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the progress of a people there are two ele- 
ments which constitute what may be called 
their destiny — material force and _ spiritual 
power. Experienced politicians frequently fore- 
see commercial events with striking accuracy, 
because they reason from a visible cause to a 
direct and logical result; but the material eye, 
no matter how keen, fails to penetrate the world 
of spiritual will, where the elements at work are 
invisible and silent, and out of which grave events 
often occur without any warning whatever. It 
is this that lends a sort of blind meaning to the 
word Fate. 

Physical needs precede intellectual necessity, 
and from the physical arise the humane, the philo- 
sophic, and the intuitive; and just as soon as a 
nation ceases to display a sustained and sober 
energy it begins to lose on the side of the spiritual 
aspirations of Will and Intellect. India attained 
intellectual power after she had risen to a certain 
plane of material development, She rose to philo- 


sophic heights, but in the ascent she forgot the 
needs of the material. India was caught in a 
metaphysical slumber, and was conquered; and 
China, after producing her philosophers and 
law-makers, lapsed into a long and peaceful 

“Place your ear to the bosom of the earth and 
you will feel the living throb of the universe,” 
says the Celtic seer, Lamennais. And similarly, 
if you sit perfectly still in a room in some isolated 
palace, you will feel the present gradually fading 
into oblivion, and out of the strange silence vi- 
sions of coming events will mingle in a sort of 
whispering gallery of portents and impressions, 
until it seems possible to sense the destiny of 

I have not forgotten the impressions created 
by my sojourn at Gatschina. The old Marshal 
of the Palace, Prince Bariatinsky, one of the 
heroes of Sevastopol, escorted me through the 
immense structure. Arriving at a small iron bed 
in one of the most interesting rooms he crossed 
himself, bent his knee to the floor, and remarked: 
“This is the bed of my late beloved master, 
Nicolas I.” I stopped, and while looking with 
surprise at the hard, uncomfortable-looking 
couch, the Prince coolly remarked: “He had his 


mind fixed on Constantinople.”’ My escort gave 
a slight shrug of the shoulders, as much as to 
say he failed, and he died of a broken heart; and 
the Prince added as we walked away: “But 
we shall have Persia, and we have an eye on 

My escort led the way upstairs to the Chinese 
museum. When we arrived among the splendid 
objects which filled a great gallery, he said again, 
with a wave of the hand: “There is something 
worth fighting for,” meaning the Chinese Empire. 
Then I began to realise what the Eastern question 
meant for the people of Russia. But when we 
entered the throne room of Catherine the Great, 
with its maze of mellow light, its wonderful calm, 
and its fascinating simplicity, all this, united to 
something singularly Oriental, made me realise 
how unnatural Russian dominion is in Western 
Europe, and how much in harmony it is with 
Eastern thought and religion. 

There will be no Russian question in Western 
Europe, but the time will come when Germany 
will possess the whole of North-western Russia, 
and Constantinople will belong to Austro-Ger- 
mania. And here we have the question of the 
yellow races pressing home closer and closer. In 
Russia there is a Far Eastern question, which 


means China and Japan; in Australia and New 
Zealand there is the same question, but more im- 
perative; while on the Pacific Coast of America, 
from Mexico to British Columbia, the question 
has even now shaped itself into one of imminent 
peril. The whole thing seems so remote from the 
England we are living in that to fear trouble from 
that source seems like an idle dream. And yet 
that is where future trouble will be found. Our 
very existence is bound up in this question of 
China and Japan because of Australia directly and 
the United States indirectly. 

It was in San Francisco in 1875 that I first had 
an opportunity of studying the Chinese character. 
There was at the time a population of 30,000 
Chinese, with two large theatres of their own; 
but not till I crossed the Pacific on the City of 
Sydney in 1877 from California to Australia did 
I get a real vision of a Chinese horde on the move 
from one part of the world to another. 

The steamer was the largest plying between the 
ports of San Francisco and Sydney, carrying hun- 
dreds of Chinese en route for Honolulu. A huge 
hole in the middle of the steamer permitted one 
to contemplate the wonderful scene. The weather 
was very warm, and down below, so far that it 
looked like another world, hundreds of limp and 


listless Chinese fanned their feverish faces with 
great coloured fans, and from the bunks, which 
rose tier upon tier, hung the legs and arms of the 
half-stifled horde as in a picture out of Dante’s 
Inferno. Most of them were reclining, while some 
sat cross-legged on the floor. 

As I stood there, faint waves of weird Chinese 
music were wafted up with whiffs of sandalwood, 
odours that became lost in the stronger scent of 
tobacco smoke on deck. Then, with the setting 
sun, came a scene of transcendent magic. A 
voice rose from somewhere below, it may have 
been a chant of jubilant prophecy or it may have 
been a song of encouragement and hope, accom- 
panied by Chinese fiddles, the rasping tones sub- 
dued and modified to a sort of uncanny wail by 
the partitions separating the invisible musicians 
from the deck; and as the song continued the 
colours in the sky slowly spread out into thou- 
sands of small cloudlets, filling the western heavens 
with a blaze of molten gold, the sun sank below 
the waters, the moon rose in the east, the ship 
glided on, the voice came and went, as if in keep- 
ing with the long, monotonous roll of the ocean, 
and it seemed as if I were sailing the Pacific with 
a band of Argonauts from the Celestial Empire in 
search of a new Golden Fleece in the vast untram- 


melled spaces of worlds yet to be conquered. I 
had caught a glimpse of the Chinese avantguards. 
I had seen the first off-shoots of a people endowed 
with a patience and endurance unknown to any 
of the nations of the West. 

*™~ No one who sits at home can possibly realise 

: i 4 wv) what the great world-movements are. They 
ys nb must be seen, heard, and sensed. To understand 
Aa them we have to enter into their rhythmic action. 

It is not enough to read about them. All 
primitive national movements are symbolical. 
They symbolise a greater and a vaster future, 
and every act has a special significance. 

Sir Robert Hart was the greatest authority on 
China. ‘‘The words ‘imperil the world’s future,’”’ 
he says, “‘may provoke a laugh, but let the words 
stand. Twenty million or more of Boxers, armed, 
drilled, and disciplined, animated by patriotic 
motives, will take back from foreigners everything 
foreigners have taken from China, and will pay 
off old grudges with interest.” 

The Chinese are now, like the Japanese, fully 
aware of their importance. A Japanese Ambassa- 
dor has recently declared that a triple Alliance 
composed of England, the United States, and 
Japan could dominate the world. It is easy to see 
that in the near future new and startling alliances 



will be formed, but any combination that seeks to 
separate England and America will be directed 
not only against the peace of the nations but 
against Anglo-Saxon civilisation in the West, and 
a combination that would debar either of the 
great English-speaking countries would speedily 
inaugurate a series of wars and revolutions that 
would devastate the whole civilised world. 


Two things will force England and America into 
a coalition of material aims and interests — the 
menace of famine on one hand and the menace of 
the yellow races on the other. America can never 
hope to grapple with the yellow peril single- 
handed, England can never hope to avoid star. 
vation without a binding political agreement with 
the great Republic. All other dangers seem in- 
significant compared with the laissez faire policy 
now in vogue in regard to this all-important 

Yet there has never been a political agreement 
based on material interests alone which has stood 
the test of a great crisis. A commercial entente 
without a natural attraction means nothing in 
the hour of political and social strain. France 


to-day would as soon join forces with Germany as 
bind her forces to any compact with Anglo-Saxon 
interests if the French people thought they were 
losing more, even a little more, than they were 

Has any diplomat in this country figured to 
himself the position of the King were England 
bound to the precepts of a revolutionary Gov- 
ernment in France? France can no more escape 
being governed by militant rulers in the near fu- 
ture than she can help being sceptical, logical, 
ironical, and Gallic. All political agreements with 
European nations are but props and crutches. 
Italy and Spain will follow the example of France 
as certainly as the sun will rise to-morrow, and 
even at this moment Rome is governed by a 
Mayor more militant than the most revolution- 
ary Parisian. 

The time is gone when the great nations will 
go to war like schoolboys in a passion. There 
will be no passion in Germany’s next war. It 
will be a war of cool calculation. Englishmen 
who have not lived in Berlin do not understand 
the Prussian. Bismarck divorced the Prussian 
mind from sentimentality. The next war will 
be no dress parade show, but a simple affair of 
calculated famine. The manceuvres will be di- 



rected not against the head and the heart, but 
against the stomach. 

Just after the Franco-Prussian war some French 
friends of mine described the conduct of the vic- 
torious Germans during the invasion. ‘The 
Prussians,”’ said my friends, “fought with the 
coolness of human machines which nothing could 
stop. The French soldiers fought with a passion 
that soon cooled, the Germans with a cold- 
blooded will that was crushing; when they made 
raids on private families in search of wines and 
provisions they did so with perfect politeness, 
but with pitiless determination.” But if the 
Prussian in 1870 was a fighting automaton with 
a will wound up like a clock, what would he be 
now after forty years of drill, and discipline far 
more reasoned, far more desperate, than any 
training ever conceived by the Romans in their 
supremest triumphs? 

The danger menacing England is not military. 
The old Roman question of feeding the populace 
is revived once more. We are an exception to 
almost every case presented in history. We are 
an island, and in our dreams of eternal prosperity, 
dreams which have lasted ever since the destruc- 
tion of the Spanish Armada, we have been hyp- 
notised into a condition of universal languor and 


semi-conscious indifference. We are like men 
clutching at phantoms, while avoiding realities. 
Few seem able to see that the gravest danger lies 
not in anything military near us, but in the danger 
created by a distance of full three thousand miles 
of water, the danger of not having enough to 
eat. The old opium dreams of ease and opulence 
have gone on for ages, until the habit has become 
a second nature. This was the sort of security 
felt by the French nobles at the breaking out of 
the French Revolution, when hunger began to 
gnaw at the vitals of the Parisian populace. But 
the nobles were not saved. Nonchalance and 
sang-froid are effective in the senate, the drawing- 
room, on the Stock Exchange, and in Rotten Row. 
But a hungry mob pays no respect to what it 
considers a mixture of political debility and social 
callousness. Even virtue appears vapid in times 
of violence, and the wisest words from the wisest 
orators fall like so much rain on a people tottering 
on the verge of ruin. 

At the first intimation of famine there would 
be a general rush for food. The farmer would 
soon cease to sell and begin to hide his provisions 
against the time of his own hunger; the people 
of the cities would rush for bread and flour; for 
the first time in England the proverb “bread is 


the staff of life,” would suggest something hollow 
and sepulchral, for the very thought of being sur- 
rounded on all sides by hostile fleets or airships 
would of itself paralyse the moral faculties of half 
the population of these islands. The certain 
knowledge of the close proximity of battle-ships 
as formidable as our own, intercepting, destroy- 
ing, or delaying the merchant steamers arriving 
from America or the Mediterranean, would appal 
the most courageous hearts.! All would feel the 
crushing imminence of the new danger. Not a 
shopkeeper, not a butcher or a baker, not a draper 
or a stockbroker or a banker, not a bishop in his 
palace or a lord in his castle, not a publican or a 
politician, but would be made to realise the para- 
lysing effects of impending ruin. All bombast 
would cease. 

1 Under the heading “Key of the Empire,” the London 
Daily Telegraph of June 22nd, 1912, says: ‘‘The withdrawal 
of the British battle-force from the Mediterranean brings this 
question once more into prominence, because by that route 
nearly half the wheat and other cereals required by the British 
people reaches this country. What would be the position of 
the Government in time of war if these supplies were suddenly 
cut off? More than 8,000,000 of the inhabitants of the United 
Kingdom are in receipt of wages of about a guinea a week, and 
to them a small rise in prices would be a matter of such grave 
moment that they might give way to panic, and the whole 
defensive policy of the country might be deflected in response to 
an uprising, and the essential victory of the fleets in the main 
strategical theatre might be risked by the demand for the 
detachment of forces to secure the safe arrival of food.” 


Nothing would remain as it was. The island 
known as England would appear like a ship parted 
from her moorings, gone from what seemed fixed 
and eternal. 

To draw an antithetical picture of what would 
happen to the highest and lowest social grades 
in such an emergency we have but to scan the 
doomsday pages of Jerusalem, Rome, Carthage, 
and, above all, to contemplate the “wonders and 
terrors” of the French Revolution. In every in- 
stance doom was achieved by hunger. Even in 
cases where the city had been provisioned for a 
long state of siege, hunger at last was the doom 
of all. It is the lack of imagination that renders 
so many people in London, Liverpool, and the 
great manufacturing centres content to live on 
year after year in a state of chronic apathy, they, 
the very people who would be the first to feel the 
slowly accumulating horrors of starvation. 

The two classes most steeped in apathy are the 
millionaires and titled rich on one hand and the 
irresponsible poor on the other; the first have 
many things to lose, the second, nothing but their 
lives, to which they would cling with frenzied 
tenacity. The rich live in mock security, think- 
ing it an easy affair to escape in yachts, steamers, 
motors, etc. An attempt would be made to cross 


the water by night, but the danger on the water 
would be greater than the danger at home. The 
first thing the Government would do would be 
to put the people on short rations. Then all the 
available orators throughout the land would talk 
to the people. The people! Alas, yes! For the 
people hate the pangs of hunger even more than 
the gouty member of Parliament, so often ad- 
vised by his physician to starve himself for a 
week or two as a cure for his aches and disorders. 
The rich would find the first weeks of the block- 
ade rather exciting and agreeable. But the man 
in the street would begin to growl on the very 
first day famine cast her grim shadow across his 
path. On him, the hungry man with a family of 
starving children, sermons, speeches, and reasoned 
editorials would produce no effect. All political 
parties would be blamed, and the end of famine 
would be a pandemonium of drunkenness, frenzy, 
and destruction. ‘The Paris commune would be 
repeated with this difference — the ruin wrought 
in London would be incalculably greater. 

In France the Parisian mob caused the destruc- 
tion which was principally confined to Paris, but 
in England all the great seaports and manufac- 
turing centres would come under the fury of the 
populace, rendered insane from drink taken from 


the helpless publican around whose doors would 
swarm the sturdy vagrants and lazy hordes vom- 
ited from every portion of the land as if the lid 
had been lifted from some long-hidden inferno 
under our feet. In the universal fury and confu- 
sion one party would blame the other, rage and 
dismay would seize on all, a chorus of curses 
and vituperation would arise to drown authority 
and urge the remnant on to national annihila- 
tion. Forty-eight hours of cumulative delirium 
would wipe out a thousand years of accumulated 

“Tell your peoples,” said Lord Rosebery in a 
recent speech, “if they can believe it, that Europe 
is rattling into barbarism, and of the pressure 
that is put upon this little England to defend 
itself, its liberties and yours.” 

The signs are hopeful when men like Lord 
Rosebery begin to tell the people the truth. He 
has not told all the truth, but a little will do to 
start with. When the speaker said: “I should like 
Parliament to vote supplies for two years and then 
pack itself up in three or four obsolete warships 
and go for a trip in order to find out something 
about the Empire,” he touched a sore spot. 


There are politicians who talk about Australia 
and Canada much as they would talk about the 
Pigmies of Central Africa or the ‘“‘ Nigger of the 
Narcissus.”” They find these countries and their 
people good subjects for an idle hour, but mighty 
boring when discussed seriously. Even now 
Western Canada, which is certainly the most fer- 
tile part of that splendid country, is being invaded 
by determined settlers from the United States, 
peaceably and swiftly, and it looks as if the whole 
of the country west of Winnipeg would before 
long be in possession of Americans. This of itself 
may force England and America into a coalition 
of material and spiritual forces, and what looks 
like a menace may turn out a blessing. 

We saw, not long ago, with what enthusiasm 
the American Fleet was received by the people of 
New Zealand and Australia. This popular out- 
burst was a sign of the times. In London it was 
accepted in the “blood is thicker than water” 
type of sentiment. But sentiment had very little 
to do with this singular manifestation. It was 
inspired by fear of the yellow man; fear and dread 
of a descent into Australia of the Chinese and 
Japanese. This is not the time to bring cheap 
platitudes to bear on one of the most appalling 
outlooks that ever confronted an old, rich, and 


lethargic nation. More than thirty years ago, I 
spent one year in Sydney and Melbourne, and 
some years later I wrote and spoke on the subject 
of a Chinese invasion of Australasia, and was the 
first to bring this question before the public. War 
occurred between Russia and China, as I pointed 
out, and Australia and America are now fully 
aroused to the actualities of the time. 

The question of war in our day is no longer a 
question of passion, but of commercial expansion. 
“Powerful influences,” says the Yorkshire Post, 
“some of them pecuniarily interested, others con- 
cerned for ambitions, the exclusion of this or that 
commercial competition from this or that market, 
are constantly at work pressing forward the de- 
velopment of armaments, and hence the imper- 
ative need for a union of defence that shall 
embrace the whole Empire.”’ But a union of the 
whole Empire will not turn the yellow man from 
the Pacific nor keep famine from England’s shores. 

The London Daily News hopes that, whether 
as the result of a catastrophe or not, the working 
men of the world will refuse to be sacrificed as the 
creatures of destruction. But to my mind there 
is no way for the people of England to escape 
being sacrificed in the impending Continental 
commercial-war expansion but a social and com- 


mercial union of all English-speaking countries 
throughout the world. All other combinations 
are purely chimerical, intended for dreamers who 
do not understand the signs of the day, and who 
do not realise what is going on in the dominat- 
ing centres of commerce and politics. What, for 
instance, would a few men-of-war avail Canada 
were America to declare war against England? 
In that case Canada would be swiftly invaded 
by a million men from the Western States. 

On the other hand, were England, Australia, 
New Zealand, and Canada to federate with Amer- 
ica in a social-commercial union, it could not 
make any real difference whether Canada called 
herself British or American, or Anglo-American. 
What common-sense Englishmen want is secur- 
ity instead of doubt, order instead of confusion, 
progress instead of decadence. What common- 
sense Americans want is the certainty of peace 
and progress. As for Canada arming against an 
attack from some European Power, the notion 
is absurd. The reason is obvious — America 
would never permit so much as the landing of a 
single regiment of foreign troops on Canadian 
soil. The truth is, as the Evening Post of New 
York has pointed out, the building of a Canadian 
navy will only serve to irritate and cause friction 


between the two peoples, where at present there 
is no cause of inharmony or misgiving. 

Look where we may, we cannot escape from the 
idea of an Anglo-International Federation. There 
is scarcely a limit to possible combinations and 
alliances against England, but only one alliance 
possible for England’s permanent good, and no 
friend of Anglo-Saxon progress would think of 
preaching an Anglo-American alliance based 
solely on political and material interest. All 
merely political understandings are foredoomed 
to short life. The forthcoming Anglo-American 
Federation, to endure, must include four working 
elements in combination: (a) the political, (6) the 
commercial, (c) the religious, (d) the social. It 
would be the business of the British Parliament 
and the U. S. Congress to take the initiative in 
all matters respecting politics and commerce. 
These questions would form the least of the diffi- 
culties to be overcome. 

It would not require much in a moment of im- 
minent peril to cause a fusion of American and 
British material interests. What is more diffi- 
cult and vastly more important is the work to 
be done by ministers of religion from English and 
American pulpits in conjunction with workers 
in the field of social, scientific, and intellectual 


progress. A movement should be started which 
would make it possible for the leading preachers 
of all denominations in England and America to 
make periodical international visits, the English- 
man preaching from an American pulpit, the 
American preaching from an English pulpit, hav- 
ing for a universal text the spiritual and social 
unification of Anglo-American peoples; the main 
part of the great work would be accomplished in 
a year from the day of departure. In such a case 
it is easy to see what would happen — politicians 
at Washington and Westminster would be forced 
to join in a movement that embraced all de- 
nominations of English-speaking Christians. In 
conjunction with this religious movement, the 
intellectual social element would harmonise and 
develop on the same lines. 

The destiny of America is wrapped up in that 
of England. On the day that England sinks to 
a second-class Power in Europe, a European co- 
alition will develop which will have for its prime 
object the partition of Mexico, Central America, 
and the States of South America. European ex- 
pansion beyond the seas is no idle dream, since 
both Germany and France are now fairly em- 
barked on colonial schemes for commercial de- 


On the day England drops into a second-rate 
Power, America’s troubles will begin; the com- 
binations for America would present infinite 
possibilities, and the Chinese and Japanese ques- 
tions in the Pacific would prove but a small part 
of the danger. There would be the combined 
navies of the two greatest Continental nations in 
Europe, and perhaps three to deal with, possibly 
four — Germany, Austria, France, and Italy. But 
far graver still is the thought that in America the 
foreign population is gaining on the Anglo-Amer- 
ican population, and without the union of the 
English and the Americans of British and English 
descent the United States could in twenty years 
from now become absolutely detached from the 
sentiments and aspirations of the Anglo-Saxon 
mind. For this reason, if for no other, a strenu- 
ous effort will have to be made towards Anglo- 
American solidarity. 


HE thought has often occurred to me: what 
would Tolstoy’s disciples, rich or otherwise, 

do if, by some stroke of fate, he were suddenly 
deprived of three things — his title, his inde- 
pendence, and his prestige, I mean his prestige 
as a prophet perpetually facing the supposed 
dangers of a fixed residence in Russia? What 
would become of him were he to land in England 
to-morrow possessed of nothing but the clothes 
on his back, with no prospect of future social or 
political glory? If I know the world, and I think 
I do, here is something like what would happen. 

Scene. — The wealthy soi-disant Christian So- 
cialist, Sir Percy Prim and Lady Prim, in 
their home. ' 

Sir Percy: And so Tolstoy has actually ar- 
rived in London! We must have him here to tea. 
Lapy Pri: That would be very nice, if we 
could get him before Lady Castlegarden has him 
at her house. You know what an outspoken 
enthusiast she is about all such things: Christian 

1 This study was written in 1909. 


Science, Christian Socialism, and especially Tol- 
stoy and his teachings, and she is sure to be 
among the very first to invite him; you know 
how very up-to-date she is, and she says old- 
fashioned people always make her feel weak, 
they ‘‘draw” from her. She is certain to pounce 
on him like a hungry old cat on a country 

Sir Percy: Country mouse, perhaps, but any- 
thing but a young one. 

Lapy Prim: In the eyes of Lady Castlegarden 
young and old are all one if up-to-date. 

Sir Percy: Well, anyhow, it’s about time we 
offered our friends something in return for enter- 
tainment they have given us lately. That last 
evening at Lady Kant’s — quite entertaining! — 
although no one pretends to understand the airs 
and tricks of that prodigy with his fiddle, young 
Vichy — Vichy — what’s hisname? Quite amus- 
ing Lady Kant declaring that the saucy brat is 
not doing it himself, but Paganini is doing it 
through him. Quite novel, I must confess. 

Lapy Prim: She draws the bow rather long, 
but you know she loves the sensational. 

Str Percy: And there is Lady Castlegarden, 
with her mind-reader, who failed to tell the num- 
ber of the banknote I had in my pocket, but 


described in detail the ticket the pawnbroker 
gave the Duchess of Rigglesworth when she 
pawned a tiara to raise money to send a mission- 
ary to the niggers in Fiji. Most amusing — the 
silly geese! I think if we can’t off-set that by 
showing them the greatest Russian that ever 
lived, a born nobleman and a gentleman, a prophet 
in his own country as well as out of it; if we can’t 
go them one better on their puppy prodigies and 
mind-reading buffoons, the sooner we cease try- 
ing to entertain anyone the better. And, then, 
the one man in all the world who has made 
Christian Socialism respected, the man who has 
made the whole world look towards the Russian 
Bethlehem with awe and reverence —in one 
_ word, the saviour of modern society. 

Lapy Prim (opening the latest edition of the 
evening paper, and reading): What’s this? I can 
hardly believe my eyes! Tolstoy is no longer a 
count, and he has landed here without a penny 
in his pocket! 

Str Percy: Who says so? 

Lapy Prim: Here it is in the paper. He has 
lost everything, and is now no better than the rest 
of them. We could n’t have him here without 
appearing flagrantly absurd and highly provincial. 

Str Percy: Good heavens! I’m glad we knew 


that in time. Had we invited the old fellow here 
he might have asked me for money. 


Lapy CASTLEGARDEN: Have you heard the 
news? Tolstoy is in London! 

Sir Percy: Yes, but stripped of everything, 
without so much as a change of clothes, every- 
thing gone, titles, estates, everything! 

Lapy CASTLEGARDEN: And my son Robert 
comes of age next week, and he has always de- 
clared he will give half his income to Tolstoy for 
the propagation of his teachings! 

Lapy Prim: But something must be done! 

Sir Percy: Certainly something must be 
done, and done in time. He must be kept away 
from Tolstoy. 

Lapy CASTLEGARDEN: How fortunate! Here 
comes Robert now! Do you know, we were just 
talking about something very serious? Your 
‘idol, Tolstoy, is in London, but broken and utterly 
done for. He is no longer even a Russian 

RoseErt (coolly): I hope I’m not so stupid as 
to assist a man who has nothing to recommend 
him but his writings. 

Sir Percy: Most certainly not! A man must 


at least be a gentleman, and these writers with- 
out means are simply vagabonds in disguise — 
that’s what I say! 

RoBeERT: Somehow I had an idea Tolstoyism 
would n’t last very long. 

Lapy Prim: In my opinion, when he lost his 
title he lost everything. 

Sir Percy nods his head, LADY Pru frowns, and 
RoBERT looks up vacanily at the ceiling. 

The scene changes. A group of successful literary 

First Writer: So the old fanatic is actually 
here at last! 

SECOND WritTER: ‘‘Old fanatic” sounds good, 
coming from one who was received in Russia by 
Tolstoy, and who wrote a glowing account of 
the visit to the Daily Boomerang, in which the 
“Count” was depicted as a man with the face 
and the figure of a prophet, only a little lower 
than an archangel. 

THIRD WRITER: Well, I always knew there 
was no bottom in Tolstoyism. All an illusion, you 
see — illusion of time, place, and circumstance. 

First WriTER: How’s that? What do you 

Tumrp WRITER: I simply mean that Tolstoy 


managed things while he was at it much as 
Rockefeller managed things in the oil line, and 
just as successfully, except that he asked for no 
money. Tolstoy was something more than a 
novelist @ la mode; he was a great psychologist. 
He knew how to bring the English and Americans 
to his home, and how to make them talk about 
him after they left. What the world wants is not 
a poor shoemaker sitting mending shoes, but a 
live prophet, dressed like Elijah; only, instead 
of being fed by ravens, fed by a mighty good 
cook, and a small army of servants in attend- 
ance, with a fashionable countess to give them 
their orders, and to take good care that the 
prophet has everything his mind and body re- 
quire to make his journey through this vale of 
tears as jaunty and luxurious as it is possible for 
money to make it. 

SECOND WRITER: We are living in a picturesque 

First Writer: Don’t you think it is senti- 
ment that has turned picturesque? 

SECOND WriTER: Most men are like most 
women; they like sentiment, but they want 
plenty of “show” behind it. They want it 

THIRD WRITER: Romantic, in one word. 


SECOND WRITER: Certainly, but they want 
their romance with all modern comforts. 

THIRD WRITER: If Tolstoy’s cook had fed his 
foreign visitors on cabbage and celery tips he 
would have had few callers from a great distance. 

SECOND WRITER: Snobbery avoids three things 
— individualism, inconvenience, and indigestion. 

THIRD WRITER: And that leads me to what I 
was going to say about Tolstoyism being founded 
on illusions. You know the old saw, “Distance 
lends enchantment”; well, this question of dis- 
tance was a great factor in Tolstoy’s life. When 
we know a man is difficult to get at, our desire 
rises fifty per cent in the scale of illusions. Follow 
this up by the illusion of place, his remote country 
mansion, all in the Russian style, so unlike any- 
thing in the lives of western authors; follow that 
up again by the peculiar circumstances of his 
strange existence, the flat contradictions, the 
impossible paradox, and I say you have enough 
to float the reputation of three novelists and keep 
them wellabove the Wilbur Wright line of success- 
ful aeroplane manceuvring. It is wonderful what 
proper management will do. Tolstoy was a great 
manager. He neglected nothing that could by 
any possibility attract the gaze of the whole world 
to himself. His contradictions and denials of men 


of genius equal to, if not greater than, himself, 
was a tactical stroke in keeping with everything 
else in his luxurious and easy life. 

SECOND WRITER: It is amazing what an attrac- 
tion there is in cheap things that are not quite 
easy to get. 

First Writer: As a proof of that, compare 
the miracle worker, the late Father John, with 
Tolstoy. Father John expected money from the 
rich to carry on his charitable work; he was a 
poor priest with no social standing, and the Eng- 
lish and the Americans ignored the humble priest 
and passed on to Tolstoy, who was more difficult 
to reach — and cheaper. There was absolutely 
nothing to pay. 

SECOND WRITER: Sometimes I wonder if 
Tolstoy did not begin by taking to heart Carlyle’s 
saying that most people are fools, and simply 
acting on that. 

TumrD Writer: All the same, I’m sorry this 
thing has happened. Had Tolstoy remained in 
his old position in Russia two months longer I 
should have been better off by nearly four hundred 
pounds. I was making arrangements to go out 
and beard the prophet in his palatial den, take a 
series of sensational views, one or two sketches, 
something novel, my own idea, be away about a 


month, spend twenty or thirty pounds, come 
home, and clear about three hundred and eighty, 
with the satisfaction of having had a rousing 
good time. 

