commit ce076405673c3bb59f8ab8bd0032498bdc29b83d Author: Nemo Date: Fri Feb 23 23:49:40 2018 +0530 Initial commit diff --git a/.gitignore b/.gitignore new file mode 100644 index 0000000..0bfae86 --- /dev/null +++ b/.gitignore @@ -0,0 +1,2 @@ +_site +vendor \ No newline at end of file diff --git a/Gemfile b/Gemfile new file mode 100644 index 0000000..5fe0b37 --- /dev/null +++ b/Gemfile @@ -0,0 +1,6 @@ +source 'https://rubygems.org' + +# Downgrade because of https://github.com/jekyll/jekyll-help/issues/223 +# and https://github.com/benbalter/jekyll-optional-front-matter/issues/5 + +gem 'jekyll', '2.1.1' \ No newline at end of file diff --git a/Gemfile.lock b/Gemfile.lock new file mode 100644 index 0000000..06a4aeb --- /dev/null +++ b/Gemfile.lock @@ -0,0 +1,86 @@ +GEM + remote: https://rubygems.org/ + specs: + addressable (2.5.2) + public_suffix (>= 2.0.2, < 4.0) + blankslate (2.1.2.4) + classifier (1.3.4) + fast-stemmer (>= 1.0.0) + coffee-script (2.4.1) + coffee-script-source + execjs + coffee-script-source (1.11.1) + colorator (0.1) + execjs (2.7.0) + faraday (0.14.0) + multipart-post (>= 1.2, < 3) + fast-stemmer (1.0.2) + ffi (1.9.22) + jekyll (2.1.1) + classifier (~> 1.3) + colorator (~> 0.1) + jekyll-coffeescript (~> 1.0) + jekyll-gist (~> 1.0) + jekyll-paginate (~> 1.0) + jekyll-sass-converter (~> 1.0) + jekyll-watch (~> 1.0) + kramdown (~> 1.3) + liquid (~> 2.6.1) + mercenary (~> 0.3.3) + pygments.rb (~> 0.6.0) + redcarpet (~> 3.1) + safe_yaml (~> 1.0) + toml (~> 0.1.0) + jekyll-coffeescript (1.1.1) + coffee-script (~> 2.2) + coffee-script-source (~> 1.11.1) + jekyll-gist (1.5.0) + octokit (~> 4.2) + jekyll-paginate (1.1.0) + jekyll-sass-converter (1.5.2) + sass (~> 3.4) + jekyll-watch (1.5.1) + listen (~> 3.0) + kramdown (1.16.2) + liquid (2.6.3) + listen (3.1.5) + rb-fsevent (~> 0.9, >= 0.9.4) + rb-inotify (~> 0.9, >= 0.9.7) + ruby_dep (~> 1.2) + mercenary (0.3.6) + multipart-post (2.0.0) + octokit (4.8.0) + sawyer (~> 0.8.0, >= 0.5.3) + parslet (1.5.0) + blankslate (~> 2.0) + posix-spawn (0.3.13) + public_suffix (3.0.2) + pygments.rb (0.6.3) + posix-spawn (~> 0.3.6) + yajl-ruby (~> 1.2.0) + rb-fsevent (0.10.2) + rb-inotify (0.9.10) + ffi (>= 0.5.0, < 2) + redcarpet (3.4.0) + ruby_dep (1.5.0) + safe_yaml (1.0.4) + sass (3.5.5) + sass-listen (~> 4.0.0) + sass-listen (4.0.0) + rb-fsevent (~> 0.9, >= 0.9.4) + rb-inotify (~> 0.9, >= 0.9.7) + sawyer (0.8.1) + addressable (>= 2.3.5, < 2.6) + faraday (~> 0.8, < 1.0) + toml (0.1.2) + parslet (~> 1.5.0) + yajl-ruby (1.2.3) + +PLATFORMS + ruby + +DEPENDENCIES + jekyll (= 2.1.1) + +BUNDLED WITH + 1.16.1 diff --git a/README.md b/README.md new file mode 100644 index 0000000..4bf3493 --- /dev/null +++ b/README.md @@ -0,0 +1,3 @@ +# hn-classics-website + +Started with a plan to generate a EBook for the HN-Classics project, diverged into a Jekyll website. \ No newline at end of file diff --git a/_config.yml b/_config.yml new file mode 100644 index 0000000..3c9e226 --- /dev/null +++ b/_config.yml @@ -0,0 +1,7 @@ +title: HN Classic Stories +url: http://localhost:4000 +collections: + stories: + output: true +exclude: + - vendor \ No newline at end of file diff --git a/_layouts/default.html b/_layouts/default.html new file mode 100644 index 0000000..6738c4b --- /dev/null +++ b/_layouts/default.html @@ -0,0 +1,12 @@ + + + + + {{page.title}} + + + + +{{content}} + + \ No newline at end of file diff --git a/_stories/1900/.md b/_stories/1900/.md new file mode 100644 index 0000000..c0e7af2 --- /dev/null +++ b/_stories/1900/.md @@ -0,0 +1,7 @@ +[Source](https://patents.google.com/patent/US787412A/en?before=priority:19030101&after=priority:18900101 "Permalink to US787412A - Art of transmitting electrical energy through the natural mediums. + - Google Patents") + +# US787412A - Art of transmitting electrical energy through the natural mediums. + - Google Patents + + diff --git a/_stories/1900/1026018.md b/_stories/1900/1026018.md new file mode 100644 index 0000000..7b3d56b --- /dev/null +++ b/_stories/1900/1026018.md @@ -0,0 +1,86 @@ +[Source](http://yorktownhistory.org/homepages/1900_predictions.htm "Permalink to +Not Found - ") + +# +Not Found - + +[drugs and their effects][1] + +![Revolutionary War Re-enactment Image][2] + +* [About Us][3] +* [Calendar][4] +* [Donate][5] +* [Our Books][6] +* [History][7] + + * [Home][8] + * [Membership][9] + * [Visit Yorktown][10] + * [Volunteer][11] + * [Member Services][12] + * [Yorktown Museum][13] + * [YHS Blog][14] + * [Contact Us][15] + +Search + +## Page Not Found + +We're sorry, the page you are looking for is not on our website. Please check the address, or use the menu at the top or side of the page. + +  + +  + +  + +  + +  + +  + +  + +  + +  + +  + +  + +  + +  + +  + +  + +  + +  + +  + +©2018 Yorktown Historical Society, All Rights Reserved. Site design: [Taconic Marketing][16] + +[1]: http://undergradsuccess.com/drugs-and-their-effects/ +[2]: http://yorktownhistory.org/wp-content/header-images/battle.jpg +[3]: http://yorktownhistory.org/about-us/ +[4]: http://yorktownhistory.org/calendar/ +[5]: http://yorktownhistory.org/donate/ +[6]: http://yorktownhistory.org/our-books/ +[7]: http://yorktownhistory.org/history/ +[8]: http://yorktownhistory.org/Home +[9]: http://yorktownhistory.org/home/membership/ +[10]: http://yorktownhistory.org/home/visit-yorktown/ +[11]: http://yorktownhistory.org/home/volunteer/ +[12]: http://yorktownhistory.org/home/member-services/ +[13]: http://yorktownhistory.org/home/yorktown-museum/ +[14]: http://yorktownhistory.org/home/yhsblog/ +[15]: http://yorktownhistory.org/home/contact-us/ +[16]: http://taconicmarketing.com + diff --git a/_stories/1900/16128805.md b/_stories/1900/16128805.md new file mode 100644 index 0000000..c0e7af2 --- /dev/null +++ b/_stories/1900/16128805.md @@ -0,0 +1,7 @@ +[Source](https://patents.google.com/patent/US787412A/en?before=priority:19030101&after=priority:18900101 "Permalink to US787412A - Art of transmitting electrical energy through the natural mediums. + - Google Patents") + +# US787412A - Art of transmitting electrical energy through the natural mediums. + - Google Patents + + diff --git a/_stories/1901/10822133.md b/_stories/1901/10822133.md new file mode 100644 index 0000000..c70714f --- /dev/null +++ b/_stories/1901/10822133.md @@ -0,0 +1,58 @@ +[Source](http://www.paulgraham.com/cornpone.html "Permalink to Mark Twain: Corn-pone Opinions") + +# Mark Twain: Corn-pone Opinions + + +| ----- | +| ![][1] | ![][2] | ![][3] + + +| ![Mark Twain: Corn-pone Opinions][4] + +FIFTY YEARS AGO, when I was a boy of fifteen and helping to inhabit a Missourian village on the banks of the Mississippi, I had a friend whose society was very dear to me because I was forbidden by my mother to partake of it. He was a gay and impudent and satirical and delightful young black man -a slave -who daily preached sermons from the top of his master's woodpile, with me for sole audience. He imitated the pulpit style of the several clergymen of the village, and did it well, and with fine passion and energy. To me he was a wonder. I believed he was the greatest orator in the United States and would some day be heard from. But it did not happen; in the distribution of rewards he was overlooked. It is the way, in this world. + +He interrupted his preaching, now and then, to saw a stick of wood; but the sawing was a pretense -he did it with his mouth; exactly imitating the sound the bucksaw makes in shrieking its way through the wood. But it served its purpose; it kept his master from coming out to see how the work was getting along. I listened to the sermons from the open window of a lumber room at the back of the house. One of his texts was this: + +"You tell me whar a man gits his corn pone, en I'll tell you what his 'pinions is." + +I can never forget it. It was deeply impressed upon me. By my mother. Not upon my memory, but elsewhere. She had slipped in upon me while I was absorbed and not watching. The black philosopher's idea was that a man is not independent, and cannot afford views which might interfere with his bread and butter. If he would prosper, he must train with the majority; in matters of large moment, like politics and religion, he must think and feel with the bulk of his neighbors, or suffer damage in his social standing and in his business prosperities. He must restrict himself to corn-pone opinions -- at least on the surface. He must get his opinions from other people; he must reason out none for himself; he must have no first-hand views. + +I think Jerry was right, in the main, but I think he did not go far enough. + +1\. It was his idea that a man conforms to the majority view of his locality by calculation and intention. This happens, but I think it is not the rule. + +2\. It was his idea that there is such a thing as a first-hand opinion; an original opinion; an opinion which is coldly reasoned out in a man's head, by a searching analysis of the facts involved, with the heart unconsulted, and the jury room closed against outside influences. It may be that such an opinion has been born somewhere, at some time or other, but I suppose it got away before they could catch it and stuff it and put it in the museum. + +I am persuaded that a coldly-thought-out and independent verdict upon a fashion in clothes, or manners, or literature, or politics, or religion, or any other matter that is projected into the field of our notice and interest, is a most rare thing -- if it has indeed ever existed. + +A new thing in costume appears -- the flaring hoopskirt, for example -- and the passers-by are shocked, and the irreverent laugh. Six months later everybody is reconciled; the fashion has established itself; it is admired, now, and no one laughs. Public opinion resented it before, public opinion accepts it now, and is happy in it. Why? Was the resentment reasoned out? Was the acceptance reasoned out? No. The instinct that moves to conformity did the work. It is our nature to conform; it is a force which not many can successfully resist. What is its seat? The inborn requirement of self-approval. We all have to bow to that; there are no exceptions. Even the woman who refuses from first to last to wear the hoop skirt comes under that law and is its slave; she could not wear the skirt and have her own approval; and that she must have, she cannot help herself. But as a rule our self-approval has its source in but one place and not elsewhere -- the approval of other people. A person of vast consequences can introduce any kind of novelty in dress and the general world will presently adopt it -- moved to do it, in the first place, by the natural instinct to passively yield to that vague something recognized as authority, and in the second place by the human instinct to train with the multitude and have its approval. An empress introduced the hoopskirt, and we know the result. A nobody introduced the bloomer, and we know the result. If Eve should come again, in her ripe renown, and reintroduce her quaint styles -- well, we know what would happen. And we should be cruelly embarrassed, along at first. + +The hoopskirt runs its course and disappears. Nobody reasons about it. One woman abandons the fashion; her neighbor notices this and follows her lead; this influences the next woman; and so on and so on, and presently the skirt has vanished out of the world, no one knows how nor why, nor cares, for that matter. It will come again, by and by and in due course will go again. + +Twenty-five years ago, in England, six or eight wine glasses stood grouped by each person's plate at a dinner party, and they were used, not left idle and empty; to-day there are but three or four in the group, and the average guest sparingly uses about two of them. We have not adopted this new fashion yet, but we shall do it presently. We shall not think it out; we shall merely conform, and let it go at that. We get our notions and habits and opinions from outside influences; we do not have to study them out. + +Our table manners, and company manners, and street manners change from time to time, but the changes are not reasoned out; we merely notice and conform. We are creatures of outside influences; as a rule we do not think, we only imitate. We cannot invent standards that will stick; what we mistake for standards are only fashions, and perishable. We may continue to admire them, but we drop the use of them. We notice this in literature. Shakespeare is a standard, and fifty years ago we used to write tragedies which we couldn't tell from -- from somebody else's; but we don't do it any more, now. Our prose standard, three quarters of a century ago, was ornate and diffuse; some authority or other changed it in the direction of compactness and simplicity, and conformity followed, without argument. The historical novel starts up suddenly, and sweeps the land. Everybody writes one, and the nation is glad. We had historical novels before; but nobody read them, and the rest of us conformed -- without reasoning it out. We are conforming in the other way, now, because it is another case of everybody. + +The outside influences are always pouring in upon us, and we are always obeying their orders and accepting their verdicts. The Smiths like the new play; the Joneses go to see it, and they copy the Smith verdict. Morals, religions, politics, get their following from surrounding influences and atmospheres, almost entirely; not from study, not from thinking. A man must and will have his own approval first of all, in each and every moment and circumstance of his life -- even if he must repent of a self-approved act the moment after its commission, in order to get his self-approval again: but, speaking in general terms, a man's self-approval in the large concerns of life has its source in the approval of the peoples about him, and not in a searching personal examination of the matter. Mohammedans are Mohammedans because they are born and reared among that sect, not because they have thought it out and can furnish sound reasons for being Mohammedans; we know why Catholics are Catholics; why Presbyterians are Presbyterians; why Baptists are Baptists; why Mormons are Mormons; why thieves are thieves; why monarchists are monarchists; why Republicans are Republicans and Democrats, Democrats. We know it is a matter of association and sympathy, not reasoning and examination; that hardly a man in the world has an opinion upon morals, politics, or religion which he got otherwise than through his associations and sympathies. Broadly speaking, there are none but corn-pone opinions. And broadly speaking, corn-pone stands for self-approval. Self-approval is acquired mainly from the approval of other people. The result is conformity. Sometimes conformity has a sordid business interest -- the bread-and-butter interest -- but not in most cases, I think. I think that in the majority of cases it is unconscious and not calculated; that it is born of the human being's natural yearning to stand well with his fellows and have their inspiring approval and praise -- a yearning which is commonly so strong and so insistent that it cannot be effectually resisted, and must have its way. A political emergency brings out the corn-pone opinion in fine force in its two chief varieties -- the pocketbook variety, which has its origin in self-interest, and the bigger variety, the sentimental variety -- the one which can't bear to be outside the pale; can't bear to be in disfavor; can't endure the averted face and the cold shoulder; wants to stand well with his friends, wants to be smiled upon, wants to be welcome, wants to hear the precious words, "He's on the right track!" Uttered, perhaps by an ass, but still an ass of high degree, an ass whose approval is gold and diamonds to a smaller ass, and confers glory and honor and happiness, and membership in the herd. For these gauds many a man will dump his life-long principles into the street, and his conscience along with them. We have seen it happen. In some millions of instances. + +Men think they think upon great political questions, and they do; but they think with their party, not independently; they read its literature, but not that of the other side; they arrive at convictions, but they are drawn from a partial view of the matter in hand and are of no particular value. They swarm with their party, they feel with their party, they are happy in their party's approval; and where the party leads they will follow, whether for right and honor, or through blood and dirt and a mush of mutilated morals. + +In our late canvass half of the nation passionately believed that in silver lay salvation, the other half as passionately believed that that way lay destruction. Do you believe that a tenth part of the people, on either side, had any rational excuse for having an opinion about the matter at all? I studied that mighty question to the bottom -- came out empty. Half of our people passionately believe in high tariff, the other half believe otherwise. Does this mean study and examination, or only feeling? The latter, I think. I have deeply studied that question, too -- and didn't arrive. We all do no end of feeling, and we mistake it for thinking. And out of it we get an aggregation which we consider a boon. Its name is Public Opinion. It is held in reverence. It settles everything. Some think it the Voice of God. + + | + +| ----- | +| + + +* * * + + | + + | + +[1]: http://ep.yimg.com/ay/paulgraham/essays-1.gif +[2]: http://ep.yimg.com/ca/Img/trans_1x1.gif +[3]: http://ep.yimg.com/ca/I/paulgraham_2271_3232 +[4]: http://ep.yimg.com/ca/I/paulgraham_2202_8864210 + diff --git a/_stories/1901/1140283.md b/_stories/1901/1140283.md new file mode 100644 index 0000000..9d6c4f5 --- /dev/null +++ b/_stories/1901/1140283.md @@ -0,0 +1,13 @@ +[Source](http://www.lockhaven.edu/redirect/JSRedirect.html "Permalink to Redirect to Lockhaven.edu") + +# Redirect to Lockhaven.edu + +![LHU Logo][1] + +## LHUP.edu has been retired + +You will automatically be redirected to our official domain, [ Lockhaven.edu][2] in five seconds. You can also click the link to avoid waiting. Please update your bookmarks. + +[1]: http://www.lockhaven.edu/LHUlogo.png +[2]: https://lockhaven.edu + diff --git a/_stories/1901/16128805.md b/_stories/1901/16128805.md new file mode 100644 index 0000000..c70714f --- /dev/null +++ b/_stories/1901/16128805.md @@ -0,0 +1,58 @@ +[Source](http://www.paulgraham.com/cornpone.html "Permalink to Mark Twain: Corn-pone Opinions") + +# Mark Twain: Corn-pone Opinions + + +| ----- | +| ![][1] | ![][2] | ![][3] + + +| ![Mark Twain: Corn-pone Opinions][4] + +FIFTY YEARS AGO, when I was a boy of fifteen and helping to inhabit a Missourian village on the banks of the Mississippi, I had a friend whose society was very dear to me because I was forbidden by my mother to partake of it. He was a gay and impudent and satirical and delightful young black man -a slave -who daily preached sermons from the top of his master's woodpile, with me for sole audience. He imitated the pulpit style of the several clergymen of the village, and did it well, and with fine passion and energy. To me he was a wonder. I believed he was the greatest orator in the United States and would some day be heard from. But it did not happen; in the distribution of rewards he was overlooked. It is the way, in this world. + +He interrupted his preaching, now and then, to saw a stick of wood; but the sawing was a pretense -he did it with his mouth; exactly imitating the sound the bucksaw makes in shrieking its way through the wood. But it served its purpose; it kept his master from coming out to see how the work was getting along. I listened to the sermons from the open window of a lumber room at the back of the house. One of his texts was this: + +"You tell me whar a man gits his corn pone, en I'll tell you what his 'pinions is." + +I can never forget it. It was deeply impressed upon me. By my mother. Not upon my memory, but elsewhere. She had slipped in upon me while I was absorbed and not watching. The black philosopher's idea was that a man is not independent, and cannot afford views which might interfere with his bread and butter. If he would prosper, he must train with the majority; in matters of large moment, like politics and religion, he must think and feel with the bulk of his neighbors, or suffer damage in his social standing and in his business prosperities. He must restrict himself to corn-pone opinions -- at least on the surface. He must get his opinions from other people; he must reason out none for himself; he must have no first-hand views. + +I think Jerry was right, in the main, but I think he did not go far enough. + +1\. It was his idea that a man conforms to the majority view of his locality by calculation and intention. This happens, but I think it is not the rule. + +2\. It was his idea that there is such a thing as a first-hand opinion; an original opinion; an opinion which is coldly reasoned out in a man's head, by a searching analysis of the facts involved, with the heart unconsulted, and the jury room closed against outside influences. It may be that such an opinion has been born somewhere, at some time or other, but I suppose it got away before they could catch it and stuff it and put it in the museum. + +I am persuaded that a coldly-thought-out and independent verdict upon a fashion in clothes, or manners, or literature, or politics, or religion, or any other matter that is projected into the field of our notice and interest, is a most rare thing -- if it has indeed ever existed. + +A new thing in costume appears -- the flaring hoopskirt, for example -- and the passers-by are shocked, and the irreverent laugh. Six months later everybody is reconciled; the fashion has established itself; it is admired, now, and no one laughs. Public opinion resented it before, public opinion accepts it now, and is happy in it. Why? Was the resentment reasoned out? Was the acceptance reasoned out? No. The instinct that moves to conformity did the work. It is our nature to conform; it is a force which not many can successfully resist. What is its seat? The inborn requirement of self-approval. We all have to bow to that; there are no exceptions. Even the woman who refuses from first to last to wear the hoop skirt comes under that law and is its slave; she could not wear the skirt and have her own approval; and that she must have, she cannot help herself. But as a rule our self-approval has its source in but one place and not elsewhere -- the approval of other people. A person of vast consequences can introduce any kind of novelty in dress and the general world will presently adopt it -- moved to do it, in the first place, by the natural instinct to passively yield to that vague something recognized as authority, and in the second place by the human instinct to train with the multitude and have its approval. An empress introduced the hoopskirt, and we know the result. A nobody introduced the bloomer, and we know the result. If Eve should come again, in her ripe renown, and reintroduce her quaint styles -- well, we know what would happen. And we should be cruelly embarrassed, along at first. + +The hoopskirt runs its course and disappears. Nobody reasons about it. One woman abandons the fashion; her neighbor notices this and follows her lead; this influences the next woman; and so on and so on, and presently the skirt has vanished out of the world, no one knows how nor why, nor cares, for that matter. It will come again, by and by and in due course will go again. + +Twenty-five years ago, in England, six or eight wine glasses stood grouped by each person's plate at a dinner party, and they were used, not left idle and empty; to-day there are but three or four in the group, and the average guest sparingly uses about two of them. We have not adopted this new fashion yet, but we shall do it presently. We shall not think it out; we shall merely conform, and let it go at that. We get our notions and habits and opinions from outside influences; we do not have to study them out. + +Our table manners, and company manners, and street manners change from time to time, but the changes are not reasoned out; we merely notice and conform. We are creatures of outside influences; as a rule we do not think, we only imitate. We cannot invent standards that will stick; what we mistake for standards are only fashions, and perishable. We may continue to admire them, but we drop the use of them. We notice this in literature. Shakespeare is a standard, and fifty years ago we used to write tragedies which we couldn't tell from -- from somebody else's; but we don't do it any more, now. Our prose standard, three quarters of a century ago, was ornate and diffuse; some authority or other changed it in the direction of compactness and simplicity, and conformity followed, without argument. The historical novel starts up suddenly, and sweeps the land. Everybody writes one, and the nation is glad. We had historical novels before; but nobody read them, and the rest of us conformed -- without reasoning it out. We are conforming in the other way, now, because it is another case of everybody. + +The outside influences are always pouring in upon us, and we are always obeying their orders and accepting their verdicts. The Smiths like the new play; the Joneses go to see it, and they copy the Smith verdict. Morals, religions, politics, get their following from surrounding influences and atmospheres, almost entirely; not from study, not from thinking. A man must and will have his own approval first of all, in each and every moment and circumstance of his life -- even if he must repent of a self-approved act the moment after its commission, in order to get his self-approval again: but, speaking in general terms, a man's self-approval in the large concerns of life has its source in the approval of the peoples about him, and not in a searching personal examination of the matter. Mohammedans are Mohammedans because they are born and reared among that sect, not because they have thought it out and can furnish sound reasons for being Mohammedans; we know why Catholics are Catholics; why Presbyterians are Presbyterians; why Baptists are Baptists; why Mormons are Mormons; why thieves are thieves; why monarchists are monarchists; why Republicans are Republicans and Democrats, Democrats. We know it is a matter of association and sympathy, not reasoning and examination; that hardly a man in the world has an opinion upon morals, politics, or religion which he got otherwise than through his associations and sympathies. Broadly speaking, there are none but corn-pone opinions. And broadly speaking, corn-pone stands for self-approval. Self-approval is acquired mainly from the approval of other people. The result is conformity. Sometimes conformity has a sordid business interest -- the bread-and-butter interest -- but not in most cases, I think. I think that in the majority of cases it is unconscious and not calculated; that it is born of the human being's natural yearning to stand well with his fellows and have their inspiring approval and praise -- a yearning which is commonly so strong and so insistent that it cannot be effectually resisted, and must have its way. A political emergency brings out the corn-pone opinion in fine force in its two chief varieties -- the pocketbook variety, which has its origin in self-interest, and the bigger variety, the sentimental variety -- the one which can't bear to be outside the pale; can't bear to be in disfavor; can't endure the averted face and the cold shoulder; wants to stand well with his friends, wants to be smiled upon, wants to be welcome, wants to hear the precious words, "He's on the right track!" Uttered, perhaps by an ass, but still an ass of high degree, an ass whose approval is gold and diamonds to a smaller ass, and confers glory and honor and happiness, and membership in the herd. For these gauds many a man will dump his life-long principles into the street, and his conscience along with them. We have seen it happen. In some millions of instances. + +Men think they think upon great political questions, and they do; but they think with their party, not independently; they read its literature, but not that of the other side; they arrive at convictions, but they are drawn from a partial view of the matter in hand and are of no particular value. They swarm with their party, they feel with their party, they are happy in their party's approval; and where the party leads they will follow, whether for right and honor, or through blood and dirt and a mush of mutilated morals. + +In our late canvass half of the nation passionately believed that in silver lay salvation, the other half as passionately believed that that way lay destruction. Do you believe that a tenth part of the people, on either side, had any rational excuse for having an opinion about the matter at all? I studied that mighty question to the bottom -- came out empty. Half of our people passionately believe in high tariff, the other half believe otherwise. Does this mean study and examination, or only feeling? The latter, I think. I have deeply studied that question, too -- and didn't arrive. We all do no end of feeling, and we mistake it for thinking. And out of it we get an aggregation which we consider a boon. Its name is Public Opinion. It is held in reverence. It settles everything. Some think it the Voice of God. + + | + +| ----- | +| + + +* * * + + | + + | + +[1]: http://ep.yimg.com/ay/paulgraham/essays-1.gif +[2]: http://ep.yimg.com/ca/Img/trans_1x1.gif +[3]: http://ep.yimg.com/ca/I/paulgraham_2271_3232 +[4]: http://ep.yimg.com/ca/I/paulgraham_2202_8864210 + diff --git a/_stories/1903/10822133.md b/_stories/1903/10822133.md new file mode 100644 index 0000000..d378ea7 --- /dev/null +++ b/_stories/1903/10822133.md @@ -0,0 +1,64 @@ +[Source](https://www.uky.edu/~eushe2/Pajares/octopus.html "Permalink to William James - The PhD Octopus") + +# William James - The PhD Octopus + +# The Ph.D. Octopus + +### William James + +Some years ago, we had at our Harvard Graduate School a very brilliant student of Philosophy, who, after leaving us and supporting himself by literary labor for three years, received an appointment to teach English Literature at a sister-institution of learning. The governors of this institution, however, had no sooner communicated the appointment than they made the awful discovery that they had enrolled upon their staff a person who was unprovided with the Ph.D. degree. The man in question had been satisfied to work at Philosophy for her own sweet (or bitter) sake, and had disdained to consider that an academic bauble should be his reward. + +His appointment had thus been made under a misunderstanding. He was not the proper man; and there was nothing to do but inform him of the fact. It was notified to him by his new President that his appointment must be revoked, or that a Harvard doctor's degree must forthwith be procured. + +Although it was already the spring of the year, our Subject, being a man of spirit, took up the challenge, turned his back upon literature (which in view of his approaching duties might have seemed his more urgent concern) and spent the weeks that were left him in writing a metaphysical thesis and grinding his psychology, logic, and history of philosophy up again, so as to pass our formidable ordeals. + +When the thesis came to be read by our committee, we could not pass it. Brilliancy and originality by themselves won't save a thesis for the doctorate; it must also exhibit a heavy technical apparatus of learning; and this our candidate had neglected to bring to bear. So, telling him that he was temporarily rejected, we advised him to pad out the thesis properly, and return with it next year, at the same time informing his new President that this signified nothing as to his merits, that he was of ultra-Ph.D. quality, and one of the strongest men with whom we had ever had to deal. + +To our surprise we were given to understand in reply that the quality per se of the man signified nothing in this connection, and that the three magical letters were the thing seriously required. The College had always gloried in a list of faculty members who bore the doctor's title, and to make a gap in the galaxy, and admit a common fox without a tail, would be a degradation impossible to be thought of. We wrote again, pointing out that a Ph.D. in philosophy would prove little anyhow as to one's ability to teach literature; we sent separate letters in which we outdid each other in eulogy of our candidate's powers, for indeed they were great; and at last, mirabile dictu, our eloquence prevailed. He was allowed to retain his appointment provisionally, on condition that one year later at the farthest his miserably naked name should be prolonged by the sacred appendage the lack of which had given so much trouble to all concerned. + +Accordingly he came up here the following spring with an adequate thesis (known since in print as a most brilliant contribution to metaphysics), passed a first-rate examination, wiped out the stain, and brought his College into proper relations with the world again. Whether his teaching, during that first year, of English Literature was made any the better by the impending examination in a different subject, is a question which I will not try to solve. + +I have related this incident at such length because it is so characteristic of American academic conditions at the present day. Graduate schools still are something of a novelty, and higher diplomas something of a rarity. The latter, therefore, carry a vague sense of preciousness and honor, and have a particularly "up- to-date" appearance, and it is no wonder if smaller institutions, unable to attract professors already eminent, and forced usually to recruit their faculties from the relatively young, should hope to compensate for the obscurity of the names of their officers of instruction by the abundance of decorative titles by which those names are followed on the pages of the catalogues where they appear. The dazzled reader of the list, the parent or student, says to himself, "This must be a terribly distinguished crowd,-- their titles shine like the stars in the firmament; Ph.D.'s, S.D.'s, and Litt.D.'s bespangle the page as if they were sprinkled over it from a pepper caster." + +Human nature is once for all so childish that every reality becomes a sham somewhere, and in the minds of Presidents and Trustees the Ph.D. degree is in point of fact already looked upon as a mere advertising resource, a manner of throwing dust in the Public's eyes. "No instructor who is not a Doctor" has become a maxim in the smaller institutions which represent demand; and in each of the larger ones which represent supply, the same belief in decorated scholarship expresses itself in two antagonistic passions, one for multiplying as much as possible the annual output of doctors, the other for raising the standard of difficulty in passing, so that the Ph.D. of the special institution shall carry a higher blaze of distinction than it does elsewhere. Thus, we at Harvard are proud of the number of candidates whom we reject, and of the inability of men who are not distingues in intellect to pass our tests. + +America is thus a nation rapidly drifting towards a state of things in which no man of science or letters will be accounted respectable unless some kind of badge or diploma is stamped upon him, and in which bare personality will be a mark of outcast estate. It seems to me high time to rouse ourselves to consciousness, and to cast a critical eye upon this decidedly grotesque tendency. Other nations suffer terribly from the Mandarin disease. Are we doomed to suffer like the rest? + +Our higher degrees were instituted for the laudable purpose of stimulating scholarship, especially in the form of "original research." Experience has proved that great as the love of truth may be among men, it can be made still greater by adventitious rewards. The winning of a diploma certifying mastery and marking a barrier successfully passed, acts as a challenge to the ambitious; and if the diploma will help to gain bread-winning positions also, its power as a stimulus to work is tremendously increased. So far, we are on innocent ground; it is well for a country to have research in abundance, and our graduate schools do but apply a normal psychological spur. But the institutionizing on a large scale of any natural combination of need and motive always tends to run into technicality and to develop a tyrannical Machine with unforeseen powers of exclusion and corruption. Observation of the workings of our Harvard system for twenty years past has brought some of these drawbacks home to my consciousness, and I should like to call the attention of my readers to this disadvantageous aspect of the picture, and to make a couple of remedial suggestions, if I may. + +In the first place, it would seem that to stimulate study, and to increase the gelehrtes Publikum, the class of highly educated men in our country, is the only positive good, and consequently the sole direct end at which our graduate schools, with their diploma-giving powers, should aim. If other results have developed they should be deemed secondary incidents, and if not desirable in themselves, they should be carefully guarded against. + +To interfere with the free development of talent, to obstruct the natural play of supply and demand in the teaching profession, to foster academic snobbery by the prestige of certain privileged institutions, to transfer accredited value from essential manhood to an outward badge, to blight hopes and promote invidious sentiments, to divert the attention of aspiring youth from direct dealings with truth to the passing of examinations,--such consequences, if they exist, ought surely to be regarded as drawbacks to the system, and an enlightened public consciousness ought to be keenly alive to the importance of reducing their amount. Candidates themselves do seem to be keenly conscious of some of these evils, but outside of their ranks or in the general public no such consciousness, so far as I can see, exists; or if it does exist, it fails to express itself aloud. Schools, Colleges, and Universities, appear enthusiastic over the entire system, just as it stands, and unanimously applaud all its developments. + +I beg the reader to consider some of the secondary evils which I have enumerated. First of all, is not our growing tendency to appoint no instructors who are not also doctors an instance of pure sham? Will any one pretend for a moment that the doctor's degree is a guarantee that its possessor will be successful as a teacher? Notoriously his moral, social, and personal characteristics may utterly disqualify him for success in the class-room; and of these characteristics his doctor's examination is unable to take any account whatever. Certain bare human beings will always be better candidates for a given place than all the doctor-applicants on hand; and to exclude the former by a rigid rule, and in the end to have to sift the latter by private inquiry into their personal peculiarities among those who know them, just as if they were not doctors at all, is to stultify one's own procedure. You may say that at least you guard against ignorance of the subject by considering only the candidates who are doctors; but how then about making doctors in one subject teach a different subject? This happened in the instance by which I introduced this article, and it happens daily and hourly in all our colleges. The truth is that the Doctor-Monopoly in teaching, which is becoming so rooted an American custom, can show no serious grounds whatsoever for itself in reason. As it actually prevails and grows in vogue among us, it is due to childish motives exclusively. In reality it is but a sham, a bauble, a dodge, whereby to decorate the catalogues of schools and colleges. + +Next, let us turn from the general promotion of a spirit of academic snobbery to the particular damage done to individuals by the system. There are plenty of individuals so well endowed by nature that they pass with ease all the ordeals with which life confronts them. Such persons are born for professional success. Examinations have no terrors for them, and interfere in no way with their spiritual or worldly interests. There are others, not so gifted, who nevertheless rise to the challenge, get a stimulus from the difficulty, and become doctors, not without some baleful nervous wear and tear and retardation of their purely inner life, but on the whole successfully, and with advantage. These two classes form the natural Ph.D.'s for whom the degree is legitimately instituted. To be sure, the degree is of no consequence one way or the other for the first sort of man, for in him the personal worth obviously outshines the title. To the second set of persons, however, the doctor ordeal may contribute a touch of energy and solidity of scholarship which otherwise they might have lacked, and were our all candidates drawn from these classes, no oppression would result from the institution. + +But there is a third class of persons who are genuinely, and in the most pathetic sense, the institution's victims. For this type of character the academic life may become, after a certain point, a virulent poison. Men without marked originality or native force, but fond of truth and especially of books and study, ambitious of reward and recognition, poor often, and needing a degree to get a teaching position, weak in the eyes of their examiners--among these we find the veritable chair a canon of the wars of learning, the unfit in the academic struggle for existence. There are individuals of this sort for whom to pass one degree after another seems the limit of earthly aspiration. Your private advice does not discourage them. They will fail, and go away to recuperate, and then present themselves for another ordeal, and sometimes prolong the process into middle life. Or else, if they are less heroic morally, they will accept the failure as a sentence of doom that they are not fit, and are broken-spirited men thereafter. + +We of the university faculties are responsible for deliberately creating this new class of American social failures, and heavy is the responsibility. We advertise our "schools" and send out our degree-requirements, knowing well that aspirants of all sorts will be attracted, and at the same time we set a standard which intends to pass no man who has not native intellectual distinction. We know that there is no test, however absurd, by which, if a title or decoration, a public badge or mark, were to be won by it, some weakly suggestible or hauntable persons would not feel challenged, and remain unhappy if they went without it. We dangle our three magic letters before the eyes of these predestined victims, and they swarm to us like moths to an electric light. They come at a time when failure can no longer be repaired easily and when the wounds it leaves are permanent; and we say deliberately that mere work faithfully performed, as they perform it, will not by itself save them, they must in addition put in evidence the one thing they have not got, namely this quality of intellectual distinction. Occasionally, out of sheer human pity, we ignore our high and mighty standard and pass them. Usually, however, the standard, and not the candidate, commands our fidelity. The result is caprice, majorities of one on the jury, and on the whole a confession that our pretensions about the degree cannot be lived up to consistently. Thus, partiality in the favored cases; in the unfavored, blood on our hands; and in both a bad conscience,--are the results of our administration. + +The more widespread becomes the popular belief that our diplomas are indispensable hall-marks to show the sterling metal of their holders, the more widespread these corruptions will become. We ought to look to the future carefully, for it takes generations for a national custom, once rooted, to be grown away from. All the European countries are seeking to diminish the check upon individual spontaneity which state examinations with their tyrannous growth have brought in their train. We have had to institute state examinations too; and it will perhaps be fortunate if some day hereafter our descendants, comparing machine with machine, do not sigh with regret for old times and American freedom, and wish that the regime of the dear old bosses might be re-installed, with plain human nature, the glad hand and the marble heart, liking and disliking, and man-to-man relations grown possible again. Meanwhile, whatever evolution our state-examinations are destined to undergo, our universities at least should never cease to regard themselves as the jealous custodians of personal and spiritual spontaneity. They are indeed its only organized and recognized custodians in America to-day. They ought to guard against contributing to the increase of officialism and snobbery and insincerity as against a pestilence; they ought to keep truth and disinterested labor always in the foreground, treat degrees as secondary incidents, and in season and out of season make it plain that what they live for is to help men's souls, and not to decorate their persons with diplomas. + +There seem to be three obvious ways in which the increasing hold of the Ph.D. Octopus upon American life can be kept in check. + +The first way lies with the universities. They can lower their fantastic standards (which here at Harvard we are so proud of) and give the doctorate as a matter of course, just as they give the bachelor's degree, for a due amount of time spent in patient labor in a special department of learning, whether the man be a brilliantly gifted individual or not. Surely native distinction needs no official stamp, and should disdain to ask for one. On the other hand, faithful labor, however commonplace, and years devoted to a subject, always deserve to be acknowledged and requited. + +The second way lies with both the universities and the colleges. Let them give up their unspeakably silly ambition to bespangle their lists of offices with these doctorial titles. Let them look more to substance and less to vanity and sham. + +The third way lies with the individual student and with his personal advisers in the faculties. Every man of native power, who might take the higher degree, and refuses to do so because examinations interfere with the free following out of his more immediate intellectual aims, deserves well of his country, and in a rightly organized community, would not be made to suffer for his independence. With many men the passing of these extraneous tests is a very grievous interference indeed. Private letters of recommendation from their instructors, which in any event are ultimately needful, ought, in these cases, completely to offset the lack of the bread-winning degree; and instructors ought to be ready to advise students against it upon occasion, and to pledge themselves to back them later personally, in the market-struggle which they have to face. + +It is indeed odd to see this love of titles -- and such titles -- growing up in a country of which the recognition of individuality and bare manhood have so long been supposed to be the very soul. The independence of the State, in which most of our colleges stand, relieves us of those more odious forms of academic politics which continental European countries present. + +Anything like the elaborate university machine of France, with its throttling influences upon individuals is unknown here. The spectacle of the Rathdistinction in its innumerable spheres and grades, with which all Germany is crawling to-day, is displeasing to American eyes; and displeasing also in some respects is the institution of knighthood in England, which, aping as it does an aristocratic title, enables one's wife as well as one's self so easily to dazzle the servants at the house of one's friends. But are we Americans ourselves destined after all to hunger after similar vanities on an infinitely more contemptible scale? And is individuality with us also going to count for nothing unless stamped and licensed and authenticated by some title-giving machine? Let us pray that our ancient national genius may long preserve vitality enough to guard us from a future so unmanly and so unbeautiful! + +"The Ph.D. Octopus" was published in the Harvard Monthly of March 1903 + +* * * + +**Back to [William James][1] ** + + + +[1]: https://www.uky.edu/Pajares/james.html#octopus + diff --git a/_stories/1903/11251144.md b/_stories/1903/11251144.md new file mode 100644 index 0000000..b97a666 --- /dev/null +++ b/_stories/1903/11251144.md @@ -0,0 +1,4 @@ +[Source](https://dangerousminds.net/comments/watch_the_very_first_film_version_of_alice_in_wonderland_from_1903 "Permalink to ") + + + diff --git a/_stories/1903/13944474.md b/_stories/1903/13944474.md new file mode 100644 index 0000000..d378ea7 --- /dev/null +++ b/_stories/1903/13944474.md @@ -0,0 +1,64 @@ +[Source](https://www.uky.edu/~eushe2/Pajares/octopus.html "Permalink to William James - The PhD Octopus") + +# William James - The PhD Octopus + +# The Ph.D. Octopus + +### William James + +Some years ago, we had at our Harvard Graduate School a very brilliant student of Philosophy, who, after leaving us and supporting himself by literary labor for three years, received an appointment to teach English Literature at a sister-institution of learning. The governors of this institution, however, had no sooner communicated the appointment than they made the awful discovery that they had enrolled upon their staff a person who was unprovided with the Ph.D. degree. The man in question had been satisfied to work at Philosophy for her own sweet (or bitter) sake, and had disdained to consider that an academic bauble should be his reward. + +His appointment had thus been made under a misunderstanding. He was not the proper man; and there was nothing to do but inform him of the fact. It was notified to him by his new President that his appointment must be revoked, or that a Harvard doctor's degree must forthwith be procured. + +Although it was already the spring of the year, our Subject, being a man of spirit, took up the challenge, turned his back upon literature (which in view of his approaching duties might have seemed his more urgent concern) and spent the weeks that were left him in writing a metaphysical thesis and grinding his psychology, logic, and history of philosophy up again, so as to pass our formidable ordeals. + +When the thesis came to be read by our committee, we could not pass it. Brilliancy and originality by themselves won't save a thesis for the doctorate; it must also exhibit a heavy technical apparatus of learning; and this our candidate had neglected to bring to bear. So, telling him that he was temporarily rejected, we advised him to pad out the thesis properly, and return with it next year, at the same time informing his new President that this signified nothing as to his merits, that he was of ultra-Ph.D. quality, and one of the strongest men with whom we had ever had to deal. + +To our surprise we were given to understand in reply that the quality per se of the man signified nothing in this connection, and that the three magical letters were the thing seriously required. The College had always gloried in a list of faculty members who bore the doctor's title, and to make a gap in the galaxy, and admit a common fox without a tail, would be a degradation impossible to be thought of. We wrote again, pointing out that a Ph.D. in philosophy would prove little anyhow as to one's ability to teach literature; we sent separate letters in which we outdid each other in eulogy of our candidate's powers, for indeed they were great; and at last, mirabile dictu, our eloquence prevailed. He was allowed to retain his appointment provisionally, on condition that one year later at the farthest his miserably naked name should be prolonged by the sacred appendage the lack of which had given so much trouble to all concerned. + +Accordingly he came up here the following spring with an adequate thesis (known since in print as a most brilliant contribution to metaphysics), passed a first-rate examination, wiped out the stain, and brought his College into proper relations with the world again. Whether his teaching, during that first year, of English Literature was made any the better by the impending examination in a different subject, is a question which I will not try to solve. + +I have related this incident at such length because it is so characteristic of American academic conditions at the present day. Graduate schools still are something of a novelty, and higher diplomas something of a rarity. The latter, therefore, carry a vague sense of preciousness and honor, and have a particularly "up- to-date" appearance, and it is no wonder if smaller institutions, unable to attract professors already eminent, and forced usually to recruit their faculties from the relatively young, should hope to compensate for the obscurity of the names of their officers of instruction by the abundance of decorative titles by which those names are followed on the pages of the catalogues where they appear. The dazzled reader of the list, the parent or student, says to himself, "This must be a terribly distinguished crowd,-- their titles shine like the stars in the firmament; Ph.D.'s, S.D.'s, and Litt.D.'s bespangle the page as if they were sprinkled over it from a pepper caster." + +Human nature is once for all so childish that every reality becomes a sham somewhere, and in the minds of Presidents and Trustees the Ph.D. degree is in point of fact already looked upon as a mere advertising resource, a manner of throwing dust in the Public's eyes. "No instructor who is not a Doctor" has become a maxim in the smaller institutions which represent demand; and in each of the larger ones which represent supply, the same belief in decorated scholarship expresses itself in two antagonistic passions, one for multiplying as much as possible the annual output of doctors, the other for raising the standard of difficulty in passing, so that the Ph.D. of the special institution shall carry a higher blaze of distinction than it does elsewhere. Thus, we at Harvard are proud of the number of candidates whom we reject, and of the inability of men who are not distingues in intellect to pass our tests. + +America is thus a nation rapidly drifting towards a state of things in which no man of science or letters will be accounted respectable unless some kind of badge or diploma is stamped upon him, and in which bare personality will be a mark of outcast estate. It seems to me high time to rouse ourselves to consciousness, and to cast a critical eye upon this decidedly grotesque tendency. Other nations suffer terribly from the Mandarin disease. Are we doomed to suffer like the rest? + +Our higher degrees were instituted for the laudable purpose of stimulating scholarship, especially in the form of "original research." Experience has proved that great as the love of truth may be among men, it can be made still greater by adventitious rewards. The winning of a diploma certifying mastery and marking a barrier successfully passed, acts as a challenge to the ambitious; and if the diploma will help to gain bread-winning positions also, its power as a stimulus to work is tremendously increased. So far, we are on innocent ground; it is well for a country to have research in abundance, and our graduate schools do but apply a normal psychological spur. But the institutionizing on a large scale of any natural combination of need and motive always tends to run into technicality and to develop a tyrannical Machine with unforeseen powers of exclusion and corruption. Observation of the workings of our Harvard system for twenty years past has brought some of these drawbacks home to my consciousness, and I should like to call the attention of my readers to this disadvantageous aspect of the picture, and to make a couple of remedial suggestions, if I may. + +In the first place, it would seem that to stimulate study, and to increase the gelehrtes Publikum, the class of highly educated men in our country, is the only positive good, and consequently the sole direct end at which our graduate schools, with their diploma-giving powers, should aim. If other results have developed they should be deemed secondary incidents, and if not desirable in themselves, they should be carefully guarded against. + +To interfere with the free development of talent, to obstruct the natural play of supply and demand in the teaching profession, to foster academic snobbery by the prestige of certain privileged institutions, to transfer accredited value from essential manhood to an outward badge, to blight hopes and promote invidious sentiments, to divert the attention of aspiring youth from direct dealings with truth to the passing of examinations,--such consequences, if they exist, ought surely to be regarded as drawbacks to the system, and an enlightened public consciousness ought to be keenly alive to the importance of reducing their amount. Candidates themselves do seem to be keenly conscious of some of these evils, but outside of their ranks or in the general public no such consciousness, so far as I can see, exists; or if it does exist, it fails to express itself aloud. Schools, Colleges, and Universities, appear enthusiastic over the entire system, just as it stands, and unanimously applaud all its developments. + +I beg the reader to consider some of the secondary evils which I have enumerated. First of all, is not our growing tendency to appoint no instructors who are not also doctors an instance of pure sham? Will any one pretend for a moment that the doctor's degree is a guarantee that its possessor will be successful as a teacher? Notoriously his moral, social, and personal characteristics may utterly disqualify him for success in the class-room; and of these characteristics his doctor's examination is unable to take any account whatever. Certain bare human beings will always be better candidates for a given place than all the doctor-applicants on hand; and to exclude the former by a rigid rule, and in the end to have to sift the latter by private inquiry into their personal peculiarities among those who know them, just as if they were not doctors at all, is to stultify one's own procedure. You may say that at least you guard against ignorance of the subject by considering only the candidates who are doctors; but how then about making doctors in one subject teach a different subject? This happened in the instance by which I introduced this article, and it happens daily and hourly in all our colleges. The truth is that the Doctor-Monopoly in teaching, which is becoming so rooted an American custom, can show no serious grounds whatsoever for itself in reason. As it actually prevails and grows in vogue among us, it is due to childish motives exclusively. In reality it is but a sham, a bauble, a dodge, whereby to decorate the catalogues of schools and colleges. + +Next, let us turn from the general promotion of a spirit of academic snobbery to the particular damage done to individuals by the system. There are plenty of individuals so well endowed by nature that they pass with ease all the ordeals with which life confronts them. Such persons are born for professional success. Examinations have no terrors for them, and interfere in no way with their spiritual or worldly interests. There are others, not so gifted, who nevertheless rise to the challenge, get a stimulus from the difficulty, and become doctors, not without some baleful nervous wear and tear and retardation of their purely inner life, but on the whole successfully, and with advantage. These two classes form the natural Ph.D.'s for whom the degree is legitimately instituted. To be sure, the degree is of no consequence one way or the other for the first sort of man, for in him the personal worth obviously outshines the title. To the second set of persons, however, the doctor ordeal may contribute a touch of energy and solidity of scholarship which otherwise they might have lacked, and were our all candidates drawn from these classes, no oppression would result from the institution. + +But there is a third class of persons who are genuinely, and in the most pathetic sense, the institution's victims. For this type of character the academic life may become, after a certain point, a virulent poison. Men without marked originality or native force, but fond of truth and especially of books and study, ambitious of reward and recognition, poor often, and needing a degree to get a teaching position, weak in the eyes of their examiners--among these we find the veritable chair a canon of the wars of learning, the unfit in the academic struggle for existence. There are individuals of this sort for whom to pass one degree after another seems the limit of earthly aspiration. Your private advice does not discourage them. They will fail, and go away to recuperate, and then present themselves for another ordeal, and sometimes prolong the process into middle life. Or else, if they are less heroic morally, they will accept the failure as a sentence of doom that they are not fit, and are broken-spirited men thereafter. + +We of the university faculties are responsible for deliberately creating this new class of American social failures, and heavy is the responsibility. We advertise our "schools" and send out our degree-requirements, knowing well that aspirants of all sorts will be attracted, and at the same time we set a standard which intends to pass no man who has not native intellectual distinction. We know that there is no test, however absurd, by which, if a title or decoration, a public badge or mark, were to be won by it, some weakly suggestible or hauntable persons would not feel challenged, and remain unhappy if they went without it. We dangle our three magic letters before the eyes of these predestined victims, and they swarm to us like moths to an electric light. They come at a time when failure can no longer be repaired easily and when the wounds it leaves are permanent; and we say deliberately that mere work faithfully performed, as they perform it, will not by itself save them, they must in addition put in evidence the one thing they have not got, namely this quality of intellectual distinction. Occasionally, out of sheer human pity, we ignore our high and mighty standard and pass them. Usually, however, the standard, and not the candidate, commands our fidelity. The result is caprice, majorities of one on the jury, and on the whole a confession that our pretensions about the degree cannot be lived up to consistently. Thus, partiality in the favored cases; in the unfavored, blood on our hands; and in both a bad conscience,--are the results of our administration. + +The more widespread becomes the popular belief that our diplomas are indispensable hall-marks to show the sterling metal of their holders, the more widespread these corruptions will become. We ought to look to the future carefully, for it takes generations for a national custom, once rooted, to be grown away from. All the European countries are seeking to diminish the check upon individual spontaneity which state examinations with their tyrannous growth have brought in their train. We have had to institute state examinations too; and it will perhaps be fortunate if some day hereafter our descendants, comparing machine with machine, do not sigh with regret for old times and American freedom, and wish that the regime of the dear old bosses might be re-installed, with plain human nature, the glad hand and the marble heart, liking and disliking, and man-to-man relations grown possible again. Meanwhile, whatever evolution our state-examinations are destined to undergo, our universities at least should never cease to regard themselves as the jealous custodians of personal and spiritual spontaneity. They are indeed its only organized and recognized custodians in America to-day. They ought to guard against contributing to the increase of officialism and snobbery and insincerity as against a pestilence; they ought to keep truth and disinterested labor always in the foreground, treat degrees as secondary incidents, and in season and out of season make it plain that what they live for is to help men's souls, and not to decorate their persons with diplomas. + +There seem to be three obvious ways in which the increasing hold of the Ph.D. Octopus upon American life can be kept in check. + +The first way lies with the universities. They can lower their fantastic standards (which here at Harvard we are so proud of) and give the doctorate as a matter of course, just as they give the bachelor's degree, for a due amount of time spent in patient labor in a special department of learning, whether the man be a brilliantly gifted individual or not. Surely native distinction needs no official stamp, and should disdain to ask for one. On the other hand, faithful labor, however commonplace, and years devoted to a subject, always deserve to be acknowledged and requited. + +The second way lies with both the universities and the colleges. Let them give up their unspeakably silly ambition to bespangle their lists of offices with these doctorial titles. Let them look more to substance and less to vanity and sham. + +The third way lies with the individual student and with his personal advisers in the faculties. Every man of native power, who might take the higher degree, and refuses to do so because examinations interfere with the free following out of his more immediate intellectual aims, deserves well of his country, and in a rightly organized community, would not be made to suffer for his independence. With many men the passing of these extraneous tests is a very grievous interference indeed. Private letters of recommendation from their instructors, which in any event are ultimately needful, ought, in these cases, completely to offset the lack of the bread-winning degree; and instructors ought to be ready to advise students against it upon occasion, and to pledge themselves to back them later personally, in the market-struggle which they have to face. + +It is indeed odd to see this love of titles -- and such titles -- growing up in a country of which the recognition of individuality and bare manhood have so long been supposed to be the very soul. The independence of the State, in which most of our colleges stand, relieves us of those more odious forms of academic politics which continental European countries present. + +Anything like the elaborate university machine of France, with its throttling influences upon individuals is unknown here. The spectacle of the Rathdistinction in its innumerable spheres and grades, with which all Germany is crawling to-day, is displeasing to American eyes; and displeasing also in some respects is the institution of knighthood in England, which, aping as it does an aristocratic title, enables one's wife as well as one's self so easily to dazzle the servants at the house of one's friends. But are we Americans ourselves destined after all to hunger after similar vanities on an infinitely more contemptible scale? And is individuality with us also going to count for nothing unless stamped and licensed and authenticated by some title-giving machine? Let us pray that our ancient national genius may long preserve vitality enough to guard us from a future so unmanly and so unbeautiful! + +"The Ph.D. Octopus" was published in the Harvard Monthly of March 1903 + +* * * + +**Back to [William James][1] ** + + + +[1]: https://www.uky.edu/Pajares/james.html#octopus + diff --git a/_stories/1903/14527535.md b/_stories/1903/14527535.md new file mode 100644 index 0000000..e69de29 diff --git a/_stories/1903/15668115.md b/_stories/1903/15668115.md new file mode 100644 index 0000000..d6502cc --- /dev/null +++ b/_stories/1903/15668115.md @@ -0,0 +1,228 @@ +[Source](https://www.laphamsquarterly.org/music/unforgettable "Permalink to Unforgettable | Lapham’s Quarterly") + +# Unforgettable | Lapham’s Quarterly + +[Jump to navigation][2] + +* * * ## Search form + +Search + +* [Subscribe][3] +* [My Account][4] + +# [Lapham’s Quarterly][5] + +* [About][6] +* [Magazine][7] + * [Current Issue][8] + * [All Issues][9] + * [Preamble][10] + * [Essays][11] + * [Voices in Time][12] + * [Contributors][13] + * [Charts & Graphs][14] + * [Conversations][15] + * [Miscellany][16] + * [Maps][17] + * [Quotes][18] +* [Blogs][7] + * [ Roundtable Insight and analysis from renowned writers and thinkers. ][19] + * [ Déjà Vu Is history repeating itself? the Déja Vu blog investigates... ][20] +* [Store][21] +* [Podcast][22] +* [Donate][23] + +[Subscribe Now][24] + +1903 | Atlanta + +# Unforgettable + +W.E.B. Du Bois on the beauty of sorrow songs. + +* * * * * They that walked in darkness sang songs in the olden days—sorrow songs—for they were weary at heart. + +Ever since I was a child these songs have stirred me strangely. They came out of the South unknown to me, one by one, and yet at once I knew them as of me and of mine. Then in after years, when I came to Nashville, I saw the great temple builded of these songs towering over the pale city. To me Jubilee Hall seemed ever made of the songs themselves, and its bricks were red with the blood and dust of toil. Out of them rose for me morning, noon, and night, bursts of wonderful melody, full of the voices of my brothers and sisters, full of the voices of the past. + +Little of beauty has America given the world save the rude grandeur God himself stamped on her bosom; the human spirit in this new world has expressed itself in vigor and ingenuity rather than in beauty. And so by fateful chance the Negro folk song—the rhythmic cry of the slave—stands today not simply as the sole American music but as the most beautiful expression of human experience born this side the seas. It has been neglected, it has been, and is, half despised, and above all it has been persistently mistaken and misunderstood; but notwithstanding, it still remains as the singular spiritual heritage of the nation and the greatest gift of the Negro people. + +Away back in the 1830s, the melody of these slave songs stirred the nation, but the songs were soon half forgotten. Some, like "Near the Lake Where Drooped the Willow," passed into current airs and their source was forgotten; others were caricatured on the "minstrel" stage and their memory died away. Then in wartime came the singular Port Royal experiment after the capture of Hilton Head, and perhaps for the first time the North met the Southern slave face-to-face and heart-to-heart with no third witness. The Sea Islands of the Carolinas, where they met, were filled with a black folk of primitive type, touched and molded less by the world about them than any others outside the Black Belt. Their appearance was uncouth, their language funny, but their hearts were human and their singing stirred men with a mighty power. Thomas Wentworth Higginson hastened to tell of these songs, and Miss McKim and others urged upon the world their rare beauty. But the world listened only half credulously until the Fisk Jubilee Singers sang the slave songs so deeply into the world's heart that it can never wholly forget them again. + +![][25] + +_Circus Sideshow_, by Georges Seurat, 1887–88. © [The Metropolitan Museum of Art][26], bequest of Stephen C. Clark, 1960. + +There was once a blacksmith's son born at Cadiz, New York, who in the changes of time taught school in Ohio and helped defend Cincinnati from Kirby Smith. Then he fought at Chancellorsville and Gettysburg and finally served in the Freedman's Bureau at Nashville. Here he formed a Sunday school class of black children in 1866, and sang with them and taught them to sing. And then they taught him to sing, and when once the glory of the jubilee songs passed into the soul of George L. White, he knew his lifework was to let those Negroes sing to the world as they had sung to him. So in 1871 the pilgrimage of the Fisk Jubilee Singers began. North to Cincinnati they rode—four half-clothed black boys and five girl-women—led by a man with a cause and a purpose. They stopped at Wilberforce, the oldest of Negro schools, where a black bishop blessed them. Then they went, fighting cold and starvation, shut out of hotels, and cheerfully sneered at, ever northward; and ever the magic of their song kept thrilling hearts, until a burst of applause in the Congregational Council at Oberlin revealed them to the world. They came to New York and Henry Ward Beecher dared to welcome them, even though the metropolitan dailies sneered at his "Nigger Minstrels." So their songs conquered till they sang across the land and across the sea, before queen and kaiser, in Scotland and Ireland, Holland and Switzerland. Seven years they sang, and brought back $150,000 to found Fisk University. + +Since their day they have been imitated—sometimes well, by the singers of Hampton and Atlanta, sometimes ill, by straggling quartets. Caricature has sought again to spoil the quaint beauty of the music, and has filled the air with many debased melodies which vulgar ears scarce know from the real. But the true Negro folk song still lives in the hearts of those who have heard them truly sung and in the hearts of the Negro people. + +What are these songs, and what do they mean? I know little of music and can say nothing in technical phrase, but I know something of men, and knowing them, I know that these songs are the articulate message of the slave to the world. They tell us in these eager days that life was joyous to the black slave, careless and happy. I can easily believe this of some, of many. But not all the past South, though it rose from the dead, can gainsay the heart-touching witness of these songs. They are the music of an unhappy people, of the children of disappointment; they tell of death and suffering and unvoiced longing toward a truer world, of misty wanderings and hidden ways. + +All of the great musicians have borrowed from the songs of the common people. + +—Antonín Dvořák, 1893 + +* * * The songs are indeed the siftings of centuries; the music is far more ancient than the words, and in it we can trace here and there signs of development. My grandfather's grandmother was seized by an evil Dutch trader two centuries ago; and coming to the valleys of the Hudson and Housatonic, black, little, and lithe, she shivered and shrank in the harsh north winds, looked longingly at the hills, and often crooned a heathen melody to the child between her knees, thus: + +> Do ba-na co-ba, ge-ne me, ge-ne me! +Do ba-na co-ba, ge-ne me, ge-ne me! +Ben d' nu-li, nu-li, nu-li, nu-li, ben d' le. + +The child sang it to his children and they to their children's children, and so two hundred years it has traveled down to us, and we sing it to our children, knowing as little as our fathers what its words may mean, but knowing well the meaning of its music. + +![][27] + +Contributor + +# [W.E.B. Du Bois][28] + +## + +From _The Souls of Black Folk_. In 1905, two years after publishing his classic work on the African American experience, Du Bois cofounded the Niagara Movement, a protest group for black rights. It disbanded five years later, but not before helping lead to the creation of the NAACP, in 1909, with Du Bois serving as director of research and editor of its magazine, _The Crisis_. A committed socialist, he was arrested in 1951 on suspicion of being a foreign-government agent. He immigrated to Ghana in 1961 and died there two years later. + +# Issue + +# Back to Issue + +[ ![][29] + +## [Music][30] + +[Shop Now][31] + +* [ Previous Turn, Turn, Turn Lady Mary Wortley Montagu ][32] +* [ Next Words Do Not Suffice Margaret Fuller ][33] + +# Related Reads + +![The Coronation of the Emperor and Empress, 2 December 1804][34] + +[Essay][35] __ Celebrity + +# [Gilgamesh to Gaga][36] + +[John Tresch][37] + +Fame machines have always found ways to conjure up and emanate glory, to magnify the power of kings and gods. [More][36] + +* * * ![The Attributes of the Arts and the Rewards Which Are Accorded Them, by Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin, 1766.][38] + +[Essay][35] __ Ways of Learning + +# [School Terms][39] + +[George Steiner][40] + +Redfining literacy for the modern age. [More][39] + +* * * [Voices In Time __][41] + +[Medicine][42] + +# c. 1320 | Montpellier + +## [Diagnostic Manual][43] + +Identifying the symptoms of lepers.[More][43] + +* * * ![][44] ![][45] + +Conversations __ Magic Shows + +## [Aphra Behn & Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller][46] + +* * * # From the Archives + +[ ![][47] ][48] + +## Featuring + +Friedrich Nietzsche, Robert Caro, Niccolò Machiavelli, Vladimir Nabokov and more... + +[Subscribe Now][49] [Shop Back Issues][31] + +# Connect + +* * * # Learn More +* [About][6] +* [Masthead][50] +* [Legal][51] +* [Internships][52] +* [Contact][53] + +# Outreach + +* [American Agora Foundation][54] +* [Principal Supporters][55] +* [Janus Society][56] +* [Donate][57] +* [Decades Ball][58] + +# Stay in Touch + +Subscribe to + +## Lapham’s Newsletter + +Subscribe to our mailing list + +[1]: https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=246752215808776&ev=PageView&noscript=1 +[2]: https://www.laphamsquarterly.org#main-menu +[3]: 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https://store.laphamsquarterly.us/donate#donate "" +[58]: https://www.laphamsquarterly.org/outreach#decades-ball "" + diff --git a/_stories/1905/13944474.md b/_stories/1905/13944474.md new file mode 100644 index 0000000..a7dcc96 --- /dev/null +++ b/_stories/1905/13944474.md @@ -0,0 +1,155 @@ +[Source](http://www-history.mcs.st-andrews.ac.uk/Extras/Poincare_Intuition.html "Permalink to Poincaré on intuition in mathematics") + +# Poincaré on intuition in mathematics + +## Poincaré on intuition in mathematics + +| ----- | +| + +**Henri Poincaré** published _Intuition and Logic in mathematics_ as part of _La valeur de la science_ in 1905. It was translated into English by G B Halsted and published in 1907 as part of Poincaré's _The Value of Science._ A version of Poincaré's article is below. + +### Intuition and Logic in Mathematics + +by +**Henri Poincaré** + +**I** + +It is impossible to study the works of the great mathematicians, or even those of the lesser, without noticing and distinguishing two opposite tendencies, or rather two entirely different kinds of minds. The one sort are above all preoccupied with logic; to read their works, one is tempted to believe they have advanced only step by step, after the manner of a Vauban who pushes on his trenches against the place besieged, leaving nothing to chance. The other sort are guided by intuition and at the first stroke make quick but sometimes precarious conquests, like bold cavalrymen of the advance guard. + +The method is not imposed by the matter treated. Though one often says of the first that they are analysts and calls the others geometers, that does not prevent the one sort from remaining analysts even when they work at geometry, while the others are still geometers even when they occupy themselves with pure analysis. It is the very nature of their mind which makes them logicians or intuitionalists, and they can not lay it aside when they approach a new subject. + +Nor is it education which has developed in them one of the two tendencies and stifled the other. The mathematician is born, not made, and it seems he is born a geometer or an analyst. I should like to cite examples and there are surely plenty; but to accentuate the contrast I shall begin with an extreme example, taking the liberty of seeking it in two living mathematicians. + +M Méray wants to prove that a binomial equation always has a root, or, in ordinary words, that an angle may always be subdivided. If there is any truth that we think we know by direct intuition, it is this. Who could doubt that an angle may always be divided into any number of equal parts? M Méray does not look at it that way; in his eyes this proposition is not at all evident and to prove it he needs several pages. + +On the other hand, look at Professor Klein: he is studying one of the most abstract questions of the theory of functions to determine whether on a given Riemann surface there always exists a function admitting of given singularities. What does the celebrated German geometer do? He replaces his Riemann surface by a metallic surface whose electric conductivity varies according to certain laws. He connects two of its points with the two poles of a battery. The current, says he, must pass, and the distribution of this current on the surface will define a function whose singularities will be precisely those called for by the enunciation. + +Doubtless Professor Klein well knows he has given here only a sketch: nevertheless he has not hesitated to publish it; and he would probably believe he finds in it, if not a rigorous demonstration, at least a kind of moral certainty. A logician would have rejected with horror such a conception, or rather he would not have had to reject it, because in his mind it would never have originated. + +Again, permit me to compare two men, the honour of French science, who have recently been taken from us, but who both entered long ago into immortality. I speak of M Bertrand and M Hermite. They were scholars of the same school at the same time; they had the same education, were under the same influences; and yet what a difference! Not only does it blaze forth in their writings; it is in their teaching, in their way of speaking, in their very look. In the memory of all their pupils these two faces are stamped in deathless lines; for all who have had the pleasure of following their teaching, this remembrance is still fresh; it is easy for us to evoke it. + +While speaking, M Bertrand is always in motion; now he seems in combat with some outside enemy, now he outlines with a gesture of the hand the figures he studies. Plainly he sees and he is eager to paint, this is why he calls gesture to his aid. With M Hermite, it is just the opposite; his eyes seem to shun contact with the world; it is not without, it is within he seeks the vision of truth. + +Among the German geometers of this century, two names above all are illustrious, those of the two scientists who have founded the general theory of functions, Weierstrass and Riemann. Weierstrass leads everything back to the consideration of series and their analytic transformations; to express it better, he reduces analysis to a sort of prolongation of arithmetic; you may turn through all his books without finding a figure. Riemann, on the contrary, at once calls geometry to his aid; each of his conceptions is an image that no one can forget, once he has caught its meaning. + +More recently, Lie was an intuitionalist; this might have been doubted in reading his books, no one could doubt it after talking with him; you saw at once that he thought in pictures. Madame Kovalevski was a logician. + +Among our students we notice the same differences; some prefer to treat their problems 'by analysis,' others 'by geometry.' The first are incapable of 'seeing in space,' the others are quickly tired of long calculations and become perplexed. + +The two sorts of minds are equally necessary for the progress of science; both the logicians and the intuitionalists have achieved great things that others could not have done. Who would venture to say whether he preferred that Weierstrass had never written or that there had never been a Riemann? Analysis and synthesis have then both their legitimate roles. But it is interesting to study more closely in the history of science the part which belongs to each. + +**II** + +Strange! If we read over the works of the ancients we are tempted to class them all among the intuitionalists. And yet nature is always the same; it is hardly probable that it has begun in this century to create minds devoted to logic. If we could put ourselves into the flow of ideas which reigned in their time, we should recognize that many of the old geometers were in tendency analysts. Euclid, for example, erected a scientific structure wherein his contemporaries could find no fault. In this vast construction, of which each piece however is due to intuition, we may still to-day, without much effort, recognize the work of a logician. + +It is not minds that have changed, it is ideas; the intuitional minds have remained the same; but their readers have required of them greater concessions. + +What is the cause of this evolution? It is not hard to find. Intuition can not give us rigour, nor even certainty; this has been recognized more and more. Let us cite some examples. We know there exist continuous functions lacking derivatives. Nothing is more shocking to intuition than this proposition which is imposed upon us by logic. Our fathers would not have failed to say: "It is evident that every continuous function has a derivative, since every curve has a tangent." + +How can intuition deceive us on this point? It is because when we seek to imagine a curve, we can not represent it to ourselves without width; just so, when we represent to ourselves a straight line, we see it under the form of a rectilinear band of a certain breadth. We well know these lines have no width; we try to imagine them narrower and narrower and thus to approach the limit; so we do in a certain measure, but we shall never attain this limit. And then it is clear we can always picture these two narrow bands, one straight, one curved, in a position such that they encroach slightly one upon the other without crossing. We shall thus be led, unless warned by a rigorous analysis, to conclude that a curve always has a tangent. + +I shall take as second example Dirichlet's principle on which rest so many theorems of mathematical physics; to-day we establish it by reasonings very rigorous but very long; heretofore, on the contrary, we were content with a very summary proof. A certain integral depending on an arbitrary function can never vanish. Hence it is concluded that it must have a minimum. The flaw in this reasoning strikes us immediately, since we use the abstract term function and are familiar with all the singularities functions can present when the word is understood in the most general sense. + +But it would not be the same had we used concrete images, had we, for example, considered this function as an electric potential; it would have been thought legitimate to affirm that electrostatic equilibrium can be attained. Yet perhaps a physical comparison would have awakened some vague distrust. But if care had been taken to translate the reasoning into the language of geometry, intermediate between that of analysis and that of physics, doubtless this distrust would not have been produced, and perhaps one might thus, even to-day, still deceive many readers not forewarned. + +Intuition, therefore, does not give us certainty. This is why the evolution had to happen; let us now how it happened. + +It was not slow in being noticed that rigour could not be introduced in the reasoning unless first made to enter into the definitions. For the most part the objects treated of by mathematicians were long in defined; they were supposed to be known because represented by means of the senses or the imagination; but one had only a crude image of them and not a precise idea on which reasoning could take hold. It was there first that the logicians had to direct their efforts. + +So, in the case of incommensurable numbers. The vague idea of continuity, which we owe to intuition, resolved itself into a complicated system of inequalities referring to whole numbers. + +By that means the difficulties arising from passing to the limit, or from the consideration of infinitesimals, are finally removed. To-day in analysis only whole numbers are left or systems, finite or infinite, of whole numbers bound together by a net of equality or inequality relations. Mathematics, as they say, is arithmetized. + +**III** + +A first question presents itself. Is this evolution ended? Have we finally attained absolute rigour? At each stage of the evolution our fathers also thought they had reached it. If they deceived themselves, do we not likewise cheat ourselves? + +We believe that in our reasonings we no longer appeal to intuition; the philosophers will tell us this is an illusion. Pure logic could never lead us to anything but tautologies; it could create nothing new; not from it alone can any science issue. In one sense these philosophers are right; to make arithmetic, as to make geometry, or to make any science, something else than pure logic is necessary. To designate this something else we have no word other than intuition. But how many different ideas are hidden under this same word? + +Compare these four axioms: +(1) Two quantities equal to a third are equal to one another; +(2) if a theorem is true of the number 1 and if we prove that it is true of _n_ \+ 1 if true for _n_, then will it be true of all whole numbers; +(3) if on a straight the point _C_ is between _A_ and _B_ and the point _D_ between _A_ and _C_, then the point _D_ will be between _A_ and _B_; +(4) through a given point there is not more than one parallel to a given straight. + +All four are attributed to intuition, and yet the first is the enunciation of one of the rules of formal logic; the second is a real synthetic a priori judgment, it is the foundation of rigorous mathematical induction; the third is an appeal to the imagination; the fourth is a disguised definition. + +Intuition is not necessarily founded on the evidence of the senses; the senses would soon become powerless; for example, we can not represent to ourselves a chiliagon, and yet we reason by intuition on polygons in general, which include the chiliagon as a particular case. + +You know what Poncelet understood by the principle of continuity. What is true of a real quantity, said Poncelet, should be true of an imaginary quantity; what is true of the hyperbola whose asymptotes are real, should then be true of the ellipse whose asymptotes are imaginary. Poncelet was one of the most intuitive minds of this century; he was passionately, almost ostentatiously, so; he regarded the principle of continuity as one of his boldest conceptions, and yet this principle did not rest on the evidence of the senses. To assimilate the hyperbola to the ellipse was rather to contradict this evidence. It was only a sort of precocious and instinctive generalization which, moreover, I have no desire to defend. + +We have then many kinds of intuition; first, the appeal to the senses and the imagination; next, generalization by induction, copied, so to speak, from the procedures of the experimental sciences; finally, we have the intuition of pure number, whence arose the second of the axioms just enunciated, which is able to create the real mathematical reasoning. I have shown above by examples that the first two can not give us certainty; but who will seriously doubt the third, who will doubt arithmetic? + +Now in the analysis of to-day, when one cares to take the trouble to be rigorous, there can be nothing but syllogisms or appeals to this intuition of pure number, the only intuition which can not deceive us. It may be said that to-day absolute rigour is attained. + +**IV** + +The philosophers make still another objection: "What you gain in rigour," they say, "you lose in objectivity. You can rise toward your logical ideal only by cutting the bonds which attach you to reality. Your science is infallible, but it can only remain so by imprisoning itself in an ivory tower and renouncing all relation with the external world. From this seclusion it must go out when it would attempt the slightest application." + +For example, I seek to show that some property pertains to some object whose concept seems to me at first indefinable, because it is intuitive. At first I fail or must content myself with approximate proofs; finally I decide to give to my object a precise definition, and this enables me to establish this property in an irreproachable manner. + +"And then," say the philosophers, "it still remains to show that the object which corresponds to this definition is indeed the same made known to you by intuition; or else that some real and concrete object whose conformity with your intuitive idea you believe you immediately recognize corresponds to your new definition. Only then could you affirm that it has the property in question. You have only displaced the difficulty." + +That is not exactly so; the difficulty has not been displaced, it has been divided. The proposition to be established was in reality composed of two different truths, at first not distinguished. The first was a mathematical truth, and it is now rigorously established. The second was an experimental verity. Experience alone can teach us that some real and concrete object corresponds or does not correspond to some abstract definition. This second verity is not mathematically demonstrated, but neither can it be, no more than can the empirical laws of the physical and natural sciences. It would be unreasonable to ask more. + +Well, is it not a great advance to have distinguished what long was wrongly confused? Does this mean that nothing is left of this objection of the philosophers? That I do not intend to say; in becoming rigorous, mathematical science takes a character so artificial as to strike every one; it forgets its historical origins; we see how the questions can be answered, we no longer see how and why they are put. + +This shows us that logic is not enough; that the science of demonstration is not all science and that intuition must retain its role as complement, I was about to say, as counterpoise or as antidote of logic. + +I have already had occasion to insist on the place intuition should hold in the teaching of the mathematical sciences. Without it young minds could not make a beginning in the understanding of mathematics; they could not learn to love it and would see in it only a vain logomachy; above all, without intuition they would never become capable of applying mathematics. But now I wish before all to speak of the role of intuition in science itself. If it is useful to the student, it is still more so to the creative scientist. + +**V** + +We seek reality, but what is reality? The physiologists tell us that organisms are formed of cells; the chemists add that cells themselves are formed of atoms. Does this mean that these atoms or these cells constitute reality, or rather the sole reality? The way in which these cells are arranged and from which results the unity of the individual, is not it also a reality much more interesting than that of the isolated elements, and should a naturalist who had never studied the elephant except by means of the microscope think himself sufficiently acquainted with that animal? + +Well, there is something analogous to this in mathematics. The logician cuts up, so to speak, each demonstration into a very great number of elementary operations; when we have examined these operations one after the other and ascertained that each is correct, are we to think we have grasped the real meaning of the demonstration? Shall we have understood it even when, by an effort of memory, we have become able to repeat this proof by reproducing all these elementary operations in just the order in which the inventor had arranged them? Evidently not; we shall not yet possess the entire reality; that I know not what which makes the unity of the demonstration will completely elude us. + +Pure analysis puts at our disposal a multitude of procedures whose infallibility it guarantees; it opens to us a thousand different ways on which we can embark in all confidence; we are assured of meeting there no obstacles; but of all these ways, which will lead us most promptly to our goal? Who shall tell us which to choose? We need a faculty which makes us see the end from afar, and intuition is this faculty. It is necessary to the explorer for choosing his route; it is not less so to the one following his trail who wants to know why he chose it. + +If you are present at a game of chess, it will not suffice, for the understanding of the game, to know the rules for moving the pieces. That will only enable you to recognize that each move has been made conformably to these rules, and this knowledge will truly have very little value. Yet this is what the reader of a book on mathematics would do if he were a logician only. To understand the game is wholly another matter; it is to know why the player moves this piece rather than that other which he could have moved without breaking the rules of the game. It is to perceive the inward reason which makes of this series of successive moves a sort of organized whole. This faculty is still more necessary for the player himself, that is, for the inventor. + +Let us drop this comparison and return to mathematics. For example, see what has happened to the idea of continuous function. At the outset this was only a sensible image, for example, that of a continuous mark traced by the chalk on a blackboard. Then it became little by little more refined; ere long it was used to construct a complicated system of inequalities, which reproduced, so to speak, all the lines of the original image; this construction finished, the centring of the arch, so to say, was removed, that crude representation which had temporarily served as support and which was afterward useless was rejected; there remained only the construction itself, irreproachable in the eyes of the logician. And yet if the primitive image had totally disappeared from our recollection, how could we divine by what caprice all these inequalities were erected in this fashion one upon another? + +Perhaps you think I use too many comparisons; yet pardon still another. You have doubtless seen those delicate assemblages of silicious needles which form the skeleton of certain sponges. When the organic matter has disappeared, there remains only a frail and elegant lace-work. True, nothing is there except silica, but what is interesting is the form this silica has taken, and we could not understand it if we did not know the living sponge which has given it precisely this form. Thus it is that the old intuitive notions of our fathers, even when we have abandoned them, still imprint their form upon the logical constructions we have put in their place. + +This view of the aggregate is necessary for the inventor; it is equally necessary for whoever wishes really to comprehend the inventor. Can logic give it to us? No; the name mathematicians give it would suffice to prove this. In mathematics logic is called analysis and analysis means division, dissection. It can have, therefore, no tool other than the scalpel and the microscope. + +Thus logic and intuition have each their necessary role. Each is indispensable. Logic, which alone can give certainty, is the instrument of demonstration; intuition is the instrument of invention. + +**VI** + +But at the moment of formulating this conclusion I am seized with scruples. At the outset I distinguished two kinds of mathematical minds, the one sort logicians and analysts, the others intuitionalists and geometers. Well, the analysts also have been inventors. The names I have just cited make my insistence on this unnecessary. + +Here is a contradiction, at least apparently, which needs explanation. And first do you think these logicians have always proceeded from the general to the particular, as the rules of formal logic would seem to require of them? Not thus could they have extended the boundaries of science; scientific conquest is to be made only by generalization. + +In one of the chapters of 'Science and Hypothesis,' I have had occasion to study the nature of mathematical reasoning, and I have shown how this reasoning, without ceasing to be absolutely rigorous, could lift us from the particular to the general by a procedure I have called mathematical induction. It is by this procedure that the analysts have made science progress, and if we examine the detail itself of their demonstrations, we shall find it there at each instant beside the classic syllogism of Aristotle. We, therefore, see already that the analysts are not simply makers of syllogisms after the fashion of the scholastics. + +Besides, do you think they have always marched step by step with no vision of the goal they wished to attain? They must have divined the way leading thither, and for that they needed a guide. This guide is, first, analogy. For example, one of the methods of demonstration dear to analysts is that founded on the employment of dominant functions. We know it has already served to solve a multitude of problems; in what consists then the role of the inventor who wishes to apply it to a new problem? At the outset he must recognize the analogy of this question with those which have already been solved by this method; then he must perceive in what way this new question differs from the others, and thence deduce the modifications necessary to apply to the method. + +But how does one perceive these analogies and these differences? In the example just cited they are almost always evident, but I could have found others where they would have been much more deeply hidden; often a very uncommon penetration is necessary for their discovery. The analysts, not to let these hidden analogies escape them, that is, in order to be inventors, must, without the aid of the senses and imagination, have a direct sense of what constitutes the unity of a piece of reasoning, of what makes, so to speak, its soul and inmost life. + +When one talked with M Hermite, he never evoked a sensuous image, and yet you soon perceived that the most abstract entities were for him like living beings. He did not see them, but he perceived that they are not an artificial assemblage, and that they have some principle of internal unity. + +But, one will say, that still is intuition. Shall we conclude that the distinction made at the outset was only apparent, that there is only one sort of mind and that all the mathematicians are intuitionalists, at least those who are capable of inventing? + +No, our distinction corresponds to something real. I have said above that there are many kinds of intuition. I have said how much the intuition of pure number, whence comes rigorous mathematical induction, differs from sensible intuition to which the imagination, properly so called, is the principal contributor. + +Is the abyss which separates them less profound than it at first appeared? Could we recognize with a little attention that this pure intuition itself could not do without the aid of the senses? This is the affair of the psychologist and the metaphysician and I shall not discuss the question. But the thing's being doubtful is enough to justify me in recognizing and affirming an essential difference between the two kinds of intuition; they have not the same object and seem to call into play two different faculties of our soul; one would think of two search-lights directed upon two worlds strangers to one another. + +It is the intuition of pure number, that of pure logical forms, which illumines and directs those we have called analysts. This it is which enables them not alone to demonstrate, but also to invent. By it they perceive at a glance the general plan of a logical edifice, and that too without the senses appearing to intervene. In rejecting the aid of the imagination, which, as we have seen, is not always infallible, they can advance without fear of deceiving themselves. Happy, therefore, are those who can do without this aid!, We must admire them; but how rare they are! + +Among the analysts there will then be inventors, but they will be few. The majority of us, if we wished to see afar by pure intuition alone, would soon feel ourselves seized with vertigo. Our weakness has need of a staff more solid, and, despite the exceptions of which we have just spoken, it is none the less true that sensible intuition is in mathematics the most usual instrument of invention. + +Apropos of these reflections, a question comes up that I have not the time either to solve or even to enunciate with the developments it would admit of. Is there room for a new distinction, for distinguishing among the analysts those who above all use this pure intuition and those who are first of all preoccupied with formal logic? + +M Hermite, for example, whom I have just cited, can not be classed among the geometers who make use of the sensible intuition; but neither is he a logician, properly so called. He does not conceal his aversion to purely deductive procedures which start from the general and end in the particular. + +* * * + +JOC/EFR August 2007 + +The URL of this page is: +http://www-history.mcs.st-andrews.ac.uk/Extras/Poincare_Intuition.html + diff --git a/_stories/1905/14580238.md b/_stories/1905/14580238.md new file mode 100644 index 0000000..38c5d16 --- /dev/null +++ b/_stories/1905/14580238.md @@ -0,0 +1,4 @@ +[Source](https://www.fourmilab.ch/etexts/einstein/E_mc2/e_mc2.pdf "Permalink to ") + +%PDF-1.3 3 0 obj << /Length 2928 /Filter /FlateDecode >> stream xڭYo6N֪H!Pkn(~Pmm,le-9G$wEH&3<~CEb! ct,3^>{-BXcHWo"^DnJƗ4[nih ?o)}O%}6G^]K+o_-^PIldXI;|KPF/n_^:]_߮|>{-a CD,Μ /L'̀N&~_ A-)pT-_+_y/E8P:,3[ؙ%DfJi$q[ Dt,~UX- #(iRfcN-NmY"*ZoW[xIfSnæB5i [K)}2qWnlQSO Cƛem$gF R X jG`7ܓD-up:<]HDo'g]TNW&0pF-J= + diff --git a/_stories/1905/5956404.md b/_stories/1905/5956404.md new file mode 100644 index 0000000..a7dcc96 --- /dev/null +++ b/_stories/1905/5956404.md @@ -0,0 +1,155 @@ +[Source](http://www-history.mcs.st-andrews.ac.uk/Extras/Poincare_Intuition.html "Permalink to Poincaré on intuition in mathematics") + +# Poincaré on intuition in mathematics + +## Poincaré on intuition in mathematics + +| ----- | +| + +**Henri Poincaré** published _Intuition and Logic in mathematics_ as part of _La valeur de la science_ in 1905. It was translated into English by G B Halsted and published in 1907 as part of Poincaré's _The Value of Science._ A version of Poincaré's article is below. + +### Intuition and Logic in Mathematics + +by +**Henri Poincaré** + +**I** + +It is impossible to study the works of the great mathematicians, or even those of the lesser, without noticing and distinguishing two opposite tendencies, or rather two entirely different kinds of minds. The one sort are above all preoccupied with logic; to read their works, one is tempted to believe they have advanced only step by step, after the manner of a Vauban who pushes on his trenches against the place besieged, leaving nothing to chance. The other sort are guided by intuition and at the first stroke make quick but sometimes precarious conquests, like bold cavalrymen of the advance guard. + +The method is not imposed by the matter treated. Though one often says of the first that they are analysts and calls the others geometers, that does not prevent the one sort from remaining analysts even when they work at geometry, while the others are still geometers even when they occupy themselves with pure analysis. It is the very nature of their mind which makes them logicians or intuitionalists, and they can not lay it aside when they approach a new subject. + +Nor is it education which has developed in them one of the two tendencies and stifled the other. The mathematician is born, not made, and it seems he is born a geometer or an analyst. I should like to cite examples and there are surely plenty; but to accentuate the contrast I shall begin with an extreme example, taking the liberty of seeking it in two living mathematicians. + +M Méray wants to prove that a binomial equation always has a root, or, in ordinary words, that an angle may always be subdivided. If there is any truth that we think we know by direct intuition, it is this. Who could doubt that an angle may always be divided into any number of equal parts? M Méray does not look at it that way; in his eyes this proposition is not at all evident and to prove it he needs several pages. + +On the other hand, look at Professor Klein: he is studying one of the most abstract questions of the theory of functions to determine whether on a given Riemann surface there always exists a function admitting of given singularities. What does the celebrated German geometer do? He replaces his Riemann surface by a metallic surface whose electric conductivity varies according to certain laws. He connects two of its points with the two poles of a battery. The current, says he, must pass, and the distribution of this current on the surface will define a function whose singularities will be precisely those called for by the enunciation. + +Doubtless Professor Klein well knows he has given here only a sketch: nevertheless he has not hesitated to publish it; and he would probably believe he finds in it, if not a rigorous demonstration, at least a kind of moral certainty. A logician would have rejected with horror such a conception, or rather he would not have had to reject it, because in his mind it would never have originated. + +Again, permit me to compare two men, the honour of French science, who have recently been taken from us, but who both entered long ago into immortality. I speak of M Bertrand and M Hermite. They were scholars of the same school at the same time; they had the same education, were under the same influences; and yet what a difference! Not only does it blaze forth in their writings; it is in their teaching, in their