* * * * *
THE UNITED AMATEUR for March brings to the fore Mr. George S. Schilling's unusual editorial talent, and makes manifest the bright future of the official organ for the balance of the present administrative year. The chief literary contribution is "Hail, Autumn!", one of Mr. Arthur Ashby's brilliant and scholarly essays on Nature. The quality of Mr. Ashby's work deserves particular attention for its reflective depth of thought, and glowing profusion of imagery. His style is remarkably mature, and escapes completely that subtle suggestion of the schoolboy's composition which seems inseparable from the average amateur's attempts at natural description and philosophizing. Mr. Schilling's editorials are forcible and straightforward, vibrant with enthusiasm for the welfare of the association. "A Representative Official Organ", by Paul J. Campbell, serves to explain the author's highly desirable constitutional amendment proposed for consideration at the coming election, which will open the columns of THE UNITED AMATEUR to the general membership at a very reasonable expense. The News Notes in the present issue are sprightly and interesting.
* * * * *
THE UNITED AMATEUR for April is made brilliant by the presence of Henry Clapham McGavack's terse and lucid exposure of hyphenated hypocrisy, entitled "Dr. Burgess, Propagandist". Mr. McGavack's phenomenally virile and convincing style is supported by a remarkable fund of historical and diplomatic knowledge, and the feeble fallacies of the pro-German embargo advocates collapse in speedy fashion before the polished but vigorous onslaughts of his animated pen. Another essay inspired by no superficial thinking is Edgar Ralph Cheyney's "Nietzschean Philosophy", wherein some of the basic precepts of the celebrated iconoclast are set forth in comprehensive array. "The Master Voice of Ages Calls for Peace", a poem by Mrs. Frona Scott, has fairly regular metre, though its sentiment is one of conventional and purely emotional pacifism. "A Gentle Satire on Friendship", by Freda de Larot, is a very clever piece of light prose; which could, however, be improved by the deletion of much slang, and the rectification of many loose constructions. "A Wonderful Play" is Mrs. Eloise R. Griffith's well worded review of Jerome K. Jerome's "The Passing of the Third Floor Back", as enacted by Forbes-Robertson. Mrs. Griffith has here, as in all her essays, achieved a quietly pleasing effect, and pointed a just moral. "Fire Dreams" is a graphic and commendably regular poem by Mrs. Renshaw. "The Beach", a poem by O. M. Blood, requires grammatical emendation. "How better could the hours been spent" and "When life and love true pleasure brings" cannot be excused even by the exigencies of rhyme and metre. After the second stanza, the couplet form shifts in an unwarranted manner to the quatrain arrangement. The phraseology of the entire piece displays poetical tendencies yet reveals a need for their assiduous cultivation through reading and further practice. "My Shrine", by James Laurence Crowley, exhibits real merit both in wording and metre, yet has a rather weak third stanza. The lines:
"One day I crossed the desert sands; One day I ride my train;"
are obviously anticlimactic. To say that the subject is trite would be a little unjust to Mr. Crowley's Muse, for all amatory themes, having been worked over since the very dawn of poesy, are necessarily barren of possibilities save to the extremely skilled metrist. Contemporary love-lyrics can scarcely hope to shine except through brilliant and unexpected turns of wit, or extraordinarily tuneful numbers. The following lines by Margaret, Duchess of Newcastle, who died in 1673, well express the situation despite their crudeness:
"O Love, how thou art tired out with rhyme! Thou art a tree whereon all poets climb; And from thy branches every one takes some Of the sweet fruit, which Fancy feeds upon. But now thy tree is left so bare and poor, That they can hardly gather one plum more!"
"Indicatory", a brilliant short sketch by Ethel Halsey, well illustrates the vanity of the fair, and completes in pleasing fashion a very creditable number of our official magazine.
* * * * *
THE UNITED AMATEUR for May forms still another monument to the taste and energy of our official editor, Mr. Schilling. Biography is the keynote of the current issue, Mrs. Renshaw, Mr. J. E. Hoag, and Mr. Henry Cleveland Wood each receiving mention. Miss Emilie C. Holladay displays a pleasing prose style in her account of our Second Vice-President, and arouses interest with double force through the introduction of juvenile incidents.
"Happiness Defined" is a delightful little sketch by Ida C. Haughton, whose philosophy will awake an universal response from the breasts of the majority. "The Wind Fairies", by Jean F. Barnum, is a poem in prose which contains more of the genuine poetic essence than does the average contemporary versified effort. The grace and grandeur of the clouds and the atmosphere have in all ages been admired, and it is but natural that they figure to a great extent in the beautiful legends of primitive mythology. "The Ship that Sails Away", by J. E. Hoag, is a delicate and attractive poem whose images and phraseology are equally meritorious. Mr. Hoag's poetical attainments are such that we await with eagerness the appearance of the pieces predicted in his biography. "To Flavia", by Chester Pierce Munroe, is a sweet lyric addressed to a young child and pervaded throughout with a quaintly whimsical, almost Georgian, semblance of stately gallantry. The first word of the seventeenth line should read "small" instead of "swell". As misprinted, this line conveys a rather incongruous impression. "Mountains in Purple Robes of Mist", a vivid and powerful poem of Nature by Rev. Eugene B. Kuntz, is cast in Alexandrine quatrains, a rather uncommon measure. The only possible defect is in line thirteen, where the accent of the word "sublime" seems to impede the flow of the metre. Line nineteen apparently lacks two syllables, but the deficiency is probably secretarial or typographical rather than literary. "Man as Cook", also by Dr. Kuntz, is a clever bit of humorous verse in octosyllabic couplets. "Consolation" well exhibits Andrew Francis Lockhart's remarkable progress as a poet. His verse is increasing every day in polish, and is fast becoming one of the most pleasing and eagerly awaited features of amateur letters. "At the End of the Road", by Mary Faye Durr, is a graphic and touching description of a deserted schoolhouse. The atmosphere of pensive reminiscence is well sustained by the judiciously selected variety of images and allusions. "There's None Like Mine at Home", by James Laurence Crowley, is a characteristic bit of Crowleian sentimentality which requires revision and condensation. There is not enough thought to last out three stanzas of eight lines each. Technically we must needs shudder at the apparent incurable use of "m-n" assonance. "Own" and "known" are brazenly and repeatedly flaunted with "roam" and "home" in attempted rhyme. But the crowning splendour of impossible assonance is attained in the "Worlds-girls" atrocity. Mr. Crowley needs a long session with the late Mr. Walker's well-known Rhyming Dictionary! Metrically, Mr. Crowley is showing a decided improvement of late. The only censurable points in the measure of this piece are the redundant syllables in lines 1 and 3, which might in each case be obviated by the substitution of "I've" for "I have", and the change of form in the first half of the concluding stanza. Of the general phraseology and imagery we may only remark that Mr. Crowley has much to forget, as well as to learn, before he can compete with Mr. Kleiner or other high-grade amatory poets in the United. Such expressions as "my guiding star", "my own dear darling Kate", or "she's the sweetest girl that e'er on earth did roam", tell the whole sad story to the critical eye and ear. If Mr. Crowley would religiously eschew the popular songs and magazine "poetry" of the day, and give over all his time to a perusal of the recognized classics of English verse, the result would immediately be reflected in his own compositions. As yet, he claims to be independent of scholarly tradition, but we must remind him of the Latin epigram of Mr. Owen, which Mr. Cowper thus translated under the title of "Retaliation":
"The works of ancient bards divine, Aulus, thou scorn'st to read; And should posterity read thine, It would be strange indeed!"
So energetic and prolific a writer as Mr. Crowley owes it alike to himself and to his readers to develop as best he can the talent which rests latent within him.
* * * * *
The Woodbee for April opens with a melodious poem by Adam Dickson, entitled "Love". While the metre might well be changed in the interests of uniformity, the general effect is not at all harsh, and the author is entitled to no small credit for his production. The only other poem in the magazine is "Alone With Him", by Mrs. Ida C. Haughton. This piece is remarkable for its rhyming arrangement, each rhyme being carried through four lines instead of the usual couplet. The sentiments are just, the images well drawn, and the technique correct; the whole forming a highly commendable addition to amateur literature. "The Melody and Colour of 'The Lady of Shalott'", by Mary Faye Durr, is a striking Tennysonian critique, whose psychological features, involving a comparison of chromatic and poetic elements, are ingenious and unusual. Miss Durr is obviously no careless student of poesy, for the minute analyses of various passages give evidence of thorough assimilation and intelligent comprehension. "On Being Good", by Newton A. Thatcher, contains sound sense and real humour, whilst its pleasingly familiar style augurs well for Mr. Thatcher's progress in this species of composition. "War Reflections", by Herbert Albing, is an apt and thoughtful epitome of the compensating benefits given to mankind by the present belligerent condition of the world. The cogent and comprehensive series of reviews by Miss Edna M. Haughton, and the crisp and pertinent paragraphs by Editor Fritter, combine with the rest of The Woodbee's contents to produce an issue uniformly meritorious.
H. P. LOVECRAFT, Chairman.
THE POETRY OF THE MONTH
An Epistle to RHEINHART KLEINER, Esq., Poet-Laureate, and Author of "Another Endless Day".
Beatus ille qui procul negotiis, Ut prisca gens mortalium, Paterna rura bobus exercet suis. —HORACE.