First WRITER: Lucky thing for some people 
that Tolstoy was not in the boot and shoe busi- 
ness instead of a great landed proprietor. 

SECOND WRITER: Shoemaking is not romantic 

THIRD WRITER: Yet, I’ll bet you it’s the last 
profession he will stick to now that he is in Eng- 
land dead broke. 

Scene changes again. A fine country house in the 
Surrey hills. Rich proprietor known as a keen 
disciple of Tolstoy, enthusiastic, always will. 
ing to spend money on the Tolstoyan Utopia. 
The proprietor is sitting at his desk, engaged 
in writing a pamphlet on how best to dissemi- 
nate the Tolstoyan idea. Enter a newspaper 
reporter from London. 

REPORTER: Have you heard what has 

PropriEToR: Nothing very serious, I hope. 

REPORTER: Tolstoy has arrived in London 
without a penny; his title, his estates, his social 
prestige, all gone. 


PROPRIETOR: What! You mean to say he has - 
nothing left! 

REporTER: Nothing but his genius. 

PROPRIETOR: Great Cesar! Then he is only 
another Maxim Gorky! 

He sits back in his chair, stupefied. 

REpoRTER: He is stopping at a cheap hotel 
in the Strand, and has been assisted by some 
working-men who have pawned their watches for 
the purpose. They say Tolstoy must come out 
here to you, where he can have a good home; he 
intends setting up as a shoemaker, working at 
the usual rates at that trade. 

PROPRIETOR (gasping): You don’t mean it! 

REPORTER: That is the intention, 

Proprietor: This takes my breath away 
What am I to do? This thing has knocked me 
all in a heap. It is a nightmare! And, hang it 
all, Tolstoy on his estates in Russia is one thing, 
Tolstoy a beggar living on my estate is another. 
And, besides, fancy people coming here to have 
their boots mended! Why will Russian counts 
get broke and turn themselves into dirty 

REPORTER: Perhaps you could take him for a 
few days, and then pass him on to the common 


working-men, who seem to have remained his 
warm disciples in spite of all. 

PROPRIETOR (tapping his forehead): Stay! I 
have an idea. Tolstoy is an old man. He can’t 
live long at the most and worst. His keep would 
not cost much. I have a vacant room in the ser- 
vant’s house, at the top over there, where he can 
mend boots and write without bothering me; 
and at the same time things will appear to be as 
they were. No one need be compromised. 

ReEpPoRTER: And when he dies bury him in 
your back garden. 

Proprietor: A splendid idea! And hang it 
all, later on I’ll reimburse myself by charging the 
beggars a shilling per head when they come here 
on their annual visits to view the grave. His 
drawing power is gone now, but his grave will 
draw later on. A splendid idea! 


HEY had listened to the first sermon of the 
new minister, and the people, now slowly 
leaving the church, were more than usually 
silent, more profoundly impressed than on any 
former Sunday within the memory of the oldest 
member of the congregation. Something had 
happened. The people might have been coming 
away from a long and solemn funeral service; 
but, as a young stockbroker remarked to his 
friend as they walked down the street, it was a 
funeral service with an immediate resurrection. 
The old was gone, the new had taken its place. 
The broker as he walked tried to explain. 
“That man,” he said, alluding to the new 
preacher, “has what artists call the true magic. 
He tears down the false and then builds up the 
reality. Did you notice what an influence settled 
down over the congregation when he began his 
description of worldly actions and reactions? 
Did you feel the sensation of sinking down and 
then rising up and out into a clearer and better 


His companion answered that he was fully 
conscious of the sensation at the time, and 

“Does it not come under the heading of rheto- 
rical eloquence? Is it not due to the artistry of 
the words and sentences?” 

‘All fine preaching is more or less rhetorical,’’ 
was the answer; “‘but the sermon of the new 
minister had in it something both higher and 
deeper than rhetoric; it was full of emotion’, No 
concoction of empty phrases and fine words will 
ever influence critical and sensitive people. To 
revive drooping plants the water must sink to the 
roots. Words and sentiments must touch the 
deepest recesses of emotion. Mere argument can 
never be made to influence in the same way. 
Cold logic is useless when you want to reach the 
high and touch the deep.” 

The stockbroker’s companion admitted all this 
to be true, but he demanded to know how it came 
about that the preaching of certain revivalists, 
and notably that of the early revivalists, ap- 
pealed to an order of mind quite the opposite to 
that of the mind used to rhetorical culture and 
classical learning. The broker stopped, and, 
facing his companion, explained: 

“The emotion of the ordinary revivalist and 


the emotion displayed by this new minister are 
not on the same level.” 

“You mean the one is dominated by a sort 
of blind feeling, the other by a conscious intelli- 
gence?” - 

“This new preacher is an artist in words.” 

“You mean,” said the other, “that the ordinary 
revivalist daubs his colours on the congregational 
canvas while this new preacher blends his colours 
and uses his brush with skill and caution?” 

“He does all that and more. I noticed while 
he was preaching how every word fit the idea, 
how every sentence fit every sentiment. Things 
were unified. His whole sermon was as orderly 
as a musical composition and as harmonious as a 
beautiful picture.” 

“So you think he was conscious of being the 
master of his sermon, instead of the sermon the 
master of him?” _ 

< ‘Impressional preaching)is a good thing if the 
congregation is not Critical. An audience of 
educated and experienced people have the critical 
faculty too strongly developed to be influenced 
by a preacher’s impulsiveness, no matter how 
eloquent he may be. As soon as I know that a 
preacher is as critical as I am I listen to what he 
has to say, ready to be moved by his words if 


there is anything in them superior to the kind 
of argument we hear every day. This new 
preacher is logical, but we who have lived on 
logic want something more. We want the thing 
which we do not possess.” 

“You mean the art?” 

“T mean the art if you care to call it by that 
word; the art that goes hand in hand with a sort 
of verbal inspiration, a sort of word-magic, the 
sort of thing no fellow can quite explain, no 
matter how we reason over it. You see, the 
thing is too simple to be explained.” 

“Too simple!” The broker’s companion 
stopped suddenly and looked the other in the 

“Yes, it is too simple! Have you forgotten 
your Emerson already? The simple is always 
the result of the complex.” 

They remained silent for some time, then the 
broker continued: 

“In every art the finest things are the clearest 
things; they bear a vital exterior evidence, full 
of significant power. When any art fails to do. 
this it is not fine art; it is crude art.” 

“You mean to imply that the majority of 
preachers fail to influence their congregations 
because of their want of such art?” 


“The vast majority fail to impress their hear- 
ers, not from lack of sincerity, or honesty, or 
deep conviction, but from lack of this poetic art, 
", which means beauty united to power, conviction 
united to what critics call the ‘creative faculty.’” 

“T must admit,” said the other, “that I rarely 
attend church simply to hear the preacher. If I 
know what he is going to preach about I usually 
know what he is going to say. I sit and listen 
to the old platitudes in the name of ethics, and 
am mighty glad when the sermon is over.” 

“This is true of the majority of church-goers 
to-day,” returned the broker. “Most of us go 
to hear the music first; the sermon is thrown 
in to give the service some show of moral and 
religious sentiment. I confess I, too, went to 
church to-day to hear the music. Now I have 
forgotten all about the music and am still under 
the spell cast by the new minister, whose correct 
name I hardly know.” 

“And yet all the words he used in his twenty- 
minute sermon are to be found in Webster’s 
Abridged,” said the other, smiling. 

“Truth on Sunday requires Sunday clothes.” 

“You mean the common truths expressed by 
the ordinary preacher are too common to 


“The ordinary preacher comes before his con- 
gregation with the same sentiments, the same 
expressions which served him during the week. 
He has changed nothing. The people have put 
on their Sunday best, the beauty of the women - 
has been enhanced by colour and elegance, the 
character of the men has been enlivened by a 
more fastidious attention to cut of garment, but 
in his words, his attitude, his moods, the preacher 
remains exactly what he was on the previous 
Friday or Saturday. He is not on the art level of 
his congregation.” 

“Thatis a great point,” said theother musingly. 

“Every.ineffectual effort sinks to the level of 
the €ommonplacey” continued the broker; “but 
in these matters the simple and the common are 
as wide apart as two poles. Most people, in try- 
ing to be natural and simple, become ordinary 
to the verge of boredom.” 

“So you think the homely truths have ceased 
to influence church-goers?” 

“A highly educated congregation demands 
something different. What we of the big cos- 
mopolitan cities want to-day is not household 
preaching, but household inspiration.” 

“What do you mean by the word ‘inspira- 


“Religious feeling united to intellectual im- 
agination, added to a something which eludes 

“A sort of divine mood, in which the preacher 
and the artist are one.” 

“Our senates, law courts, universities, studios, 
and literary coteries contain more gifted men than 
the churches.” 

“The fact is,” said the other with emphasis, 
“the rapid progress made in the world of art 
and music in recent years has made the efforts 
put forth by our leading area look small and 
insignificant in comparison.” 

“But they have clutched at music cy’ said the 
broker, “clutched at it like a donne man at a 

“Yes, it is a grave error.” 

After a significant silence the other said: 

“The mood evoked by music is transcendental. 
We soar on airy wings while we listen, but we 
descend to earth as soon as the last strains have 
ceased. Music entrances, but the trance is brief. 
The religious spirit is very different. We feel it 
as a waking reality. It is something we take with 
us from the home to the office in the city. Music 
1s a passion, religion is a principle.” 

“Ts not fine music a good thing for the church?” 


Its true mission is to open a way. Viewed in 
this light, its effect is sometimes marvellous, but 
so is the effect produced by an application of 
electric power to the human nerves — a power 
which thrills, but does not feed. Real religion 
is much more than a mental stimulus.” 

“You mean to imply that the churches are 
depending on music to take the place of effective 

“They are trying to feed the people on electric 

“And in the meantime the people are under- 
going a spiritual famine. Some churches offer a 
regular Sunday banquet, where everything is 
present but the staff of life. As matters stand 
now, music is the champagne of the banquet, the 
sermon a fricassee composed of fish, flesh, and 

“We have made great strides forward in every 
line of accomplishment except that of original, 
true, and emotional preaching,” said the other, 
as if malig: out of a reverie. 

“T agree,” said his companion; “but emotion 
in itself is not an art, but a gift. The business 
of the artist is to direct notion, tone it into 
rhythm, and make it effective.” 

“We are too young to remember the oldtime 


actors who used to tear a passion to tatters, or 
the great revivalists like Peter Cartwright who 
swung sinners over the jaws of Tophet until their 
feet touched perdition; but in giving up the old, 
we have taken to pulpit talk which is hardly up 
to the intellectual level of the ordinary scientific 
lecturer.” ; 

“Ts that not why the majority of preachers 
pass in society as intellectualists without a special 
religious gift, and without a real spiritual mis- 
sion, possessing no vital influence on the people 
they meet in daily life?” 

“Ministers have too long flattered the people 
by all sorts of notions cloaked under the name of 
religion, in which the soul has no more place than 
a sermon would have in the arena of the Stock 
Exchange on a busy day.” 

Can ‘science and religion Jever be made to 
mingle and“Harmonise?” asked the other with 

“Formerly we humbugged others’ while we 
remained undeceived, but now each man does 
his best to humbug himself. Science has as much 
to do with religious sentiment and psychic emo- 
_ tion as it has to do with the natural flowers that 
grow unaided in the woods and fields. The 
smart man in the pulpit is no better than the 


smart man on the Stock Exchange. He receives 
no more respect from the world generally. In 
taking away the grosser superstitions from religion 
our ministers have taken away reverence and all 
the finer feelings and sentiments that belong to 
the realm of the psychic. There is no such thing 
as scientific poetry, no such thing as scientific 
emotion, no such thing as scientific religion.” 

“That means that no science will ever touch 
even the hem of the nee of the soul,” said 
the other. ye 

“Quite so. ‘ Intellectual preaceane ds a religious vt G 

illusion, like operatic music in the church on 
Sunday. There are people who think such things 
fill a long-felt want; what they really fill is a 
social vacuum on Sunday.” 

“Religious leaders have got hold of the wrong 
art,” said the other, with a luminous smile. 

“Worldly art,” said the broker curtly. “Sci- 
ence is a material state of the mind, religion a 
spiritual state of the soul.” 

“The new minister possesses the last; it 
seemed to me he filled the whole church with an 
aura of religious intensity. He impressed all, 
even the most fashionable and worldly.” 

“That is because all great art is a psychic 


They ceased speaking for a time. Then the 
broker said: 

“A word is but a spark of light; a fine sentence 
is a thought made radiant. A splendid sermon 
is to a congregation what the rays of the sun are 
to the things of the earth. Plants grow aided by 
rain and sunshine; souls develop under discipline 
and the right words spoken at the right time. The 
new minister began his sermon in a sort of gloom; 
the clouds gathered, and at the right moment 
the rain descended, with interludes of sunshine 
to let us see that the sun exists above the clouds, 
and that religious happiness is not an illusion.” 

“Because people were never so fed up on 
worldly illusions as they are to-day, and I fear 
we are Stall-fed optimists ready for the slaughter. 
We have listened too long to empirics who come 
and feel our pulse, look at our tongue, and then 
tell us, with a nonchalant air, that nothing ails 
us but a passing indigestion, advise us to go for a 
trip to the country or to take a long sea voyage.” 

“T am not sure but that an age of optimism is 
not an age given over to pleasure,” said the other. 

“Many people are optimists from intellectual 
conceit. Pride, ignorance, and vanity are at the 
bottom of most of our optimistic pretensions, 
and if you look at things closely you will soon see 


how most of our so-called religious people are 
in exactly the same fix as our political parties. 
Before an election all parties are bursting with 
optimism, pretending to be happy. As a matter 
of fact, all are in doubt, many in a state of fear. 
After the election ask your political optimist if 
he is happy! The bitter irony! Ask your fair- 
weather church-goers if they are happy on the 
day the doctor whispers the final word that all 
is over with them —no more illusion, no more 
flattery, no more lying, no more pleasure, no 
more hope. Awful hour! When the optimistic 
catchwords sound as hollow as the cold clods 
falling on a coffin!” 

“T think a good deal of the trouble arises from 
the fact.that many of our pulpits are occupied 
by (agnostics\who are groping for truth just like 
their congregations. Their sermons are spiced 
with Spiritism, Theosophy, and mysticism, and 
the sauce for this intellectual pudding is called 
Christianity. These agnostics oppose nothing 
but real religion, for which they have neither 
feeling nor understanding.” 

“Stockbrokers are called bulls and bears. I 
regard an agnostic in a pulpit as a wolf in sheep’s 
clothing; no grizzly is so formidable amidst a 
wilderness of souls.” 


“And why?” exclaimed the other. “Because 
the agnostic could not hold his position in such 
a church six months if he did not flatter the divers 
opinions and beliefs to be found among the lead- 
ing members of his congregation. Such a minister 
must be ondoyant and correctly vague, innocently 
vacillating and plausibly progressive, believing 
in everything, secure in nothing. As soon as a 
preacher pleases all the members of a cosmopoli- 
tan congregation be certain you are dealing with 
a man of the world who knows how to lecture, 
but cannot preach.” 

“T make no profession of religion; my friends 
call me an agnostic; I have even been called a 
materialist; and when I go to church it is for the 
music. But I have never deceived myself. I do 
not profess to be spiritually contented. The man 
who is to influence me must, first of all, be con- 
vinced and contented himself. It is not possible 
to deceive a well-read agnostic for long; there is 
nothing he respects and admires so much as 
eloquent speech from a convinced preacher, 
nothing he despises more than a man of learning 
who pretends to know more than the agnostic. 
It is not ignorance we despise; it is false claims to 

“But was there ever a time when the clubman 


and the millionaire, the fashionable woman and 
the society leader, felt so near moral salvation 
without feeling certain of it?” 

“Tt all results from the absurd notion that a 
man ought to profess a spiritual optimism on a 
level, so to speak, with his wealth and his busi- 
ness capacity.” 

“But it is a far cry from the bodily ease that 
affluence provides to an easy conscience. And, 
if I am to judge by my own feelings, after having 
made a fortune of several millions while yet a 
young man, I can say with some assurance that 
no amount of luck or progressive prosperity will 
ever compensate for the lack of spiritual repose. 
I go to books for some signs of enlightenment, to 
Shakespeare, Marcus Aurelius, Plato, to Emerson, 
but a living orator who can wrestle with the 
conscience of a people is worth more than books. 
He comes in direct contact with us, we feel his grip, 
we admit his superior force, we are conquered, 
and we shake hands with the victor as a friend.” 

“There are two classes of men who ought to 
be able to tell us what ails us — medical men and 
religious ministers: the one for the body, the 
other for the soul. The medical man succeeds 
fairly well, the minister fails in the great majority 
of cases. And why? Because few ministers in 


our day feel certain they possess a soul. Negative 
themselves, they fail to bring conviction to 

“Besides that, I see a grave danger to the 
churches in presenting, as some leaders are do- 
ing, the subject of immortality in a purely 
material light. In their efforts to prove im- 
mortality they have created in the minds of many 
worldly people an atmosphere of security that 
fringes the borders of every selfish vice. I once 
met a business man who had been a Congrega- 
tional minister in a large town. Some of the 
leading members of his congregation were in- 
clined to Be doubting Thomases. He hit on the 
notion that a series of sermons based on psychical 
manifestations as proofs of the soul’s survival 
would be just the thing for the doubters. He 
preached for four Sundays on this subject, and at 
the close of the series had the doubters so well 
convinced that several of the richest ceased to 
take an active interest in religion. They no 
longer feared anything, declaring that the other 
world being just like this one, it was needless to 
worry about the soul’s future. The pastor left 
the ministry for a business career; he could no 
longer raise the necessary funds to keep the 
church going.” 


“Preachers who attempt to reduce the spiritual 
to the plane of the material must always fail. It 
is madness to convince a man who is already a 
lover of self that he is going to live on unchanged 
after death. Preachers who do this may be sin- 
cere, wise they are not. The new minister we 
have just heard is not one of these. What we 
want to-day is not the grosser proofs of immor- 
tality, but the finer, more spiritual proofs. We 
want to get hold of the true feeling, the aspiration 
of continued spiritual progress — I hardly know 
what to call it. I should be sorry to think that 
things go on after death as they do here; it 
would make me more selfish than I am now.” 

“And that brings up the subject of charity and 

“What in reality is the thing called utili- 

“Tn my opinion, it is a multitude of sins under 
a cloak of wholesale charity. It is so easy to give 
wholesale, so easy to order things by the gross, 
so bothersome to handle them in detail.” 

“Ts not mechanical charity an insult to all the 

“Tt is charity without spiritual sympathy, it 
is goodness made automatic, virtue made hypo- 
critically vicious, penny-in-the-slot religion, all 


the more dangerous because the machine works 
so smoothly.” 

“T object to it just because it is so cheap,” 
said the other with a bitter tone. 

“What the wealthy utilitarian lacks is senti- 

“But is he not often a sentimentalist?” 

“Sentiment gives distinction, sentimentality is 
as crude as it is blind. This is why your wealthy 
parvenu gives so much to public institutions. 
He thinks he is buying distinction. Note that 
he or she always takes care to give to something 
that is, or will be, popular.” 

“Don’t you think that as soon as the whole- 
sale utilitarian philanthropist realises that giving 
to public institutions is a sign of decadent taste, 
to say nothing about judgment, the custom will 

“The custom will cease as soon as the custom 
is regarded as bad form. Society has placed a 
ban on the person who eats with a knife and 
drinks wine out of a cup. I see the day coming 
when the ostentatious giver will have no place 
in refined social circles.” 

“And this brings us to a main point: the 
State will be compelled to maintain universities, 
hospitals, libraries, and all institutions connected 


in any way with public utility. Individuals will 
cease to be utilitarians. The rich will turn their 
attention to work of a distinctly private nature. 
Struggling men and women of talent and genius 
will no longer be objects of charity; they will be 
sought out and made to realise that their efforts 
are not in vain; poets, artists, philosophers, 
scientists, musicians, preachers with a gift will 
no longer languish in obscurity. The gifted will 
take their proper place in the world’s work; they 
will cease to be the tools of cunning avarice and 
high-handed greed, the playthings of ignorance 
and pretentious fashion.” 



CENE: A private room in the Waldorf- 
Astoria Hotel, New York. Coffee is being 
served after a sumptuous dinner. Persons pres- 
ent: A senator, a judge, a general, an ex-ambas- 
sador, an episcopal rector, a professor of history, 
a professor of psychology, a multi-millionaire. 
They had come together to welcome home the 
man who had been an ambassador only a short 
time before, and after some speeches the company 
settled down to the ordinary talk of the evening. 
“Tt is a great and moving subject,” remarked 
the senator (taking a couple of whiffs at his cigar), 
“a very great subject. When you pronounce the 
word Empire in a country like ours you bring 
into play the greatest stops of the organ; you 
sound the trumpet notes of heroism, romance, 
and adventure.” 

“T should say,” said the judge, “it includes 
much more than that. An American Empire 
would involve the whole world in its meshes. 
Were we ruled by an emperor, not only all the 


present social factors would be changed in our 
country, but Europe and Asia would be involved 
in the progressive changes, the flux and the reflux 
of political, religious, and material development.” 

The judge, as he ceased speaking, extended his 
arm, eyed his cigar with deliberation, brushed the 
ashes off with his fat little finger, while every 
member of the party watched him as if he were 
about to deliver judgment in a case of life or 

The judge was one of those men who exert a 
ponderable influence by “heft.” He was a polit- 
ical heavy-weight. The bulk of his body sus- 
tained and balanced his words, his looks, and 
his gestures, while the senator, who was thinner 
and taller, was a physical feather-weight, whose 
muscles were in his brains, and whose knock- 
downs were in his arguments. 

There was a pause, as there usually is in cases 
when a grave question has been suddenly brought 
on the tapis, and the listeners are taking sound- 
ings in the shallows of their own ignorance. Evi- 
dently, by the shifting of legs, and slight, but 
significant, clearings of the throat, most of the 
party were beginning to “sit up.” 

“Do you know,” said the professor of psycho- 
logy, with a rather serious smile, “I always think 


there is something in the quality of the wine 
that decides or influences these after-dinner 
discussions.” To which the ex-ambassador re- 
plied good-humouredly: ‘You look at the cham- 
pagne label before judging the import of the 

“We have been drinking Veuve Clicquot this 
evening,” returned the professor, “and I have 
little fear of the quality of the conversation. If 
we are going to discuss the question of an emperor 
in this country we should do it with ‘unmuddled 

“And, I should add, with strong nerves,” said 
the senator. 

“Tt takes moral courage to face the subject 
under any circumstances,” retorted the judge. 

“Ts this question not in the air?” It was the 
professor of history who asked the question. 

“Tt is in the air, but not yet on people’s 
tongues,” remarked the senator. “We require 
to breathe microbes before we feel their effects; 
the incubation always takes time”’; but the rector 
said, “Now that this question has been brought 
frankly before us I am reminded that a good many 
people have lately been feeling Imperial without 
knowing just how to describe their feelings.” 

“Perhaps the time has come to diagnose the 


symptoms,” put in the psychologist. “Is it, or 
is it not, a disease?” 

“You touch a vital point,” chimed in the judge. 
“Tt would be impossible to over-rate its far-reach- 
ing importance. If it is a disease, everything de- 
pends on whether it is ‘catching’ or not.” 

The psychologist now spoke with much anima- 
tion: “We know that ‘fashion’ is nothing but 
the working of one imagination on the mind of 
another. One or two persons fix upon a certain 
fashion, then groups begin to imitate the thing 
that is set before them, after which the public fall 
into line, and no one questions the utility or the 
futility of the fashion imposed.” 

“That is true,”’ declared the senator; “if we 
are destined to have an emperor it is but a ques- 
tion of who begins to suggest the ‘Imperial’ 
game — merely a question of time. What is in 
the heart will one day be expressed by the hand.” 
He suited the action to the word by lighting a 
fresh cigar. 

“Not long ago,” said the rector, “I heard a 
clergyman say that fully eighty per cent of his 
congregation were secretly ready for an Empire.” 
He gave a furtive glance at the company. 

The rector despised Democracy, not so much 
because he thought it all wrong, but because his 


secret inclinations opposed it. With him, as 
with the class he represents, Democracy was not 
so much a thing to be feared as a thing to be 

As for Socialism, he would as soon think of 
learning Chinese as of reading up the philosoph- 
ical and economical arguments of its leaders. 
The rector stood for a large and powerful class 
that rule in the social circles of New York, Balti- 
more, Philadelphia, and Boston. His class stand 
for the letter as opposed to the spirit, the form 
as opposed to the substance, manner opposed to 
method. In their eyes the Episcopal Church is 
a barrier against what they deem the common and 
the vulgar. In America it is the only symbol of 
royalty left after the Declaration of Independence. 
Deep down in the bosom of all good Episcopalians 
there remained, and there still remains, the secret 
sympathy with the old manners, the old beliefs, 
the old social habits and customs. Between the 
intellectual Unitarians of New England and the 
Episcopal Church, as represented in cities like 
Baltimore and Philadelphia, there is the differ- 
ence of a whole world. With certain Episcopa- 
lians aristocracy has much to do with class, little 
to do with intellect. 

“You mean to say,” 

remarked the ex-ambas- 


sador, “they are weary of the present social con- 
ditions; tired of doubt and that chaotic equality 
which nothing seems to mollify, and that they 
would welcome any change that would clear the 
social air.” 

“Tt would take a mighty big thunderstorm to 
do that. Our country is big.”” It was the general 
who spoke. 

“Tt would take a series of thunderstorms that 
would reach from New York to San Francisco and 
from Chicago to New Orleans,” added the judge. 

“Tt would all depend on the actual mood of the 
people,” declared the senator, “or the mood of 
the class with the most power.” 

“And these would, of course, be influenced by 
the actual political and social conditions of the 
time. It is a complicated subject,” saying which 
the judge leaned back in his easy-chair, and with 
a grimace in which his mouth, nose, eyes, and 
eyebrows all played a part, he slowly puffed a 
long cloud of smoke towards the ceiling; and again 
he riveted the gaze of the whole company. 

The ex-ambassador, becoming restless, asked 
of the senator, ‘‘What, in your opinion, is the 
cause of a people’s mood?” 

“A nation’s moods are exactly like the moods 
of an individual,” he replied, with a nonchalance 


in which a glow of nervous energy was manifest 
from the deep sockets of his grey-blue eyes. “A 
nation has its whims, caprices, humours, like 
private persons. The statesman who ignores this 
simple fact is a man who has not mastered the 
art of governing.” 

“Fashions again,” said the professor of psy- 
chology. ‘The need of change, the dislike of mo- 
notony, the love of pomp and show inherent in 
all human nature, the same spirit that creates the 
fashions creates the political and social moods.” 

“Action and reaction,” said the judge, fixing 
his gaze on the professor. ‘Every law passed 
is an act which is bound, sooner or later, to pro- 
duce a reaction in some form. Too much De- 
mocracy is bound to produce a reaction towards 
aristocracy; too much aristocracy is bound to 
revert to Republicanism, as in France; but if 
France ever goes to war with Germany, and is 
beaten, Germany will impose a Monarchy on 
France, and that will be her reaction.” 

“T agree,” said the professor of history, ‘“‘there 
is nothing else in the world on which we can safely 
reckon. History means nothing else. In 1789 
French Democracy reacted against the Monarchy; 
then Bonaparte caused a reaction against Democ- 
racy and founded an Empire, after which there 


was a reaction in favour of the Monarchy, which 
again gave place to the rule of Napoleon, after 
which another reaction came with the third 
Republic. In our country we have tipped to the 
see-saw of the two parties — the Republicans and 
the Democrats.” 

The senator moved in his seat, and, raising his 
eyebrows, asked in a voice that implied something 
more than the ordinary, “Do you not concede the 
reign of a moral law in all this?” 

“There is no chance,” replied the professor of 
psychology; “there must be law, or the world 
would go to pieces. We speak of anarchy and 
chaos because these loose terms suit our feelings 
and manner of speech for the time being. Pas- 
sion runs away with reason, but after the event 
we have time to consider and weigh. All history, 
to my understanding, is but the working out of 
destiny, and nothing that philosophers do or say 
ever hinders its march. We are ignorant par- 
tisans watching the game of the gods, the stu- 
pendous show of the flux and reflux of cities, 
nations, republics, crowns, and empires.” 

“‘T wonder,” said the professor of history, ‘‘if 
people will ever consent to lead the simple 

“We might as well ask if people will ever be 


content to mind their own business,” said the 
ex-ambassador, with a twinkle in his cold blue 
eyes; but the judge caught him up with the re- 
tort, “Sir, an ambassador is one who is sent to 
induce other nations to mind their own business 
while he takes advantage of their absent-minded- 
ness by attending to his and theirs at the same 

The rector was fascinated by the look, the tone, 
and the solid posture of the judge, as weak birds 
are fascinated by the sight of snakes; and he was 
thinking to himself how fine it would sound when 
in the Prayer Book on Sunday he would be able 
to read the prayer for the preservation of his 
Imperial Majesty the Emperor of the two Amer- 
icas instead of the prayer for the plain President, 
which always sounds flat, especially to the ears 
of the fashionable female members of his Phila- 
delphia congregation after their return from pro- 
tracted visits to England. 