way of speaking, in their very look. In the memory of all their pupils these two faces are stamped in deathless lines; for all who have had the pleasure of following their teaching, this remembrance is still fresh; it is easy for us to evoke it. + +While speaking, M Bertrand is always in motion; now he seems in combat with some outside enemy, now he outlines with a gesture of the hand the figures he studies. Plainly he sees and he is eager to paint, this is why he calls gesture to his aid. With M Hermite, it is just the opposite; his eyes seem to shun contact with the world; it is not without, it is within he seeks the vision of truth. + +Among the German geometers of this century, two names above all are illustrious, those of the two scientists who have founded the general theory of functions, Weierstrass and Riemann. Weierstrass leads everything back to the consideration of series and their analytic transformations; to express it better, he reduces analysis to a sort of prolongation of arithmetic; you may turn through all his books without finding a figure. Riemann, on the contrary, at once calls geometry to his aid; each of his conceptions is an image that no one can forget, once he has caught its meaning. + +More recently, Lie was an intuitionalist; this might have been doubted in reading his books, no one could doubt it after talking with him; you saw at once that he thought in pictures. Madame Kovalevski was a logician. + +Among our students we notice the same differences; some prefer to treat their problems 'by analysis,' others 'by geometry.' The first are incapable of 'seeing in space,' the others are quickly tired of long calculations and become perplexed. + +The two sorts of minds are equally necessary for the progress of science; both the logicians and the intuitionalists have achieved great things that others could not have done. Who would venture to say whether he preferred that Weierstrass had never written or that there had never been a Riemann? Analysis and synthesis have then both their legitimate roles. But it is interesting to study more closely in the history of science the part which belongs to each. + +**II** + +Strange! If we read over the works of the ancients we are tempted to class them all among the intuitionalists. And yet nature is always the same; it is hardly probable that it has begun in this century to create minds devoted to logic. If we could put ourselves into the flow of ideas which reigned in their time, we should recognize that many of the old geometers were in tendency analysts. Euclid, for example, erected a scientific structure wherein his contemporaries could find no fault. In this vast construction, of which each piece however is due to intuition, we may still to-day, without much effort, recognize the work of a logician. + +It is not minds that have changed, it is ideas; the intuitional minds have remained the same; but their readers have required of them greater concessions. + +What is the cause of this evolution? It is not hard to find. Intuition can not give us rigour, nor even certainty; this has been recognized more and more. Let us cite some examples. We know there exist continuous functions lacking derivatives. Nothing is more shocking to intuition than this proposition which is imposed upon us by logic. Our fathers would not have failed to say: "It is evident that every continuous function has a derivative, since every curve has a tangent." + +How can intuition deceive us on this point? It is because when we seek to imagine a curve, we can not represent it to ourselves without width; just so, when we represent to ourselves a straight line, we see it under the form of a rectilinear band of a certain breadth. We well know these lines have no width; we try to imagine them narrower and narrower and thus to approach the limit; so we do in a certain measure, but we shall never attain this limit. And then it is clear we can always picture these two narrow bands, one straight, one curved, in a position such that they encroach slightly one upon the other without crossing. We shall thus be led, unless warned by a rigorous analysis, to conclude that a curve always has a tangent. + +I shall take as second example Dirichlet's principle on which rest so many theorems of mathematical physics; to-day we establish it by reasonings very rigorous but very long; heretofore, on the contrary, we were content with a very summary proof. A certain integral depending on an arbitrary function can never vanish. Hence it is concluded that it must have a minimum. The flaw in this reasoning strikes us immediately, since we use the abstract term function and are familiar with all the singularities functions can present when the word is understood in the most general sense. + +But it would not be the same had we used concrete images, had we, for example, considered this function as an electric potential; it would have been thought legitimate to affirm that electrostatic equilibrium can be attained. Yet perhaps a physical comparison would have awakened some vague distrust. But if care had been taken to translate the reasoning into the language of geometry, intermediate between that of analysis and that of physics, doubtless this distrust would not have been produced, and perhaps one might thus, even to-day, still deceive many readers not forewarned. + +Intuition, therefore, does not give us certainty. This is why the evolution had to happen; let us now how it happened. + +It was not slow in being noticed that rigour could not be introduced in the reasoning unless first made to enter into the definitions. For the most part the objects treated of by mathematicians were long in defined; they were supposed to be known because represented by means of the senses or the imagination; but one had only a crude image of them and not a precise idea on which reasoning could take hold. It was there first that the logicians had to direct their efforts. + +So, in the case of incommensurable numbers. The vague idea of continuity, which we owe to intuition, resolved itself into a complicated system of inequalities referring to whole numbers. + +By that means the difficulties arising from passing to the limit, or from the consideration of infinitesimals, are finally removed. To-day in analysis only whole numbers are left or systems, finite or infinite, of whole numbers bound together by a net of equality or inequality relations. Mathematics, as they say, is arithmetized. + +**III** + +A first question presents itself. Is this evolution ended? Have we finally attained absolute rigour? At each stage of the evolution our fathers also thought they had reached it. If they deceived themselves, do we not likewise cheat ourselves? + +We believe that in our reasonings we no longer appeal to intuition; the philosophers will tell us this is an illusion. Pure logic could never lead us to anything but tautologies; it could create nothing new; not from it alone can any science issue. In one sense these philosophers are right; to make arithmetic, as to make geometry, or to make any science, something else than pure logic is necessary. To designate this something else we have no word other than intuition. But how many different ideas are hidden under this same word? + +Compare these four axioms: +(1) Two quantities equal to a third are equal to one another; +(2) if a theorem is true of the number 1 and if we prove that it is true of _n_ \+ 1 if true for _n_, then will it be true of all whole numbers; +(3) if on a straight the point _C_ is between _A_ and _B_ and the point _D_ between _A_ and _C_, then the point _D_ will be between _A_ and _B_; +(4) through a given point there is not more than one parallel to a given straight. + +All four are attributed to intuition, and yet the first is the enunciation of one of the rules of formal logic; the second is a real synthetic a priori judgment, it is the foundation of rigorous mathematical induction; the third is an appeal to the imagination; the fourth is a disguised definition. + +Intuition is not necessarily founded on the evidence of the senses; the senses would soon become powerless; for example, we can not represent to ourselves a chiliagon, and yet we reason by intuition on polygons in general, which include the chiliagon as a particular case. + +You know what Poncelet understood by the principle of continuity. What is true of a real quantity, said Poncelet, should be true of an imaginary quantity; what is true of the hyperbola whose asymptotes are real, should then be true of the ellipse whose asymptotes are imaginary. Poncelet was one of the most intuitive minds of this century; he was passionately, almost ostentatiously, so; he regarded the principle of continuity as one of his boldest conceptions, and yet this principle did not rest on the evidence of the senses. To assimilate the hyperbola to the ellipse was rather to contradict this evidence. It was only a sort of precocious and instinctive generalization which, moreover, I have no desire to defend. + +We have then many kinds of intuition; first, the appeal to the senses and the imagination; next, generalization by induction, copied, so to speak, from the procedures of the experimental sciences; finally, we have the intuition of pure number, whence arose the second of the axioms just enunciated, which is able to create the real mathematical reasoning. I have shown above by examples that the first two can not give us certainty; but who will seriously doubt the third, who will doubt arithmetic? + +Now in the analysis of to-day, when one cares to take the trouble to be rigorous, there can be nothing but syllogisms or appeals to this intuition of pure number, the only intuition which can not deceive us. It may be said that to-day absolute rigour is attained. + +**IV** + +The philosophers make still another objection: "What you gain in rigour," they say, "you lose in objectivity. You can rise toward your logical ideal only by cutting the bonds which attach you to reality. Your science is infallible, but it can only remain so by imprisoning itself in an ivory tower and renouncing all relation with the external world. From this seclusion it must go out when it would attempt the slightest application." + +For example, I seek to show that some property pertains to some object whose concept seems to me at first indefinable, because it is intuitive. At first I fail or must content myself with approximate proofs; finally I decide to give to my object a precise definition, and this enables me to establish this property in an irreproachable manner. + +"And then," say the philosophers, "it still remains to show that the object which corresponds to this definition is indeed the same made known to you by intuition; or else that some real and concrete object whose conformity with your intuitive idea you believe you immediately recognize corresponds to your new definition. Only then could you affirm that it has the property in question. You have only displaced the difficulty." + +That is not exactly so; the difficulty has not been displaced, it has been divided. The proposition to be established was in reality composed of two different truths, at first not distinguished. The first was a mathematical truth, and it is now rigorously established. The second was an experimental verity. Experience alone can teach us that some real and concrete object corresponds or does not correspond to some abstract definition. This second verity is not mathematically demonstrated, but neither can it be, no more than can the empirical laws of the physical and natural sciences. It would be unreasonable to ask more. + +Well, is it not a great advance to have distinguished what long was wrongly confused? Does this mean that nothing is left of this objection of the philosophers? That I do not intend to say; in becoming rigorous, mathematical science takes a character so artificial as to strike every one; it forgets its historical origins; we see how the questions can be answered, we no longer see how and why they are put. + +This shows us that logic is not enough; that the science of demonstration is not all science and that intuition must retain its role as complement, I was about to say, as counterpoise or as antidote of logic. + +I have already had occasion to insist on the place intuition should hold in the teaching of the mathematical sciences. Without it young minds could not make a beginning in the understanding of mathematics; they could not learn to love it and would see in it only a vain logomachy; above all, without intuition they would never become capable of applying mathematics. But now I wish before all to speak of the role of intuition in science itself. If it is useful to the student, it is still more so to the creative scientist. + +**V** + +We seek reality, but what is reality? The physiologists tell us that organisms are formed of cells; the chemists add that cells themselves are formed of atoms. Does this mean that these atoms or these cells constitute reality, or rather the sole reality? The way in which these cells are arranged and from which results the unity of the individual, is not it also a reality much more interesting than that of the isolated elements, and should a naturalist who had never studied the elephant except by means of the microscope think himself sufficiently acquainted with that animal? + +Well, there is something analogous to this in mathematics. The logician cuts up, so to speak, each demonstration into a very great number of elementary operations; when we have examined these operations one after the other and ascertained that each is correct, are we to think we have grasped the real meaning of the demonstration? Shall we have understood it even when, by an effort of memory, we have become able to repeat this proof by reproducing all these elementary operations in just the order in which the inventor had arranged them? Evidently not; we shall not yet possess the entire reality; that I know not what which makes the unity of the demonstration will completely elude us. + +Pure analysis puts at our disposal a multitude of procedures whose infallibility it guarantees; it opens to us a thousand different ways on which we can embark in all confidence; we are assured of meeting there no obstacles; but of all these ways, which will lead us most promptly to our goal? Who shall tell us which to choose? We need a faculty which makes us see the end from afar, and intuition is this faculty. It is necessary to the explorer for choosing his route; it is not less so to the one following his trail who wants to know why he chose it. + +If you are present at a game of chess, it will not suffice, for the understanding of the game, to know the rules for moving the pieces. That will only enable you to recognize that each move has been made conformably to these rules, and this knowledge will truly have very little value. Yet this is what the reader of a book on mathematics would do if he were a logician only. To understand the game is wholly another matter; it is to know why the player moves this piece rather than that other which he could have moved without breaking the rules of the game. It is to perceive the inward reason which makes of this series of successive moves a sort of organized whole. This faculty is still more necessary for the player himself, that is, for the inventor. + +Let us drop this comparison and return to mathematics. For example, see what has happened to the idea of continuous function. At the outset this was only a sensible image, for example, that of a continuous mark traced by the chalk on a blackboard. Then it became little by little more refined; ere long it was used to construct a complicated system of inequalities, which reproduced, so to speak, all the lines of the original image; this construction finished, the centring of the arch, so to say, was removed, that crude representation which had temporarily served as support and which was afterward useless was rejected; there remained only the construction itself, irreproachable in the eyes of the logician. And yet if the primitive image had totally disappeared from our recollection, how could we divine by what caprice all these inequalities were erected in this fashion one upon another? + +Perhaps you think I use too many comparisons; yet pardon still another. You have doubtless seen those delicate assemblages of silicious needles which form the skeleton of certain sponges. When the organic matter has disappeared, there remains only a frail and elegant lace-work. True, nothing is there except silica, but what is interesting is the form this silica has taken, and we could not understand it if we did not know the living sponge which has given it precisely this form. Thus it is that the old intuitive notions of our fathers, even when we have abandoned them, still imprint their form upon the logical constructions we have put in their place. + +This view of the aggregate is necessary for the inventor; it is equally necessary for whoever wishes really to comprehend the inventor. Can logic give it to us? No; the name mathematicians give it would suffice to prove this. In mathematics logic is called analysis and analysis means division, dissection. It can have, therefore, no tool other than the scalpel and the microscope. + +Thus logic and intuition have each their necessary role. Each is indispensable. Logic, which alone can give certainty, is the instrument of demonstration; intuition is the instrument of invention. + +**VI** + +But at the moment of formulating this conclusion I am seized with scruples. At the outset I distinguished two kinds of mathematical minds, the one sort logicians and analysts, the others intuitionalists and geometers. Well, the analysts also have been inventors. The names I have just cited make my insistence on this unnecessary. + +Here is a contradiction, at least apparently, which needs explanation. And first do you think these logicians have always proceeded from the general to the particular, as the rules of formal logic would seem to require of them? Not thus could they have extended the boundaries of science; scientific conquest is to be made only by generalization. + +In one of the chapters of 'Science and Hypothesis,' I have had occasion to study the nature of mathematical reasoning, and I have shown how this reasoning, without ceasing to be absolutely rigorous, could lift us from the particular to the general by a procedure I have called mathematical induction. It is by this procedure that the analysts have made science progress, and if we examine the detail itself of their demonstrations, we shall find it there at each instant beside the classic syllogism of Aristotle. We, therefore, see already that the analysts are not simply makers of syllogisms after the fashion of the scholastics. + +Besides, do you think they have always marched step by step with no vision of the goal they wished to attain? They must have divined the way leading thither, and for that they needed a guide. This guide is, first, analogy. For example, one of the methods of demonstration dear to analysts is that founded on the employment of dominant functions. We know it has already served to solve a multitude of problems; in what consists then the role of the inventor who wishes to apply it to a new problem? At the outset he must recognize the analogy of this question with those which have already been solved by this method; then he must perceive in what way this new question differs from the others, and thence deduce the modifications necessary to apply to the method. + +But how does one perceive these analogies and these differences? In the example just cited they are almost always evident, but I could have found others where they would have been much more deeply hidden; often a very uncommon penetration is necessary for their discovery. The analysts, not to let these hidden analogies escape them, that is, in order to be inventors, must, without the aid of the senses and imagination, have a direct sense of what constitutes the unity of a piece of reasoning, of what makes, so to speak, its soul and inmost life. + +When one talked with M Hermite, he never evoked a sensuous image, and yet you soon perceived that the most abstract entities were for him like living beings. He did not see them, but he perceived that they are not an artificial assemblage, and that they have some principle of internal unity. + +But, one will say, that still is intuition. Shall we conclude that the distinction made at the outset was only apparent, that there is only one sort of mind and that all the mathematicians are intuitionalists, at least those who are capable of inventing? + +No, our distinction corresponds to something real. I have said above that there are many kinds of intuition. I have said how much the intuition of pure number, whence comes rigorous mathematical induction, differs from sensible intuition to which the imagination, properly so called, is the principal contributor. + +Is the abyss which separates them less profound than it at first appeared? Could we recognize with a little attention that this pure intuition itself could not do without the aid of the senses? This is the affair of the psychologist and the metaphysician and I shall not discuss the question. But the thing's being doubtful is enough to justify me in recognizing and affirming an essential difference between the two kinds of intuition; they have not the same object and seem to call into play two different faculties of our soul; one would think of two search-lights directed upon two worlds strangers to one another. + +It is the intuition of pure number, that of pure logical forms, which illumines and directs those we have called analysts. This it is which enables them not alone to demonstrate, but also to invent. By it they perceive at a glance the general plan of a logical edifice, and that too without the senses appearing to intervene. In rejecting the aid of the imagination, which, as we have seen, is not always infallible, they can advance without fear of deceiving themselves. Happy, therefore, are those who can do without this aid!, We must admire them; but how rare they are! + +Among the analysts there will then be inventors, but they will be few. The majority of us, if we wished to see afar by pure intuition alone, would soon feel ourselves seized with vertigo. Our weakness has need of a staff more solid, and, despite the exceptions of which we have just spoken, it is none the less true that sensible intuition is in mathematics the most usual instrument of invention. + +Apropos of these reflections, a question comes up that I have not the time either to solve or even to enunciate with the developments it would admit of. Is there room for a new distinction, for distinguishing among the analysts those who above all use this pure intuition and those who are first of all preoccupied with formal logic? + +M Hermite, for example, whom I have just cited, can not be classed among the geometers who make use of the sensible intuition; but neither is he a logician, properly so called. He does not conceal his aversion to purely deductive procedures which start from the general and end in the particular. + +* * * + +JOC/EFR August 2007 + +The URL of this page is: +http://www-history.mcs.st-andrews.ac.uk/Extras/Poincare_Intuition.html + diff --git a/_stories/1906/10342677.md b/_stories/1906/10342677.md new file mode 100644 index 0000000..b294c82 --- /dev/null +++ b/_stories/1906/10342677.md @@ -0,0 +1,14 @@ +[Source](http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=9C07E5DF1F3EE733A25755C2A9619C946797D6CF "Permalink to HOPE FOR CANCER CURE FROM NEW DISCOVERIES - English Experts Inoculate Against the Disease in Mice TRYPSIN DR. BEARD'S REMEDY It Has Been Tried on Mice and Men and Cancerous Growths Have Been Destroyed. - View Article - NYTimes.com") + +# HOPE FOR CANCER CURE FROM NEW DISCOVERIES - English Experts Inoculate Against the Disease in Mice TRYPSIN DR. BEARD'S REMEDY It Has Been Tried on Mice and Men and Cancerous Growths Have Been Destroyed. - View Article - NYTimes.com + +Your browser does not support iframes. Please use this link to view your article: [view article][1]. + +![DCSIMG][2] + +![][3] + +[1]: http://article.archive.nytimes.com/1906/07/26/101790220.pdf?AWSAccessKeyId=AKIAJBTN455PTTBQQNRQ&Expires=1519386783&Signature=ta7g0Ebkp4yI9YCgg6VvFD4GHJk%3D +[2]: http://wt.o.nytimes.com/dcsym57yw10000s1s8g0boozt_9t1x/njs.gif?dcsuri=/nojavascript&WT.js=No&WT.tv=1.0.7 +[3]: http://up.nytimes.com/?d=0//&t=&s=0&ui=&r=&u=query.nytimes.com%2Fmem%2Farchive-free%2Fpdf + diff --git a/_stories/1906/5956404.md b/_stories/1906/5956404.md new file mode 100644 index 0000000..c0f623a --- /dev/null +++ b/_stories/1906/5956404.md @@ -0,0 +1,14 @@ +[Source](http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=9C07E5DF1F3EE733A25755C2A9619C946797D6CF "Permalink to HOPE FOR CANCER CURE FROM NEW DISCOVERIES - English Experts Inoculate Against the Disease in Mice TRYPSIN DR. BEARD'S REMEDY It Has Been Tried on Mice and Men and Cancerous Growths Have Been Destroyed. - View Article - NYTimes.com") + +# HOPE FOR CANCER CURE FROM NEW DISCOVERIES - English Experts Inoculate Against the Disease in Mice TRYPSIN DR. BEARD'S REMEDY It Has Been Tried on Mice and Men and Cancerous Growths Have Been Destroyed. - View Article - NYTimes.com + +Your browser does not support iframes. Please use this link to view your article: [view article][1]. + +![DCSIMG][2] + +![][3] + +[1]: http://article.archive.nytimes.com/1906/07/26/101790220.pdf?AWSAccessKeyId=AKIAJBTN455PTTBQQNRQ&Expires=1519391788&Signature=%2Bkbjhd%2BywhSSxc4rRL2mXFLmWZc%3D +[2]: http://wt.o.nytimes.com/dcsym57yw10000s1s8g0boozt_9t1x/njs.gif?dcsuri=/nojavascript&WT.js=No&WT.tv=1.0.7 +[3]: http://up.nytimes.com/?d=0//&t=&s=0&ui=&r=&u=query.nytimes.com%2Fmem%2Farchive-free%2Fpdf + diff --git a/_stories/1909/10342677.md b/_stories/1909/10342677.md new file mode 100644 index 0000000..3664364 --- /dev/null +++ b/_stories/1909/10342677.md @@ -0,0 +1,46 @@ +[Source](https://mustapha.svbtle.com/tfs "Permalink to 404 - Not found") + +# 404 - Not found + +  [Svbtle][1] + +## [Mustapha Abiola][2] + +[Menu][3] + +* [Mustapha Abiola is writing on the Svbtle network.][4] +* [say hello][5] +* [rss feed][6] +* * * * +* [about svbtle][7] +* [sign up][8] + +# Post not found. 404 :( + + + +←[ Back to blog][1] + +* [say hello][9] +[Svbtle][1] + +##### + +[Svbtle][4] [Terms][10] • [Privacy][11] • [Promise][12] + + +  + +[1]: https://mustapha.svbtle.com/ +[2]: https://mustapha.svbtle.com//mustapha.svbtle.com +[3]: https://mustapha.svbtle.com#menu +[4]: https://svbtle.com +[5]: mailto:hi@mustapha.org?subject=hi%20from%20svbtle +[6]: https://mustapha.svbtle.com/feed +[7]: https://svbtle.com/about +[8]: https://svbtle.com/signup +[9]: mailto:hi@mustapha.org?subject=Svbtle +[10]: https://svbtle.com/terms +[11]: https://svbtle.com/privacy +[12]: https://svbtle.com/promise + diff --git a/_stories/1909/10490198.md b/_stories/1909/10490198.md new file mode 100644 index 0000000..8c999cf --- /dev/null +++ b/_stories/1909/10490198.md @@ -0,0 +1,647 @@ +[Source](http://archive.ncsa.illinois.edu/prajlich/forster.html "Permalink to THE MACHINE STOPS ... E.M. Forster ") + +# THE MACHINE STOPS ... E.M. Forster + +THE MACHINE STOPS ... E.M. Forster + + + + +| ----- | +| ![][1] +![][2] | + +Anybody who uses the Internet should read E.M. Forster's _The Machine Stops_. It is a chilling, short story masterpiece about the role of technology in our lives. Written in 1909, it's as relevant today as the day it was published. Forster has several prescient notions including instant messages (email!) and cinematophoes (machines that project visual images). + +-Paul Rajlich ([homepage][3]) + +*Special thanks to Ken Kruszka for introducing me to this story. | + +| ----- | +| + +# THE MACHINE STOPS + +## by E.M. Forster (1909) + +I + +THE AIR-SHIP + +Imagine, if you can, a small room, hexagonal in shape, like the cell of a bee. It is lighted neither by window nor by lamp, yet it is filled with a soft radiance. There are no apertures for ventilation, yet the air is fresh. There are no musical instruments, and yet, at the moment that my meditation opens, this room is throbbing with melodious sounds. An armchair is in the centre, by its side a reading-desk-that is all the furniture. And in the armchair there sits a swaddled lump of flesh-a woman, about five feet high, with a face as white as a fungus. It is to her that the little room belongs. + +An electric bell rang. + +The woman touched a switch and the music was silent. + +"I suppose I must see who it is", she thought, and set her chair in motion. The chair, like the music, was worked by machinery and it rolled her to the other side of the room where the bell still rang importunately. + +"Who is it?" she called. Her voice was irritable, for she had been interrupted often since the music began. She knew several thousand people, in certain directions human intercourse had advanced enormously. + +But when she listened into the receiver, her white face wrinkled into smiles, and she said: + +"Very well. Let us talk, I will isolate myself. I do not expect anything important will happen for the next five minutes-for I can give you fully five minutes, Kuno. Then I must deliver my lecture on Music during the Australian Period." + +She touched the isolation knob, so that no one else could speak to her. Then she touched the lighting apparatus, and the little room was plunged into darkness. + +"Be quick!" She called, her irritation returning. "Be quick, Kuno; here I am in the dark wasting my time." + +But it was fully fifteen seconds before the round plate that she held in her hands began to glow. A faint blue light shot across it, darkening to purple, and presently she could see the image of her son, who lived on the other side of the earth, and he could see her. + +"Kuno, how slow you are." + +He smiled gravely. + +"I really believe you enjoy dawdling." + +"I have called you before, mother, but you were always busy or isolated. I have something particular to say." + +"What is it, dearest boy? Be quick. Why could you not send it by pneumatic post?" + +"Because I prefer saying such a thing. I want----" + +"Well?" + +"I want you to come and see me." + +Vashti watched his face in the blue plate. + +"But I can see you!" she exclaimed. "What more do you want?" + +"I want to see you not through the Machine," said Kuno. "I want to speak to you not through the wearisome Machine." + +"Oh, hush!" said his mother, vaguely shocked. "You mustn"t say anything against the Machine." + +"Why not?" + +"One mustn"t." + +"You talk as if a god had made the Machine," cried the other. + +"I believe that you pray to it when you are unhappy. Men made it, do not forget that. Great men, but men. The Machine is much, but it is not everything. I see something like you in this plate, but I do not see you. I hear something like you through this telephone, but I do not hear you. That is why I want you to come. Pay me a visit, so that we can meet face to face, and talk about the hopes that are in my mind." + +She replied that she could scarcely spare the time for a visit. + +"The air-ship barely takes two days to fly between me and you." + +"I dislike air-ships." + +"Why?" + +"I dislike seeing the horrible brown earth, and the sea, and the stars when it is dark. I get no ideas in an air- ship." + +"I do not get them anywhere else." + +"What kind of ideas can the air give you?" + +He paused for an instant. + +"Do you not know four big stars that form an oblong, and three stars close together in the middle of the oblong, and hanging from these stars, three other stars?" + +"No, I do not. I dislike the stars. But did they give you an idea? How interesting; tell me." + +"I had an idea that they were like a man." + +"I do not understand." + +"The four big stars are the man"s shoulders and his knees. + +The three stars in the middle are like the belts that men wore once, and the three stars hanging are like a sword." + +"A sword?;" + +"Men carried swords about with them, to kill animals and other men." + +"It does not strike me as a very good idea, but it is certainly original. When did it come to you first?" + +"In the air-ship-----" He broke off, and she fancied that he looked sad. She could not be sure, for the Machine did not transmit nuances of expression. It only gave a general idea of people - an idea that was good enough for all practical purposes, Vashti thought. The imponderable bloom, declared by a discredited philosophy to be the actual essence of intercourse, was rightly ignored by the Machine, just as the imponderable bloom of the grape was ignored by the manufacturers of artificial fruit. Something "good enough" had long since been accepted by our race. + +"The truth is," he continued, "that I want to see these stars again. They are curious stars. I want to see them not from the air-ship, but from the surface of the earth, as our ancestors did, thousands of years ago. I want to visit the surface of the earth." + +She was shocked again. + +"Mother, you must come, if only to explain to me what is the harm of visiting the surface of the earth." + +"No harm," she replied, controlling herself. "But no advantage. The surface of the earth is only dust and mud, no advantage. The surface of the earth is only dust and mud, no life remains on it, and you would need a respirator, or the cold of the outer air would kill you. One dies immediately in the outer air." + +"I know; of course I shall take all precautions." + +"And besides----" + +"Well?" + +She considered, and chose her words with care. Her son had a queer temper, and she wished to dissuade him from the expedition. + +"It is contrary to the spirit of the age," she asserted. + +"Do you mean by that, contrary to the Machine?" + +"In a sense, but----" + +His image is the blue plate faded. + +"Kuno!" + +He had isolated himself. + +For a moment Vashti felt lonely. + +Then she generated the light, and the sight of her room, flooded with radiance and studded with electric buttons, revived her. There were buttons and switches everywhere - buttons to call for food for music, for clothing. There was the hot-bath button, by pressure of which a basin of (imitation) marble rose out of the floor, filled to the brim with a warm deodorized liquid. There was the cold-bath button. There was the button that produced literature. and there were of course the buttons by which she communicated with her friends. The room, though it contained nothing, was in touch with all that she cared for in the world. + +Vashanti"s next move was to turn off the isolation switch, and all the accumulations of the last three minutes burst upon her. The room was filled with the noise of bells, and speaking-tubes. What was the new food like? Could she recommend it? Has she had any ideas lately? Might one tell her one"s own ideas? Would she make an engagement to visit the public nurseries at an early date? - say this day month. + +To most of these questions she replied with irritation - a growing quality in that accelerated age. She said that the new food was horrible. That she could not visit the public nurseries through press of engagements. That she had no ideas of her own but had just been told one-that four stars and three in the middle were like a man: she doubted there was much in it. Then she switched off her correspondents, for it was time to deliver her lecture on Australian music. + +The clumsy system of public gatherings had been long since abandoned; neither Vashti nor her audience stirred from their rooms. Seated in her armchair she spoke, while they in their armchairs heard her, fairly well, and saw her, fairly well. She opened with a humorous account of music in the pre Mongolian epoch, and went on to describe the great outburst of song that followed the Chinese conquest. Remote and primval as were the methods of I-San-So and the Brisbane school, she yet felt (she said) that study of them might repay the musicians of today: they had freshness; they had, above all, ideas. Her lecture, which lasted ten minutes, was well received, and at its conclusion she and many of her audience listened to a lecture on the sea; there were ideas to be got from the sea; the speaker had donned a respirator and visited it lately. Then she fed, talked to many friends, had a bath, talked again, and summoned her bed. + +The bed was not to her liking. It was too large, and she had a feeling for a small bed. Complaint was useless, for beds were of the same dimension all over the world, and to have had an alternative size would have involved vast alterations in the Machine. Vashti isolated herself-it was necessary, for neither day nor night existed under the ground-and reviewed all that had happened since she had summoned the bed last. Ideas? Scarcely any. Events-was Kuno"s invitation an event? + +By her side, on the little reading-desk, was a survival from the ages of litter-one book. This was the Book of the Machine. In it were instructions against every possible contingency. If she was hot or cold or dyspeptic or at a loss for a word, she went to the book, and it told her which button to press. The Central Committee published it. In accordance with a growing habit, it was richly bound. + +Sitting up in the bed, she took it reverently in her hands. She glanced round the glowing room as if some one might be watching her. Then, half ashamed, half joyful, she murmured "O Machine!" and raised the volume to her lips. Thrice she kissed it, thrice inclined her head, thrice she felt the delirium of acquiescence. Her ritual performed, she turned to page 1367, which gave the times of the departure of the air-ships from the island in the southern hemisphere, under whose soil she lived, to the island in the northern hemisphere, whereunder lived her son. + +She thought, "I have not the time." + +She made the room dark and slept; she awoke and made the room light; she ate and exchanged ideas with her friends, and listened to music and attended lectures; she make the room dark and slept. Above her, beneath her, and around her, the Machine hummed eternally; she did not notice the noise, for she had been born with it in her ears. The earth, carrying her, hummed as it sped through silence, turning her now to the invisible sun, now to the invisible stars. She awoke and made the room light. + +"Kuno!" + +"I will not talk to you." he answered, "until you come." + +"Have you been on the surface of the earth since we spoke last?" + +His image faded. + +Again she consulted the book. She became very nervous and lay back in her chair palpitating. Think of her as without teeth or hair. Presently she directed the chair to the wall, and pressed an unfamiliar button. The wall swung apart slowly. Through the opening she saw a tunnel that curved slightly, so that its goal was not visible. Should she go to see her son, here was the beginning of the journey. + +Of course she knew all about the communication-system. There was nothing mysterious in it. She would summon a car and it would fly with her down the tunnel until it reached the lift that communicated with the air-ship station: the system had been in use for many, many years, long before the universal establishment of the Machine. And of course she had studied the civilization that had immediately preceded her own - the civilization that had mistaken the functions of the system, and had used it for bringing people to things, instead of for bringing things to people. Those funny old days, when men went for change of air instead of changing the air in their rooms! And yet-she was frightened of the tunnel: she had not seen it since her last child was born. It curved-but not quite as she remembered; it was brilliant-but not quite as brilliant as a lecturer had suggested. Vashti was seized with the terrors of direct experience. She shrank back into the room, and the wall closed up again. + +"Kuno," she said, "I cannot come to see you. I am not well." + +Immediately an enormous apparatus fell on to her out of the ceiling, a thermometer was automatically laid upon her heart. She lay powerless. Cool pads soothed her forehead. Kuno had telegraphed to her doctor. + +So the human passions still blundered up and down in the Machine. Vashti drank the medicine that the doctor projected into her mouth, and the machinery retired into the ceiling. The voice of Kuno was heard asking how she felt. + +"Better." Then with irritation: "But why do you not come to me instead?" + +"Because I cannot leave this place." + +"Why?" + +"Because, any moment, something tremendous many happen." + +"Have you been on the surface of the earth yet?" + +"Not yet." + +"Then what is it?" + +"I will not tell you through the Machine." + +She resumed her life. + +But she thought of Kuno as a baby, his birth, his removal to the public nurseries, her own visit to him there, his visits to her-visits which stopped when the Machine had assigned him a room on the other side of the earth. "Parents, duties of," said the book of the Machine," cease at the moment of birth. P.422327483." True, but there was something special about Kuno - indeed there had been something special about all her children - and, after all, she must brave the journey if he desired it. And "something tremendous might happen". What did that mean? The nonsense of a youthful man, no doubt, but she must go. Again she pressed the unfamiliar button, again the wall swung back, and she saw the tunnel that curves out of sight. Clasping the Book, she rose, tottered on to the platform, and summoned the car. Her room closed behind her: the journey to the northern hemisphere had begun. + +Of course it was perfectly easy. The car approached and in it she found armchairs exactly like her own. When she signaled, it stopped, and she tottered into the lift. One other passenger was in the lift, the first fellow creature she had seen face to face for months. Few travelled in these days, for, thanks to the advance of science, the earth was exactly alike all over. Rapid intercourse, from which the previous civilization had hoped so much, had ended by defeating itself. What was the good of going to Peking when it was just like Shrewsbury? Why return to Shrewsbury when it would all be like Peking? Men seldom moved their bodies; all unrest was concentrated in the soul. + +The air-ship service was a relic form the former age. It was kept up, because it was easier to keep it up than to stop it or to diminish it, but it now far exceeded the wants of the population. Vessel after vessel would rise form the vomitories of Rye or of Christchurch (I use the antique names), would sail into the crowded sky, and would draw up at the wharves of the south - empty. so nicely adjusted was the system, so independent of meteorology, that the sky, whether calm or cloudy, resembled a vast kaleidoscope whereon the same patterns periodically recurred. The ship on which Vashti sailed started now at sunset, now at dawn. But always, as it passed above Rheas, it would neighbour the ship that served between Helsingfors and the Brazils, and, every third time it surmounted the Alps, the fleet of Palermo would cross its track behind. Night and day, wind and storm, tide and earthquake, impeded man no longer. He had harnessed Leviathan. All the old literature, with its praise of Nature, and its fear of Nature, rang false as the prattle of a child. + +Yet as Vashti saw the vast flank of the ship, stained with exposure to the outer air, her horror of direct experience returned. It was not quite like the air-ship in the cinematophote. For one thing it smelt - not strongly or unpleasantly, but it did smell, and with her eyes shut she should have known that a new thing was close to her. Then she had to walk to it from the lift, had to submit to glances form the other passengers. The man in front dropped his Book - no great matter, but it disquieted them all. In the rooms, if the Book was dropped, the floor raised it mechanically, but the gangway to the air-ship was not so prepared, and the sacred volume lay motionless. They stopped - the thing was unforeseen - and the man, instead of picking up his property, felt the muscles of his arm to see how they had failed him. Then some one actually said with direct utterance: "We shall be late" - and they trooped on board, Vashti treading on the pages as she did so. + +Inside, her anxiety increased. The arrangements were old- fashioned and rough. There was even a female attendant, to whom she would have to announce her wants during the voyage. Of course a revolving platform ran the length of the boat, but she was expected to walk from it to her cabin. Some cabins were better than others, and she did not get the best. She thought the attendant had been unfair, and spasms of rage shook her. The glass valves had closed, she could not go back. She saw, at the end of the vestibule, the lift in which she had ascended going quietly up and down, empty. Beneath those corridors of shining tiles were rooms, tier below tier, reaching far into the earth, and in each room there sat a human being, eating, or sleeping, or producing ideas. And buried deep in the hive was her own room. Vashti was afraid. + +"O Machine!" she murmured, and caressed her Book, and was comforted. + +Then the sides of the vestibule seemed to melt together, as do the passages that we see in dreams, the lift vanished , the Book that had been dropped slid to the left and vanished, polished tiles rushed by like a stream of water, there was a slight jar, and the air-ship, issuing from its tunnel, soared above the waters of a tropical ocean. + +It was night. For a moment she saw the coast of Sumatra edged by the phosphorescence of waves, and crowned by lighthouses, still sending forth their disregarded beams. These also vanished, and only the stars distracted her. They were not motionless, but swayed to and fro above her head, thronging out of one sky-light into another, as if the universe and not the air-ship was careening. And, as often happens on clear nights, they seemed now to be in perspective, now on a plane; now piled tier beyond tier into the infinite heavens, now concealing infinity, a roof limiting for ever the visions of men. In either case they seemed intolerable. "Are we to travel in the dark?" called the passengers angrily, and the attendant, who had been careless, generated the light, and pulled down the blinds of pliable metal. When the air-ships had been built, the desire to look direct at things still lingered in the world. Hence the extraordinary number of skylights and windows, and the proportionate discomfort to those who were civilized and refined. Even in Vashti"s cabin one star peeped through a flaw in the blind, and after a few hers" uneasy slumber, she was disturbed by an unfamiliar glow, which was the dawn. + +Quick as the ship had sped westwards, the earth had rolled eastwards quicker still, and had dragged back Vashti and her companions towards the sun. Science could prolong the night, but only for a little, and those high hopes of neutralizing the earth"s diurnal revolution had passed, together with hopes that were possibly higher. To "keep pace with the sun," or even to outstrip it, had been the aim of the civilization preceding this. Racing aeroplanes had been built for the purpose, capable of enormous speed, and steered by the greatest intellects of the epoch. Round the globe they went, round and round, westward, westward, round and round, amidst humanity"s applause. In vain. The globe went eastward quicker still, horrible accidents occurred, and the Committee of the Machine, at the time rising into prominence, declared the pursuit illegal, unmechanical, and punishable by Homelessness. + +Of Homelessness more will be said later. + +Doubtless the Committee was right. Yet the attempt to "defeat the sun" aroused the last common interest that our race experienced about the heavenly bodies, or indeed about anything. It was the last time that men were compacted by thinking of a power outside the world. The sun had conquered, yet it was the end of his spiritual dominion. Dawn, midday, twilight, the zodiacal path, touched neither men"s lives not their hearts, and science retreated into the ground, to concentrate herself upon problems that she was certain of solving. + +So when Vashti found her cabin invaded by a rosy finger of light, she was annoyed, and tried to adjust the blind. But the blind flew up altogether, and she saw through the skylight small pink clouds, swaying against a background of blue, and as the sun crept higher, its radiance entered direct, brimming down the wall, like a golden sea. It rose and fell with the air-ship"s motion, just as waves rise and fall, but it advanced steadily, as a tide advances. Unless she was careful, it would strike her face. A spasm of horror shook her and she rang for the attendant. The attendant too was horrified, but she could do nothing; it was not her place to mend the blind. She could only suggest that the lady should change her cabin, which she accordingly prepared to do. + +People were almost exactly alike all over the world, but the attendant of the air-ship, perhaps owing to her exceptional duties, had grown a little out of the common. She had often to address passengers with direct speech, and this had given her a certain roughness and originality of manner. When Vashti served away form the sunbeams with a cry, she behaved barbarically - she put out her hand to steady her. + +"How dare you!" exclaimed the passenger. "You forget yourself!" + +The woman was confused, and apologized for not having let her fall. People never touched one another. The custom had become obsolete, owing to the Machine. + +"Where are we now?" asked Vashti haughtily. + +"We are over Asia," said the attendant, anxious to be polite. + +"Asia?" + +"You must excuse my common way of speaking. I have got into the habit of calling places over which I pass by their unmechanical names." + +"Oh, I remember Asia. The Mongols came from it." + +"Beneath us, in the open air, stood a city that was once called Simla." + +"Have you ever heard of the Mongols and of the Brisbane school?" + +"No." + +"Brisbane also stood in the open air." + +"Those mountains to the right - let me show you them." She pushed back a metal blind. The main chain of the Himalayas was revealed. "They were once called the Roof of the World, those mountains." + +"You must remember that, before the dawn of civilization, they seemed to be an impenetrable wall that touched the stars. It was supposed that no one but the gods could exist above their summits. How we have advanced, thanks to the Machine!" + +"How we have advanced, thanks to the Machine!" said Vashti. + +"How we have advanced, thanks to the Machine!" echoed the passenger who had dropped his Book the night before, and who was standing in the passage. + +"And that white stuff in the cracks? - what is it?" + +"I have forgotten its name." + +"Cover the window, please. These mountains give me no ideas." + +The northern aspect of the Himalayas was in deep shadow: on the Indian slope the sun had just prevailed. The forests had been destroyed during the literature epoch for the purpose of making newspaper-pulp, but the snows were awakening to their morning glory, and clouds still hung on the breasts of Kinchinjunga. In the plain were seen the ruins of cities, with diminished rivers creeping by their walls, and by the sides of these were sometimes the signs of vomitories, marking the cities of to day. Over the whole prospect air-ships rushed, crossing the inter-crossing with incredible _aplomb_, and rising nonchalantly when they desired to escape the perturbations of the lower atmosphere and to traverse the Roof of the World. + +"We have indeed advance, thanks to the Machine," repeated the attendant, and hid the Himalayas behind a metal blind. + +The day dragged wearily forward. The passengers sat each in his cabin, avoiding one another with an almost physical repulsion and longing to be once more under the surface of the earth. There were eight or ten of them, mostly young males, sent out from the public nurseries to inhabit the rooms of those who had died in various parts of the earth. The man who had dropped his Book was on the homeward journey. He had been sent to Sumatra for the purpose of propagating the race. Vashti alone was travelling by her private will. + +At midday she took a second glance at the earth. The air- ship was crossing another range of mountains, but she could see little, owing to clouds. Masses of black rock hovered below her, and merged indistinctly into grey. Their shapes were fantastic; one of them resembled a prostrate man. + +"No ideas here," murmured Vashti, and hid the Caucasus behind a metal blind. + +In the evening she looked again. They were crossing a golden sea, in which lay many small islands and one peninsula. She repeated, "No ideas here," and hid Greece behind a metal blind. + +II + +THE MENDING APPARATUS + +By a vestibule, by a lift, by a tubular railway, by a platform, by a sliding door - by reversing all the steps of her departure did Vashti arrive at her son"s room, which exactly resembled her own. She might well declare that the visit was superfluous. The buttons, the knobs, the reading-desk with the Book, the temperature, the atmosphere, the illumination - all were exactly the same. And if Kuno himself, flesh of her flesh, stood close beside her at last, what profit was there in that? She was too well-bred to shake him by the hand. + +Averting her eyes, she spoke as follows: + +"Here I am. I have had the most terrible journey and greatly retarded the development of my soul. It is not worth it, Kuno, it is not worth it. My time is too precious. The sunlight almost touched me, and I have met with the rudest people. I can only stop a few minutes. Say what you want to say, and then I must return." + +"I have been threatened with Homelessness," said Kuno. + +She looked at him now. + +"I have been threatened with Homelessness, and I could not tell you such a thing through the Machine." + +Homelessness means death. The victim is exposed to the air, which kills him. + +"I have been outside since I spoke to you last. The tremendous thing has happened, and they have discovered me." + +"But why shouldn"t you go outside?" she exclaimed, "It is perfectly legal, perfectly mechanical, to visit the surface of the earth. I have lately been to a lecture on the sea; there is no objection to that; one simply summons a respirator and gets an Egression-permit. It is not the kind of thing that spiritually minded people do, and I begged you not to do it, but there is no legal objection to it." + +"I did not get an Egression-permit." + +"Then how did you get out?" + +"I found out a way of my own." + +The phrase conveyed no meaning to her, and he had to repeat it. + +"A way of your own?" she whispered. "But that would be wrong." + +"Why?" + +The question shocked her beyond measure. + +"You are beginning to worship the Machine," he said coldly. + +"You think it irreligious of me to have found out a way of my own. It was just what the Committee thought, when they threatened me with Homelessness." + +At this she grew angry. "I worship nothing!" she cried. "I am most advanced. I don"t think you irreligious, for there is no such thing as religion left. All the fear and the superstition that existed once have been destroyed by the Machine. I only meant that to find out a way of your own was----Besides, there is no new way out." + +"So it is always supposed." + +"Except through the vomitories, for which one must have an Egression-permit, it is impossible to get out. The Book says so." + +"Well, the Book"s wrong, for I have been out on my feet." + +For Kuno was possessed of a certain physical strength. + +By these days it was a demerit to be muscular. Each infant was examined at birth, and all who promised undue strength were destroyed. Humanitarians may protest, but it would have been no true kindness to let an athlete live; he would never have been happy in that state of life to which the Machine had called him; he would have yearned for trees to climb, rivers to bathe in, meadows and hills against which he might measure his body. Man must be adapted to his surroundings, must he not? In the dawn of the world our weakly must be exposed on Mount Taygetus, in its twilight our strong will suffer euthanasia, that the Machine may progress, that the Machine may progress, that the Machine may progress eternally. + +"You know that we have lost the sense of space. We say space is annihilated, but we have annihilated not space, but the sense thereof. We have lost a part of ourselves. I determined to recover it, and I began by walking up and down the platform of the railway outside my room. Up and down, until I was tired, and so did recapture the meaning of Near and Far. Near is a place to which I can get quickly on my feet, not a place to which the train or the air-ship will take me quickly. Far is a place to which I cannot get quickly on my feet; the vomitory is far, though I could be there in thirty-eight seconds by summoning the train. Man is the measure. That was my first lesson. Man"s feet are the measure for distance, his hands are the measure for ownership, his body is the measure for all that is lovable and desirable and strong. Then I went further: it was then that I called to you for the first time, and you would not come. + +"This city, as you know, is built deep beneath the surface of the earth, with only the vomitories protruding. Having paced the platform outside my own room, I took the lift to the next platform and paced that also, and so with each in turn, until I came to the topmost, above which begins the earth. All the platforms were exactly alike, and all that I gained by visiting them was to develop my sense of space and my muscles. I think I should have been content with this - it is not a little thing, - but as I walked and brooded, it occurred to me that our cities had been built in the days when men still breathed the outer air, and that there had been ventilation shafts for the workmen. I could think of nothing but these ventilation shafts. Had they been destroyed by all the food-tubes and medicine-tubes and music- tubes that the Machine has evolved lately? Or did traces of them remain? One thing was certain. If I came upon them anywhere, it would be in the railway-tunnels of the topmost storey. Everywhere else, all space was accounted for. + +"I am telling my story quickly, but don"t think that I was not a coward or that your answers never depressed me. It is not the proper thing, it is not mechanical, it is not decent to walk along a railway-tunnel. I did not fear that I might tread upon a live rail and be killed. I feared something far more intangible-doing what was not contemplated by the Machine. Then I said to myself, Man is the measure, and I went, and after many visits I found an opening. + +"The tunnels, of course, were lighted. Everything is light, artificial light; darkness is the exception. So when I saw a black gap in the tiles, I knew that it was an exception, and rejoiced. I put in my arm - I could put in no more at first - and waved it round and round in ecstasy. I loosened another tile, and put in my head, and shouted into the darkness: I am coming, I shall do it yet, and my voice reverberated down endless passages. I seemed to hear the spirits of those dead workmen who had returned each evening to the starlight and to their wives, and all the generations who had lived in the open air called back to me, You will do it yet, you are coming," + +He paused, and, absurd as he was, his last words moved her. + +For Kuno had lately asked to be a father, and his request had been refused by the Committee. His was not a type that the Machine desired to hand on. + +"Then a train passed. It brushed by me, but I thrust my head and arms into the hole. I had done enough for one day, so I crawled back to the platform, went down in the lift, and summoned my bed. Ah what dreams! And again I called you, and again you refused." + +She shook her head and said: + +"Don"t. Don"t talk of these terrible things. You make me miserable. You are throwing civilization away." + +"But I had got back the sense of space and a man cannot rest then. I determined to get in at the hole and climb the shaft. And so I exercised my arms. Day after day I went through ridiculous movements, until my flesh ached, and I could hang by my hands and hold the pillow of my bed outstretched for many minutes. Then I summoned a respirator, and started. + +"It was easy at first. The mortar had somehow rotted, and I soon pushed some more tiles in, and clambered after them into the darkness, and the spirits of the dead comforted me. I don"t know what I mean by that. I just say what I felt. I felt, for the first time, that a protest had been lodged against corruption, and that even as the dead were comforting me, so I was comforting the unborn. I felt that humanity existed, and that it existed without clothes. How can I possibly explain this? It was naked, humanity seemed naked, and all these tubes and buttons and machineries neither came into the world with us, nor will they follow us out, nor do they matter supremely while we are here. Had I been strong, I would have torn off every garment I had, and gone out into the outer air unswaddled. But this is not for me, nor perhaps for my generation. I climbed with my respirator and my hygienic clothes and my dietetic tabloids! Better thus than not at all. + +"There was a ladder, made of some primval metal. The light from the railway fell upon its lowest rungs, and I saw that it led straight upwards out of the rubble at the bottom of the shaft. Perhaps our ancestors ran up and down it a dozen times daily, in their building. As I climbed, the rough edges cut through my gloves so that my hands bled. The light helped me for a little, and then came darkness and, worse still, silence which pierced my ears like a sword. The Machine hums! Did you know that? Its hum penetrates our blood, and may even guide our thoughts. Who knows! I was getting beyond its power. Then I thought: This silence means that I am doing wrong. But I heard voices in the silence, and again they strengthened me." He laughed. "I had need of them. The next moment I cracked my head against something." + +She sighed. + +"I had reached one of those pneumatic stoppers that defend us from the outer air. You may have noticed them no the air- ship. Pitch dark, my feet on the rungs of an invisible ladder, my hands cut; I cannot explain how I lived through this part, but the voices till comforted me, and I felt for fastenings. The stopper, I suppose, was about eight feet across. I passed my hand over it as far as I could reach. It was perfectly smooth. I felt it almost to the centre. Not quite to the centre, for my arm was too short. Then the voice said: Jump. It is worth it. There may be a handle in the centre, and you may catch hold of it and so come to us your own way. And if there is no handle, so that you may fall and are dashed to pieces - it is till worth it: you will still come to us your own way. So I jumped. There was a handle, and ----" + +He paused. Tears gathered in his mother"s eyes. She knew that he was fated. If he did not die today he would die tomorrow. There was not room for such a person in the world. And with her pity disgust mingled. She was ashamed at having borne such a son, she who had always been so respectable and so full of ideas. Was he really the little boy to whom she had taught the use of his stops and buttons, and to whom she had given his first lessons in the Book? The very hair that disfigured his lip showed that he was reverting to some savage type. On atavism the Machine can have no mercy. + +"There was a handle, and I did catch it. I hung tranced over the darkness and heard the hum of these workings as the last whisper in a dying dream. All the things I had cared about and all the people I had spoken to through tubes appeared infinitely little. Meanwhile the handle revolved. My weight had set something in motion and I span slowly, and then---- + +"I cannot describe it. I was lying with my face to the sunshine. Blood poured from my nose and ears and I heard a tremendous roaring. The stopper, with me clinging to it, had simply been blown out of the earth, and the air that we make down here was escaping through the vent into the air above. It burst up like a fountain. I crawled back to it - for the upper air hurts - and, as it were, I took great sips from the edge. My respirator had flown goodness knows here, my clothes were torn. I just lay with my lips close to the hole, and I sipped until the bleeding stopped. You can imagine nothing so curious. This hollow in the grass - I will speak of it in a minute, - the sun shining into it, not brilliantly but through marbled clouds, - the peace, the nonchalance, the sense of space, and, brushing my cheek, the roaring fountain of our artificial air! Soon I spied my respirator, bobbing up and down in the current high above my head, and higher still were many air-ships. But no one ever looks out of air-ships, and in any case they could not have picked me up. There I was, stranded. The sun shone a little way down the shaft, and revealed the topmost rung of the ladder, but it was hopeless trying to reach it. I should either have been tossed up again by the escape, or else have fallen in, and died. I could only lie on the grass, sipping and sipping, and from time to time glancing around me. + +"I knew that I was in Wessex, for I had taken care to go to a lecture on the subject before starting. Wessex lies above the room in which we are talking now. It was once an important state. Its kings held all the southern coast form the Andredswald to Cornwall, while the Wansdyke protected them on the north, running over the high ground. The lecturer was only concerned with the rise of Wessex, so I do not know how long it remained an international power, nor would the knowledge have assisted me. To tell the truth I could do nothing but laugh, during this part. There was I, with a pneumatic stopper by my side and a respirator bobbing over my head, imprisoned, all three of us, in a grass-grown hollow that was edged with fern." + +Then he grew grave again. + +"Lucky for me that it was a hollow. For the air began to fall back into it and to fill it as water fills a bowl. I could crawl about. Presently I stood. I breathed a mixture, in which the air that hurts predominated whenever I tried to climb the sides. This was not so bad. I had not lost my tabloids and remained ridiculously cheerful, and as for the Machine, I forgot about it altogether. My one aim now was to get to the top, where the ferns were, and to view whatever objects lay beyond. + +"I rushed the slope. The new air was still too bitter for me and I came rolling back, after a momentary vision of something grey. The sun grew very feeble, and I remembered that he was in Scorpio - I had been to a lecture on that too. If the sun is in Scorpio, and you are in Wessex, it means that you must be as quick as you can, or it will get too dark. (This is the first bit of useful information I have ever got from a lecture, and I expect it will be the last.) It made me try frantically to breathe the new air, and to advance as far as I dared out of my pond. The hollow filled so slowly. At times I thought that the fountain played with less vigour. My respirator seemed to dance nearer the earth; the roar was decreasing." + +He broke off. + +"I don"t think this is interesting you. The rest will interest you even less. There are no ideas in it, and I wish that I had not troubled you to come. We are too different, mother." + +She told him to continue. + +"It was evening before I climbed the bank. The sun had very nearly slipped out of the sky by this time, and I could not get a good view. You, who have just crossed the Roof of the World, will not want to hear an account of the little hills that I saw - low colourless hills. But to me they were living and the turf that covered them was a skin, under which their muscles rippled, and I felt that those hills had called with incalculable force to men in the past, and that men had loved them. Now they sleep - perhaps for ever. They commune with humanity in dreams. Happy the man, happy the woman, who awakes the hills of Wessex. For though they sleep, they will never die." + +His voice rose passionately. + +"Cannot you see, cannot all you lecturers see, that it is we that are dying, and that down here the only thing that really lives in the Machine? We created the Machine, to do our will, but we cannot make it do our will now. It was robbed us of the sense of space and of the sense of touch, it has blurred every human relation and narrowed down love to a carnal act, it has paralysed our bodies and our wills, and now it compels us to worship it. The Machine develops - but not on our lies. The Machine proceeds - but not to our goal. We only exist as the blood corpuscles that course through its arteries, and if it could work without us, it would let us die. Oh, I have no remedy - or, at least, only one - to tell men again and again that I have seen the hills of Wessex as lfrid saw them when he overthrew the Danes. + +"So the sun set. I forgot to mention that a belt of mist lay between my hill and other hills, and that it was the colour of pearl." + +He broke off for the second time. + +"Go on," said his mother wearily. + +He shook his head. + +"Go on. Nothing that you say can distress me now. I am hardened." + +"I had meant to tell you the rest, but I cannot: I know that I cannot: good-bye." + +Vashti stood irresolute. All her nerves were tingling with his blasphemies. But she was also inquisitive. + +"This is unfair," she complained. "You have called me across the world to hear your story, and hear it I will. Tell me - as briefly as possible, for this is a disastrous waste of time - tell me how you returned to civilization." + +"Oh - that!" he said, starting. "You would like to hear about civilization. Certainly. Had I got to where my respirator fell down?" + +"No - but I understand everything now. You put on your respirator, and managed to walk along the surface of the earth to a vomitory, and there your conduct was reported to the Central Committee." + +"By no means." + +He passed his hand over his forehead, as if dispelling some strong impression. Then, resuming his narrative, he warmed to it again. + +"My respirator fell about sunset. I had mentioned that the fountain seemed feebler, had I not?" + +"Yes." + +"About sunset, it let the respirator fall. As I said, I had entirely forgotten about the Machine, and I paid no great attention at the time, being occupied with other things. I had my pool of air, into which I could dip when the outer keenness became intolerable, and which would possibly remain for days, provided that no wind sprang up to disperse it. Not until it was too late did I realize what the stoppage of the escape implied. You see - the gap in the tunnel had been mended; the Mending Apparatus; the Mending Apparatus, was after me. + +"One other warning I had, but I neglected it. The sky at night was clearer than it had been in the day, and the moon, which was about half the sky behind the sun, shone into the dell at moments quite brightly. I was in my usual place - on the boundary between the two atmospheres - when I thought I saw something dark move across the bottom of the dell, and vanish into the shaft. In my folly, I ran down. I bent over and listened, and I thought I heard a faint scraping noise in the depths. + +"At this - but it was too late - I took alarm. I determined to put on my respirator and to walk right out of the dell. But my respirator had gone. I knew exactly where it had fallen - between the stopper and the aperture - and I could even feel the mark that it had made in the turf. It had gone, and I realized that something evil was at work, and I had better escape to the other air, and, if I must die, die running towards the cloud that had been the colour of a pearl. I never started. Out of the shaft - it is too horrible. A worm, a long white worm, had crawled out of the shaft and gliding over the moonlit grass. + +"I screamed. I did everything that I should not have done, I stamped upon the creature instead of flying from it, and it at once curled round the ankle. Then we fought. The worm let me run all over the dell, but edged up my leg as I ran. Help! I cried. (That part is too awful. It belongs to the part that you will never know.) Help! I cried. (Why cannot we suffer in silence?) Help! I cried. When my feet were wound together, I fell, I was dragged away from the dear ferns and the living hills, and past the great metal stopper (I can tell you this part), and I thought it might save me again if I caught hold of the handle. It also was enwrapped, it also. Oh, the whole dell was full of the things. They were searching it in all directions, they were denuding it, and the white snouts of others peeped out of the hole, ready if needed. Everything that could be moved they brought - brushwood, bundles of fern, everything, and down we all went intertwined into hell. The last things that I saw, ere the stopper closed after us, were certain stars, and I felt that a man of my sort lived in the sky. For I did fight, I fought till the very end, and it was only my head hitting against the ladder that quieted me. I woke up in this room. The worms had vanished. I was surrounded by artificial air, artificial light, artificial peace, and my friends were calling to me down speaking-tubes to know whether I had come across any new ideas lately." + +Here his story ended. Discussion of it was impossible, and Vashti turned to go. + +"It will end in Homelessness," she said quietly. + +"I wish it would," retorted Kuno. + +"The Machine has been most merciful." + +"I prefer the mercy of God." + +"By that superstitious phrase, do you mean that you could live in the outer air?" + +"Yes." + +"Have you ever seen, round the vomitories, the bones of those who were extruded after the Great Rebellion?" + +"Yes." + +"Have you ever seen, round the vomitories, the bones of those who were extruded after the Great Rebellion?" + +"Yes." + +"They were left where they perished for our edification. A few crawled away, but they perished, too - who can doubt it? And so with the Homeless of our own day. The surface of the earth supports life no longer." + +"Indeed." + +"Ferns and a little grass may survive, but all higher forms have perished. Has any air-ship detected them?" + +"No." + +"Has any lecturer dealt with them?" + +"No." + +"Then why this obstinacy?" + +"Because I have seen them," he exploded. + +"Seen what?" + +"Because I have seen her in the twilight - because she came to my help when I called - because she, too, was entangled by the worms, and, luckier than I, was killed by one of them piercing her throat." + +He was mad. Vashti departed, nor, in the troubles that followed, did she ever see his face again. + +III + +THE HOMELESS + +During the years that followed Kuno"s escapade, two important developments took place in the Machine. On the surface they were revolutionary, but in either case men"s minds had been prepared beforehand, and they did but express tendencies that were latent already. + +The first of these was the abolition of respirator. + +Advanced thinkers, like Vashti, had always held it foolish to visit the surface of the earth. Air-ships might be necessary, but what was the good of going out for mere curiosity and crawling along for a mile or two in a terrestrial motor? The habit was vulgar and perhaps faintly improper: it was unproductive of ideas, and had no connection with the habits that really mattered. So respirators were abolished, and with them, of course, the terrestrial motors, and except for a few lecturers, who complained that they were debarred access to their subject- matter, the development was accepted quietly. Those who still wanted to know what the earth was like had after all only to listen to some gramophone, or to look into some cinematophote. And even the lecturers acquiesced when they found that a lecture on the sea was none the less stimulating when compiled out of other lectures that had already been delivered on the same subject. "Beware of first- hand ideas!" exclaimed one of the most advanced of them. "First-hand ideas do not really exist. They are but the physical impressions produced by live and fear, and on this gross foundation who could erect a philosophy? Let your ideas be second-hand, and if possible tenth-hand, for then they will be far removed from that disturbing element - direct observation. Do not learn anything about this subject of mine - the French Revolution. Learn instead what I think that Enicharmon thought Urizen thought Gutch thought Ho-Yung thought Chi-Bo-Sing thought LafcadioHearn thought Carlyle thought Mirabeau said about the French Revolution. Through the medium of these ten great minds, the blood that was shed at Paris and the windows that were broken at Versailles will be clarified to an idea which you may employ most profitably in your daily lives. But be sure that the intermediates are many and varied, for in history one authority exists to counteract another. Urizen must counteract the scepticism of Ho-Yung and Enicharmon, I must myself counteract the impetuosity of Gutch. You who listen to me are in a better position to judge about the French Revolution than I am. Your descendants will be even in a better position than you, for they will learn what you think I think, and yet another intermediate will be added to the chain. And in time" - his voice rose - "there will come a generation that had got beyond facts, beyond impressions, a generation absolutely colourless, a generation + +_seraphically free + +From taint of personality,_ + +which will see the French Revolution not as it happened, nor as they would like it to have happened, but as it would have happened, had it taken place in the days of the Machine." + +Tremendous applause greeted this lecture, which did but voice a feeling already latent in the minds of men - a feeling that terrestrial facts must be ignored, and that the abolition of respirators was a positive gain. It was even suggested that air-ships should be abolished too. This was not done, because air-ships had somehow worked themselves into the Machine"s system. But year by year they were used less, and mentioned less by thoughtful men. + +The second great development was the re-establishment of religion. + +This, too, had been voiced in the celebrated lecture. No one could mistake the reverent tone in which the peroration had concluded, and it awakened a responsive echo in the heart of each. Those who had long worshipped silently, now began to talk. They described the strange feeling of peace that came over them when they handled the Book of the Machine, the pleasure that it was to repeat certain numerals out of it, however little meaning those numerals conveyed to the outward ear, the ecstasy of touching a button, however unimportant, or of ringing an electric bell, however superfluously. + +"The Machine," they exclaimed, "feeds us and clothes us and houses us; through it we speak to one another, through it we see one another, in it we have our being. The Machine is the friend of ideas and the enemy of superstition: the Machine is omnipotent, eternal; blessed is the Machine." And before long this allocution was printed on the first page of the Book, and in subsequent editions the ritual swelled into a complicated system of praise and prayer. The word "religion" was sedulously avoided, and in theory the Machine was still the creation and the implement of man. but in practice all, save a few retrogrades, worshipped it as divine. Nor was it worshipped in unity. One believer would be chiefly impressed by the blue optic plates, through which he saw other believers; another by the mending apparatus, which sinful Kuno had compared to worms; another by the lifts, another by the Book. And each would pray to this or to that, and ask it to intercede for him with the Machine as a whole. Persecution - that also was present. It did not break out, for reasons that will be set forward shortly. But it was latent, and all who did not accept the minimum known as "undenominational Mechanism" lived in danger of Homelessness, which means death, as we know. + +To attribute these two great developments to the Central Committee, is to take a very narrow view of civilization. The Central Committee announced the developments, it is true, but they were no more the cause of them than were the kings of the imperialistic period the cause of war. Rather did they yield to some invincible pressure, which came no one knew whither, and which, when gratified, was succeeded by some new pressure equally invincible. To such a state of affairs it is convenient to give the name of progress. No one confessed the Machine was out of hand. Year by year it was served with increased efficiency and decreased intelligence. The better a man knew his own duties upon it, the less he understood the duties of his neighbour, and in all the world there was not one who understood the monster as a whole. Those master brains had perished. They had left full directions, it is true, and their successors had each of them mastered a portion of those directions. But Humanity, in its desire for comfort, had over-reached itself. It had exploited the riches of nature too far. Quietly and complacently, it was sinking into decadence, and progress had come to mean the progress of the Machine. + +As for Vashti, her life went peacefully forward until the final disaster. She made her room dark and slept; she awoke and made the room light. She lectured and attended lectures. She exchanged ideas with her innumerable friends and believed she was growing more spiritual. At times a friend was granted Euthanasia, and left his or her room for the homelessness that is beyond all human conception. Vashti did not much mind. After an unsuccessful lecture, she would sometimes ask for Euthanasia herself. But the death-rate was not permitted to exceed the birth-rate, and the Machine had hitherto refused it to her. + +The troubles began quietly, long before she was conscious of them. + +One day she was astonished at receiving a message from her son. They never communicated, having nothing in common, and she had only heard indirectly that he was still alive, and had been transferred from the northern hemisphere, where he had behaved so mischievously, to the southern - indeed, to a room not far from her own. + +"Does he want me to visit him?" she thought. "Never again, never. And I have not the time." + +No, it was madness of another kind. + +He refused to visualize his face upon the blue plate, and speaking out of the darkness with solemnity said: + +"The Machine stops." + +"What do you say?" + +"The Machine is stopping, I know it, I know the signs." + +She burst into a peal of laughter. He heard her and was angry, and they spoke no more. + +"Can you imagine anything more absurd?" she cried to a friend. "A man who was my son believes that the Machine is stopping. It would be impious if it was not mad." + +"The Machine is stopping?" her friend replied. "What does that mean? The phrase conveys nothing to me." + +"Nor to me." + +"He does not refer, I suppose, to the trouble there has been lately with the music?" + +"Oh no, of course not. Let us talk about music." + +"Have you complained to the authorities?" + +"Yes, and they say it wants mending, and referred me to the Committee of the Mending Apparatus. I complained of those curious gasping sighs that disfigure the symphonies of the Brisbane school. They sound like some one in pain. The Committee of the Mending Apparatus say that it shall be remedied shortly." + +Obscurely worried, she resumed her life. For one thing, the defect in the music irritated her. For another thing, she could not forget Kuno"s speech. If he had known that the music was out of repair - he could not know it, for he detested music - if he had known that it was wrong, "the Machine stops" was exactly the venomous sort of remark he would have made. Of course he had made it at a venture, but the coincidence annoyed her, and she spoke with some petulance to the Committee of the Mending Apparatus. + +They replied, as before, that the defect would be set right shortly. + +"Shortly! At once!" she retorted. "Why should I be worried by imperfect music? Things are always put right at once. If you do not mend it at once, I shall complain to the Central Committee." + +"No personal complaints are received by the Central Committee," the Committee of the Mending Apparatus replied. + +"Through whom am I to make my complaint, then?" + +"Through us." + +"I complain then." + +"Your complaint shall be forwarded in its turn." + +"Have others complained?" + +This question was unmechanical, and the Committee of the Mending Apparatus refused to answer it. + +"It is too bad!" she exclaimed to another of her friends. + +"There never was such an unfortunate woman as myself. I can never be sure of my music now. It gets worse and worse each time I summon it." + +"What is it?" + +"I do not know whether it is inside my head, or inside the wall." + +"Complain, in either case." + +"I have complained, and my complaint will be forwarded in its turn to the Central Committee." + +Time passed, and they resented the defects no longer. The defects had not been remedied, but the human tissues in that latter day had become so subservient, that they readily adapted themselves to every caprice of the Machine. The sigh at the crises of the Brisbane symphony no longer irritated Vashti; she accepted it as part of the melody. The jarring noise, whether in the head or in the wall, was no longer resented by her friend. And so with the mouldy artificial fruit, so with the bath water that began to stink, so with the defective rhymes that the poetry machine had taken to emit. all were bitterly complained of at first, and then acquiesced in and forgotten. Things went from bad to worse unchallenged. + +It was otherwise with the failure of the sleeping apparatus. That was a more serious stoppage. There came a day when over the whole world - in Sumatra, in Wessex, in the innumerable cities of Courland and Brazil - the beds, when summoned by their tired owners, failed to appear. It may seem a ludicrous matter, but from it we may date the collapse of humanity. The Committee responsible for the failure was assailed by complainants, whom it referred, as usual, to the Committee of the Mending Apparatus, who in its turn assured them that their complaints would be forwarded to the Central Committee. But the discontent grew, for mankind was not yet sufficiently adaptable to do without sleeping. + +"Some one of meddling with the Machine---" they began. + +"Some one is trying to make himself king, to reintroduce the personal element." + +"Punish that man with Homelessness." + +"To the rescue! Avenge the Machine! Avenge the Machine!" + +"War! Kill the man!" + +But the Committee of the Mending Apparatus now came forward, and allayed the panic with well-chosen words. It confessed that the Mending Apparatus was itself in need of repair. + +The effect of this frank confession was admirable. + +"Of course," said a famous lecturer - he of the French Revolution, who gilded each new decay with splendour - "of course we shall not press our complaints now. The Mending Apparatus has treated us so well in the past that we all sympathize with it, and will wait patiently for its recovery. In its own good time it will resume its duties. Meanwhile let us do without our beds, our tabloids, our other little wants. Such, I feel sure, would be the wish of the Machine." + +Thousands of miles away his audience applauded. The Machine still linked them. Under the seas, beneath the roots of the mountains, ran the wires through which they saw and heard, the enormous eyes and ears that were their heritage, and the hum of many workings clothed their thoughts in one garment of subserviency. Only the old and the sick remained ungrateful, for it was rumoured that Euthanasia, too, was out of order, and that pain had reappeared among men. + +It became difficult to read. A blight entered the atmosphere and dulled its luminosity. At times Vashti could scarcely see across her room. The air, too, was foul. Loud were the complaints, impotent the remedies, heroic the tone of the lecturer as he cried: "Courage! courage! What matter so long as the Machine goes on ? To it the darkness and the light are one." And though things improved again after a time, the old brilliancy was never recaptured, and humanity never recovered from its entrance into twilight. There was an hysterical talk of "measures," of "provisional dictatorship," and the inhabitants of Sumatra were asked to familiarize themselves with the workings of the central power station, the said power station being situated in France. But for the most part panic reigned, and men spent their strength praying to their Books, tangible proofs of the Machine"s omnipotence. There were gradations of terror- at times came rumours of hope-the Mending Apparatus was almost mended-the enemies of the Machine had been got under- new "nerve-centres" were evolving which would do the work even more magnificently than before. But there came a day when, without the slightest warning, without any previous hint of feebleness, the entire communication-system broke down, all over the world, and the world, as they understood it, ended. + +Vashti was lecturing at the time and her earlier remarks had been punctuated with applause. As she proceeded the audience became silent, and at the conclusion there was no sound. Somewhat displeased, she called to a friend who was a specialist in sympathy. No sound: doubtless the friend was sleeping. And so with the next friend whom she tried to summon, and so with the next, until she remembered Kuno"s cryptic remark, "The Machine stops". + +The phrase still conveyed nothing. If Eternity was stopping it would of course be set going shortly. + +For example, there was still a little light and air - the atmosphere had improved a few hours previously. There was still the Book, and while there was the Book there was security. + +Then she broke down, for with the cessation of activity came an unexpected terror - silence. + +She had never known silence, and the coming of it nearly killed her - it did kill many thousands of people outright. Ever since her birth she had been surrounded by the steady hum. It was to the ear what artificial air was to the lungs, and agonizing pains shot across her head. And scarcely knowing what she did, she stumbled forward and pressed the unfamiliar button, the one that opened the door of her cell. + +Now the door of the cell worked on a simple hinge of its own. It was not connected with the central power station, dying far away in France. It opened, rousing immoderate hopes in Vashti, for she thought that the Machine had been mended. It opened, and she saw the dim tunnel that curved far away towards freedom. One look, and then she shrank back. For the tunnel was full of people - she was almost the last in that city to have taken alarm. + +People at any time repelled her, and these were nightmares from her worst dreams. People were crawling about, people were screaming, whimpering, gasping for breath, touching each other, vanishing in the dark, and ever and anon being pushed off the platform on to the live rail. Some were fighting round the electric bells, trying to summon trains which could not be summoned. Others were yelling for Euthanasia or for respirators, or blaspheming the Machine. Others stood at the doors of their cells fearing, like herself, either to stop in them or to leave them. And behind all the uproar was silence - the silence which is the voice of the earth and of the generations who have gone. + +No - it was worse than solitude. She closed the door again and sat down to wait for the end. The disintegration went on, accompanied by horrible cracks and rumbling. The valves that restrained the Medical Apparatus must have weakened, for it ruptured and hung hideously from the ceiling. The floor heaved and fell and flung her from the chair. A tube oozed towards her serpent fashion. And at last the final horror approached - light began to ebb, and she knew that civilization"s long day was closing. + +She whirled around, praying to be saved from this, at any rate, kissing the Book, pressing button after button. The uproar outside was increasing, and even penetrated the wall. Slowly the brilliancy of her cell was dimmed, the reflections faded from the metal switches. Now she could not see the reading-stand, now not the Book, though she held it in her hand. Light followed the flight of sound, air was following light, and the original void returned to the cavern from which it has so long been excluded. Vashti continued to whirl, like the devotees of an earlier religion, screaming, praying, striking at the buttons with bleeding hands. + +It was thus that she opened her prison and escaped - escaped in the spirit: at least so it seems to me, ere my meditation closes. That she escapes in the body - I cannot perceive that. She struck, by chance, the switch that released the door, and the rush of foul air on her skin, the loud throbbing whispers in her ears, told her that she was facing the tunnel again, and that tremendous platform on which she had seen men fighting. They were not fighting now. Only the whispers remained, and the little whimpering groans. They were dying by hundreds out in the dark. + +She burst into tears. + +Tears answered her. + +They wept for humanity, those two, not for themselves. They could not bear that this should be the end. Ere silence was completed their hearts were opened, and they knew what had been important on the earth. Man, the flower of all flesh, the noblest of all creatures visible, man who had once made god in his image, and had mirrored his strength on the constellations, beautiful naked man was dying, strangled in the garments that he had woven. Century after century had he toiled, and here was his reward. Truly the garment had seemed heavenly at first, shot with colours of culture, sewn with the threads of self-denial. And heavenly it had been so long as man could shed it at will and live by the essence that is his soul, and the essence, equally divine, that is his body. The sin against the body - it was for that they wept in chief; the centuries of wrong against the muscles and the nerves, and those five portals by which we can alone apprehend - glozing it over with talk of evolution, until the body was white pap, the home of ideas as colourless, last sloshy stirrings of a spirit that had grasped the stars. + +"Where are you?" she sobbed. + +His voice in the darkness said, "Here." + +Is there any hope, Kuno?" + +"None for us." + +"Where are you?" + +She crawled over the bodies of the dead. His blood spurted over her hands. + +"Quicker," he gasped, "I am dying - but we touch, we talk, not through the Machine." + +He kissed her. + +"We have come back to our own. We die, but we have recaptured life, as it was in Wessex, when lfrid overthrew the Danes. We know what they know outside, they who dwelt in the cloud that is the colour of a pearl." + +"But Kuno, is it true ? Are there still men on the surface of the earth ? Is this - tunnel, this poisoned darkness - really not the end?" + +He replied: + +"I have seen them, spoken to them, loved them. They are hiding in the midst and the ferns until our civilization stops. Today they are the Homeless - tomorrow ------ " + +"Oh, tomorrow - some fool will start the Machine again, tomorrow." + +"Never," said Kuno, "never. Humanity has learnt its lesson." + +As he spoke, the whole city was broken like a honeycomb. An air-ship had sailed in through the vomitory into a ruined wharf. It crashed downwards, exploding as it went, rending gallery after gallery with its wings of steel. For a moment they saw the nations of the dead, and, before they joined them, scraps of the untainted sky. + + + + +The "Machine Stops" was first published in the Oxford and Cambridge Review in 1909 + +Copyright ©1947 E.M. Forster + + | + +[1]: http://archive.ncsa.illinois.edu/desk1cut_s.jpg +[2]: http://archive.ncsa.illinois.edu/blank.gif +[3]: http://archive.ncsa.illinois.edu/index.html + diff --git a/_stories/1909/12394589.md b/_stories/1909/12394589.md new file mode 100644 index 0000000..ae8684d --- /dev/null +++ b/_stories/1909/12394589.md @@ -0,0 +1,217 @@ +[Source](http://publicdomainreview.org/collections/the-up-to-date-sandwich-book-400-ways-to-make-a-sandwich-1909/ "Permalink to The Up-To-Date Sandwich Book: 400 Ways to Make a Sandwich (1909) – The Public Domain Review") + +# The Up-To-Date Sandwich Book: 400 Ways to Make a Sandwich (1909) – The Public Domain Review + +[Skip to content][1] + +[ The Public Domain Review ![The Public Domain Review][2] ][3] + +Primary Menu + +* [Essays][4] +* [Conjectures][5] +* [Collections][6] + * [Images][7] + * [Books][8] + * [Film][9] + * [Audio][10] + * [Curator’s Choice][11] + * [Animated GIFs][12] +* [Shop][13] + * [Fine Art Prints][14] + * [T-Shirts & Mugs][15] + * [Postcard Packs][16] + * [PDR Press Books][17] + * [Further Reading][18] +* [The PDR Press][17] +* [Donate][19] + * [Make a Donation][19] + * [Friends][20] +* [About][21] + * [About the Project][22] + * [Masthead][23] + * [Praise for the Project][24] + * [Contributors][25] + * [Newsletter][26] + * [Submissions][27] + * [Sources][28] +* [Supporting the Project][19] +* Search for: ![search][29] Search + +collections + +# The Up-To-Date Sandwich Book: 400 Ways to Make a Sandwich (1909) + + + +The Up-To-Date Sandwich Book: 400 Ways to Make a Sandwich, by Eva Green Fuller; 1909; McClurg and co, Chicago. + +Although the idea of some kind of bread or bread-like substance lying under, or enclosing another food, can be traced back to the middle ages and beyond, the modern sandwich as we know it, with its enigmatic name, is a more recent affair. Its etymology hails from the English county of Kent and the habits of John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, an 18th-century aristocrat. Legend has it that, in search of a way to eat without ceasing his much-loved games of cribbage and sullying his cards with grease, he began to order from his valet meat inserted between two pieces of bread. The idea caught on and others began to order “the same as Sandwich!”. Sandwich’s biographer, N. A. M. Rodger, contests the gambling angle: with the Earl’s work commitments in mind, he argues that the eating would much more likely have been at his work desk. Whether tending to Britannia’s rule of the waves or indulging his gambling addiction, the idea and name spread quickly. Not long after the Earl’s first order, the sandwich appears by name in the diary entry of a man named Edward Gibbon who saw "twenty or thirty of the first men of the kingdom" eating them in a restaurant. Although the sandwich became well established in England, the uptake in the US was a little slow (perhaps in opposition to their former rulers), a sandwich recipe not appearing in an American cookbook until 1815. By 1909 it was a different story, as the wonderfully no-nonsense _Up-To-Date Sandwich Book_ featured here can attest to, a popularity no doubt linked to what made the food form soar amongst the working classes of the British industrial revolution — it was fast, portable, and cheap. As the subtitle betrays, no less than four hundred different sandwiches are detailed in the book. Enjoy! + +| ----- | +| ![][30] | + +Housed at: [Internet Archive][31] | From: [Boston Public Library][32] | +| ![][33] | Underlying Work: [PD Worldwide][34] | Digital Copy: [No Additional Rights][35] | +| ![][36] | Download: [PDF][37] | + +* * * + +## If you liked this... + +Please consider supporting us or subscribing to our fortnightly newsletter + +![][38] + +## Donate + +We rely on your donations to keep the project going + +[Support][39] + +![][40] + +## Subscribe + +Our latest content, your inbox, every fortnight. + +### Follow us on... + +[ + +Facebook ][41] [ + +Twitter ][42] [ + +Pinterest ][43] [ + +Instagram ][44] [ + +YouTube ][45] [ + +Tumblr ][46] [ + +Google+ ][47] [ + +RSS ][48] + +### Related Content + +[ ![][49]][50] + +## [What Became of the Slaves on a Georgia Plantation? 