KLEINER! in whose quick pulses wildly beat The youth's ambition, and the lyrist's heat, Whose questing spirit scorns our lowly flights, And dares the heavens for sublimer heights: If passion's force will grant an hour's relief, Attend a calmer song, nor nurse thy grief. What is true bliss? Must mortals ever yearn For stars beyond their reach, and vainly burn; Must suff'ring man, impatient, seek to scale Forbidden steeps, where sharper pangs prevail? Alas for him who chafes at soothing ease, And cries for fever'd joys and pains to please: They please a moment, but the pleasure flies, And the rack'd soul, a prey to passion, dies. Away, false lures! and let my spirit roam O'er sweet Arcadia, and the rural home; Let my sad heart with no new sorrow bleed, But rest content in Morven's mossy mead. Wild thoughts and vain ambitions circle near, Whilst I, at peace, the abbey chimings hear. Loud shakes the surge of Life's unquiet sea, Yet smooth the stream that laves the rustic lea. Let others feel the world's destroying thrill, As 'midst the kine I haunt the verdant hill. Rise, radiant sun! to light the grassy glades, Whose charms I view from grateful beechen shades; O'er spire and peak diffuse th' expanding gleam That gilds the grove, and sparkles on the stream. Awake! ye sylphs of Flora's gorgeous train, To scent the fields, and deck the rising main. Soar, feathered flock, and carol o'er the scene, To cheer the lonely watcher on the green. Sweet is the song the morning meadow bears, And with the darkness fade ambitious cares: Above the abbey tow'r the rays ascend, As light and peace in matchless beauty blend. Why should I sigh for realms of toil and stress, When now I bask in Nature's loveliness; What thoughts so great, that they must needs expand Beyond the hills that bound this fragrant land? These friendly hills my infant vision knew, And in the shelt'ring vale from birth I grew. Yon distant spires Ambition's limit show, For who, here born, could farther wish to go? When sky-blest evening soothes the world and me, Are moon and stars more distant from my lea? No urban glare my sight of heav'n obscures, And orbs undimm'd rise o'er the neighb'ring moors. What priceless boon may spreading Fame impart, When village dignity hath cheer'd the heart? The little group that hug the tavern fire To air their wisdom, and salute their squire, Far kinder are, than all the courtly throng That flatter Kings, and shield their faults in song! And in the end; what if no man adore My senseless ashes 'neath Westminster's floor? May not my weary frame, at Life's dim night, Sleep where my childhood first enjoy'd the light? Rest were the sweeter in the sacred shade Of that dear fane where all my fathers pray'd; Ancestral spirits bless the air around, And hallow'd mem'ries fill the gentle ground. So stay, belov'd Content! nor let my soul In fretful passion seek a farther goal. Apollo, chasing Daphne, gain'd his prize, But lo! she turn'd to wood before his eyes! Our earthly prizes, though as holy sought, Prove just as fleeting, and decay to naught. Enduring bliss a man may only find In virtuous living, and contented mind.
H. P. LOVECRAFT.
THE UNITED AMATEUR AUGUST 1916
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC CRITICISM
FIRST ANNUAL REPORT 1915-1916.
Following a novel idea originated by the present Columbus administration, the Department of Public Criticism will herewith submit for the first time in its history an annual report, or summary of the preceding year's literary events within the United Amateur Press Association.
The programme of improvement informally decided upon in the official year of 1913-1914 received its definite ratification at the Rocky Mount Convention, when the assembled representatives of the United pledged "Individual collective support" to Mr. Fritter, the new President, in his endeavors to raise the literary standard of our society, and when an absolutely unanimous vote invested Mrs. J. W. Renshaw, the leading spirit of progress, with the important office of Second Vice-President. Pres. Fritter has since discharged his obligations and sustained his responsibilities in a thoroughly satisfactory manner despite many trying difficulties, whilst Mrs. Renshaw, as a recruiter, has succeeded in laying the foundations of a completely broadened, elevated, and rejuvenated association. Yet all that has been accomplished is merely the prologue of that greater period of change which must bring about the final assimilation of Mrs. Renshaw's phenomenally gifted recruits, and the materialization of the still nebulous plans evolved during the past twelvemonth.
The undersigned has on several occasions advocated the formation of a regular "Department of Instruction" in the United, to be conducted by professional teachers and college instructors for the purpose of guiding the more or less inexperienced members. He has communicated his idea to several high-school preceptors of great ability, and has learned that under present conditions such a department is not perfectly feasible. It has been suggested that if each experienced and educated amateur would assume a personal and sympathetic advisory position toward some one of the younger or cruder members, much actual good might result. As our list now stands, the crude and the cultured are perhaps evenly balanced, yet instant success even in this modified course can scarcely be expected. At least another year seems to be required, in which the various members may gain a closer knowledge of each other through the wider diffusion of their printed efforts. However, the need for a more uniformly educated membership is pressing, and the undersigned will welcome aid or advice of any kind from those willing to assist him in establishing some sort of scholastic Department.
Another idea which has received undeserved neglect and discouraging opposition is the Authors' Placing Bureau or "United Literary Service", as outlined by the Second Vice-President. The normal goal of the amateur writer is the outside world of letters, and the United should certainly be able to provide improved facilities for the progress of its members into the professional field. The objections offered to this plan are apparently less vital than those affecting the Department of Instruction, and it is to be hoped that the mistaken zeal of our non-professional sticklers may not serve to prevent a step so sorely needed.
Passing on to the details of Departmental work, the undersigned is pleased to report a remarkable increase in the literary value of the compositions brought forth in the United this year; an increase which may be fairly declared to constitute a true elevation of our intellectual standard, and which undoubtedly compensates for the present regrettable paucity of amateur publishing media. In verse, particularly, is the advance notable. Some of our poets are securing recognition in the outside world of letters, whilst many lesser bards show a steady upward trend in their amateur efforts. Prose continues to suffer because of the seemingly unavoidable brevity of the average amateur journal. It is impossible to crowd any really well developed piece of prose within the limits generally assigned, hence our best authors seem almost to be driven into verse as a medium of expression. Financial prosperity of sufficient extent to ensure the publication of larger papers is obviously the only remedy for this deplorable condition.
Of our poets, the Laureate Rheinhart Kleiner (also Laureate of the National for 1916-1917) continues as the foremost technician and harmonist. His accurate and tasteful lines satisfy the ear and the understanding with equal completeness, and he shows no sign of yielding to the corrupting influences of decadent modern standards. In his own journal, The Piper, he reveals a versatile and phenomenally well stocked mind. The September number, containing imitations of the work of other amateur poets, will long be remembered. Mrs. Renshaw maintains her high place as a philosophical and expressionistic bard, though hampered by unusual theories of spontaneous versification. A greater deference to the human ear and metrical sense would render her already lofty poetry as attractive as it is exalted. Miss Olive G. Owen, former Laureate, has lately returned to activity, and may well be expected to duplicate her former successes in the domain of the Muses. The poetical progress of Andrew Francis Lockhart is a notable feature of amateur letters this year. Mr. Lockhart has always possessed the true genius of the bard, writing ably and voluminously; but his recent technical care is bringing out hitherto undiscovered beauties in his verse, and placing him in the very front rank of United poets. "Benediction" and "Consolation" are vastly above the average.
Of the new poets of prime magnitude who have risen above our horizon during the past year, Mrs. Winifred Virginia Jordan of Newton Centre, Mass., deserves especial mention both for high quality and great volume of work. Mrs. Jordan's poetry is of a tunefully delicate and highly individualistic sort which has placed it in great demand amongst amateur editors, and it is not unlikely that the author may be rewarded with a Laureateship at no distant date. The work is invariably of spontaneously graceful rhythm and universally pleasing in sentiment, having frequently an elusive suggestion of the unreal. A few of Mrs. Jordan's poems are of the grimly weird and powerful variety. "The Song of the North Wind" is a remarkable contribution to amateur letters, and has won the enthusiastic admiration of the United's poetical element. Professional success has recently crowned the efforts of Mrs. Jordan. Weekly Unity for June 17 contains her lines on "The Singing Heart", whilst several other poems from her pen have been accepted by The National Magazine. Rev. James Tobey Pyke is another poet of the first order whose writings have lately enriched the literature of the United. His style is correct, and his thought deep and philosophical. "The Meadow Cricket" is a poem which deserved more than a superficial perusal. John Russell, formerly of Scotland but now of Florida, is a satirist and dialect writer of enviable talent. His favorite measure is the octosyllabic couplet, and in his skilled hands this simple metre assumes a new and sparkling lustre. Rev. Frederick Chenault is a prolific lyrical poet whose sentiments are of uniform loftiness. The substitution of exact rhyme for assonance in his lines would double the already immense merit of his work. Other new bards of established ability are W. S. Harrison, Kathleen Baldwin, Eugene B. Kuntz, Mary Evelyn Brown, Henry Cleveland Wood, John W. Frazier, William Hume, Ella Colby Eckert, J. E. Hoag, Edgar Ralph Cheyney, Margaret A. Richard, William de Ryee, Helen H. Salls, and Jeanette Aylworth.
Of the poets whom we may term "rising", none presents a more striking figure than Ira A. Cole of Bazine, Kansas. Previously well known as a prose writer and publisher, he made his debut as a metrist just a year ago, through a very beautiful piece in the heroic couplet entitled "A Dream of the Golden Age". Mr. Cole is one of the few survivors of the genuine classic school, and constitutes a legitimate successor to the late Georgian poets. His development has been of extraordinary rapidity, and he will shortly surprise the amateur public both by a poetic drama called "The Pauper and the Prince", and by a long mythological poem not unlike Moore's "Lalla Rookh". The natural and pantheistic character of Mr. Cole's philosophy adapts him with phenomenal grace to his position as a mirror of classical antiquity. Another developing poet is Mr. Roy Wesley Nixon of Florida. "Grandma", his latest published composition, is a sonnet of real merit. Adam Dickson, a Scotsman by birth, but now a resident of Los Angeles, writes tunefully and pleasantly. His pieces are not yet of perfect polish, but each exhibits improvement over the preceding. He tends to favor the anapaest and the iambic tetrameter. Mrs. Ida Cochran Haughton of Columbus is scarcely a novice, but her latest pieces are undeniably showing a great increase of technical grace. Chester Pierce Munroe of North Carolina is a delicate amatory lyrist of the Kleiner type. He has the quaint and attractive Georgian touch, particularly evident in "To Flavia" and "To Chloris". Miss M. Estella Shufelt is absolutely new to the kingdom of poesy, yet has already produced work of phenomenal sweetness and piety. Mrs. E. L. Whitehead, though formerly confined wholly to prose, has entered the poetical field with intelligent and discriminating care. Her words are thoughtfully weighed and selected, whilst her technique has rapidly assumed a scholarly exactitude. Two new poets whose work requires much technical improvement are Mrs. Agnes R. Arnold and Mr. George M. Whiteside. Mr. Whiteside has indications of qualities not far remote from genius, and would be well repaid by a rigorous course of study. Messrs. John Hartman Oswald and James Laurence Crowley are both gifted with a fluency and self-sufficiency which might prove valuable assets in a study of poesy. W. F. Booker of North Carolina possesses phenomenal grace, which greater technical care would develop into unusual power. Rev. Robert L. Selle, D. D., of Little Rock, Arkansas, is inspired by sincerest religious fervor, and has produced a voluminous quantity of verse whose orthodoxy is above dispute. Mrs. Maude K. Barton writes frequently and well, though her technical polish has not yet attained its maximum. John Osman Baldwin of Ohio is a natural poet of spontaneous grace, though requiring cultivation in correct style.