As for the general, he had never given the sub- 
ject any thought, being a practical man engaged 
in the common-sense attitudes of civil and mili- 
tary government, but he could not help wondering 
how he would look seated on a spanking charger 
as aide-de-camp to his Imperial Majesty, and he 
concluded that it would, to say the very least, be 


exceedingly picturesque and curiously romantic; 
and just as this thought was passing through 
his mind the multi-millionaire remarked, with 
a cynical smile which harmonised well with the 
utter absence of any sign of illusion or poetry in 
the expression of his face, ‘‘People will consent 
to any form of government if you ensure them 
three full meals a day and plenty of eye-show.”’ 

But the senator differed. 

“That,” he said, “is true of the unlettered 
crowd, but in this country there is the religious 
element to count with. At present there are 
only two vital forces in America: the one is 
finance, the other is the churches. The first rep- 
resents the financial attitude of cities like New 
York, Chicago, and Pittsburg; the second rep- 
resents the sentiments of the agricultural popu- 
lation, the country towns, the small dealers and 
the professional classes with local powers. Some 
of these would die sooner than live under an 

“That is true,’ remarked the judge; “but all 
history is full of examples of sudden changes of 
government, and the people at large have always 
acted pretty much the same. What can people 
do under stress of power? The old history re- 
peats itself. There is a great outcry for a time. 


Then people settle down after getting weary of 
futile opposition.” 

The general, now fairly interested in the sub- 
ject, remarked, ‘‘An American Empire would be 
impossible unless it included all South America. 
If we ever become an Empire we shall be a great 
naval power, with an army to match our navy, 
and we should repeat in the two Americas what 
England accomplished in India. It seems won- 
derful when we think of it, how it was done.” 

“What makes present social conditions in 
America so interesting is the unprecedented com- 
plexity of the social, political, and religious ele- 
ments. It is futile to go back to Athens and 
Rome for parallels. Never in history have the 
social elements been so mixed, so inextricably 
mixed.”” The professor of history spoke these 
words with intense seriousness, and the judge 
and senator were about to reply at the same mo- 
ment; but the senator rose to his feet, and the 
company saw before them the dominant mind of 
the evening, tall, solemn, with a presence that 
some would describe as serenely satanic and others 
as serenely Imperial, and as he loomed above the 
sitters he seemed an enigmatic oracle of the pres- 
ent and a prophet of the immediate future. 

“Gentlemen,” he said, ‘I agree with the sen- 


timent expressed by the supreme bard of the 
English-speaking races when he said, ‘There’s a 
divinity that shapes our ends, rough hew them 
how we will.’” 

He paused here to give the company time to 
imbibe all they possibly could of that mystical 
truth. Then he continued: 

“By these words the poet included individuals, 
peoples, countries, nations, and empires. He 
meant them to apply as much to parties as to men, 
as much to politics as to principles. Meditate on 
the marvels of the past, think of Rome, Carthage, 
the invasion of the Moors, the Spanish conquest, 
the Declaration of Independence, the apparition 
of Bonaparte, the advent of Abraham Lincoln, 
the freeing of the slaves, the war with Spain, the 
acquisition of the Philippines, the imbroglio with 
Japan, the incommensurable theme of the yellow 
race wrenched from the rock of Asia to be cast 
before us as a token of defiance, or a stimulus to 
conquest, and then tell me whether you are sleep- 
ing or waking; whether you are standing on the 
brink of a precipice, or dreaming in a fool’s para- 
dise of transient pleasures and ephemeral passions. 
Gentlemen, we are at the dawn of anewera. We 
resemble Columbus and his crew just before they 
sighted the shores of the New World. The tide 



of Empire is rising. Whither will it land us? 
When it recedes will it carry us with it far beyond 
the islands of the Pacific? Will it sweep us on 
and on till it touches the shores of Eastern Asia?” 

It would be difficult to depict the conflict of 
sentiments, hopes, fears, vague desires, and slum- 
bering ambitions evoked by the senator’s startling 
and enigmatical outburst. The judge, who had 
been quietly puffing at his cigar, was now chewing 
its stump, and his face showed all the symptoms of 
a suppressed and suffocating emotion. The gen- 
eral had become visibly agitated in spite of his 
seeming coolness and indifference, while the 
multi-millionaire, his round face flushed with 
the varying emotions of the discussion, could 
hardly keep his seat. 

“Tf you want to know how I feel about it, I 
can tell you,” he said, the wrinkles between his 
hard grey eyes making one think of three fur- 
rows in a field of thistles. “It is a question of 
expediency. If the financial interests of the coun- 
try are better served by Imperial power, then let 
us have an Empire and be done with it. I have 
always been a democrat. Let everything go by 
the board sooner than become a nation of money 
slaves depending on Europe for supply and de- 
mand, It ain’t a time for guess-work, it ’s a time 


for action. I have made what money I possess, 
but I want more; we all want more; we want to 
push the thing clear through from Australia to 
China and Japan and from there to the Pole. I 
don’t care a hang who leads the people. Presi- 
dent or emperor won’t make any difference.” 

“Tt seems to me,” said the judge, “it’s a case 
of hanging our banners on the outer walls.” 

“For the cry is still they come,” smiled the pro- 
fessor of history. 

“And you can take my word for it,” added the 
general, ‘we can afford to let ’em all come.” 

“We have been doing that for some time,” re- 
marked the rector. 

“ Assimilate Republicans and Democrats, Cath- 
olics and Protestants, transmute the tendencies 
and turn all into a rollicking Empire headed by the 
strong man,” went on the judge. 

Several members of the company left the room, 
and the discussion on that subject was at an end, 
but not the thoughts and the impressions. More 
than one of the party lay awake till late brooding 
over the portents of the future in America, in 
Europe, in Asia, in the whole world. 



Scene: A library in a Fifth Avenue mansion, 
New York. Tea is being served. Persons pres- 
ent: A bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 
a governor of a Western State, a Social Democrat, 
a lawyer from Kentucky, a Trust magnate, a 
Christian Socialist, a mining millionaire. 

“There are times,” said the bishop, sipping his 
tea, ‘“when it looks as if we were being pushed or 
driven by some inexorable influence not properly 
belonging to our people as free political agents in 
a country where instruction has for years been 
at the command of all. I can well remember the 
ante-bellum days. The character of the people 
has changed.” 

“Tt must be so,” remarked the Trust magnate; 
“all new countries go the same road.” 

“Progress!”’ ejaculated the lawyer. 

“That word, in our day,” said the bishop, “‘is 
void of religion and void of sentiment. What do 
they mean by progress?” 

“The betterment of all classes, particularly the 
classes that have for ages been held in the bond- 
age of the rich and the strong,” said the Social 
Democrat. “‘So long as the people suffer, the 
discoveries of science do no real good and nothing 
really matters.” 


““A nation has to become powerful before she 
can help herself,” remarked the lawyer. “A na- 
tion that is playing second fiddle can never pro- 
gress. Progress begins when we are absolutely 
free to create our destiny.” 

“We are a sentimental people like the Eng- 
lish,” said the Trust magnate, with a frown that 
seemed fixed and immovable; he wore it as he 
wore his clean, straight, upper lip which met his 
lower lip like a carving-knife, and gave to his 
light-grey eyes the trenchant quality for which 
they clamoured. He carved his phrases from the 
joints of the argument in choppy slices, which 
often passed as bonnes bouches at the boards of 
political and social discussions, and he reasoned, 
argued, lived, and even loved in the “dry light.” 
“There is too much sentimental vapour in the 
national atmosphere,’ he went on; “it prevents 
us from seeing. We must get rid of poetry, ma- 
laria, artists, indigestion, temperance, and wo- 
man’s rights before we become a nation.” 

“Then we shall never become a nation,” said 
the bishop. 

“And when we are rid of dyspeptics, artists, 
and poets, to say nothing of the other things,” 
said the governor, ‘“‘apoplectics will take their 
place. Our capitalists are even now in the apo- 


plectic stage, and those who are not suffering 
from a rush of blood to the head have symptoms 
of water on the brain.” He spoke with his ha- 
bitual good humour, and the bishop replied in the 
same mood: ‘Better water on the brain than 
whisky, governor; and as for woman’s rights, we 
have to thank our brave women for what progress 
we have made in the drink question. The sal- 
vation of this country is in the hands of the 

“As for drink,” said the lawyer, “‘it works two 
ways: it makes some people devils and others 
angels or pet lambs; what is poison for devil is 
sometimes food for angel.’ 

He spoke from the depths of a thick dark beard 
capped by a bushy moustache which gave to his 
small bead-like eyes the aspect of a black snake 
ensconced in a crow’s nest. His attitude was 
formidable. The lawyer was not a “‘spell-binder,” 
his speech was too laconic; but there was some- 
thing in the expression of his eyes which put a 
spell on weak-kneed politicians at Washington 
and sitters-on-the-fence at New York. His very 
presence in a committee-room gave sensitive 
people a feeling of “‘pin-feathers,” while others 
went so far as to declare he was Satan unbound. 

The Trust magnate listened to the lawyer and 


was silent. He was doing his best to get at the 
true inwardness of this man who was living in 
the ‘dry light” of hard fact and impersonal logic, 
and he could not restrain a feeling of repugnance 
as he thought to himself: “I wonder if I look 
as mean as that.” Then he thought: “Better 
look like the devil than an ineffectual angel; 
American economy has no place for Christian 

“You can cut and dry apples and peaches and 
find them very good,” remarked the governor, 
“but you can’t make anything out of human 
beings by the cutting and drying process.” 

“There is no better way,” said the bishop, 
“than first to catch your sinner, then ‘convict’ 
him, then convert him. This’ was the way of the 
early Methodists. I have witnessed thousands 
of conversions on the old camp-meeting grounds 
in the West and the South. I am opposed to force 
and in favour of argument, persuasion, and con- 
version. This nation must be converted back to 
the simple old customs of the early churches, and 
all this outcry about a Monarchy or an Empire 
must cease or we shall be shortly incorporated 
forcibly in some sort of paganism.” 

“Before we can get back to a simpler life,” 
said the Social Democrat, ‘‘we must first deal 


with material things. We have worried too long 
over the spirit. The spirit will take care of itself 
once the body is set free. We have been trying 
to live on compromises, and we become leaner 
every day.” 

“But the fabric must have a solid foundation,” 
said the Christian Socialist. ‘The thing we need 
is Socialism based, not on mere material figures 
and systems of government, but on the absolute 
rules of simple Christian teaching. Socialism 
without religion would be as a rose without colour 
or odour.” 

“T am with you in that,” remarked the bishop. 
“When it comes to the actual fighting time all 
good Methodists will take sides with any form of 
Socialism founded on the Christ spirit. In my 
opinion we shall soon be called on to take sides, 
not in theory, but in practice; we shall soon be 
forced to show our hand.” 

“No doubt about it,” said the lawyer. ‘“‘We 
are in a political and social hot-house, where the 
heat is more than tropical and things are being 
forced along at an extraordinary speed; and I 
don’t object to speed myself. Speed is a stimu- 
lant to mind and body. The quicker we get away 
from all the refuse heaps the better. We have 
been going at a trot of sixty miles an hour. I 


should like to see it changed to a canter of 

“You would empty the Imperial quarts into a 
decanter, eh? and let all taste the vertigo of life,” 
said the Trust magnate, with a grin that hardened 
optimists might have mistaken for a smile. 

The multi-millionaire gave a loud guffaw and 
said: “See that you fellows take a return ticket; 
after you ’ve had enough of Empire you may want 
to get back to a Republic”; to which the governor 
replied: ““You don’t mean to say the Imperial 
game can be played as you play football? If ever 
we get an Empire it will come to stay; there won’t 
be any ins and outs, but a thing the whole nation 
will get used to and fight for.” 

“Gentlemen,” remarked the bishop bluntly, 
“there will be no Empire without .reckoning 
with many millions of Methodists, Baptists, 
and Congregationalists, to mention only three 

With these words the Social Democrat took 
from his pocket a recent copy of the Louisville 
Courier Journal, and began to read an editorial 
by the editor, Colonel Henry Watterson, one of 
the great editors of the world. 

The governor straightened himself in his seat 
and exclaimed: “I find it amazing that a great 


editor should have to ask the question, ‘Is 
Representative Government in America a 

“Governor,” said the lawyer, “you seem to 
talk as if you were amazed for the first time; I 
have not known what it is to be amazed since I 
was a boy of fifteen. When we are surprised it 
shows that we have not profited by experience; 
a man who is overtaken by surprise is, in my 
opinion, a man who is at the mercy of any inci- 
dent that may happen at any time anywhere. A 
successful man in our day should be ready for 
anything. To feel surprise is sufficient proof that 
you are not ready.” 

“A man who is learning every day is not yet 
ready for effective action,” said the Trust mag- 
nate. ‘The successful man in these days is the 
man who has ceased to fear.”’ 

“Tt is all a matter of knowing human nature,” 
remarked the mining millionaire. ‘‘Human na- 
ture never changes,”’ he went on, with a broad 
and self-satisfied smile. “The poor man com- 
plains, but if the poor man was in our place he 
would feel just as we do; he would want more, and 
be bound to get it if he could. If we millionaires 
know how to stick to our guns it is because we 
understand. And besides that, there is something 


in the nature of things that makes people what 
they are.” 

“Do you mean to say,” asked the bishop, 
“that millionaires are predestined to be what they 
are, and that they follow a sort of divine law?” 

“Well, yes, if you like to consider it that way. 
The big millionaires of our time occupy the place 
the kings used to occupy. In these days we give 
the orders and the crowned heads obey,” saying 
which the mining king broadened his smile to an 
extraordinary degree and in a manner not to be 
described, it was so bland, so self-confident, so 

“Things have shifted,” remarked the lawyer 
drily. “The power once vested in princes and. 
crowned heads is now vested in commerce and 
speculation. Diplomacy is now in the hands of 
the manipulators of cotton, wheat, town-planning, 
trust-building, irrigation schemes, and railroad 
management; and to these things will soon be 
added ship-building and a vast commerce with 
Asia and South America. The political diplomat 
has been forced into a back seat. Every move 
of the diplomat is made at the dictates of the 
money market. State-craft is money-craft.” 

“‘Because we are mostly in the hands of Satan, 
and we are nearing the hour spoken of by the 


prophets,” said the bishop. ‘The descent has 
been rapid, but the awakening will appal by its 
suddenness. The first will be last and the last 
will be first; America is not ruled by the people, 
but by Mammon. The people are being deceived, 
not by sentiment but by the policy of money 
grubbers. God Almighty has willed two sorts of 
government for the human race: government by 
light and government by darkness. The worst 
things live in the dark. It is much easier to live 
according to impulse and passion than it is to live 
controlled by wisdom. The Greeks began to de- 
cline as soon as they sought to make worldly 
knowledge take the place of the laws of the spirit 
and the simple life. Knowledge alone is the most 
dangerous thing man can handle. We in America, 
as well as the English, are suffering in the bonds of 
worldly knowledge, and our learning and our 
science are cheap substitutes for wisdom. Science 
is still a mystery which has explained nothing 
that is of any vital importance to the human soul. 
It can never be made to explain the beginning of 
things, neither can it explain any end. People 
who live under the authority of science may learn 
how to destroy microbes and build wonderful 
machines of destruction, but under this rule we 
are growing more barbarous, more arrogant, more 


restless and discontented. We borrow all the old 
vices of the old countries without the seeming 
contentment and repose of the older peoples. 
We have got rid of the idea of equality since our 
rich people consider themselves better than the 
others, and learned men obtain no footing in our 
leading social circles. 

“When you millionaires visit the old country 
you are tolerated because of the money you fling 
about to the servants of the nobility, and because 
of various other things all touching on the fatness 
of your pocket-book. You are too blind, your 
heads are too swollen for you to feel your position, 
to realise your humiliation. As for the feeling 
of patriotism, you have lost that. The words 
democrat and republican mean with you not love 
of home and country, but love of money, worldly 
power, and the perquisites of Mammon. We 
were at one time used to the comforts of a free 
and sober people, but now we are used to the 
luxuries and the licence which rapacious idleness 
and vacuous ambitions bring, and there are no 
signs of any decrease in the luxurious expenditure. 
On the contrary, the spirit of extravagance is 
manifest everywhere in all parts of the land. Your 
boasted equality is a sham. You refuse to meet 
aman on his merits. You fear the few people who 


are still left who have the moral courage to tell 
you your vices; and this is but natural, since you 
think that money ought to be made to atone for 
wickedness in any shape; but in the day of reck- 
oning there will be no atonement.” 

Here the bishop fixed his look on the Trust 
magnate: “Your evil deeds will live after you. 
Nothing you can do on your death-bed will atone 
for the evil example you set now. There will be 
retribution, and your, children and your chil- 
dren’s children will feel the yoke of your evil do- 
ings. You talk lightly of Empire, and consider 
that nothing matters as to the form of govern- 
ment we live under so long as you amass wealth, 
and you seem to be willing to welcome any change 
of government that will promise still more licence. 
This is all very natural. You have been on the 
down grade so long that it is only natural you 
should hasten to touch bottom. In my opinion 
you will, before long, receive an impetus in your 
journey towards catastrophe. You live in palaces 
which will prove no refuge in the hour of danger 
and distress; for in that hour the poor will not 
pity you, and the people of your own class will be 
too occupied in looking to their own separate and 
individual interests to care a fig what becomes 
of the others. You will, sir, when the hour of 


judgment strikes, find that your friends the 
millionaires, who now show no pity or love for 
people in humbler walks, will show no pity or love 
for you and yours. Judgment will compass you 
with the force of a tidal wave, and although you 
may purchase your ransom for a time your gold 
will fail to bring you to your freedom.” 

The bishop’s words came with such unexpected 
force that no one could find a reply. His remarks 
illuminated the minds of the company, and at 
the same time closed their mouths. The Trust 
magnate, his vanity stung to the quick, looked at 
the mining millionaire and hoped he would off-set 
the bishop’s words by one of his cool, happy-go- 
lucky observations that usually came to him with 
such ease, but the mining millionaire had wilted 
in his seat. He felt like a guilty one in a court of 
justice. He felt that, for the first time in his 
life, judgment had been pronounced in his case. 
The Trust magnate felt as if he would suffocate 
if he sat in that room for another five minutes, 
and just in the nick of time the governor turned 
the talk to another subject and the bishop rose 
to go. The Christian Socialist remarked to the 
bishop: “If our preachers would preach as you 
have talked this evening how much better people 
would be.” 



Scene: A palatial mansion near Central Park, 
New York. It is four o’clock in the afternoon. 

The Marquis.of Roehamptonisseated in a'room 
which suggests to him the aspect of an audi- 
ence chamber. There is a canopy under which 
stands a large chair carved in figures which sym- 
bolise royalty. The room is in fact half throne- 
room, half salon, and the objects in it represent 
a large fortune. As the Marquis, son and heir of 
the Duke of Ballywick, sits musing, he asks him- 
self what sort of a dress the hostess would appear 
in to-day. He had seen her many times, but never 
twice in the same dress. The Duke and the 
Duchess were urging him on to marry this woman, 
the possessor of so much money that no one could 
say within twenty or thirty million dollars what 
her fortune was. He felt that he was beginning 
to appear ridiculous. He was half in love with 
the woman he had been courting for more than a 
year, yet he feared her as a human enigma who 
might turn out to be a minx as well as a sphinx, 
and he was beginning to feel worried as well as 

With these thoughts rushing through his brain 
the hostess made her appearance. 


She was seven-and-twenty. Her eyes looked 
very dark under her dark and rather thick eye- 
brows, and her olive complexion never showed the 
slightest trace of colour, no matter what the ex- 
citement of the moment might be. She was tall, 
her figure was well-proportioned, but she had prac- 
tised certain movements and attitudes so long 
before the looking-glass that she often appeared 
theatrical and self-conscious, and self-conscious- 
ness was the thing above all others she most 
dreaded. She was, in fact, suffering from a com- 
plaint quite frequent in the society in which she 
moved, a complaint which might be described as 
the disease of the “ever present.” She had not 
yet invented a way of escaping from herself. 
Night and day she was haunted, not by spirits 
freed from the flesh, but by her own spirit im- 
prisoned in her own body. 

The hostess was arrayed in the strangest orien- 
tal costume the Marquis had ever laid his expe- 
rienced and much-travelled eyes on. It was a 
combination of Turk, Persian, and Hindoo, and 
on her head rose a turban head-dress in the form 
of a pyramid festooned with ropes of black pearls. 
She advanced towards the Marquis with a forced 
air of languor and indifference, and held out her 
hand for the Marquis to kiss. This he did, saying 


to himself what an idiotic attitude for an Eng- 
lishman, the colour mounting to his cheeks as 
he thought: ‘That petty German prince and that 
poor French duke in search of a situation have 
taught her this trick!” 

“How perfectly radiant you look to-day!” he 

The words coming to her at the moment they 
did, and in that peculiar condition of airs and 
elements, the hostess forced her mouth into one 
of those hard, mechanical smiles which she felt 
must resemble a hideous grin, but on the instant 
her face relaxed into its natural expression, which 
was one of restlessness and a vague ill-defined 
ambition, embedded as it was in a foundation of 
hereditary ennui. As a girl she had never 
laughed, and as a woman she could not smile. 

To-day the hostess had decided to lay the law 
down to the Marquis. It was useless for a woman 
in her unique position to mince matters with 
anyone, and after the Marquis had for the twen- 
tieth time broached the question of marriage, she 
said: ‘‘I shall never marry you unless you consent 
to sign a written agreement that I shall be ap- 
pointed the leading lady of honour to the Queen 
of England. American girls who marry English 
lords are in my opinion no better off than they 


were in America. If I marry you I shall renounce 
forever all connection with Republicanism”; but 
just as the hostess uttered these words, and the 
Marquis had made up his mind to bring the ab- 
surd courtship to an end and return to England, 
a butler, with a pompous mien and a stentorian 
voice, announced His Royal Highness the Duc de 
Bordeaux, and in walked a spruce young man, 
whose age was about that of the hostess. 

The Marquis took his leave, and the Duc de 
Bordeaux, after having kissed hands in the most 
courtly manner, found himself enveloped in the 
meshes of political and social intrigue. 

The hostess was, after all, getting somewhat 
bored with the same mechanical compliments 
uttered day after day, and the Frenchman was 
too subtle a judge of human nature not to know 
when to desist. ‘‘I have good reasons for believ- 
ing there will soon be a return of the Monarchy 
in France,’ he began. ‘‘The Republicans are 
growing weak, and the Socialists are threatening 
landed proprietors with utter ruin, and our cause 
never looked so bright. If you will marry me and 
bring your great fortune to bear on the political 
situation in Paris we shall have a restoration of 
the Monarchy within two years. Nothing can 
resist the power of such a fortune as yours.” 


Here the Duc named the journals in France 
which he knew could be subsidised in favour of 
the cause, and the hostess listened with all the 
sang-froid at her command. She looked coolly at 
the Duc for some time, and at last she said: 
“What you say of France fits America about this 
time. I hear that in this country people are grow- 
ing tired of Republicanism, and the Democrats 
are weary of Democracy.” But the Frenchman, 
reading her thoughts, cut short her remarks: “In 
America you have to create a Monarchy or an 
Empire, while we in France have a Monarchy and 
an Empire ready and waiting. We have the titled 
aristocrats to give the proper social atmosphere 
to the throne. If you wait for an Empire in Amer- 
ica you may wait a lifetime, and even then —”’ 

“Well, I don’t know about that,” she replied. 
“T prefer being a princess in my own country in 
my own right to being a titled woman in Europe 
just because my husband possesses a title. I 
prefer being original. My French coiffeur told 
me this morning that I shall look young at forty. 
If we become an Empire I shall be created an 
Imperial princess in my own right, and I shall set 
up a court in Washington. I don’t know but 
what I shall wait ten or twelve years and see. 
The other day a senator told me the fear of So- 


cialism is so great that the millionaires will plan 
to bring about a coup d’état in America. They 
will stand anything but a Socialistic Republic.” 

The Duc replied: “If you become the Duchesse 
de Bordeaux and the French Monarchy is re-es- 
tablished, I can promise you the position of first 
lady at the French Court. With my social po- 
sition and your fortune you will be without a 
rival. Should the king die I shall occupy the 
throne and you will be Queen of France.” 

“ How delightful!” thought the hostess to her- 
self, image after image whirling through her brain. 
She was for the moment intoxicated with the 
illusions of the actual situation, with these arch- 
aristocrats kissing her hand, and the prospect of 
one day being Queen of France, and in the mad 
wave of cerebral excitement and neurasthenic 
folly she forgot the spruce, unkingly-looking 
Frenchman seated before her, and, although she 
seemed to be gazing straight at him, she was 
seeing herself in a royal mirror of the future, and 
she thought: “Only by being a queen seated on a 
throne can I ever get even with these New York 
women. Oh, to see them walk before me, bowing 
low while I sit on the throne, just as I had to do 
when I was presented to Queen Alexandra! What 
a memory it would be to humble that pretentious 


young upstart who has just married two hundred 
millions, and that old, false goddess who expects 
the four hundred to do salaams before her altar! 
I’ll show them some day what I think of a 

In the midst of such thoughts in walked a 
banker’s wife and her daughter — the daughter 
a languid blonde with the manner and look of a 
young woman of intellectual distinction and aris- 
tocratic tastes. The banker’s wife belonged by 
nature to the money set, and could not, to save 
her life, keep out of it; but her daughter’s tastes 
would have led her elsewhere had she been free 
to lead the kind of life she preferred. Every 
movement the young woman made was easy and 
natural, and every word she uttered was the 
simple expression of her unaffected thought. 
Looking at her the hostess said to herself: “I 
shall never succeed in walking and talking in her 
manner,” and she admired and envied her for 
the aristocratic airs which the banker’s daughter 
did not even know she possessed. 

These two visitors were quickly followed by 
others. There was the elderly wife of a Trust 
magnate, whose sharp features, keen grey eyes, 
and remorseless social ambition filled the hostess 
with so muchsecretresentment. Shehad a tongue 


as sharp as her features, and often let it wag as it 
would, regardless of consequences. The other 
women were more afraid of her tongue than her 
husband’s vast wealth, yet the hostess could buy 
and sell them all. Then came the young and 
beautiful wife of a great land magnate, frivolous, 
gay, irresponsible, dashing, voluble. This was 
one of the ladies most disliked by the hostess, 
for she never seemed to pay her sufficient atten- 
tion. This young person took nothing seriously. 
She did not seem surprised at the outré costume 
of the hostess, and did not remark upon it; but 
the elderly woman had exclaimed: “Why, you 
look for all the world like the sultan’s favourite! 
Where did you find that wonderful head-dress?”’ 

“Oh! those black pearls!”’ exclaimed the daugh- 
ter of a millionaire senator, who had just arrived 
with her mother, a stately woman with a long, 
serious face, a long neck, and long, slender figure. 
What a power she would have been had her cul- 
ture equalled her dignity! At least, that is what 
the aristocratic blonde always thought when she 
looked at the senator’s wife. 

The wife of a governor arrived, followed by a 
woman with grey hair, and looking ten years 
older than her real age. The governor’s wife was 
fat, fair, and fifty. She lived in perpetual good- 


humour, with the tap of contentment turned on 
from what seemed a mountain of physicalstrength 
and social prosperity, and if she had any tears in 
her composition she kept them well corked up 
for private use. 

As for the visitor with grey hair, she was a 
small, quiet woman, the wife of a railway mag- 
nate, who did not realise why she existed. She, 
like her husband, possessed things, saw things, 
touched things, tasted things, did things, and 
sometimes said things, without understanding 
anything. She lived by the hour; never thought 
of the past and never reflected on the future. 
Once, when reading a simple novel, she tapped 
herself to see if she were actually alive; for the 
moment she had forgotten where or what she was. 

On entering, the governor’s wife cried out: 
“Just think, Lord Roehampton sails for England 
to-morrow on the Lusitania!” 

“To-morrow!” exclaimed the young wife of 
the mining magnate. ‘Why, he promised to dine 
with us on Friday!” 

The visitors soon separated into small groups. 
The wife of the Trust magnate was seated on a 
divan with the wife of the governor, and the first 
lady remarked: “‘What a whim! Where did she 
get the idea of that turban or whatever you 


might call it? I suppose she is beginning to 
think we ought to cough when she sneezes.” 

The fat lady gave one of her chuckling laughs 
and said: “If she expects us to cough every time 
she sneezes we shall all have consumption; you 
know she has influenza three times a year.” 

“Then we ’Il have to come to grippes with her,’ 
said the other. 

The fat lady laughed again, this time louder 
and longer than before, for the face of the elder 
woman had that serio-comic look which always 
provokes hilarity, and for a moment she feared 
she would end in a fit of laughing hysterics. 

At that very moment the banker’s wife, who 
was seated beside the wife of the railway magnate, 
was discussing the political outlook as affecting 
the money-market and the railroads, saying: 
“My husband thinks we shall have a change in 
our form of government one of these days; he 
says there will be a great crash and then everyone 
will demand some kind of a dictator to put things 
to rights”; but the wife of the railway magnate 
smiled mechanically, and replied with her usual 
mechanical platitudes. It was all one to her. 
She had never felt maternal instinct, never ex- 
perienced a feeling of patriotism, and nothing 
mattered. And while this talk was going on the 


stately wife of the senator took a seat beside 
the banker’s wife and the wife of the Trust 

The Duc had taken his leave, and gossip was 
now the order of the moment. 