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E.M. Forster ") + +# THE MACHINE STOPS ... E.M. Forster + +THE MACHINE STOPS ... E.M. Forster + + + + +| ----- | +| ![][1] +![][2] | + +Anybody who uses the Internet should read E.M. Forster's _The Machine Stops_. It is a chilling, short story masterpiece about the role of technology in our lives. Written in 1909, it's as relevant today as the day it was published. Forster has several prescient notions including instant messages (email!) and cinematophoes (machines that project visual images). + +-Paul Rajlich ([homepage][3]) + +*Special thanks to Ken Kruszka for introducing me to this story. | + +| ----- | +| + +# THE MACHINE STOPS + +## by E.M. Forster (1909) + +I + +THE AIR-SHIP + +Imagine, if you can, a small room, hexagonal in shape, like the cell of a bee. It is lighted neither by window nor by lamp, yet it is filled with a soft radiance. There are no apertures for ventilation, yet the air is fresh. There are no musical instruments, and yet, at the moment that my meditation opens, this room is throbbing with melodious sounds. An armchair is in the centre, by its side a reading-desk-that is all the furniture. And in the armchair there sits a swaddled lump of flesh-a woman, about five feet high, with a face as white as a fungus. It is to her that the little room belongs. + +An electric bell rang. + +The woman touched a switch and the music was silent. + +"I suppose I must see who it is", she thought, and set her chair in motion. The chair, like the music, was worked by machinery and it rolled her to the other side of the room where the bell still rang importunately. + +"Who is it?" she called. Her voice was irritable, for she had been interrupted often since the music began. She knew several thousand people, in certain directions human intercourse had advanced enormously. + +But when she listened into the receiver, her white face wrinkled into smiles, and she said: + +"Very well. Let us talk, I will isolate myself. I do not expect anything important will happen for the next five minutes-for I can give you fully five minutes, Kuno. Then I must deliver my lecture on Music during the Australian Period." + +She touched the isolation knob, so that no one else could speak to her. Then she touched the lighting apparatus, and the little room was plunged into darkness. + +"Be quick!" She called, her irritation returning. "Be quick, Kuno; here I am in the dark wasting my time." + +But it was fully fifteen seconds before the round plate that she held in her hands began to glow. A faint blue light shot across it, darkening to purple, and presently she could see the image of her son, who lived on the other side of the earth, and he could see her. + +"Kuno, how slow you are." + +He smiled gravely. + +"I really believe you enjoy dawdling." + +"I have called you before, mother, but you were always busy or isolated. I have something particular to say." + +"What is it, dearest boy? Be quick. Why could you not send it by pneumatic post?" + +"Because I prefer saying such a thing. I want----" + +"Well?" + +"I want you to come and see me." + +Vashti watched his face in the blue plate. + +"But I can see you!" she exclaimed. "What more do you want?" + +"I want to see you not through the Machine," said Kuno. "I want to speak to you not through the wearisome Machine." + +"Oh, hush!" said his mother, vaguely shocked. "You mustn"t say anything against the Machine." + +"Why not?" + +"One mustn"t." + +"You talk as if a god had made the Machine," cried the other. + +"I believe that you pray to it when you are unhappy. Men made it, do not forget that. Great men, but men. The Machine is much, but it is not everything. I see something like you in this plate, but I do not see you. I hear something like you through this telephone, but I do not hear you. That is why I want you to come. Pay me a visit, so that we can meet face to face, and talk about the hopes that are in my mind." + +She replied that she could scarcely spare the time for a visit. + +"The air-ship barely takes two days to fly between me and you." + +"I dislike air-ships." + +"Why?" + +"I dislike seeing the horrible brown earth, and the sea, and the stars when it is dark. I get no ideas in an air- ship." + +"I do not get them anywhere else." + +"What kind of ideas can the air give you?" + +He paused for an instant. + +"Do you not know four big stars that form an oblong, and three stars close together in the middle of the oblong, and hanging from these stars, three other stars?" + +"No, I do not. I dislike the stars. But did they give you an idea? How interesting; tell me." + +"I had an idea that they were like a man." + +"I do not understand." + +"The four big stars are the man"s shoulders and his knees. + +The three stars in the middle are like the belts that men wore once, and the three stars hanging are like a sword." + +"A sword?;" + +"Men carried swords about with them, to kill animals and other men." + +"It does not strike me as a very good idea, but it is certainly original. When did it come to you first?" + +"In the air-ship-----" He broke off, and she fancied that he looked sad. She could not be sure, for the Machine did not transmit nuances of expression. It only gave a general idea of people - an idea that was good enough for all practical purposes, Vashti thought. The imponderable bloom, declared by a discredited philosophy to be the actual essence of intercourse, was rightly ignored by the Machine, just as the imponderable bloom of the grape was ignored by the manufacturers of artificial fruit. Something "good enough" had long since been accepted by our race. + +"The truth is," he continued, "that I want to see these stars again. They are curious stars. I want to see them not from the air-ship, but from the surface of the earth, as our ancestors did, thousands of years ago. I want to visit the surface of the earth." + +She was shocked again. + +"Mother, you must come, if only to explain to me what is the harm of visiting the surface of the earth." + +"No harm," she replied, controlling herself. "But no advantage. The surface of the earth is only dust and mud, no advantage. The surface of the earth is only dust and mud, no life remains on it, and you would need a respirator, or the cold of the outer air would kill you. One dies immediately in the outer air." + +"I know; of course I shall take all precautions." + +"And besides----" + +"Well?" + +She considered, and chose her words with care. Her son had a queer temper, and she wished to dissuade him from the expedition. + +"It is contrary to the spirit of the age," she asserted. + +"Do you mean by that, contrary to the Machine?" + +"In a sense, but----" + +His image is the blue plate faded. + +"Kuno!" + +He had isolated himself. + +For a moment Vashti felt lonely. + +Then she generated the light, and the sight of her room, flooded with radiance and studded with electric buttons, revived her. There were buttons and switches everywhere - buttons to call for food for music, for clothing. There was the hot-bath button, by pressure of which a basin of (imitation) marble rose out of the floor, filled to the brim with a warm deodorized liquid. There was the cold-bath button. There was the button that produced literature. and there were of course the buttons by which she communicated with her friends. The room, though it contained nothing, was in touch with all that she cared for in the world. + +Vashanti"s next move was to turn off the isolation switch, and all the accumulations of the last three minutes burst upon her. The room was filled with the noise of bells, and speaking-tubes. What was the new food like? Could she recommend it? Has she had any ideas lately? Might one tell her one"s own ideas? Would she make an engagement to visit the public nurseries at an early date? - say this day month. + +To most of these questions she replied with irritation - a growing quality in that accelerated age. She said that the new food was horrible. That she could not visit the public nurseries through press of engagements. That she had no ideas of her own but had just been told one-that four stars and three in the middle were like a man: she doubted there was much in it. Then she switched off her correspondents, for it was time to deliver her lecture on Australian music. + +The clumsy system of public gatherings had been long since abandoned; neither Vashti nor her audience stirred from their rooms. Seated in her armchair she spoke, while they in their armchairs heard her, fairly well, and saw her, fairly well. She opened with a humorous account of music in the pre Mongolian epoch, and went on to describe the great outburst of song that followed the Chinese conquest. Remote and primval as were the methods of I-San-So and the Brisbane school, she yet felt (she said) that study of them might repay the musicians of today: they had freshness; they had, above all, ideas. Her lecture, which lasted ten minutes, was well received, and at its conclusion she and many of her audience listened to a lecture on the sea; there were ideas to be got from the sea; the speaker had donned a respirator and visited it lately. Then she fed, talked to many friends, had a bath, talked again, and summoned her bed. + +The bed was not to her liking. It was too large, and she had a feeling for a small bed. Complaint was useless, for beds were of the same dimension all over the world, and to have had an alternative size would have involved vast alterations in the Machine. Vashti isolated herself-it was necessary, for neither day nor night existed under the ground-and reviewed all that had happened since she had summoned the bed last. Ideas? Scarcely any. Events-was Kuno"s invitation an event? + +By her side, on the little reading-desk, was a survival from the ages of litter-one book. This was the Book of the Machine. In it were instructions against every possible contingency. If she was hot or cold or dyspeptic or at a loss for a word, she went to the book, and it told her which button to press. The Central Committee published it. In accordance with a growing habit, it was richly bound. + +Sitting up in the bed, she took it reverently in her hands. She glanced round the glowing room as if some one might be watching her. Then, half ashamed, half joyful, she murmured "O Machine!" and raised the volume to her lips. Thrice she kissed it, thrice inclined her head, thrice she felt the delirium of acquiescence. Her ritual performed, she turned to page 1367, which gave the times of the departure of the air-ships from the island in the southern hemisphere, under whose soil she lived, to the island in the northern hemisphere, whereunder lived her son. + +She thought, "I have not the time." + +She made the room dark and slept; she awoke and made the room light; she ate and exchanged ideas with her friends, and listened to music and attended lectures; she make the room dark and slept. Above her, beneath her, and around her, the Machine hummed eternally; she did not notice the noise, for she had been born with it in her ears. The earth, carrying her, hummed as it sped through silence, turning her now to the invisible sun, now to the invisible stars. She awoke and made the room light. + +"Kuno!" + +"I will not talk to you." he answered, "until you come." + +"Have you been on the surface of the earth since we spoke last?" + +His image faded. + +Again she consulted the book. She became very nervous and lay back in her chair palpitating. Think of her as without teeth or hair. Presently she directed the chair to the wall, and pressed an unfamiliar button. The wall swung apart slowly. Through the opening she saw a tunnel that curved slightly, so that its goal was not visible. Should she go to see her son, here was the beginning of the journey. + +Of course she knew all about the communication-system. There was nothing mysterious in it. She would summon a car and it would fly with her down the tunnel until it reached the lift that communicated with the air-ship station: the system had been in use for many, many years, long before the universal establishment of the Machine. And of course she had studied the civilization that had immediately preceded her own - the civilization that had mistaken the functions of the system, and had used it for bringing people to things, instead of for bringing things to people. Those funny old days, when men went for change of air instead of changing the air in their rooms! And yet-she was frightened of the tunnel: she had not seen it since her last child was born. It curved-but not quite as she remembered; it was brilliant-but not quite as brilliant as a lecturer had suggested. Vashti was seized with the terrors of direct experience. She shrank back into the room, and the wall closed up again. + +"Kuno," she said, "I cannot come to see you. I am not well." + +Immediately an enormous apparatus fell on to her out of the ceiling, a thermometer was automatically laid upon her heart. She lay powerless. Cool pads soothed her forehead. Kuno had telegraphed to her doctor. + +So the human passions still blundered up and down in the Machine. Vashti drank the medicine that the doctor projected into her mouth, and the machinery retired into the ceiling. The voice of Kuno was heard asking how she felt. + +"Better." Then with irritation: "But why do you not come to me instead?" + +"Because I cannot leave this place." + +"Why?" + +"Because, any moment, something tremendous many happen." + +"Have you been on the surface of the earth yet?" + +"Not yet." + +"Then what is it?" + +"I will not tell you through the Machine." + +She resumed her life. + +But she thought of Kuno as a baby, his birth, his removal to the public nurseries, her own visit to him there, his visits to her-visits which stopped when the Machine had assigned him a room on the other side of the earth. "Parents, duties of," said the book of the Machine," cease at the moment of birth. P.422327483." True, but there was something special about Kuno - indeed there had been something special about all her children - and, after all, she must brave the journey if he desired it. And "something tremendous might happen". What did that mean? The nonsense of a youthful man, no doubt, but she must go. Again she pressed the unfamiliar button, again the wall swung back, and she saw the tunnel that curves out of sight. Clasping the Book, she rose, tottered on to the platform, and summoned the car. Her room closed behind her: the journey to the northern hemisphere had begun. + +Of course it was perfectly easy. The car approached and in it she found armchairs exactly like her own. When she signaled, it stopped, and she tottered into the lift. One other passenger was in the lift, the first fellow creature she had seen face to face for months. Few travelled in these days, for, thanks to the advance of science, the earth was exactly alike all over. Rapid intercourse, from which the previous civilization had hoped so much, had ended by defeating itself. What was the good of going to Peking when it was just like Shrewsbury? Why return to Shrewsbury when it would all be like Peking? Men seldom moved their bodies; all unrest was concentrated in the soul. + +The air-ship service was a relic form the former age. It was kept up, because it was easier to keep it up than to stop it or to diminish it, but it now far exceeded the wants of the population. Vessel after vessel would rise form the vomitories of Rye or of Christchurch (I use the antique names), would sail into the crowded sky, and would draw up at the wharves of the south - empty. so nicely adjusted was the system, so independent of meteorology, that the sky, whether calm or cloudy, resembled a vast kaleidoscope whereon the same patterns periodically recurred. The ship on which Vashti sailed started now at sunset, now at dawn. But always, as it passed above Rheas, it would neighbour the ship that served between Helsingfors and the Brazils, and, every third time it surmounted the Alps, the fleet of Palermo would cross its track behind. Night and day, wind and storm, tide and earthquake, impeded man no longer. He had harnessed Leviathan. All the old literature, with its praise of Nature, and its fear of Nature, rang false as the prattle of a child. + +Yet as Vashti saw the vast flank of the ship, stained with exposure to the outer air, her horror of direct experience returned. It was not quite like the air-ship in the cinematophote. For one thing it smelt - not strongly or unpleasantly, but it did smell, and with her eyes shut she should have known that a new thing was close to her. Then she had to walk to it from the lift, had to submit to glances form the other passengers. The man in front dropped his Book - no great matter, but it disquieted them all. In the rooms, if the Book was dropped, the floor raised it mechanically, but the gangway to the air-ship was not so prepared, and the sacred volume lay motionless. They stopped - the thing was unforeseen - and the man, instead of picking up his property, felt the muscles of his arm to see how they had failed him. Then some one actually said with direct utterance: "We shall be late" - and they trooped on board, Vashti treading on the pages as she did so. + +Inside, her anxiety increased. The arrangements were old- fashioned and rough. There was even a female attendant, to whom she would have to announce her wants during the voyage. Of course a revolving platform ran the length of the boat, but she was expected to walk from it to her cabin. Some cabins were better than others, and she did not get the best. She thought the attendant had been unfair, and spasms of rage shook her. The glass valves had closed, she could not go back. She saw, at the end of the vestibule, the lift in which she had ascended going quietly up and down, empty. Beneath those corridors of shining tiles were rooms, tier below tier, reaching far into the earth, and in each room there sat a human being, eating, or sleeping, or producing ideas. And buried deep in the hive was her own room. Vashti was afraid. + +"O Machine!" she murmured, and caressed her Book, and was comforted. + +Then the sides of the vestibule seemed to melt together, as do the passages that we see in dreams, the lift vanished , the Book that had been dropped slid to the left and vanished, polished tiles rushed by like a stream of water, there was a slight jar, and the air-ship, issuing from its tunnel, soared above the waters of a tropical ocean. + +It was night. For a moment she saw the coast of Sumatra edged by the phosphorescence of waves, and crowned by lighthouses, still sending forth their disregarded beams. These also vanished, and only the stars distracted her. They were not motionless, but swayed to and fro above her head, thronging out of one sky-light into another, as if the universe and not the air-ship was careening. And, as often happens on clear nights, they seemed now to be in perspective, now on a plane; now piled tier beyond tier into the infinite heavens, now concealing infinity, a roof limiting for ever the visions of men. In either case they seemed intolerable. "Are we to travel in the dark?" called the passengers angrily, and the attendant, who had been careless, generated the light, and pulled down the blinds of pliable metal. When the air-ships had been built, the desire to look direct at things still lingered in the world. Hence the extraordinary number of skylights and windows, and the proportionate discomfort to those who were civilized and refined. Even in Vashti"s cabin one star peeped through a flaw in the blind, and after a few hers" uneasy slumber, she was disturbed by an unfamiliar glow, which was the dawn. + +Quick as the ship had sped westwards, the earth had rolled eastwards quicker still, and had dragged back Vashti and her companions towards the sun. Science could prolong the night, but only for a little, and those high hopes of neutralizing the earth"s diurnal revolution had passed, together with hopes that were possibly higher. To "keep pace with the sun," or even to outstrip it, had been the aim of the civilization preceding this. Racing aeroplanes had been built for the purpose, capable of enormous speed, and steered by the greatest intellects of the epoch. Round the globe they went, round and round, westward, westward, round and round, amidst humanity"s applause. In vain. The globe went eastward quicker still, horrible accidents occurred, and the Committee of the Machine, at the time rising into prominence, declared the pursuit illegal, unmechanical, and punishable by Homelessness. + +Of Homelessness more will be said later. + +Doubtless the Committee was right. Yet the attempt to "defeat the sun" aroused the last common interest that our race experienced about the heavenly bodies, or indeed about anything. It was the last time that men were compacted by thinking of a power outside the world. The sun had conquered, yet it was the end of his spiritual dominion. Dawn, midday, twilight, the zodiacal path, touched neither men"s lives not their hearts, and science retreated into the ground, to concentrate herself upon problems that she was certain of solving. + +So when Vashti found her cabin invaded by a rosy finger of light, she was annoyed, and tried to adjust the blind. But the blind flew up altogether, and she saw through the skylight small pink clouds, swaying against a background of blue, and as the sun crept higher, its radiance entered direct, brimming down the wall, like a golden sea. It rose and fell with the air-ship"s motion, just as waves rise and fall, but it advanced steadily, as a tide advances. Unless she was careful, it would strike her face. A spasm of horror shook her and she rang for the attendant. The attendant too was horrified, but she could do nothing; it was not her place to mend the blind. She could only suggest that the lady should change her cabin, which she accordingly prepared to do. + +People were almost exactly alike all over the world, but the attendant of the air-ship, perhaps owing to her exceptional duties, had grown a little out of the common. She had often to address passengers with direct speech, and this had given her a certain roughness and originality of manner. When Vashti served away form the sunbeams with a cry, she behaved barbarically - she put out her hand to steady her. + +"How dare you!" exclaimed the passenger. "You forget yourself!" + +The woman was confused, and apologized for not having let her fall. People never touched one another. The custom had become obsolete, owing to the Machine. + +"Where are we now?" asked Vashti haughtily. + +"We are over Asia," said the attendant, anxious to be polite. + +"Asia?" + +"You must excuse my common way of speaking. I have got into the habit of calling places over which I pass by their unmechanical names." + +"Oh, I remember Asia. The Mongols came from it." + +"Beneath us, in the open air, stood a city that was once called Simla." + +"Have you ever heard of the Mongols and of the Brisbane school?" + +"No." + +"Brisbane also stood in the open air." + +"Those mountains to the right - let me show you them." She pushed back a metal blind. The main chain of the Himalayas was revealed. "They were once called the Roof of the World, those mountains." + +"You must remember that, before the dawn of civilization, they seemed to be an impenetrable wall that touched the stars. It was supposed that no one but the gods could exist above their summits. How we have advanced, thanks to the Machine!" + +"How we have advanced, thanks to the Machine!" said Vashti. + +"How we have advanced, thanks to the Machine!" echoed the passenger who had dropped his Book the night before, and who was standing in the passage. + +"And that white stuff in the cracks? - what is it?" + +"I have forgotten its name." + +"Cover the window, please. These mountains give me no ideas." + +The northern aspect of the Himalayas was in deep shadow: on the Indian slope the sun had just prevailed. The forests had been destroyed during the literature epoch for the purpose of making newspaper-pulp, but the snows were awakening to their morning glory, and clouds still hung on the breasts of Kinchinjunga. In the plain were seen the ruins of cities, with diminished rivers creeping by their walls, and by the sides of these were sometimes the signs of vomitories, marking the cities of to day. Over the whole prospect air-ships rushed, crossing the inter-crossing with incredible _aplomb_, and rising nonchalantly when they desired to escape the perturbations of the lower atmosphere and to traverse the Roof of the World. + +"We have indeed advance, thanks to the Machine," repeated the attendant, and hid the Himalayas behind a metal blind. + +The day dragged wearily forward. The passengers sat each in his cabin, avoiding one another with an almost physical repulsion and longing to be once more under the surface of the earth. There were eight or ten of them, mostly young males, sent out from the public nurseries to inhabit the rooms of those who had died in various parts of the earth. The man who had dropped his Book was on the homeward journey. He had been sent to Sumatra for the purpose of propagating the race. Vashti alone was travelling by her private will. + +At midday she took a second glance at the earth. The air- ship was crossing another range of mountains, but she could see little, owing to clouds. Masses of black rock hovered below her, and merged indistinctly into grey. Their shapes were fantastic; one of them resembled a prostrate man. + +"No ideas here," murmured Vashti, and hid the Caucasus behind a metal blind. + +In the evening she looked again. They were crossing a golden sea, in which lay many small islands and one peninsula. She repeated, "No ideas here," and hid Greece behind a metal blind. + +II + +THE MENDING APPARATUS + +By a vestibule, by a lift, by a tubular railway, by a platform, by a sliding door - by reversing all the steps of her departure did Vashti arrive at her son"s room, which exactly resembled her own. She might well declare that the visit was superfluous. The buttons, the knobs, the reading-desk with the Book, the temperature, the atmosphere, the illumination - all were exactly the same. And if Kuno himself, flesh of her flesh, stood close beside her at last, what profit was there in that? She was too well-bred to shake him by the hand. + +Averting her eyes, she spoke as follows: + +"Here I am. I have had the most terrible journey and greatly retarded the development of my soul. It is not worth it, Kuno, it is not worth it. My time is too precious. The sunlight almost touched me, and I have met with the rudest people. I can only stop a few minutes. Say what you want to say, and then I must return." + +"I have been threatened with Homelessness," said Kuno. + +She looked at him now. + +"I have been threatened with Homelessness, and I could not tell you such a thing through the Machine." + +Homelessness means death. The victim is exposed to the air, which kills him. + +"I have been outside since I spoke to you last. The tremendous thing has happened, and they have discovered me." + +"But why shouldn"t you go outside?" she exclaimed, "It is perfectly legal, perfectly mechanical, to visit the surface of the earth. I have lately been to a lecture on the sea; there is no objection to that; one simply summons a respirator and gets an Egression-permit. It is not the kind of thing that spiritually minded people do, and I begged you not to do it, but there is no legal objection to it." + +"I did not get an Egression-permit." + +"Then how did you get out?" + +"I found out a way of my own." + +The phrase conveyed no meaning to her, and he had to repeat it. + +"A way of your own?" she whispered. "But that would be wrong." + +"Why?" + +The question shocked her beyond measure. + +"You are beginning to worship the Machine," he said coldly. + +"You think it irreligious of me to have found out a way of my own. It was just what the Committee thought, when they threatened me with Homelessness." + +At this she grew angry. "I worship nothing!" she cried. "I am most advanced. I don"t think you irreligious, for there is no such thing as religion left. All the fear and the superstition that existed once have been destroyed by the Machine. I only meant that to find out a way of your own was----Besides, there is no new way out." + +"So it is always supposed." + +"Except through the vomitories, for which one must have an Egression-permit, it is impossible to get out. The Book says so." + +"Well, the Book"s wrong, for I have been out on my feet." + +For Kuno was possessed of a certain physical strength. + +By these days it was a demerit to be muscular. Each infant was examined at birth, and all who promised undue strength were destroyed. Humanitarians may protest, but it would have been no true kindness to let an athlete live; he would never have been happy in that state of life to which the Machine had called him; he would have yearned for trees to climb, rivers to bathe in, meadows and hills against which he might measure his body. Man must be adapted to his surroundings, must he not? In the dawn of the world our weakly must be exposed on Mount Taygetus, in its twilight our strong will suffer euthanasia, that the Machine may progress, that the Machine may progress, that the Machine may progress eternally. + +"You know that we have lost the sense of space. We say space is annihilated, but we have annihilated not space, but the sense thereof. We have lost a part of ourselves. I determined to recover it, and I began by walking up and down the platform of the railway outside my room. Up and down, until I was tired, and so did recapture the meaning of Near and Far. Near is a place to which I can get quickly on my feet, not a place to which the train or the air-ship will take me quickly. Far is a place to which I cannot get quickly on my feet; the vomitory is far, though I could be there in thirty-eight seconds by summoning the train. Man is the measure. That was my first lesson. Man"s feet are the measure for distance, his hands are the measure for ownership, his body is the measure for all that is lovable and desirable and strong. Then I went further: it was then that I called to you for the first time, and you would not come. + +"This city, as you know, is built deep beneath the surface of the earth, with only the vomitories protruding. Having paced the platform outside my own room, I took the lift to the next platform and paced that also, and so with each in turn, until I came to the topmost, above which begins the earth. All the platforms were exactly alike, and all that I gained by visiting them was to develop my sense of space and my muscles. I think I should have been content with this - it is not a little thing, - but as I walked and brooded, it occurred to me that our cities had been built in the days when men still breathed the outer air, and that there had been ventilation shafts for the workmen. I could think of nothing but these ventilation shafts. Had they been destroyed by all the food-tubes and medicine-tubes and music- tubes that the Machine has evolved lately? Or did traces of them remain? One thing was certain. If I came upon them anywhere, it would be in the railway-tunnels of the topmost storey. Everywhere else, all space was accounted for. + +"I am telling my story quickly, but don"t think that I was not a coward or that your answers never depressed me. It is not the proper thing, it is not mechanical, it is not decent to walk along a railway-tunnel. I did not fear that I might tread upon a live rail and be killed. I feared something far more intangible-doing what was not contemplated by the Machine. Then I said to myself, Man is the measure, and I went, and after many visits I found an opening. + +"The tunnels, of course, were lighted. Everything is light, artificial light; darkness is the exception. So when I saw a black gap in the tiles, I knew that it was an exception, and rejoiced. I put in my arm - I could put in no more at first - and waved it round and round in ecstasy. I loosened another tile, and put in my head, and shouted into the darkness: I am coming, I shall do it yet, and my voice reverberated down endless passages. I seemed to hear the spirits of those dead workmen who had returned each evening to the starlight and to their wives, and all the generations who had lived in the open air called back to me, You will do it yet, you are coming," + +He paused, and, absurd as he was, his last words moved her. + +For Kuno had lately asked to be a father, and his request had been refused by the Committee. His was not a type that the Machine desired to hand on. + +"Then a train passed. It brushed by me, but I thrust my head and arms into the hole. I had done enough for one day, so I crawled back to the platform, went down in the lift, and summoned my bed. Ah what dreams! And again I called you, and again you refused." + +She shook her head and said: + +"Don"t. Don"t talk of these terrible things. You make me miserable. You are throwing civilization away." + +"But I had got back the sense of space and a man cannot rest then. I determined to get in at the hole and climb the shaft. And so I exercised my arms. Day after day I went through ridiculous movements, until my flesh ached, and I could hang by my hands and hold the pillow of my bed outstretched for many minutes. Then I summoned a respirator, and started. + +"It was easy at first. The mortar had somehow rotted, and I soon pushed some more tiles in, and clambered after them into the darkness, and the spirits of the dead comforted me. I don"t know what I mean by that. I just say what I felt. I felt, for the first time, that a protest had been lodged against corruption, and that even as the dead were comforting me, so I was comforting the unborn. I felt that humanity existed, and that it existed without clothes. How can I possibly explain this? It was naked, humanity seemed naked, and all these tubes and buttons and machineries neither came into the world with us, nor will they follow us out, nor do they matter supremely while we are here. Had I been strong, I would have torn off every garment I had, and gone out into the outer air unswaddled. But this is not for me, nor perhaps for my generation. I climbed with my respirator and my hygienic clothes and my dietetic tabloids! Better thus than not at all. + +"There was a ladder, made of some primval metal. The light from the railway fell upon its lowest rungs, and I saw that it led straight upwards out of the rubble at the bottom of the shaft. Perhaps our ancestors ran up and down it a dozen times daily, in their building. As I climbed, the rough edges cut through my gloves so that my hands bled. The light helped me for a little, and then came darkness and, worse still, silence which pierced my ears like a sword. The Machine hums! Did you know that? Its hum penetrates our blood, and may even guide our thoughts. Who knows! I was getting beyond its power. Then I thought: This silence means that I am doing wrong. But I heard voices in the silence, and again they strengthened me." He laughed. "I had need of them. The next moment I cracked my head against something." + +She sighed. + +"I had reached one of those pneumatic stoppers that defend us from the outer air. You may have noticed them no the air- ship. Pitch dark, my feet on the rungs of an invisible ladder, my hands cut; I cannot explain how I lived through this part, but the voices till comforted me, and I felt for fastenings. The stopper, I suppose, was about eight feet across. I passed my hand over it as far as I could reach. It was perfectly smooth. I felt it almost to the centre. Not quite to the centre, for my arm was too short. Then the voice said: Jump. It is worth it. There may be a handle in the centre, and you may catch hold of it and so come to us your own way. And if there is no handle, so that you may fall and are dashed to pieces - it is till worth it: you will still come to us your own way. So I jumped. There was a handle, and ----" + +He paused. Tears gathered in his mother"s eyes. She knew that he was fated. If he did not die today he would die tomorrow. There was not room for such a person in the world. And with her pity disgust mingled. She was ashamed at having borne such a son, she who had always been so respectable and so full of ideas. Was he really the little boy to whom she had taught the use of his stops and buttons, and to whom she had given his first lessons in the Book? The very hair that disfigured his lip showed that he was reverting to some savage type. On atavism the Machine can have no mercy. + +"There was a handle, and I did catch it. I hung tranced over the darkness and heard the hum of these workings as the last whisper in a dying dream. All the things I had cared about and all the people I had spoken to through tubes appeared infinitely little. Meanwhile the handle revolved. My weight had set something in motion and I span slowly, and then---- + +"I cannot describe it. I was lying with my face to the sunshine. Blood poured from my nose and ears and I heard a tremendous roaring. The stopper, with me clinging to it, had simply been blown out of the earth, and the air that we make down here was escaping through the vent into the air above. It burst up like a fountain. I crawled back to it - for the upper air hurts - and, as it were, I took great sips from the edge. My respirator had flown goodness knows here, my clothes were torn. I just lay with my lips close to the hole, and I sipped until the bleeding stopped. You can imagine nothing so curious. This hollow in the grass - I will speak of it in a minute, - the sun shining into it, not brilliantly but through marbled clouds, - the peace, the nonchalance, the sense of space, and, brushing my cheek, the roaring fountain of our artificial air! Soon I spied my respirator, bobbing up and down in the current high above my head, and higher still were many air-ships. But no one ever looks out of air-ships, and in any case they could not have picked me up. There I was, stranded. The sun shone a little way down the shaft, and revealed the topmost rung of the ladder, but it was hopeless trying to reach it. I should either have been tossed up again by the escape, or else have fallen in, and died. I could only lie on the grass, sipping and sipping, and from time to time glancing around me. + +"I knew that I was in Wessex, for I had taken care to go to a lecture on the subject before starting. Wessex lies above the room in which we are talking now. It was once an important state. Its kings held all the southern coast form the Andredswald to Cornwall, while the Wansdyke protected them on the north, running over the high ground. The lecturer was only concerned with the rise of Wessex, so I do not know how long it remained an international power, nor would the knowledge have assisted me. To tell the truth I could do nothing but laugh, during this part. There was I, with a pneumatic stopper by my side and a respirator bobbing over my head, imprisoned, all three of us, in a grass-grown hollow that was edged with fern." + +Then he grew grave again. + +"Lucky for me that it was a hollow. For the air began to fall back into it and to fill it as water fills a bowl. I could crawl about. Presently I stood. I breathed a mixture, in which the air that hurts predominated whenever I tried to climb the sides. This was not so bad. I had not lost my tabloids and remained ridiculously cheerful, and as for the Machine, I forgot about it altogether. My one aim now was to get to the top, where the ferns were, and to view whatever objects lay beyond. + +"I rushed the slope. The new air was still too bitter for me and I came rolling back, after a momentary vision of something grey. The sun grew very feeble, and I remembered that he was in Scorpio - I had been to a lecture on that too. If the sun is in Scorpio, and you are in Wessex, it means that you must be as quick as you can, or it will get too dark. (This is the first bit of useful information I have ever got from a lecture, and I expect it will be the last.) It made me try frantically to breathe the new air, and to advance as far as I dared out of my pond. The hollow filled so slowly. At times I thought that the fountain played with less vigour. My respirator seemed to dance nearer the earth; the roar was decreasing." + +He broke off. + +"I don"t think this is interesting you. The rest will interest you even less. There are no ideas in it, and I wish that I had not troubled you to come. We are too different, mother." + +She told him to continue. + +"It was evening before I climbed the bank. The sun had very nearly slipped out of the sky by this time, and I could not get a good view. You, who have just crossed the Roof of the World, will not want to hear an account of the little hills that I saw - low colourless hills. But to me they were living and the turf that covered them was a skin, under which their muscles rippled, and I felt that those hills had called with incalculable force to men in the past, and that men had loved them. Now they sleep - perhaps for ever. They commune with humanity in dreams. Happy the man, happy the woman, who awakes the hills of Wessex. For though they sleep, they will never die." + +His voice rose passionately. + +"Cannot you see, cannot all you lecturers see, that it is we that are dying, and that down here the only thing that really lives in the Machine? We created the Machine, to do our will, but we cannot make it do our will now. It was robbed us of the sense of space and of the sense of touch, it has blurred every human relation and narrowed down love to a carnal act, it has paralysed our bodies and our wills, and now it compels us to worship it. The Machine develops - but not on our lies. The Machine proceeds - but not to our goal. We only exist as the blood corpuscles that course through its arteries, and if it could work without us, it would let us die. Oh, I have no remedy - or, at least, only one - to tell men again and again that I have seen the hills of Wessex as lfrid saw them when he overthrew the Danes. + +"So the sun set. I forgot to mention that a belt of mist lay between my hill and other hills, and that it was the colour of pearl." + +He broke off for the second time. + +"Go on," said his mother wearily. + +He shook his head. + +"Go on. Nothing that you say can distress me now. I am hardened." + +"I had meant to tell you the rest, but I cannot: I know that I cannot: good-bye." + +Vashti stood irresolute. All her nerves were tingling with his blasphemies. But she was also inquisitive. + +"This is unfair," she complained. "You have called me across the world to hear your story, and hear it I will. Tell me - as briefly as possible, for this is a disastrous waste of time - tell me how you returned to civilization." + +"Oh - that!" he said, starting. "You would like to hear about civilization. Certainly. Had I got to where my respirator fell down?" + +"No - but I understand everything now. You put on your respirator, and managed to walk along the surface of the earth to a vomitory, and there your conduct was reported to the Central Committee." + +"By no means." + +He passed his hand over his forehead, as if dispelling some strong impression. Then, resuming his narrative, he warmed to it again. + +"My respirator fell about sunset. I had mentioned that the fountain seemed feebler, had I not?" + +"Yes." + +"About sunset, it let the respirator fall. As I said, I had entirely forgotten about the Machine, and I paid no great attention at the time, being occupied with other things. I had my pool of air, into which I could dip when the outer keenness became intolerable, and which would possibly remain for days, provided that no wind sprang up to disperse it. Not until it was too late did I realize what the stoppage of the escape implied. You see - the gap in the tunnel had been mended; the Mending Apparatus; the Mending Apparatus, was after me. + +"One other warning I had, but I neglected it. The sky at night was clearer than it had been in the day, and the moon, which was about half the sky behind the sun, shone into the dell at moments quite brightly. I was in my usual place - on the boundary between the two atmospheres - when I thought I saw something dark move across the bottom of the dell, and vanish into the shaft. In my folly, I ran down. I bent over and listened, and I thought I heard a faint scraping noise in the depths. + +"At this - but it was too late - I took alarm. I determined to put on my respirator and to walk right out of the dell. But my respirator had gone. I knew exactly where it had fallen - between the stopper and the aperture - and I could even feel the mark that it had made in the turf. It had gone, and I realized that something evil was at work, and I had better escape to the other air, and, if I must die, die running towards the cloud that had been the colour of a pearl. I never started. Out of the shaft - it is too horrible. A worm, a long white worm, had crawled out of the shaft and gliding over the moonlit grass. + +"I screamed. I did everything that I should not have done, I stamped upon the creature instead of flying from it, and it at once curled round the ankle. Then we fought. The worm let me run all over the dell, but edged up my leg as I ran. Help! I cried. (That part is too awful. It belongs to the part that you will never know.) Help! I cried. (Why cannot we suffer in silence?) Help! I cried. When my feet were wound together, I fell, I was dragged away from the dear ferns and the living hills, and past the great metal stopper (I can tell you this part), and I thought it might save me again if I caught hold of the handle. It also was enwrapped, it also. Oh, the whole dell was full of the things. They were searching it in all directions, they were denuding it, and the white snouts of others peeped out of the hole, ready if needed. Everything that could be moved they brought - brushwood, bundles of fern, everything, and down we all went intertwined into hell. The last things that I saw, ere the stopper closed after us, were certain stars, and I felt that a man of my sort lived in the sky. For I did fight, I fought till the very end, and it was only my head hitting against the ladder that quieted me. I woke up in this room. The worms had vanished. I was surrounded by artificial air, artificial light, artificial peace, and my friends were calling to me down speaking-tubes to know whether I had come across any new ideas lately." + +Here his story ended. Discussion of it was impossible, and Vashti turned to go. + +"It will end in Homelessness," she said quietly. + +"I wish it would," retorted Kuno. + +"The Machine has been most merciful." + +"I prefer the mercy of God." + +"By that superstitious phrase, do you mean that you could live in the outer air?" + +"Yes." + +"Have you ever seen, round the vomitories, the bones of those who were extruded after the Great Rebellion?" + +"Yes." + +"Have you ever seen, round the vomitories, the bones of those who were extruded after the Great Rebellion?" + +"Yes." + +"They were left where they perished for our edification. A few crawled away, but they perished, too - who can doubt it? And so with the Homeless of our own day. The surface of the earth supports life no longer." + +"Indeed." + +"Ferns and a little grass may survive, but all higher forms have perished. Has any air-ship detected them?" + +"No." + +"Has any lecturer dealt with them?" + +"No." + +"Then why this obstinacy?" + +"Because I have seen them," he exploded. + +"Seen what?" + +"Because I have seen her in the twilight - because she came to my help when I called - because she, too, was entangled by the worms, and, luckier than I, was killed by one of them piercing her throat." + +He was mad. Vashti departed, nor, in the troubles that followed, did she ever see his face again. + +III + +THE HOMELESS + +During the years that followed Kuno"s escapade, two important developments took place in the Machine. On the surface they were revolutionary, but in either case men"s minds had been prepared beforehand, and they did but express tendencies that were latent already. + +The first of these was the abolition of respirator. + +Advanced thinkers, like Vashti, had always held it foolish to visit the surface of the earth. Air-ships might be necessary, but what was the good of going out for mere curiosity and crawling along for a mile or two in a terrestrial motor? The habit was vulgar and perhaps faintly improper: it was unproductive of ideas, and had no connection with the habits that really mattered. So respirators were abolished, and with them, of course, the terrestrial motors, and except for a few lecturers, who complained that they were debarred access to their subject- matter, the development was accepted quietly. Those who still wanted to know what the earth was like had after all only to listen to some gramophone, or to look into some cinematophote. And even the lecturers acquiesced when they found that a lecture on the sea was none the less stimulating when compiled out of other lectures that had already been delivered on the same subject. "Beware of first- hand ideas!" exclaimed one of the most advanced of them. "First-hand ideas do not really exist. They are but the physical impressions produced by live and fear, and on this gross foundation who could erect a philosophy? Let your ideas be second-hand, and if possible tenth-hand, for then they will be far removed from that disturbing element - direct observation. Do not learn anything about this subject of mine - the French Revolution. Learn instead what I think that Enicharmon thought Urizen thought Gutch thought Ho-Yung thought Chi-Bo-Sing thought LafcadioHearn thought Carlyle thought Mirabeau said about the French Revolution. Through the medium of these ten great minds, the blood that was shed at Paris and the windows that were broken at Versailles will be clarified to an idea which you may employ most profitably in your daily lives. But be sure that the intermediates are many and varied, for in history one authority exists to counteract another. Urizen must counteract the scepticism of Ho-Yung and Enicharmon, I must myself counteract the impetuosity of Gutch. You who listen to me are in a better position to judge about the French Revolution than I am. Your descendants will be even in a better position than you, for they will learn what you think I think, and yet another intermediate will be added to the chain. And in time" - his voice rose - "there will come a generation that had got beyond facts, beyond impressions, a generation absolutely colourless, a generation + +_seraphically free + +From taint of personality,_ + +which will see the French Revolution not as it happened, nor as they would like it to have happened, but as it would have happened, had it taken place in the days of the Machine." + +Tremendous applause greeted this lecture, which did but voice a feeling already latent in the minds of men - a feeling that terrestrial facts must be ignored, and that the abolition of respirators was a positive gain. It was even suggested that air-ships should be abolished too. This was not done, because air-ships had somehow worked themselves into the Machine"s system. But year by year they were used less, and mentioned less by thoughtful men. + +The second great development was the re-establishment of religion. + +This, too, had been voiced in the celebrated lecture. No one could mistake the reverent tone in which the peroration had concluded, and it awakened a responsive echo in the heart of each. Those who had long worshipped silently, now began to talk. They described the strange feeling of peace that came over them when they handled the Book of the Machine, the pleasure that it was to repeat certain numerals out of it, however little meaning those numerals conveyed to the outward ear, the ecstasy of touching a button, however unimportant, or of ringing an electric bell, however superfluously. + +"The Machine," they exclaimed, "feeds us and clothes us and houses us; through it we speak to one another, through it we see one another, in it we have our being. The Machine is the friend of ideas and the enemy of superstition: the Machine is omnipotent, eternal; blessed is the Machine." And before long this allocution was printed on the first page of the Book, and in subsequent editions the ritual swelled into a complicated system of praise and prayer. The word "religion" was sedulously avoided, and in theory the Machine was still the creation and the implement of man. but in practice all, save a few retrogrades, worshipped it as divine. Nor was it worshipped in unity. One believer would be chiefly impressed by the blue optic plates, through which he saw other believers; another by the mending apparatus, which sinful Kuno had compared to worms; another by the lifts, another by the Book. And each would pray to this or to that, and ask it to intercede for him with the Machine as a whole. Persecution - that also was present. It did not break out, for reasons that will be set forward shortly. But it was latent, and all who did not accept the minimum known as "undenominational Mechanism" lived in danger of Homelessness, which means death, as we know. + +To attribute these two great developments to the Central Committee, is to take a very narrow view of civilization. The Central Committee announced the developments, it is true, but they were no more the cause of them than were the kings of the imperialistic period the cause of war. Rather did they yield to some invincible pressure, which came no one knew whither, and which, when gratified, was succeeded by some new pressure equally invincible. To such a state of affairs it is convenient to give the name of progress. No one confessed the Machine was out of hand. Year by year it was served with increased efficiency and decreased intelligence. The better a man knew his own duties upon it, the less he understood the duties of his neighbour, and in all the world there was not one who understood the monster as a whole. Those master brains had perished. They had left full directions, it is true, and their successors had each of them mastered a portion of those directions. But Humanity, in its desire for comfort, had over-reached itself. It had exploited the riches of nature too far. Quietly and complacently, it was sinking into decadence, and progress had come to mean the progress of the Machine. + +As for Vashti, her life went peacefully forward until the final disaster. She made her room dark and slept; she awoke and made the room light. She lectured and attended lectures. She exchanged ideas with her innumerable friends and believed she was growing more spiritual. At times a friend was granted Euthanasia, and left his or her room for the homelessness that is beyond all human conception. Vashti did not much mind. After an unsuccessful lecture, she would sometimes ask for Euthanasia herself. But the death-rate was not permitted to exceed the birth-rate, and the Machine had hitherto refused it to her. + +The troubles began quietly, long before she was conscious of them. + +One day she was astonished at receiving a message from her son. They never communicated, having nothing in common, and she had only heard indirectly that he was still alive, and had been transferred from the northern hemisphere, where he had behaved so mischievously, to the southern - indeed, to a room not far from her own. + +"Does he want me to visit him?" she thought. "Never again, never. And I have not the time." + +No, it was madness of another kind. + +He refused to visualize his face upon the blue plate, and speaking out of the darkness with solemnity said: + +"The Machine stops." + +"What do you say?" + +"The Machine is stopping, I know it, I know the signs." + +She burst into a peal of laughter. He heard her and was angry, and they spoke no more. + +"Can you imagine anything more absurd?" she cried to a friend. "A man who was my son believes that the Machine is stopping. It would be impious if it was not mad." + +"The Machine is stopping?" her friend replied. "What does that mean? The phrase conveys nothing to me." + +"Nor to me." + +"He does not refer, I suppose, to the trouble there has been lately with the music?" + +"Oh no, of course not. Let us talk about music." + +"Have you complained to the authorities?" + +"Yes, and they say it wants mending, and referred me to the Committee of the Mending Apparatus. I complained of those curious gasping sighs that disfigure the symphonies of the Brisbane school. They sound like some one in pain. The Committee of the Mending Apparatus say that it shall be remedied shortly." + +Obscurely worried, she resumed her life. For one thing, the defect in the music irritated her. For another thing, she could not forget Kuno"s speech. If he had known that the music was out of repair - he could not know it, for he detested music - if he had known that it was wrong, "the Machine stops" was exactly the venomous sort of remark he would have made. Of course he had made it at a venture, but the coincidence annoyed her, and she spoke with some petulance to the Committee of the Mending Apparatus. + +They replied, as before, that the defect would be set right shortly. + +"Shortly! At once!" she retorted. "Why should I be worried by imperfect music? Things are always put right at once. If you do not mend it at once, I shall complain to the Central Committee." + +"No personal complaints are received by the Central Committee," the Committee of the Mending Apparatus replied. + +"Through whom am I to make my complaint, then?" + +"Through us." + +"I complain then." + +"Your complaint shall be forwarded in its turn." + +"Have others complained?" + +This question was unmechanical, and the Committee of the Mending Apparatus refused to answer it. + +"It is too bad!" she exclaimed to another of her friends. + +"There never was such an unfortunate woman as myself. I can never be sure of my music now. It gets worse and worse each time I summon it." + +"What is it?" + +"I do not know whether it is inside my head, or inside the wall." + +"Complain, in either case." + +"I have complained, and my complaint will be forwarded in its turn to the Central Committee." + +Time passed, and they resented the defects no longer. The defects had not been remedied, but the human tissues in that latter day had become so subservient, that they readily adapted themselves to every caprice of the Machine. The sigh at the crises of the Brisbane symphony no longer irritated Vashti; she accepted it as part of the melody. The jarring noise, whether in the head or in the wall, was no longer resented by her friend. And so with the mouldy artificial fruit, so with the bath water that began to stink, so with the defective rhymes that the poetry machine had taken to emit. all were bitterly complained of at first, and then acquiesced in and forgotten. Things went from bad to worse unchallenged. + +It was otherwise with the failure of the sleeping apparatus. That was a more serious stoppage. There came a day when over the whole world - in Sumatra, in Wessex, in the innumerable cities of Courland and Brazil - the beds, when summoned by their tired owners, failed to appear. It may seem a ludicrous matter, but from it we may date the collapse of humanity. The Committee responsible for the failure was assailed by complainants, whom it referred, as usual, to the Committee of the Mending Apparatus, who in its turn assured them that their complaints would be forwarded to the Central Committee. But the discontent grew, for mankind was not yet sufficiently adaptable to do without sleeping. + +"Some one of meddling with the Machine---" they began. + +"Some one is trying to make himself king, to reintroduce the personal element." + +"Punish that man with Homelessness." + +"To the rescue! Avenge the Machine! Avenge the Machine!" + +"War! Kill the man!" + +But the Committee of the Mending Apparatus now came forward, and allayed the panic with well-chosen words. It confessed that the Mending Apparatus was itself in need of repair. + +The effect of this frank confession was admirable. + +"Of course," said a famous lecturer - he of the French Revolution, who gilded each new decay with splendour - "of course we shall not press our complaints now. The Mending Apparatus has treated us so well in the past that we all sympathize with it, and will wait patiently for its recovery. In its own good time it will resume its duties. Meanwhile let us do without our beds, our tabloids, our other little wants. Such, I feel sure, would be the wish of the Machine." + +Thousands of miles away his audience applauded. The Machine still linked them. Under the seas, beneath the roots of the mountains, ran the wires through which they saw and heard, the enormous eyes and ears that were their heritage, and the hum of many workings clothed their thoughts in one garment of subserviency. Only the old and the sick remained ungrateful, for it was rumoured that Euthanasia, too, was out of order, and that pain had reappeared among men. + +It became difficult to read. A blight entered the atmosphere and dulled its luminosity. At times Vashti could scarcely see across her room. The air, too, was foul. Loud were the complaints, impotent the remedies, heroic the tone of the lecturer as he cried: "Courage! courage! What matter so long as the Machine goes on ? To it the darkness and the light are one." And though things improved again after a time, the old brilliancy was never recaptured, and humanity never recovered from its entrance into twilight. There was an hysterical talk of "measures," of "provisional dictatorship," and the inhabitants of Sumatra were asked to familiarize themselves with the workings of the central power station, the said power station being situated in France. But for the most part panic reigned, and men spent their strength praying to their Books, tangible proofs of the Machine"s omnipotence. There were gradations of terror- at times came rumours of hope-the Mending Apparatus was almost mended-the enemies of the Machine had been got under- new "nerve-centres" were evolving which would do the work even more magnificently than before. But there came a day when, without the slightest warning, without any previous hint of feebleness, the entire communication-system broke down, all over the world, and the world, as they understood it, ended. + +Vashti was lecturing at the time and her earlier remarks had been punctuated with applause. As she proceeded the audience became silent, and at the conclusion there was no sound. Somewhat displeased, she called to a friend who was a specialist in sympathy. No sound: doubtless the friend was sleeping. And so with the next friend whom she tried to summon, and so with the next, until she remembered Kuno"s cryptic remark, "The Machine stops". + +The phrase still conveyed nothing. If Eternity was stopping it would of course be set going shortly. + +For example, there was still a little light and air - the atmosphere had improved a few hours previously. There was still the Book, and while there was the Book there was security. + +Then she broke down, for with the cessation of activity came an unexpected terror - silence. + +She had never known silence, and the coming of it nearly killed her - it did kill many thousands of people outright. Ever since her birth she had been surrounded by the steady hum. It was to the ear what artificial air was to the lungs, and agonizing pains shot across her head. And scarcely knowing what she did, she stumbled forward and pressed the unfamiliar button, the one that opened the door of her cell. + +Now the door of the cell worked on a simple hinge of its own. It was not connected with the central power station, dying far away in France. It opened, rousing immoderate hopes in Vashti, for she thought that the Machine had been mended. It opened, and she saw the dim tunnel that curved far away towards freedom. One look, and then she shrank back. For the tunnel was full of people - she was almost the last in that city to have taken alarm. + +People at any time repelled her, and these were nightmares from her worst dreams. People were crawling about, people were screaming, whimpering, gasping for breath, touching each other, vanishing in the dark, and ever and anon being pushed off the platform on to the live rail. Some were fighting round the electric bells, trying to summon trains which could not be summoned. Others were yelling for Euthanasia or for respirators, or blaspheming the Machine. Others stood at the doors of their cells fearing, like herself, either to stop in them or to leave them. And behind all the uproar was silence - the silence which is the voice of the earth and of the generations who have gone. + +No - it was worse than solitude. She closed the door again and sat down to wait for the end. The disintegration went on, accompanied by horrible cracks and rumbling. The valves that restrained the Medical Apparatus must have weakened, for it ruptured and hung hideously from the ceiling. The floor heaved and fell and flung her from the chair. A tube oozed towards her serpent fashion. And at last the final horror approached - light began to ebb, and she knew that civilization"s long day was closing. + +She whirled around, praying to be saved from this, at any rate, kissing the Book, pressing button after button. The uproar outside was increasing, and even penetrated the wall. Slowly the brilliancy of her cell was dimmed, the reflections faded from the metal switches. Now she could not see the reading-stand, now not the Book, though she held it in her hand. Light followed the flight of sound, air was following light, and the original void returned to the cavern from which it has so long been excluded. Vashti continued to whirl, like the devotees of an earlier religion, screaming, praying, striking at the buttons with bleeding hands. + +It was thus that she opened her prison and escaped - escaped in the spirit: at least so it seems to me, ere my meditation closes. That she escapes in the body - I cannot perceive that. She struck, by chance, the switch that released the door, and the rush of foul air on her skin, the loud throbbing whispers in her ears, told her that she was facing the tunnel again, and that tremendous platform on which she had seen men fighting. They were not fighting now. Only the whispers remained, and the little whimpering groans. They were dying by hundreds out in the dark. + +She burst into tears. + +Tears answered her. + +They wept for humanity, those two, not for themselves. They could not bear that this should be the end. Ere silence was completed their hearts were opened, and they knew what had been important on the earth. Man, the flower of all flesh, the noblest of all creatures visible, man who had once made god in his image, and had mirrored his strength on the constellations, beautiful naked man was dying, strangled in the garments that he had woven. Century after century had he toiled, and here was his reward. Truly the garment had seemed heavenly at first, shot with colours of culture, sewn with the threads of self-denial. And heavenly it had been so long as man could shed it at will and live by the essence that is his soul, and the essence, equally divine, that is his body. The sin against the body - it was for that they wept in chief; the centuries of wrong against the muscles and the nerves, and those five portals by which we can alone apprehend - glozing it over with talk of evolution, until the body was white pap, the home of ideas as colourless, last sloshy stirrings of a spirit that had grasped the stars. + +"Where are you?" she sobbed. + +His voice in the darkness said, "Here." + +Is there any hope, Kuno?" + +"None for us." + +"Where are you?" + +She crawled over the bodies of the dead. His blood spurted over her hands. + +"Quicker," he gasped, "I am dying - but we touch, we talk, not through the Machine." + +He kissed her. + +"We have come back to our own. We die, but we have recaptured life, as it was in Wessex, when lfrid overthrew the Danes. We know what they know outside, they who dwelt in the cloud that is the colour of a pearl." + +"But Kuno, is it true ? Are there still men on the surface of the earth ? Is this - tunnel, this poisoned darkness - really not the end?" + +He replied: + +"I have seen them, spoken to them, loved them. They are hiding in the midst and the ferns until our civilization stops. Today they are the Homeless - tomorrow ------ " + +"Oh, tomorrow - some fool will start the Machine again, tomorrow." + +"Never," said Kuno, "never. Humanity has learnt its lesson." + +As he spoke, the whole city was broken like a honeycomb. An air-ship had sailed in through the vomitory into a ruined wharf. It crashed downwards, exploding as it went, rending gallery after gallery with its wings of steel. For a moment they saw the nations of the dead, and, before they joined them, scraps of the untainted sky. + + + + +The "Machine Stops" was first published in the Oxford and Cambridge Review in 1909 + +Copyright ©1947 E.M. Forster + + | + +[1]: http://archive.ncsa.illinois.edu/desk1cut_s.jpg +[2]: http://archive.ncsa.illinois.edu/blank.gif +[3]: http://archive.ncsa.illinois.edu/index.html + diff --git a/_stories/1910/5393142.md b/_stories/1910/5393142.md new file mode 100644 index 0000000..743b17d --- /dev/null +++ b/_stories/1910/5393142.md @@ -0,0 +1,893 @@ +[Source](http://www.gutenberg.org/files/2274/2274-h/2274-h.htm "Permalink to +The Project Gutenberg E-text of How to Live on 24 Hours a Day, by Arnold Bennett +") + +# +The Project Gutenberg E-text of How to Live on 24 Hours a Day, by Arnold Bennett + + + + + + Project Gutenberg's How to Live on 24 Hours a Day, by Arnold Bennett + + This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with + almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or + re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included + with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.net + + + Title: How to Live on 24 Hours a Day + + Author: Arnold Bennett + + Posting Date: October 23, 2008 [EBook #2274] + Release Date: August, 2000 + + Language: English + + Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 + + *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK HOW TO LIVE ON 24 HOURS A DAY *** + + + + + Produced by Tony Adam. HTML version by Al Haines. + + + + + + + + + + +# How to Live on Twenty-Four Hours a Day + + + +### by + +## Arnold Bennett + + + + + +### PREFACE TO THIS EDITION + +This preface, though placed at the beginning, as a preface must be, should be read at the end of the book. + +I have received a large amount of correspondence concerning this small work, and many reviews of it—some of them nearly as long as the book itself—have been printed. But scarcely any of the comment has been adverse. Some people have objected to a frivolity of tone; but as the tone is not, in my opinion, at all frivolous, this objection did not impress me; and had no weightier reproach been put forward I might almost have been persuaded that the volume was flawless! A more serious stricture has, however, been offered—not in the press, but by sundry obviously sincere correspondents—and I must deal with it. A reference to page 43 will show that I anticipated and feared this disapprobation. The sentence against which protests have been made is as follows:—"In the majority of instances he [the typical man] does not precisely feel a passion for his business; at best he does not dislike it. He begins his business functions with some reluctance, as late as he can, and he ends them with joy, as early as he can. And his engines, while he is engaged in his business, are seldom at their full 'h.p.'" + +I am assured, in accents of unmistakable sincerity, that there are many business men—not merely those in high positions or with fine prospects, but modest subordinates with no hope of ever being much better off—who do enjoy their business functions, who do not shirk them, who do not arrive at the office as late as possible and depart as early as possible, who, in a word, put the whole of their force into their day's work and are genuinely fatigued at the end thereof. + +I am ready to believe it. I do believe it. I know it. I always knew it. Both in London and in the provinces it has been my lot to spend long years in subordinate situations of business; and the fact did not escape me that a certain proportion of my peers showed what amounted to an honest passion for their duties, and that while engaged in those duties they were really _living_ to the fullest extent of which they were capable. But I remain convinced that these fortunate and happy individuals (happier perhaps than they guessed) did not and do not constitute a majority, or anything like a majority. I remain convinced that the majority of decent average conscientious men of business (men with aspirations and ideals) do not as a rule go home of a night genuinely tired. I remain convinced that they put not as much but as little of themselves as they conscientiously can into the earning of a livelihood, and that their vocation bores rather than interests them. + +Nevertheless, I admit that the minority is of sufficient importance to merit attention, and that I ought not to have ignored it so completely as I did do. The whole difficulty of the hard-working minority was put in a single colloquial sentence by one of my correspondents. He wrote: "I am just as keen as anyone on doing something to 'exceed my programme,' but allow me to tell you that when I get home at six thirty p.m. I am not anything like so fresh as you seem to imagine." + +Now I must point out that the case of the minority, who throw themselves with passion and gusto into their daily business task, is infinitely less deplorable than the case of the majority, who go half-heartedly and feebly through their official day. The former are less in need of advice "how to live." At any rate during their official day of, say, eight hours they are really alive; their engines are giving the full indicated "h.p." The other eight working hours of their day may be badly organised, or even frittered away; but it is less disastrous to waste eight hours a day than sixteen hours a day; it is better to have lived a bit than never to have lived at all. The real tragedy is the tragedy of the man who is braced to effort neither in the office nor out of it, and to this man this book is primarily addressed. "But," says the other and more fortunate man, "although my ordinary programme is bigger than his, I want to exceed my programme too! I am living a bit; I want to live more. But I really can't do another day's work on the top of my official day." + +The fact is, I, the author, ought to have foreseen that I should appeal most strongly to those who already had an interest in existence. It is always the man who has tasted life who demands more of it. And it is always the man who never gets out of bed who is the most difficult to rouse. + +Well, you of the minority, let us assume that the intensity of your daily money-getting will not allow you to carry out quite all the suggestions in the following pages. Some of the suggestions may yet stand. I admit that you may not be able to use the time spent on the journey home at night; but the suggestion for the journey to the office in the morning is as practicable for you as for anybody. And that weekly interval of forty hours, from Saturday to Monday, is yours just as much as the other man's, though a slight accumulation of fatigue may prevent you from employing the whole of your "h.p." upon it. There remains, then, the important portion of the three or more evenings a week. You tell me flatly that you are too tired to do anything outside your programme at night. In reply to which I tell you flatly that if your ordinary day's work is thus exhausting, then the balance of your life is wrong and must be adjusted. A man's powers ought not to be monopolised by his ordinary day's work. What, then, is to be done? + +The obvious thing to do is to circumvent your ardour for your ordinary day's work by a ruse. Employ your engines in something beyond the programme before, and not after, you employ them on the programme itself. Briefly, get up earlier in the morning. You say you cannot. You say it is impossible for you to go earlier to bed of a night—to do so would upset the entire household. I do not think it is quite impossible to go to bed earlier at night. I think that if you persist in rising earlier, and the consequence is insufficiency of sleep, you will soon find a way of going to bed earlier. But my impression is that the consequences of rising earlier will not be an insufficiency of sleep. My impression, growing stronger every year, is that sleep is partly a matter of habit—and of slackness. I am convinced that most people sleep as long as they do because they are at a loss for any other diversion. How much sleep do you think is daily obtained by the powerful healthy man who daily rattles up your street in charge of Carter Patterson's van? I have consulted a doctor on this point. He is a doctor who for twenty-four years has had a large general practice in a large flourishing suburb of London, inhabited by exactly such people as you and me. He is a curt man, and his answer was curt: + +"Most people sleep themselves stupid." + +He went on to give his opinion that nine men out of ten would have better health and more fun out of life if they spent less time in bed. + +Other doctors have confirmed this judgment, which, of course, does not apply to growing youths. + +Rise an hour, an hour and a half, or even two hours earlier; and—if you must—retire earlier when you can. In the matter of exceeding programmes, you will accomplish as much in one morning hour as in two evening hours. "But," you say, "I couldn't begin without some food, and servants." Surely, my dear sir, in an age when an excellent spirit-lamp (including a saucepan) can be bought for less than a shilling, you are not going to allow your highest welfare to depend upon the precarious immediate co-operation of a fellow creature! Instruct the fellow creature, whoever she may be, at night. Tell her to put a tray in a suitable position over night. On that tray two biscuits, a cup and saucer, a box of matches and a spirit-lamp; on the lamp, the saucepan; on the saucepan, the lid—but turned the wrong way up; on the reversed lid, the small teapot, containing a minute quantity of tea leaves. You will then have to strike a match—that is all. In three minutes the water boils, and you pour it into the teapot (which is already warm). In three more minutes the tea is infused. You can begin your day while drinking it. These details may seem trivial to the foolish, but to the thoughtful they will not seem trivial. The proper, wise balancing of one's whole life may depend upon the feasibility of a cup of tea at an unusual hour. + +A. B. + + + + + +## CONTENTS + +| ----- | +|   | [PREFACE][1] | +| I   | [THE DAILY MIRACLE +][2] | +| II   | [THE DESIRE TO EXCEED ONE'S PROGRAMME +][3] | +| III   | [PRECAUTIONS BEFORE BEGINNING +][4] | +| IV   | [THE CAUSE OF THE TROUBLE +][5] | +| V   | [TENNIS AND THE IMMORTAL SOUL +][6] | +| VI   | [REMEMBER HUMAN NATURE +][7] | +| VII   | [CONTROLLING THE MIND +][8] | +| VIII   | [THE REFLECTIVE MOOD +][9] | +| IX   | [INTEREST IN THE ARTS +][10] | +| X   | [NOTHING IN LIFE IS HUMDRUM +][11] | +| XI   | [SERIOUS READING +][12] | +| XII   | [DANGERS TO AVOID +][13] | + + + + + +### I + +### THE DAILY MIRACLE + +"Yes, he's one of those men that don't know how to manage. Good situation. Regular income. Quite enough for luxuries as well as needs. Not really extravagant. And yet the fellow's always in difficulties. Somehow he gets nothing out of his money. Excellent flat—half empty! Always looks as if he'd had the brokers in. New suit—old hat! Magnificent necktie—baggy trousers! Asks you to dinner: cut glass—bad mutton, or Turkish coffee—cracked cup! He can't understand it. Explanation simply is that he fritters his income away. Wish I had the half of it! I'd show him—" + +So we have most of us criticised, at one time or another, in our superior way. + +We are nearly all chancellors of the exchequer: it is the pride of the moment. Newspapers are full of articles explaining how to live on such-and-such a sum, and these articles provoke a correspondence whose violence proves the interest they excite. Recently, in a daily organ, a battle raged round the question whether a woman can exist nicely in the country on L85 a year. I have seen an essay, "How to live on eight shillings a week." But I have never seen an essay, "How to live on twenty-four hours a day." Yet it has been said that time is money. That proverb understates the case. Time is a great deal more than money. If you have time you can obtain money—usually. But though you have the wealth of a cloak-room attendant at the Carlton Hotel, you cannot buy yourself a minute more time than I have, or the cat by the fire has. + + + +Philosophers have explained space. They have not explained time. It is the inexplicable raw material of everything. With it, all is possible; without it, nothing. The supply of time is truly a daily miracle, an affair genuinely astonishing when one examines it. You wake up in the morning, and lo! your purse is magically filled with twenty-four hours of the unmanufactured tissue of the universe of your life! It is yours. It is the most precious of possessions. A highly singular commodity, showered upon you in a manner as singular as the commodity itself! + +For remark! No one can take it from you. It is unstealable. And no one receives either more or less than you receive. + +Talk about an ideal democracy! In the realm of time there is no aristocracy of wealth, and no aristocracy of intellect. Genius is never rewarded by even an extra hour a day. And there is no punishment. Waste your infinitely precious commodity as much as you will, and the supply will never be withheld from you. No mysterious power will say:—"This man is a fool, if not a knave. He does not deserve time; he shall be cut off at the meter." It is more certain than consols, and payment of income is not affected by Sundays. Moreover, you cannot draw on the future. Impossible to get into debt! You can only waste the passing moment. You cannot waste to-morrow; it is kept for you. You cannot waste the next hour; it is kept for you. + +I said the affair was a miracle. Is it not? + +You have to live on this twenty-four hours of daily time. Out of it you have to spin health, pleasure, money, content, respect, and the evolution of your immortal soul. Its right use, its most effective use, is a matter of the highest urgency and of the most thrilling actuality. All depends on that. Your happiness—the elusive prize that you are all clutching for, my friends!—depends on that. Strange that the newspapers, so enterprising and up-to-date as they are, are not full of "How to live on a given income of time," instead of "How to live on a given income of money"! Money is far commoner than time. When one reflects, one perceives that money is just about the commonest thing there is. It encumbers the earth in gross heaps. + +If one can't contrive to live on a certain income of money, one earns a little more—or steals it, or advertises for it. One doesn't necessarily muddle one's life because one can't quite manage on a thousand pounds a year; one braces the muscles and makes it guineas, and balances the budget. But if one cannot arrange that an income of twenty-four hours a day shall exactly cover all proper items of expenditure, one does muddle one's life definitely. The supply of time, though gloriously regular, is cruelly restricted. + + + +Which of us lives on twenty-four hours a day? And when I say "lives," I do not mean exists, nor "muddles through." Which of us is free from that uneasy feeling that the "great spending departments" of his daily life are not managed as they ought to be? Which of us is quite sure that his fine suit is not surmounted by a shameful hat, or that in attending to the crockery he has forgotten the quality of the food? Which of us is not saying to himself—which of us has not been saying to himself all his life: "I shall alter that when I have a little more time"? + +We never shall have any more time. We have, and we have always had, all the time there is. It is the realisation of this profound and neglected truth (which, by the way, I have not discovered) that has led me to the minute practical examination of daily time-expenditure. + + + + + +### II + +### THE DESIRE TO EXCEED ONE'S PROGRAMME + +"But," someone may remark, with the English disregard of everything except the point, "what is he driving at with his twenty-four hours a day? I have no difficulty in living on twenty-four hours a day. I do all that I want to do, and still find time to go in for newspaper competitions. Surely it is a simple affair, knowing that one has only twenty-four hours a day, to content one's self with twenty-four hours a day!" + +To you, my dear sir, I present my excuses and apologies. You are precisely the man that I have been wishing to meet for about forty years. Will you kindly send me your name and address, and state your charge for telling me how you do it? Instead of me talking to you, you ought to be talking to me. Please come forward. That you exist, I am convinced, and that I have not yet encountered you is my loss. Meanwhile, until you appear, I will continue to chat with my companions in distress—that innumerable band of souls who are haunted, more or less painfully, by the feeling that the years slip by, and slip by, and slip by, and that they have not yet been able to get their lives into proper working order. + +If we analyse that feeling, we shall perceive it to be, primarily, one of uneasiness, of expectation, of looking forward, of aspiration. It is a source of constant discomfort, for it behaves like a skeleton at the feast of all our enjoyments. We go to the theatre and laugh; but between the acts it raises a skinny finger at us. We rush violently for the last train, and while we are cooling a long age on the platform waiting for the last train, it promenades its bones up and down by our side and inquires: "O man, what hast thou done with thy youth? What art thou doing with thine age?" You may urge that this feeling of continuous looking forward, of aspiration, is part of life itself, and inseparable from life itself. True! + +But there are degrees. A man may desire to go to Mecca. His conscience tells him that he ought to go to Mecca. He fares forth, either by the aid of Cook's, or unassisted; he may probably never reach Mecca; he may drown before he gets to Port Said; he may perish ingloriously on the coast of the Red Sea; his desire may remain eternally frustrate. Unfulfilled aspiration may always trouble him. But he will not be tormented in the same way as the man who, desiring to reach Mecca, and harried by the desire to reach Mecca, never leaves Brixton. + +It is something to have left Brixton. Most of us have not left Brixton. We have not even taken a cab to Ludgate Circus and inquired from Cook's the price of a conducted tour. And our excuse to ourselves is that there are only twenty-four hours in the day. + +If we further analyse our vague, uneasy aspiration, we shall, I think, see that it springs from a fixed idea that we ought to do something in addition to those things which we are loyally and morally obliged to do. We are obliged, by various codes written and unwritten, to maintain ourselves and our families (if any) in health and comfort, to pay our debts, to save, to increase our prosperity by increasing our efficiency. A task sufficiently difficult! A task which very few of us achieve! A task often beyond our skill! Yet, if we succeed in it, as we sometimes do, we are not satisfied; the skeleton is still with us. + +And even when we realise that the task is beyond our skill, that our powers cannot cope with it, we feel that we should be less discontented if we gave to our powers, already overtaxed, something still further to do. + +And such is, indeed, the fact. The wish to accomplish something outside their formal programme is common to all men who in the course of evolution have risen past a certain level. + +Until an effort is made to satisfy that wish, the sense of uneasy waiting for something to start which has not started will remain to disturb the peace of the soul. That wish has been called by many names. It is one form of the universal desire for knowledge. And it is so strong that men whose whole lives have been given to the systematic acquirement of knowledge have been driven by it to overstep the limits of their programme in search of still more knowledge. Even Herbert Spencer, in my opinion the greatest mind that ever lived, was often forced by it into agreeable little backwaters of inquiry. + +I imagine that in the majority of people who are conscious of the wish to live—that is to say, people who have intellectual curiosity—the aspiration to exceed formal programmes takes a literary shape. They would like to embark on a course of reading. Decidedly the British people are becoming more and more literary. But I would point out that literature by no means comprises the whole field of knowledge, and that the disturbing thirst to improve one's self—to increase one's knowledge—may well be slaked quite apart from literature. With the various ways of slaking I shall deal later. Here I merely point out to those who have no natural sympathy with literature that literature is not the only well. + + + + + +### III + +### PRECAUTIONS BEFORE BEGINNING + +Now that I have succeeded (if succeeded I have) in persuading you to admit to yourself that you are constantly haunted by a suppressed dissatisfaction with your own arrangement of your daily life; and that the primal cause of that inconvenient dissatisfaction is the feeling that you are every day leaving undone something which you would like to do, and which, indeed, you are always hoping to do when you have "more time"; and now that I have drawn your attention to the glaring, dazzling truth that you never will have "more time," since you already have all the time there is—you expect me to let you into some wonderful secret by which you may at any rate approach the ideal of a perfect arrangement of the day, and by which, therefore, that haunting, unpleasant, daily disappointment of things left undone will be got rid of! + +I have found no such wonderful secret. Nor do I expect to find it, nor do I expect that anyone else will ever find it. It is undiscovered. When you first began to gather my drift, perhaps there was a resurrection of hope in your breast. Perhaps you said to yourself, "This man will show me an easy, unfatiguing way of doing what I have so long in vain wished to do." Alas, no! The fact is that there is no easy way, no royal road. The path to Mecca is extremely hard and stony, and the worst of it is that you never quite get there after all. + +The most important preliminary to the task of arranging one's life so that one may live fully and comfortably within one's daily budget of twenty-four hours is the calm realisation of the extreme difficulty of the task, of the sacrifices and the endless effort which it demands. I cannot too strongly insist on this. + +If you imagine that you will be able to achieve your ideal by ingeniously planning out a time-table with a pen on a piece of paper, you had better give up hope at once. If you are not prepared for discouragements and disillusions; if you will not be content with a small result for a big effort, then do not begin. Lie down again and resume the uneasy doze which you call your existence. + +It is very sad, is it not, very depressing and sombre? And yet I think it is rather fine, too, this necessity for the tense bracing of the will before anything worth doing can be done. I rather like it myself. I feel it to be the chief thing that differentiates me from the cat by the fire. + +"Well," you say, "assume that I am braced for the battle. Assume that I have carefully weighed and comprehended your ponderous remarks; how do I begin?" Dear sir, you simply begin. There is no magic method of beginning. If a man standing on the edge of a swimming-bath and wanting to jump into the cold water should ask you, "How do I begin to jump?" you would merely reply, "Just jump. Take hold of your nerves, and jump." + +As I have previously said, the chief beauty about the constant supply of time is that you cannot waste it in advance. The next year, the next day, the next hour are lying ready for you, as perfect, as unspoilt, as if you had never wasted or misapplied a single moment in all your career. Which fact is very gratifying and reassuring. You can turn over a new leaf every hour if you choose. Therefore no object is served in waiting till next week, or even until to-morrow. You may fancy that the water will be warmer next week. It won't. It will be colder. + +But before you begin, let me murmur a few words of warning in your private ear. + +Let me principally warn you against your own ardour. Ardour in well-doing is a misleading and a treacherous thing. It cries out loudly for employment; you can't satisfy it at first; it wants more and more; it is eager to move mountains and divert the course of rivers. It isn't content till it perspires. And then, too often, when it feels the perspiration on its brow, it wearies all of a sudden and dies, without even putting itself to the trouble of saying, "I've had enough of this." + +Beware of undertaking too much at the start. Be content with quite a little. Allow for accidents. Allow for human nature, especially your own. + +A failure or so, in itself, would not matter, if it did not incur a loss of self-esteem and of self-confidence. But just as nothing succeeds like success, so nothing fails like failure. Most people who are ruined are ruined by attempting too much. Therefore, in setting out on the immense enterprise of living fully and comfortably within the narrow limits of twenty-four hours a day, let us avoid at any cost the risk of an early failure. I will not agree that, in this business at any rate, a glorious failure is better than a petty success. I am all for the petty success. A glorious failure leads to nothing; a petty success may lead to a success that is not petty. + +So let us begin to examine the budget of the day's time. You say your day is already full to overflowing. How? You actually spend in earning your livelihood—how much? Seven hours, on the average? And in actual sleep, seven? I will add two hours, and be generous. And I will defy you to account to me on the spur of the moment for the other eight hours. + + + + + +### IV + +### THE CAUSE OF THE TROUBLES + +In order to come to grips at once with the question of time-expenditure in all its actuality, I must choose an individual case for examination. I can only deal with one case, and that case cannot be the average case, because there is no such case as the average case, just as there is no such man as the average man. Every man and every man's case is special. + +But if I take the case of a Londoner who works in an office, whose office hours are from ten to six, and who spends fifty minutes morning and night in travelling between his house door and his office door, I shall have got as near to the average as facts permit. There are men who have to work longer for a living, but there are others who do not have to work so long. + +Fortunately the financial side of existence does not interest us here; for our present purpose the clerk at a pound a week is exactly as well off as the millionaire in Carlton House-terrace. + +Now the great and profound mistake which my typical man makes in regard to his day is a mistake of general attitude, a mistake which vitiates and weakens two-thirds of his energies and interests. In the majority of instances he does not precisely feel a passion for his business; at best he does not dislike it. He begins his business functions with reluctance, as late as he can, and he ends them with joy, as early as he can. And his engines while he is engaged in his business are seldom at their full "h.p." (I know that I shall be accused by angry readers of traducing the city worker; but I am pretty thoroughly acquainted with the City, and I stick to what I say.) + +Yet in spite of all this he persists in looking upon those hours from ten to six as "the day," to which the ten hours preceding them and the six hours following them are nothing but a prologue and epilogue. Such an attitude, unconscious though it be, of course kills his interest in the odd sixteen hours, with the result that, even if he does not waste them, he does not count them; he regards them simply as margin. + +This general attitude is utterly illogical and unhealthy, since it formally gives the central prominence to a patch of time and a bunch of activities which the man's one idea is to "get through" and have "done with." If a man makes two-thirds of his existence subservient to one-third, for which admittedly he has no absolutely feverish zest, how can he hope to live fully and completely? He cannot. + +If my typical man wishes to live fully and completely he must, in his mind, arrange a day within a day. And this inner day, a Chinese box in a larger Chinese box, must begin at 6 p.m. and end at 10 a.m. It is a day of sixteen hours; and during all these sixteen hours he has nothing whatever to do but cultivate his body and his soul and his fellow men. During those sixteen hours he is free; he is not a wage-earner; he is not preoccupied with monetary cares; he is just as good as a man with a private income. This must be his attitude. And his attitude is all important. His success in life (much more important than the amount of estate upon what his executors will have to pay estate duty) depends on it. + +What? You say that full energy given to those sixteen hours will lessen the value of the business eight? Not so. On the contrary, it will assuredly increase the value of the business eight. One of the chief things which my typical man has to learn is that the mental faculties are capable of a continuous hard activity; they do not tire like an arm or a leg. All they want is change—not rest, except in sleep. + +I shall now examine the typical man's current method of employing the sixteen hours that are entirely his, beginning with his uprising. I will merely indicate things which he does and which I think he ought not to do, postponing my suggestions for "planting" the times which I shall have cleared—as a settler clears spaces in a forest. + +In justice to him I must say that he wastes very little time before he leaves the house in the morning at 9.10. In too many houses he gets up at nine, breakfasts between 9.7 and 9.9 1/2, and then bolts. But immediately he bangs the front door his mental faculties, which are tireless, become idle. He walks to the station in a condition of mental coma. Arrived there, he usually has to wait for the train. On hundreds of suburban stations every morning you see men calmly strolling up and down platforms while railway companies unblushingly rob them of time, which is more than money. Hundreds of thousands of hours are thus lost every day simply because my typical man thinks so little of time that it has never occurred to him to take quite easy precautions against the risk of its loss. + +He has a solid coin of time to spend every day—call it a sovereign. He must get change for it, and in getting change he is content to lose heavily. + +Supposing that in selling him a ticket the company said, "We will change you a sovereign, but we shall charge you three halfpence for doing so," what would my typical man exclaim? Yet that is the equivalent of what the company does when it robs him of five minutes twice a day. + +You say I am dealing with minutiae. I am. And later on I will justify myself. + +Now will you kindly buy your paper and step into the train? + + + + + +### V + +### TENNIS AND THE IMMORTAL SOUL + +You get into the morning train with your newspaper, and you calmly and majestically give yourself up to your newspaper. You do not hurry. You know you have at least half an hour of security in front of you. As your glance lingers idly at the advertisements of shipping and of songs on the outer pages, your air is the air of a leisured man, wealthy in time, of a man from some planet where there are a hundred and twenty-four hours a day instead of twenty-four. I am an impassioned reader of newspapers. I read five English and two French dailies, and the news-agents alone know how many weeklies, regularly. I am obliged to mention this personal fact lest I should be accused of a prejudice against newspapers when I say that I object to the reading of newspapers in the morning train. Newspapers are produced with rapidity, to be read with rapidity. There is no place in my daily programme for newspapers. I read them as I may in odd moments. But I do read them. The idea of devoting to them thirty or forty consecutive minutes of wonderful solitude (for nowhere can one more perfectly immerse one's self in one's self than in a compartment full of silent, withdrawn, smoking males) is to me repugnant. I cannot possibly allow you to scatter priceless pearls of time with such Oriental lavishness. You are not the Shah of time. Let me respectfully remind you that you have no more time than I have. No newspaper reading in trains! I have already "put by" about three-quarters of an hour for use. + +Now you reach your office. And I abandon you there till six o'clock. I am aware that you have nominally an hour (often in reality an hour and a half) in the midst of the day, less than half of which time is given to eating. But I will leave you all that to spend as you choose. You may read your newspapers then. + +I meet you again as you emerge from your office. You are pale and tired. At any rate, your wife says you are pale, and you give her to understand that you are tired. During the journey home you have been gradually working up the tired feeling. The tired feeling hangs heavy over the mighty suburbs of London like a virtuous and melancholy cloud, particularly in winter. You don't eat immediately on your arrival home. But in about an hour or so you feel as if you could sit up and take a little nourishment. And you do. Then you smoke, seriously; you see friends; you potter; you play cards; you flirt with a book; you note that old age is creeping on; you take a stroll; you caress the piano.... By Jove! a quarter past eleven. You then devote quite forty minutes to thinking about going to bed; and it is conceivable that you are acquainted with a genuinely good whisky. At last you go to bed, exhausted by the day's work. Six hours, probably more, have gone since you left the office—gone like a dream, gone like magic, unaccountably gone! + +That is a fair sample case. But you say: "It's all very well for you to talk. A man _is_ tired. A man must see his friends. He can't always be on the stretch." Just so. But when you arrange to go to the theatre (especially with a pretty woman) what happens? You rush to the suburbs; you spare no toil to make yourself glorious in fine raiment; you rush back to town in another train; you keep yourself on the stretch for four hours, if not five; you take her home; you take yourself home. You don't spend three-quarters of an hour in "thinking about" going to bed. You go. Friends and fatigue have equally been forgotten, and the evening has seemed so exquisitely long (or perhaps too short)! And do you remember that time when you were persuaded to sing in the chorus of the amateur operatic society, and slaved two hours every other night for three months? Can you deny that when you have something definite to look forward to at eventide, something that is to employ all your energy—the thought of that something gives a glow and a more intense vitality to the whole day? + +What I suggest is that at six o'clock you look facts in the face and admit that you are not tired (because you are not, you know), and that you arrange your evening so that it is not cut in the middle by a meal. By so doing you will have a clear expanse of at least three hours. I do not suggest that you should employ three hours every night of your life in using up your mental energy. But I do suggest that you might, for a commencement, employ an hour and a half every other evening in some important and consecutive cultivation of the mind. You will still be left with three evenings for friends, bridge, tennis, domestic scenes, odd reading, pipes, gardening, pottering, and prize competitions. You will still have the terrific wealth of forty-five hours between 2 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. Monday. If you persevere you will soon want to pass four evenings, and perhaps five, in some sustained endeavour to be genuinely alive. And you will fall out of that habit of muttering to yourself at 11.15 p.m., "Time to be thinking about going to bed." The man who begins to go to bed forty minutes before he opens his bedroom door is bored; that is to say, he is not living. + +But remember, at the start, those ninety nocturnal minutes thrice a week must be the most important minutes in the ten thousand and eighty. They must be sacred, quite as sacred as a dramatic rehearsal or a tennis match. Instead of saying, "Sorry I can't see you, old chap, but I have to run off to the tennis club," you must say, "...but I have to work." This, I admit, is intensely difficult to say. Tennis is so much more urgent than the immortal soul. + + + + + +### VI + +### REMEMBER HUMAN NATURE + +I have incidentally mentioned the vast expanse of forty-four hours between leaving business at 2 p.m. on Saturday and returning to business at 10 a.m. on Monday. And here I must touch on the point whether the week should consist of six days or of seven. For many years—in fact, until I was approaching forty—my own week consisted of seven days. I was constantly being informed by older and wiser people that more work, more genuine living, could be got out of six days than out of seven. + +And it is certainly true that now, with one day in seven in which I follow no programme and make no effort save what the caprice of the moment dictates, I appreciate intensely the moral value of a weekly rest. Nevertheless, had I my life to arrange over again, I would do again as I have done. Only those who have lived at the full stretch seven days a week for a long time can appreciate the full beauty of a regular recurring idleness. Moreover, I am ageing. And it is a question of age. In cases of abounding youth and exceptional energy and desire for effort I should say unhesitatingly: Keep going, day in, day out. + +But in the average case I should say: Confine your formal programme (super-programme, I mean) to six days a week. If you find yourself wishing to extend it, extend it, but only in proportion to your wish; and count the time extra as a windfall, not as regular income, so that you can return to a six-day programme without the sensation of being poorer, of being a backslider. + +Let us now see where we stand. So far we have marked for saving out of the waste of days, half an hour at least on six mornings a week, and one hour and a half on three evenings a week. Total, seven hours and a half a week. + +I propose to be content with that seven hours and a half for the present. "What?" you cry. "You pretend to show us how to live, and you only deal with seven hours and a half out of a hundred and sixty-eight! Are you going to perform a miracle with your seven hours and a half?" Well, not to mince the matter, I am—if you will kindly let me! That is to say, I am going to ask you to attempt an experience which, while perfectly natural and explicable, has all the air of a miracle. My contention is that the full use of those seven-and-a-half hours will quicken the whole life of the week, add zest to it, and increase the interest which you feel in even the most banal occupations. You practise physical exercises for a mere ten minutes morning and evening, and yet you are not astonished when your physical health and strength are beneficially affected every hour of the day, and your whole physical outlook changed. Why should you be astonished that an average of over an hour a day given to the mind should permanently and completely enliven the whole activity of the mind? + +More time might assuredly be given to the cultivation of one's self. And in proportion as the time was longer the results would be greater. But I prefer to begin with what looks like a trifling effort. + +It is not really a trifling effort, as those will discover who have yet to essay it. To "clear" even seven hours and a half from the jungle is passably difficult. For some sacrifice has to be made. One may have spent one's time badly, but one did spend it; one did do something with it, however ill-advised that something may have been. To do something else means a change of habits. + +And habits are the very dickens to change! Further, any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts. If you imagine that you will be able to devote seven hours and a half a week to serious, continuous effort, and still live your old life, you are mistaken. I repeat that some sacrifice, and an immense deal of volition, will be necessary. And it is because I know the difficulty, it is because I know the almost disastrous effect of failure in such an enterprise, that I earnestly advise a very humble beginning. You must safeguard your self-respect. Self-respect is at the root of all purposefulness, and a failure in an enterprise deliberately planned deals a desperate wound at one's self-respect. Hence I iterate and reiterate: Start quietly, unostentatiously. + +When you have conscientiously given seven hours and a half a week to the cultivation of your vitality for three months—then you may begin to sing louder and tell yourself what wondrous things you are capable of doing. + +Before coming to the method of using the indicated hours, I have one final suggestion to make. That is, as regards the evenings, to allow much more than an hour and a half in which to do the work of an hour and a half. Remember the chance of accidents. Remember human nature. And give yourself, say, from 9 to 11.30 for your task of ninety minutes. + + + + + +### VII + +### CONTROLLING THE MIND + +People say: "One can't help one's thoughts." But one can. The control of the thinking machine is perfectly possible. And since nothing whatever happens to us outside our own brain; since nothing hurts us or gives us pleasure except within the brain, the supreme importance of being able to control what goes on in that mysterious brain is patent. This idea is one of the oldest platitudes, but it is a platitude whose profound truth and urgency most people live and die without realising. People complain of the lack of power to concentrate, not witting that they may acquire the power, if they choose. + +And without the power to concentrate—that is to say, without the power to dictate to the brain its task and to ensure obedience—true life is impossible. Mind control is the first element of a full existence. + +Hence, it seems to me, the first business of the day should be to put the mind through its paces. You look after your body, inside and out; you run grave danger in hacking hairs off your skin; you employ a whole army of individuals, from the milkman to the pig-killer, to enable you to bribe your stomach into decent behaviour. Why not devote a little attention to the far more delicate machinery of the mind, especially as you will require no extraneous aid? It is for this portion of the art and craft of living that I have reserved the time from the moment of quitting your door to the moment of arriving at your office. + +"What? I am to cultivate my mind in the street, on the platform, in the train, and in the crowded street again?" Precisely. Nothing simpler! No tools required! Not even a book. Nevertheless, the affair is not easy. + +When you leave your house, concentrate your mind on a subject (no matter what, to begin with). You will not have gone ten yards before your mind has skipped away under your very eyes and is larking round the corner with another subject. + +Bring it back by the scruff of the neck. Ere you have reached the station you will have brought it back about forty times. Do not despair. Continue. Keep it up. You will succeed. You cannot by any chance fail if you persevere. It is idle to pretend that your mind is incapable of concentration. Do you not remember that morning when you received a disquieting letter which demanded a very carefully-worded answer? How you kept your mind steadily on the subject of the answer, without a second's intermission, until you reached your office; whereupon you instantly sat down and wrote the answer? That was a case in which _you_ were roused by circumstances to such a degree of vitality that you were able to dominate your mind like a tyrant. You would have no trifling. You insisted that its work should be done, and its work was done. + +By the regular practice of concentration (as to which there is no secret—save the secret of perseverance) you can tyrannise over your mind (which is not the highest part of _you_) every hour of the day, and in no matter what place. The exercise is a very convenient one. If you got into your morning train with a pair of dumb-bells for your muscles or an encyclopaedia in ten volumes for your learning, you would probably excite remark. But as you walk in the street, or sit in the corner of the compartment behind a pipe, or "strap-hang" on the Subterranean, who is to know that you are engaged in the most important of daily acts? What asinine boor can laugh at you? + +I do not care what you concentrate on, so long as you concentrate. It is the mere disciplining of the thinking machine that counts. But still, you may as well kill two birds with one stone, and concentrate on something useful. I suggest—it is only a suggestion—a little chapter of Marcus Aurelius or Epictetus. + +Do not, I beg, shy at their names. For myself, I know nothing more "actual," more bursting with plain common-sense, applicable to the daily life of plain persons like you and me (who hate airs, pose, and nonsense) than Marcus Aurelius or Epictetus. Read a chapter—and so short they are, the chapters!