From the foregoing estimate it may easily be gathered that imperfect technique is the cardinal sin of the average amateur poet. We have among us scores of writers blest with beautiful thoughts and attractive fluency, yet the number of precise versifiers may be counted on one's fingers. Our association needs increased requirements in classic scholarship and literary exactitude. At present, it is impossible for an impartial critic to give unstinted approval to the technique of any well known United poet save Rheinhart Kleiner.
Turning to the consideration of our prose writers, the undersigned finds it difficult to render a true judgment, owing to the adverse conditions mentioned earlier in this report. Many fluent pens are doubtless cramped into feebleness through want of space.
Fiction is among us the least developed of all the branches of literature. Really good stories are rare phenomena, whilst even mediocrity is none too common. The best short stories of the year are probably those by M. Almedia Bretholl and Eleanor Barnhart; the others are mainly juvenile work. Roy W. Nixon and Miss Coralie Austin represent the extremes of excitement and tameness, with "A Bottle of Carbolic Acid" on the one hand, and with "Jane" and "'Twixt the Red and the White" on the other. Both of these authors possess substantial ability. David H. Whittier is developing along classic lines, and will be a prominent figure in the next generation of amateur journalists. Mr. Moe's pupils are all good story-tellers, the work of Miss Gladys L. Bagg standing forth quite prominently this year. Florence Brugger's "Tale of the Sea" is a graphic narrative from a youthful pen, as is William Dowdell's "Behind the Canvas Wall", in a somewhat different way. Henriette and Florenz Ziegfeld have each contributed excellent work, nor must Mary M. Sisson's "Tempora Mutantur" be forgotten.
The rather loosely defined domain of the "sketch" has thriven this year, since it elicits fluent expression from those less prolific in other branches of literature. Mr. Melvin Ryder has entertained us with an entire magazine of this sort of material, whilst Mrs. Ida C. Haughton, Irene Metzger, Benjamin Repp, Mary Faye Durr, Ethel Halsey, Clara Inglis Stalker, Freda de Larot, Helene E. Hoffman Cole, Helen M. Woodruff, Ira A. Cole, and Eloise N. Griffith prove no less entertaining with shorter sketches.
Criticism is well represented by Leo Fritter, Edna M. Haughton, Mrs. J. W. Renshaw, and Rheinhart Kleiner. The latter is no less gifted a critic than a poet, and gives out very acute judgments in his journal, The Piper.
In viewing the formal essays of the year, one is impressed with the profusion of mere schoolboy compositions. Masters of the Addisonian art are few but those few almost atone for the general lack of polish. Henry Clapham McGavack leads the list with a clarity of style and keenness of reasoning unsurpassed in the association. His "Dr. Burgess, Propagandist" is an amateur classic. Edgar Ralph Cheyney is an extreme radical, but is none the less a masterful essayist. His articles take a very high rank both for thoughtfulness and for diction. A third writer of unusual power and analytical depth is Arthur W. Ashby, whose essays on the varied aspects of Nature command our serious attention. The two Schillings, George and Samuel, deserve more than a passing mention, whilst Pres. Fritter's Laureateship well attests his merit. Rev. E. P. Parham has produced work of attractive quality. Joseph W. Renshaw's essays and editorials command notice whenever beheld; whilst Ira A. Cole, ever versatile, will shortly display his epistolary skill in the now unpublished series of "Churchill-Tutcombie Letters". William T. Harrington has progressed by leaps and bounds to a prominent place amongst our essay-writers, his able encomiums of Old England being a delightful feature of the year. It would be gratifying to speak of Maurice W. Moe's splendid style and terse English at this point, for he is one of our very foremost essayists; but his enforced inactivity in amateur journalism this year has deprived us of any current specimens save the brief editorial in the February Pippin.
The general quality of our prose is by no means satisfactory. Too many of our authors are contaminated with modern theories which cause them to abandon grace, dignity, and precision, and to cultivate the lowest forms of slang.
Papers and magazines have been neither ample nor numerous this year; in fact, the tendency of the times appears to be a centralization of effort in THE UNITED AMATEUR; something which is for many reasons to be applauded, and for a few reasons to be deplored. Those members who feel capable of issuing individual papers should be encouraged to do so; whilst those who are ordinarily silent, should be encouraged to join the contributing staff of THE UNITED AMATEUR as provided by the Campbell amendment.
The best individual journal of the year is Ole Miss'. For frequency and regularity, The Scot, The Woodbee, The Dixie Booster, and The Coyote are to be commended. THE UNITED AMATEUR has prospered as a monthly despite adverse conditions. The elaborate September, October and February numbers put us in deep debt to Mr. Edward F. Daas, while subsequent examples of good editorship must be accredited to Mr. George Schilling. It is gratifying to note the increasing literary character of the Official Organ; purely official numbers are invariably tedious, many of the long, detailed reports being quite superfluous. It is a strong and sincere hope of the undersigned, that Mr. Daas may rejoin us at and after the present convention. The resumption of The Lake Breeze would supply a pressing need. Mr. Moitoret's Cleveland Sun, which promises to be a frequently issued paper, made its first appearance lately, and will, after much of its "loudness" has been removed, be of substantial benefit to new members. The "sporting" features should be eliminated at once, as not only being in bad taste, but exerting a noxious influence over the literary development of the younger members.
While upon the subject of papers, the undersigned would like to enter a renewed protest against the persistent use of certain distorted forms of spelling commonly called "simplified". These wretched innovations, popular amongst the less educated element during the past decade, are now becoming offensively prominent in certain periodicals of supposedly better grade, and require concerted opposition on the part of all friends of our language. The advantages claimed for the changes are almost wholly unsubstantial, whilst the inevitable disadvantages are immense. Let us see fewer "thrus" and "thoros" in the amateur press!
What the association needs above all things is a return to earlier forms in prose and verse alike; to poetry that does not pain the ear, and paragraphs that do not affront the aesthetic sense of the reader. If our writers would pay more attention to the tasteful Georgian models, they would produce work of infinitely less cacophonous quality. Almost every one of our authors who is familiar with the literature of the past, is distinguished by exceptional grace and fluency of composition.
As this report draws toward its conclusion, a few minor aims of the Department of Public Criticism are to be noted. It is now the desire of the undersigned to aid authors in rectifying the injustices to which they are subjected by the wretched typography of most amateur journals. Writers are hereby encouraged to transmit to this Department corrected copies of all misprinted work, the corrections to be made public in THE UNITED AMATEUR. By this method it is hoped that no amateur journalist will again be forced to suffer for faults not his own, as so many have suffered in the past. Of course, the critical reports themselves are frequently misprinted, but the vast majority of mistakes may with care be eliminated.
Concerning the name of this association, which a number wish changed in a manner that will eliminate the word "amateur", the undersigned feels that the sentiment of the veteran element is too strongly against such a move to warrant its immediate adoption. The primary object is the training of young writers before they have attained the professional grade, wherefore the present title is by no means such a misnomer as might be inferred from the talents of the more cultivated members. However, the proposed alteration is certainly justified in many ways, hence the idea should be deferred rather than abandoned altogether.
The wane of interest in amateur political affairs is to be commended as a recognition of the superior importance of literary matters. Amateur journalism is rapidly progressing nearer and nearer its ideal: a device for the instruction of the young and crude, and an aid for the obscure author of any sort, rather than a playground for the aimless and the frivolous.
Last of all, the undersigned wishes to thank the membership for its kind reception of the Department's reports. It is ever the Chairman's design to render impartial judgment, and if harshness or captiousness may at any time have been noticed in the reports, it has in each case been unintentional. An ideal of sound conservatism has been followed, but in no instance has the critic sought to enforce upon others that peculiarly archaic style of which he is personally fond, and which he is accustomed to employ in his own compositions. The Department of Public Criticism aspires to be of substantial assistance to the members of the United, and hopes next year to co-operate with Mr. Lockhart in presenting reviews of truly constructive quality.
Solicitous for the approval, and confident of the indulgence of the association, the Department herewith has the honor to conclude its first annual report; in the hope that such a summary of events and estimate of conditions may be of use to the incoming administration.
H. P. LOVECRAFT, Chairman.
THE UNITED AMATEUR SEPTEMBER 1916
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC CRITICISM
The Amateur Special for July is a voluminous magazine of credentials and other work of new members, edited by Mrs. E. L. Whitehead, retiring Eastern Manuscript Manager, with the assistance of the Recruiting Committee. Of all papers lately issued in the United, this is without doubt among the most valuable and most significant; since it is the pioneer of the new regime, whereby the talent of all our membership is to be brought out by better publishing facilities. Mrs. Whitehead, with notable generosity, has reserved for herself but one page, on which we find a clever and correct bit of verse, and a number of graceful acknowledgments and useful suggestions. The contents in general are well calculated to display the thorough literary excellence and supremacy of the United in its present condition; for in this collection of stories, poems, and articles, taken practically at random from the manuscript bureaus, there is scarce a line unworthy of commendation.