“T believe she’s given him his congé,’”’ said 
the banker’s wife. 

“T presume she has,” said the wife of the sen- 
ator. ‘She usually does.” 

“In my opinion,” said the Trust magnate’s 
wife, “she is likely to lead them all a pretty chase 
for a while. I have just seen Doctor X, and he 
inquired particularly about our hostess. You 
know what an expert he is in cases of neuras- 
thenia. He says we are becoming a class of 
nervous subjects —”’ 

“Not responsible for our actions,” added the 
senator’s wife, without waiting for the other to 

The wife of the Trust magnate simply closed 
her eyes and deliberately and slowly nodded her 
head twice, without uttering a word. 

“Well,” said the banker’s wife, “I never felt 
better in my life. I always thought the men were 
more subject to nervous breakdowns; they have 
the most worry.” 

“Worry!” exclaimed the wife of the Trust 


magnate. “There isn’t a business-man in New 
York to-day who feels as worried as our hostess. 
To-day she looks like a museum freak with that 
impossible headgear. Where did she get the 

“My husband says it’s the Imperial mania,” 
chimed in the banker’s wife. ‘Once bitten there 
is no cure.” 

“Who was the mad dog here?”’ asked the sen- 
ator’s wife, in allusion to the hostess. 

“She has had two bites, one by an English bull 
and another by a French poodle,” replied the 
wife of the Trust magnate; “and of the two the 
poodle has the worst virus.” 

“And the worst of it is,” said the senator’s 
wife, “there isn’t a man in America who can 
counteract the poison. We fly to Europe for 
everything. Only yesterday I was talking to my 
daughter about the creation of a literary salon. 
She asked me to give her carte-blanche in the 
matter. I have given my consent, and her father 
will give her a million to start with.” 

The senator’s daughter and the daughter of 
the banker were now seated together in a corner, 
and the first said: “I don’t care how soon we get 
an Empire; even my father thinks that culture 
cannot exist under a Democracy. Everything 


is tainted with money. Society is becoming 

The blonde said: “Next winter I’m going to 
begin the formation of a salon exclusively for 

“And I am going to form one for poets and 
writers,’ said the other, her face lit up with a 
smile as serene as it was intelligent. “You know 
I am an only child, and my father says I shall in- 
herit all the money I need to carry on the work I 
have planned. By the time I am thirty I shall 
be in a position to put these society women to 

“How splendid!” exclaimed the banker’s 
daughter. “Let us combine our forces to render 
our society women even more owiré than they 

“We ought to make New York shine with the 
splendour of Florence under Lorenzo the Mag- 
nificent,”’ said the Senator’s daughter. ‘‘ Father 
says if we women begin the glorious work in New 
York men will be found later on to join us, and 
money-making for the love of money will become 
absolutely unfashionable. Who knows, perhaps, 
if America is to remain a great Republic it will 
be because of art, literature, poetry, and philo- 
sophy. If the Republic can develop and foster 


an aristocracy of intellect the Republic is safe. 
Anyway, the next five or ten years will tell the 

“And suppose the next ten years comes and 
goes like Halley’s comet, without a tail, then 

It was the sharp, acrid voice of the Trust mag- 
nate’s wife. She had approached the two young 
women for a moment before taking her departure. 
When she was gone the senator’s daughter said to 
her companion: “What an acquisition she would 
be to our work if her culture were as quick as her 

“Alas, yes!” said the other, “but if she had 
culture she would not be in this room — that is, 
not at her age.” 

“And just think,” went on the senator’s 
daughter, “what a treat it will be to assist and 
encourage genius according to individual merit! 
I feel certain we are happier than our poor hostess 
with her impossible ambitions and her —” 

“Good heavens!’ exclaimed the other, “she ’s 
taking her seat under the canopy she put up last 
year to receive the princess.”’ 

“Let ’s be off. Shell expect us to kiss her 


N the Parliamentary world there are but two 

kinds of power — the material and the intel- 
lectual. The material fascinates all who are 
moved by an eagle eye, a bull-dog chin, a grama- 
phone voice, and machine-made rhetoric. There 
are politicians who control the people not by 
grasping but by gazing. They have top-knots 
but no beaks, gimlet eyes but no talons. Power 
is exerted by looks instead of deeds, symbols 
instead of sentiments. Others combine looks 
with words, the gymnastics of gesture with the 
shibboleths of political hygiene, and there are 
bulls who toss patriotism like a red flag, and 
gore capital without mercy. 

As a rule the pervading aura emanates not 
from the spirit but from the carcass. Their 
mandates have the rumbling of the thunder- 
cloud, minus the lightning. They are the whales 
of the political ocean, avoiding the harpoon 
while bolting the gudgeon. But Mr. Arthur 
Balfour is like a political eel who darts and glides 
where the Mammals did nothing but spout and 


He has been taken twice by the net, once by 
the tail, but never by the hook. He ignores the 
flounders, darts past the sharks, and skims the 
surface of the social sea faster than any flying- 

No one knows the mysterious breeding-place 
of the eel, and no one has ever delved into the 
intellectual broodings of Mr. Balfour. Light of 
weight, he stands forth a mere shadow thrown 
across the balked bodies of beery knights and 
bloated barons, a sore menace to the worshippers 
of bulk and the idolators of blood and muscle. 
He has none of the outward and visible signs of 
Mammon; no bulbous nose, no flaming cheeks, 
no dome, no rotundity, no beefy charlatanism, 
no quack-nostrum-panacea-look; he is no patent 
political syringe-spray-disinfectant-medicine-man, 
but the proper companion of artists and aristo- 
cratic determinists, as distant from diabolian 
debaters as Jupiter from hot-headed Mars. 

He is protean at a time when others are mak- 
ing vain protestations of omnipotence. He plays 
with the schemes of certain members in the non- 
chalant way a skilled dowager plays with the 
stakes of an unsophisticated Miss, who imagines 
herself in the fashionable swim when she is only 
having her pores and her pocket-book opened at 


a hot game of bridge. Arthur Balfour is one of 
the few long-headed statesmen since Chatham. 
For he, and he alone, has applied a sort of ‘“‘prac- 
tical mysticism” to the beef-and-potato policy of 
the cooks at Westminster. He is a metaphysician 
who considers the earth, times the pulse of his 
opponents, looks at their tongues, whacks their 
knee-joints, meditates long enough to know the 
day and the hour of their locomotor-ataxy-finale. 
He has watched Lord Rosebery play Apollo to 
young dukes at banquets and Apollyon to old 
duchesses at the Derby; watched him attempt 
the réle of Puck in the midsummer madness by 
trying to put a girdle round the earth with the 
belt of an Earl; watched him bamboozle the 
Lords by fine phrases and champagne rhetoric. 
For the real difference between Balfour and Rose- 
bery is to be seen in the management of their 
public performances. 

The noble Earl never keeps his eye off the 
social function and the social effect. Society 
takes first place in his scheme of razzle-dazzle. 
Politics come into the banquet much as a roast 
bird of paradise with an ostrich plume stuck in 
its tail, He is our only statuesque statesman. 
After riding into the hearts of his countrymen on 
the back of a thoroughbred, he poised like Mer- 


cury for a brief moment on the globe of Empire, 
with one toe touching the ball at the top of the 
social staircase; both feet on the floor would 
have been a desecration of divinity. For at one 
time Lord Rosebery was a transcendental demo- 
crat, who beat the religious air with mercurial 
wings, deftly sounding the harp of Nonconformity 
with vague eolian numbers without once playing 
a tune anyone could remember. In these days 
he comes forth at the hour of political hunger, 
like old Mother Hubbard, pointing a lean finger 
at the remnants left by Scotch terriers, Irish 
bulls, and English half-breeds, for something has 
happened during his absence — the artful Arthur 
has found the bones and picked them bare. For 
he, and not Rosebery, is the watchdog of castle 
and close; he it is who makes the silent rounds 
while the others are snoring under their parti- 
coloured quilts, he it is who sniffs the proletarian 
pole-cats from afar, catches the sound of foot- 
pads beyond the garden gate, who knows the 
difference between a brindled cat and a black 
nondescript in a London fog. Our only Arthur 
is not playing a game of aristocratic seclusion. 
Lord Rosebery times his speech-making to the 
psychological social moment, but Mr. Balfour is 
on hand, equipped like a doctor with a large prac- 


tice and small medicine case full of specifics for all 
forms of national malaria, parochial quinsy, reli- 
gious tic-doloureux, paradoxical neurasthenia, and 
Imperial hysterics. Besides this, he is a musician 
of parts as well as of parties; he knows all the 
Celtic tunes, with the English airs thrown in, and 
that is saying more than one could say of Lord 
Rosebery, who dare not venture further than 
“Rule Britannia” or “Polly put the kettle on.” 
No need for Arthur Balfour to harp on one string; 
England is his organ, Scotland his bagpipes, Par- 
liament his fiddle; he is gravedigger in the House 
of Commons (as the noble Earl is Hamlet in the 
House of Lords), and plays a lament at every 
fresh burial of the other Party. Without Mr. 
Balfour the Commons would fall below concert 
pitch, excepting when the Irish have the floor or 
when the Labour leaders are rehearsing for the 
millennium under the baton of Mr. Keir Hardie. 

Mr. Balfour can smile with dignity and be 
sociable with sang-froid. Give a statesman the 
reputation of a fashionable clubman and he be- 
comes like Ceylon tea that has been drawn once. 
Chronic after-dinner speech-making is a danger- 
ous indulgence. There is no occasion where dis- 
illusionment can come with a stroke so sudden. 
A man who does it once with the felicity that 


unites a godlike grip with the golden mean of wit 
and humour has run the gauntlet of bayonets in 
a pitched battle, escaped the bullets, and missed 
the bombs. He may well apply for a medal, not 
for having lost a limb, but for having emerged 
from so deadly an affair without a scratch. Be- 
fore he begins to speak the toast-responder has 
to recruit and skirmish for facts, then marshal his 
words and drill his sentences. In the middle of 
the speech the rhetorical manceuvres begin, and 
here, on the Champ de Mars of his own imagi- 
nation, he assaults the passions of the feasters, 
storms their emotions, scales the Spion Kop of 
their patriotism, and takes his seat on the summit. 
Four things go to the making of such an accom- 
plishment — art, intuition, opportunity, and 
power. Since Disraeli, no statesman in the Brit- 
ish Parliament has been in possession of such a 
gift. To be master of such an art a statesman 
cannot appear to order at all times and seasons 
and pass for a recluse in a castle whose walls defy 
the maddest Romeos in search of the most illu- 
sive Juliets. 

Mr. Joseph Chamberlain is the only one who 
could eat, drink, and make merry in the midst 
of City Fathers and bloated Aldermen, and re- 
main the gimlet-boring, screw-driving Joe Cham- 


berlain of old. He could rise at a dinner and quaff 
a glass of port to the health of the portly barons, 
and be paradoxical in wishing them a better 
mien on a still more gouty diet. He could revise 
their tariff, subdivide their lands, supervise their 
food, subsidise the Navy, and patronise the Lords. 
If Mr. Balfour is the eel among politicians, 
Joseph Chamberlain is the ferret in the rabbit 
warren of the long-eared financiers. He does not 
hunt like the fox and hide with the hare. He 
does no hunting, yet his pack are hounding the 
moss-backs out of their lairs and out of their wits. 
He follows no man’s horn but that of his own 
proboscis, asks for nothing but the power to 
stand up in Parliament and by a flash of those 
steely eyes make them sing a new song: 

“Of gout where is thy sting! 
Oh Joe where is thy victory!” 

Mr. Lloyd George is cock of the walk in little 
Wales, but on the big cock-walk of the Terrace 
of the House the bipeds with goose quills preen 
their feathers to Imperial flights while hatching 

Parliament now contains a plethora of parties 
of a nondescript order who suggest strong mustard 
in a sham-sandwich, watercress on a stream filled 


with Scotch salmon and Tipperary trout, or a 
dash of lemon juice in a cosmopolitan toddy. 

What they need is another edition of Tim 
Healy. At the beautiful Parliamentary banquets 
he is pepper, salt, vinegar, champagne, and the 
carving-knife. His slices are thin, but no one 
asks for a second helping. Our only Tim holds 
some members in their seats by a mere glance, 
and for a very good reason. His words are 
prussic-acid applied to political gilt. They burn 
through to the brass bottom. The vitriol hisses 
‘and the House becomes like a place undergoing 
disinfection; dead men have been carried out 
stricken by a microbe which is not down in the 
medical books. He makes people laugh; but 
there are people who would laugh even in a room 
given over to vivisection. Everything goes on 
the floor of the House, that dear old floor, whose 
cracks are wide enough to let the fumes of Hades 
rise and choke many an honourable and virtuous 
member with the vapours of envy, jealousy, and 
social rivalry. Evidently the House exists for 
three purposes: as a figure-head of aristocracy, as 
a figure-head of commerce, and as a figure-head 
of democracy. 

Just at present Mr. Balfour stands for the first, 
Mr. Lloyd George for the second, Mr. Keir Hardie 


for the third. The Irish are there, and will remain 
there; they are there to wake the dead, deter- 
mined to give each corpse a decent burial; they 
constitute a fourth estate. But there is a fifth 
estate, formed by the moths whose wings have 
been scorched by those fatal candles at St. 
Stephens, that burn at both ends, one tallow, 
that smokes in the Lower House, the servants’ 
hall, the other wax, that burns serenely in the 
Upper House, the gentlemen’s club — the place 
where pipe-clay becomes marble, where every 
good politician would like to go when he shuffles 
off the mortal coil of non-conforming, demagogu- 
ing, two-a-penny existence. But what a crowd 
of moths are attracted by the glare of the tallow 
dip! Rosebery himself, not content with the 
halo of the aurora borealis of the House of the 
silver spoons, flits about the candles of the Lower 

There is but one party that can afford the 
luxury of doing what they please; that party 
counts among its members Mr. Keir Hardie. 
They can wear dickies, play skittles with modes 
and manners, thump tables, and call names. The 
only way to succeed in Parliament to-day is to 
begin by being rude. To win the respect of the 
“hupper succles,”’ take them on the level of the 


mood you happen to be in. Tell them you have 
no objection when the social upheaval comes for 
them to cultivate a cabbage patch a la Wiggs 
at Government expense. This will take their 
breath away, and the social whales will not at- 
tempt to swallow the prophetic Jonah. A poli- 
ticlan may change his policy, but pure politics 
means get on and keep on! Nevertheless, as 
Emerson said: “An aristocrat is one who is doing 
his best to become a democrat.” 

The philosophical democrat is the true blue 
aristocrat. That is why there is an Upper House. 
But the Upper House is top heavy with men 
who cannot tell the difference between a tallow 
dip and a wax candle. It has long been the 
dumping-ground for the decrepit who were once 
intrepid, for shambling figure-heads minus the 
culture of the real aristocrat and lacking the 
ordinary business capacity of a successful green- 
grocer. The majority are porous-plasters on the 
national body, leeches on the old war-horse of 
glorious memories. We may now expect a series 
of the most astounding games ever played on a 
Parliamentary chess-board. 


F Walter Pater had said music will soon take 

precedence of all the other arts, he would have 

been as much in the right as when he said: “All 
art aspires towards music.” 

Sentiment and emotion must have an outlet. 
Modes of expression shift from one art to another. 
And if it is true that realism has taken the place 
of romance in the novel, if it is true that the 
cynical has banished the ideal from literature, if 
the commonplace has taken the place of beauty 
in art, music restores all that the other arts have 
lost. It is the only art untrammelled by sects, 
opinions, parties, and geographical limits, with 
an adequate expression for all the varying moods 
of humanity and the most subtle intimations of 
a world lying beyond that of reason and will. 

Individualism and contradiction have driven 
the soul to seek a refuge in the overworld of har- 
monic vibrations. In England, puritanism put a 
ban on music, and the people were driven to 
poetry for a psychic appeal to the higher states 
of consciousness. Milton was a musician who ex- 
pressed his emotions in verse, and was the first 


to fill the void; but not till the death of Tennyson 
did poetry in England begin to give way to musi- 
cal inspiration. 

Shelley was a lyrical metaphysician, Browning 
tried to wed philosophy to rhyme, Wordsworth 
did his utmost to bring the divinity in Nature to 
the comprehension of the people, but all the 
English poets of the past hundred years were 
agitated by a spirit of transition. They re- 
presented not so much a state of the soul as a 
spirit of agitation and discontent. They were 
always reaching out for something just above 
attainment. Swinburne came the nearest to 
wedding words to music, and his poetry might 
have been as psychic as it was musical had he not, 
in the beginning, steeped his mind in the transient 
commonplaces of political and transitory pas- 
sions. He revelled in combinations of rhyme as 
Richard Wagner often revelled in combinations 
of chords behind which there was no meaning. | 
Swinburne reached the borderland where words 
cease and music begins, and it is a significant 
fact that just as he finished his career, music 
established her dominion not only in England 
but in all the English-speaking countries. 

It required four centuries of English poetry to 
prepare the Anglo-Saxon ear for a return of the 


art that dominated all the arts of the Greeks, 
and nearly three thousand years for the Orphean 
vibration to encircle the Western worlds. With 
the Greeks, music was the basis of all great 
thought and all artistic inspiration. With them 
certain modes of music had an esoteric meaning, 
a positive bearing on creative thought, a power 
to awaken dormant faculties and engender ideas. 
With the materialistic Romans, under the Cesars, 
music lost its psychic power; but with the advent 
of Palestrina it became a. means of religious ex- 
altation. Palestrina made it a method of praise 
instead of a channel of inspiration as with the 
Greeks. Later, the Italian opera became a vehicle 
for the display of dramatic passion and trivial 
humour, a form of amusement for the passing 
hour, with little suggestion of the mystical or 
the esoteric. With the symphony began that 
combination of melody, form, and rhythm which 
was to lead the way to a return of the tonal sym- 
bols and esoteric meanings of the ancients. 
Wagner, whose genius was dominated by move- 
ment and agitation, frequently achieved the 
sublime without attaining the desired esoteric 
serenity, but Debussy succeeded in attaining by 
modern orchestral means a much nearer approach 
to the subtle suggestiveness of the Greeks at the 


time of Pythagoras. Since Debussy began his 
work orchestral music has become more abso- 
lute, more transcendent, forcing technique and 
counterpoint to take an inferior place. 

The first popular expression of music in Eng- 
land was shown in the works of Gilbert and Sulli- 
van. Previous to their advent musical art in this 
country was intended for musicians. Concerts 
and operas were patronised by a restricted class, 
and the number seemed never to increase. But 
now the public began to awaken to the possibili- 
ties of the rhythmic in comedy and in drama. 
The music-halls gradually became more musical 
than farcical, the lyric-dramas of Wagner began 
to free the public ear from the bondage of the 
puritanical mode, and musical comedy and 
burlesque began to detract from ordinary plays 
and dramas. The melodrama, like the operetta, 
was an importation from Paris, and still newer 
musical forms have come from there and from 
Germany, for music is now the one cosmopolitan, 
universal art whose power is recognised in every 
land. It is now much more international than 
literature. And the reason is simple enough — 
opinions in books clash with other opinions, and 
one country may fail to become interested in the 
sentiments and doings of another country; but 


music ignores opinions and deals directly with 
feeling and emotion. It is for the senses, while 
books are mainly for the intellect, and the intel- 
lect is always at war with the intellectual. 

“One touch of Nature makes the whole world 
kin,” says an old saw, and it is just as true that 
one touch of music puts all the world in tune. 
It is the quintessential magic whose potency is 
now felt by all the peoples of the earth, from the 
most intellectual to the most illiterate. 

With but few exceptions, in former times, com- 
posers could not reason profoundly. The mar- 
vellous Mozart seemed all nerves, and Chopin 
was incapable of profound reasoning about any- 
thing; but his contemporary, Berlioz, was a 
writer of real talent and militant convic- 
tions. Beethoven was the profoundest thinker 
of them all. 

And now once more in the history of civilisa- 
tion the signs point to a union of music, literature, 
and philosophy, with music as the key to all. If 
such a union is consummated it will metamor- 
phose the world of art, literature, and psychology. 
One thing may be taken for granted — music, in 
our day, has become for many thousands of 
people a refuge against the onslaughts and delu- 
sions of materialism, and just in proportion as 


opinions become more positive, music will be- 
come more imperative. Society having become 
chaotic, people will be more and more attracted to 
the harmony created by rhythmic sounds. But 
more than all else, music is becoming a psychic 

There never was a time when so many lead- 
ing thinkers, artists, and writers were practical 

In France, Auber was the first to express a 
national musical taste; he was the forerunner 
of Offenbach, who brought music to the compre- 
hension of the wits and writers of the boulevard, 
forming a bridge between the Italian opera and 
musical burlesque. In the operetta, he embodied 
the sentiment and esprit of the typical boule- 
vardier. He sentimentalised Parisian cynicism. 
He was the first musical genius whose work was 
acclaimed within the space of a single decade in 
Berlin and St. Petersburg, in Vienna and Rome, 
in London and New York. Offenbach began to 
compose in 1858, and he was famous long before 
Arthur Sullivan achieved celebrity. He revo- 
lutionised the musical world as much in his own 
sphere as Wagner did in his, and, between the 
two, music began to take a firm hold in places 
where it had little, if any, influence before. While 


Wagner was regarding the world from Parsifalian 
heights, Offenbach was raising wit and gaiety to 
a higher level, appeasing the sentimental cynics 
of a blasé empire, inspiring writers and artists 
with suave melodies that often attained the serene 
dignity of Meyerbeer or the most passionate out- 
bursts of Rossini. 

Logic is the enemy of musical originality, and 
the French mind, being the most logical in Europe, 
at first refused Wagner, who was a musical Goth, 
and, for a time, resisted Offenbach, who was a 
musical Visigoth, for both were Germans. But 
music defies logic and ignores reason. It did in 
France what literature could not do, and the 
more people boasted of their Voltairian scepti- 
cism the greater the attraction they felt for the 
new musical modes of expression. 

Rousseau was the first modern writer to defy 
French logic and begin to talk about Nature as 
a poet-musician would talk about flowers, bees, 
and birds. He was the first modern to attain a 
universal psychic rhythm by words. He was the 
first to make literature musical. This was his 
secret. Voltaire, devoid of the musical sense, 
remains but a catchword for people whose souls 
are like dried parchments for the shibboleths of 
negation, while the rhythmic vibrations set in 


motion by Rousseau still continue. He did what 
French poetry failed to do because of the bond- 
age placed upon it by logical form and the re- 
strictions of Latin art. He turned on the faucets 
of inspiration, and let the musical waves descend 
from a mountain of emotional rhythm which in- 
undated two continents, fertilising the intellec- 
tual deserts of the Gaul, the Teuton, the Slav, the 
Anglo-Saxon, and the Anglo-American. 

The vibrations of wit and humour are not con- 
tinuous. This is why people reason about Vol- 
taire as they reason about shoe-leather. He was 
a figure-head, Rousseau a fountain-head. Cyni- 
cism has never conquered sentiment. But senti- 
ment had to be embodied in the musical mode; 
yet Rousseau was not a sentimental automaton; 
he was a born artist who turned to Nature and 
the simple life for deliverance from the Parisian 
plague of sceptical logic and witty sophistry, a 
writer who wielded a power that defied all the 
schools of classical art and every system of Latin 
philosophy. Behind all, deep in the recesses of 
his nature, there resided the quintessential har- 
mony of form and number, the secret of all literary 
magic. It was not what he taught that influenced 
the world, but the way he taught; not the matter, 
but the manner. Had anyone else taught some- 


thing different with the same verbal power, the 
results would have been the same. Others be- 
fore him had said much the same things, but the 
writers were not endowed with the harmonic 
mysteries of speech. 

Rousseau spread over the world a psychic aura 
fashioned in the mould of harmonic law. In his 
symphonic sentences his baton was not wielded 
by reason but by emotion. Millet and Manet did 
much the same for art a hundred years later, 
proving once again that form without psychic 
vitality is void of power. Form must embody 
feeling before it can act on the feelings of others, 
and all great art is the result of combined com- 
prehension and feeling. The greatest are those 
who can both see and transcribe. 

“Francis Bacon,” says Mr. Arthur Balfour, 
““was a prophet and a seer; he is never tired of 
telling us that the kingdom of Nature, like the 
kingdom of God, can only be entered by those 
who approach it in the spirit of the child.” 

Bacon, like a great artist-seer, “‘created the 
atmosphere in which scientific discovery flour- 
ishes.” But it required upwards of two centuries 
for his prophecies to begin to be realised, while 
Rousseau lived to see marvellous results follow 
the appearance of his works. Bacon had to fight a 


wilful and blind science, but Rousseau had to 
battle with the prevailing logic and the Voltairian 
gossips of the salons, and these were often as 
formidable as an army of well-drilled apes armed 
with rapiers. Wit was too blunt and common a 
weapon to be of any use here, and argument 
alone was futile. Everybody could argue. The 
call was for a magician who could operate by 
revulsion. The fashionable mania had to be 
stilled by a new Orpheus who could sing while 
he operated, whose divine art swamped gossip, 
drowned persiflage, and led people captive towards 
the green fields of a new Eden. 

Rousseau was in no sense a humorist. Neither 
was Chateaubriand, who succeeded him, nor 
Hugo, who succeeded Chateaubriand. Tolstoy 
was influenced more by Rousseau’s politics than 
he was by the deeper meanings of his art. The 
Russian realist could not grasp the harmonic 
significance of Rousseau the poet, and perhaps 
it was the lack of humour in Tolstoy that made 
him respond to the fanatical and visionary ele- 
ments of the Social Contract and the insanity of 
the Confessions, for Tolstoy was a Russian Jean 
Jacques without his Orphic charm. 

And this leads me to remember that Russian 
prose has always lacked the rhythmic element. 


Russian writers have possessed dramatic and 
psychological power, but the want of the rhyth- 
mic quality in the novelists of that country is 
now driving the Russian public from literature 
to music, the last refuge from realistic negation. 


HE bane of the modern travelling world is 
to be found in the tendency to see people, 
climate, countries, and art through someone’s 
tinted spectacles, and, above all, by the aid of 
someone’s guide-book. Italy has suffered more 
than any other country from the guide-book pest. 
Few sightseers are able to give you a vivid per- 
sonal impression of people and things in that 
country. Even learned travellers, before com- 
ing to Italy, think the proper thing to do is to 
steep their minds in books about this or that art, 
this or that city, until they are so full of the opin- 
ions and sensations of others that they have no 
place for personal feeling or personal opinion. It 
would be instructive to find out how many Anglo- 
Americans have steeped their brains in Ruskin 
before coming to Italy, how many Germans have 
been hypnotised by Goethe’s impressions, how 
many novel readers have made themselves drunk 
on Madame de Staél’s Corinne before seeing this 
The only people who escape this blunder are 
the French. It is all but impossible to fool a 


Frenchman in this way; he persists in being in- 
fluenced by his own impressions. He makes use 
of a guide-book only for the routine details. 
Another fatal drawback is to come to Florence 
expecting to see the Florence of Dante. There 
is about as much relation between Dante’s age 
and the present as there is between Shake- 
speare’s age and the age of Dickens. The fact 
that Italians dress like other people and in the 
modern fashions ought to be sufficient to bring 
people to their senses in this matter. 

What concerns me when I walk in the Lung 
Arno is what the living people look like, what 
they are doing, and what they think. Foreign 
visitors rarely see a thing as a whole. Their im- 
pressions are just as often wrong as right, and 
some of the supposed authorities are positively 
colour-blind. There are writers on Italy who 
are unable to distinguish the difference in shades 
of trees, hills, sky, and atmosphere. The actual 
colour of the olive tree, seen at a little distance, 
is not green but a neutral grey; seen close at 
hand it becomes a grey-green. The cypress at a 
little distance is what artists call a terre-verte, 
and under a cloudy sky a cypress grove becomes 
much nearer being black than any shade I ever 
saw in the Black Forest of Baden. 


There is what one might call a fixed orthodox 
superstition about Italy. The superstition is 
imbibed not in Italy, but long before people come 
here. This perversion teaches the horde of visit- 
ors to smile or weep at the wrong things and in 
the wrong places. Ruskin’s exaggerations have 
had, and are still having, much to do with this 
far-fetched sentimentality. Ruskin, in about 
eighty per cent of cases, is admired not for his 
real beauty as a writer, not for his rare esthetic 
penetration, but for his errors of judgment. 

As for the lesser writers, most of them spoil a 
good thing by trying too hard to depict what is 
perhaps beyond anyone’s powers to depict ade- 
quately in words. Italy is at once illusive and 
real, and to describe things as they are writers 
should be artists and poets, with a strong sense 
of the real. Italy is too clearly wrought, too 
positive, too realistic, to be treated metaphysi- 
cally. Abstruse ethical criticism renders the sub- 
ject still more illusive. The Italians come to the 
reality through the medium of poetry, music, 
and literature; they have never been much in- 
fluenced by the abstract methods of the cold 
North nor even by the cold logic of the French, 
and the present renaissance is appealing to the 
scientific and philosophical mode of thought in 


a manner which is quite new to Italy. But while 
the Italians are becoming more scientific they 
remain at heart poets and musicians, because the 
Italian temperament cannot, even if it would, 
get rid of poetry and music. 