—in the evening and concentrate on it the next morning. You will see. + +Yes, my friend, it is useless for you to try to disguise the fact. I can hear your brain like a telephone at my ear. You are saying to yourself: "This fellow was doing pretty well up to his seventh chapter. He had begun to interest me faintly. But what he says about thinking in trains, and concentration, and so on, is not for me. It may be well enough for some folks, but it isn't in my line." + +It is for you, I passionately repeat; it is for you. Indeed, you are the very man I am aiming at. + +Throw away the suggestion, and you throw away the most precious suggestion that was ever offered to you. It is not my suggestion. It is the suggestion of the most sensible, practical, hard-headed men who have walked the earth. I only give it you at second-hand. Try it. Get your mind in hand. And see how the process cures half the evils of life—especially worry, that miserable, avoidable, shameful disease—worry! + + + + + +### VIII + +### THE REFLECTIVE MOOD + +The exercise of concentrating the mind (to which at least half an hour a day should be given) is a mere preliminary, like scales on the piano. Having acquired power over that most unruly member of one's complex organism, one has naturally to put it to the yoke. Useless to possess an obedient mind unless one profits to the furthest possible degree by its obedience. A prolonged primary course of study is indicated. + +Now as to what this course of study should be there cannot be any question; there never has been any question. All the sensible people of all ages are agreed upon it. And it is not literature, nor is it any other art, nor is it history, nor is it any science. It is the study of one's self. Man, know thyself. These words are so hackneyed that verily I blush to write them. Yet they must be written, for they need to be written. (I take back my blush, being ashamed of it.) Man, know thyself. I say it out loud. The phrase is one of those phrases with which everyone is familiar, of which everyone acknowledges the value, and which only the most sagacious put into practice. I don't know why. I am entirely convinced that what is more than anything else lacking in the life of the average well-intentioned man of to-day is the reflective mood. + +We do not reflect. I mean that we do not reflect upon genuinely important things; upon the problem of our happiness, upon the main direction in which we are going, upon what life is giving to us, upon the share which reason has (or has not) in determining our actions, and upon the relation between our principles and our conduct. + +And yet you are in search of happiness, are you not? Have you discovered it? + +The chances are that you have not. The chances are that you have already come to believe that happiness is unattainable. But men have attained it. And they have attained it by realising that happiness does not spring from the procuring of physical or mental pleasure, but from the development of reason and the adjustment of conduct to principles. + +I suppose that you will not have the audacity to deny this. And if you admit it, and still devote no part of your day to the deliberate consideration of your reason, principles, and conduct, you admit also that while striving for a certain thing you are regularly leaving undone the one act which is necessary to the attainment of that thing. + +Now, shall I blush, or will you? + +Do not fear that I mean to thrust certain principles upon your attention. I care not (in this place) what your principles are. Your principles may induce you to believe in the righteousness of burglary. I don't mind. All I urge is that a life in which conduct does not fairly well accord with principles is a silly life; and that conduct can only be made to accord with principles by means of daily examination, reflection, and resolution. What leads to the permanent sorrowfulness of burglars is that their principles are contrary to burglary. If they genuinely believed in the moral excellence of burglary, penal servitude would simply mean so many happy years for them; all martyrs are happy, because their conduct and their principles agree. + +As for reason (which makes conduct, and is not unconnected with the making of principles), it plays a far smaller part in our lives than we fancy. We are supposed to be reasonable but we are much more instinctive than reasonable. And the less we reflect, the less reasonable we shall be. The next time you get cross with the waiter because your steak is over-cooked, ask reason to step into the cabinet-room of your mind, and consult her. She will probably tell you that the waiter did not cook the steak, and had no control over the cooking of the steak; and that even if he alone was to blame, you accomplished nothing good by getting cross; you merely lost your dignity, looked a fool in the eyes of sensible men, and soured the waiter, while producing no effect whatever on the steak. + +The result of this consultation with reason (for which she makes no charge) will be that when once more your steak is over-cooked you will treat the waiter as a fellow-creature, remain quite calm in a kindly spirit, and politely insist on having a fresh steak. The gain will be obvious and solid. + +In the formation or modification of principles, and the practice of conduct, much help can be derived from printed books (issued at sixpence each and upwards). I mentioned in my last chapter Marcus Aurelius and Epictetus. Certain even more widely known works will occur at once to the memory. I may also mention Pascal, La Bruyere, and Emerson. For myself, you do not catch me travelling without my Marcus Aurelius. Yes, books are valuable. But not reading of books will take the place of a daily, candid, honest examination of what one has recently done, and what one is about to do—of a steady looking at one's self in the face (disconcerting though the sight may be). + +When shall this important business be accomplished? The solitude of the evening journey home appears to me to be suitable for it. A reflective mood naturally follows the exertion of having earned the day's living. Of course if, instead of attending to an elementary and profoundly important duty, you prefer to read the paper (which you might just as well read while waiting for your dinner) I have nothing to say. But attend to it at some time of the day you must. I now come to the evening hours. + + + + + +### IX + +### INTEREST IN THE ARTS + +Many people pursue a regular and uninterrupted course of idleness in the evenings because they think that there is no alternative to idleness but the study of literature; and they do not happen to have a taste for literature. This is a great mistake. + +Of course it is impossible, or at any rate very difficult, properly to study anything whatever without the aid of printed books. But if you desire to understand the deeper depths of bridge or of boat-sailing you would not be deterred by your lack of interest in literature from reading the best books on bridge or boat-sailing. We must, therefore, distinguish between literature, and books treating of subjects not literary. I shall come to literature in due course. + +Let me now remark to those who have never read Meredith, and who are capable of being unmoved by a discussion as to whether Mr. Stephen Phillips is or is not a true poet, that they are perfectly within their rights. It is not a crime not to love literature. It is not a sign of imbecility. The mandarins of literature will order out to instant execution the unfortunate individual who does not comprehend, say, the influence of Wordsworth on Tennyson. But that is only their impudence. Where would they be, I wonder, if requested to explain the influences that went to make Tschaikowsky's "Pathetic Symphony"? + +There are enormous fields of knowledge quite outside literature which will yield magnificent results to cultivators. For example (since I have just mentioned the most popular piece of high-class music in England to-day), I am reminded that the Promenade Concerts begin in August. You go to them. You smoke your cigar or cigarette (and I regret to say that you strike your matches during the soft bars of the "Lohengrin" overture), and you enjoy the music. But you say you cannot play the piano or the fiddle, or even the banjo; that you know nothing of music. + +What does that matter? That you have a genuine taste for music is proved by the fact that, in order to fill his hall with you and your peers, the conductor is obliged to provide programmes from which bad music is almost entirely excluded (a change from the old Covent Garden days!). + +Now surely your inability to perform "The Maiden's Prayer" on a piano need not prevent you from making yourself familiar with the construction of the orchestra to which you listen a couple of nights a week during a couple of months! As things are, you probably think of the orchestra as a heterogeneous mass of instruments producing a confused agreeable mass of sound. You do not listen for details because you have never trained your ears to listen to details. + +If you were asked to name the instruments which play the great theme at the beginning of the C minor symphony you could not name them for your life's sake. Yet you admire the C minor symphony. It has thrilled you. It will thrill you again. You have even talked about it, in an expansive mood, to that lady—you know whom I mean. And all you can positively state about the C minor symphony is that Beethoven composed it and that it is a "jolly fine thing." + +Now, if you have read, say, Mr. Krehbiel's "How to Listen to Music" (which can be got at any bookseller's for less than the price of a stall at the Alhambra, and which contains photographs of all the orchestral instruments and plans of the arrangement of orchestras) you would next go to a promenade concert with an astonishing intensification of interest in it. Instead of a confused mass, the orchestra would appear to you as what it is—a marvellously balanced organism whose various groups of members each have a different and an indispensable function. You would spy out the instruments, and listen for their respective sounds. You would know the gulf that separates a French horn from an English horn, and you would perceive why a player of the hautboy gets higher wages than a fiddler, though the fiddle is the more difficult instrument. You would _live_ at a promenade concert, whereas previously you had merely existed there in a state of beatific coma, like a baby gazing at a bright object. + +The foundations of a genuine, systematic knowledge of music might be laid. You might specialise your inquiries either on a particular form of music (such as the symphony), or on the works of a particular composer. At the end of a year of forty-eight weeks of three brief evenings each, combined with a study of programmes and attendances at concerts chosen out of your increasing knowledge, you would really know something about music, even though you were as far off as ever from jangling "The Maiden's Prayer" on the piano. + +"But I hate music!" you say. My dear sir, I respect you. + +What applies to music applies to the other arts. I might mention Mr. Clermont Witt's "How to Look at Pictures," or Mr. Russell Sturgis's "How to Judge Architecture," as beginnings (merely beginnings) of systematic vitalising knowledge in other arts, the materials for whose study abound in London. + +"I hate all the arts!" you say. My dear sir, I respect you more and more. + +I will deal with your case next, before coming to literature. + + + + + +### X + +### NOTHING IN LIFE IS HUMDRUM + +Art is a great thing. But it is not the greatest. The most important of all perceptions is the continual perception of cause and effect—in other words, the perception of the continuous development of the universe—in still other words, the perception of the course of evolution. When one has thoroughly got imbued into one's head the leading truth that nothing happens without a cause, one grows not only large-minded, but large-hearted. + +It is hard to have one's watch stolen, but one reflects that the thief of the watch became a thief from causes of heredity and environment which are as interesting as they are scientifically comprehensible; and one buys another watch, if not with joy, at any rate with a philosophy that makes bitterness impossible. One loses, in the study of cause and effect, that absurd air which so many people have of being always shocked and pained by the curiousness of life. Such people live amid human nature as if human nature were a foreign country full of awful foreign customs. But, having reached maturity, one ought surely to be ashamed of being a stranger in a strange land! + +The study of cause and effect, while it lessens the painfulness of life, adds to life's picturesqueness. The man to whom evolution is but a name looks at the sea as a grandiose, monotonous spectacle, which he can witness in August for three shillings third-class return. The man who is imbued with the idea of development, of continuous cause and effect, perceives in the sea an element which in the day-before-yesterday of geology was vapour, which yesterday was boiling, and which to-morrow will inevitably be ice. + +He perceives that a liquid is merely something on its way to be solid, and he is penetrated by a sense of the tremendous, changeful picturesqueness of life. Nothing will afford a more durable satisfaction than the constantly cultivated appreciation of this. It is the end of all science. + +Cause and effect are to be found everywhere. Rents went up in Shepherd's Bush. It was painful and shocking that rents should go up in Shepherd's Bush. But to a certain point we are all scientific students of cause and effect, and there was not a clerk lunching at a Lyons Restaurant who did not scientifically put two and two together and see in the (once) Two-penny Tube the cause of an excessive demand for wigwams in Shepherd's Bush, and in the excessive demand for wigwams the cause of the increase in the price of wigwams. + +"Simple!" you say, disdainfully. Everything—the whole complex movement of the universe—is as simple as that—when you can sufficiently put two and two together. And, my dear sir, perhaps you happen to be an estate agent's clerk, and you hate the arts, and you want to foster your immortal soul, and you can't be interested in your business because it's so humdrum. + +Nothing is humdrum. + +The tremendous, changeful picturesqueness of life is marvellously shown in an estate agent's office. What! There was a block of traffic in Oxford Street; to avoid the block people actually began to travel under the cellars and drains, and the result was a rise of rents in Shepherd's Bush! And you say that isn't picturesque! Suppose you were to study, in this spirit, the property question in London for an hour and a half every other evening. Would it not give zest to your business, and transform your whole life? + +You would arrive at more difficult problems. And you would be able to tell us why, as the natural result of cause and effect, the longest straight street in London is about a yard and a half in length, while the longest absolutely straight street in Paris extends for miles. I think you will admit that in an estate agent's clerk I have not chosen an example that specially favours my theories. + +You are a bank clerk, and you have not read that breathless romance (disguised as a scientific study), Walter Bagehot's "Lombard Street"? Ah, my dear sir, if you had begun with that, and followed it up for ninety minutes every other evening, how enthralling your business would be to you, and how much more clearly you would understand human nature. + +You are "penned in town," but you love excursions to the country and the observation of wild life—certainly a heart-enlarging diversion. Why don't you walk out of your house door, in your slippers, to the nearest gas lamp of a night with a butterfly net, and observe the wild life of common and rare moths that is beating about it, and co-ordinate the knowledge thus obtained and build a superstructure on it, and at last get to know something about something? + +You need not be devoted to the arts, not to literature, in order to live fully. + +The whole field of daily habit and scene is waiting to satisfy that curiosity which means life, and the satisfaction of which means an understanding heart. + +I promised to deal with your case, O man who hates art and literature, and I have dealt with it. I now come to the case of the person, happily very common, who does "like reading." + + + + + +### XI + +### SERIOUS READING + +Novels are excluded from "serious reading," so that the man who, bent on self-improvement, has been deciding to devote ninety minutes three times a week to a complete study of the works of Charles Dickens will be well advised to alter his plans. The reason is not that novels are not serious—some of the great literature of the world is in the form of prose fiction—the reason is that bad novels ought not to be read, and that good novels never demand any appreciable mental application on the part of the reader. It is only the bad parts of Meredith's novels that are difficult. A good novel rushes you forward like a skiff down a stream, and you arrive at the end, perhaps breathless, but unexhausted. The best novels involve the least strain. Now in the cultivation of the mind one of the most important factors is precisely the feeling of strain, of difficulty, of a task which one part of you is anxious to achieve and another part of you is anxious to shirk; and that feeling cannot be got in facing a novel. You do not set your teeth in order to read "Anna Karenina." Therefore, though you should read novels, you should not read them in those ninety minutes. + +Imaginative poetry produces a far greater mental strain than novels. It produces probably the severest strain of any form of literature. It is the highest form of literature. It yields the highest form of pleasure, and teaches the highest form of wisdom. In a word, there is nothing to compare with it. I say this with sad consciousness of the fact that the majority of people do not read poetry. + +I am persuaded that many excellent persons, if they were confronted with the alternatives of reading "Paradise Lost" and going round Trafalgar Square at noonday on their knees in sack-cloth, would choose the ordeal of public ridicule. Still, I will never cease advising my friends and enemies to read poetry before anything. + +If poetry is what is called "a sealed book" to you, begin by reading Hazlitt's famous essay on the nature of "poetry in general." It is the best thing of its kind in English, and no one who has read it can possibly be under the misapprehension that poetry is a mediaeval torture, or a mad elephant, or a gun that will go off by itself and kill at forty paces. Indeed, it is difficult to imagine the mental state of the man who, after reading Hazlitt's essay, is not urgently desirous of reading some poetry before his next meal. If the essay so inspires you I would suggest that you make a commencement with purely narrative poetry. + +There is an infinitely finer English novel, written by a woman, than anything by George Eliot or the Brontes, or even Jane Austen, which perhaps you have not read. Its title is "Aurora Leigh," and its author E.B. Browning. It happens to be written in verse, and to contain a considerable amount of genuinely fine poetry. Decide to read that book through, even if you die for it. Forget that it is fine poetry. Read it simply for the story and the social ideas. And when you have done, ask yourself honestly whether you still dislike poetry. I have known more than one person to whom "Aurora Leigh" has been the means of proving that in assuming they hated poetry they were entirely mistaken. + +Of course, if, after Hazlitt, and such an experiment made in the light of Hazlitt, you are finally assured that there is something in you which is antagonistic to poetry, you must be content with history or philosophy. I shall regret it, yet not inconsolably. "The Decline and Fall" is not to be named in the same day with "Paradise Lost," but it is a vastly pretty thing; and Herbert Spencer's "First Principles" simply laughs at the claims of poetry and refuses to be accepted as aught but the most majestic product of any human mind. I do not suggest that either of these works is suitable for a tyro in mental strains. But I see no reason why any man of average intelligence should not, after a year of continuous reading, be fit to assault the supreme masterpieces of history or philosophy. The great convenience of masterpieces is that they are so astonishingly lucid. + +I suggest no particular work as a start. The attempt would be futile in the space of my command. But I have two general suggestions of a certain importance. The first is to define the direction and scope of your efforts. Choose a limited period, or a limited subject, or a single author. Say to yourself: "I will know something about the French Revolution, or the rise of railways, or the works of John Keats." And during a given period, to be settled beforehand, confine yourself to your choice. There is much pleasure to be derived from being a specialist. + +The second suggestion is to think as well as to read. I know people who read and read, and for all the good it does them they might just as well cut bread-and-butter. They take to reading as better men take to drink. They fly through the shires of literature on a motor-car, their sole object being motion. They will tell you how many books they have read in a year. + +Unless you give at least forty-five minutes to careful, fatiguing reflection (it is an awful bore at first) upon what you are reading, your ninety minutes of a night are chiefly wasted. This means that your pace will be slow. + +Never mind. + +Forget the goal; think only of the surrounding country; and after a period, perhaps when you least expect it, you will suddenly find yourself in a lovely town on a hill. + + + + + +### XII + +### DANGERS TO AVOID + +I cannot terminate these hints, often, I fear, too didactic and abrupt, upon the full use of one's time to the great end of living (as distinguished from vegetating) without briefly referring to certain dangers which lie in wait for the sincere aspirant towards life. The first is the terrible danger of becoming that most odious and least supportable of persons—a prig. Now a prig is a pert fellow who gives himself airs of superior wisdom. A prig is a pompous fool who has gone out for a ceremonial walk, and without knowing it has lost an important part of his attire, namely, his sense of humour. A prig is a tedious individual who, having made a discovery, is so impressed by his discovery that he is capable of being gravely displeased because the entire world is not also impressed by it. Unconsciously to become a prig is an easy and a fatal thing. + +Hence, when one sets forth on the enterprise of using all one's time, it is just as well to remember that one's own time, and not other people's time, is the material with which one has to deal; that the earth rolled on pretty comfortably before one began to balance a budget of the hours, and that it will continue to roll on pretty comfortably whether or not one succeeds in one's new role of chancellor of the exchequer of time. It is as well not to chatter too much about what one is doing, and not to betray a too-pained sadness at the spectacle of a whole world deliberately wasting so many hours out of every day, and therefore never really living. It will be found, ultimately, that in taking care of one's self one has quite all one can do. + +Another danger is the danger of being tied to a programme like a slave to a chariot. One's programme must not be allowed to run away with one. It must be respected, but it must not be worshipped as a fetish. A programme of daily employ is not a religion. + +This seems obvious. Yet I know men whose lives are a burden to themselves and a distressing burden to their relatives and friends simply because they have failed to appreciate the obvious. "Oh, no," I have heard the martyred wife exclaim, "Arthur always takes the dog out for exercise at eight o'clock and he always begins to read at a quarter to nine. So it's quite out of the question that we should..." etc., etc. And the note of absolute finality in that plaintive voice reveals the unsuspected and ridiculous tragedy of a career. + +On the other hand, a programme is a programme. And unless it is treated with deference it ceases to be anything but a poor joke. To treat one's programme with exactly the right amount of deference, to live with not too much and not too little elasticity, is scarcely the simple affair it may appear to the inexperienced. + +And still another danger is the danger of developing a policy of rush, of being gradually more and more obsessed by what one has to do next. In this way one may come to exist as in a prison, and one's life may cease to be one's own. One may take the dog out for a walk at eight o'clock, and meditate the whole time on the fact that one must begin to read at a quarter to nine, and that one must not be late. + +And the occasional deliberate breaking of one's programme will not help to mend matters. The evil springs not from persisting without elasticity in what one has attempted, but from originally attempting too much, from filling one's programme till it runs over. The only cure is to reconstitute the programme, and to attempt less. + +But the appetite for knowledge grows by what it feeds on, and there are men who come to like a constant breathless hurry of endeavour. Of them it may be said that a constant breathless hurry is better than an eternal doze. + +In any case, if the programme exhibits a tendency to be oppressive, and yet one wishes not to modify it, an excellent palliative is to pass with exaggerated deliberation from one portion of it to another; for example, to spend five minutes in perfect mental quiescence between chaining up the St. Bernard and opening the book; in other words, to waste five minutes with the entire consciousness of wasting them. + +The last, and chiefest danger which I would indicate, is one to which I have already referred—the risk of a failure at the commencement of the enterprise. + +I must insist on it. + +A failure at the commencement may easily kill outright the newborn impulse towards a complete vitality, and therefore every precaution should be observed to avoid it. The impulse must not be over-taxed. Let the pace of the first lap be even absurdly slow, but let it be as regular as possible. + +And, having once decided to achieve a certain task, achieve it at all costs of tedium and distaste. The gain in self-confidence of having accomplished a tiresome labour is immense. + +Finally, in choosing the first occupations of those evening hours, be guided by nothing whatever but your taste and natural inclination. + +It is a fine thing to be a walking encyclopaedia of philosophy, but if you happen to have no liking for philosophy, and to have a like for the natural history of street-cries, much better leave philosophy alone, and take to street-cries. + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + End of Project Gutenberg's How to Live on 24 Hours a Day, by Arnold Bennett + + *** END OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK HOW TO LIVE ON 24 HOURS A DAY *** + + ***** This file should be named 2274-h.htm or 2274-h.zip ***** + This and all associated files of various formats will be found in: + http://www.gutenberg.org/2/2/7/2274/ + + Produced by Tony Adam. 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") + +# History of the American telephone system: Map of Bell coverage in 1910. + +[ Slate logo ][3] + +[Sign In][4] [Sign Up][4] + +# A Telephone Map of the United States Shows Where You Could Call Using Ma Bell in 1910 + +# A Telephone Map of the United States Shows Where You Could Call Using Ma Bell in 1910 + +[ ][4] + +[ ][4] + +[ ][5] [ ][6] + +[ Slate logo ][3] + +[Sign In][4] [Sign Up][4] + +[Slate][7] + +[The Vault][8] + +![The Vault][9] + +Historical Treasures, Oddities, And Delights + +March 16 2015 12:04 PM + +# + +A Telephone Map of the United States Shows Where You Could Call Using Ma Bell in 1910 + +[ ][4] + +[ ][4] + +[ ][5] + +## + +By [Rebecca Onion][10] + +[ ][5] + +[ ][4] + +[ ][4] + +[ ][11] + +[   ][12] + +_The Vault is_**_ Slate_**_'s history blog. Like us on [__Facebook_][13]_, follow us on Twitter [__@slatevault_][14]_, and find us on [__Tumblr._][15]_ Find out more about what this space is all about [__here_][16]_._ + +There were [5.8 million telephones][17] in the Bell/AT&T network in 1910, when this map was published. It shows the uneven development of early telephone service in the United States, and gives us a sense of which places could speak to each other over Bell’s long-distance lines in the first decade of the 20th century.                           + +The Bell Telephone Company, which was [founded in 1877][18], faced some competition early on from Western Union, but then [enjoyed a virtual monopoly][19] on telephone service until 1894, when some of Bell’s patents expired. Sociologist Claude Fischer [writes][20] of the years after that expiration: “Within a decade literally thousands of new telephone ventures emerged across the United States.” Some of those independents went into rural areas that Bell had not covered, because the company had focused on developing service in the business centers of the East Coast.  + +Advertisement + +By the time this map was printed, Bell had tried several different strategies, clean and dirty, to fight back against its competition, including (Fischer writes) “leveraging its monopoly on long-distance service,” pursing patent suits, controlling vendors of telephone equipment, and simply using its deep pockets to outlast smaller companies that tried to enter the market. + +Theodore N. Vail, who took over in 1907, changed strategies, accepting limited government regulation while buying competitors or bringing them into the Bell system. The map shows Bell’s market penetration in 1910, three years after Vail took over. Some rural areas—Oklahoma, Iowa, northern and eastern Texas—are surprisingly well-covered, while others in the Southeast remain empty. + +The discrepancy between coverage in the East and the West is perhaps the most striking aspect of the map. California remains sparsely served, and no long-distance lines reach all the way from coast to coast. AT&T [constructed the first transcontinental line][21] in 1914. + +_Click on the image to reach a zoomable version, or [visit the map's page][22] on the David Rumsey Map Collection site. _ + +![TelephoneMap][23] Lines of the Bell Telephone Companies. United States and Canada. American Telephone and Telegraph Company, 1910. + +David Rumsey Map Collection. + +[Rebecca Onion][24] is a _**Slate**_ staff writer and the author of [_Innocent Experiments][25]_.  + +[ ][4] + +[ ][4] + +[ ][5] + +[ ][5] + +[ ][4] + +[ ][4] + +[ ][26] + +[   ][27] + +[RECOMMENDED][4] + +Load Comments + +[Powered by Livefyre][28] + +[ Slate logo ][3] + +[Sign In][4] [Sign Up][4] + +FOLLOW SLATE + +* [Twitter][29] +* [Facebook][30] +* [Instagram][31] + +SLATE ON + +* [IPHONE][32] +* [ANDROID][33] +* [KINDLE][34] +* [Reprints][35] +* [Advertise with us][36] +* [ABOUT US][37] +* [CONTACT US][38] +* [WORK WITH US][39] +* [USER AGREEMENT][40] +* [PRIVACY POLICY][41] +* [FAQ][42] +* [FEEDBACK][43] +* [CORRECTIONS][44] + +Slate Group logo + +Slate is published by The Slate Group, a Graham Holdings Company. All contents © 2018 The Slate Group LLC. 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To Marie Curie +Prague, 23 +November +1911 +Highly +esteemed +Mrs. +Curie,[1] +Do not +laugh +at +me +for +writing you +without +having +anything +sensible +to +say. +But +I +am so +enraged by +the +base +manner +in which +the +public is +presently +daring to +concern +itself with +you[2] +that +I +absolutely +must +give +vent to +this +feeling. However, +I +am +convinced +that +you consistently despise +this +rabble, +whether it +obsequiously +lavishes +respect +on +you +or +whether it +attempts to +satiate +its +lust +for sensationalism! +I +am +impelled +to +tell +you +how +much I have +come +to admire +your intellect, your +drive, +and +your honesty, +and +that +I +consider +myself lucky +to have +made +your +personal acquaintance +in Brussels. +Anyone +who does not number +among +these +reptiles +is certainly +happy, +now as +before, +that +we +have such +personages among +us +as you, +and +Langevin[3] +too, +real +people +with whom +one +feels +privileged +to be in +contact. If +the rabble +continues to +occupy +itself with +you, +then +simply +don't +read +that +hogwash, +but rather +leave +it +to +the +reptile +for whom it has been +fabricated. +With +most +amicable +regards +to +you, Langevin, +and +Perrin,[4] +yours very truly, +A. +Einstein +P.S. I have +determined the statistical +law of +motion +of +the +diatomic +molecule +in Planck's +radiation +field +by +means +of +a +comical +witticism, +naturally +under the +constraint +that the structure's motion +follows +the +laws of +standard +mechanics. +My hope +that +this +law is +valid in +reality +is +very +small, +though.[5] +Vol. +5, +375a. From Walther Nernst[1] +Berlin, +26a Am +Karlsbad, 23 +March +[1912][2] +Esteemed +Professor +Einstein, +With +these lines +I just +want to +express my joy +at +the +prospect +of +arriving +at +agreement +in +an +oral +discussion, +at +which +the +presence +of +our +colleague +Planck[3] +is naturally +not +only extremely +welcome +but could make mine almost +superfluous. +Nor do +I +want +to address +today +your +view +that +publications +could do +no +harm +because +one +does not have to read +them[4]-I +do +think, though, +that +such +an +attitude, +if it +were +prevalent, +would +hamper +the +steady +development +of physics– +rather, +only +to +express again my delight +that +I +can +welcome +you +here +soon. +I +shall + +[ Previous Page ][2] [ Next Page ][3] + +## Help + +[Close][1] ![][7] + +## + +    This book Papers Volume 8     All books GO + +* [Zoom In][8] +* [Zoom Out][9] +* [Contents][10] +* [Extract][11] +* [Help][12] +* [Printable][13] +* [Share][1] + +Powered by [Tizra® 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------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ | +| | **Subject(s):** [History and Culture][66]; [Natural and Physical Sciences][67]; [Technology][68]; [Science][69]; [Electricity][70]; [Electric engineering][71] | +| | + +[No Copyright - United States][72] + + | +| | **Find In:** [Catalog][73] | [Internet Archive][74] | [Local Library][75] | +| | **Cite This:** [View Citations][76] + +**APA Citation** +(1913). _The Electrical experimenter_ (Vol.4). Retrieved from + +**MLA Citation** +_The Electrical experimenter_, Vol.4, 1913, + +**Chicago** +_The Electrical experimenter_ Vol.4. 1913. + +| ![][77] | [Add this page to your Mendeley Library][78] | +| ![][79] | [Get Zotero Plugin][80] | | | + +**Warning:** These citations may not always be complete (especially for serials). + + | +| | **Download:** [PDF][81] | [ePub][82] | [Kindle][83] | +* [Frequently Asked Questions][84] + +### More Like This + +* ![Cover of "Arts appliqués et industries d'art aux expositions"][85] + +[Arts appliqués et industries d'art aux...][86] + +* ![Cover of "In memoriam of Peter Cooper Hewitt"][87] + +[In memoriam of Peter Cooper Hewitt][88] + +* ![Cover of "The embroiderer's book of design"][89] + +[The embroiderer's book of design][90] + +* ![Cover of "Report of the Commissioner of Patents for the year"][91] + +[Report of the Commissioner of Patents for the year][92] + +* ![Cover of "Annual report of the Commissioner of Patents for the year"][93] + +[Annual report of the Commissioner of Patents for...][94] + +* ![Cover of "Annual report of the Commissioner of Patents for the year"][95] + +[Annual report of the Commissioner of Patents for...][96] + +* ![Cover of "Report of the Commissioner of Patents for the year"][97] + +[Report of the Commissioner of Patents for the...][98] + +* ![Cover of "Annual report of the Commissioner of Patents for the year"][99] + +[Annual report of the Commissioner of Patents for...][100] + +* ![Cover of "Index of patents issued from the United States Patent Office"][101] + +[Index of patents issued from the United States...][102] + +* ![Cover of "Index of patents issued from the United States Patent Office"][103] + +[Index of patents issued from the United States...][104] + +* ![Cover of "Annual report of the Commissioner of Patents for the year"][105] + +[Annual report of the Commissioner of Patents for...][106] + +* ![Cover of "Annual report of the Commissioner of Patents for the year"][107] + +[Annual report of the Commissioner of Patents for...][108] + +* ![Cover of "\[Graphophone patents\]"][109] + +[[Graphophone patents] v. 13][110] + +* ![Cover of "U.S. patents issued to Thomas A. 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Mitchell Innes. + +The fundamental theories on which the modern science of political economy is based are these: + +> That under primitive conditions men lived and live by barter; + +That as life becomes more complex barter no longer suffices as a method of exchanging commodities, and by common consent one particular commodity is fixed on which is generally acceptable and which therefore, everyone will take in exchange for the things he produces or the services he renders and which each in turn can equally pass on to others in exchange for whatever he may want; + +That this commodity thus becomes a “medium of exchange and measure of value.” + +That a sale is the exchange of a commodity for this intermediate commodity which is called “money;” + +That many different commodities have at various times and places served as this medium of exchange—cattle, iron, salt, shells, dried cod, tobacco, sugar, nails, etc.; + +That gradually the metals, gold, silver, copper, and more especially the first two, came to be regarded as being by their inherent qualities more suitable for this purpose than any other commodities and these metals early became by common consent the only medium of exchange; + +That a certain fixed weight of one of these metals of a known fineness became a standard of value, and to guarantee this weight and quality it became incumbent on governments to issue pieces of metal stamped with their peculiar sign, the forging of which was punishable with severe penalties; + +That Emperors, Kings, Princes and their advisers, vied with each other in the middle ages in swindling the people by debasing their coins, so that those who thought that they were obtaining a certain weight of gold or silver for their produce were, in reality, getting less, and that this situation produced serious evils among which were a depreciation of the value of money and a consequent rise of prices in proportion as the coinage became more and more debased in quality or light in weight; + +That to economize the use of the metals and to prevent their constant transport a machinery called “credit” has grown up in modern days, by means of which, instead of handing over a certain weight of metal at each transaction, a promise to do so is given, which under favorable circumstances has the same value as the metal itself. Credit is called a substitute for gold. + +So universal is the belief in these theories among economists that they have grown to be considered almost as axiom which hardly require proof, and nothing is more noticeable in economic works than the scant historical evidence on which they rest, and the absence of critical examination of their worth. + +Broadly speaking these doctrines may be said. to rest on the word of Adam Smith, backed up by a few passages from Homer and Aristotle and the writings of travelers in primitive lands. But modern research in the domain of commercial history and numismatics, and especially recent discoveries in Babylonia, have brought to light a mass of evidence which was not available to the earlier economists, and in the light of which it may be positively stated that none of these theories rest on a solid basis of historical proof—that in fact they are false. + +To start, with Adam Smith’s error as to the two most generally quoted instances of the use of commodities as money in modern times, namely that of nails in a Scotch village and that of dried cod in Newfoundland, have already been exposed, the one in Playfair’s edition of the Wealth of Nations as long ago as 1805 and the other in an Essay on Currency and Banking by Thomas Smith, published in Philadelphia, in 1832; and it is curious how, in the face of the evidently correct explanation given by those authors, Adam Smith’s mistake has been perpetuated. In the Scotch village the dealers sold materials and food to the nail makers, and bought from them the finished nails the value of which was charged off against the debt. + +The use of money was as well known to the fishers who frequented the coasts and banks of Newfoundland as it is to us, but no metal currency was used simply because it was not wanted. In the early days of the Newfoundland fishing industry, there was no permanent European population; the fishers went there for the fishing season only, and those who were not fishers were traders who bought the dried fish and sold to the fishers their daily supplies. The latter sold their catch to the traders at the market price in pounds, shillings and pence, and obtained in return a credit on their books, with which they paid for their supplies. Balances due by the traders were paid for by drafts on England or France. A moment’s reflection shows that a staple commodity could not be used as money, because ex hypothesi, the medium of exchange is equally receivable by all members of the community. Thus if the fishers paid for their supplies in cod, the traders would equally have to pay for their cod in cod, an obvious absurdity. + +In both these instances in which Adam Smith believes that he has discovered a tangible currency, he has, in fact, merely found—credit. + +Then again as regards the various colonial laws, making corn, tobacco, etc., receivable in payment of debt and taxes, these commodities were never a medium of exchange in the economic sense of a commodity, in terms of which the value of all other things is measured. They were to be taken at their market price in money. Nor is there, as far as I know, any warrant for the assumption usually made that the commodities thus made receivable were a general medium of exchange in any sense of the words. The laws merely put into the hands of debtors a method of liberating themselves in case of necessity, in the absence of other more usual means. But it is not to be supposed that such a necessity was of frequent occurrence, except, perhaps in country districts far from a town and without easy means of communication. + +The misunderstanding that has arisen on this subject is due to the difficulty of realizing that the use of money does not necessarily imply the physical presence of a metallic currency, nor even the existence of a metallic standard of value. We are so accustomed to a system in which the dollar or the sovereign of a definite weight of gold corresponds to a dollar or a pound of money that we cannot easily believe that there could exist a pound without a sovereign or a dollar without a gold or silver dollar of a definite known weight. But throughout the whole range of history, not only is there no evidence of the existence of a metallic standard of value to which the commercial monetary denomination, the “money of account” as it is usually called, corresponds, but there is overwhelming evidence that there never was, a monetary unit which depended on the value of coin or on a weight of metal; that there never was, until quite modern days, any fixed relationship between the monetary unit and any metal; that, in fact, there never was such a thing as a metallic standard of value. It is impossible within the compass of an article like this to present the voluminous evidence on which this statement is based; all that can be done is to offer a summary of the writer’s conclusions drawn from a study extending over several years, referring the reader who wishes to pursue the subject further to the detailed work which the writer hopes before long to publish. + +The earliest known coins of the western world are those of ancient Greece, the oldest of which, belonging to the settlements on the coast of Asia Minor, date from the sixth or seventh centuries B. C. Some are of gold, some of silver, others are of bronze, while the oldest of all are of an alloy of the gold and silver, known as electrum. So numerous are the variations in size and weight of these coins that hardly any two are alike, and none bear any indication of value. Many learned writers, Barclay Head, Lenormant, Vazquez Queipo, Babelon, have essayed to classify these c6ins so as to discover the standard of value of the different Greek States; but the system adopted by each is different; the weights given by them are merely the mean weight calculated from a number of coins, the weights of which more or less approximate to that mean; and there are many coins which cannot be made to fit into any of the systems, while the weights of the supposed fractional coins do not correspond to those of the units in the system to which they are held to belong. As to the electrum coins, which are the oldest coins known to us, their composition varies in the most extraordinary way. While some contain more than 60 per cent of gold, others known to be of the same origin contain more than 60 per cent of silver, and between these extremes, there is every degree of alloy, so that they could not possibly have a fixed intrinsic value. All writers are agreed that the bronze coins of ancient Greece are tokens, the value of which does not depend on their weight. + +All that is definitely known is that, while the various Greek States used the same money denominations, stater, drachma, etc., the value of these units differed greatly in different States, and their relative value was not constant—in modern parlance the exchange between the different States varied at different periods. Then is, in fact, no historical evidence in ancient Greece on which a. theory of a metallic standard can be based. + +The ancient coins of Rome, unlike these of Greece, had their distinctive marks of value, and the most striking thing about them is the extreme irregularity of their weight. The oldest coins are the As and its fractions, and there has always been tradition that the As, which was divided into 12 ounces, was originally a pound-weight of copper. But the Roman pound weighed about 3271 grammes and Mommsen, the great historian of the Roman mint, pointed out that not only did none of the extant coins (and there were very many) approach this weight, but that they were besides heavily alloyed with lead; so that even the heaviest of them, which were also the earliest, did not contain more than two-thirds of a pound of copper, while the fractional coins were based on an As still lighter. As early as the third century B. C. the As had fallen to not more than four ounces and by the end of the second century B. C. it weighed no more than half an ounce or less. + +Within the last few years a new theory has been developed by Dr. Haeberlin, according to whom the original weight of the As was based not on the Roman pound but on what he, calls the “Oscan” pound, weighing only about 273 grammes, and he seeks to prove the theory by taking the average of a large number of coins of the different denominations. He certainly arrives at a mean weight pretty closely approximating his supposed standard, but let us look at the coins from which he obtains his averages. The Asses which ought to weigh a pound, vary in fact from 208 grammes to 312 grammes with every shade of weight between these two extremes. The Half-Asses, which ought to weigh 136.5 grammes weigh from 94 grammes to 173 grammes; the Thirds-of-an-As, which ought to weigh 91 grammes, weigh from 66 grammes to 113 grammes, and the Sixth-of-an-As, weigh from 32 grammes to 62 grammes, and so on for the rest. This, however, is not the only difficulty in accepting Haeberlin’s theory, which is inherently too improbable and rests on too scant historical evidence to be credible. An average standard based on coins showing such wide variations is inconceivable; though coins may and do circulate at a nominal rate greater than their intrinsic value as bullion they cannot circulate at a rate below their intrinsic value. They would, in this case, as later history abundantly proves, be at once melted and used as bullion, And what would be the use of a standard coin-weight which showed such extraordinary variations? What would be the use of a yard-measure which might be sometimes two foot six and sometimes three foot six, at the whim of the maker; or of a pint which might sometimes be but two-thirds of a pint and sometimes a pint and a half? + +I have not space here to go into the ingenious hypothesis by which Haeberlin explains the subsequent reduction of the As, at first to one-half the Oscan pound and then gradually sinking as time went on; both of our historians are agreed that from about B. C. 268 the copper coins were mere tokens and that both heavy and light coins circulated indiscriminately. + +Up to this time the As had been the fixed monetary unit, however much the coins may have varied; but from now on the situation is complicated by the introduction of several units or “monies of account,” which are used at the same time, [ 1 ] the Sesterce or Numus, represented by a silver coin identical in value with the old As Aeris Gravis or Libral As, as it was sometimes called; a new As worth two-fifths of the old As, and the Denarius worth ten of the new Asses and therefore four Libral Asses, and represented, like the Sesterce, by a silver coin. + +The coining of the Sesterce was soon abandoned and it only reappeared fitfully much later on as a token coin of bronze or brass. But as the official unit of account it continued till the reign of the Emperor Diocletian in the third century of our era, and we thus get the remarkable fact that for many hundreds of years the unit of account remained unaltered independently of the coinage which passed through many vicissitudes. + +As a general rule, though there were exceptions, the silver Denarii remained of good metal until the time of Nero who put about ten per cent of alloy in them. Under subsequent Emperors the amount of alloy constantly increased till the coins were either of copper with a small amount of silver, or were made of a copper core between two thin plates of silver, or were mere copper coins distinguishable from the other copper coins only by the devices stamped on them; but they continued to be called silver. + +Whether or not the silver Denarius was intrinsically worth its nominal value or not is a matter of speculation, but fifty years later, according to Mommeen, the legal value of the coin was one-third greater than its real value, and a gold coin was for the first time introduced rated at far above its intrinsic value. + +In spite of the degradation of the coin, however, the Denarius, as a money of account, maintained its primitive relation to the Sesterce, and it remained the unit long after the Sesterce had disappeared. Gold coins were but little used till the time of the Empire, and though, as a general rule, the quality of the metal remained good, the average weight, decreased as time went on, and the variations in their weight, even in the same reign, were quite as remarkable as in the others. For example in the reign of Aurelian the gold coins weighed from three-and-a-half grammes to nine grammes, and in that of Gallienus from four-fifths of a gramme to about six-and-three-quarters grammes, without any difference greater than half a gramme between any one coin and that nearest it in weight. + +There can hardly be stronger evidence than we here get that the monetary standard was a thing entirely apart from the weight of the coins or the material of which they were composed. These varied constantly, while the money unit remained the same for centuries. + +An important thing to remember in reference to Roman money is that, while the debased coins were undoubtedly tokens, there is no question of their representing a certain weight of gold or silver. The public had no right to obtain gold or silver in exchange for the coins. They were all equally legal tender, and it was an offense to refuse them; and there is good historical evidence to show that though the government endeavored to fix an official value for gold, it was only obtainable at a premium. + +The coins of ancient Gaul and Britain are very various both in types and in composition and as they were modelled on the coins in circulation in Greece, Sicily and Spain, it may be presumed that they were issued by foreign, probably Jewish, merchants, though some appear to have been issued by tribal chieftains. Anyhow, there was no metallic standard and though many of the coins are classed by collectors as gold or silver, owing to their being imitated from foreign gold or silver coins, the so-called, gold coins more often than not, contain but a small proportion of gold, and the silver coins but little silver. Gold, silver, lead and tin all enter into their composition. None of them bear any mark of value, so that their classification is pure guess-work, and there can be no reasonable doubt but that they were tokens. + +Under the Frankish Kings, who reigned for three hundred years (A. D. 457–751), the use of coins was much developed, and they are of great variety both as to type and alloy. The monetary unit was the Sol or Sou, and it is generally held that the coins represented either the Sou or the Triens, the third part of a Sou, though, for the purposes of accounts the Sou was divided into twelve Denarii. They are of all shades of alloy of gold with silver, from almost pure gold to almost pure silver, while some of the silver coins bear traces of gilding. They were issued by the kings themselves or various of their administrators, by ecclesiastical institutions, by the administrators of towns, castles, camps, or by merchants, bankers, jewellers, etc. There was, in fact, during the whole of this period, complete liberty of issuing coins without any form of official supervision. Throughout this time there was not a single law on the currency, and yet we do not hear of any confusion arising out of this liberty. + +There can be no doubt that all the coins were tokens and that the weight or composition was not regarded as a matter of importance. What was important was the name or distinguishing mark of the issuer, which is never absent. + +I have made this rapid survey of early coinages to show that from the beginning of the rise of the art of coining metal, there is no evidence of a metallic standard of value, but later history, especially that of France up to the Revolution, demonstrates with such singular clearness the fact that no such standard ever existed, that it may be said without exaggeration that no scientific theory has ever been put forward which was more completely lacking in foundation. If, in this article, I confine myself almost exclusively to French history, it is not that other histories contain anything which could disprove my contention–indeed all that is known to me of English, German, Italian, Mohammedan and Chinese history amply support it–but the characteristic phenomena of the monetary situation are strongly marked in France, and the old records contain more abundant evidence than seems to be the case in other countries. Moreover, French historians have devoted more attention to this branch of history than, so far as I know, those of other countries. We thus get from French history a peculiarly clear and connected account of the monetary unit and its connection with commerce on the one hand and the coinage on the other. But the principles of money and the methods of commerce are identical the world over, and whatever history we choose for our study, we shall be carried to the same conclusions. + +The modern monetary history of France may be held to date from the accession of the Carolingian dynasty at the end of the eighth century. The Sou and the Denarius or Denier its twelfth part, continued to be used for money computation, and there was added a larger denomination, the Livre, divided into twenty Sous, which became the highest unit, and these denominations subsisted right up to the Revolution in 1879. The English pound, divided into twenty, shillings and 240 pence corresponds to the Livre and its divisions, from which the British system seems to be derived. + +Le Blanc, the seventeenth century historian of the French coinage avers, and later authorities have followed him, that the livre of money was originally a pound-weight of silver, just as English historians have maintained that the English money pound was a pound of silver. He supports his contention by a few quotations, which do not necessarily bear the meaning he gives them, and there is no direct evidence in favor of the statement. In the first place there never was a coin equivalent to a livre, nor till long after Carolingian times was there one equivalent to a sou. [ 2 ] The only Royal coin at that time, so far as we know, was the denier, and its value, if it had a fixed value, is unknown. The word denier, when applied to coin, just as the English penny, frequently means merely a coin in general, without reference to its value, and coins of many different values were called by these names. Moreover, the deniers of that time vary in weight and to some extent in alloy, and we know positively from a contemporary document that the term livre as applied to a commercial weight, was not identified with any single weight but was merely the name of a unit which varied in different communities. The fact is that the wish to prove the identity between a livre of money and a livre of weight is father to the thought. We know nothing on the subject, and when some time later we do obtain a certain knowledge, the livre and the pound of money were by no means the equivalent of a livre or a pound weight of Silver. What we do know for certain is that the Sol and the Denier in France and the Shilling and the Penny in England were the units of account long before the Livre and the Pound carne into use, and could not have been related to a weight of silver. + +There are only two things which we know for certain about the Carolingian coins. The first is that the coinage brought a profit to the issuer. When a king granted a charter to one of his vassals to mint coins, it is expressly stated that he is granted that right with the profits and emoluments arising therefrom. The second thing is that there was considerable difficulty at different times in getting the public to accept the coins, and one of the kings devised a punishment to fit the crime of refusing one of his coins. The coin which had been refused was heated red-hot and pressed onto the forehead of the culprit, “the veins being uninjured so that the man shall not perish, but shall show his punishment to those who see him.” There can be no profit from minting coins of their full value in metal, but rather a loss, and it is impossible to think that such disagreeable punishments would have been necessary to force the public to accept such coins, so that it is practically certain that they must have been below their face value and therefore were tokens, just as were those of earlier days. It must be said, however, that there is evidence to show that the kings of this dynasty were careful both of the weight and the purity of their coins, and this fact has given color to the theory that their value depended on their weight and purity. We find, however, the same pride of accuracy with the Roman mints; and also in later days when the coinage was of base metal, the directions to the masters of the mints as to the weight, alloy and design were just as careful, although the value of the coin could not thereby be affected. Accuracy was important more to enable the public to distinguish between a true and a counterfeit coin than for any other reason. + +From the time of the rise of the Capetian dynasty in A. D. 987, our knowledge of the coinage and of other methods employed in making payments becomes constantly clearer. The researches of modern French historians have put into our possession a wealth of information, the knowledge of which is absolutely essential to a proper understanding of monetary problems, but which has unfortunately been ignored by economists, with the result that their statements are based on a false view of the historical facts, and it is only by a distortion of those facts that the belief in the existence of a metallic standard has been possible. Throughout the feudal period the right of coinage belonged not alone to the king but was also an appanage of feudal overlordship, so that in France there were beside the royal monies, eighty different coinages, issued by barons and ecclesiastics, each entirely independent of the other, and differing as to weights, denominations, alloys and types. There were, at the same time, more than twenty different monetary systems. Each system had as its unit the livre, with its subdivisions, the sol and the denier, but the value of the livre varied in different parts of the country and each different livre had its distinguishing title, such as livre parisis, livre tournois, livre estevenante, etc. And not only did the value of each one of these twenty or more livres differ from all the others, but the relationship between them varied from time to time. Thus the livre detern was in the first half of the thirteenth century worth approximately the same as the livre tournois; but in 1265 it was worth 1.4 of the tournois, in 1409 it was worth 1.5 of a tournois, and from 1531 till its disappearance, it was worth two tournois. At the beginning of the thirteenth century the livre tournois was worth 0.68 of a livre parisis, while fifty years later it was worth 0.8 of a parisis; i.e., five tournois equalled four parisis, at which rate they appear to have remained fixed. These two units were both in common use in official accounts. + +From the time of Hugues Capet down to that of Louis XIV (1638) almost the entire coinage was of base metal containing for the most part less than one-half of silver, and for at least two centuries previous to the accession of Saint Louis) in A. D. 1226, there was probably not a coin of good silver in the whole kingdom. + +We now come to the most characteristic feature of the finance or feudal France and the one which has apparently given rise to the unfounded accusations of historians regarding the debasement of the coinage. The coins were not marked with a face value, and were known by various names, such as Gros Toumois, Blanc A. la Couronne, Petit Parisis, etc. They were issued at arbitrary values, and when the king was in want of money, he “mua sa monnaie,” as the phrase was, that is to say, he decreed a reduction of the nominal value of the coins. This was a perfectly well recognized method of taxation acquiesced in by the people, who only complained when the process was repeated too often, just as they complained of any other system of taxation which the king abused. How this system of taxation worked will be explained later on. The important thing to bear in mind for the present is the fact—abundantly proved by modern researches—that the alterations in the value of the coins did not affect prices. + +Some kings, especially Philippe le Bel and Jean le Bon, whose constant wars kept their treasuries permanently depleted, were perpetually “crying down” the coinage, in this way and issuing new coins of different types, which in their turn were cried down, till the system became a serious abuse. Under these circumstances the coins had no stable value, and they were bought and sold at market prices which sometimes fluctuated daily, and generally with great frequency. The coins were always issued at a nominal value in excess of their intrinsic value, and the amount of the excess constantly varied. The nominal value of the gold coins bore no fixed ratio to that of the silver coins, so that historians who have tried to calculate the ratio subsisting between gold and silver have been led to surprising results; sometimes the ratio being 14 or 15 to 1 or more, and at other times the value of the gold apparently being hardly if at all superior to that of silver. + +The fact is that the official values were purely arbitrary and had nothing to do with the intrinsic value of the coins. Indeed when the kings desired to reduce their coins to the least possible nominal value they edicts that they should only be taken at their bullion value. At times there were so many edicts in force referring to changes in the value of the coins, that none but an expert could tell what the values of the various coins of different issues were, and they became a highly speculative commodity. The monetary units, the livre, sol and denier, are perfectly distinct from the coins and the variations in the value of the latter did not affect the former, though, as will be seen, the circumstances which led up to the abuse of the system of “mutations” caused the depreciation of the monetary unit. + +But the general idea that the kings wilfully debased their coinage, in the sense of reducing their weight and fineness is without foundation. On the contrary towards the end of the thirteenth century, the feeling grew up that financial stability depended somehow on the uniformity of the coinage, and this idea took firm root after the publication of a treatise by one Nicole Oresme (famous in his time), written to prove the importance of a properly adjusted system of coinage issued if not at its intrinsic value, at least at a rate not greatly exceeding that value, the gold and silver coins each in their proper ratio; and he attached especial importance to their maintenance at a fixed price. + +The reign of Saint Louis (1226–1270), a wise and prudent financier, had been a time of great prosperity, and amid the trouble of succeeding reigns, the purchasing power of money decreased with extraordinary rapidity. The money had, as people said, become “faible,” and they clamored for the “forte monnaie” of the regretted Saint Louis. The price of silver as paid by the mints, rose greatly, and with every new issue of money the coins had to be rated higher than before; and the Advisers of the Kings, influenced, no doubt, by the teaching of Oresme, believed that in the rise of the price of silver lay the real secret of the rise of prices in general. When, therefore, the prevailing distress could no longer be ignored, attempts were made from time to time to bring back “forte monnaie,” by officially reducing the price of silver and by issuing new coins at a lower rating compared with the amount of silver in them, and by lowering the nominal value of the existing coins in like proportion. + +But prices still moved upwards, and a “cours volontaire,” a voluntaryrating, was given by the public to the coins, above their official value. In vain Kings expressed their royal displeasure in edicts which declared that they had re-introduced “forte monnaie” and in which they peremptorily commanded that prices in the markets should be reduced and that their coins should only circulate at their official value. The disobedient merchants were threatened with severe penalties; but the more the kings threatened, the worse became the confusion. The markets were deserted. + +Impotent to carry out their well-meant but mistaken measures, the kings had to cancel their edicts, or to acquiesce in their remaining a dead letter. + +The most famous of these attempts to return to “forte monnaie,” by means of a reduction of the price of silver, was that introduced by Charles the Fifth, the pupil in financial matters, of Nicole Oresme. With the most praiseworthy obstinancy he stuck to his point, persuaded that he could force the recalcitrant metals to return to their old prices. As the coins disappeared from circulation, owing to their bullion value being higher than their nominal value, the Icing manfully sacrificed his silver plate to the mint as well as that of his subjects, and persuaded the Pope to excommunicate the neighboring princes who counterfeited his coins, or at least manufactured coins of less value for circulation in France. He kept up the struggle for the sixteen years of his reign, but the attempt was a failure and was abandoned at his death amid the rejoicing of the people. It is a curious [ 3 ] fact that it was generally the attempts at reform of the currency that raised the greatest protests of the people. Indeed one such attempt was the cause of the outbreak of a serious revolt in Paris, which had to be supressed with great rigor. + +The system of wilful “mutations” of the money, for the purpose of taxation, was not confined to France, but was common throughout Germany, while the other phenomena which we meet with in the French currency are present in all the great commercial countries and cities. The issue of coins at an arbitrary value above their intrinsic value; the want of stability in their value; the strenuous endeavors of the governments to prevent by law the rise of the price of the precious metals and to stop the people from giving a price of their own to the coins higher or lower than those fixed by the government; the failure of these attempts; the endeavor to prevent the circulation of foreign coins lighter for their value than the local money; the belief that there was some secret evil agency at work to confound the good intentions of the government and to cause the mysterious disappearance of the good coins issued by the government, so that there was always a dearth of money; the futile search for the evil doers, and equally futile watch kept on the ports to prevent the export of coins or bullion, the history not only of France, but of England, the German States, Hamburg, Amsterdam and Venice is full of such incidents. In all these countries and cities, the monetary unit was distinct from the coins, (even when they bore the same name,) and the latter varied in terms of the former independently of any legislation, in accordance possibly with the apparently ceaseless fluctuations in the price of the precious metals. In Amsterdam and in Hamburg in the eighteenth century, an exchange list was published at short intervals, and affixed in the Bourse, giving the current value of the coins in circulation in the City, both foreign and domestic, in terms of the monetary unit—the Florin in Amsterdam and the Thaler in Hamburg, both of them purely imaginary units. The value of these coins fluctuated almost daily, nor did their value depend solely on their weight and fineness. Coins of similar weight and fineness circulated at different prices, according to the country to which they belonged. + +It must be remembered that, until recent years there was no idea that in France or England there was one standard coin, all the others being subsidiary tokens representing a certain part of the standard. Quite the contrary; all were equally good or bad, all were equally good tender according to the law. Just as in Roman times, there was no obligation to give gold or silver for the over-valued coins, and none was ever given. The only reason why the intrinsic value of some of the coins ever equalled or exceeded their nominal value was because of the constant rise of the price of precious metals, or (what produced the same result) the continuous fall in the value of the monetary unit. + +Though it would be hard to imagine a greater contrast than that between the condition of feudal France and that of North America in the eighteenth century, yet it is interesting to observe the close analogy in some respects between the monetary situation in olden France and that of the new world in colonial days and in the early days of the United States. There the Pound behaved just as the Livre had done in France. It was the monetary unit in all the colonies and subsequently for a time in all the States, but its value was not everywhere the same. Thus in 1782 the silver dollar was worth five shillings in Georgia, eight shillings in New York, six shillings in the New England States, and thirty-two shillings and sixpence in South Carolina. + +But there were no coins bearing a fixed relation to any of these various pounds and, in consequence, when Alexander Hamilton wrote his report on the establishment of a mint, he declared that, while it was easy to state what was the unit of account, it was “not equally easy to pronounce what is considered as the unit in the coins.” There being, as he said, no formal regulation on the point it could only be inferred from usage; and he came to the conclusion that on the whole the coin best entitled to the character of the unit was the Spanish dollar. But the arguments which he gave in favor of the dollar lost, as he himself said, much of their weight owing to the fact that “that species of coin has never had any settled or standard value according to weight or fineness; but has been permitted to circulate by tale without regard to either.” Embarrassed by this circumstance, and finding in fact that gold was the less fluctuating metal of the two, Hamilton had difficulty in deciding to which of the precious metals the monetary unit of the United States should in future be “annexed” and he finally concluded to give the preference to neither, but to establish a bi-metallic system, which, however, in practice was found to be unsuccessful. + +One of the popular fallacies in connection with commerce is that in modern days a money-saving device has been introduced called credit and that, before this device was known, all, purchases were paid for in cash, in other words in coins. A careful investigation shows that the precise reverse is true. In olden days coins played a far smaller part in commerce than they do to-day. Indeed so small was the quantity of coins, that they did not even suffice for the needs of the Royal household and estates which regularly used tokens of various kinds for the purpose of making small payments. So unimportant indeed was the coinage that sometimes Kings did not hesitate to call it all in for re-minting and re-issue and still commerce went on just the same. + +The modern practice of selling coins to the public seems to have been quite unknown in old days. The metal was bought by the Mint and the coins were issued by the King in payment of the expenses of the Government, largely I gather from contemporary documents, for the payment of the King’s soldiers. One of the most difficult things to understand is the extraordinary differences in the price which was paid for the precious metal by the French Mint, even on the same day. The fact that the price often, if not always, bore no relation to the market value of the metal has been remarked on by writers; but there is nothing in any record to show on what it was based. The probable explanation is that the purchase and sale of gold and silver was in the hands of a very few great bankers who were large creditors of the Treasury and the purchase of the metals by the Mint involved a financial transaction by which part payment of the debt was made in the guise of an exorbitant price for the metal. + +From long before the fourteenth century in England and France (and I think, in all countries), there were in common use large quantities of private metal tokens against which the governments made constant war with little success. It was not indeed till well on in the nineteenth century that their use was suppressed in England and the United States. We are so accustomed to our present system of a government monopoly of coinage, that we have come to regard it as one of the prime functions of government, and we firmly hold the doctrine that some catastrophe would occur if this monopoly were not maintained. History does not bear out this contention; and the reasons which led the medieval governments to make repeated attempts to establish their monopoly was in France at any rate not altogether parental care for the good of their subjects, but partly because they hoped by suppressing private tokens which were convenient and seemed generally (though not always) to have enjoyed the full confidence of the public, that the people would be forced by the necessity of having some instrument for retail commerce to make more general use of the government coins which from frequent “mutations” were not always popular, and partly because it was believed that the circulation of a large quantity of base tokens somehow tended to raise the price of the precious metals, or rather, perhaps, to lower the value of the coinage; just as economists to-day teach that the value of our token coinage is only maintained by strictly limiting its output. +The reason why in modern days the use of private tokens has disappeared is more due to natural causes, than to the more efficient enforcement of the law. Owing to improved finance coins have acquired a stability they used not to have, and the public has come to have confidence in them. Owing to the enormous growth of government initiative these tokens have come to have a circulation which no private tokens could enjoy, and they have thus supplanted the latter in the public estimation, and those who want tokens for small amounts are content to buy them from the government. + +Now if it is true that coins had no stable value, that for centuries at a time there was no gold or silver coinage, but only coins of base metal of various alloys, that changes in the coinage did not affect prices, that the coinage never played any considerable part in commerce, that the monetary unit was distinct from the coinage and that the price of gold and silver fluctuated constantly in terms of that unit (and these propositions are so abundantly proved by historical evidence that there is no doubt of their truth), then it is clear that the precious metals could not have been a standard of value nor could they have been the medium of exchange. That is to say that the theory that a sale is the exchange of a commodity for a definite weight of a universally acceptable metal will not bear investigation, and ive must seek for another explanation of the nature of a sale and purchase and of the nature of money, which undoubtedly is the thing for which the commodities are exchange. + +If we assume that in pre-historic ages, man lived by barter, what is the development that would naturally have taken place, whereby he grew to his present knowledge of the methods of commerce? The situation is thus explained by Adam Smith: + +> But when the division of labor first began to take place, this power of exchanging must frequently have been very much clogged and embarrassed in its operations. One man, we shall suppose, has more of a certain commodity than, he himself has occasion for, while another has less. The former consequently would be glad to dispose of, and the latter to purchase, a part of this superfluity. But if this latter should chance to have nothing that for former stands in need of, no exchange can be made between them. The butcher has more meat in his shop than he himself can consume, and the brewer and the baker would each of them be willing to purchase a part of it. But they have nothing to offer in exchange, except the different productions of their respective trades, and the butcher is already provided with all the bread and beer which he has immediate occasion for. No change can in this case be made between them. He cannot offer to be their merchant nor they his customers; and they are all of them thus mutually less serviceable to one another. In order to avoid the inconveniency of such situations, every prudent man in every period of society, after the first establishment of the division of labor, must naturally have endeavored to manage his affairs in such a manner, as to have at all times by him, besides the peculiar produce of his own industry, a certain quantity of some one commodity or other, such as, he imagined that few people would be likely to refuse in exchange for the produce of their industry. + +Many different commodites, it is probable, were successively both thought of and employed for this purpose. . . . . . . . . . In all countries, however, men seem at last to have been determined by irresistible reasons to give the preference, for this employment, to metals above every other commodity. + +Adam Smith’s position depends on the truth of the proposition that, if the baker or the brewer wants meat from the butcher, but has (the latter being sufficiently provided with bread and beer) nothing to offer in exchange, no exchange can be made between them. If this were true, the doctrine of a medium of exchange would, perhaps, be correct. But is it true? + +Assuming the baker and the brewer to be honest men, and honesty is no modern virtue, the butcher could take from them an acknowledgment that they had bought from him so much meat, and all we have to assume is that the community would recognize the obligation of the baker and the brewer to redeem these acknowledgments in bread or beer at the relative values current in the village market, whenever they might be presented to them, and we at once have a good and sufficient currency. A sale, according to this theory, is not the exchange of a commodity for some intermediate commodity called the “medium of exchange,” but the exchange of a commodity for a credit. + +There is absolutely no reason for assuming the existence of so clumsy a device as a medium of exchange when so simple a system would do all that was required. What we have to prove is not a strange general agreement to accept gold and silver, but a general sense of the sanctity of an obligation. In other words, the present theory is based on the antiquity of the law of debt. + +We are here fortunately on solid historical ground. From the earliest days of which we have historical records, we are in the presence of a law of debt, and when we shall find, as we surely shall, records of ages still earlier than that of the great king Hamurabi, who compiled his code of the laws of Babylonia 2000 years B. C., we shall, I doubt not, still find traces of the same law. The sanctity of an obligation is, indeed, the foundation of all societies not only in all times, but at all stages of civilization; and the idea that to those whom, we are accustomed to call savages, credit is unknown and only barter is used, is without foundation. From the merchant of China to the Redskin of America; from the Arab of the desert to the Hottentot of South Africa or the Maori of New Zealand, debts and credits are equally familiar to all, and the breaking of the pledged word, or the refusal to carry put an obligation is held equally disgraceful. + +It is here necessary to explain the primitive and the only true commercial or economic meaning of the word “credit.” It is simply the correlative of debt. What A owes to B is A’s debt to B and B’s credit on A. A is B’s debtor and B is A’s creditor. The words “credit” and “debt” express a legal relationship between two parties, and they express the same legal relationship seen from two opposite sides. A will speak of this relationship as a debt, while B will speak of it as a credit. As I shall have frequent occasion to use these two words, it is necessary that the reader should familiarize himself with this conception which, though simple enough to the banker or financial expert, is apt to be confusing to the ordinary reader, owing to the many derivative meanings which are with the word “credit.” Whether, therefore, in the following pages, the word credit or debt is used, the thing spoken of is precisely the same in both cases, the one or the other word being used according as the situation is being looked at from the point of view of the creditor or of the debtor. + +A first class credit is the most valuable kind of property. Having no corporeal existence, it has no weight and takes no room. It can easily be transferred, often without any formality whatever. It is movable at will from place to place by a simple order with nothing but the cost of a letter or a telegram. It can be immediately used to supply any material want, and it can be guarded against destruction and theft at little expense. It is the most easily handled of all forms of property and is one of the most permanent. It lives with the debtor and shares his fortunes, and when he dies, it passes to the heirs of his estate. As long as the estate exists, the obligation continues, [ 4 ] and under favorable circumstances and in a healthy state of commerce there seems to be no reason why it should ever suffer deterioration. + +Credit is the purchasing power so often mentioned in economic works as being one of the principal attributes of money, and, as I shall try to show, credit and credit alone is money. Credit and not gold or silver is the one property which all men seek, the acquisition of which is the aim and object of all commerce. + +The word “credit” is generally technically defined as being the right to demand and sue for payment of a debt, and this no doubt is the legal aspect of a credit today; while we are so accustomed to paying a multitude of small purchases in coin that we have come to adopt the idea, fostered by the laws of legal tender, that the right to payment of a debt means the right to payment in coin or its equivalent. And further, owing to our modern systems of coinage, we have been led to the notion that payment in coin means payment in a certain weight of gold. + +Before we can understand the principles of commerce we must wholly divest our minds of this false idea. The root meaning of the verb “to pay “is: that of “to appease,” “to pacify,” “to satisfy,” and while a debtor must be in a position to satisfy his creditor, the really important characteristic of a credit is not the right which it gives to “payment” of a debt, but the right that it confers on the holder to liberate himself from debt by its means—a right recognized by all societies. By buying we become debtors and by selling we become creditors, and being all both buyers and sellers we are all debtors and creditors. As debtor we can compel our creditor to cancel our obligation to him by handing to him his own acknowledgment of a debt to an equivalent amount which he, in his turn, has incurred. For example, A having bought goods from B to the value of $100, is B’s debtor for that amount. A can rid himself of his obligation to B by selling to C goods of an equivalent value and taking from him in payment an acknowledgment of debt which he (C, that is to say) has received from B. By presenting this acknowledgment to B, A can compel him to cancel the debt due to him. A has used the credit which he has procured to release himself from his debt. It is his privilege. + +This is the primitive law of commerce. The constant creation of credits and debts, and their extinction by being canceled against one another, forms the whole mechanism of commerce and it is to simple that there is no one who cannot understand it. + +Credit and debt have nothing and never have had anything to do with gold and silver. There is not and there never has been, so far as I am aware, a law compelling a debtor to pay his debt in gold or silver, or in any other commodity; nor so far as I know, has there ever been a law compelling a creditor to receive payment of a debt in gold or silver bullion, and the instances in colonial days of legislation compelling creditors to accept payment in tobacco and other commodities were exceptional and due to the stress of peculiar circumstances. Legislatures may of course, and do, use their sovereign power to prescribe a particular method by which debts may be paid, but we must be chary of accepting statute laws on currency, coinage or legal tender, as illustrations of the principles of commerce. + +The value of a credit depends not on the existence of any gold or silver or other property behind it, but solely on the “solvency” of the debtor, and that depends solely on whether, when the debt becomes due, he in his turn has sufficient credits on others to set off against his debts. If the debtor neither possesses nor can acquire credits which can be offset against his debts, then the possession of those debts is of no value to the creditors who own them. It is by selling, I repeat, and by selling alone—whether it be by the sale of property or the sale of the use of our talents or of our land—that we acquire the credits by which we liberate ourselves from debt, and it is by his selling power that a prudent banker estimates his client’s value as a debtor. + +Debts due at a certain moment can only be cancelled by being offset against credits which become available at that moment; that is to say that a creditor cannot be compelled to accept in payment of a debt due to him an acknowledgment of indebtedness which he himself has given and which only falls due at a later time. Hence it follows that a man is only solvent if he has immediately available credits at least equal to the amount of his debts immediately due and presented for payment. If, therefore, the sum of his immediate debts exceeds the sum of his immediate credits, the real value of these debts to his creditors will fall to an amount which will make them equal to the amount of his credits. This is one of the most important principles of commerce. + +Another important point to remember is that when a seller has delivered the commodity bought and has accepted an acknowledgment of debt from the purchaser, the transaction is complete, the payment of the purchase is final; and the new relationship which arises between the seller and the purchaser, the creditor and the debtor, is distinct from the sale and purchase. + +For many centuries, how many we do not know, the principal instrument of commerce was neither the coin nor the private token, but the tally, [ 5 ] (Lat. talea. Fr. taille. Ger. Kerbholz), a stick of squared hazel-wood, notched in a certain, manner to indicate the amount of the purchase or, debt. The name of the debtor and the date of the transaction were written on two opposite sides of the stick, which was then split down the middle in such a way that the notches were cut in half, and the name and date appeared on both pieces of the tally. The split was stopped by a cross-cut about an inch from the base of the stick, so that one of the pieces was shorter than the other. One piece, called the “stock,” [ 6 ] was issued to the seller or creditor, while the other, called the “stub” or “counter-stock,” was kept by the buyer or debtor. Both halves were thus a complete record of the credit and debt and the debtor was protected by his stub from the fraudulent imitation of or tampering with his tally. + +The labors of modern archaeologists have brought to light numbers of objects of extreme antiquity, which may with confidence be pronounced to be ancient tallies, or instruments of a precisely similar nature; so that we can hardly doubt that commerce from the most primitive times was carried on by means of credit, and not with any “medium of exchange.” + +In the treasure hoards of Italy there have been found many pieces of copper generally heavily alloyed with iron. The earliest of these, which date from between 1000 and 2000 years B. C., a thousand years before the introduction of coins, are called aes rude and are either shapeless ingots or are cast into circular discs or oblong cakes. The later pieces, called aes signatum, are all cast into cakes or tablets and bear various devices. These pieces of metal are known to have been used as money, and their use was continued some considerable time after the introduction of coins. + +The characteristic thing about the, aes rude and the aes signatum is that, with rare exceptions, all of the pieces have been purposely broken at the time of manufacture while the metal was still hot and brittle or “short,” as it is technically called. A chisel was placed on the metal and struck a light blow. The chisel was then removed and the metal was easily broken through with a hammer blow, one piece being usually much smaller than the other. There can be no reasonable doubt but that these were ancient tallies, the broken metal affording the debtor the same protection as did the split hazel stick in later days. + +The condition of the early Roman coinage shows that the practice of breaking off a piece of the coins—thus amply proving their token character—was common down to the time when the casting of the coins was superseded by the more perfect method of striking them. + +In Taranto, the ancient Greek colony of Tarentum, a hoard has lately been found in which were a number of cakes of silver (whether pure or base metal is not stated), stamped with a mark similar to that found on early Greek coins. All of them have a piece purposely broken off. There were also found thin discs, with pieces cut or torn off so as to leave an irregularly serrated edge. + +In hoards in Germany, a few bars of an alloy of silver have been found, of the same age as the Italian copper cakes. While some of these are whole, others have a piece hacked off one end. + +Among recent discoveries in ancient Babylonia, far the most common commercial documents which have been found are what are called “contract tablets” or “shuhati tablets”—the word shubati, which is present on nearly all of them, meaning “received.” These tablets, the oldest of which were in use from 2000 to 3000 years B. C. are of baked or sun-dried clay, resembling in shape and size the ordinary cake of toilet soap, and very similar to the Italian copper cakes. The greater number are simple records of transactions in terms of “she,” which is understood by archaeologists to be grain of some sort. + +They bear the following indications:— + +The quantity of grain. + +The word “shubati” or received. + +The name of the person from whom received. + +The name of the person by whom received. + +The date. + +The seal of the receiver or, when the King is the receiver, that of his “scribe” or “servant.” + +From the frequency with which these tablets have been met with, from the durability of the material of which they are made, from the care with which they were preserved in temples which are known to have served as banks, and more especially from the nature of the inscriptions, it may be judged that they correspond to the medieval tally and to the modern bill of exchange; that is to say, that they are simple acknowledgments of indebtedness given to the seller by the buyer in payment of a purchase, and that they were the common instrument of commerce. + +But perhaps a still more convincing proof of their nature is to be found in the fact that some of the tablets are entirely enclosed in tight-fitting clay envelopes or “cases,” as they are called, which have to be broken off before the tablet itself can be inspected. On these “case tablets,” they are called, the inscription is found on the case, and it is repeated on the inclosed tablet, with two notable omissions. The name and seal of the receiver are not found inside. It is self-evident that the repetition of the essential features of the transaction on the inner tablet which could only be touched by destroying the case, was, just as in the other instances, for the protection of the debtor against the danger of his tablet being fraudulently tampered with, if it fell into dishonest hands. The particular significance of these “case tablets” lies in the fact that they were obviously not intended as mere records to remain in the possession of the debtor, but that they were signed and sealed documents, and were issued to the creditor, and no doubt passed from hand to hand like tallies and bills of exchange. When the debt was paid, we are told that it was customary to break the tablet. + +We know, of course, hardly anything about the commerce of those far-off days, but what we do know is, that great commerce was carried on and that the transfer of credit from hand to hand and from place to place was as well known to the Babylonians as it is to us. We have the accounts of great merchant or banking firms taking part in state finance and state tax collection, just as the great Genoese and Florentine bankers did in the middle ages, and as our banks do to-day. + +In China, also, in times as remote as those of the Babylonian Empire, we find banks and instruments of credit long before any coins existed, and throughout practically the whole of Chinese history, so far as I have been able to learn, the coins have always been mere tokens. + +There is no question but that credit is far older than cash. + +From this excursion into the history of far remote ages, I now return to the consideration of business methods in days nearer to our own, and yet extending far enough back to convince the most sceptical reader of the antiquity of credit. + +Tallies were transferable, negotiable instruments, just like bills of exchange, bank-notes or coins. Private tokens (in England and the American colonies, at least) were chiefly used for quite small sums—a penny or a half-penny—and were issued by tradesmen and merchants of all kinds. As a general statement it is true to say that all commerce was for many centuries carried on entirely with tallies. By their means all purchases of goods, all loans of money were made, and all debts cleared. + +The clearing houses of old were the great periodical fairs, whither went merchants great and small, bringing with them their tallies, to settle their mutual debts and credits. “Justiciaries” were set over the fairs to bear and, determine all commercial disputes, and to “prove the tallies according to the commercial law, if the plaintiff desires this.” The greatest of these fairs in England was that of St. Giles in Winchester, while the most famous probably in all Europe were those of Champagne and Brie in France, to which came merchants and bankers from all countries. Exchange booths were established and debts and credits were cleared to enormous amounts without the use of a single coin. + +The origin of the fairs of which I have spoken is lost in the mists of Antiquity. Most of the charters of which we have record, granting to feudal lords the right to hold a fair, stipulate for the maintenance of the ancient customs of the fairs, thus showing that they dated from before the charter which merely legalized the position of the lord or granted him a monopoly. So important were these fairs that the person and property of merchants traveling to them was everywhere held sacred. During war, safe conducts were granted to them by the princes through whose territory they had to pass and severe punishment was inflicted for violence offered to them on the road. It was a very general practice in drawing up contracts, to make debts payable at one or other of the fairs, and the general clearance at which the debts were paid was called the pagamentum. Nor was the custom of holding fairs confined to medieval Europe. They were held in ancient Greece under the name of panegyris and in Rome they were called nundinae, a name which in the middle ages was also frequently used. They are known to have been held in Mesopotamia and in India. In Mexico they are recorded by the historians of the conquest, and not many years ago at the fairs of Egypt, customs might have been seen which were known to Herodotus. + +At some fairs no other business was done except the settlement of debts and credits, but in most a brisk retail trade was carried on. Little by little as governments developed their postal systems and powerful banking corporations grew up, the value of fairs as clearing houses dwindled, and they ceased to be frequented for that purpose, long remaining as nothing but festive gatherings until at last there linger but few, and those a mere shadow of their golden greatness. + +The relation between religion and finance is significant. It is in the temples of Babylonia that most if not all of the commercial documents have been found. The temple of Jerusalem was in part a financial or banking institution, so also was the temple of Apollo at Delphi. The fairs of Europe were held in front of the churches, and were called by the names of the Saints, on or around whose festival they were held. In Amsterdam the Bourse, was established in front of or, in bad weather, in one of the churches. + +They were a strange jumble, these old fairs, of finance and trading and religion and orgy, the latter often being inextricably mixed up with the church ceremonies to the no small scandal of devout priests, alarmed lest the wrath of the Saint should be visited on the community for the shocking desecration of his holy name. + +There is little doubt to my mind that the religious festival and the settlement of debts were the origin of all fairs and that the commerce which was there carried on was a later development. If this is true, the connection between religion and the payment of debts is an additional indication if any were needed, of the extreme antiquity of credit. + +The method by which governments carry on their finance by means of debts and credits is particularly interesting. Just like any private individual, the government pays by giving acknowledgments of indebtedness—drafts on the Royal Treasury, or on some other branch of the government or on the government bank. This is well seen in medieval England, where the regular method used by the government for paying a creditor was by “raising a tally “on the Customs or on some other revenue- getting department, that is to say by giving to the creditor as an acknowledgment of indebtedness a wooden tally. The Exchequer accounts are full of entries such as the following—”To Thomas de Bello Campo, Earl of Warwick, by divers tallies raised this day, containing 500 marks delivered to the same Earl.” “To. . . . . by one tally raised this day in the name of the Collectors of the small customs in the Port of London containing £40.” The system was not finally abandoned till the beginnining of the nineteenth century. + +I have already explained how such acknowledgments acquire a value in the case of private persons. We are all engaged in buying and selling, we manufacture commodities for sale, we cultivate the ground and sell the produce, we sell the labor of our hands or the work of our intelligence or the use of our property, and the only way in which we can be paid for the services we thus render is uy receiving back from our purchasers the tallies which we ourselves have given in payment of like services which we have received from others. + +But a government produces nothing for sale, and owns little or no property; of what value, then, are these tallies to the creditors of the government? They acquire their value in this way. The government by law obliges certain selected persons to become its debtors. It declares that so-and-so, who imports goods from abroad, shall owe the government so much on all that her imports, or that so-and-so, who owns land, shall owe to the government so much per acre. This procedure is called levying a tax, and the persons thus forced into the position of debtors to the government must in theory seek out the holders of the tallies or other instrument acknowledging a debt due by the government, and acquire from them the tallies by selling to them some commodity or in doing them some service, in exchange for which they may be induced to part with their tallies. When these are returned to the government treasury, the taxes are paid. How literally true this is can be seen by examining the accounts of the sheriffs in England in olden days. They were the collectors of inland taxes, and had to bring their revenues to London periodically. The bulk of their collections always consisted of exchequer tallies, and though, of course, there was often a certain quantity of coin, just as often there was one at all, the whole consisting of tallies. + +The general belief that the Exchequer was a place where gold or silver was received, stored and paid out is wholly false. Practically the entire business of the English Exchequer consisted in the issuing and receiving of tallies, in comparing the tallies and the counter-tallies, the stock and the stub, as the two parts of the tally were popularly called, in keeping the accounts of the government debtors and creditors, and in cancelling the tallies when returned to the Exchequer. It was, in fact, the great clearing house for government credits and debts. + +We can now understand the effect of the “mutations de la monnaie,” which I have mentioned as being one of the financial expedients of medieval French kings. The coins which they issued were tokens of indebtedness with which they made small payments, such as the daily wages of their soldiers and sailors. When they arbitrarily reduced the official value of their tokens, they reduced by so much the value of the credits on the government which the holders of the coins possessed. It was simply a rough and ready method of taxation, which, being spread over a large number of people, was not an unfair one, provided that it was not abused. + +Taxpayers in olden days did not, of course, have in fact to search out the owners of the tallies any more than to have to-day to seek for the holders of drafts on the Bank of England. This was done through the bankers, who from the earliest days of history were always the financial agents of the governments. In Babylon it was the Sons of Egibi and the Sons of Marashu, in medieval Europe it was the Jewish and Florentine and Genoese bankers whose names figure in history. + +There can be little doubt that banking was brought to Europe by the Jews of Babylonia, who spread over the Greek Colonies of the Asiatic, coast settled on the Grecian mainland and in the coast towns of northern Africa long before the Christian era. Westward they travelled and established themselves in the cities of Italy, Gaul and Spain either before or soon after the Christian era, and, though historians believe that they did not reach Britain till the time of the Roman conquest it appears to me highly probable that the Jews of Gaul had their agents in the English coast towns over against Gaul, and that the early British coins were chiefly their work. + +The monetary unit is merely an arbitrary denomination, by which commodities are measured in terms of credit, and which serves, therefore, as a more or less accurate measure of the value of all commodities. Pounds, shillings and pence are merely the a, b, c, of algebra, where a = 20, b = 240c. What was the origin of the terms now in use is known. It may be that they once stood for a certain quantity or weight of some commodity. If it is so, it would make no difference to the fact that they do not now and have not for countless generations represented any commodity. Let us assume that the unit did once represent a commodity. Let us assume, for example, that in the beginning of things, some merchant thought fit to keep his customers’ accounts in terms of a certain weight of silver called a shekel, a term much used in antiquity. Silver was, of course, a commodity like any other; there was no law of legal tender, and no one was entitled to pay his debts in silver, any more than any one was obliged to accept payment of his credits in silver. Debts and credits were set off against one another as they are to-day. Let us assume that a hundred bushels of corn and a shekel of silver were of the same value. Then so long as the price of the two did not vary, all would be well; a man bringing to the, merchant a shekel’s weight of silver or a hundred bushels of corn would equally receive in his books a credit of one shekel. But supposing that for some reason, the value of silver fell, so that a hundred bushels of com would now exchange not for a shekel of silver but for a shekel and a tenth. What would then happen? Would all the creditors of the merchant suddenly lose because their credit was written down as shekels of silver, and the debtors of the merchant gain in the same proportion, although their transactions may have had nothing whatever to do with silver? Obviously not; it is hardly likely that the creditors would agree to lose a tenth of their money merely bemuse the merchant had found it convenient to keep their accounts in shekel. This is what would happen: The owner of a shekel of silver, the price of which had fallen, would be informed by the merchant that silver had gone to a discount, and that in future he would only receive nine-tenths of a shekel of credit for each shekel of silver. A shekel of credit and a shekel weight of silver would no longer be the same; a monetary unit called a shekel would have arisen having no fixed relation to the weight of the metal the name of which it bore, and the debts and credits of the merchants and his customers would be unaffected by the change of the value of silver. A recent author gives an example of this when he mentions a case of accounts being kept in beaver-skins. The beaver-skin of account remained fixed, and was equivalent to two shillings, while the real skin varied in value, one real skin being worth several imaginary skins of account. + +All our modern legislation fixing the price of gold is merely a survival of the late-medieval theory that the disastrous variability of the monetary unit had some mysterious connection with the price of the precious metals, and that, if only that price could be controlled and made invariable, the monetary unit also would remain fixed. It is hard for us to realize the situation of those times. The people often saw the prices of the necessaries of life rise with great rapidity, so that from day to day no one knew what his income might be worth in commodities. At the same time, they saw the precious metals rising, and coins made of a high grade of gold or silver going to a premium, while those that circulated at their former value were reduced in weight by clipping. They saw an evident connection between these phenomena, and very naturally attributed the fall in the value of money to the rise of the value of the metals and the consequent deplorable condition of the coinage. They mistook effect for cause, and we have inherited their error. Many attempts were made to regulate the price of the precious metals, but until the nineteenth century, always unsuccessfully. + +The great cause of the monetary perturbations of the middle ages were not the rise of the, price of the precious metals, but the fall of the value of the credit unit, owing to the ravages of war, pestilence and famine. We can hardly realize to-day the appalling condition to which these three causes reduced Europe time after time. An historian thus describes the condition of France in, the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries: + +> The ravages of, an English army on a hostile soil were terrible, the ravages of the French troops in their own country were not less terrible, the ravages of roving bands of half-disciplined soldiers, who were almost robbers by instinct, were still more terrible, and behind all these, more terrible, if possible, than the English or French armies, or the “free companies,” were the gangs of criminals let loose from prison to do all kinds of villainy, and the bands of infuriated peasants robbed of their homes, who sallied forth from the woods or caves which had sheltered them and burnt up what in their hasty marches the troops had left undestroyed. No regard for station, or age, or sex was there—no difference was made between friend or foe. At no time in the whole history of France was misery so universal and prodigious. . . . From the Somme to the frontiers of Germany, a distance of three hundred miles, the whole country was a silent tangle of thorns and brushwood. The people had all perished or had fled for shelter to the town to escape the merciless outrages of armed men. They hardly found the shelter they sought; the towns suffered as the country districts suffered, the herds of wolves, driven, through lack of food from the forests, sought their prey in the streets. . . . War outside the walls stimulated the fiercer war within; starvation clung close to the footsteps of war; strange forms of disease which the chroniclers of those times sum up in the names of “black death” or “plague” were born of hunger and overleapt the highest barriers, pierced the strongest walls and ran riot in the overcrowded cities. Two-thirds of the population of France, it has been computed, fell, before the terrible self-infliction of war, pestilence and famine.” + +The sufferings of the fifteenth century were hardly less terrible than those of the fourteenth and the picture given of England differs but little from that of France. + +> Whilst the northern countries, up to the walls of Lancaster and the banks of Mersey on one side of England, and to the gates of York and the mouth of the Humber on the other, were being ravaged by the Scots, and whilst French, Flemish, Scottish and other pirates were burning the towns and killing the inhabitants of the East, the West and the South coasts of England, or carrying them off as slaves, two other enemies were let loose upon this country. Famine and pestilence, the fruits of war, destroyed what man failed to reach. + +Again and again the country was swept by famines and plagues, and murrain mowed down flocks and herds. And it was not only in those early