The courier. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1894-1903, July 06, 1901, Page 2, Image 3

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considered simply as children tbey
were more than usually trying, mis
chievous, and noisy. Their fathers
considered it an insult to a child to
etrike him and these imps practiced
the most excruciating tortures on
adults with impunity. They yelled,
shrieked, exploded things, and made
their neighborhood avoided of all but
In delivering the Fourth to the
small boy we give him up to almost
certain accident, we make the day
hideous, we jeopardize whole cities
and actually lose by fire from smoul
dering fire crackers, every year, mil
lions of dollars worth of value in
buildings. The mayor of this city in
consequence of continued dry weath
er issued a proclamation directed at
the small boy and forbidding him to
set off fire crackers and fire works.but
after the rain he withdrew the pro
hibition and the day in Lincoln was
the usual nerve-racking, explosive
torment. If there is anything which
can make us lose affection for the
signers of the document of independ
ence it is the celebration of the Dec
laration by young America. It is an
undignified way of celebrating so
glorious a birth. There is no con.
nection between the anniversary and
the manner of 'celebrating it. The
Christmas rejoicings do typify a birth
day, and the gifts and spirit of giving
a great thankfulness. But the cele
bration of our national birthday is
trivial, cheap, vulgar and irrelevant.
Ho wonder the boys know nothing
about tbe day they celebrate; there is
bo connection between the horrid
. noises tbey are encouraged to make
by fatuous parents, and the occasion
they commemorate. If the mayor
bad persisted in his prohibition tbe
mothers and fathers might have
taught their offspring something
about the document and the man. who
wrote it and the men who signed it.
As it was, nobody's voice could be
heard above the din made by tbe
spoiling little boys, and another dread
ful insult to our country was added
to those we have heaped upon it.
The happy man, humanly speaking,
is the man who succeeds in what he
undertakes. The miserable man, one
who tries all bis life to accomplish
something and fails. Tbe opinions
of Mr. Andrew Carnegie, Mr. Bird
Coler, comptroller of the city of New
York, and our own Chancellor An
drews of tbe State university, are
collated in a recent number of the
Saturday Evening Post by Mr. Coler,
who says that "Tbe young man who
cannot go to college need not lie
awake nights worrying, especially if
he is planning for a business career.
Instead of being handicapped by the
absence of a university training, he
will find that the handicap is with
the other man . The college graduate
has five or six years to make up when
he finally goes to work. To over
come this drawback requires an ex
traordinary mental equipment and
few men in this world are extraor
dinary." Mr. Carnegie says that "A
college education unfits, rather than
fits men for affairs." Chancellor An
drews' opinion is so closely descriptive
of the literary work of college gradu
ates that I quote it in full: "Young
people end their studies with flabby
minds unable to analyze keenly or to
generalize truthfully or far. This
comes out clearly when tbey come to
write. The bad quality of the writ
ten work done by fresh college gradu
ates is notorious, not to mention
commencement orations and theses,
usually the most arid and awkward
compositions imaginable. Young
doctors of philosophy, brilliant spec
ialists in their chosen lines not sel
dum compose altogether wretchedly.
Wry grammar and a shocking choice
of words are not their worst- faults.
It is the higher traits of rhetoric
which suffer most. The report, news
paper article, essay, treatise, or what
ever the writing is, lacks unity, con
tinuity and progress. The discussion
is begun with points that ought to
come later; arguments, if any, are not
arrayed, but hopelessly fumbled. The
author says what be does not mean,
often contradicts himself, and not
seldom without giving the reader any
clear idea of tbe view which he would
like to present. These are the results
of general mental confusion. The de
partment of rhetoric is never wholly,
and hardly ever mainly, responsible
for them. The trouble is that, the
whole mental training has been de
fective. . . . These ill features of
college education are closely connect
ed with those classical studies which,
in most of our colleges, still remain
the centre and pivot of curriculum.