To be in Italy again after an absence of nearly 
twenty years has ushered me through a series 
of sensations as fresh and new as any I ever 

It is now many years since I received my first 
impressions of Italian art, not from brick, or 
marble, or anything plastic, but from the living 
embodiment of the highest expression of dramatic 
genius of that time, the incomparable Ristori, 
whom I saw in her greatest réles—as Medea, 
as Mary Stuart, as Queen Elizabeth, as Lady 
Macbeth, and, above all, in her haunting imper- 
sonation of Lucrezia Borgia, the only dramatic 
creation which in my mind is always linked with 
Michelangelo’s “Pieta” in marble. Most trage- 
dies are inhuman. In Lwucrezia Borgia, Ristori 
attained the summit of tragedy and touched the 
deeps of maternal tenderness. Her two supremest 
moments arrived when, as Lady Macbeth, she 
heard the announcement of the murder of Dun- 
can and cried out: “What! In my house?” and 
as Lucrezia Borgia when on her knees she im- 


plored Gennaro to save himself by swallowing 
the antidote to the poison she had given him. I 
saw the crowd leaving the theatre transformed, 
hushed into silence by the passion, the power, 
and the magic of the reality. 

After Ristori the next great dramatic event 
in my experience was with Salvini, certainly the 
greatest tragedian of modern times. After see- 
ing him as Othello one could not endure anyone 
else in the same réle. His Macbeth, also, wasa 
thrilling performance; but by far the most im- 
pressive and realistic impersonation of Macbeth 
I ever witnessed — and I have seen all the most 
noted actors in that réle during the past fifty 
years — was an English actor whose name I have 
forgotten, who played the part when I was in 
Melbourne in 1878. The acting of this man, an 
artist of the old school, was the human flesh and 
blood Macbeth, passing on through all the grades 
of ambition, hesitancy, fear, harassed by halluci- 
nations, driven from horror to terror, and from 
terror to the last stages of desperation, standing 
in the final scene like a stag at bay, the beads of 
sweat rolling down his haggard face, terrible and 
desperate to the last. 

In the late ’sixties I heard Italian opera for 
the first time. There were the tenors Brignoli 


and Fancelli, and later Campanini, who took 
London by storm in the early ’seventies, but 
Fancelli was divine. Between the tenors of 
those days and the tenors of the present a great 
gulf is fixed. With the advent of the husky, 
blatant German school of singing musical art 
has all but vanished. When the Italian school 
held the boards a false note, a husky voice were 
things unknown in opera. 

I once heard Titiens sing the réle of Lucrezia 
Borgia at Covent Garden in a fog, with the stage 
lighted by torches, and even then the singer was 
not more than half visible. A shadow was seen 
walking about the stage, emitting sounds. 

Patti and Scalchi in Semiramide, at a time 
when their voices were still fresh and without a 
flaw, was an event not to be forgotten. 

T think I have witnessed Lucrezia Borgia, both 
as drama and opera, at least a hundred times in 
different parts of the world. In former days 
Italian opera was usually accompanied by a 
ballet. There was Bonfanti, who was almost 
too fat to dance, and could do little more than 
walk gracefully through her part; there was the 
sylph-like Morlacchi, white, thin, and pure as a 
lily, who turned the stage into a kind of temple 
while she was dancing; and the wonderful San- 


galli, a terpsichorean Cleopatra, whose very walk 
had in it something majestic. All these, and 
scores of others, were from La Scala, the one 
institution that gave the world its dominant tone 
in operatic art, and without which the art-world 
would be still more barbarous than it is. 

I had for the moment forgotten Duse, an 
Italian of the Italians. Ristori was a tragedienne 
who acted as a woman, Duse is a woman who 
enacts tragedy. Rachel achieved greatness by 
her beautiful voice and an extraordinary percep- 
tion of the artifices of dramatic art. Ristori and 
Duse became great because of an innate sense of 
an art that was natural and could afford to dis- 
pense with artifice. Now, in French dramatic 
art one can never forget that the actor is acting. 
The school of declamation and gesture is always 
before us. We know what is going to happen 
for the reason that we know what ought to hap- 
pen. Genius is the only thing that can afford the 
luxury of naturalness. Duse did the very thing 
no playgoer expected her to do. And so did 
Salvini. He surprised his audiences by his unique 
attitudes, his startling gestures and passionate 
outbursts. Scratch a Russian and you will find 
a Tartar and a mystic; scratch a Frenchman and 
you will find a critic and a logician; scratch an 


Italian and you will find an artist and an 

Never did I realise the full force of Italian ex- 
pression until I witnessed a performance of Pon- 
chielli’s La Gioconda in Rome some twenty years 
ago, with Gemma Bellincioni in the leading rdle. 
Previous to that experience I considered Lohen- 
grin the final attainment of expression in the 
realm of opera. In the second act of Lohengrin 
the chorus wafts one out of the actual into 
spaces never attained before, but how vague and 
mystical is the feeling evoked! It is a meta- 
physical triumph in music — an apotheosis of 
hope deferred, desire rendered futile, passion ex- 
tenuated, vanity stripped of illusion, a spiral 
symphony of sounds gradually mounting towards 
the summit of disillusionment, and the higher it 
mounts the further it recedes from human senti- 
ment and human passion. In the great chorus of 
La Gioconda what we hear inthe music is not a 
process of disillusionment but dissolution itself. 
Here we are not listening to musical metaphysics 
but something human, far beyond the power of 
words to express. Wagner manipulates the 
nerves and the imagination, Ponchielli appeals to 
reality. By a tremendous mass of concentrated 
melody, in which there is nothing tortuous or 


spiral, he lets a great wave of emotion descend 
like an avalanche from a vast height, and in the 
midst of amazement and horror the voice of pity 
rises superhumanly serene as from an abyss of 
tragedy. Here and there in A'schylus, in Euripi- 
des, in Virgil and Dante, in Shakespeare, in the 
opening lines of Shelley’s Queen Mab, and in 
Goethe’s Faust such moments are achieved. 

What, then, is the secret of Italian expression? 
Italian art has never left the real to grapple with 
the illusive. German romanticism was a search 
after the romance of the impossible. The same 
may be said of the romantic period of France. 
While Northern peoples were groping about for 
unknown and untried ideals, Italy remained her- 
self. Every intelligent Italian is well endowed 
with the critical faculty. The cultured Italian 
possesses taste, the quality which, according to 
Haydn, gave Mozart his impeccable charm. 
Italian music may have dull and monotonous 
moments, but nowhere, even in the old Italian 
operas, is there anything to match Wagner at 
his worst. 

A Frenchman achieves taste through a sense 
of reason. There is something mathematical in 
French art. In Italy taste is an instinct. An 
Italian does not begin to criticise until he begins 


to create. Metaphysics and sentimentality are 
inimical to taste, and German philosophy, like 
German art and music, has represented with 
but few exceptions what one might call a con- 
dition of metaphysical incoherence. What, it 
may be asked, was the cause of German roman- 
ticism? It originated from a want of social, 
philosophical, and zsthetic repose. Goethe was 
suffering from severe sentimental agitation when 
he wrote Werther. Germany first, and then 
France, suffered not from the romance of art and 
poetry but from the romance of neurasthenia. 
It was not a sane and vital power but a disease. 
Goethe was cured of it later, but Victor Hugo 
was never wholly free. In the meantime, Italy 
began to be agitated politically, while remaining 
patient, and even serene. 

The smile of the Italian is a perpetual peace- 
offering for the repose of his own soul. I have 
already discovered in this smile, at certain times, 
a strange mingling of cynicism and pity, a mingl- 
ing of superhuman patience with a sense of the 
inevitable, a sense of inherent beauty struggling 
to maintain a fitting and harmonious exterior. 
It is sometimes the union of Macchiavellian wis- 
dom, Dantesque feeling, and whole tomes of 
other things never expressed in poems, novels, or 


dramas. Nothing but the most complex music 
could translate the Italian smile into audible 
expression. Perhaps it would be better to say 
that it does duty at the moment where language 
ceases and music is suggested. Compared with 
it domes, dramas, operas, and architecture take 
a second place, for these things are the products 
of the national smile, which, I am convinced, is 
as old as Cesar, and must have lit the face of 
Virgil and Mecenas at the banquets of Augustus. 


ILL materialism bring our civilisation to 
an end, or will crime and insanity compel 
our civilisation to get rid of materialism? The 
time has come not only to put these questions, 
but have them answered. They are questions, 
not only for philosophers and politicians, but for 
the people who call themselves “progressive” 
thinkers, agnostic scientists without a fixed be- 
lief, and that numerous body of empirical “‘re- 
searchers” who dabble in various quasi-scientific 
experiments supposed to assist the mere believer 
to form a more positive and comforting concep- 
tion of a state of the soul after death. 

Scepticism, when it endures beyond two gen- 
erations, ends in materialism. 

The Greeks and the Romans became decadent 
through scepticism; they ended in national dis- 
ruption because there was no faith left on which 
to build anything, and crime kept pace with 
progressive decadence until there was no place 
left for genius and philosophy, and the arena of 
politics became a public slaughter-house for 


murderers and criminals of every description. 
Jerusalem, Athens, and Rome ended in material- 
ism; then came the new faith. Christianity 
brought with it a new civilisation, a new art, and 
a new literature. It did not bring a new philoso- 
phy; but it has ended by introducing, familiaris- 
ing, and imposing a new science. 

We are now at the point when, leaving out 
many other considerations, we have to ask: Will 
nations be compelled to suppress materialism as 
they are suppressing consumption, or will the 
nations end in an orgy of crime? 

In former times men feared a God, and when 
they ceased to fear they still feared death. 
Shakespeare makes Hamlet soliloquise about the 
after-life, and he frankly admits that were he 
assured that death ends all he would put an end 
to his life with a “bare bodkin.” 

No one can doubt the affinity existing between 
murder and suicide, both being in many cases 
the result of mingled scepticism and materialism. 

Germany is the hot-bed of modern materialism, 
and in no other country are there so many sui- 
cides. Haeckel attempts to explain away the 
universe from a scientific point of view, without 
leaving a gleam of psychic enlightenment. 

There are times when I consider France the 


mother of modern materialism. My long ac- 
quaintance with French philosophy, with French 
wit, and the cynicism of the boulevards, gives me 
authority to speak. The difference between Ger- 
man and French scepticism is the difference 
between science and art. The Germans have at- 
tacked spiritual things by the use of the smelting 
pot, the French by logic. The Teuton hits with 
bars of pig-iron, the Gaul with rapiers of steel. 
It requires a long and intimate acquaintance 
with the typical wit of Berlin and Paris to pene- 
trate to the depths of their shiftless nescience. 
But the danger of French materialists lies not 
so much in their method as in their manner. 
Voltaire fooled the people by the diamond flash 
of his wit; German sceptics fool the people by 
their ponderosity. German science is the pugil- 
ism of the intellect, French materialism is the 
neurosis of the spirit. 

On the other hand, materialism in England is 
the product of three centuries of unobstructed 
political and commercial expansion; it has de- 
veloped out of a drowsy and stall-fed optimism, 
imitating, by a singular stroke of destiny, the 
lethargy which existed in Rome just before the 
inrush of northern hordes. Materialism in Amer- 
ica is largely borrowed from Germany because it 


looks scientific, from France because it smacks 
of wit, and from England because it is fashionable. 

Our civilisation is not face to face with a ques- 
tion of religious form, but a question of far greater 
importance. We have to face the fact that the 
church a man belongs to counts for nothing now; 
his creed matters nothing, one way or the other. 
What does matter is the private belief of the 
people. The question used to be: Do you belong 
to some religious sect? Business men used to 
put that question to young men seeking employ- 
ment. It is too late now to look for success in 
any such vain manoeuvring, since it has been 
amply proved that professing or not professing 
religion makes no real difference in the general 
conduct of the thing called business. The out- 
ward and visible form has ceased to count for 
anything; the one vital point to be considered 
is the secret conviction of the individual; what 
do all the millions think who jostle each other in 
the street every day — the soldiers, the sailors, 
the clerks, the stockbrokers, the lawyers, the 
judges who preside at great trials, the bishops 
and fashionable clergymen, the professional poli- 
ticians, the lords and the ladies who set the 
fashions and who hang on the skirts of the court: 
what do all these people actually think about 


death and the after-life? Have they or have 
they not got a conscience? Do they stand in 
legitimate fear of ‘anybody or anything? If not, 
all alike are dangerous. An agnostic bishop is as 
dangerous to a community as a traitor in a high 
social position, and far worse than a common 

A man who does not believe he has a soul is a 
man who does not believe I have a soul, and 
there is nothing to stop him but fear of the law. 
So long as he escapes the law he cares for no one. 
Why should he fear conscience if death is the 
end of consciousness? Christian civilisation has 
been descending lower and lower for a period of 
four centuries. It used to occupy the roof of a 
sort of tower of Babel which looked towards the 
stars. There was air, space, vision. Civilisation 
and barbarism are now separated by a few laws, 
a few conventions, one or two ideals, and a single 
religion. To-day nothing but a hatch separates 
us from primitive barbarism. Underneath is the 
lair of the wild beast, whose growls are as audible 
and menacing as were those of the old Roman 
arena when Rome thirsted for human blood. 

It must be evident to anyone who gives the 
subject a moment’s serious thought that no sane 
man who is a believer in the immortality of the 

Were spy crn see te meeD 


soul would commit a murder in cold blood. Nor 
would anyone who believes in a return of the 
dead ever think of murdering anyone. Nor is 
the question confined to murder: all the greater 
crimes are influenced more or less by a man’s 
secret beliefs. There never was a time when so 
many officers in Germany and France have tried 
to sell their country for “a mess of pottage”; it 
is the spirit of materialism, which urges such 
people on to reap what pleasures they may be- 
fore death arrives. 

We may be at the beginning of a reign of a 
state of affairs the like of which the world has 
never known, a state of things which may cause 
a pandemonium of unrelenting fury in which all 
the so-called Christian nations, become material- 
istic at heart, after playing at hypocrisy so long, 
will throw off their masks and engage in an Ar- 
mageddon of slaughter in which the thing called 
humanity will have no part, in which the total 
destruction of commercial rivals will be the only 
incentive and the only aim. And the soldiers 
most likely, to win in the final rounding up are 
the Russians in Europe, the Turks in the Near 
East, and the yellow races in the Far East. Be- 
cause these people still believe they have souls. 
They are not afraid to die. The materialist hates 


to die, although he may not fear death. His 
desire is to live as long as he can and enjoy all 
he can. 

And not only this, but there is likely to come 
a time, and that before very long, when the 
soldiers of the sceptical nations will refuse to 
fight; the feeling of patriotism will evaporate. 
When this happens they will feel as if one ruler 
is as good as another — a Czar of Russia would 
prove as welcome as a King of England or an 
Emperor of Germany. 

While the Continental nations like Germany 
and France have been made materialistic by 
science, England and America have been made 
so by a sentimental form of religion, with science 
and commercialism as props. We are an emo- 
tional people with sentimental whims, seldom 
able to give a sound reason for believing in any- 
thing, because sentimentalism and sound sense 
do not dwell together. This being so, there is 
a rude awakening in store for the Anglo-Saxon 
sentimentalist. In the hour of inexorable crime 
and universal upheaval all the sentimentalisms 
of the present would go as chaff in a whirlwind. 
The sentimental materialists, without real faith 
in anything or anybody, would fail to render the 
people any real courage or consolation. 


That our civilisation is becoming more and 
more materialistic is proved by the astounding 
number of child suicides which occur year after 
year. Two or three decades ago child suicides 
were rarely known. This state of things is the 
result of the first harvest of our materialistic 
sowing, and a curious phase of the union of 
materialism and sentimentality is the hatred of 
authority which the combination so often pro- 
duces. Children left to their own whims and 
devices turn out unrelenting free-will sentimen- 
talists. The wonder is that more suicides do not 
occur, and if blood-crimes do not increase under 
our present mode of civilisation it will be still 
more wonderful. One characteristic of murder 
is its frequent concurrence with suicide. Whole 
families often disappear instead of a single mem- 
ber, and double suicides are too frequent to cause 
any unusual comment. We are growing used to 
horrors. And what is still more curious, from 
lack of real ordeals produced by prolonged wars, 
people gloat over sordid crimes and vulgar crim- 
inals as they never did in former days. A murder 
mystery gives profound satisfaction. The most 
stimulating and melodramatic murders now oc- 
cur in England and America, the two most “re- 
ligious” and sentimental countries in the world; 


also the two nations where the dollar is most 

The void left by the passing of heroic emotions 
is filled by the horrible, the monstrous, and the 
sadic. Geneva, the greatest stronghold of sec- 
tarian religion in the world, is now to become an 
arena for the Spanish bull-fight. And yet senti- 
mentalists tell us that the passing of war means 
the arrival of the millennium. From having been 
heroic we have grown pusillanimous, superstitious, 
and cruel. We seek horrors instead of heroes. 

Another astonishing thing in this so-called 
scientific age is the prevalence of superstition. 
With all our science we were never so Steeped in 
the slough of superstitious isms. We pretend to 
be agnostics and sceptics, while a cheap irony 
covers great chasms of fear, apprehension, and 
dread. Irony may fool a good many people in 
the beginning, but nothing so soon wears out. It 
is the one thing which is powerless to produce 
anything. It became fashionable at the break-up 
of the Victorian era, when the old Pickwickian 
humour had run its course and the creative 
faculty was as good as dead. When we become 
impoverished in pocket we buy the cheapest 
stuffs, when we become impoverished in mind we 
use the cheapest phrases, when we become bank- 


rupt in morals we hide the nudity of our souls in 
ironic platitudes. 

Irony is the bluntest arrow in the quiver of our 
ineffectual lucifers, who might rise to a terrestrial 
heaven if their wings, like their weapons, were 
not made of goose quills. Underneath all the 
persiflage is the haunting fear of final collapse, 
for with the vanishing of the religious spirit there 
seems to be no place left for a sense of the higher 
mystical forces of the universe. There is but one 
thing that can lift people and nations above the 
sordid and the sensational, and that is a high 
order of mystical optimism which shall take the 
place of materialistic religion and materialistic 

A great revival of art, poetry, and literature 
will not be possible until a new religious spirit 
pervades the world. 


HE history of Hampton Court is that of a 

thousand dreams and a thousand illusions. 

In Henry VIII's time it had a thousand rooms 

and a thousand bay-windows, and Henry had a 
retinue of a thousand persons. 

Cardinal Wolsey built Hampton Court, but 
Henry made it famous; and more of the business 
of state was transacted there than in any other 
place during his reign. 

With Wolsey began the pomp and magnificence. 
The great Cardinal’s ambition was to make 
Hampton Court a unique place of entertainment 
and festivity; and this he accomplished by 
“feasting all ambassadors of foreign potentates,”’ 
says Cavendish, a gentleman of Wolsey’s house- 
hold. Indeed, it was even then considered a royal 
dwelling, for the Cardinal’s creation was always 
resorted to as “a king’s house with noblemen 
and gentlemen, with coming and going in and out, 
feasting and banqueting these ambassadors di- 
vers times and all others right nobly.” 

Several times a year Henry VIII repaired to 


the Cardinal’s house, and on each occasion “there 
wanted no preparations or goodly furniture, 
with viands of the finest sort that could be gotten 
for money or friendship.” Imagination was set 
to work to invent new pleasures; suppers, 
masques, and mummeries were devised in so 
gorgeous and costly a manner that nothing equal 
to the magnificence was ever seen in Europe. 
The fairest ladies of the realm were invited to 
dance with the maskers, and the music provided 
must have been wonderfully original and effective. 

It was not enough that the King was often 
entertained in this way; an impulse would seize 
him to go to Hampton Court, and he would 
arrive by water, secretly, without the slightest 
noise, masked, and accompanied by a crowd of 
maskers, dressed like shepherds, with garments 
of fine cloth of gold and crimson satin “paned,” 
and with beards of fine gold or silver wire. With 
these came torch-bearers and drummers. When 
they had landed guns were fired off and the noble- 
men and officers of the Palace roused Wolsey, 
who, pretending ignorance of the King’s arrival, 
desired the Lord Chamberlain to see what was 
the cause of the commotion; on looking out of 
the windows near the river-bank, the crowd in 
masks was discovered approaching. The Cardi- 


nal, pretending to take them for ambassadors 
from some foreign prince, gave orders for them 
to be received in the hall, afterwards to be con- 
ducted to the banqueting-room. When all the 
maskers had come in the King pulled down his 
visor and disclosed his presence to the joy of all 
the company. Wolsey invited the King to take 
the “place of estate,”’ which he did after exchang- 
ing his dress for rich and princely garments. 

In the meantime the table was spread again 
with new and perfumed cloths, when a fresh 
banquet of “two hundred divers dishes of won- 
drous devices and subtleties” was served. 

The greatest occasion of all during the days of 
Wolsey was the splendid reception of the em- 
bassage of eighty French noblemen headed by Du 
Bellay and Anne de Montmorency. For this 
reception and feast scores of caterers and pur- 
veyors were sent out to bring in all the expert 
cooks and culinary artists they could find in Lon- 
don or elsewhere to concoct new and fantastic 

The cooks worked day and night to provide a 
feast such as had never been seen, “where lacked 
neither gold, silver, nor any costly thing meet 
for the purpose.” Hundreds of yeomen and 
grooms were kept busy fitting the different cham- 


bers and halls with costly hangings and beds of 
silk. For weeks Hampton Court was invaded by 
an army of carpenters, masons, painters, and 
artificers of every description. Two hundred and 
eighty extra beds were provided for the foreign 
visitors, and such a carrying of gold and silver 
plate to and fro, such a tramping up and down, 
in and out, was never seen, even in a king’s 

When the memorable day came the French 
embassy arrived long before the hour of their 
appointment, but Wolsey’s wit was equal to the 
occasion; he caused them to ride to Hanworth, 
a royal park three miles away, there to hunt 
until evening, when they returned to Hampton 
Court, and each guest was shown to a separate 
chamber “‘having a great fire and wine for their 
comfort and relief, remaining there till the great 
banquet was ready.” 

The principal waiting-room was hung with 
rich arras, as were all others, one better than 
another, with tall yeomen waiting ready to serve; 
great tables were spread, and a cupboard as long 
as the room was laden with white plate, with 
four huge plates of polished silver, set to reflect 
the great wax candles. But in the “chamber of 
presence” there was a sumptuous cloth of estate, 


with many goodly gentlemen to serve; and again 
a cupboard as long as the whole room, the five 
top shelves filled with burnished silver plate, the 
lowest one garnished with massive gold, with 
immense candlesticks of gilt containing wax 
lights as big as torches. The whole place dazzled 
and glittered with light and radiance — the 
plates of silver that hung on the walls had in 
them huge perchers of burning wax, the immense 
chimneys were ablaze with flame. 

At last, everything being ready, the officers 
caused the trumpeters to warn to supper. Then 
officers were sent to conduct the French guests 
to the halls appointed for the banquet, and no 
sooner were they all seated than up came dishes 
of such “costly subtleties and abundance” that 
the Frenchmen, as it seemed ‘“‘were rapt in a 
heavenly paradise.” Before the second course 
the Lord Cardinal came in, booted and spurred, 
and every one rising in his place Wolsey was 
greeted with an acclamation of joy. The Car- 
dinal called for a chair, and seating himself in 
the midst of the high table he made merry with 
the rest of the company. 

The second course, consisting of a hundred 
dishes, was now served, and caused the foreign- 
ers to stare with wonder: there were dishes rep- 


resenting castles, churches, beasts, birds, fowls, 
and personages—some fighting with swords, 
some with guns and cross-bows, some vaulting 
and leaping, some dancing with ladies, others on 
horses in complete harness, justing with long 
sharp spears. Then Wolsey took a bowl of gold 
filled with hippocras, and taking off his cap drank 
to King Henry and then to the King of France, 
after which it is not surprising that many of the 
Frenchmen were “fain to be led to their beds.” 
The Cardinal, who had eaten nothing yet, 
retired to his own apartment, divested himself 
of his spurs and boots, had supper alone, then 
returned to the banquet-hall among his guests. 
During this time hundreds of yeomen and 
lackeys were busy carrying to the chambers of 
the guests basins and ewers of silver, great livery 
pots of wine and beer, bowls and goblets of silver 
and gilt, silver candlesticks, with both white and 
yellow lights of three sizes, staff torches of wax, 
fine manchets, and cheat loaves. And in spite of 
every room being furnished in this manner 
throughout all the house the cupboards in the 
two banqueting-halls were not once touched. 
These displays, however, were even surpassed 
by the gorgeous train of ecclesiastical dignitaries 
connected with the Cardinal’s chapel in the 


Palace. He had a dean and a sub-dean, ten 
priests, a choir of twenty-two men and boys; 
and in a procession through the hall a hundred 
rich copes and other vestments might be counted; 
while he had for his daily life twelve gentlemen 
ushers, six gentlemen waiters for his private 
chamber, and nine lords, with two servants to 
wait on each, without counting forty other cup- 
bearers, carvers, and sewers, six yeomen ushers, 
eight grooms of the chamber, sixteen doctors and 
chaplains, two secretaries, three clerks, and four 
counsellors at law. 

A gifted historian has drawn a picture of the 
Court of the great Cardinal. ‘Nobles vied with 
each other in the splendour of their retinue; 
poets, painters, and musicians were called upon 
to entertain the royal guest; and in the midst 
of these gorgeous festivities Henry and his young 
wife sat in the balconies or paraded in the gardens 
like Amadis and Oriana, the magnets to which 
every eye was attracted. The old romances, with 
their endless legends of enchanted castles, haunted 
and trackless wildernesses, cruel sorcerers, valiant 
knights, and devoted damsels, were the fashion- 
able reading of the day, and it was not undig- 
nified for bishops and statesmen to compose 
masques and melodramas.” 


In 1529 Wolsey’s fate was sealed. 

“His misfortunes are such,” said the French 
ambassador, “‘that his enemies, even though they 
were Englishmen, could not fail to pity him.” 

As soon as the great Cardinal had breathed his 
last Henry VIII began to make additions to the 
Palace. He built a tennis-court, a bowling-alley, 
and the splendid hall in the clock-court, the last 
of the medizval creations of its kind, with its 
magnificent single hammer-beam roof, of seven 

Henry spent his time in hunting, gaming, and 
making love; one queen succeeded another in 
rapid succession, tragedy followed comedy; and 
in the most romantic and delightful of spots his 
life became a round of merry jesting, interspersed 
with theological discussions and political intrigue. 

At Hampton Court, in 1537, Edward VI was 
born, and his mother, Jane Seymour, died; and 
here, three years later, the ill-starred Catherine 
Howard took her place; here, in 1543, Henry 
married Catherine Parr; and here Edward the 
boy-king alighted like a phantom of royalty, pass- 
ing away before he was old enough to realise the 
serene and placid beauty of the place. 

Here, on Christmas Day, Mary Tudor enter- 


tained her fickle Spanish consort, Philip, at a 
wonderful banquet, when the great hall shone 
with a thousand fantastic lamps flickering in a 
mellow glow over a sea of orange and opal, when 
Elizabeth, the future queen, supped at the royal 
table, and was served later with “‘a perfumed 
napkin and a plate of confects by the noble Lord 
Paget,” retiring to her own apartments before 
the revels and masques of that romantic and 
memorable night. 

To Hampton Court came Charles I, in 1625, 
to escape the plague then ravishing London; and 
he returned again twenty-two years later as a 
prisoner, escorted by soldiers, to make his escape 
three months later for a brief respite between 
Hampton and the headsman at Whitehall. 

Here Charles II spent his honeymoon, and 
James II created a scandal by publicly receiving 
the Pope’s Nuncio, and here the unromantic 
Queen Anne was wont to drink tea and take 
counsel from her ministers; and Alexander Pope, 
while taking his accustomed promenades with 
the beautiful Lady Hervey, embellished the con- 
versation by witty phrases and poetic couplets. 

Ambrosial was the epithet Byron applied to 
the region about Hampton Court, Richmond, 


and Twickenham, while Chateaubriand called 
it a “terrestrial paradise.” Hampton Court, 
situated on the Thames half-way between London 
and Windsor, is the gem of this terrestrial para- 
dise, the one locality in England without a 

Old houses and palaces charm, not by their 
cost, nor even by the people who have lived in 
them, but by that rare and inscrutable combina- 
tion of mystery, beauty, and illusion formed by 
a long series of historical events, ending at last 
in what may be termed the romantic and personal 
associations of the place. There are old sites 
which possess every thing needful save one: the 
magical ingredient best described by the word 
“atmosphere.” Hence their bricks and stones 
seem bare, their towers bleak and barren; and 
their grounds may be elaborate and costly, yet 
uninteresting. We visit them but once. From 
no point of view does Hampton Court Palace 
suggest a quasi-ruin stripped of its glories. Never 
does it hint at fire or famine, having passed 
through wars, revolutions, and centuries of social 
change without being touched by mobs or bullets. 
It is a region of stately parks shrouded in dreamy 
enchantment, the limpid atmosphere often as 
mellow and serene as that of an Indian summer. 