days that such terrible ravages occurred. The condition of Germany at the end of the Thirty Years’ War (1618 to 1648) was little less pitiable than that of England and France in the fourteenth century. Purchases are paid for by sales, or in other words, debts are paid for by credits, and, as I have said before, the value of a credit depends on the debtor being also a creditor; in a situation such as that which I have described (though it Must not be thought that there were no intervals of comparative prosperity), commerce was practically at a standstill, credits were of little value. At the same time the governments had accumulated great debts to maintain their armies and to carry on their continual war-like operations, and were unable to levy the taxes which should pay for them. It was impossible that, under such conditions, the value of credit (in other words the value of the monetary unit) should not fall. It is quite unnecessary to search for imaginary arbitrary depreciations of the coinage to explain the phenomenon. + +The reader may here raise the objection that whatever may have been the practice in olden times and whatever may be the scientific theory we do in the present day in fact use gold for making payments besides using credit instruments. A dollar or a sovereign, he will say, are a certain weight of gold and we are legally entitled to pay our debts with them. + +But what are the facts? Let us take the situation here in the United States. The government accepts all the gold of standard fineness and gives in exchange gold coins weight for weight, or paper certificates representing such coins. Now the general impression is that the only effect of transforming the gold into coins is to cut it into pieces of a certain weight and to stamp these pieces with the government mark guaranteeing their weight and fineness. But is this really all that has been done? By no means. What has really happened is that the government has put upon the pieces of gold a stamp which conveys the promise that they will be received by the government in payment of taxes or other debts due to it. By issuing a coin, the government has incurred a liability towards its possessor just as it would have done had it made a purchase:has incurred, that is to say, an obligation to provide a credit by taxation, or otherwise for the redemption of the coin and thus enable its possessor to got value for his money. + +In virtue of the stamp it bears, the gold has changed its character from that of a mere commodity to that of a token of indebtedness. In England the Bank of England buys the gold and gives in exchange coin, or bank-notes or a credit on its books. In the United States, the gold is deposited with the Mint and the depositor receives either coin or paper certificates in exchange. The seller and the depositor alike receive a credit, the one on the official bank and the other direct on the government treasury, The effect is precisely the same in both cases. The coin, the paper certificates, the bank-notes and the credit on the books of the bank, are all indentical in their nature, whatever the difference of form or of intrinsic value. A priceless gem or a worthless bit of paper may equally be a token of debt, so long as the receiver knows what it stands for and the giver acknowledges his obligation to take it back in payment of a debt due. + +Money, then, is credit and nothing but credit. A’s money is B’s debt to him, and when B pays his debt, A’s money disappears. This is the whole theory of money. + +Debts and credits are perpetually trying to get into touch with one another, so that they may be written off against each other, and it is the business of the banker to bring them together. This is done in two ways: either by discounting bills, or by making loans. The first is the more old fashioned method and in Europe the bulk of the banking business consists in discounts while in the United States the more usual procedure is by way of loans. + +The process of discounting bills is as follows: A sells goods to B, C and D, who thereby become A’s debtors and give him their acknowledgments of indebtedness, which are technically called bills of exchange, or more shortly bills. That is to say A acquires a credit on B, C and D. A buys goods from E, F and G and gives his bill to each in payment. That is to say E, F and G have acquired credits on A. If B, C and D could sell goods to E, F and G and take in payment the bills given by A, they could then present these bills to A and by so doing release themselves from their debt. So long as trade takes place in a small circle, say in one village or in a small group of nearby villages, B, C and D might be able to get hold of the bills in the possession of E, F and G. But as soon as commerce widened out, and the various debtors and creditors lived far apart and were unacquainted with one another, it is obvious that without some system of centralizing debts and credits commerce would not go on. Then arose the merchant or banker, the latter being merely a more specialized variety of the former. The banker buys from A the bills held by him on B, C and D, and A now becomes the creditor of the banker, the latter in his turn becoming the creditor of B, C and D. A’s credit on the banker is called his deposit and he is called a depositor. E, F and G also sell to the banker the bills which they hold on A, and when they become due the banker debits A with the amount thus cancelling his former credit. A’s debts and credits have been “cleared,” and his name drops out, leaving B, C and. D as debtors to the bank and E, F and G as the corresponding creditors. Meanwhile B, C and D have been doing business and in payment of sales which they have made, they receive bills on H, I and K. When their original bills held by the banker become due, they sell to him the bills which H, I and K have given them, and which balance their debt. Thus their debts and credits are “cleared” in their turn, and their names drop out, leaving H, I and K as debtors and E, F and G as creditors of the bank and so on. The modern bill is the lineal descendant of the medieval tally, and the more ancient Babylonian clay tablet. + +Now let us see how the same result is reached by means of a loan instead of by taking the purchaser’s bill and selling it to the banker. In this case the banking operation, instead of following the sale and purchase, anticipates it. B, C and D before buying the goods they require make an agreement with the banker by which he undertakes to become the debtor of A in their place, while they at the same time agree to become the debtors of the banker. Having made this agreement B, C and D make their purchases from A and instead of giving him their bills which he sells to the banker, they give him a bill direct on the banker. These bills of exchange on a banker are called cheques or drafts. + +It is evident that the situation thus created is precisely the same which ever procedure is adopted, and the debts and credits are cleared in the same manner. There is a slight difference in the details of the mechanism, that is all. + +There is thus a constant circulation of debts and credits through the medium of the banker who brings them together and clears them as the debts fall due. This is the whole science of banking as it was three thousand years before Christ, and as it is to-day. It is a common error among economic writers to suppose that a bank was originally a place of safe deposit for gold and silver, which the owner could take out as he required it. The idea is wholly erroneous and can be shown to be so from the study of the ancient banks. + +Whatever commercial or financial transaction we examine, whether it be the purchase of a penn’orth of vegetables in the market or the issue of a billion dollar loan by a government, we find in each and all of them the same principle involved; either an old credit is transferred or new ones are created, and a State or a banker or a peasant is prosperous or bankrupt according as the principle is observed or not, that debts, as they fall due, must be met by credits available, at the same moment. + +The object of every good banker is to see that at the end of each day’s operations, his debts to other bankers do not exceed his credits on those bankers, and in addition the amount of the “lawful money” or credits on the government in his possession. This requirement limits the amount of money he has to “lend.” He knows by experience pretty accurately the amount of the cheques he will have to present for payment to other bankers and the amount of those which will be presented for his payment, and he will refuse to buy bills or to lend money—that is to say, he will refuse to incur present obligations in return for future payments—if by so doing he is going to risk having more debts due by him on a certain day than he will have credits on that day to set against them. It must be remembered that a credit due for payment at a future time cannot be set off against a debt due to another banker immediately. Debts and credits to be set off against each other must be “due” at the same time. + +Too much importance is popularly attached to what in England is called the cash in hand and in the United States the reserves, that is to say the amount of lawful money in the possession of the bank, and it is generally supposed that in the natural order of things, the lending power and the solvency of the bank depends on the amount of these reserves. In fact, and this cannot be too clearly and emphatically stated, these reserves of lawful money have, from the scientific point of view, no more importance than any other of the bank assets. They are merely credits like any others, and whether they are 25 per cent or 10 per cent or one per cent or a quarter per cent of the amount of the deposits, would not in the least affect the solvency of the bank, and it is unfortunate that the United States has by legislation given an importance to these reserves which they should never have possessed. Such legislation was, no doubt, due to the erroneous view that has grown up in modern days that a depositor has the right to have his deposit paid in gold or in “lawful money.” I am not aware of any law expressly giving him such a right, and under normal conditions, at any rate, he would not have it. A depositor sells to his banker his right on someone else [ 7 ] and, properly speaking, his sole right so long as the banker is solvent, is to transfer his credit to someone else, should the latter choose to accept it. But the laws of legal tender which most countries [ 8 ] have adopted, have produced indirect consequences which were not originally foreseen or intended. The purpose of such laws was not to make gold or silver a standard of payment but merely to require that creditors should not refuse payment of their credit in coins issued by the government at the value officially put upon them, no matter of what metal they were made; and the reason for these laws was not at all to provide a legal means of paying a debt, but to keep up the value of the coins, which, as I have explained, were liable to constant fluctuation either by reason of the governments issuing them at one value and accepting them at another, or by reason of the insolvency of the government sowing to their excessive indebtedness. + +We may leave to lawyers the discussion of what may be the legal effect of such laws; the practical effect in the mind of the public is all that concerns us. It is but natural that in countries in which, like England and America, the standard coin is a certain weight of gold, a law providing that creditors shall accept these coins or the equivalent notes in full satisfaction of their debts, and mentioning no other method of settling a debt, should breed in the public mind the idea that that is the only legal way of settling a debt and that, therefore, the creditor is entitled to demand gold coins. + +The effect of this impression is peculiarly unfortunate. When suspicion arises in the minds of depositors, they immediately demand payment of their credit in coins or their equivalent namely a credit on the State bank, or “lawful money,” a demand which cannot possibly be complied with, and the result is to augment the panic by the idea getting abroad that the bank is insolvent. + +Consequently at the beginning of a stringency, every bank tries to force its debtors to pay their debts in coin or credit on the government, and these debtors, in their turn, have to try to extract the same payment from their debtors, and to protect themselves, are thus forced to curtail their expenditure as much as possible. When this situation becomes general, buying and selling are restricted within comparatively narrow limits, and, as it is only by buying that credits can be reduced and by selling that debts can be paid, it comes to pass that everybody is clamoring for payment of the debts due to them and no one can pay them, because no one can sell. Thus the panic runs in a vicious circle. + +The abolition of the law of legal tender would help to mitigate such a situation by making everybody realize that, once he had become a depositor in a bank, he had sold his credit to that bank and was not entitled to demand payment in coin or government obligations. Under normal conditions a banker would keep only enough coins or credits on the government to satisfy those of his clients who want them, just as a boot-maker keeps a stock of boots of different varieties, sufficient for the normal conditions of his trade; and the banker can no more pay all his depositors in cash than the bootmaker could supply boots of one variety to all his customers if such a demand were suddenly to be made on him. If bankers keep a supply of cash more than is normally required, it is either because there is a law compelling them to do so, as in the United States, or because a large supply of cash gives confidence to the public in the solvency of the bank, owing to the idea that has grown up regarding the necessity for a “metallic basis” for loans; or again because, owing to the prevalence of this idea, there may suddenly occur an abnormal demand for the payment of deposits in this form. + +It would be hard, probably, to say to what extent laws of legal tender can be successful in maintaining the real or the apparent value of coins or notes. They do not appear to have been so in colonial days, and indeed Chief justice Chase, in his dissenting opinion in the famous legal tender cases of 1872, expressed the view that their effect was the reverse of what was intended; that, instead of keeping up the value of the government notes, the law actually tended to depress them. However this may be, and I am not inclined to agree with Mr. Chase, it seems to me to be certain that such laws are unnecessary for the maintenance of the monetary unit in a country with properly conducted finances. “Receivability for debts due the government,” to use Chief justice Chase’s expression, relative to inconvertible notes, is the real support of the currency, not laws of legal tender. But it may be argued that it is at least necessary that the government should provide some standard “money” which a creditor is bound to accept in payment of his debt in order to avoid disputes as to the nature of the satisfaction which he shall receive for the debt. But in practice no difficulty would be experienced on this score. When a creditor wants his debt paid, he usually means that he wants to change his debtor; that is to say he wants a credit on a banker, so that he can use it easily, or keep it unused with safety. He, therefore, insists that every private debtor shall, when the debt is due, transfer to him a credit on a reputable banker; and every solvent debtor can satisfy his creditor in this manner. No law is required; the whole business regulates itself automatically. + +During the suspension of specie payments in England for more than twenty years, from 1797 in 1820, there was no gold coin in circulation, its place being taken by Bank of England notes which were not legal tender, and the value of which constantly varied in terms of gold. Yet no embarrasment was noticed on this score, and commerce went on just as before. China (and I believe other Asiatic countries) could hardly have continued its commerce without such a law, if it had been of material importance. + +On no banking question does there exist more confusion of ideas than on the subject of the nature of a banknote. It is generally supposed to be a substitute for gold and, therefore, it is deemed to be necessary to the safety of the notes that their issue should be strictly controlled. In the United States the issue of bank notes is said to be “based on” government debt, and in England they are said to be “based on” gold. Their value is believed to depend on the fact that they are convertible into gold, but here again history disproves the theory. When, during the period just mentioned, the payment of Bank of England notes in gold was suspended, and the famous Bullion Committee was bound to acknowledge that a gold standard no longer existed, the value of the note in the country was not affected, as was testified by many witnesses of great business experience. If gold went to a premium and the exchange value of the English banknote together with that of all English money fell, it was due, as was amply proved by Thomas Tooke in his famous “History of Prices.” to the fact that Great Britain, by its enormous expenditure abroad for its military operations and its subventions to foreign countries, had accumulated a load of debt which greatly exceeded its credits on those countries, and a fall of the value of the English pound in terms of the money of other countries was the necessary result. When the debt was gradually liquidated, and English credit returned to its normal value, the price of gold of course fell in terms of the pound. + +Again when for many years, Greek money was at a discount in foreign countries, this was due to the excessive indebtedness of Greece to foreign countries, and what did more than anything else to gradually re-establish parity was the constantly increasing deposits paid in to Greek banks from the savings of Greek emigrants to the United States. These deposits constituted a debt due from the United States to Greece and counter-balanced the periodical payments which had to be made by Greece for the interest on her external debt. + +In the United States, on the contrary, at the time of the depreciation of greenbacks, the money was depreciated in the country itself, owing to the excessive indebtedness of the government to the people of the country. A bank note differs in no essential way from an entry in the deposit register of a bank. Just like such an entry, it is an acknowledgment of the banker’s indebtedness, and like all acknowledgments of the kind, it is a “promise to pay.” The only difference between a deposit entry and a bank note is that the one is written in a book and the other is on a loose leaf; the one is an acknowledgment standing in the name of the depositor, the other in the name of “the bearer.” Both these methods of registering the debts of the bank have their particular use. In the one case the deposit or any portion of it can be transferred by draft, and in the other it, or a fixed portion of it, can be transferred by merely transferring the receipt from hand to hand. + +The quantitative theory of money has impelled all governments to regulate the note issue, so as to prevent an over issue of “money.” But the idea that some special danger lurks in the bank-note is without foundation. The holder of a bank-note is simply a depositor in a bank, and the issue of bank-notes is merely a convenience to depositors. Laws regulating the issue of bank-notes may make the limitations so elastic as to produce no effect, in which case they are useless; or they may so limit them as to be a real inconvenience to commerce, in which case they are a nuisance. To attempt the regulation of banking by limiting the note issue is to entirely misunderstand the whole banking problem, and to start at the wrong end. The danger lies not in the bank-note but in imprudent or dishonest banking. Once insure that banking shall be carried on by honest people under a proper understanding of the principles of credit and debt, and the note issue may be left to take care of itself. Commerce, I repeat, has never had anything to do with the precious metals, and if every piece of gold and silver now in the world were to disappear, it would go on just as before and no other effect would be produced than the loss of so much valuable property. The gold myth, coupled with the law of legal tender, has fostered the feeling that there is some peculiar virtue in a central bank. It is supposed to fulfil an important function in protecting the country’s stock of gold. This is, perhaps, as good a place as any other for explaining what was really accomplished when, after centuries of ineffectual efforts to fix the price of both the precious metals, the governments of Europe succeeded in fixing that of gold, or at least in keeping the price within narrow limits of fluctuation. + +It was in the year 1717 that the price of gold was fixed by law at its present value in England, slightly above the then market value, but it was not until some time after the close of the Napoleonic wars that the metal obeyed the Royal mandate for any length of time, and when it did them were two main reasons: The greater stability of the value of credit and the enormous increase in the production of gold during the nineteenth century. The first of these causes was the result of the disappearance of plagues and famines and the mitigation of the ravages which accompanied earlier wars, and the better organization of governments, especially as regards their finance. These changes produced a prosperity and a stability in the value of credit—especially government credit—unknown in earlier days. The second cause prevented any appreciation of the market value of gold, and the obligation undertaken by the Government and the Bank of England to buy gold in any quantity at a fixed price and to sell it again at practically the same price prevented its depreciation. Had they not done so, it is safe to say that the market price of gold would not now be, as it is, £3. 17. 10½ an ounce. For some years, indeed, after the resumption of cash payments in England gold did actually fall to £3. 17. 6 an ounce. + +The governments of the world have, in fact, conspired together to make a corner in gold and to hold it up at a prohibitive price, to the great profit of the mine owners and the loss of the rest of mankind. The result of this policy is that billions of dollar’s worth of gold are stored in the vaults of banks and treasuries, from the recesses of which they will never emerge, till a more rational policy is adopted. Limitations of space compel me to close this article here, and prevent the consideration of many interesting questions to which the credit theory of money gives rise; the most important of which, perhaps, is the intimate relation between existing currency systems and the rise of prices. + +Future ages will laugh at their forefathers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, who gravely bought gold to imprison in dungeons in the belief that they were thereby obeying a high economic law and increasing the wealth and prosperity of the world. + +A strange delusion, my masters, for a generation which prides itself on its knowledge of Economy and Finance and one which, let us hope, will not long survive. When once the precious metal has been freed from the shackles of laws which are unworthy of the age in which we live, who knows what uses may not be in store for it to benefit the whole world? + +NOTES + +1. The same phenomenon of more than one monetary unit at the same time is common in later ages. +2. The Gras Tournois of the thirteenth century. It did not, however, long remain of the value of a sou. +3. Curious that is to say, to those who hold to the metallic theory of money. In fact it is quite simple, though I have not here space to explain it. +4. In modern days statutes of limitation have been passed subjecting the permanence of credits to certain limitations. But they do not affect the principle. On the contrary, they confirm it. +5. Their use was not entirely abandoned till the beginning of the nineteenth century. +6. Hence the modern term “stock” as meaning “capital.” +7. This contract was called in Roman law a “mutuum.” +8. China, a great commercial country, has no such law. 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Pictured at Livadia Palace in 1913][25] The Romanovs. From left to right: Olga, Maria, Nicholas II, Alexandra, Anastasia, Alexei, and Tatiana. Pictured at Livadia Palace in 1913. + +On the morning of July 15, Comrade Filipp Goloshchekin arrived and said that things had to be finished off tomorrow. It was said that Tsar Nikolai was to be executed and that we should officially announce it—but when it came to the tsar's family, then perhaps it would be announced, but no one knew yet how, when, and in what manner. Thus, everything demanded the utmost care and as few people as possible—moreover, absolutely dependable ones. + +I immediately undertook preparations, for everything had to be done quickly. I decided to assemble the same number of men as there were people to be shot, gathered them all together, and told them what was happening—that they had to prepare themselves for this, that as soon as we got the final order, everything was going to have to be ably handled. You see, it has to be said that shooting people isn't the easy matter that it might seem to some. + +On the morning of the sixteenth, I prepared twelve Nagant revolvers and determined who would shoot whom. Comrade Filipp warned me that a truck would arrive at midnight. Those who arrived would give a password—they would be allowed in and would be given the corpses, which they would take away for burial. Around eleven o'clock that night, I gathered the men together again, gave out the revolvers, and stated that we would soon begin liquidating the prisoners. I warned Pavel Medvedev about the thorough check of the sentries outside and in, about how he and the guard commander should be on watch themselves in the area around the house and about how they should keep in contact with me. Only at the last minute, when everything was ready for the shooting, were they to warn all the sentries as well as the rest of the detachment that if they heard shots coming from the house, they shouldn't worry and shouldn't come out of their lodgings. + +![The White Duck, Jean-Baptiste Oudry, 1753.][26] + +_The White Duck_, Jean-Baptiste Oudry, 1753.  + +The truck did not show up until half past one in the morning. After I learned that it was on its way, I went to wake the prisoners. Gathering everybody consumed a lot of time, about forty minutes. When the family was dressed, I led them to a room in the downstairs part of the house that had been previously selected by myself and my aide Comrade Nikulin. We had thought this plan through, but it must be said that when we conceived it, we did not think about the fact that, one, the windows would not be able to contain the noise; two, that the victims would be standing next to a brick wall; and finally, three (it was impossible to foresee this), that the firing would occur in an uncoordinated way. That should not have happened. Each man had one person to shoot, and so every­thing should have been all right. The causes of the disorganized firing became clear later. Although I told the victims that they did not have to take anything with them, they collected various small things—pillows, bags, and so on, and, I think, a small dog. + +Having gone down to the room (at the entrance to the room, on the right there was a very wide window), I ordered them to stand along the wall. Obviously, at that moment they did not imagine what awaited them. The tsar's wife, Alexandra Fyodorovna said, "There are not even chairs here." Tsar Nikolai was carrying their son Alexei. He stood in the room with him in his arms. Then I ordered a couple of chairs. On one of them, to the right of the entrance, almost in the corner, Alexandra Fyodorovna sat down. The daughters and the maid Demidova stood next to her, to the left of the entrance. Beside them Alexei was seated in the armchair. Nikolai stood opposite Alexei. At the same time I ordered the men to go down and to be ready in their places when the command was given. Nikolai had put Alexei on the chair and stood in such a way that he shielded him. Alexei sat in the left corner from the entrance, and so far as I can remember, I said to Nikolai approximately this: his royal and close relatives inside the country and abroad were trying to save him, but the Soviet of Workers' Deputies resolved to shoot them. He asked, "What?" and turned toward Alexei. At that moment I shot and killed him outright. He did not get time to face us to get an answer. At that moment disorganized firing began. The room was small, but everybody could come in and carry out the shooting according to the set order. But many shot through the doorway. Bullets began to ricochet because the wall was brick. Moreover, the firing intensified when the victims' shouts arose. I managed to stop the firing but with great difficulty. + +A bullet, fired by somebody in the back, hummed near my head and grazed either the palm or finger (I do not remember) of somebody. When the firing stopped, it turned out that the daughters, Alexandra Fyodorovna, and, I think, Demidova and Alexei, too, were alive. I think they had fallen from fear or maybe intentionally, and so they were alive. Then we proceeded to finish the shooting. (Previously I had suggested shooting at the heart to avoid a lot of blood.) Alexei remained sitting petrified. I killed him. They shot the daughters but did not kill them. Then Comrade Yermakov resorted to a bayonet, but that did not work either. Finally they killed them by shooting them in the head. Only in the forest did I finally discover the reason why it had been so hard to kill the daughters and Alexandra Fyodorovna. + +Nobody, sir, dies willingly. + +—Antiphanes, 370 BC + +* * * After the shooting it was necessary to carry away the corpses to the truck, but it was a comparatively long way. How could we do it? Somebody came up with an idea: stretchers. (We did not think about it earlier.) We took shafts from the sledges and, I think, put sheets on them. Having confirmed they were dead, we began to carry them out. + +After instructions were given to wash and clean everything, at about three o'clock or even a little later, we left. I took several men from the internal guards. I did not know where the corpses were supposed to be buried. Filipp Goloshchekin had assigned that to Comrade Yermakov. Yermakov drove us somewhere out to the Verkh-Isetsky Works. I had never been at that place and did not know it. At about two or three versts (or maybe more) from the Verkh-Isetsky Works, a whole escort of people on horseback or in carriages met us. I asked Yermakov who these people were, why they were there. He answered that he had assembled those people. I still do not know why there were so many. I heard only shouts: "We thought they would come here alive, but it turns out they are dead." Also, I think, about three or four versts farther, our truck got stuck between two trees. There where we stopped, several of Yermakov's people were stretching out girls' blouses. We discovered that there were valuables and they were taking them. I ordered that men be posted to keep anyone from coming near the truck. + +The truck was stuck and could not move. I asked Yermakov, "Is it still far to the chosen place?" He said, "Not far, beyond railroad beds." And there behind the trees was a marsh. Bogs were everywhere. I wondered why he had herded in so many people and horses. If only there had been carts instead of carriages. But there was nothing we could do. We had to unload to lighten the truck, but that did not help. Then I ordered them to load the carriages because it was already light, and we did not have time to wait any longer. Only at daybreak did we come to the famous "gully." Several steps from the mine, where the burial had been planned, peasants were sitting around the fire, apparently having spent the night at the hayfield. On the way we met several people. It became impossible to carry on our work in sight of them. It must be said, the situation had become difficult. + +![The Space Between Now and Pangaea Ultima, by Mary Mattingly, 2007.][27] + +_The Space Between Now and Pangaea Ultima_, by Mary Mattingly, 2007. © Mary Mattingly, courtesy Robert Mann Gallery. + +I ordered the men to turn back anybody to the village and to shoot any stubborn, disobedient persons if that did not work. Another group of men was sent to the town because they were not needed. Having done all of this, I ordered the men to load the corpses and to take off the clothes for burning, that is, to destroy absolutely everything they had, to remove any additional incriminating evidence if the corpses were somehow discovered. I ordered bonfires. When we began to undress the bodies, we discovered something on the daughters and on Alexandra Fyodorovna. I do not remember exactly what she had on, the same as was on the daughters or simply things that had been sewed on. But the daughters had on bodices almost entirely of diamonds and other precious stones. Those were not only places for valuables but protective armor at the same time. That is why neither bullets nor bayonets got results. + +The valuables had been collected, the things had been burned, and the completely naked corpses had been thrown into the mine. From that very moment new problems began. The water just barely covered the bodies. What should we do? We had the idea of blowing up the mines with bombs to cover them, but nothing came of it. At about two p.m. I decided to go to the town because it was clear that we had to extract the corpses from the mine and to carry them to another place. Even the blind could discover them. Besides, the place was exposed. People had seen something was going on there. I set up posts, guards in place, and took the valuables and left. I went to the regional executive committee and reported to the authorities how bad things were. Comrade Safarov and somebody else (I do not remember who) listened but said nothing. Then I found Filipp Goloshchekin and explained to him we had to transfer the corpses to another place. When he agreed, I proposed to send people to raise the corpses. At the same time I ordered him to take bread and food because the men were hungry and exhausted, not having slept for about twenty-four hours. + +![][28] + +Contributor + +# [Yakov Yurovsky][29] + +## + +From his account of the execution of the Romanov family. Following the riots in Petrograd in March 1917, Nikolai II's abdication, and the success of the Bolshevik Revolution, the Romanovs were taken in April 1918 to the Ural Mountains and guarded by Bolsheviks. It is believed that Yurovsky, a Bolshevik officer who had joined the party in 1905, had received an order for the Romanovs' execution from Vladimir Lenin. The Russian Orthodox Church canonized the former tsar and his family in 2000, placing them at the lowest rank of sainthood, "passion bearers." + +# Issue + +# Back to Issue + +[ ![Death thumbnail][30] + +## [Death][31] + +[Shop Now][32] + +* [ Next Carted Off All the Same Heraclitus ][33] + +# Related Reads + +![The Circle of the Lustful: Francesca Da Rimini, illustration to Dante's Divine Comedy, by William Blake, 1824-27.][34] + +[Essay][35] __ Eros + +# [Hell House][36] + +[Jeff Sharlet][37] + +Young Christians encounter sex, violence, and the eros of evangelicalism in an East Texas hell house. [More][36] + +* * * ![][38] + +[Essay][35] __ Revolutions + +# [Market Corrections][39] + +[Orlando Figes][40] + +"Is this what we made the revolution for?" Examining the origins and legacy of the New Economic Policy. 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[from old catalog] : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive") + +# Diary of a little girl in old New York : Havens, Catherine Elizabeth. [from old catalog] : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive + +[Skip to main content][1] + +Search the history of over 310 billion [web pages][2] on the Internet. + +![Wayback Machine][3] + +search Search the Wayback Machine + +##### Featured + +[texts All Texts][4] [latest This Just In][5] [Smithsonian Libraries][6] [FEDLINK (US)][7] [Genealogy][8] [Lincoln Collection][9] [Additional Collections][10] + +[eBooks & Texts][4] + +##### Top + +[American Libraries][11] [Canadian Libraries][12] [Universal Library][13] [Community Texts][14] [Project Gutenberg][15] [Biodiversity Heritage Library][16] [Children's Library][17] + +![][18][**Open Library**][19] + +[Books to Borrow][20] + +##### Featured + +[movies All Video][21] [latest This Just In][22] [Prelinger Archives][23] [Democracy Now!][24] [Occupy Wall Street][25] [TV NSA Clip Library][26] + +[TV News][27] + +##### Top + +[Animation & Cartoons][28] [Arts & Music][29] [Community Video][30] [Computers & Technology][31] [Cultural & Academic Films][32] [Ephemeral Films][33] [Movies][34] + +[Understanding 9/11][35] + +[News & Public Affairs][36] [Spirituality & Religion][37] [Sports Videos][38] [Television][39] [Videogame Videos][40] [Vlogs][41] [Youth Media][42] + +##### Featured + +[audio All Audio][43] [latest This Just In][44] [Grateful Dead][45] [Netlabels][46] [Old Time Radio][47] [78 RPMs and Cylinder Recordings][48] + +[Live Music Archive][49] + +##### Top + +[Audio Books & Poetry][50] [Community Audio][51] [Computers & Technology][52] [Music, Arts & Culture][53] [News & Public Affairs][54] [Non-English Audio][55] [Podcasts][56] + +[Librivox Free Audiobook][57] + +[Radio Programs][58] [Spirituality & Religion][59] + +##### Featured + +[software All Software][60] [latest This Just In][61] [Old School Emulation][62] [MS-DOS Games][63] [Historical Software][64] [Classic PC Games][65] [Software Library][66] + +[Internet Arcade][67] + +##### Top + +[Community Software][68] [APK][69] [MS-DOS][70] [CD-ROM Software][71] [IPA Software][72] [Software Sites][73] [Tucows Software Library][74] + +[Console Living Room][75] + +[Shareware CD-ROMs][76] [CD-ROM Images][77] [Vintage Software][78] [ZX Spectrum][79] [DOOM Level CD][80] [ZX Spectrum Library: Games][81] [Vectrex][82] + +##### Featured + +[image All Image][83] [latest This Just In][84] [Flickr Commons][85] [Occupy Wall Street Flickr][86] [Cover Art][87] [USGS Maps][88] + +[Metropolitan Museum][89] + +##### Top + +[NASA Images][90] [Solar System Collection][91] [Ames Research Center][92] + +[Brooklyn Museum][93] + +* [web][94] +* [texts][95] +* [movies][96] +* [audio][97] +* [software][98] +* [image][99] +* [logo][100] +* Toggle navigation + + * [ABOUT][101] + * [CONTACT][102] + * [BLOG][103] + * [PROJECTS][104] + * [HELP][105] + * [DONATE][106] + * [JOBS][107] + * [VOLUNTEER][108] + * [PEOPLE][109] +* [search][110] + +Search metadata (default) Search text contents Search TV news captions Search archived web sites [Advanced Search][111] + +* [upload][112] +* [personSIGN IN][113] +* [ABOUT][101] +* [CONTACT][102] +* [BLOG][103] +* [PROJECTS][104] +* [HELP][105] +* [DONATE][106] +* [JOBS][107] +* [VOLUNTEER][108] +* [PEOPLE][109] + +# Diary of a little girl in old New York + +## Item Preview + +remove-circle + +### Share or Embed This Item + +[ + +][114] [ + +][115] [ + +][116] [ + +][117] [ + +][118] [ + +][119] [ + +][120] + + + +EMBED + +EMBED (for wordpress.com hosted blogs and archive.org item tags) [archiveorg diaryoflittlegir00haven width=560 height=384 frameborder=0 webkitallowfullscreen=true mozallowfullscreen=true] + +Want more? [Advanced embedding details, examples, and help][121]! + +[ favorite ][122] + +share + +flag + +### Flag this item for + +* [ Graphic Violence ][113] +* [ Graphic Sexual Content ][113] +* [ Spam, Scam or Fraud ][113] +* [ Broken or Empty Data ][113] + +# + +texts + +Diary of a little girl in old New York + +by [Havens, Catherine Elizabeth. [from old catalog]][123] + + + +Publication date [ 1919 ][124] + +Topics [New York (N.Y.) -- Social life and customs][125] + +Publisher New York, H. C. Brown + +Collection [library_of_congress][126]; [americana][127] + +Digitizing sponsor [Sloan Foundation][128] + +Contributor [The Library of Congress][126] + +Language [English][129] + +Call number 6377539 + +Camera Canon 5D + +Identifier diaryoflittlegir00haven + +Identifier-ark ark:/13960/t3gx4gk3n + +Identifier-bib 0014220390A + +Openlibrary_edition [OL14003909M][130] + +Openlibrary_work [OL10708138W][131] + +Pages 128 + +Possible copyright status NOT_IN_COPYRIGHT + +Ppi 500 + +Scandate 20080812003236 + +Scanfactors 17 + +Scanner scribe4.capitolhill.archive.org + +Scanningcenter capitolhill + +Full catalog record [MARCXML][132] + +## + +[plus-circle Add Review][133] + +comment + +Reviews + +There are no reviews yet. Be the first one to [write a review][133]. + +1,869 Views + +5 Favorites + +DOWNLOAD OPTIONS + +[ download 1 file ][134] + +[ ABBYY GZ download ][134] + +[ download 1 file ][135] + +[ B/W PDF download ][135] + +[ download 1 file ][136] + +[ DAISY download ][136] + +For print-disabled users + +[ download 1 file ][137] + +[ EPUB download ][137] + +[ download 1 file ][138] + +[ FULL TEXT download ][138] + +[ download 1 file ][139] + +[ KINDLE download ][139] + +[ download 1 file ][140] + +[ PDF download ][140] + +[ download 1 file ][141] + +[ SCAN FACTORS download ][141] + +[ download 1 file ][142] + +[ SINGLE PAGE ORIGINAL JP2 TAR download ][142] + +[ download 1 file ][143] + +[ SINGLE PAGE PROCESSED JP2 ZIP download ][143] + +[ download 1 file ][144] + +[ TORRENT download ][144] + +[download 18 Files][145] +[download 9 Original][146] + +[SHOW ALL][147] + +##### IN COLLECTIONS + +[The Library of Congress][126] + +[American Libraries][127] + +Uploaded by [ bunna@archive.org ][148] on 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L. Mencken, 1921 +") + +# +Declaration of Independence in American, H. L. Mencken, 1921 + + +> > # The Declaration of Independence +in American +>> +>> ## by H. L. Mencken +>> +>> ### 1921 +>> +>> +>> +>> +>> +>> +>> WHEN THINGS get so balled up that the people of a country got to cut loose from some other country, and go it on their own hook, without asking no permission from nobody, excepting maybe God Almighty, then they ought to let everybody know why they done it, so that everybody can see they are not trying to put nothing over on nobody. +>> +>> All we got to say on this proposition is this: first, me and you is as good as anybody else, and maybe a damn sight better; second, nobody ain't got no right to take away none of our rights; third, every man has got a right to live, to come and go as he pleases, and to have a good time whichever way he likes, so long as he don't interfere with nobody else. That any government that don't give a man them rights ain't worth a damn; also, people ought to choose the kind of government they want themselves, and nobody else ought to have no say in the matter. That whenever any government don't do this, then the people have got a right to give it the bum's rush and put in one that will take care of their interests. Of course, that don't mean having a revolution every day like them South American yellow-bellies, or every time some jobholder goes to work and does something he ain't got no business to do. It is better to stand a little graft, etc., than to have revolutions all the time, like them coons, and any man that wasn't a anarchist or one of them I.W.W.'s would say the same. But when things get so bad that a man ain't hardly got no rights at all no more, but you might almost call him a slave, then everybody ought to get together and throw the grafters out, and put in new ones who won't carry on so high and steal so much, and then watch them. This is the proposition the people of these Colonies is up against, and they have got tired of it, and won't stand it no more. The administration of the present King, George III, has been rotten from the start, and when anybody kicked about it he always tried to get away with it by strong-arm work. Here is some of the rough stuff he has pulled: +>> +>> He vetoed bills in the Legislature that everybody was in favor of, and hardly nobody was against. +>> +>> He wouldn't allow no law to be passed without it was first put up to him, and then he stuck it in his pocket and let on he forgot about it, and didn't pay no attention to no kicks. +>> +>> When people went to work and gone to him and asked him to put through a law about this or that, he give them their choice: either they had to shut down the Legislature and let him pass it all by himself, or they couldn't have it at all. +>> +>> He made the Legislature meet at one-horse tank-towns, so that hardly nobody could get there and most of the leaders would stay home and let him go to work and do things like he wanted. +>> +>> He give the Legislature the air, and sent the members home every time they stood up to him and give him a call-down or bawled him out. +>> +>> When a Legislature was busted up he wouldn't allow no new one to be elected, so that there wasn't nobody left to run things, but anybody could walk in and do whatever they pleased. +>> +>> He tried to scare people outen moving into these States, and made it so hard for a wop or one of these here kikes to get his papers that he would rather stay home and not try it, and then, when he come in, he wouldn't let him have no land, and so he either went home again or never come. +>> +>> He monkeyed with the courts, and didn't hire enough judges to do the work, and so a person had to wait so long for his case to come up that he got sick of waiting, and went home, and so never got what was coming to him. +>> +>> He got the judges under his thumb by turning them out when they done anything he didn't like, or by holding up their salaries, so that they had to knuckle down or not get no money. +>> +>> He made a lot of new jobs, and give them to loafers that nobody knowed nothing about, and the poor people had to pay the bill, whether they could or not. +>> +>> Without no war going on, he kept an army loafing around the country, no matter how much people kicked about it. +>> +>> He let the army run things to suit theirself and never paid no attention whatsoever to nobody which didn't wear no uniform. +>> +>> He let grafters run loose, from God knows where, and give them the say in everything, and let them put over such things as the following: +>> +>> Making poor people board and lodge a lot of soldiers they ain't got no use for, and don't want to see loafing around. +>> +>> When the soldiers kill a man, framing it up so that they would get off. +>> +>> Interfering with business. +>> +>> Making us pay taxes without asking us whether we thought the things we had to pay taxes for was something that was worth paying taxes for or not. +>> +>> When a man was arrested and asked for a jury trial, not letting him have no jury trial. +>> +>> Chasing men out of the country, without being guilty of nothing, and trying them somewheres else for what they done here. +>> +>> In countries that border on us, he put in bum governments, and then tried to spread them out, so that by and by they would take in this country too, or make our own government as bum as they was. +>> +>> He never paid no attention whatever to the Constitution, but he went to work and repealed laws that everybody was satisfied with and hardly nobody was against, and tried to fix the government so that he could do whatever he pleased. +>> +>> He busted up the Legislatures and let on he could do all the work better by himself. +>> +>> Now he washes his hands of us and even goes to work and declares war on us, so we don't owe him nothing, and whatever authority he ever had he ain't got no more. +>> +>> He has burned down towns, shot down people like dogs, and raised hell against us out on the ocean. +>> +>> He hired whole regiments of Dutch, etc., to fight us, and told them they could have anything they wanted if they could take it away from us, and sicked these Dutch, etc., on us. +>> +>> He grabbed our own people when he found them in ships on the ocean, and shoved guns into their hands, and made them fight against us, no matter how much they didn't want to. +>> +>> He stirred up the Indians, and give them arms and ammunition, and told them to go to it, and they have killed men, women and children, and don't care which. +>> +>> Every time he has went to work and pulled any of these things, we have went to work and put in a kick, but every time we have went to work and put in a kick he has went to work and did it again. When a man keeps on handing out such rough stuff all the time, all you can say is that he ain't got no class and ain't fitten to have no authority over people who have got any rights, and he ought to be kicked out. +>> +>> When we complained to the English we didn't get no more satisfaction. Almost every day we give them plenty of warning that the politicians over there was doing things to us that they didn't have no right to do. We kept on reminding them who we was, and what we was doing here, and how we come to come here. We asked them to get us a square deal, and told them that if this thing kept on we'd have to do something about it and maybe they wouldn't like it. But the more we talked, the more they didn't pay no attention to us. Therefore, if they ain't for us they must be agin us, and we are ready to give them the fight of their lives, or to shake hands when it is over. +>> +>> Therefore be it resolved, That we, the representatives of the people of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, hereby declare as follows: That the United States, which was the United Colonies in former times, is now a free country, and ought to be; that we have throwed out the English King and don't want to have nothing to do with him no more, and are not taking no more English orders no more; and that, being as we are now a free country, we can do anything that free countries can do, especially declare war, make peace, sign treaties, go into business, etc. And we swear on the Bible on this proposition, one and all, and agree to stick to it no matter what happens, whether we win or we lose, and whether we get away with it or get the worst of it, no matter whether we lose all our property by it or even get hung for it. +>> +>> +>> +>> +>> +>> +>> +>> +>> ## Author's Note +>> +>> When this was reprinted in A Mencken Chrestomathy, the author added the following note: +>> +>>> "From THE AMERICAN LANGUAGE. THIRD EDITION, 1923, pp. 398-402. First printed, as Essay in American, in the Baltimore Evening Sun, Nov. 7, 1921. Reprinted in THE AMERICAN LANGUAGE, SECOND EDITION, 1921, pp. 388-92. From the preface thereof: 'It must be obvious that more than one section of the original is now quite unintelligible to the average American of the sort using the Common Speech. What would he make, for example, of such a sentence as this one: "He has called together bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures"? Or of this: "He has refused for a long time, after such dissolution, to cause others to be elected, whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise." Such Johnsonian periods are quite beyond his comprehension, and no doubt the fact is at least partly to blame for the neglect upon which the Declaration has fallen in recent years, When, during the Wilson-Palmer saturnalia of oppressions [1918-1920], specialists in liberty began protesting that the Declaration plainly gave the people the right to alter the government under which they lived and even to abolish it altogether, they encountered the utmost incredulity. On more than one occasion, in fact, such an exegete was tarred and feathered by shocked members of the American Legion, even after the Declaration had been read to them. What ailed them was simply that they could not understand its Eighteenth Century English.' This jocosity was denounced as seditious by various patriotic Americans, and in England it was accepted gravely and deplored sadly as a specimen of current Standard American." +>> +>> +>> +>> +>> +>> +>> +>> + +* * * + diff --git a/_stories/1922/14418877.md b/_stories/1922/14418877.md new file mode 100644 index 0000000..a05ed82 --- /dev/null +++ b/_stories/1922/14418877.md @@ -0,0 +1,6 @@ +[Source](https://mikecanex.wordpress.com/2012/12/26/1922-why-i-quit-being-so-accommodating/ "Permalink to 1922: Why I Quit Being So Accommodating | Mike Cane’s xBlog") + +# 1922: Why I Quit Being So Accommodating | Mike Cane’s xBlog + + + diff --git a/_stories/1922/4969041.md b/_stories/1922/4969041.md new file mode 100644 index 0000000..a05ed82 --- /dev/null +++ b/_stories/1922/4969041.md @@ -0,0 +1,6 @@ +[Source](https://mikecanex.wordpress.com/2012/12/26/1922-why-i-quit-being-so-accommodating/ "Permalink to 1922: Why I Quit Being So Accommodating | Mike Cane’s xBlog") + +# 1922: Why I Quit Being So Accommodating | Mike Cane’s xBlog + + + diff --git a/_stories/1922/4969352.md b/_stories/1922/4969352.md new file mode 100644 index 0000000..ad29ce0 --- /dev/null +++ b/_stories/1922/4969352.md @@ -0,0 +1,6 @@ +[Source](https://mikecanex.wordpress.com/2012/12/26/1922-follow-this-rule-if-you-want-to-be-popular/ "Permalink to 1922: Follow This Rule — If You Want To Be Popular | Mike Cane’s xBlog") + +# 1922: Follow This Rule — If You Want To Be Popular | Mike Cane’s xBlog + + + diff --git a/_stories/1923/15430796.md b/_stories/1923/15430796.md new file mode 100644 index 0000000..b3e9abd --- /dev/null +++ b/_stories/1923/15430796.md @@ -0,0 +1,231 @@ +[Source](https://www.laphamsquarterly.org/lines-work/mutual-interest "Permalink to Mutual Interest | Lapham’s Quarterly") + +# Mutual Interest | Lapham’s Quarterly + +[Jump to navigation][2] + +* * * ## Search form + +Search + +* [Subscribe][3] +* [My Account][4] + +# [Lapham’s Quarterly][5] + +* [About][6] +* [Magazine][7] + * [Current Issue][8] + * [All Issues][9] + * [Preamble][10] + * [Essays][11] + * [Voices in Time][12] + * [Contributors][13] + * [Charts & Graphs][14] + * [Conversations][15] + * [Miscellany][16] + * [Maps][17] + * [Quotes][18] +* [Blogs][7] + * [ Roundtable Insight and analysis from renowned writers and thinkers. ][19] + * [ Déjà Vu Is history repeating itself? the Déja Vu blog investigates... ][20] +* [Store][21] +* [Podcast][22] +* [Donate][23] + +[Subscribe Now][24] + +c. 1923 | Paris + +# Mutual Interest + +The courting of Marie Curie. + +* * * * * I met Pierre Curie for the first time in the spring of the year 1894. I was then living in Paris where for three years I had been studying at the Sorbonne. I had passed the examinations for the licentiate in physics and was preparing for those in mathematics. At the same time I had begun to work in the research laboratory of Professor Lippmann. A Polish physicist whom I knew, and who was a great admirer of Pierre Curie, one day invited us together to spend the evening with himself and his wife. + +As I entered the room, Pierre Curie was standing in the recess of a French window opening on a balcony. He seemed to me very young, though he was at that time thirty-five years old. I was struck by the open expression of his face and by the slight suggestion of detachment in his whole attitude. His speech, rather slow and deliberate, his simplicity, and his smile, at once grave and youthful, inspired confidence. We began a conversation which soon became friendly. It first concerned certain scientific matters about which I was very glad to be able to ask his opinion. Then we discussed certain social and humanitarian subjects which interested us both. There was, between his conceptions and mine, despite the difference between our native countries, a surprising kinship, no doubt attributable to a certain likeness in the moral atmosphere in which we were both raised by our families. + +We met again at the Physics Society and in the laboratory. Then he asked if he might call upon me. I lived at that time in a room on the sixth floor of a house situated near the schools. It was a poor little room, for my resources were extremely limited. I was nevertheless very happy in it for I was now first realizing, although already twenty-five years old, the ardent desire I had so long cherished of carrying on advanced studies in science.  + +I hate the present modes of living and getting a living. Farming and shopkeeping and working at a trade or profession are all odious to me. I should relish getting my living in a simple, primitive fashion. + +—Henry David Thoreau, 1855 + +* * * Pierre Curie came to see me and showed a simple and sincere sympathy with my student life. Soon he caught the habit of speaking to me of his dream of an existence consecrated entirely to scientific research, and he asked me to share that life. It was not, however, easy for me to make such a decision, for it meant separation from my country and my family, and the renouncement of certain social projects that were dear to me. Having grown up in an atmosphere of patriotism kept alive by the oppression of Poland, I wished, like many other young people of my country, to contribute my effort toward the conservation of our national spirit. + +So matters stood when at the beginning of my vacation I left Paris to go to my father in Poland. Our correspondence during this separation helped to strengthen the bond of affection between us. + +During the year 1894, Pierre Curie wrote me letters that seem to me admirable in their form. No one of them was very long, for he had the habit of concise expression, but all were written in a spirit of sincerity and with an evident anxiety to make the one he desired as a companion know him as he was. It is appropriate to quote here a few lines which express how he looked on the possibility of our marriage: + +> It would, nevertheless, be a beautiful thing in which I hardly dare believe, to pass through life together hypnotized in our dreams: your dream for your country, our dream for humanity, our dream for science. Of all these dreams, I believe the last alone is legitimate. I mean to say by this that we are powerless to change the social order. Even if this were not true we should not know what to do. And in working without understanding, we should never be sure that we were not doing more harm than good, by retarding some inevitable evolution. From the point of view of science, on the contrary, we can pretend to accomplish something. The territory here is more solid and obvious, and however small it is, it is truly in our possession. I strongly advise you to return to Paris in October. + +One can understand from this letter that for Pierre Curie there was only one way of looking at the future. He had dedicated his life to his dream of science: he felt the need of a companion who could live his dream with him. He told me many times that the reason he had not married until he was thirty-six was because he did not believe in the possibility of a marriage which would meet this, his absolute necessity. + +After my return from my vacation, our friendship grew more and more precious to us; each realized that he or she could find no better life companion. We decided, therefore, to marry, and the ceremony took place in July 1895.  + +Professor Curie's salary was six thousand francs a year, and we held that he should not undertake any supplementary work, at least in the beginning. As for myself, I was preparing to take the examination for the aggregation of young women, in view of obtaining a teaching post. These I passed in 1896. We ordered our life to suit our scientific work and our days were passed in the laboratory, where it was permitted that I might work with my husband. + +He was then engaged in a research on the growth of crystals, which interested him keenly. He wished to know if certain faces of a crystal had a preferential development chiefly because they have a different rapidity of growth or because their solubility is different. He quickly obtained interesting results (not published), but he had to interrupt his investigations to undertake others on radioactivity. And he often regretted that he was never able to return to them. I was occupied at this time with the study of the magnetization of tempered steel. + +![Madame Recoit, by Remy Cogghe, 1908. Musée d'Art et d'Industrie de Roubaix, France. ][25] + +_Madame Recoit_, by Remy Cogghe, 1908. Musée d'Art et d'Industrie de Roubaix, France.  + +The preparation of his class lectures was for Pierre Curie a genuine care. The chair was a new one and carried no prescribed course of study. He divided his lectures at first between crystallography and electricity. Then, as he recognized more and more the utility of a serious theoretical course in electricity for future engineers, he devoted himself entirely to this subject and succeeded in establishing a course (of about 120 lectures) that was the most complete and modern then to be had in Paris. This cost him a considerable effort, of which I was the daily witness, for he was always anxious to give a complete picture of the phenomena and of the evolution of theories, and of ideas. He was always anxious, too, that his mode of exposition should be clear and precise. He thought of publishing a treatise summing up this course, but unfortunately the many preoccupations of the following years prevented him from putting this plan into execution. + +We lived a very single life, interested in common, as we were, in our laboratory experiments and in the preparation of lectures and examinations. During eleven years we were scarcely ever separated, which means that there are very few lines of existing correspondence between us, representing that period. We spent our rest days and our vacations walking or bicycling either in the country near Paris, along the sea, or in the mountains. My husband was so engrossed in his researches, however, that it was very difficult for him to remain for any length of time in a place where he lacked facilities for work. After a few days, he would say, "It seems to me a very long time since we have accomplished anything." + +![][26] + +Contributor + +# [Marie Curie][27] + +## + +From _Pierre Curie and Autobiographical Notes_. In 1903 Marie, Pierre, and Henri Becquerel received the Nobel Prize in Physics for their discovery of radioactivity, and in 1911 she received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for isolating pure radium; she was the first woman to win a Nobel and the only one to have done so in two fields. During World War I, she and one of her daughters worked to develop X-radiography. She died at the age of sixty-six in 1934. + +# Issue + +# Back to Issue + +[ ![Lines of Work thumbnail][28] + +## [Lines of Work][29] + +[Shop Now][30] + +* [ Previous Labor Contract The Bible ][31] +* [ Next Power Points Isabella Mary Beeton ][32] + +# Related Reads + +![][33] + +[Essay][34] __ Sports & Games + +# [The Comeback Kid][35] + +[Terry McDonell][36] + +The marvelous and true tale of Alex Rodriguez seemed an unlikely prospect for the role of the Comeback Kid. [More][35] + +* * * ![][37] + +[Essay][34] __ Spies + +# [Happy All the Time][38] + +[Lynn Stuart Parramore][39] + +As biometric tracking takes over the modern workplace, the old game of labor surveillance is finding new forms. 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b/_stories/1924/14023255.md new file mode 100644 index 0000000..29efaf6 --- /dev/null +++ b/_stories/1924/14023255.md @@ -0,0 +1,4 @@ +[Source](http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2017/04/03/new-york-times-in-1924-hitler-tamed-by-prison/ "Permalink to ") + + + diff --git a/_stories/1924/7437643.md b/_stories/1924/7437643.md new file mode 100644 index 0000000..bae61e6 --- /dev/null +++ b/_stories/1924/7437643.md @@ -0,0 +1,366 @@ +[Source](https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Why_I_Never_Hire_Brilliant_Men "Permalink to Why I Never Hire Brilliant Men - Wikisource, the free online library") + +# Why I Never Hire Brilliant Men - Wikisource, the free online library + +# Why I Never Hire Brilliant Men + +From Wikisource + +Jump to: [navigation][1], [search][2] + +**Why I Never Hire Brilliant Men** +_by Unknown_ + +* ![Sister Projects.][3][sister projects][4]: [data item][5]. +From ["taoyue.com : Stacks : Why I Never Hire Brilliant Men"][6]. First appeared in the February 1924 issue of [The American Magazine][7] + +135586Why I Never Hire Brilliant MenUnknown + + +SITTING in my office last week, facing the man whom I had just fired, I thought of the contrast between that interview and our first one, nearly two years ago! Then he did almost all the talking, while I listened with eager interest. Last week it was I who talked, while he sulked like a petulant child. + +"Your contract has sixteen months to run," I said. "My proposition is that we cancel it at once, and that I hand you this check for ten thousand dollars." + +With a show of bravado he waved the check aside. He would hold me to the letter of the contract if it were the last thing he ever did. + +I told him he had that privilege, but I was sure he would see the futility of exercising it. + +"Let me review the situation for a moment," I continued: "You came to us as general sales manager on January 1st, 1922, at a salary of twenty-five thousand dollars. It was by far the largest salary we had ever paid in any executive position; but your record seemed to justify it. + +"The letters you brought spoke in the highest terms of your sales genius. The only question which they did not answer to my satisfaction was why companies which had valued you so highly should ever have allowed you to get away! When I voiced this, you stated that they merely had been outbid by their competitors -- and I accepted your statement. It wasn't until you had been here a year that I learned the truth. You are a quick starter, but a poor finisher -- no finisher at all, in fact." + +"Who told you that?" he demanded. + +"Nobody needed to tell me. I found it out from your effect on our own organization." + +"Organization!" he sneered. "You haven't got an organization." + +"So you have remarked to me frequently," I answered; "and you may be right. Our folks have mostly grown up in our own business; they know comparatively little of the way in which things are done in other lines. That's what we wanted you to teach us, and you were very sure that you could . . . We were all receptive." + +"Yes, you were!" he exclaimed scornfully. "Your folks were jealous from the day I arrived. They sat back and dared me to show results. I told you that six months ago." + +"I remember you did," I replied, "and my answer is just what it was then. You claim to be a brilliant salesman, and yet you failed in the first essential. You never sold yourself to the people with whom and through whom you had to work. You say they were jealous, but a man of your intelligence ought to know that the answer to jealousy is modesty, hard work -- and results. They would have jumped on your band wagon fast enough if you had made them see the advantage of it. But after waiting around for the band wagon to start, they concluded that it wasn't going to start, and it never has. + +"You brought your own assistants, and we paid them high salaries," I went on. "You moved our offices away from the plant and took these expensive quarters in the center of town. You were given a sales and advertising budget more than twice as large as any we have ever had before. Every request you made I granted as whole-heartedly as I knew how, because I believed that your fresh ideas were what this business needed. But twenty months have passed, and the sales simply have not grown. + +"That's the stubborn fact which can't be blinked; and now it's come to a point where I must choose between you and my good old wheel horses who, in spite of their mediocrity, have somehow managed to build a very profitable business. + +"You can stay here until your contract expires, but you will have no further responsibilities. The news will get around that you are merely hanging on; and when the end comes you will step out, discredited, to look for another job. Or you can leave now with ten thousand dollars, which is the additional penalty I am willing to pay for my mistake in judgment. If you go in the proper spirit, you are still young enough to profit by your failure." + + +HE MADE a little further show of protest, but he took the check. + +I wonder what old-line company will next be dazzled by his sales talk; and what I ought to say when the president writes to ask me why we were willing to let him go. If I tell the entire truth it may end his business career. And there is always the hope that, next time, he may enter modestly upon his opportunity and produce real results. For he has the talent; there is no doubt about that. He is undeniably a very brilliant man. + +When I was a small boy my father bought me two pairs of shoes; one at two and one-half dollars and the other at five dollars. + +"My son," he said, "I want you to wear these two pairs of shoes on alternate days, and watch them carefully. Later on I will ask you to tell me about them." + +Without understanding at all what he had in mind I wore the two-and-one-half-dollar pair on Monday, the five-dollar pair on Tuesday, and continued to give them equal service for about six months. At the end of that period I reported that the cheaper shoes were worn out. + +"How about the other pair?" he asked. + +"Here they are," I answered; "I've had them half-soled and they are as good as new." + +He nodded his head, as if he had expected this information. + +"I bought those shoes for a special purpose," he told me; "and I want them to be a lifelong lesson to you. There are just two grades of commodities in the world: the best -- and the others. My experience is that it pays to buy the best; and what applies to things applies equally to men. Pick out the best men for employers; and when you get along in life pick out the best men for employees. never mind what the price mark may be; the question is, what service will they deliver, and how long will they wear?" + + +I NEVER forgot that homely incident; but not until years later did I understand its full significance. The five-dollar shoe has a lot more wear in it because there was a lot more work in it. Even fine material, carelessly put together, will not make a fine shoe; but if material which is of just average quality is fashioned with special care and attention, it will result in a quite superior article. + +What my father was trying to teach me was this: God Almighty, in fashioning his most useful men, often works slowly with quite common stuff. Now and then He turns out a quick job of superfine materials -- a genius who really delivers the goods. But most of His better grade line is ordinary in everything except the extra effort, and dogged determination, which have given it a finer texture and finish. + +This knowledge, as I say, came much later. When I set out in life, it was with the idea that if I could attach myself to exceptional men, and exceptional men to me, my advancement would be assured. + +In my sophomore year in college my father died. One of his insurance policies of twenty thousand dollars was paid to me; the balance of his estate went to my mother. It would have been far wiser if I had completed my college course; but I was ambitious to make an immediate record. + +As it happened, I had come under the influence of the first of my costly collection of brilliant men. I will call him Carroll. He was five years older than I was and a member of my college fraternity. But he had dropped out at the end of his freshman year and was supposed to be making a great record with a wholesale grocery house in New York. We undergraduates were dazzled by the splendor of his visits. He wore fine clothes, smoked the best cigars, and talked with the assurance of a successful man of the world. + +One night, following the initiation ceremonies at the fraternity house, he drew me into a corner and asked me about my plans. I had no plan, I answered, except to finish my course and to take the best job that came along. + +"You'll just be wasting two years," he said decidedly. "You've got everything that college can give you, except a diploma. Look at me. I'm just as much a college man as though I had hung around here four years; and compared with my classmates I've got a three-years start in business. I've been watching you ever since you entered, and I think you have the stuff. + +"I'll make you a proposition," he went on confidentially. "The big future in the grocery business is in chain stores." (In which he was right, as has subsequently been proved.) "I know the business; you have twenty thousand dollars. I know a city where we can buy two good little stores for that amount in cash, and pay off the balance out of the profits. When we get those two going right, we'll buy another, and another, until we have a big chain. It's a sure-fire fortune. You think it over for a few days, and if you want to hook up with me, let me know." + +I was flattered by his interest, so I thought it over. That is, I indulged in what young men frequently mistake for thought. In imagination, I saw my name over the door and myself in a fine glass office looking out and watching clerks taking in money. I had, in anticipation, the thrill of buying one store after another and going from town to town on tours of inspection. I tickled my fancy with the idea of coming back to college and letting the boys consult me as an experienced man of affairs. And having finished this process of "thinking" I wired Carroll that I was ready to join him. + + +WE BOUGHT our two stores; there was no trouble about that. We hung out the signs which my imagination had pictured, washed the windows, rearranged the goods, painted the delivery wagons a bright red and worked like Trojans. We made progress -- quite encouraging progress. One of the fine traits in human nature is the desire which almost every decent man has to help young men do well. The second month we broke even. The third month we began to show a small profit. + +Everything might have gone well for us if it hadn't been for Carroll's brilliance. He walked into the office one night and sat down with an air of immense satisfaction. + +"We're on our way, Jimmy!" he exclaimed. "I've just been over to Booneville and got an option on the best store there." + +"How are we going to finance it?" I gasped. "We're short of working capital as it is, and I don't see how we can spread out our time any thinner." + +"Leave that to your Uncle Dudley," he cried, with a wave of his hand. "I've been over to the bank, and they're willing to take a chance on us. It will be a tight squeeze for a few months; but we'll make it. And as for spreading ourselves too thin, don't you ever make the mistake of tying yourself down to this desk. Nobody gets anywhere by doing all the work himself. We'll take Ferguson" (referring to one of our clerks) "and make him manager here, while we step over to Booneville and breathe the breath of life into that dear old town." + +His enthusiasm was contagious. We sat up half the night figuring and planning, and by one o'clock we had already moved on, in imagination, from Booneville to the two adjoining towns. + +For another six months the sun seemed to be shining in at all our windows. We put on more delivery wagons, took an option on more stores, laid in lines of goods which had never been carried before, and reveled in the joys of big business. + +Then the thing happened which was inevitable; we came smash up against inventory time and found that we had been insolvent for weeks without knowing it. Plenty of money was passing through our hands; but not enough stuck. + +We made an assignment, turned over every cent we had in the world and trailed sadly back to New York, where I found a job as a clerk for one of the jobbers from whom we had bought goods. + +Carroll, crushed to earth, rose brilliantly again. I heard of him next as one of the promoters of a new process for treating rubber. It lasted a few months, and exploded. Various enterprises followed, and my latest information about him is that he is practicing the profession of "Industrial Management." I should think it might be a good profession for Carroll. He is a bad employer for himself, but he could put a lot of ginger into somebody else's business, if the other man knew the trick of handling and properly discounting brilliant men. + +Well, I went to work behind a high desk copying orders. After a while I was given a chance to sell; and ten years later, at the age of thirty-five, I was general sales manager. At this time the owner of the business died and was succeeded by his son, a man about my own age. I will call him Adams. He announced immediately that I was to be vice president and general manager, and made a private arrangement with me by which I was able to purchase some of the stock. + +"I don't want to be tied down by details," he explained. "You know that end of things. I want to be free to work on big deals and think out plans for the future of the business. Father was a darned good man in his day, but he got pretty conservative toward the end. You and I together will do big things." + + +I OUGHT to have been warned; for while the voice was the voice of my new boss, the words were the words of my old partner, Carroll. Indeed, the two men were curiously alike -- both handsome, magnetic chaps with a facility for making quick friendships. + +I was still young in experience, however, and I entered into the new arrangement whole-heartedly. But disillusionment came swiftly. Our principal customer walked into the office one afternoon and asked for Mr. Adams. + +"He hasn't been in today," I said. "He may come later." + +"May come," repeated the big fellow with unpleasant emphasis. "He had a definite appointment with me, and I've traveled a hundred miles to keep it." + +I lied as nimbly as I could: Mr. Adams had been called away unexpectedly, I said. He told me about the appointment and would make every effort to get back. Probably he would come within the next half-hour. + +But the customer refused to be mollified. He waited in Adams's office for exactly thirty minutes; then he stalked out. + +At five-thirty that evening Adams burst in and began to unfold some new and splendid plan. It was dramatic -- a stroke of genius. But for two men in our circumstances it was impossible. When he had finished I poured the bad news of the Big Customer's call over him like a bucket of cold water. At once, all his enthusiasm died out; he was so contrite that I couldn't possibly be angry with him. + +"That's a rotten shame," he exclaimed. "I forgot all about it. I'll write the old bear a letter and lay myself humbly in the dust." + +And write a letter he did -- a masterpiece -- with delicate reference to the Big Customer's years of dealings with his father, and a profound apology. Better than that, he took a train and arrived in the Customer's office a half-hour after the letter, coming back with the best order we had ever shipped out. + +He was brilliant, there was no denying it, and so lovable that I value his friendship to-day more than that of almost any other man in the world. But I couldn't stand him in the business; I decided that within the first year, and we had a showdown. + +"One of us should go," I said in the course of the hardest interview of my life. "Either I'll sell my interest, or you sell me yours." + +"I don't see why," he answered; and he had the look of a favorite puppy who has been scolded. "I thought you liked me." + +"Like isn't a strong enough word," I said. "I love you, and you're brilliant. But I'm a commonplace plodder, and so are all our employees. Moreover, this is a plodding kind of business, where the money is made by pinching pennies. You're about as much at home in it as J. P. Morgan would be running a barber shop. + +"You conceive a big idea, get the whole organization on tiptoes to carry it out, and then you lose interest and go off on a new tangent. You think everybody else's mind ought to function as swiftly as your own, so you are alternately overenthusiastic and over-depressed. One day you carry some poor devil up into a high mountain and make him think he has a chance to become general manager. The next day you blow him up for not doing something which you think you told him, but which you actually forgot. You are always living, in imagination, about six jumps ahead. + + +WITH Adams out of our business, it gradually settled down. That is a terrible phrase, I know, but it describes our situation. We no longer had the brilliant emotional moments which he had inspired; we didn't attempt any very daring exploits; but at the end of every year we had more money in the bank than we had while he ran things. + +After that, I never hired a brilliant man from one of our competitors, nor listened to the siren-tones of "experts" who promised to double our volume -- until I encountered the twenty-five-thousand-dollar beauty I have mentioned at the start of this story. Every year I picked up a half-dozen live young fellows who seemed to have a capacity for hard work, and shoved them in at the bottom of the pile, letting them make their way up to the better air and sunlight at the top -- if they had it in them to do it. + +For a time I tried picking these youngsters out of the colleges. But my experience with college men was not fortunate. If I selected good students, I found too often that their leadership had been won by doing very well what their teachers had laid out for them. They had developed a fine capacity for taking orders, but not much initiative. If I hired athletes, too many of them seemed to feel that their life work was done; that the world owed them a living in exchange for what they had achieved for the grand old school. Also, there is not much social distinction in the grocery business. Young ladies -- and their mothers -- are much more thrilled by bonds than by butter and eggs. + +So I took most of my raw material from our delivery wagons, or other places right at hand. Out of this hard-muscled, hard-headed stuff I have built a business that has made me rich according to the standards of our locality, and has built modest fortunes for at least twenty other men. More important than that, it has stood for clean dealing and a faithful adherence to the best business ethics. Even our hottest competitors, I think, are willing to grant us that. + + +READING back over what I have written I am quite conscious that it is an indictment of myself, as well as of the brilliant men with whom I have been associated. Any reader might fairly say, "He was too mediocre to appreciate anything better than mediocrity." + +That criticism may be justifiable, for I am mediocre. But the point I have in mind is this: Business and life are built upon successful mediocrity; and victory comes to companies, not through the employment of brilliant men, but through knowing how to get the most out of ordinary folks. + +I was talking not long ago with the president of one of the big insurance companies. + +"There is not a single brilliant man in our organization," he said. "I am not brilliant myself. I am just an average chap who started in peddling policies, and -- knowing my own limitations -- felt that I must put in a couple of hours' extra work every day in order to hold my own against my competitors." + +In one of our largest cities is a newspaper which is said to earn nearly a million dollars a year. It was on the verge of bankruptcy when the present owner purchased it. He has made it practically a daily necessity to the business men of his city -- complete, accurate, dependable. + +One day a very talented journalist joined the staff in a position of considerable responsibility. He had been editor of a smaller newspaper noted for the brightness of its style; and in the first editorial counsel he volunteered a suggestion. + +"You have made a marvelous success of this property," he said to the proprietor. "Nobody would think of suggesting any change in the news policies. But won't you let me hire two or three really brilliant editorial writers whom I have in mind? Even you must admit that there is room for improvement on your editorial page." + +"What's the matter with the editorial page?" the proprietor demanded. + +"Why, it's so -- so commonplace." + +The proprietor was silent for a moment. Then he said: + +"My dear sir, the average business man is commonplace." + +There is a great deal of encouragement to me in that statement, and I find the same sort of encouragement in reading biography. Who have been the doers of important deeds? . . . Geniuses? . . . Yes, some of them. But not a majority, by any means. + +No man contributed more to the winning of the World War than Lord Kitchener, who was one of the dullest boys that ever entered a school. All studies were hard for him, with one exception: he was remarkably good in arithmetic. Capitalizing that one point of strength, he learned to handle men in large numbers and to make accurate estimates of the strength of his own forces and those opposed to him. When brilliant men were talking about a six-months war, he bluntly prophesied a three-years war, and forced the Allies to prepare for it. + +[Charles Darwin][8], who revolutionized scientific thought, was so unpromising as a boy that his father predicted he would be a disgrace to the family. [James Russell Lowell][9] was suspended by Harvard for "continued neglect of his college duties." Neither of them showed any youthful brilliance; they matured gradually into eminence by the slow process of diligent effort. + + +[SIR ISAAC NEWTON][10] sat one night at dinner beside a very attractive and voluble young lady. + +"My dear Sir Isaac," she exclaimed, "how did you ever happen to discover the law of gravitation?" + +"By constantly thinking about it, madam," her "dear Sir Isaac" muttered. + +In that blunt answer lies the substance of my experience, and what I believe to be the real secret of business achievement. + +So sure am I of the soundness of this philosophy that I have five very simple rules for hiring men, which are the outgrowth of it! + +: + +1. Has he good health? Some months ago a newspaper collected from a hundred young men a list of the qualifications they would seek in the girls they hoped to marry. The list differed widely, as may be imagined. But at the top of almost every one was written the asset which I put first in men -- good health. Without it the best man in the world is likely to become pessimistic in his outlook, and to break when he is needed most. With it, even mediocrity can force itself by unusual effort into something fine and useful. Generally speaking, I would rather have a man who was born frail, and has overcome his frailty by careful living, than take one whose natural strength has never known its limits. The athlete, like the genius, frequently disappoints; while the man who has had to fight for his health knows how to value and preserve it. +2. Has he saved some money? I don't care how much, or how little, but he must have saved something. At times, this demand may seem harsh. A man will say, "I have had parents to look after," or "I have had bad luck with an investment," or, "I trusted a friend who failed me." To all such excuses I am sympathetic, but I do not relent. I answer, "That is too bad, but think what it means. You have lived twenty-five or thirty years without making a profit on your life; how can I expect that you will be a profit-maker for me?" +3. Does he talk and write effectively? This may seem a strange requirement, but it has been a very useful one. If we could unscrew the top of men's heads and look in, many of our problems would be eliminated, for we could see what sort of thinking goes on there. Lacking that privilege however, we have to judge by what comes out of the mind through the tongue and fingers. If a man writes and speaks "neatly" it is because his thinking is orderly; if his expression is forceful, the thought back of it must be forceful. But if he blunders for words, and uses phrases which express his meaning clumsily, I believe his mind is cluttered and ill-disciplined. +4. Does he finish what he starts? Geniuses almost never do. I look very critically into little things respecting the men I hire; the details of their dress, their handwriting, their record of tying up a job and leaving no loose ends. The biggest men of my acquaintance in business are "detail men" to an amazing degree. Often the president of a company is the only man in it who knows the little things about every department. +5. Finally, of course, I look for courage. General Grant was a rather slow-witted man, and a failure in middle life. But he won the Civil War; and the principle on which he proceeded was that the enemy was probably just as much scared as he was. Napoleon's motto was "When in doubt, attack." I like to throw something rather hard at a young man, and see how squarely he meets it. For with courage and the habit of going forward he can travel a long way. He will pass many men more brilliant than he is. Their active minds can always see two sides to every question; and they stand still while the debate goes on inside. + +THESE are quite simple rules. They eliminate the genius quite as surely as they eliminate the unfit. No Edison could ever qualify; no Lincoln, either, with his soiled linen duster and his habit of interrupting important business with funny stories. I am sorry to forego the companionship of such men in my rather dingy building here in the wholesale grocery district. But I comfort myself with the thought that Cromwell built the finest army in Europe out of dull but enthusiastic yeomen; and that the greatest organization in human history was twelve humble men, picked up along the shores of an inland lake. + +![][11] + +This work is in the [**public domain][12] in the United States** because it was [_legally published][13]_ within the United States (or the United Nations Headquarters in New York subject to Section 7 of the [United States Headquarters Agreement][14]) before 1964, and copyright was not renewed. + +: For Class A renewals records (**books** only) published between 1923 and 1963, check the [Stanford University Copyright Renewal Database][15]. + +: For other renewal records of publications between 1922–1950 see the [University of Pennsylvania copyright records scans][16]. + +: For all records since 1978, search the [U.S. Copyright Office][17] records. + +* * * + +Works published in 1924 would have had to renew their copyright in either 1951 or 1952, _i.e._ at least 27 years after it was first published / registered but not later than 31 December in the 28th year. 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P. Lovecraft") + +# "Supernatural Horror in Literature" by H. P. Lovecraft + + + +| ----- | +| + +| + +|   | [Home][1] |     | [His Life][2] |     | [His Writings][3] |     | [His Creations][4] |     | [His Study][5] |     | [Popular Culture][6] |     | [Internet Resources][7] |     | [About This Site][8] |   | + + | + + | +| + +**Supernatural Horror in Literature +By H. P. Lovecraft +** +![][9] | +| + + +I. Introduction +The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown. These facts few psychologists will dispute, and their admitted truth must establish for all time the genuineness and dignity of the weirdly horrible tale as a literary form. Against it are discharged all the shafts of a materialistic sophistication which clings to frequently felt emotions and external events, and of a naively insipid idealism which deprecates the aesthetic motive and calls for a didactic literature to uplift the reader toward a suitable degree of smirking optimism. But in spite of all this opposition the weird tale has survived, developed, and attained remarkable heights of perfection; founded as it is on a profound and elementary principle whose appeal, if not always universal, must necessarily be poignant and permanent to minds of the requisite sensitiveness. +![ ][10]The appeal of the spectrally macabre is generally narrow because it demands from the reader a certain degree of imagination and a capacity for detachment from every-day life. Relatively few are free enough from the spell of the daily routine to respond to rappings from outside, and tales of ordinary feelings and events, or of common sentimental distortions of such feelings and events, will always take first place in the taste of the majority; rightly, perhaps, since of course these ordinary matters make up the greater part of human experience. But the sensitive are always with us, and sometimes a curious streak of fancy invades an obscure corner of the very hardest head; so that no amount of rationalisation, reform, or Freudian analysis can quite annul the thrill of the chimney-corner whisper or the lonely wood. There is here involved a psychological pattern or tradition as real and as deeply grounded in mental experience as any other pattern or tradition of mankind; coeval with the religious feeling and closely related to many aspects of it, and too much a part of our inmost biological heritage to lose keen potency over a very important, though not numerically great, minority of our species. +![ ][10]Man’s first instincts and emotions formed his response to the environment in which he found himself. Definite feelings based on pleasure and pain grew up around the phenomena whose causes and effects he understood, whilst around those which he did not understand—and the universe teemed with them in the early days—were naturally woven such personifications, marvellous interpretations, and sensations of awe and fear as would be hit upon by a race having few and simple ideas and limited experience. The unknown, being likewise the unpredictable, became for our primitive forefathers a terrible and omnipotent source of boons and calamities visited upon mankind for cryptic and wholly extra-terrestrial reasons, and thus clearly belonging to spheres of existence whereof we know nothing and wherein we have no part. The phenomenon of dreaming likewise helped to build up the notion of an unreal or spiritual world; and in general, all the conditions of savage dawn-life so strongly conduced toward a feeling of the supernatural, that we need not wonder at the thoroughness with which man’s very hereditary essence has become saturated with religion and superstition. That saturation must, as a matter of plain scientific fact, be regarded as virtually permanent so far as the subconscious mind and inner instincts are concerned; for though the area of the unknown has been steadily contracting for thousands of years, an infinite reservoir of mystery still engulfs most of the outer cosmos, whilst a vast residuum of powerful inherited associations clings around all the objects and processes that were once mysterious, however well they may now be explained. And more than this, there is an actual physiological fixation of the old instincts in our nervous tissue, which would make them obscurely operative even were the conscious mind to be purged of all sources of wonder. +![ ][10]Because we remember pain and the menace of death more vividly than pleasure, and because our feelings toward the beneficent aspects of the unknown have from the first been captured and formalised by conventional religious rituals, it has fallen to the lot of the darker and more maleficent side of cosmic mystery to figure chiefly in our popular supernatural folklore. This tendency, too, is naturally enhanced by the fact that uncertainty and danger are always closely allied; thus making any kind of an unknown world a world of peril and evil possibilities. When to this sense of fear and evil the inevitable fascination of wonder and curiosity is superadded, there is born a composite body of keen emotion and imaginative provocation whose vitality must of necessity endure as long as the human race itself. Children will always be afraid of the dark, and men with minds sensitive to hereditary impulse will always tremble at the thought of the hidden and fathomless worlds of strange life which may pulsate in the gulfs beyond the stars, or press hideously upon our own globe in unholy dimensions which only the dead and the moonstruck can glimpse. +![ ][10]With this foundation, no one need wonder at the existence of a literature of cosmic fear. It has always existed, and always will exist; and no better evidence of its tenacious vigour can be cited than the impulse which now and then drives writers of totally opposite leanings to try their hands at it in isolated tales, as if to discharge from their minds certain phantasmal shapes which would otherwise haunt them. Thus Dickens wrote several eerie narratives; Browning, the hideous poem “Childe Roland”; Henry James, _The Turn of the Screw;_ Dr. Holmes, the subtle novel _Elsie Venner;_ F. Marion Crawford, “The Upper Berth” and a number of other examples; Mrs. Charlotte Perkins Gilman, social worker, “The Yellow Wall Paper”; whilst the humourist W. W. Jacobs produced that able melodramatic bit called “The Monkey’s Paw”. +![ ][10]This type of fear-literature must not be confounded with a type externally similar but psychologically widely different; the literature of mere physical fear and the mundanely gruesome. Such writing, to be sure, has its place, as has the conventional or even whimsical or humorous ghost story where formalism or the author’s knowing wink removes the true sense of the morbidly unnatural; but these things are not the literature of cosmic fear in its purest sense. The true weird tale has something more than secret murder, bloody bones, or a sheeted form clanking chains according to rule. A certain atmosphere of breathless and unexplainable dread of outer, unknown forces must be present; and there must be a hint, expressed with a seriousness and portentousness becoming its subject, of that most terrible conception of the human brain—a malign and particular suspension or defeat of those fixed laws of Nature which are our only safeguard against the assaults of chaos and the daemons of unplumbed space. +![ ][10]Naturally we cannot expect all weird tales to conform absolutely to any theoretical model. Creative minds are uneven, and the best of fabrics have their dull spots. Moreover, much of the choicest weird work is unconscious; appearing in memorable fragments scattered through material whose massed effect may be of a very different cast. Atmosphere is the all-important thing, for the final criterion of authenticity is not the dovetailing of a plot but the creation of a given sensation. We may say, as a general thing, that a weird story whose intent is to teach or produce a social effect, or one in which the horrors are finally explained away by natural means, is not a genuine tale of cosmic fear; but it remains a fact that such narratives often possess, in isolated sections, atmospheric touches which fulfil every condition of true supernatural horror-literature. Therefore we must judge a weird tale not by the author’s intent, or by the mere mechanics of the plot; but by the emotional level which it attains at its least mundane point. If the proper sensations are excited, such a “high spot” must be admitted on its own merits as weird literature, no matter how prosaically it is later dragged down. The one test of the really weird is simply this—whether or not there be excited in the reader a profound sense of dread, and of contact with unknown spheres and powers; a subtle attitude of awed listening, as if for the beating of black wings or the scratching of outside shapes and entities on the known universe’s utmost rim. And of course, the more completely and unifiedly a story conveys this atmosphere, the better it is as a work of art in the given medium. + +II. The Dawn of the Horror-Tale +![ ][10]As may naturally be expected of a form so closely connected with primal emotion, the horror-tale is as old as human thought and speech themselves. +![ ][10]Cosmic terror appears as an ingredient of the earliest folklore of all races, and is crystallised in the most archaic ballads, chronicles, and sacred writings. It was, indeed, a prominent feature of the elaborate ceremonial magic, with its rituals for the evocation of daemons and spectres, which flourished from prehistoric times, and which reached its highest development in Egypt and the Semitic nations. Fragments like the Book of Enoch and the Claviculae of Solomon well illustrate the power of the weird over the ancient Eastern mind, and upon such things were based enduring systems and traditions whose echoes extend obscurely even to the present time. Touches of this transcendental fear are seen in classic literature, and there is evidence of its still greater emphasis in a ballad literature which paralleled the classic stream but vanished for lack of a written medium. The Middle Ages, steeped in fanciful darkness, gave it an enormous impulse toward expression; and East and West alike were busy preserving and amplifying the dark heritage, both of random folklore and of academically formulated magic and cabbalism, which had descended to them. Witch, werewolf, vampire, and ghoul brooded ominously on the lips of bard and grandam, and needed but little encouragement to take the final step across the boundary that divides the chanted tale or song from the formal literary composition. In the Orient, the weird tale tended to assume a gorgeous colouring and sprightliness which almost transmuted it into sheer phantasy. In the West, where the mystical Teuton had come down from his black Boreal forests and the Celt remembered strange sacrifices in Druidic groves, it assumed a terrible intensity and convincing seriousness of atmosphere which doubled the force of its half-told, half-hinted horrors. +![ ][10]Much of the power of Western horror-lore was undoubtedly due to the hidden but often suspected presence of a hideous cult of nocturnal worshippers whose strange customs—descended from pre-Aryan and pre-agricultural times when a squat race of Mongoloids roved over Europe with their flocks and herds—were rooted in the most revolting fertility-rites of immemorial antiquity. This secret religion, stealthily handed down amongst peasants for thousands of years despite the outward reign of the Druidic, Graeco-Roman, and Christian faiths in the regions involved, was marked by wild “Witches’ Sabbaths” in lonely woods and atop distant hills on Walpurgis-Night and Hallowe’en, the traditional breeding-seasons of the goats and sheep and cattle; and became the source of vast riches of sorcery-legend, besides provoking extensive witchcraft- prosecutions of which the Salem affair forms the chief American example. Akin to it in essence, and perhaps connected with it in fact, was the frightful secret system of inverted theology or Satan-worship which produced such horrors as the famous “Black Mass”; whilst operating toward the same end we may note the activities of those whose aims were somewhat more scientific or philosophical—the astrologers, cabbalists, and alchemists of the Albertus Magnus or Raymond Lully type, with whom such rude ages invariably abound. The prevalence and depth of the mediaeval horror-spirit in Europe, intensified by the dark despair which waves of pestilence brought, may be fairly gauged by the grotesque carvings slyly introduced into much of the finest later Gothic ecclesiastical work of the time; the daemoniac gargoyles of Notre Dame and Mont St. Michel being among the most famous specimens. And throughout the period, it must be remembered, there existed amongst educated and uneducated alike a most unquestioning faith in every form of the supernatural; from the gentlest of Christian doctrines to the most monstrous morbidities of witchcraft and black magic. It was from no empty background that the Renaissance magicians and alchemists—Nostradamus, Trithemius, Dr. John Dee, Robert Fludd, and the like—were born. +![ ][10]In this fertile soil were nourished types and characters of sombre myth and legend which persist in weird literature to this day, more or less disguised or altered by modern technique. Many of them were taken from the earliest oral sources, and form part of mankind’s permanent heritage. The shade which appears and demands the burial of its bones, the daemon lover who comes to bear away his still living bride, the death-fiend or psychopomp riding the night-wind, the man-wolf, the sealed chamber, the deathless sorcerer—all these may be found in that curious body of mediaeval lore which the late Mr. Baring-Gould so effectively assembled in book form. Wherever the mystic Northern blood was strongest, the atmosphere of the popular tales became most intense; for in the Latin races there is a touch of basic rationality which denies to even their strangest superstitions many of the overtones of glamour so characteristic of our own forest-born and ice-fostered whisperings. +![ ][10]Just as all fiction first found extensive embodiment in poetry, so is it in poetry that we first encounter the permanent entry of the weird into standard literature. Most of the ancient instances, curiously enough, are in prose; as the werewolf incident in Petronius, the gruesome passages in Apuleius, the brief but celebrated letter of Pliny the Younger to Sura, and the odd compilation _On Wonderful Events_ by the Emperor Hadrian’s Greek freedman, Phlegon. It is in Phlegon that we first find that hideous tale of the corpse-bride, “Philinnion and Machates”, later related by Proclus and in modern times forming the inspiration of Goethe’s “Bride of Corinth” and Washington Irving’s “German Student”. But by the time the old Northern myths take literary form, and in that later time when the weird appears as a steady element in the literature of the day, we find it mostly in metrical dress; as indeed we find the greater part of the strictly imaginative writing of the Middle Ages and Renaissance. The Scandinavian Eddas and Sagas thunder with cosmic horror, and shake with the stark fear of Ymir and his shapeless spawn; whilst our own Anglo-Saxon _Beowulf_ and the later Continental Nibelung tales are full of eldritch weirdness. Dante is a pioneer in the classic capture of macabre atmosphere, and in Spenser’s stately stanzas will be seen more than a few touches of fantastic terror in landscape, incident, and character. Prose literature gives us Malory’s _Morte d’Arthur,_ in which are presented many ghastly situations taken from early ballad sources—the theft of the sword and silk from the corpse in Chapel Perilous by Sir Launcelot, the ghost of Sir Gawaine, and the tomb-fiend seen by Sir Galahad—whilst other and cruder specimens were doubtless set forth in the cheap and sensational “chapbooks” vulgarly hawked about and devoured by the ignorant. In Elizabethan drama, with its _Dr. Faustus,_ the witches in _Macbeth, _the ghost in _Hamlet, _and the horrible gruesomeness of Webster, we may easily discern the strong hold of the daemoniac on the public mind; a hold intensified by the very real fear of living witchcraft, whose terrors, first wildest on the Continent, begin to echo loudly in English ears as the witch-hunting crusades of James the First gain headway. To the lurking mystical prose of the ages is added a long line of treatises on witchcraft and daemonology which aid in exciting the imagination of the reading world. +![ ][10]Through the seventeenth and into the eighteenth century we behold a growing mass of fugitive legendry and balladry of darksome cast; still, however, held down beneath the surface of polite and accepted literature. Chapbooks of horror and weirdness multiplied, and we glimpse the eager interest of the people through fragments like Defoe’s “Apparition of Mrs. Veal”, a homely tale of a dead woman’s spectral visit to a distant friend, written to advertise covertly a badly selling theological disquisition on death. The upper orders of society were now losing faith in the supernatural, and indulging in a period of classic rationalism. Then, beginning with the translations of Eastern tales in Queen Anne’s reign and taking definite form toward the middle of the century, comes the revival of romantic feeling—the era of new joy in Nature, and in the radiance of past times, strange scenes, bold deeds, and incredible marvels. We feel it first in the poets, whose utterances take on new qualities of wonder, strangeness, and shuddering. And finally, after the timid appearance of a few weird scenes in the novels of the day—such as Smollett’s _Adventures of Ferdinand, Count Fathom_—the released instinct precipitates itself in the birth of a new school of writing; the “Gothic” school of horrible and fantastic prose fiction, long and short, whose literary posterity is destined to become so numerous, and in many cases so resplendent in artistic merit. It is, when one reflects upon it, genuinely remarkable that weird narration as a fixed and academically recognised literary form should have been so late of final birth. The impulse and atmosphere are as old as man, but the typical weird tale of standard literature is a child of the eighteenth century. + +III. The Early Gothic Novel +![ ][10]The shadow-haunted landscapes of “Ossian”, the chaotic visions of William Blake, the grotesque