"Tatting", by Julian J. Crump, is a fluent and graceful colloquial sketch. "Mother and Child", by J. E. Hoag, is a sombre and thoughtful poem having a certain atmosphere of mysticism. The metre, which is well handled, consists of regular iambic pentameter quatrains with a couplet at the conclusion. An annoying misprint mars the first stanza, where "sigh" is erroneously rendered as "sight". "Homesick for the Spring", a poem by Bessie Estelle Harvey, displays real merit in thought and construction alike. "Mother Earth", by Rev. E. P. Parham, is a well adorned little essay in justification of the traditional saying that "the earth is mother of us all". George M. Whiteside, a new member of the United, makes his first appearance before us as a poet in "The Little Freckled Face Kid". Mr. Whiteside's general style is not unlike that of the late James Whitcomb Riley, and its prevailing air of homely yet pleasing simplicity is well maintained. "To Chloris", by Chester Pierce Munroe, is a smooth and melodious amatory poem of the Kleiner school. The imagery is refined, and the polish of the whole amply justifies the inevitable triteness of the theme. The word "adorns", in next the last line, should read "adorn". "A Dream", by Helen Harriet Salls, is a hauntingly mystical succession of poetic images cast in appropriate metre. The natural phenomena of the morning are vividly depicted in a fashion possible only to the true poet. The printer has done injustice to this exquisite phantasy in three places. In the first stanza "wonderous" should read "wondrous", while in the seventh stanza "arient" should be "orient". "Thou'st", in the eleventh stanza, should be "Thou'rt". "Prayers", a religious poem by Rev. Robert L. Selle, D. D., displays the classic touch of the eighteenth century in its regular octosyllabic couplets, having some resemblance to the work of the celebrated Dr. Watts. "Snow of the Northland", by M. Estella Shufelt, is a religious poem of different sort, whose tuneful dactylic quatrains contain much noble and appropriate metaphor. In the final line the word "re-cleaned" should read "re-cleansed". "In Passing By", by Sophie Lea Fox, is a meritorious poem of the thoughtful, introspective type, which has been previously honoured with professional publication. "A Time to Sing", by M. B. Andrews, introduces to the United another genuine poet of worth. The lines are happy in inspiration and finished in form, having only one possible defect, the use of "heralding" as a dissyllable. "The Stately Mountains", by Rev. Eugene B. Kuntz, D. D., is a notable contribution to amateur poetic literature. Dr. Kuntz chooses as his favourite metre the stately Alexandrine; and using it in a far more flexible and ingenious manner than that of Drayton, he manages to achieve a dignified and exalted atmosphere virtually impossible in any other measure. The even caesural break so common to Alexandrines, and so often urged by critics as an objection against them, is here avoided with great ingenuity and good taste. Dr. Kuntz's sentiments and phrases are as swelling and sublime as one might expect from his metre. His conception of Nature is a broad and noble one, and his appreciation of her beauties is that of the innate poet. "An April Memory" acquaints us with W. Frank Booker, a gifted lyrist whose lines possess all the warmth, witchery and grace of his native Southland. James J. Hennessey, in his essay on "The Army in Times of Peace", exhibits very forcibly the various indispensable services so quietly and efficiently performed by the United States Army in every-day life. Mr. Hennessey makes plain the great value of having among us a body of keen, versatile, and well-trained men ready for duty of any sort, and ever alert for their country's welfare in peace or in war. The American Soldier well deserves Mr. Hennessey's tribute, and the present essay adds one more to the already incontrovertible array of arguments in favour of an adequate military system. As printed, the article is marred by a superfluous letter "s" on the very last word, which should read "citizen". "Sowing the Good", a brief bit of moralizing by Horace Fowler Goodwin, contains a serious misprint, for the final word of line 1, stanza 2, should be "say". "Bobby's Literary Lesson", by Gladys L. Bagg, is a delightful specimen of domestic satire in prose. The handling of the conversation exhibits Miss Bagg as a writer of considerable skill and promise. "The Leaf", a clever poem of Nature by Emily Barksdale, contains some gruesome atrocities by the printer. In the second stanza "it's" should be "it", and "wonderous" should be "wondrous". In the third stanza the typographical artist has killed a pretty woodland "copse" with the letter "r", so that it reads "corpse"! In the fourth stanza "head" should read "heard". Perhaps the "r" which murdered the "copse" escaped from this sadly mutilated word! In stanza five, "Chaots" should be "chants". But why continue the painful chronicle? Mr. Kleiner said just what we would like to say about misprints over a year ago, when he wrote "The Rhyme of the Hapless Poet"! "Submission", by Eugene B. Kuntz, is a delightful bit of light prose, forming the autobiography of a much-rejected manuscript. This piece well exhibits Dr. Kuntz's remarkable versatility. The humour is keen, and nowhere overstrained. "Number 1287", a short story by Gracia Isola Yarbrough, exhibits many of the flaws of immature work, yet contains graphic touches that promise well for the author. The lack of unity in plot and development detracts somewhat from the general effect, while the unusual lapses of time and artificial working up of the later situations are also antagonistic to technical polish. Triteness is present, but that is to be expected in all amateur fiction. "A Drama of Business", by Edgar Ralph Cheyney, is a terse bit of prose which might well serve as an editorial in a liberal literary magazine. "The Schools of Yesterday and Today", a sketch by Selma Guilford, presents in pleasing fashion an interesting and optimistic contrast. In "Mother", George M. Whiteside treats a noble theme in rather skilful fashion, though the rhyming of "breezes" and "trees is" can hardly be deemed suitable in a serious poem. "When the Sea Calls", a poem by Winifred Virginia Jordan, is possibly the most striking feature of the magazine. Mrs. Jordan's style in dealing with the wilder aspects of Nature has a grim potency all its own, and we can endorse without qualification the judgment of Mr. Moe when he calls this poem "positively magnificent in dynamic effect". To Mrs. Jordan is granted a natural poetic genius which few other amateurs can hope to parallel. Not many of our literary artists can so aptly fit words to weird or unusual passages, or so happily command all the advantages of alliteration and onomatopoeia. We believe that Mrs. Jordan's amateur eminence will eventually ripen into professional recognition. "Preachers in Politics", by Rev. James Thomas Self, is a long, thoughtful, and extremely well phrased essay against the descent of the ministry to the uncertain affairs of practical legislation. Dr. Self has a just idea of the dignity of the cloth; an idea which some clergymen of less conservative habits would do well to acquire. Very painful is the sight of the slang-mouthing "evangelist" who deserts his pulpit for the stump or the circus-tent. "Peace, Germany!", a poem by Maude Kingsbury Barton, constitutes an appeal to the present outlaw among nations. We feel, however, that it is only from London that Germany will eventually be convinced of the futility of her pseudo-Napoleonic enterprise. And when peace does come to Germany, it will be British-made peace! The structure of Mrs. Barton's poem is regular, and many of the images are very well selected. The worst misprints are those in the sixth stanza, where "in" is omitted before the word "pomp", and in the seventh stanza where "come" is printed as "came". In the biographical sketch entitled "Two Lives", Helen Hamilton draws a powerful moral from the contrasting but contemporaneous careers of Florence Nightingale and the ex-Empress Eugenie. "Class-Room Spirits I Have Known", an essay by Bessie Estelle Harvey, displays a sound comprehension of pedagogical principles. Two more poems by Mrs. Jordan conclude the issue. "The Time of Peach Tree Bloom" is the fourth of the "Songs from Walpi", three of which appeared in THE UNITED AMATEUR. "In a Garden" is a gem of delightful delicacy and ethereal elegance. It is indeed not without just cause that the author has, from the very first, held the distinction of being the most frequent poetical contributor in all amateur journalism.
* * * * *
The Cleveland Sun for June is the first number of an amateur newspaper edited by Anthony F. Moitoret, Edwin D. Harkins, and William J. Dowdell; and remarkable for an excellent heading, drawn by a staff artist of the Cleveland Leader. The present issue is printed in close imitation of the modern professional daily, and displays some interesting examples of "newspaper English". Mr. Moitoret is an old-time United man, now reentering the sphere of activity, and he is to be commended warmly both for his generous attitude toward the new members, and for his really magnanimous offer of aid to those desirous of issuing individual papers. His editorial hostility toward the Campbell amendment is, we believe, mistaken; yet is none the less founded on a praiseworthy desire to serve what he deems the best interests of the Association. Were Mr. Moitoret more in touch with the rising ideals of the newer United, he would realize the essential childishness of our "official business" as contrasted with the substantial solidity of our developing literature. Possibly the plan of Mr. Campbell, as experimentally tried during the present year, will alter Mr. Moitoret's present opinion. Taken altogether, we are not sure whether the Sun will prove beneficial or harmful to the United. We most assuredly need some sort of stimulus to activity, yet the comparatively crude atmosphere of newspaperdom is anything but inspiring in a literary society. We cannot descend from the ideals of Homer to those of Hearst without a distinct loss of quality, for which no possible gain in mere enthusiasm can compensate. Headlines such as "Columbus Bunch Boosting Paul" or "Hep Still Shows Pep", are positive affronts to the dignity of amateur journalism. There is room for an alert and informing news sheet in the United, yet we feel certain that the Sun must become a far more sedate and scholarly publication before it can adequately supply the need. At present, its garish rays dazzle and blind more than they illuminate; in a perusal of its pages we experience more of sunstroke than of sunshine. Of "The Best Sport Page In Amateurdom" we find it difficult to speak or write. Not since perusing the delectable lines of "Tom Crib's Memorial to Congress", by jovial old "Anacreon Moore", have we beheld such an invasion of prize-fight philosophy and race-track rhetoric. We learn with interest that a former United member named "Handsome Harry" has now graduated from literature to left field, and has, through sheer genius, risen from the lowly level of the ambitious author, to the exalted eminence of the classy slugger. Too proud to push the pen, he now swats the pill. Of such doth the dizzy quality of sempiternal Fame consist! Speaking without levity, we cannot but censure Mr. Dowdell's introduction of the ringside or ball-field spirit into an Association purporting to promote culture and lettered skill. Our members can scarcely be expected to place the Stygian-hued John Arthur Johnson, Esq., on a pedestal beside his well-known namesake Samuel; or calmly to compare the stinging wit of a Sidney Smith with the stinging fist-cuffs of a "Gunboat" Smith. In a word, what is suited to the street-corner is not always suited to the library, and the taste of the United is as yet but imperfectly attuned to the lyrical liltings of the pool-room Muse. It is both hard and unwise to take the "Best Sport Page" seriously. As a copy of "yellow" models it is a work of artistic verisimilitude; indeed, were Mr. Dowdell a somewhat older man, we might justly suspect a satirical intention on his part.
