The courier. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1894-1903, June 29, 1901, Page 2, Image 2

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berate aberation, go on a drunk.
Even ibe most temperate of men in a
desperate or extatic state of mind
have been known to give up a day or
-. two. to -oblivion. Oblivion- supertax
duced by alcoholic drinks is very dan
gerous, especially if the man is not
accustomed to alcoholic stimulants.
To every thoughtful man who takes
out a total-abstinence policy, the pos
sible victory of a great temptation,
will occur. After paying premlums-
for years the man with one of these
fatal policies may yield to" the long
ing for a new sensation and get drunk
In the event of his death, after the
debauch, his family would receive
nothing. Although the lower rate
appeals to the good old total-abstainer
and although it is not just that his
Tate should be increased by the aver-
i age shoix lire of the merry drunkard,
even the total abstinence man lacks
perfect confidence in himself and
wants a policy that is good whatever
he does. Uncertainty of payment'
will be disadvantageous to any com
pany. The policy-holder and prem
ium payer must be sure that the
-premiums he pays to the company
will be repaid to his family. Other
wise insurance is a delusion and a
snare and the family-man would bet
ter spend his money as his oldest
daughter wants him to, on gewgaws
for herself. In the latter case the
family might have the advantage of
an influential alliance contracted by
the daughter after a judicious ap
plication of the gew-gaws. Where
the policy is not paid the premiums
.patd by the father are a dead loss to
.his family whom he hoped to save
.from penury by his life insurance. It
.would be a very difficult matter to
.prove that a man who held a total
abstinence policy was in fact a 'mod
erate drinker. It is hard enough to
prove that a saloon sells liquor to
minors or at improper hours. If more
depended upon conviction, It would
be still more difficult. And herein
the holders of total abstinence poli
cies may be nearly certain that their
policies will be paid.
J Jt
Bagsby's Daughter.
Chicago's literary output is not in
creasing so rapidly as shipments of
hogs and beeves, but the manufactur
er of stories, essays and histories by
residents of Chicago is obviously in
creasing in volume and losing the
home-made quality which has here
tofore distinguished most of the work
of Chicago authors. Perhaps the
authors of the story, "Bagsby's
Daughter" now appearing as a serial
in one of the monthly magazines do
not reside in Chicago, but the like
nesses of Chicago men and women,
their manners and customs are veri
similar, and the Misses Tan Vorst
must have lived there long enough to
get acquainted with the people, their
manners, diet and .social customs.
'Bessie and Marie Tan Vorst, who are
writing Bagsby's Daughter are ac
complished portrait painters. Like
.Sargent they paint character and the
.inveterate detective who c'aims to
be able to locate every place a
.story-writer describes and identify
. every character, will be foiled actual
ly, if not to his own recognition, by
.this story. A bad and silly man who
'sits to Sargent recognizes the truth
ful likeness of his soul, when all his
friends indignantly repudiate the in
dubitable history of the features and
expression. If it were not for his own
.avowal that 'the portrait is his, he
.would never be found out. The vil
lain of "Bagsby's Daughter" is safe
.because the author has not labeled
her and alas! we deal in externals.
, We are not painters and student8 of
character, and portraits of souls irri
tate us because we cannot identify,
The July enstallment contains a
description of a wedding remarkable
for its Dortraiture of all"? weddings.
The discoasolate musings of the fath
er and mother after the daughter has
started on her wedding journey is
pathetic in spite of humourous
touches. Fidejity to type and aa- un
conscious squeezing out from the es
sence of life its pathos and humour'
characterize these first chapters of a
well written story or Chicago.
Richard Yea and Nay. l
So long as people continue to buy
and read historical novels the infatu
ated authors will continue to
compose them. It is a fashion
that is now tiresome for very repe
tition. Klchard Carvel, To Have and
to Hold, and all the numerous his
torical no irels which have taken the
place of Miss Muloch's innumerable
and interminable tales of olden times,
have completely satiated an appetite
never very keen.
