Keats. By Amy Lowell. Two volumes. Houghton Mifflin Company.
By Josephine Pinckney
HE Buzzard and the Butterfly playing in the field,
Nobody home but the baby
Butterfly shivers in his red-speckled wings,
Butterfly giggles, "How sweet the fields taste!
I'll eat and I'll eat
not a honey drop will waste; Death can't catch me till there's nothing left to eat!" Long eyed Buzzard sleeks his feathers with his beak "Death will be a-coming either this week or next week Go to sleep my little baby
Go to sleep, go to sleep
A YOUNG AMERICAN'S FRIENDSHIP WITH
By Edward Wassermann
HEN I left America during the everything pertaining to art, he had an
young American, to meet Anatole France in preference to the Kaiser. Through a lucky chain of events I became attached to an organization that was transferred to Tours where Anatole France was residing. He had started to remodel his house in Paris, but at the outbreak of the war had found it impossible to have the work completed. Thereupon he had gone to his country seat. So one bleak March day, with an acquaintance who had a letter of introduction to France, I motored through the narrow streets of Tours over the Loire bridge and up the steep hill at Saint Cyr. The whole drive took about a quarter of an hour. We reached the iron grill gate of La Bechellerie. We rang a bell that clanked stridently though not altogether unmusically. The door opened and we came into a courtyard with a graceful Louis XIII manor house at its end. On entering the hall, dimly lighted by a lamp, we saw our host come shambling out in easy gait from the next room.
war. He was rather worried about the outcome of it— thought that the end of the world was drawing near. He was disgusted that humanity, which he had always hoped might improve, was continuing on its old road of stupidity. "Indeed," he said, "war and love are the two things that men do best." From time to time he would pace the floor, his sharp eyes darting out glances in a most searching yet kindly way. He was dressed in his usual home garb of a suit minus the coat, an old colorless woolen dressing gown, and a red velvet skull cap whose color contrasted vividly with his white hair. When engaged in some discussion, he would move his cap at various angles. At this time I met Mlle. Laprévotte. France informed me that she was the only bright spot in his life and that I would find her a kindred soul since she also was an American. Not wishing to presume on France's good nature, I did not prolong this first visit, from which I carried away in addition to the bewilderment of an accomplished ambition that had no regret at its accomplishment — a charming souvenir of his delightful hospitality. He had been kind enough to ask me to call again. I did so and then, gradually forgetting that I was in the presence of a genius and remembering only his simplicity and kindliness, I formed a friendship with him which
grew until I saw him practically every day.
Mademoiselle had been born in St. Louis of fairly humble parentage and had spent most of her life in France. With Anatole France she occupied a peculiar position which was a blending of companion and housekeeper. She was very timid, very bashful, deeply appreciative of any attention. Though most people rather looked down on her and considered her boresome and bothersome, I had the impression that her simplicity and goodheartedness really fitted her for the exalted position she was finally to attain. France adored her, treated her almost as a child, and took his moods from hers.
In May, 1917, I was ordered to Paris. Before I left Tours I went to pay my respects to France. Mademoiselle was ill and I feared that France would be in no mood to see me; but he did, and presented me with his photograph, an amicable kiss on my forehead, and his paternal blessing. In August of that year I returned to Tours and immediately went up to see France, who welcomed me as a long lost friend. From then on I went up every Sunday for lunch, and generally once a week in the afternoon, for luckily I was a tin soldier who was usually free at sundown. It was interesting to notice the various well known people who would go up to see France. Among them I met such celebrities as Michel Corday, Kermit Roosevelt, Steinlen, Moutet the deputy Socialist who defended Caillaux, Louis Barthou, Pierre Mille, and Mlle. Maille. At that time Mlle. Maille was in the Comédie Française, and I was fortunate enough to go with her and France to a celebration in memory of Paul Louis Courier. He had been born at Véretz, a tiny town near Tours. Mlle. Maille recited,
after which France made a speech in honor of the celebrated pamphletist. France never had been a good public speaker and he read his discourse somewhat haltingly; but for all that its beautiful language was obvious.
About this time I decided to try for a commission in the United States Army, and France, always interested in even the slightest details of the life of a fellow human being, was good enough to give me this letter of recommendation: "I can conscien
tiously affirm that having known Sergeant Edward Wassermann since his arrival in France I am able to appreciate his remarkable intelligence, his excellent mind, his exemplary morals, and his thorough knowledge of the French language which he speaks perfectly. Consequently I suppose that you will judge Sergeant Wassermann to be capable of rendering great service as an officer. Receive, gentlemen, the expression of my highest esteem. (Signed) Anatole France of the French Academy." France had always treated rather slightingly the French Academy, and he told me that in order to be more helpful to me he had signed "of the French Academy" for the first time, since he never cared to use this title. I omit discussion of France's other eulogistic phrases - this article is no confession but as to my "remarkable intelligence", unfortunately I was not to pass my examination. Whereupon France, as true philosopher and friend, said that he considered examinations the proof of the world's idiocy, since they were invented by idiots to fool wise men. In one of his books he relates his own failure to pass an examination because he was so intimidated that he said "yes" to everything, even when the examiner asked him if the River Seine were in Africa.
His geniality was truly remarkable.