We trust that The Cleveland Sun may shine on without cloud or setting, though we must needs hope that the United's atmosphere of academic refinement will temper somewhat the scorching glare with which the bright orb has risen.
* * * * *
The Conservative for April opens with Andrew Francis Lockhart's melodious and attractive poem entitled "Benediction". As a whole, this is possibly the best piece of verse which Mr. Lockhart has yet written; the sentiment is apt, if not entirely novel, whilst the technical construction is well-nigh faultless. Such expressions as "pearl-scarr'd" serve to exhibit the active and original quality of Mr. Lockhart's genius. "Another Endless Day", by Rheinhart Kleiner, is a beautiful and harmonious poetical protest against monotony. Much to be regretted is the misprint in line 3 of the third stanza, where the text should read:
"A love to thrill with new delight".
"April", by Winifred Virginia Jordan, is a seasonable and extremely tuneful poem whose imagery is of that dainty, sprightly sort which only Mrs. Jordan can create. "In Morven's Mead", also by Mrs. Jordan, contains an elusive and haunting suggestion of the unreal, in the author's characteristic style. "The Night Wind Bared My Heart" completes a highly meritorious trilogy. In justice to the author, it should be stated that the last of these three poems is, as here presented, merely a rough draft. Through our own reprehensible editorial oversight, the printer received this unpolished copy instead of the finished poem. The following emendations should be observed:
Stanza I, line 4, to read: "Awak'd my anguish'd sighs".
Stanza II, line 3, to read: "But Oh, from grief were prest".
"The Best Wine", by William de Ryee, is an earnestly introspective poem, well cast in iambic pentameter quatrains. "Ye Ballade of Patrick von Flynn" is a comic delineation of the cheap pseudo-Irish, England-hating agitators who have been so offensively noisy on this side of the Atlantic ever since the European war began, and particularly since the late riots in Dublin. This class, which so sadly misrepresents the loyal Irish people, deserves but little patience from Americans. Its members stutter childishly about "breaches of neutrality" every time a real American dares speak a word in favour of the Mother Country; yet they constantly violate neutrality themselves in their clumsy attempts to use the United States as a catspaw against England. The actual German propagandists have the excuse of patriotism for their race and Vaterland, but these Hibernian hybrids, neither good Irishmen nor good Americans, have no excuse whatever when they try to subvert the functions of the country which is giving them protection and livelihood.
* * * * *
The Conservative for July pays a deserved tribute to one of the most lucid and acute of our amateur essayists, by devoting the entire issue to his work. Henry Clapham McGavack, in "The American Proletariat versus England", exposes with admirable fearlessness the silly Anglophobic notions which a mistaken conception of the Revolution, and an ignorant Irish population, have diffused among our lower classes. It is seldom that an author ventures to speak so frankly on this subject, for the servile tendency of the times impels most writers and publishers to play the demagogue by essaying to feed the Irish masses with the anti-English swill they desire; but Mr. McGavack wields an independent pen, and records the truth without fear of the mobile vulgus and its shallow views. In power, directness, urbanity, and impartiality, Mr. McGavack cannot be excelled. He marshals his arguments without passion, bias, or circumlocution; piling proof upon proof until none but the most stubborn England-hater can fail to blush at the equal injustice and stupidity of those who malign that mighty empire to whose earth-wide circle of civilisation we all belong.
* * * * *
The Coyote for April is a Special English Number, dedicated to our soldier-member, George William Stokes of Newcastle-on-Tyne. The opening poem "To England", well exhibits the versatility of Mrs. Winifred V. Jordan, who here appears as a national panegyrist of commendable dignity and unexceptionable taste. The word at the beginning of the fourth line should read "Is" instead of "To". The short yet stirring metre is particularly well selected. "Active English Amateurs I Have Met", by Ernest A. Dench, is a rather good prose piece, though not without marks of careless composition. "The Vultur", by Henry J. Winterbone of the B. A. P. A., is a remarkably good story whose development and conclusion would do credit to a professional pen. We hope Mr. Winterbone may join the United, thereby giving American readers a more ample opportunity to enjoy his work. Editor William T. Harrington, whose prose is so rapidly acquiring polish and fluency, contributes two brief but able essays: "History Repeats" and "How Great Britain Keeps Her Empire". In "History Repeats", certain parts of the second sentence might well be amended a trifle in structure, to read thus: "it must be remembered that the first half was a series of victories for the South, and that only after the Battle of Gettysburg did the strength of the North begin to assert itself". This number of The Coyote is an exceedingly timely and tasteful tribute to our Mother Country, appearing at an hour when the air of America reeks with the illiterate anti-British trash of the "Sinn Fein" simpletons and Prussian propagandists.
* * * * *
Invictus for July is the second number of Mr. Paul J. Campbell's personal organ, and represents the strictly individual magazine in its most tasteful and elaborate form. Unimpeachably artistic in appearance, its contents justify the exterior; the whole constituting a publication of the first rank, wherein are joined the virtues both of the old and of the new schools of amateur journalism. Since Mr. Campbell is preeminently an essayist, it is to his dissertations on "The Pursuit of Happiness" and "The Age of Accuracy" which we turn most eagerly; and which in no way disappoint our high expectations. The first of these essays is a dispassionate survey of mankind in its futile but frantic scramble after that elusive but unreal sunbeam called "happiness". The author views the grimly amusing procession of human life with the genuine objective of an impartial spectator, and with commendable freedom from the hypocritical colouring of those who permit commonplace emotions and tenuous idealizings to obscure the less roseate but more substantial vision of their intellects. "The Age of Accuracy" presents an inspiring panorama of the evolution of Intellect, and of its increasing domination over the more elemental faculties of instinct and emotion. At the same time, much material for reflection is furnished, since it is obvious that the advance is necessarily confined to a comparatively small and select part of humanity. Instinct and emotion are still forces of tremendous magnitude, against which Reason wages an upward struggle of incredible bravery. Only the strong can escape the clutch of the primitive, wherefore there can be no successful social order which does not conform in its essentials to the blind impulses of the natural man or man-ape. We are in danger of overestimating the ascendancy and stability of Reason, for it is in reality the most fragile and rudimentary element in our mortal fabric. A heavy blow on certain parts of the skull, or a bullet in certain parts of the brain, can destroy in an instant all the accumulated intellect which aeons of heredity have bestowed, depressing the victim from the zenith of culture and refinement to a condition separated only by colour and contour from that of the negro or the gorilla; yet not all the edicts of the lawgiver, devices of the educator, measures of the reformer, or skill of the surgeon, can extirpate the ingrained instincts and seated superstitions of the average human animal.
The poetry of Mr. Campbell is represented in Invictus by three specimens, whose merit speaks well for the author's progress in the art. "The Sunshine Girl" is an amatory panegyric of no small skill and polish, though not strikingly novel in sentiment or expression. "German Kultur" is a scathing and virile indictment of the present enemies of humanity. The versification is bold, and in places rugged, whilst the imagery is appropriately grim and sardonic. Points which we might criticise are the repeated use of "civilization" as a word of only four syllables, and the archaic pronunciation of "drown-ed" as a dissyllable. This latter usage would be objectionable in verse of stately or conservative cast, but here grates upon the ear as an anachronism. The trenchant wit of the piece is well sustained, and brought out with particular force in the second and fourth stanzas. "The Major Strain" is without doubt the foremost verse of the issue. This is real poetry. The sustained rhyming, whereby each stanza contains only one rhyming sound, is pleasing and unusual. Mr. Campbell's comment on "Amateur Affairs" really deserves to be classed as an essay, for its thoughtful conclusions and intelligent analyses of human nature certainly draw it within the pale of true literature. The broad comprehension and continued love of amateur journalism here exhibited, are potent justifications of the author's practically unanimous election to the Presidency of the United. Invictus is one of the very foremost journals of the amateur world, and the only possible objection which can be raised against it, is its infrequency of appearance. It is the voice of a virile and vibrant personality who unites vigour of thought with urbanity of expression.
* * * * *
The Scot for May marks the advent of this highly entertaining and well conducted magazine to the United, and extends the northern frontier of amateur journalism to Bonnie Dundee, in Auld Scotland, the Land of Mountain and Flood. "Hidden Beauty", a poem in blank verse by R. M. Ingersley, opens the issue with a combination of lofty conceptions, vivid imagery, and regular structure. "England's Glory", by Clyde Dane, is a stirring tale of that fearless and self-sacrificing honour which has given to the Anglo-Saxon the supremacy of the world. It would be in bad taste to cavil at slight technical imperfections or instances of triteness when considering so earnest and glowing a delineation of the British character; the noblest human type ever moulded by the Creator. "Oh Rose, Red Rose!" is a tuneful little lyric by Winifred V. Jordan, whose work is never too brief to be pleasing, or too long to be absorbing. "Clemency versus Frightfulness", by William T. Harrington, is a thoughtful and lucid exposition of the British governmental ideal of lenient justice; an ideal whose practical success has vividly demonstrated its thorough soundness. "At Last", by Muriel Wilson, is a blank verse poem of much merit. "Do You Remember?", by the late Lieut. Roy Arthur Thackara, R. N., is a delicate sketch possessing the additional interest of coming from the pen of one who has now given his life for King and Country; the author having gone down with H. M. S. India. "A Battle with the Sea", a sketch by Midshipman Ernest L. McKeag, exhibits descriptive power of no common order, yet might well have a less abrupt conclusion. "To Some One", by Margaret Trafford, is a poem in dactylic measure, dedicated to the women of Britain. The sentiment is noble, and the encomium well bestowed, though the metre could be improved in polish. "Gum", by Henry J. Winterbone, is a delightfully humorous sketch. It is evident that those who depreciate British humour must have taken pains to avoid its perusal, since it has a quietly pungent quality seldom found save among Anglo-Saxons. Personally, we believe that the summit of clumsy pseudo-jocoseness is attained by the average "comic" supplement of the Hearst Sunday papers. These, and not the British press, present the pathetic spectacle of utter inanity and repulsive grotesqueness without the faintest redeeming touch of genuine comedy, legitimate satire, or refined humour. "Life's Voyage", by Matthew Hilson, is a poem of great attractiveness, though of scarcely impeccable construction. Concerning the expression "tempests wild do roar", we must reiterate the advice of Mr. Pope, who condemned the expletive "do", "doth", or "did" as a "feeble aid". Such usage has, in fact, been in bad taste ever since the reign of Queen Anne; Dryden being the last bard in whom we need not censure the practice. Mr. McColl's editorials are brief but informing. He may well be congratulated on his work as a publisher, and he certainly deserves as hearty a welcome as the United can give.