witch-dances in Burns’s “Tam O’Shanter”, the sinister daemonism of Coleridge’s _Christabel _and _Ancient Mariner,_ the ghostly charm of James Hogg’s “Kilmeny”_, _and the more restrained approaches to cosmic horror in _Lamia_ and many of Keats’s other poems, are typical British illustrations of the advent of the weird to formal literature. Our Teutonic cousins of the Continent were equally receptive to the rising flood, and Bürger’s “Wild Huntsman” and the even more famous daemon-bridegroom ballad of “Lenore”—both imitated in English by Scott, whose respect for the supernatural was always great—are only a taste of the eerie wealth which German song had commenced to provide. Thomas Moore adapted from such sources the legend of the ghoulish statue-bride (later used by Prosper Mérimée in “The Venus of Ille”, and traceable back to great antiquity) which echoes so shiveringly in his ballad of “The Ring”; whilst Goethe’s deathless masterpiece _Faust, _crossing from mere balladry into the classic, cosmic tragedy of the ages, may be held as the ultimate height to which this German poetic impulse arose. +![ ][10]But it remained for a very sprightly and worldly Englishman—none other than Horace Walpole himself—to give the growing impulse definite shape and become the actual founder of the literary horror-story as a permanent form. Fond of mediaeval romance and mystery as a dilettante’s diversion, and with a quaintly imitated Gothic castle as his abode at Strawberry Hill, Walpole in 1764 published _The Castle of Otranto;_ a tale of the supernatural which, though thoroughly unconvincing and mediocre in itself, was destined to exert an almost unparalleled influence on the literature of the weird. First venturing it only as a translation by one “William Marshal, Gent.” from the Italian of a mythical “Onuphrio Muralto”, the author later acknowledged his connexion with the book and took pleasure in its wide and instantaneous popularity—a popularity which extended to many editions, early dramatisation, and wholesale imitation both in England and in Germany. +![ ][10]The story—tedious, artificial, and melodramatic—is further impaired by a brisk and prosaic style whose urbane sprightliness nowhere permits the creation of a truly weird atmosphere. It tells of Manfred, an unscrupulous and usurping prince determined to found a line, who after the mysterious sudden death of his only son Conrad on the latter’s bridal morn, attempts to put away his wife Hippolita and wed the lady destined for the unfortunate youth—the lad, by the way, having been crushed by the preternatural fall of a gigantic helmet in the castle courtyard. Isabella, the widowed bride, flees from this design; and encounters in subterranean crypts beneath the castle a noble young preserver, Theodore, who seems to be a peasant yet strangely resembles the old lord Alfonso who ruled the domain before Manfred’s time. Shortly thereafter supernatural phenomena assail the castle in divers ways; fragments of gigantic armour being discovered here and there, a portrait walking out of its frame, a thunderclap destroying the edifice, and a colossal armoured spectre of Alfonso rising out of the ruins to ascend through parting clouds to the bosom of St. Nicholas. Theodore, having wooed Manfred’s daughter Matilda and lost her through death—for she is slain by her father by mistake—is discovered to be the son of Alfonso and rightful heir to the estate. He concludes the tale by wedding Isabella and preparing to live happily ever after, whilst Manfred—whose usurpation was the cause of his son’s supernatural death and his own supernatural harassings—retires to a monastery for penitence; his saddened wife seeking asylum in a neighbouring convent. +![ ][10]Such is the tale; flat, stilted, and altogether devoid of the true cosmic horror which makes weird literature. Yet such was the thirst of the age for those touches of strangeness and spectral antiquity which it reflects, that it was seriously received by the soundest readers and raised in spite of its intrinsic ineptness to a pedestal of lofty importance in literary history. What it did above all else was to create a novel type of scene, puppet-characters, and incidents; which, handled to better advantage by writers more naturally adapted to weird creation, stimulated the growth of an imitative Gothic school which in turn inspired the real weavers of cosmic terror—the line of actual artists beginning with Poe. This novel dramatic paraphernalia consisted first of all of the Gothic castle, with its awesome antiquity, vast distances and ramblings, deserted or ruined wings, damp corridors, unwholesome hidden catacombs, and galaxy of ghosts and appalling legends, as a nucleus of suspense and daemoniac fright. In addition, it included the tyrannical and malevolent nobleman as villain; the saintly, longpersecuted, and generally insipid heroine who undergoes the major terrors and serves as a point of view and focus for the reader’s sympathies; the valorous and immaculate hero, always of high birth but often in humble disguise; the convention of high-sounding foreign names, mostly Italian, for the characters; and the infinite array of stage properties which includes strange lights, damp trap-doors, extinguished lamps, mouldy hidden manuscripts, creaking hinges, shaking arras, and the like. All this paraphernalia reappears with amusing sameness, yet sometimes with tremendous effect, throughout the history of the Gothic novel; and is by no means extinct even today, though subtler technique now forces it to assume a less naive and obvious form. An harmonious milieu for a new school had been found, and the writing world was not slow to grasp the opportunity. +![ ][10]German romance at once responded to the Walpole influence, and soon became a byword for the weird and ghastly. In England one of the first imitators was the celebrated Mrs. Barbauld, then Miss Aikin, who in 1773 published an unfinished fragment called “Sir Bertrand”, in which the strings of genuine terror were truly touched with no clumsy hand. A nobleman on a dark and lonely moor, attracted by a tolling bell and distant light, enters a strange and ancient turreted castle whose doors open and close and whose bluish will-o’-the-wisps lead up mysterious staircases toward dead hands and animated black statues. A coffin with a dead lady, whom Sir Bertrand kisses, is finally reached; and upon the kiss the scene dissolves to give place to a splendid apartment where the lady, restored to life, holds a banquet in honour of her rescuer. Walpole admired this tale, though he accorded less respect to an even more prominent offspring of his _Otranto_—_The Old English Baron,_ by Clara Reeve, published in 1777. Truly enough, this tale lacks the real vibration to the note of outer darkness and mystery which distinguishes Mrs. Barbauld’s fragment; and though less crude than Walpole’s novel, and more artistically economical of horror in its possession of only one spectral figure, it is nevertheless too definitely insipid for greatness. Here again we have the virtuous heir to the castle disguised as a peasant and restored to his heritage through the ghost of his father; and here again we have a case of wide popularity leading to many editions, dramatisation, and ultimate translation into French. Miss Reeve wrote another weird novel, unfortunately unpublished and lost. +![ ][10]The Gothic novel was now settled as a literary form, and instances multiply bewilderingly as the eighteenth century draws toward its close. _The Recess,_ written in 1785 by Mrs. Sophia Lee, has the historic element, revolving round the twin daughters of Mary, Queen of Scots; and though devoid of the supernatural, employs the Walpole scenery and mechanism with great dexterity. Five years later, and all existing lamps are paled by the rising of a fresh luminary of wholly superior order—Mrs. Ann Radcliffe (1764–1823), whose famous novels made terror and suspense a fashion, and who set new and higher standards in the domain of macabre and fear-inspiring atmosphere despite a provoking custom of destroying her own phantoms at the last through laboured mechanical explanations. To the familiar Gothic trappings of her predecessors Mrs. Radcliffe added a genuine sense of the unearthly in scene and incident which closely approached genius; every touch of setting and action contributing artistically to the impression of illimitable frightfulness which she wished to convey. A few sinister details like a track of blood on castle stairs, a groan from a distant vault, or a weird song in a nocturnal forest can with her conjure up the most powerful images of imminent horror; surpassing by far the extravagant and toilsome elaborations of others. Nor are these images in themselves any the less potent because they are explained away before the end of the novel. Mrs. Radcliffe’s visual imagination was very strong, and appears as much in her delightful landscape touches—always in broad, glamorously pictorial outline, and never in close detail—as in her weird phantasies. Her prime weaknesses, aside from the habit of prosaic disillusionment, are a tendency toward erroneous geography and history and a fatal predilection for bestrewing her novels with insipid little poems, attributed to one or another of the characters. +![ ][10]Mrs. Radcliffe wrote six novels; _The Castles of Athlin and Dunbayne_ (1789), _A Sicilian Romance_ (1790), _The Romance of the Forest _(1791), _The Mysteries of Udolpho_ (1794), _The Italian_ (1797), and _Gaston de Blondeville,_ composed in 1802 but first published posthumously in 1826. Of these _Udolpho_ is by far the most famous, and may be taken as a type of the early Gothic tale at its best. It is the chronicle of Emily, a young Frenchwoman transplanted to an ancient and portentous castle in the Apennines through the death of her parents and the marriage of her aunt to the lord of the castle—the scheming nobleman Montoni. Mysterious sounds, opened doors, frightful legends, and a nameless horror in a niche behind a black veil all operate in quick succession to unnerve the heroine and her faithful attendant Annette; but finally, after the death of her aunt, she escapes with the aid of a fellow-prisoner whom she has discovered. On the way home she stops at a chateau filled with fresh horrors—the abandoned wing where the departed chatelaine dwelt, and the bed of death with the black pall—but is finally restored to security and happiness with her lover Valancourt, after the clearing-up of a secret which seemed for a time to involve her birth in mystery. Clearly, this is only the familiar material re-worked; but it is so well re-worked that _Udolpho _will always be a classic. Mrs. Radcliffe’s characters are puppets, but they are less markedly so than those of her forerunners. And in atmospheric creation she stands preëminent among those of her time. +![ ][10]Of Mrs. Radcliffe’s countless imitators, the American novelist Charles Brockden Brown stands the closest in spirit and method. Like her, he injured his creations by natural explanations; but also like her, he had an uncanny atmospheric power which gives his horrors a frightful vitality as long as they remain unexplained. He differed from her in contemptuously discarding the external Gothic paraphernalia and properties and choosing modern American scenes for his mysteries; but this repudiation did not extend to the Gothic spirit and type of incident. Brown’s novels involve some memorably frightful scenes, and excel even Mrs. Radcliffe’s in describing the operations of the perturbed mind. _Edgar Huntly_ starts with a sleep-walker digging a grave, but is later impaired by touches of Godwinian didacticism. _Ormond _involves a member of a sinister secret brotherhood. That and _Arthur Mervyn_ both describe the plague of yellow fever, which the author had witnessed in Philadelphia and New York. But Brown’s most famous book is _Wieland; or, The Transformation_ (1798), in which a Pennsylvania German, engulfed by a wave of religious fanaticism, hears voices and slays his wife and children as a sacrifice. His sister Clara, who tells the story, narrowly escapes. The scene, laid at the woodland estate of Mittingen on the Schuylkill’s remote reaches, is drawn with extreme vividness; and the terrors of Clara, beset by spectral tones, gathering fears, and the sound of strange footsteps in the lonely house, are all shaped with truly artistic force. In the end a lame ventriloquial explanation is offered, but the atmosphere is genuine while it lasts. Carwin, the malign ventriloquist, is a typical villain of the Manfred or Montoni type. + +IV. The Apex of Gothic Romance +![ ][10]Horror in literature attains a new malignity in the work of Matthew Gregory Lewis (1775–1818), whose novel _The Monk_ (1796) achieved marvellous popularity and earned him the nickname of “Monk” Lewis. This young author, educated in Germany and saturated with a body of wild Teuton lore unknown to Mrs. Radcliffe, turned to terror in forms more violent than his gentle predecessor had ever dared to think of; and produced as a result a masterpiece of active nightmare whose general Gothic cast is spiced with added stores of ghoulishness. The story is one of a Spanish monk, Ambrosio, who from a state of overproud virtue is tempted to the very nadir of evil by a fiend in the guise of the maiden Matilda; and who is finally, when awaiting death at the Inquisition’s hands, induced to purchase escape at the price of his soul from the Devil, because he deems both body and soul already lost. Forthwith the mocking Fiend snatches him to a lonely place, tells him he has sold his soul in vain since both pardon and a chance for salvation were approaching at the moment of his hideous bargain, and completes the sardonic betrayal by rebuking him for his unnatural crimes, and casting his body down a precipice whilst his soul is borne off for ever to perdition. The novel contains some appalling descriptions such as the incantation in the vaults beneath the convent cemetery, the burning of the convent, and the final end of the wretched abbot. In the sub-plot where the Marquis de las Cisternas meets the spectre of his erring ancestress, The Bleeding Nun, there are many enormously potent strokes; notably the visit of the animated corpse to the Marquis’s bedside, and the cabbalistic ritual whereby the Wandering Jew helps him to fathom and banish his dead tormentor. Nevertheless _The Monk _drags sadly when read as a whole. It is too long and too diffuse, and much of its potency is marred by flippancy and by an awkwardly excessive reaction against those canons of decorum which Lewis at first despised as prudish. One great thing may be said of the author; that he never ruined his ghostly visions with a natural explanation. He succeeded in breaking up the Radcliffian tradition and expanding the field of the Gothic novel. Lewis wrote much more than _The Monk._ His drama, _The Castle Spectre,_ was produced in 1798, and he later found time to pen other fictions in ballad form—_Tales of Terror_ (1799), _Tales of Wonder_ (1801), and a succession of translations from the German. +![ ][10]Gothic romances, both English and German, now appeared in multitudinous and mediocre profusion. Most of them were merely ridiculous in the light of mature taste, and Miss Austen’s famous satire _Northanger Abbey_ was by no means an unmerited rebuke to a school which had sunk far toward absurdity. This particular school was petering out, but before its final subordination there arose its last and greatest figure in the person of Charles Robert Maturin (1782–1824), an obscure and eccentric Irish clergyman. Out of an ample body of miscellaneous writing which includes one confused Radcliffian imitation called _Fatal Revenge; or, The Family of Montorio_ (1807), Maturin at length evolved the vivid horror-masterpiece of _Melmoth the Wanderer_ (1820), in which the Gothic tale climbed to altitudes of sheer spiritual fright which it had never known before. +![ ][10]_Melmoth _is the tale of an Irish gentleman who, in the seventeenth century, obtained a preternaturally extended life from the Devil at the price of his soul. If he can persuade another to take the bargain off his hands, and assume his existing state, he can be saved; but this he can never manage to effect, no matter how assiduously he haunts those whom despair has made reckless and frantic. The framework of the story is very clumsy; involving tedious length, digressive episodes, narratives within narratives, and laboured dovetailing and coincidences; but at various points in the endless rambling there is felt a pulse of power undiscoverable in any previous work of this kind—a kinship to the essential truth of human nature, an understanding of the profoundest sources of actual cosmic fear, and a white heat of sympathetic passion on the writer’s part which makes the book a true document of aesthetic self-expression rather than a mere clever compound of artifice. No unbiassed reader can doubt that with _Melmoth_ an enormous stride in the evolution of the horror-tale is represented. Fear is taken out of the realm of the conventional and exalted into a hideous cloud over mankind’s very destiny. Maturin’s shudders, the work of one capable of shuddering himself, are of the sort that convince. Mrs. Radcliffe and Lewis are fair game for the parodist, but it would be difficult to find a false note in the feverishly intensified action and high atmospheric tension of the Irishman whose less sophisticated emotions and strain of Celtic mysticism gave him the finest possible natural equipment for his task. Without a doubt Maturin is a man of authentic genius, and he was so recognised by Balzac, who grouped Melmoth with Molière’s Don Juan, Goethe’s Faust, and Byron’s Manfred as the supreme allegorical figures of modern European literature, and wrote a whimsical piece called “Melmoth Reconciled”, in which the Wanderer succeeds in passing his infernal bargain on to a Parisian bank defaulter, who in turn hands it along a chain of victims until a revelling gambler dies with it in his possession, and by his damnation ends the curse. Scott, Rossetti, Thackeray, and Baudelaire are the other titans who gave Maturin their unqualified admiration, and there is much significance in the fact that Oscar Wilde, after his disgrace and exile, chose for his last days in Paris the assumed name of “Sebastian Melmoth”. +![ ][10]_Melmoth _contains scenes which even now have not lost their power to evoke dread. It begins with a deathbed—an old miser is dying of sheer fright because of something he has seen, coupled with a manuscript he has read and a family portrait which hangs in an obscure closet of his centuried home in County Wicklow. He sends to Trinity College, Dublin, for his nephew John; and the latter upon arriving notes many uncanny things. The eyes of the portrait in the closet glow horribly, and twice a figure strangely resembling the portrait appears momentarily at the door. Dread hangs over that house of the Melmoths, one of whose ancestors, “J. Melmoth, 1646”, the portrait represents. The dying miser declares that this man—at a date slightly before 1800—is alive. Finally the miser dies, and the nephew is told in the will to destroy both the portrait and a manuscript to be found in a certain drawer. Reading the manuscript, which was written late in the seventeenth century by an Englishman named Stanton, young John learns of a terrible incident in Spain in 1677, when the writer met a horrible fellow- countryman and was told of how he had stared to death a priest who tried to denounce him as one filled with fearsome evil. Later, after meeting the man again in London, Stanton is cast into a madhouse and visited by the stranger, whose approach is heralded by spectral music and whose eyes have a more than mortal glare. Melmoth the Wanderer—for such is the malign visitor—offers the captive freedom if he will take over his bargain with the Devil; but like all others whom Melmoth has approached, Stanton is proof against temptation. Melmoth’s description of the horrors of a life in a madhouse, used to tempt Stanton, is one of the most potent passages of the book. Stanton is at length liberated, and spends the rest of his life tracking down Melmoth, whose family and ancestral abode he discovers. With the family he leaves the manuscript, which by young John’s time is sadly ruinous and fragmentary. John destroys both portrait and manuscript, but in sleep is visited by his horrible ancestor, who leaves a black and blue mark on his wrist. +![ ][10]Young John soon afterward receives as a visitor a shipwrecked Spaniard, Alonzo de Monçada, who has escaped from compulsory monasticism and from the perils of the Inquisition. He has suffered horribly—and the descriptions of his experiences under torment and in the vaults through which he once essays escape are classic—but had the strength to resist Melmoth the Wanderer when approached at his darkest hour in prison. At the house of a Jew who sheltered him after his escape he discovers a wealth of manuscript relating other exploits of Melmoth including his wooing of an Indian island maiden, Immalee, who later comes to her birthright in Spain and is known as Donna Isidora; and of his horrible marriage to her by the corpse of a dead anchorite at midnight in the ruined chapel of a shunned and abhorred monastery. Monçada’s narrative to young John takes up the bulk of Maturin’s four-volume book; this disproportion being considered one of the chief technical faults of the composition. +![ ][10]At last the colloquies of John and Monçada are interrupted by the entrance of Melmoth the Wanderer himself, his piercing eyes now fading, and decrepitude swiftly overtaking him. The term of his bargain has approached its end, and he has come home after a century and a half to meet his fate. Warning all others from the room, no matter what sounds they may hear in the night, he awaits the end alone. Young John and Monçada hear frightful ululations, but do not intrude till silence comes toward morning. They then find the room empty. Clayey footprints lead out a rear door to a cliff overlooking the sea, and near the edge of the precipice is a track indicating the forcible dragging of some heavy body. The Wanderer’s scarf is found on a crag some distance below the brink, but nothing further is ever seen or heard of him. +![ ][10]Such is the story, and none can fail to notice the difference between this modulated, suggestive, and artistically moulded horror and—to use the words of Professor George Saintsbury—“the artful but rather jejune rationalism of Mrs. Radcliffe, and the too often puerile extravagance, the bad taste, and the sometimes slipshod style of Lewis.” Maturin’s style in itself deserves particular praise, for its forcible directness and vitality lift it altogether above the pompous artificialities of which his predecessors are guilty. Professor Edith Birkhead, in her history of the Gothic novel, justly observes that with all his faults Maturin was the greatest as well as the last of the Goths. _Melmoth_ was widely read and eventually dramatised, but its late date in the evolution of the Gothic tale deprived it of the tumultuous popularity of _Udolpho_ and _The Monk._ + +V. The Aftermath of Gothic Fiction +![ ][10]Meanwhile other hands had not been idle, so that above the dreary plethora of trash like Marquis von Grosse’s _Horrid Mysteries_ (1796), Mrs. Roche’s _Children of the Abbey_ (1796), Miss Dacre’s _Zofloya; or, The Moor_ (1806), and the poet Shelley’s schoolboy effusions _Zastrozzi_ (1810) and _St. Irvyne_ (1811) (both imitations of _Zofloya_ ) there arose many memorable weird works both in English and German. Classic in merit, and markedly different from its fellows because of its foundation in the Oriental tale rather than the Walpolesque Gothic novel, is the celebrated _History of the Caliph Vathek_ by the wealthy dilettante William Beckford, first written in the French language but published in an English translation before the appearance of the original. Eastern tales, introduced to European literature early in the eighteenth century through Galland’s French translation of the inexhaustibly opulent _Arabian Nights,_ had become a reigning fashion; being used both for allegory and for amusement. The sly humour which only the Eastern mind knows how to mix with weirdness had captivated a sophisticated generation, till Bagdad and Damascus names became as freely strown through popular literature as dashing Italian and Spanish ones were soon to be. Beckford, well read in Eastern romance, caught the atmosphere with unusual receptivity; and in his fantastic volume reflected very potently the haughty luxury, sly disillusion, bland cruelty, urbane treachery, and shadowy spectral horror of the Saracen spirit. His seasoning of the ridiculous seldom mars the force of his sinister theme, and the tale marches onward with a phantasmagoric pomp in which the laughter is that of skeletons feasting under Arabesque domes. _Vathek_ is a tale of the grandson of the Caliph Haroun, who, tormented by that ambition for super-terrestrial power, pleasure, and learning which animates the average Gothic villain or Byronic hero (essentially cognate types), is lured by an evil genius to seek the subterranean throne of the mighty and fabulous pre-Adamite sultans in the fiery halls of Eblis, the Mahometan Devil. The descriptions of Vathek’s palaces and diversions, of his scheming sorceress-mother Carathis and her witch-tower with the fifty one-eyed negresses, of his pilgrimage to the haunted ruins of Istakhar (Persepolis) and of the impish bride Nouronihar whom he treacherously acquired on the way, of Istakhar’s primordial towers and terraces in the burning moonlight of the waste, and of the terrible Cyclopean halls of Eblis, where, lured by glittering promises, each victim is compelled to wander in anguish for ever, his right hand upon his blazingly ignited and eternally burning heart, are triumphs of weird colouring which raise the book to a permanent place in English letters. No less notable are the three _Episodes of Vathek,_ intended for insertion in the tale as narratives of Vathek’s fellow-victims in Eblis’ infernal halls, which remained unpublished throughout the author’s lifetime and were discovered as recently as 1909 by the scholar Lewis Melville whilst collecting material for his _Life and Letters of William Beckford._ Beckford, however, lacks the essential mysticism which marks the acutest form of the weird; so that his tales have a certain knowing Latin hardness and clearness preclusive of sheer panic fright. +![ ][10]But Beckford remained alone in his devotion to the Orient. Other writers, closer to the Gothic tradition and to European life in general, were content to follow more faithfully in the lead of Walpole. Among the countless producers of terror-literature in these times may be mentioned the Utopian economic theorist William Godwin, who followed his famous but non-supernatural _Caleb Williams_ (1794) with the intendedly weird _St. Leon_ (1799), in which the theme of the elixir of life, as developed by the imaginary secret order of “Rosicrucians”, is handled with ingeniousness if not with atmospheric convincingness. This element of Rosicrucianism, fostered by a wave of popular magical interest exemplified in the vogue of the charlatan Cagliostro and the publication of Francis Barrett’s _The Magus_ (1801), a curious and compendious treatise on occult principles and ceremonies, of which a reprint was made as lately as 1896, figures in Bulwer-Lytton and in many late Gothic novels, especially that remote and enfeebled posterity which straggled far down into the nineteenth century and was represented by George W. M. Reynolds’ _Faust and the Demon_ and _Wagner, the Wehr-wolf. Caleb Williams,_ though non-supernatural, has many authentic touches of terror. It is the tale of a servant persecuted by a master whom he has found guilty of murder, and displays an invention and skill which have kept it alive in a fashion to this day. It was dramatised as _The Iron Chest,_ and in that form was almost equally celebrated. Godwin, however, was too much the conscious teacher and prosaic man of thought to create a genuine weird masterpiece. +![ ][10]His daughter, the wife of Shelley, was much more successful; and her inimitable _Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus_ (1818) is one of the horror-classics of all time. Composed in competition with her husband, Lord Byron, and Dr. John William Polidori in an effort to prove supremacy in horror-making, Mrs. Shelley’s _Frankenstein_ was the only one of the rival narratives to be brought to an elaborate completion; and criticism has failed to prove that the best parts are due to Shelley rather than to her. The novel, somewhat tinged but scarcely marred by moral didacticism, tells of the artificial human being moulded from charnel fragments by Victor Frankenstein, a young Swiss medical student. Created by its designer “in the mad pride of intellectuality”, the monster possesses full intelligence but owns a hideously loathsome form. It is rejected by mankind, becomes embittered, and at length begins the successive murder of all whom young Frankenstein loves best, friends and family. It demands that Frankenstein create a wife for it; and when the student finally refuses in horror lest the world be populated with such monsters, it departs with a hideous threat ‘to be with him on his wedding night’. Upon that night the bride is strangled, and from that time on Frankenstein hunts down the monster, even into the wastes of the Arctic. In the end, whilst seeking shelter on the ship of the man who tells the story, Frankenstein himself is killed by the shocking object of his search and creation of his presumptuous pride. Some of the scenes in _Frankenstein _are unforgettable, as when the newly animated monster enters its creator’s room, parts the curtains of his bed, and gazes at him in the yellow moonlight with watery eyes—“if eyes they may be called”. Mrs. Shelley wrote other novels, including the fairly notable _Last Man;_ but never duplicated the success of her first effort. It has the true touch of cosmic fear, no matter how much the movement may lag in places. Dr. Polidori developed his competing idea as a long short story, “The Vampyre”; in which we behold a suave villain of the true Gothic or Byronic type, and encounter some excellent passages of stark fright, including a terrible nocturnal experience in a shunned Grecian wood. +![ ][10]In this same period Sir Walter Scott frequently concerned himself with the weird, weaving it into many of his novels and poems, and sometimes producing such independent bits of narration as “The Tapestried Chamber” or “Wandering Willie’s Tale” in _Redgauntlet,_ in the latter of which the force of the spectral and the diabolic is enhanced by a grotesque homeliness of speech and atmosphere. In 1830 Scott published his _Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft,_ which still forms one of our best compendia of European witch-lore. Washington Irving is another famous figure not unconnected with the weird; for though most of his ghosts are too whimsical and humorous to form genuinely spectral literature, a distinct inclination in this direction is to be noted in many of his productions. “The German Student” in _Tales of a Traveller_ (1824) is a slyly concise and effective presentation of the old legend of the dead bride, whilst woven into the comic tissue of “The Money-Diggers” in the same volume is more than one hint of piratical apparitions in the realms which Captain Kidd once roamed. Thomas Moore also joined the ranks of the macabre artists in the poem _Alciphron,_ which he later elaborated into the prose novel of _The Epicurean_ (1827). Though merely relating the adventures of a young Athenian duped by the artifice of cunning Egyptian priests, Moore manages to infuse much genuine horror into his account of subterranean frights and wonders beneath the primordial temples of Memphis. De Quincey more than once revels in grotesque and arabesque terrors, though with a desultoriness and learned pomp which deny him the rank of specialist. +![ ][10]This era likewise saw the rise of William Harrison Ainsworth, whose romantic novels teem with the eerie and the gruesome. Capt. Marryat, besides writing such short tales as “The Werewolf”, made a memorable contribution in _The Phantom Ship_ (1839), founded on the legend of the Flying Dutchman, whose spectral and accursed vessel sails for ever near the Cape of Good Hope. Dickens now rises with occasional weird bits like “The Signalman”, a tale of ghostly warning conforming to a very common pattern and touched with a verisimilitude which allies it as much with the coming psychological school as with the dying Gothic school. At this time a wave of interest in spiritualistic charlatanry, mediumism, Hindoo theosophy, and such matters, much like that of the present day, was flourishing; so that the number of weird tales with a “psychic” or pseudo-scientific basis became very considerable. For a number of these the prolific and popular Lord Edward Bulwer-Lytton was responsible; and despite the large doses of turgid rhetoric and empty romanticism in his products, his success in the weaving of a certain kind of bizarre charm cannot be denied. +![ ][10]“The House and the Brain”, which hints of Rosicrucianism and at a malign and deathless figure perhaps suggested by Louis XV’s mysterious courtier St. Germain, yet survives as one of the best short haunted-house tales ever written. The novel _ Zanoni_ (1842) contains similar elements more elaborately handled, and introduces a vast unknown sphere of being pressing on our own world and guarded by a horrible “Dweller of the Threshold” who haunts those who try to enter and fail. Here we have a benign brotherhood kept alive from age to age till finally reduced to a single member, and as a hero an ancient Chaldaean sorcerer surviving in the pristine bloom of youth to perish on the guillotine of the French Revolution. Though full of the conventional spirit of romance, marred by a ponderous network of symbolic and didactic meanings, and left unconvincing through lack of perfect atmospheric realisation of the situations hinging on the spectral world, _Zanoni_ is really an excellent performance as a romantic novel; and can be read with genuine interest today by the not too sophisticated reader. It is amusing to note that in describing an attempted initiation into the ancient brotherhood the author cannot escape using the stock Gothic castle of Walpolian lineage. +![ ][10]In _A Strange Story_ (1862) Bulwer-Lytton shews a marked improvement in the creation of weird images and moods. The novel, despite enormous length, a highly artificial plot bolstered up by opportune coincidences, and an atmosphere of homiletic pseudo-science designed to please the matter-of-fact and purposeful Victorian reader, is exceedingly effective as a narrative; evoking instantaneous and unflagging interest, and furnishing many potent—if somewhat melodramatic—tableaux and climaxes. Again we have the mysterious user of life’s elixir in the person of the soulless magician Margrave, whose dark exploits stand out with dramatic vividness against the modern background of a quiet English town and of the Australian bush; and again we have shadowy intimations of a vast spectral world of the unknown in the very air about us—this time handled with much greater power and vitality than in _Zanoni._ One of the two great incantation passages, where the hero is driven by a luminous evil spirit to rise at night in his sleep, take a strange Egyptian wand, and evoke nameless presences in the haunted and mausoleum-facing pavilion of a famous Renaissance alchemist, truly stands among the major terror scenes of literature. Just enough is suggested, and just little enough is told. Unknown words are twice dictated to the sleep-walker, and as he repeats them the ground trembles, and all the dogs of the countryside begin to bay at half-seen amorphous shadows that stalk athwart the moonlight. When a third set of unknown words is prompted, the sleep-walker’s spirit suddenly rebels at uttering them, as if the soul could recognise ultimate abysmal horrors concealed from the mind; and at last an apparition of an absent sweetheart and good angel breaks the malign spell. This fragment well illustrates how far Lord Lytton was capable of progressing beyond his usual pomp and stock romance toward that crystalline essence of artistic fear which belongs to the domain of poetry. In describing certain details of incantations, Lytton was greatly indebted to his amusingly serious occult studies, in the course of which he came in touch with that odd French scholar and cabbalist Alphonse-Louis Constant (“Eliphas Lévi”), who claimed to possess the secrets of ancient magic, and to have evoked the spectre of the old Grecian wizard Apollonius of Tyana, who lived in Nero’s time. +![ ][10]The romantic, semi-Gothic, quasi-moral tradition here represented was carried far down the nineteenth century by such authors as Joseph Sheridan LeFanu, Thomas Preskett Prest with his famous _Varney, the Vampyre_ (1847), Wilkie Collins, the late Sir H. Rider Haggard (whose _She_ is really remarkably good), Sir A. Conan Doyle, H. G. Wells, and Robert Louis Stevenson—the latter of whom, despite an atrocious tendency toward jaunty mannerisms, created permanent classics in “Markheim”, “The Body-Snatcher”, and _ Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. _Indeed, we may say that this school still survives; for to it clearly belong such of our contemporary horror-tales as specialise in events rather than atmospheric details, address the intellect rather than the impressionistic imagination, cultivate a luminous glamour rather than a malign tensity or psychological verisimilitude, and take a definite stand in sympathy with mankind and its welfare. It has its undeniable strength, and because of its “human element” commands a wider audience than does the sheer artistic nightmare. If not quite so potent as the latter, it is because a diluted product can never achieve the intensity of a concentrated essence. +![ ][10]Quite alone both as a novel and as a piece of terror-literature stands the famous _Wuthering Heights_ (1847) by Emily Brontë, with its mad vista of bleak, windswept Yorkshire moors and the violent, distorted lives they foster. Though primarily a tale of life, and of human passions in agony and conflict, its epically cosmic setting affords room for horror of the most spiritual sort. Heathcliff, the modified Byronic villain-hero, is a strange dark waif found in the streets as a small child and speaking only a strange gibberish till adopted by the family he ultimately ruins. That he is in truth a diabolic spirit rather than a human being is more than once suggested, and the unreal is further approached in the experience of the visitor who encounters a plaintive child-ghost at a bough-brushed upper window. Between Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw is a tie deeper and more terrible than human love. After her death he twice disturbs her grave, and is haunted by an impalpable presence which can be nothing less than her spirit. The spirit enters his life more and more, and at last he becomes confident of some imminent mystical reunion. He says he feels a strange change approaching, and ceases to take nourishment. At night he either walks abroad or opens the casement by his bed. When he dies the casement is still swinging open to the pouring rain, and a queer smile pervades the stiffened face. They bury him in a grave beside the mound he has haunted for eighteen years, and small shepherd boys say that he yet walks with his Catherine in the churchyard and on the moor when it rains. Their faces, too, are sometimes seen on rainy nights behind that upper casement at Wuthering Heights. Miss Brontë’s eerie terror is no mere Gothic echo, but a tense expression of man’s shuddering reaction to the unknown. In this respect, _Wuthering Heights_ becomes the symbol of a literary transition, and marks the growth of a new and sounder school. + +VI. Spectral Literature on the Continent +![ ][10]On the Continent literary horror fared well. The celebrated short tales and novels of Ernst Theodor Wilhelm Hoffmann (1776–1822) are a byword for mellowness of background and maturity of form, though they incline to levity and extravagance, and lack the exalted moments of stark, breathless terror which a less sophisticated writer might have achieved. Generally they convey the grotesque rather than the terrible. Most artistic of all the Continental weird tales is the German classic _Undine _(1811), by Friedrich Heinrich Karl, Baron de la Motte Fouqué. In this story of a water-spirit who married a mortal and gained a human soul there is a delicate fineness of craftsmanship which makes it notable in any department of literature, and an easy naturalness which places it close to the genuine folk-myth. It is, in fact, derived from a tale told by the Renaissance physician and alchemist Paracelsus in his _Treatise on Elemental Sprites._ +![ ][10]Undine, daughter of a powerful water-prince, was exchanged by her father as a small child for a fisherman’s daughter, in order that she might acquire a soul by wedding a human being. Meeting the noble youth Huldbrand at the cottage of her foster-father by the sea at the edge of a haunted wood, she soon marries him, and accompanies him to his ancestral castle of Ringstetten. Huldbrand, however, eventually wearies of his wife’s supernatural affiliations, and especially of the appearances of her uncle, the malicious woodland waterfall-spirit Kühleborn; a weariness increased by his growing affection for Bertalda, who turns out to be the fisherman’s child for whom Undine was exchanged. At length, on a voyage down the Danube, he is provoked by some innocent act of his devoted wife to utter the angry words which consign her back to her supernatural element; from which she can, by the laws of her species, return only once—to kill him, whether she will or no, if ever he prove unfaithful to her memory. Later, when Huldbrand is about to be married to Bertalda, Undine returns for her sad duty, and bears his life away in tears. When he is buried among his fathers in the village churchyard a veiled, snow-white female figure appears among the mourners, but after the prayer is seen no more. In her place is seen a little silver spring, which murmurs its way almost completely around the new grave, and empties into a neighbouring lake. The villagers shew it to this day, and say that Undine and her Huldbrand are thus united in death. Many passages and atmospheric touches in this tale reveal Fouqué as an accomplished artist in the field of the macabre; especially the descriptions of the haunted wood with its gigantic snow-white man and various unnamed terrors, which occur early in the narrative. +![ ][10]Not so well known as _Undine, _but remarkable for its convincing realism and freedom from Gothic stock devices, is the _Amber Witch_ of Wilhelm Meinhold, another product of the German fantastic genius of the earlier nineteenth century. This tale, which is laid in the time of the Thirty Years’ War, purports to be a clergyman’s manuscript found in an old church at Coserow, and centres round the writer’s daughter, Maria Schweidler, who is wrongly accused of witchcraft. She has found a deposit of amber which she keeps secret for various reasons, and the unexplained wealth obtained from this lends colour to the accusation; an accusation instigated by the malice of the wolf-hunting nobleman Wittich Appelmann, who has vainly pursued her with ignoble designs. The deeds of a real witch, who afterward comes to a horrible supernatural end in prison, are glibly imputed to the hapless Maria; and after a typical witchcraft trial with forced confessions under torture she is about to be burned at the stake when saved just in time by her lover, a noble youth from a neighbouring district. Meinhold’s great strength is in his air of casual and realistic verisimilitude, which intensifies our suspense and sense of the unseen by half persuading us that the menacing events must somehow be either the truth or very close to the truth. Indeed, so thorough is this realism that a popular magazine once published the main points of _The Amber Witch_ as an actual occurrence of the seventeenth century! +![ ][10]In the present generation German horror-fiction is most notably represented by Hanns Heinz Ewers, who brings to bear on his dark conceptions an effective knowledge of modern psychology. Novels like _The Sorcerer’s Apprentice_ and _Alraune,_ and short stories like “The Spider”, contain distinctive qualities which raise them to a classic level. +![ ][10]But France as well as Germany has been active in the realm of weirdness. Victor Hugo, in such tales as _Hans of Iceland,_ and Balzac, in _The Wild Ass’s Skin, Séraphîta,_ and _Louis Lambert,_ both employ supernaturalism to a greater or less extent; though generally only as a means to some more human end, and without the sincere and daemonic intensity which characterises the born artist in shadows. It is in Théophile Gautier that we first seem to find an authentic French sense of the unreal world, and here there appears a spectral mastery which, though not continuously used, is recognisable at once as something alike genuine and profound. Short tales like “Avatar”, “The Foot of the Mummy”, and “Clarimonde” display glimpses of forbidden visits that allure, tantalise, and sometimes horrify; whilst the Egyptian visions evoked in “One of Cleopatra’s Nights” are of the keenest and most expressive potency. Gautier captured the inmost soul of aeon-weighted Egypt, with its cryptic life and Cyclopean architecture, and uttered once and for all the eternal horror of its nether world of catacombs, where to the end of time millions of stiff, spiced corpses will stare up in the blackness with glassy eyes, awaiting some awesome and unrelatable summons. Gustave Flaubert ably continued the tradition of Gautier in orgies of poetic phantasy like _The Temptation of St. Anthony,_ and but for a strong realistic bias might have been an arch-weaver of tapestried terrors. Later on we see the stream divide, producing strange poets and fantaisistes of the Symbolist and Decadent schools whose dark interests really centre more in abnormalities of human thought and instinct than in the actual supernatural, and subtle story-tellers whose thrills are quite directly derived from the night-black wells of cosmic unreality. Of the former class of “artists in sin” the illustrious poet Baudelaire, influenced vastly by Poe, is the supreme type; whilst the psychological novelist Joris-Karl Huysmans, a true child of the eighteen-nineties, is at once the summation and finale. The latter and purely narrative class is continued by Prosper Mérimée, whose “Venus of Ille” presents in terse and convincing prose the same ancient statue-bride theme which Thomas Moore cast in ballad form in “The Ring”. +![ ][10]The horror-tales of the powerful and cynical Guy de Maupassant, written as his final madness gradually overtook him, present individualities of their own; being rather the morbid outpourings of a realistic mind in a pathological state than the healthy imaginative products of a vision naturally disposed toward phantasy and sensitive to the normal illusions of the unseen. Nevertheless they are of the keenest interest and poignancy; suggesting with marvellous force the imminence of nameless terrors, and the relentless dogging of an ill-starred individual by hideous and menacing representatives of the outer blackness. Of these stories “The Horla” is generally regarded as the masterpiece. Relating the advent to France of an invisible being who lives on water and milk, sways the minds of others, and seems to be the vanguard of a horde of extra-terrestrial organisms arrived on earth to subjugate and overwhelm mankind, this tense narrative is perhaps without a peer in its particular department; notwithstanding its indebtedness to a tale by the American Fitz-James O’Brien for details in describing the actual presence of the unseen monster. Other potently dark creations of de Maupassant are “Who Knows?”, “The Spectre”, “He?”, “The Diary of a Madman”, “The White Wolf”, “On the River”, and the grisly verses entitled “Horror”. +![ ][10]The collaborators Erckmann-Chatrian enriched French literature with many spectral fancies like _The Man-Wolf,_ in which a transmitted curse works toward its end in a traditional Gothic-castle setting. Their power of creating a shuddering midnight atmosphere was tremendous despite a tendency toward natural explanations and scientific wonders; and few short tales contain greater horror than “The Invisible Eye”, where a malignant old hag weaves nocturnal hypnotic spells which induce the successive occupants of a certain inn chamber to hang themselves on a cross-beam. “The Owl’s Ear” and “The Waters of Death” are full of engulfing darkness and mystery, the latter embodying the familiar overgrown-spider theme so frequently employed by weird fictionists. Villiers de l’Isle-Adam likewise followed the macabre school; his “Torture by Hope”, the tale of a stake-condemned prisoner permitted to escape in order to feel the pangs of recapture, being held by some to constitute the most harrowing short story in literature. This type, however, is less a part of the weird tradition than a class peculiar to itself—the so-called _conte cruel,_ in which the wrenching of the emotions is accomplished through dramatic tantalisations, frustrations, and gruesome physical horrors. Almost wholly devoted to this form is the living writer Maurice Level, whose very brief episodes have lent themselves so readily to theatrical adaptation in the “thrillers” of the Grand Guignol. As a matter of fact, the French genius is more naturally suited to this dark realism than to the suggestion of the unseen; since the latter process requires, for its best and most sympathetic development on a large scale, the inherent mysticism of the Northern mind. +![ ][10]A very flourishing, though till recently quite hidden, branch of weird literature is that of the Jews, kept alive and nourished in obscurity by the sombre heritage of early Eastern magic, apocalyptic literature, and cabbalism. The Semitic mind, like the Celtic and Teutonic, seems to possess marked mystical inclinations; and the wealth of underground horror-lore surviving in ghettoes and synagogues must be much more considerable than is generally imagined. Cabbalism itself, so prominent during the Middle Ages, is a system of philosophy explaining the universe as emanations of the Deity, and involving the existence of strange spiritual realms and beings apart from the visible world, of which dark glimpses may be obtained through certain secret incantations. Its ritual is bound up with mystical interpretations of the Old Testament, and attributes an esoteric significance to each letter of the Hebrew alphabet—a circumstance which has imparted to Hebrew letters a sort of spectral glamour and potency in the popular literature of magic. Jewish folklore has preserved much of the terror and mystery of the past, and when more thoroughly studied is likely to exert considerable influence on weird fiction. The best examples of its literary use so far are the German novel _The Golem,_ by Gustav Meyrink, and the drama _The Dybbuk,_ by the Jewish writer using the pseudonym “Ansky”. The former, with its haunting shadowy suggestions of marvels and horrors just beyond reach, is laid in Prague, and describes with singular mastery that city’s ancient ghetto with its spectral, peaked gables. The name is derived from a fabulous artificial giant supposed to be made and animated by mediaeval rabbis according to a certain cryptic formula. _The Dybbuk,_ translated and produced in America in 1925, and more recently produced as an opera, describes with singular power the possession of a living body by the evil soul of a dead man. Both golems and dybbuks are fixed types, and serve as frequent ingredients of later Jewish tradition. + +VII. Edgar Allan Poe +![ ][10]In the eighteen-thirties occurred a literary dawn directly affecting not only the history of the weird tale, but that of short fiction as a whole; and indirectly moulding the trends and fortunes of a great European aesthetic school. It is our good fortune as Americans to be able to claim that dawn as our own, for it came in the person of our illustrious and unfortunate fellow-countryman Edgar Allan Poe. Poe’s fame has been subject to curious undulations, and it is now a fashion amongst the “advanced intelligentsia” to minimise his importance both as an artist and as an influence; but it would be hard for any mature and reflective critic to deny the tremendous value of his work and the pervasive potency of his mind as an opener of artistic vistas. True, his type of outlook may have been anticipated; but it was he who first realised its possibilities and gave it supreme form and systematic expression. True also, that subsequent writers may have produced greater single tales than his; but again we must comprehend that it was only he who taught them by example and precept the art which they, having the way cleared for them and given an explicit guide, were perhaps able to carry to greater lengths. Whatever his limitations, Poe did that which no one else ever did or could have done; and to him we owe the modern horror-story in its final and perfected state. +![ ][10]Before Poe the bulk of weird writers had worked largely in the dark; without an understanding of the psychological basis of the horror appeal, and hampered by more or less of conformity to certain empty literary conventions such as the happy ending, virtue rewarded, and in general a hollow moral didacticism, acceptance of popular standards and values, and striving of the author to obtrude his own emotions into the story and take sides with the partisans of the majority’s artificial ideas. Poe, on the other hand, perceived the essential impersonality of the real artist; and knew that the function of creative fiction is merely to express and interpret events and sensations as they are, regardless of how they tend or what they prove—good or evil, attractive or repulsive, stimulating or depressing—with the author always acting as a vivid and detached chronicler rather than as a teacher, sympathiser, or vendor of opinion. He saw clearly that all phases of life and thought are equally eligible as subject-matter for the artist, and being inclined by temperament to strangeness and gloom, decided to be the interpreter of those powerful feeling, and frequent happenings which attend pain rather than pleasure, decay rather than growth, terror rather than tranquillity, and which are fundamentally either adverse or indifferent to the tastes and traditional outward sentiments of mankind, and to the health, sanity, and normal expansive welfare of the species. +![ ][10]Poe’s spectres thus acquired a convincing malignity possessed by none of their predecessors, and established a new standard of realism in the annals of literary horror. The impersonal and artistic intent, moreover, was aided by a scientific attitude not often found before; whereby Poe studied the human mind rather than the usages of Gothic fiction, and worked with an analytical knowledge of terror’s true sources which doubled the force of his narratives and emancipated him from all the absurdities inherent in merely conventional shudder-coining. This example having been set, later authors were naturally forced to conform to it in order to compete at all; so that in this way a definite change began to affect the main stream of macabre writing. Poe, too, set a fashion in consummate craftsmanship; and although today some of his own work seems slightly melodramatic and unsophisticated, we can constantly trace his influence in such things as the maintenance of a single mood and achievement of a single impression in a tale, and the rigorous paring down of incidents to such as have a direct bearing on the plot and will figure prominently in the climax. Truly may it be said that Poe invented the short story in its present form. His elevation of disease, perversity, and decay to the level of artistically expressible themes was likewise infinitely far-reaching in effect; for avidly seized, sponsored, and intensified by his eminent French admirer Charles Pierre Baudelaire, it became the nucleus of the principal aesthetic movements in France, thus making Poe in a sense the father of the Decadents and the Symbolists. +![ ][10]Poet and critic by nature and supreme attainment, logician and philosopher by taste and mannerism, Poe was by no means immune from defects and affectations. His pretence to profound and obscure scholarship, his blundering ventures in stilted and laboured pseudo-humour, and his often vitriolic outbursts of critical prejudice must all be recognised and forgiven. Beyond and above them, and dwarfing them to insignificance, was a master’s vision of the terror that stalks about and within us, and the worm that writhes and slavers in the hideously close abyss. Penetrating to every festering horror in the gaily painted mockery called existence, and in the solemn masquerade called human thought and feelings that vision had power to project itself in blackly magical crystallisations and transmutations; till there bloomed in the sterile America of the ’thirties and ’forties such a moon-nourished garden of gorgeous poison fungi as not even the nether slope of Saturn might boast. Verses and tales alike sustain the burthen of cosmic panic. The raven whose noisome beak pierces the heart, the ghouls that toll iron bells in pestilential steeples, the vault of Ulalume in the black October night, the shocking spires and domes under the sea, the “wild, weird clime that lieth, sublime, out of Space—out of Time”—all these things and more leer at us amidst maniacal rattlings in the seething nightmare of the poetry. And in the prose there yawn open for us the very jaws of the pit—inconceivable abnormalities slyly hinted into a horrible half-knowledge by words whose innocence we scarcely doubt till the cracked tension of the speaker’s hollow voice bids us fear their nameless implications; daemoniac patterns and presences slumbering noxiously till waked for one phobic instant into a shrieking revelation that cackles itself to sudden madness or explodes in memorable and cataclysmic echoes. A Witches’ Sabbath of horror flinging off decorous robes is flashed before us—a sight the more monstrous because of the scientific skill with which every particular is marshalled and brought into an easy apparent relation to the known gruesomeness of material life. +![ ][10]Poe’s tales, of course, fall into several classes; some of which contain a purer essence of spiritual horror than others. The tales of logic and ratiocination, forerunners of the modern detective story, are not to be included at all in weird literature; whilst certain others, probably influenced considerably by Hoffmann, possess an extravagance which relegates them to the borderline of the grotesque. Still a third group deal with abnormal psychology and monomania in such a way as to express terror but not weirdness. A substantial residuum, however, represent the literature of supernatural horror in its acutest form; and give their author a permanent and unassailable place as deity and fountain-head of all modern diabolic fiction. Who can forget the terrible swollen ship poised on the billow-chasm’s edge in “MS. Found in a Bottle”—the dark intimations of her unhallowed age and monstrous growth, her sinister crew of unseeing greybeards, and her frightful southward rush under full sail through the ice of the Antarctic night, sucked onward by some resistless devil-current toward a vortex of eldritch enlightenment which must end in destruction? Then there is the unutterable “M. Valdemar”, kept together by hypnotism for seven months after his death, and uttering frantic sounds but a moment before the breaking of the spell leaves him “a nearly liquid mass of loathsome—of detestable putrescence”. In the _Narrative of A. Gordon Pym_ the voyagers reach first a strange south polar land of murderous savages where nothing is white and where vast rocky ravines have the form of titanic Egyptian letters spelling terrible primal arcana of earth; and thereafter a still more mysterious realm where everything is white, and where shrouded giants and snowy-plumed birds guard a cryptic cataract of mist which empties from immeasurable celestial heights into a torrid milky sea. “Metzengerstein” horrifies with its malign hints of a monstrous metempsychosis—the mad nobleman who burns the stable of his hereditary foe; the colossal unknown horse that issues from the blazing building after the owner has perished therein; the vanishing bit of ancient tapestry where was shewn the giant horse of the victim’s ancestor in the Crusades; the madman’s wild and constant riding on the great horse, and his fear and hatred of the steed; the meaningless prophecies that brood obscurely over the warring houses; and finally, the burning of the madman’s palace and the death therein of the owner, borne helpless into the flames and up the vast staircases astride the beast he has ridden so strangely. Afterward the rising smoke of the ruins takes the form of a gigantic horse. “The Man of the Crowd”, telling of one who roams day and night to mingle with streams of people as if afraid to be alone, has quieter effects, but implies nothing less of cosmic fear. Poe’s mind was never far from terror and decay, and we see in every tale, poem, and philosophical dialogue a tense eagerness to fathom unplumbed wells of night, to pierce the veil of death, and to reign in fancy as lord of the frightful mysteries of time and space. +![ ][10]Certain of Poe’s tales possess an almost absolute perfection of artistic form which makes them veritable beacon-lights in the province of the short story. Poe could, when he wished, give to his prose a richly poetic cast; employing that archaic and Orientalised style with jewelled phrase, quasi-Biblical repetition, and recurrent burthen so successfully used by later writers like Oscar Wilde and Lord Dunsany; and in the cases where he has done this we have an effect of lyrical phantasy almost narcotic in essence—an opium pageant of dream in the language of dream, with every unnatural colour and grotesque image bodied forth in a symphony of corresponding sound. “The Masque of the Red Death”, “Silence—A Fable”, and “Shadow—A Parable” are assuredly poems in every sense of the word save the metrical one, and owe as much of their power to aural cadence as to visual imagery. But it is in two of the less openly poetic tales, “Ligeia” and “The Fall of the House of Usher”—especially the latter—that one finds those very summits of artistry whereby Poe takes his place at the head of fictional miniaturists. Simple and straightforward in plot, both of these tales owe their supreme magic to the cunning development which appears in the selection and collocation of every least incident. “Ligeia” tells of a first wife of lofty and mysterious origin, who after death returns through a preternatural force of will to take possession of the body of a second wife; imposing even her physical appearance on the temporary reanimated corpse of her victim at the last moment. Despite a suspicion of prolixity and topheaviness, the narrative reaches its terrific climax with relentless power. “Usher”, whose superiority in detail and proportion is very marked, hints shudderingly of obscure life in inorganic things, and displays an abnormally linked trinity of entities at the end of a long and isolated family history—a brother, his twin sister, and their incredibly ancient house all sharing a single soul and meeting one common dissolution at the same moment. +![ ][10]These bizarre conceptions, so awkward in unskilful hands, become under Poe’s spell living and convincing terrors to haunt our nights; and all because the author understood so perfectly the very mechanics and physiology of fear and strangeness—the essential details to emphasise, the precise incongruities and conceits to select as preliminaries or concomitants to horror, the exact incidents and allusions to throw out innocently in advance as symbols or prefigurings of each major step toward the hideous denouement to come, the nice adjustments of cumulative force and the unerring accuracy in linkage of parts which make for faultless unity throughout and thunderous effectiveness at the climactic moment, the delicate nuances of scenic and landscape value to select in establishing and sustaining the desired mood and vitalising the desired illusion—principles of this kind, and dozens of obscurer ones too elusive to be described or even fully comprehended by any ordinary commentator. Melodrama and unsophistication there may be—we are told of one fastidious Frenchman who could not bear to read Poe except in Baudelaire’s urbane and Gallically modulated translation—but all traces of such things are wholly overshadowed by a potent and inborn sense of the spectral, the morbid, and the horrible which gushed forth from every cell of the artist’s creative mentality and stamped his macabre work with the ineffaceable mark of supreme genius. Poe’s weird tales are _alive_ in a manner that few others can ever hope to be. +![ ][10]Like most fantaisistes, Poe excels in incidents and broad narrative effects rather than in character drawing. His typical protagonist is generally a dark, handsome, proud, melancholy, intellectual, highly sensitive, capricious, introspective, isolated, and sometimes slightly mad gentleman of ancient family and opulent circumstances; usually deeply learned in strange lore, and darkly ambitious of penetrating to forbidden secrets of the universe. Aside from a high-sounding name, this character obviously derives little from the early Gothic novel; for he is clearly neither the wooden hero nor the diabolical villain of Radcliffian or Ludovician romance. Indirectly, however, he does possess a sort of genealogical connexion; since his gloomy, ambitious, and anti-social qualities savour strongly of the typical Byronic hero, who in turn is definitely an offspring of the Gothic Manfreds, Montonis, and Ambrosios. More particular qualities appear to be derived from the psychology of Poe himself, who certainly possessed much of the depression, sensitiveness, mad aspiration, loneliness, and extravagant freakishness which he attributes to his haughty and solitary victims of Fate. + +VIII. The Weird Tradition in America +![ ][10]The public for whom Poe wrote, though grossly unappreciative of his art, was by no means unaccustomed to the horrors with which he dealt. America, besides inheriting the usual dark folklore of Europe, had an additional fund of weird associations to draw upon; so that spectral legends had already been recognised as fruitful subject-matter for literature. Charles Brockden Brown had achieved phenomenal fame with his Radcliffian romances, and Washington Irving’s lighter treatment of eerie themes had quickly become classic. This additional fund proceeded, as Paul Elmer More has pointed out, from the keen spiritual and theological interests of the first colonists, plus the strange and forbidding nature of the scene into which they were plunged. The vast and gloomy virgin forests in whose perpetual twilight all terrors might well lurk; the hordes of coppery Indians whose strange, saturnine visages and violent customs hinted strongly at traces of infernal origin; the free rein given under the influence of Puritan theocracy to all manner of notions respecting man’s relation to the stern and vengeful God of the Calvinists, and to the sulphureous Adversary of that God, about whom so much was thundered in the pulpits each Sunday; and the morbid introspection developed by an isolated backwoods life devoid of normal amusements and of the recreational mood, harassed by commands for theological self-examination, keyed to unnatural emotional repression, and forming above all a mere grim struggle for survival—all these things conspired to produce an environment in which the black whisperings of sinister grandams were heard far beyond the chimney corner, and in which tales of witchcraft and unbelievable secret monstrosities lingered long after the dread days of the Salem nightmare. +![ ][10]Poe represents the newer, more disillusioned, and more technically finished of the weird schools that rose out of this propitious milieu. Another school—the tradition of moral values, gentle restraint, and mild, leisurely phantasy tinged more or less with the whimsical—was represented by another famous, misunderstood, and lonely figure in American letters—the shy and sensitive Nathaniel Hawthorne, scion of antique Salem and great-grandson of one of the bloodiest of the old witchcraft judges. In Hawthorne we have none of the violence, the daring, the high colouring, the intense dramatic sense, the cosmic malignity, and the undivided and impersonal artistry of Poe. Here, instead, is a gentle soul cramped by the Puritanism of early New England; shadowed and wistful, and grieved at an unmoral universe which everywhere transcends the conventional patterns thought by our forefathers to represent divine and immutable law. Evil, a very real force to Hawthorne, appears on every hand as a lurking and conquering adversary; and the visible world becomes in his fancy a theatre of infinite tragedy and woe, with unseen half-existent influences hovering over it and through it, battling for supremacy and moulding the destinies of the hapless mortals who form its vain and self-deluded population. The heritage of American weirdness was his to a most intense degree, and he saw a dismal throng of vague spectres behind the common phenomena of life; but he was not disinterested enough to value impressions, sensations, and beauties of narration for their own sake. He must needs weave his phantasy into some quietly melancholy fabric of didactic or allegorical cast, in which his meekly resigned cynicism may display with naive moral appraisal the perfidy of a human race which he cannot cease to cherish and mourn despite his insight into its hypocrisy. Supernatural horror, then, is never a primary object with Hawthorne; though its impulses were so deeply woven into his personality that he cannot help suggesting it with the force of genius when he calls upon the unreal world to illustrate the pensive sermon he wishes to preach. +![ ][10]Hawthorne’s intimations of the weird, always gentle, elusive, and restrained, may be traced throughout his work. The mood that produced them found one delightful vent in the Teutonised retelling of classic myths for children contained in _A Wonder Book_ and _Tanglewood Tales,_ and at other times exercised itself in casting a certain strangeness and intangible witchery or malevolence over events not meant to be actually supernatural; as in the macabre posthumous novel _Dr. Grimshawe’s Secret,_ which invests with a peculiar sort of repulsion a house existing to this day in Salem, and abutting on the ancient Charter Street Burying Ground. In _The Marble Faun,_ whose design was sketched out in an Italian villa reputed to be haunted, a tremendous background of genuine phantasy and mystery palpitates just beyond the common reader’s sight; and glimpses of fabulous blood in mortal veins are hinted at during the course of a romance which cannot help being interesting despite the persistent incubus of moral allegory, anti-Popery propaganda, and a Puritan prudery which has caused the late D. H. Lawrence to express a longing to treat the author in a highly undignified manner. _Septimius Felton,_ a posthumous novel whose idea was to have been elaborated and incorporated into the unfinished _Dolliver Romance,_ touches on the Elixir of Life in a more or less capable fashion; whilst the notes for a never-written tale to be called “The Ancestral Footstep” shew what Hawthorne would have done with an intensive treatment of an old English superstition—that of an ancient and accursed line whose members left footprints of blood as they walked—which appears incidentally in both _Septimius Felton_ and _Dr. Grimshawe’s Secret._ +![ ][10]Many of Hawthorne’s shorter tales exhibit weirdness, either of atmosphere or of incident, to a remarkable degree. “Edward Randolph’s Portrait”, in _ Legends of the Province House, _has its diabolic moments. “The Minister’s Black Veil” (founded on an actual incident) and “The Ambitious Guest” imply much more than they state, whilst “Ethan Brand”—a fragment of a longer work never completed—rises to genuine heights of cosmic fear with its vignette of the wild hill country and the blazing, desolate lime-kilns, and its delineation of the Byronic “unpardonable sinner”, whose troubled life ends with a peal of fearful laughter in the night as he seeks rest amidst the flames of the furnace. Some of Hawthorne’s notes tell of weird tales he would have written had he lived longer—an especially vivid plot being that concerning a baffling stranger who appeared now and then in public assemblies, and who was at last followed and found to come and go from a very ancient grave. +![ ][10]But foremost as a finished, artistic unit among all our author’s weird material is the famous and exquisitely wrought novel, _The House of the Seven Gables,_ in which the relentless working out of an ancestral curse is developed with astonishing power against the sinister background of a very ancient Salem house—one of those peaked Gothic affairs which formed the first regular building-up of our New England coast towns, but which gave way after the seventeenth century to the more familiar gambrel-roofed or classic Georgian types now known as “Colonial”. Of these old gabled Gothic houses scarcely a dozen are to be seen today in their original condition throughout the United States, but one well known to Hawthorne still stands in Turner Street, Salem, and is pointed out with doubtful authority as the scene and inspiration of the romance. Such an edifice, with its spectral peaks, its clustered chimneys, its overhanging second story, its grotesque corner-brackets, and its diamond-paned lattice windows, is indeed an object well calculated to evoke sombre reflections; typifying as it does the dark Puritan age of concealed horror and witch-whispers which preceded the beauty, rationality, and spaciousness of the eighteenth century. Hawthorne saw many in his youth, and knew the black tales connected with some of them. He heard, too, many rumours of a curse upon his own line as the result of his great-grandfather’s severity as a witchcraft judge in 1692. +![ ][10]From this setting came the immortal tale—New England’s greatest contribution to weird literature—and we can feel in an instant the authenticity of the atmosphere presented to us. Stealthy horror and disease lurk within the weather-blackened, moss-crusted, and elm-shadowed walls of the archaic dwelling so vividly displayed, and we grasp the brooding malignity of the place when we read that its builder—old Colonel Pyncheon—snatched the land with peculiar ruthlessness from its original settler, Matthew Maule, whom he condemned to the gallows as a wizard in the year of the panic. Maule died cursing old Pyncheon—“God will give him blood to drink”—and the waters of the old well on the seized land turned bitter. Maule’s carpenter son consented to build the great gabled house for his father’s triumphant enemy, but the old Colonel died strangely on the day of its dedication. Then followed generations of odd vicissitudes, with queer whispers about the dark powers of the Maules, and peculiar and sometimes terrible ends befalling the Pyncheons. +![ ][10]The overshadowing malevolence of the ancient house—almost as alive as Poe’s House of Usher, though in a subtler way—pervades the tale as a recurrent motif pervades an operatic tragedy; and when the main story is reached, we behold the modern Pyncheons in a pitiable state of decay. Poor old Hepzibah, the eccentric reduced gentlewoman; child-like, unfortunate Clifford, just released from undeserved imprisonment; sly and treacherous Judge Pyncheon, who is the old Colonel all over again—all these figures are tremendous symbols, and are well matched by the stunted vegetation and anaemic fowls in the garden. It was almost a pity to supply a fairly happy ending, with a union of sprightly Phoebe, cousin and last scion of the Pyncheons, to the prepossessing young man who turns out to be the last of the Maules. This union, presumably, ends the curse. Hawthorne avoids all violence of diction or movement, and keeps his implications of terror well in the background; but occasional glimpses amply serve to sustain the mood and redeem the work from pure allegorical aridity. Incidents like the bewitching of Alice Pyncheon in the early eighteenth century, and the spectral music of her harpsichord which precedes a death in the family—the latter a variant of an immemorial type of Aryan myth—link the action directly with the supernatural; whilst the dead nocturnal vigil of old Judge Pyncheon in the ancient parlour, with his frightfully ticking watch, is stark horror of the most poignant and genuine sort. The way in which the Judge’s death is first adumbrated by the motions and sniffing of a strange cat outside the window, long before the fact is suspected either by the reader or by any of the characters, is a stroke of genius which Poe could not have surpassed. Later the strange cat watches intently outside that same window in the night and on the next day, for—something. It is clearly the psychopomp of primeval myth, fitted and adapted with infinite deftness to its latter-day setting. +![ ][10]But Hawthorne left no well-defined literary posterity. His mood and attitude belonged to the age which closed with him, and it is the spirit of Poe—who so clearly and realistically understood the natural basis of the horror-appeal and the correct mechanics of its achievement—which survived and blossomed. Among the earliest of Poe’s disciples may be reckoned the brilliant young Irishman Fitz-James O’Brien (1828–1862), who became naturalised as an American and perished honourably in the Civil War. It is he who gave us “What Was It?”, the first well-shaped short story of a tangible but invisible being, and the prototype of de Maupassant’s “Horla”; he also who created the inimitable “Diamond Lens”, in which a young microscopist falls in love with a maiden of an infinitesimal world which he has discovered in a drop of water. O’Brien’s early death undoubtedly deprived us of some masterful tales of strangeness and terror, though his genius was not, properly speaking, of the same titan quality which characterised Poe and Hawthorne. +![ ][10]Closer to real greatness was the eccentric and saturnine journalist Ambrose Bierce, born in 1842; who likewise entered the Civil War, but survived to write some immortal tales and to disappear in 1913 in as great a cloud of mystery as any he ever evoked from his nightmare fancy. Bierce was a satirist and pamphleteer of note, but the bulk of his artistic reputation must rest upon his grim and savage short stories; a large number of which deal with the Civil War and form the most vivid and realistic expression which that conflict has yet received in fiction. Virtually all of Bierce’s tales are tales of horror; and whilst many of them treat only of the physical and psychological horrors within Nature, a substantial proportion admit the malignly supernatural and form a leading element in America’s fund of weird literature. Mr. Samuel Loveman, a living poet and critic who was personally acquainted with Bierce, thus sums up the genius of the great shadow-maker in the preface to some of his letters: + + +> ![ ][10]“In Bierce, the evocation of horror becomes for the first time, not so much the prescription or perversion of Poe and Maupassant, but an atmosphere definite and uncannily precise. Words, so simple that one would be prone to ascribe them to the limitations of a literary hack, take on an unholy horror, a new and unguessed transformation. In Poe one finds it a _ tour de force,_ in Maupassant a nervous engagement of the flagellated climax. To Bierce, simply and sincerely, diabolism held in its tormented depth, a legitimate and reliant means to the end. Yet a tacit confirmation with Nature is in every instance insisted upon. +![ ][10]“In ‘The Death of Halpin Frayser’, flowers, verdure, and the boughs and leaves of trees are magnificently placed as an opposing foil to unnatural malignity. Not the accustomed golden world, but a world pervaded with the mystery of blue and the breathless recalcitrance of dreams, is Bierce’s. Yet, curiously, inhumanity is not altogether absent.” + +![ ][10]The “inhumanity” mentioned by Mr. Loveman finds vent in a rare strain of sardonic comedy and graveyard humour, and a kind of delight in images of cruelty and tantalising disappointment. The former quality is well illustrated by some of the subtitles in the darker narratives; such as “One does not always eat what is on the table”, describing a body laid out for a coroner’s inquest, and “A man though naked may be in rags”, referring to a frightfully mangled corpse. +![ ][10]Bierce’s work is in general somewhat uneven. Many of the stories are obviously mechanical, and marred by a jaunty and commonplacely artificial style derived from journalistic models; but the grim malevolence stalking through all of them is unmistakable, and several stand out as permanent mountain-peaks of American weird writing. “The Death of Halpin Frayser”, called by Frederic Taber Cooper the most fiendishly ghastly tale in the literature of the Anglo-Saxon race, tells of a body skulking by night without a soul in a weird and horribly ensanguined wood, and of a man beset by ancestral memories who met death at the claws of that which had been his fervently loved mother. “The Damned Thing”, frequently copied in popular anthologies, chronicles the hideous devastations of an invisible entity that waddles and flounders on the hills and in the wheatfields by night and day. “The Suitable Surroundings” evokes with singular subtlety yet apparent simplicity a piercing sense of the terror which may reside in the written word. In the story the weird author Colston says to his friend Marsh, “You are brave enough to read me in a street-car, but—in a deserted house—alone—in the forest—at night! Bah! I have a manuscript in my pocket that would kill you!” Marsh reads the manuscript in “the suitable surroundings”—and it does kill him. “The Middle Toe of the Right Foot” is clumsily developed, but has a powerful climax. A man named Manton has horribly killed his two children and his wife, the latter of whom lacked the middle toe of the right foot. Ten years later he returns much altered to the neighbourhood; and, being secretly recognised, is provoked into a bowie-knife duel in the dark, to be held in the now abandoned house where his crime was committed. When the moment of the duel arrives a trick is played upon him; and he is left without an antagonist, shut in a night-black ground floor room of the reputedly haunted edifice, with the thick dust of a decade on every hand. No knife is drawn against him, for only a thorough scare is intended; but on the next day he is found crouched in a corner with distorted face, dead of sheer fright at something he has seen. The only clue visible to the discoverers is one having terrible implications: “In the dust of years that lay thick upon the floor—leading from the door by which they had entered, straight across the room to within a yard of Manton’s crouching corpse—were three parallel lines of footprints—light but definite impressions of bare feet, the outer ones those of small children, the inner a woman’s. From the point at which they ended they did not return; they pointed all one way.” And, of course, the woman’s prints shewed a lack of the middle toe of the right foot. “The Spook House”, told with a severely homely air of journalistic verisimilitude, conveys terrible hints of shocking mystery. In 1858 an entire family of seven persons disappears suddenly and unaccountably from a plantation house in eastern Kentucky, leaving all its possessions untouched—furniture, clothing, food supplies, horses, cattle, and slaves. About a year later two men of high standing are forced by a storm to take shelter in the deserted dwelling, and in so doing stumble into a strange subterranean room lit by an unaccountable greenish light and having an iron door which cannot be opened from within. In this room lie the decayed corpses of all the missing family; and as one of the discoverers rushes forward to embrace a body he seems to recognise, the other is so overpowered by a strange foetor that he accidentally shuts his companion in the vault and loses consciousness. Recovering his senses six weeks later, the survivor is unable to find the hidden room; and the house is burned during the Civil War. The imprisoned discoverer is never seen or heard of again. +![ ][10]Bierce seldom realises the atmospheric possibilities of his themes as vividly as Poe; and much of his work contains a certain touch of naiveté, prosaic angularity, or early-American provincialism which contrasts somewhat with the efforts of later horror-masters. Nevertheless the genuineness and artistry of his dark intimations are always unmistakable, so that his greatness is in no danger of eclipse. As arranged in his definitively collected works, Bierce’s weird tales occur mainly in two volumes, _Can Such Things Be?_ and _In the Midst of Life._ The former, indeed, is almost wholly given over to the supernatural. +![ ][10]Much of the best in American horror-literature has come from pens not mainly devoted to that medium. Oliver Wendell Holmes’s historic _Elsie Venner_ suggests with admirable restraint an unnatural ophidian element in a young woman pre-natally influenced, and sustains the atmosphere with finely discriminating landscape touches. In _The Turn of the Screw_ Henry James triumphs over his inevitable pomposity and prolixity sufficiently well to create a truly potent air of sinister menace; depicting the hideous influence of two dead and evil servants, Peter Quint and the governess Miss Jessel, over a small boy and girl who had been under their care. James is perhaps too diffuse, too unctuously urbane, and too much addicted to subtleties of speech to realise fully all the wild and devastating horror in his situations; but for all that there is a rare and mounting tide of fright, culminating in the death of the little boy, which gives the novelette a permanent place in its special class. +![ ][10]F. Marion Crawford produced several weird tales of varying quality, now collected in a volume entitled _Wandering Ghosts._ “For the Blood Is the Life” touches powerfully on a case of moon-cursed vampirism near an ancient tower on the rocks of the lonely South Italian sea-coast. “The Dead Smile” treats of family horrors in an old house and an ancestral vault in Ireland, and introduces the banshee with considerable force. “The Upper Berth”, however, is Crawford’s weird masterpiece; and is one of the most tremendous horror-stories in all literature. In this tale of a suicide-haunted stateroom such things as the spectral salt-water dampness, the strangely open porthole, and the nightmare struggle with the nameless object are handled with incomparable dexterity. +![ ][10]Very genuine, though not without the typical mannered extravagance of the eighteen-nineties, is the strain of horror in the early work of Robert W. Chambers, since renowned for products of a very different quality. _The King in Yellow,_ a series of vaguely connected short stories having as a background a monstrous and suppressed book whose perusal brings fright, madness, and spectral tragedy, really achieves notable heights of cosmic fear in spite of uneven interest and a somewhat trivial and affected cultivation of the Gallic studio atmosphere made popular by Du Maurier’s _Trilby. _The most powerful of its tales, perhaps, is “The Yellow Sign”, in which is introduced a silent and terrible churchyard watchman with a face like a puffy grave-worm’s. A boy, describing a tussle he has had with this creature, shivers and sickens as he relates a certain detail. “Well, sir, it’s Gawd’s truth that when I ’it ’im ’e grabbed me wrists, sir, and when I twisted ’is soft, mushy fist one of ’is fingers come off in me ’and.” An artist, who after seeing him has shared with another a strange dream of a nocturnal hearse, is shocked by the voice with which the watchman accosts him. The fellow emits a muttering sound that fills the head like thick oily smoke from a fat-rendering vat or an odour of noisome decay. What he mumbles is merely this: “Have you found the Yellow Sign?” +![ ][10]A weirdly hieroglyphed onyx talisman, picked up in the street by the sharer of his dream, is shortly given the artist; and after stumbling queerly upon the hellish and forbidden book of horrors the two learn, among other hideous things which no sane mortal should know, that this talisman is indeed the nameless Yellow Sign handed down from the accursed cult of Hastur—from primordial Carcosa, whereof the volume treats, and some nightmare memory of which seems to lurk latent and ominous at the back of all men’s minds. Soon they hear the rumbling of the black-plumed hearse driven by the flabby and corpse-faced watchman. He enters the night-shrouded house in quest of the Yellow Sign, all bolts and bars rotting at his touch. And when the people rush in, drawn by a scream that no human throat could utter, they find three forms on the floor—two dead and one dying. One of the dead shapes is far gone in decay. It is the churchyard watchman, and the doctor exclaims, “That man must have been dead for months.” It is worth observing that the author derives most of the names and allusions connected with his eldritch land of primal memory from the tales of Ambrose Bierce. Other early works of Mr. Chambers displaying the outré and macabre element are _The Maker of Moons_ and _In Search of the Unknown._ One cannot help regretting that he did not further develop a vein in which he could so easily have become a recognised master. +![ ][10]Horror material of authentic force may be found in the work of the New England realist Mary E. Wilkins; whose volume of short tales, _The Wind in the Rose-Bush,_ contains a number of noteworthy achievements. In “The Shadows on the Wall” we are shewn with consummate skill the response of a staid New England household to uncanny tragedy; and the sourceless shadow of the poisoned brother well prepares us for the climactic moment when the shadow of the secret murderer, who has killed himself in a neighbouring city, suddenly appears beside it. Charlotte Perkins Gilman, in “The Yellow Wall Paper”, rises to a classic level in subtly delineating the madness which crawls over a woman dwelling in the hideously papered room where a madwoman was once confined. +![ ][10]In “The Dead Valley” the eminent architect and mediaevalist Ralph Adams Cram achieves a memorably potent degree of vague regional horror through subtleties of atmosphere and description. +![ ][10]Still further carrying on our spectral tradition is the gifted and versatile humourist Irvin S. Cobb, whose work both early and recent contains some finely weird specimens. “Fishhead”, an early achievement, is banefully effective in its portrayal of unnatural affinities between a hybrid idiot and the strange fish of an isolated lake, which at the last avenge their biped kinsman’s murder. Later work of Mr. Cobb introduces an element of possible science, as in the tale of hereditary memory where a modern man with a negroid strain utters words in African jungle speech when run down by a train under visual and aural circumstances recalling the maiming of his black ancestor by a rhinoceros a century before. +![ ][10]Extremely high in artistic stature is the novel _The Dark Chamber_ (1927), by the late Leonard Cline. This is the tale of a man who—with the characteristic ambition of the Gothic or Byronic hero-villain—seeks to defy Nature and recapture every moment of his past life through the abnormal stimulation of memory. To this end he employs endless notes, records, mnemonic objects, and pictures—and finally odours, music, and exotic drugs. At last his ambition goes beyond his personal life and reaches toward the black abysses of _ hereditary_ memory—even back to pre-human days amidst the steaming swamps of the Carboniferous age, and to still more unimaginable deeps of primal time and entity. He calls for madder music and takes stronger drugs, and finally his great dog grows oddly afraid of him. A noxious animal stench encompasses him, and he grows vacant-faced and sub-human. In the end he takes to the woods, howling at night beneath windows. He is finally found in a thicket, mangled to death. Beside him is the mangled corpse of his dog. They have killed each other. The atmosphere of this novel is malevolently potent, much attention being paid to the central figure’s sinister home and household. +![ ][10]A less subtle and well-balanced but nevertheless highly effective creation is Herbert S. Gorman’s novel, _The Place Called Dagon,_ which relates the dark history of a western Massachusetts backwater where the descendants of refugees from the Salem witchcraft still keep alive the morbid and degenerate horrors of the Black Sabbat. +![ ][10]_Sinister House,_ by Leland Hall, has touches of magnificent atmosphere but is marred by a somewhat mediocre romanticism. +![ ][10]Very notable in their way are some of the weird conceptions of the novelist and short-story writer Edward Lucas White, most of whose themes arise from actual dreams. “The Song of the Sirens” has a very pervasive strangeness, while such things as “Lukundoo” and “The Snout” rouse darker apprehensions. Mr. White imparts a very peculiar quality to his tales—an oblique sort of glamour which has its own distinctive type of convincingness. +![ ][10]Of younger Americans, none strikes the note of cosmic terror so well as the California poet, artist, and fictionist Clark Ashton Smith, whose bizarre writings, drawings, paintings, and stories are the delight of a sensitive few. Mr. Smith has for his background a universe of remote and paralysing fright—jungles of poisonous and iridescent blossoms on the moons of Saturn, evil and grotesque temples in Atlantis, Lemuria, and forgotten elder worlds, and dank morasses of spotted death-fungi in spectral countries beyond earth’s rim. His longest and most ambitious poem, _The Hashish-Eater,_ is in pentameter blank verse; and opens up chaotic and incredible vistas of kaleidoscopic nightmare in the spaces between the stars. In sheer daemonic strangeness and fertility of conception, Mr. Smith is perhaps unexcelled by any other writer dead or living. Who else has seen such gorgeous, luxuriant, and feverishly distorted visions of infinite spheres and multiple dimensions and lived to tell the tale? His short stories deal powerfully with other galaxies, worlds, and dimensions, as well as with strange regions and aeons on the earth. He tells of primal Hyperborea and its black amorphous god Tsathoggua; of the lost continent Zothique, and of the fabulous, vampire-curst land of Averoigne in mediaeval France. Some of Mr. Smith’s best work can be found in the brochure entitled _The Double Shadow and Other Fantasies_ (1933). + +IX. The Weird Tradition in the British Isles +![ ][10]Recent British literature, besides including the three or four greatest fantaisistes of the present age, has been gratifyingly fertile in the element of the weird. Rudyard Kipling has often approached it; and has, despite the omnipresent mannerisms, handled it with indubitable mastery in such tales as “The Phantom ’Rickshaw”, “ ‘The Finest Story in the World’ ”, “The Recrudescence of Imray”, and “The Mark of the Beast”. This latter is of particular poignancy; the pictures of the naked leper-priest who mewed like an otter, of the spots which appeared on the chest of the man that priest cursed, of the growing carnivorousness of the victim and of the fear which horses began to display toward him, and of the eventually half-accomplished transformation of that victim into a leopard, being things which no reader is ever likely to forget. The final defeat of the malignant sorcery does not impair the force of the tale or the validity of its mystery. +![ ][10]Lafcadio Hearn, strange, wandering, and exotic, departs still farther from the realm of the real; and with the supreme artistry of a sensitive poet weaves phantasies impossible to an author of the solid roast-beef type. His _Fantastics,_ written in America, contains some of the most impressive ghoulishness in all literature; whilst his _Kwaidan,_ written in Japan, crystallises with matchless skill and delicacy the eerie lore and whispered legends of that richly colourful nation. Still more of Hearn’s weird wizardry of language is shewn in some of his translations from the French, especially from Gautier and Flaubert. His version of the latter’s _Temptation of St. Anthony_ is a classic of fevered and riotous imagery clad in the magic of singing words. +![ ][10]Oscar Wilde may likewise be given a place amongst weird writers, both for certain of his exquisite fairy tales, and for his vivid _Picture of Dorian Gray,_ in which a marvellous portrait for years assumes the duty of ageing and coarsening instead of its original, who meanwhile plunges into every excess of vice and crime without the outward loss of youth, beauty, and freshness. There is a sudden and potent climax when Dorian Gray, at last become a murderer, seeks to destroy the painting whose changes testify to his moral degeneracy. He stabs it with a knife, and a hideous cry and crash are heard; but when the servants enter they find it in all its pristine loveliness. “Lying on the floor was a dead man, in evening dress, with a knife in his heart. He was withered, wrinkled, and loathsome of visage. It was not till they had examined the rings that they recognised who it was.” +![ ][10]Matthew Phipps Shiel, author of many weird, grotesque, and adventurous novels and tales, occasionally attains a high level of horrific magic. “Xélucha” is a noxiously hideous fragment, but is excelled by Mr. Shiel’s undoubted masterpiece, “The House of Sounds”, floridly written in the “yellow ’nineties”, and re-cast with more artistic restraint in the early twentieth century. This story, in final form, deserves a place among the foremost things of its kind. It tells of a creeping horror and menace trickling down the centuries on a sub-arctic island off the coast of Norway; where, amidst the sweep of daemon winds and the ceaseless din of hellish waves and cataracts, a vengeful dead man built a brazen tower of terror. It is vaguely like, yet infinitely unlike, Poe’s “Fall of the House of Usher”. In the novel _The Purple Cloud_ Mr. Shiel describes with tremendous power a curse which came out of the arctic to destroy mankind, and which for a time appears to have left but a single inhabitant on our planet. The sensations of this lone survivor as he realises his position, and roams through the corpse-littered and treasure-strown cities of the world as their absolute master, are delivered with a skill and artistry falling little short of actual majesty. Unfortunately the second half of the book, with its conventionally romantic element, involves a distinct “letdown”. +![ ][10]Better known than Shiel is the ingenious Bram Stoker, who created many starkly horrific conceptions in a series of novels whose poor technique sadly impairs their net effect. _The Lair of the White Worm,_ dealing with a gigantic primitive entity that lurks in a vault beneath an ancient castle, utterly ruins a magnificent idea by a development almost infantile. _The Jewel of Seven Stars,_ touching on a strange Egyptian resurrection, is less crudely written. But best of all is the famous _Dracula, _which has become almost the standard modern exploitation of the frightful vampire myth. Count Dracula, a vampire, dwells in a horrible castle in the Carpathians; but finally migrates to England with the design of populating the country with fellow vampires. How an Englishman fares within Dracula’s stronghold of terrors, and how the dead fiend’s plot for domination is at last defeated, are elements which unite to form a tale now justly assigned a permanent place in English letters. _Dracula _evoked many similar novels of supernatural horror, among which the best are perhaps _The Beetle,_ by Richard Marsh, _Brood of the Witch-Queen, _by “Sax Rohmer” (Arthur Sarsfield Ward), and _The Door of the Unreal,_ by Gerald Biss. The latter handles quite dexterously the standard werewolf superstition. Much subtler and more artistic, and told with singular skill through the juxtaposed narratives of the several characters, is the novel _Cold Harbour,_ by Francis Brett Young, in which an ancient house of strange malignancy is powerfully delineated. The mocking and well-nigh omnipotent fiend Humphrey Furnival holds echoes of the Manfred- Montoni type of early Gothic “villain”, but is redeemed from triteness by many clever individualities. Only the slight diffuseness of explanation at the close, and the somewhat too free use of divination as a plot factor, keep this tale from approaching absolute perfection. +![ ][10]In the novel _Witch Wood_ John Buchan depicts with tremendous force a survival of the evil Sabbat in a lonely district of Scotland. The description of the black forest with the evil stone, and of the terrible cosmic adumbrations when the horror is finally extirpated, will repay one for wading through the very gradual action and plethora of Scottish dialect. Some of Mr. Buchan’s short stories are also extremely vivid in their spectral intimations; “The Green Wildebeest”, a tale of African witchcraft, “The Wind in the Portico”, with its awakening of dead Britanno-Roman horrors, and “Skule Skerry”, with its touches of sub-arctic fright, being especially remarkable. +![ ][10]Clemence Housman, in the brief novelette “The Were-wolf”, attains a high degree of gruesome tension and achieves to some extent the atmosphere of authentic folklore. In _The Elixir of Life_ Arthur Ransome attains some darkly excellent effects despite a general naiveté of plot, while H. B. Drake’s _The Shadowy Thing_ summons up strange and terrible vistas. George Macdonald’s _Lilith _has a compelling bizarrerie all its own; the first and simpler of the two versions being perhaps the more effective. +![ ][10]Deserving of distinguished notice as a forceful craftsman to whom an unseen mystic world is ever a close and vital reality is the poet Walter de la Mare, whose haunting verse and exquisite prose alike bear consistent traces of a strange vision reaching deeply into veiled spheres of beauty and terrible and forbidden dimensions of being. In the novel _The Return_ we see the soul of a dead man reach out of its grave of two centuries and fasten itself upon the flesh of the living, so that even the face of the victim becomes that which had long ago returned to dust. Of the shorter tales, of which several volumes exist, many are unforgettable for their command of fear’s and sorcery’s darkest ramifications; notably “Seaton’s Aunt”, in which there lowers a noxious background of malignant vampirism; “The Tree”, which tells of a frightful vegetable growth in the yard of a starving artist; “Out of the Deep”, wherein we are given leave to imagine what thing answered the summons of a dying wastrel in a dark lonely house when he pulled a long-feared bell-cord in the attic chamber of his dread-haunted boyhood; “A Recluse”, which hints at what sent a chance guest flying from a house in the night; “Mr. Kempe”, which shews us a mad clerical hermit in quest of the human soul, dwelling in a frightful sea-cliff region beside an archaic abandoned chapel; and “All-Hallows”, a glimpse of daemoniac forces besieging a lonely mediaeval church and miraculously restoring the rotting masonry. De la Mare does not make fear the sole or even the dominant element of most of his tales, being apparently more interested in the subtleties of character involved. Occasionally he sinks to sheer whimsical phantasy of the Barrie order. Still, he is among the very few to whom unreality is a vivid, living presence; and as such he is able to put into his occasional fear-studies a keen potency which only a rare master can achieve. His poem “The Listeners” restores the Gothic shudder to modern verse. +![ ][10]The weird short story has fared well of late, an important contributor being the versatile E. F. Benson, whose “The Man Who Went Too Far” breathes whisperingly of a house at the edge of a dark wood, and of Pan’s hoof-mark on the breast of a dead man. Mr. Benson’s volume, _Visible and Invisible,_ contains several stories of singular power; notably _“Negotium Perambulans”,_ whose unfolding reveals an abnormal monster from an ancient ecclesiastical panel which performs an act of miraculous vengeance in a lonely village on the Cornish coast, and “The Horror-Horn”, through which lopes a terrible half-human survival dwelling on unvisited Alpine peaks. “The Face”, in another collection, is lethally potent in its relentless aura of doom. H. R. Wakefield, in his collections _They Return at Evening_ and _Others Who Return,_ manages now and then to achieve great heights of horror despite a vitiating air of sophistication. The most notable stories are “The Red Lodge” with its slimy aqueous evil, “‘He Cometh and He Passeth By’”, “‘And He Shall Sing . . .’”, “The Cairn”, “‘Look Up There!’”, “Blind Man’s Buff”, and that bit of lurking millennial horror, “The Seventeenth Hole at Duncaster”. Mention has been made of the weird work of H. G. Wells and A. Conan Doyle. The former, in “The Ghost of Fear”, reaches a very high level; while all the items in _Thirty Strange Stories_ have strong fantastic implications. Doyle now and then struck a powerfully spectral note, as in “The Captain of the ‘Pole-Star’ ”, a tale of arctic ghostliness, and “Lot No. 249”, wherein the reanimated mummy theme is used with more than ordinary skill. Hugh Walpole, of the same family as the founder of Gothic fiction, has sometimes approached the bizarre with much success; his short story “Mrs. Lunt” carrying a very poignant shudder. John Metcalfe, in the collection published as _The Smoking Leg,_ attains now and then a rare pitch of potency; the tale entitled “The Bad Lands” containing graduations of horror that strongly savour of genius. More whimsical and inclined toward the amiable and innocuous phantasy of Sir J. M. Barrie are the short tales of E. M. Forster, grouped under the title of _The Celestial Omnibus._ Of these only one, dealing with a glimpse of Pan and his aura of fright, may be said to hold the true element of cosmic horror. Mrs. H. D. Everett, though adhering to very old and conventional models, occasionally reaches singular heights of spiritual terror in her collection of short stories. L. P. Hartley is notable for his incisive and extremely ghastly tale, “A Visitor from Down Under”. May Sinclair’s _ Uncanny Stories_ contain more of traditional occultism than of that creative treatment of fear which marks mastery in this field, and are inclined to lay more stress on human emotions and psychological delving than upon the stark phenomena of a cosmos utterly unreal. It may be well to remark here that occult believers are probably less effective than materialists in delineating the spectral and the fantastic, since to them the phantom world is so commonplace a reality that they tend to refer to it with less awe, remoteness, and impressiveness than do those who see in it an absolute and stupendous violation of the natural order. +![ ][10]Of rather uneven stylistic quality, but vast occasional power in its suggestion of lurking worlds and beings behind the ordinary surface of life, is the work of William Hope Hodgson, known today far less than it deserves to be. Despite a tendency toward conventionally sentimental conceptions of the universe, and of man’s relation to it and to his fellows, Mr. Hodgson is perhaps second only to Algernon Blackwood in his serious treatment of unreality. Few can equal him in adumbrating the nearness of nameless forces and monstrous besieging entities through casual hints and insignificant details, or in conveying feelings of the spectral and the abnormal in connexion with regions or buildings. +![ ][10]In _The Boats of the “Glen Carrig”_ (1907) we are shewn a variety of malign marvels and accursed unknown lands as encountered by the survivors of a sunken ship. The brooding menace in the earlier parts of the book is impossible to surpass, though a letdown in the direction of ordinary romance and adventure occurs toward the end. An inaccurate and pseudo-romantic attempt to reproduce eighteenth-century prose detracts from the general effect, but the really profound nautical erudition everywhere displayed is a compensating factor. +![ ][10]_The House on the Borderland_ (1908)—perhaps the greatest of all Mr. Hodgson’s works—tells of a lonely and evilly regarded house in Ireland which forms a focus for hideous other-world forces and sustains a siege by blasphemous hybrid anomalies from a hidden abyss below. The wanderings