The antiquarian and the devotee of
tbe science and history of religion
may have some use for a book like
Ovid's Metamorphoses, but the ma
jority of us have none; on the con
trary, wa suffer net loss by every
moment we devote to such reading."
jt .
Crime is sin, but sin is not crime.
Crime is punishable by law and law
sometimes punishes it if the prisoner
at the bar chance not to be a woman
or a rich man. But the sin that is
not a crime is amenable to law. Sin
concerns only the sinner, broadly
speaking, although no one can injure
himself without affecting tbe whole
body of society. There are times and
circumstances when it is a virtue to
lie, but the lie will be ineffectual un
less the one"who" tells it has establish
ed a reputation for truth-telling.
Every man must settle with himself
what is right for him and what is
wrung for him. It is certain that his
code will not coincide with his neigh
bor's, and yet both may be upright.
There can be no dispute about what
the law calls crime, and that Is for
tunate, because there are a sufficient
number of occasions when a man bat
tles with himself, blinded by trying
to find out if what he wants to do is
wrong. After too long a self-examination
conscience wabbles like the
needle drawn from its loyalty to the
pole by the iron on board the ship.
Then the man, like tbe ship, drifts
out of bis course. The statutes are
unaffected by sophistry or desire; and
if tbe denominate certain conduct
criminal, it is an undebatable rock
from which self-examination may
leap where it will and return with
There are amusements, like danc
ing, cards and the theatre, which
some hold harmless and others de
nounce as vicious. Every recreation
which tends to increase the attrac
tions of the social group is beneficial.
Crime isolates. Vice slinks about in
small groups or couples. The large
ness of au assembly of people come
together to dance, for instance, en
forces tbe adoption of general rules
and a rigid convention.
A few years ago dances were held at
Burlington beach pavilion contigu
ous to Lincoln, where every body was
welcome except the notoriously vic
ious. Large numbers of observers
stood around tbe railing which sep--arated
tbe dancers from the crowd.
It was a most favorable opportunity
to study dancing and to decide for
one's self if it is a sensual dissipation
or the natural expression of joyous
ness and the love of musical move
ment. It was an excellent opportuni
ty because the dancers belonged to
no one social set. They were restrain
ed from improper conduct by none of
tbe conventions which fix manners
in an intimate social coterie. The
dancers were acquainted with each
other; introductions in an assembly
of tbe kind I refer to are insisted
upon much more severely than they
are now in society where It is con
ceded that the mere fact of being
present at a ceremonious function is
a guarantee of election. There was
no doubt in the candid mind of an
observer that the dancers were there
for dancing and for nothing else.
The youths bad paid for their tickets
which included a certain number of
dances, and they intended to get their
money's worth. There was no dal
liance or sentimental linger;ng in
corners or shadowy places. The
young men and women danced as
children play games in the school
recess with evident determination to
get out of their short vacation all the
pleasure possible. The intervals be
tween tbe dances were short although
the time was summer, tbe exercise
vigorous, and tbe dancers themselves
warm. The young men desired to
fulfill their obligations to each one of
their acquaintances, as well as to en
joy an extra dance or two with a
favorite. As the dancers whirled past
the point of observation there was
not one who was not busily occupied
in keeping time to the music and in
guiding or being guided, without col
lision by her partner through tbe
kaleidoscopic pavilion. Men and wo
men who work six days in the week
take their pleasures seriously and
with a kind of conscientious care very
touching to an observer with sense
or experience enough to know the
cause. The graceful, light insouciant
manner is not cultivated in feeding
an engine with twelve or fifteen tons
of coal a day or bv running along tbe
tops of slippery cars going around
curves at thirty miles an hour. Tbe
effect on the expression and bearing
of six days' of hard labor cannot be
obliterated in a moment, as the en
gineer washes off the stains of the
engine from his face and hands. But
the effort to enjoy the society of
young women is refining. The brake
man wbo puts on his most gorgeous
and becoming tie and his best clothes
and goes out to enjoy a dance within
his means, who strives to participate
in the innocent functions where he
is welcome and which he can afford,
is cultivating the social graces and
he is kindlier and saner for it. In the
miscellaneous company of dancers at
Burlington beach there was not one
whose expression indicated anything
but pleasure or an anxious desire to
fulfill the duties of the occasion cred
itably. There are dance halls sup
ported by saloon keepers whose object
is to sell liquor and where all sorts of
characters are admitted. The places
are bad without a redeeming feature,
and tbe police, if they are instructed
to do their duty, keep a close watch
on them.