* * * * *
The Scot for June is a "British Old-Timers' Number", confined wholly to the work of the senior amateur journalists of the Mother Country. Edward F. Herdman, to whom this number is dedicated, opens the issue with a religious poem entitled "Life", which compares well with the bulk of current religious verse. Mr. Herdman also contributes one of several prose essays on amateur journalism, in which the various authors view our field of endeavor from similar angles. "A Song of a Sailor", by R. D. Roosemale-Cocq, exhibits buoyant animation, and considerable ease in the handling of a rollicking measure. The internal rhymes are for the most part well introduced, though greater uniformity might have been used in their distribution. The first two lines have none. In the last stanza there are two lines whose metre seems deficient, but being conscious of the uncertainties of the secretarial and typographical arts, we suspend judgment on the author. "A Song of Cheer", by Alfred H. Pearce, is an optimistic ode of real merit. The last line furnishes a particularly pleasing example of sprightly wit. Mr. Gavin T. McColl is sensible and perspicuous in all his editorial utterances. His work in issuing one of the only two regular monthly magazines in amateurdom has already brought him to prominence, though his connexion with the press associations is still new.
* * * * *
THE UNITED AMATEUR for June is given over largely to critical and official matter, though two pieces of verse serve to vary the monotony. "Content", from our own pen, is an answer to Mr. Rheinhart Kleiner's delightful poem in the April Conservative, entitled "Another Endless Day". The lines are notable chiefly on account of some fearful and wonderful typographical errors. In the fourth line "sublime" should read "sublimer". In the eighth line there should be no apostrophe in the word "stars". In the second column, eleventh line from the end, there should be no apostrophe in the word "fathers", and finally, in the ninth line from the end, "hollow'd" should read "hallow'd". "The Swing in the Great Oak Tree", by Mrs. Agnes Richmond Arnold, is a reminiscent poem whose measure is as swinging as its subject, and whose atmosphere is pleasantly rural. There are flaws in the metre, and irregularities in the rhyming arrangement, but the spirit of the whole rises blithesomely above such slight technical matters. Editor Schilling's column is to be praised for its dignified style, and endorsed for its sound opinions.
* * * * *
The Woodbee for July is an attractive and important contribution to the history of amateur journalism; since it is entirely devoted to the biographies of the gifted Columbus amateurs, and to the annals of their brilliant local organization. The Woodbees undoubtedly form the most active and representative adult club in the United; to which only the Appleton Club, representing the juvenile Muse, may justly be compared. The Woodbees are typical, in a sense, of all that is best in the entire association. They are pursuing courses of serious literary study, producing a regularly issued magazine of unfailing merit and good taste, working enthusiastically for the welfare and expansion of the United, and leading or following every worthy or progressive movement in amateur politics. They reflect credit upon themselves, their society, the Association, and amateur journalism as a whole. The delightful biographical article which occupies the major portion of the current Woodbee is unsigned; but deserves particular praise, whoever the author may be. The various characters are well displayed, and their pleasing qualities and manifold activities well exhibited.
Mr. Fritter's editorials are as usual timely, lucid, and sensible. His advocacy of the Campbell Amendment is to be applauded; and will, we trust, be justified by the year's trial which that measure is now undergoing. The present issue marks the conclusion of Mr. Fritter's term as editor. He has given the amateur public a creditable volume, and is entitled to the gratitude of every member of our Association. A final word of praise is due the excellent group photograph of the Woodbees which forms the frontispiece of the magazine. Added to the biographical matter, it completes a thoroughly commendable introduction to a thoroughly commendable body of literary workers.
H. P. LOVECRAFT, Chairman.
THE UNITED AMATEUR
OFFICIAL ORGAN OF THE UNITED AMATEUR PRESS ASSOCIATION
VOLUME XVI GEORGETOWN, ILL., NOVEMBER, 1916 NUMBER 4
High up, crowning the grassy summit of a swelling mound whose sides are wooded near the base with the gnarled trees of the primeval forest, stands the old chateau of my ancestors. For centuries its lofty battlements have frowned down upon the wild and rugged countryside about, serving as a home and stronghold for the proud house whose honoured line is older even than the moss-grown castle walls. These ancient turrets, stained by the storms of generations and crumbling under the slow yet mighty pressure of time, formed in the ages of feudalism one of the most dreaded and formidable fortresses in all France. From its machicolated parapets and mounted battlements Barons, Counts, and even Kings had been defied, yet never had its spacious halls resounded to the footstep of the invader.
But since those glorious years all is changed. A poverty but little above the level of dire want, together with a pride of name that forbids its alleviation by the pursuits of commercial life, have prevented the scions of our line from maintaining their estates in pristine splendour; and the falling stones of the walls, the overgrown vegetation in the parks, the dry and dusty moat, the ill-paved courtyards, and toppling towers without, as well as the sagging floors, the worm-eaten wainscots, and the faded tapestries within, all tell a gloomy tale of fallen grandeur. As the ages passed, first one, then another of the four great turrets were left to ruin, until at last but a single tower housed the sadly reduced descendants of the once mighty lords of the estate.
It was in one of the vast and gloomy chambers of this remaining tower that I, Antoine, last of the unhappy and accursed Comtes de C——, first saw the light of day, ninety long years ago. Within these walls, and amongst the dark and shadowy forests, the wild ravines and grottoes of the hillside below, were spent the first years of my troubled life. My parents I never knew. My father had been killed at the age of thirty-two, a month before I was born, by the fall of a stone somehow dislodged from one of the deserted parapets of the castle, and my mother having died at my birth, my care and education devolved solely upon one remaining servitor, an old and trusted man of considerable intelligence, whose name I remember as Pierre. I was an only child, and the lack of companionship which this fact entailed upon me was augmented by the strange care exercised by my aged guardian in excluding me from the society of the peasant children whose abodes were scattered here and there upon the plains that surround the base of the hill. At the time, Pierre said that this restriction was imposed upon me because my noble birth placed me above association with such plebeian company. Now I know that its real object was to keep from my ears the idle tales of the dread curse upon our line, that were nightly told and magnified by the simple tenantry as they conversed in hushed accents in the glow of their cottage hearths.
Thus isolated, and thrown upon my own resources, I spent the hours of my childhood in poring over the ancient tomes that filled the shadow-haunted library of the chateau, and in roaming without aim or purpose through the perpetual dusk of the spectral wood that clothes the sides of the hill near its foot. It was perhaps an effect of such surroundings that my mind early acquired a shade of melancholy. Those studies and pursuits which partake of the dark and occult in nature most strongly claimed my attention.
Of my own race I was permitted to learn singularly little, yet what small knowledge of it I was able to gain, seemed to depress me much. Perhaps it was at first only the manifest reluctance of my old preceptor to discuss with me my paternal ancestry that gave rise to the terror which I ever felt at the mention of my great house, yet as I grew out of childhood, I was able to piece together disconnected fragments of discourse, let slip from the unwilling tongue which had begun to falter in approaching senility, that had a sort of relation to a certain circumstance which I had always deemed strange, but which now became dimly terrible. The circumstance to which I allude is the early age at which all the Comtes of my line had met their end. Whilst I had hitherto considered this but a natural attribute of a family of short-lived men, I afterward pondered long upon these premature deaths, and began to connect them with the wanderings of the old man, who often spoke of a curse which for centuries had prevented the lives of the holders of my title from much exceeding the span of thirty-two years. Upon my twenty-first birthday, the aged Pierre gave to me a family document which he said had for many generations been handed down from father to son, and continued by each possessor. Its contents were of the most startling nature, and its perusal confirmed the gravest of my apprehensions. At this time, my belief in the supernatural was firm and deep-seated, else I should have dismissed with scorn the incredible narrative unfolded before my eyes.
The paper carried me back to the days of the thirteenth century, when the old castle in which I sat had been a feared and impregnable fortress. It told of a certain ancient man who had once dwelt on our estates, a person of no small accomplishments, though little above the rank of peasant; by name, Michel, usually designated by the surname of Mauvais, the Evil, on account of his sinister reputation. He had studied beyond the custom of his kind, seeking such things as the Philosopher's Stone, or the Elixir of Eternal Life, and was reputed wise in the terrible secrets of Black Magic and Alchemy. Michel Mauvais had one son, named Charles, a youth as proficient as himself in the hidden arts, and who had therefore been called Le Sorcier, or the Wizard. This pair, shunned by all honest folk, were suspected of the most hideous practices. Old Michel was said to have burnt his wife alive as a sacrifice to the Devil, and the unaccountable disappearances of many small peasant children were laid at the dreaded door of these two. Yet through the dark natures of the father and the son ran one redeeming ray of humanity; the evil old man loved his offspring with fierce intensity, whilst the youth had for his parent a more than filial affection.
One night the castle on the hill was thrown into the wildest confusion by the vanishment of young Godfrey, son to Henri, the Comte. A searching party, headed by the frantic father, invaded the cottage of the sorcerers and there came upon old Michel Mauvais, busy over a huge and violently boiling cauldron. Without certain cause, in the ungoverned madness of fury and despair, the Comte laid hands on the aged wizard, and ere he released his murderous hold his victim was no more. Meanwhile joyful servants were proclaiming aloud the finding of young Godfrey in a distant and unused chamber of the great edifice, telling too late that poor Michel had been killed in vain. As the Comte and his associates turned away from the lowly abode of the alchemists, the form of Charles Le Sorcier appeared through the trees. The excited chatter of the menials standing about told him what had occurred, yet he seemed at first unmoved at his father's fate. Then, slowly advancing to meet the Comte, he pronounced in dull yet terrible accents the curse that ever afterward haunted the house of C——.