Mr. Maurice Hewlett, the author
of Richard Yea-aod-Nay, delights in
obsolete words and expressions. To
be sure there is an atmosphere, or
rather, let me say, an old scent, about
such words and phrases as "trepitant,"
"scourged forward" instead of rode for
ward, "he watched shrewdly with
meticulous particularity," but the
mind soon tires of the unfamiliar, as
unwonted travelers quickly tire of
new scenes and an unaccustomed diet.
The present is our only time and the
peoples who live most fully and ex
clusively in their own times are most
interesting to posterity. We cannot
possibly be an authority on the
twelfth century. We can only scien
tifically and by the aid of what his
torical training we possess piece to
gether the authentic remains ot a
past century. Fettered by the uni
ties, a story writer cannot hope to
give a truthful picture ot a time eight
hundred years ago. Some critics ex
claim about the wonderful atmos
phere of Mr. Hewlett's most recent
book. But neither Mr. Hewlett nor
they ever smelt or felt that atmos
phere. As a matter of fact the twelfth
century has completely vanished. It
is gone and can only be imagined, by
those who care for truth, in the chan
sons, and monkish remains of the
period. There were no novelists in the
twelfth century. If there bad been
this century would doubtless not have
been the wiser, for after the perverse
spirit of the novelists of all ages they
would have ignored their own time
and the men and women who sur
rounded tbem for the folk of an earli
er century still whom they could not
possibly know nor accurately describe.
The courts are wise in' shutting out
hearsay testimony. The only evi
dence worth having is that offered by
an eye-witness who saw or heard or
felt what he swears to. In the days
of Richard, Coeur de Lion, he was not
an heroic object. Men feared "him
and hurried to do his bidding when
he spoke, but he wore no halo, per
formed no miracles, and was just a
king, more like the Emperor Wilhelm
than like King Edward of England,
but still a mortal man in the days
when kings were not such rare and
evanishing functionaries as they are
Nevertheless the novelists of King
Richard's time did not think him
worth the sacrifice of their time and
the gift of the principle place in their
Maurice Hewlett thinks, eight hun
dred yeara after that, be can remedy
their oversight and incorporate Rich
ard as he was in life. Novelists have
their own particular delusions as well
as their own conceits which differ in
kind and exceed in quality those of
otberand commoner men. If tbey
would but consider that today is more
momentous than the twelfth century
and will last longer they would make
a scholarly study of the men of today
andieate Richard to the scant notice
of the writers of bis time. The present-day
historian is ot value, of in
creasing value to posterity. The
imaginative writer who has the te-.
merity to embody a ghost whose ashes
have long since mingled with the air
we breathe, may amuse the contem
porary summer reader but he will
never take his place among the writ
ers of this period. Professors of lit
erature will not direct their pupils
at the close of the twentieth century
to study Maurice Hewlett to get an
idea of what this end of the century
was thinking about and what were
the causes that led up to the labor
war of 1975. When the twelfth cen
tury is under consideration they will
not d i rect them to Maurice Hewlett, for
if he could not write of the twentieth
century which he did know and was
a part of, how could he write of the
twelfth century that be did not know?
There Is another reason why Mr.
Hewlett cannot be used as an example
to the young student of literature.
Some young ladies seek to disguise
their imperfect knowledge of the
piano by extravagant use of the ped
als. Mr. Hewlett does not cocscious
ly use obsolete expressions to direct
attention away -from a careless use of
english but when I find ."those sort"
and "these kind" I am suspicious, not
of the printer any longer, but of the
We go dressed now-a-days, even
little children feel ashamed without
their clothes on. Mr. Hewlett ignores
some of the decencies of modern life
and insists on presenting the nude
as he thinks it was in the twelfth cen
tury. Unsophisticated old ladies and
simple-hearted old fogies generally
cannot be convinced of the beauty of
bareness but Mr. Hewlett does not
heed their mild protests. The things
that no one talks about nevertheless
occupy a large share of every one's
attention and decide the crises of
life; they make tragedies; birth, mar
riage, death are inextricably depen
dent upon what we will not (and are
expelled from society If we do; talk
about. Yet jokes are pointless and
stories dry that entirely ignore the
tabooed subjects. Novelists, along
with their other peculiarities, keep
-close to the facts of life and insist
upon basing their stories on life as
they find it. In the twelfth century
men and women were wrought upon
by the same passions, as in the twen
tieth. If this were not true even
Maurice Hewlett, with his love for
making what looks like men and
women, out of dust scraped from the
past, would succeed In fooling no one.