Lincoln has no resort or amusement
for poor young people who live in
small and squalid homes but who,
notwithstanding, desire the com
pany of the other sex, long for an op
portunity to get acquainted with a
number of tbe young people on their
orbit and to enjoy all the privileges
of youth, which, somehow, at their
birth, and without their consent,
were withdrawn from them.
Larger and wealthier cities than Lin
coln reserve parks In parts of the
city inacessible except occasionally
to the very poor, but still patronized
by tbem on holidays. There are
blocks in the cheapest and most
thickly uettled parts of Lincoln which
could be purchased by the city at
small expenditure now, on accoun (
tbe accumulated taxes which w.u
never be paid. A small green - t
where the people swarm is be r
than an enchanted garden ful. . f
fountains and singing birds wit,, n
reach of the poor man and his fatL.ty
of children only at the rate of n
cents a bead car fare. A census if
one district in New York, a citj of
parks, revealed tbe fact that hun
dreds of children bad never been in
side one of them. Their parent
should have taken them to the park,
but the wretchedty poor do not !
what tbey ought in spite of their
unmistakably shocked richer fellow
townsman. Even In this prairie town, bounded
on every side by unbroken horizon,
there is not room enough in the bot
toms which will grow more and "more
crowded as the laboring popula
tion increases. Summer recreation
in this mountain-less, lake-less and
river-less region is a problem which
the versatile council should consider,
remembering that Satan's tools and
victims are the bored young men and
women who, having earned a holiday,
are denied a place in which to pleas
antly spend it.
The Water Supply.
The city water department is in
better condition than it has ever been
but this is not saying mucli because
under water commissioner Byers the
water department was run for the
behoof of a few politicians and the
receipts never equaled the expendi
ture. The present commissioner ad
ministers the department with mure
regard to economy, but unnecessary
men are still employed and paid high
er wages for less labor than private
employers are paying, and the present
council have just been foiled in an
attempt, to make the discrepancy still
greater. If the water department of
this city were in charge of a com
petent engineer who administered it
without regard to politics, and ex
actly as a private owner would do there
is little doubt that the expenses might
be greatly reduced. It is idle to com
pare Mr. Tyler's administration with
his predecessor's, for Mr. Byer's is
igaorant; he had no conception of hi
duties to the municipality which
hired him, he employed as many men
at as high wages as possible thinking
thus to increase the patronising power
of the office. Comparing the present
conduct of the office with the scale of
wages and with the managing regime
of the gas and traction companies,
which each serve the public, it is ob
vious that the expense might be fur
ther reduced.
Mr. Burns' proposition to furnish
the city with water at eight cent
per thousand gallons is not receiving
much consideration for several
ons. Mr. Burns' connection with tlie
water department of Lincoln has not
been productive of satisfactory re
suits. He insisted upon digging well
on the Salt creek side of the city and,
in consequence, we were obliged
for many years to drink salt water or
something else when we were thirsty.
The unpleasant, unsatisfying taste cf
the water did very well for a sani
tarium, but I fear that it drove man
to drink and into druukards' graven
When a few people finally concluded
that the curse should be lifted from
this city, Mr. Burns and Mr. Thomp
son did what they could to defeat the
movement, but the city council wa
composed of vertebrates who refused
to yield to the representations of the
politicians that fresh water was pro
curable from a salt basin. Then be
sides his record Mr. Burns is a water
wizard and we are as much afraid of
wizards now as when they went about
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