"May ne'er a noble of thy murd'rous line Survive to reach a greater age than thine!"
spake he, when, suddenly leaping backwards into the black wood, he drew from his tunic a phial of colourless liquid which he threw in the face of his father's slayer as he disappeared behind the inky curtain of the night. The Comte died without utterance, and was buried the next day, but little more than two and thirty years from the hour of his birth. No trace of the assassin could be found, though relentless bands of peasants scoured the neighboring woods and the meadow-land around the hill.
Thus time and the want of a reminder dulled the memory of the curse in the minds of the late Comte's family, so that when Godfrey, innocent cause of the whole tragedy and now bearing the title, was killed by an arrow whilst hunting, at the age of thirty-two, there were no thoughts save those of grief at his demise. But when, years afterward, the next young Comte, Robert by name, was found dead in a nearby field from no apparent cause, the peasants told in whispers that their seigneur had but lately passed his thirty-second birthday when surprised by early death. Louis, son to Robert, was found drowned in the moat at the same fateful age, and thus down through the centuries ran the ominous chronicle; Henris, Roberts, Antoines, and Armands snatched from happy and virtuous lives when a little below the age of their unfortunate ancestor at his murder.
That I had left at most but eleven years of further existence was made certain to me by the words which I read. My life, previously held at small value, now became dearer to me each day, as I delved deeper and deeper into the mysteries of the hidden world of black magic. Isolated as I was, modern science had produced no impression upon me, and I laboured as in the Middle Ages, as wrapt as had been old Michel and young Charles themselves in the acquisition of demonological and alchemical learning. Yet read as I might, in no manner could I account for the strange curse upon my line. In unusually rational moments, I would even go so far as to seek a natural explanation, attributing the early deaths of my ancestors to the sinister Charles Le Sorcier and his heirs; yet having found upon careful inquiry that there were no known descendants of the alchemist, I would fall back to my occult studies, and once more endeavour to find a spell that would release my house from its terrible burden. Upon one thing I was absolutely resolved. I should never wed, for since no other branches of my family were in existence, I might thus end the curse with myself.
As I drew near the age of thirty, old Pierre was called to the land beyond. Alone I buried him beneath the stones of the courtyard about which he had loved to wander in life. Thus was I left to ponder on myself as the only human creature within the great fortress, and in my utter solitude my mind began to cease its vain protest against the impending doom, to become almost reconciled to the fate which so many of my ancestors had met. Much of my time was now occupied in the exploration of the ruined and abandoned halls and towers of the old chateau, which in youth fear had caused me to shun, and some of which old Pierre had once told me had not been trodden by human foot for over four centuries. Strange and awsome were many of the objects I encountered. Furniture, covered by the dust of ages and crumbling with the rot of long dampness met my eyes. Cobwebs in a profusion never before seen by me were spun everywhere, and huge bats flapped their bony and uncanny wings on all sides of the otherwise untenanted gloom.
Of my exact age, even down to days and hours, I kept a most careful record, for each movement of the pendulum of the massive clock in the library tolled off so much more of my doomed existence. At length I approached that time which I had so long viewed with apprehension. Since most of my ancestors had been seized some little while before they reached the exact age of the Comte Henri at his end, I was every moment on the watch for the coming of the unknown death. In what strange form the curse should overtake me, I knew not; but I was resolved at least that it should not find me a cowardly or a passive victim. With new vigour I applied myself to my examination of the old chateau and its contents.
It was upon one of the longest of all my excursions of discovery in the deserted portion of the castle, less than a week before that fatal hour which I felt must mark the utmost limit of my stay on earth, beyond which I could have not even the slightest hope of continuing to draw breath, that I came upon the culminating event of my whole life. I had spent the better part of the morning in climbing up and down half ruined staircases in one of the most dilapidated of the ancient turrets. As the afternoon progressed, I sought the lower levels, descending into what appeared to be either a mediaeval place of confinement, or a more recently excavated storehouse for gunpowder. As I slowly traversed the nitre-encrusted passageway at the foot of the last staircase, the paving became very damp, and soon I saw by the light of my flickering torch that a blank, water-stained wall impeded my journey. Turning to retrace my steps, my eye fell upon a small trap-door with a ring, which lay directly beneath my feet. Pausing, I succeeded with difficulty in raising it, whereupon there was revealed a black aperture, exhaling noxious fumes which caused my torch to sputter, and disclosing in the unsteady glare the top of a flight of stone steps. As soon as the torch, which I lowered into the repellent depths, burned freely and steadily, I commenced my descent. The steps were many, and led to a narrow stone-flagged passage which I knew must be far underground. This passage proved of great length, and terminated in a massive oaken door, dripping with the moisture of the place, and stoutly resisting all my attempts to open it. Ceasing after a time my efforts in this direction, I had proceeded back some distance toward the steps, when there suddenly fell to my experience one of the most profound and maddening shocks capable of reception by the human mind. Without warning, I heard the heavy door behind me creak slowly open upon its rusted hinges. My immediate sensations are incapable of analysis. To be confronted in a place as thoroughly deserted as I had deemed the old castle with evidence of the presence of man or spirit, produced in my brain a horror of the most acute description. When at last I turned and faced the seat of the sound, my eyes must have started from their orbits at the sight that they beheld. There in the ancient Gothic doorway stood a human figure. It was that of a man clad in a skull-cap and long mediaeval tunic of dark colour. His long hair and flowing beard were of a terrible and intense black hue, and of incredible profusion. His forehead, high beyond the usual dimensions; his cheeks, deep sunken and heavily lined with wrinkles; and his hands, long, claw-like and gnarled, were of such a deathly, marble-like whiteness as I have never elsewhere seen in man. His figure, lean to the proportions of a skeleton, was strangely bent and almost lost within the voluminous folds of his peculiar garment. But strangest of all were his eyes; twin caves of abysmal blackness; profound in expression of understanding, yet inhuman in degree of wickedness. These were now fixed upon me, piercing my soul with their hatred, and rooting me to the spot whereon I stood. At last the figure spoke in a rumbling voice that chilled me through with its dull hollowness and latent malevolence. The language in which the discourse was clothed was that debased form of Latin in use amongst the more learned men of the Middle Ages, and made familiar to me by my prolonged researches into the works of the old alchemists and demonologists. The apparition spoke of the curse which had hovered over my house, told me of my coming end, dwelt on the wrong perpetrated by my ancestor against old Michel Mauvais, and gloated over the revenge of Charles Le Sorcier. He told me how the young Charles had escaped into the night, returning in after years to kill Godfrey the heir with an arrow just as he approached the age which had been his father's at his assassination; how he had secretly returned to the estate and established himself, unknown, in the even then deserted subterranean chamber whose doorway now framed the hideous narrator; how he had seized Robert, son of Godfrey, in a field, forced poison down his throat and left him to die at the age of thirty-two, thus maintaining the foul provisions of his vengeful curse. At this point I was left to imagine the solution of the greatest mystery of all, how the curse had been fulfilled since that time when Charles Le Sorcier must in the course of nature have died, for the man digressed into an account of the deep alchemical studies of the two wizards, father and son, speaking most particularly of the researches of Charles Le Sorcier concerning the elixir which should grant to him who partook of it eternal life and youth.
His enthusiasm had seemed for the moment to remove from his terrible eyes the hatred that had at first so haunted them, but suddenly the fiendish glare returned, and with a shocking sound like the hissing of a serpent, the stranger raised a glass phial with the evident intent of ending my life as had Charles Le Sorcier, six hundred years before, ended that of my ancestor. Prompted by some preserving instinct of self-defense, I broke through the spell that had hitherto held me immovable, and flung my now dying torch at the creature who menaced my existence. I heard the phial break harmlessly against the stones of the passage as the tunic of the strange man caught fire and lit the horrid scene with a ghastly radiance. The shriek of fright and impotent malice emitted by the would-be assassin proved too much for my already shaken nerves, and I fell prone upon the slimy floor in a total faint.
When at last my senses returned, all was frightfully dark, and my mind remembering what had occurred, shrank from the idea of beholding more; yet curiosity overmastered all. Who, I asked myself, was this man of evil, and how came he within the castle walls? Why should he seek to avenge the death of poor Michel Mauvais, and how had the curse been carried on through all the long centuries since the time of Charles Le Sorcier? The dread of years was lifted off my shoulders, for I knew that he whom I had felled was the source of all my danger from the curse; and now that I was free, I burned with the desire to learn more of the sinister thing which had haunted my line for centuries, and made of my own youth one long-continued nightmare. Determined upon further exploration, I felt in my pockets for flint and steel, and lit the unused torch which I had with me. First of all, the new light revealed the distorted and blackened form of the mysterious stranger. The hideous eyes were now closed. Disliking the sight, I turned away and entered the chamber beyond the Gothic door. Here I found what seemed much like an alchemist's laboratory. In one corner was an immense pile of a shining yellow metal that sparkled gorgeously in the light of the torch. It may have been gold, but I did not pause to examine it, for I was strangely affected by that which I had undergone. At the farther end of the apartment was an opening leading out into one of the many wild ravines of the dark hillside forest. Filled with wonder, yet now realizing how the man had obtained access to the chateau, I proceeded to return. I had intended to pass by the remains of the stranger with averted face, but as I approached the body, I seemed to hear emanating from it a faint sound, as though life were not yet wholly extinct. Aghast, I turned to examine the charred and shrivelled figure on the floor.
Then all at once the horrible eyes, blacker even than the seared face in which they were set, opened wide with an expression which I was unable to interpret. The cracked lips tried to frame words which I could not well understand. Once I caught the name of Charles Le Sorcier, and again I fancied that the words "years" and "curse" issued from the twisted mouth. Still I was at a loss to gather the purport of his disconnected speech. At my evident ignorance of his meaning, the pitchy eyes once more flashed malevolently at me, until, helpless as I saw my opponent to be, I trembled as I watched him.
Suddenly the wretch, animated with his last burst of strength, raised his hideous head from the damp and sunken pavement. Then, as I remained, paralyzed with fear, he found his voice and in his dying breath screamed forth those words which have ever afterward haunted my days and my nights. "Fool," he shrieked, "can you not guess my secret? Have you no brain whereby you may recognize the will which has through six long centuries fulfilled the dreadful curse upon your house? Have I not told you of the great elixir of eternal life? Know you not how the secret of Alchemy was solved? I tell you, it is I! I! I! that have lived for six hundred years to maintain my revenge, FOR I AM CHARLES LE SORCIER!"