of the narrator’s spirit through limitless light-years of cosmic space and kalpas of eternity, and its witnessing of the solar system’s final destruction, constitute something almost unique in standard literature. And everywhere there is manifest the author’s power to suggest vague, ambushed horrors in natural scenery. But for a few touches of commonplace sentimentality this book would be a classic of the first water. +![ ][10]_The Ghost Pirates_ (1909), regarded by Mr. Hodgson as rounding out a trilogy with the two previously mentioned works, is a powerful account of a doomed and haunted ship on its last voyage, and of the terrible sea-devils (of quasi-human aspect, and perhaps the spirits of bygone buccaneers) that besiege it and finally drag it down to an unknown fate. With its command of maritime knowledge, and its clever selection of hints and incidents suggestive of latent horrors in Nature, this book at times reaches enviable peaks of power. +![ ][10]_The Night Land_ (1912) is a long-extended (583 pp.) tale of the earth’s infinitely remote future—billions of billions of years ahead, after the death of the sun. It is told in a rather clumsy fashion, as the dreams of a man in the seventeenth century, whose mind merges with its own future incarnation; and is seriously marred by painful verboseness, repetitiousness, artificial and nauseously sticky romantic sentimentality, and an attempt at archaic language even more grotesque and absurd than that in _“Glen Carrig”._ +![ ][10]Allowing for all its faults, it is yet one of the most potent pieces of macabre imagination ever written. The picture of a night-black, dead planet, with the remains of the human race concentrated in a stupendously vast metal pyramid and besieged by monstrous, hybrid, and altogether unknown forces of the darkness, is something that no reader can ever forget. Shapes and entities of an altogether non-human and inconceivable sort—the prowlers of the black, man-forsaken, and unexplored world outside the pyramid—are _suggested_ and _partly_ described with ineffable potency; while the night-bound landscape with its chasms and slopes and dying volcanism takes on an almost sentient terror beneath the author’s touch. +![ ][10]Midway in the book the central figure ventures outside the pyramid on a quest through death-haunted realms untrod by man for millions of years—and in his slow, minutely described, day-by-day progress over unthinkable leagues of immemorial blackness there is a sense of cosmic alienage, breathless mystery, and terrified expectancy unrivalled in the whole range of literature. The last quarter of the book drags woefully, but fails to spoil the tremendous power of the whole. +![ ][10]Mr. Hodgson’s later volume, _Carnacki, the Ghost-Finder,_ consists of several longish short stories published many years before in magazines. In quality it falls conspicuously below the level of the other books. We here find a more or less conventional stock figure of the “infallible detective” type—the progeny of M. Dupin and Sherlock Holmes, and the close kin of Algernon Blackwood’s John Silence—moving through scenes and events badly marred by an atmosphere of professional “occultism”. A few of the episodes, however, are of undeniable power; and afford glimpses of the peculiar genius characteristic of the author. +![ ][10]Naturally it is impossible in a brief sketch to trace out all the classic modern uses of the terror element. The ingredient must of necessity enter into all work both prose and verse treating broadly of life; and we are therefore not surprised to find a share in such writers as the poet Browning, whose “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came ” is instinct with hideous menace, or the novelist Joseph Conrad, who often wrote of the dark secrets within the sea, and of the daemoniac driving power of Fate as influencing the lives of lonely and maniacally resolute men. Its trail is one of infinite ramifications; but we must here confine ourselves to its appearance in a relatively unmixed state, where it determines and dominates the work of art containing it. +![ ][10]Somewhat separate from the main British stream is that current of weirdness in Irish literature which came to the fore in the Celtic Renaissance of the later nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Ghost and fairy lore have always been of great prominence in Ireland, and for over an hundred years have been recorded by a line of such faithful transcribers and translators as William Carleton, T. Crofton Croker, Lady Wilde—mother of Oscar Wilde—Douglas Hyde, and W. B. Yeats. Brought to notice by the modern movement, this body of myth has been carefully collected and studied; and its salient features reproduced in the work of later figures like Yeats, J. M. Synge, “A. E.”, Lady Gregory, Padraic Colum, James Stephens, and their colleagues. +![ ][10]Whilst on the whole more whimsically fantastic than terrible, such folklore and its consciously artistic counterparts contain much that falls truly within the domain of cosmic horror. Tales of burials in sunken churches beneath haunted lakes, accounts of death-heralding banshees and sinister changelings, ballads of spectres and “the unholy creatures of the raths”—all these have their poignant and definite shivers, and mark a strong and distinctive element in weird literature. Despite homely grotesqueness and absolute naiveté, there is genuine nightmare in the class of narrative represented by the yarn of Teig O’Kane, who in punishment for his wild life was ridden all night by a hideous corpse that demanded burial and drove him from churchyard to churchyard as the dead rose up loathsomely in each one and refused to accommodate the newcomer with a berth. Yeats, undoubtedly the greatest figure of the Irish revival if not the greatest of all living poets, has accomplished notable things both in original work and in the codification of old legends. + +X. The Modern Masters +![ ][10]The best horror-tales of today, profiting by the long evolution of the type, possess a naturalness, convincingness, artistic smoothness, and skilful intensity of appeal quite beyond comparison with anything in the Gothic work of a century or more ago. Technique, craftsmanship, experience, and psychological knowledge have advanced tremendously with the passing years, so that much of the older work seems naive and artificial; redeemed, when redeemed at all, only by a genius which conquers heavy limitations. The tone of jaunty and inflated romance, full of false motivation and investing every conceivable event with a counterfeit significance and carelessly inclusive glamour, is now confined to lighter and more whimsical phases of supernatural writing. Serious weird stories are either made realistically intense by close consistency and perfect fidelity to Nature except in the one supernatural direction which the author allows himself, or else cast altogether in the realm of phantasy, with atmosphere cunningly adapted to the visualisation of a delicately exotic world of unreality beyond space and time, in which almost anything may happen if it but happen in true accord with certain types of imagination and illusion normal to the sensitive human brain. This, at least, is the dominant tendency; though of course many great contemporary writers slip occasionally into some of the flashy postures of immature romanticism, or into bits of the equally empty and absurd jargon of pseudo-scientific “occultism”, now at one of its periodic high tides. + +![ ][10]Of living creators of cosmic fear raised to its most artistic pitch, few if any can hope to equal the versatile Arthur Machen; author of some dozen tales long and short, in which the elements of hidden horror and brooding fright attain an almost incomparable substance and realistic acuteness. Mr. Machen, a general man of letters and master of an exquisitely lyrical and expressive prose style, has perhaps put more conscious effort into his picaresque _Chronicle of Clemendy,_ his refreshing essays, his vivid autobiographical volumes, his fresh and spirited translations, and above all his memorable epic of the sensitive aesthetic mind, _The Hill of Dreams,_ in which the youthful hero responds to the magic of that ancient Welsh environment which is the author’s own, and lives a dream-life in the Roman city of Isca Silurum, now shrunk to the relic-strown village of Caerleon-on-Usk. But the fact remains that his powerful horror-material of the ’nineties and earlier nineteen-hundreds stands alone in its class, and marks a distinct epoch in the history of this literary form. +![ ][10]Mr. Machen, with an impressionable Celtic heritage linked to keen youthful memories of the wild domed hills, archaic forests, and cryptical Roman ruins of the Gwent countryside, has developed an imaginative life of rare beauty, intensity, and historic background. He has absorbed the mediaeval mystery of dark woods and ancient customs, and is a champion of the Middle Ages in all things—including the Catholic faith. He has yielded, likewise, to the spell of the Britanno-Roman life which once surged over his native region; and finds strange magic in the fortified camps, tessellated pavements, fragments of statues, and kindred things which tell of the day when classicism reigned and Latin was the language of the country. A young American poet, Frank Belknap Long, Jun., has well summarised this dreamer’s rich endowments and wizardry of expression in the sonnet “On Reading Arthur Machen”: + +> “There is a glory in the autumn wood; +The ancient lanes of England wind and climb +Past wizard oaks and gorse and tangled thyme +To where a fort of mighty empire stood: +There is a glamour in the autumn sky; +The reddened clouds are writhing in the glow +Of some great fire, and there are glints below +Of tawny yellow where the embers die. + +I wait, for he will show me, clear and cold, +High-rais’d in splendour, sharp against the North, +The Roman eagles, and thro’ mists of gold +The marching legions as they issue forth: +I wait, for I would share with him again +The ancient wisdom, and the ancient pain.” + +![ ][10]Of Mr. Machen’s horror-tales the most famous is perhaps “The Great God Pan” (1894), which tells of a singular and terrible experiment and its consequences. A young woman, through surgery of the brain-cells, is made to see the vast and monstrous deity of Nature, and becomes an idiot in consequence, dying less than a year later. Years afterward a strange, ominous, and foreign-looking child named Helen Vaughan is placed to board with a family in rural Wales, and haunts the woods in unaccountable fashion. A little boy is thrown out of his mind at sight of someone or something he spies with her, and a young girl comes to a terrible end in similar fashion. All this mystery is strangely interwoven with the Roman rural deities of the place, as sculptured in antique fragments. After another lapse of years, a woman of strangely exotic beauty appears in society, drives her husband to horror and death, causes an artist to paint unthinkable paintings of Witches’ Sabbaths, creates an epidemic of suicide among the men of her acquaintance, and is finally discovered to be a frequenter of the lowest dens of vice in London, where even the most callous degenerates are shocked at her enormities. Through the clever comparing of notes on the part of those who have had word of her at various stages of her career, this woman is discovered to be the girl Helen Vaughan; who is the child—by no mortal father—of the young woman on whom the brain experiment was made. She is a daughter of hideous Pan himself, and at the last is put to death amidst horrible transmutations of form involving changes of sex and a descent to the most primal manifestations of the life-principle. +![ ][10]But the charm of the tale is in the telling. No one could begin to describe the cumulative suspense and ultimate horror with which every paragraph abounds without following fully the precise order in which Mr. Machen unfolds his gradual hints and revelations. Melodrama is undeniably present, and coincidence is stretched to a length which appears absurd upon analysis; but in the malign witchery of the tale as a whole these trifles are forgotten, and the sensitive reader reaches the end with only an appreciative shudder and a tendency to repeat the words of one of the characters: “It is too incredible, too monstrous; such things can never be in this quiet world. . . . Why, man, if such a case were possible, our earth would be a nightmare.” +![ ][10]Less famous and less complex in plot than “The Great God Pan”, but definitely finer in atmosphere and general artistic value, is the curious and dimly disquieting chronicle called “The White People”, whose central portion purports to be the diary or notes of a little girl whose nurse has introduced her to some of the forbidden magic and soul-blasting traditions of the noxious witch-cult—the cult whose whispered lore was handed down long lines of peasantry throughout Western Europe, and whose members sometimes stole forth at night, one by one, to meet in black woods and lonely places for the revolting orgies of the Witches’ Sabbath. Mr. Machen’s narrative, a triumph of skilful selectiveness and restraint, accumulates enormous power as it flows on in a stream of innocent childish prattle; introducing allusions to strange “nymphs”, “Dôls”, “voolas”, “White, Green, and Scarlet Ceremonies”, “Aklo letters”, “Chian language”, “Mao games”, and the like. The rites learned by the nurse from her witch grandmother are taught to the child by the time she is three years old, and her artless accounts of the dangerous secret revelations possess a lurking terror generously mixed with pathos. Evil charms well known to anthropologists are described with juvenile naiveté, and finally there comes a winter afternoon journey into the old Welsh hills, performed under an imaginative spell which lends to the wild scenery an added weirdness, strangeness, and suggestion of grotesque sentience. The details of this journey are given with marvellous vividness, and form to the keen critic a masterpiece of fantastic writing, with almost unlimited power in the intimation of potent hideousness and cosmic aberration. At length the child—whose age is then thirteen—comes upon a cryptic and banefully beautiful thing in the midst of a dark and inaccessible wood. She flees in awe, but is permanently altered and repeatedly revisits the wood. In the end horror overtakes her in a manner deftly prefigured by an anecdote in the prologue, but she poisons herself in time. Like the mother of Helen Vaughan in The Great God Pan, she has seen that frightful deity. She is discovered dead in the dark wood beside the cryptic thing she found; and that thing—a whitely luminous statue of Roman workmanship about which dire mediaeval rumours had clustered—is affrightedly hammered into dust by the searchers. +![ ][10]In the episodic novel of _The Three Impostors,_ a work whose merit as a whole is somewhat marred by an imitation of the jaunty Stevenson manner, occur certain tales which perhaps represent the high-water mark of Machen’s skill as a terror-weaver. Here we find in its most artistic form a favourite weird conception of the author’s; the notion that beneath the mounds and rocks of the wild Welsh hills dwell subterraneously that squat primitive race whose vestiges gave rise to our common folk legends of fairies, elves, and the “little people”, and whose acts are even now responsible for certain unexplained disappearances, and occasional substitutions of strange dark “changelings” for normal infants. This theme receives its finest treatment in the episode entitled “The Novel of the Black Seal”; where a professor, having discovered a singular identity between certain characters scrawled on Welsh limestone rocks and those existing in a prehistoric black seal from Babylon, sets out on a course of discovery which leads him to unknown and terrible things. A queer passage in the ancient geographer Solinus, a series of mysterious disappearances in the lonely reaches of Wales, a strange idiot son born to a rural mother after a fright in which her inmost faculties were shaken; all these things suggest to the professor a hideous connexion and a condition revolting to any friend and respecter of the human race. He hires the idiot boy, who jabbers strangely at times in a repulsive hissing voice, and is subject to odd epileptic seizures. Once, after such a seizure in the professor’s study by night, disquieting odours and evidences of unnatural presences are found; and soon after that the professor leaves a bulky document and goes into the weird hills with feverish expectancy and strange terror in his heart. He never returns, but beside a fantastic stone in the wild country are found his watch, money, and ring, done up with catgut in a parchment bearing the same terrible characters as those on the black Babylonish seal and the rock in the Welsh mountains. +![ ][10]The bulky document explains enough to bring up the most hideous vistas. Professor Gregg, from the massed evidence presented by the Welsh disappearances, the rock inscription, the accounts of ancient geographers, and the black seal, has decided that a frightful race of dark primal beings of immemorial antiquity and wide former diffusion still dwells beneath the hills of unfrequented Wales. Further research has unriddled the message of the black seal, and proved that the idiot boy, a son of some father more terrible than mankind, is the heir of monstrous memories and possibilities. That strange night in the study the professor invoked ‘the awful transmutation of the hills’ by the aid of the black seal, and aroused in the hybrid idiot the horrors of his shocking paternity. He “saw his body swell and become distended as a bladder, while the face blackened. . . .” And then the supreme effects of the invocation appeared, and Professor Gregg knew the stark frenzy of cosmic panic in its darkest form. He knew the abysmal gulfs of abnormality that he had opened, and went forth into the wild hills prepared and resigned. He would meet the unthinkable ‘Little People’—and his document ends with a rational observation: “If I unhappily do not return from my journey, there is no need to conjure up here a picture of the awfulness of my fate.” +![ ][10]Also in _The Three Impostors_ is the “Novel of the White Powder”, which approaches the absolute culmination of loathsome fright. Francis Leicester, a young law student nervously worn out by seclusion and overwork, has a prescription filled by an old apothecary none too careful about the state of his drugs. The substance, it later turns out, is an unusual salt which time and varying temperature have accidentally changed to something very strange and terrible; nothing less, in short, than the mediaeval _Vinum Sabbati,_ whose consumption at the horrible orgies of the Witches’ Sabbath gave rise to shocking transformations and—if injudiciously used—to unutterable consequences. Innocently enough, the youth regularly imbibes the powder in a glass of water after meals; and at first seems substantially benefited. Gradually, however, his improved spirits take the form of dissipation; he is absent from home a great deal, and appears to have undergone a repellent psychological change. One day an odd livid spot appears on his right hand, and he afterward returns to his seclusion; finally keeping himself shut within his room and admitting none of the household. The doctor calls for an interview, and departs in a palsy of horror, saying that he can do no more in that house. Two weeks later the patient’s sister, walking outside, sees a monstrous thing at the sickroom window; and servants report that food left at the locked door is no longer touched. Summons at the door bring only a sound of shuffling and a demand in a thick gurgling voice to be let alone. At last an awful happening is reported by a shuddering housemaid. The ceiling of the room below Leicester’s is stained with a hideous black fluid, and a pool of viscid abomination has dripped to the bed beneath. Dr. Haberden, now persuaded to return to the house, breaks down the young man’s door and strikes again and again with an iron bar at the blasphemous semi-living thing he finds there. It is “a dark and putrid mass, seething with corruption and hideous rottenness, neither liquid nor solid, but melting and changing”. Burning points like eyes shine out of its midst, and before it is despatched it tries to lift what might have been an arm. Soon afterward the physician, unable to endure the memory of what he has beheld, dies at sea while bound for a new life in America. +![ ][10]Mr. Machen returns to the daemoniac “Little People” in “The Red Hand” and “The Shining Pyramid”; and in _The Terror,_ a wartime story, he treats with very potent mystery the effect of man’s modern repudiation of spirituality on the beasts of the world, which are thus led to question his supremacy and to unite for his extermination. Of utmost delicacy, and passing from mere horror into true mysticism, is _The Great Return,_ a story of the Graal, also a product of the war period. Too well known to need description here is the tale of “The Bowmen”; which, taken for authentic narration, gave rise to the widespread legend of the “Angels of Mons”—ghosts of the old English archers of Crécy and Agincourt who fought in 1914 beside the hard-pressed ranks of England’s glorious “Old Contemptibles”. + +![ ][10]Less intense than Mr. Machen in delineating the extremes of stark fear, yet infinitely more closely wedded to the idea of an unreal world constantly pressing upon ours, is the inspired and prolific Algernon Blackwood, amidst whose voluminous and uneven work may be found some of the finest spectral literature of this or any age. Of the quality of Mr. Blackwood’s genius there can be no dispute; for no one has even approached the skill, seriousness, and minute fidelity with which he records the overtones of strangeness in ordinary things and experiences, or the preternatural insight with which he builds up detail by detail the complete sensations and perceptions leading from reality into supernormal life or vision. Without notable command of the poetic witchery of mere words, he is the one absolute and unquestioned master of weird atmosphere; and can evoke what amounts almost to a story from a simple fragment of humourless psychological description. Above all others he understands how fully some sensitive minds dwell forever on the borderland of dream, and how relatively slight is the distinction betwixt those images formed from actual objects and those excited by the play of the imagination. +![ ][10]Mr. Blackwood’s lesser work is marred by several defects such as ethical didacticism, occasional insipid whimsicality, the flatness of benignant supernaturalism, and a too free use of the trade jargon of modern “occultism”. A fault of his more serious efforts is that diffuseness and long-windedness which results from an excessively elaborate attempt, under the handicap of a somewhat bald and journalistic style devoid of intrinsic magic, colour, and vitality, to visualise precise sensations and nuances of uncanny suggestion. But in spite of all this, the major products of Mr. Blackwood attain a genuinely classic level, and evoke as does nothing else in literature an awed and convinced sense of the immanence of strange spiritual spheres or entities. +![ ][10]The well-nigh endless array of Mr. Blackwood’s fiction includes both novels and shorter tales, the latter sometimes independent and sometimes arrayed in series. Foremost of all must be reckoned “The Willows”, in which the nameless presences on a desolate Danube island are horribly felt and recognised by a pair of idle voyagers. Here art and restraint in narrative reach their very highest development, and an impression of lasting poignancy is produced without a single strained passage or a single false note. Another amazingly potent though less artistically finished tale is “The Wendigo”, where we are confronted by horrible evidences of a vast forest daemon about which North Woods lumbermen whisper at evening. The manner in which certain footprints tell certain unbelievable things is really a marked triumph in craftsmanship. In “An Episode in a Lodging House” we behold frightful presences summoned out of black space by a sorcerer, and “The Listener” tells of the awful psychic residuum creeping about an old house where a leper died. In the volume titled _Incredible Adventures_ occur some of the finest tales which the author has yet produced, leading the fancy to wild rites on nocturnal hills, to secret and terrible aspects lurking behind stolid scenes, and to unimaginable vaults of mystery below the sands and pyramids of Egypt; all with a serious finesse and delicacy that convince where a cruder or lighter treatment would merely amuse. Some of these accounts are hardly stories at all, but rather studies in elusive impressions and half-remembered snatches of dream. Plot is everywhere negligible, and atmosphere reigns untrammelled. +![ ][10]_John Silence—Physician Extraordinary_ is a book of five related tales, through which a single character runs his triumphant course. Marred only by traces of the popular and conventional detective-story atmosphere—for Dr. Silence is one of those benevolent geniuses who employ their remarkable powers to aid worthy fellow-men in difficulty—these narratives contain some of the author’s best work, and produce an illusion at once emphatic and lasting. The opening tale, “A Psychical Invasion”, relates what befell a sensitive author in a house once the scene of dark deeds, and how a legion of fiends was exorcised. “Ancient Sorceries”, perhaps the finest tale in the book, gives an almost hypnotically vivid account of an old French town where once the unholy Sabbath was kept by all the people in the form of cats. In “The Nemesis of Fire” a hideous elemental is evoked by new-spilt blood, whilst “Secret Worship” tells of a German school where Satanism held sway, and where long afterward an evil aura remained. “The Camp of the Dog” is a werewolf tale, but is weakened by moralisation and professional “occultism”. +![ ][10]Too subtle, perhaps, for definite classification as horror-tales, yet possibly more truly artistic in an absolute sense, are such delicate phantasies as _Jimbo_ or _ The Centaur._ Mr. Blackwood achieves in these novels a close and palpitant approach to the inmost substance of dream, and works enormous havock with the conventional barriers between reality and imagination. + +![ ][10]Unexcelled in the sorcery of crystalline singing prose, and supreme in the creation of a gorgeous and languorous world of iridescently exotic vision, is Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett, Eighteenth Baron Dunsany, whose tales and short plays form an almost unique element in our literature. Inventor of a new mythology and weaver of surprising folklore, Lord Dunsany stands dedicated to a strange world of fantastic beauty, and pledged to eternal warfare against the coarseness and ugliness of diurnal reality. His point of view is the most truly cosmic of any held in the literature of any period. As sensitive as Poe to dramatic values and the significance of isolated words and details, and far better equipped rhetorically through a simple lyric style based on the prose of the King James Bible, this author draws with tremendous effectiveness on nearly every body of myth and legend within the circle of European culture; producing a composite or eclectic cycle of phantasy in which Eastern colour, Hellenic form, Teutonic sombreness, and Celtic wistfulness are so superbly blended that each sustains and supplements the rest without sacrifice of perfect congruity and homogeneity. In most cases Dunsany’s lands are fabulous—“beyond the East”, or “at the edge of the world”. His system of original personal and place names, with roots drawn from classical, Oriental, and other sources, is a marvel of versatile inventiveness and poetic discrimination; as one may see from such specimens as “Argimēnēs”, “Bethmoora”, “Poltarnees”, “Camorak”, “Illuriel”, or “Sardathrion”. +![ ][10]Beauty rather than terror is the keynote of Dunsany’s work. He loves the vivid green of jade and of copper domes, and the delicate flush of sunset on the ivory minarets of impossible dream-cities. Humour and irony, too, are often present to impart a gentle cynicism and modify what might otherwise possess a naive intensity. Nevertheless, as is inevitable in a master of triumphant unreality, there are occasional touches of cosmic fright which come well within the authentic tradition. Dunsany loves to hint slyly and adroitly of monstrous things and incredible dooms, as one hints in a fairy tale. In _The Book of Wonder_ we read of Hlo-hlo, the gigantic spider-idol which does not always stay at home; of what the Sphinx feared in the forest; of Slith, the thief who jumps over the edge of the world after seeing a certain light lit and knowing _who_ lit it; of the anthropophagous Gibbelins, who inhabit an evil tower and guard a treasure; of the Gnoles, who live in the forest and from whom it is not well to steal; of the City of Never, and the eyes that watch in the Under Pits; and of kindred things of darkness. _A Dreamer’s Tales_ tells of the mystery that sent forth all men from Bethmoora in the desert; of the vast gate of Perdóndaris, that was carved from a _single piece_ of ivory; and of the voyage of poor old Bill, whose captain cursed the crew and paid calls on nasty-looking isles new-risen from the sea, with low thatched cottages having evil, obscure windows. +![ ][10]Many of Dunsany’s short plays are replete with spectral fear. In _The Gods of the Mountain _seven beggars impersonate the seven green idols on a distant hill, and enjoy ease and honour in a city of worshippers until they hear that _the real idols are missing from their wonted seats._ A very ungainly sight in the dusk is reported to them—“rock should not walk in the evening”—and at last, as they sit awaiting the arrival of a troop of dancers, they note that the approaching footsteps are heavier than those of good dancers ought to be. Then things ensue, and in the end the presumptuous blasphemers are turned to green jade statues by the very walking statues whose sanctity they outraged. But mere plot is the very least merit of this marvellously effective play. The incidents and developments are those of a supreme master, so that the whole forms one of the most important contributions of the present age not only to drama, but to literature in general. _A Night at an Inn_ tells of four thieves who have stolen the emerald eye of Klesh, a monstrous Hindoo god. They lure to their room and succeed in slaying the three priestly avengers who are on their track, but in the night Klesh comes gropingly for his eye; and having gained it and departed, calls each of the despoilers out into the darkness for an unnamed punishment. In _The Laughter of the Gods_ there is a doomed city at the jungle’s edge, and a ghostly lutanist heard only by those about to die (cf. Alice’s spectral harpsichord in Hawthorne’s _House of the Seven Gables_); whilst _The Queen’s Enemies_ retells the anecdote of Herodotus in which a vengeful princess invites her foes to a subterranean banquet and lets in the Nile to drown them. +![ ][10]But no amount of mere description can convey more than a fraction of Lord Dunsany’s pervasive charm. His prismatic cities and unheard-of rites are touched with a sureness which only mastery can engender, and we thrill with a sense of actual participation in his secret mysteries. To the truly imaginative he is a talisman and a key unlocking rich storehouses of dream and fragmentary memory; so that we may think of him not only as a poet, but as one who makes each reader a poet as well. + +![ ][10]At the opposite pole of genius from Lord Dunsany, and gifted with an almost diabolic power of calling horror by gentle steps from the midst of prosaic daily life, is the scholarly Montague Rhodes James, Provost of Eton College, antiquary of note, and recognised authority on mediaeval manuscripts and cathedral history. Dr. James, long fond of telling spectral tales at Christmastide, has become by slow degrees a literary weird fictionist of the very first rank; and has developed a distinctive style and method likely to serve as models for an enduring line of disciples. +![ ][10]The art of Dr. James is by no means haphazard, and in the preface to one of his collections he has formulated three very sound rules for macabre composition. A ghost story, he believes, should have a familiar setting in the modern period, in order to approach closely the reader’s sphere of experience. Its spectral phenomena, moreover, should be malevolent rather than beneficent; since _fear_ is the emotion primarily to be excited. And finally, the technical patois of “occultism” or pseudo-science ought carefully to be avoided; lest the charm of casual verisimilitude be smothered in unconvincing pedantry. +![ ][10]Dr. James, practicing what he preaches, approaches his themes in a light and often conversational way. Creating the illusion of every-day events, he introduces his abnormal phenomena cautiously and gradually; relieved at every turn by touches of homely and prosaic detail, and sometimes spiced with a snatch or two of antiquarian scholarship. Conscious of the close relation between present weirdness and accumulated tradition, he generally provides remote historical antecedents for his incidents; thus being able to utilise very aptly his exhaustive knowledge of the past, and his ready and convincing command of archaic diction and colouring. A favourite scene for a James tale is some centuried cathedral, which the author can describe with all the familiar minuteness of a specialist in that field. +![ ][10]Sly humorous vignettes and bits of life-like genre portraiture and characterisation are often to be found in Dr. James’s narratives, and serve in his skilled hands to augment the general effect rather than to spoil it, as the same qualities would tend to do with a lesser craftsman. In inventing a new type of ghost, he has departed considerably from the conventional Gothic tradition; for where the older stock ghosts were pale and stately, and apprehended chiefly through the sense of sight, the average James ghost is lean, dwarfish, and hairy—a sluggish, hellish night-abomination midway betwixt beast and man—and usually _touched_ before it is _seen._ Sometimes the spectre is of still more eccentric composition; a roll of flannel with spidery eyes, or an invisible entity which moulds itself in bedding and shews _a face of crumpled linen._ Dr. James has, it is clear, an intelligent and scientific knowledge of human nerves and feelings; and knows just how to apportion statement, imagery, and subtle suggestions in order to secure the best results with his readers. He is an artist in incident and arrangement rather than in atmosphere, and reaches the emotions more often through the intellect than directly. This method, of course, with its occasional absences of sharp climax, has its drawbacks as well as its advantages; and many will miss the thorough atmospheric tension which writers like Machen are careful to build up with words and scenes. But only a few of the tales are open to the charge of tameness. Generally the laconic unfolding of abnormal events in adroit order is amply sufficient to produce the desired effect of cumulative horror. +![ ][10]The short stories of Dr. James are contained in four small collections, entitled respectively _Ghost-Stories of an Antiquary, More Ghost Stories of an Antiquary, A Thin Ghost and Others,_ and _A Warning to the Curious._ There is also a delightful juvenile phantasy, _The Five Jars,_ which has its spectral adumbrations. Amidst this wealth of material it is hard to select a favourite or especially typical tale, though each reader will no doubt have such preferences as his temperament may determine. +![ ][10]“Count Magnus” is assuredly one of the best, forming as it does a veritable Golconda of suspense and suggestion. Mr. Wraxall is an English traveller of the middle nineteenth century, sojourning in Sweden to secure material for a book. Becoming interested in the ancient family of De la Gardie, near the village of Råbäck, he studies its records; and finds particular fascination in the builder of the existing manor-house, one Count Magnus, of whom strange and terrible things are whispered. The Count, who flourished early in the seventeenth century, was a stern landlord, and famous for his severity toward poachers and delinquent tenants. His cruel punishments were bywords, and there were dark rumours of influences which even survived his interment in the great mausoleum he built near the church—as in the case of the two peasants who hunted on his preserves one night a century after his death. There were hideous screams in the woods, and near the tomb of Count Magnus an unnatural laugh and the clang of a great door. Next morning the priest found the two men; one a maniac, and the other dead, with the flesh of his face sucked from the bones. +![ ][10]Mr. Wraxall hears all these tales, and stumbles on more guarded references to a _Black Pilgrimage_ once taken by the Count; a pilgrimage to Chorazin in Palestine, one of the cities denounced by Our Lord in the Scriptures, and in which old priests say that Antichrist is to be born. No one dares to hint just what that Black Pilgrimage was, or what strange being or thing the Count brought back as a companion. Meanwhile Mr. Wraxall is increasingly anxious to explore the mausoleum of Count Magnus, and finally secures permission to do so, in the company of a deacon. He finds several monuments and three copper sarcophagi, one of which is the Count’s. Round the edge of this latter are several bands of engraved scenes, including a singular and hideous delineation of a pursuit—the pursuit of a frantic man through a forest by a squat muffled figure with a devil-fish’s tentacle, directed by a tall cloaked man on a neighbouring hillock. The sarcophagus has three massive steel padlocks, one of which is lying open on the floor, reminding the traveller of a metallic clash he heard the day before when passing the mausoleum and wishing idly that he might see Count Magnus. +![ ][10]His fascination augmented, and the key being accessible, Mr. Wraxall pays the mausoleum a second and solitary visit and finds another padlock unfastened. The next day, his last in Råbäck, he again goes alone to bid the long-dead Count farewell. Once more queerly impelled to utter a whimsical wish for a meeting with the buried nobleman, he now sees to his disquiet that only one of the padlocks remains on the great sarcophagus. Even as he looks, that last lock drops noisily to the floor, and there comes a sound as of creaking hinges. Then the monstrous lid appears very slowly to rise, and Mr. Wraxall flees in panic fear without refastening the door of the mausoleum. +![ ][10]During his return to England the traveller feels a curious uneasiness about his fellow-passengers on the canal-boat which he employs for the earlier stages. Cloaked figures make him nervous, and he has a sense of being watched and followed. Of twenty-eight persons whom he counts, only twenty-six appear at meals; and the missing two are always a tall cloaked man and a shorter muffled figure. Completing his water travel at Harwich, Mr. Wraxall takes frankly to flight in a closed carriage, but sees two cloaked figures at a crossroad. Finally he lodges at a small house in a village and spends the time making frantic notes. On the second morning he is found dead, and during the inquest seven jurors faint at sight of the body. The house where he stayed is never again inhabited, and upon its demolition half a century later his manuscript is discovered in a forgotten cupboard. +![ ][10]In “The Treasure of Abbot Thomas” a British antiquary unriddles a cipher on some Renaissance painted windows, and thereby discovers a centuried hoard of gold in a niche half way down a well in the courtyard of a German abbey. But the crafty depositor had set a guardian over that treasure, and something in the black well twines its arms around the searcher’s neck in such a manner that the quest is abandoned, and a clergyman sent for. Each night after that the discoverer feels a stealthy presence and detects a horrible odour of mould outside the door of his hotel room, till finally the clergyman makes a daylight replacement of the stone at the mouth of the treasure-vault in the well—out of which something had come in the dark to avenge the disturbing of old Abbot Thomas’s gold. As he completes his work the cleric observes a curious toad-like carving on the ancient well-head, with the Latin motto _“Depositum custodi_—keep that which is committed to thee.” +![ ][10]Other notable James tales are “The Stalls of Barchester Cathedral”, in which a grotesque carving comes curiously to life to avenge the secret and subtle murder of an old Dean by his ambitious successor; “‘Oh, Whistle, and I’ll Come to You, My Lad’”, which tells of the horror summoned by a strange metal whistle found in a mediaeval church ruin; and “An Episode of Cathedral History”, where the dismantling of a pulpit uncovers an archaic tomb whose lurking daemon spreads panic and pestilence. Dr. James, for all his light touch, evokes fright and hideousness in their most shocking forms; and will certainly stand as one of the few really creative masters in his darksome province. + +![ ][10]For those who relish speculation regarding the future, the tale of supernatural horror provides an interesting field. Combated by a mounting wave of plodding realism, cynical flippancy, and sophisticated disillusionment, it is yet encouraged by a parallel tide of growing mysticism, as developed both through the fatigued reaction of “occultists” and religious fundamentalists against materialistic discovery and through the stimulation of wonder and fancy by such enlarged vistas and broken barriers as modern science has given us with its intra-atomic chemistry, advancing astrophysics, doctrines of relativity, and probings into biology and human thought. At the present moment the favouring forces would appear to have somewhat of an advantage; since there is unquestionably more cordiality shewn toward weird writings than when, thirty years ago, the best of Arthur Machen’s work fell on the stony ground of the smart and cocksure ’nineties. Ambrose Bierce, almost unknown in his own time, has now reached something like general recognition. +![ ][10]Startling mutations, however, are not to be looked for in either direction. In any case an approximate balance of tendencies will continue to exist; and while we may justly expect a further subtilisation of technique, we have no reason to think that the general position of the spectral in literature will be altered. It is a narrow though essential branch of human expression, and will chiefly appeal as always to a limited audience with keen special sensibilities. Whatever universal masterpiece of tomorrow may be wrought from phantasm or terror will owe its acceptance rather to a supreme workmanship than to a sympathetic theme. Yet who shall declare the dark theme a positive handicap? Radiant with beauty, the Cup of the Ptolemies was carven of onyx. + + | +|   | +| ![][11] | + +|   | +| + +| ![][12] |  [Return to “Supernatural Horror in Literature”][13] | +| Page Last Revised 20 October 2009 | | | +| URL: http://www.hplovecraft.com/writings/texts/essays/shil.aspx | + + | +|   | +| + +| + +| + +|   | [Contact Us][14] |     | [Site Map][15] |     | [Search][16] |     | + +[Donate + +][17] | + + | + +| ----- | +| Copyright © 1998–2018 by Donovan K. Loucks. 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Ross, 1928 + +[**To Telegraph Office Main Page][3]** + +### + +* * * + +## CONTENTS + +### [Introduction][4] + +### [How to Save Words][5] + +### [How to Write Figures][5] + +### [Tolls - How Computed][5] + +### [Description of a Telegram][5] + +### [How the Address Should Written][5] + +### [Extra Words and Their Avoidance][5] + +### [How Unnecessary Words Creep in][6] + +### [Punctuation Marks][7] + +### [Eliminating Small Words][5] + +### [Extra Words in the "Check" and Their Meaning][5] + +### [Repeat Back][8] + +### [Get Answer][5] + +### [Report Delivery][5] + +### [Code Books][5] + +### [How to Distinguish Between Various Services][5] + +### [Forwarded Telegrams][9] + +### [Collect Cards and Their Uses][5] + +### [Handwriting in Telegrams][5] + +### [Messages for Persons on Trains][5] + +### [How to Send Money by Telegraph][5] + +### ["Telegraphic Shopping" Service][5] + +### [Multiple or "Many Address" Telegrams][5] + +### [Filing Time][5] + +### [Telephoning Your Telegram][5] + +The extraordinary expansion of the telegraph companies of the United States during the last two decades and the constantly increasing volume of their traffic are proof that the American people are utilizing the telegraph today as never before in history. + +Though the telegram doubtless, always will command a peculiarly important place among methods of communication, the day has passed when mere receipt of a telegram brought heartrending fear of impending catastrophe. Since few lives can be entirely free from misfortune, telegraph wires must of necessity carry a certain burden of tragedy and calamity, but with the extension of the service to hundreds of different forms of social and business usage this class of message has come to constitute but a small fraction of the whole. + +The telegram no longer bears the badge of emergency and the sight of a messenger approaching your home need no longer raise feelings of foreboding. There are hundreds of telegrams which bring tidings of joy, congratulation or good will, or convey social messages of infinite variety and there are still other thousands which deal with the myriad phases of business operations. + +Thus the telegram delivered to you may contain a greeting from a loved one, a word of cheer in honor of your birthday, Mother's Day, Easter, St. Valentine's Day, Christmas or New Year. It may contain notice of an order for flowers to commemorate your wedding anniversary, or it may be a money order for funds you sorely need. More likely, however, it will have to do with business. + +Two of the fundamental merits of the telegram are that it annihilates distance and commands immediate attention. These advantages make it readily adaptable to almost every phrase of social, industrial and commercial intercourse. If you are alive to the need of making every minute count in this modern, high speed age, you will often have occasion to avail yourself of the facilities of the highly organized institutions which have succeeded the old time operator bent over his telegraph key in the little dingy telegraph office of a few generations ago. + +And whether you send one telegram a year or hundreds, you will wish to make use of these facilities in the most economical manner possible. + +**_How to Save Words _**\-- Naturally, there is a right way and a wrong way of wording telegrams. The right way is economical, the wrong way, wasteful. If the telegram is packed full of unnecessary words, words which might be omitted without impairing the sense of the message, the sender has been guilty of economic waste. Not only has he failed to add anything to his message, but he has slowed it up by increasing the time necessary to transmit it. He added to the volume of traffic from a personal and financial point of view, he has been wasteful because he has spent more for his telegram than was necessary. In the other extreme, he may have omitted words necessary to the sense, thus sacrificing clearness in his eagerness to save a few cents. + +A** **man high in American business life has been quoted as remarking that elimination of the word "please" from all telegrams would save the American public millions of dollars annually. Despite this apparent endorsement of such procedure, however, it is unlikely that the public will lightly relinquish the use of this really valuable word. "Please" is to the language of social and business intercourse what art and music are to everyday, humdrum existence. Fortunes might be saved by discounting the manufacture of musical instruments and by closing the art galleries, but no one thinks of suggesting such a procedure. By all means let us retain the word "please" in our telegraphic correspondence. + +But when you think of telegraphing someone to "reply at once," you may very well save the cost of an unnecessary word and write it, "reply immediately," or "reply quickly." + +And if you are telegraphing the home folks that you expect to arrive on the 20th for that long planned visit, spell it out "twentieth." Two words are saved. The telegraph companies have nothing to sell but service. They undertake to transmit your message from point to point, speedily, accurately and secretly. The cheapest way of handling that message is invariably the safest way, and your cooperation is welcomed by the companies. When groups of figures are spelled out, the chance of an error in transmission is reduced to a minimum. + +This apparently insignificant fact often is disregarded by users of the telegraph. Considered from the point of view of economy alone, the question of figures in telegrams is interesting. Any group of figures can be written out so that from two to three words are saved each time the group is used. Take for example the expression "one million." Written "one million" It counts two words. Written 1,000,000, the total count is seven words, and if the commas are to be sent also, the count is nine. + +The suffixes "th," "rd," or "nd" appended to figures are counted as additional words. When the figures are spelled out, as in "fourth," "third," or "second," the count is automatically reduced. + +**_How to Write Figures_** \-- The following table illustrates the principles just set forth: + +1st (two words) -- first (one word) + +2nd (two words) -- second (one word) + +3rd (two words) -- third (one word) + +4th (two words) -- fourth (one word) + +5th (two words) -- fifth (one word) + +6th (two words) -- sixth (one word) + +7th (two words) -- seventh (one word) + +8th (two words) -- eighth (one word) + +9th (two words) -- ninth (one word) + +10th (three words) -- tenth (one word) + +19th (three words) -- nineteenth (one word) + +20th (three words) -- twentieth (one word) + +30th (three words) -- thirtieth (one word) + +31st (three words) -- thirty first (two words) + +10 (two, words) -- ten (one word) + +20 (two words) -- twenty (one word) + +100 (three words) -- one hundred (two words) + +1000 (four words) -- one thousand (two words) + +1,0000 (five words) -- ten thousand (two words) + +100000 (six words) -- one hundred thousand (three words) + +1000000 (seven Words) -- one million (two words) + +**_How Tolls Are Computed_**\-- The basis for computing tolls on telegrams is the minimum charge for ten words. In the regular full rat telegram or the night message. It costs as much to send one word as it does to send ten words. Each additional word above ten is charged for at varying rates according to the original basic charge, which depends upon distance. + +With the inauguration of the Night Letter and Day Letter services, however, the original method of computing tolls was somewhat modified. In these services, the ten word minimum is not observed, and fifty words is used as the basis of computation. Additional words are charged for in groups of ten. + +Night Letters and Day Letters are known as deferred services. Full rate messages take precedence over them. + +In the case of domestic telegrams the address and signature is transmitted free of charge, the only part of the message paid for being the body. In the case of cablegrams and radiograms, however, all words are charged for, including address and signature, with the exception that the name of the country of destination is transmitted free. In the interest of economy to the customer, cable companies permit the registering of a code address, so that it is unnecessary to transmit long addresses. Thus a message addressed "WUTRAVBURO LONDON," would be delivered to The Western Union Travelers' Bureau, 22 Great Winchester Street, London, England. There is a nominal annual charge for this registration privilege, the amount being so small as to be more than offset by the saving on a few cablegrams or radiograms. + +**_Description_ _Of a Telegram_**\-- No doubt many persons have been mystified by the groups of letters and figures at the upper left-hand corner of every telegram. The letters are the office call of the station from which the message was received. Just as radio stations are designated by certain combinations of letters, so telegraph offices are assigned certain "call" letters, and these are indicated to permit tracing. The figures connected with the call indicate the serial number of the message. Numbering is necessary because many offices handle thousands of telegrams daily, and without the numbering system it would be extremely difficult to identify any given message. + +If your telegram has been received by the well known dot and dash method invented by Professor Morse, it will bear in addition to the number and office call, another group of letters which are the personal "sign" of the operator who received it. If the message has been transmitted by the more modern automatic method and received on an automatic typewriter, no receiving operator's sign will be indicated. + +In the same line with the number of the message and the office call is found the "check," or number of words contained in the body of the message. If this check stands alone, it indicates that your message is a full rate telegram. If the word "Blue" follows the number of words, you have received a Day Letter; if "NL" is indicated, a Night Letter; if "Nite," a night message. + +Next comes the place of origin of the message, the time it was filed and the date. If no "call" letters appear before the name of the originating point, the message was filed by the sender in the main or principal office in that city or was dictated over the telephone. If a "call" letter or letters precede the name of the place of origin, your message was filed in a branch office carrying that designation. + +It may happen that you will wish to reply to a telegram, but do not know the address of the sender. A reply sent "care of" (naming the office call letters indicated on your original telegram) will reach the party desired if he has left an address. If the call letters are not shown, the reply may be addressed "An Answer," followed by the date of the message to which it is an answer. Sometimes a notation will be found in the check or in the address, such as "repeat back," or "report delivery." + +**_How Addresses Should Be Written_** \-- The telegraph companies have clear, concise rules concerning what is and what is not properly a part of the full address and signature. Naturally, if abuses are to be avoided, there must be reasonable restriction in this respect. + +Clear, complete addresses are desirable not only from the point of view of the sender, but also from that of the company, since difficulties of delivery are thus reduced to a minimum. + +There are occasional evidences both of burdensome prolixity and of baffling inadequacy. ]Here is a good rule, calculated to assist the sender of a telegram in hitting the happy medium between these two extremes: + +Include in the address of your message all matter that is necessary, but only such matter as is required and no more. to enable the company to identify and locate the addressee. + +Special care should be taken to indicate cardinal points of the compass along with street numbers. A message addressed 370 Fourteenth Street may be taken to that number in East Fourteenth Street, only to be delivered after considerable delay, to the same number in West Fourteenth Street. The same applies to North .and South directions. This common omission in addressing telegrams is one of the most frequent sources of delay, especially in the case of messages addressed to the larger cities. + +If you are telegraphing a person or firm you are positive is well known nationally or locally, a brief address is sufficient. If you have occasion, for example, to telegraph the President ,of the United States, a message addressed to: + +**The President, White House, Washington, D. C.** + +will reach the Chief Executive if filed at any telegraph office in the world. To write it: + +**His, Excellency, The President of the United States, The White House, Washington, D. C.** + +Is to be needlessly verbose. A telegram to a Member of Congress addressed: + +**Hon. John Doe, Member Congress, Washington, D. C.** + +will reach the addressee as surely and speedily as a message addressed to: + +**Hon. John Doe, Member of Congress from the State of Blank, Room 346 House Office Building, Washington, D. C.** + +Again, if you are telegraphing a business firm of national prominence, a motor manufacturing company in a large automobile center, a famous bank, or for that matter any bank, or any manufacturing concern of widespread repute, a street address is not needed. Imagine, or example, the absurdity o giving a street address in a telegram to the General Electric Company at Schenectady. + +Another frequently encountered instance of prolixity in address has to do with the use of long drawn out titles of insignificant purport it is of small moment if the Grand Exalted Chief of the Noble Order of White Mice, Chapter 345, of the Grand Assembly, etc., should have at least a part of his title omitted in a telegram. You may very well accord him his full title in a letter, but the telegram stands for speed and the public is accustomed to telegraphic brevity,. and there is little likelihood that offense will be taken if you give just enough of the Chief's title to enable the telegraph company to identify him and deliver the message. + +These are obvious examples of the misuse of the address. On the whole, however, it is perhaps better to risk being prolix, if there seems to be the slightest danger that the addressee cannot be located readily. William Jones may be very well known in Clay Center, Illinois, but if you wished to reach William during his visit to New York, it obviously would be expecting too much of the telegraph companies to find him there unless you gave his hotel or street address. In the case of individuals, a telephone number often will suffice. + +**_Extra Words and Their Avoidance_** \-- Words used in the address under certain conditions, and words added to the signature proper by way of description or identification of the sender or to indicate the status, capacity or authority of the sender, are not a part of the full signature and are charged for. If you are living in Chicago and telegraph a person in another cite, do not add the words, "Chicago, Ill." After your signature. They are unnecessary, since the telegram will be dated Chicago, and their addition merely means extra expense. Of course, if you happen to be traveling through San Francisco, for instance, and desire that the person to whom you address a telegram should know that your permanent address is Chicago, it would be perfectly proper for you to use the extra words in the signature. + +If you wish a telegram sent to a large firm to have the particular attention of an individual in the firm, do not write: + +**Smith and Smith,** + +**Attention Mr. Jenks.** + +The words "Attention Mr. Jenks" will be counted as extra and you will have to pay for them. An address such as: + +**A. M. Jenks,** + +**Care Smith and Smith.** + +is a different matter, for there the words "Care Smith and Smith" are inserted for the purpose of telling the telegraph company where the message is to be delivered and are therefore a part of the necessary address. + +Sometimes the "personal" notice is embodied within the message itself, as follows: + +**Smith and Smith, New York, N. Y.** + +**"Personal attention Mr. Jenks. We will be pleased, etc."** + +This is placing the words, "Personal Attention, Mr. Jenks" where they rightly belong in the text for they are for the information of the addressees of the message. + +The telegraph companies are lenient in their interpretation of the rule regarding extra wards in the signature of a telegram. The members of a family may, without extra charge sign a joint message: + +**Father, Mother, John and Susan,** + +**Mr. and Mrs. Smith and Family.** + +Words added to the signature by way of identification of the sender, as for example, "John Brown, President and General Manager," are charged for. + +**_How Unnecessary Words Creep In_** \-- To paraphrase, "Brevity is the soul of telegraphy." Except perhaps in the case of a long Night Letter, the practice of adding such words as "Dear Madam." or "Dear Sir," at the beginning of the message, is obsolete. This likewise applies to such phrases as "Yours very truly," "Yours sincerely," etc., commonly used in closing a letter. These words are charged for, and so accustomed is the public to telegraphic brevity, that their use often produces amusement rather than the expression of formality which the sender desired. + +When telegrams are received without the well known title of "Mr." do not censure the sender as lacking in respect. To insure accuracy in transmission the title is omitted lest through inadvertence it should be confused with "Mrs." or "Miss." "Esquire" also is dropped in transmission. + +**_Punctuation Marks_** \-- Marks of punctuation, such as the comma, period, dash, colon, etc., are not transmitted in telegrams unless the sender specifically requests it, and then they are counted and charged for, as one word each. Quotation marks and parentheses, although composed. of two distinct characters each, are counted as one word. The companies have been prompted to adopt this policy because it requires almost as much effort to transmit a mark of punctuation as to send a short word, and unless attention is specifically called to punctuation marks by counting them in the "check," there might be danger of their being overlooked. Messages in which the sender requests that marks of punctuation be transmitted are rare. + +The accent mark used in the French, and some other foreign languages cannot be transmitted. + +In the interest of great accuracy, it is desirable that the technical characters, + +' for feet + +"for inches + +% for percent + +@ for at + +should be written "feet," "inches," "percent," "at," etc. + +Since marks of punctuation ordinarily are used in written correspondence and their omission may affect the sense of your communication, care must be exercised in the construction of a message from which they are to be excluded. + +If you do not intend to stipulate that marks of punctuation be transmitted, write your message without punctuation and read it carefully to make sure that it is not ambiguous. If it seems impossible to convey your meaning clearly without the use of punctuation, use may be made of the celebrated word "stop," which is known the world over as the official telegraphic or cable word for "period." + +This word "stop" may have perplexed you the first time you encountered it in a message. Use of this word in telegraphic communications was greatly increased during the World War, when the Government employed it widely as a precaution against having messages garbled or misunderstood, as a result of the misplacement or emission of the tiny dot or period. + +Officials felt that the vital orders of the Government must be definite and clear cut, and they therefore used not only the word "stop," to indicate a period, but also adopted the practice of spelling out "comma," "colon," and "semi-colon." The word "query" often was used to indicate a question mark. Of all these, however, "stop" has come into most widespread use, and vaudeville artists and columnists have employed it with humorous effect, certain that the public would understand the allusion in connection with telegrams. It is interesting to note, too, that although the word is obviously English it has come into general use In all languages that are used in telegraphing or cabling. + +"Stop" is of course never necessary at the end of a message. + +**_Eliminating Small Words_** \-- At a slight sacrifice to smoothness, but with a saving in tolls which often more than compensates, small words may be eliminated from your telegram without impairing the sense. + +The articles "a" and "the" are outstanding examples, followed closely by "we," ",I," and "that." + +Let us take an ordinary, every-day message: + +"We received your very fine letter and your telegram this morning stop on the morning after you left us there were so many things to be done that all we could do was to pack up and get a taxi in time for the train we are leaving now." + +This would do quite well for a letter, but for telegraphic purposes it can be greatly simplified: + +"Received your very fine letter and Telegram this morning so many things to be done morning after you left all we could do was pack and get taxi for train are leaving now." + +The original message contained 49 words. 14 words are deleted in the second example without any sacrifice of clearness. + +Of course it will not do for the ordinary, person to attempt the extreme condensation practiced for example by foreign correspondents of the larger newspapers who, because their cable tolls are high and words are precious, make use of a variety of ingenious combinations which are interesting merely as phenomena peculiar to the handling of cable dispatches for newspapers. + +For example, a press correspondent might ,first write this dispatch: + +"The enemy has not yet been met or even seen on account of the entanglements thrown up during the night," etc. + +Revised for the cable, this dispatch might read: + +"Enemy unmet unseen account entanglements upthrown night." + +Needless to say, this form is unsuited to the ordinary business or social telegram. + +_**Extra Words in "Check," and Their Meaning** _\-- Now and then in the check of a message there will be found certain added words, such as "repeat back," "get answer," and in the address perhaps "report delivery." + +**_"Repeat Back"_** \-- The "repeat back" service requires that the operator receiving the message repeat it back to the sending operator, who checks each word as it is repeated. There is an additional charge for this service of one half the regular charge for the message. The service is used only when the sender for special reasons feels that an error would spell disaster. Nowadays, with error reduced to a minimum, this service is seldom called for, and in ordinary telegrams, it usually constitutes a useless waste of money. + +**_"Get Answer"_** \-- These words in the "check" and counted as two extra words, are sometimes included at the request of the sender when he is particularly anxious for a reply. The necessity for this procedure, however, has been obviated by the inauguration several years ago of the so called "XU" service. "XU" is the symbol adopted by the Western Union Telegraph Company to indicate that the sender of the message has authorized the company to ask for an answer. There is no charge for the extra service, and no charge for the transmission of the symbol. It merely means that employees of the company at the point of destination will affix a notice to the telegram that an answer is requested, and an effort will be made to obtain such an answer. + +**_"Report Delivery"_** \-- The words "Report Delivery" appearing in the address and counted as two extra words, mean that the manager of the telegraph office at the point of destination will telegraph back to the point of origin a report of the time of delivery. Since all undelivered messages are reported back in service messages without additional charge to the sender, the "Report Delivery" service generally is unnecessary and is resorted to only on those rare occasions when the sender finds it important to know the exact time of delivery. For the "Report Delivery" service, there. is a charge, in addition to the two extra words, of the tolls on a collect telegram reporting time of delivery. + +**_Code Books_** \-- Codes and cipher systems ,existed, of course, prior to the invention of the telegraph, and it was perhaps inevitable that they should have been adapted to use in telegrams from the very first. The primary use of code in telegrams is to effect a saving in words, though secrecy also is sometimes a consideration. In some instances, no doubt, secrecy is a paramount consideration, as in the case of war-time messages or important diplomatic correspondence sent by cable. However, codes or ciphers designed with the object of insuring secrecy usually are not of such a nature as to effect economy in telegraph tolls. For example, there are systems in which a single letter of the original message is rendered by an entire word in code, so that the transmission of a 10 letter word intended to be "covered up" would cost as much as ten ordinary code words. + +The codes commonly in use for business communication are worked out, published in the form of code books and sold by concerns not connected with the telegraph companies, though such codes conform to telegraph rules, both domestic and international. So general has the use of code become as a measure of economy, that virtually every large industry has at least one code especially designed for it, and many individual firms have worked out their own private codes. To illustrate the theory of these codes, one may take an instance of a grain merchant making a sale of grain in the Chicago market. He sends a telegram to "sell 10,000 bushels of May wheat at $1.45 1/4" There are 14 words in the message quoted. Coded, the message might read, "Sell barney stoke," which reduces the check of the message to three words. In this instance, "barney" means 10,000 bushels of May wheat. "Stoke" means "1.45 1/4." + +Because of the obvious danger of misreading code words, the sender should exercise the greatest care in making up his telegram. If the message is written with pen or pencil, it is well to print the characters of the code words, and if it is typewritten, the use of upper-case or all capital, is to be recommended. + +If an employee of the telegraph company calls your attention to an obvious error, do not be offended. We often make mistakes in dates. Today may be the tenth, and yet you may telegraph a friend that you will arrive "tomorrow the tenth." It is the duty of the telegraph employee to call your attention courteously to this apparent discrepancy. + +**_How to Distinguish Between Various Services_** \-- Disappointments to the public frequently arise from a failure to appreciate distinctions between the full rate telegraph service and the various so called deferred services, namely the Day Letter, the Night Letter and the Night Message. If your business is really, urgent, the expedited full rate telegram always should be used. It bears the same relationship to other classes of telegraph traffic as the express train to the local train, and travels over the wires in preference to other traffic. Day Letters are subordinated only to full rate telegrams. The speed with which they are handled depends to a large extent upon the number of full rate telegrams having precedence. Every effort is made, however, to avoid unusual delay, and with the elaborate facilities of the telegraph companies, service on this class of traffic is much better than might be expected. + +Night Letters and Night Messages are accepted for delivery the following morning. These services were originated to make use of the wire and plant facilities of the telegraph companies during the night Periods when the load of traffic naturally is lightest. The expense of upkeep or overhead obviously does not cease with the setting of the sun. It is constant. What these night services do is to put on the wires largely by means of an attractive rate, correspondence which otherwise would go by mail, with the result that from several hours to several days are saved by use of the telegraph. + +Night letters have become very popular as a vehicle of social correspondence. Friends use them to tell each other of the doings of the day. Husbands and wives separated for a few days by business or social duties use them to supplement mail correspondence, Their more important use is by business firms who use them in constantly growing volume for lengthy communications for the sake of the obvious advantage of the time gained over the mails, and in business, time is money. The latitude allowed by the greater number of words permitted in a Night Letter enables them to go into the subject in greater detail, and the Night Letter has, besides, the attention compelling qualities which are the peculiar psychological attribute of the telegram. + +**_Forwarded Telegrams_** \-- Suppose you are traveling and on leaving New York have left instructions that all mail and telegrams be forwarded to a hotel address in Chicago. A friend or business correspondent telegraphs you at your New York address. The message ordinarily will be forwarded collect, that is, bearing charges from New York to Chicago. In view of the fact that the sender of the message did not know you had gone to Chicago, there is. no occasion for your taking offense because the forwarded telegram bears charges. + +If you have left no forwarding order, the telegram received in New York will be reported undelivered. Should the sender know of your intention to proceed to Chicago from New York, he might give orders to have the message forwarded without collect charges, he paying the additional charges at his end. Delays and annoyances often may be avoided by leaving forwarding addresses. + +**_Collect Cards and Their Uses_** \-- To obviate any possibility of question arising as to the right to send messages collect, traveling representatives of business firms frequently are provided with Collect Cards issued by the telegraph companies and authorizing employees of the companies to accept collect telegrams offered by the person whose name appears on the card. These cards are issued without question upon request to the telegraph companies from responsible concerns. When it is remembered that if payment of a collect telegram is refused by the addressee the telegraph company employee must look to the sender for the charges, it will readily be seen that some precautions are necessary. + +Domestic telegrams are accepted collect for almost any address, except when addressed to "Post Office, General Delivery," or to a post office box. The reason for these exceptions is obvious. + +**_Handwriting in Telegrams_** \-- There is a classic joke of the telegraph business which may not be out of place here. A lady, filing a message with the counter clerk for transmission, first enclosed it in an envelope. When the clerk tore open the envelope to prepare the telegram for sending, she reached for it indignantly with the exclamation: "The idea! That is my personal telegram and I don't want anyone else to see it." + +It must be remembered that a telegram is transmitted letter by letter. Telegraph operators, like post office employees, are expert in reading handwriting, but even so, words cannot be guessed at. If you write the word "opportunity" very clearly as far as "oppo" and the rest of the word is a mere scribble, it cannot be transmitted in that fashion. It must be "opportunity" or nothing. If you sign your name "John" followed by a series of hen tracks, neither can that be transmitted. You may have intended the word for "Johnson," but you cannot reasonably expect the telegraph employee to be a mind reader as well as an operator. + +Of course, with the almost universal use of the typewriter in the business world today, the bulk of telegrams accepted for transmission are typewritten. This is a distinct boon to the telegraph operator, and is directly conducive to speed and accuracy in transmission. Nevertheless, handwritten messages frequently are offered at hotels, railway stations and branch offices, where the sender usually in a hurry and entirely familiar his own handwriting, forgets that the telegraph clerk must be able to read the message. He is responsible ,for the correct deciphering of your message. That is why he scrutinizes the communication so closely and in case of doubt sometimes prints a word above one that you may have written indistinctly. It must be legible before it is sent to the operating room. Many users of the telegraph have adopted the sensible habit of printing the address and signature at least. + +**_Messages for Persons on Trains_ **\-- A message addressed to a passenger on a train should show the name of the railroad, train number or name or time due, place where the message is to be delivered, and also the point for which the passenger is bound. If the train is run in 13 sections, the section should be specified if known. A sample address is: "John Smith, en route Los Angeles, Care Conductor, Southern Pacific, Train 103, El Paso, Texas." Even though when the train stop at El Paso and John Smith is paged, he may be pacing the Platform for fresh air and exercise, the conductor will strive hard to effect delivery. If you expect to have occasion to telegraph a friend setting out on a journey, it is a good idea to get from him his Pullman berth and car number, so that you will be able to indicate this on your telegram. Telegraph clerks generally will be found to be courteous in aiding you to determine the progress of the train and station where it most likely can be intercepted. + +_**How to Send Money by Telegraph** \-- _An_ _amusing story is told of a countryman who wished to send a pair of boots to his son in a distant city. He brought the boots to the telegraph office and asked that they be sent by wire. He had heard of money and flowers being sent by telegraph, so why not boots? A wag on mischief bent, told the. father to tie the boots together and toss them over the telegraph wire. This the old man did. He remained until nightfall, watching to see the boots start on their long journey. Nothing happened and the father returned to his home. During the night, some one stole the boots. When the old man returned in the morning, he said: "Well, I guess the boy has the boots by now." + +If the father had wanted to send money to his son by telegraph he probably would have been willing to tie his wallet to a telegraph wire. As a matter of fact, the speed and efficiency of the modern telegraph money order service is little short of marvelous, and amounts are paid more quickly than if the money actually flew through the air. + +The procedure is simple. A person wishing to send a sum of money by wire merely calls at the telegraph office, fills out an application blank, and pays the clerk the amount to be sent and the fee for its transmittal. The telegraph companies have a secret code which they use in directing their agent in the distant city to make payment to the person designated. The payee is notified to call at the office for a sum of money, or a check is sent to the payee, as may be directed. It is optional with the sender of the money order, whether the payee shall be required to identify himself absolutely or whether identification shall be waived. The Western Union Telegraph Company alone handles more than $250,000,000 annually in telegraphic money orders. + +_**Telegraphic Shopping Service** \--_ In addition to the regular money order service, the telegraph companies maintain what is known as **a **telegraphic shopping service. As now organized, this service permits of the purchase by telegraph of any standardized article from a locomotive to a paper or pins. The person wishing to make the purchase has merely to call at the telegraph office, specify the article he wishes to have bought, and pay the cost, plus a small charge for the service. Directions will then be telegraphed to the point at which the purchase is to be made, and an employee will buy the article desired. It delivery is to be made in the city where the article is purchased, it will be forwarded by messenger. If delivery is to be made at a distant point, it will be sent by parcel post or express. + +The service is utilized by the public in a** **variety of ways. For example on Mother's Day a person in San Francisco purchased an automobile drive for his mother who was in New York. The telegraph company in New York merely called up a taxi company and directed them to send a car to a certain address at **a **definite time and take the party specified for a three hour drive. + +Through the cooperation of florists throughout the country, flowers may be ordered by telegraph and delivered in virtually any city or town in the United States. Flowers also maybe ordered by cable for delivery in the larger cities of Europe. Candies, books and cigars, etc., may be ordered in a similar manner, though the florists are somewhat more highly organized. + +Railway tickets also may be ordered by telegraph. In this case the telegraph company official acts as agent, making the purchase of the ticket and delivering it to the person specified, who usually is a minor or an aged person. + +_**Multiple Messages** \-- _If you wish to send the same telegram to 20 different persons, or 200, or 2,000, it is not necessary to prepare 20, 200 or 2,000 separate telegrams at considerable cost of time and money. You need only to make one copy of your message and furnish a list of addresses. At no additional expense, the telegraph company will prepare the messages for separate handling, with as much speed and accuracy as, if only a single message were filed. Such "books" of telegrams, as they are called, often are sent by business concerns in offering some special proposition to customers, or in the collections of accounts. The largest number of copies ever filed at one time by a single concern is said to have been more than 200,000 telegrams. They were sent from New York City. Such an avalanche of messages would put considerable strain upon the facilities of the world's metropolis, but fortunately several hours notice had been given and operators were held for emergency duty. + +**_Filing Time_** \-- Telegraph companies operate on Standard time, without regard to daylight. A telegram handled by the Western Union Telegraph Company will only thje time the message was received at its destination, but also the time the message was filed at the point of origin, so that the addressee may see at a glance Just how long the message was en route. The filing time is indicated in the date line, while the received time follows the signature or is indicated by a time stamp. Since it Is understood that Night Letters and Night Messages are accepted or delivery the following morning, no filing time is indicated in these services. + +In computing the time your message has been en route, consideration should be given to difference in time between Eastern, Middle Western and Far Western cities. It should not be imagined, for example, that a telegram filed in San Francisco at 9 a.m. and received in New York at fifteen minutes past noon has been three hours and fifteen minutes in transit. As a matter of fact, it has been only 15 minutes in transit, since there is three hours difference in time between the two cities. + +**_Telephoning Your Telegram_** \-- "Every telephone is a telegraph office," has become a slogan of the telegraph companies. This means that you can call the telegraph company from any telephone and dictate your telegram. If you are a regular subscriber to the telephone service, the cost of the telegram is almost everywhere added to your monthly telephone bill . Should it happen that you call from a public telephone, the cost of the telegram may be deposited in the coin box. + +Of late years the volume of telegrams received by telephone has become very great, and the telegraph companies now maintain large forces of carefully trained telephone operators who are expert in taking dictation over the telephone. This work naturally is more difficult than carrying on an ordinary conversation by telephone, since it is essential that the message be received with absolute accuracy. The difficulty is increased by the fact that the public generally is unfamiliar with the best methods of telephone dictation. + +The receiving operators, however, are always prepared to transcribe your message rapidly on a typewriter, and you may speak at almost the normal conversational speed if the words are enunciated clearly. Particular care should he taken in dealing with figures or proper names. When your message has been completed, the receiving operator will repeat it back to make sure no mistake has been made. For convenience and accuracy in dictating by telephone a code has been worked out and is now in general and successful use. Suppose, for example, you are dictating a telegram to a person whose initials are M. E. or M. B. That may sound to the receiving operator like N. E. or N._ _B. Instead of losing your temper, you have merely to say, "M for Mary," "E for Edward," or "M for Mary," "B for Boston," and the operator will readily understand. + +The complete code, which may also be used as an aid in spelling a word, follows: + +A for Adam + +B for Boston + +C for Chicago + +D for Denver + +E for Edward + +F for Frank + +G for George + +H for Henry + +I for Ida + +J for John + +K for King + +L for Lincoln + +M for Mary + +N for New York + +O for Ocean + +P for Peter + +Q for Queen + +R for Roger + +S for Sugar + +T for Thomas + +U for Union + +W for William + +X for X-Ray + +Y for Young + +Z for zero + +* * * + +### For more information, visit the [Telegraph Office ][3]home page + +### Neal McEwen, [k5rw@telegraph-office.com][2] + +[1]: http://www.telegraph-office.com/bw_images/key_logo.jpg +[2]: mailto:k5rw%40telegraph-office.com +[3]: http://www.telegraph-office.com/tel_off.html +[4]: http://www.telegraph-office.com#Introduction +[5]: +[6]: 'Words Creep +[7]: http://www.telegraph-office.com#Punctuation +[8]: http://www.telegraph-office.com#Repeat +[9]: http://www.telegraph-office.com#Forwarded + diff --git a/_stories/1928/12552507.md b/_stories/1928/12552507.md new file mode 100644 index 0000000..98446e6 --- /dev/null +++ b/_stories/1928/12552507.md @@ -0,0 +1,298 @@ +[Source](https://www.theparisreview.org/blog/2016/09/21/who-the-hell-is-this-joyce/ "Permalink to H.G. Wells to Joyce: "You Have Turned Your Back on Common Men"") + +# H.G. Wells to Joyce: "You Have Turned Your Back on Common Men" + +* * ###### Sign In + + * * * * * * * [The Daily][1] + + * [The Review][2] + +[Interviews][3] + +[Fiction][4] + +[Letters & Essays][5] + +[Poetry][6] + +[Art & Photography][7] + + * [About][8] + + * [Support][9] + + * * * [ + +###### Subscribe + +![Issue 223][10] + +#### Our Winter issue _with … +_Hilton Als +Morgan Parker +Stacy Schiff +_… and more._ + +#### [Subscribe now →][11] + * * * * ###### Sign In + + * * * [The Daily][12] + + * [The Review][2] + +[Interviews][3] + +[Fiction][4] + +[Letters & Essays][5] + +[Poetry][6] + +[Art & Photography][7] + + * [About][12] + + * [Support][9] + + * ###### [Subscribe][11] + +# Sign In + +Remember Me + +[Forgot password?][13] + +# Advertisement + +# Who the Hell Is This Joyce + +By [H. G. Wells][14] September 21, 2016 + +### [Correspondence][15] + +![][16] + +H. G. Wells does not approve. + +_In honor of H. G. Wells's sesquicentennial, here's a letter he wrote to James Joyce in November 1928, brought to light a few years ago by [_Letters of Note][17]_. The note finds Wells reacting, irascibly if not uncharitably, to early passages of Joyce's_ Finnegans Wake_, which had by then begun to circulate in literary magazines.__ _ + +I've been studying you and thinking over you a lot. The outcome is that I don't think I can do anything for the propaganda of your work. I have enormous respect for your genius dating from your earliest books and I feel now a great personal liking for you but you and I are set upon absolutely different courses. Your training has been Catholic, Irish, insurrectionary; mine, such as it was, was scientific, constructive and, I suppose, English. The frame of my mind is a world wherein a big unifying and concentrating process is possible (increase of power and range by economy and concentration of effort), a progress not inevitable but interesting and possible. That game attracted and holds me. For it, I want a language and statement as simple and clear as possible. You began Catholic, that is to say you began with a system of values in stark opposition to reality. Your mental existence is obsessed by a monstrous system of contradictions. You may believe in chastity, purity and the personal God and that is why you are always breaking out into cries of cunt, shit and hell. As I don't believe in these things except as quite personal values my mind has never been shocked to outcries by the existence of water closets and menstrual bandages—and undeserved misfortunes. And while you were brought up under the delusion of political suppression I was brought up under the delusion of political responsibility. It seems a fine thing for you to defy and break up. To me not in the least. + +Now with regard to this literary experiment of yours. It's a considerable thing because you are a very considerable man and you have in your crowded composition a mighty genius for expression which has escaped discipline. But I don't think it gets anywhere. You have turned your back on common men—on their elementary needs and their restricted time and intelligence, and you have elaborated. What is the result? Vast riddles. Your last two works have been more amusing and exciting to write than they will ever be to read. Take me as a typical common reader. Do I get much pleasure from this work? No. Do I feel I am getting something new and illuminating as I do when I read Anrep's dreadful translation of Pavlov's badly written book on Conditioned Reflexes? No. So I ask: Who the hell is this Joyce who demands so many waking hours of the few thousand I have still to live for a proper appreciation of his quirks and fancies and flashes of rendering? + +All this from my point of view. Perhaps you are right and I am all wrong. Your work is an extraordinary experiment and I would go out of my way to save it from destructive or restrictive interruption. It has its believers and its following. Let them rejoice in it. To me it is a dead end. + +My warmest wishes to you Joyce. I can't follow your banner any more than you can follow mine. But the world is wide and there is room for both of us to be wrong. + +Yours, +H. G. Wells + +* ][18] +[ +* ][18] +[ +* ][18] +[ +* ][18] +[ + +Last / Next +Article + +* * * * Last / Next Article + +Share + +###### Tags + +* [correspondence][19] +* [Finnegans Wake][20] +* [H.G. 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B. S. Haldane** + +The most obvious differences between different animals are differences of size, but for some reason the zoologists have paid singularly little attention to them. In a large textbook of zoology before me I find no indication that the eagle is larger than the sparrow, or the hippopotamus bigger than the hare, though some grudging admissions are made in the case of the mouse and the whale. But yet it is easy to show that a hare could not be as large as a hippopotamus, or a whale as small as a herring. For every type of animal there is a most convenient size, and a large change in size inevitably carries with it a change of form. + +Let us take the most obvious of possible cases, and consider a giant man sixty feet high—about the height of Giant Pope and Giant Pagan in the illustrated Pilgrim’s Progress of my childhood. These monsters were not only ten times as high as Christian, but ten times as wide and ten times as thick, so that their total weight was a thousand times his, or about eighty to ninety tons. Unfortunately the cross sections of their bones were only a hundred times those of Christian, so that every square inch of giant bone had to support ten times the weight borne by a square inch of human bone. As the human thigh-bone breaks under about ten times the human weight, Pope and Pagan would have broken their thighs every time they took a step. This was doubtless why they were sitting down in the picture I remember. But it lessens one’s respect for Christian and Jack the Giant Killer. + +To turn to zoology, suppose that a gazelle, a graceful little creature with long thin legs, is to become large, it will break its bones unless it does one of two things. It may make its legs short and thick, like the rhinoceros, so that every pound of weight has still about the same area of bone to support it. Or it can compress its body and stretch out its legs obliquely to gain stability, like the giraffe. I mention these two beasts because they happen to belong to the same order as the gazelle, and both are quite successful mechanically, being remarkably fast runners. + +Gravity, a mere nuisance to Christian, was a terror to Pope, Pagan, and Despair. To the mouse and any smaller animal it presents practically no dangers. You can drop a mouse down a thousand-yard mine shaft; and, on arriving at the bottom, it gets a slight shock and walks away, provided that the ground is fairly soft. A rat is killed, a man is broken, a horse splashes. For the resistance presented to movement by the air is proportional to the surface of the moving object. Divide an animal’s length, breadth, and height each by ten; its weight is reduced to a thousandth, but its surface only to a hundredth. So the resistance to falling in the case of the small animal is relatively ten times greater than the driving force. + +An insect, therefore, is not afraid of gravity; it can fall without danger, and can cling to the ceiling with remarkably little trouble. It can go in for elegant and fantastic forms of support like that of the daddy-longlegs. But there is a force which is as formidable to an insect as gravitation to a mammal. This is surface tension. A man coming out of a bath carries with him a film of water of about one-fiftieth of an inch in thickness. This weighs roughly a pound. A wet mouse has to carry about its own weight of water. A wet fly has to lift many times its own weight and, as everyone knows, a fly once wetted by water or any other liquid is in a very serious position indeed. An insect going for a drink is in as great danger as a man leaning out over a precipice in search of food. If it once falls into the grip of the surface tension of the water—that is to say, gets wet—it is likely to remain so until it drowns. A few insects, such as water-beetles, contrive to be unwettable; the majority keep well away from their drink by means of a long proboscis. + +Of course tall land animals have other difficulties. They have to pump their blood to greater heights than a man, and, therefore, require a larger blood pressure and tougher blood-vessels. A great many men die from burst arteries, greater for an elephant or a giraffe. But animals of all kinds find difficulties in size for the following reason. A typical small animal, say a microscopic worm or rotifer, has a smooth skin through which all the oxygen it requires can soak in, a straight gut with sufficient surface to absorb its food, and a single kidney. Increase its dimensions tenfold in every direction, and its weight is increased a thousand times, so that if it is to use its muscles as efficiently as its miniature counterpart, it will need a thousand times as much food and oxygen per day and will excrete a thousand times as much of waste products. + +Now if its shape is unaltered its surface will be increased only a hundredfold, and ten times as much oxygen must enter per minute through each square millimetre of skin, ten times as much food through each square millimetre of intestine. When a limit is reached to their absorptive powers their surface has to be increased by some special device. For example, a part of the skin may be drawn out into tufts to make gills or pushed in to make lungs, thus increasing the oxygen-absorbing surface in proportion to the animal’s bulk. A man, for example, has a hundred square yards of lung. Similarly, the gut, instead of being smooth and straight, becomes coiled and develops a velvety surface, and other organs increase in complication. The higher animals are not larger than the lower because they are more complicated. They are more complicated because they are larger. Just the same is true of plants. The simplest plants, such as the green algae growing in stagnant water or on the bark of trees, are mere round cells. The higher plants increase their surface by putting out leaves and roots. Comparative anatomy is largely the story of the struggle to increase surface in proportion to volume. Some of the methods of increasing the surface are useful up to a point, but not capable of a very wide adaptation. For example, while vertebrates carry the oxygen from the gills or lungs all over the body in the blood, insects take air directly to every part of their body by tiny blind tubes called tracheae which open to the surface at many different points. Now, although by their breathing movements they can renew the air in the outer part of the tracheal system, the oxygen has to penetrate the finer branches by means of diffusion. Gases can diffuse easily through very small distances, not many times larger than the average length traveled by a gas molecule between collisions with other molecules. But when such vast journeys—from the point of view of a molecule—as a quarter of an inch have to be made, the process becomes slow. So the portions of an insect’s body more than a quarter of an inch from the air would always be short of oxygen. In consequence hardly any insects are much more than half an inch thick. Land crabs are built on the same general plan as insects, but are much clumsier. Yet like ourselves they carry oxygen around in their blood, and are therefore able to grow far larger than any insects. If the insects had hit on a plan for driving air through their tissues instead of letting it soak in, they might well have become as large as lobsters, though other considerations would have prevented them from becoming as large as man. + +Exactly the same difficulties attach to flying. It is an elementary principle of aeronautics that the minimum speed needed to keep an aeroplane of a given shape in the air varies as the square root of its length. If its linear dimensions are increased four times, it must fly twice as fast. Now the power needed for the minimum speed increases more rapidly than the weight of the machine. So the larger aeroplane, which weighs sixty-four times as much as the smaller, needs one hundred and twenty-eight times its horsepower to keep up. Applying the same principle to the birds, we find that the limit to their size is soon reached. An angel whose muscles developed no more power weight for weight than those of an eagle or a pigeon would require a breast projecting for about four feet to house the muscles engaged in working its wings, while to economize in weight, its legs would have to be reduced to mere stilts. Actually a large bird such as an eagle or kite does not keep in the air mainly by moving its wings. It is generally to be seen soaring, that is to say balanced on a rising column of air. And even soaring becomes more and more difficult with increasing size. Were this not the case eagles might be as large as tigers and as formidable to man as hostile aeroplanes. + +But it is time that we pass to some of the advantages of size. One of the most obvious is that it enables one to keep warm. All warmblooded animals at rest lose the same amount of heat from a unit area of skin, for which purpose they need a food-supply proportional to their surface and not to their weight. Five thousand mice weigh as much as a man. Their combined surface and food or oxygen consumption are about seventeen times a man’s. In fact a mouse eats about one quarter its own weight of food every day, which is mainly used in keeping it warm. For the same reason small animals cannot live in cold countries. In the arctic regions there are no reptiles or amphibians, and no small mammals. The smallest mammal in Spitzbergen is the fox. The small birds fly away in winter, while the insects die, though their eggs can survive six months or more of frost. The most successful mammals are bears, seals, and walruses. + +Similarly, the eye is a rather inefficient organ until it reaches a large size. The back of the human eye on which an image of the outside world is thrown, and which corresponds to the film of a camera, is composed of a mosaic of “rods and cones” whose diameter is little more than a length of an average light wave. Each eye has about a half a million, and for two objects to be distinguishable their images must fall on separate rods or cones. It is obvious that with fewer but larger rods and cones we should see less distinctly. If they were twice as broad two points would have to be twice as far apart before we could distinguish them at a given distance. But if their size were diminished and their number increased we should see no better. For it is impossible to form a definite image smaller than a wave-length of light. Hence a mouse’s eye is not a small-scale model of a human eye. Its rods and cones are not much smaller than ours, and therefore there are far fewer of them. A mouse could not distinguish one human face from another six feet away. In order that they should be of any use at all the eyes of small animals have to be much larger in proportion to their bodies than our own. Large animals on the other hand only require relatively small eyes, and those of the whale and elephant are little larger than our own. For rather more recondite reasons the same general principle holds true of the brain. If we compare the brain-weights of a set of very similar animals such as the cat, cheetah, leopard, and tiger, we find that as we quadruple the body-weight the brain-weight is only doubled. The larger animal with proportionately larger bones can economize on brain, eyes, and certain other organs. + +Such are a very few of the considerations which show that for every type of animal there is an optimum size. Yet although Galileo demonstrated the contrary more than three hundred years ago, people still believe that if a flea were as large as a man it could jump a thousand feet into the air. As a matter of fact the height to which an animal can jump is more nearly independent of its size than proportional to it. A flea can jump about two feet, a man about five. To jump a given height, if we neglect the resistance of air, requires an expenditure of energy proportional to the jumper’s weight. But if the jumping muscles form a constant fraction of the animal’s body, the energy developed per ounce of muscle is independent of the size, provided it can be developed quickly enough in the small animal. As a matter of fact an insect’s muscles, although they can contract more quickly than our own, appear to be less efficient; as otherwise a flea or grasshopper could rise six feet into the air. + +And just as there is a best size for every animal, so the same is true for every human institution. In the Greek type of democracy all the citizens could listen to a series of orators and vote directly on questions of legislation. Hence their philosophers held that a small city was the largest possible democratic state. The English invention of representative government made a democratic nation possible, and the possibility was first realized in the United States, and later elsewhere. With the development of broadcasting it has once more become possible for every citizen to listen to the political views of representative orators, and the future may perhaps see the return of the national state to the Greek form of democracy. Even the referendum has been made possible only by the institution of daily newspapers. + +To the biologist the problem of socialism appears largely as a problem of size. The extreme socialists desire to run every nation as a single business concern. I do not suppose that Henry Ford would find much difficulty in running Andorra or Luxembourg on a socialistic basis. He has already more men on his pay-roll than their population. It is conceivable that a syndicate of Fords, if we could find them, would make Belgium Ltd or Denmark Inc. pay their way. But while nationalization of certain industries is an obvious possibility in the largest of states, I find it no easier to picture a completely socialized British Empire or United States than an elephant turning somersaults or a hippopotamus jumping a hedge. +  +  + +[1]: http://www-net.cs.umass.edu/cs653/documents/on_being_the_right_size.htm +[2]: http://irl.cs.ucla.edu/right-size.pdf + diff --git a/_stories/1928/6545132.md b/_stories/1928/6545132.md new file mode 100644 index 0000000..cec5605 --- /dev/null +++ b/_stories/1928/6545132.md @@ -0,0 +1,51 @@ +[Source](https://www.marxists.org/archive/haldane/works/1920s/right-size.htm "Permalink to Plato’s Idealism by J. B. S. Haldane 1928") + +# Plato’s Idealism by J. B. S. Haldane 1928 + +J. B. S. Haldane 1928 + +### On Being the Right Size + +* * * + +Written: 1928; +Source: On Being the Right Size and Other Essays _Oxford University Press_ 1985; +Transcribed: Harrison Fluss for marxists.org, February 2008. + +* * * + +The most obvious differences between different animals are differences of size, but for some reason the zoologists have paid singularly little attention to them. In a large textbook of zoology before me I find no indication that the eagle is larger than the sparrow, or the hippopotamus bigger than the hare, though some grudging admissions are made in the case of the mouse and the whale. But yet it is easy to show that a hare could not be as large as a hippopotamus, or a whale as small as a herring. For every type of animal there is a most convenient size, and a large change in size inevitably carries with it a change of form. + +Let us take the most obvious of possible cases, and consider a giant man sixty feet high-about the height of Giant Pope and Giant Pagan in the illustrated Pilgrim’s Progress of my childhood. These monsters were not only ten times as high as Christian, but ten times as wide and ten times as thick, so that their total weight was a thousand times his, or about eighty to ninety tons. Unfortunately the cross sections of their bones were only a hundred times those of Christian, so that every square inch of giant bone had to support ten times the weight borne by a square inch of human bone. As the human thigh-bone breaks under about ten times the human weight, Pope and Pagan would have broken their thighs every time they took a step. This was doubtless why they were sitting down in the picture I remember. But it lessens one’s respect for Christian and Jack the Giant Killer. + +To turn to zoology, suppose that a gazelle, a graceful little creature with long thin legs, is to become large, it will break its bones unless it does one of two things. It may make its legs short and thick, like the rhinoceros, so that every pound of weight has still about the same area of bone to support it. Or it can compress its body and stretch out its legs obliquely to gain stability, like the giraffe. I mention these two beasts because they happen to belong to the same order as the gazelle, and both are quite successful mechanically, being remarkably fast runners. + +Gravity, a mere nuisance to Christian, was a terror to Pope, Pagan, and Despair. To the mouse and any smaller animal it presents practically no dangers. You can drop a mouse down a thousand-yard mine shaft; and, on arriving at the bottom, it gets a slight shock and walks away, provided that the ground is fairly soft. A rat is killed, a man is broken, a horse splashes. For the resistance presented to movement by the air is proportional to the surface of the moving object. Divide an animal’s length, breadth, and height each by ten; its weight is reduced to a thousandth, but its surface only to a hundredth. So the resistance to falling in the case of the small animal is relatively ten times greater than the driving force. + +An insect, therefore, is not afraid of gravity; it can fall without danger, and can cling to the ceiling with remarkably little trouble. It can go in for elegant and fantastic forms of support like that of the daddy-longlegs. But there is a force which is as formidable to an insect as gravitation to a mammal. This is surface tension. A man coming out of a bath carries with him a film of water of about one-fiftieth of an inch in thickness. This weighs roughly a pound. A wet mouse has to carry about its own weight of water. A wet fly has to lift many times its own weight and, as everyone knows, a fly once wetted by water or any other liquid is in a very serious position indeed. An insect going for a drink is in as great danger as a man leaning out over a precipice in search of food. If it once falls into the grip of the surface tension of the water – that is to say, gets wet – it is likely to remain so until it drowns. A few insects, such as water-beetles, contrive to be unwettable; the majority keep well away from their drink by means of a long proboscis. + +Of course tall land animals have other difficulties. They have to pump their blood to greater heights than a man, and, therefore, require a larger blood pressure and tougher blood-vessels. A great many men die from burst arteries, especially in the brain, and this danger is presumably still greater for an elephant or a giraffe. But animals of all kinds find difficulties in size for the following reason. A typical small animal, say a microscopic worm or rotifer, has a smooth skin through which all the oxygen it requires can soak in, a straight gut with sufficient surface to absorb its food, and a single kidney. Increase its dimensions tenfold in every direction, and its weight is increased a thousand times, so that if it is to use its muscles as efficiently as its miniature counterpart, it will need a thousand times as much food and oxygen per day and will excrete a thousand times as much of waste products. + +Now if its shape is unaltered its surface will be increased only a hundredfold, and ten times as much oxygen must enter per minute through each square millimetre of skin, ten times as much food through each square millimetre of intestine. When a limit is reached to their absorptive powers their surface has to be increased by some special device. For example, a part of the skin may be drawn out into tufts to make gills or pushed in to make lungs, thus increasing the oxygen-absorbing surface in proportion to the animal’s bulk. A man, for example, has a hundred square yards of lung. Similarly, the gut, instead of being smooth and straight, becomes coiled and develops a velvety surface, and other organs increase in complication. The higher animals are not larger than the lower because they are more complicated. They are more complicated because they are larger. Just the same is true of plants. The simplest plants, such as the green algae growing in stagnant water or on the bark of trees, are mere round cells. The higher plants increase their surface by putting out leaves and roots. Comparative anatomy is largely the story of the struggle to increase surface in proportion to volume. Some of the methods of increasing the surface are useful up to a point, but not capable of a very wide adaptation. For example, while vertebrates carry the oxygen from the gills or lungs all over the body in the blood, insects take air directly to every part of their body by tiny blind tubes called tracheae which open to the surface at many different points. Now, although by their breathing movements they can renew the air in the outer part of the tracheal system, the oxygen has to penetrate the finer branches by means of diffusion. Gases can diffuse easily through very small distances, not many times larger than the average length traveled by a gas molecule between collisions with other molecules. But when such vast journeys – from the point of view of a molecule – as a quarter of an inch have to be made, the process becomes slow. So the portions of an insect’s body more than a quarter of an inch from the air would always be short of oxygen. In consequence hardly any insects are much more than half an inch thick. Land crabs are built on the same general plan as insects, but are much clumsier. Yet like ourselves they carry oxygen around in their blood, and are therefore able to grow far larger than any insects. If the insects had hit on a plan for driving air through their tissues instead of letting it soak in, they might well have become as large as lobsters, though other considerations would have prevented them from becoming as large as man. + +Exactly the same difficulties attach to flying. It is an elementary principle of aeronautics that the minimum speed needed to keep an aeroplane of a given shape in the air varies as the square root of its length. If its linear dimensions are increased four times, it must fly twice as fast. Now the power needed for the minimum speed increases more rapidly than the weight of the machine. So the larger aeroplane, which weighs sixty-four times as much as the smaller, needs one hundred and twenty-eight times its horsepower to keep up. Applying the same principle to the birds, we find that the limit to their size is soon reached. An angel whose muscles developed no more power weight for weight than those of an eagle or a pigeon would require a breast projecting for about four feet to house the muscles engaged in working its wings, while to economize in weight, its legs would have to be reduced to mere stilts. Actually a large bird such as an eagle or kite does not keep in the air mainly by moving its wings. It is generally to be seen soaring, that is to say balanced on a rising column of air. And even soaring becomes more and more difficult with increasing size. Were this not the case eagles might be as large as tigers and as formidable to man as hostile aeroplanes. + +But it is time that we pass to some of the advantages of size. One of the most obvious is that it enables one to keep warm. All warm-blooded animals at rest lose the same amount of heat from a unit area of skin, for which purpose they need a food-supply proportional to their surface and not to their weight. Five thousand mice weigh as much as a man. Their combined surface and food or oxygen consumption are about seventeen times a man’s. In fact a mouse eats about one quarter its own weight of food every day, which is mainly used in keeping it warm. For the same reason small animals cannot live in cold countries. In the arctic regions there are no reptiles or amphibians, and no small mammals. The smallest mammal in Spitzbergen is the fox. The small birds fly away in winter, while the insects die, though their eggs can survive six months or more of frost. The most successful mammals are bears, seals, and walruses. + +Similarly, the eye is a rather inefficient organ until it reaches a large size. The back of the human eye on which an image of the outside world is thrown, and which corresponds to the film of a camera, is composed of a mosaic of “rods and cones” whose diameter is little more than a length of an average light wave. Each eye has about a half a million, and for two objects to be distinguishable their images must fall on separate rods or cones. It is obvious that with fewer but larger rods and cones we should see less distinctly. If they were twice as broad two points would have to be twice as far apart before we could distinguish them at a given distance. But if their size were diminished and their number increased we should see no better. For it is impossible to form a definite image smaller than a wave-length of light. Hence a mouse’s eye is not a small-scale model of a human eye. Its rods and cones are not much smaller than ours, and therefore there are far fewer of them. A mouse could not distinguish one human face from another six feet away. In order that they should be of any use at all the eyes of small animals have to be much larger in proportion to their bodies than our own. Large animals on the other hand only require relatively small eyes, and those of the whale and elephant are little larger than our own. For rather more recondite reasons the same general principle holds true of the brain. If we compare the brain-weights of a set of very similar animals such as the cat, cheetah, leopard, and tiger, we find that as we quadruple the body-weight the brain-weight is only doubled. The larger animal with proportionately larger bones can economize on brain, eyes, and certain other organs. + +Such are a very few of the considerations which show that for every type of animal there is an optimum size. Yet although Galileo demonstrated the contrary more than three hundred years ago, people still believe that if a flea were as large as a man it could jump a thousand feet into the air. As a matter of fact the height to which an animal can jump is more nearly independent of its size than proportional to it. A flea can jump about two feet, a man about five. To jump a given height, if we neglect the resistance of air, requires an expenditure of energy proportional to the jumper’s weight. But if the jumping muscles form a constant fraction of the animal’s body, the energy developed per ounce of muscle is independent of the size, provided it can be developed quickly enough in the small animal. As a matter of fact an insect’s muscles, although they can contract more quickly than our own, appear to be less efficient; as otherwise a flea or grasshopper could rise six feet into the air. + +And just as there is a best size for every animal, so the same is true for every human institution. In the Greek type of democracy all the citizens could listen to a series of orators and vote directly on questions of legislation. Hence their philosophers held that a small city was the largest possible democratic state. The English invention of representative government made a democratic nation possible, and the possibility was first realized in the United States, and later elsewhere. With the development of broadcasting it has once more become possible for every citizen to listen to the political views of representative orators, and the future may perhaps see the return of the national state to the Greek form of democracy. Even the referendum has been made possible only by the institution of daily newspapers. + +To the biologist the problem of socialism appears largely as a problem of size. The extreme socialists desire to run every nation as a single business concern. I do not suppose that Henry Ford would find much difficulty in running Andorra or Luxembourg on a socialistic basis. He has already more men on his pay-roll than their population. It is conceivable that a syndicate of Fords, if we could find them, would make Belgium Ltd or Denmark Inc. pay their way. But while nationalization of certain industries is an obvious possibility in the largest of states, I find it no easier to picture a completely socialized British Empire or United States than an elephant turning somersaults or a hippopotamus jumping a hedge. + +  + +* * * + +[JBS Haldane Archive][1] | [Literary Criticism Archive][2] + +[1]: https://www.marxists.org/index.htm +[2]: https://www.marxists.org/subject/art/lit_crit/index.htm + diff --git a/_stories/1928/8348141.md b/_stories/1928/8348141.md new file mode 100644 index 0000000..8d34af7 --- /dev/null +++ b/_stories/1928/8348141.md @@ -0,0 +1,6 @@ +[Source](http://www.retronaut.com/2012/08/how-to-make-a-simple-television-1928/ "Permalink to ") + +You are being [redirected][1]. + +[1]: https://www.retronaut.com/2012/08/how-to-make-a-simple-television-1928 + diff --git a/_stories/1928/8950404.md b/_stories/1928/8950404.md new file mode 100644 index 0000000..536e4c0 --- /dev/null +++ b/_stories/1928/8950404.md @@ -0,0 +1,48 @@ +[Source](http://irl.cs.ucla.edu/papers/right-size.html "Permalink to Haldane, On Being the Right Size") + +# Haldane, On Being the Right Size + +This paper was originally grabbed from [ the reading list][1] of a course Prof. Kurose taught at UMass. + +* * * + + +Note: This essay was originally published in 1928 (long before computer networks were invented :-) ) and discussed size in the natural (biological) world and systems.  