Mr. Hewiett is too emancipated.
He cannot take bis readers with him.
We cannot so abruptly leave the puri
tan prepossession and habit. The
island dwellers of Tahiti wear their
belts of banana or palm leaves grace
fully enough, but that is a matter of
a thousand years practise and of be
ing absolutely free from the scruples
of civilization. If theTahitians could
read Mr. Hewlett's book, tbey would
be more than pleased with it and not
at all shocked by it. I hope no one
will be Induced to read Richard Yea-and-Nay
after reading this review
and concluding that 'If is an immoral
book. There is not enough of that
sort of thing to pay one who might
read it on such account. This is a
century wherein we do not call a
spade a spade and the man who per
sists in thus outraging delicacy is
punished by our virtuous neglect.
Mr. Hewlett's other book,
"The Forest Lovers" is an idyl and
fascinating as our thoughts of fauns,
but enough' is enough.
Dancing is a healthful and harm
less amusement, absolutely innoc
uous to all but the vicious. From a
public dancing ball, where every one
who will pay the price of a ticket is
admitted it is impossible to exclude
vicious men and women. Not that it
is possible to exclude all vicious men
from balls given by the smartest of
the smart set, but surrounded by im
pregnable convenance and by modest
young men and women the vicious do
not do much harm. Mr. Hagenow,
the leader of the orchestra, proposes
to play dance music for an hour after
the close of his summer concerts in
the auditorium so that the audience
may dance. If men and women were
better the young working-men and
women of Lincoln would have the
opportunity of dancing together for
an hour once a week. The innocent
amusement is made questionable be
cause, whoever were there the vicious
men and women would be there.
The leader of the orchestra may
have had in mind the village dances
in Germany, which, in spite of the
fact that the whole village joins in
the dancing are family affairs. The
peasants are acquainted with each
other. There for centuries the same
family occupies one farm. Instead of
the mixture of American, Swedish,
Dutch, Irish and Norwegian dancers
who would form the sets in the func
tion proposed by Mr. Hagenow, the
bucolic dancers in the fatherland are
of one race and of one long-established
community. There, the peasants
are proud of their family and of their
traditions'. Acquaintance, tradition
the respect rendered an honest old
family, however poor it may be, in an
old community make these German
dances entirely respectable and use
ful to the social life of a small com
munity. The honest young laboring man and
young woman of Lincoln have too
few occasions to dance together as
youth should dance with youth. Let
the student of social economy station
himself on O street of a Saturday
night. Perhaps half the crowd is
composed of young people walking the
streets just to be together. There is
nothing for them to do. they can only
moon up and down the street and pre
tend to be interested in the squalor
and dirt of the sidewalks of Lincoln.
If these same young people were danc
ing, their minds and feet would be
occupied in keeping time to music.
The young men ivould dance for eight
minutes with-one girl and then for
eight minutes with another. And
they must think of something enter
taining and appropriate to say to
each partner. Dancing is therefore
an intellectual as well as a bodily
exercise. The young men and women
who would form the largest number
of dancers in the recreation offered by
Mr. Hagenow are much better
off taking part in a dance than in
awkwardly mooning the streets,
where they are driven into sentimen
tality by the absence of every other
form of amusement. There is no
"change partners" in these Saturday
night tramps. I have observed the
same'"steadie3" pass and repass for an
hour at a time. There is much intel
lectual stimulus in a change of part
ners. And at a ball only those who
have drifted- Into sentimentality
somewhere else dance with each other
continuously and exclusively.
From the very nature'of the func
tion the dance is the most social and