About these old brick walls you will find no 
pretentious ornaments. It is the art of being 
impressive without pretension. The whole place, 
with its buildings, courts, passages, halls, gar- 
dens, flowers, trees, and terraces, seems to have 
sprung from a dream of fairyland; for the on- 
looker is never made conscious of the efforts of the 
architect, the decorator, the professional restorer 
of cracked walls and crumbling towers. It has 
a naive dignity of its own which the lover of 
Nature has seen nowhere else. 

An immense fan-shaped garden, with lawns as 
soft and compact as a cloth of velvet, sprinkled 
with small white daisies, dotted here and there 
with yellow buttercups, in keeping with the 
medizval simplicity of everything, is bordered 
and set off by rows of yew as old as the place 
itself, the symbolical tree of the primitive bards 
and mystics. And they are in their proper ele- 
ment here, in front of the great brick pile, their 
deep green forming a striking contrast to the 
airy lightness of the rows of willowy lime behind 
them. And what incomparable avenues of limes 
these are! No other tree would look so well here: 
the leaf of the elm is too small and compact, the 
foliage of the chestnut too luxuriant and opaque, 
the branches of the sycamore too sparse to 


harmonise with the peculiar beauty and serene 
blithesomeness of Hampton Court. 

Its flowers and flower-beds are unrivalled in 
Europe; the eye is bewildered, not so much by 
the colours as by the groupings of colour — the 
artless beauty everywhere displayed. 

The matchless simplicity of arrangement seems 
careless, but in reality it is the result of science 
and natural art. 

Great scarlet poppies, on long stems, droop 
over pillows of yellow pansies or beds of deep 
velvety purple, the faces all turned one way, 
with pale saffron eyes fixed on the sun. The 
colours of May are somewhat flamboyant, but 
June ushers in the ochre and the amber, the 
medizval yellows, in keeping with the dull red- 
dish brick and the old walls, with their flat coping- 
stones, devoid of ostentation. And June brings 
the rose, here to be seen everywhere, in beds and 
clinging all about the walls, as far as one can see, 
mingled with a hundred other shapes and hues. 
And the long, old walls and borders festooned 
with trailing vines, heavy with scented bloom, 
present, in August, a picture of all the hues of 
red, pink, and scarlet, interspersed with mauve 
and saffron and clusters of white lilies, all brought 
to the utmost perfection of tint and form. 


A bewitching simplicity in park and garden 
adds an indefinable element to the historical 
associations of site and structure. It gives to 
the ensemble an air of poetic refinement, a natu- 
ral grace to be met with nowhere else. Indeed, 
the best art is achieved solely through the aban- 
donment of the artist to his inspirations; in his 
work he must imagine himself free, even if he is 
not. And Wolsey, in building Hampton Court, 
must have been impelled to the task as by a de- 
cree of fate. The longer one meditates on the 
unique beauty of the whole the more one realises 
the ennobling quality of this beauty; the more 
one considers its imminent meaning in the scheme 
of things, its satisfying influence, and its universal 
relation to art, history, religion, and romance, the 
greater will be the feeling of gratitude to this man 
who abandoned himself to the conception and 
execution of a work which has given instruction 
and delight to artists and lovers of Nature for 
nearly four centuries. 

The two chief things which give this Tudor 
palace its peculiar charm are its red brick and its 
quaint forms. The new part, erected in imitation 
of Versailles by William III, is not without its 
charm, and the two palaces do not conflict, in 
spite of the difference in period and architecture. 


But, fortunately for lovers of the natural, William 
did not succeed in turning Hampton Court into 
an English Versailles. At the Court of Louis XIV 
things were made to shine and dazzle. Art be- 
came fantastic and superficial. Caprice and con- 
vention usurped the place of the natural and the 

The fétes champétres of Watteau depict the life 
and sentiment of Versailles; the pictures of 
Claude Lorraine suggest the atmosphere of 
Hampton Court. The first expressed the Gallic 
spirit of the time, beginning with the founding 
of Versailles and lasting till the romantic period 
of 1830, when Hugo, inspired by Chateaubriand, 
brought new life to French art and literature. 
The types of the Watteau period are symbolised 
by Louis XIV at its beginning and by Marie 
Antoinette at its close. We know all about them; 
there are no illusions, because there was no poetry. 
Under Louis thought was didactic and formal: 
Labruyére was the polished essayist, La Roche- 
foucauld the trenchant wit, Racine the elegant 
weaver of the “‘alexandrine,” Condé the polite 
hero, Madame de Maintenon the inflexible hero- 
ine. With but few exceptions every one, from 
the King to the head cook, seemed to belong to 
one family. There were rules for walking, talk- 


ing, eating, sitting, yawning, bowing, and back- 
ing out. Louis himself was afraid to peep from 
his bed-curtains in the morning to address a ser- 
vant without first donning his pompous wig. 

How different were people and things at 

Wolsey began by being original; Henry VIII 
lived his own life; Mary, the vehement mystic, 
with her mind made up, followed; and Elizabeth 
succeeded with a long period of stately and ro- 
mantic triumphs. Every one of these lived an 
individual life and copied no one. And somehow 
they managed to leave natural things as they 
found them. At Hampton Court they had the 
good sense to assist Nature; at Versailles Nature 
was trimmed and suppressed. The laws of land- 
scape harmony are as absolute as those of music. 
The romantic mood framed in renascent art, ex- 
pressed in such perfection at Hampton, is not the 
result of fancy or caprice; plays, pictures, and 
palaces do not happen to be romantic or poetic; 
and, reason about it as we may, these buildings, 
avenues, trees, and flowers are what we see them 
because of an innate harmony of object and senti- 
ment. Everything at Hampton Court is in keep- 
ing with the things that surround it, fitting the 
ensemble of earth, sky, and water. No wonder 


it is a paradise of feathered hosts! The song of 
birds, the ripple of brooks, the swish of winds in 
the tree-tops satisfy the musician, while the mel- 
low tints in field, atmosphere, and forest satisfy 
the artist. 

There is consolation in the soft, wistful serenity 
of this extraordinary union of medievalism and 
modernity, a satisfying sense of the eternal in all 
this romance of artless art, an inexorable calm 
in the long, stately avenues bordered with giant 
limes, leading the eye to other vistas too distant 
to distinguish anything but a soft veil of indefin- 
able blue. The use of the yard-measure is here 
never apparent. Versailles perfected conven- 
tional art and conventional forms. The witty 
took the place of the poetic, mechanical phrases 
the place of natural sentiment. It seems as if 
the French nobles, artists, and architects con- 
spired together to force Nature to walk on stilts. 
There is not a trace of romantic medievalism, not 
a suggestion of poetic mysticism, not a corner left 
anywhere for the display of spontaneous beauty. 
The structure of the Chateau forbids any illusion 
suggested by form. Nor is its history more than 
a development of sordid Court intrigues, ending 
with the scandal of the diamond necklace. The 
truth is, at Versailles kings, queens, and courtiers 


were stage performers in what looks to us now as 
a comedy of errors which only once bordered on 
tragedy: when the hungry hordes of Paris arrived 
at the gates with spikes garnished with human 
heads. They were puppets skilled in the etiquette 
of the table, the chase, and the minuet, the whole 
spiced with wit and flavoured with epigram. 

As the Versailles of the Capets was made up 
of people who were always rehearsing a political 
or social réle, Hampton Court, in the days of the 
Tudors, and even at later periods, was the home 
of characters. Henry, Mary, and Elizabeth stood 
boldly for what they were: strong or weak, wise 
or foolish. And with what pomp Wolsey un- 
rolled the pageant from the wheels of time by 
erecting Hampton Court for the unimagined 
dramas of the epoch, consecrating it, by every 
device of naive wonder and art, to the exigent 
mysteries of the future, with its medieval ban- 
queting-hall, its dream-like chapel, its red-brick 
turrets and towers, lattice and oriel windows, the 
most quaint and bewitching ever conceived by 
architect or poet. Here, romance, pageant, and 
poetry were one. Wolsey was both last and first 
— he brought medizvalism to a close and ushered 
in the English renascence. Hampton Court and 
Elizabeth made the Shakespearian era possible. 


Wolsey cast over it a glamour which time 
cannot dim, Henry VIII immortalised it with his 
fatal whims and some of the grimmest dramas 
of the English Reformation, Mary by her senti- 
mental and religious vehemence, Elizabeth by 
the ardent glow of heroic and passionate romance, 
while Shakespeare affixed his magic seal to the 
triumphs and tragedies of the whole Tudor 



T is interesting to note that both in England 
and America humour is losing itself in wit and 
wit in cynicism. Material success added a bitter 
drop to Mark Twain’s humour, and the same 
kind of success has added a taste of hyssop to the 
medicinal catnip, snap-dragon, and hellebore of 
Mr. Bernard Shaw’s genius. But the most 
curious thing of all is the fact that G. B. S. ex- 
pects to win people to Socialism by a sting-bee 
process instead of by pleasant potions of honey 
from the common hive. Perhaps he is imitating 
the tactics of Disraeli, who understood the crowd 
and used his wit as a fanning machine to clear 
the way to the goal of his choice, who stood just 
outside the political circus, hailed the idlers and 
clubmen by clever antics, filled his tent at the 
side-show, and then began a bare-back perform- 
ance in a ring in which the other riders used pads, 
palfreys, and salaam alek carpets to ease the fall 
of their reckless and break-neck somersaults. 
Anyhow, none of them can plunge with the 
dexterity of G. B. S. There is a wonderful 
elasticity in his bouncing-board. He is a past- 


grand-master in the art of diving, although he 
sometimes goes to the bottom, and seemingly for 
good; but he always bobs up like a bladder, and 
by a hocus-pocus of word massage and mental 
calisthenics he resuscitates himself and is at it 

No matter what G. B. S. does he is always 
diverting, but, like a good many of his “‘com- 
rades,” he does not care much for the humble life. 
He believes in success. He does not believe in 
being a communistic caterpillar; it is better to 
be a butterfly, because there are no limits to 
what a butterfly may do, from sitting on a pro- 
letarian paling to flitting over fields and fashion- 
able pleasure grounds, alighting on a daisy here, 
a buttercup there, a cabbage leaf here, a rose 
bush somewhere else, for no full-grown butter- 
fly will consent to flutter long on a cabbage. Fine 
flowers and fine scents are wanted, and these can 
only be had in the gardens of success. 

If it is harder for a rich man to enter the king- 
dom of heaven than it is for a camel to enter the 
eye of the needle, it is still harder for rich artists 
and writers to become serious Socialists. And 
some of Mr. Shaw’s ‘‘comrades” are doing their 
level best to become richer. If you ask them for 
their patent of equality they will show you a pair 


of patent boots, with the answer that equality 
may reside under tanned hide, but not under 
curled hair. Brain power is good, but success is 
still better. It makes millions of unthinking 
people mistake sophistry for philosophy and 
selfishness for the teaching of democratic saints. 

G. B. S. likes to preach against sentiment and 
preside at anti-vivisection meetings. Is it his 
love for dogs that makes him a cynic, or his 
cynicism that makes him pity the dogs? Co- 
nundrum that can only be explained by the great 
Saint Bernard himself. It is probable that if 
someone were to tell us that a cabbage has nerves, 
a beet a heart, and a turnip a gizzard, G. B. S. 
would eschew them and begin to chew something 
else. We are to show sentiment, but never in the 
place where most people expect it. The proper 
thing seems to consist in doing the opposite 
thing. If the partition that separates wit from 
madness is only a page of tissue paper the parti- 
tion might disappear by the turning of a leaf. 
Some people prefer the sentimental to the cynical 
because, like somebody’s cocoa, it goes furthest 
and lasts the longest. In some things it is 
better to side with the majority. 

When G. B. S. is not plunging he swims entre 
deux eaux, as when he writes: “If the Judgment 


Day were fixed for the centenary of Poe’s birth 
there are among the dead only two men (Poe 
and Whitman) born since the Declaration of 
Independence whose plea for mercy could avert 
a prompt sentence of damnation on the entire 
American nation.” 

Our humorist ignores Lincoln. The great 
President was neither an artist nor a poet, and 
Mr. Shaw is bound to appear in artistic company, 
even though he should miss the company of the 
greatest humanist of the past hundred years. 
But in ignoring Lincoln, G. B. S. negatives his 
attitude as a democratic leader. It is like talk- 
ing about the history of Socialism while ignoring 
Fourier, the history of art while ignoring Michel- 
angelo, the history of music while ignoring 

G. B. S. is often most amusing when he intends 
to be serious, as when he writes about Mark 
Twain and music. “Twain,” he says, “de- 
scribed Lohengrin as a ‘shiveree,’ though he liked 
the wedding chorus, which shows that Mark, 
like Dickens, was not properly educated; for 
Wagner would have been just the man for him 
if he had been trained to understand and use 
music as Mr. Rockefeller was trained to under- 
stand and use money.” So! then, a man can be 


trained to appreciate what he cannot possibly 
understand! But G. B.S. goes one better when 
he says: ‘America did not teach Mark Twain 
the language of the great ideals, just as England 
did not teach it to Dickens and Thackeray.” 
The notion of a writer like Twain occupying him- 
self with any ideal is very funny. The truth is — 
Mark Twain is the greatest cynic America ever 
produced. A good many people have failed to 
grasp the fact, because his cynicism is varnished 
by a species of bland and natural humour, which 
hides the reality. 

The notion of Mark Twain dabbling in 
“Tdeals” is excruciating; this word pronounced 
over the graves of Dickens and Thackeray would 
make them turn in their coffins. The American 
humorist never cared to be an expert in anything 
but the dangerous science of piloting boats full 
of passengers on the Mississippi; G. B. S. would 
undertake to pilot all England through the 
shallows of art, the whirlpools of politics, and the 
social rapids of no-man’s land, a place that looks 
to some people ten times more dangerous than 
the shifting sand-bars of the Mississippi. Mark 
Twain looked after the safety of bodies; G. B. S. 
would look after mind and body. He writes as 
if mind can be manufactured. He is labouring 


under the delusion that art is a trick and authority 
book knowledge. 

Darwin wrote: ‘The longer I live the more 
inclined I am to agree with Francis Galton that 
most of our faculties are innate and that what 
is acquired is very little.’ These words should 
be pondered just now, when discrimination and 
judgment seem to be about as cheap in the world 
of distracted wits as footballs in the world of 
distorted sports. 

Mr. Shaw is not capering in a fool’s paradise; 
he has the range of a new garden of Eden, where 
he alone is the only regenerate Adam, and where 
from the tall tree-tops of fruitarian delights he 
lets the cocoa-nuts of communistic conundrums 
crack on the bewildered heads of the bourgeoisie 
to give them the only taste of the milk of human 
kindness they will ever get at his hands; his 
humour is greater than his humanism. 

G. B. S. is our master cynic. He is without 
a rival even in the salon and the dining-room. 
His dress matches nothing from curtains to 
cantaloupes. Artists and poets do pretty much 
what they please. Whistler tied a blue ribbon 
in his hair and wore an impudent eye-glass. 
But Socialism, when it is wrapped in wit and 
tied in knotty paradox, alarms the average 


business man. They take G. B. S. too seriously. 
Even when he presents his paradox in the most 
beautiful bonbon baskets, with gold and silver 
trimmings, they fear some intellectual dynamite 
at the bottom. He mystifies people by his plays, 
walks the tight-rope of theatrical surprises, 
stands on his heels, toes, or head with the balance- 
pole of paradox quivering in the teeth of the 
public; for no one knows which end of the pole 
will go highest in the air — the Tolstoy-Ibsen or 
the Nietzsche-Wagner end. 

But, in spite of all, some people will continue 
to ask, in what does G. B. S. take himself seri- 
ously? This question might be answered by 
asking some others: How does he compare with 
some of the masters he most admires? Has he 
the tartaric sincerity of Tolstoy? Has he the 
long-suffering patience of Ibsen, the passion of 
Wagner, the fine frenzy of Nietzsche? 

Mr. Shaw’s weakness lies in the intellectuality 
of his wit. He can tear down but he cannot con- 
struct; he can scatter but he cannot concentrate, 
and the instruction he affords is rarely in pro- 
portion to the amusement. 


HE chief difference between pessimism and 
agnosticism is this: a pessimist may believe 
in a cfeed, but an agnostic has to live without the 
aid of any religious system or “ism.” A man can 
be a pessimist and a Christian; he cannot be an 
agnostic and take comfort in any ism or religion. 
The moment he “believes” he ceases to be an 
agnostic. The danger lies in becoming fanatical 
with conviction and an incurable cynic with 
scepticism. It is a fact that an avowed sceptic 
is never welcome in any company of people. The 
reason is plain: he can sympathise with no one’s 

A period of agnosticism gives some minds time 
to think, look about, and choose; but if the 
period be prolonged a sort of psychological 
atrophy begins to develop which often ends in a 
state of chronic apathy, out of which no psychic 
incident or influence can rouse them. 

Some men boast of their ability to doubt, as 
others boast of their good fortune in perceiving 
and knowing. I have noticed that some agnostics 
are prone to damn the opinions and beliefs of 


others; but the people who believe do less sneer- 
ing and mocking. The fact is, as soon as we say 
we don’t know we assume a negative attitude. 

No general could long retain command of any 
body of troops if he gave it out that he was in 
ignorance of the strength and the movements of 
the enemy; it is his business to know something 
about the other side, for if the enemy remain 
invisible the greater will be the clamour to find 
out some facts about his strength, position, 
morale. The general, I say, who sits down and 
says he knows nothing would not long be left 
in command of any body of troops. His busi- 
ness is to send out scouts and spies to bring back 
some knowledge, little or great, of the other 

In the commercial world the law of knowledge 
rules, as it does elsewhere. The merchant who 
refuses to look about him and keep up with the 
rules of progress will soon see his business pass 
beyond his control. The modern thinker who 
refuses to probe, analyse, investigate, and search 
out, places himself in a negative position, and he 
is promptly ruled out of the race of thinkers. 3 

But there is a great change in the attitude of 
intelligent agnostics; for agnostics are of two 
kinds — the wilfully apathetic and those who 


wish to learn. Certainly no man can call himself 
a thinker who refuses to do battle with the 
mysterious forces which encompass us round 
about, as palpable as the air we breathe. If 
there were no mysteries there would be no such 
thing as science, and if book-learning contained 
all practical wisdom there would be no such 
thing as intuition. Everything is like everything 
else. There is but one source; but an infinite 
variety of appearances. The soul of the universe 
is one — its manifestations are without limit in 
variation. Phenomena produce mystery; the 
whole conscious world is engaged in the unravel- 
ling of mystery. 

Consciously or unconsciously, every human 
being is engaged in the pursuit to become wiser. 
This is the aim and meaning of conscious exist- 
ence. Without this aim there would be no mean- 
ing attached to life. I think it impossible, at the 
present moment, for any true man of science to 
deny the force and influence of anything visible 
or invisible. The scientist who to-day declares 
that a thing is not true because he has not seen it 
and felt it is put down as shallow and superficial. 
The paradox is amusing: mystery is rendering 
mystery less mysterious! We have but to go to 
wireless telegraphy and hypnotism to see how 


the unscientific is controlling and dominating 
science, so-called. 

The old-fashioned scientist, who denied every- 
thing new, like the old-fashioned musician, is a 
being without voice or power in the world to- 
day. For although he may talk and write and 
preach, no one pays him serious attention. It is 
the manifestation of the invisible which rivets 
the attention of the world now, not the de- 
nials, the subterfuges, and the explanations of the 
positive. The word “science” has now little of 
the old meaning, and a new word may have to be 
invented to cover the attitude, the aims, and the 
power of the new tendency. The man who hopes 
and expects is far more interesting than the man 
who believes nothing, expects nothing. Illusion 
is more fascinating than disillusion. No mafican _ 
have an active influence on any body of people 
who admits his inability to proceed farther, be 
it through light or through darkness. [Illusions 
are transitory realities; in accepting them as 
such we are often led to the permanent. The 
agnostic, in getting rid of all illusion, has placed 
himself in a state of helplessness. He is like a man 
who has fasted too long — his digestive organs 
have come, at last, to refuse nourishment. 

I believe that there are as many diseases in 


the mental as in the physical man. Every ism, 
no matter under what guise, must be classed as 
a mental disorder the moment we are bound up 
in it. The instant we cease to progress we enter 
upon a decline, whether it be towards intellec- 
tual stagnation or towards physical decay. But 
mystery, illusion, and curiosity keep the world 
from universal decadence. The forces which 
impel men to move on and on, through maze after 
maze of disappointment and disillusion, are hope 
and egoism. 

One of the principal reasons for new isms is 
this: without new ones the old would hold us 
fast; we should be sitting still and enjoying the 
so-called revelations of our grandfathers. Every 
new ism, therefore, is an effort towards greater 
freedom. It makes no difference what the belief 
is, every man who remains quiescent gives him- 
self out as a negative quantity in the world of 
thought and action. The thirsty who sit down 
in the oasis, and remain there, are still in the 
desert; the world of the contented man is a speck 
around which the simoon sweeps the sands of 
isolation and forgetfulness. 

Agnosticism properly belongs to a period of 
scientific transition. Critical minds wait; but 
while they wait doubt knocks at the door, and 


the door is often open to scepticism. And so, 
without knowing it, the agnostic glides into a 
state of positiveness which he mistakes for truth. 
His mind is positive, while his senses are inactive. 
The agnostic attitude seemed natural and proper 
from 1860 to 1895. The tide turned with the 
conjunction of several influences in the material 
and psychological world a few years ago. Tyn- 
dall, Haeckel, and Huxley all did a work which 
had to be done. But that work was limited to 
chemical and biological demonstration. It was 
science, but science of the old school. 

Just as the reign of a man of genius like Goethe 
makes thousands of intelligent men appear like 
pigmies, so the revelations in the domain of light 
and sound, electric transmission, and mental sug- 
gestion, make the discoveries of Darwin and all 
his contemporaries appear trivial in comparison. 
The simple fact that thought can be transmitted, 
as well as electric currents, without wires, is 
enough to stupefy the conservative mind. Even 
now, efforts are being made to develop an inde- 
pendent action of mind and will outside of the 
body, so that while the body is sleeping or re- 
posing in one place the mind, or double, may 
visit a friend or a locality, at a great distance, 
and return with the knowledge which it went 



to seek. Indeed, several schools of hypnotism 
claim this faculty for some of their pupils. What 
this means may be conjectured if we consider 
for a moment the possibility of a mind gifted in 
this way setting to work to discover the secrets 
of some great chemical business or political 

We are at the beginning of a cycle of invisible 
forces; the coming age will be one of invisible 
action. The submarine torpedo-boat typifies the 
development of the century. This is pre-emi- 
nently the age of mind, as the past century was 
the age of matter. So far as we know, electricity 
is the soul of visible form. What we call brain- 
waves have an analogy with electric waves. 

In former times intuitions were presented in 
systems of philosophy. It is no exaggeration to 
say that the discoveries and inventions of the 
past ten years have made child’s-play of every 
known system of philosophy. Never again will 
any man be able to build up a philosophical sys- 
tem which will stand the assaults of the new 
science. The little that we now know is more 
than all the philosophers of the past knew, from 
Aristotle to Leibnitz. The absurdity of the old 
systems may be summed up in the Positivism of 
Auguste Comte, which aimed at hard-and-fast 


rules of life and conduct, as if such things could 
ever be in a world in its infancy. 

Every fresh discovery delivers a blow at the 
old and fixed formulas; every disclosure of mental 
power bids defiance to some stereotyped belief. 
But the most wonderful fact of the present is that 
we are being ruled by the seeming impossible. 
Some of the most successful inventors of the 
present day would have passed for madmen 
twenty years ago. The so-called dreamers are 
now the men of action; they have proved their 
power and competence, and thinking people-turn 
to them for more miracles of discovery and 

While people are tired of ethical platitudes, 
they are equally tired of scepticism. Scientific 
progress has made it impossible for thinking 
minds to put up with either one of these postu- 
lates. As in electrical invention the word “im- 
possible” is no longer spoken, so in the realm of 
the mind the word no longer discourages the 
philosopher and psychologist. Hesitancy and 
fear have an affinity. No one who is in doubt 
can attain that plane of fearlessness so necessary 
to progress and achievement. 

Every thinker who has accomplished anything 
excellent has begun by believing in something. 


First, he has confidence in himself; second, he 
has confidence in others; third, he feels that in 
the eternal mysteries there resides a law and a 
force which may be revealed by flashes of intui- 
tion; fourth, he knows that the world is not 
standing still. The greatest pessimists have felt 
something of all this, but the most typical agnos- 
tics have not. For no one can wait and work at 
the same time. They have made the grave mis- 
take of not seeking to disentangle themselves 
from the web of doubt and uncertainty; they sit 
still and rub their eyes at every fresh discovery, 
and cry out: “It may be true, but I don’t know.” 
Would it be possible for a merchant or shop- 
keeper to hold his business successfully while 
saying he knows nothing about the business 
methods of a formidable rival ? Look where we 
may, it is the men who hope and work who are 
triumphing. And the people who are wide awake 
to new inventions and discoveries are the ones 
who do the best business and make the greatest 
progress. In the great struggle of the future 
the nation most keenly alive to intellectual and 
invisible force will triumph. The nations most 
bound up in the material will succumb. Intel- 
lect will dominate material force, no matter how 
formidable the material force may be. 


The future belongs to scientific power, applied 
by genius of a psychic and intuitive order. The 
dreamers of the future will be the ones who de- 
pend on the old-fashioned methods of scientific 
research. They will dream on and on in a sort 
of fool’s paradise, placing crowns and kingdoms 
at the mercy of a cannon shot, and they will lose. 
The time is not far distant when a science of the 
mind will treat material science as if it were a 
plaything. The rulers of the future need not 
make themselves visible in public; their work 
will be done in silence. Material riches will play 
but a secondary part, and Mammon will be 
forced under by purely intellectual pressure. No 
people are more conscious of limitation than 
materialists. But the day is coming when the 
psychic power of the intellect will kill material- 
ism. There will be no battle, no strife, no intrigue; 
the blows will be delivered silently, like the 
stroke of an electric bolt. 

I am not a believer in bloody revolutions. I 
see signs that millionaires are beginning to con- 
sider the question of spiritual versus material 
power. Materialism and agnosticism have sup- 
plied nothing in the place of the old superstitions. 
Did not Darwinism prove that the survival of the 
fittest was the natural order of life? And what 


is a rich man but the survival of the fittest? The 
fact was so patent that every miner and railway 
magnate could appropriate it. 

At its worst, the doctrine of the survival of the 
fittest is a gilded lie; at its best, a ghost at a 
banquet. But the old scientists and the new 
millionaires are beginning to perceive that mind 
is superior to muscle, that it will eventually con- 
trol and dominate the impulses and ambitions of 
the brute instincts in man. Up till quite recently 
rich men had a sort of contempt for genius, look- 
ing on it as something visionary. For what had 
genius to do with the buying and selling of stocks, 
the building of railroads, or the smelting of ore? 
But with the discoveries of Edison it was seen 
that genius could, directly or indirectly, influence 
the money market. It was seen that this wizard 
was revolutionising science. The rich began to 
consider the meaning of intuition and genius; 
they had here a force to reckon with, and, above 
all, a force to respect. Later came wireless 
telegraphy, hypnotic control, and mental-inter- 
communication, to accomplish for the vulgar 
world, as well as the learned world, what the 
genius of Edison had left undone, and to open the 
eyes of all but the blind to the possibilities of the 


It is a fact that doubt, hesitancy, scepticism 
are inherently destructive, and that what affects 
the mind also affects the body. But the mental 
agony endured by some agnostics can hardly be 
defined in words, as I well know from personal 
experience. A chronic state of agnosticism not 
only renders a man discontented with himself, 
but it renders him irritable and contradictory 
whenever the belief of others comes up for dis- 
cussion. In spite of the attitude of some writers 
of the present, the age of stoicism is past. A man 
who is indifferent can neither fill the position of 
thinker nor scientist. And indifference is only 
make-believe when we see it turn into fury — 
which is half envy and half spite — against some 
author who dares to express something a little 
more hopeful and a good deal more helpful than 
the humdrum of the ordinary writer. 

I remember the outcry against the attitude of 
Robert G. Ingersoll, who at one time was in a 
fair way to make agnostics of the majority of 
thinking Americans. While the most eloquent 
preachers in the different churches were listened 
to by wealthy congregations they made no prog- 
ress. The churches had plenty of substance, but 
no spirit. He attacked them on their weakest 
side, and had it all his own way for twenty years. 


But there came a day when Colonel Ingersoll 
found himself too old, and fixed in his ideas, to 
take any interest in the new order of things. 
Young men were bringing with them a new science 
and a new faith. The future was for the young 
inventors and thinkers, and Colonel Ingersoll 
belonged to the past. But were he beginning his 
career now he would be compelled to face a whole 
world of electric, magnetic, and psychic prob- 
lems, to deny any one of which would make him 
appear ridiculous. 

Robert Ingersoll filled a gap in the world of 
thought which Nature intended him to fill. 
Everything has its own time. Phenomena come 
and go in cyclic order. There is nothing before 
or after the proper time. We know what a 
scientific mind means to-day, and we know what 
a scientific mind meant thirty years ago; and 
the thinkers of to-day are as far removed from 
the thinkers of 1870 as electricity is from steam. 
We know steam to be a crude and clumsy thing 
compared with electricity, and to-morrow we 
shall awake to the fact that mind is just as 
superior to the crude electric current. 



EN wear fine clothes for two principal rea- 
sons, to wit: to satisfy their vanity and to 
impress other people. Sometimes men dress well 
from an innate sense of refinement, and sometimes 
from sheer business motives, hating the very 
clothes which worldly policy forces them to put 
on. Dress, therefore, is not the silly thing that 
some would-be moralists think it, but a power, an 
influence, a symbol in the world of fact and real- 
ity, a power which even the moralists are often 
the first to acknowledge. 

Why did the late Mr. Gladstone wear a very 
high and prominent collar? What made Disraeli 
wear a dandy waistcoat? Why did Tennyson 
walk about London with a flowing purple mantle? 
Why did George Borrow carry a huge green um- 
brella? Why did Liszt walk about Paris with a 
huge red umbrella? Why does a man wear a 
single eye-glass? And last, but not least, why do . 
judges and lawyers wear wigs? Lawyers and 
judges wear wigs and gowns to impress both 
saints and sinners with the dignity of the law. 


Precisely. And men of talent and genius wear 
conspicuous things for exactly the same reason. 
Tennyson wore his purple cloak because it not 
only suited him, but it distinguished him from the 
fashionable nobodies of Bond Street, and George 
Borrow carried his green umbrella in Richmond 
Park as a sort of canopy to protect the head of a 
man the like of whom never walked in Richmond 
Park before. But there are business and material 
reasons for men wearing striking apparel. Some 
men wear silk hats because they think a high hat 
gives them a dignity which they themselves do 
not possess. Some wear eye-glasses to distinguish 
them from the millions who could not be hired to 
wear them. 

The philosophy of dress! What a world there 
is in that phrase. The people who ignore this 
philosophy are perhaps the people who have 
failed in life. We are living in a world where men 
judge everything by appearances. It makes no 
difference what your banking account may be, if, 
from an attack of gout, you are compelled to go 
about in old patched-up shoes, for you will be 
taken for a ruined gentleman or some bohemian 
actor waiting for an engagement. 

One philosopher has told us that the world is 
a lie, and another that all we see and touch is 


illusion. Certainly the greatest error we can fall 
into is the error of not taking the world as it is. 
I had travelled about for years, ignoring the 
value of dress and growing more and more indif- 
ferent to all that pertains to fashion, considering 
life too serious to lose time over what I regarded 
as trivial and superfluous. A friend said to me: 
“As you won’t dress in the fashion, you ought 
to wear, as a matter of material benefit, one of 
the presents your friends have given you. There 
is the king’s ring. Wear that and you will soon 
see its good effects.” Jewellery I always disliked, 
and the king’s ring, in particular, was so big, so 
brilliant, and so conspicuous that the few times 
I wore it I always put it off with a sense of relief, 
and it lay for months, and even years, hidden 
away with other souvenirs from friends titled 
and untitled. “What,” I asked, “has jewellery 
to do in my life? and how were such things as 
rings and scarf-pins to influence me in the world 
of thought, in the region of pure intellect?” 

But the same friend answered: “You are not 
reasoning like a philosopher. We are living in 
a world of matter and of fact, and not in the 
clouds; consider things and people as they are.”’ 
And then he laid stress on these words: “You 
have made a great mistake in not looking upon 


that ring and other similar objects as symbols 
of power.” 

Then I began to reason about it. Was the 
ring, indeed, a symbol of power? 

“Don’t you see,” said the friend, “that such 
presents were not given you for doing nothing? 
Do you think for a moment that such an object 
as the king’s ring could have been obtained if you 
were a clerk in a city bank?” 

“T admit,” I said, ‘‘that these souvenirs all 
represent so much money, and in looking at them 
the ordinary mind immediately thinks of their 
material value.” 

“But this is not all,” said the friend; ‘‘there 
is another side of the question, and one of much 
more importance; artists know that these things 
represent something which money cannot pur- 
chase; in your case they symbolise a success 
which came to you unsought. But leaving aside 
these reasons, take my advice and wear the 
king’s ring to offset the bad effect of your un- 
fashionable clothes.” 

“Here is an idea,” I said. ‘I will wear the 
king’s ring and take particular note of what 

The result was both amusing and instructive. 
Cabmen demanded a shilling a mile more, news- 


boys expected a penny for a ha’penny paper. 
The ring had an extraordinary effect on waiters. 
Under the electric light the big ruby shot forth 
crimson flashes which were reflected in the facets 
of the brilliants surrounding it, and every mo- 
tion of the hand was the cause of new combina- 
tions of colour. The waiters expected their tips 
to be just double. But all these details were in- 
significant compared to the effect of the ring on 
another class of minds, the minds of that large 
class who are incapable of any deep or critical 
thought. In their eyes the ring had changed me. 
I was no longer the humble person of old whom 
they knew but did not honour. They now saw 
in me a personage and a power. What I was and 
what I could do made very little difference with 
them. The one thing which stood out beyond 
all others was the possession of this ring; it made 
them sentimental, it caused them to look upon 
my presence in their house as an honour. Here 
was a force at once visible and tangible. In its 
light the snobbish mind saw nothing but royalty. 

Thackeray claimed all Englishmen as snobs; 
but supposing eighty per cent of the people to be 
snobs, that would leave a powerful majority to 
live, move, and act in a world of illusion and 
show. Read and tremble, says the edict of the 


Chinese dictator. Look and kow-tow, says the 
modern bauble worshipper. After becoming 
acquainted with these facts no one can wonder 
at the talented young artists who seek, by hook 
or by crook, to paint the portrait of some titled 
personage. But the game of snobbery works 
both ways; it is played by lords and by laymen, 
by grand ladies and by ladies’ maids, by painters 
and the people who sit to be painted, by states- 
men and the tradespeople who supply them with 
wine and meat. Why does a nobleman go about 
with his coat of arms painted on his carriage door? 
Does the earl wish to impress the marquis? Does 
the marquis expect to influence the duke? Not 
at all. Among themselves the game isa bore. A 
nobleman goes about with the symbols of nobil- 
ity emblazoned on his carriage to impress the 
world of snobbery. The snobs are deeply im- 
pressed, and it does not hurt the lord. 


HE nineteenth century may yet be called the 
most ‘‘demonic”’ of all the centuries of the 
Christian era. At its beginning three men were 
living who, in the words of Goethe, “were con- 
trolled by the demonic afflatus of their genius,” 
namely, Byron, Bonaparte, and Disraeli. Of 
these three Bonaparte and Disraeli attained the 
miraculous. A mistake has been made in allud- 
ing to the first half of Queen Victoria’s reign as 
a period of sentimentality. As a matter of fact 
it was sentimental only in art; but the long 
necks in the pictures of Rossetti were more than 
matched by the long heads in Parliament; the 
languorous eyes in Burne-Jones were more than 
rivalled by the Mephistophelean glances of wily 
Whigs and the Machiavellian winks of a Tory 
Demiurgus whose advent all the wiseacres failed 
to predict and all the fools failed to prevent. No; 
the novels, the manners, the fertile Disraelian 
wit more than counterbalanced the lotus-languors 
of the come-into-the-garden Maudies of the early 
Victorian period. 
Byron was a sentimental Don Juan who turned 


the heads of women and the stomachs of men. 
Disraeli turned all heads, touched all fancies, 
wrought upon all hearts, opened all pocket-books, 
filled all imaginations, and brought to the festive 
board of British politics the spice of a new life, a 
ragout unnamed in the political cookery-books, 
unknown to the most fastidious faddists of the 
Parliamentary palate, a dish of birds of a feather 
which had refused to flock together, but which, 
when caught, killed, and baked in a pie, rose when 
the pie was opened and sang in chorus “Rule 
Britannia” to the baton of Benjamin Disraeli, 
Prime Minister of England by the Grace of God, 
most of the landlords, and all the publicans. 
Never before was such a thing seen with the 
naked eye, never was such a thing heard with the 
naked ear. People who were not stricken with 
wonder would be likely to remain unmoved at 
the sound of the last trump. 

Bonaparte struck terror into all Europe, but 
he did so with sabre and bullet. People could 
see him at the work even if they failed to under- 
stand how his work was done. He seemed to his 
soldiers to be part of themselves, They regarded 
him as a descended God made one with the com- 
mon esprit de corps, democratic as well as de- 
monic; they followed blindly where they could 


not see, and obeyed willingly what they could not 

With all his colossal originality Napoleon the 
Great was less demonic, less oriental, than Dis- 
raeli. Bonaparte often blundered, and he came to 
his defeat through a blunder that showed more 
madness than sanity. He possessed will, tact, 
daring, originality, but he lacked patience and 
composure. The serene Hebraic spirit was not 
his. Serenity means supremacy. Once lose the 
sense of equanimity and the balance of power is 
gone. An ambitious, irritable man is doomed. 
That was the doom of Napoleon. The supreme 
minds are those that know themselves. A man 
can afford to wait when he understands his own 
powers, the meaning of parties, the pretensions 
of his enemies, and the chimeras of the world. 
While men with limitations are in a hurry, the 
others, possessing a sense of the eternal, are 
never tempted to force events, never tempted to 
hurry through the phenomena of life. 

Understand a man’s mind and you can defeat 
him in his aims, his plans, his ambitions. No 
one understood Disraeli. And yet the man in 
the street will tell you he understands the wit 
in the play, the clown in the circus, the dandy 
in the red waistcoat. Not these do people under- 


stand. What people understand is the speaker 
without wit, the writer without humour, the 
politician without imagination, the preacher 
without passion. 

Beau Brummell died in 1840, and in that year 
another dandy found himself in a conspicuous 
place on the stage of London life. But what a 
difference between the two dandies, Brummell 
and Disraeli! The first was a fool, the second a 
genius who played at burlesque because he knew 
the fools would like it. Captivate them and you 
have won half the battle. The foolish are won 
through the sight, the weak through hunger, 
the vain by flattery, the wicked by ambition, 
the cunning by promises, and the wise by knowl- 
edge and judgment. The new dandy made up 
his mind to give all a taste in turn. In the begin- 
ning he made himself as picturesque as it was pos- 
sible to be without becoming a peacock or a bird 
of paradise, and he managed to surpass them in 
his strut and rival them in colour. He was a 
human chanticleer. He began to crow as a 
chicken and fought in the Parliamentary cock- 
pit when his spurs were mere corns and his wings 
pin feathers. Well might the Puritans cry, 
“Coxcomb!” He stormed the barnyard first, 
the hen-house second, the House of Commons 


third, then the lordly House of the Turkey 
Cocks, whose cry is, “Gobble, gobble, and let 
the sparrows take the crumbs!” ‘The idle were 
intensely amused, society was kept bobbing up 
and down like a devil in a bottle, but the men 
in search of power were seized with mingled feel- 
ings of wonder, fear, admiration, and panic. 

Whence came this Titan who began his career 
as a social mountebank? Who was this Jew 
without prestige, this politician without a pedi- 
gree, this upstart without a fortune? Well might 
his enemies scratch their heads and ask if their 
pyramid of statescraft did not hide more mum- 
mies than men, more dummies than live issues. 

We are a peculiar people. 

When we call a statesman a charlatan we mean 
that he has the true political afflatus, when we 
call a poet a charlatan we mean that he has the 
true poetic afflatus, and when we call an artist a 
charlatan we mean, of course, that he possesses 
the Whistlerian root that will grow not brussels 
sprouts, but roses with thorns enough to make 
prickly foolscaps for every R. A. in the three 

As Disraeli rose step by step he was greeted 
with stronger and stronger epithets. The admira- 
tion of his enemies knew no bounds. They cried 


in a chorus, “Charlatan, mountebank, adven- 
turer, impostor!” In the meantime he kept his 
wits, he stored his irony, he reserved his sarcasm 
and wore on his face the impervious mask of per- 
petual serenity, Nature’s hall-mark of demonic 
genius. Nor did he walk alone in his dashing 
glory. He was surrounded by social meteors, 
sparks from the wheel of fashion and passing 
fame, dynamical dandies, Count D’Orsay, Bul- 
wer Lytton, Brummell, and others, who made 
Disraeli’s sun appear all the brighter in com- 
parison with the dandies who wanted but a 
whiff of creative afflatus to make their intellects 
shine like their clothes. 

Disraeli was a bard who preferred oriental 
prose to verse, and the poetic license of Parlia- 
ment to the practice of Byronic rhyme. 

He was the first modern to turn the tables on 
the prophets by forestalling their predictions, the 
greatest practical pessimist since Moses, the 
clearest seer since Daniel. It required a serene 
eye, an unruffled brow, and a menacing top-knot 
to enter the lion’s den at Westminster with 
nothing but words to allure and nothing but 
manners to fascinate. He was not long there 
when he began to twist their tails, pull their 
teeth, singe their manes, and clip their claws 


without using so much as a sniff of chloroform. 
He soon became the whip of the whole menagerie, 
as well as tamer of lions, wild cats, hyenas, and 
the leopards who longed to change their spots as 
well as their seats. 

Like all men of demonic genius, he had his 
moods, his days, his seasons, when he thought, 
spoke, and did what he pleased. At one moment 
he lured the proletariat from the flesh pots of 
Egypt by a mess of pottage, at another he kept 
his party from attempting a second crossing of 
the Red Sea before he was ready to divide the 
waters, at another he swapped hobby-horses in 
the middle of a doubtful stream, and he actually 
hobbled the Liberals to the skirts of unhappy 
chance at a time when Gladstone and his bishops 
were getting ready to walk the aisles of untram- 
melled freedom in the most flowing robes ever 
invented to show off the new and flouncing 


HRISTIAN Italy twice endured a wave of 

what seemed like universal madness. The 

first arrived with the breaking up of the Roman 

Empire, the second arrived about the time of 

Savonarola’s birth in 1452. The first was caused 

by the slow dissolution of paganism, the second 
by a revival of paganism. 

In the fifteenth century prelates and philoso- 
phers were far more concerned with the writings 
of Aristotle and Plato than they were with the 
precepts of the saints. With the revival of clas- 
sical learning in Italy came rapacious greed, 
cruelty, and fierce personal struggles for temporal 
power. Science and philosophy had no place for 
religion in the Christian sense. The old vices 
returned. Rome and Florence in the latter part 
of the fifteenth century played the old réles of 
Jerusalem, Athens, and the Latin Emperors. 

Classicism has always meant, not a revival of 
power, but a preparation towards decline. 

Up to the present time a national renaissance 
has meant nothing more than what the hectic 
flush meant on the cheeks of a consumptive. As 


for the “humanities,” Savonarola has told us 
what that word meant in his day: ‘Throughout 
all Christendom, in the mansions of the great 
prelates and lords, there is no concern, save for 
poetry and the critical art; go thither and thou 
shalt find them all with books of the humanities 
in their hands, telling one another that they can 
guide men’s souls by means of Virgil, Horace, 
and Cicero, and there is no prelate nor lord that 
hath not intimate dealings with some astrologer 
who fixeth the hour and moment in which he is 
to ride out or undertake some piece of business.”’ 
They were unable to distinguish inter bonum et 
malum, inter verum et falsum. 

As for Savonarola, the greatest Italian of his 
time, and one of the greatest minds Christianity 
ever produced, the man who gave Florence the 
best form of republican government it had ever 
enjoyed, he boasted of hearing voices in the air, 
of seeing the sword of the Almighty, and of being 
the ambassador of Florence to the Virgin! In that 
day science was a thing which developed mad- 
ness on one hand and clairvoyance on the other. 

The lunatic asylums of our day would be 
filled with philosophers and scientists were they 
to exhibit anything like the intellectual fever of 
the Renaissance. 


Marsilio Ficino lectured from the professional 
chair on the occult virtues contained in amulets 
composed of the teeth and claws of animals. He 
changed the jewels in his rings to suit the impres- 
sions, whims, and moods of the day or the hour. 
Cristoforo Landino went so far as to ‘‘draw the 
horoscope of the Christian religion”; Francesco 
Guicciardini encountered aerial spirits. Nothing 
that Savonarola ever saw, or dreamed that he 
saw, equalled the visions, the dreams, the obses- 
sions of Cardano, Porta, and Pomponaccio, those 
daring minds who, as Villari says, hewed out a 
path for Galileo “while apparently living in a 
state of delirium.” The sight of a wasp flying 
into his room inspired Cardano to write whole 
pages of predictions, and we wonder that out of 
the chaos and psychological barbarism of the 
age a man like Galileo could have emerged sane 
and sound at last. 

When Savonarola began to preach all Italy 
was in a state of ferment. Borgia was a papal 
Nero in Rome, Lorenzo de Medici a new Augustus 
in Florence, Borso a new Maecenas in Ferrara, 
but Savonarola in the pulpit of the Duomo shone 
like a koh-i-noor in a tiara of mock jewels and 
tawdry tinsel. 

The wonder is not that they destroyed him at 


the time they did, but that they ever permitted 
him the use of a public pulpit the second time. 
In the midst of a thousand confusions, hallucina- 
tions, dreams, theories, revivals, passions, occult 
insanity, scientific raving, and philosophical de- 
lirium, when everything the world ever knew 
was revived except the religion of St. Augustine, 
his denunciations fell like hot hail on the heads 
of prelates and courtiers, princes and peasants. 
His complexion was dark, his grey eyes shone 
with a piercing brightness, his long, aquiline 
nose resembled a hook, which gave to his features 
something massive and menacing; he preached 
with the trenchant phraseology of a prophet. 
What a difference there is between the elo- 
quent speaker and the inspired preacher! The 
prophetic preacher inspires not only admiration 
and respect, but apprehension and awe, with 
something merging into the indefinable and the 
mystical; at certain moments he diffuses terror 
— lerrificam praedicationem egi, as Savonarola 
declared when writing of himself. His age was a 
time in which political, religious, and social con- 
ditions became so confused that it required an 
intellectual giant to rise head and shoulders above 
all the greatest men in Italy and produce an im- 
pression at once profound and universal. 


Men like Savonarola often put an end to 
tragedy by the consummation of the tragic. 
September 21st, 1494, was a memorable one in 
the history of Florence. It marked the beginning 
of the end for this wonderful man. Early on 
that day people began to arrive at the Duomo. 
They came from every direction, rich and poor, 
philosophers and courtiers, and at last the great 
edifice was filled with a multitude palpitating 
with suppressed emotion hardly able to endure 
the suspense created by so much hope, apprehen- 
sion, doubt, and presentiments of coming calam- 
ity. When Savonarola mounted the pulpit he 
stood for a moment surveying the vast congre- 
gation like some revenant from the tombs; then, 
catching something of the nervous tension that 
prevailed everywhere around him, he shouted 
in a voice that rang through the vast edifice: 
“Ecce ego adducam aquas super terram!” The 
words came like a clap of thunder, and Pico Della 
Mirandola tells us he felt “a cold shiver” run 
through him. People left the Duomo “be- 
wildered, speechless, and, as it were, half dead,” 
and for days the terrible sermon was the talk of 

May ioth to the 23rd witnessed the last act 
in the great tragedy. Frenzy was now added to 


the prevailing insanity. The people, with but few 
exceptions, turned against their idol. When the 
Papal Commissioners entered Florence they 
were surrounded by the dregs of the people 
shouting, “Death to the Friar!” The Spanish 
desperado, Francesco Romolina, Bishop of Ilerda, 
answered back with a smile, “‘He shall die with- 
out fail!” In fact, the Pope had instructed 
Romolina to put Savonarola to death, “even 
were he another John the Baptist.” 

Again and again Savonarola was tortured on 
the rack. His replies were always the same; but 
each time they were falsified by the notaries. 
The inquisitors could do nothing with such a man. 
Then came the last scene of the last act. A 
scaffold was built in the public square; a gibbet 
was erected at one end. It resembled a cross 
with the upper part shortened. From it hung 
three chains and three halters. The halters were 
for Savonarola and his two companions; the 
chains were to hold their corpses suspended over 
_the fire. 

The blasphemies of the populace surpassed 
anything ever witnessed or imagined in Florence, 
and the savage cries of thousands of madmen 
resounded through the streets and the Piazza. 
The vilest criminals were released from prison in 


order to add a more terrible frenzy to the general 
delirium. The three prisoners were ordered to 
be stripped of their robes, and they were led out 
in their tunics, barefooted. Savonarola was the 
last to be executed. He met his death amidst 
scenes of indescribable horror, and the Arrab- 
biati hired a mob of boys to shout, dance, and 
throw stones at the half-consumed victims. 


HERE comes a time in the history of every 

A nation when to the casual observer the 
changes that occur in the intellectual world seem 
sudden, paradoxical, and without apparent 
reason. I remember the time when ‘“‘imperson- 
ality’? was the leading note of French journal- 
ism; now the leading note is personal. Yet the 
change was not brought about suddenly. Jour- 
nalism forced the French Academy to become 
more representative than it was under the Second 
Empire of Louis Philippe, when it accepted a 
critic like Sainte-Beuve and a poet like Lamartine 
while excluding Balzac. Jules Sandeau was the 
first novelist to take a seat among the so-called 
Immortels, and Prévost-Paradol the first journal- 
ist. Thus we see the Academy changes, although 
the process of change is slow, the spirit timid 
and the vision hazy. The new spirit in French 
literature and philosophy is more apparent and 
much more striking among the young writers, 
thinkers, and poets. Between these and the 
celebrities of middle age a great gulf is apparent. 
I cannot think of some of the older writers with- 


but a feeling that they belong to a past epoch 
which is out of touch with the spirit and the aims 
of the rising generation and that still greater 
world lying beyond Paris, especially the world of 
creative thought embodied in Anglo-American 
productivity. For instance, a representative 
writer like Anatole France has no idea of the 
vastness and variety of the literary world be- 
yond that of his own country. He is under the 
fatal illusion that writers and novelists of other 
countries look to Paris now as they did during 
the great days of the romantic movement, when 
translations of Hugo’s Les Misérables appeared 
in all the principal languages as soon as the work 
was issued in French. 

Most French writers of middle age are under 
the illusion that Paris must be as compelling to 
thinkers as it is to women in the world of fashion. 
But while Paris can still set the fashions for 
women, its most famous novelists occupy the 
position in the world of thought that the Know- 
Nothing Party occupied in politics some seventy 
years ago. For instance, the difference between 
the books of Anatole France and those of Pierre 
Loti is the difference between wit that charms 
and romance that fascinates. Both are limited 
to a world of action without ideas. Although the 


greatest creator of “atmosphere” in the world 
of literature to-day, Pierre Loti is sure of nothing. 
His intellectual world is bounded on one side by 
atmosphere, on the other by sentiment; it is 
like a vague music which produces no psychic 
action in subconscious thought; he is as limited 
without wit and humour as Anatole France is in 
their full possession. The graces of style and 
humour are not adequate substitutes for the 
qualities we find in Hugo, Balzac, George Sand, 
and Flaubert; in their presence we walk not 
with the Graces but with the Gods. Their limita- 
tions were not apparent. The greatest writers of 
the Second Empire did not limit themselves to 
atmosphere, nor to feeling, nor to subtle expres- 
sions of psychological states, nor to characterisa- 
tion. They were free to roam the world of will, 
intellect, imagination, and ideas. They lived in 
an Empire of creative thought, while the writers 
of the present live in a Republic of vacillating and 
negative sentiment. They of the past transcribed 
life; the Academicians of to-day record sensa- 
tions and opinions, the things that hover on the 
surface of ideas. Anatole France, Pierre Loti, 
Maurice Barrés, and Marcel Prévost write about 
the things most appreciated by a people not ready 
for the fundamental principles of sound demo- 


cracy on the one hand, and not ripe for imperial 
ascendancy on the other. Maurice Barrés has a 
charm all his own, yet he seldom succeeds in 
creating anything more than atmosphere, rare 
enough in itself and too difficult to be attained 
by any save writers of real distinction, but he 
is held in the same bondage as his gifted con- 
frére, Anatole France. They walk within the 
limits of the same Parisian garden. 

Le Jardin de Bérénice is made up of flowers too 
frail to flourish in the open air; they belong to 
the hot-house. Their odour is too delicate and 
subtle, and their form and nature too illusive, 
to be easily classified by the literary botanist. 
Maurice Barrés has achieved that rarest of all 
things, originality, and in him, as in Pierre Loti, 
Nature has done her best to offset the common- 
place sentiments of the modern bourgeoisie by 
a manifestation of extreme refinement and deli- 
cacy from which all sense of power has vanished. 
Nothing more opposed to the bourgeois spirit 
could be imagined than the subtle irony of Ana- 
tole France, the romantic remoteness of Pierre 
Loti, and the quintessential refinement of Maurice 
Barrés. These and some other French writers of 
our time express themselves in a language which 
exhales a quality too subtle to be distinguished 


by the typical Parisian of the Third Republic. 
The great writers of the Second Empire had posi- 
tive and militant convictions. The greatest 
writers of the present take refuge in an aristo- 
cracy of atmosphere, in a world of intellectual 
exclusiveness, ‘absolutely remote from republi- 
can tastes and democratic grooves of thought. 
Nothing could be less socialistic than the art of 
Anatole France, who passes for a socialist; noth- 
ing could be less popular than the writings of 
Pierre Loti, who is an officer in the Republican 
Navy; nothing more removed from the masses 
could be imagined than the writings of Maurice 
Barrés, who passes for a sincere patriot; while 
Paul Bourget, a Catholic, preaches against the 
things which the majority of Frenchmen uphold. 
I see no evidence that the French Academy is 
more democratic now than it was under the 
Empire. The more democratic the Government 
becomes, the more pronounced the line that 
separates the best writers from the sentiments 
and opinions of the people in the street. Things 
remain much as they were except for one exceed- 
ingly curious fact —the writers and thinkers 
who have become celebrated are more exclusive 
than were the great writers of the Second Empire, 
while at the same time the masses pride them- 


selves on being more scientific and more demo- 
cratic. Among the most gifted Academicians, 
feeling and atmosphere take the place of the 
creative and militant power displayed by Hugo, 
Balzac, and Flaubert; it is a world of sentiment 
opposed to action, refinement opposed to move- 
ment, imagination opposed to ideas. 

If the most celebrated French writers are ultra- 
refined and negative, the younger writers are 
positive, self-assertive, and often militant. They 
too make frequent use of the personal pronoun, 
but with a different intention. Considered from 
a psychic view-point, the elderly critics are often 
vacillating and sometimes flippant. Very differ- 
ent are the young writers and critics; they are 
fearlessly independent and keenly analytical. 
They are cosmopolitan in certain directions, 
scientific, mystical, and philosophical. And yet 
they are further from the bourgeois mind than 
the middle-aged men of the Academy, more re- 
mote from the opinions and the sentiments of 
the man in the street. They display a spirit of 
research unknown to writers like Barrés, France, 
and Bourget. They have discovered worlds of 
sentiment and experience lying beyond the con- 
fines of Paris, for which they have to thank poets 
like Verhaeren and Whitman — admirably trans- 


lated by M. Léon Bazalgette — and writers like 
Maeterlinck and Emerson. The tendency is 
toward a cosmopolitan culture, but I cannot see 
any evidence of a literary socialism; nor can I 
discover any evidence of philosophical collec- 
tivism among these young poets and writers. On 
the contrary, there is more individualism than 
ever before. 

Since my first sojourn in Paris in 1869 I have 
witnessed the birth and death of several literary 
and artistic movements, among them ‘“Parnas- 
sianism.” The young poets of 1885 were not 
influenced by the “Parnassians,” but by Baude- 
laire, Rimbaud, and Verlaine, then Mallarmé, 
Laforgue, and some others. Out of these groups 
there arose some gifted men whose names are 
now celebrated among lovers of poetry: Moréas, 
the Greek, whom I used to see playing dominoes 
with a friend at the Café Voltaire in the ’eighties; 
and Henri de Regnier, whom I often met at the 
salon of Stéphané Mallarmé, and for whom I 
predicted a seat among the immortals; and later 
Paul Fort, to name but these out of a score. The 
real individualism began about 1885, and in 
1893 M. Gabriel Vicaire, writing in the Revue 
Hebdomadaire, says of the new poets and their 
work: “Jamais pareille confusion ne s’était vue”’; 


and M. Tristan Deréme, writing in Rhythm for 
August, 1912, declares that in this respect noth- 
ing has been changed during the last nineteen 
years. There are no “schools,” he says, but 
many doctrines, and even the theorists are among 
the first to oppose their own theories. 