When various friends of mine came to Tours he always received them as cordially as if they had been his own. I introduced him to one friend a Red Cross worker who prided herself on her French accent, which really was extremely good. After she had left I commented to France on her accent. "Yes," he said, "she speaks French too well."
These were the hard times of the war. Mademoiselle knew little of how to procure the necessities of life. Hampered by her illness, France was incapable of looking out for himself. He had no coal and his house was freezing. Half the time he had no flour or other essential provisions. Yet in the midst of complaints concerning the discomforts of war, he would branch out into cultural conversation. When, for instance, I brought him some white bread, which few in France had eaten in three years, tears came to his eyes. A minute afterward he was seeking to collate an edition of "Candide" that I had also brought to him. I suppose that a mind so steeped in the arts could not long be hampered by the events of life which to the ordinary individual seem so important. I met him in Tours one day, sobbing. He told me that his daughter had just died. They had been estranged for several years and France, with his customary negligence of the daily tasks, had let slip sible reconciliation. He deplored this fact, then remarked that after all, even though one were sad, one forgot quickly. He corroborated this by adding that, grief stricken as he was, he had eaten a delightful lunch - he even remembered the pleasures of a savory cassoulet. Whereupon he discoursed on the excellencies of the cuisine in southern France.
When the false armistice was ru
mored, I found France in Madame Tridon's bookshop in Tours. It was his custom to go into the back of this shop and discourse on almost every subject before a crowd of admiring villagers. On that day he was delighted that peace had been signed, though embittered, as usual, because he seemed. to see his country's ruin as well. A few minutes afterward, with his great love of literature, he began talking to me about Racine and went into ecstasies over some batiks I showed him
he had never seen any before. When the real armistice came along the little town of Tours celebrated it with a nocturnal parade. I dined with France and Mademoiselle and later we watched the fireworks from the balcony of the hotel to which he had moved on account of the coal shortage. Tears came to his eyes at the thought that peace was at last imminent. For France was always a pacifist, though a Frenchman at heart. At the beginning of the war, in spite of advanced age, he had volunteered. Later he had written two books on the war which by . their very shortness suggested that he loathed war. He finally came to believe that the war was being continued for the betterment of the profiteers and he wrote me the following dedication in "Sur la Voie Glorieuse":
WHAT OUR DEAD SAY
But in December 1916, hearing that Austria had made peace propositions that had been kept secret by the allied governments, from then on I kept silence, being unwilling to make myself an accomplice to men who were either cupidinous or fanatical and who were continuing a war the necessity of which no longer appeared to
I saw very little of France for a while after the armistice, since he went to take a cure at St. Cloud. But before leaving, with his thoroughgoing kindness and thoughtfulness, he gave
some eighteenth century place cards to use at a Thanksgiving dinner. To find these he had taken me into what he called "Bluebeard's Room", a sort of storeroom for all the things he could not use elsewhere in his house. A few weeks afterward I was fortunate enough to be transferred from Tours to the Peace Commission in Paris. I was therefore able to see France quite often.
He was staying at St. Cloud with his great friends the Couchouds, trying to build up his strength which had been weakened by the war. He had become
very much interested in a new phase of spiritualism, and showed me various pictures taken through mediums. At this time, a company had formed to produce moving pictures of some of his books. France rather marveled at the movies but put little faith in them. This is quite easy to understand. 'His books do not readily lend themselves to the screen, since so much in them depends on the style and the philosophy.
Presently France returned to Tours, and the fortunes of peace sent me back there as well. I readily gave up the gaieties of Paris for the pleasure of renewing my delightful visits to La Bechellerie. It was thoroughly stimulating to hear France discussing life, art, and literature, and making cynically apt remarks about everything. One day, when we were talking of women, he remarked that Pasiphae was less reprehensible than Lady Macbeth, for she at least had had physical pleasure in her sin, whereas Lady Macbeth had been prompted merely by the lust of ambition. As to death, he said, in effect: Life in itself is so wonderful that had we, before birth, the knowledge of life's beauty and death's inevitability, we would choose not to live, because of the pain of giving up life.
At this period my military career became irksome to me, and I began to think of how I might get my discharge in France. We discussed this matter frequently. Finally France, in his modest way, said that perhaps my commanding officer had heard of him, and might help me get my discharge were he to think that France needed me. Consequently he penned the following letter, with its obvious fiction:
DEAR EDWARD WASSERMANN: Having decided to write immediately the book on America about which I have spoken to you so often, I beg that you come to me as soon as possible to serve as my secretary as you have promised me.
I cannot do without you to accomplish this great task.
Unfortunately I have no right other than my favorable sentiments toward America to solicit your demobilization of your superiors, but as soon as you are free I count on you to take your position of secretary with me.
Dear E. W. I cordially shake your hand.
Needless to say, it was over two months before I regained my liberty. By this time spring had come and I had arranged a two day leave to Paris. France told me that he would be motoring up himself, and I delayed my departure for his. One morning he, Mademoiselle, and I started out bright and early, driving through the graceful hills of the Loire Valley. France commented on the beauty of nature and on the suavity of the landscape. But soon he was off quoting Racine, one of his favorite authors, whom he knew almost entirely by heart. At about noon we neared Chartres. We left Mademoiselle at the hotel and started, as was his wont, to hunt old books and antiques. We found a modest bookseller with a rather uninteresting line of musty wares. France kept darting from one pile to another, taking out book after book; just as a sparrow, with