As you read it, think about whether there is a "right size" for a network (or a piece of a network such as an Autonomous System), and what aspects of a network determine the "right size."  You might also find the political statements at the end of interest.**** +Note on 12/19/2011: we fixed a number of typos and missing words in the earlier version. +[PDF version][2] +**** + +**On Being the Right Size** +**J. B. S. Haldane** + +The most obvious differences between different animals are differences of size, but for some reason the zoologists have paid singularly little attention to them. In a large textbook of zoology before me I find no indication that the eagle is larger than the sparrow, or the hippopotamus bigger than the hare, though some grudging admissions are made in the case of the mouse and the whale. But yet it is easy to show that a hare could not be as large as a hippopotamus, or a whale as small as a herring. For every type of animal there is a most convenient size, and a large change in size inevitably carries with it a change of form. + +Let us take the most obvious of possible cases, and consider a giant man sixty feet high—about the height of Giant Pope and Giant Pagan in the illustrated Pilgrim’s Progress of my childhood. These monsters were not only ten times as high as Christian, but ten times as wide and ten times as thick, so that their total weight was a thousand times his, or about eighty to ninety tons. Unfortunately the cross sections of their bones were only a hundred times those of Christian, so that every square inch of giant bone had to support ten times the weight borne by a square inch of human bone. As the human thigh-bone breaks under about ten times the human weight, Pope and Pagan would have broken their thighs every time they took a step. This was doubtless why they were sitting down in the picture I remember. But it lessens one’s respect for Christian and Jack the Giant Killer. + +To turn to zoology, suppose that a gazelle, a graceful little creature with long thin legs, is to become large, it will break its bones unless it does one of two things. It may make its legs short and thick, like the rhinoceros, so that every pound of weight has still about the same area of bone to support it. Or it can compress its body and stretch out its legs obliquely to gain stability, like the giraffe. I mention these two beasts because they happen to belong to the same order as the gazelle, and both are quite successful mechanically, being remarkably fast runners. + +Gravity, a mere nuisance to Christian, was a terror to Pope, Pagan, and Despair. To the mouse and any smaller animal it presents practically no dangers. You can drop a mouse down a thousand-yard mine shaft; and, on arriving at the bottom, it gets a slight shock and walks away, provided that the ground is fairly soft. A rat is killed, a man is broken, a horse splashes. For the resistance presented to movement by the air is proportional to the surface of the moving object. Divide an animal’s length, breadth, and height each by ten; its weight is reduced to a thousandth, but its surface only to a hundredth. So the resistance to falling in the case of the small animal is relatively ten times greater than the driving force. + +An insect, therefore, is not afraid of gravity; it can fall without danger, and can cling to the ceiling with remarkably little trouble. It can go in for elegant and fantastic forms of support like that of the daddy-longlegs. But there is a force which is as formidable to an insect as gravitation to a mammal. This is surface tension. A man coming out of a bath carries with him a film of water of about one-fiftieth of an inch in thickness. This weighs roughly a pound. A wet mouse has to carry about its own weight of water. A wet fly has to lift many times its own weight and, as everyone knows, a fly once wetted by water or any other liquid is in a very serious position indeed. An insect going for a drink is in as great danger as a man leaning out over a precipice in search of food. If it once falls into the grip of the surface tension of the water—that is to say, gets wet—it is likely to remain so until it drowns. A few insects, such as water-beetles, contrive to be unwettable; the majority keep well away from their drink by means of a long proboscis. + +Of course tall land animals have other difficulties. They have to pump their blood to greater heights than a man, and, therefore, require a larger blood pressure and tougher blood-vessels. A great many men die from burst arteries, greater for an elephant or a giraffe. But animals of all kinds find difficulties in size for the following reason. A typical small animal, say a microscopic worm or rotifer, has a smooth skin through which all the oxygen it requires can soak in, a straight gut with sufficient surface to absorb its food, and a single kidney. Increase its dimensions tenfold in every direction, and its weight is increased a thousand times, so that if it is to use its muscles as efficiently as its miniature counterpart, it will need a thousand times as much food and oxygen per day and will excrete a thousand times as much of waste products. + +Now if its shape is unaltered its surface will be increased only a hundredfold, and ten times as much oxygen must enter per minute through each square millimetre of skin, ten times as much food through each square millimetre of intestine. When a limit is reached to their absorptive powers their surface has to be increased by some special device. For example, a part of the skin may be drawn out into tufts to make gills or pushed in to make lungs, thus increasing the oxygen-absorbing surface in proportion to the animal’s bulk. A man, for example, has a hundred square yards of lung. Similarly, the gut, instead of being smooth and straight, becomes coiled and develops a velvety surface, and other organs increase in complication. The higher animals are not larger than the lower because they are more complicated. They are more complicated because they are larger. Just the same is true of plants. The simplest plants, such as the green algae growing in stagnant water or on the bark of trees, are mere round cells. The higher plants increase their surface by putting out leaves and roots. Comparative anatomy is largely the story of the struggle to increase surface in proportion to volume. Some of the methods of increasing the surface are useful up to a point, but not capable of a very wide adaptation. For example, while vertebrates carry the oxygen from the gills or lungs all over the body in the blood, insects take air directly to every part of their body by tiny blind tubes called tracheae which open to the surface at many different points. Now, although by their breathing movements they can renew the air in the outer part of the tracheal system, the oxygen has to penetrate the finer branches by means of diffusion. Gases can diffuse easily through very small distances, not many times larger than the average length traveled by a gas molecule between collisions with other molecules. But when such vast journeys—from the point of view of a molecule—as a quarter of an inch have to be made, the process becomes slow. So the portions of an insect’s body more than a quarter of an inch from the air would always be short of oxygen. In consequence hardly any insects are much more than half an inch thick. Land crabs are built on the same general plan as insects, but are much clumsier. Yet like ourselves they carry oxygen around in their blood, and are therefore able to grow far larger than any insects. If the insects had hit on a plan for driving air through their tissues instead of letting it soak in, they might well have become as large as lobsters, though other considerations would have prevented them from becoming as large as man. + +Exactly the same difficulties attach to flying. It is an elementary principle of aeronautics that the minimum speed needed to keep an aeroplane of a given shape in the air varies as the square root of its length. If its linear dimensions are increased four times, it must fly twice as fast. Now the power needed for the minimum speed increases more rapidly than the weight of the machine. So the larger aeroplane, which weighs sixty-four times as much as the smaller, needs one hundred and twenty-eight times its horsepower to keep up. Applying the same principle to the birds, we find that the limit to their size is soon reached. An angel whose muscles developed no more power weight for weight than those of an eagle or a pigeon would require a breast projecting for about four feet to house the muscles engaged in working its wings, while to economize in weight, its legs would have to be reduced to mere stilts. Actually a large bird such as an eagle or kite does not keep in the air mainly by moving its wings. It is generally to be seen soaring, that is to say balanced on a rising column of air. And even soaring becomes more and more difficult with increasing size. Were this not the case eagles might be as large as tigers and as formidable to man as hostile aeroplanes. + +But it is time that we pass to some of the advantages of size. One of the most obvious is that it enables one to keep warm. All warmblooded animals at rest lose the same amount of heat from a unit area of skin, for which purpose they need a food-supply proportional to their surface and not to their weight. Five thousand mice weigh as much as a man. Their combined surface and food or oxygen consumption are about seventeen times a man’s. In fact a mouse eats about one quarter its own weight of food every day, which is mainly used in keeping it warm. For the same reason small animals cannot live in cold countries. In the arctic regions there are no reptiles or amphibians, and no small mammals. The smallest mammal in Spitzbergen is the fox. The small birds fly away in winter, while the insects die, though their eggs can survive six months or more of frost. The most successful mammals are bears, seals, and walruses. + +Similarly, the eye is a rather inefficient organ until it reaches a large size. The back of the human eye on which an image of the outside world is thrown, and which corresponds to the film of a camera, is composed of a mosaic of “rods and cones” whose diameter is little more than a length of an average light wave. Each eye has about a half a million, and for two objects to be distinguishable their images must fall on separate rods or cones. It is obvious that with fewer but larger rods and cones we should see less distinctly. If they were twice as broad two points would have to be twice as far apart before we could distinguish them at a given distance. But if their size were diminished and their number increased we should see no better. For it is impossible to form a definite image smaller than a wave-length of light. Hence a mouse’s eye is not a small-scale model of a human eye. Its rods and cones are not much smaller than ours, and therefore there are far fewer of them. A mouse could not distinguish one human face from another six feet away. In order that they should be of any use at all the eyes of small animals have to be much larger in proportion to their bodies than our own. Large animals on the other hand only require relatively small eyes, and those of the whale and elephant are little larger than our own. For rather more recondite reasons the same general principle holds true of the brain. If we compare the brain-weights of a set of very similar animals such as the cat, cheetah, leopard, and tiger, we find that as we quadruple the body-weight the brain-weight is only doubled. The larger animal with proportionately larger bones can economize on brain, eyes, and certain other organs. + +Such are a very few of the considerations which show that for every type of animal there is an optimum size. Yet although Galileo demonstrated the contrary more than three hundred years ago, people still believe that if a flea were as large as a man it could jump a thousand feet into the air. As a matter of fact the height to which an animal can jump is more nearly independent of its size than proportional to it. A flea can jump about two feet, a man about five. To jump a given height, if we neglect the resistance of air, requires an expenditure of energy proportional to the jumper’s weight. But if the jumping muscles form a constant fraction of the animal’s body, the energy developed per ounce of muscle is independent of the size, provided it can be developed quickly enough in the small animal. As a matter of fact an insect’s muscles, although they can contract more quickly than our own, appear to be less efficient; as otherwise a flea or grasshopper could rise six feet into the air. + +And just as there is a best size for every animal, so the same is true for every human institution. In the Greek type of democracy all the citizens could listen to a series of orators and vote directly on questions of legislation. Hence their philosophers held that a small city was the largest possible democratic state. The English invention of representative government made a democratic nation possible, and the possibility was first realized in the United States, and later elsewhere. With the development of broadcasting it has once more become possible for every citizen to listen to the political views of representative orators, and the future may perhaps see the return of the national state to the Greek form of democracy. Even the referendum has been made possible only by the institution of daily newspapers. + +To the biologist the problem of socialism appears largely as a problem of size. The extreme socialists desire to run every nation as a single business concern. I do not suppose that Henry Ford would find much difficulty in running Andorra or Luxembourg on a socialistic basis. He has already more men on his pay-roll than their population. It is conceivable that a syndicate of Fords, if we could find them, would make Belgium Ltd or Denmark Inc. pay their way. But while nationalization of certain industries is an obvious possibility in the largest of states, I find it no easier to picture a completely socialized British Empire or United States than an elephant turning somersaults or a hippopotamus jumping a hedge. +  +  + +[1]: http://www-net.cs.umass.edu/cs653/documents/on_being_the_right_size.htm +[2]: http://irl.cs.ucla.edu/right-size.pdf + diff --git a/_stories/1929/6967919.md b/_stories/1929/6967919.md new file mode 100644 index 0000000..fe1bb4a --- /dev/null +++ b/_stories/1929/6967919.md @@ -0,0 +1,410 @@ +[Source](http://blog.modernmechanix.com/exposing-houdinis-tricks-of-magic/ "Permalink to + Exposing Houdini’s Tricks of Magic | Modern Mechanix ") + +# + Exposing Houdini’s Tricks of Magic | Modern Mechanix + +# ![][2] + +![][3] + +[Modern Mechanix][4] + +Issue: [Nov, 1929][5] + +Posted in: [History][6], [How to][7] + +Tags: [magic][8] + +Posted: 03/13/2008 + +[3 Comments on Exposing Houdini’s Tricks of Magic (Nov, 1929)][9] + +![][10] ![][11] ![][12] ![][13] ![][14] ![][15] + +## Exposing Houdini’s Tricks of Magic (Nov, 1929) + +|<< + +<< Previous + +>>[|][16] + +[Next >>][17] + +1 of 5 + +![][18] + +|<< + +<< Previous + +>>[|][16] + +[Next >>][17] + +1 of 5 + +![][19]![][20]![][21]![][22]![][23] + +> **Exposing Houdini’s Tricks of Magic** +> +> By R. D. ADAMS +> +> The mechanic who made Houdini’s Trick Magic Apparatus +> +> Harry Houdini, Prince of Magicians, carried with him to the grave the secrets of his extraordinary feats of illusion. Only one man, the artisan who made his magic apparatus, knows the working secrets of Houdini’s most mystifying stunts. That man, Mr. R. D. Adams, continues here his fascinating expose of the master magician’s methods. +> +> HOUDINI was a master at the art of obtaining free publicity. No performer ever put on as many free shows for the purpose of breaking into print, and for that matter, few if any, were ever as liberal as he in the matter of entertaining lodges and other groups without charge. Many times he risked death in his publicity seeking stunts. +> +> “If the public,” he once told me, “knew how much I really flirt with death in some of my stunts, I would never be accused of getting advertising free.” +> +> Frequently Houdini permitted himself to be locked in a regulation steel safe. There was only one way for him to free himselfâ€" with the aid of a small screwdriver with which he invariably was armed for this feat. It seems comparatively easy for one possessed of his uncanny knowledge of locks to unscrew the plate covering of tumblers which control the bolt of a safe. But when one remembers that in most instances the prisoner was so closely wedged into the vault that he could barely move his hands, that he was forced to operate in pitch darkness, guided only by his sense of touch, the feat becomes quite complicated. Once he had pressed the tumblers in the proper order, of course the door would swing open. But if by some misadventure in the darkness, he had disarranged the mechanism, those on the outside would have been unable to shoot the bolts with the aid of the combination knob. The prospect of being enclosed in a vault with only sufficient air to sustain life for a few minutes and being dependent upon a professional safecracker for rescue in case you happen to jam the mechanism of the lock is not a very inviting one. +> +> For years Houdini’s best avenue to the front page of the newspaper was by escaping from prison cells. Although he was often forced to strip naked before being locked up and was subjected to the most minute search, he was never without a picklock. Sometimes he secreted it in the cell while he was inspecting it prior to incarceration. A bit of wax and it could instantly be fastened on the lower side of a bar. Sometimes the pick was taped in the armpit or on the sole of his foot. And Houdini, with one glance at the lock of the cell he was inspecting, knew whether the pick he would have available would do the work desired of it. +> +> In recounting to me some of his narrow escapes, Houdini once told of an experience with his trunk trick. At that time he was permitting committees to handcuff him, place him in a trunk, rope it securely and toss him into a river or lake, while thousands, including reporters and news photographers looked on. +> +> The escape was made in the same manner of the familiar stage trick in which the magician is locked inside a trunk and within a few seconds after it is slipped behind a screen, changes places with a lady assistantâ€"with the aid of a sliding panel. +> +> Immediately Houdini got into the trunk for his stunt he went to work on his handcuffs and other shackles, and was free of them by the time the roping had been done. On one occasion the trunk sank rapidly and stuck on a muddy bottom, panel side down. It was only by the most desperate efforts, Houdini was able to force the panel through the sticky mud and escape drowning. +> +> “That gave me a lesson,” he said. “Thereafter I made it a point to have the panel part way open before the bottom was reached. Sometimes I would be out and have the panel shifted back in place without reaching the bottom.” +> +> Of course, one of the essential points in this performance was to have an assistant who saw to it that all the roping done would not make it impossible to move the panel. +> +> Houdini’s famed “disappearance through a brick wall” was one of his most widely applauded stunts. That it mystified the public is putting it mildly. Just a short time ago a leading scientific journal announced that the magician made his disappearance by means of a trapdoor on one side of the wall and came up through a similar channel on the other. That was wholly impossible. A trapdoor, regardless of how cleverly it had been constructed, would have been detected by the investigating committee. And besides to mystify his audience still further and demonstrate that a trapdoor was not used, a large sheet of paper and sometimes a sheet of plate glass was placed upon the floor of the stage and the brick wall built upon it. Passing through glass into trapdoors and vice versa was not possible even for the great man of mystery. +> +> Here is how Houdini operated: A dozen or more bricklayers in overalls appeared before the audience and built a bona fide brick wall seven or eight feet high extending from the footlights to almost the rear of the stage. When it was completed, Houdini was ready to “disappear”. After a few appropriate remarks, he stepped behind a small screen, something like a prompter’s box, which the bricklayers pushed slowly to the center of the wall. The bricklayers moved over to the other side and adjusted a similar screen there opposite the first one. “Here I am, here I am,” Houdini would shout and waving arms thrust through holes in the screen gave evidence of the fact. +> +> Then the arms would disappear and Houdini would step forth from the screen on the other side of the wall. +> +> Houdini disappeared through the wall only in the minds of the exceedingly gullible. As a matter of fact while the first screen, behind which he had stepped, was being pushed back against the wall, he leaped into a pair of blue jumpers and pulled a workman’s cap down far over his face. When the screen touched the wall, he was one of the bricklayers as far as the audience was concerned. He got behind the second screen disguised as a bricklayer. From this point he did his calling to the audience. Mechanical arms and hands, operated by a hidden rope leading to the wings, furnished the gestures which convinces Houdini was behind screen No. 1 instead of No. 2 completing the illusion. +> +> Houdini probably possessed more information about magic and conjuring than all other artists combined. He had a library of hundreds of volumes dealing with this subject and occasionally he would completely mystify his friends with a stunt that was generations old. He once told me of a private performance he put on to entertain a small group of friends and completely mystified them. The trick itself was an ancient one. Calling for three of the ladies to hand him their handkerchiefs, he knotted them together and announced that he would have them appear anywhere the audience suggested, the suggestions to be made on slips deposited in a hat. A child drew one of the slips out of a hat, suggesting that the handkerchiefs reappear on the steps of a public institution three miles away. And they were found there a half hour later soldered in a tin box that had to be cut open. +> +> Here were the steps in the deception. When Houdini knotted the handkerchiefs, he substituted three others for the ones in question and placed them under the dish cover. When he collected the slips of paper, he dropped in a few slips on top which he himself had written, each one designated the steps of the institution as the place the handkerchiefs were to be whisked. And while fumbling with the dish cover, he accidentally broke it. It was necessary to step to one side and obtain another of the same kind from his assistant who, during the process, was presented with the original handkerchiefs Houdini had palmed. +> +> By stalling long enough to give time for another confederate to seal the handkerchiefs in the box and get a good start of the committee, it was perfectly simple to have the missing articles found as requested. +> +> Having convinced most of the credulous that no shackles or bolts could imprison him, Houdini set out to prove it was impossible to entomb himâ€"even in the grave. +> +> In scores of cities he invited workmen to fashion a packing box that would hold him prisoner and various artisans, jealous of their craftsmanship, spent much time trying to devise boxes that the man of mystery could not escape from. The boxes made by the determined workmen would be brought upon the stage, Houdini would step inside and with a mighty pounding and at the expenditure of an unusual supply of nails, the lid would be hammered down with unusual tightness and solidity. +> +> Sometimes a full half hour would elapse before Houdini, who of course worked surrounded by the usual screen, would liberate himself. And invariably the orchestra would play loudly while he was making his escape in order that no nails would emit a screech as they were being forced out of the wood into which they had been driven. +> +> The secret of the escape was this: Houdini, upon entering the box, invariably had concealed under his clothing a device weighing two or three pounds which worked something on the order of an automobile jack. It consisted of two steel pipes one an inch and the other three fourths of an inch in diameter which telescoped together. At the top and the bottom of this “Open Sesame” was a T shaped bar four or five inches long and an inch wide. The pipes, threaded on the outside were held together in the center by a turn-buckle which when twisted by Houdini’s muscular hands exerted a pressure no nails could withstand. Having once forced off a board large enough to permit his escape, all Houdini had to do was to replace the board and press the nails back into the original holes while the orchestra drowned his carpentering. +> +> As a variance of this trick, Houdini permitted glaziers to place him in a glass box and seal the cracks with putty. As soon as he was behind the screen, he would exert enough pressure to break the putty, carefully holding the glass to prevent it from crashing, step out, reach into his cabinet of many secret compartments for his own glazing tools and replace the glass. If in the process of his operations, he broke the glass, he had other sheets of the same size hidden in the cabinet with which to replace the shattered one. +> +> I have spoken before of Houdini’s great lung capacity. But by diligent practice he also brought himself to a point where he could exist for a long period on an unbelievably small amount of air. This stood him in good stead during his experiences in packing boxes and glass cases. It also enabled him to stage a great publicity feat in California where he permitted himself to be placed in a casket and be buried some feet under ground. It was noticeable that he chose for the scene of the demonstration a spot where the soil was extremely light in weight, else his task might have been impossible even with the aid of his jack which had enabled him to break out of so many packing boxes. I did not witness this performance, but I very much suspect that the jack enabled him to force up the coffin lid to a position where he could bring his Herculean back and shoulder muscles into play effectively enough to break forth from the grave. + +Related posts: + +1. [Magic Tricks for the Amateur Chemist (Apr, 1936) ][24] +2. [Coin Magic (Nov, 1937) ][25] +3. [Mechanics of Magic (Apr, 1934) ][26] +4. [Popular Magic by Dunninger (May, 1938) ][27] +5. [Chinese Magic (Dec, 1930) ][28] + +3 comments + +1. [4th guy][29] says: March 16, 2008_4:27 am_ + +Spoilsport. 😛 + +2. Mike Johnson says: March 24, 2011_1:11 am_ + +Harry Houdini was the Greatest ! + +If only I had been able to see him in action ! + +Nice article, thanks so much !! + +3. Mike Johnson says: March 24, 2011_1:13 am_ + +By the way, +Modern Mechanics, + +I am STILL waiting for my 1950 Flying Car + +and it’s 2011 !!! 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http://scienseillustrations.mypage.ru/ +[142]: http://www.secretfunspot.com/ +[143]: http://davidszondy.com/future/futurepast.htm +[144]: http://mrparallel.wordpress.com/ +[145]: http://www.vintagepbks.com/index.html +[146]: http://www.vintageprojects.com/ +[147]: http://vintagescans.blogspot.com/ +[148]: http://www.vintage-technology.info/index.html +[149]: http://www.typewritermuseum.org/ +[150]: http://nywf64.com + diff --git a/_stories/1930/12584955.md b/_stories/1930/12584955.md new file mode 100644 index 0000000..9f16c20 --- /dev/null +++ b/_stories/1930/12584955.md @@ -0,0 +1,4 @@ +[Source](http://www.econ.yale.edu/smith/econ116a/keynes1.pdf "Permalink to ") + +%PDF-1.4 % 288 0 obj <> endobj xref 288 29 0000000016 00000 n 0000001392 00000 n 0000001701 00000 n 0000001842 00000 n 0000002200 00000 n 0000002827 00000 n 0000003225 00000 n 0000003605 00000 n 0000003641 00000 n 0000003881 00000 n 0000003925 00000 n 0000004002 00000 n 0000004248 00000 n 0000004886 00000 n 0000005647 00000 n 0000006508 00000 n 0000007318 00000 n 0000008101 00000 n 0000008944 00000 n 0000009077 00000 n 0000009888 00000 n 0000010426 00000 n 0000013096 00000 n 0000013356 00000 n 0000020497 00000 n 0000020728 00000 n 0000020914 00000 n 0000001211 00000 n 0000000892 00000 n trailer <<741247006CF7EA47A1D05FFFFD85D2C3>]>> startxref 0 %%EOF 316 0 obj<>stream xb```b``Mc`e`ǀ + diff --git a/_stories/1930/13228949.md b/_stories/1930/13228949.md new file mode 100644 index 0000000..e69de29 diff --git a/_stories/1930/9872387.md b/_stories/1930/9872387.md new file mode 100644 index 0000000..b8816ff --- /dev/null +++ b/_stories/1930/9872387.md @@ -0,0 +1,721 @@ +[Source](https://www.sciencenews.org/archive/suns-new-trans-neptunian-planet "Permalink to The Sun's New Trans-Neptunian Planet | Science News") + +# The Sun's New Trans-Neptunian Planet | Science News + +[Skip to main content][2] + +[Menu][3] [Search][3] [Science News][4] + +## Donate + +* [Donate][5] + +## Account + +[Log In][6] + +## The 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+![][12] + +[ + +### **THE GRAMOPHONE +NEWSLETTER** + +Receive a weekly collection of news, features and reviews + +][13] + +[ ![Home][14] ][15] + +Search + +Est 1923 + +## Main menu + +[Home][16][Reviews][17][News][18][Features][19][Composers][20][Artists][21][Magazine][3][Awards][22][Blogs][23][Subscribe][24] + +[navigation menu & search][25] + +[ ![Home][14] ][15] + +## You are here + +[Home][26] » [Features][19] » Rachmaninov on the future of broadcasting + +## + +# Rachmaninov on the future of broadcasting + +[Gramophone][27] Wed 1st April 2015 + +## A revealing interview with Sergey Rachmaninov from April 1931 + +![][28] + +Sergey Rachmaninov (April 1931) + +Not long ago I was asked to express my opinion as to the musical value of broadcasting. I replied that, to my mind, radio has a bad influence on art: that it destroys all the soul and true significance of music. Since then many people have appeared surprised that, disliking wireless so intensely, I should lend myself to recording for the gramophone, as though the two were, in some mysterious way, intimately connected. + +To me it seems that the modern gramophone and modern methods of recording are musically superior to wireless transmission in every way, particularly where reproduction of the piano is concerned. I agree that piano recording was not always so successful as it is to­day. Twelve years ago, when I was making my first records with Edison in America, the piano came out with a thin, tinkling tone. It sounded exactly like the Russian balalaika, which, as you may know, is a stringed instrument resembling the guitar. And results produced by the acoustical process in use when I began to record for "His Master's Voice" in 1920 were far from satisfactory. It is only the perfecting of electrical recording during the last three years combined with recent astonishing improvements in the gramophones themselves that has given us piano reproduction of a fidelity, variety and depth of tone that could hardly be bettered. + +I have no hesitation in saying that modern piano recordings do the pianist complete justice. Speaking from personal experience, I feel that my records can only help to increase my prestige as an artist. Not that excellent results are by any means limited to my own work. I have heard many fine records by many different pianists and in every case the essentials of the individual artist's performance have been captured and preserved. + +In fact, through the medium of the gramophone we can now offer the public performances closely similar to those we give on the concert platform. Our records should not disappoint the most critical listener who has heard us in the flesh: to the millions who have no opportunity of doing so, they convey a just and accurate impression of our work. In addition, what is to me most important of all, recording for the gramophone enables the artist to satisfy him­self. + +For I am by nature a pessimist. It is so seldom that I am sincerely satisfied with my performance, so often that I feel it could have been better. And when making records it is actually possible to achieve something approaching­ artistic perfection. If once, twice or three times I do not play as well as I can, it is possible to record and re-­record, to destroy and remake until, at last, I am content with the result. + +Can the radio artist, who has no opportunity to hear how his performance comes through, ever know a similar satisfaction in his work? Myself, I dislike radio music and listen to it very seldom. But from what I have heard I cannot believe that the best broadcast performance imaginable would ever satisfy a sensitive artist. + +On this account alone, I deplore the present depression in the gramophone industry. It is a curious fact that when I began working for H.M.V. ten years ago business was excellent, though only indifferent records were available. Yet to­day, when we have first­ class recording, business is worse than it has ever been. For this, I can only think that the universal craze for radio is to blame. Not for a moment would I wish to belittle the scientific value of broadcasting, its wonders, or its benefits to humanity. I can well imagine that if I were exiled in Alaska, for instance, I might be grateful for even the pale ghosts of music the radio would bring me. But to listen­ in great cities like London or New York when one could actually be present in a concert hall­ - to me that would seem like sacrilege. Radio is a very great invention, but not, I think, for art. + +To compare the ultimate musical value of broadcasting with that of the gramophone is to realise that the gramophone has bestowed upon the executive musician one priceless gift­ - permanence for his art. You listen to a broadcast recital. The next moment it is finished, gone. But a gramophone record can preserve for ever the playing and singing of the world's most distinguished artists. Think what it would have meant to us to­day could we possess records made by Liszt, the greatest pianist who has ever lived. Yet we can only dimly imagine what his playing must have been. Future generations will be more fortunate in that the finest modern musicians, through their records, will be something more than names to those who come after them. + +I can imagine no more striking example of the gramophone's power to re­create the personality of dead genius than an experience of my own when, in 1918, I first went to America. It was in New York that H.M.V. gave me the opportunity to hear some records made by Count Tolstoy shortly before his death in 1910. Having known Count Tolstoy; whose friendship had greatly helped and influenced me at a very difficult period of my early career, I was naturally keenly interested. The records, made on his estate in Russia, were simply speeches, one in Russian, one in English, explaining his philosophy of life. Yet when the machine started and I heard again his voice, perfectly reproduced down to the, curious little husky cough characteristic of his speech, it seemed that Tolstoy himself had come to life. It was a marvellous experience. Seldom have I been moved so deeply. Never, never can I forget the impression the sound of that voice, so long silent, made upon me. But the tragedy of it is this. During the past ten years, I have tried continually in America, in Russia, to obtain those records. No one can tell what has become of them. Unique and irreplaceable, they have apparently vanished beyond recall. + +To return to my own work for the gramophone, I have felt most satisfied with those records made during the past three years. These include my own Piano Concerto, Number Two, which I recorded with the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra, under Stokowski, Schumann's "Carnaval", recently issued in America, the Chopin "Funeral March" Sonata, which I believe is not yet published, and the Grieg C Minor and Beethoven G Major Sonatas for piano and violin in partnership with Fritz Kreisler. + +Do the critics who have praised those Grieg records so highly realise the immense amount of hard work and patience necessary to achieve such results? The six sides of the Grieg set we recorded no fewer than five times each. From these thirty discs we finally selected the best, destroying the remainder. Perhaps so much labour did not altogether please Fritz Kreisler. He is a great artist, but does not care to work too hard. Being an optimist, he will declare with enthusiasm that the first set of proofs we make are wonderful, marvellous. But my own pessimism invariably causes me to feel, and argue, that they could be better. So when we work together, Fritz and I, we are always fighting. + +To make records with the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra is as thrilling an experience as any artist could desire. Unquestionably, they are the finest orchestral combination in the world: even the famous New York Philharmonic, which you heard in London under Toscanini last summer, must, I think, take second place. Only by working with the Philadelphians both as soloist and conductor, as has been my privilege, can one fully realise and appreciate their perfection of ensemble. + +Recording my own Concerto with this orchestra was a unique event. Apart from the fact that I am the only pianist who has played with them for the gramophone, it is very rarely that an artist, whether as soloist or composer, is gratified by hearing his work accompanied and interpreted with so much sympathetic co­operation, such perfection of detail and balance between piano and orchestra. These discs, like all those made by the Philadelphians, were recorded in a concert hall, where we played exactly as though we were giving a public performance. Naturally, this method ensures the most realistic results, but in any case, no studio exists, even in America, that could accommodate an orchestra of a hundred and ten players. + +Their efficiency is almost incredible. In England I hear constant complaints that your orchestras suffer always from under­-rehearsal. The Philadelphia Orchestra, on the other hand, have attained such a standard of excellence that they produce the finest results with the minimum of preliminary work. Recently, I conducted their superb recording of my symphonic poem, "The Isle of the Dead", now published in a Victor album of three records which play for about twenty­ two minutes. After no more than two rehearsals the orchestra were ready for the microphone, and the entire work was completed in less than four hours. + +Of all our own music­-making silence must someday be the end. Formerly, the artist was haunted by the knowledge that with him his music also must vanish into the unknown. Yet to­day, he can leave behind him a faithful reproduction of his art, an eloquent and imperishable testimony to his life's achievement. On this account alone, I think that the great majority of musicians and music­ lovers alike cannot hesitate to acclaim the gramophone as the most significant of modern musical inventions. + +  + +_This article was originally published in the April 1931 issue of Gramophone._ + +Explore:  + +[Sergey Rachmaninov][29] + +## Follow us + +![][30] + +![][30] + +![][30] + +## + +[ + +![][31] + +## **Sign up for our newsletter ** + +> The latest news, features, blogs and reviews delivered weekly to your inbox! + +][13] + +## + +[ + +![][32] + +## **The all-time greats** + +Read about the artists who changed the world of classical music. + +][33] + +## + +[ + +[Tweets by @GramophoneMag][34] + +][34] + +![][35] + +#### Gramophone Subscriptions + +#### Gramophone Subscriptions + +[Print Edition][36] + +[Digital Edition][37] + +[Digital Archive][38] + +[Reviews Database][39] + +[Events & Offers][40] + +From£64/year + +### Gramophone Print + +### Gramophone Print + +![][41] + +[more info][42] [close 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Being a highly virtuous child, I believed all that I was told, and acquired a conscience which has kept me working hard down to the present moment. But although my conscience has controlled my actions, my opinions have undergone a revolution. I think that there is far too much work done in the world, that immense harm is caused by the belief that work is virtuous, and that what needs to be preached in modern industrial countries is quite different from what always has been preached. Everyone knows the story of the traveler in Naples who saw twelve beggars lying in the sun (it was before the days of Mussolini), and offered a lira to the laziest of them. Eleven of them jumped up to claim it, so he gave it to the twelfth. this traveler was on the right lines. But in countries which do not enjoy Mediterranean sunshine idleness is more difficult, and a great public propaganda will be required to inaugurate it. I hope that, after reading the following pages, the leaders of the YMCA will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain. + +Before advancing my own arguments for laziness, I must dispose of one which I cannot accept. Whenever a person who already has enough to live on proposes to engage in some everyday kind of job, such as school-teaching or typing, he or she is told that such conduct takes the bread out of other people's mouths, and is therefore wicked. If this argument were valid, it would only be necessary for us all to be idle in order that we should all have our mouths full of bread. What people who say such things forget is that what a man earns he usually spends, and in spending he gives employment. As long as a man spends his income, he puts just as much bread into people's mouths in spending as he takes out of other people's mouths in earning. The real villain, from this point of view, is the man who saves. If he merely puts his savings in a stocking, like the proverbial French peasant, it is obvious that they do not give employment. If he invests his savings, the matter is less obvious, and different cases arise. + +One of the commonest things to do with savings is to lend them to some Government. In view of the fact that the bulk of the public expenditure of most civilized Governments consists in payment for past wars or preparation for future wars, the man who lends his money to a Government is in the same position as the bad men in Shakespeare who hire murderers. The net result of the man's economical habits is to increase the armed forces of the State to which he lends his savings. Obviously it would be better if he spent the money, even if he spent it in drink or gambling. + +But, I shall be told, the case is quite different when savings are invested in industrial enterprises. When such enterprises succeed, and produce something useful, this may be conceded. In these days, however, no one will deny that most enterprises fail. That means that a large amount of human labor, which might have been devoted to producing something that could be enjoyed, was expended on producing machines which, when produced, lay idle and did no good to anyone. The man who invests his savings in a concern that goes bankrupt is therefore injuring others as well as himself. If he spent his money, say, in giving parties for his friends, they (we may hope) would get pleasure, and so would all those upon whom he spent money, such as the butcher, the baker, and the bootlegger. But if he spends it (let us say) upon laying down rails for surface card in some place where surface cars turn out not to be wanted, he has diverted a mass of labor into channels where it gives pleasure to no one. Nevertheless, when he becomes poor through failure of his investment he will be regarded as a victim of undeserved misfortune, whereas the gay spendthrift, who has spent his money philanthropically, will be despised as a fool and a frivolous person. + +All this is only preliminary. I want to say, in all seriousness, that a great deal of harm is being done in the modern world by belief in the virtuousness of work, and that the road to happiness and prosperity lies in an organized diminution of work. + +First of all: what is work? Work is of two kinds: first, altering the position of matter at or near the earth's surface relatively to other such matter; second, telling other people to do so. The first kind is unpleasant and ill paid; the second is pleasant and highly paid. The second kind is capable of indefinite extension: there are not only those who give orders, but those who give advice as to what orders should be given. Usually two opposite kinds of advice are given simultaneously by two organized bodies of men; this is called politics. The skill required for this kind of work is not knowledge of the subjects as to which advice is given, but knowledge of the art of persuasive speaking and writing, i.e. of advertising. + +Throughout Europe, though not in America, there is a third class of men, more respected than either of the classes of workers. There are men who, through ownership of land, are able to make others pay for the privilege of being allowed to exist and to work. These landowners are idle, and I might therefore be expected to praise them. Unfortunately, their idleness is only rendered possible by the industry of others; indeed their desire for comfortable idleness is historically the source of the whole gospel of work. The last thing they have ever wished is that others should follow their example. + +From the beginning of civilization until the Industrial Revolution, a man could, as a rule, produce by hard work little more than was required for the subsistence of himself and his family, although his wife worked at least as hard as he did, and his children added their labor as soon as they were old enough to do so. The small surplus above bare necessaries was not left to those who produced it, but was appropriated by warriors and priests. In times of famine there was no surplus; the warriors and priests, however, still secured as much as at other times, with the result that many of the workers died of hunger. This system persisted in Russia until 1917 [1], and still persists in the East; in England, in spite of the Industrial Revolution, it remained in full force throughout the Napoleonic wars, and until a hundred years ago, when the new class of manufacturers acquired power. In America, the system came to an end with the Revolution, except in the South, where it persisted until the Civil War. A system which lasted so long and ended so recently has naturally left a profound impress upon men's thoughts and opinions. Much that we take for granted about the desirability of work is derived from this system, and, being pre-industrial, is not adapted to the modern world. Modern technique has made it possible for leisure, within limits, to be not the prerogative of small privileged classes, but a right evenly distributed throughout the community. The morality of work is the morality of slaves, and the modern world has no need of slavery. + +It is obvious that, in primitive communities, peasants, left to themselves, would not have parted with the slender surplus upon which the warriors and priests subsisted, but would have either produced less or consumed more. At first, sheer force compelled them to produce and part with the surplus. Gradually, however, it was found possible to induce many of them to accept an ethic according to which it was their duty to work hard, although part of their work went to support others in idleness. By this means the amount of compulsion required was lessened, and the expenses of government were diminished. To this day, 99 per cent of British wage-earners would be genuinely shocked if it were proposed that the King should not have a larger income than a working man. The conception of duty, speaking historically, has been a means used by the holders of power to induce others to live for the interests of their masters rather than for their own. Of course the holders of power conceal this fact from themselves by managing to believe that their interests are identical with the larger interests of humanity. Sometimes this is true; Athenian slave-owners, for instance, employed part of their leisure in making a permanent contribution to civilization which would have been impossible under a just economic system. Leisure is essential to civilization, and in former times leisure for the few was only rendered possible by the labors of the many. But their labors were valuable, not because work is good, but because leisure is good. And with modern technique it would be possible to distribute leisure justly without injury to civilization. + +Modern technique has made it possible to diminish enormously the amount of labor required to secure the necessaries of life for everyone. This was made obvious during the war. At that time all the men in the armed forces, and all the men and women engaged in the production of munitions, all the men and women engaged in spying, war propaganda, or Government offices connected with the war, were withdrawn from productive occupations. In spite of this, the general level of well-being among unskilled wage-earners on the side of the Allies was higher than before or since. The significance of this fact was concealed by finance: borrowing made it appear as if the future was nourishing the present. But that, of course, would have been impossible; a man cannot eat a loaf of bread that does not yet exist. The war showed conclusively that, by the scientific organization of production, it is possible to keep modern populations in fair comfort on a small part of the working capacity of the modern world. If, at the end of the war, the scientific organization, which had been created in order to liberate men for fighting and munition work, had been preserved, and the hours of the week had been cut down to four, all would have been well. Instead of that the old chaos was restored, those whose work was demanded were made to work long hours, and the rest were left to starve as unemployed. Why? Because work is a duty, and a man should not receive wages in proportion to what he has produced, but in proportion to his virtue as exemplified by his industry. + +This is the morality of the Slave State, applied in circumstances totally unlike those in which it arose. No wonder the result has been disastrous. Let us take an illustration. Suppose that, at a given moment, a certain number of people are engaged in the manufacture of pins. They make as many pins as the world needs, working (say) eight hours a day. Someone makes an invention by which the same number of men can make twice as many pins: pins are already so cheap that hardly any more will be bought at a lower price. In a sensible world, everybody concerned in the manufacturing of pins would take to working four hours instead of eight, and everything else would go on as before. But in the actual world this would be thought demoralizing. The men still work eight hours, there are too many pins, some employers go bankrupt, and half the men previously concerned in making pins are thrown out of work. There is, in the end, just as much leisure as on the other plan, but half the men are totally idle while half are still overworked. In this way, it is insured that the unavoidable leisure shall cause misery all round instead of being a universal source of happiness. Can anything more insane be imagined? + +The idea that the poor should have leisure has always been shocking to the rich. In England, in the early nineteenth century, fifteen hours was the ordinary day's work for a man; children sometimes did as much, and very commonly did twelve hours a day. When meddlesome busybodies suggested that perhaps these hours were rather long, they were told that work kept adults from drink and children from mischief. When I was a child, shortly after urban working men had acquired the vote, certain public holidays were established by law, to the great indignation of the upper classes. I remember hearing an old Duchess say: 'What do the poor want with holidays? They ought to work.' People nowadays are less frank, but the sentiment persists, and is the source of much of our economic confusion. + +Let us, for a moment, consider the ethics of work frankly, without superstition. Every human being, of necessity, consumes, in the course of his life, a certain amount of the produce of human labor. Assuming, as we may, that labor is on the whole disagreeable, it is unjust that a man should consume more than he produces. Of course he may provide services rather than commodities, like a medical man, for example; but he should provide something in return for his board and lodging. to this extent, the duty of work must be admitted, but to this extent only. + +I shall not dwell upon the fact that, in all modern societies outside the USSR, many people escape even this minimum amount of work, namely all those who inherit money and all those who marry money. I do not think the fact that these people are allowed to be idle is nearly so harmful as the fact that wage-earners are expected to overwork or starve. + +If the ordinary wage-earner worked four hours a day, there would be enough for everybody and no unemployment -- assuming a certain very moderate amount of sensible organization. This idea shocks the well-to-do, because they are convinced that the poor would not know how to use so much leisure. In America men often work long hours even when they are well off; such men, naturally, are indignant at the idea of leisure for wage-earners, except as the grim punishment of unemployment; in fact, they dislike leisure even for their sons. Oddly enough, while they wish their sons to work so hard as to have no time to be civilized, they do not mind their wives and daughters having no work at all. the snobbish admiration of uselessness, which, in an aristocratic society, extends to both sexes, is, under a plutocracy, confined to women; this, however, does not make it any more in agreement with common sense. + +The wise use of leisure, it must be conceded, is a product of civilization and education. A man who has worked long hours all his life will become bored if he becomes suddenly idle. But without a considerable amount of leisure a man is cut off from many of the best things. There is no longer any reason why the bulk of the population should suffer this deprivation; only a foolish asceticism, usually vicarious, makes us continue to insist on work in excessive quantities now that the need no longer exists. + +In the new creed which controls the government of Russia, while there is much that is very different from the traditional teaching of the West, there are some things that are quite unchanged. The attitude of the governing classes, and especially of those who conduct educational propaganda, on the subject of the dignity of labor, is almost exactly that which the governing classes of the world have always preached to what were called the 'honest poor'. Industry, sobriety, willingness to work long hours for distant advantages, even submissiveness to authority, all these reappear; moreover authority still represents the will of the Ruler of the Universe, Who, however, is now called by a new name, Dialectical Materialism. + +The victory of the proletariat in Russia has some points in common with the victory of the feminists in some other countries. For ages, men had conceded the superior saintliness of women, and had consoled women for their inferiority by maintaining that saintliness is more desirable than power. At last the feminists decided that they would have both, since the pioneers among them believed all that the men had told them about the desirability of virtue, but not what they had told them about the worthlessness of political power. A similar thing has happened in Russia as regards manual work. For ages, the rich and their sycophants have written in praise of 'honest toil', have praised the simple life, have professed a religion which teaches that the poor are much more likely to go to heaven than the rich, and in general have tried to make manual workers believe that there is some special nobility about altering the position of matter in space, just as men tried to make women believe that they derived some special nobility from their sexual enslavement. In Russia, all this teaching about the excellence of manual work has been taken seriously, with the result that the manual worker is more honored than anyone else. What are, in essence, revivalist appeals are made, but not for the old purposes: they are made to secure shock workers for special tasks. Manual work is the ideal which is held before the young, and is the basis of all ethical teaching. + +For the present, possibly, this is all to the good. A large country, full of natural resources, awaits development, and has has to be developed with very little use of credit. In these circumstances, hard work is necessary, and is likely to bring a great reward. But what will happen when the point has been reached where everybody could be comfortable without working long hours? + +In the West, we have various ways of dealing with this problem. We have no attempt at economic justice, so that a large proportion of the total produce goes to a small minority of the population, many of whom do no work at all. Owing to the absence of any central control over production, we produce hosts of things that are not wanted. We keep a large percentage of the working population idle, because we can dispense with their labor by making the others overwork. When all these methods prove inadequate, we have a war: we cause a number of people to manufacture high explosives, and a number of others to explode them, as if we were children who had just discovered fireworks. By a combination of all these devices we manage, though with difficulty, to keep alive the notion that a great deal of severe manual work must be the lot of the average man. + +In Russia, owing to more economic justice and central control over production, the problem will have to be differently solved. the rational solution would be, as soon as the necessaries and elementary comforts can be provided for all, to reduce the hours of labor gradually, allowing a popular vote to decide, at each stage, whether more leisure or more goods were to be preferred. But, having taught the supreme virtue of hard work, it is difficult to see how the authorities can aim at a paradise in which there will be much leisure and little work. It seems more likely that they will find continually fresh schemes, by which present leisure is to be sacrificed to future productivity. I read recently of an ingenious plan put forward by Russian engineers, for making the White Sea and the northern coasts of Siberia warm, by putting a dam across the Kara Sea. An admirable project, but liable to postpone proletarian comfort for a generation, while the nobility of toil is being displayed amid the ice-fields and snowstorms of the Arctic Ocean. This sort of thing, if it happens, will be the result of regarding the virtue of hard work as an end in itself, rather than as a means to a state of affairs in which it is no longer needed. + +The fact is that moving matter about, while a certain amount of it is necessary to our existence, is emphatically not one of the ends of human life. If it were, we should have to consider every navvy superior to Shakespeare. We have been misled in this matter by two causes. One is the necessity of keeping the poor contented, which has led the rich, for thousands of years, to preach the dignity of labor, while taking care themselves to remain undignified in this respect. The other is the new pleasure in mechanism, which makes us delight in the astonishingly clever changes that we can produce on the earth's surface. Neither of these motives makes any great appeal to the actual worker. If you ask him what he thinks the best part of his life, he is not likely to say: 'I enjoy manual work because it makes me feel that I am fulfilling man's noblest task, and because I like to think how much man can transform his planet. It is true that my body demands periods of rest, which I have to fill in as best I may, but I am never so happy as when the morning comes and I can return to the toil from which my contentment springs.' I have never heard working men say this sort of thing. They consider work, as it should be considered, a necessary means to a livelihood, and it is from their leisure that they derive whatever happiness they may enjoy. + +It will be said that, while a little leisure is pleasant, men would not know how to fill their days if they had only four hours of work out of the twenty-four. In so far as this is true in the modern world, it is a condemnation of our civilization; it would not have been true at any earlier period. There was formerly a capacity for light-heartedness and play which has been to some extent inhibited by the cult of efficiency. The modern man thinks that everything ought to be done for the sake of something else, and never for its own sake. Serious-minded persons, for example, are continually condemning the habit of going to the cinema, and telling us that it leads the young into crime. But all the work that goes to producing a cinema is respectable, because it is work, and because it brings a money profit. The notion that the desirable activities are those that bring a profit has made everything topsy-turvy. The butcher who provides you with meat and the baker who provides you with bread are praiseworthy, because they are making money; but when you enjoy the food they have provided, you are merely frivolous, unless you eat only to get strength for your work. Broadly speaking, it is held that getting money is good and spending money is bad. Seeing that they are two sides of one transaction, this is absurd; one might as well maintain that keys are good, but keyholes are bad. Whatever merit there may be in the production of goods must be entirely derivative from the advantage to be obtained by consuming them. The individual, in our society, works for profit; but the social purpose of his work lies in the consumption of what he produces. It is this divorce between the individual and the social purpose of production that makes it so difficult for men to think clearly in a world in which profit-making is the incentive to industry. We think too much of production, and too little of consumption. One result is that we attach too little importance to enjoyment and simple happiness, and that we do not judge production by the pleasure that it gives to the consumer. + +When I suggest that working hours should be reduced to four, I am not meaning to imply that all the remaining time should necessarily be spent in pure frivolity. I mean that four hours' work a day should entitle a man to the necessities and elementary comforts of life, and that the rest of his time should be his to use as he might see fit. It is an essential part of any such social system that education should be carried further than it usually is at present, and should aim, in part, at providing tastes which would enable a man to use leisure intelligently. I am not thinking mainly of the sort of things that would be considered 'highbrow'. Peasant dances have died out except in remote rural areas, but the impulses which caused them to be cultivated must still exist in human nature. The pleasures of urban populations have become mainly passive: seeing cinemas, watching football matches, listening to the radio, and so on. This results from the fact that their active energies are fully taken up with work; if they had more leisure, they would again enjoy pleasures in which they took an active part. + +In the past, there was a small leisure class and a larger working class. The leisure class enjoyed advantages for which there was no basis in social justice; this necessarily made it oppressive, limited its sympathies, and caused it to invent theories by which to justify its privileges. These facts greatly diminished its excellence, but in spite of this drawback it contributed nearly the whole of what we call civilization. It cultivated the arts and discovered the sciences; it wrote the books, invented the philosophies, and refined social relations. Even the liberation of the oppressed has usually been inaugurated from above. Without the leisure class, mankind would never have emerged from barbarism. + +The method of a leisure class without duties was, however, extraordinarily wasteful. None of the members of the class had to be taught to be industrious, and the class as a whole was not exceptionally intelligent. The class might produce one Darwin, but against him had to be set tens of thousands of country gentlemen who never thought of anything more intelligent than fox-hunting and punishing poachers. At present, the universities are supposed to provide, in a more systematic way, what the leisure class provided accidentally and as a by-product. This is a great improvement, but it has certain drawbacks. University life is so different from life in the world at large that men who live in academic milieu tend to be unaware of the preoccupations and problems of ordinary men and women; moreover their ways of expressing themselves are usually such as to rob their opinions of the influence that they ought to have upon the general public. Another disadvantage is that in universities studies are organized, and the man who thinks of some original line of research is likely to be discouraged. Academic institutions, therefore, useful as they are, are not adequate guardians of the interests of civilization in a world where everyone outside their walls is too busy for unutilitarian pursuits. + +In a world where no one is compelled to work more than four hours a day, every person possessed of scientific curiosity will be able to indulge it, and every painter will be able to paint without starving, however excellent his pictures may be. Young writers will not be obliged to draw attention to themselves by sensational pot-boilers, with a view to acquiring the economic independence needed for monumental works, for which, when the time at last comes, they will have lost the taste and capacity. Men who, in their professional work, have become interested in some phase of economics or government, will be able to develop their ideas without the academic detachment that makes the work of university economists often seem lacking in reality. Medical men will have the time to learn about the progress of medicine, teachers will not be exasperatedly struggling to teach by routine methods things which they learnt in their youth, which may, in the interval, have been proved to be untrue. + +Above all, there will be happiness and joy of life, instead of frayed nerves, weariness, and dyspepsia. The work exacted will be enough to make leisure delightful, but not enough to produce exhaustion. Since men will not be tired in their spare time, they will not demand only such amusements as are passive and vapid. At least one per cent will probably devote the time not spent in professional work to pursuits of some public importance, and, since they will not depend upon these pursuits for their livelihood, their originality will be unhampered, and there will be no need to conform to the standards set by elderly pundits. But it is not only in these exceptional cases that the advantages of leisure will appear. Ordinary men and women, having the opportunity of a happy life, will become more kindly and less persecuting and less inclined to view others with suspicion. The taste for war will die out, partly for this reason, and partly because it will involve long and severe work for all. Good nature is, of all moral qualities, the one that the world needs most, and good nature is the result of ease and security, not of a life of arduous struggle. Modern methods of production have given us the possibility of ease and security for all; we have chosen, instead, to have overwork for some and starvation for others. Hitherto we have continued to be as energetic as we were before there were machines; in this we have been foolish, but there is no reason to go on being foolish forever. + +[1] Since then, members of the Communist Party have succeeded to this privilege of the warriors and priests. + +_ This text was first provided by the Massachusetts Green Party. | + +* * * + +[Add Your Comments][2] \- [Intolerance & Idleness][3] @_z Times_ + +[Back][4] to the Anarchist Reading List + +from the Anarchist Reading List at: http://www.zpub.com/notes/aan-read.html + +[1]: http://www.zpub.com/br.html +[2]: http://www.greenspun.com/com/zpub/notes/idle.html +[3]: http://www.zpub.com/z/zt-vol2-1.html +[4]: http://www.zpub.com/aan-read.html + diff --git a/_stories/1932/11648160.md b/_stories/1932/11648160.md new file mode 100644 index 0000000..3d567d1 --- /dev/null +++ b/_stories/1932/11648160.md @@ -0,0 +1,4 @@ +[Source](https://www.winstonchurchill.org/publications/finest-hour/23-finest-hour-136/2251-my-new-york-misadventure/ "Permalink to ") + + + diff --git a/_stories/1932/14754464.md b/_stories/1932/14754464.md new file mode 100644 index 0000000..e69de29 diff --git a/_stories/1932/6513765.md b/_stories/1932/6513765.md new file mode 100644 index 0000000..61d5155 --- /dev/null +++ b/_stories/1932/6513765.md @@ -0,0 +1,96 @@ +[Source](http://www.zpub.com/notes/idle.html "Permalink to +In Praise of Idleness + +By Bertrand Russell + +") + +# +In Praise of Idleness + +By Bertrand Russell + + + +## In Praise of Idleness + +### By [Bertrand Russell][1] + +[1932] + +* * * + + +Like most of my generation, I was brought up on the saying: 'Satan finds some mischief for idle hands to do.' Being a highly virtuous child, I believed all that I was told, and acquired a conscience which has kept me working hard down to the present moment. But although my conscience has controlled my actions, my opinions have undergone a revolution. I think that there is far too much work done in the world, that immense harm is caused by the belief that work is virtuous, and that what needs to be preached in modern industrial countries is quite different from what always has been preached. Everyone knows the story of the traveler in Naples who saw twelve beggars lying in the sun (it was before the days of Mussolini), and offered a lira to the laziest of them. Eleven of them jumped up to claim it, so he gave it to the twelfth. this traveler was on the right lines. But in countries which do not enjoy Mediterranean sunshine idleness is more difficult, and a great public propaganda will be required to inaugurate it. I hope that, after reading the following pages, the leaders of the YMCA will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain. + +Before advancing my own arguments for laziness, I must dispose of one which I cannot accept. Whenever a person who already has enough to live on proposes to engage in some everyday kind of job, such as school-teaching or typing, he or she is told that such conduct takes the bread out of other people's mouths, and is therefore wicked. If this argument were valid, it would only be necessary for us all to be idle in order that we should all have our mouths full of bread. What people who say such things forget is that what a man earns he usually spends, and in spending he gives employment. As long as a man spends his income, he puts just as much bread into people's mouths in spending as he takes out of other people's mouths in earning. The real villain, from this point of view, is the man who saves. If he merely puts his savings in a stocking, like the proverbial French peasant, it is obvious that they do not give employment. If he invests his savings, the matter is less obvious, and different cases arise. + +One of the commonest things to do with savings is to lend them to some Government. In view of the fact that the bulk of the public expenditure of most civilized Governments consists in payment for past wars or preparation for future wars, the man who lends his money to a Government is in the same position as the bad men in Shakespeare who hire murderers. The net result of the man's economical habits is to increase the armed forces of the State to which he lends his savings. Obviously it would be better if he spent the money, even if he spent it in drink or gambling. + +But, I shall be told, the case is quite different when savings are invested in industrial enterprises. When such enterprises succeed, and produce something useful, this may be conceded. In these days, however, no one will deny that most enterprises fail. That means that a large amount of human labor, which might have been devoted to producing something that could be enjoyed, was expended on producing machines which, when produced, lay idle and did no good to anyone. The man who invests his savings in a concern that goes bankrupt is therefore injuring others as well as himself. If he spent his money, say, in giving parties for his friends, they (we may hope) would get pleasure, and so would all those upon whom he spent money, such as the butcher, the baker, and the bootlegger. But if he spends it (let us say) upon laying down rails for surface card in some place where surface cars turn out not to be wanted, he has diverted a mass of labor into channels where it gives pleasure to no one. Nevertheless, when he becomes poor through failure of his investment he will be regarded as a victim of undeserved misfortune, whereas the gay spendthrift, who has spent his money philanthropically, will be despised as a fool and a frivolous person. + +All this is only preliminary. I want to say, in all seriousness, that a great deal of harm is being done in the modern world by belief in the virtuousness of work, and that the road to happiness and prosperity lies in an organized diminution of work. + +First of all: what is work? Work is of two kinds: first, altering the position of matter at or near the earth's surface relatively to other such matter; second, telling other people to do so. The first kind is unpleasant and ill paid; the second is pleasant and highly paid. The second kind is capable of indefinite extension: there are not only those who give orders, but those who give advice as to what orders should be given. Usually two opposite kinds of advice are given simultaneously by two organized bodies of men; this is called politics. The skill required for this kind of work is not knowledge of the subjects as to which advice is given, but knowledge of the art of persuasive speaking and writing, i.e. of advertising. + +Throughout Europe, though not in America, there is a third class of men, more respected than either of the classes of workers. There are men who, through ownership of land, are able to make others pay for the privilege of being allowed to exist and to work. These landowners are idle, and I might therefore be expected to praise them. Unfortunately, their idleness is only rendered possible by the industry of others; indeed their desire for comfortable idleness is historically the source of the whole gospel of work. The last thing they have ever wished is that others should follow their example. + +From the beginning of civilization until the Industrial Revolution, a man could, as a rule, produce by hard work little more than was required for the subsistence of himself and his family, although his wife worked at least as hard as he did, and his children added their labor as soon as they were old enough to do so. The small surplus above bare necessaries was not left to those who produced it, but was appropriated by warriors and priests. In times of famine there was no surplus; the warriors and priests, however, still secured as much as at other times, with the result that many of the workers died of hunger. This system persisted in Russia until 1917 [1], and still persists in the East; in England, in spite of the Industrial Revolution, it remained in full force throughout the Napoleonic wars, and until a hundred years ago, when the new class of manufacturers acquired power. In America, the system came to an end with the Revolution, except in the South, where it persisted until the Civil War. A system which lasted so long and ended so recently has naturally left a profound impress upon men's thoughts and opinions. Much that we take for granted about the desirability of work is derived from this system, and, being pre-industrial, is not adapted to the modern world. Modern technique has made it possible for leisure, within limits, to be not the prerogative of small privileged classes, but a right evenly distributed throughout the community. The morality of work is the morality of slaves, and the modern world has no need of slavery. + +It is obvious that, in primitive communities, peasants, left to themselves, would not have parted with the slender surplus upon which the warriors and priests subsisted, but would have either produced less or consumed more. At first, sheer force compelled them to produce and part with the surplus. Gradually, however, it was found possible to induce many of them to accept an ethic according to which it was their duty to work hard, although part of their work went to support others in idleness. By this means the amount of compulsion required was lessened, and the expenses of government were diminished. To this day, 99 per cent of British wage-earners would be genuinely shocked if it were proposed that the King should not have a larger income than a working man. The conception of duty, speaking historically, has been a means used by the holders of power to induce others to live for the interests of their masters rather than for their own. Of course the holders of power conceal this fact from themselves by managing to believe that their interests are identical with the larger interests of humanity. Sometimes this is true; Athenian slave-owners, for instance, employed part of their leisure in making a permanent contribution to civilization which would have been impossible under a just economic system. Leisure is essential to civilization, and in former times leisure for the few was only rendered possible by the labors of the many. But their labors were valuable, not because work is good, but because leisure is good. And with modern technique it would be possible to distribute leisure justly without injury to civilization. + +Modern technique has made it possible to diminish enormously the amount of labor required to secure the necessaries of life for everyone. This was made obvious during the war. At that time all the men in the armed forces, and all the men and women engaged in the production of munitions, all the men and women engaged in spying, war propaganda, or Government offices connected with the war, were withdrawn from productive occupations. In spite of this, the general level of well-being among unskilled wage-earners on the side of the Allies was higher than before or since. The significance of this fact was concealed by finance: borrowing made it appear as if the future was nourishing the present. But that, of course, would have been impossible; a man cannot eat a loaf of bread that does not yet exist. The war showed conclusively that, by the scientific organization of production, it is possible to keep modern populations in fair comfort on a small part of the working capacity of the modern world. If, at the end of the war, the scientific organization, which had been created in order to liberate men for fighting and munition work, had been preserved, and the hours of the week had been cut down to four, all would have been well. Instead of that the old chaos was restored, those whose work was demanded were made to work long hours, and the rest were left to starve as unemployed. Why? Because work is a duty, and a man should not receive wages in proportion to what he has produced, but in proportion to his virtue as exemplified by his industry. + +This is the morality of the Slave State, applied in circumstances totally unlike those in which it arose. No wonder the result has been disastrous. Let us take an illustration. Suppose that, at a given moment, a certain number of people are engaged in the manufacture of pins. They make as many pins as the world needs, working (say) eight hours a day. Someone makes an invention by which the same number of men can make twice as many pins: pins are already so cheap that hardly any more will be bought at a lower price. In a sensible world, everybody concerned in the manufacturing of pins would take to working four hours instead of eight, and everything else would go on as before. But in the actual world this would be thought demoralizing. The men still work eight hours, there are too many pins, some employers go bankrupt, and half the men previously concerned in making pins are thrown out of work. There is, in the end, just as much leisure as on the other plan, but half the men are totally idle while half are still overworked. In this way, it is insured that the unavoidable leisure shall cause misery all round instead of being a universal source of happiness. Can anything more insane be imagined? + +The idea that the poor should have leisure has always been shocking to the rich. In England, in the early nineteenth century, fifteen hours was the ordinary day's work for a man; children sometimes did as much, and very commonly did twelve hours a day. When meddlesome busybodies suggested that perhaps these hours were rather long, they were told that work kept adults from drink and children from mischief. When I was a child, shortly after urban working men had acquired the vote, certain public holidays were established by law, to the great indignation of the upper classes. I remember hearing an old Duchess say: 'What do the poor want with holidays? They ought to work.' People nowadays are less frank, but the sentiment persists, and is the source of much of our economic confusion. + +Let us, for a moment, consider the ethics of work frankly, without superstition. Every human being, of necessity, consumes, in the course of his life, a certain amount of the produce of human labor. Assuming, as we may, that labor is on the whole disagreeable, it is unjust that a man should consume more than he produces. Of course he may provide services rather than commodities, like a medical man, for example; but he should provide something in return for his board and lodging. to this extent, the duty of work must be admitted, but to this extent only. + +I shall not dwell upon the fact that, in all modern societies outside the USSR, many people escape even this minimum amount of work, namely all those who inherit money and all those who marry money. I do not think the fact that these people are allowed to be idle is nearly so harmful as the fact that wage-earners are expected to overwork or starve. + +If the ordinary wage-earner worked four hours a day, there would be enough for everybody and no unemployment -- assuming a certain very moderate amount of sensible organization. This idea shocks the well-to-do, because they are convinced that the poor would not know how to use so much leisure. In America men often work long hours even when they are well off; such men, naturally, are indignant at the idea of leisure for wage-earners, except as the grim punishment of unemployment; in fact, they dislike leisure even for their sons. Oddly enough, while they wish their sons to work so hard as to have no time to be civilized, they do not mind their wives and daughters having no work at all. the snobbish admiration of uselessness, which, in an aristocratic society, extends to both sexes, is, under a plutocracy, confined to women; this, however, does not make it any more in agreement with common sense. + +The wise use of leisure, it must be conceded, is a product of civilization and education. A man who has worked long hours all his life will become bored if he becomes suddenly idle. But without a considerable amount of leisure a man is cut off from many of the best things. There is no longer any reason why the bulk of the population should suffer this deprivation; only a foolish asceticism, usually vicarious, makes us continue to insist on work in excessive quantities now that the need no longer exists. + +In the new creed which controls the government of Russia, while there is much that is very different from the traditional teaching of the West, there are some things that are quite unchanged. The attitude of the governing classes, and especially of those who conduct educational propaganda, on the subject of the dignity of labor, is almost exactly that which the governing classes of the world have always preached to what were called the 'honest poor'. Industry, sobriety, willingness to work long hours for distant advantages, even submissiveness to authority, all these reappear; moreover authority still represents the will of the Ruler of the Universe, Who, however, is now called by a new name, Dialectical Materialism. + +The victory of the proletariat in Russia has some points in common with the victory of the feminists in some other countries. For ages, men had conceded the superior saintliness of women, and had consoled women for their inferiority by maintaining that saintliness is more desirable than power. At last the feminists decided that they would have both, since the pioneers among them believed all that the men had told them about the desirability of virtue, but not what they had told them about the worthlessness of political power. A similar thing has happened in Russia as regards manual work. For ages, the rich and their sycophants have written in praise of 'honest toil', have praised the simple life, have professed a religion which teaches that the poor are much more likely to go to heaven than the rich, and in general have tried to make manual workers believe that there is some special nobility about altering the position of matter in space, just as men tried to make women believe that they derived some special nobility from their sexual enslavement. In Russia, all this teaching about the excellence of manual work has been taken seriously, with the result that the manual worker is more honored than anyone else. What are, in essence, revivalist appeals are made, but not for the old purposes: they are made to secure shock workers for special tasks. Manual work is the ideal which is held before the young, and is the basis of all ethical teaching. + +For the present, possibly, this is all to the good. A large country, full of natural resources, awaits development, and has has to be developed with very little use of credit. In these circumstances, hard work is necessary, and is likely to bring a great reward. But what will happen when the point has been reached where everybody could be comfortable without working long hours? + +In the West, we have various ways of dealing with this problem. We have no attempt at economic justice, so that a large proportion of the total produce goes to a small minority of the population, many of whom do no work at all. Owing to the absence of any central control over production, we produce hosts of things that are not wanted. We keep a large percentage of the working population idle, because we can dispense with their labor by making the others overwork. When all these methods prove inadequate, we have a war: we cause a number of people to manufacture high explosives, and a number of others to explode them, as if we were children who had just discovered fireworks. By a combination of all these devices we manage, though with difficulty, to keep alive the notion that a great deal of severe manual work must be the lot of the average man. + +In Russia, owing to more economic justice and central control over production, the problem will have to be differently solved. the rational solution would be, as soon as the necessaries and elementary comforts can be provided for all, to reduce the hours of labor gradually, allowing a popular vote to decide, at each stage, whether more leisure or more goods were to be preferred. But, having taught the supreme virtue of hard work, it is difficult to see how the authorities can aim at a paradise in which there will be much leisure and little work. It seems more likely that they will find continually fresh schemes, by which present leisure is to be sacrificed to future productivity. I read recently of an ingenious plan put forward by Russian engineers, for making the White Sea and the northern coasts of Siberia warm, by putting a dam across the Kara Sea. An admirable project, but liable to postpone proletarian comfort for a generation, while the nobility of toil is being displayed amid the ice-fields and snowstorms of the Arctic Ocean. This sort of thing, if it happens, will be the result of regarding the virtue of hard work as an end in itself, rather than as a means to a state of affairs in which it is no longer needed. + +The fact is that moving matter about, while a certain amount of it is necessary to our existence, is emphatically not one of the ends of human life. If it were, we should have to consider every navvy superior to Shakespeare. We have been misled in this matter by two causes. One is the necessity of keeping the poor contented, which has led the rich, for thousands of years, to preach the dignity of labor, while taking care themselves to remain undignified in this respect. The other is the new pleasure in mechanism, which makes us delight in the astonishingly clever changes that we can produce on the earth's surface. Neither of these motives makes any great appeal to the actual worker. If you ask him what he thinks the best part of his life, he is not likely to say: 'I enjoy manual work because it makes me feel that I am fulfilling man's noblest task, and because I like to think how much man can transform his planet. It is true that my body demands periods of rest, which I have to fill in as best I may, but I am never so happy as when the morning comes and I can return to the toil from which my contentment springs.' I have never heard working men say this sort of thing. They consider work, as it should be considered, a necessary means to a livelihood, and it is from their leisure that they derive whatever happiness they may enjoy. + +It will be said that, while a little leisure is pleasant, men would not know how to fill their days if they had only four hours of work out of the twenty-four. In so far as this is true in the modern world, it is a condemnation of our civilization; it would not have been true at any earlier period. There was formerly a capacity for light-heartedness and play which has been to some extent inhibited by the cult of efficiency. The modern man thinks that everything ought to be done for the sake of something else, and never for its own sake. Serious-minded persons, for example, are continually condemning the habit of going to the cinema, and telling us that it leads the young into crime. But all the work that goes to producing a cinema is respectable, because it is work, and because it brings a money profit. The notion that the desirable activities are those that bring a profit has made everything topsy-turvy. The butcher who provides you with meat and the baker who provides you with bread are praiseworthy, because they are making money; but when you enjoy the food they have provided, you are merely frivolous, unless you eat only to get strength for your work. Broadly speaking, it is held that getting money is good and spending money is bad. Seeing that they are two sides of one transaction, this is absurd; one might as well maintain that keys are good, but keyholes are bad. Whatever merit there may be in the production of goods must be entirely derivative from the advantage to be obtained by consuming them. The individual, in our society, works for profit; but the social purpose of his work lies in the consumption of what he produces. It is this divorce between the individual and the social purpose of production that makes it so difficult for men to think clearly in a world in which profit-making is the incentive to industry. We think too much of production, and too little of consumption. One result is that we attach too little importance to enjoyment and simple happiness, and that we do not judge production by the pleasure that it gives to the consumer. + +When I suggest that working hours should be reduced to four, I am not meaning to imply that all the remaining time should necessarily be spent in pure frivolity. I mean that four hours' work a day should entitle a man to the necessities and elementary comforts of life, and that the rest of his time should be his to use as he might see fit. It is an essential part of any such social system that education should be carried further than it usually is at present, and should aim, in part, at providing tastes which would enable a man to use leisure intelligently. I am not thinking mainly of the sort of things that would be considered 'highbrow'. Peasant dances have died out except in remote rural areas, but the impulses which caused them to be cultivated must still exist in human nature. The pleasures of urban populations have become mainly passive: seeing cinemas, watching football matches, listening to the radio, and so on. This results from the fact that their active energies are fully taken up with work; if they had more leisure, they would again enjoy pleasures in which they took an active part. + +In the past, there was a small leisure class and a larger working class. The leisure class enjoyed advantages for which there was no basis in social justice; this necessarily made it oppressive, limited its sympathies, and caused it to invent theories by which to justify its privileges. These facts greatly diminished its excellence, but in spite of this drawback it contributed nearly the whole of what we call civilization. It cultivated the arts and discovered the sciences; it wrote the books, invented the philosophies, and refined social relations. Even the liberation of the oppressed has usually been inaugurated from above. Without the leisure class, mankind would never have emerged from barbarism. + +The method of a leisure class without duties was, however, extraordinarily wasteful. None of the members of the class had to be taught to be industrious, and the class as a whole was not exceptionally intelligent. The class might produce one Darwin, but against him had to be set tens of thousands of country gentlemen who never thought of anything more intelligent than fox-hunting and punishing poachers. At present, the universities are supposed to provide, in a more systematic way, what the leisure class provided accidentally and as a by-product. This is a great improvement, but it has certain drawbacks. University life is so different from life in the world at large that men who live in academic milieu tend to be unaware of the preoccupations and problems of ordinary men and women; moreover their ways of expressing themselves are usually such as to rob their opinions of the influence that they ought to have upon the general public. Another disadvantage is that in universities studies are organized, and the man who thinks of some original line of research is likely to be discouraged. Academic institutions, therefore, useful as they are, are not adequate guardians of the interests of civilization in a world where everyone outside their walls is too busy for unutilitarian pursuits. + +In a world where no one is compelled to work more than four hours a day, every person possessed of scientific curiosity will be able to indulge it, and every painter will be able to paint without starving, however excellent his pictures may be. Young writers will not be obliged to draw attention to themselves by sensational pot-boilers, with a view to acquiring the economic independence needed for monumental works, for which, when the time at last comes, they will have lost the taste and capacity. Men who, in their professional work, have become interested in some phase of economics or government, will be able to develop their ideas without the academic detachment that makes the work of university economists often seem lacking in reality. Medical men will have the time to learn about the progress of medicine, teachers will not be exasperatedly struggling to teach by routine methods things which they learnt in their youth, which may, in the interval, have been proved to be untrue. + +Above all, there will be happiness and joy of life, instead of frayed nerves, weariness, and dyspepsia. The work exacted will be enough to make leisure delightful, but not enough to produce exhaustion. Since men will not be tired in their spare time, they will not demand only such amusements as are passive and vapid. At least one per cent will probably devote the time not spent in professional work to pursuits of some public importance, and, since they will not depend upon these pursuits for their livelihood, their originality will be unhampered, and there will be no need to conform to the standards set by elderly pundits. But it is not only in these exceptional cases that the advantages of leisure will appear. Ordinary men and women, having the opportunity of a happy life, will become more kindly and less persecuting and less inclined to view others with suspicion. The taste for war will die out, partly for this reason, and partly because it will involve long and severe work for all. Good nature is, of all moral qualities, the one that the world needs most, and good nature is the result of ease and security, not of a life of arduous struggle. Modern methods of production have given us the possibility of ease and security for all; we have chosen, instead, to have overwork for some and starvation for others. Hitherto we have continued to be as energetic as we were before there were machines; in this we have been foolish, but there is no reason to go on being foolish forever. + +[1] Since then, members of the Communist Party have succeeded to this privilege of the warriors and priests. + +_ This text was first provided by the Massachusetts Green Party. | + +* * * + +[Add Your Comments][2] \- [Intolerance & Idleness][3] @_z Times_ + +[Back][4] to the Anarchist Reading List + +from the Anarchist Reading List at: http://www.zpub.com/notes/aan-read.html + +[1]: http://www.zpub.com/