If, as David Hume said, there is a standard of 
taste; there are not many young writers in France 
who have any desire to seek a standard. The 
majority plump boldly for individuality. This, 
of course, is in defiance of all academical prece- 
dent, and therecent triumphs of Paul Fort, whose 
poetic output has but little affinity with any other 
French poetry, is a proof of the great change in 
the taste of the younger generation, M. Fort hav- 
ing recently received the title of “Prince des 
Jeunes” by a large majority of votes cast exclu- 
sively by writers and critics. The revolt against 
the old classical forms is even more pronounced 
than that headed by Hugo in 1830, but there is a 
difference. The present revolt is not led by any 
one man, but by a score. Young men are in 
revolt against academical restrictions and philo- 
sophical systems; and if the older men are ex- 
cluded from the masses by literary refinement, 
the young men are equally excluded, but in 
another manner: and for another reason they are 


interested in things which are too subtle and too 
abstract for the public, too psychic even for the 
academical. Many of these young men are bold 
enough to declare a positive belief in the things 
ignored or denied by the older writers like Ana- 
tole France and Pierre Loti. They are no longer 
afraid of ridicule. Independence is the keynote 
of their point of view, a free expression of their 
personal sentiments and their personal feelings 
their leading aim. This accounts for the differ- 
ence of style and the multiplicity of individual 
beliefs. Among the young men there are those 
who might be taken for social reformers were it 
not that they are without system and without 
method. Others might be taken for pagan wor- 
shippers of Nature were it not that they have 
psychic convictions which give them a marked 
leaning towards Catholicism or Buddhism; while 
the number who are absorbed in the study of 
purely psychical matters, philosophical or experi- 
mental, surpasses the belief of persons who judge 
intellectual Paris by the things said and done by 
members of the French Academy. It cannot be 
too positively stated that at the present time 
there is hardly a member of that body who has 
any real influence on the minds of young men. 
The young admire, but remain independent; 


they read, but remain uninfluenced. The general 
tendency is towards a spiritualised action, in- 
dependent of fixed literary forms, towards spirit- 
ual influence as opposed to mere sentiments and 
opinions; and in this tendency the present move- 
ment in no way resembles the Parnassian move- 
ment which was headed by the marmorean stoic, 
Leconte de Lisle. There is no room now for the 
stoical poet or the stoical thinker, although there 
are those who may be classed as philosophical 
mystics owing to the serene way in which they 
look at life, art, and nature. But the calm sur- 
face under which some of them work serves but 
to hide a spirit of ethical and scientific exploration 
and a consciousness of the tremendous mysteries 
that surround and envelop the soul, mysteries 
never so imperative in their demands as at this 
stage of human progress. 

Naturally, where there are so many different 
temperaments at work trying to voice their con- 
victions and impressions, incoherence must be a 
marked feature of much of the printed work. 
Anyone not thoroughly acquainted with the in- 
tellectual life of Paris would, after a casual glance 
at many of the books recently published, incline 
to the opinion that incoherence is the keynote to 
a universal cacophony of verbal sounds and philo- 


sophical disorder. Had I not known Paris under 
the Second Empire and followed with a critical 
eye the literary, political, social, and artistic 
schools and movements that have come and gone 
since 1869, I might now be under the impression 
that the real France is represented by the elderly 
men like Bourget and Barrés, and that the young 
men are without influence because seemingly 
without order, method, or fixed purpose. But 
it is the appearance which deceives and confuses. 
Underneath the surface, beneath the incoherence 
and the contradiction, there may be discovered 
a spirit of unity compact enough to make the 
typical Academician pause and reflect on the 
changes due within the next ten years. The 
French Academy will soon cease to be the collec- 
tive centre of writers of talent who are without 
positive convictions. The younger men will give 
to it a new philosophy and a psychic stimulus 
which will render materialism futile and sordid in 

If anyone doubts the power and originality 
displayed among the ranks of young writers, 
poets, and thinkers in France to-day, I advise 
a careful perusal of M. Alexandre Mercereau’s 
book, La Littérature et les Idées Nouvelles. For 
critical insight and discriminating judgment it 


has not been surpassed by any work written in 
French during the past decade. Alexandre Mer- 
cereau is a young man, and in the short space of 
three or four years has created for himself a posi- 
tion in the intellectual world of Paris that seems 
to me unique. At the head of several groups of 
writers and artists, he is in a position to render a 
sane and just account of the general tendency of 
the young minds who are destined to exert a pro- 
found influence on literary thought in France 
during the next two or three decades. 

To do justice to this book in a short résumé 
would be impossible. M. Mercereau is severely 
critical and yet surprisingly just, free from timid 
and vulgar prejudices, astonishingly cosmopolitan 
in his outlook on philosophical thought and lit- 
erary productivity. Viewed in this light I con- 
sider him as representing the highest type of the 
new tendency in the world of intellectual expres- 
sion in the France of our day. Without such 
writers and thinkers the outlook on the future 
would be gloomy indeed. His ascendancy means 
the introduction into French philosophy, art, and 
literature of a sound spirit of progress and an 
optimism devoid of sentimental weakness and 
vacillating opinion. Alexandre Mercereau is a 
writer and thinker with ideas of his own, and he 


has rightly named his book La Littérature et les 
Idées Nouvelles. Were is a Parisian born who 
understands and appreciates foreign genius like 
Emerson, Whitman, Verhaeren, William James, 
and Ruskin, and his influence on the minds of 
young poets, writers, and philosophers has been 
widespread and potent. 



|b are aien develop according to fixed law, and 
we know what material progress and pros- 
perity mean. The merest tyro can tell the dif- 
ference between a country which has everything 
in its favour and one which has everything 
against it. 

National misfortunes are never avoided by the 
excitement of change and the realism of war. 
On the contrary, misfortune follows in the train 
of every victory gained for the sake of personal 
aggrandisement. Seek where we may in history, 
the note of warning is there; the futility of do- 
minion for the sake of dominion. 

In order to see things as much as possible as 
they are, it is necessary to consider the lessons of 
history. What are the earliest signs of national 
decadence? How are they manifest to the minds 
of thinkers and philosophers? There is but one 
answer: in the disintegration of social, religious, 
and political forces. Wherever decadence has 
already set in, there you will find the hand on the 


milestones pointing towards the vale of ease and 
lethargy, where the mind may dream in the lazy 
afternoon of life, and where the flight of time has 
no longer any meaning. The descent may be 
slow; it may proceed in a joyous and a merry 
mood, or it may laugh and weep by turns, but the 
descent never ceases. 

Dickens depicted the happy-go-lucky mood of 
the typical Londoner of his time with masterly 
fidelity in photographic word-pictures, by which 
he unconsciously exposes the helplessness, the 
impotence, and the illusions of the people of 
London. The works of Dickens all point toward 
municipal and social decrepitude. The principal 
characters manifest a sentimental humor or a 
cynical selfishness which belongs to the early 
symptoms of national helplessness. They live 
in a world of illusions, never fully realising their 
condition as working, thinking entities. Micaw- 
ber, among the people, is the living symbol of 
that undiscerning optimism, now so general, in 
which, at last, many leaders of state-craft and 
religion are steeped. Dickens depicted men and 
conditions as he found them, and the significance 
of his work lies not in his plots and his style, but 
in the faithfulness of his characterisation. 

With the age of Dickens came dissensions in 


the Established Church. Episcopalianism was 
undermined by the democratic spirit of the Sal- 
vation Army, while in the world of politics a 
band of men appeared whose chief business lay 
with the chimeras that hover about the horizon 
of the dusky future. They sought excitement 
and glory in distant countries, in questions and 
interests that in no way concerned the welfare 
of the people at home, in regions that touch 
the romantic, and in adventures that touch the 

A certain capricious humour, on the one hand, 
and a stoical demeanour on the other, precede 
and predict national disruption. Writers who 
foresee a decline often turn to cynicism or stoicism 
for relief. Grecian ascendancy was brought to an 
end not so much by what philosophers taught as 
by what the politicians and generals did. The 
cynics and the satirists, headed by Antisthenes 
and Aristophanes, appeared just at the time 
when Athens thought herself secure against civil 
and military decadence; but Alexander followed, 
with his feverish orgies of conquest in distant 
lands, and material disruption began. 

In a like manner the humoristic and satirical 
element in Dickens and Thackeray marks an 
epoch in the social history of England. Here, 


too, we find the spirit of melancholy seeking relief 
and distraction in comical description and cynical 
humour. For genius can do no more than observe 
and depict contemporary man. The great deline- 
ators and caricaturists of history invented noth- 
ing. There is no such thing as the creation of a 
type. The writers of every age, be they satirical, 
philosophical, or sentimental, are impressed and 
impelled by the persons and events of their own 
epoch. Thus we find Juvenal satirising decadent 
and Imperial Rome, while a little later Epictetus 
and Aurelius took refuge in stoical resignation. 
Under the Republic there was no need for stoicism 
and no occasion for satire. So, too, Epicurus ap- 
peared when Athens had witnessed her greatest 
triumphs, and not very long before Greece be- 
came a province of Rome. 

Thinkers, prophets, philosophers, and novelists 
all make their appearance at the proper time. 
Men of genius never appear too soon or too late. 
Dickens represented the happy-go-lucky, senti- 
mental humour of the people; Thackeray the 
cynicism and the snobbery of the middle classes; 
George Eliot the philosophical element of the 
cultured few. She represented modernised stoi- 
cism. It was Seneca and Aurelius clothed in Vic- 
torian romance; it was the science and resignation 


of Epicurus and Epictetus brought down to our 
very doors, speaking through the illusions of 
imperial power, evading to the last the secret 
presentiment of social and political disruption. 

Thus we find ourselves face to face with two 
formidable signs, the like of which Europe has 
not seen since the beginning of the Roman de- 
cline: a cheap stoicism and puerile cynicism. 
These symptoms of decadence, long apparent in 
Continental Europe, are now palpably visible in 
England, where cynicism has assumed a form 
that is almost devoid of sensibility, and where 
pessimism is attaining the last limits of moral 

In the Elizabethan age there was no place for 
the cynical, the satirical, and the stoical. An age 
of action and progress is an age of hope, and the 
idea that poets, writers, and artists spring up here 
and there like spurts of capricious Nature is a 
superstition. Nowhere is there a manifestation 
of intellect which has not a direct bearing on the 
political and social world of fact and experience. 
Blind though the forces of Nature appear to be, 
still there are laws regulating these forces. The 
optimistic prophecies of Walt Whitman, for 
instance, were no haphazard production of a 
dreamer, but of one reasoning from cause to effect 


in a country teeming with intellectual and physi- 
cal energy. Had Whitman produced his poems 
in London they would have mirrored the lethargy 
and the indifference of the larger part of its 

The art-world has expressed the mood of the 
passing dispensation. Burne-Jones and Rossetti 
were masters of the illusive, the immaterial. The 
sadness which crowns the summit of achievement, 
the melancholy coeval with perfection attained, 
the longing for the things that are passed, all this 
was transcribed on canvas with singular beauty 
and vividness. This is why the pictures of these 
masters give the impression of artistic dreams, 
of something belonging to another age. 

In contrast to this we have the art of the cari- 
caturist and the satirical symbolist, typifying 
an age of cynical callousness. In England and 
France caricaturists are not only doing with the 
pencil what Dickens and Thackeray did with the 
pen, but they have arrived at a far closer intimacy 
with human deceits and chimerical ambitions. 
Never in the history of English art has anything 
appeared at all comparable to the drawings of 
the late Aubrey Beardsley. With an artistic in- 
sight into the social foibles and the follies of the 
epoch he added something that went straight to 


the heart of character, and by a sort of Mephisto- 
phelian penetration depicted the naked soul of 
the time. This, too, was an art that attained the 
apex of delicacy and precision, a perfection which 
laughed at perfection, a consciousness turned in 
upon itself, mindful at once of power and decline. 

And it is not only art that has furnished bitter 
examples of the breaking up of old ideals and old 
systems. Music has been evoked in the cause of 
sarcasm, irony, and ridicule. In the world of 
music we are confronted with the trivial on the 
one hand, and on the other with the Wagnerian 
symbols of the futile and the chimerical. The 
first stands for the persiflage of the masses, the 
second represents a hopeless struggle against the 
irremediable. Wagner’s final pronouncement is 
Renunciation. Parsifal, for example, means nega- 
tive pessimism. Parsifal renounces the struggle 
for life, and this, after all, is the Schopenhauerian 
philosophy distilled into music. An earthly Nir- 
vana is evoked by a combined musical and verbal 
magic in which all the arts have a place, in which 
illusion is followed by disenchantment and weari- 
ness. Wagner’s work symbolises the disruption of 
the old civilisation. He scaled the heights of long- 
tried systems, and from the last pinnacle sounded 
the bugle-call of disillusion and retreat. 


The call was heard by Germany, France, and 
England, who recognised in it a solace for error 
and deception. When, in “Parsifal,” the walls 
of the palace of illusion fall to the ground with a 
crash, something more than mere personal dis- 
enchantment is symbolised. The falling of the 
walls of the house of pleasure and sense typifies 
the dislocation of every system and thing founded 
on material dominion. How comes it that such a 
work was produced during the ascendancy of a 
man like Bismarck? Genius everywhere has an 
ascendancy over all other manifestations of intel- 
lect, and its business is to see as well as to act. 


When we leave the world of art and music and 
enter that of the drama we are confronted once 
more by a repetition of the signs and symptoms 
of cynical indifference on one hand and senti- 
mental weakness on the other. Mr. Pinero pro- 
duces stage dialogues so true to contemporary 
life that many of his plays are masterpieces of 
their kind. And they represent social apathy, 
ironical humour, trivial ambitions, and vulgar 
passions. He possesses one of the most observ- 
ing and penetrating minds that ever depicted the 


follies of the human heart. In his plays, men 
and women of the world see themselves as in a 
mirror. And they are at once nonchalant and 
eager, frivolous and tragic, witty and pathetic. 
Their wealth is as millstones, and their titles 
hindrances, yet, from an instinct born of degen- 
eracy, they seek greater wealth and higher titles, 
and the dramatic ensemble represents a cynical 
and callous class of people, born without the 
instinct of affection and bred without distinction 
of feeling. Mind and heart are wanting here for 
the reason that in the typical society of the day 
there is no sense of the human and confraternal. 

In the plays of Mr. Sydney Grundy and others 
the same frankness and fidelity to the spirit of the 
time are manifest. On the other hand, there is 
the romantic drama, meaningless and impotent. 
If anyone doubts this it is only necessary to con- 
sider for a moment the negative results of The 
Sign of the Cross. The very success of this play 
attested its impotence as a religious factor. The 
emotion which it caused was another symptom 
of dramatic and religious hysteria. That play 
galvanised the nerves of a people long tired of 
the ordinary religious emotions, of a people 
fatigued by the monotony of chapel-going and 
Salvation Army gymnastics, of a people in need 


of a glimpse of the pagan arena, a cry from the 
dungeons of the Roman Coliseum, the mingled 
horrors and splendours of Imperial and neurotic 
Rome; in need, above all things, of the spectac- 
ular, the poignant, and the puerile. 

The masses would seek relief in signs and in 
symbols, in promises of to-morrow, in shifting 
scenes and varying movement, in panoramic and 
illusive pleasures which keep the mind from the 
real cause of misery and the heart from the real 
cause of sorrow. How to escape from the reality 
is the one consuming thought of the hour. Be- 
cause, hidden deep down in the recesses of human 
nature, there dwells a consciousness of decay and 

This consuming desire to escape is the cause 
of romantic adventure, symbolical idealism, 
feverish commercial activity, inane social ambi- 
tions, political excitement, spectacular show, and 
the chimeras of war. Here lies the inner and 
secret meaning of that movement known as the 
Celtic Renaissance. After Dickens and Thack- 
eray, George Eliot and George Meredith, after 
Browning, Tennyson, and Swinburne, after three 
centuries of literary glory unequalled in the 
history of the world we arrive at a period when 
aspiration, sentiment, and emotion assume a 


mystical and symbolical form. A climax has been 
attained in the long series of literary schools. 
But in the realm of British ascendancy it means 
the passing from a dream of contentment to a con- 
sciousness the reality of which is again screened 
by a veil of poetic and allegorical illusion. For 
this literary perfection means that hope and faith 
have reached a barrier, and a refuge is sought in a 
region of symbolical mysticism, pure and noble in 
itself, but still quixotic and allusive. 

If Mr. Yeats willingly seeks the legendary and 
the symbolical, Mr. Kipling tries“to escape by 
means of the active. But while Mr. Yeats takes 
refuge in a world of poetic symbols which he has 
created for himself, Mr. Kipling, without knowing 
it, is living in a fool’s paradise. The stimulant of 
Mr. Kipling’s verse and prose may be likened to 
the spurs applied to a tired horse. His writings 
stimulate, but, like all stimulants, they do no more 
than make the patient think himself stronger. In 
reality there has been no strength gained. The 
heart of the Empire is London, and he has left it 
untouched. He has dissected the veins, sinews, 
and arteries of the Empire, but the heart he has 
scarcely seen. He has been deceived by appear- 
ances. At a distance everything looks promis- 
ing; the young countries have before them a great 


future, and action is visible everywhere without an 
immediate danger of reaction. He is good enough 
to bid the patient at home look beyond himself 
and his surroundings for relief, and he bids him 
hope without a shadow of practical or material 
benefit. For the young emigrant this is well; for 
the overgrown, lethargic metropolis it is optimis- 
tic poison. It means that for the home habitant 
of the British Empire fiction is offered and ac- 
cepted in lieu of the real and the practical; it 
means that the foreign wine of life is preferable 
to bread made at home; it means joy for the 
robust young adventurer who leaves England 
never to return, but for the Mother Country 
it means decay and disaster. For while Mr. 
Kipling plants one tree he eradicates two old 

We have, therefore, two forces in literature 
which demonstrate by a sort of prescience the 
extremity of material dominion. The Celtic 
Renaissance is an indirect proclamation by sym- 
bols of the close of the old dispensation, while 
the writers of actuality announce the end by go- 
ing direct to fact and experience, despising politi- 
cal pretension and optimistic superstition. And 
thus from the region of poetic intuition we have 
a prophetic cry, and from the plane of actual fact 


the voice of the world-wise seer. In the writings 
of Robert Louis Stevenson we have romantic 
idealism, which was this gifted author’s mode of 
escape from dying systems. Romantic adventure, 
romantic action, rendered as real as possible; a 
never-ending bustle and movement typifying 
everything modern in adventure and suggesting 
everything medieval in spirit! With a mind at 
once critical and philosophical he refused to look 
at things as they existed in his native country. 
An escape was eagerly sought, until at last it was 
found in remoteness and seclusion; yet still ina 
sort of romantic action. 

It is this rush to escape from the pain and the 
turmoil of monotony and routine which consti- 
tutes the striking similarity between Mr. Kipling 
and Robert Louis Stevenson. Notwithstanding 
the difference between the culture of Steven- 
son and the rugged power of Mr. Kipling, they 
belong to the same school. But a wide gulf sepa- 
rates Mr. Kipling from Dickens. For Dickens, 
as well as Thackeray and George Eliot, dealt 
with the life and manners of their own people 
and country. Mr. Kipling repudiates London. 
He leaves the Mother Country with as much 
deliberation as an emigrant would who no longer 
has any binding sympathy with her customs or 


her people. He flees the thing that is, to seek 
the thing that is not. 

It is astounding that in the hour of need, when 
London and the great cities of England are swarm- 
ing with poverty-stricken and helpless people, at 
a time when all the signs of unrest and disintegra- 
tion are plainly manifest, literature of this kind 
can not only gain the popular ear, but that of 
the classes which govern. It is not too much 
to assert that the majority of popular English 
authors belong to the chimerical school. The 
reading public, caring only to escape from the 
actual through the open door of legend and make- 
believe, mistake the mythical for the mystical, so 
that what is true in the political world is also true 
in the world of literature. If the governing 
powers find momentary escape in the excitement 
of sport and luxurious living, the reading public 
finds a narcotic in fictional nonsense, one popular 
novelist going so far as to pack three dukes into 
one novel, and this at a time when we are asked 
to believe in the great vogue of democratic ideals. 
It is no wonder, then, that the middle-class mind 
of the present day rests secure in the fool’s para- 
dise of popular romance and popular plays. 



It took three centuries for the hand of progress 
to mark the high noon of Empire, which arrived 
with Elizabeth. Athens and Rome both followed 
the same route marked by the same inexorable 
law. We are at the close of a dispensation which 
has lasted for six hundred years. 

The Elizabethan era was one of proud rulers, 
proud adventurers, and proud moralists. Vanity 
and sentimentality were crushed under the power 
of authority or held in abeyance under the weight 
of dignity. Work and faith are supreme in an age 
of pride, scepticism and pretence in an age of 
vanity. Proud nations are unconscious of the 
thing that braces them to perpetual victory, and 
when pride becomes self-conscious vanity sets in 
and decline is certain. 

National security leads to individual indolence, 
the delusion of collective unity, and the illusions 
of personal efficiency. Once on the decline, the 
optimist begins to boast. Nationally, it is the 
optimist who is negative, the pessimist who is 
positive — he is the watcher on the tower. 

Vain optimism leads to vainglory, and the re- 
sult is sentimentality. The sentimental has ruled 
Christendom for nearly two thousand years. But 


there were periods when it did not rule in the 
world of politics. Bonaparte and Bismarck rose 
superior to all manifestations and surprises of 
the sentimental; yet England remains chained 
to this weakness in politics, in religion, in art, in 
literature, in music, in charity, and utilitarianism. 
From being weak and effeminate the sentimental 
has now become threatening and vicious. Its 
politics is only rivalled by its pulpit. Many of 
the churches are governed by men who lack the 
courage to preach punishment, by agnostics who 
have long parted with the anchor of faith, clutch- 
ing at the last straws of hope in a sea of conflict- 
ing and baffling currents. 

Examine the raison d’étre of the persistent con- 
servation of so many illusions. The reason is to 
be found in the seeming security bestowed by 
vast territorial possessions and the false intel- 
lectuality bestowed by vast material wealth. 
England has been dreaming ever since the de- 
struction of the Spanish Armada. During the 
Napoleonic game on the chess-board of Europe, 
when crowned heads were the pawns, England 
felt some slight emotional shocks while watching 
the players. Waterloo was an earthquake only 
felt in England as a tremor. It was hardly more 
than the excitement of a Derby witnessed at a 


great distance. The illusions of security aug- 
mented with the capture of Napoleon. The Titan 
dead, nothing remained to menace the nation. 
Comfort now slipped into the lap of luxury, ease 
into the lap of indolence, opulence changed to 
arrogant optimism, and religion to a species of 
hypocrisy which passed the bounds of foreign 

Micawbers made their appearance on the one 
hand and predatory Shylocks on the other. At 
this time the German States were little more than 
coloured blots on the map situated between 
France and Russia, which made the map interest- 
ing in the eyes of the sentimental and the roman- 
tic. France was a nation that only needed patting 
on the back; Italy a place for pleasure tours; 
America a combination of wilderness and negroes. 

Into this desert of chimeras came the scientific 
agnostic, a personage unknown elsewhere in the 
whole world of learning. From the laboratory 
he entered the pulpit, and, like a human wolf in 
sheep’s clothing, preached a religion of flattery 
to sentimental Red Ridinghoods in the front pews 
and blue-stocking sceptics looking down from 
the gallery. British science here gave the lie to 
British optimism, because agnosticism is the 
bivouac of tired minds in a wilderness of illusions, 


In a dying dispensation everything partakes 
of doubt and fatigue. Our philosophy is now a 
hybrid jumble of physical science, psychic delu- 
sions, sentimental morality, and pusillanimous 
patriotism. We are intellectually incapable of 
grappling with the draconian maxims of the Con- 
tinental giants whose works have freed Germany 
and France from the incubus of ethical lethargy. 
and intellectual senility. At a time when the 
leading thinkers of Continental Europe have ac- 
cepted a positive philosophy of life we are steeped 
in the old mode — the sentimental rules us with 
an iron hand, the yoke of the negative drags us 
to the gutter of intellectual pauperism. We have 
no voice in the counsels of Continental thinkers. 
Darwin discovered a path into a new country; 
foreign philosophers and scientists have found 
the treasures. These treasures we repudiate 
with the scorn which could only have originated 
in a species of insanity caused by perverted pride 
and degenerate optimism. 

A score of isms unheard of in France, Germany, 
Italy, and Austria flourish, in the hour when 
every nerve of the national body-politic ought to 
be strained towards grappling with the impend- 
ing crisis. These isms have turned us into a 
psychological paradox; we flirt with science, 


dabble in art, and use religion as a fashionable 

Authority has gone from Episcopalianism and 
power from the Dissenters. Bishops apologise 
before preaching to unwilling congregations. 
Where would our clergy be without the faults 
and the vices of the poor? Without the slums 
there would be nothing to contrast with Imperial 
splendour, without our rags nothing to contrast 
with the Royal ermine. 

A great gulf separates us from Continental 
thought. It is forty years since we ceased to bear 
any relationship with the German people. To- 
day we stand separated by philosophy, separated 
by militarism, by social aims and material watch- 
words. The closing dispensation finds us between 
’ two stools. The question of disarmament is in 
itself a sign of sentimental degeneracy. The fact 
that we possess men like Andrew Carnegie, who 
are naive enough to cry ‘“‘Peace, peace!” before 
the Teutonic Juggernaut, ought to be enough to 
bring the most wavering doubters to their senses. 
It requires Anglo-maniacal effrontery to broach 
the subject of disarmament when dealing with 
a people like the Germans. Whence comes this 
effrontery? From ignorance of the Bismarckian 
ambition, ignorance of the Nietzschian philoso- 


phy, ignorance of the tendency of German youth 
to these ambitions and ideals, ignorance of every- 
thing pertaining to the Teutonic race of to-day. 

Germany entered upon a new era in 1866, when 
she defeated Austria. The Imperial seal of blood 
and iron was affixed to this epoch on the day 
Sedan capitulated in 1870. Ten years latera 
philosopher arose who imposed a new scale of 
moral values to the iron mandates of Bismarck 
and made it impossible for the German people 
ever again to think, write, or act in the senti- 
mental mode. 

In consequence of these facts, Germany is 
forty years ahead of England and America, and 
we are still in the agonies of the dying dispensa- 
tion. We are about to enter a phase of existence 
so new, so strange, so unlike, so fantastically 
paradoxical, so extravagantly unhistorical, so 
ironically bewildering that itis hardly possible to 
bring home to the minds of the unlettered masses 
anything like an adequate sense of the situation. 

For good or for bad, for better or for worse, the 
dawn of the new dispensation ‘will see China a 
military nation. The Juggernaut of events will 
not stop to persuade, will not stop to argue, will 
not stop to sentimentalise, will not stop to reason. 
It will move on, drawn by the unnamed beasts 


whose horns are sealed with the fulness of Time, 
whose hoofs are shod with bands of steel driven 
by the force of destiny. Multitudes await its 
coming, and the question arises how many will 
prostrate themselves before the sinister car com- 
pletes one full circle. It is destiny we now have 
to face. But the people, like the people of every 
other country, will accept, at the appointed hour, 
the mandates of the unwritten and universal law. 
The characteristic feature of the new dispensa- 
tion will be whatever the dominant European 
forces impose; that will be transmitted and trans- 
fused into us. It is not a question of being con- 
quered. The new era will not conquer in the old 
way. It will come with the impulsion of a rising 
tide, which gradually overwhelms, submerges, 
transforms. There will be no second edition of 
the Elizabethan or the Victorian era. Condi- 
tions will change to such a degree that in nothing 
will the coming dispensation resemble anything 
in the old. Sects, parties, and individuals will be 
swept along with the tidal wave of Continental 
transformation, and imperative necessity will 
place a dominant yoke on the old characteristics 
of habit and opinion. Men will cease to say “I 
believe.” They will bow before the inexorable. 
The nation will be drawn by superior material 


forces or driven by crushing material forces. 
The imperative will rule. Peremptory mandates 
will not leave a niche for the lodgment of the 
sentimental and the vainglorious. We shall no 
longer resemble men who are living on the inter- 
est of their capital, not being permitted to live 
bolstered up on the illusions produced by past 

In the coming dispensation there will be no 
place for the old illusions, science having filled 
their place with inevitable fact. The awakening 
will be more bewildering than that of optimistic 
France in 1870. Millions will rub their eyes and 
ask questions no one will have the time to answer. 
Utopists with sentimental schemes for the millen- 
nium by Act of Parliament will find themselves 
swept off their feet by the tidal wave of action, 
in which words, opinions, personal likes and per- 
sonal idiosyncrasies will have neither weight nor 
meaning. For the first time since the reign of 
Henry the Eighth authority will dominate both 
the masses and the classes, and under such a 
régime a duke will have no more influence than a 
smart soldier of the ranks. The question will be 
not “Who are you?”’ but “What do you know?” 
A few iron-willed men will assume control, and 
their judgment will become law. Necessity and 


action will absorb parties as a sponge absorbs 

The new dispensation will be a forcing time, 
not only for grains and fruits, but for individuals. 
It will be an age of applied science, but out of 
science a new spiritual element will spring forth, 
which in turn will dominate the material. The 
new era will bring with it a spiritual renaissance 
and the unity of the Anglo-American people. 






The invincible allia 

Francis, 1848-1997. 
nce, and Other essa 

vost a I A A 

Grierson, Francis,1848-1927. 

The invincible alliance, and other essays, 
political, social, and literary, by Francis 
Grierson. New York, John Lane company, 1913 

235p.. 2ZOcm. 

Contents.e-The invincible alliance.—The prophet without 
honoure=-The now preacher.=-Republic or empire?-=The parlia 
arenas=-The soul's new refuge.=-Impressions of Italy.--Mate 
jem and crime.--Hampton Court and Versailles.--George Berna 
Shaw.--The agnostio agonye=--The psychology of dress.Benjami 
Disraeli.-~Savonarola.=-France old and newe--The new era, 

ti Title. ay, 



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