H. P. LOVECRAFT.
THE UNITED AMATEUR MARCH 1917
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC CRITICISM
The Conservative for October opens with Miss Olive G. Owen's tuneful lines on "The Mocking Bird." Of the quality of Miss Owen's poetry it is scarce necessary to speak; be it sufficient to say that the present piece ranks among her best. In the intense fervour of the sentiment, and the felicitous choice of the imagery, the touch of the born poet is alike shown. Through an almost inexcusable editorial mistake of our own, the first word of this poem is erroneously rendered. Line 1 should read:
"Where Southern moonlight softly falls."
"Old England and the Hyphen" is an attempt of the present critic to demonstrate why relations between the United States and Mother England must necessarily be closer than those between the States and any of the really foreign powers. So patent and so inevitable is the essential unity of the Anglo-Saxon world that such an essay as this ought really to be superfluous; but its practical justification is found in the silly clamour of those Anglophobes who are unfortunately permitted to reside within our borders. "Insomnia," by Winifred Virginia Jordan, is a remarkable piece of verse whose dark turns of fancy are almost worthy of a Poe. The grotesque tropes, the cleverly distorted images, the bizarre atmosphere, and ingeniously sinister repetitions all unite to produce one of the season's most notable poems. Each of the stanzas is vibrant with the hideous, racking turmoil of the insomnious mind. "Prussianism," by William Thomas Harrington, is a concise and lucid essay on a timely subject, reviewing ably the cause and responsibility of the present war. It is especially valuable at this season of incoherent peace discussion, for it explodes very effectively that vague, brainless "neutrality" which prompts certain pro-German pacifists to cry for peace before the normal and final settlement of Europe's troubles shall have been attained by the permanent annihilation of the Prussian military machine. "Twilight," by Chester Pierce Munroe, is a beautiful bit of poetic fancy and stately phraseology. Mr. Munroe, a Rhode Islander transplanted to the mountains of North Carolina, is acquiring all the grace and delicacy of the native Southern bard, while retaining that happy conservatism of expression which distinguishes his work from that of most contemporary poets. Callously modern indeed must be he who would wish Mr. Munroe's quaintly euphonious lines transmuted into the irritatingly abrupt and barren phraseology of the day. "The Bond Invincible," by David H. Whittier, is a short story of great power and skilful construction, suggesting Poe's "Ligeia" in its central theme. The plot is developed with much dexterity, and the climax comes so forcibly and unexpectedly upon the reader, that one cannot but admire Mr. Whittier's mastery of technique. Certain overnice critics may possibly object to the tale, as containing incidents which no one survives to relate; but when we reflect that Poe has similarly written a story without survivors, ("The Masque of the Red Death") we can afford to applaud without reservation. The complete absence of slang and of doubtful grammar recommends this tale as a model to other amateur fiction-writers. "Respite" is a lachrymose lament in five stanzas by the present critic. The metre is regular, which is perhaps some excuse for its creation and publication. "By the Waters of the Brook," by Rev. Eugene B. Kuntz, D. D., is one of the noblest amateur poems of the year. While the casual reader may find in the long heptameter lines a want of sing-song facility; the true lover of the Nine pauses in admiration at the deep flowing nobility of the rhyme. The quick rippling of the brook is duplicated within each line, rather than from line to line. The imagery and phraseology are of the sort which only Dr. Kuntz can fashion, and are rich in that exalted pantheism of fancy which comes to him who knows Nature in her wilder and more rugged moods and aspects. "The Pool," by Winifred Virginia Jordan, contains an elusive hint of the terrible and the supernatural which gives it high rank as poetry. Mrs. Jordan has two distinct, yet related, styles in verse. One of these mirrors all the joy and buoyant happiness of life, whilst the other reflects that undertone of grimness which is sometimes felt through the exterior of things. The kinship betwixt these styles lies in their essentially fanciful character, as distinguished from the tiresomely commonplace realism of the average modern rhymester. Another bit of sinister psychology in verse is "The Unknown," by Elizabeth Berkeley. Mrs. Berkeley's style is less restrained than that of Mrs. Jordan, and presents a picture of stark, meaningless horror, the like of which is not often seen in the amateur press. It is difficult to pass upon the actual merit of so peculiar a production, but we will venture the opinion that the use of italics, or heavy-faced type, is not desirable. The author should be able to bring out all needed emphasis by words, not printer's devices. The issue concludes with "Inspiration," a poem by Lewis Theobald, Jun. The form and rhythm of this piece are quite satisfactory, but the insipidity of the sentiment leaves much to be desired. The whole poem savours too much of the current magazine style.
* * * * *
The Coyote for October is made notable by Editor Harrington's thoughtful and well compiled article on "Worldwide Prohibition," wherein an extremely important step in the world's progress is truthfully chronicled. That legislation against alcohol is spreading rapidly throughout civilization, is something which not even the densest champions of "personal liberty" can deny. The utter emptiness of all arguments in behalf of strong drink is made doubly apparent by the swift prohibitory enactments of the European nations when confronted by the emergencies of war, and by the abolition of liquor in a large number of American states for purely practical reasons. All these things point to a general recognition of liquor as a foe to governmental and industrial welfare. Mr. Harrington's style in this essay is clear and in most respects commendable; though certain passages might gain force and dignity through a less colloquial manner. In particular, we must protest against the repeated use of the vulgarism booze, a word probably brought into public favour by the new school of gutter evangelism, whose chief exponent is the Reverend William Sunday. The verb to booze, boose, or bouse, meaning "to drink immoderately," and the adjective boozy, boosy, or bousy, meaning "drunken," are by no means new to our language, Dryden having written the form bousy in some of his verses; but booze as a noun signifying "liquor" is certainly too vulgar a word for constant employment in any formal literary composition. Another essay of Mr. Harrington's is "The Divine Book," a plea for the restoration of the Bible as a source of popular reading and arbiter of moral conduct. Whatever may be the opinion of the searching critic regarding the place of the Scriptures in the world of fact, it is undeniably true that a closer study of the revered volume, and a stricter adherence to its best precepts, would do much toward mending the faults of a loose age. We have yet to find a more efficacious means of imparting virtue and contentment of heart to the masses of mankind. "Pioneers of New England," an article by Alice M. Hamlet, gives much interesting information concerning the sturdy settlers of New Hampshire and Vermont. In the unyielding struggles of these unsung heroes against the sting of hardship and the asperity of primeval Nature, we may discern more than a trace of that divine fire of conquest which has made the Anglo-Saxon the empire builder of all the ages. In Mr. Harrington's editorial column there is much discussion of a proposed "International Amateur Press Association," but we fail to perceive why such an innovation is needed, now that the United has opened itself unreservedly to residents of all the countries of the globe.
* * * * *
Merry Minutes for November is a clever publication of semi-professional character, edited by Miss Margaret Trafford of London, and containing a pleasant variety of prose, verses, and puzzles. "King of the Nursery Realm," by Margaret Mahon, is a smooth and musical piece of juvenile verse which excels in correctness of form rather than in novelty of thought.
"Bards and Minstrels, and The Augustan Age," by Beryl Mappin, is the second of a series of articles on English literature and its classical foundations. The erudition and enthusiasm displayed in this essay speak well for the future of the authoress, though certain faults of style and construction demand correction. Careful grammatical study would eliminate from Miss Mappin's style such solecisms as the use of like for as, whilst greater attention to the precepts of rhetoric would prevent the construction of such awkward sentences as the following: "The same if one is reading an interesting book, can one not see all that is happening there as clearly with one's inner eyes as if it was all taking place before one, and viewed with one's outer ones?" This passage is not only wanting in coherence and correctness of syntax, but is exceedingly clumsy through redundancy of statement, and repetition of the word one. This word, though essential to colloquial diction, becomes very tiresome when used to excess; and should be avoided in many cases through judicious transpositions of the text. The following is a revised version of the sentence quoted above: "Thus, in reading an interesting book, can one not see with the inner eyes all that is happening there, as clearly as if it were taking place in reality before the outer eyes?" Other parts of the essay require similar revision. Concerning the development of the whole, we must needs question the unity of the topics. Whilst the connecting thread is rather evident after a second or third perusal, the cursory reader is apt to become puzzled over the skips from the Graeco-Roman world to the early Saxon kingdoms, and thence to the dawn of our language amongst the Anglo-Normans. What Miss Mappin evidently wishes to bring out, is that the sources of English literature are twofold; being on the one hand the polished classics of antiquity, inspired by Greece, amplified and diffused by Rome, preserved by France, and brought to England by the Normans; and on the other hand the crude but virile products of our Saxon ancestors, brought from the uncivilized forests of the continent or written after the settlement in Britain. From this union of Graeco-Roman classicism with native Anglo-Saxon vitality springs the unquestioned supremacy of English literature. Assiduous devotion to the mastery of rhetoric, and the habit of constructing logical synopses before writing the text of articles would enable Miss Mappin to utilise her knowledge of literary history in a manner truly worthy of its depth. "Trinidad and its People," by "F. E. M. Hercules," exhibits a somewhat maturer style, and forms a very interesting piece of geographical description. "The Pursuit of the Innocent," is a serial story by Miss Trafford, and though only a small part of it is printed in the current issue, we judge that it derives its general atmosphere from the popular "thrillers" of the day. The dialogue is not wholly awkward, but there is a noticeable want of proportion in the development of the narrative. Miss Trafford would probably profit by a more faithful study of the standard novelists, and a more complete avoidance of the type of fiction found in modern weekly periodicals such as Answers or Tit-Bits. Those who feel impelled to introduce stirring adventure into their tales, can do so without sacrifice of excitement and interest by following really classic writers like Poe and Stevenson; or semi-standard authors like Sir A. Conan Doyle. The puzzles propounded by Miss Hillman are quite interesting, though matter of this sort is scarcely to be included within the domain of pure literature. We guess airship as the answer to the first one, but have not space to record our speculations concerning the second. Merry Minutes closes with the following poem by Master Randolph Trafford, a very young author: